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Defense`s Feeds

A great day for engines | Raytheon sees an AMRAAM boost | The Tucano flies in the Middle-East

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 06/04/2018 - 06:00
Americas

  • The Navy is awarding a contract modification in support of the F-35 Lightning II program. Pratt & Whitney Military Engines will produce more propulsion systems for the fighter jet under this $2 billion contract. This includes the production of 10 engines for the Navy, 51 for the Air Force and 25 for the Marine Corps. In addition, 50 engines will be procured for non-US DoD participants and foreign military sales customers. The F-35 was set to offer interchangeable engine options. That has been an important feature for global F-16 and F-15 customers, improving both costs and performance, and providing added readiness insurance for dual-engine fleets. Pratt & Whitney’s lobbying eventually forced GE & Rolls-Royce’s F136 out of the F-35 program and made their F135-PW-100 engine the only choice for global F-35 fleets. A special F-135-PW-600 version with Rolls Royce’s LiftFan add-on, and a nozzle that can rotate to point down, will power the vertical-landing F-35B. The F135 engine’s size and power are unprecedented in a fighter, but that has a corollary. Environmental impact studies in Florida showed that the F-35A is approximately twice as noisy as the larger, twin-engine F-15 fighter, and over 3.5 times as noisy as the F-16s they’re scheduled to replace. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Connecticut; Indianapolis, Indiana and Bristol, United Kingdom.

  • Roll-Royce Corp. is being tapped for the provision of engines in support of the V-22 Osprey platform. The contract, which is valued at $28.25 million provides for the procurement of 15 engines in total. The Marine Corps will receive 7, 6 will be delivered to the Navy and the remaining 2 are reserved for the Air Force. The AE1107C engines weight 971 pounds each and deliver 7,000 shaft horsepower. Rolls Royce has so far produced more than 860 V-22 engines. The V-22 tilt-rotor program has been beset by controversy throughout its 20-year development period. V-22 Initial Operational Capability didn’t begin until 2007, about 24 years after the initial design contract. A long series of design issues and mass-fatality crashes almost got the program canceled, but Congressional industrial lobbying preserved it. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expected to be completed in May 2019.

  • The Air Force is boosting its inventory of AMRAAMs. Raytheon Missile Co. will produce 18 additional AIM-120D missiles at a cost of $14,1 million. Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. The US-only AIM-120D missiles feature the C7 improvements, but the D version adds a very strong set of upgrades. Pentagon documents confirm the use of smaller system components; with an upgraded radar antenna, receiver & signal processor; GPS-aided mid-course navigation; an improved datalink; and new software algorithms. The new hardware and software offers improved jamming resistance, better operation in conjunction with modern AESA radars, and an improved high-angle off-boresight “seeker cone,” in order to give the missile a larger no-escape zone. Less-publicized improvements reportedly include a dual-pulse rocket motor, for up to 50% more range and better near-target maneuvering. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Tucson, Arizona and is scheduled for completion by January 2021.

Middle East & Africa

  • The Lebanese Army (LAF) recently received four more light-attack and reconnaissance aircraft. Lebanon has thus received all of its six ordered Embraer EMB 313/A-29 Super Tucano’s. Originally built by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer to survey Amazonian territory, the aircraft was later weaponized. There are now over 200 Super Tucanos operated by 10 countries, many in Latin America and Africa. The planes represent an upgrade from the few other fixed-wing aircraft used by the Lebanese Air Force in recent years. The all-glass cockpit is fully compatible with night-vision goggles. The pilot is protected with Kevlar armor and provided with a zero/zero ejection seat. The aircraft is fitted with two central mission computers. The integrated weapon system includes software for weapon aiming, weapon management, mission planning and mission rehearsal. Onboard recording is used for post mission analysis. The first two aircraft arrived in October 2017. The US State Department said in March that the Super Tucanos are part of a $340 million assistance package to improve the LAF’s capabilities. This also includes 32 surplus M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, the delivery of which is expected to be completed this year.

Europe

  • The Dutch Army has taken delivery of new armored engineering vehicles. The Netherlands is co-operating with Sweden on the procurement of 10 Dutch and six Swedish Kodiaks. The AEV was developed by Rheinmetall Landsysteme and RUAG. Built on a Leopard 2 chassis, the 62-ton Kodiak is equipped with a high performance hinged-arm excavator with a quick-release coupling for deploying additional combat engineering tools. Thanks to a quick-release coupling, the excavator bucket can be exchanged for a number of other devices, including a hydraulic hammer and a universal-gripper. All of these tools are electro-hydraulically controlled and can be operated by the driver with two joysticks, giving the Kodiak a wide range of military and civilian/disaster related uses. As an alternative, the dozer blade can be swapped for a full-width mine plough, and the vehicle can be fitted with a signature-duplicator and lane-marking units. This turns the Kodiak/Geniepanzer into a high-performance minefield-breaching system. Back in 2008 the Dutch acquisition has had an investment budget of €75.5 million, roughly $88.1 million. The Kodiak will be available for the NATO Response Force Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2019, the Dutch MoD said.
  • Jane’s reports that ‘Team 31’, a group led by defense manufacturer Babcock is currently bidding for the UK Royal Navy’s Type 31 general-purpose light frigate program. Its proposal, the ‘Arrowhead 140’ is based on be based on Danish ship design consultancy Odense Maritime Technology’s Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate, which is in service with the Royal Danish Navy. The Type 31e program envisages the fast-track acquisition of a class of five globally deployable frigates geared towards forward-deployed maritime security, presence, and defense engagement. The ships would be manufactured at Babcock’s yards in Rosyth and Appledore in Devon, as well as at Ferguson Marine on the Clyde and Harland and Wolff in Belfast. At almost 140m the platform will optimize operational flexibility. This ‘wide beam’ ship is easier to design, easier to build and easier to maintain due to its slightly larger size. And with embedded iFrigate technology able to deliver digitally enabled through life support. $1.75 billion has been set for the procurement of the five ships, which are intended to enter RN service from 2023 to replace five general purpose-role Type 23 frigates.

Asia-Pacific

  • South Korea’s AESA radar system development program in support of its KF-X fighter is gaining traction. The South Korean Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has confirmed that the radar system has completed a two-year preliminary design phase and will now move to the critical design stage before a design review in May 2019. Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars offer dramatic increases in fighter performance, and an equally dramatic drop in maintenance costs, thanks to their large array of independently excitable and steerable transmit/receive modules. Advantages over mechanical phased array radars like the KF-16s’ APG-68 include 2x-3x range or performance, simultaneous ground and air scans, and near-zero maintenance over the fighter’s lifetime. After a successful design review, DAPA aims to produce a pilot prototype by 2020, with a first installation on KF-X prototypes by 2022. The radar is a product of cooperation between Hanwha Systems, the Agency for Defense Development and Korea Aerospace Industries. After the $334 million radar project is completed, Korean Aerospace Industries aims to produce about 250 twin-engine KFX fighter aircraft.

Today’s Video

  • Taiwan kicks of assembly of advanced jet trainer!

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

V-22 Osprey: The Multi-Year Buys, 2008-2017

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 06/04/2018 - 05:56

(click to view full)

In March 2008, the Bell Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX received a $10.4 billion modification that converted the previous N00019-07-C-0001 advance acquisition contract to a fixed-price-incentive-fee, multi-year contract. The new contract rose to $10.92 billion, and was used to buy 143 MV-22 (for USMC) and 31 CV-22 (Air Force Special Operations) Osprey aircraft, plus associated manufacturing tooling to move the aircraft into full production. A follow-on MYP-II contract covered another 99 Ospreys (92 MV-22, 7 CV-22) for $6.524 billion. Totals: $17.444 billion for 235 MV-22s and 38 CV-22s, an average of $63.9 million each.

The V-22 tilt-rotor program has been beset by controversy throughout its 20-year development period. Despite these issues, and the emergence of competitive but more conventional compound helicopter technologies like Piasecki’s X-49 Speedhawk and Sikorsky’s X2, the V-22 program continues to move forward. This DID Spotlight article looks at the V-22’s multi-year purchase contract from 2008-12 and 2013-2017, plus associated contracts for key V-22 systems, program developments, and research sources.

The V-22 Program

Documentary

V-22 Initial Operational Capability didn’t begin until 2007, about 24 years after the initial design contract. A long series of design issues and mass-fatality crashes almost got the program canceled, but Congressional industrial lobbying preserved it.

The current objective is 472 Osprey tilt-rotors: 360 MV-22 Marine Corps aircraft, 14 VH-22 Presidential squadron, 50 CV-22 aircraft for USSOCOM (funded by USSOCOM and the Air Force), and 48 HV-22 Navy aircraft.

USMC. The Marine Corps plans to field:

  • 18 active squadrons x 12 MV-22B
  • 2 reserve squadrons x 12 MV-22B
  • 1 fleet replacement squadron x 20 MV-22B

A requirements-based analysis is underway to increase the program of record to 388, which would involve the introduction of VMM-362 and VMM-212 in FY 2018 – 2019.

As of November 2014, the USMC says that they’re 65% through its transition from CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, with 13 full operational capability squadrons. Remaining switchovers will involve the West Coast, Hawaii, and the reserves, with some basing shifts, and the last CH-46E retiring from HMM-774 in early FY 2015.

Presidential. Beyond the USMC’s combat and training units, a squadron of 12 USMC VH-22s now serves in the Presidential squadron, effectively replacing past CH-46E and CH-53E helicopters. The President never rides in them, though – they’re solely for supplies, aides, etc. By FY 2016, the squadron will be full at 14 planes.

Navy. There was supposed to be an V-22 for the US Navy, but its expected roles in search and rescue etc. were taken up by the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter. Technically, a buy of 48 HV-22s has always been part of the program. In reality, the US Navy has made no moves to adopt the platform. That may change as of FY 2016, if the V-22 can win a likely competition for the next Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) platform to replace the fixed-wing C-2A Greyhound.

Indeed, on January 13, the Bell-Boeing consortium signed a memorandum of understanding with the Navy to provide the replacement for Carrier Onboard Delivery services. The big challenge will be whether or not the Osprey can handle the behemoth F-35 engine, the F-135.

The Osprey certainly didn’t compete on price or operating costs against remanufactured C-2s that use technologies from the derivative E-2D Hawkeye production line, while Lockheed Martin’s refurbished and modified C-3 Viking offered jet speeds and the unique ability to carry whole F135 jet engines inside. Boeing and Textron relied on the Navy valuing the V-22’s commonality, and ability to land on more of the carrier group’s ships, enough to pay a lot more for less internal capacity.

To date, there have been no exports of the V-22. Israel is mulling over an offer for an expedited buy of 6 MV-22s, and Japan is contemplating 20-40 MV-22s to equip their new Marines, but neither has signed a contract. As of October 2014, formal briefings have also been given to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Italy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the UAE.

MV-22 vs. CV-22

MV-22 & M777
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The V-22 comes in 2 variants.

MV-22. The US Marines operate the MV-22, whose most current configuration is Block C. A subtype of the MV-22 serves in the Presidential squadrons, as the VH-22.

The current MV-22 Block C’s enhancements (software version C1.01) include forward-mounted AN/ALE-47 defensive systems, move the MV-22’s Ice Detectors, improve dust protection for the engines, and add a redesigned Environmental Control System (ECS) to keep devices and troops from overheating. A “Cabin Situational Awareness Device” displays essential mission information, including access to GPS updates for handheld devices, plus way points, flight plans, location, etc. for troop commanders inside. For the pilots, a Color Weather Radar System provides weather detection, ground mapping to 20 nm, and sea search. Electronic Standby Flight Instruments (ESFI) replace the analog standby instrument cluster, and a Day Heads-up Display (HUD) feeds its data to a helmet-mounted monocle. A Traffic Advisory System (TAS) was intended to warn MV-22 pilots of other aircraft that might hit them, but it doesn’t work properly.

As of October 2014, operational USMC squadrons mostly fly the MV-22B Block B. This mix is expected to shift in the near future: from 8 MV-22B Block B and 4 MV-22B Block C per squadron, to an even 8:8 ratio. The VMMT-204 training squadron is different, and will contain Block A and Block B aircraft until Block As are fully phased out FY 2018.

The USMC currently has a real problem escorting MV-22s, with AH-1Z Viper helicopters not really fast enough, and AV-8B Harrier jets a bit too fast. Future plans include more jamming and warning devices, as well as offensive upgrades. Weapons haven’t been very successful on the V-22 yet, thanks to the huge position arc of the tilting rotors. Fixing that requires significant changes like BAE’s IDWS cut-in belly turret, but many pilots prefer to just use the craft’s speed as a defense. Future USMC concepts of operations may not always give them that luxury, so the USMC plans to add an Advanced Targeting Sensor with full laser targeting. It would be accompanied by some kind of precision strike weapon, type undetermined. Those kinds of weapons wouldn’t suffer from the same arc-of-fire problems, but wide turbulence variations could make release testing fun and exciting.

At present, MV-22B Block D is only in the initial planning stage. Block D will serve as a mid-life upgrade, with a partial but much-needed focus on reliability, maintainability, and operating costs. We won’t see an MV-22C until the mid-2030s.

Afghan mission

CV-22. US Air Force Special Operations Command operates the CV-22, which adds more sophisticated surveillance capabilities, beefed-up defensive systems that include the AN/ALQ-211v2, extra fuel tanks, and useful capabilities like terrain-following flight. Its most current configuration is the CV-22 Block 20.

A 2013 incident in South Sudan led to several operators being injured by small arms fire that punched up through the CV-22’s belly. AFSOCOM is looking at lightweight armoring modifications to try to improve that situation.

V-22 Budgets & Buys

Excel
download

Initial Operational Capability in 2007 was followed by a big Multi-Year Procurement contract in FY 2008, which ended up buying 175 V-22s (143 MV-22s, 32 CV-22s) for about $14.416 billion.

The US fiscal situation is almost certain to lead to serious defense budget cuts, so the V-22’s manufacturers responded by trying to lock the government into a 2nd multi-year contract, creating cancellation penalties that would make the Osprey too expensive to kill, and impossible to seriously reduce. Enough contracts like that will end up gutting other USMC investments when cuts do hit, and could lead to even more serious problems if V-22 fleet operations and maintenance costs don’t start dropping very quickly (vid. Nov. 29/11 entry).

That wasn’t the manufacturers’ concern, however, and it wasn’t the Navy’s, either. The FY 2013 budget included a submission to buy 98 more V-22 aircraft (91 MV-22s, 7 CV-22s) under a 2nd fixed-price multi-year contract, between FY 2013 – FY 2017. The MV-22s will be bought by the Navy for the Marines, while the CV-22s aircraft are a joint buy involving the USAF and SOCOM. To get approval for a multi-year buy, they had to demonstrate at least 10% cost savings over the same buys placed year by year. Their proposal hoped to save $852.4 million, or 11.6% of the total, at the price of less flexibility in the number bought through FY 2017:

Proposed V-22 follow-on MYP 2013-17 Year Qty Net Proc.
($M) Savings FY13 21 1,693 38 FY14 21 1,741 185 FY15 19 1,541 226 FY16 19 1,468 229 FY17 18 1,430 225 Total 98 7,922 852 Source: US Navy, FY13 PB [large PDF].
Totals may not add up due to rounding up and FY12 Advance Procurement (incl. $50M for cost reduction initiatives).

The actual contract and budget plans ended up being a bit different, per the June 12/13 entry and the data and graphs above. Instead of 98 Ospreys (91 MV-22, 7 CV-22) for $6.5 billion, the actual MYP-II contract adds up to 99 tilt-rotors for $6.524 billion.

Contracts & Key Events

AFSOC CV-22
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Unless otherwise noted, US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issues the contracts, and the Bell-Boeing Joint Program tiltrotor team in Amarillo, TX is the contractor.

Note that “low power repairs” are triggered when an AE1107 engine’s Power Assurance Check (PAC) reads below 96%. It’s normal for aircraft engine performance to drop somewhat over time, and the fix involves engine removal for maintenance and tune-up.

FY 2017-2018

 

Rocket test

June 4/18: Royal Engines Roll-Royce Corp. is being tapped for the provision of engines in support of the V-22 Osprey platform. The contract, which is valued at $28.25 million provides for the procurement of 15 engines in total. The Marine Corps will receive 7, 6 will be delivered to the Navy and the remaining 2 are reserved for the Air Force. The AE1107C engines weight 971 pounds each and deliver 7,000 shaft horsepower. Rolls Royce has so far produced more than 860 V-22 engines. The V-22 tilt-rotor program has been beset by controversy throughout its 20-year development period. V-22 Initial Operational Capability didn’t begin until 2007, about 24 years after the initial design contract. A long series of design issues and mass-fatality crashes almost got the program canceled, but Congressional industrial lobbying preserved it. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expected to be completed in May 2019.

April 26/18: VARS testing The US Naval Air Systems Command has confirmed that the V-22 Aerial Refueling System (VARS) will start testing this fall. According to a US Marine Corps statement published by the Marine Corps Times, VARS-equipped Ospreys will be capable of providing an additional 10,000 pounds of fuel to aircraft forward deployed with Marine Expeditionary Units, extending the range of aircraft such as the F-35B and other V-22s. The Corps expects its new refueling system to be operational by fiscal year 2019 and will be welcomed by the Corps as troops are being shifted across the Pacific—nearly nine thousand Marines are being moved off Okinawa, Japan, where they will be disbursed to other locations like Guam and Hawaii. Furthermore, the USMC is kicking off its largest deployment yet to Darwin Australia, at nearly 1,587 Marines as part of its annual six-month rotation.

April 12/18: Export Sales Push Israel is considering joining the potential procurement of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft with a larger heavy-lift package that aims to replace its fleet of aged CH-53 Yasur helicopters. Tel Aviv had initially put a pause on buying six Ospreys last year, three years after the US State Department cleared the potential sale. However, the freeze was short-lived with Israeli officials restarting talks over their purchase late last year. According to NAVAIR officials, any sale of V-22s would be part of a package with heavy-lift helicopters—Israel is considering both the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion and the Boeing CH-47F Chinook—adding that European countries such as Italy, Norway, Spain and the UK have also been targeted as potential foreign buyers for the Osprey. The export push comes as the V-22 joint program office looks to fill vacant production capacity ahead of the release of a third multi-year production contract for V-22s this summer. According to Flight Global, the next five-year production plan calls for introducing CMV-22s with the US Navy, and delivering 17 V-22s ordered by Japan, along with additional shipments to the USMC and AFSOC.

March 23/18: Engine orders The US Navy has tapped Rolls Royce to build and deliver 14 AE 1107C engines for use in the V-22 Osprey program. Valued at $31 million, the contract modification will see 12 engines go to Ospreys used by the Navy while the remaining two will go to the Marine Corps. Work will take place at Rolls’ Indianapolis, Indiana plant with a scheduled completion date set for March 2019. In 2012, Rolls landed a $598 million contract for 268 engines destined for the USMC and Air Force. In 2013, it received an $84 million contract for 38 more AE 1107C engines for the two military branches.

January 22/18: Software & Hardware Upgrades The Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office (JPO) has been tapped by the US Navy to provide upgrades onboard V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. The order, totalling almost $35 million, calls for the provision of software and hardware upgrades for 28 flight training devices necessary to integrate aircraft software version B 6-01/C 4.01 into 23 Marine Corps MV-22 training devices and software version 20.4.01/10.6.01 into nine Air Force CV-22 training devices. Most of the work will take place in Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas, with the rest spread through locations in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, New Jersey and the United Kingdom. Contract completion is scheduled for April 2022.

January 11/18: Contracts-Item Repair Lord Co. of Pennsylvania were awarded Monday, a five-year long-term US Navy contract for the repair of three items used on the V-22 Osprey aircraft. The firm specialises in adhesives, coatings, specialty chemicals, electronic materials, vibration & motion control, and magneto-rheological (MR) fluids, and their Active Vibration Control (AVC) System is used to minimize vibration and reduce weight in helicopters. Work will take place at the firm’s operation in Erie, Pa., with a scheduled completion date of January 2023. Funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Navy also announced last week that the latest Osprey variant, the CMV-22B Osprey, will replace the C-2A Greyhound for carrier onboard delivery duties to the service’s carrier vessels. The aircraft are expected to be operational by 2024, with the full transition expected by 2028.

December 11/17: Lot 23-Long-lead Materials Bell-Boeing will acquire for the the US Navy, additional long-lead material and associated efforts required for the production and delivery of seven V-22 Lot 23 tilt-rotor aircraft. Awarded under a $19.6 million firm-fixed-price contract, work will run until December 2018 at several US locations. US Navy aircraft procurement funds from fiscal year 2018 for the full value of the contract have been obligated at the time of award and do not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

November 16/17: Support Contract A US Department of Defense (DoD)contract has tapped Bell-Boeing for “field representative and logistic support services” in support of Japanese V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. Valued at just of $10 million, the cost-plus-fixed-fee contract will be mostly carried out at Camp Kisarazu, Japan, with other work taking place in Pennsylvania and Florida. Scheduled completion is set for December 2019. Japan received the first of its 19 ordered Ospreys in August.

August 07/17: The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office has received a $57.1 million US Navy contract modification to carry out modifications to the MV-22 Osprey fleet operated by the US Marine Corps (USMC) in support of the V-22 Common Configuration-Readiness and Modernization (CC-RAM) Program. Under the terms of the agreement, the funding will go towards the retrofit of one MV-22 as a test for improving readiness and eventual modification of the MV-22 fleet to the Block C common configuration. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania (80 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2019. The Block C configuration includes improved environmental controls, chaff/flare countermeasures, navigation upgrades and command-and-control displays.

June 27/17: Deliveries of V-22 Ospreys to Japan will commence in September, according to the Joint Program Manager, Marine Col. Dan Robinson. Tokyo ordered 14 of the aircraft back in 2014 and it plans to base several of the aircraft on the helicopter carrier Izumo, while more will be deployed defend its territorial holdings in the East China Sea. On the export front, Japan is looking to build on the success of its lease of TC-90 aircraft to the Philippines by teaming with the US in order to boost sales of used military helicopters aircraft to South East Asia.

June 1/17: Triumph Group will continue to manufacture parts for the V-22 aircraft if Boeing Bell successfully negotiates its next V-22 Osprey Multi-year 3 contract with the US Navy. In a renewed statement of work, Triumph added that it will also manufacture cargo ramps and doors for the aircraft, in addition to components including the empennage, elevator, ramp extensions, ramp mounted weapons system floor boards, main landing gear doors. Deliveries of the components in support of the Multi-year 3 contract would begin in 2019.

March 26/17: New British Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will not have V-22 tiltrotor aircraft onboard, according to a written parliamentary reply to Lord West. Lord West, a retired Royal Navy officer and former government minister, had asked if the government was considering the Osprey for use by the state’s special forces. In response, the government stated that the aircraft was not part of plans to deliver the UK Carrier Strike capability. However, the MoD will continue to explore a variety of options to augment the capabilities of the carriers.

February 9/17: The USMC has given March 2019 as the date for declaring initial operational capability for the V-22 Aerial Refuelling System (VARS). Four V-22 Osprey’s will be part of the initial program and will be able to refuel all fixed-wing USMC fighters and the CH-53 helicopter. The V-22 joint program office is looking at the feasibility of adding a chin-mounted gun and crew-served door guns for the Osprey, the latter being of particular interest to the service.

December 20/16: The US Navy has awarded the Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office two contract modifications to perform repair services for the sailing branch’s V-22 Osprey aircraft. Valued at $246 million and $165.7 million, the awards are part of a contract with options that can reach a total value of $545 million if all options are exercised. Work is expected to be completed by December 2019.

November 29/16: The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office has been awarded a $267.2 million US Navy contract modification for additional logistics support for MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. Under the deal, both the USMC MV-22 and the USAF Special Operations Command CV-22 variant will be covered. The contract runs until November 2018.

FY 2016

 

July 21/16: Bell-Boeing has been awarded a $545 million deal to manufacture and deliver four MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft. The July 19 Navy contract will see the USMC variant of the aircraft delivered to the government of Japan, adding to a number of V-22s ordered in 2014. Delivery of the systems is expected for May 2020.

June 15/16: The US Navy took an MV-22 from VMX-1 aboard aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson for flight trials on June 12. Testing comes as the service moves to induct the CMV-22B variant as the replacement for the Northrop Grumman C-2 Greyhound twin turboprop in the aircraft carrier logistics role at sea. The purpose of the MV-22 tests is to allow crews to experience landing on an aircraft carrier as opposed to landing on an amphibious ship, like with the USMC. Additions to the Navy model will see the installation of extra fuel bladders to extend its range from 860nm to approximately 1,150nm, as well as a beyond line-of-sight radio and public address system so that crews can communicate en route to the aircraft carrier’s deck, or between other ships in the battle group.

June 1/16: The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office has been awarded a $58.8 million US Navy contract in order to develop and integrate the V-22 aerial refueling system (VARS) for the MV-22. Once installed, VARS will operate by using a portable refueling station that will roll up the Osprey’s back ramp and into its back cabin. Crews will use it to aerially refuel F-35s, F/A18 Hornets and other aircraft – including V-22s and CH-53 helicopters – by extending a hose and drogue out the open back ramp. NAVIR will supervise the contract execution, and the whole project is to be completed by June 2019.

May 19/16: The Navy’s V-22 Osprey program has set 2018 for the deployment of the aerial tanker variant of the USMC’s MV-22B. Once the new capability is installed, it will be possible for the air combat element of a Marine Expeditionary Unit to refuel in air its F-35 Lightning II strike fighters and CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters, and eventually even other V-22s may be a possibility. This capability will extend the reach of the amphibious ready groups for strike and assault missions.

May 2/16: A USMC MV-22 Osprey has given a successful ground refueling of a Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The one-hour test consisted of hooking up fuel transfer lines between the two aircraft with the MV-22 fueling the F-35B with an aerial refueling to follow. Both aircraft will be used to allow the Marine Corps to employ assets in austere environments on short notice without having to rely on long-term planning and fixed facilities.

April 27/16: The DoD has issued a notice to modify the V-22 so that a 18-inch gimbaled multispectral sensor can be lowered from the tilt-rotor’s cargo hold well. The new sensors will increase the ability of the US military to target enemies from afar, giving the aircraft similar situational awareness and precision targeting capabilities to the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Predator UAV. Up to four competing sensor solutions will be tested at the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) tactical demonstration next year.

April 3/16: The US Navy has given Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office $151 million to start development work on the CMV-22B, the naval variant of the V-22 Osprey. The new plane will be used a as a carrier onboard delivery plane. Work included in the contract involves adding new radios, a public address system, and extra fuel tanks to the new tilt-rotor variant by the manufacturer, and it is expected that the Navy will be placing orders by the end of next year.

March 1/16: The USAF Special Operations Commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold wants three more V-22 Ospreys before the product line ceases. 51 aircraft are already being funded through fiscal year 2016, however three more have been suggested as extra attrition reserves. According to budget documents, there are no further plans to procure the aircraft in fiscal years post 2016, so any additional orders would need to be added quickly before the end of production. Having four aircraft in attrition reserve as back-ups when an aircraft goes down will ensure that AFSOC forces are flying at its capacity of at least 50 airplanes well into the future, Heithold said.

January 20/16: Testing of a new blade for the V-22 Osprey is to take place after the current rotor blades fitted to the aircraft were deemed too labor intensive to manufacture. The new prop rotor blade has been designed as part of the manufacturer Bell’s Advanced Technology Tiltrotor (ATTR) program, which aims to reduce production costs for the aircraft. The test has been derived from ongoing development work on the next-generation V-280 with flight testing of the new modified components due to last between 2017-2018.

November 13/15: The USMC is hoping that foreign production orders will cover a gap in V-22 Osprey production between 2017 and 2020, with a planned multi-year buy appearing insufficient to keep the Boeing production line healthy until a newer variant is introduced. By bringing in orders from international partners, the per-unit price of future multi-year buys could be reduced by around 10%. Countries such as Japan, South Korea and Israel could be precisely the type of orders the Marines are hoping for. The latter of which could receive the aircraft as part of a US military aid package currently under negotiation.

FY 2015

Export prospects. Firing forward.

September 2/15: The Japanese defense budget will again break the record, but increase only 2.2 percent to ¥5.09 trillion. Programs funded include the V-22 Osprey, with this year’s expenditures covering the purchase of a dozen.

August 17/15: The Marines are exploring possible upgrades to their fleet of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. This plan would involve bringing 131 A and B model Ospreys up to the C spec in order to access the higher availability rates offered by the C variant. The C model boasts a variety of improvements on earlier models, including a redesigned Environmental Control System (ECS) to keep devices and troops from overheating. The Marines are now reportedly in talks with manufacturer Boeing to establish the likely costs of these upgrades.

July 15/15: The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office was handed a $332.5 million contract modification to manufacture and delivery five MV-22B Block C Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to Japan, following a DSCA request in May. The Japanese government requested seventeen of the aircraft, with this contract subsequently revising the number down. This latest modification has been tacked onto a December 2011 contract which covered the manufacture of MV-22 and CV-22 aircraft for the US Air Force and Marine Corps. Japan announced its intention to procure the tiltrotor aircraft last November, with this marking the first international export for the type.

June 19/15: The United Arab Emirates is reportedly showing interest in procuring V-22 tiltrotor aircraft from Boeing, following the Paris Air Show. The possible sale of the aircraft to Israel is still on hold, with Japan recently requesting seventeen Ospreys in a $3 billion sale. The company has also been chasing the United Kingdom and Singapore as possible future customers. However, the future of the aircraft is uncertain despite optimism from the manufacturers.

November 2014: rocket tests. Bell Helicopter announces on Dec. 8 that forward-firing capability was successfully tested during the previous month at the US Army Proving Ground in Yuma, AZ. V-22s refuel and reload from Forward Arming and Refueling Points (FARPs), and Bell hopes that the installation of forward-firing weapons will reduce reliance on them. This may also reduce the need for V-22s to be escorted by slower attack helicopters, and the absence of a forward-facing gun was among the trade-offs that mired the program’s early years in controversy. Back during the program’s prehistory planners had considered turret-mounting a GAU-19 gatling gun in the aircraft’s undernose [GDAS PDF, 2002].

Nov 3/14: USMC Plan. The USMC’s Aviation Plan to 2030 has a number of sections that are relevant to the V-22. The V-22 Aerial Refueling System (VARS) roll-on capability is being developed to field with the F-35B’s West Pacific deployment in summer 2017, as a near-ship aerial tanker for large-deck amphibious assault ships. Follow-on certifications would aim to refuel other V-22s and helicopters.

The MV-22’s own ability to refuel in the air currently has flight clearance for USMC KC-130s and USAF KC-10s. The next certifications will involve Omega Air Tanker’s private K-707s, and the USAF’s forthcoming 767-based KC-46s. Deployment dates aren’t given for those.

The V-22 fleet is scheduled to get LAIRCM defenses against infrared-guided missiles in 2016, and radar-related defenses are in the Survivability Upgrade Roadmap, but not extra armor (q.v. May 22/14). The Interoperability Upgrade Roadmap makes the MV-22 the lead platform for the the Software Reprogrammable Payload communications package, with integration beginning at the end of FY 15. It’s eventually expected to include full voice/ data/ video compatibility, datalinks like Link-16 and TTNT, and even full airborne communications gateway capabilities. The other future IUR item of especial interest is integrated RFID for cargo and personnel.

Finally, plans exist to beef up MV-22 weapons and “increase all-axis, stand-off, and precision capabilities.” This will include an upgraded Advanced Targeting Sensor with full laser targeting. The huge position arc of the tilting rotors makes guns very difficult to use, absent significant changes like BAE’s IDWS cut-in belly turret. But there’s no issue for small precision gravity weapons like ATK’s Hatchet or MBDA’s Viper-E, small missiles like Raytheon’s Griffin, or well-understood weapons like 7-rocket pods with APKWS laser-guided 70mm rockets, or (less likely) the future JAGM missile.

Weight and complexity are always worth considering before making these kinds of weapon modifications, especially in light of evidence that V-22s already need more belly armor. The V-22’s wide turbulence variations could also make weapon release testing fun and exciting. On the other hand, the USMC currently has a real problem escorting MV-22s, with AH-1Z Viper helicopters not really fast enough, and AV-8B Harrier jets a bit too fast. If the weight trade-off works, a precision weapons option may help solve some operational gaps. Sources: USMC, Marine Aviation Plan 2015 [PDF].

USMC Aviation Plan

MV-22 landing

Nov 2-5/14: Israel. Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon is recommending the cancellation of several deals with the USA, including the V-22. A potential purchase of more F-35s has survived, but the V-22, more KC-135 aerial tankers, radar-killing missiles, and radar upgrades for Israel’s F-15s have not. Instead, recent fighting in Gaza, and developments in Lebanon and Syria, are pushing him toward more buys of precision weapons and ground forces equipment. The weak protection of Israeli M113s has come in for particular criticism.

The decision isn’t final, and the IDF and Mossad were both lobbying to keep the V-22s, in advance of a planned Nov 5/14 meeting of high-level ministers. That meeting showed weakened F-35 support, which may open a door for the V-22s. The USA’s Letter of Offer and Acceptance, which will expire on Dec 10/14, reportedly allows Israel to buy 6 V-22s and initial infrastructure for about $900 million, instead of the $1.3 billion mentioned in the DSCA announcement. The arrangement with the USMC would also ensure delivery by 2016, and funding arrangements involve commercial bridge loans that would be repaid with future American military grant aid. Those are fine terms, and there is both commercial and strategic value in securing Israel as the V-22’s 1st export customer. Now that Japan is also stepping up, however (q.v. Oct 16/14), this isn’t an offer that’s likely to be repeated. Then again, with new technology like Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider emerging, Israel may be field lower-cost, fully-armed options with similar flight performance by 2019 or so. Sources: Defense News, “Israeli Brass Urge MoD To Stick With V-22 Deal” | Times of Israel, “Ya’alon said to cancel aircraft purchase from US” | Times of Israel, “Ministers may look to shoot down F-35 jet deal”.

Oct 23/14: ECM. Northrop Grumman in Rolling Meadows, IL receives a $7.9 million task order for 1-time engineering in support of the MV-22’s Integrated Aircraft Survivability Equipment Suite upgrade, including integration of the AN/AAQ-24(V)25 software with an electronic warfare controller and the MV-22 mission computer. All funds are committed, using FY 2014 US Navy aircraft budgets.

Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, IL, and is expected to be complete in April 2016. Fiscal 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,926,639 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-10-G-0004, #00506).

Oct 16/14: Exports. Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos says that he’s pleased with the V-22 (not he’d say anything else), and specifically mentions the roll-on/roll-off aerial tanker capability as something that’s going well. He adds that a 2nd second foreign country is expected to announce plans to buy the V-22 Osprey within the next 6 months, joining Israel (q.v. Jan 14/14) as an export customer.

That country is almost certainly Japan; they have said as much (q.v. Dec 14/13), and supposedly want 20-40 tilt-rotors overall. The article adds that formal V-22 briefings have been given to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, (Israel), Italy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the UAE. Sources: Reuters, “US sees second foreign buyer for V-22 Osprey in six months”.

FY 2014

Israel confirmed for 6; Japan to buy at least 17; Prep & orders for new ECM systems; Lots of support contracts; Still looking for an engine alternative?

MV-22
(click to view full)

Sept 25/14: Training. A $24 million firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement to upgrade the MV-22 Consolidated V-22 Electronics Maintenance Trainer, V-22 Sponson Part Task Trainer, V-22 Aircraft Maintenance Trainer, and Power Plants Training Article Trainers to the Block C configuration, to keep them in sync with serving tilt-rotors. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 and 2014 Navy aircraft budgets.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (35%); Fort Worth, TX (34%); St. Louis, MO (14%); Ozark, AL (11%); Jacksonville, NC (5%); and Mesa, AZ (1%), and is expected to be complete in December 2016 (N00019-12-G-0006, DO 0092).

Sept 25/14: Training. A $10 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for upgrades to 13 Marine Corps MV-22 training devices to the MV-22 Block C-2.01 configuration. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 Navy aircraft budgets.

Work will be performed in New River, NC (86%), and Miramar, CA (14%), and is expected to be complete in September 2016. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL manages the contract (N00019-12-G-0006, DO 0026).

Sept 23/14: Support. A $36.6 million contract modification for the repair of various V-22 parts, including the Prop-Rotor Gearbox and HUB Assembly. Funds will be committed as required, using FY 2014 Navy budgets.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX, and is expected to be complete no later than Sept 30/15. One company was solicited for this non-competitive requirement in accordance with 10 U.S.C.2304 (c)(1), and 1 offer was received by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-14-D-039N, PO 0001).

Sept 11/14: Support. A $9.6 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for one-time engineering involving the MV-22’s variable frequency generator-generator control unit update. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 US Navy budgets.

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (56%); Philadelphia, PA (43%); and Amarillo, TX (1%), and is expected to be complete in March 2017 (N00019-12-G-0006, DO 0109).

Sept 9/14: Support. A $9.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order buys spare V-22 flight display components, building up a stock of components that are no longer easily available due to production closeouts and material shortages. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 Navy budgets.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA, and is expected to be complete in December 2016 (N00019-12-G-0006, DO 0061).

Sept 17/14: Engines. Rolls Royce seems to be taking the threat of an engine switch (q.v. Sept 1/14) seriously. Their latest release touts modifications that improve performance 17% at the US military’s standard challenge limit of 6,000 foot hover out of ground effect in lift-sapping 95F degree temperatures.

They also tout $90 million in ongoing investments under their MissionCare support costs by the hour deal. Reducing maintenance costs per flight hour by 34% since 2009 is very good for the firm’s bottom line under that scenario. Whether it’s at a level the US military would call good, of course, depends on its absolute price. As a hedge, Rolls Royce can also point to 730 AE-1107C engines delivered, ground tests that have demonstrated potential upgrades to over 8,800 shp, and the MT7 engine derivative’s role in the US Navy’s forthcoming SSC hovercraft. Sources: Rolls Royce, “V-22 flight tests validate ‘hot and high’ capability for Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines”.

Sept 3/14: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $10.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for AE1107C MissionCareTM support, including “lower power engine removals and repairs.” All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy O&M budgets.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015. US Navy NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-10-C-0020).

Sept 1/14: Engine alternative? The Pentagon is still looking into alternatives to the V-22’s Liberty engine, but that has been true for years (q.v. March 8/10). The Wall Street Journal:

“The V-22 Program is continually investigating ways to reduce the life cycle costs of the aircraft,” the U.S. Navy, which manages the program, said in an email. “Knowing that more than 90% of the operational use of the V-22 is in the future, coupled with budget pressures, it is prudent to investigate alternatives to existing systems and the engine is no exception.”

The catch? The engine has to be fully retrofittable into the V-22, with minimal to no impact on the V-22’s physical characteristics, and equal or better performance, without costing more. One imagines that the Pentagon would have a candidate already, if that combination was easy to find. Lesson: if you need non-standard power output levels, for a totally different airframe concept, it’s going to be tough to replace. Sources: WSJ, “Rolls-Royce Under Threat for Osprey Engine Deal” [subscription].

Aug 28/14: MV-22 ECM. A $21.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for non-recurring engineering in support of the “MV-22 Integrated Aircraft Survivability Equipment Universal Urgent Needs Statement Effort.” This order helps fund initial steps toward replacing the missile warning system and radar warning receiver system, and upgrades the capabilities of the countermeasures control system and associated software. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy procurement budgets.

AFSOC is already rolling with something like that for its CV-22s (q.v. Aug 1/14).

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (86%); Fort Walton Beach, FL (4%); Hurst, TX (2%); Salisbury, MD (2%); and various locations throughout the United States (6%), and is expected to be complete in April 2016 (N00019-12-G-0006, #0096).

Aug 1/14: CV-22 ECM. Exelis, Inc. in Clifton, NJ receives a $190 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide AN/ALQ-211 Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasure components and related services, on behalf of the Technology Applications program office and CV-22 program office. The contract has a 5-year base period and a 3-year incentive award period, with $8.6 million committed immediately for the 1st task order from FY 2014 US SOCOM O&M funds.

The CV-22 uses the ALQ-211v2 variant; US SOCOM also uses this system in its MH-60 (ALQ-211v7) and MH-47 (ALQ-211v6) helicopters, and each platform has a slightly different mix of components and capabilities. The V-22 has slightly weaker jamming, for instance.

Work on the base contract will continue until July 30/19, and individual task orders will be funded with operations and maintenance or procurement appropriations under the appropriate fiscal year. This contract was a not competitively procured by US Special Operations Command in Tampa, FL, in accordance with FAR 6.302-1 (H92241-14-D-0006). See also: Exelis, AN/ALQ-211 brochure [PDF].

July 29/14: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $29.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, buying Mission Care support by the hour for the V-22’s AE1107C engine, including flight hours, and lower power engine removals and repairs. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy, USAF, and SOCOM O&M budgets.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015 (N00019-10-C-0020).

July 22/14: Upgrades. A $69.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order covers Phase II non-recurring engineering of the V-22’s Improved Inlet Solution (IIS). It includes completion of preliminary and critical design reviews; installation of an IIS retrofit kit for installation on a CV-22 aircraft for demonstration and operation; installation of aircraft instrumentation to support flight test analysis; flight and qualification testing of the IIS design; and removal of the instrumentation from the test aircraft following flight testing. $31.3 million un FY 2014 USAF and US Navy RDT&E funds is committed immediately.

Work will be performed Amarillo, TX (73%), and Philadelphia, PA (27%), and is expected to be complete in December 2018. This delivery order combines purchases for the USAF ($41.8 million / 60%) and the U.S. Navy ($27.9 million / 40%). US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-12-G-0006, 0073).

July 21/14: Japan. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera confirms that the 17 MV-22s Japan plans to buy over the next 5 years (q.v. Dec 14/13) will be stationed at Saga city’s commercial airport in northwestern Kyushu. This keeps the Ospreys close to Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture, which will hold Japan’s planned amphibious force. Saga will also be usable by the US Marines when the MV-22s from MCAS Futenma conduct training, exercises, or operations in mainland Japan. Sources: Asahi Simbun, “SDF to deploy 17 Osprey aircraft at Saga Airport”.

July 8/14: Upgrades. A $14.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for research, engineering and technical analysis “of new capabilities of the V-22 aircraft.” It combines USAF ($8.8 million / 60%) and US Navy ($5.9 million / 40%), and $2.1 million in FY 2014 R&D funding is committed immediately.

Work will be performed at Ridley Park, PA (55%) and Fort Worth, TX (45%), and is expected to be complete in June 2019 (N00019-12-G-0006, DO 0089).

June 12/14: Support. Small business qualifiers Form Fit and Function, LLC in Patterson, NJ wins a $9.8 million firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to manufacture “peculiar support equipment” for the V-22: hub and blade stands, blade trailer adapters, restraint tools, and actuators. $1.8 million in FY 2012 and FY 2013 USAF/ US Navy aircraft procurement budgets is committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Patterson, NJ, and is expected to be complete in June 2017. This contract was competitively procured via a HUB Zone set-aside electronic RFP, and 4 offers were received by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-14-D-0024).

June 4/14: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $9.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to a previously awarded for 13 MV-22 “low power engine repairs” under the Mission Care contract. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 O&M budgets.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA, and is expected to be complete in February 2015 (N00019-10-C-0020).

May 22/14: Mods. Briefings at the annual SOFIC conference indicate that SOCOM is looking at a limited set of new options for its CV-22s. SOCOM’s V-22/C-130 program director Lt. Col. John DiSebastian says that they can’t afford $50 million to refit 50 CV-22s, but “if you’ve got a $100,000 or a $50,000 widget that can improve the sustainment, capability, or ops of the aircraft, then bring that to us.”

Some CV-22s got shot up during a mission over South Sudan (q.v. Dec 21/13), prompting SOCOM to start adding additional armoring. They’re also looking at a forward-firing gun that would be simpler than the retractable 7.62mm IDWS, and pack more punch. Sources: Gannett’s Air Force Times, “SOCOM soon getting more capable, deadlier Ospreys and C-130s”.

May 6/14: ECM. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Rolling Meadows, IL receives $18 million for cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for one-time engineering in support of the MV-22 Integrated Aircraft Survivability Equipment Suite upgrade. This includes integration of AN/AAQ-24(V)25 LAIRCM software with an electronic warfare controller and with the MV-22 mission computer.

$7.8 million in FY 2014 Navy aircraft procurement funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, IL and is expected to be completed in April 2016. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-10-G-0004, 0506).

May 5/14: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for CV-22 Mission Care engine support, including AE1107C lower power engine removals.

All funds are committed, using FY 2014 O&M budgets, all of which will expire on Sept 30/14. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-10-C-0020).

April 8/14: Israel. Israel is opting for a deferred payment plan (DPP) to purchase a range of new military equipment, including its V-22s (q.v. Jan 14/14).

“The Defense News report quotes US and Israeli officials saying Israel would only pay interest and fees until the current military aid package expires in September 2018, while the principal on the loan would be covered by a new aid package promised by President Barack Obama, which would extend the annual foreign military financing (FMF) aid until 2028.”

Sources: yNet News, “New deal to purchase V-22s relies on future US aid”

April 1/14: Support. Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. in Rockford, IL receives a $7.4 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for repairs of the V-22 Osprey’s aircraft constant frequency generator, which is part of the electrical power system.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy budgets. Work will be performed in Rockville, IL, and is expected to be complete in September 2016. US Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA manages the contract (N00383-12-D-011N, DO 7006).

March 26/14: Engines support. Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, IN receives a $39.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 26,495 V-22 flight hours and 26 low power MV-22 repairs under the existing Mission Care contract.

All funds are committed immediately, and expire on Sept 30/14. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, is the contracting activity (N00019-10-C-0020).

March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The US military slowly files its budget documents, detailing planned spending from FY 2014 – 2019. Bell and Boeing worked hard to get a multi-year deal signed before sequestration, so that their orders would be locked in. That is holding true, see charts in this article.

AFSOC appears to be set to stop 2 CV-22s short of its planned 52, however, ordering just 51 including 1 loss replacement. The USMC will continue buying another 15 or so from FY 2020 onward, but the V-22 needs to win the US Navy Carrier On-board Delivery plane competition to keep things going much longer after that. Sources: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | USAF, Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview.

March 7/14: A $76.1 million modification to Lot 17-21’s fixed-price-incentive-fee multiyear contract exercises an option for 1 USAF CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY14 USAF & SOCOM budgets. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (24.6%); Ridley Park, PA (19.2%), Amarillo, TX (10.4%), Dallas, TX (4.3%); East Aurora, NY (2.5%); Park City, Utah (1.7%); El Segundo, CA (1.3%); Endicott, NY (1%); Ontario, Canada (0.9%); Tempe, AZ (0.8%); Rome, NY (0.7%); Torrance, CA (0.7%); Luton, United Kingdom (0.6%); Clifton, N.J. (0.6%); Salisbury, MD (0.6%); Los Angeles, CA (0.6%); Cobham, United Kingdom (0.6%); Irvine, CA (0.6%); San Diego, CA (0.5%); Yakima, WA (0.5%); Brea, CA (0.5%); Rockmart, GA (0.5%); McKinney, TX (0.4%); Albuquerque, NM (0.4%); Whitehall, MI (0.4%); Wolverhampton, United Kingdom (0.4%); Tucson, AZ (0.4%); Erie, PA (0.3%); Vergennes, VT (0.3%); Kilgore, TX (0.3%); Shelby, NC (0.3%); Avon, OH (0.2%); Santa Clarita, CA (0.2%); Garden City, NY (0.2%); El Cajon, CA (0.2%); Corinth, TX (0.2%); Sylmar, CA (0.2%); Westbury, NY (0.1%); and various other locations inside and outside the United States (21.8%), and is expected to be complete in December 2016 (N00019-12-C-2001).

1 CV-22

March 4/14: FY15 Budget. The USAF and USN unveil their preliminary budget request briefings. They aren’t precise, but they do offer planned purchase numbers for key programs between FY 2014 – 2019.

Total V-22 buys will be unaffected, even as key programs like the P-8 sea control aircraft and its MQ-4C Triton UAV companion are cut back and delayed. This is to be expected, given the reality of an existing multi-year contract. The only real savings would have involved cutting the 4 MV-22s per year in FY 2018 and 2019. That doesn’t help in 2015, and applies to the Marines rather than the Navy. Source: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | USAF, Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview.

Feb 28/14: Support. A $351 million cost-plus-incentive, fixed-price incentive-fee contract modification for V-22 Joint Performance Based Logistics support.

Funds will be committed as individual delivery orders are issued. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (40%); Ridley Park, PA (40%); various locations within the continental United States (15%) and locations outside the continental United States (5%), and is expected to be complete in November 2016 (N00019-09-D-0008).

Feb 28/14: Engines. Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, IN receives an $8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 11 low power CV-22 repairs under the Mission Care? engine contract.

All funds are committed, using USAF FY 2014 O&M budgets. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Feb 25/14: Support. Raytheon Co. in McKinney, TX receives $14.3 million for firm-fixed-price delivery order under a previously awarded Basic Ordering Agreement for various quantities of repair parts to support the H-53 and V-22 aircraft.

All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, FL, and is expected to be complete by Feb 28/16. The contract was not competitively procured in accordance with FAR 6.302-1, and is managed by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-11-G-003D, 7008).

Feb 12/14: HV-22 COD? Vice Adm. David Buss, commander Naval Air Forces, says that the service is about a year away from picking their replacement Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft to replace the C-2 Greyhounds. “We’re still culling through all the data and very much in the [analysis of alternatives] process.” The problem of what to do with the F-35B/C fleet’s F135 engines is especially vexing, as the V-22 can’t carry a whole engine, and it isn;t likely that a C-2D could, either. Yet the F-35’s status as the Navy’s future fighter makes that a critical piece of cargo. Sources: USNI, “WEST: Decision on New Carrier Supply Plane ‘About a Year Away'”.

Jan 30/14: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $90.2 million contract modification from the USMC, exercising an option for 40 AE1107C engines on the production line (20 MV-22s).

All funds are committed immediately, using USN FY 2013-2014 aircraft budgets. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in November 2015 (N00019-12-C-0007).

Jan 30/14: Support. A $10.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification for more MV-22 and CV-22 Joint Performance Based Logistics support.

All funds are committed immediately, using SOCOM, USAf, and Navy budgets. Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX (50%) and Philadelphia, PA (50%), and is expected to be complete in February 2014. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0008).

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 Special Forces CV-22 is their focus this year. As of Aug 13/13, 34 of 50 CV-22 aircraft have been fielded, but it has a serious issue to address.

2008 had revealed serious shortfalls in the Block 5 Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures (SIFRC) defensive system. They included serious reliability issues, inaccurate and late threat awareness, and limited countermeasure effectiveness against some threats. That won’t do, so the USAF modified SIRFC with new, higher-power transmitters, cabling, radio-frequency switches, antennas, and Block 7 operational flight software.

SIFRC Block 7 improves awareness, and offers some reliability improvements, but the other issues remain. Electronic countermeasures are no better than Block 5. The decoy countermeasures dispenser has to be triggered manually, because the automatic mode doesn’t work. The system also persists in “blue screen of death” computer system crashes, which require reboots. You’d rather not be shot at just then. The DOT&E’s overall verdict was that the CV-22 is survivable with the SIFRC Block 7 system, if correct tactics and procedures are used, but they’d still like to see these things fixed.

AFSOC also switched the GAU-21 (FN M3M) .50 caliber machine gun for the lightweight GAU-18 M2 variant on the rear ramp, which improved reliability. Antennas were also switched about, after 2008 tests showed radio communications limits that were unreliable even within 0.5 nmi of ground troops. FY 2013 testing went better, and radio communication with ground troops extended to 25 nmi, and aircraft extended from 5 nmi to 120 nmi.

DOT&E report

Jan 15/14: Support. A $26.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost reimbursable delivery order for on-site V-22 flight test management, flight test engineering, design engineering, and related efforts to support the US Navy’s Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron.

All funds are committed immediately, using USN FY 2013 procurement and FY 2014 R&D dollars. Work will be performed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, MD (53%); Philadelphia, PA (32%); and Fort Worth, TX (15%), and is expected to be complete in December 2014 (N00019-12-G-0006, DO 0067).

Jan 15/14: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $13.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide 17,226 MV-22 engine flight hours. The maintenance and work required to keep the fleet in shape for that is their problem.

All funds are committed immediately, using FT 2014 Navy O&M funds. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and the Pentagon days that it “is expected to be complete in November 2013”. Looks like they’re paying for a past period? (N00019-10-C-0020).

Jan 14/14: Israel. The US DSCA announces Israel’s official request for up to 6 “V-22B Block C Aircraft” for search and rescue and special operations roles. MV-22B Block Cs are the USMC’s most modern variant, though the notice carefully avoids specifying either USMC MV-22s or SOCOM CV-22s. The request could be worth up to $1.3 billion, and includes:

  • 16 Rolls Royce AE1107C Engines (12 + 4 spares)
  • 6 AN/APR-39 Radar Warning Receiver Systems
  • 6 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Systems
  • 6 AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems
  • 6 AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe Systems
  • 6 AN/ARN-153 Tactical Airborne Navigation Systems
  • 6 AN/ARN-147 Very High Frequency (VHF) Omni-directional Range (VOR) Instrument Landing System (ILS) Beacon Navigation Systems
  • 6 AN/APN-194 Radar Altimeters
  • 6 Multi-Band Radios
  • 6 AN/ASN-163 Miniature Airborne Global Positioning System (GPS) Receivers (MAGR)
  • 36 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles
  • Plus a Joint Mission Planning System, support and test equipment, software, repair and return, aircraft ferry services and tanker support, spare and repair parts, technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor support.

Previous assurances (q.v. Oct 31/13) mean that Israel will receive 6 V-22 Block Cs out of the next order lot, pushing out USMC acquisitions. Israel eventually chooses to finance this and other purchases with a Deferred Payment Plan (q.v. April 8/14).

The principal contractors involved with this proposed sale will be the Bell and Boeing joint venture in California, MD, with final aircraft assembly occurring in Amarillo, TX. Implementation of this proposed sale will require up to 30 US Government or contractor representatives in Israel on a temporary basis for program technical support and management oversight. Sources: US DSCA #13-73 | Defense News, “Pentagon Advances V-22 Sale to Israel” | Motely Fool, “Pentagon Swipes V-22 Ospreys From U.S. Marines, Sells Them to Israel Instead” (refers to Oct 31/13 entry info).

DSCA request: Israel (6)

Dec 23/13: Upgrades. An $9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract exercises an option for 2 V-22 Block A to Block B 50-69 series upgrade kits.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy procurement budgets. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (60%) and Fort Worth, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in November 2015 (N00019-13-C-0021).

Dec 21/13: Operations. Defense News reports:

“US aircraft flown into South Sudan to help with evacuation efforts on Saturday came under fire, wounding four US servicemen…. US and Ugandan officials said three US military aircraft that were trying to land at Bor, a rebel-held city in Jonglei state [South Sudan], were fired on and forced to return to neighboring Uganda with one of the aircraft hit and leaking fuel.”

The sources that said the planes were CV-22s turn out to be right, and SOCOM later decides that some additional armoring might be a good idea. Sources: Defense News, “US Aircraft Attacked, Fighting Escalates In South Sudan”.

Dec 17/13: Infrastructure. The Watts Contrack joint venture in Honolulu, HI receives a $57.1 million firm-fixed-price contract to build an MV-22 hangar, infrastructure and aircraft staging area for one MV-22 squadron at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Work includes a multi-story type II modified high bay aircraft maintenance hangar that uses a steel frame and metal roof, along with a 2nd story administrative space. Other primary and supporting facilities include an aircraft taxiway with shoulders, a 12-plane staging area, a Substation No. 3 feeder upgrade, and utility infrastructure. This will require earthwork in advance, and paving and site improvements include site storm drainage systems and taxiway shoulders. An unexercised option could raise the cumulative contract value to $59 million.

All funds are committed immediately, using 2010, 2011 & 2013 construction. This contract was competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with 9 proposals received by NAVFAC Pacific in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (N62742-14-C-1327).

Dec 14/13: Japan. Japan’s new 5-year FY 2014-2019 defense plan includes 17 MV-22s, as well as 3 Global Hawks. All will be bought outside the USA’s multi-year procurement term, pending Japanese cabinet approval and certain American export clearance.

This is somewhat amusing after the protests over American stationing of MV-22s in Japan, but Chinese aggressiveness around some of Japan’s more remote territories is pushed the Japanese to set up a force of Marines. The MV-22s are meant to offer them rapid mobility. Sources: Asahi Shimbun, “A lot of new equipment purchases in latest 5-year defense plan” | FY11-15 MTDP [PDF].

ANVIS/HUD-24
click for video

Dec 6/13: ECP – HMD. Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, TX, is being awarded a $15.6 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for additional engineering and technical support. They need to forward fit/retrofit Engineering Change Proposal #1007 into the V-22, and the contract also includes 8 helmet mounted display retrofit kits, spares, support equipment, tooling, and training devices. All finding is committed immediately, using FY 2013 US SOCOM budgets.

The V-22 uses Elbit Systems’ ANVIS/HUD helmet mounted displays, and SOCOM’s CV-22s use a new variant with color symbology (q.v. Sept 6/11). Work will be performed at Ridley Park, PA (99.9%), and Fort Worth, TX (0.1%), and is expected to be complete in March 2015 (N00019-12-G-0006, DO 0075).

Oct 31/13: Israel. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel confirms (see April 22/13 entry):

“Tonight, I am pleased to announce that we are working with the Israeli government to provide them with six new V-22s. I have directed the Marine Corps to make sure that this order is expedited. That means Israel will get six V-22s out of the next order to go on the assembly line, and they will be compatible with other IDF capabilities.”

From Hagel’s speech it can be inferred that these are MV-22s in the process of being modified for integration with Israeli systems. Israel had shown increasing interest in the rotorcraft during the last 2 years, so this 1st export is not surprising. Japan will be a tougher sell. Sources: US DoD.

FY 2013

RO-RO tanker test.

CV-22 washing
(click to view full)

Sept 25/13: Training. Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, TX, is being awarded $20.5 million for cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to upgrade the existing 15 Marine Corps MV-22 and 8 USAF CV-22 training devices; they’ll be upgraded to MV-22 Block C2.02 and CV-22 Block 20.2.01 configuration.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 & 2013 budgets. Work will be performed at the Amarillo, TX (63.5%), Chantilly, VA (29%), and Broken Arrow, OK (7.5%), and is expected to be complete in September 2016. The Naval Air Warfare Center’s Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL manages the contract (N00019-12-G-0006, #0026).

Sept 25/13: ECM. Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, TX, is being awarded a $9.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification, for non-recurring engineering and flight test aircraft modifications to incorporate the Joint Allied Threat Awareness System (JTAS) and the APR-39D(V)2 radar warning receiver into the MV-22 Osprey aircraft. JATAS detects lasers and incoming fire, and is a standard for modern Navy rotorcraft. The APR-39 detects radar emissions, and is used on a wide range of US military planes.

$5.2 million in FY 2012 & 2013 RDT&E funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (98.7%); St. Louis, MO (1.1%); and El Paso, TX (0.2%), and is expected to be completed in March 2016. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-07-G-0008). See also ATK JATAS page | DID re: APR-39.

Sept 5/13: RO-RO Aerial Tanker. The Bell Boeing V-22 Program announces a successful initial test of a roll-on aerial tanker system for the V-22 Osprey. Once it’s loaded in, it extends the refueling hose out a partially-open back ramp to refuel helicopter and aircraft. That kind of system has obvious uses for Special Forces CV-22s, and the US Marines will find a ship-based aerial refueling capability extremely useful. So would the US Navy, which has allowed this capability to shrink with the retirement of its A-6 Intruder and S-3 Viking aircraft fleets. Success could create another argument in favor of the HV-22 as the next naval cargo aircraft (COD, q.v. June 20/13), but it would be used in place of Super Hornets for refueling aircraft near the carrier. Serious refueling capability for fighter jets may require more capacity and range than the V-22 can usefully provide.

The August 2013 demonstration over north Texas used F/A-18C and F/A-18D Hornet fighters, and only tested the V-22 system’s ability to perform on command and maintain stable hose positions. Future tests will involve graduated stages, leading to connections with receiver aircraft and then active refueling. Sources: Boeing and Bell Helicopter’s Sept 5/13 releases.

Aug 22/13: Support. Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, IN receives a $10.8 million to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract modification for 11 low power repairs (see above) to AE1107 turboshaft engines, and 2 months of mission care site support, for the HMX-1 VH-22s in Quantico, VA.

Those are the new Presidential V-22s, which received so many headlines recently for being used to take the President’s dog Bo on vacation. Not to mention 2 bags of basketballs. They aren’t used to carry the President, so if you ever get a ride on one, just remember that they’re carrying you instead of basketballs.

All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%); Indianapolis, IN (20%); and Quantico, VA (10%), and is expected to be complete in February 2014. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-10-C-0020). Sources: Boston Globe, “Obamas arrived on Martha’s Vineyard” | Washington Times, “Dog days of summer: Bo Obama flies on Osprey to Martha’s Vineyard vacation”.

Aug 21/13: Japan. Japan is looking to create a small force of Marines to protect its outlying islands, in an expansion of the Western Army’s Infantry Regiment. A preparatory force is being set up, and Japan reportedly plans to equip the final force with MV-22 Ospreys.

The MV-22B has been very controversial in Okinawa (q.v. September 2012 entry), which isn’t happy to have the Marines in general. A role in the defense of Japan’s outlying Islands will help change the V-22’s perception in Japan as a whole, and Japan plans to buy early. It will take a while for the new unit to learn how to fly and use the Ospreys, and they’ll want to be ready by the time the unit is officially activated. A sharp jump in the YEN 8 million ($80,000) budget to research V-22 integration into the JSDF will be the 1st step. Sources: Asahi Shinbun, “Defense Ministry preparing Japanese version of U.S. Marines”.

Aug 16/13: Support. The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX receives a maximum $43 million delivery order for prop rotor gearboxes, under a firm-fixed-price, sole-source Navy contract.

There was 1 solicitation with 1 response. Work will be performed until December 2017. The US Defense Logistics Agency Aviation in Philadelphia, PA manages the contract (SPRPA1-09-G-004Y, DO 6125)

June 24/13: Engines. Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, IN receives a $7.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for “additional engineering services for up to 9,253 [engine] flight hours for the MV-22 fleet aircraft in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the east and west coast Marine Expeditionary Units deployments.”

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2013. All funds are committed immediately from a combination of regular and OCO war supplemental budgets, and it will all expire on Sept 30/13 (N00019-10-C-0020).

June 27/13: +1 MV-22. A $60.2 million modification adds 1 MV-22 to the fixed-price-incentive-fee Lot 17 – 21 multiyear contract, using the FY 2013 funds under the Variation in Quantity clause. All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (24.6%); Ridley Park, PA (19.2%); Amarillo, TX (10.4%); Dallas, TX (4.3%); East Aurora, NY (2.5%); Park City, UT (1.7%); El Segundo, CA (1.3%); Endicott, NY (1%); Ontario, Canada (0.9%); Tempe, AZ (0.8%); Rome, NY (0.7%); Torrance, CA (0.7%); Luton, United Kingdom (0.6%); Clifton, NJ (0.6%); Salisbury, MD (0.6%); Los Angeles, CA (0.6%); Cobham, United Kingdom (0.6%); Irvine, CA (0.6%); San Diego, CA (0.5%); Yakima, WA (0.5%); Brea, CA (0.5%); Rockmart, GA (0.5%); McKinney, TX (0.4%); Albuquerque, NM (0.4%); Whitehall, MI (0.4%); Wolverhampton, United Kingdom (0.4%); Tucson, AZ (0.4%); Erie, PA (0.3%); Vergennes, Vt. (0.3%); Kilgore, TX (0.3%); Shelby, NC (0.3%); Avon, OH (0.2%); Santa Clarita, CA (0.2%); Garden City, NY (0.2%); El Cajon, CA (0.2%); Corinth, TX (0.2%); Sylmar, CA (0.2%); Westbury, NY (0.1%); and various other locations inside and outside the United States (21.8%). The contract runs until November 2016 (N00019-12-C-2001).

1 extra MV-22

June 20/13: HV-22? The US Navy’s Analysis of Alternatives for the Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) fleet cargo role will lead to an RFP in late 2014, with a contract award planned for FY 2016. The V-22 reportedly did better than the Navy had expected in the initial AoA analysis, and is now expected to be a strong competitor.

Northrop Grumman will be offering a much cheaper option: remanufacture and upgrade the existing 35-plane C-2 fleet, incorporating technologies from the derivative E-2D Hawkeye AWACS plane that’s just beginning to roll off Florida production lines. The new C-2s would have remanufactured fuselages and wings, with the E-2D’s improved engines and propellers, cockpit, and avionics. The goal would be a service life extension from 2028 to 2048, for much less than the $78 million average flyaway cost of a V-22, and lower operating costs.

The original V-22 program had the Navy ordering 48 “HV-22” Ospreys for duties like search and rescue, but heavy downwash, technical problems, and high costs led them to assign HV-22 roles to the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter instead. The COD competition offers the V-22 a second crack at a Navy contract, and they’ll be touting an HV-22’s ability to deliver to each ship in the fleet, instead of offloading onto a carrier for helicopter delivery to individual ships. NDIA National Defense.

June 12/13: MYP-II. A $4.894 billion modification finalizes the previously Lot 17 contract (q.v. Dec 12/12) into a fixed-price-incentive-fee, multi-year contract. It covers the manufacture and delivery of 92 MV-22s for the US Marine Corps, and 7 CV-22s for AFSOCOM. $326.7 million is committed immediately, using FY 2013 Navy, USAF, and SOCOM budgets.

The proposal in the FY 2013 budget involved 98 Ospreys (91 MV-22, 7 CV-22), and priced the overall outlay at $6.5 billion, in order to create an $852.4 million savings over individual annual buys. When the Dec 21/12 contract is added to this announcement, the actual MYP-II contract adds up to $6.524 billion for 99 tilt-rotors.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, (23%); Ridley Park, PA (18%); Amarillo, TX (10%); Dallas, TX (4%); East Aurora, NY (3%); Park City, UT (2%); El Segundo, CA (1%); Endicott, NY (1%); Tempe, AZ (1%); and other locations (37%), and is expected to be complete in September 2019. (N00019-12-C-2001).

US NAVAIR also announced the deal, while setting the current fleet at 214 V-22s in operation worldwide, with more deliveries to come in fulfillment of past orders. That serving fleet has amassed nearly 200,000 flight hours, with more than half of those logged in the past 3 years.

MYP-II:
92 MV-22s,
7 CV-22s

June 10/13: Reuters reports that the U.S. Navy plans to sign the V-22’s second multi-year procurement deal this week, and buy 99 more V-22s. The deal was supposed to begin in FY 2013, and that contract has already been issued. On the other hand, as we’ve seen with the Super Hornet program, it’s possible for multi-year deals to reach back a year and incorporate existing commitments.

USMC Col. Gregory Masiello says the decision underscores the government’s confidence in the V-22. Alternative and possibly co-existing explanation: it underscores the USMC’s desire to make the program untouchable, helping to shield the overall force from budget cuts by making the depth of cuts needed elsewhere too unpalatable to think about.

June 7/13: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $6.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 10 “low power repairs” of the CV-22’s AE1107 turboshafts.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2014. All funds are committed immediately, using USAF FY 2013 Operations and Maintenance dollars that will expire on Sept 30/13 (N00019-10-C-0020).

May 16/13: Lot 18. Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, TX, is being awarded a $40 million contract modification for long-lead components associated with the manufacture and delivery of 19 USMC MV-22Bs in Production Lot 18 (FY 2014). Which is 1 more than the budget stated, but there are also OCO supplemental requests for wartime replacement. All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (24.6%); Ridley Park, PA (19.2%), Amarillo, TX (10.4%), Dallas, TX (4.3%); East Aurora, NY (2.5%); Park City, Utah (1.7%); El Segundo, CA (1.3%); Endicott, NY (1.0%); Ontario, Canada (0.9%); Tempe, AZ (.8%); Rome, NY (0.7%); Torrance, CA (0.7%); Luton, United Kingdom (0.6%); Clifton, NJ (0.6%); Salisbury, MD (0.6%); Los Angeles, CA (0.6%); Cobham, United Kingdom (0.6%); Irvine, CA (0.6%); San Diego, CA (0.5%); Yakima, WA (0.5%); Brea, CA (0.5%); Rockmart, GA (0.5%); McKinney, TX (0.4%); Albuquerque, NM (0.4%); Whitehall, Mich. (0.4%); Wolverhampton, United Kingdom (0.4%); Tucson, AZ (0.4%); Erie, PA (0.3%); Vergennes, VT (0.3%); Kilgore, TX (0.3%); Shelby, NC (0.3%); Avon, Ohio (0.2%); Santa Clarita, CA (0.2%); Garden City, NY (0.2%); El Cajon, CA (0.2%); Corinth, TX (0.2%); Sylmar, CA (0.2%); Westbury, NY (0.1%); and other locations (21.8%). Work is expected to be complete in September 2016 (N00019-12-C-2001).

April 22/13: Israel. Secretary of Defense Hagel announces that Israel will order V-22s, as part of a package that includes KC-135 aerial tankers, AESA radars for their fighter jets, and radar-killing missiles:

“Minister Yaalon and I agreed that the United States will make available to Israel a set of advanced new military capabilities,… including antiradiation missiles and advanced radars for its fleet of fighter jets, KC-135 refueling aircraft, and most significantly, the V-22 Osprey, which the U.S. has not released to any other nation,” Hagel said…. Introducing the V-22 into the Israeli air force, he added, will give that service long-range, high-speed maritime search-and rescue-capabilities to deal with a range of threats and contingencies.”

“Has not released” is a nice way of saying that Israel was the 1st country to take its request to this level. Based on previous reports (q.v. Aug 2/11, June 8/11), it seems likely that Israel will either order CV-22s, or modify MV-22Bs on its own for special forces roles. Pentagon | Israel Defense | yNet.

April 10/13: FY 2014 Budget. The President releases a proposed budget at last, the latest in modern memory. The Senate and House were already working on budgets in his absence, but the Pentagon’s submission is actually important to proceedings going forward. See ongoing DID coverage.

The FY 2014 request is $1.867 billion to buy 21 aircraft: 18 MV-22Bs and 3 CV-22s. It represents the 2nd year of the V-22’s 2nd multi-year contract.

April 10/13: Ro-Ro Kits. Flight International reports that Boeing is working on a roll-on/roll-off kit for the V-22. The concept could apply to functions like surveillance, via kits designed for ground or even aerial surveillance. Their main focus, however, is reportedly an aerial refueller kit that would extend a hose out the back ramp. Customers like the USMC and SOCOM can use C-130 Hercules turboprops for that, but a V-22 kit would trade less fuel capacity for a refueller that could deploy from ships. There are many situations in which that’s a very useful trade. Flight International.

March 11/13: Support. A $73 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to repair 142 V-22 component types. Funding for this contract will be release through individual task orders.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (80%) and Ridley Park, PA (20%) until Sept 8/15. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 USC 2304 (c)(1) by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-13-D-017N).

Jan 31/13: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $83.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercise an option for 38 AE1107C turboshaft engines (34 USN @ $74.9 million & 4 USAF @ $8.8 million).

This is part of the multi-year engine deal described on March 30/12, and it would equip most of Lot XVII: 17 MV-22s and 2 CV-22s. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN and is expected to be complete in December 2014. All contract funds are committed immediately from USN FY 2012 Aircraft Procurement, and USAF FY 2013 Aircraft Procurement budget lines (N00019-12-C-0007).

MV-22 functional check flight
click for video

Jan 17/13: DOT&E testing. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The V-22 is included, and critics are sure to take note of this paragraph:

“No additional flight testing or engineering analysis have been done indicating a change would be appropriate to DOT&E’s September 2005 assessment that the MV-22 cannot perform autorotation to a survivable landing.”

V-22 pilots seem to prefer glides instead, vid. the April 11/10 crash. DOT&E also confirms that the engine nacelles’ integrated wiring systems fail too often, due to internal chafing and wire insulation breakdown. PMA-275 has funded a program to try and fix it by replacing 13 wiring bundles, but this is another issue that’s closely connected to a tilt-rotor’s fundamental design.

Overall, MV-22 Block C upgrades have been helpful to the platform, improving reliability, availability, and maintainability. Some things aren’t quite 100%, though. The weather radar works, but only the right-hand pilot can use it, by sacrificing 1 of the plane’s 2 multi-colored displays. Electronic Standby Flight Instruments have a 1 – 5 second lag in the Vertical Velocity Indicator, which makes it hard to handle aircraft altitude. The Traffic Advisory System (TAS) was a complete fail, triggering warnings when the V-22 entered formation flight.

Dec 28/12: Lot 17. A $1,405.7 million contract modification, covering 21 FRP Lot 17 (FY 2013) tilt-rotors: 17 MV-22s and 4 CV-22s. With long-lead contracts added, the total comes to $1,629.5 million including engines. Even this may not reflect full costs, given other government furnished equipment.

The contract modification also includes long-lead items for another 21 FRP Lot 18 (FY 2014) aircraft: 18 MV-22s and 3 CV-22s. These are the first big buys under the new multi-year contract, and $1,043.6 million is committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (24.6%); Ridley Park, PA (19.2%); Amarillo, TX (10.4%); Dallas, TX (4.3%); East Aurora, NY (2.5%); Park City, UT (1.7%); El Segundo, CA (1.3%); Endicott, NY (1.0%); Ontario, Canada (0.9%); Tempe, AZ (.8%); Rome, NY (0.7%); Torrance, CA (0.7%); Luton, United Kingdom (0.6%); Clifton, NJ (0.6%); Salisbury, MD (0.6%); Los Angeles, CA (0.6%); Cobham, United Kingdom (0.6%); Irvine, CA (0.6%); San Diego, CA (0.5%); Yakima, Wash. (0.5%); Brea, CA (0.5%); Rockmart, GA (0.5%); McKinney, TX (0.4%); Albuquerque, N.M. (0.4%); Whitehall, Mich. (0.4%); Wolverhampton, United Kingdom (0.4%); Tuczon, AZ (0.4%); Erie, PA (0.3%); Vergennes, Vt. (0.3%); Kilgore, TX (0.3%); Shelby, N.C. (0.3%); Avon, OH (0.2%); Santa Clarita, CA (0.2%); Garden City, NY (0.2%); El Cajon, CA (0.2%); Corinth, TX (0.2%); Sylmar, CA (0.2%); Westbury, NY (0.1%); and other locations, each below 0.25% (21.8% total), and is expected to be complete in September 2016. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, is the contracting activity (N00019-12-C-2001).

FY 2013 buy & FY 2014 long-lead items

Jan 3/13: Japan. Despite a steady stream of anti-Osprey protests on Okinawa through 2012, Japan is reportedly becoming interested in buying the V-22 for itself. The idea was actually proposed in October 2012 by ousted Prime Minister Noda’s administration, but the new Abe government’s push for more defense capabilities is expected to boost the Osprey’s odds. Sources: Defense Update, “Japan Looking At Procuring Controversial V-22 Osprey”.

Dec 28/12: Avionics. A $33.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for engineering and technical support for V-22 flight control system and on-aircraft avionics software; flight test planning and coordination of changed avionics and flight control configurations; upgrade planning of avionics and flight controls, including performance of qualification testing; and integration testing on software.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA, (90%) and Fort Worth, TX (10%), and is expected to be complete in December 2013. All contract funds are committed immediately, but $10.9 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13 (N00019-12-G-0006).

Dec 21/12: MV-22 upgrades. A $19.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification exercises an option for 2 MV-22 Block A to B 50 – 69 series upgrade installs, and 3 MV-22 Block A to B kits.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (60%); Havelock, NC (20%); and Fort Worth, TX (20%), and is expected to be complete in June 2016. All contract funds are committed immediately (N00019-12-C-0091).

Nov 27/12: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $52.3 million firm-fixed-price contract option for AE1107C engine sustainment services, on behalf of the USMC and the USAF. It covers “low power repairs”, turboshaft engine support and fleet site support until November 2013.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN (80%), and Oakland, CA (20%), and is expected to be complete in November 2013. “Contract funds in the amount of $52,267,510 will be obligated on this award of which $50,378,962 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.” (N00019-10-C-0020).

Nov 5/12: De-icing. A $9.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy 51 V-22 central de-icing Distributor retrofit kits and 29 engine nacelle ice protection controller unit retrofit kits. Icing up has been a recurring issue for the V-22, due to its structure and the altitudes it flies at. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in December 2014 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Oct 4/12: Crash whitewash? Brig. Gen. Don Harvel (ret.), who led the investigation into the April 9/10 CV-22 crash in Afghanistan, discusses the USAF’s efforts to whitewash his investigation, and prevent publication of a report that pointed to engine failure as the cause of the crash. WIRED Danger Room.

Oct 4/12: Support. A $204.9 million cost-plus incentive-fee delivery order for supply chain management of 170 components, over slightly more than 4 additional years, in support of the V-22 aircraft.

Work under the performance based logistics contract will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (80%), and Ridley Park, PA, (20%) and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/16. This contract was not competitively procured by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304c1a (N00019-09-D-0008, #0006). See also US Navy.

FY 2012

MV-22, landing
(click to view full)

Sept 26/12: Paint me. An $8.8 million modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-fee, firm-target V-22 multi-year production contract, to add the HMX-1 paint scheme to 14 MV-22s: 7 Lot 15 and 7 Lot 16 aircraft.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (98%), and Philadelphia, PA (2%), and is expected to be complete in November 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-07-C-0001).

Sept 25/12: Training. A $74.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 7 MV-22 Block C Containerized Flight Training Devices (CFTD – simulators) including spares and a support period.

Work will be performed in Amarillo, Texas (39%); Chantilly, VA (30%); Salt Lake City, UH (13%); Clearwater, FL (11%); Orlando, FL (3%); Lutz, Fla. (2%); Huntsville, AL (1%) and Ann Arbor, MI (1%), and is expected to be complete in October 2016. NAWCTSD received one other bid. The Bell-Boeing team delivered a first batch of 6 CFTDs (q.v. Aug 16/10 entry) between 2007 and 2010 (N61340-12-C-0033). See also FBO #N61340-12-C-0033, initiated in December 2011.

Sept 25/12: Sub-contractors. Raytheon in Mckinney, TX receives a maximum $14.7 million firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for CV-22 support. The firm does a lot of V-22 avionics work, and there was one solicitation with one response.

Work will use FY 2012 Navy Working Capital Funds, and continue to August 2014. The US Defense Logistics Agency Aviation in Philadelphia, PA manages this contract (SPRPA1-09-G-001X-1058).

Sept 21/12: Sub-contractors. US NAVAIR announces a $3 million cost-plus fixed fee award to Mound Laser & Photonics Center, Inc. in Miamisburg, OH for “Operational Readiness Improvement of V-22 Osprey via Wear Mitigation of Key Engine Components.” It’s a backhanded acknowledgement of a problem. FBO.gov.

September 2012: Japan. In press conference after press conference, the Japanese Ministry of Defense is hounded by journalists seeking to see who will get the last word, as local opposition to the Osprey deployment continued unabated (see July 2012 entries below). The mayors of Iwakuni and Ginowan continue to express their disapproval with ongoing, though smaller, protests going on for 3 months now, despite the authorities granting official safety clearance to the aircraft on September 18.

Aug 14/12: MV-22 post-crash. The USMC releases publicly a redacted report [PDF] on the April 2012 crash in Morocco. It concludes that the co-pilot lacked proper understanding of true wind speed during take off then made errors that led to losing and failing to regain control of the aircraft. The report also regrets that the two marines who lost their lives in the accident were not strapped to their seats.

Among recommendations, they want additions to NATOPS manuals to cover the type of tailwind circumstances under which the accident occurred. USMC Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lt. Gen. Schmidle Jr. subsequently said during a press conference that other pilots will be briefed on what happened, and training and simulators will be updated.

July 26/12: Infrastructure. Barnhart-Balfour Beatty, Inc. in San Diego, CA receives a $35.5 million firm-fixed-price task order to demolish an existing aircraft hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, CA, and build a new 2-bay MV-22 hangar with adequate space to support maintenance. The contract also funds interior furniture, fixtures, and equipment, and contains options that could raise its value to $35.7 million.

Work will be performed in Oceanside, CA, and is expected to be complete by August 2015. Nine proposals were received for this task order, under a multiple-award contract managed by US Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest in San Diego, CA (N62473-10-D-5407, #0004).

July 25/12: CV-22 SATCOM. A $22.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for engineering design, integration and testing of an improved CV-22 Block 20 communications system for “trans-oceanic air traffic control and tactical communications”.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (99%), and Amarillo, TX (1%), and is expected to be complete in December 2015. $79,188 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-08-C-0025).

July 23/12: Japan. Twelve MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft are off-loaded from the civilian cargo ship Green Ridge at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, which features both an airfield and a port facility. This marks the first deployment of the MV-22 to Japan. With their range and in-flight refueling capability, MV-22s would be able to transfer marines to disputed regions included the Pinnacle Islands, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

MCAS Iwakuni Marines will prepare the 12 aircraft for flight, but they won’t conduct functional check flights until the Government of Japan confirms the safety of flight operations. After their check-out flights, the Ospreys will fly to their new home at MCAS Futenma in Okinawa, Japan, as part of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265).

A 2nd squadron of 12 aircraft is scheduled to arrive at MCAS Futenma during the summer of 2013. However arrival of the aircraft has proven contentions with protests to its deployment making evening TV news in Japan. USMC | US Embassy in Japan | Want China Times | The Economist.

July 21/12: Japan. At a press conference in Tokyo, Deputy US Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter answered questions and described the compromise reached with the Japanese government concerning MV-22 deployment in Japan.

“…we are committed to providing your airworthiness experts with all of the data and all of the information about the entire flight history of the V-22, including the two recent incidents, and allowing them to analyze that data and take every step they need to make to reconfirm the airworthiness of that airplane… This is a process, a technical process of assessing airworthiness. I think you have to let the experts do their work…”

The U.S. and Japanese governments have agreed that flight operations will not begin until that reconfirmation has taken place. Let’s just say that it would be unlikely for the answer to be “no” at the end of this process. US DoD.

July 19/12: Japan. Fourteen governors whose prefectures host U.S. bases issued a statement criticizing the delivery of MV-22 Ospreys at MCAS Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture. They plan to ask the central government to take responsibility for explaining to prefectural authorities the impact on residents of the Osprey training flights that are to be conducted through many parts of the country, and to respect local opinions. There has also been talk of extending the inquiry to include Class-B (partial disability or $500,000+ damage) and Class-C ($50-500 thousand, recovered injury) V-22 accidents, but:

“The U.S. military regards Class-A mishaps as the major accidents,” a Defense Ministry official said. “There would be no end to the procedure if you began taking up Class-B and Class-C incidents.”

See: Asashi Shimbun | Japan Times.

V-22 onto CVN 77
click for video

July 19/12: CVN landing. A V-22 Osprey from Marine Tiltrotor Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 22 lands for the first time on USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to contribute to that carrier’s flight deck certification. V-22s had already landed on aircraft carriers CVN 77 and 72 earlier during the year, says NAVAIR.

Concepts of employment for the Navy’s V-22s published as early as 2004 [PDF] included landing on carriers for search & rescue missions and for logistics done so far with C-2As. Whether the Navy will procure its own V-22s as carrier on-board delivery planes (COD) has been discussed for years (see also Aug 11/10 entry).

July 12/12: Infrastructure. Pave-Tech Inc. in Carlsbad, CA receives $8.3 million for firm-fixed-price task order to design and build the MV-22 Aviation Pavement Project at Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, CA. All contract funds are obligated immediately, and the firm will install or rehabilitate Pendleton’s aircraft pavement to accommodate MV-22 squadrons.

Work will be performed in Oceanside, CA, and is expected to be complete by January 2014. Four proposals were received for this task order, under a multiple-award contract managed by US Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest in San Diego, CA (N62473-09-D-1605, #0012).

June 22/12: CV-22. A $74.4 million option under the fixed-price-incentive-fee V-22 multi-year production contract, to provide 1 CV-22 combat loss replacement aircraft for the Air Force.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (56%); Amarillo, TX (43%); and El Paso, TX (1%), and is expected to be complete in November 2014 (N00019-07-C-0001).

CV-22 loss replacement

June 16/12: Japan. USMC MV-22s were supposed to deploy to MCAS Futenma in Okinawa, but recent crashes (vid. April 11/12, June 13/12 entries) led Japan’s government to halt those plans. Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura says that Tokyo has asked the United States to investigate the details of the crash as quickly as possible, adding that the “Japanese government will take no further action [on the Osprey deployment] unless details [of the crash] are shared…”

The Osprey deployment has also turned into a lightning rod among local politicians, who cite safety fears. On the one hand, this is a pretext, as many of these politicians are simply hostile to the base in general. On the other hand, Okinawa is densely populated enough that crashes are a legitimate civilian concern, and a crash that killed civilians there could set off a serious political crisis. Even mainland locals in MCAS Iwakuni, where USMC MV-22s were temporarily deployed in July 2012, are restive. Daily Yomiuri.

June 15/12: Support. A firm-fixed-price, sole-source $6.5 million contract for MV-22 rudder assemblies. Work will be performed in Texas and Pennsylvania, using FY 2012-2015 Navy Working Capital Funds until Sept 30/15. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation in Philadelphia, PA manages this contract (SPRPA1-09-G-004Y-5948).

June 13/12: Crash. Hurlburt Field announces that 5 aircrew members were injured when their CV-22 crashed north of Navarre, FL on the Eglin Range, during a routine gunnery training mission. The cause of the crash is unknown, as the lead ship didn’t see them go down. The CV-22 came to rest upside down, and there were fires in the area that had to be fought afterward. It may not be salvageable.

At a June 14/12 press conference, Col. Slife says that CV-22 flights will resume while the Safety Board and Accident Board complete their work. He adds that mission requests from SOCOM currently exceed the CV-22 fleet’s capacity to fill them. As of June 15/12, 3 of the 5 crew remain hospitalized, in stable condition.

CV-22 Crash

June 4/12: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $10.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 18 CV-22 “low power repairs” to their AE1107C turboshaft engines.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2013. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-10-C-0020)

April 11/12: Fatal Crash. A USMC MV-22B crashes in a training area southwest of Agadir, Morocco, during a the African Lion 2012 military exercise. The Marine Corps Times reported that it had just unloaded a group of Marines at a training camp and was returning to the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima when it crashed. That probably prevented a lot of fatalities, as the crash killed 2 Marines and injured the other 2 on board. USMC | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | POGO’s program crashes timeline.

MV-22 crashes

March 30/12: Multi-year Engine Contract. Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, IN receives a $150.9 million 1st year installment on a 5-year firm-fixed-price contract, to buy 70 AE1107C turboshaft engines for the US Navy ($129.4 million) and US AFSOC ($21.6 million).

An April 23/12 Rolls-Royce release clarifies the total award as a $598 Million contract for up to 268 installed and spare engines, to equip USMC MV-22s (232) and AFSOC CV-22s (33). The contract has 4 more option years left, and will run to October 2017. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-12-C-0007).

Multi-year engine buy

March 30/12: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs” for 2012. The V-22 program is included only in passing, as GAO notes the fleet’s current expected total purchase cost of $57.211 billion. That’s a hefty jump from even the “first full estimate” baseline, but the last 5 years have seen a change of just 5.2%.

On the other hand, most of a platform’s costs lie in Operations & Maintenance budgets, and here the V-22 remains a question mark – vid. Nov 29/11 reports that the fleet’s cost would break $100 billion.

March 30/12: Guns. A $31.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a delivery order will design and develop improvements to BAE’s Interim Defensive Weapon System (IDWS) turret, retrofit the IDWS to incorporate these improvements, provide IDWS logistical support, and perform aero model and software updates.

Work will be performed in Johnson City, NY (95%), and Philadelphia, PA (5%), and is expected to be complete in December 2015 (N00019-07-G-0008).

March 30/12: Testing. A $28,846,120 fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to provide a new V-22 instrumented aircraft (NVIA) for testing. The NVIA will support V-22 structural tests, and replace an existing test aircraft which is “increasingly difficult and expensive to support and not representative of current production configuration.” They also expect the new NVIA bird to support the V-22 development roadmap with better flight test data, and better reliability than the existing test aircraft.

Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX (35%); Arlington, TX (35%); Fort Worth, TX (21%); Philadelphia, PA (8%); and Seattle, WA (1%), and is expected to be complete in December 2014 (N00019-12-G-0006).

March 6/12: V-22 flight costs. Loren B. Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank fires a piece strongly in favor of the MV-22, arguing that detractors are not applying the right metrics to properly assess its value, saying they:

“…complain it costs about $10,000 per flight hour to operate the MV-22 compared with about $3,000 per flight hour for the MH-60, the Marine helicopter most closely resembling what the Air Force uses for combat search-and-rescue. However, this ignores the superior speed, range and carrying capacity of the MV-22. When the metric is changed to cost per mile flown, the MV-22 only looks about 60 percent more expensive, and when the metric is passenger seat miles, the MV-22 looks twice as efficient ($1.53 versus $3.21).”

Of course, passenger seat miles assume full capacity. Airlines know that isn’t always true, and the variety inherent in military missions makes it a poor choice of statistic. Thompson does add one point that’s more reasonable, when he says that:

“It is also worth noting that the MV-22’s computerized reporting system depresses apparent readiness rates compared with the older, manual system used for the legacy CH-46s it will replace.”

Feb 26/12: Media are picking up on previous reports of interest from Canada, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, and have added India as a potential export prospect. Most of this involves trade show visits, which don’t mean much, though some cases have involved formal requests for technical information (Israel) and even limited demonstrations (Canada).

This comes as the US military operates more than 160 CV/MV-22s, and has flown more than 130,000 hours with the aircraft. Reuters | Flightglobal. See also Aug 2/11 and Dec 1/11 entries.

Feb 17/12: Hostile in HASC. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA-12, south San Francisco) joins the House Armed Services Committee. Her position statement on defense makes it clear that she’s no fan of the V-22, or of missile defense.

Feb 14/12: MV-22 Block C The first MV-22 Block C is delivered, with enhanced displays in the cockpit and in the cabin. See also Nov 24/09 entry. Boeing.

Feb 13/12: MYP-II? FY13 Budget Request. The Navy proposes a follow-on multiyear procurement (MYP) to buy 98 V-22 aircraft (91 MV-22, 7 CV-22) under a single fixed-price contract, between FY 2013 – FY 2017. The MV-22s will be bought by the Navy for the Marines, while the CV-22s aircraft are a joint buy involving the USAF and SOCOM. Their hope is to save $852.4 million, or 11.6% of the total.

Feb 9/12: T-AKE ship landing. A USMC MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from VMM-266 makes the 1st landing aboard a T-AKE ship, on USNS Robert E. Peary [T-AKE 5]. The Osprey landed aboard Robert E. Peary while conducting an experimental resupply of Marines during exercise Bold Alligator 2012.

If the USMC can turn this test into a standard operating procedure, it would let the Marines lift ammunition directly from a T-AKE shuttle ship to shore, rather than using further transfer to other ships. US Navy photo release.

T-AKE ship landing

Feb 7/12: Support. Textron subsidiary AAI Test & Training announces a $7.7 million Advanced Boresight Equipment (ABE) award from the US Defense Logistics Agency, to provide 16 Model 310A ABE core test systems for AFSOC’s CV-22 Osprey fleet. Both the USAF and US Special Operations Command were already customers. The company has already delivered more than 40 ABE systems to the USAF, supporting more than 10 different aircraft platforms, while US SOCOM has used AAI Test & Training’s ABEs to align its fixed-wing aircraft fleet for more than 5 years.

ABE is a gyro-stabilized, electro-optical angular measurement system designed to align aircraft subsystems. Poor alignment may be bad for your tires, but it’s a lot worse in a flying aircraft. Because the ABE system supports concurrent maintenance, and does not require aircraft to be jacked and leveled during testing, both depot-level and operational-level users can maintain maintenance schedules, while spending less. These features also support increased manufacturing throughput for original equipment manufacturers.

Feb 2/12: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $55.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising a maintenance services option for the V-22 fleets’ AE1107C turboshaft engines.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Jan 18/12: Unique ID. A $7.3 million fixed-price-incentive-fee contract modification to the MYP will prepare the V-22 production line to incorporate unique identification marked parts, beginning with Lot 16. The US military has been moving toward automated part identification since it adopted the EAN.CC standard in 2005.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (73%); Fort Worth, TX (17%); and Amarillo, TX (10%), and is expected to be complete in October 2014 (N00019-07-C-0001).

Jan 17/12: DOT&E testing. The Pentagon releases the FY 2011 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). For the V-22, a follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) dubbed OT-IIIG that took place between August and November 2011 showed that the latest V4.01 software works as intended, as well as demonstrated Netted Weather and Blue Force Tracker capabilities.

DOTE was more reserved regarding the Interim Defense Weapon System, noting that its 360 firing radius can only work in limited firing arcs during landing approach. Coordinating targeting with the gunner also adds an extra burden on the co-pilot, and mounting this turret reduces the useful cargo and troop payload. On the other hand, the weapon has been effective when used. The competing ramp-mounted .50 caliber machine gun (RMWS) doesn’t have these issues, because it’s limited to facing the rear of the aircraft, though it is in the way on the ramp. Pick your poison.

“[V-22] Reliability, availability, and maintainability data were not available in time for this report.” They do state, however, that reliability and maintainability during OT-IIIG tests had the same issues as the deployed fleet. They mention an average 53% mission capable rate for the period between June 2007 – May 2010, though the V-22 office has been reporting a readiness rate of about 68% over the last year. Both figures are way below the promised target of 82%. DOTE [PDF].

Dec 29/11: Lot 17 lead-in. A $72.9 million advance acquisition contract for Production Lot 17 (FY 2013) long lead time components. Lot 17 includes 21 V-22s: 17 USMC MV-22Bs, and 4 US AFSOC CV-22s.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (50%), Forth Worth, TX (25%), and Amarillo, TX (25%), and is expected to be complete in December 2012. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-12-C-2001).

Dec 29/11: Support. A $34.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order modification covers 2012 engineering and technical support for C/MV-22 flight control system and on-aircraft avionics. This includes configuration changes to the V-22 avionics and flight control software; flight test planning and coordination of changed avionics and flight control configurations; upgrade planning of avionics and flight controls, including performance of qualification testing; and integration testing on software products.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (90%); and Fort Worth, TX (10%); and is expected to be completed in December 2012. $6.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Dec 29/11: Defensive. A $33.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for engineering and flight test modifications to the MV-22B’s APR-39DvX Joint and Allied Threat Awareness System and Radar Warning Receiver.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (96%); Fort Walton Beach, FL (3%); and St. Louis, Mo. (1%), and is expected to be completed in February 2016. $6,526,986 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Dec 29/11: Test Sqn. A $28.9 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to support the Navy Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron’s MV-22s. Services will include on-site flight test management, flight test engineering, design engineering, and related efforts.

Work will be performed at NAS Patuxent River, MD (42%); Philadelphia, PA (37%); and Fort Worth, TX (21%), and is expected to be complete in December 2012 (N00019-12-G-0006).

Dec 29/11: Defensive. An $11.5 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for 12 combined CV-22 Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures System modification and retrofit kits. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (98%), and Fort Worth, TX (2%), and is expected to be complete in May 2014 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Dec 27/11: Avionics. A $30.2 million fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee order covering engineering and testing efforts to redesign the C/MV-22’s mid-wing avionic units. The mid-wing avionic units include the vibration structural life and engine diagnostics airborne unit, the fuel management unit, and the drive system interface unit.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (99%), and Philadelphia, PA (1%), and is expected to be complete in June 2014. $30.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Dec 22/11: Support. $12.4 million for the repair of various V-22 components. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA, and is expected to be complete by Dec 30/13. The Navy Working Capital Funds being used will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. One company was solicited for this non-competitive requirement, and one offer was received in response to the solicitation by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-10-D-003N, DO 0016).

Dec 12/11: Support. A $37.6 million for delivery order for the repair of various V-22 components, under a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, using Navy Working Capital Funds. Work will be performed in Roanoke, TX, and is expected to be complete by Dec 30/13. This contract was not competitively procured by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-10-D-003N, #0015).

Commander’s Award
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Dec 7/11: Recognition. The V-22 Propulsion and Power IPT (Integrated Product Team) receives a Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Commander’s Award for improving engine time-on-wing and reducing costs – 2 areas where the program has been having real problems. If service experience matches results to date, the team projects that the AE1107 MGT increase will provide an 80% increase in average engine time on wing, and avoid about 200 engine removals over the next 5 years.

The AE1107 Measured Gas Temperature (MGT) Increase Team formed in January 2011 to evaluate raising the MGT limit of the AE1107 engine. They went on to develop, qualify, test and field upgraded engines for an initial field service evaluation in about half the expected time from their initial feasibility study. They didn’t cut the schedule from 14 – 6 months, but they did achieve just 7 months thanks to engineering clarity and parallel tasks. V-22 Joint Program (PMA-275) manager Col. Greg Masiello says officials approved the fully qualified MGT limit modification on Aug 2/11, released the interim flight clearance on Aug 5/11, and incorporated the MGT limit increase on 27 operational V-22s by the end of August 2011. US NAVAIR.

Dec 1/11: UAE. Boeing and Bell Helicopter sent the V-22 to Dubai’s 2011 air show, and a Boeing release is a lot more positive than usual. Of course, with a multi-year buy under consideration, and defense cuts on the table, potential exports add extra weight to economic arguments for a deal. Bell Boeing V-22 Program deputy director, Michael Andersen:

“The amount of interest in the V-22 exceeded our highest expectations leading up to the show, with many regional officials requesting briefings and demonstration flights… We are now working on follow-up visits and providing information as requested by several governments.”

Nov 30/11: Support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $15.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for AE1107C turboshaft engine maintenance services.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Nov 30/11: CAMEO. SAIC in San Diego, CA, is being awarded an $11.5 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide Comprehensive Automated Maintenance Environment, Optimized (CAMEO) system and software engineering support services in support of “a range of Department of Defense programs, including the V-22 Osprey.” This 3-year contract also includes a 2-year option, which could bring the period to 5 years, and the potential value to $19 million.

CAMEO is a related derivative of SAIC’s Pathfinder software series, and is used as part of V-22 fleet maintenance. Work will include software integration and test, product validation/verification analyses, product integration and release, and training. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (50%), and at government sites nationwide (50%), and is expected to be complete Nov 29/12 – or Nov 29/14 with all options exercised. This contract was competitively procured via FBO.gov and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website, with 1 offer received by US SPAWAR Pacific in San Diego, CA (N66001-12-D-0048).

Nov 30/11: Sub-contractors. Sierracin-Sylmar Corp. in Sylmar, CA receives $10 million for a delivery order to manufacture V-22 Osprey windshields. Work will be performed in Sylmar, CA, and is expected to be complete in December 2013. This contract was not competitively procured by US NAVSUP Weapons System Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-11-G-011F, #5002).

Nov 29/11: $121.5 billion O&M?!? An Oct 31/11 Pentagon report is said to place the lifetime cost of operating and supporting a fleet of 458 MV/CV-22s at $121.5 billion, adjusted for inflation, up 61% from a 2008 estimate of $75.4 billion – which was already controversial when the GAO used it in a June 2009 report. Bloomberg News reports that the previously-undisclosed estimate stems from increased maintenance and support costs, over a service life extending into the mid-2040s. Bloomberg | WIRED Danger Room.

Future sustainment crisis?

Nov 29/11: Sub-contractors. Moog, Inc. in East Aurora, NY receives a $12 million firm-fixed-price order to repair the V-22’s swashplate actuator, using Navy Working Capital Funds. The swashplate turns pilot input into rotor blade motion via pitch and tilt changes.

Work will be performed in East Aurora, NY, and is expected to be complete by Dec 30/12. One company was solicited for this non-competitive requirement, and 1 offer was received by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-09-G-002D, #7038).

Nov 17/11: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $13.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for V-22 AE1107C turboshaft engine maintenance services.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2012, but all contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Nov 14/11: De-icing. A $10.4 million delivery order modification for 40 central de-ice distributors, and 44 nacelle ice protection controller unit retrofit kits. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in December 2013 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Nov 9/11: CV-22 upgrades. A $7 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for the CV-22’s Block 20/C upgrade. Work includes co-site communications; multi-mission advanced tactical terminal replacement; standby flight instrument; GPS repeater system; parking brake light; and environmental control system upgrades.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (86%); Fort Walton Beach, FL (13.6%); and Fort Worth, TX (0.4%); and is expected to be complete in December 2015 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Oct 13/11: V-22 safety data questioned. Over at WIRED’s Danger Room, a long article by reporter David Axe questions the way the USMC has recorded “Class A” accidents for the MV-22. David has earned a reputation as a solid reporter on the defense beat, and the data matters because the USMC is using V-22 safety ratios as part of its case for another multi-year contract, whose termination fees would place the V-22 out of reach for budget cutters. Excerpt from “Osprey Down” :

“A review of press reports, analysts’ studies and military records turns up 10 or more potentially serious mishaps in the last decade of V-22 testing and operations. At least three — and quite possibly more — could be considered Class A flight mishaps, if not for pending investigations, the “intent for flight” loophole and possible under-reporting of repair costs… What follows is the history of the V-22 that the Pentagon and its boosters don’t want you to read — a history of botched design, reckless testing, possible cover-ups and media spin. But mostly, it’s the history of an aircraft capable of some amazing feats, but whose capabilities still come at the cost of burned aircraft and dead men.”

The USMC’s response cites deployment statistics to date, and says:

“…the Marine Corps’ aviation safety records and standards are publicly available at the Naval Safety Center website. The mishap rate… follows Naval Safety Center standards that are applied universally across all type/model/series [of aircraft we fly]… Just because it falls under Flight Related or Ground doesn’t mean it isn’t investigated or counted… the Marine Corps does not include CV-22 mishap rates when talking about the V-22 Osprey because we are the Marine Corps, not the Air Force… since the Osprey was redesigned, the Marine Corps has not had a crash similar to the ones it experienced over a decade ago in which we lost pilots and crew…The MV-22 Osprey has proven to be effective and reliable.”

In a follow-up, Axe did not back down:

“The Marines found reasons not to count a chain of [incidents]… only by omitting officially “non-flight” incidents can the Marines claim a rate of so-called “Class A mishaps” of just 1.28 per 100,000 flight hours, compared to a rate of 2.6 for the overall Marine air fleet… [and] for all non-fatal accidents, the Marines themselves provide the data… it’s not independently derived. And the Marines have a record of manipulating V-22 data.”

See: WIRED Danger Room | USMC response | US Navy safety records | WIRED follow-up | Fort Worth Star-Telegram Sky Talk

Oct 13/11: Sub-contractors. Robertson Fuel Systems, LLC in Tempe, AZ receives a $16.8 million firm-fixed price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, buying 24 mission auxiliary fuel tank systems and related hardware for the V-22. See also March 31/11 and Dec 27/10 entries; this makes $47.6 million in publicly announced orders so far.

Work will be performed in Tempe, AZ, and is expected to be complete in December 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-08-D-0009).

Oct 11/11: Personnel. Bell Helicopter announces the appointment of Michael “Willy” D. Andersen as VP and Program Director for the V-22 Osprey, and deputy director of the Bell-Boeing Program Office. He’ll represent Bell Helicopter in the program office, reporting directly to Bell EVP of military programs Mitch Snyder, and V-22 Program Executive Director John Rader.

Andersen is a retired Air Force Colonel with 27 years of service, who directed and managed product portfolios for aircraft, weapons, avionics and cyber, and international sales.

Oct 1/11: Canada. Reports surface that Bell Helicopter and Boeing have demonstrated their V-22 to the Canadian Forces, as a possible solution to that country’s long-running on-again, off-again domestic search and rescue aircraft competition.

The competition is currently off-again, so there’s no live RFP, and no commitment yet by Boeing to bid. The notional advantage over current contenders, which include the C-27J Spartan, C-295M, and Viking’s revamped DH-5 Buffalo, is the V-22’s ability to go beyond identification and supply drops. A v-22 could simply land and pick people up. The flip side is its status as the most expensive option in the mix, but the counter-argument would be its ability to pick up rescuees if it can find a landing spot, removing the need to send additional helicopters or ground forces. AIN Online | Ottawa Citizen Defence Watch.

FY 2011

MV-22, ropedown
(click to view full)

Sept 20/11: Infrastructure. The Hensel Phelps/ Granite Hangar joint venture in Irvine, CA receives a $97.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for work at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA. They’ll design and build an MV-22 aircraft parking apron/taxiway expansion; an addition to Aircraft Maintenance Hangar 4; and Aircraft Maintenance Hangar 7. The contract also contains 2 planned modifications, which could raise the total to $103.6 million.

This work is designed to enable the operation of both the MV-22 and the CH-53 heavy-lift helicopter, with a focus on accommodating and maintaining the MV-22 squadrons so they can conduct readiness, training, and special exercise operations. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA, and is expected to be complete by September 2014. This contract was competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with 10 proposals received by the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest in San Diego, CA (N62473-11-C-0401).

Sept 19/11: V-22 upgrades. US NAVAIR is working on a number of software changes to improve the V-22’s flight and maintenance performance. A test team from the V-22 Joint Program Office recently spent about 6 weeks in Logan, UT, about 4,400 feet above sea level, in order to test the effects of one software change. This one tilts the rotors about 4 degrees outward in hover mode, reducing air flow over the wings. The result lets the pilot either carry more weight, or carry the same weight to higher altitude.

The software change has already been implemented into some MV-22s, and the plan is to upgrade all V-22s by the end of 2011. US NAVAIR.

Sept 15/11: CV-22 upgrades. An $8.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for one-time efforts associated with the CV-22 Block 20 Increment 3 upgrade program. Efforts will include concept definition, non-recurring engineering, drawings, and installation/integration to design, develop, and test the enhanced helmet mounted display upgrade.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA, and is expected to be complete in December 2015. $21,544 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-08-C-0025).

Sept 6/11: Sub-contractors. Elbit Systems of America in Fort Worth, TX announces a contract to supply Boeing with a Color Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) for AFSOC’s CV-22s. The displays are based on Elbit’s widely-used ANVIS/HUD, with full helmet tracking capability and color display.

Aug 15/11: VIP Kits. USMC squadron HMX-1 in Quantico, VA is soliciting 4 installable “VIP kits” for MV-22s. This means a set of green interior wall and ceiling inserts, black seat covers, black carpeting that includes the squadron logo, and carrying/stowage cases.

Ospreys are tentatively set to begin arriving at HMX-1 in 2013. That squadron supports the USA Presidential Helicopter fleet, carrying cargo and associated people as necessary. Gannett’s Marine Corps Times | US NAVAIR.

Aug 8/11: Training. A $34.2 million delivery order to upgrade SOCOM’s CV-22 training devices to faithfully simulate the Block 20/C Upgrade. That means upgrading the Cabin Operational Flight Trainer (COFT), Cabin Part Task Trainer, and the Wing Part Task Trainer.

Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ (57%); Fort Worth, TX (34%); and Ridley Park, PA (9%), and is expected to be complete in June 2014 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Aug 4/11: MYP-II proposal. Bloomberg reports that the Bell-Boeing partnership has submitted an initial proposal for the 2nd and final multi-year V-22 contract, which would buy another 122 CV-22 and MV-22 tilt-rotors to finish the USMC and AFSOCOM’s planned buys at 410. If export deals are made for the Osprey, they would also be produced under the US multi-year volume buy’s terms and conditions, as is done with helicopters like the H-60 Black Hawk/ Seahawk series.

In order to meet the legal requirements for a multi-year deal, however, the Navy must have reliable data to certify that the proposed 5-year block buy can save at least 10% over 5 separate yearly buys. USMC Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lt. Gen. Terry Robling told Bloomberg that they believe they can meet or even exceed that threshold. The reported goal is to have that certification ready by April-May 2012, so the 2nd block buy contract can be signed by the end of 2012, or early 2013.

The other thing a multi-year buy does, of course, is make termination costs so steep that a program cannot be cancelled. As the USA enters the jaws of existing fiscal crunch, a number of recommendations have already targeted the V-22 program for cancellation, and replacement with less expensive standard helicopters. Bloomberg | POGO.

Aug 2/11: Israel. Flight International reports that Israel’s air force has returned with a very positive evaluation of the USMC’s MV-22B Ospreys, and wants to include a “limited” initial order in the IDF’s multi-year spending plan. If that doesn’t happen, the IAF may have to use its reserve budgets if it wants the Ospreys that badly.

July 20/11: Flight International:

“Saying export discussions have intensified within the past six months, Textron chief executive Scott Donnelly now estimates as many as 12 countries could buy the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor after 2015.”

July 18/11: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $9.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 17 CV-22 low power repairs. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in February 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-10-C-0020).

July 13/11: V-22 sustainability. In response to questions from DID, US NAVAIR explains “low power repairs,” and also discusses some benchmarks for the V-22 fleet. V-22 Joint Program Manager Col. Greg Masiello says that actual cost per flight hour (CPFH) is currently lower than the projected CPFH and is continuing to trend lower, with an 18% drop over the past year. MV-22s on the front lines are seeing a direct maintenance man-hour : flight-hour ratio of about 19.6:1, and current readiness rates in Afghanistan are around 69% for May 2011. Readiness rates show some monthly fluctuation but, he says, an overall upward trend. With Sikorsky reporting an 85% mission readiness rate for its H-60 Black Hawk helicopter fleet in Iraq and Afghanistan, that will be necessary, in order to avoid invidious comparisons.

With respect to the efforts described in part in the June 7/11 entry, to improve engine time between maintenance, that conversation is still ongoing, and will be published in future.

June 13/11: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $34.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, for maintenance services in support of the MV-22 AE1107C turboshaft engine. There do seem to be a lot of these.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in September 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-10-C-0020).

June 8/11: Israel. Defense Update reports that Israel may be re-evaluating the V-22 for use by its Special Forces, and for long-range CSAR (combat search and rescue) duties.

The V-22 had been removed from the IAF’s quadrennial procurement plan in 2009, but Israel’s needs represent something of a unique case. The IAF has intermittent but consistent needs to conduct long-range missions, over entirely hostile territory. CH-53 helicopters can be refueled in mid-air, and offer greater versatility by allowing the carriage of vehicles, but the sheer volume and hostility of enemy territory gives speed a special premium for the Israelis. Until competing platforms like Sikorsky’s quieter but developmental S-97 Raider are fielded, those combined needs make a platform like the CV-22 attractive to the Israelis.

June 7/11: Engines. A Defense News article notes that the USMC is working with contractor Rolls Royce to increase the durability of the V-22 Liberty engines’ “time on wing” by 45%. That’s an ambitious goal, and the article admits that durability is a larger problem in hostile conditions. Which is normal, but that does include many of its current and expected deployment zones.

The program is working on a range of changes, which would also cross over to SOCOM’s CV-22s. Dust filters have been a persistent problem, with a number of redesigns already, and installing them will reduce engine power without further redesign work. That is underway, and test aircraft have already flown with some of the changes. The hope is that it increases “time on wing” by 30%.

The other approach is a software change, touted as increasing both reliability and performance. Lt. Col. Romin Dasmalchi is quoted as saying that an earlier software upgrade improved power output, and increased maximum speed by 20 knots. That lends credence to the possibility, but in terms of reliability enhancements, one would have to know more about the upgrade to judge. For instance, one notional way to achieve the touted 80% drop in off-wing time would be to remove a number of the software-driven diagnostic warnings that force maintenance checks. If that approach was followed, would it be good or bad?

Major engine improvement program

June 6/11: Reliability. An article in The Hill magazine notes that the USMC continues to praise the MV-22B’s performance, but doesn’t give any specifics. It does note that “the Osprey’s closely monitored reliability rate in Afghanistan is around 73 percent, according to program officials.”

That’s above the 68.1% reported in 2008, but still below the program goal of 80%. Nor does it address how many maintenance hours are required per flight hour, or the cost of spares required, to achieve present totals.

April 12/11: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $9.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for 3 low power AE 1107C-Liberty engine repairs and 11,247 engine flight hours.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2011. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-10-C-0020).

April 8/11: Avionics. A $7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee order to install, integrate, and test Block 10.3.01 flight/mission hardware, vehicle management system math model software, computational system software, and instructor/operator station software into 6 AFSOC CV-22 flight training devices.

Work will be performed at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM (66%); Hurlburt Field, FL (17%); and Cannon Air Force Base, NM (17%). Work is expected to be complete in January 2013 (N00019-07-G-0008).

March 31/11: Sub-contractors. Robertson Fuel Systems, LLC in Tempe, AZ receives a $14 million firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for the procurement of V-22 mission auxiliary fuel tanks, refueling kits, and accessories.

Work will be performed in Tempe, AZ, and is expected to be completed in December 2012 (N00019-08-D-0009).

March 25/11: Training. A $30.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to procure 2 AFSOC CV-22 flight training simulators, with associated provisioned items and spares.

Work will be performed in Broken Arrow, OK (53%); Fort Worth, TX (35%); Philadelphia, PA (7%); Clifton, NJ (3%); and Orlando, FL (2%). Work is expected to be complete in September 2013. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL manages this contract (N61340-11-C0004).

March 22/11: Combat rescue. A USAF F-15E Strike Eagle fighter catches fire and crashes in northeastern Libya due to mechanical failure; crew ejects and landed safely in rebel-held territory, before being picked up by a USMC MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor.

A demonstration of the V-22’s unique size, range, and speed advantages, as the USMC touts? Only to a limited extent. The 90 minute round trip recovery time to an objective 130 nautical miles away does owe something to the Osprey’s speed, but the MV-22s were accompanied by a pair of CH-53Es, carrying a quick reaction force. They are larger but slower helicopters that boast equal or better range. Less felicitously, the Ospreys were also accompanied by a pair of AV-8B Harrier II V/STOL fighters, whose 500 pound laser guided bombs ended up seriously injuring a number of Libyans who had come to help the American pilot. One young man lost his leg. USMC | US AFRICOM | Eastern NC Today | UK’s Daily Mail | UK’s Guardian.

Combat rescue in Libya

Feb 25/11: CV-22 upgrades. A $13.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee order for one-time engineering services to upgrade the CV-22’s electrical system and dual digital map system. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (92%), and Fort Worth, TX (8%), and is expected to be complete in December 2015 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Feb 25/11: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $12.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for 14 low power AE1107C engine repairs within the MV/CV-22 fleet, and 6,565 engine flight hours.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be completed in November 2011. All funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Feb 16/11: De-icing. A $9.8 million delivery order modification for 38 central de-ice distributor and nacelle ice protection controller unit retrofit kits, for the V-22 ice protection system. Icing has been an issue with the V-22, especially in early models, and the presence of a full de-icing kit is part of the type’s operational configuration.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2012 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Feb 15/11: Budgets. Rep. Luis Gutierez [D-IL-4] submits an amendment to the 112th Congress’ H.R. 1 spending bill for FY 2011, which would address the fact that the 11th Congress did not pass a FY 2011 budget. H.Amdt. 13 would have removed $415 million funding from the V-22 program, about 14.8% of the system’s $2.8 billion FY 2011 request. The U.S. House of Representatives defeats the amendment, 326 – 105, (17-223 Republicans, 88-103-2 Democrats). GovTrack for H.Amdt. 13 | Reuters.

Feb 14/11: Budgets. The Pentagon releases its official FY 2012 budget request. The V-22 request is for a total of $2.97 billion, to buy 30 MV-22s and 6 CV-22s, which includes 1 supplemental CV-22 to replace the one that crashed in Afghanistan. Under the multi-year buy, the USA has been ordering V-22s at this same steady pace of 35-36 per year.

The proposed FY 2012 US Navy budget for Ospreys is $2.393 billion, split $85 million RDT&E and $2.309 billion procurement for the 30 MV-22s. The USAF budget is $438.1 million, split $20.7 million RDT&E and $487.6 million procurement for the 6 CV-22s, incl. $57.5 million budgeted for the supplemental combat replacement. There’s also $127.5 million budgeted to the program for spares, which is a lot.

Feb 7/11: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for AE1107C engine maintenance services, including 14 low power repairs. There do seem to be a lot of these contracts.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2011. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Feb 2/11: CAMEO. A $6.6 million modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to provide engineering and technical services for the Comprehensive Automated Maintenance Environment-Optimized (CAMEO) and technical data systems in support of the MV-22 and CV-22 aircraft, and procure a CAMEO equipment suite and a CAMEO technology upgrade suite in support of V-22 aircraft.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (90%), and Fort Worth, TX (10%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011 (N00019-07-G-0008). See Sept 24/08 entry for more on CAMEO.

Jan 27/11: Engine support. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $22.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option to buy 17,800 engine flight hours of support services, and 17 low power repairs. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2011. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Jan 3/10: Avionics. A $24.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for engineering and technical support of MV-22 and CV-22 flight control systems and on-aircraft avionics software. This work will support configuration changes to the software of V-22 aircraft for avionics and flight controls, flight test planning, coordination of changed avionics and flight control configurations, upgrade planning of avionics and flight controls, and software qualification/ integration testing.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (90%), and Fort Worth, TX (10%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011. $5.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Dec 28/10: Support. A $12.6 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee order to provide 15 sets of organizational and intermediate level support equipment sets that are unique to the MV/CV-22 Osprey, including supportability data.

Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX, and is expected to be complete in January 2014. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (MV-22/ $9.2M/ 73%) and Air Force (CV-22/ $3.35M; 27%). The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages this contract (N68335-10-G-0010).

Dec 27/10: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in IN received a $49 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 24 AE1107C engines for the AFSOC’s CV-22 aircraft (10 Production Lot 15 installs, 14 spares). Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in April 2012 (N00019-07-C-0060).

24 more engines

Dec 27/10: Sub-contractors. Robertson Aviation, LLC in Tempe, AZ receives a $16.8 million firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for V-22 mission auxiliary fuel tanks, refueling kits, and accessories. Work will be performed in Tempe, AZ, and is expected to be complete in December 2011 (N00019-08-D-0009).

Dec 27/10: Support. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Hurst, TX receives a maximum $10 million firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for MV-22 prop rotor gearboxes. The date of performance completion is Oct 31/13. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response to the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation in Philadelphia, PA (SPRPA1-09-G-004Y-5638).

Dec 27/10: Support. A $9.1 million fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for 14 “support equipment workarounds” for MV-22 and CV-22 organizational- and intermediate-level maintenance. Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2014. $599,607 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-11-D-0002).

Dec 23/10: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $8.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for MV-22 engine maintenance services. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2011. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Dec 22/10: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $121.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option to buy another 58 AE1107C Liberty engines for USMC MV-22s. Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%), and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in April 2012 (N00019-07-C-0060).

58 more engines

Dec 18/10: Cover-up? The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that senior USAF generals overturned the findings of their own investigation team, when it ruled that an Afghan CV-22 crash that killed 4 people was due to engine trouble. Chief investigator Brig. Gen. Donald Harvel gave an interview to the paper – key excerpts from the story follow:

“Crash site evidence showed that the pilot tried an emergency roll-on landing, as if it were a conventional airplane, rather than a vertical, helicopter-type landing… “I think they knew they were going down and they had some kind of power problem,” chief investigator Brig. Gen. Donald Harvel said in an interview… The pilot… “made what is in my opinion a perfect roll-on landing,” but the aircraft’s nose landing gear collapsed and the aircraft flipped tail-over-nose when it ran into a 2-foot-deep drainage ditch… “It is unlikely that this very experienced and competent [pilot] would have chosen to execute a roll-on landing on rough terrain if he had power available to go around and set up for another approach.”

…Harvel said it was clear to him early on that [AFSOC vice commander Lt. Gen. Kurt Cichowski] would not accept the findings of the Accident Investigation Board if it disagreed with the service’s own internal safety report, which was done in the days immediately after the crash… Release of the public investigation report had been delayed for months due to internal Air Force wrangling.”

See also “April-May 2010” entry.

Crash cover-up?

Dec 17/10: Testing. A $31.6 million firm-fixed-price delivery order, exercising an option for on-site flight test management, flight test engineering, design engineering, and related efforts to support the Naval Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron. That squadron conducts MV-22 flight and ground testing.

Work will be performed in Patuxent River, MD (43%); Philadelphia, PA (36%); and Fort Worth, TX (21%), and will run to December 2011 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Nov 29/10: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $26.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option to buy another 12 AE1107C spare engines for the CV-22 fleet. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in December 2011 (N00019-07-C-0060).

The Aug 16/10 entry featured a $23.2 million contract for the same thing.

Nov 22/10: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $20.3 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-10-C-0020), exercising an option for AE1107C engine maintenance services in support, including low power repairs and program management and site support.

Work will be performed in Oakland, CA (70%) and Indianapolis, IN (30%), and is expected to be complete in November 2013. $20.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. This contract combines purchases for the USAF (CV-22, $9.4M, 46.3%); US Navy (MV-22, $9.1M; 45%); and Special Operations Command (CV-22, $1.8M; 8.7%).

Nov 19/10: CV-22 upgrades. A $10.1 million firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) for one-time efforts required to complete an engineering change proposal (ECP) for the Air Force CV-22. The fuel jettison mission management restriction removal will remove the fuel jettison restriction, allowing the aircrew to rapidly reduce the CV-22’s mission gross weight.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (70%); Dallas, TX (20%); Fort Worth, TX (7%); Fort Walton Beach, FL (2%); and St. Louis, MO (1%). Work is expected to be complete in August 2013. but all contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11.

FY 2010

MV-22 Osprey
(click to view full)

Sept 27/10: Support. A $7.3 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to buy operational test program sets (OTPSs), for the Air Force (CV-22s; $1.5M; 21%) and Marine Corps (MV-22s; $5.8M; 79%), and on-site verification (OSV) for the Marine Corps. See Sept 20/10 entry for an explanation of OSTPs.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be completed in November 2012. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract (N68335-08-G-0002).

Sept 24/10: Training. A $5.6 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for simulator software and hardware in support of 7 MV-22 simulators. Work will be performed in New River, NC (85%), and Miramar, CA (15%), and is expected to be complete in February 2012.

Sept 24/10: Support. A maximum $6.4 million firm-fixed-price, sole-source, basic ordering agreement contract for hub assembly items in support of the MV-22. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response, and the contract will run to Dec 31/12. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation in Philadelphia, PA manages this contract (SPRPA1-09-G-004Y-5260).

Sept 20/10: Support. A $22.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to develop and deliver Production Lot IV Operational Test Program Sets (OTPSs), including production copies of the OTPSs for MV-22 and CV-22, on-site verification (OSV), and a buy of General Electric Interface Unit Weapons Replaceable Assemblies (WRAs) and standby flight instrument/enhanced standby flight instrument WRAs. This order combines USAF CV-22 OTPS ($1 million; 4%; 16 production units and OSV of 2 units) and the Marine Corps MV-22 ($22.3 million; 96%; one-time design engineering, 12 pilot production units, 72 production units, and OSV of 12 units).

Asked about the Operational Test Program Set (OTPS) sets, NAVAIR responded that they’re a tool used to test aircraft avionics systems and subsystems, and to diagnose the source of any problems found. The OTPS involves both connective hardware and software programming, and connects a specific aircraft type to the Consolidated Automated Test Station (CASS Station). The software is referred to as the Operational Test Program Medium (OTPM). It includes the Operational Test Program (OTP), the Operational Test Program Instruction (OTPI) that provides additional instructions, Test Diagrams that show the connections for each test, and troubleshooting software.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (89.6%), and Ridley Park, PA (10.4%). Work is expected to be complete in August 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $13.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages this contract (N68335-08-G-0002).

Sept 17/10: Near-hit. A V-22 Osprey nearly collides with a civilian de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter parachute jump aircraft at 12,000ft altitude in controlled airspace. Flight International adds that:

“Along with inherent limitations in on board see-and-avoid tactics, the NTSB (National Transport Safety Board) also faulted an air traffic controller who had been on a non-pertinent phone call during a time period where the aircraft’s pilot was expecting to receive air traffic reports.”

Oops.

Aug 16/10: Training. The Bell Boeing V-22 program delivers the 6th and final MV-22 Osprey Containerized Flight Training Device (CFTD) to the US Marines. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, NC received the trainer 6 weeks early, and now has 6 of them, plus 3 full-flight, motion-based simulators and 1 non-motion-based flight training device. MCAS Miramar, CA now has 4 CFTDs. An upgrade delivered to Miramar in August 2010 brought all CFTDs to full concurrency with the Osprey aircraft. The first CFTD was delivered to MCAS New River in 2007.

The CFTD trains aircrew on basic aircraft familiarization and handling qualities. Additional training capabilities include systems/subsystems operation, communication, malfunctions, day and night flying, use of night-vision goggles, formation flying, aerial refueling and landing on ships. The device is intended to train crews for any task that might be performed in the aircraft, while limiting the monetary and environmental costs and safety risks of in-flight training. All CFTDs can be locally networked, and the CFTDs at MCAS New River also are able to network with AV-8 Harriers at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. Shepard Group.

Aug 16/10: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $23.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to supply another 12 AE1107C spare engines for the CV-22 fleet. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in December 2011 (N00019-07-C-0060).

Aug 16/10: Navy plans. DoD Buzz looks at the shifting plans to replace the USMC’s 30 CH-53D Sea Stallions. The original plan was to replace them with MV-22s. At some point in 2007/08, the Marine Corps formally decided replace their aging CH-53Ds with CH-53Ks. But now USMC Lt. General Trautman is saying that he wants an east coast and a west coast MV-22 squadron to replace the CH-53Ds in Afghanistan, and “When I can do that, that’ll be the start of getting CH-53 Delta out of the way.”

Exactly what “out of the way” means is ambiguous. If it means out of service, DoD Buzz correctly notes that this raises questions about the USMC’s support for the CH-53K, and would seem to be better news for the MV-22. If it means “shifted back to Hawaii while MV-22s serve in Afghanistan,” that would be something else. The exact meaning isn’t 100% clear in the article.

Aug 11/10: Navy plans. Flight International reports that the US Navy has commissioned a 6-month study from Northrop Grumman to look at remanufacturing C-2A Greyhound bodies using tooling and components already developed for the new E-2D Hawkeye, in order to give its 36 carrier-capable cargo planes longer service life.

The C-2As were originally designed to last for 36,000 carrier landings and 15,000 flight hours, and some have already had their center wing boxes replaced. The E-2 Hawkeye is a close derivative, and with Northrop Grumman ramping up E-2D production, refurbishing or building C-2s could become a cheaper option than buying up to 48 V-22s for Navy roles that would be anchored by the same Carrier On-board Delivery function.

July 26/10: Support. A $13.8 million firm-fixed-price modification, exercising an option to a previously-awarded delivery order for 107 swashplate actuators and 137 flaperon actuators for MV-22 and CV-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in New York, NY, and is expected to be complete in January 2012 (N00019-07-G-0008).

July 20/10: Presentation. At Farnborough 2010, USMC V-22 Program Manager Col. Greg Masiello on July 20 briefs media about the current status of the program. It reiterates the basic rationale that has justified the V-22 since inception, and adds that a joint industry-government team will be trying to address the platform’s readiness issues by having more spares on hand, analyzing root causes, and making more modifications to the platform. Presentation [PDF, 9.8 MB]

July 14/10: Support. A $12.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification will buy various obsolete parts for MV-22 and CV-22 aircraft, including both life-of-type and bridge buys. As Defense Acquisition University explains:

“A lifetime [aka. Life Of Type] buy involves the purchase and storage of a part in a sufficient quantity to meet current and (expected) future demands. Lifetime buys are usually offered by manufacturers prior to part discontinuance and may delay discontinuances if purchases are large… The trick with lifetime buys is to determine the optimum number of parts to purchase.”

Parts that end their manufacturing while their military system continues to serve are common problem among military electronics, and the list of parts reflects that: Display Electronics Unit II; Dual Digital Map System; Air Data Unit; Slim Multi Functional Display; and Thermoelectric Cooler Modular Unit.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (95%); Vergennes, VT (3%); and Albuquerque, NM (2%). Work is expected to be complete in October 2014. $10.1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-07-C-0007).

June 28/10: Sub-contractors. Raytheon Technical Services Co. in Indianapolis, IN received a $250.5 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to develop and support FY 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 V-22 Block Fleet release avionics systems software, including V-22 aircraft avionics acquisition support. The contract also provides for V-22 situational awareness/Blue Force tracking software and prototype hardware.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in September 2014. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD (N00421-10-D-0012).

June 21/10: Engine support. A $12.4 million firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008). It will buy 698 upgraded engine air particle separator blowers (558 MV-22; 68 CV-22; and 72 spares). “Air particle separators” help engines avoid being clogged and/or internally sandblasted by flying dust. The V-22 generates a lot of that, and as contracts covered here attest, it has been a recurring problem for the aircraft on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, TX (63%), and Jackson, MS (37%), and is expected to be complete in March 2014. $6.8 million of this contract will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10 (N00019-07-G-0008).

April-May 2010: Crash follow-up. Early reports indicate that the CV-22 crash in Afghanistan was caused in part by brownout” conditions, created when a helicopter’s rotors create so much dust that visibility drops to near-zero, and the engine may ingest sand and dust. In May, however Military.com’s Jamie McIntyre offers a different account:

“An investigation of the crash of an Air Force special operations CV-22 Osprey in Afghanistan last month has concluded the pilot of the tilt-rotor aircraft flew too close to the ground, striking an earthen berm, a source who has been briefed on the finding tells Line Of Departure. The conclusions of the accident investigators – which haven’t been released because they are not yet final – rule out mechanical malfunction and hostile fire… evidence suggests the V-22 was flying at high speed, at very low altitude, in airplane mode, with its massive rotors perpendicular to the ground when it struck the berm. A source says the force of the impact sheared off both engines (nacelles) and both wings before the plane flipped over… The accident report neither validates the V-22’s proponents, nor vindicates its detractors. It may just postpone that debate until the next incident… longtime aviation reporter Richard Whittle, author of the authoritative new book, “The Dream Machine: the Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey”… cautions against blaming the pilot for the crash, before the full investigation is released…”

See: Flight International | Popular Mechanics | Military.com Line of Departure.

April 15/10: Avionics. A $42.1 million fixed-price-incentive-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) to swap out the MV/CV-22’s flight computer hardware for newer and better gear. Official releases refer to an effort to develop, qualify, and test and new “integrated avionics processor into the avionics system architecture,” in order to “resolve obsolescence issues, add new network capabilities, increase data throughput for legacy 1553 network, and re-host mission computer capabilities that will significantly increase avionics system and operations readiness.” Sounds like the old IAP was a problem, which may not be surprising if one contrasts the length of time V-22s have taken to develop, with the expected lifespan of computer processors.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (70%) and Ft. Worth, TX (30%), and is expected to be complete in October 2014.

April 11/10: An 8th Special Operations Sqn. CV-22 crashes 7 miles west of Qalat City, in Zabul province, Afghanistan. The crash kills 4: a civilian, Army Ranger Cpl. Michael D. Jankiewicz, AFSOC Maj. Randell D. Voas, and AFSOC Senior Master Sgt. James B. Lackey. Other troops in the aircraft were injured, and were evacuated.

As of April 15/10, the USAF has yet to offer a cause for the 5th crash of a CV-22 in the program’s history – but Taliban claims of a shoot-down were strongly denied. USAF release | AF News Service | Aviation Week | Defense Tech | LA Times | Politico | NJ.com | Washington Post | WCF Courier | Agence France Presse.

CV-22 crash

April 1/10: CV-22 upgrades. A $55.2 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-08-C-0025) for non-recurring efforts associated with the CV-22 aircraft Block 20 upgrade program, Increment III. Efforts to be provided include concept definition, non-recurring engineering, drawings, and installation/integration of brake performance enhancements and the helmet mounted display upgrade.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (91%); Fort Worth, TX (5%); and Fort Walton Beach, FL (4%), and is expected to be completed in December 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $6.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

April 1/10: The Pentagon releases its April 2010 Selected Acquisitions Report, covering major program changes up to December 2009. With respect to the V-22, bookkeeping errors account for more than 100% of the program’s cost decrease, while manufacturing, spares and maintenance costs are listed as rising:

“Program costs decreased $1,327.9 million (-2.5%) from $54,226.9 million to $52,899.0 million, due primarily to duplication of obsolescence costs erroneously included in both procurement and operations and support (-$1,281.6 million), associated erroneous inclusion of modifications under procurement (-$367.3 million), the application of revised escalation indices (-$758.6 million), and realignment of Integrated Defensive Electronic Counter Measures funding from Special Operations Command to the Air Force (-$96.2 million). These decreases were partially offset by increases from updated learning curves and material cost adjustments (+$608.4 million), a revised estimate for completion of the development program (+$182.3 million), an updated support equipment estimate (+$380.8 million), the addition of obsolescence ancillary equipment and cost reduction initiative investments (+$218.8 million), and an increase in initial spares (+$193.1 million).”

Cost decrease? Sort of.

March 30/10: GAO Report. The US GAO audit office delivers its 8th annual “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs report. With respect to the V-22, the GAO said:

“Although the program office considers V-22 critical technologies to be mature and its design stable, the program continues to correct deficiencies and make improvements to the aircraft. For example, the engine air particle separator (EAPS), which keeps debris out of the engines, and has been tied to a number of engine fires caused by leaking hydraulic fluids contacting hot engine parts. Previous design changes did not fully correct this problem or other EAPS problems… Due to the aircraft’s design, many components of the aircraft are inaccessible until the aircraft is towed from its parking spot. Shipboard operations were adjusted to provide 24 hour aircraft movement capability. Temporary work-arounds were also identified to mitigate competition for hangar deck space, as well as to address deck heating issues on smaller ships caused by the V-22’s exhaust… According to the program office, during the first sea deployment in 2009, the MV-22 achieved a mission capable rate of 66.7 percent [emphasis DID’s]. This still falls short of the minimum acceptable (threshold) rate of 82 percent. The mission capable rate achieved during three Iraq deployments was 62 percent average.”

With respect to self protection:

“According to program officials the program has purchased eight belly mounted all quadrant (360 degrees) interim defensive weapon system mission kits [DID: see RGS article]. Five kits are currently on deployed V-22 aircraft… the speed, altitude, and range advantages of the MV-22 will require the Marine Corps to reevaluate escort and close air support tactics and procedures.”

The GAO adds that the V-22 program is planning for and budgeting for a second multiyear procurement contract, to begin in FY 2013.

March 26/10: CV-22 support. The US government announces, via FedBizOpps solicitation #FA8509-10-R-21916, a sole source contract to Boeing to have 2 experts co-located within 580th Aircraft Sustainment Group (ACSG) at Robins AFB, to provide on-site technical and engineering support for AFSOC’s CV-22s. The contract will run for 1 year, with an additional 4 annual options that could carry it to 5 years.

March 9/10: Support. The US government modifies a pre-solicitation notice; NAVAIR will award Bell-Boeing a delivery order for integration and test of the V-22 Dual-Digital Map, Electrical System Improvements, Troop Commander Panel, and Holdup Power Circuit (N00019-07-G-0008/ 0092).

March 8/10: Engine support. Rolls-Royce announces a 5-year MissionCare contract from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), to support AE 1107C-Liberty engines powering MV-22 & CV-22 Ospreys. Services will include engine management and repair, logistics support, and field service representatives at 6 operating locations in the U.S. The initial 11-month contract is worth $75 million, but 4 option years could push the total value up to $600 million.

In March 2008, however, Aviation Week reported that problems with engine durability and costs had led the USMC to examine alternatives, and Rolls Royce to reconsider its “power by the hour” type pricing framework. A June 2009 GAO report added gravity to V-22 support cost issues.

This contract appears to offer a near-term path forward for all parties. The AE 1107C MissionCare contract is a military variant of Rolls Royce’s “power by the hour” contracts, with payment calculated on a fixed price based on aircraft hours flown. Rolls Royce representatives characterized the contract as a continuation of earlier MissionCare support contracts for the Liberty engine, and said that there had been no major shifts in terms. Rolls Royce release.

5-year Engine Support deal

March 5/10: MV-22s. A $117.4 million modification to the fixed-price incentive fee V-22 multi-year production contract (N00019-07-C-0001) will add 2 more MV-22s, under the “variation in quantity” clause that allows the Navy to order additional aircraft at a set price. This is more than a simple delivery order, therefore, as it raises the total number of aircraft bought under this MYP contract from 141 to 143.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (50%); Fort Worth, TX (35%); and Amarillo, TX (15%), and is expected to be complete in May 2014. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10.

2 more MV-22s

Feb 5/10: Support. A $70 million cost-plus-fixed-fee repair contract for repairs in support of the V-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (50%), and Fort Worth, TX (50%), and is expected to be complete by June 2012. This contract was not competitively awarded by the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-10-D-003N).

Feb 4/10: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $52.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-10-C-0020). The change provides additional funding for maintenance services in support of the MV-22 and CV-22 AE1107C engines.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in February 2011. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (MV-22, $48.2 million; 92%) and the Air Force (CV-22, $4.25 million; 8%).

Jan 15/10: Support. US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announces that it will issue an order under Basic Ordering Agreement N00019-07-G-0008, and modify contracts N00019-07-C-0001, N00019-08-C-0025 and N00019-07-C-0040 with the Bell Boeing Joint Program Offices.

“The order/modifications will cover Engineering Change Proposals for the Retrofit and Forward Fit of the CV-22 Osprey aircraft that incorporates Block 20/C Upgrades consisting of: Co-Site Communications, Parking Brake, GPS Repeater, Environmental Cooling System, Standby Flight Instrument and Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical Terminal. Additionally the order will cover the debit/credit of Technical Manuals.”

Dec 30/09: Support. The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX received a $13.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to design and build 12 types of CV-/MV-22 specific support equipment for the intermediate and operational maintenance levels.

Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX, and is expected to be complete in March 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $10.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N68335-06-G-0007).

Dec 29/09: Defensive. The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX received $11.9 million to provide recurring engineering for the Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Counter Measure (SIRFC) system on the V-22 aircraft. This firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement will include replacement of LRU-2 (Line Replaceable Unit, aka. “black box”) with the upgraded LRU-2B, SIRFC cable changes, and antenna radome redesign. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (98%), and Fort Worth, TX (2%), and is expected to be complete in August 2013 (N00019-07-G-0008).

ITT’s AN/ALQ-211 SIFRC system [PDF] provides detection, analysis and protection against radar-guided threats, including triangulation and GPS geolocation of threats, advance warning that may enable a pilot to route around the threat, and cueing of countermeasures like chaff dispensers via integration with the CV-22’s entire self-protection suite. It’s a modular system with multiple sensors and electronic components installed all around a rotary-winged or fixed winged aircraft. Variants of the ALQ-211 SIFRC equip US AFSOCOM’s CV-22s (ALQ-211v2), as well helicopters like SOCOM MH-47s and MH-60s (ALQ-211v6/v7), some NH90s (ALQ-211v5), and AH-64D attack helicopters (ALQ-211v1). Foreign F-16 jet fighters also deploy the ALQ-211, most recently as the ALQ-211v4 AIDEWS integrated defensive system.

Dec 28/09: Testing. The Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office in Amarillo, TX received a $29.4 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to support the Naval Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron by providing on-site flight test management, flight test engineering, design engineering and related efforts to support the conduct of flight and ground testing for the MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.

Work will be performed in Patuxent River, MD (70%); Philadelphia, PA (19%); and Fort Worth, TX (11%), and is expected to be complete in December 2010 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Dec 28/09: Avionics. A $25.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification, exercising an option to a previously awarded delivery order provides engineering and technical services for the Navy and Air Force in support of the V-22 flight control system and on-aircraft avionics software. It includes supporting configuration changes to the software of the V-22 aircraft for avionics and flight controls; flight test planning; coordination of changed avionics and flight control configurations; upgrade planning for avionics and flight controls; and software qualification and integration testing.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (90%), and Fort Worth, TX (10%). Work is expected to be complete in December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $6.1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Dec 23/09: Avionics. Raytheon Technical Services Co. LLC in Indianapolis, IN receives an $18.7 million delivery order modification. It provides additional funding to extend the firm’s work on V-22 aircraft software until June 30/10.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN and is expected to be complete in June 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $711,200 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N00019-05-G-0008).

Dec 18/09: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $160.6 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract, exercising an option to buy 78 AE1107C engines to equip Navy/USMC MV-22s (62 engines, $128.1 million, 80%) and US AFSOCOM CV-22s (16 engines, $32.5 million, 20%).

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in December 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $16 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N00019-07-C-0060).

Dec 5/09: Support. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Hurst, TX receives a $5.9 million ceiling-priced order contract for the repair of left hand and right hand blades for the V-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete by December 2010. This contract was not competitively awarded by the Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-05-G-048N, #0031).

Nov 30/09: Engine support. Rolls-Royce Corp., in Indianapolis, IN received a $22.6 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide maintenance services for the AE1107C engines installed on Marines’ MV-22s ($12.4 million, 54.7%) and AFSOCOM’s CV-22s ($10.2 million, 45.3%). Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN. T contract extends to December 2010, but $21.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-10-C-0020).

Nov 24/09: Block C. A $105.4 million modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-fee multi-year contract (N00019-07-C-0001) for work associated with the Block C upgrade of 91 MV-22 and 21 CV-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (90%); Fort Worth, TX (5%); and Amarillo, TX (5%) and is expected to be complete by October 2014; $5.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Block C configuration adds forward-mounted AN/ALE-47 defensive systems, Enhanced Standby Flight Instrument, a GPS repeater in the cabin area, and a Weather Radar. It also upgrades systems like the VHF/UHF LOS/SATCOM radio interface for the Troop commander, improves the plane’s Environmental Control System (air conditioning/ heating, cited as an issue), and moves the MV-22’s Ice Detectors. In addition, this contract modification upgrades the engine air particle separator and installs a shaft-driven compressor inlet barrier filter.

Block C coming

Nov 19/09: Training. The Marines take delivery of the 2nd MV-22 Osprey flight trainer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA. The containerized flight training devices (CFTD) are used for over 50% of crew training, and require only a concrete pad and dedicated power hookup. NAVAIR quotes Lt. Col. David Owen of PMA-205, who says that reliability is about 98% (12-15 hours maintenance downtime per year), and costs have gone down from $12 million for the initial units to the current $8.6 million.

The third and fourth trainers are scheduled to be delivered to MCAS Miramar in early to mid-2010. A fifth V-22 flight trainer is scheduled for delivery to MCAS New River, N.C. in the fall of 2010. NAVAIR Dec 16/09 release.

Nov 5/09: Support. A $7.5 million cost-plus fixed-fee order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N68335-06-G-0014) to manufacture 28 peculiar support equipment items for V-22 organizational and intermediate level maintenance.

Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX is expected to be completed in April 2012; $5.3 million in contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ.

Oct 30/09: Training. Boeing announces a contract for the Bell-Boeing team to upgrade the CV-22 Cabin Part Task Trainer (CPTT), including an Aircrew Flight Simulation (AFS) that deploys a fused reality system that fuses video images with virtual reality. The AFS enables the student to view both the interior cabin environment and the simulated outside world in a composite picture sent to the student’s helmet-mounted display, allowing training for things like wing fires, hydraulic leaks and engine smoke. This modification also opens the door to future upgrades that could enable simulated mission operations with separate cockpit flight simulators, where the CPTT could ‘fly’ with the cockpit simulator on a common mission.

The upgrade will be delivered to Air Force Special Operations Command, 58th Training Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM.

Oct 28/09: FY 2010 budget. President Obama signs the FY 2010 defense budget into law. That budget provides almost $2.3 billion in funding for 30 V-22s, and Congress did not modify the Pentagon’s request in any way. White House.

FY 2009

(click to view full)

Sept 22/09: Guns. A $10.6 million cost-plus fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to design and develop improvements to the interim defensive weapon system on the V-22 tiltrotor aircraft. This delivery order includes the design, qualification testing, airworthiness substantiation; aircraft fit check and ground testing and procurement of all necessary materials and parts.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (50%) and Johnson City, NY (50%), and is expected to be complete in March 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-07-G-0008).

Sept 21/09: Sub-contractors. L3 Vertex Aerospace of Madison, MS received an $8.2 million contract for UH-1N and HH-60G helicopter maintenance services, and functional check flight services for the CV-22 aircraft located at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. At this time, all funds have been committed by the AETC CONS/LGCK at Randolph AFB, TX (FA3002-10-C-0001).

Sept 15/09: Sub-contractors. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN awards a set of firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contracts with a maximum value of $14 million, to 6 firms. The firms will compete for delivery orders for various types of MH-60S/R and V-22 gun mount components, along with bore sight kits. Work is expected to be completed by September 2014. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities websites, with 14 proposals being received. Contractors include:

  • Guardian Technology Group in Crawfordsville, IN (N00164-09-D-JN14)
  • Northside Machine Company in Dugger, IN (N00164-09-D-JN60)
  • MCD Machine Inc. in Bloomington, IN (N00164-09-D-JN61)
  • C&S Machine in Plainville, IN (N00164-09-D-JN62)
  • Precision Laser Services, Inc. in Fort Wayne, IN (N00164-09-D-JN63)
  • Colbert Mfg, Co., Inc in Lavergn, TN (N00164-09-D-JN64)

Aug 25/09: CAMEO. A $7.3 million cost plus incentive fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for the continued development of technical data products necessary for the integration of the Comprehensive Automated Maintenance Environment Optimized (CAMEO) System into the V-22 Osprey (q.v. Sept 24/08 entry).

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (50%); and Fort Worth, TX (40%); and New River, NC (10%), and is expected to be complete in May 2010 (N00019-07-G-0008).

July 15/09: Support. A $24.5 million ceiling-priced indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity time and material contract for the development and delivery of safety corrective actions, reliability and maintainability improvements, and quick reaction capability improvements in support of V-22 Osprey missions for the Air Force, Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (50%); Amarillo, TX (25%); and Fort Worth, TX (25%), and is expected to be complete in December 2010 (N00019-09-D-0004).

July 15/09: Sub-contractors. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems’ Defensive Systems Division in Rolling Meadows, IL receives a $6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-08-G-0012) to perform configuration upgrades to the V-22 large aircraft infrared countermeasures, including qualification testing and acceptance test reports.

NGC produces the LAIRCM system, which uses sensors and pulsed lasers to identify and decoy incoming shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. t is typically fitted to large aircraft like the C-17 and C-130. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, IL and is expected to be complete in June 2012.

June 29/09: CV-22 support. A maximum $44.9 million firm-fixed-price, sole source contract for depot level reparables in support of the USAF’s CV-22 aircraft. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/09, but the contract runs until Oct 31/12. The contracting activity is the DLR Procurement Operations (DSCR-ZC) at Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia, in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-03-G-001B-THM4).

June 23/09: GAO Report. The US GAO releases report GAO-09-692T: “V-22 OSPREY AIRCRAFT: Assessments Needed to Address Operational and Cost Concerns to Define Future Investments”.

Among other things, the report questions the fleet’s effectiveness in high-threat combat zones, estimates potential operations and support costs of $75 billion (!) over the fleet’s 30-year lifetime, and states that the fleet needs so many spares that there may not be enough room for them all aboard the ships expected to carry V-22s (!!). The GAO goes so far as to recommend a formal exploration of alternatives to the USMC’s MV-22.

The report is bracketed by Congressional testimony from the GAO, outside experts, and the US Marine Corps, a session that ends with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Ed Towns (D-NY) clearly opposed to continuing the MV-22 program. GAO Report | House Oversight Committee statement and full video | Information Dissemination.

Future sustainment crisis?

June 11/09: Support. A $10.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery requirements contract to provide joint performance based logistics Phase 1.5 support, which aims to improve component reliability of the US Marine Corps (MV-22: $9.9 million; 91%) and Air Force Special Operations Command’s (CV-22: $1 million; 9%) Osprey tilt rotors.

Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, TX (72%) and Philadelphia, PA (28%) and is expected to be complete in May 2011 (N00019-09-D-0008).

May 20/09: Sub-contractors. Small business qualifier Organizational Strategies, Inc. in Arlington, VA wins a $10 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III firm-fixed-price contract for an “Advanced Training Technology Delivery System.” Phase III is the final stage of the SBIR process, and is expected to lead to a commercial product at the end.

Organizational Strategies will provide services and materials required to deliver the Training Continuum Integration (TCI) portion of the H-53 and V-22 Integrated Training Systems, including collaborative product acquisition, deployment, and concurrency data. Successful completion hopes to reduce program and operational risk, while improving safety, crew performance and operational efficiency for both the H-53 and V-22 programs.

Work will be performed in New River, NC (60%); Patuxent River, MD (20%); and Atlanta, GA (20%), and is expected to be complete in May 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using SBIR Program Solicitation Topic N98-057, with 15 offers received by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-09-C-0120).

May 20/09: CV-22 upgrades. A $7.3 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for one-time engineering services to retrofit 7 CV-22 aircraft per single configuration retrofit ECP V-22-0802. The order will bring the 7 aircraft to a Block B/10 configuration. The firm will also provide the associated retrofit kits for 3 more CV-22 aircraft.

Bell-Boeing plans to perform the work in Ridley Park, PA (60%), and Fort Worth, TX (40%) and expects to complete the work in November 2012 (N00019-07-G-0008).

March 31/09: De-icing. A $61.6 million not-to-exceed order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement will provide Ice Protection System upgrades for 49 Marine Corps MV-22s and 8 Air Force CV-22s under the production and deployment phases of the V-22 Program. See the March 30/09 entry for more on the V-22’s de-icing system.

Work will be performed in FT Worth, TX (99%) and New River, NC (1%), and is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $19 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-07-G-0008).

March 30/09: GAO Report. The US government’s GAO audit office issues GAO-09-326SP: “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs.” It compares the V-22 program’s costs from 1986 to the present, in constant FY 2009 dollars. Over its history, the program’s R&D costs have risen 209%, from $4.1 billion to $12.7 billion, and procurement costs rose 24% from $34.4 billion to $42.6 billion, despite a 50% cut in planed purchases from 913 to 458. With respect to current issues:

“…the full-rate production configuration deployed to Iraq, have experienced reliability problems… with parts such as gearboxes and generators… well short of its full- mission capability goal… complex and unreliable de-icing system… less than 400 hour engine service life fell short of the 500-600 hours estimated by program management… Also, pending modifications to the program’s engine support contract with Rolls Royce could result in increased support costs in the future. Planned upgrades to the aircraft could affect the aircraft’s ability to meet its requirements… [adding a 360 degree belly turret will drop troop carrying capacity below 24… an all-weather radar into the V-22. This radar and an effective de-icing system are essential for selfdeploying the V-22 without a radar-capable escort and deploying the V-22 to areas such as Afghanistan, where icing conditions are more likely to be encountered. However, expected weight increases from these and other upgrades, as well as general weight increases for heavier individual body armor and equipment may affect the V-22’s ability to maintain key performance parameters, such as speed, range, and troop carrying capacity. While the program office reports a stable design, changes can be expected in order to to integrate planned upgrades… The program is adding forward firing countermeasures to enhance the aircraft’s survivability; modifying the engine air particle separator to prevent engine fires and enhance system reliability; and improving the environmental control system.”

March 13/09: Avionics. A $30 million order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to support configuration changes to the V-22’s avionics and flight control software, flight test planning, coordination of changed avionics and flight control configurations, upgrade planning, performance of qualification testing, and integration testing on software products.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (90%) and Ft. Worth, TX (10%), and is expected to be complete in December 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $5.4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-07-G-0008).

March 12/09: To Afghanistan. Military.com quotes Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway, who says that “By the end of the year, you’re going to see Ospreys in Afghanistan.”

“One Osprey squadron is still in Iraq, but will be returning in a couple of months. The next Osprey squadron to deploy will be going aboard ships with a Marine Expeditionary Unit, Conway said, to test the aircraft’s ability to handle salt and sea and give crews shipboard operating experience… The squadron that follows in the deployment line up will then go to Afghanistan.”

The MV-22s in Iraq were criticized as glorified taxis, with the aircraft reportedly kept out of dangerous situations. It may be much more difficult to exercise that luxury in Afghanistan.

March 12/09: CV-22 upgrades. An $11.1 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-08-C-0025), for Increment II of the CV-22 aircraft Block 20 upgrade program. Efforts will include concept definition, non-recurring engineering, drawings, prototype manufacturing, installation, and associated logistic support to integrate and test the V-22 Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical Terminal Replacement Receiver, and improved crew interface of broadcast data. Additionally, this procurement provides for the supposedly one-time support to augment the contractor engineering technical support team.

Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (81%); Fort Worth, TX (10%); and Fort Walton Beach, FL (9%), and is expected to be completed in September 2012.

March 2/09: Downwash hazard. Gannett’s Marine Corps Times reveals that the Osprey’s downwash is creating new hazards on board America’s amphibious assault ships:

“For example, Kouskouris said flight deck operators [on the USS Bataan] are reluctant to land an Osprey next to smaller helicopters such as the AH-1 Super Cobra or the UH-1 Huey because the tilt rotors’ massive downdraft could blow the smaller aircraft off a deck spot. He has formally asked for this restriction to be included in the Osprey’s future training programs.”

March 2/09: Sub-contractors. GE Aviation Systems, LLC in Grand Rapids, MI received a $12.1 million ceiling-priced indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for aircraft recorders. The order includes 27 Crash Survivable Memory Units (CSMU) for the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotors; 120 Crash Survivable Flight Information Recorder (CSFIR) Voice and Data Recorders (VADRs) for the E-2D Hawkeye AWACS plane; and 2 CSFIR Integrated Data Acquisition and Recorder Systems for T-6A trainer aircraft. In addition, this contract provides for CSFIR supply system spares; engineering and product support; CSFIR and CSMU hardware; software upgrades, repairs, and modifications for CSFIR/Structural Flight Recording Set (SFRS) common ground station software.

Work will be performed in Grand Rapids, MI, and is expected to be complete in March 2010. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-09-D-0017).

Feb 27/09: Testing. A $24.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) to support the Naval Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron’s MV-22 efforts. The contract includes on-site and off-site flight test management, flight test engineering, design engineering, and related efforts to support flight and ground testing.

Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD (70%); Philadelphia, PA (19%); and Fort Worth, Texas (11%) and is expected to be complete in December 2009.

Feb 17/09: CV-22 plans. Defense News reports that US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) is looking to accelerate its purchase of CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to an average of 8 planes per year starting in FY 2010.

According to the report, AFSOC deputy director of plans, programs, requirements, and assessments Col. J.D. Clem says that that right now, AFSOC has 7 operational CV-22s at Hurlburt Field, FL and 4 training aircraft at Kirtland AFB, NM. They are reportedly looking to declare Initial Operational Capability before the end of March 2009. If AFSOC’s desired funding in its next 6-year spending plan comes through, it would have a fleet of 50 CV-22s by 2015, but many would not arrive until the end of FY 2011.

Jan 22/09: Support. A $581.4 million cost-plus-incentive fee, indefinite-delivery 5-year requirements contract to provide Joint Performance Based Logistics (JPBL) support for the Marine Corps (MV-22), Air Force, and Special Forces Operations Command (CV-22) aircraft during the production and deployment phase of the V-22 Program.

Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, TX (46.6%); Philadelphia, PA (41.4%); Ft. Walton Beach, FL (6.1%); Oklahoma City, OK (4.3%); and St. Louis, MO (1.6%), and is expected to be complete in November 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $84.8 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-09-D-0008).

Dec 29/08: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN is being awarded a $221.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract. The modification exercises options to buy 96 AE1107C engines for MV-22 and CV-22 aircraft, along with 1 year of support services.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN and is expected to be complete in December 2011 (N00019-07-C-0060).

96 engines

Dec 8/08: MV-22 upgrades. A $55.6 million modification to a previously awarded fixed price incentive fee contract (N00019-07-C-0066) to incorporate Engineering Change Proposal #708R2, which will convert Lot 5 MV-22 aircraft from the initial MV-22A configuration to the operational MV-22 Block B configuration. Block B aircraft are more reliable and introduce a ramp gun, hoist, refueling probe, and an improved EAPS (engine air particle separator).

Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC (65%); Amarillo, TX (20%); Philadelphia, PA (10%); Oklahoma City, OK (3%); and Mesa, AZ (2%) and is expected to be complete in May 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $47.9 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Dec 3/08: The USA’s 8th Special Operations Squadron returns 4 CV-22s to Hurlburt Field, FL after November’s Exercise Flintlock 2009 in Bamako, Mali. The Trans-Saharan exercise included personnel from 15 countries, and the CV-22 was used as a ferry to transport American, Malian and Senegalese special operations forces and their leadership teams to and from locations over 500 miles away. The aircraft did not require refueling, and the round trips took about 4 flight hours.

The USAF release adds that this is the CV-22’s first operational deployment. Because the exercise was held at a remote location rather than an established base, one of the maintenance challenges was self-deploying with all the parts and equipment they needed to keep the CV-22s operational for the entire exercise. The squadron had a 100% mission-capable rate, but Master Sgt. Craig Kornely adds that:

“We have a laundry list about three pages long of things we’d like to take next time… As we grow into the machine, we realize our needs for equipment and resources.”

CV-22 deploys

Oct 8/08: Support. An $18.1 million modification to a previously awarded cost plus incentive fee contract, exercising an option in support of the MV-22 Total Life Cycle logistics support effort. Services to be provided include planning and management; supportability analysis; training; support equipment; facilities management; computer resources; supportability test and evaluation; packaging, handling, storage and transportation of supplies; post-DD250 engineering and technical support; site/unit activation; on-site representative support; logistics life cycle cost; age exploration; configuration management; technical publications; and Naval Air Training and Operational Procedures Standardization support.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (45%); Fort Worth, TX (40%); New River, NC (10%); and OCONUS Deployment (5%), and is expected to be complete in January 2009 (N00019-03-C-3017).

FY 2008

CV-22 SEAL extraction
(click to view full)

Sept 24/08: Support. A $6.5 million ceiling priced order contract for MV-22 spare parts. Work will be performed at Hurst, TX and is expected to be complete by July 2011. This contract not was competitively procured by the Naval Inventory Control Point.

Sept 24/08: CAMEO. A $6.4 million cost plus incentive fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for the continued development for a Comprehensive Automated Maintenance Environment for Osprey (CAMEO) electronic maintenance support package for the V-22 family.

CAMEO is a related derivative of SAIC’s Pathfinder software series, and is used as part of V-22 fleet maintenance. CAMEO integrates with the V-22 Tiltrotor Vibration, Structural Life, and Engine Diagnostics (VSLED) unit, and the Aircraft Maintenance Event Ground Station (AMEGS). It allows continuous integration of new technical data, and helps to automate diagnosis and maintenance. It is hoped that the system will lead to better in service rates and availability.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (50%); Fort Worth, TX (45%); and San Diego, CA (5%), and is expected to be complete in June 2009 (N00019-07-G-0008).

Sept 18/08: CV-22 support. A $9.8 million not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded cost plus incentive fee contract (N00019-03-C-0067), exercising an option for interim contractor support for the CV-22 operational flight at Hurlburt Field, Ft. Walton Beach, FL and potential deployed locations. This modification also provides for operational training support at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM.

Work will be performed at Hurlburt Air Force Base, Fort Walton Beach, FL (60%) and Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM (40%), and is expected to be complete in January 2009.

Sept 17/08: MV-22 upgrades. A $23 million fixed-price-incentive-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) for “non-recurring engineering effort for ECP-762 Pre-Block A to Block B Retrofit in support of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft.” What this means is that the funds will help upgrade some of the first MV-22As produced to the MV-22B configuration required for serving, operational aircraft. Block B incorporates systems that were left out of initial test aircraft, as well as systems added later to fix testing or operational problems.

Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX (60%) and Philadelphia, PA (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $15 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Sept 8/08: CV-22s. A $358.7 million modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-fee multi-year contract (N00019-07-C-0001) for 5 additional CV-22 Tiltrotor aircraft. Pursuant to the Variation in Quantity clause, this procurement will be added to the current multi-year V-22 production contract, bring the number of CV-22 aircraft on this contract from 26 to 31.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (50%); Fort Worth, TX (35%); and Amarillo, TX (15%), and is expected to be complete in October 2014.

5 more CV-22s

Aug 1/08: CV-22 upgrades. A $91.8 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-08-C-0025) for Phase II of the CV-22 aircraft Block 20 Upgrade. Additions will include integration and testing of Terrain Following (below 50 knots), Terrain Following Logic Improvements, Communication Co-Site Interference, Advanced Mission Computer (AMC) Thru-put, flight test engineering support, and logistics and supply support.

Work will be performed in Hurlburt Field, FL (70%); Ridley Park, PA (15%); and Amarillo, TX (15%), and is expected to be complete in Sept. 2012.

July 14/08: Sub-contractors. GE-Aviation announces a $190 million, 10-year contract with Bell Boeing to supply integrated systems and equipment for 167 MV-22 and CV-22 aircraft – which is to say, all of the V-22s scheduled under the new multi-year deal. Deliveries will begin in 2009.

The systems provided have an estimated value of approximately $410 million over the entire life of the program, which extends beyond this 10-year contract. They will be designed and developed at a range of GE facilities in Maryland, Michigan, Florida, California, Ohio, Illinois and New York, as well as at Cheltenham and Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom. Items will include:

  • Aircraft structures – supplied by GE’s Middle River Aircraft Systems, who was named supplier of the year for Bell on the V-22.
  • Rudder servoactuators
  • Main landing gear actuation
  • Forward cabin control station
  • Ramp door control panel
  • Optical blade trackers
  • Hydraulic fluid monitor
  • Standby attitude indicator
  • Digital data set
  • Fight information recorder
  • Coaxial cables
  • Environmental control system valves
  • Primary & secondary lighting control
  • Nacelle Blowers

July 3/08: CV-22 support. A $14.3 million ceiling priced delivery order under a previously awarded contract for repairable spare components of the CV-22 aircraft such as blade assemblies and pendulum assemblies.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2011. One company was solicited for this non-competitive requirement, and one offer was received by the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-03-G-001B, #0275).

June 25/08: CV-22 support. a $28.5 million ceiling priced delivery order under a previously awarded contract for spare components of the CV-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX and is expected to be complete by December 2011. This contract was not awarded competitively by the Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-03-G-001B, #0274).

June 19/08: Support. An $18.2 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract, exercising an option for engineering and logistics services under the MV-22 Total Life Cycle Logistics Support program. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (45%); Fort Worth, TX (40%); New River, NC (10%); and Deployment outside the continental USA (5%), and is expected to be complete in October 2008.

Services to be provided include planning and management; supportability analysis; training; support equipment; facilities management; computer resources; supportability test and evaluation; packaging, handling, storage and transportation of supplies; post-DD250 engineering and technical support; site/unit activation; on-site representative support; logistics life cycle cost; age exploration; configuration management; technical publications; and Naval Air Training and Operational Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) support (N00019-03-C-3017).

June 9/08: Avionics. A $17.7 million ceiling-priced cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for hardware and software development and risk reduction efforts associated with a common MV/CV-22 mission and avionics systems upgrade (MSU). The MSU will consist of hardware and software components of the advanced mission computer and displays, tactical aircraft moving map capability, automatic terrain avoidance for very low level and/or night flights, and weapons system control. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA (50.8%); Bloomington, MN (36.9%); and St. Louis, MO (12.3%), and is expected to be complete in June 2009. This contract was not competitively procured (N00091-08-C-0024).

May 30/08: Training. A $78.5 million ceiling-priced indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for the analysis, design, development, manufacture, test, installation, upgrade and logistics support of the MV-22 Aircraft Maintenance Trainer (AMT) and CV Flight Training Device/Full Flight Simulator (CV FTD/FFS) Products. Work will be performed in Amarillo, Texas (70%); and Philadelphia, PA (30%), and is expected to be complete in May 2012. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61339-08-D-0007).

May 14/08: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $9.9 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for 6 of its AE1107C MV-22 engines. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in December 2010 (N00019-07-C-0060).

May 1/08: A turret at last. Production begins. BAE Systems Inc. in Johnson City, NY receives a FFP pre-priced contract modification for $8 million for a CV-22 interim defense weapon system productions option in support of U.S. Special Operations Command and NAVAIR. Work will be performed in Johnson City, NY from April 30/08 through Jan 31/09, using FY 2006 SOCOM procurement funds and FY 2008 Navy aircraft procurement funds. This is a within scope modification to a competitive contract where 2 offers were received (H92222-08-C-0006-P00003). See also “BAE’s Turret to Trial in CV-22s.”

April 28/08: CV-22 support. A $19 million ceiling-priced delivery order for CV-22 spare components. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX, and is expected to be complete by May 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-03-G-001B, #0270).

April 23/08: Support. A $14.4 million for ceiling priced delivery order under a previously awarded contract (N00383-03-G-001B, #0264) for V-22 spare parts. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA and is expected to be complete by July 2011. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Inventory Control Point.

April 16/08: Related modifications to USS Wasp. BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair in Norfolk, VA received a $33.8 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-4403) to exercise an option for the USS Wasp (LHD-1) FY 2008 drydocking phased maintenance availability. There are 80 plus work items that are repair/replace/preserve/install/clean in nature, plus the following ship alternations: LHD1-6 SCD 3263 – fuel oil compensation stability improvement modifications (requires drydock), LHD1-0248K – install additional A/C plant, LHD1-0270K – install nitrogen generator, LHD1-0274K – accomplish MV-22 service and shop modifications, LHD1-0283K – accomplish MV-22 topside modifications, and S/A 71265K – low light flight deck surveillance system.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, VA, and is expected to be complete by November 2008. All funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center in Norfolk, VA issued the contract.

April 10/08: Infrastructure. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in Raleigh, NC received a $35.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of an aircraft maintenance hangar, phases I and II, at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides for construction of a multi-story aircraft maintenance hangar to provide hangar bay, shop space, flight line operations, and maintenance functions in support of the V-22 aircraft squadrons. Work also includes mechanical, electrical support systems and telephone system. Built-in equipment includes a freight elevator and five ton bridge crane. Site improvements include parking and landscaping and incidental related work.

Work will be performed in Jacksonville, NC, and is expected to be complete by May 2010. This contract was competitively procured via the Naval Facilities Engineering Command e-solicitation website with 4 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, VA issued the contract (N40085-08-C-1419).

April 4/08: CV-22 support. $15.5 million for ceiling priced order #0260 against previously awarded contract for repairable and consumable spare components for the CV-22 aircraft. Examples of parts to be purchased are valve module-brake, air data unit, hand wing unit (manual), ramp door actuator, and torque link subassembly.

Work will be performed in Hurst, Texas, and is expected to be completed July 2011. This contract was not awarded competitively by the Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-03-G-001B).

April 4/08: CV-22 support. $12.2 million for a ceiling priced order against previously awarded contract for repairable and consumable spare components for the CV-22 aircraft. Examples of types of parts to be bought include rod end assembly, slip ring assembly, fairing assembly, blade assembly, and link assembly.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX and is to be completed July 2011. This contract was not awarded competitively by the Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-03-G-001B, #0259).

March 28/08: DefenseLINK announces a $10.4 billion modification that converts the previous V-22 advance acquisition contract to a fixed-price-incentive-fee, multi-year contract. The new contract will be used to buy 141 MV-22 (for USMC) and 26 CV-22 (Air Force Special Operations) tiltrotor aircraft, including associated rate tooling in support of production rates.

Work will be performed in Ridley Park, PA (50%); Fort Worth, TX (35%); and Amarillo, TX (15%), and work is expected to be completed in October 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $24.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-07-C-0001). See also Bell Helicopter release.

MYP-I contract

March 18/08: New engine? Aviation Week reports that issues that have arisen with V-22 engine maintenance in Iraq may drive the U.S. Marine Corps to look for entirely new engines. Despite a recent redesign to try and solve issues with dust, Marine Corps V-22 program manager Col. Matt Mulhern is quoted as saying that “…as we actually operate the aircraft, the engines aren’t lasting as long as we [or the government] would like.”

This is forcing a move from the proposed “Power By the Hour” framework of payment per available flight-hour, an arrangement that is also used for civil airliner fleets. Rolls Royce reportedly can’t support this model any longer for the V-22, and wishes to change its contract to a standard time and materials maintenance arrangement.

Key problems encountered include erosion in the compressor blades, and lack of power margin to handle expected weight growth. Mulhern has said that “We need to move on, with or without Rolls-Royce,” but General Electric’s GE38-1B is the only alternative engine in the same power class. It will be used in the Marines’ new CH-53K heavy lift helicopter.

Additional Readings

Readers with corrections, comments, or information to contribute are encouraged to contact DID’s Founding Editor, Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

Background: V-22 and Key Systems

YouTube – V-22?????IDWS. Drop-down minigun and sensor turret.

Reports

News & Views

  • YouTube – V-22 Documentary.

  • Alpha Foxtrot (May 31/14) – 7 Things The Marines Have To Do To Make The F-35B Worth The Huge Cost. Several of them involve new V-22 roles and variants: KC-22 tankers, EV-22 AEW&C, and CV-22 CSAR.

  • WIRED Danger Room, via WayBack (Oct 4/12) – General: ‘My Career Was Done’ When I Criticized Flawed Warplane. That would be Brig. Gen. Don Harvel (ret.), who led the investigation into the April 9/10 CV-22 crash in Afghanistan.

  • Boeing (July 9/12) – CV-22: At Home With AFSOC.

  • WIRED Danger Room, via WayBack (Oct 13/11) – Osprey Down: Marines Shift Story on Controversial Warplane’s Safety Record. The US Marines made an official response, citing the platform’s publicly-available safety records, and success in Afghanistan. David Axe responds that he isn’t satisfied.

  • Seapower (March 2011) – Osprey Readiness.

  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram, via WayBack (Dec 18/10) – Findings on Osprey crash in Afghanistan overturned. “But the general who led the [CV-22] crash investigation said Thursday that there was strong evidence to indicate that the $87 million-plus aircraft, which has a history of technical problems, experienced engine trouble in the final seconds leading to the crash…”

  • Aviation Week, via WayBack (March 18/08) – Marines May Seek New V-22 Engines. As a result of issues that have arisen with V-22 engine maintenance in Iraq. Seems to confirm observations re: the Jan 23/08 USMC article. Despite a recent redesign, Marine Corps V-22 program manager Col. Matt Mulhern is quoted as saying that “…as we actually operate the aircraft, the engines aren’t lasting as long as we [or the government] would like.” This is forcing a move from the proposed “Power By the Hour” framework of payment per flight-hour, which Rolls Royce can no longer support.

  • US Marine Corps, via LMP (Jan 23/08) – MV-22 ‘Osprey’ brings new capabilities to the sandbox. The April 14/07 NY Times reported that the V-22s would be kept out of combat situations. These days, that isn’t very hard to do in Anbar province; they key to evaluating this report is clarifying what the Marines are defining as a “combat sortie.” The sentence at the end of the excerpt also hints that answers to questions re: rates of spare parts use would be informative: “The squadron has completed more than 2,000 ASRs in the first 3 months of the deployment, keeping approximately 8,000 personnel off dangerous roadways and accruing approximately 2,000 flight hours… VMM-263 has flown 5 Aeroscout missions, 1 raid, more than 1400 combat sorties and maintained an average mission capable readiness rate of 68.1%… The range and depth of aviation supply parts is the latent limitation for high availability rates.”

  • CBS Evening News, via WayBack (Oct 4/07) – Troubled Osprey Set To Take Flight In Iraq. Claims that one of the 10 Ospreys deploying to Iraq had to abort the mission due to mechanical issues, and had to return to USS Wasp [LHD 1] for repairs before resuming the flight.

  • NAVAIR V-22 Program Office, via WayBack (Sept 19/07) – 1st squadron of V-22s quietly deployed to Iraq.

  • NY Times, via WayBack (April 14/07) – Combat, With Limits, Looms for Hybrid Aircraft. “They will plan their missions in Iraq to avoid it getting into areas where there are serious threats,” said Thomas Christie, the Pentagon’s director of operations, test and evaluation from 2001 to 2005, who is now retired.” Also contains testimonials (both good and worrisome) from people who have flown in them.

  • DID (March 12/07) – Lots Riding on V-22 Osprey. The USMC is designing several ancillary programs around the MV-22, setting key requirements for vehicles, howitzers, and more based on the Osprey’s dimensions and capabilities. Is this why they’re buying a $120,000 jeep?

  • DID (July 14/05) – Osprey Tilt-Rotor Declared “Suitable and Effective”.

  • U.S. Naval Institute, via WayBack (1999) – How Will We Escort the MV-22? (registration required). If attack helicopters aren’t fast enough, and fighter jets are too fast, and Ospreys aren’t really armed…

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

AMRAAM: Deploying & Developing America’s Medium-Range Air-Air Missile

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 06/04/2018 - 05:54

AIM-120C from F-22A
(click for test missile zoom)

Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles, and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. It was designed with the lessons of Vietnam in mind, and of local air combat exercises like ACEVAL and Red Flag. This DID FOCUS article covers successive generations of AMRAAM missiles, international contracts and key events from 2006 onward, and even some of its emerging competitors.

One of the key lessons learned from Vietnam was that a fighter would be likely to encounter multiple enemies, and would need to launch and guide several missiles at once in order to ensure its survival. This had not been possible with the AIM-7 Sparrow, a “semi-active radar homing” missile that required a constant radar lock on one target. To make matters worse, enemy fighters were capable of launching missiles of their own. Pilots who weren’t free to maneuver after launch would often be forced to “break lock,” or be killed – sometimes even by a short-range missile fired during the last phases of their enemy’s approach. Since fighters that could carry radar-guided missiles like the AIM-7 tended to be larger and more expensive, and the Soviets were known to have far more fighters overall, this was not a good trade.

Some MRAAM History, and AMRAAM’s Design Approach

Before 1991, the combat record of all air-air missiles was generally poor – and most of the kills scored in combat belonged to short-range heat-seeking missiles. The USA entered Vietnam expecting that 70% of AIM-7 Sparrow missile shots would result in a kill. The real-world total was 8%, even though the USA faced older MiG 17-21 aircraft, rather than the newest Russian fighters.

That trend began to shift somewhat in the 1980s. The Falklands War had no aircraft on either side that could use medium-range air-air missiles, but Israeli F-15s and F-16s used AWACS and poor Syrian tactics to produce an 88-0 kill ratio in 1982. The F-15s’ medium-range AIM-7F Sparrow missiles performed better in terms of fire:kill ratios than they had in past conflicts, but the vast majority of kills were still made with Sidewinder or Python short-range missiles. Further afield, the Iran-Iraq War saw Iran’s F-14 Tomcats demonstrate good performance with their long-range Phoenix missiles, against Iraqi aircraft that often lacked radar warning receivers, and never saw the missiles coming. A reprise of sorts took place in 1991, when exceptional situational awareness and poor Iraqi tactics allowed US aircraft to score around 80% of their Iraqi air-air kills in 1991 with modernized AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range missiles.

The lessons that had led to the AMRAAM program still applied, however, and the conflicts in Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq demonstrated the potential value of longer-range missiles and some of their enabling technologies. That helped AMRAAM retain its support, despite initial development glitches and rising costs. It still aimed to remove the shortcomings that made the AIM-7 a somewhat dangerous weapon for its own side. The key lay in its new approach to guidance.

AIM-120A cutaway
(click to view full)

In beyond-visual-range engagements, AMRAAM is guided initially by its inertial reference unit and microcomputer, which point it in the right direction based on instructions from the targeting aircraft or platform. A mid-course target location update can be transmitted directly from the launch radar system to correct that if necessary, an approach that may avoid triggering enemy radar warning receivers. In the final phase of tracking, however, the internal active radar seeker becomes completely independent and guides the missile through its own active lock-on. Most sources place its reported range at about 50 km/30 miles[1].

F/A-18C, loaded for bandits
(click to view full)

When coupled with modern radars, AMRAAM’s guidance approach allows a fighter to launch and control many missiles at once, avoiding a dangerous fixation on one target. Its autonomous guidance capability also provides a pilot with critical range-preserving launch and leave capability, improving survivability and helping to avoid “mutual kill” situations. Even more advanced technologies are emerging that go one step further, and allow secure “hand-off” of a fired AMRAAM to another friendly fighter.

All of these abilities, of course, assume an air environment in which it is possible to use IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe), AWACS (Airborne Warning & Control Systems) aircraft, Link 16/MIDS, etc. to safely distinguish enemy aircraft from friendlies. This has been a problem in past conflicts, resulting in rules of engagement that force the use of visual identification before firing. Obviously, that negates many of the tactical advantages of having beyond-visual-range (BVR) missiles.

Customers & Performance

Launch from F-22
click to play video

AMRAAM is a joint U.S. Air Force and Navy program that achieved initial operational capability in 1991, and is still in brisk production over 20 years later. At least 28 other countries have also bought AMRAAM variants, which can be fitted to F-15s, F-16s, the F/A-18 family, F-22s, F-35s, EADS Eurofighters, and Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen. Germany’s aging F-4 Phantom IIs, the British/German/Italian Panavia consortium’s Tornado aircraft, and Britain’s Harriers can also carry them.

Dassault’s Mirage 2000v5 and later have been advertised at times as having this capability, but confirmation is weak, and no current Mirage 2000 customer flies with this option. The reports probably represented offers to add this capability. Dassault’s 4th generation Rafale aircraft is also listed in some venues as having AMRAAM capability, though Raytheon has never said so, and all Rafales currently operate with MBDA’s MICA missiles instead.

Even so, AMRAAM’s record of sales success has made it the global standard for medium-range AAMs, and the number of beyond visual range kills as a percentage of total air-to-air victories has risen sharply during the “AMRAAM era.”

What does this mean in practice for missile performance?

To date, RAND’s Project Air Force notes that AIM-120 missiles have demonstrated 10 kills in 17 firings, for a 59% kill rate. That’s a significant improvement over the AIM-7’s record, and AIM-120A and AIM-120C missiles split these kills equally. Victims have included an Iraqi MiG-25 and MiG-29, 6 Serbian MiG-29s, a Serbian J-21 Jastreb trainer/light attack jet, and the accidental downing of a US Army UH-60A helicopter. The last of these incidents occurred in 1999.

One caution regarding these figures is that both AMRRAM missiles, and electronics used for electronic countermeasures, have both advanced considerably in the dozen-plus since the missile’s last combat kill. A second set of cautions involves the circumstances of these victories. There are no reports of electronic countermeasures being used by any AMRAAM victim, none of these victims were equipped with beyond visual range weapons of their own, the Iraqi MiGs were fleeing and non-maneuvering, and the Serbian MiGs reportedly had inoperative radars.

These difficulties in assessing true BVRAAM (beyond visual range air-air missile) performance in the modern era are magnified by a corollary fact: None of AMRAAM’s competitors have been able to compile much of a performance record, either. With the end of recurring full-scale Arab wars against Israel, the globe’s top trial venue for full-scale warfare has evaporated, leaving few opportunities to put modern anti-aircraft systems to a real test.

AMRAAM: Upgrades & Derivatives

AIM-120C

The Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) approved AIM-120A AMRAAM Full Rate Production (Milestone III B) in April 1992. Subsequent modifications have produced improvements in a number of areas, but the AIM-120D is likely to be the first really large jump in AMRAAM capabilities from version to version. It should be noted, however, that incremental upgrades add up over time. An AIM-120C-6, for instance, is a generation beyond an AIM-120A in terms of its overall capabilities.

AIM-120B was first delivered in late 1994. It had a number of electronics upgrades, from the guidance section to hardware modules and processor. Its hardware was also reprogrammable, which is not possible with the AIM-120A.

AIM-120C missiles featured a change in shape, with smaller fins that would allow 3 missiles to be carried inside the F-22A Raptor‘s stealth-maximizing internal weapons bays. A number of incremental updates brought it to AIM-120-C6 status, including guidance section upgrades, smaller control electronics, a slightly larger rocket motor, an improved warhead, and a target detection upgrade.

At present, the AIM-120-C7 is the most advanced AMRAAM approved for export beyond the USA. The AIM-120-C7 is currently in production for almost all export customers, with an improved seeker head, greater jamming resistance, and slightly longer range. Additional work continues to improve the C7’s resistance to electronic countermeasures, and this 2-phase EPIP program is scheduled to continue into FY 2017.

US-only AIM-120D missiles will feature the C7 improvements, but the D version reportedly adds a very strong set of upgrades. Pentagon documents confirm the use of smaller system components; with an upgraded radar antenna, receiver & signal processor; GPS-aided mid-course navigation; an improved datalink; and new software algorithms. The new hardware and software is rumored to offer improved jamming resistance, better operation in conjunction with modern AESA radars, and an improved high-angle off-boresight “seeker cone,” in order to give the missile a larger no-escape zone. Less-publicized improvements reportedly include a dual-pulse rocket motor, for up to 50% more range and better near-target maneuvering.

AIM-120D fielding is scheduled for FY 2015 on the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-15C/D Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, and F-16 Falcon. The F-22A is expected to integrate the new missile in FY 2018. At present, the AIM-120D is not available for export, and that won’t necessarily change when integration is done.

Other AMRAAM-Related Systems

Other AMRAAM variants exist.

NCADE. The most interesting AMRAAM modification remains an R&D program designed to see if AMRAAMs modified with an AIM-9X Sidewinder’s infrared seeker and a 2nd stage rocket booster could be forward-deployed on fighters, and used to shoot down ballistic missiles during their lift-off phase.

With the coming addition of IRST systems to American fighters, NCADE would also offer an effective no-warning long-range weapon against aerial enemies, including stealth fighters. To date, however, the US military and Congress have failed to take an interest in NCADE beyond initial development work. Raytheon has also declined to pursue a self-funded approach.

CLAWS out
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SAM/GBAD. A parallel set of modifications and enhancements have seen AMRAAM missiles pressed into service in a surface-air missile role. Programs like Norway’s NASAMS, the USMC’s CLAWS (ended in 2006), etc. are often referred to by the umbrella term SL-AMRAAM, for Surface Launched AMRAAM. SL-AMRAAM contractors include Raytheon, as well as Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace of Norway, and Boeing.

Kongsberg has sold its related Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) system to Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, Oman, Spain, and the USA. There are rumors that a SLAMRAAM type system has been deployed in Egypt, and such systems have drawn official buying interest and rumored contracts from Chile, and the UAE. The key to effective deployment is integrating the system, and its accompanying IFCS control system and AN/MPQ-64F1 Improved Sentinel radars, with a country’s wider air defense command and control systems.

The US Marines killed their own CLAWS program in 2006, the same year the US Army’s SLAMRAAM passed its System Critical Design Review. The Army eventually canceled SLAMRAAM in FY 2012. Even so, the USA has a deployed system to protect the Washington DC area, and exports keep the surface-launched AMRAAM option alive and well if the USA changes its mind.

The 3 surface launchers for AMRAAM at present include the 8-missile “universal launcher” which can be mounted on medium trucks, the 5-missile CLAWS for smaller vehicles, and the 6-missile fixed NASAMS. All 3 launcher types provide 360 degree coverage, with a 70 degree off boresight capability – i.e. a 140 degree target acquisition cone. In June 2007, Raytheon announced more SLAMRAAM upgrades via options to add SL-AMRAAM-ER extended range variants (likely via a rocket booster on the missiles), and an AIM-120 variant with an AIM-9X infrared seeker. The latter would allow a mix-and-match combination of radar/infrared SAM sets, similar to the Spyder, VL-MICA, etc. being fielded by international rivals. On which topic…

AMRAAM’s International Competitors

R-77/AA-12 on MiG-29
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The AMRAAM’s most prominent global competitors, in declining order of prominence, include:

Russia’s Vympel R-77, also known as the AA-12 Adder and colloquially called the ‘AMRAAMski’. It is a larger missile with a similar guidance approach, and reportedly offers a slightly longer range, varying from 60-90 km (36-54 miles) depending on assessments of its drag coefficient. It looks a bit like the French MICA missiles, but its “screen door” or “potato masher” tail fins are its most distinguishing characteristic. Comparisons of its maneuverability, electronics, and hence its fire:kill effectiveness ratio remain a matter of speculation in public-domain circles, and there are also reports that the R-77 can be launched and ‘handed off’ to another aircraft. This has tactical implications, as discussed by one DID source:

“The ‘cobra’ maneuver… where the Flanker pitchers [vertically] to over 100 degrees is not a stunt, it is a missile launch maneuver for a over-the-shoulder launch on a passing head-on target by an IMFIL missile, as briefed to me by the Director of TsAGI. German Zagainov.”

The R-77 can equip modern SU-30 fighters like the SU-30MK2, modernized SU-27s, and some of the most modern MiG-29/35 offerings as well. There are also reports that India has even fitted the missile to its upgraded MiG-21 ‘Bisons,’ leveraging their new Phazotron Kopyo radars and upgraded avionics.

There are reports that the coming RVV-MD upgrade may extend the missile’s range to 110 km. A R-77M ramjet version has reportedly been developed with 150+ km range, but confirmation of the ramjet program’s success and status remain sketchy. Firmer reports[2] now exist re: Russia’s ongoing development of the Novator K-100-1, which is based on the KS-172 missile instead; it will have a reputed range of 200-400 km.

Meteor BVRAAM

MBDA’s Meteor, which also includes Saab in the development group and adds Boeing as its American partner. The Meteor stems from Europe’s different fighter design philosophy and acquisition timing. Their 4th generation fighters were introduced in the 1990s, and feature less stealth than the F-22A or F-35. The Eurofighter, Gripen, and Rafale can be fitted with existing missiles like AMRAAM or MICA, but ultimately the Euro vision was that air supremacy against threats like the SU-30/R-77 combination required a long range (100 km/ 60 miles or more) missile – one with extreme maneuverability and ramjet propulsion that gives it Mach 4 powered flight to the very end of its range, rather than the “burn and coast” approach of most missiles. The Meteor is that missile, and it is currently undergoing testing and evaluation; it’s expected to begin service on JAS-39 Gripen fighters by the end of 2014.

Initial platforms for the Meteor BVRAAMs will include Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen (2014), EADS/BAE Eurofighter (2017), and Dassault’s Rafale (2019). MBDA has announced that it will be modified in future to fit the F-35’s stealth-enhancing weapon bays; given its characteristics, it also seems like a natural future upgrade for older planes like Tornados and F/A-18s. Forecast International sees MBDA as Raytheon’s biggest overall air-air missile competitor in the coming years.

Rafale w. MICA-RF & IR
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MBDA’s MICA family. MBDA inherited MICA from the French firm Matra. It uses a guidance philosophy similar to AMRAAM’s, and has very good maneuverability. MBDA posts its range as 60 km. What’s different is that it comes in 2 versions, and is designed for use at all engagement distances. The MICA IR version uses infrared homing, like many short-range AAMs. This allows it to be used at close range, or used to conduct no-warning attacks at longer ranges, using advanced IRST (InfraRed Search and Track) type optronics that have become common on 4+ generation fighters. The MICA RF uses active radar guidance like AMRAAM, and is in service aboard upgraded Mirage F1s, Mirage 2000-5+, and Rafale fighters.

MBDA’s truck-mounted or ship-mounted air defense versions are imaginatively named Vertical Launch MICA. The system’s ability to carry IR-guided MICA missiles allows effective operation in environments where turning on one’s radar will attract enemy strikes.

RAFAEL Derby
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RAFAEL’s Derby. Derby 4 looks a lot like AMRAAM, but it’s actually based on Israel’s own well-developed missile technology. It lists a 50 km effective range like AMRAAM, but this is questionable given its size and commonalities with the shorter-range Python 4; some observers place its range closer to 30 km. Derby 4 has been updated with a new seeker, has lock-on after launch capability for snap employment in short-range aerial engagements, and features its own programmable ECCM (Electronic Counter-Countermeasures) technologies. Apparently, it still lacks an in-flight datalink, and must rely on last-reported position before switching to active mode. Derby has been exported to a few Latin American countries.

RAFAEL’s truck-mounted SPYDER combines Derby and short-range 5th generation IR/imaging-guided Python 5 missiles, to create a versatile system adapted for use against a wider range of threats. A new Spyder 6×6 truck version (SPYDER-MR) was unveiled at Eurosatory 2006 that doubled mixed missile capacity to 8, and put boosters on all missiles to improve their range and performance. SPYDER customers include India’s order for 18 SPYDER systems of 5 vehicles each, Peru’s buy of 6 systems, and an order from Singapore.

AMRAAM: Program

AMRAAM continues to be funded in the USA as a joint USAF/ Navy effort, based on proportional contributions, and AIM-120C/D missiles are in active production for the US military and allied countries. The USA alone was expected to account for nearly 18,000 AMRAAMs bought, but as of the FY 2014 budget submission, expected orders would be 16,153: 11,792 for the USAF, and 4,461 for the US Navy.

The AMRAAM family of missiles has also chalked up significant export success from foreign air forces and armies. Those sales aren’t part of American budgets, but their boost to sales and production volumes does lower costs for the missile’s American customers. Obviously, export orders vary widely by country and year, and it can be many years between repeat AMRAAM buys from foreign air forces. In aggregate, however, foreign orders represent a very significant source of demand, which keeps production lines active, improves volume, and helps lower costs for the Pentagon. Indeed, the Pentagon’s cost per missile estimates in its budgets are dependent on at least 200 missile orders per year from foreign sources.

AMRAAM prices vary depending on the year, and their production quantity. The current average cost for AIM-120Ds seems to be somewhere around $1.5 million per missile. Which isn’t cheap, but if it blows up even a bargain-basement $25 million fighter, it’s a very good exchange ratio.

AMRAAM Program: Technical Challenges

“Heave!”
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DMSMS. During the May 2010 AMRAAM International Users’ Conference, the USAF’s 649th Armament Systems Squadron raised the issue of “Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS).” In English, it means that companies who manufacture some parts are either going out of business, or ceasing production. The 649th ARSS said component shortages would begin as soon as 2012, unless AMRAAM customers built up spare stocks, or paid for missile redesign and retrofit work that would solve the problem. Time will tell.

Delivery Halt. Consistent problems with cold-temperature testing of AMRAAM rocket motors halted all AMRAAM deliveries to all customers from 2010 – 2012, and created almost a 2-year inventory backlog. Raytheon and ATK were puzzled, because the rocket motor’s design was the same, but subtle reformulations in the rocket motor’s fuel were to blame. Norway’s NAMMO stepped into the breach as the new primary rocket motor supplier, and Raytheon is gradually catching up AMRAAM deliveries to the USA, Chile, Finland, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. April 2014 reports indicate that ATK has qualified its own new motor, and will become a supplier again in FY 2015.

AIM-120D. The AIM-120D is still in developmental testing by both the US Air Force and US Navy at Eglin AFB, FL, and China Lake Naval Weapons Station, CA. Funding was issued to prepare the manufacturing line for full production, and production orders are well over 350 missiles. The first production set of AIM-120D missiles was scheduled to be delivered from December 2007 – January 2009, but “continuing delays in resolving developmental hardware issues and less-than-expected effectiveness in flight test execution” have stymied the program.

The AIM-120D will finish about 6 years behind its 2008 target date for operational testing, due to technical failures that include missile lockup and aircraft integration problems. Some of those issues seem to be resolved now, but the missile won’t be fielded on any fighters until FY 2015, and a System Improvement Program will be needed afterward.

AMRAAM: Contracts & Key Events

CATM training
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Unless otherwise specified, The Headquarters Medium Range Missile System Group at Eglin Air Force Base, FL issued the contract, and Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ was the contract recipient.

Some definitions of terms are useful. AMRAAM All-Up Rounds (AURs) include the missile and its storage container. Air Vehicles Instrumented (AAVIs) are fully functional missiles with telemetry electronics instead of a warhead, and are used to support free flight testing. If the order says “Telemetry missiles” or “Warhead Compatible Telemetry Instrumented System (WCTIS)” configured AAVIs, on the other hand, the missile is meant to support live fire warhead testing. Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM) have seeker heads but no rocket motor or warhead; they are used in testing, training – and in combat exercises, where they can help keep score without any risk of real casualties.

FY 2015 – 2018

June 4/18: Missile boost The Air Force is boosting its inventory of AMRAAMs. Raytheon Missile Co. will produce 18 additional AIM-120D missiles at a cost of $14,1 million. Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. The US-only AIM-120D missiles feature the C7 improvements, but the D version adds a very strong set of upgrades. Pentagon documents confirm the use of smaller system components; with an upgraded radar antenna, receiver & signal processor; GPS-aided mid-course navigation; an improved datalink; and new software algorithms. The new hardware and software offers improved jamming resistance, better operation in conjunction with modern AESA radars, and an improved high-angle off-boresight “seeker cone,” in order to give the missile a larger no-escape zone. Less-publicized improvements reportedly include a dual-pulse rocket motor, for up to 50% more range and better near-target maneuvering. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Tucson, Arizona and is scheduled for completion by January 2021.

April 26/18: Lot 32 contract mod Raytheon received Tuesday, April 24, a $12.1 million contract modification for the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM). Awarded by the US Air Force, the agreement calls for production Lot 32 field spares and initial depot spares for foreign military sales (FMS) going to the governments of Australia, South Korea, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Turkey. Work will take place at Raytheon’s Tucson, Arizona facility and is expected to be complete by January 31, 2021.

January 2/18: Contracts-FMS Raytheon has been awarded a US Air Force (USAF) contract, totalling $659.9 million, for Lot 31 production of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). The contract includes foreign military sales (FMS) of the missiles to Japan, South Korea, Morocco, Poland, Indonesia, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Bahrain and Qatar, and includes all related support services, with deliveries expected to be completed by January 31, 2020. Furthermore, a separate $25.7 million contract modification will see Norway, Japan, Korea, Morocco, Australia, the UK, Poland, Indonesia, Romania, Spain, Turkey and Qatar, receive special tooling and test equipment for AMRAAM Lots 28-30 production, with contract completion expected for December 2020. Work on both contracts will take place at Raytheon’s Tucson, Arizona, facility.

December 12/17: Hardware Support Raytheon has been awarded a fixed-price-incentive-firm target and cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to an existing US Air Force (USAF) contract for hardware in support of AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM). The $8.5 million contract will task Raytheon with providing form-fit-function replace hardware assets to include guidance sections and integrated test vehicles under the advanced medium-range air-to-air missile lots 28-30 production. Work will take place in Tucson, Arizona, with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2019. The contract also includes foreign military sales for Japan, Norway, Romania, Turkey and Australia. Production funds from fiscal year 2017 of more than $2.8 million, in addition to fiscal 2017 research and development funds of more than $3.8 million, will be obligated to Raytheon at the time of award. All remaining funds on the contract will be derived from foreign military sales.

November 30/17: Foreign Military Sale The US State Department has notified Congress that it has cleared the possible sale of AIM-120C-7 air-to-air missiles in support of Poland’s F-16 fighter program. Announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the package includes 150 missiles, as well as missile containers, weapon system support, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. Raytheon will act as prime contractor with the total package estimated at $250 million.

November 17/17: Foreign Military Sale The US State Department has notified Congress that is has cleared Norway to purchase AIM-120 C-7 air-to-air missiles, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said Wednesday. Valued at an estimated $170 million, the package includes up to sixty AIM-120 C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and four AMRAAM guidance section spares, as well as missile containers, weapon system support, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training, training equipment, US Government and contractor engineering, logistics, technical and support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The contract is a follow-on buy from an earlier Norwegian AIM-120 order and Raytheon will act as lead contractor. The AIM-120 C7 will be one of several munitions equipped on Norway’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet.

November 03/17: Canada has been cleared by the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to proceed with the purchase of 32 AIM-120D air-to-air missiles. Costing an estimated $140 million, the package also includes 18 Captive Air Training Missiles, four AMRAAM Non-Development Item-Airborne Instrumentation Units, two AMRAAM Instrumented Test Vehicles, seven spare AMRAAM guidance units and four spare AMRAAM control sections for use on their F/A-18 aircrafts. The DSCA said the missiles will be used on Royal Canadian Air Force fighter aircraft and are said to contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the US by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally.

October 13/17: The Netherlands has been cleared by the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to proceed with the purchase of AIM-120 C-7 medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM). Estimated at $53 million, the package calls for 26 AIM-120s, one AMRAAM Guidance Section Spare (MDE items), 20 AMRAAM Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM), missile containers, control section spares, weapon systems support, test equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training, training equipment, US Government and contractor engineering, logistics, technical support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. Raytheon will act as lead contractor.

October 06/17: The sale of 56 AIM-120C-7 air-to-air missiles to Japan has been cleared by the US State Department. Valued at an estimated $113 million, the sale also includes containers, weapon support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. Raytheon will deliver the munitions to Tokyo after production at its plant in Tucson, Arizona.

September 11/17: Raytheon has been awarded a $38 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract by the US Air Force to conduct work for the System Improvement Program 3- Engineering Manufacturing, Development. Under the terms of the deal, the firm will develop an incremental software solution for the AIM-120D “to improve its performance against rapidly advancing threats.” Work will be carried out in Tuscon, Arizona with a completion date of January 5, 2021.

August 1/17: Its been reported that Raytheon is experiencing issues with the development of a new processor for the AIM-120 air-to-air missile. Ordered under a Form Fit Function Refresh program issued by the Pentagon aimed at upgrading components in the missile’s guidance section, the component in question is a application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that will run the missile’s software. Fearing that Raytheon are struggling to keep the AIM-120 on the cutting edge, both the USAF and Navy have slashed their planned FY 2018 acquisitions of the missile by hundreds, but still remain hopeful that a fix can be found despite a key test being postponed by more than a year. Raytheon responded by assuring that a fix had been found for the issue and that the missile program is still on track.

February 2/17: A new signal processor for the AIM-120 air-to-air missile is being developed by Raytheon. Carried out under the Form Fit Function Refresh program (F3R), the work is aimed at ensuring the continuation of AMRAAM production well into the 2020s. While little else is currently known about the signal processor’s development work, the missile is capable of tracking targets in electronic warfare environments. Already carried on F-16, F-15, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado and Harrier fighters, the AIM-120 is also cleared for use on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, making it the munition that has flown on more aircraft worldwide than any other air-to-air missile.

October 6/16: Raytheon and Kongsberg have successfully test-fired an extended range version of Raytheon’s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) from the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS). By simply pairing the sensor from the AMRAAM to an Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) the new variant gives a 50% in maximum range and 70% in maximum altitude. Modifications undertaken to accommodate the new missile include extending the top row of three canisters by a foot, and Raytheon is targeting first deliveries of the missile in the 2020 timeframe.

June 23/16: Raytheon has been awarded a $28 million contract to ensure that the firm’s AIM-120 AMRAAM can be integrated onto various Air Force and Navy aircraft. Platforms on which the munition will be integrated include the F-16 Block 30, F-35, F-15 Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System; F-16 Active Electronically Scanned Array; AMRAAM Real Time Integration Simulator; and multiple F/A-18 configurations. Work is expected to be completed by January 30, 2020.

May 11/16: Raytheon Missile Systems has been awarded a $104.5 million USAF contract for the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) program. The company will provide form, fit, function, and refresh of the AMRAAM Guidance Section with work expected to be completed by February 27, 2017. Under the contract, work involved will include foreign military sales to Korea, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Romania.

April 27/16: Australia has been cleared by the US State Department to purchase up to 450 AIM-120D air-to-air missiles. The $1.22 billion sale will see Australia become the first customer of the AIM-120D, where the munition will be used on their fleets of F/A-18, E/A-18G, and F-35 aircraft. Included in the sale will be up to 34 AIM-120D Air Vehicles Instrumented (AAVI), up to 6 Instrumented Test Vehicles (ITVs) and up to 10 spare AIM-120 Guidance Sections (GSs).

March 18/16: Raytheon has been awarded a $573 million contract for the production and supply for Lot 30 of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and other AMRAAM system items to the USAF. Work is expected to be completed by February 28, 2019. The USAF contract follows the $95 million Foreign Military Sale of the missile to Indonesia earlier this month, and marks continued sales of the advanced missile for Raytheon. Since December 2014 the Air Force has placed AMRAAM missile orders with Raytheon worth more than $1.5 billion.

March 14/16: The sale of 36 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) to Indonesia has been cleared by the US State Department. The $95 million Foreign Military Sale will also include one Missile Guidance System, control section support equipment, spare parts, services, logistics, technical contractor engineering and technical support, loading adaptors, technical publications, familiarization training, test equipment, and other related elements.

July 3/15: Also on Thursday, Raytheon was awarded a $36.8 million contract for the AIM-120D missile’s System Improvement Program II- Engineering Manufacturing, Development phase, with the company set to provide software upgrades under the contract to counter “rapidly advancing threats.”

June 11/15: Raytheon has completed lab testing of the Advanced, Medium Range Air to Air Missile – Extended Range (AMRAAM-ER), a ground-based air defense missile based on the AIM-120D and designed to be integrated with the Kongsberg NASAMS launcher. These latest tests validate that the missile can be integrated with the launcher, which will team with the AN/MPQ-64F1 Improved Sentinel radar to provide a highly capable air defense system. Raytheon is also taking the motor from its Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and integrating it into the AMRAAM-ER to improve the missile’s range and engagement ceiling.

May 10/15: The US has reportedly deployed the AIM-120D AMRAAM missile to the Pacific, with recent photographs appearing to show the Raytheon-manufactured missile equipping a F/A-18E Super Hornet. Previous statements indicated that the missile wouldn’t be deployed until later this year, with the missile achieving Initial Operating Capability only last month.

March 25/15: Raytheon received a contract modification today totalling $528.8 million for the production of AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, a portion of which are earmarked for Foreign Military Sales. The company recently announced that it has begun development of an extended-range variant of the missile, with tests scheduled for later this year.

Feb 23/15: New -ER variant. Raytheon announced its newest AMRAAM-ER air-to-air missile will have extended range and more maneuverability. It plans tests before the year is out.

Dec 12/14: Japan. The US DSCA officially announces Japan’s export request for 17 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, 2 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs), containers, missile support and test equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $33 million. Japan already has older AIM-120C5s in its inventory. The small size of this request matches Japan’s order for its first F-35s.

FY 2014

 

F-35 test

Aug 12/14: Turkey. The US DSCA officially announces Turkey’s export request for 145 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, 10 extra missile guidance sections, 40 LAU-129 launchers, plus containers, support equipment, spare and repair parts, integration activities, publications and technical documentation, test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and other US Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $320 million.

This follows a $157 million request for 107 AIM-120C-7s (q.v. Sept 26/08). The DSCA says that these missiles will be used on the TuAF’s F-16 aircraft, and eventually their F-35As.

The principal contractor will be Raytheon in Tucson, AZ, and if a contract is signed, multiple trips to Turkey involving U.S. Government and contractors will be needed for technical reviews/support, program management, integration, testing, and training. The exact numbers and duration are unknown, and will be determined during contract negotiations. Sources: DSCA #13-50, “Turkey – AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM Missiles”

DSCA request: Turkey (145)

July 18/14: Lot 27. An $8.5 million a firm-fixed-price contract modification is an order from Australia, as part of Production Lot 27 (FY 2013, q.v. June 14/13). The money adds integration and testing for AMRAAM contract line item numbers 0008, 0009, and 0010, and brings the total cumulative face value of the multinational contract to $564.8 million. All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed at Tucson, AZ and is expected to be complete by June 30/16. USAF Life Cycle Management Center/EBAK at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8675-13-C-0003, PO 0026).

June 30/14: Support. Raytheon in Tucson, AZ receives a sole-source $163.2 million fixed-price/ fixed-price-incentive/ cost-plus-incentive contract for AMRAAM Program Support and Sustainment (PSAS). PSAS provides sustaining engineering, program management, contractor logistics support. It will also address the diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortage tasks involving the AMRAAM CPU chip, improving the AMRAAM guidance section within the current performance envelope, and developing applicable test equipment.

$88.6 million is committed immediately, using a combination of USAF and US Navy missile/weapon budgets, and some O&M budgets. This contract has unclassified 45.7% foreign military sales service/repair requirements for Saudi Arabia, Korea, Israel, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/17. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/EBAK at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8675-14-C-0026).

June 27/14: DC NASAMS. Raytheon IDS in Tewksbury, MA receives an $8.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to sustain the USA’s NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems) “interim air defense capability deployed in the Homeland Defense Area 1” (i.e. in Washington, DC). This is a new follow-on service contract for the missile system, with 1 base year bought and options for up to 4 more years.

All funds are committed immediately, using US Army FY 2014 O&M funds. Work will be performed at Redstone Arsenal, AL, with an estimated completion date of June 27/14. Bids were solicited via the Internet, with 1 received by US Army Contracting Command Redstone Arsenal Missile at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-14-C-0114).

April 23/14: Industrial. Raytheon is making progress on its AMRAAM backlog, now that Nammo is supplying rocket motors that fully meet specifications. As of March 5/14, the firm has reportedly recovered $179 million (28.8%) of the $621 million withheld by the U.S. Air Force since 2012.

Bloomberg News cites USAF spokesman Ed Gulick as the source. The firm has reportedly told the USAF that it expects to be fully back on schedule by July 2014, and the corresponding funds are being released under a revised delivery schedule agreed on in December 2012.

Gulick adds that ATK has qualified a new motor, and is expected to resume deliveries to Raytheon in May 2015. Sources: Bloomberg, “Raytheon Recovering From Missile Delivery Delays, Air Force Says”.

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). They cover the AIM-120 rocket motor problem, the AIM-120C3-C7 Electronic Protection Improvement Program (EPIP) software upgrade, and the AIM-120D.

As of October 2013, Nammo had manufactured 1,000 motors in their role as the sole source provider for new production motors.

The EPIP is in integrated testing under a plan that DOT&E approved in April 2012, though the ongoing lack of a budget from the US Senate has delayed the program.

The AIM-120D’s problems since December 2011 are better known, though most details are classified. IOT&E testing resumed in May 2013, but the program continues to experience delays. Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) is progressing, and is scheduled to end in FY 2014. On the good news front, captive-carry performance has exceeded the interim Mean Time Between Failure requirement, and is approaching the mature requirement of 450 hours.

March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The USAF and USN unveil their preliminary budget request briefings. They aren’t precise, but they do offer planned purchase numbers for key programs between FY 2014 – 2019. The detailed documents are released over the course of the next week, and those figures have been added to the charts and background above.

The AIM-120D has been delayed for a couple of years by testing issues, preventing the US military from benefiting from its extended range, improved seeker, etc. The Navy says that “AMRAAM procurements have been deferred in FY15 to ensure adequate time to correct testing and production delays,” which fits with planned Initial Operational Capability in FY 2015 for the Navy’s Hornets and Super Hornets. Meanwhile, they’re dropping purchases from just 44 in FY14 (-10 from request) to 0 in 2015 (-83 from FY14 plan). In contrast, the USAF is moving ahead with AIM-120D buys, buying 183 missiles (-16 from request) in FY14 and requesting 200 (-15 from plan) in FY15.

The Navy says that they’ll eventually catch up with its buys, which are slated to accelerate beyond its earlier plans. They plan to purchase 138 AIM-120Ds in FY 2016 (+30), 154 in FY 2017 (+26), 233 in FY 2018 (+63), and 274 missiles in FY 2019. The USAF is saying similar things, with a planned spike in FY 2017 (+30) and 2018 (+86), and continued high production in 2019. In reality, however, promises of “more later” very rarely come true. At about $1.5 million per missile, the required increases aren’t ruinous, but if finding the funding was easy, they wouldn’t be making reductions now. Source: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | USAF, Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview.

Feb 25/14: Testing. Raytheon in Tucson AZ receives a sole-source $20 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for work associated with AMRAAM Aircraft Integration, operational testing, and flight test support. The primary objective of this effort is to provide the necessary aircraft lab, flight test, flight clearance, simulation support, and repairs/maintenance during all aircraft integration efforts. If there are failures, troubleshooting, failure analysis etc. will be added as well.

$3 million in FY 2013 and 2014 RDT&E funds are committed immediately to 5 task orders (TO 0001 Simulation Support, TO 0002 Integration Support, TO 0003 Flight Clearances, TO 0004 Tech Support and TO 0005 Management/Financial Support).

Work will be performed at Fort Worth, TX; Eglin Air Force Base, FL; Hill AFB, UT; Edwards AFB, CA; Nellis AFB, NV; White Sands Missile Range, NM: China Lake/Point Mugu, CA; St. Louis, MO; Seattle, WA: Baltimore, MD, and Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete by September 2019. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/EBA at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8675-14-D-0009).

Dec 19/13: AIM-120D. Raytheon Missiles Systems, Tucson AZ, has been awarded a sole-source $40 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for system improvements to include design, development, and test of the AIM-120D missile. Still working on that…

$4 million is committed immediately from FY 2013 – 2014 RDT&E budgets. Work will be performed at Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete by March 31/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/EBA at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8675-14-D-0082).

FY 2013

Orders: USA, Oman, Saudi Arabia; 1st launch for F-35; Operational mobile SAM introduced; Deliveries & payment resume with new rocket motor supplier.

AMRAAM delivery
(click to view full)

July 19/13: ROK.The US DSCA announces [PDF] the Republic of Korea’s official request for 260 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, creating a contingency stock for use with its KF-16 and F-15K fighters. The order will also include missile support and test equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $452 million, but that will depend on a negotiated contract.

The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, AZ, and if a contract is negotiated, it will require multiple government and contractor trips to South Korea over an 8-year period for technical reviews/support, program management, and training. Raytheon representatives will also be needed in South Korea to conduct modification kit installation, testing, and training.

DSCA ROK: 452

July 18/13: AIM-9X Block 3. Flight Global reports that US NAVAIR is pushing for an AIM-9X Sidewinder Block III, and hopes to give the short-range missiles a 60% range boost. That range would start to push the AIM-9X into comparable territory to France’s MICA.

US NAVAIR intends to launch the Block III’s EMD development phase in 2016, developmental testing in 2018, and operational tests in 2020, followed by Initial Operational Capability in 2022.

Part of the reported rationale involves the proliferation of digital radar jammers on enemy fighters, which lowers AMRAAM’s odds of a successful radar lock. NAVAIR doesn’t say it, but the F-35’s provision for just 2 internal air-to-air missiles forces all weapon options to be more versatile – which sometimes means more expensive. Unfortunately, programs like the “Triple Target Terminator” were seen as too expensive. Raytheon’s AMRAAM-derived NCADE was another alternative, but the US military hasn’t pursued it.

June 25/13: SL-AMRAAM. Raytheon delivers the first NASAMS High Mobility Launcher. Norway is the customer, and the electronics improvements on HML will also be retrofitted on their fixed NASAMS systems. These improvements include modern upgrades like GPS and north-finding instrumentation. Raytheon.

June 14/13: FY 2013. A $534.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for AMRAAM Production Lot 27. The FY 2013 totals are supposed to be up to $332.3 million to buy 180 AIM-120D missiles for the USAF (113) and Navy (67), and the other 51% of this order is AIM-120C-7s for Oman (F-16C/Ds) and Saudi Arabia (F-15C/D/S/SA). The cost ratios make it very likely that there are more than 180 missiles headed abroad, and their combined recent DSCA requests involve 27 for Oman and 500 for Saudi Arabia.

Given a standard 2-year delivery lag for orders, it’s likely that we’re looking at all of Oman’s request, and part of Saudi Arabia’s. The USA depends on a minimum of 200 AIM-120C orders to keep per-missile prices at their estimates, and this set should cover that. Raytheon is touting their recent ability to deliver faster than specified, which should help ease concerns about the backlog that developed from their 2010-2012 delivery stoppage.

Work will be performed at Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/16. USAF Life Cycle Management Center/EBA at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8675-13-C-0003).

FY 2013

June 6/13: F-35. First full launch of an AMRAAM from the new F-35 fighter. In this case, it was an AIM-120-C5 AAVI from an F-35A, #AF-01. It isn’t a targeted launch yet, which depends on the Block 2B software. They just want to be sure that it can be launched from the internal bay without blowing up the plane. USAF | LMCO F-35 site | AFA Air Force Magazine.

April 4/13: AMRAAM + F-15SGs. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Singapore’s request to buy 100 AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) – but it’s the context for this $210 million export request that makes it important. Sure, Singapore also wants 10 AMRAAM Spare Guidance Sections and an AMRAAM Programmable Advanced System Interface Simulator (PASIS). They also want 18 AN/AVS-9(V) Night Vision Goggles, the H-764G GPS with GEM-V Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM), and Common Munitions Built-in-Test Reprogramming Equipment (CMBRE-Plus) “in support of a Direct Commercial Sale of new F-15SG aircraft.”

In other words, they’re about to buy another 12 F-15SGs as F-5 replacements and grow their fleet to 36, instead of buying 12 F-35Bs that won’t be useful until 2018 or later.

Because the fighters are a DCS sale, Singapore will manage it themselves, and figures aren’t disclosed. They’ve done this for all of their F-15SG buys, and past estimates for their 12-plane buys have been around $1.5 billion ($125 million per aircraft + support etc.). Their support and training infrastructure is already in place, so the total may be lower this time.

The $210 million FMS request will cover additional containers, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, training equipment, and US government and contractor support – though Singapore won’t need any more on-site representatives. The prime contractors will be Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ (AMRAAM); Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix, AZ; ITT Night Vision in Roanoke, VA (NVGs); and ATK Defense Electronic Systems in Clearwater, FL.

DSCA Singapore: 100 – and more F-15SGs coming

Jan 10/13: Fixed. The USAF resumes AMRAAM payments to Raytheon, freeing up $104 million in immediate funds. Deliveries from now on will be based on ready missiles, rather than using a number of milestones from progressive funding.

Norway’s NAMMO AS is Raytheon’s new rocket motor supplier, and deliveries of missiles with new NAMMO motors are beginning this month. About 125 motors have been delivered so far, with production set to reach 100 per month very soon.

ATK needs to reformulate their fuel and re-certify it, which isn’t likely to take less than 18 months. They’re out for now, but the experience has reminded the USAF and Raytheon that multiple supplier arrangements have value. Enough value to justify more money in a tight budget environment? We’ll see.

The late deliveries create penalties for Raytheon worth about $27 – $33 million, which includes things like no-cost labor to install software upgrades, warranty coverage and free repairs. The USAF gets warranty coverage for 325 AIM-120D missiles, and 40 no-cost repairs. Reuters.

Motor switch, payments & deliveries resumed

Dec 12/12: Weapons. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Oman’s request for weapons to equip its existing and ordered F-16s. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Oman involving “many” U.S. Government or contractor representatives over a period of up to or over 15 years for program and technical support and training. The request includes 27 AIM-120-C7 AMRAAMs, among many other weapons. The estimated cost is up to $117 million for all, but exact costs will be determined by any negotiated contracts.

DSCA Oman: 27

Nov 19/12: Support. Raytheon in Tucson, AZ is being awarded a $6.4 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract to provide AMRAAM flight support.

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and will run to the end of the fiscal year on Sept 30/13. The AFLCMC/EBAD at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8675-13-C-0052).

FY 2012

Stopped deliveries. Poland.

NASAMS launch
(click to view full)

Sept 6/12: NASAMS USA. Raytheon IDS in Tewksbury, MA receives a $9.65 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for maintenance and sustainment services in support of the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System. There is a NASAMS system guarding the USA’s National Capital region.

Work will be performed in Redstone Arsenal, AL, with an estimated completion date of Aug 30/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-12-C-0276).

July 23/12: Stopped deliveries. IHS Jane’s reports that Raytheon has been unable to deliver any AIM-120 missiles for almost 2 years, because they keep failing cold firing tests designed to mimic temperatures at high altitudes. Raytheon and motor manufacturer ATK say that the materials and formulation haven’t changed in more than 30 years, but consistent test failures began in late 2009, and Raytheon reportedly has a stock of 800 undeliverable missiles.

Something, somewhere has changed, but what? Raytheon and ATK are highly motivated, as payments have been suspended until the problem is fixed. As of this date, they’re still looking for that fix. Raytheon’s official statement as of September 2012 is:

“Restoring AMRAAM to full production is a top priority for Raytheon, and has the full involvement of company leadership and our rocket motor suppliers. Raytheon has continued to produce AMRAAM guidance and control sections on schedule, while we wait for our primary supplier to deliver compliant rocket motors. All resources of Raytheon and our supplier, as well as government and other experts have been engaged to resolve the rocket motor manufacturing issues. We have developed a second rocket motor supplier that has begun to deliver. Raytheon recently delivered 132 AMRAAM all-up rounds to the U.S. Air Force. We continue to work closely with our rocket motor suppliers and our customer; we expect to be on track making additional significant missile deliveries to our customers before the end of the year.”

Deliveries Frozen

May 10/12: An $11.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for “central processing unit, circuit card assembly spike extension” in Production Lot 24 (FY 2010) AMRAAMs. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and will run until July 31/13 (FA8675-10-C-0014, PO 0021).

March 23/12: AIM-120D. Bloomberg reports that the USAF is now withholding a total of $621 million in payments to Raytheon for the AIM-120D: $419 million in FY 2010 payments, and $202 million from FY 2007-2009.

Since January 2011, Raytheon has met or exceeded planned monthly delivery goals just 3 out of 14 times, and the AIM-120D production line is 193 missiles behind schedule as of Feb 29/12, according to Air Force data. Part of the problem is that ATK “has had difficulty for the past year consistently producing rocket motors to specification”. ATK says they’ve committed their top talent to the issue, and look forward to resuming deliveries to Raytheon “in the near future.” Raytheon would hope so, since the accumulating delays already cost them about $180 million in FY 2012 budget cuts, and could cost them again in FY 2013.

March 20/12: Cracked Up. The Taipei Times reports that the ROCAF currently has 120 AIM-120-C5s and 218 AIM-120-C7s in inventory, thanks to deliveries that began in 2004. Unfortunately, some of them were experiencing cracking in their pyroceramic radome nose cones. American investigators concluded that Taiwan’s high humidity, plus the pressure created by supersonic flight, were the problem. The ROCAF will respond by improving storage and rotation cycles.

The Taipei Times does note that Taiwan’s radar-guided MBDA MICA and locally-built Tien Chien II missiles aren’t having this problem, despite being exposed to the same conditions.

Nose job

Feb 3/12: Polish request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Poland’s official request to buy F-16 weapons, as well as a 5 year fleet support contract that includes associated equipment, parts, and training. The entire contract set could be worth up to $447 million, and includes up to 65 AIM-120-C7s. See “2012-02: Poland Requests F-16 Weapons, Support” for full coverage.

DSCA Poland: 65

Jan 26/12: The Pentagon offers releases concerning its 2013 budget, including some news about program cuts, but the Comptroller doesn’t have the full budget documents up yet.

One encouraging piece of news for Raytheon is that one of the areas designated for protection or budget increases involves “Improved air­ to air missiles.” Despite its problems, the AIM-120D may be safe, for now. Pentagon release | “Defense Budget Priorities and Choices” [PDF]

Jan 26/12: A $17.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide test integration of software that’s intended to update and improve the US-only AIM-120D missile. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/13 (FA8675-09-C-0201, PO 0013).

Jan 17/12: DOT&E. The Pentagon releases the FY2011 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The AMRAAM is included, specifically the ongoing problems with the AIM-120D. The report says that there is still no date set for its operational testing readiness review, which was supposed to happen in 2008. Why not?:

“The four key deficiencies include missile lockup, built-in test (BIT) failures, aircraft integration problems, and poor GPS satellite acquisition… Raytheon has solved the BIT fail problem and has developed a pending solution to the GPS failure problem… The Air Force accomplished the final DT/OT(developmental testing/ operational testing) shot successfully in August 2011, but Raytheon has not yet resolved missile lockup or aircraft integration problems.”

FY 2011

Lot 25. Exports. SLAMRAAM ended.

SLAMRAAM from FMTV
(click to view full)

Aug 31/11: FY 2011 order. A $569 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the FY 2011/ Lot 25 AMRAAM order, divided 77%/ 23% between US government sales and Foreign Military Sales.

USA & General: 234 AIM-120D All-Up-Round (AUR) missiles; 101 AIM-120D CATMs; 4 AIM-120D AAVIs; 8 integrated test vehicles; Air Force AIM 120D guidance section; 103 non-developmental item-airborne instrumentation units; test equipment; Personnel Reliability Program Phase IV.

Exports: 203 AIM-120C7 Foreign Military Sales AURs; warranty for 100 CATMs; warranty for 25 AIM-120C7 AURs (Bahrain); and Foreign Military Sale software and contractor logistics support (FA8675-11-C-0030).

FY 2011

June 29/11: Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ receives a $10.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for the “Processor Replacement Program Foreign Military Sales software extension probability of weapon effectiveness.” The AAC/EBAC at Eglin Air Force Base, FL manages the contract (FA8675-09-C-0052, PO 0032).

June 16/11: FY12 zero-out? Flight International reports that the USA may cut Lot 26 AIM-120D production from the FY 2012 budget:

“Raytheon’s production line for the [AIM-120D] is more than 100 weapons behind schedule and operational testing has yet to begin…[so] the House appropriations committee’s defence panel wants to eliminate funding [for all 379 missiles] in the AIM-120D production account… in the fiscal year 2012 defence budget. Such a move, if approved by the Senate, would gut Raytheon’s production line for one year. Since its AIM-120D and export AIM-120C7 missiles are produced on the same line, the price of the latter could rise as order quantities are reduced. That could leave foreign buyers with a larger bill or fewer missiles next year.”

Asked about this, the USAF told DID that the AIM-120D is almost finished combined developmental and operational test phase. The next significant program milestone is the Operational Test Readiness Review (OTRR) in August 2011, to determine if the program is ready for dedicated operational testing.

As of the end of May 2011, the US military has taken delivery of 225 AIM-120Ds, vs. a contract delivery requirement of 361. That’s a backlog of 136 missiles, which are only paid for after they are delivered and signed for via DD250 documentation.

June 2/11: Australia request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Australia’s formal request to buy up to 110 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs, 10 AIM-120C-7 AAVIs, 16 AIM-120C-7 CATMs, plus containers, weapon system support equipment, support and test equipment, site survey, transportation, repair and return, warranties, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of support. The DSCA specifically notes that:

“The proposed sale will allow the Australian Defense Force to complete Australia’s F/A-18 program under their Project AIR 5349. Phase I allowed acquisition of F/A-18[F Super Hornet] Block II aircraft and Phase II is for the acquisition of weapons.”

The estimated cost is $202 million, with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ as the contractor. Actual costs will, of course, depend on the terms of any eventual contract. Australia already uses AMRAAMs on its older F/A-18A/B Hornets, but its F-111s did not. A larger AMRAAM-capable fleet means a need for a few more missiles. This proposed sale wouldn’t require any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives in Australia.

DSCA Australia: 110

Feb 17/11: AMRAAM component shortage? Focus Taiwan covers a ROCAF report on the May 2010 AMRAAM International Users’ Conference, in which the USAF’s 649th Armament Systems Squadron raised the issue of “Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS).” In English, that means people who manufacture some parts of the missile are either going out of business or ceasing production. The 649th ARSS said component shortages could begin as soon as 2012, and recommends that countries revise their AMRAAM support contracts to include maintenance and warranty clauses.

The longer term hope is to issue contracts for Raytheon to develop replacement components, as part of a joint logistics support plan extending to around 2030. Taiwan will join some other AMRAAM users in raising the issue of humidity, which makes it harder to store and maintain the missiles, and could accelerate their spares problem.

Component problems

Feb 16/11: Swiss budget. Switzerland approves its 2011 armament program. Biggest expense in the $450 million total? CHF 180 million ($192.8 million) to upgrade its stocks with new AIM-120-C7 AMRAAM medium range air-air missiles, alongside the old AIM-120Bs which were bought in 1992 with the air force’s 26 F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters.

The Defence Ministry no longer considers the AIM-120Bs to be up to date from an operational point of view, and is buying what it terms a “minimum number of guided missiles” to address that situation. The new AIM-120-C7s will be available alongside the older AIM-120Bs, though the latter are likely to be used more often in reserve and training roles. Swiss VBS | defpro. See also the Dec 21/10 entry, for the associated DSCA request.

Switzerland

Feb 14/11: FY 2012 budget. The Pentagon releases its FY 2012 budget request, even as it waits for the new 112th Congress to pass the FY 2011 budget that its predecessors failed to enact. The $579.5 million request would buy 379 missiles (218 USAF, 161 Navy), and provide $80.7 million in R&D for “product improvements such as fuzing, guidance, and kinematics.”

Jan 31/11: Support. A $15 million contract for AMRAAM technical support: systems engineering, small software enhancements, test support, maintenance and modification of special test assets, support to the Navy hardware in the loop simulation, aircraft integration, and other technical engineering requirements. At this time, no money has been committed – task orders will be issued if needed (FA8675-11-D-0050).

Jan 6/11: SL-AMRAAM. The Pentagon announces a number of changes, instead to take $150 billion from administration and weapons programs, and shift them into higher priority weapon programs. One of the proposed cancellations is the Army’s SLAMRAAM program which, like all of these proposed cuts, must be agreed and legislated by the US Congress before it comes into effect.

On the one hand, given the ongoing decline of American tactical airpower, canceling SLAMRAAM in favor of keeping older, short-range Stinger and Avenger air defense missile systems is a definite risk. On the other hand, AMRAAM ground-based air defense systems are selling around the world in Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, et. al., and will remain available as a mature system that can be implemented quickly if the need is recognized. Pentagon release re: overall plan | Full Gates speech and Gates/Mullen Q&A transcript || Atlanta Journal Constitution | The Atlantic | the libertarian Cato Institute | The Hill | NY Times | Politico | Stars and Stripes || Agence France Presse | BBC | Reuters | UK’s Telegraph | China’s Xinhua.

SLAMRAAM ended

Dec 21/10: Swiss request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Switzerland’s official request to buy 150 AIM-120-C7 missiles, 6 AIM-120-C7 Telemetry Missiles, 24 AIM-120-C7 Captive Air Training Missiles, and 1 spare Missile Guidance Section, plus missile containers, weapon system support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documents, repair and return, depot maintenance, training and training equipment, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is $358 million.

Switzerland would use the missiles on its existing fleet of F/A-18C/D Hornet aircraft, which already carry earlier-model AIM-120B AMRAAMs. The prime contractor will, of course, be Raytheon Missile Systems Corporation in Tucson, AZ.

DSCA Switzerland: 150

Dec 13/10: SLAMRAAM. Raytheon announces the 2nd test firing of an unguided SLAMRAAM from its new carrier platform, an FMTV truck. Details and purpose are the same as the 1st firing, discussed in the Sept 9/10 entry.

Oct 20/10: Saudi Arabia. As part of a nearly $30 billion weapons export request that involves upgrading their entire F-15S fleet, and buying 84 new F-15SA Strike Eagles, Saudi Arabia also seeks export permission for up to 500 AIM-120-C7 AMRAAMs as one of the weapons in their request. US DSCA [PDF] | DID’s “The Saudis’ American Shopping Spree: F-15s, Helicopters & More

DSCA Saudi: 500

FY 2010

SAR. Radomes. Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Chile.

AIM-120D into F-22A
(click to view full)

Sept 28/10: Support. A $10.2 million contract modification which will extend the period of performance of the AMRAAM aircraft integration support effort contract through Sept 30/13. $1,815,268 has been committed (FA8675-08-C-0050; PO0016).

Sept 10/10: More radomes, please! A $25.8 million contract modification to restart the AMRAAM Radome “Phase II Pyroceram” project. At this time, the entire amount has been committed (FA3002-09-C-0003; AO0017).

A USAF representative explained that Raytheon had produced a large number of missile radomes before the line shut down, and it was thought that they would cover all future requirements. Since then, AMRAAM orders have surged ahead of those estimates, and stocks of radomes have been drawn very low. Production has to begin again, and this contract modification asks Raytheon to qualify the factory to build the same design radome as before. Production of new radomes will occur under the AMRAAM production contract, awarded separately, beginning in 2012.

Sept 9/10: SLAMRAAM. Raytheon announces that an unguided version of its ground-launched SLAMRAAM had a successful test firing from an FMTV truck at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. SLAMRAAM was initially mounted on Humvees, but it has become clear that those weren’t tough enough, so the Army will be using FMTV medium trucks instead. An FMTV derivative called the Caiman is even up-armored with a V-hull to survive mine blasts.

Missiles won’t launch exactly the same way from a different vehicle, however, because the launching itself creates different turbulence effects. That can have effects on nearby soldiers, and even on subsequent missiles if they’re ripple-fired. Understanding these “dynamic launch effects” was the goal of this test, and Raytheon adds that it will “reduce risk on future potential FMTV missile integration efforts, such as the AIM-9X.” Many other ground-launched air-to-air missile conversions use a dual setup of infrared and radar guided missiles, from Israel’s Spyder to France’s VL-MICA; adding AIM-9X to SLAMRAAM would give it the same versatility.

Aug 6/10: FY 2010 order. A $492.4 million contract which will provide AMRAAM missiles to American and international customers, and appears to be the FY 2010 buy. Note that AIM-120Ds and their accompanying training and test missiles are only sold to the US military. The order includes:

  • 132 AIM-120D AURs;
  • 12 AIM-120D Air Vehicles Instrumented (AAVI)
  • 87 AIM-120D Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM)
  • Warranty for 85 AIM-120D AURs for the USAF
  • Warranty for 10 AAVIs for the USAF
  • Warranty for 87 CATMs for the US Air Force and Navy
  • AIM 120D guidance section and rear data link for the USAF
  • 273 AIM-120C7 AURs for all Foreign Military Sales customers
  • Warranty for 58 AIM-120C7 AURs for Foreign Military Sales customers Chile (13) and Jordan (45)
  • 192 non-developmental item-airborne instrumentation units
  • Test equipment; HIF/Spike life time buy; and contractor logistics support. This includes

Foreign Military Sales class customers within this order total 44% of its value, and include Morocco, Jordan, and Kuwait (q.v. Nov 15/10 entry); plus Canada, Chile, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. At this time, the entire amount has been committed (FA8675-10-C-0014).

FY 2010

April 28/10: Alternate rocket motor. Raytheon announces that it’s working with Norway’s NAMMO to begun qualifying an alternative rocket motor for the AIM-120 AMRAAM that would be interchangeable with current motors, and maintain the same performance as the current rocket engine. ATK is currently the primary rocket motor provider. Raytheon Missile Systems Air Warfare Systems VP Harry Schulte says that this is simple prudence for a key product, which has been bought by 36 countries, with more than 1.8 million captive-carry hours and more than 2,900 live firings:

“A second source of rocket motors ensures Raytheon will meet its commitment to the U.S. and international warfighter by providing a continual supply of AMRAAMs.”

NAMMO has a long-standing relationship of its own with Raytheon, and has delivered more than 40,000 rocket motors for the AIM-9 Sidewinder short range air-air missile program. It also seems like an good move if rocket motors are creating a problem for AMRAAM, which turns out to be the case. NAMMO ends up as the new supplier before all is said and done, with ATK free to pursue supplier certification without affecting deliveries. Raytheon release.

April 2/10: Support. A $13.5 million contract which provides support for 4 months of AMRAAM system engineering and program management, due to delay of Lot 24 (FY 2010 production), which would otherwise have covered those funds. At this time the entire amount has been obligated by the 695ARSS/PK at Eglin Air Force Base, FL (FA8675-09-C-0052). When asked about the delay, the team at Eglin AFB has this to say:

“The Air Force has changed contracting policy, departing from the more streamlined, “review-discuss-concur” (sometimes known as “alpha contracting”) approach of recent years, in favor of a traditional contracting approach that requires considerably more cost information and independent auditing by the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

This policy change has extended the schedule for negotiating and awarding our contracts. The Lot 24 contract, planned to be awarded in March/April originally, is now forecast for a June/July award. The four-month “bridge” contract was awarded to protect the program’s critical engineering and management workforce… [but] does not increase the ultimate cost of the Lot 24 contract.”

April 1/10: SAR. The Pentagon releases its April 2010 Selected Acquisitions Report, covering major program changes up to December 2009. AMRAAM makes the list, for both good and bad reasons:

“Program costs increased $6,402.7 million (+43.0%) from $14,880.6 million to $21,283.3 million, due primarily to a quantity increase of 3,887 missiles from 13,953 to 17,840 missiles (+$3,775.7 million) and associated schedule, engineering, and estimating allocations

  • (+$457.7 million). Costs also increased due to software integration efforts (+504.4 million), the realignment of Navy and Air Force missile procurement during fiscal 2008 through fiscal 2024 (+$918.6 million), an increase in telemetry equipment to support training (+$422.9 million), and increases in tooling and test equipment, diminishing manufacturing sources requirements, and production/test support resulting from the extension of the production program from fiscal 2013 to fiscal 2024 (+$280.4 million).”

SAR

March 16/10: R&D. A $19.5 million contract to continue funding the AMRAAM system improvement program. At this time, the $2.8 million has been committed by the 696th ARSS at Eglin Air Force Base, FL (FA8675-10-C-0105).

March 9-11/10: AIM-120D. The new AIM-120D AMRAAM takes the first 2 Developmental Test/ Operational Test (DT/OT) live shots, at Eglin AFB, FL. Eglin officials tell DID that “Performance appeared to have been as predicted, but the [full] test data is still under review. The March 9 shot from a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet resulted in a “lethal intercept” of the target, presumably due to proximity detonation. The March 11th shot from a USAF F-15C resulted in a direct hit.

The AIM-120D Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase is complete [and] fielding will follow the completion of an extensive operational testing effort that is currently underway. The 3rd and final DT/OT shot is planned for early-May 2010, and all missiles for the testing programs have been delivered.

March 2/10: SLAMRAAM. Raytheon announces that the USA’s Surface Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (SLAMRAAM) program has received approval from the U.S. Army for long-lead purchases, not to exceed $18 million, leading to low rate initial production. The step toward LRIP status is an important milestone for that program.

Nov 15/09: Kuwait, Morocco & Jordan order. The US government executed separate letters of offer and acceptance with Kuwait, Morocco and Jordan enabling those US Middle East allies to purchase AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs).

In earlier requests to the US Congress, Kuwait had asked to buy 120 AIM-120-C7 AMRAAMs (see Sept 9/08 entry); Morocco had asked to buy 30 AIM-120-C5 AMRAAMs (C5 is the production version before the C7 – see July 9/08 entry); and Jordan had asked to buy 85 AIM-120-C7 AMRAAMs (see Aug 3/09 entry). The 3 countries will use the AMRAAMs in both air-to-air and air defense missions.

Jordan, Kuwait & Morocco

Nov 10/09: Chile request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a request by Chile to buy 100 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and associated parts, equipment and logistical support for approximately $145 million. DSCA requests are not contracts. If Congress does not block the request within 30 days, negotiations can begin for related contracts.

Chile intends to use these missiles to improve its capability to meet current and future threats of enemy air-to-air weapons. Chile is updating its military’s capability while increasing interoperability of weapon systems between itself, the US, and other allies.

DSCA Chile: 100

Oct 29/09: Rocket boost? Alliant Techsystems (ATK) announces a nearly $10 million contract to improve rocket motor technologies for the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), and well as future air-to-air missile systems. The scope of the work being performed under the Counter Air/ Future Naval Capabilities program is to develop technologies that will extend missile range, decrease time-to-target, improve end-game maneuverability, and improve the rocket motor’s response to insensitive munitions stimuli.

There are 4 main areas that ATK will concentrate on: high burn rate propellants for improved kinematics; improving case stiffness for reduced weight and agility; low erosion nozzles for improved performance; and multi-pulse propulsion for better end-game maneuverability. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, CA manages the contract. ATK expects to complete the work by June 2013.

FY 2009

FMS, Jordan, Bahrain.

F-18F launch
(click to view larger)

Sept 16/09: Testing. Raytheon Co. in Tucson, AZ received a $22.2 million modification, which changes a previously awarded unfinalized contract (N68936-09-C-0097) to a cost-plus fixed-fee contract. Raytheon will design, build, and integrate an all-inclusive AMRAAM hardware-in-the-loop simulation system for military construction project P710, at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (75%) and China Lake, CA (25%), and is expected to be complete in September 2011. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA will manage this contract.

The hardware-in-the-loop simulation facility includes hardware mounts, a flight table that can mount the core seeker assembly etc., and an anechoic chamber, in order to create simulated missile firings. It can test the missile’s radar seeker and ECCM (electronic counter-counter-measures) against simulated targets and threats, from a variety of imagined speeds and angles, and produce Monte Carlo simulations that explore hundreds of “firings” and create statistically useful results, without using up hundreds of missiles and expensive airframe time. It can also test the signals being sent to the rest of the missile, and make sure the software and mechanics are doing what they’re supposed to do.

The move from Point Mugu was prompted by changes mandated in the USA’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act, and the new facility is expected to begin operations in September 2011 with AIM-120C7 capability. By September 2012, the facility is expected to be fully operational, with the ability to handle AIM-120C3-C7 models. See also NAVAIR release | Thanks to NAWCWD China Lake for clarification.

Aug 18/09: R&D. A $20.1 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract for the AMRAAM system improvement program. At this time $2.5 million has been committed. The 696th ARSS at Eglin Air Force Base, FL manages the contract (FA8675-09-C-0201).

Aug 3/09: Jordanian request. The DSCA announces [PDF] Jordan’s official request to buy 85 AIM-120C-7 missiles, 6 AIM-120C Captive Air Training Missiles, missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and support. The estimated cost is $131 million.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require bi-annual trips to Jordan involving 6 U.S. Government and 4 contractor representatives for program management reviews over a period of up to 5 years.

DSCA Jordan: 85

July 28/09: Bahrain request. The DSCA announces [PDF] Bahrain’s official request to buy 25 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs, missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and support. The estimated cost is $74 million.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require bi-annual trips to Bahrain involving 6 U.S. Government and 4 contractor representatives for program management reviews over a period of up to 5 years.

DSCA Bahrain: 25

May 11/09: FY 2009 order. A $521.3 million firm-fixed-price contract to Raytheon Co. of Tucson, AZ for AMRAAM production (FA8675-09-C-0052). This appears to be the Lot 23 contract. At this time, the entire amount has been committed. The order includes:

  • 105 containerized AIM-120D AMRAAM All-Up-Rounds;
  • 72 AIM-120D captive air training missiles, and warranties;
  • 11 instrumented AIM-120D “air vehicles,” for missile flight tests;
  • 2 AIM-120D integrated test vehicles, which include guidance systems etc.;
  • 106 “non-developmental items,” including airborne instrumentation units, test equipment, Phase 1A activities related to AMRAAM radomes, quad target detection device parts replacement work to address obsolescence, US Navy AIM 120D guidance section and development infrastructure support equipment, and upgrades; and
  • 495 AIM-120C7s for Foreign Military Sales outside the USA.

FY 2009

Feb 22/09: UAE order. A Raytheon official confirms that the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. government have executed a letter of offer and acceptance for 224 AIM-120C7 missiles, to equip the UAE’s F-16E/F Block 60 fighter fleet.

Terms are not disclosed, but the number matches the DSCA sale request on Jan 3/08. That request involved a larger package that also included JDAM smart bombs and other weapons; it was worth up to $326 million. Reuters.

UAE

Feb 13/09: Newer chips. The USAF issued a $21.7 million modification to a cost plus fixed fee contract with performance incentives. Raytheon of Tucson, AZ will conduct the AMRAAM Processor Replacement Program, Phase II. At this time, the entire amount has been committed (FA8675-07-C-0055, P00022).

Some sources cite 30 MHz as the original speed for AMRAAM’s processor, in a world where computer chips that were cutting edge midway through the AMRAAM program’s lifespan are now museum pieces. Newer chips definitely offer the potential for performance improvements, but the most important benefit in this case may be the newer chips’ continued availability from manufacturers.

Jan 12/09: A $6.7 million modification to the AMRAAM Lot 22 Production contract (see May 28/08 entry). At this time, the entire amount has been committed (FA8675-08-C-0049, P00008).

Dec 10/08: Greece. Raytheon in Tucson, AZ receives a $7.9 million contract modification to administer AMRAAM-related industrial offset programs in Greece, as a modification to the Production Lot 21 contract. See also the July 1/08 entry, covering the addition of 130 AIM-120C7s to Greece as part of the Lot 21 production run.

At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 695 ARSS at Eglin Air Force Base, FL manages this contract (FA8675-07-C-0055, modification P00020).

Nov 25/08: AIM-120D. The Air Force is paying $6 million to modify a firm fixed price contract with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ. This contract will upgrade 2 guided weapons test sets to AIM-120D Capability, including spares, and additional GPS. At this time, all the money has been committed (FA8675-07-C-0055, Modification P00019).

Oct 20/08: Turkey, Denmark & Finland. Rocket motors have shelf lives, too. The USAF issues a contract modification for $12.9 million. In exchange, Raytheon will supply 436 propulsion sections (baseline rocket motors) that will be installed in AIM-120B missiles. This effort supports foreign military sales to Turkey, Denmark, and Finland, and all funds have been committed (FA8675-08-C-0049, P00005).

Oct 15/08: Testing. The AIM-120C7 AMRAAM enters the U.S. Navy’s Weapon System User Program (WSUP) evaluations, fired from Super Hornets of the U.S. Navy’s VFA-143 squadron against a BQM-167A target drone. The Navy fighters also fired one of the new short-range AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles during the joint mission, which included USAF F-15Cs from Eglin Air Force Base’s 60th Fighter Squadron.

Raytheon’s release adds that “All missiles guided within lethal range of the target and were assessed as 100 percent successful.”

FY 2008

South Korea, Singapore, Finland, Greece, Morocco, Kuwait, UAE, Turkey.

F-15C fires AMRAAM
(click to view full)

Sept 26/08: Turkish request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Turkey’s official request to buy 107 AIM-120C7 AMRAAM missiles, 2 missile guidance sections, missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, and various support services. The estimated cost is $157 million.

Raytheon Electronic and Missile Systems of Tucson, AZ is the prime contractor. The Turkish Air Force uses AMRAAMs, and will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces. Implementation of this sale will not require the assignment of any additional U. S. Government or contractor personnel in country.

DSCA Turkey: 107

Sept 10/08: R&D. A cost plus fixed fee contract for $7.4 million, in return for work on AIM-120C3 through AIM-120C7 Counter Advanced Electronic Attack (EA) Risk Reduction and Concept Refinement (RR/CR). In English, this work will make it harder to jam most of the AMRAAM missiles in current service. At this time all funds have been committed by the 328th Armament Systems Group at Eglin AFB, FL (FA8675-08-C-0247).

Sept 9/08: UAE request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announces [PDF] the United Arab Emirates’ official request to buy 288 AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) missiles, 2 Air Vehicle-Instrumented (AAVI) missiles, 144 LAU-128 Launchers, Surface Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (SL-AMRAAM) software, missile warranty, KGV-68B COMSEC chips, training missiles, containers, support and test equipment, missiles components, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements. The estimated cost is $445 million.

The principal contractor will be Raytheon Corporation in Waltham, MA. The purchaser intends to request industrial offsets, but specifics will be defined in negotiations between the UAE and Raytheon. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 10 U.S. Government personnel and 15 Contractor representatives to the United Arab Emirates for a period of 3 months. Also, various personnel will be required to travel to the United Arab Emirates in one-week intervals, for surveys and other program requirements.

DSCA UAE: 288

Sept 9/08: Kuwait request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Kuwait’s official request to buy 120 AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), 78 LAU-127-B/A launchers that fit on its fighter aircraft, 78 LAU-127-C/A Launchers, Captive Air Training Missiles, missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government (USG) and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated cost is $178 million.

The prime contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems Corporation in Tucson, AZ. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of up to 10 U.S. Government and contractor representatives for one-week intervals twice annually, to participate in training, and technical review.

DSCA Kuwait: 120

July 11/08: Finland request. Finland requests 300 AIM-120C7 AMRAAM missiles, plus missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, and other related support. The order could be worth up to $435 million. Finland already uses AMRAAM missiles on its F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters. DSCA announcement [PDF].

DSCA Finland: 300

July 11/08: Singapore request. Singapore requests 128 AIM-120C7, 72 AIM-120C5, and 6 CATM missiles as part of a larger package worth up to $962 million.

DSCA Singapore: 200

July 9/08: Morocco request. Morocco requests 30 AIM-120C5 missiles as part of a larger package for its forthcoming F-16 C/Ds worth up to $155 million.

DSCA Morocco: 30

July 1/08: Greek order. An $87.6 million contract modification will provide 130 AIM-120C7s to Greece, and 6 Non-Developmental Item Airborne Instrumentation Units (NDI-AIUs) to Germany, as a modification to the AMRAAM Production Lot 21 contract. At this time all funds have been committed (FA8675-07-C-0055, P00011).

Greece

July 1/08: Processor replacement. A $13.2 million modification to a cost plus fixed fee contract for the Processor Replacement Program, Phase I. This project will replace the data processor module that’s common to both AMRAAM and the new Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) naval ship defense missile. The problem is that the AMRAAM Data Processor (ADP) and the Input-Output application specific integrated circuits (I/O ASIC) in the guidance section electronics aren’t manufactured any more. The electronics industry has much shorter life cycles than the military does, so the USAF is looking to replace these obsolete parts and do any redesign required.

This effort supports the US military and foreign military sales to Greece and Taiwan. All funds have already been committed (FA8675-07-C-0055, P00012).

June 20/08: South Korea request. South Korea is requesting $200 million worth of additional air-air missiles and precision attack weapons for its F-15Ks: 125 AIM-120C7 AMRAAMs, 14 CATMs, and 2 dummy rounds; plus AGM-54G Mavericks, JDAMs, Paveway II/IIIs, and chaff. Read “South Korea Buying Weapons for its new F-15Ks.”

DSCA ROK: 125

June 6/08: The USAF is modifying the firm-fixed-price Lot 21 production contract with Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, AZ by $44.8 million, in order to provide AIM-120C-7 Software Tapes 18A/20 to Greece and Taiwan. At this time, $17.4 million has been obligated (FA8675-07-C-0055, P00010).

May 28/08: FY 2008 order. A $412.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for Lot 22 AMRAAM production: 98 AIM-120D All-Up-Round Missiles, 11 AIM-120D Air Vehicles Instrumented (AAVIs), 8 AIM-120D Integrated Test Vehicles (ITVs), 78 AIM-120D Captive Air Training Missiles, a warranty for 68 AIM-120D AURs (USAF), a warranty for 11 AAVIs USAF, and a warranty for 78 CATMs (USAF/USN).

This order also includes 213 AIM-120C-7 foreign military sales AURs, 5 AIM-120C foreign military sales AAVIs, 269 Non-Developmental Item-Airborne Instrumentation Units, Spares (US/FMS), Test Equipment, Obsolescence to include Radome source replacement, Quad Target Detection Device parts replacements, and second source funding for the Common Air Launched Navigation System. At this time, all funds have been committed (FA8675-08-C-0049).

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2010 and continue through 2011. See also Raytheon release.

FY 2008

May 21/08: AIM-120D. A modified cost plus contract for $9.8 million, required because the Phase IV AMRAAM SDD program to develop the AIM-120D is experiencing turbulence. “Continuing delays in resolving developmental hardware issues and less-than-expected effectiveness in flight test execution are the primary reasons for the SDD program being behind schedule.” DID asked for clarification, and the program office explained:

“The AMRAAM Phase IV SDD program has experienced unexpected delays during the transition from POD (proof of design) to POM (proof of manufacture) hardware design and integration for a variety of reasons. The hardware delays varied from late deliveries from subcontractors to minor redesigns of CCAs culminating in delayed production of POM units and a corresponding schedule slip. The program has also experienced less-than-expected effectiveness over the past year in flight test execution due to weather, aircraft and target maintenance delays(such as the recent extended F-15 Fleet grounding), and POM missile hardware availability for flight test. The POM hardware issues have been resolved and Raytheon Missile Systems is now successfully producing POM missiles for aircraft integration and test efforts.”

The current forecast date for the functional configuration audit has slipped about 10 months, from June 30/08 to April 30/09. That schedule extension increases the contract’s cost by about 10%, which is available with the existing program budget. Technical requirements have not changed, and at this time $6.8 million has been obligated (FA8675-04-C-0001, P00047).

Feb 12/08: SLAMRAAM. The Project on Government Oversight watchdog group issues a December 2007 report from the US DoD’s Office of the Inspector General, which was obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. It discusses, and faults, the US Army and Defense Contracting Management Agency’s handling of the $623 million SLAMRAAM ground-launched anti-aircraft missile program. DID includes more complete excerpts and summaries from the report, including program manager and DCMA responses, and adds more details regarding the SLAMRAAM system.

Jan 3/08: UAE request. The UAE requests 224 AIM-120C7 AMRAAMs, as part of a larger weapons purchase request to buy its F-16 E/F Block 60 Desert Falcon fighters that could be worth up to $326 million.

DSCA UAE: 224

FY 2007

SAR. Netherlands, Pakistan, Israel.

AIM-120A launch
(click to view full)

Sept 26/07: Sub-contractors. A contract modification for $7.8 million, which buys 309 replacement baseline rocket motors to be installed into AIM-120A, AIM-120B, and AIM-120C Air Vehicles. Raytheon actually buys these from ATK. At this time all funds have been obligated. The 695th ARSS at Eglin Air Force Base, FL issued the contract (FA8675-07-C-0055, P0004).

Sept 25/07: Sub-contractors. Harris Corp. Government Communications Systems Division of Melbourne, Fla. received a modification to a firm fixed price contract for $9.3 million. This action provides 86 sets of Warhead Replacement Tactical Telemetry (WRTTM) applicable to AIM-120 AMRAAMs. Also, line items are included for Data, Interim Contractor Support (ICS) required to maintain and repair the WRTTM, ICS required to maintain and repair the WRTTM Test Sets and Support Equipment, ICS required to perform services in support of approved Engineering Change Proposals, ICS services and materials required for Program Management, ICS Services and Materials required to provide Quarterly, 5 days on-the-job training sessions for Tyndall AFB, FL, personnel for the operation and maintenance of the WRTTM Test Set and Support Equipment.

At this time all funds have been obligated. The 542nd Combat Sustainment Wing at Robins Air Force Base Ga. issued the contract (F09603-03-C-0006-P00018).

Aug 24/07: Israel request. The US DSCA announces [PDF format] Israel’s request to buy 200 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air (AMRAAM) missiles, containers, components, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, and other related support elements. The estimated cost is $171 million, and the principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems Corporation, Tucson, AZ.

As noted above, AMRAAM competes to some extent with RAFAEL’s shorter-range Derby 4 missile. To date, however, Israel’s Cheyl Ha’avir has elected to purchase AMRAAMs instead for its fighters. See “Israel Requests $642M in Missiles, Fuel” for complete coverage.

DSCA Israel: 200

June 19/07: SLAMRAAM Plus? Raytheon announces SLAMRAAM upgrades via options to add SL-AMRAAM-ER extended range variants (likely via a rocket booster), and a variant with AIM-9X infrared seekers to match the combination radar/infrared surface-to-air sets like Spyder, VL-MICA, et. al. being fielded by international rivals.

April 16/07: FY 2007 order. A $180.3 million firm fixed price contract for 96 AIM-120D AMRAAM Air Vehicles, 5 AIM-120D AMRAAM Air Vehicles Instrumented, 105 Airborne Instrumentation Units, and warranty for 25 USAF Captive Air Training Missiles. This action also funds the Manufacturing Excellence Model Initiative, Test Equipment, and 2 priced options. At this time, $175.6 million have been obligated. This work will be complete January 2010 (FA8675-07-C-0055).

FY 2007

April 9/07: SAR. The Pentagon releases its April 2007 Selected Acquisition Report, and AMRAAM is one of the systems covered. Overall program costs increased $1.6 billion (+12.2%) from $13.2 billion to $14.8 billion:

“…due primarily to lower-than-expected Foreign Military Sales (FMS) projections (+$557.9 million) and an acquisition strategy pricing change (+$859.2 million). There were also increases related to a stretchout of the annual procurement buy profile (+$93.7 million), additional special tooling and test equipment (+$54.8 million), and an overrun in the AIM-120D (Phase 4) system development and demonstration contract (+$32.7 million).”

SAR

AIM-120A: preparing for a swap

Jan 29/07: Rocket switch. U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) officials and 435th Munitions Squadron airmen recently moved to shift serviceable rocket motors from older AIM-120A AMRAAMs and put them in unserviceable AIM-120B and C models, creating viable AIM-120 B/C missiles. The systems involved are part of USAFE’s war reserve assets, but also serve as a forward-positioned stockpile for the U.S. Central Command and elsewhere. The in-house weapon overhaul of 63 missiles saved the Air Force more than $31 million and approximately 3 years of time, and was the largest field retrofit in the AMRAAM’s history.

Dec 6/06: SLAMRAAM. Kongsberg announces a contract valued at NOK 345 million (about $60 million) with the Netherlands for NASMS system deliveries to the Dutch Army under the Future Ground Based Air Defence (FGBAD NL) program. The program combines systems from EADS with the SLAMRAAM-based NASAMS surface-to-air system developed by Kongsberg.

Dutch SAMs

Nov 17/06: Pakistan. A $269.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option to purchase 500 AIM-120C5 AMRAAM missiles and rehost on behalf of Pakistan (100%). Work will be complete April 2011 (FA8675-05-C-0070/P00028). This order is part of Pakistan’s $5.1 billion program to buy new F-16s and upgrade its existing fleet, and is the biggest AMRAAM export order to date. See also Raytheon’s January 15, 2007 release.

Pakistan

Nov 8/06: AIM-120D & AFSO-21. A USAF article discusses how the AIM-120D Production Program Manager was a bit skeptical when he was asked to be team leader on an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century rapid improvement event. By the time they were done, however, they had cut the acquisition-delivery time down from 11 months (48 weeks) to 4.5 months (20 weeks) using AFSO process improvement tools. Maj. Charles Seidel was impressed – and so were other weapons programs. Here’s what they did.

Nov 2/06: A $5.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for AIM-120D production transition, with all funds already obligated. This work will be complete March 2007 (FA8675-06-C-0003/P00005).

Oct 31/06: SLAMRAAM. Raytheon announces that its AMRAAM-based Complementary Low Altitude Weapons System (CLAWS) air defense system finished 14 month Limited Technical Inspection in just 12 months and exceeded performance expectations, clearing the way for Marine Corps acceptance of the final 2 fire units. The tests took place at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems’ Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA.

CLAWS is a SLAMRAAM/HUMRAAM variant, and despite test success, the USMC decided that US air superiority made it an acceptable cancellation. Time will tell if that is wise.

Oct 17/06: SLAMRAAM. Raytheon Fires Surface-Launched AMRAAM to Test New Command Destruct/Self Destruct Capability. The successful tests took place in Sweden, following successful SLAMRAAM tests in Norway.

FY 2006

NCADE. Pakistan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia.

F-16 launches AIM-120
(click to view full)

Sept 29/06: Singapore & Saudi order. A $65.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option to purchase 123 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAMM) Air Vehicles (AAVs) Air Intercept Missile (AIM)-120C-5 missiles: 9 are for the USAF and 114 are foreign military sales to Singapore and Saudi Arabia (DefenseLINK did not break that out by country). The contract also includes 51 warranties and foreign military service software configuration management. Work will be complete November 2008 (FA8675-05-C-0070, PO 0026).

Singapore & Saudi

Sept 15/06: FY 2006 supplement. A $112.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide for 104 AIM-120C7 AMRAAM Air Vehicles, 112 Non-Developmental Item, Airborne Instrumentation Units (NDI-AIUs), proposal preparation, L3 Communications Pulse Code Modulation, Encoder Qualification Non-Recurring Expense, NDI-AIU Test Equipment Upgrade as well as 12 AIM-120D AMRAAM Air Vehicles Instrumented (AAVIs), 50 AIM-120D Captive Air Training Missiles (they have the seeker but no rocket motor), and an option for AIM-120D production transition.

The AIM-120C7 is the most current AMRAAM missile, but the other elements of the contract certainly indicate that the transition to the AIM-120D is getting closer (FA8675-06-C-0003, PO 0003). An October 6, 2006 Raytheon release notes that this contract supplements the Lot 20A effort awarded in February 2006; the two Lot 20 contracts combined total $168 million. The first production set of AIM-120D missiles will be delivered from December 2007 through January 2009.

FY 2006 SUP

July 26/06: AIM-120D. A $25.4 million cost-plus contract modification. This action provides for AMRAAM AIM-120D system demonstration development contract re-baseline. At this time, $7.4 million has been committed. Solicitations began April 2006, negotiations were complete July 2006, and work will be complete in June 2008. The Headquarters 328th Armament Systems Group, Eglin Air Force Base, FL issued the contract (FA8675-04-C-0001/P00028).

June 28/06: Pakistan request. The US DSCA announces Pakistan’s request for 500 AMRAAMs and 12 training missiles, as part of a $650 million weapons request within a $5.1 billion program to expand and refurbish its F-16 fleet.

DSCA Pakistan: 500

May 9/06: Contract. a $21.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for advanced medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) lead time away material, and systems engineering performance responsibility (SEPR). The lead time material will cover 12 operational test missiles (AIM-120D) and 40 initial operational capability missiles (AIM-120D and AIM-120C7). Work will be complete in October 2007 (FA8675-06-C-0003/P0002).

April 28/06: NCADE. Raytheon Company announces a $7 million contract from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for a risk reduction demonstration associated with the evolving Network Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE) program. NCADE is testing the idea that a modified AMRAAM might be able to shoot down ballistic missiles just after launch, if a fighter can get close to the launch area.

The 12-month Raytheon effort will focus on propulsion systems and seeker enhancements as part of the overall NCADE system capability. Work on this contract will be performed at Raytheon’s Missile Systems business in Tucson, Ariz. Aerojet will perform propulsion work at its Redmond, WA location.

NCADE

April 21/06: Testing. Most people don’t think about the effect that all those nifty aircraft maneuvers have on the weapons it’s carrying – but weapons developers have to, and so does the USAF. This article describes April 2006 tests of the AIM-120D missile in an F-22A Raptor weapons bay, in order to check the effect of noise and vibration on the missile. Previous tests with the AIM-120-C7 had determined that vibration levels in certain frequencies were harmful to the missile’s electronics, and the AIM-120D has a different navigation system as well as a different arrangement of electronics cards. The test was used to validate Raytheon’s modeling and assumptions, and the results are fed back into ongoing development.

March 13/06: Support. A $5.5 million firm fixed price contract option, exercised as a separate contract for a 11 month repair capability and a 11 month Service Life Prediction Program for non-warranted Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) Air Intercept Missile-120 components consisting of the AMRAAM Air Vehicle missiles, airborne instrumentation units, common field level memory reprogramming equipment, missile built-in test sets, containers, Navy captive air training missile, foreign military sales AMRAAM air vehicle instrumented missiles and repairable components of these items for the Air Force, Navy and 26 foreign military sales countries. This work will be complete in January 2007 (FA8675-06-C-0073).

Feb 17/06: Industrial. A $35.4 million firm fixed price contract for production transition (1 Lot), test equipment/tooling (1 Lot), unique identification, non-recurring expense (1 Lot), and software trouble reports (USN) (1 Lot). Solicitations were complete in April 2005, negotiations were complete in February 2006, and work will be complete by March 2007 (FA8675-06-C-0003).

FY 2005 and Earlier (Partial)

AMRAAM on LAU-129 rail
(click to view full)

August 23/05: Singapore request. The US DSCA announces Singapore’s request to buy 200 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 6 CATM-120C AMRAAM Captive Air Training (CAT) Missiles, as part of a “provisional” $741 million weapons order.

Singapore soon makes its accompanying choice official: the F-15SG Strike Eagle is its next-generation attack aircraft.

DSCA Singapore: 200

April 4/05: FY 2005 order. Raytheon Company announces a $200 million contract from the USAF for continued production of 434 more AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air missiles (AMRAAM).

FY 2005

Footnotes

fn1. It’s worth noting that “missile range” is an extremely variable number – obviously, a missile’s effective range for 2 aircraft closing head on is much greater than a situation where one aircraft is fleeing and the missile must catch up. Most missile ranges are posted for head-head engagements. See the “Air-Air Missile Non-Comparison Table” for a fuller explanation, with diagrams, and key figures for most international missiles.

fn2. Jane’s Defence Weekly, July 11/07.

Additional Readings & Sources: Current Missiles

Additional Readings & Sources

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Radar Killer, que j’ai fait | Israel charges Canada’s ISS program | Sweden goes ballistic

Defense Industry Daily - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 06:00
Americas

  • The Navy is tapping Orbital ATK Inc. to upgrade its inventory of guided missiles. The awarded contract modification is valued at $171 million and provides for the procurement of full-rate production for the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) in support of the Navy and the government of Australia. Under the contract Orbital ATK will convert 271 provided AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles into 253 Navy AGM-88E AARGM all-up-rounds (AURs). The AGM-88E AARGM is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile compatible with U.S. and allied strike aircraft, including all variants of the F/A-18, Tornado, EA-18G, F-16, EA-6B, and F-35. Its primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. AARGM’s production phase may total up to $1.4 billion for 2,121 missiles, to equip the US Navy, US Marine Corps and partnering nations. The contract also includes an option to exercise related services necessary for AARGM manufacture and deployment. Work will be performed in Northridge and Ridgecrest, California and is expected to be completed in March 2020.

  • Lockheed Martin is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order. Valued at $46.6 million the delivery order provides for non-recurring engineering, the development of design documentation, and the creation of modification instructions. These efforts will support service life extension and enable the developmental test F-35 aircraft to maintain currency with delivered technology. The F-35 Joint Strike fighter can be considered as the largest single global defense program in history. Testing and re-testing is an incremental part of this project. Due to the jets high procurement cost, Lockheed Martin is trying to develop systems that extend the F-35s life while keeping the associated costs to a minimum. This delivery order combines purchases for the Navy $12.37 million; Marine Corps $12,37 million; and non-US DoD participants $7,89 million. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas and is expected to be completed in June 2019.

  • The Air Force is procuring new parts for its fleet of C-130J aircraft. The $29.5 million contract provides for the R391 propellers and spares currently used on the transport plane. GE Aviation, doing business as Dowty Propellers Inc. will work in conjunction with the commercial Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 engine managed by the Warner Robins, Air Logistics Center. The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. The C-130J looks a lot like its predecessors but has seen some major changes. Its improvements are mostly clustered around 2 key characteristics: performance, and operational costs. It uses lighter Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 engines, coupled with a 6-blade Dowty R-391 propeller system made of composite materials. The overall system generates 29% more thrust, while increasing fuel efficiency by 15% and offering improved reliability and maintenance. Work will be performed in Sterling, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by May 2023.

Middle East & Africa

  • Jane’s reports that, Epsilor, an Israeli battery and charger manufacturer is set to provide the Canadian Armed Forces with a battery charging solution. The $3 million contract sees for the development and delivery of 400 multi-channel chargers, spares, and services in support of Canada’s Integrated Soldier System (ISS) program. The Canadian ISS program is essentially a suite of military equipment that soldiers wear as part of their combat load. It includes weapon accessories and electronics that allow soldiers to stay connected with their teams after exiting vehicles on the battlefield. It also features a radio, a smartphone-like computer to run battle management software, a GPS, and a communications headset. The ISS combines those devices into an ensemble of system that greatly improves the situational awareness of the individual soldier. All of those systems require battery supplies for lengthy field operations.

Europe

  • Sweden is set to close a deal with Raytheon in the next few weeks that sees for the procurement of the Patriot air defense missile system. The deal is initially worth around $1.13 billion and is the biggest military purchase since 2013 when Sweden started to upgrade 60 Saab Gripen fighters. The decision comes at time of heightened tensions between Western Europe and Russia. Moscow’s brief war with Georgia in 2008 and its annexation of the Crimea Peninsula six years later has pushed Sweden, not a NATO member but with close ties to the alliance, to rebuild its armed forces after decades of neglect. Sweden’s current air defense system, which is over a decade old, cannot shoot down ballistic missiles. The current US standard for new-build Patriot Missiles is the Patriot Advanced Capability 3. Its enhanced capabilities also allow it to be used for point defense against ballistic missiles, and its Config-3 ground systems also feature a range of improvements to the battery’s radar, communications, electronics, and software. The contract also includes an option to expand the purchase to up to 300 missiles. If the option is used, the final bill will be around $3 billion, Lewin said. If the government makes its final decision by August 10th, delivery of the first units could start in 2021.

  • The German Army has taken delivery of its first Leopard 2A6MA2 main battle tank. The tank has been delivered to Armor Battalion 414, which is a joint German-Dutch tank company stationed in Lohnheide, Germany. The Leopard 2A6 is a German-made main battle tank designed and manufactured by the Company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. It’s the successor of the main battle tank Leopard 1. The upgraded tank is a major step in the integration of the unit, with the tank’s Dutch Essential Land based Information Application & Services battlefield management system providing technical interoperability between the two forces. The tanks now also have the Blue Force Tracking System with which they can distinguish their own troops. This considerably reduces the risk of fire on their own troops. The Leopard’s will immediately participate in the German-Dutch contribution to the NATO flash force in 2019, a response to threats to NATO territory. The company will receive 16 tanks in total. Delivery is scheduled by the end of June.

Asia-Pacific

  • Kazakhstan is acquiring four more combat helicopters to boost its strike capabilities. After all of its Mi-24s have been withdrawn from service, Kazakhstan Air Defense Forces are quickly moving to address the gap in rotary-wing combat capability. To fill this gap the country has signed a deal with Russia that provides for the delivery of four Mil Mi-35M helicopters. The multirole Mi-35M attack helicopter is a comprehensive modernization of the Mi-24V and was developed by the Mil Moscow Helicopter plant and has been series produced at Rostvertol since 2005. The main role of this helicopter is destruction of armored vehicles, enemy troops, UAVs and other helicopters. Its secondary role is delivery of troops and special cargo, evacuation of wounded. It can operate at night and in adverse weather conditions. This attack helicopter can carry different weapons, including podded guns, 8 Ataka-V or Shturm-V ant-tank missiles and Igla-V air-to-air missiles, unguided rockets or bombs. The country already took delivery of the first four Mi-35s late 2016, with another four scheduled for arrival by the end of 2018 as part of a contract signed with Russian Helicopters in 2017.

Today’s Video

  • Four F-22s touch down in Okinawa

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

AGM-88E AARGM Missile: No Place To Hide Down There

Defense Industry Daily - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 05:58

AARGM Concept
(click to view full)

The AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile whose primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. AARGM is a US Navy major acquisition program, with around 1,750 expected orders from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The Italian Air Force is expected to buy up to 250 of these successors to the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile, and Germany may also join.

So, why is AARGM a big deal? Perhaps the story of how a Serbian unit using an antiquated SA-3 battery managed to survive the 1999 NATO air campaign – and shoot down an F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane – will help put things into perspective. DID recounts those events, explains the new weapon, and offers updates on contracts and key milestones.

Why AARGM? Rationale & Capabilities

Showdown Over Serbia: Demise of an F-117

SA-3 Goa/ Neva
(click to view full)

eDefense Online tells the story of Col. Dani Zoltan. In 1999, he was a Serbian commander of the 3rd battery of the 250th Missile Brigade near Beograd, when NATO intervened in the Kosovo War. The Serbs were equipped with 1960s era SA-3 SAMs:

“In addition to technical modifications to increase the probability of successful engagement of low-RCS targets, Col. Dani also trained his unit to fight against the NATO air armada. Engagements using the shortest possible radiation of the fire-control radar were practiced over and over, and Col. Dani indicated that they focused on engaging targets well within the possible launch zone to reduce the time of flight of the missiles and, therefore, the reaction time available to the target aircraft…”

Nighthawk Down, 1999
(click to view full scene)

The story – which is well worth reading in full as a testament to the importance of the human factor in war – adds:

“Beyond frequent relocation, RF discipline contributed to the 3rd battery’s eventual survival, and the unit suffered no human or materiel losses at all. Radiation time of the fire-control radar was kept to a minimum, although with the P-18 they could be more liberal, as this VHF radar – according to their experiences – could not be targeted by NATO’s High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs). Even with this precaution, though, they were forced to cease radiation and/or missile control 23 times when it became evident from the target-return fluctuations or other indications that a HARM had been launched at them. False transmitters in the vicinity of the battery’s location were also used to spoof the anti-radiation missiles. Dani added that the survivability of the VHF P-18 is the single biggest reason for the command-guided Neva[1] system’s success compared to the semi-active Kub [SA-6] system…”

Moving systems, decoys, intermittent radar emissions, and radars that are outside the missile’s target profile all make life difficult for ARMs that home in on enemy radars.

Fortunately, an age of advanced reconnaissance systems and UAV offers other ways of finding such targets, which may eventually include UAV swarms. Growing trends toward persistent surveillance are even offering the ability to track, remember, and distinguish between found objects. The design question is how to translate those opportunities into a new missile.

AGM-88E AARGM: Addressing the Gaps

ATK: AARGM
click for video

One obvious improvement option is 2-way communication throughout the missile’s flight, but that won’t always be reliable or possible on the battlefield. It’s nice to have, but not enough by itself. The ability to head to a precise area, and to find vehicles independent of their radar emissions, would also add important new ARM capabilities.

The AGM-88E AARGM adds all 3 of these features in order to counter radar shutdown tactics, and adds advanced capabilities that would foil many of Col. Zoltan’s other stratagems. It’s touted as a missile that can pick out and engage a variety of strike targets in addition to enemy air defenses, while providing near real-time Weapon Impact Assessments (WIA) to commanders.

AARGM production to date has involved the conversion and upgrades of existing Raytheon AGM-88B HARM missiles, which are currently used by American and allied fighters. It uses the existing HARM rocket motor and warhead sections, but swaps in a modified control section, and a new guidance section.

AARGM Block 0. Initial fielded variant. Incorporates a datalink, and GPS point-to-point weapon navigation so it can be directed toward known and last-seen targets. On top of that, its multi-sensor system includes passive digital Anti-Radiation Homing with an increased field of view and increased detection range, counter shutdown algorithms that remember where radars were, active Millimeter Wave radar guidance for final attack, and a Weapon Impact Assessment transmitter datalink that sends information back at appropriate times.

AARGM Block 1. Full combat capability. Corrects a number of classified deficiencies, and adds a netted targeting real-time feed via Integrated Broadcast System (IBS) prior to missile launch. The IBS Receiver interfaces lets the system receive national intelligence data directly.

AGM-88E AARGM: The Program

AARGM’s production phase may total up to $1.478 billion for 2,121 missiles, to equip the US Navy & US Marine Corps (1,871: 1,750 active missiles + 121 no-motor CATMs for training), plus up to 250 missiles for the Italian Air Force. Production could expand further if the partnership formally expands to include Germany, for instance, or other export sales materialize. Australia is about to buy EA-18Gs, and has placed some initial orders for AARGM training missiles.

The AGM-88E AARGM was developed by ATK with the US Navy’s AARGM Integrated Product Team, led by the Navy’s Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Office (PMA-242). The team also includes members from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, CA; the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in Patuxent River, MD; the Italian Air Force, the US National Reconnaissance Office, and industry partners.

Initial Operational Capability involves F/A-18C/D Hornets only. In time, AARGM operational status on the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, and Tornado IDS/ECR fighters will follow. AARGM is also being designed for compatibility with the US Navy and USMC’s older EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, with USAF F-16CJs, and with allied F-16s.

Early Funding

AM Tornado IDS
(click to view full)

Developing these capabilities required assistance from a number of different funding sources. AARGM’s guidance section technology was developed under a series of Phase-I, II, and III US Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract awards from 1990 – 1995. Its missile radome, precision radome machining techniques, and radar gimbal also come from other SBIR or science and technology research initiatives.

SBIR funding is limited, however, and ends at Phase III once the specific technologies being studied are deemed ready for use in commercial designs. Funding for that overall commercial design and development came through the “Quick Bolt” Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator (ACTD) program, which began in 1999. ACTD concluded in 2003 with very positive a Military Utility Assessment (MUA) from United States European Command (EUCOM), which described AARGM as “a resounding success for the warfighter and the DoD.” By 2006, the program had even secured foreign participation from Italy, and was in talks with Germany.

Timeline & Delays

Despite that promising beginning, AARGM’s subsequent development has been slower than expected.

By February 2011, the US Navy’s 2012 RDT&E Budget Item Justification [PDF] placed IOC at Q3 FY 2011, but Operational Evaluation started late, and was halted early. AARGM didn’t begin IOT&E testing until June 2010, then suffered 6 operational mission failures during captive-carry tests. The problems were traced to poor software and parts quality, and ultimately traced back to management of the program and engineering specifications by ATK. In September 2010, the Navy de-certified AARGM from IOT&E, and the Pentagon rescinded approval for the program’s operational test plan. IOT&E didn’t restart until August 2011, and the back stock of early-production AARGM missiles have had to be individually certified as fit for service.

The program was looking to achieve Initial Operational Capability on just the F/A-18C/D Hornet in Q2 2012, but Full Rate Production (FRP) was been forced back from early 2010 to Q4 2012, and Full Operational Capacity (FOC) was moved back from Q4 FY 2013 to Q3 2014. Even then the missiles aren’t completely fit for purpose. They have (classified) deficiencies that the Navy hopes to fix with software upgrades, at the very end of the testing and evaluation periods.

AARGM Contracts & Key Events

AARGM on EA-18G
(click to view full)

AARGM is a Department of the US Navy major acquisition program under PEO-W, the Program Executive Office, Strike Weapons & Unmanned Aviation. US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in Patuxent River, MD manages the contracts.

Note that All-Up-Rounds are live missiles, including their storage containers. Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM) have the seeker and electronics, but remove the warhead and rocket motor in favor of ballast that maintains the same weight distribution.

FY 2015 – 2018

Italian Tornado ECRs to be upgraded by end 2015; Negative Pentagon DOT&E report.

F/A-18D launch
(click to view full)

June 1/18: More orders The Navy is tapping Orbital ATK Inc. to upgrade its inventory of guided missiles. The awarded contract modification is valued at $171 million and provides for the procurement of full-rate production for the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) in support of the Navy and the government of Australia. Under the contract Orbital ATK will convert 271 provided AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles into 253 Navy AGM-88E AARGM all-up-rounds (AURs). The AGM-88E AARGM is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile compatible with U.S. and allied strike aircraft, including all variants of the F/A-18, Tornado, EA-18G, F-16, EA-6B, and F-35. Its primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. AARGM’s production phase may total up to $1.4 billion for 2,121 missiles, to equip the US Navy, US Marine Corps and partnering nations. The contract also includes an option to exercise related services necessary for AARGM manufacture and deployment. Work will be performed in Northridge and Ridgecrest, California and is expected to be completed in March 2020.

January 26/18: Upgrades-Development Contract Orbital ATK announced on January 24, the receipt of a US Navy development contract for the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) upgrade. Based on the AGM-88E currently in full-rate production, the AARGM-ER will take the electronics and sensors from the AGM-88E and package it with an upgraded rocket motor and tail control system. Work on the AARGM-ER contract will be performed at Orbital ATK’s facilities in Northridge and Ridgecrest, California, and will result in a preliminary design prior to entry into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase. The value of the contract was not revealed.

October 20/17: A $18.2 million US Navy contract modification has been awarded to Orbital ATK to undertake conversion work of high-speed, anti-radiation missiles into advanced medium-range air-to-ground guided missiles with counter-enemy shutdown capability for the Italian government. The previous firm-fixed contract award called for the procurement and transition of AGM-88B High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM), to the latest generation of AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM). Differences between the two munitions is that the AARGM has an advanced guidance section and control abilities that use a multi-mode seeker to counter enemy shut-down capability, as well as an onboard Weapons Impact Assessment subsystem that supports battlefield commanders in conducting after-action battle damage assessments. It can also relay impact assessment data prior to the impact on target. The majority of the contract’s work will take place in California, with some to take place in Istrana, Italy. Contract conclusion is scheduled to March 2019.

September 29/17: Orbital ATK has announced the award of a $359 million contract from the US Navy to continue full-rate production of AGM-88E advanced anti-radiation guided missiles (AARGM). The initial contract includes a $157 million award for Lot Six full-rate production, as well as an option for Lot Seven, and covers all-up round missiles and captive air training missiles for the US Navy, Italian Air Force and other allies through Foreign Military Sales orders. The missile is integrated into the weapons systems on the FA-18C/D Hornet, FA-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft, and is anticipated to achieve Initial Operational Capability on the Italian Air Force’s Tornado ECR aircraft in 2018.

April 27/16: Orbital ATK has been awarded a $121.3 million contract by the US Navy to provide conversion services of old stocks of US government-provided AGM-88B high-speed anti-radiation missiles. The conversion will see the munitions turned into 145 full-rate production Lot 5 advanced anti-radiation guided missile all-up-rounds, and 12 captive air training missiles, including related supplies and services necessary for manufacture, sparing, and fleet deployment of the missiles, for the Navy and the government of Italy. Completion is expected by September 2018.

April 13/16: Orbital ATK’s production of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) was ceased for five weeks due to bad resistors supplied by a sub-contractor. The supplier quality issue will likely result in delays to the delivery of the company’s second and third full-production contracts. Developed as an improvement on the HARM missile, the AGM-88E contains a more modern homing receiver and navigation system to detect the radar signals of both stationary and mobile air-defense systems.

March 29/16: Orbital ATK is to keep producing AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) multi-mode seekers until 2023. The extended orders were made by the US Navy, which requires 556 additional units. The addition, among some other changes, has caused a bump in the program’s cost by $484.8 million to over $2 billion. Jointly developed by the USA and Italy, the missile modification aims to improve the effectiveness of legacy Raytheon AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) variants against fixed and relocatable enemy radar and communications sites, particularly those that shut down to throw off incoming anti-radiation missiles.

September 25/15: The Navy and Orbital ATK successfully conducted a test-firing of the Block 1 AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) in August, the company announced on Thursday. A Super Hornet was used to launch the missile, which struck a moving ship target. Further tests are planned before the upgrade is rolled out. The US Marine Corps and Navy currently operate the missile, with the Italian Air Force scheduled to employ the weapon on its Tornado ECR attack aircraft from 2017.

FY 2013 – 2014

 

April 23/14: FRP-3. ATK Defense Electronic Systems in Northridge, CA receives an $83.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for AARGM Full Rate Production Lot 3: conversion of 110 AGM-88B high-speed anti-radiation missiles to a combination of AGM-88E all-up-rounds and captive air training missiles, plus include related supplies and services. An Aug 11/13 ATK release places the total contract value at $96.2 million instead.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy budgets. Work will be performed in Northridge, CA (90%); Fusaro, Italy (8%); and Ridgecrest, CA (2%), and is expected to be complete in December 2016. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-13-C-0162). See also ATK, “ATK’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Earns Third Full-Rate Production Award from U.S. Navy”.

FRP Lot 3

March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The US military slowly files its budget documents, detailing planned spending from FY 2014 – 2019. From FY 2014 – 2016, the Navy has removed 221 AARGM missiles, compared with previous plans. See above for key charts etc. The new projections imagine that they’ll be able to buy 77 more missiles than planned in FY 2017 – 2018, but those kinds of future increases have a way of evaporating. Detailed budget documents add:

“The prior year quantity should be 186 due to the program procuring 10 additional missiles with FY 2012 funding at Full-Rate Production-2 (FRP-2) contract award in September 2013…. All-Up-Rounds (AURs) and Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs) modification kit procurement quantity reduced in FY 2013 – FY 2016 due to Italian Air Force budget/funding restructuring, effects of sequestration reduction in FY 2013 through Future Years Defense Program and funding adjustments for other Navy priorities. Quantity increased in FY 2017 – FY 2019 in order to meet program of record. The quantity in FY 2015 is higher than FY 2014 due to the missile cost, which now includes Integrated Broadcast Service-Receiver (IBS-R) capability in FY 2015 and out years.”

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). AARGM is included, and the verdict remains the same: changes have made it operationally suitable (usable/ maintainable), but not operationally effective due to classified deficiencies.

All relevant parties have agreed to a framework that will adequately test the AARGM Block 1 Upgrade, but funding reductions are pushing planned FOT&E testing out of FY 2014, and into FY 2015 or even FY 2016. When that’s all taken care of, the Navy intends to conduct software upgrades of all Block 0 FRP missiles to Block 1, conducted at the squadron level.

Sept 25/13: FRP-2. ATK Defense Electronic Systems in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $102.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for AARGM Full Rate Production Lot II. They’ll convert Raytheon’s AGM-88B HARM missiles to AGM-88E all-up-round operational missiles and captive air training missiles (CATMs) for the US Navy (97/ $80.3M/ 78%) and the Government of Italy (15/ $12.8M/ 13%), plus related supplies and services. As an export sale, They’ll also convert AGM-88B HARM missiles to AGM-88E AARGM CATMs for the Government of Australia (8/ $9.3M/ 9%), and provide related supplies and services.

All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Northridge, CA (90%); Fusaro, Italy (8%); and Ridgecrest, CA (2%), and is expected to be complete in December 2015. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, is the contracting activity (N00019-13-C-0162).

FRP Lot 2: USA, Italy, Australia

Aug 5/13: #100. A ceremony Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, CA marks the 100th AARGM missile delivery. Sources: US NAVAIR, Aug 8/13 release.

#100 delivered

May 31/13: Australia. The US Navy signs an agreement with the Australian Government to provide training related to Raytheon’s AGM-88 HARM (High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and ATK’s AGM-88E AARGM (Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile), as part of the RAAF’s EA-18G Growler buy. They’ll be able to support whichever missile the RAAF chooses, though AARGM seems to be the target.

While it’s just a training capability, its the 1st Foreign Military Sales agreement with any country regarding AARGM. Italy is something else: a co-development partner. Sources: US NAVAIR, June 18/13 release.

Australia agreement

Tornado ECR MLU
(click to view full)

May 9/13: Italian upgrades. Alenia Aermacchi, BAE Systems, and EADS Cassidian delivered the 1st upgraded Italian Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat/ Reconnaissance air defense suppression variant) to the Italian Air Force. Alenia Aermacchi is the technical and program leader for the program, which will upgrade 15 planes to “Tornado ECR MLU” standard for service to 2025, and possibly beyond.

The upgrades begin in the cockpit, using an array of color, night-vision compatible LCS displays to replace key instruments. The new communication and identification system improves communications security, and add Link-16 battlefield situational awareness system via a MIDS box that integrates TACAN navigation functionalities. An integrated IN-GPS navigation system, supported by a Multi-Mode Receiver (MMR) system for approaches and ILS blind landings.

GPS awareness extends to sensors and weapons, with ELS multi-ship ranging and other software improvements added to improve pickup, identification, and localization of enemy radar emitters. Ordnance-related software changes allow the aircraft to carry new sensors, and adds GPS-guided weapons like AARGM and JDAM. Alenia.

March 11/13: Italian upgrades. NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) signs the MET 27 contract annex with the Panavia Tornado consortium. The contract will integrate the AARGM missile and the GPS-guided GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb onto the Aeronautica Millitare’s Tornado RET 7 and RET 8 configurations.

This effort builds on a larger upgrade effort, which began in December 2010. Implementation will take 3 years plus flight test activity, and is expected by by December 2015 thanks to some advance work. Alenia.

Jan 17/13: DOT&E Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). AARGM is still rated as “not effective,” as “the current [Block 0] weapon configuration has multiple performance shortfalls that largely negate its ability to accomplish its mission.” 2012 was mostly about making fixes, many of which involved communications between the control sections and guidance section. The USN expects AARGM Block 1 to provide Full Operational Capability, with testing scheduled in FY 2014.

That’s after the Navy will be asked to make a decision to buy FRP Lot 2, in late FY 2013. DOT&E’s other concern is that the testing will cost more than the program has in reserve, and notes that a shortage of AARGM telemetry kits is already identified as a potential problem. Finally, this quote bears mention:

“Immediately preceding a February 2012 test event involving two other live-missile shots, the Navy notified DOT&E that the planned threat scenario would likely result in mission failure due to a classified AARGM deficiency (details available in the classified DOT&E IOT&E report). Without DOT&E consent, the Navy modified the approved test scenario to alleviate the classified deficiency and proceeded with live-missile testing. DOT&E disagreed with the adjusted threat representation and subsequently assessed these events as operational failures.”

FY 2011 – 2012

IOC delayed by testing problems, low quality parts; Full-Rate Production approved – conditionally; LRIP-3 multinational order.

F/A-18E test w. HARMs
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Sept 24/12: ATK’s Defense Electronic Systems in Woodland Hills, CA received an $8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order under AARGM’s basic ordering agreement for AARGM Block I software changes, improvements, and enhancements. It also covers other enhancements to the basic system, “implement [the] deferred Capability Production Document,” and change Common Munitions Built-in Test Reprogramming Equipment boxes 4 and 6 to correct Initial Operational Test & Evaluation deficiencies.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA, and is expected to be complete in January 2015. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-11-G-0014).

Sept 10/12: FRP-1. ATK Defense Electronics Systems in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $70.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for AARGM Full Rate Production Lot 1. ATK will convert 53 AGM-88B HARM missiles provided by the US government, turning them into 49 AGM-88E AARGM All-Up Rounds for the US Navy, and 4 missiles for Italy. ATK will also provide 23 AGM-88E Captive Air Training Missile systems for the US Navy, which have seekers but no rocket motors, along with all related supplies and services.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (90%); various locations in Italy (8.1%); Ridgecrest, CA (1.7%), and Clearwater, FL (0.2%), and is expected to be complete in December 2012. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. This contract combines purchases for the Navy ($65.0M / 92.06%) and the Government of Italy ($5.6M / 7.94%). US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-12-C-0113).

FRP Lot 1: USA, Italy

Aug 29/12: FRP. US NAVAIR announces that the Department of the Navy has authorized Full-Rate Production (FRP) for AARGM. What they misleadingly fail to say is that only the first lot of FRP missiles are approved, with any other orders depending on a program review by the end of FY 2013.

The Navy plans to award an 81-missile FRP contract to ATK later in 2012: 72 missiles for the USN, and 9 for the Italian Air Force, to be delivered in late 2013. See also Everett Herald Business Journal, which questions the authorization in light of testing problems. The Pentagon’s DOT&E 2012 report subsequently explains the limited nature of that approval.

FRP

April 4/12: Block I fix. ATK Defense Electronic Systems in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $10.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for the AARGM Block I upgrade. They’ll handle AARGM Block I software changes, improvements, and enhancements that will enable the AGM-88E, as well as the common munitions built-in test reprogramming equipment boxes 4 and 6, to correct initial operational test and evaluation deficiencies, implement deferred capability product documentation capability, and add capability enhancements.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA, and is expected to be complete in April 2015. All funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-11-G-0014).

March 30/12: GAO report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs” for 2012, which is very critical of ATK’s program management:

“[AARGM] entered production in September 2008 with its critical technologies mature and design stable, but without demonstrating its production processes were in control. The Navy halted operational testing in September 2010 after a series of missile failures… caused by both hardware and software issues. The hardware failures involved multiple subcontractors and were primarily attributed to poor parts quality… supplier assessments conducted in the aftermath of the program’s test failures found several problems with the prime contractor’s management of its suppliers. For example, not all program requirements had flowed down to the subcontractor level, nor had subcontractors received updated drawings as design changes were made.”

Recoverry from that situation has been rocky, but it’s making progress:

“…in July 2011, Navy test officials evaluating the program’s readiness to reenter operational testing reported that the reliability of the missiles coming out of the factory had not improved. The Navy has implemented additional controls to identify missiles of poor quality, in particular, requiring each missile to be flight tested for 3 hours before accepting them… the Navy noted that the AARGM program continues to pursue should cost initiatives, awarding low-rate production contracts within should cost targets for planned quantities… The Navy stated that reliability continues to improve and is now over twice the threshold requirement.”

Jan 17/12: DOT&E test report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2011 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). AARGM is included. The program restarted IOT&E testing in August 2011, using low-rate initial production (LRIP) missiles per the restart approval. They expect to finish in Q2 2012, and deliver a report in Q3 2012 that will affect the program’s approval for full-rate production. How did they get here?

“AARGM commenced IOT&E in June 2010, but during initial captive-carry flight tests, it suffered six operational mission failures. In September 2010, the Navy subsequently de-certified AARGM from IOT&E, and DOT&E rescinded approval for the program’s operational test plan… DOT&E assessed that [4 / 6] operational mission failures encountered during the first IOT&E period were discoveries developmental testing should have identified. IT and dedicated IOT&E is appropriately scoped and resourced with 10 live-fire LRIP missiles, along with captive-carry, reliability, and compatibility testing in operational environments against threat-representative targets.”

Oct 31/11: LRIP-3. Alliant Techsystems in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $54.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for AARGM Low Rate Initial Production Lot 3. The LRIP-3 contract involves the conversion of 51 AGM-88B HARM missiles from the US government into 51 AGM-88E AARGM missiles: 44 all-up-round (AUR) and captive air training (CATM) missile systems for the U.S. Navy ($47.15M/ 87%); and 7 AURs/CATMs for the government of Italy ($7.25M/ 13%), including related supplies and services. LRIP-3 brings the total number of ordered AARGM missiles for the U.S. Navy and Italian Air Force to 115 so far.

AARGM remains in the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) phase and has undergone more than 300 hours of missile flight testing and multiple live fires. When IOT&E ends in early 2012, AARGM will achieve Initial Operational Capability (IOC) with the FA-18C/D Hornet, and Super Hornet family and Tornado ECR fighters will eventually follow.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (89.2%); Fusaro, Italy (7.5%); Ridgecrest, CA (1.7%); Piacenza, Italy (1.4%); and Clearwater, FL (0.2%). Work is expected to be complete in May 2013, and $517,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1, as the AARGM Italian Cooperative Program follows the Production Sustainment and Follow-On Development Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. Navy and the Italian Ministry of Defense (N00019-12-C-2005). See also ATK release.

LRIP Lot 3: USA, Italy

August 2011: IOT&E resumes.

Aug 12/11: IOC delayed. AARGM Initial Operational Capability (IOC) faces a further 9-month delay to February 2012. Costs aren’t expected to rise significantly. DefenseNews.

May 25/11: EA-18G. AARGM successfully completes its 1st EA-18G Growler test, during a captive-carry flight at China Lake, CA. Work with the electronic attack fighter will continue, in parallel with the ongoing AARGM Integrated Test & Evaluation phase using FA-18C/D Hornets.

The test squadrons have also used Super Hornets, and Cmdr. Chad Reed, deputy program manager for Anti-Radiation Missiles within the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242), says that F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler testing since November 2010 totals 25 flight hours, compared to over 150 flight-hours on F/A-18C/D Hornets. US NAVAIR | ATK.

April 27/11: Back on track? Serious quality issues that had stopped AARGM combat testing and threatened a full production decision have supposedly been resolved. US Navy program manager Captain Brian Corey told Bloomberg News that:

“The anomalies experienced in the first operational test period have been corrected and verified… The weapon is performing very well and the team has been able to meet the affordability goals… We are confident we will successfully complete [combat testing/OpEval].”

The revised AARGM missile has flown more than 160 flight hours on aircraft since February 2011 to assess its readiness to resume combat testing. The Navy plans 100 flights to evaluate the missile’s effectiveness, with initial flights assessing missile guidance, internal diagnostics, and pre-launch communications with the pilot. See also Sept 3/10 entry.

FY 2008 – 2010

Milestone C approval; 1st delivery and LRIP orders; But testing failures force halt.

Stop.
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Sept 3/10: Testing. The US Navy halts AARGM IOT&E testing, after 6 software or circuit-card failures in the first 12 trials. This is not a common occurrence. Later reports say that the hardware failures involved multiple subcontractors, and involved poor quality parts. Source.

Tests halted

July 30/10: LRIP-2. Alliant Techsystems (ATK) Mission Systems Group’s Defense Electronics Systems Division in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $50.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for AARGM Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot II manufacturing. This contract provides for the conversion of 37 government furnished AGM-88B HARM missiles into AGM-88E AARGM All-Up Round (AUR)/Captive Air Training (CATM) missile systems for the US Navy (33, $38.1 million, 76%) and the government of Italy (4, $11.9 million, 24%), including related supplies and services.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (75%); Rocket Center, WVA (11%); Piacenza, La Spezia, Italy (6%); Rome, Italy (6%); Clearwater, FL (2%), and is expected to be complete in February 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-10-C-0065).

LRIP Lot 2: USA, Italy

July 14/10: Acceptance. ATK announces that the US Navy has accepted its 1st deliveries of AGM-88E AARGM production missiles. The missiles were handed over at ATK’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) facility in Rocket Center, WVA.

1st delivery

Aug 7/09: Test. The 8th and final development test (DT) firing of the AGM-88E AARGM takes place at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, CA. It used the final missile hardware and software configuration, intended for Navy Independent Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) later in 2009.

The test shot was launched from a US Navy FA-18C Hornet in a scenario designed to test the missile’s capabilities to maneuver and perform in a short time-of-flight profile under heavy enemy counter-measures. During missile flight, AARGM successfully detected, identified, and located an enemy air defense unit (ADU) using its anti-radiation-homing (ARH) receiver. It then demonstrated its designed ability to minimize collateral damage and friendly fire by navigating clear of pre-planned impact avoidance zones. In the terminal phase, AARGM used its multi-mode sensor suite to overcome advanced target countermeasures, accurately guiding towards and directly hitting the enemy target. ATK’s Sept 3/09 release.

July 30/09: The House addresses Rep. Jeff Flake’s [R-AZ-6] proposed amendments to the FY 2010 House defense budget, including “H.Amdt. 402: An amendment numbered 439 printed in Part B of House Report 111-233 to prohibit funding for AARGM Counter Air Defense Future Capabilities.”

The amendment fails, 348-78. Its failure is bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats both opposed in numbers, but almost all of its supporters are from the Republican Party. Flake’s district is actually near Phoenix, AZ. The 2 House members whose districts are most closely tied to AARGM competitor Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ, actually voted against this amendment: Raul Grijalva [D-AZ-7] and Gabrielle Giffords [D-AZ-8]

April 13/08: Test. A successful test firing at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake marks the 12th successful live fire test, on top of 200 flight tests, and 58 “captive carry” tests of the guidance systems and receivers. This test is similar to the Aug 11/08 test, but adds discrimination among multiple targets, prioritization of the most important target, and a last-minute send-back transmission for use in battle damage assessment. ATK release.

Dec 22/08: LRIP-1. Alliant Techsystems Mission Systems Group, Advanced Weapons Division in Woodland Hills, CA received a fixed price incentive fee contract with a not-to-exceed value of $55.1 million for the low-rate initial production of AGM-88E AARGM missiles – to include conversion of 27 existing AGM-88B HARM missiles into 27 AGM-88E AARGM All-Up-Round (AUR)/Captive Air Training (CATM) missile systems. CATMs contain seekers, but no rocket motors.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (87.5%); Rocket Center, WVa (11%); and Clearwater, FL (1.5%), and is expected to be complete in March 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-09-C-0026).

LRIP Lot 1

Sept 30/08: Milestone C. The AGM-88E AARGM successfully completes its Milestone C review, paving the way for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP). Mr. Sean J. Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, signed the Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM), following AARGM’s Operational Assessment (OA) in August 2008. NAVAIR release | ATK release.

Milestone C

Aug 11/08: Test. A 2nd test firing takes place at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, this time designed to test the missile against enemy “shutdown tactics.” Launched from an F/A-18D Hornet, the AARGM detected, identified, located, and guided toward the emitter target using its Anti-Radiation Homing (ARH) receiver. After target radar emissions were purposely shut-down during the missile’s flight profile, AARGM utilized its GPS/INS to guide to the final ARH cue-point. For final approach, it successfully employed active Millimeter Wave (MMW) radar tracking to pinpoint and target the air defense site. The firing was the 4th of 8 planned developmental firings, and the final missile live-fire event leading to a Milestone C LRIP decision for AARGM. ATK release.

Aug 3/08: Test. A successful test at China Lake marks the first of two “Operational Assessment” firings supporting a Milestone C Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) decision later in 2008.

The AARGM was launched off-axis at medium altitude from an FA-18D Hornet. In this realistic scenario, AARGM successfully picked out the air defense system target in a cluttered environment, using its precision navigation to stay clear of designated impact avoidance zones (which prevents strikes in sensitive, neutral, or friendly regions), and guiding itself to lethal range. ATK release.

FY 2003 – 2007

Development contract; Italy joins; Germany signs MoU but doesn’t join.

F/A-18D fires AARGM
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July 20/07: Germany. Alliant Techsystems (ATK) announces a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MBDA LFK-Lenkflugkorpersysteme GmbH, to assess potential work share opportunities with the German Ministry of Defense (MoD) on the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM). The MOU focuses on identifying opportunities for Germany in the production and product improvement phase of the AARGM program, as well as opportunities for additional derivatives of its predecessor the AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM).

This isn’t an MoU with the German government, but it’s the kind of activity usually precedes procurement decisions in multi-national projects. See our entries below, for instance, to observe that Italy became the first international partner of ATK and the U.S. Department of Defense when its Ministry of Defense signed a work share agreement in 2005. If the German MoD joins the AARGM cooperative team, LFK would be integrated into this industry team. ATK release.

May 25/07: 1st firing. The first Developmental Test (DT) firing of an AARGM missile takes place from an F/A-18 aircraft on the China Lake test ranges. The missile successfully achieves safe separation from the aircraft, navigates over an extended range to the designated target, and guides to a direct hit. The successful flight test meets all test objectives. These included AARGM’s compatibility with ATK’s Common Munitions Built-in-test/Reprogramming Equipment (CMBRE), compatibility with the Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) and AWM-103, compatibility with the F/A-18C/D 21X Software Configuration Set, and the successful integration of AARGM hardware and software with legacy AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) components.

The missile also achieved 7 successful flights firing the Quick Bolt Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) and AARGM Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) phases of the program. A series of additional launches is planned during the SD&D phase.

April 5/06: CDR. The AARGM passes a Critical Design Review. During a CDR, all elements are reviewed to ensure that the weapon system’s predicted performance will meet warfighting requirements and that the program remains on schedule and on cost. The CDR was also the first major review attended by the Italian Air Force since signing a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to participate in AARGM development. See ATK release.

CDR

AM Tornado IDS
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Feb 3/06: Italy in. ATK Missile Systems Co. LLC in Woodland Hills, CA received a $19.3 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. It covers risk reduction efforts and production of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) for the Government of Italy under a Memorandum of Agreement.

Efforts to be provided under this specific contract include a point-to-point firing; modification of an aircraft to perform additional captive flight tests; real and surrogate targets for use during captive flight test program; development of software models of specific targets; and establishment of an Italian source to assemble common control sections. Work will be performed in Mantova, Italy (37%), Pratica di Mare, Italy (25%), La Spezia, Italy (6%), and Woodland Hills, CA (32%); and is expected to be completed in April 2009. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD issued the contract (N00019-03-C-0353).

November 2005: Italian MoU. The Italian Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense signed a Memorandum of Agreement on the joint development of the AGM-88E AARGM missile, which will equip their Tornado strike aircraft. Italy is providing $20 million of developmental funding as well as several millions worth material, equipment and related services.

Italy joins

June 19/03: SDD contract. ATK Missile Systems Co. LLC in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $222.6 million ceiling-priced, cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the system development and design of the AGM-88E advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM). The scope of the contract is the design, development and demonstration of a multi-mode AGM-88E AARGM seeker that will include an anti-radiation homing receiver, global positioning system/ inertial measuring unit and terminal radar to meet current Navy operational requirements. In addition, the contract provides for 7 special test units; 9 engineering, development models for developmental testing and operational assessment; and 15 production representative AGM-88E AARGMs. The whole program through the production phase was valued at $1.55 billion.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (88%); San Diego, CA (7%); Van Nuys, CA (2%); Santa Barbara, CA (1%); Torrance, CA (1%); and Bourges Cedex, France (1%), and is expected to be completed in September 2008. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD (N00019-03-C-0353). See also Deagel.

System Design & Development

Footnotes

1. Note that the SA-3 is known by more than one designation. SA-3 Goa is the NATO designation. S-125 is the Russian designation, and they call it the Neva or (if it’s the 2000 upgrade) S-125 Pechora.

Additional Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

CYBER PHALANX 2018 to enhance cyber resilience of CSDP missions

EDA News - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 17:26

The European Defence Agency (EDA), in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of Austria and the Multinational Capability Development Campaign (MCDC), will organize next week CYBER PHALANX 2018, a combined cyber course & exercise designed to train military planners and staff of CSDP missions and operations to better cope with cyber threats.

To be held from 4-8 June in Wals-Siezenheim near Salzburg (Austria), CYBER PHALANX 2018 aims to strengthen both Member States’ and the EU’s resilience against cyber threats in the context of CSDP operations and missions. A particular focus will be put on cyber defence decision-making and planning processes. 

The combined course/exercise will allow staff and planners from Operational Headquarters (OHQ), Force Headquarters (FHQ) or Mission Headquarters (MHQ) to better understand the crucial importance of cyber situational awareness in missions and operations, to enhance cyber resilience, to increase interoperability and to cope with concrete cyber threats.  It will also help them to get familiar with existing European structures and cyber stakeholders and their respective roles. 

Practically speaking, CYBER PHALANX 2018 will take the format of a Command Post Exercise (CPX) containing elements of a Table Top Exercise (TTX). Both the course and the exercise concept will be continuously adapted and refined with lessons learned as they unfold.

DDG-51 shifts gears | M.A.S.H. UAV Take-Off | Belgian-Dutch frigate cooperation under way

Defense Industry Daily - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 06:00
Americas

  • Raytheon Self Protect Systems is being awarded a contract in support of a radar upgrade. The $90 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract provides for the fabrication, integration, testing and delivery of the AN/ALR?69A digital radar warning receiver system in use with the Japan Defense Forces. The ALR-69A is the world’s first all-digital radar warning receiver. The design of Raytheon’s system allows cross-platform commonality, improved spectral and spatial coverage and easy integration with other ECM or radar systems. Without any hardware modifications, the ALR-69A(V) can now offer aircrews more options with its single-ship geolocation capability. The system dramatically enhances aircrew survivability, providing “sensors forward” situational awareness at a substantially lower cost than competing systems. It features capabilities such as: suppression of enemy air defenses, easy cross-platform integration, enhanced spectral and spatial coverage for high-sensitivity detection in dense signal environments. The radar is currently tested on F-16 fighter jets. Work will be performed in Goleta, California and Forest, Mississippi. It is expected to be completed by May 2023.

  • The Navy is contracting Philadelphia Gear Corp. in support of its future DDG-51 class guided missile destroyers. The $70.8 million contract modification enables the company to exercise options for two shipsets of Main Reduction Gears (MRGs). The MRGs is the set of gears that transmit the power from two main propulsion gas turbines to the propulsion shaft. Each DDG-51 class destroyer has two gear sets, one for each propulsion shaft. The destroyers are powered by four GE LM 2500 gas turbines, each rated at 33,600hp with a power turbine speed of 3,600rpm, driving two shafts, with controllable pitch propellers. The MRGs to be purchased under this procurement are for installation in DDG-128 and DDG-129. Work will be performed at various locations, including Santa Fe Springs, California and St. Augustine, Florida, and is scheduled for completion by November 2020.

  • Raytheon is being tapped for further production of two sets of kits in support of the Tomahawk cruise missile. The $19.2 million contract modification provides for the procurement of nine mid-body range safety subsystem (MRSS) kits and flight test (FT) kits for the Navy and three MRSS and FT kits for the United Kingdom. The MRSS is installed into flight test configured missiles, one of its key components is the PCM Encoder, which Encoder samples the flight test missile guidance and avionics telemetry data stream, encodes and formats the data, and provides the telemetry information to the ground monitoring station. Block IV Tomahawk is the current generation of the Tomahawk family of cruise missiles. It adds innovative technologies that improve combat flexibility, while dramatically reducing the costs to buy, operate, and support these missiles. The Block IV missile is designed to engage targets 1,000 miles away from maritime platforms, a characteristic the manufacturer says can help keep deployed sailors out of harms way on the battlefield. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Tucson, Arizona; Boulder, Colorado and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, among others. This effort combines purchases for the Navy ($15,6 million); and the government of the United Kingdom ($3,5 million).

Middle East & Africa

  • The Israeli company Tactical Robotics has recently demonstrated its Cormorant vertical take-off and landing unmanned air vehicle’s capability to carry out medical evacuation duties. The Cormorant is an unmanned air vehicle designed and developed to meet the requirements of the Israeli Defense Forces. The Cormorant was developed during the war in Lebanon in 2006 as a way of transferring troops and medical equipment. Powered by a single Arriel 1D1 turboshaft engine, the UAV can be operated in remote areas, where helicopters and traditional rotorcraft cannot function properly. The drone is intended for cargo transport, medical evacuation and troop supply missions. The payload bays, which are being incorporated in the vehicle, will double the rescue cabin space for wounded soldiers. In the civil market, Cormorant also offers all of the benefits of combined heavy payload and unlimited access. Whereas small civilian drones such as quadcopters can only provide “eye in the sky” photographic surveillance or, at best, deliver light packages Cormorant can deliver up to 1000 pounds of cargo or equipment in both commercial and emergency response scenarios.

  • Kazakhstan has announced that it will boost its fleet of Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters. 25 fighter jets of this type are either already in use with Kazakh Armed Forces or are currently being constructed. Multipurpose Su-30SM, also known as Flanker-H, is designed to win air supremacy and strike at grounds and water surface targets. It has frontal horizontal tailing and steerable thrusters which make it super maneuverable. Su-30SM carries the multifunctional Bars radar. The set of weapons includes a wide range of armaments, including air-to-air missiles and precision guided air-to-surface missiles. The Su-30SM is based on the Su-30 MKI export version, an aircraft jointly developed by Russia with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force. The Kazakhstan Air Force also operates 12 single-seat Su-27s.

Europe

  • Jane’s reports that Belgium made the decision to replace its M-frigates with two new multirole frigates. The deal is valued at over $1.2 billion. The new frigates will be designed, developed, and built under a joint program led by the Netherlands. Belgium’s M-frigates, or Karel Doorman Class frigates were built by the De Schelde Group in Flushing and have been operational since 1996. They are equipped for anti-submarine, anti-air and surface warfare roles. Belgium acquired its current M-frigates from the Netherlands in December 2005. The frigates are equipped with a variety of weaponry and defense systems, including Harpoon anti-ship missiles and CIWS, and can carry a Sea-Lynx helicopter for anti-submarine warfare. The Council of Ministers also authorized the signature of memorandum of understanding with the Netherlands on the M-frigate replacement as well as on a joint program led by Belgium to replace the two countries’ mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs).

Asia-Pacific

  • According to recent reports Republic of Korea Navy’s second Dokdo-class helicopter carrier will deploy an indigenously developed weapon referred to in the country as Korean Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile. The ROKS Marado has been equipped with a Korean developed vertical launching system that will deploy those new missiles. The K-SAAM is a 3.07 m long ship-based anti-air projectile that employs inertial mid-course guidance and a dual microwave and imaging infrared seeker for terminal guidance. Development of the missile began in 2011 with first initial flight-tests conducted in 2013. The K-SAAM is a medium-range missile designed as a Close-in Weapons System (CIWS). As such, it acts as close protection for the ROKN warships. K-SAAM is set to replace Raytheon’s Rolling Airframe Missile, the current system operated by the South Korean Navy.

Today’s Video

  • A pair of Su-57s participate in Aviadarts-2018

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Tomahawk’s Chops: xGM-109 Block IV Cruise Missiles

Defense Industry Daily - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 05:58

  • GM-109 Block-IV Cutaway.gif" />

  • Block IV Cutaway
    (click to view full)

    Block IV Tomahawk is the current generation of the Tomahawk family of cruise missiles. The BGM-109 Tomahawk family began life in the 1980s as sub-sonic, low-flying nuclear strike weapons, before being developed into long-range RGM/UGM-109 conventional attack missiles. They’re most frequently launched from submarines and surface ships, and have been the US Navy’s preferred option for initial air strikes in Iraq, Libya, et. al. Britain has also bought Tomahawk missiles, and launches them exclusively from submarines.

    Block IV is the latest variant. It adds innovative technologies that improve combat flexibility, while dramatically reducing the costs to buy, operate, and support these missiles. That’s why the Block IV program, under US Navy PMA-280, has been one of the USA’s defense acquisition success stories over the last decade.

    xGM-109: Missile & Launcher Types

    TLAM operation
    (click for video)

    Tomahawk missiles have become the US Navy’s major land strike missile. The USA has bought more than 4,000 over the years, and March 2011 saw the 2,000th GM-109 Tomahawk fired in combat, from USS Barry [DDG 52]. The missile typically flies at 50 – 100 feet above ground using terrain-following radar, and navigates to its targets using a combination of GPS/INS, computer matching of the land’s radar-mapped contours to the missile’s internal maps (TERCOM), and final matching of the target scene (DSMAC). Once on target the missile can fly a direct horizontal attack mode, trigger preprogrammed detonation above the target, or use a pop-up and dive maneuver. CEP is often described as being about 10 meters.

    There are 3 fielded variants.

    The xGM-109C/D Block III missiles will serve in the US Navy until FY 2020, and can be fitted with either a 1,000 pound unitary conventional warhead (xGM-109C), or a conventional submunitions warhead with hundreds of smaller bomblets (xGM-109D). The Tomahawk Block III has a 750 nautical mile range. Unfortunately, mission planning requires 80 hours of work.

    The xGM-109E Tomahawk Block IV achieved Initial Operating Capability in 2004, and current Pentagon plans will end purchases in 2015. Block IV reportedly increases missile range to 900 nautical miles, but it only uses the unitary warhead. Mission planning has been cut from 80 hours to just 1 hour, which makes a big difference to combat usage. The missile also has a 2-way UHF SATCOM datalink that allows the missile to be redirected in flight, or commanded to loiter over an area and wait for instructions from a Fleet HQ’s Maritime Operations Center.

    Submarine Launch 109

    UGM-109 launch
    (click to view full)

    Submarine-launched UGM-109 missiles are more expensive than their ship launched RGM-109 VLS counterparts, because the submarines’ launch mechanism is more involved and more strenuous. UGM-109 “all-up-round” storage and interface canisters come in 2 types: CLS and TTL. CLS canisters launch UGM-109s from vertical launch tubes installed on many of America’s Los Angeles Class (SSN 719 on), all Virginia Class, and all SSGN Ohio Class submarines. TTL canisters are used to launch Tomahawk missiles from a submarine’s torpedo tubes, which is Britain’s preferred method.

    In both cases, a Tomahawk launches “wet”, unlike most anti-ship missiles. The canister remains in the vertical-launch or torpedo tube, while the missile is ejected. Once the UGM-109 has reached a safe distance from the submarine, its rocket booster ignites underwater to power it airborne. That booster falls away just before the missile ignites its jet engine. If the submarine needs to “clear the tube” for torpedoes, anti-ships missiles, mines, UUVs, etc., TTL canisters can be ejected into the sea after launch, as a separate evolution. In contrast, CLS vertical-launch canisters are only removed portside, when the submarine comes into base for servicing and reloading.

    Tomahawk: The 2019 Evolution

    LRASM-A Concept
    (click to view full)

    There was a plan to develop a successor to the retired xGM-109B ship-killer by 2015, as an interim capability for the US Navy’s Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) program. That was shelved in the FY 2014 budget, as the Navy opted to drop the interim capability. Instead, they’re moving ahead with OASuW’s main xGM-84 Harpoon missile replacement program for air and sea launch. The LRASM derivative of Lockheed Martin’s subsonic but stealthy AGM-158B JASSM-ER is the initial air-launched missile, but there will be competition for air and naval missiles beyond FY 2019.

    Raytheon has partnered with Norway’s Kongsberg to offer the stealthy, and accurate JSM for the air-launched OASuW, and their entry has the unique ability to fit inside the F-35C’s weapon bays. They could also offer Kongsberg’s NSM counterpart in the naval realm, but that would leave Tomahawk in the cold. Or would it?

    The key to the next set of Tomahawk improvements is actually a warranty. The missile has a 15-year warranty and a 30-year service life, so 2019 will begin a recertification cycle for the fleet that could last until 2030. Threats continue to evolve, so why not add some missile upgrades while they’re back in the shop anyway? The US Navy already has a specifications sheet of possible improvements, and they’ve done a number of capability studies.

    Raytheon is investing almost $40 million of its own funds in parallel, and they’re still talking to the Navy about that final package, which will break down into 3 broad categories.

    MI concept

    Anti-Access/ Area Denial Communications Suite. Saddam Hussein had a sophisticated anti-aircraft system, but he didn’t have the kind of high-end jamming and emissions triangulation capabilities expected of future opponents. The challenge is twofold: keep the enemy from cutting off your communications, and keep your communications from alerting the enemy.

    One option that has been mentioned in public involves adding a Line Of Sight datalink capability. The flip side of that move would involve training and tactics changes that push missile control farther down the command chain. That may be necessary, but is the US Navy comfortable doing that? There’s more to these A2/AD-CS discussions than just picking technologies.

    Autonomy. The Tomahawk is already an autonomous weapon, in the sense that it can be fired at pre-planned fixed targets and left alone. To remain relevant, it needs to add dynamic terminal autonomy: the ability to acquire targets on its own and hit them, even if the target is moving or has moved. It would also be useful to expand the missile’s navigation autonomy, by offering backups for hardened SASSM M-code GPS.

    Both kinds of upgrades are being contemplated. Early tests that aren’t autonomous involve Rapid In-flight Target Update, which allows units that have a lock on a target to transmit rapid final scene updates for the missile’s DSMAC guidance. This is still done via Fleet HQ as Standard Operational Procedure, but that’s enough to hit moving targets in some circumstances. Ships would become vulnerable to Tomahawk strikes if the targeting platform can survive their defenses, and the same is true for land-based air defense systems that can repeatedly move to new fixed locations.

    Raytheon and the Navy are looking for more, with a focus on mature technologies to cut down program risk. An ESM system for noticing and geolocating emissions has already begun testing. Raytheon personnel stress its quality, to the point that Navigation via Signals of Opportunity (NAVSOP) might be possible as a backup to GPS. During the attack run, ESM can allow the Tomahawk to home in on an active enemy ship or air defense radars, or even on other intercepted signals. That begins to add autonomous moving target capability, and the firm plans to take the next step by flight testing a dual-mode ESM/ active radar seeker system before the end of 2014. Finally, passive visual spectrum (camera or imaging infrared) guidance has also become popular for long-range strike missiles, because it doesn’t give the missile’s location away by creating electro-magnetic emissions. Raytheon has confirmed that CCD/IIR upgrades are also under consideration for Tomahawk, but stressed that no final decisions have been made about a future guidance package.

    Core Strengthening. All of these capabilities are great, but they demand more computer processing power, more memory, more onboard power, etc. The missile’s core will need redesigns, in order to keep up.

    Raytheon had to develop a Multi-Function Modular Processor to handle those computing needs. Other efforts will look to add new technology, like the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS) warhead to allow mid-flight reprogramming, and improve performance against reinforced targets like bunkers. Still other attempts will take advantage of existing upgrades. As an example of the latter, Block III introduced the ability to throttle the missile’s Williams F107-WR-402 turbofan, and Raytheon has been expanding its usefulness over time. It’s a capability that’s obviously handy for adjusting the missile’s time of arrival, or extending range, but the firm has recently been testing a “high speed dash” mode. It’s still subsonic, but it represents some impressive flying that close to the ground.

    The Missing Link

    Saab S340-AEW
    (click to view full)

    Even after all of these upgrades, the Tomahawk is still a 1970s design that relies on low altitude to hide from radar. That isn’t really subject to change, even though downward-looking radars are proliferating on small AWACS planes and aerostat blimps, and radars in modern ships and air defense systems are taking big steps forward.

    All of the Tomahawk’s proposed technologies are well and good, and they will expand the missile’s usefulness substantially. Adding them to thousands of existing missiles is very cost effective, and makes a great deal of sense. As budget crunches force the Navy to re-examine every aspect of their programs, however, the Navy will have to make decisions about the cost, capability profile, and limitations of every weapon in their arsenal. Raytheon is trying to position Tomahawk as best they can, but the final decisions will lie elsewhere.

    Contracts & Key Events

    45 min. documentary
    (click for video)

    Unless stated otherwise, US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contracts to Raytheon in Tucson, AZ. In general, these contracts aren’t competitively procured, pursuant to the “only 1 responsible supplier” exemption in 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1).

    Key subcontractors include Lockheed Martin in Valley Forge, PA (Weapon Control System element), QinetiQ North America in San Jose, CA (Command and Control element), and Boeing Inc. in St. Louis, MO (Command and Control element).

    FY 2016 – 2018

    May 31/18: Test kit incoming! Raytheon is being tapped for further production of two sets of kits in support of the Tomahawk cruise missile. The $19.2 million contract modification provides for the procurement of nine mid-body range safety subsystem (MRSS) kits and flight test (FT) kits for the Navy and three MRSS and FT kits for the United Kingdom. The MRSS is installed into flight test configured missiles, one of its key components is the PCM Encoder, which Encoder samples the flight test missile guidance and avionics telemetry data stream, encodes and formats the data, and provides the telemetry information to the ground monitoring station. Block IV Tomahawk is the current generation of the Tomahawk family of cruise missiles. It adds innovative technologies that improve combat flexibility, while dramatically reducing the costs to buy, operate, and support these missiles. The Block IV missile is designed to engage targets 1,000 miles away from maritime platforms, a characteristic the manufacturer says can help keep deployed sailors out of harms way on the battlefield. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Tucson, Arizona; Boulder, Colorado and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, among others. This effort combines purchases for the Navy ($15,6 million); and the government of the United Kingdom ($3,5 million).

    March 26/18: Services contract Raytheon Missile Systems was awarded a contract for the provision of various services related to its Tomahawk cruise missile production. Valued at $37 million, the contract provides for lifecycle management and technical support required to maintain a Tomahawk cruise missile depot facility, including depot maintenance, demilitarization preparation, system test operations and foreign military sales maintenance. This also includes associated support requirements for the Navy and the government of the United Kingdom. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed in March 2021. Most recently, the US Navy’s FY18 Budget $3.4 billion weapons procurement request called for the acquisition of 100 ship-launched Tactical Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    November 07/17: The US Navy has placed fresh orders with Raytheon for 196 Tomahawk Block IV all-up-round vertical launch system missiles and spares. Worth up to $260.3 million, the contract modification also includes the procurement of spare parts and support for the government of the United Kingdom. Deliveries are scheduled for completion by August 2019 after work taking place in Tucson, Arizona, and nearly two dozen other locations across the continental US.

    September 04/17: Raytheon has been awarded a $119 million US Navy contract to develop an anti-ship variant of the Tomahawk missile. Work to be undertaken by the company for the Maritime Strike Tomahawk program includes analysis, trade studies, architecture, modeling, simulation development, evaluation, and prototyping activities for the integration of seeker suite technology and processing capabilities into the Tactical Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missile system. The majority of the work will be undertaken at Tucson, Arizona, in addition to Dallas, Texas, Boulder, Colorado, and various other locations inside and outside the US. Completion is scheduled for August 2019. The Navy currently uses the Tomahawk on its surface combatants and submarines, but now wants Raytheon to modify the Tomahawk’s targeting system so it can strike moving naval targets, thus giving the service a long-range anti-ship capability.

    August 18/17: It is expected that Raytheon will be awarded a contract to turn a number of US Navy Tomahawks into anti-ship cruise missiles. The upgrade will take place when the service sends its Block IV Tomahawks back to Raytheon for mid-life recertification. A company executive said the multi-mode seeker for the anti-ship role will likely be a mix of passive and active sensors. The Block IV recertification effort will start in 2019 with the first Marine Strike Tomahawk variants to enter the fleet in the early 2020s.

    January 13/17: Flight testing of the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile has been completed. A Raytheon announcement stated that the launches were conducted to demonstrate the missile’s ability to engage time-sensitive targets. The first test saw personnel onboard the USS Pinckney utilize the Launch Platform Mission Planning capability while during the second test, crew members fired the weapon for a longer duration, and also conducted a terminal dive maneuver to strike the intended target. The company said the performance confirms the Tomahawk’s ability to attack heavily defended targets.

    October 14/16: In response to missile attacks on US and allied vessels off the coast of Yemen, the Pentagon has ordered the US Navy to launch missile attacks at targets operated by Houthi rebels. On October 13, the USS Nitze fired three BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles at radar sites in Yemen which were believed to have been active during previous attacks and attempted attacks on vessels. A defense official said the radar sites were in remote areas where there was little risk of civilian casualties. The Houthis meanwhile, reiterated their denial that they were responsible for the attack on US warship the USS Mason.

    May 26/16: An op-ed piece published last week, suggesting the US should supply AGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles to Japan has received a rebuttal from Chinese researchers. Experts from the China Institute of International Studies stated that while the idea of supplying the missile to Tokyo was not new, it would pose a threat to other countries in East Asia. The warning most likely comes following efforts started last year by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pursue changing the country’s post-WW2 constitution to allow it to re-arm and expand its forces.

    May 18/16: Robert Crumplar suggests in USNI News that Washington considers exporting the BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile to Japan to act as a “responsive deterrent option.” The suggestion comes as Japan looks to deter potential aggression from North Korea, as well as dealing against a larger Chinese military. If the sale were to go ahead, it would follow a precedent for providing Tomahawk to allies that was established nearly 20 years ago when the United Kingdom acquired 65 missiles.

    April 21/16: Testing of a submarine-launched UGM-109 Tomahawk was terminated by the US Navy after the inert cruise missile crashed 50 minutes after its launch in southern Florida. The Navy was conducting a routine flight test, which was coordinated by the Navy’s Tomahawk Weapon System program at the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Maryland. Causes of the missile crash are currently being investigated by Navy officials.

    February 5/16: The Pentagon is to invest in the development of Tomahawk and SM-6 missiles which will be capable of hitting moving vessels. $2 billion has been requested for the purchase of 4,000 Tomahawk missiles with manufacturer Raytheon. Raytheon has invested in a multi-modal seeker that would allow the missiles to hit moving targets so that missiles may be adapted from land missiles into anti-ship missiles. A further $2.9 billion will also be made available for the purchase of 650 SM-6 interceptors as well, to advance them to become anti-ship missiles for the first time. This will allow the SM-6 to operate in an offensive capability instead of operating solely as an anti-ballistic weapon.

    January 19/16: Tomahawk cruise missiles could get a lot more destructive if a new development program is successful. Researchers from Energetic Materials Research and Engineering have been successfully utilizing residual fuel left inside a missile during impact and turning it into a fuel-air explosive that can contribute to the blast created by the missile’s warhead. At present the team are looking to find the best way to implode the fuel tank to generate a cloud of fuel that will mix with surrounding air to ignite into an intense, high-temperature explosion. If successful, the add on to the missile could increase the Tomahawks payload without any need to change the dynamics of the warhead.

    January 15/16: Testing of a new sensor on the Tomahawk missile has been successful. Raytheon owned T-39 test aircraft carried out a number trials over a three week period engaging moving targets on land and at sea. The development of the sensor was part of company funded, independent R&D looking to enhance the current Tomahawk long-range precision strike/land attack role. Since 2005, Raytheon has been investing in increasing the missile’s seeker capabilities and effectiveness in varying environments.

    October 7/15: Raytheon has demonstrated how a Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile can be used to assess battlefield damage, loiter and then attack a target following analysis of the data it provided to operators. The test demonstrated how the missile could be launched from one location, travel to a second area of operations and communicate via a UHF SATCOM link with a third location half-way around the world, before striking a target. The Block IV Tomahawk demonstrated flexible mission planning capabilities in flight during previous testing in August, with this latest round of testing also demonstrating that multiple missiles could be coordinated from a single control point.

    FY 2015

     

    August 6/15: Raytheon’s Block IV Tomahawk cruise missile demonstrated mission planning capability during flight tests announced on Wednesday. The upgraded software allowed planners to adapt the missile’s mission profile on the fly, with this new capability now set to be rolled-out across the fleet of Tomahawks in service. The Block IV missile demonstrated similar capabilities in March 2014, when the missile received information in-flight and re-targeted itself to strike a moving vehicle.

    Oct 11/14: American A2/AD. Rep. Randy Forces [R-VA-4] sends a letter to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Odierno on the eve of the AUSA conference, pushing for the Army to set up a modern version of its Coastal Artillery: long-range, land-based anti-ship missiles that would be forward-based in friendly countries to endanger Chinese vessels and shipping. Missiles like LRASM and the longer-ranged but less stealthy AGM-109 Tomahawk are obvious candidates for this sort of thing, significantly outranging competitors like Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile or Boeing’s SLAM-ER. The RAND study that Forbes refers to actually posited using shorter-range missiles like NSM, but its maps also showed the number of deployment sites required for effective coverage.

    The idea would be a nice turnabout on China’s Anti-Access, Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy, and a Philippine deployment would produce a very tangible benefit all by itself, at low cost. On the other hand, Rep. Forbes probably underestimates the difficulty of getting many countries beyond the Philippines to accept an inherently provocative deployment whose use is technically beyond their control. Recent American waffling around the world suggests an even less palatable conclusion: the penalty for saying yes would be immediate, without any assurance that the weapons would actually be used to help the accepting country if push came to shove.

    Contrast with the Russian approach. They just sell SS-N-26 shore batteries to interested countries, helping customers to create the same barrier under their own control, without the offsetting political challenges. India’s derivative PJ-10 BrahMos missile may also wind up being used this way, if India can get its act together on the export front. Sources: RAND, “Employing Land-Based Anti-Ship Missiles in the Western Pacific” | Breaking Defense, “Army Should Build Ship-Killer Missiles: Rep. Randy Forbes”.

    FY 2014

     

    Final dive
    (click to view full)

    Sept 24/14: Orders. Raytheon in Tucson, AZ receives a $251.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 231 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missiles for the U.S. Navy (211: 147 vertical launch systems and 64 capsule launch systems / $224.5 million/ 89.4%) and the United Kingdom (20 torpedo tube launch systems / $26.7 million/ 10.6% – q.v. July 1/14 DSCA request). All funds are committed immediately, using foreign funds and FY 2013 & 2014 US Navy weapon budgets.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (32%); Camden, AR (11%); Ogden, UT (8%); Anniston, AL (4%); Minneapolis, MN (4%); Glenrothes, Scotland (4%); Ft. Wayne, IN (4%); Spanish Fork, UT (3%); Ontario, CA (3%); Vergennes, VT (3%); El Segundo, CA (2%); Berryville, AR (2%); Westminster, CO (2%); Middletown, CT (2%); Walled Lake, MI (2%); Huntsville, AL (1%); Dallas, TX (1%); Farmington, NM (0.2%); and various locations inside and outside the continental United States (11.8%); work is expected to be complete in August 2016.

    This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 by US Navy NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-14-C-0075).

    US/UK order

    July 31/14: Raytheon in Tucson, AZ, receives an $8.7 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification for Tomahawk Depot Missile maintenance, including inventory management for the US Navy and the United Kingdom, and direct fleet support for resolving technical issues with forward deployed, in-theater weapons.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (60%); Camden, AR (36%); and various other continental United States locations (4%); and is expected to be complete in March 2015. Funds will be obligated on individual delivery orders as they are issued by US Navy NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-13-D-0002).

    Sept 9/14: Testing. Raytheon touts a recent pair of live warhead test firings from the USS Hampton [SSN 767: UGM-109] and USS Lake Champlain [CG 57: AGM-109], demonstrating “enhanced flex retargeting” and improved flight performance. Sources: Raytheon, “Tomahawk enhancements showcased in back-to-back flight tests”.

    July 17/14: Political. The Senate Appropriations Committee approves a $489.6 billion base FY 2015 budget, plus $59.7 billion in supplemental funding. If they get their way, xGM-109 Tomahawk Block IV production would continue at full rate, with $82 million in extra funding. It has been set to end with a 100 missiles, but the added funds would drive it toward the standard annual buy of 180-200.

    The budget still has to be voted on in the whole Senate, then reconciled in committee with the House of Representatives’ defense budget, then signed into law by the President. Sources: DID, “FY15 US Defense Budget Finally Complete with War Funding”.

    July 1/14: UK request. The US DSCA announces Britain’s formal request for up to 65 UGM-109 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missiles plus containers, engineering support, test equipment, operational flight test support, communications equipment, technical assistance, personnel training/equipment, spare and repair parts, and other support. The estimated cost is up to $140 million. DSCA adds that:

    “The UK needs these missiles to replenish those expended in support of coalition operations.”

    Which is to say, over Libya. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, AZ, and Britain doesn’t need any more contractors on site from Raytheon or from the US government. Sources: US DSCA #14-30, “United Kingdom – Tomahawk Block IV Torpedo Launched Land-Attack Missiles”.

    DSCA request: UK (140)

    April 28/14: Testing. Raytheon announces a successful captive-carry test flight, using a small T-39 Saberliner business jet fitted with their passive ESM seeker. The jet flew at subsonic speed and at varying altitudes, while the “passive seeker and multi-function processor successfully received numerous electronic signals from tactical targets in a complex, high density electromagnetic environment.”

    This test brings the Raytheon-funded multi-mission processor to Technology Readiness Level 6. The next step for the company-funded effort is an active seeker test, which will combine the processor with ESM and active radar. That combination would likely form the core of future Tomahawk upgrades. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon tests new guidance system for Tomahawk cruise missile”.

    April 17/14: SAR. The Pentagon finally releases its Dec 31/13 Selected Acquisitions Report [PDF]. It makes early termination official, and explains the savings:

    “Program costs decreased $1,832.1 million (25.8%) from $7,109.0 million to $5,276.9 million, due primarily to a decrease of 1,161 TACTOM missiles from 4,951 to 3,790 (-$1,249.2 million) and associated schedule, engineering, and estimating allocations

    • (-$586.2 million).”

    Note that SecNav Mabus’ comments regarding 4,000 GM-109s in stock (q.v. April 13/14) appear to have been in error. Many have been used over the years.

    Termination

    April 13/14: Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus sees an inventory of 4,000 Tomahawks that “will carry us through any eventuality that we can foresee,” but Raytheon wants to avoid shutting down their line and cutting the chain to more than 100 suppliers in 24 states. Their lobbying is helped by the fact that the USA’s byzantine procurement and budgeting processes add some strategic risk. News that the Navy was even thinking of a next-generation replacement reportedly came as a surprise to Raytheon in January 2014. Which means that it’s entirely imaginable to have a 20 year wait between the last Tomahawk delivery, and a comparable new operational missile.

    On the other hand, every defense production line shuts down eventually, and a dollar spent on Tomahawks can’t buy new ships, fighters, air defense missiles, etc. Rather than waging a frontal assault that tries to keep missile orders coming, Raytheon is reportedly looking to accelerate the combined xGM-109 recertification/ upgrade process by a few years, so it picks up where Tomahawk production leaves off. Raytheon senior program manager Chris Sprinkle says that Raytheon has invested $30 million of their own funds in R&D for upgrades, and plans to invest another $8 million or so. Sources: Arizona Daily Star, “Proposed halt of Tomahawk missile buys raises concerns at Raytheon”.

    March 4/14: FY15 Budget. The Navy unveils a preliminary budget request briefing. It doesn’t break down individual programs into dollars, but it does offer planned purchase numbers for the Navy’s biggest programs from FY 2014 – 2019.

    The plan confirms 196 Tactical Tomahawk missiles in FY 2014, and proposes to end production with 100 missiles ordered in FY 2015. Source: US Dept. of the Navy, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF].

    Feb 19/14: Datalink test. A Tomahawk Block IV missile is launched from the USS Sterett [DDG 104] on a loitering fire test:

    “… [the missile] flew a preprogrammed route while receiving updates from a simulated maritime operations center and from advanced off-board sensors updating the missile’s target location. Throughout the flight, the missile maintained communications with all the command and control assets and provided updates on its location before hitting the target.”

    Raytheon told DID that this is the first of many tests involving “off-board sensors”, though 2014 will also see a number of flight tests using new on-board ESM and radar sensors. Many will be captive-carry tests, using one of the US Navy’s T-39 Sabreliner modified business jets. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon, U.S. Navy test Tomahawk Block IV’s latest communications upgrades”.

    Feb 14/14: Upgrades. Tomahawk program manager Capt. Joe Mauser tells Defense Tech that they’re working on a new Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS) warhead for the Block IV, in order to improve performance against reinforced targets like bunkers.

    At the same time, Raytheon is working on a new active & passive dual seeker (q.v. Oct 7/13). Raytheon has been elbowed aside from the OASuW program, which is currently owned by Lockheed Martin’s stealthy LRASM-B. A low-cost upgrade that accomplishes some of OASuW’s goals offers Raytheon the opportunity to get some funds, keep their missile relevant for years to come, and position themselves as a weaker Plan B if further budget cuts remove their competitor. Sources: DefenseTech, “Navy Wants Its Tomahawks to Bust More Bunkers”.

    Jan 14/14: #3,000. Raytheon announces that they’ve delivered the 3,000th Tomahawk Block IV missile, as part of FY 2012’s FRP-9 production contract. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon delivers 3000th Tomahawk Block IV to US Navy”.

    #3,000

    Oct 7/13: ESM multi-mode. Raytheon announces a successful field test of a new multi-mode seeker technology that would add an advanced Electronic Support Measure (ESM) antenna and processor to the Block IV Tomahawk missile. Raytheon told DID that the system is based on the firm’s own technology, rather than being a direct offshoot of the attempt to add AARGM technology to the Tomahawk (q.v. April 27/12).

    Raytheon is correct that the current Tomahawk is an open architecture ‘truck’ capable of integrating new payloads and sensors, and an ESM seeker is a helpful addition to recent improvements like the 2-way datalink. ESM would turn the missile into a radar and communications killer that could deal directly with enemy air defenses, and could begin to engage some kinds of moving targets. The challenge is that the missile still needs to survive long enough to hit its target, and the Tomahawk’s low-level flight isn’t enough to protect it from the kind of advanced air defenses that would make you want to use unmanned ESM missiles. Its best use case might be against enemy ships. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon demonstrates new seeker technology for Tomahawk Block IV missile”.

    FY 2012 – 2013

     

    Launch.
    (click to view full)

    April 17/13: UK. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Britain’s request to import follow-on support and keep their UGM-109 Tomahawk Weapon Systems (TWS) ready for use. Work can include missile modifications, maintenance, spare and repair parts, system and test equipment, engineering support, communications equipment, technical assistance, personnel training/equipment, and other related elements of logistics support.

    The estimated cost is up to $170 million, but actual costs will be negotiated in a series of contracts. The principal contractors will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, AZ; Lockheed Martin in Manassas, VA, Valley Forge, PA, and Marlton, NJ; Boeing in St. Louis, MO; BAE North America in San Diego, CA; COMGLOBAL in San Jose, CA; and SAIC in Springfield, VA and Patuxent River, MD. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 1 U.S. Government and 2 contractor representatives to the United Kingdom for the duration of this case.

    DSCA: UK support request

    April 10/13: FY 2014 Budget. The President releases a proposed budget at last, the latest in modern memory. The Senate and House were already working on budgets in his absence, but the Pentagon’s submission is actually important to proceedings going forward. See ongoing DID coverage.

    News for the Tomahawk program is mixed. The OASuW Harpoon replacement program canceled plans for an interim solution based on the xGM-109 family, even as it plans to award Technology Development contracts in FY 2013. Raytheon will need to consider its competitive options carefully, as OASuW could grow to be a huge opportunity.

    Within the existing Tomahawk program, yearly budgets are rising even though the number of missiles per year remains constant at 196. This is pushing flyaway cost for new missiles from $956,000 in FY 2013 to about $1.2 million. The extra funds are going to 2 areas: obsolescence replacement/ diminishing manufacturing sources, and restoration of planned missile improvements. The former category includes such key components as the Williams turbojet engine and the satellite datalink, and is important enough that FY 2011 – 2011 contract savings are being applied to address it. Improvements will begin with missile communications that will work even in jamming-rich or otherwise hostile environments.

    March 11/13: UK. A $6.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 4 torpedo tube launched (TTL) Tomahawk Block IV all-up-round missiles for the government of the United Kingdom under the Foreign Military Sales Program. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (32.6%); Camden, AR (13%); Ogden, UT (10.5%); Dallas, TX (3.5%); Minneapolis, Minn. (3.3%); Glenrothes, Scotland (3.3%); Spanish Fork, UT (3.1%); El Segundo, CA (3%); Walled Lake, MI (2.6%); Anniston, AL (2.5%); Ft. Wayne, IN (2.3%); Ontario, Canada (2.2%); Vergennes, VT (2.1%); Berryville, AR (1.8%); Westminster, CO (1.6%); Largo, FL (1.5%); Middletown, CT (1.3%); Huntsville, AL (1.2%); Clearwater, FL (0.8%); Moorpark, CA (0.8%); El Monte, CA (0.6%); Salt Lake City, UT (0.6%); Farmington, NM (0.2%); and various continental U.S. (CONUS) and outside CONUS locations (5.6%); and is expected to be completed in February 2015 (N00019-12-C-2000).

    4 for Britain

    March 7/13: Support. A $12.8 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for services in support of Tomahawk missile depot maintenance, including direct fleet support for resolving technical issues with forward deployed, in-theater weapons and inventory management for the US Navy and the United Kingdom.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (70%); Camden, AR (24%); Commerce Township, MI (4%); Indianapolis, IN (1%); and various other continental U.S. (CONUS) and outside CONUS locations (1%) until February 2014. $2.4 million is committed immediately, of which $2.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-13-D-0002).

    Jan 17/13: DOT&E testing. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The Tomahawk gets high marks. It continues to meet its standards, and remains operationally effective and suitable (maintainable).

    The one thing Pentagon OT&E would like to see is restored flight testing of the Block III model, until it goes out of service in FY 2020.

    Dec 18/12: CCLS. A $45 million firm-fixed-price contract modification from the USN for 120 Tomahawk Block IV Composite Capsule Launching Systems (CCLS), which are used to launch UGM-109s from vertical submarine tubes. All contract funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (24.61%); Lincoln, NB (23.17%); Camden, AR (12.48%); Rocket Center, WVA (10.3%); Carpentersville, IL (8.74%); Joplin, MO (6.63%); Hopkinton, MA (4.76%); Huntsville, AR (4.37%); Alamitos, CA (2.05%); Torrance, CA (1.47%); Downers Grove, IL (0.75%); and Brooksville, FL (0.67%), and is expected to be complete in July 2015 (N00019-12-C-2000).

    Dec 17/12: 252 missiles. A $254.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising a US Navy option for 252 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round (AUR) missiles: 132 RGM-109s designed to launch from strike-length Mk.41 cells on surface ships, and 120 UGM-109 CLS missiles that are fired from different vertical launch tubes installed on American submarines.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (32%); Camden, AR (11%); Ogden, UT (8%); Anniston, AL (4%); Minneapolis, MN (4%); Ft. Wayne, IN (4%); Glenrothes, Scotland (4%); Dallas, TX (4%); Spanish Fork, UT (3%); Vergennes, VT (3%); Walled Lake, MI (2%); Berryville, AR (2%); El Segundo, CA (2%); Westminster, CO (2%); Middletown, CT (2%); Huntsville, AL (1%); Farmington, NM (0.2%); and various locations in the continental United States and outside the continental United States (11.8%); and is expected to be completed in August 2015. See also Raytheon.

    FY 2013: 252

    Sept 3/12: OASuW. Aviation Week offers a look into the Tomahawk’s potential future. In June 2012, the US Navy announced a sole-source contract to Raytheon to develop the interim Offensive Anti-Surface Weapon (OASuW) by modifying a Tomahawk Block IV missiles with new sensors and data links. The missile is expected to enter service by 2015… but it’s likely to face competition from Lockheed Martin’s LRASM-A, among others.

    Full OASuW Technology Development awards are expected to begin in FY 2013, after a Q2 Milestone A decision. The technical Development phase runs from FY 2013 – FY 2017, to an expected total of $557.2 million. Initial Operational Capability is currently set for 2024.

    July 12/12: CCLS. A $45.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, buying 123 Tomahawk Block IV Composite Capsule Launching Systems (CCLS) for the US Navy.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (24.61%); Lincoln, NB (23.17%); Camden, AR (12.48%); Rocket Center, WVA (10.3%); Carpentersville, IL (8.74%); Joplin, MO (6.63%); Hopkinton, MA (4.76%); Huntsville, AR (4.37%); Alamitos, CA (2.05%); Torrance, CA (1.47%); Downers Grove, IL (0.75%); and Brooksville, FL (0.67%), and is expected to be complete in July 2014 (N00019-12-C-2000).

    June 7/12: 361 missiles. A $337.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 361 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missiles for the Navy. This includes 238 RGM-109E missiles that are launched from strike-length Mk.41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells on surface ships, and 123 UGM-109E missiles that are launched from submarines equipped with the Capsule Launch System (CLS).

    Raytheon’s release says that the buy includes replenishment of weapons used during Operation ODYSSEY DAWN in Libya, as well as the FY 2012 buy.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (32%); Camden, AR (11%); Ogden, UT (8%); Anniston, AL (4%); Minneapolis, MN (4%); Fort Wayne, IN (4%); Glenrothes, Scotland, UK (4%); Dallas, TX (4%); Spanish Fork, UT (3%); Vergennes, VT (3%); Walled Lake, MI (2%); Berryville, AR (2%); El Segundo, CA (2%); Westminster, CO (2%); Middletown, CT (2%); Huntsville, AL (1%); Farmington, NM (0.2%); and various locations inside and outside the continental United States (11.8%), and is expected to be complete in August 2014 (N00019-12-C-2000).

    FY 2012 + Libya replacement: 361

    April 27/12: New sensors? FBO.gov:

    “The Naval Air Systems Command intends to negotiate and award a sole source order under Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) N00019-11-G-0014, pricing arrangement cost-plus-fixed-fee, for engineering services necessary to support a study to assess the possibility of integrating, onto the Block IV Tomahawk weapon, Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) technologies.”

    The AGM-88E AARGM uses GPS to navigate to the target’s vicinity, then finds targets that are moving or have moved using a combination of emission-locating ESM and an active millimeter wave radar seeker. AARGM is meant to destroy enemy air defense systems, but a system for a missile of this size would also be able to target enemies like ships. ATK received a $452,000 contract on Aug 22/12.

    xGM-109E Block IV TLAMs: A Program Success Story

    Fly.
    (click to view full)

    Block IV missiles offer a number of improvements over previous versions: the missile’s purchase cost drops by almost half, to about $750,000, while lowering its future maintenance costs, and upgrading its capabilities.

    Capt. Bob Novak, who was the Tomahawk All-Up-Round (PMA-280) program manager until August 2005, began leading the Tomahawk AUR program team in 2002 during a critical time in the development of the Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile. Under his leadership the program awarded the Navy’s first-ever weapons multi-year contract, and was estimated to have reduced the cost per missile from Block III to Block IV by almost 50%, saving $1 billion over planned lifetime costs while upgrading the missile’s capabilities. While reducing the Block IV Tactical Tomahawk’s purchase costs, improved design and manufacturing also reduced maintenance/ recertification requirements from once every 8 years for Block III missiles to once every 15 years.

    PMA-280 was honored with several prominent awards, including the Secretary of Defense Value Engineering Award, the Daedalian Award, and the Ed Heinemann Award.

    Boom.
    (click to view full)

    One important new capability that Block IV Tomahawk brings to the US Navy’s Sea Strike doctrine is derived from the missile’s 2-way satellite data link, which enables the missile to respond to changing battlefield conditions. The strike controller can “flex” the missile in flight to preprogrammed alternate targets, redirect it to a new target, or even have it loiter over the battlefield awaiting a more critical target. Block IV Tomahawks can also transmit battle damage indication imagery and missile health and status messages via the satellite data link, allowing firing platforms to execute missions in real time.

    Global Positioning System-only missions are also possible in addition to the missile’s previous terrain-mapping guidance mode, thanks to an improved anti-jam GPS receiver for enhanced mission performance.

    The majority of Tomahawk cruise missiles are currently launched by Navy surface vessels, such as the Ticonderoga Class (CG-47) cruisers and Arleigh Burke Class (DDG-51) destroyers. The later series of Improved Los Angeles Class (SSN-688I) and the newest Virginia Class (SSN-744) attack submarines are also armed with 12 dedicated Tomahawk launch tubes, while earlier Los Angeles boats and the newest Seawolf Class (SSN-21) have to sacrifice some of their stored torpedoes to carry and launch Tomahawks through their torpedo tubes. But the USA’s premier Tomahawk carrier vehicle in future will be the Ohio Class SSGN stealth strike subs, with launch capacity for an astounding 154 Tactical Tomahawks each.

    Additional Readings & Sources

    DID would like to thank Raytheon Tomahawk Program Director Roy Donelson, and Growth Program Manager Chris Sprinkle, for their assistance with this article. Any mistakes are our own damn fault. Readers with corrections or information to contribute are encouraged to contact editor Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

    Weapon & Program Background

    News & Views

    • DID – LRASM Missiles: Reaching for a Long-Range Punch. Covers the USN’s OASuW program, whose sea-launched component has already affected the Tomahawk program. The current plan is based around air and sea-launched adaptations of Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158B JASSM-ER.

    • FAS Strategic Security Blog (March 18/13) – US Navy Instruction Confirms Retirement of Nuclear Tomahawk Cruise Missile. The xGM-109B Tomahawk Block II.

    • Defense Daily (Nov 29/07) – Navy Seeks New Uses For Tomahawks. Covers a number of program developments, including the potential for thermobaric warheads.

    • Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester Magazine (April 12/07) – Submarine-launched Tomahawk IV flight test a success

    • Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester Magazine (Dec 14/06) – Tomahawk IV in West Coast Test. “The test successfully demonstrated the Tomahawk Strike Network. The Tomahawk Strike Network (TSN) is a unique aspect of the Block IV system. Utilized in this test, TSN is a communications network that provides secure connectivity among all of the participants in a strike plan. Those participants include the Block IV missile(s), the strike controller, and the missile controller. Messages are generated, sent, and received inside the network, and are monitored by a channel controller. TSN allows the strike controller to retarget the missile in flight, monitor the health and status of the missile in flight, and collect images along the route.”

    • Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester Magazine (Aug 10/05) – Tomahawk program marks historic milestone. Capt. Rick McQueen became the 1st program manager for the newly formed Tomahawk Weapons System Program Office (PMA-280), as the Navy’s All-Up-Round (PMA-280) and Cruise Missile Weapons Systems (PMA-282) groups merged.

    • Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester Magazine (Oct 7/04) – New Tomahawk ready for warfighter. Block IV was accepted by the USN on Sept 29/04.

    Categories: Defense`s Feeds

    Adding Arleigh Burkes: H.I.I. Steps Forward for DDG-51 Restart

    Defense Industry Daily - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 05:56

    DDG-110 Construction
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    In April 2009 Bath and Ingalls agreed to the Navy’s surface combatant plans, thus heralding a significant restructuring within the American naval shipbuilding community. Under the agreements, the USA would end production at 3 Graf Spee sized DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class “destroyers,” but shift all production from the Congressionally-mandated joint arrangements to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine, which had already made program-related investments in advanced shipbuilding technologies.

    Northrop Grumman (now Huntington Ingalls Industries) would retain its DDG-1000 deckhouse work, but their main exchange was additional orders for DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers. Their Ingalls yard in Pascagoula, Mississippi would continue building the DDG-51 destroyers, beginning with 2 ordered in FY 2010-2011.

    The US Navy’s Revised DDG-51 Plan

    DDG-1000
    (click to view full)

    With the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class ended at 3 ships, the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class ships will become more important to the future navy. The Navy’s FY 2011 budget also terminated the planned CG (X) cruiser program as unaffordable. Instead, the US Navy would field an updated DDG-51 Flight III version, starting in FY 2016.

    That date has been pushed back, owing to technical issues with the Flight III ships. Under the current plan, the DDG-51 Flight IIA Restart version would remain in production from FY 2010-2017, buying 13 ships in total (DDG 113 – 125) under a multi-year buy program. Huntington Ingalls Industries ships ordered to date are both named after Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, and include:

    • DDG 113 John Finn
    • DDG 114 Ralph Johnson

    Both Bath Iron Works and HII will continue to build ships of class, but lead yard status for the “DDG-51 restart” ships shifted to Northrop Grumman (now HII) during the restructuring. GD Bath Iron Works is currently contracted to build DDG 115 Rafael Peralta and & DDG 116 Thomas Hudner, as the DDG-51 follow-yard.

    Beyond the Flight IIAs, US Navy plans once called for buying an undetermined number of DDG-51 Flight IIIs from FY 2016 through at least FY 2022, and perhaps until FY 2031. The follow-on DDG-51 Flight IIIs are expected to carry a smaller version of the new Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR-S) dual-band active array that was slated for the canceled CG (X), along with the upgraded power and cooling systems required to support it. Other enhancements will be fleshed out as detailed design work on the Flight III commences, reportedly in FY 2012-2013. Unfortunately, there have been early reports that integration of the AMDR radar could prove to be a problem. The new radar will need to have a power draw that the ship can handle, cooling needs that the ship’s design can meet, and a size that can fit within the ship’s available space, all without changing the destroyer’s balance and stability. That is, to put it mildly, a challenge. So, too, are growing cost estimates that are edging the DDG-51 Flight III toward the price of larger and more advanced DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class ships.

    Flight III buys now appear set to start no earlier than FY 2018, if indeed they start at all. Current plans do call for an interim step, however, as part of the proposed 2012-2017 multi-year buy.

    Under the current multi-year proposal, 1 of 2 FY 2016 ships (DDG 123), and both FY 2017 ships (DDG 124-125), will “incorporate Flight III capability,” but not the new radars themselves. The addition of the AMDR-S radar and other associated systems would be funded as an engineering change proposal (ECP), so it doesn’t look like it’s affecting multi-year pricing. Otherwise, the Navy wouldn’t be able to show enough savings [1] to justify a multi-year buy under US laws. The Flight III ECP won’t be awarded until the Flight III Milestone Decision Authority approves the configuration, and the greatest risk would be changes that involve significant retrofits of DDG 123-125, beyond adding the AMDR radar. Those kinds of changes are always much more expensive than installing systems during ship construction.

    Contracts & Key Events

    Article coverage essentially terminated in FY 2013, as the USA moved to a multi-year block-buy from both shipyards to finance remaining Flight IIA destroyers, and the initial Flight III ships.

    One thing to notice while reading these is that ship construction contracts do not include important equipment like guns, radar, combat systems, missile launchers, etc. Those are bought independently as “Government Furnished Equipment,” though ship construction contracts do pay to have that equipment installed in the ships. Many of those contracts are not publicly announced, or not broken out specifically by ship. As such, any ancillary contracts covered here are suggestive and informative, not comprehensive. Indeed, those “ancillary” contracts make up the largest portion of the ship’s total cost.

    FY 2013 – 2018

    May 31/18: Gear up The Navy is contracting Philadelphia Gear Corp. in support of its future DDG-51 class guided missile destroyers. The $70.8 million contract modification enables the company to exercise options for two shipsets of Main Reduction Gears (MRGs). The MRGs is the set of gears that transmit the power from two main propulsion gas turbines to the propulsion shaft. Each DDG-51 class destroyer has two gear sets, one for each propulsion shaft. The destroyers are powered by four GE LM 2500 gas turbines, each rated at 33,600hp with a power turbine speed of 3,600rpm, driving two shafts, with controllable pitch propellers. The MRGs to be purchased under this procurement are for installation in DDG-128 and DDG-129. Work will be performed at various locations, including Santa Fe Springs, California and St. Augustine, Florida, and is scheduled for completion by November 2020.

    May 10/18: More power for the Burke The Rotary and Mission Systems branch of Lockheed Martin is being tapped to provide services in support of the DDG-51 New Construction Ship program. The contract is valued at over $11 million and sees for the production of common Machinery Control Systems (MCS). The MCS provides control and monitoring capability of the ship’s auxiliary, damage control, electrical, and propulsion systems. As part of its electrical capability, MCS interfaces with the ship’s power generation and electrical distribution system. The US Navy’s DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are the backbone of America’s present and future fleet. With the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class order ended at 3 ships, the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class ships will become more important to the future Navy. The award brings the total cumulative face value to $194.3 million. Work will be mainly performed in Baltimore, Maryland and expected to be completed by May 2019.

    February 14/18: Repairs—USS Chafee The US Navy awarded BAE Systems Friday, February 9, a $22.7 million contract to conduct repairs onboard USS Chafee. Under the terms of the agreement, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer will have its military and technical capabilities improved and upgraded, with a particular focus on the main engine intake and uptake compartment structural repairs, along with topside preservation. Work will take place at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, running until September 2018.

    January 10/18: AEGIS Modernization—USS Stout Lockheed Martin received Friday a $10.1 million contract modification from the Pentagon to exercise an option to procure, assemble, integrate, and test AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 4.0.2 equipment for the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Stout (DDG 55). The modification could provide additional funds to Lockheed Martin depending on how well the company performs on the contract, and the money comes from fiscal year 2018 defense-wide procurement funding and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will take place at Moorestown, New Jersey and Clearwater, Florida, with a scheduled completion time of April 2019.

    January 9/18: Modernization—USS Oscar Austin BAE Systems announced January 3, the receipt of a 12-month work order for the extensive modernization of the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79). The agreement includes options that if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the deal to $117.1 million. During the dry-docking, the vessel will receive an upgrade to its Aegis Combat System as well as alterations and miscellaneous repairs that will affect nearly every onboard space. Work will commence this February and wrap up in February 2019. The Oscar Austin is the second guided missile destroyer to undergo the extensive repair and upgrade work. BAE Systems’ shipyard in Jacksonville, Florida, is currently working on the first destroyer to undergo the DMP modernization, the USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). The company’s San Diego shipyard recently was awarded the first West Coast destroyer DMP contract for work on board the USS Howard (DDG 83).

    December 29/17: Support-Maintenance-Repair BAE Systems was awarded Tuesday, three US Navy contracts totalling $101 million in support of two of the service’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship. The Arleigh Burkes—USS Howard and USS Oscar Austin—will receive maintenance, repair, and servicing work, with work on the USS Howard to occur in San Diego, Calif., while work on the USS Oscar Austin will be performed in Norfolk, Va. Work is scheduled to finish in May 2019 and February 2019 respectively. Meanwhile, USS Champion MCM-4 is scheduled for dry-docking at its homeport in San Diego, Calif., with the contract covering the planning and execution of depot-level maintenance, alterations, and modifications that will update and improve the ship’s military and technical capabilities. Work will be completed on the vessel by August 2018.

    December 20/17: Contract-Repairs The Pentagon has awarded Huntington Ingalls a $63 million modified contract for emergency repair and restoration on the US Navy’s USS Fitzgerald. Under the terms of the agreement, Huntington will provide for the initial collision ripout phase of an availability which will include a combination of maintenance, modernization, and collision repair on the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer—which suffered severe damage following a collision with a cargo ship in June, claiming the lives of seven US sailors. Work on the contract will occur in Pascagoula, Miss., and is expected to be completed by September 2018.

    December 14/17: Engineering Technical Services The US Navy has awarded Bath Iron Works a $23.9 modified contract to provide engineering and technical services on Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. US Navy shipbuilding and conversion funds from fiscal years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 totaling more than $22.5 million has been obligated to the Maine-based firm and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The agreement is also a cost-reimbursement contract that potentially could provide Bath Iron Works with an award fee, based upon a later evaluation by the Pentagon. Work on the contract will mostly be split between Brunswick, Maine, and Bath, Maine, with some taking place in Washington, DC, and Pascagoula, Miss., and is expected to be completed by June 2018.

    December 6/17: Contract Modification-Radar Raytheon has been selected by the US Navy to deliver AN/SPY-1 Radar for the unnamed Arleigh Burke-class DDG-127 US Navy destroyer. Valued at an estimated $48.6 million, the deal falls under an undefinitized contract action that modifies the terms of a previous award contract, with US Navy fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion funds of $22.6 million obligated to Raytheon at the time of the award, and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will take place primarily at Andover, Mass., with a scheduled completion date of January 2020.

    November 21/17: Delivery The US Navy has accepted delivery of the future USS Ralph Johnson (DG 114), an Arleigh Burke-class future guided-missile destroyer, following the successful completion of sea and in-port trials in September. Manufactured by shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries, the vessel’s namesake Pfc. Ralph H. Johnson, received the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Rock in the Vietnam War, 1968. Johnson jumped on top of a tossed grenade to spare his fellow Marines from the blast. The heroic action took Johnson’s life but saved the lives of his brothers in arms and undoubtedly prevented the enemy from penetrating his sector of the perimeter. The new vessel is the 64th Arleigh Burke class destroyer and the third of the DDG 51 Flight IIA restart ships to be delivered. It was built at Hungtinton’s Pascagoula shipyard, where future destroyers Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121) and Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) are currently in various stages of production. Huntington is also under contract for the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125)—which will be the first Flight III ship.

    October 17/17: Following the withdrawal of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS John S. McCain and Fitzgerald from service, the US Navy has issued the unscheduled deployment of the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas. This will allow the USS O’Kane—originally scheduled for deployment with the 5th and 6th Fleet around Europe and the Middle East—to instead be deployed to the 7th Fleet operating in the west Pacific, where it will take over ballistic missile defense (BMD) duties left by the untimely departure of both the McCain and Fitzgerald, which suffered catastrophic damage in separate incidents during the summer. The McCain and Fitzgerald collisions have spotlighted issues in the Navy’s 7th Fleet, based out of Japan, as the collisions bring to the fore leadership failures and diminishing training standards, based on Congressional testimony alluding to naval crews being overworked and spread thin. Two top officers on the McCain—which collided with a much lager cargo vessel near Singapore in August—have since lost their posts “due to a loss of confidence,” and have been reassigned.

    September 27/17: Lockheed Martin has received a $15.5 million contract modification to conduct repair work on the damaged USS Fitzgerald. The contract marks the beginning of the repair work required on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer following its June 17 collision with a civilian cargo vessel that killed seven US sailors. Under the agreement, Lockheed will provide delivery, installation and testing of one SPY-1D radar array, water cooling systems for the radar system and power cables. Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ, Clearwater, Fla. and Oswego, NY with an expected completion date of October 2019. The AN/SPY-1D phased array radar is the primary component of the AEGIS Weapons System mounted on Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

    September 14/17: The US Navy has successfully tested the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar developed by Raytheon. The event took place off the west coast of Hawaii on Sept. 7, involving a short-range ballistic missile target and a number of air-to-surface cruise missile targets. During the test, he radar successfully searched for, detected and maintained track on all targets throughout their trajectories, and the Navy said that preliminary data from the test showed the system met its primary objectives against a complex short-range ballistic missile and multiple air-to-surface cruise missile simultaneous targets. they will be equipped on US Navy DDG 51 Flight III destroyers.

    July 31/17: Huntington Ingalls announced that its latest Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), has successfully completed its builder’s sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. During the trails, the vessel underwent basic testing of its main propulsion, controls, and other ships systems in the Gulf out of Pascagoula, Miss. It is expected to be home-ported at Naval Station Everett, Wash, following its commissioning later this year. So far, Huntington has delivered 29 Arleigh Burke’s to the US Navy and have four additional vessels—Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) and Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123)—currently under construction.

    July 18/17: The first Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer to be commissioned in five years has been named the USS John Finn, during a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. Named after US Navy sailor Chief John Finn, Finn had been awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the attack on Pearl Habor, and at the time of his death in 2010, was the oldest living recipient of the award. In preparation for the vessel’s commissioning, acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackly said that Finn “distinguished himself through heroic service to his fellow Sailors and our nation. I know the men and women who make up the crew of USS John Finn will carry his legacy forward with the same selfless service he distinguished more than 75 years ago.”

    May 4/17: Raytheon has received a $327.1 million US Navy contract for the low-rate production of the Air and Missile Defense Radar system. Known as the AMDR or AN/SPY-6(V) , the order calls for the procurement of three initial systems, including the equipment and engineering systems needed to produce, and will be mounted on Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. The Air and Missile Defense Radar is part of the ship’s AEGIS system, and is 30 times more sensitive than the search radars on the Flight II Arleigh Burkes. Work is expected to be completed by October 2020.

    February 23/17: Huntington Ingalls Industries has marked a production milestone for the USS Frank E. Petersen during a keel authentication ceremony. The company was contracted by the Navy in March 2016 to produce the Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA guided missile destroyer which is named after Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr., who served as the USMC’s first African-American pilot and general officer. During the ceremony, Petersen’s window, Dr. Alicia Petersen said, “He wasn’t a man who wanted a lot of praise or recognition; however, if he could see this great ship being built for other young men and young women to see and look up to, he would be very proud.”

    July 22/15: The Chief of Naval Operation Adm. Jonathan Greenert wants to buy ten Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDGS) to the tune of two a year, according to his Navigation Plan announced this week. This will bring the total number to be procured by 2020 to seventy-two. The Plan also calls for the procurement of the Navy’s Small Surface Combatant frigates by 2019, as well as investment in deterrent and attack submarines. The latter would involve boosting the fleet of Virginia-class boats to twenty-two within five years, in addition to the maintenance of the Ohio-class ballistic missile boats, with a replacement eyed for 2031.

    April 15/15: The future Flight III Arleigh-Burke Class destroyers are making good progress, with an order scheduled for 2019. The Navy recently told Congress that the program would take the shape of a ten-ship multi-year procurement contract.

    Nov 4/13: DDG 113. HII officially lays the keel for DDG 113 John Finn. She’s the 1st ship of the DDG 51 program restart, and will become the 29th Arleigh Burke Class ship built by HII. Sources: US NAVSEA, “Keel Laid for Future USS John Finn”.

    Sept 12/13: DDG 114. The Navy marked the start of fabrication for DDG 114, the future USS Ralph Johnson. Keel laying won’t take place until Q3 2014. Sources: US NAVSEA, “Future USS Ralph Johnson starts fabrication”.

    FY 2012

     

    Mk 45 firing
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    June 7/12: Lead vs. Follow Yard. Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a $17.3 million cost-plus-award-fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with performance incentives, for DDG 51 class follow yard services. The firm explained that they remain the follow-yard behind General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works for previous Arleigh Burke Class destroyers in the US Fleet (DDGs 51-112).

    As the follow yard, they offer many of the same services as the lead yard, when required. That includes engineering, technical, material procurement and production support; configuration; class flight upgrades and new technology support; data and logistics management; lessons learned analysis; acceptance trials; post delivery test and trials; post shakedown availability support; reliability and maintainability; system safety program support; material and fleet turnover support; shipyard engineering teams; crew training, design tool/ design standardization, detail design development, and other technical and engineering analyses for the purpose of supporting DDG 51 class ship construction and test and trials.

    In addition, DDG 51 class follow-yard services may provide design, engineering, procurement and manufacturing/ production services to support design feasibility studies and analyses that modify DDG 51 class destroyers for Foreign Military Sales programs. Japan’s Kongou Class, and South Korea’s KDX-III destroyers, are both examples of that phenomenon.

    Work on this contract will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (98%), and Washington, DC (2%), and is expected to be complete by February 2013. This contract was not competitively procured by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC, as these relationships were set a long time ago (N00024-12-C-2312).

    Feb 15/12: Naming. The US Navy names DDG 113-115.

    DDG 113: John Finn, who retired as a lieutenant, received the Medal of Honor from Adm. Chester Nimitz for displaying “magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death” during the Japanese attack on military installations in Hawaii during Pearl Harbor.

    DDG 114: Marine Corps Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for shouting a warning to his fellow Marines and hurling himself on an explosive device, saving the life of one Marine and preventing the enemy from penetrating his sector of the patrol’s perimeter during the Vietnam War.

    Nov 16/11: Jane’s Navy International is reporting that DDG-51 flight III destroyers with the new AMDR radar and hybrid propulsion drives could cost $3-4 billion each.

    If that’s true, it’s about the same cost as a DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class ship, in return for less performance, more vulnerability, and less future upgrade space. AMDR isn’t a final design yet, so it’s still worthwhile to ask what it could cost to give the Flight IIIs’ radar and combat systems ballistic missile defense capabilities – R&D for the function doesn’t go away when it’s rolled into a separate program. Indeed, if the Flight III cost estimate is true, it raises the question of why that would be a worthwhile use of funds, and re-opens the issue of whether continuing DDG-1000 production and upgrades might make more sense. DoD Buzz.

    FY 2011

     

    Sept 26/11: The US Navy releases the totals for the June 15/11 contract: $783.6 million in shipbuilding costs for DDG 113. Note that this is just the shipbuilder’s share. It excludes key items like radars, electronics, weapons, and other “government-furnished equipment.” For the recent DDG 1001/1002 contract, Bath Iron Works’ shipbuilding costs were a bit more than $2 billion for 2 ships, each of which is expected to cost a bit less than $3 billion when all is said and done. The actual cost of DDG 113/114 would work out to around $2 billion each at a similar ratio. Equipment for an Arleigh Burke Flight IIA ship has a long production history, is less sophisticated in some ways than DDG 1000’s, and does not include extras from other shipbuilders – like the Zumwalt’s composite deckhouse from HII. As such, DDG 113’s furnished equipment is very likely to be less expensive in absolute terms. The question is, would it be more than 30% less expensive, which is required in order to be lower relative to shipbuilding costs?

    The Navy also announces a $697.6 million fixed-price-incentive contract for DDG 114 construction. For DDG 114 construction, significant amounts of work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS; Cincinnati, OH; Walpole, MA; York, PA; Charlottesville, VA; Erie, PA; and Burns Harbor, IN; and is expected to be complete by July 2018. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was procured via a limited competition between Huntington Ingalls and Bath Iron Works, run by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-11-C-2305). See also HII.

    August 17/11: Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, NJ, is awarded a $6,986,478 option exercise modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-5115) for management and engineering services to maintain and modify the design of DDG 51-class combat system compartments and topside arrangements. Required services include program management and operation support, quality assurance, configuration management, ship design integration, fleet lifecycle engineering support, installation support, firmware maintenance, combat system test and evaluation, Navy-furnished material support, special studies, and future-ship integration studies.

    Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. (37%); Bath, ME (25%); Pascagoula, MO (22%); San Diego, Calif. (6%); Washington, DC (5%); Norfolk, VA (3M); Port Hueneme, CA (1%); and Syracuse, NY (1%). Work is expected to be completed by September 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, DC, is the contracting activity.

    June 15/11: Huntington Ingalls, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a fixed-price-incentive contract for DDG 113 construction, engineering change proposals, and design budgeting – in other words, the main ship contract. The US Navy just won’t tell anyone what the cost is. They’ll only say that “significant work” will be performed in Pascagoula, MS; Cincinnati, OH; Walpole, MA; Burns Harbor, IN; York, PA; and Charlottesville, VA. Work is expected to be complete by July 2017. This contract was not competitively procured by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-11-C-2309). And yet:

    “As this award represents the first DDG 51 class ship to be awarded for the continuation of the DDG 51 class program, and there is a competitive solicitation for [3] additional DDG 51 class ships, the contract award amount and percentages of work to be performed in each location for DDG 113 are considered source selection information (see 41 U.S.C. 2101, et seq., FAR 2.101 and FAR 3.104) and will not be made public at this time.”

    We’ve seen a similar pattern recently in the Littoral Combat Ship program, and the net effect is to obscure the program’s major costs from public view. Depending on how long the Navy decides to define the program as competitively solicited, and it has been built in 2 shipyards for a long time now, this could obscure costs for many years. All for a critical component of the American fleet. See also H.I.I. release.

    June 15/11: Defense News reports that Saudi Arabia may be shifting their focus away from a fully armed variant of the Littoral Combat Ship, carrying the smaller AN/SPY-1F radar and AEGIS combat system. In its place, they received May 2011 briefings concerning full DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers displacing about 3 times the tonnage, with ballistic missile defense capability upgrades. The cost trade-off would be about 4-6 modified LCS ships, in exchange for about 2 DDG-51 Flight IIA BMD ships.

    The unspoken threat here is, of course, Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The unspoken concern is the security of a top-level defense technology, which is critical to defending the USA and its allies, in Saudi hands.

    To date, the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class has never been exported per se, though their AEGIS combat system and accompanying AN/SPY-1D radars have. Japan is the only foreign country with full AEGIS BMD systems, on board their natively produced Kongo Class destroyers. Spanish F100 frigates have participated in US missile defense tests, and are eligible for the full BMD upgrade; Australia’s forthcoming Hobart Class “destroyers” are a close derivative. South Korea’s large KDX-III destroyers could be upgraded to add BMD capabilities, but the smaller SPY-1F radars on Norway’s Fridjhof Nansen Class frigates don’t have that same upgrade path available.

    Another possible option for Saudi Arabia would be used US Navy DDG-51 Flight I ships, upgraded with AEGIS BMD. That would allow the Saudis to field more ships for the same money, if an agreement was reached. The costs would lie in questions about hull life and length of service, and the Flight Is’ lack of a helicopter hangar. Helicopters have been shown to be essential defenses against speedboat threats, of the kind that Iran fields in the Persian/Arabian Gulf. Defense News | Information Dissemination.

    June 12/11: Looking ahead, Aviation Week reports that DDG-51 Flight III may be hitting design growth problems. Power, cooling, and weight distribution have always been seen as the most likely stumbling blocks to fitting next-generation radars like AMDR on the DDG-51 hull, and:

    “As the possible requirements and expectations continue to grow for the proposed DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyers, so is the concern among defense analysts and contractors that the U.S. Navy may once again be trying to pack too much into one ship… And yet it is the need to field [AMDR] that is driving some of the additional requirements for the Flight IIIs… “Sometimes we get caught up in the glamour of the high technology,” Huntington Ingalls Industries CEO Mike Petters says. “The radars get bounced around. They get changed. Their missions get changed. The technology changes. The challenge is if you let the radars drive the ships, you might not get any ships built.”

    June 3/11: BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP in Minneapolis, MN wins a $54.6 million firm-fixed-price sole-source contract for MK 41 Vertical Launching System mechanical modules and related equipment and services. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring its cumulative value to $55.5 million.

    A June 22/11 BAE release reveals that the equipment will be installed in HII’s DDG 113 & 114, and Bath Iron Works’ DDG-115. Each ship will receive 2 sets, for a total of 6. Production on the missile launchers will begin in June 2011 and run through 2013, though the contract runs to September 2015. Work will be performed in Aberdeen, SD (45%); Aiken, SC (25%); York, PA (20%); Louisville, KY (5%); and Fridley, MN (5%). Work is expected to be complete by September 2015 (N00024-11-C-5301).

    June 2/11: Northrop Grumman spinoff Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, MS receives a $25.3 million not-to-exceed contract modification for DDG 113 long lead time materials, which must be bought early to keep the ship on schedule.

    Work will be performed in Cincinnati, OH (60%), and Pascagoula, MS (40%), and is expected to be complete by June 2011 (N00024-10-C-2308).

    Feb 25/11: Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Moorestown, NJ receives a $26.7 million contract modification, exercising an option for DDG 114’s Aegis weapon system, including a multi-mission signal processor, and associated special tooling and special test equipment.

    Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ (87%), and Clearwater, FL (13%), and is expected to be complete by November 2013. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract.

    Dec 20/10: Raytheon Co. in Sudbury, MA receives a $45.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising options for the production of 2 AN/SPY-1Dv transmitter groups and 2 MK 99 Mod 8 fire control systems, for installation on DDG 114 (Northrop Grumman) and DDG 115 (GD). See also May 3/10.

    Work will be performed in Andover, MA (88%), and Sudbury, MA (12%), and is expected to be complete by April 2013. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages the contract (N00024-09-C-5111).

    Oct 14/10: Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Moorestown, NJ received a $97 million contract modification t finalize production of the DDG 113 Aegis weapon system (including a multi-mission signal processor [MMSP]); plus an additional MMSP for the Surface Combat System Center on Wallops Island, VA; DDG 114-115 advanced procurement efforts; and associated technical services. Note that DDG 115 is being built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.

    Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ (87%), and Clearwater, FL (13%), and is expected to be complete by October 2014 (N00024-09-C-5110).

    FY 2010

     

    Sept 29/10: BAE Systems in Louisville, KY receives a $7.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for engineering services and supplies to convert and upgrade one 5-inch/ 127mm MK 45 MOD 4 gun mount for the future guided missile destroyer DDG 113.

    Work will be performed in Louisville, KY (80%), and Minneapolis, MN (20%), and is expected to be complete by February 2013. $282,340 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10. The contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Port Hueneme Division in Port Hueneme, CA (N00024-07-G-5438).

    Aug 23/10: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Sudbury, MA received a $46.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, finalizing a deal to produce an AN/SPY-1D-V radar transmitter group, MK 99 Mod 8 fire control system, and other engineering services in support of DDG 113’s Aegis weapons systems ship set.

    Work will be performed in Andover, MA (88%), and Sudbury, MA (12%), and is expected to be complete by February 2014. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages these contracts (N00024-09-C-5111).

    June 21/10: Philadelphia Gear Corp. announces an $80 million contract to provide main reduction gears for 3 new Arleigh Burke Class destroyers (DDG 113, 114, and 115). Options for additional ships could bring the contract’s eventual total to more than $425 million.

    Philadelphia Gear has supplied supplied gears, sprockets and transmissions for US Navy ships since the First World War, and the firm now specializes in the design and manufacture of Main Reduction Gears (MRGs) for front line combat and support vessels. Main reduction gears are used to turn the very fast rotational speed of an engine, such as a DDG-51 type destroyers’ LM2500 turbines, into efficient slower speed rotation of the ships’ propellers. The entire assembly weighs over 100,000 pounds, is rated at at 51,550 shp, and uses a reduction ratio of 21.3746 to 1.

    Note that this contract will supply both Northrop Grumman (DDG 113/114) and Bath Iron Works (DDG 115). Earlier this year, Philadelphia Gear announced plans to move its West Coast operations from Lynwood, CA to a renovated facility in Santa Fe Springs, near Los Angeles. The new 120,000 square foot facility is slated to open in Q3 2010, and will house all assembly and test, plus more than 80% of the manufacturing work for the US Navy’s DDG program. Philadelphia Gear Corp. | FedBizOpps solicitation, which explains the exact structure of these main reduction gears.

    May 3/10: “Government-Furnished Equipment” remains a substantial share of any warship’s cost. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Moorestown, NJ receives a $91.3 million firm-fixed-price not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded contract for advance procurement of the consolidated bill of material and associated labor to support beryllium oxide resistors, phase shifters, surface mount work center production and engineering services support of production of the DDG 114 and 115’s Aegis weapon system.

    Aegis refers to both the SPY-1 radars that equip these ships, and the combat system that integrates the ship’s radar and weapons into a single coordinated defensive system. It is so integral to this and related ship classes that they are frequently described in common parlance as “Aegis destroyers/ cruisers/ frigates.”

    Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ (85%), and Clearwater, FL (15%), and is expected to be complete by December 2011. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, D.C. manages these contracts (N00024-09-C-5110).

    April 22/10: Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives an $114 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-10-C-2308), exercising an option for long lead time materials. This includes propulsion gas turbines, generators, controllable pitch propeller, and other components to support construction of DDG 114, the firm’s 30th DDG-51 destroyer.

    Work will performed in Cincinnati, OH (32%); Walpole, MA (30%); Charlottesville, VA (11%); Erie, PA (7%); Anaheim, CA (7%); Warminster, PA (2%); and various locations (11%). The effort is anticipated to start immediately, with a base period of performance ending 37 months after contract award. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages the contracts. See also Northrop Grumman release.

    Dec 2/09: Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a not-to-exceed $170.7 million letter contract for DDG 113 long lead time materials under the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyer program. Funds will be used to buy things like propulsion gas turbines, generators, air conditioning systems, controllable pitch propeller and other components, so they’ll be ready in time when construction of DDG 113 begins.

    Work is expected to be performed in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana., Mississippi, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington, to be completed by January 2013. This contract was not competitively procured by The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC, since Northrop Grumman had already been picked to build the ship (N00024-10-C-2308).

    The formal award of the DDG 113’s main construction contract is expected in 2010. See also Northrop Grumman release.

    FY 2009

     

    April 7/09: Rep. Gene Taylor [D-MS, Seapower subcommittee chair] announces that the Pentagon has reached agreements with General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works in Maine, and with Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls Shipyard in Mississippi. Read “Bath, Ingalls Agree to Navy’s Surface Combatant Plans” for details of the arrangements.

    April 6/09: US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announces his recommendations for the FY 2010 defense budget:

    “…in this request, we will include funds to complete the buy of two navy destroyers in FY10. These plans depend on being able to work out contracts to allow the Navy to efficiently build all three DDG-1000 class ships at Bath Iron Works in Maine and to smoothly restart the DDG-51 Aegis Destroyer program at Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi. Even if these arrangements work out, the DDG-1000 program would end with the third ship and the DDG-51 would continue to be built in both yards.

    If our efforts with industry are unsuccessful, the department will likely build only a single prototype DDG-1000 at Bath and then review our options for restarting production of the DDG-51.”

    Additional Readings

    Additional Readings

    FOOTNOTES

    fn1. The FY 2013 budget’s multi-year buy proposal estimates total savings of $1.538 billion, or 8.7% savings over buying the 9 ships with annual contracts. Current destroyers have a hardware cost of $250-350 million each for their Aegis radars and weapons systems, of which “major hardware” is an overwhelming percentage. Even if we use the low-end estimate for current systems, and assume no cost for retrofitting, 3 x $250 million would cut the projected total savings in half, dropping the proposed multi-year buy below the 5% savings threshold. [return]

    Categories: Defense`s Feeds

    Hybrid threats against harbours: workshop at EDA

    EDA News - Wed, 05/30/2018 - 16:12

    How can naval capabilities mitigate hybrid threats against European harbours? What steps could and should be taken to improve resilience of European harbours and which kind of cooperation is best suited to achieve this? These and many other questions were discussed at a joint workshop on Harbour protection under hybrid threat conditions’ organized by the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid C0E) today at the EDA premises.

    Picture: Bundeswehr

    Presentations and discussions focused on the broad multifaceted nature of the harbour protection and the implications on capability development in support of force protection and mobility.  The workshop took place in the context of the implementation of the EU-NATO Joint Declaration, aiming to promote a coherence between the EU and NATO in bolstering resilience. The EDA and the Hybrid Centre of Excellence cooperate to promote the effective implementation of the Joint Declaration in areas of common interest and notably on bolstering hybrid resilience.

    In his opening speech, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq stressed the economic and strategic importance of harbours in Europe, including in the military domain. “We cannot omit their huge role in providing mobility and sustainability of military forces. It’s not a surprise that civilian harbours play a significant role in the security system of individual Member States, but also in the European system. None of the CSDP missions or operations could be conducted without free and safe access to the seaports. Hybrid attacks on seaports can have serious consequences, leading to disruptions to travel and supply chains”, Mr Domecq stated.

    He welcomed the timing of the workshop as the revision of the European Capability Development Plan (CDP), scheduled to be accomplished end of June, is now on the home straight. “The outcome of this workshop, which will be presented in the form of a report to the Capability Directors in June, will have a positive impact on maritime capability development in the nearest future”, he stressed.

    In his speech, the Director of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, Matti Saarelainen, put a particular emphasis on the need for international cooperation in this crucial domain. "As international interdependency increases, it is necessary to assess and develop security more comprehensively than in the past. Hence, all stakeholders should be equally aware of the nature of the hybrid threats and share the level of awareness among them. What is essential is cooperation between and among individual countries, the EU and NATO, and sharing of experiences and best practices among them", he stated.

     

     


    Navy successfully tests “Shipkiller” | Army continues MFOCS II program | Czech-Israeli radar deal may fall through

    Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 12:00
    Americas

    • The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization is procuring services in support of the Army’s Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFOCS) II program. DRS Network & Imaging Systems LLC, a subdivision of Leonardo, will provide a number of hardware in support of the program. The MFOCS is a modular family of computing platforms which integrates networked-battle command information system capabilities onto a common computing platform. MFOCS supports situational awareness, command and control, and maneuver capability using next-generation computing and display hardware at multiple configurable levels. Leonardo DRS will provide dismountable tablets, processor units, keyboard units, removable solid-state disk storage, display units, and cabling designed for various platforms. All are ruggedized for continuous operation in a wide range of military and combat environments. MFOCS II deftly executes the software necessary for a range of applications, ranging from Command and Control to Maneuver, and Logistics and Situational Awareness. In addition, it can run multiple software packages at full speed, simultaneously, and is engineered to accommodate future software demands. The contract ceiling is $841 million. Work will be performed at a DRS’s facility in Melbourne, Florida. The ordering period for the initial five-year base period is from May 2018, through May 2023.

    • Northrop Grumman Systems is being tapped to exercise a one-year option for production and associated provisioned items of the Navy’s WSN-7 navigation system. The $10.9 million contract see for the procurement of the new AN/WSN-7(V) RLGN system, which is replacing the gyrocompasses installed onboard Navy surface ships and submarines. The AN/WSN-7 is a self-contained, ring laser gyro inertial navigation system that senses ship motions, computes the ship’s precise position, velocity, attitude, heading, and rates in digital and analog formats, and forwards the data to other vital ship systems. The passive shipboard navigation system calculates and indicates the ship’s position, attitude, heading and velocity in relation to the earth’s rotation. It senses motion, gravity, and Earth rotation, and receives externally supplied GPS updates and ship’s speed through the water. Work will be performed in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by December 2019.

    • Lockheed Martin has successfully tested its newly developed Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM). The test was conducted over the Sea Range of Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California. Two missiles were launched from a B-1B bomber, after making their way through several waypoints the missiles successfully hit a moving vessel. The LRSAM is the Navy’s answer to a growing problem that threatens its freedom of the seas. The missiles are a new generation of anti-ship weapons, offering longer ranges and better odds against improving air defense systems. The LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships using its sensors, encrypted communications and a digital anti-jamming GPS. The missile can be launched from the F/A-18 Super Hornet, the B1-B Lancer, the F-35 Lightning II and from a vertical launch system on a Navy destroyer. It is designed to be used in battle against the surface ships of advanced foes, such as China or Russia.

    Middle East & Africa

    • A deal between the Israeli defense contractor Elta Systems and the Czech Republic may fall through due to missing certifications. The $163.5 million deal between the European nation and the subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries sees for the purchase of eight ELM-2084 multi-mission radars. The ELM-2084 is an advanced three-dimensional, S-Band radar, that incorporates modular and scalable architecture. It is designed to simultaneously perform hostile weapon locating, friendly-fire ranging and air surveillance. This radar is able to detect rockets, artillery and mortars at long ranges, and can simultaneously engage a large number of targets, and is used with the SPYDER-MR, Iron Dome, Arrow 3 and David’s Sling air defense systems. The Czech defense minister, Karla Slechtova has ordered the military police to launch an investigation into the pending purchase, after Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency declined to approve the documentation for the acquisition due to concerns over the system’s interoperability with NATO’s air-defense system.

    Europe

    • Jane’s reports that the French Army is set to launch its 4×4 Vehicule Blinde Multi-Role-Light by 2019. The vehicle is produced by the French defense contractor Nexter Systems. France is currently conducting a major procurement program that intends to rationalize a hodgepodge of aging land vehicles and systems while preserving France’s industrial base. The company is currently developing three variants of the VBMR-L. The Army is set to receive up to 385 units of the 10-ton 4×4 vehicle. Deliveries between 2021 and 2025 should reach 200 vehicles.

    Asia-Pacific

    • The Indian Navy has recently commissioned its fourth ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV class. The LCU MK-IV ship is an amphibious ship with its primary role being transportation and deployment of main battle tanks, armored vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore. The vessels can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, search and rescue, disaster relief operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands. The ship has been designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, which is based in Kolkata. The ship has a displacement of 830t and is equipped with an integrated bridge system and integrated platform management system. The ship has a complement of five officers, 41 sailors and is capable of carrying an additional 160 soldiers. Four more vessels of this class are currently constructed and are expected to launch by the end of 2019.

    Today’s Video

    • The Israel Defense Force recently showcased its autonomous Cormorant drone, capable of evacuating wounded and delivering cargo.

    Categories: Defense`s Feeds

    LRASM Missiles: Reaching for a Long-Range Punch

    Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:58

    LRASM-A Concept
    (click to view full)

    The US Navy is beginning to acknowledge a growing problem that threatens its freedom of the seas: its strike reach is shrinking and aging, while potential opponents’ attack reach is expanding and modernizing. As new designs replace older planes, US carrier aircraft range is shrinking to 1950s levels. Meanwhile, its anti-ship and land attack missiles are generally older, medium-range subsonic designs like the Harpoon Block I, which are vulnerable to air defenses. In contrast, China is deploying supersonic SS-N-22 “Sunburn” missiles bought from Russia, and working on a DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile. The Sunburn is just one of Russia’s supersonic anti-ship missile options for sale, and a joint venture with India has added the supersonic PJ-10 BrahMos.

    The math is stark: enemies with longer reach, and better weapons, may be able to create large “no go” zones for the Navy in key conflict areas. In response, think-tanks like CSBA are proposing ideas like AirSea Battle, which emphasizes a combination of advance hardening, more stealth and long-range strike options, and a progressive “blinding and grinding” campaign of strikes and interdiction. Success will require some changes to America’s array, beginning with the missiles that arm its ships and aircraft. Hence LRASM: the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, with a secondary land-strike role.

    LRASM: The Program Goals & Technology

    AGM-158 JASSM
    (click to view full)

    The joint DARPA/ US Navy LRASM program was initiated in 2009 to deliver a new generation of anti-ship weapons, offering longer ranges and better odds against improving air defense systems. Rob McHenry, a program manager in the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA, explained it this way to Aviation Week:

    “We want US Navy cruisers and destroyers to be able to stand off from outside of potential adversaries’ direct counter fire range, and be able to safely engage and destroy high value targets they may be engaging against from extended range, well beyond potential adversary ranges that we may have to face… “Once the missile flies that far, it has a requirement to be able to independently detect and validate the target that it was shot at. Finding that target, the missile will have to be able to penetrate the air defenses and finally, once it gets to that target, it has to have a lethal capability to make a difference once it gets there.”

    The US military is also expecting an environment where enemies try to jam or destroy the GPS system and encrypted datalink transmissions, compounding its difficulties in targeting opponents if it can’t get many of its platforms through advanced air defenses. Those considerations underline the importance of autonomous targeting. Beyond their anti-jamming digital GPS, therefore, LRASM will also rely on a 2-way data link, a radar sensor that can detect ships (and might also be usable for navigation), and a day/night camera for positive identification and final targeting.

    LRASM began as the rapid development and demonstration of 2 very distinct variants. Although it’s tempting to see them as an air-launched and a ship-launched variant, ultimately, both designs were intended for launch from either ships or aircraft:

    LRASM-A. Lockheed Martin is basing this design on their stealthy, subsonic, turbofan-powered AGM-158B JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range) cruise missile, which doubles the AGM-158 JASSM’s range to over 500 miles. The JASSM program has had more than its share of performance problems, but tests in 2010 saved the AGM-158 JASSM for continued production.

    Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has overall responsibility for LRASM. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training manufactures the Mk-114 booster hardware, and the MK 41 VLS used aboard ships around the world. Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions collaborates with several Navy laboratories to develop and integrate the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System used on designed ships.

    JASSM is an air-launched weapon, but LRASM-A’s air or surface-launch options will make it a close counterpart to JASSM’s top rival, MBDA’s Storm Shadow/ Scalp Naval.

    PJ-10 BrahMos
    (click to view full)

    LRASM-B (Deferred). Envisioned as a ramjet-powered supersonic ship-launched missile, similar to earlier conceptions of hypersonic programs like the now-defunct RATTLRS. It’s intended to leverage prior ramjet development activities, and one of its challenges will be a suite of supporting sensors and avionics that can operate effectively at the temperatures created by high-Mach ramjet speeds. The most comparable missile out there is probably the Indo-Russian PJ-10 BrahMos, a Mach 2.8 heavy strike missile that can hit ships or land targets. Like LRASM-B, a Brahmos variant is currently being adapted for air launch as well. Unlike LRASM-B, there are also plans to put BrahMos on submarines.

    LRASM-B development was much riskier from a technical point of view, and the harsh nature of high-Mach environments would add extra risk to its manufacturing and test phases, too. Those risks are normally attractive to DARPA, but in this case, they led the agency to step back and focus on the less risky LRASM-A.

    Current Focus: LRASM Development

    LRASM-A from Mk-41
    (click to view full)

    Phase 1. Preliminary designs of the LRASM-A and the LRASM-B variants were successfully completed by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. DARPA determined that it provided sufficient confidence in the 2 designs to support an investment in flight testing.

    Phase 2. Awarded in 2010 to continue the development of both missiles, and culminate in flight demonstrations of tactically relevant prototypes of LRASM-A, LRASM-B, and the common sensor system from BAE Systems. A series of tests will cover key subsystems, including propulsion, sensors, and mission execution software. Detailed designs, analytical assessments and developmental test results will culminate in critical design reviews (CDR), ensuring that each design is ready to continue on to flight demonstration.

    P2 Testing shift. LRASM-A was programmed now execute 3 air-launched demonstrations in 2013, and 2 surface-launch demonstrations in 2014. The common sensor system was flight tested in July 2012, but by that time, the sub-sonic LRASM-A was the program’s only survivor. In January 2012, as Lockheed Martin puts it:

    “DARPA decided to focus more resources on the mature LRASM-A program, and defer further development on LRASM-B.”

    LRASM-B had been set to complete the 4 shipboard Vertical Launch System (VLS) demonstrations, so Lockheed Martin began investing company funds in an LRASM-A variant that could be launched from its Mk.41 VLS. That was followed by a 2013 DARPA contract which added surface-launch development funds, and scheduled 2 initial VLS test firings.

    The Future: Service Handoffs and OASuW

    LRASM
    click for video

    LRASM’s problem is that a US Navy filled with very high cost ship designs, and a looming fighter shortage on its carriers, may well decide to give missiles short shrift – even if they’re badly needed. Rick Edwards, VP of Tactical Missiles and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, hopes that isn’t the case:

    “Both of our LRASM solutions will deliver extraordinary range, willful penetration of ship self defense systems and precise lethality in denied combat environments… The maturity of these weapons and technologies allows near term transition to Navy magazines at an affordable price. These are low risk, practical options…”

    His firm needs to prove that, because a big opportunity is waiting in the wings. The US Navy has budgeted about $1.13 billion from FY 2013-2018 for its “Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) Weapon Dev program” to replace the xGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile. OASuW’s priority and budgets jumped sharply in the FY 2014 submission, even as the US Navy discarded the concept of an interim weapon based on the xGM-109 Tomahawk long-range cruise missile.

    OASuW Increment 1 authorized a limited buy of air-launched LRASMs on Feb 3/14. Production missile purchases will begin in FY 2017, after LRASM has been integrated with Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters and USAF B-1 bombers.

    OASuW Increment 2 will address ship-launched requirements. Harpoon anti-ship missiles were removed from all American frigates many years ago, and haven’t been installed in DDG 51 destroyers since Flight IIA began with DDG 79. The lack of anti-ship missiles on American surface combatants is becoming a problem, and likely cuts will make it a bigger problem as the USN looks to cut operating costs by cutting expensive ships like cruisers. A vertically-launched anti-ship and land strike missile that removed the need for dedicated launchers topside would solve this problem.

    The Competition

    Tomahawk MIC promo

    LRASM won’t be alone in competing for the OASuW Increment 2 opportunity.

    Kongsberg’s new NSM/JSM is a stealthy cruise missile whose variants can launch from ships, or internally from the F-35 stealth fighter. They tried to compete for OASuW Increment 1 in 2014, and were an obvious candidate for an American OASuW partnership. Next time, they’ll bid with Raytheon as their Increment 1 (air-launched) partner. There’s still a partnership slot open for Increment 2, or Kongberg could use its own resources to develop a variant that works with shipboard Mk.41 vertical launch systems.

    Raytheon has already tried to compete their JSOW-ER for OASuW’s air-launched Increment 1, but next time, they’ll be teamed with Kongsberg to offer the Joint Strike Missile. They remain committed to their xGM-109 xGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile for OASuW Increment 2, for ships that carry strike-length Mk.41 VLS cells. Recent Tomahawk upgrades have added an ESM seeker that locks onto radar or other signal emissions. That would give the long-range missile some moving target capability on land, and some anti-ship capability at sea. Wider upgrades under discussion could add a radar seeker for full “maritime interdiction capability,” as an upgrade to existing stocks of over 2,000 missiles. Upgrades offer a low-cost option, but Tomahawk’s drawback is its lack of stealth, which affects its expected ability to penetrate ship defenses.

    MBDA has their air-launched Storm Shadow stealthy cruise missile, which has already been used in combat. Their Scalp Naval/ MdCN is a related missile for use from ships and submarines.

    Boeing holds the current Harpoon contract, and has created a stealthier Harpoon alternative in the AGM-84K SLAM-ER. Indeed, the US Navy launched production of Boeing’s SLAM-ER following its pullout from the original JASSM program, and JASSM serves as LRASM-A’s design base. Boeing could unveil further improvements, develop something new, or find a foreign partner.

    ATK’s propulsion and missile expertise could also make them a factor, especially if they find a foreign partner with a cutting-edge missile.

    Contracts & Key Events

    DARPA picked 3 vendors for this program. BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration in Nashua, NH would design the onboard sensor systems. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Strike Weapons in Orlando, FL would demonstrate the LRASM-A subsonic prototype. Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control Tactical Missiles in Grand Prairie, TX was to demonstrate the LRASM-B supersonic prototype, but that part of the program was “deferred.”

    FY 2015 – 2018

     

    Chokepoints
    (click to view full)

    May 30/18: Test – LRASM hits moving vessel Lockheed Martin has successfully tested its newly developed Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM). The test was conducted over the Sea Range of Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California. Two missiles were launched from a B-1B bomber, after making their way through several waypoints the missiles successfully hit a moving vessel. The LRSAM is the Navy’s answer to a growing problem that threatens its freedom of the seas. The missiles are a new generation of anti-ship weapons, offering longer ranges and better odds against improving air defense systems. The LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships using its sensors, encrypted communications and a digital anti-jamming GPS. The missile can be launched from the F/A-18 Super Hornet, the B1-B Lancer, the F-35 Lightning II and from a vertical launch system on a Navy destroyer. It is designed to be used in battle against the surface ships of advanced foes, such as China or Russia.

    April 13/18: Super Hornet to test LRASM The first range test of Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from an F/A-18 Super Hornet will take place later this year. Speaking to Military.com, Lockheed’s vice president of strike systems, Alan Jackson said captive-carry testing is currently underway following a successful jettison release test last year. The munition has already been tested and dropped from the B-1B bomber and will be operationally fielded on the platform this September following two more flights this summer. Based on the AGM-158B JASSM-ER, the LRASM hosts the sae capabilities but can also detect, identify and attack moving, maritime targets. In addition to the Super Hornet, Lancer, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the LRASM can also be deck-launched from a vertical launch system on a Navy destroyer.

    March 21/18: Test #6 Lockheed Martin announced Monday, March 19, the successful test-firing of a production-configuration version of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). The missile was launched from a B-1B bomber from the 337th Test Squadron at the Point Mugu sea range in California. This is the sixth consecutive test of the precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile, which is based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER). The LRASM is expected to be integrated on the US Air Force’s B-1B in 2018 and on the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F in 2019.

    December 15/17: TestingLockheed Martin, in conjunction with a US Air Force B-1B bomber crew, fired two production-configuration Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM) simultaneously during a test at Point Mugu’s sea range. The two missiles were launched against multiple maritime targets and successfully met all primary test objectives, including target impact. The missile is based on the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, and employs advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments, allowing the LRASM to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships.

    November 16/17: Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $44.1 million contract for the provision of Intelligence Test Instrumentations Kits for use on the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM). The kits—which have been upgraded to eliminate obsolete parts from previous generation test kits and provide a new product that can be used on several different missiles including JASSM baseline and Extended Range missiles, as well as the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)—will be used on the missile’s flight tests for telemetry and flight termination purposes. Speaking on the new kits, Lockheed said the “electronic components in this new kit will provide enhanced reliability over the previous generation’s mechanical configuration.”

    November 03/17: BAE Systems has commenced production of its sensor technology for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) produced by Lockheed Martin. Valued at $40 million, the order will be carried out at BAE Systems’ facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire and Wayne, New Jersey. BAE says the sensor will allow the LRASM to semi-autonomously detect and identify targeted enemy ships without relying exclusively on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, networking links, or GPS navigation.

    August 21/17: The US Navy and Lockheed Martin have completed the first tactical configuration of a Long Range Anti-ship Missile (LRASM) from a B-1B Lancer bomber based out of Edwards Air Base. The free-flight launch was conducted over the Point Mugu Sea Range in California. A Lockheed statement announcing the success stated that the missile “navigated through all planned waypoints, transitioned to mid-course guidance and flew toward the moving maritime target using inputs from the onboard multimodal sensor. The missile then descended to low altitude for final approach to target area, positively identified and impacted the target.” The LRASM is slated to start entering operational service with the B-1B by next year and the F/A-18 Super Hornet by 2019.

    August 1/17: Lockheed Martin has announced the successful testing of the surface-launch variant of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). Built on the same production line as JASSM, JASSM-ER and LRASM air-launch weapons, the missile was launched from a topside canister with an angled launcher which uses the same launch control and launch sequencer software currently employed by the Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS). This launcher allows the LRASM surface-launch variant to be employed aboard various platforms in the Navy’s surface fleet, providing the potential for a powerful new anti-ship role under the US Navy’s “Distributed Lethality” concept of operations.

    July 27/17: Lockheed Martin has received a $85.5 million United States Air Force contract modification for the production and delivery of Long Range Anti Ship Missiles (LRASM) to the service. The order calls for the manufacture of 23 LRASM Lot 1 missiles, with work to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with a scheduled completion date of Sept. 29, 2019. The missile is currently being integrated with the B-1B Lancer strategic bomber and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet for air launched missions, as well as the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System used on US and allied ships for surface-to-air and land attack missiles. It is expected to be mounted on submarine vertical launch systems as well.

    April 4/17: Lockheed Martin and the US Navy have tested the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) for the first time. The missile was launched from a Super Hornet aircraft during a jettison test that aimed to validate its air-to-ground capabilities. Developed to replace the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER), the company added that the weapon will provide the Navy with more effective combat capabilities in maritime battlefields, noting the missile is ideal for tactical operations.

    May 17/16: Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $321.8 million contract by the US Navy to conduct further research and development in support of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) integration and test phase. Work to be carried out includes the completion of the detailed design of all remaining hardware and software, methodically retiring any open risks, constructing and testing missile test objects to assure compliance with capacity requirements, and preparing for manufacture and/or deployment.

    February 25/16: Commander of the United States Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the new Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) should be deployed as quickly as possible. The AGM-158C is scheduled to be put on B-1B bombers starting in September 2018, and on Navy F/A-18E/F fighters fighters the following year. The missile is part of $8.1 billion in funding allotted to improve US naval and underwater combat technologies for fiscal year 2017. Harris’s comments come as both the Chinese and Russians continue improvements to their own ballistic missile and nuclear submarine capabilities, and growing tensions in the Pacific region.

    August 24/15: The Navy has begun integration testing and certification of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) onto F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The missile is scheduled for fielding on the aircraft in 2019, with the LRASM a joint DARPA/Navy development program intended to produce the Navy’s next generation of long-range strike missiles. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin was recently awarded a $104.3 million modification for the LRASM accelerated acquisition program in June, bringing the total value of Lockheed Martin’s LRASM contract to $306.9 million.

    Oct 11/14: American A2/AD. Rep. Randy Forces [R-VA-4] sends a letter to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Odierno on the eve of the AUSA conference, pushing for the Army to set up a modern version of its Coastal Artillery: long-range, land-based anti-ship missiles that would be forward-based in friendly countries to endanger Chinese vessels and shipping. Missiles like LRASM and the longer-ranged but less stealthy AGM-109 Tomahawk are obvious candidates for this sort of thing, significantly outranging competitors like Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile or Boeing’s SLAM-ER. The RAND study that Forbes refers to actually posited using shorter-range missiles like NSM, but its maps also showed the number of deployment sites required for effective coverage.

    The idea would be a nice turnabout on China’s Anti-Access, Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy, and a Philippine deployment would produce a very tangible benefit all by itself, at low cost. On the other hand, Rep. Forbes probably underestimates the difficulty of getting many countries beyond the Philippines to accept an inherently provocative deployment whose use is technically beyond their control. Recent American waffling around the world suggests an even less palatable conclusion: the penalty for saying yes would be immediate, without any assurance that the weapons would actually be used to help the accepting country if push came to shove.

    Contrast with the Russian approach. They just sell SS-N-26 shore batteries to interested countries, helping customers to create the same barrier under their own control, without the offsetting political challenges. India’s derivative PJ-10 BrahMos missile may also wind up being used this way, if India can get its act together on the export front. Sources: RAND, “Employing Land-Based Anti-Ship Missiles in the Western Pacific” | Breaking Defense, “Army Should Build Ship-Killer Missiles: Rep. Randy Forbes”.

    FY 2013 – 2014

    Contracts begin for air-launched LRASM; Surface-launched LRASM-A gets the green light; Industrial expansion suggests optimism.

    LRASM-A Concept
    (click to view full)

    July 2/14: Lockheed Martin in Orlando, FL receives a maximum $200 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the LRASM Accelerated Acquisition program. $33 million in FY 2014 RDT&E funds are committed immediately. This effort will prepare LRASM missiles for use from Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters, and USAF B-1B bombers, in time to coincide with initial LRASM buys that begin in FY 2017.

    Work will be performed in Orlando & Melbourne, FL; Troy, AL; Nashua, NH; Boulder, CO; and Cincinnati, OH, with an expected completion date of July 6/16. The USA’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, VA manages this contract (HR0011-14-C-0079).

    OASuW-1 integration

    March 26/14: Yes competition. Just not immediately. Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley says that the initial buy of 90 LRASM missiles from FY 2017 – 2019 is a special justification and authorization buy following DARPA development, in order to deploy the air-launched version on USAF B-1 bombers (which will already have JASSM integrated) and USN F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters. US budgets actually show 110 missiles from FY 2017 – 2019 (q.v. March 4/14).

    That sole-source buy has sparked a GAO protest from Raytheon re: its JSOW-ER, which it argues offer comparable capability at lower cost. The cost assertion is correct, but the capability assertion is not, given that LRASM’s offers almost twice the range at twice the speed. The real question for the Navy is how much capability it really needs, something that’s beyond the GAO’s purview.

    However that shakes out, Stackley says that the US military plans to compete OASuW Increment 2 after that. The most important aspect of that program involves launch from ships’ Vertical Launch Cells, in order to correct a tactical Navy deficit that is becoming strategic. Raytheon will have to either offer an upgraded Tomahawk, which it should be on track to do by FY19, or substantially improve JSOW-ER’s capabilities. Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile may also have new capabilities by that time. Sources: Reuters, “U.S. Navy plans competition for next-generation missile” | USNI, “Navy to Hold Contest for New Anti-Surface Missile”.

    March 20/14: No competition. Inside Defense reports that the Pentagon has rejected bids from Kongsberg (NSM/JSM) and Raytheon (presumably improved Tomahawk), and has approved Lockheed Martin’s LRASM for a major follow-on development contract to prepare it for production in FY17 as OASuW. Sources: Inside Defense, “DOD Expands LRASM Development, Rebuffs Alternate Bids From Raytheon, Kongsberg”.

    March 4/14: FY15 Budget. The USN unveils their preliminary budget request briefings. They aren’t precise, but they do offer planned purchase numbers for key programs between FY 2014 – 2019. The briefing pegs FY 2017 as the beginning of low-rate LRASM production: 30 in FY17, 40 in FY18, and 40 in FY19. Source: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF].

    Feb 27/14: Industrial. Lockheed Martin breaks ground on a 62,000 square foot annex to its Pike County Operations’ Long Range Strike Systems cruise missile production facility in Troy, AL. When it’s complete, the facility will have expanded its existing space by 67%. The annex is supposed to be done by Q1 2015.

    The Pike County facility builds AGM-158 JASSM/ JASSM-ER missiles, and also produces test missiles for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) development program. While there is foreign interest in JASSM, an expansion of this magnitude suggests that the firm expects LRASM/OASuW to become a program in its own right. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Breaks Ground on New Cruise Missile Annex at Award Winning Facility in Alabama”.

    Jan 15/14: Testing. Lockheed Martin announces that a company-funded no-launch test “demonstrated and validated” that LRASM can be launched from any strike-length MK 41 Vertical Launch System, using the existing Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS) and a Mk-114 booster with modified software.

    The firm says that they’ve invested $30 million of their own funds to accelerate LRASM Initial Operational Capability on the USN’s Arleigh Burke Class Aegis destroyers. Which is just a number. What’s really important is the claim that they can upload some software, and sell the USN a missile and booster that lets them mount LRASM in any of their destroyers without waiting for a major maintenance interval, or spending money beyond the missiles themselves. That kind of proposition ensures that rivals like Raytheon’s non-stealthy BGM-109 Tomahawk Block IV, or Boeing’s xGM-84 non-VLS Harpoon missile family, have no opening to make minor changes and tout themselves as a “good enough” naval alternative. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Successfully Tests LRASM MK 41 Vertical Launch System Interface”.

    Nov 14/13: Testing – Air Launch. The 2nd air test goes well, as a LRASM is dropped by a B-1B bomber, navigates through all planned waypoints with in-flight targeting updates from the Weapon Data Link, then identifies and hits a moving naval target while under autonomous guidance. Sources: Lockheed Martin, Nov 14/13 release.

    Sept 17/13: Testing – Ship Launch. Lockheed Martin announces that the 1st LRASM vertical launch has been successful. In a privately-funded test aimed at the OASuW opportunity, the Boosted Test Vehicle (LRASM BTV) used a Mk-114 rocket motor from the firm’s VL-ASROC anti-submarine rocket to blast the missile out of a MK-41 Vertical Launch System canister at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The test vehicle then performed a normal guided flight profile, and subsequent examination showed no exit damage to the missile or its coatings.

    The US Navy hasn’t had a vertically-launched anti-ship missile, and the absence of anti-ship missile launchers on new destroyers and on the Navy’s frigates/Littoral Combat Ships is a growing problem. In many ways, this private test was more important than the official air launch.

    Sept 9/13: Testing – Air Launch. Lockheed Martin announces a successful LRASM test against a floating target at Point Mugu, CA, from B-1 launch, through autonomous navigation, to low level descent and impact. It’s an encouraging result, and further tests will presumably add to the complexity by using moving targets, etc. Source: Lockheed Martin, Sept 9/13 release.

    JSOW-ER test
    click for video

    June 20/13: OASuW. Raytheon VP Harry Schulte discusses OASuW at the 50th Paris Air Show. The firm contends that JSOW-ER will offer a 300 nm air-launch strike weapon at a 67-75% cost savings over LRASM, and touts an anti-ship variant of their GM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile.

    In terms of ship-launched weapons, the GM-109’s survival depends on its flight profile rather than its stealth. The Navy’s decision not to pursue an Interim OASuW based on the RGM-109 Tomahawk (q.v. April 10/13) suggests that it’s seen as inadequate against future defenses. On the other hand, there’s an legitimate argument to be had over air-launched weapons. The JSOW-ER’s 200 nautical mile range penalty and slower flight speed are operationally significant, but the US Navy has just begun to see budget cuts. In difficult budgetary times, adopting a much more expensive weapon in the name of “commonality” is a poor decision for the US Navy, unless the difference in air-launched performance justifies the decision. That may be so here, but it’s a case the US Navy should need to argue. Flight Global.

    June 3/13: Testing. Lockheed Martin is touting successful vertical launch tests for LRASM-A, but that’s an overstatement. They ran 4 tests proving that the missile can push through the VLS cover without damaging itself, ran a missile-to-canister fit check, and conducted an integrated test of the weapon control system and VLS. All useful steps, but baby steps. Lockheed Martin.

    May 13/13: Testing. Lockheed Martin announces that JASSM-ER has successfully completed USAF Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), scoring 20/ 21 successful flights covering all operational flight modes, at the full range of release conditions from the B-1B. Its success has clear implications that extend to the LRASM-A, which is based on the JASSM-ER. Lockheed Martin.

    April 10/13: FY 2014 Budget. The President releases a proposed budget at last, the latest in modern memory. The Senate and House were already working on budgets in his absence, but the Pentagon’s submission is actually important to proceedings going forward. See ongoing DID coverage.

    The OASuW Harpoon replacement program gets a sharp boost in this budget. Not only does planned FY 2014 spending jump from $44.3 million to $136 million, but overall budgets from 2014 – 2017 jump by a total of $300 million, as full ramp-up moves forward to 2014 instead of 2017. This increase holds true even though the program is canceling plans for an interim solution based on Raytheon’s xGM-109 Tomahawk long-range cruise missile.

    Current plans involve Technology Demonstration (TD) contracts for the full solution in FY 2013, with follow-on competitive prototyping if required in FY 2015. If it isn’t necessary, OSAuW would jump right to a FY 2015 Engineering & Manufacturing Development phase, with a Critical Design Review in fall 2016, and a run-time to the end of FY 2017. Operational Testing would then begin in FY 2018.

    March 21/13: LRASM-A. The Pentagon announces the 2nd contract component of Lockheed Martin’s March 5/13 announcement. Lockheed Martin in Orlando, FL receives a $54.4 million cost plus fixed fee contract modification for additional risk reduction efforts, before 2 planned LRASM-A launches from a MK.41 VLS. $16.6 + $54.4 = $71 million.

    Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (84.13%), Baltimore, MD (14.24%), and Walled Lake, MI (1.63%) until Dec 31/14. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency manages the contract (HR0011-09-C-0096).

    March 5/13: LRASM-A. Lockheed Martin announces $71 million in DARPA contracts related to LRASM-A. Discussions with Lockheed clarify that this announcement includes the $16.6 million contract announced on Oct 1/12, plus an additional $55 million that covers ongoing development work and 2 new requirements.

    The ongoing work involves risk reduction efforts like electromagnetic compatibility testing, and follow-on captive carry tests of the sensor suite.

    One new requirement is a 3rd air-launched flight test from a B-1B “Bone” bomber, in addition to the 2 scheduled flight tests under the original contract. Those flight tests are expected to take place in 2013. The second new requirement involves further development of LRASM-A’s surface launch configuration, en route to 2 surface-launched LRASM-A flight tests scheduled for 2014.

    Development of that surface-launched version is actually underway already, thanks to Lockheed Martin’s investment of its own money. DARPA’s LRASM-A Phase 2 contracts to date amount to about $131 million.

    Oct 1/12: LRASM-A. Lockheed Martin in Orlando, FL receives a $16.6 million cost plus fixed fee contract modification under the joint DARPA/ONR Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) demonstration program. It pays for additional risk reduction efforts before the initial flight test of the AGM-158 JASSM derived LRASM-A, and apparently includes a 3rd air-launch test from a B-1B bomber.

    Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (97.97%); Crestview, FL (1.40%); Santa Clarita, CA (0.63%); and Bothell, WA (0.003%), and will run until Sept 13/13 (HR0011-09-C-0096).

    FY 2009 – 2012

    Initial Phase 1 and Phase 2 contracts awarded; Testing begins; LRASM-B canceled.

    LRASM-B Concept
    (click to view full)

    Sept 3/12: Not to B. Aviation Week reports that DARPA and the Navy have quietly cancelled the supersonic LRASM-B, as of January 2012. It adds that:

    “Full-up tests of an air-launched Lrasm test vehicle are planned for early 2013, followed by tests of a vertically launched variant in late 2014. In the long term, the Jassm-based system could compete against a Tomahawk derivative for a future multipurpose missile.”

    LRASM-B canceled

    July 16/12: Testing. Lockheed Martin announces that the common LRASM sensor suite has successfully completed its 1st captive-carry flight off the coast of northwest Florida, detecting, classifying and recognizing targets from various altitudes and speeds. The sensors were mounted on a modified Sabreliner business jet, and target data processing algorithms ran real-time in the missile electronics. Ownership of the Sabreliner wasn’t specified, but LRASM sensor suite designer BAE Systems does own a T-39A flight test aircraft.

    Testing and validation of subsystems is on schedule, and is expected to lead to All-Up-Round LRASM-A flight tests in early 2013. Lockheed Martin.

    Dec 16/10: LRASM-A. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL receives a $60.4 million cost plus fixed-fee contract modification to execute the sub-sonic LRASM-A’s Phase 2, which will end with 2 LRASM-A air-launched demonstrations.

    Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (89.47%), Melbourne, FL (8.94%) and Buffalo, NY (1.59%), and is expected to be complete in February 2013. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency manages the contract (HR0011-09-C-0096). See also Jan 20/11 Lockheed Martin release for both Nov/Dec contracts.

    LRASM-A Phase 2

    Nov 30/10: DARPA formally announces [PDF] that it has sufficient confidence in the 2 missile designs to support further investment for flight testing, and the program will move on to Phase 2.

    Phase 2 OK for both

    Nov 10/10: Lockheed Martin Corp. receives a $157.7 million cost plus fixed-fee contract modification for the supersonic LRASM-B’s Phase 2, culminating in 4 demonstration launches from Mk.41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS).

    Work will be performed in Grand Praire, TX (71.32%); West Palm Beach, FL (12.53%); Broomfield, CO (5.85%); Litchfield Park, AZ (2.87%); Baltimore, MD (2.05%); East Aurora, NY (2.01%); Elkton, MD (1.24%); Portland, OR (1.23%); and Melbourne, FL (0.92%); and is expected to be completed by April 2013. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency manages the contract (HR0011-09-C-0097).

    LRASM-B Phase 2

    July 20/09: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $10 million cost plus fixed fee contract for Phase 1 of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile demonstration program.

    Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX (69%); West Palm Beach, FL (12%); King of Prussia, PA (8%); Plymouth, MN (8%); Baltimore, MD (1%); and Skokie, IL (2%), and is expected to be complete in April 2010. DARPA issued a solicitation in Federal Business Opportunities on June 6/08, and DARPA received 9 proposals, which reportedly included bids from key rivals ATK, Boeing, and Raytheon. (HR0011-09-C-0097). See also Defense Update.

    LRASM Phase 1

    Additional Readings

    Thanks to Lockheed Martin for current images of its LRASM concepts.

    Background: LRASM

    Background: Emerging Doctrine & Related Tech

    Competitors

    News & Views

    Categories: Defense`s Feeds

    Work starts on ‘Graphene Roadmap in Defence’

    EDA News - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 09:39

    On 23 May, EDA hosted a technical workshop on ‘Graphene in Defence’ which brought together some 50 experts from European Ministries of Defence, industry, SMEs, academia and research and technology organisations. With the graphene workstrand, EDA is entering unchartered but promising territory as it is the first time that this high-potential material is the subject of European collaboration in the defence domain.

    The workshop is part of EDA’s ongoing ‘Impact of Graphene in Defence’ project run by a consortium led by Tecnalia R&I Innovation.   The ambition of this project is to evaluate the possibility of establishing a European Graphene Roadmap in Defence, through the assessment of graphene’s impact and potential application in eight defence-related domains:  
    • (Opto)electronic materials and devices
    • Flexible Systems
    • Energy Devices
    • Multifunctional materials
    • Camouflage and signature management
    • Membranes and filters
    • Biomedical applications
    • Sensors
    The workshop was attended by representatives of the European Commission (DG CONNECT) who presented the ‘Graphene Flagship’, one of Future and Emerging Technology Flagships initiated by the Commission bringing together academic and industrial researchers to take graphene from the realm of academic laboratories into European society and industry.   Experts from industry, academia and MoDs also provided their insight and expertise with a view to identifying a possible timeline and the required investments to develop the 8 afore-mentioned defence applications in the air, land and domains as well as in other cross-cutting areas.

     

    More information:

     

    Raytheon paves the way | Romania gets PATRIOTic support | Indian VSHOD deal may fall through

    Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 06:00
    Americas

    • The Navy is awarding two firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity contracts in support of its submarine fleet. The contracts are being awarded to EnerSys Energy products and Exide Technologies, and come with a five-year ordering period and an aggregate ceiling of $75 million. The deal provides for the production of submarine valve regulated lead acid battery cells. The submarine valve regulated lead acid batteries provide emergency backup power supply for the nuclear reactor onboard strategic and fast attack nuclear submarines. Nuclear propulsion has seen many technological advances over the last decades. The future of the US Navy’s submarine fleet will consist of Virginia-class fast attack boats and SSBN-X strategic ballistic missile submarines. Propulsion on both vessel types will largely be the same. For example, the SSBN-X propulsion will be all-electric, which decouples the drive train from the turbines, and the pump-jet propulsion will use shrouded technology taken from the Virginia Class. Work will be performed in Warrensburg, Missouri and Forth Smith, Arkansas respectively, and is scheduled for completion by May 2023.

    • The Marine Corps is tapping Oshkosh Defense LLC in support of its Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement program. The $43 million contract provides for the procurement of Engineering Change Proposal kits, parts and/or hardware components in support of the program. The 14 variants in the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) form the core of the USA’s new state-of-the-art medium military transport truck fleet. Which in turn forms the core of the “mature logistics capability” seen in theatres of action worldwide. The Trucks produced under the Engineering Change Proposal will feature a higher capacity chassis to carry enhanced protection, a higher output alternator to simplify the electrical system and feed the growing demand for power, support enhanced vehicle diagnostics, increase engine power and performance, and introduce key safety features like electronic stability control. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and is expected to be completed by May 2023.

    • Raytheon Missile Systems is being tapped to produce more GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway IIs. The $13.4 million contract modification is being awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Paveway II kits convert standard Mk 80 family free-fall bombs into laser-guided weapons. Each guidance kit consists of a computer control group (CCG) guidance system with a semi-active laser seeker and pneumatically-controlled guidance canards for the front-end of the bomb, plus an air foil group (AFG) on the back end that provides lift and stability. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $73,7 million. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by January 2019.

    Middle East & Africa

    • Pakistan is set to receive thirty T-129 attack helicopters from Turkey. Pakistan is known to have evaluated the Turkish-built attack helicopter as part of an ongoing effort to procure a new attack helicopter for the country’s army. The T-129 is based on the AugustaWestland (now Leonardo) produced A-129 Mangusta. Turkish Aerospace Industries is the T-129’s prime contractor. The aircraft is notable for its low frontal profile, and offers a good mix of surveillance, gun and missile capabilities. The T-129A EDH carries the nose-mounted 20mm cannon turret with 500 rounds, and 4 pylons for unguided rockets. The T-129B version will add Roketsan’s MIZRAK missiles and CIRIT 70 mm Laser Guided Rockets, and Raytheon’s FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles. Pakistan currently has US-built Bell AH-1Z Vipers, Bell AH-1 Cobras and four Mi-35s in its inventory. The T129 competed against the Chinese-built Z-10.

    Europe

    • Romania is set to receive new ballistic missile defense units as part of US foreign military sales. A $395 million contract modification enables Raytheon IDS to produce a phased array tracking on radar to intercept option fire unit in support of the PATRIOT system. Phased array radar systems are used to scan, identify and track both enemy planes and incoming ballistic missiles. A PATRIOT firing battery includes several components: an antenna mast group, radar, electric power station, launchers, ECC command center, and maintenance center. They are carried on a mix of heavy and medium trucks. The radar set is either an AN/MPQ-53 radar for PAC-2 systems, or an AN/MPQ-65 for PAC-3 systems and is carried by a 10-ton M983 HEMTT truck pulling a M860 semitrailer. Work will be performed at various locations. Including Andover, Massachusetts and McKinney, Texas. The contract has an estimated completion date of April 30th, 2020.

    • The French Air Force has recently requested 38 Airbus H-160M helicopters. The aircraft will be procured under the hélicoptère interarmées léger program. The program sees for the acquisition of the country’s new tri-service medium-category rotorcraft fleet. Deliveries are scheduled to begin by 2025, with a total number of 169 units ordered. The H-160M helicopters are capable of performing air-to-air refueling and will be equipped for a broad range of missions, including search and rescue, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, close air support and air interception. Those destined for close air support tasks will be equipped with a 20mm cannon and guided rockets. Approximately 420 helicopters will be replaced by the H-160 including the French navy’s Alouette IIIs, SA 365 Dauphin and AS565 Panther, the French Air Force’s AS555 Fennec and SA330 Pumas; and the French army Pumas, SA341/SA342 Gazelles and Fennec.

    Asia-Pacific

    • A deal between the Indian government and the Russian defense contractor Rosoboronexport may be cancelled following a series of complaints from the other competitors. The $1.5 billion contract would provide for the procurement of up to 5.000 very-short range air defense or VSHOD systems. The Russian company made the lowest bid and competed against Saab of Sweden, Rafael of Israel, MBDA and Thales of France, and LIG Nex 1 of South Korea. After technical evaluation and qualification of the proposed systems, only Igla-S by Rosoboronexport, RBS 70 NG by Saab and Mistral by MBDA were selected for trials. VSHOD systems are designed for detecting, tracking and intercepting airborne targets, including a wide variety of low RCS and low-flying targets such as fighter aircraft, ultra-lights and UAVs. VSHOD systems help a country to make its airspace dangerous enough to deny enemies full air dominance. Considering India’s very limited defense budget it seems unlikely that a possible deal will move ahead in the near future.

    Today’s Video

    • Russia starts construction of its first Husky Class Nuclear submarine

    Categories: Defense`s Feeds

    The US Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Contracts

    Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 05:58

    Basic Nuclear Propulsion
    (click to expand)

    This DII Spotlight article covers American nuclear propulsion industrial base contracts since the beginning of FY 2006. The USA has had an all-nuclear submarine fleet for over 50 years, a policy that dates back to the visionary Admiral Hyman Rickover. On the surface, America’s aircraft carriers became an all-nuclear fleet with the retirement of the USS Kitty Hawk [CV 63], and FY 2008-09 spending legislation pushed the US Navy to use nuclear power in its future CG (X) cruisers and new amphibious ship classes. At present, however, carriers are the only nuclear-powered American surface ships on the drawing board.

    The civilian nuclear sector has seen major advances over the last 2 decades, and so has the military sector. The commitment to a nuclear fleet includes funding for those technical advances, as well as work to maintain both the reactors on board American ships, and the industrial base that supports them.

    Nuclear Naval Propulsion Around the World

    CVN Charles de Gaulle
    (click to view full)

    Several navies around the world currently use nuclear propulsion in at least some ships and submarines. Britain’s sale of its SSK Upholder Class to Canada (as the problem-plagued Victoria Class) has made them an all-nuclear submarine fleet, like their American allies. China, France, India, and Russia all use naval nuclear propulsion within mixed submarine fleets, and Brazil has launched an SSN program of its own.

    On the surface, America’s aircraft carriers are joined by France’s problem-plagued aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle, and by Russia’s Kirov Class cruisers.

    The saga of the Charles de Gaulle serves as a reminder that adapting nuclear power technologies to the small spaces of a submarine, or installing them a surface warship, is no trivial feat. Much can go wrong, even in nations that have considerable naval nuclear propulsion experience.

    On the flip side, advances in design can offer significant benefits. The new nuclear plants in America’s Virginia Class and Seawolf Class fast attack subs, and in Britain’s new Astute Class fast attack submarines, offer designs that will save billions of dollars by eliminating the standard mid-life reactor refueling.

    American Contracts (FY 2006 – Present)

    SSN-774 cutaway:
    Virginia Class
    (click to view: Large!)

    Most contracts noted here are awarded by the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, DC. The exception is Babcock & Wilcox contracts. They’re issued by the US Department of Energy, rather than the Department of Defense, even though they’re defense-related.

    Completion dates or other additional information are not provided for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program contracts as a matter of official policy. Other contracts related to maintenance, however, may show completion dates.

    FY 2017 – 2018

    Over $13 billion in contracts; mPower fails to gain traction.

    CVN-71, Indian Ocean
    (click to view full)

    May 29/18: Backup needed The Navy is awarding two firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity contracts in support of its submarine fleet. The contracts are being awarded to EnerSys Energy products and Exide Technologies, and come with a five-year ordering period and an aggregate ceiling of $75 million. The deal provides for the production of submarine valve regulated lead acid battery cells. The submarine valve regulated lead acid batteries provide emergency backup power supply for the nuclear reactor onboard strategic and fast attack nuclear submarines. Nuclear propulsion has seen many technological advances over the last decades. The future of the US Navy’s submarine fleet will consist of Virginia-class fast attack boats and SSBN-X strategic ballistic missile submarines. Propulsion on both vessel types will largely be the same. For example, the SSBN-X propulsion will be all-electric, which decouples the drive train from the turbines, and the pump-jet propulsion will use shrouded technology taken from the Virginia Class. Work will be performed in Warrensburg, Missouri and Forth Smith, Arkansas respectively, and is scheduled for completion by May 2023.

    May 01/18 Full steam ahead: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc., of Monroeville, Pennsylvania has been awarded two cost-plus-fixed-fee modifications to previously awarded contracts. They provide for various naval nuclear propulsion components and have a cumulative cost of over $250 million. The USA has had an all-nuclear submarine fleet for over 50 years, a policy that dates back to the visionary Admiral Hyman Rickover. On the surface, America’s aircraft carriers became an all-nuclear fleet with the retirement of the USS Kitty Hawk. Currently a 5-year, $17 billion deal is building 10 Virginia Class Block IV fast attack submarines for the US Navy, bringing production to 2 boats per year. Work will be performed in Monroeville, Pennsylvania and Schenectady, New York. Fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion funding is being obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. No completion date or additional information is provided on Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program contracts.

    January 11/17: A one hundred billion dollar plan for the US Navy to procure 12 new Columbia-class nuclear submarines has moved forward. Outgoing Pentagon acquisition undersecretary Frank Kendall gave his blessing to the program, announcing the Milestone B approval, which will move work on the new subs into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase. With less than ten days left of the Obama administration, it is expected that President-elect Donald Trump will continue the effort after his inauguration on January 20. Costing $127 billion and expected to stretch into the 2030s, the program will see Ohio-class nuclear submarines replaced in what was originally referred to as the Ohio Class Replacement (ORP).

    December 29/16: Bechtel Plant Machinery will deliver nuclear propulsion components in a $303 million US Navy contract. The components provide nuclear propulsion capabilities to power a variety of Navy vessels, including submarines and aircraft carriers, by drawing power from a small nuclear power plant installed on the vessel. Bechtel received $205 million in Fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and Fiscal 2017 procurement funding at the time of the award.

    FY 2013 – 2014

    Over $13 billion in contracts; mPower fails to gain traction.

    July 23/14: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $39.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for naval nuclear propulsion components. All funds are committed immediately, and work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (99%), and Schenectady, NY (1%) (N00024-12-C-2106).

    May 5/14: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $17.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract for naval nuclear propulsion components. All funds are committed immediately, and work will be performed in Schenectady, NY (68%), and Monroeville, PA (32%) (N00024-12-C-2106).

    April 30/14: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group announces 7 orders from the US Naval Reactors Program, worth about $195 million in total.

    The first 4 are new, incrementally funded contracts for SSBN-X submarine reactor engineering design, fabrication and development work. They total $76.8 million.

    A $23.7 million FY 2014 order will manufacture nuclear components to support US defense programs, including naval nuclear power systems for submarines and aircraft carriers. It’s part of a previously announced $1.3 billion contract.

    A $76 million FY 2014 order buys material to be used in the assembly of nuclear propulsion components, as part of a previously announced $366 million contract (q.v. May 15/13).

    Finally, a new $18.8 million contract covers FY 2014 disassembly and recovery of highly enriched uranium materials. Sources: B&W NOG, “B&W Announces $195 Million in Naval Reactors Contracts and Orders”.

    April 14/14: mPower. B&W had hoped for civilian projects using its small modular mPower reactor design (q.v. July 14/10), which built on US naval nuclear reactor technology to create safer and more compact 3++ generation reactors. Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked out. From “B&W Announces Restructuring of Small Modular Reactor Program”:

    “B&W continues to believe in the strength of the mPower technology, but without the ability to secure significant additional investors or customer Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts to provide the financial support necessary to develop and deploy mPower reactors, the current development pace will be slowed…. B&W notified the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on April 9 of its plans for reduced spending, indicating it would work with the DOE and other stakeholders during the next one to two months to confirm the best path forward to develop a mutually agreeable plan including program milestones for continuing the cost-shared industry partnership program. B&W expects to invest up to $15 million annually, beginning the third quarter of 2014.”

    mPower downgraded

    March 28/14: Personnel. Babcock & Wilcox restructures its government operations, moving the Nuclear Operations Group, Nuclear Fuel Services, and B&W Technical Services Group, Inc. under President and COO Peyton S. (Sandy) Baker. In parallel, Kenneth R. Camplin is named Government Operations VP and Chief Business Development Officer, and Charles G. (Chuck) Spencer, will serve as COO of the Technical Services Group. Sources: B&W, “B&W Restructures Government Operations; Names Peyton S. Baker to Lead”.

    Feb 27/14: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. receives 2 contract worth about $302 million from the US Department of Energy’s Naval Reactors Laboratory Field Office. Both are 1-year contracts with an added 1-year option.

    The 1st contract involves the manufacture and delivery of fuel and support activities for the US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, as the program’s sole provider since 1964. The 2nd covers development of material for future Naval Reactors programs.

    Work under the contracts will be performed at NFS facilities in Erwin, TN from January 2014 through February 2016. Sources: B&W, “B&W Subsidiary Awarded Up to $302 Million in Contracts for Naval Reactors Fuel, Materials Services”.

    Nov 5/13: Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp. in San Francisco, CA receives a $7.07 billion contract modification for naval nuclear propulsion work at the Bettis & Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories. Bechtel says it’s 1 of 2 concurrent 5-year contracts that add up to about $13 billion, split between the US Department of Energy and the US Navy.

    Under the two 5-year extensions, Bechtel will continue providing management and operations services at the Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories, and will continue its work in support of the US Naval Reactors Program through Sept 30/18. Bechtel has provided management and operation services for the labs since 2009, and their management and operation services at the Bettis Laboratory extend all the way back to 1999.

    Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY (58%), Pittsburgh, PA (32%), and Idaho Falls, ID (10%). $82.9 million in FY 2014 funding is committed immediately, and if fully funded, $484.7 million will expire at the end of the fiscal year, on Sept 30/14 (N00024-08-C-2103). Sources: Pentagon | Bechtel, “Bechtel Awarded Contract Extensions for US Naval Reactors Program”.

    $13 billion multi-year extensions

    Oct 29/13: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $197.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for naval nuclear propulsion components. All funds are committed immediately, using the Navy’s FY 2014 other procurement funds. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (93%), and Schenectady, NY (7%) (N00024-12-C-2106).

    May 21/13: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $7.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (80.4%), and Schenectady, NY (19.6%) (N00024-12-C-2106).

    May 15/13: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. announces a $366 million contract from the US Naval Reactors Program, for material to be used in the assembly of nuclear propulsion components. An initial $75 million has been released, with the rest available over the next 6 years from 2014 – 2019. Work will take place in B&W NOG’s Lynchburg, VA facility. Sources: B&W NOG, May 15/13 release.

    Feb 11/13: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. announces 2 U.S. Naval Reactors Program contracts totaling approximately $36 million, building nuclear components for Virginia Class submarines. $32 million is for nuclear propulsion components, and $4 million is for long lead-time items. Work began in Q4 2012 and will be performed at B&W’s Lynchburg, VA facility over a 4-year period. Sources: B&W NOG, Feb 11/13 release.

    Feb 5/13: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. announces “more than $510 million” in contracts to make nuclear components over an 8-year to support U.S. defense programs, “…including the manufacture of naval nuclear power systems for submarines and aircraft carriers. The entire amount was appropriated in the fourth quarter of 2012.”

    Over $445 million was issued as options under the $2 billion contract awarded in 2010 (q.v. Oct 19/09), while over $65 million is issued under a new FY 2013 agreement. Work will be performed at B&W NOG’s Lynchburg, VA facility; at Barberton and Euclid, OH; and Mt. Vernon, IN facilities, beginning January 2013. Sources: B&W NOG, Feb 5/13 release.

    Nov 20/12: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $330.1 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract for naval nuclear propulsion components.

    Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (91.09%) and Schenectady, NY (8.91%). $253 million is committed at the time of award, and $1.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00024-12-C-2106).

    Nov 15/12: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $355.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for naval nuclear propulsion components.

    Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (68.75%), and Schenectady, NY (31.25%). US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-13-C-2121).

    FY 2012

    About $1.5 billion in contracts.

    July 12/12: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. announces 3 US Naval Reactors Program contracts, worth a total of about $73 million. The contracts are for “technology development and nuclear manufacturing in support of US Navy training operations and other naval nuclear-related programs.”

    June 28/12: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. announces 2 US Naval Reactors Program contracts, worth a total of about $82 million. They’ll make steam generating components, and perform disassembly and recovery of highly enriched uranium materials.

    May 15/12: Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $20 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for Naval Nuclear Propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (96.33%), and Schenectady, NY (3.67%), under (N00024-12-C-2106).

    May 9/12: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. (B&W NOG) announces a 5-year, $130 million contract for nuclear reactor components, “based on recent technological advances that will be used on the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-Class submarines.” The release adds that this award is not part of any similar, previously announced contracts, but stands on its own as an added buy.

    Work will be performed at B&W NOG’s Lynchburg, VA facility, beginning immediately.

    Feb 6/12: Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $583 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (65.9%), and Schenectady, NY (34.1%), under (N00024-12-C-2107).

    Feb 1/12: Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp. in San Francisco, CA receives a $359.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for nuclear propulsion work at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Work will be performed in Norwich, CT (84.9%); Monroeville, PA (12.5%); and Norfolk, VA (2.6%), under (N00024-08-C-2103).

    Feb 1/12: Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $12.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to exercise an option for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (N00024-12-C-2106).

    It’s possible that this announcement supersedes an erroneous announcement the day before.

    Jan 31/12: Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $12.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to exercise an option for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (N00024-12-C-2106).

    Nov 17/11: Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $261.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for naval nuclear propulsion components. $140.8 million of that is being committed now, with the rest available if and as needed.

    Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (97.7%), and Schenectady, NY (2.3%). $1,000,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00024-12-C-2106).

    Nov 3/11: Babcock & Wilcox subsidiary Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. (NFS) announces a $114.9 million contract extension to manufacture and deliver fuel and support activities for the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion program.

    NFS manufactures nuclear fuel for the U.S. Navy’s fleet of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines, also processes HEU in a highly secure, NRC-licensed Category 1 facility. They’ve been doing that for over 50 years.

    FY 2011

    About $1.96 billion in contracts so far; $2b contract to B&W from 2011-2013.

    May 27/11: Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc., Monroeville, PA receives a $26.8 million contract modification for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (93.7%), and Schenectady, NY (6.3%) (N00024-07-C-2100).

    Feb 11/11: Babcock & Wilcox subsidiary Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. (NFS) announces a $79 million 2011 contract extension to manufacture and deliver fuel and support activities for the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion program.

    Jan 13/11: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. announces an award of approximately $2 billion for the manufacture of nuclear components to support US defense programs, which includes the manufacture of naval nuclear power systems for submarines and aircraft carriers. The base portion of the contract, which totals $807 million, will be funded in January and March and included in backlog at the end of 2010. The options are expected to be funded in FY 2012 and 2013. The work will be performed over a 10-year period, beginning in January 2011. Babcock & Wilson was spun off from McDermott International in July 2010 (see Jan 27/10 entry re the Nuclear Operations Group). Babcox & Wilcox release.

    Nov 29/10: Bechtel Plant Machinery in Monroeville, PA receives a $232.3 million contract modification to for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (90.2%), and Schenectady, NY (9.8%). $3.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10 (N00024-07-C-2100).

    This brings the firm’s announced FY 2011 contracts to $1.047 billion.

    Oct 29/10: Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $303.5 million contract modification for naval nuclear propulsion components.

    Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (70.8%), and Schenectady, NY (29.2%). This is a NAVSEA contract (N00024-07-C-2102).

    Oct 25/10: Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a new $511.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for naval nuclear propulsion components.

    Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (70.8%), and Schenectady, NY (29.2%). This is a NAVSEA contract (N00024-11-C-2127).

    FY 2010

    mPower brings miniaturization to civil tech; $1.39 billion in contracts.

    mPower reactor
    (click to view full)

    July 14/10: mPower. All that work on more compact reactors may be about to start paying civilian dividends as well. Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy, Inc. and Bechtel Power Corporation announce a formal alliance to design, license and deploy the world’s first commercially viable Generation III++ small modular nuclear power plant. This is a purely civilian project, but it draws heavily on existing experience in both civilian and military reactor construction, and could have feedback loops into future military design and deployment.

    This new “Generation mPower” alliance aims to build on the 125 megawatt B&W mPower SMR(Small Modular Reactor) development program underway for the past 2 years. B&W will focus on designing and testing the nuclear steam supply system (NSSS) and nuclear island, including the design certification application development and submission, and NSSS production. Bechtel will complement these responsibilities with integrated engineering and project management leadership. Depending on regulatory approval and other factors, the alliance believes that the first plant could be deployed as early as 2020. B&W release | B&W feature, incl. video. | Bechtel release | Bechtel feature, incl. video. | Wall St. Journal.

    April 29/10: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $37.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (90%) and Schenectady, NY (10%). Contract funds in the amount of $923,558 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00024-07-C-2100).

    Jan 27/10: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. announces an award of approximately $450 million for the manufacture of nuclear components to support U.S. defense programs, which includes the manufacture of U.S. Naval nuclear power systems for submarines and aircraft carriers.

    Babcock & Wilcox is an operating group of McDermott International, Inc., and employs about 4,000 people. B&W NOG is headquartered in Lynchburg, VA, with locations in Barberton, OH; Mount Vernon, IN; and Euclid, OH; as well as at subsidiary Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. in Erwin, TN. Together, the facilities offer a range of nuclear components and services, from providing nuclear fuel and the manufacture of reactors for U.S. Naval submarines and aircraft carriers to other nuclear and non-nuclear R&D and component production. The company also performs plutonium and uranium decontamination and decommissioning, facility stabilization, and nuclear materials management. Babcock & Wilcox release.

    Nov 18/09: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $248.8 million modification to a previously awarded contract for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (95%) and Schenectady, NY (5%). Contract funds in the amount of $326.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00024-07-C-2100).

    Nov 10/09: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $110.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract for additional naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY (86%) and Monroeville, PA (14%) (N00024-07-C-2102).

    Oct 19/09: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives a $523.5 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Monroeville, PA (67%) and Schenectady, NY (33%)

    Subsequent releases indicate that this contract actually has a total potential value of over $2 billion (N00024-10-C-2119).

    Oct 13/09: General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, CT received an $18.1 million modification to a previously awarded contract for reactor plant planning yard services for nuclear-powered submarines and support yard services for the US Navy’s moored training ships. The contractor will furnish, fabricate, or acquire such materials, supplies and services as may be necessary to perform the functions of the planning yard for reactor plants and associated portions of the propulsion plants for nuclear-powered submarines.

    Work will be performed in Groton, CT (95%), Charleston, SC (5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2010. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-07-C-2103).

    FY 2009

    $2.66 billion in contracts, which includes part of a $2.66 billion, 10-year contract to B&W.

    May 29/09: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Monroeville, PA receives an $11.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (90.5%) and Schenectady, NY (9.5%). Contract funds in the amount of $233,157 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00024-07-C-2100).

    Feb 25/09: Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. announces awards “in excess of $1 billion” for the manufacture of nuclear components to support U.S. defense programs, including the manufacture of U.S. Naval nuclear power systems for submarines and aircraft carriers. This work is part of a previously negotiated and announced set of contracts that, if fully executed, will be worth more than $2.66 billion in revenue over 10 years.

    As a result of this increased workload, B&W NOG expects to hire an estimated 250 new salaried and hourly employees throughout 3 of its locations. B&W NOG is headquartered in Lynchburg, VA, with locations in Barberton, OH; Mount Vernon, IN; and Euclid, OH; as well as at subsidiary Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. in Erwin, TN.

    Nov 3/08: Curtiss-Wright Corporation announces a contract from Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. (BPMI), to provide critical valves for the nuclear propulsion systems in the U.S. Navy’s next 4 Virginia-Class submarines, and the 2nd Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier [CVN 79]. The contract contains options for up to 4 more sets: a submarine ship-set and an aircraft carrier ship-set funded in 2008, and 2 additional submarine ship-sets to be funded in 2009.

    The value is over $83 million if all options are exercised, and the initial award is for an initial ship-set of submarine valves and long lead materials valued at approximately $15 million. Curtiss-Wright’s Flow Control segment will perform the work at its facility in East Farmingdale, NY. Delivery is scheduled to commence in 2009 and continue through 2017.

    Variants of Curtiss-Wright’s Smart, Leakless Valves are already used in the commercial nuclear power industry. These fully automated, sealed solenoid valves can control the flow of liquids, gas, and steam, withstanding up to 2500 psi pressure and 670F temperatures while requiring little to no maintenance over long periods. The firm is now using the valve beyond nuclear power applications, and has a $62 million contract to retrofit all of the JP-5 jet fuel pumping station valves on the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz class aircraft carriers.

    Oct 30/08: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA receives a $605 million modification to previously awarded contract for additional naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (68%) and Schenectady, NY (32%) (N00024-07-C-2102).

    Oct 16/08: Babcock & Wilcox announces a new award for the manufacture of nuclear components in support of U.S. defense programs. The contracts employ a multiple-award approach over a number of years, which is designed to give the U.S. government cost predictability, while providing B&W with additional financial incentives based on performance.

    Under this award, the contracts for 2008 are valued in excess of $230 million. They are the initial contracts under a negotiated set of orders that, if executed, would total more than $960 million between 2008 – 2010. These awards are in addition to a $1.7 billion series of contracts that B&W previously announced for 2007 – 2009. If all future orders are placed, the total value of the awards for the period of 2007 – 2010 would be approximately $2.66 billion.

    Oct 15/08: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA receives a $200.5 million cost plus fixed fee modification to previously awarded contract for Naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (97%) and Schenectady, NY (3%) (N00024-07-C-2100).

    Oct 15/08: KAPL Inc. (Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory) in Schenectady, NY receives a $62.2 million cost plus fixed fee modification to previously awarded contract for Naval nuclear propulsion work during FY 2009. This is the contract’s 9th year of performance.

    Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY, and funding in the amount of $39.1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The original contract was competitively procured (N00024-00-C-4011).

    Oct 14/08: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $349 million cost plus fixed fee contract for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (77%) and Schenectady, NY (23%) (N00024-09-C-2108).

    Oct 10/08: Bechtel Bettis Inc. in West Mifflin, PA received a $205.3 million cost-plus-fixed fee modification for FY 2009 naval nuclear propulsion work at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. Work will be performed in West Mifflin, PA, and contract funds in the amount of $90 million will expire at the end of FY 2009 (N00024-98-C-4064)

    FY 2008

    $6-9.7 billion to operate Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories; $1.58 billion in other contracts.

    Sept 18/08: Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp. in San Francisco, CA receives a cost plus fixed fee contract for “Naval Nuclear Propulsion work.” What this means is that Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation (BMPC) has been awarded contracts to operate the Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories, under a 5-year contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). This contract was competitively procured, with 3 offers received via the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industry Interactive Procurement System (N00024-08-C-2103).

    The Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory is currently operated by Bechtel Bettis, Inc.; it has facilities in Pittsburgh, PA; Idaho Falls, ID; and Charleston, SC. The Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, NY, is currently operated by Lockheed Martin subsidiary KAPL, Inc. BMPC will assume operation of the Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories on Feb 1/09, following a 4-month transition period.

    Bechtel’s release values this contract at $6 billion, but the Pentagon’s DefenseLINK adds that the contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to an estimated $9.724 billion. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY (30%); Idaho Falls, ID (15%); and Pittsburgh, PA (55%). See also Bechtel release.

    April 16/08: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received an $80.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to previously awarded contract for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (99%) and Schenectady, NY (1%) (N00024-07-C-2100).

    Feb 22/08: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $312.6 million modification to previously awarded cost-plus-fixed fee contract for Naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (68.3%, and Schenectady, NY (31.7%) (N00024-08-C-2118).

    Dec 6/07: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $165.7 million modification to previously awarded contract for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (74%), and Schenectady, N.Y. (26%) (N00024-07-C-2100).

    Oct 16/07: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $282.3 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (62%) and Schenectady, NY (38%). The contract was not competitively procured (N00024-08-C-2118).

    Oct 16/07: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $124.4 million cost-plus-fixed fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2102) for additional naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (52%) and Schenectady, NY (48%) (N00024-07-C-2102).

    Oct 12/07: Bechtel Bettis Inc., Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, West Mifflin, PA received a $450.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-98-C-4064) for Naval Nuclear Propulsion work at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. Work will be performed in West Mifflin, PA. Contract funds in the amount of $242.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    GlobalSecurity.org notes that:

    “Bettis [Atomic Power Laboratory] is engaged solely in the design and development of naval nuclear propulsion plants. The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program is a joint Navy/DOE program responsible for all matters pertaining to Naval nuclear propulsion. This Program is distinct from the remainder of DOE both by Presidential Executive Order and by statute.

    The Lab provides technical support for the safe and reliable operation of existing Naval reactors. Bettis designed reactor plants for the first nuclear-powered submarine (USS Nautilus), the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (USS Enterprise), all of the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, and the USS Seawolf [attack submarines]. …A major new initiative for the Laboratory is design of the nuclear propulsion plants and electrical power systems for the next class of US Navy aircraft carriers.”

    The CVN-21 Class super-carriers‘ new reactor is an important part of the effort to slash their lifetime costs by up to $5 billion per ship.

    Oct 11/07: KAPL Inc. (Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory) in Schenectady, NY received a $168.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-00-C-4011) for Naval nuclear propulsion work at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY. Contract funds in the amount of $109 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    Oct 10/07: General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, CT received an $16.2 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2103) for reactor plant planning yard services for nuclear-powered submarines and support yard services for the US Navy’s moored training ships. Work will be performed in Groton, CT (95%), Charleston, SC (5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2008. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC.

    FY 2007

    B&W finishes asbestos-related financial reorganization; Up to $1.7b to BWXT through 2007-2009; $1.62 billion in contracts.

    June 6/07: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Schenectady, NY received a $69.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2100) for Naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (85%) and Schenectady, NY (15%).

    April 30/07: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Schenectady, NY received a $13.4 million cost-plus-fixed fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2101) for additional naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY.

    March 30/07: McDermott International, Inc. subsidiary, BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT) announces 2 major U.S. Government contracts to manufacture nuclear components in support of U.S. defense programs. Taken together, the awards are worth more than $320 million, and contain options for the anticipated requirements through 2009 that could total up to $1.7 billion. BWXT can improve the contracts’ profitability by achieving certain performance measures.

    BWXT, headquartered in Lynchburg, VA, supplies nuclear operations services and products to the US Government and commercial clients. BWXT also manages complex production facilities and advanced energy products. Among its diverse capabilities are decontamination and decommissioning, waste management, engineering, and project management services.

    Feb 28/07: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Schenectady, NY received a $7.8 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2102) for additional naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY.

    Dec 27/06: McDermott International, Inc. and its subsidiaries announce that they have completed remaining financial obligations under The Babcock & Wilcox Company’s (“B&W”) plan of reorganization and settlement agreement. With the completion of these payments, the Company has satisfied all of its financial obligations to the B&W asbestos trust.

    On on Dec 1/06, the Company retired the $250 million contingent promissory note utilizing the term loan feature under B&W’s credit facility; and on Dec 21/06, McDermott paid from cash on hand the $355 million contingent payment right. The contingent payment right and contingent note vested on Dec 1/06, as a result of the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2005, or other similar legislation, failing to become law by Nov 30/06. The new term debt matures on Feb 22/12, and bears interest at LIBOR plus 3.0%. McDermott may prepay this loan at any time without penalty.

    By completing all payments owed to the asbestos trust ahead of schedule and during this calendar year, the Company accelerates the tax benefit associated with these payments. EVP and CFO Frank Kalman says that they expect to receive a cash tax refund of approximately $250 million, most likely in late 2007 or early 2008, subject to the resolution of open IRS tax audits.

    Oct 17/06: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Schenectady, NY received a $267.5 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for naval nuclear propulsion components, raising its contracts awarded to $442.2 million total since Oct 1/06. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (52%) and Schenectady, NY (48%). The contract was not competitively procured (N00024-07-C-2101). DID has covered previous awards to Bechtel Plant Machinery for naval nuclear propulsion components, including the previous 2 entries, plus FY 2006 awards for $166.3 million in December 2005, and another $272.2 million in October 2005. A FY 2006 award for $35.6 million was also made in on May 25, 2006, but not covered by DID at the time.

    Oct 16/06: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Schenectady, NY received a $44.8 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for naval nuclear propulsion components, which can be added to the Oct. 12, 2006 award to get a total of $174.7 million. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY. The contract was not competitively procured (N00024-07-C-2102).

    Oct 12/06: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Schenectady, NY received a $129.9 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for Naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY (48%) and Pittsburgh, PA (52%). The contract was not competitively procured (N00024-07-C-2100)

    Oct 12/06: Bechtel Bettis Inc., Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, PA received a $461.1 million cost-plus-fixed fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-98-C-4064 for naval nuclear propulsion work (FY 2006 award: $480.7 million). Work will be performed in West Mifflin, PA. This action represents funding of the contract’s 7th year of effort, and contract funds in the amount of $104.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    Oct 12/06: KAPL Inc. (Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory) in Schenectady, NY received a $160.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-00-C-4011 for Naval nuclear propulsion work at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory during fiscal year 2007 (FY 2006 award: $138.6 million). Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY. This represents funding for the contract’s 7th year of performance, and funding in the amount of $25.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00024-00-C-4011).

    Oct 11/06: General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, CT received an $18.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, level of effort contract for reactor plant planning yard services for nuclear-powered submarines and support yard services for Navy moored training ships. This work generally includes engineering services for lifecycle support, maintenance and modernization of the reactor plants and selected propulsion-plant systems of Los Angeles, Trident and Seawolf-class submarines, and the nuclear research submarine NR-1. Additionally, Electric Boat provides similar services for all systems on the Navy’s moored training ships in Charleston, SC.

    Work will be performed in Groton, CT (95%) and Charleston, SC (5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2007. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-07-C-2103).

    FY 2006

    B&W out of bankruptcy; $1.54 billion in contracts.

    May 25/06: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. Schenectady, N.Y., is being awarded a $35.6 million cost-plus-fixed fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-2102) for Naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (68%) and Schenectady, NY (32%).

    Feb 22/06: McDermott International, Inc. announces that:

    “The Babcock & Wilcox Company and certain of its subsidiaries (“B&W”) have now exited from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and entered into its previously announced settlement. Accordingly, B&W’s financial results will be re-consolidated with McDermott’s and its operations managed without Bankruptcy Court supervision.”

    The move comes 6 years to the day since its original Chapter 11 filing. McDermott also announces that B&W has finalized and implemented its exit-financing package, and has funded its initial payment of $350 million and $1.15 billion face-amount of insurance to the asbestos-claimants’ trust. Depending on the status of national asbestos legislation at Nov 30/06, either an additional $25 million or $605 million in consideration will be made available to the trust in the time periods required.

    B&W’s exit-financing package consists of 3 tranches, for a combined total of $650 million of credit capacity. In December 2005, Moody’s Investors Services and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services issued newly assigned credit ratings for B&W of B1 and B+, respectively.

    B&W out of Chap. 11

    Dec 20/05: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $166.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-2102) for naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (73%) and Schenectady, NY (27%).

    Dec 19/05: McDermott International, Inc. subsidiary, BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT) announces “several major U.S. government contracts,” valued “in excess of $410 million,” for the manufacture of components in support of U.S. defense programs. BWXT, headquartered in Lynchburg, VA, supplies nuclear power operations services and products to the US government and commercial clients.

    Oct 20/05: KAPL Inc. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, NY received a $138.6 million cost-plus-fixed fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-00-C-4011) for naval nuclear propulsion work at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY.

    Oct 20/05: Bechtel Bettis Inc. at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, PA, received a $480.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-98-C-4064) for naval nuclear Propulsion work at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. Work will be performed in West Mifflin, PA.

    Oct 18/05: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $279.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Schenectady, NY (50%) and Pittsburgh, PA (50%). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured (N00024-06-C-2106).

    Oct 14/05: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $30.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-04-C-2104) for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA.

    Additional Readings

    Categories: Defense`s Feeds

    Turkey Finally Lands Its Attack Helicopters

    Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 05:56

    T129 ATAK
    (click to view full)

    Turkey has been looking to modernize its attack helicopter fleet since the mid-1990s, but the process has mostly served as an object lesson in how not to buy defense equipment. This competition faced many difficulties; after numerous snafus, technology transfer and production issues, and canceled competitions, all 3 invited American manufacturers had abandoned the competition entirely.

    Even the “final” round seemed imperiled, following reports of the Turkish military’s deep dissatisfaction with the choices. Nevertheless, the competition survived long enough to pick a winner, and signed contracts with AgustaWestland. But Turkey didn’t just buy helicopters. They bought the A129 model – lock, stock, and rotor.

    T129 Program Snapshot: Feb. 2014

    T129 Prototypes
    (click to view full)

    The contract for 51 T129B ATAK helicopters (+41 options) was signed on Sept 7/07, with Turkey and TAI acquiring all design and future production rights for their derivative of AgustaWestland’s A129i scout/attack helicopter. The total value isn’t clear, but AgustaWestland placed its own share at around EUR 1.2 billion. Deterioration of Turkey’s existing attack helicopter fleet, coupled with pressure from Kurdish insurgents, forced an emergency purchase of 9 “Early Delivery Helicopter” configuration T129As on Nov 8/10.

    The T129 was scheduled for official delivery and acceptance in 2013, complete with Roketsan’s Cirit laser-guided 70mm rockets, but that hasn’t happened yet. Cirit rocket deliveries have begun, and a January 2014 statement by Turkey’s defense minister said that Turkey’s UMTAS anti-tank missile had also completed qualification trials, so that isn’t what’s holding up the program. The Turkish SSM’s program page states that: “Currently, qualification phase is in progress and production of 6(six) helicopters has been completed.”

    ATAK is an attack helicopter, but it’s smaller and lighter than classic competitors like Russia’s Mi-28 or the USA’s AH-64 Apache. Other competitors include Bell’s AH-1Z Viper, Denel of South Africa’s AH-2 Rooivalk, Eurocopter’s EC665 Tiger, and Russian Mi-35M /Ka-52 offerings. The T129 has started flying in foreign air shows, and is being marketed abroad, but doesn’t have any wins or contracts yet beyond Turkey.

    Program and Finalists Beginning With An Own Goal in Mind

    Rooivalk & Gripen
    (click to view full)

    At present, Turkey’s attack helicopter fleet is made of its 6 remaining AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, and about 20-23 earlier model AH-1 Cobras. The earlier model Cobras lack some useful modern capabilities. Worse, low numbers and age-related availability issues are straining the fleet’s capacity, making operations in Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdish regions more difficult.

    The new AH-1Z had come out on top in a previous Turkish competition, but 4 years of negotiations with Bell Helicopter to jointly produce the AH-1Z Super Cobra failed in 2004. Major price differences and licensing demands sank the deal.

    The Turkish SSM responded by opening a fresh international competition in February 2005, but did so in a way that magnified the problems again rather than solving them. They were immediately confronted by serious objections from global manufacturers, which forced the SSM to change the RFP in May 2005. Even then, Bell Helicopter and Boeing looked at Turkish demands, and dropped out.

    Defense Minister Gonul made the Turkish perspective clear long ago when he noted that “the goal is to co-produce the helicopters, not to buy them off the shelf.” The Houston Chronicle reported that bidding rules also included full access to the aircraft’s specific software codes, and a written guarantee from the provider’s government that there would be no political obstacles to Turkish exports of the licensed helicopters.

    T129: The Program

    A129 pair
    (click to view full)

    In July 2006, Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul announced that Turkey would continue talks with Denel of South Africa (AH-2A Rooivalk) and Agusta Aerospace of Italy (A129 International) for Turkey’s Land Forces Command’s Tactical Reconnaissance & Attack Helicopter (ATAK) Project. The Franco-German EADS Eurocopter (Tiger) and Kamov of Russia (Ka-50-2 Erdogan, with IAI) were eliminated.

    Neither of the finalists had been exported before, and at the time, they were competing for co-production of 30 helicopters and options for 20 more. That projected $1.6 billion contract was still well short of the 91 attack helicopters originally called for when the program began, but it was progress. In the end, Turkey found a way to bridge the gap. A contract was signed in September 2007 for 51 “T129 ATAK” helicopters from AgustaWestland, plus another 41 on option under the same terms. Some of those options were exercised in 2010, when Turkey ordered 9 “Early Delivery Helicopter” T129s to reinforce its dwindling attack helicopter fleet.

    The T129A EDH carries the nose-mounted 20mm cannon turret with 500 rounds, and 4 pylons for unguided rockets. The T129B version will add Roketsan’s MIZRAK (formerly UMTAS) missiles and CIRIT 70 mm Laser Guided Rockets, and Raytheon’s FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles.

    Turkish Aerospace Industries is the T129’s prime contractor. Aselsan and AgustaWestland will be the subcontractors, under a collaboration agreement in which TAI shares ownership of intellectual property rights for the new A129 configuration with AgustaWestland. TAI will also become the sole source for the production of the whole fuselage, including final assembly and flight operations, and will be responsible for marketing the “T-129 attack helicopters” to the world.

    As of February 2014, initial inquiries have reportedly been received from Azerbaijan, Jordan, and Pakistan. There are less conclusive reports that Malaysia may be interested. Confirmed export losses include a public competition in South Korea, won by Boeing’s AH-64E Apache Guardian.

    T129: The Winner

    A129-I improvements
    (click to view full)

    The A129 Mangusta (trans. “Mongoose”) entered service with the Italian Army in 1989; AgustaWestland offered it as a base for the Franco-German Tiger partnership, but cooperation was declined in favor of a Franco-German R&D program. The current Italian service inventory is 60 machines, 15 of which are the more modern A129 International/AW129 standard with uprated engines (LHTEC replaced earlier Rolls Royce Gem) and rotors (5-bladed vs. 4), plus new weapons, avionics, and defensive systems. The other 45 Italian A129 CBT helicopters received rotor, transmission, weapon, defensive, and electronics upgrades under a multi-year contract signed in 2002.

    This A129 family is notable for their low frontal profile, and offer a good mix of surveillance, gun and missile capabilities. A mast-mounted sight offers the potential for further improvements, but the type had not been successful in export competitions before the 2007 Turkish order. The A129 has seen service with Italian forces in Afghanistan, Angola, Macedonia, Somalia, and Iraq.

    Like the A129I, the Turkish T129s are powered by 2 Rolls Royce/ Honeywell LHTEC CTS800-4A turboshafts, each generating 1,361 shp. They can drive the helicopter to speeds of 269 kph/ 145 kts, and allow hover out of ground effect to 10,000 feet. Endurance is about 3 hours, with a maximum range of 561 km/ 303 nm.

    The Turkish ASELFLIR 300T will replace the AW129’s Honeywell surveillance and targeting systems. The helicopter always has its 3-barreled 20mm chin turret, and certified weapons for its 4 side pylons include its 12.7mm machine gun pods, 70mm unguided Hydra and guided Cirit rockets, anti-tank missiles (TOW, Spike-ER, Hellfire), and Air-to-Air Missiles (Stinger, Mistral). Turkey is also working to develop and then certify its own IIR-guided UMTAS anti-tank missile for the T129.

    Contracts & Key Events 2013 – 2018

    Possible interest in Brazil, Pakistan; Loss in South Korea.

    T129 ATAK
    (click to view full)

    May 29/18: Pakistan orders T-129 Pakistan is set to receive thirty T-129 attack helicopters from Turkey. Pakistan is known to have evaluated the Turkish-built attack helicopter as part of an ongoing effort to procure a new attack helicopter for the country’s army. The T-129 is based on the AugustaWestland (now Leonardo) produced A-129 Mangusta. Turkish Aerospace Industries is the T-129’s prime contractor. The aircraft is notable for its low frontal profile, and offers a good mix of surveillance, gun and missile capabilities. The T-129A EDH carries the nose-mounted 20mm cannon turret with 500 rounds, and 4 pylons for unguided rockets. The T-129B version will add Roketsan’s MIZRAK missiles and CIRIT 70 mm Laser Guided Rockets, and Raytheon’s FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles. Pakistan currently has US-built Bell AH-1Z Vipers, Bell AH-1 Cobras and four Mi-35s in its inventory. The T129 competed against the Chinese-built Z-10.

    September 29/17: Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has announced the commencement of a series of new programs: a heavyweight variant of the T129 ATAK; the HurJet advanced jet trainer; a 10-ton utility helicopter; and a lightweight geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) communication satellite (SATCOM). Pictures of the Hurjet released on Wednesday shows a twin-engine aircraft with twin vertical stabilizers and armed light-fighter variant. The 10-ton helicopter will be analogous to the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk and will expand TAI’s transport helicopter portfolio, while the T129 ATAK would likely be in analogous in size to the Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Viper. Finally, the GEO satellite will weigh one ton, will have 22 transponders, and is likely to be marketed as a commercial solution.

    June 13/17: Turkey’s armed forces has officially inducted Rokesan’s UMTAS infrared guided anti-tank missile into service. OMTAS is a semi-active laser-homing ATGM with a range of 500-8,000 m that Ankara will use as the main weapon of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 attack helicopter, with Roketsan hoping to sell additional launchers and missiles to the Air Force and Navy as well. The system has also been tested on TAI’s Hürkus-C close air support and counterinsurgency attack aircraft and is being marketed for export to several governments including Pakistan.

    May 2/17: Havelsan has announced that it will showcase its simulator system developed for the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T-129 ATAK attack helicopter at this month’s International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) in Istanbul. Developed to match with real-world conditions as closely as possible, the system employs the use of satellite images, 3D models, environmental challenges and technical malfunctions, and comprises of two simulator systems which allows trainee pilots to separately learn how to use the T-129’s flight and avionics systems, followed by its weapon systems. This dual system is believed to acclimate pilots to the T-129 as well as prepare them for potential challenges.

    February 15/17: Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) has awarded TUSA? Engine Industries (TEI) a contract to develop and manufacture a new indigenous turboshaft engine. The engine will be used in Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) new clean-sheet T-625 utility helicopter, as well as the TAI T-129 ATAK attack helicopter and TAI Hürku? turboprop-powered trainer and light combat aircraft. At present, Ankara depends on foreign turboshaft designs, such as the General Electric T700, which require them to secure licenses and approval for exports.

    June 8/16: The newly appointed defense minister of Turkey, Fikri Isik and his Pakistani counterpart met to discuss increasing bilateral defense ties. Among last Friday’s discussions was the potential sale of Turkish developed T129 attack helicopters. Other potential deals include the purchase by Turkey of the Pakistani-made Super Mushshak basic trainer aircraft.

    April 23/14: Delivery. Turkey formally delivers the first 9 T129 basic configuration models (q.v. Nov 8/10) to the Turkish armed forces.

    It’s Turkey’s National Sovereignty Day and Children’s Day, when children take seats in Parliament and symbolically govern the country for a day. Erm… perhaps delivering these toys the day after might be wise? Just a suggestion. Sources: TAI, “Ulusal Egemenlik Bayrami’nda Egemen Urunumuz T129 ATAK’i Teslim Ettik…” | AgustaWestland, “Turkish Armed Forces Takes Delivery of T129 ATAK Helicopter”.

    T129 basic models delivered

    Feb 18/14: Industrial. Turkey’s SSM procurement agency announces the launch of a Rotor Technology Center (DKTM) to perform R&D, and train Turkish personnel in this area of aerospace technology.

    It’s part of a June 2013 contract with TAI to create the country’s first indigenous helicopter, a 5-tonne twin-engine replacement for Turkey’s existing UH-1 Huey fleet. Even so, its scope ensures that it will affect the T129 platform going forward. Sources: Hurriyet Daily News, “Turkey gears up efforts for indigenous rotor production”.

    Jan 29/14: Budget. Turkey’s 2014 defense budget projects a 7% increase, and Defence Turkey reports on aspects related to the T129:

    “National Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz explained that within the scope of Attack Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter Project /T129, out of 13 Early Delivery Helicopters (EDH) that are to be purchased within the context of urgent need, 4 of them were completely produced and stated that their acceptance procedure continued…. Yilmaz mentioned that final qualification phase of the missiles developed as one of the main ammunitions of T-129 helicopter within the scope of Long-Range Antitank Missile Project was reached and added that being the modern tanks’ nightmare around the World with its armour piercing cap, UMTAS would contribute greatly to TSK’s firepower.”

    Sources: Defence Turkey, “Turkey’s Defence Budget of 2014”.

    Jan 16/14: Marketing. The T129 has begun showing up at air shows and performing flight demonstrations. The Bahrain International Air Show 2014 (BIAS) featured a flight demonstration, with a clear focus on the Mideast market. Arab states remain somewhat wary of Turkey, and many of them (Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE) have opted for the heavier AH-64 Apache instead, but opportunities remain. Bahrain, for example, operates older AI-1E/P Cobras, and GCC states Qatar and Oman don’t have any dedicated scout/attack helicopters in their force. These shows also reach beyond the Middle East, drawing interest and attendance from potential customers like Pakistan (q.v. Sept 16/13) and Malaysia (q.v. July 30/13). Sources: TAI, “TAI’s T129 ATAK Helicopter Performs Flight Demonstration at BIAS 2014”.

    Sept 16/13: Pakistan. Pakistan is running short on AH-1Fs, in part because the money to maintain them has been funneled into various private pockets. A long-term improvement in corruption is unlikely under current leadership, and the Pakistani economy is weak, but the country needs attack helicopters.

    Pakistan reportedly expressed interest in the T129 several years ago (q.v. Oct 1/09), but those talks have reportedly gained force. Any breakthrough would involve a Memorandum of Understanding, which would allow Pakistani officials and PAC engineers to discuss the mechanics and logistics of joint production.

    Part of those mechanics may involve export clearance from the USA, as the T129’s LHTEC 800 engines are a joint product of Rolls Royce and Honeywell. The USA could use delays or even refusal as an underhanded tactic, and they do have a record of behaving this way in other competitions. On the other hand, angering both Turkey and Pakistan might be a higher diplomatic price than they’re prepared to pay, just to push Bell Helicopter’s AH-1Z. Rather than using export denial, the USA may have a better lever via military aid financing, which could be used to buy made-in-America AH-1Zs, but not T129s. If Turkey can offer good financing terms of its own, on the other hand, local anti-American sentiment and Turkey’s perceived political reliability may offer them some levers, too. Sources: Pakistan’s The National, “Pak-Turkish pact on combat copters on cards” | Defense News, “Turkey Pushes T-129 Gunships for Pakistan, but US Could Scupper Deal” | iHLS, “Turkey Angers the U.S. by Offering Helicopters to Pakistan”.

    Aug 22/13: Brazil. Turkey and Brazil are forming a number of working groups on defense cooperation. Their release specifically mentions that the aeronautics working group will be studying the assembly of Turkish helicopters in Brazil. The T129 is the only candidate that fits. Note that Brazil already fields a handful of Russian Mi-35M attack helicopters, with a limited secondary capability as transports. On the other hand, they could definitely use more armed helicopters, and local production appeals. AgustaWestland just expanded its Brazilian facilities in Sao Paulo, with enough space to add a production line.

    The flip side is that Turkey would be studying the assembly of Brazilian aircraft in Turkey. Embraer offers the Super Tucano, a number of military aircraft based on their ERJ 145 regional jetliner, and the KC-390 medium transport. Turkey is committed to buy 10 A400M medium transports, but they have 32 C160 and C-130 medium transports to replace, so a future KC-390 buy is possible. Other possibilities are more restricted, as Turkey already has projects or orders in those categories: KAI’s KT-1 for training, Boeing’s E-737 AWACS for aerial surveillance, and Airbus ATR-72s and CN-235s for maritime patrol. Sources: Brazil MdD [in Portuguese] | AgustaWestland Aug 14/13 release.

    July 30/13: Malaysia. Malaysia hasn’t made a fighter decision as planned, and may even be backing away from a new fighter order altogether. During a press conference with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Malaysia’s Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak referred to a recent incursion in Sabah, Borneo by Philippine terrorists. He was quoted in the Malaysia Star:

    “We have other hardware being considered, including the attack helicopter, and weapons of that nature. We are looking at some of the requirements, not just the multi-role combat aircraft…”

    April 17/13: South Korea loss. South Korea announces that the AH-64E Apache Guardian has beaten the AH-1Z Viper and T129 ATAK helicopters for a 1.8 trillion won ($1.6 billion), 36-machine order. The attack helicopter decision had been due in October 2012, but was put on hold until after the elections. The ROK hopes to have the helicopters between 2016 and 2018.

    The AH-1Z would have represented continuity with the ROK’s existing AH-1S fleet, and a September 2012 DSCA export request was already approved. The T129 would have been a reciprocal deal with a major arms export customer (vid. Aug 9/10, but Turkey has also bought South Korea trainers, tanks & artillery). A DAPA official is quoted as saying that the AH-64E’s superior target acquisition capability, power, and weapons load gave it the edge, and so South Korea will begin the acquisition process. The Apache is certainly much more heavily armored than its counterparts, and its combination of modernized optics and MMW radar or UAV control does give it an edge in target acquisition. Sources: Korea Herald, “Seoul to purchase 36 Apache helicopters” | Reuters, “South Korea to buy $1.6 billion worth of Boeing helicopters”.

    Loss in South Korea

    2010 – 2012

    9 “basic” T129s as interim buy; AH-1Ws as interim buy; TopOwl picked as HMD; Prototype crash; Competing in South Korea.

    A129 International
    (click to view larger)

    Dec 11/12: South Korea. The ROK government’s decision to delay their attack helicopter decision until after the Dec 19/12 elections is seen as a positive development for the T129. Its problem is that the country’s military is widely believed to prefer the AH-64 Apache. If true, TAI’s challenge is to find other decision centers within the government who might be swayed toward their product. Turkish Daily.

    July 10/12: Weapons. Hurriyet says that deliveries of Turkey’s 70mm laser-guided Cirit rocket have begun. The Cirit is expected to be an important part of the T129s arsenal:

    “Turkey’s missile maker Roketsan has delivered 100 laser-guided 70 mm rocket systems to the Turkish military, a defense source has told the Hürriyet Daily News.”

    May 2012: South Korea. The T129 is shortlisted alongside Bell Helicopter’s AH-1Z Viper and Boeing’s AH-64D Apache Block III for South Korea’s attack helicopter competition. A decision is expected by October 2012. Source.

    March 27/12: Turkey’s SSM procurement agency has unveiled their new 5-year strategic plan, with timetables for key acquisitions. The plan commits to begin delivery of the T129 ATAK by 2013, and CIRIT laser-guided 70mm rockets for the ATAKs by 2016. Hurriyet Daily News.

    Oct 31/11: AH-1W stopgap. With Turkey’s fleet of serviceable AH-1F/W Cobra attack helicopters dwindling, demands from the Army for helicopters to use against the Marxist Kurdish PKK in Turkey and Iraq, and no arrival of even base configuration T129s before mid-2012, Turkey launches an official request [PDF] for 3 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters from US Marine Corps stocks. They’ll also get 7 T700-GE-401 engines (6 installed/ 1 spare), plus inspections and modifications, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

    The estimated cost is $111 million, and all sale proceeds will be reprogrammed into the USMC’s H-1 helicopter upgrade program to build UH-1Y Venom armed utility and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of approximately 5 contractor representatives to Turkey for a period of up to 90 days, for differences training between U.S. and Turkish AH-1Ws helicopters. See also Oct 26/09.

    DSCA request: 3 AH-1W Super Cobras

    Nov 8/10: AgustaWestland announces a EUR 150 million contract for 9 “basic configuration”/ “partially armed” T129 combat helicopters, plus spare parts. The releases do not say, but it’s reasonable to expect only base AW129 capabilities, without provisions for new Turkish weapons like UMTAS. The stopgap attack helicopters will be assembled by Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) and delivered by mid 2012, one year earlier than the 51 T129s already on order.

    AgustaWestland says that the T129 program remains on schedule with both the System Requirements Review and Preliminary Design Review completed in 2009. The Critical Design Review will be completed shortly. Prototypes are being assembled in both Italy and Turkey, and they expect to start the flight test program in January 2011. AgustaWestland | Hurriyet Daily News.

    Emergency buy: 9 T129 “basic configuration”

    Aug 9/10: Korean Quid Pro Quo? DAPA aircraft programs director Maj. Gen. Choi Cha-kyu says that Turkey is actively considering a partner role in the K-FX fighter program as their indigenous fighter design project. Turkey would bear the same 20% project share as Indonesia if they come on board, with South Korea responsible for 60%. There are reports that in return, Turkey wants South Korea to pick the T129 ATAK helicopter as their future AH-X heavy attack helicopter.

    Turkey eventually seemed to go their own way on their indigenous future fighter, and T129 lost South Korea’s attack helicopter competition. Korea Times | Hurriyet.

    June 16/10: A129 interim. Turkey has launched “urgent” talks with AgustaWestland for 9 A129 Mangusta attack helicopters, as a stopgap measure to keep their attack helicopter fleet viable until 2014, when the first T129s are supposed to become available. The parties are expected to meet over the next few weeks to negotiate a price and delivery schedule, but reports say that the Turks are looking for deliveries within the next 2 years.

    The Kurdish separatist PKK has stepped up attacks on Turkish targets this spring, and the military is finding existing resources inadequate. With Israeli heavy UAV options in question, attack helicopters become a very important military options in the mountainous terrain of Kurdistan and Iraq. Unfortunately, Turkey’s byzantine and bare-knuckled procurement process has delayed their efforts, leading to the current gap. See also Oct 26/09 entry.

    Similar delays continue to hold up Turkey’s Utility Helicopter replacement program, which is a competition between AgustaWestland (TUHP 149) and Sikorsky (S-70i). Hurriyet | Defense News.

    April 14/10: TopOwl for HMD. Turkey’s SSM procurement agency picks Thales as its helmet mounted display system partner. Their TopOwl HMDS already equips the US Marines’ new UH-1Y Venom utility and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, Eurocopter’s Tiger scout/attack helicopter, and the NH90 medium utility helicopter. Like TopOwl, Turkey’s derivative Helmet Integrated Cueing System (HICS) will incorporate latest-generation image intensifier tubes for tactical night flight; plus a wide-field (40°) binocular cueing system visor that will display flight and targeting data, symbology, and images from other sensors.

    More precisely, Turkey picked state-owned Aselsan, who then picked Thales. Thales’ main competitor is Israel’s Elbit Systems, whose offerings range from the comparable JEDEYE to the less sophisticated ANVIS/HUD and IHADDS for AH-64 Apaches. Thales Group’s release quotes Aselsan Director of Airborne and Naval Programmes Metin Sancar:

    “After a competitive process with the major suppliers of helmet mounted sights for helicopters, Aselsan was selected in partnership with Thales… more than 700 [TopOwl] units have been delivered to date. Turkish pilots who evaluated the system in flight were impressed by the comfort of the helmet system and fully appreciated the benefits of visor projection technology, and this played a role in the procurement decision.”

    March 19/10: Turkey’s T129 prototype crash-lands near Verbania in Italy. The 2 Italian pilots were injured, but their condition is not life-threatening. In a statement, TAI says that: “The accident is not expected to affect the ATAK program’s development timetable.” Defense News.

    Crash

    2006 – 2009

    Competition finally ends, with T129 as the winner; 1st flight; Interest from Jordan & Pakistan; Turkey needs a stopgap.

    AH-1W firing TOW
    (click to view full)

    Oct 26/09: Interim AH-1Ws. Turkey reportedly has just 6 of its original 12 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters in service, to accompany an estimated 23 earlier-model AH-1F Cobras. An interim attack helicopter buy was deemed necessary until the T129s are operational. A Sunday Zaman report quotes US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey, who said that the USA has agreed to sell Turkey an unannounced number of AH-1W attack helicopters from the US Marines’ inventory. It adds that:

    “Early this year Turkey sought the purchase of about 10 Cobra helicopters estimated to cost about $1.5 billion from the US to meet its stop-gap measures in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Upon the US decision to sell an unidentified number of Cobras to Turkey, Sunday’s Zaman learned that Turkey has abandoned talks with Russia on the purchase of several Mi-28 helicopters.”

    Oct 1/09: Export interest & Dates. Flight International reports that Jordan and Pakistan have both asked about the T129.

    Within the program, AgustaWestland’s CEO says the T129 is on time and on cost. Turkey Unique Configuration prototype kits are scheduled for delivery to TAI in April and August 2010 for assembly and trials. Critical Design Reviews are scheduled for spring 2010, and handover to Turkey is scheduled for fall 2013. Sources: Flight International, “ATAK team outlines progress of Turkey’s T129 project, after first flight success”.

    Sept 28/09: 1st flight. AgustaWestland announces the maiden flight of the T129 P1 prototype, during an official ceremony held at AgustaWestland facilities in Vergiate, Italy.

    1st flight

    June 1/09: Arabian Aerospace points out the secondary commercial benefits of AgustaWestland’s deal with Turkey:

    “AgustaWestland’s opening of a regional business headquarters in Turkey in 2008 signified its intention to increase its presence in the Middle East market. The Ankara base is seen as an ideal platform to build on the company’s growing share of the market in Turkey and will also manage the Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack (ATAK) programme… Elsewhere, the AW139 is enjoying success in the region.”

    June 24/08: Formal effect. The agreement between AgustaWestland and TAI formally comes into effect. The program is expected to last for 114 months (9.5 years), and the 1st “T129” attack helicopter will be delivered to Turkey in June 2013. Other international orders may follow, if TAI can win them. AgustaWestland release:

    “AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that the contracts of the Turkish Attack and Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK) Program have become effective and the program has officially started at the ceremony held at the facilities of the Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) today… having the right to use and administer the intellectual property of the T129 ATAK Helicopter, TAI shall be the sole source for its work share under the ATAK program for all potential future worldwide sales of the T129 ATAK Helicopter. The Collaboration Agreement also provides TAI with the right to sell and market the T129 ATAK Helicopter worldwide.”

    Sept 7/07: The Turkish SSM procurement agency announces the signing of industrial arrangements contracts with AgustaWestland:

    “Within the framework of ATAK Program as per Defence Industry Executive Committee Decree dated 30th of March 2007, Contracts between SSM, TUSAS (TAI), AGUSTAWESTLAND and ASELSAN have been signed on 7th of September, 2007. Official signature ceremony will be held soon.”

    Some unresolved questions remained, but both were cleared up by the Sept 17/07 TAI release. Defense-Aerospace reports that Turkey will take over the entire A129 Mangusta program, and transfer the production line to Turkish Aerospace Industries’ facility outside Ankara. This was confirmed.

    The second question concerns the number of helicopters, which has now been resolved. Previous reports in the Turkish press gave figures of 30 helicopters + 20 optional, a far cry from the 91 originally desired. Finmeccanica’s Sept 11/07 announcement [PDF], set the number at 51 A129 helicopters, with an estimated value for AgustaWestland of around EUR 1.2 billion, and no mention of options. TAI’s Sept 17/07 release, however, clearly notes the deal’s structure of 51 helicopters + 41 options, for a total of 92.

    T129 contract: 51 + 41 options

    March 30/07: A129 picked. Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland anounces:

    “The Turkish Executive Committee has announced today that it is to start contract negotiations with AgustaWestland, in partnership with Turkish Aviation Industry (TAI), for the Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter – ATAK Project – for the Turkish Land Forces Command. The estimated value of this programme to AgustaWestland is in excess of 1.2 billion EURO based on the requirement for 51 A129 helicopters.” [DID: then about $1.6 billion]

    “…The AgustaWestland proposal includes significant industrial benefits for Turkey. Several leading Turkish aerospace companies, such as TAI and Aselsan, will be involved in the programme. Final assembly, delivery and acceptance of the aircraft will also take place in Turkey. The A129 is a multi-role combat helicopter designed for day/night and adverse weather combat operations. The A129, powered by two LHTEC T800 turboshaft engines, has a state-of-the-art cockpit…”

    Note that the release merely announces the beginning of negotiations. While “preferred source” negotiations usually have a strong record of success, this is the exact stage in the process where previous acquisition attempts have failed. The Turkish News quoted an industry source some time ago, who reminded onlookers that:

    “Our procurement history is full of illusions of victory… When a bidder wins a contract it thinks the game is over. It may not be so.”

    Dec 2/06: Turkish Daily News reports that the competition is stalled, and will either be formally canceled or simply frozen into immobility:

    “Under pressure from the end-user, procurement authorities will likely cancel the existing competition, defense officials admit. “None of the short-listed solutions fully satisfies the end-user,” said one official. “We may renew the competition, or go for an off-the-shelf purchase. That’s unknown for the moment…”

    “Turkey’s top governmental panel that oversees procurement decisions will convene on Dec. 12 to discuss the attack helicopter program along with others, most notably a decision to opt for the U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter F-35 fighter aircraft… The attack helicopter program will be discussed, probably with no full agreement. “There may or may not be an official announcement for the cancellation of the current bidding process,” a procurement official familiar with the program said. “But in any case it would not be realistic to expect any progress, with the military deeply dissatisfied over the existing bids.” The Defense Industry Executive Committee is chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and includes Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanıt and head of the [SSM] procurement office… Murad Bayar.”

    Appendix A: “I Coulda Been A Contenda…”

    Ka-50 “Black Shark”
    (click to view full)

    Boeing (AH-64 Apache), Bell Textron (AH-1Z Viper, who won the previous Turkish competition in 2004 until the deal fell through), and Sikorsky (S-70 Strikehawk variant of the Black Hawk utility helicopter in service with the Turkish Armed Forces) were uninterested in the production arrangement described above, and could not offer such guarantees under US export control arrangements; as such, none of them bid this round by the Dec. 5, 2005 bidding deadline.

    EADS Eurocopter’s Tiger and Kamov/IAI’s KA-50/KA-52 were reportedly eliminated when the Turkish government chose the two lowest-cost bidders.

    AH-2A Rooivalk
    (click to view full)

    The Denel Rooivalk (trans. “Red Hawk,” or more properly “Kestrel”) is a heavier attack helicopter, with fewer integrated weapons systems than the A129. One of its key features is that it has been designed to operate in very basic surroundings for prolonged periods without sophisticated support. At present, the only Rooivalks produced since the helicopter’s inauguration in 1999 have been 12 machines for the South African Defense Forces. The Malaysian Defence Force supposedly has plans to acquire Rooivalk helicopters “when funding is available,” and South Africa’s Port Elizabeth Herald quotes analysts who believe that a win in Turkey might also tip Pakistan toward the platform.

    Middle Eastern Newsline offers a further report that South Africa has outlined plans to co-produce a range of platforms in Turkey as part of a defense partnership based on Ankara’s attack helicopter program. They said South Africa has offered one of the most generous offset deals as part of its offer of the Rooivalk attack helicopter to the Turkish Army. “Under the offer, Turkey and South Africa would create a strategic defense partnership that would rapidly develop out defense industries,” a Turkish official said.

    On the flip side, the Turkish Daily News reported that Eurocopter who supplies the Rooivalk’s engines and some spare parts, has said that it would not guarantee a supply line for Turkey if Ankara chose the Rooivalk.

    Note that both Agusta and Denel propose moving their production lines to Turkey.

    Eurocopter Tiger HAC

    The shortlist was something of a surprise to many observers; at the time, the Turkish Daily News reports that it may even lead to friction between the government and the military. Turkey’s military, which has a large political role as the de facto guarantor of Kemal Attaturk’s secularist vision, was reportedly split between the Eurocopter Tiger and Boeing Apache. The paper further noted that Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, the most critical military figure concerning the attack helicopter program and possibly the next Chief of Staff, was not present at the meeting.

    Appendix B: Additional Readings & Sources

    Readers with corrections or information to contribute are encouraged to Contact us. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so. Thanks to reader Keith Campbell for his added precision in the translation of “Rooivalk”.

    Background: ATAK Program

    Background: Ancillary Systems

    News & Views

    Categories: Defense`s Feeds

    US Army gets more fire power | Poseidon’s fleet grows |Royal Navy receives 1st Merlin helicopter

    Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 06:00
    Americas

    • The US Army is currently acquisitioning mortar rounds for its troops. American Ordnance LLC and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems have been selected to compete for each order as part of a $511 million firm-fixed-price contract. Orders will be made for 60mm, 81mm and 120mm mortar propelling charges. The US Army inventory has a variety of different mortar types. Equipped with different fuses and cartridges each type fulfills certain operational requirements. For example, the M720, M720A1, M768 and M888 High Explosive cartridges come with either a Multi-Option Fuse or a Point-Detonating Fuse and are designed to be effective against personnel, bunker and light material targets. General Dynamics produces a special kind of mortar propellants that are both flash-suppressed and clean burning resulting in minimum residue, flash and blast overpressure. Work is scheduled for completion by May 2023. Work locations will be determined with each order.

    • The Navy is contracting Lockheed Martin for a number of support activities as part of the F-35 Lightning II program. The company is being awarded a $558 million contract that provides for sustainment support, equipment, training devices, training facilities, Autonomic Logistics Information System hardware and software, and facilities in support of low-rate initial production of Lot 11 F-35 Lightning II aircraft. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force, the Marine Corps and Foreign Military Sales customers. The F-35 II fighter program is considered the most expensive of its kind. The jet comes in different variants making it a versatile piece of equipment. The F-35A or Conventional Take-Off and Landing version is being flown by the Air Force, whereas the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing version that is part of the Marine Corps aircraft fleet. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Orlando, Florida and Redondo Beach California, and is scheduled for completion by February 2023.

    • Boeing is being tapped to provide the Navy with three additional P-8A planes under a $416 million contract. The Poseidon is a multi-mission maritime aircraft that will completely replace the old P-3 fleet. The P-8 uses the same 737 airframe as the US Navy’s C-40 Clipper naval cargo aircraft. The base model is Boeing’s 737-800 ERX, with “raked” wingtips that improve performance for low-level flight. The P-8A has 11 weapon hard points: 5 in the rotary weapon bay, 4 under the wings, and 2 under the fuselage. Weapon load can exceed 10t/ 22,000 pounds, and all hard points have digital weapon interfaces. The aircraft is designed to work in conjunction with the MQ-4C Triton and essentially provides the Navy with an anti-submarine, anti-ship and anti-smuggling platform that can sweep the area, launch sensors or weapons as needed, and remain aloft for many hours. Work will be performed at a number of locations in- and outside the continental US, including Seattle, Washington and Cambridge, United Kingdom. The contract is expected to be completed in October 2020.

    Middle East & Africa

    • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to receive eight CH-47F transport helicopters from Boeing. The contract modification is valued at over $25.7 million. The contract is funded through of the Fiscal 2017 foreign military sales fund. The CH-47F Chinook’s load capacity has made it the world’s most popular heavy-lift helicopter. The USA expects to be operating Chinooks in their heavy-lift role past 2030. The CH-47F looks similar to earlier models but offers a wide range of improvements in almost every aspect of design and performance. The CH-47F Chinook and MH-47G Special Ops version are the latest variants in a family of helicopters that first saw service in 1962 during the Vietnam War. New “F/G” models feature numerous upgrades over the old CH-47Ds, including more powerful engines, reduced vibration, upgraded avionics and self-defense systems, and manufacturing advances designed to improve both mission performance and long-term costs. Work will be performed in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of July 2021.

    Europe

    • The UK has taken delivery of the first of an eventual 25 AW101 Merlin HC4 helicopters. The delivery is part of the Royal Navy’s effort to modernize its fleet of transport helicopters. The entire effort approaches $3 billion for a final total of 55 refurbished helicopters, and these refurbishments will be carried out as part of the AW101 fleet’s long-term maintenance plan. After being upgraded and marinized under a $517 million contract, the Merlin HC4 heavy-lift transport helicopter will be operated by the RN’s Commando Helicopter Force. The Merlin HC4s replace the fleet of existing Sea King Commando Mk.4 helicopters, their updated configuration includes the same cockpit modernizations and redesigns as for the Mk.2, plus standard naval changes like a folding rotor head, strengthened landing gear, deck lashing points, and a fast roping point for the Royal Marines. The next milestone for the Merlin HC4 will be embarkation aboard the RN’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

    • Jane’s reports that the Slovakian defense contractors Incoff Aerospace and Compel Industries recently presented their Predator AX-1 loitering munition. Loitering munitions can hover over the target for a long period of time and then strike it at the precise moment chosen by the operator. In the event that the preconditions for the attack have not been fulfilled, the strike platform may be returned to base, to be launched again on another day. The Predator AX-1 project started in May 2017 in response to a Slovak Ministry of Defense requirement for an expansion of its unmanned systems inventory. The AX-1 is manufactured from carbon fiber composites and features a mid-body wing set unfolded mechanically after launch. Powered by two electric motors with slewed push turbine propulsion, the loitering munition system offers both PG-7VM HEAT-T or TB-7V thermobaric warhead options. The Predator AX-1 is similar to AeroVironment’s Switchblade system.

    Asia-Pacific

    • The Australian Army has announced that it will soon roll out the PD-100 Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System. The rollout and sustainment of the micro unmanned aircraft systems $13.6 million project marks a key milestone in the technological advancement of the Australian armed forces. The PD-100 Black Hornet is produced by the American company Flir Systems. The system is a surveillance micro drone that can be easily started from the palm of a soldier’s hand. The drone can fly horizontally and look on a suspected area or hover beside a building and look into a window, giving soldiers on foot patrols an advantage of seeing what’s there from a safe distance. The Black Hornet is a “flyable robotic video camera” that bears a resemblance to a helicopter and is small like a hummingbird. Its small size and electric motor makes it virtually inaudible and invisible beyond short distances. The Australian Army operates several UAS platforms, ranging from the rotary-wing Black Hornet PRS to large, nine-hour endurance surveillance systems such as the RQ-7B Shadow 200.

    Today’s Video

    Categories: Defense`s Feeds

    P-8 Poseidon MMA: Long-Range Maritime Patrol, and More

    Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 05:58

    P-8A Poseidon
    (click to view full)

    Maritime surveillance and patrol is becoming more and more important, but the USA’s P-3 Orion turboprop fleet is falling apart. The P-7 Long Range Air ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Capable Aircraft program to create an improved P-3 began in 1988, but cost overruns, slow progress, and interest in opening the competition to commercial designs led to the P-7’s cancellation for default in 1990. The successor MMA program was begun in March 2000, and Boeing beat Lockheed’s “Orion 21” with a P-8 design based on their ubiquitous 737 passenger jet. US Navy squadrons finally began taking P-8A Poseidon deliveries in 2012, but the long delays haven’t done their existing P-3 fleet any favors.

    Filling the P-3 Orion’s shoes is no easy task. What missions will the new P-8A Poseidon face? What do we know about the platform, the project team, and ongoing developments? Will the P-3’s wide global adoption give its successor a comparable level of export opportunities? Australia and India have already signed on, but has the larger market shifted in the interim?

    Program Summary

    A P-8 primer

    The Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft program to replace the P-3 fleet began in earnest in 2000, and the 737-based P-8A was rolled out in July 2009. The US Navy has ordered 53 of 109 planned aircraft as of February 2014, and received 13.

    Initial Operational Capability was declared in November 2013, but P-8A Increment 1 aircraft have a number of problems. Overall, the new plane remains roughly equal to its P-3 predecessor in most surveillance tasks, but it has a much smaller array of weapons, and has experienced ongoing integration and reliability problems. The biggest issues include surface radar scan stability and quality issues, cueing and auto-tracking shortfalls in the electro-optical system, and too many crashes in the mission software controlling everything.

    The Navy is trying to fix these and other problems, while developing Increment 2 upgrades. Meanwhile, the P-3 fleet is aging out from under them. P-8A Increment 2 is slated to field in 2016, improving wide-area search and weapon capability. Increment 3, to be fielded around 2019, will improve sensor capabilities and mission system electronics.

    India was the plane’s 1st export customer, with an initial order for 8 P-8i variants. They’ve received their 1st aircraft, and plan to increase their order to 12 soon. In February 2014, Australia committed to 8 P-8As plus an option for 4 more, but that contract hasn’t been signed yet.

    P-8A Poseidon: Platform & Capabilities

    P-8A Poseidon: cutaway
    (click to view full)

    The P-8 will use the same 737 airframe as the U.S. Navy’s C-40 Clipper naval cargo aircraft, the E-737 Wedgetail AWACS aircraft on order by Australia, Turkey, and South Korea; and the U.S. Air Force’s T-43 Navigation trainer. The base model is Boeing’s 737-800 ERX, with “raked” wingtips that improve performance for low-level flight.

    That airframe must accomplish a wide range of tasks. It will search for and destroy submarines, monitor sea traffic, launch missile attacks on naval or land targets as required, act as a flying communications relay for friendly forces, and possibly provide and electronic signal intercepts. Like its predecessor, its radar capabilities will make it well suited for land-surveillance missions, when the Navy decides to use it that way.

    A plane with that many capabilities will play a role in a number of emerging military doctrines. It will be a key component in the U.S. Navy’s Sea Power 21 doctrine’s Sea Shield concept, by providing an anti-submarine, anti-ship and anti-smuggling platform that can sweep the area, launch sensors or weapons as needed, and remain aloft for many hours. The P-8A MMA will also play a key role in the U.S. Navy’s FORCEnet architecture, via development of the Common Undersea Picture (CUP). As a secondary role, it will support portions of Sea Power 21’s Sea Strike doctrine with its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.

    Unrefueled range is published as “over 4,000” nautical miles/ around 7,500 km. A more strenuous flight profile would involve 4 hours on station conducting low-level anti-submarine missions, at a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles/ 2,200 km. A dorsal receptacle allows in-flight refueling if necessary.

    P-8: Weapons

    P-3 Orion, armed –
    note Sidewinder
    (click to view full)

    The P-8A has 11 weapon hard points: 5 in the rotary weapon bay, 4 under the wings, and 2 under the fuselage. Weapon load can exceed 10t/ 22,000 pounds, and all hard points have digital weapon interfaces.

    Given that P-3C Orions have been modified to carry sea-skimming attack missiles like the Harpoon, land attack missiles like the Maverick, and even AIM-9 Sidewinder air-air missiles, it seems reasonable to assume that the Poseidon MMA will be at least as capable. Reaching that plateau would involve carrying sonobuoys, torpedoes, depth charges, Harpoon anti-shipping missiles, SLAM or AGM-65 Maverick land attack missiles, and either AIM-9 Sidewinders or NCADE-derived AIM-120 AMRAAMs. Some Boeing illustrations even show them with JDAM or JSOW GPS-guided weapons attached to underbody hardpoints.

    The P-8A’s initially-certified armament will be much more modest, however: Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes, depth charges, and some free-fall bombs, plus a built-in triple launcher and accompanying storage for up to 120 sonobuoys – or devices compatible with a sonobuoy launcher, such as Piasecki’s Turais UAV. American testing is currently underway with Boeing’s AGM-84 Block IC anti-ship missile, Australia is looking into the upgraded AGM-84 Block IG, and India has ordered the AGM-84L Harpoon Block II variant with land attack capability.

    Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes equipped with Boeing’s GPS-guided High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) glide bomb kit promise to extend the plane’s capabilities, by turning the torpedo into a weapon that can be launched from high altitude. That allows the P-8A to remain within its preferred aerodynamic envelope of high-altitude cruise, and reduces the fatigue and corrosion associated with low-level flight. Boeing received a development contract in April 2013, but this capability isn’t expected until P-8A Increment 2, with initial operating capability in 2016.

    Beyond that, pilots have commented that P-8 suffers from the lack of a precision weapon that can safely be used in a crowded maritime environment. Smaller boats like FACs are more likely to be targets in that kind of crowded littoral environment, so the missiles can be smaller: the TV/infrared guided AGM-65 Maverick, laser/radar guided Brimstone, tri-mode GBU-53 Small Diamater Bomb II, etc. The lack is felt keenly; the earlier the fix can come, the better. By the mid-2020s, the adoption of more advanced anti-ship missiles under the OASuW program seems likely to fix this problem at the high end as well.

    P-8: Sensors

    P-8 AGS concept
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    Weapons don’t mean much unless an enemy can be found. The P-8 will rely on a combination of sonobuoys, radars, day/night surveillance equipment, and ESM (Electronic Support Measures) gear. The Magnetic Anomaly Detector that extends behind P-3s and other maritime patrol aircraft isn’t very useful at altitude, and the USA won’t field it on the P-8A, but India will do so on the P-8i.

    A canoe-shaped fairing under the plane is expected to house a mission bay that will initially include the Raytheon-Boeing AN/APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS), designed to provide targeting-grade tracking of moving targets on land and at sea. It reportedly emerged out of a “black” (classified) program, and details regarding the system remain sketchy. It’s known to be a Boeing-Raytheon AESA MTI (Active Electronically Scanned Array/ Moving Target Indicator) radar, and has already been deployed on some Navy P-3s (see pictures – scroll down to “NAWC-23 at Dallas Love Field”).

    LSRS is slated for replacement by a modernized evolution called the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) in Increment 3 or 4. It’s rumored to have performance standards that match or exceed the USA’s current 707-based E-8C JSTARS battlefield surveillance aircraft. The long profile of LSRS/AAS is probably why Boeing moved the P-8’s weapons bay to the back of the plane in 2003, and the radar’s capabilities would allow it the P-8 to serve as a targeting platform for its own or others’ weapons.

    AN/APY-10 set
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    The AN/APS-137Dv5 radar used on the USA’s most modern P-3Cs will also form a key part of the P-8A’s radar suite, after a number of upgrades and a new designation. This enhanced nose-mounted system has been referred to as AN/APS-197, but was formally given the AN/APY-10 designation in June 2006. It offers reduced weight, improved MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures), and a color weather display. In the P-8A, it will also feature improvements such as “joint technical architecture” compliance, better performance in track-while-scan and target detection modes, and full integration with the Boeing mission system.

    India’s P-8i adds air-to-air surveillance capabilities to its APY-10 International radar, an enhancement that could filter back to the US fleet in future upgrades.

    The AN/ALQ-240v1 Electronic Support Measures system will alert the plane to radar and communications emissions, and track the signals to geolocate their sources. It complements the Early Warning Self Protection System, and enables fast offensive counterattacks.

    The P-8’s radars and ESM will be supplemented by L-3 Wescam’s MX-20HD long-range optical surveillance turret. This large surveillance turret houses up to 3 day/night imaging sensors, and 3 laser payloads (i.e. rangefinding, marking/pointing, target designation) that can be swapped in and out. L-3 Enhanced Local Area Processing (ELAP) improves imaging clarity on board, extending effective range and image clarity before the images are broadcast elsewhere.

    The most important submarine-finding equipment remains the plane’s sonobuoys, which produce noise and then transmit their receiver data back to the plane. The SSQ-125 MAC will be a generational step forward, but the P-8’s onboard mission software has to be fully capable of interpreting it, and that won’t happen until at least Increment 2. The idea behind Multi-static Active Coherent sonobuoys combines electronically-generated, software-controlled pings, whose echoes can be detected and appropriately identified by multiple receiver sonobuoys in a dropped group. That nullifies a submarine’s standard profile-minimizing head-on maneuver, and the tone’s coherence allows doppler shift equations to reach beyond the contact’s current location and calculate its speed and heading. GPS receivers in source and receiver sonobuoys can sharpen targeting further, which is very useful in conjunction with high-altitude, GPS-guided torpedo kits like HAASW.

    P-8: Upgrades & Variants

    Mk54 HAAWC
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    Additional modifications and improvements can be expected over the program’s life, as is the case for any major weapon systems. The P-8A was designed to incorporate additional “spiral development” of new weapons and equipment, and it won’t really achieve the capabilities defined in the Pentagon’s official June 25/10 Capability Development Document until v3.0.

    Spiral One/ Increment 2: Adds initial HAAWC high altitude torpedo capability, Multi-Static Active Coherent (MAC) for wide-area acoustic surveillance, improvements to sonobuoy drops, integration of Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) radar capability, Automatic Identification System ID for use with compliant civilian ships, updates to the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) mission system, and other acoustic and communications upgrades. Increment 2 planes should become operational around 2016, but integration and test of these capabilities will be done incrementally. It’s always possible for some items to slip to the next spiral.

    Spiral Two/ Increment 3: Enhances MAC, early delivery of HAAWC Datalink, more updates to the TOC mission software, and other changes to the plane’s sensors and systems as time and money allow. Introduction of the Advanced Aerial Sensor (AAS) high-resolution AESA radar is expected in this phase. The goal is to bring the P-8A to full compliance with the 2010 JROC specifications, and give the plane a more open electronic architecture for faster integration of new components, and this increment will take a big step forward with interfaces the MQ-4C Triton UAV, which may include full “Level 4” control of its flight and sensors. The program plans a full and open competition for the Increment 3 system architecture contracts, and intends to buy the intellectual property rights as well.

    At the moment, India is the P-8’s only export customer, though Australia has signed an MoU ad paid for joint development. India’s P-8i jets will share a number of systems with the American P-8As, including a version of the AN/APY-10 radar. Other key technologies will be specific to the P-8i, however, owing to technology transfer issues or local choices.

    Overland Role?

    E-10 M2CA Concept
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    With the cancellation of the USAF’s E-10 follow-on to its E-8 JSTARS battlefield surveillance planes, the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon may even be poised to inherit a dual land and sea surveillance role. USN P-3s have already found themselves pressed into overland service, and the much-greater capabilities of the P-8’s LSRS/AAS radars will only make that crossover more attractive.

    Boeing has already proposed to replace the USAF’s 17-plane JSTARS fleet with an add-on “P-8 AGS” order, as an alternative to upgrading the 707-based E-8s with new engines, radars, and electronics. That proposal was denied, but the E-8Cs received only a minimal upgrade designed to keep them operational, and the USAF has decided that the 707-based platform is costly to operate and maintain over the long term. They do have a program that aims to field a JSTARS successor by 2022, and if that program survives, the P-8 AGS can expect to compete with the smaller Raytheon/Bombardier Sentinel R1 and a Gulfstream 550/650 derivative.

    The USA’s default option is to cancel JSTARS RECAP, in order to fund its KC-46A aerial tanker, F-35 fighter, and new bomber programs. The E-8C JSTARS fleet would then become vulnerable to future USAF fleet-sized cuts. Meanwhile, the P-8As would field in the Navy with comparable or better radars. They would informally take over some of the JSTARS role, alongside USAF surveillance UAVs like RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 40 and its EQ-4 BACN connectivity counterpart.

    Something needs to fill the role. NATO’s cancellation of its AGS program’s Airbus 321 MCAR battlefield surveillance jet leaves just 22 battlefield surveillance planes available for global use: the USA’s 707-based JSTARS fleet, and Britain’s newer 5-plane ASTOR Sentinel R1 fleet that’s based on Bombardier’s Global Express business jet.

    NATO’s AGS is survived by a 5-UAV program based on the RQ-4B Block 40 Global Hawk, which was originally expected to work with the A321 MCAR as an adjunct. That same 2-tier model survives in the Poseidon program, however, and both tiers of the Navy program will offer land surveillance capabilities. The Poseidon’s Global Hawk UAV companion is called the MQ-4C Triton, developed under a program called BAMS (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance).

    The P-8’s BAMS Companion: Kicking It Up a Notch

    BAMS/P-8 mission sets
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    The P-3 fleet’s heavy use in both maritime surveillance and overland roles points up a potential problem with the P-8A. As an expensive but in-demand asset, a wider coverage scope could actually accelerate the problem of high flight hours building up in a small fleet. The problem is that airplane lives are measured in flight hours, and usage intensity. See the Strategic Review article “Brittle Swords: Low-Density, High-Demand Assets” [PDF] for more background on this phenomenon.

    The logical response is to pair the P-8s with a lower cost counterpart. Hence the P-8’s companion Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV program, run by NAVAIR’s PMA-263 program management office.

    The BAMS competition was widely seen as a fight between Northrop Grumman’s high-flying, jet-powered RQ-4 Global Hawk and General Atomics’ turboprop-powered Mariner (a cousin of its MQ-9 Reaper); but other options were offered as well, including an “optionally manned” business jet.

    Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4N Global Hawk eventually won, and will be known as the MQ-4C Triton. The US Navy plans to buy 61 of them + 5 test UAVs, and begin operations in 2015. Like the P-8, the MQ-4C is attracting export interest, which could grow the entire international fleet past 66 machines.

    DID’s BAMS FOCUS Article covers MQ-4C requirements, international dimension, contracts, and developments. Given their expected numbers, the Tritons could easily find themselves joining their P-8 companions in overland surveillance roles.

    P-8A Poseidon Program

    Program Goal & Competitors

    P-3C Orion
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    Many people would contend that the P-3 Orion is the greatest maritime patrol aircraft ever flown. These aircraft entered service in 1959, and will continue to serve past 2015. Modifications to their equipment have sharpened their capabilities, and even given them a land-attack and surveillance role. In service with 15 countries, the Orion is a great success – but it’s a very old success.

    After the abortive P-3G program, the US Navy began a 2-year requirement study in 1997, and the Defense Acquisition Board initiated a number of concept studies during the 2000 to 2002 period. During a 2-phase Component Advanced Development (CAD) program in 2002-2003, Boeing and Lockheed each received $27.5 million to develop their initial designs.

    Lockheed’s Orion21 design was based on the P-3 airframe, with United Technologies subsidiaries Pratt & Whitney (7,000 shp PW150A turboprop engine) and Hamilton-Sundstrand (the same 8-bladed NP2000 propeller being refitted to carrier-based E-2 Hawkeye AWACS and C-2 Greyhound aircraft) as key partners.

    As noted above, Boeing’s design was based on its 737, one of the most widely produced passenger jets in the world.

    Program Timeline

    In June 2004, Boeing IDS’ 737-based proposal was awarded the $3.9 billion cost-plus-award-fee contract to develop the Navy’s P-8 Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft. The P-8’s system design and development (SDD) contract covers the full range of platform development including all of the on-board mission systems, the modifications to the airframe itself, all of the training systems, and all of the software laboratories required to produce almost 2 million lines of reliable code. It also covers all of the integrated logistics elements, including the trainers, simulators and courseware. Essentially, everything that’s required to get ready to build the production P-8 is part of the SDD contract.

    The MMA Program was cleared by a US technical review board to proceed into the design phase, and passed a preliminary design review in September 2005. In January 2007, their entry received the formal US Navy designation of P-8A Poseidon; and in July 2007, Australia made the P-8 an international program by giving their participation “first pass approval.” In December 2008, India became the 1st export, with a customized P-8i design.

    The P-8A achieved American Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in late November 2013. IOC is defined as 1 squadron of 6 aircraft, with personnel who are trained and certified to deploy.

    US P-8A Program Budgets

    Recent budgets for the P-8A program from FY 2008 to the present have included:

    Excel
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    Note that annual budgets also include advance procurement for the next year’s buy, so that key items like engines and other long lead-time equipment are ready to go when it’s time to build the P-8s. For instance, the FY 2012 request included long-lead items for 13 FY 2013 aircraft. The Pentagon says that “aircraft procurements are tightly coupled to the [expected] P-3 retirement rates,” but budget cuts will begin to affect production after 2013.

    US Numbers and Basing

    No?!?
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    The U.S. program began as 108 planes, and formally stands at 109 production aircraft plus an additional 8 system design & development aircraft (6 flight-test, 2 ground-test). There will actually be 114 program aircraft. The 1st developmental test aircraft (“T1”) and the 2 ground-based static and fatigue test planes aren’t fully configured, and so they aren’t included in the official program total. The Dec 31/31 SAR lists the P-8’s development and production cost at FY10$ 30.33 billion, and the total life cycle cost for procurement plus 25 years of life cycle support will probably be a bit higher than initial estimates of about FY04$ 44 billion.

    The current American basing plan is for:

    • 6 operational squadrons at NAS Jacksonville, FL (36)
    • 1 larger “Fleet Readiness” training squadron at NAS Jacksonville, FL (12)
    • 6 squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, WA (36)

    Instead of basing 3 squadrons at Hawaii Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay, HI, it will only have a rotating squadron detachment. There will also be periodic squadron detachments to Corondo Naval Base, CA near San Diego. Japan has been promised stepped-up P-8A deployments, and that will probably be its own rotating squadron detachment once arrangements are finalized. Beyond operational aircraft, the fleet will have:

    • 2 “development squadrons” with 2 aircraft each (4). They will be used for testing and development of standard tactics and procedures, before moving on to operational service at locations to be determined.

    • “Pipeline attrition” aircraft that can temporarily replace aircraft that are taken out of action for maintenance, permanently replace crashed aircraft for a squadron, or be inserted as “rotation substitutes” to help keep the fleet’s flying hours more even (19).

    P-8A Industrial Partners

    The P-8i program in India has also attracted its own set of industrial partners, due to a combination of Indian insistence on local content, and security/technology transfer concerns from the USA. Industrial partners in India include well known players like Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Dynamatic Technologies Ltd., HCL Technologies Ltd., Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Larsen and Toubro Ltd. (L&T), Wipro Ltd., as well as a set of less familiar aerospace and electronics players. See full coverage at “P-8i: India’s Navy Picks Its Future High-End Maritime Patrol Aircraft“.

    As things currently stand, key P-8A Poseidon partners, and some other sub-contractors, include:

    One innovation within this group involves the way the base airframes are built. The traditional approach for military planes derived from passenger jets has been to either have a separate production line, or to take a normal airframe from the existing line and make structural changes to it on the military line, along with equipment installations. For the P-8A, the process is different.

    The fuselages arrive from Spirit’s commercial 737 production line in Wichita, KS already strengthened, without windows, and with a weapons bay. No modifications are necessary.

    Outfitting is completed in Renton, WA, where all or the P-8’s other unique structural features are added right on the main 737 production line. Aircraft quality and performance acceptance flight testing takes place right at Renton Field.

    Final installation and checkout of the mission system and special flight test instrumentation happens at Boeing Field, near Seattle, WA.

    P-8A Poseidon: Contracts & Key Events

    Unlike many other military programs, Boeing appears to be handling the sub-contracts for most of the plane’s equipment itself, which leaves production order figures much closer to the plane’s true purchase cost.

    Unless otherwise noted, US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contracts. Note that items unique to India’s P-8is will be covered in that article, and not here.

    FY 2015 – 2018

    May 28/18: More on the way Boeing is being tapped to provide the Navy with three additional P-8A planes under a $416 million contract. The Poseidon is a multi-mission maritime aircraft that will completely replace the old P-3 fleet. The P-8 uses the same 737 airframe as the US Navy’s C-40 Clipper naval cargo aircraft. The base model is Boeing’s 737-800 ERX, with “raked” wingtips that improve performance for low-level flight. The P-8A has 11 weapon hard points: 5 in the rotary weapon bay, 4 under the wings, and 2 under the fuselage. Weapon load can exceed 10t/ 22,000 pounds, and all hard points have digital weapon interfaces. The aircraft is designed to work in conjunction with the MQ-4C Triton and essentially provides the Navy with an anti-submarine, anti-ship and anti-smuggling platform that can sweep the area, launch sensors or weapons as needed, and remain aloft for many hours. Work will be performed at a number of locations in- and outside the continental US, including Seattle, Washington and Cambridge, United Kingdom. The contract is expected to be completed in October 2020.

    April 12/18: Training Systems-US/AUS Boeing has been selected to provide both the US Navy and government of Australia with training systems for P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Valued at $35.9 million, the deal allows the air-framer to provide P-8A Poseidon maintenance device training system upgrades for both customers and falls under a firm-fixed-price contract modification to an existing award and combines purchases for the Navy ($18,063,363; 51 percent); and the government of Australia ($17,905,905; 49 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will take place in Jacksonville, Florida and Edinburgh, Australia, running through to January 2020. The Poseidon is an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft designed to work in conjunction with the MQ-4C Triton, a UAV used for maritime patrol operations, and is also on order with the UK, Norway, and India. In March, Boeing’s 100th Poseidon entered final assembly in Renton, Washington and the firm says its current order backlog will keep its production line running until 2022.

    March 22/18: RAAF IOC Australia’s fleet of P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft have achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC). So far, the Royal Australian Air Force has taken delivery of six aircraft out of a total order of 12, with the aircraft operated by the No. 11 sqn. from RAAF Edinburgh. “The arrival of the P-8A has allowed Air Force, under Plan Jericho, to develop and evolve new operating concepts, support arrangements and sustainment options,” adds RAAF air marshal Leo Davies. “These will best exploit the P-8A’s sensors and networking as part of integrated Navy and Air Force integrated Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Family of Systems.” Under this plan, first announced in 2015, Canberra also aims to acquire and integrate Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton UAV, and has hinted that it could obtain “up to seven”.

    March 07/18: Lot 10 long-lead parts The US Navy has ordered long-lead parts for 19 Lot 10 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, tapping manufacturer Boeing with a $282.2 million contract to carry out the work. Under the terms of the agreement, the parts will cover ten aircraft for the US Navy, as well as covering the foreign military sales of five aircraft to Norway and four to the UK. Work will take place primarily at Seattle, Washington, with other work to take place across the continental US and in Cambridge, UK. Work will be completed by March 2022.

    February 5/18: Contracts-Airframe & Engine Support A series of contracts were awarded to industry on Thursday, February 1, in support of the US Navy’s P-8 Poseidon program. Tapped for individual work orders include the program’s lead contractor Boeing, as well as AAR Aircraft Services Inc and StandardAero, for airframe and engine services and depot maintenance valued at more than $268.7 million combined. Airframe work will be led by Boeing, with secondary support from AAR, and includes scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, in-service repair, planner and estimator requirements, technical directive incorporation, airframe modifications and aircraft on ground support. Meanwhile, Standard Aero will lead the work, with support from Boeing, on engine depot work that will include depot maintenance and repair; field assessment, maintenance repair and overhaul engine repair, and technical assistance for removal and replacement of engines. Work will take place at facilities operated by the three awardees across the US and Canada, with a scheduled completion date of January 2019. The contract covers services for the Navy, the government of Australia and foreign military sales customers.

    January 12/18: Logistics Services US Navy and Australian government P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) will have integrated logistics services and site activation support provided by the aircraft’s manufacturer Boeing, following the award of a $115.2 million contract modification issued by the Naval Air Systems Command. The majority of the work will take place in Seattle, Washington and at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with some work being carried out in Brisbane, Australia. Scheduled completion is set for September 2021. Under a joint agreement, the new modified contract combines purchases for the US Navy and Australia. The Pentagon is expected to pay out more than $103.3 million, or what amounts to 90 percent of the total contract value, under a cooperative engagement agreement.

    August 8/17: The US Navy has awarded Boeing a $11.1 million contract modification to conduct additional ground repair work on the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft operated by the service. Work will be carried out at Jacksonville, Fla., as well as other sites throughout the United States and locations in Japan, Australia and Italy, with a scheduled completion of June 2018. The Navy currently operates a fleet of 50 Poseidons and expect future deliveries to bring the fleet to 109 as it replaces its older P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

    July 6/17: The US, UK, and Norway are seeking to build a trilateral coalition based around the mutual use of P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. While the exact details of the plan have yet to be fleshed out, the agreement will initially seek to establish a framework for further cooperation in areas such as readiness, enhancing defense capability, and interoperability. Additional areas for further cooperation include joint operations in the North Atlantic, information sharing and the possibility of co-locating maintenance and training assets. It is hoped that the co-operation and sharing of assets such as maintenance will help bring costs down and keep readiness rates high for American assets surveilling the waters near Europe.

    July 5/17: Northrop Grumman has received a pair of contracts for the AN/ALQ-240 Electronic Support Measures system on US Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. With a cumulative worth of $30 million, the orders include depot level repairs and refurbishment of the AN/ALQ-240 and the spare parts necessary. Work will take place at various locations with an estimated completion time of October 2020. The system allows operators greater situational awareness and anticipation of enemy air and naval electronic defenses as it can detect and provide precise location data of enemy radars jammers, and other electronic threats to the P-8 and Navy ships.

    June 12/17: Boeing will provide seven deployable crew trainers for P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to the US Navy. Delivers of the Deployable Mission Readiness Trainers (DMRTs) will commence in 2019 and includes its Weapons Tactics Trainer system, incorporating sonobuoy and ocean acoustics modeling. The trainers will allow Navy crews to continue simulator training while deployed abroad. The system will also be delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force.

    April 30/17: New Zealand has been cleared by the US State Department for the $1.46 billion purchase of four Boeing P-8A maritime patrol aircraft alongside associated equipment and support. The sale will go toward the maintenance of Wellington’s Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) capability, following the retirement of the P-3K maritime patrol aircraft. Japan had also tried to sell the Kawasaki P-1 to New Zealand, a rival platform being marketed agains Boeing’s P-8A.

    April 2/17: Boeing has been awarded a $2.1 billion US Navy contract to produce 17 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Under the agreement, the company will deliver 11 units to the Navy, and five for cooperative partners and as foreign military sales, with completion expected for December 2020. The sale also includes manufacturing orders for long lead parts, obsolescence monitoring, and integrated baseline program management reviews. While the destination of the foreign orders were not included, India and Australia are both primary operators of the aircraft.

    December 22/16: The US State Department has cleared the potential sale of P-8A surveillance aircraft to Norway. Five aircraft and associated systems and support, valued at $1.75 billion, will be provided in a deal aimed at upgrading Norway’s maritime surveillance capabilities. The P-8 will replace Oslo’s current fleet of P-3 Orions.

    December 22/16: The US State Department has cleared the potential sale of P-8A surveillance aircraft to Norway. Five aircraft and associated systems and support, valued at $1.75 billion, will be provided in a deal aimed at upgrading Norway’s maritime surveillance capabilities. The P-8 will replace Oslo’s current fleet of P-3 Orions.

    November 30/16: As part of governmental approval to increase defense spending, Norway plans to drop some $1.15 billion on five P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. With Norway sharing a long maritime border with Russia, the acquisition comes as Nordic and Baltic states ramp up modernization and capability efforts in order to dissuade Moscow from trying to pull another “Crimea” in the Baltics. Delivery of the planes will take place between 2021 and 2022 and will replace the current fleet of six P-3 Orion and three DA-20 Jet Falcon aircraft.

    October 14/16: Kawasaki Heavy Industries are confident that they can poach customers away from Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon aircraft in favor of their own P-1. The company said that customers looking to move away from their older P-1 Orions see a number of advantages in the Japanese anti-submarine warfare plane over its American counterpart. One advantage touted over the P-8A is the P-1’s four turbofan engines, as a single engine failure will not result in the termination of the mission and allows the plane to operate at lower altitudes.

    September 30/16: Boeing rolled out the first of its 12 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force during a ceremony in Seattle. The maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft, based on the design of Boeing’s 737-800 fuselage, will fly to Australia in November. Featuring a weapons bay as well as under-wing and under-fuselage hard points for weapons, the aircraft will be used for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and shipping interdiction as Australia looks to assert itself as a regional security player in the region.

    September 2/16: South Korea may join the US Navy, India, and Australia in operating the P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, according to defense ministry officials. If given the go ahead, Seoul may purchase four of the aircraft to help expand their surveillance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities following submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) tests by North Korea. The aircraft can fly at altitudes up to 41,000 feet and are capable of striking enemy submarines immediately upon detecting them with weapons such as the MK 54 torpedo.

    July 21/16: Boeing is to deliver four P-8 Poseidon aircraft to the Australian government. A US Navy contract modification awarded Boeing a $100 million order to produce and deliver the aircraft by June 2017. Once delivered, the P-8s will engage in long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

    July 13/16: Norway has expressed an interest in procuring five to six Boeing P-8A maritime patrol aircraft according to a senior US Navy official. Rear Admiral Dean Peters, program executive officer for anti-submarine warfare, assault, and special missions programs, said the Navy had asked potential P-8 buyers to express their interest by next summer. Production of the aircraft is to cease in the next three years.

    July 12/16: While he may be soon out the door as UK Prime Minister, David Cameron has announced the completion of a number of deals for the P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and AH-64E attack helicopters during the Farnborough airshow this week. The UK announced its intention to buy the submarine-hunting P-8A planes in November to plug a gap in its defenses that has existed since 2010, when it ditched the Nimrod, built by the local BAE Systems. As a result of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, Cameron was to step down as leader in October, however this could be hastened as only one candidate, Theresa May, remains in the leadership race.

    July 6/16: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the Navy to purchase four more Boeing P-8Is during a recent meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). Delivery of the $1 billion order is expected over the next three to four years. This adds to eight others ordered in 2010 to enhance the Navy’s Anti-submarinewarfare (ASW) and maritime patrol capabilities.

    May 27/16: Turkish defense procurement officials revealed that the Turkish Navy is keen to induct a long-range maritime patrol aircraft to complement its CN-235 and ATR72 fleet, with Boeing’s P-8A a favored choice. Requirements from Ankara include being able to fly 1,000 to 1,200 nautical miles away from their main base in Turkey, and fly 12 to 15 hours as well as being able to fulfill anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare roles. While a request for information is expected to be released soon, the parameters set may make the competition a very small one.

    April 7/16: The US Navy has awarded Boeing a $235.2 million modification contract to obtain long-lead materials and parts required for the P-8A program. The deal will see the company produce and deliver 11 Lot 8 full-rate production IV of the multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft by January 2017. This follows up on a potential $2.5 billion order for the aircraft from January for building the aircraft for both the Navy and the government of Australia.

    March 28/16: The UK’s planned purchase of 9 P-8A Poseidon aircraft has been approved by the US State Department. The $3.2 billion sale was a top priority for the British government with the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) saying the aircraft “will enhance Britain’s capabilities to provide national defense and contribute to NATO and coalition operations.” The UK’s intention to purchase the aircraft was made last November in order to help the UK protect its nuclear deterrent and fill a gap left by a much-criticized decision to scrap the Nimrod spy-plane program in 2010.

    March 2/16: Boeing is to provide the US Navy with two addition P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft in a deal worth $276.2 million. Production and delivery is expected to be completed by February 2019. The February 29 contract follows the much larger order of 20 P-8A aircraft with 16 for the Navy and four going to Australia. It’s expected that the Navy will require 117 P-8As to take over operations as the P-3C Orion comes closer to the end of its operational life.

    February 1/16: The US Navy has placed an order with Boeing for twenty P-8A Poseidon aircraft in a contract worth $2.5 billion. Sixteen will replace the P-3C Orion used by the Navy for long-range, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare as well for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Four will be sold to Australia under the US Foreign Military Sales program. Included in the contract, Boeing will also be tasked with providing obsolescence monitoring, change assessment, and integrated baseline and program management reviews.

    July 30/15: Boeing has ended its contract with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, citing shoddy production quality of HAL-manufactured components for India’s P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft under construction by Boeing, as well as components for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The $4.7 million contract in question was signed in February 2010.

    July 1/15: Also on Monday the Navy handed Boeing a $358.9 million contract to provide long-lead production materials for twenty-nine Full Rate Production P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and ASW aircraft. The twenty-nine aircraft are split between Lots II and III, with the Navy set to take nine of the former and sixteen of the latter, with the remaining four Lot III aircraft earmarked for the Royal Australian Air Force. Boeing received a $295.6 million advance acquisition contract in August 2014 for long-lead items for a dozen Full Rate Production Lot II P-8A aircraft, with funding for four of these similarly destined for the RAAF.

    June 30/15: The Navy awarded Boeing a $14.1 million delivery order for development and definition of system requirements for the P-8A Poseidon Multi Mission Aircraft, to build towards the program’s Increment 3 Capabilities Integration System Requirements Review Systems Engineering Technical Review. The aim of Increment 3 is to enhance the Multi-Static Active Coherent system, provide early delivery of the High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability datalink, improve the Tactical Operations Center mission software and introduce the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) high-resolution AESA radar, as well as other changes to the plane’s sensors and systems as time and money allow.

    May 27/15: Rockwell Collins was awarded a $24.8 million IDIQ contract to supply the Navy and Australia with aircraft direction finders, radio tuner panels and high frequency radio shipsets for the P-8A Poseidon, with the contract slated for completion in 2020.

    May 5/15: On Monday Boeing was awarded a $118.1 million contract modification for training systems and services for the Navy and Australia, in support of the P-8A maritime multimission aircraft, including the procurement of Operational Flight Trainer and Weapon Tactics Trainer systems, as well as other training assets for the Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force.

    Oct 14/15: Delivery #18. Boeing delivered the 18th P-8A Poseidon aircraft to the US Navy ahead of schedule, as it departs Boeing Field in Seattle, WA for the fleet readiness training squadron at NAS Jacksonville, FL. It was Boeing’s 5th delivery of 2014, and Boeing is under contract for 53 P-8As so far. Sources: Boeing, “Boeing Delivers 18th P-8A Poseidon to U.S. Navy”.

    FY 2014

    Full Rate Production begins; Australia commits to 8 planes; Basing decisions made; 1st official deployment; Boeing introducing Challenger MSA as a lower-tier option; DOT&E report shows flaws in the Navy, as well as flaws within the aircraft; Watch those roofs, they bite; An ASW pilot’s viewpoint.

    Check-out line
    (click to view full)

    Sept 29/14: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $11.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for training-specific P-8A data storage architecture updates and upgrades, to include hardware, software, and integration. See also Sept 25/14, which covers data storage architecture changes to existing aircraft. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy aircraft budgets.

    Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (35%); Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, FL (30%); NAS Whidbey Island, Washington (30%); and St. Louis, MO (5%), and is expected to be complete in December 2015. The Naval Air Warfare Center’s Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL manages this contract (N00019-12-C-0112).

    Sept 29/14: Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $43.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for P-8A integrated logistics and contractor services. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy aircraft budgets.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington (58%); Jacksonville, FL (12%); Valencia, CA (6%); Linthicum, MD (5%); Greenlawn, NY (3%); and various locations within the United States (16%), and is expected to be complete in April 2017 (N00019-12-C-0112).

    Sept 29/14: Infrastructure. RQ Construction, LLC in Carlsbad, CA, wins a $21 million firm-fixed-price contract to design and build the P-8A Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and Mobile Tactical Operations Center at NAS Whidbey Island, WA. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 and 2014 Navy construction budgets. The contract also contains 2 unexercised options, which could raise its value to $23.1 million.

    The new low-rise TOC facility will include the commander, patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10 headquarters. It will be accompanied by demolition of an existing building, and demolition with hazardous waste disposal may be required. For the mobile TOC, RQ will renovate and convert the current TOC B2771 to a new Mobile TOC. Both facilities will contain classified spaces.

    Work will be performed in Oak Harbor, WA, and is expected to be complete by September 2017. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 19 proposals received by NAVFAC NW in Silverdale, WA (N44255-14-C-5006).

    Sept 25/14: Upgrades. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $26.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to conduct retrofit services on the Data Storage Architecture in P-8A Low Rate Initial Production Lots 1-3. $9.8 million in FY 2012 Navy aircraft budgets is committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Jacksonville, FL, and is expected to be complete in September 2016 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Aug 18/14: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $30.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification “for the development of a structural repair manual in support of the P-8A Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft.” Even as an interactive electronic product, that isn’t cheap. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy aircraft budgets.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA and is expected to be complete in November 2018 (N00019-12-C-0112).

    Aug 14/14: FRP-2 long lead. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $295.6 million advance acquisition contract, which buys long-lead time items for 12 Full Rate Production Lot II (FY 2015) P-8As: 8 US Navy ($152 million / 51%), and 4 for Australia ($143.6 million/ 49%). This is Australia’s 1st order, and is likely to contain customization funds as well. $207.8 million is committed immediately, including $55.8 million from Australia.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (82.6%); Baltimore, MD (6.2%); Greenlawn, NY (4.2%); the United Kingdom (3.5%); and North Amityville, NY (3.5%), and is expected to be complete in April 2018. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-14-C-0067).

    July 31/14: Delivery #15. The US Navy’s 15th P-8A Poseidon arrives at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL, shortly after the VP-16 “War Eagles” finish the type’s 1st deployment abroad at Kadena AB in Okinawa, Japan. Sources: Boeing, “Boeing Delivers 15th Production P-8A Poseidon to U.S. Navy”.

    July 29/14: Australia. Flight Global reports that Australia is looking to incorporate the AGM-84G Harpoon Block I anti-ship missile into its P-8As. It’s also known as the AGM-84 Block IG, and reportedly adds seeker improvements and re-attack mode. It could be created by upgrading existing Australian AGM-84 missiles, which serve on the AP-3C fleet.

    There seems to be a bit of a divergence on the P-8, but no matter which missile is picked, it needs to be fully integrated with the plane’s mission software. The USA has been testing the AGM-84 Block IC, while India’s P-8i seems set to host the GPS/radar guided AGM-84L Block II with land attack capability. Australia has requested Harpoon Block IIs for other platforms, but appears to be satisfied with smaller-scale air-launched upgrades. Sources: Flight Global, “Australia pushes for Harpoon integration on P-8As”.

    July 21/14: Infrastructure. Korte Construction Co., DBA The Korte Co. in St. Louis, MO wins a $36.2 million firm-fixed-price contract to build the P-8A Multi-Missioned Maritime Aircraft Training Facility at NAS Whidbey Island, WA. The 2-story operational training facility will include space for 8 OFTs (operational flight trainers) and 6 WTTS (weapons tactical trainers), with associated support network and communications equipment, classrooms, and administrative spaces. The facility will also contain bridge cranes, special access program facility spaces, and extensive networking equipment. All funds are committed immediately using FY 2014 US Navy construction budgets, but a pair of unexercised options could increase the cumulative contract value to $36.3 million.

    Work will be performed in Oak Harbor, WA, and is expected to be complete by January 2016. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 23 proposals received by NAVFAC Northwest in Silverdale, WA (N44255-14-C-5002).

    July 4/14: Foxtrot Alpha’s “Confessions Of A US Navy P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Pilot” interviews a US Navy P-3C pilot who now flies P-8As. He sees the P-8A as a safer aircraft that’s easier to fly, and the ability to perform any tactical job from any workstation magnifies the aircraft’s flexibility. It’s implied that the new plane will change the standard career zenith from being a Fleet Replacement Instructor, to being a Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School Instructor.

    With that said, “the lack of a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) aboard the P-8A is a drawback,” and the Harpoon missile’s lack of precision in crowded shipping environments makes the current absence of weapons like the AGM-65 Maverick “a major step back”. The growth of long-range anti-aircraft missiles like the HQ-9, S-400, etc. also presents a radar-guided threat to maritime patrol planes in the littoral environment, and so the lack of rasdar-centric defensive systems is a concern in the community. A key excerpt:

    “ASW is all about the time from the last known position of the sub in question. Geometry rules everything…. [speed increases] the chance of catching a submarine by minimizing the time from its last point of detection…. There are currently two schools of thought in the Maritime Patrol Community right now when it comes to how the P-8 should be used. One where it works closely along the lines of its predecessor, and follows the P-3’s traditional mission sets of ASuW, ASW and limited ISR, and another where the P-8 can be adapted more dramatically for a litany of missions, including direct attack on ground targets. Personally, I believe the P-8A should also be equipped with a more robust set of weapons and sensors for the fight against smaller vessels in constrained littoral environments.”

    Finally, the pilot bemoans the removal of aerial tanker roles from the P-8 MMA’s original vision, which could have tied each squadron to a carrier air wing during deployment phases:

    “When a carrier would go into flight ops, the P-8A would launch, tank aircraft using drogue and hose buddy stores, conduct a surveillance flight around the carrier, tank during recovery, and then return to base…. A great idea withered on the vine because of shortsighted petty inter-service politics [from the USAF]”.

    A pilot’s view

    July 2/14: Delivery #14. Boeing announces delivery of their 14th P-8A Poseidon aircraft on schedule, to NAS Jacksonville, FL. So far, the US Navy has ordered 53, and Boeing will deliver 7 more this year. Sources: Boeing, “Boeing, U.S. Navy Expand P-8A Maritime Patrol Fleet with 14th Delivery”.

    June 25/14: Increment 3. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $14.9 million delivery order for P-8A Poseidon Increment 3 Interface Development. $3.3 million is committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy R&D budgets.

    They’re referring to technical interfaces here, not display screens, and the order involves test beds which can be used to verify that new additions are compatible: 2 Mission Systems Emulation Environment (MSEE) units with all required hardware, Tactical Open Mission software with P-8 baseline architecture interface data exposure modifications, interface adapter computer software configuration items, and P-8A real-time simulator with interactive warfare simulator. In addition, this order includes the development, documentation, and delivery of hardware and software updates for 4 existing MSEE units.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA, and is expected to be complete in September 2016. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD, is the contracting activity (N00019-11-G-0001, DO 3051).

    June 17/14: JSTARS Recap. The USAF is looking at options for recapitalizing JSTARS, with Initial Operating Capability of 4 planes by 2022, in order to counter escalating operations and maintenance costs. The planes need to accomodate about 13 crew and a 13′ – 20′ radar, stay on station for 8 hours with aerial refueling capability for more, and reach 38,000 feet. The USAF plans to ask for $2.4 billion over the next 5 years, but the dollars don’t really exist to launch another major USAF program. Hence USAF JSTARS recapitalization branch chief Lt. Col. Michael Harm:

    “With the completion of the 2011 JSTARS mission area analysis of alternatives study and the onset of Budget Control Act-directed budget levels, it became clear that the future of the JSTARS weapons system lay in a more cost-effective platform as compared to extending the lifecycle of the current 707 airframes.” ….The Air Force is currently drafting requirements for the program, which will be finalized by early 2015, Harm said. In order to keep the system affordable, it plans on using commercial, off-the-shelf equipment and minimizing new technology development.”

    Boeing is expected to enter its P-8, which is already configured for the mission and the above requirements once the LSR radar is added. Added costs would be limited to expansion of communications links and software development, and Navy commonality would be a big plus.

    Raytheon’s Sentinel R1 already serves in the JSTARS role with Britain’s RAF, and the smaller Bombardier jet needs ongoing system and software development to reach its full potential. Operating costs would be lower, expanding the current USA-UK Airseeker RC-135V Rivet Joint ELINT/SIGINT partnership to encompass Sentinel R1s is a thinkable option, and Bombardier can lean on Raytheon and/or its Learjet subsidiary as the American lead. Aerial refueling might be the issue, given Sentinel’s configuration and the USAF’s insistence on dorsal boom refueling.

    Gulfstream is looking to do something similar by partnering up and offer either the G550, which is already in use by Israel and its customers in AEW&C (CAEW) or ELINT/SIGINT (SEMA) variants, or the longer-range G650. They say that the’ve done the design work for aerial refueling, but haven’t had a customer take them up on it yet. E-8 JSTARS lead Northrop Grumman, who led the canceled E-10A program but retains key technologies, is a very logical partnering choice. With that said, Lockheed Martin has their own expertise to offer, and their Dragon Star ISR aircraft-for-lease is a Gulfstream.

    The USA’s default option, of course, is to do nothing. The E-8C fleet would then become vulnerable to future USAF fleet-sized cuts. Meanwhile the P-8As would field in the Navy and informally take over some of the JSTARS role, alongside USAF UAVs like RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 40 and its EQ-4 BACN counterpart. Sources: NDIA National Defense, “Industry Ready to Compete for JSTARS Recapitalization Program”.

    June 5/14: Testing. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $28.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for the design, development, fabrication, installation and testing of airworthiness flight test equipment. The challenge is to correctly predict that something might go wrong in future.

    Work will be performed in Patuxent River, MD (58%); Seattle, WA (34%); and Huntsville, AL (8%), and is expected to be complete in December 2016 (N00019-04-C-3146).

    June 4/14: Basing. At the close of the Environmental Impact Study, the US Navy has decided to consolidate P-8A basing. NAS Jacksonville, FL will have 6 squadrons plus the “fleet replacement” training squadron, while NAS Whidbey Island, WA will have the other 6 squadrons. There will be a permanent rotating squadron detachment at Hawaii Marine Corps Base, and periodic squadron detachments to Corondo Naval Base, CA near San Diego.

    This effectively means that Jacksonville won, getting 7 squadrons instead of 5, and is less than the 8 Whidbey squadrons being touted earlier (q.v. May 3/13). That doesn’t stop House Armed Services Committee and Electronic Warfare Working group member Rick Larsen [D-WA-2] from claiming credit, though. In full fairness to the Congressman, it’s a better than the initial plan for 4 squadrons, just a climbdown from expectations since the Pentagon decided to concentrate on 2 operating bases. Sources: Rick Larsen’s office, “Larsen: Navy P-8A Decision Great for NASWI, National Security”.

    May 12/14: FRP-1. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives a $50.1 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, exercising an option for 16 APY-10 radar kits that will be installed in FY 2014’s Full Rate Production Lot I P-8As. It also covers installation and checkout technical support, configuration management, reliability and maintainability failure reporting and corrective actions, engineering change orders/proposals, integrated logistics support, technical data, and repairs.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy aircraft budgets. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX (53.38%), Reston, VA (8.35%); Little Falls, NJ (7.78%); Spring Valley, CA (6.51%); Black Mountain, NC (4.24%); Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada (2.73%); Poway, CA (2.50%); Simsbury, CT (2.43%); Leesburg, VA (2.33%), and various locations throughout the United States (9.75%), and is expected to be complete in November 2016 (N00019-13-C-0161).

    April 24/14: Software. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $8.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for P-8A software updates. Mission Software has been a problem for the plane so far (q.v. Jan 23/14 etc.).

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy aircraft and maintenance budgets. Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (27.6%); Huntington Beach, CA (18.9%); McKinney, TX (18.4%); Grand Rapids, MI (13.4%); Baltimore, MD (7.8%); Rolling Meadows, IL (4.2%); El Segundo, CA (3.9%); Farmingdale, NY (3%); St. Louis, MO (1.5%); and Amityville, NY (1.3%), and is expected to be complete in August 2015 (N00019-11-G-0001, DO 3008).

    April 17/14: SAR. The Pentagon finally releases its Dec 31/13 Selected Acquisitions Report [PDF]. The P-8A’s costs have dropped, mostly because they’re ordering 8 fewer planes:

    “Program costs decreased $1,865.8 million (-5.4%) from 34,395.0 million to $33,069.2 million, due primarily to a decrease of 8 [production] aircraft from 117 to 109 (-$1,560.4 million) and a revised estimating methodology for labor hours and rates and adjustments to commercial aircraft pricing (-$548.0 million). There were additional decreases for revised escalation indices (-$255.8 million) and reduced estimates for business base benefits created by the Royal Australian Air Force aircraft procurement (-$184.8 million). These decreases were partially offset by increases in other support due to updated actuals and a revised interim support strategy (+$289.1 million), revised estimates to reflect the application of outyear escalation indices (+$136.0 million), and a net stretch-out of the procurement buy profile (+$121.7 million).”

    Fewer planes

    April 14/14: LSRS/AAS. Aviation photographer Russell Hill takes pictures of a P-8A at Boeing Field in Seattle, with the canoe-shaped LSRS double-sided ground-looking AESA radar beneath. This bit from Foxtrot Alpha was interesting:

    “With this in mind, compartmentalizing [and classifying] the program deep within the Navy may have saved it from being shot down via the [USAF] who would protect their existing, even if potentially inferior, ground moving target indicator mission at all costs. Although some of this is speculative, this same story has come up again and again, both in the press and in my own discussions with people associated with the communities that deployed and developed the LSRS.”

    Foxtrot Alpha elaborates on the uses of this system, from tracking targets down to human size, to targeting weapons from its own stores or other platforms via datalink updates, to damage assessments. Can these capabilities be extended to add cruise missile detection and electronic warfare? Even if not, the author is correct in pointing to the E-8C JSTARS overlap. With the JSTARS fleet set to receive only minimal upgrades, we would be equally unsurprised if the P-8 ends up taking over this role. Sources: Foxtrot Alpha, “Exclusive: P-8 Poseidon Flies With Shadowy Radar System Attached”.

    April 8/14: MSA. Boeing is targeting P-3 operators for their Challenger MSA, which means they’ll be competing with themselves to some extent. Their Canadian partner Field Aviation adds weight to that by touting future options including SATCOM, side looking airborne radar, and even weapons on wing hardpoints. That last change would sharply narrow the difference between the P-8A and Challenger MSA.

    Base MSA equipment will include Selex ES Seaspray 7300 maritime surveillance radar, and FLIR Systems Star Safire 380 day/night surveillance turret. That creates a high-end product for Coast Guards as well as a mid-range product for militaries. The question comes down to customers, and Boeing is reportedly targeting “20 to 30” within a total market space of around $10 billion. As one looks at the list, however, one sees a number of countries within the P-3 customer base who won’t become customers soon, if ever: Australia (P-8 & UAV), Japan (home-built P-1), Brazil (will pick Embraer’s), Canada (P-3 LEX), Chile (C295 MPAs), New Zealand (P-3 LEX), Norway (P-3 LEX), Pakistan (P-3 LEX), Portugal (P-3 LEX & C295 MPAs), Spain (C295 MPA home), and Taiwan (P-3 LEX). As a quick sort, that leaves Argentina, Germany, and South Korea as likely targets before 2025 or so, with possibilities in Chile and Spain as unlikely.

    Of course, the same sort reveals that the P-8A itself may have a bit of a long slog for exports, unless it can open markets that the P-3 didn’t reach. Sources: Flight Global, “Boeing to target current P-3 operators for MSA sales”.

    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. Changes to the Program Dashboard are reflected in the article. Most of the rest isn’t anything new, though they note that the sonobuoy launcher has experienced testing problems and is still receiving fixes.

    On the good news front, GAO cites Boeing’s use of more pre-acceptance flights, which helped resolve more issues before formal acceptance. With that said, the P-8 still seems to have plenty.

    Over the longer term, Increment 3 plans to give the plane a more open electronic architecture for faster integration of new components. The program plans a full and open competition for the Increment 3 system architecture contracts, and intends to buy the intellectual property rights as well.

    March 5/14: MSA. Well, that was fast. Boeing’s Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) derivative based on the Challenger 605 business jet (q.v. Nov 19/13) recently completed its 1st flight, a 4-hour test that took off from Toronto, Canada’s Pearson International Airport. Boeing’s partner Field Aviation needed to establish that aerodynamic performance met predictions, and that it handled like a regular model even with the radome and other modifications.

    Additional airworthiness flights are scheduled for the next 2 months, after which the MSA will fly to a Boeing facility in Seattle for mission system installation and testing. Here’s hoping they can work out some of the myriad bugs in the base P-8 mission system before that happens. Sources: Boeing, “Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft Demonstrator Completes 1st Flight”.

    March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The USN unveils their preliminary budget request briefings. They aren’t precise, but they do offer planned purchase numbers for key programs. Full numbers follow days later, and are plotted in the charts above. In the P-8A’s case, however, the numbers may mislead.

    After buying 16 P-8As in FY 2014 to begin Full Rate Production, the FY 2015 request drops to just 8 (-8 from plan), before the long term plan bounces back to 15 (-1), 13 (-1), 13 (+3), and 7 (+7) planes from FY 2016 – 2019. Note the trick. While stating that the FY15 cut “was necessary to comply with affordability constraints,” the buys are shifted several years into the future, as if the same dilemmas won’t recur. But the same hard choices must be made, when the time comes.

    The missing 8 aircraft are found in a separate $26B wish list that is far from certain to get traction in Congress, and the number of flaws in the P-8A could actually make a FY 2015 order cut attractive. It would reduce the number of retrofits required to correct problems with initial aircraft, and move more planes beyond the point at which Increment 2 is likely to be ready. The 737 production line isn’t going anywhere, which gives the Navy the luxury of industrial time. On the other hand, the Navy may not have the same luxury of budgetary time, as future buys must take place with F-35B/C fighter production ramped up, and programs like SSBN-X beginning to bite.

    With fewer ships on hand, assets like the P-8 are becoming more important to sea control, playing roles once reserved for sailing frigates. The question is whether the US Navy values that enough, compared to other options like destroyers. They’ve seemed very ready to cut similar assets from even well-performing programs like the E-2D AWACS, and the P-8’s MQ-4 Triton UAV companion is seeing a medium-term procurement slowdown of its own. Sources: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF].

    Feb 25/14: FRP-1. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $2.07 billion firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising options for Full Rate Production (q.v. Jan 3/14) Lot 1: 16 P-8As, and 16 Ancillary Mission Equipment kits for the US Navy. Subsequent orders under FRP-1 include:

    • $50.1 million APY-10 radars (May 12/14)
    • $26.9 million DMS re-design (Nov 20/13)

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy aircraft budgets. Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (78.4%); Baltimore, MD (4.7%); Greenlawn, NY (2.4%); Cambridge, United Kingdom (1.6%); Rockford, IL (1.1%); North Amityville, NY (1%), and miscellaneous locations throughout the continental United States (10.8%), and is expected to be complete in April 2017 (N00019-12-C-0112).

    FRP Lot 1

    Feb 21/14: Australia commits. The Australian government gives 2nd pass approval for AIR 7000 Phase 2B, and sets A$ 4 billion as the budget for 8 P-8As and infrastructure. An option for 4 more could be exercised, depending on the forthcoming Defence White Paper review’s conclusions. This isn’t a contract, but one is expected to follow soon.

    The planes will be based at RAAFB Edinburgh near Adelaide, in southern Australia, and the program’s A$ 4 billion cost includes new basing, infrastructure, and support facilities. Australia’s 1st P-8A is expected in 2017, with all 8 aircraft fully operational by 2021. The P-8s will perform their work “with high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles,” which are expected to be Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Tritons, but Australia hasn’t formally made its UAV decision yet.

    As has so often been the case in the region lately, China is the gift that keeps on giving for American defense contractors. In early February, China sent guided missile destroyers Wuhan and Haikou, the 20,000t landing ship Changbaishan, and a submarine escort through the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. That forced an Australian AP-3C to scramble north to observe their combat simulations, and created pressure on Australia to offer a timely response. Which may help explain why this announcement was made by Prime Minister Abbott himself. Sources: Australian DoD, “P-8A Poseidon Aircraft to boost Australia’s maritime surveillance capabilities” | Australian Aviation, “Govt approves RAAF P-8 acquisition” | The Australian, “RAAF to get eight new Poseidon ocean patrol planes in $4bn deal” || The Lowy Interpreter, “China makes statement as it sends naval ships off Australia’s maritime approaches” | The Diplomat, “Australia Startled by Chinese Naval Excursion” | NZ Herald News, “China warships in Pacific raise alarm” | The Hindu, “New Indian Ocean exercise shows reach of China’s Navy” | China’s CCTV, “Combat vessels training for quick response in electronic war”.

    Australian approval

    Feb 18/14: Crunch! A 550-foot-long hangar near Naval Air Facility Atsugi collapses, following 21″ of snow in the past week and 35″ over the past month. Washington D.C. residents are nodding grimly in recognition, with visions of roof shoveling dancing in their heads.

    The good news is that the recently arrived P-8s are fine, because the facility was an old Kawasaki Heavy Industries Group/ NPPI repair hangar for US and Japanese aircraft, and the P-8s don’t need much of that. The bad news is that at least 4 US Navy P-3C planes were in the hangar, and 3 of them ended up being damaged beyond repair. There’s no immediate word on Japanese aircraft casualties, and cleanup is still underway.

    This will give the P-8As much more to do in the near term, while the US Navy figures out how to restore surveillance levels over the medium term. Sources: Stars and Stripes, “Navy Orions likely damaged in hangar collapse”.

    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 P-8’s core issues have been covered via advance leaks, but this passage in the report is especially notable, and had not been reported:

    “I provided a specific example of the former case to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I found that the P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Patrol Aircraft could be fully compliant with all Key Performance Parameter (KPP) and Key System Attribute (KSA) threshold requirements, and nonetheless possess significant shortfalls in mission effectiveness. The P-8 requirements define supporting system characteristics or attributes that are necessary, but not nearly sufficient, to ensure mission effectiveness. In an extreme case, the contractor could deliver an aircraft that meets all the KPPs but has no mission capability whatsoever. Such an airplane would only have to be designed to be reliable, equipped with self-protection features and radios, and capable of transporting weapons and sonobuoys across the specified distances, but would not actually have to have the ability to successfully find and sink threat submarines in an Anti-Submarine Warfare mission (its primary mission). The lack of KPPs/KSAs related directly to mission effectiveness will inevitably create a disconnect…”

    Other issues surfaced in the full report, but not in the news reports based on early leaks. SAR radar scans of the surface were a known problem, but DOT&E says they are outright ineffective, and that the problems include radar stability and image quality. These and other gaps give the P-8A Increment I limited effectiveness against “evasive targets attempting to limit exposure to detection by radar and other sensors,” and Mk 54 torpedo limitations add to the platform’s problems in those scenarios. Likewise, the ESM/ELINT system’s deficiencies were known before, but not the fact that “signal identification capabilities are limited [to a narrow level] by ESM signature library-size constraints.” There are problems with interoperability of the communications systems, including the International Maritime Satellite, Common Data Link, and voice satellite systems. Finally, the EWSP defensive system doesn’t offer protection or even warning against radar-guided threats, which include the most likely missiles an enemy fighter might launch at the aircraft.

    The report did concede that the P-8A “unarmed ASuW maritime surface target search, classification, track, and cue-to-attack capabilities are equivalent to P-3C capabilities.” On the good news front, there’s the reliability numbers: an on-time take-off rate of 93.6%, and airborne mission abort rate of only 1.6%, both well above operational requirements. The catch is that the mission system has a lot of software faults, which get in the way during missions and need to be fixed.

    Work on new capabilities continues. AGM-84 IC Harpoon anti-ship missile testing has begun, but full weapon tests won’t happen until FY 2014. Detection problems are expected to be addressed in Increment 2 with the fielding of the Multi-Static Active Coherent (MAC) system of sonobuoys, and HAASW GPS-guided kits in that increment may offer improved torpedo options against evasive targets, beginning around 2016. Increment 3, to be fielded around 2019, will improve sensor capabilities and the mission system architecture. That’s a good focus, and the level of problems in both areas will demand a lot of extra work before that increment even begins.

    Jan 23/14: Testing. Bloomberg News reports that an unreleased copy of the Pentagon’s annual DOT&E report isn’t positive for the P-8A. DOT&E chief Michael Gilmore reports that the P-8 still exhibits “all of the major deficiencies” identified in last year’s report, and is “not effective [DID: does not meet stated criteria] for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission and is not effective for wide area anti-submarine search”.

    To review, DOT&E’s FY 2012 annual report (q.v. Jan 17/13) focused on the P-8 sensors’ ability to work as advertised, and to work together. The main radar has track-while-scan deficiencies, problems with high-resolution image quality, radar pointing errors that were especially troublesome over land and in littoral regions, and cross-cue errors with the MX-20HD surveillance turret. The MX-20HD itself had issues with auto-track integration, and interference was making it hard for the AN/ALQ-240(V)1 ESM systems to accurately pinpoint radars and communications sources around the plane.

    On the one hand, this is not an adequate standard for a platform that the US Navy has declared as an Initial Operational Capability. On the other hand, these problems don’t make deployment to Japan stupid. Current P-8As may not match up to modernized P-3C Orion SMIP capabilities, but they do offer better availability, and can cover a bigger area. USN Lt Caroline Hutcheson says the P-8s “fully met” the criteria for “effective” patrols, and real-world experience in Asia is a good way of both training the P-8 crews and clarifying the aircraft’s problems. You can bet that it will also train American and Japanese fighter crews, who are likely to be close at hand whenever and wherever the P-8s fly. Sources: Bloomberg, “Boeing Surveillance Plane Found Not Effective for Mission”.

    Jan 17/14: Support. Northrop Grumman Systems Electronics Sector in Baltimore, MD receives a $33 million cost-plus-fixed-fee completion job order to design and build AN/ALQ 240 ESM operational test program sets, and stand up a repair depot at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN. ESM detects coherent electro-magnetic emissions and backtracks them to their point of origin, allowing it to pinpoint enemy communications, radars, etc.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 aircraft budgets. Work will be performed in Linthicum, MD, and the contract will run until September 2019. The US Navy Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-13-G-WT15).

    Jan 3/14: NAVAIR PMA-290 receives approval to enter P-8 Full Rate Production from the Milestone Decision Authority. Note that NAVAIR’s date for the release is Jan 17/14, but it didn’t appear on the site until Jan 24/14. Poor form, that. Sources: US NAVAIR, “P-8A aircraft gets green light to enter full rate production”.

    FRP approved

    Dec 23/13: LRIP-4. A $6.8 million fixed-price-incentive-firm contract modification to buy initial spares for the 8 P-8A aircraft in LRIP Lot IV.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 aircraft budgets. Work will be performed in Grand Rapids, MI (24.9%); Torrance, CA (18.8%); Greenlawn, NY (15%); Irvine, CA (14.5%); Freeland, WA (8.5%); Avenel, NJ (5.2%); Rockford, IL (3.3%); Wilson, NC (3.1%); Manfield, OH (2.8%); Rochester, NY (1.8%); West Chester, OH (1.5%); Sarasota, FL (0.5%), and Wichita, KS (0.1%). Work is expected to be complete in April 2017. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-12-C-0112).

    Dec 4/13: #13. Boeing delivers the 13th production P-8A ahead of schedule to NAS Jacksonville, FL, marking a perfect on-time record for the year. This is the last of the LRIP-2 aircraft, and LRIP Lot 3 planes will begin delivery in 2014. So far, Boeing has received 4 LRIP contracts for a total of 37 aircraft. Sources: Boeing, “Boeing Delivers 13th P-8A Poseidon to US Navy”.

    Nov 29/13: IOC & Deployment. The inaugural operational deployment of the P-8A Poseidon begins, as the VP-16 War Eagles squadron leaves NAS Jacksonville, FL, for Kadena AB in Okinawa, Japan. VP-16’s final P-3C Orion deployment ended in June 2012, and their transition to the new P-8A finished in January 2016.

    As the first 2 P-8s took flight to Japan, the US Navy declared Initial Operational Capability for the P-8A. Squadron VP-5 has completed their P-8 transition, and VP-45 began the shift away from the P-3C this summer, after returning from deployment. Meanwhile, the VP-30 FRS and the Integrated Training Center continue to qualify crew members ad replacement personnel. Sources: USN, “P-8A Aircraft Program Achieves Initial Operational Capability” | US NAVAIR, “P-8A: Road to deployment” | Defense News, “Poseidon’s inaugural deployment starts Friday”.

    IOC, 1st official deployment

    Nov 20/13: Support. Boeing in Seattle WA receives a $10.2 million firm-fixed-price requirements contract to repair 559 different P-8A items on an as-needed basis.

    Work will be performed in Dallas, TX and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/15. This sole source contract was not competitively procured, in accordance with FAR 6.302-1, by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-14-D-006F).

    Nov 20/13: FRP-1. Boeing in Seattle WA receives a $26.9 million to a fixed-price-incentive-firm contract modification, exercising an option for diminishing manufacturing sources re-design in support of P-8A Full Rate Production Lot I.

    All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Seattle, WA, and is expected to be complete in April 2017 (N00019-12-C-0112).

    Challenger MSA
    (click to view full)

    Nov 19/13: Challenger MSA. Boeing knows that its 737-based P-8 Poseidon sea control jet may be a bit too much plane for some customers. While the P-8A preps its flight display at the 2013 Dubai airshow, Boeing confirms a long-standing rumor by teaming up with Canada’s Bombardier to offer a surveillance-only Challenger 605 MSA with equal or better endurance and range, a lower purchase price, and lower operating costs. It’s kind of amusing to do this at a venue where some of your booth visitors have larger and more expensive planes than the P-8 in their private hangars, but Dubai’s exhibition draws from a wide geographic area.

    The Challenger 605 large business jet’s base range of 4,000 nmi/ 7,408 km is better than the 737-800’s, and its wide cabin is well suited to special mission crews and equipment. It’s believed that the plane will carry the same core mission system as the P-8A, as well as some common sensors, but space considerations are likely to force some sensor downgrades with respect to items like radars, magnetic anomaly detection, etc. Canada’s Field Aviation is currently modifying a Bombardier Challenger 604 jet, and expects to hand it over for initial testing and presentation to potential customers in 2014. Sources: Bombardier, Challenger 605 | Boeing, Nov 19/13 release | Pentagon DVIDS, “DOD supports 2013 Dubai Airshow [Image 1 of 15]”.

    Oct 28/13: Increment 3 ABA TD RFP. NAVAIR released its finalized RFP for the P-8A Increment 3 Applications Based Architecture (ABA) development, which will lead to the delivery of 2 prototypes. 2 awards for these ABA TD contracts are expected to be worth about $20 million each. By the EMD phase there will be a single award, but this will be a full and open competition rather than a downselect from the winners of this RFP. The deadline for offers is January 9, 2014. N00019-13-R-0045.

    Increment 3 Initial Operational Capability was scheduled to Q1 FY20 as of the March 2013 industry briefing [PDF], which also gives a sense of the requirements scope.

    Oct 28/13: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $99.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to add a Maintenance Training Device Suite (MTDS, with 6 Virtual Maintenance Trainer Devices and 14 Hardware Type II devices) and an Ordnance Load Trainer into P-8A LRIP-2.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 procurement funds. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 procurement funds. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (45%); Orlando, FL (25%); Whidbey Island, WA (15%); Huntington Beach, CA (10%); and Jacksonville, FL (5%). Work is expected to be complete in June 2016 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Oct 25/13: Training. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives a $26.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to incorporate the recent Test Release 21.1 block software upgrade on 8 operational flight trainers, 6 weapons tactics trainers, 3 part task trainers, and 44 mission system desktop trainers. It’s listed as being “in support of the P-8A LRIP-2,” but it’s really a service to the entire fleet, based on upgrades to current configuration.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 procurement funds. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (81%); Huntington Beach, CA (8%); Tampa, FL (8%); Seattle, WA (2%); and Hauppauge, NY (1%), and is expected to be complete in October 2015 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    FY 2013

    Australia reaffirms commitment; Initial P-8i delivery; USN revising basing plans?; DOT&E highlights sensor issues; An all-737 US ISR fleet?; China’s hacks include the P-8A.

    P-8A in Japan
    (click to view full)

    Sept 30/13: APY-10. Raytheon in McKinney, TX, is being awarded a $29.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to stand up an APY-10 organic depot maintenance facility. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2011 and 2013 aircraft procurement budgets, and contract options could bring the aggregate total to $39.1 million.

    Work will be performed at the Fleet Readiness Center South East, Jacksonville, FL, and is expected to be completed by March 31/16. $22.1 million in FY 2011 funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, today. The buy was sole sourced in accordance 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) by the US Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center in Jacksonville, FL (N68836-13-C-0071).

    Sept 24/13: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $225 million fixed-price-incentive-firm contract modification for 6 P-8A Poseidon OFT (operational flight trainers), 6 WTT (weapons tactics trainers), 2 part task trainers, 1 training systems support center, 3 10-seat electronic classrooms, and a 20-seat electronic classroom. All finds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (30.4%); Tampa, FL (21.3%); Whidbey Island, WA (15.2%); Huntington Beach, CA (5.9%); San Francisco, CA (4.2%); Long Island, NY (2%); Tulsa, OK (1.9%); Jacksonville, FL (0.9%); and various locations throughout the United States (18.2%); and is expected to be complete in March 2018 (N00019-12-C-0112).

    Sept 24/13: LRIP-4. Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in McKinney, TX receives a $48.8 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for 14 APY-10 radar kits, as part of the P-8’s LRIP-4 aircraft buy: 13 production, plus 1 spare. Raytheon will also provide a number of services: installation and checkout, technical support, configuration management, reliability and maintainability failure reporting and corrective actions, engineering change orders/proposals, integrated logistics support, interim contractor support, technical data, and repair of repairables. All funds are committed immediately, and see July 31/13 entry for LRIP-4 totals.

    Work will be performed in McKinney, TX (99%) and Seattle, WA (1%), and is expected to be complete in January 2016. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302.1, since Raytheon makes the radar (N00019-13-C-0161).

    Sept 19/13: LRIP-4 Support. Small business qualifier XTRA Aerospace in Miramar, FL receives a $16 million firm-fixed-price contract for Boeing 737 commercial spare parts, to support LRIP-4’s P-8As (q.v. July 31/13 for totals). There’s certainly a large pool of 737s and associated spares flying all over the world. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Miramar, FL and is expected to be complete in December 2016. This contract was competitively procured via electronic request for proposals, with 3 offers received by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-13-C-0147).

    Sept 18/13: LRIP-4. A $172.3 million fixed-price-incentive-firm contract modification for product services in support of the 13 LRIP-4 P-8As. They’ll provide spares & logistics support; interim contractor support; support equipment; and change technical publications as the aircraft change. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2011 and 2013 procurement budgets, and $30.1 million will expire on Sept 30/13.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (58.79%); Jacksonville, FL (11.47%); Valencia, CA (5.59%); Linthicum, MD (5.4%); Greenlawn, NY (3.21%); Salt Lake City, UT (1.28%); St. Peters, MO (1.82%); Carson, CA (0.83%); Camden, NJ (0.75%); Mesa, AZ (0.75%); Middlesex, United Kingdom (0.74%); Torrance, CA (0.59%); Mississuaga, Ontario, Canada (0.59%); Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (0.52%); and other various inside the United States (7.63%) and outside the United States locations (0.04%) (N00019-12-C-0112).

    Sept 6/13: Increment 3. Small business qualifier Progeny Systems Corp. in Manassas, VA receives a $8.3 million to begin developing a software architecture for P-8A Increment 3. Technically, this is a cost-plus-fixed-fee Small Business Innovation Research Phase III contract under Topic N121-045, “Maritime Airborne Service Oriented Architecture Integration.” Phase III contracts are the last stage before commercialization, and this project will finish a service oriented engineering development model for increment 3, along with source code and a Unified Modeling Language (UML) model. All funds are committed immediately, using the FY 2012 RDT&E budget.

    Now, let’s unpack that into English.

    Software has become a larger and more important component of advanced weapon systems – just as it has in your washing machine. The corollary is that technical and software architecture have a bigger and bigger influence on reliability, maintenance costs, and upgrade costs. The P-8 has a lot of sensors and software, and they need an architecture that lets them all work together even if the individual components change. “Service oriented” means that key capabilities are provided as unified infrastructure, which can be called by programs that may not have many other commonalities. Google Maps, which has been incorporated wholesale into a number of 1st responder applications, is a well-known example of a (web-based) service. At the tools level, UML is a way of modeling the flow and function of software without writing code. That makes quick, iterative changes a lot cheaper. Some UML tools can take the created model, and produce an initial code set that will follow those directions. It’s not an end point, because programmers still need to adjust the code for efficiency and other goals, but it’s a good start that can assist rapid prototyping.

    Work will be performed in Manassas, VA, and is expected to be complete in September 2015. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-5 by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-13-G-0001).

    July 31/13: LRIP-4. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $2.042 billion fixed-price-incentive-firm contract modification for LRIP Lot 4: 13 P-8As, and 13 ancillary mission equipment kits. It also orders 1 lot of diminishing manufacturing sources parts and long-lead parts associated with next year’s order: 16 P-8As under Full-Rate Production Lot I.

    Total spending on LRIP-4 is $2.279 billion, or $175.3 million per plane, and consists of the following awards:

    • $48.8 million APY-10 radars (Sept 24/13)
    • $16 million commercial 737 spares (Sept 19/13)
    • $172.3 million support (Sept 18/13)
    • $2.042 billion base

    All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (78.4%); Baltimore, MD (4.7%); Greenlawn, NY (2.4%); Cambridge, United Kingdom (1.6%); Rockford, IL (1.1%); North Amityville, NY (1%); and other various locations inside and outside of the United States (10.8%) (N00019-12-C-0112). See also: US NAVAIR | Boeing.

    LRIP Lot 4

    July 10/13: Australia. A DSCA request for Mk-54 torpedoes confirms the seriousness of Australia’s interest in the P-8A, as the DSCA says:

    “Australia will use the MK 54 torpedo on its MH-60R helicopters and intends to use the torpedo on a planned purchase of the P-8A Increment 2 Maritime Patrol and Response aircraft.”

    July 8/13: IOT&E done. NAVAIR announces that a July 1/13 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation report found the P-8A “operationally effective, operationally suitable, and ready for fleet introduction.” That keeps the program on track for Operational Evaluation and an initial deployment this winter, when the first P-8A squadron will deploy with P-3 and EP-3 squadrons.

    Deliveries to date include 15 aircraft: 6 test aircraft for NAVAIR, and 9 initial production planes to the fleet.

    IOT&E complete

    June 24/13: Testing. One of NAVAIR’s P-8A test aircraft serving in VX-20 successfully fires an AGM-84D Block IC Harpoon anti-ship missile, which scores a direct hit on the Low Cost Modular Target’s fabric. The Point Mugu Sea Test Range firing is the 1st live Harpoon firing by a P-8. US NAVAIR.

    May 31/13: Hacked. The P-8A program is listed as one of several programs that leaked design data to Chinese hackers. Given the P-8’s critical role in the Pacific, and with Pacific allies like Australia and India, this is not a good development.

    The leaks are damaging. The question is “how damaging?” All parties are remaining close-lipped about that, though reports show that a number of key P-8 sensors and sensor integration functions aren’t fully effective yet. Even a massive P-8 breach may be closer in scope to the Silicon Valley practice of filing early patents, so they don’t have to reveal subsequently-refined elements of the final working product.

    On the flip side, even marginal help in developing their next generation of maritime patrol planes is valuable to the Chinese. Existing maritime patrol planes are based on the old Y-8 four-engine turboprop, but Chinese firms are busy assembling similar A320 family passenger jets in country for Airbus, and intend to design their own narrowbody competitor. China also has direct military experience with the 737, after converting 3 to become military command post aircraft. Washington Post WorldViews | Washington Post.

    Hacked

    May 30/13: LRIP-3. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $53.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for spares in support of the LRIP Lot 3 (q.v. Sept 21/12), which will build 11 P-8As. This brings total P-8A LRIP-3 contracts to $2.263 billion.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (60.80%); Linthicum, MD (14.89%); McKinney, TX (6.44%); Valencia, CA (4.85%); Huntington Beach, CA (3.47%); Mesa, Ariz. (2.22%); Salt Lake City, UT (1.10%); Johnson City, NY (0.95%); Huntington, NY (0.84%); Grand Rapids, MI (0.57%); Richmond, CA (0.50%) and various locations throughout the United States (3.37%), and is expected to be complete in June 2016. All funds are committed immediately (N00019-09-C-0022).

    May 7/13: Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $14.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for interim P-8A support. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (56%) and Seattle, WA (44%); and is expected to be complete in November 2013 (N00019-09-C-0022, PO 0076).

    May 3/13: Basing. Rep. Rick Larsen [D-WA-2] emerged from a meeting about the US Navy strategic plan for 2013 – 2030, and promptly told local media that NAS Whidbey Island would be getting 49 planes (8 squadrons), instead of the 24 aircraft (4 squadrons) based there under the original plan. The first 2 P-8A squadrons arrive at NAS Whidbey in 2015, a 3rd will follow in 2016, Squadrons #4-6 arrive in 2017, and the 7th and last squadron arrives in 2018.

    The Navy had been considering new basing plans (vid. Nov 14/12), and Larsen’s disclosure indicates that they’ve chosen “Alternative 2”: 49 planes in Whidbey Island, WA; 47 in NAS Jacksonville, FL; and just 2 in MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay. The big loser is obviously Hawaii, which lost 16 of the 18 P-8s that were supposed to be based there for wide-ranging coverage of the Pacific.

    Whidbey’s P-8s are deployable planes, but the crews’ families will be in Washington State, and so will more advanced maintenance and support. Whidbey News Times.

    April 29/13: LRIP-3 Training. A $21.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to upgrade the Training System Support Center for P-8A LRIP Lot 3, including tooling and data for the Weapons Tactics Trainer. All funds are committed immediately, and $21.1 million will expire at the end of the fiscal year, on Sept 30/13.

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete in August 2016 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    April 17/13: P-8i. India’s P-8i completes flight testing, which included dropping Mk.82 500 pound unguided bombs. Printed materials describe them as “depth bombs” (anti-submarine depth charges), but it’s also true that the addition of an inexpensive Boeing kit could convert Mk.82 bombs to GPS-guided JDAMs, or even JDAM-ER glide bombs with extended range. Time will tell whether the P-8 family capabilities expand in this direction. Boeing feature, incl. video | Boeing Frontiers magazine.

    April 10/13: FY 2014 Budget. The President releases a proposed budget at last, the latest in modern memory. The Senate and House were already working on budgets in his absence, but the Pentagon’s submission is actually important to proceedings going forward. See ongoing DID coverage.

    The US Navy is clearly focused on cash flow rather than total costs, and the P-8A joins other programs that will pay more long-term, in order to pay less per year in the near term. The FY 2014 budget subtracts 9 P-8As from FY 2014-2016, while adding 11 from FY 2017-2018. The procurement difference is around $1.3 billion, but the value of the 2 added planes means the Navy is paying about $800 million more on an even comparison. Assuming the Navy actually sticks to this new plan through 2018, rather than making further cuts.

    April 3/13: HAAWC. Boeing in St. Charles, MO wins a $19.2 million combination cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-fixed-price-incentive, firm-fixed-price contract to design and build HAAWC (High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability) kits for lightweight torpedoes. HAAWC is its own effort, but it’s also arguably the most important improvement slated for P-8A Increment 2 aircraft (q.v. Feb 18/13, for changes to the planes). Boeing will build on their experience with JDAM GPS guidance and GBU-39 SDB-I wing kits, in order to create a strap-on kit that adds precision guidance and long glide ranges to existing lightweight torpedoes.

    $14.2 million is committed immediately, and $9.8 million of that will expire at the end of the fiscal year, on Sept 30/13. The contract includes options that could raise its value to $47 million.

    Work is expected to be completed by April 2016. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via FedBizOpps, and 3 offers were received by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-13-C-6402). See also Boeing.

    March 28/13: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs“. Which is actually a review for 2012, plus time to compile and publish. The P-8A is generally proceeding well, and Boeing has come to an agreement over limited release of commercially-sensitive pricing information:

    “According to program officials, the P-8A has reduced the unit cost of the aircraft on each of its first three production contracts. To help ensure the price is fair and reasonable, DOD negotiated an agreement with Boeing to provide the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) access to data on select Boeing commercial aircraft procurements. The P-8A airframe has been designated a commercial item, so the contractor is not required to submit cost or pricing data. Officials indicated DCAA did not raise any concerns regarding the reasonableness of aircraft pricing prior to the award of the third production contract.”

    March 29/13: #7 delivered. Boeing hands over P-8A #7 to the U.S. Navy on schedule, and it departs for NAS Jacksonville, FL. It’s the 1st delivery from the LRIP-2 order. Boeing.

    March 25/13: AAS. Aviation Week reports that Boeing will soon get another fatigue testing contract, this time to test the effects of the canoe-shaped AAS long-range radar fairing. Adding it creates new fatigue stress points, so the S-2 full-scale fatigue-test platform at Boeing will conduct 2 complete AAS mission lifetimes, then a 3rd P-8A mission lifetime without the AAS, followed by a residual-strength test and a tear-down analysis.

    This is expected to be a $138 million effort, running through 2017. Boeing has already started flight certification work involving AAS-equipped P-8s (vid. Feb 1/12), and this is a logical next step. The AAS is expected to become operational sometime shortly after P-8A Increment 2, which is expected to be in service around 2016.

    March 14/13: Fatigue testing. A $128.4 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification covers engineering labor to perform extended lifetime fatigue testing, teardown, and post-teardown analysis of the P-8A airframe. These tests, and the changes that result, are necessary before the US Navy can set a safe flight hours limit for the airframe. They’re hoping for 150% of the airframe’s specified service life, but the testing will tell. Using a long-serving civilian jet as the base should give the Navy a pretty good starting point, but there are some structural changes in this version, and the usage patterns will be rather different.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (95%), and St. Louis, MO (5%), and is expected to be complete in December 2018. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation, Navy contract funds. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-04-C-3146).

    March 8/13: Training. A $12.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification aims to keep the P-8 simulators in sync with produced aircraft. They’ll update 3 systems to the TR-12 software version, and go through Aircraft Program Revision Records from Block 9.2 to TR-12 to see if they need to add anything else.

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete in December 2013. All contract funds are committed immediately, and expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/13 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    March 4/13: Australia. Aviation Week reports that Australia may want more P-8As, at the possible expense of its MQ-4C companion UAVs:

    “The RAAF is quietly making a case for 12 Poseidons, arguing that eight would not be enough to cover the vast oceans surrounding the continent. And the unmanned requirement is now described as “up to” seven high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft, potentially reducing Northrop Grumman’s opportunity. At the same time the air force sees an argument for a supplementary drone, possibly the Predator, to take on some of the electronic-intelligence missions that would otherwise fall to the Poseidons and Tritons.”

    This is a bit of a head-scratcher. The stated purpose of sustained ocean coverage would be better served by adding another orbit of 3-4 MQ-4Cs (to 10-11), and using the P-8s as more of a fleet overwatch and contact response force. Likewise, it makes little sense to use a different UAV for ELINT/SIGINT collection, especially the slow and shorter-range MQ-9. Rather, one would use the MQ-9s in nearer-shore maritime and EEZ patrols, along the lines of the 2006 Northwest Shelf experiments, in order to free up MQ-4Cs for longer-range expeditions over strategic corridors, and the ELINT/SIGINT mission to which they are so well suited.

    Feb 8/13: HAASW. ERAPSCO Inc. in Columbia City, IN receives a $7.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification for engineering and manufacturing development services in support of the High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare system. This is actually an Increment 2 upgrade to the new P-8A sea control aircraft. It makes drops more accurate by using a GPS-based algorithm; receives, processes, and stores in-buoy GPS data received from AN/SSQ-53, AN/SSQ-62, and AN/SSQ-101B sonobuoys; and will remotely send commands, and receive and process data from the AN/SSQ-101B’s digital datalink.

    Work will be performed in DeLeon Springs, FL (52%) and Columbia City, IN (48%), and is expected to be complete in May 2014. $890,000 in FY 2013 Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation, Navy contract funds are committed immediately. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00421-11-D-0029). See also Military Aerospace.

    Feb 4/13: #6 delivered. Boeing delivers the 6th production P-8A Poseidon aircraft to the US Navy, successfully completing the first group of LRIP aircraft from the January 2011 contract. Recall, too, that 6 ready-to deploy aircraft is the threshold for Initial Operational Capability. The Navy isn’t quite there yet.

    P-8As #7-9 are undergoing mission systems installation and checkout at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA, and #7 will be delivered to the USN later this quarter. P-8As #10 and #11 are in final assembly on the 737 production line in Renton, WA. Boeing.

    Jan 31/13: Support. Boeing receives a $19.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy additional P-8A equipment adaptors, support equipment, and technical publications.

    Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (70.8%); Seattle, WA (15.7%); St. Peters, MO (10.7%); Falls Church, VA (1.2%); Chatsworth, CA (0.6%); Anaheim, CA (0.2%); El Dorado Hills, CA (0.2%); and Berwyn, PA (0.2%); Camden, NJ (0.2%); and New York, NY (0.2%); and is expected to be complete in April 2015. All contract funds are committed immediately from the FY 2011 “2011 Aircraft Procurement, Navy” budget line, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Jan 17/13: US DOT&E report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The P-8 is included, and the P-8A’s participation in international exercises along regular testing is helping them find issues. The good news is that the plane is improving in many areas. The bad news is that the plane still has a lot of gaps and teething issues before it’s ready for serious service.

    The P-8’s biggest problems lie with its sensors’ ability to work as advertised, and to work together. The main radar is suffering track-while-scan deficiencies, high-resolution SAR image quality problems, radar pointing errors that are especially troublesome over land and in littoral regions, and cross-cue errors with the MX-20HD surveillance turret. Then there’s the MX-20HD surveillance turret itself, whose auto-track integration isn’t working. The AN/ALQ-240(V)1 ESM systems for pinpointing radars and communications sources around the plane are also problematic, suffering from faulty identification and interference with anti-submarine displays.

    Wide-area submarine searches using the twin-sonobuoy multi-static active acoustic capability (MAC) approach will be a big step up from current IEER advanced sonobuoys, but their delayed integration (FY 2014 or later) still leaves adequate sonobuoy capability on board.

    The other P-8 problem worth mentioning is that the main fuel tank overheats in hot weather during grounding and low-level flight. This sharply limits anti-submarine flight patterns, especially over chokepoints and critical facilities in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Florida and the Caribbean, East Africa, Hawaii, San Diego, etc. Customers like India and Australia won’t be thrilled, either, unless this is fixed.

    DOT&E testing report

    Dec 20/12: Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $7.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for P-8A training system program and configuration management, engineering, and quality assurance. This modification will bring the hardware platforms of the Weapons Tactics Trainer (WTT) and Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) up to the LRIP Lot 1 Block 8 configuration, so it keeps up with the planes themselves.

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be completed in June 2014. All contract funds are committed immediately, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/13 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Dec 19/12: P-8i. Boeing “delivers” the first P-8I aircraft to the Indian Navy in Seattle, WA. 2013 will see India receive aircraft #1-3, with planes 4 and 5 under construction.

    Indian personnel will conduct some training in the USA with the US Navy, while India builds up INS Rajali at Arakkonam Naval Air Station in Tamil Nadu (SE India). Those imperatives are underscored by the P-8i’s absence from Aero India 2013 in February, despite strong interest and anticipation within India. Boeing | IANS | Boeing re: Aero India 2013.

    1st P-8i delivery

    Dec 17/12: Upgrades. Boeing in Seattle, WA received a $16.1 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification, covering required engineering and labor to change the cooling medium in the existing P-8A Liquid Air Palletized System (LAPS) from polyalphaolefin, to ethylene glycol and water. They want to ensure compatibility between the LAPS and the Special Mission Cabin Equipment. Once development is done, Boeing will manufacture 3 P-8A conversion A-Kits, for use on the initial aircraft.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (81.6%); Huntsville, AL (8.8%); Mesa AZ (7.6%); and St. Louis, MO (2.0%) and is expected to be complete in December 2014. $14 million is committed immediately, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/12 (N00019-04-C-3146).

    Dec 11/12: R&D. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $175.5 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification for engineering, integration, and test work on P-8A changes and upgrades. The work will cover its weapons management, acoustics, and communication subsystems.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (43.3%); Huntington Beach, CA (22.4%); St. Louis, MO (24%); and Baltimore, MD (10.3%). $31.6 million are committed immediately, with the rest available until December 2015 (N00019-04-C-3146).

    Dec 4/12: Training. Under a new 5-year, $56 million contract, Boeing will maintain U.S. Navy aircrew training devices for the P-8A, its P-3C predecessor, EP-3 Aries electronic eavesdropping planes, EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare jets, and older SH-60B Seahawk helicopters.

    Mark McGraw, Boeing’s VP for Training Systems and Government Services, says the firm is looking to offer these services internationally. It’s a somewhat natural extension for its own products, like the EA-18G. It’s less natural for Lockheed Martin’s P-3s, Northrop Grumman’s EA-6s, and Sikorsky’s SH-60s.

    The training devices are located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, FL; Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, HI; NAS Whidbey Island, WA; and Kadena Air Base, Japan. Boeing will deliver P-8A training systems to NAS Jacksonville in 2013, and other sites will follow with trainers and all support functions. Boeing.

    Nov 26/12: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA received a $26.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to continue developing the P-8A’s maintenance training curriculum. Materials will include computer-aided instruction for use in a classroom setting, interactive courseware for self-paced in-service training, and practical exercises to be used on various maintenance training devices. This seems like minor stuff, but if it’s done poorly, a multi-billion dollar fleet will suffer from lower readiness rates. Which turns out to be very expensive.

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete in June 2015. All contract funds are committed immediately, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Nov 14/12: Basing. US Fleet Forces Command announces that they’re considering a number of basing plans for the P-8A, under supplemental environmental impact analyses. Of the 4 plans under consideration, 2 would base just 2 P-8s in Hawaii, instead of having 18 aircraft in 3 squadrons to offer good coverage of the Pacific theater.

    The main plan is listed above: 42 planes in NAS Jacksonville, FL; 24 in Whidbey Island, WA; 18 in MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay; and 8 unallocated.

    “Alternative 2” would put 47 planes in NAS Jacksonville, FL; 49 in Whidbey Island, WA; and 2 in MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay.

    “Alternative 5” would put 47 planes in NAS Jacksonville, FL; 28 in Whidbey Island, WA; and 18 in MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay.

    “Alternative 7” would put 54 planes in NAS Jacksonville, FL; 42 in Whidbey Island, WA; and 2 in MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay.

    Alternatives 2 and 7 would damage the US Navy’s much-hyped “Pacific Pivot,” by having fewer aircraft in good position to offer coverage. Forward basing in Guam and with allies like Japan and Australia may help, but it’s more effective to do that and to base planes in Hawaii. Given the importance of aerial surveillance to anti-submarine warfare, one may also legitimately wonder if just 2 P-8As in Hawaii leaves Pearl Harbor insufficiently defended. The US Navy has often had a problem backing up its proclamations with actual platforms, but this one offers particular cause for scrutiny. Navy EIS site | Pacific Business News.

    Oct 18/12: ESM. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $8.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order issued under basic ordering agreement to update the P-8A’s ESM sensor’s digital measurement unit “to overcome obsolescence issues”.

    Work will be performed in Linthicum, MD (86%), and Seattle, WA (14%), and is expected to be complete in April 2015. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-11-G-0001).

    Oct 5/12: Australia. Australia’s government signs a A$ 73.9 million with the USA to help develop the P-8A Increment 3, marking Australia’s continued commitment to the A$ 5 billion project that will replace its 19 AP-3Cs. This marks A$ 323.9 million in project contributions so far.

    The Increment 3 Project Arrangement falls under the Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 2012, which provides the framework by which the P-8A will be acquired, sustained and developed thought it service life. No basing decisions have been made yet, but they’re expected to end up at the AP-3C’s current home, RAAFB Edinburgh in South Australia. Australian DoD | Perth Now || Defense Update | UPI.

    P-8A Inc-3 development

    Oct 4/12: ESM. Northrop Grumman’s P-8A Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system is officially designated AN/ALQ-240v1. ESM systems use adaptive tuning, precise direction finding and geolocation to detect, identify, and target radars and other electronic threats to the aircraft and Navy vessels.

    Northrop Grumman also provides the P-8A platform’s EWSP (early warning self-protection system). ESM isn’t part of that system, but it is complementary. NGC.

    Oct 3/12: P-8 AGS advocacy. The Lexington Institute releases a report that recommends replacing all 73 of the USAF’s C-135/ Boeing 707 derived special mission aircraft with 737 derivatives. The E-8C JSTARS fleet of 16 operational planes would be swapped out for a derivative of the P-8A – basically, Boeing’s P-8 AGS concept. Overall, 73 planes would be replaced with 60 aircraft with higher mission-readiness rates, lower operating costs, and the ability to use existing global maintenance networks. It’s a bit of a turnaround for Lexington, who had strongly supported JSTARS re-engining and refurbishment before. Excerpts:

    “The Air Force is currently spending so much money to keep its recon planes operational that it may be feasible to develop and field replacements based on commercial derivatives at little additional cost if it can retire aging 707s and C-135s quickly… The cumulative savings of substituting 737s for existing planes would total $100 billion across the life-cycle of the fleet, with annual savings likely to exceed $3 billion once the new planes were fully fielded. Most importantly, the 737 replacement program can be implemented within projected budgets for the ISR fleet… In the process it can eliminate 4,000 support billets and save over 80 million gallons of jet fuel each year, freeing up funding for activities where it can be applied more productively.”

    See release | report [PDF].

    FY 2012

    LRIP-2 & 3 orders; P-8A inducted into USN; Increment 2 R&D; P-8A launches torpedo; Boeing looking at smaller airframe as a budget alternative.

    P-8 drops Mk54
    (click to view full)

    Sept 27/12: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $13.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification buys spare parts in support of 10 P-8A operational flight trainers (OFTs), 7 weapons tactics trainers, 3 part task trainers, the training systems support center, and 15 electronic classrooms. Boeing will also buy Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 15 classified parts; manage spare parts and delivery; coordinate orders, quotes, and receive process; support inventory inspection processes; and deliver the spares. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete in June 2014 (N00019-09-C-0022)

    Sept 26/12: Spares. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $34.6 million firm-fixed-price modification to a fixed-price-incentive-fee contract, buying additional spares for the 11 LRIP Lot 3 P-8A aircraft.

    Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (59%); Greenlawn, N.Y. (13%); Amityville, N.Y. (8%); Seattle, Wash. (7%); Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (6%); Anaheim, CA (4%); Irvine, CA (2%); and El Paso, TX (1%); and is expected to be complete in September 2015 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Sept 26/12: Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $18.9 million fixed-price-incentive-firm contract modification for equipment maintenance, site activation, and other support of Low Rate Initial Production P-8As. Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (57%); Jacksonville, FL (38%); and Kadena, Japan (5%), and is expected to be complete in November 2013 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Sept 25/12: Part obsolescence. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $15.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to fix obsolescence issues. They’ll need to replace and integrate suitable hardware and software components in the P-8A’s Multi-Purpose Control Display Unit and Tactical Control Panel that have gone obsolete because those parts aren’t manufactured any more, and the Navy doesn’t have enough inventory to ignore that.

    Work will be performed in Grand Rapids, MI (84%), and Seattle, WA (16%); and is expected to be complete in September 2014. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-11-G-0001).

    Sept 21/12: LRIP-3. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $1.905 billion fixed-price-incentive-firm contract modification for 11 Low Rate Initial Production Lot 3 planes. This brings total P-8A LRIP-3 contracts to $2.209 billion.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (75.5%); Baltimore, MD (4%); Greenlawn, NY (2.5%); North Amityville, NY (2.3%); McKinney, TX (1.8%); Cambridge, United Kingdom (1.5%); and various location inside and outside of the continental United States (12.4%), and is expected to be complete in May 2015 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    LRIP-3 main order

    Aug 31/12: FRP-1 lead in. A $244.9 million advance acquisition contract to begin buying long-lead materials for 13 P-8As, with firm-fixed-price line items. That means it’s for the FY 2013 order (LRIP-4? FRP-1?).

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (63.8%); Greenlawn, NY (11.7%); Baltimore, MD (11.0%); North Amityville, NY (8.2%); and McKinney, TX (5.3%); and is expected to be complete in April 2016. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR6.302-1 (N00019-12-C-0112).

    Aug 28/12: Too big? Boeing is starting to look at options beyond its P-8A, because their customers are saying that they don’t need its full versatility, and find its $200 million price tag prohibitive. Bombardier’s Challenger 600 seems to be the target platform, and the resulting plane would probably sacrifice weapon carrying capability in order to be a specialty surveillance plane.

    Boeing aren’t the only ones working on this, of course. Established competitors include EADS’ CN-235 Persuader, C-295 MPA, ATR-42 MP, and ATR-72 ASW turboprops; and Embraer’s P-99 MP jet. Saab has options are in development based on the Saab 2000 regional turboprop and Piaggio P-180 executive turboprop, and Russia has a unique offering in development based on its Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft. There is also some talk in Britain of adding maritime patrol capabilities to its Sentinel R1 ground surveillance jets, based on Bombardier’s Challenger.

    Among American manufacturers, Lockheed Martin is working on an SC-130J Sea Hercules modification, and the firm says they expect to sign at least one contract “in North Africa.” It’s designed as a $150 million alternative, to be developed in 3 stages. Stage 1 will involve roll-on/ bolt-on radar and electro-optical sensors, and accompanying processing workstations. Stage 2 would add wing-mounted, anti-surface weapons, along with upgraded workstations and weapon control systems. Stage 3 would be a full anti-submarine conversion, including sonobuoys, a magnetic anomaly detector boom, extra fuel pods, and 2 added bays for 6 Harpoon missiles. Defense News.

    July 24/12: LRIP-3 lead in. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $107.1 million fixed-price-incentive-firm contract modification to provide additional funding for LRIP-3’s long-lead time materials That means items that need to be in the factory early, so that LRIP Lot 3’s 11 planes can be assembled and delivered on time. See also March 26/12 and Sept 8/11 entries – this brings LRIP-3 long-lead orders to $304 million.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (63.8%); Greenlawn, NY (11.7%); Baltimore, MD (11%); North Amityville, NY (8.2%); and McKinney, TX (5.3%). Work is expected to be complete in May 2015 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    July 24/12: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $28.2 million fixed-price-incentive-firm contract for 22 flight management system trainers; 44 mission systems desktop trainers; 2 desktop training environments; updates to the P-8A Air Combat Training Continuum courseware; and all associated spares, support, and tools.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (48.2%); St. Louis, MO (35.8%); Jacksonville, FL (10.9%); Bloomington, IL (3.2%); Anaheim, CA (0.8%); Dallas, TX (0.8%); and Wichita, KS (0.3%). Work is expected to be completed in June 2014. $25.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    July 24/12: Australian sub-contractors. Boeing announces a very minor set of contracts ($1.85 million) to Australian companies Lovitt Technologies Australia and Ferra Engineering, to manufacture parts and assemblies for the P-8A.

    Lovitt Technologies in Melbourne already supplies parts for the V-22 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and will add mission systems parts and assembly fabrications for the P-8. Ferra Engineering in Brisbane also supplies Super Hornet parts, as well as spares for Boeing’s commercial jets. They’ll add P-8 internal and external airframe parts and assemblies to their roster.

    Boeing has a number of programs of interest in Australia, including F/A-18AM/BM Hornet upgrades, new F/A-18F Super Hornets, the E-737 Wedgetail airborne early warning plane, and an expected P-8 buy (vid. May 6/09 entry). Boeing’s Office of Australian Industry Capability (OAIC) works with the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation’s Global Supply Chain Program, to identify and train industrial partners. Over the past 4 years, Boeing says they’ve awarded US$ 230 million in contracts to Australian firms.

    July 17/12: #2 delivered. Boeing delivers the 2nd production P-8A to US Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL for aircrew training.

    Meanwhile, 3 more P-8As are undergoing mission systems installation and checkout in Seattle, WA, and 3 are in final assembly in Renton, WA. That covers 8 of the 13 low-rate initial production aircraft ordered so far. The 6 flight-test and 2 ground-test P-8As ordered under the development contract are already delivered, and they’ve completed more than 600 sorties and 2,800 flight hours, mostly at NAS Patuxent River, MD. Boeing.

    July 18/12: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $11.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the Block 9.2 software upgrade of the Operational Flight Trainer, the Weapons Tactics Trainer, and the Part Task Trainer in support LRIP Lot 1. This modification also includes the procurement of a Mission System Desktop Trainer. Bottom line: the trainers must have the same software and capabilities as the flying aircraft.

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (85%), Seattle, WA (12%), and Anaheim, CA (3%), and is expected to be complete in May 2013. $9.9 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    July 7/12: P-8i. India’s first P-8i begins flight-testing in Seattle, and all test objectives are met in its initial flight. Boeing test pilots will continue the process at a US Navy test range west of Neah Bay, WA, and at a joint U.S./Canadian test range in the Strait of Georgia. They believe that they are on track to deliver the 1st P-8i to the Indian Navy in 2013. Boeing.

    May 12/11: No P-8 JSTARS? Gannett’s Air Force Times reports that that the USAF will hang on to the battlefield surveillance mission, even though it won’t be upgrading its E-8C JSTARS planes. The real story is that the USAF’s F-35, Next-Generation Bomber, and KC-46A aerial tanker projects are sucking all of the budgetary oxygen out of the room. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz:

    “I think that [Chief of Naval Operations Adm.] Jon Greenert would tell you that he can’t do both the maritime P-8 mission and the entire GMTI [Ground Moving Target Indicator] overland mission… Based on the analysis of alternatives, the more attractive option is a business-class aircraft with cheek sensors that operates at 40,000-foot plus and at much less of a flying-hour cost… That’s probably the right solution set, but we don’t have the [budgetary] space to pursue it right now.”

    A Navy official emphasized that the P-8A’s primary focus is anti-submarine warfare, followed by surveillance in maritime areas. They see overland ISR as a tertiary mission, just as it has been for the P-3C. The long-term question is whether force structure trends will force a change in thinking, if the P-8A becomes the most capable option available. The performance and availability of the USAF’s RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 40 [PDF] fleet is likely to be the determining factor.

    May 11/12: Increment II R&D. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $13.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order modification for P-8A Increment II risk reduction activities. This effort includes acoustic processor technology refresh work, multi-static active coherent Phase I capability, Automatic Identification System prototype development, and high altitude anti-submarine warfare sensor capability. As one might guess, Increment II is the next evolution of the design for the fleet, to be built into new aircraft and retrofitted into delivered planes.

    Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA (70%), and Seattle, WA (30%), and is expected to be complete in January 2013 (N00019-05-G-0026).

    March 28/12: Rollout & induction. The 1st P-8A from the LRIP-1 is inducted into USN Squadron VP-30 at Jacksonville, FL, for training. Following the ceremony, dignitaries cut a ribbon in front of the $40 million, 14-acre P-8A Poseidon Integrated Training Center facility. The first crew begins formal training in July, and the Navy eventually plans on having 42 total P-8As at Jacksonville NAS by 2019: 12 training planes plus 30 operational aircraft.

    Boeing spokesman Chick Ramey said that P-8As are currently rolling off the Renton, WA assembly line at a rate of about 1 per month. US Navy photo release | Florida Times-Union | Puget Sound Business Journal.

    P-8A induction

    March 26/12: LRIP-3 long lead. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $30.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, buying additional long lead time materials for the FY 2012 Low Rate Initial Production III lot of 11 planes.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (63.8%); Greenlawn, NY (11.7%); Baltimore, MD (11.0%); North Amityville, NY (8.2%); and McKinney, TX (5.3%); and is expected to be complete in May 2015 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    March 23/12: Boeing VP and P-8 program manager Chuck Dabundo says that the P-8A is expected to be ready for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) from June – August 2012. He adds that: “The P-8A full-flight envelope should be cleared to conduct… realistic missions and maneuvering flight profiles during the IOT&E,” addressing one of the concerns from the 2011 DOT&E report (vid. Jan 17/12).

    Meanwhile, the 1st operational flight and weapons tactics trainers are completing their set-up in the P-8A Integrated Training Center at NAS Jacksonville, FL. The other LRIP-1 plane is undergoing mission systems installation, with a hand-over to the Navy expected in mid-year. Aviation Week.

    March 19/12: Sub-contractors. ITT Exelis touts its compressed air weapon ejection release technology, which successfully launched an MK 54 torpedo from P-8A test aircraft T-3’s weapon bay (vid. Oct 31/11). Many launch systems still use electrically-triggered explosive cartridges for launch separation, which has higher purchase and maintenance costs over time.

    ITT was awarded the initial system design and development contract in August 2005, and says that it has received follow-on contracts totaling more than $30 million to date. Work is being performed by the Exelis Electronic Systems division in Amityville, NY.

    March 4/12: 1st production delivery. Boeing delivers the first LRIP-1 plane to the US Navy in Seattle, after having built 6 flight-test and 2 ground-test aircraft. The delivery paves the way for flight training to begin. Boeing | Jacksonville Business Journal.

    1st production delivery

    Feb 13/12: Budget Cuts. The Pentagon submits its FY 2013 funding request. P-8A production will continue to ramp up, to the expected 13 planes, but future buys will be lower than planned, removing 10 planes from the program over the next 4 years. It’s always possible to add them back at the end of the program, but the USA’s current fiscal straits, and long-term entitlements explosions, make that unlikely:

    “Due to changing priorities within the Department and funding constraints, the Department deemed that it was a manageable risk to reduce P-8A procurement by 10 aircraft from FY 2013 – FY 2017. Savings total $5.2 billion from FY 2013 – FY 2017.”

    Feb 13/12: APY-10 air-air. Raytheon announces that it has delivered the 1st AN/APY-10 International radar to Boeing, for installation in the nose of India’s 1st P-8i. They also confirm that, per rumors reported on Feb 3/10:

    “To meet unique requirements for the Indian navy, Raytheon has added an air-to-air mode, which provides the detection and tracking of airborne targets, allowing customers to detect threats in the air as well as at sea. In addition, an interleaved weather and surface search capability has been added to provide the cockpit with up-to-date weather avoidance information while performing surveillance missions.”

    Feb 1/12: AAS. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $227 million cost-plus-award-fee modification contract for “interim flight clearance for the P-8A aircraft in the special mission configuration,” using the T-1 and T-3 test aircraft. Later reports confirm that the special configuration involves the P-8’s AAS radar pod.

    Boeing tells us that this is about military airworthiness certification, which enables operational use of an aircraft (like a 737) in a special configuration. It’s also the precursor step to full fleet flight clearance. The time and expense involved in such certifications is often overlooked by casual observers, but over the last few years, this step has held up deployment of several big-ticket defense items around the world.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (59%); Baltimore, MD (32%); and St. Louis, MO (9%), and is expected to be complete in August 2016. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity(N00019-04-C-3146).

    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 P-8A is included, and currently suffers from 2 major sets of issues that need to be fixed. One is mechanical, and involves bank angle limits. The other is software defects:

    “The P-8A currently has an operational flight envelope limit that precludes it from flying at a bank angle greater than 48 degrees when maneuvering. In order to fly operationally realistic tactics during anti-submarine warfare missions, the aircraft will have to fly maneuvers that require a bank angle of 53 degrees… Although 92 percent of the priority 1 [DID: can’t perform mission-essential capability] and [priority] 2 [DID: impairs mission-essential capability, no onboard workaround] software problems have been closed, the current closure rate is not sufficient to have all the priority 1 and 2 software problems resolved by the start of IOT&E [Initial Operational Test & Evaluation]… There are 369 priority 1 and 2 software problems as of September 21, 2011. Software problems discovered during the later stages of the integrated testing may not be fixed in the software version that is currently planned for IOT&E, and may require additional software upgrades prior to starting IOT&E to ensure the software is production-representative.”

    Jan 12/12: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $9.2 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification for spares, repairables, trainers, and courseware in support of FY 2011 production of P-8As under LRIP Lot 2 (vid. Nov 3/11 entry). Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (60%), and St. Louis, MO (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2012 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Dec 19/11: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $19.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy 1 P-8A weapons tactics trainer, 9 of its 10-seat e-classrooms, and 6 of its 20-seat e-classrooms, as part of the FY 2011 LRIP Lot 2 production (vid. Nov 3/11 entry).

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (75%), and Seattle, WA (25%), and is expected to be complete in March 2014 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Dec 16/11: Training. The 1st full-motion operational flight trainer (OFT) and weapons tactics trainer (WTT) are delivered and placed in NAS Jacksonville’s P-8A Integrated Training Center. The Navy’s VP-30 Sqn. fleet introduction team (FIT) instructors worked with Boeing on the courseware, and had input into the design of the simulators.

    P-8As are expected to begin shipping to patrol squadrons beginning in July 2012. US NAVAIR.

    Nov 4/11: Increment II. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $10 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to help plan Increment 2 acoustic processor technology updates for the P-8A. P-8A increment 2 is scheduled for fielding in 2016.

    Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA (75%), and Seattle, WA (25%), and is expected to be complete in January 2013. $2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-05-G-0026).

    Nov 3/11: LRIP-2. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $1.378 billion firm-fixed-price-incentive contract modification, to buy Low Rate Initial Production Lot 2’s set of 7 P-8A aircraft, plus US Navy aircrew and maintenance training beginning in 2012, logistics support, spares, support equipment and tools. The training system will include a full-motion, full-visual Operational Flight Trainer that simulates the flight crew stations, and a Weapons Tactics Trainer for the mission crew stations.

    Unlike many other military programs, Boeing appears to be handling the sub-contracts for most of the plane’s equipment itself, which leaves these figures much closer to the plane’s true purchase cost.

    Work will be performed in Chicago, IL (21.9%); Greenlawn, NY (12.3%); Puget Sound, WA (11.5%); Dallas, TX (6.6%); North Amityville, NY (5.8%); Cambridge, United Kingdom (4.8%); and various locations in and outside the continental United States (37.1%); and is expected to be complete in January 2013 (N00019-09-C-0022). See also Boeing.

    LRIP-2 main order

    Oct 13/11: Testing. P-8A aircraft T-3 successfully launches its first MK 54 torpedo in the Atlantic Test Range, from 500 feet above water. The test verifies safe separation, with further weapon testing to come. US NAVAIR.

    FY 2011

    LRIP-1 order; 1st production P-8A flight; P-8i 1st flight; Training arrangements; New production facility; 737 MAX complicates the choices for customers.

    P-8 T1 over Cascades
    (click to view full)

    Sept 28/11: P-8i 1st flight. Initial flight for the P-8i, which takes off from Renton Field, WA and lands 2:31 later at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA. During the flight, Boeing test pilots performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations and autopilot flight modes, and took the P-8i to a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet. Boeing.

    P-8i 1st flight

    Sept 26/11: Training. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $32.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 1 P-8A Operational Flight Trainer and 1 P-8A weapons tactics trainer, as part of LRIP Lot 2. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (75%), and Seattle, WA (25%), and is expected to be complete in April 2014 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Sept 23/11: LRIP-2 ancillaries. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $319.9 million fixed-price incentive-fee contract for P-8A LRIP-2 spare parts, support equipment and tools, logistics support, trainers, and courseware. LRP-2 involves 7 aircraft.

    Work will be performed in McKinney, TX (35%); Hazelwood, Mo. (35%); Seattle, WA (14%); Jacksonville, FL (4%); Anaheim, CA (4%); Baltimore, MD (3%); Camden, NJ (3%); and Greenlawn, NY (2%). Work is expected to be complete in March 2014 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Sept 8/11: LRIP-3 lead-in. A $166.8 million fixed-price-incentive contract modification, funding for long lead time materials in support of LRIP Lot 3’s 11 planned P-8As.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (63.80%); Greenlawn, NY (11.69%); Baltimore, MD (10.98%); North Amityville, NY (8.24%) and McKinney, TX (5.29%); and is expected to be complete in May 2015 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Aug 31/11: Training. Jax Air News reports on the coming transition to the P-8A at the VP-30 Fleet Replacement training squadron. According to Commanding Officer (CO) Capt. Mark Stevens, VP-30 will teach both the P-3 and the P-8, until the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force community completes its transition to the Poseidon by 2017. Flight Instructor Trainers are completing commercial B-737 type rating school in Seattle, WA, then they train in VX-20’s 4 Poseidon test aircraft at Pax River, MD.

    The first P-8A transition squadron to be trained at VP-30 will be the VP-16 ‘War Eagles’ beginning in July of 2012, as they return from deployment to face 6 months of training. VP-30 will also begin training replacement P-8 pilots, NFOs and aircrew in August of 2012, at the new P-8A Integrated Training Center (ITC), which includes classrooms, 10 full-motion operational flight trainers (OFT) for pilots, and 9 mission system trainers for aircrew – each with 5 operator stations.

    Aug 19/11: Testing. P-8A T2 returns from Yuma, AZ, where hot environment ground and flight tests took place over 13 days from July 7-20/11. July temperatures at Yuma average 107F/ 42C. Now that T2 is back to Patuxent River, MD, it continues required mission systems testing to include the acoustic system, Sonobuoy Launching System, Sonobuoy Positioning System, and Electro-Optical/Infrared system. US NAVAIR | Maryland’s Bay Net.

    July 25/11: LRIP-2 lead in. A $21 million fixed-price-incentive-fee contract modification adds more long lead materials funding for the 7 LRIP Lot 2 production aircraft.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (63.80%); Greenlawn, NY (11.69%); Baltimore, MD (10.98%); North Amityville, NY (8.24%); and McKinney, TX (5.29%). Work is expected to be complete in December 2013 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    July 22/11: Testing. US NAVAIR announces that the P-8A completed the clean flutter program in June 2011, including open & closed bay doors, and began loads testing in preparation for Operational Assessment in 2012.

    Flutter is described as a vibration that continuously builds in intensity; the team needed to demonstrate that the P-8A remains safe throughout its flight envelope, without weapons. Loads testing verifies that it’s safe with weapons carried.

    July 21/11: 737 MAX. American Airlines, which has traditionally been a Boeing/McDonnell Douglas stronghold, splits its $40 billion fleet replacement order between Boeing and Airbus, ordering 460 planes between 2013-2022, with options for more. The new aircraft will replace older MD-80s, as well as larger Boeing 757s and 767s.

    Airbus will deliver 260 A319/A320/A321s beginning in 2013, of which half will be A320neo family planes with new geared turbofan engines from Pratt & Whitney (PurePower) or GE/CFM (LEAP-X), beginning in 2017. They also have 365 options with Airbus for additional aircraft. Boeing will deliver 200 737s, beginning in 2013, with options for another 100. Half of those initial 737s, and 60/100 options, will involve 737 MAX planes with LEAP-X engines, but no delivery date is set.

    Those re-engined 737 MAX planes will have to be developed and certified, of course, with estimates that place them 1-3 years behind Airbus’ planned 2015 A320neo introduction. The effect is to upset Boeing’s strategy to introduce an entirely new narrowbody jet. Airline interest in the re-engined 737 seems set to delay that planned switchover, and AA’s order alone will keep the 737 in production for at least a decade. This is not good news for Boeing, but it might be good news for military customers of 737 derivatives. The thing is, they now have a choice of their own to make about their future fleets (vid. June 8/11 entry). Using a 737 MAX offers important life-cycle cost reductions, but it also involves modifications to existing designs for 737 specialty aircraft like the P-8. Someone will have to pay for that. American Airlines | Airbus | Boeing | GE/CFM | Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Seattle Times | Forbes.

    July 7/11: 1st P-8A flight. The first P-8A Poseidon production aircraft completes its first flight, taking off from Renton Field, WA and landing 3 hours later at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA. This is an LRIP Lot 1 plane, which now leaves final assembly and enters mission system installation and checkout in Seattle. Boeing will deliver it to the Navy next year in 2012.

    This production P-8A is the first to include an improved CFM56-7BE engine with high- and low-pressure turbine modifications, that is now standard on all new 737NGs. The design also incorporates drag reduction improvements that Boeing started phasing into 737 production earlier this year, but the expected fuel savings vs. older models are only 2% or so, compared to about 15% for geared turbofan models. Boeing | CFM | Boeing re: new design.

    June 8/11: 737 dilemmas. Under pressure from planes like Airbus’ developmental A320 NEO and Bombardier’s C-Series, which carry ultra fuel-efficient geared turbofan engines, Boeing is reconsidering the future of its 737 platform. The company had been looking at developing a whole new narrow-body jet by 2020 or so, then discontinuing the 737 around mid-decade. Customer pressure is now leading them to consider a re-engined 737 as an interim step, which means fuselage and landing gear changes.

    All of these dynamics affect current and future P-8 customers, as well as potential customers for programs like their E-737 AEW&C. Boeing is urging its customer to place orders for military 737 derivatives before 2020, rather than waiting beyond, and is considering whether it may wish to offer modified variants based on the re-engined 737. The net effect of these moves may actually be to delay, or shift, customer buys. While thousands of 737s will remain in service after the line closes, guaranteeing parts availability for some time, expensive assets like a P-8 or E-737 are expected to be in service for 40-50 years. The prospect of an engine-driven step change in operating costs, alongside a potential next step change via blended wing body designs, in a future world of expensive fuel, adds even more food for thought. Fleets must be renewed, but a potential customer envisioning its fleet in 2065 may hesitate at the prospect of ordering a high-end aircraft platform at the very end of its civil counterpart’s production run, with further step-change technologies on the way. Boeing’s push has the effect of focusing attention on those questions, and it remains to be seen whether the results are positive or negative. Bloomberg.

    737 questions

    March 9/11: Sub-contractors. BAE Systems announces a Low Rate Initial Production contract from Boeing to provide 6 ruggedized P-8A mission computer systems. No cost figures are released.

    March 7/11: Sub-contractors. Spirit AeroSystems delivers the 1st LRIP production P-8A fuselage to Boeing via rail car, whereupon Boeing workers begin final assembly by loading it into a tooling fixture and installing systems, wires and other small parts.

    The Poseidon team is using a first-in-industry in-line production process that draws on Boeing’s civilian Next-Generation 737 production system, by making all P-8A military modifications in sequence during fabrication and assembly. The pervasive approach to this point has involved producing a civilian plane, then flying it to another plant for “militarization” work. Boeing.

    Feb 2/11: APY-10. Raytheon announces a low rate initial production contract from Boeing to deliver 6 AN/APY-10 radars plus spares as part of LRIP Lot 1 production.

    Jan 21/11: LRIP-1 main order. Boeing receives a $1.53 billion contract modification, finalizing the Low Rate Initial Production Lot I (LRIP-1) contract for 6 P-8As to a fixed-price-incentive-firm contract, and launching production. Boeing will supply the 6 planes, plus associated spares, support equipment and tools, logistics support, trainers and courseware. This brings P-8A LRIP-1 contracts to a total of $1.64 billion, including the April 23/09 advance materials contract, or about $273 million per place. That per-plane cost will climb if key mission equipment is provided under separate contracts as “government furnished equipment,” which is usually the case.

    It’s quite common for planes from the LRIP sets to be more expensive than full rate production aircraft, sometimes, by another 100-200%. The P-8’s initial production on the live 737 passenger jet line is likely to dampen that tendency, but installing the military equipment will have a learning cost curve of its own. Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (76%); Hazelwood, MO (10%); Baltimore, MD (4%); Greenlawn, NY (2%); Tampa, FL (2%); McKinney, TX (1%); North Amityville, NY (1%); Hauppauge, NY (1%); Anaheim, CA (1%); Grand Rapids, MI (1%); and Rockford, IL (1%); and is expected to be complete in January 2013 (N00019-09-C-0022). See also US NAVAIR.

    LRIP-1 main order

    Jan 7/11: Testing. Boeing completes full-scale static testing of the P-8A Poseidon’s airframe, after ground test plane S1 undergoes 154 different tests, with no failure of the primary structure. During 74 of the tests, the airframe was subjected to 150% of the highest expected flight loads.

    In September 2011, the Boeing P-8A team will begin refurbishing the S1 plane to prepare it for live-fire testing at Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, CA. Boeing will begin fatigue tests on its second ground-test vehicle, S2, later in 2011. Boeing.

    Nov 11/10: Industrial. An official ceremony opens the new P-8 aircraft production facility near Boeing Field in Seattle, WA. It’s actually 2nd stage production. Boeing Commercial Airplanes employees assemble the P-8s on the 737 line in Renton, WA, including all structural modifications. That improves flow time, costs, and quality. The next step is a short flight to Boeing Field near Seattle, WA, where Boeing DSS employees install military mission systems and conduct aircraft tests. Boeing.

    New facility

    Oct 15/10: Testing. NAVAIR’s P-8A test aircraft launches sonobuoys for the first time, as part of P-8 weapons testing. A total of 6 sonobuoys were involved in 3 low altitude launches at the Atlantic Test Range, using the P-8’s rotary launch system.

    That system uses 3 three launchers with the capacity to hold 10 sonobuoys each, and it can launch single or multiple shots. The aircraft’s overall sonobuoy storage capacity is 120, fully 50% percent greater than the P-3’s capacity of 80. US NAVAIR.

    Oct 4/10: India. India’s navy wants to grow its P-8i fleet to 12 planes, by exercising a $1 billion option for 4 more. Indian sources are telling the media that the prices and offset agreements would be the same as the original $2.1 billion contract for 8 aircraft. The decision follows a recent visit by Indian defense minister Antony and Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma. The proposal will now be sent to India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for approval, and other steps also remain on the to do list. The Times of India:

    “P-8Is are being customised to Indian naval requirements, with communication, electronic warfare and other systems being sourced from India. For instance, defence PSU Bharat Electronics is delivering Data Link-II, a communication system to enable rapid exchange of information among Indian warships, submarines aircraft and shore establishments, for the P-8Is to Boeing. There is, however, the question of India having not yet inked the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) being pushed by the US as ”a sensitive technology-enabler” for P-8I and other arms procurements.”

    See: India Defence | Times of India | Zee News | China’s Xinhua.

    FY 2010

    SAR kicks program total up to 122; P-8i passes design review; Indian contract for APY-10 with air-air as well; Boeing proposes P-8 AGS to USAF; Saudi Arabian P-8A interest; Shoot ’em up with Southwest.

    E-8C JSTARS
    (click to view full)

    Sept 13/10: P-8 AGS? The battle over the E-8 JSTARS fleet’s future is heating up. Boeing is proposing a derivative of its P-8A Poseidon sea control aircraft as a proposed $5.5 billion, 1-for-1 replacement of the current E-8C fleet, instead of paying that estimated amount to upgrade the E-8Cs with new cockpits, sensors, and engines. The Boeing AGS version would include the Raytheon-Boeing Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS), Raytheon’s AN/APY-10 multi-mode radar in the nose, some the same Electronic Support Measures for emissions geo-location that are featured on the E/A/18G Growler electronic attack lane, and an electro-optical surveillance and targeting turret. A P-8 derivative would also give the USAF space and integration for weapons on board, or additional sensors in those spaces.

    Northrop Grumman believes the Boeing figure may be a lowball price, and has its own proposal to add 1′ x 8′ array radars on the plane’s cheeks, derived from the firm’s APG-77 and APG-81 AESA radars that equip the F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters. Today, J-Stars operations have to “break track” with a target to collect an image. The cheek fairings would solve that problem, while keeping the existing AN/APY-7, in order to lower the upgrade price to around $2.7 billion: $900M re-engining, $500M new APY-7 receiver and exciters, $1 billion for the cheek array, $300M for avionics upgrade and battle management improvements. This would replace the previous push to replace the APY-7 with their MP-RTIP radar.

    Northrop Grumman executives have expressed concern that USAF officials have not showed them the 2009 initial capabilities document that could launch a competition to replace or upgrade the E-8C, something that’s common practice, even though it isn’t a required step. That may be because the USAF is considering even wider options – like putting the focus on “persistent ground looking radar and optical surveillance with high resolution moving target capability,” instead of an E-8C vs. 737 AGS competition. If so, the firms could find themselves competing with other platforms, possibly including derivatives of airship projects like the US Army’s LEMV and others. Aviation Week | Flight International.

    Sept 8/10: LRIP-2 lead-in. A $136.6 million contract modification for long-lead materials in support of P-8A LRIP (low-rate initial production) Lot 2 aircraft.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (63.8%); Greenlawn, NY (11.7%); Baltimore, MD (10.9%); North Amityville, NY (8.3%); and McKinney, TX (5.3%), and is expected to be complete in December 2013 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    Sept 8/10: Sub-contractors. India’s Economic Times reports that Maini Global Aerospace (MGA) has bagged an outsourcing contract worth up to $10 million to make structural components for the extended range fuel cells of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime (MMR) aircraft. These components would be common to the P-8A and P-8i.

    July 29/10: Testing. Boeing’s T3 test aircraft successfully completes its first flight test, which is focused on aerodynamics and safety. T3 is the P-8A program’s mission-system and weapon-certification aircraft. T3 will soon fly to join the other 2 test aircraft at NAS Patuxent River, MD. Boeing.

    July 18/10: AN/APY-10i. Raytheon announces a contract from Boeing to develop an international version of the AN/APY-10 surveillance radar for India’s P-8i. It’s a private arrangement, and Raytheon’s director of strategy and business development, Neil K Peterson, tells DNA India that details of the contract are still being worked out. He adds that “The radar we will be giving to the Indian Navy’s planes will have more features than those with The US Navy.”

    This is the first sale of the APY-10 beyond the USA. The challenge is to provide excellent performance, without including some of the American radar’s protected features. Raytheon describes the APY-10 as a “long-range, multimission, maritime and overland surveillance radar.” So far, Raytheon is under contract with Boeing to provide 6 AN/APY-10 systems and spares for the US Navy’s P-8A program, and has delivered 4. The firm says that it remains on or ahead of the production schedule. Raytheon | DNA India.

    Improved APY-10

    July 16/10: India. Boeing successfully completes the P-8i’s 5-day final design review with the Indian Navy in Renton, WA, USA. That locks in the design for the aircraft, radar, communications, navigation, mission computing, acoustics and sensors, as well as the ground and test support equipment. It also paves the way for the program to begin assembling the first P-8I aircraft, which will include Indian-built sub-systems. Boeing P-8i program manager Leland Wight says that Boeing is on track to start building the P-8I’s empennage section before the end of 2010. Boeing.

    P-8i design review

    June 2010: BAE Systems completes the mission computer system qualification testing, and flies aboard the program’s 1st mission systems test flight in Seattle. Source.

    April 10/10: US Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-20’s first P-8A Poseidon test aircraft arrives at NAVAIR Patuxent River, MD facilities. Capt. Mike Moran, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program manager (PMA-290), said that the program continues to meet all performance criteria and is on track for initial operational capability in 2013.

    The Poseidon Integrated Test Team includes Navy test squadrons VX-20 and VX-1, and Boeing; they will use this “T1” aircraft to evaluate the P-8A’s airworthiness and expand its flight envelope. When the production-configured T2 and T3 arrive later in 2010, they will be used for extensive mission systems and weapons system testing. US NAVAIR release | YouTube video.

    April 1/10: SAR baseline. The Pentagon releases its April 2010 Selected Acquisition Report. The P-8A program is on the reporting list, because of the aircraft added to the program plan:

    “Program costs increased $1,288.0 million (+3.9%) from $32,852.9 million to $34,140.9 million, due primarily to a quantity increase of nine aircraft from 113 to 122 aircraft (+$1,620.6 million) and associated schedule and estimating allocations (+$50.0 million), and an increase in other support costs associated with the quantity increase (+130.5 million). Costs also increased in estimating due to commercial aircraft pricing, avionics maturation, and aircraft design changes (+$505.2 million); revised assumptions for labor rates, learning curves, new material escalation indices, and other minor estimating changes (+$70.1 million); additional effort for test and evaluation, resolution of aircraft weight growth, and changes in the electro-optical infrared subsystem (+$83.7 million); increased scope to correct deficiencies (+$210.8 million); and costs resulting from the Boeing machinists union strike and rate increases (+$73.0 million). These increases were partially offset by the application of revised escalation indices (-$863.3 million), a decrease in initial spares in accordance with the long-term support strategy (-$278.5 million), acceleration of the procurement buy profile eliminating fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 (-$187.8 million), and removal of the Increment 2 development (-$147.9 million).”

    The 122 consists of 117 production P-8A aircraft, 3 production representative aircraft that will support operational testing, and 2 fully configured developmental test aircraft. Aircraft “T1” will fly but is not production representative, so it isn’t counted. Neither are the 2 ground-test partial-builds used for static and fatigue testing, or the es-Southwest LFTE plane.

    The other confusing element in this report is the removal of “Increment 2” features. Increment 2, previously known as Spiral 1, adds acoustics and communications upgrades, as well as an initial high altitude weapons capability – the HAAWC torpedo/ Longshot kit.

    NAVAIR explains that the P-8A is using an evolutionary acquisition strategy, that will continue to improve the capabilities of the system over the life of the program. So far, so normal. However, none of these forecast improvements are included in the program’s Acquisition Program Baseline (APB: cost, schedule and performance parameters), which is the basis for the SAR. Increments 2 & 3 have received budget funding, with Increment 2 expected to reach Initial Operating Capability around 2016. Since neither of these increments has held a formal milestone review, however, the associated costs don’t formally count yet.

    SAR baseline

    March 24/10: Just shoot me, redux. Need to speed up testing? Want to shoot a plane full of holes? Fly Southwest! Engineers at NAWCWD’s Weapons Survivability Laboratory (WSL) spent just $200,000 to add a cast-off 737 from Southwest Airlines to the P-8A Poseidon Live-Fire Test and Evaluation (LFTE) Program. NAWCAD WSL vulnerability engineer Paul Gorish found the plane while shopping for individual parts. It came complete with in-flight magazines; and after arriving at China Lake, CA, the engines, auxiliary power unit, avionics and windshield were the only things removed.

    LFTE tests involve shooting various sections of the plane with different anti-aircraft rounds that it might encounter in theater, then assessing the damage and using that data to improve the aircraft’s survivability. The first LFTE test will look at how the hydraulics in the tail portion of the aircraft react when hit with a threat. Another test will evaluate how the oxygen bottles will react to a ballistic impact in a fully pressurized cabin.

    The original plan called for the ground-test aircraft (S1) to arrive in 2012. Now they can offload some of the tests planned for S1 onto this 737, beginning in summer 2010, and complete all tests within the tight schedule. It’s also expected that Southwest’s former jet will become a source of parts to build-up the incomplete test-plane S1 into a more representative P-8A surrogate. US NAVAIR release.

    Feb 4/10: Testing. Boeing successfully completes weapons ground vibration testing on P-8A Poseidon test aircraft T1, after loading 18 different weapons configurations onto the test aircraft over a 1 month period. For each set, external shakers induce vibration of the aircraft’s wings, stabilizer and stores to verify the plane’s structural integrity and reactions, using with more than 100 accelerometers and other external devices.

    The effort comes before full flight testing at Pax River, MD, and follows May 2009 ground vibration tests without weapons. Boeing release.

    Feb 3/10: India. Flight International reports that Boeing plans to put an additional Raytheon radar on the aft section of India’s P-8is, and is exploring an air-to-air mode for the APY-10. India wanted air-to-air capability and a 360 degree radar, and the AN/APY-10 provides only 240 degree coverage from the P-8’s nose section.

    Feb 3/10: Self-inflicted delay. Flight International reports that the US Navy is facing a self-inflicted 6-month program delay. The ferry light to Patuxent River, MD was scheduled for September 2009, but the trip had been delayed to Q1 2010. The first 2 P-8As are in Seattle doing flight tests, and could perform all testing there, but the US Navy wants all testing done at NAVAIR’s east coast facility. Unfortunately, the Navy doesn’t have its designated facility ready to receive the P-8, hence the 6-month delay.

    Feb 2/10: FY 2011 budget. The Pentagon releases its FY 2011 budget request, containing $2.92 billion for the P-8A program. That request includes $1.99 billion for 7 more P-8 aircraft, advance procurement for 9 FY 2012 aircraft, plus $929.2 million for Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation. The Pentagon adds that “aircraft procurements are tightly coupled to the P-3 retirement rates.”

    Feb 2/10: Sub-contractors. Herley Industries, Inc. of in Lancaster, PA announces a $1.5 million sub-contract for integrated microwave assemblies, to be used in the U.S. Navy’s P-8A aircraft. This is Herley’s first production award under the P-8A program, as opposed to system design & development contracts.

    Jan 29/10: Studies. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $16.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-05-G-0026). They will conduct studies and analyses for the acoustic processor technology refresh, and capability analysis planning for the P-8A. In an era where more and more countries are fielding quiet, advanced submarines, and electronics become obsolete every 4-5 years, this kind of ongoing work is necessary.

    Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA (83%), and Seattle, WA (17%), and is expected to be complete in July 2011.

    Dec 4/09: IOT&E. Boeing in Seattle, WA received a $12.5 million not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00019-04-C-3146) in support of the P-8A initial operation test and evaluation (IOT&E). Specific efforts include the modification of courseware and training devices and transition, and integration of organic maintenance.

    Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (60%), and Seattle, WA (40%), and is expected to be complete in January 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    November 2009: APY-10. A Boeing and Raytheon worker formally finish installation of the APY-10 radar in the nose of P-8A test plane T2. T2 is the P-8A program’s primary mission system testbed, and it will enter the U.S. Navy’s flight test program in early 2010, after a follow-on phase of radar installation and additional instrumentation. During flight tests, US Navy and Boeing pilots will verify the performance of all aircraft sensors, including the APY-10. Boeing release.

    Oct 24/09: Saudi Arabia. Abu Dhabi newspaper The National reports that Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in buying 6 of Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, in a deal worth a reported $1.3 billion (about 4.8 billion riyals). The National says the lanes would be part of a larger $20 billion naval modernization:

    “They took the steps to say to the US Navy that they are interested,” Ray Figueras, the director of strategic development for the P-8 Poseidon at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), said of the Saudi Royal Navy. “We’ve been told there is a need for six.”…Details of the naval overhaul were announced last December when US defence officials said Saudi Arabia wanted to buy the P-8 along with the H-60R Seahawk multimission helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft, unmanned Fire Scout helicopters built by Northrop Grumman, and smaller combat ships… The [P-8] aircraft are said to cost $220 million each…”

    Saudi Arabia has long coastlines of shallow seas, and a special interest in protecting the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Its own topography lends itself well to larger fleets of smaller maritime patrol aircraft, but extending operations out to deal with threats like pirates near Yemen and Somalia would require a long-range aircraft. As always in the Gulf, corporate and political relationships also play a strong role in national choices.

    Oct 15/09: Testing. The first US Navy test pilot flies a P-8A, alongside a Boeing test pilot. Initial test flights have centered around Boeing’s Seattle facilities, but the P-8A will move to Patuxent River, MD, in early 2010 for more advanced tests. The Integrated Test Team will include personnel from the Navy’s VX-1 and VX-20 squadrons, and from Boeing. They will spend the next 36 months flying and evaluating 3 aircraft, designated T1, T2 and T3. NAVAIR’s release quotes Lt. Roger Stanton:

    “For the baseline P-8, it certainly flies like a 737… The interesting flying for the P-8 really will come when we have to emulate the P-3 mission – high bank angle, low altitude, autopilot integrated into our mission with missiles on the wings. It will get interesting.”

    FY 2009

    India becomes 1st export sale; P-8A rollout; 1st flight; USN wants 117 + 8 P-8s; MoU with Australia; AAS radar follow-on to LSRS; Initial basing plans announced.

    P-8A Rollout
    (click to view full)

    Sept 4/09: DCK cut off. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. in Baltimore, MD receives a $37.4 million firm-fixed-price contract to design and build a P-8A Operational Training Facility at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. The facility will include space for 10 operational flight trainers (OFT), bridge cranes over the OFT devices, 8 weapons tactics trainers, and 4 part task trainers; plus support equipment, computer based training stations, internal and external network communication equipment, training media storage, maintenance support shops, administrative offices, student study rooms, briefing areas, communications closets, and secure compartmented information facilities. The contract also contains an option, which would increase the contract’s value to $37.95 million if exercised. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, FL, and is expected to be complete by June 2011.

    If this sounds familiar, it should. The July 2/09 entry describes a similar award to DCK North America. On July 13/09, however, Balfour Beatty Construction files a bid protest with the GAO protesting the US Navy’s award to DCK on multiple grounds. The government review of the protest led them to terminate DCK’s award, and re-evaluate the bids; that removed the basis of the protest, and led to its formal dismissal on Aug 5/09. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company won the re-evaluation, and the contract previously awarded to DCK will be Terminated for Convenience.

    This contract was competitively negotiated via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 21 proposals received in Phase One and, 7 Phase One offerors selected to proceed to Phase Two. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast in Jacksonville, FL will manage this new contract (N69450-09-C-1291).

    Aug 27/09: AAS. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $25 million not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00019-04-C-3146). Work will be performed in Seattle, WA and is expected to be complete in February 2010.

    The award updates Annex B of the P-8A system specification to include additional requirements associated with the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS)/P-8A interface requirement specification (IRS). The IRS refines requirements for the integration of the AAS maritime and littoral intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance radar, and the associated special mission cabin equipment on P-8 aircraft.

    July 31/09: AAS/ LSRS. Raytheon announces a multi-year contract authorizing development of the Advanced Airborne Sensor, the follow-on to the canoe-shaped Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS) that equips the most advanced P-3Cs.

    As the sensor prime contractor, Raytheon will oversee development, production and installation of the AAS on the P-8A. Raytheon will work closely with its associate prime contractor, Boeing, for engineering, aircraft modifications, integration and flight test.

    July 30/09: Final SDD order. A $334.7 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00019-04-C-3146) for a P-8A Stage II test aircraft with mission systems installed. This is the 3rd and final option aircraft under the original System Development & Demonstration contract. This contract also covers modifications and engineering work needed to turn these 3 additional test aircraft into “production representative” airplanes, and the spares needed to support them.

    Contracts under the SDD and test acquisition phase have now grown to about $4.5 billion, and include 8 ordered planes: 6 flight test aircraft, a full-scale static loads test airframe, and a full-scale fatigue test airframe. Two of the flight test aircraft have already successfully flown as part of a Boeing relocation and system flight check process. Testing on the static loads airframe is underway, and the Navy will begin formal flight testing later in 2009.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (82.4%); Norwalk, CT (4.6%); Oklahoma City, OK (4.3%); McKinney, TX (3.4%); Greenlawn, NY (3%); and North Amityville, NY (2.3%), and is expected to be complete in April 2013.

    SDD ends at $4.5 billion

    July 30/09: P-8A Unveiled. Boeing and the U.S. Navy formally unveil the P-8A Poseidon, during a ceremony at the Boeing facility in Renton, WA. US Navy release | NAVAIR release | Boeing release.

    P-8A unveiled

    July 2/09: Infrastructure. DCK North America, LLC in Large, PA wins a $37.9 million firm-fixed-price contract to design and build an Operational Training Facility for P-8A aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL. The facility will include space for 10 Operational Flight Trainers (OFT), 8 Weapons Tactics Trainers, 4 Part Task Trainers, support equipment, bridge cranes over the OFTs, computer based training stations, internal and external network communication equipment, training media storage, maintenance support shops, administrative offices, student study rooms, briefing areas, communications closets, and Secure Compartmented Information Facilities.

    Work will be performed in Jacksonville, FL, and is expected to be complete by June 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 21 proposals received in Phase I and 7 Phase I offerors selected to proceed to Phase II. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast in Jacksonville, FL manages this contract (N69450-09-C-1257).

    The award is subsequently overturned, following a GAO protest and re-compete.

    June-July 2009: The US Navy reviews its future needs and decides that the P-8A program needs to grow to 117 operational aircraft, instead of 108.

    May 6/09: Australia MoU. Australia announces a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States Navy (USN) to cooperatively develop upgrades to the P-8A Poseidon aircraft and its support systems. Cooperation will begin on P-8A Spiral One. Australia’s DoD hopes the information will help them understand the aircraft better before the final purchase and timing decisions begin, influence the direction of P-8A improvements, and provide early opportunities for Australian industry to become part of the global program.

    This ministerial release has raised the total value of Australia’s 8-plane “AIR 7000, Phase 2” program to A$ 5 billion (currently about $3.7 billion) from A$ 4 billion on July 20/07 (see entry), when Australia granted “first pass approval” to the P-8.

    Australia MoU

    May 5/09: Boeing rolls P-8 model T-2 out of the paint hangar at its Renton, WA, facility, displaying its U.S. Navy colors. T-2 is actually the 3rd of 5 test aircraft. Aircraft T-1 will be painted in the same gray paint scheme later this summer. Photo release.

    May 2/09: Australia. Australia’s Defence White Paper reiterates its interest in 8 long-range maritime patrol aircraft, as part of an A$ 5 billion “AIR 7000, Phase 2” program. Boeing’s P-8A will be that aircraft, unless something goes very wrong on the path to a final contract.

    P-8 #T-1
    (click to view full)

    April 25/09: 1st flight. Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon test aircraft #T-1 successfully completes its 1st flight, spending 3:31 in the air and reaching a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet. Prior to takeoff, the P-8A team completed a limited series of flight checks, including engine starts and shutdowns. During the flight, test pilots performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations, autopilot flight modes, and auxiliary power unit shutdowns and starts.

    After Boeing paints the aircraft, installs more test instrumentation, and conducts further ground tests, the integrated Navy/Boeing team will begin formal flight testing of the P-8A during Q3 2009. Boeing release.

    1st flight

    April 13/09: LRIP-2 lead-in. Boeing in Seattle, WA received a $109.1 million advance acquisition contract to buy long lead-time materials in support of the P-8A’s low rate initial production (LRIP) Lot I orders, and reserve production line slots in support of P-8A LRIP Lot II.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (87%) and Baltimore, MD (13%), and is expected to be complete in December 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR(Federal Acquisition Regulations clause) 6.302-1 (N00019-09-C-0022).

    March 12/09: India. In a notice to the US Congress, the State Department has said that it will license the direct commercial sale of P-8i aircraft to India, having factored in “political, military, economic, human rights and arms control considerations.” India’s domain-b.

    A DCS buy doesn’t use a US military office as its agent, and is not subject to the same public notice provisions as a Foreign Military Sale buy. Even so, there are still some legal hurdles and agreements that must be present before a DCS item can be delivered to the customer.

    Feb 11/09: India & EUMs. Reports surface that standard American provisions around “End Use Monitoring”, and information sharing restrictions that accompany American defense exports, are beginning to become a problem for the P-8i sale. Read “An EUM Bellwether? India/US Arms Deals Facing Crunch Over Conditions.”

    Feb 2/09: Indian partners. The Wall Street Journal’s LiveMint reports that Boeing will buy aerospace structures and aviation electronics products worth at least INR 29.41 billion (about $600 million) from Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Dynamatic Technologies Ltd, HCL Technologies Ltd, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), Wipro Ltd, and simulator-maker CAE’s subsidiary Macmet Technologies Ltd.

    Wipro, HCL, L&T and HAL declined to comment, but a Dynamatics, executive confirmed that the firm had been chosen as a vendor. A BEL executive said the firm had entered into an agreement with Boeing for communication equipment, radars, electronic warfare systems and contract manufacturing, but a contract was yet to be signed. Swati Rangachari, a spokeswoman for Boeing in India:

    “Our team is working on the offset strategy and will be in touch with industry partners in a while… We will concentrate in the areas of avionics (aviation electronics) and aerostructures.”

    Meanwhile, Flight International takes a deeper look at India’s nascent private aerospace industry, and its challenges, in “Can India’s aerospace manufacturers step up?

    Jan 2/09: Basing. The US Navy formally announces its basing plans. the plan involves 13 squadrons: 1 “fleet replacement” (training) squadron and 5 operational squadrons at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, FL; 4 fleet squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, WA; and 3 fleet squadrons at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, with periodic squadron detachment operations at NAS North Island. Introduction of the P-8A MMA squadrons is projected to begin no later than 2012, and is expected be complete by 2019.

    This decision implements the preferred “alternative 5” identified in the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the Introduction of the P-8A Multi-Mission Aircraft into the U.S. Navy Fleet (q.v. Nov 20/08 entry). US Navy.

    P-8i concept
    (click to view full)

    Dec 5/08: India contract. The Indian government announces that it has signed a $2.1 billion deal with Boeing for 8 maritime patrol aircraft in “P-8i” configuration. The $2.1 billion figure is the commonly reported total at the moment; DID cautions readers that exact dollar figures for Indian contracts often take some time to clarify. The contract reportedly includes lifetime maintenance support, and an option for another 8 aircraft. Indian Navy spokesman Commander Nirad Sinha:

    “Though we have signed a deal, final clearance is still required from a U.S. authority… The first plane delivery is four years from the final contract signing, so I think it should come in 2013.”

    Firm industrial agreements in India and decisions regarding indigenous Indian technologies for the P-8i are expected to follow, and Boeing’s release commits to delivering the 8th aircraft by 2015.

    This order makes India the P-8 program’s lead export customer, and 2nd international participant. Australia has joined the program and given the P-8A what’s known as “first pass approval,” but any contract must wait for second pass approval from the government. See: Boeing | India Defence | CNN Money.

    8 for India

    Dec 29/08: India. The P-8I deal for India appears to be moving closer. India Defence reports that “virtually all the steps” required for the contract to be signed, including tabling of it in the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval, are complete. Reports place the deal at Rs 8,500 crore (about $1.7 billion) for 8 jets, with first delivery coming within 4 years and all deliveries by 2015. India currently flies 8 Tu-142s. India Defence | StrategyPage.

    Dec 22/08: Bloomberg News reports that an Oct 31/08 budget memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England approved shifting away as much as $940 million from the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft program, in order to complete payment for the 3rd DDG-1000 destroyer that Congress partially funded in FY 2009. The Navy proposed getting 2 aircraft instead of 6 in the initial production phases.

    Meanwhile, the US Navy faces significant challenges keeping the existing fleet of P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft in the air. Almost 1/4 of this aging fleet has been grounded due to safety concerns, and the Navy is forced to retire some aircraft every year. Even though they are in greater demand than ever over key sea lanes, and in overland surveillance roles on the front lines. Early introduction of the P-8A has been touted as critical to maintaining these capabilities, and avoiding both near-term and long-term shortfalls.

    Nov 20/08: Basing. The US Navy releases environmental impact statements (EIS), and prepares to go ahead with its initial basing plan for the P-8A fleet. Under a “preferred” basing plan, 84 Poseidons would replace 120 of the older P-3C Orions. Their deployment would involve: 5 squadrons of 6 planes each at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL (30); another 4 squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, WA (24); and 3 squadrons in Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe, Hawaii (18).

    The goal would be to begin introducing the planes in 2012, and finish by 2019. The Navy still must issue a “record of decision” for the Poseidon plan.

    NAS Brunswick was not considered as a potential home base because all P-3 aircraft and supporting functions are being transferred to NAS Jacksonville per the BRAC 2005 recommendations. The Navy did consider Hickam Air Force Base on Oahu as an alternative Hawaii site, but concluded there wasn’t enough land available at Hickam AFB to support them. US Navy P-8A EIS site | Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Seattle Times | Seattle Times re: Hawaii | Honolulu Advertiser, incl. other Kaneohe changes.

    Nov 6/08: Engine cert. CFM International’s announces that its CFM56-7B27A/3 engine model has been jointly certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency for the U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon, paving the way for flight tests in 2009 and initial operational capability in 2013. Each engine is rated at 27,300 pounds (121 kN) takeoff thrust, and the type has been subjected to extreme heat and icing conditions over extended periods of time as part of its certification.

    CFM International (CFM) is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (SAFRAN Group) and General Electric Company. The CFM56-7B family is very widely used in commercial aviation and powers other 737 military derivatives like the Boeing 737 AEW&C “Wedgetail” and the US military’s C-40 transport aircraft. CFM release.

    Nov 2/08: Strike over. Boeing’s strike formally ends, after an agreement is reached between Boeing and the IAM.

    FY 2008

    US orders 1st planes; Live-fire testing; Boeing strike creates disruption; Indian interest becomes serious.

    P-8A: oncoming
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    Sept 11/08: India. The Times of India reports on the Harpoon missile sale as just one of several pending buys, and says that:

    “…This [Harpoon sale] comes even as India’s biggest-ever defence deal with US – the one to buy eight Boeing P-8i long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for Rs 8,500 crore – has been sent for final clearance to the Cabinet Committee on Security after finalisation of commercial negotiations.”

    Sept 10/08: Test plane order. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $278 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00019-04-C-3146), exercising an option for 2 P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) aircraft with mission systems, in support of the System Development and Demonstration Phase of the MMA. This order covers 2 of the 3 test aircraft options included in the original SDD agreement.

    Work will be performed in Seattle, WA (90%), and Wichita, KS (10%) once the strike ends, and is expected to be complete in September 2011.

    1st aircraft ordered

    Sept 9/08: India’s Harpoons. India looks to buy 20 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles and other items from Boeing, as part of a $170 million official request announced by the US DSCA. See: “India Requests Harpoon II Missiles” for more details.

    This is the air-launched version of the Harpoon, but that missile – and especially its GPS-capable version – is not currently integrated with any of the aircraft in India’s current inventory. India also has its Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, and an air-launched version is currently in development and testing. A Harpoon buy appears to make little sense, except that P-8A aircraft could carry them without requiring an expensive integration project. Something that is not true for India’s existing Russian or French missiles. Which adds fuel to the rumors that a P-8 deal is close.

    As it happens, the eventual July 2010 contract will equip India’s 10 Jaguar IM fighters in No.6 Squadron. The P-8i’s missiles have yet to be determined, and will be a separate Foreign Military sale.

    India request – missiles

    Sept 6/08: Strike! A strike begins at Boeing, shutting down production for any P-8 aircraft that are still in factory assembly. The potential exists for a long and damaging strike at Boeing; DID’s “Boeing Strike Poised to Disrupt Deliveries” covers the key issues and potential impacts.

    Aug 12/08: Industrial. Boeing announces that the first P-8A Poseidon for the U.S. Navy has moved from factory assembly to systems integration and pre-flight work. Boeing IDS will now focus on calibrating the flight-test instrumentation on board the aircraft, before moving it to Boeing Field in Seattle early in 2009 for systems integration and additional testing.

    Aug 10/08: India. Sindh Today reports that India ‘s contract negotiating committee has completed its report on price negotiations with Boeing, after Boeing won the technical bid and the trials of the product. Negotiations were reportedly stuck due to the end-user agreement, under which Boeing can conduct physical inspections of the aircraft as and when it wants to check if the product is being used for the purpose it has been acquired. This is linked to requirements under American ITAR laws, which regulate sales of military equipment whether they are conducted as FMS or direct commercial sales. India’s defence ministry reportedly separated that set of negotiations from the deal itself, knowing that a signed deal will be significantly harder to cancel, on either side.

    The contract will reportedly be a direct commercial agreement between Boeing and the Indian Navy, rather than an announced Foreign Military Sale. The cost is reportedly around $2.2 billion, and that deal will now go to the defence acquisition committee (DAC) and then to the cabinet committee on security (CCS) for approval.

    Aug 4/08: LRIP intent. NAVAIR discloses in a FebBizOpps notice that it expects to order 10 P-8A aircraft in fiscal 2010, followed by 12 in FY 2011 and 14 in FY 2012. That would make up the entire set of 36 during Low Rate Initial Production. LRIP is traditionally more expensive than full-rate production, and almost $6.3 billion is budgeted for that phase.

    Boeing had said in 2004 that it could accelerate production and move up the first in-service unit by up to a year, from FY 2013 to FY 2012. Now, Flight International reports that “An airframe fatigue crisis facing the Lockheed P-3 Orion fleet has recently forced NAVAIR to publicly consider accepting Boeing’s offer…”

    The 10 aircraft projected for FY 2010 would need to receive advance funding for long-lead items in the FY 2009 budget, and should be deliverable by 2012 to stand up one squadron. At the moment, 5 developmental prototypes are in various stages of assembly, with first flight in Q4 2009. As one can see, the timeline for accelerated production hinges strongly on the avoidance of any major engineering or testing issues that delay the P-8A’s progress.

    May 20/08: Industrial. P-8 production begins using moving assembly line techniques, which were pioneered with other aircraft. The P-8s will be positioned in a straight-line configuration on the factory floor and stay at a production station for a period of time before advancing to the next station. Standard processes, visual control systems and point-of-use staging are in place, allowing work to flow continuously and quickly. Boeing release.

    May 1/08: Industrial. Boeing joins the wing assembly and fuselage of the first P-8A Poseidon in Renton, WA. The next major P-8A assembly milestone will be engine installation this summer. Boeing’s release says that the team remains on track for delivery of the first test aircraft to the Navy in 2009.

    April 20/08: India. India’s NDTV reports that:

    “India is set to sign a $2.2 billion deal, its biggest with the US, for eight long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft, even as the Indian Navy chief opposed ”intrusiveness” in the use of military hardware the country purchases.

    Negotiations for the purchase of the Boeing-P8I LRMR aircraft are in the final stages and are likely to be wrapped up during Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta’s visit to the US that began Sunday [DID: That did not happen]. The agreement for the purchase under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route will be signed between the two governments in New Delhi later this year, official sources said.”

    March 18/08: MX-20 picked. Boeing picks L-3 Communications Wescam to supply its MX-20HD EO/IR multi-spectral sensor turrets as the P-8A’s digital electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging sensors. L-3 Wescam’s turrets use Enhanced Range Local Area Processing (ELAP) technology to produce real-time image enhancement for EO Day, EO Night & IR video that extends their surveillance range, clarifies the picture, and offers maximum haze penetration.

    Deliveries are scheduled to begin in mid-2008. Wescam turrets also serve on Britain’s updated Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft. L-3 Wescam release.

    Dec 11/07: Sub-contractors. Team Boeing and the US Navy celebrate the start of P-8A fuselage production at Spirit AeroSystems’ Wichita, KS facility, loading the first P-8A fuselage component into a holding fixture on the factory floor. The fuselage assemblies eventually will come together on Spirit’s existing Next-Generation 737 production line. In early 2008, Spirit will ship the first P-8A fuselage to Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Renton, WA for wing assemblies and systems integration. NAVAIR release | Boeing release.

    Oct 22/07: Just shoot me. Boeing announces that its P-8A Poseidon team completed the program’s 200th live-fire shot in September 2007, at the U.S. Navy’s Weapons Survivability Laboratory in China Lake, CA. During testing, live ordnance is fired into simulated aircraft sections to replicate a potential threat environment. Dry bays are locations adjacent to fuel that also may contain electrical and hydraulic lines, as well as environmental control systems or engine bleed-air lines. The systems being designed and developed will ensure that dry bay fires are automatically detected and suppressed.

    P-8A fire suppression testing began in April 2005, and will continue through 2009. Full-scale live-fire testing is slated for 2012 using the P-8A static test aircraft. Boeing release.

    FY 2007

    Nose radar becomes APY-10; Curtain lifted on larger LSRS radar; CDR goes well; Australian approval, and Indian interest.

    P-8 production
    (click to view full)

    Aug 9/07: Sub-contractors. Boeing announces that Spirit AeroSystems has joined its P-8A Poseidon industry team. Spirit will build the 737 aircraft’s fuselage and airframe tail sections and struts in Wichita, KS. After completion, Spirit will ship the components to Boeing facilities in Renton, WA for final assembly and introduction of mission-specific systems. Spirit is also part of Boeing’s KC-767 team, and works with Boeing as a partner to produce many of its civilian aircraft.

    July 20/07: Australia. Australia grants first pass approval for Phase 2 of its AIR 7000 program, which is the manned aircraft portion. First pass approval allows Australia’s Department of Defence to commence formal negotiations with the United States Navy join the P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) program; Phase 2 is currently estimated at A$ 4 billion (currently about USD$ 3.52 billion). Australian DoD release.

    AIR 7000, Phase 1 involves a Multi-mission Unmanned Aerial System to accompany/ supplement the manned Phase 2 aircraft. Australia gave First Pass Approval to that segment in May 2006, and a final decision and contract regarding participation in the USA’s BAMS program is expected by the end of 2007. These 2 components will replace Australia’s AP-3C Orion aircraft, which are scheduled for retirement in 2018 after over 30 years of service.

    July 3/07: India. Defense News reports that Indian officials will be studying Boeing’s P-8A and Airbus A319 aircraft in France, Germany, Spain and the United States as they prepare for a decision re: their maritime patrol aircraft competition.

    Don’t get too excited yet; bids were submitted back in April 2006, but that’s only the very beginning. Indian officials will be sending preliminary evaluations go to the MoD by September 2007, which will lead to a short list of bidders. A preliminary decision and price negotiations will begin “within two years,” i.e. by mid-2009. Past experience has demonstrated that such price negotiations can take years themselves – or even sink deals entirely, something that has happened repeatedly during India’s attempts to purchase second-hand Mirage 2000 fighters.

    June 18/07: Sub-contractors. United Technologies subsidiary Hamilton Sundstrand, announces that its Kidde Aerospace & Defense unit has been selected to supply Dry Bay Fire Protection Systems for the Boeing P-8A. The non-halon Dry Bay Fire Protection System will detect and suppress fires and explosions in the aircraft’s compartments in case flammable fluids leak in due to ballistic damage or system faults. The potential program value could exceed $100 million for both domestic and international sales over the life of the program.

    Hamilton Sundstrand had previously been selected to supply the electric power generating system, power distribution and cooling systems on the P-8A. Hamilton Sundstrand release.

    June 15/07: Perfect CDR. The P-8A Poseidon successfully completes its Critical Design Review (CDR) at Boeing facilities in Seattle, WA, without a single request for action. A CDR without a single request for action is a fairly rare event, and the July 3/07 NAVAIR release explicitly complimented Boeing’s team on their achievement.

    The program will seek approval in a summer 2007 program readiness review to build 2 test aircraft before the next milestone decision to enter full-rate production of the Poseidon. Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Dr. Delores Etter would be the approving executive. NAVAIR release.

    CDR

    May 17/07: LSRS. Ares blog at Aviation Week Reveals the Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS) that equips a few P-3Cs, and will equip the P-8A.

    Bill Sweetman discusses the radar, explains the likely link to a design modification made by Boeing early in the program, and notes the possible convergence of the Navy’s P-8A’s mission with the overland surveillance job done by the USAF’s E-8C JSTARS – though NATO’s Airbus 321-based AGS, with its own UAV companion, would appear to be an even closer comparison.

    March 29/07: Infrastructure. Sauer, Inc. in Jacksonville, FL received $14.7 million for task #0001 under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N62477-04-D-0036) for the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) Test Facilities supporting the MMA Program at Patuxent River, MD. Work will be performed in Patuxent River,