USS Indiana undergoes post-delivery work | Boeing looses E-3 upgrade contract

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General Dynamics is being contracted to perform post-delivery work on the Navy’s new Virginia-class submarine. The $13.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification covers the procurement of long-lead-time materials for maintenance, repairs, testing, modifications and other work on the vessel. The USS Indiana is a Block III vessel that features a redesigned bow with enhanced payload capabilities, replacing 12 individual vertical launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. This, among other design changes, reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining its outstanding warfighting capabilities. Work will be performed at GD’s shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by April 2019.

Boeing is receiving a contract modification to support the Navy’s Infrared Search and Track (IRST) program. The additional $12.1 million allow Boeing to incorporate conduct designing, developing, integrating and testing of the Infrared Search and Track System (IRST) Block II, Phase II engineering change. These efforts will be carried out to replace the IRST Block I system. The modification incorporates an engineering development model and upgrades for two sets of IRST Block I system weapon replacement assemblies. IRST is a long-wave infrared detection system that targets airborne vehicles in a radar-denied environment. In the mid-2000s, Lockheed Martin LMT was selected as the winner in the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F IRST competition, which required 170 systems. These were the IRST Block I systems, which are capable of detecting, tracking and ranging targets with weapon-quality accuracy. Now with the advanced version of this IRST system – the Block II version – set to get incorporated in the F/A-18 jets, these aircrafts will be able to perform better in terms of surveillance. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida and St. Louis, Missouri. The Block II systems are expected to be completed in April 2022.

The US Air Force terminated a E-3 Sentry AWACS update contract with Boeing. Under the contract Boeing would have updated the radar on the Air Force’s flagship surveillance aircraft at a cost of $76 million. Boeing was on contract to provide improved radar processing “in a specific flight environment to meet a classified requirement,” for its E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System surveillance aircraft, Captain Hope Cronin, a service spokeswoman, told Bloomberg in an email. However after the company encountered major delays in developing hardware and software, and expected several extra years and an additional $60 million to complete the project, officials decided to issue a partial stop-work order in January and terminated the contract in May. Cronin further said, that “the Air Force determined the best approach for providing this critical capability would be to replace the legacy radar processor and its related components.” “Several companies responded to the Air Force’s request for information, and a request for proposal is currently being developed,” she added.

Middle East & Africa

Turkey starts serial production of its new ATMACA anti-ship missile. Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate (SSB) recently signed a multi-million deal with its industry partners Roketsan and Aselsan. SSB’s contract includes the “mass production” of missiles by Roketsan, and manufacturing of fire control systems, necessary equipment and spare parts by Aselsan. The ATMACA is similar in capability to the Exocet, C-802 and Harpoon. The ATMACA AShM weighs 1700 lbs with a 440 lbs warhead. It can travel at subsonic speed and can reach a range of up to 124 miles. The guidance suite comprises a INS/GPS system with a terminal-stage active radar-homing (ARH) seeker. The missile is expected to be the main offensive weapon of the Milgem platform. The Turkish Navy intents to exchange all the Harpoon missiles in its inventory on 1:1 basis with ATMACA missile, meaning at least 350 missiles are needed.

Europe

The German Navy will equip its new Braunschweig-class corvettes with Leonardo’s OTO 76/62 Super Rapid gun system. The contract, signed with the German Federal Office in charge of defense acquisitions, includes the delivery of seven gun systems as well as training and spare parts supply. The 76mm Super Rapid gun mount is a light weight, multi-mission naval artillery system capable of firing in single-shot mode or 120 rounds per minute at ranges up to 10 nautical miles. Depending on the configuration, the OTO 76/62 Super Rapid could include the Strales capability to fire Dart guided ammunition specifically designed for the engagement of fast manoeuvrings targets, the Vulcano GPS-guided long-range ammunition able to engage a target with an excellent accuracy as well as the Multi Feeding (MF) device for the ammunition automatic handling. The system is designed for anti-aircraft, anti-missile and point defense missions. OTO 76/62 can be integrated on any type and class of ship, including smaller units. The contract value has not been disclosed.

Airbus Helicopters and Romania’s IAR have finalised an exclusive cooperation agreement for the heavy twin engine H215M multi-role helicopter. This follows an initial agreement signed in August 2017. Under the agreement, IAR will become the prime contractor for the H215M for any future order by the Romanian Ministry of Defense to replace its ageing fleet. The H215M multi-role helicopter is a military variant of the H215 civil helicopter. It features a crashworthy fuselage, incorporating a four-bladed main rotor and a monocoque tail boom integrating an anti-torque rotor with five composite blades. The H215M can be armed with 20mm cannons, 68mm rocket pods and side-mounted, rapid-fire machine guns to support attack missions. “We consider that the IAR-H215M helicopter is the best solution for the Romanian aeronautical industry, the Ministry of Defense and for other clients all over the world. IAR and Romania are looking forward to becoming helicopter manufacturers again. This contract represents a new chapter of the cooperation between France and Romania in the field of aeronautics,” said Neculai Banea, General Director of IAR.

The French Ministry of Defense plans to add an additional satellite to its Syracuse 4 program. According to the French arms-procurement agency, DGA, the extra satellite is needed to fulfil connectivity demands from drones and military aircraft. Syracuse 4A and 4B will replace the Syracuse 3A and 3B satellites, launched in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Offering a design life of 15 years, the two satellites will have identical X- and Ka-band payloads, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor. “This [the third] satellite will be different from the other ones we are currently building in order to better address the specific and increasing needs of airborne systems,” Col. Jannin, head of French satcom programs said at the 2018 Global MilSatCom conference. The first two Syracuse-4 satellites will be launched on Ariane-5ECA rockets between 2020 and 2022, with the third expected to launch by 2030. The Syracuse-4 satellites will feature unrivaled resistance to even the most extreme jamming methods, thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, including an active anti-jamming antenna and a digital onboard processor.

Asia-Pacific

The Philippine Navy (PN) is currently testing its first AW-159 helicopter in the UK. “As confirmed by the Commander Naval Air Group (CNAG), the AW159 has just started initial test flight as part of the manufacturer’s trial. It is still scheduled for a series of test flights before scheduling its handover to the Philippines. According as well to CNAG, the flight signals the completion of the first unit,” defense department spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday. The PN ordered two AW159 Lynx Wildcat naval helicopters for $114 million in March 2016. The helicopters will give the PN a long sought after anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, carrying active dipping sonar (ADS), sonobuoys, and torpedoes, while for the anti-surface warfare role it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns.

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