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Lockheed is ‘preferred bidder’ for Canada’s future fleet | Who will buy the new Czech trainer ? | Indonesia wants to renegotiate KF-X contributions

Defense Industry Daily - 9 hours 32 min ago

The US Air Force is procuring more updated Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) from Raytheon. The awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee option is valued at $62 million and provides for more missiles that integrate the Form, Fit, Function Refresh (F3R) of the AMRAAM guidance section. Friday’s contract involves foreign military sales to Norway, Turkey, Japan, Romania, and Australia. The Air Force’s AMRAAM F3R project is a comprehensive effort to mitigate the effects of parts obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing sources in the missile’s guidance section to extend the missile’s lifetime well into the 2020s. The F3R effort includes the substantial redesign of subsystems that include a new ASIC design, new hardware and a new signal processor. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s factory in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by December 2020.

Honeywell International is being tapped to support the Air Force’s fleet of C-5M Super Galaxy transport aircraft. Under this $7.8 million firm-fixed-priced order the company will be responsible to upgrade 85 Versatile Integrated Avionics/Avionics Integrated Units (VIA/AIU) to the 905 configuration. The upgrades are part of the Galaxy’s Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) avionics program. The VIA software system has six primary “partitions” or applications that include flight management, com/nav/surveillance/identification (CNSI), communication management, display services and all-weather flight control. The C-5M VIA/AIU repair and upgrade effort is a key component to the overall Core Mission Computer/Weather Radar aircraft modification/installation kit that replaces the current mission computer, and replaces the weather radar with a commercial off-the-shelf color weather radar. Work will be perfumed at Honeywell’s location in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is expected to be completed by June 14, 2020.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp will support the Directed Energy Directorate with Solid State Laser Effects and Modeling efforts. The awarded cost-reimbursement type contract is priced at $36 million and allows the company to develop innovative diagnostic and test methods, increase the fidelity, realism and confidence of predictive models, measure and consolidate laser vulnerability data and support the general high energy laser system research environment. The Directorate focuses on four research areas: Laser Systems, High Power Electro magnetics, Weapons Modeling, Simulation and Analysis, and Directed Energy and Electro-Optics for Space Superiority. Among other things, the Directorate develops future offensive and defensive laser concepts, and models the synergy of directed energy and kinetic weapons at mission level. Work will be performed at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Work under this contract is expected to be completed by October 2022.

Canada’s Surface Combatants program is picking up pace as Lockheed emerges as the preferred bidder to design the next fleet of Royal Canadian Navy ships. This brings Lockheed one step closer to land the potential contract worth more than $45 billion. The company pitched BAE’s Type 26 design to the government of Canada and Irving Shipbuilders, a Canadian firm that would actually build the ships. BAE and Lockheed are now set to negotiate the specific terms of the deal, which would cover the construction of 15 frigates and associated equipment and services. What follows now is a due diligence process, which includes negotiations with Lockheed on intellectual property rights, an assessment of combat systems performance an assessment of the company’s financial capability to deliver the project and verification of various other administrative matters. If all goes well the Canadian government could award the contract in 2019 with construction expected to be begin by the early 2020s.

Middle East & Africa

South Africa’s Denel Vehicle Systems is adding a new version of the RG31 Mk5 to its portfolio. The baseline of the 4 by 4 MRAP is usually used as an armoured personnel carrier (APC), the new version however integrates the Tactical Remote Turret 30 (TRT-30). The remodelled vehicle’s TRT-30 armament suite consists of a Russian 30 mm 2A42 dual-feed cannon and a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun. The gunner can remotely control the weapons via a flat-screen man machine interface (MMI) and twin control handles. The TRT is also fitted with an automatic target tracker (ATT) that gives the gunner more accuracy while the vehicle os moving. Dubbed the Ibululu, the platform is equipped with a 205 kW Cummins engine that accelerates the 16 ton vehicle to speeds of up to 62 mph, and an Axle Tech 4000 (5G) suspension that allows for cross-country mobility.


Aero Vodochody is taking first orders for its new L-39NG jet trainers. Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar recently announced that the country will buy six L-39NGs to replace its outdated fleet of L-39 Albatros aircraft. “The Ministry of Defence and the military are interested in these aircraft, negotiations are, of course, already taking place and we will acquire these aircraft,” Metnar told Ceska Televize. The NG is the latest multi-role, advanced jet trainer aircraft designed by the company and is intended to provide enhanced military flight training capabilities required for fourth and fifth-generation fighters. The company hopes to export the new platform to various global customers and estimates that it could deliver more than 100 L-39NGs over the next decade.


The Indonesian government plans to renegotiate its partnership with South Korea in the K-FX development program. The agreement between the two countries was formalised in 2014, and outlined that Indonesia will contribute about $1.9 billion to the project which has an overall value of $7.9 billion. Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs is seeking to negotiate a way for Indonesia to pay its contribution, of which about $200 million is unpaid. Reuters says that “Indonesia’s request on the financial terms of the deal comes as it is trying to support the rupiah, which is trading near a 20-year-low, and to reduce the use of foreign exchange reserves.” The KF-X program will likely be South Korea’s largest defense acquisition program, that sees for the delivery of 120 jets for its own air force, and 80 to Indonesia.

Today’s Video

Watch: AUSA 2018 Association U.S. Army defense exhibition

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Austal starts constructing the Navy’s next EPF | Qatar cancels purchase | Belgium: Who will make the cut ?

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 10/22/2018 - 06:00

Navistar Defense is being contracted by the US Army to provide technical support to its MRAP fleet. The contract modification is priced at $19.7 million and provides for technical support for the in-production and out-of-production MaxxPro family of vehicles. MRAP vehicles are designed from the outset for blast-resistance against land mines and even car bombs. These vehicles normally serve a variety of roles including as armored personnel or weapons carrier, convoy protection platform, key leader vehicle and command post and armored ambulance. This contract combines a number of orders that will run through March 2020.

Austal is being tapped to start building the Navy’s next Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship. The undefinitized contract action is valued at $57.8 million and allows for the procurement of long-lead-time material and production engineering services. The Spearhead-class vessels are designed for the fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment with aviation support. Bridging the gap between low-speed sealift and high-speed airlift, EPFs transport personnel, equipment and supplies over operational distances with access to littoral offload points including austere, minor and degraded ports often found in developing countries. The vessels are able to transport 600 short tons of military equipment to a range of 1.200 nautical miles at speeds of up to 35 knots. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including – but not limited to – Novi, Michigan; Mobile, Alabama and Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The US Navy’s 13th EPF is expected to be completed by November 2021.

The Air Force plans to procure another Bombardier business jet for its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) program. BACN is an airborne communications relay that extends communications ranges, bridges between radio frequencies, and “translates” among incompatible communications systems. The BACN modified Bombardier Global 6000 would be outfitted with a specialised mission package that includes antennas, radios, flight-tracker inhibition systems and more. Dubbed the E-11A, the aircraft allows ground troops to reach needed support over mountainous terrain with imagery, video, voice and data, and it can also act as a high-altitude relay, including airdrop and airstrike operations. If the acquisition is approved the jet would be the fifth of its kind in the BACN fleet, which would grow to nine aircraft in total.

Middle East & Africa

The Qatari government will not proceed with its planned acquisition of three Boeing produced E-737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft. At the end of DIMDEX 2014 in late March, reports surfaced that Qatar had embarked on a $23 billion shopping spree that would have included the purchase of the three E-737s at cost of $1.8 billion. The Gulf state has chosen not to complete the transaction, Boeing told Jane’s on October 18th. The Wedgetail operates at an altitude of 30,000ft to 40,000f and is flown by two flight crew with between six and ten mission crew members. The aircraft is fitted with an MESA (multirole electronically scanned array) radar from Northrop Grumman. That radar exchanges the traditional AWACS rotating dome for the E-7A’s “top hat” stationary antenna. The Qatar Emiri Air Force currently has no airborne early warning capability, it is yet unclear if Qatar will purchase an alternative platform or if it has decided not to field an airborne early warning capability altogether.


The UK is requesting the purchase of sixteen H-47 Chinooks from Boeing. The potential Foreign Military Sales contract is priced at $3.5 billion and would include the delivery of the helicopters equipped with GPS, missile warning systems, radio-frequency countermeasures, multi-mode radars, electro-optical sensor systems and other equipment. The extended range Chinooks will be armed with M-134D-T mini­ guns and M240H machine guns. The CH-47F Chinook is the latest variant of the combat proven platform. Renewals include a new Robertson Aviation Extended Range Fuel System of internal auxiliary fuel tanks that gives the helicopter a mission radius greater than 400 miles. The Royal Air Force’s current operational Chinook fleet comprises Mk 4 and Mk 6 aircraft, fitted with digital glass cockpits. The UK’s Chinook Sustainment Programme aims to build on the platform’s success, recapitalising existing airframes and extending the capability out to 2040.

Reuters reports that Belgium will likely make a decision on which fighter jet to buy to replace its ageing F-16s by the end of this month. The country’s multi-billion contract will see for the purchase of 34 fighter jets. Current contestant are Lockheed Martin with its F-35 and BAE with the Eurofighter. “The Belgian competition is the F-35’s to lose,” Harry Breach, a London-based analyst told Reuters. He further added that the Typhoon would be a more expensive option and that smaller countries tend to pick a jet with lower size, payload and range for affordability reasons. France is not running with the Rafale, but has an interest in preventing the further spread of the F-35 in Europe. Lockheed’s proposal reportedly includes significant opportunities for Belgian companies to contribute to the global F-35 enterprise, BAE on the other hand offers Belgium a possible role in future European combat jet developments if it picks the Eurofighter over the F-35.

Poland plans to move ahead with the planned acquisition of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) as part of its HOMAR program. The program sees for the purchase of three squadron-level units 18 launchers each, plus 2 launchers for training operations. HIMARS is a lighter version of the M270 MLRS multiple launch rocket system. Poland would be second European country to purchase the system, with Romania being the first. Both countries are NATO members and are currently strengthening their air-defense systems to deter Russia. The potential acquisition of the 56 HIMARS launchers is priced at $250 million, with the first units expected to be delivered by 2022.


Russian media outlet, TASS reports that the Russian Army will now be able to fire a new missile from the S-400 Triumf system. Dubbed the 40N6 hypersonic long-range surface-to-air missile is designed to engage low flying aerial targets at ranges of up to 400 kilometers. The 40N6 is designed to strike early warning and electronic warfare aircraft, airborne command posts, strategic bombers, and hypersonic cruise and ballistic missiles. The missile’s destruction range is up to 380 km for aerial targets and up to 15km for ballistic weapons at an altitude ranging from 10 m to 35 km. The average flight speed is 1,190 m/s. With its new homing head, the missile can destroy aircraft beyond the boundaries of the radio visibility of ground-based radars. Russia plans to purchase over one thousand missiles through 2027.

Today’s Video

Watch: A Ride Out To The USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

The USA’s Spearhead-class, expeditionary fast transports

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 10/22/2018 - 05:56

Austal MRV/JHSV concept
(click to view full)

When moving whole units, shipping is always the cheaper, higher-capacity option. Slow speed and port access are the big issues, but what if ship transit times could be cut sharply, and full-service ports weren’t necessary? After Australia led the way by using what amounted to fast car ferries for military operations, the US Army and Navy decided to give it a go. Both services leased Incat TSV/HSV wave-piercing catamaran ship designs, while the Marines’ charged ahead with very successful use of Austal’s Westpac Express high-speed catamaran. These Australian-designed ships all give commanders the ability to roll on a company with full gear and equipment (or roll on a full infantry battalion if used only as a troop transport), haul it intra-theater distances at 38 knots, then move their shallow draft safely into austere ports to roll them off.

Their successful use, and continued success on operations, attracted favorable comment and notice from all services. So favorable that the experiments have led to a $3+ billion program called the Joint High Speed Vessel. These designs may even have uses beyond simple ferrying and transport.

The JHSV Ships

Austal concept
(click to view full)

The design specifications established for the JHSV described an ocean-going vessel 450 feet in length or less, capable of carrying 600 short tons of cargo up to 1,200 nautical miles at a speed of 35 knots. It must also have seats for at least 312 passengers, and must be able to provide long-term berthing and galley facilities for at least 104 of those passengers in addition to the vessel’s 41 crew.

A single firm was ultimately selected to produce all planned JHSV ships, and Austal beat their rival Incat for the contract. Austal’s design ventured slightly beyond the program’s specifications. Length is just 103.0m/ 337.9 ft, with a Beam of 28.5m/ 93.5 ft, and a miniscule Draught of just 3.83m/ 12.57 ft.

The ship’s 4 Wartsalia WLD-1400-SR waterjets are powered by the same MTU 8000 class diesel engines used on Austal’s Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship, and the Hawaii Superferries. Specifically, JHSVs use 4 MTU 20V8000 M71Ls, rated at a maximum of 9.1 MW each. These engines and waterjets can push the ships to the required 35 knots at full cargo load, or 43 knots unloaded.

Austal’s design offers embarked troop berthing for 150 (104 permanent, 46 temporary) that can support 14 days of operations. Alternatively, airline-style seating for 354 troops, in addition to the crew of 41, allows the ship to support 96 hours of operations. Cargo capacity is up to 700 short tons/ 635 metric tons, in a usable cargo area 1863 m2/ 20,053 ft2, with a clear height of 4.75m and a turning diameter of 26.21m. The cargo area also has 6 ISO TEU (20′ ISO container) interface panels, for containers that need power. The Austere Loading Ramp Arrangement can support vehicles up to 70 ton M1A2 Abrams tanks, per requirements, and a telescoping boom crane can lift 18.2 metric tons at 10m, dropping to 12.3 metric tons at 15m.

The ship is required to be able to transport 600 short tons of troops, supplies, and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, through wave height of up to 4 feet. It won’t quite manage that, in part because its 12.5 short tons overweight. Required range will also suffer a bit at 23 knots cruise speed (4,018 nmi vs. 4,700 nmi).

The JHSV’s flight deck can support all current Navy helicopters up to and including the Marines’ current med/heavy CH-53E Super Stallion, and Vertical Replenishment has been tested using a tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey. Flight operations will be handled by Kongsberg Maritime’s night-capable Helicopter Operations Surveillance System (HOSS).

HSV-2 Swift, frontal
(click to view full)

As NAVSEA noted:

“[JHSV] will be capable of transporting Army and Marine Corps company-sized units with their vehicles, or reconfigure to become a troop transport for an infantry battalion. Its 35-45 nautical miles per hour speed allows for rapid deployment and maneuver of conventional or special operations forces.

The JHSV will not be a combatant vessel. Its construction will be similar to high-speed commercial ferries used around the world, and the design will include a flight deck and an off-load ramp which can be lowered on a pier or quay wall – allowing vehicles to quickly drive off the ship.

JHSV testing

JHSV’s shallow draft will allow it access to small austere ports common in developing countries. This makes the JHSV an extremely flexible asset ideal for three types of missions: support of relief operations in small or damaged ports; as a flexible logistics support vessel for the Joint Commander; or as the key enabler for rapid transport of a Marine Light Armored Reconnaissance Company or an Army Stryker unit.”

It has taken time, but the US military is beginning to expand its thinking beyond these obvious applications, and begin thinking about ways to employ the JHSV’s vast internal space and mobility in front-line missions. The most dramatic example may involve mounting a 32MJ railgun on USNS Millinocket [JHSV 3] in 2016.

The JHSV Program

Incat JHSV concept – lost
(click to view full)

The Joint High Speed Vessel’s Initial Capability Document received approval from the Department of Defense Joint Requirements Oversight Council on Nov 1/05, with all 4 military services concurring. The initial goal was 5 Army vessels, and 3 Navy vessels, for a program worth about $1.6 billion, but the Navy’s interest has continued to grow. The contract signed in November 2008 called for up to 10 ships, split evenly between the Army and Navy. An initial Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) allowed the U.S. Navy to use its surface ship acquisition expertise to buy these vessels on the Army’s behalf, with Army participation – until program changes moved all of these ships to the Navy’s procurement budget and operation.

All of the JHSVs were then transferred to Maritime Sealift Command under a May 2011 agreement. The first 4 / 10 projected vessels will be crewed by civil service mariners. JHSV 5-10 are slated to be crewed by contracted civilian mariners working for a private company. Military mission personnel will embark with either set, as required by mission sponsors. The goal was for JHSV to achieve Initial Operational Capability in 2012, and JHSV 1 just made it.

All ordered JHSV ships have been named now, and ships with the USNS listing have been delivered to US Military Sealift Command:

  • JHSV 1 USNS Spearhead (has deployed)
  • JHSV 2 USNS Choctaw County (accepted)
  • JHSV 3 USNS Millinocket
  • JHSV 4 USNS Fall River
  • JHSV 5 Trenton Resolute
  • JHSV 6 Brunswick
  • JHSV 7 Carson City Courageous
  • JHSV 8 Yuma
  • JHSV 9 Bismarck (North Dakota, not Otto von) Sacrifice
  • JHSV 10 Burlington

  • HSV USNS Guam (ex-Huakai)
  • HSV USNS Puerto Rico (ex-Alakai)

The Pentagon’s April 2011 Selected Acquisition Report placed the program at 18 ships, and its total cost at about $FY08 3.5 billion. That changed as FY 2013 budget plans cut all ships beyond the 10 in the current contract, and the US Navy is negotiating over cancellation of its JHSV 10 contract due to sequestration cuts. Annual budgets to date have included:

FY 2008: $231.9 million, 1 ship funded.
Navy: $18.4M RDT&E
Army: $5M RDT&E, $208.6M production, 1 ship

FY 2009: $364.2 million, 2 ships funded.
Navy: $11.6M RDT&E, $181.3M production, 1 ship
Army: $3.0M RDT&E, $168.3M production, 1 ship

FY 2010: $391.1 million, 2 ships funded
Navy: $8.2M RDT&E, $202.5M production, 1 ship
Army: $3.0M RDT&E, $177.4M production, 1 ship

FY 2011: $390.1 million, 2 ships funded.
Navy: $3.5M RDT&E, $203.9M production, 1 ship
Army: $3.0M RDT&E, $179.7M production, 1 ship

FY 2012: $376.4 million, 2 ships funded.
Navy: $4.1M RDT&E, $372.3M production, 2 ships

FY 2013 request: $376.4 million, 1 ship funded.
Navy: $1.9M RDT&E, $189.2M production, 10th & final ship

Note that advance materials purchases for future years are included in each year’s procurement budgets. After FY 2013, JHSV budgets are very small, reflecting only minor post-shakedown work.

Supplements: From Leased to Bought

Hawaii Superferry
(click to view full)

At present, 1 leased vessel remains in military service, following the end of Incat’s HSV-2 Swift lease. Austal’s HSV 4676 Westpac Express catamaran continues to serve in Military Sealift Command in the Pacific around Guam and Japan, working closely with the Marine Corps as a troop and cargo transport.

HSV-2 Swift’s influence lives on in the JHSV concept of operations. The ship had supported relief operations in Indonesia post-tsunami, and in the Gulf Coast region following hurricane Katrina. In both cases, Swift’s high speed and shallow draft combined to make it an ideal platform for the delivery of relief supplies and support of other platforms operating in the area. During operations following Katrina, Swift was able to use ports that were inaccessible to other ships of the logistics force. It has also been a platform for UAV and aerostat experiments.

It’s likely that both charters will soon be replaced, thanks to a recently-purchased alternative with many similarities to the JHSV.

After its ferry service was forced into bankruptcy by environmental lawfare, the Hawaii Superferries Huakai and Alakai were pressed into service by their main creditor: the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD). They were called into service in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and these Austal-built ships were very successful in that role. Both ferries were ultimately bought by the US Navy in 2011, for just $35 million. Once their $35 million conversions are done, they’re likely to replace Westpac Express and Swift as USNS Guam (ex-Huakai) and USNS Puerto Rico (ex-Alakai, slightly smaller). The superferries will offer more troop-carrying berths than their similar JHSV counterparts, in exchange for less military flexibility.

USNS Guam is expected to relieve Westpac Express in the Pacific some time in FY 2015.

Contracts & Key Events FY 2014-2018

JHSV 1 passes trials & deploys; JHSV 3 passes acceptance trials; JHSV 4 launched.

JHSV 1 deploys
(click to view full)

October 22/18: EPF-13 Austal is being tapped to start building the Navy’s next Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship. The undefinitized contract action is valued at $57.8 million and allows for the procurement of long-lead-time material and production engineering services. The Spearhead-class vessels are designed for the fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment with aviation support. Bridging the gap between low-speed sealift and high-speed airlift, EPFs transport personnel, equipment and supplies over operational distances with access to littoral offload points including austere, minor and degraded ports often found in developing countries. The vessels are able to transport 600 short tons of military equipment to a range of 1.200 nautical miles at speeds of up to 35 knots. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including – but not limited to – Novi, Michigan; Mobile, Alabama and Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The US Navy’s 13th EPF is expected to be completed by November 2021.

February 28/18: Christening Ceremony The US Navy has christened its latest Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport, the USNS Burlington, during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama, on Saturday. It is the tenth of 12 Expeditionary Fast Transports being built for the Navy at a cost of $1.9 billion. Overseeing the event were the ship’s primary sponsors US Senator Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle Pomerleau. Marcelle Leahy said naming the ship after the Vermont city of Burlington was “fitting because Vermonters have long heeded the nation’s call to service.” Built by Austal USA, the vessel is designed to transport troops and equipment at high-speeds and in shallow waters for rapid deployment. The Navy says it can “carry 600 short tons of military cargo for 1,200 nautical miles, at an average speed of 35 knots.” This equates to the Burlington being able to carry 1,200,000 pounds for 1,380 miles at an average speed of 40 mph. It also has a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-loading ramp for disembarkment missions.

Sept 26/14: Naming. “Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the next joint high speed vessel (JHSV) will be named USNS Trenton during a ceremony in Trenton, New Jersey, Sept. 25.” Um, OK. Trenton, which is still under construction, was publicly named by the Secretary of the Navy on April 12/13 (q.v.) Sources: US Navy, “SECNAV Names the Next Joint High Speed Vessel”.

Sept 16/14: #4 delivered. Austal delivers USNS Fall River to US Military Sealift Command. Construction update:

“Preparations are underway for the launch of Trenton (JHSV 5) later this month with construction on Brunswick (JHSV 6) progressing well. Metal cutting began for Carson City (JHSV 7) in early September.”

Sources: Austal, “Austal Delivers Fourth Joint High Speed Vessel”.

USNS Fall River

June 13/14: Aerostat zapped. From US Naval Forces Southern Command:

“During routine testing off the coast of Key West, the Aerostat tethered off the Joint High Speed Vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1) was struck by lightning at 12:21 in the morning, June 12…. The lightning strike caused the Aerostat to deflate and land in the water. Response efforts were delayed as the thunderstorm moved into the area. The Aerostat was subsequently sunk so to pose no hazard to other vessels or navigation.”

Aerostats are tethered blimps, used to dramatically expand a JHSV’s field of view (q.v. April 27/13). This can be very useful for survey and interdict deployments like Operation Martillo (q.v. March 31/14). Sources: US Navy, “USNAVSO/US 4th Fleet Statement regarding AEROSTAT”.

May 20/14: JHSV 3. USNS Millinocket will become the 1st JHSV deployed to the far east, where it will operate alongside the leased ship Westpac Express [HSV-4676] and the former Hawaii Superferry USNS Guam [HST-1].

MSC’s JHSV project officer Mike Souza says that USNS Millinocket is preparing for a move to San Diego, CA. She’ll serve as a display platform for the two EM Railgun prototypes during the May 26/14 International Symposium on Electromagnetic Launch Technology in La Jolla, CA. Some final post-delivery tests and trials will follow, including some interface testing with a Mobile Landing Platform ship. Once the post shakedown availability trials and fixes are done, Millinocket head to an unspecified new homeport in the Far East. Sources: Seapower, “Millinocket Will Be the First JHSV in Westpac”.

April 7/14: Experiment: Railgun. The US Navy plans to use JHSV 3 Millinocket as a test platform for one of its newest weapons in 2016: a 32MJ rail gun that can fire projectiles about 100 miles at Mach 7 speeds. JHSV was picked as the trial platform because it has the space to carry the large system on its deck and in its cargo bay. The gun itself isn’t unusually large, but once you throw in the capacitors for power storage, any additional power needs, extensive maintenance tools and parts, and ammunition, it adds up fast. Rolling and bolting that onto a JHSV is much easier than using any warship, and the trial underscores JHSV’s usefulness as a concept testbed.

On the weapon’s side of the equation, ONR Chief Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder touts the railgun’s economic benefit, as well as its military edge in extending the bombardment range of naval guns and the number of rounds on board. It’s true that $25,000 for a defensive railgun shot against incoming missiles is orders of magnitude better than a RIM-116 RAM ($900,000) or RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile ($1.5 million), assuming the unproven assumption of equal effectiveness. One must also compute operating and maintenance costs over the railgun’s lifetime, however, which are going to be far higher than they would be for an All-Up-Round missile in its canister. The JHSV tests will offer some early data re: the gun’s robustness under trial conditions at sea, and that cost data point could end up being as valuable as any performance data. Sources: Reuters, “U.S. Navy to test futuristic, super-fast gun at sea in 2016”.

March 31/14: Operations. USNS Spearhead [JHSV 1] is preparing for a 2nd deployment, this time to the 4th Fleet’s waters around the Caribbean and South America. The US military is taking cautious steps to expand JHSV uses, and is explicitly following in the footsteps of HSV-2 Swift’s 2013 deployment. It’s well short of full innovation toward mothership roles, but still a step forward.

These extensions still have JHSV 1 operating primarily in a ferry capacity, with “adaptive force packages.” They’ll be carrying the USMC’s 4th Law Enforcement Battalion and equipment to the Dominican Republic. After the Marines are ferried back to Florida, a trip to Belize will involve a Navy Seabee explosive ordnance disposal detachment, and a riverine crew. From Belize, a a mobile diving and salvage unit and an explosive ordnance disposal team will be ferried from Guatemala to Colombia, before all of the units that were in Guatemala and Columbia end up ferried to Honduras.

In between, USNS Spearhead will “conduct detection and monitoring activities” in support of the multinational anti-drug Operation Martillo. Spearhead’s exact role isn’t made clear, but Spearhead works well with helicopters, Swift has shown that UAVs can be used from these ships, and it would be possible to have boarding teams embarked. Sources: US Navy, “Plans Finalized for USNS Spearhead’s Deployment to 4th Fleet AOR”.

March 21/14: #3 delivered. Austal delivers USNS Millinocket to US Military Sealift Command. They add that:

“Ships currently under construction are JHSV 4, which was christened in January and is being prepared for sea trials, JHSV 5, which has begun final assembly, and JHSV 6, which commenced construction in January in the module manufacturing facility. Five Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships are also in construction at Austal’s US shipyard…”

Sources: Austal, “Austal Delivers Third Joint High Speed Vessel” | GD-AIS, “Austal Delivers USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3)”.

USNS Millinocket

March 10/14: JHSV 5. Trenton’s keel is formally laid. Sources: Austal USA, “Austal Commemorates Keel Laying for Trenton (JHSV 5)”.

Jan 28/14: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2013 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). JHSV will be able to carry 354 passengers for 96 hours, which is better than the required 312, but it’s overweight by 12.5 tons, and will fall short of required ranges at 23 knots (4,018 nmi vs. 4,700) and 35 knots (won’t make 1,200 nmi) transit speed. The extra weight amounts to about 4% fuel load, or 3,565 gallons.

Overall testing results have been positive. Loading tests demonstrated suitability up to M-1A2 tank loading onto a floating causeway. If the ships need replenishment at sea, both USNS Spearhead and USNS Choctaw County have successfully conducted fuel-only underway replenishments. For other supplies, vertical replenishment tests have included an MH-60S helicopter at night, and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotos by day, and Aircraft Dynamic Interface testing has included MH-53E Minehunting helicopters. DOT&E says that “manning and facilities can accommodate handling of all required helicopters, with the exception of fuel and power.” Finally, DOR&E says that with an embarked security team and weapons, JHSV can engage a moving surface threat. The bad news, aside from ship range?

“The JHSV’s organic container load trailer is not effective for loading 20-foot long metal storage containers. During the IOT&E, the test team took five hours to connect the container load trailer with a storage container and failed to load it…”

Jan 17/14: JHSV 4. Fall River is launched at Austal’s Mobile, AL shipyard, after a side trip to BAE. Instead of moving down a slipway, launches are now float-off affairs from a BAE floating drydock. Getting to the drydock requires a transfer onto a barge, using Berard Transportation rollers. The ship was christened on Jan 11/14, and will be formally delivered to the USN later in 2014, after final fitting out. Austal adds that:

“Three JHSVs and four LCSs are currently under construction in Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard. Austal will begin production of one more ship in each program before the end of January.”

Sources: Austal, “Austal Launches USNS Fall River (JHSV 4)” and “USNS Fall River (JHSV 4) Christened – One of seven Navy vessels currently under construction at Austal USA”.

Jan 16/14: JHSV 1 deploys. Operational use of the JHSV fleet begins with USNS Spearhead’s deployment from NAB Little Creek. She’ll head to “the US 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility” (Africa) until May 2014, then on to the 4th Fleet AOR (Central & South America) until December 2014. Sources: USN, “USNS Spearhead departs on Maiden Deployment”.

1st deployment

Jan 9/14: JHSV 3. USNS Millinocket successfully completes Navy Acceptance Trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Formal delivery is expected in late January. Sources: MarineLog, “JHSV 3 completes Acceptance Trials”.

Oct 8/13: JHSV 1. USNS Spearhead has successfully completed initial operational testing and evaluation with the US Navy. Sources: Austal, “JHSV 1 successfully completes US Navy operational testing”.

FY 2013

JHSV 10 bought, but Navy wants to cancel it over sequestration; JHSV 1 & 2 delivered; JHSV 3 launched; Keel-laying for JHSV 4; Aerostat experiment.

JHSV 2 Launch
(click to view full)

July 31 – Aug 6/13: Testing. USS Spearhead completes Initial Operational Test and Evaluation and Total Ship Survivability Trials, thanks to about 280 Marines from 1st Battalion/ 2nd Marine Regiment/ 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion. The Marines embarked Spearhead with their weapons, gear and vehicles and traveled from Morehead City, NC, to Mayport Naval Station, FL and back, while participating in various tests. Sources: US MSC Sealift magazine, October 2013.

June 6/13: Naming. The Secretary of the Navy names the last 3 JHSV ships under contract.

The future USNS Yuma (JHSV 8) honors the city in Arizona near the USMC’s big testing range, and will be the 4th ship to bear this name. JHSV 9 USNS Bismarck is named in honor of North Dakota’s capital city. As one might imagine, it’s a first for the US Navy. JHSV 10 USNS Burlington is also a first, named for the largest city in Vermont. US DoD.

June 6/13: JHSV 2. USNS Choctaw County is accepted into service, after completing acceptance trials in May. Delivery just 6 months after the 1st ship in the class is a very fast pace. US Navy | Austal.

USNS Choctaw County

June 5/13: JHSV 3. Millinocket is launched from the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, AL. It’s not done, just entering the final phase of construction, test, and activation, followed by preparation for sea trials late in 2013. US NAVSEA | Austal.

May 23/13: JHSV 4. The keel is formally laid for Fall River. Austal.

May 3/13: JHSV 2. USNS Choctaw County successfully completes USN Acceptance Trials. Sources: Austal, “Joint High Speed Vessel USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2) completes Acceptance Trials”.

April 27/13: Aerostat experiment. The Miami Herald reports that the chartered catamaran HSV 2 Swift is currently testing an interesting combination for the US Navy. An aerostat (tethered blimp) mooring system has been attached to the starboard rear at the helicopter deck, and sailors are deploying hand-launched Aerovironment Puma mini-UAVs to investigate targets cued by the aerostat’s radar and optical sensors. When fully deployed to 2,000 feet, Raven Inc’s TIF-25K gives Swift a sea surveillance radius of 50 miles at almost zero operating cost, roughly doubling a warship’s surveillance radius, and increasing Swift’s by 10x.

The JHSV ships and Hawaii Superferries (esp. USNS Puerto Rico) are natural fits for this configuration, given their similarity to HSV 2. If weight and other issues can be worked out, the USA’s Littoral Combat Ships like the trimaran Independence Class could also be an option, and so could amphibious LSD and LPD ships. Still, Swift needs to work out a coherent concept of operations in these trials, including the question of barrier vs. mobile surveillance approaches.

If all goes well with the operational tests, the US Navy will consult with drug enforcement agencies, including the Key West, FL Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF) that oversees Operation Martillo in the Caribbean. If the system is deployed, the biggest losers would probably be expensive-to-operate P-3 quad-turboprop sea control planes. US personnel have also begun promoting the concept to other nations, including Colombia, though those countries would almost certainly use their own ships.

April 20/13: JHSV 3 christened. The Millinocket is christened at Austal’s Alabama shipyard, named after 2 Maine towns. No word on negotiations concerning JHSV 10, though Austal’s release does make a point of noting 10 JHSV vessels under contract. US MSC | Austal.

April 12/13: Naming. 3 JHSV ships are among the 7 named by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who actually stuck to class naming conventions this time instead of veering into political partisanship.

JHSV 5 will become USNS Trenton, after New Jersey’s capital city. JHSV 6 will become USNS Brunswick, after the seaport in Georgia. JHSV 7 will become USNS Carson City, after Nevada’s capital city. Pentagon, “Secretary of the Navy Names Multiple Ships”.

April 5/13: LCS Council. The CNO adds the JHSV program to the portfolio of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Council, which was set up to manage the logistics, support, training, and concept of operations involved in making LCS a useful part of the fleet. Sources: Gannett’s Navy Times, “LCS council adds new member”.

Added to LCS Council

March 15/13: JHSV 2. Choctaw County completes builder’s trials, reaching speeds of more than 41 knots. Delivery is expected this summer. Austal.

March 2/13: JHSV 10. The US Navy’s guidance regarding sequestration budget cuts involves negotiations to cancel JHSV 10’s contract. They have to hold negotiations, because the contract is already live. The question will be cancellation costs.

Dec 20/12: JHSV 10. Austal USA in Mobile, AL receives a $166.9 million contract modification, exercising the construction option for JHSV 10. All contract funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Mobile, AL (48%); Pittsfield, MA (9%); Franklin, MA (3%); Philadelphia, PA (3%); Henderson, Western Australia (3%); Atlanta, GA (2%); Chicago, IL (2%); Gulfport, MS (2%); Slidell, LA (1%); Iron Mountain, MI (1%); Houston, TX (1%); Dallas, TX (1%); Chesapeake, VA (1%); Milwaukee, WI (1%); Brookfield, WI (1%), and various sites inside and outside the United States each below 1% (21% tl.), and is expected to be complete by June 2017. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-08-C-2217).

JHSV 10 bought

Dec 5/12: #1 delivered. US Military Sealift Command accepts delivery of USNS Spearhead [JHSV 1] at Austal Shipyard in Mobile, AL.

Following delivery to the Navy, Spearhead will participate in operational testing before sailing to its layberth in Little Creek, VA. The Navy says that it expects the ship to begin conducting missions in Q1 of FY 2013. Which is to say, by Dec 31/12. US MSC | US Navy | Austal.

USNS Spearhead

Oct 1/12: JHSV 2 launch. Choctaw County is launched in Mobile, AL.

FY 2011 – 2012

JHSV becomes Navy-only; JHSVs 4-9 bought; 2 Superferries bought, re-named; JHSV program to end at 10; JHSV 1 christening, trials; Corrosion controversy.

Austal JHSV concept
(click to view full)

Sept 15/12: JHSV 2 christened. USNS Choctaw County is christened during a ceremony at Austal USA in Mobile, AL. US MSC | Pentagon.

May 30/12: Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces that the next JHSV will be named the USNS Millinocket. Pentagon.

May 8/12: The US Navy re-names the Hawaiian Superferries, which will becomes USNS Guam and USNS Puerto Rico.

They do not say, but it’s likely that the larger Huakai, tabbed to replace the Westpac Express and move Marines to and from Okinawa and Guam, is the future USNS Guam. The smaller Alakai was being considered for missions in Latin America and/or Africa, so it’s likely that she’ll become USNS Puerto Rico.US DoD.

April 25/12: The first of 43 modules for JHSV 3 have been successfully transported from the Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF), and erected in the final assembly bay on the waterfront, in preparation for the May 3/12 keel-laying ceremony. The 46 tonne, 20.4m x 8.3m x 9.4m module will be part of one of the catamaran akas. Austal.

April 19/12: JHSV-1 trials. The future USNS Spearhead completes builder’s trials of the ship’s propulsion plant, communication and navigational systems, ride control systems, pollution control systems; and first-of-class maneuverability and stability trials. The ship reached speeds of more than 35 knots, exceeding the program’s requirements.

Next steps include INSURV inspection, and commissioning. US Navy acceptance is scheduled by the end of 2012. USN PEO Ships | Austal.

Feb 24/12:JHSV 8-9. Austal USA in Mobile, AL receives a $321.7 million contract modification, exercising construction options for JHSV 8 and JHSV 9.

Work will be performed in Mobile, AL (48%); Pittsfield, MA (9%); Franklin, MA (3%); Philadelphia, PA (3%); Atlanta, GA (2%); Chicago, IL (2%); Gulfport, MS (2%); Slidell, LA (1%); Iron Mountain, MI (1%); Houston, TX (1%); Dallas, TX (1%); Chesapeake, VA (1%); Milwaukee, WI (1%); Brookfield, WI (1%); various sites throughout the United States (5%); and various sites outside of the United States (19%). Work is expected to be complete by April 2016 (N00024-08-C-2217).

Austal’s release offers a snapshot of current progress. USNS Spearhead is scheduled for builder’s sea trials in early March 2012. JHSV 2 is taking shape in Austal’s final assembly bay. Modules for JHSV 3 are being built, and the ship’s official keel laying is scheduled for April 12/12.

JHSV 8 & 9 bought

Jan 26/12: JHSV cut. The Pentagon issues initial guidance for its FY 2013 budget, and next plans. They include lowering planned JHSV buys by 8 ships, leaving only the 10 in the current contract. Pentagon release | “Defense Budget Priorities and Choices” [PDF] | Alabama Press-Register.

Just 10

Jan 20/12: Superferry supplement bought. Inside the Navy reports that the cost for the 2 Hawaii Superferries, plus required modifications, is actually $70 million. The superferries were seen as a better option to move 880 Marines, because JHSV wasn’t designed for maximum passenger seating. Read “Hawaii Superferry’s Bankruptcy = US Navy Opportunity” for full coverage.

Dec 19/11: Superferries. The Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which will soon become law, looks set to buy both of the Austal-built Hawaii Superferries out of the firm’s bankruptcy, then send them to US MSC, alongside the future JHSV vessels. Read “Hawaii Superferry’s Bankruptcy = US Navy Opportunity” for full coverage.

Superferry supplements bought

Oct 10/11: JHSV 3 begun. Austal announces the official beginning of fabrication for JHSV 3 Fortitude. Austal USA President and COO, Joe Rella:

“The race is on… The world is about to learn just how much value Austal’s investments in modular ship fabrication offers our Navy and Military Sealift Command customers. We challenge ourselves every day to build each ship faster and more efficiently than the one before.”

Oct 7/11: JHSV 6 named. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus names JHSV 6 as USNS Choctaw County. He grew up in that Mississippi county, though there are also Choctaw counties in Alabama and Oklahoma. Ray Mabus said that “I chose to name JHSV after Choctaw County to honor those men and women who represent rural America.”

The name eventually migrates to JHSV 2. US MSC.

Sept 10/11: JHSV 1 christened. JHSV-1 Spearhead is launched at Austal USA’s yard in Mobile, AL. The formal christening ceremony is held on Sept 17/11. The ship is reported to be slightly over budget, but not badly so – a welcome departure for a USN first ship of class. US MSC | Austal | Alabama Press-Register | Maritime Executive.

June 30/11: JHSV 6-7. Austal USA in Mobile, AL receives a $312.9 million contract modification, exercising options for JHSVs 6 and 7. Note, as usual, that this is not the full price of a ready to serve ship. On the other hand, JHSVs have much lower amounts of “government furnished equipment” beyond the base seaframe and installed gear, so the figure will be much closer than it would for a warship.

Options remain for another 3 ships under the current FY 2009-2013 contract, though the program of record tops out at 18 ships. Spearhead [JHSV 1] is scheduled for launch in August 2011, and delivery in December 2011, with other ships currently in various stages of assembly.

Work will be performed in Mobile, AL (48%); Pittsfield, MA (9%); Franklin, MA (3%); Philadelphia, PA (3%); Henderson, WA (3%); Atlanta, GA (2%); Chicago, IL (2%); Gulfport, MS (2%); Slidell, LA (1%); Iron Mountain, MI (1%); Houston, TX (1%); Dallas, TX (1%); Chesapeake, VA (1%); Milwaukee, WI (1%); and Brookfield, WI (1%), with other efforts performed at various sites throughout the United States (5%) and outside the United States (16%). Work is expected to be complete by June 2014. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-08-C-2217). See also US NAVSEA | Austal.

JHSV 10 bought

June 20-22/11: Corrosion issues? After USS Independence [LCS-2] corrosion reports hit Austal’s share price, a company release addresses the issue. It notes the complete lack of such problems on all of Austal’s commercial and military ships to date, and suggests that the US Navy may have failed to follow basic procedures. Information Dissemination has a different take, and wonders if Austal’s JHSV, which may not have a cathodic protection system either, could also be at risk due to the military’s added electronics:

“In the case of LCS-2, the problem was apparently accelerated by stray currents in the hull from the electrical distribution system problems the ship has been having since it was turned over to the Navy. LCS-4 doesn’t have [a cathodic protection system] either, but apparently CPS is part of the lessons learned process and was included in the fixed-price contracts for Austal versions of the LCS beginning with LCS-6. LCS-2 will have the CPS installed at the next drydock period, while Austal has said a CPS will be added to LCS-4 before the ship is turned over to the Navy. The question everyone seems to be asking is whether the JHSV could suffer the same issue… I’d be curious to know if Westpac Express has a CPS installed, or some other form of prevention is used at all.”

MarineLog’s report says that yes, cathodic protection is used on Westpac Express. See: Austal | Alabama Press-Register | Information Dissemination | MarineLog | WIRED Danger Room.

June 17/11: Corrosion issues? The US Navy has told Congressional appropriations committees that “aggressive” corrosion was found in the propulsion areas of the Littoral Combat Ship USS Independence, which rely on Wartsila waterjets. The ship has been given temporary repairs, but permanent repairs will require dry-docking and removal of the water-jet propulsion system. The strong Australian dollar has hurt Austal’s commercial exports, so this blow to its defense business has added impetus. Bloomberg | Alabama Press-Register | Sydney Morning Herald.

Corrosion in new ships isn’t unheard of, though it’s never a good sign. Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen Class AEGIS frigates had this problem, for instance. The Independence Class runs some risks that are specific to its all-aluminum construction, however, as key subsystems with different metals create risks of galvanic corrosion.

Corrosion controversy

June 11/11: Industrial accident. A 50-ton block from JHSV Vigilant, containing the ship’s service diesel generators, breaks loose while the module is being lifted and repositioned for further work. One source reported that pad eyes tore loose from the module, causing it to fall about 3 feet and tip over.

The extent of the damage to the module, and the cost of repairs, are still being assessed. The good news is that modular construction ensures less schedule impact. Defense News.


June 9/11: Inside the Navy reports that a June 14/11 Defense Acquisition Board meeting will determine the Navy’s readiness to procure JHSV ships 6-10. Defense officials may opt to fast-track the decision as a “paper DAB,” granting approval without requiring a meeting.

June 2/11: Sub-contract. Taber Extrusions LLC announces contracts to supply extruded aluminum products for JHSV 3 Fortitude, and LCS 6 Jackson, from its facilities in Russellville, AR and Gulfport, MS. Some structural extrusions for both ships will also be manufactured by Taber and supplied to Austal through a contract with O’Neal Steel Corp.

Taber has an 8,600 ton extrusion press with a rectangular container and billet configuration. The firm says that compared with smaller presses and round containers, their tool gives superior metal flow patterns with much tighter tolerances for flatness, straightness and twist; and better assurance of critical thickness dimensions. The resulting wide multi-void extrusions are friction stir welded into panels, and tight tolerances improve productivity while reducing downstream scrap. When finished, they make up some of the ship’s decking, superstructure and bulkheads.

May 2/11: Army Out. The US Army signs a memorandum of agreement to transfer custody of all 5 of its JHSVs to US Military Sealift Command. Army watercraft personnel who had been training to operate the ships have been reassigned. Instead, JHSVs will be operated by the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command, and crewed by civil service (JHSV 1-4) or civilian contract (JHSV 5-10) sailors. The transfer was approved in principle in December 2010, during Army-Navy talks.

MSC has been slated to operate the Navy JHSVs since August 2008, and in May 2010, MSC announced that the vessels would each have a core crew of 21 mariners (vid. May 13/10 entry). That template will now apply to all ships of class, which will carry a USNS designation instead of the Navy’s USS. US DoD | US MSC | Gannett’s Navy Times.

Navy-only now

Oct 12/10: #4 & 5 bought. Austal USA in Mobile, AL receives a $204.7 million contract modification, exercising options to build JHSV 4 and 5. Work will be performed in Mobile, AL, and is expected to be complete by December 2013. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-08-C-2217).

The $204.7 million is on top of the earlier $99.6 million long-lead materials contract, bringing the total so far to $304.3 million for the 2 ships. See also Austal.

JHSV 4 & 5 bought

FY 2009 – 2010

Program baseline set; Austal wins; JHSVs #1-3 bought; Long-lead items for #4-5; JHSV 1 keel-laying; Austal opens new manufacturing facility; Hawaii Superferries in Haiti; JHSV program to reach 23 ships?

JHSV 1 construction
(click to view full)

Sept 28/10: JHSV 2 begins. Austal announces that they’ve begun construction of JHSV 2 Vigilant for Maritime Sealift Command. A subsequent release fixes the start date at Sept 13/10.

July 22/10: JHSV 1 keel-laying. Keel-laying for the first JHSV ship, Spearhead, at Austal’s Mobile, AL facility. Austal | Press-Register advance report.

June 3/10: #4-5 lead-in. Austal USA in Mobile, AL receives a $99.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2217) for JHSV 4 and 5 long lead time materials, including main propulsion engines, aluminum, waterjets, reduction gears, generators and other components, beginning in fall 2010.

Work will be performed in Detroit, MI (38%); Chesapeake, VA (18%); Henderson, Australia (13%); Gulfport, MS (10%); Ravenswood, WVA (9%); Ft. Lauderdale, FL (4%); Mobile, AL (3%); Auburn, IN (2.6%); Winter Haven, FL (1%); Gardena, CA (1%); and Davenport, IA (0.4%), and is expected to be complete by December 2011. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages this contract. See also Austal release.

May 26/10: Sub-contract. Kongsberg Maritime has successfully delivered the first JHSV Helicopter Operations Surveillance System (HOSS) to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. The sub-contract was awarded in November 2009.

The JHSV HOSS system will provide comprehensive flight deck coverage for helicopter operations, even in very low light conditions, on a MIL-S-901D shock qualified 19″ SXGA liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor in the JHSV control room. The monitor’s Night Vision Device (NVD) optical filter makes it suitable for night operations in ship compartments directly overlooking the flight deck. defpro.

March 25/10: JHSV 4 named. US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus officially names the 2nd US Navy ship under the JHSV program: USNS Fall River [JHSV 4]. US Navy | Gannett’s Navy Times.

March 16/10: Support. Reuters reports on a recent US Navy SBIR research solicitation, aimed at more quickly and cheaply diagnosing cracking in aluminum ship structures. From US Navy SBIR N10A-T041: “Fracture Evaluation and Design Tool for Welded Aluminum Ship Structures Subjected to Impulsive Dynamic Loading” :

“A new analysis tool combined with an experimental validation protocol is needed to accurately characterize the dynamic response and fracture behavior of welded aluminum ship structures subjected to extreme loading events. The goal of this effort is to develop an explicit dynamic failure prediction toolkit for fracture assessment of welded thin-walled aluminum structures. To efficiently characterize a large size ship structure, innovative modeling techniques using fractured shell elements are needed along with a mesh independent crack insertion and propagation capability. In addition to innovative crack simulation in a shell structure, advanced constitutive models have to be implemented in the toolkit to capture the rate dependence and anisotropy in strength, plastic flow and ductility. Developing and demonstrating novel damage simulation and fracture prediction methods has significant potential impact on design and operation of current and future Navy welded aluminum, ship structural systems.”

US Navy Commander Victor Chen reiterated the Navy’s confidence in the JHSV and Littoral Combat Ships; the JHSV is aluminum construction, as is the LCS-2 Independence Class, and the LCS-1 Freedom Class uses an aluminum superstructure on a steel hull. He adds that:

“We already have a level of confidence in how to work with aluminum. The Office of Naval Research is trying to expand the knowledge base and build on what we already know.”

May 13/10: Crewing plans. The US Navy and Military Sealift Command announce the crewing plan for USN JHSVs (even numbers, JHSVs 2-10). Because the ships are new and could conduct a wide variety of missions, MSC determined that the best course of action is to institute a pilot program where JHSV 2 Vigilant and JHSV 4 Fall River will be crewed by 21 civil service mariners each, in order to create a base of experience and knowledge. Delivery as USNS Vigilant is scheduled for FY 2013, but the crews arrive beforehand; while USNS Fall River’s delivery is scheduled for FY 2014. JHSVs 6, 8 and 10 will be crewed with 21 civilian contract mariners each, with specifications developed based on experience with the first 2 ships.

The Army Transportation Corps officers have apparently won their argument to crew the Army’s JHSVs as USAV ships, involving larger crews of soldiers. Within a year, however, that victory would be undone. US MSC.

April 2/10: SAR baseline. The Pentagon adds [PDF] the JHSV program to its Selected Acquisition Reports. The program’s baseline is $3.9355 billion, and subsequent SARs set the number of ships at 18. The program is listed under the US Navy.


Feb 11/10: Superferries. The former Hawaii superferries Huakai and Alakai are pressed into service by the USA’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), in the wake of the disaster in Haiti. The ships are managed by Hornblower Marine Services (HMS), and the deployment is seen as an earl concept test of the similar JHSV design’s operations. Haiti’s lack of port infrastructure has not, to date, been a major problem for these ships.

Maritime Executive magazine has the full report, and see also July 30/08 entry.

Feb 3/10: JHSV Boost? Defense News reports that the JHSV program may be about to get a very big boost. Navy Undersecretary Bob Work:

“There was a big debate within the [Navy] department on patrol craft, PCs… People said these are very good for irregular warfare. But when we looked at it we said we wanted to have self-deployable platforms that have a lot of payload space that you can take to the fight whatever you need – SEALs, Marines, riverine squadrons. So we decided to increase the Joint High Speed Vessel program.” Work said the Navy now envisions buying up to 23 of the ships for its own use, in addition to five being built for the Army. “We like their self-deployability aspects,” Work said. “They can be a sea base, they can be an Africa Partnership Station, they’re extremely flexible.”

Jan 28/10: JHSV 2 & 3. Austal USA in Mobile AL receives a $204.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2217), exercising options for JHSV ships 2 and 3. Work will be performed in Mobile, AL, and is expected to be complete by July 2012. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued the contract. See also the June 19/09 entry for related advance materials purchases.

The accompanying Austal release, adds that the similar (ex-)Hawaii Superferry ships, “Alakai” and “Huakai,” have been mobilized by the US Maritime Administration, and are currently supporting the ongoing relief operation in Haiti.

JHSV 2 & 3 bought

Dec 18/09: Industrial. Austal announces success in the US Navy’s Production Readiness Review (PRR), which allows their Mobile, AL facility to immediately begin construction of Fortitude [JHSV 1]. US Navy Program Manager George Sutton referred in part to Austal’s recently-competed Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) when he said that:

“Considerable investments in the Austal shipyard coupled with the implementation of proven commercial technology gives me high levels of confidence in the shipyard’s ability to execute the program.”

Nov 10/09: Industrial. Austal officially opens its new $88 million state-of-the-art Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF) in Mobile, AL, equipping its US shipyard with the ability to build up to three 100 metre-plus vessels each year. Phase 1 facility boasts 35,000 m2 of manufacturing space under one roof, including a 7,900 m2 warehouse, as well as paved parking for more than 2,000 vehicles.

The MMF will increase Austal USA’s capacity to assemble and outfit unit modules before consolidating them into the full vessel, automating component manufacture, including pipe runs, from a 3D model. This approach is widely used in advanced European and Asian shipyards, but is less common in the USA. Austal’s MMF is equipped with routers for the precise cutting of aluminum plate, as well as automated pipe and plate benders. Test constructions are currently underway at the new facility, with work on the first 103 meter JHSV scheduled to commence before the end of 2009. The facility will also build LCS-2 Independence class trimarans for the Littoral Combat Ship program. Austal release.

July 17/09: Ship names 1-3. The Pentagon announces names for the first 3 JHSV ships. The Army will field Fortitude [JHSV 1] and Spearhead [JHSV 3], while the Navy’s first JHSV will be named Vigilant [JHSV 2]. The names for JHSV 2 and 3 eventually change.

Spearhead would later become the name for JHSV 1 instead. US Navy Team Ships | MarineLog.

June 19/09: #2-3 lead in. Austal USA in Mobile AL receives a $99.6 million modification to their JHSV contract (N00024-08-C-2217), covering long lead time materials needed for JHSV 2 and JHSV 3. These materials include items like aluminum for the hulls, main propulsion engines, waterjets, reduction gears, generators, and other components that need to be on hand before construction begins in June 2010.

Work will be performed in Detroit, MI (38%); Chesapeake, VA (18%); Henderson, Australia, (13%); Gulfport, MS (10%); Ravenswood, WVA (9%); and Ft. Lauderdale, FL (4%); Mobile, AL (3%); Auburn, IN (2.6%); Winter Haven, FL (1%); Gardena, CA (1%); and Davenport, IA (0.4%), and is expected to be complete by July 2013. US Naval Sea Systems Command manages the contract

Once construction contracts are awarded for the 2 ships later in FY 2009, these materials will be moved with their associated costs into their respective ship construction line items.

April 6/09: US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates takes the unusual but approved step of making his FY 2010 defense budget recommendations public. They include another 2 high speed ship charters from 2009-2011, until JHSV ships begin arriving.

Nov 13/08: Austal wins. Austal USA in Mobile AL received a $185.4 million Phase II modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2217) for 1 (one) JHSV, and for associated shore-based spares. The firm also has options for up to 9 additional ships by 2013, which could raise the contract’s total value to about $1.6 billion. The Naval Sea Systems Command, in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages this contract, which eliminates fellow Phase I winners Bollinger/Incat and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The 103m JHSV design appears to be based on Austal’s Westpac Express catamaran, which is currently under long term charter to the US Marines.

Work on this initial contract will be performed at the firm’s American facility in Mobile, AL and is expected to be complete by November 2010. Austal is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, who will design, integrate, and test the JHSV’s electronic systems, including an Open Architecture Computing Infrastructure, internal and external communications, electronic navigation, aviation, and armament systems.

Austal already produces ships in Mobile, AL, which has about 1,000 employees and will now grow to about 1,500 employees. Ships produced at this location include some similar civilian designs like the Hawaii Superferry, as well as the Independence Class trimaran Littoral Combat Ship produced in partnership with General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. Austal USA is growing the Alabama facility, and phase one of what will ultimately be a $170 million expansion should be complete by summer 2009. The assembly-line style manufacturing building will allow construction of 3 LCS/ JHSV/ Hawaii superferry scale vessels per year, rising to a capacity of 6 ships per year at full build out. Austal | General Dynamics | Marinelog | Alabama Press-Register | Biloxi-Gulfport Sun-Herald | Western Australia Today | Maine’s Brunswick Times-Record re: union lobbying in Congress to scrutinize the deal.

Austal Wins! JHSV 1 bought

FY 2005 – 2008

From initial requirements draft, to 3-team preliminary design contracts, to final RFP submissions.

Westpac express,
loading in Australia
(click to view full)

July 30/08: Austal announces its final Phase II JHSV submission to the US Navy, following an extensive detailed design and review process. The firm expects that a single Phase II contract for up to 10 JHSV ships will be awarded in late 2008.

Austal’s release adds the interesting tidbit that the firm was recently awarded a new contract to provide additional features and equipment on Hawaii Superferry’s second commercial 107 meter catamaran, in order to allow its use by the military if required.

Jan 31/08: Preliminary design. The US Department of Defense awards a trio of $3 million Phase I preliminary design contracts for the JHSV. Winners include:

Team Austal: Austal USA, Austal Ships (Australia), and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS). This is sort of the same Austal/GD core team building the trimaran LCS 2 Independence design for the USA’s Littoral Combat Ship competition – but note competitor #3…

Team Incat: Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., Incat of Australia, and its design arm Revolution Design, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders and Kvichak Marine in Washington State, and Gladding-Hearn (Duclos Corp) in Massachusetts. Their design will be based on Incat’s 112 meter wave-piercing catamaran, currently in commercial service. Consortium source.

General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works. No information.

See: US NAVSEA release [PDF] | Incat Australia release | Austal release | UPI re: Bath Iron Works | Springbored’s blog commentary re: Austal-GD dynamics.

Preliminary design contracts

April 23-27/07: Representatives of the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the shipbuilding industry meet at at Quantico Marine Corps Base, VA, to discuss the JHSV’s current status of the Joint High Speed Vessel and update prospective contractors on the vessel’s design requirements. US Army release.

November 2005: Initial Draft. The JHSV program office’s Initial Capability Document received approval from the Department of Defense Joint Requirements Oversight Council in early November. All four military services concurred with the decision. The Analysis of Alternatives for this program is scheduled to report out before the end of the 2005 calendar year, and procurement of the lead ship is planned for FY 2008. NAVSEA release

Appendix A: The US Military’s HSV/TSV Experience

Westpac Express
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Instead of arising from a drawing board or a notional requirements sheet, the JHSV’s requirements were based on 7 years of experience operating similar leased vessels, from 2001-2008. The core concept is based on an Australian innovation: fast catamaran ferries from Austal and Incat that are in widespread civilian use. Each ship has a carrying capacity equal to about 20 C-17 heavy airlifters, and their waterjets can power these aluminum catamarans through the water at a consistent 35-40 knots in calm seas. Robert Kaplan, in “Hog Pilot and Blue Water Grunts“:

“Who thought up the idea of using car ferries to get Marines to a combat zone and then link up with pre-positioning ships?” I asked a Marine chief warrant officer. “No-one at the Pentagon. Just a bunch of guys brainstorming here,” the chief replied.”

It was more than just brainstorming. Incat’s HMAS Jervis Bay had been used very effectively by Australia during East Timor’s 1999 independence referendum and subsequent operations, and its demonstrated capabilities attracted American interest.

The chartered vessels quickly lived up to their billing. Normal transit for a Marine battalion from Okinawa, Japan to South Korea aboard ferry or amphibious shipping is about 2-3 days, and moving it by air would take 14-17 “lifts” from C-17 aircraft, a process that might require several trips unless that many planes were available. The same deployment could be carried out by Austal’s chartered WestPac Express catamaran in 24-30 hours; which is to say, at about half the time of conventional naval options, and at about 25% of airlift’s costs. One ship can carry a complete battalion of up to 970 Marines, along with 663 tons of vehicles and equipment. If the Marines must deploy from Guam, where many are being moved from Okinawa, the added distance makes JHSV an even more timely and cost efficient option.

“I Serve With HSV-2!”
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Austal’s ships weren’t the only high speed vessels in operation. The Army operated Incat’s HSVX-1 Joint Venture in conjunction with the Navy, and TSV-1X Spearhead was under sole Army control until its 2005 return to commercial service. Both ships saw extensive Army use in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, as well as supporting operations in the Pacific, Atlantic, Mediterranean, Horn of Africa, Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia.

In one operation, TSV-1X Spearhead moved the 101st Airborne Division’s military police and their equipment from Djibouti, Africa to Kuwait in the Persian Gulf. The fast catamaran made the 2,000 mile trip in just 2.5 days. Its naval LSV predecessor would have needed 10 days to make the voyage, and would only have carried the equipment, forcing the troops to fly separately.

HSVX-1 Joint Venture was even used by Special Operations Command as a proof-of-concept platform for a special operations force afloat in the western Pacific. Its modifications included a helicopter landing deck and hangar, along with a small military command, control and communications suite. Modifications to its complement also included ScanEagle UAVs, letting US Navy experiment with UAVs, blimps and related vehicles in a persistent surveillance role. The combination of high speed transport, persistent surveillance, and advanced communications may prove to be very complementary.

A 3rd Incat ship, the 112m HSV-2 Swift, was contracted to serve as an interim Mine Warfare Command and Support Ship (MCS), supporting R&D into new mine warfare modular payloads. From 2004 onward, its scope of use became far broader, and Swift’s geographic range expanded to include Africa, Asia, and recovery efforts in the USA after Hurricane Katrina. It remains in American service as of 2013, and continues to trial new approaches like aerostats and UAVs.

If HSVX-1 and HSV-2’s experiences sound a lot like the USA’s forthcoming Littoral Combat Ships, the similarity is no accident. Experience with these high-speed catamarans has played an important role in developing the LCS concept of operations, though the US Navy may not have taken the experiments to their logical conclusion. Given the emergence of naval unmanned vehicles, some observers believe that JHSV’s size and lower cost make it a better choice than the smaller LCS as a “robotic swarm mothership”.

Additional Readings & Sources

Thanks to DID reader and long-serving US MSC vet Lee Wahler for his assistance with this article.

JHSV and its Relatives

Ancillary Equipment

News & Views

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Bringing Home the BACN to Front-Line Forces

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 10/22/2018 - 05:54

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In late June 2009, the USAF awarded Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems Inc., of San Diego, CA an urgent requirement contract for its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) System. Under current plans, Northrop Grumman will help the USAF deploy BACN in up to 4 “E-11” Bombardier BD-700 Global Express (see also BACN-modified photo) ultra-long-range business jets, and in up to 4 EQ-4B Global Hawk Block 20 UAVs, for sustained deployment through 2015.

BACN is an airborne communications relay that extends communications ranges, bridges between radio frequencies, and “translates” among incompatible communications systems. That may sound trivial, but on a tactical level, it definitely isn’t.

The BACN System

Global Express
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BACN was developed under a Department of Defense Microelectronic Activity contract (#H94003-04-D-0005), as part of the Interim Gateway Program. It provides a high-speed, Internet protocol (IP)-based airborne network infrastructure that that extends communications ranges, bridges between radio frequencies, and “translates” among incompatible communications systems – including both tactical and civil cellular systems. Using BACN, a Special Forces soldier on the ground could use a civil cell phone to speak to a fighter pilot in the cockpit.

BACN supports seamless movement of imagery, video, voice and digital messages, with support for waveforms that include SINCGARS (single-channel ground and airborne radio system), DAMA (demand assigned multiple access), EPLRS (enhanced position location reporting system), SADL (situation awareness data link), Link 16, and IP-based networking connectivity using TTN (tactical targeting network), TCDL (tactical common data link) technology, CLIP (Common Link Integration Processing), and 802.11b. Northrop Grumman’s joint translator/forwarder (JXF), originally developed for US Joint Forces Command, is to accomplish digital-message transformation.

That kind of system can be especially useful in rugged terrain that block line-of-sight communications, in combined civil/military situations, or when different services or even different countries are operating side by side in the field. Afghanistan meets all of those criteria, an so do some aspects of operations in Iraq.

F-22A: Got BACN?
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There are even reports that BACN may be installed in the F-22 Raptor as a communications gateway that would solve some of that platform’s issues; releases concerning the JEFX 08 exercises were vague on this subject, mentioning only BACN’s ability to receive unique F-22 waveforms.

As of 2006, the Northrop Grumman BACN team included:

  • Northrop Grumman’s Defense Mission Systems, Space Technology, Integrated Systems and Information Technology sectors
  • NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX
  • Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Raytheon Solipsys in Laurel, MD
  • L3 Communications in Salt Lake City, UT
  • Qualcomm Inc. in San Diego, CA
  • ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, CA

BACN served

Northrop Grumman and teammate Orion Air Group provide 24/7 operations and support services for BACN on the front lines.

At present, BACN is flying on 3 modified E-11A Global Express long-range business jets (1 leased, 2 USAF-owned), and 3 (soon 4) EQ-4B Global Hawk Block 20 UAV variants. Another E-11 plane has been contracted for integration.

Contracts and Key Events

Unless otherwise specified, contracts are issued and managed by the staffs at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA, and performed by Northrop Grumman. Contracts began with the firm’s Defense Mission Systems, Inc. unit in San Diego, CA, then shifted to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp’s Defense Systems Division in Herndon, VA after 2010, following the firm’s move to Washington, DC. Since then, the contractor’s side had shifted back and forth between Herndon VA and what is now Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems Corp. in San Diego, CA.

FY 2014 – 2018


EQ-4B Operations

October 22/18: Fleet growth The Air Force plans to procure another Bombardier business jet for its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) program. BACN is an airborne communications relay that extends communications ranges, bridges between radio frequencies, and “translates” among incompatible communications systems. The BACN modified Bombardier Global 6000 would be outfitted with a specialised mission package that includes antennas, radios, flight-tracker inhibition systems and more. Dubbed the E-11A, the aircraft allows ground troops to reach needed support over mountainous terrain with imagery, video, voice and data, and it can also act as a high-altitude relay, including airdrop and airstrike operations. If the acquisition is approved the jet would be the fifth of its kind in the BACN fleet, which would grow to nine aircraft in total.

January 18/18: Payload Operation & Support Northrop Grumman were awarded Friday, a $172 million one-year US Air Force contract for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN). Under the terms of the agreement, Northrop will provide BACN payload operation and support for payload equipment and services, with work to take place at San Diego, California and overseas locations. The BACN allows ground troops to reach needed support over mountainous terrain with imagery, video, voice and data, and it can also act as a high-altitude relay, including airdrop and airstrike operations. It is designed to work with the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV—designated EQ-4B—and the BD700 manned aircraft platform—flown by the USAF as the E-11A. Last September, Grumman received $265 million for support of four BACN E-11A aircraft.

June 6/15: On Monday the Air Force awarded a $145.4 million contract modification for services in support of the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node Joint Urgent Operational Need (BACN JUON). Contractor Northrop Grumman also benefited from a $35.7 million modification to the KC-10 tanker Contractor Logistics Support program.

Aug 6/14: Northrop Grumman Corporation announces an $89.7 million contract option to continue operating and supporting BACN (4 E-11A jets, 3 EQ-4B UAVs, all payloads) in support of overseas contingency missions through June 2015. Sources: NGC, “Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract to Continue BACN Mission Support Contract”.

Jan 15/14: Northrop Grumman Information Systems in Herndon, VA receives a $52.3 million firm-fixed-price cost-reimbursement modification, exercising CLIN options to continue supporting and operating E-11A BACN aircraft.

$31.8 million in FY 2014 O&M funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed at Kandahar AB, Afghanistan, as well as Wichita, KS, and is expected to be complete by Jan 23/15 (FA8726-13-C-0001, PO 0013).

FY 2011 – 2013

SmartNode on Firebird
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May 7/13: Northrop Grumman Space and Missile Systems Corp. in San Diego, CA receives a $89.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, extending the FY 2009 BACN payload contract that covers deployment support and operation of the fielded systems.

Work will be performed at San Diego, CA, and abroad at locations where currently deployed until June 22/14. $7.5 million in FY 2013 Operations and Maintenance funds are committed immediately by the USAF Life Cycle Management Center/HNAK at Hanscom AFB, MA (FA8726-09-C-0010, PO 0076).

Nov 1/12: E-11A. A $48.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for E-11A BACN platform maintenance at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan. The contract will run until February 2018. Whether the Afghan regime will run that long is another question (FA8726-13-C-0001).

Sept 27/12: 4th E-11A. A $33 million contract modification for BACN Node payload integration and supplemental type certificates on E-11A aircraft S/N 9506. That serial number indicates a new contractor-owned aircraft. This will bring the number of E-11As to 4: 2 leased, and 2 government-owned.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA, and is expected to be completed by Oct 31/13. The AFLCMC/HNAK at Hanscom AFB, MA manages the contract (FA8726-09-C-0010, PO 0059).

New E-11

Sept 7/12: EQ-4B #4. Northrop Grumman delivers the USAF’s 4th EQ-4B Global Hawk 4 months ahead of schedule, in a flight from the Palmdale, CA facility to Grand Forks AFB, ND. It’s the 2nd scheduled delivery from the Dec 28/11 entry.

Briefings with appropriate personnel reveal that it may be the 4th EQ-4B delivered, but it’s only the 3rd one flying for the USAF. The Aug 20/11 crash (added below) explains the discrepancy. NGC release, Oct 23/12.

June 2012: EQ-4B #3. Northrop Grumman delivers the USAF’s 3rd EQ-4B Global Hawk ahead of schedule. It’s the 1st scheduled delivery from the Dec 28/11 entry. Source.

June 21/12: All. A $106.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, to extend the deployment and operation of BACN payloads installed in 3 EA-11A jets and 3 E-Q4B Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles.

Work will run to June 22/13, and will be performed both within the United States, and outside the USA where currently deployed (FA8726-09-C-0010, PO 0043).

June 21/12: E-11A. A $50.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 8 more months of E-11A Platform Maintenance support for the 3 aircraft: tail numbers 9355, 9358, and 9001. Work will be performed at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan until Feb 24/13 (FA8726-09-C-0010, PO 0053).

May 17/12: SmartNode – BACN Lite. Northrop Grumman completes a series of test flights for its SmartNode Pod, which is based on BACN technology but can be carried by smaller aircraft and UAVs. SmartNode can connect to BACN platforms, ground operational centers or other pods to create encrypted, high-bandwidth digital data and voice connectivity. The project is funded by the firm and by a US military customer, and Northrop Grumman used its own Firebird “optionally manned” plane because the designated platform wasn’t immediately available for testing.

The SmartNode Pod is designed to be a part of the Pentagon’s Joint Aerial Layer Network (JALN), which would link ground, space and airborne communications nodes to offer military forces the bandwidth they require. That had been the goal of the $20-25 billion TSAT satellite program, before it was cancelled; JALN represents a much more diverse and incremental approach to the same problem. Discussions with Northrop Grumman indicate that BACN would sit at the top tier of JALN, while SmartNode is a mid-tier solution that won’t do satellite communications, has fewer message translation options, won’t support as many networks, and won’t support many of the classified American networks. On the other hand, it’s a 250 pound payload that can fly on MALE(Medium Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs like the US Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle, IAI’s Heron, etc., providing high-bandwidth relay and a useful subset of technical translations at less cost, in more places. NGC | USAF re: JALN.

March 30/12: E-11A. A $26.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, time-and-material contract modification exercises options for a 7.5 month extension of E-11A serial number 11-9001 services, in support of Overseas Contingency Operations from April 1/12 through Nov 16/12. Should be painted in a nice military grey by now (vid. Nov 18/11), but the USAF hasn’t bought the jet, yet.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (44%) and Yorktown, VA (56%) – (FA8726-09-C-0010, Modification PO 0050).

Feb 23/12: E-11A. A $34.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification adds a 4-month extension for the continued operations support and maintenance of the USAF’s 2 BACN E-11A jets, and operational support and maintenance of the BACN payloads. Work will take place in San Diego, CA, and the extension runs until June 22/12 (FA8726-09-C-0010 PO 0042).

Dec 28/11: EQ-4B. Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems Inc. in San Diego, CA receives a $47.2 million firm-fixed-price contract to buy and integrate BACN payloads on 2 more RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 20 aircraft: AF-11 and AF-13. These 2 HALE UAVs will be provided to Northrop Grumman as government furnished property. Then Northrop Grumman will integrate the BACN payload and turn them into EQ-4Bs, bringing the delivered fleet to 4 and the serving fleet to 3.

Work will be performed in Palmdale, CA, and is expected to be complete by Aug 22/12 for AF-11, and Dec 15/12 for AF-13. USAF Material Command’s Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, MA (FA8726-09-C-0010, PO 0041).

2 more EQ-4B UAVs

Nov 18/11: E-11A. A $29.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. The modification is for a Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Plan (CAMP) Level 8C inspection of Air Force aircraft E-11A, serial number 11-9001, followed by a 5-month extension of the operation and support of the aircraft. It also provides an option to repaint the aircraft to USAF specifications, and for correction of any faults found during CAMP inspection.

This is the same sort of sequence followed for the other 2 leased jets, just before the USAF bought them. One firm was solicited and one firm submitted a proposal to USAF Materiel Command’s Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, MA (FA8726-09-C-0010, PO 0038).

Nov 3/11: The USAF’s BACN platforms get official designations. The Bombardier BD-700s are E-11As, and the modified Global Hawk Block 20 UAVs are EQ-4Bs. Northrop Grumman.


Sept 30/11: E-11A. Orion Air Group, LLC in Newport News, VA receives a $50 million firm fixed price contract to buy 2 of the leased “E-11A” Global Express BD-700-1A10 jets, serial # 9355 & 9358, including their engines. The aircraft and engines were provided to the Pentagon by Northrop Grumman, under a sub-lease for operations (FA8726-09-C-0010). Now we know why the Sept 21/11 contract had that re-painting option.

US Air Force Materiel Command, Electronic Systems Center, Airborne Networks Division at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA manages this contract (FA8307-11-C-0014).

Bizjet buyout: 2 E-11As

Sept 21/11: E-11A. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.’s Defense Systems Division in Herndon, VA receives a 5-month, $43 million extension to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to operate and maintain the other 2 E-11A Global Express BACN jets, serial numbers 11-9355 and 11-9358. This contract also provides for the operation and maintenance of the BACN payload by Northrop Grumman, and offers an option to re-paint the 2 BD-700 aircraft to USAF specifications (FA8726-09-C-0010, PO 0035).

Aug 20/11: EQ-4B lost. One of the USAF’s EQ-4B’s (tail number 04-2017) crashes about 105 nautical miles NW of Kandahar, during a communications relay mission over Afghanistan. The accident investigation believes that a connector failed, which led to the loss of electricity for the payload, and for the aileron and spoiler flight control systems. That made the UAV uncontrollable, and it arrowed into the ground within 4 minutes. There isn’t much left, as one might imagine given the UAV’s starting altitude. The investigation isn’t 100% definitive, because the avionics were not recovered at the crash site.

The EQ4B is home-based at Beale AFB, CA with the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, but it was forward-deployed to Afghanistan for its missions. Crash investigation [PDF].

EQ-4B crash

July 8/11: E-11A. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.’s Defense Systems Division in Herndon, VA receives a 4-month, $20.7 million extension to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for operate and maintain E-11A Global Express BACN jet, serial number 1-900. This contract also provides for the operations and maintenance of the BACN payload (FA8726-09-C-0010, PO 0032).

June 25/11: The BACN system completes its 2,000th USAF mission flown in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Since the system was deployed to support Afghan theater operations in October 2008, BACN has accumulated more than 20,000 operational flight hours in those 2,000 missions, with a mission availability rate of 98%.

The interval from Oct 1/08 – June 25/11 inclusive is 998 days, which means an average sortie rate of about 2 missions per day, 24/7.

Mission #2,000

Dec 21/10: The Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) have selected the BACN Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON) program to receive one of the Top 5 DoD Program Awards given annually for excellence in systems engineering.

BACN also has been honored in 2010 with the Weapon Systems Award from the Order of Daedalians, a national fraternity of military pilots, and the 2010 Network Centric Warfare Award for Outstanding Achievement from a Defense Industry Partner, from the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. Northrop Grumman.


Dec 13/10: E-11A. A $74.6 million option for continued maintenance and support of the payload installed in 2 of 3 modified BD-700 Global Express aircraft leased from March 2011 through October 2011. Money will be committed as needs arise (FA8726-09-C-0010; P00021).

Nov 30/10: All. A $34.1 million contract modification to extend BACN payload maintenance and support in current theaters of war. At this time, $10 million has been committed (FA8726-09-C-0010; P00020).

FY 2006 – 2010

RQ-4B Block 20
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Sept 22/10: EQ-4B. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Sector in San Diego, CA received a $20 million contract modification which will provide replenishment spares relative to the RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 20 BACN joint urgent operational need effort. WR-ALC/GRCKA at Robins Air Force Base, GA manages this contract (FA8528-09-D-0001; PO 0016).

BACN was originally deployed on board a high altitude NASA WB-57 aircraft. Deployment on board the Global Hawk UAV is the next step beyond its current platform, a modified Bombardier Global Express business jet.

March 11/10: Sub-contractors. ViaSat in Carlsbad, CA receives $21.5 million firm-fixed-price contract and delivery order for MIDS-LVT Link 16 terminals, combining purchases for the USA (68%) and Germany (11%); and for Australia (18%) and South Korea (3%) under the Foreign Military Sales program.

Contract funds in the amount of $1.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will be performed in Carlsbad, CA (30%) and in various other sites worldwide (70%), and is expected to be complete by Feb 28/12. This contract was competitively procured via the Space and Naval Warfare Systems E-commerce Web site, with 2 offers received, based on a synopsis released via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site (N00039-10-D-0032).

ViaSat’s subsequent release says that this new award includes LVT (1) terminal variants for F/A-18, P-3, and E-2D aircraft; and MH-60R/S helicopters, along with terminals for the BACN program and other U.S. Navy applications. The MIDS-LVT Lot 11 order also includes LVT (2) “ground” terminal variants for various U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Joint Forces applications, as well as terminals for Germany, Australia, and Korea.

Feb 22/10: All. Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems, Inc. in San Diego, CA, was awarded a $77.9 million contract to maintain and support the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node system “in support of overseas contingency operations” through fiscal year 2010. The award is corrected on Feb 25/10 to add an order number, and say that only $58.4 million has been committed (FA8726-09-C-0010, P00008).

Jan 26/10: Recognition. At the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement’s Network Enabled Operations conference in Arlington, VA, BACN receives the 2010 Network Centric Warfare Award for Outstanding Achievement from a Defense Industry Partner. NGC release.

Sept 14/09: All. A $35.5 million contract to provide the rapid fielding and support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node System. At this time no money has been obligated; it will be allocated as needs arise (FA8726-09-C-0010, P00003).

June 24/09: Contract. A $276.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee urgent requirement contract for its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) System. At this time, $97.8 million has been obligated by the 653rd Electronic Systems Group at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA (FA8726-09-C-0010).

The contract will fund fielding in 3 long-range Bombardier BD-700 Global Express jets, and 2 Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 20 UAVs. It will also fund the company’s support for continuing operations of the existing BACN-equipped BD-700, which the Air Force deployed to the front lines in December 2008. See also Northrop Grumman release.

BACN ordered

Oct 18/06: Development. Northrop Grumman will continue to enhance and expand the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) under 2 recently awarded Defense Microelectronics Activity contracts, issued under its Advanced Technology Support Program.

The 16-month, $25 million BACN Spiral Technical Phase II will continue base development, building on the initial $25.7 million BACN contract in April 2005. The 24-month, $8.5 million Intraflight Datalink Gateway System will add a secure data link allowing the F-22 Raptor to communicate with other platforms without compromising its stealth. Northrop Grumman.

BACN Development Phase II

Additional Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Qatar’s Air Force Multipliers: Aerial Tankers and AEW&C

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 10/22/2018 - 05:52

UAE KC-30 concept
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At the end of DIMDEX 2014 in late March, reports surfaced that Qatar had embarked on a $23 billion shopping spree, buying advanced air defense systems, anti-tank missiles, fast boats, and a mix of utility, attack, and naval helicopters. They also made a pair of high-end aerial purchases with far-reaching implications: long-range aerial tankers, and a medium-range AWACS fleet.

QEAF’s Reach: The A330-MRTT Tanker and E-737 AEW&C

QEAF Mirage 2000-5
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Aerial Refueling is a critical asset for militaries that want to extend their strike and surveillance reach. The A330 is large, given Qatar’s needs, but it was still an obvious choice. Fellow GCC members the UAE and Saudi Arabia already committed to the A330-MRTT (KC-30), and over 30 A330s fly for state-owned Qatar Airways Company Q.C.S.C., which has no 767s.

Qatar’s fighter fleet is small, at just 12 aircraft. Even so, the country has been extending its military reach, alongside the extended media reach associated with Al-Jazeera. QEAF Mirage 2000s participated in operations over Libya, for instance, with help from allies. The A330 tankers would give them independent reach in a similar situation, and they will remain useful as Qatar buys 24-72 new fighters to replace the Mirages. Each A330-MRTT is capable of deploying up to 4 fighters 2,800 nmi / 5,200 km, while carrying up to 20 tonnes of cargo. Maximum cargo capacity is 45 tonnes, though they would trade much of their refueling capacity and 270-300 passenger capacity if they were loaded that heavily. In this role, they will supplement and sometimes support the QEAF’s 4 new C-130J-30 intratheater tactical transports, and 4 new C-17A inter-theater tactical heavy jet transports.

Turkish E-737
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Airspace control and coordination are another critical requirement set for advanced militaries. To meet that need, various sorts of Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C/ AWACS) options are available on the global market. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan all operate Saab’s Erieye turboprops, for instance, and Brazil’s Embraer makes a variant that mounts an Erieye radar and onboard command system in their ERJ-145 regional jets. It makes some sense for the Saudis to also operate E-3 AWACS, but a 737 is a big platform for the tiny peninsula of Qatar’s territorial needs. The tankers will give the QEAF’s E-737s extra-long surveillance times, and extended reach. The question is where they intend to reach, unless it’s simply a prestige buy.

Contracts & Key Events

Saudi A330-MRTT
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October 22/18: Cancellation The Qatari government will not proceed with its planned acquisition of three Boeing produced E-737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft. At the end of DIMDEX 2014 in late March, reports surfaced that Qatar had embarked on a $23 billion shopping spree that would have included the purchase of the three E-737s at cost of $1.8 billion. The Gulf state has chosen not to complete the transaction, Boeing told Jane’s on October 18th. The Wedgetail operates at an altitude of 30,000ft to 40,000f and is flown by two flight crew with between six and ten mission crew members. The aircraft is fitted with an MESA (multirole electronically scanned array) radar from Northrop Grumman. That radar exchanges the traditional AWACS rotating dome for the E-7A’s “top hat” stationary antenna. The Qatar Emiri Air Force currently has no airborne early warning capability, it is yet unclear if Qatar will purchase an alternative platform or if it has decided not to field an airborne early warning capability altogether.


March 27/14: Contracts. At DIMDEX 2014 in Doha, the Emirate reportedly signs $23 billion worth of deals, including one for 2 A330-MRTT aerial tankers, and another for 3 E-737 AEW&C planes. The wording of all language is ambiguous, and the Boeing deal in particular may still be under negotiations.

Airbus Defense & Space says that Qatar’s choice of the A330 MRTT makes them the 7th customer, after Australia, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. That and other language would appear to indicate a firm deal, though Airbus will only say that their plane “has been selected”. Half of the 34 A330 aerial tankers on order around the world are already in service, India is “in the final stages of contractual negotiations” for another 6 of their own, and the French are expected to buy 10-14 over the next couple of years.

Qatar will be Boeing’s 4th customer for the E-737, which has no Airbus equivalent. Australia, South Korea, and Turkey already operate it. One of the interesting commercial/ political developments to watch will be whether Turkey winds up being gifted with a significant chunk of the support requirements for this fleet. Sources: Airbus Military, “Qatar selects Airbus A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker” | Al Defaiya, “Qatar Announces Big Defense Deals at DIMDEX 2014” | Arabian Aerospace, “Qatar to buy Airbus A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport” | Australian Aviation, “Qatar to buy MRTTs, AEW&C and more” | Reuters, “Qatar buys helicopters, missiles in $23 billion arms deals”.

Additional Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Research & technology SMEs win 1st EDA Defence Innovation Prize

EDA News - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 15:40

The European Defence Agency (EDA) today announced the two winners of the first EDA Defence Innovation Prize: AITEX, a Spanish textile research institute, and Clover Technologies, a Spanish company providing advanced technology services for information systems and communications.  The award ceremony will take place in the margins of EDA’s 2018 Annual Conference on 29 November in Brussels. 

The Prize, the first edition of which was launched early this year, rewards companies and research entities which come up with the most innovative ideas for new technologies, products, processes or services applicable in the defence domain. 

A call for applications was issued in February (see related EDA news here) inviting all types of industries and research institutions in Europe (defence and civil/commercial producers, large companies and SMEs, defence-related and civil research communities) to come forward with ground-breaking ideas which, if implemented between now and 2035, would help improve and enhance Europe’s defence capabilities in two specific domains:

  • Autonomous detection, identification and monitoring/sampling/analysis through sensor and platform networking in the area of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) protection technologies and techniques
  • Integration of multi-robot swarming concepts in support of future defence capabilities in the area of Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC).

A total of 24 companies and research institutes from across Europe participated in the contest. A jury thoroughly assessed each of the proposals and reached agreement on the two winners who are awarded €10,000 each. 

The winning ideas

AITEX won in the category ‘Autonomous detection, identification and monitoring through sensor and platform networking in the area of CBRN protection technologies and techniques’ with a smart textile idea: a ‘wearable computing’ system composed of many electronic devices (including sensors able to monitor environmental and personal parameters) fully integrated into textile solutions. For this purpose, it is proposed to develop Electronic Noses (ENs) integrated into textiles based on an array of sensors composed of Graphene Oxide (GO) capable of identifying and quantifying a wide range of chemical warfare agents. The complete system would be printed on a textile substrate obtaining a fully wearable system which has significant advantages compared to traditional rigid and semiportable ENs.

Clover Technologies won the prize in the category ‘Integration of multi-robot swarming concepts in support of future defence capabilities in the area of GNC’ with an idea based on a blockchain-based solution to provide a common platform for swarm nodes with an extra security layer. Swarm robotics is an emerging technology facing many challenges such as computational and storage limitations, heterogeneous communication protocols, information security, etc. The idea put forward by the winner aims at a solution which would facilitates the communication of the swarm robotic nodes within a secure environment that offers integrity, confidentiality and authentication. The projected solution is composed of: - a blockchain platform which allows a secure coordination of a swarm robotic; - a Group Key Distribution Algorithm which allows to manage, in a secure way, the joining/leaving operations within a swarm robotic; - and Java Card technology, which offers a tamper resistant solution to storage and manage the sensitive information in a robot.


AITEX, based in Alcoy (Spain), is a leading Spanish centre of research, innovation and advanced technical services for the textile sector. AITEX is a private non-profit association set up in 1985 as an initiative of the Valencian Regional Government, through the Valencian Institute for Small and Medium Industry (IMPIVA), to make the textile sector more competitive. AITEX’ key activity domains include smart textiles, nanotechnology, materials and sustainability and biotechnology. 

Clover Technologies, based in Leganès/Madrid, is an industrial company providing advanced technology services for information systems and communications. It is also active in other domains such as IT solutions and information security management, ITSEC and Common Criteria consulting and evaluation and Blockchain consulting and development, security assessment and conformance analysis of security standards and protocols, design and development of UAV security solutions, as well as professional promotion, certifications training and awareness activities.



HII starts construction of the Navy’s future LHA | Boeing misses KC-46 delivery deadline | The Minuteman III gets a cryptography upgrade

Defense Industry Daily - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 06:00

Northrop Grumman is being contracted to upgrade the Navy’s electronic warfare aircraft. The awarded contract is valued at $697 million and provides for upgraded EA-18G system configuration sets (SCS) and Airborne Electronic Attack and Electronic Warfare systems. The deal also includes the provision of final upgrades for the EA-6B aircraft, which is expected to be retired in 2019. The order combines purchases for the US Navy and government of Australia under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Growler is the Navy’s land- and carrier-based, radar and communication jamming aircraft. The plane’s Airborne Electronic Attack and Electronic Warfare systems include a new ALQ-218 receiver, a next-generation ALQ-99 jamming pod, am APG-79 AESA radar and an Electronic Attack suite. SCS is operational software that gives the Growler its combat capabilities. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Point Mugu, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Bethpage, New York and Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The updates are expected to be completed in October 2023.

Boeing is being tapped to support the US Intercontinental Ballistic Missile modernisation program which intends to keep the Minuteman III operational through 2030. The company will deliver eight digital components and 75 message processor drawers in compliance with the government’s minimum requirement for the ICBM program under this $55.6 million undefinitized contract. This action supports the program’s Cryptography Upgrade Increment II, which fully integrates KS-60 capabilities of remote key/code change and irreversible code transformation. Work under the sole-sourced and firm-price-incentive-fee contract will take place in Huntsville, Alabama and Huntington Beach, California. The project is slated for completion on February 11, 2019.

Boeing will miss the delivery deadline of its first KC-46 tanker aircraft to the US Air Force, which was set for October 27th. US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told journalists in a round-table at Bloomberg headquarters in New York, that the service and the company are currently trying “to lay down the path forward for delivery and to make sure the deficiencies that have been identified are taken care of in a way that brings that aircraft in as promised.” The missed deadline is the latest in a series of missed deadlines, that include unresolved deficiencies with the tanker’s system for midair refueling and a delayed FAA certification. The KC-46 acquisition program sees for the delivery of 179 tankers at a cost of $44.3 billion, with the first aircraft expected to be delivered between April and June 2016.

Huntington Ingalls Industries is starting the fabrication of the US Navy’s next amphibious assault ship. The Bougainville is the third America-class amphibious assault ship and first Flight I ship constructed for the Navy. The America-class ships are part of the Navy’s Seapower 21 doctrine and replace the already decommissioned Tarawa-class LHAs. They are based on the more modern LHD Wasp Class design, with the LHD’s landing craft and well deck removed in favor of more planes and hangar space. The vessels are able to embark F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and V-22 Osprey aircraft. “Bougainville represents the next generation of amphibious capabilities and is a key component to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy,” James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said in a press release. “The ability to both support Joint Strike Fighter and put Marines ashore will ensure that the Amphibious Fleet remains agile and capable of expeditionary warfare well into the 21st century.” The USS Bougainville (LHA 8) is scheduled to be delivered in 2024.

Middle East & Africa

The government of Iraq will receive a number of new Toyota Land Cruisers as part of a FMS deal. TGS USA will deliver the vehicles and spare parts under this $39.5 million firm-fixed-price contract. The Land Cruiser model comes either as a pickup or as a SUV. The various types offer a flexible set of options with different load carrying capacities and levels of armor.


The Portuguese Air Force is ordering five new helicopters from Leonardo. The company will deliver AW119Kx light-singles for multirole missions under this $23 million contract. The ‘Koalas’ will perform a wide range of roles including training, MEDEVAC, troop transport and short range maritime search and rescue (SAR), the platform may also be used for firefighting. The new aircraft will eventually replace Portugal’s current fleet of eight Aérospatiale SA316 Alouette III light helicopters. Deliveries are set to start in late 2018 from Leonardo’s plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with completion of deliveries expected by early 2020.

The UK Royal Air Force marks another milestone in its F-35 JSF program. One of the RAF’s B variant was successfully refuelled by a Voyager tanker aircraft. The refuelling took place earlier this week over the North Sea at 19,000 feet. Britain’s Voyager, is an Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) that functions both as an aerial tanker and a transport aircraft. A F-35B pilot told Forces TV that “it’s fantastic to be able to link up the UK’s 5th generation asset with the RAF’s Voyager tanker in UK skies for the first time.”


A team of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is currently training to operate the country’s future CH-47F helicopters. The team is made up of four pilots and four flight engineers who started their training in Delaware on Monday. The CH-47F Chinook is the latest variant in a family of helicopters that first saw service in 1962 during the Vietnam War. The upgraded version includes more powerful engines, reduced vibration, upgraded avionics and self-defense systems, and manufacturing advances designed to improve both mission performance and long term costs. The IAF plans to introduce the Chinooks to its fleet in the near future. India purchased 15 CH-47F Chinook and 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters under a 2014 deal valued at $3.1 billion.

Today’s Video

Watch: RAF Voyager refuels F-35B for the first time in the UK

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Missile Envy: Modernizing the US ICBM Force

Defense Industry Daily - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 05:56

LGM-30G Minuteman III
(click to view full)

For 50 years, land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) have been part of the US primary strategic deterrence capability, the nuclear-armed triad that also includes submarine-launched ballistic missiles and long range heavy bombers.

Although the main target for the US deterrent – the Soviet Union – imploded in 1991, other threats – such as nuclear-armed rogue states and non-state actors – have emerged. To address these new threats, the US Air Force undertook a major ICBM modernization program.

To carry out this program, the USAF awarded a 15-year ICBM Prime Integration Contract (F42610-98-C-0001) in 1997 to a team led by Northrop Grumman. Since then, the team, which includes Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and ATK, has been carrying out a major modernization of the ICBM system to ensure its readiness.

ICBM Prime

Minuteman III launch

The ICBM Prime Integration Contract covers modernization of thousands of missile propulsion, guidance, re-entry, and ground system components. The goal is to extend the US Minuteman III ICBM’s life to 2030.

Some of the larger programs covered by the contract include:

  • ICBM Security Modernization Program, which is implementing steps to keep nuclear-tipped ICBMs securely in their silos;

  • Safety Enhanced Re-entry Vehicle (SERV) Program, which is fitting Minuteman III ICBMs with the Mk 21 re-entry vehicle from the decommissioned Peacekeeper missile force – a change that will provide US Strategic Command planners with increased targeting flexibility and enhanced safety;

  • Propulsion Replacement Program, which is remanufacturing motors to replace Minuteman III’s aging propellant to maintain booster reliability;

  • Guidance Replacement Program, which is substituting the NS-50 missile guidance set for aging 1960s vintage guidance electronics, improving flight reliability, system maintainability, and nuclear safety;

  • Propulsion System Rocket Engine Life Extension Program, which is replacing engine components originally produced in the 1970s that had a 10-year design life;

  • Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting Service Life Extension Program, which is updating ICBM command and control capability;

  • Minuteman Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network program, which upgraded communications in all Minuteman III launch control centers and also connected these systems to the Milstar satellite communications system; and

  • Improvement to the launch control centers, accomplished through the Environmental Control System program, which is upgrading climate controls to ensure that electronics and ground support systems are maintained at specified pre-set temperatures.

Contracts and Key Events

Still Ready.

Numerous contract modifications have been issued under the ICBM Prime Integration Contract (F42610-98-C-0001). Below are contract modifications covered by DID over the years. Unless otherwise noted, the contracts are awarded by Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah to Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems in Clearfield, UT.

October 19/18: Cryptography II Boeing is being tapped to support the US Intercontinental Ballistic Missile modernisation program which intends to keep the Minuteman III operational through 2030. The company will deliver eight digital components and 75 message processor drawers in compliance with the government’s minimum requirement for the ICBM program under this $55.6 million undefinitized contract. This action supports the program’s Cryptography Upgrade Increment II, which fully integrates KS-60 capabilities of remote key/code change and irreversible code transformation. Work under the sole-sourced and firm-price-incentive-fee contract will take place in Huntsville, Alabama and Huntington Beach, California. The project is slated for completion on February 11, 2019.

August 1/16: Two contracts are to be awarded by the USAF in 2017 for a new Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) weapons system, or ground-based strategic deterrent. On Friday, the service released a request for proposals for the replacement of the existing Minutemen III ICBMs as part of the military’s costly modernization of its atomic weapons systems. The next ten years will see up to $350 billion spent on the modernization with some analysts suggesting the costs will run in excess of $1 trillion over 30 years.

June 8/16: The USAF has claimed it is not looking at a road-mobile option for its next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Under the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program the aging Minuteman III ICBM fleet will be replaced. Speaking about the mobile option, a service official said “We want to make sure that as we look at GBSD, we’re building it modular so if changes need to be made in the weapon system you don’t have to open up, let’s say, the software to redo the entire software.”

March 14/11: Lockheed Martin announces it received a $12.5 million contract from Northrop Grumman for refurbishment of re-entry vehicle arming and fuzing assemblies for the Minuteman III. Under the subcontract, Lockheed Martin Space System’s Valley Forge facility in King of Prussia, PA will replace components and refurbish and test the assemblies. The subcontract includes an option for a second year. Under an earlier contract in 2009, Lockheed Martin demonstrated the feasibility of the refurbishment effort. Lockheed Martin is the original equipment manufacturer for the arming and fuzing assembly.

Oct 6/10: Lockheed Martin announces it received a $106 million contract from Northrop Grumman to develop next-generation re-entry field support equipment (RFSE) for the Minuteman III. Under the 58-month contract, Lockheed Martin will design, develop, test, and deliver 2 sets of RFSE, with an additional 10 RFSE sets to be delivered in a follow-on contract. The RFSE will replace the aging Minuteman III Re-entry System Test Set (RSTS). Lockheed Martin will continue to sustain the RSTS, for which it is the original equipment manufacturer, until deployment of the replacement RFSE, which will be used, along with SERV support equipment, to test Mk12A and Mk21 re-entry vehicles.

April 19/10: $33.8 million to provide sustainment support for the Minuteman weapon system. At this time, $31.8 has been obligated.

April 2/10: $15.3 million contract to provide a Minuteman enhancement reliability accelerometer engineering and feasibility study, Phase III, prototype phase. At this time, $10.9 million has been obligated.

Dec 24/09: A $16.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the exercise of options 12 and 13 for the Propulsion System Rocket Engine Life Extension Program.

Nov 19/09: A $31.1 million contract modification to provide for the Remote Visual Assessment Program in support of the ICBM Security Modernization Program.

Dec 21/06: A $53.1 million fixed-price-incentive-firm and cost-plus-award fee contract modification, exercising option 1 to continue upgrading the Environmental Control System for the Minuteman III ICBM system. Work is expected to be complete October 2008.

Nov 1/06: A $225.2 million cost-plus-fixed fee, cost-plus-incentive fee contract modification to remanufacture Stage 1, 2, and 3 rockets motors and offer product quality assurance test support. The contractor will provide 75 complete booster components sets (one each Stage 1, 2 and 3 motors and an ordnance kit) and 2 product quality assurance test motors.

April 6/06: A $34.8 million cost-plus incentive-fee contract modification to begin to provide for full rate production of Minuteman III Safety Enhanced Reentry Vehicles (SERV) on US ICBMs. The scheduled completion date is March 2010.

March 17/06: A $7.7 million fixed price incentive (firm target) award fee, firm-fixed price contract modification for Guidance Replacement Program (GRP) full rate production (FRP) Value Engineering Change Proposal 01-OPIC-030 and 01-IPIC-0009.

March 17/06: A $25 million fixed price incentive firm with award fee contract modification. This contract will provide environmental control system units, deployment activities, and interim contractor support to upgrade the launch facilities and missile alert facilities at the 3 US ICBM missile wings. Work is expected to be complete October 2007.

Jan 19/06: A $225.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-award-fee contract modification for ICBM Propulsion Replacement Program. Full Rate Production (FRP) options FRP5, FRP6, and FRP7 restructure modification for 212 stage 1, 2 and 3 rocket motors, production quality assurance, ordnance production, and contractor cost data reports.

Sept 20/05: A $122.7 million cost plus award fee contract modification to exercise option VIII for the ICBM Prime Integrated Contract to support the Minuteman ICBM. Work on the contract will be complete by September 2006.

June 20/05: A $5.9 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification to ensure that US ICBM Reentry Vehicles (which carry nuclear warheads) remain functional until retirement and that an industrial base exists to support replacement follow-on systems. Work is expected to be complete by June 2007.

May 19/05: A $24 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification to provide for ICBM Security Modernization Program Fast Rising B-Plug Low Rate Initial Production; 15 B-Plug Kits and 6 B-Plug Kit Installations will be produced under this contract modification. Work is expected to be complete by September 2007.

Additional Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

The USA’s America Class NAAS: Carrier Air + Amphibious Assault

Defense Industry Daily - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 05:52

LHA-R/NAAS Concept
(click to view full)

Modern U.S. Navy Amphibious Assault Ships project power and maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of the Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) / Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG). LHA/LHD are a key element of the Seapower 21 doctrine pillars of Sea Strike and Sea Basing, transporting, launching, and landing elements of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) via a combination of LCAC hovercraft, amphibious transports and vehicles, helicopters, and aircraft.

Designed to project power and maintain presence, LHA-Replacement (LHA-R, aka. LH-X, and now the New Amphibious Assault Ship or NAAS) large deck amphibious assault ships were slated to replace the US Navy’s 6 LHA-1 Tarawa Class vessels. They are based on the more modern LHD Wasp Class design, with the LHD’s landing craft and well deck removed in favor of more planes and hangar space. While its LHA/LHD predecessors were amphibious assault ships with a secondary aviation element, it’s fair to describe the America Class as escort carriers with a secondary amphibious assault role.

The NAAS Program

LHA-R concept
(click to view: large!)

The LHA-R program may have been in the works since PMS-377 was put in charge in November 2000, but it took several years to get underway as a major spending program.

LHA 6 America, the lead LHA-R vessel, was planned for delivery to the U.S. Navy in October 2013, though when that date came and went, sea trials had yet to take place. It and should be in service by 2015. The ultimate question is how many ships of class will be built. Support for the limited NAAS buy of 2 ships is already set, and LHA 7 Tripoli is due for delivery in June 2018. The question is the 3rd ship, and any ships after that.

The FY13-18 FYDP does feature a 3rd “LHA-R” ship in FY 2017, pushed back a year from the original plan. In April 2009, Gannett’s Navy Times revealed that the Marines were having second thoughts about the well deck removal, and the limitations this created for the total force. Altering ship plans for LHA 6 or LHA 7 would have been too expensive, but “LHA 8’s” planned cost, and these previous statements by the Navy and Marines, suggest that this ship will have a well deck. Low amounts allocated for LHA 8 design also indicate that any well-deck equipped ship is likely to be a fairly close derivation of an existing design. So, too, does the math inherent in the ships’ volume and internal layout limits. In other words, LHA 8 looks set to be a slightly updated variant of the all-electric LHD 8 Makin Island design. In effect, it would become “LHD 9”. This return of the well deck is later confirmed as the “Flight 1” configuration.

The ship’s timeline at the end of the FYDP makes it vulnerable to further budget cuts, and so does the higher price of a well deck equipped vessel. The FYDP has set aside $4.4 billion, compared to the Navy’s 2012 estimates of $3.2 – $3.3 billion per ship for the America Class. Time will tell whether the 3rd New Amphibious Assault Ship survives.

Note that even at that lower price, America Class ships already far exceed the cost of smaller LHDs like France’s 21,500t helicopter-only Mistral Class LHD (EUR 325M/ $485M), though the American ships are designed to naval survivability levels, and feature far more advanced defenses and launch capabilities.

A better comparison may be Australia’s 27,500t, jet-capable Canberra Class LHDs (AUD$ 1.6 billion/ USD$ 1.4 billion per), or Italy’s 27,100t Cavour Class escort carrier, which combines F-35B launch capability with housing for troops, and vehicle ramps for heavy vehicles stored inside (about EUR 1.5 billion/ $1.975 billion). Measured on a per-ton basis, their cost is not all that far off. The tactical tradeoff is that larger ships like the America Class gain new fighter spots and storage capacity faster than they grow in tonnage. On the flip side, they offer less survivability and mission flexibility than 2 Cavour Class ships might enjoy.

The LHA-R Ships: 21st Century Escort Carriers

LHD Wasp Class
(click to view full)

LHA-R/NAAS design modifications aimed to optimize aviation operations and support activities. The end product is essentially a revival of the World War 2 escort carrier concept, with integrated berthing, cargo, and light vehicle spaces for Marines.

At 844 feet long and 106 feet wide, LHA-R ships will be almost 80 feet longer than USS Wasp and 10 feet wider, since they don’t have to fit through the Panama Canal. As a result, these ships will weigh in at 45,594 long tons fully loaded, rather than LHD 8’s 41,649t full load. The Navy prefers not to call their America Class ships carriers, but will admit that they’re an “aviation centric” design. In plain English, they’re really CVL/CVE aircraft carriers with crew space for 1,204, that can also berth up to 1,686 Marines, with a possible surge to 1,800 people for short periods of time. These NAAS ships will rely on a mix of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft for most of their tasks, from close air support, to transport, to helicopter coverage.

Protection comes in 3 layers, from the medium-range Evolved SeaSparrow launchers, to the short-range RAM missile system, to close-in defenses that range from radar-guided Mk.15 Phalanx 20mm gatling guns to a range of decoy systems. Few small carriers have defenses this comprehensive, and some full-size carriers in Britain and India will also fall short by comparison. Even so, advances in modern cruise missiles makes the Navy doubt LHA-R’s survivability against a determined multi-missile swarm.

DID uses the term “escort carriers” due to their relative size compared to America’s 95,000t+ nuclear-powered supercarriers, and also due to the size of their aerial complement, which is reduced by the ship’s amphibious mission. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that the America Class’ overall displacement is larger than France’s 43,000t FS Charles De Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, or the American World War 2 Essex Class carriers’ 36,380t.

Like the Tarawa and Wasp classes, NAAS ships will have a flat flight deck, without a “ski ramp” on the front. With a ski ramp, V/STOL (Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing) fighters like the Harrier, STOVL (Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing) fighters like the F-35B, UAVs, or tilt-rotor aircraft can all take off with larger loads, while using less fuel. On the other hand, a fully flat deck increases the number of deck locations available for landing or parking aircraft.

The US Navy thought hard about this choice. During the Analysis of Alternatives phase, they considered a 69,000 ton “Dual Tram Line” option with an LHD 8 sized well deck for hovercraft, an angled flight deck like an aircraft carrier’s, and a ski ramp that allows aircraft to take off with heavier loads. Existing F-35B-capable platforms that already use the ski ramp approach include Britain’s new 65,000t Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, Italy’s new 27,100t Cavour Class aircraft carrier/LHD, and Navantia’s 27,500t BPE / Canberra Class LHDs. The Navy eventually chose to pursue a design based on LHD 8 Makin Island instead, as the path of least risk and best cost containment. For good or ill, they also decided against adding a ski ramp.

Eliminating the ramp did give them a couple more “spot factors.” A ship’s possible aircraft combinations are calculated by totaling “spot factors” (SF), and amphibious ships use the CH-46E Sea Knight’s space requirements as their base (1.0). The aged Sea Knights are being phased out, however, and will not be part of the America Class’ 58.0 Spot Factor air wings. Instead, these air wings are expected to include MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors (2.22 SF), CH-53E/K heavy transport helicopters (2.68/?), MH-60R/S multi-role utility helicopters (1.0), UH-1Y troop transport helicopters (0.94), and AH-1Z attack helicopters (0.92); and/or 6-23 fixed wing F-35B Lightning II STOVL fighters (2.0).

These new aircraft, and the MV-22 in particular, drove many of the ship’s key requirements. When one compares the “standard” complements of the LHA-R vs. the existing LHD Wasp Class, the result is about a 45% increase in required “spot factors,” for the same number of airframes: [1]

  • 12 MV-22 vs. 12 CH-46 (+14.64 SF)
  • 2 MH-60S vs. 2 UH-1 for SAR (+0.14 SF)
  • 4 CH-35K vs. 4 CH-53E (assumed even)
  • 3 UH-1Y vs. 3 UH-1N (+0.03 SF)
  • 4 AH-1Z vs. 4 AH-1W (+0.36 SF)
  • 6 F-35B vs. 6 AV-8B (+2.82 SF)

In single-role carrier configuration, America Class ships will embark 2 MH-60S helicopters for Search And Rescue, and take on 20 F-35B fighters plus all of the required spares, extra weapons, etc. Even so, the F-35B will have just 2 landing spots that can handle the heat from its engine: #7 and #9.

Floor footage wasn’t the only thing affected by the class’ escort carrier configuration. High-bay enlargement of the maintenance hangar in 2 areas was required in order to accommodate USMC MV-22s or AFSOC CV-22s, which can’t be brought in for full servicing on current LHA Tarawa and LHD Wasp Class ships.

A final aviation advantage comes from the addition of fuel tanks, in place of the ballast tanks used by the Tarawa and Wasp classes to offset the weight of a filled well deck. That more than doubles available JP-5 aviation fuel, from 600,000 gallons to a full 1.3 million gallons.

The Well Deck Issue

LHA 3 launches LCAC
(click to view full)

There’s a cost to these changes.

While it’s called an amphibious assault ship, the America class lacks those ship types’ characteristic feature: a floodable well deck for launching landing craft. The US Navy and Marines initially decided that there were enough other ships in the fleet with well decks, and contended that the use of LHA/LHD ships to transport and land heavy vehicles tends to be rare anyway. They eventually changed their minds, and “LHA 8” may now include a well deck, but LHA 6 America and LHA 7 Tripoli will be built without.

Removal of the traditional well deck offers some advantages. For starters, it provides America Class Flight 0 ships with an extended hangar deck and aviation support spaces. It also lowers LHA/CVL America Class maintenance costs. In exchange, the America Class can’t launch and land medium-heavy vehicles like the USMC’s AAV7 amphibious armored personnel carriers, their future amphibious APCs; or LCAC hovercraft that can carry vehicles like M1 tanks, LAVs, and mine resistant MRAP-type vehicles ashore.

Lift-on/ Lift-off cranes, which could have mitigated this shortfall by transferring cargo to other ships, are also absent from the design. If LHA-R Flight 0 ships decide to carry heavier vehicles, or require faster offload given the 14,000+ pound empty weight of even very light mine-resistant vehicles, their sole options will be their CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters, or offloading by ramp onto a port’s docks.

Power and Influence: Secondary Ship Features

Naval LM2500
(click to view full)

Propulsion and power is the same hybrid system as LHD 8, which is a plus for the Navy. It involves 2 GE LM2500+ gas turbines, each rated at 35,290 shaft horsepower at U.S. Navy standard day conditions (100 degrees F), and a pair of 5,000 hp auxiliary propulsion motors. The hybrid propulsion system enables the ship’s propellers to be driven either by the gas turbines or by electric motors, which are powered from the ship service electrical system. This allows the ship to operate in a more fuel efficient mode throughout its speed range, while being able to generate far more electricity to power onboard electronics, etc.

Finally, the new class resembles its LHA/LHD predecessors in that will be able to operate as the flagship for a full expeditionary strike group. Its enhanced and reconfigurable command and control complex will be based on the US Navy’s directive to use open architecture electronics whenever possible, in order to lower costs and make future upgrades easier.

A hospital facility complements these advanced command and aviation capabilities when assisting in humanitarian operations, and serves the amphibious combat force. It’s about 67% smaller than USS Makin Island’s [LHD 8], as a result of expanding the hangar bay.

LHA-R: Contracts & Key Events

launch timelapse

Unless otherwise specified, all contracts are awarded by the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, DC, to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (now Huntington Ingalls, Inc.) in Pascagoula, MS. The company’s Ingalls operations in Pascagoula, MS is where the USA’s current fleet of Tarawa Class LHA and Wasp Class LHD amphibious ships were all built.

FY 2015-2018

October 19/18: HII starts fabricating LHA-8 Huntington Ingalls Industries is starting the fabrication of the US Navy’s next amphibious assault ship. The Bougainville is the third America-class amphibious assault ship and first Flight I ship constructed for the Navy. The America-class ships are part of the Navy’s Seapower 21 doctrine and replace the already decommissioned Tarawa-class LHAs. They are based on the more modern LHD Wasp Class design, with the LHD’s landing craft and well deck removed in favor of more planes and hangar space. The vessels are able to embark F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and V-22 Osprey aircraft. “Bougainville represents the next generation of amphibious capabilities and is a key component to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy,” James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said in a press release. “The ability to both support Joint Strike Fighter and put Marines ashore will ensure that the Amphibious Fleet remains agile and capable of expeditionary warfare well into the 21st century.” The USS Bougainville (LHA 8) is scheduled to be delivered in 2024.

September 18/17: The US Navy’s newest America-class amphibious assault ship has been christened the USS Tripoli (LHA7). During a ceremony in Pascagoula, Miss., on Saturday, acting Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Dee said the vessel “will be a force multiplier, and her crew will proudly serve our country for decades to come. I am grateful to the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding for their dedication and to the citizens of Pascagoula for their unwavering support as we continue to make our Navy stronger.” The Tripoli is an enlarged version of the America-class of amphibious assault ships. It is 844 feet long, displaces 45,000 tons and has larger hangars and storage capacity for aircraft and helicopters. Once operational, the US Marine Corps is expected to to deploy their vertical take-off and landing version of the F-35 Lightning II on the ship.

June 21/17: Huntington Ingalls has been awarded a $3 billion contract modification for the design and construction of the America-class Landing Helicopter Assault Replacement Amphibious Assault Ship. The majority of work will take place in Pascagoula, Miss., with further work to be carried out at smaller sites. Completion is expected for January 2024. The vessels will go towards the replacing the US Navy’s fleet of Wasp-class of amphibious assault ships.

May 8/17: Shipyard Huntington Ingalls has launched the second ship in the America-class of amphibious assault ship 13 weeks ahead of schedule. The future USS Tripoli can carry 12 Osprey aircraft and six F-35s and is fitted with .50 caliber machine guns and 20mm CWIS cannons. It can also support AV-8B Harriers, Cobra attack helicopter, cargo carriers, and other equipment. More America-class vessels are expected to be built in 2018, with the next vessel to be named after the WW2 Bougainville campaign.

April 10/17: The Navy’s USS America has successfully shot down a UAV with the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), during live-fire exercises designed to verify the new amphibious assault ship’s defense capabilities. During the test, the UAV posed as an anti-ship missile threat while the RAM utilized its quick-reaction fire-and-forget capabilities to down the drone. The USS America is the first vessel of its class and is designed to accommodate modern fighters such as the F-35B, alongside other vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) aircraft and helicopters. It will support US Marine Corps aviation requirements, from small-scale contingency operations of an expeditionary strike group, to forcible entry missions in major theaters of war.

Feb 25/15: Navy to pit two yards against each other in duopolistic design competition for LHA-8, new oilers and LX(R) dock landing ship. Mindful of the trend of shipyards to consolidate to the point where there is barely the opportunity for real competition, the Navy is deliberately packaging three very different major defense acquisition programs together and selecting two shipyards to bid for each, with the explicit expectation that each will be rewarded at least one. General Dynamics NASSCO and Huntington Ingalls Industries will compete for the redesign of the LHA-8 (which sorely needs its well deck back now that Marines vehicles have plumped up); the T-AO(X) fleet oiler and the LX(R) dock landing ship replacement.

“Each shipyard will be awarded one detail design and construction contract for LHA 8 or one DD&C for T-AO(X) ships 1-6,” said a Navy representative. “This approach balances the Navy’s commitment to maintaining a viable shipbuilding industrial base while aggressively pursuing competition.” The arbitrary connection of three disparate programs and the automatic win that could go to a loser seems reminiscent of a kindergarten awards ceremony, but at least the creation and maintenance of this duopoly appears to be deliberate. It may shed light on the decision-making process as it happens for the Ingalls/BIW duopoly on the Arleigh Burke contracts and the ancient Newport News/Electric Boat rivalry for submarine work.

FY 2013-2014

LHA 6 nearing completion. LHA 8 will have a well deck.

America sea trials

July 15/15: The Navy has reportedly issued a Request for Proposals to two shipyards for a third America-class amphibious warship (LHA-8) and six next-generation oilers (TAO(X)). The RFP was sent to General Dynamics NASSCO and Huntington Ingalls Industries, with the Navy looking to pit the two yards against one another for contracts to manufacture the first six oilers or LHA-8.

Oct 11/14: LHA 6 Commissioned. The ship is formally commissioned at Pier 30/32 during San Francisco Fleet Week.

She is the 4th ship to bear that name, with predecessors that include a schooner, a World War I transport [ID-3006], and a conventionally-powered aircraft carrier [CV 66, 1965-1996]. Sources: US Navy, Full video and “USS America Joins the Fleet”.

USS America

Aug 26/14: Visits, F-35B Prep. LHA 6 America is visiting around South America on its way to San Francisco, with 4 MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotors, 3 H-60 Seahawk helicopters, and a special purpose MAGTF (Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force) on board. The ship hasn’t even been commissioned yet, and they’re treating the visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Peru as a training cruise.

After PCU America’s commissioning and shakedown, a Post-Shakedown Availability visit to the shipyard expects to install modifications that will let the ship safely use F-35B fighters. To achieve that, intercostal structural additions will be inserted underneath flight deck landing spots numbers 7 and 9, in order to deal with the heat produced by the F-35B’s F135-PW-600 LiftFan engine. Those changes are currently being tested on the USS Wasp [LHD 8]. Sources: Defense Tech, “USS America Tours South America, Prepares for JSF”.

July 11/14: LHA 6. LHA 6 America leaves the Ingalls Shipbuilding division at Pascagoula, MS, sailing to the West Coast in preparation for her Oct 11/14 commissioning in San Francisco, CA. Sources: HII, “Ingalls Shipbuilding’s Amphibious Assault Ship America (LHA 6) Sails Away”.

June 20/14: LHA 7 keel. The official keel-laying ceremony for LHA 7 Tripoli takes places at HII’s Pascagoula, MS shipyard. Sources: HII, “Ingalls Shipbuilding Authenticates Keel of Amphibious Assault Ship Tripoli (LHA 7)”.

June 13/14: LHA 8. General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, CA receives a $23.5 million contract modification for early industry involvement in the LHA 8/ LHA(R) Flight 1 affordability design phase. LHA 8 is supposed to put the well deck back, pushing the design much closer to USS Makin Island [LHD-8]. Unfortunately, the ship has seen estimates as high as $4.4 billion. If the designers can reduce that figure, the ship’s odds of surviving coming budget battles will improve.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 RDT&E budgets. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA and is expected to be complete by May 2015. US NAVSEA in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-13-C-2401). See also HII, “Ingalls Shipbuilding Awarded $23.5 Million LHA 8 Affordability Contract”.

LHA 8 initial design

April 10/14: LHA 6 Delivery. HII’s Ingalls shipyard delivers the LHA 6 America to the US Navy in Pascagoula, MS. Commissioning is set for late 2014. Sources: US Navy, “Navy Accepts Delivery of the future USS America” | HII, “Ingalls Shipbuilding Delivers Amphibious Assault Ship America (LHA 6)”.

March 31/14: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs“. Which is actually a review for 2013, plus time to compile and publish. The report cites a high degree of rework on LHA 6, and the fact that they began construction with the design just 65% complete may have something to do with that. That has raised costs, and helped make the ship’s delivery 19 months late. Another $42.4 million will be spent on rework of the ship’s deck to cope with the F-35B’s exhaust and downwash (q.v. Jan 17/12). GAO adds that:

“Although not considered critical technologies, the program has identified an additional six key subsystems necessary to achieve capabilities. Five of these subsystems are mature. The sixth, the [GPS-guided] Joint Precision Approach and Landing System, is still in development, but LHA 6 can use backup aviation control systems to meet requirements. There are no new critical technologies expected for LHA 7 or LHA 8, but requirements for LHA 8 are still in development.”

Beyond the new deck design, design changes to LHA 7 will include a new firefighting system; and updates to the radar and the command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems. One hopes that key survivability upgrades (q.v. Jan 28/14) are also on this list. Design changes to LHA 8 will add a well deck that can accommodate 2 landing craft, and they’re considering designs that would allow compartments to be reconfigured in low-risk areas, in order to meet changing mission needs with less rework.

Jan 31/14: INSURV. LHA 6 America completes Navy acceptance trials off the coast of Pascagoula, MS. The Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) evaluated all of the ship’s major systems, including combat, propulsion, communications, navigation, mission systems and aviation capabilities. It passed with no major deficiencies, which is a real achievement for a first-of-class ship. Delivery is planned for spring 2014. Sources: US NAVSEA, “LHA 6 Completes Acceptance Trials” | HII, “Video Release — Ingalls Shipbuilding’s Amphibious Ship America (LHA 6) Sails the Gulf of Mexico for Successful Acceptance Trials”.

Jan 28/14: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2013 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The America Class is included, and some of its deficiencies aren’t really about the ship – but others are.

It has been known for some time that the SSDS combat system needs continued improvement, and test aboard Nimitz Class supercarriers indicate that some modern cruise missile attacks will overwhelm existing defenses. The technical term is “Probability of Raid Annihilation”, and LHA-R isn’t likely to meet the goal the Navy set (q.v. Jan 17/12). Some of that is traceable to the design, however:

“LFT&E analysis completed so far identified potential problems in susceptibility and vulnerability that would likely result in the LHA-6 being unable to maintain or recover mission capability following a hit by certain threat weapons, the details of which are classified. The Navy’s required updated analysis is behind schedule jeopardizing planning for follow-on ship survivability improvements…. In particular, some fluid systems need additional isolation valves, sensors, and remote operators to allow rapid identification and isolation of damage and reconfiguration for restoration of the mission capability they support. Additionally, the egress from some of the troop and crew berthing spaces may result in crew causalities and delay damage control actions. The Navy has plans to incorporate some corrective actions for follow-on ships.”

Nov 7-9/13: Builder trials for PCU America are conducted in the Gulf of Mexico. If all goes well she is to be delivered to the Navy in March 2014. LHA 6, the 4th ship named USS America, will join the Pacific Fleet and have San Diego, CA as its homeport. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is scheduled for September 2016. Sources: HII, Nov 14/13 release | US Navy PEO Ships, Nov 7/13 release | DefenseTech: First America-class Amphib Nears Completion.

June 2013: LHA 8. The Navy plans to complete the Preliminary Design of LHA 8 during FY13, finalize its Capability Development Document (CDD) and Concepts of Operations (CONOPS), and get started on contract design. The Senate Armed Services Committee is somewhat skeptical and recommends the addition of $20 million to the LHA-8 (i.e. flight 1) development budget because “[r]epeated Navy shipbuilding programs have shown that failing to complete a ship’s design before starting construction inevitably leads to cost growth and schedule delays.” Senate NDAA FY 2014 report 113-044 | PE 64567N budget justification [PDF].

April 2013: The FY14 President Budget still sets the order of a 3rd LHA ship to FY2017 as of the latest FYDP. The delivery of LHA 6 is however delayed by 6 months. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson had testified before the Senate Committee on Armed Services in February that this delay was one of the consequences of starting FY13 under a continuing resolution (CR) preventing the start of new programs.

Schedule as of April 2014

November 2012: The Navy conducts an operational assessment of LHA 6, though they don’t release any results publicly.

Oct 20/12: The US Navy christens Pre-Commissioning Unit America [LHA 6] at HII’s shipyard in Pascagoula, MS. USN.

FY 2012

LHA 7 main contract, named “Tripoli”; LHA 6 launch; DOT&E report highlight survivability fears against modern missiles.

LHA 6 berthed
(click to view full)

June 5/12: LHA 6 launch. HII launches LHA 6 America at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS. Instead of sliding down a ramp, the ship just floated free of a drydock – but first, the 29,000 ton proto-ship became one of the largest objects moved across land when it was translated to the drydock. HII.

LHA 6 launch

May 31/12: LHA 7 main contract. A $2.381 billion fixed-price incentive contract modification, covering LHA 7 Tripoli’s detail design and construction, and installation (but not the purchase) of Government Furnished Equipment bought under separate contracts. Work will also include crew familiarization, technical manuals, and engineering and post-delivery industrial services.

Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (92.5%); Charlottesville, VA (2.4%); Beloit, WI (1.5%); Ocean Springs, MS (1.4%); Santa Fe Springs, CA (1.2%); and Brunswick, GA (1%), and is expected to be complete by June 2018 (N00024-10-C-2229). See also US Navy.


May 4/12: LHA 7 Tripoli. The Secretary of the Navy picks USS Tripoli as LHA 7’s future name. This isn’t a reference to recent events, but to the USMC’s early battles against the Barbary Pirates, immortalized in the Marines’ battle hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli…”

Appropriately enough, the 1st USS Tripoli was CVE-64, a World War 2 escort carrier that served in the Atlantic theater. The 2nd USS Tripoli was LPH-10, a helicopter carrier that served in Vietnam. US Navy.

April 4/12: A $50.3 million contract modification for additional long lead time material in support of LHA 7. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS, and is expected to complete by May 2013 (N00024-10-C-2229).

Feb 13/12: FY13 PB. The President’s budget request for FY2013 sets the contract award date for LHA 7 to May 2012, with construction to start in April 2013, and expected delivery in March 2018. A more expensive LHA 8 ship has also been added in FY 2017.

Feb 6/12: LHA 7 lead-in. A $9 million contract modification for additional LHA 7 long lead time materials. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS and is expected to be complete by May 2013 (N00024-10-C-2229).

Jan 26/12: LHA 7 delayed. Preliminary FY 2013 budget materials discuss coming shifts in Pentagon priorities, as the defense department moves to make future cuts. The America Class is involved:

“To ensure sufficient resources to protect these strategic priorities, we will reduce the number of ships by slowing the pace of building new ships and by accelerating the retirement of some existing ships. These include… Slipping a large deck amphibious ship (LHA) by 1 year.”

See: Pentagon release | “Defense Budget Priorities and Choices” [PDF]

Jan 17/12: DOT&E report. The Pentagon releases the FY2011 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The America Class is included, even though they haven’t conducted testing yet. Some of the ship’s systems have been tested elsewhere, however, and their problems affect the ship. At the same time, some aspects of the design itself are being questioned, and so is ship survivability.

The good news is that LHA 6 will likely meet its Key Performance Parameters for vehicular stowage space, F-35B capacity, vertical take-off and landing spots, cargo space, and troop accommodations; but it will have much less hospital capacity than other American LHA/LHDs. DOT&E wonders if it will be enough.

The bad news is that LHA 6’s 12,000 pound limit for the vehicle ramp from the hangar deck to the flight deck, is a serious problem. Since the America Class has no well deck and no crane, everything must be airlifted ashore. There’s no point in having a ramp that can support 70-ton tanks and 24-ton LAVs, but even an up-armored HMMWV would stress the ramp as currently designed. Worse, blast-resistant MRAP or JLTV vehicles that could be airlifted off by a CH-53K, and would be necessary for many operations, couldn’t be carried on the ship. Those limitations are magnified by DOT&E’s statement that the USN and USMC haven’t yet produced a concept of operations or concept of employment that accounts for the America Class’ lack of a well deck, or that takes advantage of its enhanced aviation capability. On which note:

“Jet blast from the F-35Bs is expected to produce unsafe forces on flight deck personnel up to 75 feet from the short take-off line. MV-22 operations produce heat levels that might damage the flight deck and overwhelm the environmental controls in the spaces immediately below the flight deck.”

A full survivability assessment report is due in FY12, but DOT&E is concerned that:

“Due to long-standing and previously identified legacy sensor limitations, LHA-6 may be vulnerable to certain airborne threat flight profiles. Based on combat systems testing on other platforms, it is unlikely that LHA-6’s Ship Self-Defense System Mk 2-based combat system (including Nulka, SLQ-32, and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile) will meet the ship’s Probability of Raid Annihilation requirement against anti-ship cruise missiles.”

This is true, but worth deeper analysis. Part of the problem is that there’s only so much weaponry one puts on ships like this. Its armament is actually substantially stronger than foreign LHDs like the Mistral or Juan Carlos/Canberra Classes, and matches up evenly against the Italian Cavour Class light carrier and amphibious support vessel. If advances in enemy weapons create a problem, other ships will have to compensate, or the cost of each NAAS ship would become very high indeed.

In this case, however, DOT&E is citing performance shortfalls against certain threat types by the ship’s component weapons: RIM-162 ESSM, RIM-116 RAM, Nulka, SLQ-32, and the ship’s radars. The radar shortfalls are a known issue, but unless the USN opted for a foreign radar design, there’s no reasonably-priced radar option that would fix them. As for the weapons, they are a real problem for the fleet, but extraneous to this one program. The long term solution is for their capabilities to improve, or the Navy to adjust its tactics to address their weaknesses, if it can.

FY 2010 – 2011

LHA 7 added to program, and lead-in buys begin; Any LHA 8 will have a well deck.

LHA 7 concept
(click to view full)

Aug 1/11: RAM. A $7.4 million contract modification for 3 refurbished and upgraded rolling airframe missile MK 49 Mod 3 Guided Missile Launch Systems with associated hardware, for use on LHA 7 (2 systems) and LCS 5 (Detroit, Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ship, 1 system).

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete by March 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00024-11-C-5448).

April 15/11: SAR to 2 ships. The Pentagon’s Selected Acquisitions Report ending Dec 30/10 includes the America Class under significant cost increases, for an obvious reason:

“LHA 6 – Program costs increased $3,458.9 million (+102.7%) from $3,367.9 million to $6,826.8 million, due primarily to the addition of one ship from one to two ships.”

March 31/11: LHA lead-in. A not-to-exceed $28.7 million contract modification for the procurement of additional long lead time material in support of “the LHA replacement flight 0 amphibious assault ship.” That could describe LHA 6 America, or LHA 7; timelines suggest that it probably means LHA 7.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (79.9%), and Pascagoula, MS (20.1%), and is expected to be complete by March 2014 (N00024-10-C-2229).

Oct 28/10: A $48.1 million contract modification for additional planning and advanced engineering services in support of LHA 7. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS, and is expected to be complete by May 2012 (N00024-10-C-2229). See also Northrop Grumman.

June 30/10: LHA 7 lead-in. A not-to-exceed $175.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for LHA 7 long-lead time material, planning, and advance engineering services. The as-yet unnamed LHA 7 will be an LHA-R Flight 0 ship just like America [LHA 6], which is now 25% complete. Long lead time materials include items like main reduction gears, which must be complete and ready to go very early in the build stage. With all contract options exercised, this contract could reach $193 million.

Work will be performed in Brunswick, GA (24.4%); locations yet to be determined (24.2%); Pascagoula, MS (23.1%); Los Angeles, CA (17.3%); York, PN (9.3%); and Brampton, Canada (1.7%), and is expected to be complete by March 2014. This contract was not competitively procured (N00024-10-C-2229). See also Northrop Grumman release.

March 30/10: GAO. The US GAO audit office delivers its 8th annual “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs report. With respect to LHA-R, it says:

“The LHA 6 began construction in December 2008 with mature technologies, but [only 65%]… of its design complete… Approximately 45 percent of the LHA 6 design is based on the LHD 8. The Navy conducted two production readiness reviews to assess the shipbuilder’s readiness to commence full construction. In addition, as of September 2009, the program office had conducted unit readiness reviews for 141 of the ship’s 216 assembly units. The LHA 6 is likely to experience further cost growth because postdelivery rework of the ship’s deck may be necessary to cope with the intense, hot downwash of the Joint Strike Fighter… The Navy is planning to conduct aircraft tests on the LHD 1 during the fall of 2010, and will then determine whether the LHA 6 [and other ships that will operate it] need to modify their flight decks. The program office does not expect the Navy to finalize a solution for the LHA 6 prior to ship delivery…”

March 22/10: Gannett’s Navy Times:

“More than two years before the amphibious assault ship America enters the fleet, Marine officials have already drawn up early plans for a version of the ship that includes a major component America is missing – a well deck. The “LHA 8 concept,” as it was called in a presentation Monday by Marine Corps Combat Development Command, would combine new aviation features the Marines want in the America class with a traditional big-deck capacity for landing craft and green gear… the Navy’s most recent shipbuilding program includes no plans for such a ship… Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has said it would be prohibitively expensive to alter the designs for America or the follow-on LHA 7, so they’ll be built as planned.”

FY 2008 – 2009

LHA 6 keel laid; America Class.

RIM-116 RAM Launch

Aug 28/09: Well deck rethink? Information Dissemination reports that the Marines may be rethinking the removal of this class’ well decks:

“When the Marines decided to remove the well deck on the LHA (R) for USS America (LHA 6), it was a decision to move towards specialization. No surprise then that this year the Marines testified in front of Congress that the well deck will be added to future LHA (R)s as soon as possible, because just the removal of the well deck turned the LHA (R) into too much of a specialization for the Marines to overcome shortcomings in necessary sealift throughput.”

July 17/09: LHA 6 keel laid. Northrop Grumman Corporation holds the keel authentication ceremony for LHA 6 at the company’s Pascagoula facility.

Per Navy and maritime tradition, ship sponsor Lynne Pace had her initials welded onto a ceremonial steel plate noting the ship’s keel had been “truly and fairly laid.” Ms. Pace is the wife of retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, the first US Marine to Chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff. NGC release.

Oct 20/08: LM2500. GE’s LM2500+ gas turbines will power the USS America, which surprises no-one. The same engine was used on LHD-8, and its use in LHA 6 was expected from the outset. Northrop Grumman’s formal selection merely makes it official.

The LHA 6 ship’s mechanical-electric propulsion system will consist of 2 LM2500+ gas turbines, each rated at 35,290 shaft horsepower at U.S. Navy standard day conditions (100 degrees F), and a pair of 5,000 hp auxiliary propulsion motors. The hybrid propulsion system enables the ship’s propellers to be driven either by the gas turbines or by the electric motors, which are powered from the ship service electrical system. This allows the ship to operate in a more fuel efficient mode throughout its speed range, and also gives it more electrical capacity to power sensors and onboard equipment. MarineLog.

June 27/08: America Class. US Navy Secretary Donald Winter announces that LHA 6 would be named USS America when it is brought into service, a move that also names the ship class.

The new America would be the 4th ship in US Navy service to bear the name; the last such ship was CV 66, the Kitty Hawk Class aircraft carrier commissioned in 1965, decommissioned in 1996, and sunk as an 2005 experiment using explosives, torpedoes and naval gunfire. US Navy | Gannett’s Navy Times.

Class named

March 20/08: LHA 6. Northrop Grumman’s Sperry Marine business unit has been selected to supply the Machinery Control System (MCS) for LHA 6, under a contract valued at approximately $47.6 million. The contract work includes hardware, software, design, engineering, logistics, training, testing and shipboard integration support. It also includes an option for continuing logistics support of the MCS and its land-based test facility through the end of the LHA 6 ship guaranty period. The work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s Sperry Marine facility in Charlottesville, VA and at the Pascagoula shipyard.

The MCS for LHA 6 will be a completely integrated network for monitoring and controlling the ship’s main propulsion plant and auxiliary systems, and will include more than 50 data acquisition units located around the ship, 25 operating consoles, 10 electric plant and propulsion plant controllers, and multiple redundant local-area network switches. It is based on a similar system being supplied by Sperry Marine for Makin Island [LHD 8], which has the same gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution and electric auxiliary systems. NGC release.

Jan 30/08: SSDS. Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense Systems in San Diego, CA received a $17.3 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5105) for FY 2008 production of 4 “Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) MK 2 Tactical Ship Sets. SSDS will form the core of the ships’ self-defense capabilities, tying together, coordinating, and even automating the sensors, weapons, and decisions involved from detection, to engagement, to kill against anti-ship missiles etc. Raytheon will also conduct a special study to define engineering changes to the SSDS MK 2 product baseline in support of the LHA 6 Combat System configuration.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete by Oct. 2009. This contract was not competitively procured.

FY 2007 and Earlier

LHA 6 initial milestones.

F-35B vertical landing
(click to view full)

June 1/07: LHA 6 order. A $2.4 billion fixed-price incentive modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-2221) for the detail design and construction of the LHA 6 Amphibious Assault Ship. The LHA 6 LHA-R Class will replace the LHA 1 Tarawa. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (95%) and New Orleans, LA (5%), and is expected to be complete by August 2012.

Philip Teel, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman’s Ship Systems sector, is quoted in Northrop Grumman’s release:

“This contract award reinforces the U.S. Navy’s confidence that we have recovered from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and are capable of meeting the warfighters’ needs in a timely and cost effective manner.”


June 15/06: LHA 6 lead-in. A $20.4 million modification under previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-2221) to exercise a cost-plus-fixed-fee option for special studies and procurement of additional long lead-time material, in support of LHA 6 ship construction. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS and is expected to be complete by December 2006.

Feb 13/06: A $93.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification under a previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-2221) exercises options to initiate engineering and detail design for the LHA-R Flight 0 Amphibious Assault Ship, and procure additional long lead time material in support of ship construction. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS and is expected to be complete by December 2006.

July 15/05: LHA 6 lead-in. A $109.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for advanced planning, long lead time materials, systems engineering, and special studies for the first LHA-R Flight 0 Amphibious Assault Ship. Work on this contract will be performed at t Work is expected to be complete by December 2006. The contract was awarded on a sole-source basis (N00024-05-C-2221). The total contract value, if all options are exercised, will be $264 million.

Aug 6/04: LHA 6 lead-in. FY 2005 Defense Appropriations Act includes $150 million for Advance Procurement related to LHA-R Flight 0

Aug 5/04: LHA-R CDD formally entered into JCIDS review process

June 17/04: Feasibility Design completed; results briefed to ASN (RD&A)

April 30/04: Required Capabilities Letter for LHA(R) Flight 0 issued by ASN (RD&A), CNO and CMC

Jan 23/04: ASN (RD&A) formally asks for additional cost vs. capability studies

September 2002: Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) Report re: possible range of ship designs completed

July 20/01: MS A Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM)

March 5/01: Mission Need Statement (MNS)

Nov 20/2000: NAVSEA’s PMS377 designated as LHA-R Program Managers


fn1. Spot factor figures, MV-22 maintenance, and fuel capabilities given in US PEO-Ships briefing presentation to the NDIA. [return to article]

Additional Readings Background: The America Class

Background: Ship Ancillaries

Background: Aircraft

News & Views

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

The Navy is buying its next Expeditionary Sea Base | Saab will soon launch its new anti-ship missile | Taiwan – MQ-9 vs Tengyun

Defense Industry Daily - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 06:00

The Navy is modifying a support agreement with Boeing. The $136.9 million contract modification extends depot level maintenance and repair services for the P-8A’s engines. The contract is supporting Poseidon aircraft that are flown by the Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. Boeing will also be responsible to conduct field assessments and provide technical assistance during engine changes. The P-8A Poseidon is a heavily militarized derivative of the globally deployed, commercially supported Boeing 737-800 airframe and commercial CFM56-7B27A/3 and CFM56-7B27AE series engines. The high-bypass turbofan engines, are each rated at 120kN. The engine has logged more than 30 million flight hours and maintains a proven high-reliability figure of merit of 0.003% in-flight shut down rate for every 1,000 hours of flight. Work will be performed at Boeing facilities in Atlanta, Georgia and Seattle, Washington. The contract is expected to run through October 2019.

General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding (NASSCO) is being contracted to start pre-production of the Navy’s next Expeditionary Sea Base. The undefinitized contract action is valued at $136.7 million and covers the procurement of long lead time material in support of Expeditionary Sea Base-6. NASSCO will use the allocated funds to acquire components for the base’s propeller and shafting, centrifugal pumps, fuel and lube oil purifiers, integrated bridge electronics, integrated propulsion, main diesel generator and steering gear components. The Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship-class is based on NASSCO’s Alaska class crude oil carrier, and incorporates a number changes that make it a highly flexible platform that can be used across a broad range of military support operations. The ESB is optimized to support a variety of maritime-based missions and is designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets. Work will be performed at multiple locations including, but not limited to, San Diego, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Busan, Korea. This contract action is expected to be completed by May 2019.

EDO Corp. Defense Systems, a subsidiary of Harris Corp., is being awarded with a $7.8 million US Navy contract to deliver nine BRU-55B/A kits, four carriage system simulators and 30 joint miniature munition interface cables. BRU-55 allows carriage of two smart weapons (up to 1000lb class) on a single aircraft station. BRU-55 weapons currently consist of JSOW missiles, 1000 lbs JDAMs, and WCMD smart cluster bombs, and it is currently deployable on the Navy’s F-18 aircraft. The BRU-55 uses the MIL-STD-1760 interface. Work will be performed at EDO’s factory in Amityville, New York and is expected to be completed in June 2021.

Middle East & Africa

An undisclosed Asian customer is buying ELM-2032 fire-control radars from Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The contract is valued at $55 million. The ELM-2032 can be delivered in different sizes, and equips a number of different aircraft. It has been fitted to F-16s, including Israel’s own fleet. The ELM-2032 is an advanced pulse Doppler, multimode planar array fire-control radar intended for multi-role fighter aircraft originated from the Lavi project. It is suitable for air-to-air and air-to-surface modes. The radar system is critical to the fighter aircraft’s weapon system effectiveness and accuracy. It detects and tracks maneuvering targets while employing advanced techniques to lock on the target. In 2012 a similar deal was struck, back then probable customers included Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and India.


Saab will launch a new version of its RBS15 Gungnir anti-ship missile system at Euronaval next week, the company says on its website. The surface launch version of the RBS15 uses the latest Mk4 missile variant. The RBS15 Mk4 development and production program started in March 2017 and incorporates a highly advanced target seeker and a range of more than 186 miles. This variant provides greater range, an enhanced defense penetration and electronic protection capability and the ability to precisely strike targets in adverse weather conditions. “With the RBS15 Gungnir we continue to build on the success and knowledge we have gained from the previous generations of RBS15. The surface launch version is a highly flexible missile system that can be integrated with existing command networks and on a wide range of the ships available on the market today”, says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Dynamics.


The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) is choosing Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen to be the country’s next supersonic jet fighter. The Philippine Air Force has been looking for new aircraft to replace its retired fleet of US-made F5 Interceptors for over a decade. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the country is opting for the Gripen due to it being cheaper and less expensive in maintenance cost than the also offered F-16. Furthermore the Gripen is a proven supersonic fighter aircraft that has been in service with several countries in Europe and the Middle East. The Philippine Air Force needs the new multi-role jetfighters to counter ongoing Chinese pressure.

Taiwan is suspending a potential MQ-9 FMS request to the US and opts to wait for its domestically produced Tengyun UAV. The Taiwanese Air Force is currently in the process of creating a UAV Reconnaissance Squadron. A deal for the delivery of MQ-8B Fire Scout drones is currently under consideration. Until now it was believed that the Scout will be supplemented with the MQ-9, however the government will now wait for the completion of the Tengyun as it is expected under the country’s national defense autonomy policy. The Tengyun development program is led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and already cost $490 million. The Air Force plans to make a final decision on the purchase after it evaluated and assessed the UAVs in coming trials.

Today’s Video

Watch: I4th Combat Aviation Brigade Training In Germany
Categories: Defense`s Feeds

The Growler is receiving AEA enhancements | Saudi Hawk jet trainer crashes ! | Germany is restarting the SMArt artillery shell program

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 06:00

Dyncorp is being contracted to support the Navy’s fleet of TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopters. The awarded contract is valued at $152.3 million and provides for logistics support services and depot level maintenance material for about 118 TH-57 aircraft. The TH-57 is more commonly known as the Bell 206 Jet Ranger, which was originally designed to meet the needs of the US Army’s 1962 Light Observation Helicopter competition as the YOH-4. It was defeated by the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse, but would later be adopted by the US Navy as the TH-57 Sea Ranger and used for pilot training. Work will be performed in Milton, Florida and is expected to be completed by November 2022.

Boeing is being tapped to enhance the AN/ALQ-218 Sensor System deployed on the EA-18G Growler. The company will add Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) System enhancements to the system’s hardware and the communication lines between assemblies at a cost of $24.4 million. The delivery order covers the modification of thirteen sets of WRA-7, WRA-8, WRA-9, and 18 AEA gun bay pallets. The AEA suite provides state-of-the-art selective-reactive and pre-emptive jamming capability. The majority of the AEA unique avionics are installed on a pallet in the gun bay and in two wingtip pods. The AEA communications receiver and jamming system provides electronic suppression and attack against communication threats. Work will be performed at Boeing facilities in Baltimore, St. Louis, St. Augustine, Bethpage, Patuxent River and China Lake. The modifications are expected to be completed in December 2020.

The Office of Naval Research is already starting to plan for the Navy’s next-generation of submarines. Electric Boat Corp will provide the service with work for the Next Generation Submarine Science and Technology Research program. The initial $14.7 million contract includes options, which if exercised, would bring the total value to $39.6 million. The Navy’s new submarines are still about two decades away from entering service, however the service is already looking towards the technologies that will allow future subs to become mother ships to entire fleets of unmanned underwater systems that find and sink the enemy. Work will be performed at Electric Boat’s facility in Groton, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by either October 2019, or October 2023, depending if options are exercised.

Middle East & Africa

One of the Saudi Air Force’s Hawk jet trainers crashed on Monday, killing its crew. The crash happened during a training flight about 62 miles from Tabuk near the Jordanian border. BAE’s Hawk 100 trainer is an advanced two-seat weapons systems trainer with an enhanced ground attack capability. The aircraft provides fighter lead-in training and navigator and weapons systems operator training. The aircraft has seven hardpoints on the wings for weapon payloads. Short-range air-to-air missiles can be mounted on the wingtip missile launchers. Saudi Arabia acquired its first Hawks in the 1980s and purchased an additional 22 aircraft in 2016 in a $3 billion deal.

The Kenyan Air Force is continuing the build-up of its helicopter fleet. During a recent visit of President Uhuru Kenyatta at a base in Nairobi one H125 and one H125M were presented. Reports suggest that the Kenyan Defense Force has received about nine helicopters from the United Arab Emirates, including the delivery of 70mm rocket launchers and a M124D Minigun. The H125 is a cost-effective armed platform with a very small footprint and excellent maneuverability. The H125M is the most capable armed scout helicopter in its category. The H125M is tailored for locating and attacking targets of opportunity. It relies on the qualities of power, simplicity, firing stability and stealth to carry out a diverse range of demanding missions. Over the years, the Kenyan Air Force has been acquiring new helicopters to bolster its operations. Recent purchases include a $253 million deal for 12 Cayuse Warriors and a second-hand AH-1 Cobra.


Czech firm Aero Vodochody rolls out its first L-39NG jet trainer, four years after it announced the aircraft’s development at Farnborough 2014. The L-39NG is based on the aerodynamic concept of the current L-39 but utilizes the latest technologies and equipment. As Flight Global notes, one of the most significant changes the L-39NG brings over the company’s legacy L-39 Albatros is the introduction of a Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan engine, in place of its previous, Ukrainian-supplied AI-25. The new generation aircraft will be used to train future pilots of 4th and 5th generation aircraft, and can be tailored to the customer’s requirements to a great extent. Andrej Babiš, the Czech Prime Minister told an audience at the launch event that Aero Vodochody’s aircraft were always used by the Czech army and that “I [he] will personally support Aero Vodochody to ensure this aircraft is a success and will ensure my fellow ministers will do the same.” First deliveries are expected in the third quarter of 2020.

The Gesellschaft für Intelligente Wirksysteme mbH (GIWS) is being contracted by the German Ministry of Defense to restart the SMArt 155 program. The SMArt 155 shells contain 2 active sub-munitions that deploy by parachute, using redundant radar/radiometer/infrared sensors to detect armored vehicles. They attack through the top armor, using explosively-formed penetrators that serve as a sort of instant tank shell. Redundant mechanisms will destroy the shell if it finds no targets, and a further backup will render it inert if they fail for some reason. More than 12,000 SMArt 155 artillery projectiles were manufactured for Germany and Switzerland, followed by Australia and Greece with final deliveries in 2006. GIWS will now source all elements and materials required to restart serial production of the projectiles, which is expected to commence in 2024.


Dassault is granting a first glimpse on Japan’s new Falcon 2000 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA). Japan has ordered a total of five Falcon 2000 MSAs for its Coast Guard. The aircraft is built in a partnership between Dassault, L-3 Platform Integration and Thales. The Falcon 2000 MSA is designed for a broad range of missions, including maritime surveillance, piracy control, drug interdiction, fishery patrol, law enforcement, search and rescue, intelligence and reconnaissance. It can also perform SIGINT, environment protection, monitoring of maritime approaches, over-the-horizon targeting (OTHT), surveillance of economic exclusive zone (EEZ) missions. The aircraft has underwing store stations for carrying a wide variety of weapons such as air-to-surface missiles, target towing equipment, electronic warfare and simulation pods. The first aircraft is due to enter service in the first half of 2019.

Today’s Video

Watch: Introducing the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

EDA Chief Executive holds talks in Poland

EDA News - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 17:38

Jorge Domecq, the EDA Chief Executive, met today in Warsaw with the Polish Minister of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak. He also had talks with the Head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Michał Dworczyk, the National Armament Director, Brig Gen Karol Dymanowski, as well as with senior representatives from the Ministry’s Capability, R&T and Budget directorates, and from the Polish Defence Policy Director’s office.   

The main topics discussed during these meetings included the current state of play and way ahead in the implementation of the various EU defence initiatives (PESCO, CARD, EDF), the recently revised EU Capability Development Priorities, Poland’s current and potential future contributions to EDA projects and programmes, the implications of the Agency’s recent Long-Term Review (LTR) as well as the EU-NATO relations.

Participating in around 40 EDA projects, Poland is among the six greatest contributors to the Agency.

“We are in an important phase of the implementation process of the various EU defence initiatives. After the approval of the revised EU Capability Development Priorities (CDP) in June, we are now finalizing the report on the trial run of the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) to be presented to Ministers in November when Member States are also expected to select the second batch of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects. More than ever, it is important that CARD, PESCO and European Defence Fund (EDF) are implemented in a coherent and coordinated manner, based on agreed EU Capability Development Priorities, and in full transparency and complementarity with NATO”, Mr Domecq stated.

Mr Domecq also attended today the opening of the Conference on the second Phase of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS II) in Warsaw (see other EDA news here).  The Forum brings together experts from the defence and energy sectors to share information and best practices on improving energy management, energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy as well increasing the protection and resilience of defence energy-related critical infrastructures. 


Further progress in sustainable energy for defence sector

EDA News - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 11:18

Over 140 experts from 27 European countries and more than 30 different institutions and organisations participate in the Conference on the second Phase of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS II). The Forum brings together experts from the defence and energy sectors to share information and best practices on improving energy management, energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy as well as increasing the protection and resilience of defence energy-related critical infrastructures.

Managed by EDA, the Consultation Forum is a European Commission initiative (DG ENER) receiving funding under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 R&I programme. The   conference of today was officially opened by Mr Tomasz Zdzikot, Polish Deputy Minister of Defence. Jorge Domecq, the EDA Chief Executive highlighted in his speech the “large number of participants which send the strong message that sustainable energy matters for defence, and a greener defence energy matters for the European Union”.

Mr Hans Van Steen, Acting Director for Renewables, Research and Innovation, Energy Efficiency, DG ENER, European Commission, underlined the importance of having seen “a network develop, information being exchanged, best practices being shared, and capacity, trust and self-confidence grow”.

The Consultation Forum provides a unique platform that can assist the Ministries of Defence of the EU Member States to generate ideas for defence energy policies, strategies, action plans and defence energy-related project ideas. This process will enable them to move towards a more sustainable energy model bringing down energy bills that can be allocated to other military priorities. In this respect, the second phase is more project-oriented, and as the Chief Executive underlined, it “presents a financial and strategic opportunity to improve energy efficiency and to diversify the energy supply and enhance resilience to security challenges”. Mr Hans Van Steen drew the participants’ attention to the fact that “At a time of tight defence budgets, the Defence and Security sector cannot afford to ignore the opportunities that a state-of-the-art approach to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources offer in terms of economic advantages, security of supply and environmental impact”. He then added that, in this context, “It is very important that the Defence community has a clear understanding of how the new EU legislation on energy could affect its work. The Energy Union Framework Strategy is not only about energy and climate: it is part of a wider policy aimed at accelerating the fundamental modernisation of Europe's entire economy, making it low-carbon and energy and resource efficient, by transforming the whole energy system in a socially fair manner.“

The Warsaw Conference focusses on a range of financing and funding options, coming either from the national public sector or the European Union instruments. To support this process, the Chief Executive has launched today the European Funding Gateway for Energy in Defence, a dedicated web-page on the EDA website. Through this instrument, he encourages the participants to explore what is “an overview of the financing and funding opportunities that the defence sector, and the Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces, industry, research and technology organisations or academia, can access at the European level for energy-related projects”.

The Conference will last two days and address several topics ranging from energy data in defence, energy metering & data collection, energy performance contracts, RES projects including energy storage to critical energy infrastructure resilience and energy-related legislation.

Next Conference

The third Conference of the Consultation Forum will be hosted by the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus and will take place in Nicosia on 26 and 27 February 2019.

About the CF SEDSS II

The Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) is a European Commission initiative managed by the EDA. It aims at bringing together experts from the defence and energy sectors to share information and best practices on improving energy management, energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy as well increasing the protection and resilience of defence energy-related critical infrastructures. On 20 October 2017, the second phase of the Consultation Forum (CF SEDSS II) was launched. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and the agreement is between the EASME executive agency and the EDA. The contract was signed on 16 October 2017 for 22 months, expiring on August 2019. 
Based on the foundations laid during the first phase of the Consultation Forum (2015-2017), the second phase has been further expanded to cover the following interrelated subjects though three main working groups (including sub-working groups): WG 1: Energy Management including Energy Efficiency (Sub-WG1: Energy Management and Sub-WG2: Energy Efficiency; WG 2: Renewable Energy Sources and Technologies; WG 3: Protection of Critical Energy Infrastructure and one cross-cutting theme: Finance.

More information:

HII on the way to redefine naval engineering | IAI plans to expand its business in North America | Will Taiwan opt for the Fire Scout ?

Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 06:00

Rolls Royce is being contracted to support the US Air Force’s Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission-Capability (ATTAM). The awarded IDIQ contract is valued at $100 million and enables the company to develop, demonstrate and transition advanced propulsion technologies as part of phase one of the ATTAM program. North American Technologies-LibertyWorks, a subsidiary of Rolls Royce, will provide the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with work on power and thermal technologies that “provide improvement in the service’s affordable mission capability.” Work will be performed the company’s facility in Indianapolis and is expected to be completed by October 2026.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is currently in the process of piloting new technologies that may redefine the future of naval engineering. The company plans to install the first certified 3D-printed metal part on an aircraft carrier. The Nimitz-class carrier USS Harry S. Truman will be fitted with a prototype piping assembly sometime next year. HII recently announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division is working with the US Navy to develop methods of additive manufacturing of metal parts for its nuclear-powered warships. Additive manufacturing is a digitized process that layers metal powder to create three-dimensional parts, and was recently approved by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). HII plans to use the process to potentially replace castings and fabricated parts such as valves, housings and brackets. Charles Southall, Newport News’ vice president of engineering and design said “this is a watershed moment in our digital transformation, as well as a significant step forward in naval and marine engineering.”

Middle East & Africa

Turkish Aerospace is being tapped to provide the Turkish military with more MALE UAVs. The 22-unit order includes the delivery of 16 Anka-S drones and six Anka-Bs. The Anka-S made its maiden flight in September 2016 and entered serial production in 2017. The platform can carry a 200kg payload, making it suitable to perform a variety of missions, such as real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), communication relay, target acquisition and tracking. The S variant can also be fitted with Smart Micro Munition (MAM-L), developed by Roketsan. The drone’s fuselage is made out of composite materials, while some fittings and frames are built using high-strength material to withstand concentrated loads. Both variant will be equipped with Aselsan’s CATS HD electro-optical/infrared sensor. Turkey’s military currently flies eight Anka-S UAVs and will start receiving the additional drones in 2019.

Israel Aerospace Industries plans to expand its business in North America. IAI currently has two subsidiaries in the US, Stark Aerospace in Mississippi and Elta North America in Maryland. Israel’s Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile canisters for example are tagged with “Made in Mississippi”. As Defense New notes, Stark’s production of the canister is part of the indigenous production of IAI parts and programs that the company expects to expand. They are key to the Arrow-3 program that received $310 million in funding from the US in FY18 and FY19. The US currently accounts for about 75% of the market for IAI. The company now plans to build the necessary legal constructs, that would make it an American entity in the US. This would allow IAI to bring its intellectual property to the US, and pitch products at a level that would increase its market share.


Jane’s reports that Leonardo is making its first sales of the Osprey-50 radar. Leonardo’s Osprey is an operating in X-Band radar based on a flat-panel antenna design. It has no moving parts and up to four AESA antennas positioned around the platform aircraft, each providing 120 degrees of coverage. The system is can be fitted with a range of antenna sizes, depending on the azimuth coverage requirement. Osprey’s flat panel design opens up the potential for installation on a long list of aircraft previously deemed unable to carry such a class of radar, including UAVs. The company did not identify the radar’s customers, but confirmed that it received an initial two orders for the Osprey’s larger aperture variant.


Taiwan’s department of defense and the navy are currently evaluating the MQ-8B Fire Scout. Taiwan’s acquisition of the Fire Scout is part of a larger agreement with the US that includes more than ten individual military procurement projects. They include the acquisition of M777 155mm precision guided munitions, P-3C ASW aircraft and improved C-130s. Taiwan’s navy will soon need to retire its ageing fleet of MD500 anti-submarine helicopters that have been in service for over 40 years, the Fire Scout together with some MH-60Rs could be chosen as a replacement. The country’s navy needs a UAS that can operate at sea and start from a narrow ship deck. The MQ-8B could be used as a multi-functional weapon system that undertakes maritime patrol reconnaissance missions, and acts as an anti-ship and anti-mine warfare platform. If Taiwan will opt for the Fire Scout is still unclear because some essential steps in the formal procurement process have not been made. Taiwan plans to spend $646 million on its navy in the coming years.

China Daily reports that AVIC is ready to start batch production of its Z-19E export variant. This decisions follows a series of performance tests and verifications, demonstrating the model is capable of entering the production phase. The Z-19 is a light attack and reconnaissance helicopter developed and manufactured by Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, it is based on a license-built variant of the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin multi-purpose helicopter, and is able to conduct attack, armed reconnaissance and scout missions. While the Z-19 is operated by the Chinese army, it is not clear if AVIC has secured a customer for the Z-19E. Though not confirmed talks are said to be on with several countries in Africa, Middle East and parts of Asia to sell its military helicopters.

Today’s Video

Watch: F-35 pilot makes history with revolutionary way of landing jet on board HMS Queen Elizabeth

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

EDA promotes Civil-Military collaboration in the 13th ICAO Air Navigation Conference

EDA News - Mon, 10/15/2018 - 15:13

The European Defence Agency (EDA) is actively participating in the 13th Air Navigation Conference of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), under the umbrella of the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE). The agenda of the conference themed 'From Development to Implementation' includes a topic on civil-military cooperation. The EDA plays a key role in this domain and at EU level, to facilitate the coordination of military views and act as interface between the Military community and the EU institutions. As a result, EDA coordinated the development of the working paper proposed by the EU on this topic.

ICAO Member States and aviation stakeholders attend the conference to exchange on global strategies for safety and air navigation planning, development and implementation. As part of the European Union delegation mandated by Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, Mr Christophe Vivier, Head of Unit SES/SEAR, and Mr Denis Bouvier, Project Officer SES Policy, will participate on behalf of the EDA.

This year’s conference focuses on the implementation of operational improvements from the conceptual phase until deployment. It emphasizes the importance of concepts for global use, the development of regional implementation plans and the local implementation of performance improvements, based on specific operational requirements in a cost-effective approach. Participants will establish priorities for safety and air navigation planning for the coming years and develop a set of high-level recommendations in different key performance areas of the air navigation system, to be submitted to the ICAO Council for subsequent endorsement by the 40th Session of the ICAO Assembly in 2019.

In close collaboration with the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) the Agency contributes to technical discussions on civil-military cooperation and coordinates the European Union’s military inputs towards it. Civil-military cooperation is necessary to enhance Air Traffic Management (ATM) as well as communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS), and to create a safe and more interoperable airspace. Its goal is to move from coordination to collaboration and from ATM research and development to implementation.

This contribution from the EDA reflects the strong collaboration links forged with DG MOVE regarding the military side of the SES/SESAR operations. The overall objective is to ensure that a modernised aviation system will accommodate the needs of all stakeholders, including the military, for operations and training, all types of platforms (manned and unmanned) and all types of missions, roles and applications, in a balanced and proportioned way, in peace time and in crisis situations.

In preparation for this important event, the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) set up an ad-hoc ECAC/EU coordination group for safety and ATM in which the EDA was represented. This group, co-chaired by the European Commission and by ECAC, has been tasked to steer the preparation of draft ‘European Working and Information Papers’ to be presented at AN-Conf/13.

Regarding Civil-Military cooperation, the AN-Conf/13 will be invited to agree on four recommendations:

  1. Urge States to agree with the strategic approach moving from civil-military coordination to collaboration.
  2. Request ICAO to provide appropriate guidelines on the strategic approach.
  3. Encourage ICAO to develop together with States mechanisms to collaborate with the military community at global and regional levels.
  4. Request ICAO to reinforce the development of civil-military synergies thanks to an effective collaboration starting from research and development to deployment of interoperable systems.

The final report will be available in two weeks.

More information:



DoD grounds all F-35s | Lockheed Martin & Rheinmetall pitch Black Hawk to Germany | China’s new stealth-bomber is making progress

Defense Industry Daily - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 22:00

Parts of the global F-35 fleet are currently grounded in the wake of one of the aircraft crashing in South Carolina two weeks ago. The initial investigation that followed the incident, concluded that the crash was caused by a faulty fuel tube. The DoD’s Joint Program Office says in a statement that “the US Services and international partners have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations while the enterprise conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft.” So far, the F-35 has run into its share of problems, including faulty ejection seats, software issues and maintenance problems. The US military currently has 245 JSF’s in its service while there are 75 F-35s in the international fleet. However, whereas the Israeli Air Force halted all F-35i flights, the UK decided not to ground its jets but paused some F-35 flying as a “precautionary measure.”

Iridium Satellite LLC is being awarded with a $44 million contract modification that provides for the extension of services on the current airtime contract. The DoD is Iridium’s largest single customer, with the company supplying up to 40 percent of DoD satellite demand. From 2015 through 2017, Iridium replaced its former low-earth-orbit satellite constellation with a total of 72 new satellites and on-orbit spares, which provide more features, more flexibility, and more bandwidth to US troops. Performance of this contract will be at Iridium’s facility in Tempe, Arizona and is set to run from October 22, 2018 through to April 21, 2019.

Middle East & Africa

The Cameroonian military is taking delivery of its new Panthera T6 armored personnel carriers (APCs). The Panthera T6 is produced by Dubai-based firm Minerva Special Purpose Vehicles (MSPV). The APC is based on the Toyota 79-series 4×4 chassis and can be used in urban and cross-country patrol and border security operations. The T-6 is available in various body configurations and offers protection against assault rifle fire and two DM51 hand grenades. The T6 is powered by a 4 litre V6 petrol engine driving all four wheels through a five speed manual transmission. It seats two plus six, although other seating arrangements are available. The Cameroonian military will equip its Rapid Intervention Battalions with the new APC’s. The Battalions are currently conducting on a counter-insurgency deployment in the southwest and northwest regions.


Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall are teaming up in an attempt to land a tender to supply new heavy-lift helicopters to the German military. Together they will make a joint bid to supply the German navy and air force with a number of MH-60s. The navy is currently in the process of replacing its fleet of 21 Westland Sea Lynx ASW helicopters, which will be retired in 2025. The air force also plans to replace its current fleet of heavy-lift helicopters, a process that will likely cost about $4.6 billion. Competitors for this tender will likely include Airbus with its NH90 and AgustaWestland.

Flight Global reports that OCCAR is moving forward to upgrade the fleet of Tiger attack helicopters. The European defense procurement agency has placed two multinational de-risking contracts that are directly linked to the planned mid-life upgrade program for the Tiger. The program consists of a series of agreements with Airbus, MBDA and Thales and is conducted on behalf of France, Germany and Spain, which currently have 136 Tigers in their fleets. The program will bring the Tiger to an enhanced Mk III standard that sees for the integration of new avionics and an improved weapon system. OCCAR currently plans to reintroduce the first modernised helicopter to operational use between 2025 and 2026.


Chinese media confirms what years of reports and rumors suggested, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will soon be able to fly a new stealth-bomber. A documentary broadcast by China Central Television claims that the Hong-20 or H-20 is currently making “great progress” and will soon make its maiden flight. The Chinese government had disclosed it was working on this type of aircraft in 2015, but did not give it an official designation at that time. The bomber is developed by the Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China. There is little hard data about the H-20, but the information that is available says that it will reportedly be a stealthy flying wing that can carry at least 10 tons of weaponry out to an unrefueled range of approximately 5,000 miles. The Hong-20 will be an essential platform for China’s nuclear triad consisting of ground-based ICMBs, sea-launched SLBMs and nukes launched from long-range bombers. Experts believe that the aircraft will make its first flight in early 2020.

The South Korean military is opting for Raytheon’s Standard Missile family to thwart potential missile attacks from North Korea. Maj. Gen. Kim Sun-ho, the head of Joint Chiefs of Staff’s force buildup planning bureau recently confirmed that the military will procure the naval-based SM-3 interceptor. The SM-3 will be part of the Korea Air and Missile Defense network (KAMD) and serve along the US Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. The SM-3 is designed to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and its Block IB variant allows for defense against medium range missiles fielded by countries like North Korea and Iran, and some Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles developed by those regimes. No details about the timetable for adopting the SM-3 have been given so far.

Today’s Video

Watch: Spitfire flyby

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

USAF spends $2.3b on its EELV program | Lockheed will continue THAAD Field Support | Pakistan tests nuclear-capable ballistic missile

Defense Industry Daily - Fri, 10/12/2018 - 06:00

The US Air Force is awarding a series of contracts for the development of a Launch System Prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. The contracts are part of a portfolio that aims to leverage commercial launch solutions to meet National Security Space requirements. This includes the launch of the heaviest and most complex payloads the US military has to offer.

The first contract is awarded to United Launch Alliances and is valued at $967 million. This covers the an initial investment for the development of ULA’s Vulcan Centaur launch system. The Vulcan is being developed to replace both the Atlas-5 and Delta-4 families which will be phased out beginning in 2018. By 2023 ULA plans to introduce a more powerful Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) to the Centaur second stage. ACES, assisted by six solid rocket boosters will be able to outlift the existing Delta 4 Heavy. ULA’s work will be performed at it’s factories in Centennial, Colorado; Decatur, Alabama; and at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Vulcan is expected to be ready for launch by end of March 2025.

The second contract is valued at $791.6 million goes to Orbital Sciences Corp, which will develop the OmegA launch system. Orbital’s OmegA rocket’s initial intermediate-payload configuration consists of a solid-rocket booster a second stage powered by the company’s Castor 300 or Castor 600 solid-rocket motor, and a third stage powered by two Aerojet RL-10C engines. By adding up to six strap-on boosters, OmegA will be capable of launching payloads of up to 22,266 lbs. to a geostationary transfer orbit, and payloads of up to nearly 17,200 lbs. to geostationary equatorial orbits. The OmegA will be produced at a variety of Orbital facilities including Chandler, Arizona; Magna and Promontory, Utah; Iuka, Mississippi; West Palm Beach, Florida; Sandusky, Ohio; and Michoud, Louisiana. The OmegA will be launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Orbit is expected to complete the rocket by December 31st, 2024.

The third contract is being awarded to Blue Origin LLC owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The $500 million order covers the initial development of the company’s New Glenn launch system. New Glenn is a new reusable rocket family, the three-stage version is 313 feet tall. The first stage is modelled after the reusable booster New Shepard and significantly reduces cost and maintenance. A single, vacuum-optimized BE-3 engine, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, powers its third stage. Work will be performed at the company’s factories in Kent, Washington and Huntsville, Alabama. The New Glenn will have its launch facilities at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB and is expected to be ready by July 2024.

In the coming months the companies will create launch system prototypes; ultimately, the Air Force will narrow the field from three to two developers, who will continually compete for national security rocket launch opportunities from fiscal year 2020 onward. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is currently left out of the competition but may be able to join the program at a later stage. Under the EELV program, the competitors must develop or source domestically-produced propulsion systems — a reversal of the current status quo. (end)


General Electric is being awarded with a eight-year IDIQ contract to support the Air Force’s ATTAM program. The contract has a ceiling of $250 million and provides for the development of next generation turbines. The Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission-Capability program aims to develop and demonstrate inlet, engine, exhaust nozzle, and integrated thermal management technologies that enable optimized propulsion system performance over a broad range of altitude and flight velocity. The new engine design will use adaptive fan blades and engine cores to generate high thrust when needed, and optimize fuel efficiency when cruising or loitering, in order to combine the best characteristics of high-performance and fuel-efficient jet engines. Work will be performed at GE’s factory in Cincinnati, Ohio and is expected to be completed by October 2026.

Lockheed Martin is receiving a contract modification to a previously awarded Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Field Support Contract (TFSC). The modification is valued at $164 million which raises the contract’s total ceiling value to $725 million. Lockheed will continue to provide logistics, in theatre support, software support, missile support and security and engineering services. THAAD is designed to intercept incoming enemy ballistic missiles as they begin their terminal descent phase in low space and the upper atmosphere. This modification also incorporates activities in support of the the International Engineering Services program and Field Surveillance program. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factories in Huntsville, Alabama; Sunnyvale, California; Grand Prairie, Texas and Troy, Alabama. The ordering period remains from March 25, 2010, through March 31, 2019.

Middle East & Africa

Pakistan is consolidating its nuclear capability and is reaffirming it’s deterrence regime. The country conducted a test launch of its Ghauri or Hatf-V ballistic missile on Monday, October 8. The Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Public Relations team published a video that shows the missile to successfully launch and the dummy re-entry vehicle striking a land-based target. The Ghauri is a medium-range, road-mobile, liquid-fueled ballistic missile that can carry a 1.400 lbs payload. The Ghauri is a Pakistani modification of North Korea’s Nodong ballistic missile. Pakistan is thought to possess around two dozen Ghauri missiles. The Army states in a press release that “the launch was conducted by Army Strategic Forces Command and was aimed at testing the operational and technical readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command”, and that the missile “can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads up to a distance of 1300 km.” The ability to strike Indian targets make the missile a core part of Pakistan’s strategic missile forces.


Jane’s reports that the Spanish Ministry of Defense is selecting the Orbiter 3 UAV for overseas missions. The $3.6 million deal between Spain and Israeli company Aeronautics provides for the delivery of two Orbiter 3 systems, each comprising three UAVs. Orbiter can be ground or sea-launched from a catapult and uses a low acoustic signature electric motor for propulsion during missions of up to seven hours duration at a range of 100 km. On land, the UAS is recovered by means of a parachute and deployed airbag. The Orbiter 3 carries a triple sensor payload that is specifically designed to fulfil an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) role. The UAV can be assembled on 20 minutes, can fly-autonomous and will be used to protect Spanish bases and troops on overseas missions.


BAE Systems Australia is currently in the run to secure a deal for the continued support of Australia’s Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and LHD Landing Craft (LLC). BAE is teaming up with Atlantic & Peninsula Australia, Saab Australia and Navantia Australia. Together they offer an experienced team that can maintain the capabilities of the LHD assets and optimise the sustainment and support system. Atlantic & Peninsula Australia previously worked on the HMAS Choules, a dock landing ship, while Saab supported the LHD combat system in the past. Navantia is the designer of the Canberra-class and also manufactures the class’ hulls. The Royal Australian Navy’s new Canberra-class LHDs are be able to serve as amphibious landing ships, helicopter carriers, floating HQs and medical facilities for humanitarian assistance, and launching pads for UAVs or even short/vertical takeoff fighters.

Today’s Video

Watch: Raytheon High-Energy Laser Mission Scenarios

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Zephyr Ultra-Long Endurance UAVs

Defense Industry Daily - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 05:56

Zephyr Flight
(click to view full)

QinetiQ’s Zephyr is a very high-flying, ultra-light solar powered UAV designed to break existing flight length records. It’s one of the contenders in DARPA’s Vulture program, which eventually expects to field an aircraft whose flight length will be measured in years.

The platform also attracted the independent interest of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ. In May 2009, they issued a $44.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to QinetiQ North America in Arlington, VA for 7 Zephyr UAVs and 1 ground station. Work will be performed in Farnborough Hampshire, United Kingdom, and is expected to be complete in May 2014. This contract was competitively procured via a Broad Agency Announcement (N68335-09-C-0194).

The DefenseLINK release cited “up to 3 months continuous operation” as the performance goal, which matched DARPA’s Phase 2 goals. On the other hand…

  • Zephyr, and NAWCAD [NEW]
  • Contracts & Key Events [NEW]
  • Additional Readings [NEW]

Zephyr, and NAWCAD

Zephyr launch, 2010
(click to view full)

In May 2009, DARPA informed DID that this is not their award, adding that their Vulture program’s Phase 2 contract wasn’t expected until summer 2009 or so. Instead, the NAWCAD contract award marks the 2nd phase of a Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program jointly sponsored by the US OSD DDRE and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence. Testing will include evaluating potential payloads, as well as advancing the concept of operations for operating long endurance persistent aircraft in excess of 5 days.

The program has achieved that goal, and more. As part of this effort, Zephyr’s wingspan has been lengthened to 22.5m/ 73′ 10″, and the wing shape and aerodynamics have been redesigned to lower drag further. The team added batteries, and a totally new integrated power management system. Zephyr flies by day on power from Uni-Solar’s amorphous silicon solar arrays no thicker than sheets of paper. These are also used to recharge Sion Power Inc.’s lithium-sulphur batteries, which power the aircraft at night. The entire UAV is easy to transport in a standard road transport container, and is actually hand-launched by a small team. Despite its size, Zephyr’s carbon fiber construction means that it weighs just 50 kg/ 110 pounds.

While DARPA programs are necessarily long term affairs, the redesigned Zephyr UAV offers near-term value. Conflicts need persistent surveillance with a wide field of view, and a UAV that has low support costs or infrastructure needs, is easily transported in other aircraft, and can stay in the air for 14 days or more, would have its own niche.

Zephyr would offer very long-endurance surveillance that can be flown in on jet transports, unlike a blimp. It also offers far better endurance and lower fuel costs than other UAV options. That’s especially valuable in roles like communications relay, which is important in harsh terrain like Afghanistan that routinely breaks line-of-sight, and will have growing value on our bandwidth-constrained battlefields.

In addition to the obvious defence and security applications, QinetiQ envisions commercial uses include environmental research, monitoring crops and pollution, providing tactical intelligence over disaster zones or forest fires, and delivering mobile communications capabilities in remote areas. Until UAVs can be used in civil airspace, however, and the payloads that let them do so are light enough, Zephyr’s potential uses will remain military.

Contracts & Key Events 2018

October 11/18: Zephyr eyed by US Army The US Army Futures Command is interested in buying Airbus’ Zephyr S HAPS system. The new group is the Army’s fourth command and is tasked with driving the service into the future to achieve clear overmatch in future conflicts. The command wants to use the high-altitude pseudo-satellite for a variety of missions, including as military, security and civil missions and acting as a communication hub. The Zephyr is built out of carbon fibre composite materials and is solar powered. The drone set the world record for flight endurance in July after staying aloft using solar cells for 25 days 23h 57min. Willie Nelson, the Futures Command’s director, told Flight Global “I think they are an incredible capability that we should continue to invest [science and technology] dollars into research and development”. The UK has currently three Zephyrs on order. They will provide British troops with battlefield intelligence and surveillance. The US Army currently has no funded program to acquire high-altitude UAVs.

2009 – 2016

February 5/16: The UK plans to buy two unmanned solar-powered aircraft, known as Zephyrs, which are capable of carrying small payloads that might consist of reconnaissance cameras or communications equipment. The Zephyrs hold the absolute endurance record for un-refuelled aeroplanes staying up for 336 hours, 22 minutes and eight seconds. Developed in the UK by QinetiQ, the technology has been recently bought and marketed by Airbus with the MoD’s vote of confidence expected to lead to an increase in sales. High altitude, solar powered planes have often been used for civilian purposes by companies like Google and Facebook to deliver broadband to locations that lack fixed-line connections.

July 23/10: Zephyr successfully lands after 14 days (336 hours and 21 minutes, launched July 9/10) flying over Yuma Proving Grounds, AZ and is now awaiting official confirmation of its world record status. If FAI confirms the feat as expected, Zephyr will have broken both the UAV and manned time aloft records. The current title holder is Rutan’s manned Voyager at 216 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds (9 days), set in December 1986. QinetiQ’s chief designer, Chris Kelleher said:

“The brand-new ‘production ready’ Zephyr airframe incorporates totally new approaches to aerodynamics, structures, propulsion, avionics, flight controls, power system management, thermal control, ground control station design and payload, as well as overall operating processes… We’ve also had to design for temperatures of around plus 40ºC on the ground to below minus 75ºC at altitude, ever changing weather systems including storms and high winds – and Zephyr took them all in its stride. It is a truly fantastic achievement.”

July 16/10: QinetiQ announces that Zephyr is breaking UAV records on its current endurance flight. It has already passed the 7 day / 168 hour mark, doubling its own previous record of 82 hours, 37 minutes set in 2008, and crushing the current official world record of 30 hours 24 minutes set by Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4A Global Hawk on March 22/01.

Longer Global Hawk flights have been held since, but record certification requires the presence and oversight of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). At QinetiQ’s invitation and with customer permission, an FAI Official has been monitoring progress at the Yuma Proving Ground. Zephyr’s world records will not become official until the aircraft is safely back on the ground. QinetiQ.

Nov 23/09: QinetiQ’s Zephyr High-Altitude Long-Endurance unmanned aerial system (HALE UAS) resumes flight and payload evaluations in Yuma, AZ, as a joint US/UK Zephyr team undertakes the first operation of the system with a US flight crew. This test sequence, jointly sponsored by Britain’s Ministry of Defence and the USA’s OSD DDRE, focused on evaluating potential payloads as well as advancing the concept of operations for UAV flights longer than 5 days.

This was the first deliverable following the $44.8 million enabling contract awarded in May 2009 to QinetiQ North America for operational training in the US, accelerated development, in-theatre evaluation, and possible transition to production of Zephyr and its associated ground station. QinetiQ.

Additional Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

The US Army integrates DeepStrike | The Zephyr is being eyed by the US Futures Command | “S-300 is not a match for the F-35i” – Israeli official claims

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 19:00

The US Army is introducing a more lethal long-range missile to its inventory. The service is now able to fire Raytheon’s DeepStrike missile from its M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS launchers. The launchers are now outfitted with a launch pod missile container. This launchers are now able to fire two missiles from a single weapons pod. The DeepStrike is Raytheon’s answer to Russia’s Iskander Ballistic missile and has been designed to fulfil the requirements of the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program. According to the Army the LRPF program is its “number one modernization priority and critical to winning in a peer adversary”. The DeepStrike will be the Army’s future surface-to-surface missile that can engage moving sea and land-based targets at ranges of up to 309 miles, ultimately replacing the ATACMS missiles. Live-fire demonstrations are expected to be held by the end of 2019.

Embraer’s first series production KC-390 successfully completes its maiden flight. This milestone allows the multi-mission medium airlifter to join the Brazilian Air Force’s flight test campaign, in which over 1.900 flight hours have been logged so far. Embraer states that the Brazilian aviation authority ANAC will soon issue the basic aircraft with a civil certification. The KC-390 is a T-tailed, high-winged, hump-backed form as a full military aircraft and C-130 competitor.

The US Army Futures Command is interested in buying Airbus’ Zephyr S HAPS system. The new group is the Army’s fourth command and is tasked with driving the service into the future to achieve clear overmatch in future conflicts. The command wants to use the high-altitude pseudo-satellite for a variety of missions, including as military, security and civil missions and acting as a communication hub. The Zephyr is built out of carbon fibre composite materials and is solar powered. The drone set the world record for flight endurance in July after staying aloft using solar cells for 25 days 23h 57min. Willie Nelson, the Futures Command’s director, told Flight Global “I think they are an incredible capability that we should continue to invest [science and technology] dollars into research and development”. The UK has currently three Zephyrs on order. They will provide British troops with battlefield intelligence and surveillance. The US Army currently has no funded program to acquire high-altitude UAVs.

Middle East & Africa

Israeli defense firm Smart Shooter unveils a new optical device that helps soldiers to engage targets under crowded and stressful conditions. The SMASH 2000 Plus can be placed on a wide range of small arms, such as the M4 Carbine, and according to the company virtually guarantees rounds on target. The SMASH consists of an imaging system, a firing processor and user display. A number of sensors allow the optical device to track ground and aerial drone targets, once the soldiers acquires a target the system works out a firing solution and releases a shot. The device helps fatigued and stressed soldiers to effectively engage enemies or drones in congested environments. The 2000 Plus is the latest variant, and is specifically designed to accurately hit fast and maneuverable tactical drones during the day and at night. The SMASH system is currently in use by the Israeli Defense Force and was successfully tested by US SOFs and other military agencies.

An Israeli official claims that Syria’s new S-300 is not a match for the IAF’s F-35i fighter aircraft. The official told Israel’s Army Radion on Wednesday that the Russian supplied air-defense missile system can be “defeated by Israel’s stealth fighters and possibly destroyed on the ground”. Tzachi Hanegbi also told the radio station that the S-300’s capabilities had long been factored into Israeli planning. The F-35 is designed as an ‘affordable stealth’ counterpart to the F-22 Raptor, in addition the F-35i incorporates Israeli-made electronic counter-measures systems. Experts have noted that although, the S-300 has systems that are designed to detect and track the presence of low observable aircraft such as the F-35i, its low-band early warning radars may not be able to accurately target the aircraft. The Russian government confirms that the delivery of the S-300 to Syria is a response to an incident last month that resulted in the downing of a Russian spy plane.


Thales and Leonardo are testing the jointly-developed end-to-end missile warning and protection system in live-fire scenarios. According to a press release, the system successfully demonstrated it’s ability to very quickly defend against incoming missiles, during a recently held Surface-to-Air Launch Trial hosted by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration. The warning and protection system consists of the Miysis DIRCM system and DAS controller provided by Leonardo and a Thales Elix-IR multi-function TWS. The Elix-IR warning system provides alert about incoming threats which typically are heat-seeking missiles equipped with infrared seekers such as inexpensive Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) used by terrorist organizations and military operators worldwide. The Miysis system tracks and jams the incoming missile’s guidance system, steering the missile away from the target. This latest-generation protective system is a UK Sovereign capability and has been specified to meet the requirements of the UK Ministry of Defense.


The Australian Army is ordering a laboratory from Spain’s Indra. The awarded contract is valued at $25.4 million and provides for the design and manufacture of a deployable forensic laboratory. This new facility will help soldiers to faster collect, analyse, and document the evidence from IED attacks. Deployable Forensic C-IED Laboratories are intended to analyze the intelligence and evidence gathered at the scene of an IED event quickly, to both give a commander quick actionable intelligence and support subsequent exploitation. Procurement of this facility gives the Australian Army it’s needed Joint Counter Improvised Explosive Device Capability as outlined under the Land154 Phase 2 procurement program. According to the company, over 90% of the contract will be carried out by Australian equipment manufacturers and distributors.

Today’s Video

Watch: “Fat Albert” Flies Over San Francisco • Cockpit View

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

EDA supported course relevant to defence receives ERASMUS+ funding

EDA News - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 17:23

The European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme, funded by the European Commission to support education and training, has awarded €3 million for a transnational advanced Master course relevant to defence called EMIMEO: 'Erasmus Mundus on Innovative Microwave Electronics and Optics'.
EDA contributed with data analysis to the application which was put forward by a consortium led by the Université de Limoges in France to access ERASMUS+ funding. 

EDA’s support to EMIMEO is justified by the fact that it addresses analog RF Photonics and Microwaves which are in the critical defence technologies list and also part of the Capability Development Plan (CDP) where they are considered as enablers for advanced radars and electronic warfare systems. The European defence industry and research institutes are looking for engineers and researchers with skills and competences in this complex field.

Under its activities related to Key Strategic Activities (KSA) in defence meant to identify key domains for European strategic autonomy, EDA has selected the area of RF Photonics as a relevant sample case. The EMIMEO Master course will contribute to support European skills and competencies in this domain, as well as the competitiveness and non-dependence of the European high-tech industry (including defence and space) in the development of Photonics and Microwave applications.
The international partnership (encompassing industry, universities and associations in 6 Member States) includes the following participants:

  • Università di Brescia (Italy), Universidad Del Pais Vasco/ Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (Spain), Aston University (United Kingdom), Universitatea Tehnica Cluj-Napoca (Romania);
  • Altran Italia SpA and Hitachi Rail Italy SpA in Italy;
  • GMV Aerospace and Defence SA, and TTI Norte SL in Spain;
  • Oclaro Technology Ltd in United Kingdom;
  • European Microwave Association in Belgium;
  • Alcatel-Lucent International Sas, Amcad Engineering, Competitiveness cluster Alpha-RLH, Callisto France, III-V Lab, Inoveos, NOKIA, CNES, Thales Alenia Space France, Thales SA and United Monolithic Semiconductors SAS, Zodiac Aerospace  in France.

This successful case is another example of the importance of ensuring consistency and coherence between European defence priorities and EU funding opportunities. Against this backdrop, EDA will continue to serve its Member States' Ministries of Defence, research centres, universities and industries in an integrated manner on all relevant dimensions: R&T, key skills and competencies, industrial supply-chain.

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