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Military Purchasing News for Defense Procurement Managers and Contractors
Updated: 2 hours 24 min ago

Saudis Seek E-3 Fleet Upgrades

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:33
Saudi E-3
(click to view full)

The 707-based E-3 aircraft forms the backbone of American, British, French, and NATO airborne early warning and control (AWACS), monitoring large swathes of airspace from an elevated position to detect incursions by enemy fighters, missiles, and even UAVs. When coupled with communications systems that allow it act as an airborne relay and command post for the aerial fight, it becomes a uniquely valuable weapons system. Under the 1981 – 1986 “Peace Sentinel” program, Saudi Arabia bought 5 E-3 AWACS(Airborne Early Warning and Control) planes and 8 KE-3A aerial tanker and cargo aircraft. Up to 3 of the KE-3s were later converted to RE-3A TASS(Tactical Airborne Surveillance System) electronic eavesdropping planes, leaving 5 E-3As, 3 RE-3As, and 5 KE-3 tankers.

Most E-3s around the world are well over 20 years old, and American, British, French, and NATO aircraft have received ongoing upgrades. Like Boeing’s US, British, French, and NATO customers, the Saudis are now seeking upgrades to keep their aircraft up to date. Broadly speaking, Saudi jets are getting 3 kinds of upgrades.

Saudi E-3 Upgrades Saudi E-3A
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The 1st set of upgrades is the most basic, and the most necessary. Saudi E-3 avionics need to be upgraded, in order to comply with international aviation rules. Those are often referred to as CNS/ATM (Communications & Navigation Systems/ Air Traffic Management) upgrades.

A 2nd kind of upgrades involves military communications, which can be improved by adding high-bandwidth transmissions, and better transmission security. The RSAF’s E-3As and RE-3As have no peers among the Gulf Cooperation Council states, and integration that let them work with the UAE’s new command and control infrastructure would create a powerful regional resource. The parties involved aren’t discussing that aspect.

The 3rd kind of upgrade involves surveillance electronics. Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) kit upgrades improve the AWACS radar by boosting its sensitivity, toughening it against jamming, and improving its reliability. Related enhancements to the plane’s passive listening electronic support measures (ESM) system can help the plane detect, identify and track electronic transmissions from ground, airborne and maritime sources, in order to determine radar and weapons system types within its surveillance range.

A recent proposal would perform in-depth upgrades on the plane’s electronics, bringing the Saudi fleet all the way to the current E-3 Block 40/45 standard flown by the USA and France. Under those upgrades, mission computing hardware and software shifts from mainframe-based computing to a set of networked servers and modern displays. This provides the computing horsepower to automate some existing tasks, such as Automatic Air Tasking Orders and Airspace Coordination Order updates. It also makes future upgrades easier. Corresponding software and hardware upgrades replace existing buttons and switches with a point-and-click user interface and drop-down menus. RISP-upgraded radar equipment will be complemented by “multisource integration capability” that provides a coherent single picture from the radar, ESM emission detectors, Link-16, and other sources, creating a single picture view for detecting and identifying targets.

Contracts & Key Events 2011 – 2015

RSIP installation; Block 40/45 upgrade Workstation: Before
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July 31/15: Air Force E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft have begun receiving new Interrogator Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, as part of the fleet’s Block 40/45 upgrade program. The $60 million upgrade will see the new IFF system rolled out across the Air Force’s fleet of 31 E-3s. The AN/UPX-40 systems include Mode 5 enhancements, with the Saudis also requesting Block 40/45 upgrades in August 2014, including 20 of the new IFF systems. France has also upgraded it’s E-3 fleet with Block 40/45 enhancements.

Aug 12/14: Block 40/45. The US DSCA announces Saudi Arabia’s official export request for E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System modernization to the most current Block 40/45 status, at an estimated cost of up to $2.0 billion.

The request includes 5 Block 40/45 open architecture Mission Computing Upgrade system sets at its core, including computers, servers, and new interactive displays. This will be accompanied by 20 Next Generation AN/UPX-40 Identification Friend or Foe systems. Ancillary products and services include communication equipment, an updated Mission Planning System, spare and repair parts, support equipment, repair and return services, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US government and contractor support.

These upgrades are a continuation of efforts to maintain interoperability with US and coalition forces, including Britain’s E-3Ds, and the E-3F/G Block 40/45s flown by France and the USA. Implementation of this proposed sale won’t require any extra US Government or contractor representatives in Saudi Arabia. Sources: US DSCA #14-11, “Saudi Arabia – AWACS Modernization Program”.

DSCA request: Full E-3 Block 40/45 upgrade

June 5/12: RSIP Installation. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $66.8 million (face value) firm-fixed-price foreign military sales contract, exercising priced options for the installation and check out of Group A and B RSIP kits in the Saudi fleet of 5 E-3s. That seems to bring installation costs to $107.2 million, or $21.45 million per plane.

Work will be performed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (50%), Seattle, WA (30%); and Baltimore, MD (20%). Work is to be complete by June 15/15. ESC/HBSK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (F19628-01-D-0016, Delivery Order 0080).

Dec 14/11: RSIP Installation. Boeing in Seattle, WA received a $50.4 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, time-and-material contract for installation and check out of Group A and B RSIP kits in the Saudi fleet of 5 E-3s. Work will be performed in Seattle, WA, and is expected to be complete in Oct 28/13. This was a sole-source acquisition, managed by the ESC/HBSK at Hanscom AFB on behalf of their Saudi client (F19628-01-D-0016, Delivery Order 0080).

2008 – 2010

RSIP installs; Requests: CNS/ATM and Communications upgrades. RSAF E-3
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Aug 20/10: Hardware upgrade. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD receives a $9.8 million contract which will replace narrow band klystron power amplifiers with wide band klystron power amplifiers in Saudi Arabian and French E-3 AWACS fleets. At this time, all funds have been committed by the Electronic Systems Center’s HBSKI at Hanscom AFB, MA (FA8704-10-C-0007).

June 30/10: RSIP IIA kits. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in Seattle, WA receives a $73 million contract for the Saudi RSIP program’s Phase II-A production requirements, totaling 5 aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the 551st ELSG/PKI at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA (F19628-01-D-0016; Delivery Order 0070).

See Aug 7/08 for the RSIP’s phase 1, and Dec 7/07 for the original DSCA request to buy. With respect to the 2-phase CNS/ATM upgrades mentioned in the August 2009 DSCA release, a Boeing spokesperson told DID that his understanding “is that it’s still in the proposal stage.”

Aug 6/09: CNS/ATM request. The USA’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s formal request to buy equipment related to a 2-phased upgrade to the Communication Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management systems for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s fleet of 13 E-3 aircraft. The upgrade could run up to $1.5 billion, and will enhance the Saudis’ ability to use a common architecture for efficiently communicating the gathered electronic data within the RSAF and with other regional coalition forces.

Phase 1 will include Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems, 8.33 kHz Very High Frequency radios, Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems, Mode S Transponders, Mode 4/5 Identification Friend or Foe Encryption, High Frequency radio replacements, Multifunctional Information Display Systems for Link 16 operations, Have Quick II radios, Satellite Communications and Common Secure Voice encryption.

Phase 2 will include digital flight deck instrumentation and displays, flight director system/autopilot, flight management system, cockpit data line message and combat situational awareness information.

A U.S. prime contractor will be chosen after a competitive source selection, and will also have responsibility for spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publication and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment to include flight simulators, U.S. government and contractor engineering support, technical and logistics support services, and other related support.

DSCA: CNS/ATM civil compatibility

Aug 6/09: Comms. request. The USA’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s formal request to buy a second set of equipment that aims to give RSAF the ability to use a common architecture for efficiently communicating the gathered electronic data, within the RSAF and with other regional coalition forces. The estimated cost is up to $530 million, and includes:

  • 10 AN/ARC-230 High Frequency Secure Voice/Data Systems
  • 25 AN/ARC-231 or 25 AN/ARC-210 Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (VHF/UHF) Secure Voice/Data Systems
  • 4 MIDS-LVT Link 16 systems
  • 4 LN-100GT Inertial Reference Units
  • 25 SY-100 or functional equivalent Crypto Systems
  • 7 SG-250 or functional equivalent Crypto Systems
  • 6 SG-50 or functional equivalent
  • 10 CYZ-10 Fill Devices
  • Plus modification of existing ground stations, a TASS equipment trainer, a mission scenario generator (simulator), and maintenance test equipment; spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, modification/ construction of facilities, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and support services and other related elements of support.

The principal contractor will be L-3 Communications Integrated Systems Company in Greenville, TX. Implementation of this sale will involve up to 6 U.S. government and four contractor personnel to participate in program reviews at the contractor’s facility every 6 months. There will be approximately 6 contractors in Saudi Arabia providing technical assistance on a full-time basis until the system is integrated into the operational units.

DSCA request: Comms.

Aug 7/08: RSIP installs. Boeing in Kent, WA received an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, fixed-price delivery order contract not to exceed $42 million. In return, they will install the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) capability on 5 Royal Saudi Air Force AWACS jets. At this time $27.3 million has been committed. 551 ELSG/PKS at Hanscom AFB, MA manages the contract (F19628-01-D-0016, #0062).

This first phase includes a study to determine which parts are obsolete and no longer available, then locating and testing parts obtained from new sources. Phase one also includes purchase of many long lead parts and the start of software design. The next phase involves production and installation of the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) kits, software integration and testing, and crew training. Phase 2 was intended to be part of a 2009 follow-on contract, but actually arrived in June 2010.

The RSIP kit is built principally by Baltimore-based Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems under subcontract to Boeing. It consists of a new radar computer, a radar-control maintenance panel, and software upgrades to the radar and mission-system programs. Boeing release.

2001 – 2007

Link-16 upgrades; Repairs required; RSIP radar upgrade request.

Feb 28/07: Support. Ongoing maintenance is also part of the US-Saudi AWACS relationship. The RSAF’s 6th Flying Wing brings an E-3A aircraft to Tinker AFB, OK for repairs, and the 566th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s E-3 Maintenance Flight replaces a bearing between the rotodome and aircraft. A 6th Wing aircrew will perform aerial tests before returning the aircraft back to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tinker AFB, OK sustains the RSAF Peace Sentinel fleet (E-3A and KE-3A aircraft) through a Letter of Offer and Acceptance and the 557th Aircraft Sustainment Squadron’s Mid East Support. USAF release.

Dec 7/07: RSIP request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s official request for 5 sets of Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and Command, Control and Communications (C3) mission equipment/Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) Group B kits for subsequent installation and checkout in all 5 of its E-3A Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS). In addition, this proposed sale will include spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, contractor engineering and technical support, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost is $400 million, and the prime contractor will be Boeing Aerospace Company in Seattle, WA.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of approximately four contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia to provide technical assistance to integrate the aircraft into the operational units. Also, this program will require U.S. government and contractor personnel to conduct annual, one-week Program Management Reviews in Saudi Arabia. The DSCA adds that:

“Saudi Arabia needs this additional mission equipment to continue its development of an extended Airborne Early Warning (AEW) capability, as well as enhanced command, control and communications (C3).”

While other Saudi weapon requests are drawing fire, the E-3 program is unlikely to find itself caught in that vortex due to the routine nature of the request, its non-offensive nature, and the value to the US of having additional AWACS surveillance assets to maintain key “orbits” in the region.

DSCA request: RSIP.

Nov 13/06: Link 16. Saudi Arabia purchases JTIDS Link 16 systems, which quietly transmit a shared picture to participating aircraft and ground stations. A contract to install them in the RSAF’s E-3 AWACS fleet was issued in September 2007. See “Link 16 for Saudi E-3 AWACS” for full details.

August 2001: Hardware & displays. Boeing began installing new mission computers and other hardware and software on the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) AWACS fleet, as part of a contract worth $60 million. Under the contract, Boeing upgraded the aircraft’s mission computer and software to the same level currently in use by the U.S. AWACS fleet and train Royal Saudi Air Force operators. That project was completed in 2003.

Additional Readings

Categories: News

Report: Carrier Test of F-35 Found Half Unflyable Any Given Moment | Typhoon Upgrades to Flight Test | Boeing Washes Hands of India’s HAL on Quality Issues

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 23:53
Americas

  • Air Force E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft have begun receiving new Interrogator Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, as part of the fleet’s Block 40/45 upgrade program. The $60 million upgrade will see the new IFF system rolled out across the Air Force’s fleet of 31 E-3s. The AN/UPX-40 systems include Mode 5 enhancements, with the Saudis also requesting Block 40/45 upgrades in August 2014, including 20 of the new IFF systems. France has also upgraded it’s E-3 fleet with Block 40/45 enhancements.

  • The six Marine Corps’ F-35Bs which underwent testing on USS Wasp in May reportedly showed poor reliability performance, with the aircraft reportedly only achieving availability of around 50%. This is undoubtedly a factor Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joe Dunford has considered as he finalizes the jet’s paperwork for achieving Initial Operating Capability. A decision on whether the F-35B is ready for limited combat operations is expected imminently, with the USMC deciding in March to push on to a timetabled IOC target of fourth quarter 2015, despite issues with the fighter’s 2B software.

  • Confirming reports from June indicating that Brazil was looking to refinance its procurement of 36 Saab Gripen NG fighters, Sweden has reportedly agreed to reduce the commercial interest rate applied by the Swedish Export Credit Corporation from 2.54% to 2.19%. Brazil cut the amount of funding it planned to take from Sweden in June, with the original sales contract announced in October 2014. The revised agreement will now be transferred to Brazil’s Federal Senate to be signed-off. Meanwhile, Brazilian prosecutors announced in April 2015 that they were planning to investigate the $5.4 billion Gripen deal.

Middle East North Africa

  • Saudi Arabia has requested the sale of numerous ammunition types for the country’s land forces, in a potential deal estimated to value $500 million. The long list of items has been cleared by the State Department, with the ammunition types varying from 7.62mm and .50 Cal rounds to M67 hand grenades, 2.75 inch rockets, M18A/M18A1 Claymore mines, M1A2 Bangalore Torpedoes and Guided Precision Aerial Delivery Systems, with the most numerous requested item being the M430A1 40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose round, with KSA requesting a million.

  • Israel is expected to stand-up its first squadron of F-35A fighters in coming days, as the Israeli Air Force plans for the delivery of its first ‘Adir’ fighters in 2017. The Israeli defense ministry initially placed an order for 19 aircraft in 2010, with a second batch order following in February 2015, bringing the total number of Israel Joint Strike Fighters – designated the F-35I – on order to 33. The IAF will also stand-up a second squadron of F-35Is, with a third also being considered.

Europe

  • Selex ES has been awarded a $30 million contract to supply the Royal Air Force with Radar Warning Receivers to fit its fleet of 24 AS330 Puma helicopters. The British Ministry of Defence is also reportedly set to sign a contract to upgrade the Sky Guardian RWRs on the Royal Air Force’s fleet of CH-47 Chinook helicopters, with the Sky Guardian also manufactured by Selex ES.

  • BAE Systems is preparing to begin flight testing of the Eurofighter Typhoon‘s Phase 2 Enhancements package over coming weeks, with P2E including the integration of the Royal Air Force’s MBDA-manufactured Meteor BVR air-to-air missile and Storm Shadow cruise missile. Firing of the Meteor and Storm Shadow are expected to begin in August and September/October respectively, with P2E scheduled for roll-out from 2017.

Asia

  • 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.

  • Malaysia is reportedly buying British-manufactured Thales Starstreak Very Short Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) systems, along with Weststar GK-M1 vehicles, radar systems and auxiliary equipment. Thales UK and Weststar subsidiary Global Komited agreed in April 2014 to jointly market the point air defense system to Malaysia, with the Starstreak system also ordered by Thailand and Indonesia in November 2012 and January 2014 respectively.

  • Boeing has revealed the first Australian EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, with this the first of twelve Growlers ordered through a Foreign Military Sale contract in June 2014. The Australian government requested a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler sustainment program in April 2015, estimated to value $1.5 billion. A second Growler is scheduled to complete testing in August, with the pair of aircraft then set for delivery to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake for RAAF pilot training, before delivery to Australia in 2017.

  • Boeing was also awarded a $20.5 million delivery order on Thursday for intermediate-level support service for the twelve Australian EA-18G Growlers, as well as for the provision of support equipment for the US Navy’s new squadron of Growlers, set for stand-up in 2017. $15.2 million of the contract total has been allocated for the US Navy and the remaining $5.3 million for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Today’s Video

  • Footage from a JPADS drop:

Categories: News

P-3 Orion’s SMIP Program Keeps on Rolling

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 01:04
P-3 Orion, armed –
note Sidewinder
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The P-3 Orion remains the USA’s main maritime patrol aircraft, and is also finding use in overland surveillance roles despite the fleet’s age. Earlier DID articles have noted the extra effort required to preserve the USA’s P-3C Orion maritime surveillance & patrol aircraft, along with radar and weapons upgrades to improve the fleet. Lockheed has even opened a new production line, to deal with planes whose wings that are so aged and worn that they need a full replacement.

The SMIP (Sustainment, Modification, and Installation Program) is intensive depot-level inspection and repair process that includes P-3 airframe and component inspection, identification of problems, and corrective maintenance. The idea is to ensure safe and reliable P-3 use, while trying to get more hours out of each airframe in order to sustain dwindling global fleets. More intensive “MIP” efforts may be launched once inspection results become clear, such as the USA’s P-3 recovery plan and full “ASLEP” re-winging efforts underway in Norway and Canada.

SMIP Activities

SMIP work is performed on all types, models and series of P-3 aircraft in the 164-aircraft U.S. Navy fleet, as well as P-3 aircraft supported through U.S. Navy-administered foreign military sales programs.

The US Navy formally launched a P-3 service life assessment program in 2000. That led to a full-scale fatigue test on a P-3C by 2002 – and the results shocked the Navy. Lockheed Martin’s assessment was based on a 1980s software algorithm, but testing showed that the problems were ahead of the algorithm, and new tools predicted very serious failures. That led to the creation of a Special Structural Inspection Kit, with wing undersides receiving extra attention.

SMIP work includes 2 types of activities.

The first type of SMIP activity involves those special structural inspections to ensure that corrosion from salt spray, or the stresses of repeated low-level swoops to near-sea level, haven’t created damage that might make the airframe unsafe before the next inspection. These services include:

  • P-3 Special Structural Inspections (SSIs);
  • Enhanced Special Structural Inspections (ESSIs);
  • Fabrication and delivery of Special Structural Inspection Kits (SSI-Ks)

To ensure the aircraft remain safe, a Fatigue Life Management Program (FLMP) tracks and updates each P-3’s status every 6 months, and each plane’s flight hours and mission profiles are also monitored.

The inspections do find problems, as one would expect with aircraft this old. Next comes the actual work done. Sometimes, that just means regularly scheduled maintenance. Sometimes, the work involves installing new equipment, from upgraded electronics and radars to entirely new sets of wings. These services are referred to under SMIP as:

  • Phased Depot Maintenance (PDM); and
  • Modification/Installation Programs (MIPs).

The exact bundle of work varies to some extent from customer to customer, and MIPs will have contracts of their own attached to cover the cost of the equipment and any work “above and beyond.”

“Zone 5″ – The Program and Process Zone 5 repairs
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The Zone 5 repairs are very extensive, requiring 21,000 man-hours of work, 6,000 holes drilled for rivets, and special equipment. Work includes replacement of 5 of the 9 lower wing planks, and the aft lower wing spar. When the Zone 5 repairs are complete, they provide an estimated 5,000 additional flight hours, or 8 – 10 years, to the aircraft’s airframe service lifespan. See NAVAIR’s “FRCSE Delivers First Red-Striped P-3 Back to the Fleet” for further details regarding the process.

Some countries like Norway have opted for an even more extensive plan, which involves a full re-winging, plus other replacements that include the horizontal stabilizer and engine nacelle components. Lockheed Martin has become the sole source for new P-3 wings as a matter of Pentagon policy, and a few outer wing kits were bought, but installation is the responsibility of other firms like L-3 Communications.

The main thrust, however, involved establishing rotatable wing pool, beginning with an order for 15 new wings. As P-3s come in and their old outer wings are removed and replaced, their old wings are refurbished and partially replaced, then returned to the pool.

The US Navy planned to ground 6 – 10 Orions a year, with all aircraft re-evaluated every 6 months. The re-winging effort and associated “Zone 5 modifications” is expected to take up to a year for each aircraft, and the US Navy expects to reach a steady state of 24 Zone 5 modifications (including re-wings) per year. That has accelerated somewhat due to fleet readiness issues, and as of September 2010, 45 P-3s were undergoing depot-level repairs.

Getting there required more than just spending money. The initial “Zone 5 groundings” in December 2007 kicked off a detailed value stream analysis of the entire P-3 industrial base. Two new plank and wing spar manufacturing vendors were certified, in order to make sure long-lead items would be available as needed. Another 3 depot facilities were brought under contract to conduct wing modifications and start work on the backlog of grounded aircraft. Existing contracts were restructured to reward higher depot throughput, and the Navy invested in machinery and production level management software for its own depot, in order to streamline P-3 repair operations.

SMIP Contracts and Related Announcements

The age of the fleet has even begun to involve re-winging and “Zone 5″ work under a crash plan to, well, keep the P-3s from crashing. Because of their emergency nature and operational significance, those efforts are covered in a separate article: “US P-3 Recovery Plan Tries to Keep the Fleet in the Air.” Unless otherwise noted, US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages these contracts.

FY 2011 – 2015

Refurb done
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July 30/15: Following initial reports from early July, Germany has awarded an eight-year contract to Airbus Defence & Space and Lockheed Martin Overseas Services Corp. to re-wing the German Navy’s fleet of P-3C orion maritime patrol aircraft. The contract will cover eight P-3C aircraft, with Lockheed Martin manufacturing the new Mid-Life Upgrade kits on a production line opened in 2005 and Airbus responsible for integration and installation of the kits. Previous estimates put the value of a ten-aircraft contract at approximately $626 million. Norway has also invested in upgrading its Orions through a re-winging program. Germany previously requested aircraft mission computer, acoustic systems and simulator equipment for its Orion fleet, detailed in a DSCA request from April 2014.

Nov 15/13: FY 2014. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, Waco, TX receives a $96.4 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for services in support of the P-3 (Orion, maritime patrol), EP-3 (Aries II, electronic eavesdropping), and NP-3 (testing plane) SMIP programs. This includes planned maintenance intervals, structural replacement and fabrication efforts pertaining to special structural inspection kits, center wing assemblies, Zone 5 kits, and outer wing installations and refurbishments.

Work will be performed in Waco, TX, and is expected to be complete in September 2014 (N00019-11-D-0017).

Oct 31/12: FY 2013. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems – Waco Platform Integration Division in Waco, TX receives a $109.1 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for services in support of the P-3 (Orion, maritime patrol), EP-3 Aries II electronic surveillance, and NP-3 testing aircraft SMIP services.

Work includes planned maintenance intervals, structural replacement and fabrication efforts pertaining to special structural inspection kits, center wing assemblies, Zone 5 kits, and outer wing installations and refurbishments. Funds will be committed as needed, leading to work in Waco, TX, until October 2013 (N00019-11-D-0017).

Dec 23/11: Re-winging. US NAVAIR announces that artisans at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) completed the installation of the 1st new set of wings on a P-3C Orion in November 2011.

“P-3 Orion Program Manager Clinton Batten said the artisans were still conducting Zone 5 repairs to the lower outer wing planks and the lower aft wing spar, but they were running into repair issues on the upper planks of the donor wings…. It is proving more cost effective to install new wings because of the many unknowns associated with refurbishing the old ones according to Cmdr. Stephen Tedford, PMA-290 P-3 Sustainment Integrated Product Team Lead.

An upper wing surface analysis performed in September 2009 determined that corrosion on the upper surface and not fatigue was the primary concern for the P-3 fleet.”

P-3s scheduled to remain in service the longest are getting the new wings, and FRCSE personnel have been providing feedback to Lockheed Martin re: how to assemble the wings being produced from 3-decade-old tooling. Apparently, the biggest obstacle has been aligning the new wings’ nacelles to hard points on the propellers. Sources: US NAVAIR, “FRCSE artisans rewing legacy P-3 Orion patrol aircraft to extend service life”.

Oct 20/11: FY 2012. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems – Waco Platform Integration Division in Waco, TX receives a $113 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for services in support of the P-3 (Orion, maritime patrol), EP-3 Aries II electronic surveillance, and NP-3 testing aircraft SMIP services. This includes planned maintenance intervals, structural replacement and fabrication efforts pertaining to special structural inspection kits, center wing assemblies, Zone 5 kits, and outer wing installations and refurbishments.

Work will be performed in Waco, TX, and is expected to be complete in October 2012. $5.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-11-D-0017).

May 25/11: FY 2011. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems – Waco Platform Integration Division in Waco, TX wins a $104 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for services in support of P-3 (Orion, maritime patrol), EP-3 (Aries II, electronic eavesdropping), and NP-3 (testing plane) SMIP services. This includes planned maintenance intervals, structural replacement and fabrication efforts pertaining to special structural inspection kits, center wing assemblies, Zone 5 kits, and outer wing installations and refurbishments.

Work will be performed in Waco, TX and is expected to be complete in May 2012. $4,105,717 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals, with 2 offers received (N00019-11-D-0017). See also L-3 release.

April 28/11: FY 2011. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Global Sustainment Services in Greenville, SC receives a not-to-exceed $64.4 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract modification. The money will pay for continued P-3 airframe sustainment support: phase depot maintenance, special structural inspections, special structural inspection kits and installations, and modification installations.

Work will be performed in Greenville, SC (100%), and is expected to be complete in December 2012 (N00019-05-D-0013).

April 27/11: FY 2011. L-3 Communications Corp. in Waco, TX wins a not-to-exceed $84.5 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract modification for continued P-3 airframe sustainment support: phase depot maintenance, special structural inspections, special structural inspection kits and installations, and modification installations.

Work will be performed in Waco, TX (96%), and Greenville, SC (4%), and is expected to be complete in December 2012 (N00019-05-D-0008).

April 18/11: Upgrades. Lockheed Martin receives a $23.8 million order for procurement of 76 acoustic processor and receiver tech refresh kits for the AN/USQ-78V acoustic subsystems aboard the P-3C Orion. Work will be performed in Manassas, VA, and is expected to be completed in February 2014. As one might guess, this is a P-3 MIP activity.

Oct 21/10: Stats. US NAVAIR says that it has 80 mission-ready P-3s of 147 in the fleet, and trending upward. It’s a vast improvement from the Fleet’s lowest point in 2009, when “only 49 aircraft were available for missions.” Source: US NAVAIR, “More P-3s Available for the Fleet”.

FY 2008 – 2010

P-3 with CG 54
(click to view full)

March 24/10: Upgrades. US NAVAIR discusses one aspect of the P-3 fleet non-structural efforts to stay ahead of obsolescence via MIP: radio replacement. According to P-3 Critical Obsolescence Program (COP) Team Lead Danny Hartwell, the existing Army/Navy Piloted ARC-161 analog radio was “costly and time consuming. We were required to replace the system organically…”

To hat end, the U.S. Navy recently began installation of an Organic Depot at Fleet Readiness Center South West (FRCSW) in San Diego, CA, to install AN/ARC-243 high-frequency radios in P-3s beginning in 2011. This is the same system that will be used for the Orion’s P-8A Poseidon; high-frequency radio provides instant over-the-horizon communications without the use of satellites, by bouncing signals off of the ionosphere.

Oct 17/09: Upgrades. Lockheed Martin announces a $17.5 million contract to upgrade existing AN/USQ-78V acoustic subsystems aboard the P-3C Orion. The contract includes upgrades and technical refreshes to software and Acoustic Receiver Tech Refresh hardware designed to comply with the Navy’s open architecture directives, replace obsolete components, provide increased processing capacity, and provide the framework for future aircraft upgrades. Work will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s Undersea Systems facility in Manassas, VA; Undersea Systems VP and GM Denise Saiki says that:

“This update provides an open Commercial Off-The-Shelf digital architecture using a modern digital receiver that is common across all maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and helicopters… That helps drive down the total ownership cost of the platforms…”

Sept 17/09: Inspection kits. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP in Waco, TX receives a $39.7 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award P-3 SMIP contract (N00019-05-D-0013), for special structural inspection kit installation.

Work will be performed in Waco, TX, and is expected to be complete in July 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $7.05 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

June 11/09: Inspection kits. Lockheed Martin Services, Inc. in Greenville, SC received a $49.6 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award P-3 SMIP contract , for special structural inspection kit installation. Work will be performed in Greenville, SC, and is expected to be complete in July 2011 (N00019-05-D-0013).

March 13/09: RFP. US NAVAIR releases a solicitation for the next set of P-3 SMIP and Zone 5 replacement contracts, with a planned base year and 4 option years. The actual contract(s) will not be awarded for many months. FedBizOpps.

Dec 17/08: FY 2009. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems in Waco, TX is being awarded a ceiling priced $136.1 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for the P-3C SMIP effort. Work will be performed in Waco, TX and is expected to be complete in December 2009 (N00019-05-D-0008).

Nov 24/08: FY 2009. Lockheed Martin Services, Inc. in Greenville, Sc received a not-to-exceed $11.8 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for Special Structural Inspection Kit (SSIK) Revision 7 inspection/ installation on 5 P-3 aircraft. Work will be performed in Greenville, SC, and is expected to be complete in June 2010 (N00019-05-D-0013).

June 12/08: Inspection kits. Lockheed Martin Services, Inc., DBA Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics in Greenville, SC received a $9.4 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract (N00019-05-D-0013) for additional Special Structural Inspection-Kits (SSI-K) for the P-3 aircraft. Work will be performed in Greenville, SC and is expected to be complete in June 2010.

June 4/08: FY 2008. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Global Sustainment in Greenville, SC received a $142.5 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity multiple award contract to exercise an option for the P-3C SMP effort. Work will be performed in Greenville, SC and is expected to be complete in June 2009 (N00019-05-D-0013).

Feb 26/08: FY 2008. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, LP in Greenville, TX received a $10.7 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for the P-3C SMIP effort. Work will be performed in Waco, TX (60%) and Greenville, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in December 2008 (N00019-05-D-0008).

Dec 27/07: FY 2008. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, LP in Greenville, TX received a $123.4 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for the P-3C SMIP effort. Services to be provided include phase depot maintenance, special structural inspections, and special structural inspection kits. Work will be performed in Waco, TX and is expected to be complete in December 2008 (N00019-05-D-0008).

FY 2005 – 2007

P-3C drops sonobuoy
(click to view full)

Sept 25/07: BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services in Rockville, MD receives a $10.5 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract (N00421-06-D-0038) for the manufacture of 13 P-3 Special Structural Inspection airframe kits.

This effort entails production of Emergency Rate Initial Production quantities of end item component parts, including engineering, analytical and manufacturing efforts in support of the Aging Aircraft Program; the original $14 million contract was announced on Sept 26/06. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (56%); Rockville, MD (24%); and Brea, CA (20%) and is expected to be complete in September 2009. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

June 1/07: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Global Sustainment in Greenville, SC received a $133.8 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract (N00019-05-D-0013), exercising an option for the P-3C sustainment, modification and installation program (SMIP). This is an extension of a previous contract that ends this month.

Work will be performed in Greenville, SC, and is expected to be complete in June 2008.

Dec 26/06: L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP in Greenville, TX received a $109.4 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract (N00019-05-D-0008), extending its work by exercising an option under the P-3C Sustainment, Modification and Installation Program (SMIP).

Work will be performed in Greenville, TX (50%); Waco, TX (25%); and Birmingham, AL (25%), and is expected to be complete in December 2007.

Jan 30/06: L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP in Greenville, TX received a $104.2 ceiling-priced modification to previously awarded firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract N00019-05-D-0008. It exercises an option for the P-3C Sustainment, Modification and Installation Program (SMIP). Work will be performed in Greenville, TX (50%); Waco, TX (25%); and Birmingham, AL (25%), and is expected to be complete in December 2006.

  • A1079874000000*B1142991204000*DgroupByDate*J2*M704*N1001302&newsLang=en&beanID=1963892417&viewID=news_view">L-3 IS release.

  • June 9/06: Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics Centers in Greenville, SC received a $125.8 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract (N00019-05-D-0013), exercising an option for the P-3C Sustainment, Modification and Installation Program. Work will be performed in Greenville, SC and is expected to be complete in June 2007.

    June 10/05: Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics Centers in Greenville, SC received a $121.4 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, multiple-award contract for phased depot maintenance, special structural inspections, enhanced special structural inspections, special structural inspection kits, and modification and installation programs for P-3 and EP-3 aircraft. Work will be performed in Greenville, SC, and is expected to be completed in June 2006. This contract was competitively procured under an electronic request for proposals; 2 offers were received (N00019-05-D-0013).

    June 10/05: L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, Greenville, TX received a $104.2 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contract for phased depot maintenance, special structural inspections, enhanced special structural inspections, special structural inspection kits, and modification and installation programs for P-3 and EP-3 aircraft. Work will be performed in Greenville, TX, and is expected to be complete in June 2006. This contract was competitively procured under an electronic request for proposals; 2 offers were received (N00019-05-D-0008).

    Additional Readings

    Categories: News

    Heavy Lifting Down Under: Australia’s Growing C-17 Fleet

    Thu, 07/30/2015 - 00:13
    C-17 #1 Arrives
    (click to view full)

    In March 2006, the Australian government announced that the Australian Defence Forces would acquire up to 4 new Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift planes and associated equipment for A$ 2 billion ($1.49 billion then conversion). Since that first contract, RAAF C-17As have been rolling off the assembly line, arriving on or ahead of schedule, and flying the (un)friendly skies to support Australia’s military and humanitarian efforts around the globe. The first plane arrived in Australia in December 2006, and the 4th plane arrived in March 2008.

    Even that didn’t mean C-17 expenses were done. Ongoing maintenance, training facilities, and more must still be paid for, and Australia liked the Globemasters so much that it decided to buy more. In April 2011, Australia upped their order to 5 aircraft, a June 2012 order made it 6, and an order announced in October 2014 will make 8. The fleet may even rise to 10, tying Australia with India as the globe’s 2nd largest C-17 fleet. DID chronicles the entire process, and its associated contracts…

    Australia: Why the C-17? Airbus A400M

    Australia is a big country. Coast to coast distances are roughly the same as New York to Los Angeles. Or, to put it another way, you could drop Europe on top from Lisbon, Portugal to the Russia-Ukraine border. Tactical transport aircraft like the C-130J Hercules and the C-27J Spartan are necessary within the country, and Australia’s role as a regional stabilizer and a Western country extends its circles of influence and concern to locations far beyond its shores.

    An intratheater transport was necessary, and Australia’s government sums up their choice as follows: “One C-17A can carry up to four C-130 Hercules loads in a single lift, and cover twice the distance in three-quarters of the time of a C-130.”

    There wasn’t really a full competition, but the Airbus A400M was considered. Its flyaway price tag of USD$ 120 million or so would be approximately half that of a C-17, in return for slower-speed transport of about 1/2 the payload and 2/3 of the cargo volume. The Long Beach Press-Telegram quoted industry observers who said that the C-17’s unique ability to tote Australia’s M1 Abrams tanks and CH-47 Chinook helicopters won over the Australian government. Then, too, the rival A400M lacked even a test model at the time the decision was made. In hindsight, Airbus’ multi-year program delays have only validated the ADF’s choice; by the time the 1st production A400M was delivered to France with reduced initial capabilities, Australia already had a working fleet of 6 fully capable C-17As.

    C-17 unloads CH-47
    (click to view full)

    C-17s are very capable planes. The maximum payload capacity of the C-17 is 170,900 lb (77,500 kg), and its maximum gross takeoff weight is 585,000 lb (265,350 kg). With a payload of 160,000 lb (72,600 kg) and an initial cruise altitude of 28,000 ft (8,500 m), the C-17 has an unrefueled range of 2,800 nautical miles (5,200 km). The C-17 is designed to operate from runways as short as 3,000 ft (900 m) and as narrow as 90 ft (27 m). On short runway segments, thrust reversers are used to back the aircraft and reverse direction on narrow taxiways, using a three-point or multi-point turn maneuver.

    C-17s can even operate from unpaved, unimproved runways, though this is rarely done. The potential for minor but expensive damage from flying rocks or other hazards makes air forces reluctant to do it, unless there’s some compelling need.

    The C-17 is designed to airdrop up to 102 paratroopers and equipment. In Australian terms, it ca also can carry one 60-ton M1 Abrams tank, as well as loads ranging from 5 Bushmaster infantry vehicles to 3 Tiger reconnaissance/attack helicopters.

    Australia is basing No. 36 Squadron’s C-17s at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley near Brisbane, which has become the primary base for its new C-17s, its A330 MRTT tanker aircraft, and its F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters. The new roles have required infrastructure upgrades to the former F-111 fighter-bomber base, which have been forthcoming.

    Australia became the C-17 Globemaster III’s 3rd customer, after the USA and Britain. A slew of orders from other countries ensured that they were not the last customer, and helped keep the production line busy long enough to allow further Australian orders:

    Australia: C-17 Related Contracts & Events Over Canberra
    (click to view full)

    Note that C-17 support is provided under a global support partnership with Boeing, which is covered separately. It’s also important to note that contract figures may not match government announcements. That’s because C-17 contracts with Boeing don’t include items like engines (another $35-38 million per plane), some internal equipment, accompanying spares, etc.

    2014

    2 more ordered – could final total go to 10?; Final Operational Capability reached. C-17 loads MRAP
    (click to view full)

    Nov 12/14: Request for #7-10. The US DSCA announces Australia’s formal export request for up to 4 more C-17A Globemaster III heavy-lift aircraft. Boeing in Long Beach, CA would be the contractor, and the estimated cost for C-17As, support and services could climb as high as $1.609 billion. The request also includes up to:

    • 19 F117-PW-100 Pratt & Whitney engines (3 spares)
    • 4 AN/AAQ-24V Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) Systems
    • 4 Small Laser Transmitter Assemblies
    • 4 System Processors
    • 4 AN/AAR-54 Missile Warning Sensors
    • 1 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser
    • 1 AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System
    • 5 Trimble Force 524 Receivers
    • 2 GAS-1 Antenna Units
    • 2 Controlled Reception Pattern Antennas
    • 1 AN-USC-43V Advanced Narrowband Voice Terminal
    • 16 Honeywell H-764 ACE Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems
    • Plus spare and repair parts, supply and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, United States Government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

    That’s still a bit high compared to past requests (q.v. March 9/11, Nov 15/11, March 19/12), and known flyaway costs of around $200-250 million per plane. Support contracts can make a big difference, but implementation of this proposed sale won’t require any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives in Australia. Sources: US DSCA #14-56, “Australia – C-17 Globemaster III Aircraft”.

    Milestone

    July 30/15: Australia has received the country’s seventh C-17A transporter, the first of two aircraft ordered in April to complement the six already in service. The second of the pair is expected by the end of the year, with the aircraft all operated by the Royal Australian Air Force’s 36 Squadron in Queensland.

    Oct 3/14: 2-4 more. Australia’s government makes good on its earlier hints (q.v. Aug 118/14), stating that they’ve begun the process of purchasing 2 more C-17As. They add that the buy couldrise to 4 more planes, depending on Australia’s budgets:

    “The ability to rapidly react and move large elements of Australia’s support systems over long distances during these times has highlighted the need for us to have a good sized fleet…. The Government has [also] requested pricing and availability data for two further aircraft through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Decisions on these aircraft are being informed by the force structure review currently under way within Defence as part of the White Paper process.”

    Oct 3/14: 2-4 more. Australia’s government makes good on its earlier hints (q.v. Aug 18/14), stating that they’ve begun the process of purchasing 2 more C-17As. They add that the buy could rise to 4 more planes, depending on Australia’s budgets:

    “The ability to rapidly react and move large elements of Australia’s support systems over long distances during these times has highlighted the need for us to have a good sized fleet…. The Government has [also] requested pricing and availability data for two further aircraft through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Decisions on these aircraft are being informed by the force structure review currently under way within Defence as part of the White Paper process.”

    There are other considerations as well. Boeing is building a number of uncommitted C-17As into the final production run, which could create a good environment for Australia to make a deal. On the other hand, Boeing did that because they were receiving sufficiently compelling interest from specific buyers among existing owners (Australia, Britain), and other countries, especially in the Middle East. If the final lot of C-17s all end up spoken for by the time Australia decides, 8 may be all they can get, no matter what their White Paper says. Sources: Australia DoD, “Purchase of two C-17A Globemaster aircraft”.

    Aug 18/14: more? Australian defense minister Sen. Johnston hints that the coming Australian white paper will look to add to Australia’s KC-30 aerial tanker/ transport fleet, and could recommend buying up to 2 of the 12 unsold C-17As in Boeing’s final production run.

    That would be great news for RAAFB Amberley in Queensland, which already hosts the 5 KC-30Bs of 33 Sqn and the 6 C-17As of 36 Sqn. Sources: Flightglobal, “Australia considering more C-17s, KC-30 tankers”.

    June 25/14: Windy. There’s a bit of a kerfuffle in Sydney after a RAAF C-17 is seen making 4 landing attempts at RAAFB Richmond, which is the permanent base for Australia’s C-130J medium tactical transports. The RAAF says that this was all part of a training exercise, but some observers think the initial attempts looked kind of shaky.

    Then again, winds at Sydney’s airport hit “strong gale” gale force at 82 kmh / 51 mph that day, and had peaked in Wollongong at a near-hurricane level of 115 kmh / 71.5 mph. In training or in reality, getting a plane down in those conditions isn’t simple. Sources: Australia’s The Telegraph, “Boeing C-17 Globemaster pilot makes four attempts at landing in wind at Richmond’s RAAF base, RAAF claims it was training”.

    Feb 28/14: FOC. The RAAF announces that the C-17 fleet has achieved Final Operational Capability: the planes are bought and operating at full capabilities, everyone is trained as they need to be, and infrastructure and maintenance are fully in place. All within budget and on schedule.

    Technically, the first 4 C-17A Globemasters achieved FOC back in 2011, but the addition of planes 5 and 6 required some additional work. Sources: Australia DoD, “Final Operational Capability for C-17A fleet”.

    FOC, program done

    2011 – 2013

    Australia orders 2 more, and takes delivery of #5-6; Additional training aids and expeditionary infrastructure. Avalon 2013

    Nov 26/13: Boeing wraps up Australia’s C-17 program by delivering a full-scale C-17 Globemaster III Cargo Compartment Trainer (CCT) to RAAFB Amberley. It can realistically simulate both day and night operating and loading conditions for loadmaster, aeromedical evacuation and aeromedical specialist training. It’s only the 3rd CCT mock fuselage in the world, with the other 2 residing in the USA.

    Australia now has full training capabilities in-country, and this delivery is the last component of their program. Sources: Boeing, Nov 26/13 release.

    Nov 22/12: #6 arrives. Australia’s government officially welcomes the 6th C-17A Globemaster III aircraft to RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.

    To celebrate its arrival, a flypast is conducted over Brisbane and the Gold Coast by 4 C-17As, including the latest aircraft. Each aircraft carried a different cargo load: 1. Abrams tank; 2. A pair of Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters; 3. A specialist medical team and equipment; and 4. Four Bushmaster blast-resistant patrol vehicles. Australia DoD.

    Final arrival

    Nov 1/12: #6 handover. Boeing hands over the RAAF’s 6th C-17A Globemaster III at the final assembly facility in Long Beach, CA. The delivery happened so fast because the U.S. government let Australia take a C-17 from one of their production slots. They can take delivery of their extra plane a little bit later. Boeing.

    June 19/12: #6. Boeing in Long Beach, CA wins a $171.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to buy 1 base C-17A aircraft. Boeing has confirmed to DID that this order is for Australia, though it’s executed under the USAF’s framework contract for FY 2010, which also covered India’s 10 C-17s.

    Work will be performed in Long Beach, CA, and will be complete by Nov 21/12. The ACS/WLMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, acts as Australia’s agent to manage the contract (FA8614-06-D-2006, DO 0011).

    #6 ordered

    March 19/12: #6 confirmed. Australia’s government announces that its 6th C-17A will be purchased through the United States Foreign Military Sales program, at a total acquisition cost of around A$ 280 million (about $297 million), for delivery early in 2013. This sounds like a contract, but there is no announcement yet from Boeing or from the Pentagon.

    The government says that buying a 6th C-17A will double the number of C-17A aircraft they can make available for operations at any one time, from 2 to 4. Training and maintenance are especially significant in small fleets, but given the C-17’s 80%+ availability rates, the math is a bit of a head scratcher. It should be noted that the RAAF has used 3 C-17s on operations before, when responding to situations like the 2011 tsunami in Japan.

    Aid to Japan
    (click to view full)

    Nov 15/11: Request for #6. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Australia’s official request for a 6th C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, plus 4 Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 engines, 1 AN/AAQ-24v13 Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) defensive system, spare and repair parts, supply and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support.

    The estimated cost is up to $300 million, but extact figures will depend on a contract. Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach, CA will be the prime contractor.

    DSCA request: 1 C-17A

    Sept 26/11: 5th arrives, 6th intended. As the RAAF’s 5th C-17 arrives in Australia at RAAFB Amberley, the Australian government announces that it intends to buy a 6th C-17. Australia has sent a Letter of Request to the United States, beginning the contract process.

    There is no reference at this time to joint operation with New Zealand (vid. April 17/11). Australia DoD | Boeing.

    Sept 14/11: Training. L-3 Link Simulation & Training announces that it has assumed responsibility of RAAFB Amberley’s C-17 Training System (TS) for pilots, loadmasters and maintenance personnel. The work is actually done under the umbrella of a USAF C-17 TS contract, which adds RAAFB Amerley as the 11th site beyond the 10 installations in the United States.

    Under the C-17 TS program, L-3 Link is responsible for program management, training device modifications, courseware development, instruction, and concurrency management between the training system and aircraft platform. sub-contractor and Textron subsidiary AAI Corporation is responsible for maintenance training device production and modification, and all C-17 TS contractor logistics support.

    Sept 13/11: #5 handover. Boeing holds a ceremony in Long Beach, CA, handing over the keys to Australia’s 5th C-17. Boeing.

    June 28/11: #5 contract. Boeing in Long Beach, CA receives a $195.7 million firm-fixed-price delivery order against the basic C-17 production contract, to provide 1 C-17A to Australia as a foreign military sale transaction. That’s a very good base price, in light of circumstances. Recall, however, that fairly expensive items like F117 engines, additional spares, and associated equipment like defensive systems, must still be bought separately. The engines alone tend to be around $35-38 million per plane.

    Work will be performed in Long Beach, CA. The ASC/WLMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH will manage the contract on behalf of its FMS client (FA8614-06-D-2006, DO 0008).

    #5 ordered

    April 18/11: #5. The Commonwealth of Australia has signed an agreement with the U.S. government to acquire a 5th Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifter, and will take early delivery in August 2011 thanks to American cooperation. Boeing has confirmed that the new C-17 “is not a transfer; it’s a new order for the RAAF”, but the USAF is giving up a production slot, and will take a later delivery instead.

    No figures are announced at this point. Past RAAF C-17As were USD $195 million each, plus additional funds for defensive systems etc. That’s not a reliable predictor, however, because Boeing was trying to extend its production line back then, and encourage an influx of allied orders. In contrast, 2011 features a slowed annual production line that places more fixed-cost burden on each aircraft, and no rush-order discount campaign. Boeing.

    April 17/11: #5. Aviation Week reports that Australia’s 5th C-17 may come directly from the USAF fleet, rather than the production line. They add that Australia may be interested in a 6th C-17, possibly for joint operation with New Zealand, who has expressed interest in the concept.

    NATO’s SAC program already offers time-share purchase of C-17 operating hours, but the planes’ location in Hungary would make charters by New Zealand slower to respond, and add flight transit time to the charter hours. That would make joining rather expensive. The question is: more expensive than what? Much will depend on Australia’s offer, and New Zealand’s perception of its need for assured response times.

    March 16/11: 5th confirmed. Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith confirms that the government has decided to buy a 5th C-17 [Sky News | ABC 24 interviews]:

    “And separately, this week, the government’s also formally decided that we should acquire another C-17 large aircraft, and we’ll do that as quickly as we can. And this has been – this has arisen in part because of the great utility we’ve got out of our current C-17 fleet in disaster relief, both in Christchurch, the earthquake recently, but now as literally as we speak, also in Japan, so far as the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunamis concerned there. So we’re – we are very keen to pick up the Bay Class to cover that amphibious lift capability, and the C-17s have been a very useful asset for us, and getting another one will really help us in terms of our flexibility.”

    March 9/11: 5th requested. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Australia’s formal request to buy 1 more one C-17, along with “up to 4″ Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 engines (the plane requires 4), an AN/AAQ-24V(13) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) defensive system against infrared guided missiles, plus spare and repair parts, supply and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and other US Government and contractor support.

    The estimated cost is up to $300 million, but actual costs will depend on negotiations for an actual contract with Boeing in Long Beach, CA.

    DSCA request: 1 C-17A

    March 1/11: Pour me a 5th? Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith confirms that the government is looking into buying a 5th C-17, and has sent a Foreign Military Sale Letter of Request to the United States asking about costs and availability.

    The RAAF’s C-17s have performed well in the face of massive flooding in Queensland, and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, while supporting far-flung missions in Afghanistan. The tradeoff under consideration is whether to buy 1 more C-17A, or buy 2 more C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical transports between 2013-12015 under project AIR 8000 Phase 1. One C?17A can carry up to 4 C-130 Hercules loads in a single lift, and cover twice the distance in three-quarters of the time. On the other hand, it costs over 3 times as much, and can’t be in 4 places at once. Australia DoD.

    March 1/11: Infrastructure. Northrop Grumman announces that the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation has awarded them a contract its Expeditionary Tactical Automated Security System (ExTASS), to protect RAAF C-17s while at home air stations and during expeditionary operations.

    ExTASS is an implementation of the Tactical Automated Security System (TASS), an open architecture platform on a mobile trailer that integrates a variety of sensors, and is designed for force-protection missions. The system provides for real-time detection and assessment of intrusion, and is also deployed at more than 100 sites worldwide by the U.S. military.

    Feb 23/11: Training. Boeing, Defense, Space & Security in St. Louis, MO receives a $25.8 million contract for 1 Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) physical C-17 simulator. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the ASC/WNSK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, who manages this Foreign Military Sale class transaction on behalf of Australia.

    The basic model includes simulated aircraft systems; simulated aircraft structure; cargo compartment floor and rail systems; cargo compartment ramp and door; forward loadmaster station; aft loadmaster stations and remote panels; cargo compartment lighting; tie down equipment; aerial deliver systems equipment; cargo winch equipment; passenger/troop equipment; intercommunication equipment; and public address system.

    Unique RAAF requests add all sidewall seating on the right and left sides of the cargo bay, plus aeromedical requirements: functional litter stations, functional hookups for oxygen, functional electrical outlets, and other equipment to support aeromedical training. That last item includes actual representation of a first aid kit, 36 litters, and a mock-up of the comfort pallet (FA8621-11-C-6299).

    2007 – 2010

    Infrastructure contracts & build-out; Australia’s takes delivery of all 4 ordered planes; ANAO says “bonza!” Just dropping in…
    (click to view full)

    Nov 24/09: ANAO report positive. Australia’s National Audit Office delivers its 2008-2009 Major Projects Report, [PDF] which includes the C-17 acquisition. Surprisingly, it was rated as an “ACAT II” program with high technical risk, despite the standard nature of its design and active foreign production line. Unsurprisingly, the C-17 rates as one of the best performers in terms of budget and schedule, coming in on budget and ahead of schedule. Expenditures to date are A$ 1.308 billion, out of the A$ 2.055 billion program budget.

    Remaining expenditures will include increased stocks of long lead-time spares, role-specific snap-ins, and full ramp-up of Australian training devices and facilities. Full Operating Capability will be achieved when permanent C-17 Globemaster facilities have been established at major Royal Australian Air Force bases, and the training systems have been set up in Australia. That’s anticipated in 2011.

    Nov 18/09: Training. The C-17 flight simulator is accepted at RAAFB Amberley, in Queensland. Boeing built the Simulator in the USA, transported it to Australia using 2 C-17s, and installed it in an Amberley facility that was purpose-built by the John Holland Group. Its installation means that beginning in January 2010, RAAF C-17 pilots will undertake their training at Amberley instead of traveling to the United States.

    Continuation training for current RAAF C-17 pilots and loadmasters will begin on Jan 11/10, followed on Feb 1/10 by the first intake of new RAAF pilot students seeking initial qualification. Boeing Defence Australia will provide instructors for these courses, as well as scheduling and logistics support. Subcontractor Thales Australia will perform future maintenance on the training devices.

    The Simulator is the centerpiece of Australia C-17 ATS. The complete system includes a Maintenance Trainer to be delivered in 2010, and a Cargo Compartment Trainer to be delivered in 2013. Australia is the only foreign C-17 operator to own a Simulator; the other 20 are owned and operated by the USAF. Australian DoD | Boeing.

    C-17 TEPATS module
    (click to view full)

    Sept 5/08: Training. Boeing announces a $33 million U.S. Air Force Foreign Military Sales contract to provide a C-17 Aircrew Training System (ATS) to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The contract marks the first international sale of the system, which has been used by the USAF since 1992. The RAAF’s Heavy Air Lift Director, Group Captain Andrew Doyle, added that the RAAF had deliberately reduced the frequency of simulator training, in order to avoid long trips to the United States. With the new ATS in place, that will no longer be an issue.

    The new ATS at the RAAF’s Amberley base will include a Weapons Systems Trainer, a loadmaster station, and a learning center. It will also use Boeing’s newly developed Virtual Cargo Load Model, a new training device that allows loadmaster students to practice configuring a variety of cargo loads on a laptop computer.

    Boeing subcontractor Flight Safety International of Tulsa, OK is providing the hardware, while Boeing Support Systems is responsible for software development and integration as well as program management. Boeing Australia Limited will provide support. Boeing release.

    March 10/08: #4 arrives. The RAAF’s 4th and final C-17 touches down at RAAF Base Amberley after making the journey from the US. The delivery has now been finalized within its agreed timeframe and within budget, and RAAF C-17s have already been involved in Operation Catalyst (Iraq), Operation PNG Assist, and Operation Astute (Timor-Leste), as well as several Australian Defence Force exercises. The RAAF is now working towards more complex roles, including the airdrop of personnel and cargo and high dependency aero-medical evacuation.

    The Globemaster fleet will be operated by No. 36 Squadron out of RAAF Base Amberley. Full operational capability of the aircraft is scheduled for the end of 2011, with the completion of in-country training and permanent facilities for No. 36 Squadron. Related upgrades are also in progress at RAAF Bases Darwin, Townsville, Edinburgh and Pearce. Australian DoD: News Blog | Ministerial release.

    Feb 12/08: #3 arrives. The RAAF’s 3rd C-17A arrives in Australia. The 4th Globemaster will arrive at RAAFB Amberley in early March. Australian DoD release.

    Jan 18/08: #4 handover. Boeing delivers the 4th and last C-17A Block 17 to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during a ceremony at the company’s Long Beach, CA manufacturing facility. In 2008, a variety of air lift roles are planned to be cleared for Australia’s Globemasters, including aero-medical evacuation, in which the C-17 will be configured to carry 6 “high-dependency”/intensive care patients or 36 “low-dependency” patients. Australian Ministerial release.

    With the delivery of this new airlifter, the worldwide C-17 fleet now includes 171 U.S. Air Force C-17s as well as 4 in the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) and 2 in the Canadian Forces. The RAF and the Canadian Forces will each receive 2 additional C-17s in 2008, completing their orders. The U.S. Air Force is on contract to receive 19 more C-17s by mid-2009, whereupon their current orders will also be complete unless new planes are added to the program. Boeing release.

    Sept 20/07: Infrastructure. The Minister for Defence announces the official go-ahead for Stage 3 of the redevelopment of RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Public Works gave their approval, and that was then approved by Parliament. Construction is expected to begin in early 2008 with completion expected in late 2011.

    Sept 20/07: Infrastructure. The Minister for Defence announces the official go-ahead for the C-17 Infrastructure project. Specifically, the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Public Works gave their approval, and that recommendation was approved by Parliament. Construction will commence in early 2008 around each of the 5 home and deployment bases.

    Touchdown
    (click to view full)

    May 30/07: Infrastructure. A Ministerial release announces that the Government will commit A$ 268.2 million (currently about $220 million) for The C-17 Infrastructure project, which will create the required permanent facilities and airfield pavements to support C-17 operations at RAAF Base Amberley, and expanded infrastructure at deployment bases RAAF Bases Edinburgh, Darwin, Pearce and Townsville. Subject to Parliamentary clearance of the works, construction is planned to start in early 2008 and is expected to be complete by 2011.

    The release adds that this project will generate a significant amount of short-term employment opportunities for skilled consultants, sub-contractors and construction workers in each of the 5 regions that encompass the home and deployment bases.

    May 30/07: Infrastructure. The Australian Government announces that it is committing A$ 331.5 million (currently about $271 million) for RAAF Base Amberley’s 3rd stage of redevelopment. RAAFB Amberley is located in the middle of Australia’s eastern coast, near Ipswich in Queensland. This stage of the redevelopment will include fuel farm works, training accommodation, medical and dental facilities, trainee living-in accommodation, combined messing facilities and office accommodation. Subject to Parliamentary clearance of the project, construction is expected to begin in early 2008 with completion expected in late 2011.

    The efforts are meant to keep up with Amberley’s growth, including the newly arrived No 36 Squadron to operate the new C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, the planned relocation of 9th Force Support Battalion in late 2007, and the 2009 relocation of 33 Sqn from RAAFB Richmond in New South Wales once they begin receiving their KC-30B Multi-Role Tanker Transports.

    Amberley currently supports Australia’s 22 F-111C/G fighter-bombers and RF-111C reconnaissance aircraft, and is slated to receive 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets as replacements when the F-111 are retired in 2010. RAAF Base Amberley is also home to 38 Sqn and its aged but incomparable DHC-4 Caribous; as well as providing support for RAAF units including the Headquarters of Combat Support Group, and the RAAF Security and Fire School and Airfield Defence Wing.

    Major infrastructure work at RAAFB Amberley

    May 11/07: #2 handover. The RAAF takes delivery of its 2nd C-17 Globemaster III a month ahead of schedule, during a ceremony at the Boeing facility at Long Beach, California.

    The aircraft will transport newly acquired Army Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats and their support equipment, along with C-17 logistical equipment, back to RAAF Base Amberley. It is expected to arrive on May 19/07. Australian DoD release | Boeing release.

    2006

    From initial DCSA request to an order for 4, and arrival of the 1st plane. Commodore & Wing Cmdr.
    (click to view full)

    Dec 12/06: #1 arrives. Australia’s first C-17A airlifter touches down at RAAFB Amberley.

    Nov 28/06: Australia’s first C-17 is rolled out in “Block 17″ configuration. A black stallion on the C-17’s tail identifies the airplane as part of the RAAF’s No. 36 Squadron, an airlift unit that will be based in Amberley, west of Brisbane. After a December 4, 2006 welcome ceremony in Canberra, Australia, the aircraft will fly to RAAF Base Amberley on December 6th.

    The aircraft arrived on schedule. Australian DoD Air Force newspaper.

    1st delivery

    Oct 5/06: GSP. Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, CA received an $8.5 million cost-plus-incentive fee, fixed-price-award fee and time and materials contract modification. This is an undefinitized contract action for the FY 2007 portion of the Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III sustainment partnership program.

    The RAAF has procured four C-17 aircraft (via a separate contracting action). This action will provide the sustainment of these aircraft over the course of FY 2007 to include aircraft maintenance, upgrade, and sustainment. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8614-04-C-2004/P00129).

    July 31/06: 1-4 Ordered. Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, CA received a $780 million firm-fixed-price, undefinitized delivery order contract that will provide 4 C-17 aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force ($195 million per plane). The C-17 system group, in accordance with air mobility command, has arranged for the reallocation of four C-17 aircraft delivery positions from the Air Force Multi-Year Procurement II (MYPII) contract, F33657-02-C-2001, for delivery to the RAAF. Negotiations were complete July 2006, and work will be completed in phases: 1st delivery November 2006; 2nd, May 2007; 3rd, January 2008 and 4th, February 2008 (FA8614-06-D-2006, delivery order 0001).

    The Headquarters 328th Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract. The Public Affairs point of contact is ASC/PAM at 937-255-3334.

    4 C-17s ordered

    Aloha, Australia
    (click to view full)

    July 28/06: GSP support. Boeing Co. in Long Beach, CA is awarded an $80.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee/ fixed-price award-fee/ time-and-materials contract modification. This contract modification is a foreign military sales requirement for Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17 Globemaster IIIs to join the international C-17 Sustainment Partnership Program. This action incorporates the RAAF’s 4 aircraft into the C-17 “virtual fleet” which includes aircraft maintenance, upgrade, and sustainment. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH is the contracting activity (FA8614-04-C-2004/P00110).

    The proposed plan will also require seven each U.S. Government and Australian representatives at the facility, plus the assignment of up to ten each U.S. Government and contractor representatives to travel to Australia for annual participation in training, program management, and technical review. Additional subcontractors may be needed depending on the exact nature of the contracting arrangements established. As part of its role, Boeing will establish a facility at RAAF Base Amberly to provide logistics support for the C-17. See also Boeing’s August 17, 2006 release.

    April 3/06: Australia request. The formal $2 billion DSCA request [PDF] includes:

    • Up to four C-17 GLOBEMASTER III aircraft
    • Up to 18 Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 engines
    • Up to four AN/AAQ-24V(13) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) Systems
    • Up to 15 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles; plus
    • Personnel Life Support equipment, spare and repair parts, supply support, training equipment and support, publications and technical data.

    The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notes that this sale will involve the following contractors:

    • Boeing Company Long Beach, CA
    • Boeing Company Training Systems St. Louis, MO
    • AAI Services Corporation Goose Creek, SC
    • United Technologies Corporation East Hartford, CT
    • Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation Rolling Meadows, IL

    The DSCA notes in conclusion that industrial offset agreements associated with this proposed sale are expected, but at this time the specific offset agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractors.

    DSCA request: 4 C-17As

    Appendix A: A New Day for Boeing’s C-17? (April 2006) RAAF-3 assembly

    The timing of Australia’s initial order was fortuitous for Boeing, as C-17 production was expected to shut down in 2008, and each new C-17 aircraft ordered reportedly extends Boeing’s C-17 line by 3 weeks. Nevertheless, as Copley News Service explained, Boeing was slightly ahead of schedule and would be able to deliver the additional 4 aircraft without affecting its timelines for closure.

    The US Air Force had listed obtaining 7 more C-17s as its top unfunded requirement, however, and this could buy enough time to extend C-17 production into early 2009 while Boeing hunted for more orders.

    As it happens, foreign orders did arrive, along with persistent Congressional earmarks that brought the American fleet very close to its originally planned total. C-17 production actually continued until 2015.

    Additional Readings

    Categories: News

    Saudis to Get Patriot PAC-3s Too | Turkey Air Defense Deal Not Done | Rafale in the Money with Two Anticipated Sales

    Wed, 07/29/2015 - 23:06
    Americas

    • On Wednesday the Navy awarded a $4.34 billion IDIQ contract to Leidos Inc. for the Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization program, with the contract detailing a two-year initial ordering period followed by two three-year option periods, in addition to a two-year award term. $35 million is being committed initially, with Leidos beating out five other bids to win Wednesday ‘s contract.

    • Rheinmetall and ELTA Systems Ltd have been awarded two contracts by the Canadian government to supply Integrated Soldier Systems and ten EL/M-2084 medium-range radar systems, the radar system employed with the Israeli Iron Dome system. The radar systems will serve in both Counter-Rocket, Artillery & Mortar (C-RAM) and air surveillance operational contexts. The two contracts total approximately $391 million, with Rheinmetall Canada acting as the prime contractor. The Integrated Soldier System contract contains options for up to 4,144 of the systems.

    • Brazil will receive the final eight of thirty-four Krauss-Maffei Wegmann-manufactured air defense guns within coming weeks. The Gepard 1A2 35mm Self Propelled Anti-Air Guns were ordered from the German Army in May 2013, with the contract valued at $41 million. The Gepard was phased out of service with the Bundeswehr from 2010, replaced with the SysFla/LFK NG system. The Gepards are just one part of a multi-tiered air defense system Brazil is implementing ahead of the 2016 Olympics, with Russian hardware forming a large part of the inventory.

    Middle East North Africa

    • Saudi Arabia has requested Patriot PAC-3 missiles and auxiliary equipment through a potential $5.4 billion deal, which would modernize the Kingdom’s current stockpile of Patriot missiles. This DSCA request comes on the heels of a $1.5 billion contract announced by Lockheed Martin earlier this month, which will see Foreign Military Sales partners worldwide upgraded with new PAC-3 and PAC-3MSE interceptors, including Saudi Arabia, as well as another DSCA request from October 2014 for PAC-3 missiles, with that request valued at $1.75 billion.

    • Morocco will receive three ex-US Army CH-47D Chinook helicopters, after the completion of seven months of refurbishment. The delivery of the helicopters is part of a US Army Security Assistance Command Foreign Military Sale program valued at $78.9 million, with Columbia Helicopters undertaking the refurbishment work with a $6 million contract awarded in August 2014.

    • The United Arab Emirates has requested four AN/AAQ 24(V) Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) systems, in a potential sale estimated to value $335 million. Manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the DIRCM systems are intended to equip the aircraft of the UAE’s Head of State, President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

    Europe

    • Turkey is thinking of renegotiating a possible deal with China over the sale of HQ-9 air defense systems, to fulfill the country’s T-LORAMIDS competition. Chinese official media announced in March that the non-NATO system had won the $3.4 billion competition, beating out bids from the Eurosam consortium and Raytheon/Lockheed Martin, with the Patriot. Turkish President Erdogan is traveling to Beijing in coming weeks, with the leader likely seeking to improve on the Chinese offer. Meanwhile the Turkish defense procurement agency has established parallel negotiations with the European and US teams.

    • France is anticipating an additional pair of export orders for its Rafale fighter, with Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates reportedly the most likely candidates. Reuters also reported Thursday that negotiations between India and France are now also discussing the possible supply of additional Rafales on top of the 36 ordered in April. Malaysia is looking to replace its MiG-29 Fulcrums, with the UAE recently restarting negotiations for the Rafale as it looks to swap out its fleet of Mirage 2000-9 fighters. The Gulf state has previously articulated a potential buy of sixty Rafales.

    • Airborne technology firm UTC Aerospace Systems is developing a smaller version of its Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for Tornado (RAPTOR) EO/IR pod, which currently fits the Royal Air Force’s Panavia GR4 Tornado fleet. With these scheduled for retirement in 2019, the company is looking to produce a smaller RAPTOR pod for integration with the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoons.

    • Following initial reports from early July, Germany has awarded an eight-year contract to Airbus Defence & Space and Lockheed Martin Overseas Services Corp. to re-wing the German Navy’s fleet of P-3C orion maritime patrol aircraft. The contract will cover eight P-3C aircraft, with Lockheed Martin manufacturing the new Mid-Life Upgrade kits on a production line opened in 2005 and Airbus responsible for integration and installation of the kits. Previous estimates put the value of a ten-aircraft contract at approximately $626 million. Norway has also invested in upgrading its Orions through a re-winging program. Germany previously requested aircraft mission computer, acoustic systems and simulator equipment for its Orion fleet, detailed in a DSCA request from April 2014.

    Asia

    • The Indian Air Force has asked state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to cease development of the HJT-36 Sitara Intermediate Jet Trainer, following repeated revisions to the jet’s R&D schedule. The IAF operates the Hawk and Pilatus PC-7 as its advanced and basic trainers respectively, whilst lacking an intermediate development aircraft for its flight crews. The IAF announced in August 2014 that alternatives to the IJT were being explored, with the country’s Defense Ministry subsequently floating an Expression of Interest for alternative designs, with this sent to several European and North American firms, as well as Korea Aerospace Industries. Textron AirLand was not sent the EoI, despite Indian Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha reportedly expressing interest in using the company’s Scorpion aircraft as an IJT.

    • Australia has received the country’s seventh C-17A transporter, the first of two aircraft ordered in April to complement the six already in service. The second of the pair is expected by the end of the year, with the aircraft all operated by the Royal Australian Air Force’s 36 Squadron in Queensland.

    Today’s Video

    • The Gepard 1A2 firing

    Categories: News

    Air Force Special Forces Retain Old Hercules for Laser Testbeds | Pentagon Exploring Laser/Sound Non-Lethal Tech | Finmec Thinks Better of Selling DRS Tech

    Wed, 07/29/2015 - 02:45
    Americas

    • The Air Force has reportedly retained some aging C-130U Hercules aircraft for use as airborne laser testbed aircraft. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) plans to use the aircraft to test both offensive laser weapons and defensive lasers designed to act as less-than-lethal options. DARPA has been field testing the use of lasers against hostile projectiles, with the Air Force expecting to field airborne lasers on larger cargo aircraft models from 2021. However, the further development of these capabilities could be hamstrung by sequestration and a lack of political will.

    • The Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons program is reportedly planning to test a laser-based non-lethal weapon in coming months, with a view to evaluate the longevity of the project by May 2016. The Non-Lethal Laser-Induced Plasma Effects weapon is based on technology capable of creating significant noise effects to disperse crowds and distract individuals. The project has been seeded with two $1.5 million contracts awarded to GEOST and Physical Optics Corp, which will develop the sound and light effects respectively.

    • Italian firm Finmeccanica is now reported to have retracted its plan to sell off US-based DRS Technologies, after announcing its intention to flog the defense technology firm in March. The subsidiary has been performing well in recent months, including winning a $384 million contract for hardware insertions to equip Navy submarines, as well as a $100 million contract to provide surveillance systems for the Canadian Army’s LAVs. Finmeccanica acquired the firm in 2008, in a deal worth approximately $5.8 billion.

    • Four companies were awarded a combined up-to $900 million IDIQ, five-year contract on Tuesday to provide Wide Mission Support services to Special Operations Command (SOCOM), whilst two firms – General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Inc and Alliant Techsystems Operations – were awarded two contracts totaling $32.1 million for the 120mm Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP), XM1147 High Explosive Multi-Purpose with Tracer (HEMP-T) tank cartridges, following an industry day in May 2014.

    • Argentina is reportedly developing a new basic trainer for the country’s pilots, with the new design referred to as the IA-100. The Brigadier San Martin Argentine Aircraft Factory is the company thought to be developing the new aircraft, with the company unveiling a basic trainer concept demonstrator known as the Unasur-1 in October 2013. The new design will also be offered on the civilian market, in addition to military customers.

    Middle East North Africa

    • Italy’s Finmeccanica-Selex ES has been awarded a contract to supply Qatar with Kronos mobile multifunctional radar systems. The low-level Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar systems will be used to monitor Qatari airspace, with the government announcing their intention to procure the system in March 2014. At that time the contract was valued at approximately $467 million.

    Europe

    • European defense firms Nexter and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) are expected to sign a merger agreement on Wednesday at the French Defense Ministry, following a year of exclusive negotiations. The two firms announced their intention to merge last July, with the deal subsequently pushed back earlier this year. The joint venture, known as KMW And Nexter Together (KANT), will be based in Amsterdam and have a combined revenue thought to total approximately $2.2 billion. The French state-owned Nexter and private German firm KMW are both manufacturers of armored vehicles, producing the VBCI and Leopard main battle tank respectively, among other designs.

    • In other industry news, UK aerospace component manufacturer GKN has acquired Fokker Technologies in a $779 million deal announced on Tuesday. The company is based in the Netherlands and produces components for the Lockheed Martin F-35 and F-16 fighters and Boeing AH-64 and CH-47 helicopters, as well as NHI Industries’ NH90 helicopter.

    • The US Department of Defense and the UK’s Ministry of Defence have signed an agreement to jointly train reserve forces, allowing members of both nations’ reserve forces living in the other state to train with host-nation forces. The Foreign Resident Program is the first agreement of its type between the transatlantic partners, which also marked the 30th anniversary of the Military Reserve Exchange Program this year.

    Asia

    • India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is buying nearly 6,000 motorbikes to assist counterinsurgency operations against Naxalite guerrillas in the country’s east. The bikes are intended to be quieter and more agile than cumbersome 4×4 vehicles, as well as less susceptible to IED blasts.

    Today’s Video

    Categories: News

    The C-130J: New Hercules & Old Bottlenecks

    Wed, 07/29/2015 - 00:10
    RAAF C-130J-30, flares
    (click to view full)

    The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. Since 1956, over 40 models and variants have served as the tactical airlift backbone for over 50 nations. The C-130J looks similar, but the number of changes almost makes it a new aircraft. Those changes also created issues; the program has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in America – and even of a full program restructuring in 2006. Some early concerns from critics were put to rest when the C-130J demonstrated in-theater performance on the front lines that was a major improvement over its C-130E/H predecessors. A valid follow-on question might be: does it break the bottleneck limitations that have hobbled a number of multi-billion dollar US Army vehicle development programs?

    C-130J customers now include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States. American C-130J purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding, in order to replace tactical transport and special forces fleets that are flying old aircraft and in dire need of major repairs. This DID FOCUS Article describes the C-130J, examines the bottleneck issue, covers global developments for the C-130J program, and looks at present and emerging competitors.

    The (Private) Labors of Hercules: the C-130J Family C-130J Hercules
    (click to view full)

    Most American planes rely on their huge home market as their base, then seek exports. The privately-developed C-130J “Super Hercules” was different. Australia, Britain, Denmark, and Italy were all ahead of the curve, and have been operating this heavily redesigned upgrade of the popular C-130 Hercules transport aircraft for several years. By the time the C-130J finally reached “initial operating capability” for the US military late in 2006, these faster-moving foreign customers were already banding together to create a common upgrade set for their serving fleets. A number of variants are currently flying in transport (C-130J), stretched transport (C-130J-30), aerial broadcaster (EC-130J), coast guard patrol (HC-130J), aerial tanker (KC-130J), special forces (MC-130J), and even hurricane hunter weather aircraft (WC-130J).

    The C-130J looks a lot like its predecessors, except for the new 6-bladed Dowty propeller. In reality, a number of changes have been made to its construction and components, and its internal systems are almost wholly new. Unlike most defense programs, however, the C-130J was not a government contract. Lockheed Martin spent almost $1 billion of its own funds developing the update, then began selling it in the USA and abroad.

    Base Platform: The C-130J Super Hercules Promo
    click to play video

    The C-130J’s improvements are mostly clustered around 2 key characteristics: performance, and operational costs. Instead of Rolls Royce 4,600 shp T56 Series III turboprop engines, 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. Compared to the 1960s-era C-130E (note: there was an intermediate C-130H version), maximum speed is up 21%, climb-to-altitude time is down 50%, cruising altitude is 40% higher, and range is about 40% longer.

    The enhanced capacity of the “J” variant is especially noteworthy in hot climates and/or high altitude operations, where the new plane can deliver 40% better payload/range performance than earlier versions. US experience in places like Afghanistan and Iraq indicates that as many as 3 C-130H models may be required to do the job of 1 C-130J in these “hot and high” conditions.

    C-130J Cockpit
    (click to view full)

    The C 130J only requires 2-3 crew members for most missions instead of 4, and avionics have been changed to incorporate more advanced capabilities into the night-vision-system compatible “glass cockpit” (computer screens, not dials) and heads-up display. A pair of mission computers and 2 backup bus interface units provide dual redundancy. Equally important, they host an integrated diagnostics system to assist with maintenance and reduce long-term ownership costs.

    The interior of the C-130J has also seen a number of improvements, simplifying and automating key cargo tasks. An automated airdrop system, for instance, delivers parachute loads more precisely. These kinds of additions have dropped the crew required for airdrops from 4 to 2 (pilot, co-pilot). In addition, innovations such as flip-over rollers allow loaders to reconfigure the cargo area in about 5 minutes instead of the traditional 25, getting planes out of airstrips quickly and maximizing overall loading/unloading efficiency during larger operations.

    An optional dorsal aerial refueling system can extend the C-130J’s range significantly, while optional aerial taker kits can convert the C-130J into a flying gas station that offloads fuel faster than previous KC-130 versions, and can handle both helicopters and jets due to its range of flight speeds.

    Finally, the C-130J Maintenance and Aircrew Training System (MATS) is designed to complement the C-130J, adding a high-tech simulation angle to both flying and maintenance training.

    The worldwide fleet of C-130Js exceeded 355,000 flight hours As of August 3/07.

    C-130J vs. C-130J-30
    via CASR
    (click to view full)

    The stretched C-130J-30 adds 15 feet of fuselage length over its C-130J counterpart, most of which is placed forward of the wing as the plane stretches from 97’9″ (29.3 m) to 112’9″ (34.69 m). The extra cargo space allows it to add adds 2 standard pallets (to 8), 23 litters (to 97), 8 CDS bundles (to 24), 36 combat troops (to 128), or 28 paratroopers (to 92) over C-130H/J models, and the aircraft’s maximum weight increases by 9,000 pounds (to 164,000 pounds/ 74,393 kg).

    Maximum allowable cargo payload rises by a ton over the C-130J, from 42,000 pounds to 44,000 pounds/ 19,958 kg); the 36,000 pound maximum normal C-130J-30 payload is 2,000 pounds higher than the C-130J, but 500 pounds lower than the C-130H’s 36,500 pounds. Even so, the extra space comes in handy. C-130J-30s can carry 33% more pallets of equipment or supplies, 39% more combat troops, 31% more paratroopers, or 44% more aeromedical evacuation litters than previous unstretched Hercules versions. The stretched C-130J-30 also shares the C-130J’s ability to use much more of its theoretical cargo capacity in hot or high altitude environments than previous C-130 versions.

    In exchange, the stretched C-130J-30 suffers a speed drop of 7 mph (410 mph at 22,000 feet) vs. the C-130J, a 2,000 foot lower ceiling (26,000 feet with full payload), and maximum range at full payload that falls by 115 miles to 1,956 miles. It does outshine the smaller C-130J when carrying only 35,000 pounds of cargo, however: its 2,417 miles is a 576 mile increase over the C-130J, and a 921 mile increase over the C-130H.

    Note that except for maximum normal payload, all of the C-130J’s figures remain significantly better than the C-130H, with statistics of 366 mph cruise speed at 22,000 feet, a 23,000 foot ceiling, and range at maximum normal payload of 1,208 miles.

    C-130J Variants

    As one might imagine, Special Forces variants are undergoing the most change, but the platform’s versatility is also pushing Lockheed Martin toward an advanced naval variant.

    AC-130J “Ghostrider”. This new gunship will be based on the MC-130J, but it won’t carry hose-and-drogue refueling pods. It will have a 400 Amp power supply, added defensive systems, more surveillance sensors, terrain-following radar, and a Precision Strike Package (PSP).

    The PSP includes a side-firing 30mm GAU-23A chain gun, wing-mounted GBU-39 GPS-guided SDB-I bombs, and laser-guided AGM-176 Griffin missiles launched from a “Gunslinger” attachment on the rear cargo door. It may eventually add a side-firing 105mm howitzer like existing AFSOC AC-130H/Us, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles like the USMC’s KC-130J Harvest Hawks, but those aren’t currently funded. These weapons will be controlled from a dual-console Mission Operator Pallet in the cargo bay, which will include multiple video, data, and communication links.

    Ghostrider surveillance equipment will include 2 day/night surveillance and targeting pods and a ground-looking synthetic aperture radar pod, tied into the pilot’s helmet-mounted display. Defensive systems will include the AN/ALR-56M radar warning receiver, AN/AAR-47(V)2 missile warning system, and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system, along with standard options like fuel tank foam, system redundancy, and some armoring.

    One sore point is its comparative lack of armor compared to the AC-130H/U, with no armoring for the Mission Operator Pallet and just 7.62mm level protection elsewhere. Most AC-130s brought down in Vietnam were killed by 37mm guns.

    HC/MC-130J Increment 1. Modifications include additional defensive countermeasure dispensers, high-altitude ramp and door hydraulics, a 4th flight deck crew member station, an extra intercom panel and 60-Hertz electrical outlets in the cargo compartment.

    HC/MC-130J Increment 2. Includes increased 28-volt direct current internal power capacity, crash-worthy loadmaster scanner-position seats, and provisions for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures defensive systems. This is as high as the HC-130J Combat King IIs are expected to go, though they’ll also receive a T-1 communications modification with a Specialized Automated Mission Suite/Enhanced Situational Awareness system (SAMS/ESA: SADL data link, High Power Waveform, and Air Force Tactical Radio System-Ruggedized), Blue Force Tracker, and the Joint Precision Airdrop System.

    HC/MC-130J Increment 3. Includes a 400 Amp power supply, dual special mission processors, and a secure file server. MC-130J Commando IIs will be improved to Increment 3.

    SC-130J Sea Herc

    SC-130J MPRA. A proposed maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, created by moving a number of P-3 Orion systems onto and into the C-130J. A Magnetic Anomaly Detector boom is installed in the tail for submarine detection, along with a sonobuoy storage pallet and 2 rotary launchers in the rear interior. A day/night surveillance turret goes under the nose, a 360 maritime radar is mounted under the fuselage, and ESM electronics for pinpointing and geolocating radars, communications, etc. are mounted via on wingtip pods and fore and aft fuselage points. A set of roll-in console modules would contain the necessary electronics and screens to manage it all.

    Countries that wanted to go beyond surveillance would push further development to add wing hardpoints for torpedoes and missiles, and/or a weapons bay and torpedo racks in the front fuselage.

    C-130J operator Britain is Lockheed Martin’s biggest SC-130J target, and the plane’s flexibility could appeal to others who see the value in fleet commonality and good mid-range performance, with easier upgradeability than standard MPAs. The downside is that the C-130J is designed for short-field performance first, and efficient cruising operation second. That will make it expensive to operate compared to smaller twin-engine competitors, which are typically derived from commercial light cargo and passenger aircraft. The Airbus ATR-72 MPA is an example of a larger competitor that also follows this pattern; ATRs have won significant share in the mid-range regional airline market on the strength of their operating efficiency.

    The Value of Variants KC-130J’s “gunslinger”
    (click to view full)

    These variants and kits give the C-130J an edge in the global market, and will help Lockheed Martin retain that edge as the 20-ton tactical transport market starts to get crowded in 2020 or so. The type’s strong Special Forces niche has already helped to close orders with export clients like India, who could easily have chosen additional orders of plane types already in its fleet (AN-32, IL-76). The second big edge for the platform is a related niche: multi-role armed transports that can deliver troops and supplies, then provide close-air support for counterinsurgency fights. The KC-130J’s Harvest HAWK kits, and C-130H-derived MC-130W Dragon Spear, offer prospective customers an important set of clip-on capabilities that none of its major competitors (A400M, KC-390, MRTA) are even designing, let alone fielding. The SC-130J maritime patrol option could become a similar kind of selling point.

    Those “ecosystem strengths” are going to become more important in future. The C-130XJ, unveiled in December 2011 at the Credit Suisse aerospace and defense conference in New York, NY, may not offer enough savings by itself to prompt orders from target customers like South Africa. A cheaper base aircraft, plus existing modifications available on the market, is more appealing. Likewise, the C-130NG could sell among existing C-130J customers, but its changes by themselves might still leave it lagging behind the price of low-cost turboprop options like China’s Y-9, behind the performance of new jet-powered rivals like Embraer’s multinational KC-390 and HAL/Irkut’s MRTA, and very much behind the capacity of Airbus’ larger A400M.

    The existence of clip-on kits and proven specialty variants may have to sell it, instead. Especially if the C-130NG also fails to resolve the biggest limitation in today’s medium tactical transport field…

    Turbulent Flight: The C-130J Program WC-130Js
    (click to view full)

    The privately-developed Hercules variant has been the subject of heavy criticism and a 2005 near-death budget experience, followed by its reinstatement by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld on the stated grounds that canceling the contract would be almost as expensive as completing it – though a later government report established that its cancellation costs were wildly overstated.

    In order to comply with the FY 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, however,Air Force Print News reported that the C-130J contract was converted from the existing commercial item procurement to a traditional military procurement in FY 2006. In technical terms, it was converted from a Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 12 to an FAR Part 15 contract, which includes much more extensive Congressional oversight and cost reporting requirements. In bottom line terms, this involved repricing 39 aircraft, resulting in net savings anywhere from $170-245 million (reports vary). Under the restructured contract, the Air Force said Lockheed cut the program cost by 8% for the remaining 26 Air Force C-130Js, and nearly 12% for 13 Marine KC-130Js.

    The Wall Street Journal reported this as a decision by Lockheed Martin to cut its profit margins on the plane, after investing $1 billion in private funds to develop it. Lockheed spokesman Tom Jurkowsky was quoted as saying that “national defense outweighs the continued recovery of funds we invested in its development.” It’s widely suspected in reports from Associated Press et. al. that direct criticism of the FAR Part 12 contract by Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] played a role as well.

    Excel
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    Since FY 2006, American C-130J orders have continued, and the aircraft has continued to expand its export successes as well. C-130J aircraft are now flown and/or under contract by the USAF and Air National Guard, US Marines, and US Coast Guard; and by Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Italy, Iraq, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Tunisia. DSCA requests that have yet to become publicly-announced contracts include Mexico (2012), Libya (2013), and Brunei (2014).

    According to official Pentagon documents, the C-130J’s past and planned American budget breakdowns include:

    Note that each year’s procurement budget almost always includes advance “long-lead time material” orders for the next fiscal year. That way, once the main contract is issued, construction isn’t delayed by long waits for predictable items.

    The C-130J and the 20-ton Bottleneck RAF C-130J & friends
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    The C-130J offers a genuine improvement over past versions of the Hercules, especially in hot and/or high-altitude environments where all aircraft lose lift and carrying capacity. It has proven these capabilities during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, where its additional reserves of power have come in very handy on the front lines.

    On the other hand, the ability to fit into tactical transports is a very common requirement and benchmark for ground systems, including armored personnel carriers. Billions have been spent on R&D for the wheeled Stryker armored vehicle family, and for the USA’s $160+ billion Future Combat Systems MGV armored vehicle family. Both vehicle families were sold as options that would fit into US tactical transports, in order to meet the military’s timeframe goals for deploying units to crisis situations. Both projects failed to meet their goals after spending billions in R&D, leaving the USA’s expensive C-17 fleet overworked, and achievement of the USA’s strategic deployability goals unlikely.

    Unlike the pending Airbus A400M, therefore, which offers a larger interior and a 33-35 ton vehicle capacity, the C-130J doesn’t solve the sub-survivable 20-ton armored vehicle limit that has stymied multiple US armored vehicle programs. As such, it represents an improvement that fails to address US tactical airlift’s key bottleneck limitation. Meanwhile, reports from the USAF indicate that C-130Js are often flying with very little weight and/or small cargo, because the demands of counterinsurgency airlift lead to more and smaller requests from a number of front line sources.

    The C-130J thus finds itself in the odd position of offering capabilities that are both too great for many tactical needs, while being too small to meet important American strategic goals. Even Special Forces worry that future air defense threats will make the C-130 non-survivable in future gunship and insertion roles.

    A400M
    (click to view full)

    That’s the bad news. On the other hand, its major competitor the Airbus A400M went through major delays and contract re-negotiation in System Design & Development, and has a production backlog of over 180 aircraft as deliveries are beginning. Future competitors like the Indo-Russian MRTA, and Embraer’s multinational KC-390 are currently in even earlier R&D stages. Which means that any nations needing to replenish a 20+ ton tactical airlift fleet any time soon are limited to a choice of buying the C-130J, or purchasing old designs like Russia’s AN-12 or China’s Y-8 aircraft.

    As the A400M becomes available, and the 20-ton segment begins to crowd with new offerings, the C-130J will face a very different competitive environment. Without major American C-130J buys, or establishment of the C-130J as a market leader in key segments like Special Operations, recouping its $1 billion investment would have been challenging for Lockheed Martin. Fortunately for the firm, they’ve made considerable progress toward both of these goals.

    Contracts and Key Events C-130J: SIGINT roll-on
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    The USA’s JMATS contracts for C-130J simulators and training are a critical but separate component, and are covered in their own article. International customers aren’t part of JMATS, so their arrangements may be covered here.

    DID has covered C-130J buys in Canada, India, Israel, Iraq, and Norway; and the UAE’s potential buy, as dedicated articles. Important milestones from those purchases may also appear here.

    DID also has a separate article covering training and simulators, under the MATS, JMATS, and JMATS-II programs.

    Unless otherwise noted, all contracts are issued by the Headquarters Air Force Material Command (AFMC) in Wright Patterson AFB, OH; and the contractor is Lockheed Martin Corporation in Marietta, GA. Note that coverage is complete only from Jan 1/06 forward.

    FY 2015

    Requests: Brunei. Kuwaiti KC-130J
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    July 29/15: The Air Force has reportedly retained some ageing C-130U Hercules aircraft for use as airborne laser testbed aircraft. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) plans to use the aircraft to test both offensive laser weapons and defensive lasers designed to act as less-than-lethal options. DARPA has been field testing the use of lasers against hostile projectiles, with the Air Force expecting to field airborne lasers on larger cargo aircraft models from 2021. However, the further development of these capabilities could be hamstrung by sequestration and a lack of political will.

    March 24/15: The Air Force is adding one HC-130J to its original 2012 contract, at a cost of $72.7 million.

    Oct 7/14: The US DSCA announces Brunei’s export request for 1 C-130J aircraft, 6 AE2100D3 turboprop engines (4 installed and 2 spares), Government Furnished Equipment, communication equipment, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor support.

    The C-130J would become Brunei’s largest aircraft, far bigger than its 3 ordered CN-235MPA maritime patrol planes. why does such a tiny country need it? Not to haul the Sultan’s famous fleet of over 300 top-end cars, but:

    “This proposed sale of a C-130J to Brunei will provide a critical capability to assist in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions. The aircraft will enable Brunei to provide aid and assistance in greater capacities to regional allies and partners in need. The aircraft will also provide the ability to execute maritime patrol missions and contribute to search and rescue missions in the region.”

    The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin-Aerospace in Marietta, GA, and the estimated cost is up to $343 million. That’s over 5x the standard flyaway price for a C-130J, a huge differential given that the notice that no additional contractors will be needed in Brunei. Perhaps they plan to perform long-term support elsewhere; it’s hard to think of another explanation if the notice’s facts are correct. Sources: US DSCA #14-37, “Brunei – C-130J Aircraft”.

    DSCA request: Brunei (1 C-130J)

    FY 2014

    Orders: USA (7 SOCOM etc.), Saudi Arabia (2 KC-130J), India (6 C-130J-30), Israel (2 C-130J-30), Civil (10 LM-100J); Long-term engines supply contract; Indian crash; ROKAF deliveries done; AC-130J flies; DOT&E testing report. C-130J at work
    click for video

    Sept 29/14: Engines. GE Aviation Systems (actually Dowty Propellers) in Sterling, VA receives a sole-source $20.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 42 C-130J propellers (P/N 69703900) and spare parts. All funds are committed immediately using FY 2012-2014 USAF aircraft budgets, and funds from Foreign Military Sales – but the announcement doesn’t identify the foreign customers.

    Work will be performed at Gloucester, UK and is expected to be complete by May 31/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (SPE4A1-14-G-0009-RJ03).

    Sept 29/14: Software. A $6.6 million contract modification to integrate system and Mission Computer (MC) software changes into SOCOM’s HC/MC-130J Increment 2 aircraft. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 USAF RDT&E budgets.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by March 31/17. Fiscal 2013 research, development, test and evaluation and procurement funds in the amount of $6,568,120 are being obligated at the time of award (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0277).

    Sept 26/14: +7. A $413.2 million finalization for 1 HC-130J and 6 MV-130J aircraft, subsuming previous advance procurement funding into full production efforts. That works out to $59 million per aircraft, plus the cost of government-furnished equipment for these special forces planes. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 & 2013 USAF aircraft budgets.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Nov 30/15 (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0239).

    USA: HC-130J & 6 MC-130Js

    Sept 26/14: Sensors. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives an $18.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 12 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (AN/AAS-54) and spare parts for the Air Force C-130 program. Short version: it’s for Special Forces HC/MC-130s. Long version: the AAS-54 combines long-range day and night cameras for high-altitude target acquisition, and adds tracking, range-finding, and laser designation for all tri-service and NATO laser-guided munitions. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 & 2013 USAF aircraft budgets; $7.7 million will expire on Sept 30/14.

    Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and is expected to be complete by September 2016. The US Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana manages the contract (N00164-12-G-JQ66).

    Aug 6/14: FY15 long-lead. A $116.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy long lead parts for 14 FY 2015 C-130Js. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 USAF advance procurement budgets.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by June 30/15. The USAF Nuclear Weapons Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8625-14-C-6450, PO 0001).

    July 23/14: Counter-fighter. Defensive tactics against enemy fighters isn’t the first thing you normally associate with a C-130, but a pair of 317th Airlift Group C-130Js had to do just that en route to Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, TX. The exercise demonstrated C-130J capabilities that will be used during the multinational fighter meet at Red Flag-Alaska.

    Here’s how it worked: The loadmasters sat high in the flight decks of their aircraft, looking through a bubbled window in the ceiling. They communicated to the pilots, who reacted and maneuvered to delay the fighter pilot’s ability to locate and lock on the C-130Js. 39th AS assistant director of operations for tactics Maj. Aaron Webb described the tactics as “pretty effective,” adding that a casual observer “doesn’t expect a 130,000-pound cargo plane to be able to maneuver as nimbly as the J-model does.” Sources: USAF, “Dyess C-130Js successfully evade F-16″.

    July 18/14: India. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, GA receives a maximum $564.7 million contract modification to to fund 6 more India foreign military sales C-130J-30s, field service representatives and 3 years of post-delivery support after the first aircraft delivery. $50.9 million of this contract is committed immediately, and this brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $2.067 billion; but the contract itself applies to orders beyond India’s.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA and is expected to be complete by April 30/20. Once all 6 planes are delivered, India’s fleet will rise to 11, given the March 2014 crash of KC3803. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract as India’s agent (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0273).

    India: 6 C-130J-30

    July 16/14: LM-100J sale. ASL Aviation Group in Dublin, Ireland signs a Letter of Intent with Lockheed Martin to order up to 10 LM-100J commercial freighters. Their Safair subsidiary in Johannesburg, South Africa currently operates 6 L-100-30 (C-130E/H) aircraft, but the LM-100J will be an entirely new type for their Air Contractors subsidiary in Dublin. Lockheed Martin adds:

    “Engineering and detailed design of the LM-100J is currently underway. Assembly of the first aircraft will begin in 2015 and first flight of the LM-100J is expected by early 2017. Because much of the flight test done to civil certify the C-130J in the late 1990s will be directly applicable to the LM-100J, testing and certification of the newest Hercules variant is expected to take about twelve months.”

    Which means deliveries can be expected in 2018, unless problems arise in testing. The firm sold 115 L-100s from 1964 through 1992, positioned to address the oversize cargo market and unimproved airfields. They’ve also been used for airdrops and humanitarian aid, VIP transport, aerial spraying, aerial firefighting, etc. Unfortunately, Lockheed acknowledges that legacy L-100s have higher direct operating costs relative to Russian An-12s, or even relative to 737 freighters when the 737’s special ground-handling cargo equipment is available. The LM-100J is intended to address that, while adding CNS/ATM compliance that will allow them to fly in civil airspace after 2015.

    The firm predicts double-digit growth in the Latin American, African, and Middle Eastern air freight industries over the next decade, as a subset of overall 4% per year growth in the global market. Sources: Lockheed Martin Code One Magazine, “LM-100J: Airlifter For Hire” | Lockheed Martin, “ASL Aviation Group Signs Letter of Intent To Procure Lockheed Martin LM-100J Freighters”.

    Civil: 10 LM-100Js

    May 30/14: Korea. The ROKAF’s final 2 C-130J-30s fly out from Marietta, GA, to join their fellows in South Korea (q.v. Dec 2/10, March 27/14). Lockheed Martin is still working under an initial 2-year support and training program for the 4 planes, and is also involved with the ROKAF’s C-130H fleet. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “ROKAF Receives Additional C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft”.

    Korea deliveries done

    April 25/14: Extended Life. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives an initial $27.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for extended service life center wing boxes [DID: the section of the fuselage that connects to the wings] on 5 C-130J aircraft. Aging C-130E/H planes have received replacements; USAF C-130Js only began entering service in February 1999, but it’s the mileage that matters. Lockheed Martin would say only that replacement decisions are “based upon the service life of the part”, which can be shorter if a plane is subjected to heavy operational use. Meanwhile, the ESL wing boxes are equipping production line aircraft as well.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 budgets. Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Dec 30/16. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition by the USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLKCA at Robins AFB, GA (FA8504-14-C-0003).

    March 28/14: Crash. An Indian Air Force C-130J-30 (tail #KC 3803) hits a hillock during low-level flight training, and crashes in a riverbed 116 km west of Gwailor. Everyone dies, including the 2nd-in-command of the 77 ‘Veiled Vipers’ squadron, Wing Commander Prashant Joshi, 2 pilots, and a trainee.

    The C-130J was reportedly part of a 2-plane formation that had taken off from Agra. Sources: The Indian Express, “5 officers killed as IAF’s new showpiece Super Hercules crashes near Gwalior”.

    Crash

    March 27/14: Korea. The ROKAF takes delivery of 2 of its 4 ordered C-130J-30s (q.v. Dec 2/10), in a Marietta, GA ceremony. This makes them the plane’s 14th customer. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Republic Of Korea Air Force Accepts First C-130J Super Hercules”.

    March 6/14: Sensors. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives a $10.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 10 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems, to be installed on AFSOC HC/MC-130Js.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY12 aircraft procurement budgets. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be complete by April 2015. There’s 1 set source for these, so this contract was not competitively procured per FAR 6.302-1. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-12-G-JQ66-0045).

    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. The C-130J program is still waiting for the full FY 2014 contract (q.v. Dec 6/13, Feb 12/14), but that budget introduced a multi-year contract (q.v. April 10/13), which makes cuts in FY 2015-2018 very difficult.

    The USAF’s FY 2015 budget request involves 13 C-130Js (7 regular USAF, 2 MC-130J, 4 HC-130J), while the USMC plans to buy 1 KC-130J. The overall effect will drop US annual production from 17 in FY 2014 (6 C-130J, 1 KC-130J, 5 AC-130J gunships, 1 HC-130J, 4 MC-130J) to 14 in FY 2015, but steady exports should cushion that.

    The USAF’s initial materials don’t delve beyond FY 2015, but the USMC plans to order another 5 KC-130Js from FY 2016 – 2019. They’ll finish the FY 2014-2018 deal 1 KC-130J short of their maximum, though, with only 6 planes bought, and make up the 7th in FY 2019. Sources: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | USAF, Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview.

    Feb 28/14: Support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $54.3 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for depot level repair of 50 KC-130 aircraft engines, propellers and other propulsion system components for the US Marine Corps (47 planes/ $50.2M / 92%) and the government of Kuwait (3 planes/ $4.1M/ 8%).

    $24.5 million is committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy O&M budgets. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN (92%), Al Mubarak, Kuwait (2.1%); various locations in Japan (2%); Cherry Point. NC (1.3%); Miramar, CA (1.3%); and Fort Worth, TX (1.3%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-14-D-0007). See also Rolls Royce, “Rolls-Royce supports US Marine Corps KC-130Js through $50 million contract”.

    Feb 25/14: Support. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, GA receives a sole-source $12.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide spare parts that are unique to US SOCOM’s HC/MC-130Js, and can’t be drawn from general C-130J fleet spares.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 aircraft budgets. Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Feb 16/16. USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WISK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0209).

    Feb 12/14: Engines. Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce complete a long-term agreement worth up to $1 billion, to deliver approximately 600 AE2100 turboprop engines for American and international contracts from 2014 through 2018. That works out to about 150 aircraft, but it’s probably closer to 125 with spares added in. Rolls Royce benefits from more predictable demand, while Lockheed Martin presumably benefits from lower prices.

    Rolls Royce adds that “the agreement secures the Rolls-Royce AE 2100 as the engine of choice for all variants of the C-130J to 2025.” That was never really in doubt. The most likely break-point for an engine upgrade would be the design of a new C-130NG variant, in order to address competition from jet-powered 20-ton class transports after 2020. Sources: Rolls Royce, “Rolls-Royce and Lockheed Martin agree US$1BN deal to power future C-130J aircraft”.

    Multi-year engine contract

    Jan 31/14: AC-130J. The USAF flies a fully-converted AC-130J gunship for the 1st time, at Eglin AFB, FL. They also appear to have scales the program back a bit:

    “A total of 32 MC-130J aircraft will be modified for AFSOC as part of a $2.4 billion AC-130J program to grow the future fleet, according to Capt. Greg Sullivan, the USSOCOM AC-130J on-site program manager at Det. 1.”

    The Pentagon’s recently-released DOT&E report for FY 2013 had placed the AC-130J program at 37 aircraft. Sources: USAF, “New AC-130J completes first test flight”.

    Jan 31/14: Support. A $105.3 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract modification, exercising the 3rd option under the USAF’s C-130J Long Term Sustainment Program. It’s a 2-year ordering period for sustainment services including logistical support, program management support, engineering services, spares, and technical data. Funds will be committed as needed through task orders.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/16. USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLKCA at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, PO 0026).

    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). Their focus is on US SOCOM’s variants: HC-130J/MC-130J Combat King II CSAR/ Commando II transports, and AC-130J “Ghostrider” gunships. The USAF intends to field 37 HC-130J Combat King IIs developed to Increment 2 capability, 57 MC-130J Commando IIs developed to Increment 3 capability, and 37 AC-130J Ghostrider gunships that will be converted from MC-103Js (TL: 94 MC-130Js produced).

    All: The core problem across this fleet involves the enhanced electrical system and in 400 Amp power supply, which is required for Increment 3 upgrades and AC-130J gunship conversions. At present, the fleet is limited to a 200 Amp system. Minor issues include Mean Time to Diagnose a Fault of 119 minutes (30 required), and just 83% probability of completing a 4-hour mission without a failure (95% required). The good news is that DOT&E deems the HC/MC-130J to be operationally effective and operationally suitable, with a 95% mission availability rate (89% required) and survivable in the low to medium threat environments it was meant for.

    AC-130J: The program conducted a Preliminary Design Review in March 2013 and a Critical Design Review in August 2013, and 1st flight was expected in January 2014. The PSP weapon set is planned in 3 increments, and both development and the Live Fire Alternative Test Plan (ATP) will leverage some data from the C-130H-based AC-130W. This was concerning, though:

    “Armor requirements and the amount of armor differ significantly between the AC-130U and AC-130J aircraft. The AC-130U armor was designed to provide protection to the aircrew stations, personnel, ammunition, and critical systems against a single 37 mm high-explosive incendiary round at a range of 10,000 feet, while the AC-130J’s primary crewmember positions and oxygen supplies should be protected against single 7.62 mm ball projectile at 100 meters [DID: just 330 feet, where bullet velocity is higher] …. The planned armor layout on the AC-130J does not include the Mission Operator Pallet, which should be considered a “primary crewmember” position and protected in accordance with the associated Force Protection Key Performance Parameter (KPP).”

    The 37mm criterion isn’t random: most AC-130 kills over Vietnam involved 37mm guns. It isn’t rare for gunships to face enemies that can deploy 14.5mm – 23mm guns, to say nothing of the common .50 cal/ 12.7mm caliber. Even an unarmored C-130J would be a difficult kill for a 12.7mm machine gun. With that said, it sounds like they’ve left the crew nearly unprotected, in an aircraft that’s designed to go where the enemy is shooting. That does require an explanation.

    Jan 27/14: Engines. Rolls Royce in Indianapolis, IN receives an $182.7 million firm-fixed-price, requirements contract modification, exercising the 7th annual option for AE2100-D3 engine logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares, and technical data.

    Funds will be spent as needed. Work will be performed at Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLKCA at Robins AFB, GA, manages this contract (FA8504-07-D-0001, PO 0023).

    Jan 21/13: LM-100J. No, it’s not gamerspeak for iRobot’s “Looj” gutter cleaner, or for a fast sled. It’s Lockheed Martin’s new civil variant of the C-130J, and the FAA just received Lockheed Martin’s Program Notification Letter for a type design update. FAA documents refer to it as an L-382J, but it will be marketed at the LM-100J. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Files For FAA Type Design Update”.

    Dec 26/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA ereceives an $11,060,628 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for logistics and engineering services in support of the C/KC-130J Aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps/Marine Corps Reserve, U.S. Coast Guard and the Kuwait Air Force.

    Work will be performed in Marietta, GA (65.3%); Afghanistan (12%); Palmdale, CA (9.2%); Kuwait (3.3%); Okinawa, Japan (3%); Miramar, CA (1.8%); Cherry Point, NC (1.7%); Elizabeth City, NC (1.6%); Fort Worth, (1.5%); and Greenville, SC (.6%); and is expected to be completed in December 2014. No funds are being obligated at time of award. Funds will be obligated against individual delivery orders as they are issued. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Marine Corps/Marine Corps Reserve ($8,886,223; 80.3%); U.S. Coast Guard ($1,423,148; 12.9%); and the Government of Kuwait ($751,257; 6.8%) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-14-D-0006).

    Dec 6/13: long-lead. A sole-source, maximum $169.7 million firm-fixed-price advance procurement contract for funding related to 18 C-130Js. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 procurement budgets.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Oct 31/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages this contract (FA8625-14-C-6450).

    Dec 3/13: long-lead. A $48.5 million advance procurement contract modification for funding related to 5 more C-130Js. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 procurement budgets.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 aircraft budgets. Work under this multi-year contract will be performed at Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA until Dec 31/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0230).

    Dec 3/13: #4. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a not-to-exceed $81.2 million modification to an existing contract to fund Israeli C-130J-30 aircraft #4, advance long-lead procurement of C-130Js #5 and 6, and external fuel tank modification kits.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be completed by June 30/16. This contract is 100% foreign military sales for Israel, with the USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH acting as Israel’s agent (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0231).

    Israel: 4th C-130J-30

    Oct 10/13: DMS Redesign. Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $21.6 million contract modification to redesign the C-130J’s Color Multipurpose Display Unit and Multi-Function Color Display for C-130J aircraft. Computer equipment goes out of production quickly, and the CDU & MFCDs need new central processor and graphics processor chip sets, in order to cope with “diminishing manufacturing sources.”

    Sure beats trying to source spares from grey traders whose supply chain includes Chinese counterfeits.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/15. This contract actually includes 15% foreign military sales to C-130 customers Norway, Israel and Kuwait, on top of the $21.6 million in FY 2012 in USAF procurement funds that are committed immediately. USAF Force Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0228)y. (Awarded Oct. 10, 2013)

    Oct 3/13: A maximum $181 million not-to-exceed contract modification lets Saudi Arabia buy 2 KC-130J transport and tanker aircraft under the US umbrella deal, along with associated non-recurring engineering support. It’s just a small part of the 25-plane, $6.7 billion request (q.v. Nov 9/12).

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be completed by April 2016. This contract is 100 percent foreign military sales for Saudi Arabia. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0177).

    Saudi Arabia: 2 KC-130J

    FY 2013

    US order; Saudi request; DOT&E report. Saudi C-130
    (click to view full)

    July 25/13: Israel. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, GA receives a maximum $13 million unfinalized contract for the advanced procurement of a 4th Israeli C-130J-30 and field services representatives, out of an FMS case for up to 9 planes (q.v. July 30/08). The total cumulative face value of the contract it’s bought under is now $1.631 billion, but most of that contract doesn’t involve Israel.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Dec 30/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract as Israel’s FMS agent (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0172).

    July 11/13: Engines. Rolls Royce in Indianapolis, IN a $22.4 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification for more USMC KC-130J Power-by-the-Hour support.

    Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in February 2014. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0020).

    July 2/13: Training. IKBI Inc. in Choctaw, MS receives a maximum $7.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for a Special Forces HC-130J Simulator Facility at Moody AFB, GA. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received by the Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, GA (W912HN-13-C-0011).

    June 10/13: Libya. The US DSCA announces the new government of Libya’s official export request [PDF] for 2 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, 10 Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 engines (8 installed and 2 spares), aircraft modifications, Government Furnished Equipment (including radios), support and test equipment, personnel training package, and a 3-year package for other forms of US Government and contractor support. Libya would join their neighbor Tunisia as a C-130J-30 customer.

    The DSCA request cites “a mix of legacy C-130s” in operation, but pre-revolution reports weren’t clear on their airworthiness, and it’s unclear if the new government has working C-130s to fly alongside its (former Air Libya) BAe-146. The estimated cost for the 2 stretched C-130Js is $588 million, which is a tremendous amount, but they’ll need to build up the associated infrastructure from a very damaged base. The scale of the support is made clear by the request. A USAF logistics specialist will help Libya establish supply systems for flight operations, supply management, inventory control, and documentation procedures. At the same time, 4 contracted Field Service Representatives (FSR) and 1 Logistics Support Representative (LSR) will need to have expertise in airframe, avionics/electrical systems, propulsion systems, ground maintenance systems, and logistics support. As expected, Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor.

    Libya has been making a number of announcements about rebuilding its air force, and favoring countries that helped them during the war. It’s hard to give much credit to reports that the country will be buying both Rafale and Eurofighter jets in the near future, though one understands why they might want to repay France and Britain in some way. Meanwhile, transport is a higher priority for a large country with lots of hostile terrain, and a weak central government.

    DSCA request: Libya C-130J-30s (2)

    May 31/13: LAIRCM. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $16.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to finish designing LAIRCM aircraft modification kits (A-Kits) for the USMC’s KC-130Js, to protect them against shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. This modification includes 10 LAIRCM A-Kits, a test kit installation of a LAIRCM A-Kit, and a validation installation of a LAIRCM A-Kit.

    Work will be performed in Marietta, GA (51%); Greenville, SC (31%); and Rolling Meadows, IL (18%), and is expected to be completed in November 2015. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 and 2013 contract dollars. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-13-C-0017).

    April 29/13: Iraq. Lockheed Martin announces that it has ferried Iraqi C-130J-30s #4-6 to the USAF, as an interim step in delivering them to Iraq. Once the planes arrive in Iraq, they will complete the order, though the contract itself will continue with support services. Lockheed Martin.

    Iraqi C-130J-30s all delivered

    April 10/13: FY 2014 & MYP. 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 C-130J program submits a proposed $5.809 billion multi-year buy from FY 2014 – 2018, which would purchase 79 planes: 43 aircraft for SOCOM (25 MC-130J + 13 HC-130J + 5 AC-130J), 29 C-130Js for the USAF, and 7 KC-130Js for the US Marine Corps.

    All aircraft would be fully funded with initial spares in their order years, and the multi-year deal would include a priced option for 5 more United States Coast Guard HC-130Js – whose base aircraft and array of radars and equipment are very different from SOCOM’s HC-130Js.

    Multi-year buy proposed

    April 4/13: Tunisia. Lockheed Martin announces that they’ve delivered the 1st of 2 stretched C-130J-30 Super Hercules to the Republic of Tunisia, marking the first delivery to an African country.

    Tunisia currently operates a fleet of C-130Hs and C-130Bs, but they were bought in the mid-1980s. Lockheed Martin’s 2010 contract involved 2 planes between 2013 – 2014, plus training and an initial 3 years of logistics support. The Tunisian government fell in the meantime, but the new government still needs the planes.

    Feb 22/13: Engines. Rolls Royce in Indianapolis, ID receives a $16.8 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for more additional power-by-the-hour work in support of the USMC’s KC-130Js.

    Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in July 2013. Funds will be committed by individual delivery orders, as needed. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-09-D-0020).

    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 report covers the C-130J platform generally, as well as the HC/MC-130J special forces variants.

    The biggest take-away is that the USAF is scrapping plans to field the Block 7.0 upgrade, or incorporate the set into the production line. Block 7.0 has been experiencing delays, and is expected to enter test & evaluation in early 2013, but the results will probably just be used to plan the USAF’s Block Upgrade 8.1.

    On the bright side, the C-130J family’s DTADS maintenance support system is a “significant improvement” in multiple areas, but the Windows XP operating system means it can’t connect to government networks. Windows 7 is apparently the minimum.

    With respect to the special forces platforms, the HC/MC-130J got a preliminary rating of being as good or better than previous variants, and availability/ maintenance rates were also improvements (vid. Nov 1/12 entry). Key strengths include better takeoffs from short or unimproved runways, expanding the flight envelope for aerial refueling, and improved cargo loading and unloading features. Despite that latter assessment, airdrops create very high workloads and head-down time for the pilot monitoring the drops. The new HC/MC-130Js may also have to do some retrofits to add standard search and rescue equipment: flare launcher tubes, large forward scanner windows, additional oxygen regulators, and intercom panels.

    Survivability and situational awareness were another area mentioned, though the specific survivability issue wasn’t detailed. With respect to situational awareness, pilots would like a tactical datalink such as Link 16, so they’re more aware of what’s around them. Inside, the loadmasters want more control over cargo lighting, especially since the night vision lighting is a bit problematic for covert operations. On an audible level, the loadmasters want the intercom system to transmit system tones for diagnostic or defensive system alerts.

    Jan 16/13: India support. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $6.7 million contract modification for Power by the Hour support to the IAF’s C-130Js.

    Work will be performed at Hindan Air Station in New Delhi, India, and is expected to be complete by Jan 30/13. The AFLCMC/WLKCB at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract on behalf of their FMS client (FA8504-07-D-0001-0501-09).

    Aug 6/12: Made in India. The Hindu reports that the offset program has begun to bear fruit, with some components now made in India:

    “The latest feather in the Tata cap is that certain critical components for the C-130 are now being ‘Made in India’… on the outskirts of Hyderabad. That is the promise held out by Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Ltd., (TLMAL), a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems and Lockheed Martin. The Friday gone by was a landmark day with TLMAL delivering the first C-130 Center Wing Box (CWB) to Lockheed.”

    Nov 9/12: Saudi Arabia The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s DSCA request for up to 25 C-130J family aircraft, in a deal that could be worth up to $6.7 billion once a contract is negotiated.

    The RSAF currently operates 30 C-130H medium transport aircraft, and another 7 KC-130H aerial refueling tankers with secondary transport capabilities. External engine fleet and depth maintenance contracts take care of them, but as the hours pile up, replacement looms. The Saudis would replace their fleet with just 20 stretched C-130J-30s, and another 5 KC-130Js. On the other hand, the stretched planes offer more room, and the C-130J’s extra power makes a big difference to real cargo capacity in Saudi Arabia’s lift-stealing heat. The request includes:

    • 20 C-130J-30 stretched transports
    • 5 KC-130J aerial tankers, which could be armed in future
    • 120 Rolls Royce AE2100D3 Engines (100 installed and 20 spares)
    • 25 MIDS-LVT Link-16 systems
    • Plus support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

    The prime contractors will be Lockheed-Martin in Bethesda, MD (C-130Js); General Electric Aviation Systems in Sterling, VA; and Rolls Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, IN (engines). Implementation of this sale will require the assignment of U.S. Government and contractor representatives to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for delivery, system checkout, and logistics support for an undetermined period of time.

    DSCA request: Saudi C-130J-30 & KC-130J (25)

    Nov 1/12: MC/HC-130J. Lockheed Martin announces that their HC-130J Combat King II and MC-130J Commando II special operations planes have been formally certified as “Effective, Suitable and Mission Capable” by the USAF’s Operational Test and Evaluation Center.

    Oct 23/12: 13 more. An $889.5 million contract modification for the USA’s FY 2012 production aircraft buy of 13 planes: 7 MC-130J CSAR planes and 4 HC-130J Commando IIs for SOCOM, 1 KC-130J for the USMC, and 1 USAF C-130J production aircraft.

    Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and run to July 31/15 (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0139).

    FY 2012 main buy

    FY 2012

    Israel buys #3/9; USCG buys 3; Senior Scout SIGINT kit; India’s follow-on request for 6 more; Mexican request; C-130XJ, C-130NG, and SC-130J “Sea Hercules” concepts unveiled; AC-130J gunship appears. Norwegian C-130J
    (click to view full)

    Sept 28/12: A $218 million contract modification to buy 3 more US Coast Guard HC-130J Long Range Surveillance aircraft, which will bring the USCG fleet to 9, and add 2 more roll-on mission suites. The 3rd plane will get its mission equipment from a future contract, scheduled for FY 2013. By 2016, the Coast Guard plans to accept these aircraft and base them at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii.

    The HC-130J’s special mission suite is comprised of a 2-person mission system operator station located behind the pilot and co-pilot, a belly-mounted 360-degree Seaspray 7500 long range search radar, nose-mounted day/night surveillance turret, and an advanced mission communications suite. Work will be performed in Marietta, GS, and Greenville, SC. The contract runs until May 31/16 (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0069).

    The current Coast Guard C-130 LRS fleet includes 23 HC-130Hs, and 6 HC-130Js based at Air Station Elizabeth City, NC. The USCG’s HC-130Hs are running out of useful service life, and by 2027, the USCG is planning to have a uniform fleet of 22 HC-130Js. See also USCG | Lockheed Martin.

    3 USCG HC-130Js

    Sept 25/12: Mexico. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Mexico’s official request for 2 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, 10 AE2100D3 engines (8 installed and 2 spares), aircraft modifications, communication equipment, other Government Furnished Equipment, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment and publications, personnel training and training equipment, and other US Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $412 million, which is very expensive for 2 C-130Js, but there are a number of add-ons to consider, and actual cost will depend on contract negotiations.

    The DSCA notice says that Mexico will use the planes as “Presidential support,” but local defense expert Inigo Guevara says that they’re mostly intended for regular defense use. The FAM’s existing tactical transport fleet of 7 old C-130E/K/Ls is reaching its limits, and the recent buy of 4 new C-27J Spartan light tactical transports replaced an original requirement for 5 used C-130H aircraft to upgrade that fleet. The 2 C-130J-30s offer a heavier-lift option with some C-27J engine and avionics compatibility. Guevara says that current requirements will eventually add another 2 Super Hercules transports, leaving a tactical transport fleet of 4 C-27Js and 4 C-130Js. Any VIP modules are likely to be “roll-on, roll-of” options. Guevara adds that:

    “The Presidential fleet is getting a new aircraft in the form of a strategic transport (very likely a Boeing 787 Dreamliner), which will replace the current B757 and should arrive by 2016. It is apparently being acquired through a [full turnkey] wet lease.”

    DSCA request: Mexico C-130J-30s (2)

    Sept 21/12: The Air Force’s 19th Special Operation Squadron is retiring its MC-130E Combat Talon I simulator, and they are waiting for an MC-130J simulator to replace it. They do not quite seem to know what to do with it. Any takers? It would be quite the living room conversation piece.

    Sept 10/12: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $9.7 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract modification, to meet increased requirements for the USMC’s “power by the hour” per-engine support contract. Translation: the USMC is flying its KC-130J fleet for more hours than the contract had expected.

    Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC, 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. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-09-D-0020).

    Sept 5/12: Iraq. The 1st of 6 C-130J-30 Super Hercules for the Iraqi Air Force has completed its first flight, at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, GA facility. Lockheed Martin.

    Aug 30/12: Oman delivery. The 1st C-130J ordered by Oman is formally accepted by the country at a signing ceremony in Marietta. Lockheed Martin initially told DID that the delivery of this plane was likely to happen in early November, but the Sultanate sped up the process and flew its plane home on September 12. Lockheed Martin.

    Aug 28/12: Sea Hercules? Defense News reports that Lockheed Martin is working on an SC-130J Sea Hercules modification. 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 surface attack 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.

    Lockheed Martin reportedly says they expect to sign at least one contract “in North Africa”. Tunisia, who already has a contract for 2 C-130J-30s that was signed shortly before their revolution, could certainly use that capability. So could Britain, which has its own fleet of C-130s, but no maritime patrol planes since they retired the Nimrod fleets.

    Lockheed Martin will have no shortage of competitors around the world. 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. On the development front, Boeing is starting to look at options beyond its P-8A Poseidon, 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. There’s also some talk in Britain of adding maritime patrol capabilities to its Sentinel R1 ground surveillance jets, based on Bombardier’s Challenger. 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.

    Aug 8/12: Oman. Flight testing begins for the 1st of Oman’s 3 ordered C-130Js (1 C-130J-30, 2 C-130Js). Oman currently operates a fleet of 3 C-130Hs purchased in the early 1980s, and their first new Hercules is scheduled for delivery later in 2012. Lockheed Martin.

    July 23/12: AC-130J. Production begins in Marietta, GA, but the gunship is actually built as an MC-130J Commando II. It will become an “AC-130J” (vid. Feb 19/12 contract) when it’s equipped with a “Precision Strike Package. When queried, Lockheed Martin representatives said that:

    “The initial contract is to cross-deck the current MC-130W [DID: link added] equipment to the new AC-130Js. The PSP referenced here is a new package.”

    AC-130J Initial Operating Capability is scheduled for 2015, and AFSOC expects to order 16. Lockheed Martin.

    AC-130J begins

    June 7/12: Norway request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Norway’s formal request to buy 2 C-130J-30s equipped to the USAF baseline, 9 Rolls Royce AE2100-D3 Engines (8 installed and 1 spare), plus aircraft modifications for Norwegian specifications, Norwegian-compatible communication equipment and support, defensive countermeasure systems, other Government Furnished Equipment, tools and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US government & contractor support.

    If a contract is signed, Norway’s C-130J-30 fleet will rise to 5 planes. The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA, but the proposed sale won’t require any more representatives in Norway. The estimated cost is set at up to $300 million, however, which is about the cost of Norway’s first 4 planes (vid. Nov 7/07 entry). Actual amounts will depend on negotiations, but it looks like Norway is thinking about a significant support contract as well.

    DSCA request: Norway C-130J-30 (1)

    June 4/12: Norway. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, ID receives a $14.3 million (face value) firm-fixed-price contract to purchase spares, field services support and program management, return and repair support, and engineering services support for the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s C-130J fleet at Gardermoen AFB, Norway. Work is to be complete by Jan 31/14. The WR-ALC/GRBKB at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract, on behalf of its Norwegian client (FA8504-07-D-0001-0602).

    May 8/12: Canada. The Royal Canadian Air Force formally accepts the 17th CC-130J Super Hercules at a Marietta, GA ceremony, completing the order placed in December 2007. Lockheed Martin.

    Canada: all delivered

    April 2/12: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $25 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification for contractor logistics support and technical engineering support of USMC KC-130Js’ AE2100-D3 turboprop engines, and R391 propellers.

    Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in February 2013. 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 this contract (N00019-09-D-0020). Navy/USMC C-130Js fall under a separate engine maintenance agreement than the USAF – see also April 6/10, Feb 27/09 entries.

    March 9/12: MC-130J “Commando II”. USAF officials announce that the MC-130J’s designation will change from “Combat Shadow II” to “Commando II”.

    The 1st aircraft with the “Commando” designation was the C-46, which flew missions “over the hump” from Burma to China in World War II, conducted covert missions during the Korean War, and flew many missions for the CIA’s “Air America”. Some still fly to this day, for civilian airlines in remote areas. Hopefully, the MC-130J won’t also be adopting the C-46’s reputation as a maintenance nightmare that was dangerous to fly on military operations. USAF.

    MC-130J becomes “Commando II”

    March 15/12: Norway crash. Norway’s newest C-130J-30 crashes into Sweden’s Mount Kebnekaise at an altitude of almost 5,000 feet, during the international military exercise “Cold Response.” All 5 crew are killed, and the RNoAF is left with just 3 C-130J-30s. Read “Norway Renews Its Tactical Transport Fleet” for full coverage.

    Crash

    Feb 29/12: AC-130J, etc. A $70 million firm-fixed-price advance procurement contract, buying long-lead items for US AFSOC: 2 AC-130J gunships, 1 HC-130J “Combat King” Combat Search And Rescue, and 4 MC-130J “Combat Shadow” transport aircraft. This is the FY 2013 budget request, but long-lead materials to ensure on-time construction are always in the previous year’s budget.

    The AC-130J is new, and hasn’t been talked about much. The current AC-130H “Spectre” and AC-130U “Spooky” gunships remain vulnerable to even light defenses like anti-aircraft cannons, and are often restricted to night flying. On the flip side, they offer unparalleled fire support volume and accuracy, up to and including 105mm howitzer fire, to help special forces and friendly troops out of jams. SOCOM’s heavy gunship fleet has seen predictably heavy usage in recent years, and needs replacement. The hanging question is what capabilities a full C-130J gunship option might have.

    Work will be performed Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete during calendar year 2016. The USAF/AFMC Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0081).

    Feb 22/12: Israel #3. Israel buys its 3rd C-130J-30, out of a formal October 2008 FMS request for up to 9 special forces capable planes. It does so by exercising a maximum $58.3 million firm-fixed-price option, on top of previous planning and advance long lead procurement funding (vid. April 8/11).

    Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and expected to be complete by Nov 30/14. The ASC/WLNN at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH is Israel’s Foreign Military Sales agent for these buys (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0085).

    Israel: 1 C-130J-30

    Feb 22/12: Support. A $7.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for C-130J and HC/MC-130J spares for at Moody Air Force Base, GA. Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and the contract runs through Dec 31/13. USAF AMC’s Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0085).

    Feb 22/12: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $45.2 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for AE-2100D3 turboprop engine and R-391 propeller contractor logistics and technical engineering services, for the USMC’s KC-130Js.

    Funds will be committed only as services are needed, and work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN until February 2013. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-09-D-0020).

    Feb 16/12: #250. The 250th C-130J Super Hercules variant ever built is delivered to Dyess Air Force Base, TX. It’s the 15th of 28 planes that will ultimately be delivered to Dyess AFB by 2013.

    To put that in perspective, a Jan 30/11 MC-130J delivery to US Special Operations Command marked the 2,400th C-130 delivered, of all types, since production began. Lockheed Martin.

    #250

    Jan 31/12: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $112.2 million firm-fixed-price, requirements type contract, exercising Option V/ Year 6 of the C-130J’s AE2100D3 engine and R-391 propeller support contract. That includes logistics support, program management support, engineering, spares and technical data are included.

    Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN until Jan 31/13. The Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract (FA8504-07-D-0001, #0600).

    Jan 31/12: Support. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $63 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-award-fee, time-and-material, and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to support systems unique to the C-130J. Their work will include logistics support, program management support, engineering services, repairs, spares and technical data.

    Work will be performed in Marietta, GA until Jan 31/14. The Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, PO 0020; Delivery order 0700).

    Jan 31/12: Norway. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $7.8 million firm-fixed-price, time-and-material contract for spares, field support representatives, program management, return and repair support, and engineering services from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, to support their new 4-plane C-130J fleet.

    Work will be performed in Marietta, GA until Jan 31/14. The Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, #0606).

    Dec 28/11: Support. An $8.5 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for spares and material in support of the USMC’s KC-130Js. Funds will be obligated by individual delivery orders as they are issued. Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete in December 2013. US NAVAIR manages this contract (N00019-09-D-0015).

    Dec 13/11: Engines. A $10.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 9 spare C-130J quick change engine assemblies, under the terms of the Fiscal Year Orientation Committee IV contract. The units are a split buy: 5 units for the U.S. Air Force; and 4 as a Foreign Military Sales effort for Kuwait (q.v. May 27/10, July 20/09 entries). Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Nov 28/14 (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0068).

    Dec 7/11: SIGINT kit. Lockheed Martin delivers the USAF’s 4th Senior Scout containerized roll-on, roll-off signals intelligence (SIGINT) system. Senior Scout was 1st fielded in Operation Desert Storm (Iraq) in 1991, but the latest model is enhanced to be structurally compatible with the newest C-130J, adds updated system interfaces and technology enhancements, and offers better maintenance access. Lockheed Martin considers Senior Scout to be part of its DRAGON Shield series of modular ro-ro ISR offerings.

    Acceptance testing is about to begin, and if all goes well, the USAF’s other 3 Senior Scouts will be converted to the same standard over the next 2 years. Lockheed Martin.

    Dec 2/11: New variants. Flight International reports on Lockheed Martin EVP Ralph Heath’s presentation to the Credit Suisse aerospace and defense conference in New York. The presentation mentions 2 new variants: the stripped-down C-130XJ, without the automatic loading system and other niceties; and a more streamlined C-130NG concept aimed at the market beyond 2020.

    Oct 27/11: India request. The US DSCA announces India’s official request to buy up to 6 more C-130Js, which would bring its fleet to 12. The previous May 25/07 request also asked for C-130J USAF baseline aircraft, but the order involved stretched C-130J-30s. It remains to be seen whether India will order more stretched C-130J-30s (likely), or 6 of the smaller C-130Js. The estimated cost is up to $1.2 billion.

    Read “India Buys C-130J-30 Hercules for Special Forces” for full coverage.

    DSCA request: India C-130J (6)

    FY 2011

    Israel buys #2; MATS II training contract; Block 7.0 software contract; Australian software innovation; Oman’s request; Crashworthy seating; What India left out. Deliveries: 1st SOCOM HC-130J & MC-130J, Qatar’s 4; India’s induction. MC-130J enhancements
    (click for video)

    Sept 29/11: 1st MC-130J delivered. Lockheed Martin delivers the 1st of 20 MC-130J Combat Shadow IIs to United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), at Cannon Air Force Base, NM. Delivery had been scheduled for August.

    While the HC-130J is the combat rescue model, the MC-130J is the standard special operations insertion and cargo plane. It’s also based on a KC-130J tanker, with the UARRSI boom refueling receptacle, Enhanced Service Life Wing, Enhanced Cargo Handling System, a surveillance and targeting turret, a combat systems operator station on the flight deck, and dual SATCOM. They’re more or less the same planes, actually, just with different roles, and different operators. Initial operational capability is planned for 2012.

    Sept 28/11: Qatar. Lockheed holds a delivery ceremony in Marietta, GA for Qatar’s 4 ordered C-130J-30s. Arabian Aerospace.

    Qatar – full delivery

    Sept 24/11: 1st HC-130J delivered. US Air Combat Command officials receive their 1st HC-130J Combat King II, at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. Delivery had been scheduled for August.

    The new HC-130J will be flown by the testing squadron, then members of the 79th Rescue Squadron will complete the 8 months of training needed to fly and operate the new model. USAF officials expect HC-130Js to begin regular duty at the base in early 2013. USAF.

    Sept 16/11: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract modification to increase the ceiling on engine support contract line items for the KC-130J fleet. They include power by the hour, which pays a fixed fee per engine flight hours, and spares. The KC-130J fleet are triple-role aircraft: cargo, aerial refueling, and on-call strike aircraft (with the Harvest Hawk roll-on kit).

    Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC, and is expected to be complete in February 2012. No funding is being committed at time of award, but it’s available if needed. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract, as the KC-130Js are USMC birds (N00019-09-D-0020).

    July 11/11: A not to exceed $89 million firm-fixed-price contract modification commits FY 2011 Congressionally-mandated advance procurement funding for 9 C-130J family planes: 1 USAF stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, and 8 US SOCOM HC-130J/ MC-130Js.

    These 9 planes will receive their main orders in FY 2012, but advance ordering ensures that manufacturing can start when that order does come in (FA8625-11-C-6597 PO 0029).

    May 2/11: Qatar. The 1st of 4 Qatar Emiri Air Force C-130J-30s has completed production at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, GA. It would make its first flight on June 8th. See also Oct 7/08 entry.

    April 8/11: Israel #2 & 3. Israel exercises $76.2 million in fixed-price not-to-exceed (NTE) options to buy a 2nd C-130J-30 aircraft, and begin planning and advance long lead procurement for the 3rd Israeli aircraft.

    This unfinalized contract also includes recurring in-line production modifications for the 2nd aircraft to include but not limited to the following: Block 6X Operational Flight Program (July 30/08 DSCA cited Block 7.0, looks like Israel-specific mods), enhanced service life wing, 2 embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation System Embedded Module IVs with Precise Positioning System and GAS-1 controlled radiation pattern antenna, and a UARRSI receptacle on top of the plane to accept aerial refueling booms. The 657th AESS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597).

    Israel: 1 C-130J-30

    April 5/11: MC-130J i3. A $21.4 million contract modification for MC-130J increment 3, to develop 1 trial kit installation, and perform developmental tests of this capability on 1 MC-130J increment 2 aircraft. The overall scope of this effort is to add the C-130J Block 7.0 software upgrades, and “a special mission processor capability that include both developmental [work] and integration of known/low risk improvements.” The ASC/WLNNC at Wright Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597 PO0002).

    March 31/11: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA receives a $10 million firm-fixed-price contract to obligate FY 2010 advance procurement funding for 1 FY 2011 C-130J aircraft. Work will be performed at Marietta, GA (FA8625-06-C-6456-P00243).

    March 29/11: MC-130J rollout. Lockheed Martin officially rolls out the 1st MC-130J Combat Shadow II for the U.S. Air Force’s Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Contracts have been placed to build 15 MC-130Js, and AFSOC is authorized to buy up to 20, against an approved long term requirement for 37 to replace the aging MC-130H fleet. Initial Operational Capability with the new type is expected in 2012.

    All C-130J special forces configurations are based on the KC-130J aerial tanker, as they also have aerial refueling roles for SOCOM helicopters. Beyond that, MC-130Js will have the Enhanced Service Life Wing, a boom refueling receptacle (UARRSI) so they can be refueled in mid-air, more powerful electrical generators, a day/night surveillance turret, a combat systems operator station on the flight deck, and provisions for LAIRCM missile defense systems, among others. Technically, it’s basically the same as the HC-130J, it just performs a different role. Lockheed Martin.

    MC-130J rollout

    March 29/11: India. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $8.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide “spares, fuser, and program management support” for the Indian Air Force, to support the arrival of their new C-130J fleet. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract (FA8504-07-D-0001-0501).

    March 22/11: USAF Air Combat Command’s HC-130J personnel recovery aircraft, completes developmental testing by receiving fuel from an aerial tanker boom. This test point also applies to AFSOC’s MC-130J Combat Shadow II aircraft.

    Rollout of the first MC-130J is later celebrated at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, GA on March 29/11, and the first HC-130Js and MC-130Js started deliveries in September 2011, instead of August. Initial Operational Capability for both is scheduled for 2012.

    March 18/11: Support. An $8.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide C-130J logistics support through Jan 31/12. Work will be performed at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA (FA8625-11-C6597).

    March 1/11: Australia – C-17 or C-130Js? Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith confirms that the government is looking into buying a 5th C-17, and has sent a Foreign Military Sale Letter of Request to the United States asking about costs and availability.

    The tradeoff under consideration was whether to buy 1 more C-17A, or buy 2 more C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical transports between 2013-2015 under project AIR 8000 Phase 1. One C-17A can carry up to 4 C-130 Hercules loads in a single lift, and cover twice the distance in three-quarters of the time. On the other hand, it costs over 3 times as much, and can’t be in 4 places at once. In the end, Australia chose to buy the C-17 instead.

    Feb 14/11: The 1st MC-130J Combat Shadow II for US AFSOC completes manufacturing, and will begin flight tests after additional special mission equipment like the chin-mounted sensor turret is installed. MC-130Js work insertion missions, almost always at night. Their missions can include low-level aerial refueling missions for special operations helicopters, along with infiltration/ exfiltration, and resupply for special forces teams.

    Feb 5/11: India induction. The 1st Indian C-130J-30 with Special Forces enhancements is inducted in a special ceremony at Air Force Station Hindon, India. There’s still work to do, however. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik says of the American communications and security systems that were left out: “We have our own communication system and yes, we will be integrating them on the aircraft. They are already being made and they will be put on the aircraft.” Andrha News | MSN India.

    Jan 31/11: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $203 million contract modification to cover support services for the C-130J’s AE-2100D3 engines and R-391 propellers, under the Option Year IV (5th overall year) of their support contract. Sustaining services will include logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data.

    At this time, $49.6 million has been committed by the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center GRBKA, at Robins Air Force Base, GA (FA8504-07-D-0001, 0500).

    Jan 31/11: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA receives a $69.8 million contract modification to cover support for systems unique to the C-130J fleet, as opposed to systems that are common to C-130Js and earlier model Hercules. The contract exercises the 2nd option, covering years 6 through 8 of logistics support, program management support, engineering services, repairs, spares and technical data.

    At this time, $20 million has been committed by the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center GRBKA, at Robins Air Force Base, GA (FA8504-06-D-0001, PO 0015).

    Jan 28/11: Iraq, Norway. A $16.9 million contract modification exercises an option to purchase support equipment and spares for Iraq, as well as logistic support services for Norway. Both are C-130J customers, and Norway has already received its 4 aircraft. At this time the entire amount has been obligated by the ASC/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456).

    Jan 11/10: USA, Norway. Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems in Marietta, GA receives a $13.3 million contract modification, exercising an option to purchase support equipment and spares for the United States and Norway.

    While the platform is not named, the contract number is the C-130J contract. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the ASC/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456).

    Indian C-130J-30
    (click to view full)

    Dec 21/10: Sub-contractors. BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services in Rockville, MD receives a $12 million contract for C-130J/J-30 Loadmaster crashworthy seats systems. The contract will buy 101 systems: 7 “first article” systems for testing, then up to 88 systems and 6 systems of spares. $8.5 million has been committed by the WR-ALC/GRBK at Robins AFB, GA (FA8504-11-D-0003).

    Dec 17/10: India. India’s 1st C-130J is formally delivered in a ceremony at Marietta, GA.

    Dec 2/10: South Korea. Lockheed Martin announces a contract with the Republic of Korea for 4 stretched C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft, which are a one-for-one replacement of the ROKAF’s 4 C-130H-30s in its 12-plane Hercules fleet. Deliveries will take place in 2014, and the contract also contains a 2-year support program including aircrew and maintenance training.

    The absence of a previous DSCA announcement indicates that this is a Direct Commercial Sale. Prices were not disclosed, but the flyaway cost of a C-130J-30 is around $65 million, and the modifications and maintenance agreement will be extra.

    South Korea: 4 C-130J-30

    Nov 30/10: Training. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL receives a $23.3 million contract for the HC/MC-130J Special Operations variant’s weapon systems trainer. At this time, $2,044,798 has been committed by the ASC/WNSK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8621-06-C-6300).

    Nov 18/10: Oman request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] The Sultanate of Oman’s request for equipment, support and training associated with 1 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft being bought through a separate Direct Commercial Sale (see June 5/09 entry). The RAFO C-130J-30 would receive 1 AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures System, 7 AN/AAR-54 Missile Approach Warning Systems, 2 AN/ALR- 56M Radar Warning Receivers, 2 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Sets, plus communication and navigation equipment, software support, repair and return, aircraft ferry and refueling support, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is $76 million.

    Lockheed Martin sells the C-130, but for this request, the prime contractor will be Northrop Grumman Corporation in Rolling Meadows, IL. Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to Oman involving up to 10 U.S. Government and 10 contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, and program management for a period of approximately 6 years.

    DSCA request: Oman support & defensive

    Nov 10/10: A $160 million contract modification that commits FY 2010 advance procurement funding for 16 C-130J aircraft that will have their contracts completed in FY 2011. At this time, the entire amount has been committed (FA8625-06-C-6456; P00174).

    Nov 8/10: Production accelerating. Flight International reports that Lockheed Martin has entered the final 12 months of F-22A production in Marietta, GA, and details the shifts underway. They add that the plant is also working to treble the C-130J’s production rate, to about 36 aircraft per year.

    Oct 7/10: Australian innovation. Australian Defence magazine reports that Australian software investments are about to benefit global C-130J fleets, thanks to strong support from RAAF No. 37 squadron and the DSTO. The software is estimated to save about $2 million in maintenance hours and fuel over the plane’s lifetime. How?

    Multi-engine propeller planes need to “balance” their propellers, in order to reduce vibration levels. That’s normally a labor-intensive process involving up to 5 maintenance staff, and multiple ground runs, over 1-2 days. Australia’s DSTO decided to look into a software solution that drew on an existing advanced engine monitoring capability, and coupled it with algorithms that take the flight data. Balancing now takes 2 hours, without the need for engine ground runs.

    Flight tests before and after were promising, and the UK, Italy, Denmark, Canada and Norway will begin using the software soon. The USA is still reviewing the software license.

    Oct 6/10: India omissions. Indian defense journalist Shiv Aroor lists the technologies that he says will not be in India’s C-130J-30 special forces aircraft, as a result of India’s refusal to sign the USA’s CISMOA End-User Monitoring agreement: AN/ARC-222 SINCGARS radios, KV-119 IFF Digital Transponder (Mode 4 Crypto Applique), TACTERM / ANDVT Secure Voice (HF) Terminal, VINSON KY-58 Secure Voice (UHF/VHF) Module, and no SINCGARS/crypto features in the embedded AN/ARC-210v SATCOM Transceiver.

    Oct 5/10: India. The 1st of 6 Indian C-130J-30 special forces aircraft takes flight from Lockheed Martin’s plant and airfield in Marietta, GA.

    FY 2010

    USA plans to increase buy; Israel buys 1st; Kuwait buys 3; Oman requests 2 and buys 2; Tunisia buys 2; Australian modernization plan; Italian 5-year support deal; US multi-year contract proposal; Deliveries: Canada accepts 1st; Norway’s 4th and last; HC-130J rollout. Danish C-130J
    (click to view full)

    Sept 13/10: A $59.8 million contract modification to buy 1 more FY 2008 OCO C-130J aircraft. At this time, $39.6 million has been committed (FA8625-06-C-6456; PO0193).

    DID offers our readers the usual caveats, and reminds them that buying an aircraft doesn’t necessarily include “government furnished equipment” niceties like engines, etc.

    Sept 2/10: A $315.6 million contract modification buy 3 FY 2008 “Overseas Contingency Operations” (supplemental wartime funding) C-130Js; 1 FY 2008 OCO KC-130J aerial tanker/ transport for the US Marines; and 1 FY 2010 HC-130J aircraft for US SOCOM. At this time, $250.8 million has been committed (FA8625-06-C-6456; PO0178).

    Aug 31/10: Sub-contractors. UK firm GKN Aerospace announces that they have delivered the 1,000th C-130J engine nacelle. The firm has been supplying these since 1993, and plans to increase production from 18 aircraft sets (72 nacelles) per year in 2008 to “near double that” in 2011. GKN has set up a new state of the art production line at their Isle of Wight facility.

    To meet this significant production rate increase GKN Aerospace has moved manufacture to an entirely new, state of the art production line at the Company’s site on the Isle of Wight, UK.

    Aug 16/10: Oman contract. The Sultanate of Oman buys 2 C-130J aircraft, to complement the stretched C-130J-30 that’s already under contract for delivery in 2012. When this buy is complete, they will have replaced their existing fleet of 3 1980s-vintage C-130Hs with 3 C-130Js.

    The 2 new C-130Js will not be the stretched J-30 version discussed in the July 2/10 DSCA announcement, and will be delivered in 2103 and 2014. Price is not disclosed, and the DSCA announcement referred to a “direct commercial sale” of the aircraft themselves, to accompany Oman’s request to buy up to $54 million worth of defensive equipment and support through the Foreign Military Sale procedure.

    Oman: 2 C-130J

    Aug 5/10: Italian support. Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica signs a 5-year, EUR 155 million (about $203 million) contract with the Italian Air Force to provide technical and logistical support services to their fleet of 20-21 C-130Js and C-130J-30s.

    Alenia will partner with Avio and Lockheed Martin to offer a fully integrated service that will be responsible for the supply of spare parts, management of the supply chain, equipment maintenance including landing gear, the maintenance of the Air Ground Equipment (AGE), and engineering support activities, including responsibility for the C-130J flight simulator based at the 46th Air Brigade of Pisa.

    Alenia will have overall responsibility, and will execute most of the work. Avio will be in charge of the complete propulsion system, including overhaul and technical/logistical and engineering assistance to the Aeronautica Militare’s 92 Rolls Royce AE2100D3 engines. C-130J builder Lockheed Martin will be responsible for the supply of repair components produced in the U.S. and for any modifications. These 3 companies have been providing support and technical and logistical assistance to the Italian C-130J fleet since 2007.

    Italy support

    HC-130J
    click to play video

    July 29/10: The 1st production HC-130J personnel recovery variant flies at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, GA. It’s due for delivery to USAF Air Combat Command in September 2010, and is scheduled to reach initial operational capability in 2012. An Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOCOM) MC-130J variant of this aircraft will fly in early 2011.

    July 20/10: Canada Engine support. Rolls Royce announces a contract from Lockheed Martin. The base contract to support the Canadian CC-130Js’ AE 2100D3 engines is worth USD $70 million, and the entire contract could be worth up to $260 million over the CC-130J fleet’s lifetime.

    Under this contract, Rolls-Royce will be providing all engine management and repair, logistics support and on-site technical support for the engine. It is paired with the long-term fleet support contract mentioned in the Dec 18/09 entry. Read “Replacing Canada’s Failing CC-130s: 17 C-130Js” for full coverage.

    Canada engine support

    July 1/10: Norway. The last of 4 ordered RNoAF C-130J-30s heads off to Norway. Read “Norway Renews Its Tactical Transport Fleet” for full coverage.

    Norway: all delivered

    July 2/10: Oman request. The US DSCA announces Oman’s request to buy additional equipment, logistics support, and training for 2 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, which are being bought via a Direct Commercial Sale outside of the DSCA’s Foreign Military Sales process. Additional military equipment bought under FMS rules includes 2 AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning Systems, 2 AN/ALR-56M Radar Warning Receivers, 2 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Sets, plus communication equipment, software support, repair and return, installation, aircraft ferry and refueling support, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of U.S. government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $54 million.

    The Royal Air Force of Oman currently operates 3 C-130H aircraft, and has already bought 1 C-130J-30 (q.v. June 5/09). They can absorb the new equipment, but a sale would require annual trips to Oman involving up to 10 U.S. Government and 10 contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, and program management for a period of approximately 6 years.

    DSCA request: Oman support & training

    June 18/10: Multi-year proposal. The Hill reports that Lockheed Martin continues to work on a multi-year C-130J buy, and that the current negotiations for 65 C-130Js would serve as a starting point. Lockheed Martin’s international VP for air mobility business development, Jack Crisler, says the key target is 10% savings demonstrated, adding that his firm plans to propose the multi-year contract in September-October 2010.

    The proposal could also become more inclusive, potentially adding US Special Operations and US Coast Guard aircraft. If other multi-year deals serve as any guide, the deal might also end up including foreign buys, which would benefit from the US government’s volume pricing. USAF acquisition chief David Van Buren says the USAF is receptive to the idea, but past discussions haven’t shown that 10%+ savings over the existing year-by-year contracts. The USAF reportedly pegs the current price of a C-130J, without spares or Government-Furnished Equipment such as engines and some electronics, optional refueling pods, etc. at $57.6 million.

    June 4/10: Canada acceptance. Canada formally accepts the first of 17 CC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, to the Canadian Forces 8 Wing in Trenton, ON, 6 months ahead of the original delivery schedule. The remaining 16 aircraft will begin delivery in winter 2010 as planned, with deliveries running into 2012. Canadian DND.

    May 27/10: Kuwait contract. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA announces a $245 million contract to provide 3 KC-130J aerial tankers to the government of Kuwait. This order is part of a larger approved request to buy up to 8 KC-130Js and associated equipment (see July 20/09 entry).

    KC-130Js will provide aerial refueling for the Kuwait air force’s F/A-18 C/D fighter fleet, and augment its current airlift fleet of 3 L-100s (civilian C-130). Kuwait’s KC-130Js also will perform air mobility, disaster relief and humanitarian missions throughout the world.

    Kuwait: 3 KC-130J

    April 30/10: Israel +1. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA receives a $98.6 million contract, to provide one C-130J aircraft for the government of Israel. The contract also includes additional non-developmental items for the aircraft, and $18.5 million of foreign military financing has been committed by the 657th AESS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456).

    This order has been some time in negotiation, and follows a July 30/08 DSCA announcement that covered up to $1.9 billion for 9 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, with Special Operations features.

    Israel: 1 C-130J-30

    April 19/10: HC-130J rollout. Lockheed Martin rolls out the first HC-130J combat rescue tanker, at an official ceremony in Marietta, GA. The 563rd Rescue Group, based at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ and at Kirtland AFB, NM will be the first bases to receive the new model for training purposes once it has undergone initial testing, which typically takes about a year. Initial Operational Capability is slated for 2012. Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Andersen, USAF Air Combat Command’s director of requirements, said that:

    “The recapitalization of the C-130 fleet is a big deal and the new model represents a quantum leap in technology which allows us to continue completing the mission. Right now, the C-130 has one of the lowest availability rates [emphasis DID’s] in the Air Force and the introduction of the J-model will increase that rate by 46% as well as decrease needed crewmembers from 7 to 5.”

    The HC-130J, like all of the Special Forces C-130Js, uses a KC-130J tanker baseline. It adds the Enhanced Service Life Wing, Enhanced Cargo Handling System, a dorsal aerial refueling boom receptacle, an electro-optical/infrared sensor, a combat systems operator station on the flight deck, and provisions for the large aircraft infrared countermeasures system (LAIRCM) missile defense system. The maintenance techs especially appreciate the C-130J-standard improved diagnostic systems, as opposed to the C-130H models’ more manual approach. Lockheed Martin is currently contracted to build 21 HC/MC-130Js, and the USAF is currently authorized to buy up to 31 (11 HC-130J, 20 MC-130J). USAF | Lockheed Martin.

    HC-130J rollout

    April 6/10: Engines. Rolls-Royce announces $51 million engine production and MissionCare services contract for the AE 2100D3 engines on the USMC’s KC-130J tanker. The award falls under a 4-year contract with US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), which is administered at NAS Patuxent River, MD.

    Rolls-Royce will provide engines, engine management, support, trouble shooting, parts supply and logistics support for aircraft operating at 3 US Marine Air Stations: Miramar, CA; Cherry Point, NC; and Okinawa, Japan.

    April 3/10: The first HC-130J combat rescue tanker leaves Lockheed Martin’s main assembly building in Marietta, GA. The plane next steps include a trip to the painting facility, production flight testing, and formal presentation to the USAF on April 19/10. The HC-130J will be delivered later in 2010, then undergo operational flight testing to meet an Initial Operating Capability target of mid-2012. Lockheed Martin release.

    April 1/10: Support. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA received a $77.1 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0015) to provide additional funding for logistics and engineering services in support of the US Marine Corps KC-130J aircraft.

    Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC (36%), Miramar, CA (36%), and Okinawa, Japan (28%), and is expected to be complete in December 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command manages the contract.

    April 1/10: SAR – more C-130Js. The Pentagon releases its April 2010 Selected Acquisitions Report, covering major program changes up to December 2009. The C-130J is featured, because the US military wants more of them:

    “C-130J – Program costs increased $3,148.8 million (+26.2%) from $12,029.3 million to $15,178.1 million, due primarily to a quantity increase of 34 aircraft from 134 to 168 aircraft (+$2,749.3 million), and increases in other support costs (+$972.8 million) and initial spares (+$394.7 million) associated with the quantity increase. These increases were partially offset by decreases for actual contract values for aircraft costs (-$541.5 million), to properly account for advanced procurement that was erroneously reflected in the previous report (-$246.0 million), and for funding reductions in fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2015 (-$140.9 million).”

    SAR – more C-130Js

    March 2/10: Tunisia contract. Lockheed Martin announces an unspecified contract with Tunisia for 2 C-130J-30 stretched transports, and says the contract was signed in February 2010.

    Deliveries are scheduled for 2013-2014, and the Tunisian contract also contains an initial 3 years of logistics support. The country currently operates a fleet of C-130Hs and C-130Bs, first purchased in the mid-1980s.

    Tunisia: 2 C-130J-30

    Feb 25/10: Australia upgrades. Australia’s government announces that they have approved AUD $45 million to upgrade and modernize their C-130J fleet, as part of a multi-national Joint User Group Global Project Arrangement with United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Canada and Italy. The “Block 7.0″ upgrades will address system obsolescence, maintain international compatibility, and enable these aircraft to comply with new global air traffic standards. Defence minister Sen. Faulkner is quoted as saying that:

    “Importantly, there is likely to be significant opportunity for Australian Industry to be involved in the national installation and support of the upgrade. Funding for these elements will be considered by Government following successful testing of the first modification kit on an Australian C-130J. [as a] risk management strategy.”

    Feb 1/10: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. of Indianapolis, IN receives a $146 million firm-fixed-price contract, exercising Option III (year 4) of logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data in support of the C-130J propulsion systems. This includes the AE2100D3 engine, and the R-391 propeller as well.

    At this time, $42.7 million has been committed by the 330th ACSG/GFKA at Robins AFB, GA (FA8504-07-D-0001, Delivery #0400).

    Jan 22/10: Support. A $16.7 million contract completely funds an “engineering change proposal” (ECP) to replace the C-130J’s Star VII mission computer. (FA8625-06-C-6456).

    Jan 13/10: Canada. The 1st Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules produced for Canada leaves the company’s paint facility in Marietta, Georgia.

    CC-130J: just painted
    (click to view full)

    Dec 18/09: Canada support. The Government of Canada signs a C$ 723 million (currently $698 million) contract amendment with Lockheed Martin. This initial CC-130J fleet support funding covers an initial 5 1/2 year period ending June 30/16.

    The contract also includes a mechanism to extend the period of in-service support throughout the fleet’s service life, to 20 years or more. Public Works Canada release.

    Canada support

    Dec 22/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL receives a $14.5 million contract to provide FY 2010 operations and maintenance services for the C-130J. At this time, $3.5 million has been committed (FA8621-06-C-6300, P000046).

    Dec 19/09: The 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, flies its first C-130J Super Hercules mission in support of U.S. Air Forces Africa to bring home 17 American troops from a training mission in Mali. 37th Airlift squadron of the 86th Airlift Wing, 17th Air Force flew the mission.

    The USAF release cites the C-130J’s increased range as a helpful factor in Africa, and also cites the aircraft’s improved cargo capacity, especially in hot and/or high-altitude conditions. A pickup of this nature exercises the former but not the latter, expanding operational familiarity with the aircraft, in return for higher operating costs to perform this particular mission.

    Nov 23/09: Italian crash. Italian air force C-130J #MM62176 crashes and burns after a touch-and-go landing, during a routine training sortie from Pisa. The crash kills both pilots, and all 3 passengers. It could have been worse – the plane crashed on a nearby railway line, but an oncoming train managed to stop.

    C-130J MM62176 was delivered to Italy in 2000 as its 1st of 12 regular C-130Js, but was later adapted for tanker applications. The Italians have not halted flying operations with their remaining 21 C-130Js, which include 1 KC-130J and 10 stretched C-130J-30s.

    This is not the 1st C-130J lost. On Feb 12/07, A UK Royal Air Force C-130J was extensively damaged by 2 land mines that were detonated while it was landing on a semi-prepared strip in southern Iraq. The British decided to destroy the plane. Flight International.

    Crash

    Nov 9/09: Engines. Rolls-Royce announces an $8.5 million contract to provide AE 2100D3 spare engine parts to power the C-130J military transport aircraft for the US Air Force. As part of this order, deployable kits and initial provisioning spares will be delivered to Cannon AFB in NM, Dyess AFB in TX and Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

    The contract, which is managed by Robins Air Force Base in GA, involves an initial 956 AE 2100D3 spare engines parts for delivery through 2011.

    Oct 20/09: Industrial. Lockheed Martin CFO Bruce Tanner, discussing Q3 2009 earnings, reveals that global C-130J deliveries will grow from 12 aircraft in 2008 to 16 in 2009 and 26 in 2010. Q3 Earnings slides [PDF] | Flight International.

    Oct 19/09: Shadow Harvest. Flight International reports that Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works division wants clearance to export its “Shadow Harvest” roll-on/roll-off suite of intelligence sensors for the C-130 Hercules, which was developed for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) with sponsorship from the Miami, Florida-based Southern Command.

    Shadow Harvest is designed to identify targets concealed under camouflage or foliage, and reportedly includes BAE’s SPIRITT hyperspectral camera, and a low frequency/ multi-band synthetic aperture radar (MB-SAR), among other sensors, plus containerized roll on/off controllers and displays. It’s expected to become an official USAF program of record by 2012.

    Oct 19/09: C-130 plans. Flight International has a video of 2 USAF Colonels who are answering questions regarding a number of C-130-related programs, including potential future gunships, programs to add weapons to C-130s beyond the USMC’s KC-130Js, SOCOM programs, etc.

    Oct 16/09: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA received an $827.4 million contract for advance procurement funding for 3 FY 2010 C-130J aircraft, 4 FY 2010 HC-130J aircraft, and 4 FY 2010 MC-130J aircraft. An option is being exercised for the acquisition of 1 HC-130J aircraft to be fully funded with FY10 funds. Note that MC/HC-130Js are Special Operations aircraft.

    At this time, $8.3 million has been obligated. The 657 AESS/SYKA at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456, P00087).

    Oct 5/09: Lockheed Martin officially launches production of its HC/MC-130J special forces search-and-rescue aircraft. Future upgrades involve an internal investment to design a retractable housing for the aircraft’s MTS-A turret, in order to reduce drag and extend range. Other possibilities reportedly include airframe changes to accommodate more equipment, possibly including an enlarged nose section, and a wider cross-section for the fuselage. Flight International.

    FY 2009

    Qatar orders 4; Iraq orders 4; USA begins arming C-130Js; UAE says “maybe”; France interested – really?!?; Australian 5-year support deal; Canadian 5-year support deal; Shadow Harvest kit clearance?; Italian crash; Video re: USAF thinking. AE2100 engine
    c. Rolls-Royce plc 2009
    (click to view full)

    Sept 30/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp., of Orlando FL received a $9.9 million contract which will provide for FY 2010 C-130J maintenance and training, as orders are placed by the 677th AESG/SYK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8621-06-C-6300).

    Sept 10/09: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $11.1 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0020) from the U.S. Marine Corps, for 3 of the C-130J’s AE2100D3 turboprop engines. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, N.C., and is expected to be complete in May 2012. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract.

    Aug 24/09: Engines. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, GA receives a $30.2 million modified contract to purchase the quick engine change assemblies for American C/KC/BC/HC/MC-130J aircraft, and Foreign Military Sale aircraft for Norway and India.

    “At this time $31,972,726 has been obligated.” The US Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages this contract (FA8625-06-C-6456).

    Aug 11/09: Iraq order. A $140.3 million unfinalized firm-fixed-price contract modification for 2 more Iraqi C-130J-30s, completing their 6-aircraft request. The contract also includes engineering and integration tasks associated with Iraq’s distinctive C-130J-30 configuration.

    At this time no funds have been obligated. The 657 AESS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages this contract (FA8625-06-C-6456/P00098). Read “Iraq Orders C-130Js” for all contracts and requests related to that program.

    Iraq: 2 C-130J-30

    July 20/09: Kuwait request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Kuwait’s official request to buy up to 8 KC-130J cargo/refueling aircraft and associated equipment, parts and support for an estimated cost $1.8 billion. This would significantly upgrade Kuwait’s air force, which currently lacks aerial refueling aircraft, and depends on just 3 L100 civilian C-130E equivalents for transport duties. Kuwait’s purchase would reinforce a trend in the Gulf Cooperation Council, which has seen similar purchases and requests in the last year from Saudi Arabia (A330s), Qatar (C-130J-30s), and the UAE (C-17s, C-130Js pending).

    Kuwait has requested 8 KC-130Js with the accompanying 32 AE-2100D3 Turbo propeller engines, plus 8 spare AE-2100D3 Turbo propeller engines, 4 AN/ALR-56M Radar Warning Receivers, 4 AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning Systems, 4 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser Sets, and 20 AN/ARC-210 (RT-1851A(U)) Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency HAVEQUICK/SINCGARS Radio Systems. The contract, to be negotiated, would also include spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and other related elements of program support.

    The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Marietta, Georgia. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

    DSCA request: Kuwait KC-130J (8)

    June 5-15/09: France? With the A400M program seriously behind schedule, and a fleet of C-160 and Lockheed Martin C-130H tactical transports that continue to see heavy demand, France is apparently looking at the one option its government had said would not be considered.

    French Defense Minister Herve Morin is quoted as saying that the government has expanded its stopgap options to include lease or purchase of some C-130Js; and Bloomberg reports that France has officially requested C-130J availability and performance data for review. Other possibilities for France include stepped up per-hour leasing of Russian AN-124s under NATO’s SALIS pool, per-hour C-17 leasing under NATO’s SAC pool, acquisition or lease of EADS’ smaller C-295Ms, or advancing their planned Airbus 330 MRTT aerial tanker & transport buy. France has also approved the modernization of its 10 newest C160 Transalls so they can remain in service until the first A400Ms arrive, which is now expected to happen in 2014-15.

    These options group themselves by tradeoffs. Some contenders (C-295M, A330 MRTT) lack the reinforced floors required for dense tactical loads like armored vehicles. Others (AN-124, A330 MRTT, C-17s to lesser extent) require longer runways to operate from, which removes some of their utility as front line delivery aircraft. Range and refueling capability are potential issues for some (C-295M, some C-130Js), while maintaining overall fleet strength and front line airlift availability is a concern in other cases (AN-124, C-17, A330 MRTT to some extent). The C-130J sits in the middle of many of these tradeoffs, which may be why it has climbed back into consideration. Bloomberg.

    June 5/09: Oman order. Lockheed Martin announces that the Sultanate of Oman has ordered a single stretched C-130J-30, to complement its 3 existing C-130H aircraft which were bought in the 1980s. Price is not disclosed.

    The Lockheed Martin release doesn’t mention the UAE as a customer, despite earlier reports that contracts had been negotiated at IDEX 2009 (see Feb 25/09 entry). Company representatives informed DID that they are in final negotiations with the UAE, but have no contract yet, adding that negotiations are also underway with Israel (see July 30/08 entry).

    Oman: 1 C-130J-30

    May 27/09: Engines. Rolls-Royce announces an $80 million contract to provide AE 2100D3 spare engines and parts to power the C-130J military transport aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the Indian Air Force.

    The contract, which is managed by Robins Air Force Base in GA, involves an initial 27 AE 2100D3 spare engines and parts for delivery through 2011.

    May 8/09: Armed C-130Js. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, GA received a $22.8 million firm-fixed-price contract to develop a roll-on, roll-off armed targeting capability for the Marine Corps’ KC-130J. The program is known as Harvest Hawk.

    Work will be performed in Palmdale, CA and is expected to be complete in December 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $15.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-09-C-0053).

    May 4/09: Armed C-130Js. The USAF is also interested in roll-on armament for its C-130 fleet, and issues a PIXS solicitation for a “Precision Strike Pkg 360 Degree Situational Awareness Camera System.” The solicitation adds that:

    “This system would operate at altitudes at or above 10,000 feet and act as a hostile fire indicator system to provide aircrew with the ability to virtually scan the outside of the aircraft for hostile ground threats that would possibly target them. This system is part of a broader Persistence Strike Package (PSP). The purpose of the PSP program is to add a modular PSP to a medium lift cargo aircraft, to include a medium caliber gun and Stand-Off Precision Guided Munitions (SOPGM).”

    April 30/09: Iraq order. Lockheed Martin of Marietta, GA receives a maximum $292.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy 4 C-130J-30 aircraft for the Iraqi government. At this time, $6.9 million has been obligated. The 657 AESS in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456,P00080).

    Note the July 25/08 entry. The initial request was for 6 aircraft. Since the DSCA request went unchallenged, Iraq’s government has the freedom to buy up to 2 more aircraft at a later date.

    Iraq: 4 C-130J-30

    April 30/09: The Air Force is modifying a fixed price contract with Lockheed Martin Corp., of Marietta, GA for $15.8 million. This contract modification will exercise options to purchase Special Forces configuration equipment for 6 MC-130J Global War on Terror aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 657 AESS, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-C-6456).

    March 11/09: Australia support deal. Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) announces a contract to EADS Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace to provide Through Life Support services for the RAAF’s fleet of 12 C-130J and stretched C-130J-30 Hercules aircraft. Australian Aerospace already supports the RAAF’s AP-3C maritime patrol aircraft, so this is not a huge departure for the firm. Lockheed Martin will be the sub-contractor for aircraft maintenance, engineering, and supply chain management; and engine support will continue to be provided by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise subsidiary StandardAero under an existing contract arrangement.

    The contract is worth up to A$ 292 million, and is structured as a 5-year rolling contract whose continuation will reportedly be linked to demonstrated performance and cost containment, with an eye to: improved delivery of services; performance-based, long-term, support arrangements; relationship with the Commonwealth; price disclosure; and meaningful transfer of risk. Contract extensions can continue under these arrangements, through to expected life-of-type in 2030.

    RAAF Air Vice-Marshal Thorne says that the contract will create over 80 additional industry jobs in the Sydney/Richmond area over the next year. Australian DoD.

    Australia support

    March 5/09: Britain. Britain’s RAF is under strain, trying to sustain an aerial supply bridge for 8,000 deployed troops in Afghanistan. With its 20 C-130Ks (C1/C3) being forced toward retirement, Aviation Week reports [link now broken] that Britain is looking at the possibility of leasing 5 C-130Js as a potential “bridge” until the A400Ms can begin to arrive, and/or finding ways to add to their 6-plane C-17 fleet.

    Senior British Defense Ministry officials are believed to have met on March 4/09 to examine proposals for the ministry’s next “Planning Round 09.” Airlift and budget issues would have been prominent within those discussions.

    Feb 27/09: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $106 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J, which includes the AE2100D3 turboprop engine and Dowty R391 propeller.

    The KC-130J MissionCare contract is a single contract line item number is used to pay a fixed price based on aircraft hours flown. Under the terms of the agreement, Rolls-Royce will provide engine management, support, trouble shooting, parts supply and logistics support for the aircraft, operating at 3 U.S. Marine Air Stations: Miramar, CA, Cherry Point, NC and Okinawa, Japan.

    The contract covers a base year plus 3 option years, with the base year funded at $39.1 million and running to February 2010. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-09-D-0020).

    Feb 26/09: Norway engine support. Rolls-Royce announces a $23 million MissionCare support services and spares contract for AE 2100D3 engines. The engines are installed on the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s (RNoAF) C-130Js.

    The contract is modeled after the USAF’s Power By The Hour contract, providing a comprehensive support package to the RNoAF on a per-engine flight-hour basis. The contract covers on-site technical support, maintenance support, training, provision of spare parts, supply replenishment with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the engine, and supply of an R391 Dowty propeller.

    Feb 25/09: UAE. The UAE announces an AED 5.9 billion (about $1.6 billion) deal for 12 of Lockheed Martin’s C-130J medium-range tactical transports, which will accompany a deal for 4 of Boeing’s larger C-17s. Abu Dhabi’s privately-owned Waha Capital usually finances airline purchases, and has been tapped to finance the C-17 and C-130J contracts.

    Neither deal is finalized, and the C-17 contract takes a while. The C-130J contract remains unsigned as of September 2012.

    Feb 2/09: Engines. The USAF is modifying a contract to Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN for $120 million, in return for spares, program management support, engineering services, and technical data in support of the C-130J’s AE 2100D3 engine and R-391 propeller. At this time $17.5 million has been committed, and the contract will be managed by 330 ACSG/GFKA at Robins AFB, GA (FA8504-07-D-0001, P00004).

    Dec 16/08: Industrial. Reuters reports that Lockheed Chairman and CEO Robert Stevens told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington that the company expected to sell “hundreds [of C-130Js] domestically and hopefully hundreds internationally” in coming years. “We’re building one airplane a month and our goal is to maybe double that…” he said.

    Dec 12/08: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $6 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N00019-03-D-0002). The Us Marine Corps is buying 2 more AE2100D3 turboprop engines for their KC-130Js.

    Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN and is expected to be complete in July 2010. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract.

    Dec 3/08: Canada. The Ottawa Citizen’s defense reporter Davd Pugliese reports that Canada has signed a contract for early delivery of 2 of its 15 ordered C-130Js. One aircraft will arrive in June 2010, and the other will arrive in July 2010.

    This still misses the RFP’s original must-deliver date of early 2009, but that was based on a contract being signed in 2006, instead of in 2008. Under the signed 2008 contract, the delivery deadline for the first Canadian C-130J would have been January 2011.

    Dec 1/08: MC-130J mods. The USAF is modifying a firm-fixed-price not-to-exceed $74.9 million contract to Lockheed Martin Corp in Marietta, GA. It includes time and material and cost reimbursement, and covers an Engineering Change Proposal for one-time efforts to incorporate Special Operations Forces-unique modifications in the MC-130J. At this time, $19.6 million has been committed (FA8625-06-C-6456).

    See also the related June 13/08 entry.

    Oct 7/08: Qatar order. Qatar recently moved to upgrade its military transport capabilities by buying 2 C-17 strategic airlifters, and 18 AW139 utility helicopters. Now it will also add 4 stretched C-130J-30 tactical transports, under a recent $393.6 million deal with Lockheed Martin.

    Qatar has never flown C-130s, so the package includes 4 aircraft, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spares, ground support and test equipment, servicing carts, forklifts, loading vehicles, cargo pallets, and a team of technical specialists who will be based in Qatar during an initial support period. See also July 29/08 entry.

    Qatar: 4 C-130J-30

    FY 2008

    Canada orders 17; India orders 6; HC/MC-130J special forces configurations unveiled, get initial US orders; Qatar orders 4; Italian 3-year support deal; Israel request; Iraq request; 1st US Coast Guard C-130J delivered; As US SAR points to program growth, Lockheed confident C-130J will make it. USMC KC-130J
    (click to view full)

    Aug 14/08: Sub-contractors. Rockwell Collins Aerospace and Electronics, Inc. in Portland, OR received a $7.2 (in total ceiling amount) firm-fixed-price, Basic Order Agreement (BOA) for spares, repairs, and engineering services and support of HGS-3000 heads-up display system for the C-130J aircraft sustainment program.

    Work will be performed 100% in Portland, Ore and is anticipated to be complete at the conclusion of the BOA in August 2013. Funds will be obligated as each job order is identified. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities, Navy Electronic Commerce Online, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane website with one offer received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN (N00164-08-G-WT00).

    July 30/08: Israel. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress [PDF] of Israel’s request for up to 9 stretched C-130J-30s, including a number of ‘non-standard’ equipment items associated with Special Forces use. The total value could be as high as $1.9 billion.

    Read Israel Orders ‘Special’ C-130J-30s for full coverage.

    DSCA request: Israel C-130J-30 (9)

    July 29/08: Qatar. DACIS reports [link now broken] that The Qatari Ministry of Defense has awarded Lockheed Martin an undisclosed contract for C-130J Hercules transports. While no DSCA announcement has been issued, there are civilian versions of the C-130 that would not require a Foreign Military Sale request. Later announcements reveal that Qatar ordered 4 planes.

    The move comes just a couple of weeks after Qatar signed deals with an estimated $1.5 billion value, acquiring 2 C-17 strategic transport aircraft, and 18 AW139 light/medium utility helicopters. The Persian Gulf sheikhdom doesn’t have a real military transport fleet at the moment, just a VIP flight of business and passenger jets. With these 3 contracts, Qatar has now modernized its aged utility helicopter fleet, and acquired longer-range military transports to back that up. See subsequent announcement on Oct 7/08.

    July 25/08: Iraq request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Iraq’s official request for 6 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, which will supplement the 3 refurbished C-130E’s that currently form Iraq’s medium transport fleet.

    The estimated cost is $1.5 billion, and the prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX and Rolls-Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, IN. Going forward, up to 10 U.S. Government and 10 contractor representatives will participate in 2-week long annual technical and program management reviews. Lockheed Martin and Rolls Royce aren’t the only contractors for this request, however, which also includes defensive equipment from Alliant Techsystems and BAE Systems. The detailed request includes:

    • 6 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft identical to the USAF baseline standard
    • 28 Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 engines, (24 installed, 4 spare)
    • 8 of ATK’s AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (6 installed, 2 spare)
    • 8 of BAE’s AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems (6 installed, 2 spare)

    Plus a stock of spare and repair parts, configuration updates, integration studies, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, technical services, personnel training and training equipment, foreign liaison office support, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, construction, and other related elements of logistics support.

    DSCA request: Iraq C-130J-30 (6)

    July 17/08: Industrial. It was touch-and-go for a while, but the C-130J’s future now looks much more assured. Ross Reynolds, vice president of C-130 Programs for Lockheed Martin, announces that the company has notched 221 C-130J orders, with a current backlog of 58 aircraft. Flight International’s article adds that:

    “Having dropped plans to upgrade its ‘Legacy Herks’ under Boeing’s troubled avionics modernization programme (AMP) the USAF has instead opted for new aircraft, based on a common airframe derived from the US Marine Corps’ KC-130J. The new requirement initially calls for 115 aircraft; initially comprising 78 HC-130Js for Air Combat Command and 37 MC-130Js for AFSOC. In anticipation of the huge new USAF requirement, Lockheed Martin says that it is ready to ramp up production to 24 aircraft per year from the current 12.”

    July 15/08: Sub-contractors. Lockheed Martin holds a briefing at the Farnborough International Airshow 2008 concerning its new HC-130J and MC-130J configurations. In addition, Lockheed Martin discussed 3 new technologies that will become part of all future C-130Js: (1) a Global Digital Map Unit built by Israel’s Elbit Systems; (2) a TacView Portable Mission Display for mission planning and in-flight replanning, built by Canada’s CMC, who recently finished a delivery to US AFSOC for its AC-130H/U gunships; and CMC’s InegriFlight commercial GPS Landing System Sensor Unit to give the planes an Instrument Flight Rules and civil-certified Global Navigational Satellite System. CMC Electronics | Flight International re: TacView.

    June 13/08: +6 SOCOM. The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Marietta GA by $470 million, as an unfinalized contract to buy 6 HC/MC-130J special operations aircraft. The aircraft will be bought in FY 2009, and this contract includes associated long lead material and non-recurring aircraft production efforts using FY 2008 advance procurement funding. At this time $75 million has been committed by the USAF/AFMC, Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456 P00037).

    The new variant will add several features to the baseline KC-130J, including Block 6.5 flight-control software, an extended service life wing, an enhanced cargo handling system, a boom refueling receptacle, and electro-optical/infrared camera, a combat systems station and armor.

    This move effectively abandons an earlier option of holding a competition to replace existing HC/MC-130s. The USAF is authorized to replace the 68 oldest HC/MC-130N/Ps, including some that entered service in 1964. Whether it chooses to replace its entire inventory with C-130J variants remains an open question at this point; a future competition is not impossible. See also USAF release | Flight International.

    May 30/08: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $9.7 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-03-D-0002) for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J, which includes the AE2100D3 turboprop engine and R391 propeller.

    Work will be performed at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC and is expected to be completed in November 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD is managing the contract.

    May 28/08: HC/MC-130J. Lockheed Martin unveils its privately-developed HC/MC-130J at the ILA exhibition in Berlin. It can be refueled in flight, ad can also mount the KC-130J’s refueling pods to act as a tanker itself. Advanced imaging and radar systems for low-level night flights and battlefield surveillance, modern electronics including the addition of a dual-display combat systems operator station, and a wing with longer service life round out the enhancements.

    This tailored common core special operations variant is intended to the HC-130N/P King Bird CSAR/tanker, MC-130E/H Combat Talon special forces transports, and MC-130P Combat Shadow special forces transports/tankers. Lockheed also hopes that this hopes new common core airframe will form the basis of a future gunship to replace existing AC-130s; see the Additional Readings section, however, for questions about the design’s appropriateness to the future Special Operations environment.

    SOCOM has issued an official acquisition decision memorandum for 68 aircraft has now been issued to replace the older MC-130E, MC-130P and HC-130P aircraft, with an overall program target of 115 aircraft and an initial operational capability (IOC) date of 2012. In the absence of orders, Lockheed Martin has used private funds in order to ensure timely development, though India’s recent billion-dollar order of 6-12 MC-130J type aircraft has helped ease the risk. Lockheed Martin is also keenly aware that the larger Airbus A400M’s biggest disadvantage is the fact that deliveries are expected to begin in 2011, with a substantial order backlog of about 180 aircraft. By accelerating its own efforts, they place their future competitor at maximum disadvantage for the prestigious US SOCOM contract, which can then be levered into niche-role contracts with other countries looking to boost their special forces and search-and-rescue capabilities. Flight International.

    HC/MC-130J design unveiled

    May 9/08: Support. GE Aviation Systems LLC of Sterling, VA received a firm fixed price contract for $9.4 million to establish organizational level propeller repair capability for the C-130J aircraft at 8 different bases. At this time all funds have been committed. Robbins AFB, GA issued the contract (FA8504-080C-0002).

    April 7/08: SAR. The USA decides to buy more C-130Js, and that means higher overall program costs which must be note in the Pentagon’s Selected Acquisition Reports release:

    “Program costs increased $3,958.2 million (+49.0 percent) from $8,071.1 million to $12,029.3 million, due primarily to a quantity increase of 52 aircraft from 82 to 134 aircraft (+$2,937.8 million) and associated estimating and schedule allocations

    • (+$399.6 million). There were additional increases in initial spares (+$85.7 million) and other support costs (+$546.9 million) associated with the higher aircraft quantity. These increases were partially offset by decreases from the acceleration of the procurement buy profile (-$18.1 million) and withholds for higher Air Force priorities and programming changes (-$12.6 million).

    …Quantity changes are estimated based on the original SAR baseline cost-quantity relationship. Cost changes since the original baseline are separately categorized as schedule, engineering, or estimating “allocations.” The total impact of a quantity change is the identified “quantity” change plus all associated “allocations.”

    SAR – more C-130Js

    April 2/08: Lockheed Martin announces delivery of a 6th C-130J Super Hercules to 41st Airlift Squadron, 463rd Airlift Group, at Little Rock Air Force Base, AR. The 41st, also known as the “Black Cats,” is the first active-duty C-130J combat squadron in the Air Force.

    March 18/08: +2 KC-130J. A $133.2 million “undefinitized contract action” (UCA) for 2 FY 2009 KC-130J aircraft and the associated long lead materials and parts. At this time $30 million has been obligated. Kirtland AFB in NM issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456 P00033).

    March 11/08: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $6.5 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-03-D-0002) for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J, which includes the AE2100D3 turboprop engine and R391 propeller.

    Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC, and is expected to be complete in May 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

    Feb 29/08: USCG. Lockheed Martin delivers the first “missionized” HC-130J long-range surveillance maritime patrol aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard for maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and homeland security missions. Mission equipment includes installation of a belly-mounted surface search radar, a nose-mounted electro-optical infrared sensor, a flight deck mission operator station and a mission integrated communication system. The mission system installed on the HC-130J is derived from the same software series developed for the mission system pallet onboard the HC-144A (EADS-CASA CN-235) maritime patrol aircraft concurrently in testing.

    Lockheed Martin is working within the Deepwater acquisition framework to deliver 3 fully-equipped HC-130Js under a under a fixed-price contract, and is on schedule to complete the aircraft In March 2008. A contract modification is expected to begin work on a 4th aircraft, which would give the Coast Guard an inventory of 6 HC-130Js.

    USCG 1st missionized HC-130J LRSM

    Feb 1/08: Support. A firm fixed price contract for $103.1 million for services that include logistics support, program management support, engineering services, repairs, spares and technical data in support of systems that are unique to the C-130J. This modification exercises option 1 of the contract, covering years 3-5. At this time, $12.5 million has been committed.

    Parts that are shared with the rest of the C-130 Hercules fleet tend to be bought through pre-existing maintenance programs – partly because this is easiest, and partly because more aggregation improves the military’s bargaining position. The 330th ACSG/GFKA at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, PO 0006).

    Jan 30/07: India order. The USA and India reportedly sign a Letter of Agreement for 6 C-130J-30 transports, plus additional communications equipment, spares, etc. (q.v. May 25/07 request).

    There’s an additional option for 6 more planes in this contract, which the Indian government can buy at the same agreed-upon price.

    India: 6 C-130J-30

    Jan 16/08: Canada order. Canada signs a USD $1.4 billion contract for 17 C-130J aircraft, as replacements for about 23 aging CC-130 Hercules aircraft.

    A 20-year maintenance deal with Lockheed Martin is also in the works, and will be finalized at a future date; the entire program is estimated to be worth about C$ 4.9 billion (currently $4.8 billion).

    Canada: 17 C-130J-30

    Nov 30/07: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $11.1 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-03-D-0002). It exercises an option for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the US Marine Corps’ KC-130J aerial tankers/ transports, which are powered by Rolls Royce’s AE2100D3 turboprop engine and the R391 propeller.

    Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC, and is expected to be completed in May 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD.

    Oct 25/07: USA multi-year deal offer. The Hill reports that Lockheed Martin has offered the US military a 5-year, $6+ billion deal for 120 C-130J, KC-130J, and C-130J-S (short) aircraft. What are the deal’s parameters? Why now? Short answer: a rival’s delays make a lock-in possible that would guarantee the aircraft’s future.

    Oct 12/07: Britain. The UK Parliament’s Defence Committee examines Britain’s airlift capacity in light of current usage, A400M schedule slippages, and future needs. Key C-130J related excerpts from the document’s Q&A and government responses include:

    “We share the Committee’s concerns regarding the medium and longer term consequences of the current high levels of use of the C-17 and C-130 fleets. We wish to reassure the Committee that we already monitor very closely the impact that flying rates have upon the expected life of our aircraft. We constantly monitor the fatigue that our aircraft are subject to in order to reassess our ability to maintain military capability in the future and enable early action to be taken where necessary. In the long term, the MoD is taking account of the reduced life-expectancy of its aircraft as a result of increased flying hours… The Department agrees with the Committee that some aircraft are incurring additional maintenance and repair activity as a result of the conditions in which they are employed. For example, the use of the C-130 Hercules onto natural surfaces rather than paved runways results in some unavoidable damage to the under-belly surface of the aircraft… . While the replacement of [earlier version] C-130K with 25 A400M will, overall, result in a one-for-one replacement, the increased payload and range of A400M roughly doubles the relative airlift capability offered by C-130K.”

    See the full report: “14th Special Report. Strategic Lift: Government Response to the Committee’s Eleventh Report of Session 2006-07; HC 1025” [PDF]

    Oct 10/07: Italy support deal. Lockheed Martin, Alenia Aeronautica and Avio SPA have signed a EUR 97 million ($137.5 million) agreement to provide Long Term Support (LTS) for the Italian Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules fleet. This Raggruppamento Temporaneo d’Impresa (RTI) is led by Alenia Aeronautica, and will provide joint support of the Italian C-130J/J-30 fleet of 22 aircraft for a period of 3 years.

    Lockheed Martin’s portion of the contract is about $47 million; its responsibilities include integrated logistics support management, avionics/mechanical line replaceable unit repair service, on-site resident support , field service support, supply chain management, engineering support and technical publications updates.

    Italy support

    Oct 9/07: Delivery. Lockheed Martin announces that it has recently delivered the first KC-130J Tanker to US forces in Japan. Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, took delivery of its first KC-130J on Sept 30/07, representing the 27th KC-130J to be delivered to the USMC.

    The USMC Air Expeditionary Force has had 6 KC-130Js in theater since February 2005, which have flown 8,854 sorties totaling 17,398 flight hours. August 2007 set a deployment one month record with 318 sorties, 621.9 flying hours, just over 6 million pounds of fuel offloaded, and 127,014 pounds of cargo carried.

    Oct 3/07: Support. Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems of Marietta, GA received a contract modification for $6.9 million, incorporating Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) 06-0700076R1 entitled, “Block 6.0 Installations and Production Non-Recurring.” This ECP will retrofit and install Block 6.0 on all currently fielded US Air Force and US Air Force Reserve C-130J, EC-130J, and WC-130J aircraft. A separate ECP is currently in work at the 657th AESS for production incorporation of Block 6.0, which will enable C-130J aircraft to be produced in the Block 6.0 configuration. At this time all funds have been obligated. For more information please call (937) 255-4599. USAF/AFMC Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base OH (FA8625-06-C-6456, P00014).

    FY 2007

    US contract restructured; US JCA competition loss; Canada win; India request; Norway request. Deliveries: Denmark’s 4th & last. C-130J-30
    (click to view full)

    Aug 3/07: +5. Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems in Marietta, GA received a firm-fixed-price contract modification for $322 million. This contract modification is an unfinalized contract for 5 more C-130J aircraft under the US Congress’ FY 2007 Global War on Terrorism supplemental funding. At this time, $161 million has been obligated. Work will be complete in December 2010 (FA8625-06-C-6456/P00021). Note that this figure has not yet been added to the budgetary totals above.

    Aug 3/07: Lockheed Martin announces delivery of a 3rd “C 130J Super Hercules” to the 41st Airlift Squadron “Black Cats” at Little Rock Air Force Base, AK. The Black Cats are the first active-duty C-130J combat squadron in the Air Force, and one of the most highly decorated airlift squadrons in U.S. military history.

    This was a minor tidbit, but the release also quoted Lt. Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition at the Pentagon. He accepted the new C-130J on behalf of the “Black Cats” and said that: “As our aging intra-theater airlift and tanker fleets need replacing, we anticipate that the C-130J will be a competitive contender for those missions.”

    Interesting. Note the use of the word “contender.”

    July 11/07: Denmark. Lockheed Martin announces delivery of the 4th C 130J Super Hercules to the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF), completing the current order. Denmark’s first C-130J was delivered in March 200,4 and began operational service only one month after arriving at the RDAF’s 721 Squadron in Aalborg, Denmark.

    RDAF C-130Js are being deployed and used in missions around the world and have already accumulated nearly 5,000 flight hours. One RDAF C-130J operating in Kuwait over the past six months has flown 250 missions, transported 1,600 passengers and moved 500,000 pounds of cargo. RDAF C 130Js were also deployed in support of the tsunami humanitarian relief effort in Southeast Asia and to support the United Nations in Africa. In addition to operating in the hot, harsh conditions of both Southwest and Southeast Asia, RDAF C-130Js have successfully performed in extremely cold conditions as well. They fly to “Station North” in Greenland, the Danish Navy’s most remote base located only 580 miles from the North Pole.

    Denmark – all 4 delivered

    June 28/07: Support. Lockheed Martin Simulator, Training and Support in Orlando, FL received a firm-fixed-price contract modification for $7.65 million for C-130J Training, Block 6.0 (USAF) and Block 6.5 (USMC) upgrades. This work will be complete by September 2009. To date, total funds have been obligated. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8621-06-C-6300/P00009).

    June 18/07: +1 KC-130J. A firm-fixed price contract modification not to exceed $64.2 million, for 1 additional KC-130J aircraft for the United States Marine Corps. The aircraft is being added to those awarded under contract FA8625-06-C-6456 P00008, on Dec 8/06 – see below. To date $32.1 million has been obligated (FA8625-06-C-6456/P00015).

    This additional aircraft is being funded entirely by dollar savings realized by the USMC as a result of the conversion of the C-130J Multi-Year Procurement (MYP) contract from FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) Part 12 to FAR Part 15. This total of 5 aircraft will now be specified under one single proposal, and work will be complete by March 2010.

    May 25/07: India. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress [PDF] of India’s request for 6 C-130J Aircraft in Special Forces configuration, as well as associated equipment and services. The planes are destined for India’s special forces, and the total value if all options are exercised could be as high as $1.059 billion.

    See full DID coverage of India’s buy.

    DSCA request: India C-130J (6)

    April 18/07: Norway. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress [PDF] of Norway’s request for 4 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, as well as associated equipment and services. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX will supply the aircraft, and will be responsible for procuring and integrating the defensive systems. Rolls-Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, IN will supply the engines. The total contract values, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $520 million. DSCA adds that:

    “Norway intends to use the C-130J aircraft for intra-theater support for its troops involved in worldwide operations. Additionally, the aircraft will be used for humanitarian relief operations in various locations to include the Sudan, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.”

    The purchase encountered some political controversy, but American bureaucrats made extra efforts to expedite key approvals and move the sale forward. In the end, a deal was completed.

    DSCA request: Norway C-130J-30 (4)

    Jan 31/07: Support. A $33.6 million firm-fixed-price with time & material and cost reimbursement contract modification. This contract modification will exercise period 2 options to purchase the following items: program and management data for 1-year, technical and engineering data for 1-year, engineering drawing for 1-year, logistics support data for 1-year, technical manual contract requirements data for 1-year, initial C-130J aircraft peculiar spares for 9 aircraft, reliability and maintainability program for 1-year, field service representative support for 1-year, ground maintenance station admin. support for 1-year. At this time, total funds have been obligated, and work will be complete January 2008. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456).

    Dec 20/06: Support. A $37.5 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-04-D-0001) to exercise an option for logistics and technical engineering support and spares for the U.S. Marine Corps’ KC-130J aircraft and other Government C-130J aircraft. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, N.C. (85%); Miramar, CA (10%); and Okinawa, Japan (5%), and is expected to be complete in December 2007. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

    Dec 8/06: +3 Js, +2 KC-130J. A $256.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to purchase 3 C-130J-30 transports and 1 KC-130J aerial tanker, as authorized and funded by the FY 2006 Global War on Terror (GWOT) supplemental authorization. This modification is an undefinitized contraction action (UCA) that will obligate 50% ($128.1 million) of the $256.2 million not-to exceed amount. These aircraft, slated for delivery in 2010, were authorized and funded by the FY06 Global War on Terror supplemental authorization. This contract brings the total number of C-130Js ordered to date to 186 (FA8625-06-C-6456/P00008).

    A June 2007 modification brought the FY 2006 supplemental value to $320.4 million, for 3 C-130Js and 2 KC-130Js. See above. These figures have not yet been added to the budgetary figures above, pending question to the US military.

    Nov 22/06: Canada. Ottawa Citizen – Lockheed wins $4.9B contract. The story contends that DND representatives did not seriously examine Airbus’ bid, and gives these details:

    “The Conservative government has quietly named Lockheed Martin’s C-130J aircraft as the winner of a $4.9-billion bid to replace the military’s aging Hercules transport planes… The Canadian government will spend $3.2 billion to buy 17 of the aircraft and another $1.7 billion for a 20-year service contract for the planes. Lockheed, as the prime contractor, will be responsible for the maintenance contract as well. The contract for the planes is expected to be signed by the summer of 2007. The first aircraft will be required to be delivered three years after that.”

    DID has a detailed, in-depth spotlight article covering Canada’s tactical airlift competition, its requirements, the proposed alternatives, and ongoing developments: “Canada’s CC-130s to Fail In 3 Years — $4B RFP for Replacements (updated)

    Nov 21/06: No JCA joy. Lockheed Martin’s JCA protest is not successful. The reason their “shortened C-130J” was disqualified from the finals?

    Their bid wouldn’t have provided jam-resistant GPS instrumentation until 2012, and its incorporation required the USAF to sign on to the existing upgrade contract for the C-130J fleet (FA8625-04-D-6425). The RFP, on the other hand, wanted the planes delivered with those systems installed. The other competitors complied, and even a clarification request to Lockheed didn’t wake them up. The GAO seemed none too happy with Lockheed Martin’s protest, either, stopping just sort of calling its arguments dishonest.

    Nov 3/06: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL received a $17.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for C-130J training, FY 2007 contractor logistic support, aircrew, training system support Center and FY 2007 change management. At this time, $17.25 million have been obligated, and work will be complete September 2007. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8621-06-C-6300).

    Oct 25/06: US C-130J contract converted. The multi-year procurement contract for the C-130J Hercules is converted from a commercial item Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 12 to a FAR Part 15 military contract, with increased contractor overhead for costing data etc.

    Read “C-130J Acquisition Program Restructured” for full coverage.

    US restructuring

    FY 2006 and earlier

    24-year British support deal; Multinational upgrade; Cancellation threat in USA; Inspector General report says cancellation fee estimates wildly overstated; USMC’s KC-130Js operational; USAF accepts 1st C-130J; Delivery #100. UK C-130 C5
    (click to view full)

    Oct 16/06: International block upgrades. Lockheed Martin announces a $110 million upgrade contract to bring the C-130J Super Hercules transports flown by Australia, Britain, Italy and Denmark to an agreed standard. See “C-130J Reaches USAF IOC, Adds $110M for Multinational Upgrades” for full coverage.

    International upgrades agreement

    Aug 14/06: JCA GAO protest. Lockheed Martin files a protest with the GAO and urges a freeze on the Joint Cargo Aircraft program until its complaint is resolved, following the exclusion of its shortened-fuselage C-130J from the JCA competition.

    August 2/06: JCA loss. C-130J, CN-235 eliminated. The US Army informs Lockheed that its shortened C-130J does not qualify for the JCA, and also eliminates the EADS/Raytheon CN-235.

    July 18/06: Support. A $10.5 million firm-fixed-price, time and material, and cost-reimbursement contract for production and installation of stepped frequency microwave radiometer modification kits for 10, WC-130J. This work will be complete August 2007. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456)

    June 23/06: IG Report. The Washington Post reports on a Pentagon inspector general report, which claims that the purported $1.78 billion cancellation costs may have been overstated by up to $1.1 billion. According to the report, the estimate Rumsfeld was given was “incomplete and did not provide reliable information for making an informed decision,” leaving decision-makers incapable of rationally deciding the cost-effectiveness of continuing or terminating the contract.

    Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had bowed to strong Congressional pressure when he decided not to terminate the C-130J program as he and the Pentagon had originally proposed. At the time, the cited reason was cancellation costs.

    June 21/06: Support. The USAF issues a $112 million firm-fixed-price with time & material and cost reimbursement contract for:

    • C-130J Peculiar Spares (Initial) Existing Bases: (8 kits)
    • C-130J MATS Peculiar Spares: (1 Lot)
    • C-130J Readiness Spares Packages Air Force (Little Rock): (1 Lot)
    • C-130J Readiness Spares package ANG (Rhode Island): (1 Lot)
    • WC-130J High Priority Mission Spares Kits USAFR Keesler AFBG: (1 Lot)
    • EC-130J Quick Engine Retrofit Kit – FY06 (1 each).

    At this time, $33.1 million has been obligated. Solicitations and negotiations were complete March 2006, and work will be complete January 2007. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456)

    June 7/06: JCA bid. Lockheed Martin announces that they have proposed their in-production short-fuselage variant of the combat tested C-130J for the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program. JCA requirements called for an aircraft capable of short-field performance, able to transport a payload of 12,000 pounds, and designed to accommodate new technology such as defensive systems and state-of-the-art avionics.

    Lockheed had been partnered with Alenia Aeronautica on the C-27J Spartan/”Baby Herc,” but that went awry. In the end, the shortened C-130J would be disqualified from the competition, which the C-27J won.

    US JCA loss

    June 2/06: Britain support deal. The UK MoD announces a GBP 1.52 billion contract ($2.86 billion at conversion) to Marshall Aerospace in order to support its fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft over the next 24 years. As prime contractor, Marshall Aerospace will work in partnership with the UK Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO), the Royal Air Force, Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce to deliver the Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS) programme. The HIOS programme will provide guaranteed levels of aircraft availability to a fleet that includes both older C3/C1 models (C-130K stretched and normal) and C4/C5 models (C-130J-30 and C-130J). See full DID coverage.

    British support

    May 24/06: Training. Lockheed Martin Simulator, Training and Support in Kennesaw, GA received a $32.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for C-130J Training Device Fuselage Trainer #2, Loadmaster Part Task Trainer, Aircraft Interface Monitor, Visual Awareness Recognition Screen, Weapon System Trainer Local Networking, Training System Support Career (5-months), Contractor Logistics Support (5-months), aircrew training (5-months) Instructor Operation Stration course, ISO Computer Base Trainer, Premium Training Time, and U. S. Marine Corps proposal prep. At this time, $20.2 million has been obligated. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8621-06-C-6300).

    April 17/06: Engines. Lockheed Martin announces that the Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 engine powering the C-130J Super Hercules transport fleet has reached the 1,000,000 flight hour milestone. The engine also powers Alenia’s C-27J, but Lockheed’s figure is derived from 250,000 flight hours for the worldwide C-130J fleet (4 engines per C-130J). The “common core” AE engine line is manufactured in Indianapolis, IN.

    As of this date, a total of 182 C-130Js are on order, and 136 have been delivered to the U.S., Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard, USMC, Coast Guard, the Royal Australian Air Force, Britain’s Royal Air Force, the Royal Danish Air Force, and the Italian Air Force.

    1 million engine flight hours

    Feb 1/06: Support. A $164 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price award-fee, cost-plus fixed-fee, time-and-materials, and cost-reimbursement contract for sustaining services including logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data in support of systems peculiar to the C-130J family.

    At this time, $13.5 million has been obligated. Solicitations began August 2005, negotiations were complete in January 2006, and work will be completed by 2 years of sustainment service performance. The Headquarters Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8504-06-D-0001).

    Feb 1/06: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $72.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for sustaining services in support of the C-130J propulsion system which includes the AE 2100D3 engine and Dowty’s R-391 propeller system. The contract includes logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data. At this time, $18.9 million has been obligated. The Headquarters Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8504-06-C-0004).

    FY 2005 and earlier (incomplete) KC-130J refueling CH-53E

    April 29/04: The U.S. Marine Corps announces that the commander of Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E) has “recommended full fleet introduction of the Lockheed Martin KC-130J [aerial tanker] for operational use.”

    April 16/04: US Acceptance. The U.S. Air Force formally accepts its first Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules.

    USAF acceptance

    Aug 6/03: Delivery #100. Lockheed Martin announces the delivery of the 100th C-130J Super Hercules airlifter. The customer is the Italian Force’s 46th Air Brigade based in Pisa, Italy.

    #100

    Additional Readings & Sources

    News & Related Developments

    • Deutsche Welle (Nov 6/07) – Report: Half of Germany’s Military Planes are in Shambles. Germany isn’t alone with this problem, and: “…corrosion and wear and tear have turned over half of Germany’s [C-160] Transall planes into decrepit machinery. The sources apparently said that it was becoming more difficult to locate spare parts for the planes, some of which are more than 40 years old… Germany had originally planned to replace the remaining Transall planes with Airbus’ new A400M model by 2014, but that schedule may have to be revised due to recently announced delays in delivery.”

    • Defense News (Oct 29/07) – Airplanes on Life Support. Moseley, Wynne Plead: Let USAF Pull the Plug [dead link]. They’re talking about aircraft that can’t fly but must be kept per Congressional directives, which includes a number of C-130E Hercules and KC-135E Stratotankers. “One C-130E Hercules from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is so old and in such bad shape it cannot safely fly. Yet U.S. Air Force maintainers must tow it around the tarmac every so often to make sure its tires don’t go flat, and crank up the engines every month to make sure they still run… More than 20 percent of the service’s C-130Es are grounded or have significant flight restrictions…”

    • Aviation Week’s Defense Technology International (Jun 13/07) – A400M Could Dominate Strategic Lift [link now broken]. Also covers the C-17 program, and C-5 AMP/RERP upgrades. “The trend in airlift demand is going to place a premium on aircraft that carry more than a C-130. The goal of carrying Future Combat Systems vehicles on the C-130 has been abandoned. Even the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles are so heavy that a C-130 will carry only one of them. And plans call for the Army to get bigger. If there is an airlift crisis in 2015-20, you read it first here.”

    • DID (April 4/07) – Keeping the C-130s Flying: Center Wing Box Replacements. On February 14, 2005, the US Air Force announced that they were grounding nearly 100 C-130E models because of severe fatigue in their wings, including a dozen that had been flying missions in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. By November 2006, the USAF had kept 47 aircraft under flying restrictions, plus another 30 completely grounded because of the cracks. Other aircraft are expected to wear out as they fly, however, and the replacement program doesn’t expect to get ahead of the “grounding-restriction curve” until 2012.

    • National Defense Magazine (February 2000) – Industry Titans Vying for Early Lead in Cargo Aircraft Markets.

    Competitors

    Special Forces

    • Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments: Robert Martinage, Senior Fellow – Stealthy Mobility & Support: Aircraft for US Special Operations Forces. [PDF] Feb 22/07 Presentation at CSIS – Future of SOF Aviation Project. Note payload requirements of only 20,000-30,000 pounds, less than the C-130.

    • StrategyPage (Aug 22/09) – Fly Hard, Pay Later. “…adding $4 billion worth of new aircraft… over the next five years. The 1st Special Operations Wing… 37 new C-130J… converting 17 of the aircraft to AC-130 gunships, to replace the 25 currently available… The 1st SOW flew 3,200 combat sorties last year, each of these averaging about four hours over hostile territory. There were also 4,200 training sorties, which mainly served to provide 3,200 new air crew for 1st SOW aircraft.”

    • Military Aerospace Technology (March 16/05) – Next Generation Gunships. Includes significant details re: Lockheed Martin’s MACK concept, which may have a significant influence on future SOCOM aircraft.

    • Jane’s (Feb 7/03) – Concepts vie to win US special ops aircraft race. But the designs, including Lockheed’s MACK concept, are also aimed at the medium transport market.

    Categories: News

    DOJ Looks at Alleged Sikorsky Overcharging | Marines Shop Sniper Rifles | Star-Crossed ALIS System Updated in F-35s

    Tue, 07/28/2015 - 02:14
    Americas

    • The US Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into alleged overcharging of the Navy through a contract handed to a Sikorsky business unit in 2006. The contract allegedly saw Sikorsky Support Services Inc subcontract another subsidiary – Derco Aerospace – for T-34 and T-44 aircraft spare parts, adding overheads and profit in the process, from 2006 to 2012 and violating the False Claims Act. The total damages the government could claim amounts to $148 million, with Lockheed Martin reportedly aware of the issue during due diligence investigations prior to buying Sikorsky for $9 billion earlier this month.

    • The Marine Corps is reportedly looking to evaluate various sniper rifles to replace the in-service M40A5 rifle. The options under consideration reportedly include the Mk21, currently fielded by SOCOM and the Army. The M40A5 has a problem with range, particularly when compared to other rifles in service with US forces and allies, such as the British L115A3.

    • The F-35B’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) – the system designed to monitor and relay critical aircraft system data – has received its final software upgrade ahead of the fighter achieving Initial Operating Capability. The system has also received critical hardware modifications. IOC for the Marine Corps’ first F-35Bs is expected later this year, with the Corps deciding in March to push on according to schedule, despite issues with the jet’s 2B software.

    • On Monday, New Mexico State University was awarded a $75 million IDIQ contract to support the Information Operations Vulnerability/Survivability Assessment program, an effort by the Army Research Laboratory to identify the susceptibility of systems to hostile information warfare threats. Also on Monday the Air Force handed a $732 million contract to Carnegie Mellon University to operate the Software Engineering Institute, with the contract running for five years. The Institute is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), funded by the DoD.

    • Argentina is reportedly negotiating with Israel Aerospace Industries regarding a procurement of Kfir Block 60 fighters. The Argentinians sent a delegation to Israel to finalize negotiations for the aircraft in March 2014, with the Argentine Air Force submitting a list of technical requirements which would be a prerequisite for any sale. The Kfir Block 60 is reportedly priced at around $20 million, considerably less than more modern fighters, with the aircraft’s operating cost also thought to be much lower. Argentina previously attempted to procure Saab Gripen E fighters, running into a brick wall when the British government announced that it would not allow British-manufactured Gripen components to ultimately end up in Argentine hands.

    Middle East North Africa

    • Egypt may purchase a second and third FREMM frigate from France, to complement the first vessel transferred to the Egyptian Navy in late June. The Egyptian Navy is also set to receive four Gowind 2500 corvettes between 2017 and 2019, with the current negotiations also reportedly including a possible sale of four additional corvettes.

    Europe

    • The German Army has officially received its Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) from Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, following the fleet’s approval [German] in May, along with a delivery of seven vehicles as a training contingent. The German BWB procurement agency placed an order for 405 of the vehicles in July 2009 to replace the Bundeswehr’s fleet of Marder IFVs, subsequently revising the number down to 350 in July 2012. The full force of Puma vehicles is expected to be completed by 2020, with batches currently being received and passed to units for training before returning to home bases.

    • Turkish Aerospace Industries is looking to export its T129 attack helicopter, with the company angling for a US export license in order to do so. TAI is hoping to find a customer in Poland, which requires around thirty attack helicopters under its Kruk competition. The country’s defense ministry announced in April that a winner will be announced by the end of the year.

    • Lockheed Martin has been contracted to provide an additional six years of logistics support to the British Ministry of Defence, under the company’s Joint Asset Management Engineering Solutions (JAMES) program. The program has been in operate since 2005 and is designed to track equipment throughout the supply chain and inventory, as well as monitor the status and condition of items. The $29 million contract builds on the JAMES system’s December 2010 full increment capability, which included inventory management and Maintenance, Repair, Modification & Overhaul (MRMO) as part of a JAMES upgrade. The UK MoD has been heavily criticized in recent years over supply chain inefficiencies.

    Asia

    • India is looking at how the country could relax current ‘blacklisting’ policies for defense firms accused of wrongdoing. Currently, companies can be excluded from bidding or signing agreements with the Indian government if they are suspected of breaching Indian law, regardless of whether these accusations emerge as valid or not. The Defence Procurement Policy body is contemplating a move to a system similar to that of US and British government policies, which give these governments room to negotiate with firms accused of wrongdoing, without necessarily excluding them from ongoing or future contract negotiations. These arrangements include Deferred Prosecution Agreements, which can allow the government and the company to establish sanctions and other measures in return for non-prosecution.

    Today’s Video

    • The Puma IFV:

    Categories: News

    Air Force Has It in for A-10s to Allies Too | Marines to Narrow ACV Field to Two | Pakistan in Deal for Chinese Subs

    Mon, 07/27/2015 - 03:07
    Americas

    • The Air Force has quashed Boeing’s hopes of selling refurbished A-10s to international customers, following the floating of the idea in May. With the House protecting the A-10 from comprehensive retirement for another year, the Air Force is planning to mothball outgoing A-10s, thereby saving a reported $4.2 billion in sustainment over a five year period.

    • Lockheed Martin will upgrade US Army and international partners’ Patriot systems through the Foreign Military Sales program in a deal worth $1.5 billion. The contract will supply PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE interceptors for Taiwan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. These states all operate the PAC-3, with Saudi Arabia requesting $1.75 billion-worth of PAC-3 enhancements in June 2014, with Qatar ordering the PAC-3 in October as part of a $11 billion equipment deal with the US. South Korea announced in April 2014 that the country’s Patriot systems would be upgraded to the PAC-3 configuration between 2016 and 2020, with a budget of around $1.25 billion.

    • The Navy awarded Raytheon a $180.4 million contract for Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) missiles for Saudi Arabia and the US Navy on Friday. The contract covers the full rate production of 200 AGM-154C-1 Unitary Joint Stand-Off Weapon missiles for the Navy and 355 AGM-154 Block III C Unitary Joint Stand-Off Weapon missiles for Saudi Arabia, fulfilling a Foreign Military Sales requirement valued at $122.7 million, with the Navy’s contract worth $57.7 million. Saudi Arabia requested the missiles in October 2013, with Raytheon handed $13.3 million in June 2014 to deliver design specifications and drawings for the JSOW C Block III variant to the Saudis.

    • Also announced on Friday, the Navy awarded a $78 million contract modification for six low rate initial production RQ-21A Blackjack UAVs. Also known as the ScanEagle, the Boeing-owned manufacturer Insitu Inc. unveiled a new version of the UAV in October last year, the ScanEagle 2. The first version has seen significant export success, in countries as diverse as Colombia, Yemen, Japan and the Netherlands, with Iran producing an unlicensed version known as the Yasir.

    • The Marine Corps is reportedly scheduled to downselect two designs for its Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) program in late 2015, with five designs currently on offer. The requirement calls for a 8×8 armored vehicle capable of transiting over open water as well as operate ashore. The five designs have been undergoing testing, with the USMC planning to progress the two downselected bids through a development phase.

    Middle East North Africa

    • Israel has reportedly supplied Jordan with AH-1E/F Cobra attack helicopters, with these thought to number around sixteen. The Israelis purchased over a hundred of the attack helicopters after they were progressively phased out of US service, maintaining two squadrons until these themselves were all retired by 2013. Jordan operates a dozen Cobras, with the new airframes intended for use as border security assets along the country’s porous border with Syria and Iraq.

    Europe

    • Poland’s Defense Ministry has launched a tender for over 880 unarmored and armored 4×4 vehicles to replace the Polish armed force’s fleet of Honker and UAZ469 vehicles. The majority of the vehicles will be soft-skin variants, with an additional forty requiring armored protection. The new fleet is expected to enter service between 2016 and 2022, with interested companies comprising numerous European, US and Polish companies.

    • The Royal Air Force has stood-up its first operational A400M transport squadron, with LXX Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton. Replacing the fleet of C-130 Hercules, the RAF received its third A400M aircraft in early June, with the RAF having ordered twenty-two aircraft in total. Initial Operating Capability is slated for the squadron by September, following the anticipated delivery of the first seven aircraft.

    Asia

    • Pakistan and China have reportedly signed a deal for eight diesel-electric attack submarines, following reports from April which first flagged the sale, after Pakistan’s Prime Minister approved the procurement. Initial discussions regarding the sale date back to 2011. The deal’s value has not been disclosed but will reach several billion dollars, possibly between $4-5 billion. The model of submarine is thought to be an export variant of the Type 041 Yuan-class, known as the S20.

    • Taiwan is expected to soon place an order for eight to ten Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, according to reports this weekend. The helicopters are thought to be destined for the country’s Navy, with a contract announcement expected later this year. The Taiwanese Navy currently operates the Sikorsky S-70C helicopter, with the new helicopters set to bolster the force’s anti-submarine warfare capability.

    • Iran has reportedly unveiled an indigenously developed simulator for its fleet of MiG-29 fighters. The Iranian Air Force is thought to operate thirty Fulcrums, with the country previously developing simulators for its fleets of Sukhoi Su-24 and Mirage F1 aircraft.

    Today’s Video

    • Operating the ScanEagle:

    Categories: News

    From Dolphins to Destroyers: The ScanEagle UAV

    Mon, 07/27/2015 - 00:45
    ScanEagle launch
    (click to view full)

    ScanEagle’s base Insight UAV platform was originally developed by Washington state’s Insitu, Inc. to track dolphins and tuna from fishing boats, in order to ensure that the fish you buy in supermarkets is “dolphin-safe”. It turns out that the same characteristics needed by fishing boats (able to handle salt water environments, low infrastructure launch and recovery, small size, 20-hour long endurance, automated flight patterns) are equally important for naval operations from larger vessels, and for battlefield surveillance. A partnership with Boeing took ScanEagle to market in those fields, and the USMC’s initial buy in 2004 was the beginning of a market-leading position in its niche.

    This article covers recent developments with the ScanEagle UAV system, which is quickly evolving into a mainstay with the US Navy and its allies. Incumbency doesn’t last long in the fast-changing world of UAVs, though. Insitu’s own RQ-21 Integrator is looking to push the ScanEagle aside, and new multiple-award contracts in the USA are creating opportunities for other competitors. Can Insitu’s original stay strong?

    The ScanEagle Family ScanEagle BCAS launch
    (click for alternate view)

    The ScanEagle is solidly based on Insitu’s original “Insight” platform, with different variants distinguished by their payloads and accompanying equipment rather than their aerodynamic design. The UAVs are launched by catapult, and autonomously recovered using a folding “skyhook” and catch-line. These UAVs fill a niche between hand-launched mini-UAVs like Aerovironment’s RQ-11 Raven or Elbit’s Skylark I, and runway-capable tactical UAVs like Textron’s RQ-7 Shadow, Aeronautics DS’ Aerostar, or IAI’s Searcher II. Its long endurance is actually superior to its tactical UAV competitors, but its payload weight limit is significantly smaller.

    ScanEagle has been demonstrated or used from a wide variety of ship classes and types, and the family includes a number of specialty variants from sniper locator, to bio-warfare agent detection (BCAS). The base UAV has even been used successfully as a firefighting aid. A NightEagle conversion kit adds a different front end with thermal imaging sensors, and allows field conversion of ScanEagle aircraft in 2-3 hours. More drastic modifications are found in the ScanEagle Compressed Carriage (SECC), whose smaller fold-out wings allow it to be launched from an aircraft pylon, or a submarine.

    Setup & use
    click for video

    In October 2014, Insitu introduced a new model, the ScanEagle 2. Compared to the original ScanEagle, v2.0’s most obvious physical difference is the payload holder at the front, which borrows from the larger NightEagle configuration and can combine day and night sensors with a laser marker. Wingspan is still about 10.2 feet, but the UAV is longer (5.1 feet to 5.6 feet) and heavier (base weight rises, payload beyond the sensor set rises from 7.5 to 7.7 pounds, max. takeoff weight rises from 48.5 to 51.8 pounds). Speed is unaffected (50-60 knot cruise, max. 80 knots), but endurance drops from 24 hours to just 16 hours for ScanEagle 2.

    In Exchange, ScanEagle 2 features the first reciprocating internal combustion propulsion system designed and manufactured specifically for small UAVs, with real-time diagnostics built in. Inside, the UAV has an Ethernet-based architecture, a fully digital video system, upgraded navigation systems, and improvements that reduce electromagnetic interference to enable more sensitive payloads. Electric power available to those payloads rises from 60W to 100-150W.

    ScanEagle 2 uses the same Mark 4 catapults, SyHook recovery system, and Insitu Common Open-mission Management Command and Control (ICOMC2) as the RQ-21 Integrator/ Blackjack.

    Versatility
    (click for alternate view)

    The ScanEagle family’s combination of versatility, long endurance, and small size appears to be succeeding in the global defense marketplace, without really impairing the market for tactical UAVs.

    Boeing has had field representatives in theater for a few years now to support and operate the ScanEagle UAV from ships and ashore, receiving high battlefield praise and a fairly regular stream of contracts from the USA and Australia. Canada and Malaysia have also signed on for battlefield surveillance services, the Colombian, Iraqi, Tunisian, and UK Royal navies are using ScanEagle, and so are the Czech Republic, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Singapore, and Yemen. The Dutch are using ScanEagle as an interim UAV, Japan is testing it, and other customers wait in the wings. Reported interest includes France, Pakistan, Kuwait, and other Gulf States.

    Competition from Without – and Within Aerosonde 4.7
    (click to view full)

    The UAV field continues to change quickly. The latest US Navy ISR contract will have ScanEagle competing against the Aerosonde-G for naval buys of UAV services, and against both AAI’s Aerosonde G and Arcturus’ T-20 for land-based surveillance missions. SOCOM’s MEUAS contracts have also become a de facto competition with AAI’s Aersonde.

    Insitu’s flagship product will also have to contend with an internal competitor. The firm has begun to offer a next-generation “Integrator” platform, which was picked as the US Navy and Marine Corps’ next-generation RQ-21A Blackjack Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS-II). It’s also reported that service contracts with other countries will begin incorporating the RQ-21, either as a main UAV or as a switch-in option.

    The RQ-21A Integrator boosts endurance to over 24 hours, and raises maximum payload to about 50 pounds / 23 kg. Wingspan rises to 15.8 feet/ 4.8m, and body length rises to 7 feet/ 2.1m. Its sensor package will be a bit more versatile, too, with TV zoom and mid-wave infrared cameras, plus an infrared marker and a laser rangefinder (but not, yet, a target designator), all in a single package instead of the original ScanEagle’s swap-in options. Launch and recovery methods are the same as the ScanEagle’s, and use the same Mark 4 and ICOMC2 equipment.

    Integrator will not be covered in this article except for contracts that shift away from the ScanEagle to the new platform, and equally significant milestones that affect ScanEagle’s future.

    Contracts and Key Events: 2008 – Present Eye in the Sky

    Unless otherwise noted, contracts are issued by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD. As of July 2008, Insitu Inc. is a Boeing subsidiary. Note that RQ-21A Integrator contracts won’t be covered here, unless they have a substantial impact on the ScanEagle’s future.

    FY 2015

    ScanEagle 2 unveiled. ScanEagle 2
    (click to view full)

    July 27/15: Also announced on Friday, the Navy awarded a $78 million contract modification for six low rate initial production RQ-21A Blackjack UAVs. Also known as the ScanEagle, the Boeing-owned manufacturer Insitu Inc. unveiled a new version of the UAV in October last year, the ScanEagle 2. The first version has seen significant export success, in countries as diverse as Colombia, Yemen, Japan and the Netherlands, with Iran producing an unlicensed version known as the Yasir.

    Oct 29/14: ScanEagle 2. Insitu unveils the ScanEagle 2 at Euronaval 2014. It features the first reciprocating internal combustion propulsion system designed and manufactured specifically for small UAVs, with real-time diagnostics built in. Inside, the UAV has an Ethernet-based architecture, a fully digital video system, upgraded navigation systems, and improvements that reduce electromagnetic interference to enable more sensitive payloads. Electric power available to those payloads rises from 60W to 100-150W.

    Compared to the original ScanEagle, v2.0’s most obvious physical difference is the payload holder at the front, which standardizes on the larger NightEagle configuration that can combine day/night sensors and a laser marker. Wingspan is still about 10.2 feet, but the UAV is longer (5.1 feet to 5.6 feet) and heavier (base weight rises, payload rises from 7.5 to 7.7 pounds, max. takeoff weight rises from 48.5 to 51.8 pounds). Speed is unaffected (50-60 knot cruise, max. 80 knots), but endurance drops from 24 hours to just 16 hours for ScanEagle 2.

    ScanEagle 2 uses the same Mark 4 catapults, SyHook recovery system, and Insitu Common Open-mission Management Command and Control (ICOMC2) as the RQ-21 Integrator/ Blackjack. Sources: Insitu, “Insitu Announces ScanEagle 2 – the Next Generation of the ScanEagle Platform” | Defense News, “Insitu Launches New ScanEagle 2 UAS” (incl. existing customer list).

    ScanEagle 2

    FY 2014

    Buyers: Yemen, Iraq; Opportunities: Japan, UAE partnership, USCG; Fielding in UK Royal Navy; New CEO. Australian report
    click for video

    Sept 29/14: Yemen. Insitu Inc. in Bingen, WA receives an $11 million firm-fixed-price delivery order from Yemen for 9 ScanEagle Electro-Optics and 3 NightEagle UAVs. This order also provides for one 12-month/3,600 flight-hour sustainment package with acceptance testing, spares, technical manuals, and training; a site activation team; field service representative; and protection for the support team. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (50%), and Sanaa, Yemen (50%), and is expected to be complete in September 2015. The US Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ acts as Yemen’s contract agent (N68335-11-G-0009, DO 0007).

    Yemen buys

    Sept 29/14: Czech. Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA receives a $6.8 million firm-fixed-price delivery order from the Czech Republic for 7 ScanEagle electro-optics and 3 NightEagle UAVs, to be used by their troops in Afghanistan. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed at Bingen, WA (50%), and Afghanistan (50%), and is expected to be complete in September 2015. The US Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ acts as the Czech Republic’s contract agent (N68335-11-G-0009, DO 0006).

    Czech Republic buys

    Aug 6/14: Leadership. Insitu CEO Steve Morrow (q.v. April 28/11) is retiring, so Boeing names SVP Insitu Programs Ryan Hartman as the new President and CEO, effective immediately. Sources: Insitu, “Boeing Names Ryan Hartman Insitu President and Chief Executive Officer”.

    New CEO

    June 22/14: UK. The Royal Navy is now using drones from its ships on operations:

    “Just 7 months after the Ministry of Defence ordered the system from Boeing Defence UK, footage released today, 22 June, shows ScanEagle taking flight from [the Type 23 frigate] HMS Somerset in the [Persian] Gulf.”

    Sources: UK MoD, “Royal Navy’s new eyes in the sky”.

    June 2014: USCG. The ScanEagle’s performance with the US Coast Guard may yet make it the service’s 1st ship-borne UAV, after successful drug busts aboard one of the new frigate-sized National Security Cutters:

    “At a joint House Transportation and Foreign Affairs Committee hearing looking at maritime drug interdiction efforts, Adm. Robert Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard prior to his retirement in May, said the service is continuing to test ScanEagles…. The Coast Guard will pursue an acquisition program, he confirmed.”

    Sources: NDIA National Defense magazine, “Coast Guard Closer to Acquiring Ship-Based Drones”.

    May 13/14: Firefighter. Insitu Pacific touts a successful ScanEagle demonstration for the Australian New South Wales Rural Fire Service over the Wollemi National Park, 150 km northwest of Sydney, where fires have burned more than 35,000 hectares of bushland since December 2013.

    The trial was trial a collaborative effort between Insitu Pacific and General Dynamics Mediaware, whose D-VEX next-generation video exploitation system streamed full-motion video imagery alongside geo-location information in near real time. This combination was used to monitor and report on the movement of the fire front at night, which is generally done at low altitudes that are unsafe for manned aircraft. It’s also possible to do this job using more advanced sensors on full-size UAVs like the MQ-9 Reaper, but ScanEagle is a far more affordable option. Sources: Insitu, “Insitu Pacific Demonstrates Fire Management Assistance with ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft”.

    Jan 12/14: Japan. Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force is looking for ways to improve surveillance, in the wake of Chinese provocations and aggressive territorial claims. Their constitution bars aircraft carriers, but they’d like to try small UAVs that can be launched from destroyers. ScanEagle is already being trialed in Japan, which makes it the natural choice if Japan wants to trial live flights during the FY 2014 budget request’s YEN 2 million research (about $23,600) research phase.

    If the JMSDF goes ahead, they’ll buy up to 19 systems. Textron’s Aerosonde can offer a competitor, Northrop and Raytheon have BAT UAVs, and even Boeing has a 2nd UAV up their sleeve in the RQ-21 Integrator. Sources: Japan Times: “MSDF looks to deploy drones on destroyers”.

    Jan 7/14: Iraq. Now that Prime Minister Maliki’s sectarian approach to governing has produced predictable rebellion and insurgency in Sunni areas, the USA is shipping Iraq some weapons and equipment, even as heavier equipment finds itself blocked by Sen. Menendez [D-NJ], and many other senators are voicing concerns. Army Col. Steven Warren:

    “We’re expediting delivery of 10 operational ScanEagles for part of the original purchase, as well as an additional four nonoperational ScanEagles, which will be sent to help facilitate maintenance of the original 10.”

    They’ll act as Iraq’s high-end UAV, compared to the 48 Raven mini-UAVs slated for delivery in the spring. Sources: Pentagon, “DOD Speeds Delivery of Surveillance Assets to Iraq” | The Daily Beast, “Congress to Iraq’s Maliki: No Arms for a Civil War”.

    Nov 19/13: UAE. Tawazun subsidiary Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (ADASI) expands on a previous marketing and training teaming agreements with Boeing Insitu (q.v. Feb 18/13, Nov 15/11), and taken the next step: they’ll be able to operate and maintain Boeing’s ScanEagle and its larger Integrator UAVs as a service for the UAE military, and for “neighbouring allies.” That gives them complete service authority with the UAV, from marketing, to training, to operation.

    ADASI aren’t newcomers to the UAV world. Under the UAE’s Al Sabr program, the firm performed final assembly of the country’s Schiebel S-100 Camcopter small helicopter UAVs, have been conducting R&D to expand the VTUAV’s range of carrying platforms, and service the UAE’s fleet. Sources: ADASI release, Nov 19/13.

    FY 2013

    SOCOM MEUAS contract; UK buys ScanEagle; Japan begins trial; Iran copies it from crashed UAVs; Kestrel agreement solidifies moving target detection; Sensor cueing from land robots; Launch & recovery improvements. Small boat pickup
    (click to view full)

    Sept 17/13: Poland. Insitu Inc. in Bingen, WA receives $7.3 million for a firm-fixed-price delivery order covering ScanEagle system hardware repairs and modifications for Poland. It includes spares, operations and maintenance training, and technical UAS publications.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA and is expected to be complete in September 2014. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD acts as Poland’s agent within the FMS framework (N00019-12-G-0008, #0016).

    Sept 16/13: SOCOM. A maximum $300 million, 3-year firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for ScanEagle UAVs, operator services, and maintenance services in support of US SOCOM’s naval special warfare operators.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and the contract will run until September 2016. $85 million in operational and supplemental/OCO funds are committed immediately, and will expire by Sept 30/13. Interestingly, the Pentagon says that the “contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1,” which is the “only 1 responsible provider” exemption. That significant language, because Textron subsidiary AAI’s Aerosonde 4.7G won the MEAUS-II competition (q.v. March 5/12). ScanEagle pushed back in with a $190 million, 25-month “unusual and compelling urgency” MEAUS contract in February 2013, and this award appears to firmly nail down its position as SOCOM’s go-to UAV (N00019-13-D-0016).

    US SOCOM

    July 26/13: FAA. The US Federal Aviation Administration issues its 1st UAV Restricted Category Type Certificates, which include the ScanEagle X200. A “major energy company” wants to fly ScanEagle in international waters off of the Alaska coast, surveying ocean ice floes and migrating whale patterns, in order to assess potential Arctic oil exploration areas.

    Experimental Airworthiness Certificates have been used for non-government UAV operations in the past, but they don’t allow commercial use. The FAA says that US military acceptance of the ScanEagle and Puma designs was an important factor in granting the new Restricted Category certificates, which do allow commercial operations.

    That’s going to be a hotter area for UAV manufacturers over the next few years, and for the FAA as well. The Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 mandated that the FAA integrate UAVs into domestic airspace by 2015, but a key deadline establishing 6 pilot sites by August 2012 wasn’t met. These type certificates are a small step forward, within a larger framework. Sources: US FAA | NDIA’s National Defense magazine | Seattle Times.

    (Restricted) Commercial USA in USA

    July 12/13: Industrial. Insitu breaks ground on a new 120,000-square-foot production facility near its headquarters in Bingen, WA. The building is expected to be done in August 2014. Sources: Insitu, July 12/13 release.

    July 2/13: USCG. The Coast Guard has been pondering its UAS options and requirements for years (vid. Dec 1/09 entry). They recently completed the 2nd of 3 planned demonstration phases. They used a ScanEagle during a 2-week deployment aboard the Bertholf cutter. That led to 90+ hours of flight time, during which the UAV helped with a the interception of a cocaine-loaded vessel. That gave them the opportunity to test the daytime camera, the combination electro-optical/infrared camera, and auto detection software.

    The 3rd phase will gather quantitative data aboard a National Security Cutter in early 2014. USCG.

    June 20/13: Britain. The Royal Navy signs a GBP 30 million (about $46.9 million) contract to buy ScanEagle UAVs, for use from Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships like the Bay Class amphibious landing ships, as well as surface combatants like Britain’s frigates, destroyers, and helicopter carriers. This is the Royal Navy’s 1st sea-launched UAV, and it will be a big help to a fleet whose number of ships has dwindled, even as it abandoned maritime patrol aircraft.

    ScanEagles can also serve as targeting assets for the Royal Marines, and for Navy ships if Britain buys naval weapons that use laser precision guidance. Raytheon’s new Excalibur laser/GPS guided shell is one such naval option. MBDA’s proposed maritime adaptation of the British Army’s Fire Shadow loitering missile is another. UK MoD.

    Britain’s Royal Navy buys in

    May 14/13: Japan. Insitu Pacific delivers a ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to its partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) of Japan, for a 12-month operational evaluation by the Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF, see July 11/12 entry). Insitu.

    April 24/13: OEF, etc. A $7.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to exercise an option for ScanEagle/ Nighteagle services until March 2014, in Afghanistan and around the world. $3.6 million is committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, using FY 2013 Navy wartime supplemental operations and maintenance funds (N00019-11-C-0061).

    April 24/13: NanoSAR next. ImSAR LLC in Springville, UT receives an $8.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, for “research services in support of the ultra-small aperture radar” (q.v. May 29/12 entry). This brings the contract’s cumulative value to $32.8 million.

    ImSAR are the makers of the NanoSAR and Leonardo radars. US Army Contracting Command in Natick, MA manages this contract (W911QY-12-D-0011, 0006).

    March 8/13: OEF. Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA receives a $7.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for ScanEagle operational and maintenance services in Afghanistan, including both day and night operations.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in January 2014. $3.6 million is committed immediately, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/13 (N00019-11-C-0061).

    Feb 18/13: UAE. Boeing broadens their ScanEagle support and sustainment agreement with the UAE’s ADASI (vid. Nov 15/11 entry), adding marketing services within the Middle East and North Africa, training services, and the new Integrator UAV. Boeing VP Debbie Rub reiterated to Gulfnews that this is:

    “Not a contract but an agreement to work together. No particular value right now but the region needs this capability so they are working together so that we can grow this sort of business. There are intensions [sic] with Adasi to establish this as the centre in the Middle East for the ScanEagle and Intergrator contracts.”

    See: Boeing | Arabian Aerospace | Gulfnews.

    Feb 8/13: Iranian copies. The regime’s PressTV is now showing photos of a production line for ScanEagle UAV knock-offs.

    Back on Dec 17/12, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi had said that Iran was producing copies of the ScanEagle, based on drones it had captured. The Iranian regime says a lot of things about its military capabilities, most of which are fodder only for comedians and the credulous. This report, on the other hand, was plausible.

    Iran has significant aerospace reverse engineering expertise, which it has built up to keep its fleet of American fighters and helicopters in the air. They also have some UAV expertise, and Iranian UAVs launched from Lebanon have been shot down over Israel. Iranian copies may not have the same performance and features as ScanEagle, but it’s reasonable to conclude that for once, Iran is making a military claim in line with its demonstrated capabilities. Iran’s PressTV.

    Feb 6/13: MEUAS, Too. Insitu Inc. in Bingen, WA receives a 25-month Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (MEUAS) indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract from US SOCOM, worth $1 million – $190 million. MEUAS involves contractor-owned and operated equipment on the front lines. Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and “overseas.” US Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB, FL manages the contract (H92222-13-D-0005). FBO.gov justifications for the award shed some light on the contract, which is pursued under FAR 6.302-2, “Unusual and Compelling Urgency”:

    “Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the Government’s control, there is an immediate requirement to mitigate a critical ISR services gap. This proposed contract action is to ensure continued operational capability.”

    The interesting question is whether this new contract also provides for RQ-21 Integrator services, to match the USMC’s new STUAS-II UAV buys. Insitu was asked, but said that they were unable to comment. Meanwhile, there has also been a steady expansion and extension of Insitu’s original H92222-09-D-0015 MEUAS ScanEagle contract, when it became clear that its $250 million would run out long before April 27/14. FBO.gov announced on Feb 7/13 that:

    “Program efforts were initiated in October 2010 to establish the competitive follow-on MEUAS II contract. A Justification and Approval (J&A) document was approved on 10 June 2011 to increase the existing contract ceiling by $50,000,000 for a revised contract maximum of $300,000,000. This allowed for the continuation of mission essential operations during the source selection process of the MEUAS II follow-on requirement. A second J&A was approved and issued on 16 July 2012. This action increased the contract maximum by $35,000,000 for a revised contract maximum of $335,000,000. This was to assure continuous operational capability during the transition from the MEUAS contract to the MEUAS II [won by AAI’s Aerosonde UAV] …. [Now we’re announcing a raised] dollar ceiling of the MEUAS contract (H92222-09-D-0015) by $10,000,000 for a revised contract maximum of $345,000,000.”

    Bottom line? MEUAS could end up being worth as much as $535 million to Insitu, more than double its original amount. From the government’s point of view, it now has 2 MEUAS vendors, with contracts that will both expire in March 2015. FBO.gov re: Revised Contract | FBO.gov re: revised contract maximum | Insitu.

    US SOCOM MEUAS

    Nov 16/12: OEF. Insitu Inc. in Bingen, WA receives a $12.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for pre and post deployment operations and services involving ScanEagle UAVs in Afghanistan. The contract mentions both electro-optical and mid-wave infrared imagery, and in 2013 the new MWIR/EO turret will let the company offer both of those options, without requiring the UAV to land and switch (q.v. Aug 7/12 entry).

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in August 2013. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13 (N00019-11-C-0061).

    Nov 16/12: AOL Defense calls attention to Insitu’s business model of providing turnkey services, as the US military prepares to cut in-theater deployments and surveillance, standardize its UAVs, and bring operations and maintenance in house.

    Meanwhile, the civilian market isn’t ready yet. That’s partly because of issues around certification in civil air space, and partly because all Insitu UAVs must be sold as weapons through the USA’s ITAR process. As an example, oil companies who want to use ScanEagle are told that they can’t have any non-US citizens aboard the operating platform. Things are going well in Australia with government agencies and civil fight authorities, but that won’t be enough.

    Insitu is trying to get a version of the ScanEagle designated as a commercial commodity, and they estimate that the RQ-21A Integrator program will be worth $500 million over 10 years. Even so, AOL Defense is probably right that the Boeing subsidiary is about to take a financial hit.

    Oct 30/12: UAV + UGS. Insitu Pacific in Queensland, Australia announces that integration between ScanEagle and McQ’s iScout Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS)/ OmniWatch technologies is complete. McQ’s UGS is in widespread service with the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Energy and “a range of international customers.”

    The project enables UGS target detection alerts to be automatically displayed within ScanEagle’s Insitu I-MUSE multiple UAS controller software. The iScout sensor automatically sends a notification to I-MUSE, displaying the target location, detection type (seismic, magnetic, acoustic or infrared) and other relevant information. The operator is then able to automatically focus the ScanEagle’s sensors on the new contact to verify the data provided by iScout and OmniWatch, and to continue to track the target once it has moved beyond the OmniWatch camera range. Insitu.

    Oct 23/12: Kestrel agreement. Insitu Inc. announces a long-term licensing agreement with Sentient in Melbourne, Australia, to integrate Kestrel land and maritime automated detection software into Insitu’s ScanEagle and Integrator systems.

    Kestrel software is currently deployed as a separate add-on that specializes in detecting moving targets within the field of view of the UAV’s electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors. There are land and maritime versions, which have been used by the U.S. and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Insitu | Sentient.

    Kestrel MTI agreement

    Oct 10/12: Compact CLRE. The US Office of Naval Research is funding tests of the ScanEagle Compact Launch and Recovery System (CLRE), which combines the Skyhook recovery system with a compressed air launcher for the UAV. The end result is more compact than the traditional piston launcher/ skyhook combination, which is a big advantage for smaller boats and ships. ONR adds that:

    “The system currently is trailer mounted for testing and ease of towing behind ground vehicles, but Insitu is exploring modifications of this version for rapid deployments. Its turntable base allows for mounting to a variety of integration structures.”

    2012

    New USN contract introduces competition, but assures ScanEagle’s future; Key US SOCOM loss; Wins in Singapore & Malaysia; Dutch buy ScanEagle services, but look to Integrator; Japanese evaluation; Integrator gets closer; Research into new tiny ground-scanning radar. Skyhook recovery
    (click to view full)

    Sept 26/12: Upgrades. Boeing subsidiary Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA receives a $12.4 million delivery order for the hardware required to modernize the ScanEagle and its ancillary equipment. See Aug 7/12 for more details of what the upgrades entail; the hardware contract also includes replacements, using upgraded air vehicles and components.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in May 2013. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, which is almost immediately. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-12-G-0008).

    Sept 17/12: OEF. Insitu Inc. in Bingen, WA receives a $7.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for pre and post deployment operations and services involving ScanEagle UAVs in Afghanistan. The contract mentions both electro-optical and mid-wave infrared imagery, and in 2013 the new MWIR/EO turret will let the company offer both of those options, without requiring the UAV to land and switch (q.v. Aug 7/12 entry).

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in August 2013. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-11-C-0061).

    Aug 21/12: OEF. Insitu in Bingen, WA, is awarded a $23.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for additional ScanEagle operations and maintenance in Afghanistan, using both daytime EO and IR night sensors. Work will be performed in Bingen, WA and is expected to be complete in August 2013 (N00019-11-C-0061).

    Aug 9/12: Netherlands. A Dutch ScanEagle is launched on its first anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, from the amphibious ship HNLMS Rotterdam. The LPD embarked the UAVs, catapult, and command station, plus a 19-soldier Army contingent. Dutch MvD [in Dutch].

    Aug 8/12: Comms. relay. Boeing touts a smaller, lighter version of its Tactical Compact Communications Relay (TCCR). The 1.6-pound TCCR extends the range of line-of-sight military handheld radios from under 10 nautical miles to more than 150, and has been operating in Afghanistan. The new 1-pound version does the same, and will fit into a 5″ x 5″ x 1″ slot in the ScanEagle’s payload bay.

    The new TCCR has been tested on several other UAVs, including the Schiebel Camcopter S-100, and Boeing plans to demonstrate a civilian set that could support emergency response or other commercial applications.

    Aug 7/12: Netherlands. Insitu Inc. announces that the Dutch military can now fly the ScanEagle under a limited military aircraft type-classification certificate from the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) of the Netherlands.

    The Dutch needed that, because they intend to operate the UAVs over their own country as well as abroad. Both sides were motivated, so the certification milestone was achieved in just 4 months. Note that this isn’t a full civilian certification, but it will definitely help. Insitu.

    Aug 7/12: Sensors. Insitu Inc. announces that it’s conducting field evaluations of 2 new turrets for ScanEagle. Both turrets will be available in the first half of 2013, and better power draw will help make switch-ins easier.

    The new Hood Technology Corp. Vision MWIR/EO turret means customers won’t have to choose any more between zoom cameras or mid-wave infrared thermal imaging on their ScanEagles. Insitu’s larger RQ-21A Integrator was already offering both modes, and competitive pressure makes it an important advance.

    Hood’s SuperEO turret has already been in service for about a year, providing 5x better stabilization than its predecessor. The newest SuperEO Enhanced turret lets operators track, zoom and focus while maintaining positive identification, thanks to a sophisticated gimbal mechanism and a picture-in-picture display. Losing the target of interest when the camera moves has long been an annoying problem for many UAVs, especially small ones.

    July 12/12: Australia. The Army’s contract for ScanEagle services has ended, but the Navy is interested. Insitu Pacific in Queensland, Australia is still using the Army’s contract, just extended and expanded to include trials with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). ScanEagle will be installed on a number of RAN vessels, and a first-of-class flight trial from a Frigate is expected in September 2012.

    The RAN’s endorsed Aviation vision, NA2020, is to have a UAS dedicated unit by 2020. That’s awfully slow, given the pace of change, but the embarked trials will begin moving them in that direction. As American experiences have shown, UAVs as a service can work as a shipboard offering. If the RAN decides to adopt ScanEagle as an “interim UAV” service, there would be almost no changes from the arrangement it has just signed. Insitu.

    RAN extends Army deal

    July 11/12: Japan. Insitu Pacific in Queensland, Australia announces a contract from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), to deliver ScanEagle systems for comprehensive operational evaluation by the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (Army).

    It’s more than just an evaluation, as the ScanEagles will be operated by the JGSDF during this period to assist in disaster recovery, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Having said all that, it isn’t a long-term win yet, either.

    July 9/12: Singapore. Insitu Pacific in Queensland, Australia announces a contract from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), to equip its 6 Formidable Class (Lafayette Class derivative) missile frigates with ScanEagle systems. Insitu Pacific will also provide training, logistics and ship installation, as well as specialist in-country maintenance support.

    This decision has been a while in coming, vid. the March 2/09 entry detailing ship trials. Insitu.

    Singapore

    May 29/12: NanoSAR next. ImSAR LLC in Salem, UT receives a $24 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to build, test, and assess a lightweight ultra wideband Synthetic Aperture Radar for use on small unmanned aerial vehicles. ImSAR makes the NAnoSAR, and this looks like the contract to develop its successor.

    Work will be performed in Salem, UT with an estimated completion date of May 31/17. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Natick, MA (W911QY-12-D-0011).

    May 20/12: Iraq? Reuters confirms that Iraq will be using UAVs to protect its southern port and associated oil platforms. The logical candidate is Insitu’s ScanEagle, which is already operating in this role (vid. Feb 9/12 entry):

    “Iraq’s navy has purchased US drones to protect the country’s oil platforms in the south, from where most of Iraq’s oil is shipped,” said an official from the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq, which is part of the US embassy. The OSCI did not give further details of the number or type of unmanned aircraft. But Iraqi security officials confirmed plans to use drones to protect oil infrastructure.”

    Iraq?

    May 15/12: Insitu, Inc., Bingen, WA receives a $35.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for additional ScanEagle and NightEagle services in Afghanistan.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and will run to December 2012. All Contract 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-C-0061).

    May 4/12: Over in Australia. The ScanEagle has made its last flight for Australia, and its leased services are being replaced with Textron’s RQ-7B Shadow UAVs bought under Project JP129.

    While Boeing contractors provided assistance and operational services, about 180 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed in support of the ScanEagle, mostly from 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment, with elements from 16th Air Defence Regiment, Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation, 1st Topographic Survey Squadron and 16th Aviation Brigade. During its 5 years in operation in Afghanistan, ScanEagles flew about 32,000 hours in more than 6,200 missions. Australian Army | Ottawa Citizen.

    April 17/12: Malaysia. Insitu Pacific and Composites Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM) announce a contract for Insitu Pacific to deliver its ScanEagle to CTRM, to be operated by CTRM’s subsidiary Unmanned Systems Technology (UST).

    Insitu Pacific has confirmed to DID that “CTRM will utilise the ScanEagle system to augment UAS Services provided to the Malaysian Defence Forces under an existing contract.”

    Malaysia

    April 4/12: Hydrogen-powered. Boeing’s Insitu announces that the ScanEagle has completed a hydrogen-powered test flight, using a 1,500-watt fuel cell by United Technologies and a hydrogen fueling solution by the US Naval Research Laboratory. They add that this ScanEagle is lighter than the traditional model, which means more room for equipment. On the other hand, the release didn’t discuss the effects on range and endurance, which are more critical traits for this UAV. Earth Techling.

    March 19/12: Dutch contract. Insitu announces a contract with the Dutch MvD to use its ScanEagle “both domestically and abroad.” Specifically, they’ll provide:

    “…an ISR capability during the second half of 2012, replacing a program [DID: Sperwer UAVs] that ended in the middle of 2011. Looking forward, Netherlands MOD and Insitu plan to continue to explore the potential for multi-mission ISR capabilities using a next-generation Insitu UAS that carries multiple ISR sensors and enables rapid, robust payload integration.”

    Which is to say, their RQ-21A Integrator platform. Both of the interim ScanEagle systems (3 UAVs each) are expected to achieve operational capability by late 2012, with 1 available for overseas deployment, and the other used for training and domestic tasks.

    The permanent Sperwer replacement will involve 5 systems, by late 2014: 3 for deployment, 1 for missions within The Netherlands, and 1 for training. The RQ-21A has the required integration with ScanEagle ground systems, and has been chosen to enter service with 107 Aerial Systems Battery in 2014. Insitu | Dutch Defence Press.

    Netherlands

    March 5/12: MEUAS-II loss. Textron’s subsidiary AAI wins the 3-year, maximum $600 million follow-on to US Special Forces’ MEUAS contract, using its Aerosonde 4.7G UAV. Insitu’s MEUAS contract had been slated to expire in 2014, but the somewhat-imprecise wording of public statements and solicitations suggest that MEUAS-II will fully replace the old contract.

    With its technology validated by 2 huge American contracts, AAI’s Aerosonde UAVs can be expected to be a much more visible competitor around the globe. Meanwhile, ScanEagle has gone from the sole-source solution in 2 major American contracts, to forced competition in UAS-ISR and an uncertain position in MEUAS. ScanEagle UAV still has important advantages in its array of specialized variants, and the larger RQ-21A Integrator UAV is on tap as a follow-on offering. Even so, the MEUAS-II setback may leave Boeing and Insitu pondering the need for further investment in, and upgrades to, their core ScanEagle platform. Textron’s AAI | UV Online.

    US MEAUS-II

    Feb 29/12: USN ISR. US NAVAIR issues their 5-year, $864 million UAS ISR contract, which can include services for US military allies, alongside the US Navy and Marines. Insitu submits the ScanEagle instead of the RQ-21A Integrator, and their selection as an eligible bidder for task orders would seem to protect ScanEagle’s near term future.

    On the other hand, the umbrella contract introduces competition to an area that ScanEagle used to have to itself. Textron’s Aerosonde G will compete with Insitu’s ScanEagle for naval and land task orders, while Saab’s small Skeldar heli-UAV will become a 3rd competitor on land. Read “ScanEagle, Aerosonde & Skeldar: The USN’s UAS-ISR Contract, 2012-2017” for full coverage.

    USN ISR

    Feb 9/12: Exports. An AOL Defense report offers an expanded list of ScanEagle operators, as well as 3 more potential export clients:

    “Navy leaders are considering foreign military sales of the Scan Eagle to Kuwait, Pakistan and the Netherlands, according to a presentation by Marine Corps Col. James Rector, head of the small tactical unmanned aerial systems division at Naval Air Systems Command. Aside from the U.S. Navy, the Scan Eagle is being flown by naval forces in Colombia, Tunisia, Poland and Iraq, according to PowerPoint slides from Rector’s speech at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual program review in Washington yesterday.”

    The Netherlands is already using ScanEagle as an interim UAV; presumably, Dutch discussions represent long-term lease or purchase options. Previous reports have suggested that Boeing is offering ScanEagle leases with provisions to switch part-way through, and use the larger and more advanced RQ-21 Integrator platform (vid. June 16/10 entry).

    Jan 25/12: NightEagle. Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA receives an $20 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for ScanEagle operational and maintenance services. These services will provide electro-optical/infrared and mid-wave infrared (NightEagle) imagery in support of Marine Corps operations in Afghanistan. Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in May 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-11-C-0061).

    Jan 22/12: Closing time approaches. First flight of an Early Operational Capability (EOC) RQ-21A STUAS Integrator UAV at the USMC’s Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, CA, 16 months after the contract is awarded. USMC UAV Squadron VMU-3 will deploy the RQ-21A within the USA, while a government-contractor team works with the system, and develops tactics, techniques, and procedures on the way to formal Initial Operational Capability (IOC), and then Full Operational Capability (FOC).

    As those milestones are reached, Insitu’s ScanEagle will fade from use. US NAVAIR: “RQ-21A will eventually replace the Navy and Marine ISR services contract in which current ISR missions are conducted in Iraq, Afghanistan and shipboard.”

    2011

    CEO shift; Dutch pick ScanEagle; Arctic & Libyan operations; Swarm flight; Comm relay test. Aussie ScanEagle
    (click to view full)

    Nov 28/11: Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA receives an $12 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for ScanEagle operational and maintenance services. These services will provide electro-optical/infrared and mid-wave infrared (NightEagle) imagery in support of Marine Corps operations in Afghanistan. Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in January 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-11-C-0061).

    Nov 15/11: UAE. Insitu Inc. announces a partnership with Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments Company (ADASI), to perform joint support and sustainment activities on Insitu’s ScanEagle and Integrator UAS.

    Oct 6/11: Canada. Insitu Inc. announces that its Canadian clients have successfully used ScanEagle UAVs during Operation Nanook in Canada’s Northwest Passage. The exercise focused around an Arctic major air disaster (MAJAID) simulation, and ScanEagle was deployed by Insitu and its partner ING Engineering to identify traversable ground routes, watch for polar bear threats, and monitor day-to-day iceberg movements. Insitu and ING UAS operators launched and retrieved the aircraft, then handed control over to the Canadian Forces and stood by to provide technical assistance as needed. Commanders in tactical operations centers (TOC) at 74 degrees north and troops on the ground received real-time video.

    The exercise itself is not as significant as ScanEagle’s proof of use in polar environments. Insitu | Canada DND on Operation Nanook 11 | Canada DND Nanook 2011 photos.

    Sept 30/11: Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA received a $7.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for major end items and parts to be used in the ScanEagle system. Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete by January 2012. This contract was not competitively procured by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City Beach, FL (N61331-11-C-0011).

    August 15/11: Libyan operations. Insitu discusses ScanEagle’s performance over Libya, from the Arleigh Burke Flight II Class destroyer USS Mahan [DDG-72]. The operation began shortly after an Insitu team had been aboard Mahan to analyze the way ScanEagles were used, and made recommendation to expand its uses. Mahan put those suggestions into effect once Operation Unified Protector began, flying the ScanEagles in strong winds and forwarded secure imagery transmission to the task force used Boeing’s Secure Video Injection system:

    “What happened over that period of time, no one expected,” said ScanEagle Detachment Officer in Charge Lt. Nick Townsend. “ScanEagle was locating contacts of interest that no one else could find. After the dust settled, ScanEagle was credited with locating a host of contacts of interest due to its ability to capture superior image quality and to operate covertly at relatively low altitudes.”… Later coordinating with an AWACS team, the USS Mahan ScanEagle team drew on ScanEagle’s 24-hour endurance to support additional phases of the mission, including battle damage assessment: ScanEagle delivered real-time, full-color imagery… “They (operational commanders) say ‘put the camera here’ and we put the camera there without going through layers of complex coordination. We get essential information directly to the decision makers fast,” said Insitu ScanEagle Site Lead Samuel Young.”

    Libya experience

    May – August 2011: Comm relay. Boeing announces successful May and August demonstrations of ScanEagle’s new narrowband communications relay, using an Insitu ScanEagle and AeroVironment’s Puma AE mini-UAV. During the multiservice demonstrations, held in California, the UAVs flew at a variety of altitudes while linking handheld military radios dispersed over mountainous regions, extending the radios’ range tenfold.

    Larger RQ-7B Shadow UAVs have also been used in this role, but those are generally controlled at the battalion level or above. Narrowband relays small enough to work on mini-UAVs would represent an important step forward, especially for Special Operations forces.

    July 7-10/11: UAV Swarm. Boeing conducts successful autonomous UAV swarm missions over the rugged terrain of eastern Oregon, using 2 ScanEagles and a Procerus Unicorn UAV from The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). Boeing Advanced Autonomous Networks program director and team leader Gabriel Santander described it as “a milestone in UAV flight”; in this case, that’s a reasonable label.

    The JHU/APL developed the UAVs’ Mobile Ad Hoc Network and swarm technology, which let them work together to search the test area through self-generating waypoints and terrain mapping, while simultaneously sending information to teams on the ground. A broader demonstration is planned for the end of September. Boeing.

    Swarm flight

    June 30/11: Netherlands. The Dutch will use ScanEagle UAVs as an interim front-line replacement for Sagem’s much larger Sperwer system, which has just been retired. Dutch MvD | Aviation Week

    Dutch pick

    May 31/11: Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA received a $46 million firm-fixed-price-contract to provide deployment services and flight hours, including electro-optical/infrared and mid-wave infrared imagery in support of Marine Corps operations in Afghanistan. In practice, this means both ScanEagle and NightEagle platforms; looks like the April 9/11 short-term contract went well.

    Services will encompass both operation and maintenance of the ScanEagle UAS, to provide real-time imagery and data to USMC personnel. Work will be performed in Bingen, WA and in the field, and is expected to be complete in May 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-2 (N00019-11-C-0061).

    June 2011: Insitu’s inception. The Smithsonian Institute’s magazine profiles the story behind Insitu and the ScanEagle, as part of a feature describing the evolution of UAVs toward civilian roles. Boeing bought the firm for about $400 million, in July 2008. Read “Drones are Ready for Takeoff“.

    May 26/11: Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA received an $83.7 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite- quantity contract for operations and maintenance services to support government-owned ScanEagle systems, including: multiple training courses ranging from system pilot training, maintenance and operations, to mission coordinator and payload operator; multiple kits for sustainment, payload and engine module kits; and multiple spare parts.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and will run until May 2012. $62.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. There’s only one ScanEagle manufacturer, and this contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-2 (N00019-11-C-0012).

    April 28/11: CEO shift. Boeing executive Steve Morrow becomes Insitu’s new President and CEO, succeeding co-founder Steve Sliwa, who retired April 1/11. That’s always a big inflection point in a company’s history.

    Morrow holds a B.Sc. (electrical) Engineering from the University of South Carolina, and an M.Sc. Aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He most recently served as Director, Stand-off Strike, leading long-range weapons programs including

    • GM-84 Harpoon and SLAM-ER missiles, the USAF’s Tomahawk ALCM, the Next Generation Cruise Missile, and Boeing’s portion of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program. He joined Boeing in 2002 following his retirement as Navy program manager for Tomahawk-related programs. His Navy aviation experience came in P-3 sea control aircraft. Insitu.

    New CEO

    April 14/11: Insitu awards small business qualifier ArgenTech Solutions a contract to provide field service representative (FSR) services, at locations worldwide. It’s an initial 1-year contract that includes options for 2 additional years.

    April 9/11: Boeing receives a $12.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for “additional Mid-Wave Infrared Unmanned Aerial Systems, intelligence reconnaissance surveillance services in for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.” Sounds like an order for NightEagle services in Afghanistan.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (65%), and St. Louis, MO (35%), and is expected to be complete in May 2011. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages this contract (N00019-08-C-0050).

    Feb 22/11: Boeing receives a $5.7 million firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification for “additional persistent unmanned aerial vehicle intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services in support of naval maritime missions.” ScanEagles featured prominently in the April 2009 rescue of an American vessel from Somali pirates, for example.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (65%), and St. Louis, MO (35%), 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 (N00019-08-D-0013).

    2010

    Polish order; New Integrator UAV for USMC; Weapons for ScanEagle?; FAA test; Heavy fuel; NanoSAR ready; ScanEagle SECC variant. SECC test
    (click to view full)

    Dec 30/10: Boeing receives a $14.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for additional “persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle services in support of Marine Corps combat missions.”

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (97%), and St. Louis, MO (3%), and is expected to be complete in February 2011. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-09-C-0050).

    Dec 28/10: A $68.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for “full-motion video from commercial un-manned air intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms across Iraq. Work will be completed in Baghdad, Iraq, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/11. The bid was solicited through the Internet with 2 bids received by U.S. Central Command in Baghdad, Iraq (M67854-07-D-2052).

    Dec 3/10: Weapons? Aviation Week reports that the US Navy is working on weapons that could give even the ScanEagle UAV hunter-killer capability. The 2 pound next-generation weapon management system (WMS GEN2) has been tested in the lab, and the development team is now looking at using the WMS GEN2 with the 5 pound NAWCAD Spike mini-missile, the Scan Eagle Guided Munition (SEGM), and a GPS-Guided Munition (G2M, likely the RCFC).

    Sept 27/10: Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives a $5.7 million not-to-exceed indefinite-delivery /indefinite-quantity contract modification for 2,100 hours of persistent UAV intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services in support of US Navy and USMC missions.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (94%, Insitu subsidiary) and St. Louis, MO (6%), and the contract will end in September 2011. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 20/10 (N00019-08-D-0013).

    Sept 23/10: It took a while, but Boeing subsidiary Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA gets a $7.2 million modification to an American firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-09-C-0005), for Poland’s order of 10 ScanEagle systems. ScanEagle would join Aeronautics’ Orbiter mini-UAV and Aerostar tactical UAV, as UAVs available to Polish forces.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in September 2011. $3.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract on Poland’s behalf. See “Polish Equipment Issues and Consequences” for more in-depth coverage of the issues and pressures behind Poland’s purchase.

    Poland

    Aug 24/10: NightEagle. Insitu announces that its NightEagle conversion kit is now fully integrated into combat operations after successfully completing fielding of an upgraded mid-wave infrared (MWIR) imager payload. Insitu responded to an urgent, mission-critical request, using its deployed operations representatives to beat the schedule. The new configuration consists of upgrades to ground support equipment, new software, and specialized in-field training.

    NightEagle

    Integrator platform
    (click to view full)

    July 29/10: No ScanEagles for STUAS-II. Boeing subsidiary Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA wins a $43.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to provide its new Integrator UAVs under the USMC’s the small tactical unmanned aircraft system/Tier II unmanned aircraft system III (STUAS-II) competition. But the UAV that beats competitors like Raytheon’s KillerBee 4 is not a ScanEagle. Instead, it’s Insitu’s new Integrator UAV – which may herald the beginning of the end for ScanEagle. Integrator also uses catapult launch, and is recovered using the same Skyhook recovery systems as ScanEagle.

    We won’t be covering other Integrator contracts in this article, just milestones that are relevant to ScanEagle’s future.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (46.7%), Hood River, OR (45.6%), and Melbourne, FL (7.7%). Work is expected to be completed in September 2012, but $788,931 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals, with 4 proposals received by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-10-C-0054). Insitu.

    June 16/10: Poland. Reports surface that Poland has joined the customer list for Boeing’s leased ScanEagle UAV services, but details are scarce. At 15-20 hours endurance, ScanEagle offers longer on station time than leased Aeronautics DS’ Aerostars’ 8-12 hours. On the other hand, the Aerostar offers 110 pounds of payload, while ScanEagle offers just 13 pounds.

    Shepard Group adds that Insitu has qualified a Mk4 catapult launcher, which will be compatible with both ScanEagle and Integrator, and is “ready to ship the launcher to an undisclosed customer in Afghanistan.” The Insitu spokesperson told them that around 35 ScanEagle systems of 5-10 UAVs each were operational with Australian, Canadian, Polish and US forces.

    Aviation Week reports that Boeing is also in talks with a number of European countries to lease ScanEagle UAV services, with the option of an upgrade to their Insitu subsidiary’s slightly larger and more advanced Integrator UAV later on. Aviation Week | Shepard Group | StrategyPage.

    June 12/10: Boeing receives a $59.5 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-09-C-0050) to provide 3,300 flight hours of persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance UAV services to the U.S. Marine Corps.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (97%), and St. Louis, MO (3%); and is expected to be complete in December 2010. $29.75 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10.

    June 8/10: FAA tests. Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc. signs a cooperative research development agreement with the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in order to guide the development of recommendations for UAV use in civil airspace. The research will be managed by the FAA’s Research and Technology Development Office and conducted at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. Insitu | FAA Fact Sheet.

    Insitu will provide a ScanEagle system, related support hardware and data, and UAV training for FAA pilots and maintenance staff. Insitu will also supply documentation related to ScanEagle, including an open invitation for FAA personnel to visit Insitu.

    June 2/10: Canada. Insitu announces that its ScanEagle has logged more than 17,000 combat flight hours and 1,700 sorties with the Canadian Forces, as part of a “rent a drone” service operated by their Canadian partner ING Engineering. ScanEagle has been deployed with the Canadian Forces in theater since 2008 and has completed a successful maritime flight demonstration aboard the Kingston Class patrol vessel HMCS Glace Bay.

    May 13/10: Insitu Inc. announces that it has demonstrated its heavy fuel engine-configured ScanEagle UAS to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, in conjunction with the Joint Systems Integration Laboratory (JSIL). The tests at Fort Rucker, AL demonstrated interoperability between ScanEagle video with metadata and the U.S. Army’s One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT), a digital video encrypted data feed, a mid-wave infrared (MWIR) sensor for night scans, and Insitu’s stabilized airborne target tracking system.

    May 12/10: SECC. Boeing tests its ScanEagle Compressed Carriage (SECC), whose 132-inch wingspan and folding aero surfaces let it be carried in a container and launched from an aircraft pylon, or a submarine. It’s recovered using the same SkyHook system as a regular ScanEagle.

    ScanEagle SECC is powered by a 6 hp heavy-fuel engine. The test launched it from a ground vehicle, whereupon it flew an autonomous 75 minute flight plan at various altitudes, and provided streaming video to a nearby ground station. Boeing | Boeing feature w. video.

    April 29/10: Insitu Inc. announces that its ScanEagle UAS recently exceeded 300,000 combat flight hours since its 1st operational flight in 2002, and accounted for approximately 22% of the 550,000 hours that American UAVs flew in 2009.

    April 14/10: An $11 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-09-C-0050) to provide 6,600 flight hours of persistent ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) unmanned aircraft vehicle services in support of naval maritime missions. Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (97%), and St. Louis, MO (3%), and is expected to be complete in June 2010. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    March 16/10: Boeing subsidiary Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA received an $8.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for technical services, to support intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services. In addition, this contract covers 6 critical spare kits and 9 SkyHook recovery system modifications.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $8.4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-2 (N00019-10-C-0045).

    Feb 23/10: Sensors – NanoSAR. Insitu Inc. announces that after 4 years of work with ImSAR LLC and 2 years of flight testing, the NanoSAR ground-scanning radar has moved out of development, is now available as a payload for its ScanEagle dual bay and follow on “Integrator” UAVs. See May 28/08, Jan 7/08 entries.

    NanoSAR

    Feb 19/10: A $6.1 million not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-08-D-0013) to provide 300 hours of persistent UAV intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services in support of naval maritime missions.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (65%) and St. Louis, MO (35%), and is expected to be complete in July 2010. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    2009

    US SOCOM MEAUS order; Canada SUAV order; Maersk Alabama rescue; E-737 AEW&C’s UAV control; ASW MagEagle?; Bandit & Enerlink datalinks. ScanEagle UAV
    (click for alternate view)

    Dec 18/09: Bandit datalink. Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc. announces that a flight test with L-3 Communication Systems-West’s Bandit digital data link worked “well in excess of range requirements.” Insitu is integrating the Bandit digital data link into its ScanEagle, NightEagle and Integrator UAVs. Bandit is Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) capable and ROVER 4/ 5 compatible. This test was conducted using the Integrator UAV, but tests also happened on a ScanEagle earlier in 2009.

    Dec 1/09: USCG. Aviation Week reports that the US Coast Guard is still considering its UAV options:

    “As part of its ongoing analysis, the service has participated in numerous exercises with other platforms [beyond the MQ-8B]… including Boeing’s A160 Hummingbird, an AeroVironment vehicle and ScanEagle tested on board a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship.”

    Nov 25/09: The University of North Dakota (UND) receives its ScanEagle UAS, to be used in Department of Defense (DOD) contracted research providing data for UAS national airspace integration. UND is a designated State Center of Excellence for UAS Research, Education and Training, and funds for this project were provided by a USAF research contract. UND Associate Professor of Aviation and Director of Program Development for the UAS Center of Excellence, Douglas Marshall, in Insitu’s Press release:

    “To date, the university’s only fully trained operators and maintenance technicians are UND employees and primarily flight instructors. We hope to integrate a ScanEagle system into our curriculum and allow students to fly the system against a radar test bed, while learning to operate the UAS itself.”

    Nov 24/09: Canada. Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc. announces a successful ScanEagle flight demonstration aboard Canada’s Kingston class coastal patrol vessel HMCS Glace Bay [MM 701]. The demonstration was conducted by the Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre (CFMWC), and included an in-flight handoff of the ScanEagle by Canadian Navy personnel aboard HMCS Glace Bay to a ground control station (GCS) operated by Canadian Army personnel at Naval Base Halifax.

    Oct 19/09: ScanEagle wins C4ISR Magazine’s 2009 C4ISR Platforms Category Award. Insitu release | C4ISR Magazine.

    Sept 28/09: Sensors – MagEagle? Boeing receives a $275,000 contract from the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) to study of the magnetic noise associated with the heavy-fuel propulsion system on Boeing’s MagEagle Compressed Carriage (MECC) ScanEagle variant. The MagEagle is being designed and built to be magnetically quiet, in order to help it locate, track and attack submarines using a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) system that picks up the changes in earth’s magnetic field caused by large metal objects.

    Boeing envisions MECC as another UAV extension of the manned P-8A Poseidon aircraft, launchable from the aircraft itself. They will begin testing the MECC sensor system, vehicle integration, and magnetic noise reduction in 2010. Boeing.

    Aug 11/09: Insitu announces that ScanEagle recently surpassed the mark of 200,000 operational flight hours since 2004.

    Aug 5/09: Insitu marks more than 2,500 combat flight hours and more than 300 shipboard sorties with its heavy fuel engine (HFE) ScanEagle since flight-testing began in 2006, which. ScanEagle HFE has been deployed aboard the destroyers USS Mahan and USS Milius, and uses the same JP-5 kerosene-based diesel fuel commonly used in jet aircraft engines, as opposed to the more flammable and dangerous auto gas. Other advantages include simple starting and operation, a wider weather envelope, improved reliability and increased endurance.

    Insitu developed the engine in partnership with combustion system experts Sonex Research, Inc. in Annapolis, MD.

    July 9/09: #1,000. Insitu Inc. marks delivery of its 1,000th ScanEagle, and announces that it is expanding its UAS manufacturing capacity.

    May 27/09: Canada. Boeing announces $25 million in contracts to Canadian industry, as part of its $30 million industrial offsets commitment following Canada UAV services order. See also April 6/09 entry.

    Winners include: ING Engineering Inc. (field services), MKS (MKS Integrity software and consulting services for program life-cycle management), and NovAtel (ScanEagle GPS).

    May 22/09: The SEALs must have really liked what the ScanEagle did for them during the Maersk Alabama incident, and been satisfied with past experiments involving launches from their MkV boats and trials on other Navy ships. Boeing announces a 5-year, $250 million contract from US Special Operations Command for:

    “Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) services… Boeing and its subsidiary Insitu Inc. will operate, maintain and support ScanEagle systems for the Special Operations Forces Mid Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (MEUAS) program….”

    Boeing VP of Boeing Defense & Government Services Greg Deiter says that Boeing’s past performance on ScanEagle battlefield surveillance contracts was a significant reason for their win. That kind of record will become a valuable competitive asset as new designs like the blended-wing KillerBee 4 begin competing in ScanEagle’s niche.

    US SOCOM MEAUS

    April 13/09: The Boeing Co. in St. Louis, MO received a $45.4 million ceiling-priced, unfinalized contract to provide persistent UAV services from land bases on the Afghan front.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (65%) and St. Louis, MO (35%), and is expected to be complete in December 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $22.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR(Federal Acquisition Regulations) 6.302-2 (N00019-09-C-0050).

    April 9/09: Maersk Alabama rescue. The US Navy releases some stills from videos of the Maersk Alabama’s 28-foot closed lifeboat, taken by ScanEagle UAVs. The hostage incident ended a couple of days later, when Cmdr. Frank X. Castellano of the USS Bainbridge [DDG-96] ordered Navy sharpshooters to kill the Somali pirates who were holding Capt. Richard Phillips hostage. Photo 1 | Photo 2 | Photo 3.

    Maersk Alabama

    April 6-12/09: During this week, ScanEagle UAVs flew their 150,000th hour in service with the U.S. Marine Expeditionary Forces, U.S. Navy, U.S. Special Operations Command, Australian Army and Canadian Forces. Boeing release.

    April 6/09: Insitu receives an award to provide “small unmanned aerial vehicle (SUAV) services” to support the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. See also Nov 6/08 entry. The initial contract is worth US$ 30 million, with options for another US$ 31 million.

    As part of the Request for Proposal, Insitu Inc. must provide 100% industrial and regional offset benefits. Its association with Boeing, which has substantial Canadian operations, should make that easy. Canadian government.

    Canada

    April 1/09: Boeing subsidiary Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, WA received a $20.9 million firm-fixed-price contract to supply ScanEagle hardware for 4 operational sites, 3 spare/operational float packages, and critical spares kits in support of the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, and is expected to be complete in July 2009. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-2 (N00019-09-C-0005).

    March 16/09: Australia – AWACS compatibility. Boeing’s two-fer. Australia’s Project JP129 failure has created an opening for Boeing’s ScanEagle UAV, but its flagship “Wedgetail” E-737 AWACS faces questions. Boeing responded by linking 2 birds with one datalink: a live demonstration in which a not-yet-delivered Wedgetail aircraft flying over Washington State, USA controlled and received sensor data from 3 ScanEagle UAVs.

    The 3 ScanEagles were launched from Boeing’s Boardman Test Facility in eastern Oregon, approximately 120 miles/ 190 km away from the airborne Wedgetail. Using the company’s UAS battle-management software, airborne operators issued NATO-standard sensor and air-vehicle commands via a UHF satellite communication link and ground-station relay. Operators tasked the UAVs with area search, reconnaissance, point surveillance and targeting, while the UAVs sent back real-time video imagery of ground targets.

    Boeing will conduct a follow-on demonstration for the Australian government in early May 2009 at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales. A Wedgetail will take control of ScanEagles operated by Boeing Defence Australia personnel at Woomera Test Facility in South Australia, approximately 1,080 miles/ 1,730 km from Williamtown.

    March 2/09: Singapore. Boeing announces that Singapore has been putting their ScanEagle UAV through ship-based trials, including flight from the helicopter decks of an LST amphibious support ship and a frigate. Boeing Defence Australia provided a complete maritime ScanEagle system for the successful trials, including a ground control station, communication links, launcher and SkyHook recovery system. They were complemented by a Boeing/ Insitu support team that was deployed to Singapore.

    Jan 21/09: EnerLinks datalink. Viasat subsidiary Enerdyne Technologies Inc. signs an agreement with Insitu Inc. to supply its EnerLinksII DVA digital data link technology for use in the ScanEagle UAV. The EnerLinksII DVA is a small 3″ x 5″ x 1″ module that’s placed between the ScanEagle’s sensors and the RF transmitter, using less than 8 watts and weighing under 0.5 pounds.

    The concept of a DVA (Digital Video over Analog) system involves simple conversion of older FM analog video links to encrypted digital links, without replacing any of the RF equipment in either the aircraft or the ground. EnerLinksII’s improved digital performance improves both UAV video link range and bandwidth use by a factor of 4, and can transmit 2 Mbps of IP data simultaneously with compressed FMV (Full Motion Video). Features include H.264 compression, IP multiplexing, AES encryption, FEC coding, and modulation waveshaping.

    Jan 7/09: Boeing subsidiary Insitu announces that its ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system has just completed its 1,500th shipboard sortie in service with the U.S. Navy.

    2008

    US Navy win; US SOCOM, Canada place initial orders; Australian subsidiary; Shot locator, SWIR camera variants; NanoSAR. ScanEagle returns
    (click to view full)

    Nov 26/08: Sensors – shot locator. The US Office of Naval Research and Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division discuss a Navy Expeditionary Overwatch (NEO) program exercise, which involved US Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) sailors deploying a ScanEagle UAV, a manned Humvee with “Gunslinger” shot location and counterfire system, and an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) on a successful mission to detect and engage fictional insurgents over a 10 square mile radius.

    The Gunslinger Humvee’s remote-control gun is operated by a gunner who sits at a control panel in the back seat. The Mk 45 weapons system is hooked up to video and infrared cameras connected to a set of sensors designed to detect gunfire, including a device that watches for muzzle flashes and listens for gunshots. It then points the remote-controlled weapons system on the Hummer’s roof at the source of fire.

    At the Potomac River NEO demonstration, warfighters in the Humvee used the Gunslinger’s acoustic detection package and infrared sensors to determine the location of hostile fire and automatically move the weapon in the direction of the fire for friendly force response. The 36-foot-long semi-autonomous USV was also equipped with a Gunslinger payload and a range of sensors and communications systems. US Navy release | The Register re: Gunslinger..

    Nov 12/08: Boeing receives a $65 million estimated value modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery indefinite quantity “Interim UAS” contract, exercising an option for “persistent unmanned aerial system intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance services in support of Global War on Terror, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom sea-based deployments and land-based detachments.” That’s milspeak for contractor operation and maintenance of ScanEagle UAVs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA (65%); and St. Louis, MO (35%), and is expected to be complete in November 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $6.8 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-08-D-0013).

    Nov 6/08: Canada. Canada issues a MERX solicitation (W8486-09MGSL/A) for a leased small UAV service. Canada is already leasing ScanEagle UAVs that can fulfill the MERX requirements: 90% operational availability, 12 hours on station, ability to gather and transmit high quality imagery from a distance of 50km.

    Aug 6/08: Sensors – SWIR. Boeing and Goodrich Corporation announce that they have successfully flight-tested a ScanEagle unmanned aircraft equipped for the first time with a short-wave infrared (SWIR) camera. A SWIR camera can see more effectively in fog, rain or when little or no heat is radiated, which makes it especially useful for maritime surveillance. Boeing release.

    July 22/08: Merger. Boeing buys its partner Insitu, which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems’ Military Aircraft division. Subsequent reports place the price at around $400 million:

    “Insitu’s key technologies and advanced capabilities in rapid prototyping and manufacturing are driving its revenue to an anticipated $150 million this year, 70 percent higher than in 2007, and have it well positioned for the future… Terms of the cash transaction were not disclosed. This transaction, anticipated to close by the end of September following regulatory approvals, does not affect Boeing’s financial guidance.”

    Insitu, Inc. retained investment bankers Houlihan Lokey for the acquisition, and terms of the sale were not disclosed. Insitu’s investors are led by Battery Ventures, Second Avenue Partners, and Pteranodon Ventures. Boeing | Insitu | Wall Street Journal (subscription reqd).

    Boeing buyout

    June 2/08: Boeing received an estimated $65 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to “provide persistent Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance services supporting the Global War on Terror, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom sea-based deployments and land-based detachments.” The language above refers to their ScanEagle operation services, which are undertaken in cooperation with Insitu.

    Work will be performed in Bingen, WA, (65%); and St. Louis, MO (35%) and is expected to be complete in May 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured by electronic request for proposals, with 2 offers received (N00019-08-D-0013). Boeing release | Insitu copy.

    Interim UAS win

    May 28/08: NanoSAR. The NanoSAR test program continues, as Boeing, ImSAR and Insitu Inc. achieve real-time processing of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data aboard a ScanEagle UAV which is also equipped with a standard inertially stabilized electro-optical (EO) camera. The tests marked the first time SAR and EO capabilities have flown together on such a small, lightweight platform, and involved real-time SAR processing with streaming radar images displayed on the ground station. Creating real-time images onboard ScanEagle eliminates the requirement of either processing imagery on the ground after flight or using high-speed data links to a ground station. Insitu release.

    May 26/08: Australia. Insitu, Inc.partners with the Queensland state government in Australia to announce the formation of its wholly owned subsidiary, Insitu Pacific Pty Ltd. The release adds that:

    “Insitu, along with Boeing Australia, is proud to be part of the experienced team that has delivered more than 13,000 surveillance and reconnaissance flight hours to help protect Australian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    Insitu Pacific

    April 29/08: Insitu announces that the ScanEagle has now surpassed 50,000 combat flight hours with the U.S. Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) in Iraq and 1,000 shipboard recoveries with the U.S. Navy.

    April 22/08: Testing. Insitu announces that it has flown Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) equipped ScanEagles in Iraq, in cooperation with the US Navy. Heavy fuel refers to the kerosene-based fuel used in diesel and/or jet aircraft engines such as JP5, JP8, or Jet-A. ScanEagles flying in Iraq are using naval JP5 fuel, which is designed to be safer aboard ships.

    The effort involved Insitu, Boeing, and Sonex Research Inc. in Annapolis, MD. The effort took 2 years of development and included over 2000 hours of testing, including a new ScanEagle flight endurance mark of 28 hours, 44 minutes using JP5. Insitu release.

    April 18/08: Recall the Feb 7/08 launches from a Navy SEAL MkV boat, and demonstration by AFSOC at Hurlburt Field, FL.

    Insitu Group, Inc., of Bingen, WA receives a firm-fixed price contract with a not-to-exceed value of $24 million for unmanned aircraft system information gathering, target surveillance, and reconnaissance services in support of U.S. Special Operations Command. The work will be performed in Bingen, WA and 3 other undisclosed locations using FY 2008 operations and maintenance funds (H92222-08-C-0022).

    US SOCOM

    March 25/08: Canada stands up an SUAV (Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Troop. After live flight training in New Mexico, SUAV Troop deploys to Afghanistan to operate leased ScanEagles, which are referred to as “Interim SUAV”. Source: CASR.

    Canada

    Feb 7/08: US AFSOC. Air Force Special Operations Command, as the lead command for small unmanned aircraft systems, highlights the capabilities of the Scan Eagle during a demonstration at the Eglin Air Force Base test range. AFSOC has been training with the 820th Security Forces Group from Moody Air Force Base, GA since September 2007, to employ the system. AFSOC release.

    Feb 7/08: USN SEALs. A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle is launched from a MK V naval special warfare boat off the coast of San Clemente Island. This is the first time a Scan Eagle, used for various applications such as intelligence gathering and battle damage assessment, has been launched from this kind of platform. Insitu photo links.

    Jan 14/08: USN’s Interim UAS. Jane’s reports that:

    “Industry rivals are waiting to hear if they have ousted the Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from its role as provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support for US Navy ships at sea. A decision on the interim UAS contract, which will provide ISR imagery services to warships and to the US Marine Corps into the next decade, is expected in late January or early February 2008.”

    Other competitors are thought to include AAI Corporation’s long-endurance Mk 4 Aerosonde, Aurora Flight Sciences’ vertical take-off and landing GoldenEye 80, BAE Systems’ Skylynx II, MTC Technologies’ Spyhawk T-16 and Raytheon/Swift Engineering’s Killer Bee. Insitu link.

    UPDATE: the decision took until June 2008, and ScanEagle won.

    NanoSAR on ScanEagle
    (click to view full)

    Jan 7/08: Sensors – NanoSAR. Boeing, Insitu, and ImSAR conduct a successful flight-test for the tiny NanoSAR Synthetic Aperture Radar aboard a ScanEagle UAV. The NanoSAR is a 2-pound system about the size of a shoebox, which is a couple orders of magnitude lighter than most SAR systems. As a sign of the times, “import to Google Earth” is an option for the system.

    As a comparison, the I-Master SAR aboard Britain’s new Watchkeeper UAVs is considered small at 65 pounds. SAR radars aren’t an all-purpose replacement for ScanEagle’s existing electro-optical sensors, but they’re a very important complement because of their ability to see through fog, dust, et. al. The issue for NanoSAR will be providing acceptable resolution and coverage despite its tiny size.

    Targets for the 1.5 hour test flight at the Boardman, OR test range included vehicles, structures and corner reflectors. Data collection worked as planned, and SAR imagery was later created on the ground. The next step in flight testing will be to create imagery aboard the UA in real time. Boeing release | ImSAR on NanoSAR | Insitu re: NanoSAR.

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    News & Views

    Categories: News

    MH-60R/S: The USA’s New Naval Workhorse Helicopters

    Mon, 07/27/2015 - 00:40
    USN Heli Plan
    (click to view full)

    The US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawks have always had a naval counterpart. SH-60B/F Seahawk/ LAMPS helicopters were outfitted with maritime radar, sonobuoys, and other specialized equipment that let them perform a wide variety of roles, from supply and transport, to anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and even surface attack with torpedoes or Kongsberg’s AGM-119 Penguin missiles. Like their land-based counterparts, however, the Seahawks are getting older. The Reagan defense build-up is receding into history, and its products are wearing out.

    European countries chose to build new designs like the medium-heavy EH101 and the NH90 medium helicopter. They’re larger than the H-60s, make heavy use of corrosion-proof composites, and add new features like rear ramps. The USA, in contrast, decided to upgrade existing H-60 designs for the Army and Navy. Hence the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter (aka. “Romeo”) and MH-60S (aka. “Sierra”) Seahawks. MH-60Rs and MH-60Ss will eventually replace all SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters currently in the US Navy’s inventory. Both programs are underway, and will be covered in this DID FOCUS Article.

    The New Sikorsky Seahawks Romeo, Armed: The MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter MH-60R

    Before this program began, MH- was the traditional designation for special forces aircraft, but the Navy has now adopted it to stand for “multi-mission.” Confusing nomenclature aside, the new MH-60R/S helicopters will be the backbone of the US Navy’s future helicopter force.

    The ‘Romeo’ multi-mission Seahawks will erase a previous division of labor. The previous SH-60F traditionally handled the advanced dipping sonar, and performed utility and rescue tasks, while the SH-60B used its radar for wider anti-submarine sweeps, and was armed with a wider array of weapons beyond torpedoes and door guns. That division of labor is being erased by the MH-60R, which can handle all surface attack and anti-submarine roles by itself. Secondary missions that include directing naval surface fire support, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation and communications and data relay. At one time, it was informally known as the “Strikehawk.” The MH-60R will replace the faster and longer-range S-3 Viking sea control jet, as well as existing Seahawks.

    The U.S. Navy had planned to convert all of its SH-60B/Fs to multi-mission H-60Rs (“R” for “remanufactured”). The new version would feature a multi-mode, long-range search radar that can automatically detect and track an increased number of surface vessels, low frequency dipping sonar that provides significantly increased range for detecting submarines, an advanced electro-optical surveillance and target designation turret, the addition of Hellfire anti-armor missile capabilities, an integrated self-defense suite, and a host of other improvements that include a new cabin, a service life extension for the tail, and new avionics including Link 16 datalink connectivity.

    SH-60F over CG 55
    (click to view full)

    In 2001, the US Navy restructured the SH-60R program from a remanufacture of the existing U. S. Navy SH-60 fleet to a new procurement program that would remanufacture only 7 helicopters, and build the rest new. This would keep existing SH-60s available for duty, while supplying new-generation helicopters with longer wear lifespans.

    Initial production MH-60Rs were delivered to U.S. Navy training squadron HSM-41, at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, CA. The first MH-60R operational squadron was the HSM-71 “Raptors,” also based at NAS North Island in San Diego, CA. The squadron stood up in October 2007, and made their first deployment in April 2009 as part of the USS John C. Stennis [CVN 74] aircraft carrier strike group.

    Australia became the MH-60R’s 1st export customer in 2011, with an order for 24, but the RAN doesn’t have any serving helicopters yet. Formal requests have also been placed by Denmark (2010, for 10), Qatar (2012, for 10), and South Korea (2011, for 8). India and Saudi Arabia are other countries that have reportedly evaluated the MH-60R, but haven’t placed a formal export request.

    Avionics & Sensors Common cockpit
    (click to view full)

    Mission systems and integration are bought as a separate item, through a multi-year contract with Lockheed Martin Systems Integration of Owego, NY (see Aug 15/07 entry). They include:

    Common cockpit: The new MH-60R common “glass” cockpit is based on display screens rather than dials, and will be shared with the MH-60S. This will allow pilots to switch from one aircraft type to another with greater ease and will reduce the logistic support infrastructure, resulting in lower cost of ownership. It integrates 4 Night Vision Device compatible 8×10 inch color active matrix liquid crystal displays, and provides the operators with: Dual integrated programmable keysets for data entry and mission management; Dual prime/backup flight management computers allowing redundancy for all flight critical operations; Audio management computer providing digital audio for flight communications and sensors; Dual embedded global positioning inertial navigation (EGI) system that includes all weather coupled hover operations.

    In the MH-60R models and MH-60S Block 2A+ configurations, one of the flight management computers is replaced with a mission computer providing all flight related capabilities plus multiple sensor/weapon data fusion. The cockpit as a whole received Instrument Flight Conditions certification in September 2001, the first NAVAIR IMC certification issued to a glass cockpit.

    MTS EO: Like the MH-60S, the “Romeos” feature an advanced multi-spectral electro-optical turret, but they use the more advanced Raytheon AN/AAS-52 MTS (Multi-spectral Targeting System) with a wider field of view.

    Radar: Unlike their MH-60S counterparts, however, the MH-60Rs can be distinguished by the cylindrical naval radar profile on their undersides, characteristic of anti-submarine helicopters around the world. Telephonics’ AN/APS-147 (now APS-153) radar was designed to meet both blue water and shallow/coastal littoral performance requirements in all weather conditions. Its day and night maritime domain surveillance that includes small target detection even amidst wave clutter, thanks to Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging that uses the motion of the contact to create a picture of the contact. The radar also includes an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, which is readily upgradeable and fully integrated with the helicopter’s combat systems. The AN/APS-153 upgrade adds hardware and software to create an Automatic Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination System (APRDDS), which automatically discriminates between periscopes and other small surface objects.

    Sonar: The MH-60Rs will also have full sonar capabilities via their Raytheon/Thales AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low-Frequency Sonar (ALFS) and on-board sonobuoys, a big change from the past when bulky electronics forced Sikorsky to split the radar and sonar roles between the SH-60B (radar) and SH-60F (sonar). HSM-71’s Cmdr. Michael K. Nortier has said that this fusion, plus other advances, enables his MH-60R squadron to provide 5x-10x better coverage of the strike group than previous helicopters, and ALFS itself is proving to be much more sensitive than previous systems.

    Weapons & Upgrades MH-60Rs fire Hellfire
    (click to view full)

    Weapons: Current MH-60R armament includes Mk.46 or Mk.54 lightweight torpedoes, AGM-114 Hellfire light strike missiles, DAGR or APKWS laser-guided 70mm rockets (in progress), and machine guns. The MH-60R cannot use the AGM-119 Penguin short-range anti-ship missiles that equipped earlier SH-60F/ S-70 machines.

    Upgrades: Lot I-II production MH-60R helicopters were equipped with SysConfig 19.9 software, as well as all of the advanced equipment originally planned for the type. Part-way through Lot III (6 helicopters), after around 10 production helicopters, the software leaped ahead to SysConfig 46. Those helicopters added IMDS prognostics in key mechanical areas, along with updates to the ALE-47 countermeasures. These are MH-60R Block 1.

    MH-60Rs were later built or upgraded to next-generation SysConfig 58 software, and add an array of new equipment. These “Block 2″ [DID reference] helicopters will add the DoD-wide Joint Mission Planning System, improved internal wireless, satellite, and radio communications, and:

    • A Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) with audible alerts like “roll left,” “pull up!” etc.

    • Link-16, for a common tactical picture shared with other ships and aircraft;

    • A “SAASM EGI” Embedded GPS Inertial Navigation System with better resistance to countermeasures;

    • Upgrades to the Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) system via Mode 5 IFF’s much improved algorithm, encryption, range, and civil compatibility. It also adds “lethal interrogation” as a must-respond last chance, and the ability to see individual aircraft even when they’re close together. The further addition of Mode S assigns a discrete ‘squawk’ which is unique to that aircraft. Together, they improve combat identification and enable unrestricted flight in civilian airspace.

    Upgrades planned after 2010 include electronic surveillance capabilities (Copperfield 2 ELINT and Dragonfly COMINT), the AN/APS-153 maritime radar with a periscope detection mode, integration of conventional 70mm and APKWS-II laser-guided rockets into MH-60R and MH-60S Block 3s, and ongoing reliability improvements to the ALFS dipping sonar. Several of these are in progress.

    Hawklink: The other component of note is a project called “Hawklink,” which aims to improve the helicopters’ Common Data Link. Why does Hawklink matter? In a word, bandwidth. MH-60R and SH-60B Seahawks currently send data across the C-band microwave frequency range. Using the Ku band and the high definition SAU 07000 Ship Air Upgrade interface will create point-to-point Internet-equivalent connectivity between the MH-60R and ships up to 100 nmi away, enabling both to publish and subscribe for information. That would allow a ship or strike group to request data from the helicopter’s sensors, including sonobuoy data or real-time video, while sending other messages and data to the helicopter.

    The AN/ARQ-59 system is mounted on the helicopter. The AN/SRQ-4 is its shipboard counterpart, mounted on American cruisers, destroyers, frigates/ LCS, and carriers. Terminals can also be configured for interoperability with several generations of CDL surface terminals deployed by the US Army, US Air Force, and American allies.

    MH-60R Lite. While the USA is looking for ongoing upgrades, some countries are more interested in downgrades. In 2011, reports surfaced of a planned “MH-60R Lite” variant, which would make the ALFS dipping sonar a removable option. That would improve its range, and increase cabin space from 3 people to 8, at the expense of limiting its anti-submarine capability without ALFS. Lockheed Martin was even contemplating a version that also removes the sonobuoy launcher and acoustic processors, leaving a helicopter with just surface attack, search and rescue, and utility helicopter capabilities. It would really be more of an MH-60S+, with an advanced maritime radar and other electronics improvements.

    Denmark ended up buying that full downgrade in 2012. Their helicopters will be missing both ALFS and sonobuoys.

    Blue Collar Sierra: The MH-60S MH60S & CH-46E
    (click to view full)

    The MH-60S entered service in 2002 as a replacement for the US Navy’s Boeing CH-46D Sea Knight, flown mostly in utility roles that involve moving cargo between ships. There was a fair bit of discussion about renaming it the “MH-60S Knighthawk” in honor of its predecessor, a move that would also have distinguished it from the MH-60R Seahawk; indeed, several official Navy releases featured this nomenclature. Unfortunately, the Navy decided to add type confusion to the special forces nomenclature confusion by referring to both MH-60 helicopters as “Seahawks.”

    With the addition of the MH-60S program, the U.S. Navy will become an all H-60 helicopter fleet. Its roles will encompass troop transport, search and rescue, and other standard roles. The ‘Sierras’ will also become the Navy’s primary mine countermeasures platform. The US Marines, in contrast, are scheduled to replace their CH-46Es with MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors. If the Navy continues to decline investment in 48 HV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft of its own for combat search and rescue, special warfare, and fleet logistics support duties, the MH-60S will formally add its already-emerging assignment as the primary naval helicopter for those roles.

    The US Navy expects to buy 275 MH-60S helicopters:

    • 50 Block 1
    • 225 Block 3, with all Block 2s scheduled for retrofit

    MH-60S: Block 1 to Block 3 AMCM Components
    (click to view full)

    Block 1. Initial MH-60S deliveries, with glass cockpits and data buses, but little specialized mission equipment. They appear to be destined for supply, utility, and training roles only, as they will be the only helicopters without Link 16’s common tactical picture capability at the program’s end.

    Block 2. Structurally strengthened Block 2A and 2B helicopters added the “common console,” an auxiliary fuel tank, and the ability to carry the Airborne Mine Counter-Measures (AMCM) kit. Link 16 will be backfit into existing Block 2 aircraft after its introduction in Block 3B, allowing the automated transmission of a common tactical picture shared with other ships and aircraft. This will convert MH-60S Block 2As into Block 2Bs.

    The US Navy plans to buy a total of 66 AMCM ancillary kits. These new MH-60S AMCM helicopters were supposed to have 5 mine-hunting systems available to them, but a combination of technical failures and MH-60S’ size/power limitations cut that to just 2: AMNS remotely piloted anti-mine torpedo delivery, and the ALMDS mine-detecting laser. This will give the MH-60S a limited ability to sweep for mines from any ship, and will end up being a step back from the much larger MH-53E Sea Dragon dedicated mine sweeping helicopters.

    MH-60S Hellfire test
    (click to view full)

    Block 3A. These MH-60S add armament kits, including an AN/AAS-44C electro-optical turrets similar to those mounted on existing SH-60 and HH-60 Seahawks; integration for Hellfire anti-armor missiles (8) or DAGR laser-guided rockets (32); and .50 caliber (GAU-21/M3M) and 7.62 mm (M240B) machine guns. Other changes include IMDS(Integrated Mechanical Diagnostic System) prognostics for key mechanical areas, a Digital Map System, and kneeboard and floor armor. These helicopters will receive Link 16 backfit upgrades as well, after this capability is introduced in Block 3B.

    Block 3B. The “final” MH-60S version, which will make up the vast majority of the fleet after all retrofits are done. These helicopters began production using SysConfig 58 core software and the upgrades described above for the MH-60R “Block 2″, plus the DALS Downed Aircrew Locator System. It receives signals from survival radios and can GPS-locate them, then send voice communications, or use quieter text messages.

    The MH-60S continues to evolve. Some sub-systems like AMCM are evolving in parallel, and weapons capability continues to increase. The MH-60S will have the option of carrying 70mm laser-guided rockets after March 2014, and items like 20mm cannon are being trialed. Both changes are being driven by greater attention to the threat from small boats.

    The MH-60R/S Program MH-60R: ALFS & Hellfires
    (click to view full)

    With the Reagan defense build-up receding into history, the US Navy believed that technology advances offered the prospect of integrating greater capabilities into each machine, without having to spend much on R&D. Unlike new-design, new-materials projects like the EH101 and NH90 in Europe, or Sikorsky’s H-92 Superhawk (CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter) on order for Canada, the US Navy decided that enhancing the proven H-60 Seahawk design would be the most cost-effective recapitalization option. Hence the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter (aka. “Romeo”) and MH-60S (aka. “Sierra”).

    Each program is currently set within the 5-year MYP-8 multi-year procurement deal that runs from FY 2013-2017, and also includes US Army UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and foreign military sales.

    Total MH-60R procurement costs are expected to be approximately $10.5 – 11.5 billion over the life of the program. The US Navy originally planned to field 254 MH-60R “Romeo” helicopters, but the final number will be somewhere between 249 – 278, with American production now set to end in mid-2016. After that, the MH-60R production line will depend on foreign orders, though the related H-60M Black Hawk production line will remain active for some time. The current end of production date is 2018.

    Foreign orders to date include Australia (24) and Denmark (9 “MH-60R Lite”). Active formal requests have been submitted by Qatar (lost to NH90) and South Korea (lost to AW159).

    Total MH-60S procurement costs will be approximately $6.8 billion over the life of the program. When fully deployed, the Navy will field 275 MH-60S “Sierra” helicopters in 23 squadrons – 16 Active, 3 test, 2 Reserve and 2 Training squadrons, with 40 aircraft in the training squadrons. There will also be MH-60S helicopters in each of 5 Search And Rescue stations around the USA.

    MH-60S production is slated to end in 2015. Having said that, the MH-60S is even closer to the H-60M model, so its sister-line’s expected continuation past 2020 is likely to expand its sales window. Foreign orders to date include only Thailand (2 of 6 approved). Active formal requests have been submitted by Qatar (lost to NH90) and South Korea (2009: 8 MH-60S AMCM).

    MH-60R/S Budgets

    Budgeted program amounts for each helicopter type break down as follow. RDT&E stands for “Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation,” and “procurement” also includes long-lead time materials for subsequent years’ production:

    MH-60R/S Contracts and Key Events MH-60S w. AQS-20
    (click to view full)

    Editorial note: the MH-60 helicopters have a wide variety of ancillary equipment. The rule we use here at DID is that if it’s not an integral part of operating the helicopter, we cover it separately. Flight trainers and maintenance are an integral part of operating the helicopter, so they’re covered. A weapon or other switch-in item is not integral. The MH-60S’ AMCM mine countermeasures set is an example of switch-in optional gear – though modifying the helicopters to be able to accept the AMCM components is covered, because that aspect is integral. Likewise, the MH-60R has been sold without its ALFS dipping sonar. Note that for some integral items, like the MTS surveillance and targeting turrets, it isn’t always possible to connect every order with the MH-60.

    Unless otherwise specified, all contracts are managed by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD. The exception is new helicopters, which are now being bought under a multi-year joint contract managed by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

    MH-60S helicopters receive engines from GE and a common cockpit from Lockheed Martin, which are installed by Sikorsky. When an MH-60S leaves Sikorsky, it’s done. If the Navy wants to add modifications like AMCM gear later, that’s their business. For MH-60Rs, on the other hand, they leave Sikorsky without their common cockpit or any mission equipment. The US Navy flies them to Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY for full outfitting with their maritime radar, dipping sonar, sonobuoy launcher, cockpit, etc.

    FY 2015

    FY 2015 buy. MH-60S VERTREP
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    July 27/15: Taiwan is expected to soon place an order for eight to ten Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, according to reports this weekend. The helicopters are thought to be destined for the country’s Navy, with a contract announcement expected later this year. The Taiwanese Navy currently operates the Sikorsky S-70C helicopter, with the new helicopters set to bolster the force’s anti-submarine warfare capability.

    Nov 17/14: FY 2015 USA. The US military buys 102 helicopters for the Army and Navy for $1.302 billion, as its FY 2015 purchases.

    Part of it is a $535.3 million order under the MYP-8 multi-year program for 29 MH-60R and 8 MH-60S helicopters, plus associated sustaining engineering, program management, systems engineering, provisioning, technical publications, other integrated logistics support. There’s also advance procurement funding for program years 4 and 5. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2015 Navy aircraft budgets. Work will be performed at Stratford, CT (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0202).

    FY 2015: 29 MH-60R, 8 MH-60S

    Nov 13/14: MH-60R #200. Lockheed Martin delivers the 200th fully-equipped MH-60R “Romeo” helicopter to the US Navy, which includes a patch signing with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven-Two (HSM-72). Sikorsky makes the base helicopter, but Lockheed MArtin outfits them and delivers them. The firm adds:

    “The cornerstone of the U.S. Navy’s anti-surface and anti-submarine operations, MH-60R helicopters have flown more than 250,000 hours in operation with the Fleet, providing increased surveillance and situational awareness.”

    Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Delivers The 200th Romeo Helicopter To The U.S. Navy”.

    200th MH-60R

    FY 2014

    FY 2014 buy; APKWS rocket integration; MH-60R to end USN production a year early? MH-60R w. ALFS
    (click to view full)

    Sept 30/14: Weapons. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives $6.9 million for integration of APKWS Digital Rocket Launcher capabilities into MH-60R and MH-60S avionics software. $2.6 million in FY 2014 Navy RDT&E budgets is committed immediately.

    APKWS is a semi-active laser-guided 70mm rocket that’s being integrated into the US Navy; it will give equipped MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters 7 guided weapons per hardpoint, instead of 4 Hellfires. The rockets don’t pack the same punch as a Hellfire against larger naval targets or main battle tanks, but against small boat swarms and most targets ashore, there are no degrees of dead.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (95%), and Patuxent River, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in July 2016. Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0019, DO 4007).

    Sept 2/14: Upgrades. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training, Owego, NY, received $8.9 million for MH-60 Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS II) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast enhancements, including integration of the TAWS II software into the 2018 product line. These services are in support of the US Navy ($8.4 million / 95%) and the governments of Australia ($90,645 / 1%) and Denmark ($392,585 / 4%). $8.4 million is committed immediately,

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in October 2017. Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0019, DO 4001).

    June 20/14: Denmark. A $115.7 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to support the production and delivery of 9 Danish MH-60Rs. When previous announced contracts (q.v. June 26/13, Sept 23/13, Jan 6/14) are included, the total is now $223.8 million, out of a declared budget of $686 million (q.v. Nov 19/12).

    All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (52%); West Palm Beach, FL (22%) and various locations outside (17%), and within (9%) the continental United States (9%). Work is expected to be complete in July 2018 (N00019-14-G-0004, DO 4019).

    May 8/14: MH-60S AMCM. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT, receives a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for MH-60S Aircraft Mine Counter Measure Removable Mission Equipment B Kits. AMCM kits convert the helicopters into mine-countermeasures specialists that can accept specialized equipment.

    All funds are committed, using US Navy FY 2012 & 2013 aircraft budgets; $4.3 million will expire on Sept 30/14. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and is expected to be complete in April 2016. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD, manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0004, DO 4007).

    May 6/14: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives a $6.8 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order, for repairs to 11 MH-60R/S common cockpit items.

    All funds are committed using US Navy FY 2014 working capital budgets. Work will be performed in Owego, NY (73%); Farmingdale, NY (21.25%); Middletown, CT (2.5%); and Grand Rapids, MI (3.25%); and is expected to be complete by Jan 30/16. This requirement was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 USC. 2304(c)(1) by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F, DO 7027).

    April 22/14: MYP-8. Lockheed Martin ups the pressure on the US Navy, by reminding everyone that they have a multi-year contract with termination fees. CFO Bruce Tanner says that work had already begun on cockpits, radars, and other equipment for the MH-60Rs. He recommends buying them and selling them to allies:

    “That would probably be a better deal for the taxpayer than paying close to 100 percent and not getting anything for it…. The cost to terminate partially built helicopters is pretty significant relative to the cost to actually finish those helicopters.”

    Sources: Reuters, “Lockheed says costly for Pentagon if it cancels MH-60 helicopters”.

    April 17/12: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives a $7.3 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order for repairs to 12 items in the H-60R/S common cockpits.

    All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy budgets. Work will be performed at Owego, NY (77%); Farmingdale, NY (9%); Phoenix, AZ (6%); Salt Lake City, UT (6%); Hershey, PA (2%), and is expected to be complete by Jan 12/16. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C 2304(c)(1), by the US Naval Supply Systems Command, Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F, #7026).

    April 15/14: MYP-8. The Pentagon is trying to find ways not to break their MYP-8 multi-year contract with Sikorsky, given the likely effects on the Army’s Black Hawk fleet. Defense News goes a step further, and reports that Sikorsky officials are saying that any cancelation of the Navy buy would cancel the entire contract, destroying multi-year procurement for the US Army. Sources: Defense News, “DoD Looking for Ways Not To Break MH-60R Helicopter Deal”.

    April 9/14: Politics. Sikorsky director of maritime programs Tim Healy points out that the US Navy’s proposed cancellation of 29 helicopters within the current multi-year deal has consequences. One involves the likelihood of higher prices for US Army Blackhawks, which are still being purchased. The other is more basic:

    “This is not a legal issue. This is a confidence issue…. If multiyear contracts are negotiated and then not followed through … industry is back to making year-to-year calculations and investments because you never know when the next year’s contract is going to be canceled.”

    That would be the rational approach, but industry enters into these contracts in order to reduce the odds of program cutbacks and cancellation in an irrational political environment. In other words, the contracts are primarily political acts. Our take: cancellation will dent industry’s credence in these contracts, but won’t make much difference. Companies will still rush to sign them, until and unless they see a behavior pattern that destroys their belief in this strategy. Sources: Reuters, “U.S. Navy move to ‘break’ multiyear deal worries industry-Sikorsky”.

    March 28/14: Weapons. US Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division has been working on a project to modify 19-tube rocket launchers for NAVAIR’s Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Weapons (PMA 242) program office. The new LAU-61G/A Digital configuration adds a launcher electronic assembly that will allow a mix of guided and unguided rockets, mixed rocket load-outs, on-command inventory, tube-usage count, and built-in system check testing. In other words, it starts to look like the missile launcher it’s becoming, instead of just an unguided rocket launcher.

    The CNO Rapid Deployment Capability project is aimed at the MH-60S fleet, to help them defend carrier strike groups against fast-attack craft. The 16 Early Operational Capability versions that NSWC IHEODTD just delivered can only use APKWS laser-guided rockets (q.v. Dec 18/13), which will be used in a coming deployment with USS Carl Vinson [CVN 70] strike group. Sources: US Navy, “NSWC IHEODTD Supports Digital Rocket Launcher Early Operational Capability”.

    March 27/14: Qatar. The Gulf Emirate orders 22 NH90s, at a reported purchase price of around QAR 8.9 billion (about $2.446 billion). The order covers 12 NH90-TTH utility helicopters, and 10 NH90-NFH naval helicopters, whose functions roughly correspond to the MH-60S and MH-60R, respectively. A June 28/12 DSCA request involved 10-18 MH-60Rs and 12 MH-60S machines (see also Sept 22/11), but Sikorsky lost the competition.

    The helicopters will replace Qatar’s 12-13 old Westland Commando (Sea King) maritime utility and patrol helicopters, and at least some of its Lynx and/or Puma family helicopters. With this buy, Qatar joins their near neighbor Oman as an NH90 customer. No word yet re: their delivery schedule. Other Qatari buys in their $23 billion DIMDEX shopping spree included 24 attack helicopters, air defense and anti-tank missiles, fast attack boats, 2 A330 aerial refueling planes, and 3 E-737 AWACS aircraft. Sources: Al Defaiya, “Qatar Announces Big Defense Deals at DIMDEX 2014″ | Arabian Aerospace, “Qatar in $23bn arms order including Apache and NH90 helicopters” | Reuters, “Qatar buys helicopters, missiles in $23 billion arms deals”.

    Qatar loss

    March 21/14: Raytheon Co. in McKinney, TX receives $17.7 million for modification to previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for 19 MH-60R/S MTS surveillance and targeting turrets.

    All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and is expected to be complete by March 2016. US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-12-G-JQ66, 0044-01).

    March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The USAF and USN unveil their preliminary budget request briefings, but it takes another week to release detailed documents. FY 2015 orders are unaffected: 8 MH-60S will end production for the US Navy, and 29 MH-60R helicopters will be bought as planned. On the other hand, the planned FY 2016 close-out order for 29 MH-60R helicopters is gone.

    The cut is linked to the planned removal of 1 carrier air wing (to 10) and cap in the number of LCS ships at 32. The problem is twofold. One, the air wing would have to be put back if the Navy does decide to fund USS George Washington’s mid-life RCOH in FY16. Two, the 20 subsequent LCS buys are supposed to be replaced by ships with frigate-like capabilities, and those ships will need ASW helicopters. Navy officials said that advance procurement funds for FY 2016 were still present in the FY 2015 budget, and the Navy could reverse course. They’re under a multi-year procurement deal, so unless there’s a resale of some kind that’s allowed within the terms, you’d have to think that the penalty fees for cancellations would be high. Sources: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | Defense News, “US Navy Budget Plan: Major Questions Abound”.

    March 4/14: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. Owego, NY receives $10.6 million for a firm-fixed-price delivery order, covering the repair of 13 items in support of the MH-60R’s radar and “Electronic Measurement System”.

    All funds are committed immediately, using USN FY14 budgets. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete by March 2015. The contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304 (c)(1), by the NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-09-D-021F, #7048).

    Jan 9/14: FY 2014. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $549.9 million contract modification, funding the base airframes and some integration for 18 MH-60S and 19 MH-60R helicopters, plus advance procurement for years 4 & 5 of the multi-year deal; and associated sustaining engineering, program management, systems engineering, and other support.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and will be complete by Dec 31/15 (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0126).

    FY 2014: 18 MH-60S, 19 MH-60R

    Jan 6/14: Denmark. Raytheon Co., McKinney, TX, is being awarded a $10.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 9 multi-spectral targeting systems for Royal Danish Navy MH-60R helicopters. All funds are committed immediately. When combined with previously announced orders (q.v. June 26/13, Sept 23/13), Denmark’s total now stands at $108.1 million for their 9 MH-60R Lite variants. The overall budget for their Foreign Military Sale case is about $686 million (q.v. Nov 19/12 entry).

    Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and is expected to be complete by December 2015. The MH-60R’s equipment is set, and the Danes didn’t want a change, so this wasn’t an open competition per US FAR 6.302-1. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN acts as Denmark’s agent (N00164-12-G-JQ66-0037).

    Dec 18/13: Weapons. H-60 Program Manager Capt. James Glass discusses programs to upgrade the fleet with new weapons and systems.

    The MH-60S naval utility helicopters are slated to integrate APKWS laser-guided 70mm rockets by March 2014, in an early version of the 19-tube LAU-61G/A digital launcher (q.v. March 28/14). The MH-60S is also about to begin test-firing the same M197 3-barrel 20mm gatling gun used on Cobra attack helicopters. Presumably, that will be a podded version. Laser guidance isn’t ideal against boat swarms, because it requires continuous guidance to each target. A 20mm gun would compensate by allowing a 2nd attack option that can be pursued independently.

    The MH-60R’s new AN/APS-153 radar with automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination (ARPDD) will reach the fleet by January 2014. By March 2015, the MH-60Rs will add APKWS. The last set of MH-60R upgrades concern the ALFS dipping sonar, which is being engineered for more reliability. Sources, Military.com, “Navy Arms MH-60S Helicopter with Gatling Gun”.

    Dec 12/13: HUMS. Simmonds Precision Products, DBA Goodrich Corp. Sensors and Integrated Systems in Vergennes, VT receives a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price option for 8 MH-60S integrated mechanical diagnostic systems (IMDS) production A1 kits, 27 IMDS integrated vehicle health, management units and data transfer units, 17 MH-60S IMDS retrofit kits, 19 MH-60R IMDS Troy kits, and 19 MH-60R IMDS production A1 kits. All funds are committed immediately from FY 2014 USN aircraft budgets.

    Work will be performed in Vergennes, VT, and is expected to be complete in December 2015. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-12-C-2015).

    Dec 3/13: Hawklink. L-3 Communications Systems – West in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $22.9 million firm-fixed-price option for 4 AN/SRQ-4 (ship-based) and 31 AN/ARQ-59 (MH-60R) Common Data Link Hawklink radio terminal sets (see “Weapons & Upgrades” section, above). All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 USN budgets.

    Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT (60%); Atlanta, GA (14%); Mountain View, CA (6%); Exeter, NH (2%); plus 1% each in Phoenix, AZ; El Cajon, CA; Oxnard, CA; Salinas, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Boise, ID; Derby, KS; Littleton, MA; Stow, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Skokie, IL; Dover, NH; Bohemia, NY; York Haven, PA; Providence, RI; Cedar Park, TX; Fort Worth, TX; and Toronto, Canada. The underlying contract runs until September 2017. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-12-C-2024).

    Nov 20/13: Exelis Inc. in Fort Wayne, IN receives a $7 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for up to 62 radar signal simulators. They’ll equip MH-60Rs for the US Navy (33) and Australia (27), and Brazil’s S-70Bs (2).

    Work will be performed in Fort Wayne, IN, and the umbrella contract runs until November 2017. This contract was not competitively procured, per FAR 6.302-1. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract (N68335-14-D-0005).

    Oct 1/13: MH-60S. FBO.gov:

    “The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) DRAFT Request for Proposal (RFP) N00019-13-R-0039 for Crashworthy Troop Seat (CWTS) System for the MH-60S Platform is hereby cancelled, along with the accompanying site visit that was scheduled for the period of 08-11 October 2013.

    The DRAFT RFP and site visit cancellations are a result of Navy funding limitations and the program being defunded.”

    FY 2013

    FY 2013 buy; Danish buy MH-60R Lite. MH-60S: Rescue diver
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    Sept 26/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives a $7.2 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for the repair of 12 Common Cockpit items for the MH-60 Seahawk family of Helicopters. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (97%) and Farmingdale, NY (3%), and is expected to be complete by April 30/15. The contract was sole-sourced in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1), by US NAVSUP Weapons System Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F, 7023).

    Sept 26/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives a $15 million firm-fixed-price contract delivery order against a previously awarded for the repair of 5 H-60 Seahawk helicopter components. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/14. This contract was sole-sourced in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1). The contract was sole-sourced in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1), by US NAVSUP Weapons System Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-09-D-021, 7040).

    Sept 23/13: Radar. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training, Owego, NY receives a $98.4 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for up to 50 radar kits, which will upgrade their APS-147 maritime radars into AN/APS-153(V)1s with automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination. $29.8 million in FY 2013 Navy aircraft procurement funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Farmingdale, NY (93%) and Owego, NY (7%), and is expected to be complete in September 2016. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1a2 (N00019-13-D-4000).

    Sept 23/13: Denmark. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training in Owego, NY receives a $67.3 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for Danish modifications to their 9 MH-60Rs’ mission avionics and common cockpit. Work includes the integration of Danish-specific equipment, plus associated engineering and program support. Denmark is receiving MH-60R helicopters without ALFS dipping sonars or sonobuoys, and needs to use its own communications equipment, etc.

    When combined with previous mission system and cockpit orders (q.v. June 26/13), Denmark’s total now stands at $97.6 million for their 9 helicopters. The overall budget for their Foreign Military Sale case is about $686 million (q.v. Nov 19/12 entry).

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (98%), Farmingdale, NY (1%), and various other locations in the United States (1%) and is expected to be completed in June 2018. FMS contract funds in the amount of $67,290,982 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-G-0005, #4085).

    July 31/13: Support. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives a $39.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide help maintain software related to the MH-60R/S and SH-60B helicopters. They’ll update and maintain operational software, vendor software, maintenance-related software, and laboratory support software in support of flight test, technical and management work, and process support services. Just $814,024 is committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (85%); Patuxent River, MD (12%); Pascagoula, MS (1.5%); and Bath, ME (1.5%), and is expected to be complete in September 2015. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to “one responsible supplier” provisions in 10 USC 2304(c)(1). US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-13-D-0011).

    July 12/13: Support. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives a $12.9 million delivery order for repair coverage of 25 items in the MH-60R/S common cockpit. $9.7 million is committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (33%); Salt Lake City, UT (46%); Farmingdale, NY (12.5%); Middletown, CT (7.5%); and Phoenix, AZ (1%), and all work will be complete by July 1/15. The contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F, DO 7021).

    June 26/13: Denmark. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives a $30.3 million firm-fixed-price modification under an existing multi-year contract for 9 MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems and Common Cockpits. It’s part of Denmark’s 9-helicopter “MH-60R Lite” Foreign Military Sale (vid. Nov 19/12 entry), and all funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (71%); Farmingdale, NY (10%); Woodland Hills, CA (8%); Cedar Rapids, IA (3%); Ciudad Real, Spain (3%); Bennington, VT (2%); Lewisville, TX (1%); and various locations throughout the United States (2%), and is expected to be complete in April 2018. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-11-C-0020).

    June 25/13: Hawklink. L-3 Communications, Communication Systems–West in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $6.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 5 Common Data Link Hawklink AN/SRQ-4 radio terminal sets, in support of US Navy MH-60R (4) and US Coast Guard (1) helicopters. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 Coast Guard and FY 2013 US Navy funds.

    Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, Utah (60%); Atlanta, GA (14%); Mountain View, CA (6%); Exeter, NH (2%); and Phoenix, AZ; El Cajon, CA; Oxnard, CA; Salinas, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Boise, ID; Derby, KS; Littleton, MA; Stow, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Skokie, IL; Dover, NH; Bohemia, NY; York Haven, PA; Providence, RI; Cedar Park, TX; Ft. Worth, TX; and Toronto, Canada (1% each), and is expected to be complete in May 2015. $1.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-12-C-2024).

    Jan 16/13: Korea. The MH-60R loses the MH-X finals to AgustaWestland’s AW159 Wildcat, with AW159 deliveries planned from 2015-2016. South Korea’s DAPA spokesperson Baek Yun-hyung:

    “The Wildcat was deemed superior in three of four fields: cost, operational suitability, and contractual arrangements…. The overall consensus is that the Wildcat is the better option…. In joint operations the US model is superior but both models meet our performance requirements.”

    South Korea loss

    Dec 28/12: Hawklink. L-3 Communications Communication Systems West in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $16.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for Common Data Link Hawklink systems, incl. 31 AN/ARQ-59 radio terminal sets for the MH-60R.

    Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT (60%); Atlanta, GA (14%); Mountain View, CA(6%); Exeter, NH (2%); and Phoenix, AZ; El Cajon, CA; Oxnard, CA; Salinas, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Boise, Idaho; Derby, KS; Littleton, MA; Stow, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Skokie, IL; Dover, NH; Bohemia, NY; York Haven, PA; Providence, RI; Cedar Park, TX; Ft. Worth, TX; and Toronto, Canada (1% each), and is expected to be complete in March 2016. All contract funds are committed immediately (N00019-12-C-2024).

    Dec 18/12: MTS. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives an $18.4 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement for 19 multi-spectral targeting systems for the MH-60R/S helicopter.

    Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be complete by December 2014. This non-commercial contract was procured and solicited on a sole source basis in accordance with the statutory authority of 10 USC 2304c1. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN (N00164-12-G-JQ66, 0026).

    Dec 11/12: FY 2013. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a $563.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, which funds the Navy’s 2nd Program Year of the MYP-8 multi-year program. Sikorsky tells us that Year 2 buys 18 MH-60S Production Lot 15 helicopters for delivery in 2013-2014, and 19 MH-60R Production Lot 11 Helicopters for delivery in 2014. The contract also covers sustaining engineering, and the usual set of advance materials for the next production lots.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/16. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

    FY 2013: 18 MH-60S, 19 MH-60R

    Dec 6/12: GPS sonobuoys. US FBO.gov:

    “The Naval Air Systems Command intends to negotiate a sole source order under a Basic Ordering Agreement with Lockheed-Martin Mission and Sensor Systems (LM MS2). It is anticipated that this contract action will be a Cost Plus Fixed Fee order to implement reception and processing capability of GPS-enabled sonobuoys into the MH-60R. This effort includes updates to the operator display and other software changes, and laboratory checkout through simulation.”

    Nov 21/12: Denmark. Denmark’s Forsvarsministeriet announces that it has picked the MH-60R for a 9-helicopter buy, to replace their existing fleet of 7 AgustaWestland Lynx 90B machines. The DKR 4 billion (about $686 million) choice must next be approved by the Finance Ministry, and then passed in a budget by Parliament. That’s expected to happen, and it would be followed by deliveries from 2016 – 2018.

    The US Foreign Military Sale request is already issued (vid. Dec 2/10 entry) for up to 12 machines, so the path to a deal is clear. A cost per helicopter of $76.2 million is high, but small helicopter buys of a new type also incur costs for training, spares, and support for a negotiated period. To date, announced contracts total $223.8 billion:

    • $115.7 million – June 20/14, production
    • $10.5 million – Jan 6/14, 9 MTS surveillance & targeting turrets
    • $67.3 million – Sept 23/13, mission system & cockpit modifications
    • $30.3 million – June 26/13, 9 mission systems and common cockpits

    Denmark had been widely reported as a potential customer for a stripped-down MH-60R with reduced capabilities (vid. Nov 4/11 entry), and Sikorsky has since confirmed to DID that the Danish helicopters will remove most anti-submarine equipment. Danish MH-60Rs will be missing their sonobuoy launchers and ALFS FLASH dipping sonar, while retaining their naval radar and light surface strike capability. This will increase their available internal cabin space for transport missions. Danish Forsvarsministeriet [in Danish] | Sikorsky | Flight International.

    Denmark: 9 MH-60R Lite

    FY 2012 MH-60R w. ALFS
    (click to view full)

    Sept 11/12: Hawklink. L-3 Communications – Communication Systems – West in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $27.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for the manufacture, test, delivery and support of the Common Data Link Hawklink system, including 7 AN/SRQ-4 Ku-band Radio Terminal Sets for ship small surface combatants, and 29 AN/ARQ-58 RTSs for MH-60R helicopters.

    Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT (60%); Atlanta, GA (14%); Mountain View, CA (6%); Exeter, NH (2%); and Phoenix, AZ; El Cajon, CA; Oxnard, CA; Salinas, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Boise, ID; Derby, KS; Littleton, MA; Stow, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Skokie, IL; Dover, NH; Bohemia, NY; York Haven, PA; Providence, RI; Cedar Park, TX; Ft. Worth, TX; Toronto, Canada (1%) each and is expected to be complete in September 2015. This contract was competitively procured under an electronic request for proposals, with 1 offer received by US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-12-C-2024). See also L-3 Communications.

    July 11/12: MYP-8. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a firm-fixed-price umbrella contract to buy and provide initial support for up to 916 UH/HH/MH-60 Helicopters for the US Army and US Navy, with Foreign Military Sales options. The Pentagon announces the initial total as $2.828 billion, which probably allocated funds for initial helicopter.

    Sikorsky puts the base contract’s total value at $8.5 billion. Sikorsky also breaks up the MYP-8 contract into an $8.5 billion base for 653 helicopters, plus options for up to 263 more that could push the contract as high as $11.7 billion, including Foreign Military Sales.

    Those totals compare to $7.4 billion for 537 helicopters in MYP-7, plus 263 additional options that Sikorsky said could push the contract to $11.6 billion for 800 helicopters. Orders ended up falling well short of that total, but the options were there. Read “Sikorsky’s $8.5-11.7B “Multi-Year 8″ H-60 Helicopter Contract” for full coverage.

    MYP-VIII Multi-Year Framework

    June 28/12: Qatar. The US DSCA announces [PDF] a Foreign Military Sale request from the Government of Qatar to buy up to 28 modern Seahawk family helicopters, to replace the QEAF’s aging fleet of H-3 “Westland Commando” Sea Kings, and likely its remaining handful of Westland Lynx helicopters as well. If contracts are signed, they could be worth up to $2.5 billion. This appears to be an expansion of the Sept 22/11 DSCA request (q.v.).

    Qatar wants 10 MH-60R base configuration helicopters, optimized for anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship attacks, and maritime patrol. They also want 12 MH-60S Seahawk utility helicopters equipped with the Armed Helicopter Modification Kit, which will let them carry laser-guided Hellfire missiles and guided 70mm rockets. That would make them dangerous opponents for smaller ships, especially the armed go-fast boats favored by Iran. They would also be useful against land targets, alongside the kingdom’s lighter SA342G Gazelles. An extra option would increase the armed MH-60S buy to 18 if it’s exercised. Qatar will also need 48 T-700 GE 401C Engines (44 installed, 4 spare, could grow to 61 with options).

    The prime contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT (helicopters), Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY (MH-60R mission systems and MH-60S kits), and General Electric in Lynn, MA (engines). Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 15 contractor representatives to Qatar on an intermittent basis over the life of the case to support delivery of the MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization.

    Qatar request

    June 28/12: IMDS/HUMS. Simmonds Precision Products (United Technologies’ Goodrich Sensors and Integrated Systems) in Vergennes, VT receives a $9.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 120 various Integrated Mechanical Diagnostic System kits in support of The US Navy and Australia’s MH-60R/S helicopters. As their name implies, these embedded sensors are used to detect mechanical problems in critical areas of the helicopter, allowing maintenance to shift from a regular schedule regardless of need, to a “condition-based” response to problems while they’re still small.

    The US Navy gets 11 retrofit kits and one Delta retrofit kit, 18 integrated vehicle health management units and data transfer units, and 18 production kits. The numbers suggest that they’re slated for a US Navy MH-60S buy.

    Australia receives 24 Troy kits, 24 integrated vehicle health management units and data transfer units, and 24 production kits for its 24 MH-60Rs.

    Work will be performed in Vergennes, VT, and is expected to be complete in March 2014. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. US NAVAIR manages the contract (N00019-12-C-2015).

    May 16/12: South Korea’s MH-X. The US DSCA announces [PDF] the Republic of Korea’s official request for 8 MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Mission Helicopters, but the estimated cost of up to $1.0 billion indicates a very large long-term service & support package built into this request, which could comprise a majority of the deal’s cost.

    The request includes 8 MH-60Rs, 18 T-700 GE 401C Engines (16 installed and 2 spares), spare engine containers, communication equipment, unspecified “electronic warfare systems,” support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, and “other related elements” of US government and contractor support. If a contract is signed, the prime contractors would be Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT (MH-60R); Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY (sensors and mission systems); and General Electric in Lynn, MA (engines). Implementation would require “multiple trips to Korea involving U.S. Government or contractor representatives on a temporary basis” for program and technical support, and management oversight.

    South Korea has an MH-X program for its next-generation naval helicopter, with competitors expected to include AgustaWestland’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat, NH Industries’ NH90-NFH, and a naval version of the Eurocopter/KAI Surion, with co-operation from Elbit Systems. This MH-60R request follows a July 2009 (vid.) DSCA request for 8 MH-60S helicopters. The sinking of ROKS Cheonan by a North Korean submarine would certainly justify improving the ROKN’s anti-submarine capabilities, but the MH-60S’ ability to carry mine-detection gear is likely to be equally valuable. An MH-X decision is expected in October 2012. See also Defense Update.

    South Korea request

    May 9/12: Lite Danish? Sikorsky Aircraft and Terma announce a broadened Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It extends the existing February 2010 MoU to include composites and electrical component manufacturing, as well as the possible use of Terma’s survivability equipment on widely-bought platforms like the UH-60 Black Hawk. This cooperation is conditioned on an MH-60R order from the Danish government. The Danes seem to be more interested in an MH-60R Lite version, though, as the release adds that:

    “…the aircraft can be upgraded to provide anti-submarine warfare if one day required by Danish Defense.”

    April 27/12: APS-153. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors (MS2) in Owego, NY receives a $13.8 million firm-fixed-price delivery order, funding ongoing efforts to design, develop, and produce new Automatic Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination (ARPDD) configured AN/APS-153V retrofit kits for the MH-60R. This order funds the validation and verification effort, all integrated logistic support elements, and the technical directives required to retrofit MH-60R aircraft. Kit quantities include 8 A-kits; 4 SEED B-kits; 2 STD B-kits; 2 Val/Ver A-kits; and 5 Antenna Array B-kits.

    Work will be performed in Farmingdale, NY (70%); Owego, NY (29%); and various locations throughout the United States (1%); and is expected to be complete in April 2015 (N00019-09-G-0005).

    April 19/12: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Owego, NY receives a $61.4 million basic ordering agreement to repair/overhaul 182 various weapons replacement assemblies and shop replaceable assemblies used in support of the MH-60R/S common cockpit; the MH-60R’s ESM receiver processor that notices and backtracks electronic emissions like radar; and the MH-60S OAMCM mine warfare helicopter.

    Work is expected to be completed by April 19/15. Only one company was solicited for this non-competitive requirement, and one offer was received in response to the solicitation, but a number of firms will be doing the work. Work will be performed at:

    • General Electric in Grand Rapids, MI (5%)
    • Hamilton Sundstrand in Phoenix, AZ (1%)
    • Kaman in Middletown, CT (1%)
    • Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY (33%)
    • Northrop Grumman in Salt Lake City, UT (41%)
    • Telephonics in Farmingdale, NY (12%)
    • Ultra Flightline in Victor, NY (2%)
    • US Navy FRC-SW in San Diego, CA (5%)

    The contract is managed by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F).

    April 20/12: Australia. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $126.5 million modification to Australia’s previous advance acquisition contract, which turns its preliminary order for 24 MH-60R mission systems and common cockpits into a finalized firm-fixed-price contract. This brings all contracts related to these sub-systems up to $315.1 million, or $13.13 million per helicopter. Read “MH-60R Wins Australia’s Maritime Helicopter Competition” for full coverage.

    April 5/12: Common cockpits. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $1.05 billion contract modification, finalizing the MH-60R/ MH-60S’ 2012-2016 mission avionics system/ common cockpit advance acquisition contract to a firm-fixed-price, multiyear contract. These mission avionics systems and common cockpits will equip 162 MH-60Rs in production lots 10-14, and the last 62 MH-60S helicopters in production lots 14-17, with integrated logistic support provided alongside. A number of buys had already occurred under this contract for MH-60R Lots 10-11, and MH-60S Lots 14-15.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (58%); Farmingdale, NY (25%); Woodland Hills, CA (4%); Ciudad Real, Spain (3%); East Syracuse, NY (2%); Victor, NY (2%); Everett, WA (1%); Stratford, CT (1%); St. Charles, MO (1%); Lewisville, Texas (1%); Bennington, VT (1%); and other locations inside the United States (1%). Work is expected to be completed in June 2018. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-11-C-0020). See also Lockheed Martin.

    March 15/12: Radios. Rockwell Collins, Inc. in Cedar Rapids, IA received a $6.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option to provide AN/ARC-210V electronic radio and ancillary equipment: 48 RT-1990C/ARC receiver-transmitters for the MH-60R, and 28 RT-1990C/ARC receiver-transmitters for MH-60S.

    Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, IA, and is expected to be complete in September 2013. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0069).

    March 13/12: Australia. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT received a $27.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for the “advanced procurement funding services in support of the Royal Australia Navy MH-60R program.” Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Dec 13/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    Dec 29/11: Australia. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $103.5 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for Australia. It covers common cockpit and mission avionics to equip 24 MH-60R helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy, including non-recurring engineering, program support, and associated efforts required for the production and delivery. Read “MH-60R Wins Australia’s Maritime Helicopter Competition” for full coverage.

    Dec 28/11: Long-lead. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $24 million firm-fixed-price advance acquisition contract modification. They’ll provide FY 2012 long-lead material and “end of life components” (spares) for MH-60S Production Lot 14 and MH-60R Lot 10 common cockpits, and specialized MH-60R Lot 10 mission electronics.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (57%); Farmingdale, NY (26%); Woodland Hills, CA (4%); Ciudad Real, Spain (3%); East Syracuse, NY (2%); Victor, NY (2%); Everett, WA (1%); Stratford, CT (1%); St. Charles, MO (1%); Lewisville, TX (1%); Bennington, VT (1%); and various locations throughout the United States (1%), and is expected to be complete in February 2012 (N00019-11-C-0020).

    Dec 14/11: Training. The first US Navy MH-60S Aircrew Virtual Environmental Trainer (AVET) is installed and ready at NAS North Island near San Diego, CA. The Navy has had “TOFT” simulators for pilots since Oct 6/06, but this is a stand-alone, reconfigurable, full-motion simulator to train aerial gunnery, search and rescue, cargo replenishment, confined area landings, and emergency procedures for the MH-60S and HH-60H.

    Binghamton Simulator Company in Binghamton, NY developed AVET under Navy SBIR funding, working with experts from PMA-205 and the US Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL. Its big difference from other simulators is that instead of a large, expensive screen, it uses a strap-on helmet mounted visor for each student. This allows multiple students to train on cooperative tasks like these, while enjoying full 360 degree simulation, at an affordable cost. The longer-term goal will network AVET trainers with pilot TOFTs, allowing full-crew mission rehearsals that don’t have to fly expensive helicopters. US NAVAIR.

    Dec 14/11: Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $72.2 million firm-fixed-price advance acquisition contract modification. They’ll provide FY 2013 long-lead material and associated efforts for MH-60S Production Lot 15 and MH-60R Lot 11 common cockpits, and specialized MH-60R Lot 11 mission electronics.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (57%); Farmingdale, NY (26%); Woodland Hills, CA (4%); Ciudad Real, Spain (3%); East Syracuse, NY (2%); Victor, NY (2%); Everett, WA (1%); Stratford, CT (1%); St. Charles, MO (1%); Lewisville, TX (1%); Bennington, VT (1%); and various locations throughout the United States (1%). Work is expected to be complete in December 2012 (N00019-11-C-0020).

    Dec 12/11: MH-60R Upgrades. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI receives a $10.4 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to integrate an improved ALFS sonar Digital Transducer Assembly into MH-60Rs, as Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) 6515-E-022, Part II.

    Work will include engineering, highly accelerated life test, and integrated logistics services. Work will be performed in Brest, France (64%), and Portsmouth, RI (36%), and is expected to be complete in October 2012 (N00019-08-G-0013).

    Dec 2/11: Australia. Lockheed Martin MS2 in Owego, NY receives an $85.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for work at both ends of the MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems and common cockpit life-cycle. It includes both long-lead materials to begin building cockpits, and “end-of-life components” so the Australians have enough of certain items to support their 24 Royal Australian Navy MH-60Rs.

    Work will be performed in Farmingdale, NY (53%); Owego, NY (32%); Ciudad Real, Spain (5%); Victor, NY (4%); St. Charles, MO (3%); Lewisville, TX (1%); Windsor Locks, CT (1%); and various locations throughout the United States (1%). Work is expected to be complete in March 2012. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract, as the agent of their Foreign Military Sale client (N00019-11-C-0020).

    Nov 4/11: MH-60R Lite. Australian Defence Magazine reports that Lockheed Martin is self-funding development of an “MH-60R Lite” variant, which would make the ALFS dipping sonar a removable option. That would improve its range, and increase cabin space from 3 people to 8, at the expense of limiting its anti-submarine capability without ALFS. Lockheed Martin is even contemplating a version that also removes the sonobuoy launcher and acoustic processors, leaving a helicopter with just surface attack, search and rescue, and utility helicopter capabilities. It would really be more of an MH-60S+, with an advanced maritime radar and other electronics improvements.

    Australia is already set to buy standard MH-60Rs, but Denmark has reportedly been briefed on the project (vid. Sept 8/09, Dec 2/10 entries). They bought AW101 helicopters for the search and rescue role, but a September 2008 Parliamentary report [PDF] confirmed that availability problems had left the Danes without the full SAR capabilities they need. They’re also looking to replace a handful of Lynx maritime helicopters, and an MH-60R with removable dipping sonar might solve both problems.

    FY 2011 Thai MH-60S
    (click to view full)

    Sept 29/11: MTS. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives a $9.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 10 MH-60S multispectral targeting systems. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and is expected to be complete by October 2013. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN (N00164-11-C-JQ34).

    Sept 29/11: Support. Lockheed Martin MS2 in Owego, NY receives an $8.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for one-time efforts required to fix part obsolescence issues in the MH-60R/S with solutions that have the right form, fit, and function. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in November 2013 (N00019-06-C-0098).

    Sept 27/11: Point & click, at last. Lockheed Martin MS2 in Owego, NY receives a $26.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the procurement of 699 newly designed “point and click operator system interface kits”, and 123 pointing devices, in support of the MH-60R/S helicopter fleet. The contract includes installation, and NAVAIR confirms to DID that the operator-system interface (OSI) is being updated for all MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (61.1%); Austin, TX (20%); and Everett, WA (18.9%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-11-C-0048).

    Sept 27/11: Support.Lockheed Martin Corp. in Owego, NY receives a $9 million firm-fixed-price contract for specialized test equipment necessary to perform depot-level repairs to the ALQ-210 Electronic Support Measures Receiver Processor System. The AN/ALQ-210 ESM picks up incoming radar and electronic signals, and helps the helicopter backtrack to their emitters; it is deployed on the MH-60R.

    Work will be performed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL, and is expected to be completed in June 2014. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-11-C-0403).

    Sept 22/11: Qatar MH-60Rs? The US DSCA announces [PDF] Qatar’s official request to buy up to 6 MH-60R Seahawk naval warfare helicopters, 13 T-700 GE 401C Engines (12 installed and 1 spare), plus communication equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, and other U.S. government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $750 million.

    The MH-60R helicopters will supplement and eventually replace the Qatar Air Force’s aging Westland Sea King maritime patrol helicopters, whose main concern is currently Iran’s Russian-built Kilo Class diesel-electric attack submarines.

    The prime contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT (helicopter), Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY (mission systems) and General Electric in Lynn, MA (engines). If the notice turns into a contract, require the assignment of 10 contractor representatives to Qatar on an intermittent basis over the life of the case, to support delivery of the MH-60R helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization.

    Qatar request

    Aug 8/11: Thailand. Sikorsky loads a pair of MH-60S Seahawk helicopters for shipment to Thailand, who is the type’s first export customer thanks to a 2007 order.

    Aug 4/11: MH-60R Upgrades. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $30 million delivery order modification for additional Phase 2 efforts in support of the MH-60R situational awareness technology insertion (SATI) engineering, manufacturing, and development. Work will be performed in Owego, NY (95%), and Melbourne, FL (5%), and is expected to be complete in February 2014. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-09-G-0005).

    Discussions with Lockheed Martin shed additional light on this award, which completes SATI’s pre-development portion. SATI upgrades the current Gen III Flight Management Computers and Mission Computers to Gen V, and adds a new Integrated Digital Map, and upgrades to the existing IFF interrogator.

    July 1/11: APS-153. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $14.1 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for one-time engineering efforts to add a Mode 5 Interrogator Subsystem into the MH-60R Automatic Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination System. Work will be performed in Farmingdale, NY (68%), and Owego, NY (32%), and is expected to be complete in November 2012. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-11-C-0068).

    Discussions with Lockheed Martin shed additional light on this award. ARPDD upgrades the existing AN/APS-147 radar’s hardware and software, to automatically discriminate between periscopes and other small surface objects. The upgraded MH-60R radar with the ARPDD capability is designated as an AN/APS-153. As noted above, Mode 5 is a form of automated “identification, friend or foe” technology. The helicopter transponders already include IFF Mode 5, but the helicopters’ radar-linked IFF interrogator system is also getting an upgrade. With submarines test-firing anti-aircraft missiles from torpedo tubes (vid. IDAS), creating a 2-way threat, IFF for ASW machines could become even more useful.

    June 27/11: Training. CAE USA, Inc. in Tampa, FL receives a $32.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 2 MH-60R tactical operational flight trainer (TOFT) advanced simulators, including install and test.

    Work will be performed in Tampa, FL (42%); Lexington Park, MD (35%); Salt Lake City, UT (9%); Huappauge, NY (5%); San Francisco, CA (4%); Montreal, Canada (2%); Huntsville, AL (2%); and Leesburg, VA (1%), and is expected to be complete in October 2013. US Naval Air Warfare Center, Training Systems Division in Orlando, L manages this contract (N61340-11-C-0006).

    June 16/11: MH-60R for RAN. The MH-60R beats the NH90-NFH for Australia’s 24-helicopter, A$3+ billion (over $3.16 billion) AIR 9000, Phase 8 helicopter competition, even though Australia had switched from H-60/S-70 Army helicopters to the NH90-TTH several years ago. A combination of problems with its “MRH-90s,” slow NH90 TTH development, MH-60R naval interoperability benefits, and the MH-60R’s low-risk operational status tipped the balance.

    Read “MH-60R Wins Australia’s Maritime Helicopter Competition” for full coverage.

    Australia: 24 MH-60R

    March 30/11: Upgrades. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives an $8.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for A and B modification kits in support of the MH-60 acoustic technical insert (ATI). ATI includes cable modification kits, ATI, software defined sonobouy compatibility, the pre-amplifier unit, sensor operator consoles, link-16 retrofits and notch filters.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (66.56%); Victor, NY (23%); Farmingdale, NY (4.5%); Butler, NJ (3.3%); and Ciudad Real, Spain (2.6%). Work is expected to be complete by in March 2016. This contract was not competitively procured. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-11-C-0048).

    March 9/11: FY 2011? A $129.4 million firm-fixed-price contract “for the procurement of UH-60M Helicopters, HH-60M Helicopters, MH-60S Helicopters and MH-60R Helicopters,” numbers unspecified. Absent a budget per the Senate’s legal responsibility, it is difficult to commit a lot of money to buying things.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12 (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    FY 2011 order?

    March 3/11: Sub-contractors. Sikorsky signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Trakka Corp. in Melbourne, Australia. Searchlights are Trakka’s specialty, and they are integrated into a highly efficient pan and tilt gymbal, allowing slewing up to 60 degrees per second. Internal filtering allows the searchlight to choose the appropriate light spectrum for the mission, while precision optical elements and a low power light source deliver a more intense and efficient on-target beam than conventional reflector-type searchlights.

    This MoU goes beyond just Australia or its naval helicopter competition, to cover H-60 Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters generally. Trakka develops and manufactures aviation searchlight products in its AS9100 certified facility in Australia, but it also has operations in Scottsdale, AZ to support its U.S. customers, including U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard. Sikorsky.

    March 1/11: MTS. Raytheon announces a $50 million contract to deliver 50 AAS-44C (V) Multi-Spectral Targeting System surveillance and targeting turrets, for use on the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2011 and end in 2012.

    Feb 28/11: HUMS. Goodrich subsidiary Simmonds Precision Products, Inc. in Vergennes, VT receives a $7.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the procurement of 42 MH-60R/S integrated mechanical diagnostic and health usage monitoring system (HUMS) units, 42 data transfer units, and 18 retrofit kits. HUMS systems use embedded sensors to capture data about the performance of key mechanisms, and some can even predict likely failures. Their adoption can make maintenance approaches more efficient, pinpoint hidden design & manufacturing issues, and lead to redesigns for reliability.

    Work will be performed in Vergennes, VT, and is expected to be completed in September 2012. $3.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-06-C-0298). See also Goodrich’s Rotary HUMS Product Sheet [PDF].

    Feb 25/11: Hawklink. L-3 Communication Systems in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $32 million fixed-price-incentive contract modification, exercising to exercise an option for MH-60R Hawklink datalink hardware, incl. 6 AN/SRQ-4(Ku) radio terminal sets for small surface combatant ships, and 52 AN/ARQ-59 radio terminal sets. See the MH-60R section for more details re: Hawklink.

    Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT, and is expected to be complete in June 2012. The US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-09-C-0059).

    Feb 25/11: Sub-contractors. Lockheed Martin has issued a Request For Information to Australian firms to supply MH-60R weapons pylons, with selections expected by the end of 2011. The RFI is issued under the auspices of a recently signed Global Supply Chain (GSC) Deed, giving Australian companies new opportunities to compete for subcontracts on a range of Lockheed Martin products and services. Lockheed Martin’s naval helicopter program head, George Barton:

    “Growth in orders for the MH-60R has resulted in an urgent need for an expanded supply base, and Australian industry has a depth of capability that would be an ideal supplement to our dedicated supplier base.”

    The pylons are just the 1st opportunity, and tie into the billion-dollar naval helicopter competition there, featuring the MH-60R vs. the NH90-NFH. Lockheed Martin.

    Feb 14/11: FY 2012 request. The 111th Congress’ failure has left the military without a FY 2011 budget. As the next 112th session takes up that challenge, the Pentagon releases its official FY 2012 budget request on schedule.

    The FY 2012 request would spend a total of $1.532 billion buy 24 MH-60Rs ($1.018 billion) and 18 MH-60S helicopters ($513.5 million). Those helicopter numbers and mix match the FY 2011 budget, but the amounts are less.

    Feb 2/11: MH-60R Australia? The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Australia’s formal request to buy a 10-year Through-Life-Support (TLS) contract for 24 MH-60R helicopters at an estimated cost of up to $1.6 billion. With the ADF’s MRH-90 program facing difficulties and receiving increased scrutiny, the support offer caps what amounts to a $3.7 billion maximum (A$ 3.66 billion) offer for 24 MH-60Rs, plus 10 years of support (vid. July 20/10), to set against the NH90 NFH in Australia’s SEA 8000, Phase 8 competition. Read “MH-60R Wins Australia’s Maritime Helicopter Competition” for full coverage.

    Australia MH-60R support request

    Jan 19/11: Training. CAE USA, Inc. in Tampa, FL receives a $43.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to design, build, install and test 1 MH-60R Tactical Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT) simulator and one MH-60R/S Tactical Operational Flight Trainer.

    Work will be performed in Tampa, FL (42%); Lexington Park, MD (35%); Salt Lake City, UT (9%); Hauppauge, NY (5%); San Francisco, CA (4%); Montreal, Canada (2%); Huntsville, AL (2%); and Leesburg, VA (1%), and is expected to be complete in June 2014. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1 by the US Naval Air Warfare Center, Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61340-11-C-0006).

    Jan 5/11: Long-lead. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $72.6 million advance acquisition contract for long lead materials and support associated with the manufacture and delivery of 24 mission avionics systems and common cockpits for the Production Lot 10 MH-60R helicopters, and 18 common cockpits for the Production Lot 14 MH-60S helicopters, under a Multi-Year II advanced acquisition contract. This contract also buys end-of-life components for the MH-60R and MH-60S, so the Navy will have adequate stocks.

    Work will be performed in Farmingdale, NY (48%); Owego, NY (26%); Woodland Hills, CA (13%); Ciudad Real, Spain (6%); Horseheads, NY (2%); Lewisville, TX (2%); Bennington, VT (1%); Windsor Locks, CT (1%); and various locations throughout the United States (1%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011. Funding is provided by FY 2011 Aviation Procurement Navy funds, and this contract was not competitively procured by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-11-C-0020).

    As of January 2011, Lockheed Martin and partner Sikorsky Aircraft have delivered more than 85 MH-60R helicopters [Source].

    Dec 29/10: APS-153. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $33.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to incorporate the automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination radar into 6 MH-60R full rate production aircraft, moving this improvement from the system development phase to the production phase. This upgraded version of the MH-60R’s Telephonics AN/APS-147 radar offers 8 times the processing power of the previous model, along with the new radar mode. $24.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11.

    Work will be performed in Farmingdale, NY (86%), and Owego, NY (14%), and is expected to be complete in December 2013 (N00019-06-C-0098).

    Dec 29/10: Long-lead. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $37.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to supply common cockpits for MH-60S Production Lot 13 and MH-60R Production Lot 9 helicopters, plus common cockpit components and spares in support of the overall MH-60R and MH-60S helicopter programs.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (58.8%); Salt Lake City, UT (13.9%); Farmingdale, NY (12.7%); Grand Rapids, MI (4.7%); Woodland Hills, CA (3.7%); Lewisville, TX (2.9%); Windsor Locks, CT (2.2%); Middletown, CT (0.6%); and Butler, NJ (0.5%), and is expected to be complete in April 2013 (N00019-06-C-0098).

    Dec 20/10: MH-60R Upgrades. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $35 million cost-plus-incentive-fee delivery order for one-time efforts in support of the MH-60R’s “situational awareness technology insertion” pre-engineering, manufacturing and development. Work will be performed in Owego, NY (86%); Farmingdale, NY (11%); and Melbourne, FL (3%). Work is expected to be complete in October 2012, but all contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00019-09-G-0005, #4030).

    A subsequent Lockheed Martin release clarifies: SATI is an 8-component package of upgrades and improvements to the helicopter’s flight management system, including a new integrated digital map and an Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) system upgrade.

    Dec 2/10: Denmark request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Denmark’s request to buy 12 MH-60Rs, 27 T-700 GE 401C Engines (24 installed and 3 spares), plus communication equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, and U.S. government and contractor support.

    The estimated cost is up to $2.0 billion, and the prime contractors will be Sikorsky in Stratford, CT; Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY; General Electric in Lynn, MA; and the Raytheon Corporation in Portsmouth, RI. If a contract is signed, implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 10 contractor representatives to Denmark on an intermittent basis over the life of the case to support delivery of the MH-60R helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization.

    That’s an extraordinarily high ceiling price, unless very long term support contracts are also involved. The Romeos seem destined to replace Denmark’s 8 remaining Super Lynx helicopters in various roles, including “homeland defense and protect critical infrastructure.” The Danish Lynx fleet is getting quite old, and 3 helicopters have already been decommissioned.

    Denmark MH-60R request

    Oct 14/10: Support. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, N.Y received a $10 million firm-fixed-price contract for specialized test equipment required to perform depot-level repairs to the MH-60 common cockpit avionics suite, including artisan training, 2 operator control panels, and 1 universal power supply tester.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in January 2013. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N68335-11-C-0050).

    FY 2010 VERTREP from
    T-AOE 6 to CG 72
    (click to view full)

    Sept 21/10: JMPS. Lockheed Martin announces a $10 million contract to add the Navy/USAF Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) to the MH-60 family by 2012. The firm’s Owego, NY employees will spend 30 months developing a “unique planning component” software module configured to JMPS, which must also contain unique information about the MH-60R and MH-60S, and their mission types. Once the module is delivered, tests will be conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station Point Mugu, CA and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD.

    The idea is that missions are planned on a laptop, ten loaded into the Common Cockpit system via a memory card. The software modules will be loaded onto a planning system laptop that allows MH-60 pilots to select preconfigured mission plans, compile weather data, maps, navigational routes, targeting data, and enter their helicopter’s chosen weapons and sensors. The finished mission profile is transferred to a memory card and uploaded to the helicopter. Once airborne, the aircraft’s avionics will know what mission they’re assigned, the intended route and navigation waypoints, the communications frequencies, available weapons and sensors, and other critical information.

    July 21/10: No sonobuoys? Aviation Week Ares reports that future MH-60R helicopters may abandon their current sonobuoy launchers:

    “U.S. Navy program manager for H-60, Capt. Dean Peters… said the aircraft’s Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) worked so well during last year’s deployment of the aircraft there “was not much need for the [sonobuoy] launcher.” The potential exists, he says, to “take out the sonobuoy launcher,” and launch fewer buoys using a different type of launch system. The goal is reduce the amount of cabin space taken up by the launcher… ALFS provides so much range that it might be wise to have another helicopter prosecute the mission and “have the sonar remain in the dip.”… We’re evaluating other options to free up space and reduce cost.”

    July 9/10: MH-60R Australia? The US DSCA announces [PDF] Australia’s formal request to buy 24 MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Mission Helicopters and related equipment, for up to $2.1 billion.

    DSCA requests are not contracts, and in this case, it may not even indicate intent. The MH-60R is competing against the NH90 NFH in Australia, and it isn’t unusual for countries to submit requests during competitions, in order to ensure that the American equipment has full export clearances. Read “MH-60R Wins Australia’s Maritime Helicopter Competition” for full coverage.

    Australia MH-60R request

    June 11/10: Support. Lockheed Martin MS2 in Owego, NY received a $12.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0098) for MH-60R/MH-60S common cockpit provisioned items. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in July 2012.

    June 8/10: Hawklink. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors (MS2) in Owego, NY received a $9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-09-G-0005) for services in support of the MH-60R Common Data Link (CDL) Hawklink upgrade.

    Services to be provided include production support; first article inspection test; generation of engineering change proposals to incorporate CDL Hawklink into the MH-60R; product test verification supporting an MH-60R fleet release; and on-aircraft production validation testing. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in December 2011.

    April 28/10: Australia RFP. Australia issues its formal solicitation for “AIR 9000, Phase 8″ to buy naval helicopters: either the NH90 NFH or the MH-60R, with a decision expected in 2011. Ministerial release.

    April 1/10: SAR – more MH-60Rs. The Pentagon releases its April 2010 Selected Acquisitions Report, covering major program changes up to December 2009. The MH-60R is included, because the planned number is going up:

    “MH-60R – Program costs increased $2,101.6 million (+17.3%) from $12,139.4 million to $14,241.0 million, due primarily to a quantity increase of 46 helicopters from 254 to 300 helicopters (+$1,385.4 million) and associated schedule, engineering, and estimating allocations

    • (+$171.6 million), and increases in other support costs and initial spares associated with the quantity increase (+$257.3 million). There was an additional increase due to a revised cost estimate for 23 additional airborne low frequency sonars (+$282.8 million).”

    SAR – more MH-60Rs

    March 23/10: MH-60S upgrades. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CoT receives an $18.2 million firm-fixed-price modification to a previously issued delivery order under a basic ordering agreement (N00019-08-G-0010). NAVAIR is buying 36 integrated self defense (ISD) mission kits and 33 weapons kits for the MH-60S.

    Work will be performed in Tallassee, AL (76.1%); Coxsackie, NY (17.6%); Wichita, KS (4.3%); Valencia, CA (1%); and at various locations across the U.S. (1%) and is expected to be complete in January 2012. $1,487,432 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    March 15/10: Hawklink. L-3 Communications Corp. in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $37.5 million modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive contract (N00019-09-C-0059), exercising an option related to the Hawklink sub-program.

    The Navy will buy 11 AN/SRQ-4 (Ku) radio terminal sets for ship small surface combatants, and 51 AN/ARQ-59 RTS for the MH-60R aircraft, including technical data. These upgraded Ku-band systems will extend existing Hawklink connectivity from small surface combatants to the aircraft carrier, and increase data rates between MH-60Rs and surface combatants. Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT, and is expected to be complete in March 2013.

    Feb 25/10: Australia. Australia formally announces Project AIR 9000 Phase 8, which will be a competition between the MH-60R Seahawk and the NH90-NFH. Australia currently operates S-70 Seahawks as naval helicopters, but it also chose the NH90-TTH to replace its Army Blackhawks. In the end, the MH-60R won.

    Jan 19/10: FY 2010 contract. A $600.7 million firm-fixed-price contract, funding Program Year 4 for the US Navy under the current multi-year H-60 contract. The order funds 42 helicopters: 18 MH-60S Seahawks (Lot 12 production), 24 MH-60R Seahawks (Lot 8 production); plus tooling, program systems management, and technical publications.

    Work is to be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12. One bid solicited with one bid received (W5RGZ-08-C-0003).

    FY 2010: 18 MH-60S, 24 MH-60R

    Jan 6/10: Australia. Australia’s Daily Telegraph reports that Australia’s Labor Party government has rejected a DoD request to approve a $4 billion “rapid acquisition” of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, plus related equipment including training weapons, etc. The buy would have been an emergency replacement for the long-running, ill-starred, and canceled SH-2G Super Seasprite program.

    Instead, successful lobbying by Eurocopter will force a competition between Sikorsky’s MH-60R, in service with the US Navy, and the European NH90 NFH variant, which is expected to be ready for service sometime around 2011-2012.

    Dec 30/09: Common cockpit. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY, which has just been amalgameted with Maritime Systems and Sensors in an internal Lockheed Martin reorganization, received an $82 million firm-fixed-price modification to finalize a previous contract to deliver MH-60 common cockpits for MH-60S Lot 12 and MH-60R Lot 8 production. This modification also provides for long lead materials that need to arrive early, in order to support timely production of MH-60S Lot 13 and MH-60R Lot 9 common cockpit kits.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (58.8%); Salt Lake City, UT (13.9%); Farmingdale, NY (12.7%); Grand Rapids, MI (4.7%); Woodland Hills, CA (3.7%); Lewisville, TX (2.9%); Windsor Locks, CT (2.2%); Middletown, CT (0.6%); and Butler, NJ (0.5%). Work is expected to be complete in July 2012 (N00019-06-C-0098).

    Dec 24/09: Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY received a maximum $68.3 million sole-source firm-fixed-price contract for receiver transmitters and processors. The date of performance completion is December 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency, Philadelphia issued the contract (N00019-06-C-0098).

    Dec 23/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY received a $10 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract to develop, integrate and test modifications for the audio management computer and embedded GPS/inertial navigation system in the MH-60R and MH-60S common cockpit.

    These efforts address electronics obsolescence issues, which are common given an electronics industry whose product lifecycles are 5-7 years, vs. military platforms’ 30-50 years. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be completed in February 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-04-C-0028).

    Dec 18/09: JMPS. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego in Owego, NY receives a $10 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to incorporate Joint Mission Planning Systems v1.2 into MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in July 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N00019-09-G-0005).

    Dec 9/09: MH-60S upgrades. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CoT received an $11.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for incorporation of recurring costs associated with Navy MH-60S Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs). ECP 4003 covers night vision device compatible rotor head lights, and ECP 4035 covers active vibration control installation. Work is to be performed at Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12. One bid was solicited and one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    Dec 8/09: Hawklink. Lockheed Martin announces a $14.75 million U.S. Navy contract to integrate the high definition SAU 07000 Ship Air Upgrade interface. This is a digital messaging interface that will improve the MH-60R’s Hawklink communications system to make full use of the Ku band, as opposed to the C-band limitations of current MH-60Rs and SH-60Bs.

    Developed jointly by US NAVAIR and NAVSEA, the SAU 07000 interface will be integrated into ship combat systems, including Aegis-equipped ships. SAU 07000-equipped MH-60R aircraft will remain backward compatible with the legacy C-band message interface to support naval ships that have not yet upgraded. See June 12/09 and May 28/08 entries for more contracts and background concerning Hawklink Ku-band improvements.

    To date, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin have delivered 48 MH-60Rs, which are deployed in 4 squadrons. Ku band-capable MH-60Rs are scheduled for deployment as part of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group in 2012.

    Nov 23/09: Support. Telephonics, a subsidiary of Griffon, received a $6.9 million contract from Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego to supply test equipment for diagnosis and repair of the MH-60R/S helicopters’ communication systems. The equipment will be delivered to the US Navy’s Fleet Resource Center Southwest, which plans to have the test capability operational in early 2011. The contract also includes training Navy personnel in the repair of the communication systems and operation of the equipment.

    Oct 23/09: Australia. The Australian reports that the country’s military chiefs have recommended the MH-60R as Australia’s next anti-submarine helicopter, citing it as a cheaper and lower risk solution compared with the NH90 NFH, with better allied interoperability. Australia would be looking to buy 24 helicopters for service by 2014, per its 2009 Defence White Paper.

    Read “MH-60R Wins Australia’s Maritime Helicopter Competition” for full coverage.

    Oct 4/09: MH-60R prospects. Aviation Week quotes Lockheed Martin VP of rotary wing programs as saying that the MH-60R is in flight trials with India, with Australia, Denmark, and Saudi Arabia also evaluating the Romeo’s capabilities.

    FY 2009 MH-60S from USS JFK
    (click to view full)

    Sept 25/09: MH-60R upgrades. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego in Owego, NY received a $14.75 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-09-G-0005) for non-recurring engineering support to complete the design, development, integration and test of an unspecified MH-60R upgrades. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in April 2012.

    Sept 24/09: MTS. Raytheon Systems Co. in McKinney, TX received an $11.7 million firm-fixed-price order for multi-spectral targeting systems (MTS) and associated line items in support of the US Navy’s MH-60R/S helicopters. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be complete by February 2011. The order under the existing Basic Ordering Agreement was awarded on a sole source basis by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane in Crane, IN (N00164-06-G-8555).

    Sept 24/09: Common cockpits. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, in NY received a $6.4 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0028) for additional MH-60R/S common cockpit components. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in April 2010.

    Sept 18/09: MTS. Raytheon in McKinney, TX received a $44.3 million firm-fixed-price job order for 62 U.S. Navy H-60 helicopter configuration multi-spectral targeting systems (MTS). The MTS turrets will be installed on U.S. Navy MH-60R and MH-60S models. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be complete by November 2011. The job order was awarded on a sole source basis by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane IN (N00164-06-G-8555).

    Sept 17/09: +2 MH-60S. A $24.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 2 MH-60S “overseas contingency operation” (supplemental budget funding) aircraft for the US Navy. Work is to be performed in Stratford, CT with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12 (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    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)

    Sept 15/09: Support. Simmonds Precision Products, Inc., DBA Goodrich Fuel and Utility Systems in Vergennes, VT received a $14.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0298) for various integrated mechanical diagnostics system kits and parts in support of MH-60R/S helicopters. Work will be performed in Vergennes, VT, and is expected to be complete in December 2010.

    Sept 8/09: Denmark. Lockheed Martin and Terma A/S announce a Memorandum of Understanding to offer the MH-60R to the Danish Government, in the wake of a June 2009 authorization to procure new ship-based helicopters for Royal Danish Navy vessels. Lockheed Martin isn’t the MH-60R’s manufacturer, but they are the systems integrator. Lockheed and Terma have a long history of collaboration on Danish defense projects, including the F-16, C-130 and F-35 programs. Lockheed Martin release.

    The MH-60R has yet to receive an export order. Expected Danish competitors include the NH90 NFH ordered by Denmark’s neighbors in Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. AgustaWestland’s Lynx/Super Lynx helicopters are already in service with Danish vessels, and its AW 159 Future Lynx SMCR is another expected competitor.

    July 30/09: Common cockpits. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY received a maximum $25.2 million firm-fixed-price, sole source contract for multi-mode radar and common cockpit system parts.

    There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is May 2012. US Defense Logistics Agency Procurement Operations in Philadelphia, PA manage this contract (N00383-06-G-016F-THZ1).

    July 22/09: South Korea MH-60S request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announces South Korea’s request for a squadron of 8 MH-60S Airborne Mine Counter-Measures systems, at an estimated cost of $1 billion. The specific request includes:

    • 8 MH-60S helicopters with associated Airborne Mine Countermeasure (AMCM) Sensors
    • 16 T700-GE-401C engines
    • 8 AN/AQS-20A Towed Sonar systems
    • 8 AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection Systems (ALMDS)
    • 8 AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization Systems (AMNS)
    • 8 AN/ALQ-220 Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep Systems (OASIS)
    • 8 AN/AWS-2 Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance Systems (RAMICS cannons)
    • Plus test and support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of support.

    Korea already uses the related H-92 Superhawk as its Presidential helicopter, and H-60 Black Hawk helicopters for VIP transport, utility transport, and search and rescue duties. Implementation of this proposed sale will require temporary travel for U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the Republic of Korea for in-country training. The principal contractors will be:

    • Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT (MH-60S, incl. GE engines)
    • Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY (AMCM overall)
    • Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tucson, AZ (AQS-20A, AMNS)
    • Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in McKinney, TX
    • Northrop Grumman Corporation in Melbourne, FL (ALMDS, RAMICS)
    • ITT Corporation in Panama City, FL (OASIS)
    • Concurrent Technologies Corp. for-profit affiliate Enterprise Ventures Corporation in Johnstown, PA.

    DID called EVC to ask about this contract, but did not receive a response. EVC’s parent firm is closely linked to Rep. John Murtha [D-PA], and has been a frequent recipient of Congressional earmarks. CTC has also been involved in current and past investigations, as a client of The PMA Group, and for its partial charitable status.

    South Korea MH-60S request

    June 19/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY a $13.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for Specialized Test Equipment used to perform depot level repairs to the MH-60 family’s Common Cockpit Avionics Suite: 1 Audio Management Computer, 1 Relay Assembly, 1 Flight Management Computer, 1 Mission Computer, and the Communication Systems Controller testers.

    Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (50%); Owego, NY (25%); and Farmingdale, NY (25%), and is expected to be completed in October 2010. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-09-C-0149).

    June 12/09: Hawklink. L-3 Communications Corp.’s Communications Systems group in West, Salt Lake City, UT received a $59.8 million fixed-price-incentive contract for 9 SRQ-4(Ku) radio terminal sets for ship small surface combatants and 45 ARQ-58 RTSs for the MH-60R aircraft, including technical data. These upgraded Ku-Band systems will extend existing Hawklink connectivity from small surface combatants to the aircraft carrier and increase data rates between MH-60R to surface combatants; see May 28/08 entry for more.

    Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT, and is expected to be complete in June 2012. This contract was competitively procured under an electronic request for proposals, and 2 offers were received by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-09-C-0059).

    May 29/09: MH-60S armed upgrade. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for 22 Armed Helo Weapons System Fixed Provision Armament Retrofit Kits. Removable Mission Equipment will include an Integrated Self Defense Countermeasures Dispensing System, Forward Looking Infrared, Armor, and various weapons. They will be delivered under the existing Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-08-G-0010), and used to retrofit 22 MH-60S Block 2A aircraft to MH-60S Block 3A configuration.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (21.8%); Ontario, Calif., (13.1%); Ronkonkoma, NY (11.3%); Milford, CT (8.6%); Tallassee, AL (6.7%); Mineola, NY (5.9%); Wallingford, CT (5.4%); Sylmar, CA (5.3%); Vernon, CT (4.1%); Berlin, CT (3%); Orange, CT (2.7%); Coxsackie, NY (1.7%); Shelton, CT (1.2%); Yaphank, NY (1.1%); Tempe, AZ (1%); and at various locations across the United States (7.1%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011.

    April 15/09: Radars. Griffon Corp. subsidiary Telephonics announces a $99.3 million follow-on order from Lockheed Martin for AN/APS-147 Multi Mode Radar System and subsystem spares. It appears to be connected to the March 18/09 order, which covers equipment for 30 MH-60Rs from production Lot 7.

    See also Aug 15/07, Oct 8/07, and March 18/09 entries. This is part of a multi-year contract covering 139 MH-60R helicopters from 2007 through 2013.

    April 6/09: Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY received a $7.8 million modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-04-C-0028) for 18 MH-60S helicopter Mission Computers, and components for MH-60R/S Common Cockpit Trainers. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in April 2010.

    March 25/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Integrated Defense Systems in Owego, NY receives a $56.6 million sole-source, firm-fixed-price retirements type long term contract. Lockheed Martin will repair and/or overhaul various weapons replaceable assemblies used to support the HM-60R/S helicopters.

    Weapons replaceable assembly (WRA) is a generic term that includes all replaceable packages installed in an aircraft weapons system. A WRA is composed entirely of shop replaceable assemblies (SRAs), and does not include cable mounts, fuse boxes, or circuit breakers.

    Work will be performed at Farmingdale, NY (60%); Phoenix, AZ (13%); Clearwater, FL (13%); and Salt Lake City, UT (14%), and work is expected to be complete by March 2014. The Naval Inventory Control Point is managing this contract (N00383-09-D-021F).

    March 18/09: Radars. Griffon Corp. subsidiary Telephonics announces a $9.5 million order from Lockheed Martin to fund long-lead purchase of subsystem spares for the AN/APS-147 Multi-Mode Radar and its Identification Friend or Foe Interrogator System.

    The award covers spares to support the U.S. Navy’s Lot 7 purchase of 30 MH-60R helicopters, for delivery beginning in 2012. The spares are part of a $1.065 billion multi-year contract awarded to Lockheed Martin in July 2007 to integrate the avionics and mission systems onto 139 MH-60R aircraft through 2013. See also April 14/09, Oct 8/07, and Aug 15/07 entries.

    Feb 26/09: MH-60S armed upgrade. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $16.5 million firm-fixed price modification, against a previously issued delivery order, under a Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-08-G-0010). That complicated contract structure will buy MH-60S Armed Helicopter Mission Kits: 33 Integrated Self Defense (ISD) Mission Kits, 30 Weapons Kits, and the B-Kit installation hardware.

    Work will be performed in Tallassee, AL (76.1%); Coxsackie, NY (17.6%); Wichita, KS (4.3%); Valencia, CA (1%); and at various locations across the United States (1%), and is expected to be complete in April 2012.

    Feb 3/09: MH-60S upgrades. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $5.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity time and material contract (N00019-07-D-0005) for one-time engineering efforts. Work involves the planned retrofit of MH-60S aircraft 1-119, or all helicopters through Block 3A, to improve their capabilities.

    Sikorsky will design and develop the retrofit kits; deliver 4 of them for 2 separate validation and verification tests; and prepare and deliver 2 routine action technical directives for the MH-60S Warfighter Operational Safety Improvement Program. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (84.5%); Coronado, CA (12.2%); and Lexington, KY (3.3%), and is expected to be complete in June 2011.

    Dec 24/08: +6 MH-60R. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT receives an $85 million firm-fixed-price contract, exercising an option for 6 more MH-60R Helicopters. Note that they only provide the airframe; the mission systems are under contract from Lockheed Martin. Work is to be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12 (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    Dec 23/08: Common cockpits. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a $45.1 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price multi-year contract (N00019-06-C-0098) to provide for end-of-life components, FY 2010 long-lead time items and associated efforts required for the production and delivery of Common Cockpit Kits. These kits will be used during MH-60S Lot XII and MH-60R Lot VIII production, in FY 2010. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in December 2009.

    Dec 16/08: FY 2009 order. A $619.9 million firm-fixed-price contract the H-60 VII multi-year contract. The Navy is buying 24 MH-60R helicopters (Lot 7) and 18 MH-60S helicopters (Lot 11), plus tooling; Program Systems Management, and technical Publications.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12. Since it’s done under a set multi-year contract, one bid was solicited and one bid was received (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    FY 2009: 18 MH-60S, 24 MH-60R

    Dec 16/08: Common cockpits. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY received a $37.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for 49 common cockpit sets: 18 MH-60S, 30 MH-60R, and 1 MH-60R Trainer set. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in April 2010 (N00019-04-C-0028).

    Dec 12/08: Sub-contractors. Concurrent Technologies Corp. (CTC) in Johnstown, PA received a $10 million ceiling-priced contract to design, build, install and test the Navy MH-60S Helicopter Aircrew Carriage Stream, Tow, and Recovery System Trainer (CSTRS-T).

    CSTRS is part of MH-60S AMCM helicopers, and is used to tow and retrieve items like sonars, decoys, and other components of the US Navy’s Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures (OAMCM) program. Because the MH-60S is considerably smaller than the current MH-53E Sea Dragon, the challenge was to develop a small, modular system capable of accommodating both towed and non-towed sensor systems. CSTRS-T will be located at the Naval Station Norfolk, VA, where it will offer high fidelity simulation of the MH-60S helicopter’s interior for Helicopter Sea Combat Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS) and post-FRS aircrew training. The CSTRS-T will support training for CSTRS winch operators, and refresher training on normal, emergency, and degraded procedures.

    Work will be performed in Johnston, PA and is expected to be complete in December 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $9.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61339-09-C-0009).

    Oct 16/08: MH-60S armed upgrade. A $15.2 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-08-G-0010) for MH-60S Armed Helicopter Mission Kits, which consist of the Integrated Self Defense Mission Kit (32); Weapons Kit (31); and the B-Kit installation hardware. The ISD Weapons Kit is comprised of the Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Mission Kit and the External Weapons System (EWS) Wings Mission Kit.

    Work will be performed in Tallassee, AL (76%); Coxsackie, NY (17.5%); Wichita, KS (4%); Valencia, CA (1%); Stratford, CT (7%); Ronkonkoma, NY (2%); and at various locations across the United States (6%) and is expected to be complete in April 2011.

    FY 2008 MH-60S utility
    (click to view full)

    Sept 29/08: +2 each R/S. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a $52.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for an option for 2 MH-60S and 2 MH-60R helicopters for the US Navy. Note that expensive items like engines, cockpits, and mission systems are bought under separate contracts.

    Work will be performed in Nashua, NH, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12. One bid was solicited and one bid was received by AMCOM (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    Sept 29/08: Common cockpits. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY receives a $16.3 million modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-04-C-0028) for 2 additional MH-60R Common Cockpits and 2 additional MH-60S Common Cockpits, plus associated spares. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in April 2010.

    Aug 18/08: SAR – AMCM. The MH-60S AMCM problems noted in this article’s April 28/08 entry are officially documented in the US DoD’s latest Selected Acquisition Report:

    “This SAR is being submitted to report schedule delays of six months or more. Specifically, Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) Initial Operational Capability (IOC) slipped 20 months from July 2008 to March 2010 and AMCM Interim Process Review (IPR) IV slipped two years from September 2008 to September 2010 due to testing and reliability issues. There were no cost changes reported.”

    SAR re: MH-60S AMCM

    July 22/08: +2 MH-60S. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT received a $22 million firm-fixed price contract for 2 MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters. Note that expensive items like engines, cockpits, and mission systems are bought under separate contracts.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/12. One bid was solicited on Oct 20/05 (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    June 26/08: APS-153. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego in Owego, NY received a $144 million modification, finalizing a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (N00019-08-C-0005) to a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. This modification provides for the system design and development of the MH-60R Advanced Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination System, to include design, development, integration and test. Read “$144M to Help MH-60Rs Detect Enemy Periscopes” for a full explanation of this award’s tactical significance and challenges.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (51%) and Farmingdale, NY (49%), and is expected to be complete in September 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages this contract.

    May 28/08: Hawklink. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a $5.8 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-05-C-0076) for non-recurring efforts associated with integration of the Ku-Band Hawklink Common Data Link (CDL) into Phase II of the MH-60R Block I upgrade (vid. Sept 28/08 entry). Work will be performed in Owego, NY (80%); and Patuxent River, MD (20%), and is expected to be complete in December 2008.

    Why does Hawklink matter? In a word, bandwidth. MH-60R and SH-60B Seahawks currently send data across the C-band microwave frequency range. Using the Ku band and the high definition SAU 07000 Ship Air Upgrade interface will create point-to-point Internet-equivalent connectivity between the MH-60R and the ship, enabling both to publish and subscribe for information. That would allow a ship or strike group to request specific data from the helicopter, simultaneously receive streaming imagery and other messages, and capture ever greater levels of detail about multiple targets.

    April 29/08: Point & click. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY received a $21.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0028) for 17 point-and-click operator system interface test assets. They are being used as part of a redesign of the MH-60s’ common cockpit to include more of a “trackball point-and-click” approach, and this contract includes modification, testing, integration, training and logistics support tasks.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (80%) and Austin, TX (20%), and work is expected to be completed in April 2010.

    April 28/08: AMCM OpEval stopped. Inside Defense reports that the US has halted its OpEval (operational evaluation, realistic tests) of the MH-60S AMCM mine-countermeasures helicopter. A discussion with NAVAIR reveals that the problem is with one specific system, and OpEval is continuing with the rest of the AMCM package in its current state.

    The problem is related to the AQS-20 towing sonar. The sonar works fine, but the mechanisms that deploy it out the side of the helicopter are encountering reliability issues. A team of engineers has been formed to look into the problem. Once they report back, the US Navy will have a better idea of the time and effort required to deliver a fix. AQS-20 OpEval will be rescheduled at a later date, once the Navy is confident that a fix is well underway.

    March 31/08: Support. Lockheed Martin Integrated Defense Systems in Owego, NY won $57 million for firm-fixed-price delivery order #5012 under a previously awarded basic ordering agreement contract (N00383-06-G-016F). This buys “initial and wholesale spares requirements for 6 different weapons replaceable assemblies that are required to support the system used on the MH-60R/S helicopter.”

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and work is expected to be complete by October 2010. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

    Feb 6/08: +1 MH-60S. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $14.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for “option one.” This is a single MH-60R Sea Hawk Helicopter in flying condition, but without mission systems and some avionics (see Aug 15/07 entry, these add about $8 million to the price). The way the current multi-year contract works is through a set of pre-contracted “lots”, in the MH-60R’s case Lots IV-IX. Options also exist that allow the Navy to take up to 2 helicopters out of a production lot, or add up to 3.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT. The announcement says it is expected to be complete by Dec 31/12, but the helicopter is actually expected in 2010. It will have SysConfig 58 software plus the MH-60R’s associated “Block 2″ equipment. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Oct. 20, 2005, and 1 bid was received by the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command in Huntsville, AL (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    Jan 30/08: Support. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI received $58.4 million for a delivery order under a previously awarded basic ordering agreement contract (N00383-06-G-011F, #5005). They will provide initial and wholesale spares for various weapons replaceable assemblies (WRAs) used in the development and deployment of the common cockpit and multi-mode radar system for the MH-60R helicopter.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI and is expected to be complete by October 2010. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Inventory Control Point.

    Jan 22/08: Sub-contractors. Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc. announces a 5-year contract with Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to manufacture cabin structures for UH-60L, UH-60M and MH-60S helicopters. Each cabin structure consists of approximately 3,600 parts made from aluminum, titanium and steel. The total estimated contract value is approximately $600 million for deliveries through 2012.

    The new award follows an earlier 2005 cabin structures contract with Sikorsky, which led to delivery of 90 helicopter cabins to Sikorsky over the last 3 years and employed 450 people in Dallas, TX. With UH-60M Black Hawk and MH-60R/S Seahawk production hitting full stride, the number of cabin structures involved in this contract is likely to increase sharply. Vought release.

    Jan 22/08: Sub-contractors. Kaman Aerospace Corporation’s Aerostructures Division announces a Memorandum of Agreement with Sikorsky to manufacture cockpits for UH-60M, HH-60M and MH-60S helicopters at Kaman’s Jacksonville, FL facility. The value of initial orders to Kaman is approximately $74.3 million, but if all options are exercised through 2012, the new multi-year agreement has a total potential value of approximately $196.4 million.

    Kaman began manufacturing cockpits for Sikorsky in 2005. The firm delivered 147 cockpits of various models through November 2007, including UH-60L, UH-60M, and S-70A Black Hawks, and MH-60S Seahawks. In addition to manufacturing the cockpit structures, Kaman also installs all wiring harnesses, hydraulic assemblies, control pedals and sticks, seat tracks, pneumatic lines, and the composite structure that holds the helicopter windscreen. Kaman release [PDF].

    Dec 27/07: FY 2008 contract. A $1.51 billion firm-fixed-price contract for 117 UH-60, HH-60, and MH-60 helicopters for the USA and UAE, under the 2nd year (FY 2008) of the Multi-Year VII contract. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/12. One bid was solicited on Oct 20/05, and 1 bid was received (W58RGZ-08-C-0003). Helicopters produced under this award will include:

    • 18 MH-60S (US Navy utility, Lot 10)
    • 25 MH-60R (US Navy ASW/strike, Lot 6)
    • 28 UH-60M (US Army utility, Lot 32)
    • 26 UH-60M (United Arab Emirates)
    • 20 HH-60M (US Army rescue & medical, Lot 32)

    Dec 14/07: The Multi-Year VII initial year (MY VII, FY 2007) contract award is a $1.48 billion firm-fixed-price contract. It covers for procurement of 106 Army and Navy helicopters for the USA, Bahrain and Thailand, as well as tooling, program systems management and production of technical publications. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and is expected to be completed by Dec 31/12. There was 1 bid solicited on Oct 20/05, and 1 bid was received (W58RGZ-08-C-0003). The helicopters purchased were:

    • 18 MH-60S (US Navy utility, Lot 9)
    • 02 MH-60S (Thailand)
    • 25 MH-60R (US Navy ASW/strike, Lot 5)
    • 34 UH-60M (US Army utility, Lot 31)
    • 09 UH-60M (Bahrain)
    • 13 UH-60M (Optional Aircraft moved over from MY VI contract)
    • 05 HH-60M (Optional aircraft moved over from MY VI contract)

    Multinational orders incl. 38 MH-60S, 50 MH-60R

    Dec 12/07: MYP-VII buy. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. signs a 5-year, multi-service contract in Huntsville, AL for 537 helicopters to be delivered to the U.S. Army and Navy. The “Multi-Year VII” contract covers UH-60M Black Hawk and HH-60M MEDEVAC(MEDical EVACuation) helicopters that will replace the Army’s current UH-60 Black Hawk fleet, and the Navy’s MH-60S and MH-60R Seahawks.

    The agreement is a price framework agreement rather than a firm schedule; actual production quantities will be determined year-by-year over the life of the program, based on funding allocations set by Congress and the Pentagon. Under the terms of the contract, Sikorsky will provide helicopters plus technical publications and updates, while its field service representatives provide technical guidance and on-site training to Army and Navy maintenance personnel. The deliveries are scheduled to be made from 2007 – 2012, and options for an additional 263 aircraft, spares, and kits could push the total contract value from $7.4 billion to $11.6 billion and the number of helicopters to 800. Sikorsky release.

    MYP-VII umbrella contract

    Dec 3/07: Sub-contractors. GKN Aerospace, teamed with Sikorsky Aircraft and the US Army’s ManTech Program Office, completes the design, development and manufacture of the UH-60 Common Composite Tailcone (CTC) test unit. The new tail would offer reduced weight, parts count, tooling costs, and manufacturing costs, all of which would be attractive for Army UH-60Ms. Naval MH-60R/S helicopters would also benefit very strongly, however, because composites don’t corrode in the saltwater spray. This is one reason their new European competitors (NH90-NFH and EH101) make extensive use of composites, instead of metal.

    GKN Aerospace’s Reduced Tooling Concept cut the number of tools by more than 70% over traditional methods while replacing traditional honeycomb-in-sandwich structures with a highly repeatable, close tolerance structure made of a material called X-Cor. Costs have also been reduced through the use of automated fiber placement in the manufacture of the tailcone skins – providing high quality, repeatable laminates that never need painting, because the color is integrated into the skin itself at the lay-up stage.

    In 2005, during the design phase, the CTC program received the prestigious Robert L. Pinckney Award from the American Helicopter Society for notable achievements in the manufacturing research and development for rotorcraft components. GKN release.

    Oct 8/07: Go heavier? Congress is questioning the US Navy’s Helicopter Master Plan, and some members believe key capabilities have been sacrificed for economics. Mine warfare, battlefield medical support, and the H-60 family’s inability to carry mission modules to the new Littoral Combat Ships were all highlighted as areas of concern:

    “There are several missions that we believe are very constrained if we do not have a heavy-/medium-lift helicopter,” said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., ranking minority member of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee… [retired admiral] Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., agreed…”

    The medium-heavy lift role is filled by helicopters such as the CH-53 family in the US Navy, and the EH101 in Europe and Japan. Sikorsky’s H-92 Superhawk approaches this category, and offers high commonality with the H-60 family. The European NH90 is similar to the H-92: both punch above their size due to extensive use of lighter, corrosion proof composites in the airframe, and higher performance engines. Of these 3 options, however, only the CH-53 could be assured of the ability to transport underslung LCS mission modules by air. See Defense News article | Information Dissemination includes an excerpt from a September 2007 USNI Proceedings article.

    Note that the Navy’s proposed HV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor would not address any of these areas well, as its cabin’s 5.5 foot height is too low for a MEDEVAC role, its design is not well optimized for mine warfare speeds, and its ability to transport an underslung LCS module’s full weight is questionable.

    Oct 8/07: Radars. Griffon Corporation subsidiary Telephonics announces that its Radar Systems Division has won a spares contract valued in excess of $42 million from Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY. This modification to a previously awarded contract includes the delivery of spare components for the AN/APS-147 Multi-Mode Radar (MMR) system, which will support fleet deployment of the U.S. Navy’s MH-60Rs. When combined with the previous award of a $318 million multi-year, full-scale production contract, the total contract value for MMR production systems, spares and services now exceeds $361 million.

    Oct 4/07: MH-60R standup. The US Navy establishes the first MH-60R squadron, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, in a ceremony held at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island. The MH-60R is replacing their SH-60B and SH-60F Seahawks, and possesses their combined capabilities: the radar role of the SH-60B, and the SH-60F’s sonar role. In the US Navy story, HSM-71’s commanding officer Cmdr. Michael K. Nortier said:

    “Now, we have one aircraft with all the capabilities of every (previous) aircraft. That’s a significant change… Also, with the advances in technology and training for our Sailors, we’re providing five to 10 times more coverage than we have in the past, which is a huge improvement in how we defend the strike group.”

    FY 2007 SH-60B fires Penguin
    (click to view full)

    Sept 28/07: MH-60R. The “Seahawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41 graduated not only the last class of SH-60B helicopter naval air crew, but also the first class of MH-60R helicopter naval air crew at Naval Air Station North Island. Since 1983, the squadron has trained more than 3,000 fleet replacement pilots and air crew for the SH-60B helicopter and fleet squadrons. When HSM-41 received the Romeo aircraft (MH-60R) in December 2005, they started training the first set of pilots and air crew for the new aircraft. US Navy story.

    Sept 27/07: MTS. Raytheon Systems Co. in McKinney, TX receives a $26.3 million firm-fixed-price order under previously awarded Basic Ordering Agreement (N00164-06-G-8555) for 24 AN/AAS-44C Multi-spectral Targeting Systems (MTS) and associated line items, in support of the MH-60S Block 3A program. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be complete by May 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $23,186,860, will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity.

    Sept 25/07: Support. Lockheed Martin Integrated Defense Systems in Owego, NY, received a $31.7 million firm fixed priced delivery order on a basic ordering agreement contract for initial and wholesale spares requirements for 6 different weapons replaceable assemblies (WRAs) that are required to support the system used on the MH-60R/S helicopter. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and work is expected to be completed by November 2008. This contract was not awarded competitively by the Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-06-G-016F-5007).

    Sept 13/07: HSC-8. Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC-8) receives its first MH-60S helicopter, and becomes the Navy’s first Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) to transition to an HSC. The MH-60S now flown by HSC-8 replace the HH-60H and SH-60F helicopters, as well as CH-46D Sea Knights. They provide search and rescue (SAR), combat search and rescue (CSAR) and logistics to include movement of personnel and equipment. In the US Navy story, HSC-8’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Larry Vincent said that:

    “The Sierra is designed to operate in an over-land environment where there are threats. The helo has a self-defense package and offensive weapons. I think we can really make an evolutionary leap forward in how we use this aircraft, especially in a joint environment [where the Marines may need us].”

    The name and airframe aren’t the only things that are new. The new squadron will not deploy as individual detachments. Rather, the entire squadron will now deploy as part of the carrier air wing as a second helicopter squadron, and provide detachments to the strike group’s ships. HSM-71 and their new MH-60Rs will join HSC-8’s MH-60S helicopters in Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, aboard USS John C. Stennis [CVN 74].

    Sept 7/07: Support. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI received a firm fixed priced delivery order on a basic ordering agreement contract in the amount of $30.9 million for “initial and wholesale spares requirements for various weapons replaceable assemblies that are required to support the system used on the MH-60R helicopter.”

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete by October 2009. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-06-G-011F-5004).

    Aug 15/07: Multi-year Mission Systems buy. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a $951.7 million finalization modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-06-C-0098). This creates a firm-fixed-price multiyear contract for 139 MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems, including radars and other sensors, from FY 2007 (Lot 5) through FY 2011 (Lot 9). When combined with advance procurement contracts from January and May 2006 totaling $113.6 million, the total value of this multi-year contract rises to $1.065 billion – or $7.66 million per set.

    It could have been $8.58 million each. Lockheed Martin’s release says the multi-year approach creates a 12% savings compared to individual batch buys. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in December 2013. See “$1.065B Buys Electronics for 139 MH-60R Helicopters” for full coverage.

    Mission Systems MYP

    Aug 3/07: Training. Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 41 on Naval Station North Island was given the first MH-60R Tactical Operational Flight Trainer 2. As soon as the simulator doors opened, HSM-41 pilots and air crewmen immediately began training with the TOFT 2.

    According to Cmdr. Ed Balaton, NAVAIR’s MH-60R training systems program manager, TOFT 2 benefits include a more realistic simulation of combat environments along with having the ability to train for nearly every scenario. Development began in 2006, with new features that include new designs weapon systems technology, improved graphics capabilities, and electro-hydraulic machinery that require far less maintenance than its predecessor. In the near future, the TOFT 2 will be able to link systems with other training simulators in different locations across the world and throughout every branch of service. US Navy story.

    July 30/07: MTS. Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in McKinney, TX received $9.9 million for firm-fixed-price, definite-delivery/definite-quantity order #0012 under previously awarded basic ordering agreement contract (N00383-02-G-018A) for manufacture of spares for the MH-60R helicopter’s AN/AAS-44C multispectral targeting system (MTS). Most MH-60Rs will be fitted or upgraded past this version. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be completed by December 2008. This contract was not awarded competitively by the Naval Inventory Control Point.

    June 25/07: Support. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT, received an $18.8 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0115) for production sustaining support for the MH-60R, including project management, engineering, and logistics. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and is expected to be completed in December 2007.

    May 30/07: Sub-contractors. Kimball Electronics Group in Jasper, IN won an estimated $15.7 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Circuit Card Assemblies (Sets H and Q). Circuit cards, consisting of H and Q, are for MH-60 helicopters and ALQ-99 ECM pods. Set H is used to provide compatible interface between external stores, weapons systems and aircraft control devices in MH-60 helicopters. Set Q will be used to produce additional ALQ-99 Pod Programmable Interface units for the EA-18G Growler Aircraft.

    Work will be performed in Jasper, IN and is expected to be complete by May 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $156,668 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured and advertised via the Internet, with 12 proposals solicited and 3 offers received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN (N00164-07-D-0008).

    April 7/07: Thai MH-60S request. the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces Thailand’s request for up to 6 MH-60S Knight Hawk helicopters and 14 T700 engines, plus spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, contractor engineering and technical support services and other related elements of logistics support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $246 million.

    This would also make Thailand the MH-60S helicopter’s first international customer. The final agreement is signed in June 2007.

    Thailand request

    March 15/07: MTS. Raytheon Systems Company in McKinney, TX received a $28.7 million firm-fixed-price order under previously awarded Basic Ordering Agreement (N00164-06-G-8555) for Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems Navy configuration including 25 turret units and associated line items in support of the MH-60R. The MTS is a forward-looking infrared system that provides real-time imagery selectable between infrared and day TV as well as laser designation capability. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by April 2009. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN issued the contract.

    Jan 31/07: Mission systems. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received as $51.1 million firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-06-C-0098) for long lead efforts and materials associated with the production and delivery of the Fiscal Year 2008 Full Rate Production of 27 Lot VI MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in December 2007.

    Jan 30/07: Armed MH-60S tests. Navy HX-21 Squadron completes developmental testing of the MH-60S’ “Armed Helo” mission kit. The tests began in March, 2006 and tallied more than 260 flight test hours, included firing missiles from both sides of the aircraft. Previous-generation Seahawks could only do that from the left side, limiting them to 4 Hellfires. The MH-60R, and Mh-60S armed kit, double that capacity to 8.

    HX-21 also tested GAU-21 .50 caliber and M240D 7.62mm machine guns from the MH-60S, but the entire kit will need to pass Operational Evaluation (OpEval) before it can be fielded with the fleet. US NAVAIR.

    Jan 29/07: Support. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $68.8 million firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity time-and-material contract for sustaining engineering and maintenance support for legacy MH-60 aircraft. Services to be provided include program management, engineering, test, logistics, training, repair, studies and aircraft technical and maintenance support for the MH-60R and the MH-60S aircraft fleets.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in November 2007. Contract funds in the amount of $300,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-07-D-0005).

    Jan 5/07: Support. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received an $8.5 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity long term contract for repair/overhaul of 14 various weapon replaceable assemblies used on the common cockpit of the MH-60R/S helicopters. This contract includes options, which if exercised, brings the total estimated value of the contract to $68.3 million.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (54%); Salt Lake City, UT (26%); Farmingdale, NY (13%); Grand Rapids, MI (5%); Middletown, CT (1%); and Phoenix, Ariz. (1%), and work is expected to be complete by January 2008. This contract was not competitively procured by The Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-07-D-004F).

    Dec 27/06: Support. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a $10.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0113) to exercise an option for program management, engineering and integrated logistics support to provide production support services for the MH-60R Program. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be completed in June 2007. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

    Nov 16/06: +12 MH-60R. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $138.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0115) for the procurement of 12 full rate production MH-60R Lot 4 air vehicles. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (92%); and Troy, AL (8%), and is expected to be complete in December 2007.

    Oct 31/06: MS-60s armed upgrade. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received an $18.6 million Navy modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price Army contract (DAAH23-02-C-0006) for the manufacture and installation of armed helo mission kit fixed provisions into 28 MH-60S aircraft including related logistics support.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (92%) and Crestview, FL (8%) and is expected to be complete in March 2008.

    MH-60R TOFT
    (click to view full)

    Oct 6/06: Training. The Navy announces that the first MH-60R Seahawk helicopter Tactical Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT) was recently delivered to the “Seahawks” of HSM-41, the West Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) at Naval Air Station North Island, CA. The TOFS shipment caps an aggressive 41-month design, build, and test schedule by the government agency Manned Flight Simulator (MFS), who worked with the Aviation Training Systems program office [PMA-205], NAVAIR’s Orlando Training System Division and Integrated Battlespace Simulation and Test Department (IBST), and Navy Fleet personnel from test squadrons VX-1 and HX-21, and FRS HSM-41.

    The Romeo flight trainer actually consists of two separate trainers that can be combined together. The first trainer is the Operational Flight Trainer (OFT), which contains the high-fidelity cockpit for training the pilot and the Airborne Tactics Officer (ATO). The second trainer is the Weapons Tactics Trainer (WTT), which contains a high fidelity Sensor Operator (SO) station and a partial ATO station. The OFT and WTT can be used individually for simultaneous training or combined for multi-crew training.

    One of the key challenges was that the MH-60R TOFT project required engineers and programmers to accommodate the software changes in the aircraft. This was partially offset by the team’s ability to use MFS’ existing Multi-Mission Helicopter MH-60R/S T&E lab trainer as a platform to test models and upgrades, while cultivating lessons learned. NAVAIR release.

    FY 2006 MTS on Predator
    (click to view full)

    Sept 28/06: MTS. Raytheon Systems Co. in McKinney, TX received a $24.2 million firm fixed price order under previously awarded Basic Ordering Agreement N00164-06-G-8555, for Multi-spectral Targeting Systems (MTS), including 21 Turret Units and associated items in support of MH-60 R/S Multi-Mission Combat Helicopters. The MTS is a forward-looking infrared system that is also used on Predator UAVs; it provides real-time imagery selectable between infrared and night vision camera, as well as a laser designation capability. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be complete by May 2008. The Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN issued the contract.

    Sept 28/06: MH-60R/S upgrade. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a $7 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-05-C-0076) for non-recurring design efforts associated with Link 16/P3I Phase II of the MH-60R/S Block I Upgrade. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be completed in May 2008.

    July 6/06: Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a not to exceed $41.9 million ceiling-priced order against a basic ordering agreement for procurement of 12 weapons replaceable assemblies for the MH-60R helicopter. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete by January 2008. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

    May 24/06: Long-lead. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $40.2 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for advance procurement funding for the MH-60R Helicopters. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Oct. 4, 2000. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, ALA issued the contract (DAAH23-02-C-0006).

    May 17/06: Mission systems. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a $76.5 million modification for 12 full rate production mission avionics systems, including the multi-mode radar. This award definitizes the previously-awarded FY06 Lot IV MH-60R advance acquisition contract (AAC). Work will be performed in Owego, NY and is expected to be complete in August 2008 (N00019-04-C-0113).

    May 17/06: MH-60S armed upgrade. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $6.3 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for non-recurring engineering, required to incorporate the armed helicopter weapon system fixed provisions in the MH-60S production line. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in July 2007 (N00019-03-G-0003).

    May 1/06: Mission Systems. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received an estimated $51 million advance acquisition contract for long lead efforts and materials associated with the production and delivery of the FY 2007 full rate production of 25 Lot V MH-60R helicopter mission avionics systems. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in January 2007. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD (N00019-06-C-0098).

    April 28/06: MTS. Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in McKinney, TX received a $16 million firm-fixed-price, definite-delivery/ definite-quantity order (#0010) against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00383-02-G-018A) to manufacture spares for the initial MH-60Rs’ AN/AAS-44C multispectral targeting system. The AAS-44C is shared with current SH-60B & HH-60 Seahawks, and P-3C aircraft. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Inventory Control Point.

    MH-60S: Easy rider?

    April 10/06: MH-60S upgrade. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $6.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee order against a previously awarded basic ordering agreement N00019-03-G-0003 for the development effort to modify, integrate, test, and qualify an active vibration control system for the MH-60S Knight Hawk helicopter. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in June 2007.

    Active Vibration Control deliberately sets up a counter-vibration in the helicopter that cancels out engine-induced vibration. The result is a helicopter that’s a lot easier on the people and instruments in it.

    March 31/06: The MH-60R is approved for full-rate production.

    March 28/06: MH-60R/S upgrades. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received an $8.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee order against a previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00019-03-G-0003) for the development effort to complete the installation of pre-planned product improvement upgrades into the MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters in support of Class I engineering change proposals. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in March 2008.

    March 28/06: Support. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a not to exceed $41 million for delivery order #5045 under previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00383-01-G-004N) to purchase spares for the H-60R helicopter’s multi-mode radar system.

    Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y. (20%), and Farmington, N.Y. (80%), and is expected to be complete by December 2007. This contract was not awarded competitively by the Naval Inventory Control Point.

    March 20/06: Infrastructure. Basing modifications are also part of a weapons program’s cost. Walbridge Aldinger Co. in Detroit, MI received a $41.4 million (first increment) firm-fixed price design/ build construction contract for design and construction of an MH-60R Type I helicopter hangar at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville.

    The new Type I hangars shall be configured as 5 repetitive contiguous hangar modules under one roof. They will be designed to house five helicopter squadrons consisting of approximately 13 aircraft and approximately 330 personnel in each module. In addition to the open hangar bay space, the project includes required maintenance support, administration, and building support spaces for each squadron. The project also includes a helicopter wash rack along with site improvements such as utility infrastructure, repair/replacement of hangar aprons and tie-downs, new aircraft pavement markings, security fencing and gates, pedestrian circulation and parking lots.

    March 16/06: MH-60R/S upgrades. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $16.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee delivery order against a previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00019-03-G-0003) for development efforts to complete the Link-16 Tactical Data Link (TDL) Full Scale Integration (FSI) of the MH-60R and MH-60S aircraft. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in September 2007.

    The Link-16 effort will provide a high capacity, multiple access, jam-resistant, digital data system that provides a common tactical picture between participating ships, aircraft, and even land installations. Because it’s radio based, it also has a secure voice system built in.

    March 8/06: MH-60R upgrade. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $23.2 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0115) for production sustaining support, integrated logistics services, and the manufacture and installation of 6 Active Vibration Control kits in support of the Low Rate Initial Production Lot III MH-60R aircraft. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (90%); and Owego, N.Y. (10%), and is expected to be complete in December 2006.

    Active Vibration Control deliberately sets up a counter-vibration in the helicopter that cancels out engine-induced vibration. The result is a helicopter that’s a lot easier on the people and instruments in it.

    Feb 2/06: MH-60S buy. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $271.4 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for MH-60S Knight Hawk Helicopters. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Oct. 4, 2000 by the Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (DAAH23-02-C-0006).

    Jan 19/06: MH-60R rollout. Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 41 introduced the new MH-60R Seahawk at a rollout ceremony held at Naval Base Coronado, CA. US Navy story.

    Jan 18/06: MH-60S buy. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $33.3 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for MH-60S Navy Knight Hawks. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete by Dec 3/07. This was a sole source contract initiated on Oct. 4/2000 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (DAAH23-02-C-0006).

    Jan 4/06: MH-60S AMCM. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT received a ceiling $25 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-quantity/ indefinite-delivery contract for highly specialized engineering and design efforts associated with continued integration of organic airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) systems with full-production level MH-60S helicopters to provide organic airborne mine defense for carrier and expeditionary strike groups.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (60%) and Panama City, FL (40%), and is expected to be complete by January 2011. The contract was not competitively procured. by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL (N61331-06-D-0012).

    Dec 22/05: MH-60S fixes. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received an $11 million firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00019-03-G-0003) for nonrecurring retrofit efforts in support of Engineering Change Proposal 4010 for correction of operational deficiencies in the MH-60S aircraft. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in December 2008.

    Dec 5/05: MH-60R received. A US Navy story salutes Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) HSL-41 as the first squadron to receive 2 new MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. HSL-41 is currently the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) used to train pilots, and only MH-60R squadron in the Navy. Lt. Eugene Bolton, MH-60R pilot and instructor, put it this way:

    “The MH-60R takes sonobuoy and Hellfire missile launching, forward-looking infrared, radar and electronic support measures capabilities from the SH-60B and adds to it the dipping sonar and torpedo launching capabilities from the SH-60F…. It also adds a ‘glass cockpit.’ “

    MH-60R fielded

    FY 2005 and earlier MH-60S at work
    (click to view full)

    Sept 28/05: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $14.4 million firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00019-03-G-0003) for the manufacturing and installation of 8 Fixed Provisions and 5 Removable Mission Equipment to be installed on the MH-60S aircraft. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (82%) and Crestview, FL (18%), and is expected to be complete in September 2006.

    Sept 28/05: MH-60R Upgrade. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a $38.1 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-05-C-0076) for non-recurring design efforts associated with Phase II of the MH-60R Block I Upgrade. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be completed in June 2008.

    Efforts to be provided include development and/or integration of the Global Antenna System; Identification Friend or Foe Mode 5 and Mode S; Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module; Mission Planning System; Joint Mission Planning System; Satellite Communications; Ground Protection Warning System; KU Band; CV Integration; Built-in-Simulator; MK-54 torpedo; Electronic Surveillance Measures; and Right Hand Extended Pylon.

    Sept 16/05: MH-60R/S upgrades. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a $5.9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-03-G-0014) for continued flight test support and various planned program upgrades for the MH-60R and MH-60S programs. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in December 2007.

    Sept 1/05: MH-60R OpEval. The MH-60R completes Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) successfully.

    MH-60R OpEval

    Aug 29/05: +6 MH-60R. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $64.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0115) for the production and delivery of 6 Low Rate Initial Production MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopters. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (92%); and Troy, Ala. (8%), and is expected to be completed in December 2006.

    Aug 29/05: MH-60R/S upgrades. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received an estimated value $50.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the Link-16 Full Scale Integration of the MH-60R and MH-60S aircraft. See this DID article for an explanation of Link 16 and what it does.

    This contract includes research and development efforts to design, develop, integrate, and test the Link-16 Tactical Data Link subsystem and Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) functionality for both the MH-60R and MH-60S aircraft, and the Downed Aircrew Locator System Personnel Locator System for the MH-60S. Work will be performed in Owego, NY and is expected to be complete in January 2008. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-05-C-0049).

    Aug 19/05: MH-60R. Sikorsky Aircraft celebrates the delivery of the first new production MH-60R helicopter today in a ceremony held at their Stratford, CT facility. The previous 7 had been SH-60 rebuilds.

    May 25/05: +12 MH-60R. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $24.9 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price advance acquisition contract (N00019-04-C-0115) for long lead material and effort associated with the fiscal year 2006 production and delivery of 12 full rate production MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopters. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in April 2006.

    May 9/05: MH-60R. The MH-60R Helicopter enters Operational Evaluation, a key final step before approval can be given for full-rate production. See DID’s article, which explains the process in detail.

    MH-60R, Bermuda
    (click to view full)

    Aug 9/04: +8 MH-60R. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $12.3 million firm-fixed-price advance acquisition contract for long lead material and effort associated with the production and delivery of 8 Low Rate Initial Production MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopter air vehicles. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be completed in March 2005. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-04-C-0115).

    Dec 29/03: Common Cockpit MYP. NAVAIR awards Lockheed Martin Systems Integration (LMSI) in Owego, NY a $423 million multi-year contract for common cockpits for the MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters. By combining 4 years of annual buys into one contract, with an option for a 5th year in FY 2009, the Navy expects to save up to $63.9 million. Rotorhub article.

    Feb 28/03: MH-60R trials. A US Navy story reports that 2 MH-60R helicopters recently got a break from the cold weather at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Patuxent River, MD, deploying to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) in Bermuda. More than 50 NAVAIR test team members accompanied the two Romeos to AUTEC. Pilots logged 126 hours on the two helicopters in three weeks and captured all of the data required by the test plan. Firsts performed there included the first shipboard landing (aboard USS Gettysburg [CG 64]). the first in-flight launch of a sonobuoy, and the first location of a live submarine using airborne low frequency sonar (ALFS) while also conducting a radar sweep of the surface environment using the multimode radar and electronic surveillance measures (ESM).

    The tests performed by VX-21 primarily looked at how the radar, acoustics and ESM systems worked together. NAVAIR engineers also evaluated the MH-60R’s data fusion system, which takes data from the subsystems and fuses them into one piece of information for the crew. This test phase puts all the systems together in one package and verifies the expected performance of each system, as well as how they function and communicate with each other. This was the first phase for the Romeo where the test team actually performed mission profiles to see if it could conduct a complete mission. AUTEC, with its uniquely instrumented range, is the only facility where this type of acoustics testing is conducted.

    Additional Readings & Sources

    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: Helicopters

    Background: Ancillary Systems

    News and Views

    Categories: News

    F-35’s Cannon Testing: Don’t Blink | Boeing Keeping F-18 Line Hot | BAE Resorting to Discounts on Eurofighters

    Fri, 07/24/2015 - 02:02
    Americas

    • The F-35’s GAU-22/A 25mm cannon has been tested on the ground at Edwards Air Force Base, with the General Dynamics-designed weapon having been developed for both internal and external gun systems of the Joint Strike Fighter. The cannon is mounted on an external pod for the F-35B and C variants, with the Air Force’s F-35A variant positioning the weapon internally. The four-barrel system allows the fighter to let loose just 180 rounds per reload, allowing for three short passes at best, or a total of 2.57 seconds of firing at maximum rate. That last problem featured heavily in criticism of the Air Force for floating the idea – since backtracked – that the F-35A could serve as the main ground forces protection platform. The Marines use the same cannon in their Harriers, but stock 300 rounds in the starboard pod. The program has been busy testing other weapons in recent weeks, including the Marines testing live JDAM bombs in early July. The Pentagon has been mulling what to include in future F-35 weapon tranches, with options including the Small Diameter Bomb II and Joint Strike Missile, as well as several others.

    • Boeing is committing to keep its F-18 production line open in response to new and forecast orders from both the US and international customers. The company was worried that insufficient orders for new Super Hornet and Growler aircraft would fail to materialize and keep the production line economically viable. Boeing considered slowing the production rate in March, to extend the time available for more orders to come through the door. Recent orders from the US Navy and Kuwait have bolstered the company’s confidence in keeping the production line open.

    • It has emerged that a Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA air defense missile exploded soon after launch from the USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) earlier this month, with the explosion leading to a fire on deck. The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer was firing the missile as part of testing in the Atlantic when the incident took place. Malfunctions involving solid fuel missiles such as the family of Standard Missiles are rare, with this incident causing limited damage to the USS The Sullivans and no reported injuries.

    • Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has awarded a $83.1 million contract to Polaris Defense for tactical all-terrain vehicles. The Polaris ATV was reportedly selected partially as a result of its ability to fit in rotary-wing transport platforms, including the V-22 Osprey, MH-47 Chinook and MH-53 Pave Low, as well as larger fixed-wing platforms.

    • Problems with the refueling system of Boeing’s K-46A tanker currently in development for the Air Force are likely to delay the awarding of $3 billion in low rate production contracts to the company by around eight months, as initial production is now slated to slip to April next year from the timetabled deadline of next month. The company was forced to revise its profit forecast last week after taking a $536 million charge for delays with the tanker’s refueling system, the second such charge the company has absorbed through a fixed-price contract to develop and manufacture the Air Force’s future tanker.

    • An Air Force U-2 reconnaissance plane has demonstrated its ability to co-ordinate complex attack scenarios, recently re-targeting a Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) whilst flying at high altitude, using data sent from a F-22 fighter via a ground relay station. The U-2 also demonstrated its ability to relay data between a F-22 and F-18 Hornet. The tests evaluated Air Force Open Mission System standards, using a Lockheed Martin Skunk Works design known as Enterprise OMS. The U-2 used for the tests was also employed to demonstrate Lockheed Martin Open Systems Architecture in December 2014, with the testbed aircraft on loan from the Air Force.

    Europe

    • General Dynamics is moving the company’s assembly line and testing facilities for the SCOUT SV armored vehicle from its Santa Barbara Sistemas facility in Spain to Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales, with the move announced by British PM David Cameron on Thursday. The move is part of a $607 million contract awarded by the Ministry of Defence to General Dynamics to provide in-service support to the new fleet of 589 vehicles out to 2024, themselves procured in September last year through a $5.8 billion contract. Under the contract announced on Thursday, General Dynamics will assemble, integrate and test 489 of the 589 vehicles in Wales.

    • The Balkan states of FYR Macedonia and Montenegro are hoping to secure an invitation to NATO later this year, with Poland’s Foreign Minister scheduled to discuss the topic during a three-day visit to Montenegro alongside officials from other NATO member states. Both prospective member countries are confident of meeting the minimum requirements for membership, despite Macedonia clashing with NATO member Greece, particularly over the country’s name, with polls indicating that a marginal majority of their populations are in favor of joining. Fellow Balkan states Albania and Croatia were admitted in 2009, with any further expansion in South East Europe likely to antagonize Russia.

    • The Royal Navy is also trying to retain its highly trained pool of nuclear engineers with a one-off bonus of £24,000 ($37,500). Fearful of an exit en masse to the private sector, as well as other public bodies, particularly as the United Kingdom looks to expand its use of nuclear power. The service currently has approximately 4,500 nuclear engineers engaged on projects such as the new sea-based nuclear deterrent, known as Successor, with this planned to replace the Vanguard-class SSBN boats currently in service.

    Middle East North Africa

    • The Lebanese government has requested 1,500 TOW-2A guided missiles from the US, with the State Department approving the possible Foreign Military Sale, estimated to value $245 million. 1,000 of the missiles requested are the anti-armor variant and the remaining 500 bunker busting variants, with the order also including fifty launchers. The Lebanese government has recently received the first weapons purchased from France in November last year with Saudi financing the deal worth around $3 billion. Shipments of these weapons (including Milan anti-tank missiles) began in April. The country’s government also received weapons from China earlier this month, with these thought to have been donated by the Chinese government. The US has sent approximately $1 billion in military aid to Lebanon over the last eight years, previously supplying older versions of the TOW-2 system.

    Asia

    • BAE Systems has reportedly cut the per-unit cost of Eurofighter Typhoons by 20% over a five-year period, with company officials hoping that the reduced price will boost the chance of export orders. The jet will soon begin a round of weapons testing for advanced weapon designs, including the MBDA Meteor BVR air-to-air missile and the Storm Shadow crusie missile, with BAE Systems also reportedly planning to test an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system later this year. With the French Rafale recently seeing export success in Egypt and India, the Eurofighter consortium is looking to offer the Eurofighter in larger numbers to both these countries as well as other states, particularly as the Typhoon begins to incorporate more advanced weapons and sensors.

    • The Australian government has donated two Balikpapan-class landing craft (LCH) to the Philippines. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) decommissioned the last of the fleet of LCHs in November 2014, with the two LCH vessels bolstering the Philippines Navy humanitarian relief capability.

    • The Royal Thai Air Force appears to have received the three EC725 helicopters contracted for October 2014 and September 2012. The Airbus-manufactured helicopter has also been exported to Brazil, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico. The model was also recently selected by Poland under a different name designation.

    • The Indian government has removed some of the bureaucratic shackles previously hindering Indian defense firms from selling their wares abroad. The country’s defense ministry has removed the so-called ‘ultimate end user’ certificate requirement, which required clearance for the transfer of Indian-produced goods at each stage of a multinational supply chain, eating into both time and cost for customer and supplier. Under the revised legislation, Indian companies can now export certain types of equipment and other products abroad with the level of required certification only extending to the state immediately receiving the goods.

    Today’s Video

    • Video footage of the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb during it testing earlier this month. The test was a collaborative effort between the Air Force and the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA):

    Categories: News

    Lightning Rod: F-35 Fighter Family Capabilities and Controversies

    Fri, 07/24/2015 - 00:01
    Grim Reapers F-35C
    (click to view full)

    The $400 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy.

    This article will serve as DID’s central repository explaining and contrasting all 3 F-35 variants, detailing the fighter family’s core technologies and features, and laying out the core industrial framework whose “political engineering” has made the program almost impossible to kill. It will also summarize the core arguments that swirl around the fighter’s future capability, and provide useful background links regarding the program and its key technologies.

    The F-35 Lightning II Fighter Family F-35 Family Variants: Door A, B, or C? F-35 AA-1
    (click to view full)

    The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. This table illustrates the key differences between the baseline F-35A, the Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing (STOVL) capable F-35B, and the catapult-launched F-35C naval variant:

    Figure 1: F-35 Variants.

    Additional explanations follow…

    The F-35A CTOL F-35A, doors open
    (click to view full)

    The F-35A is sometimes called the CTOL (Conventional Take-Off and Landing) version. It’s the USAF’s version, and is expected to make up most of the plane’s export orders. It’s also expected to be the least expensive F-35, in part because it will have the largest production run. The USAF currently estimates its average flyaway cost after 2017 at $108.3 million, but early production models ordered in FY 2012 will cost over $150 million.

    Its main difference from other versions is its wider 9g maneuverability limits, though its air-air combat flight benchmarks are only on par with the F-16. Canard equipped “4+ generation” adversaries like the Eurofighter, and thrust-vectored fighters like the F-22A, MiG-35, SU-35, etc., will still enjoy certain kinetic advantages. The F-35 hopes to mitigate them using its improved stealth to shrink detection ranges, the lack of drag from weapons in its internal bays, and its current electronic superiority.

    The second major physical difference between the F-35A and the rest of the Lightning family is its internal 25mm cannon, instead of using a weapons station for a semi-stealthy and questionably accurate gun pod. The USAF removed guns from some of its planes back in the 1960s, and didn’t enjoy the resulting experiences in Vietnam. It has kept guns on all of its fighters ever since, including the stealthy F-22 and F-35. Many allies wanted the superior single-barrel 27mm Mauser BK-27 cannon, but ammunition standardization benefits trumped pure performance. Instead, the F-35 got General Dynamics’ 4-barrel GAU-22/A 25mm cannon and just 180 x 25mm rounds, good for 3 short passes at best. That compares poorly to 510 x 20mm rounds on an F-16.

    The 3rd difference is that the F-35A uses a dorsal refueling receptacle that is refueled using an aerial tanker boom, instead of the probe-and-drogue method favored by the US Navy and many American allies.

    The F-35A was the first variant to fly, in 2009. Officially, it’s now expected to reach Initial Operational Capability as a 12-24 plane squadron by December 2016 (Threshold), with a stretch goal of August 2016 (Objective).

    GAO reports re: the F-35’s delayed software development suggest that this is extremely unlikely, however, and even a difficult late catch-up still leaves the problem of scheduling proper testing for Block 2B, the 1st instance with any combat capability. Even Block 3F’s 2018 target date for the end of the system development phase is at risk, which means that jets designated as Operationally Capable would have a wide array of deficiencies that would put them at added risk in serious combat.

    The F-35B STOVL (Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing) F-35B: hover test
    (click to view full)

    The F-35B is expected to be the most expensive Lightning II fighter variant. According to US Navy documents, even planes bought after 2017 are expected to have an average flyaway cost of $135 million each. It will serve the US Marines, Royal Navy, other navies with ski-ramp equipped LHDs or small carriers, and militaries looking for an “expeditionary airplane” that can take off in short distances and land vertically. To accomplish this, the F-35B has a large fan behind the cockpit, and nozzles that go out to the wing undersides. Unlike the F-35A, it will use a retractable mid-air refueling probe, which is standard for the US Navy and for many American allies.

    Those capabilities gives the plane a unique niche, but a unique niche also means unique challenges, and the responses to those challenges have changed the aircraft. In 2005, the JSF program took a 1-year delay because the design was deemed overweight by about 3,000 pounds. The program decided to reduce weight rather than run the engine hotter, because the latter choice would have sharply reduced the durability of engine components and driven life cycle costs higher. Weight cutting became a focus of various engineering teams, with especial focus on the F-35B because the weight was most critical to that design. Those efforts pushed the F-35B’s design, and changed its airframe. The F-35B gives up some range, some bomb load (it cannot carry 2,000 pound weapons internally, and the shape of its bay may make some weapons a challenge to carry), some structural strength (7g maneuvers design maximum), and the 25mm internal gun.

    F-35B features
    (click to view full)

    The F-35B completed its Critical Design Review in October 2006, and the 2nd production F-35 was a STOVL variant. Per the revised Sept 16/10 program plan, the USMC’s VMA-332 in Yuma, AZ must have 10 F-35Bs equipped with Block IIB software, with 6 aircraft capable of austere and/or ship-based operations, and all aircraft meeting the 7g and 50-degree angle of attack specifications, in order to declare Initial Operational Capability.

    Flight testing began in 2009, and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was expected by December 2012, but flight testing fell way behind thanks to a series of technical delays. By 2013, the first operational planes were fielded to the USMC at Yuma, AZ. After several slips, it’s expected to reach IOC as a 10-16 plane squadron by December 2015 (Threshold), with a stretch goal of July 2015 (Objective).

    Recent discoveries of structural cracking, and GAO reports re: software development, suggest that even using the new jets for full-scale training by then could be a challenge. Limited-capability Block 2B software is the best they can hope for, and it’s already significantly behind. The F-35B’s “combat capability” at IOC may end up being flatly untrue, and its best realistic case might be as a mere paper tiger. Korean-War vintage F-9 Cougar jets would be “combat capable,” too, in the sense that they could take off, land, and fire weapons. That isn’t an adequate standard for entrusting them with the safety of an MEU in 2016.

    The F-35C carrier-based fighter USN F-35C
    (click to view full)

    The F-35C is instantly recognizable. It features 30% more wing area than other designs, with larger tails and control surfaces, plus wingtip ailerons. These changes provide the precise slow-speed handling required for carrier approaches, and extend range a bit. The F-35C’s internal structure is strengthened to withstand the punishment dished out by the catapult launches and controlled crashes of carrier launch and recovery, an arrester hook is added to the airframe, and the fighter gets a retractable refueling probe. According to US Navy documents, average flyaway costs for F-35Cs bought after 2017 will be $125.9 million each.

    The US Navy gave up the internal gun, and the aircraft will be restricted to 7.5g maneuvers. That’s only slightly lower than the existing F/A-18E Super Hornet’s 7.6g, but significantly lower than the 9g limit for Dassault’s carrier-capable Rafale-M. Tests have also highlighted issues with slow transonic acceleration.

    The F-35C is expected to be the US Navy’s high-end fighter, as well as its high-end strike aircraft. This means that any performance or survivability issues will have a disproportionate effect on the US Navy’s future ability to project power around the world.

    The F-35C was the last variant designed. It passed its Critical Design Review in June 2007, and the first production version was scheduled to fly in January 2009. The F-35C’s rollout did not take place until July 2009, however, and first flight didn’t take place until June 2010. After several slips, the F-35C is now expected to reach IOC as a 10-plane squadron by February 2019 (Threshold), with a stretch goal of August 2018 (Objective).

    These are much more realistic dates than the other variants, given GAO reports re: software development progress, but the F-35C is expecting to hit IOC with Block 3F software, whose 2018 target date is already very much at risk. In March 2014, the USN added another layer of uncertainty with plans to stall F-35C orders for 2 years if there are further budget cuts.

    Pimp My Ride: Weapons & Accessories Initial hopes – changed
    (click to view full)

    The F-35’s internal weapon bay gives it the ability to carry larger bombs and missiles, but the price is that F-35s can carry just 2 internal air-to-air weapons, instead of a maximum of 8 in the F-22A. As table above shows, development, testing, and software issues have also combined to give initial F-35 fleets a very narrow set of weapons. Indeed, the initial operational set that comes with Block III software has about the same weapon options as the single-role F-22A.

    That’s expected to change, eventually. A large American order base, and a wide international client base, will provide huge incentives for manufacturers to qualify their weapons for the F-35. Norway is already developing its stealthy Joint Strike Missile for F-35 Block 4, including the ability to fit the precision attack and anti-ship missile into the plane’s internal bays. Denmark’s Terma has turned their 25mm gun pod into a multi-mission pod, which can accept a variety of sensors and equipment. MBDA has already pledged a compatible version of its long-range Meteor air-air missile at some undefined point, and Britain wants to add MBDA’s SPEAR Capability 3 medium-range strike missile to its F-35Bs as soon as possible. Lockheed Martin’s Israeli customer is already incorporating its own electronic counter-measures systems in their F-35i, and they are certain to push for a range of Israeli weapons, including the Python-5 SRAAM (Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) and various other smart bombs and missiles. Other manufacturers can be expected to follow.

    The bottlenecks will be two-fold.

    The 1st bottleneck is American insistence on retaining all source codes, and having Lockheed Martin perform all modifications at their reprogramming facility. Unless Lockheed produces a full development environment workaround, dealing with the growing queue of requests can easily become a problem. The firm’s new Universal Armament Interface could offer the foundation for a way forward, if they decide to take it. The other question involves conflict-of-interest issues, in which Lockheed Martin or the US government decides to use the bottleneck as a way of shutting competitors out of a potential export market. These kinds of concerns have already led to pushback in Australia, Britain, and Israel.

    The 2nd bottleneck involves testing resources. The F-35 testing program has fallen significantly behind schedule, and IOCs for some versions have already slipped by 5-6 years. Test time required to qualify new equipment is going to be a very secondary priority until 2018-2019, and even the few customers buying their own Initial Operational Testing & Evaluation (IOT&E) fighters are going to need them for their assigned training roles.

    F-35s: Key Features F-35 Variants
    (click to view full)

    Stealth. The F-35 is designed as an ‘affordable stealth’ counterpart to the F-22 Raptor air dominance fighter, one that can share “first day of the war” duties against defended targets, but can’t perform air-air or SEAD/ “Wild Weasel” missions to the same standard. The F-35 has a larger single engine instead of the Raptor’s twin thrust-vectoring F119s, removing both supercruise (sustained flight above Mach 1) and super-maneuverability options. The F-22A is also a much stealthier aircraft from all angles, and independent analysis & modeling has concluded that the F-35’s stealth will be weaker from the sides and the rear. Even so, the F-35 is a big improvement over existing ‘teen series’ fighters, and a step above Generation 4+ options like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter, Rafale, and JAS-39 Gripen.

    Engine. 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 costs and performance, while providing added readiness insurance for dual-engine fleets like the USAF, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc. 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 US military had better hope that an engine design problem never grounds all of their fighters. While they’re at it, they should hope that both performance and maintenance contracts remain reasonable, despite the absence of any competitive alternative.

    F-35’s APG-81
    AESA Radar
    click to play video

    Sensors. The Lightning II will equipped to levels that would once have defined a high-end reconnaissance aircraft. Its advanced APG-81 AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar is smaller and less powerful than the F-22A’s APG-77v1; but still offers the strong AESA advantages of simultaneous air-air and air-ground capabilities, major maintenance & availability improvements, and secure, high-bandwidth communications benefits. The F-35 also shares a “sensor fusion” design advance with the F-22, based on an even more extensive sensor set embedded all around the airframe. Both planes will be able to perform as reconnaissance aircraft, though the F-35 will have superior infrared and ground-looking sensors. Both fighters will also have the potential to act as electronic warfare aircraft, though not to the same level as the Super-Hornet’s EA-18G Growler derivative.

    These sensors are connected to a lot of computing power, in order to create single-picture view that lets the pilot see everything on one big 20″ LCD screen and just fly the plane, rather than trying to push buttons, switch views, and figure it all out at 6g. As part of that sensor fusion, the F-35 will be the first plane is several decades to fly without a heads-up display. Instead, pilots will wear Elbit/Rockwell’s JHMDS helmet or BAE’s HMSS, and have all of that information projected wherever they look. JHMDS is both a strength that adds new capabilities, like the ability to look “through” the plane’s floor, and a single point-of-failure weakness.

    Maintenance. The F-35 has a large number of design features that aim to simplify maintenance and keep life cycle costs down. Since operations and maintenance are usually about 65% or more of a fighter’s lifetime cost, this is one the most important and overlooked aspects of fighter selection.

    Stealth aircraft have always had much higher maintenance costs, but the F-35’s designers hope that new measures can reverse that trend. Some of the plane’s stealth coatings are being baked into composite airplane parts, for instance, in the hope that customers will need fewer “Martians” (Materials Application and Repair Specialists) around to apply stealth tapes and putties before each mission. Technical innovations like self-diagnosing aircraft wiring aim to eliminate one of the toughest problems for any mechanic, and the fleet-wide ALIS information and diagnostic system is designed to shift the fleet from scheduled maintenance to maintenance only as needed.

    Despite these measure, March 2012 operations and maintenance projections have the F-35 at 142% O&M cost, relative to F-16s, and subsequent reports have risen as high as 160%. It remains to be seen if the advantages of F-35 innovations manage to fulfill their promise, or if projections that they’ll be outweighed in the end by increased internal complexity, and by the proliferation of fault-prone electronics, come true. That has certainly been the general trend over the last 50 years of fighter development, with a very few notable exceptions like America’s F-16s and A-10s, and Sweden’s JAS-39 Gripen.

    The F-35 Family: Controversies See me, hear me?
    (click to view full)

    The program’s biggest controversies revolve around 3 issues: effectiveness, affordability, and control. A 4th issue, noise, isn’t significant yet, but could become so.

    Effectiveness: When the F-35 Lightning II is compared with the larger and more expensive F-22A, the Raptor is a much stealthier aircraft, and its stealth is more uniform. The F-35’s design is optimized for “low-observable” stealth when viewed from the front, with less stealth to radars looking at it from the sides, and less still when targeted from the rear. It also lacks the Raptor’s supercruise (sustained flight above Mach 1) and super-maneuverability thrust-vectoring options, which work with stealth to help the F-22 engage and disengage from combat at will. Lockheed Martin claims that the F-35 design is optimized for trans-sonic acceleration, but testing results question those claims, and the Raptor can cruise without afterburners at the F-35’s theoretical maximum speed. That’s important, because fuel usage skyrockets with afterburners on, limiting total supersonic time for fighters like the F-35.

    These relative drawbacks have led to questions about the F-35’s ability to survive against the most modern aircraft and air defense threats, and against the evolved threats it can expect to face over a service lifetime that’s expected to stretch until 2050.

    F-35 EO DAS
    click for video

    Where the F-35 does come out ahead of the F-22 is its internal carriage space. F-35A/C variants will offer larger capacity internal bays for weapons, allowing a wider selection of stealth-preserving internal ordnance. The price is that slight bulges were added to the production F-35’s underside profile in order to accommodate that space, making them less stealthy from the side than the original X-35 designs.

    Sensors are another F-35 advantage. All F-35s also boast more embedded sensors than the F-22, with an especial advantage in infrared and ground-looking sensors. Though this feature has yet to be tested in combat, the F-35’s all-aspect Distributed Aperture Sensors (EO-DAS) reportedly allows 360-degree targeting of aircraft around the F-35. If it works, the inertial guidance and datalink features of modern infrared missiles like the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-132 ASRAAM can already take full advantage.

    Which customers can live with these relative disadvantages as an acceptable trade-off, and which will be badly hurt by them? Will the F-35 be a fighter that’s unable to handle high-end scenarios, while also being far too expensive to field and operate in low-end scenarios? Even if that’s true, could countries who want one type of multi-role fighter still be best served by the F-35, as opposed to other options? That will depend, in part, on…

    F-35 commonality
    (click to view full)

    Affordability: The F-35 family was designed to be much more affordable than the F-22, but a number of factors are narrowing that gap.

    One is cost growth in the program. This has been documented by the GAO, and statements and reports from the US DoD are beginning to follow the same kind of “rising spiral of admissions” pattern seen in past programs.

    The 2nd is loss of parts commonality between the 3 models, which the GAO has cited as falling below the level required to produce significant savings. In March 2013, the JSF PEO placed the figure at just 25-30%.

    A 3rd is production policy. The US GAO in particular believes that the program’s policy of beginning production several years before testing is complete, only adds to the risks of future price hikes and operating cost shocks. It also forces a lot of expensive rework to jets that are bought before problems are found. Part of the rationale for accepting concurrency risks and costs involves…

    The 4th factor: lateness. The program as a whole is about 5-7 years behind its ideal point, relative to the replacement cycle for fighters around the globe. F-35 program customers thus find themselves in the unenviable position of having to commit to a fighter that hasn’t completed testing, and doesn’t have reliable future purchase or operating costs, while buying from expensive early production batches. The program office hopes to drop the flyaway price of an F-35A to $90 million by 2020, but current Pentagon budget documents list an average production cost of $105-120 million per F-35A-C, from 2017 to the end of the program. If the plane’s cost leads to a cut in numbers, and early buyers like Canada and the Netherlands suggest that cuts could be as much as 50% of expected orders, those prices per plane will rise.

    Control: This has been a big issue in the past for customers like Britain and Australia, and has now become an issue for Israel as well. Without control over software source codes, integration of new weapons and algorithms can be controlled by the whims and interests of American politicians and defense contractors. On the other hand, American officials aren’t wrong to see wider access to those fundamental building blocks as a security risk. Arrangements with Britain, Australia, and Israel appear to have finessed this issue, without removing it as a potential source of future conflict.

    Noise: 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. That has led to noise complaints from local communities in the USA and abroad, and seems likely to create a broad swathe of local political issues as customers deploy them. In some countries, it may add costs, as governments are forced to compensate or even to buy out nearby homeowners affected by the noise.

    Each customer must weigh these issues above against its own defense and industrial needs, look at alternatives, and come to a decision. In-depth, updated DID articles that address some of these issues in more detail include:

    F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Program Structure 1st British F-35B
    (click to view full)

    Is the F-35 an industrial program for a fighter, or a fighter with an industrial program? Beyond the initial competition between Lockheed Martin’s X-35 and Boeing’s X-32, the Joint Strike Fighter was always planned as a program that would make sense using either interpretation. A wide set of consortium partners and national government investments would form an interlocking set of commitments, drawing on a wide range of global industrial expertise – and making the program very difficult for any one party to back out of or cancel.

    The JSF program is ‘tiered,’ with 4 possible levels of participation based on admission levels and funding commitments for the System Design & Development (SDD) phase. All Tier 1-3 nations have also signed MoUs for the Production Phase. This is not a commitment to buy, just the phase in which production arrangements are hammered out – subject to revision, of course, if that country decides not to buy F-35s. Consortium partners and customers to date include:

    • Tier 1 Partners: The USA (majority commitment), Britain
    • Tier 2 Partners: Italy; The Netherlands
    • Tier 3 Partners: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Turkey
    • Security Cooperative Participants status: Israel (20 contracted), Singapore.
    • Exports: Japan (42 contracted), South Korea.

    Italy is receiving a Lockheed-Martin Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) plant for European orders, and Fellow Tier 1 partner Britain is examining a FACO of its own for BAE. Their fellow Tier 2 partner the Netherlands will be a regional center for engine sustainment and in-depth maintenance.

    Lightning II official rollout
    (click to view full)

    The first test aircraft, an F-35A model AA-1, had its formal rollout on July 7/06. The F-35’s forced redesign for weight reasons has led to F-35 AA-1 being a unique airframe used to validate design, manufacturing, assembly and test processes. A total of 23 test aircraft will be built for various purposes (15 flight, 7 non-flight, 1 radar signature), but the exact order of build for the variants involved has shifted several times.

    The testing phase was originally supposed to end in 2013, but is now officially scheduled to continue until 2018. Funding for the first sets of production-model aircraft is approved, parts fabrication began in June 2007, and component assembly began later in 2007. F-35As have already been delivered to the USAF – a sore point with the US Congress’ Government Accountability Office, which notes that overlapping testing with production increases project risks and leads to extra costs. Production will continue to ramp up year-to-year, and by the time the F-35 is expected to reach Full-Rate Production, the program intends to build 240 F-35s per year.

    To do that, they’ll need orders. So far, only the USA, Israel, and Japan have placed orders for production F-35s that go beyond training & test aircraft.

    Delays in fielding the initial set of test aircraft, fewer than expected flights, and questions about that ambitious ramp up schedule have reportedly led the Pentagon to re-examine these schedules. Steady cuts in the rate of American purchases are also sapping ramp-up plans, and the SDD development period is now expected to last into FY 2019 or later.

    Industrial Innovation F-35B JSF Cutaway
    by John Batchelor
    (click to view full)

    At present, F-35 production is led by Lockheed Martin, with BAE and Northrop-Grumman playing major supporting roles, and many subcontractors below that.

    BAE Systems is deriving substantial benefits from Britain’s Tier 1 partner status, and Northrop Grumman is responsible for the F-35’s important ‘center barrel’ section, where the wings attach to the fuselage, and also provides many of the aircraft’s key sensors.

    F-35 main production and final assembly is currently slated to take place in Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, TX plant. To cut F-35 production cycle time, the team produces major sections of the aircraft at different feeder plants, and “mates” the assemblies at Fort Worth. This is normal in the auto industry, but it’s a departure from the usual fighter-building process.

    AF-1 center barrel
    (click to view full)

    The precise tolerances required for a stealthy fighter, however, are much more exacting than even high-end autos. In order to avoid subtly mismatched seams, which become radar reflection points, parts need to fit together so precisely that some machines are compensating for the phases of the moon!

    Even the best machines won’t do any good if the various components aren’t already an excellent fit. To cope, Manufacturing Business Technology reports that the JSF manufacturing team has turned to an integrated back-end IT system. It begins with 3D engineering models (Dassault Systemes CATIA CAD), and extends into production management, where the company has rolled out a manufacturing execution system to handle electronic work instructions, workflow and process modeling, serialized parts data, quality records tracking, etc. (Visiprise).

    This combination has enabled greater use of techniques like automated drilling, even as other software (Siemens PLM, TeamCenter) enables product record management and electronic collaboration around designs. On the back-end, the team uses a custom system it calls Production & Inventory Optimization System (PIOS) for manufacturing resources planning and supply chain management; it began using ERP software (SAP) in January 2008 for financials, and may eventually use it to handle supply-chain functions too.

    This ‘digital thread’ has been very successful for the team, with part fits showing incredible precision, and successful coordination of plants around the end schedule for key events like the Dec 18/07 F-35B rollout. The system’s ultimate goal is to cut a plane’s production cycle time from the usual 27-30 months to about 12 months, and shrink a 15-20 day cycle to just 6-8 days, from order creation to printed & matched manufacturing orders.

    Additional Readings & Sources Aircraft Background

    F-35: Ancillary Systems

    F-35: Peer Aircraft

    Note that FOCUS articles require a subscription.

    Full-Stealth Peers

    • DID – F-22 Raptor: Capabilities and Controversies. In-depth coverage looks at both sides.

    • Wikipedia – Chengdu J-20. Fast air superiority fighter and AWACS/ tanker killer, fighter-bomber, or both? Seems to share the same distribution of stealth strengths & weaknesses as the F-35, but needs to make changes to achieve the same stealth levels. See also SinoDefence, which has good pictures. Unless rushed, not expected to be operational in numbers before the mid-2020s.

    • DID – PAK-FA/FGFA/T50: India, Russia Cooperate on 5th-Gen Fighter. Likely to become the Su-50. Early assessments suggest stealth around F-35 levels, with aerodynamic performance near F-22 levels. Likely to achieve an American IOC equivalent in Russia around the time the F-35 completes SDD, around 2019 – 2020.

    Program Background

    Note that FOCUS articles require a subscription.

    F-35: Individual Country Coverage

    DID is covering some country competitions individually, but not all.

    Official Reports

    News & Views: The Future of Stealth

    News & Views: Other

    Search tags: f-35base

    Categories: News

    Equipping Lebanon’s… Government?

    Fri, 07/24/2015 - 00:00
    Lebanese armed forces

    The Lebanese Army’s own web site is blunt: “The assistance received from Syria, the USA, and other friendly countries has played a basic role in bridging the gap between needs and available means.”

    A number of countries are stepping up to fill those gaps, left in a military ravaged by foreign occupation, a long and losing civil war, and the presence of Hizb’Allah – a foreign-backed private army in Lebanon, with superior firepower. The battle for influence in that country is multi-polar, with countries including the USA, France, and Saudi Arabia moving to counter Syria and Iran’s proxies, and countries like Russia working with independent agendas. The USA has been supplying a wide range of equipment from ammunition to armored vehicles, and is adding tanks, mini-UAVs, and even patrol boats to that list. Belgium has worked to sell some of its own tanks and APCs, France has offered help with Lebanon’s existing French equipment; and in April 2009, Russia went so far as to offer MiG-29 fighters, for free, from its own stocks.

    What capabilities would these systems bring? How are those sales going? And how is Lebanon itself changing, in the wake of both Hezbollah’s takeover and Syria’s civil war?

    UAVS, Tanks, and Planes RQ-11 assembly
    (click to view full)

    The main internal threat is Hezbollah, who is currently part of a 2009 unity government that is within the orbit of Syria’s Bashar Assad, and of Iran via its Hezbollah foreign legion. Pentration of the army and its institutions is accordingly extensive, which creates hard questions about the aid’s appropriateness, and security risks surrounding systems that are turned over.

    Aerovironment’s RQ-11 Raven has become extremely popular in Afghanistan, and seen extensive use in Iraq. While the hand-launched UAV is far too small to carry anything beyond cameras, and is limited to low-flying missions out to about 1-15 miles, its virtues as a readily-used, squad-portable reconnaissance system that lets troops see over the next hill, or into the next block, are well and widely appreciated.

    The M60 tank is a development of the M48 Patton, and was the M1 Abrams’ predecessor in the US Army and Marines. While the M1 was developed in response to the threat of the Soviet T-72, it turned out that the M60 was the T-72’s real peer competitor, whereas the M1 proved to be a massive overmatch. Something the M1 crews appreciated during combat in Operation Desert Storm. The M60A3 was the last serving model, sporting electronic upgrades while retaining the rounded turret and 105mm gun. It still serves with a number of militaries around the world. Egypt has the largest regional M60 fleet, followed by Turkey’s “M60 Sabras” that sport significant Israeli improvements to their sighting systems and electronics, as well as a full array of explosive reactive armor.

    Recent combat experience teaches that even in urban situations, when tanks enter the fray, fights usually end quickly. Tanks of the M60’s vintage, however, lack the advanced armor protection and shaped designs required to withstand hits from popular threats like RPGs and anti-tank missiles. This can be remedied to some extent by adding explosive reactive armor and other ancillary systems. In their absence, however, M60s could not be expected to last very long against even private armies like Hezbollah, which makes extensive use of anti-tank missiles. The M60A3s, and similar vintage Leopard 1A5s from Belgium, would nonetheless offer an improvement over Lebanon’s existing T-54/55 and M48A5 tanks.

    Russian MiG-29
    (click to view full)

    Lebanon’s fixed-wing fighter/attack force currently consists of about 4 Hawker Hunter jets, a 1950s era subsonic design that remains an aviation classic, and an OV-10 Bronco turboprop observation and light attack plane. In contrast, the used MiG-29s offered for free by Russia are late 1980s high-performance fighters, intended as a competitor to the F-16. Early versions are mainly air interceptor aircraft, though some Soviet MiG-29As were also given nuclear strike roles. Subsequent MiG-29Cs were confined to Soviet forces, incorporating radar improvements and an enlarged spine with extra fuel and an active electronic jammer system. Neither variant is suitable for delivering precision ground attack ordnance, a capability restricted to subsequent MiG-29S upgrades and modifications.

    An interesting but very logical shift occurred in early 2010, when Russia and Lebanon agreed to substitute Mi-24 “Hind” helicopter gunships for the MiG-29s. The Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s saw some air-air engagements involving Iraqi Mi-24s and Iranian AH-1J SeaCobra helicopters, but the Hind’s main use is as a ground attack platform. It fits Lebanon’s military requirements and base infrastructure far better than the MiG-29s would have, but it also introduces an interesting new capability into Lebanon’s correlation of forces.

    Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s participation in Lebanon’s government is a triple-edged sword for the Lebanese military.

    On the one hand, it makes hostilities with Lebanon’s army unlikely so long as the accord lasts. The other 2 edges, however, are sharp. One is that it gave Hezbollah free rein to re-arm and organize. Hezbollah’s agenda is set in Iran and not in Lebanon, which has set the stage for future conflicts within and beyond Lebanon. For instance, Hezbollah is currently functioning as Iran’s Condor Legion equivalent in Syria’s civil war.

    The other edge is that Israeli officials have said that since Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, acts carried out by Hezbollah would be considered to be coming from Lebanon’s government – i.e. acts of war rather than terrorism. The strong implication is that any Israeli response would encompass all of Lebanon, not just Hezbollah. So far, that has largely kept a lid on things.

    Contracts and Key Events 2015

    July 24/15: The Lebanese government has requested 1,500 TOW-2A guided missiles from the US, with the State Department approving the possible Foreign Military Sale, estimated to value $245 million. 1,000 of the missiles requested are the anti-armor variant and the remaining 500 bunker busting variants, with the order also including fifty launchers. The Lebanese government has recently received the first weapons purchased from France in November last year with Saudi financing the deal worth around $3 billion. Shipments of these weapons (including Milan anti-tank missiles) began in April. The country’s government also received weapons from China earlier this month, with these thought to have been donated by the Chinese government. The US has sent approximately $1 billion in military aid to Lebanon over the last eight years, previously supplying older versions of the TOW-2 system.

    June 11/15: Lebanon is buying six Super Tucano ground attack aircraft from the US through a Foreign Military Sale thought to be worth approximately $462 million, including spares, support services and auxiliary equipment. The US and Lebanese governments discussed the potential sale of Super Tucanos in 2010, with the DSCA announcement on Tuesday confirming reports from March which set a deadline of 2018 for delivery of the six aircraft. The Embraer-manufactured turboprop aircraft is particularly useful in counterinsurgency operations, as well as being more very affordable. For these reasons the Super Tucano has seen export success to several African states and numerous other nations worldwide.

    Feb 26/15: April set as French arms delivery commencement. France is reportedly to start shipping its planned sale of $3 billion worth of Saudi-purchased arms to Lebanon in April. The announcement appears to have taken many media organs by surprise, given the already volatile military situation in the country. Different reports ascribe various Saudi motives for the pressing of the weapons into Lebanese Army hands, ranging from expressing pique at the U.S. (UPI) – whose arms were not purchased – to a direct effort to fund a force to take on Hezbollah (MintPress). It took the French two years to get to this point of readiness. Had the Saudis sought U.S. arms, the approvals would certainly have been much longer in coming, if they ever came. That the Lebanese Army would take on Hezbollah remains unlikely, as precedent shows a long inability to deny Hezbollah anything in Lebanon the group wishes to take.

    2014

    Aircraft requests as ISIS threat creeps in. IqAF Hueys

    Oct 24/14: UK. After a meeting between UK Chief of the Defense Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton and Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji. the UK sends Lebanon a $16 million donation. It includes 164 Land Rovers, 1,500 sets of body armor, a secure radio communication network, border watchtowers, and HESCO bastions that can be filled with earth to create bulletproof walls in Army positions along the frontier. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Daily Star says:

    “As for the earlier $3 billion aid announced by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdel-Aziz, it will come in the form of weapons, equipment and training to be provided by France…. [but] has not yet gone into effect with reports saying that the Kingdom first wants to receive assurances that the weapons will not benefit Hezbollah.”

    That sounds like a pretty tall order, given the realities of Lebanon. Sources: Al Defaiya, “UK Delivers Military Equipment to Lebanese Army”.

    Oct 8/14: France. The French defense minister says that the 3-way deal with Saudi Arabia (q.v. Dec 30/13) may finally be ready to finance over EUR 2 billion in purchases of French weapons:

    “Ce projet a ete valide par la France et ce projet est valide avec les forces armees libanaises”, a-t-il declare mercredi 8 octobre, lors de la seance des questions au gouvernement. Et d’ajouter : “Tous les travaux sont termines et le president de la Republique a indique hier à Monsieur [Saad] Hariri [ancien Premier ministre et leader politique de la communaute sunnite libanaise, NDLR] que les conditions etaient desormais remplies.”

    That could end up being a very substantial infusion. The question is what the government will spend it on. And who will end up controlling what they buy. Sources: France24, “Liban : conditions réunies pour livrer des armes françaises, selon Le Drian”.

    Sept 17/14: Helicopter request. A little more than 2 years after asking for 6 Huey IIs (q.v. July 25/12), Lebanon requests another 18 Huey II helicopters, as well as associated spares and services, for an estimated cost of $180 million.

    That’s about the same unit cost as the previous request, and comparable to a request submitted but then canceled by Iraq in 2007. Huey IIs are refurbished and upgraded UH-1Hs sold “as good as new” by Bell. The bulk of Lebanon’s current but old helicopter fleet is comprised of 23 Hueys which were used to drop bombs – a rather unusual task for rotary aircraft – on Fatah al-Islam in 2007. Source: DSCA 14-20.

    DSCA request (18 Huey IIs)

    AC-208B firing
    (click to view full)

    Sept 12/14: AC-208Bs. US ambassador David Hale says the USA will send “an armed Cessna” , and also arm a Cessna it had previously provided to the Lebanese Army. they’re referring to the AC-208B conversion, which allows the Caravan to independently carry, target, and fire 2 AGM-114 Hellfire laser-guided missiles. It’s hardly a regional power projection tool, but it’s a fine platform for surveillance and strikes on isolated guerrilla groups.

    “The Lebanese government and army have requested additional aircraft from the United States: an armed Cessna and other light air support aircraft… It is our intention to support those requests for additional aircraft, using funds generously made available to Lebanon by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…” [q.v. Dec 30/13]

    That won’t use much of their $3 billion offer, and it’s a good investment for all concerned. Beyond the usual hijinks in Lebanon, the Sunni ISIS group has reached beyond Syria and Iraq into Lebanon, taking a number of Lebanese soldiers captive and beheading them. Iraq is already using AC-208Bs successfully against ISIS, and the USA is stepping up efforts to contain the group via 3rd parties since it has abandoned its own combat presence in Iraq. The Saudis also see ISIS as a threat, one that’s approaching the level offered by Iran and its legions. Sources: Lebanon Daily Star, “US arming Lebanon military to combat ISIS: Hale” | Kuwait News Agency, “US to deliver armed light Cessna aircraft to Lebanon to combat ISIL” | Middle East Monitor, “US to deliver armed aircraft to Lebanon”.

    2012 – 2013

    8 Huey IIs; Man-portable radios

    Dec 30/13: Saudi Arabia. Lebanon couldn’t help but be drawn into the Sunni-Shia proxy wars that are engulfing the Arab world. Saudi Arabia pledges $3 billion in military aid to Lebanon’s government, in a move that’s clearly designed to strengthen that government at the expense of Iran’s Hezbollah. Specific equipment isn’t specified, so we’ll see how all of this works itself out.

    Here’s the Saudi dilemma, in a nutshell: what to provide? If the money is used to provide small arms, anti-tank missiles, and good training, it would probably make the biggest difference on the ground. The bad news? These items are small and portable. Hezbollah’s infiltration of the armed forces and power within the government means that many of the items in question won’t stay in government hands. On the other hand, if Saudi aid is used to provide higher-end items like armed helicopters, armored vehicles, etc., then the bad news is that $3 billion doesn’t actually deliver as much as one imagines. Especially in a military whose support systems and infrastructure are questionable. That high-end approach is also vulnerable to counter-strokes: all Hezbollah would need to do, in order to incapacitate new fleets, would be to threaten the maintenance workers in order to ensure that they do a poor job. Sources: CS Monitor, “Saudi Arabia promises record $3 billion in military aid to Lebanon”.

    July 31/13: Radios. Advanced Technology Systems Co. in McLean, VA receives a $26.7 million multi-year, firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales from Lebanon for TETRA trunked radio communication systems. TETRA is an abbreviation of TErrestrial Trunked RAdio. It has been defined and approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and is a standard for radio communication in the same way that GSM is a mobile telephony standard. It’s often used to create networks for first responders and internal security forces, but a number of militaries around the world also use them.

    Work will be performed in Lebanon. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (W15P7T-13-C-D082).

    May 26/13: Syria/Lebanon War. In the New Yorker, war correspondent Dexter Filkins reports:

    “It’s official: the war in Syria has spread to Lebanon. In an extraordinary speech Saturday, Hassan Nasrallah, the bearded and bespectacled leader of the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, promised an all-out effort to keep the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria. “It’s our battle, and we are up to it,” Nasrallah said in a televised address. The war, he said, had entered “a completely new phase.”

    This is a terrifying development; the beginning of a regional war. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed armed group, has been fighting inside Syria for months, something I detailed in an article on the group in February. But Hezbollah was intervening in Syria covertly…. As more and more Hezbollah fighters died inside Syria, that lie could no longer be sustained. The truth is out.

    On Saturday, by declaring his undying loyalty to the Assad regime, Nasrallah has signalled an escalation in Hezbollah’s involvement…”

    Nov 1/12: Hueys. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in Hurst, TX receives a $33.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for single-engine UH-1H+ Huey II helicopters and related support services. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-11-G-0011).

    U.S. Army Security Assistance Command has confirmed to us that this order will be transferred to the “government” of Lebanon. The July 25/12 DSCA request was for 6, and this appears to cover that number.

    July 25/12: Helicopter request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] a potential sale to Lebanon of 6 Huey II helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training, and logistical support, at an estimated cost of $63 million. Hezbollah is still in charge, albeit somewhat weakened by the civil war in Syria, which interferes with supply lines to their masters in Iran. The US DSCA claims that:

    “This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by providing Lebanon with necessary mobility capabilities to maintain internal security, enforce United Nation’s Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, and counter terrorist threats… The Huey II will augment Lebanon’s aging fleet of UH-1H aircraft.”

    If Congress agrees enough to avoid overtly blocking the sale within 30 days, Lebanon can begin negotiations with Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, TX. Fortunately for Bell, “Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Lebanon.”

    Jan 12/12: AC-208Bs. Alliant Techsystems, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $16.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for one used Caravan Cessna 208B aircraft, continued contractor logistics support, and spares with associated repair and return effort. This supports a Foreign Military Sales Program and the Lebanon Air Force Caravan Program.

    The C-208B is a single-propeller plane that’s often used for flight training and light cargo duties. The Iraqi Air Force have turned them into low-cost AC-208B “Combat Caravan” surveillance and close support planes by adding a surveillance/targeting turret, accompanying internal displays, and M299 racks for Hellfire missiles on the wings. official reports indicate that the planes headed to Lebanon are Combat Caravans.

    Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA, and is expected to be complete by Nov 16/16. The ASC/WINK/FMS at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH acts as Lebanon’s agent in this matter (FA8620-12-C-4005). See also Flight International.

    2011

    AMP-145 CPB concept
    (click to view larger)

    June 13/11: Takeover. The new Lebanese government names its cabinet, which Hezbollah and its supporters dominate. BBC.

    Jan 19/11: Takeover. Hezbollah ousts Prime Minister Hariri and engineers a de facto coup in Lebanon. Lebanon Daily Star | Now Lebanon | Reuters | Ya Libnan.

    Jan 14/11: Patrol Boats. Maritime Security Strategies, LLC in Tampa, FL received a $29 million firm-fixed price contract to construct a 42-meter coastal security craft and provide associated equipment, material, training and technical services to the Government of Lebanon. This will be the first sale of the firm’s AMP-145 multi-mission platform design, though their regional orders also include 2 60-meter Offshore Supply/Command Vessels under construction for the Iraqi Navy.

    MSS’ managing partner, USN Rear Admiral (ret.) Robert Cox touts “new designs and features that deliver significant cost and performance improvements over the current industry offerings,” including fast reconfiguration. The hulls are an epoxy-resin composite, with an aluminum deck and superstructure. American shipbuilders have had mixed results with composite hulls, but they are coming into wider international use due to their weight advantages, which translates directly into greater speed, increased maneuverability and lower fuel consumption.

    The Lebanese Navy’s AMP-145 incorporates ITAR compliant controls and automation, including embedded sensors in key components, and a non-militarized, passive Integrated Bridge System (IBS) from Raytheon Anschutz GmbH that manages the ship’s automation system, as well as feeds from CCTV and a FLIR thermal imaging cameras. Surface search X and S-band ARPA radars, a full package of navigation sensors, data management software, GMDSS A3, and all other electronics and safety equipment completes the IBS and Command and Surveillance package. The C2/Operations Center is fitted with a customized Situational Awareness Display which shares all charts, targets and craft movements with the Integrated Bridge System. Depictions of the craft show a 30mm cannon and mounts for 7.62mm – 12.7mm machine guns, but armament details were not provided.

    Work will be performed in Tampa, FL, and is expected to be complete by January 2012, though the company has set a delivery date of end 2011. MSS will work with its primary design agent and shipbuilding partner, RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames, LLC, of Tampa, FL to design, produce and outfit the ship. The MSS/RiverHawk team is currently completing epoxy-resin composite hull construction and rigging in of the major engineering systems at VectorWorks Marine facilities in Titusville, FL. The aluminum decks and superstructure are nearing completion in RiverHawk’s Tampa yard, where they will be mated to the hull, and several South Florida sub-contractors will also play significant roles. The contract was not competitively procured by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC, who manages the contract on behalf of its Foreign Military Sale client (N00024-11-C-2241).

    • Length: 43.5 meters
    • Breadth overall: 8.5 meters
    • Draft: ~ 2 meters
    • Displacement: ~ 265 metric tons
    • Crew Complement: 6 – 22
    • Speed: > 25 knots
    • Range @ 11 Knots: > 2600 nm
    • Effective Limits @ 12 Knots: Sea State 4
    • Survivability: Sea State 5
    • Endurance: 5-7 days

    Meanwhile, Hezbollah has taken its marching orders and withdrawn from the government in Lebanon, setting up a minor political crisis as the country waits for a UN report that’s likely to indict Hezbollah members, as well as its foreign backers in Syria and beyond, for the Hariri assassination. See also: Maritime Security Strategies | Al-Defaiya | Al-Jazeera | Reuters | Voice of America | Israel’s Ynet News.

    2010

    French SA342
    (click to view full)

    Dec 17/10: HOT missiles. Agence France Presse reports that France will give Lebanon 100 MBDA HOT anti-tank missiles to equip Lebanon’s SA342M Gazelle helicopters. A Lebanese official told AFP that: “The missiles will be delivered before the end of February and are being given with no conditions attached.”

    The move has sparked concern among some American political figures. Lebanese received 12 Gazelle helicopters in mid-2007, and in January 2010, it signed an agreement to refurbish them (vid. Jan 22/10 entry).

    Nov 13/10: Unblocked. The congressional hold on $100 million in military aid to Lebanon clears, as Rep. Howard Berman [D-CA] and Nita Lowey [D-NY] drop their opposition after a classified briefing and presenting results of a “thorough inter-agency review” by the Obama administration. Berman: “As a result, I am convinced that implementation of the spending plan will now have greater focus, and I am reassured as to the nature and purposes of the proposed package.” Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Resident Scholar Aram Nerguizian, whose report on U.S. military aid to Lebanon is coming out later in November 2010, has said that American aid can help the armed forces keep a lid on Lebanon, and “keeps Lebanon from escalating beyond the range of the real.” Israel, on the other hand, seemed less reassured:

    “Iran’s domination of Lebanon through its proxy Hezbollah has destroyed any chance for peace, has turned Lebanon into an Iranian satellite and made Lebanon a hub for regional terror and instability”

    Lifting the hold Congressional may release funds while the present “lame duck” session is still alive, until and unless future action affirmatively blocks it. Berman chairs the House Foreign Affairs committee, and Lowey heads the House Appropriations committee’s foreign operations subcommittee. They will be reduced to ranking minority members in the new Congress, however, and Berman’s likely successor, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL], opposes further aid to Lebanon as well as to the Palestinian Authority. Lebanese Daily Star | Agence France Presse | Israel’s Arutz Sheva | Bloomberg | Foreign Policy Magazine | Jerusalem Post | Fox News | UAE’s The National | Reuters | Voice of America.

    Aug 8/10: Blocked. The US Congress is blocking $100 million in aid to the Lebanese military, amidst concerns it is cooperating with Hezbollah. The Congressional holds come in the wake of an Aug 3 shooting of 2 Israeli officers while brush was being cleared along the northern border. One Israeli officer was killed and another seriously wounded in the firefight, which also killed at least 2 Lebanese soldiers and a journalist. There are reports that the Lebanese troops in question were using American-supplied weapons. Associated Press | Jerusalem Post | al-Manar TV (Hezbollah affiliate) | Lebanon Daily Star | Australia’s The Age/ Reuters re: clash.

    June 3/10: The USA delivers $427,000 worth of weapons, body armor and bomb investigation equipment to Lebanese security officials, via a $1 million anti-terrorism assistance program for Lebanon from the U.S. State Department. UPI.

    May 24/10: Rising US concern. Foreign Policy magazine’s blog The Cable documents rising concern within the Pentagon and Congress over continued military aid to Lebanon, in the wake of what they see as a blurring of the lines between the government and Hezbollah.

    MI-24 Hind
    (click to view full)

    Feb 26/10: Make Hinds, not Fulcrums. NaharNet reports that Lebanese President Michel Suleiman has returned from a visit to Russia, and…

    “Russian authorities agreed to substitute the 10 MiG-29 fighter jets previously mulled military aid with Mi-24 advanced military helicopters “based on the request of the Lebanese side that conducted technical and functional studies on the Russian fund for the Lebanese Air Force.”

    The Mi-24 “Hind” helicopter gunship became famous during Russia’s war in Afghanistan, and it remains popular with militaries around the world. The most modern version is the Mi-35. Unlike most attack helicopters, it has secondary troop transport capabilities.

    Jan 22/10: Lebanon has reportedly signed an agreement with the French company Euro Tech to revamp 13 Gazelle helicopters transferred in 2007, equipping the 10 Puma helicopters granted by the UAE, and training Lebanese helicopter pilots.

    The Puma helicopters are expected to start arriving within the first half of 2010 in 2 batches of 4 and then 6 machines. Reports suggest, however, that France is hesitant to supply Lebanon with missiles for the Gazelle helicopters, for fear they would end up in Hezbollah’s hands. The Lebanese Air Force reportedly used up all of its missiles in the 2007 Nahr el-Bared battle against Fatah al-Islam terrorists. Nahar Net.

    2009

    Nov 16/09: Media report that Russian military experts will be visiting Lebanon in the next few days and staying until Nov 26/09. They will be assessing the conditions at Lebanese airports and bases, assessing their ability to support MiG-29s and other equipment. A formal contract for the 10 MiG-29s is expected very shortly after their report. China’s Xinhua reports that the MiG deal is causing some trepidation in certain parts of Lebanon:

    “Since then, the deal has sparked an internal debate about the necessity of obtaining these aircraft in a small country like Lebanon, which has a national army and an armed militia Hezbollah, which owns thousands of short and mid-range rockets.”

    See also: Lebanese Daily Star | Naharnet Newsdesk | Il-Oubnan | China’s Xinhua.

    April 9/09: Naharnet Newsdesk reports confirmation of American arms shipments to Lebanon by US State Department officials David Hale and Colin Kahl:

    “Hale said the shipment includes 41 Howitzer artillery and 12 Zodiac boats. He said the Lebanese military will also be receiving in May 12 pilotless Raven aircrafts that would help the army monitor any attempt to fire rockets from southern Lebanon into northern Israel. Hale said the delivery also includes one Cessna Caravan aircraft, which is expected to arrive end of April to provide air support for ground forces. A set of 20 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles and the first batch of 10 M-60 tanks will also be arriving in May, according to Hale.”

    April 8/09: The Pentagon’s AFPS reports on progress:

    “Toward helping it fulfill that role, the United States has provided more than $410 million in military assistance to Lebanon since 2006. That support has included Humvees, trucks, M-198 howitzer artillery pieces, M-4 and M-16 rifles, body armor vests, MK-19 grenade launchers, shoulder-fired rockets, spare helicopter parts and millions of ammunition rounds.

    More recently, the Defense Department has been working with the Lebanese government to expedite delivery of Cessna close-air-support aircraft with precision Hellfire missiles and [RQ-11] Raven unmanned aerial vehicle systems. The United States is also working to transfer M60 Abrams tanks to the Lebanese military from other countries in the region, Kahl said. These systems, expected to be delivered by June…”

    2008

    M60A3
    (click to view full)

    Dec 19/08: Defense News quotes “a senior U.S. state department official… in Beirut” saying that he U.S. plans to deliver M-60 tanks to Lebanon in spring 2009. the official stresses that the US does not see any competition with Russia or other countries, as all assistance to help the Lebanese government is welcome.

    Dec 1/08: The Pentagon’s AFPS publishes “U.S. Forces Help Lebanese Military Assert Control“, which discusses American efforts to re-equip Lebanon’s army:

    “The United States and Lebanon signed a military cooperation agreement in October [2008], establishing the U.S.-Lebanese Joint Military Commission to provide an official framework for the bilateral U.S.-Lebanese military relationship… “The most important [recommendation] was that the Lebanese military needed a lot of help in the military basics… They needed trucks, Humvees, parts and ammunition more than they needed high-end, expensive weaponry.” They also need training… In 2006, the United States renewed its security relationship with Lebanon, and since then has funneled more than $400 million in foreign military sales money… “Our part of that is to help build up the Lebanese armed forces so the Lebanese government can be sovereign in all its territory.”

    …The United States has sent 285 Humvees to Lebanon, and another 312 will arrive by March. The United States has sent 200 trucks to the Lebanese and 41 M-198 155 mm artillery pieces. The Lebanese army also will get night-vision equipment and some tactical unmanned aerial vehicles. “Behind it is all basics – 12 million rounds of ammo, spare helicopter parts, shoulder-fired rockets,” Straub said. “We want them to play their role in controlling Lebanese territory. We also want them to deter the terrorist threat.” The United States is committed to getting Lebanon more modern tanks, and the U.S. military is working on delivering M-60A3 tanks.”

    Dec 18/08: The UK’s Times reports that Russia will provide Lebanon with 10 MiG-29 fighter jets, for free, under an agreement on military-technical assistance. Rosoboronexport’s Mikhail Dmitryev said that the jets would come from Russia’s existing stock, and added that Moscow was also in talks to supply Lebanon with heavy armor. The country currently operates very old T-54/55 Russian tanks.

    Aug 27/08: Belgian defense minister Pierre Crem visits Lebanon to finalize an agreement to sell 43 Leopard 1A5 tanks, and 28 M113 derivative armored personnel carriers (16 AIFVs and 12 conventional), to Lebanon. RTL Info via MplL.

    M113s form the backbone of Lebanese mechanized forces, thanks to significant donations from American stocks. The AIFV model adds a 25mm gun. The Leopard 1A5 is a modernized Leopard tank, roughly on par with or slightly better than the American M60A3.

    Additional Readings

    Categories: News

    Virginia-Class Sub Launches UUV | Brits Train Others on MANPAD Mitigation | China Sea Nations in Amphib Aircraft Race of Sorts

    Wed, 07/22/2015 - 01:46
    Americas

    • In a Navy first, the USS North Dakota (SSN 784) successfully launched and recovered an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) during its two-month deployment to the Mediterranean. Previous reports indicated that the UUVs tested would include the autonomous Remus 600, which was partially funded by the US Office of Naval Research.

    • 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.

    Europe

    • Russia is reportedly opting to focus on the development of upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M2 bombers over development for its PAK DA strategic bomber project, with serial production of the upgraded Cold War design scheduled to begin in 2023. This will shunt the PAK DA project timeline backward, with the Russia Air Force scheduled to receive batches of three Tupolev bombers a year from 2023 onward. The Russian Defense Ministry recently announced its intention to procure at least fifty of the Tupolev strategic bombers, with an upgrade program for in-service Tu-160s nearing completion ahead of time.

    • An interdepartmental team from the British government and the airline sector, comprised of Police, Royal Air Force and transport officials have begun training overseas governments on how to prevent missile attacks on airliners. The threat of MANPADS proliferation has prompted the creation of the ‘Counter MANPADS Team’, with Israel testing counter-missile systems for use on commercial airliners last year, deploying these on some flights. Israeli firms have been quick to fill customer demand for the systems, particularly as the weapons have proliferated across the Middle East North Africa region, including Libya, Syria and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula; the last of these catalyzing Israel’s push to fit certain flights with counter-missile technology.

    • Russian forces in the Eastern Military District are planning to live-fire Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles in September, following the delivery of a brigade of the missiles this month. The 500km-range missile was recently offered to Saudi Arabia, with Armenia also a potential export customer. Rosoboronexport announced its intention in April to sell the system abroad following the fulfillment of orders from the Russian armed forces.

    Middle East North Africa

    • Egypt has taken delivery of its first three two-seat Rafale fighters, in time for the opening of a new Suez waterway in August. Egypt surprised many by ordering twenty-four of the jets in February, in a deal worth $5.9 billion. Photos emerged last week showing the three aircraft in flight, with the Egyptian Rafale fleet reported to come equipped with a plethora of advanced French missiles manufactured by MBDA and Safran.

    Asia

    • In a characteristic set-back, India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will see its Final Operating Clearance delayed until next year. The schedule has slipped consistently for the indigenous fighter, with FOC previously pushed back to December this year. The Indian Defense Ministry has blamed the delays on late delivery of components from foreign manufacturers; however the program also came under severe criticism from the Indian government’s principal oversight body in May, with the aircraft’s performance in question after over three decades of development. The new FOC for the aircraft is now reported to be timetabled for March 2016.

    • Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has reportedly begun final assembly of the world’s largest amphibious aircraft at a subsidiary’s facility in the south of China. The AG600 aircraft is intended to be used for long-range sea rescue and firefighting missions, as well as resupply and other tasks. Other states with a geopolitical interest in the region have also been investing in amphibious aircraft capabilities; including Japan’s US-2, which has also attracted interest from India and Indonesia.

    • The Philippines announced an increase to the country’s 2016 defense budget of 25% earlier this week, with the defense spending budget now set to reach approximately $552 million. The country has exchanged rhetoric with China and other regional powers over claims to South China Sea territory, with this latest budgetary increase part of a five-year modernization plan announced in 2013. The 2016 defense budget is now set to equate to five times that of the 2013 budget.

    Today’s Video

    • The REMUS 600 UUV:

    Categories: News

    Lockheed Takes Sikorsky | RFI Responses in for Taiwanese Trainers | Russian Defense Industry Weighed Down by Sanctions

    Tue, 07/21/2015 - 03:04
    Americas

    • Following Textron’s withdrawal last week, Lockheed Martin has acquired Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp. in a deal valued at $9 billion. The move has been interpreted as an attempt by Lockheed Martin to diversify its source of revenue, specifically to cover intermittent income from the F-35 program. UTC made the decision to cast-off the Black Hawk manufacturer in June, with plans to axe the company dating back to at least March.

    • Lockheed Martin has launched the ninth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the Freedom-class USS Little Rock (LCS 9). Austal christened LCS 8 (the USS Montgomery) in November 2014, with LCS 9 the fifth of eight LCS timetabled for construction by Lockheed Martin. The ship will now undergo testing and equipment fitting before being delivered to the Navy later this year.

    • A subsidiary of Volvo has been awarded two contracts totaling $642 million to supply 1,500 military logistics trucks to the Canadian Armed Forces, including 300 trailer and 150 protection systems. The 8×8 Kerax vehicles, manufactured by Pennsylvania-based Mack Defense, will also come with five years of in-service support.

    Europe

    • Work has begun on Italy’s eighth FREMM frigate in the Italian Mediterranean shipyard of Sestri Levante. The vessel is due for delivery in 2019 and will be constructed in a general purpose configuration, rather than an anti-submarine warfare configuration. Two FREMM frigates are already in service with the Italian Navy, with France also a principal operator of the type. The design has also seen export success to Egypt.

    • Western sanctions are hitting Russia’s arms manufacturers, with Vladimir Putin’s ambitious $350 billion military modernization plan also placing the industry under significant strain, according to the country’s Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov. The program’s schedule has slipped significantly, with estimates placing the plan at only one third complete at its halfway point at the end of 2014. Some Russian companies have actively fought sanctions, with missile manufacturer Almaz Antey openly appealing EU sanctions in May.

    • Rafale manufacturer Dassault is increasing the production rate of the fighter in anticipation of more export orders. The French jet has become an export success in recent months, following orders from Egypt, India and Qatar. The production line has recently come under strain because of the mounting orders, with the delivery rate from Dassault’s assembly line in Merignac, south-west France, set to double from the current rate of eleven per year by 2018, according to the company’s CEO.

    • Ukraine’s Lviv armored plant has delivered modernized versions of the Bozor-B armored vehicle to the Ukrainian military for testing, with the 4×4 likely to be used in the country’s eastern region.

    Asia Pacific

    • India is reportedly seeking to procure additional Russian helicopters. The $1.1 billion deal will see forty-eight new Mil Mi-17V5 transports delivered to India, along with maintenance facilities, with the country’s Air Force already operating 139 of the model. India bought eighty of of the helicopters in December 2008 in a deal worth over $1.2 billion. The US Army also purchased thirty of the Russian helicopters in 2013 for use in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.

    • Lockheed Martin and Alenia Aermacchi have both responded to a Request for Information for Taiwan’s advanced jet trainer, according to Taiwanese media [Chinese]. The US company is expected to offer the T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft, in conjunction with South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), whilst the Italian firm will likely push the M-346 AJT. Taiwan’s defense ministry is expected to make a decision regarding the purchase of new trainers to replace the current fleet of F-5E/F and AT-3 aircraft next year, with the winning aircraft design likely to be assembled in Taiwan by Aerospace Industrial Development Corp.

    • Australia’s Defense Minister has renewed a push to improve six flagging programs on a ‘Projects of Concern’ list, with the combined total spend to date on these reaching approximately $9.4 billion. The ailing programs include the Collin-class submarine replacement, the Royal Australian Navy’s new Air Warfare Destroyer and the procurement of new Multi Role Helicopters.

    Today’s Video

    • The Ukrainian Bozor-B armored vehicle:

    Categories: News

    Taiwan’s Force Modernization: The American Side

    Tue, 07/21/2015 - 01:00

    Despite China’s ominous military buildup across the strait, key weapons sales of P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, Patriot PAC-3 missiles, and diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan had been sabotaged by Taiwanese politics for years – in some cases, since 1997. The KMT party’s flip-flops and determined stalling tactics eventually created a crisis in US-Taiwan relations, which finally soured to the point that the USA refused a Taiwanese request for F-16C/D aircraft.

    That seems to have brought things to a head. Most of the budget and political issues were eventually sorted out, and after a long delay, some major elements of Taiwan’s requested modernization program appear to be moving forward: P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, UH-60M helicopters, Patriot missile upgrades; and requests for AH-64D attack helicopters, E-2 Hawkeye AWACS planes, minehunting ships, and missiles for defense against aircraft, ships, and tanks. These are must-have capabilities when facing a Chinese government that has vowed to take the country by force, and which is building an extensive submarine fleet, a large array of ballistic missiles, an upgraded fighter fleet, and a number of amphibious-capable divisions. Chinese pressure continues to stall some of Taiwan’s most important upgrades, including diesel-electric submarines, and new American fighter jets. Meanwhile, other purchases from abroad continue.

    Tracking the Programs: Patient Progress & Stalled Sales

    Fortunately for Taiwan, there is movement beyond the stalled backwaters of F-16 and submarine sales. Can a combination of foreign weapon sales approvals and domestic efforts break Taiwan’s defense equipment logjam? Can the broader US-Taiwan defense relationship be saved, or is it eroding fatally?

    Those are questions for the future. This Spotlight article will focus on the here-and-now instead, chronicling key developments and purchases as they arise.

    Aerial Acquisitions

    In the modern era, control of the air is the first requirement of effective defense. For an island country, control of the sea, or the ability to deny that control to enemies is equally strategic. Taiwan’s key modernization efforts in both areas remain troubled, which impairs the amount of real deterrence, and security, their military modernization can bring them.

    ROCAF Mirage 2000-5
    (click to view full)

    The ultimate issue for Taiwan is one of numbers. In the air, quantity has a quality all its own. Taiwan expects to retire its F-5 and Mirage 2000v5 fighters by 2020. The ROCAF is moving to modernize its old F-16 fighters, but any fighter has a fixed airframe life, measured in flight hours. Modernization is a medium term solution, not a long term one, and does nothing to address the growing numeric imbalance across the strait. Even as US military studies suggest that the USAF and US Navy will find it more and more difficult to fly fighter reinforcements to Taiwan, and keep them in its airspace.

    With 24 ROCAF F-16 fighters out of service for upgrades at any point, 16 in the USA for training at Luke AFB, and 30% of the remaining machines (32) unavailable for other maintenance, Taiwan’s fleet of 146 F-16s shrinks to about 74 F-16s in operational service. If equivalent rates hold true for the 71 locally built and upgraded F-CK-1C/Ds, that means about 50 operational Hsiung Ying fighters, for a total available fighter fleet of just 124 machines. Most of which will be 1980s level technology.

    Consistent reports indicate that the USA has asked Taiwan to hold off on their request to add 66 new F-16s, in order to avoid a direct “no.” Reports suggest that a strong lobbying effort from China is dooming that effort, even as the PLAAF continues to add aircraft like the 4+ generation J-10, and equally advanced long-range SU-27 family fighters to its arsenal.

    The Obama administration confirmed that perception in September 2011, when it opted to approve ROCAF F-16 fleet upgrades, rather than new F-16C/D Block 52 sales. They attempted to thread the needle by offering more advanced technology than the equipment in F-16 Block 52s, which have been sold to countries like China’s ally, Pakistan. The question is whether this is actually a worst-of-all-possible worlds outcome: showing weakness abroad on Taiwan, failing to extend the F-16 production line and American jobs at home, and offering cutting-edge technology that risks falling into the hands of Chinese intelligence.

    The USA is also selling Taiwan the newest version of its attack helicopter, the AH-64E Apache Guardian. Its Longbow radar mast allows it to use radar guided, fire and forget missiles, and it also carries Stinger missiles for defense against enemy aircraft. Engine and communications upgrades, including the ability to control UAVs remotely, round out that package. The 30 Apaches would serve alongside Taiwan’s 60+ AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters, as a rapid reaction force able to counterattack beachheads and exploit the hilly island’s natural chokepoints.

    Sea Control

    At sea, the situation is simultaneously less overtly perilous, and less hopeful. China’s navy is certainly growing, but is not yet overwhelming. The problem is that without air superiority as cover, no Taiwanese surface navy can expect to survive, in order to maintain control of the seas around Taiwan. Britain faced the same equation in World War 2, and prevailed by winning in the air.

    ROC Seadragon sub
    (click to view full)

    If that isn’t possible, a good submarine force is the classic military solution. Submarines are capable of either destroying efforts to cross the strait, or strangling Chinese trade as it moves through Southeast Asia’s key choke points. Modern missiles give them vastly longer offensive reach, and modern submarines are very difficult to find and target once they put to sea. For a nation like Taiwan, they’re the ultimate conventional deterrent against invasion.

    Taiwan’s comprehensive failure to field this trump card stems even more directly from Chinese pressure. The USA approved a sale request in 2001, but they haven’t produced conventionally-powered subs for many decades, and don’t want to be the supplier. Without that option on tap, Chinese diplomacy has utterly strangled Taiwan’s efforts to find a party who is (a) able to make diesel-electric subs; and (b) is willing to sell them to Taiwan. The Republic of China currently relies on 2 submarines that are too old for anything but training missions, and 2 Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) class submarines. The Hai Lungs were ordered from the Dutch firm Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM) in 1981, as a derivative of their Zwaardvis (Swordfish) class. A follow-on order for 4 more submarines was blocked by the Dutch government in 1992 thanks to Chinese pressure, and RDM went out of business a few years later.

    Since then, Taiwan has explored a number of alternatives to obtain diesel-electric submarines, without success. They are even reportedly considering building their own boats from foreign designs. Australia’s experience suggests that this course may be fraught with peril, and Taiwan has a number of technology gaps to address: ship design technology, torpedoes, sonar, propulsion systems, combat systems, and submarine periscope lenses. On the other hand, if the alternative is no submarines at all, and submarines are one of your most critical national defense needs, the perils of caution may outweigh the risks of inexperience. Taiwan seems determined to face the peril, and a report is expected by June 2014.

    Land Defense CM11 tank
    (click to view full)

    Land defense improvements currently center on portable missiles, mobility, and massed counterattack against amphibious or paradropped beach-heads. The missiles provide dispersed, hard-to-target defenses against enemy aircraft and armored vehicles. Helicopter mobility allows rapid response to enemy airdrops or pre-positioned guerrilla units. Massed counterattack means the heavy armor of tanks, which remain the most important and element for crushing enemy beach-heads.

    Taiwan’s situation with respect to tanks isn’t very good. The Republic of China Army currently fields about 480 M60A3 tanks acquired in the 1990s, but the M60 first entered US service in 1960, and the A3 version entered US service in the late 1970s. They’re joined by 450 much older CM11s (modified M48H 105mm turrets with improved fire control, mated to M60 hulls), and 300 of the M-48 medium tanks whose base design dates back to the 1950s: 50 M48A3s, and 250 CM12s (modified CM11 turrets mated to M48A3 hulls).

    Contracts & Key Events Patriot Radar
    (click to view full)

    This article focuses on foreign imports, and the vast majority come from the USA. The US DSCA references to “the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States” are diplo-speak for “Taiwan” or “Republic of China”. DID uses the conventional term instead. Note that DSCA requests are not contracts; those are separate announcements, and sometimes years pass between the two events. Having said this, a DSCA request does open the door to contracts as permitted weapons exports through the Foreign Military Sales process, unless Congress moves to block the proposed sale within 30 days.

    Note that upgrades to the ROCAF’s locally-designed and built F-CK-1 fighters are covered in a separate article, as an Indigenous Taiwanese program that sits outside this article’s scope.

    2014 – 2015

    FFG 7

    July 21/15: Lockheed Martin and Alenia Aermacchi have both responded to a Request for Information for Taiwan’s advanced jet trainer, according to Taiwanese media [Chinese]. The US company is expected to offer the T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft, in conjunction with South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), whilst the Italian firm will likely push the M-346 AJT. Taiwan’s defense ministry is expected to make a decision regarding the purchase of new trainers to replace the current fleet of F-5E/F and AT-3 aircraft next year, with the winning aircraft design likely to be assembled in Taiwan by Aerospace Industrial Development Corp.

    Dec 09/14: Frigates. Taiwan has a NT$5.5 billion ($176M) budget approved and ready to acquire 2 Perry-class frigates whose sale is well on its way to finally be approved by the US, after years of stalling (q.v. Sept 10/14). The US Senate approved S. 1683 on December 4, and since a similar bill (HR. 3470) had already been passed by the House in April, a reconciled law should be on the President’s desk soon.

    China is not happy, but they’re making a lot of fuss for 2-4 weaponless ships that the US Navy gave up upgrading and Australia found tough to modernize.

    Sources: Reuters: “Taiwan says to buy two U.S. frigates despite China anger” | Xinhua: “China firmly opposes US arms sale to Taiwan“.

    P-3C arrives

    Nov 3/14: Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX receives a $271.8 million firm-fixed-price modification to install 142 F-16S aircraft upgrade kits. The total cost is, of course, much larger, since the kits must also be bought – which is at least a $1.85 billion proposition (q.v. Oct 1/12). Work will be performed in Taiwan, and is expected to be complete by May 31/22.

    This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The USAF’s Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8615-12-C-6016, PO 0006).

    F-16 upgrade installation

    Oct 29/14: UH-60M. A Taiwanese Army official tells a legislative committee that UH-60Ms will begin to arrive soon, with the first 6 to arrive in mid-December 2014, and the rest of the 60 arriving in 6 more batches into 2018. Of the 60 UH-60Ms, 45 will be used by the Army, and the other 15 will be used for disaster relief by the Ministry of the Interior’s National Airborne Service Corps.

    In other news, the 2 pilots who crashed their AH-64 onto a city roof are “still undergoing a series of flight tests before they can resume training missions.” Could be a while, guys. On the P-3 front, a flight simulation system has recently become operational in Taiwan to help train people for the sea control plane. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan to take delivery of first batch of Black Hawks in December”.

    UH-60 contract schedule

    Oct 28/14: Minehunters. Italy’s Intermarine S.p.A. and Lockheed Martin win a contract to support local construction of 6 mine countermeasures vessels (q.v. Sept 5/12), which will be built at a brand-new Ching Fu Shipbuilding facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The ships are expected to be about 52m long and 700t.

    Intermarine will build the 1st hull at its shipyard near La Spezia, Italy, but Ching Fu will finish it and build the remaining 5 ships. Lockheed Martin’s role is focused on the combat system. Sources: Intermarine SpA, “Mine Countermeasure Vessels” | Defense News, “New Spanish Frigate Detailed, Deal for Taiwan Minesweepers Announced”.

    6 minehunters

    Oct 23/14: Jet Trainers. Defense Minister Yen Ming says that Taiwan wants to buy advanced trainers. Right now, the progression out of basic flight training goes from T-34 turboprops, to the AT-3 jet trainer, to the supersonic F-5E/F as a Lead-In Fighter Trainer. The T-34s will remain for now, but the AT-3s and F-5E/Fs would be retired.

    The announcement comes right after a dual-crash of AT-3 jet trainers during a routine aerobatic training mission in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan. Lt. Col. Chuang Pei-yuan was killed.

    The question is which trainer will be available to Taiwan, given the likelihood of Chinese counter-pressure. The big 4 are Britain’s Hawks, Italy’s M-346 Master, Korea Aerospace/ Lockheed’s supersonic T-50 Golden Eagle family, and Russia’s Yak-130. Beyond, Czech firm Aero is releasing new L-159T and L-169 trainers, which can perform the same air policing and light attack roles as the Hawks, Yaks, and Golden Eagles; and Boeing & Saab are supposedly working on their own jet trainer offering. Since even Boeing & Lockheed have international partners, which of these countries will have the fortitude and willingness to offer them to Taiwan?

    On the other hand, if Taiwan moves some of its indigenous F-CK-1 fighters into the F-5F’s LIFT role, their advanced AT-3 trainer replacement options would expand to include Brazil’s Super Tucano, Swiss Pilatus trainers, and Beechcraft’s T-6 family from the USA. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan set to purchase advanced trainers in 2017: defense minister”.

    Oct 19/14: Submarines. The Taiwanese submarine Hai Hu (Sea Tiger) launches a pair of UGM-84 Harpoon missiles, demonstrating a successful upgrade that vastly increases the submarine’s reach to over 100 nautical miles. Taiwan now employs all 3 types of Harpoon missile, launched from its frigates, F-16s, and submarines. Sources: Agence France Presse, “Taiwan tests submarine-launched missiles: report”.

    Subs: Harpoon capability

    Oct 19/14: AH-64E. Taiwan receives the last 6 helicopters, completing delivery of the 30 it ordered under the TWD 59.31 billion ($1.95 billion) contract. It now has 29 available for service (q.v. April 25/14). Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan takes final delivery of Apache helicopters”.

    A-64Es all delivered

    Oct 14/14: PATRIOT. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $595.5 million foreign military sales contract modification, covering FY 2014 production for Kuwait, Taiwan, Qatar, and the UAE. They’re selling 152 PAC-3 cost reduction initiative missiles, 15 PAC-3 launcher modification kits, and the associated ground equipment, tooling, and initial spares. $543 million is committed immediately.

    The PAC-3 CRI missile was used as the base for the PAC-3 MSE missile, but the MSE missile also added a number of new technologies, and changed the missile’s structure. In contrast, PAC-3 CRI missiles offer PAC-3 performance at a slightly lower cost.

    Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Lufkin, and El Paso, TX; Camden, AR; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL; Huntsville, AL; and Anaheim, CA; and will continue until May 31/16. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-14-C-0034, PO 0008).

    PAC-3 missiles: Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, UAE

    Sept 10/14: Frigates. Taiwan won’t get its 2 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates (q.v. Aug 5/10, April 22/12, Nov 13/13) on schedule, because the US Senate can’t be bothered to authorize the sale. That will keep 2 aging Know Class frigates in continued service until 2016. The Chinese-language United Daily News reported Tuesday that the frigates were expected to be delivered in 2016, under a project budgeted at NTD 5.56 billion ($185.42 million) in total.

    Note that the frigates being decommissioned by the USA had all major weapons removed long ago, making them essentially large Coast Guard cutters with sonar and torpedoes. Source: Taiwan’s Want China Times, “Delivery of US Perry-class frigates to Taiwan could be delayed”.

    Sept 10/14: Submarines. US CNO Admiral Jonathan Greenert confirmed that he had a conversation with Taiwanese officials during a recent visit, covering the sale or provision of submarines to Taiwan. Neither he nor the Taiwanese would talk about the content of that conversation.

    The best case scenario would involve the USA transferring a few key technologies like periscope lenses, torpedoes, and combat systems, albeit at technology levels that don’t surpass what they believe China to have. That way, stolen technologies wouldn’t matter. The worst case scenario is that the issue was discussed, and Greenert explained why no help is likely.

    The event was held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and focused on the US’s Asia Pacific rebalancing strategy. Sources: Taiwan’s Want China Times, “US chief of naval operation discusses sub deal with Taiwan”.

    Sept 2/14: P-3Cs. Weapons for Taiwan’s P-3Cs become an issue:

    “The Chinese-language China Times yesterday cited a recent report by the Control Yuan’s National Audit Office as saying that…. 12 P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft from the US cost US$1.96 billion and are under the operational command of the Air Force 439 Composite Wing unit…. [but] the US disagreed with a plan to have the aircraft carry ordinances, such as mines and depth charges, made by Taiwanese manufacturers.”

    Taiwan’s P-3s can carry Harpoon anti-ship missiles, but they really need modern torpedoes in order to engage enemy submarines successfully. Depth charges can be used against submarines, but their limit of 50m handicaps them. Meanwhile, mines would turn them into a potent blocking force if they can survive long enough over the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has American Mk-46 lightweight torpedoes available for use aboard its destroyers and frigates, but until the P-3s are ready and able to deploy their own torpedoes, CNA News quotes a ROCAF commander who says that submarine contracts from Taiwan’s P-3s would be passed on a nearby ship. If there is one.

    Aug 30/14: Tien Kung. Lin Yu-fang of the parliament’s defense committee says that Taiwan plans to spend TWD 74.8 billion (about $2.5 billion) from 2015 – 2024, buying the locally-made Tien Kung 3 (Sky Bow 3) medium range air defense missile system to replace the aging Hawk batteries, and defend the island against aircraft and cruise missiles.

    That will make the Tien Kung 3 Taiwan’s lower-tier air defense counterpart to its new PATRIOT missiles, but the country denies that the Tien Kung 3 will be used to equip its 10,500t, American-built Kee Lung (Kidd) Class destroyers. Those ships will continue to rely on Raytheon’s SM-2 missiles for protection. Sources: Defense News, “Taiwan to spend $2.5 billion on anti-missile systems” | Taiwan’s Want China Times, “Taiwan denies Tien Kung missiles to be deployed on destroyers”.

    Aug 20/14: AH-64E. Deliveries are a bit delayed. Taiwan is set to take delivery of 6 more AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in late August, which would bring their fleet to 23. This batch was supposed to arrive in May, and the delay is reportedly due to shipping issues. The final batch is now expected in October. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan set to take August delivery of more Apache helicopters”.

    Aug 20/14: F-16S: Lockheed Martin announces a successful Critical Design Review for integration of Northrop Grumman’s SABR radar in an F-16 (q.v. July 31/13). The SABR AESA radar will equip Taiwan’s F-16S upgrade, as well as Lockheed Martin’s global F-16V offering. Lockheed Martin is now describing Taiwan as the F-16V’s launch customer. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “F-16V Completes Major Capability Milestone”.

    Aug 11-12/14: Fighters, incl. F-35B? Taiwan’s MND reaffirms its continued interest in F-16C/D or better fighters, while openly stating their goal to acquire F-35s at some point:

    “Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said Taiwan’s Air Force is ideally looking for aircraft with short-take off and vertical-landing capabilities and acknowledged that “it is our goal to acquire F-35s.” He admitted that it would be nearly impossible to obtain the fighters in the short term, “but we will continue to make effort on this issue.”

    That seems to point clearly to F-35Bs, which make excellent sense when facing an opponent with thousands of runway-damaging ballistic missiles. The MND also denied China Times reports that the Mirage 2000-5 fleet was had maintenance issues because the French weren’t cooperating, leading to cannibalization of existing fighters. The MND said the fighters were being well-maintained by the French – the question is how much credence to give that assertion. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan to seek U.S. sales of more advanced fighter jets: official” and “F-16C/D jet fighters still a consideration: Defense Ministry”.

    July 15/14: Crash investigation. The AH-64E crash (q.v. April 25/14) is ruled as pilot error:

    “The investigation report shows that the primary causes of the accident were the combination factors of human errors and environment,” Maj. Gen. Huang Kuo-ming told reporters.

    The environment refers to fast descending clouds, which disoriented the pilots while they were flying at a low altitude. Still, they should have checked the instruments to maintain adequate height. Taiwan has received 18 of their 30 helicopters, though they only have 17 now. Sources: Defense News, “Pilots Blamed for Taiwan Apache Crash”.

    June 3/14: Submarines. ROC Ministry of National Defense (MND) Navy Command Headquarters has confirmed that Taiwan will try to replace part of the pressure hull on one of its existing Tench/ Guppy-II Class submarines. The boats were modernized to Guppy II standards in 1949, and transferred to Taiwan without torpedo systems in 1973, for use in anti-submarine training. Once in Taiwan, they were renamed SS-791 Hai Shih (ex-Cutlass) and SS-792 Hai Pao (ex-Tusk). Attempts to restore their torpedo firing capability reportedly failed, leaving them as surveillance and training vessels only.

    The first problem is that they’re the world’s oldest serving submarines. While their core diving mechanism is simple and reliable, their continued safety under the compressing water pressure of a dive is a concern. MND has said that China Shipbuilding Corp (CSBC) and the Ship and Ocean Industries Research and Development Center (SOIC) have been appointed to oversee replacement of SS-791 Hai Shih’s lower pressure hull, in an TWD 450 million (about $15 million) program that will take place at a Navy Maintenance Command dry dock. Some old piping may also be replaced.

    SS-791’s problem is the entire pressure hull, and its external hull would still be 70 years old after the replacement. A mistake would kill the boat, and even success may not leave Taiwan with an operational training submarine. But perhaps that isn’t the point. This is a good initial step, if the goal is moving CSBC and SOIC toward the capabilities they need to build a design provided by the USA, or to lead a local project to reverse-engineer and build a new submarine. If an unsafe submarine is sacrificed in the process, that may be seen as an acceptable “last hurrah.” Sources: China Post, “Old Taiwanese submarine to get new pressure hull: MND” | Taipei Times 2007, “Feature: World’s longest-serving sub feted” | San Francisco Maritime National Park Association, “Museum documents an operating US, WW II built submarine in Taiwan”.

    Crash

    April 25/14: Crash. During a training exercise, a Taiwanese AH-64E crash-lands on the roof of a low-rise residential building in Taoyuan county. Guys, that’s not what we were supposed to be training today.

    The Helicopter is a complete wreck, but the pilots suffer only minor injuries, and no residents are hurt. Sources: The Daily Mail, “How did they get out alive? Lucky escape for pilots of Apache attack helicopter after it crashes into a housing block in Taiwan” | South China Morning Post, “Two Taiwan pilots injured as Apache chopper crashes into building”.

    AH-64E crash

    April 10-14/14: Frigates. The US House of Representatives passes HR.3470, a bill authorizing the sale of 4 decommissioned US frigates to Taiwan. It also officially reaffirms US support for the Taiwan Relations Act, which has lately found itself honored mostly in the breach. The bill was passed by voice vote, so there are no exact totals. The next step is consideration by the US Senate, which requires cooperation from Senate Foreign Relations committee chair Bob Menendez [D-NJ].

    Success would bypass the State Department’s DSCA and make the USS Taylor [FFG-50], USS Gary [FFG-51], USS Carr [FFG-52], and USS Elrod [FFG-55] available to Taiwan, though Defense Minister Yen Ming has said that Taiwan would only buy 2. Taiwan would also have to add weapons back if they want anti-aircraft or anti-ship capabilities. The frigates have some residual value as anti-submarine platform without that, but Chinese control of the air and prominent use of missile attack craft would give them very short lifespans unless these capabilities are restored in some way. Taiwan was happy for the gesture, while China followed with predictable staged theatrics. Sources: GovTrack on HR 3470 | The Diplomat, “US House Approves Frigate Sale to Taiwan” | Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan planning to buy two warships from U.S.: defense minister” | Reuters, “China angered by latest U.S. arms sale plan for Taiwan” | Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs [in Chinese].

    April 5/14: F-16. A CNA report says that the ROCAF will begin the process of upgrading its F-16 fleet in the second half of 2016, after the initial jets that are in the USA for compatibility testing etc. are finished. They don’t have an end date for the conversions yet. Sources: Taiwan’s Want China Times, “Taiwan air force to start upgrading F-16s from 2016″.

    April 4/14: Submarines. So, good news?

    “Minister of National Defense Yen Ming told a legislative committee that the United States “is willing to help us build the submarines together.”

    The question is, what does that actually mean? the US hasn’t disavowed helping Taiwan acquire submarines over the past 8 years, they just haven’t done anything. Sources: Kyodo News International, “Washington agrees to help Taiwan build attack submarines”.

    Feb 5/14: P-3s. Despite problems with the flight control systems in some recent deliveries (q.v. Jan 2/14), the ROCAF says that their overall delivery timetable will not be delayed, and could even be ahead of schedule. Sources: FOCUS Taiwan, “U.S. delivery of P-3C aircraft to Taiwan on schedule: military”.

    Jan 27/14: F-16s. There are rumors that the USAF will remove the The Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES) program from the 2015 budget request, in favor of a general F-16 service-life extension program (SLEP). We’ll know more in early March 2014. Taiwan was already complaining about having to pay most of the integration costs for the new configuration, but a USAF pullout would raise prices again. With the economy going soft, that could become a problem.

    One option would be to make a troublesome switch from riding the USAF’s coat-tails and adopt the South Korean model for a BAE-led upgrade, which will integrate a different set of avionics that includes Raytheon’s RACR AESA radar instead of Northrop Grumman’s SABR AESA. Unfortunately, South Korea is still in the study phase, so even the ROKAF couldn’t tell Taiwan what’s involved in a switch. Singapore has also formally requested upgrades to its F-16 fleet, but the RSAF doesn’t seem to have decided on their exact configuration either, and their use of Israeli technology in some areas could be hard to duplicate.

    Unless NGC strongly believes that Singapore will pick their SABR radar over Raytheon’s RACR, they’re the contractor with the most to lose if Taiwan’s upgrade fails. Can they deploy enough lobbying resources to keep CAPES, and hence their confirmed foothold in F-16 radar replacement? Stay tuned. Sources: Defense News, “F-16 Upgrade Dropped From US Budget Proposal, Sources Say”.

    Jan 22/14: AH-64E. The China Post reports:

    “The Army Aviation Special Forces Command yesterday said the grounding of the Apaches is set to be lifted in mid-February following the six-day Chinese New Year holiday that runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, once they replace the main transmission boxes. So far, the command has received several batches of new main transmission boxes and has installed them in half of the 12 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.”

    A subsequent report moves that date back a bit. The groundings will be lifted during the week of Feb 10/14. Sources: Taiwan’s China Post, “Army to lift grounding order on Apache helicopters after CNY” | “Grounding order for Apache helicopters to be lifted next week”.

    Jan 21/14: Size cuts. Taiwan’s Defence Minister Yen Ming (KMT Party) proposes to cut Taiwan’s military by 20%+, from a current size of 215,000 to 170,000 – 190,000. There doesn’t seem to be a firm plan, only vague statements that cuts would take place across all 3 services, “in stages contingent upon the government’s budgets, the acquisition of new weapons and demographic changes.”

    The news report touts it as “the latest sign of warming ties with former rival China”, which would cast this as a foolish move. Before jumping on that, however, we’d refer readers to the demographic reference. There has been a small widening at the very bottom of Taiwan’s population pyramid lately, but the proportion of children aged 0-14 has dropped from a 1990 census of 26.9% to 15.65% in 2010. If you’re trying to recruit a military, that matters. As StrategyPage recently noted:

    “Some Taiwanese politicians, desperate to find volunteers for the military have proposed that the descendants of Chinese soldiers who fled to northern Burma and Thailand after the communists won the Chinese Civil War in 1949, be granted Taiwanese citizenship if they join the Taiwanese Army…. Taiwan, like many other nations during the last two decades, is finding that moving from conscription to an all-volunteer military is not easy. For two years now the military has been only able to recruit 30 percent of the soldiers it needs to be all-volunteer by 2014.”

    This issue isn’t specific to American equipment, of course, but it will affect those buys. Recruitment shortfalls usually indicate that the high-end of the recruiting pool is suffering the most – exactly the people who will be needed to operate and maintain advanced new equipment. Sources: Channel NewsAsia, “Taiwan to slash armed forces by up to 20 percent” | StrategyPage, “Attrition: Taiwan Wants To Recruit From The Lost Army”.

    Jan 2/14: P-3Cs. Taiwan’s 2nd P-3C sea control aircraft arrived on Dec 12/13, but 2 more were still hung up in Guam by a malfunction in the flight control system. P-3C #3 received a fix and arrived on Dec 17/13, but #4 is still waiting in Guam as of this date.

    Why the delay? No P-3C supply facility at the military base in Guam, and U.S. personnel on Christmas vacation. At least Taiwan isn’t paying for the repairs; since that’s true, we can also expect corrective action within the refurbishment process. The rest of the 2013 – 2015 delivery schedule remains intact (q.v. Oct 31/13), but Taiwan’s 40 year old fleet of 11 twin-engine S-2T Trackers won’t formally retire until 2017. Focus Taiwan, “Malfunction delays U.S. delivery of P-3C aircraft to Taiwan”.

    Jan 2/13: AH-64Es. A 2nd batch of 6 attack helicopters arrives, but none of the new helicopters are cleared for flight yet. Taiwan has checked its own AH-64Es and found no obvious problems, but they’re still waiting for the US Army report that will clarify why the US AH-64E’s main transmission failed in December. Training will take place in simulators until then.

    AH-64Es #13-18 will arrive in March 2014, #19-24 will arrive in May 2014, and #25-30 will arrive in July 2014. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan to receive six more Apache choppers Thursday”.

    2013

    Long-range radar ready; National programs to develop a new fighter and a submarine gain traction; The real American problem with submarines for Taiwan. AH-64E
    click for video

    Dec 17/13: AH-64Es. Taiwan’s Army is notified of a main transmission failure in a US Army AH-64E attack helicopter. They respond by grounding all 6 Apache helicopters, pending a full investigation by the U.S. into the cause of the malfunction. Sources: Defense News, “Taiwan Grounds New US-Made Apache Helos Over Malfunction Fears” | Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan to receive six more Apache choppers Thursday”

    AH-64Es grounded

    Dec 17/13: BMD Radar. Raytheon IDS in Sudbury, MA, has been awarded a $6.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursement contract modification to create a testing environment related to the Taiwan Surveillance Radar program. The TSR is a huge, fixed radar installation based on an improved version of the PAVE PAWS system, used to track ballistic missiles thousands of kilometers away. Taiwan reportedly shares its data with the USA.

    The technical term for this contract is “follow-on support string upgrade engineering change proposal.” In English, they’ll create a controlled site-like testing environment in the USA to test modifications, and perform system troubleshooting. You certainly don’t want to use the main radar for that. Work will be performed in Sudbury, MA and is expected to be complete by Nov 8/17. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/HBNA at Hanscom AFB, MA manages the contract (FA8730-13-C-0003, PO 0005). The same contract was also posted on Dec 13/13.

    Dec 9/13: Submarines. Taiwan’s United Daily News reports that defense minister Yen Ming and Navy Command Headquarters chief Adm. Chen Yung-kang are strong supporters of a made-in-Taiwan submarine program. Partisan wrangling over the USA’s request for a NT$ 10 billion “contract design fee” (about $340 million) is generally seen as the key obstacle to progress on the 2001 sale approval, but the report also cites:

    “…the U.S. Navy’s reluctance to build diesel-electric submarines at a U.S. shipyard because it fears that Congress would ask it to buy the conventional submarines to save money if an American shipyard had the capability to build such a ship.”

    Taiwan’s shipbuilding industry association is scheduled to come up with a comprehensive assessment report by June 2014, and the military is reportedly doing its own due diligence in parallel. This won’t be easy. Taiwan would need to update its ship design technology, and would neither either considerable help or external sources for torpedoes, sonar, propulsion systems, combat systems, and submarine periscope lenses. Sources: FOCUS Taiwan, “Talk of the Day — Taiwan thinking of building its own submarines”.

    Nov 13/13: On the list. Submarines remain high on Taiwan’s agenda, but they aren’t the only items. The ROCN will replace 2 of its FF-1052 Knox Class anti-submarine frigates in 2014, using 2 refurbished FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates. The rest may be replaced with local catamaran corvettes that have more of a surface warfare bent. The ROCN also seem to like the new minehunters, as they reportedly want to build some local MCM ships based loosely on their 2 new Ospreys. That’s a smart decision, and feasible for smaller shipyards.

    Taiwan’s Marines reportedly want to buy another 48 AAV-7 amphibious personnel carriers, bringing their total fleet to 102 and allowing them to retire their ancient LVTP-5A1s.

    The Air Force would like precision strike weapons, but if they’re thinking in terms of JDAM-type weapons, that won’t help them get inside Chinese air defenses. They’ll probably need to use their own weapons for that, and JDAMs are approved for export but the Air Force has delayed the purchase until 2014 or later. The ROCAF plans to go outside the USA entirely for its new jet trainer, but replacements for the AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chung have been canceled before. The last AT-3 was delivered in 1990, but South Korea’s T-50 family is reportedly quite tempting. China has been antagonizing South Korea lately, and a TA-50 sale would also provide Taiwan with a local interceptor and light attack jet. Sources: Defense News, “Taiwan Still Hungry for More US Arms”.

    Nov 4/13: AH-64. Taiwan’s first 6 AH-64E attack helicopters have been re-assembled in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Harbor, after arriving by ship. Four were flown to the Aviation and Special Forces Command in Tainan’s Guiren Township for initial flight testing, and the other 2 will arrive as part of the official ceremony on Nov 7/13. The US reportedly asked Taiwan’s military authorities not to reveal the AH-64E’s cockpit layout or configuration in its public display. If only it were that easy (q.v. Oct 28/13).

    The helicopters will become operational in April 2014, with Guiren Air Force Base in Tainan serving as a training and basing focal point. More than 60 Taiwanese pilots and maintenance personnel returned to Taiwan in August 2013, after completed 20 months of training in the USA that will let them act as instructors. Still, there were limits, which echoed circumstances surrounding the delivery of Taiwan’s AH-1W Cobras over a decade ago:

    “While Taiwanese pilots and maintenance personnel managed to get a full understanding of the aircraft software and hardware, the pilots were unable to obtain training in certain special flight skills. The Taiwanese trainees were asked to leave the classroom or training site whenever the American instructors were giving lectures on certain critical courses or special flight maneuvers, the officials said.”

    They’ll have to figure those out on their own. A 2nd batch of Apache helicopters is scheduled for delivery in late December 2013, and 3 more batches of 6 will complete deliveries by the end of 2014. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan takes delivery of first Apache choppers” | Focus Taiwan, “Talk of the Day — AH-64E Apache choppers debut in Taiwan” | Flight International, “Taiwan receives first batch of AH-64E Apaches” | Focus Taiwan, “Apache choppers to bolster Taiwan’s combat capability: expert”.

    AH-64Es arrive

    Oct 31/13: P-3Cs. President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday touted the P-3’s capabilities, during an official ceremony at Pingtung Air Base. The delivery schedule is supposed to fly in planes #2-4 by the end of 2013, planes #5-9 in 2014, and #10-12 in 2015, when the full P-3 squadron will be commissioned. Taiwan’s aged S-2Ts are scheduled to be decommissioned by 2017. Sources: Taipei Times, “President hails P-3C patrol aircraft”.

    Oct 26/13: Espionage. Taiwan’s MND announces that a Major and 12 other officers are under investigation for selling details concerning Taiwan’s upgraded E-2C 2000 (aka. E-2K) AEW&C air surveillance planes. The last 2 planes only arrived in Taiwan on March 8/13.

    E-2Ks aren’t the most modern version, but they are the most widespread type in the US Navy, so compromising their radar system or battle management system is a problem for the US Navy, as well as for Taiwan. National Party Rep. Ting Shou-chung acknowledged to Voice of America that this kind of leak could make the USA more reluctant to share advanced technology with Taiwan, but basically, it’s too late to fix the damage. Poor security has been a problem in Taiwan for some time now (q.v. Additional Readings). Even so, recent years have seen authorization and delivery of the USA’s most modern attack helicopters (AH-64E) and air defense missiles (PATRIOT PAC-3), a large ballistic missile defense radar, and some of America’s most modern AESA fighter radar technology for Taiwan’s F-16s. More significant technologies aren’t likely to be available to Taiwan anyway, the USA can’t take back what’s already given, and it’s more than unlikely that the USA would derail existing contracts. Sources: MND announcement [in Chinese] | Epoch Times, “Taiwanese Major Sells Military Secrets to China”.

    Espionage: Hawkeye 2000 compromised

    Sept 23/13: P-3Cs. Taiwan will be receiving its first P-3Cs at Pingtung AB within the next day or two, depending on Typhoon Usagi’s progress and course. Four of the 12 planes are expected by the end of 2013.

    Subsequent reports indicate that the plane arrived on Sept 25/13. Sources: Taipei Times, “P-3C maritime patrol aircraft to arrive in Taiwan”.

    Aug 8/13: AH-64E. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $92.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, as part of Taiwan’s AH-64E buy and associated support. The Pentagon says that this brings the cumulative total face value of this contract to $716.7 million. The original DSCA request, including 30 helicopters, weapons and 6 years of support, had a maximum of $2.532 billion (q.v. Oct 3/08).

    FY 2009 procurement funds are being used, which was the year Taiwan placed the order. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as Taiwan’s agent (W58RGZ-09-C-0147, PO 0025).

    SABR AESA
    click for video

    July 31/13: F-16s. Raytheon’s RACR AESA may have won the South Korean F-16 upgrade contract, but refits for Taiwan and the US military will use Northrop Grumman’s SABR instead. It will also become the standard radar for Lockheed Martin’s “F-16V” new-build/ upgrade offering, replacing Northrop Grumman’s own APG-80 AESA used in the F-16E/F.

    The Taiwanese deal still needs a firm radar contract, but this is a 10-figure combined opportunity. It’s a huge win for Northrop Grumman, whose AESA radars also equip USAF F-22A (APG-77) and global F-35 family (APG-81) fighters. Northrop Grumman.

    SABR AESA radar picked

    July 28/13: Submarines. US Under Secretary of Defense James Miller responds to Rep. Robert Andrews’ [D-NJ] letter by repeating what we already know. Taiwan’s government approved full funding for an American study re: diesel submarine design and feasibility in 2008, but the State Department and Pentagon still haven’t agreed to conduct one.

    He adds, disingenuously, that “Taiwan has not submitted any requests for technical assistance or export licensing support pertaining to a submarine program.” First, the State Department’s DSCA would have to allow such a request to go forward to the Pentagon. Second, export licensing support and technical assistance would have their parameters defined by a feasibility study. Taipei Times.

    May 14/13: Support. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in Hurst, TX receives a maximum $85.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, foreign military sales (FMS) contract for engineering and technical support services to Iraq and Taiwan. Orders will be placed as required.

    Iraq operates Bell IA-407s, and also has a handful of UH-1N twin-Hueys. Taiwan’s heliborne strike force currently relies on OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scouts and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, and a dwindling stock of aging single-engine UH-1H Hueys remains the backbone of their utility helicopter fleet. It’s reasonable to assume that most of these funds will be spent in Taiwan.

    The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-13-D-0131).

    April 25/13: PATRIOT PAC-3. Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang says that Taiwan has already deployed a PATRIOT PAC-3 battery in the north, which is ahead of the expected 2014 date. He adds that Taiwan will deploy the next 3 PAC-3 batteries in the south. Focus Taiwan.

    April 24/13: AH-64. A $19.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, as part of Taiwan’s order for AH-64E helicopters and related support. The Pentagon says that this order brings the total cumulative face value of this contract to $624.4 million, of the maximum $2.532 billion noted in the October 2008 DSCA request. DID is having a hard time squaring that with known announcements.

    Oddly, the Pentagon’s notice cites FY 2009 procurement contract funds as the source; presumably, they’re referencing Taiwan’s original order funding. The US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W58RGZ-09-C-0147, PO 0022).

    April 9/13: Keep an eye out. It didn’t take long for Taiwan’s long range mountaintop radar in Hsinchu County to come in handy. The Americans have reportedly asked the ROCAF to strengthen radar sweeps toward Northeast Asia for possible missile launches, and relay surveillance information. The Hsinchu radar is in the BMEWS class, with the ability to detect and track ballistic missiles from a range of up to 5,000 km. China Post.

    UH-60M OFT
    (click to view full)

    April 8/13: UH-60M. L-3 Link Simulation & Training announces a contract for 2 Taiwan Army UH-60M Operational Flight Trainers (OFTs). The contract is the result of a letter of agreement between the U.S. and the Taiwan Army, and is the 1st export of their UH-60M OFT. The 1st trainer will be operational at Shinshou Training Facility in Q4 2014, and the 2nd will follow in Q1 2015. A companion contract provides for 1 year of support, with a 1-year extension option. The US Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) will manage the purchase as Taiwan’s agent.

    The OFTs are mostly similar to those used in the US Army’s Flight School XXI program. A 6-degree of freedom electric motion system is coupled with a supplemental motion system that simulates helicopter vibration. High-fidelity software is designed to accurately simulate each platform’s engine, electrical, hydraulic, navigation and communications systems, and even aircraft survivability equipment. It’s even compatible with night vision goggles. The big difference will be a Taiwan geo-database, for faithful reproduction of flights over their home terrain.

    April 5/13: As the US DSCA submits South Korea’s request for stealth-enhanced F-15SE Strike Eagles and F-35A stealth fighters, US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers points to that process as a clear example of the political weakness in Washington. “The threats the [South] Korean air force face are the same as those of Taiwan’s air force,” and the argument that China could easily ground Taiwan’s F-16s by staging a massive missile attack on air bases applies equally to North and South Korea. Taipei Times | Read “Korea’s F-X Multi-Role Fighter Buys: Phases 2 & 3” for full coverage of South Korea’s fighter modernization.

    March 13/13: Beyond F-16s. Citing a newly released quadrennial defense review, Taiwan’s media say that the ROCAF wants to step beyond their upgraded F-CK-1s, and develop a new fighter with features like lower radar cross-section, long-range, and aerial refueling receiver, as well as the ability to launch missiles against land targets or ships.

    Taiwan’s military currently estimates that the fighter and small submarine development programs will cost about NT$500 billion (about $16.9 billion). Which means they’ll be lucky to keep the real total below $20 billion. Senior officials are also careful to add that they haven’t given up on getting more F-16s, which could squeeze development budgets for something new.

    On the other hand, Liberty Times quotes KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang statements that “For our national survival, we need to build up our defense capability under our own steam,” as a result of the USA’s increasing reluctance to assist Taiwan. Focus Taiwan.

    March 13/13: Submarines. Taipei’s MND responds to reports that Taiwan has given up on buying new submarines abroad, by confirming that they’re “reviewing the relevant plans and budgets” for a 4-year local development project that was brought to the TWD 7 billion (about $236 million) National Defence Industrial Development Foundation in late 2012.

    The ROCN actually foresees a budget closer to TWD 10 billion (about $340 million) to fund design, equipment acquisition, building industrial capability, and testing for a 1,000t – 2,000t submarine. Even that figure seems awfully low for a country that hasn’t built submarines before, and probably won’t be able to use an existing design as a base. Asia One.

    March 8/13: E-2 AWACS. The last 2 upgraded Hawkeye 2000s arrive at Kaohsiung International Airport Station in southern Taiwan for follow-up tests and inspections (q.v. Nov 8/11 entry). This completes Taiwan’s E-2T Hawkeye upgrades, and restores its militarily critical AWACS fleet to full strength. Focus Taiwan.

    All E-2 upgrades delivered

    Feb 19/13: P-3s. StandardAero-San Antonio Inc. in San Antonio, TX receives a $10.6 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for the overhaul of 16 T56-A-14 propulsion systems for the Government of Taiwan under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

    That model of the T56 is unique to the P-3 family, and that number of engines would equip 4 refurbished P-3s. Or serve as fleet spares, which is more likely.

    Work will be performed in San Antonio, TX and is expected to be complete in February 2014. All funds are committed immediately, and the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract on behalf of its FMS client (N00019-09-D-0014).

    Feb 8/13: P-3s. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives a $9.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to incorporate engineering change proposals (ECPs) in Taiwan’s 12 P-3 aircraft. Upgrades will improve both Harpoon Block II compatibility, and improved radar and signals emission location.

    Specifically, the ECP implements the Complimentary Navigation Message, which updates RINU-G and Control Display Unit software with a message set that helps the radar/GPS guided Harpoon Block 2 Missile with precision targeting. They’ll also replace the standard AN/ALR-95 Electronic Support Measures system with the more advanced AN/ALR-97. The final modification upgrades technical publications to reflect the “Mode-T” software instead of the “Mode “4” software.

    Work will be performed in Owego, NY (31%); Jacksonville, FL (18%); Van Nuys, CA (16%); Aberdeen, MD (14%); Cedar Rapids, IA (13%); McKinney, TX (3%); Marietta, GA (3%); and Woodland Hills, CA (2%), and is expected to be complete in February 2014. All Foreign Military Sales contract funds are committed immediately, and will be managed by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ on behalf of their ROC client (N00019-09-C-0031).

    Feb 1/13: Long-Range Radar. Agence France Presse reports that Taiwan’s US-made long-range early warning radar is now deployed near the northern county of Hsinchu, on its mountaintop perch. The NT$40.9 billion (about $1.35 billion at 2013 conversions) project loks similar to existing Pave Paws stations, and reportedly has a 5,000 km range. The added warning time for ballistic missile attacks is just minutes, but it matters a bit more when minutes were all you had before. The ability to add a bigger picture view on top of the short range PATRIOT radars is very important for national command and control.

    As a bonus, the radar’s ability to see into Chinese airspace, and even to monitor North Korean launches, makes it an equally valuable asset to the USA. If Taiwan decides to share that data, which is a reasonable assumption, it becomes a more valuable ally. AFP.

    SRP long-range radar deployed

    2012

    F-16 upgrade program begins; A domestic submarine program?; Budget for 4 frigates in 2013?; Stinger missiles; Harpoons prepped. F-16V
    click for video

    Oct 24/12: Planes? No tanks. Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu tells a legislative hearing that the cost of Taiwan’s F-16 upgrades is the reason for delays to tank purchases and self-propelled artillery upgrades. He adds that before requesting the 70-ton M1s, they would have to conduct a compatibility evaluation on the country’s infrastructure, such as roads, highways and bridges.

    It’s certainly possible for large purchases to squeeze out less important items, within a defense budget. Then again, it’s also pretty common for a party that doesn’t really want to implement stronger defenses to use this sort of thing as an excuse to avoid doing what needs to be done. The KMT’s recent record makes it hard to tell which interpretation is the truth. Focus Taiwan.

    Oct 1/12: F-16s. Lockheed Martin announces a contract valued at up to $1.85 billion to begin upgrading 145 ROCAF F-16A/B Block 20 fighters to the “F-16S” (not T?) configuration, including an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, embedded global positioning, electronic warfare upgrades, and other avionics improvements. Note Lockheed’s use of the word “begin”; the complete upgrade is very likely to cost more than $1.85 billion.

    The F-16S upgrades will follow the Sept 21/11 DSCA request, which Lockheed Martin has firmed up into a global offering. The firm’s proposed F-16V was announced at Singapore’s airshow in February 2012.

    Contract: F-16 upgrade

    Sept 5/12: Minehunters. The ROCN plans to spend TWD $35.9 billion ($1.2 billion) to buy 6 domestically built minehunting ships over a 12-year period, but that budget has yet to obtain final legislative approval:

    “Although information on the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) mine warfare capabilities remains sketchy, naval analysts, including James Bussert of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia, believe each of the three PLAN fleets comprises one squadron of mine layers. The US Navy estimates the PLAN uses as many as 30 types of mines (including submarine-launched) and has an inventory of between 50,000 and 100,000…. Taiwan has strategic oil reserves of approximately 1.45 million kiloliters of crude, which would last the nation for about 30 days. Besides disrupting shipments of crude and natural gas, which could bring Taiwan to a standstill, the mining of Taiwanese harbors and waterways would severely undermine the confidence of global cargo fleets and thereby cause serious damage to Taiwan’s economy.”

    The question is whether they will build their own design to accompany the new Osprey Class (q.v. Aug 2-10/12), or a foreign design. Sources: Taipei Times, “Taiwan plans to build six minehunting Navy ships”.

    Aug 28/12: PATRIOT. The Taipei Times reports that new PATRIOT PAC-3 defense sites will begin construction in September 2012 around Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung cities. A private contractor will handle the NT$ 61.4 million (about $2 million) contract, but the move has a significance that’s out of proportion to its size.

    The PAC-3 systems would join Taiwan’s 3 upgraded PAC-2/ Config-3 units, currently deployed around the capital city of Taipei in Wanli, Nangang, and Sindian. The 4 new PAC-3 batteries from the October 2008 notification are reportedly being considered for a number of sites, including Greater Taichung’s Dadu Mountain, Greater Kaohsiung’s Jenwu District, Greater Tainan’s Hutoupi, protection for Taiwan’s E-2 2000 Hawkeye early-warning planes at Pingtung’s airport, and possibly the small airport terminal at Chiayi. About 386 missiles have been ordered so far, and the full PAC-3 systems are scheduled to arrive in 2014-2015. Another 2 PAC-3 batteries would follow under the 2010 DSCA request, as part of a future purchase phase.

    Aug 2-10/12: Minehunters. Taiwan’s 2 Osprey Class minehunting ships arrive after their 2-year refurbishment and training period in the USA, and are inducted into the ROCN in welcoming ceremony at the Zuoying naval base, in the southern port city of Kaohsiung.

    Taiwan’s fleet of minehunters now numbers 10 ships, but these are by far the newest and most capable. Designed in the 1990s instead of the 1950s, Osprey Class ships are equipped with an array of mine-hunting devices including Raytheon AN/SQQ-32 sonar, remotely-operated AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralizing Vehicles (MNV), video sensors, remotely-controlled mine detonators, cable cutters, and a pair of .50 caliber machineguns. The minehunters have a cruising speed of 10 knots, and mission endurance of 15 days. China Post | Taiwan Today | Defense Update.

    2 Minehunters arrive

    Aug 3/12: P-3s. The good news is, a Taiwanese P-3C Orion aircraft recently completed its 1st functional trial flight in late July 2012, and Taiwan should begin receiving its new P-3C sea control aircraft in 2013. The bad news is, the military’s plan to build a hangar at an air base in Pingtung County in southern Taiwan has gone nowhere.

    The ROCAF says that the new planes could be placed in C-130H hangars, but that isn’t a long-term solution. The problem appears to be lack of jurisdictional clarity between the ROCAF and Navy over who will control the planes, and hence who will issue the RFP. Focus Taiwan.

    July 24/12: Tanks. The Taipei Times reports that Taiwan is looking to join countries like Morocco, and try to obtain refurbished M1 Abrams tanks. The tanks used in Iraq and Afghanistan need major maintenance overhauls, and one option for the Army would be to sell the tanks to allies, and let them pay for the RESET costs.

    “Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General David Lo… told local media yesterday that efforts to acquire used battle tanks from the US were currently under evaluation… Deputy Minister of National Defense Chao Shih-chang… [said] the Army was seeking to procure 200 tanks to bolster its forces, adding that the great bulk would be deployed in Hukou Township… [with] the 584th Armored Brigade… Taiwan’s efforts to procure the 70-tonne main battle tank go back to the early 2000s, when it requested M1-A2s from the US, a request that Washington turned down.”

    July 13-22/12: Upgrade MoU signed. Reports indicate that the US and Taiwan have signed the $3.7 billion MoU to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16s, with upgrades occurring at a rate of 24 fighters out of service at a time, beginning in 2016 and continuing to 2028. The actual Letter of Acceptance (contract) is expected to be finalized within a couple of months, but it has a number of reported twists and conditions that are puzzling.

    One of the oddest is that Taiwan will have no say in which radar (Northrop Grumman SABR or Raytheon RACR) is picked in 2013-2014, and then installed. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin’s recent agreement with state-run AIDC appears to have shut BAE out of the picture, without the opportunity to compete or be evaluated.

    Another odds proviso is that Taiwan won’t recover it’s engineering costs to integrate the new AESA radars, if the US Air National Guard adopts the same radar and methods to retrofit its own F-16s. Taiwanese sources told Defense News that the MoU allows “some” reimbursement if other F-16 customers adopt the same retrofit. The most likely near-term customers are Korea and Singapore. AIDC [in Chinese] | Defense News | Defense Update | Reuters India (abridged) | Reuters, via Aviation Week.

    July 11/12: LMCO-AIDC MoU. At the 2012 Farnborough Air Show, Taiwan’s AIDC and Lockheed Martin sign a memorandum of understanding to expand their strategic relationship, and jointly explore opportunities for the Taiwan F-16 A/B Retrofit Program.

    The MOU defines potential collaboration on F-16 retrofit modifications, F-16 component parts manufacture and other potential offset projects. Its practical effect is to shut BAE Systems out of any competition (vid. March 14/12 entry). Lockheed Martin | Reuters.

    F-16 upgrade MoU

    June 25/12: F-16s. Reports from Taiwan indicate that the Ministry of National Defense is giving the USA’s May 2012 draft Letter of Acceptance for F-16 modernization some hard thought, as it screens the items and prices in the USA’s rumored $3.8 billion response. A decision is expected by the end of July.

    The United Evening News reports that the $600 million cost for the AESA radars in particular has created unease among “senior government officials,” who are reportedly asking for other options. There’s certainly precedent for installing previous-generation APG-68v9 radars in early-model F-16s instead, as is being done for Pakistan. It would be a major improvement on Taiwan’s current radars, and equal other F-16C/D Block 52 fleets around the world, but would remain a generation behind AESA performance. Both Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are touting their RACR/SABR next-generation radars as drop-in refits for older F-16s, but Taiwan is being told that additional system engineering work would be required. The Pentagon has reportedly promised to remit some of those custom design costs, if other countries choose to add AESA radar systems to their F-16A/Bs in the future. The China Post | Focus Taiwan | Agence France-Presse.

    May 29/12: AH-64 helicopters. Boeing in Mesa, AZ received a $97.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification “of an existing contract to procure Block III Apache AH-64D attack helicopters in support of Foreign Military Sales.” Which means Taiwan. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 30/17. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-09-C-0147).

    This brings total ROC Apache Block III contracts to $683.8 million so far, of the maximum $2.532 billion noted in the October 2008 DSCA request. This current total includes equipment like fire control radars and air-launched Stinger missiles, which were part of that request.

    May 17/12: Minesweepers. Taiwan’s CNA reports that the former USS Oriole and USS Falcon Osprey Class coastal minehunting ships are scheduled for delivery to Taiwan in July after being refitted and reactivated. They are due to be commissioned into service in October 2012.

    May 17/12: F-16s. The US House of Representatives approves Rep. Kay Granger’s [R-TX-12] amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310), which requires the Obama administration to approve the sale of 66 new F-16s to Taiwan. It’s 1 of 19 amendments that passes on a voice vote, before the House passes HR 4310.

    Granger’s amendment is companion legislation to her House Bill (H.R. 2992) that “Directs the President to carry out the sale of no fewer than 66 F-16C/D multirole fighter aircraft to Taiwan”, and to Sens. Cornyn and Menendez’ Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act of 2011 (S.1539). Unless the Senate also passes a similar amendment to the 2013 budget, however, it won’t matter. Neither HR 2992 nor S 1539 has passed individually, and the final 2013 defense budget needs to pass both the House and the Senate with the same text. The wording is also somewhat questionable, as the President isn’t really the decider, and can always offer the excuse that the State Department never forwarded a request. Which is true – the State Department is blocking that request. Forcing approval of that request, either by State’s DSCA or via legislation removing this request from DSCA’s hands, might have been a better tactic. Rep. Granger | The Hill.

    May 6/12: UH-60Ms. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $43.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for engineering services, to convert 4 more UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters “to the specific unique configuration for Taiwan.” In other words, to finish the 4 helicopters bought on June 30/11. This brings the total cost of those 4 helicopters to $91.8 million, or $23 million per machine so far.

    Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Oct 31/14. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by Taiwan’s FMS agent, the US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    4 UH-60Ms

    May 2/12: Link-16. Data Link Solutions in Cedar Rapids, IA receives a $9.4 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to Taiwan of MIDS-LVT terminals, as a Foreign Military Sale transaction.

    Work will be performed in Wayne, NJ (50%), and Cedar Rapids, IA (50%), and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/14. This contract was competitively procured via FBO.gov and the SPAWAR E-commerce website, with 2 offers received. The competition was real, as Taiwan has shifted its buys back and forth over time. US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, CA manages the contract, on behalf of its FMS client (N00039-10-D-0031).

    April 27/12: F-16s. Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] has lifted his hold on the confirmation of former Obama aide Mark W. Lippert, as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. It comes after Obama’s Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, Robert L. Nabors II, sends a letter that promises to consider sales of new F-16s to Taiwan. Careful reading shows that this is all it promises, and Obama’s former aide will play a large role in any decisions. Unless there’s another reason to believe in a policy about-face, therefore, it’s unreasonable to expect any change, despite this language:

    “We understand your desire to see Taiwan’s air force modernized with the addition of new F-16C/Ds… especially given the pending retirement of F-5s… [The new ASD] would use the position as the U.S. Chair of the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Review Talks and the interagency Monterey Talks to oversee the development of a combined review of Taiwan’s long-term defense strategy and resourcing plan, to include on Taiwan’s air and missile defense needs… We recognize that China has 2,300 operational combat aircraft, while our democratic partner Taiwan has only 490… The Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the inter-agency and the Congress, will play a lead role as the Administration decides on a near-term course of action on how to address Taiwan’s fighter gap, including through the sale to Taiwan of an undetermined number of new U .S.-made fighter aircraft.”

    April 22/12: More frigates? Media reports say that Taiwan may look to increase its fleet of FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates from the current set of 8. The defence ministry has reportedly briefed President Ma Ying-jeou, and is said to be ready to include a budget for 4 more in 2013.

    These frigates are generally sold for very little money, except the cost of refurbishment. Taiwan’s FFG-7 frigates are fully armed, and include the original pop-up launcher for SM-1 air defense and Harpoon ship attack missiles. The US Navy has removed missiles from its own frigates, however, so adding them back would be part of the refurbishment contract, if Taiwan wants that. Bangkok Post. See also Aug 5/10, Jan 10/10.

    March 20/12: Cracked AMRAAMs. The Taipei Times reports that the ROCAF currently has 120 AIM-120C-5 and 218 AIM-120C-7s in inventory, with 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.

    March 14/12: F-16s. Lockheed Martin and BAE are both pushing to perform Taiwan’s F-16 upgrades, as part of a wider competition in this area between the 2 firms. BAE’s recent wins in providing fire-control and advanced ethernet capabilities for 270 US ANG F-16s, and upgrades for some Turkish F-16s, sends notice that Lockheed can expect competition in Taiwan, South Korea (up to $1.6 billion for 134 KF-16s), and Singapore (70 F-16C/Ds).

    Taiwan will be a challenge for BAE, because its armed forces and government have a long-standing relationship with Lockheed Martin that they may be loath to jeopardize. Defense Update.

    March 13/12: Thai Submarines. Thailand has dropped plans to buy 4 second-hand German U206A submarines, and let their option rights expire on Feb 29/12. Reports say that Thai Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat refused to approve the deal, after several reviews of the navy’s submarine purchase plans.

    The tiny 550t submarines are especially well-suited for shallow, constricted waters and near-coast operations. They’re old, but they’d fit Taiwan’s needs extremely well, offering a bridge buy whose layout and plans would also help teach Taiwanese designers. Or, the stealthy, shallow-water U206s may find another global buyer who values their unique specialties, and has a near-term need. Colombia has already bought 2 of the 6 submarines available. Europe Online.

    Feb 27/12: Submarines. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense officially denies a magazine report saying that Taiwan was going to buy Greece’s U214 Papanikolis Class submarines, since Greece couldn’t pay.

    The Hong Kong-based Chinese-language magazine, Asian Week (probably “Yazhou Zhoukan”), added that HDW officials has visited Taiwan in October 2011, and been told that a deal was possible for under $800 million each, plus 10-20 years guaranteed support, and US approval. The report added that HDW had officially informed the US about the proposal. Taipei Times.

    UGM-84 Harpoon
    (click to view full)

    Feb 22/12: Harpoons for subs. Modernizations will allow Taiwan’s navy to arm its 2 submarines with UGM-84 Harpoon missiles, beginning in 2013. The move will greatly increase their submarines’ reach, allowing attacks from up to 70 miles away. That makes it much harder for enemies to protect themselves against a submarine attack, by widening the required search field.

    Taiwan already equips its F-16s and some navy ships with other variants of this missile, but a submarine’s stealth adds a new level of difficulty for Taiwan’s enemies. Local reports indicate that integration will involve the addition of a stand-alone fire-control system for the missiles, to avoid the added time and expense of full integration. It will also require either changes to the torpedo tube mechanisms, or conversion/addition of a dedicated torpedo tube. For tactical reasons, it’s much better to have all torpedo tubes missile-capable, as this allows fast salvos of multiple missiles. Since firing a missile announces the submarine’s presence and location rather loudly, attacks on well-defended naval groups (like, say, an invasion force) will be much more effective as a missile swarm, rather than using the classic kung-fu movie approach where the attackers conveniently fight the defender one at a time. If, indeed, the submarine lives long enough to keep launching more attacks. See also July 29/10 entry. Taipei Times | 9abc | India’s Zee News.

    Sub modernization

    Feb 21/12: Submarines. The Taipei Times reports confirmations from the ROC Navy that it will begin a domestic submarine program in 2013, with “assistance from one or a number of foreign countries”, in order to create a small 1,000t – 1,500t design. The goal is reportedly to deliver a prototype within 3-4 years, and the ROCN would reportedly seek budgets for the program within 2 months.

    Semi-native sub program?

    Feb 13/12: PATRIOT. The USA’s FY 2013 budget documents include information about Taiwan’s PATRIOT PAC-3 missile orders. Looking through past years as well, one sees 386 PAC-3 missiles ordered from FY 2010-2013: 96 in FY 2010, 96 in FY 2011, 154 in FY 2012, and 40 missiles for FY 2013.

    Feb 7/12: Minesweepers. An article about the Iranian mine threat to the Strait of Hormuz notes that the former US Navy Osprey Class minehunting ships Oriole and Falcon have been authorized for sale to Taiwan (vid. Jan 29/10 entry), but are still being refurbished in Texas.

    Jan 5/12: Stingers. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AA receives a $7.8 million firm-fixed-price contract, to buy FIM-92H Block 1 Stinger missiles for Taiwan. The designation FIM-92H refers to FIM-92D missiles, which have been upgraded to the current FIM-92 RMP Block I standard. They can be used with air-to-air launchers on helicopters, or they can equip troops on the ground.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/16. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by Taiwan’s contract agents at US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-C-0520).

    2011

    $5.3b F-16 upgrade program; Taiwan is a security risk for secrets; Political dogfight over F-16s in USA; Taiwan to try building submarines itself?; Major PATRIOT missile buy; AH-64D Block III attack helicopter buys; Upgraded E-2 surveillance planes returning; 1st 4 UH-60M helis ordered; Plans for new torpedoes. ROCAF F-16A Block 20
    fires AGM-65 Maverick
    (click to view larger)

    Dec 30/11: PATRIOT. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Andover, MA receives a $34.3 million firm-fixed-price contract, providing initial funding for 3 Taiwanese Patriot fire units and training equipment. DID is investigating possible connections to the Dec 16/11 announcement.

    Work will be performed in several locations within Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Italy, Greece, and Canada, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2016. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, incl. services as Taiwan’s agent (W31P4Q-12-C-0069).

    Dec 30/11: PATRIOT. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $606 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for FY 2012 PATRIOT requirements – which includes missiles, launchers, and ground support for Taiwan. Within the PATRIOT system, Lockheed Martin produces the PAC-3 missile, the missile canister 4-packs, a fire solution computer, and the Enhanced Launcher Electronics System (ELES).

    Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of July 30/15. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W31P4Q-12-C-0002).

    Dec 30/11: AH-64D. Longbow Limited Liability Corp. in Orlando, FL receives an announced $64.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, but Longbow LLC pegs its actual value at $181 million, with options to extend performance past 2015, to 2017.

    It’s said to include 15 Longbow Block III Fire Control Radar assemblies for Taiwan’s AH-64Ds, marking the Block III version’s 1st export order.

    For the US Army, the order includes 14 Block III Radar Electronics Units, which are smaller then their predecessors, and offer lower weight, maintenance and power requirements. The Army is also buying 14 Unmanned Aerial System Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA) systems and spares, which provide a 2-way, high-bandwidth data link that lets the helicopter crew control nearby UAV flight paths, sensors and lasers at long ranges, while receiving high-quality imagery from the UAVs on the helicopters’ own displays.

    Work will be performed in Orlando, FL, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, including its work as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W58RGZ-10-C-0005). Lockheed Martin | Northrop Grumman.

    Dec 30/11: AH-64D. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ receives a $13.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to fund FIM-92H Block-1 Stinger missiles and their air-to-air launchers for Taiwan. China’s near-certain air superiority in the event of a conflict makes aerial combat weapons for Taiwan’s attack helicopters a smart move. Their maneuverability and near-earth flight profile would make them a very difficult foe for many fast jets.

    Taiwan’s DSCA request was for up to 173 missiles, which will be used on its AH-64 helicopters (q.v. Oct 3/08 entry). A $45.4 million contract has already ordered 171 of the missiles, plus ancillary equipment that included 24 of 35 requested Stinger Captive Flight Trainers with live guidance systems, but no rocket motors (q.v. June 25/09).

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/16. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W31P4Q-09-C-0520).

    Dec 27/11: E-2s. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY receives a $6.9 million delivery order modification exercising an option for sustainment, engineering and technical services, and travel in support of ROCAF E-2Cs.

    Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY (70%), and Pingtung Air Force Base, Taiwan (30%), and is expected to be completed in January 2013. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract on behalf of its FMS client.

    Dec 19/11: E-2s. Taiwan gets 2 of its E-2Ts back as Hawkeye 2000s. The arrival of the 2 planes in Kaohsiung city brings their fleet size back to 4, with 2 more still in the USA for upgrades. Taiwan News.

    Dec 16/11: PATRIOT. Raytheon announces a $685.7 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract from Taiwan for additional PATRIOT fire units, featuring current electronics, an improved man-machine interface, and claims of lower life-cycle costs. The firm adds that this award is in addition to the 2009 contract for new systems, and the 2008 contracts to upgrade Taiwan’s existing systems. Work under this contract will be performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; El Paso, TX; and Huntsville, AL.

    When queried, the firm clarified that this order will be built from the ground up as PATRIOT PAC-3, and that “fire unit” means the complete system, including radars, generators, antenna, ECS command module, and missile launchers. Taiwan is already beginning to build experience with the equipment, as Raytheon recently delivered the first upgraded Configuration-3 radar system, 10 months ahead of the original requested program plan. See also Taipei Times.

    Major PATRIOT contract

    Dec 15/11: Submarines. More reports that Taiwan is moving toward its own submarine program, per the Sept 19/11 entry below. The story adds one expert’s recommendation that the money and time might be spent on fast-attack missile boats like the Chinese Type 022. Which would be a good recommendation, if standard combat scenarios weren’t assuming PLAAF control of the air over the Formosa Straits.

    The Taipei Times also reports that Taiwan turned down a proposed 2003 deal to buy up to 8 Sauro Class boats from Italy as they were decommissioned. The Fincantieri submarines had entered service between 1980 and 1992, which means they would have had limited remaining service life, and Taiwan decided that it was better not to buy them. Unfortunately, no deal for new submarines turned up.

    Dec 7/11: AH-64 helicopters. Boeing in Mesa, AZ received a $141.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for “services in support of 30 Apache AH-64D attack helicopters for Taiwan.” See also the June 10/11 and Oct 8/10 entries for that order.

    Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 30/17. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL, who is acting as Taiwan’s agent (W58RGZ-09-C-0147).

    Dec 7/11: BMD Radar. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Sudbury, MA receives a $42.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract for the Surveillance Radar Program. Specifically, this system includes a UHF phased array radar integrated with Taiwan-furnished Identification Friend-or-Foe beacons; 2 Missile Warning Centers; and communications and interface architecture and protocols to specific nodes within Taiwan’s military communications infrastructure, consistent with US restrictions

    The SRP is a Foreign Military Sales Program managed by the USAF Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, MA, to provide Taiwan with the elements of a missile and air defense capability. Work will be performed in Sudbury, MA, and is expected to be complete by Nov 9/12 (FA8722-05-C-0001, PO 0062).

    Dec 7/11: PATRIOT. Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $12.7 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-reimbursable contract. The award will modify an existing contract for technical services in support of Taiwan’s PATRIOT air defense missile system.

    Work will be performed in El Paso, TX, and Taipei, Taiwan, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/15. by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL, who is acting as Taiwan’s agent (W31P4Q-11-C-0317).

    Nov 8/11: E-2s. Taiwan ships its 3rd and 4th E-2T Hawkeyes to the USA for upgrades to Hawkeye 2000 configuration (vid. Oct 3/08 entry). The move leaves Taiwan without any operational E-2Ts, as the first 2 planes aren’t expected to return from their upgrades until the end of 2011.

    In their absence, the ROCAF does have 2 newer E-2C+ Hawkeye 2000s to rely on, but the move remains a calculated risk. Taiwan News.

    Oct 5/11: PATRIOT. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $20.4 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, to provide PATRIOT technical assistance services to Taiwan. Work will be performed in El Paso, TX; Taipei, Taiwan, and Andover, MA; with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0317).

    Nov 18/11: F-16 dogfight. Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] sends a letter to President Obama, that also clarifies Taiwan’s current position re: the F-16s:

    “Shortly after your Administration announced the F-16 A/B upgrade package, I wrote to President Ma to ask him for clarification on Taiwan’s military requirement for new F-16C/Ds. On Oct. 14, I received an unequivocal response, stating that Taiwan needs both the upgraded F-16A/Bs and the new F-16C/Ds to fulfill its “self-defense needs in qualitative and quantitative terms.” The sale of new F-16C/Ds to Taiwan also has the backing of 47 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and 181 Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives who this past year have sent letters of support to your Administration. In your recent speech to the Australian Parliament, you stated that “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.” I applaud this rhetoric, but it will ring hollow unless it is followed by meaningful action…”

    Nov 14/11: A day after the New York Times publishes an editorial urging President Obama to sell out Taiwan, Rep. Ed Royce [R-CA-40] tells a Formosa Foundation group in Los Angeles that Congress is not contemplating abandonment. That may seem like harsh language, but the New York Times op-ed reads:

    “President Obama… should enter into closed-door negotiations with Chinese leaders to write off the $1.14 trillion of American debt currently held by China in exchange for a deal to end American military assistance and arms sales to Taiwan and terminate the current United States-Taiwan defense arrangement by 2015.”

    “Sell out” is a perfectly appropriate description. New York Times | Taipei Times.

    Pakistani F-16D-52
    (click to view full)

    Sept 21/11: F-16 Block… 59s? The US DSCA issues up to $5.95 billion in ROCAF F-16 related upgrade and support requests, over 3 separate notifications. The procedure for Foreign Military Sale mode requests is that if Congress doesn’t block the sale within 30 days, negotiations and contracts can commence. The US military is technically the buyer and contract manager, but they do so on behalf of their FMS client. The exact DSCA requests include:

    Pilot Training: Many foreign militaries train their combat pilots in the USA, taking advantage of America’s larger swathes of open airspace for training, and of training alongside combat-proven American pilots. Taiwan already trains its F-16 pilots at Luke AFB near Glendale, AZ, and a buy request worth up to $500 million would continue funding this program over the long term.

    The training provides a “capstone” course that takes experienced pilots and significantly improves their tactical proficiency. Funding would cover flight training, supply and maintenance support, spare and repair parts, support equipment, program management, publications, documentation, personnel training and training equipment, fuel and fueling services, and other related program requirements.

    L-3 Communications Corporation in Greenville, TX would be the lead contractor for this service, but there would be about 90 U.S. contractors providing various forms of aircraft maintenance and logistics support at Luke AFB. US DSCA [PDF].

    Spare Parts: This Foreign Military Sales Order II program (FMSO II) request would provide funds for blanket spare parts orders, under the Cooperative Logistics Supply Agreement (CLSSA), to support Taiwan’s F-16A/B Falcon, F-5E/F Tiger II, and F-CK IDF Ching Kuo fighters, and C-130H Hercules transport aircraft. The estimated cost is up to $52 million.

    Procurement of these items will be from many contractors providing similar items to the U.S. forces, and implementation of this sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives. US DSCA [PDF].

    RACR retrofit
    (click to view full)

    F-16 Fleet Retrofit: This request [PDF] would retrofit up to 145 F-16A/B Block 20 fighters. The technologies involved in some aspects of this retrofit are something of a surprise, as they go beyond the new F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft Taiwan was said to be looking for – a type that was recently sold to China’s ally Pakistan. These retrofits are more advanced than that, rising to a technology level that would be ahead of any F-16 the USAF flies, and similar to (but not the same as) the UAE’s unique F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons.

    The estimated cost is up to $5.3 billion. The most advanced gear includes:

    • 176 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars. The only F-16s currently flying with AESA radars are the UAE’s F-16E/Fs, which carry Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-80. Northrop Grumman (SABR) and Raytheon (RACR) are both offering AESA radars that retrofit into the same nose space as the original F-16 radars, while offering 2x-3x performance improvements over even the Block 52’s AN/APG-68v9 radar. Despite their retrofit target market, a sale would hand over some of America’s most advanced fighter radar technologies, derived from platforms like the Navy Super Hornets’ APG-79 (RACR) and the F-35’s APG-81 (SABR).

    • 176 Electronic Warfare Management systems, incl. possible upgrades to 82 ALQ-184 Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) pods to incorporate Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology; and/or 176 of Terma’s AN/ALQ-213 EWMS; or ITT’s new AN/ALQ-211v9 AIDEWS(Airborne Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite) pods with DRFM; or Northrop Grumman’s AN/ALQ-131 pods with DRFM. DFRM is a major step-change in EW effectiveness. It can do more things at once, do them faster, and is easier to modify with new programming. F-16 sales to Pakistan pointedly specified solutions without DFRM.

    • HAVE GLASS II application. This is a special coating that reduces the plane’s radar reflectivity. Recent F-16 sales to Pakistan did not include this technology.

    Other performance improvements would involve:

    • Engineering and design study on replacing existing F100-PW-220 engines with F100-PW-229 IPE engines, designed for longer life and improved performance.

    • 128 Night Vision Goggles

    • 176 Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation Systems

    • Upgrade of 158 BAE APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe Combined Interrogator Transponders. These are the “bird slicers” just ahead of the cockpit.

    To improve the plane’s offensive performance, especially in ground strike mode, Taiwan wants the following ancillary equipment and weapons:

    • 128 of VSI’s Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems. These Helmet Mounted Displays track the pilot’s head movements, and make a huge difference when using “high off boresight” missiles like the AIM-9X, which has a wide sighting cone.

    • 40 Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder short range air-to-air missiles. By comparison, recent F-16 Block 52 sales to Pakistan pointedly specified previous-generation AIM-9M missiles.
    • 56 AIM-9X Captive Air Training Missiles, with no motor or warhead
    • 5 AIM-9X Telemetry kits, with a working motor, but telemetry instead of a warhead
    • 153 LAU-129 Launchers with missile interface, which can fire AIM-9X Sidewinder or medium range AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles

    • 16 GBU-31v1 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) GPS-guidance kits for existing 2,000 pound bombs.
    • 80 GBU-38 JDAM kits for existing 500 pound bombs.

    • 64 CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapons with Wind-Corrected Munition Dispensers (WCMD). These are GPS-guided cluster bombs, whose tuna-can shaped submunitions spin out to hunt and destroy enemy vehicles and tanks over a wide area.

    • 112 Dual Mode/ Global Positioning System Laser-Guided Bombs, either Raytheon’s Enhanced Paveway, or Boeing’s Laser JDAM.
    • 16 x 2,000 pound: GBU-10 Enhanced Paveway II or GBU-56 Laser JDAM
    • 16 x 2,000 pound: GBU-24 Enhanced Paveway IIIs, with longer glide range and “bunker buster” penetrator warheads
    • 80 x 500 pound: GBU-12 Enhanced Paveway II or GBU-54 Laser JDAM

    • 86 tactical data link terminals; especially useful for ground support strikes

    • Upgrade 28 of Lockheed Martin’s electro-optical infrared targeting Sharpshooter pods.

    • Buy another 26 of Lockheed Martin’s AN/AAQ-33 Sniper or Northrop Grumman’s AN/AAQ-28 LITENING targeting & surveillance pods. The most current SE variants of these pods offer major advances in performance; the question is whether Taiwan would get those.

    Also included in the buy request: More 20mm ammunition, alternate mission equipment, update of Modular Mission Computers, new cockpit multifunction displays, communication equipment, Joint Mission Planning Systems, maintenance, construction, repair and return, aircraft tanker support, aircraft ferry services, aircraft and ground support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support.

    F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX would be the prime contractor, but additional contracts could include:

    • BAE Advance Systems Greenland, NY
    • Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in St Louis, MO
    • Goodrich ISR Systems in Danbury, CT
    • ITT Defense Electronics and Services in McLean, VA
    • ITT Integrated Structures in North Amityville, NY
    • ITT Night Vision in Roanoke, VA
    • L3 Communications in Arlington, TX
    • Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, TX
    • Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training, and Support in Fort Worth, TX
    • Marvin Engineering Company in Inglewood, CA
    • Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX
    • Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD
    • Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT
    • Raytheon Company in Goleta, CA
    • Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, CA
    • Raytheon Missile System in Tucson, AZ
    • Symetrics Industries in Melbourne, FL
    • Terma in Denmark

    Taiwanese sources state that these buys would be paid for over a period of 10-12 years, once contracts are negotiated. Implementation of this sale will require at least 5 contractor representatives for engineering and technical support, over the first 2 years of the program. Another 2 trips per year will be required for U.S. Government personnel and contractor representatives for the duration of the program, for program and technical support. See also: Focus Taiwan | Bloomberg | Reuters.

    Sept 21/11: Reactions Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] is among those who remain unimpressed by the upgrade offer. He has added a Senate rider that incorporates the language of his “Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act” (vid. Sept 12/11), as an amendment to H.R. 2832, the House Trade Adjustment Assistance bill that’s now making its way through Senate concurrence. The core of his disagreement is that upgrades don’t meet Taiwan’s request, and confirm Chinese influence on weapon sales that violates of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. This also seems to be the widespread perception in Taiwan, though the KMT is defending the deal as expected.

    Upgrades also won’t keep the F-16 production line rolling in Cornyn’s state past mid-2013, whereas a 66-plane order would add several years of continuation for about 2,000 jobs.

    Cornyn’s amendment fails in the Senate. On the other hand, Rep. Kay Granger, [R-TX-12, which is Fort Worth] has introduced an S.1539 companion bill in the Republican-controlled House. If it passes there, it could find itself back in the Senate as a stand-alone bill. See also Focus Taiwan re: Taiwanese politics | Sen. Cornyn statement | Rep. Granger statement | Rep. Duncan Hunter [R-CA] op-ed | US-Taiwan Business Council [PDF] | Associated Press | Breitbart Big Peace op-ed re: security issues | Houston Chronicle | Miami Herald | Fort Worth Telegram Sky Talk re: House bill | WSJ Washington Wire || Special addition: FP magazine offers Taiwanese YouTube editorial animation videos.

    DSCA: F-16 upgrade request

    GR9 in Afghanistan w.
    Sniper, Paveways
    (click to view full)

    Sept 19/11: Fighter Plan B – Go VTOL/STOVL! The Washington Times reports that a U.S. Defense Department study has concluded Taiwan’s best response to the threat of massive Chinese missile strikes against its airfields, is by buying short-takeoff and vertical-landing jets such as the V/STOL(Vertical/ Short Take Off and Landing) AV-8B Harrier II, or the new F-35B Lightning II STOVL(Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing capability) model. Read “Plan B: A V/STOVL Fighter for Taiwan?” for the full analysis and report.

    Sept 19/11: Submarines. Focus Taiwan reports that Taiwan is considering building its own diesel-electric attack submarines:

    “The military has commissioned a local shipbuilder to contact a non-U.S. country capable of building submarines for cooperation in building conventional submarines… sources said the Naval Shipbuilding Development Center has been very busy studying the blueprint of the country’s two… submarines… Moreover, naval authorities are preparing to send personnel abroad to study production technology or negotiate technology transfers for building pressure-resistant hulls, the most difficult part in submarine production, the sources said. Initially, the military may start from building small submarines weighing in the hundreds of deadweight tonnages.”

    Maybe they can get a real deal from Germany for its 500t U-206As?

    Sept 14/11: F-16 dogfight. Foreign Policy magazine reports that Sen. John Cornyn will not stall Senate confirmation of Ashton Carter as the Deputy Secretary of Defense. That kerfuffle had nothing to do with the Taiwanese sale; instead it involves assurances of Carter’s full support for the F-35 program, which faces strong budget pressures, and is assembled in Fort worth, TX.

    Sept 12/11: F-16 dogfight. Amid rumors that the Obama administration will refuse Taiwan’s F-16 request, Sens. John Cornyn [R-TX] and Robert Menendez [D-NJ], introduce S.1539, The Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act of 2011. It would remove the decision from the administration’s hands, and force the USA to approve the sale of 66 new F-16s to Taiwan. This would not force a sale itself, of course, since Taiwan must choose to buy. But it would remove all approval road blocks.

    The bill’s co-sponsors include Sens. Richard Blumenthal [D-CT] and Joe Lieberman [I-CT], Sens. Tom Coburn and James Inhofe [both R-OK], and Jon Kyl [R-AZ]. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, who must then approve it for submission to the Senate. GovTrack for S.1539 | Bloomberg | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Texas Insider.

    Aug 30/11: Security Sieve. The Wall St. Journal publishes Taiwan is Losing the Spying Game, by Taipei Times deputy news chief and Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent J. Michael Cole. Key excerpt:

    “…another factor may be at work: the penetration of almost every sector of Taiwanese society by Chinese intelligence. For the U.S. government and defense manufacturers, any arms sale to Taiwan carries the risk that sensitive military technology will end up in Beijing… Anyone who has followed developments in Taiwan over the years knows how deeply Chinese forces have infiltrated Taiwan’s military, especially its senior officers… Taiwan’s reputation has not been helped by a string of embarrassing cases involving members of the armed forces or civilians who spied for China… Even more damaging are the instances when culprits got away with a light sentence… Whether warranted or not, Taiwan is increasingly perceived as leaking secrets like a sieve.”

    Taiwanese leaks

    August 17/11: F-16 dogfight. According to the Taipei Times, President Ma Ying-jeou said the island was still seeking to acquire F-16C/Ds while the Ministry of National Defense denied having been notified by Washington officials of a refusal to proceed with the sale. The US State Department is saying no decision has been made yet. Vice President Joe Biden was in China until yesterday but this issue was not on the agenda, according to the Washington Times.

    August 14/11: F-16 dogfight. No sale? That’s what Republic of China MND officials say that a US DoD delegation told them at the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition. This would confirm reports from June 2011, though the decision remains to be officially confirmed by US sources – something expected to happen by October 1st. In an interview with Defense News, deputy defense minister Andrew Yang said just last week:

    “If we don’t get the F-16C/Ds to replace our vintage fighters, then we lose our leverage and immediately face the challenge of fulfilling our responsibility of preserving peace and stability in the region. [..] Otherwise, the U.S. has to send its own military to replace our daily patrols in the region.”

    Instead, retrofits on older F-16A/Bs are being offered, reportedly including ASEA radars, targeting pods and other upgrades. After all, even the USAF is considering upgrading its F-16 fleet to guarantee a smooth bridge until it has enough F-35s. Whether all, or only some, of the 146 jets would be upgraded appears to still be up in the air. AviationWeek | DefenseNews | Taipei Times.

    July 14/11: F-16 dogfight. The US State Department is trying to convince Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] to lift his hold on the nomination of Bill Burns as deputy secretary of state. Cornyn is demanding that the administration (and the State Department, who handles formal sales requests) clarify its policy on Taiwan arms sales first. Foreign Policy magazine.

    June 30/11: UH-60s. A $48.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 4 “green” (basic) Black Hawk helicopters and government-furnished equipment to contractor-furnished equipment in support of Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan. Work will be performed in Startford, CT, with an estimated completion date of May 30/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

    A series of queries that ended up with the US Army have confirmed that these are UH-60Ms, and are just the basic airframes plus installation. That still leaves key items like engines (which will be installed, but are bought separately), defensive systems, training, and spares to be handled by other contracts, and leaves the prospect of modifications by the receiving country for that country to address. This is also the pattern used by Sweden’s recent CSAR/MEDEVAC buy. Note that there is a larger Taiwanese UH-60M request outstanding (vid. Jan 29/10 entry).

    June 27/11: F-16 dogfight. Defense News reports that Taiwan’s June 24 petition to submit a letter of request (LoR) for new F-16 fighter jets was blocked by the U.S. State Department, under orders from the U.S. National Security Council.

    Current US laws require Taiwan’s defense needs to be the sole criterion for judging military sales requests. This request could be worth more than $8.5 billion, and would extend the F-16 production line for several more years beyond its current planned closure, in 2013.

    June 14/11: The Taipei Times reports that:

    “A senior military official who requested anonymity said the Ministry of National Defense had been forced to return NT$1 billion (US$34 million) allotted for military equipment purchases to the national treasury because Washington was stalling on a decision to sell the submarine plans and F-16C/D aircraft long requested by Taipei… starting next year, it would only allocate the “lowest operational necessity” costs for the potential purchase of the submarine plans and F-16C/Ds, the official said, adding that the funding would very likely be lowered to about US$10 million and become symbolic funding rather than actual funding. This does not mean that the Republic of China government has grown pessimistic about or is no longer interested in acquiring the F-16C/Ds and submarine plans from the US, the official said…”

    June 10/11: AH-64s? Reports surface that Taiwan has signed a contract for 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow Block III attack helicopters under its Sky Eagle program, making it the type’s 1st export customer.

    Per earlier contracts & requests, Taiwanese AH-64s will include Hellfire Longbow fire-and-forget light strike missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles among its weapon options. In exercises, helicopters have proven to be very challenging opponents for fixed-wing aircraft, and the growing aerial imbalance over the China Strait makes some form of aerial engagement capability a necessity for any Taiwanese attack helicopter. The Dec 3/08 DSCA entry set a maximum estimated price of $2.532 billion for 30 helicopters, all associated equipment and initial support, and requested stocks of Stinger and Hellfire Longbow missiles.

    US Army AH-64 project manager Col. Shane Openshaw is quoted as the source for the news, and says that Taiwan’s helicopters will be delivered from 2012-2013. The contract signing is consistent with April 2011 reports, and this will be treated as the full contract signing – but see also April 12/11, Oct 8/10, July 26/10, April 12/10, June 25/09, and Oct 3/08 entries, plus Flight International | Rotorhub | Asian Skies blog.

    AH-64E attack helicopter order

    May 26/11: F-16s 45 American Senators (out of 100) write to President Obama, supporting Taiwan’s request to buy 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters, in order to help keep pace with China’s buildup. Its authors include Senate Taiwan Caucus heads Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and James Inhofe (R-OK), as well as Senate China Working Group leaders Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Expressed concerns include both the imbalance created by China’s buildup of advanced fighters, and the economic benefits of the F-16 production line. The President is expected to ignore the letter, however, and the US State Department continues to stall the necessary approvals for the request to go forward. Full text [PDF] | Foreign Policy magazine | Flight International.

    May 24/11: Harpoons for subs. US FBO.gov discusses the ongoing effort to arm Taiwan’s 2 submarines with Harpoon missiles:

    “The Naval Air Systems Command, Precision Strike Weapons – PMA-201, intends to award a sole source contract to The Boeing Company, St. Louis, MO, for the acquisition of Encapsulated (ENCAP) Harpoon Certification Training Vehicle (EHCTV) Servicing Site and Weapons Station (WS) Support Equipment (SE) in support of the Taiwan Navy ENCAP Harpoon program. It is anticipated that a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) delivery order against Blanket Ordering Agreement N00019-11-G-0001 will be issued. This acquisition is being pursued on a sole source basis under the statutory 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), as implemented by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 6.302-1, only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. It is anticipated that a Firm-Fixed Price type contract will be issued. THIS NOTICE IS NOT A REQUEST FOR COMPETITIVE PROPOSALS.”

    May 23/11: Submarines. Taiwan’s government denies that it has backed off of its program to buy 8 diesel-electric submarines, amidst reports that the program has been scaled down to 4 boats. The USA agreed to the 8-boat sale in 2001.

    Nevertheless, the main problem remains, no matter how many are ordered. Despite policy papers from think-tanks like the neo-conservative AEI, The USA doesn’t produce diesel-electric submarines, and the countries who do make them have been too intimidated by Chinese threats of trade retaliation to supply them. Asia Times believes the rumors may be a political ploy by the Ma KMT government, which sees its support slipping before the 2012 elections and knows that defense is a weak issue. Floating the rumor and then responding looks like action, though it changes nothing. Iran’s Press TV | Asia Times.

    May 16/11: Torpedoes. Taiwan’s military reportedly plans to budget $860 million to purchase new Mk54 and Mk48 torpedoes over the a 10-year period.

    $300 million will reportedly be used to buy 600 Mk54 lightweight torpedoes, replacing existing Mk46s. They’re designed to launch for ships, and from aircraft like Taiwan’s incoming P-3C Orion sea control planes.

    Another $160 million will be spent on the purchase of 40 Mk48s, replacing the existing German-made SUT heavyweight torpedoes Taiwan acquired with its 2 Hai Lung II (Zvaardis) Class subs built by the Netherlands. Another $400 million would cover 100 Mk48s, if Taiwan finds a way to source and purchase the 8 diesel-electric submarines it wants. See also July 20/10 entry, Focus Taiwan.

    May 10/11: Defense committee member Rep. Lin Yu-fang [Nationalist Party] is quoted as saying that Taiwan intends to push back the due date for buying Patriot missiles from 2014 to 2017, and postpone buying Black Hawk helicopters from 2016 to 2019-2020. He says that those monies will be spent instead on the transition and recruitment costs associated with scrapping conscription, and fielding an all-volunteer force by 2015.

    Defense Ministry spokesman Luo Shou-he cited the reason as production delays by U.S. defense contractors, but the contractors don’t seem to think so. Agence France Presse, via My Sinchew | AP, via Washington Post.

    April 12/11: Defense News reports that representatives from the U.S. government and Boeing will arrive in Taipei in May 2011, to wrap up the AH-64 Block III Foreign Military Sale deal. Author Wendell Minnick.

    March 23/11: P-3 MPA. CAE announces a series of military contracts in more than 10 countries valued at approximately C$ 100 million, including a contract to build P-3C training devices for the Taiwan Navy. They’ll design and manufacture a P-3C Level D operational flight trainer (OFT) as well as a P-3C operational tactics trainer (OTT) for the P-3’s sensor operators. Both training devices will be delivered to Taiwan in 2014.

    Feb 17/11: AMRAAM missiles. 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.

    Jan 6/11: P-3C. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors Tactical Systems in Eagan, MN receives a $47.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the initial outfitting of 12 Taiwanese P-3Cs with new avionics components.

    Work will be performed in Eagan, MN, and is expected to be complete in December 2012. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract, on behalf of its foreign Military Sales customer (N00019-09-C-0031).

    2010

    USA’s non-public Direct Commercial Sales process now open to Taiwan; Major $6+ billion FMS request for 60 helicopters, 2 minehunting ships, sub-launched missiles & PATRIOT air defense upgrades; AH-64 helicopter buy; Sub-launched Harpoon missile buy; ATACMS ballistic missile buy; Up to 20 “Search & Rescue” helis; E-2C early-warning aircraft upgrades; We could use some new tanks; Military balance keeps tilting against Taiwan. ATACMS from M270

    Dec 30/10: E-2C. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY receives a $6.6 million delivery order modification, exercising an option for engineering, technical and sustaining services in support of Taiwan Air Force E-2C aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales program.

    Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY (75%), and at the Pingtung Air Force Base, Taiwan (25%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract on behalf of its Foreign Military Sale customer (N00421-05-G-0001).

    Dec 26/10: P-3C. The China times in Taipei reports that Taiwan will receive its first P-3C Orion sea control aircraft in 2011. They end up being about 2 years ahead of themselves. Agence France Presse.

    Dec 23/10: E-2 Hawkeyes. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY receives an $11.9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to convert 2 E-2T aircraft into E-2C Hawkeye 2000 aircraft. These efforts will also support the transition to an anticipated performance based spares & maintenance solution for the aircraft.

    Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY, and is expected to be complete in September 2012. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract on Taiwan’s behalf (N00019-10-G-0004).

    Dec 23/10: Missiles. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $916.2 million firm-fixed-price contract, with some cost-plus-fixed-fee contract line item numbers. They’ll provide 226 ATACMS missiles; 24 launcher modification kits; ground support equipment; contractor field support; and initial spares in Foreign Military Sales to United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan.

    This order is probably deliberately ambiguous. ATACMS missiles are used with tracked M270 MLRS (2 pods) and FMTV medium truck-mounted M142 HIMARS (one pod) systems, with the ATACMS missile replacing all 6 of a pod’s 227mm rockets. In exchange, it offers a GPS-guided strike range of around 150 miles – which could technically cross the Taiwan Strait at its narrowest points, but in practice would be limited to the very useful ability to hit any target in Taiwan from a central firing location.

    Taiwan doesn’t operate the HIMARS systems the UAE has purchased, or the MLRS. On the other hand, its 57 Thunderbolt 2000 systems mounted on HEMTT heavy trucks do carry rocket pod options that include 2 sets of 6 227mm rockets each, which indicates potential ATACMS compatibility. The UAE’s latest DSCA request included 100 ATACMS missiles and 60 training rockets, but a 2006 request could cover another 200 missiles. This leaves Taiwan’s actual ATACMS order ambiguous, pending more direct clarification.

    Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Lufkin, TX; Ocala, FL; Camden, AR; and Chelmsford, MA, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/13. One bid was solicited with one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-11-C-0001).

    DSCA: ATACMS missiles

    Oct 8/10: AH-64 order. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $141.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for 31 AH-64D Apache helicopters and 2 fixed-site Longbow crew trainers, matching “the Taiwan AH-64D aircraft configuration.” Work is to be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of July 30/15. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the US Army’s AMCOM Contracting Center at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-09-G-0147).

    This is just the initial contract. The amount is enough to get work started, but won’t even come close to paying for 31 helicopters. See April 12/10, and also Oct 3/08, which identified the helicopters as AH-64D Block IIIs. Past experience, and the specifics of this Pentagon announcement, strongly imply that Taiwan’s AH-64D Block IIIs may not be the same as other nations who order the type.

    Sept 13/10: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas & Grand Prairie, TX received a $7.8 million firm-fixed-fee and cost-plus-fixed fee contract for PAC-3 FY 2010 subset efforts to include the following: United States enhanced launcher electronics system kit cables; Taiwan control interface circuit card assembly redesign; Taiwan power and control circuit card assembly redesign; Taiwan missile test set; Taiwan portable four-pack test set; Taiwan seeker digital processor parts; United Arab Emirates (UAE) portable 4-pack test set; UAE guidance processor unit redesign – tooling and test equipment.

    The estimated completion date is Oct 31/12, with work to be performed at Dallas, TX (95.74%), Camden, AZ (0.25%), and Ocala, FL (4.01%). One bid was solicited and one bid received (W31P4Q-10-C-0002).

    Sept 6/10: BMD progress. Taiwan expects its initial missile defence shield to be ready in 2011, including 6 batteries of Patriot PAC-3 missiles, a “long-range early warning radar system,” and an integrated command and control system that also incorporates its own “Tien Kung” missiles. The China Times places the overall cost at about T$ 300 billion (currently about $9.39 billion), with about T$ 150 billion going toward the Patriot systems and T$ 40 billion to the long-range radar. Agence France Presse.

    Aug 12/10: DCS OKed. The U.S. Department of State confirms that it will allow U.S. companies to make a number of defense sales to Taiwan as Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), instead of as Foreign Military Sale (FMS) packages. Items expected under $100 million or so in expected DCS deals include support for Taiwan’s air defense radar system, and an improved radar for its F-CK Ching-kuo fighters.

    For Taiwan, DCS sales have 2 big advantages over FMS transactions. One is that they don’t have to pay middleman fees to the US military units who must oversee and manage the entire process. If the item in question can be competitively sourced and is well-understood, that can lower costs. The other, bigger advantage is that they don’t require the same level of public notification and political approval, which gives them a lower political profile. See the “Additional Readings” section below, for more on the differences between DCS and FMS sales. Taiwan’s CNA | CNA follow-up.

    FMS, or DCS

    Aug 5/10: Frigates. Reports surface that America will sell Taiwan 2 more refurbished FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Class Perry frigates for $40 million. On the other hand, “The Ministry of National Defense declined to comment on the report and a spokeswoman at the American Institute in Taiwan said she was not aware of it.”

    The ROC Navy already operates 8 similar FFG-7 derivative Cheng Kung Class frigates, alongside its 6 high end Kang Ding Class Lafayette derivatives. AFP via Taipei Times | Pakistan’s The News International

    July 29/10: Harpoon order. A $66 million firm-fixed-price contract for:

    • 32 Lot 85 Harpoon missile bodies (HMB) for the government of Taiwan
    • 4 Harpoon canister grade “B” missiles for the government of Canada
    • Associated spares and support.
    • Harpoon missile spares for the governments of Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Japan, the United Kingdom, Israel, Pakistan, Turkey and Singapore, to include containers;
    • Plus Block II guidance section upgrade kits; wire bundle assemblies; and guidance control units.

    • GM-84 Harpoon missile body consists of the Guidance Section, Warhead Section, Sustainer (propulsion) Section, and the Control Section. The Harpoon missile body, along with an appropriate air, canister (ship) or other launch kit (to include wings, fins, booster if applicable for UGM-84s), makes up a Harpoon AUR. This contract combines purchases for the governments of Taiwan ($43.8M; 66.4%), Canada ($10.1M; 15.3%), Portugal ($7.6M; 11.5%), the Netherlands ($3.2M; 4.8%), Japan ($514,864; 0.8%), the United Kingdom ($263,986; 0.4%), Israel ($194,635; 0.3%), Pakistan ($169,360; 0.3%), Turkey ($31,643; 0.1%), and Singapore ($2,584; 0.1%) under the Foreign Military Sales program.

    Work will be performed in St. Charles, MO (55.3%); McKinney, TX (10.7%); Toledo, OH (6.2%); Huntsville, AL (4.5%); Lititz, PA (3.7%); Middletown, CT (2.7%); Grove, OK (2.3%); Galena, KS (1.6%); Minneapolis, MN (1.5%); Motherwell, UK (1.2%); Elkton, MD (1.1%); Kirkwood, MO (1%); Anniston, AL (0.8%); Clearwater, FL (0.7%); McAlester, OK (0.6%); Melbourne, FL (0.6%); and various locations in and outside the contiguous U.S. (5.5%). Work is expected to be complete in June 2011. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-10-C-0053).

    Harpoon missiles

    July 26/10: Hellfire missiles. The Longbow, LLC joint venture in Orlando, FL received a $39.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for engineering services supporting the Hellfire and Hellfire Longbow missiles. Work is to be performed in Orlando, FL (50%); Baltimore, MD (25%); United Arab Emirates (10%); and Taiwan (15%), and will run to Sept 30/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, AMSAM-AC-TM-H in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-10-C-0256).

    The Hellfire Longbow missile is a fire-and-forget version of the Hellfire anti-armor missile. Unlike the semi-active laser guided Hellfires, Hellfire Longbow missiles rely on millimeter-wave guidance, and work in conjunction with the mushroom-shaped Longbow radar mast that’s mounted on top of the AH-64D attack helicopter’s rotor. Taiwan became a Hellfire missile customer in 2005, but doesn’t operate the Longbow variant yet.

    July 20/10: Radars. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Sudbury, MA receives a $29.2 million contract modification for the surveillance radar program, which aims to provide Taiwan with elements of its missile and air defense system. This is a foreign military sales program managed by the 850th ELSG/PK at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA, and $8,324,987 has been committed (FA8722-05-C-0001, P00073).

    July 20/10: Taiwan’s Liberty Times reports that Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou ordered the country’s defense ministry to draft a draw up a shopping list of weapons Taiwan needs. It reportedly includes MK-54 lightweight torpedoes to replace aging Mk-46s, “dozens” of M1A2 tanks, and amphibious landing vehicles. Taiwan’s current tank corps is headlined by a set of about 480 M60A3 Patton tanks, which are 1960s-1970s technology, and a larger set of M48 variants, whose design dates from the early 1950s. UPI.

    July 19/10: Tilting balance. A report sponsored by Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, and published in Taiwan’s naval studies journal, estimates that China will increase the number of short- and medium-range missiles pointed at the island to 1,960 by the end of 2010. That would rise from the last current count of 1,300-1,400. The report estimates that these missiles would have the ability to destroy 90% of Taiwan’s infrastructure. AP | Reuters | RTT News | Taiwan News.

    This day also marks the start of an annual computerized wargame by Taiwan’s military, simulating an invasion by China. During the 5-day drill, Chinese forces attack from Guangzhou and Nanjing, while Taiwanese forces test counter-attack strategies. eTaiwan News | Agence France Presse.

    June 23/10: E-2s. Taiwan News reports that upgrades are beginning for Taiwan’s E-2T fleet of early warning aircraft. The ROCAF retains 2 E-2Ts and 2 newer E-2C+ Hawkeye 2000s, but it sent 2 “folded and wrapped” E-2Ts by truck from Kaohsiung’s Hsiaokang Airport to the city’s port under heavy escort, for loading onto a Taiwanese freighter and shipment to the USA.

    Upgrades are being done in batches of 2, and are expected to finish up in 2012, at a total cost of NT$ 5.6 billion (currently about $175 million). See also July 21/09, Oct 3/08.

    E-2 upgrades

    June 1/10: Patriot. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA receives a $21.3 million firm-fixed-price contract, covering spares for Taiwan’s PATRIOT Config-3 upgrade, and for Kuwait’s Patriot radar upgrade.

    Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of June 30/13. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0002).

    April 30/10: Patriot. BAE Systems in Sealy, TX received a $5.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 8 of its M1086A1P2 and 9 of its M1A096A1P2 Patriot vehicles with Patriot kits installed for the country of Taiwan, as well as 7 M1088A1P2 FMTV tractor-trucks, for a total of 24 vehicles purchased with this modification. Work is to be performed in Sealy, TX, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/10. One bid was solicited with one bid received by the TACOM Contracting Center in Warren, MI (W56HZV-08-C-0460).

    Taiwan appears to have chosen FMTV medium trucks, as opposed to the Oshkosh HEMTT heavy trucks used by the US Army. While Oshkosh will own the next FMTV medium truck contract as well, BAE Systems retains the rights to key variants, and are currently the only production source for FMTV vehicles.

    Chinese Type 022
    (click to view full)

    April 12/10: Corvette. Taiwan unveils a proposed design for a 1,000 tonne “carrier killer corvette,” as some media sources describe it. The catamaran design looks a lot like China’s current Type 022 catamarans, but would be armed with Taiwanese Hsiungfeng III ship-to-ship missiles. At this point, the project itself is not a firm decision, and could be built locally (most likely) or become a foreign tender.

    While fast attack craft with advanced ship-killing missiles are always dangerous to carriers, they are also very dangerous to amphibious assault groups in an invasion scenario. Other potential uses could include coastal patrol, and even acting as a naval “cavalry screen” against China’s Type 022s, in order to buy space for American naval forces. See: Naval OSINT (with picture) | Defense News | Manichi Daily News, Japan | Singapore Straits-Times | UPI.

    April 12/10: AH-64s. Defense News reports that a contract for 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters is expected to be signed in May 2010, for arrival in Taiwan between the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. Focus Taiwan.

    March 16/10: Tilting Balance. The U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission holds a public hearing on “Taiwan-China: Recent Economic, Political, and Military Developments across the Strait, and Implications for the United States.” Much of the debate surrounds Taiwan’s remaining request for F-16s, either implicitly or explicitly. Mark Stokes, of Project 2049, lays out a framework for thinking about these issues in his testimony:

    “Aerospace power will become an increasingly powerful instrument of PRC coercion… Aerospace power likely will dominate any conflict in the Taiwan Strait and could shape its ultimate outcome… The cross-Strait security situation often is viewed within the context of a military balance. However, PLA capabilities should be judged against specific political objectives in a given scenario and assessed in light of Taiwan’s vulnerabilities, as well as assumptions upon which U.S. decisions… are made… An amphibious invasion is the least likely yet most dangerous scenario… Coercive strategies could include a demonstrations of force as seen in the 1995/1996 missile exercises, 1999 flights in the Taiwan, or in the future a blockade intended to pressure decision makers in Taiwan to assent to Chinese demands, strategic paralysis involving attacks against the islands critical infrastructure, limited missile strikes, flights around the island, just to name a few.

    A coercive campaign could be geared toward inflicting sufficient pain or instilling fear in order to coerce Taiwan’s leadership to agree to negotiations on Beijing’s terms, a timetable for unification, immediate political integration, or other political goals. Military coercion succeeds when the adversary gives in while it still has the power to resist and is different from brute force, an action that involves annihilation and total destruction.”

    See also RAND’s testimony regarding the overall military balance, and the challenge of Chinese missile salvos aimed at RoCAF air bases. Hearings page | Taipei Times | WIRED Danger Room.

    Feb 25/10: Javelin missiles. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL received a $21 million firm-fixed-price contract for FY 2009-2011 hardware production of Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Taiwan.

    Javelin is a joint venture between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Work is to be performed in Tucson, AZ (50%, Raytheon), and Orlando, FL (50%, LM), with an estimated completion date of Jan 17/11. One bid was solicited with one bid received by Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Command, CCAM-TM-H in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-C-0376). See also Oct 3/08 entry.

    More Javelin missiles

    Feb 22/10: Tilting balance. The Associated Press receives a US Defense Intelligence Agency report (DIA-02-1001-028) that supposedly says Taiwan’s air force is not ready to withstand an attack from China. While the Taiwanese have 400 combat aircraft to serve in various roles, “far fewer of these are operationally capable.” The F-5 fleet is near the end of its combat life, and its F-16A/B Block 20s need upgrades. Its Mirage 2000v5s are the most advanced in the fleet, but they are so expensive to maintain, and have had such chronic difficulties with the aircraft’s turbine fan blades, that Taiwan is considering retiring them.

    That’s significant for Taiwan’s F-16 request, because under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, decisions on Taiwan’s weapon requests must be “based solely” on judgments concerning Taiwan’s defense needs, without other political considerations. AP | Defense News | Reuters

    Feb 11/10: War by other means. Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Kuan Bi-ling alleges, and the Fisheries Agency confirms, that Chinese pressure on Indonesia has led to a government-recommended boycott of fishing vessels made in Taiwan. The economic impact is estimated at NT$ 100 million per year. The move is not a military move, but it does have some military implications. It’s both a protectionist strike in favor of China’s growing shipbuilding sector, and a way of weakening Taiwan’s breadth of expertise in that area. Taiwan News.

    Feb 3/10: EC225 helicopter order. Taiwan is spending $112 million for 3 of Eurocopters’s EC225 Super Puma MkII+ helicopters in search and rescue (SAR) configuration, with an option for up to 17 more machines.

    The order is carefully calculated, and the ROC government says the helicopters are for civilian use. The choice of helicopter is also careful, as China’s own Ministry of Communications already operates 2 EC225s for SAR duties, as does Japan’s Coast Guard to the east. On the other hand, EC225s could be converted to medium military helicopters quite quickly – a point that has been brought up before over Eurocopter’s EC175/ Z-15 and Z-9 joint ventures in China. France uses the military EC725 for SEA and Special Forces duties, and Mexico and Brazil have also ordered it. To this point, China has been silent concerning this order. Taiwan News | Defense News | DNA India | The Guardian, UK | Reuters.

    EC225s

    Jan 31/10: F-16 dogfight. eTaiwan News quotes Premier Wu Den-yih, who says that Taiwan and the U.S. are still discussing F-16s and diesel-electric submarines:

    “The premier also told reporters that the government would calculate if the cost of the package announced by the U.S. was not too high. The weapons had to come at a reasonable price for a useful quality level, he said. Wu said discussions on the F-16 jets were most likely to bear fruit, while the price tag for the submarines was “scary.” …Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday that Taiwan’s success in achieving the arms purchase was the result of hard work by the previous DPP administration.”

    Link 16 Display
    (click to see situation)

    Jan 29/10: DSCA – One from category A, one from category B… The US DSCA announces up to $6.45 billion in official requests to recapitalize Taiwan’s battlefield helicopter fleet with 60 UH-60Ms, complete the upgrade of its Patriot missile system to PAC-3 status with missiles and command facilities, add Link-16 capability to key assets, purchase 2 Osprey Class minehunter ships, and buy 12 Harpoon Block II test missiles.

    In response, the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, released a statement condemning the move. There are reports that China will cut off military-to-military cooperation with the US, boycott Obama’s planned nuclear summit in April 2010, and even levy trade sanctions. As media like the UK’s Financial Times point out, however, growing protectionist sentiment in the USA makes trade sanctions against American firms an extremely risky move for the Chinese. China Post | Radio Taiwan International | Taiwan News | Taiwan Today | AllGov | The Australian | BBC News | UK’s Financial Times re: China’s risks | New York Times | Reuters | Times of India | Wall Street Journal | Voice of America | China Daily | China’s Xinhua | China’s Xinhua re: sanctions. See also Taiwan News: “The shadow over Taiwan’s arms procurement.”

    UH-60M Black Hawks. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request for up to 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to replace its aged UH-1H Huey fleet, at an estimated cost is $3.1 billion. The principal contractors will be United Technologies’ subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT (UH-60M), and General Electric Aircraft Engines in Lynn, MA. The DSCA adds that:

    “The purchaser has requested offsets; however, at this time they are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractors.”

    Specific equipment sought includes:

    • 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters
    • 120 T-700-GE-701D engines installed
    • 18 spare T-700-GE-701D engines
    • 69 AN/APR-39Av2 Radar Warning Receivers
    • 69 AN/ALQ-144Av1 Infrared Countermeasure Sets
    • 69 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems
    • 69 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets
    • 120 GAU-19/A .50 cal Machine Gun Systems
    • 310 AN/AVS-9 Aviator Night Vision Goggles.
    • Associated .50 cal ammunition, pyrotechnics, cartridges and propellant actuated devices, to equip the guns and countermeasures systems.
    • Plus “other explosives including devices,” Po-Sheng Communication/Data Link Systems, ammunition, spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, and other support.

    Taiwan doesn’t operate Black Hawks yet, but its Navy operates S-70C Seahawk helicopters, so it has some experience with the general type. Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of 2 contractor representatives for a period of up to 2 years.

    DSCA: UH-60M request

    MIDS-LVT/ Link 16: The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request to buy 35 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVT-1), 25 MIDS On Ships Terminals, plus spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, training personnel training and training equipment, repair and return, software and hardware updates, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor engineering and support services. The estimated cost is $340 million.

    This may seem like an afterthought, but it’s actually a critical contract. MIDS-LVT terminals are a standardized way of embedding “Link 16″ datalinks into ships, aircraft, and land systems. By transmitting encrypted information to each other and filtering out duplications, Link 16 allows participating platforms to see the same tactical picture – what one sees, all can see. This dramatically improves awareness amidst the inevitable “fog of war” , and can help to minimize friendly fire incidents. LVT-1 terminals are used in aircraft, as well as ground units like Patriot missile systems. They include both Tactical Air Navigation System, and voice capabilities.

    The prime contractor will be selected through a competitive procurement conducted by the U.S. Government, involving ViaSat and the BAE Systems/ Rockwell Collins joint venture Data Link Solutions. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in training, program management, and technical reviews.

    DSCA: Link-16 datalinks

    Osprey Class minehunters The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request to buy 2 Osprey Class coastal mine-hunting ships, including refurbishment and upgrade, overhaul of their AN/SQQ-32 sonars, transportation, support and test equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is $105 million.

    The USA’s 12 Osprey Class mine-hunters were built from 1993-1999 out of fiberglass-reinforced plastics, in order to minimize their magnetic signature. These 804t/ 57m vessels locate mines using the high definition SQQ-32 sonar, then neutralize them using a remotely controlled UUV(Unmanned Underwater Vehicle). Despite continued threats in critical global areas like the Strait of Hormuz, and adequate performance, the Osprey Class was taken out of US Navy service in 2006-2007. Taiwan would join Egypt (2), Greece (2), Lithuania (2), and Turkey (2) as customers for these second-hand vessels. Approval for the transfer of Oriole [MHC-55] and Falcon [MHC-59] was authorized back in the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-229), but the US State Department had dithered over the request (q.v. Nov 18/09 entry).

    For this contract, a U.S. Prime contractor for the refurbishment will be chosen after a competitive source selection. Implementation of this sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government personnel or contractor representatives.

    DSCA: Minehunters request

    Harpoon Block II missiles. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request for 12 “Harpoon Block II Telemetry” missiles. The DSCA release cites 10 “RTM-84L” and 2 “ATM-84L” missiles, which have telemetry payloads for missile tests, instead of the warheads found on standard RGM-84 (ship-launched) and AGM-84 (air-launched) variants. In addition to the missiles, Taiwan would receive containers; training devices; spare and repair parts; supply/technical support; support equipment; personnel training and training equipment; technical data and publications; and U.S. Government and contractor support.

    The estimated cost is $37 million, the prime contractor will be Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, Missouri, and implementation of this sale will not require any additional U.S. Government personnel or contractor representatives.

    The Harpoon Block II could be militarily significant, because its GPS guidance and improved clutter resolution allow it to attack land targets, as well as ships. See also the Oct 3/08 entry, requesting submarine-launched Block II missiles. Taiwan is building its own “HF-2E Hsiung Feng” land attack cruise missiles with much longer ranges, however, so the Block II’s land-attack capability would not be a new military development in the region.

    DSCA: Harpoon missile request

    Patriot Missiles & C2. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request to complete its Patriot upgrade plans, adding PAC-3 missiles and additional command equipment.

    • 114 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles
    • 26 M902 Launching Stations
    • 3 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets
    • 1 AN/MSQ-133 Information and Coordination Center
    • 1 Tactical Command Station
    • 3 AN/MSQ-132 Engagement Control Stations
    • 3 Communication Relay Groups
    • 5 Antenna Mast Groups
    • 1 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP)
    • Plus battery and battalion maintenance equipment, prime movers, generators, electrical power units, trailers, communication equipment
    • Also personnel training and equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, Quality Assurance Team support services, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

    The estimated cost is $2.81 billion, and the principal contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA, and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX. “The recipient, which already has PAC-3 missiles in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles… Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government and contractor representatives.” See also Dec 23/09, Oct 16/09, Jan 26/09, and Oct 3/08 entries.

    DSCA: PATRIOT missile request

    Jan 14/10: E-2s. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, N.Y., received a $6 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to provide engineering, technical and sustaining services in support of Taiwan’s 6 E-2T/E-2C+ Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft. Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY (75%), and at Pingtung Air Force Base, Taiwan (25%), and is expected to be complete in January 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00421-05-G-0001).

    Jan 14/10: P-3C planes, shipped by land. Since the P-3 production line isn’t active any more, all 12 of the mothballed P-3s slated for Taiwan had to come from stored US Navy aircraft at AMARG’s “boneyard” near Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ. The problem is that all 12 were labeled “non-flyable” due to structural fatigue, which made the 2,000 mile trip to Lockheed Martin’s refurbishment and re-winging facility in Greenville, SC, a bit of a challenge.

    After considering and rejecting rail transport due to offloading and re-loading risks, the AMARG team decided to use a flatbed truck. That’s an unusual method, but it worked. Their approach has stirred interest from other P-3 operators, and even US federal government agencies. Read “Delivering Your Plane, By Truck” for more.

    Jan 10/10: Frigates? Reports surface that Taiwan plans to buy 8 FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates from the USA, then outfit them with more advanced systems. Australia has already laid down a blueprint for that kind of modernization, adding SM-2 Standard and RIM-162 ESSM anti-aircraft missiles to their FFG-7 Adelaide Class frigates at great expense. But reports in the Taipei-based China Times speak of refitting the frigates with an AEGIS combat and radar system. That would break new technical ground, and may prove difficult to add, given the FFG-7 ships’ limited “growth space.” Agence France Presse | Information Dissemination.

    Jan 3/10: The Washington Post adds fuel to speculation that approval of additional equipment sales for Taiwan – but not F-16s – is imminent:

    “The Obama administration is expected to approve the sale of several billion dollars in Black Hawk helicopters and anti-missile batteries to Taiwan early this year, possibly accompanied by a plan gauging design and manufacturing capacity for diesel-powered submarines for the island…”

    Taiwanese Patriot batteries already exist, of course, and their expansion contract is a done deal as of late December 2009. The next step is exporting the PAC-3 missiles themselves. Washignton Post | Radio Taiwan.

    2009

    Major order for new PATRIOT missile ground systems; P-3 sea control planes ordered; Taiwan buys Stinger air-air missiles for its coming AH-64 attack helicopters. Patriot system
    (click for explanation)

    Dec 23/09: Patriot SAM. Raytheon announces Foreign Military Sales contract awards totaling $1.1 billion to fund new production of Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for Taiwan. The awards include ground-system hardware through an initial contract valued at $965.6 million, and an initial spares contract valued at $134.4 million.

    See the Oct 3/08 DSCA release; this is the contract for the radars, ground stations, and other ancillary equipment besides the missiles themselves. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages this contract for new-production Patriot fire units, which will include new advances in technology, improved man-machine interfaces, and (hopefully) reduced life-cycle costs over earlier generations.

    Major PATRIOT contract

    Dec 10-13/09: UH-60s yes, U214s maybe? Reports surface that Taiwan will not get its F-16s approved, but will get its purchase of UH-60s approved. The reports add that a 3-way sale would let Taiwan buy U214 submarines from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ HDW subsidiary. Radio Taiwan International | Taiwan Today.

    Nov 18/09: F-16 dogfight. Rep. Ileana Ross Lehtinen [R-FL] introduces co-sponsored bill H.R. 4102. The bill cites key provisions of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act that are not being followed, including the stipulation that weapon requests be “based solely” on judgments concerning Taiwan’s defense needs, without other political considerations. It also cites Taiwan’s expressed desire for F-16 C/D fighters, and the lack of any arms transfer notifications to Congress for Taiwan during calendar year 2009 – despite Taiwan’s expressed desire for F-16s, H-60 Blackhawk helicopters, diesel submarine design, and additional Patriot PAC-3 systems. Nor have the Osprey class minehunter coastal ships Oriole [MHC-55] and Falcon [MHC-59] been transferred, even though Congress authorized the sale of these ships in the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-229).

    The bill is essentially a Congressional freedom of information request, requiring reports 90 days after enactment and at least annually thereafter, so that Congress is aware of any discussions conducted between any executive branch agency and the Government of Taiwan during the covered period; and any potential transfer of defense articles or defense services to the Government of Taiwan. This would prevent unelected agencies from using their refusal to present requests to Congress as a way to keep such sales off of the political agenda.

    The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; if it is not killed by that committee, it would proceed to a floor vote. See Taiwan Today | Bill tracking via GovTrack.

    Oct 16/09: Patriot SAM. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives a $77.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for Taiwan’s Patriot hardware upgrade program. Work is to be performed in Andover, MA (8%), and Burlington, MA (15%), with an estimated completion date of June 30/15. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0001).

    See also the Jan 26/09 and April 23/08 entries, below.

    July 21/09: E-2s. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY receives an unfinalized $154.1 million contract to upgrade all 6 of Taiwan’s E-2 Hawkeye AWACS aircraft from Group II configuration to the more advanced Hawkeye 2000 (H2K) export configuration. See Oct 3/08 entries for more details.

    Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY (40%); St. Augustine, FL (22%); Rolling Meadows, IL (6%); Dayton, OH (6%); Windsor Locks, CT (5%); Greenlawn, NY (4%); Mississauga, Canada (4%); Marlboro, MA (4%); and other various locations throughout the United States (9%); and is expected to be complete in June 2013. As Northrop Grumman is the E-2’s manufacturer, this contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-09-C-0040).

    E-2C 2000 AWACS upgrade

    June 30/09: F-16s. A Flight International article says that Taiwan may see progress regarding its F-16 orders:

    “Taiwan’s plans to buy new Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters appear to be gaining some traction, with the outgoing de-facto US ambassador to the island saying that senior officials in Washington are likely to consider the issue shortly… Taiwan’s defence minister Chen Chao Min said this week that, contrary to media reports, Washington had not asked Taipei to choose between upgrades to its existing F-16A/Bs and new F-16C/Ds. Requests for mid-life upgrades for the F-16A/Bs and the new fighters are proceeding in tandem, he added.”

    June 25/09: Stinger SAMs for AH-64s. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ receives a $45.4 million firm-fixed-price contract from Taiwan for 171 FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, 24 Captive Flight Trainers (CFT) with seekers but no rocket motors, 68 Air to Air Launchers (ATAL), 7 Launcher Circuit Evaluators, 2 Digital Launcher Test Sets (DLTS), 60 Coolant Reservoir Assemblies, 3 Launcher Emulators, one Lot of CFT Spares, one Lot of ATAL Spares, and one Lot of DLTS Spares.

    The missiles will equip Taiwan’s 30 requested AH-64D Block III Apache attack helicopters; see also Oct 3/08 entries.

    Work is to be performed in Tucson, AZ with an estimated completion date of July 31/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the US Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center at Redstone Arsenal, AlL (W31P4Q-09-C-0520).

    March 16/09: Tilting balance. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry announces its defense review, including plan to cut its troop numbers by 60,000, and end the standard 12 months of compulsory military service within 5 years. This will leave the island with 215,000 troops.

    The review adds that China currently has at least 1,300 ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan, and has deployed advanced Russian-made SU-27 and SU-30 fighters near the island. Defense News.

    March 16/09: F-16 dogfight. Taiwan News reports that the country intends to continue pursuing F-16 fighters. The country does not have a formal embassy in the USA, but the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) serves the same functions. TERCO spokesman Vance Chang responded to media requests by noting that the F-5E/F fighters that make up most of the country’s air force have been in service for more than 34 years.

    “The planes now are obsolete and spare parts are difficult to obtain… [given China’s ongoing modernization] our air superiority capability is at a serious disadvantage.”

    The U.S.-Taiwan Business Council represents about 100 companies, including Lockheed Martin. The organization’s president, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, adds that under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act, the USA “has an obligation to assist Taiwan to maintain a credible defense of its air space, which includes modern fighters.” This would explain a July 2008 US Navy PACOM evaluation that deemed the F-16s militarily unnecessary, a silly position on its face but explicable if one begins from the desired political result.

    March 13/09: P-3 MPAs. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors Tactical Systems in St. Paul, MN receives a $665.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of phased depot maintenance, structural service life extension, and avionics modification to refurbish and sell 12 P-3C maritime patrol aircraft to the government of Taiwan. This contract also provides for ground handling, support equipment and publications.

    Work will be performed in St. Paul, MN (50%); Greensville, SC (27%) and Marietta, GA (23%), and is expected to be complete in August 2015. This contract was not competitively procured, and is managed by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-09-C-0031). See also the Sept 12/07 DSCA request.

    P-3C MPAs

    March 11/09: F-16 dogfight. Taiwan’s speaker is quoted as saying that the US has refused to sell Taiwan 66 more F-16s for about $5 billion, in order to augment and modernize the Republic of China’s fighter defense fleet. Wang Jin-pyng was quoted as saying that:

    “The U.S. doesn’t want to give them to us… They wouldn’t name a price. It’s mainly because mainland China would oppose the sale.”

    See: Taiwan News | Reuters | Washington Post.

    Feb 23/09: P-3 MPAs. Defense News reports that Taiwan, the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin have finally settled issues over price and offset options, and are to soon sign a $1.3 billion contract to refurbish and supply 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Taiwan had traditionally been opposed to buying refurbished aircraft taken from AMARC in Arizona, but re-starting the P-3C production line was not a realistic option. Lockheed Martin has re-started a production line to re-wing existing P-3Cs, however, and countries like Norway, Canada, and even the US Navy have been taking advantage of that capability to extend the service lives of existing aircraft.

    Delivery of the P-3s would end the career of Taiwan’s 37 ancient S-2T Trackers, which are reportedly down to just 3 operational aircraft, even as China’s own submarine fleet grows by leaps and bounds.

    Jan 26/09: Patriot SAM. Raytheon announces a $154 million Foreign Military Sales contract to upgrade more of Taiwan’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems ground systems and radars from Configuration-2 to Config-3 standard, enhancing the ROC’s ability to deal with threats like China’s growing array of ballistic missiles pointed at the island.

    Work under this contract will be performed by Raytheon IDS at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; the Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL; the Mission Capability and Verification Center at White Sands, NM, and by Raytheon Technical Services Company in El Paso, TX.

    FY 2006 – 2008

    $6+ billion request for PATRIOT missiles & systems, new AH-64 attack helicopters, E-2 early-warning aircraft upgrades, Javelin anti-tank missiles, submarine-launched Harpoon missiles, and aircraft spares; $1.96 billion request for 12 P-3C sea control aircraft; 2 new E-2 Hawkeye 2000 early warning planes commissioned.

    Oct 3/08: DSCA Shopping Lists. It would appear that the financial crisis in the USA has a silver lining for Taiwan’s military, as a series of DSCA announcements worth $6.363 billion are issued to Congress’ extended session. All export requests are listed in DSCA releases as being “…consistent with United States law and policy as expressed in Public Law 96-8. The U.S. is committed to providing military assistance under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act.”

    Purchase requests include:

    Ar/Missile Defense – Patriot PAC-3 [see announcement, PDF]:

    • 330 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles
    • 24 Launching Stations
    • 4 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets
    • 2 Tactical Command Stations
    • 2 Information and Coordination Centrals
    • 12 Antenna Mast Groups
    • 6 Communication Replay Groups
    • 4 Engagement Control Stations
    • 282 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) (115 AN/VRC-88E, 96 AN/VRC-90E, 13 AN/VRC-91E, and 58 AN/VRC-92E) radios
    • 9 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP)
    • 50 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems (MIDS, provides Link 16 data sharing)
    • Plus battery and battalion maintenance equipment, vehicles, generators, electrical power units, personnel training and equipment, trailers, communication equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications, supply support Quality Assurance Team support services, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics services, technical documentation, and other related elements of logistics support.

    See also Nov 9/07 request re: upgrading its Patriot PAC-2 batteries to be PAC-3 compatible (Config-3). The estimated cost of this request is $3.1 billion, and the prime contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX. Taiwan has not previously purchased PAC-3 missiles, but they do use PAC-2s. They will require several U.S. Government representatives for 2-week intervals twice annually, to participate in program management and technical reviews.

    DSCA: PATRIOT request

    Hawkeye 2000 test aircraft
    (click to view full)

    Ar/Missile Defense – Hawkeye 2000 [see announcement, PDF]:

    Taiwan already flies 2 E-2C+ Hawkeye 2000 and 4 E-2T Hawkeye aircraft for airborne early warning and control, and wants to upgrade the E-2Ts to the Hawkeye 2000 configuration used by the USA, France, Japan and others. The upgrade will include provisions for the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (Link 16 for a common battlespace picture), avionics, navigation and non-navigation upgrades, and aircraft electrical, mechanical, and survivability upgrades, all necessary hardware installations, support equipment, spares and repair parts, installation and training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

    American Hawkeye 2000s also have Cooperative Engagement Capability, which allows them to provide shared battlespace pictures and targeting for properly equipped Patriot PAC-3 and PAC-2 missiles. If CEC is not included, the JTIDS/Link 16 can be used to share a battlespace picture and provide advance warning, but cannot be used for targeting.

    The estimated cost is up to $250 million, and the prime contractor will be Northrop Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, NY. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 6 contractor representatives to the recipient for a not to exceed a 5-year period.

    Taiwan has requested industrial offsets with this order; they will be defined in negotiations with Northrop Grumman.

    DSCA: E-2C 2000 AWACS upgrade request

    Air Force – Aircraft Parts [see announcement, PDF]:

    This blanket order would allow Taiwan to requisition follow-on spare parts as required to maintain its C-130H Hercules transports, F-5E/F Tiger II fighters, F-16A/B fighters, and F-CK IDF fighter aircraft. The requisitions can include communication equipment, radar, and other related elements of logistics support, as well as spares. The estimated cost is $334 million, and items will be ordered from appropriate contractors as needed.

    Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government and contractor representatives to the recipient.

    AH-64D w. Arrowhead
    (click to view full)

    Army – Apache Longbow attack helicopters and weapons [see announcement, PDF]. Taiwan currently flies AH-1W Cobras in this role, and an attack helicopter deal has been in the works since 2002. The AH-64D beat Bell’s AH-1Z Viper on the grounds that it was battle proven, while the AH-1Z remains developmental.

    Taiwan is requesting 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow Block III attack helicopters, the helicopter’s most modern configuration which is just beginning to enter service in the USA. The helicopters will be equipped with 30 Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (MTADS/PNVS “Arrowhead”), 17 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars and AN/APR-48 Radar Frequency Interferometer (FCR/RFI), 69 T700-GE-701D Turbine Engines. Composite horizontal stabilators, crew and maintenance trainers, depot maintenance, all necessary support equipment, tools and test equipment, integration and checkout, spares and repair parts, training and training equipment, and other forms of support are included in the base purchase.

    The request also includes applicable weapons for these helicopters: 173 FIM-92F Stinger Block I Air-to-Air Missiles, 35 Stinger air-air missile Captive Flight Trainers with live guidance systems but no rocket motors, 1,000 AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire anti-armor missiles that can use the APG-78 and their own radar’s millimeter-wave guidance for “fire and forget” capability, and 66 M299 Hellfire missile launchers.

    The estimated cost is $2.532 billion, and Taiwan has requested industrial offsets; these will be defined in direct negotiations with the contractor(s). Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 2 U.S. Government personnel for a period of 6 years to provide intensive coordination, monitoring, and technical assistance. In addition, 6 contractor representatives will be in country serving as Contractor Field Service Representatives for a period of 5 years, with the possibility of a 5-year extension. The principal contractors will be:

    • The Boeing Company in Mesa, AZ and St Louis, MO (AH-64)
    • General Electric in Lynn, MA (Engines)
    • Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL (Longbow Hellfires, M299, Arrowheads)
    • Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY
    • Northrop Grumman Corporation in Baltimore, MD (Longbow Hellfires)
    • Raytheon Company in Tucson, AZ (Stinger missiles)
    • Inter-Coastal Electronics in Mesa, AZ
    • BAE Systems in Rockville, MD

    DSCA: AH-64D request

    Army – Javelin missiles [see announcement, PDF].

    Taiwan wants to buy 182 more man-portable Javelin anti-armor missile rounds and 20 command launch units, plus 40 missile simulation rounds, trainers, rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, support equipment, spare and repair parts, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $47 million.

    Raytheon/Lockheed-Martin’s JAVELIN Joint Venture in Orlando, FL will be the prime contractor. Implementation of this proposed sale will require a U.S. Government Quality Assurance Team consisting of 1 contractor and 2 U.S. Government representatives in country for 5 days to accomplish the initial deployment of the missiles. Taiwan won’t need more help than that, as they were one of the Javelin “fire and forget” missile’s early customers in 2002.

    DSCA: Javelin missile request

    UGM-84 Harpoon launch
    (click to view full)

    Navy – Harpoon missiles [see announcement, PDF].

    Taiwan requests 32 UGM-84L Sub-Launched Harpoon Block II missiles for its 2 Seadragon Class submarines. Harpoon Block II includes GPS guidance that makes them easier to use near shore (for instance, against amphibious landing ships on final approach), and also gives the missiles some land attack capability out to their 150 mile range. Taiwan’s request adds 2 UTM-84L Harpoon Block II Exercise missiles, 2 Advanced Harpoon Weapons Control System (Version 2) for installation on the Seadragon Class, 36 Harpoon containers, 2 UTM-84XD Encapsulated Harpoon Certification and Training Vehicles, test equipment and services, spares and repair parts for support equipment, and other forms of support.

    The estimated cost is $200 million, and the contractor is Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas in St Louis, MO.

    The US DSCA notes that “The recipient has previously purchased both air and surface launched HARPOON missiles and will be able to absorb and effectively utilize these submarine-launched missiles.” As such, no additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives will be required.

    DSCA: Sub-launched Harpoon missiles request

    Sept 29/08: Taiwan News reports that:

    “The Pentagon was expected to notify the U.S. Congress of its intention to sell the arms to Taiwan by the end of its current session last Friday. Taiwan has expressed worries that if the U.S. missed the deadline, the Legislative Yuan would have to start the process of approving a budget for the arms package from the start… Congress had been extended to deal with the current financial crisis, and therefore the arms deal could still be approved.

    The package includes Patriot missiles, Apache helicopters, diesel-powered submarines, anti-tank missiles, submarine-launched missiles and P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft, but not new F-16 fighter jets Taiwan was hoping to buy.

    The U.S. State Department notified the Taiwanese media late on Friday that government departments were still reviewing the deal, and that once it was approved, Congress would be immediately notified.”

    This did not sound like anything close to a sense of urgency, but events would prove otherwise. Pro-China elements in the US State Department are still blocking approval of Taiwan’s unofficial request for F-16C/D fighters.

    April 23/08: Patriot SAM. Raytheon announces a $79 million Foreign Military Sales award from the U.S. Army to provide Taiwan with Patriot Configuration-3 radar upgrade kits and related engineering and technical services. This is part of a much larger order; see Nov 9/07 entry for more.

    Work will be performed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; the Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL; and the Mission Capability and Verification Center in White Sands, NM.

    Nov 9/07: PATRIOT upgrade request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] “The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States” formal request to upgrade and refurbish their 3 existing PATRIOT fire units’ ground support equipment to the latest Army Configuration 3 under a $939 million contract. Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA will be the prime contractor. Although the purchaser generally requires offsets, at this time, there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale and no additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives will be required.

    Obviously, this effort is less helpful than acquiring new Patriot PAC-3 missiles to add to Taiwan’s defense. Instead, they are adding Patriot PAC-3 radar and communications enhancements to Taiwan’s existing Patriot batteries, turning them into a PAC-2 GEM+ type configuration in use by a number of US allies. The PAC-2 missile is larger than the PAC-3, and uses a fragmentation warhead instead of the PAC-3 missile’s “hit to kill” approach. Patriot’s widely-touted performance during the 1991 Desert Storm operation turned out to be significantly overstated, but when coupled with PAC-3 class radars et. al., it has demonstrated useful capabilities against incoming ballistic missiles. The specific sale includes:

    • 2 PATRIOT, MIM-104 (Patriot-As-A-Target)
    • Radar Enhancement Phase 3 (REP-3)
    • Classification, Discrimination and Identification Phase 3 (CDI-3)
    • Remote Launch Communication Enhancement Upgrade (RLCEU)
    • An Electric Power Plant.
    • 36 AN/VRC-88E SINCGARS EXP Vehicle Short Range Radio Systems
    • 32 AN/VRC-90E SINCGARS EXP Vehicle Long Range Radio Systems
    • 4 AN/VRC-91E SINCGARS EXP Long Range Radio Systems
    • 11 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS EXP Dual Range Radio Systems

    It also includes non-MDE (Military Designated Equipment under US Arms transfer laws) items such as
    all necessary modification kits, communication support equipment, tools and test equipment, integration and checkout, spares and repair parts, installation and training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, other related elements of logistics and program support, and 4 telemetry kits for its live fire training.

    DSCA: PATRIOT upgrade request

    P-3 Orion, armed –
    note Sidewinder
    (click to view full)

    Sept 12/07: P-3 MPAs. The US DSCA announces [PDF] the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States” official request for 12 ‘excess’ P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, with strong surveillance and anti-submarine capabilities. The estimated cost is $1.96 billion. DSCA adds that:

    “This sale is consistent with United States law and policy as expressed in Public Law 96-8. The United States is committed to providing military assistance under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act. The recipient’s current patrol aircraft are reaching the end of their fatigue and operational service life. To maintain national security it is necessary that recipient replace these fixed-wing aircraft with an airborne operational capability for land-based maritime patrol and reconnaissance, including economic exclusion zone surveillance and protection, command and control, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare. The recipient can absorb these additional aircraft into its inventory.”

    Offset agreements associated with this proposed sale are expected, but they will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractors. Principal contractors include Lockheed Martin of Eagan, MN; Lockheed Martin Aircraft Center of Greenville, SC; Rockwell Collins of Cedar Rapids, IA; Raytheon Company of McKinney, TX, EDO (Condor Systems) of Morgan Hill, Ontario Canada; and L3 Wescam of Ontario, Canada. There may be up to 32 U.S. Government and contractor representatives with varying technical skills and disciplines who will be required, following the delivery of the aircraft, to provide support for 1 year after the last aircraft delivery. The exact request includes:

    • 12 ‘excess’ P-3C Orion aircraft with T-56 engines. It is likely that they will begin with ‘boneyard’ stored aircraft that need refurbishing to fly, and significant modifications to be viable for any significant period. Some parties like Norway, for instance, are making their P-3s viable by completely replacing their wings as part of their general overhaul.
    • Aircraft activation, aircraft life extension and avionics modification, transportation
    • 3 excess TP-3A aircraft (non-operational, to be used as airframe spares) with T-56 engines
    • 15 Data Link terminals
    • 19 MIDS-LVT Link 16 terminals
    • 2 MIDS On-Ship Terminals

    Plus a mobile operation command center, Command Control Communications Computer Intelligence Surveillance, Reconnaissance, (C4ISR) network integration, training devices, medical services, support and test equipment, engineering technical services, supply support, operation and maintenance training, ground support C2 facilities, documentation, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements.

    DSCA: P-3C MPA request

    April 16/06: President Chen Shui-bian presides over the commissioning of 2 E2C+ Hawkeye 2K planes recently purchased from the United States, and calls for an end to KMT blocking of his special military budget requests. The 2 new planes join 4 E-2Ts bought in 1995. China Post.

    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: Policy

    Background: Equipment

    News & Views

    Categories: News

    UK Offers Dibs on Next Paveways to Saudis | Boeing Eats More KC-46A Overages | Textron and Local Firm Win Japan Huey Replacement Bid

    Mon, 07/20/2015 - 02:38
    Americas

    • Boeing has acquiesced to a $536 million charge stemming from problems with the KC-46A tanker in development for the US Air Force. This the second such charge the company has taken on the program. The money will be diverted to fund the development and certification of the aircraft’s fuel system, as well as initial production. With the Air Force’ costs capped at $4.9 billion, Boeing is responsible for the program’s development costs under a fixed-price contract signed in 2011. In July 2014 the company saw a similar charge of $272 million to cover unexpected delays in development of the K-46A’s wiring harness.

    • The Navy exercised an option to buy two additional mark VI patrol boats, in a $17.78 million contract modification announced on Friday. The Mark VI patrol boats are the Navy’s next-generation of littoral patrol vessels, with the Navy reportedly looking to acquire forty-eight of the high-tech vessels. In total, ten of the boats have been ordered, with the first of these delivered in August 2014. A prototype was delivered in August 2013 and subsequently deployed to Bahrain (see below video), where it underwent testing.

    • Brazil is seemingly progressing with modernization of its Sao Paulo aircraft carrier, with the carrier undergoing dry dock work at the country’s Arsenal da Marinha do Rio de Janeiro. The aging, formerly-French carrier has seen its aircraft launch and recovery systems upgraded in recent years, with Brazil possibly looking to add the naval Gripen-M fighter to its naval aviation fleet.

    • In related news, Brazil’s Defense Minister announced on 15 July that the country will soon sign a final, refinanced $5.4 billion contract with Saab for 36 Gripens, approximately a year after the two sides struck an initial agreement on the sale.

    Europe

    • Russia has unveiled the naval version of its Ka-52 attack helicopter, alongside new models of the Kh-35 anti-ship missile. The Russian Defense Ministry ordered thirty-two of the ‘K’ version of the Ka-52 in August 2014, with these intended for use on the Mistral-class LHDs currently sitting in St Nazaire. One of the new missiles on display is a developmental helicopter-launched version known as the Kh-35V.

    • Russia is also reportedly planning to upgrade its naval anti-submarine warfare aircraft within the next five years. The fifty Ka-27 helicopters and twenty Tu-142 fixed-wing aircraft currently operated by the Russia Navy will reportedly receive new weapons and sensors. Upgrades to the Ka-27 helicopters have already begun in batches, according to Russian media reports.

    Middle East North Africa

    • The United Kingdom is reportedly diverting Paveway IV guided bombs away from the Royal Air Force to the Saudis, swapping the RAF’s position on the Raytheon production line in Harlow, Essex. Saudi Arabia became the first Paveway IV export customer in March 2014, after previously using earlier variants of the weapon, and has been putting them to use against Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen. Both the Saudi and the RAF use the Paveway IV weapon on the Eurofighter Typhoon and Tornado GR4 aircraft.

    • Ground-based integration testing to couple the Eurofighter with MBDA’s Storm Shadow deep strike missile has taken place successfully in Italy and the United Kingdom. The missile was first successfully launched from a test aircraft in August 2014, with release from a Eurofighter following in December.

    Asia

    • The Japanese Defense Ministry has selected Fuji Heavy Indu