USN may consider Ford-class block-buy | Sea Ceptor scores at firing trials | Lockheed Martin scores $1bn Sniper ATP upgrade award from USAF
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a US Air Force (USAF) contract nearing $1 billion in value, for the sustainment and upgrade of the service’s fleet of 683 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP). Work on the five-year deal will take place at locations in Florida and Georgia, with work expected to wrap up by December 17 2022. Capable of being integrated on a wide variety of air platforms including the F-2, F-15, F-16, F-18, A-10, B-1, B-52 and Typhoon aircraft, the Sniper ATP detects, identifies, automatically tracks and laser-designates small tactical targets at long ranges. It also supports employment of all laser- and GPS-guided weapons against multiple fixed and moving targets. Paul Lemmo, vice president of Fire Control/Special Operations Forces Contractor Logistics Support Services at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said the award represented the “availability, reliability and performance” of the Sniper ATP to USAF warfighters worldwide, adding the firm was proud to “deliver our most advanced targeting technology and support ongoing operations.”
- Two Ford-class aircraft carriers may be block-bought by the US Navy, according to Vice Adm. Tom Moore, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command. Speaking to USNI News, Moore said such a dual-purchase would allow the service “to get (CVN) 81 [The future USS Enterprise] quicker” as materials can be ordered for both ships at the same time, while also cutting costs. The procurement program is one of six selected—the others being the MDA’s Standard Missile program, the USAF’s C-130-J retrofit kits, the Japanese Global Hawk FMS program, and two classified programs—under a new DoD pilot program aimed at slashing acquisition timelines to help improve lethality and readiness in the military. Each program will look to have a contract signed within 210 days of the request for proposal being issued, with an ultimate goal of getting major programs on contract within 180 days of the RFP’s release.
- Embraer’s KC-390 multi-mission transport aircraft has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) from the Brazillian Air Force (BAF). The Milestone, announced by the firm on Wednesday, was achieved following the successful completion of a certification campaign that saw two prototypes accumulate over 1,500 flight hours and more than 40,000 hours of laboratory testing of the aircraft’s various systems. Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC)—who awarded the tanker its IOC—is expected to issue final Type Certification in 2018, and the aircraft will undergo additional in-flight tests of various military functionalities including the remaining aerial refueling and cargo dropping tests, to fulfill the requirements to receive the final military certification of the aircraft with the achievement of the Final Operational Capability (FOC), followed by deliveries to the BAF.
- The US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has cleared a foreign military sale (FMS) package for follow-on support and sustainment services for Poland’s F-16 fighter fleet. Estimated to cost $200 million, contracts for the program will be awarded when necessary and the DSCA have listed Harris Corp., Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BAE Systems, L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, UTC Aerospace, Exelis Electronic, Honeywell, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Boeing as all potential prime contractors in the sale. Services to be carried out on the F-16 fleetinclude: aircraft maintenance; system and overhauls and upgrades; engine support; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; publications and technical documentation; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistical support; and other related elements of program support.
- Missile consortium MBDA announced Wednesday, the successful completion by the British Royal Navy of the final First of Class firing trials of the new Sea Ceptor air defence system. Testing was conducted onboard the HMS Argyll where the system was tested against more complex scenarios, including rapidly engaging multiple simultaneous threats. Sea Ceptor will now be rolled out on other Type 23 Frigates, and the first of a series of installation test firings have already been completed on HMS Westminster. The system will take over from the legacy Sea Wolf system, and will allow for frigates installed with the platform to protect other vessels in conjunction with itself. It utilizes the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), which doubles the range of Sea Wolf, and its active radar-seeker allows the missile to engage targets without the need for complex and costly target illuminators.
- Finland’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has approved a $264.6 million upgrade program that will fit its four Hamina-class fast attack crafts (FAC) with Saab’s Tp 4 lightweight torpedo. Helsinki plans to use the upgunned vessels as a bridge before the retirement of the Rauma-class FAC and the induction of the Squadron 2020 corvettes, and are expected to remain in service until 2035. Other weapons system integrated onboard the vessels include a Bofors 57 mm main cannon, four Saab RBS-15 Mk3 anti-ship missiles (AShM) and eight Denel Dynamics Umkhonto IR surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.
- It’s been reported that the Indian MoD is seeking second-hand Mi-35 helicopters to donate to the Afghan Air Force. A delegation from the ministry is expected to visit and eastern European country, believed to be either Serbia or Ukraine, and this will be followed up by and Afghan delegation to New Dehli for follow up discussions. The move was requested by Kabul, who are in the process of replacing its ageing Soviet-era fleet with Western-made platforms, however, require parts to keep the Russian-made equipment in operation before the process is complete. As US sanctions on Russian exports prevent Washington or Kabul from sourcing these required parts directly from Moscow, they are free to receive the equipment as donations from allies. India, who is looking to boost its influence and partnership with Afghanistan, is likely to cooperate with Russia on military support for Afghanistan, with the US on development support, and with Iran on trade cooperation for goods to Afghanistan.
- Double-firing of the Sea Ceptor air defence system onboard HMS Argyll:
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