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Military Purchasing News for Defense Procurement Managers and Contractors
Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

GA requests relaxing of UAV export controls | DSCA clears HIMARS for Romania | B-1B Lancer drops LRASM

15 hours 30 min ago
Americas

  • Raytheon has been granted a $103 million contract to supply its AGM-176 Griffin precision guided missile and associated support to the US Air Force. Work will be conducted in Tuscon, Ariz., and is expected to be finished by Dec. 31, 2018. Originally designed for MC-130 special operations gunships, the light attack missile comes in eitheraft-launch or forward firing variants for aircraft and can also be deployed from ground and naval units.

  • The US Navy and Lockheed Martin have completed the first tactical configuration of a Long Range Anti-ship Missile (LRASM) from a B-1B Lancer bomber based out of Edwards Air Base. The free-flight launch was conducted over the Point Mugu Sea Range in California. A Lockheed statement announcing the success stated that the missile “navigated through all planned waypoints, transitioned to mid-course guidance and flew toward the moving maritime target using inputs from the onboard multimodal sensor. The missile then descended to low altitude for final approach to target area, positively identified and impacted the target.” The LRASM is slated to start entering operational service with the B-1B by next year and the F/A-18 Super Hornet by 2019.

  • Upgrades planned for the RIM-116C Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2B will include improved seeker and missile-to-missile link (MML) capability. Known as the RAM Block 2B Raid Engineering Change Proposal (ECP), the enhancements will increase the missile’s ability to deal with complex multi-missile raids—in effect allowing missiles to talk to each other. Raytheon’s Block 2B upgrades have aimed to increase the use of kinematic and sensor upgrades, designed to expand the missile’s engagement envelope, so as to defeat more manoeuvrable and higher-speed anti-ship cruise missiles.

  • General Atomics has called on the US government to clarify and relax export controls of UAVs to non-NATO customers as the firm announced that it is chasing a sale for its Predator C Avenger UAV. The Avenger, which so far has only been supplied to the US military, is classified by the international missile technology control regime (MTCR) agreement as a Category 1 and is rarely licensed for export. As the Trump administration considers setting new MTCR export policies, GA-ASI chief executive Linden Blue urged the White House to make short-term changes, such as relaxing State Department-imposed policies on UAV exports. Blue added that while US industry had once been the leading exporters in UAVs, the export control regime had given competing suppliers, namely non-MTCR adherents China and Israel, an edge in the global market.

Middle East & Africa

  • L3 Vertex Aerospace is to conduct maintenance and logistics on Kuwaiti-operated KC-130J Hercules tanker aircraft, following the award of a $8.9 million US Navy contract. The agreement covers equipment and logistical support for three KC-130J tankers until August 2022 and work will be conducted at Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base, Kuwait. As well as its usual mission to provide mid-air refueling of military aircraft, the aircraft is capable of strike actions using the Harvest Hawk weapons pod—a system that gives the KC-130J the ability to launch laser-guided Hellfire and Griffin missiles.

  • The Lebanese Army has commenced military operations against Islamist militants along its shared border with Syria. Operations conducted at the weekend saw the military assault an Islamic State enclave on the northeastern border, as the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah aiding the Syrian government announced an assault on the militants from the Syrian side of the frontier. During the move, the Lebanese Army also took over positions formally held by the once Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front, finding arms caches that included surface-to-air missiles and US-made TOW anti-tank missiles.

Europe

  • The US State Department has cleared the sale of mobile artillery rocket systems to the government of Romania. Estimated at a value of $1.25 billion, the foreign military sale includes the delivery of 54 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and associated equipment and support, with Lockheed Martin acting a lead contractor. Bucharest announced last month that it planned to buy HIMARS and 36 F-16 fighter jets by 2022, part of a larger plan to spend roughly $11.6 billion on military procurements in the years 2017 through 2026. It also plans to acquire Bell Helicopter combat helicopters and a Patriot air and missile defense system.

Asia Pacific

  • Japan’s Ministry of Defense has requested $179 million in funding to go towards research on Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) radar technology for the better detection of stealth aircraft. The funding, if approved, will go towards developing and fielding a prototype radar and it is expected that the technology will be ready to roll out in 2024. Tokyo also plans to build a radar system to monitor space junk and other nations’ space-based weapons ahead of its first participation in space-related international war games backed by the US military.

Today’s Video

  • The multi-capable Griffin missile:

https://youtu.be/rBFJ1U9KV-c
Categories: News

Raytheon’s AGM-176 Griffin Mini-Missiles

15 hours 31 min ago

Naval launch
(click to view full)

As UAVs proliferate, and the demands of counter-insurgency fights force militaries to look at arming new kinds of aircraft, a number of manufacturers and governments are looking to develop precision-guided “mini-missiles” and glide weapons. Raytheon’s 33+ pound, 42 inch long Griffin is a member of that class, and comes in 3 versions.

Griffin was privately developed, and Raytheon took pains to re-use components from existing weapons like the AIM-9X Sidewinder air-air missile and the Javelin anti-tank missile. The resulting weapon carved out a niche in the growing market for small and relatively inexpensive guided weapons, but Raytheon thinks it has more potential, and has been investing in new capabilities…

The AGM-176 Griffin Family

KC-130J, Afghanistan

AGM-176A. Griffin-A is currently in use as part of American roll-on armed kits for its C-130 Hercules transports. It’s dropped out of “gunslinger” tubes and “derringer doors,” providing precision weapon drops from the rear ramp and side door. It packs a 13 pound blast-fragmentation warhead, and uses a combination of GPS/INS and a semi-active laser seeker for guidance.

AGM-176B/ MK-60. Griffin-B is a powered missile can be a forward-firing weapon, and can be launched from land, naval, or aerial platforms. The missile’s estimated range is similar to the larger AGM-114 Hellfire: about 3.5 miles if surface-launched without a booster motor, rising to 12.5 miles or more if fired from an aerial platform at altitude. That’s fine for aerial platforms, as Griffin A/B offers them the ability to carry more Griffins than Hellfires, while achieving similar reach and precision. The tradeoff is a smaller warhead.

There are still targets like tanks that will demand a larger AGM-114 Hellfire warhead, and targets like buildings may demand a full-size AGM-65 Maverick missile or LJDAM bomb. In many cases, however, the Griffin offers a “just enough, for less” solution that has the added benefit of minimizing collateral damage.

The AGM-176B Block III adds an improved semi-active laser seeker, enhanced electronics and signal processing, and a new Multi-Effects Warhead System that works against a number of different target types.

Confirmed Platforms: AT-6C turboprop, KC-130J Harvest Hawk, AC-130J Ghost Rider, MC-130W Combat Spear, MQ-1 Predator UAV, MQ-8B Fire Scout VTUAV, MQ-9 Reaper UAV, Cyclone Class patrol boat. Has also been tested using ground launch system, and on the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopter.

AGM-176C. The Griffin C attempts to compete against Lockheed’s Hellfire and MBDA’s Brimstone 2 by adding dual-mode laser/IIR guidance for a fire-and-forget missile that uses thrust-vectoring control for vertical launch compatibility, a datalink for retargeting in flight, and waypoint flight to maneuver around obstacles.

The AGM-176C-ER keeps these improvements, and its rocket motor extends surface-launched range to 10 miles or more – about 3x the range of previous Griffins, or their larger Hellfire/ Brimstone competitors.

Looking Beyond

Griffin on HMMWV
(click to view full)

The Army has tested the 45-pound, powered Griffin-B missile as an option for forward outposts. Its de facto competition here is Raytheon’s own Javelin missile, which is already widely deployed, and offers similar range and firepower. Javelin is a rather expensive missile, and takes some time to activate and reload, but comes with advanced sensors that troops use independently.

In order to find a viable niche and achieve acceptance, Griffin will have to compete on cost and response time/volume. Griffin C’s added range will help, but this missile family’s ability to receive geo-coordinate cues from UAVs and other sensors, without the need for an operator to find the same target himself, may be their biggest edge.

On the naval front, the picture isn’t as rosy. Griffin-B reportedly costs about half as much as the Raytheon NLOS-LS PAM, but its surface-launched range is less than 1/6th of NLOS-LS PAM’s 21 nautical miles. This severe cut in reach, coupled with the warhead’s small size, sharply limits its versatility. Griffins could engage enemy speedboats, but guidance modes for the A & B models force one-at-a-time engagements. Nor can Griffin do much damage to full-size enemy vessels – most of which will pack large anti-ship missiles with a 50 – 200 mile reach.

This didn’t stop the Navy from designating the Griffin as an interim solution, and it has been a very useful addition to their Cyclone Class patrol boats. On the other hand, Griffin’s limitations, and the availability of fire-and-forget Hellfire missile stocks, led the US Navy to equip their Littoral Combat Ship with AGM-114L Hellfire Longbow radar-guided missiles instead.

Griffin C’s combination of range and guidance modes may give it a chance on other vessels that are thinking of mounting Brimstone-class weapons, but it’s never going to compete with anti-ship missiles. Nor does it have the range to deliver naval fire support for ground forces, outside of a CONOPS involving small speedboat/ USV swarms. That leaves close-in fire as Griffin’s sweet spot, with a potential boost from its ability to also equip tactical-size shipboard UAVs.

Contracts & Key Events

KC-130J’s “gunslinger”
(click to view full)

Unless otherwise noted, the USAF’s Air Armament Center Contracting, Advanced Programs Division at Eglin Air Force Base, FL manages these contracts, though U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL also seems to have its share. The contractor is Raytheon Missiles Systems Co. in Tucson, AZ.

FY 2016-2017

 

AT-6C & Griffins
(click to view full)

 

August 21/17: Raytheon has been granted a $103 million contract to supply its AGM-176 Griffin precision guided missile and associated support to the US Air Force. Work will be conducted in Tuscon, Ariz., and is expected to be finished by Dec. 31, 2018. Originally designed for MC-130 special operations gunships, the light attack missile comes in eitheraft-launch or forward firing variants for aircraft and can also be deployed from ground and naval units.

January 18/16: Raytheon has been given an $85 million contract to supply Griffin A & B Block II/III missiles to the USAF. Delivery of the missiles is expected to be January 31, 2017. The missiles are the two variants of the AGM-176 Griffin mini-missile. The Griffin A is an unpowered precision munition that can be dropped from a rear cargo door, or a door-mounted launcher of an aircraft, while the rocket-powered Griffin B can be employed as an air-to-surface or surface-to-surface missile. Both are currently being used on a variety of weapons platforms including LCS vessels, C-130 aircraft and UAVs.

FY 2012 – 2015

AGM-176C Griffin triples range, adds retargeting and dual-mode guidance; Griffin elbowed aside for LCS by Army AGM-114L Hellfires; Army, Naval tests; Griffin fired from RAM missile launcher.

May 29/15: Orders.The Air Force signed a contract with Raytheon to procure Griffin missiles, with the deal worth $12 million. The Griffin is a precision miniature munition that utilizes parts from other Raytheon-manufactured missiles – such as the Javelin ATGM and the AIM-9X AAM – to keep costs down. The missile is currently used as part of roll-on armed kits for US C-130 transport aircraft.

Nov 3/14: Orders. A maximum $85.5 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for Griffin AGM-176A Block II and AGM-176B Block III (q.v. Feb 20/14) missiles and test/ support equipment, along with engineering support under a cost-plus-fixed-fee CLIN. $32.6 million is committed immediately as an initial order, using FY 2013 – 2015 USAF budgets.

DID asked Raytheon’s Griffin Programs Director Steve Dickman about this order. He told us that this isn’t a major shift for Griffin, just a way for the government to continue buying missiles as it needs them. Based on past figures, the initial order is very solid.

Work will be performed at Tucson, AZ, and the government will be able to continue buying missiles and services under its terms until Oct 30/17. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8656-15-D-0241).

Multi-year contract

Oct 28/14: Testing. Raytheon announces that its SeaGriffin has had a name change to Griffin C, and successfully completed flight tests at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ. The missile extends range to around 10 km, adds in-flight retargeting, and features IIR and laser seekers for fire and forget mode. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon Griffin C flight tests demonstrate in-flight retargeting capability”.

July 17/14: LCS closed. Navy Recognition interviews a US Navy representative re: the Surface to Surface Mission Module aboard LCS, which will sit above the helicopter hangar on the Freedom Class, and behind the 57mm gun on the Independence Class. Key excerpts:

“Longbow Hellfire is the selected missile to help meet the LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package’s (SUW MP) engagement requirement per the LCS Capabilities Description Document (Flight 0+). Currently, no new requirement exists to warrant acquisition of a new engagement capability…. An LCS variant can only receive one SUW mission package. This will have one Surface-to-surface Missile Module (SSMM), which will utilize one launcher structure that holds 24 Longbow Hellfire missiles…. There currently is no requirement for at-sea reloads.Therefore, the current SSMM design does not support at-sea reloads… It utilizes an existing Army M299 launcher mounted within a gas containment system.”

Looks like Raytheon’s SeaGriffin has lost its shot, despite tripling its previously-comparable range and adding comparable fire-and-forget capability in its latest iteration. Sources: Navy Recognition, “Q & A with the US Navy on Lockheed Martin Hellfire missiles for Littoral Combat Ships”.

July 14/14: SeaGriffin. Raytheon hasn’t given up on its “SeaGriffin missile” for the Littoral Combat ship just yet. A recent test was used to demonstrate a dual-mode laser and imaging infrared guidance system, whose fire-and-forget capability would allow the same kind of salvo launches against swarming targets that the AGM-114L Hellfire’s MMW radar seeker offers. They also tout “an extended range motor that will nearly triple [SeaGriffin’s] range,” giving it a notable advantage over Lockheed Martin’s AGM-114L Hellfire or MBDA’s Dual-Mode Brimstone 2.

Other SeaGriffin enhancements beyond the Griffin-B Block II include a datalink for in-flight target updates, waypoint navigation, and vertical launch capability with vectoring thrust control. The firm says that they’re conducting a series of SeaGriffin guided flight tests to demonstrate the missile’s readiness as an option for the LCS Surface Warfare module. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon SeaGriffin completes guided flight test with new dual-mode seeker”.

SeaGriffin (Griffon C/ C-ER) introduced

LCS: Hellfire
(click to view full)

April 9/14: LCS. The US Navy confirms that they have picked the AGM-114L Hellfire Longbow radar-guided missile as the LCS Surface Warfare Package’s initial missile. Its fire and forget guidance, salvo capability, and ability to use the ship’s radar tipped the balance against Griffin. Lockheed Martin says that the missile has had 3 successful test firings in vertical launch mode, and there are plans to test-fire the missile from LCS itself in 2014, using a new vertical launcher.

Hellfire wouldn’t have any more range than Griffin’s 3.5 nmi, but the millimeter-wave radar seeker allows the ship’s radar to perform targeting, while allowing salvos of multiple fire-and-forget missiles against incoming swarms. In contrast, the Griffin’s laser designation must target one boat at a time, from a position that’s almost certain to have a more restricted field of view than the main radar. Navy AGM-114L missiles would be drawn from existing US Army stocks, which will have shelf life expiry issues anyway. That’s one reason the Army intends to begin buying JAGM laser/radar guided Hellfire derivatives around FY 2017.

Griffin’s existing aerial platforms won’t be affected by this decision, except to the extent that costs will be slightly higher with fewer missiles ordered. LCS deployment probably won’t affect Griffin use on the PC-1 Cyclone Class patrol boats, either, as they don’t have radar targeting capabilities. Sources: DoD Buzz, “Navy Adds Hellfire Missiles to LCS” | USNI News, “Navy Axes Griffin Missile In Favor of Longbow Hellfire for LCS”.

Griffin out of LCS

March 25/14: MK-60 IOC. The MK-60 Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System has formally achieved initial operational capability with the US Navy on its Cyclone Class vessels. they’ve actually been carrying Griffin for a while; testing began in March 2012.

The MK-60 system includes the AGM-176B Griffin missile, a laser targeting system, a US Navy-designed launcher, and a battle management system on a laptop for use by the missile’s operator. Sources: Navy Recognition, “DIMDEX 2014 Show Daily: US Navy achieves IOC on Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System” | Shephard, “US Navy declares IOC for MK-60 Griffin missile system”.

Naval IOC

Feb 20/14: Griffin Block III. After a range of testing including a number of live test shots against fixed and moving targets, Raytheon says that the new Griffin Block III is on the production line as the missile’s new iteration.

Block III introduces an improved semi-active laser seeker, enhanced electronics and signal processing, and a new Multi-Effects Warhead System that works against a number of different target types. We’re starting to see a lot of general convergence between blast, fragmentation, and armor-piercing effects, and the trend seems to be headed toward sharp reductions in the number of weapon variants determined by warhead type. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon demonstrates Griffin Block III missile”.

Feb 5/14: #2,000. Raytheon announces delivery of its 2,000th Griffin Missile since production began in 2008, an AGM-176B Block III variant. The production milestone also highlights 70 consecutive months of on-time or early Griffin deliveries to the warfighter. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon marks delivery of 2000th Griffin missile”.

Delivery #2,000

July 22/13: GAO Report. The US GAO releases GAO-13-530, “Significant Investments in the Littoral Combat Ship Continue Amid Substantial Unknowns about Capabilities, Use, and Cost”. The entire report is a long chronicle of the Littoral Combat Ship program’s history of falling short and unresolved issues, including a number of issues with the mission modules. While Griffin missiles have been deployed on Cyclone Class patrol boats, GAO says they may never be deployed aboard LCS:

“The Navy assessed over 50 potential missile replacements for LCS, and in January 2011 selected the Griffin IIB missile as an interim solution based, in part, on it costing half of [NLOS-LS per missile]. The program now intends to purchase one unit with a total of eight Griffin IIB missiles, to be fielded in 2015, which leave other SUW module equipped ships with a limited ability to counter surface threats. However, Navy officials told us that they may reconsider this plan because of funding cuts related to sequestration. According to OPNAV, funding for Griffin development and testing has been suspended for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. OPNAV and the LCS program office, with LCS Council oversight, plan to investigate using a more cost-effective, government-owned, surface-to-surface missile system that would provide increased capability, including increased range. According to Navy program officials, the deployment of the Increment IV [Griffin successor] missile could also be delayed by over a year [i.e. to 2020] because funding reductions have delayed early engineering work and proposal development for the missile contract.”

June 12/12: Testing. Raytheon reveals a winter 2012 test in which 3 Griffin missiles were fired from a sea-based launcher at 3 separate speeding-boat targets more than 2 km / 1.2 miles away. The weapons were guided by laser, and scored direct hits on the targets.

The test demonstrates that the Griffin can defend a warship against speedboats that venture inside mutual torpedo range. On the one hand, that’s a good thing. Those with a grasp of naval history might recall British Royal Navy Captain Augustus Willington Shelton Agar, VC, DSO. As a Lieutenant, he sank the Russian heavy cruiser Oleg and a submarine depot ship, and badly damaged 2 battleships in 1919, using torpedo-armed speedboats launched from the Terijoki Yacht Club in Finland. The bad news is that Agar’s successors use larger Fast Attack Craft, armed with anti-ship missiles that vastly outrange the Griffin. The AGM-176B can still be very useful on patrol boats and smaller craft, but it’s a secondary defense at best for warships.

May 29/12: Orders. An $8.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification buys “Griffin stand-off precision guided munitions” and engineering services support. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL manages this contract. (W31P4Q-10-C-0239).

This order pushes announced contracts to date over $166 million.

Order

May 18/12: Orders. An $85.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to buy Griffin missiles. Based on past records (q.v. Nov 2/11), the total contract would correspond to a maximum of over 800 missiles.

It isn’t all committed at once, and the initial order buys just 22 Griffin all-up-rounds, and 43 telemetry rounds for testing. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and will run until July 31/13 (FA8677-12-D-0037).

Major order

April 18/12: RAM shot. Raytheon announces that sometime in winter 2011, the USN fired a Griffin B missile from a land-based Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launcher. The shot was taken at a static target about 2 miles away, and the GPS/laser guidance produced a direct hit.

OK, successful demonstration. On the other hand, the RAM system already has the ability to hit surface craft from longer range than Griffin, albeit with less surety than Griffin’s laser guidance. Since RIM-116 missiles can also kill incoming anti-ship missiles, it isn’t clear why a ship would mount Griffins by sacrificing several RIM-116 slots on a 21-slot MK-49 or 11-shot SeaRAM launcher. Sources: Raytheon, “US Navy Fires Raytheon Griffin Missile From RAM Launcher”.

Feb 14/12: Army testing Griffin. Raytheon announces that the US Army is testing its powered Griffin B as a potential system to provide 360 degree quick-reaction firepower to smaller outposts. Raytheon’s Javelin missile can already do this within the Griffin’s firing range, so the Griffin will have to compete on cost, responsiveness, and fire volume:

“During the test, warfigthers fired a Griffin missile from a launcher at a static target more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away. Using GPS coordinates generated by a tethered aerostat, the missile directly impacted the target, achieving all test objectives.”

FY 2008 – 2011

Griffin ordered for C-130 aircraft, UAVs, and Cyclone Class patrol boats; Picked for LCS.

Griffin testing

Nov 7/11: LCS. Inside the Navy reports [subscription] that the Griffin missile will be part of LCS’ initial surface warfare module, but a competition will begin in 2012, and:

“The program executive office for the Littoral Combat Ship has already identified capabilities that could replace the Griffin missile…”

The new missile would be due for fielding after FY 2016. One possibility that’s already on the market is IAI’s Jumper.

LCS SuW pick

Nov 7/11: KC-130J-HH. Inside the Navy reports [subscription] on Griffin usage in Afghanistan:

“Less than a year after first introducing it to the fleet, the Marine Corps has already used the Harvest Hawk… to fire 74 Hellfire and 13 Griffin missiles… while also providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, a Marine aviation official said here recently.”

Nov 2/11: Orders. A $9.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy 70 Griffin Block IIA all up rounds, and 21 Griffin Block II A telemetry rounds that replace the warhead with testing electronics. The primary location of performance is Tucson, AZ, and the purchase supports U.S. Special Operations Command (FA8677-11-C-0115, PO 0008).

Order

Aug 19/11: UAVs. Aviation Week reports on 2 key milestones for the MQ-8 Fire Scout helicopter UAV program. One is the addition of the larger MQ-8C/ Fire-X. The other is weapons approval for the MQ-8B, beginning with the APKWS-II laser-guided 70mm rocket that’s already cleared for use from Navy ships.

Raytheon’s laser-guided short-range Griffin mini-missile is slated for a demonstration before the end of August 2011, and will be the platform’s next weapon, as opposed to Northrop Grumman’s own GBU-44 Viper Strike.

Aug 15/11: Orders. An $11.5 million firm-fixed-price cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for an unspecified number of Griffin missiles, and associated engineering services support. Work location will be determined by task order, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-10-C-0239).

Order

July 14/11: Orders. A $9.1 million contract modification to buy 4 Griffin Block II A telemetry rounds for testing (part number 2292000-25), and 74 Griffin Block IIA all up rounds (Part Number 2292000-26) to include shipping, engineering services, and proposal development costs.

Griffin is currently used on UAVs and armed C-130s, as well as a potential future aboard the LCS (FA9200-11-C-0180, PZ0003).

Order

May 12/11: LCS. Inside the Navy reports:

“The Navy may not have settled on the Griffin missile to replace the canceled Non-Line-Of-Sight missile on the Littoral Combat Ship, despite the service’s announcement in January that it planned to use the missile for both a short-term and long-term solution to the capability gap, officials told Inside the Navy last week…”

Jan 11/11: LCS. Media report that the U.S. Navy is moving towards selecting Raytheon’s Griffin missile as the replacement for the cancelled NLOS-LS, instead of taking over that program’s development now that the Army has pulled out. USN surface warfare division director Rear Adm. Frank Pandolfe told a Surface Navy Association convention audience in Arlington, VA that a 6-month review had settled on this Raytheon product, as something that can hit targets at “acceptable” ranges and cost.

That recommendation must be endorsed by the Navy before anything comes of this; if they do, the service would field the existing very short range Griffin by 2015, and try to develop a longer range version later. DoD Buzz | Arizona Daily Star.

Sept 8/10: UAVs. Flight International reports that the Griffin is being integrated onto MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper UAVs. They are not specific, but these are probably US Special Operations Command’s modified MALET drones.

Griffin-B launch
(click to view full)

June 9/09: Orders. A $14.5 million firm-fixed-price with cost-plus-fixed-fee line items contract for Griffin A & B munitions and engineering services. Even the air-launched versions have ranges of just 9+ miles, however, and at this point, Griffin is not on the radar screen for use on LCS.

Work is to be performed in Tucson, AZ, with an estimated completion date of May 31/10. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the US Army Aviation and Missile Contracting Center at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-C-0517).

Order

Dec 24/08: Orders. A firm-fixed-price with cost-plus-fixed-fee line items contract for Griffin munitions and engineering services – but the amount is not mentioned. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Aug 31/09. One bid was solicited and one bid received by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Contracting Center at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-08-C-0252).

Order

Aug 13/08: Orders. A $6.1 million firm-fixed price with cost-plus fixed fee line items contract for Griffin munitions and engineering services. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete by Aug 31/09. One bid was solicited on Feb 5/08 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-08-C-0252).

At this point, NLOS-LS is still a program in good standing, and Griffin is seen as a UAV and helicopter weapon. The prospect of equipping an MQ-1A/B Predator with 6 Griffins instead of 2 Hellfires is seen as especially attractive. See also Aviation Week, “Small Raytheon Missile Deployed On Predator” [dead link].

Order

May 23/08: Order. A $10.25 million firm-fixed price contract for Griffin munitions. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete by March 31/09. One bid was solicited on Feb 5/08 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-08-C-0252).

Order

May 7/08: Order. A $9.4 million firm-fixed price contract with cost-plus-fixed fee items for Griffin munitions, and associated engineering services. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be completed by Dec 31/08. One bid was solicited on Feb 5/08 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-08-C-0252).

Order

Additional Readings

Categories: News

Tomahawk to get marine strike variant | Iran building Scud factory in Syria, Israel claims | Bulgaria pushes back new fighter decision

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 04:00
Americas

  • The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin’s AN/APR-52 radar warning receiver Technical level 6 status after a round of successful testing by the US Air Force Integrated Demonstrations and Applications Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. News of the milestone comes over a year before the HH-60W combat rescue helicopter—which will use the receiver—makes its first flight. During the test, the receiver was evaluated in simulated threat environments. Sikorsky’s HH-60W will replace the Air Force’s aging HH-60G Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters.

  • It is expected that Raytheon will be awarded a contract to turn a number of US Navy Tomahawks into anti-ship cruise missiles. The upgrade will take place when the service sends its Block IV Tomahawks back to Raytheon for mid-life recertification. A company executive said the multi-mode seeker for the anti-ship role will likely be a mix of passive and active sensors. The Block IV recertification effort will start in 2019 with the first Marine Strike Tomahawk variants to enter the fleet in the early 2020s.

  • Raytheon/Lockheed Martin JV has received an additional $133.9 million US Army contract for the production and delivery of Javelin anti-tank missile sales to Jordan, Qatar and Taiwan. The foreign military sale includes test rounds, command launch units, Javelin vehicle mounts and associated services. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and will run until August 2020.

Middle East & Africa

  • An Israeli news channel has reported that Iran is building a Scud missile factory in Syria. Satellite images taken by Israel’s Eros B were broadcast on Channel 2, and reports likened the facility to a similar structure located near the Iranian capital, Tehran. Israel are concerned that the facility will be used to produce the long-range missile for use by the Lebanese group, Hezbollah, who alongside Iran and Russia, have been helping the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad battle Islamist militants in a civil war now in its seventh year. US news reports have said that Israeli intelligence officials will discuss the situation in Syria and Lebanon with US counterparts in Washington this week.

Europe

  • The Bulgarian government has pushed back the date for making a decision on new jet fighter aircraft procurement to later this year. The move comes as the newly elected government requested a report from the parliamentary investigation board into a previous caretaker-administration’s decision to approve the $900 million purchase of eight Saab JAS-39 Gripen aircraft, and associated equipment. An answer is expected to come by the end of September, although this could be extended by up to a further two months. In the meantime, defence minister Krasimir Karakachanov has called for the air force’s current fighters and strike aircraft to receive funding to maintain their airworthiness. The service operates 15 MiG-29s and 14 Su-25s, but he says that in early August only eight and four, respectively, were in a serviceable condition.

  • Ukrainian President (and confectionary king) Petro Poroshenko has blasted claims that a Ukrainian defense factory supplied North Korea with engines for its ballistic missile program. Poroshenko has also ordered a “thorough and comprehensive investigation” into the claims, which surfaced in a New York Times article last weekend, adding that “I am confident that this will allow us to confirm reliably … the true source and purpose of this groundless fake.” On Monday, secretary of the Ukrainian Security and Defence Council, Oleksandr Turchynov, said that Ukraine “has never supplied rocket engines or any kind of missile technology to North Korea,” while the factory in question, Yuzhmash, said it had not produced military-grade ballistic missiles since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Asia Pacific

  • Following on from its 2015 purchase of 22 Apache and Chinook helicopters, the Indian Defense Ministry has said it has cleared the $655 million purchase of six additional Apache helicopters from manufacturer Boeing. Included in the deal alongside the helicopters are associated equipment, spares, training, weapons and ammunition. India’s Defence Acquisition Council—which clears Indian defense sales—also cleared an order for gas turbine engines—worth an estimated $76.4 million—for two ships currently under construction in Russia.

  • However, India’s $5 billion program to build 12 high-tech mine countermeasure vessels (MCMV), which is already delayed, has hit another roadblock over the selection of propulsion engines. A split opinion on engine sourcing is the cause of the backlog with the Navy supporting a multi-vendor tender process for the engine selection, while Goa Shipyard—the state-owned company building the vessels—prefers a single-vendor nomination of German MTU engines. The shipyard’s reservations comes from its foreign partner, South Korea’s Kangnam, who have already produced MCMVs for the South Korean Navy, and have been contracted by New Delhi to provide technological assistance to the Goa Shipyard. Kangnam want to use German-made MTU engines, which have been used on the Korean vessels it built, while the Indian Navy is skeptical about the suitability of German MTU engines for Indian MCMVs because of the differences in geographical location and areas of operation.

Today’s Video

  • Taiwan’s development & testing of solid rocket motors:

https://youtu.be/iMXGSsLWXgE
Categories: News

Tomahawk’s Chops: xGM-109 Block IV Cruise Missiles

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 03:58

  • GM-109 Block-IV Cutaway.gif" />

  • Block IV Cutaway
    (click to view full)

    Block IV Tomahawk is the current generation of the Tomahawk family of cruise missiles. The BGM-109 Tomahawk family began life in the 1980s as sub-sonic, low-flying nuclear strike weapons, before being developed into long-range RGM/UGM-109 conventional attack missiles. They’re most frequently launched from submarines and surface ships, and have been the US Navy’s preferred option for initial air strikes in Iraq, Libya, et. al. Britain has also bought Tomahawk missiles, and launches them exclusively from submarines.

    Block IV is the latest variant. It adds innovative technologies that improve combat flexibility, while dramatically reducing the costs to buy, operate, and support these missiles. That’s why the Block IV program, under US Navy PMA-280, has been one of the USA’s defense acquisition success stories over the last decade.

    xGM-109: Missile & Launcher Types

    TLAM operation
    (click for video)

    Tomahawk missiles have become the US Navy’s major land strike missile. The USA has bought more than 4,000 over the years, and March 2011 saw the 2,000th GM-109 Tomahawk fired in combat, from USS Barry [DDG 52]. The missile typically flies at 50 – 100 feet above ground using terrain-following radar, and navigates to its targets using a combination of GPS/INS, computer matching of the land’s radar-mapped contours to the missile’s internal maps (TERCOM), and final matching of the target scene (DSMAC). Once on target the missile can fly a direct horizontal attack mode, trigger preprogrammed detonation above the target, or use a pop-up and dive maneuver. CEP is often described as being about 10 meters.

    There are 3 fielded variants.

    The xGM-109C/D Block III missiles will serve in the US Navy until FY 2020, and can be fitted with either a 1,000 pound unitary conventional warhead (xGM-109C), or a conventional submunitions warhead with hundreds of smaller bomblets (xGM-109D). The Tomahawk Block III has a 750 nautical mile range. Unfortunately, mission planning requires 80 hours of work.

    The xGM-109E Tomahawk Block IV achieved Initial Operating Capability in 2004, and current Pentagon plans will end purchases in 2015. Block IV reportedly increases missile range to 900 nautical miles, but it only uses the unitary warhead. Mission planning has been cut from 80 hours to just 1 hour, which makes a big difference to combat usage. The missile also has a 2-way UHF SATCOM datalink that allows the missile to be redirected in flight, or commanded to loiter over an area and wait for instructions from a Fleet HQ’s Maritime Operations Center.

    Submarine Launch 109

    UGM-109 launch
    (click to view full)

    Submarine-launched UGM-109 missiles are more expensive than their ship launched RGM-109 VLS counterparts, because the submarines’ launch mechanism is more involved and more strenuous. UGM-109 “all-up-round” storage and interface canisters come in 2 types: CLS and TTL. CLS canisters launch UGM-109s from vertical launch tubes installed on many of America’s Los Angeles Class (SSN 719 on), all Virginia Class, and all SSGN Ohio Class submarines. TTL canisters are used to launch Tomahawk missiles from a submarine’s torpedo tubes, which is Britain’s preferred method.

    In both cases, a Tomahawk launches “wet”, unlike most anti-ship missiles. The canister remains in the vertical-launch or torpedo tube, while the missile is ejected. Once the UGM-109 has reached a safe distance from the submarine, its rocket booster ignites underwater to power it airborne. That booster falls away just before the missile ignites its jet engine. If the submarine needs to “clear the tube” for torpedoes, anti-ships missiles, mines, UUVs, etc., TTL canisters can be ejected into the sea after launch, as a separate evolution. In contrast, CLS vertical-launch canisters are only removed portside, when the submarine comes into base for servicing and reloading.

    Tomahawk: The 2019 Evolution

    LRASM-A Concept
    (click to view full)

    There was a plan to develop a successor to the retired xGM-109B ship-killer by 2015, as an interim capability for the US Navy’s Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) program. That was shelved in the FY 2014 budget, as the Navy opted to drop the interim capability. Instead, they’re moving ahead with OASuW’s main xGM-84 Harpoon missile replacement program for air and sea launch. The LRASM derivative of Lockheed Martin’s subsonic but stealthy AGM-158B JASSM-ER is the initial air-launched missile, but there will be competition for air and naval missiles beyond FY 2019.

    Raytheon has partnered with Norway’s Kongsberg to offer the stealthy, and accurate JSM for the air-launched OASuW, and their entry has the unique ability to fit inside the F-35C’s weapon bays. They could also offer Kongsberg’s NSM counterpart in the naval realm, but that would leave Tomahawk in the cold. Or would it?

    The key to the next set of Tomahawk improvements is actually a warranty. The missile has a 15-year warranty and a 30-year service life, so 2019 will begin a recertification cycle for the fleet that could last until 2030. Threats continue to evolve, so why not add some missile upgrades while they’re back in the shop anyway? The US Navy already has a specifications sheet of possible improvements, and they’ve done a number of capability studies.

    Raytheon is investing almost $40 million of its own funds in parallel, and they’re still talking to the Navy about that final package, which will break down into 3 broad categories.

    MI concept

    Anti-Access/ Area Denial Communications Suite. Saddam Hussein had a sophisticated anti-aircraft system, but he didn’t have the kind of high-end jamming and emissions triangulation capabilities expected of future opponents. The challenge is twofold: keep the enemy from cutting off your communications, and keep your communications from alerting the enemy.

    One option that has been mentioned in public involves adding a Line Of Sight datalink capability. The flip side of that move would involve training and tactics changes that push missile control farther down the command chain. That may be necessary, but is the US Navy comfortable doing that? There’s more to these A2/AD-CS discussions than just picking technologies.

    Autonomy. The Tomahawk is already an autonomous weapon, in the sense that it can be fired at pre-planned fixed targets and left alone. To remain relevant, it needs to add dynamic terminal autonomy: the ability to acquire targets on its own and hit them, even if the target is moving or has moved. It would also be useful to expand the missile’s navigation autonomy, by offering backups for hardened SASSM M-code GPS.

    Both kinds of upgrades are being contemplated. Early tests that aren’t autonomous involve Rapid In-flight Target Update, which allows units that have a lock on a target to transmit rapid final scene updates for the missile’s DSMAC guidance. This is still done via Fleet HQ as Standard Operational Procedure, but that’s enough to hit moving targets in some circumstances. Ships would become vulnerable to Tomahawk strikes if the targeting platform can survive their defenses, and the same is true for land-based air defense systems that can repeatedly move to new fixed locations.

    Raytheon and the Navy are looking for more, with a focus on mature technologies to cut down program risk. An ESM system for noticing and geolocating emissions has already begun testing. Raytheon personnel stress its quality, to the point that Navigation via Signals of Opportunity (NAVSOP) might be possible as a backup to GPS. During the attack run, ESM can allow the Tomahawk to home in on an active enemy ship or air defense radars, or even on other intercepted signals. That begins to add autonomous moving target capability, and the firm plans to take the next step by flight testing a dual-mode ESM/ active radar seeker system before the end of 2014. Finally, passive visual spectrum (camera or imaging infrared) guidance has also become popular for long-range strike missiles, because it doesn’t give the missile’s location away by creating electro-magnetic emissions. Raytheon has confirmed that CCD/IIR upgrades are also under consideration for Tomahawk, but stressed that no final decisions have been made about a future guidance package.

    Core Strengthening. All of these capabilities are great, but they demand more computer processing power, more memory, more onboard power, etc. The missile’s core will need redesigns, in order to keep up.

    Raytheon had to develop a Multi-Function Modular Processor to handle those computing needs. Other efforts will look to add new technology, like the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS) warhead to allow mid-flight reprogramming, and improve performance against reinforced targets like bunkers. Still other attempts will take advantage of existing upgrades. As an example of the latter, Block III introduced the ability to throttle the missile’s Williams F107-WR-402 turbofan, and Raytheon has been expanding its usefulness over time. It’s a capability that’s obviously handy for adjusting the missile’s time of arrival, or extending range, but the firm has recently been testing a “high speed dash” mode. It’s still subsonic, but it represents some impressive flying that close to the ground.

    The Missing Link

    Saab S340-AEW
    (click to view full)

    Even after all of these upgrades, the Tomahawk is still a 1970s design that relies on low altitude to hide from radar. That isn’t really subject to change, even though downward-looking radars are proliferating on small AWACS planes and aerostat blimps, and radars in modern ships and air defense systems are taking big steps forward.

    All of the Tomahawk’s proposed technologies are well and good, and they will expand the missile’s usefulness substantially. Adding them to thousands of existing missiles is very cost effective, and makes a great deal of sense. As budget crunches force the Navy to re-examine every aspect of their programs, however, the Navy will have to make decisions about the cost, capability profile, and limitations of every weapon in their arsenal. Raytheon is trying to position Tomahawk as best they can, but the final decisions will lie elsewhere.

    Contracts & Key Events

    45 min. documentary
    (click for video)

    Unless stated otherwise, US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contracts to Raytheon in Tucson, AZ. In general, these contracts aren’t competitively procured, pursuant to the “only 1 responsible supplier” exemption in 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1).

    Key subcontractors include Lockheed Martin in Valley Forge, PA (Weapon Control System element), QinetiQ North America in San Jose, CA (Command and Control element), and Boeing Inc. in St. Louis, MO (Command and Control element).

    FY 2016 – 2017

     

    August 18/17: It is expected that Raytheon will be awarded a contract to turn a number of US Navy Tomahawks into anti-ship cruise missiles. The upgrade will take place when the service sends its Block IV Tomahawks back to Raytheon for mid-life recertification. A company executive said the multi-mode seeker for the anti-ship role will likely be a mix of passive and active sensors. The Block IV recertification effort will start in 2019 with the first Marine Strike Tomahawk variants to enter the fleet in the early 2020s.

    January 13/17: Flight testing of the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile has been completed. A Raytheon announcement stated that the launches were conducted to demonstrate the missile’s ability to engage time-sensitive targets. The first test saw personnel onboard the USS Pinckney utilize the Launch Platform Mission Planning capability while during the second test, crew members fired the weapon for a longer duration, and also conducted a terminal dive maneuver to strike the intended target. The company said the performance confirms the Tomahawk’s ability to attack heavily defended targets.

    October 14/16: In response to missile attacks on US and allied vessels off the coast of Yemen, the Pentagon has ordered the US Navy to launch missile attacks at targets operated by Houthi rebels. On October 13, the USS Nitze fired three BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles at radar sites in Yemen which were believed to have been active during previous attacks and attempted attacks on vessels. A defense official said the radar sites were in remote areas where there was little risk of civilian casualties. The Houthis meanwhile, reiterated their denial that they were responsible for the attack on US warship the USS Mason.

    May 26/16: An op-ed piece published last week, suggesting the US should supply AGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles to Japan has received a rebuttal from Chinese researchers. Experts from the China Institute of International Studies stated that while the idea of supplying the missile to Tokyo was not new, it would pose a threat to other countries in East Asia. The warning most likely comes following efforts started last year by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pursue changing the country’s post-WW2 constitution to allow it to re-arm and expand its forces.

    May 18/16: Robert Crumplar suggests in USNI News that Washington considers exporting the BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile to Japan to act as a “responsive deterrent option.” The suggestion comes as Japan looks to deter potential aggression from North Korea, as well as dealing against a larger Chinese military. If the sale were to go ahead, it would follow a precedent for providing Tomahawk to allies that was established nearly 20 years ago when the United Kingdom acquired 65 missiles.

    April 21/16: Testing of a submarine-launched UGM-109 Tomahawk was terminated by the US Navy after the inert cruise missile crashed 50 minutes after its launch in southern Florida. The Navy was conducting a routine flight test, which was coordinated by the Navy’s Tomahawk Weapon System program at the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Maryland. Causes of the missile crash are currently being investigated by Navy officials.

    February 5/16: The Pentagon is to invest in the development of Tomahawk and SM-6 missiles which will be capable of hitting moving vessels. $2 billion has been requested for the purchase of 4,000 Tomahawk missiles with manufacturer Raytheon. Raytheon has invested in a multi-modal seeker that would allow the missiles to hit moving targets so that missiles may be adapted from land missiles into anti-ship missiles. A further $2.9 billion will also be made available for the purchase of 650 SM-6 interceptors as well, to advance them to become anti-ship missiles for the first time. This will allow the SM-6 to operate in an offensive capability instead of operating solely as an anti-ballistic weapon.

    January 19/16: Tomahawk cruise missiles could get a lot more destructive if a new development program is successful. Researchers from Energetic Materials Research and Engineering have been successfully utilizing residual fuel left inside a missile during impact and turning it into a fuel-air explosive that can contribute to the blast created by the missile’s warhead. At present the team are looking to find the best way to implode the fuel tank to generate a cloud of fuel that will mix with surrounding air to ignite into an intense, high-temperature explosion. If successful, the add on to the missile could increase the Tomahawks payload without any need to change the dynamics of the warhead.

    January 15/16: Testing of a new sensor on the Tomahawk missile has been successful. Raytheon owned T-39 test aircraft carried out a number trials over a three week period engaging moving targets on land and at sea. The development of the sensor was part of company funded, independent R&D looking to enhance the current Tomahawk long-range precision strike/land attack role. Since 2005, Raytheon has been investing in increasing the missile’s seeker capabilities and effectiveness in varying environments.

    October 7/15: Raytheon has demonstrated how a Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile can be used to assess battlefield damage, loiter and then attack a target following analysis of the data it provided to operators. The test demonstrated how the missile could be launched from one location, travel to a second area of operations and communicate via a UHF SATCOM link with a third location half-way around the world, before striking a target. The Block IV Tomahawk demonstrated flexible mission planning capabilities in flight during previous testing in August, with this latest round of testing also demonstrating that multiple missiles could be coordinated from a single control point.

    FY 2015

     

    August 6/15: Raytheon’s Block IV Tomahawk cruise missile demonstrated mission planning capability during flight tests announced on Wednesday. The upgraded software allowed planners to adapt the missile’s mission profile on the fly, with this new capability now set to be rolled-out across the fleet of Tomahawks in service. The Block IV missile demonstrated similar capabilities in March 2014, when the missile received information in-flight and re-targeted itself to strike a moving vehicle.

    Oct 11/14: American A2/AD. Rep. Randy Forces [R-VA-4] sends a letter to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Odierno on the eve of the AUSA conference, pushing for the Army to set up a modern version of its Coastal Artillery: long-range, land-based anti-ship missiles that would be forward-based in friendly countries to endanger Chinese vessels and shipping. Missiles like LRASM and the longer-ranged but less stealthy AGM-109 Tomahawk are obvious candidates for this sort of thing, significantly outranging competitors like Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile or Boeing’s SLAM-ER. The RAND study that Forbes refers to actually posited using shorter-range missiles like NSM, but its maps also showed the number of deployment sites required for effective coverage.

    The idea would be a nice turnabout on China’s Anti-Access, Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy, and a Philippine deployment would produce a very tangible benefit all by itself, at low cost. On the other hand, Rep. Forbes probably underestimates the difficulty of getting many countries beyond the Philippines to accept an inherently provocative deployment whose use is technically beyond their control. Recent American waffling around the world suggests an even less palatable conclusion: the penalty for saying yes would be immediate, without any assurance that the weapons would actually be used to help the accepting country if push came to shove.

    Contrast with the Russian approach. They just sell SS-N-26 shore batteries to interested countries, helping customers to create the same barrier under their own control, without the offsetting political challenges. India’s derivative PJ-10 BrahMos missile may also wind up being used this way, if India can get its act together on the export front. Sources: RAND, “Employing Land-Based Anti-Ship Missiles in the Western Pacific” | Breaking Defense, “Army Should Build Ship-Killer Missiles: Rep. Randy Forbes”.

    FY 2014

     

    Final dive
    (click to view full)

    Sept 24/14: Orders. Raytheon in Tucson, AZ receives a $251.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 231 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missiles for the U.S. Navy (211: 147 vertical launch systems and 64 capsule launch systems / $224.5 million/ 89.4%) and the United Kingdom (20 torpedo tube launch systems / $26.7 million/ 10.6% – q.v. July 1/14 DSCA request). All funds are committed immediately, using foreign funds and FY 2013 & 2014 US Navy weapon budgets.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (32%); Camden, AR (11%); Ogden, UT (8%); Anniston, AL (4%); Minneapolis, MN (4%); Glenrothes, Scotland (4%); Ft. Wayne, IN (4%); Spanish Fork, UT (3%); Ontario, CA (3%); Vergennes, VT (3%); El Segundo, CA (2%); Berryville, AR (2%); Westminster, CO (2%); Middletown, CT (2%); Walled Lake, MI (2%); Huntsville, AL (1%); Dallas, TX (1%); Farmington, NM (0.2%); and various locations inside and outside the continental United States (11.8%); work is expected to be complete in August 2016.

    This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 by US Navy NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-14-C-0075).

    US/UK order

    July 31/14: Raytheon in Tucson, AZ, receives an $8.7 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification for Tomahawk Depot Missile maintenance, including inventory management for the US Navy and the United Kingdom, and direct fleet support for resolving technical issues with forward deployed, in-theater weapons.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (60%); Camden, AR (36%); and various other continental United States locations (4%); and is expected to be complete in March 2015. Funds will be obligated on individual delivery orders as they are issued by US Navy NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-13-D-0002).

    Sept 9/14: Testing. Raytheon touts a recent pair of live warhead test firings from the USS Hampton [SSN 767: UGM-109] and USS Lake Champlain [CG 57: AGM-109], demonstrating “enhanced flex retargeting” and improved flight performance. Sources: Raytheon, “Tomahawk enhancements showcased in back-to-back flight tests”.

    July 17/14: Political. The Senate Appropriations Committee approves a $489.6 billion base FY 2015 budget, plus $59.7 billion in supplemental funding. If they get their way, xGM-109 Tomahawk Block IV production would continue at full rate, with $82 million in extra funding. It has been set to end with a 100 missiles, but the added funds would drive it toward the standard annual buy of 180-200.

    The budget still has to be voted on in the whole Senate, then reconciled in committee with the House of Representatives’ defense budget, then signed into law by the President. Sources: DID, “FY15 US Defense Budget Finally Complete with War Funding”.

    July 1/14: UK request. The US DSCA announces Britain’s formal request for up to 65 UGM-109 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missiles plus containers, engineering support, test equipment, operational flight test support, communications equipment, technical assistance, personnel training/equipment, spare and repair parts, and other support. The estimated cost is up to $140 million. DSCA adds that:

    “The UK needs these missiles to replenish those expended in support of coalition operations.”

    Which is to say, over Libya. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, AZ, and Britain doesn’t need any more contractors on site from Raytheon or from the US government. Sources: US DSCA #14-30, “United Kingdom – Tomahawk Block IV Torpedo Launched Land-Attack Missiles”.

    DSCA request: UK (140)

    April 28/14: Testing. Raytheon announces a successful captive-carry test flight, using a small T-39 Saberliner business jet fitted with their passive ESM seeker. The jet flew at subsonic speed and at varying altitudes, while the “passive seeker and multi-function processor successfully received numerous electronic signals from tactical targets in a complex, high density electromagnetic environment.”

    This test brings the Raytheon-funded multi-mission processor to Technology Readiness Level 6. The next step for the company-funded effort is an active seeker test, which will combine the processor with ESM and active radar. That combination would likely form the core of future Tomahawk upgrades. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon tests new guidance system for Tomahawk cruise missile”.

    April 17/14: SAR. The Pentagon finally releases its Dec 31/13 Selected Acquisitions Report [PDF]. It makes early termination official, and explains the savings:

    “Program costs decreased $1,832.1 million (25.8%) from $7,109.0 million to $5,276.9 million, due primarily to a decrease of 1,161 TACTOM missiles from 4,951 to 3,790 (-$1,249.2 million) and associated schedule, engineering, and estimating allocations

    • (-$586.2 million).”

    Note that SecNav Mabus’ comments regarding 4,000 GM-109s in stock (q.v. April 13/14) appear to have been in error. Many have been used over the years.

    Termination

    April 13/14: Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus sees an inventory of 4,000 Tomahawks that “will carry us through any eventuality that we can foresee,” but Raytheon wants to avoid shutting down their line and cutting the chain to more than 100 suppliers in 24 states. Their lobbying is helped by the fact that the USA’s byzantine procurement and budgeting processes add some strategic risk. News that the Navy was even thinking of a next-generation replacement reportedly came as a surprise to Raytheon in January 2014. Which means that it’s entirely imaginable to have a 20 year wait between the last Tomahawk delivery, and a comparable new operational missile.

    On the other hand, every defense production line shuts down eventually, and a dollar spent on Tomahawks can’t buy new ships, fighters, air defense missiles, etc. Rather than waging a frontal assault that tries to keep missile orders coming, Raytheon is reportedly looking to accelerate the combined xGM-109 recertification/ upgrade process by a few years, so it picks up where Tomahawk production leaves off. Raytheon senior program manager Chris Sprinkle says that Raytheon has invested $30 million of their own funds in R&D for upgrades, and plans to invest another $8 million or so. Sources: Arizona Daily Star, “Proposed halt of Tomahawk missile buys raises concerns at Raytheon”.

    March 4/14: FY15 Budget. The Navy unveils a preliminary budget request briefing. It doesn’t break down individual programs into dollars, but it does offer planned purchase numbers for the Navy’s biggest programs from FY 2014 – 2019.

    The plan confirms 196 Tactical Tomahawk missiles in FY 2014, and proposes to end production with 100 missiles ordered in FY 2015. Source: US Dept. of the Navy, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF].

    Feb 19/14: Datalink test. A Tomahawk Block IV missile is launched from the USS Sterett [DDG 104] on a loitering fire test:

    “… [the missile] flew a preprogrammed route while receiving updates from a simulated maritime operations center and from advanced off-board sensors updating the missile’s target location. Throughout the flight, the missile maintained communications with all the command and control assets and provided updates on its location before hitting the target.”

    Raytheon told DID that this is the first of many tests involving “off-board sensors”, though 2014 will also see a number of flight tests using new on-board ESM and radar sensors. Many will be captive-carry tests, using one of the US Navy’s T-39 Sabreliner modified business jets. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon, U.S. Navy test Tomahawk Block IV’s latest communications upgrades”.

    Feb 14/14: Upgrades. Tomahawk program manager Capt. Joe Mauser tells Defense Tech that they’re working on a new Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS) warhead for the Block IV, in order to improve performance against reinforced targets like bunkers.

    At the same time, Raytheon is working on a new active & passive dual seeker (q.v. Oct 7/13). Raytheon has been elbowed aside from the OASuW program, which is currently owned by Lockheed Martin’s stealthy LRASM-B. A low-cost upgrade that accomplishes some of OASuW’s goals offers Raytheon the opportunity to get some funds, keep their missile relevant for years to come, and position themselves as a weaker Plan B if further budget cuts remove their competitor. Sources: DefenseTech, “Navy Wants Its Tomahawks to Bust More Bunkers”.

    Jan 14/14: #3,000. Raytheon announces that they’ve delivered the 3,000th Tomahawk Block IV missile, as part of FY 2012’s FRP-9 production contract. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon delivers 3000th Tomahawk Block IV to US Navy”.

    #3,000

    Oct 7/13: ESM multi-mode. Raytheon announces a successful field test of a new multi-mode seeker technology that would add an advanced Electronic Support Measure (ESM) antenna and processor to the Block IV Tomahawk missile. Raytheon told DID that the system is based on the firm’s own technology, rather than being a direct offshoot of the attempt to add AARGM technology to the Tomahawk (q.v. April 27/12).

    Raytheon is correct that the current Tomahawk is an open architecture ‘truck’ capable of integrating new payloads and sensors, and an ESM seeker is a helpful addition to recent improvements like the 2-way datalink. ESM would turn the missile into a radar and communications killer that could deal directly with enemy air defenses, and could begin to engage some kinds of moving targets. The challenge is that the missile still needs to survive long enough to hit its target, and the Tomahawk’s low-level flight isn’t enough to protect it from the kind of advanced air defenses that would make you want to use unmanned ESM missiles. Its best use case might be against enemy ships. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon demonstrates new seeker technology for Tomahawk Block IV missile”.

    FY 2012 – 2013

     

    Launch.
    (click to view full)

    April 17/13: UK. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Britain’s request to import follow-on support and keep their UGM-109 Tomahawk Weapon Systems (TWS) ready for use. Work can include missile modifications, maintenance, spare and repair parts, system and test equipment, engineering support, communications equipment, technical assistance, personnel training/equipment, and other related elements of logistics support.

    The estimated cost is up to $170 million, but actual costs will be negotiated in a series of contracts. The principal contractors will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, AZ; Lockheed Martin in Manassas, VA, Valley Forge, PA, and Marlton, NJ; Boeing in St. Louis, MO; BAE North America in San Diego, CA; COMGLOBAL in San Jose, CA; and SAIC in Springfield, VA and Patuxent River, MD. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 1 U.S. Government and 2 contractor representatives to the United Kingdom for the duration of this case.

    DSCA: UK support request

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

    News for the Tomahawk program is mixed. The OASuW Harpoon replacement program canceled plans for an interim solution based on the xGM-109 family, even as it plans to award Technology Development contracts in FY 2013. Raytheon will need to consider its competitive options carefully, as OASuW could grow to be a huge opportunity.

    Within the existing Tomahawk program, yearly budgets are rising even though the number of missiles per year remains constant at 196. This is pushing flyaway cost for new missiles from $956,000 in FY 2013 to about $1.2 million. The extra funds are going to 2 areas: obsolescence replacement/ diminishing manufacturing sources, and restoration of planned missile improvements. The former category includes such key components as the Williams turbojet engine and the satellite datalink, and is important enough that FY 2011 – 2011 contract savings are being applied to address it. Improvements will begin with missile communications that will work even in jamming-rich or otherwise hostile environments.

    March 11/13: UK. A $6.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 4 torpedo tube launched (TTL) Tomahawk Block IV all-up-round missiles for the government of the United Kingdom under the Foreign Military Sales Program. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (32.6%); Camden, AR (13%); Ogden, UT (10.5%); Dallas, TX (3.5%); Minneapolis, Minn. (3.3%); Glenrothes, Scotland (3.3%); Spanish Fork, UT (3.1%); El Segundo, CA (3%); Walled Lake, MI (2.6%); Anniston, AL (2.5%); Ft. Wayne, IN (2.3%); Ontario, Canada (2.2%); Vergennes, VT (2.1%); Berryville, AR (1.8%); Westminster, CO (1.6%); Largo, FL (1.5%); Middletown, CT (1.3%); Huntsville, AL (1.2%); Clearwater, FL (0.8%); Moorpark, CA (0.8%); El Monte, CA (0.6%); Salt Lake City, UT (0.6%); Farmington, NM (0.2%); and various continental U.S. (CONUS) and outside CONUS locations (5.6%); and is expected to be completed in February 2015 (N00019-12-C-2000).

    4 for Britain

    March 7/13: Support. A $12.8 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for services in support of Tomahawk missile depot maintenance, including direct fleet support for resolving technical issues with forward deployed, in-theater weapons and inventory management for the US Navy and the United Kingdom.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (70%); Camden, AR (24%); Commerce Township, MI (4%); Indianapolis, IN (1%); and various other continental U.S. (CONUS) and outside CONUS locations (1%) until February 2014. $2.4 million is committed immediately, of which $2.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00019-13-D-0002).

    Jan 17/13: DOT&E testing. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The Tomahawk gets high marks. It continues to meet its standards, and remains operationally effective and suitable (maintainable).

    The one thing Pentagon OT&E would like to see is restored flight testing of the Block III model, until it goes out of service in FY 2020.

    Dec 18/12: CCLS. A $45 million firm-fixed-price contract modification from the USN for 120 Tomahawk Block IV Composite Capsule Launching Systems (CCLS), which are used to launch UGM-109s from vertical submarine tubes. All contract funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (24.61%); Lincoln, NB (23.17%); Camden, AR (12.48%); Rocket Center, WVA (10.3%); Carpentersville, IL (8.74%); Joplin, MO (6.63%); Hopkinton, MA (4.76%); Huntsville, AR (4.37%); Alamitos, CA (2.05%); Torrance, CA (1.47%); Downers Grove, IL (0.75%); and Brooksville, FL (0.67%), and is expected to be complete in July 2015 (N00019-12-C-2000).

    Dec 17/12: 252 missiles. A $254.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising a US Navy option for 252 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round (AUR) missiles: 132 RGM-109s designed to launch from strike-length Mk.41 cells on surface ships, and 120 UGM-109 CLS missiles that are fired from different vertical launch tubes installed on American submarines.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (32%); Camden, AR (11%); Ogden, UT (8%); Anniston, AL (4%); Minneapolis, MN (4%); Ft. Wayne, IN (4%); Glenrothes, Scotland (4%); Dallas, TX (4%); Spanish Fork, UT (3%); Vergennes, VT (3%); Walled Lake, MI (2%); Berryville, AR (2%); El Segundo, CA (2%); Westminster, CO (2%); Middletown, CT (2%); Huntsville, AL (1%); Farmington, NM (0.2%); and various locations in the continental United States and outside the continental United States (11.8%); and is expected to be completed in August 2015. See also Raytheon.

    FY 2013: 252

    Sept 3/12: OASuW. Aviation Week offers a look into the Tomahawk’s potential future. In June 2012, the US Navy announced a sole-source contract to Raytheon to develop the interim Offensive Anti-Surface Weapon (OASuW) by modifying a Tomahawk Block IV missiles with new sensors and data links. The missile is expected to enter service by 2015… but it’s likely to face competition from Lockheed Martin’s LRASM-A, among others.

    Full OASuW Technology Development awards are expected to begin in FY 2013, after a Q2 Milestone A decision. The technical Development phase runs from FY 2013 – FY 2017, to an expected total of $557.2 million. Initial Operational Capability is currently set for 2024.

    July 12/12: CCLS. A $45.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, buying 123 Tomahawk Block IV Composite Capsule Launching Systems (CCLS) for the US Navy.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (24.61%); Lincoln, NB (23.17%); Camden, AR (12.48%); Rocket Center, WVA (10.3%); Carpentersville, IL (8.74%); Joplin, MO (6.63%); Hopkinton, MA (4.76%); Huntsville, AR (4.37%); Alamitos, CA (2.05%); Torrance, CA (1.47%); Downers Grove, IL (0.75%); and Brooksville, FL (0.67%), and is expected to be complete in July 2014 (N00019-12-C-2000).

    June 7/12: 361 missiles. A $337.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 361 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missiles for the Navy. This includes 238 RGM-109E missiles that are launched from strike-length Mk.41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells on surface ships, and 123 UGM-109E missiles that are launched from submarines equipped with the Capsule Launch System (CLS).

    Raytheon’s release says that the buy includes replenishment of weapons used during Operation ODYSSEY DAWN in Libya, as well as the FY 2012 buy.

    Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (32%); Camden, AR (11%); Ogden, UT (8%); Anniston, AL (4%); Minneapolis, MN (4%); Fort Wayne, IN (4%); Glenrothes, Scotland, UK (4%); Dallas, TX (4%); Spanish Fork, UT (3%); Vergennes, VT (3%); Walled Lake, MI (2%); Berryville, AR (2%); El Segundo, CA (2%); Westminster, CO (2%); Middletown, CT (2%); Huntsville, AL (1%); Farmington, NM (0.2%); and various locations inside and outside the continental United States (11.8%), and is expected to be complete in August 2014 (N00019-12-C-2000).

    FY 2012 + Libya replacement: 361

    April 27/12: New sensors? FBO.gov:

    “The Naval Air Systems Command intends to negotiate and award a sole source order under Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) N00019-11-G-0014, pricing arrangement cost-plus-fixed-fee, for engineering services necessary to support a study to assess the possibility of integrating, onto the Block IV Tomahawk weapon, Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) technologies.”

    The AGM-88E AARGM uses GPS to navigate to the target’s vicinity, then finds targets that are moving or have moved using a combination of emission-locating ESM and an active millimeter wave radar seeker. AARGM is meant to destroy enemy air defense systems, but a system for a missile of this size would also be able to target enemies like ships. ATK received a $452,000 contract on Aug 22/12.

    xGM-109E Block IV TLAMs: A Program Success Story

    Fly.
    (click to view full)

    Block IV missiles offer a number of improvements over previous versions: the missile’s purchase cost drops by almost half, to about $750,000, while lowering its future maintenance costs, and upgrading its capabilities.

    Capt. Bob Novak, who was the Tomahawk All-Up-Round (PMA-280) program manager until August 2005, began leading the Tomahawk AUR program team in 2002 during a critical time in the development of the Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile. Under his leadership the program awarded the Navy’s first-ever weapons multi-year contract, and was estimated to have reduced the cost per missile from Block III to Block IV by almost 50%, saving $1 billion over planned lifetime costs while upgrading the missile’s capabilities. While reducing the Block IV Tactical Tomahawk’s purchase costs, improved design and manufacturing also reduced maintenance/ recertification requirements from once every 8 years for Block III missiles to once every 15 years.

    PMA-280 was honored with several prominent awards, including the Secretary of Defense Value Engineering Award, the Daedalian Award, and the Ed Heinemann Award.

    Boom.
    (click to view full)

    One important new capability that Block IV Tomahawk brings to the US Navy’s Sea Strike doctrine is derived from the missile’s 2-way satellite data link, which enables the missile to respond to changing battlefield conditions. The strike controller can “flex” the missile in flight to preprogrammed alternate targets, redirect it to a new target, or even have it loiter over the battlefield awaiting a more critical target. Block IV Tomahawks can also transmit battle damage indication imagery and missile health and status messages via the satellite data link, allowing firing platforms to execute missions in real time.

    Global Positioning System-only missions are also possible in addition to the missile’s previous terrain-mapping guidance mode, thanks to an improved anti-jam GPS receiver for enhanced mission performance.

    The majority of Tomahawk cruise missiles are currently launched by Navy surface vessels, such as the Ticonderoga Class (CG-47) cruisers and Arleigh Burke Class (DDG-51) destroyers. The later series of Improved Los Angeles Class (SSN-688I) and the newest Virginia Class (SSN-744) attack submarines are also armed with 12 dedicated Tomahawk launch tubes, while earlier Los Angeles boats and the newest Seawolf Class (SSN-21) have to sacrifice some of their stored torpedoes to carry and launch Tomahawks through their torpedo tubes. But the USA’s premier Tomahawk carrier vehicle in future will be the Ohio Class SSGN stealth strike subs, with launch capacity for an astounding 154 Tactical Tomahawks each.

    Additional Readings & Sources

    DID would like to thank Raytheon Tomahawk Program Director Roy Donelson, and Growth Program Manager Chris Sprinkle, for their assistance with this article. Any mistakes are our own damn fault. Readers with corrections or information to contribute are encouraged to contact editor Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

    Weapon & Program Background

    News & Views

    • DID – LRASM Missiles: Reaching for a Long-Range Punch. Covers the USN’s OASuW program, whose sea-launched component has already affected the Tomahawk program. The current plan is based around air and sea-launched adaptations of Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158B JASSM-ER.

    • FAS Strategic Security Blog (March 18/13) – US Navy Instruction Confirms Retirement of Nuclear Tomahawk Cruise Missile. The xGM-109B Tomahawk Block II.

    • Defense Daily (Nov 29/07) – Navy Seeks New Uses For Tomahawks. Covers a number of program developments, including the potential for thermobaric warheads.

    • Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester Magazine (April 12/07) – Submarine-launched Tomahawk IV flight test a success

    • Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester Magazine (Dec 14/06) – Tomahawk IV in West Coast Test. “The test successfully demonstrated the Tomahawk Strike Network. The Tomahawk Strike Network (TSN) is a unique aspect of the Block IV system. Utilized in this test, TSN is a communications network that provides secure connectivity among all of the participants in a strike plan. Those participants include the Block IV missile(s), the strike controller, and the missile controller. Messages are generated, sent, and received inside the network, and are monitored by a channel controller. TSN allows the strike controller to retarget the missile in flight, monitor the health and status of the missile in flight, and collect images along the route.”

    • Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester Magazine (Aug 10/05) – Tomahawk program marks historic milestone. Capt. Rick McQueen became the 1st program manager for the newly formed Tomahawk Weapons System Program Office (PMA-280), as the Navy’s All-Up-Round (PMA-280) and Cruise Missile Weapons Systems (PMA-282) groups merged.

    • Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester Magazine (Oct 7/04) – New Tomahawk ready for warfighter. Block IV was accepted by the USN on Sept 29/04.

    Categories: News

    Argentina pause talks on Kfir deal | Delivery of MQ-4C Triton to US Navy planned for next month | Meteor Aerospace announce new MALE UAV

    Thu, 08/17/2017 - 04:00
    Americas

    • The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Lockheed Martin a $24.1 million contract modification for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter logistics services for US and foreign military sales customers. Under the terms of the agreement, Lockheed Martin will provide material for depot stand-up and activation, canopy systems and avionics subsystems to the US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and non-Pentagon participants and foreign military sales participants. Work will be carried out in Fort Worth, Texas, with a scheduled completion time for August 2019.

    • Argentina has stopped negotiations over the possible purchase of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir fighters after earlier indications that Buenos Ares was close to agreeing to an order of between 12-14 aircraft. While the Kfir first entered operational service more than 40 years ago, IAI were offering the Argentine military upgraded Block 60 variants, which includes a GE Aviation J79 engine, Elta Systems’ EL/M-2032 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and an open architecture avionics suite that allows customers to install its own systems. However, pricing of the Kfirs has been a sticking point in the negotiations, and news that Argentina has stopped talk may indicate that they may instead move ahead with an offer to purchase six second-hand Super Étendard carrier-borne fighters from France.

    • An early operational capability MQ-4C Triton UAV is expected to be delivered to the US Navy next month, slightly later than its planned August delivery date. The news comes as Northrop commended taxi tests this week ahead of moving the aircraft to NAS Point Mugu, California, where it will conduct its first flight. The baseline Triton, also known as the integrated function capability 3 configuration, will come equipped with Northop’s multifunction active sensor (MFAS), a maritime patrol version of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and Northrop will deliver two baseline Triton aircraft, B5 and B6, to NAS Point Mugu. After Triton reaches early operational capability in fiscal year 2018, Northrop has its eye on initial operational capability in 2021. The company also plan to add a signals intelligence capability, which will bring it on par with the navy’s manned EP-3 reconnaissance fleet.

    • The US Marine Corps has put in a request for an additional M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles to replace the M4 carbine that infantry and other units currently use. 50,000 units have been added to the initial order of 11,000 already placed. The initial order was to replace most M249 Squad Automatic Weapons in Marine service, with the SAW held in reserve. In most respects, experts agree the M27 is a superior rifle to the M4, but it does come at an increased cost—M27s cost $3,000 apiece against the M4’s $1,000 per unit price tag.

    Middle East & Africa

    • It’s been revealed that the Algerian military has received the Buk-M2E surface-to-air missile system, after images of a Buk-M2 transporter-erector-launcher on a MZKT 6922 6×6 wheeled vehicle surfaced last month. The images were taken at July’s Majd 2017 military exercise for the Algerian People’s National Army’s (ANP) El-Djeich magazine, and showed the system launching a 9M317-series missile. Russia has already sold the Buk-M2E—the export version of the Buk-M2 introduced in 2008—to Syria, Venezuela, and Azerbaijan.

    • Israel’s Meteor Aerospace has announced that they have commenced full-scale development of a new a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle. Known as the Impact 1300, the UAV will have a maximum take-off weight of 1,300kg (2,860lb) and is likely to have an operating ceiling of 30,000ft, with a possible endurance of more than 30h, depending on its configuration. The UAV has two spacious and easily accessible payload bays, it adds, with the forward one to carry electro-optical/infrared payloads and the rear for heavier equipment, such as a synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indication capability. Flight testing is planned for 2019.

    Europe

    • The British Royal Navy’s biggest and latest battleship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, has berthed at its home port of Portsmouth for the first time. Greeting the new aircraft carrier was a crowd of ten thousand people, among them UK Prime Minister Teresa May, who hailed the vessel as “a clear signal that as Britain forges a new, positive, confident role on the world stage in the years ahead we are determined to remain a fully engaged global power, working closely with our friends and allies around the world.” The vessel and its crew had just returned from a round of sea trails and training with US naval personnel.

    Asia Pacific

    • Despite the recent maiden flight of an Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar combat jet upgraded to the DAIRN III standard, New Delhi’s modernization program for the fleet has been criticized by some service officials as progressing too slowly and that there’s uncertainty regarding the mounting of proposed new engines. The refit is being undertaken by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and includes new engines from US-based firm Honeywell, however, the firm has said it’s “still awaiting the go-ahead from the Indian Air Force for the new engines.” In addition to the engine delays, autopilot systems produced by France’s Thales are operating at a sub-optimal level because a vital component ? the Auto Pilot Electronic Unit, which maintains the flight path of the aircraft ? required repairs by Thales, which are expected to be completed in 7 to 26 months. In addition to these equipment delays, the IAF plan to run a further six flight tests before inducting the upgraded aircraft into service. India, the only country to still operate the Jaguar, hopes that once implemented, it will extend the aircraft’s life until 2050, with initial phase out to commence in 2035.

    Today’s Video

    • Aeronautics Defense Systems’ Orbital 1K UAV:

    https://youtu.be/zYKmVEWzkxo
    Categories: News

    Two to Tango? Argentina Looking Everywhere for New Warplanes

    Thu, 08/17/2017 - 03:59

    Kfir C2
    (click to view full)

    Argentina’s air force is having a hard time maintaining its core Nesher/”Finger” fighters, even as the Kirchner regime seeks to take control of the Falkland Islands and their potential offshore oil reserves. That led Argentina to search for new fighter options, as the most reliable way of projecting power to likely exploration zones. Britain’s defenses are also much more run down than they were in the 1980s, and their complete lack of a carrier force leaves ongoing protection of the islands’ surrounding economic zones to just 2-4 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, an offshore patrol vessel, and part of a regular navy ship rotation.

    Argentina’s window of opportunity will close when Britain’s advanced carrier force enters service in 2020, which has added urgency on both sides as Argentina tries to make a deal. Can Argentina find its partner?

    Forces Around the Falklands: Situation Report British Breakdown

    Gone.

    The islands’ inhabitants voted overwhelmingly to remain part of Britain during the referendum. Unfortunately, Britain has lost more than just its carrier force in the intervening years since the Falklands War. The Vulcan bombers and Victor tankers that staged ultra-long range bombing raids are long gone. The Harriers bought after the war ended, and modernized for use in Afghanistan, were retired. So were the Tornado F3 aircraft that were bought in the 1980s for long-range combat air patrols. The Royal Navy’s number of serious surface combatants has sunk to just 19, only 1 of which patrols the South Atlantic and West Africa at any given time. Worse, it has readiness issues with its attack submarines.

    All this creates a window of opportunity for Argentina – one that will slam shut decisively around 2020, once Britain’s new 65,000t HMS Queen Elizabeth and its F-35B fighters steam into service.

    RAF C-17
    (click to view full)

    Until then, an Argentinian force with modern jets and enough anti-ship missiles could conceivably open the door for a repeat invasion, by making recapture too risky and difficult. First, however, they’d have to take the island. Britain has extended and considerably reinforced the Mount Pleasant airfield with radars, air defenses, and a rotating infantry battalion. The addition of long-range C-17 heavy jet transports to the RAF makes fast long-range troop & vehicle reinforcement possible, forcing any invader to capture, destroy, or interdict the airfield in order to succeed. Meanwhile, the mere threat of nuclear submarines will continue to keep Argentina’s surface navy, such as it is, out of the picture as always.

    That’s why harassment and access denial attempts are far more likely, as Argentina continues to attempt intimidation of any oil & gas companies that will be working in the Falklands’ Economic Exclusion Zone. That sort of gambit is harder to thwart, requiring the British to commit more forces and incur more expense than they would like.

    If Britain wants to protect the Falklands this time, the rag-tag state of Argentina’s military is its biggest asset. Their goal is too keep Argentina from acquiring the tools they need to create even a moderately effective anti-access zone. If Argentina gets any new fighters at all, Britain’s goal becomes much harder and more expensive.

    Argentina’s Efforts

    FAA Super Etendards

    Argentina’s Super Etendard fighters, which were used to launch Exocet missiles in the 1980s and still serve, come from France. Its Mirage III/ V/ “Nesher” fighters were originally bought second-hand from Israel and Peru, but they have deteriorated badly. Its A-4R “Fightinghawk” Skyhawk models were sold to Argentina by the USA, and what’s left of those deliveries make up the bulk of their jet fleet.

    Despite steadily-worsening relations with Britain under the Obama administration, the USA is not about to sell Argentina jet fighters. British diplomacy has already worked to delay Argentina’s proposed Super Etendard modernization, and also scuttled a reported deal to buy 16 second-hand Mirage F-1M fighters from Spain.

    Cheetahs & Gripens
    (click to view full)

    That leaves Argentina’s original source for the Neshers. Israel doesn’t have any of those left, but they do have their own Kfir design that made structural changes to the Nesher blueprints, added a more powerful American J-79 turbojet, and received progressive modifications to its radar, electronics, and weapons. Those upgrades continued even after the Kfirs were retired from Israeli service in the late 1990s, on behalf of customers like Colombia, Ecuador, and Sri Lanka. Kfir C.10/ Block 60s carry modern radars and electronics on par with F-16 Block 40/50s, and have the ability to use beyond visual range aerial weapons, advanced short range AAMs, and a variety of precision strike weapons. Their combat radius is a bit short, and it would take a brave Kfir pilot to face a Eurofighter Typhoon in single combat. Even so, they’re capable fighters with aerial refueling capability, which makes them well suited to intimidation and presence patrols. Negotiations for a sale are in an advanced stage.

    The good news for Britain, such as it is, is that Argentina still has to hang weapons on any fighters they buy. The FAA must either stick with their existing set of old equipment and forego most of the new fighter’s potential, or buy new weapons from the USA or Israel. Any new weapon sales would be a double escalation, making those sales less likely. The most dangerous Kfir-related sale, of Gabriel 3 anti-ship missiles, would make Britain an outright enemy of Israel’s. That won’t happen. The question is whether Britain can pressure Israel to block the Kfir fighter sale in toto – or have it blocked by the Americans, who control the J-79 engines.

    If the Israeli sale falls through for some reason, South Africa has already sold similar Cheetah fighters to Ecuador and Chile. Enough were produced to sell 18 more to Argentina, but the best airframes have presumably been taken already. Cheetahs are powered by French Snecma Atar 9K50 engines, instead of the Kfir’s American J-79. That removes a key American veto, but it also means that South Africa would need some level of French cooperation. Given French delays and demurrals around refurbishing Argentina’s French Super Etendards, that cooperation could become problematic.

    Chile’s decommissioned Mirage 50 Pantera fighters are similar to the Cheetahs, but Chile isn’t interested in selling any to Argentina.

    JF-17 – note C802!
    (click to view full)

    If those options fail, Argentina faces a shrinking set of choices.

    South Korea’s TA-50 and FA-50 light fighters would be more expensive than the proposed Israeli deal, which already strains Argentina’s finances. They also use American F404 engines, requiring US export approval, and can’t mount anti-ship missiles yet.

    Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighters are the subject of talks with Brazil, but they use American F414 engines and British Martin-Baker ejection seats, to name only the most difficult substitutions. Indeed, about 30% of those planes are traceable to British firms – and Britain has stated that they will block such exports.

    The only sources free of American or European influence are Russia and China.

    Chinese F-8 “Finback-Bs” would be a very cheap used option, presenting no serious threat, but good for harassment patrols and shows of force at range. The question is whether they could be kept in the air. The JF-17 Thunder from China and Pakistan would be a more advanced option and a definite threat, thanks to its ability to carry C802 subsonic and CM-400AKG supersonic anti-ship missiles. Argentina has expressed interest in the JF-17, and has held discussions directly with China.

    Russia is the other potential source. They may have used or used/new-build MiG-29S+ multi-role planes to offer, if Putin wants to stick a finger in Britain’s eye for sanctions over the annexation of Crimea. The problem with the MiGs is that even with the extra fuel tanks in recent variants, the fighters have poor range. That makes them less useful to Argentina. SU-30 family planes have plenty of range, but they’re more expensive, and may be out of Argentina’s reach unless Russia really wants to make a point by offering subsidies.

    Contracts & Key Events

    Shattered Glass August 17/17: Argentina has stopped negotiations over the possible purchase of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir fighters after earlier indications that Buenos Ares was close to agreeing to an order of between 12-14 aircraft. While the Kfir first entered operational service more than 40 years ago, IAI were offering the Argentine military upgraded Block 60 variants, which includes a GE Aviation J79 engine, Elta Systems’ EL/M-2032 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and an open architecture avionics suite that allows customers to install its own systems. However, pricing of the Kfirs has been a sticking point in the negotiations, and news that Argentina has stopped talk may indicate that they may instead move ahead with an offer to purchase six second-hand Super Étendard carrier-borne fighters from France.

    June 27/17: Argentina’s discussions with France over the purchase of six second-hand Super Étendard carrier-borne fighters continue, with Buenos Aries looking to score the fighters for $10 million. While Paris is looking for slightly more—about $12 million in the exchange—the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) said that it would be ready to provide financing to facilitate a cash-strapped Argentina fund the acquisition. Designed by Dassault Aviation for the French Navy and commissioned in 1978, Buenos Aries purchased 12 of the aircraft back in 1979, some of which participated in the Falklands War.

    May 22/17: Cash-strapped Argentina has reportedly agreed to purchase seven refurbished Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard fighter-bombers originally used by the French Navy. Included in the talks is the possible sale of engines to power 20 Argentine Pucaras aircraft currently grounded by Buenos Aries, as well as a re-equipment program will also include the construction at the Tandanor yards of four patrol vessels. If concluded, the deal will move away from earlier plans by Argentina to purchase Kfir fighters from Israel and “prohibitively expensive” F-16s from the US.

    January 5/17: The previously stalled acquisition by Argentina’s Air Force to buy Kfir Block 60 upgraded fighters from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is back on the table. While pricing remains one of several stumbling blocks that still lay ahead in any talks, a successful deal would see IAI assemble and upgrade 12-14 Kfir fighters for Argentina. The most recent upgrade includes J-79 engines, Elta 2032 active electronically scanned array radar, and an open architecture that will allow the customer to install custom systems. Colombia, Ecuador, and Sri Lanka are all current operators.

    March 11/16: After the breaking off of talks between Argentina and Israel over the sale of 14 Kfir Block 60 fighters, both parties are to resume negotiations. The deal had initially been called off in October, just before contracts were to be signed, as a result of elections in Argentina. The fighters had been previously used by the Israeli Air Force, but have been upgraded with the latest systems, including the Elta 2032 active electronically scanned array radar. They will also have an open architecture to allow the Argentinian air force to install other systems.

    December 3/15: Argentina has officially said adiós to the last of its serving Dassault Mirage fighters. A large-scale public air show on November 30 saw the fleet decommissioned after over forty years of service. The Mirage had been the jet of choice in Argentina since 1973, after the government was impressed by its capabilities when used by the Israeli Air Force during the Six Day War. The decommissioning will leave a hole in the Argentinian Air Force’s capability as a replacement for the aircraft has not yet been found. An earlier deal to purchase second-hand Kfir Block 60 fighters from Israel has been put on hold indefinitely amid issues over weapons systems and upgrades. The newly elected government of Maurico Macri will be responsible for obtaining replacement fighters subject to available funding.

    November 18/15: Argentina’s drive to replace its aging Mirage fighter fleet with second hand Israeli Kfir Block 60 fighters has come under criticism from Argentine Air Force number three, Brigadier Mario Roca. Argentina had planned to purchase fourteen of the fighters (which included two two-seat traners) with the deal to have cost between $220-360 million. The criticisms arose when the first six fighters would arrive within 18 months, but without weapons systems, and all upgrades needed to be completed in Israel. The deal has for now been put on hold indefinitely with Defence Minister Agustin Rossi deciding to leave the deal to be concluded by the next administration. Opposition politicians have stated that if elected, they would look into replacing the fleet independently.

    August 20/15: Argentina is formally retiring its fleet of Mirage fighters, which will leave active service in November. The Argentinian Air Force has been looking for a new fighter fleet for a while now, with reports in July indicating that the South American country may be in negotiations to buy second-hand Israeli Kfir Block 60 fighters.

    Dec 1/14: What Now? In the aftermath of Argentina’s short-lived, clumsy attempt to procure aircraft with British parts through Brazil, analysts review what both Argentina and Brazil may do next.

    On Argentina’s side, a history of failed negotiations to acquire used aircraft with France, Spain and Israel will make it tough to revive talks with these parties. One possibility would have been to buy the 12 used Mirage 2000s acquired by Brazil from France in 2005 and retired by the Brazilian Air Force at the end of 2013. This may buy time for Argentina but they would need to reinvest in these aircraft, and also find more elsewhere. But it is reportedly because of high maintenance costs and problems with parts availability that Brazil decided to retire aircraft that sported 10,000+ flight hours each. Add the fact Brazil would have needed to secure resell rights from Dassault, and that is a long list of hurdles for Argentina to clear even if the seller is a friendly neighbor. See DID’s coverage of Brazil’s FX-2 program, Aug 5/13 entry.

    Another option is to procure used or new jets from China or Russia, and even though the Argentinian Air Force would prefer Western aircraft, Both China and Russia are likely to be more flexible on financing and/or payment in kind than Western countries would, especially as long as Argentina’s financial situation has not been fully normalized on global markets. Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) held initial talks with China about the potential local production of FC-1 fighters back in mid-2013. Meanwhile Argentina and Russia have been getting cozy on diplomatic and energy matters. See the “Argentina’s Efforts” section above for a more detailed discussion of the available options.

    Meanwhile Embraer is reportedly worried that the Brazilian government’s decision to develop a strategic partnership with Argentina may curtail technology transfers from Saab and even lead to reprisals by Western suppliers. That the alliance was announced as a government-to-government affair may only partly shield the company from consequences. Is getting along with its weaker, chronically ill southern neighbor worth potential diplomatic and business problems for Brazil? Sources: DefesaNet: “Full of uncertainty, strategic alliance with Argentines can bring damage to Brazil” | Defense News: “Argentina’s Jet Fighter Replacement Options Narrow” | FP: “Keeping Putin’s Hands Off Argentina’s Oil”.

    Nov 9/14: Gripen NG. Argentina may want to do a deal with Brazil (q.v. Oct 22/14), but Britain has now publicly said “no.” To be more precise, they reiterate the continued existence of a ban. A spokesperson for the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills:

    “We are determined to ensure that no British-licensable exports or trade have the potential to be used by Argentina to impose an economic blockade on the Falkland Islanders or inhibit their legitimate rights to develop their own economy…”

    About 30% of the JAS-39E/F will be British, from the ejection seats to the radar, landing gear, and a number of electronic systems. Embraer could try to downgrade and substitute, but Argentina lacks the money to finance such an ambitious effort. Now add the fact that a newly-Republican US Senate and House would block export’s of GE’s F414 engines. As knowledgeable observers expected, Argentina will have to look elsewhere. C4ISR & Networks, “Argentina Buying Gripens? Brits Say ‘No Way'”.

    Oct 22/14: Gripen NG. During the Embraer KC-390 medium jet transport’s rollout, Argentina and Brazil sign a formal “Alianca Estrategica em Industria Aeronautica.” Argentina is already making parts for the KC-390, and they need a larger partner for a number of other reasons. The FAB’s releases add that Argentina is also thinking of buying JAS-39E/F Gripens from Embraer, whose Brazilian factory will assemble at least 36 of the advanced Swedish fighters under the pending F-X2 program:

    “El Gobierno nacional decidio iniciar una negociacion con la administracion de Dilma Rousseff para la adquisicion de 24 aviones Saab Gripen dentro del programa denominado FX 2…”

    Regional export rights are also expected to be part of the $5+ billion deal, which is signed on Oct 24/14. That could get interesting, because the Gripen has systems from the USA and Britain in it. You might be able to replace electronics, but it’s expensive – and ejection seats and engines are a lot tougher. Sources: FAB NOTIMP, “Argentina quiere comprar 24 cazas supersonicos”.

    Kfir, improved

    March 23/14: Kfir. A high-level Argentine delegation has reportedly visited Israel to finalize the sale of 18 Kfir jets. Most sources mention the “Block 60” version, which is very similar to the Kfir C10 that has been sold to Ecuador and Colombia, and reports also mention the EL/M-2032 radar. Once again, however, this is a proposed deal that comes despite issues with Argentina. Ha’aretz:

    “…Kirchner government made [a deal] last year with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Buenos Aires Jewish community building that killed 85 people and is widely believed to have been carried out by Hezbollah with Iranian backing.”

    That may cause controversy in Israel, and British pressure can be expected as well. On the other hand, Israel was less than pleased by Britain’s recent role in ending sanctions against Iran for its nuclear weapons program. A fighter sale to Argentina would certainly be one way to attach significant consequences to Britain’s actions, without the anti-ship capabilities that would mark a huge escalation. The British do have one big lever left, however: the Kfirs’ J79 turbojets need American approval for re-export. America needs British support regarding Russia right now, so despite past snubs, the Obama administration will find it inconvenient to alienate Britain further.

    Finally, note that Ha’aretz is wrong about Kfirs being sold to South Africa. Israeli expertise was likely transferred, but they are not interchangeable in a fleet – Cheetahs use different engines than the Kfirs, and South Africa did modify its Mirages locally. Is basic fact-checking and editorial oversight too much to ask? Sources: Ha’aretz, “Argentina buying 30-year-old Israeli fighter jets” | LU22 Radio Tandil, “Avanzan las negociaciones para la compra de aviones Kfirs Block 60 a Israel”.

    March 10/14: Super Etendard. Argentina’s efforts to upgrade 10 of its 11 remaining Super Etendard fighters have hit a bit of a snag in France:

    “The Argentine Navy still wants 10 SEM kits for its Super Etendards, but has to date received no indication from France as to how or when this order might be filled.

    Moreover, military relations between the two states have cooled due to a deal last year between France and the UK that could create roadblocks to France’s selling the kits, and an updated version of the Exocet missile, to Argentina…”

    Sources: IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, “Argentine Super Etendard modernisation hits major snags”.

    Super Etendard modernization stalls

    Colombian Kfirs
    (click to view full)

    Jan 23/14: Kfir. Argentina has reportedly opened discussions with Israel about selling up to 18 refurbished Kfir fighters. The proposed deal is reportedly worth about $500 million, with 6 jets to be refurbished in Israel. Another 12 would be shipped to Argentina along with modernization kits, for local assembly under Israeli supervision.

    “Brazilian journalist Roberto Lopes, who specializes in defense issues was the first to reveal that Israel/Argentina deal negotiations caused concern in the government of PM David Cameron and allegedly representatives from the UK Defense ministry asked their Israel counterparts “for a detailed description of the electronic systems and avionics” of the 18 Kfir…. London fears the aircraft could be used to track and intimidate vessels involved in the Falklands oil and gas industry development…. Lopes also reveals that “the issue is being monitored since the end of 2013 by Brazil’s Itamaraty (foreign ministry) and defense ministry”.”

    IAI’s offer had reportedly been made earlier, but the proposal was reportedly pursued only after Spain declined to pursue the Mirage F1 deal any further. Sources: MercoPress, “Argentina after Israeli fighter planes; concern in London and Brasilia, says defense expert”.

    Jan 2/14: Mirage F1. Argentine sources tell IHS Jane’s that the Spanish Mirage deal has stalled and could be cancelled.

    “Local media reports indicated that the Argentine Air Force (FAA) has begun analysing other options, including second-hand Dassault Mirage 2000s from France or Brazil, but appears to be leaning towards an Israeli offer of 18 IAI Lahav Kfir Block 60 multi-role fighters for USD500 million, with a possible delivery date some 15 months after a contract signature.”

    While Spain’s economic situation made them receptive to Argentina’s request, Spain could lose much more if relations with Britain become problematic. Sources: IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, “Argentine Mirage F1 buy reportedly stalls”.

    No Mirage F1s

    Oct 6/13: Kfir. IAI and even the Israeli Air Force begin to talk about the new “Block 60” Kfir variant, which is based on Colombia’s refitted C10 aircraft:

    “The Kfir Block 60 offers a robust and versatile Mach 2+ multi-role jet fighter, carrying 5.5 tons payloads on nine hard-points under the wings and fuselage. The weaponry is enhanced to include Python 5 and Derby. Kfir Block 60 has also completed the integration of RAFAEL Spice autonomous guided weapon, (second platform offering that capability, after the F-16). Conforming to NATO standards, Kfir Block 60 supports Link-16 datalink protocol. The aircraft has combat radius of 1,000 km (540 nm) unrefueled. With refueling the aircraft can fly to a range of 1,100 nm.”

    Whether or not Israeli Kfir C2s could carry Gabriel Mk.III anti-ship missiles, Argentina doesn’t have any, and any sale by Israel would have serious diplomatic repercussions. Refurbished Kfirs are reportedly restored to 8,000 safe flight-hours hours under warranty, meaning the plane can easily serve for 20-30 years. “Sources: Defense Update, “At 40 Years of age, Kfir Turns into a “Networked Fighter”” | Israeli Air Force, “Roaring Back”.

    Spanish F1M
    (click to view full)

    Oct 1/13: Mirage F1. After several months of advance reports, Argentina has reportedly come to an agreement with Spain to buy 16 used Mirage F1s. Iraq’s F1EQ-5 jets were modified to carry the Exocet anti-ship missile, but they required modifications. Spain upgraded their F1Cs to F1Ms, but it isn’t clear whether their planes ever added Exocet capability.

    The deal is something of a surprise, given the Argentine government’s 2012 seizure of Spanish oil major Repsol’s majority stake in Argentina’s national YPF oil company. Respol’s international legal claim is for $10 billion, but the Spanish government is facing depression-level economic conditions, and has few other options to sell those planes. Sources: MercoPress, “Argentina buys 16 Mirage F 1 from Spain; half have air-refuelling capacity” | UPI, “Argentina goes for second-hand jets for air force”.

    Mirage F1 deal

    Aug 5/13: Mirage F1. Spain is reportedly working on a deal with Spain for its recently-decommissioned Mirage F1 fighters, which have been replaced in Spain’s service by the Eurofighter:

    “The only real hard news and from Spanish defence media, is that Spain is effectively decommissioning the last eight Mirage F 1 –which have been on service for 35 years–, to be replaced by the Eurofighter, and is looking for buyers and among the countries named are Argentina, Egypt and Ecuador…. The Argentine air force currently has an estimated 25 Mirage 5 and Mirage III with over thirty years in service…. However according to Argentine sources the aircraft are virtually out of use because of lack of spares and an adequate maintenance.”

    Depending on how one counts, it has been more like 22 years of service since their deep modernization to F1M status. The RAF won’t give an on-the-record response, but British newspapers are told by unnamed sources that “If the Argentines start playing games and escalate the tension we will see more RAF aircraft being deployed to the Falklands.” That would help prevent a takeover, but unless Britain adds a lot of fighters, it may not quite stop intimidation flights against energy companies working in the Falklands EEZ. MercoPress, “Falklands and the Mirages: playing with the Islanders worst memories” | Daily Express, “Jet fighter threat to the Falkland Islands” | Daily Mirror, “Falklands alert as Argentina strikes £145 million deal for 20 Mirage warplanes” | Israel’s Globes, “IAI selling upgraded Kfir jets for $20m”.

    June 27/13: JF-17. Argentina is reportedly in talks with China concerning the FC-1/ JF-17 fighter, a joint project with Pakistan whose performance lies somewhere between a Mirage F1 and an F-16. It can use radar-guided air-to-air missiles, but its most important asset is the CASIC CM-400AKG supersonic anti-ship missile, with a range that’s longer than France’s sub-sonic Exocets. Its is also shown at air shows like Farnborough with China’s C802 sub-sonic anti-ship missile, which is very similar to the American Harpoon.

    “Speaking at the Paris Air Show in mid-June, officials from Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) told IHS Jane’s that the company has had multiple discussions with Chinese officials over co-producing the fighter in Argentina. Although the FC-1/JF-17 is already jointly built with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, FAdeA officials stressed that they are dealing solely with the Chinese…. While discussions are said to be far from over, if realised they will open up a wide panoply of Chinese weapon systems to Argentina…”

    Sources: IHS Jane’s Missiles & Rockets, “Fighter talks may afford Argentina advanced Chinese missile systems”.

    Additional Readings

    Up above, DID asked of Ha’aretz, “Is basic fact-checking and editorial oversight too much to ask?” Sometimes, that comes back to bite. Thanks to readers who wrote in to us about local defensive measures and options in the Falklands that we had not covered. We had good discussions, but the plain fact is that some of the omissions were important items. They have been added to the article, with our thanks – and our apologies.

    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: Aircraft

    News & Views

    Categories: News

    USAF OA-X experiment could see ME combat | Elbit defense suites spotted on RSAF helicopters | Israeli probe into drone demo in Azerbaijan

    Wed, 08/16/2017 - 04:00
    Americas

    • The US DoD has awarded General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems a $9.7 million contract modification for the continued work on submarine fire control systems of US and British Royal Navy vessels. Under the terms of the deal, General Dynamics work remit will include maintenance for the Attack Weapon Control System on SSGN guided missile submarines and missile fire-control development for the future US Columbia-class and British Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarines. Both vessels will replace the US Ohio-class and British Vanguard-class submarines currently in operation by both navies, and will share a Common Missile Compartment for the Trident II and other weapons such as cruise missiles. The Columbias and Dreadnoughts are projected to start entering service in the late 2020s and phase out the older models.

    • Three days ahead of schedule, the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier has commenced sea trails following a six-month overhaul and upgrade at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash. A Nimitz-class carrier, the vessel is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Three including its carrier air wing of up to 70 aircraft and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Mobile Bay. After trials, Carrier Strike Group Three will begin its operations in the Pacific Ocean as part of the Navy’s Pacific fleet, at a time when tensions in the region grow amid North Korea’s ballistic missile testing and Chinese naval assertiveness in the South China Sea.

    • Following the completion of ongoing demonstrations as part of the USAF’s light attack aircraft experiment, potential aircraft may then face a combat demonstration in the Middle East. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters last week that the aircraft—the A-29 Super Tucano from Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer, the AT-802L Longsword by L3 and Air Tractor, and the AT-6 Wolverine and Scorpion jet, both by Textron—could all face missions against militants from the Islamic State and other terrorist groups as part of the demonstration’s next phase. The ongoing flights at Holloman AFB in New Mexico have already has several top Air Force officials view the trials, as well as representatives from about a dozen international partner militaries, including members from Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Paraguay.

    Middle East & Africa

    • An investigation is underway by the Israeli Defense Ministry after it received a complaint accusing UAV-maker Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. of using its Orbiter 1K UAV to attack a Armenian military position during a demonstration for Azerbaijan officials last month. Azerbaijan—who have already agreed terms on buying the Israeli-made Iron Dome air defense system—allegedly requested that Aeronautic Defense Systems demonstrate the vehicle, armed with explosives, against an Armenian military target, something the drone’s two operators refused to comply with. This resulted in two senior representatives of the company arming and operating the unmanned aircraft themselves. Ultimately the drones are said to have missed their targets, and no damage was caused, but according to the complaint, one of them struck at a distance of about 100 meters (330 feet) from the position. Armenia and Azerbaijan have been fighting over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh since the late 1980s, with recent years seeing an increased military buildup. In recent years, Azerbaijan has purchased nearly $5 billion worth of military equipment from Israel.

    Europe

    • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her CDU party’s planned defense spending hikes, adding that it will not result in decreased welfare spending by the government. Merkel, who has been Chancellor since 2005, is facing her third federal election as leader of Germany and is looking to ward of a challenge from the rival SPD, who have campaigned on a platform of social justice and has rejected demands from US President Donald Trump that Germany meet NATO’s spending target of 2 percent of national output on defense. Merkel said that while it was necessary to increase defense spending, “that will not lead to any social expenditure being cut … It won’t come at the cost of anything we pay for today.”

    Asia Pacific

    • Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has completed the maiden flight of a two-seater maritime strike variant of the Sepecat Jaguar combat jet fitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The flight is part of New Delhi’s $520 million upgrade program to bring 61 of India’s 157 Jaguar jets to the DARIN III standard—a modernization that includes new avionics and cockpit, in addition to the integration of modern armaments. Darin III-standard Jaguars will also be fitted with MBDA’s ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missile, while Textron Systems’ CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapon has already been integrated on the type. Maritime strike variants of the Jaguar also come equipped with the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile.

    • An Australian and US firm have concluded a comprehensive teaming agreement that will see the team collude on the sales of products and services in Australia. Florida-headquartered Associated Aircraft Manufacturing and Sales Inc (AAMSI) is a Boeing-licensed structural parts manufacturer for F-18 fighter aircraft and CH-47 helicopters, while Milspec Services has been a long-term supplier of logistical services and spares support to the Australian Defense sector. The teaming aims to improve the support provided to both current and future customers without adding any extra costs to the Commonwealth of Australia.

    • Singapore have contracted Elbit Systems to provide and integrate defensive suites on its fleet of Boeing AH-64 Apache attack and CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. An examination of pictures of the one upgraded helicopter upgraded so far show that they have been fitted with missile approach and laser warning systems that look identical to that offered by Elbit as part of its All-in-Small integrated electronic warfare suite. They have also been fitted with rectangular-shaped radar warning receivers similar to that carried on Royal Singapore Air Force’s AS332M/M-1 Super Puma medium-lift helicopter fleet. A SATCOM dome has also been fitted onto the outer leading edge of each of the upgraded Apache’s stub wings, similar to that on Israel’s AH-64D Sarafs, for full 360-degree coverage while the upgraded Chinooks have a SATCOM dome on the top of the fuselage in between the twin rotor booms.

    Today’s Video

    • RAF F-35B ski-jump testing:

    https://youtu.be/ZxBE2Tz3NVQ
    Categories: News

    Bob Work joins the board at Raytheon | Airbus declares Tigers unsafe after Mali crash | BAE enters Type 26 variant for Aus frigate comp

    Tue, 08/15/2017 - 04:00
    Americas

    • Former US Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work has been appointed to the board of missile maker Raytheon. Work held the position under the Barack Obama’s administration from 2014, only ceding the position after his replacement Patrick Shanahan’s appointment was made official in June. Previously, after retiring from the military in 2011, Work then served as Undersecretary of the Navy until 2013, and acted as chief executive officer at the Center for New American Security think tank in Washington, DC.

    • Leonardo has received over $58 million in fresh orders for its Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) for tactical vehicles from the US Army. The deal will see the service provided with dismountable tablets, processor units, and ruggedized touchscreen displays, which offer soldiers a modular series of networked computers designed for field use with ruggedized components. The touchscreen tablet can be mounted in vehicles or be detached for mobile use.

    Middle East & Africa

    • The Italian Navy has sent a maintenance vessel with 50 crew to Tripoli, Libya, and will soon commence work on Libyan naval vessels in line with a 2008 agreement for the training of Libyan navy forces as well as the maintenance, restoration and upgrade of operational platforms and vessels. The naval base where the vessel will be based is home to a section of the navy loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Serraj, who heads the Presidency Council. Formed in 2016, the GNA is the UN-endorsed government in Libya and the agreement with Italy seeks to develop the technical and combat capabilities of the Libyan Navy. The government is opposed politically and militarily by the House of Representatives (HOR) government and Libyan National Army (LNA), with conflicts continuing throughout the country. Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State also have a presence in the country.

    Europe

    • In the wake of a German Tiger helicopter crash in Mali, its manufacturer Airbus has declared all variants of the attack helicopter as unsafe. The announcement was made in a company safety bulletin issued on Aug. 11, and stated that the firm cannot propose a protective measure as it “can neither identity the part, the failure of which would lead to the accident, nor the origin of the failure (design, manufacturing, maintenance).” Since the issuing of the bulletin, Australia has grounded its Tiger fleet, with only essential flights being flown. The German Defense Ministry said that its military authorities were working closely with UN officials, the manufacturer and other countries that operate the helicopters, however, fear that the investigation into the Mali crash could take months.

    • The Ukrainian government has denied claims that it sold defense equipment to North Korea, after it was reported in US media that a local firm sold rocket engines that have in turn been used in recent ballistic missile tests by the hermit kingdom. The manufacturer in question, the state-owned Yuzhmash said it had not produced military-grade ballistic missiles since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Kiev dismissed the reports as Russian propaganda, while Oleksandr Turchynov, the chairman of Ukraine’s Security and Defence Counci, said that “Ukraine has always adhered to all its international commitments, therefore, Ukrainian defense and aerospace complex did not supply weapons and military technology to North Korea.”

    Asia Pacific

    • Despite receiving clearance from the US State Department, Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has played down a deal to buy Harpoon anti-ship missiles, adding that the sale still needs to be finalized. Gen Prayut said that the procurement was possibly part of a previous purchase plan by its state procurement agency and will now need to be followed up by the Defense Ministry before approval. He added that he will seek more information from Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency cleared the $24.9 million sale on Aug. 10, for use on Thailand’s DW3000 Class frigate.

    • BAE Systems has entered a bid to build Australia’s next fleet of anti-submarine warfare frigates. Nine vessels will be built under the contract and the company is offering a variant of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship frigate being constructed for the British Royal Navy. The frigates for the country’s SEA 5000 Future Frigate program are part of a company effort to partner with the government to develop a long-term ship building strategy.

    • Iran’s parliament has agreed to allow additional funding into its missile program and the elite Revolutionary Guards in retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the United States. The increased funding comes after US Congress passed legislation that was signed by US President Donald Trump in early August to impose new sanctions on Iran over its missile program, and will amount in $260 million each going towards Iran’s ballistic missile program and the Quds Force – the external arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has been deployed to battlefields in Iraq and Syria. Tehran denies its missile program violates a UN resolution which endorsed Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and calls upon the Islamic Republic not to conduct activities related to ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it does not design such missiles.

    Today’s Video

    • F-35B ski-jump launch and vertical take off:

    https://youtu.be/W2oIHdi8-wQ
    Categories: News

    Bob Work joins the board at Raytheon | Airbus declares Tigers unsafe after Mali crash | BAE enters Type 26 variant for Aus frigate comp

    Mon, 08/14/2017 - 16:00
    Americas

    • Former US Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work has been appointed to the board of missile maker Raytheon. Work held the position under the Barack Obama’s administration from 2014, only ceding the position after his replacement Patrick Shanahan’s appointment was made official in June. Previously, after retiring from the military in 2011, Work then served as Undersecretary of the Navy until 2013, and acted as chief executive officer at the Center for New American Security think tank in Washington, DC.

    • Leonardo has received over $58 million in fresh orders for its Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) for tactical vehicles from the US Army. The deal will see the service provided with dismountable tablets, processor units, and ruggedized touchscreen displays, which offer soldiers a modular series of networked computers designed for field use with ruggedized components. The touchscreen tablet can be mounted in vehicles or be detached for mobile use.

    Middle East & Africa

    • The Italian Navy has sent a maintenance vessel with 50 crew to Tripoli, Libya, and will soon commence work on Libyan naval vessels in line with a 2008 agreement for the training of Libyan navy forces as well as the maintenance, restoration and upgrade of operational platforms and vessels. The naval base where the vessel will be based is home to a section of the navy loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Serraj, who heads the Presidency Council. Formed in 2016, the GNA is the UN-endorsed government in Libya and the agreement with Italy seeks to develop the technical and combat capabilities of the Libyan Navy. The government is opposed politically and militarily by the House of Representatives (HOR) government and Libyan National Army (LNA), with conflicts continuing throughout the country. Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State also have a presence in the country.

    Europe

    • In the wake of a German Tiger helicopter crash in Mali, its manufacturer Airbus has declared all variants of the attack helicopter as unsafe. The announcement was made in a company safety bulletin issued on Aug. 11, and stated that the firm cannot propose a protective measure as it “can neither identity the part, the failure of which would lead to the accident, nor the origin of the failure (design, manufacturing, maintenance).” Since the issuing of the bulletin, Australia has grounded its Tiger fleet, with only essential flights being flown. The German Defense Ministry said that its military authorities were working closely with UN officials, the manufacturer and other countries that operate the helicopters, however, fear that the investigation into the Mali crash could take months.

    • The Ukrainian government has denied claims that it sold defense equipment to North Korea, after it was reported in US media that a local firm sold rocket engines that have in turn been used in recent ballistic missile tests by the hermit kingdom. The manufacturer in question, the state-owned Yuzhmash said it had not produced military-grade ballistic missiles since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Kiev dismissed the reports as Russian propaganda, while Oleksandr Turchynov, the chairman of Ukraine’s Security and Defence Counci, said that “Ukraine has always adhered to all its international commitments, therefore, Ukrainian defense and aerospace complex did not supply weapons and military technology to North Korea.”

    Asia Pacific

    • Despite receiving clearance from the US State Department, Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has played down a deal to buy Harpoon anti-ship missiles, adding that the sale still needs to be finalized. Gen Prayut said that the procurement was possibly part of a previous purchase plan by its state procurement agency and will now need to be followed up by the Defense Ministry before approval. He added that he will seek more information from Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency cleared the $24.9 million sale on Aug. 10, for use on Thailand’s DW3000 Class frigate.

    • BAE Systems has entered a bid to build Australia’s next fleet of anti-submarine warfare frigates. Nine vessels will be built under the contract and the company is offering a variant of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship frigate being constructed for the British Royal Navy. The frigates for the country’s SEA 5000 Future Frigate program are part of a company effort to partner with the government to develop a long-term ship building strategy.

    • Iran’s parliament has agreed to allow additional funding into its missile program and the elite Revolutionary Guards in retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the United States. The increased funding comes after US Congress passed legislation that was signed by US President Donald Trump in early August to impose new sanctions on Iran over its missile program, and will amount in $260 million each going towards Iran’s ballistic missile program and the Quds Force – the external arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has been deployed to battlefields in Iraq and Syria. Tehran denies its missile program violates a UN resolution which endorsed Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and calls upon the Islamic Republic not to conduct activities related to ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it does not design such missiles.

    Today’s Video

    • F-35B ski-jump launch and vertical take off:

    https://youtu.be/W2oIHdi8-wQ
    Categories: News

    Return of the Raptor | PAK-FA, now the Su-57 | Dhanush howitzer fails field trials

    Mon, 08/14/2017 - 04:00
    Americas

    • The US Air Force has taken a F-22 Raptor out of storage at Edwards Air Force Base and is expected to be returned to flying status by the end of the year. The aircraft in question, serial number 91-4006, is an engineering, manufacturing and development model aircraft with a Block 10 avionics configuration. In preparation for its first flight, the Raptor is currently undergoing a $25 million upgrade to a Block 20 avionics standard. A total of eight test and 187 operational aircraft were produced by Lockheed Martin for the USAF before the program was mothballed in 2012.

    • Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $8 billion US defense contract for the provision of global logistics support services for special operations forces. Slated to run for ten years, the agreement will extend the defense giant’s current support contract which is due to expire in September 2018. The contract will support the Army’s Green Berets, Rangers as well as Navy SEALs, and covers work such as logistics at warehouses and depots as well as maintenance,modifications and repairs on equipment like airplanes and vehicles.

    • Rolls Royce Marine North America has won a $27.3 million US Navy contract to provide parts and engineering services on power plants for DDG 1000 Zumwalt destroyers. The agreement includes item orders, mounting equipment and other services for DDG 1000 gas-turbine generators, which provide the destroyer’s main source of electric power. Work will be conducted in Indianapolis, Ind., and Walpole, Mass., and is scheduled for completion by September 2022. The power plants are designed for future weapons systems like electromagnetic railguns and lasers, which would require huge amounts of electricity to operate.

    Middle East & Africa

    • Israeli intelligence has released information indicating how Hamas is using newly constructed residential buildings in Gaza to disguise the expansion of underground tunnels and command centers, prompting a possible future round of military action in the blockaded Palestinian territory. The briefing described two homes carefully mapped out by military intelligence that the IDF’s Southern Commander Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir insisted proved “beyond a shadow of doubt that Hamas is operating within and underneath the cover of civilians, in preparation for the next war.” The briefing, which is being described as “highly unusual”, is believed to be part of the groundwork for bolstering Israel’s case should it need to destroy the structures built in heavily populated residential neighborhoods. The last round of Israeli military action in Gaza took place during August 2014’s Operation Protective Edge and resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 civilians.

    Europe

    • Sukhoi’s T-50 PAK-FA has been designated the Su-57, according to Russia Air Force chief Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev. The fifth-generation stealth fighter made its maiden flight in 2010 and since then has received a number of upgrades to avionics, stealth and armaments. Six aircraft are expected to be delivered to the Russian Air Force next year, with 55 expected to be in operation by 2020. The aircraft will then go into mass production.

    Asia Pacific

    • The US State Department has cleared the $24.9 million sale of Harpoon anti-ship missiles to the government of Thailand. The foreign military sale includes delivery of five RGM-84L Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles and one RTM-84L Harpoon Block II Exercise Missile, as well as the supply of missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment and contractor support. Boeing will act as lead contractor and the missiles will be used on Bangkok’s DW3000 Class Frigate.

    • It’s been announced that a prototype of India’s Dhanush 155mm/45-caliber artillery gun has failed a number of field trails, prompting a possible postponement in the gun’s induction to the field. The guns are being developed by the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and are based on original drawings of the Swedish 155mm/39-caliber Bofors howitzers, which India procured in the mid-1980s. Three consecutive firings over three months found that on one of the six prototypes produced, the shell of the gun hit the muzzle brake on firing, which could be caused by overexploitation of the munitions, overcharging of the munitions, or even faulty ammunition. The program has tasked the OFB with producing 114 Dhanush guns at a cost of $2 billion. The first batch of 18 guns are slotted to be inducted this year, another 36 guns in 2018 and 60 guns in 2019, completing the initial order.

    • A US government audit into misused spending in Afghanistan has found that a contractor billed Washington for luxury cars and six-figure salaries to employees’ significant others who did little work. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) quarterly report found that UK-based contractor New Century Consulting charged for high-end vehicles like Alfa Romeos and Bentleys used by senior executives as well as paying large sums to employees’ significant others to work as executive assistants with little evidence they provided any work. In response, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, penned a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis suggesting that “whoever approved of this spending should be fired.”

    Today’s Video

    https://youtu.be/Dltkggh1hJ4
    Categories: News

    The F-22 Raptor: Program & Events

    Mon, 08/14/2017 - 03:59

    Into that good night
    (click to view full)

    The 5th-generation F-22A Raptor fighter program has been the subject of fierce controversy, with advocates and detractors aplenty. On the one hand, the aircraft offers full stealth, revolutionary radar and sensor capabilities, dual air-air and air-ground SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) excellence, the ability to cruise above Mach 1 without afterburners, thrust-vectoring super-maneuverability… and a ridiculously lopsided kill record in exercises against the best American fighters. On the other hand, critics charged that it was too expensive, too limited, and cripples the USAF’s overall force structure.

    Meanwhile, close American allies like Australia, Japan and Israel, and other allies like Korea, were pressing the USA to abandon its “no export” policy. Most already fly F-15s, but several were interested in an export version of the F-22 in order to help them deal with advanced – and advancing – Russian-designed aircraft, air-to-air missiles, and surface-to-air missile systems. That would have broadened the F-22 fleet in several important ways, but the US political system would not or could not respond.

    This DID FOCUS Article tracks continuing maintenance and fleet upgrade programs, contracts, and timely news. A separate public-access feature offers a profile of the USAF’s most advanced fighter, and covers both sides of the F-22 Raptor program’s controversies.

    The F-22 Raptor

    From YF-22 to F-22
    (click to view full)

    The Raptor had a long development history, in order to bring its unique capabilities together in one package. About 2 decades and 7+ quantum electronics leaps later, other countries are just beginning to test fighters with somewhat similar characteristics.

    All-aspect stealth, supercruise, and thrust vectoring combine to give the F-22 unmatched abilities to engage or disengage in combat. A radar based on leap-ahead technologies, embedded sensors, and sensor fusion in the cockpit are designed to help the pilot use those capabilities wisely. The F-22’s astounding performance in competitive exercises suggests that they do, and history suggests that their intimidation value will add to their combat effectiveness.

    The last Raptor
    click for video

    Even so, the Raptor has remained a focus for controversy, cost concerns, Congressional cutbacks, and program lessons learned the hard way. Ongoing health issues involving their pilots are equally troubling. The F-22 Raptor has racked up its share of critics, and a number of their points are valid ones. The F-22 has a limited weapon set, limited usefulness in conflicts short of full state warfare, high maintenance and readiness costs that affect training, and a very small pool of operational fighters.

    Our background article, “F-22 Raptor: Capabilities and Controversies,” examines each of these factors in greater depth.

    F-22 Raptor: Program

    F-22A over Alaska
    (click to view full)

    The F-22 program is led by Lockheed Martin. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems has responsibility for the avionics systems, and a Northrop Grumman-led joint venture with Raytheon produces the APG-77 radar, under contract to Boeing. The F119 thrust-vectoring engines are produced by United Technologies subsidiary Pratt & Whitney. As of 2011, order totals stand at 187. That number will not rise unless the production line is restarted, which means the 2009 and 2010 crashes will leave the USAF with a fleet of 185.

    By the end of Lot 6 production (the FY 2007 batch), the Air Force and manufacturer expected to have all the major design changes to the Raptor worked out; there would be no major changes to the aircraft after that, unless the service wanted to produce an F-22B or F-22C model. Production of each F-22 took about 30 months from start to finish, as the various parts are sent to the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta for final assembly. Within the final production line in Marietta, GA’s 3.5 million square foot main building, the “mate and final assembly” process took about 12 months.

    Flyaway Costs & Budgets

    When the final aircraft was delivered in May 2012, the F-22A acquisition program was complete. It cost $67.3 billion to develop the aircraft, establish the infrastructure, and buy 187 jets.

    Lockheed Martin claims that their nationwide production team achieved Lot to Lot cost reductions greater than 10% for each set from Lot 1 to Lot 4. Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F/A-22 program manager, saw that trend slowing but not stopping, as the firm continued to focus on cost reductions and efficiency improvements. A June 23/06 US Air Force article added:

    “The current cost for a single copy of an F-22 stands at about $137 million. And that number has dropped by 23 percent since Lot 3 procurement, General Lewis said. “The cost of the airplane is going down,” he said. “And the next 100 aircraft, if I am allowed to buy another 100 aircraft… the average fly-away cost would be $116 million per airplane.” “

    Depending on which “dollar-year” those fly-away cost figures represent, actual amounts may vary, since current year dollars include inflation. Final-stage budgets suggest figures of $150-180 million per plane, but a July 2009 USAF response [PDF] gave the F-22A’s current flyaway cost as $142.6 million each. That no longer matters, since production stopped in 2012.

    Raptor, Redux: Upgrading the Fleet

    F-22A vs. F-15 to -18
    (click to view full)

    Even though the F-22 is out of production, the program itself will continue to attract spending on maintenance, spares, and upgrades. The F-22A began as a single-step program, with no need for significant future modernization. Reality intervened, and the USAF came up with a $5.4 billion modernization plan in 2004. As of December 2011, the current total estimated cost of F-22A modernization had more than doubled, to $11.7 billion (+117%). Around $6.2 billion remained to be spent: $1.3 billion for Increment 3.2B, $3.6 billion to maintain modernization and support infrastructure, and $1.3 billion to complete RAMMP design-for-maintenance improvements and structural repairs.

    Right now the Air Force operates mostly Block-20 aircraft. The Block 10s were used for training at Tyndall AFB. The Block 20s, produced from 2007 on, use “Increment 2” hardware and software. That lets them launch GPS-guided JDAM bombs at supersonic speeds, and improves performance with the AIM-120C AMRAAM air-air missile. Increment 2 also helped fix some previous operations and maintenance issues.

    Under the Common Configuration program, the F-22A Block 10s were retrofitted to Block 20/ Increment 2 status, but retain the original core processor. They could be used operationally as air superiority planes, but present plans call for them to remain as training and demonstration platforms. The USAF intends to retain 36 aircraft in this configuration.

    As of 2012, the USAF intends to upgrade 143 aircraft with the full complement of modernized Block 35/ Increment 3 capabilities by FY 2020. The Raptor’s problem is that its Increment 3 set keeps changing, with items being added and subtracted while costs climb, and the schedule lengthens. Here’s the December 2011 timeline:

    (click to view full)

    Note the changes below…

    F-22A with SDB-Is
    (click to view full)

    Increment 3.1 began development in 2006, and finally reached OpEval in January 2011. It finished testing in November 2011, and fielding is taking place from July 2011 (via USAF waivers) through 2016. Upgrades include new ground-looking synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modes for the AN/APG-77, some electronic attack capability, geo-location of detected electro-magnetic emitters, and initial integration with the GPS-guided GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb (SDB-I). That last change expands the F-22’s ground attack arsenal from 1 JDAM per bay to 4 SDB-Is, though a pilot will only be able to release 2 weapons at a time.

    Timing Etc.: Testing shows that this upgrade has also improved the F-22’s Mean Time Between Critical Failure rates. Increment 3.1 is being fielded from 2011 – August 2017.

    Changing upgrades
    (click to view full)

    Increment 3.2 was meant to be a software-focused upgrade, and was initially expected to begin delivering planes in 2010. The effort ran into funding delays, then ran into technical and cost problems. It has now split into a 3.2A and 3.2B phase, and a number of items have vanished from the plan.

    Increment 3.2A will focus on Electronic Protection and Combat Identification, including Link-16 track fusion. Development began in November 2011, testing is expected to run from late 2012 – late 2013, and operational testing was expected to finish in early 2014.

    Removed: Improved geo-location of detected emitters, Ground Moving Target Indication and Tracking Indicator (GMTI) radar mode to upgrade its ground-looking SAR from Increment 3.1, the MADL datalink, Anti-jam GPS SASSM retrofits, an Automatic Ground-Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS) to improve safety, and improved data recording.

    Timing Etc.: Fielding of Increment 3.2A is planned to overlap Increment 3.1, and it will be fielded from FY 2014 – 2018.

    Increment 3.2B has been structured as a new major defense acquisition program since December 2011. It will provide compatibility with new AIM-9X Sidewinder short range air-air missiles, and with the AIM-120D medium range air-air missile; the AIM-120D’s range, 2-way datalink, and AESA friendly features appear to be tailor-made for the F-22. Beyond that, 3.2B will finish Increment 3.1’s Electronic Protection Update, add the IFDL datalink, and improve geo-location of detected emitters (albeit to a lesser degree than initially planned).

    Removed: All items removed from 3.2A are still gone, except geo-location which is added back to a degree.

    The USAF also cut full SDB-I integration, which offered the ability to release all of the plane’s bombs at once against 8 separate targets. That can be very useful in some tactical situations, allowing just one screaming pass over defended and dispersed targets: airfields, air defense complexes, etc. On the other hand, FY 2013 USAF budget summary states that the GBU-53 tri-mode (MMW radar/IIR/laser) guidance SDB-II will also be integrated with the F-22A, and this has remained consistent. It’s possible that initial SDB-II integration will be done by the end of 3.2B. If added, it would give the Raptor the ability to hit moving targets, and to drop bombs using “buddy lasing” designation from other platforms.

    Timing Etc.: Increment 3.2B estimated at $1.538 billion, of which $1.2 billion is R&D, and only $338.6 million is procurement. That isn’t unusual for a software-heavy upgrade.

    Milestone B approval and system development was planned for Q1 2013, with fielding to take place between 2017 – 2020. Development began in February 2013, with a design review scheduled for July 2015 and a Milestone C decision in December 2015. Testing will begin in August 2016, with a “full rate production” (deployment) decision in October 2017, an expected initial operational capability in December 2018, and fielding running to 2020. The problem is that delays in completing the 3.1 and 3.2A increments are likely to push 3.2B back as well.

    What Comes Next? There may be a hardware focus at the end of Increment 3.2, if a USAF effort to examine the full replacement of the F-22’s core electronics with a modern, open architecture software and hardware framework (vid. the F-35) bears fruit. If so, that would probably become Increment 3.2C, or an Increment 3.3 upgrade program. Previous wish lists have included items like side-mounted AESA radar arrays to improve radar field of view and simultaneous ground scans, multispectral/infrared search and track (IRST) systems for aerial and/or ground targets, and the JHMCS helmet-mounted sight. Improved jamming capabilities are another item that will always be in demand. At present, there are no plans to add powered weapons like HARM/AARGM anti-radar missiles, and fitting them into the weapon bays could be a challenge.

    Milestones for F-22 modernization, and forecast dates for future milestones, are reproduced below:

    Long-Term Maintenance Programs

    Ready?
    (click to view full)

    Operations and Maintenance is about 2/3s of the cost of any fighter over its lifetime, and the F-22 has been criticized for its performance. It promised better O&M costs than the F-15, but 2008 costs per flying hour were $19,750 for the F-22, vs. $17,465 for the F-15. All-in cost estimates of $49,808 vs. $30,818 are even more unfavorable. Those costs tend to rise as aircraft get older, and the F-22’s extensive use of uncommon materials like titanium and composites adds some new variables to the aging curve. An independent 2007 estimate by the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency projected a $49,549 all-in cost per F-22 flight hour at maturity in 2015 – more than double the $23,282 estimate made in 2005. It’s true that cuts in the number bought have raised fixed costs per plane, and also contributed to a shrinking industrial base that makes parts more expensive. The biggest impact, however, has come from the work required to maintain the F-22’s stealth coatings after flights and maintenance work.

    The US military has a couple of programs aimed at tackling these challenges.

    RAMMP. The F-22’s Reliability and Maintainability Maturation Program began in 2005, and will run as long as the aircraft serves. It aims to drive continuous improvement in F-22 reliability and maintainability, as measured by metrics like Availability, Maintenance Man Hours per Flight Hour [MMH], Mean Time Between Maintenance (MTBM), and cost-saving Return on Investment. RAMMP used to include production cut-in opportunities, but that stopped when production did. It still encompasses development work and retrofits that are seen as affordable up front and technically viable, with a good return on investment. According to program officials, as of January 2014 there were over 100 RAMMP projects of varying scope and cost under way, and over 200 projects had been completed.

    In April 2011, the Pentagon changed the way they measured F-22 readiness to “material availability,” the percentage of the fleet available to perform assigned missions at any given time. The GAO says that this was just 55.5% in 2011, and the current goal for RAAMP is an availability rate of 70.6% by 2015. In May 2014, the US GAO flatly said that RAMMP wouldn’t achieve this.

    The program had planned to spend about $258 million between 2005 and 2011, but a May 2012 GAO report pegged actual investments through 2011 at about $528 million. RAMMP is expected to need almost $1.3 billion through 2023, and is expected to run until the F-22 leaves service around 2033.

    SRP I/II. The Structures Retrofit Plan/Program (SRP) is a 2-part program designed to correct warning signs discovered during the F-22’s 2005 Full Scale Fatigue Testing (FSFT), and make sure the planes reach their 8,000 flight hour service lives. All USAF planes have a routine structural integrity process designed to proactively detect and repair damage, and SRP is the Raptor’s. Phase I was designed to correct structural deficiencies with that were less than 2,000 flight hours from their limits, while SRP II is tackling less urgent deficiencies with life shortfalls between 2,000 – 8,000 flight hours. The SRP II program was scheduled to run from 2006 – 2015, but that has been stretched to 2019.

    Basing

    The F-22A Raptor is currently assigned to 7 bases across the US, 3-4 of which have operational aircraft:

    • Langley AFB, VA: Operational F-22As of the 1st Fighter Wing’s 27th Fighter Squadron (FS) are assigned here. They have been certified to Full Operational Capability, and the Virginia Air National Guard’s (ANG’s) 192nd Fighter Wing is an associate squadron.

    • Elemendorf AFB, AK: 3rd Fighter Wing’s 90th FS & 525th FS. Elmendorf AFB should have its full complement of 40 aircraft by December 2009. The US Pacific Air Force’s 477th Fighter Group (302nd FS, 477th Maintenance Sqn and 477th Aircraft Maintenance Sqn) will associate with the 3rd FW, becoming the first Air Force Reserve unit to maintain and fly the F-22A; its units have historic connections to the Tuskegee Airmen, the USAF’s highly-decorated black aviators of WW2. Source.

    • Hickam AFB, Hawaii: Future base for 18-24 F-22A Block 30s; the Hawaii ANG’s 199th FS will contribute most of the personnel, and the 531st FS will be a USAF active force associate squadron to them. F-22As began arriving in July 2010, and the squadron flew its last F-15 mission in August 2010.

    • Holloman AFB, NM: Was to become base #6 as its tenants transitioned from F-117 stealth aircraft to the F-22A. The base was converted to an F-16 training center instead, and the 8th Fighter Squadron was inactivated in May 2011. The 7th Fighter Squadron’s transfer was delayed for years because of a USAF freeze on structure changes, but te last set of F-22s left in April 2014.

    • Tyndall AFB, FL: Pilot and maintenance teams training. Tyndall AFB has become the largest F-22 base, with over 50 planes. The Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard also have individuals here as instructors, and Tyndall boosted its numbers with F-22s from Holloman AFB.

    Temporary deployments to Andersen AFB on Guam and Kadena AFB in Japan can be expected on a regular basis. F-22s can also be found at:

    • Edwards AFB, CA: Flight testing, of course.
    • Nellis AFB, NV: Tactics development, which becomes a new issue with full stealth aircraft.

    F-22 Raptor: Key Events 2014 – 2017

    1st combat missions; GAO on F-22 maintenance program issues; F-22 training stats; Holloman AFB squadrons finally move; USAF reprisals against whistleblower pilot?; F-22s needed as F-35 air cover?

    Syria later!

    The F-22 Raptor is reportedly improving its maintenance and servicing record through the ongoing Reliability and Maintainability Maturation Program (RAMMP). However, efforts to retrofit the Air Force’s Raptors with upgrades (through the Structural Retrofit Program) are now timetabled to slip by a year, owing to competing depot line work priorities.

    August 14/17: The US Air Force has taken a F-22 Raptor out of storage at Edwards Air Force Base and is expected to be returned to flying status by the end of the year. The aircraft in question, serial number 91-4006, is an engineering, manufacturing and development model aircraft with a Block 10 avionics configuration. In preparation for its first flight, the Raptor is currently undergoing a $25 million upgrade to a Block 20 avionics standard. A total of eight test and 187 operational aircraft were produced by Lockheed Martin for the USAF before the program was mothballed in 2012.

    June 23/17: Production of the F-22 Raptor is unlikely to happen any time soon after a USAF report costed the procurement of 194 aircraft at $90 billion. The report found that $10 billion alone was needed to restart Lockheed Martin’s production line and each plane would cost in the region of $206-216 million.The additional costs in part is down to the need to develop a newer, more modern Raptor rather than the 1990s version. Instead, the USAF is advocating the application of resources to the capability development plans outlined in the Air Superiority 2030 strategy—a plan to promote advanced fighter aircraft, sensors and weapons in a growing and unpredictable threat environment. More F-35s it is then.

    June 22/17: A report into restarting production of F-22 Raptor aircraft has been received by the US House Armed Services Committee. The USAF report was ordered by the committee last year, asking what it would take and how much it might cost to begin producing the high-tech, fifth generation aircraft again. Congress voted in 2009 to stop purchasing the F-22 after just 187 were made, hundreds less than USAF procurement needs. It is now been considered as a possible solution to filling US air power requirements, cost depending.

    May 8/17: USAF F-22 Raptors have completed a series of operational tests as part of massive upgrades to the fighters. During the tests, the aircraft fired inert AIM-9 and AIM-120 missiles against multiple BQM-167A sub-scale aerial targets, a “significant effort” along the 3.2B initial operational test and evaluation upgrade timeline, the Air Force said, adding that the added capability enhances the service’s air superiority but did not offer specifics. The F-22s are due for a weapons systems upgrade in Summer 2019, which will include enhanced target location capabilities and new antennas for the aircraft’s stealth abilities, among other developments.

    March 21/17: Lockheed Martin has been given a $40 million contract modification to strip and recoat F-22 coatings for the USAF’s F-22 Raptor fleet. Work on the contract will be performed at various locations in California, Georgia, Utah, and Texas, and work is expected to be completed by the end of June 2019. At the time of the award, the company received $6.4 million. The fifth-generation tactical stealth fighter has been in service since 2005 and designed to perform air superiority missions.

    November 17/16: Issues affecting an F-22 Raptor weapons system have been fixed and the fighter has returned to normal operations with student pilots. While few details have been released, the issues surround the in-flight operations including radar functions and low observability capabilities. The USAF’s thrifty maintenance crews took as little as two days to formulate a solution at a cost of only $250. A replacement system would have set them back $40,000 and $50,000.

    November 3/16: November 3/16: A number of F-35Bs will conduct developmental and operational testing external link aboard the USS America amphibious assault ship. Two of the Short Takeoff & Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant will be used in third phase development testing, evaluating the jet’s short take-off vertical landing operations in a high-sea state, shipboard landings, and night operations. Another five will undergo operational testing which involves the simulation of extensive maintenance on a ship. The USS America is the first ship of its class that incorporates design elements specifically to accommodate the new Joint Strike Fighter.

    May 27/16: “Not a wild idea” is outgoing USAF’s chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh’s thoughts on restarting the F-22 production line as industry officials and the air force have repeatedly dubbed the concept a nonstarter. In an era of declining military budgets and streamlining of services, Walsh’s comments will bolster lawmakers supporting the superiority fighter’s reintroduction, and may see an F-22 revival gaining traction, after the full House passed legislation that would, if approved by the Senate and signed into law, direct the service to study the possibility.

    May 16/16: US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has come out against the idea of restarting the F-22 Raptor production line during a press conference at the Air Force Academy. Warning that restarting production would take away from other defense programs, Carter said “We’re busy upgrading them and making sure that their avionics and so forth are state of the art. But we don’t need to restart the F-22 line.” With only 187 F-22s produced, Russian and Chinese modernization has resulted in lawmakers asking the USAF to take a look at restarting the aircraft’s production in order to beef up its inventory.

    April 21/16: A study has been ordered by US Lawmakers into potentially restarting the F-22 Raptor production line. It’s been nearly six years since Lockheed Martin ceased manufacturing the jet; however, due to the growing perception that the US military is losing its technological edge to adversaries like Russia and China, Congress has expressed keen interest throughout this year’s budget season in restarting the line. Only 187 jets were ever produced, falling short of the initial production aims of 749.

    March 14/16: Despite some interest from the Pentagon, the USAF has reiterated that it is not interested in restarting production of the F-22, instead preferring to move quickly on a new F-X program. Cost has been cited as a factor, with estimations that resuming F-22 production would be $17 billion, or $267 million for 75 more aircraft. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is already working with industry leaders on clean sheet aircraft and engine designs. Boeing, Northrop, and Lockheed have already started releasing artist’s impressions of conceptual “sixth-generation” fighter jets, but none are based on previous aircraft.

    January 22/16: US Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James has dismissed ideas that production of F-22 Raptor would restart after a cap of 187 was made in 2011. Citing the spiraling costs of the development and length of time to produce the aircraft, factors which caused the program’s termination, James called a potential reboot “a non-starter”. The current fleet, which is currently seeing missions in Syria, will be joined by the F-35, and while very much a different beast, James stated they would compliment the Raptors in use.

    June 25/15: The Air Force has published a draft program schedule and requirements list for a Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD) and cuing system to fit out the F-22 Raptor, with a provisional entry date given of 2020. A four-year development and testing period has been pencilled-in to start in 2017. Sequestration curtailed previous development on an earlier system, with the HMD a requirement for the Raptor program since 2007.

    May 14/15: The Air Force has test fired two AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles from a F-22 Raptor fighter. This test-firing is a step towards the F-22’s Increment 3.2B upgrade program, with Lockheed Martin awarded a contract last October to modify 220 F-22 Configurable Rail Launchers to accommodate the AIM-9X. Full operational fielding of the AIM-9X by the F-22 is not expected until 2017.

    Sept 23/14: First combat strikes. The Pentagon touts how F-22s were used in their first combat role during strikes against ISIS in Syria. The aircraft dropped GPS-guided munitions and destroyed a building believed to be used for command and control purposes. Which makes the insurgents look like a regular military, but in some way that is how they have been fighting in past months. Given the relatively limited damage shown in the before/after pictures [PDF] released by DoD, as well as a video of one of the strikes, the bombs used were likely 250 pound GBU-39 SDB-Is optimized for penetration, rather than heavier 1,000 pound JDAMs.

    The mission looks a bit out of character and underwhelming for what is primarily an air-to-air fighter, but the F-22 does have air-to-ground capabilities. Penetration against Syrian air defenses might have been an issue making the case for stealth, but then F-15s, F-16s and even UAVs were used in the same wave against northern Syria.

    July 30/14: Reprisals? The Inspector General report covering allegations of reprisals against Capt. Wilson (q.v. April 20/14) is due – well, “soon” may be the wrong term to use:

    “U.S. Sen. Mark Warner met Tuesday with officials of the Department of Defense inspector general and said he is pleased they’re promising to deliver their findings by Aug. 30 if not sooner…. Warner said he’s angered that the investigation has taken years instead of months, calling it a message to service members that those who sound an alarm will be punished…. “We’re now over 800 days since this process started. We’ve gone through three secretaries of defense. It’s time to get an answer.”

    Acknowledgement of wrongdoing could carry a price tag for the US military. When the USAF removed him from his full time Air Combat Command job, they also removed most of his $100,000 per year salary. Sources: Virginia-Pilot, “Pentagon: F-22 whistleblower inquiry to finish in Aug.”

    July 30/14: F-22 training stats. The USAF describes greater use of simulators and classroom instruction, as it moves to drastically cut the number of flight hours to qualify in an F-22. they’re hoping to pump up the volume:

    “F-22 B-Course graduations increased from approximately 10 pilots per year on average to 23 pilots during fiscal year 2014. The program expects to graduate 30 pilots in fiscal year 2015. While increased numbers fall short of the 42 B-Course F-22 pilots the Air Staff said are required to meet the overall CAF fighter need, the trend is heading in the right direction… The F-22 basic qualification syllabus is one area that has seen sizable cuts and changes, primarily with the number of sorties B-Course students need to perform to graduate from the F-22 training course. Prior to the adjustments, a B-Course student required 43 sorties to graduate. The number is now down to 38 sorties. Track 1 course pilots, more experienced pilots retraining from other aircraft, also saw a reduction in the number of sorties needed to graduate, from 19 to 12 sorties.”

    Meanwhile, the T-38s are taking up the aggressor role from F-22s. In 2013, T-38s flew 831 adversary air sorties in 9 months, and that number is expected to double in 2014.

    At the same time, the USAF is touting improvements in the F-22’s availability rate, despite a negative recent report from the GAO (q.v. May 15/14). The 325th FW reportedly hit an 80.7% Mission Capable rate in March 2014, vs. an average rate from January – March 2013 of 49%. Software enhancements and beter availability of spare parts are cited as drivers, and the latter is helped by the 325th’s status as a training unit. Sources: USAF, “Tyndall AFB takes F-22 pilot training to next level”.

    Training stats

    F-22A readiness
    (click to view full)

    May 15/14: GAO Report. The US GAO looks at ongoing costs and estimates for the F-22’s SRP I/II and RAMMP programs, which aim to address the aircraft’s reliability and structural problems. The most recent combined cost estimate for these efforts from 2003 was approximately $11.3 billion, of which nearly 60% has already been invested. Of this total, $9.36 billion involves modernization, vs. $1.93 billion for maintenance efforts like RAMMP and SRP. Overall, GAO highlights 3 issues related to these efforts.

    The 1st is the difficulty of tracking RAMMP, as the FY 2013 defense budget bill requested. The Pentagon says that reliability and maintainability programs can’t be baselined like regular new-item programs, because of unexpected life cycle issues that arise as the weapon system ages. GAO says that the current reporting system makes it impossible to consistently track cost and schedule progress. Both can be right.

    The 2nd issue involves depot-level maintenance and turnaround time, whose lateness will now delay the fielding of key modernization increments like 3.1 (now August 2017, not FY 2016), 3.2A (now FY 2018, not FY 2016), and remediation programs like SRP (now 2019, not late 2017). The GAO cites management turnover at the contractor-run depot in Palmdale, CA, plus extra time needed for corrosion fixes, as the causes. One wonders whether the coming move to a government-operated facility in Ogden, UT will help, though they do have lower labor rates there, and have reportedly charged fewer labor-hours when performing modifications. A residual capability will be maintained at Palmdale, CA into 2015.

    The 3rd issue cited is that the USAF has never been able to meet the F-22’s aircraft availability targets, and doesn’t expect to hit the required 70.6% figure by fiscal year 2018. Even that target figure isn’t all that high for a fighter, but the F-22 is handicapped by the fact that maintaining the F-22’s stealth with tapes, coatings, etc. accounts for almost 50% of off-line maintenance time. As such, “minor repairs or modifications that would take a few hours on a non-stealth aircraft can require days of maintenance on an F-22.” Sources: US GAO-14-425, “Cost and Schedule Transparency Is Improved, Further Visibility into Reliability Efforts Is Needed” | Defense-Aerospace, “F-22 Availability Lags Despite $11Bn Investment”.

    April 20/14: Reprisals? F-22 pilot Capt. Joshua Wilson of the VA Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Squadron was one of the pilots who talked publicly about the F-22’s oxygen problems on the CBS’ “60 Minutes” episode that aired in May 2012. In April 2012, the USAF stopped his planned promotion to major over his reluctance to fly the jets before various fixes were made; they’ve also forced him out of his full-time desk job with the Air Combat Command at Langley, and reportedly threatened to take away his wings.

    “If you guys can prove I’m a bad officer, kick me out of the military,” he said. “If not, let me get back to my job. Let me get back to what I love to do, what I’m good at and what I trained my entire life to do.”

    Wilson alerted the Department of Defense’s office of inspector general, which is investigating, and his own lawyers are calling the USAF’s actions a reprisal. U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger [R-IL-16] concurs, and Sen. Mark Warner [D-VA] has been critical.

    It’s worth noting that Maj. Jeremy Gordon was also part of that 60 Minutes interview, and remains in the squadron, flying a T-38 after voluntarily stepping away from the Raptor in mid-2012. At the same time, the USAF hasn’t exactly explained themselves re: Wilson. Sources: Virginia-Pilot, “Pilot’s career stalls after criticizing oxygen system”.

    April 8/14: Basing. The last 4 F-22A Raptors from Holloman AFB, NM’s 7th Fighter Squadron arrive at their new home in Tyndall AFB, FL (q.v. July 29/10, May 13/11, Oct 12/12, Jan 6/14), and become part of a new squadron. Col. David E. Graff, who commands the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall AFB, FL declares that the recently-reactivated 95th Fighter Squadron has reached Initial Operational Capability. Additional personnel and equipment still need to arrive from the F-22s’ former base at Holloman AFB, NM, and full operational capability is expected “this summer.”

    The F-22s will also be flown by the 301st Fighter Squadron Air Force Reserve Command Associate unit. Including 95th FS, 43rd FS, and the F-22 training squadron, more than 50 Raptors are now based at Tyndall. Sources: Lockheed Martin Code One Magazine, “Last Raptor Leaves Holloman” and “Raptor Squadron Reaches IOC”.

    F-22As over Fla.
    (click to view full)

    Feb 3/14: F-22s & F-35s. USAF Air Combat Command’s veteran leader, Gen. Michael Hostage, offers an interview answer that ignites much more controversy than he expected. After firmly stating that he intends to defend every single one of the 1,763 F-35As in the program, and adding that “adversaries are building fleets that will overmatch our legacy fleet, no matter what I do, by the middle of the next decade”, he’s asked about expensive upgrades to the F-22:

    “A. The F-22, when it was produced, was flying with computers that were already so out of date you would not find them in a kid’s game console in somebody’s home gaming system. But I was forced to use that because that was the [specification] that was written by the acquisition process when I was going to buy the F-22.

    Then, I have to go through the [service life extension plan] and [cost and assessment program evaluation] efforts with airplanes to try to get modern technology into my legacy fleet. That is why the current upgrade programs to the F-22 I put easily as critical as my F-35 fleet. If I do not keep that F-22 fleet viable, the F-35 fleet frankly will be irrelevant. The F-35 is not built as an air superiority platform. It needs the F-22. Because I got such a pitifully tiny fleet, I’ve got to ensure I will have every single one of those F-22s as capable as it possibly can be.”

    Gen. Hostage’s views are more complex than this, and his ideas concerning “the combat cloud” with F-35s as its backbone are especially interesting. His position is also operationally prudent. The problem is that Lockheed Martin and the USAF have been selling the F-35 as an air superiority aircraft. Meanwhile, outside commenters had looked at design tradeoffs and test data, while pointing to fighter design advances from Russia, China, et. al. and expressing skepticism re: air superiority claims. Now, the head of USAF ACC has just confirmed their skepticism. Can a very political military and industrial complex handle that? Sources: Defense News, “Interview: Gen. Michael Hostage, Commander, US Air Force’s Air Combat Command” | The Aviationist, “”If we don’t keep F-22 Raptor viable, the F-35 fleet will be irrelevant” Air Combat Command says” | Canada’s National Post, “Canada’s multi-billion dollar F-35s ‘irrelevant’ without U.S.-only F-22 as support, American general says” || Breaking Defense (2013), “Why Air Force Needs Lots Of F-35s: Gen. Hostage On The ‘Combat Cloud'”.

    F-22s and F-35s kerfuffle

    Jan 6/14: Basing. The first 5 Raptors arrive at Tyndall AFB, FL from Holloman AFB, NM. The 19 remaining fighters of the renamed 95th Fighter Squadron will arrive by the end of April 2014, making Tyndall the largest F-22 base with more than 50 Raptors. It will be the first time Tyndall has ever hosted a combat aviation unit.

    The transfer has taken more than 3 years, thanks in part to an ongoing Congressional freeze on USAF structure changes (q.v. July 29/10, May 13/11, Oct 12/12). The F-22 move also frees up space for the transfer of 2 F-16 squadrons from Luke AFB, AZ in Arizona to Holloman AFB, which is becoming the USAF’s F-16 training center. Sources: Panama City News Herald, “‘Awesome’ new mission awaits Raptor pilots at Tyndall”.

    2013

    Last F119 engine; No HMD becoming a problem?

    AIM-9X test
    (click to view full)

    Nov 7/13: RaIL. Technicians at the Raptor Avionics Integration Laboratory (RaIL) at Hill AFB, UT complete the conversion from a contractor-run to an Air Force-run operation. The RaIL has been performing the critical avionics sustainment function for the F-22 Raptor at Hill since April 10/14. It’s a public/private partnership with Lockheed Martin, with 10 civil service employees part of an intensive 2 year training program. Sources: Lockheed Martin Code One Magazine, “RaIL Up And Running”.

    Oct 10/13: Innovation. The usual method of deploying fighters is structured around large footprint packages to a select few operating bases. That wasn’t good enough for Lt. Col. Kevin Sutterfield, a reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 477th Fighter Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. He circulated a white paper around the concept of mobile stealth fighter groups that could refuel, rearm, and redeploy from a number of smaller bases, greatly complicating enemy planning.

    Once that paper had senior attention, Sutterfield worked with other active duty and reserve experts to flesh out the details. The new approach uses a flexible combination of 4 F-22As, 1 C-17A, a tailored package of spares and equipment, and trained personnel on board as the “cell” quickly disperses to new bases to refuel, rearm, and fly operations. To test these theories, experienced pilots and maintainers from the 3rd Wing and 477th developed exercises in 2009, 2010, 2012, and in August 2013. The USAF considers the new approach to be ready for operational use. Sources: USAF, “Innovation advances F-22 as strategic force in Pacific”.

    Aug 8/13: Crash report. USAF Air Combat Command’s Accident Investigation Board report says that the November 2012 crash at Tyndall AFB, FL (q.v. Nov 15/12) was caused by a chafed electrical wire. The positive generator-feeder wire arced out, burning through a nearby hydraulic line and forcing the generator offline. When the F-22A pilot attempted to restart the generator, the spark ignited misted hydraulic fluid. That fire took out key electrical and hydraulic systems, and c’est fini for Raptor 00-4013.

    Fortunately, the pilot ejected safely, but the jet became a smoking hole in the ground. Total damage is estimated at $149.6 million. Sources: USAF, “F-22 accident report released”.

    May 29/13: Infrastructure. The USAF is consolidating F-22A maintenance at Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill AFB, UT. A a 31-month incremental transition plan will shift away from the current arrangement, which is split between Ogden and Lockheed Martin’s Palmdale, CA facility. The USAF’s business case says they’ll save $16 million per year. As with all business cases, the proof is in the results. Sources: USAF, “Air Force to consolidate F-22 depot maintenance at Hill”.

    April 8/13: Squadron stand-down. The USAF is standing down 17 combat-coded squadrons in response to budget cuts that reduced the flying hours budget by $591 million for the remainder of FY 2013. The grounding includes F-22As from the 1st Fighter Wing’s 94th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA, who are returning from a high-profile exercise in South Korea. Gannett’s Military Times.

    April 4/13: Some restrictions lifted. The F-22 Raptor fleet’s prohibition on venturing more than 30 minutes flight from suitable airfields is removed, after modifications to aircrew life-support equipment were completed across the fleet. F-22 crews have also resumed their aerospace control alert mission in Alaska after the Automatic Back-up Oxygen System (ABOS) was installed in the F-22s at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

    Altitude restrictions still remain for some of the fleet. Altitude restrictions for training flights remain for non-ABOS aircraft; however, those restrictions will be removed as each aircraft is modified. Officials expect combat fleet completion by July 2014. USAF | KHON 2 Hawaii.

    April 1/13: Korea. Pentagon Press Secretary George Little underscores the fact that 2 F-22As have deployed from Kadena AB, Japan to Osan AB in South Korea, arriving in the middle of the 2-month-long Foal Eagle exercise. Little says the move was pre-planned, and it happens to coincide with a sharp escalation in tensions with North Korea. Then again, escalations and acts of war have happened to every new South Korean administration, so it was predictable in advance. US DoD | CNN.

    March 28/13: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs“. Which is actually a review for 2012, plus time to compile and publish. The F-22 itself is no longer a major program, but its Increment 3.2B upgrade has been approved as an MDAP all its own. It’s estimated at $1.538 billion, of which $1.2 billion is R&D, and only $338.6 million is procurement. That isn’t unusual for a software-heavy upgrade.

    Development will begin in February 2013, with a design review scheduled for July 2015 and a Milestone C decision in December 2015. Testing will begin in August 2016, with a “full rate production” (deployment) decision in October 2017, and an expected initial operational capability in December 2018.

    GAO is worried that the AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missile won’t be ready in time to support that 2016 testing, or 2018 fielding. It would have to be pretty late, though, because its IOC is scheduled for 2014. Other GAO concerns include the possibility of testing delays from more “pilot hypoxia” fleet groundings. F-22 flight software updates could create a concurrency risk for the developers, and if the Ogden Air Logistics Center’s software development lab isn’t accredited, it will add 75 more test flights and extend testing. Finally, the GAO cites “a lack of test resources to verify electronic protection and geo-location capabilities…” as a notable risk.

    Feb 9/13: NASA on Hypoxia. The Hampton Roads Daily Press used Freedom of Information requests to review a redacted copy of NASA’s 120 page August 2012 report concerning F-22 “hypoxia” issues (q.v. also Sept 13/12 entry). The 14-member NASA team cites lack of information sharing at the outset, as different bases tried different approaches. Langley AFB, VA, for instance, found that hyperbaric treatments were helpful, but pilots in Alaska didn’t receive them. They also use the ominous term “normalization of deviance” to describe initial lack of reaction to pilot health problems.

    NASA is also recommending reducing oxygen levels at lower altitudes as a way of avoiding “absorption atelectasis,” in which too much oxygen at low altitudes wash away necessary nitrogen within the lungs and cause lung tissue to collapse. The USAF says that many Navy pilots have flown without issue on 100% oxygen instead of 95%, and wants more data before making that change. NASA also wanted a central F-22 Medical Consult Service in place, as a resource for flight surgeons who treat pilots. The USAF says that Hyperbaric Division of the Aeromedical Consultation Service at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine already serves in that role.

    Feb 6/13: Pentagon IG Slams USAF. The Pentagon’s Inspector-General delivers a scathing assessment of the USAF Accident Investigation Board report that faulted the late Capt. Haney for the Nov 16/10 crash in Alaska. The crash led directly to fleet cockpit retrofits and changes in the flight vests, after the AIB’s own report described the absurdly difficult process for reactivating the pilot’s cut-off oxygen (q.v. Dec 14/11, March 20/12 entries). The IG’s report was sharply critical, and its main criticisms can be excerpted as follows:

    “The AIB report cites three causal factors (channelized attention, breakdown of visual scan, and unrecognized spatial disorientation) as the cause of the F-22 mishap. However, these three factors are separate, distinct, and conflicting…. The AIB report’s determination that the mishap pilot’s mask was in the full up position throughout the mishap sequence was not adequately supported by the Summary of Facts or by the analysis cited in the TABs…. The AIB report’s Non-Contributory portion of the Human Factors section inadequately analyzes the human factors listed, such as hypoxia, gravity-induced loss of consciousness, and sudden incapacitation and does not contain any references and/or supporting documentation…. lacked detailed analysis of several areas, such as the Emergency Oxygen System activation as well as the physiological reactions to lack of oxygen…. Of the 109 references in the AIB report’s Summary of Facts, 60 of those references were either incorrect or did not direct the reader of the AIB report to the information cited in the paragraph.”

    Reading the report in detail, the IG says there’s a lot of evidence that the pilot was “not actively flying the aircraft” for critical periods, citing inter alia 39 seconds of either unintentional or no flight control inputs just prior to the 7.4 g “recovery” maneuver and crash. Basically, the IG believes the pilot was probably unconscious.

    The report is an interesting collision. Its conclusions vindicate the honor of the deceased pilot, which the Accident Board report had damaged, at the price of charging the USAF with incompetence (the alternative being dishonesty). The USAF disagrees, stating that the AIB report could have been clearer, but their conclusion was “supported by clear and convincing evidence and he exhausted all available investigative leads.” The IG responds that writing clarity was not the issue. They continue to lack confidence in both the quality of the evidence, and the thoroughness of the investigation, which means the AIB should be re-convened. The USAF is resisting that, and the IG wants more than a vague promise to “address deficiencies”. The tug-of-war continues. Pentagon Inspector General Report | ABC News | Flight International.

    Inspector General slams USAF AIB’s 2010 accident report

    Feb 6/13: Doc. The USAF does a feature on Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jay Flottmann, a former flight surgeon who is now a fully qualified F-22A pilot, and 325th Fighter Wing chief of flight safety at Tyndall AFB, FL. That role began in November 2010, so he has been very involved in many of the investigations and revised procedures. Including installation of a pulseoximeter in the F-22’s helmet.

    Another part of his legacy is that Air Force Instruction 11-405 now allows qualified flight surgeons to apply to pilot training through normal channels.

    Feb 5/13: RAF Eurofighters. British Eurofighter Typhoon fighters are training with F-22s at Langley AFB for the first time. German Typhoons reportedly found that they could deal with the Raptor in close during a recent exercise (q.v. July 30/12 entry), but exercises like these are more about teaching other air forces how to work together with the F-22’s different capabilities and protocols. Hampton Roads Daily Press.

    Jan 31/13: Missile gap? Increment 3.2B upgrades are supposed to deliver AIM-9X Sidewinder missile capabilities to the F-22A fleet, but pilots are concerned that the short-range air combat missile will fall short of required performance without a Helmet Mounted Display, and leave the F-22A at a disadvantage in close-in fights. One Raptor pilot told Flight International that:

    “We’ve been screaming for years that the F-22 needs to have the capability fielded, and fast… Once the jets transitions from BVR [beyond visual range] to WVR [within visual range] with only AIM-9M-9s it is hugely vulnerable…”

    The pilots like the AIM-9X’s added range, which extends to beyond visual range levels when launched at supercruise speed, and its ability to lock-on after launch. The problem is that without an HMD like the JHMCS I/II on other USAF fighters, or the Thales (Gentex) Scorpion that equips A-10s and some Air National Guard F-16s, the pilots can’t take full advantage of the missile’s full targeting cone. It doesn’t help that AIM-9X Block II’s one cited deficiency is helmetless high off-boresight (HHOBS) performance, but a fix can be expected by 2017.

    The Raptor may be able to out-turn anyone, but an opponent with 30 degrees more sighting cone to work with doesn’t have to maneuver as hard. As experiences with the Eurofighter show (q.v. June 30/12 entry), some 4+ generation aircraft do approach the F-22’s capabilities in close. Russian thrust-vectoring designs like the MiG-35, SU-30SM, and SU-35 may also fall into this category, and top-end SRAAMs can even create openings against the F-22’s infrared masking countermeasures.

    Jan 17/13: Engine. Pratt & Whitney delivers the last of 507 production F119-PW-100 engines for the F-22 fleet. They’ll continue to produce parts and spares, but the plant removed 100 people in December 2012: 80 layoffs, and 20 early retirement buy-outs.

    The last F-22A was delivered on May 2/12. WTNH, CT.

    Last F119 engine

    2012

    The ‘Hypoxia’ issue; Why stealth maintenance is so expensive; F-22’s serious accident rate; 186 aircraft left; German Eurofighters claim good WVR record against F-22s.

    F-22A w. fuel tanks
    (click to view full)

    Dec 7/12: Fender bender. An F-22A stationed at Joint Base Preal Harbor – Hickam sustains $1.8 million in damage in a landing incident. The fighters scrapes both horizontal stabilizers on the runway, about 90 minutes after conducting a Missing Man Flyover during the 71st Anniversary Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration ceremony. The Aviationist | UK’s Daily Mail.

    Nov 27/12: Stealth. The USAF discusses some aspects of stealth-related maintenance on its F-22s:

    “Once a week, the LO shop conducts outer mold line inspections on the Raptor. All the information is placed into a database that rates its stealth capability, called a signature assessment system… Senior Master Sgt. Dave Strunk, 477th Maintenance Squadron fabrication flight chief… said that LO application falls into two areas – the removal of coatings to facilitate other maintenance and the removal and replacement to bring the SAS rating down… “We are working all day every day,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Duque, 477th Maintenance Squadron LO technician. “We have 24/7 coverage to ensure a steady flow of progress from the start of a repair to finish.” “

    All day, every day, in a highly specialized and technical job, using expensive materials, equals cost. This is normal for stealth aircraft, but it’s worthwhile to illustrate why they cost more to run.

    Nov 20/12: The 325th Fighter Wing resumes flying. Tyndall AFB.

    Nov 15/12: Crash. An F-22 crashes less than 500 yards from the drone runway at Tyndall AFB, FL. The pilot ejects safely. In response the 325th Fighter Wing stands down operations. Also in response, Flight International asks the intriguing question: how many F-22As does the USAF have left? The researcher’s tally is 184, and the head of USAF Air Combat Command agrees. But ACC’s press had this to say:

    “This is what ACC sent me: “The F-22 inventory is 123 combat-coded, 27 training, 16 test, and 20 attrition reserve. The incident at Tyndall was a training aircraft which brought the number down from 28. There are currently 186 total.”

    StrategyPage offers another useful calculation, finding that the Raptor has had just over 6 serious accidents per 100,000 flight hours. That’s about double the F-16 and F-15 fleets, and around the same level as India’s air force. In this case, a subsequent report finds that a chafed wire is to blame for the $145+ million accident (q.v. Aug 8/13). Sources: USAF | Tyndall AFB | Flight International | StrategyPage.

    Crash

    Oct 12/12: Delayed move. Holloman AFB, NM officials announce that the scheduled transfer of 7th Fighter Squadron F-22As to Tyndall AFB, FL will be delayed for another 18 months, due to an ongoing freeze on U.S. Air Force structure changes. The freeze will also postpone the transfer of 2 F-16 squadrons from Luke AFB, AZ in Arizona to Holloman.

    Meanwhile, the 7th FS continues to perform its missions from Holloman, and they returned from a 9-month deployment to “Southwest Asia” in January. Las Cruces Sun-News, “F-22 Raptors move from Holloman AFB on hold for 18 months” | USAF, “Holloman loses F-22s to fleet consolidation, picks up F-16 schoolhouse”.

    Sept 27/12: Hypoxia. Associated Press reconstructs some of the history behind the F-22’s oxygen related controversies. An informal working group of experts had flagged some of these problems a while ago:

    “Internal documents and emails obtained by The Associated Press show [the Raptor Aeromedical Working Group, RAW-G] proposed a range of solutions by 2005, including adjustments to the flow of oxygen into pilot’s masks. But that key recommendation was rejected… “This initiative has not been funded,” read the minutes of their final meeting in 2007.”

    RAW-G also forecast potential issues with the system providing too much oxygen at lower altitudes. Its founder, Tyndall AFB flight surgeon Wyman, is now a brigadier general, and USAF Air Combat Command surgeon general. Sources: AP, Air Force insiders foresaw F-22 woes.

    Sept 13/12: Hypoxia Hearings. The House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee On Tactical Air And Land Forces meets to discuss the F-22’s pilot health issues. At this point, the USAF Scientific Advisory Board’s Oxygen Generation Study Group has been delivered, but not implemented. USAF Air Combat Command’s Life Support Systems Task Force still needs to complete its report and provide its final recommendations, and so does NASA’s Engineering and Safety Center, but NASA’s core conclusions are known (q.v. Feb 9/13). Senior leaders from all 3 efforts are invited to testify, and the subcommittee chair is a Congressman who did his Ph.D in flight physiology, and has been involved in military accident investigations.

    The full testimony is very detailed, and covers a complex subject. There’s no substitute for reading it in full at the link below. With that said, here are some key points and take-aways:

    • The estimated cost of fleet modifications is $82.5 million, including an Automatic Backup Oxygen System (A-BOS), Automatic Ground Collision and Avoidance System (AGCAS), Upper Pressure Garment Valve, Oxygen Hose Pass-Thru Panel, and Helmet Mounted Pulse Oximeter. Trying to mount an oximeter on pilots’ fingers kept giving incorrect readings, and it took the USAF a little while to catch on to that.

    • The USAF doesn’t have any plans to reduce “Raptor cough” (acceleration atelectasis) among pilots. Rep. Bartlett points out that oxygen feeds that rise way above 158 partial pressure leave too little nitrogen to keep the alveoli inflated in the lungs, especially under high Gs. If the systems adjust the partial pressure to stay close to that figure, he believes that many of the coughing-related problems & risks will go away. The USAF, on the other hand, says that super-oxygenating the bloodstream maximizes “time of useful consciousness” if the cockpit blows off and the pilot has to eject at altitude. Translation: get used to coughing.

    • The Raptor is different because of the amount of time spent at high altitude. Gen. Lyon notes that the has over 3,000 hours in the F-16, but less than 10.0 above 40,000 feet. In contrast, F-22 pilots spend most of their time at 40,000 – 60,000 feet. The USAF is still learning about very high altitude flying’s effects on pilots, even after 50+ years of experience with U-2 spyplanes.

    • The USAF doesn’t plan any changes for maintenance personnel either, who have also reported health issues. The USAF couldn’t find any significant toxicology traces in tests.

    • Ground testing needs to include the full life-support system, and it must be realistic. It wasn’t until the USAF started putting F-22 pilots and their flying ensembles into altitude chambers and centrifuges that they really began to see repeatable failures.

    • The USAF acknowledges that their flight medicine and aviation physiology research capabilities were cut back sharply during the 1990s. Some shifted to contractors, but it’s a high cost/ low payout field, aso much of the capability just went away. One of the recommendations is for the USAF to restore some of that capability.

    • NASA notes, dryly, that “…the investigative process could have been more efficient. The F-22 task force was never given a directive that assigned the authority to conduct the investigation. They began with two narrow hypotheses, and did not communicate well to all parties.”

    • Comprehensive testing has ruled out stealth coating by-products as an issue for maintainers or pilots.

    • All F-22 pilots and associated ground crew have received baseline pulmonary tests and blood tests, which have been put into a registry that will track them through their Air Force career “and, if necessary, beyond.” Gen. Lyon acknowledged “…if something is discovered [in future] that would be tied to this aircraft or in servicing this aircraft, we have a moral imperative to take care of those Americans.”

    • The F-35’s oxygen system is described as “designed with a bit more redundancy and robustness”, including a backup system.

    Sources: HASC Subcommittee, “No. 112-154 F-22 Pilot Physiological Issues: full transcript” | WIRED, “Air Force to Stealth Fighter Pilots: Get Used to Coughing Fits” | Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Sky Talk, “More on the F-22 Raptor’s oxygen problems.

    Hypoxia hearings

    Sept 20/12: Hypoxia. US Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Hostage says that the F-22’s oxygen problem is one of human physiology limits. It’s odd that Eurofighter pilots, who also fly above 50,000 feet at high gs, haven’t reported similar issues. Regardless:

    “The service will “train our aviators that the issue is work of breathing,” Hostage told Air Force Times following the conference.” Gannett’s Air Force Times.

    Sept 18/12: Hypoxia. USAF Gen. Gregory Martin (ret.), who headed the official investigation into the F-22’s hypoxia issues, explained the removal of the backup oxygen system to the HASC Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee:

    “It was not a cost issue… the catalyst for this particular decision was… the ‘war on weight.’ In retrospect, that was not an appropriate decision.”

    ABC News says that Martin’s comments seem to contradict Gen. Charles Lyon, who cited cost-driven cuts in August. On the other hand, it’s likely that Martin has the more complete briefing on the issue. ABC News.

    Sept 19/12: 20 in Hawaii. The Hawaii National Air Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron and the Active Duty Air Force’s 19th Fighter Squadron have received their last 4 F-22As. Their fleet is now complete, with 18 housed on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and 2 under depot maintenance on the Mainland. Hawaii News Now.

    Sept 13/12: Hypoxia – NASA’s take. NASA’s Engineering Safety Center presents its own assessment of the F-22A’s problems to a House Armed Services Committee. They point to “absorption atelectasis,” in which too much oxygen at low altitudes wash away necessary nitrogen within the lungs and cause lung tissue to collapse. NASA also uses a term with strong echoes, when they say that acceptance of “Raptor cough” and difficulty breathing “could be seen as a ‘normalization of deviance.’ ” NASA has used that term with respect to the Space Shuttle Challenger, during their post-mortem of its explosion. Aviation Week. See also Feb 9/13 entry.

    Aug 25/12: Long-term safety issue? The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has been looking into the F-22 issues, and notes a disturbing piece of news: some Raptor pilots and families are complaining about long-term health problems, which include a chronic cough, impaired motor skills, loss of concentration and an inability to recall words and facts, lethargy and “crushing headaches.” There’s even one suicide that has the family raising questions, involving Brig. Gen. Thomas Tinsley.

    The USAF says that contamination has been ruled out, but the article also takes a deeper look at various possibilities like contaminants, or repeated acceleration atelectasis (collapsing alveoli in the lungs). The USAF hasn’t issued its full report, so it’s hard to evaluate why it has ruled out those possibilities. As for the symptoms, they could be from contamination, they could be something that isn’t physical, or they could involve some aspect of physiology at extreme conditions that isn’t well understood yet. If it was easy to tell, we’d have answers already. Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    Aug 13-17/12: Lawsuit settled. Anna Haney has agreed to a settlement in her wrongful death case against Lockheed Martin (F-22), Boeing (life support system), Pratt & Whitney (bleed air system), and Honeywell (OBOGGS). Her husband, Captain Jeff Haney, was killed in the Nov 16/10 crash in Alaska. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

    An ABC News report points out that part of the problem was known to the USAF for a decade. In March 2000, a combined USAF/ contractor test group said that during certain specific high-altitude maneuvers, the Environmental Control System (ECS) system would shut down. Worse, it was built so that if it failed, a cascade of events would cut off the pilot’s primary oxygen supply. Such a real-world failure was described as “unacceptable,” but instead of installing an automatic plenum tank within the system, the USAF’s solution involved the incredibly difficult to use manual ring-pull system that contributed to Captain Haney’s death.

    A June 5/12 contract (q.v.) with Lockheed Martin will retrofit 40 jets in the fleet with an automatic system, designed to kick in whenever the plane’s instruments detect an interruption in the oxygen flow. ABC News | Alaska Dispatch | Flight International.

    July 30/12: Red Flag. Combat Aircraft leaks some results from the 2012 Red Flag exercises. WIRED Danger Room:

    “In mid-June… [8] Typhoons arrived at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for an American-led Red Flag exercise involving more than 100 aircraft from Germany, the U.S. Air Force and Army, NATO, Japan, Australia and Poland. Eight times during the two-week war game, individual German Typhoons flew against single F-22s… The results were a surprise to the Germans and presumably the Americans, too. “We were evenly matched,” Maj. Marc Gruene told Combat Aircraft’s Jamie Hunter. The key, Gruene said, is to get as close as possible to the F-22 … and stay there. “As soon as you get to the [close-in] merge … the Typhoon doesn’t necessarily have to fear the F-22,” Gruene said.”

    The news has even more impact because the Eurofighters are still flying without helmet-mounted displays, which expand the engagement radius for short-range missiles. That’s a gap in the Raptor’s arsenal, too, but the Eurofighters are about to field an HMD. In contrast, JHMCS HMD integration was cut from the F-22 program during cost overruns, and an HMD isn’t in their current plans.

    F-22As vs. Eurofighters

    July 30/12: AIM-9X test. An F-22A performs the 1st supersonic launch of an AIM-9X short range air to air missile over the Sea Test Range at Point Mugu, CA. The first launch of an AIM-9X from the F-22 was carried out in May 2012.

    Note that these are mechanical and aerodynamic tests, to ensure safe separation, ignition, etc. F-22As won’t be able to really use the AIM-9X in combat until the Increment 3.2B upgrade, which is expected to debut in 2017. Lockheed Martin @ Flickr.

    July 30/12: To Japan. USAF F-22As arrive at Kadena AB in Japan. They’re expected to remain on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa for several months, but will be under flight restrictions during that time since pilots won’t be wearing the Combat Edge vests. CBS News.

    July 24-30/12: Hypoxia solved? The USAF says they’ve found the root cause of the hypoxia problem. Part is said to be hose and valve connection hardware in the cockpit, and part is with pilots’ Combat Edge upper pressure system, and its breathing regulator/anti-g (BRAG) valve. The valve works fine for F-15 and F-16 pilots, but they don’t have the same performance envelope, and they have different life support systems. The USAF says that in the F-22A the BRAG valve stays open, keeping the vest inflated when it shouldn’t be. That leads to shallow breathing, and hyperventilation.

    Kevin Divers, a former USAF rated-physiologist and F-22 flight test engineer, isn’t so sure, He says that the problem was known in 2000, but he had been assured that the issue had been tested thoroughly. There’s also the question of why maintainers on the ground are suffering from similar symptoms to the pilots. The USAF says that the issue is unrelated, but others aren’t so sure. They cite potential causal chains involving chemicals that become much more toxic when heated, can be introduced to the pilot in ways that go beyond the breathing system, and would also affect maintainers afterward.

    Meanwhile, flight restrictions of 44,000 feet, maneuvering limitations, and a mandate to remain within 30 minutes of an airfield will remain until all of the USAF’s mechanical modifications reach flight crews. That isn’t expected to begin until September 2012. CBS News | Defense Tech | Flight International in-depth report | Flight International – USAF doubles down.

    June 5/12: Oops. A “ground incident” at Tyndall AFB, FL puts an F-22 out of commission, but no-one is hurt. The former F-16 pilot at the controls was making his 2nd flight in an F-22, and the incident happened during a “touch and go”. Tyndall is where F-22 training happens, so that situation is normal.

    This kind of thing usually means some repair expense (tail drag? wingtip runway strike? landing gear damage?), but shouldn’t scrap the plane. With a fleet size this low, however, even minor incidents like this one can become significant. Panama City News Herald.

    May 15/12: Restricted flight. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issues a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, ordering that F-22 flights remain “within proximity of potential landing locations”. The specifics will be up to individual pilots and commanders, but you don’t want to be the commander if an F-22A accident occurs very far away from any landing options.

    Panetta also asks the USAF to accelerate installations of an automatic backup oxygen system, and a contract for the first 50 is later announced in early June 2012. Finally, the US Navy and NASA are to be brought in, to help solve the ongoing oxygen problems that have hampered the fleet’s effectiveness for over a year now. Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby, USN, tells reporters that in light of the recent deployment of several F-22s to the Persian Gulf, and because of pilots’ complaints, Panetta chose to “dive a little more deeply into the issue,” and then to issue the letter. Panetta letter, via scribd | Minneapolis Star-Tribune | Rep. Kinziger | Sen. Warner | WIRED Danger Room.

    May 11/12: U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner [D-VA] and Rep. Adam Kinzinger [R-11-IL] send a joint letter to Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, asking for a comprehensive and confidential survey of F-22 pilots and USAF flight surgeons. Rep. Kinziger.

    May 3/12: 60 Minutes. Raptor pilots Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Josh Wilson of the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Fighter Wing come forward and talk to the news show 60 Minutes, explaining why they have told their command they do not wish to fly the jet.

    Gordon and Wilson say the Air Force has threatened to fire F-22 pilots who express these objections, and have asked Rep. Adam Kinziger [R-11-IL, formerly USAF Maj. Kinziger] to help them gain protection under the federal whistleblower law. On May 8/12, testimony to the House indicates that the 2 pilots will not face sanctions from the USAF. CBS News 60 Minutes

    | Rep. Kinziger release.

    May 2/12: Last F-22A delivered. Lockheed Martin formally delivers its 195th and last F-22 Raptor to the USAF, after a run of 187 F-22As and 8 test aircraft from 1997-2012. This final Raptor will join 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Lockheed Martin.

    Last delivery

    May 2/12: GAO Modernization, Part 2. The US GAO issues report #GAO-12-447, “F-22A Modernization Program Faces Cost, Technical, and Sustainment Risks.” The summary is not positive:

    “Total projected cost of the F-22A modernization program and related reliability and maintainability improvements more than doubled since the program started – from $5.4 billion to $11.7 billion – and the schedule for delivering full capabilities slipped 7 years, from 2010 to 2017. The content, scope, and phasing of planned capabilities also shifted over time with changes in requirements, priorities, and annual funding decisions. Visibility and oversight of the program’s cost and schedule is hampered by a management structure that does not track and account for the full cost of specific capability increments… Results to date have been satisfactory but development and operational testing of the largest and most challenging sets of capabilities have not yet begun. Going forward, major challenges will be developing, integrating, and testing new hardware and software to counter emerging future threats… While modernization is under way, the Air Force has undertaken parallel [RAAMP] efforts to improve F-22A reliability and maintainability to ensure life-cycle sustainment of the fleet is affordable and to justify future modernization investments. But the fleet has not been able to meet a key reliability requirement, now changed, and operating and support costs are much greater than earlier estimated.”

    F-22A vs. “Teen series”
    (click to view full)

    April 26/12: GAO Modernization Report. The F-22A began as a single-step program, with no need for significant future modernization. Reality intervened, and the current total estimated cost of F-22A modernization is now $9.7 billion for Increments 2, 3.1, and 3.2B. GAO explains why this is more expensive than past “teen series” fighter designs:

    “In 2003… We noted that while [advertising a single-step approach] may have allowed the F-22A program to compete for funding, it hamstrung the program with little knowledge about its true technology, funding, and schedule needs. In addition, the Air Force did not make early trade-offs between requirements and available resources… Ultimately F-22A development took more than 14 years, encountered significant cost increases and quantity reductions, and has not yet fully met established requirements, specifically those related to reliability and maintainability.

    …F-22A production was terminated in 2009, before… (Increment 3.1) had finished development, so the remaining modernization increments will have to be retrofitted… Based on F-22A flight hour data provided by the program office our analysis indicates that a large number of aircraft are likely to have flown more than 1,500 hours, or nearly 20 percent of their 8,000-hour service lives, before the Increment 3.2B upgrades are fielded.11 …retrofitting upgrades onto stealth aircraft with fully integrated computer systems – referred to as fused or integrated avionics – like the F-22A is a riskier and more complex process than integrating new technologies into a conventional aircraft with separate and distinct computer systems and software for each subsystem – known as federated avionics – even if the technologies are mature.”

    See: GAO | Washington Examiner.

    March 23/12: Increment 3.1. Flight International reports that the 3rd Wing’s 525th fighter squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska became the first Combat Air Forces squadron to receive the F-22A Increment 3.1, with greatly improved ground-attack capabilities.

    Increment 3.1 fielded

    March 20/12: Hypoxia. Gannett’s Air Force Times reports that Capt. Haney’s fatal Alaska crash (vid. Dec 14/11) has led to design changes and retrofits. The Air Force is replacing handles that engage the F-22A’s emergency oxygen system, at a fleet material cost of $8,400 for 200. Elemndorf’s F-22As have already been refitted, and refits to other units are ongoing.

    March 12/12: Lawsuit. Capt. Haney’s widow, Anna Haney, files a wrongful death suit in Cook County Court, IL against Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell International and Pratt & Whitney. The core of the suit reportedly claims that the plane’s onboard oxygen delivery system is defective, and that the mechanism for activating the emergency backup oxygen system is essentially impossible to operate impossible in emergencies. As such, the plane “did not safely or properly provide breathable oxygen to the pilot operating the aircraft.”

    Lockheed Martin’s spokeswoman was sympathetic, but added that the company does not agree with the allegations, and will contest them in court. Military.com.

    Jan 17/12: 2011 DOT&E. The Pentagon releases the “FY2011 Annual Report for the Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation.” The F-22A is included, and results are mixed.

    On the one hand, Increment 3.1 improvements involving ground radar modes and the new Small Diameter Bomb appear to be effective, and strongly improved Mean Time Between Critical Failure rates. The fleet grounding in 2011 delayed full testing, but in July 2011, the USAF authorized early fielding anyway.

    A more mixed review came in the USAF’s 5-year Low Observables Stability Over Time (LOSOT) testing. The stealth system was found to be durable and stable over time, but stealth-related maintenance “continues to account for a significant proportion of the man hours per flight hour required to maintain the F-22A.” That has always been true for stealth aircraft, though the F-22 was supposed to feature new technologies that would avoid this outcome and keep costs in line. That does not appear to have happened. The USAF continues to try and improve things by fielding an LO(Low-observable, i.e. stealth) Repair Verification Radar tool, performing periodic maintenance audits of the LO system, and fielding more people (aka. “Martians”) for low-observable maintenance. The extra Martians should improve mission-readiness, in exchange for extra costs per flight hour.

    2011

    Last Raptor rolls out; Increment 3.2 upgrade gets split up; Fleet grounding; T-38s introduced to reduce aerial training costs; Cockpit design the real cause of a fatal crash.

    End of the day
    (click to view full)

    Dec 14/11: Crash cause? Terrible Man-Machine Interface. That’s certainly what a leaked USAF report appears to conclude, concerning the fatal November 2010 F-22A crash in Alaska. According to reports, onboard computers detected that bleed air was leaking out of the engine bay, which could cause a fire. They shut that system down, leaving the OBOGS with no air feed. To activate the Emergency Oxygen System (EOS) back-up, the pilot has to pull up on a small ring tucked into the side of his ejection seat. While trying to find it, Capt. Haney seems to have put his aircraft into a dive – a result repeated in ground simulations, as the pilot moves the stick and rudder while twisting in the cockpit.

    It doesn’t help that to avoid hitting their canopy with protruding night vision goggles, while looking down and to the side, F-22 pilots have to brace themselves to shift their torso. A requirement that wouldn’t exist, except that the F-22 program cut JHMCS Helmet-Mounted Display integration. The accident investigation board still blames the accident on the pilot, for failing to activate the EOS. Flight International.

    Dec 12/11: Last Raptor. The last F-22 rolls off the assembly line in Marietta, GA, as the US prepares to mothball the production line’s tooling, along with photos, video, and detailed instructions. Mothballing is a rare step, which would reduce the cost of re-starting production later.

    About 5,600 Lockheed employees worked on the F-22 program at its peak in 2005, including 944 in Marietta. The current number is 1,650, with 930 in Marietta. More than 200 Marietta jobs have been cut in 2011, and more cuts could be coming. What’s known is that 600 Marietta, GA employees will handle F-22 technical support and modernizations. Some of the rest will be cut, while others will move to other programs. Atlanta Journal Constitution | UK’s Daily Mail | Reuters | TIME Magazine Battleland.

    The Last Raptor

    Oct 20-25/11: Stand-down. The commander of the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, VA issues a temporary stand-down order for the squadron’s F-22As, after another hypoxia-like incident. The F-22s at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska follow suit. All F-22s are flying again by Oct 25/11, but it’s clear that whatever problems the plane has aren’t going away. AP | Gannett’s Air Force Times | WAVY TV 10 | WIRED Danger Room.

    Oct 15/11: Reservists with the 477th Fighter Group in Joint AB Elmendorf, AK resume F-22 flying operations. After the fleet’s 4-month grounding, active duty pilots had priority to begin flying the F-22s. US PACAF.

    Oct 5/11: USMC Maj. Christopher Cannon writes a report advocating the F-22 as a ‘Plan B’ fallback replacement for the Marines’ F-35B if it’s canceled. The challenge is that the F-22 can’t be flown from ships, and current plans call for the USMC to buy a mix of F-35B STOVL and F-35C carrier aircraft. If the F-35B in canceled, therefore, the current Plan B is the F-35C. On the other hand, Canon argues that:

    “The F-22 dwarfs the F-35 in stealth, speed, survivability, deployability and firepower… F-22s could be purchased now and would be cheaper initially and cost less to maintain than F-35s in the future. The current DoD (Department of Defense) plan is to buy 50 Marine Corps F-35B aircraft… [costing] $190 million per aircraft. In 2011, flyaway costs for the F-22 are a reported $150 million per aircraft… The U.S. Air Force estimates flying hour costs for the F-22 are $44,259 per hour. The 2008 GAO (Government Accountability Office) report estimated $33,000 per flying hour in a JSF aircraft… However, F-35B costs will likely be higher than A and C models. Additionally, the 2011 GAO update states that ‘current JSF life-cycle cost estimates are considerably higher than the legacy aircraft it will replace.’ “

    Short takeaway: The report is very unlikely to become policy. Walton Sun.

    Sept 26/11: Return to flight. The F-22 Raptor returns to the skies in a series of test and production flights at Lockheed’s Marietta, GA facility. Lockheed Martin.

    Sept 19/11: Grounding. The USAF says that it will resume F-22 flights on Sept 21/11, even though it’s not sure what the problem is. While the wait for the fall report, the USAF will continue studying the problem, run regular physiological tests on the pilots, add training and unspecified protective gear, beef up aircraft inspections, and implement some short-term flight restrictions. The timing will, however, allow pilots grounded since May 3/11 to maintain their proficiency certifications. Aviation Week | Bloomberg | DoD Buzz | Gannett’s Air Force Times.

    Aug 31/11: Grounding. Defense News reports that the USAF is looking to lift the F-22 fleet grounding, even though the cause of the hypoxia-like symptoms hasn’t been determined yet. A Sept 2/11 meeting will determine what flight restrictions need to remain: the USAF wants to restrict the planes below 40,000 feet, but the pilots are pushing for the full 60,000 foot ceiling, and want the physiologists dealing with this issue to have piloting experience. A Sept 7/11 Defense News article goes into more detail:

    “Sources said the man they want to help with the investigation is a former Air Force flight test engineer and rated physiologist… Kevin Divers [of] Warrior Edge. Divers was a member of the F-22 Combined Test Force during the jet’s developmental testing and operational testing… Physiologists don’t fully comprehend the safety systems built into the modern aircraft, Divers said, but moreover, most don’t have the real-world experience in an aircraft. The consequence is that it has made it harder for the Air Force to get to the bottom of the problem… also created “an aircrew perception that the career field doesn’t understand its customer any more,” Divers said… “I know all of their flight equipment – the [onboard oxygen generating system] OBOGS, the entire plumbing of the aircraft to the OBOGS… My pilot training experience taught me to break down subsystems and know the aircraft to the level that the aircrew has to know it. Air Force physiologists aren’t trained that way coming into the Air Force.”

    See also: Defense News Aug 31/11 | POGO.

    August 16/11: Grounding. As of this date, F-22s have been grounded for 105 days. A mix of toxins has been found in pilots’ blood after the various incidents that led to the fleet’s grounding, but how the gasses make it into the plane’s air supply is still unclear. Carbon monoxide dissolves too quickly to have been found by the tests, but it could also explain hypoxia and may make it into cockpits during hangar startups used during Alaska’s winter.

    The investigation led by the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has been expanded to other planes: F-35 Lightning II, T-6A Texan II, F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II. It is planned to be completed by early fall.

    Meanwhile, a larger readiness problem is growing. Simulators help maintain a pilot’s instrument approach, but do not replace the live experience, so this is disrupting training. After 210 days without flying, pilots may have to go through extensive re-qualification.

    June 16/11: Grounding. The F-22 fleet remains grounded, except for any emergency and testing missions that might be ordered.

    May 30/11: New Core? The USAF is considering scrapping or heavily supplementing the F-22’s hardware/ software core with a modern open architecture system that would make upgrades much more portable from platforms like the F-35, EA-18G, etc., and also allow the USAF to open upgrades to competition beyond Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

    When the F-22 was in development, VAX hardware and the Ada programming language were the most advanced mature technologies available; UNIX had not fully evolved to a military grade choice, and the project needed to lower risk. A lot has changed on the technology front since then, and now the tightly-coupled nature of the F-22’s systems, and age of their legacy underpinnings, is making improvements difficult.

    The F-22 System Program Office (SPO) at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH will be trying to scope out the cost and effort via a 2011 RFI for demonstration projects. Depending on what they find, the system might become part of “Increment 3.2C” installations in 2019-2020, and allow the USAF to bring the entire Raptor fleet up to Increment 3.2 standard. Defense News | Vector Software | WSJ Tech Europe.

    May 19/11: 3.2 splits up. The Senate Armed Services Committee gets bad news from USAF procurement chief David Van Buren, as he tells them that:

    “Increment 3.2 that we’re currently working on for the F-22 for our war-fighting customer is taking too long to implement… We are working with the company to try to speed that up and make it more affordable.”

    Software development issues are the problem for this mostly-software upgrade, which has now been split into Increment 3.2A for 2014 fielding, and Increment 3.2B for 2017 fielding. As noted elsewhere in this article, the F-22 runs on VAX computers, programmed in Ada. During the F-22’s development phase, they were the stable, mature options available. Now, they’re almost extinct. Lockheed Martin says that they’re working on it, adding that they saved the USAF $20 million by moving some electronic protection software forward from Increment 3.2B (2017) to Increment 3.2A (2014). They’re reportedly looking at 100 additional cost-cutting items for Increment 3.2B. SASC Hearing (actually focused on F-35) | Defense News | Gannett’s Air Force Times.

    May 13/11: Holloman out. The active-duty 8th Fighter Squadron at Holloman AFB is officially inactivated, marking only the second time in the squadron’s 61-year history that it has been inactive. 8th FS flew F-22s, and Holloman AFB, NM is being converted to an F-16 training base. Source.

    May 5/11: Grounded. The F-22A fleet, which had been restricted to flying at a maximum of 25,000 feet since January 2011, gets a full grounding order from the USAF. A few pilots have been experiencing hypoxia-like symptoms on a few flights, and the USAF still doesn’t know why, so they’ve taken a cautious approach while a full investigation is conducted.

    Suspicion naturally falls on the fighter’s on-board oxygen gas generation system (OBOGGS) system, and the USAF is also investigating the OBOGGS systems on a range of other planes: F-15s, F-16s, F-35s, and T-6 trainers. With that said, the F-22A uses a new system designed by Honeywell, as opposed to the older Cobham plc systems found on many other USAF aircraft. Those kinds of systems do not usually fail, and the F-22 fleet has operated for some time without this problem. It is possible that some component may be wearing out early, or not holding up well over time, but the USAF is careful to note that they have not confirmed the source of the problem – if they knew it was the OBOGGS, this would not be an investigation. Meanwhile, the F-35 program takes pains to point out that their OBOGGS system is a newer Honeywell design. Bloomberg | DefenceWeb | Defense News | Flight International | Stars and Stripes.

    Fleet grounded

    March 19/11: Libya from afar. Operation Odyssey Dawn begins multinational enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya, and includes strikes on a wide range of defended Libyan targets. The F-22 is completely absent from these proceedings, though the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare fighter makes its combat debut. Given a clear air superiority and air defense suppression mission, which seems to play to all of the F-22’s strengths, and a March 17/11 statement by USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz that he expected the F-22s to be employed in the early days of the conflict, many observers speculate about the F-22’s absence from the conflict.

    Speculation includes political motives to force a coalition effort, lack of shared datalinks with most of the other planes participating, the fact that upgrade Increment 3.1’s ground-looking SAR mode for the AN/APG-77 radar hasn’t been delivered yet, or just an assessment that Libya wasn’t all that tough, and the F-22 wasn’t needed. A less credible reason was advanced by the USAF, who said it was because the F-22s aren’t based in Europe. All other reasons are possible contributors, but the May 2011 grounding adds an additional, and very persuasive, possibility: distrust of the plane’s oxygen system. Bloomberg | The DEW Line | DoD Buzz | Gannett’s Air Force Times.

    Feb 14/11: FY 2012 budget. The Pentagon releases its FY 2012 budget request, which includes over $1 billion for the F-22 program. What will that fund? No new planes, but:

    “Supports procurement of equipment associated with standing up operational locations and other support required to deliver new aircraft and funds shutdown activities, preserving assets for long-term F-22 fleet sustainment. Continues critical F-22 modernization through incremental capability upgrades and key reliability and maintainability efforts. Continues retrofit of Increment 3.1 into the combat-coded F-22 fleet. Increment 3.1 provides an initial ground attack kill chain capability via inclusion of emitter-based geo-location of threat systems, ground-looking synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modes, electronic attack capability, and initial integration of the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-1), which expands the F-22’s ground attack arsenal from one Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) to four SDB-1s per payload. Continues development of Increment 3.2, providing AIM-120D and AIM-9X integration, radar electronic protection, enhanced speed and accuracy of target geo-location, Link-16 track fusion, Automatic Ground-Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS), and other enhancements to improve system safety and effectiveness.”

    F-22A and T-38
    (click to view full)

    Jan 10/11: T-38 substitutes. One way to keep operations and maintenance costs down is to use cheaper fighters for air combat training. Lt. Col. Derek Wyler of the T-38 Adversary Air Program at JB Langley, VA explains:

    “Right now at (JB Langley) … the F-22s are having to fly against themselves for their air-to-air training… By bringing the T-38s out, we’ll be able to train F-22 pilots by flying against the T-38s, which will give them a larger number of aircraft to fly against, and it will be a far more cost-effective way to train.”

    It will, but T-38s are not a full substitute for training against fully-capable adversaries. NASA officials used an Aero Spacelines Super Guppy outsize cargo plane to deliver the first 2 of an eventual 15 T-38s that will be regenerated at Holloman AFB, NM, then flown to operating locations at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA, and Tyndall AFB, FL. Holloman AFB will receive 2 T-38s at a time, with the last slated for February 2011. The first 7 regenerated planes will go to JB Langley, VA. USAF.

    2010

    Corrosion. Wondering what’s next.

    Last few…
    (click to view full)

    Dec 16/10: Corrosion. A GAO study looks at corrosion lessons learned from the F-22 program, and provides some details. Unfortunately, the very same materials used to help ensure smooth and stealthy surfaces are responsible for corrosion problems:

    “Efforts are under way to address corrosion problems with the F-22. Corrosion of the aluminum skin panels on the F-22 was first observed in spring 2005, less than 6 months after the Air Force first introduced the aircraft to a severe environment. By October 2007, a total of 534 instances of corrosion were documented, and corrosion in the substructure was becoming prevalent. For corrosion damage identified to date, the government is paying $228 million to make F-22 corrosion-related repairs and retrofits through 2016… Many of the F-22’s corrosion problems were linked to problems with gap filler materials and paint… [Also,] Environmental and occupational health concerns drove the initial use of a nonchromated primer[Footnote 6] on the F-22 that did not provide corrosion protection, and the program later switched to a chromated primer.”

    According to the GAO, the F-35 program has learned from the F-22 in some areas, but is making similar mistakes in others. Other programs that could also learn from the F-22 experience include the US Marines’ EFV armored vehicle and CH-53K helicopter, the Navy’s JHSV fast transport/ support catamarans and RQ-4N BAMS naval surveillance UAVs, and the Hummer replacement JLTV.

    Nov 16/10: Restart? The US Air Force Association’s airforce-magazine says that the USAF is beginning to discuss a restart of F-22A Raptor production:

    “Extending F-22 production could be the dealmaker if F-35 foes carry the day and compel USAF to take mostly new-build F-16s instead. The Raptors would provide the extra stealth force required to make the non-stealthy F-16s acceptable. Also, if you’ve listened carefully, USAF has gone from saying it will retain a “portion” of F-22 production tooling to “most” and, most recently, to “all.” Gen. William Fraser, head of Air Combat Command, acknowledged last week that Lockheed Martin is filming all F-22 tooling processes as the earliest parts of production shut down, so that it can go back to production of parts… Also last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said he might spearhead an effort to get more F-22s into the budget. But he acknowledged it could be a difficult task given pressures to rein in spending.”

    Nov 8/10: Industrial. Flight International reports that Lockheed Martin has entered the final 12 months of F-22A production in Marietta, GA, with the final aircraft due out of building B-1 by November 2011. Production will then shift over to F-35 inner-wing shipsets, using 250,000 square feet of space that had used for C-5M tooling storage, even as the site also works to treble C-130J production to about 36 a year.

    Nov 3/10: What’s next? The USAF issues its “Next Generation Tactical Aircraft (Next Gen TACAIR) Materiel and Technology Concepts Search” solicitation, as it begins to think about what might replace the F-22 Raptor:

    “ASC/XRX is conducting market research analyses to examine applicable materiel concepts and related technology for a Next Gen TACAIR capability with an IOC(Initial Operational Capability) of approximately 2030. The envisioned system may possess enhanced capabilities in areas such as reach, persistence, survivability, net-centricity, situational awareness, human-system integration, and weapons effects. The primary mission in the future Next Gen TACAIR definition is Offensive and Defensive Counterair to include subset missions including Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), Close Air Support (CAS) and Air Interdiction (AI). It may also fulfill airborne electronic attack and intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capabilities. This is not an all-inclusive list and the Next Gen TACAIR definition will mature and sharpen as the market research and Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) unfold… The future system will have to counter adversaries equipped with next generation advanced electronic attack, sophisticated integrated air defense systems, passive detection, integrated self-protection, directed energy weapons, and cyber attack capabilities. It must be able to operate in the anti-access/area-denial environment that will exist in the 2030-2050 timeframe.

    ASC is issuing this CRFI to support Air Combat Command (ACC) in their effort to establish potential weapon system concepts and future operating environment definition, establish a common understanding of future capability needs, and define key enabling technologies and their path to maturity. This CRFI will support requirements generation/refinement and provide decision-making products (including cost analyses) required to estimate operational benefits. The Government is issuing this CRFI to conduct market research in accordance with Part 10 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.”

    That list of requirements seems calculated to produce another bleeding edge research project; time will tell, as it gets whittled down to a set of firm requirements, and the USA’s budgetary situation becomes clearer over the next decade. See also Flight International | Reuters.

    Oct 27/10: What’s next? An Aviation Week article discusses the future of fighter design in the face of widespread spending reviews, including possible plans for the F-22:

    “Much of the thinking about future designs is being driven by the emergence of new threats, including the ability to deal with more sophisticated and longer-range air defenses and advanced fighters such as Russia’s PAK FA. Those developments also have U.S. Air Force officials mulling how to continue to evolve the Lockheed Martin F-22. Potential improvements in the 2020-plus timeframe include a multispectral infrared search-and-track system and introducing side radar arrays that were once part of the program but dropped in the 1990s to cut costs. Advanced data links and improved combat identification capability also could be in the cards.”

    Multispectral IRST systems let fighters scan aerial targets in the non-radar spectra like infrared, allowing them to identify enemy aircraft by air friction and/or engine heat. Conventional radar stealth is not a defense, and a pilot with medium range infrared-guided air-to-air missiles can launch attacks from beyond visual range that do not rely on radar, and so do not trigger a target’s radar warning receivers.

    Oct 20/10: Science! It’s good to know physics. Boeing’s F-22 manager Duane Innes does, so when he saw a truck sliding across lanes at around 40 miles an hour, he warned his passengers, slammed on the minivan’s gas, pulled ahead of the runaway vehicle, and let it rear-end him. As he explains “Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together.”

    They did. The driver had suffered a heart attack and passed out at the wheel – but USAF veteran Bill Pace survived, thanks to the same combination of courage and physics that builds and then commands every F-22 in service. Well done, Mr. Innes. Seattle Times.

    Hero

    Sept 15/10: Industrial. Lockheed Martin announces that it has reached 86 consecutive F-22As aircraft delivered on or ahead of schedule. To date, the company has delivered 166 production F-22s, including 13 in 2010.

    Aug 25/10: Hawaii. Pilots from the Hawaii Air National Guard 199th Fighter Squadron complete their last training mission with the F-15 Eagle from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The 3 remaining F-15s will depart JB Hickam Sept 1/10, with 2 joining the 56th Aggressors Squadron at Nellis AFB, NV, and 1 moving to the 120th Fighter Wing of the Montana Air National Guard. The 199th FS will use the next year to transition to the F-22, and they will fly and help maintain the 20 F-22A Raptors that will deploy there. USAF.

    Aug 6/10: UAE exercise. The 2010 ATLC (Advanced Tactical Leadership Course) at Al Dhafra is an annual exercise in the United Arab Emirates that bring American, British, French, and regional aircraft together. The main 2010 exercise featured the UAE’s own F-16 E/F Block 60s and Mirage 2000v9s, along with 6 Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16s, 6 Pakistani F-7PGs (Chinese MiG-21 copy), 6 French Rafales, 6 RAF Eurofighter Typhoons, and 6 USAF F-16CJ Block 52 “Wild Weasel” aircraft, which are optimized for killing ground-based air defenses.

    A 6 aircraft deployment of F-22As from the 1st Fighter Wing’s 27th FS participated in bilateral training opportunities during this period, but did not participate in the main exercise. They flew 86 exercise sorties during the deployment, including 36 DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) sorties and 4 sorties at the Dubai air show. Arabian Aerospace:

    “This marked the first deployment of the F-22A Raptor to… the Central Command AOR… The F-22As fought Armée de l’Air Rafales on six occasions… [in 2010. In 2009] The USAF refused to comment directly about the French claims [re: the Rafale and Raptor]… Lt Col Lansing Pilch, commander of the 27th, and of the F-22 deployment [said in 2010 that] “In every test we did, the Raptors just blew the competition out of the water.” He did praise the Rafale, however… The deployment… was undertaken to test the expeditionary capabilities of the F-22A, and particularly… operations in a harsh desert environment… Pilch was keen to stress that the purpose… “We were not there to beat up on anybody [it’s about] showing them what we can do, and learning about what they can do, and thus how best we can operate alongside them in coalition operations.” …F-22As flew only within visual range 1 vs 1 BFM (Basic Fighter Manoeuvring) sorties, and [without using] the F-22’s AN/APG-77 radar and highly advanced AN/ALR-94 passive receiver system. The Raptor pilots flew against a variety of opponents, with only the RAF turning down the offer of training against the F-22A, to the evident disappointment of Pilch and Rogers… [Using a generic support package] the F-22A operated at a higher tempo and with a smaller logistics footprint than would be required by the F-15 or F-16…”

    See also Flight International. In a separate article, Arabian Aerospace adds an overview of the ATLC itself.

    July 30/10: Industrial. Flight International reports that even after the F-22 production line shuts down, tooling with “near-term needs” for fleet maintenance will be retained on site. Others will be stored in large, bar-coded steel ISO containers, instead of using conventional warehousing. all of this will be funded by shutdown contracts.

    Retaining the line’s tooling will allow the USAF to repair and modernise the service’s aircraft more easily – or re-start the line again to manufacture new Raptors. The latter course would not be cheap or fast, however, taking an estimated 2 years and costing about $4 billion by the time skills are retrained, new suppliers for some components are found, engineering modifications to incorporate the new components are finished and testing is done, etc. Flight International | Conservative Weekly Standard magazine.

    July 29/10: Holloman out. Well, that was fast. The F-22s will be leaving Holloman AFB under a new re-basing plan, and the base will turn into an F-16 training center by adding 2 training squadrons.

    The existing Holloman half-squadron (8th Fighter Squadron) will be deactivated and redistributed to Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK (6), Langley AFB, VA (6), and Nellis AFB, NV (2). The other F-22 squadron (7th Squadron) will relocate as a unit to Tyndall AFB, FL. USAF Tyndall AFB | Alamogordo Daily News.

    June 2/10: Holloman in. The first 2 F-22A Raptors arrive at Holloman AFB, NM, and taxi into Hangar 301. USAF.

    May 26/10: Corrosion. Rust never sleeps. DoD Buzz reports a quote from the US House Armed Services Committee, in its FY 2011 budget proposal:

    “The Committee notes that it has yet to receive the congressionally directed report from the Director of Corrosion Policy and Oversight assessing the corrosion control lessons learned from the F-22 Raptor fleet – which was grounded in February 2010 for corrosion on ejection seat rods due to poorly designed drainage in the cockpit – as they apply to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.”

    As DoD Buzz notes:

    “Regardless of how lowly rust might seem at first glance, it is a huge problem for the military, costing about $20 billion each year. According to the House Armed Services Committee, roughly $7 billion of that rust is preventable. So, the committee… wants to substantially increase the budget of a little known Pentagon entity, the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight… to… $10.8 million, up from a tiny request of $3.6 million.”

    April 14/10: More work for F-15s. Aviation Week reports that USAF F-15Cs with new APG-82 AESA radars will now shoulder 50% of the “air dominance” burden, to compensate for the F-22A’s production shutdown.

    The USAF’s F-15 A-D fleet has faced structural concerns in recent years, following catastrophic accidents that led to fleet-wide groundings.

    Sukhoi’s PAK-FA
    (click to view larger)

    Jan 29/10: PAK-FA competitor flies. Russia’s first prototype PAK-FA 5th generation stealth fighter lifts off from KNAAPO’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur facility for a 47 minute flight, piloted by Sukhoi test-pilot Sergey Bogdan.

    Sukhoi says that the plane met all expectations. Sukhoi JSC release | NPO Saturn release [in Russian] | Russia 1 TV video | Pravda | RIA Novosti | Times of India | Aviation Week | Defense News | Agence France Presse | BBC | Canadian Press | Washington Post | China’s Xinhua | Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman: Preliminary Analysis. See also APA: “Assessing the Sukhoi PAK-FA.”

    Competitor

    2009

    Program terminated. Japan has to look elsewhere.

    F-22, inverted
    (click to view full)

    Dec 21/09: To CENTCOM. A set of 6 F-22As from Langley AFB, VA complete a deployment to the Middle East, including participation in training sorties alongside pilots engaged in a multinational training exercise. The F-22s did not fly missions during that exercise, which included pilots and planes from Britain, France, Jordan, Pakistan, and the USA. USAF | UPI.

    As a separate matter, F-22As have also deployed to several international air shows, including a demonstration at the Dubai Air Show in November 2009. These deployments are the first time the F-22A has been sent to the Middle East.

    Nov 23/09: Japan. In the wake of the FY 2010 American defense budget that ended F-22 production, while maintaining the ban on exporting the aircraft, Japan has been forced to look at other options. Kyodo news agency reports that Japan is considering buying 40 F-35s, and that the Japanese defence ministry is seeking fiscal allocation in the 2011 budget. According to media reports, other contenders include the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, F-15 Eagle variants, and EADS’ Eurofighter. The acquisition plan is likely to be incorporated in new defense policy guidelines and a medium-term defense plan to be adopted in December 2010. Japan Today | Agence France Presse | domain-b | Times of India.

    Oct 20/09: Industrial. Second Line of Defense offers “Michael Wynne on: The Industrial Impact of the Decision to Terminate the F-22 Program,” by former Secretary of the USAF Michael Wynne. His article discusses the entire sweep of the F-22 program and its key decisions. Among them are the detrimental role of the DoD’s insistence on ADA programming, which has made updating the plane’s electronics so difficult. With respect to the decision to close the F-22 production line and deny exports, Wynne cites fallout effects that include the potential for F135 engine cost increases, and other industrial impacts:

    “Nationally; we have one fifth generation fighter facility left, and that ultimately will be the Fort Worth Facility. Yes, the Navy continues to buy the F-18 from the St. Louis Boeing facility, but the follow on program is the F-35, and the clock is now ticking loudly. Large Aircraft is Long Beach, and without the C-17, that facility will be history. Bomber programs – we have none, and the planned future one seems at risk. C-130 program will suffer further price increases, and the C-130J program barely made it to production as did the C-17.

    While you cannot pile the entirety of two decades or more of industrial base decisions and program decisions on this F-22 decision, it is clearly correlated; it is a decision taken in a context and has strategic consequences. And it is stunning to see the money being given to industries such as the automotive industry and little or no concern being expressed about the fate and future of the aerospace and defense industries.”

    July 31/09: The US House passes its “H.R. 3326: Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010” by a 400-30 vote. The bill contains a number of provisions that challenge official Pentagon decisions re: the C-17, VH-71, and F136 engine, but before it was passed, H.Amdt. 392 by H.R. 3326 sponsor John Murtha [D-PA] stripped the additional $369 million for F-22 long-lead production items out of the House Bill. It passed by a 269-165 vote.

    That vote was not straight party line, but it was heavily influenced. While 26 Republicans voted in favor, 165 were opposed. While 13 Democrats were opposed, 243 voted in favor. As House members prepare for negotiations with the Senate on a single, final bill to send to the President, the amendment vote, and subsequent passage of HR 3326, effectively marks the end of the F-22 program. F-22 production will continue through remaining funded orders, and cease in 2011.

    Both the House and Senate versions of the 2010 defense authorization bill require a report to study the potential for F-22A exports. The House version listed only Japan, while the Senate bill did not restrict the countries involved. Development work would be required before production, however, and is almost certain to require an expensive restart of the F-22 production line when it’s complete. While it is theoretically possible to bridge that time gap by resurrecting the American program in future defense bills, the aircraft’s supply chain will stop producing certain parts, and begin losing the people associated with them, long before the final delivery in 2011. See also: Aero News.

    Raptor Program shot down

    July 21/09: Politics. The US Senate votes 58-40 in favor of S.Amdt 1469, the Levin-McCain amendment to strip $1.75 billion for 7 F-22As out of the Senate’s FY 2010 defense budget. The additional funds had been inserted in committee, just as the recently-passed FY 2010 House defense budget proposal contains $369 million in initial funding for 12 more F-22s.

    The vote was heavily determined by state lines, with 40/50 states voting coherently. Both Republicans voted “yea” to F-22 funding removal in AZ, SC and WY. Both Democrats voted against the amendment in CA, CT, HI, NM, and WA. John Kerry [D-MA], who often reiterated his support for the F-22 in the run-up to the vote, would have added to that trend – but he voted to remove funding, and F-22 supporter Sen. Kennedy [D-MA] was absent for medical reasons. Democrat senators split in WVA (Sen. Byrd nay) while Republicans split in AL (Sen. Shelby yea), and OK (Sen. Coburn yea). In the 7 remaining cases, the split was party-based, with the state’s Democratic Party senator supporting the amendment to remove funding, and the Republican Party Senator opposing: FL, IA, LA, NE, NH, NC, and SD.

    S.Amdt 1469’s passage does not entirely end the mater, since the House and Senate bills must now be reconciled in committee before they are submitted to the President. But the 17-12-1 vote among Senate Armed Services committee members to remove F-22 funding does raise the aircraft’s obstacles, absent pressure in the interim that causes Senators to shift their positions. Bloomberg News | Washington Post | POGO re: Senate Armed Services Committee member votes | Senate Roll Call.

    July 15/09: Politics. S.Amdt 1469, the Levin-McCain amendment to strip $1.75 billion for 7 F-22As out of the Senate’s FY 2010 defense budget, is withdrawn from consideration. That generally means that a measure does not yet have enough reliable votes. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) offers its own assessment of where the votes stand, then wusses out and removes its tally.

    July 15/09: Politics. The Air Force Association reports that:

    “It now turns out that a recent “study” touted by Pentagon leadership as the justification for terminating the F-22 fighter isn’t really a study at all, but a series of briefings by DOD’s Program Analysis and Evaluation shop and the Air Force. That word comes from the Pentagon’s top spokesman, Geoff Morrell… Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been claiming a rigorous analytical basis for stopping the F-22 since early this year. Congress has been pressing the Pentagon for a vetted analysis of F-22 requirements since 2007, when then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England was directed to provide, within a year, a comprehensive tacair plan that would specifically explain how the number of F-22s had been determined. According to various members of Congress, he never complied with this directive.”

    July 13/09: Politics. President Obama threatens to veto the defense budget if F-22 funding is included. That same day, S.Amdt 1469, the Levin-McCain amendment to strip $1.75 billion for 7 F-22As out of the Senate’s FY 2010 defense budget, is introduced.

    July 13/09: Politics. The right-wing Heritage Foundation discusses past and ongoing rationales for F-22 force structures, in “U.S. Air Force Fifth-Generation Fighter: The F-22A Raptor Requirements Retreat” and “Congress Should Support the Development of an Allied Variant of the F-22A.”

    July 9/09: F-22 effectiveness argued. The Washington Post runs “Premier U.S. Fighter Jet Has Major Shortcomings,” an article that’s highly critical of the F-22. It alleges failure to meet key performance parameters, spiraling maintenance and operations costs, and failures of the plane’s stealth coatings in conditions like rain. The USAF offers official replies, which states that the paper got most of its cost and performance claims wrong, and furnishes figures. USAF replies, via Sen. Orrin Hatch [R-UT] | Air Force Association: “A Bagel and a Smear“.

    June 29/09: Lawsuit. Stephen Trimble reports that sued former Lockheed Martin engineer Darrol Olsen has filed suit, claiming that the company knowingly supplied defective stealth coatings for the F-22. A copy of the suit is reproduced via scribd.com.

    A July 2009 response [PDF] by Lockheed Martin states that:

    “We believe the allegations are without merit. While we are aware of the Olsen lawsuit, the Corporation has not yet been served in this matter. We deny Mr. Olsen’s allegations and will vigorously defend this matter if and when it is served.”

    June 25/09: Politics. H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, passes the House by a margin of 389 Ayes, 22 Nays, and 22 Present/Not voting. It includes $369 million in funding for long-lead materials to build 12 more F-22s.

    In addition, Sec. 132 requires the Secretary of the Air Force to “develop a plan for the preservation and storage of unique tooling related to the production of hardware and end items for F-22 fighter aircraft.” Sec. 1237 requires “a report on potential foreign military sales of the F-22A fighter aircraft to the Government of Japan.”

    June 18/09: Politics. House Armed Services Committee disagree with SecDef Gates’ F-22 decision, and prepare to go their own way with respect to F-22 funding. Christian Science Monitor | Aviation Week.

    April 22/09: Collision. CF-18 kills! An F-22 Raptor collides with a Canadian CF-18 while taxiing on the runway at Tyndall AFB, FL. This is the 5th F-22 Class A accident in the last 6 years, and it’s a Class A accident because damage is over $1 million. That’s easy on a $150 million F-22A, even if wing damage is minor as it reportedly was in this case.

    A higher accident rate per 100,000 flying hours is normal for new aircraft, and the F-22’s rate is reportedly around 7. Older F-16s and F-15s have rates around 3-4, while the venerable B-52 sits at just 1.5 per 100,000 hours. By comparison, unmanned MQ-1 Predator UAVs have a rate of close to 30 per 100,000 hours. Gannett Air Force Times | StrategyPage.

    F-22 Accidents

    F-22 and F-16s
    (click to view full)

    April 6/09: Politics. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announces his recommendation to terminate F-22 orders at the end of FY 2009, leaving the USA with a fleet of 187 aircraft. Let the political fight begin.

    The Hill magazine describes the production implications. The Christian Science Monitor’s “You can’t kill F-22, Georgians tell Gates” looks at the local impact of that announcement, the likely 2011-2014 production line hiring gap between the F-22 and F-35, and the role of the unions in any lobbying effort.

    March 30/09: GAO Report. The US government’s GAO audit office issues its 7th annual “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs. This includes the F-22A modernization and improvement program, which began in 2003. It aimed to add better air-to-ground capabilities, leverage the plane’s electronics to offer information warfare, reconnaissance, and other capabilities, and improve the aircraft’s reliability.

    The plan was to field these capabilities in 3 increments, to be completed in 2010. Funding decreases, schedule slips, and changes in requirements have pushed the development date back to 2013. The USAF now plans to integrate additional capabilities beyond the three increments in a separate major defense acquisition program, and some planned enhancements have been deferred. GAO:

    “One of the F-22A modernization program’s three critical technologies-processing memory-is mature. The two remaining technologies-stores management system and cryptography-are approaching maturity, and have been tested in a relevant environment… According to the F-22 program office, implementation of the modernization program’s three increments has been delayed by 3 years because of numerous budget decreases and program restructurings. Since fiscal year 2002, the F-22A’s modernization budget has been decreased by over $450 million.”

    March 29/08: Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports that:

    “The [Israeli] Defense Ministry will closely follow discussions in Congress next month over the United States’ 2010 fiscal defense budget amid growing speculation that a ban on foreign sales of the stealth F-22 fighter jet may be lifted to keep the threatened production line alive… “If this happens we will definitely want to review the possibility of purchasing the F-22,” explained a top military source. “In order to have strong deterrence and to win a conflict we need to have the best aircraft that exists.”

    Speculation is that Israel would seek to order F-22As immediately, then wait until later in the F-35’s production cycle, when the plane will be cheaper to buy, fully tested, and more technically mature.

    March 25/09: An F-22A crashes during a test mission at around 10am, about 35 miles northeast of Edwards Air Force Base, CA. The pilot is killed. For decades, Edwards has been the USAF’s Flight Test Center, where pilots push the envelope in existing and experimental aircraft. Edwards AFB was also the scene of the last F-22 crash, in December 2004.

    The 49 year old Lockheed Martin test pilot, David Cooley, was a 21-year USAF veteran. He worked at the F-22 Combined Test Force, a joint team of Lockheed Martin and USAF pilots. Pentagon, initial release | USAF statement | Lockheed Martin statement | Wall St. Journal. A July 2009 Washington Post article says that the pilot was performing a high speed run with weapon bay doors open when the plane crashed.

    Crash

    Feb 24/09: Australia. Australian Liberal Party MP Dr. Dennis Jensen used to be a defense research scientist. He pens “US Allies Sold Short on New Fighters” as a DID guest article, decrying America’s refusal to export the F-22 to loyal allies like Australia as insulting and strategically short-sighted.

    It’s significant that Jensen is a Liberal Party MP, since the previous Liberal Party government had consistently promoted the F-35A over the F-22A as Australia’s future fighter. While in opposition, current Labor Party Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon also expressed a preference for the F-22, and a desire to remove US export controls on the aircraft.

    Feb 8/09: Specs. Aviation Week reports that a number of the F-22’s performance parameters are above specifications. Desired radar signature from certain critical angles is -40 dBsm, it can supercruise at Mach 1.78 rather than Mach 1.5, has better acceleration, can operate from about 65,000 feet using afterburner, and its APG-77 AESA radar has 5% better range than originally specified.

    See also John Young’s Nov 20/08 transcript, below, for some contrasting but less specific comments.

    Above spec.

    Jan 20/09: Politics. President-elect Barack Obama receives letters from 200 members of Congress, urging him to continue building F-22s. The letters from the Senate (44: 25 Republican, 19 Democrat) and House (194, led by Phil Gingrey [R-GA], David Scott [D-GA], Kay Granger [R-TX], and Norman Dicks [D-WA]) also claims that his “certification” is needed by March 1/09. Otherwise, a progressive set of shut-downs in the manufacturing supply chain may begin, as final long lead-time item orders for various aircraft components are filled.

    The letter cites military arguments involving advanced jet fighter projects underway abroad, and the global proliferation of advanced SA-10/20 anti-aircraft missiles, but its main focus is economic. The figure given is more than 25,000 Americans working for more than 1,000 companies in high-tech and manufacturing jobs. Stated economic multiplier effects deliver $12 billion annually once all monies paid are spent several times throughout that economy; statistically, models predict that another 70,000 local jobs would be indirectly dependent on the F-22 program. House letter text | AOL Political Machine, incl. Senate letter | Defense News.

    Jan 19/09: To PACOM. A flight of 14 F-22As deployed from their home base at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska arrive at Andersen AFB in Guam for a 3-month forward deployment. A second set of 12 F-22As arrives in Kadena, Japan from Langley AFB in Virginia.

    One of the things the USAF will be paying attention to is the effect that the change from Alaska’s winter to Guam’s tropical climate will have on the aircraft. This difference seems trivial, but it has a variety of implications. The Raptor’s stealth characteristics, for instance, are partly dependent on very smooth fits of its component parts. USAF re: Guam arrival | USAF re: deployment in general | Gannet’s Air Force Times | The Virginian-Pilot.

    2008

    Readiness data. BACN. Exports?

    F-15E and F-22A
    (click to view full)

    Dec 16/08: The USAF announces that in January 2009, 12 Raptors will deploy to Kadena Air Base, Japan, from Langley Air Force Base, VA, and another 12 will deploy to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, from Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK. The deployments will last for approximately 3 months.

    Dec 9/08: Multi-year order? Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that he has talked to USAF chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz about buying “60 or so” more F-22As beyond the 183 now on order, which would bring the total to 243. He adds that “I am concerned that it is such an expensive system,” but added that systems like the F-35 often run into delays, and “it’s very important we have capability to bridge to that system with respect to the broad range of capabilities for the country.” Reuters.

    Based on existing patterns, 60 F-22As would represent another 3-year, multi-year contract, stretching from 2010-2012. Some analysts believe this will be combined with an F-22EX push to address pressure from Australia, Israel, and Japan, and lift F-22 production numbers in order to bring down the price.

    The F-35A’s initial operational date in USAF service is scheduled to be 2013, but the JSF testing program was recently pushed back 6 months, and reports indicate that the phase may be headed for financial shortfalls. With the structural viability of its F-15 Eagle fleet also a question mark, the option of keeping the F-22 production line open has support. One wild card is continuing Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, whose look ahead for the Pentagon sees the USA de-emphasizing fighters as a class, in favor of longer-range options like the “2018 bomber.

    Nov 20/08: Readiness & Upgrades. John Young, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for acquisition technology and logistics, speaks to the Defense Writer’s Group. Full DWG Transcript [PDF] | Partial transcript at The DEW Line. Key excerpts:

    “The recent mission capable data for FY2008 on F-22s had a mission capable rate somewhere in the 62 percent range. I think that’s troubling. Follow-on operation tests in 2007 raised operational suitability issues and noted that the airplane still does not meet most of its KPPs. It meets some, but not all… The trend in those operational tests… is actually negative.

    The maintenance man hours per flying hour have increased through those tests. The last one was a substantial increase… the Air Force had planned and expected to have kind of a two-tiered structure where some of the earlier jets were not fully capable jets, not to the block 35 or increment 3.2 configuration which provides important capabilities… But the cost of that is $6.3 billion of R&D. This is in a platform we’ve already developed. We’re going to spend six billion more of R&D to engineer the 3.2 upgrade for the software and the changes in the jet, and then about $2 billion to modify on the jets. That’s $8 billion more, and $8 billion I think needs to be spent in order to make sure the 183 airplanes we have will be highly capable fighters. Those discussions need to be had before I think you talk about buying more jets.”

    Nov 19/08: Politics. The House Armed Services Air/Land subcommittee is not satisfied with the Pentagon’s response re: unfreezing F-22 funds, and holds hearings on the matter. The bottom line? The Pentagon is able to do whatever it wants, because the bill used the term “not more than,” instead of simply mandating that the full amount be spent on long-lead parts. While that was the bill’s clear intent, the normal GAO process that could force the Defense Department to obey Congress would take too long, given the coming end of the current term of government. Since the officials in question are also likely to see their terms end with the incoming administration, a damaged relationship with Congress doesn’t really mean anything to them at this point. Gannett’s Air Force Times | Aviation Week.

    See also Nov 26/08 contracts.

    Nov 10-18/08: Politics. Congress appropriated at least $140 million to the Pentagon to buy long-lead items for 20 F-22s, a move that would extend the production line’s life. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England is believed to angry at the USAF’s success in getting that funding approved, despite Pentagon plans to end production. Whatever the motive, the funds were not being spent.

    In an early November 2008 letter, 4 key House members pressed Gates to obligate the entire $140 million that Congress appropriated. Bipartisan signatories included House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton [D-MO] and ranking member Duncan Hunter [R-CA], Armed Services Air and Land Forces subcommittee Chairman Neil Abercrombie [D-HI] and ranking minority member Jim Saxton [R-NJ].

    In response, the Office of the Secretary of Defense put out a release that unfroze funds, but allocated only $50 million for 4 fighters, adding that they would request additional money to buy the 4 fighters in the FY 2009 war-supplemental request. In January 2009, said Mr. Young, the next administration can decide to release additional advanced procurement funds, up to the Congressional $140 million ceiling. Office of the Secretary of Defense release via Washington Post | USAF | Aviation Week | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Gannett Air Force Times | The Hill | TMC.net | Washington Post | Fort Worth Star-Telegram op-ed.

    Nov 10/08: Israel. Flight International reports that sticker shock over the proposed $200 million per plane price of F-35As, and a need for rapid delivery, may push Israel to renew its F-22EX request with the new Obama administration.

    “This aircraft can be delivered in two years if the deal is approved [DID: 2011, vs. 2012-14 for F-35s], and that is very important for the security of Israel,” comments one Israeli source.”

    Read “Israel Requesting F-22EX Fighters” for more.

    Oct 27/08: Pilot retention issue. StrategyPage reports:

    “Despite signing bonuses of up to $125,000, the U.S. Air Force was unable to get many pilots to sign on for another five years (after they hit their eighth year of service, usually the mandatory service for someone to become a pilot). The bonus program did enable the air force to get 68 percent of pilots to extend their service, but the percentage that did so varied according to aircraft type. At the low end, only 43 percent of F-22 pilots stayed in. At the high end, it was 81 percent for rescue helicopter and F-15E pilots. The other signup percentages were, transport 71 percent, F-15C 68 percent, A-10 53 percent and F-16 51 percent… the air force is still trying to figure out why so few F-22 pilots, and so many F-15E and rescue helicopter pilots, want to stay.”

    One possible explanation involves promotion. The USAF is now headed by a career rotary wing/special operations transport pilot, rather than the fighter pilots that had come to dominate top positions. If F-22 pilots believe they will not receive “before the zone” promotions just for being F-22 pilots, the criteria shift toward combat time and service. Which F-22 pilots will not receive, either. F-22s are optimized for precision strikes on difficult strategic targets, and wars with peer-class competitors. To date, the Secretary of Defense has elected not to deploy F-22s to counterinsurgency theaters like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that’s not likely to change.

    Oct 10/08: Japan. Flight International’s “Eurofighter gets serious about Japan’s F-X contest” discusses political developments in Japan, where the Eurofighter Typhoon appears to be gaining ground as a possibility.

    Flight International’s sources indicate that Japan will make one more push in 2009, after the American elections. If that fails, it is likely to abandon efforts to secure the F-22, and move to buy other options. See DID’s “F-22 Raptors to Japan” for more.

    Sept 4/08: Alternative fuel. An F-22 based at Edwards AFB performs an aerial refueling using a synthetic 50/50 mix of JP-8 jet fuel and a natural gas-based fuel. The test was the culmination of Edwards test points in certifying the F-22’s use of the fuel.

    It is the first time an Air Force aircraft has refueled in mid-air using an alternative jet engine fuel. USAF.

    May 20/08: Hawaii. DTI’s Ares reports on the Hawaiian Air National Guard’s transformation to become the first Air National Guard commanded F-22 unit. The first F-22 simulator is scheduled to arrive in 2008, the first pilots start training in 2009, and they get their first F-22A Block 30 aircraft and a repair facility that can handle stealth fighters in 2010. Hawaii’s 15 F-15Cs will go to Nellis AFB, where they will serve as the aggressor unit for Nellis’ F-22As.

    Despite the relative cost of the F-22s, the Pacific’s importance to the USAF is illustrated by the fact that Hawaii was slated to receive from 18-24 F-22s as replacements, all of which will have full ground attack capabilities. Personnel will also increase from 1.2 pilots per aircraft (18) to as much as 1.75 pilots per aircraft (up to 42), with a mix of about 25% active duty USAF pilots and 75% US ANG.

    May 13/08: Make mine BACN! If you’re a stealth fighter, opening radio communication can be a bad idea – see our Aug 4/06 entry for details and coverage. At the same time, the F-22A’s tremendous information gathering capabilities have a lot to offer other American fighters.

    The US military’s Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2008 (JEFX-08) just finished testing one option: the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) Intra-Flight Data Link subsystem (BIS). In JEFX-08, BACN-BIS received and translated selected F-22 sensor data into the standard tactical data link format and distributed the data to F-15s, F-16s and to ground-based operations centers at Nellis Air Force Base, NV and Langley Air Force Base, VA. BIS did not require modifications to either hardware or software in the F-22 aircraft, and did not compromise any of the F-22’s stealth characteristics. NGC release | DID: Bringing Home the BACN to Front-Line Forces.

    May 7/08: Politics. Reuters reports that the US House Armed Services Committee’s Air & Land Forces subcommittee has recommended an additional $523 million as a down payment on long-lead items required for 20 more F-22A fighters in FY 2010. See “C-17A, F-22A May Get Reprieves from Congress.”

    April 9/08: Seagulls 1, Raptors 0. F-22 airfields are being bombed, and planes are being damaged. The attackers? Gulls dropping clams onto the runways to break them, whereupon the shells get sucked into the Raptor’s $10.2 million jet engines. Langley AFB in Virginia is trying to defend them. USAF story.

    Feb 18/08: Australia. Australia’s new Labor Party government formally announces a major Air Combat Capability Review. The case for and against buying F-22 Raptors, based on regional air power trends until 2045, is one of the explicit items in the ACCR’s terms of reference. See “Australia Unveils Comprehensive Airpower Review” for full details.

    Feb 14/08: Radar SAR test. Northrop Grumman announces that tests aboard a company BAC 1-11 test aircraft have successfully demonstrated the AN/APG-77v1 radar’s ability to generate high-resolution, in-flight synthetic aperture radar (SAR) ground maps and moving target tracking. The test flights are the first phase of a planned multi-year contract with Boeing to add SAR capability to the existing fleet of F-22As, and incorporate them into new production aircraft. “F-22As to Add SAR/GTMI Capabilities” explains why this matters to the Raptor’s offensive and defensive capabilities.

    February 2008: F-15 age-out. The US Air Force Association’s Washington Watch reports that the recent grounding of the USA’s entire F-15A-D Eagle fleet is sparking questions in Congress re: the viability of the Eagle force. The ripples are being felt by the F-22 program:

    “On Dec. 12, 28 Senators and 68 members of the House of Representatives wrote to Pentagon chief Robert M. Gates, urging him to keep buying F-22s, at least through the end of the 2009 Quadrennial Defense Review. They said that, in light of the F-15 groundings and reports indicating that “significantly more than 220” Raptors are needed to fulfill national strategy, ending F-22 production now would be, at best, “ill advised.”… In late December, Pentagon Comptroller Tina W. Jonas directed USAF to shift $497 million marked for F-22 shutdown costs to fix up the old F-15s instead. The move effectively set the stage for continued F-22 production.

    …Replacing [the F-15A-D Eagles] with F-22s – above and beyond the 183 Raptors now planned – would require buying at least 20 a year to be minimally efficient. At that rate, it would take nine extra years of production to replace the F-15 fleet fully. Raise the rate, and replacement time would decrease. At 30 per year, the F-15s could be wholly replaced in six years. However, USAF is also struggling to fund the F-35 fighter. It needs to build 110 per year to replace the F-16 in a timely manner, but can only afford 48 per year in its budget…”

    Jan 20-27/08: F-22, Pro and Con. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram publishes pro and con articles re: the F-22 program. On the anti F-22 side are F-16 designer Pierre Spey, John Stevenson, and Winslow Wheeler of the left-wing Center for Defense Information: “The F-22: expensive, irrelevant and counterproductive.” The Star-Telegram story appears to be incomplete, so here’s a similar op-ed from the trio on Defense Tech. Their 3 key points regarding the F-22 program deal with force structure, pilot training, and actual unit costs, which they believe to be $180 – $215 million.

    On the pro F-22 side, deputy editorial page director J.R. Labbe writes “F-22 is still what the U.S. needs.” See also Oct 30/07 entry re: USAF studies, and February 2008 entry re: the US F-15 fleet, for backward and forward extensions of this ongoing debate.

    2007

    Lots 7 to 9. Flying costs. FOT&E. Full Operational Capability.

    Ice Braker
    (click to view full)

    Dec 12/07: F-22 FOC.. The USAF’s 1st Fighter Wing’s 27th Fighter Sqn at Langley AFB, VA, have been training since their F-22s were certified for Initial Operational Capability on Dec 15/05. IOC made them capable of emergency combat operations and limited operations like exercises and homeland defense. Now Gen. John D.W. Corley, the commander of Air Combat Command, has officially certified that the F-22 Raptors at Langley AFB have reached Full Operational Capability. This makes them available for combat deployments of any kind, around the world. USAF release.

    Full Operational Capability

    Nov 29/07: Ice, ice baby. A lot goes into fully fielding an aircraft. November 2007 tests at Eiselson AFB, Alaska focused on the F-22’s braking and anti-skid system, which is unique to the aircraft. In addition to looking at wheel slip like a car’s anti-lock brakes, the F-22’s system also accounts for deceleration through its pinpoint GPS/INS navigation system, in order to improve control on any surface.

    Operating – and stopping – on snow, ice fog, and similar surfaces is mandatory for any USAF jet. The tests started with basic ground maneuvering on an icy surface before progressed to high-speed braking tests and eventually, both real and aborted take-off and landings under “low runway condition reading” conditions. Fortunately, the Alaska weather obliged and the team was able to finish all mandatory test points within the first 5 days of the 3-week test period. They went on to gather more data and updated the F-22’s landing charts, flight manuals, and cold-weather maintenance procedures. USAF story.

    Oct 30/07: Politics. The Lexington Institute releases “Policymakers Suppress Expert Findings on Future Fighter.” The key excerpt:

    “The world’s pre-eminent repository of air power expertise [DID: he means the USAF] says it needs 381. Is there some other authoritative source of insight into the right number? It turns out there are three such sources, because three separate studies on the subject were commissioned during the quadrennial review — including one requested by Mr. England himself from the same outfit that provided an earlier plan for streamlining naval aviation. So what do the studies say? The Pentagon won’t tell us… And here’s why… each study concluded that 183 F-22s isn’t enough. They all found a requirement for more, with the analysis requested by Mr. England recommending a number somewhere in the 250-aircraft range…”

    Oct 29/07: Active in Alaska. The 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base activates the 525th Fighter Squadron during a ceremony at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. The second active-duty F-22 Raptor squadron had been based in Bitburg, Germany, and was formally activated nearly 3 months after the new F-22s officially landed on base. Lt. Col. Chuck Corcoran assumed command of the squadron with its initial cadre of 5 pilots and 4 support staff. USAF release.

    Sept 28/07: Testing – GBU-39 SDB. The USAF announces that the F-22 Raptor Combined Test Force staff has conducted the first airborne separation of a small diameter bomb from the internal weapons bay of an F-22, to ensure the SDB would have a clean separation when released. Testing confirmed expectations. The tests are part of the F-22A’s Increment 3.1 upgrade.

    Sept 26/07: Lockheed Martin announces that the US Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) has designated the F-22A as “effective, suitable and mission capable,” following a second increment of Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E II). capabilities evaluated during the operational test included the areas of mission generation, mission support, and enhancements to air-to-air and air-to-ground employment capabilities. AFOTEC Commander Maj. Gen. Steve Sargeant:

    “This second FOT&E was a significant milestone in terms of validating the F-22A’s combat capability to conduct Offensive Counter Air-Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (OCA-DEAD) We are confident we have provided Air Combat Command and senior Air Force leaders with an accurate and complete picture of the Raptor’s impressive operational capabilities. AFOTEC also highlighted where additional resources can be focused to further mature and sustain this fifth generation fighter.”

    “Effective and Suitable”

    Aug 29/07: Air Force officials receive the 100th F-22 Raptor from Lockheed Martin. The milestone aircraft (USAF serial number 05-0100) will be assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. USAF release.

    #100

    Aug 13-17/07: F-117 to F-22. More than 70 49th Fighter Wing operators and maintainers gathered at the 1st Fighter Wing in at Langley Air Force Base, VA to hand off 25 years of stealth knowledge, as well as stealth integration tactics. This training is the third and final combined training between the F-117 and the F-22. Previous combined events were held at Tyndall AFB, Fla., and Nellis AFB, Nev., each with a different focus. Holloman AFB, NM will be receiving the F-22, and transitioning from the F-1117 Nighthawk. Lt. Col. Todd Flesch, the 8th Fighter Squadron commander, said that:

    “This is the first time we will really be able to talk full capabilities of both jets at an operational level … The F-117 mission is going away. It’s being handed off and we need to make sure what we’ve learned is passed on correctly. In the Air Force, when one plane takes over another, we tend to reinvent the wheel. This time, it’s a total hand-over of knowledge.”

    USAF: “Holloman Airmen hand stealth knowledge to F-22 community

    Aug 8/07: PACOM. Ceremonies are held at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska to mark the formal beginning of operations for the F-22 Raptor in the Pacific region, where the 90th Fighter Squadron is deployed. The Pacific Alaska Range Complex’s 67,000 square miles of space to train in played a role in this basing decision. USAF report | Lockheed Martin release. NOTE: Lockheed Martin changed its web back end and URLs recently, but did not include a redirect feature, thus breaking all previous links to its site.

    Raptors first visited Alaska in June 2006 when the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley AFB, VA deployed to participate in Northern Edge, a large-scale, force-on-force exercise. Lockheed Martin states that Raptor pilots flew 97% of their scheduled missions, and achieved an 80-to-1 kill ratio against their Red Air opponents. See June 9-16/06 entry for more.

    AMRAAMs on AVEL

    July 2/07: Multi-Year buy OK. Air Force officials announce authorization from Congress to pursue multi-year agreements for Lots 7, 8 and 9. The multi-year contract approach has been controversial, with competing claims as to whether it will save money or not. Contracts with Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney are expected to follow later this summer [DID: and did, see July 31/07 contract entries]. USAF: “Materiel Command on track to deliver more F-22s.”

    May 18/07: Air shows. The USAF is beginning to exhibit the F-22A at air shows. An Air Force Association Magazine article “Raptor Puts on the Ritz” describes some of the maneuvers, including the “tail slide” that is also executed by SU-30s as a way of breaking doppler radar locks.

    May 10/07: PACOM. The 27th Fighter Squadron leaves Japan and begins their return to Langley Air Force Base, VA. In addition to sharpening their understanding of foreign deployment requirements, the unit also flew over 600 sorties against pilots from various US services, and the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (which is interested in buying an export version). The squadron also “conducted almost 30 tours and briefings for visiting dignitaries” during their 3 month deployment. USAF report.

    April 27/07: South Korea. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency: “Seoul eyes advanced jets beyond F-15K” contends that the issue of F-22 exports to Japan will be under discussion during the imminent summit between U.S. President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week. The decision will be watched closely by South Korea, which also wants 5th generation fighter jets for its 3rd phase F-X purchase. An excerpt:

    “China is modernizing its air force at a rapid pace,” said Dennis Wilder, senior director for East Asian Affairs at the White House National Security Council. “And so we are very positively disposed to talking to the Japanese about future-generation fighter aircraft.”

    DID’s coverage of South Korea’s F-X program looks at some of the obstacles in the way of granting South Korea similar treatment. See esp. its April 27/07 update.

    April 20/07: Israel. Flight International reports that Israel has approached the USA about acquiring Lockheed Martin F-22s, as concern mounts about new threats to the IAF’s regional air superiority from proposed sales of advanced US weapons to the Gulf states, and Israeli assessments of a growing threat from Iran. Sources say that the issue was raised during a recent one-day trip by US defense secretary Robert Gates to Israel.

    April 2/07: GAO Report – fatigue issues. The US Government Accountability Office releases #GAO-07-415 – ‘Tactical Aircraft: DOD Needs a Joint and Integrated Investment Strategy’, which describes the Pentagon’s current fighter modernization plans as “unexecutable.” The F-22 is discussed in many places, but this excerpt has immediate relevance:

    “The Air Force is working with the contractor to fix structural deficiencies on the F-22A. Fatigue testing identified cracks in the aircraft near the horizontal section tail of the aircraft. The Air Force is planning modifications to strengthen the structure to get the 8,000-hour service life. The Air Force estimates the costs to modify 72 F-22As will be approximately $124 million. These modifications will not be fully implemented until 2010.”

    March 26/07: APG-77v1 certified. Northrop Grumman Corporation announces radar flight-test certification for the next-generation variant of the F-22’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, the AN/APG-77v1. It will be installed beginning with Lot 5 production that will finish by the end of March 2007. It supposedly improves search and targeting modes, though exact details were not discussed. The flight tests were conducted as part of an overall flight-test certification of the Raptor by the Combined Test Force team at Edwards Air Force Base from Jan. 18 – March 7, 2007; it included AIM-9 and AIM-120 missile launches, and JDAM bomb drops. The flight-test certification is one of the prerequisites for the aircraft to begin the Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE) phase, after which Raptors with the new radar are considered available for combat.

    March 20/07: Air shows. Pratt & Whitney announces that the USAF has selected the F-22 Raptor for their East Coast Demonstration Team beginning in April 2007 at Langley Air Force Base, VA. This marks the end of more than 20 years of showmanship by the F100-PW-100 powered F-15 Eagle East Demonstration Team, which performed for more than a million spectators annually at air shows and demonstrations.

    The East Coast Demonstration air show season runs from April through mid-November 2007. The F119-powered F-22 Raptor will perform multiple flyby passes that will include a series of high and low speed climbing and turning maneuvers during its first season.

    March 13/07: UID. Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne toured Pratt & Whitney’s East Hartford and Middletown operations to recognize their implementation of the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Unique Identification (UID) marking initiative. Pratt & Whitney began the UID marking program in January 2005, with data tracking on nearly 200 F119 engine parts, and is working toward UID marking on all of its military engine products. Steve Finger, Pratt & Whitney president, is quoted as saying that “We have experienced numerous measurable benefits as a result of implementing UID technology…”

    See “UPC Body Publishes New Supply Chain Standards” for more information concerning the DoD-wide UID initiative. Government defense suppliers must deliver UID-compliant hardware by 2010.

    March 7/07: Flying cost. In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee Air & Land Forces Subcommittee, Congressional Research Service defense specialist Christopher Bolkcom says, inter alia [PDF]:

    “The military services generally would prefer to invest in new aircraft rather than modernize older aircraft. They often argue that new aircraft will be cheaper to operate and maintain than the aircraft they will replace. Frequently, this has not proven to be the case. Newer aircraft are often more complex than those they replace, and cost more to operate. The estimated flying hour cost of the F-22, for example, is $22,284.00. The estimated flying hour cost of the F-15C/D it will replace is $14,139/$13,524.”

    The F-22 had been sold as being cheaper to maintain than its F-15 predecessor, just as the F-15 was sold relative to the F-4. Neither of those claims turned out to be true. This consistent trend is an important explanation for shrinking fleet numbers, even as budgets rise.

    Flying costs

    February 2007: Testing – SDB-I. The 411th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB begins formal integration testing of the F-22A Raptor and the GBU-39/B Small-Diameter Bomb. See USAF Link article.

    Feb 20/07: Australia. Controversy continues in Australia regarding the F-35, and has spread to include the 24 F-18 E/F Super Hornets the government is moving to buy as a stopgap until the F-35A arrives.

    Feb 17-18/07: PACOM. Kadena Air Force Base (AFB), Japan received 10 F-22A Raptors in the aircraft’s first overseas deployment. The F-22As are assigned to the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley AFB, VA, and are under the command of Lt. Col. Wade Tolliver. The aircraft started their deployment with a stop at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, but a software issue affecting the aircraft’s navigation system was discovered on February 11th, causing the aircraft to return to Hickam. The issue was corrected and the aircraft continued on to Kadena.

    The 27th FS deployed more than 250 Airmen to Kadena for the 90-120 day deployment, which is part of a regularly-scheduled U.S. Pacific Command rotational assignment of aircraft to the Pacific. See USAF release.

    Feb 11/07: Glitched out. The F-22A’s first foreign deployment to Kadena Air Force Base (AFB), Japan runs into a serious problem. The aircraft started their deployment with a stop at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, but a software issue affecting the aircraft’s navigation system was discovered on February 11th, forcing the aircraft to return to Hickam without navigation or communications.

    The planes were very fortunate that KC-10 aerial tankers were flying with them.

    Software shootdown

    Jan 17/07: Multi-Year deal. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne tells Inside the Air Force that “We promised the Congress a savings of about $225 million,” in the FY 2007-2009 multi-year procurement (MYP) of 60 aircraft, and “we think that is very achievable and we continue to think that is very achievable… Every program has its ups and downs, but I do believe that the $225 million is achievable, and I think we can demonstrate it.”

    The multi-year buy was resurrected by Sen. Saxby Chambliss [R-GA] as an amendment despite opposition from fellow Republicans Warner [R-AK] and McCain [R-AZ], but the case for it was based largely on a business case analysis conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, VA. Their now-departed CEO’s shareholdings in F-22 subcontractor EDO have cast a shadow over those findings, however, and the final FY 2007 defense bill required a new business case analysis as a condition of the MYP’s continuation.

    Jan 12/07: Collier Trophy. 2006 Collier Trophy Win for F-22 Raptor aircraft team. The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is the oldest national aviation organization in the United States, and is dedicated to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the U.S. The Collier Trophy was established in 1911, and is granted each year “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America… during the preceding year.” Lockheed release.

    F-22A: Colonial Flag
    (click to view full)

    Jan 16/07: F-22 at Red Flag. “Colonial Flag” the first of three Red Flags this year, and the F-22 Raptor is participating for the first time. The USAF says that more than 200 aircraft and about 5,200 military members from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia are taking part over a pair of 2-week periods.

    Other combat aircraft platforms at colonial Flag included B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters, B-1 Lancer heavy bombers, F-16 Falcons, F-15E Strike Eagles, Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornado strike aircraft, Australian F-111 Aardvark strike aircraft, and the AH-64 Apache Army helicopter. The F-22’s role was primarily air-to-air fighter escort, but it also demonstrated air-to-ground capabilities since Red Flag exercises include ground-based air-defense systems. See the USAF’s “F-22 Raptors make mark at Red Flag” for details. Fence Check Magazine adds that:

    “February’s Red Flag 2007-2 at Nellis Air Force Base may prove to be the only true “Stealth Flag” involving all three US stealth aircraft… In a tour de force Red Flag debut, the 1st Fighter Wing’s 94th FS cleared the skies of “Red Force” fighters with only one purported loss during the entire two-week exercise. The Langley AFB, Virginia based squadron’s exceptional success surprised even the most experience Raptor pilots.”

    Jan 10/07: PACOM. Air Force officials are scheduled to deploy a squadron of F-22 Raptors to Kadena Air Base, Japan, as part of U.S. Pacific Command’s Theater Security Package in the Western Pacific in early 2007. See USAF article.

    2006

    Multi-year buy. Unit cost.

    Side-bay door open
    (click to view full)

    Nov 13/06: Politics. Aviation Week’s Aerospace Daily & Defense Report publishes “Rumsfeld’s Ouster, Dems’ Arrival Could Bring TACAIR Changes.” There are a number of predictions that the changes will involve more F-22As, followed by fewer F-35s and more F/A-18 Super Hornets.

    Nov 1/06: Australia. AVM Criss: Does Groupthink Power Australia’s JSF? Follow-on to DID’s updated Oct 2/06 article. Retired Australian Air Vice Marshal Peter Criss pens a guest article, and discusses both the JSF decision and what he contends is a larger problem of groupthink within Australia’s DoD.

    Oct 20/06: Maintenance pros & cons. Aviation Week has a report covering the F-22’s maintenance history to date. The short version: Integrating all the systems through the avionics supercomputer brain offers plusses in self-diagnostics, preventative maintenance, fewer spare parts required, and fewer repair roles.

    On the other hand, avionics is 70% of the maintenance workload, and even false alarm failures can affect several systems. Some systems like the F119 engines have been better than expected, while other systems like pumps have been problematic. Read the full article.

    Oct 19/06: New radar tricks. DID’s article “Elec Tricks II: $9.7M for Further Research” is a follow-on to our December 2005 piece that cites the potential to use the F-22A’s AN/APG-77 AESA radar as a secure, high-bandwidth communications relay. It seems the concept is being taken seriously, and given additional funding.

    Oct 2/06: Australia. Recently-retired Australian Air Vice Marshal Peter Criss has publicly broken ranks with Australia’s DoD, and advocates buying the F-22A Raptor for Australia instead of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. DID has the coverage – including a very in-depth submission to a Parliamentary Committee that supports Criss’ view and explains some of the thinking behind it, and submissions from the Australian government and Parliament.

    Note that Australia’s planned buy of early-production F-35A aircraft could result in costs of over $100 million each, considerably narrowing the gap with the F-22 whose recently quoted price per aircraft could be as low as $130 million.

    Sept 27/06: Multi-year buy. House and Senate defense appropriators have tentatively approved multi-year procurement of the F-22A, “realigning” $210 million in additional funds from the base budget line to the advance procurement line and bringing the total budget for advance procurement to $687.4 billion. The move would fund 20 fighters each year through FY 2006, 2007, and 2008; but it must remain in the final FY 2007 budget in order to become official. A move to consider foreign sales of the F-22, however, was rejected. See full Aviation Week article.

    Aug 8/06: Industrial. Boeing Starts Production of Aft Fuselage for 100th F-22 Raptor. A corporate release that normally wouldn’t draw DID’s interest – but they describe a couple of the manufacturing improvements implemented during the program.

    Aug 4/06: Training for stealth. Learning to handle a new and stealthy aircraft like the F-22 to its full potential isn’t just a job for its pilots. Tyndall AFB in Florida is the first base to develop integration tactics for ground and air command and F-22s, and is using the new capabilities to train all new F-22 pilot and air battle manager students.

    One change is a greater emphasis on stealth-friendly mission protocols: the goal is for an F-22 pilot to leave his home base, locate, cue in on and destroy all targets, receive the locations of all possible threats, receive landing instructions and come home safely without being seen or heard, on radar or via more obvious radio intercepts. This USAF Link article covers some of the efforts along those lines, including the use of Link 16 and other relatively ‘silent’ encrypted data channels for text messaging, situation updates, etc.

    July 26/06: Multi-year buy. In testimony to the Senate, Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne said the USAF has met 5/6 legislative requirements for proceeding with multi-year funding on the F-22 aircraft – the last being full funding authorization from Congress, which he intends to meet in the FY 2008 program objective memorandum. The 6 requirements under Title 10 U.S. Code, Section 2306B are: (1) promotes national security, (2) the number of aircraft required is stable, (3) the aircraft design is stable, (4) the contract will result in substantial savings, (5) the cost estimates for the contract and cost avoidance are realistic, and (6) able to provide stable funding throughout the contract period.

    July 25/06: Multi-year buy. The July 25, 2006 Congressional Budget Office testimony to the Senate regarding the proposed multi-year buy of F-22s is lukewarm at best. The short version? The percentage is small relative other aircraft programs, funding for the 60 aircraft involved is not set, any cancellation costs aren’t covered, and savings are uncertain.

    June 23/06: Multi-year buy & retrofits. An Air Force Link article notes that the USAF and manufacturers are finalizing F-22 design issues. Those issues include changes to the canopy actuator, the air recharge system, the nose gear retraction system, the forward boom heat treatment, and several structural retrofits. The total cost to make these repairs to the existing fleet of Raptors comes to about $105 million, and these issues will be corrected in the production line for lots 6 to 9 (each lot = 20-25 aircraft).

    The USAF is also lobbying for a multi-year procurement buy for the 60 aircraft in Lots 7, 8 and 9 of the F-22A. The last jet in that series would be delivered around 2011, and the USAF estimates that bulk buys would allow savings of up to $225 million. See USAF Link article. The Project On Government Oversight disputes the savings, and the US Congress is reportedly very lukewarm on the idea so far.

    June 23/06: The same USAF Link article cited above contains a quote from Maj. Gen. Richard B.H. Lewis, US Air Force executive officer for the F-22 program, which gives some precise program figures:

    “By the time all 183 jets have been purchased, around $28 billion will have been spent on research and development. An additional $34 billion will have been spent on actually procuring the aircraft. That’s about $62 billion for the total program cost. Divided out, that’s comes to about $338 million per aircraft.

    But the reality is, if the Air Force wanted to buy just one more jet, it would cost the taxpayer less than half that amount. The current cost for a single copy of an F-22 stands at about $137 million. And that number has dropped by 23 percent since Lot 3 procurement, General Lewis said.

    “The cost of the airplane is going down,” he said. “And the next 100 aircraft, if I am allowed to buy another 100 aircraft … the average fly-away cost would be $116 million per airplane.””

    Cost per jet

    June 9-16/06: Exercise Northern Edge. Exercise Northern Edge in Alaska, which includes Army troops, Navy ships, and Marines in addition to the Air Force. Participating fighters on the “Red” side included front-line F-15s, F-16s, and Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. In one Northern Edge engagement, USAF and its sister services put more than 40 fighters in the air at once, as well as E-2C Hawkeye and E-3 AWACS aircraft. Red Air units were allowed to regenerate and return to the fight after being killed, but lost forces on the F-22’s “Blue” side could not. In the largest single engagement, F-22-led forces claimed 83 enemies to one loss, after facing down an opposing force that had generated or regenerated 103 adversary fighters.

    The final air-to-air tally for the F-22’s “Blue” team was a favorable 241-2 kill ratio – and the 2 lost aircraft were F-15Cs. “They [the Red Air adversaries] couldn’t see us,” said Lt. Col. Wade Tolliver. This was reportedly true even when the opponents were assisted by AWACS. Close-in, where radar-guided missiles are just one option among many, the Raptor was equally formidable. Col. Thomas Bergeson, the 1st Operations Group commander said that he and a captain engaged 6 F-16s at close range, but it was “no problem.” Even when all of their missiles were gone, the Raptors remained in the fight, flying as stealthy forward air controllers and guiding their colleagues to enemies hiding in their AWACS’ blind spots, behind mountains and such.” When the AIM-120D AMRAAM missile enters wider service, F-22s will also have the option of actively guiding missiles fired by other aircraft.

    The F-22s also dropped 26 inert 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions, responding to close air support requests from ground troops, with 26 hits. Col. Tolliver had a sensible take: “We’re not an A-10; we’re not an F-16. We don’t do close support like that, but we do carry two 1,000-pound JDAMs, and we can support that ground troop, and that’s … what we proved.” USAF release | AFA article.

    June 12/06: Testing – JDAM. The F-22 Combined Test Force team of The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, and the US Air Force successfully tested the F-22’s precision strike capabilities at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The F-22 flew at a speed of Mach 1.5 at 50,000 feet, released a 1,000 pound GPS-guided JDAM from a range of 24 nautical miles to destroy a ground target. The drop tested the Raptor’s Launch Acceptability Region (LAR) supersonic algorithm, developed by a Boeing collaboration of F-22, Phantom Works and JDAM engineers. It defines the area in the sky from which the pilot can release a weapon to successfully attack the desired target, factoring in in navigation, weather, target and weapon information. See Boeing release.

    May 10/06: Titanium. Titanium prices have been cited as potential future cost issues for the F-35 and F-22 fighter programs, but a 1973 US law called the Berry Amendment has the effect of restricting supply and raising prices. On May 10, the Aerospace Industry Association reported that they’ve reached agreement in principle with senior leaders of the Defense Department on changes to the Berry Amendment.

    April 29/06: Politics. Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee chair Rep. Curt Weldon [R-PA] criticized the USAF’s new F-22A buying strategy, and his subcommittee proposes a different funding approach for the F-22A. Read the full Inside Defense article for all the maneuvering involved, which surely rivals most dogfights for intricacy.

    Feb 20/06: F-22 Raptors to Japan? Inside The Air Force (ITAF) reports that momentum is building within the Air Force to sell the ultra-advanced F-22A Raptor abroad to trusted U.S. allies, as a way of plussing up numbers and production. The Japanese are lobbying, and some military personnel think it’s a good idea (updated May 2007).

    January 10/05: Force shift? US Plans to Retire B-52s, C-21s, F-117 & U-2 for more F-22s. The move was designed to add $1 billion to the F-22A Raptor program in order to keep the production line running. As long as it is running, then future contingencies and needs leave the USAF with the option of ordering more.

    The F-117 was retired, but the U-2s turned out to have no effective replacement. As of 2012, the full fleet is still serving the USAF.

    2005 (Partial)

     

    F-22A over Ft. Monroe
    (click to view full)

    Dec 15/05: Elec Tricks: Turning AESA Radars Into Broadband Comlinks. The F-22’s large AESA radar may have an important capability that it’s builders hadn’t suspected. If so, the Raptor’s ability to securely share information with other AESA-equipped planes like the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and some F-15s could rise by several orders of magnitude.

    Nov 15/05: In its annual Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to the Congress for FY 2005 (ended Sept. 30, 2005), the US Defense Department had no slippages or cost increases to report for the F/A-22, just normal milestone reporting. Its SAR was submitted to rebaseline because it progressed from a Development to a Production Estimate, following the April 2005 approval of Full Rate Production (Milestone III) for the F-22A.

    SAR

    Oct 24/05: Supersonic SIGINT: Will F-35, F-22 Also Play EW Role? The F-22’s abilities in this area had been kept under wraps, but it’s coming out as a result of budget lobbying. The F-22 may have electronic warfare capabilities out of the box that rival dedicated aircraft like the EA-6B Prowler, and eavesdropping and scanning capabilities that rival 707 airliner-based aircraft like the RC-135 Rivet Joint.

    Oct 6/05: Titanium. Boeing is trying to get out ahead of the titanium supply issue. This issue matters to the F-22, which uses a lot of titanium.

    October 2005: Air Force Magazine Online (October 2005) – England Launches New Fighter Review. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England’s upcoming new air power review, which may provide further cuts in the F/A-22 and F-35 programs after all is said and done (in the end, the numbers remained stable).

    F-22 Raptor: Contracts & Production

    F-22 Cutaway

    The F-22A Raptor was built at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facilities in Palmdale, CA; Meridian, MS; Marietta, GA; and Fort Worth, TX, as well as Boeing’s plant in Seattle, WA. The Raptor program also included 1,000 nationwide suppliers and subcontractors in 42 states. Final assembly and initial flight testing of the Raptor took place at Lockheed’s Marietta, GA plant facilities.

    Unless otherwise specified, the Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issues all contracts listed here, and Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX (near Dallas) is the recipient.

    FY 2015

    AIM-9X integration work.

    Combat debut

    Oct 27/14: Support. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $486.5 million contract modification, exercising a 3rd option year for F-22 sustainment. $1 million in FY 2014 USAF RDT&E budgets are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed at Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Hill AFB, UT manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2897 PO 0566).

    Oct 24/14: 3.2B: AIM-9X. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a maximum $33.4 million unfinalized contract for AIM-9X Configurable Rail Launcher (CRL) modification to the F-22. They’ll provide upgrade to 220 AIM-9 CRLs with AIM-9X capability. $5.8 million is committed immediately, using FY 2014 USAF aircraft budgets.

    The ability to fire AIM-9X missiles is part of Increment 3.2B upgrades, and limited testing has begin (q.v. Events, July 30/12) but a fielded capability isn’t expected until at least 2017. The lack of a corresponding helmet-mounted display is a concern for Raptor pilots (q.v. Events, Jan 31/13).

    Work will be performed at Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be completed by Feb 28/17. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Hill AFB, UT manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0559).

    FY 2014

    Talon HATE and 5-to-4 for comms.

    F-22 Simulator
    (click to view full)

    Sept 16/14: Talon HATE. Boeing Advanced Network & Space Systems, Phantom Works has completed the final design review for the USAF’s Talon HATE pod program, which is designed to enable existing fighters to share information with F-22s over stealth-friendly secure datalinks. The core of this effort integrates the same IFDL datalink used on F-22As with MIDS-JTRS, a Link-16 box whose new software-defined electronics allow it to use different waveforms concurrently. Fighters equipped with the Talon HATE pod can bridge the gap between the F-22A and everyone else, serving as a distribution node over more universal modes like Link-16. As a bonus, pod-equipped fighters also get IRST long-range infrared to find targets – a method that bypasses radar stealth. This is especially useful against low-flying cruise missiles.

    Note that unarmed platforms like the BACN UAVs and business jets can already handle datalink bridging, but you wouldn’t take them into enemy airspace. Hence the fighter pod approach. Tactically, Talon HATE allows the F-22 to act as a “bird dog” forward observer of sorts, transmitting the position of enemy aircraft and key ground systems to pod-equipped legacy fighters, who share the data with the rest of the force. To the extent that legacy fighters employ new missiles with full 2-way datalinks and compatibility with F-22 retargeting, the F-22s could even serve as terminal guidance. The idea isn’t entirely new, and was demonstrated during the Northern Edge 2006 exercise when F-22s were used to find opponents whose positioning behind obstacles made them invisible to standard AWACS (q.v. Key Events, June 9-16/06). What’s new is the ability to do this without giving away the F-22’s position: Talon HATE is an initial effort, and may be followed by a “5-to-4” program.

    F-15C air superiority fighters are Talon HATE’s initial platform, but MIDS-JTRS is being deployed on the US Navy’s multi-role F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, as is expected to spread to other fighters as a standard. Boeing is scheduled to deliver several Talon HATE systems to operational F-15C squadrons in 2015. Sources: Boeing, “Boeing Completes Design Review for U.S. Air Force’s Talon HATE Program”.

    Sept 16/14: Engines. United Technologies subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT receives a $7 million contract modification for a rotable F119 PW-100 engine parts pool. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 USAF O&M budgets.

    Work will be performed at East Hartford, CT, and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/14. USAF Life Cycle Management Center in Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2896, PO 0125).

    Sept 12/14: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT has received a $7,627,698 contract modification for F-22 sustainment, including the purchase of an additional 112 Rotor 5s for the F119 engines. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 USAF O&M budgets.

    Work will be performed at East Hartford, CT, and is expected to be complete by Dec 17/17. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2896 P00127)

    June 18/14: 5-to-4. The USAF is planning an RFP by March 2015, for a “5th to 4th” system that would allow F-22s to communicate with F-35s and other fighters, in ways that they hope won’t give away their position. What they still don’t have, are specifications. Boeing, Northrop Grumman (Jetpack Link-16 translator) and Lockheed/L-3 (Chameleon waveform/ Missouri project) are expected to bid.

    “Underscoring the need for a quick program is the fact that communications are a limiting factor to using F-22s operationally. They were considered for use in the Libya campaign in 2011, but planners were stymied by an inability to deliver data collected by the F-22s back to other forces, according to one industry source.”

    They’re reportedly considering a Multi-Domain Adaptable Processing System (MAPS) that will fit on older “teen series” fighters, similar to the “Talon HATE” IRST + MIDS/IFDL datalink pods slated for trials on F-15Cs by the middle of 2015. The catch is that this approach depends on having non-stealthy translator aircraft within range of the stealth jets, in an era when advanced air defense systems have ranges of 100 miles or more, and enemies are developing advanced stealth fighters. Sounds risky for the translators. Sources: Aviation Week, “5th-To-4th Gen Fighter Comms Competition Eyed In Fiscal 2015”.

    Dec 23/13: Support. A $108.2 million cost-plus-fixed-price contract modification for F-22 calendar year 2014 depot throughput and touch-labor sustainment. $36.3 million in FY 2014 O&M funding budgets are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed at Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/14. USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WWUKH at Hill AFB, UT, is the contracting activity (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0501).

    Dec 20/13: FASTeR. A maximum $562 million, unfinalized contract modification will incorporate 9 months of FASTeR support in 2014. $157.3 million in FY 2014 RDT&E, Air National Guard, and O&M funding is committed immediately.

    Under FASTeR, Lockheed Martin provides all sustaining engineering, field service, modifications, heavy maintenance, supply chain management, technical data maintenance, and reliability and maintainability upgrades for the F-22 Raptor. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/14. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0212, contract change proposal 0362).

    Dec 20/13: Engines. UTC subsidiary Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, CT receives an maximum $231.5 million unfinalized contract modification for calendar year sustainment of their F119-PW-100 thrust-vectoring turbofans. $106.9 million in FY 2014 O&M funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed at East Hartford, CT; Edwards AFB, CA; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Hill AFB, UT; Holloman AFB, N.M.; Langley AFB, VA; Nellis AFB, NV, Sheppard AFB, TX; Tinker AFB, OK; and Tyndall AFB, FL, and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/14. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2896, PO 0116).

    Nov 7/13: Training. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $19.8 million option to retrofit fielded mission training centers with “out the window visual systems upgrade” (i.e. the surrounding screens in the simulator) and night vision goggles capability. This will include F-22 training systems at Sheppard Air Force Base (AFB), TX; Tyndall AFB, FL; Langley AFB, VA; Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and Elmendorf AFB, AK. All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed at St. Louis, MO, with an expected completion date of Dec 31/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0050).

    FY 2013

    Major upgrade contract; 5to4 aims to improve fighter communication; Sustainment; structural retrofit.

    F-22 air show
    (click to view full)

    Sept 3/13: Engines. United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney division in East Hartford, CT receives an $18.4 million contract modification for 5,434 more F119-PW-100 low pressure turbine blades. The total cumulative face value of this contract is now $1.848 billion, but engine production has stopped (q.v. Jan 17/13, in Events). All funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed at East Hartford, CT, and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/14. The USAF’s Life Cycle Management Center/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2896, PO 0110).

    Feb 20/13: FREDI An maximum $6.9 billion indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for F-22 modernization. Lockheed Martin has confirmed that this is the Follow-on Raptor Enhancement, Development and Integration (FREDI) contract. Program officials later tell the GAO that about $6.2 billion will continue work on defined modernization efforts, with $700 million available for unexpected costs or undefined needs. An updated cost estimate that reflects all modernization costs through the life of the aircraft won’t be done until late in 2014.

    The previous REDI contract reached a $7.4 billion maximum (vid. Nov 18-22/11 entry). It fully funded Increment 3.2A modernization, and has funded all of Increment 3.2B to date, which includes all of the design portion and unique hardware development requirements.

    FREDI will complete software development for Increment 3.2B upgrades, and then complete systems integration, developmental testing and operational testing needs until 2023. Note that $6.9 billion is far less than FREDI’s $16 billion maximum (vid. Jan 26/11 entry).

    Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; San Diego, CA; Nashua, NH; and Wayne, NJ. Work is expected to be complete by Feb 20/23. This award is a result of a sole source acquisition by AFLCMC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8611-13-D-2850). See also GAO-14-425, “Cost and Schedule Transparency Is Improved, Further Visibility into Reliability Efforts Is Needed”.

    FREDI Modernization

    Feb 13/13: 5 to 4. FBO.gov:

    “AFLCMC located at Hanscom, AFB, MA, requests information from industry to identify qualified, experienced, and interested sources for procurement of communications gateway products that will digitally connect and exchange data between 5th Generation Fighters (e.g., F-22 and F-35) and 4th Generation Fighters (e.g., F-15, F-16, F-18) with the potential to connect to additional platforms (e.g., Command and Control (C2) units; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) units; bomber aircraft; and national assets).”

    The BACN E-11A jet and EQ-4B UAV already do this, but there are places you wouldn’t send them. 5to4 aims to field a TRL 6+ system that allows the fighters themselves to digitally connect, connecting existing Link 16 platforms with F-22s via the Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL), and eventually to F-35s via the Multifunctional Advanced Data Link (MADL).

    Dec 18/12: FASTeR. A $613.3 million contract modification for the continued sustainment support of the F-22 part of the follow-on agile sustainment to the Raptor (FASTeR) program. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX until the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30, 2013 (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0165).

    Dec 18/12: Support. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT received an $85.3 million contract modification for F119 Engine Sustainment at East Hartford, CT; Edwards Air Force Base, CA; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Hill AFB, UT; Holloman AFB, NM; Langley AFB, VA; Nellis AFB, NV; Sheppard AFB, TX; Tinker AFB, OK and Tyndall AFB, FL. Work will run until Dec 31/13 (FA8611-08-C-2896, PO 0100).

    Oct 23/12: SRP-II, etc. A $133.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for F-22 modifications and heavy maintenance sustainment, depot throughput and installations, signature analysis system reduction, contractor field teams, structural retrofit plan (SRP-II) and modernization and common configuration work.

    Work will be performed at Hill Air Force Base, UT, and Palmdale, CA until Dec 31/13 (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0153).

    Oct 16/12: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $22.4 million cost plus fixed fee contract for F-22 modifications and heavy maintenance sustainment, depot throughput and installations, signature analysis system reduction, contractor field teams, structural retrofit plan and modernization and common configuration work.

    Work will be performed at Hill AFB, UT and Palmdale, CA, and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/13 (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0153).

    FY 2012

    REDI contract raised by $1.4 billion; Oxygen issues getting backup fix; Reliability and Maintainability Maturation Program.

    F-22A and KC-135
    (click to view full)

    Sept 26/12: FASTeR. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $10.4 million contract modification to support the F-22 program until Dec 31/12.

    Work will take place in Marietta, GA; Fort Worth, TX; Seattle, WA; Edwards AFB, CA Elmendorf AFB, AK; , Hickam AFB, Hawaii, Holloman AFB, NM, Langley AFB, VA; Nellis AFB, NV; Sheppard AFB, TX; Tinker AFB, OK; and Tyndall AFB, FL. The AFLCMC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH ,manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 00158).

    Aug 28/12: RAMMP. A $12 million contract modification for additional development work and feasibility assessments under the F-22’s RAMMP (Reliability and Maintainability Maturation Program). Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and will be complete by Dec 3/12 (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0150)

    June 5/12: Oxygen backup. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX received a $19.2 million (face value) cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for automatic backup oxygen supply in the F-22’s Life Support System. The contract includes 40 retrofit kits, plus non-recurring engineering, and 10 spares. Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and is scheduled to be complete by April 30/13. The ASC/WWUK at Wright Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0145).

    This won’t solve the F-22’s ongoing “hypoxia” problem, but it will provide an automatic safety backup if the F-22’s Environmental Control System (ECS) system shuts down under certain maneuvers, turning the main oxygen supply off. This is a known defect (vid. Aug 13-17/12 events entry), and the USAF’s “solution” of using a manual system that many pilots couldn’t even activate while sitting motionless ended up killing at least 1 pilot in a 2010 Alaska crash.

    In May 2012 (vid. May 15/12 events entry), US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta halted long-distance F-22A combat air patrols in Alaska until Elmendorf AFB’s Raptors had this automatic backup oxygen system installed. Retrofitting the fleet will start in December 2012, and finish in 2014. See also ABC News | AP.

    July 17/12: Infrastructure. Cutting Edge Concrete Services Inc. in Oro Grande, CA receives an $11.7 million firm-fixed-price contract to build a 15,000-square-yard parking apron for the F-22 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, with an estimated completion date of July 31/13. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 5 bids received by the US Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Shafter, HI (W9128A-12-C-0007).

    June 18/12: Infrastructure. Creative Times, Inc. in Ogden, UT received a $9.6 million firm-fixed-price contract to build a 2-story F-22 system support facility at Hill AFB, UT, with an estimated completion date of Dec 3/13. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 13 bids received by the US Army Corps of Engineering in Sacramento, CA (W91238-12-C-0014).

    March 29/12: Fleet support. A $664.4 million cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, paying for CY 2012’s Raptor fleet support services. Work will be performed in Marietta, GA; Fort Worth, TX; Palmdale, CA; and Seattle, WA, and will run until Dec 31/12 (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0119).

    Adding 2012 aircraft and engine support together totals $886.4 million for 185 operational planes, or about $4.8 million per year per fighter.

    Jan 20/12: O2 Know… Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX receives a $7 million firm-fixed-price contract for installation of a commercial sensor and associated hardware to measure the oxygen concentration and pressure within the oxygen system. The contract is the F-22’s contract, and the result will be a real time logging and display of O2 concentration, and a warning if oxygen partial pressure drops below a threshold value. Data is always good, of course, and this may help shed light on the F-22’s operational problems – but what this says is that the USAF still isn’t exactly sure what’s going on.

    Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Aug 31/12. The ASC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2897 PO 0109).

    Dec 22/11: Support. United Technologies subsidiary Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, CT received a $202 million cost-plus-incentive fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract for CY 2012 sustainment of the Raptor fleet’s F119-PW-100 engines.

    Work will be performed in East Hartford, CT, and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/12. The F-22 Program Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2896, PO 0075).

    Nov 18-22/11: REDI. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX receives a multi-year, maximum “$7.4 billion” indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for F-22A upgrades. Work will include upgrades to existing systems, and new systems to improve performance and widen the plane’s capabilities. It’s actually just a move to raise the 2002 Raptor Enhancement Development and Integration (REDI) contract’s ceiling value by $1.4 billion to this new number, as the contract moves toward expiry at the end of 2012. Flight International reports that the USAF is preparing a $16 billion REDI II contract. Meanwhile:

    “The [$1.4 billion in] extra money was necessary to pay Lockheed to change the F-22’s advanced tactical data link, accelerate the production line shutdown by four years, launch two structural upgrade programmes and fund unexpected costs of upgrading F-22s with reliability and maintainability improvements.”

    One firm was solicited, and one firm submitted a proposal to the HQ Aeronautical Systems Center’s Fighter Bomber Directorate at Wright Patterson AFB, OH (F33657-02-D-0009). See also Dayton Business Journal | Reuters.

    More REDI upgrades

    Oct 19/11: Smarter. AFRL’s clever cost-saver. The US Air Force Research Lab’s Propulsion Directorate has developed a $35 vibration damper to prevent cracks in the F119 engine’s inlet case – a spoked, ring-like device that helps control the air going into the engine. Their fix is expected to save the USAF about $40 million, by preventing cracks. Those cracks force repair attempts, which sometimes break the $362,000 inlet case.

    AFRL’s dollar-coin sized orange snubber looks like an exotic pencil eraser, and 7 of them fit in the gap opposite where the J-seal is welded to the inlet case. Each F-22 has 2 engines, so outfitting a plane costs $490. They were designed to last for half the life of the engine, but because they’re so cheap, they’ll be ordered in bulk, and new ones will be installed whenever the engine is pulled out. USAF.

    Oct 17/11: SMART. A $7.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for the F-22 SMART (Structural Maintenance and Repair Team) program. See March 2/10 entry for more context (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0093).

    FY 2011

    Array of maintenance contracts; Mission Planning Environment improvements.

    Pacific flight
    (click to view full)

    Sept 26/11: Support. A $24.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for engineering and depot partnering associated with F-22 non-destructive inspections, hypoxia root cause analysis, titanium crack growth, site activation, slider seals, and radar cross-section turntable (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0098).

    Sept 21/11: Support. A $7.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for F-22 software maintenance based on root cause analysis. This may well refer to hypoxia-like pilot issues. Work will be performed at Marietta, GA (FA-8611-08-C-2897, PO 0099).

    Sept 13/11: MPE. Boeing announces an F-22 mission planning systems contract worth up to $24 million, if all options are exercised. It was awarded under the USAF’s June 2010 Mission Planning Enterprise Contract-II. Boeing will continue development and integration of the existing F-22 Mission Planning Environment (MPE), which gives F-22 crews a full range of mission information, from preflight data reports to postflight debriefing materials.

    Aug 31/11: United Technologies subsidiary Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, CT receives an $11.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to finalize the buy at 39 F-119-PW-100 priority initial spare engines. That’s up from earlier plans: vid. Nov 11/10, Sept 29/10 entries. Based on published announcements, the final total would be $424.6 million.

    The ASC/WWUK at Wright Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2896, PO 0060).

    July 6/11: IMIS. Sources sought for the Raptor’s Integrated Maintenance Information System (IMIS) Oracle/Solaris platform and associated hardware. Expected contract award in July 2013. This function has so far fulfilled under the current F-22 sustainment contract (FA8611-08-C-2897) but a path to cost savings is sought. FBO (FA8211-11-R-2000).

    June 20/11: Infrastructure. Leebcor Services, LLC in Williamsburg, VA wins a $6.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of a paint spray hangar bay addition to an existing low observable/composite repair hangar.

    Work will be performed at Langley Air Force Base, VA, with an estimated completion date of Dec 15/12. The contract didn’t explicitly make the connection, but F-22s fly from Langley, and the F-22A’s stealth is a combination of shape, tapings made of special materials to cover key seams, and special paints that interfere with full radar reflection. Bids were solicited through the Internet, with 12 bids received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Norfolk, VA (W91236-11-C-0040).

    May 17/11: RAMMP. A $49.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for retrofit installations, including retrofits associated with the Reliability and Maintainability Maturation Program (RAMMP), and Structural Retrofit Program Phase II (q.v. March 2/10 entry), for aircraft scheduled to be inducted during the Q2-Q3 of CY 2011 at the Palmdale Depot facility, as well as contractor support for depot throughput at both the Ogden and Palmdale depot facilities.

    Work will be performed at Marietta, GA; Fort Worth, TX; and Seattle, WA. $9.8 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0071).

    Feb 10/11: FASTeR. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $726.6 million contract modification for calendar year 2011 sustainment of the F-22 fleet. At this time, $388 million has been obligated by the ASC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH.

    Follow-On Agile Sustainment for the Raptor (FASTeR) is a Performance-Based Logistics contract providing sustaining the F-22A fleet at all operational bases, including training systems, customer support, integrated support planning, supply chain management, aircraft modifications and heavy maintenance, sustained engineering, support products and systems engineering. Based on earlier releases (vid. Aug 20/10), the value of this contract set has just jumped to around $1.4 billion for 2008-2011 (FA8611-08-C-2897; P00061). See also Lockheed Martin release.

    Jan 26/11: Do the FREDI. Sources sought on FBO.gov for F-22 Follow-on Raptor Enhancement, Development and Integration (FREDI) indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract, with an estimated maximum amount of $16 billion.

    Jan 11/11: Sub-contractors. Matrix Composites in Rockledge, FL ships its last critical F-22A structure. Matrix was one of only 4 companies qualified worldwide to produce specific components related to the aircraft’s fuselage and critical airframe components, and had been manufacturing Raptor components since 2005, with a notable pickup at the end of October 2006.

    More than 20 trained aerospace technicians were employed on the project, specializing in the use of close-tolerance resin transfer molding (RTM). Despite the end of F-22A work, Matrix anticipates significant growth over the next 3 years, including some F-35 opportunities they’re pursuing.

    Nov 11/10: Engines. Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT received a $100.7 million contract modification for 8 F119 engines. It increases an unfinalized contract for priority initial spare F119 engines to 33 total (q.v. Sept 29/10).

    All funds have been committed by the ASC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8611-08-C-2896; P00044).

    Oct 25/10: RAMMP. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $15.2 million contract modification covering installation of the F-22 reliability and maintainability maturation program’s engineering change proposals on fielded fighters. At this time, all funds have been committed by the ASC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8611-08-C-2897; P00060).

    See also entries for Sept 23/10, March 2/10.

    FY 2010

    Last 4 ordered; RAMPP; FASTeR; SRP II.

    F-22A on Ice
    (click to view full)

    Sept 29/10: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, CT receives a not-to-exceed $33.1 million contract modification to buy 3 priority initial spare F-119-PW-100 engines, bringing the totals to $312.8 million for 25 engines. At this time, all funds have been committed by the ASC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8611-08-C-2896; P00041).

    Sept 24/10: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, CT receives a not-to-exceed $279.7 million contract modification to buy 22 priority initial spare F-119-PW-100 engines. At this time, all funds have been committed by the ASC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8611-08-C-2896; P00040).

    Sept 23/10: RAMMP. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $12 million contract modification for development of the F-22 reliability and maintainability maturation program. This change will increase the ceiling cost for “over and above work” beyond regular efforts, and buy wet weather repairs for actuator interface module components. At this time, all funds have been committed (FA8611-08-C-2897; P00057).

    Sept 1/10: Spares. A $15.6 million contract modification for 20 spare integrated F-22A forebodies. All funds have been committed (FA8611-06-C-2899; P00102).

    Aug 31/10: Support. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, CT receives a $9.1 million contract modification finalizing calendar year 2010 sustainment, combined test force operations, and support for the F-22A’s F119-PW-100 engines. “At this time, $90,157,719 has been obligated.” (FA8611-08-C-2896; PO0030).

    Aug 20/10: FASTeR. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $111.4 million contract modification to provide “sustainment” (spares and support) for the F-22 program in calendar year 2010. “At this time, $241,645,563 has been obligated” by the ASC/WWUK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages this contract (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0049).

    Actually, Lockheed Martin’s release places the total value of the Follow-On Agile Sustainment for the Raptor (FASTeR) contract at $709 million, including the initial 2008 contract and 2009 extension.

    FASTeR is a Performance-Based Logistics contract providing sustaining the F-22A fleet at all 7 operational bases for the 2010 calendar year, including training systems, customer support, integrated support planning, supply chain management, aircraft modifications and heavy maintenance, sustained engineering, support products and systems engineering.

    July 6/10: Support. A not-to-exceed $23 million contract modification for continued funding of F-22 sustainment services and activities, including items over-and-above the base contract. At this time, $17.4 million has been committed by the 478th AESG/SYK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8611-08-C-2897, P00050).

    March 2/10: RAMMP/ SRP-II. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX received a $568.5 million contract, incrementally funding an unfinalized Dec 15/09 contract for the F-22’s Structural Retrofit Program II and Reliability and Maintainability Maturation Program during calendar year 2010. At this time, $411.2 million has been committed by the 478 AESG/SYK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8611-08-C-2897, P00040).

    Mr. Glenn Miller, F-22 Program Office advisor for the 478th Aeronautical Systems Group, later offered these explanations:

    “The structures Retrofit Program (SRP) II is phase II of a 2-part structural retrofit program designed to correct structural concerns discovered during the F-22 Full Scale Fatigue Test (FSFT) conducted in 2005. The process… is a routine structural integrity process performed on all modern Air Force platforms to proactively detect and repair damage… SRP I was designed to correct structural deficiencies with life short falls less than 2000 flight hours while SRP II was designed to correct structural deficiencies with life short falls between 2000 and 8000 flight hours. The SRP II program is scheduled to complete in 2015.

    The Reliability and Maintainability Maturation Program (RAMMP) [aims] to drive continuous improvement in weapon system reliability and maintainability… metrics [include]… Availability… Maintenance Man Hours per Flight Hour [MMH]… Mean Time Between Maintenance (MTBM)… Return on Investment. The scope of RAMMP includes: development, retrofit, and the earliest possible production cut-in of the change. In summary, RAMMP projects must be affordable, technically viable, and provide a high return on investment.”

    Feb 25/10: Infrastructure. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Albuquerque, NM issues solicitation #W912PP-10-B-0032, an Invitation for Bid (IFB) open only to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. The project is a 1,347 square meter munitions maintenance facility for the F-22 weapons systems at the Munitions Storage Area on Holloman AFB, NM. This project will provide 6 munitions maintenance bays to support the F-22 Raptor, and a small administrative area for meetings, office, break, locker, toilet, training and support areas. This building is being constructed as a permanent facility with a life expectancy exceeding 25 years.

    NAICS code is 236210/SIC 1541, with a size standard of $33.5 million, and a magnitude of construction estimate between $1-5 million. Bonding will be required for this acquisition, and bidders must be registered with Central Contractor Registration in order to receive a contract. Plans will be issued on or about March 15/10 with bids due on or about April 15/10.

    Dec 24/09: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT received a $95.4 million modified contract for 8 F119-PW-100 installed engines under Lot 10 production. They will equip the last 4 F-22As ordered. At this time, $25 million has been committed (FA8611-09-C-2901).

    Dec 11/09: Support. A $550.4 million contract “which will provide for the F-22 weapons system during the CY2010.” This appears to be a fleet sustainment contract. At this time, $312.1 million has been committed (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0036).

    Dec 11/09: Support. United Technologies Corp. in East Hartford, CT receives a $148 million contract which will provide “CY20 sustainment of the F119-PW-100 engines.” Presumably, the Pentagon means “CY 2010.” At this time, $59.9 million has been committed (FA8611-08-C-2896, P00020).

    Nov 26/09: Flares. Kilgore Flares Co. in Toone, TN, a subsidiary of UK-based Chemring Group, received an indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract, with a potential value of $54 million, to supply MJU-39 and MJU-40 infrared (IR) decoy flares for the F-22 aircraft. The flares are designed to defeat air-to-air IR guided missiles. The contract extends over a 4-year period; the 1st delivery order of $24 million, for delivery in 2010 and 2011, has been placed by the US Air Force. The 784 CBSG/PK at Hill Air Force Base, UT manages the contract (FA8213-10-D-0012).

    Oct 29/09: Last 4. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX receives a $474.2 million contract for full production of 4 Lot X F-22A aircraft, alternate mission equipment, production engineering support and work in process through Aug 11/09 for 16 shipsets of raw material aircraft fuselage titanium. The 478 AESG/PK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8611-09-C-2900, P00007).

    FY 2009

    Lot 10 lead-in.

    Production line

    2009 orders are being conducted under a multi-year buy. See July 31/07 for key entries.

    Sept 29/09: Support. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX receives an $11 million contract to provide F-22 field team support at various bases. At this time the entire amount has been committed by the 573th AESS/SYK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8611-08-C-2897, P00033).

    Sept 14/09: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt & Whitney of East Hartford, CT received a $6 million contract to provide nozzle modules for F119 Combined Test Force Engines. At this time the entire amount has been committed by the 478th AESG/PK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8611-08-C-2896,P00010).

    Sept 9/09: Training. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX received a $77.7 million contract modification for procurement of multi-year F-22 pilot training devices in 4 simulated cockpit configurations (FA8611-06-C-2899).

    April 2/09: The Watterson/Davis JV in Anchorage, Alaska received a $38.6 million firm-fixed-price contract to design and build the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve F-22 squadron operations/aircraft maintenance unit’s 6-bay hangar facility, (PROJ: ELM297/292) at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. The estimated completion date is March 24/11.

    The U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska at Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK solicited 8 bids, received 4, and will manage this contract (W911KB-07-D-0013).

    Dec 16/08: Support. The USAF exercising a $784.1 million option with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, TX, for pre-priced calendar year 2009 F-22 Weapon System Sustainment. Work will be performed in Marietta, GA.

    Dec 16/08: SPaRE. The USAF is exercising a $285 million option for 2009 sustainment of the Raptor’s F119-PW-100 Engines with United Technologies subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group in East Hartford, CT. The Support Program for the Raptor Engine (SPaRE) includes spare parts, labor support, fleet management and technical support. Pratt & Whitney.

    Dec 4/08: Infrastructure. A $29.1 million modification to a cost plus award fee contract, to incorporate CCP 0184 re: F-22 Depot Activation Equipment for fiscal years 2007 and 2008. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated (FA8611-08-C-2897, #P00006).

    Nov 26/08: Lot 10 lead-in. An estimated $180 million not-to-exceed contract, providing for long-lead time materials and assemblies to cover 4 Lot X F-22A aircraft, with an option for an advance buy on behalf of 16 additional Lot X F-22As. At this time, $49 million has been committed (FA8611-09-C-2900).

    Nov 26/08: Engines. A $7 million not-to-exceed, firm-fixed price contract to United Technologies subsidiary Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, CT. The contract will buy long-lead time materials for 8 Lot X F119-PW-100 engines, which would equip 4 F-22A fighters. At this time, $1 million has been committed (FA8611-09-C-2901).

    See Nov 10-19/08 entries in the “Events: 2008” section for further background regarding this partial-compliance move by the Pentagon.

    FY 2008

    Contractor infrastructure.

    Fill ‘er up!
    (click to view full)

    2008 orders are being conducted under a multi-year buy. See July 31/07 for key entries.

    July 31/08: Sub-contractors. EDO Corp. Defense Systems, of North Amityville, NY received a firm-fixed-price contract not to exceed $18.2 million for 139 of their BRU-46 and 220 of their BRU-47 Bomb Release Units.

    Both designs are fielded as bomb racks for the F-15E Strike Eagle. The F-22A’s standard ground attack weapons will be up to 8 of the derivative GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, a 250 pound, GPS-guided glide bomb weapon designed to penetrate hardened structures. On the F-22, the BRU-47 is reportedly used to carry external fuel tanks.

    At this time $9.1 million has been obligated. 542nd Combat Sustainment Wing, Contracting Division, 782nd CBSG/GBKAA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8520-08-C-0013).

    April 25/08: Testing. Lockheed Martin Corp. of Orlando, FL received a modified contract for $5.5 million, in exchange for 20 Common Organizational Level Testers (COLT) and accessory kits under F/A-22 Option 5. At this time, all funds have been committed (FA8626-04-C-2060 P00029).

    April 23/08: Sub-contractors. Northrop Grumman announces multiple contracts for the F-22A’s communications, navigation and identification (CNI) systems. Lockheed Martin has awarded them contracts worth $252 million since Jan 1/08, covering F-22 Production Lots 7-9, spares, and CNI modernization efforts.

    Northrop Grumman’s integrated CNI system uses software-defined radios and provides 14 critical functions, including advanced multichannel/multiband voice and data links, flight navigation and friend-or-foe identification to F-22 pilots. Northrop Grumman’s F-22 CNI production, integration and test and modernization activities take place at Northrop Grumman facilities in San Diego, CA, and are supported by approximately 70 suppliers in 22 states. NGC release.

    April 22/08: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group of East Hartford, CT received a modified contract for $6.9 million. The firm will refurbish 3 F-22 Raptor F119 Test Engines (FA8611-05-C-2851).

    April 15/08: Infrastructure. Bristol Environmental & Engineering Services Corp. in Anchorage, AK won a $5 million firm-fixed price contract to design and build Elmendorf Air Force Base’s F-22 infrastructure Phase II, and F-22 taxiway, taxi lanes, and arm/de-arm sites. Work is expected by be complete on Oct 30/09. Web bids were solicited on Nov 8/07, and 3 bids were received by the U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska (W911KB-08-C-0007).

    April 14/08: Infrastructure. Native-owned business Chugach Government Services, Inc. in Anchorage, AK won a $14.1 million firm-fixed price contract for construction of the F-22 jet inspection and maintenance facility at Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK. Work is expected to be completed on Sept 28/09. Web bids were solicited on Nov 17/07, and 3 bids were received by the U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska (W911KB-08-C-0009).

    Feb 20/08: Support. A contract modification for $182.6 million for “sustainment of the F-22 Weapon System during Calendar Year’s 2008 and 2009. At this time $258,763,747 has been obligated” (FA8611-08-C-2897).

    Feb 20/08: Support. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney of East Hartford, CT received an undefinitized contract modification for $101.2 million to provide CY 2008 support for the F-22 Raptor’s F119 Engines. Each aircraft carries 2 F119 engines with thrust-vectoring capabilities. “At this time $129,834,373 has been obligated” (FA8611-08-C-2896).

    Dec 13/07: Support. An undefinitized contract for $512.1 million, to provide sustainment & support of the F-22 fleet during the calendar year 2008. “At this time [$384.1] million has been obligated” (FA8611-05-C-2850 P00076).

    Dec 13/07: Support. A firm fixed price contract for $9.1 million; at this time $5 million has been obligated. The US Defense Department adds, helpfully: “This effort supports F-22 aircraft.” One would hope so (FA8611-06-C-2899 – P00023).

    Dec 13/07: SPaRE. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group of East Hartford, CT received an undefinitized contract of $114.7 million for F119-PW-117-PW-100 engines, and calendar year 2008 sustainment (the part that isn’t finalized yet). At this time $86 million has been obligated (FA8611-05-C-2851).

    This support program for the Raptor engine (SPaRE) involves activation of Holloman Air Force Base (AFB) in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and sustainment for fielded engines in 2008, with an option to support activation of Hickam AFB in Honolulu, Hawaii, and sustainment services in 2009. Sustainment activities include spare parts and labor support, fleet management and technical support of the F119 engine.

    Dec 12/07: Infrastructure. BAE Systems opens a new 30,000-square-foot facility in its South Nashua, New Hampshire campus for production work on the F-22A Raptor and F-35 Lightning II electronic warfare suites, which provide threat warning and jamming. About 60 suppliers from New Hampshire provide products and services to support the programs, and the site will support more than 1,400 of BAE Systems’ 4,500 New Hampshire employees who contribute to the F-22 and F-35 programs.

    In BAE’s release, Nashua VP Operations Mike Dow says that the new facility is “capable of assembling and testing complex microwave products and performing assembly, integration, and acceptance testing at significantly reduced cost and cycle times.”

    Oct 16/07: Training. Boeing announces a $46 million contract from Lockheed Martin to integrate the F-22A the U.S. Air Force Distributed Mission Operations (DMO) training network, which will enable Raptor pilots to train with other aircrews flying different simulated aircraft at locations throughout the world. Once the contract is complete, Raptor pilots on the East Coast would be able to train with AWACS crews in the Midwest and F-15 pilots in Europe, as part of a joint synthetic battlespace made up of a combination of live, virtual, and programmed-in elements.

    The contract allows for the design and test of new software and systems for the F-22 Full Mission Trainer (FMT), and the Boeing team will incorporate the enhanced FMTs into an F-22 Mission Training Center (MTC) that is scheduled to begin operations in 2009. The Boeing release adds that Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, GA facility recently delivered Raptor no. 103 to the Air Force. See “F-22s to Become Part of Joint Simulated Training.”

    FY 2007

    Contract for 24 aircraft.

    F-22, bays open
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    July 31/07: A firm-fixed-price, firm-fixed-price w/economic price adjustment and cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification for $5.05 billion for the F-22 multi-year aircraft advance buy. This is an Economic Ordering Quantity and Full Rate Production contract for 60 aircraft: Lots 7, 8 and 9. At this time, $332.5 million has been obligated. Work will be complete June 2012. (FA8611-06-C-2899/no modification number at this time).

    Lockheed Martin’s release states that this order is on top of $2.3 billion used to buy long lead- time parts and maintain continuous manufacturing flow, bringing the total cost to $7.35 billion. The release says that the multi-year contract is estimated to save approximately $400 million compared to a corresponding annual procurement program, which equates to a savings of $6.85 million per aircraft. To date, 105 Raptors have completed final assembly at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, GA, and 99 have been delivered to the USAF.

    July 31/07: United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt & Whitney received a $1.28 billion fixed-price with economic price adjustment and firm-fixed-price contract modification from the United States Air Force to deliver F119 engines for the F-22 Raptor in a multi-year contract spanning 2008, 2009 and 2010. The number of engines was not specified, but the USAF plans to order 60 aircraft during this time, which means at least 120 engines plus spares.

    At this time, $367.6 million has been obligated. Solicitations began April 2006, negotiations were completed in July 2007, and work will be complete February 2011 (FA8811-06-C-2900/No modification number at this time). P&W release – which came out a day before the DefenseLINK announcement. A contract of this magnitude also attracts dignitaries.

    Multi-year buy: 60 more

    April 10/07: An $11 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. “This contract action will definitize Lot 8 Advanced Buy through 12 October 2007, in support of the F-22 program.” At this time, all funds have been obligated and work will be complete December 2011 (FA8611-06-C-2899, PO 0015).

    April 10/07: Sub-contractors. GKN Aerospace announces 2 new contracts, with a combined value of just under $15 million, raising the value of GKN’s work per aircraft to over $5 million. Overall, GKN supplies high performance metallic and composite assemblies for the aircraft wing, body and engine, plus the complete advanced cockpit canopy system.

    The first contract covers the Inlet Lip Assembly that surrounds the engine intake. It is made up of multiple hand lay-up and resin transfer molded composite details which are assembled into extremely tight tolerance requirements. GKN Aerospace will manufacture and assemble this part for 50% of the aircraft in lots 5 – 9, with deliveries from 2007-2009.

    The second contract covers the chine edge, the co-cured composite structural cover over the area where the cockpit and fuselage transition into the wing. That contract covers aircraft Lots 6-9 on a sole-source basis, with deliveries commencing by the end of 2007 and continuing to 2009.

    Work on both contracts will take place alongside the F-22A stabilator manufacture and assembly (see Nov 22/06), at GKN Aerospace’s St Louis, MO plant.

    April 2/07: Engines. United Technologies Corp. in East Hartford, CT received a $107.6 million fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for “12 install and 1 spare F-119-PW-117-PW-100 engines.” Hard to say what that means, as the designation seems to be off and may also be referring to engines that power other aircraft. At this time, $96.8 million have been obligated. Work will be complete July 2008 (FA8626-07-C-2076).

    March 30/07: Support. United Technologies Corp. in East Hartford, CT received an $116.2 million cost-plus-fixed fee, firm-fixed-price, and cost-plus-award fee contract modification to provide F-119 engine Lot 6 for CY 2007 sustainment. At this time, $80.7 million have been obligated. Negotiations were complete March 2007, and work will be complete December 2007 (FA8611-05-C-2851, PO 0015).

    March 9/07: PALS. A $248.4 million cost-plus-award fee & cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification finalizes Performance-Based Agile Logistics Support (PALS) contract line items 0207, 0216, and 0217. Work will be complete December 2009 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0030)

    March 9/07: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT received a $27.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, finalizing the purchase of F119 engine Lot 7 long lead items. At this time, $13.6 million has been obligated, and work will be complete September 2007 (FA8611-06-C-2900, PO 0002).

    Feb 27/07: Support. A $107.3 million cost-plus-award fee and cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification, extending the contractor’s current authorization to provide F-22 sustainment from Jan 31, 2007 – Feb. 28, 2007 to April 30, 2007. At this time, $80.4 million have been obligated. Work will be complete December 2009 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0041).

    Feb 27/07: Support. United Technologies subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group in East Hartford, CT received a $49.6 million cost-plus fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price and cost-plus award-fee contract for F119-PW-119 Engine Lot 6, calendar year 2007 sustainment. At this time, $24.8 million has been obligated, and work will be complete June 2007 (FA8611-05-C-2851).

    Feb 26/07: Engines. United Technologies subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group in East Hartford, CT received a $45 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. It covers “F-119 Engine Multi-Year Economic Order Quantity Effort, Undefinitized Contract Action (UCA)” – in other words, they’re ordering key parts and materials in advance, in order to bulk up the order and drive prices for each item down. The F-22A’s current multi-year contract framework lets them do more of this, instead of just ordering year by year. All funds are already obligated, and work will be complete January 2010 (FA8611-06-C-2900, PO 004).

    Feb 5/07: Engines. United Technologies subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group in East Hartford, CT received a $18.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 2 Lot 6 F119-PW-100 engines for F-22 replacement test aircraft. This work will be complete January 2008. (F33657-05-C-2851, PO 0014)

    Jan 8/07: Multi-Year lead-in. A $255 million firm fixed price contract modification “for an F-22 multiyear economic order quantity procurement.” To date all funds have been obligated, and work will be complete December 2011 (FA8611-06-C-2899/No Modification number at this time).

    Dec 29/06: Engines. United Technologies subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group in East Hartford, CT received a $27.2 million firm fixed price contract modification. This provides for long lead undefinitized buys in preparation for F119-PW-100 Engine Lot 7. To date, $13.6 million has been obligated. Work will be complete September 2007 (FA8611-06-C-2900)

    Dec 27/06: PALS. A $204.8 million cost-plus-award fee and cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification, authorizing Lockheed to provide F-22 Performance Based Agile Logistics Support (PALS), from January 1, 2007 through February 28, 2007. At this time $153.6 million have been obligated. Work will be complete December 2009 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0042)

    Dec 27/06: Support. United Technologies Corp. in East Hartford, CT received a $12.1 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification for F119-PW-100 Engines Support to Combined Test Force (CTF) Infrastructure at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. At this time $4.2 million have been obligated. Work will be complete July 2007 (F33657-05-C-2851, PO 0012).

    Dec 21/06: Titanium. A $379.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the remaining Lot 8 Advanced Buy Requirements and for Lot 9 Advanced Procurement for Titanium in support of the F-22A Lot 9 aircraft. This is one of the major advance purchases as part of the ongoing multi-year buy – see Sept 27/06 entry in “Program and Events” for more. Work will be complete December 2011 (FA8611-06-C-2899, PO 0009).

    Dec 21/06: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT received a $50 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification. This action provides for Lot 6 F119-PW-100 Engines (46) for the F-22, and associated Field Support and Training (FS & T) for calendar year 2006. Work will be complete January 2008 (FA8611-05-C-2851/PZ0008).

    Dec 5/06: Landing gear. A $9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the upgrade of the F-22 engineering, manufacturing, and development landing gear trainer to an “aircraft 4041 configuration” (the designation for the first operational F-22A Raptor), to be consistent with other training devices delivered to Sheppard Air Force Base. At this time, total funds have been obligated. Solicitations began August 2005, negotiations were complete September 2006, and work will be complete by October 2008 (FA8611-04-C-2851, PO 0060).

    Nov 22/06: Sub-contractors. GKN Aerospace announces a $50 million contract to be the sole source provider of the complete horizontal stabilator for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. This brings the total value of GKN Aerospace work on the F-22 to $4.9 million per ship set.

    This contract covers lots 7-9 of the aircraft program. and requires fabrication of advanced composite assemblies, machining of complex titanium parts, and full assembly of the complete stabilator for delivery to Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA. Work will take place at the GKN Aerospace plant in St Louis, MO, with deliveries commencing in the fourth quarter of 2007 and continuing until the end of 2010.

    Nov 21/06: A $1.05 billion firm-fixed-price contract modification for 24 F-22A aircraft: 23 service aircraft and 1 replacement test aircraft (TL 24). This action supports the F-22 Lot 6 Full Production contract, and the Pentagon oddly notes that “$1,466,447,970 have been obligated.”

    Work will be complete February 2010 (FA8611-05-C-2850). Note that this doesn’t represent the aircrafts’ full cost, just the parts that haven’t been covered by long-lead procurement, and by the separate buys of “government furnished equipment” like engines, etc.

    Lot VI: 24 more

    Nov 20/06: Sub-contractors. GKN Aerospace has won a $50 million contract from Lockheed Martin to be the sole source provider of complete horizontal stabilators (i.e. fully-moving horizontal tail fins) for Lot 7-9 F-22A Raptors, with delivery from Q4 2007-2010. This brings the total value of GKN Aerospace work on the F-22 to $4.9 million per aircraft. This contract is the culmination point of several capabilities and processes, all placed under one roof – see full DID coverage.

    Nov 15/06: Flares. Kilgore Flares Co. LLC in Toone, TN received an $18.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to procure replenishment spares for the F-22 aircraft. The products purchased are flares, specifically MJU-39, MJU-40 and BBU-59 designed to defeat air-to-air guided missiles. At this time, total funds have been obligated. Solicitations began February 2006, negotiations were complete October 2006, and work will be complete June 2008. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (FA8213-0-C-undefined).

    Nov 1/06: Lot 7 lead-in. A $1.23 billion firm-fixed-price contract modification supporting the F-22 Lot 7 Long Lead Procurement. This is technically a “funding modification to the ongoing undefinitized contract action,” but it’s part of the multi-year 2007-2009 production contract for 60 F-22As that was recently agreed upon. At this time, $403.2 million have been obligated, and work will be complete October 2009 (FA8611-06-C-2899, PO 0007).

    FY 2006

    Lot 6, 7.

    F-22A Raptor, ready
    (click to view full)

    Sept 29/06: Support. United Technologies Corp. in East Hartford, CT received a $6 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification for the Lot 4 F119 engines Life Cycle Reduction Program. Work will be complete August 2009 (F33657-03-C-2011). See the presentation “Cost Reduction Task Force Key to Raptor Affordability” [PDF, 8.6 MB] for more context.

    Sept 27/06: Lot 6 lead-in. A $98.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. This undefinitized contract action increase is not-to-exceed, F-22A Lot 6 long-lead procurement and funding through Oct. 31, 2006. At this time, $74.1 million has been obligated. Work will be complete February 2010 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 003).

    Sept 27/06: A $17.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification provides for production support systems in support of F-22A Lot 6 production; all funds have already been obligated. Work will be complete February 2010 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0029)

    Sept 21/06: Engines. United Technologies Corp. in Hartford, CT received a $455.1 million firm-fixed-price & cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification covering Lot 6 production of 48 F119 engines, plus calendar year 2006 field support and training. Solicitations began July 2005, negotiations were complete September 2006, and work will be complete December 2006. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8611-05-C-2851/ P00010).

    Sept 5/06: Sub-contractors. Defense Systems in North Amityville, NY received a $10 million firm-fixed-price contract for “bomb rack units in support of F-22 aircraft.” Half of the funds have already been committed, and work will be complete in January 2009. The Headquarters 542d Combat Sustainment Wing at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8520-06-C-0015).

    Aug 16/06: PALS. A $119.9 million firm-fixed price and cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification. This undefinitized contract action increases the current undefinitized contract action amount in order to extend the period of performance for Performance Based Agile Logistics Support (PALS). PALS for F-22A Lot 6 Contract Line Item Numbers will extend until September 30, 2006. At this time, $89.9 million has been committed (FA8611-05-C-2850)

    Aug 8/06: Titanium. A $19.6 million firm-fixed-price undefinitzed action contract for advance procurement of titanium in support of F-22A Lot 8 aircraft, with full funds committed. Work will be complete in October 2009, which is when Lot 8 production is scheduled (FA8611-06-C-2899).

    As noted above, the F-22 makes heavy use of titanium in order to give it the lightness, strength, and temperature resistance required. Someone obviously thinks the price is about to rise – and given increased global demand, they’re hardly alone.

    July 12/06: Engines. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, CT received a $16.5 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification. This undefinitized contract action for Lot 6 production F119 engines covers long lead items and field support, and a training period of performance extension. Solicitations began July 2005, negotiations were complete in July 2006, and work will be complete by December 2006 (FA8611-05-C-2851, PO 0007).

    July 5/06: We’re just going to quote this one. It’s a firm-fixed-price contract modification to Lockheed Martin, for $552.7 million. Negotiations were complete in June 2006, and work will be complete February 2010:

    “This undefinitized contract action extension period of performance is through Sept. 30, 2006, for F-22A lot 6, long-lead activities and increase not-to exceed.” …The public affairs point of contact is Capt. Everdeen, (937) 255-1256… (FA8611-05-C-2850).

    We’ve been inquiring with Capt. Everdeen for a translation of exactly what’s going on here for over a week now, and have received no response from the F-22 Program Office. Even they probably can’t understand language like this.

    July 5/06: Support. A $99 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. This undefinitized contract action is for F-22 lot 6 program support/annual sustaining period I through Sept. 30, 2006. Negotiations were complete in June 2006, and work will be complete by September 2006 (F33657-97-C-0031).

    June 15/06: Lot 7 lead-in. A $187.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide for an extension to the advance buy period of performance from June 2006 through September 2006, and increases the outlay amount. This action supports F-22A Lot 7 production. Work will be performed at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, GA (33%) and Fort Worth, TX (35%); and Boeing Information and Space Defense Systems, Aircraft and Missile Systems group in Seattle, WA (32%). Work will be complete in October 2009 (FA8611-06-C-2899, PO 0005)

    May 19/06: Engines. United Technologies Corp. in East Hartford, CT received a $5 million firm-fixed-price contract to cover advance procurement items for 40 Pratt & Whitney F119 engines. This work will be complete December 2006 (FA8611-06-C-2900).

    May 15/06: PALS. A $62 million firm-fixed-price & cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification that increases the current undefinitized contract for Lot 6, F-22 aircraft performance based agile logistics support (PALS) activities. Specifically, this modification funds PALS 3010 activities through June 2006, plus authorized work to begin on 3600 funded support equipment development activities. Additionally, this modification increases the obligation amount for the Lot 6 PALS effort to 75% – $137.3 million has been obligated at this time. Work will be complete December 2006 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0015).

    May 3/05: 1 more. A $143.1 million firm-fixed price contract modification, which is an undefinitized contract action for F-22 Lot 6 replacement test aircraft. This work will be complete February 2010 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0014).

    April 24/06: Support. A $103 million firm-fixed price & cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification to increase fund production long lead diminished manufacturing sources activities and performance-based agile logistics support of 3400 funded activities through June 30/06. The location of performance is Lockheed Martin Corp., in Marietta, GA(33%), Fort Worth, TX (34%); and Boeing in Seattle, WA (33%). Work will be complete December 2006 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0012)

    March 13/06: Support. A $383.5 million modification to increase Lot 6 F-22 production long lead activities, (including target price curve and diminishing manufacturing sources); and long-lead performance-based agile logistics support activities; and the aircraft structural integrity program. Work will be complete December 2006 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0009).

    PW F119 engine:
    vectored thrust
    (click to view full)

    Feb 28/06: Support. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group in East Hartford, CT received a $153.5 modification that will support the F119 Engine’s Lot 6, Long Lead Items and Field Support and Training period of performance extension. Solicitations began July 2005, negotiations are expected to be complete May 2006, and work will be complete December 2006 (FA8611-05-C-2851).

    Feb 15/06: PALS. A $144.3 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification. This undefinitized contract action provides for F-22A Lot 6 Weapon System Support as a Capability Performance-Based Agile Logistics Support (PALS). Negotiations were complete in January 2006, and work will be complete by May 2006 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0010).

    Jan 25/06: Support. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Group in East Hartford, CT received a $56.7 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification. This undefinitized contractual action will “support the F119 Engine Lot 6,” and work will be complete by March 2006. Hard to say if they’re buying components, or help (FA8611-05-C-2851, PO 0003).

    Jan 11/06: PALS. A $191.1 million not-to-exceed firm-fixed-price contract modification. This action provides long lead activities and Performance Based Agile Logistics Support (PALS) for F-22 Lot 6 aircraft and associated equipment. Negotiations were completed in December 2005, and work will be complete in February 2006 (FA8611-05-C-2850, PO 0008). As one might guess from the dates, a large chunk of the work had been done already, which is why $95.4 million was already obligated.

    Jan 11/06: Support. A $116.5 million firm-fixed-price fee contract modification provides for F-22 Lot 6 Program Support/ Annual Sustaining (PSAS) for period I, i.e. through June 2006. Negotiations were completed in December 2005 (F33657-97-C-0031, PO 0070). As a point of reference, the FY 2005 Lot 5 PSAS contract mentioned in DID’s November 17, 2005 article was a $160 million firm-fixed-price/ cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification that definitized FY 2005 production support/ annual sustainment associated with the F-22 Lot 5 batch.

    Dec 23/05: long-lead buy. An $18 million, undefinitized, firm-fixed-price contract modification. It covers Long Lead Effort for Replacement Test Aircraft (RTA) for the F-22A program, and work will be complete by February 2006 (FA8611-05-C-2850).

    Nov 10/05: Lot 6 lead-ins. A $39.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to support F/A-22 Lot 6 production. This action provides for advanced procurement for 24 Lot 6 aircraft and associated equipment. Work will be performed ar Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA and Fort Worth, TX, and Boeing in Seattle, WA. At this time, the full amount has been obligated, and work will be complete November 2005. Negotiations were complete October 2005 (FA8611-05-C-2850/ P00006)

    Nov 9/05: A $2.99 billion firm fixed price contract modification to definitize the F/A-22 Lot 5 production acquisition for 24 aircraft. The location of performance is Lockheed Martin Corporation, Marietta, GA. At this time, $1.98 billion has been obligated.

    This work will be complete November 2007. Solicitations began July 2004 and negotiations were complete November 2005. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH issued the contract. (FA8611-04-C-2851). Note that this doesn’t represent the aircrafts’ full cost, just the parts that haven’t been covered by long-lead procurement, and by the separate buys of “government furnished equipment” like engines, etc.

    Lot V: 24 more

    Nov 9/05: Support. A $160 million firm-fixed-price/ cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification to definitize the undefinitized action for calendar year 2005 production support and annual sustainment activity. This effort supports the F/A-22 Lot 5 production aircraft. The location of performance is Lockheed Martin Corporation, Marietta, Ga. Solicitations began July 2004, negotiations were complete November 2005, and work will be complete by December 2005 (F33657-97-C-0031). Both November 9 awards were covered in this DID article, as was this engine-related award…

    Nov 7/05: Support. United Technologies Corp. in East Hartford, CT received a $17.3 million firm-fixe-price and cost plus fixed fee contract modification to provide for contractual action for F119 engine, FY 2006-2007 to support the combined test force infrastructure at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Solicitations began December 2003, negotiations were complete June 2005, and work will be complete December 2006 (FA8611-04-C-2852).

    FY 2005 and Earlier (Incomplete)

    F/A-22 Raptor landing
    (click to view full)

    Sept 30/05: Support. A $17.7 firm-fixed price contract modification to support the F/A-22 Lot 5 Support System. The location of performance is Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA. Total funds have been obligated, and work will be complete by November 2007. Negotiations were complete October 2005 (FA8611-04-C-2851/ P00026)

    Before this, the most significant contract is…

    March 12/03: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX received a $6 billion indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification to provide for development of system upgrades to existing requirements, incorporate new requirements, add capability and enhance performance in the F/A-22 Weapon System. Funds will be obligated as individual delivery orders are issued. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to the maximum amount indicated above, though actual requirements may necessitate less than this amount.

    Locations of performance are: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX; Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems in Marietta, GA; and Boeing ISS Aircraft and Missile Systems in Seattle, WA. Solicitation began in March 2002, negotiations were complete in March 2003, and work will be complete by June 2013. The Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (F33657-02-D-0009).

    F-22 upgrade contract

    Additional Readings & Sources Background: The F-22

    Background: Official Reports

    Background: F-22 Program

    • DID Spotlight – F-22 Raptors to Japan? The Japanese, Australia, Israel, and South Korea all lobbied at one time or another for an “F-22EX”. Exports were prohibited right to the end of the program, and Japan ended up buying F-35As.

    • USAF Maxwell AFB Air & Space Power Journal (Nov-Dec 2012) – The F-22 Acquisition Program: Consequences for the US Air Force’s Fighter Fleet. By Lt. Col. Christopher J. Niemi, USA. “First, given the clear need to recapitalize its fleet, why did the Air Force acquire just 25 percent of the F-22s originally planned? Second, could it have realized a better result by making alternative decisions during F-22 development?”

    • DID Spotlight (to 2010) – The Australian Debate: Abandon F-35, Buy F-22s?. The opposition Labor party favored a request for F-22s over the previous government’s purchase of 24 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornets, and question the proposed timing and numbers for the proposed F-35. In the end, the USA refused to sell F-22s to anyone, and Australia bought the F-35A. DID compiles the various arguments and briefings over time, pro and con, from the politicians, DoD, civilian defense experts, the media, et. al.

    • Aviation Week (Feb 8/09) – F-22 Design Shows More Than Expected [dead link]. Summary: Desired radar signature from certain critical angles is -40 dBsm., supercruise at Mach 1.78 rather than Mach 1.5, better acceleration, operation from about 65,000 feet using afterburner, 5% greater range from its APG-77 AESA radar.

    • DID (Oct 24/06) – Supersonic SIGINT: Will F-35, F-22 Also Play EW Role? The F-22’s abilities in this area had been kept under wraps, but emerged as a result of budget lobbying. The F-22 may have latent electronic warfare capabilities out of the box that rival dedicated aircraft like the EA-6B Prowler, and strong eavesdropping and scanning capabilities.

    • Aviation Week (Oct 20/06) – F-22 Maintainers Focus More On Avionics, Less On Engines [dead link]. Good history to date of F-22 maintenance benefits and issues, notes avionics as 70% of the non-stealth maintenance workload.

    • DID (Dec 6/05) – $96.7M for Theory of Constraints & 6-Sigma Support in US Naval Aviation. What is Theory of Constraints, and why is it so powerful? DID explains, and notes the method’s use as part of the F-22 Raptor program, via Critical Chain project management.

    • DID (Oct 18/05) – RAND PAF: Lessons Learned from the F/A-22 and F/A-18 Super Hornet Programs.

    • MIT Lean Aerospace Initiative (March 23/05) – Cost Reduction Task Force Key to Raptor Affordability [HTML Google cache | PDF format, 8.6 MB]

    • US Air War College, Maxwell AFB (June 2003, Paper #30) – The Air Superiority Fighter and Defense Transformation: Why DOD Requirements Demand the F/A-22 Raptor

    • Air University School Of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell AFB (June 2000) – U.S. Military Aircraft For Sale: Crafting an F-22 Export Policy [PDF format]. Excellent discussion of the F-22’s capabilities, as well as potential export issues and the considerations that will influence US policymakers.

    • Crosstalk Journal of Defense Software Engineering, via WayBack (May 2000) – F-22 Software Risk Reduction. The plane’s software is fundamentally based on the VAX system; the article explains why, and notes the modernization challenge ahead.

    • Northrop-Grumman Analysis Center (April 2000) – Analogues of Stealth [PDF]. This paper briefly explores antisubmarine warfare, examines the development and fielding of low-observable “stealth” aircraft and emerging countermeasures, and suggests analogues between past experience with stealthy platforms and countermeasures in the sea and the future of stealthy platforms in the air.

    • Australian Aviation (1999) – Deedle, Deedle, Deedle, BANG! The Paradigm Shift in Air Superiority. Discusses the evolution of missiles, how this has affected aircraft design, and the significance of the F-22’s capabilities against aerial and ground targets.

    • Lockheed Martin Code One Magazine (April 1998) – F-22 Design Evolution. This wasn’t even the end of that evolution, merely the end of the first stage that eliminated the Northrop / General Dynamics’ F-23 Black Widow. The YF-23 was faster and stealthier than the YF-22, but less maneuverable. The Navy reportedly thought it was also less amenable to modification for carrier use, though the NATF program was canceled shortly thereafter in 1991.

    • YouTube – Northrop YF-23 Black Widow II. Very good documentary about the competing YF-23.

    News & Views

    http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=IssuePositions.View&IssuePosition_id=989152b7-5f5f-45c4-9c04-caf70407a581

    Categories: News

    The USA’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Program: Dead Aim, Or Dead End?

    Mon, 08/14/2017 - 03:58

    67% of the fleet
    (click to view full)

    DID’s FOCUS Article for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class “destroyer” program covers the new ships’ capabilities and technologies, key controversies, associated contracts and costs, and related background resources.

    The ship’s prime missions are to provide naval gunfire support, and next-generation air defense, in near-shore areas where other large ships hesitate to tread. There has even been talk of using it as an anchor for action groups of stealthy Littoral Combat Ships and submarines, owing to its design for very low radar, infrared, and acoustic signatures. The estimated 14,500t (battlecruiser size) Zumwalt Class will be fully multi-role, however, with undersea warfare, anti-ship, and long-range attack roles. That makes the DDG-1000 suitable for another role – as a “hidden ace card,” using its overall stealth to create uncertainty for enemy forces.

    True, or False?
    (click to view full)

    At over $3 billion per ship for construction alone, however, the program faced significant obstacles if it wanted to avoid fulfilling former Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter’s fears for the fleet. From the outset, DID has noted that the Zumwalt Class might face the same fate as the ultra-sophisticated, ultra-expensive SSN-21 Seawolf Class submarines. That appears to have come true, with news of the program’s truncation to just 3 ships. Meanwhile, production continues.

    Zumwalt Class: Program and Participants

    As of December 2012, DDG 1000 Zumwalt was about 80% complete and scheduled to deliver in July 2014, with an Initial Operating Capability in July 2016. DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor was about 48% complete, and DDG 1002 (now Lyndon B. Johnson) was just beginning construction preparations.

    The most striking thing about the Zumwalt Class program as a whole is the seismic jump in R&D costs. This is hardly surprising given the number of very new technologies involved, and the 2 program restarts along the way. Overall procurement costs have dropped as ship numbers dropped from 32 to 3, but on a per-ship basis they soared from $1.02 billion to $3.71 billion.

    The Navy’s build-cost figure has been disputed by past Congressional Budget Office reports, which placed the total even higher at $5.1 billion. The Navy claims that the CBO’s estimate doesn’t consider shipyard improvements that change the build process, a more mature detailed design that has been built several thousand times by computer (a capability developed as a “lesson learned” from the Arleigh Burke program); and the roughly $500 million per ship that is being contracted for on a firm-fixed-price basis. On the other hand, the CBO has been right, and the Navy wrong, when estimating other recent shipbuilding programs.

    With DDG 1000 Zumwalt rounding toward completion, we should know who’s right pretty soon. Key members of the DDG-1000’s industrial team include:

    Program History: The Long and Winding Road

    2006 Schedule
    (click to view full)

    The Zumwalt Class’ path to fielding has taken a long time, and seen several twists and turns. Given the sheer number of new technologies involved, that may have been a good thing, but the long gestation period has also hurt the program in other ways.

    Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ Ingalls shipyard led the “DD 21 Gold Team” through Phase I (System Concept Design) and Phase II (Initial Systems Design) from 1995-2001, until the program was suspended on May 7/01 pending that Quadrennial Defense Review and other key studies.

    In November 2001, the DD 21 Program was restructured as the DD (X) Program. The Navy was directed to conduct a Spiral Development Review (SDR), to revalidate some requirements; and to assess the merits of achieving various levels of capability across a family of ships, including a Littoral Combatant Ship (LCS) and the next-generation CG (X) cruiser. The Request For Proposal for Phase III was issued Nov 30/01.

    The Gold Team won on April 29/02, but the contract was delayed until the US Government Accountability Office denied General Dynamics’ protest On Aug 19/02. At that point, a firm winner could be declared. The winning “National Team” was led by Northrop Grumman, and included Raytheon IDS as the prime mission systems equipment integrator for all electronic and combat systems. Other major subcontractors included Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and Boeing. It even incorporated “Blue team” leader General Dynamics Bath Iron Works as a subcontractor for design and test activities.

    By mid-spring 2005, however, a new DDI (design, development & integration) contract was signed. The Navy designated 4 Prime Contractors, to be coordinated through a Navy-Industry DDG-1000 Collaboration Center run by Raytheon. The current Prime Contractors are:

    • General Dynamics Bath Iron works (ship design & build)
    • Raytheon (mission systems integration which includes sensors, combat systems, electronics, and the PVLS)
    • BAE Systems (AGS gun system)
    • Northrop Grumman Ingalls (ship design & build, relinquished build role)

    On Nov 23/05, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition signed the “destroyer acquisition memorandum,” approving the DDG 1000 program to proceed with Milestone B, and commencing detail design and construction of the first ships. On April 7/06, the program got its second name change from DD-21 and then DD (X), to its official and formal designation as the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class.

    As construction begins, Congressional resolutions have dissolved the US Navy’s original “winner take all” shipbuilding approach; the first 2 DDG-1000 destroyers will now be built at Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls yard in Pascagoula, MS; and at General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. This was expected to add up to $300 million to the cost of each ship, but was expected to help to keep the USA’s industrial base options open for future efforts like CG (X) etc.

    Strong arguments can be made for both the Navy’s original option and Congress’ mandated approach… and have been. Under the Navy’s proposed new “Dual Lead Ships Strategy,” the USN planned to benchmark these lead ships from each shipyard against each other, and revisit its options around FY 2009.

    That became a moot point when the DDG 1000 program was truncated at 3 ships, a development that ironically led the program back to its original single-builder strategy. Zumwalt Class ships will be built at Bath Iron Works, with Northrop Grumman (now Huntington Ingalls) supplying the composite deckhouse superstructure for all 3 ships.

    CG (X) was slated for termination in the FY 2011 budget, and will be replaced by DDG-51 “Flight III” destroyers as of about 2016. Those ships will be built in alternating yards by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and by Northrop Grumman. The question now is whether cost growth and engineering challenges for the Flight IIIs will begin to push them to a level that re-starts debate over building more Zumwalts.

    DDG-1000 Key Technologies and Features

    DDG-1000: key features
    (click to view full)

    The Zumwalt Class is currently in the middle of the production phase. When finished, the class is projected at 14,500t, almost 3 times the displacement of some frigates. In other eras, it would have been called a cruiser or even a battlecruiser. A follow-on CG (X) cruiser was also contemplated, and the issues faced by the DDG-1000 Program had a significant influence on its ultimate cancellation. In practice, the 3 DDG-1000s are America’s future cruisers.

    Several of the Zumwalt Class’ sub-systems represent entirely new technologies, as seen in the graphics above and below. Some of the key innovations include:

    All-aspect Stealth. To achieve survivability in littoral regions close to shore, DDG-1000 ships will be reliant on their ability to see their surroundings and counter threats, while being difficult to detect. The goal is a 50-fold radar cross section reduction as compared to current DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers.

    To achieve that stealth, the destroyer’s “tumblehome” inward-sloping hull, shaping, composite superstructure, and other stealth measures are meant to reduce radar, infrared, and other signatures. The ship’s shape reduces its visible wake in the water, and its all-electric power system is quieter. Even the ship’s internal lighting system represents advances in this area.

    Sensors

    Tech features

    Dual-Band Sonar. A dual-band hull sonar is a first for American naval ships, and so is its packaging. The Zumwalt Class’ AN/SQQ-90 sonar system includes the AN/SQS-60 hull-mounted mid-frequency sonar; the AN/SQS-61 hull-mounted high-frequency sonar; and the AN/SQR-20 multi-function towed array sonar and handling system. The sonar system can reportedly be operated by 1/3 the number of crew members required for the AN/SQQ-89 systems on current Arleigh Burke Class destroyers and Ticonderoga cruisers, and the range of frequencies should help find submarines in a wider variety of conditions. Correlation between the ship’s 3 sonars may even produce improved resolution, but the Navy isn’t talking.

    Like the ship’s computing environment, the sonar system is packaged in Electronic Module Enclosures (EMEs), which roll in as units and combine the commercial off-the-shelf electronics that power the hull-mounted sonars with shock mitigation, electromagnetic interference protection, thermal conditioning, security and vibration isolation. The electronics to power and control the ship’s hull-mounted sonar arrive in a single, smaller package that’s fully integrated and tested, including the transmit/receive amplifiers, and associated processors that distribute signals and data to the ship’s command center.

    Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE). Rather than doing this piecemeal on a per system basis, the idea is to have an integrated but open architecture approach from the very beginning. This creates a single IT framework, and makes it easier to integrate commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software like IBM blade servers and Cisco routers. That allows the Navy and the prime contractors to use more conventional commercial acquisition approaches/ partnerships to support and upgrade the technology, and also improves wider interoperability. A total of 16 factory configured and tested Electronic Modular Enclosures (EMEs) are distributed throughout the ship. EMEs protect the equipment inside, and the client/server architecture ensures that any workstation can run any task, unlike past ships that have depended on task-focused consoles. The entire assembly is controlled by the TCSE software.

    TSCE will be about 8 million lines of code, but it actually connects with about 20 million lines of code reused from other programs (AEGIS, SPQ-89, NAVSSI), plus the secured commercial operating systems, databases, and middleware that underpin the entire infrastructure. TSCE’s functionality is being developed as services, with set interfaces to the underlying commercial software and proprietary code. This allows changes to take place on both ends with minimal disruption of each service. The advances made by TSCE will in turn be reused in the new CVN-78 carriers and CV-X cruisers because of its services framework, design for reuse, and open architecture. That’s good, because $117 million per Zumwalt Class ship is a sizeable investment[1].

    TSCE is currently at Release 5/6, and coding for Release 6 is underway. IBM is partnered with prime contractor Raytheon for this component; other key subcontractors include Lockheed Martin.

    Dual-Band Radar (now just SPY-3 X-band). For detection and self-defense, the DDG-1000 was going to rely on a new approach called the Dual-Band Radar, but will now use only the SPY-3. Raytheon’s X-Band SPY-3 radar provides air and surface detection/tracking, and supports fire control. Its use of active array radar technology makes it far more survivable against saturation missile attacks, since it can track and guide against tens of incoming missiles simultaneously. In comparison, the passive S-band phased array SPY-1D radars that equip American AEGIS destroyers and cruisers are limited to terminal guidance against just 3-4 targets at any one time. Active array radars also feature superior reliability, and recent experiments suggest that they could also be used for very high-power electronic jamming, and high-bandwidth secure communications.

    The SPY-3 was to be integrated with Lockheed Martin’s active array S-Band volume search radar, and collectively the SPY-3 fore control radar and SPY-4 search array would comprise the Dual Band Radar (DBR) system. The idea was to have the destroyer benefit from the best capabilities of both X-band’s outstanding medium to high altitude performance, and the S-band VSR’s performance in clutter, in order to create a single combat picture. The goal was a 3x improvement over existing AEGIS ships like the DDG-51 destroyers and CG-47 cruisers. In 2010, however, the S-band SPY-4 was cut from the DDG-1000 program. SPY-4 VSR testing will finish, but Raytheon’s X-band SPY-3 fire control radar would be given volume search upgrades, and become the destroyer’s sole radar. DBR will be retained, in smaller form, on the USA’s new CVN-78 Gerald Ford Class aircraft carriers.

    Weapons

    BAE’s AGS
    (click for video)

    Advanced Gun System. The supposed rationale for the DDG-1000 centers around naval gunfire support for troops ashore. While US battleships with 9 massive 16-inch guns have performed extremely well in this role to date, the DDG-1000 intends to rely on 2 of BAE Systems’ rapid fire 155mm Advanced Gun Systems (AGS), each firing up to 304 advanced Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) GPS-guided shells that give the AGS a greatly-extended range of 70-100 nautical miles. The gun will use the AGS Intra-Ship Rearmament System (AIRS) for reloading, providing a safe way of moving AGS pallets between the flight deck and the gun magazine’s pallet hoist, with full performance in conditions up to Sea State 3. Read “Next-Gen Naval Gunfire Support: the USA’s AGS & LRLAP” for fuller coverage of those systems.

    BAE is reportedly working on a lighter 155mm AGS assembly that might be suitable for new DDG-51 Flight III destroyers, but it would still weigh twice as much as existing MK45 127/62 caliber naval gun systems. Their joint work with Lockheed Martin on a 5″ LRLAP shell seems likely to pay better dividends,

    Beyond the USA, AGS doesn’t have any direct counterparts in other navies yet, but Italy’s OtoMelara has created a rocket boosted, 127/64 caliber GPS-guided shell system called Vulcano, whose shorter range is offset by lower cost compatibility with many existing ships. TBAE and Lockheed Martin are responding with the LRLAP round that fits BAE’s 5″ naval guns, and other firms like Raytheon (Excalibur naval) are offering guided long-range projectiles of their own.

    Finally, the Zumwalts have a growth path that other top American ships do not: electro-magnetic weapons. The Zumwalts produce enough power to add lasers for last ditch missile defense and small boat/ anti-helicopter work, once laser technology takes its final operational steps. If enough power can be stored within the ship, future upgrades might even include an electro-magnetic rail gun for ultra-long-range, high capacity guided fire.

    Anyone else firing?
    (click to view full)

    PVLS Missile Launchers. Some additional survivability will come from automated firefighting systems, and even the ship’s missile launchers are designed to contribute. Zumwalt Class destroyers will distribute their 80 missile cells among 20 reinforced launcher sets along the edges of the ship, rather than concentrating them in one central cluster that can be directly targeted by modern missiles. The PVLS system is designed to release and direct the energy from a magazine explosion away from the ship, in order to avoid situations in which the detonation of a round in one cell spreads into catastrophe.

    Mk 57 Peripheral Vertical Launching System (PVLS) cells will be larger than the current Mk 41 VLS, allowing them to carry larger missiles, or multi-pack smaller missiles. Raytheon is the prime contractor, with BAE Systems as a subcontractor.

    Propulsion

    Critical tech & status
    (click to view full)

    All-Electric Power. Another challenge the Zumwalt Class will face is power. Ship electronics continue to require more and more power, and this class is also envisioned as an all-electric ship wherein even gun turrets and other mechanical systems will be electrical, and having separate systems for propulsion and power will no longer be necessary. The use of electric drive also eliminates the need for drive shaft and reduction gears, which brings benefits in ship space, acoustic signature reduction to enemy submarines, and less interference with the ship’s listening devices. Not to mention better fuel efficiency, and the potential to accommodate new electronics, more powerful radars, or even energy weapons and rail guns. The DDG-1000’s expected electrical output is 78 MW, compared to 7.5 MW for the current DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class – a capacity limitation that’s endangering plans to refit the Burkes with more advanced radars.

    The exact choice of engine systems was somewhat controversial. The concept was originally for an integrated power system (IPS) based on in-hull permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMMs), with Advanced Induction Motors (AIM) as a possible backup solution. The design was shifted to the AIM system in February 2005 in order to meet scheduled milestones; PMM technical issues were subsequently fixed, but the program has moved on. The downside is that AIM technology has a heavier motor, requires more space, requires a separate controller to meet noise requirements, and produces one-third the amount of voltage. Once adopted, however, there was little prospect of going back. These very differences would create time-consuming and expensive design and construction changes if the program wished to “design AIM out”.

    The AIM system is made by Alstom, who also makes electric-drive motors for cruise ships. CAE will supply the integrated platform management system. A Rolls-Royce MT30 36MW gas turbine has powered the IPS Engineering Development Model in Philadelphia, and has now been ordered for production ships. The MT30 has 80% commonality with the Rolls-Royce Trent 800 aero engine used on the Boeing 777, and Rolls-Royce states that it is the most powerful marine gas turbine in the world.

    DRS Technologies Power Technology unit had received development contracts for the PMM motors, electric drive, and control system for the IPS, but lost that role when the program switched to AIM technology. The firm does retain involvement in the ship’s “Integrated Fight-through Power” modules and load centers that take converted electrical power, condition it to get it to the right voltages, and distribute it to 8 redundant zones. If you lose power on the port side of the ship, for instance, you can cross-connect it to the starboard side.

    DDG-1000 Issues and Controversies

    Plan B?
    (cick for alternative view)

    The Zumwalt Class will incorporate a number of new technologies and capabilities that will make it a very formidable combatant – but it has also had its share of controversies that have included questions concerning its stealth, weapon choices, at-sea stability, cost growth, and the Navy’s future force mix.

    Stealth. While the DDG 1000 is designed as a low-emissions ship across a number of wavelengths, it is 50% larger than the already large Arleigh Burke Class destroyers – very nearly the same displacement as the WW2 German ‘pocket battleship’ Graf Spee. On the high seas, it’s a very big ocean; but the Navy wants to take them into the shallow-water littoral zone, where a number of alternative technologies (including swarms of small-medium UAVs with electro-optical equipment, or dhows will cell phones) can be used to find a ship. Once the ship fires its weapons, methods for detecting the ship expand further via options like acoustic sensors. Stealth will still make the ship harder to target and engage, but unlike the Iowa Class battleships, a DDG-1000 will not be able to ignore an Exocet missile strike to its hull.

    The Navy believes it can still produce a stealthy enough ship, with enough stand-off range to avoid some threats, and to buy reaction time against others. Naval personnel add that they’re testing the platform to ensure that these goals are met. Some observers are less certain. They also wonder whether a serious, realistic ‘hunt the Graf Spee’ test, using a properly equipped opposing force cleared to use innovative approaches, is even thinkable for a Navy that has invested its prestige and several billion dollars. Without such tests, of course, the only way to find out for sure is the hard way, in battle.

    Weapons. One of the issues that did a lot of damage to the DDG-1000 program in its late stages was the revelation that its radar system would not be suited to ballistic missile defense roles, and that modifications to make the radar powerful enough would be problematic. This lack of flexibility proved costly, since cheaper DDG-51 destroyers can be made fully ABM capable using known technologies, while the DDG-1000’s SPY-3 radar and combat system would require the same sort of research program the AEGIS ships went through in order to add BMD capability. The Navy also began to contend that the DDG-1000 wouldn’t be able to use Standard family missiles (SM-2, SM-3, SM-6), a charge that has been vehemently and persuasively disputed by Raytheon and others. Raytheon also disputes the charge that its SPY-3 radar would be less suited to the BMD role once software additions were made, contending that its performance would be superior to current ships.

    Indeed, Raytheon announced in January 2015 that the Navy has approved the SM-6 for additional Aegis systems, to include those Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers from the 1994-keel-laid The Sullivans (DDG-68) onward.

    The other weapons-related issue was the 155mm Advanced Gun System. It will be capable of rapid, long range, accurate fire that far out-ranges even a battleship gun. War is also about intimidation, however; otherwise, the inaccurate, slow, but loud and intimidating musket would never have replaced the faster, longer-range, more accurate, but less intimidating crossbow. A 155mm shell doesn’t have quite the psychological impact of a 16-inch, volkswagen-size battleship round, and rapid fire to create that effect risks exhausting the DDG 1000’s limited ammunition supply very quickly. Reactivating the battleships was considered, and had some supporters in Congress, but never became a serious option.

    Meanwhile, other navies are developing rocket-boosted guided ammunition for existing 127mm guns, to give them 60+ mile ranges. Are the expensive and specialized AGS guns simply unnecessary? Can the killing effect of GPS-guided shells from any gun of 5″/127mm or less provide enough suppression and decapitation to make up for lower intimidation value? Even if they could, can the small number of Zumwalts adequately fulfill that role? Or is the AGS/Zumwalt combination simply the wrong concept for naval fire support?

    The 3rd issue is that the Zumwalts falter after the AGS gun and PVLS missiles. These huge and expensive ships lack an interior missile defense using systems like RAM missiles, or last-ditch defenses like the radar-guided Phalanx 20mm gatling gun. That’s a troubling weakness for a ship that has to come in close to shore for naval gunfire support. The original design included 2 BAE Mk.110 57mm guns for that purpose, mounted in stealth cupolas near the helicopter hangar. They serve as main guns for the USA’s Littoral Combat Ship and Legend Class Coast Guard Cutters, combining rapid fire fused-fragmentation air defense, and medium-range targeting of inshore enemies like explosives-laden fast boats. The DDG-1000 program said that the Mk.110s didn’t perform as advertised in tests, removed them, and replaced them with 2 less expensive Mk.46 30mm turrets that can’t engage missiles, helicopters, or other aerial opponents. Until and unless the ships add effective laser weapons, this is going to be an important weakness.

    In January 2015, General Dynamics was indeed given the contract for Modification 2 M k.46 guns, for $26.2 million in weapons production to be fitted to both the Zumwalt and LCS. This will add to the 38 Mk.46s already delivered and be completed by late 2016, according to the schedule.

    Tumblehome hull
    (click to view full)

    Ship shape. Tumblehome hull designs that slope outward to the waterline have had a less-than-stellar naval history. The design offers important stealth benefits, but some experts believe that the ship could capsize in a following sea at the wrong speed, if a wave at an appropriate wavelength hits it at an appropriate angle. That would be… expensive, on many levels. Then again, so is a missile in your hull. Experiments have been run in simulated conditions up to hurricane-level and with scale models up to 1/4 scale, in order to determine safety. The Navy believes the design to be safe across an array of conditions whose breadth matches current ships.

    As a new design type, however, the Zumwalt Class can never have the certainty of designs that are known and proven over the immense array of conditions encountered by thousands of ships sailing over many decades. New capability comes with risk, but if it proves out, the USA will have expertise in stealthy ship design and construction that puts it well ahead of other countries. Are the experts who believe the design to be unsafe rigid traditionalists, of the same species that dismissed the aircraft carrier when it was new? Or are they offering a prescient warning?

    Cost Growth. In the end, this is the biggest issue faced by the DDG-1000 program. Originally slated to cost under $1 billion per ship, the program has grown to the point that 2005 GAO estimates placed likely average construction costs at $3.2 billion per ship, with ship life cycle costs at about double that of the DDG-51 Arleigh Burk Class ($4 Billion vs. $2.1 billion). Further cost increases are possible based on technical project risks, with some estimates climbing as high as $5 billion.

    At that cost level, even the US Navy will find itself priced out of the water, unable to maintain enough ships to serve in the envisaged role. That cost profile also leads one to ask whether the Navy would really send something that expensive into harm’s way in dangerous shallow waters near an enemy coast, knowing that they’re gambling with a $3+ billion asset whose cost makes it an extremely attractive enemy target.

    Force Structure. The original plan called for 32 DD (X) ships. That shrank to 8, and now just 3. Reagan’s 600-ship Navy is now projected to shrink to just 313 ships in official plans, and even this may not be achievable; a 2005 Pentagon study stated that the Navy was likely to be up to 40% short on expected funding toward their 375 ship goal, based on reasonably-expected funding profiles.

    Even an 8-ship class certainly isn’t going to succeed in replacing 62 DDG-51 AEGIS destroyers – but something will have to do so beyond 2030, or the Navy’s planned force will start becoming ineffective at all levels, as the intended “high-low” mix fails on both ends. DID has already discussed the light armament profile being built into US Navy versions of the Littoral Combat Ship, and their corresponding and compounding lack of weapon flexibility. As Vice-Admiral Mustin (ret.) and Vice-Admiral Katz (ret.) put it in a 2003 USNI Proceedings article:

    “Because the Navy has invested heavily in land-attack capabilities such as the Advanced Gun System and land-attack missiles in DD (X), there is no requirement for [the Littoral Combat Ship] to have this capability. Similarly, LCS does not require an antiair capability beyond self-defense because DD (X) and CG (X) will provide area air defense. Thus, if either DD (X) or CG (X) does not occur in the numbers required and on time, the Navy will face two options: leave LCS as is, and accept the risk inherent in employment of this ship in a threat environment beyond what it can handle (which is what it did with the FFG-7); or “grow” LCS to give it the necessary capabilities that originally were intended to reside off board in DD (X) and CG (X). Neither option is acceptable.”

    And yet, here we are in 2012, facing their worst case scenario as our current and future reality.

    SSN-21: shared fate?

    The SSN-21 Seawolf Class remain the best fast attack submarines in the world, with capabilities – and costs – that no other sub can match. That cost eventually led to program cancellation after 3 boats, and replacement by an SSN-774 Virginia Class that integrated many of their key technologies and design approaches at only 60-70% of Seawolf’s cost. In effect, the Seawolf Class became a set of 3 technology demonstrators.

    If the Zumwalt Class cannot overcome these controversies with cost-effective performance, DID warned that it could end up sharing Seawolf’s fate. With the 2008 suspension of construction at 2-3 ships, that appears to be exactly what has happened. Even so, spiraling cost growth for the planned DDG-51 Flight III may yet get the Zumwalt Class back into contention as part of the US Navy’s future. If, and only if, the DDG-1000 program can demonstrate promised build and operational costs.

    Zumwalt Class: Contracts and Key Events

    DDG-1000 vs. DDG-51/2A
    (click to view full)

    Contracts for the Zumwalt’s AGS/LRLAP long-range naval gun system, and Dual-Band Radar, are each covered in separate in-depth articles. While both systems are integral to the Zumwalt Class, they’re also present, or have the potential to be retrofitted, in other ship types.

    Note that frequent references to “Mission Systems Equipment” can cover a wide range of items: Dual Band Radar, external communications suite, Total Ship Computing Environment set, MK 57 Vertical Launching System, AN/SQQ-90 Integrated Undersea Warfare Combat System, Electro-Optical/Infrared suite, IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) integrated sensor suite; and the Zumwalt ship control hardware, including an integrated bridge, navigation, EO surveillance, and engineering control system components.

    Unless otherwise noted, contracts are issued by the USA’s Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC.

    FY 2014 – 2017

    Zumwalt christened; Why the switch from 57mm to 30mm guns?; Final composite deckhouse delivered.

    Float-out
    (click to view full)

     

    August 14/17: Rolls Royce Marine North America has won a $27.3 million US Navy contract to provide parts and engineering services on power plants for DDG 1000 Zumwalt destroyers. The agreement includes item orders, mounting equipment and other services for DDG 1000 gas-turbine generators, which provide the destroyer’s main source of electric power. Work will be conducted in Indianapolis, Ind., and Walpole, Mass., and is scheduled for completion by September 2022. The power plants are designed for future weapons systems like electromagnetic railguns and lasers, which would require huge amounts of electricity to operate.

    June 30/17: BAE Systems and Leonardo are to team up in an effort to offer the latter’s Vulcano guided munitions to the US Navy. Designed in a variety of sizes for the 76mm, 127mm naval guns and 155mm land artillery systems, the joint effort will see the munitions modified to be fired from BAE’s Advanced Gun System (AGS), which is currently installed on the Navy’s Zumwalt-class destroyers. The firms will also seek to offer the munition for use with the M777 and M109 howitzers for the US military.

    September 15/15: The final Zumwalt-class destroyer undergoing construction by General Dynamics Bath Ironworks – the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002) – is facing the chop by an independent team of Pentagon cost assessors, with the third-in-class vessel already under construction. Estimated to cost $3.5 billion, the destroyer was originally supposed to be the third of 32 destroyers, with numbers revised down to first eight then three ships. Cancelling the third ship would effectively cancel the most cost-efficient of the three, as the line becomes more streamlined through each iteration of construction.

    Oct 12/14: Weapons. The US Navy has removed BAE’s Mk.110 57mm naval gun from their DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class ships, but it wasn’t clear why (q.v. Aug 5/14). Current revelations now say that the 30mm Mk.46 RWS did better against key target types like small boats than the Mk.110 or notional 76mm guns. That’s more than slightly surprising to some observers, who note that a 30mm cannon’s lethal range is about 1 mile rather than 4-6 miles – but the Navy is saying that they were equally surprised. Program Manager Capt. Jim Downey:

    “They were significantly over-modeled on the lethality…. The results of the actual live test-fire data was that the round was not as effective as modeled…. it gets into the range of the threat – the approach of the threat, what the make-up of the threat is and how it would maneuver, how it would fire against our ship. There is a whole series of parameters that are very specific on what the threat is and how you take it out through a layer of defenses…. not what we expected to see.”

    Downey categorically denies that the Mk.110’s 10+ ton weight difference was an issue, but doesn’t mention cost. Interestingly, his program’s test findings haven’t been shared with other NAVSEA entities like PEO LCS, let alone the Coast Guard who uses the gun on some cutters. The Navy is working on creating those mechanisms, but they don’t exist yet. Defense News, “Experts Question US Navy’s Decision To Swap Out DDG 1000’s Secondary Gun”.

    Oct 2/14: Support. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $6.5 million contract modification for FY 2015 Zumwalt class services engineering efforts, supporting their Mission Systems Equipment (MSE). Raytheon is already the contractor lead for class MSE, and the support contract involves MSE design and analysis, engineering and life cycle supportability, architecture and design studies, concept of operations, crewing, mission and requirements analyses, interoperability, mission support services, and test & evaluation.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (48%), Tewksbury, MA (26%), and Sudbury, MA (26%), and is expected to be complete by September 2015. US Navy Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-10-C-5126).

    Aug 7/14: DDG 1001. HII announces that they’ve delivered DDG 1001’s composite deckhouse. Ingalls built and delivered the composite deckhouse and hangar for DDGs 1000 and 1001 at the company’s Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport, MS, but this will be the last one (q.v. Sept 4/13, Aug 2/13).

    The deckhouse will be placed on a barge and shipped to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine, to be integrated onto the steel hull of DDG 1001. Sources: HII, “Ingalls Shipbuilding Delivers Composite Deckhouse for Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001)”.

    Aug 5/14: Weapons. The US Navy discusses the switch away from Mk.110 57mm secondary guns and their tri-mode ammunition, to much smaller Mk.46 30mm guns.

    “The results of the analysis for alternative systems to the Mk 110 CIGS [through 2010] were not conclusive enough to recommend a shift in plan.,” but a 2012 review “concluded that the MK46 was more effective than the MK110 CIGS…. In addition to the increased capability, the change from MK110 to Mk 46 resulted in reduction in weight and significant cost avoidance, while still meeting requirements…”

    The Mk.110 has a maximum range of about 9 nautical miles, with fuzing modes and rates of fire that can deal with boats, helicopters, or even incoming missiles. Its 30mm replacement has a maximum range of around 2 miles, a lower rate of fire, and lacks the 57mm shell’s fuzing options. It seems to be a puzzling choice, unless it’s simply a weight shift or a sacrifice to shave a small amount off of ship costs. Sources: USNI, “Navy Swaps Out Anti-Swarm Boat Guns on DDG-1000s”.

    Cost changes
    (click to view full)

    May 21/14: CRS Report. The Congressional Research Service talks about the Zumwalt and DDG-51 Flight III programs. This bit about the Zumwalts’ cost history is useful:

    “Some of the cost growth in the earlier years in the table was caused by the truncation of the DDG- 1000 program from seven ships to three, which caused some class-wide procurement-rated costs…. a series of incremental, year-by-year movements away from an earlier Navy cost estimate for the program, and toward a higher estimate developed by Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). As one consequence of a [2010] Nunn-McCurdy cost breach… the Navy was directed to fund the DDG-1000 program to CAPE’s higher cost estimate for the period FY2011-FY2015, and to the Navy’s cost estimate for FY2016 and beyond. The Navy states that it has been implementing this directive in a year-by-year fashion with each budget submission since 2010, moving incrementally closer each year to CAPE’s higher estimate. The Navy states that even with the cost growth shown in the table, the DDG-1000 program as of the FY2015 budget submission is still about 3% below the program’s rebaselined starting point…”

    Sources: CRS, “Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress” update (April 8 and June 25) | USNI, “Two Billion Dollar DDG-1000 Cost Growth Explained”.

    Christening

    April 12/14: DDG 1000. USS Zumwalt is christened, commander by… Captain James Kirk. Not a joke.

    Formal delivery is expected in September 2014. Sources: Pentagon, “Navy to Christen future USS Zumwalt, New Class of Destroyer” | Inquisitr, “USS Zumwalt Destroyer To Have Captain James Kirk At The Helm [Video]”

    Zumwalt christened

    March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The US military slowly files its budget documents, detailing planned spending from FY 2014 – 2019. A subsequent CRS report offers a full breakdown:

    “The Navy estimates the combined procurement cost of the two DDG-51s requested for procurement in FY2015 at $2,969.4 million, or an average of $1,484.7 million each. The two ships have received a total of $297.9 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2015 budget requests the remaining $2,671.4 million to complete the two ships’ combined procurement cost.”

    Sources: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | CRS, “Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress” update (April 8 and June 25).

    Oct 28/13: Float-out. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works successfully launches the DDG 1000 Zumwalt from a floating dry dock, then moors it to a pier on the Kennebec River for final fitting-out.

    Construction began in February 2009, and Bath Iron Works will deliver the completed ship in late 2014. Navy tests and trials will follow, and the current schedule would achieve Initial Operating Capability in 2016. Sources: USN, “First Zumwalt Class Destroyer Launched”.

    Oct 22/13: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a $58 million fixed-price incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for deferred mission systems equipment. The purpose of this modification is to complete the remaining MSE for DDG 1000 and DDG 1001, buy the remaining long-lead mission systems equipment for DDG 1002, and do one-time engineering related to mission system equipment design and development.

    DDG 1002 will get”non-hatchable” Mission Systems Equipment. This involves items that are too large to be installed after the ship is built, as they can’t fit through the ship’s hatches. DDG 1002 Lyndon Johnson’s Mk57 VLS, AN/SQQ-90 sonar, etc. all fall into this category. Deferred MSE items for Zumwalt and Michael Monsoor include the MK57 VLS Launcher’s electronics and mechanical kits, below-deck radio terminals for external communications, and dry-end portions of the sonar suite.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (56%), Dallastown, PA (24%); Minneapolis, MN (16%), and Moorestown, NJ (4%), and is expected to be complete by April 2017.

    Oct 11/13: Christening of USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), originally scheduled for Oct 19/13, is postponed by the Navy because of the government shutdown.

    FY 2013

    DDG 1000 deckhouse delivered & fitted; Agile software development.

    Deckhouse erection
    click for video

    Sept 26/13: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded a $13.3 million contract modification for material and labor to complete work on the DDG 1000 deckhouse, which was provided by Northrop Grumman. $6.7 million in FY 2012 USN Shipbuilding and Conversion funds are committed immediately.

    Work will be performed in Bath, Maine, and is expected to be complete by June 2014. The USN Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair in Bath, Maine (N00024-06-C-2303).

    Sept 25/13: Sub-contractors. Huntington Ingalls Industries announces that they’ve delivered DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor’s 220 ton composite hangar. This follows the peripheral vertical launch system (PVLS) delivery in July 2013, and the deckhouse delivery expected in 1st quarter of 2014 will complete the company’s work on the DDG 1000 program. Sources: HII release, Sept 25/13.

    Sept 4/13: Industrial. HII will be closing its Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport, MS, once they’ve completed work on DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor’s deckhouse and the mast of LPD 27 Portland. That work is expected to finish in early 2014, with closure expected by May.

    Total costs of the shut-down are expected to be about $59 million, with over 400 employees affected. Sources: HII, Sept 4/13 release.

    Aug 11/13: Industrial. HII’s Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport, MS is unsure of its future. Fabrication of masts for the LPD-17 San Antonio Class is ending, and the DDG 1002 deckhouse decision shortens their transition period. NAVSEA spokesman Chris Johnson gives $767 million as HII’s estimate for the value of their DDG 1000 & 1001 contracts, and they’ll still be contracted for the aft PVLS cells on DDG 1002, but they’ll need more than that.

    Tim Colton suggests selling the center to their next-door neighbor Gulf Coast Shipyard Group, who is “building and repairing all types and sizes of naval and commercial boats, in steel, aluminum and composites, for markets that Ingalls has never had a chance of penetrating.” Sources: Virginian-Pilot, “Navy switch could hurt Ingalls Miss. composite center” | Time Colton’s Maritime Memos, “Curious Developments in Bath”.

    Aug 3/13: Industrial. GD Bath Iron Works requests a tax break from Bath, Maine. They want to improve areas like their blast and pain facilities, and create a new 110-foot-high, 51,315-square-foot outfitting hall by 2015. Their submission is blunt about why they want the funds, citing a recent DDG-51 program award that saw them get 4 ships to HII’s 5, calling that “a strong message about where BIW stands relative to its competition.”

    Tim Colton is even blunter:

    “BIW is not expanding. It already has way more capacity than it needs…. new shop is designed to improve its productivity and, potentially, increase its throughput with minimal increase in employment…. BIW needs a second program [beyond the DDG-51s] for long-term security…. Its best bet is the LSD program and they probably regret now that they traded one third of the LPD 17 program for extra DDGs, after designing their land-level facility specifically for LPD construction. And then there’s the polar icebreaker program, which may be just their thing.”

    Sources: Kennebec Journal, “BIW asks Bath for tax break to expand shipyard” | Time Colton’s Maritime Memos, “Curious Developments in Bath.”

    Aug 2/13: DDG 1002. GD Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $212 million firm target fixed-price incentive to build a steel (not composite this time, q.v. March 28/13) deckhouse and hangar superstructure for DDG 1002 Lyndon B. Johnson, and supply the ship’s aft PVLS launchers. That leaves only DDG 1002’s mission systems contract to finish the order. All funds are committed immediately, using a combination of FY 2010 and FY 2013 shipbuilding dollars.

    That steel deckhouse will be considerably heavier than its composite counterparts. Subsequent reports involving NAVSEA spokesman Chris Johnson indicate that the Navy thinks they have enough weight margin in the ship to do it.

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME (80.5%), Corona, CA (4.1%), Coatesville, PA (2.6%), South Portland, ME (1.4%) and other various locations with less than 1% each (11.4%), and is expected to be complete by December 2016. This contract was a limited competition solicited via FBO.gov by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-11-C-2306). Sources: Pentagon | BIW Aug 5/13 release | Virginian Pilot, “Navy switch could hurt Ingalls Miss. composite center”.

    DDG 1002 will have a steel deckhouse

    July 24/13: DDG 1001. HII announces that they’ve delivered DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor’s final aft PVLS assemblies to the US Navy a week early. They’ll go to GD Bath Iron Works, who is building the hull and performing final assembly.

    HII manufactures the composite superstructure for DDG 1000 and 1001 at the company’s composite center of excellence in Gulfport, MS, and makes all of the ship’s 4-cell PVLS launchers in Pascagoula, MS. DDG 1001’s first 2 PVLS units were delivered in July 2012, and the rest of the work is expected to be complete in the Q1 2014. HII.

    May 23/13: DDG 1001 Keel Laying. Formal keel-laying, which is actually the 4,400 ton, heavily outfitted mid-forebody section of the ship. The ship is named for Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL whose Medal of Honor information is an appropriate Memorial Day reminder. GD BIW [PDF].

    March 28/13: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs“. Which is actually a review for 2012, plus time to compile and publish. As of December 2012, the first 2 ships were 80% and 48% complete, with all contracts awarded. TSCE Release 6 software has begun integration and testing, and the follow-on release that would activate the mission systems is under contract.

    Even at this late stage, issues remain. Most critical technologies won’t be fully mature and demonstrated in a realistic environment until after they’re installed in DDG 1000. One such technology, the GPS-guided LRLAP long-range shell, recently had its rocket motor redesigned and tested.

    DDG 1002 began fabrication in April 2012, with pending contracts for the deckhouse, hangar, aft peripheral vertical launching system, and mission systems equipment. The Navy is considering a downgrade of the deckhouse to save money. Composite materials are better for stealth, but steel is cheaper, and both shipyards report that it’s a feasible alternative.

    March 19/13: Support. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine receives an $18 million contract modification, exercising an option for DDG 1000 class services. This modification provides technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detail design to construction of DDG 1000 class ships.

    They seem to need quite a few contracts for this.

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by September 2013. FY 2013 Shipbuilding and Conversion funding is being used, and all funds are committed (N00024-06-C-2303).

    Dec 28/12: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a not-to-exceed $169 million fixed-price incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for deferred mission systems equipment for DDG 1000 and DDG 1001, scheduled critical DDG 1002 non-hatchable mission systems equipment, and non-recurring engineering applicable to mission system equipment design and development.

    Discussion with Raytheon clarified that “non-hatchable” Mission Systems Equipment is too large to be installed after the ship is built, as it can’t fit through the ship’s hatches. DDG 1002 Lyndon Johnson’s Mk57 VLS, AN/SQQ-90 sonar, etc. all fall into this category. Deferred MSE items for Zumwalt and Michael Monsoor include the MK57 VLS Launcher’s electronics and mechanical kits, below-deck radio terminals for external communications, and dry-end portions of the sonar suite.

    Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ (37%); Largo, FL (14%); Marlborough, MA (14%); Portsmouth, RI (13.2%); Cordova, AL (10%); Andover, MA (7%); Tewksbury, MA (2%); Sudbury, MA (1.5%); San Diego, CA (1%), and Aberdeen, MD (0.3%), and is expected to be complete by May 2018. $117 million is committed immediately (N00024-10-C-5126). See also Raytheon.

    Dec 14/12: DDG 1000. The future USS Zumwalt has its deckhouse superstructure attached to the ship’s hull. “General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Completes Historic DDG 1000 Deckhouse Module Erection” describes the 900-ton static lift in detail: it involves 4 cranes, lifting a 900-ton, 155 x 60 x 60 foot deckhouse about 100 feet in the air, and moving the 610-foot hull beneath the suspended module using the shipyard’s electro-hydraulic ship transfer system. Total tonnage involved was over 13,000 tons.

    With the successful lift and integration of the deckhouse, 9 of 9 ultrablock units are now on land level at Bath Iron Works. Construction is now 80% complete, with ship launch and christening planned for 2013. Construction on DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor continues, with delivery planned in 2016. DDG 1002 Lyndon B. Johnson is expected to reach the Navy in 2018. US Navy | GD Bath Iron Works | Erection on video.

    Nov 9/12: Support. Raytheon IDS in Tewksbury, MA received an $19 million contract modification for Zumwalt class services engineering efforts, including participation in the joint test team. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (50%); Andover, MA (15%); Moorestown, NJ (10%); Sudbury, MA (10%); Tewksbury, MA (10%); and San Diego, CA (5%); and is expected to be complete by December 2014. US Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-05-C-5346).

    Nov 6/12: Agile software. Aviation Week quotes Bill Marcley, Raytheon’s DDG-1000 program manager and VP of Total Ship Mission Systems, who cites the firm’s use of agile software development processes for the ship’s voluminous software. Agile development methods have become common in high-tech industries, and are spreading, but they’re a very uncommon approach in the defense industry. They focus on delivering small bits of working and tested software in a series of short timelines, generally under a month each. The most common status quo alternative involves a series of months-long sequential or slightly overlapping “waterfall” stages of specification, development, testing, and fixes that each encompass the entire project.

    Air and missile defense are current foci for Raytheon’s agile ‘stories,’ and a major software review is scheduled for December 2012. Meanwhile, the Navy is sitting in on the scrum teams’ weekly software status reviews, and monthly combat system reviews. One of agile’s benefits is a greater level of assurance and visibility into project progress. It will be interesting to see if this approach spreads within the firm, and the industry. Aviation Week | See also DID: “Sharpen Yourself: The Agile Software Development Trend

    Oct 9/11: Deckhouse. HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division has delivered DDG 1000 Zumwalt’s 900-ton composite deckhouse to the U.S. Navy. The deckhouse contains the ship’s bridge, radars, antennas and intake/exhaust systems, and will be welded to DDG 1000 at the steel base plates that are bolted to the core composite structure. Ingalls has also delivered DDG 1000’s composite hangar and aft PVLS units, and has begun work on the composite components for DDG 1001. HII.

    DDG 1000 deckhouse

    Oct 1/12: HII in Pascagoula, MS receives an $11.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, exercising an option for FY 2013 class services for the Zumwalt Class.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (95%), and Gulfport, MS (5%), and is expected to be complete by July 2013 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    FY 2012

    DDG 1000 Zumwalt keel-laying; Could DDG-51 Flight III cost spirals reignite the DDG-1000s?

    Deckhouse build
    (click to view full)

    Sept 19/12: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $38.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, exercising options for additional class and engineering services, involving “technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detail design.” The firm describes this work as “manufacturing support services such as engineering, design, production control, accuracy control and information technology… [plus] program management, contract and financial management, procurement and configuration/data management.”

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by October 2013 (N00024-11-C-2306). See also GD release.

    Sept 5/12: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $26 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, exercising options for additional class and engineering services involving “technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detail design.” Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by March 2013 (N00024-11-C-2306).

    A piece in the Bangor Daily News may offer a more revealing and candid explanation for these continued contracts, so late into the construction process:

    Rep. Chellie Pingree echoed the senators’ statements and said the contract will ensure steady design work at BIW through March. “The contract will help keep workers on the job designing and building the DDG 1000 this winter,” she said. “It’s critical to keep up the employment levels at the yard.”

    Aug 16/12: Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, MS receives a $7.2 million contract modification for research, development, test, and technical services in support of DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG 1000 technical services include technology development, analytical modeling, qualification of materials, potential design/process improvements, and design excursions.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (80%), and Gulfport, MS (20%), and is expected to complete by September 2013 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    June 26/12: Move it on over. Huntington Ingalls, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a $9.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification. It will pay for the fabrication of cradles, fixtures, and other equipment that are necessary to safely and securely transport their Zumwalt Class assemblies from HII in Pascagoula, MS, to Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (95%), and Gulfport, MS (5%), and is expected to be complete by June 2014 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    May 31/12: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $17 million contract modification, exercising an option for “technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detail design to support construction and the maintenance of the ship design.” Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by September 2012 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    April 30/12: Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a $11.5 million contract modification, exercising an option for FY 2012 class services in support of Zumwalt Class product fabrication, delivery, engineering, engineering support and integrated logistics support.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (95%), and Gulfport, MS (5%), and is expected to be complete by October 2012 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    April 16/12: DDG 1002 named. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces that the last planned ship of class, DDG 1002, will be named after President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson was a naval officer in the Pacific theater during World War 2, so all 3 ships have been named after Navy personnel, but American ships named after Presidents have been American carriers. The lone exception had been Jimmy Carter, a submariner who had the 3rd and last SSN-21 Seawolf Class fast attack submarine named after him.

    We can’t wait until the new ship visits Cam Ranh Bay. US Navy | US DoD.

    April 16/12: Sonar. Raytheon announces delivery of DDG 1000 Zumwalt’s dual-frequency AN/SQQ-90 tactical sonar suite, completely assembled and integrated into its Electronic Modular Enclosure (EME). Both the dual-band hull sonar and the EME represent firsts for American naval ships, and the system can reportedly be operated by 1/3 the number of crew members required for the AN/SQQ-89 systems on current Arleigh Burke Class destroyers and Ticonderoga cruisers.

    The AN/SQQ-90 includes the AN/SQS-60 hull-mounted mid-frequency sonar; the AN/SQS-61 hull-mounted high-frequency sonar; and the AN/SQR-20 multi-function towed array sonar and handling system. The EME takes a page from the TSCE, in that it efficiently packages the commercial off-the-shelf electronics that power the hull-mounted sonars with shock mitigation, electromagnetic interference protection, thermal conditioning, security and vibration isolation. The electronics to power and control the ship’s hull-mounted sonar arrive in a single, smaller package that’s fully integrated and tested, including the transmit/receive amplifiers, and associated processors that distribute signals and data to the ship’s command center.

    April 2/12: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $9.4 million contract modification, exercising an option for additional class services. Specifically, BIW will provide “technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detail design to support construction and the maintenance of the ship design.”

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to complete by May 2012 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    March 2012: The Pentagon’s Developmental Test and Evaluation and Systems Engineering’s FY 2011 annual report offers an update on the class’ IPS and radar testing:

    “The preparations and [land based] testing at the [all-electric Integrated Power Systems’] LBTS were exemplary and undoubtedly resulted in avoiding cost and delay… DDG 1000 program is executing to the current approved TEMP [testing program]. The TEMP is inadequate in that it lacks details of the [SYPY-3 Multi-function Radar’s added Volume Search] T&E. Revision E, on schedule for submission for approval in FY 2012, will contain details of the MFR VS test program.”

    March 30/12: GAO report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs” for 2012. Lead ship delivery is expected in July 2014, with the class expected to be ready to deploy by July 2016. Expected cost per ship remains around $3.5 billion, where it has been for some time now. A number of technologies remain delayed, however, even though the Zumwalt Class has spent more than 3.5x its original R&D projections:

    “Three of DDG 1000’s 12 critical technologies are currently mature and the integrated deckhouse will be delivered to the first ship for installation in fiscal year 2012. However, the remaining eight technologies will not be demonstrated in a realistic environment until after ship installation…

    “According to program officials, [TSCE] software release 5 has been completed and was used in land-based testing in fiscal year 2011. The program has made changes to release 6, and has prioritized the software needed to support shipyard delivery over… activating the mission systems. This functionality was moved out of the releases and will be developed as part of a spiral… the gun system’s long-range land-attack projectile [LRLAP] has encountered delays, primarily due to problems with its rocket motor. The Navy plans to finalize and test the rocket motor design by March 2012… guided flight tests using older rocket motor designs… demonstrated that the projectile can meet its accuracy and range requirements… Shipbuilders have experienced several challenges in constructing the first and second ships, including issues with the manufacture and installation of certain composite materials.”

    Jan 31/12: AGS. BAE Systems in Minneapolis, MN receives a maximum $52 million contract modification, exercising the option for DDG 1002’s Advanced Gun System (AGS). This seems to finalize the Oct 26/11 contract at $125 million.

    Work will be performed in Louisville, KY (37%); Cordova, AL (30%); Minneapolis, MN (28%); and Burlington, VT (5%), and is expected to be complete by January 2018 (N00024-12-C-5311).

    December 2011: Hand-over. The Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L) delegates authority for future DDG 1000 acquisition decisions to the Navy. Source: GAO.

    Dec 22/11: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $17.6 million contract, exercising an option for DDG 1000 class services, esp. technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detail design to support construction, and the maintenance of the ship design profile.

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by April 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    Dec 16/11: TSCE order. Raytheon IDS in Tewksbury, MA receives a multi-year, not-to-exceed $254 million letter contract modification. They’ll deliver a set of DDG 1000 Total Ship Computing Environment software for the US Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship, and support post-delivery and post-shakedown work involving the former Spruance Class destroyer Paul F. Foster [DD 964, now SDTS]. They’ll also perform SPY-3 volume search software and firmware development, as their active X-band radar takes over those functions from Lockheed Martin’s active S-band SPY-4. The final set of exercised options and changes here involve general software maintenance in support of the DDG-1000 program.

    Work will run until January 2016; $11 million will be provided upon contract award, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/12. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA (40%); Portsmouth, RI (24.8%); Marlborough, MA (12.7%); Fort Wayne, IN (10.3%); Sudbury, MA (5.8%); Dahlgren, VA (2.7%); Indianapolis, IN (2.3%); and San Diego, CA (1.4%). (N00024-10-C-5126). See also Raytheon’s release says that the DDG 1000 program employs more than 800 Raytheon employees, as well as by approximately 1,800 subcontractors and supplier partners in 43 states across the country.

    Dec 2/11: 1002 lead-in. Huntington Ingalls, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a $46.1 million contract modification to procure long lead time material and related support for DDG 1002. A copy of their recent release quotes DDG 1000 program manager Karrie Trauth, who calls the contract strategic to the firm because of the advanced composite shipbuilding capabilities it supports.

    Work will be performed at the company’s Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport/ Pascagoula, MS (28%); as well as Benicia, CA (24%); Burns Harbor, IN (10%); Corona, CA (9%); Monroe, CT (4%); Deerpark, TX (3%); Patterson, NJ (3%); and other various locations with less than 1% of the total (19%). Work is expected to complete by March 2012 (N00024-06-C-2304). See also MarineLog.

    Nov 18/11: 1000 keel-laying. The Zumwalt’s Keel is formally laid, in the form of a 4,000 ton ultrablock (vid. Oct 22/11 entry). The physical change is a corollary of using modern block construction techniques. GD-BIW.

    Nov 16/11: DDG-51 or Zumwalt? Jane’s Navy International is reporting that DDG-51 flight III destroyers with the new AMDR radar and hybrid propulsion drives could cost $3-4 billion each.

    If that’s true, it’s about the same cost as a DDG-1000 ship, in return for less performance, more vulnerability, and less future upgrade space. AMDR isn’t a final design yet, so it’s still worthwhile to ask what it could cost to give the Flight IIIs’ radar and combat systems ballistic missile defense capabilities – R&D for the function doesn’t go away when it’s rolled into a separate program. If the Flight III cost estimate is true, it raises the question of why that would be a worthwhile use of funds, and re-opens the issue of whether continuing DDG-1000 production and upgrades might make more sense. DoD Buzz.

    Nov 10/11: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $20.7 million contract modification, exercising options for FY 2012’s DDG-1000 program engineering, production, and integration services. That doesn’t mean the whole ship, just Raytheon’s Mission Systems Integrator role. $5.4 million has already been committed, and the rest will follow if needed.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (25%); Tewksbury, MA (25%); Marlboro, MA (20%); Dulles, VA (20%); San Diego, CA (5%); and Alexandria, VA (5%), and is expected to be complete by November 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00024-10-C-5126).

    Nov 7/11: Aviation Week:

    “Enhanced ballistic missile defense (BMD) missions will stretch the future U.S. Navy destroyer force beyond its fleet limits as well as put even more pressure on the service’s already stressed funding accounts, according to an Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN) analysis and a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.”

    Nov 1/11: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $14.4 million contract modification, exercising options for DDG 1000 class services and class logistics services associated with detail design and construction. Logistics services include development of training curriculum, supply support documentation, maintenance analyses, and configuration status accounting. Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by November 2012 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    Oct 31/11: Huntington Ingalls, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS received a $13 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, exercising FY 2012 Zumwalt destroyer class services. They’ll support fabrication, delivery, engineering, and engineering support. Ingalls is building the deckhouse, hangar and peripheral vertical launch systems for DDG 1000 and DDG 1001, with plans to build a third. The deckhouse for DDG 1000 is expected to be delivered in Q2 2012. As HII’s DDG 1000 program manager Karrie Trauth notes:

    “This contract modification provides additional funding for the composite work we’re doing on the deckhouse for this shipbuilding program… This is a significant program for our composite shipbuilders in Gulfport, and this award ensures the valuable expertise and technological advancements in composites continue through the detail design and construction of these ships.”

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (95%), and Gulfport, MS (5%), and is expected to be complete by April 2012 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    Oct 26/11: AGS. An unfinalized $73 million fixed-price incentive-fee firm target contract action for the Advanced Gun System (AGS) for DDG 1002, the last planned Zumwalt Class ship. This contract includes options, which could bring its cumulative value to $168 million.

    Work will be performed in Louisville, KY (40%), Minneapolis, MN (30%), and Cordova, AL (30%), and is expected to be complete by January 2018. This contract was not competitively procured (N00024-12-C-5311).

    Oct 22/11: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works completes the largest and most complex ship module movement ever executed at the shipyard, as the move the mid-forebody section of Zumwalt 900 feet inside the Ultra Hall construction facility. The heavily outfitted module is about 180 feet long, over 60 feet high and weighs more than 4,000 tons. The next step will be to integrate it with 3 additional “ultra units” that comprise the ship’s unique wave-piercing hull form. GD-BIW [PDF]

    FY 2011

    DDG-1001 and 1002 contracts, at last; Program update, incl. TSCE delays.

    DDG 1000 Ultrablock
    (click to view full)

    Sept 30/11: Design. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $13 million contract modification for additional class services associated with detail design and construction. It’s mostly industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detail design, to support construction, and ship design updates based on feedback. Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by September 2012 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    Sept 29/11: Design. Exactly the same as the Sept 30/11 contract, but $22.5 million, under another agreement that appears to be the go-forward contract for DDG 1000 class services (N00024-11-C-2306).

    Sept 25/11: Progress report. Defense News offers a progress report from program manager Capt. James Downey. Negotiations are now under way with major suppliers HII (composite superstructure, some hull), Raytheon (Radar, electronics, combat system), and BAE (gun, launchers) for DDG 1001 and 1002, and the Navy hopes to come in slightly under DDG 1000’s $3 billion or so overall cost. The whole program is said to be within current time and budget, but that’s not the same as original plans because there have been many revisions over the years.

    Tests of the AIM all-electric power system, new AGS guns & LRLAP precision shells, and EMEs (electronic modular enclosures) have gone well, EMEs are already shipping, and re-work on delivered components is under 1%. DDG 1000 Zumwalt is expected to be 60% complete at its keel-laying on Nov 17/11, because of the ship’s modular block construction approach. At 4,000 tons, the forward midbody block alone is heavier than some frigates. The 1,000+ ton composite superstructure is more than 75% complete, and is expected to be barged from Mississippi to Maine in late spring 2012. DDG 1000 Zumwalt is scheduled for launch in July 2013, with initial delivery set for 2014, and completion of the combat system to follow in 2015.

    That’s an odd sequence, and managing it effectively will require the Navy to take delivery without releasing the contractors from financial responsibility for fixes – something the Navy has not always been able to do. Part of the issue involves delays in the Total Ship Computing Environment, whose 6th software release will start testing in January 2012, with a combat system release to follow. Both must then be tested on a ship equipped with all of the systems they control, which doesn’t exist yet, and that takes more time. TSCE 6 is scheduled for final delivery from Raytheon in January 2013, but until the combat system gets the final go-ahead in 2015, the ship won’t really be operational, regardless of its official status. The good news, such as it is, is that this qualification is only a problem once – unless issues are discovered later in the ship’s career. DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor is currently about 25% complete, and scheduled for delivery in 2015, so delays to the combat system could affect both ships. DDG 1002 construction won’t really start until spring 2012.

    Sept 15/11: 1001 & 1002 contract. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $1.826 billion fixed-price-incentive contract to build DDG 1001 and DDG 1002, the 1st major Zumwalt Class contract since February 2008. This contract includes options which could raise its value to $2.002 billion. Work will be performed in Bath, ME (59.9%); Parsippany, NJ (3.5%); Coatesville, PA (3.2%); Falls Church, VA (2.6%); Pittsburgh, PA (1.3%); Augusta, ME (1.3%); and other various locations (28.2%), each having less than 1%. This contract was not competitively procured.

    Discussions with GD BIW clarified this is the full shipbuilder’s contract for both ships, which includes remaining construction, integration of many expensive items like the radars, weapons, etc. which are bought separately by the government, and initial testing/ qualification work. The September 2001 contract builds on long-lead materials and initial fabrication that have been bought for both DDG 1001 and 1002, using funds from the February 2008 contract, and subsequent interim awards.

    At present, DDG-1000 Zumwalt is over 50% complete, and is scheduled to be delivered in 2014. DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor is currently scheduled for delivery in December 2015, and DDG 1002 is scheduled for delivery in February 2018. (N00024-11-C-2306). See also GD BIW | Sen. Snowe [R-ME].

    Aug 4/11: 1001 & 1002 lead-in. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a not-to-exceed $110.8 million contract modification for more long lead time construction on DDG 1001, long lead time material for DDG 1002, and engineering and production support services. It’s not the big production contract everyone is expecting, but it is the first large award in over 2 years, and a necessary precursor to the full production deal.

    Work will be performed in Coatesville, PA (23.3%); Erie, PA (13%); Walpole, MA (12.9%); Parsippany, NJ (11.1%); Loanhead, Midlothian, United Kingdom (5.4%); Deer Park, TX (5.4%); Newton Square, PA (4.5%); Kingsford, MI (4.4%); Milwaukee, WI (2.8%); South Portland, ME (2.7%); and other various locations with less than 2% (14.5%). Work is expected to be complete by October 2011 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    July 26/11: After a gap of more than 2 years since the last major contract for this ship class, the US Navy has reached an agreement with General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works for pricing, terms and conditions for DDGs 1001 and 1002. Final contract details are being worked out, and the multi-billion dollar award is expected before the end of FY 2011.

    With agreement reached, a 2011 budget passed, and Northrop Grumman’s shipbuilding changes resolved, all elements are now in place for the next step. Once construction on the Zumwalts is finished, Bath Iron Works will continue building DDG-51 destroyers, but the deal that gave it all 3 Zumwalts means BIW is no longer the DDG-51’s lead yard. Sen. Susan Collins [R-ME] | Maine’s Morning Sentinel | Defense News | Portland Press Herald.

    July 22/11: IPS. US Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead observes a live test of the DDG 1000 Integrated Power System (IPS) at Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division’s land-based Ship Systems Engineering Station (NSWCCD-SSES). The next IPS test, scheduled for early 2012, will integrate and test portions of the DDG 1000 Engineering Control System software with the IPS, to verify compatibility.

    The US Navy’s July 28/11 release adds that DDG 1000 Zumwalt is more than 50% complete and scheduled to deliver in FY 2014, with an Initial Operating Capability in FY 2016. DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor is about 20% complete, as key contracts must be forthcoming before much more build work can proceed.

    May 11/11: IPS. The U.S. Navy successfully tests DDG 1000’s Integrated Power System (IPS) at full power, at the Philadelphia Land Based Test Site. The test included 1 of 2 shipboard shaft lines, 1 main and 1 auxiliary gas turbine generator set, all 4 high voltage switchboards, 2 of 4 shipboard electrical zones of Integrated Fight Through Power (IFTP) conversion equipment, and 1 of 2 propulsion tandem advanced induction motors with their variable control drives.

    The IPS for an all-electric ship like the Zumwalt generates all ship electric power, then distributes and converts it for all ship loads, including electric propulsion, combat systems and ship services. defpro.

    May 17/11: 1001 lead-in. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a not-to-exceed $29.9 million contract modification for DDG 1001 long-lead-time materials, engineering and support services. Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by July 2011. (N00024-06-C-2303).

    May 4/11: Design. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives an $18.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for “technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detailed design to support construction and the maintenance of a safe and operable ship design.”

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by July 2011 (N00024-06-C-2303). Meanwhile, the pattern continues – a lot of minor, “keep ’em working” contracts, without a major purchase contract (vid. Feb 15/11 entry).

    March 30/11: TSCE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $7.6 million contract modification for class services engineering efforts involving their Total Ship Computing Environment.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (29%); Tewksbury, MA (26%); Sudbury, MA (26%); Moorestown, NJ (10%); Marlboro, MA (6%); Herndon, VA (1%); Houston, TX (1%); Leesburg, VA (0.5%); and Minneapolis, MN (0.5%). Work is expected to be complete by November 2011, but $5.1 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00024-10-C-5126).

    March 21/11: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $10.9 million contract modification, exercising an option for DDG-1000 class services engineering. Efforts include non-recurring engineering in support of mission systems equipment (MSE) system/design verification testing; 1st article factory test site preparation and plans; maintenance of MSE packaging, transportation, assembly, activation, and preservation documentation; maintenance of shipboard MSE installation and check-out plans; as well as the measurement, tracking, and reporting of MSE weight and power usage documentation to support the shipbuilders in meeting lead ship integration and construction schedules.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (50%); Andover, MA (15%); Moorestown, NJ (10%); Sudbury, MA (10%); Tewksbury, MA (10%); and San Diego, CA (5%), and is expected to be complete by December 2014 (N00024-05-C-5346).

    March 18/11: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a not-to-exceed $28 million contract modification for long lead time material and engineering and support services for DDG 1001, the Michael Monsoor.

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME (77.49%); Middletown, NY (7.8%); Stamford, CT (2.28%); Willimantic, CT (2.01%); South Portland, ME (1.69%); Windsor, CT (1.65%); York, PA (1.64%); and various other locations of less than 1.64% each (totaling 5.44%), and is expected to be complete by June 2011 (N00024-06-C-2303). See Feb 15/11 entry, re: efforts to avoid layoffs at Bath Iron Works.

    March 10/11: CSC announces a Seaport-e task order from the U.S. Navy to provide engineering and program support for PMS-500, the DDG 1000’s program office. The task order has a 1-year base period and 4 one-year options, bringing the estimated total 5-year value to $110 million.

    Under the terms of the task order, CSC will provide engineering and program management support for development, design, building, outfitting and testing, including program, business, financial and risk management; software and mission systems integration; hull, mechanical and electrical systems engineering; and naval architecture.

    Feb 15/11: Don’t empty the Bath. The Portland Press-Herald reports that:

    “The long-term details aren’t all worked out yet, but the Navy will send enough money to Bath Iron Works to avoid lay-offs at least through April while contracts are finalized for two more DDG-1000 destroyers. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st, said she got that promise earlier today from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.”

    Perusal of this article will bear out the issue at hand. The last significant DDG 1000 program contract was Feb 15/08. At this point, DDG 1000 is mostly funded, and long-lead items for DDG 1001 are funded, but contracts do not exist yet to finish DDG 1001, and build DDG 1002. Bath Iron Works and the US Navy are reportedly still negotiating, and the current budgetary uncertainty can’t be helping.

    Feb 14/11: FY 2012 request. The Pentagon issues its FY 2012 budget request, even as the disaster of the 111th Congress leaves the Navy uncertain of its FY 2011 funding, and forces it to make emergency maintenance cuts and other related measures.

    For FY 2012, the Zumwalt Class program would receive $453.7 million. US Navy FY 2012 Budget: Shipbuilding & Conversion [PDF].

    Feb 14/11: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $7.9 million contract modification, exercising options for DDG-1000 program engineering, integration, and production services like test and evaluation, design solution, and integrated logistics support.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (65%), Dulles, VA (25%), Largo, FL (8%), Tewksbury, MA (1%) and Washington, DC (1%), and is expected to be complete by November 2011. $1,904,468 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11 (N00024-10-C-5126).

    Feb 7/11: Design. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $6.7 million contract modification for detail design systems engineering services before the 1st ship’s Post Shakedown Availability. Work includes detail design excursions, shock qualification, production process prototype manufacturing, and life cycle support services. Work will be performed in Bath, ME and is expected to be complete by September 2011 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    Jan 25/11: NAVDDX. Raytheon announces that the US Navy successfully tested their Next Generation Navigation System (NAVDDX). System development was a joint effort between Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) and the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego, CaA, through a private party sales agreement.

    NAVDDX adheres to the TSCE standards of open architecture, and display of its product (navigation and high-precision time data) to any ship display on board. This makes it a potential add-on to other ships receiving TSCE-derived systems during overhauls, like the CVN-68 Nimitz Class carriers and LPD-17 San Antonio Class amphibious assault ships.

    Jan 11/11: Control Systems. Northrop Grumman Corporation says that it has delivered Engineering Control System (ECS) Units for the first 2 Zumwalt ships to Raytheon IDS, nearly 6 months ahead of schedule and under budget. Each ship set involves 16 Distributed Control Units (DCUs) and 180 Remote Terminal Units (RTUs). The ECS takes in all of the destroyer’s hull, mechanical and electrical (HME) signals, which come from a wide variety of systems such as the fire detection systems and the integrated power plant. The RTU then distributes the signals to the DCU for analysis and control.

    The company produced and assembled two shipsets of 16 DCUs and 180 RTUs each, for a total of 392 units. The July 2008 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract had a scheduled completion date of May 31/11. Production and assembly of the units were completed 23 weeks ahead of schedule, and inspection and sell-off tasks will be completed in the weeks to come. Northrop Grumman is also developing ensemble software for the DCUs, under a different contract.

    Jan 7/10: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $15 million contract modification, exercising an option for DDG 1000 class services engineering efforts to help test mission systems equipment, produce test documentation, conduct component and design level verification tests, and maintain related design and test class documentation.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (40%); Moorestown, NJ (26%); Sudbury, MA (12%); Tewksbury, MA (8%); San Diego, CA (6%); Marlborough, MA (3%); Minneapolis, MN (3%); and Largo, FL (2%), and is expected to be complete by September 2012 (N00024-05-C-5346).

    Dec 29/10: Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a $12 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification to ship government-furnished equipment from Northrup Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS, to Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME. This includes material required for the fabrication of cradles, fixtures, and other necessary equipment that are necessary to safely and securely transport these products. Northrop Grumman is no longer a full shipbuilding partner to the program, but it still provides the ships’ composite-built superstructure.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (95%), and Gulfport, MS (5%), and is expected to be complete by December 2011 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    Dec 22/10: 1002 IPS. Converteam, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA receives a $21.8 million contract modification for DDG 1002’s Integrated Power System high voltage subsystem, including the baseline tactical advanced induction motor and its associated motor drive, and the main turbine generator and auxiliary turbine generator harmonic filters. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA, and is expected to be complete by August 2012 (N00024-09-C-4203).

    Nov 29/10: Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a $26.1 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification, exercising an option for FY 2011 class services in support of the DDG 1000 program. Services included product fabrication, delivery, engineering, and engineering support to integrated power system operations and the land-based test site; support for work to test and refine the ships’ radar cross section and other selected signatures; and integrated logistics support.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (95%), and Gulfport, MS (5%), and is expected to be complete by October 2011 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    Nov 12/10: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives an $8.5 million contract modification to provide additional systems engineering services associated with Zumwalt Class detail design and construction. Systems engineering efforts include detail design excursions, shock qualification, production process prototype manufacturing, and life-cycle support services before the initial ship’s Post Shakedown Availability.

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by September 2011 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    Nov 5/10: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, in Tewksbury, MA receives an $8.5 million contract modification, exercising options for Zumwalt Class engineering services. Work includes performing test and evaluation, design solution, shock qualification testing, training, and life time support class services for the parts of the ship that are Raytheon’s responsibility: TSCE, ship control systems, radar and combat system, PVLS launchers, etc.

    Work will be performed in Dulles, VA (31.0%); Portsmouth, RI (19.7%); Moorestown, NJ (13.7%); San Diego, CA (11%); Sudbury, MA (6.6%); Bath, ME (5.5%); Philadelphia, PA (5.5%); Arlington, VA (5.5%); Tewksbury, MA (1.1%); and Washington, DC (0.4%). Work is expected to be complete by September 2011, and $3.8 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, On Sept 30/10.

    Nov 1/10: TSCE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $10.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract, exercising “an option for the next phase of production design verification for the Zumwalt destroyer program.” A Raytheon representative helped translate this into English:

    “Raytheon will be taking the first units of DDG 1000’s Total Ship Computing Environment, command and control systems, and ship control systems and performing extensive testing to ensure that they meet all of the ship’s design requirements. This includes integration testing of subsystems as they are combined into larger systems.”

    Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA (42.3%); Moorestown, NJ (36.6%); Portsmouth, RI (14.2%); Leesburg, VA (2.7%); Sudbury, MA (2.4%); San Diego, CA (1.1%); and Minneapolis, MN (0.7%). Work is expected to be complete by March 2012 (N00024-05-C-5346).

    Oct 6/10: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME received a $27.1 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification, exercising an option for additional class services. Specifically, they’re on contract for technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the Zumwalt Class’ detailed design.

    Whether it’s done on computers or on blueprint paper, there’s always a place for engineering where design meets reality. Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by December 2010 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    FY 2010

    Still waiting for significant contracts; Cut to 3 ships; Numbers cut creates cost breach; Dual-Band Radar now just 1 band; GAO report; Long-lead for DDG 1001/1002; Pentagon Value Engineering Award.

    BIW builds a Section
    (click to view full)

    Sept 7/10: TSCE to TRL 6. A key Technology Readiness Assessment by the US Navy certifies that Raytheon’s Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE) is now at Technology Readiness Level 6. That means that a a representative model or prototype of the system’s hardware and software code has been tested in a “relevant” environment that is similar to the actual platform.

    Asked about this certification, Raytheon representatives said that the certification applied to TSCE R5, and progress on the final TSCE R6 version.

    See also March 30/10 entry for more background on TSCE progress. As noted above, TSCE encompasses all shipboard computing applications, including the combat management system, command and control, communications, ship machinery control systems, damage control, embedded training, and support systems. Raytheon says that the review “revealed a high pass rate for system requirements as well as low software defect counts… commended the robustness of Raytheon’s simulation environment and the company’s thorough approach to integration and testing.” Raytheon.

    Aug 11/10: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $6 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for changes to the delivery requirements of Mission Systems Equipment (MSE) for the Zumwalt Class. These changes include additional storage space, and services and shipping fixtures that are required to support the revised DDG-1000 program ship production schedules and in-yard-need-dates at the production shipyards.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (88%); Tewksbury, MA (11%); Cordova, AL (0.5%); and North Kingstown, RI (0.5%). Work is expected to be complete by December 2013. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract.

    Aug 11/10: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MaA receives a $36.1 million contract modification (N00024-05-C-5346) for mission systems equipment (MSE) that will be used on the US Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship, in support of the Anti-Air Warfare Self Defense Enterprise Test and Evaluation Master Plan. The equipment will support the DDG 1000 and CVN 78 classes of ships, in addition to follow-on operation test and evaluation efforts for the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (RIM-162 ESSM) and Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP).

    Work will be performed in Andover, MA (58.7%); Portsmouth, RI (32%); Sudbury, MA (5.4%); Tewksbury, MA (2.7%); and San Diego, CA (1.2%). Work is expected to be completed by March 2013. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages this contract.

    Aug 5/10: Award. The U.S. Navy and members of the DDG 1000 industry team have been honored with a 2010 US Department of Defense Value Engineering Award. Their Surface Ship Affordability Initiative was created by the Navy’s DDG 1000 program office, who partnered with the US Office of Naval Research and industry to improve the efficiency of development, production and shipbuilding processes.

    Using program funds, and monies from the USA’s Manufacturing Technology Program, $49 million was invested in 35 manufacturing technology projects during the past several years, with estimated total savings of $138 million. Raytheon.

    Aug 2/10: Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS receives a $17.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee option for FY 2010 class product fabrication, delivery, engineering and engineering support services for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (95%), and Gulfport, MS (5%), and is expected to be complete by December 2010 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    July 6/10: 1001 & 1002 lead-in. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $105.3 million contract modification for long-lead time construction for DDG 1001; long-lead time materials for DDG 1002; and engineering and production support services.

    Work is expected to be performed in Bath, Maine (52%); Parsippany, NJ (21%); Iron Mountain, MI (8%); York, PA (7%); Mississauga, Canada (6%); Vernon, CT (3%); and South Portland, Maine (3%). Work is expected to be complete by February 2011 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    June 24/10: PVLS. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives an $8.3 million contract modification to support the outfitting of DDG 1000 Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS) units. As noted above, each PVLS compartment holds a MK57 Vertical Launching System, which are spaced around the ship edges to make targeting the “missile farm” impossible, while providing a buffer at the ship edges that helps protect the interior crew and equipment spaces from battle damage.

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME (92%); Glendale, CA (6%); and Montville, NJ (2%); and is expected to be complete by December 2010 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    June 15/10: IPS. Converteam, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA receives a $9.9 million contract modification, covering long-lead materials for the DDG 1002’s Integrated Power System, including the baseline tactical Advanced Induction Motor and its associated VDM25000 motor drive, and the main turbine-generator and auxiliary turbine-generator harmonic filters.

    Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA, and is expected to be complete by December 2011 (N00024-09-C-4203).

    June 11/10: Rep. Barney Frank’s [D-MA-4] “Sustainable Defense Task Force” left wing/ libertarian coalition issues its report. They claim to identify $1 trillion in Pentagon budget cuts over the next decade, and the DDG-1000 is one of the programs recommended for complete cancellation, along with any new construction of DDG-51 destroyers. The move would effectively close Bath iron Works, and while the report identifies DDG-1000 cancellation as saving $1.6 billion in FY 2010, that budget is already committed. Procurement savings from FY 2011 onward would be minimal, with most of the savings coming from the difference (if any) between the cost to man and maintain the ships over the 10 years, plus any available refunds on contracts past 2011, minus contract cancellation penalties and ship disposal costs.

    It should be noted that the participants do not represent a substantial faction within the American political system, but their recommendations could acquire more weight in the event of a US sovereign debt crisis. Full report [PDF].

    June 2/10: DBR removed. As expected, the Pentagon this week certifies that the DDG-1000 destroyer program is vital to national security, and must not be terminated, despite R&D loaded per-ship cost increases that put it over Nunn-McCurdy’s legislated limit. There will be at least one important change, however: Lockheed Martin’s S-band SPY-4 Volume Search Radar will be deleted from the DDG-1000’s DBR.

    Performance has met expectations, but cost increases reportedly forced the Navy into a cost/benefit decision. The Navy would not release numbers, but reports indicate possible savings of $100-200 million for each of the planned 3 ships. Raytheon’s X-band SPY-3 has reportedly exceeded technical expectations, and will receive upgrades to give it better volume search capability. The move will save weight and space by removing the SPY-4’s aperture, power, and cooling systems, and may create an opportunity for the SPY-3 to be upgraded for ballistic missile defense – or replaced by the winner of the BMD-capable AMDR dual-band radar competition.

    The full DBR will be retained on the USS Gerald R. Ford [CVN 78] aircraft carrier, as Lockheed’s SPY-4 replaces 2 air search radars, and will be the primary air traffic control radar. No decision has been made for CVN 79 onward, however, and AMDR’s potential scalability may make it attractive there instead. Gannett’s Navy Times | US DoD | Maine’s Times Record | Associated Press | Reuters.

    June 2/10: Sonar. Tods Defence Ltd. in Portland, UK announces that it has completed and shipped its 2nd composite bow sonar dome for the US Navy’s Zumwalt Class program to Bath Iron Works, in Maine. Tods’ composite domes have been used on other warships, but the firm says that this is the first time the US Navy has specified British designed bow sonar domes.

    May 7/10: Design. A $26.8 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) to provide additional systems engineering services associated with the detail, design, and construction of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer. Systems engineering efforts include detail design excursions, shock qualification, production process prototype manufacturing, and life cycle support services prior to post shakedown availability.

    General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME will perform the work and expects to complete it by December 2010.

    April 19/10: 1001 lead-in. A $16 million contract modification for long lead time materials, construction, related support, and engineering and production support services associated with the construction of DDG 1001, the Michael Monsoor.

    General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine will perform and/or contract work in Coatesville, PA (41%), Burns Harbor, IN (41%), and South Portland, ME (18%). This funded effort is expected to be complete by July 2010 (N00024-06-C-2303).

    April 19/10: A $9.8 million contract modification to support 2010 transportation of DDG-100 Class products to Bath, Maine, in order to meet critical construction milestones. This contract modification procures the labor and material required to fabricate cradles, fixtures, pedestals, etc., as required.

    Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc. in Pascagoula, MS will perform and/or contract work in Pascagoula, MS, and Gulfport, MS, and this funded effort will be complete in December 2010 (N00024-06-C-2303). Northrop Grumman had been a partner in DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class construction, until a major reorganization gave Bath Iron Works all DDG-1000 Class work, while making Northrop Grumman the new lead yard for existing DDG-51 destroyers. Northrop Grumman will also continue to build the Zumwalt Class’ composite superstructures, under the new arrangements.

    April 1/10: SAR & breach. The Pentagon releases its April 2010 Selected Acquisitions Report, covering major program changes up to December 2009. The DDG 1000 program features as a major Nunn-McCurdy breach, as a result of its reduction to 3 ships:

    “The PAUC (Program Acquisition Unit Cost, incl. R&D) increased by 25.5% and APUC(Average Procurement Unit Cost, no R&D) increased 24.9% to the current and original Acquisition Program Baseline due to the truncation of the number of ships in the program. The original program baseline was for a ten-ship program. That quantity was reduced to seven ships in the fiscal 2009 President’s Budget. However, it did not impact unit costs enough to trigger a Nunn-McCurdy breach. The quantities were further reduced in the fiscal 2011 President’s Budget to the program’s current profile of three ships. Neither reduction was a result of poor program performance. However, the total quantity reduction from ten to three ships resulted in a Nunn-McCurdy breach.”

    March 30/10: GAO. The US GAO audit office delivers its 8th annual “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs report. With respect to the Zumwalt Class, the GAO reports that lead ship construction began in February 2009 and 68% of the units that make up DDG 1000 are now in fabrication. The Navy anticipates awarding construction contracts for DDG 1001 and DDG 1002 by June 2010. Beyond that, while the GAO acknowledges that “[p]ractical limitations prevent the Navy from fully demonstrating all technologies in a realistic environment prior to installation,” they are concerned that key systems will not be tested before ships are delivered. Those areas include:

    Superstructure. GAO states that the Navy planned to fully demonstrate the integrated deckhouse prior to ship construction start in February 2009, but land-based testing was delayed. Testing is now scheduled to complete by March 2010 – over a year after deckhouse construction began. That means expensive rework, if problems are found.

    Software. GAO reports that the Total Ship Computing Environment is behind, and will not be complete until after the lead ship’s systems are activated. While TSCE R5 resolved TSCE R4’s problems based on underway integration testing, the US DCMA(Defense Contract Management Agency) expects release 4 & 5’s problems to lead to “higher defect rates than planned” in the final TSCE R6, with additional cost and schedule delays. The Navy responds that The TSCE R5 includes “most” combat system features, and release 6 focuses on engineering control. They believe the software schedule has a margin available before it is needed for land-based and ship testing.

    Power. GAO says that the integrated power system will not be tested with the control system until 2011 – nearly 3 years later than planned. In practical terms, that means after its installation on the first 2 of 3 ships. The Navy responds that the power system will be tested on land in 2011, using components of the final DDG 1002 ship, before DDG 1000 testing begins.

    Radar. GAO acknowledges that the SPY-4 volume search radar has become more mature, and began testing with the main SPY-3 MFR in January 2009, but without the VSR’s radome and at a lower voltage. Under present schedules, the lead ship’s volume search radar “will be installed in April 2013 – after the Navy has taken custody of the ship.” The Navy does not dispute either of these notes, but says that prototype integration tests are not dependent on the voltage or radome. Full-voltage modules have been produced and tested, and the lead-ship radar will be tested in 2012 with a radome. The installation date is not contested.

    Feb 19/10: TSCE. A $27.8 million not-to-exceed modification covers common display system (CDS) hardware and software integration with the DDG 1000’s Integrated Bridge Console and Distributed Control Workstation hardware, to ensure that these changes to the TSCE are incorporated by 2011.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (66.1%); Tewksbury, MA (22.9%); Moorestown, NJ (8.3%); the remaining 2.7% will be performed in San Diego, CA; Andover, MA; and Sudbury, MA. Work is expected to be complete by May 2012.

    Feb 17/10: 1001 lead-in. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $7.9 million contract modification for long lead time material (LLTM) associated with the construction of DDG 1001 Michael Monsoor. Materials already bought or manufactured for DDG 1001 under a previously contract awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) are expected to be transferred with its associated costs to the as-yet-to-be-negotiated DDG 1001 ship construction contract. This modification adds plate, shapes, and pipe to support a construction start in FY 2010.

    Work is expected to be performed in Bath, ME (38%); Coatesville, PA (31%); and Burns Harbor, IN (31%). Work is expected to be complete by August 2010.

    Feb 17/10: TSCE. Raytheon announces a successful Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE) Release 6 software specifications review, which sets a final goal for its coders. Release 6 is meant to be the “Version 1.0” release of mission-ready software for the Zumwalt Class, following years of iterative development. It will implement more than 25,000 software requirements over Release 5, and will raise the total number of delivered lines of software code for Zumwalt to more than 9 million. With this review, all of the Zumwalt software requirements are complete, and more than 80% of software coding is complete.

    Raytheon performs software work for the Zumwalt program at a number of mission centers across the country, including IDS Headquarters in Tewksbury, MA; its Seapower Capability Center in Portsmouth, RI; the Surveillance and Sensors Center in Sudbury, MA; and the Expeditionary Warfare Center in San Diego, CA. TSCE infrastructure is also finding its way into upgrades for the USS Nimitz [CVN 68] and USS San Antonio [LPD 17].

    Feb 4/10: Design. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine receives a $9 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) to provide additional systems engineering services associated with the detail design and construction of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer.

    Systems engineering efforts include detail design excursions, shock qualification, production process prototype manufacturing, and life cycle support services prior to post shakedown availability. Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by April 2010.

    Feb 1/10: Down to 3 ships. The FY 2011 budget request removes the CG (X) and Future Surface Combatant programs. That shrinks the DDG-1000 program’s ship total back to 3, removing the legerdemain that had kept the program’s total cost per ship delivered from breaching legislative limits.

    While per-ship construction costs have risen less than 25%, spreading the same R&D dollars over fewer ships results in a technical increase of 86.5%. Under Nunn-McCurdy legislation, that forces cancellation, unless Congress accepts the Pentagon’s submitted justification for continuing the program. With most of the Zumwalt Class shipbuilding funds already spent, and the program already set at just 3 ships, cancellation is very unlikely. See also Jan 26/09 and Feb 4/09 entries for more background. Reuters.

    Jan 25/10: TSCE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received an $11.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for changes to software development efforts due to revised missile interface control documents and related power density implementation for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer program.

    The purpose of this modification is to incorporate software changes that affect the combat system and Dual Band Radar, in light of MICDs Rev B+ and related power density implementation changes to the current TSCE requirements. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA, and is expected to be complete by March 2012.

    Jan 6/10: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $6.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303), exercising an option for additional systems engineering and class logistics services associated with DDG-1000 detail design and construction. Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by November 2010.

    Systems engineering efforts include detail design excursions, shock qualification, production process prototype manufacturing, and life cycle support services prior to post shakedown availability. Class logistics efforts provide for the continued development of integrated logistics support for the DDG 1000 class, including development of training curriculum, supply support documentation, maintenance analyses, and configuration status accounting.

    Dec 16/09: IPS. Converteam, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $7 million modification to previously awarded contract for the DDG 1002 baseline tactical high voltage power distribution switchboard. They will be used at the US Navy’s land-based test site for the ship’s integrated power system. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA, and is expected to be complete by July 2011 (N00024-09-C-4203).

    Nov 25/09: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received an $84.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346), exercising an option for FY 2010 Zumwalt Class services engineering efforts. Raytheon will help test mission systems equipment, produce test documentation, conduct component and design level verification tests and maintain related design and test class documentation.

    Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (38.5%); Moorestown, NJ (19.3%); Marlborough, MA (16.6%); Sudbury, MA (12.6%); Tewksbury, MA (5.5%); Minneapolis, MN (3.5%); San Diego, CA (2.2%); and Towson, MD (1.8%); and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/13.

    Nov 25/09: Design. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a $46.6 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346), exercising an option for class services engineering to support design assurance, develop verification plans, and conduct tests for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer program. Hard to tell if this is TSCE or MSE.

    Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA (28.3%); Portsmouth, RI (27.1%); Falls Church, VA (12.8%); Sudbury, Mass. (11.9%); Minneapolis, MN (7.4%); Washington, DC (6.9%); Moorestown, NJ (3.7%); San Diego, CA (1.1%); and Marlborough, MA (0.8%); and is expected to be complete by December 2010. Hard to tell if this is TSCE or MSE.

    Nov 13/09: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $46.7 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346), exercising an option for “the next phase of verification of the production design for the DDG 1000…”

    Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ (48.2%), Tewksbury, MA (38.3%), Portsmouth, RI (7.8%), Sudbury, MA (4.3%), Minneapolis, MN (1.2%), and Marlborough, MA (0.2%), and is expected to be complete by December 2010.

    Nov 12/09: TSCE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA receives a $241.3 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) to complete the Total Ship Computing Environment software for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program, and meet lead ship integration and construction schedules. There are 2 major components of the scope for this effort: re-planning of TSCE Release 6 software to align with the re-phasing in detail design and integration Revision F; plus additional Release 6 efforts, implementation of engineering control/damage control human computer interface for distributed contract work stations, Release 4 and 5 software maintenance, and implementation of required changes to support both land-based test site testing and ship activation software deliveries needed to maintain shipyard schedules. See also the March 31/09 entry for the US GAO’s overall report, which includes TSCE concerns.

    Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA (64.7%), Moorestown, NJ (27%), Indianapolis, IN (2.7%), Burlington, MA (1.5%). The remaining 4.1% will be performed at the following locations: Marlborough, MA; Falls Church, VA; King George, VA; Fort Wayne, IN; Aurora, CO; and Marlborough, MA. Work is expected to be complete by March 2012.

    Oct 28/09: FY 2010 budget. President Obama signs the FY 2010 defense budget into law. That budget provides the full requested amount of $1,084.2 million to finish the 3rd ship, but the reconciled bill stripped out the $539.1 million in RDT&E funding the Pentagon had requested. White House | House-Senate Conference Report summary [PDF] & tables [PDF].

    Oct 21/09: Design. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Corp in Bath, ME received a $79.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303). It exercises an option for additional class services associated with the detail design and construction of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer.

    Bath Iron Works will provide technical and industrial engineering in the interpretation and application of the detailed design to support construction and the maintenance of a safe and operable ship design. Work will be performed in Bath, ME and is expected to be complete by November 2010.

    FY 2009

    GD-BIW handed the lead role; Fixing the books to avoid a breach; GAO points to tech-driven delays; Mission systems pass preliminary readiness review; Radar lightoff; SQQ-90 designated; DDG 1001 named Michael Monsoor; DDG-51 vs. Zumwalt; Still waiting for significant contracts; “I’d like to see how it goes…”.

    DDG-1000 concept
    (click to view full)

    Sept 10/09: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a $22.5 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for continuing Mission Systems Equipment (MSE) software development and additional design verification for the Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program. Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ (64%), Tewksbury MA (20%), Baltimore, MD (10%) and Dahlgren, VA (6%), and is expected to be complete by March 2012.

    Timely software development has been flagged as a potential issue by recent GAO reports (q.v. March 31/09 entry).

    Aug 19/09: Small business qualifier Temeku Technologies, Inc. in Herndon, VA received a $7.95 million firm-fixed-price contract for DDG 1000’s Flight Deck Lights (FDL) System, mounted on and near the flight deck and hangar face as next-generation visual landing aids for helicopters.

    Work will be performed in Herndon, VA (60%); Bologna, Italy (30%); and Point Mugu, CA (10%) and is expected to be complete in April 2011. This contract was competitively procured via electronic request for proposal, with 3 offers received by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-09-C-0425).

    Aug 17/09: Progress report. Gannett’s Navy Times updates the current status of major DDG-1000 sub-systems in “DDG 1000 project quietly logs successes.”

    In production: Ship hull, Northrop Grumman’s composite upper-level deckhouse; Raytheon’s Advanced Vertical Launch System; Integrated Power system including RR MT-30 engine; Automatic fire suppression system.

    Finished development: Tumblehome hull form; BAE’s 155mm AGS gun, Lockheed Martin’s LRLAP GPS-guided long-range shell; Infrared suppression engine exhaust and heat suppression system, incl. 4 major at-sea tests; Crew multi-skill training plan.

    Still in development: Dual-Band Radar (Raytheon’s X-band SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar, Lockheed Martin’s S-band SPY-4 Volume Search Radar), Raytheon’s Total Ship Computing Environment, 3-D CAD models.

    The first 2 X-band SPY-3 arrays are being assembled, and “minor” manufacturing issues have been resolved, following completion of at-sea testing in Spring 2009. The DBR has also been installed at the Wallops Island test facility, where aircraft detection tests are ongoing and will continue into the fall. Below-deck components of the S-band SPY-4, are in full-rate production, and 6 arrays are under contract. Of the 3-D CAD models, 90 of 94 are completely released and locked down, and the remaining 4 are expected by September 2009.

    July 23/09: AGS. LaBarge, Inc. announces a $6.1 million contract from BAE Systems to continue producing electronic assemblies for the Advanced Gun Systems that will be installed on both ordered Zumwalt Class destroyers. The Company expects this latest award will continue production on the AGS program at its Huntsville, Ark., facility through December 2009.

    July 20/09: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a $60 million cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346), exercising an option for Mission System Equipment (MSE) Class Services for the Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program.

    Work will be performed at Raytheon facilities (85%) in San Diego, CA; Marlboro, MA; Sudbury, MA; Tewksbury, MA; Towson, MD; and Portsmouth, RI; at Lockheed Martin facilities (12%) in Moorestown, NJ and Akron, OH; and at BAE’s facility in Minneapolis, MN (3%), and is expected to be complete by March 2013.

    June 19/09: IPS. Converteam, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA received a $23 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-4203). They will provide a DDG 1000 Baseline Tactical High Voltage Power Subsystem (HVPS) for use in the Navy’s integrated power system land based test site. These components will meet the same specification established by the DDG 1000 shipyards for lead ship installation. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA, and is expected to be complete by March 2011.

    The HVPS distributes electrical power from the ship’s turbine-generators to the ship’s propulsion and electronic equipment. It includes an advanced induction motor, motor drive, harmonic filters and resistors for dynamic braking and neutral grounding.

    May 4/09: Gannett’s Navy Times interviewed US Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead 3 times during March and April 2009, and publishes excerpts. With respect to the DDG-1000, Roughhead sees the new design as something they can only learn from if it’s deployed and used, and he’s especially interested in the real-world, full-scale performance of its radically different hull form. Beyond that:

    “I’d like to see how it goes. And if it really is a breakthrough technology, can it be scaled up and can it be scaled down? Because if you start getting into nuclear power and bigger radars [for CG (X)], can the DDG hull form take it? My sense is, it can. But if it can’t and you have to scale up, does it scale?

    …There’s no question we will employ those ships once they’re delivered. Deploy them and employ. I see them in the deployment rotation because, quite frankly, it will be important to operate those ships in different environments, get them up in the high latitudes. What happens when that hull form starts to ice up? What’s the effect of that? If people are talking about having to be up in the Arctic areas, it’s a good thing to know. How well are they sustained logistically at great distances? We’ve got to get them out. Get them deployed.”

    April 23/09: DBR. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a $217 million cost plus fixed fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for 2 Volume Search Radars (VSR). Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ (95%) and Sudbury, MA (5%), and is to be complete by March 2013.

    These S-band naval radars will be used as part of the Dual-Band Radar (DBR) systems mounted on one of the new Zumwalt Class destroyers, and on the inaugural CVN-21 carrier USS Gerald R. Ford [CVN 78]. See “The US Navy’s Dual-Band Radars” for full coverage.

    April 13/09: Builder Shift. Defense News reports details of the agreement between the US Navy and its 2 shipyards for major surface combatants.

    The deal reportedly includes a provision for Northrop Grumman’s shipyard in Avondale, LA to continue building LPD-17 San Antonio Class amphibious transport docks. Unfortunately, that shipyard has displayed severe and consistent quality problems building the first 2 ships of class.

    Under the agreement, the FY 2010 budget would fund the second half of the 3rd Zumwalt Class ship [DDG 1002], and the Arleigh Burke Class DDG 113, with full ballistic missile defense capabilities installed at the outset. That a departure, because all previous BMD ships in the US Navy have been refits of existing vessels. DDG 113 will be built by Northrop Grumman at Ingalls in Mississippi. That would be the first DDG-51 destroyer ordered since 2002, and it would be followed by orders for similar ships in FY 2011: DDG 114 (Northrop) and DDG 115 (Bath Iron Works).

    April 7/09: DBR. Raytheon announces a successful initial “lightoff” test of the Dual Band Radar, which includes the X-band AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar and S-band Volume Search Radar. Both radiated at high power during lightoff at the Navy’s Engineering Test Center in Wallops Island, VA. Following this successful lightoff test, the radar suite will begin an extended period of operational performance testing.

    April 7/09: Rep. Gene Taylor [D-MS, Seapower subcommittee chair] announces that the Pentagon has reached agreements with General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works in Maine, and with Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls Shipyard in Mississippi. Read “Bath, Ingalls Agree to Navy’s Surface Combatant Plans” for details of the arrangements.

    April 6/09: US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announces his recommendations for the FY 2010 defense budget:

    “…in this request, we will include funds to complete the buy of two navy destroyers in FY10. These plans depend on being able to work out contracts to allow the Navy to efficiently build all three DDG-1000 class ships at Bath Iron Works in Maine and to smoothly restart the DDG-51 Aegis Destroyer program at Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi. Even if these arrangements work out, the DDG-1000 program would end with the third ship and the DDG-51 would continue to be built in both yards.

    If our efforts with industry are unsuccessful, the department will likely build only a single prototype DDG-1000 at Bath and then review our options for restarting production of the DDG-51.”

    April 1/09: The Mississippi Press reports that Raytheon Company is footing the bill for the recently created www.ZumwaltFacts.info:

    “Spokeswoman Carolyn Beaudry initially denied Tuesday any corporate involvement in the Zumwalt campaign. She later called back to say that others within the company had since told her Raytheon is supporting “a lot of public efforts, including ZumwaltFacts.info,” to provide third-party advocacy.”

    This is not unusual for corporations or other organizations when lobbying government; indeed, a recent Washington Times article by USN Adm. James Lyons (ret.) lamented the retreat of America’s shipbuilding industry from its previous public advocacy role. Non-disclosure of such involvement is less customary, though the Times report could also describe a simple mistake that was quickly corrected. When the funding is meant to be covert, the technical term is an “astroturf” (artificial grassroots) campaign.

    March 31/09: GAO. The US GAO audit office delivers its 7th annual “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs report. It rates 4/12 critical technologies in the DDG-1000 program as fully mature (demonstrated in a sea environment), and 6/12 as approaching maturity, but 5 of the 6 will not demonstrate full maturity until after they’re installed on the ship. Lockheed Martin’s S-band volume search radar, and the Total Ship Computing Environment, are rated as immature. The report adds:

    “Land-based tests of the volume search radar prototype originally planned for before ship construction will not be completed until June 2009 – over 2 years later. Software development for the total ship computing environment has proved challenging; the Navy certified the most recent software release before it met about half of its requirements…”

    “The integrated power system will not be tested with the control system until 2011 – nearly 3 years later than planned. The Navy will buy a power system intended for the third ship and use it in land- based tests… Land-based tests of the volume search radar prototype will not be completed until June 2009 – over 2 years later than planned… The Navy will not demonstrate a fully capable radar at its required power output until testing of the first production unit in 2011… installation [of the volume search radar) will occur in April 2013 – after the Navy has taken custody of the ship. The Navy initially planned to develop and demonstrate all software functionality of the total ship computing environment (phased over six releases and one spiral) over 1 year before ship light-off… However, the contractor delivered release 4 without incorporating all software system requirements and deferred work to release 5, primarily due to issues with the command and control component. Problems discovered in this release, coupled with the deferred work, may be a sign of larger issues…”

    March 17/09: ZumwaltFacts.Info publishes an “admirals’ letter to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates from USN Adm. Henry H. Mauz (ret.); USN Rear Adm. Philip A. Dur (ret.); and Phil Depoy, Director of the US Naval Postgraduate School’s Systems Engineering Institute. Zumwalt Facts is 3rd party site chaired by USMC Col. James G. Zumwalt, Esq. (ret.). Full letter [PDF].

    March 6/09: MSE. Raytheon IDS in Tewksbury, MA received a $57 million cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346). These funds will buy selected Zumwalt Class mission system equipment which will be checked out and integrated at Wallops Island, VA, for the program’s Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) aboard the US Navy Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS). The SDTS is a best described as a barge that can mount and use installed radars and weapons for tests. See also the related Dec 15/08 and Dec 5/08 awards.

    Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA (40%); Andover, MA (40%), Wallops Island, VA (10%) and Portsmouth, RI (10%), and is to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $27.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    Feb 12/09: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, MS received a $9 million modification to a previously awarded contract for systems engineering, design and technical services. The contract will support the detail design and construction of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyers.

    Northrop Grumman is currently expected to design and build DDG-1001, the Michael Monsoor. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS, and is expected to be completed by December 2009 (N00024-06-C-2304).

    Feb 4/09: DDG-51 vs. Zumwalt. Rep. Gene Taylor [D-MS-4] chairs the US House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee. He is a vocal critic of the US Navy’s current shipbuilding strategy, while remaining one of Congress’ strongest advocates for a larger shipbuilding budget and a larger Navy. His statement on the future of US Navy shipbuilding reiterates his support for more DDG-51 type destroyers, and says:

    “For far too many years I have watched as the size of the Navy fleet has decreased… In particular, the failure of the [Littoral Combat Ship] program to deliver on the promise of an affordable, capable, and reconfigurable warship only puts the exclamation point on a Bush administration’s strategy that was neither well envisioned nor properly executed. As for the DDG 1000, we will not know the true cost of that program for a number of years but significant cost growth on that vessel will require diverting funding from other new construction projects to pay the over-run…”

    Feb 4/09:The Navy’s New Battleship Budget Plan” at the naval policy discussion site Information Dissemination addresses the proposed DDG-1000 program approach in an op-ed:

    “Of all the different ships in the Navy’s FY10 shipbuilding budget, there are actually only 3 mature ship designs [out of 11 ship types]… This reflects the inability of naval leadership to set requirements. This reflects a long standing policy where accountability has not been a priority. This reflects an industry without enough oversight. This reflects weak political leadership willing to ignore deception and deceit. Let me explain that last point.

    …John Young was absolutely right to force the Navy to go through a requirements study process, but the rest of the memo should be raising serious questions in Congress. The very intent of the memo, which comes from the top acquisition official in the Department of Defense, is a signed specific instruction to the Navy to intentionally ‘pad’ the budget of the DDG-1000 program with money from a completely new program… in its first year of construction the DDG-1000 could now potentially go over budget by several hundred million dollars and still not trigger a breach of Nunn-McCurdy… With the leak of this memo, all of our Congressmen and Senators must now intentionally look the other way, with both eyes shut and index fingers jammed into their ears, and ignore that the top DoD financial officer is intentionally padding the books to circumvent the law.”

    Feb 2/09: Raytheon announces that the first production equipment has been delivered for the U.S. Navy’s DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer – a Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) planar array antenna assembly.

    Jan 26/09: Fixing the books. Pentagon undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics John Young’s “DDG 1000 Program Way Ahead” memo sets out alternatives for the program, and touches off controversy.

    The reduction from 7 ships to 3 will spread the same R&D funds over fewer ships, raising their accounting cost per ship but not their actual purchase cost. So far, actual program costs and timelines remain on track, but under America’s Nunn-McCurdy procurement laws, the accounting cost change forces the Pentagon to meet 4 tests or cancel the program: (1) the weapon is essential for national security; (2) the new unit costs are reasonable; (3) management structure can control future growth; and (4) that no substitutes exist that provide equal or greater military capability at less cost.

    Meeting tests 1 and 4 will be difficult, and the fact that the Navy has never really done a direct comparison of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class vs. the existing DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class in key areas makes the problem worse (see Oct 12/08 “Heritage Foundation: Questions to Ask re: DDG-51 vs. DDG-1000” for more). Young’s memo offers the option of adding a “Future Surface Combatant” class to the DDG-1000 program, increasing the number of ships technically in the program without specifying what type they would be. It appears to be an effort to buy time for a year, while the Navy looks at the actual cost of fielding new-build DDG-51 ships with the radar modifications, software modifications, and power upgrades required to serve in a ballistic defense role. This, too, is something that is not currently known. Information Dissemination explains the accounting | Defense News re: FSC | Defense News: Young on DDG-1000 options and relative ship costs.

    Jan 12/08: Defense News reports that a deal may be in the works to build both DDG-1000 Zumwalt and DDG-1001 Michael Monsoor, in exchange for having more of the Arleigh Burke Class destroyers that Congress is expected to ask for built at Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, MS. The Pascagoula shipyard was scheduled to begin fabrication of DDG 1001 in fall 2009.

    The move would reportedly leverage Bath Iron Works’ investments toward DDG-1000 production, and keep Pascagoula more focused, given the diverse ship classes (DDG-51, LPD-17, LHD-8) it is already building in Mississippi.

    Dec 22/08: Bloomberg News reports that an Oct 31/08 budget memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England approved shifting away as much as $940 million from the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft program, in order to complete payment for the 3rd DDG-1000 destroyer that Congress partially funded in FY 2009. The Navy proposed getting 2 P-8A aircraft instead of 6 during the initial production phases.

    Meanwhile, the US Navy faces significant challenges keeping the existing fleet of P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft in the air. Almost 1/4 of this aging fleet has been grounded due to safety concerns, and the Navy is forced to retire some aircraft every year. Even though they are in greater demand over key sea lanes, and in overland surveillance roles on the front lines. Early introduction of the P-8A has been touted as critical to maintaining these capabilities, without creating both near-term and long-term shortfalls.

    The proposed FY 2010 ship plan also reportedly includes the purchase of 2 more DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers.

    Dec 15/08: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received $10.1 million modification to a previously awarded contract. They will furnish the test assets and infrastructure material required, in to support the integration, testing, and facilitation of DDG-1000 Mission Systems Equipment. See also Dec 5/08 entry for more background.

    Work will be performed in Burlington, MA (75%) and Tewksbury, MA (25%), and is expected to be complete by September 2009 (N00024-05-C-5346).

    Dec 9/08: SQQ-90 named. Raytheon announces that its integrated undersea warfare combat system for the Zumwalt Class has received its official U.S. Navy nomenclature: AN/SQQ-90.

    The SQQ-90 includes the ship’s hull-mounted mid-frequency sonar (AN/SQS-60), the hull-mounted high-frequency sonar (AN/SQS-61), and the multi-function towed array sonar and handling system (AN/SQR-20). These systems are fully integrated with the MH-60R helicopter‘s combat system, and improved automation and information management allows the SQQ-90 to be operated by 1/3 the crew of current AN/SQQ-89v15 anti-submarine systems used on DDG-51 and CG-47 AEGIS destroyers and cruisers.

    Dec 5/08: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a $9 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for one time engineering efforts. The purpose of this effort is to initiate the non-recurring engineering work required to make the selected Mission System Equipment (Dual Band Radar SPY-3 Array and REX; MK57 Vertical Launch System Electronics Module Controller Unit; Canister Electronic Units, and Total Ship Computing Environment) compatible with the Navy’s remote controlled Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS). The SDTS test will include the first missile firing with this advanced Mission System, against a difficult target set.

    Raytheon will update selected Zumwalt Class Destroyer Mission Systems Equipment (MSE) for initial integration efforts at Wallops Island, VA, and follow-on installation on board the SDTS, in support of the Zumwalt TEMP (test and evaluation master plan). Work will be performed in Portsmouth RI (55%), Tewksbury, MA (25%), and Andover, MA (20%) and is expected to be complete by August 2009. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    Dec 2/08: MSE. Raytheon announces a successful production readiness review of the mission systems equipment (MSE) for the DDG-1000 program. This comprehensive review was the culmination of more than 90 separate design and production reviews, and afterward the Zumwalt program completed a total ship system production readiness review – the final formal review before ship construction begins.

    The Zumwalt Class MSE includes the following major subsystems: the Total Ship Computing Environment; Dual Band Radar; the external communications suite; MK 57 Vertical Launching System; AN/SQQ-90 Integrated Undersea Warfare Combat System; the Electro-Optical/Infrared suite; the Identification Friend or Foe integrated sensor suite; and the Zumwalt ship control hardware, including an integrated bridge, navigation, EO surveillance, and engineering control system components.

    Dec 1/08: Design. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Corp in Bath, Maine received a $45.8 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303). It exercises an option for services associated with the detail design and construction of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer, and modifies the contract issued on the Feb 15/08 for the first ship of class.

    Work will include configuration management and maintenance of class design products; program management; configuration and data management; system and ship integration services; production engineering services; and ship system segment management. Work will be performed in Bath, ME, and is expected to be complete by November 2010. See also GD release.

    Oct 29/08: 1001 named. At a Navy SEAL Warrior Fund Benefit Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced that DDG-1001 will be named USS Michael Monsoor after the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

    Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor was a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq on Sept 29/06. Monsoor was asthmatic as a child, but his determination led him to conquer his condition and pass SEAL training. The 25 year-old machine gunner was providing security at a sniper lookout post with SEAL Team 3, when a fragmentation grenade hit his chest and bounced to the floor. Monsoor was near the only exit, and was the only one who could have escaped. Instead, he threw himself on the grenade before it exploded, and died half an hour later. Though some of his SEAL brethren and their Iraqi allies were wounded, all survived because of his sacrifice. USN release | USN coverage of award ceremony | Official USN Medal of Honor page for Michael Monsoor.

    Oct 7/08: DDG-51 or Zumwalt? The right-wing Heritage Foundation publishes its in-depth paper concerning the DDG-1000 vs. DDG-51 debate: “Changing Course on Navy Shipbuilding: Questions Congress Should Ask Before Funding.”

    The report can be characterized as leaning toward further DDG-1000 ships, but it offers key questions to ask rather than recommendations. This is more than just a rhetorical device. The answers to those questions could tip the debate either way, and the report points to discrepancies between recent and past Navy statements that need clarification. It also offers research evidence that disputes some recent statements, with an especial focus on the Zumwalt Class’ air defense and anti-submarine capabilities.

    FY 2008

    DDG 1000/1001 contract; Dead at 2? Asking to build a 3rd; Official SAR drops from 10 to 7 ships; EO/IR suite; Air & missile defense controversy; Deckhouse problems? TSCE release 5; MK 57 PVLS wins system engineering award; DDG-51 vs. Zumwalt.

    Zumwalt model

    Sept 24/08: The House and Senate Armed Services Committees have reconciled their versions of the FY 2009 defense budget. The reconciled budget provides $2.5 billion for the 3rd Zumwalt Class ship, “without prejudice to any potential future Department of Defense decision to truncate the DDG-1000 class acquisition program in favor of a return to DDG-51 class destroyers.”

    House Seapower subcommittee chair Gene Taylor [D-MS] continues to doubt the Navy’s ability to build DDG-1002 for $2.5 billion, a sum that is about half the amount predicted in some CBO reports. He cites the language noted above as a satisfactory compromise, because it allows the Secretary of the Navy to divert the $2.5 billion into more Arleigh Burke Class destroyers if problems continue. MarineLog | Gannett’s Navy Times.

    Sept 22/08: Deckhouse problems? Defense News caries a story offering Northrop Grumman’s replies to its own Sept 15/08 publication, which quoted inside sources alleging concerns inside Northrop and the US Navy regarding construction problems involving the ship’s composite superstructure, or deckhouse. The Zumwalt Class uses composites rather than metal, because it improves radar stealth. All composite superstructures will be made by Northrop Grumman in its Gulfport, MS facility, even the structures that will fit on top of ships built by General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works.

    While Defense News’ unnamed sources stand by their assertions, Northrop Grumman replied that the deckhouse design meets all technical and load requirements, that the Navy remains closely involved in all aspects of the process, that over 6,000 test articles fabricated from 2001 onward have surfaced and addressed the risks. Fabrication was supposed to begin in Q4 2008, but Northrop Grumman says they are on track to start fabrication in February 2009.

    Sept 17/08: The US Senate passed its FY 2009 defense budget proposal by a vote of 88-8. The bill includes $2.6 billion for a 3rd DDG-1000 destroyer. In contrast, the House bill allocates no funding at all for a 3rd ship. Brunswick Times Record report.

    That difference will have to be settled in “reconciliation” conferences, in order to produce a final FY 2009 defense bill. Will the House give up on some of its priorities, or will the Senate have to drop this item?

    Aug 31/08: Capabilities controversy. The Los Angeles Times interviews CNO Adm. Gary Roughead, and includes the following quotes in its report:

    “I started looking at the DDG-1000. It has a lot of technology, but it cannot perform broader, integrated air and missile defense… Submarines can get very close [due to design compromises], and it does not have the ability to take on that threat… And I look at the world and I see proliferation of missiles, I see proliferation of submarines. And that is what we have to deal with.”

    With respect to a 3rd destroyer, the LA Times report writes:

    “But he was less enthusiastic about building a third ship. The Navy agreed to the additional vessel because money was already in the current budget proposal, he said. “It will be another ship with which to demonstrate the technologies,” he said. “But it still will lack the capabilities that I think will be in increased demand in the future.” “

    Aug 15/08: 3rd Zumwalt? Gannett’s Navy Times reports that the US Navy has changed course, and now plans to ask Congress for the funds to build a 3rd DDG-1000 destroyer.

    The question is whether Congress is inclined to give them those funds. The Senate’s FY 2009 defense bill includes $2.6 billion for this purpose, but the House bill had $0, and Seapower subcommittee leaders Taylor [D-MS] and Bartlett [R-MD] appear to have other shipbuilding priorities. The Navy’s reported compromise apparently involves ordering parts for the DDG-51 class, in order to make a production restart feasible. In a letter to Collins, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England reportedly wrote that:

    “This plan will provide stability of the industrial base and continue the development of advanced surface ship technologies such as radar systems, stealth, magnetic and acoustic quieting, and automated damage control…”

    If these reports are true, the US Navy and Department of Defense appear to be betting that House Armed Services Committee Chair Ike Skelton [D-MO] and company will be inclined to give in during reconciliation negotiations, and forgo their proposed funding for projects that matter to key Democrats like Taylor, in order to boost key Zumwalt Class advocates like Sen. Susan Collins [R-ME].

    July 31/08: DDG-51 or Zumwalt? The US House Armed Services Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee holds in-depth hearings regarding the DDG-1000 and DDG-51 programs. Ranking minority member, Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD]

    “When the Ranking Member and I first called for this hearing, the purpose was to ensure that all of the facts associated with the capabilities and procurement costs of the DDG 1000 and the capabilities and procurement costs of the DDG 51 were discussed… Predictably, this [subsequent program termination] announcement from the Navy has generated a firestorm here on Capitol Hill… So, we still need a hearing to clear the air on mission capabilities and costs of the two destroyer programs…

    This subcommittee was, and is, concerned with cost estimates for the DDG 1000. But let me be very clear – this subcommittee did not recommend canceling the DDG 1000 as we have been accused in the press. What this subcommittee recommended, and the full House adopted in May of this year, was a pause to the third DDG 1000 while the development of technologies and true costs of construction became known on the first two ships… We have two panels of experts today to walk us thorough all these issues…”

    See: Rep. Bartlett opening statement | Video of Navy Panel 1 and Analysts Panel 2 [Windows Media] | P1: Allison Stiller – USN Deputy Assistant Secretary, Ship Programs | Vice Admiral Barry McCullough – USN || P2: Ron O’Rourke – Congressional Research Service re: shipbuilding options | Dr. Eric Labs, Congressional Budget Office | Paul Francis, US GAO. All testimonies are PDF format.

    July 23/08: Dead in the Water. Widespread reports indicate that the Navy is canceling the DDG-1000 program, capping construction at the 2 ships already ordered.

    Reports indicate that the service will keep the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class production line open instead, producing either more Flight IIA ships, or inaugurating a Flight III that incorporates some technologies from the DDG-1000 program and/or an active array radars like Lockheed Martin’s S4R. The most reasonable estimates suggest that the trade-off would amount to about 11 DDG-51 destroyers instead of 5 Zumwalt Class light cruisers. The key assumptions behind that figure are twofold. The first assumption involves full funding for the actual cost of the first 2 DDG-1000 ships as an extraneous item, rather than having additional DDG-51s used as bill payers if the CBO’s estimate turns out to be correct again and the Navy is wrong again. Absent that assumption, the trade-off becomes about 9 DG-51s and 2 DDG-1000s vs. 7 DDG-1000s. The second assumption is that any modifications made don’t change the costs for the future DDG-51 destroyers by more than $100 million per ship.

    Raytheon’s SPY-3 active array radar, dual-band radar fusion technologies, and open-architecture combat system appear to be the biggest technology losers from this decision, unless elements are incorporated into other ships. General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works is the obvious contractor loser, unless an equivalent number of DDG-1000 destroyers replaces Zumwalt Class orders at a man-hours ratio of 2.0-2.2 DDG-51s for each DDG-1000 destroyer not purchased from Bath Iron Works. Lockheed Martin’s AEGIS naval combat system is the likely technology winner, via the removal of a key challenger. Sen. Collins [R-ME] confirms it | House Armed Services Committee applauds the decision | Virginia Pilot | Reuters | WIRED’s Danger Room | Navy Times | Maine’s Morning Journal | Wall St. Journal | Associated Press | National Journal’s Congress Daily | NY Times.

    The excellent naval blog Information Dissemination includes a full analysis of the decision in “DDG-1000 review“, including this quotes from a May 2008 letter from Adm. Roughead to Sen. Kennedy [D-MA]:

    “Since we are phasing out production of the DDG 51 class, there would be start-up costs associated with returning this line to production. As a result, the estimated end cost to competitively procure a lead DDG-51 (Flight IIa – essentially a repeat of the final ships currently undergoing construction) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 assuming a truncation of the DDG 1000 class after the two lead ships would be either $2.2B for a single ship or $3.5B for two lead ships (built at competing production yards). This estimate is based on a Profit Related to Offer (PRO) acquisition strategy. The average cost of subsequent DDG 51 Flight IIa class ships would be about $1.8B (FY09) per ship…

    While there are cost savings associated with the DDG 1000’s smaller crew, they are largely offset by higher estimated maintenance costs for this significantly more complex ship. Clearly the relative value of the DDG 1000 resides in the combat system (Dual-Band Radar, Volume Search Radar, ASW Suite, etc) that provide this ship with superior warfighting capability in the littoral. However, the DDG 51 can provide Ballistic Missile Defense capability against short and medium range ballistic missiles and area Anti-Air Warfare capability (required in an anti-access environment) where the DDG 1000 currently does not. Upgrading the DDG 1000 combat system with this capability would incur additional cost. The DDG 51 class also possesses better capability in active open ocean anti-Submarine Warfare than does the DDG 1000. On balance, the procurement cost of a single DDG 51 is significantly less than that of a DDG 1000, and the life-cycle costs of the two classes are similar. “

    The Congressional Budget Office’s Eric Labs, who has been proven right on several cost estimates for modern shipbuilding programs, estimates construction costs of the first 2 DDG-1000 destroyers are $5.1 billion each, with costs expected to decline to an average of $4.14 billion over the next 5 ships.

    July 15/08: Gannett’s Navy Times reports that the DDG-1000 program’s odds of surviving beyond the first 2 ships appear to be fading. The Senate Armed Services committee included funding for a 3rd ship in its FY 2009 budget, but the House Armed Services committee did not. See March 14/08 entry for an indication of the prevailing opinion among HASC leaders. The 3rd ship’s fate will be decided in “reconciliation”, as the House and Senate hammer out a single agreed-upon budget for submission.

    Meanwhile, work continues on the US military’s 2010 Program Objective Memorandum that lists multi-year goals and numbers for key projects. Inputs from the services are due by the end of July 2008, and a strained shipbuilding budget could force choices between the DDG-1000 program and closing more than one active shipbuilding line. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, Secretary of Defense Gordon England, and Defense Assistant Secretary John Young will meet at the end of July to discuss the DDG-1000 program directly. Meanwhile, the GAO is preparing a report on the program’s status, and the House Seapower subcommittee under powerhouse Rep. Gene Taylor [D-MS] will hold July 31/08 hearings concerning the program. Any one of these events could end up determining the program’s future.

    April 7/08: SAR – down to 7. The Zumwalt Class appears in the Pentagon’s Selected Acquisition Report to December 2007:

    “Program costs decreased $7,135.4 million (-19.8%) from $36,022.1 million to $28,886.7 million, due primarily to a quantity decrease of 3 ships from 10 to 7 ships (-$8,495.0 million) and revised estimates for budget reductions and inflation impacts on future ships (-$275.8 million).

    These decreases were partially offset by increases in fiscal 2009 to fully fund ships 5-7 (+$693.6 million), quantity allocations

    • for schedule, engineering, and estimating (+$603.7 million), additional funding for the Advanced Gun System Pallets and Sea Strike capabilities (+$308.3 million), and the application of revised escalation indices (+$291.0 million).

    …Note: 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.”

    March 14/08: DDG-51 or Zumwalt? The US House Armed Services Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee meets to hear testimony on the FY 2009 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for Navy Shipbuilding. The DDG-1000 comes under fire from both sides of the political aisle. Chairman Taylor [D-MS] notes that a:

    “…cost overrun of only 10% for the first two ships, which would be excellent for a first in ship class, is still close to $700 million dollars. With all the new technologies that must work for this ship to sail, a cost overrun of 20% or even 30% is not out of the question.”

    He relays a scenario he has heard from Navy personnel, and it is amplified by ranking minority Rep. Bartlett [R-MD], who lays that scenario out as a choice:

    “…is it wise to buy destroyers that at best will cost $3 billion a copy, and more likely $5 billion a piece if the Congressional Budget Office is right, while we shut down stable, more affordable production lines, such as the DDG-51 line? How much risk are you buying down with only 7 DDG 1000s, at a cost of $21 – $35 billion, when you could likely have at least 14, upgraded DDG-51s for that same amount?”

    Read: “US Navy’s 313-Ship Plan Under Fire in Congress” for more excerpts, and additional materials from the day’s testimony.

    March 12/08: TSCE. Raytheon announces the successful completion of key electronics system reviews, including the 6th major software review for the Zumwalt program, an applications preliminary design review for Release 5 of the TSCE (Total Ship Computing Environment) software, and a critical design review of the TSCE Release 5 infrastructure. The reviews reportedly verified that Raytheon and its teammates remain on schedule and on budget.

    TSCE Release 5 adds 5 million delivered lines of code to the Zumwalt baseline, introducing surface warfare, integrated undersea warfare, information operations and general naval operations capabilities to the combat system. On the combat front, it also adds post-launch missile support for both RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and Standard family missiles, and can use the full capabilities of the Mk110 57mm Close-in-Gun System and 155mm Advanced Gun System. On the operational front, TSCE R5 provides the framework to support the ship’s engineering control system.

    As a point of comparison, TSCE R5 adds almost as many lines of code as Windows NT v3.1 possessed in total. Release 6 will have about 8.1 million lines, and all this is on top of about 20 million reused modules from other programs of record (AEGIS, SPQ-89 towed array programs, NAVSSI), plus all the code that makes up the commercial operating systems, database systems, middleware, et. al. used in the TSCE system. As a modern and familiar set of comparisons, Windows XP possesses about 40 million lines of code in total, and MacOS 10.4 possesses about 86 million.

    Feb 15/08: 1000 & 1001 contract. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, MS received a $1.402 billion modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2304). This contract will begin construction of the as-yet unnamed DDG-1001, as well as and construction of the DDG 1000 superstructure and hangar under a work share agreement with Bath Iron Works. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, a newly-formed company sector comprising the former Ship Systems and Newport News divisions, will build the composite deckhouse for all Zumwalt Class destroyers.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (34%); Gulfport, MS (12%); Pittsburgh, PA (7%); Burns Harbor, IN (4%); McLean, VA (4%); Walpole, MA (1%); Seattle, WA (1%) and various other locations (37%), and is expected to be completed by July 2014. Fabrication of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt’s deckhouse will start in Q4 2008, and construction of DDG 1001 is expected to begin in Q4 2009, with an expected delivery date of 2014. US Navy release | Northrop Grumman release.

    Feb 15/08: 1000 & 1001 contract. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Inc. in Bath, ME received a $1.395 billion modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303). The effort includes construction of the DDG 1000 destroyer USS Zumwalt, and construction of DDG 1001’s mid-forebody under a work share agreement with Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS).

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME (83%); Pittsburgh, PA (5%); Milwaukee, WI (4%); and various other locations (8%), and is expected to be complete by June 2013. The Zumwalt is currently scheduled to be delivered to the US Navy in 2014. US Navy release | GD release.

    Dec 17/07: EO/IR. Raytheon announces a successful critical design review of the DDG-1000’s electro- optical/infrared (EO/IR) system, resulting in approval to advance the design into the production phase. The design review took place at Raytheon’s Maritime Mission Center in Portsmouth, RI, and participants included representatives from Raytheon, NAVSEA, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin MS2 in Akron, Ohio. All review objectives were successfully met.

    The Zumwalt Class’ EO/IR suite combines 5 individual sets of hardware and embedded software from Lockheed Martin, with the Raytheon-developed Total Ship Computing Environment as resident core software. That core software allows the sensors to be used as one or, when necessary, as 5 individual sensors with 5 different missions – including guidance for the ship’s self-defense gunnery. The system can be operated manually, and also delivers 360-degree, 24-hour situational awareness for the ship via features like automated mine-like object detection, and detection and tracking algorithms that discern targets in day and night, as well as high and low contrast environments. During final integration, Raytheon will complete the entire EO/IR “sensor-to-glass” thread – from target detection to workstation display.

    EO/IR systems are becoming popular on modern warships, for two reasons. One is that they improve the ship’s capabilities against unconventional threats like fast boats, and also improve its ability to work in surveillance mode when patrolling near ports, energy infrastructure, and key waterways. The other reason is that modern ships feature more and more stealthy designs, which can be ruined if the ship must emit large amounts of radiation at all times via radar scans.

    Dec 13/07: Award. Raytheon announces that the DDG-1000’s MK 57 PVLS sub-program, which enhances ship survivability as well as holding current and future missiles within an open architecture firing system, has been recognized by the Department of Defense and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) as a 2006 Top 5 DoD program award winner for excellence in systems engineering. Members from Raytheon’s joint government-industry team were presented with the award during NDIA’s 10th Annual Systems Engineering Conference in San Diego, CA.

    Nov 9/07: 1000 lead-in. Bath Iron Works, Inc. in Bath, ME received a $142 million cost-reimbursement modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) for DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer additional long lead material and pre-production planning to support detail design and construction.

    Work will be performed in Bath, Maine (23%); Parsippany, NJ (18%); Pittsburgh, PA (12%); Sanford, ME (3%); Newtown Square, PA (3%); Brunswick, GA (2%); Paterson, NJ (2%); York, PA (2%); Baltimore, MD (2%); Erie, PA (2%); Iron Mountain, MI (2%) and various other locations of 1% or less each (total 29%), and is expected to be complete by January 2008.

    Nov 9/07: 1000 lead-in. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS) in Pascagoula, MS received a $90 million cost-reimbursement modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2304) for DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer additional long lead material and pre-production planning to support detail design and construction.

    Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, PA (42%); Pascagoula, MS (11%); Parsippany, NJ (7%); Dallas, TX (7%); Walpole, MA (5%); Erie, PA (5%); York, PA (4%); Herndon, VA (4%), Hampton, NH (3%) and various other locations of 2% or less (total 12%), and is expected to be complete by January 2008.

    Nov 5/07: PVLS. BAE Systems announces an $8 million contract from Raytheon Company for the first 2 shipsets of MK57 Vertical Launching System (VLS) for the U.S. Navy’s DDG 1000 Zumwalt destroyers, which begins the transition from design to production. Work will be performed at BAE Systems facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Cordova, Alabama; and Aberdeen, South Dakota.

    The MK57 VLS is being developed under a collaborative partnership between Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and BAE Systems. The contract covers the continuation of design, integration, requirements verification, and the initial purchase of materials for the first 2 ship sets; it has the potential to increase up to $64 million, depending on future DDG-1000 production. Work on this contract award begins immediately and continues until January 2012.

    Nov 5/07: CEDS. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Fairfax, VA received a maximum $83 million cost-plus-award-fee, fixed-price incentive/ firm-fixed-price hybrid, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contracts for the Phase II development, qualification, production, and support of the Common Enterprise Display System (CEDS) Display Consoles. The CEDS is a family of displays that will be implemented across platform systems on Navy surface ships, submarines, and aircraft, providing a common interface to the Platform Open Architecture Computing Environment. Remote displays will be used in conjunction with display consoles.

    Work will be performed in Fairfax, VA (69.34%); Fremont, CA (8.52%); Washington, DC (7.64%); Tallman, NY (4.90%); Smithfield, PA (4.65%); Scottsdale, AZ (4.34%); Virginia Beach, VA (.41%); Huntsville, AL (.19%); Arlington, VA (.01%), and is expected to be complete by November 2008. The contract was competitively procured via full and open competition and was solicited through the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities websites, with 2 offers received (N00024-07-D-5222)

    Nov 5/07: CEDS. DRS C3 Systems, LLC in Gaithersburg, MD received a maximum $62.6 million cost-plus-award-fee, fixed-price incentive/ firm-fixed-price hybrid, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contracts for the Phase II development, qualification, production, and support of the Common Enterprise Display System (CEDS) Display Consoles. The CEDS is a family of displays that will be implemented across platform systems on Navy surface ships, submarines, and aircraft, providing a common interface to the Platform Open Architecture Computing Environment. Remote displays will be used in conjunction with display consoles.

    Work will be performed in Duluth, GA (45%); Gaithersburg, MD (20%); Dahlgren, VA (20%); Johnstown, PA (10%); and Chesapeake, VA (5%), and is expected to be complete by November 2008. This contract was competitively procured and advertised via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities websites, with 2 offers received (N00024-07-D-5223).

    Oct 30/07: TSCE. Raytheon announces a successful preliminary design review for the “Release 5” of the Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure (TSCEI), which comprises six releases of software and more than 5 million lines of code. TSCEI provides computer support for Zumwalt ship control, maintenance, logistics, training and other deployment functions. This level of integration and automation is far ahead of other warships, and is a primary driver for the DDG 1000’s 60% personnel reduction.

    Oct 1/07: DBR. Raytheon announces a milestone in advancing the final development of the company’s Dual Band Radar (DBR) for the Zumwalt Class destroyers. Raytheon IDS led the government-industry team in the successful installation of the Lockheed Martin Volume Search Radar (VSR) array at the Surface Warfare Engineering Facility at the Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, CA. After extensive testing, Raytheon will now integrate the VSR with the SPY-3 X-band Multi-Function Radar to form the DBR.

    Another 5 months of extensive testing is set to begin, representing a critical step in testing the maturity of the technology prior to advancing to full system production. Raytheon’s X-band, SPY-3 has successfully completed extensive land- based and at-sea tests over the last 2 years. Raytheon release.

    FY 2007

    Shipyard shift: Bath Iron Works to build #1; DDG 1000 long-lead; 2 ships authorized; Tumblehome hull risky?; DDG-51 vs. Zumwalt; Naval Fire Support study.

    1/4 scale model, testing

    Sept 25/07: Jane’s Naval Intelligence reports being told by the US Navy that the first DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer will be produced by General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works (BIW) Maine shipyard instead of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ (NGSS) Ingalls shipyard. This announcement confirms rumors noted in the July 17/07 entry.

    Sept 21/07: MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a $994.3 million cost-type modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346), covering key mission system equipment (MSE) production and engineering support services for the first 2 ships of class. The MSE includes the total ship computing environment infrastructure; acoustic sensor suite element – including the bow array sensor suite; dual band radar; electro-optic/infrared sensor; ship control system; identification of friend or foe; common array power and cooling systems; electronic module enclosures; and Mark 57 vertical launcher system. Raytheon is the mission systems integrator for the Zumwalt Class ships.

    Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. (21%); Portsmouth, R.I. (20%); Andover, Mass. (18%); Tewksbury, Mass. (17%); Marlborough, Mass.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Ft. Wayne, Ind. (17%); and Sudbury, Mass. (7%), and is expected to be complete by December 2012. The MSE is being procured for the program executive office for ships [PMS-500].

    Aug 23/07: IASS. Raytheon announces a successful design review of the Zumwalt Class’ integrated acoustic sensor suite. IASS is a modular, open architecture combat system designed to provide the ship with a complete undersea warfare picture. It integrates the ship’s acoustic undersea warfare systems and subsystems, including the dual frequency bow array sonar, towed array sonar, towed torpedo countermeasures, expendable bathythermograph, data sensor, acoustic decoy launcher, underwater communications, and associated software.

    The design review – which also determined that predefined space and weight allocations on board a Zumwalt Class ship are adequate to house the components of the acoustic sensor suite – took place at the Raytheon IDS Maritime Mission Center, Portsmouth, R.I. Participants included representatives from Raytheon, Naval Sea Systems Command, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, as well as Lockheed Martin and other subcontractors. Raytheon’s OpenAIR business model also leveraged the help of small businesses including Argon ST, Applied Acoustic Concepts, and Adaptive Methods.

    With this success, the U.S. Navy has given Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) approval to advance the acoustic sensor suite’s design into production. Raytheon release.

    July 24/07: DDG-51 vs. Zumwalt. In a statement before the US House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, Congressional Budget Office representatives testify that [PDF]:

    “The service’s 2008 budget suggests that the Navy expects the first two ships to cost $3.0 billion each and the following five to cost an average of $2.0 billion apiece – meaning that the entire class would have an average cost of $2.3 billion per ship.18 CBO, by contrast, estimates that the first two DDG-1000s would cost $4.8 billion apiece and the next five would cost an average of $3.5 billion each. The average per-ship cost of the class would be $3.9 billion.”

    They go on to explain the Navy’s objections to their estimate, as well as their reasons for setting those objections aside. Summary:

    “The Navy has stated that if the Congress authorized and bought two additional DDG-51s in 2008 – which would be the 63rd and 64th ships of their class – those destroyers would cost a total of $3.0 billion to $3.1 billion, or $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion apiece (in 2008 dollars). At the same time, the Navy’s 2008 budget submission to the Congress estimates the cost of building the seventh DDG-1000 in 2013 at about $2.1 billion (in 2013 dollars). Deflated to 2008 dollars (using the inflation index for shipbuilding that the Navy provided to CBO), that estimate equals about $1.6 billion – or the same as for an additional DDG-51, which would have the benefit of substantial efficiencies and lessons learned from the 62 models built previously. The lightship displacement of the DDG-1000 is about 5,000 tons greater than that of the DDG-51s under construction today. In effect, the Navy’s estimates imply that those 5,000 extra tons, as well as the 10 new technologies to be incorporated into the DDG-1000 class, will be free.”

    July 17/07: Shipyard switch? Defense News reports that U.S. Navy and industry officials are discussing a plan to shift construction of the first DDG 1000 destroyer from Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard to the General Dynamics yard at Bath, ME. Bath Iron works has begun construction of the last Arleigh Burke Class destroyer (DDG 112), and has no work after it is delivered in 2011. Northrop Grumman Ingalls, meanwhile, is building its own Arleigh Burke ships, an LPD 17 San Antonio class ship, and the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters.

    Navy officials reportedly insist that the proposed shift does not reflect dissatisfaction with Northrop Grumman, which has been stung by public criticism of its work on LPD 17 amphibious ships and the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program. Perhaps, and perhaps not. What is certain is that building the second Zumwalt Class destroyer allows Ingalls to gain lessons learned from the first ship, and may also provide a break from the criticism of problems with its own first-in Class ships (LPD 17 amphibious assault ship, LHA 6 LHA-R mini-carrier, National Security Cutter). As long as they are awarded one of the 2 ships to build, the timing will make little difference to them.

    If the Navy and the two shipyards agree on a lead ship swap, Secretary of the Navy Winter will make the final decision, which is not expected before July 23/07.

    June 11/07: 1000 lead-in Bath Iron Works Inc. in Bath, ME received a $197.1 million cost-reimbursement type modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) for DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer long lead material, and pre-production planning to support detail design and construction.

    Work will be performed in Bath, Maine (44%), Parsippany, NJ (16%), Pittsburgh, PA (10%), Iron Mountain, MI (5%), Erie, PA (4%), Kingsford, MI (4%), Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (4%), York, PA (3%), Kent, WA (3%), Indianapolis, IN (3%), Hudson, ME (2%), and Newton Square, PA (2%).

    June 11/07: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS) in Pascagoula, MS received a $10 million cost-plus-award-fee modification under previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2304) for procurement of DDG 1000 research, development, test and technical services.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (45.09%); Herndon, VA (26.66%); Annapolis, MD (6.53%); Aberdeen, MD (4%); West Bethesda, MD (3.75%); Linthicum, MD (2.68%); San Antonio, TX (3.76%); Washington, DC (2.32%); Reston, VA (2%); Arlington, VA (1.20%); Pt. Mugu, CA (1.01%); Newport News, VA (0.75%); and Tacoma, WA (0.25%), and is expected to be complete by December 2007.

    June 5/07: 1000 lead-in. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, MS received a $191.1 million cost-reimbursement type modification to previously-awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2304). It covers DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer long lead material such as steel plates, pipe, cable and other major equipment. It also covers production planning labor, integrated logistics support, and systems integration engineering to support detail design and construction.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (47%), Pittsburgh, PA (30%), Parsippany, NJ (12%), Indianapolis, IN (5%), Erie, PA (4%), and Iron Mountain, MI (2%), and is expected to be completed by November 2007. Northrop Grumman release.

    (click to view full)

    May 15/07: Fire Support Study. US Joint Forces Staff College JAWS Masters Thesis by Col. Shawn Welch, USARNG, is published: Joint and Interdependent Requirements: A Case Study in Solving the Naval Surface Fire Support Capabilities Gap [PDF]. Wins National Defense University 2007 Award for best thesis. Persuasively argue that current capabilities are insufficient, casts doubt on the DDG-1000 Class as an adequate solution, and makes a case that faulty assumptions have helped to create this problem. Includes a number of interesting anecdotes, as well as analysis.

    April 6/07: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, MS received a $7.5 million cost-plus-award-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-06-C-2304, for DDG 1000 research, development, test and technical services.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS (75.53%); Herndon, VA (9.77%); Aberdeen, MD (3.33%) Annapolis, MD (2.93%); San Antonio, TX (2.00%); El Segundo, CA (1.99%) Pt. Mugu, CA (1.28%); Linthicum, MD (0.69%); West Bethesda, MD (0.67%); Washington, DC (0.57%); Reston, VA (0.51%); Arlington, VA (0.40%); and Newport News, VA (0.33%), and is expected to be completed by September 2007. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    April 2/07: Tumblehome tumble-over? Defense News runs an article that openly questions the DDG-1000 design’s stability at sea:

    “At least eight current and former officers, naval engineers and architects and naval analysts interviewed for this article expressed concerns about the ship’s stability. Ken Brower, a civilian naval architect with decades of naval experience was even more blunt: “It will capsize in a following sea at the wrong speed if a wave at an appropriate wavelength hits it at an appropriate angle”…”

    Rigid traditionalism of the same species that dismissed the aircraft carrier? Prescient early warning of a catastrophe? Or something else? Read DID’s report.

    March 21/07: 1000 turbines. Rolls Royce Naval Marine, Inc. received a $76.6 million firm fixed price contract for DDG-1000 main turbine generator sets (N00024-07-C-4014). No specifics yet, but see DID’s coverage of the MT30 engine in the technology section, above. Work will be performed in Walpole, MA and is expected to be complete by September 2009. The contract was competitively procured and advertised on the Internet, with 2 offers received. GE Marine would have been the other offeror.

    March 20/07: Bath Iron Works Inc. received a $12.6 million cost-plus-award-fee modification under previously awarded contract N00024-06-C-2303, for DDG 1000 research, development, test and technical services.

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME (39.08%), Brunswick, GA (19.70%), West Bethesda, MD (12.22%) Groton, CT (9.55%), Arlington, VA (6.10%), Elk Grove, VA (4.33%), Herndon, VA (3.79%), Annapolis, MD (2.73%), Pt. Mugu, CA (1.72%), Montgomeryville, PA (0.50%), Washington D.C. (0.25%), and San Antonio, Texas (0.03%), and is expected to be complete by January 2008. Contract funds in the amount of $3.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    March 7/07: PMM research. DRS Power Technology Inc in Fitchburg, MA received a $19.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Integrated Power Systems research, and development of a Permanent Magnet Motor (PMM) System Land Based Test Site and Next Generation Design.

    DRS’ PMM was taken out of the DDG 1000 design to keep it on schedule, and a proven but heavier and less productive AIM system was installed instead. Continuing research could add new options to future Zumwalt Class destroyers – or more likely, to successor ships like the CG (X). See full DID coverage.

    Feb 12/07: PVLS. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and BAE Systems announce completion of a restrained test firing of a Standard Missile-2 Block IV MK72 rocket booster on the new MK57 PVLS missile launcher. The test at White Sands Missile Range, NM demonstrated the system’s ability to safely withstand a static burn of an MK72 rocket motor in the new launcher. See Raytheon release.

    Feb 12/07: 1000 MSE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, MA received a not-to-exceed $305.7 million cost-type modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for DDG 1000 Mission System Equipment (MSE) and engineering support services. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA (47%); Portsmouth, RI (28%); and Moorestown, NJ (25%), and is expected to be complete by September 2007.

    This is part of the DDG 1000 Ship Systems Detailed Design and Integration effort, and the hardware involved includes: Total Ship’s Computing Environment Infrastructure; Acoustic Sensor Suite Element – including the Bow Array Sensor Suite; Dual Band Radar; Electro-Optic/ Infrared Sensor; Ship Control System; Identification of Friend or Foe; Common Array Power and Cooling Systems; Electronic Module Enclosures; and the Mark 57 PVLS Vertical Launcher System.

    Feb 6/07: IPS R&D. General Atomics in San Diego, CA, who is also well known for designing power distribution systems used by the US Navy on its aircraft carriers, receives a $10.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to research and develop Integrated Power Systems (IPS).

    A spokesman for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston, SC said that the contract is not specifically geared to any platform already under construction like the DDG 1000. Instead, technologies developed and lessons learned under this R&D contract will be integrated into future IPS systems generally.

    Jan 29/07: Design. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, MS received a $268.1 million cost-plus-award-fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee modification under previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2304) to exercise an option to complete the detail design of the Zumwalt Class Destroyer. The total value of the detail design effort is $307.5 million (see Aug 31/06 entry).

    The contract funds further DDG 1000 detail design and procurement of vendor-furnished information and long-lead materials, and runs through 2013. Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman Ship System’s Pascagoula, MS; Gulfport, MS; and Washington DC facilities. See also Northrop Grumman release.

    Jan 29/07: Design. Bath Iron Works Inc. in Bath, ME received a $257.5 million cost-plus-award-fee/cost-plus-fixed-fee modification under previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) to exercise an option to complete Zumwalt Class Destroyer detail design. The total value of the detail design effort is $337.4 million – $79.9 million for advanced zone detail design was awarded as part of the basic contract (see Aug 8/06 entry).

    DDG-1000: night moves…
    (click to view full)

    Jan 19/07: Lighting. Skyler Technologies Group subsidiary RSL Fiber Systems, LLC in Salem, New Jersey announces a contract from Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, MS to supply the Advanced Lighting System (ALS) for the U.S. Navy’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class. Their Advanced Lighting System offers significant benefits to stealth, durability, and maintainability, and has already been installed in several new US Navy ships.

    In a conversation with DID, RSL Fiber systems estimated a total contract value is in excess of $12.5 Million for the six (6) DDG 1000 class ships planned. The estimated contract value for the two (2) DDG 1000 class ships already approved by Congress is in excess of $4.9 Million, and includes engineering support services and the supply of remote source lighting systems and related hardware. See our article “DDG-1000 ‘Destroyers’ to get ALS Lighting System” for more coverage of ALS details, advantages, and resources.

    Nov 7/06: TSCE. Raytheon announces the delivery of a complete set of specifications, design documents, source code and user guides for the DDG-1000 Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure (TSCEI) Release 4.1, which will be made available to other US Navy open architecture programs via the PEO IWS SHARE (Software-Hardware Asset-Reuse Enterprise) repository. The TSCE is a robust, enterprise-network computing system on which all DDG-1000 application software programs run. IBM blade servers are the Zumwalt Class’ hardware medium.

    Under the Navy’s DDG-1000 Detail Design and Integration contract awarded in 2005, Raytheon IDS serves as the prime mission systems equipment integrator for all electronic and combat systems. See Raytheon release.

    Oct 24/06: DBR. Raytheon reports successful on-schedule integration of Lockheed Martin’s engineering development model S-Band array with receiver, exciter, and signal/data processing equipment for the Volume Search Radar (VSR) portion of the DDG-1000 destroyer’s Dual Band Radar (DBR). Raytheon had already developed and tested the X-band component of the DBR, known as the AN/SPY-3. Now the challenge is to integrate them together.

    Oct 17/06: 2 ships authorized. President George W. Bush signs the FY 2007 defense appropriations bill into law as Public Law 109-364. The final bill authorizes the buildout of 2 DDG-1000 ships, to be incrementally funded. It is silent re: future years or future ships, imposing no limits.

    FY 2006

    Milestone B go-ahead; Design & reviews ongoing.

    Zumwalt concept: inshore

    Aug 31/06: QTA, DDI IBR. Raytheon issues a release reporting the successful completion of two significant events for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program: the third Quarterly Technical Assessment (QTA) and the Detail Design and Integration (DDI) Integrated Baseline Review (IBR), both of which were conducted at the DDG 1000 Collaboration Center in Washington, DC.

    The QTA reviewed and assessed the following major design and development categories: System Integration, Ship Detail Design, Mission System Equipment Development, Mission System Design and System Software Development. Participants included representatives from the U.S. Navy PEO Ships/PMS 500, PEO IWS, Naval Surface Warfare Dahlgren Division and the DDG-1000 industry teammates including Raytheon, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works.

    The program’s DDI IBR involved the US Navy assessing the program scope, resources, Integrated Master Schedule and Earned Value Management processes. This key milestone was also successfully completed, and concluded with the Navy’s approval of the $2.7 billion Program Management Baseline. Firms involved in this stage included Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, General Dynamics/ Bath Iron Works, Northrop Grumman Defense Missions Systems, Boeing and L-3 Communications.

    Aug 31/06: Design. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS), Pascagoula, MS is being awarded a $95.9 million cost-plus-award-fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer detail design, maintenance of the DDG-1000 integrated data environment for those designs (IDE), and procurement of vendor furnished information (VFI) and long lead material (LLM) to support detail design. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS and is expected to be complete by September 2007. The contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-06-C-2304).

    The total value of this detail design effort is $307.5 million, with $39.4 million funded at contract award for advanced zone detail design. The remaining detail design efforts are included in a priced option valued at $268.1 million. The IDE maintenance effort will be fully funded at contract award in the amount of $11.5 million, and Northrop Grumman will be awarded a Not-to-Exceed (NTE) line item for vendor furnished information and long-lead materials valued at $45 million. The maximum amount for which the Government is liable under that NTE is $22.5 million, prior to further definitization.

    Aug 8/06: Design. General Dynamics subsidiary Bath Iron Works Inc. (BIW) in Bath, Maine recently received a $115.8 million cost-plus-award-fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer detailed design, and procurement of vendor furnished information (VFI) in support of the detailed design. Work will be performed in Bath, ME and is expected to be complete by December 2008. Per the previous contract announcement, this contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington DC (N00024-06-C-2303).

    The total value of the detail design effort is actually $336.3 million. This initial award consists of $78.5 million funded at contract award, plus a not-to-exceed (NTE) line item for procurement of “vendor-furnished information” valued at $37.3 million, for a total of $115.8 million. Note that the maximum amount for which the government is liable under the NTE line item prior to definitization is $18.6 million, so the $115.8 million total may not be reached. The remaining detail design efforts are included in a priced option valued at $257.7 million.

    May 25/06: DBR. Raytheon announces that the U.S. Navy’s first shipboard active phased array multifunction radar, Raytheon’s AN/SPY-3, has successfully participated in a series of at-sea tests, including the first time the radar has acquired and tracked a live controlled aircraft while at sea. Raytheon release.

    May 1/06: Reader Justin Hughes notifies us that under a motion approved by the US House Force Projection Subcommittee, the DDG-1000 program would be capped at 2 ships as a technology demonstrator for the forthcoming CG (X) cruiser program. This is all part of the US FY 2007 defense budget process, and does not represent a final decision, but could be influential. Chairman Bartlett [R-MD] did acknowledge that the CG (X) cruiser are slated to incorporate a new type of radar that “might not be ready for use for a decade.” See Defense News article.

    There’s also an interesting but completely unofficial discussion here re: what might be done with those funds – see esp. the information re: the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class upgrades. This tip would prove prophetic.

    April 13/06: Design. Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME receives a $42.8 million cost-plus-award-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-2310) for the continuation of DD (X) transition design efforts and initial detail design and long lead material procurement for DD (X) ship construction.

    This effort is for transitional and detail design for DD (X), such that work can be accomplished prior to the award of a detail design completion contract in order to minimize impact on the ship industrial base. Work will be performed in Bath, ME and is expected to be complete by June 2006.

    April 12/06: DID’s “The Lion in Winter: Government, Industry, and US Naval Shipbuilding Challenges” reproduces a speech by Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter. In many ways, the DDG-1000 class is a poster-child example of the shipbuilding dynamics he discusses. This has implications for overall US naval policy, and also for the program’s future.

    March 2/06: Design. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, MS received a $42.8 million cost-plus-award-fee, level of effort modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-2311) for continuation of DD (X) transition design efforts, initial detail design and long lead material procurement for DD (X) ship construction.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS and is expected to be complete by June 2006.

    Nov 23/05: Milestone B Go-ahead. See DID coverage, and Navy Times article.

    Nov 11/05: DAB Review. DD (X) Destroyer Program Has Its Defense Acquisition Board Review. Inside Defense goes over some of the issues and considerations.

    FY 2005

    $3 billion mission systems integration contract; Flag-level Critical Design Review passes; IBM picked for TSCE; PVLS passes factory acceptance testing; TSCE R2 software certified; SPY-3 radar passes Milestone B; Underwater eXplosion testing.

    DD (X) Destroyer

    Sept 30/05: Design. Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME (N00024-05-C-2310) and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, ME (N00024-05-C-2311) each receive a not-to-exceed ceiling price $53.4 million (with a limitation of $26.7 million) cost-plus-award-fee, level of effort letter contract for the Phase IV DD (X) program transition design effort. They will provide vendor furnished information for key equipment, completion of system diagrams and maintenance of the DD (X) integrated data environment for design.

    Work will be performed in Bath, ME and Pascagoula, MS and is expected to be complete by January 2006 (BIW: N00024-05-C-2310, NGC: N00024-05-C-2311).

    Sept 14/05: CDR. The DD (X) Program’s Flag-Level Critical Design Review (CDR) is completed for the overall system design, marking the end of Phase III and a process advertised as being “on schedule and within 1% of stated budget.” See the release for more details, which include important information about the program.

    Note that this effort included an unusually thorough approach of CDRs for each of 10 Engineering Development Models, representing a judgment that they have achieved enough have achieved both technical maturity and cost insight. The 10 EDMs were:

    • Wave-Piercing Tumblehome Hull
    • Infrared Mockups
    • Composite Deckhouse and Apertures
    • Dual Band Radar (DBR)
    • Integrated Power System
    • Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE)
    • Integrated Undersea Warfare System (IUSW)
    • Peripheral Vertical Launching System (PVLS)
    • Advanced Gun System (AGS)
    • Autonomic Fire Suppression System (AFSS)

    Aug 4/05: IBM for TSCE. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems has selected IBM to supply core computing and storage equipment for the DD (X) multi-mission destroyer. The equipment will form the backbone of the Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE), based on an Open Architecture approach that makes it easier to integrate commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software and makes wider interoperability easier.

    The selection of IBM followed a competition in which Raytheon solicited proposals from leading computer suppliers, noting the complex requirements of the TSCE and the challenges of operating electronic equipment in the harsh environment aboard a surface combatant. IBM will work with Raytheon to complete detailed specifications and supply COTS equipment to Prime contractor Northrop Grumman for the first DD(X) ship delivery.

    August 2/05: PVLS. The MK57 Vertical Launching System (VLS) Engineering Development Model (EDM) successfully passes Factory Acceptance Testing two weeks ahead of schedule. The testing was designed to prove that the MK 57 PVLS system has a sound open architecture, capable of receiving and processing missile select and launch commands within the mission timelines. See release. Back on June 23/05, another release noted a Maximum Credible Detonation Event (MCDE) test at the Aberdeen Test Center. That test was designed to confirm that that weapons stored in a PVLS module will not detonate during a worst case scenario in an module next to it.

    July 26/05: DID’s “DD (X) Program Passes Review, But Opposition & Reports Cloud Future (Updated)” Notes political opposition from various circles. Also notes recent Congressional testimony from the CBO and GAO discussed cost estimates that have risen from $1 billion to $3.2 billion average per ship, ship life cycle costs likely to be about double that of the DDG 51 Arleigh Burk Class ($4 Billion vs. $2.1 billion), possible further cost increases, and technical project risks that still remain.

    July 19/05: GAO. US GAO submits a briefing to Congress: “Progress and Challenges Facing the DD (X) Surface Combatant Program.” The Congressional Budget Office also submits a briefing: “The Navy’s DD (X) Destroyer Program” [PDF].

    AGS fires LRLAP
    (click to view full)

    July 18/05: The National Team announces that they have successfully completed the Initial Critical Design Review for the DD (X) overall system design, allowing the program to pass on toward the Flag level review in September 2005 and enter detail design. This was a DD (X) Phase III program event that addressed the total system’s design maturity, and overall progress made to date on DD (X) engineering-development models of hardware and software components that have already been built, tested and reviewed by the National Team and the Navy. Examples include the integrated deckhouse and apertures, total ship computing environment, dual-band radar system, integrated under-sea warfare system, MK 57 advanced vertical launching system, automated gun system and wave-piercing tumblehome hull.

    July 5/05: DID’s “DD (X) Program: Developments & Alternatives.” Notes ongoing Congressional discussions re: cost caps, despite Congressional action that had hiked the price per ship. Also notes the lobbying effort underway to reactivate Iowa Class battleships instead.

    June 14/05:GAO Delivers DD (X) Program Interim Report.” Among other things, it says that technology development for the U.S. Navy’s advanced DD (X) destroyer is still lagging despite progress in a number of areas.

    June 1/05: UX testing. The DD (X) National Team announces the successful completion of Underwater Explosion testing on the ship’s Quarter Scale Model. The tests were done to determine the unique destroyer hull form’s reaction to underwater explosions. Explosive charges were placed at predetermined distances from the model, and the intensity of the charges was stepped up as the test series progressed. The release reports that the new design’s wave-piercing bow, tumblehome cross section, step deck area and rising stern responded as envisioned. See release.

    May 23/05: $3 billion contract for DD (X). A consortium led by Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) in Tewksbury, MA received a cost-plus award-fee letter contract with a not-to-exceed ceiling of $3 billion for DD (X) ship system integration and detail design. Raytheon and its partners will develop systems for the new destroyers that improve on existing technology, including radar, sonar, the ships’ computing network and external communications network and missile launchers. The consortium will also be integrating the systems to make sure they work together.

    Work will be performed by Raytheon IDS in Tewksbury, MA; Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors in Moorestown, NJ; BAE acquisition United Defense LP in Minneapolis, MN; Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in King George, VA; and Ball Aerospace & Technology Corp. in Westminster, CO; and is expected to be complete by December 2009. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. issued the contract (N00024-05-C-5346).

    April 18/05:Senate Hearing On DD (X) Procurement Strategies.” The legislature doesn’t like the “winner take all” approach, and wants the funding spread around. The Navy disagrees, citing additional costs of up to $300 million per ship. DID covers the issue.

    March 31/05: TSCE. Software Release 2 of DD (X) Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE) receives formal certification from the Navy, after successfully meeting all entrance and exit criteria. Two successful demonstrations of Software Release 2 at the U.S. Navy’s Open Architecture Test Facility (OATF) in Dahlgren, VA demonstrated that the open-architected TSCE is easily portable between different computing platforms, can be reconfigured quickly without having to write new code, and delivers the functionality essential for DD(X) to perform its multiple missions.

    The first large-scale implementation of the US Navy’s Open Architecture (OA) strategy, the TSCE integrates all shipboard warfighting and peacetime operations into a single, common enterprise computing environment. This approach gives the Navy increased ability to use standardized software and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware across a family of ships. See release.

    March 9/05: Design. Northrop Grumman Ships Systems in Pascagoula, MiS received a $10 million cost-plus-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-2302) to refine the DD (X) Program Life Cycle Cost Estimate deliverable. This effort modifies Contract Data Requirements List A.20 with additional requirements in order to provide greater detail into the DD (X) Program Life Cycle Cost Estimate.

    Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA (35%); Pascagoula, MS (23%); Bath, Maine (18%); Minneapolis, MN (7%); Moorestown, NJ (4%); Farmington, UT (4%); King George, VA (4%); Chantilly, VA (3%); and Alexandria, VA (2%), and is expected to be complete by March 2005.

    Jan 14/05: DBR. DD (X) AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar Passes Milestone B Criteria Tests. The Engineering Development Model (EDM) for the AN/SPY-3 S-Band Multi Function Radar has successfully completed the Milestone B test event at the Navy’s Wallops Island, VA test range. The test served to assess radar performance with regard to environmental, detection, and tracking performance.

    FY 1998 – 2004

    DD-21 becomes DD (X); Northrop Grumman wins DD-X, 2.9 billion contract; DD-21 development contracts.

    April 14/04: Design. $78 million to Northrop Grumman under DD (X).

    April 29/02: Design. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS) division Ingalls Shipbuilding Inc. in Pascagoula, MS wins the down-select, and a $2.879 billion cost-plus-award-fee contract for DD (X) Design Agent activities. These include the design, build and test of engineering development models (EDMs) for major subsystems and components for the DD (X) destroyer.

    Work will be performed in Pascagoula, MS and Bath, ME (38%); Portsmouth, RI (16%); Minneapolis, MN (13%); Tewksbury, MA (9%); Reading, MA (4%); Andover, MA (4%); Newport News, VA (3%); Fullerton, CA (2%); Fort Wayne, IN (2%); Bethesda, MD (2%); Anaheim, CA (2%); Cincinnati, OH (2%); Hudson, MA (2%); and Philadelphia, PA (1%) and is to be complete by September 2005.

    This contract is incrementally funded; funding in the amount of $273.2 million has been committed with this award (N00024-02-C-2302). It was competitively procured via publication in the Commerce Business Daily and the solicitation was posted to the Navy Electronic Commerce Online (NECO) Internet web page, with 2 offers received.

    See also US assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition John Young, Jr’s briefing regarding the downselect:

    “The award will be made to Ingalls Shipbuilding, Incorporated, the Gold Team lead. Their proposal was selected due to its overall management and technical approach, coupled with superior engineering development models and exceptional specified performance features of the proposed design. The superior EDMs and features included an innovative peripheral vertical launch system, dual-band radar suite, two-helicopter spot flight deck, and stern boat-launching system.

    The contract was competitively awarded based on best value… The source selection process was the first of a kind for a Navy shipbuilding program and will be the model for future Navy acquisitions… BIW will continue to be involved in the design of the ship and development of the EDMs, to ensure that both shipbuilders can product DD(X) and can compete for the detailed design and construction of the lead ship in fiscal year 2005.”

    Dec 21/01: End of DD-21, Birth of DD (X). US under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics Pete Aldridge announces that the DD-21 program has been terminated, following the Quadrennial Defense Review. It will be replaced by a program called DD (X). Pentagon transcript.

    Oct 25/01: $60.2 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    June 14/01: A not-to-exceed $124.3 million firm-fixed-price advance agreement modification for the extension of the DD 21 Phase II period of performance.

    Work will be performed by the “Blue Team” (42%) led by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine and Lockheed Martin Government Electronic Systems in Moorestown, N.J.; the “Gold Team” (42%) led by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS, with Raytheon Systems Co. in Falls Church, VA; and United Defense Limited Partnership (UDLP) in Minneapolis, MN (16%). Work is expected to be complete by September 2001 (N00024-98-9-2300, modification 0037)

    May 31/01: $7.1 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    May 29/01: $6.7 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    May 17/01: $7.1 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    May 1/01: $5.4 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    April 2/01: $29 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    Jan 9/01: $12 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    Jan 9/01: 7 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    Nov 2/2000: $10.6 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    May 1/2000: $16 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    Nov 23/99: A $238 million contract modification to the DD-21 Alliance for the DD-21 Phase II effort, which includes the development of 2 competitive DD-21 initial systems designs with accompanying DD 21 virtual prototypes.

    Work will be performed in Bath, Maine (21%); Moorestown, NJ (21%); Pascagoula, MS (21%); Falls Church, VA (21%); and Minneapolis, MN (16%), and is expected to be complete by January 2001 (N00024-98-9-2300).

    Feb 17/99: $12 million to the DD-21 Alliance (N00024-98-9-2300).

    Aug 18/98: The DD-21 Alliance, comprised of Bath Iron Works Corp. in Bath, Maine, and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS received is being awarded a $16.5 million agreement modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-98-9-2300) for the Phase I development of DD-21 design concepts. Bath Iron Works Corp. has been selected by the DD-21 Alliance to lead the alliance and execute the Phase I agreement, which provides for the establishment of 2 competing teams who will perform requirements analyses and trade studies, and develop 2 competitive DD-21 system concept designs. Each team will implement total ship systems engineering and cost as an independent variable principles in order to achieve significant reductions in ship procurement costs, operation and support costs, and manning levels over current Navy combatants. This agreement has a potential cumulative value of $68.5 million.

    Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ (30%), Pascagoula, MS (25%), Falls Church, VA (25%), and Bath, Maine (20%), and is expected to be complete in October 1999. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Arlington, VA is managing the contract.

    Additional Readings & Sources

    Official Reports

    Defense Acquisitions: Progress and Challenges Facing the DD (X) Surface Combatant Program [PDF]. Paul L. Francis, GAO director of acquisition and sourcing management, in testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Projection Forces.

    • US Government Accountability Office Briefing (GAO-05-924T, July 19/05) – Defense Acquisitions: Progress and Challenges Facing the DD (X) Surface Combatant Program. Paul L. Francis, GAO director of acquisition and sourcing management, in testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Projection Forces. Includes GAO cost estimates.

    • US Congressional Budget Office (Doc #6561, July 19/05) – The Navy’s DD (X) Destroyer Program [PDF]. Statement of Assistant Director for National Security J. Michael Gilmore before the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Projection Forces. It’s worth looking at their methodology for calculating program costs, and the conclusions they’ve come to.

    • US Congressional Research Service (June 24/05) – Navy DD (X) and CG (X) Programs: Background and Issues for Congress

    • US Government Accountability Office (GAO-05-752R, June 14/05) – Progress of the DD (X) Destroyer Program. Report to the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Seapower; and the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Projection Forces. Discusses the state of various key technologies in the program.

    News & Views

    “The history of NSFS, current national strategy, joint and service specific doctrine, current and alternative capabilities associated with providing NSFS are evaluated against current attempts to bridge NSFS gaps with naval aviation and missiles alone. This study will demonstrate a credible case for re-examining major caliber guns and the ships that mount them as part of the NSFS solution set. This thesis identifies five [5] courses of action to meet the NSFS requirements to defeat a future near-peer competitor in the littorals in a timely and affordable manner.”

    “The greater the capabilities, generally, the higher the costs – which means that the Navy can afford to buy fewer platforms. But that too drives up the cost per ship. Both factors – greater capability and lower numbers of ships – are pushing the cost of shipbuilding to prohibitive levels.”

    • LA Times, via WayBack (Nov 24/05) –

    Categories: News

    PAK-FA/FGFA/T50: Russia Pressing on with T-50, India or No

    Mon, 08/14/2017 - 03:57

    PAK-FA at MAKS-2011
    (click to view larger)

    Russia wants a “5th generation” fighter that keeps it competitive with American offerings, and builds on previous aerial and industrial success. India wants to maintain technical superiority over its rivals, and grow its aerospace industry’s capabilities. They hope to work together, and succeed. Will they? And what does “success” mean, exactly?

    So far, preliminary cooperation agreements have been signed between Sukhoi/United Aircraft Corporation, for a platform based on Sukhoi’s T50/PAK-FA design. This DID FOCUS article consolidates specific releases and coverage to date, and adds analysis of the program’s current state and future hurdles.

    The PAK-FA/ FGFA

    Sukhoi’s “T50”

    Movable LEX
    (click to view larger)

    The plane behind the project has taken on several names. The T50 may eventually become the SU-50, but for now it’s referred to as PAK-FA. The aircraft project is also known as FGFA (India: Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft), and PMF (Russia: Prospective Multirole Fighter). Key characteristics include:

    Shaping: Some observers have tried to characterize the T50 as a copy. That’s a mistake. The PAK-FA’s first flight revealed a distinctively Russian stealth-driven configuration, which borrows from previous Sukhoi designs and priorities. The prototype has some clear stealth-limiting features, from fit quality, to features like Sukhoi’s standard spherical InfraRed Scan & Track (IRST) system mounted near the cockpit. Those may change in the production aircraft; meanwhile, a smaller tail, clear stealth shaping, and internal weapons carriage all indicate a strong push toward a stealthier plane.

    The PAK-FA’s air intakes are set back from the leading edge root extensions (LERX), and one interesting wrinkle involves movable LERX shapes that come forward from the wings to join the aircraft body. This “PChN/ Movable LEX” feature apparently allows some of the maneuverability bonuses normally associated with canards on planes like the SU-30SM, SU-34, etc., but in a much lower profile design.

    RT feature

    Engines: Reports concerning the fighter’s initial engines vary. Some sources contend that the engines used in its test flight are 5th generation engines, but most of them report that it is borrowing from the SU-35 program for now, until more advanced engines designed specifically for the plane can be fielded. Both descriptions could be correct. The SU-35S reportedly uses a heavily-upgraded and more reliable version of NPO Saturn’s AL-31F, named the Saturn 117S. It is said to offer over 30,000 pounds of thrust, with full 360 degree thrust vectoring, and is believed to equip initial PAK-FA fighters. The longer-term question is whether incremental 117S upgrades will let the aircraft reach its required “5th generation” performance levels, or whether the AL-41F project, which aims to use a new and improved engine core, will be able to replace the 117S in future.

    Weapons: Russian reports cite carriage of 8 missile suspension points inside the fuselage, to match the F-22. While the Raptor has 2 body bays (with space-saving AVEL launchers) and 2 smaller side bays, the Russian plane is big enough to have 4 body bays and 2 side bays. Air-to-air weapons will certainly include the improved AA-11 (RVV-MD SRAAM) and AA-12 (RVV-SD MRAAM), but RIA Novosti adds that it has the ability to carry 2 ultra long range AAMs, presumably the 200-400 km Novator K-100-1. These “AWACS killers” are also intended for use on the SU-35, and their size may force the PAK-FA to carry them externally.

    To date, the T50’s ground-attack weapon capabilities remain something of a mystery.

    PAK-FA prototype
    (click to view larger)

    Sensors: The PAK-FA’s advanced Tikhomirov AESA radar is still undergoing testing on other platforms, and its readiness could be important to the project. As is true of all 4+ generation Russian designs, the radar will be supplemented by an IRST that looks for the heat produced by engines and air friction. This allows long-range, no warning missile attacks, and offsets enemy advantages from radar stealth.

    Another approach to offset enemy radar stealth involves L-band radars in the wing’s leading edges, to help the plane find other X-band optimized stealth fighters. The plane’s SH121 radar complex will reportedly add another 3 small X-band AESA radars around the front and sides of the aircraft, in order to provide full radar coverage. Harmonizing these features with stealth, and ensuring that they don’t become a maintenance nightmare, will be another important technical challenge for the new fighter.

    The fighter’s biggest technical challenge will involve harmonizing all of these sensors into a single view for the pilot. Russia and India aren’t short on programming talent, but pilot ergonomics has been a long-standing weakness in Russian fighters, as western pilots found when they began flying East German MiG-29s. Good sensor fusion is a technically challenging task, especially if the goal is a system that can accommodate upgrades without ruinous expense. The talent is there, but both Russia and India have mixed histories trying to manage those kinds of military efforts.

    Other Electronics: Sukhoi’s releases emphasize an advanced datalink that allows PAK-FA aircraft to share situational awareness, much like NATO’s “Link 16” standard. As the USAF has discovered, however, having other platforms share information with stealth aircraft, while retaining “low probability of intercept” to avoid giving the stealth aircraft’s positions away, is difficult. Russia and India will need to resolve that issue, or accept the operational limitations of a unique but incompatible datalink.

    Test flight
    click for video

    All of these characteristics show a convergence of Russian design with leading-edge technologies. Russian 4+ generation fighter designs have always placed a premium on super-maneuverability, and so does the T50. Russian AESA radars are becoming service-ready, and the T50 looks set to be a key platform for their use. Engine improvements may even allow Mach 1+ supercruise if the T50’s weight can be kept down, and if Saturn can deliver on promised operational performance – but both of those “ifs” remain to be proven.

    Once it becomes operational, this plane is expected to get the designation SU-50. The big question right now is how close it is to reaching that goal.

    Development Timelines, Risks, & Differences of Opinion Defined Design? A Disagreement

    From YF-22 to F-22
    (click to view full)

    As of February 2014, 5 PAK-FA prototypes are flying, and 2 more are in ground test roles, which is short of the 8 that were expected to be available by the end of 2013. The “T3” prototype was the first to have the full avionics and radar suite, including the AESA radar. The plane is reportedly preparing for full operational trials in 2015, and VVS fielding in 2016-2017, but the history of stealth fighters justifies some caution about those dates.

    In 2009, former Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. chairman Ashok Baweja took that caution several steps further, saying that that the current PAK-FA prototype and tests were only “proof of concept” level work. The Russians had already approved the design in 2008, so they clearly didn;t see things that way, but America’s F-22 program history made Baweja’s thesis plausible. The YF-22 prototype made quite a few modifications en route to its F-22A designation, over a period lasting several years. The Russian design has changed since 2009, including visible reinforcements to indicate a need for redesign in the wings and other areas. On the other hand, external design changes haven’t been much in evidence, and they continue to move forward with more advanced tests.

    India’s low level of expertise designing advanced fighters, and the advanced nature of Russia’s project before India joined, both point toward a final FGFA design that’s much closer to the planes Russia is already flying.

    Russian & Indian Timelines

    PAK-FA Mach flow
    (click to view full)

    Differences of opinion re: the fighters’ readiness also express themselves in each side’s proposed timelines. Russia is focused on 2015-2016 production and 2017-2018 fielding, though senior officials acknowledge that full serial production won’t begin until 2020 – 2024.

    Indian officials have pushed a timeline that’s up to 4-5 years longer, in order to develop many of the FGFA’s systems and make a long list of changes. As the cumulative cost and risk of their chosen course become apparent, however, they’re reducing their demands. A 2012 interview with Air Chief Marshal Browne suggests that India’s FGFAs will hew much more closely to Russia’s design, beginning with the current single-seat configuration instead of a new 2-seat layout. About 100 HAL engineers are already working on the project from a facility in Bangalore, and another contingent has moved to Russia to work in the Sukhoi design bureau.

    That’s all well and good, but it’s 2014, and the joint R&D contract between Russian and India remains unsigned. Plenty of time remains for meddling, as India was expecting to receive prototypes in 2015, 2017, and 2018. India would still have to fund their own national program of FGFA (SU-50KI?) customization for the Indian air force by a joint team of Russian and Indian engineers. The difference is described as “mission hardware and software,” though it would be surprising if Indian bureaucrats’ fetish for “indigenization” was forced to stop there. Each prototype will be slightly different, creating an incentive for the military and political figures to press for additional changes and alternations.

    If India’s FGFA R&D program can get underway in 2014, and if it progresses without major delays, a 2018 prototype would finalize the base configuration, and Indian development could end in 2019. Whereupon series manufacturing would begin at HAL in 2022.

    Note the number of “ifs” required to meet even that target. Which will also have to contend with HAL’s known high-tech production industrial issues (vid. LCA Tejas & M-MRCA programs). They’ll need to be solved by the time FGFA production begins, because its manufacturing techniques are likely to be a step beyond anything HAL has attempted to date.

    So much for the original plan of IAF service by 2017. If current dates hold true, India wouldn’t see operational serving FGFA fighters until 2025 at the earliest. At the same time, India’s planned FGFA buy is shrinking, from over 200 to around 144.

    In a project of this nature, it’s par for the course for Russia and India to both end up being too optimistic in their initial schedules. There’s still more than enough room for that dynamic to happen within the revised schedules, as the project works through configuration, testing, and production issues. The history of modern fighters suggests that software could prove to be particularly troublesome.

    Contracts & Key Events 2015 – 2017

    Sukhoi insists it will meet new 2016 production deadlines.

    Airshow demo

     

    August 14/17: Sukhoi’s T-50 PAK-FA has been designated the Su-57, according to Russia Air Force chief Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev. The fifth-generation stealth fighter made its maiden flight in 2010 and since then has received a number of upgrades to avionics, stealth and armaments. Six aircraft are expected to be delivered to the Russian Air Force next year, with 55 expected to be in operation by 2020. The aircraft will then go into mass production.

    May 9/17: After years of delay, India and Russia are close to signing an agreement for the further development of the PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). An inter-governmental pact on the FGFA project was initially signed in 2007, however negotiations over workshare, technology transfer, and IPR have hampered discussions but are now said to be mostly resolved. New Delhi has insisted on a full technology transfer, saying that it must get all the required codes and access to critical technology so that it can upgrade the aircraft as per its requirements.

    May 5/17: Russian media has reported that the Sukhoi T-50/PAK-FA stealth fighter will be armed with the upgraded Kh-35UE anti-ship missile. An upgrade of the Kh-35, the integration of the tactical cruise missile will give the fighter an added anti-surface mission capability, and add to the aircraft’s weapons load which includes the Kh-38 air-to-surface missile and Kh-58UShK anti-radiation missile. Nikolai Vasilyev, chief designer of the Kh-35UE at the Korolev-based Tactical Missiles Corporation, said that the missile has already demonstrated itself effectively on the carrier-based variants of the MiG-29K and MiG-29KUBR fighter planes, and on the Ka-52 attack helicopter.

    April 19/17: Russia has commenced weapon testing trials on the T-50/PAK-FA fifth-generation stealth fighter cannons, with plans to have the trials completed later this year. Designed to have similar capabilities to the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-22 Raptor, Moscow, with the T-50, hopes to break the US-held monopoly on fifth-generation fighters, as Washington finalizes development on its second, the long-delayed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Five T-50s are expected to be operational by the end of 2017.

    February 1/17: A light-weight version of the Indo-Russian designed BrahMos cruise missile is to be developed for Russia’s 5th-gen T-50 PAK FA fighter aircraft. Already available in naval, submarine, and land variants, Indian and Russian developers will now collaborate on designing smaller variants of the short-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile with the specification that it will “fit the size of a torpedo tube and be almost 1.5 times smaller by its weight.” Other potential warfighters that could have the new munition integrated include the MiG-35, recently selected to operate as Russia’s newest multi-purpose fighter.

    September 14/16: Russian media reported that the upcoming T-50 PAK-FA is having a new cluster bomb developed specially for carriage on the fighter. Dubbed “Drill,” the munition relies on satellite navigation for guidance and has an effective range of 30km. Russia is one of only 16 nations left that still produces cluster munitions.

    September 12/16: India and Russia have reached an agreement on the joint production of a new fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). A detailed work-share agreement on the fighter has been released which includes production of over 100 fighters in India and will see New Delhi committing to invest $4 billion over the coming years to develop a tailor-made version of the fighter. The two nations are also expected to incorporate a new company by October for the production of Kamov Ka 226 light choppers, which would involve significant private sector participation.

    September 9/16: Russia’s Deputy Minister for Defense Yuri Borisov has said that the Sukhoi PAK-FA is ready for mass production with Moscow planning to acquire a squadron of aircraft in 2017. Equipped with advanced avionics and all-digital flight systems, the PAK-FA is set to become the first operational stealth aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. An export version is expected to be available by 2025.

    June 21/16: United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has announced that its Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA is now ready for mass production. According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, the fifth generation fighter almost fully meets the requirements of the military’s combat capabilities. UAC is also currently preparing a proposal to be submitted to the Russian Ministry of Defense on starting serial production.

    December 11/15: The Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Boisov has said that testing of the PAK FA is nearly complete. The 5th generation fighter is intended to replace the Mig-29 and Su-27 currently currently in service. The fighter is part of a development partnership between Russian manufacturer Sukhoi and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The Indian Air Force may purchase 154 of the aircraft once they come into service in 2016. The PAK FA is set to rival the US made F-35 fighter, but holds a major export advantage in that it is much more cost effective.

    August 27/15: Russia’s “fifth generation” Sukhoi PAK FA stealth fighter is to get the X-58USHK missile, which will reportedly reach mach 3.5. But the critical advantage the new combo would bring was expressed in the a Tass sub-headline: “The missile will be placed inside the fighter’s fuselage.” Thus the PAK FA – also called the T-50 – will remain stealthy, where the F-35’s weapons bay has grown even smaller on the new variants and most weapons will have to be mounted externally.

    Feb 2/15: Agreement on production split. The Hindu reports that the main sticking point (who produces what) is settled between the Russians and the Indians. Up to now, the Indians were producing only 13 percent of the fighter, and none of the interesting technology bits. The agreed-upon split hasn’t been made public.

    Feb 2/15: On (new) schedule. Originally slated for 2015 production, the PAK-FA, now being called the T-50 in press materials, is to be produced in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in 2016, according to company officials. There is no mention of an export market. India had already cut its order from 200 fighters to 144, but bureaucrats have also pushed back certification to 2019, after which production could be authorized. Complaints by the Indian Air Force in early 2014 may indicate some buyer’s remorse.

    2014

    Negotiations with India turn tense, remain in limbo as Russia moves ahead; Better stealth than the F-22?

    Oct 21/14: Sub-contractors. Russia’s Radio Electronic Technologies concern has provided the 1st batch of Himalayas internal electronic warfare systems for the new jet.

    The Himalayas EW system was developed by RET’s Kaluga Scientific Research and Radio Technology Institute, and is manufactured at its Signal Radioplant in Stavropol. Sources: Defense World, “Russian T-50 Aircraft Gets Himalayas EW System”.

    Sept 15/14: Negotiation. The Russians and Indians are saying different things to Defense News. “A “Russian diplomat in India” tells them they they “have finally sorted out all sticky issues that have been holding back an agreement,” adding that India’s workshare was eventually expected to increase from 13-18% to 40%. India’s MoD refused to confirm this, “especially those [issues] related to workshare between the two countries”.

    We’ve seen enough programs involving India to be skeptics, even when Indian officials will confirm such stories. The magazine’s sources say that India and Russia will sign a final agreement on the program the end of 2014. Take that as the metric, and believe it when you see it. Sources: Defense News, “Indo-Russian Jet Program Finally Moves Forward”.

    Aug 30/14: Tension. India isn’t pleased with the lack of response to its questions concerning the recent PAK-FA engine fire (q.v. June 10/14), NPO Saturn AL-41FI jet engine performance, Byelka AESA radar performance, the lack of permission for its pilots to fly the jet in Russia, and HAL’s low workshare. India’s lack of a firm development agreement is the 1-sentence argument for much of this situation, except for the engine fire question and HAL’s workshare.

    HAL’s workshare has reportedly dropped from 25% to just 13%: tires, the VOR-DME basic navigation avionics, coolant for the radar, a laser designation pod and the head-up display. This list appears to justify analysis that HAL simply doesn’t yet have the capability to be a full partner in such a sophisticated aircraft, and may also be a function iof Indian dithering as Russia simply goes ahead and makes final decisions about the PAK-FA’s development..

    Within HAL’s workshare, the Laser Designation pod itself is unlikely to come from India, but may be produced under license. Israel’s RAFAEL LITENING pods equip many Indian aircraft, including the SU-30MKI, but Eastern European and American pressure on Israel makes SU-50 integration tough to contemplate. Thales’ Damocles pod, which already equips Malaysia’s Su-30MKMs and would equip Indian Rafales, would be a more logical choice.

    The real challenge here is twofold. One is the M-MRCA program, whose $10 billion cost growth really shrinks the overall room for PGF funding within India’s budgets. The related challenge is time, and “IAF sources told IHS Jane’s that this deadline [to begin Indian production in 2020 – 2021] would be missed by several years.” Sources: Daily Mail India, “India-Russia jet deal hits turbulence over ‘technical worries’ ” | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, “Indian Air Force unhappy at progress of PAK-FA fifth-gen fighter”.

    Aug 4/14: Negotiations. Still no firm production agreement re: the PAK-FA/ FGFA/ PMF, following the end of the initial engineering development contract in 2013. Russian sources continue to make hopeful noises, but at this point, it means very little until there’s a firm contract in place. Sources: Itar-Tass, “Sukhoi to sign another contract with India on FGFA”.

    June 10/14: Fire. A commission will be investigating:

    “Today after the regular test flight of the T-50 aircraft at the airfield of the M.M.Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky near Moscow, while the plane was landing, a smoke above the right air intake was observed, then a local fire broke out. The fire was quickly extinguished. The plane is to be repaired…. This incident will not affect the timing of the T-50 test program.”

    The Moscow Times suggested that the damage might leave the plane out of action for a little while, as people reportedly: “…saw smoke and flame billow out of the front of the engine and [it] caused visible damage to the exterior of the aircraft.” Sounds like an engine issue. Maybe one day, we’ll know. Sources: Sukhoi, “Sukhoi’s message over the incident with the T-50 aircraft” | Moscow Times, “Russian Advanced Prototype Fighter Jet Erupts into Flames on Landing”.

    Fire

    Feb 21/14: Production version. Sukhoi announces that their production version will not be waiting until 2016, while the current set of 4 flying and 2 ground prototypes continue their work at Zhukovsky. In fact:

    “Today the flight model of the prospective 5th — generation fighter aircraft (PAK-FA, T-50) arrived to the 929th Chkalov State Flight Test Centre’s airfield in Akhtubinsk for State Joint Tests…. The PAK FA tests program included aero-dynamic features evaluation, tests of stability and controllability and of dynamic strength, function check of on-board equipment and aircraft systems. Optical locator system as well as active electronically scanned array radar was tested on the aircraft with positive results obtained. Air refueling mode was tested. Supermaneuverability tests of the aircraft are under way. Aircraft systems are being tested on the test stands, ground experimental works continue.”

    It’s still possible for hardware or software problems to make the delivery of 60 combat-capable aircraft an impossible goal by 2020, and Russian reports aren’t going to involve public accountability or discussion of test results. Even so, the Akhtubinsk arrival is embarrassing timing for War Is Boring’s same-day report. Sources: Sukhoi, “T-50-2 fighter aircraft made the flight to Akhtubinsk” | Russia & India Report, “Russian Air Force receives first FGFA T-50 fighter for tests”.

    Feb 21/14: No mystery. “Russia’s New Air Force Is a Mystery” wonders why Russia is buying SU-30MK2s, SU-30SMs and SU-35s, in addition to the future PAK-FA. It turns out that the answer is extremely simple: industrial priorities that bought up aircraft the Chinese stopped buying, took advantage of successful advanced SU-30MKx export developments, and aim to provide the SU-35 with a home country order base for potential exports. That sort of thing happens all the time, everywhere. The article ends up stinging itself with this quote re: the PAK-FA:

    “The T-50’s schedule has stretched farther and farther to the right. Originally planned for handover to the air force’s Akhtubinsk flight test center for evaluation in 2014, recent announcements suggest this might now slip until the second half of 2016. This would derail plans to declare initial operational capability, and the start of full-scale production, at the end of 2016.

    The best-case scenario would have seen 60 production T-50s delivered between 2016 and 2020, but this now seems a distant hope. As a result, the air force is badly in need of supplementary equipment.”

    The 1st PAK-FA arrives in Akhtubinsk for testing that same day. Sources: War Is Boring, “Russia’s New Air Force Is a Mystery”.

    Feb 7/14: Timelines. Russia and India are still negotiating the FGFA R&D contract, but India’s Chief of the Air Staff and Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar (A K) Browne tells the Press Trust of India that the 1st FGFA prototype will arrive in India this year, for testing at Ojhar AB, located NE of Mumbai. One imagines that he’s speaking on the basis of a draft R&D contract that would have Indian scientists and test pilots in Russia until the R&D phase is scheduled to end in 2019.

    2022 is now given as the planned in-service date, as India slip farther and farther from the original plan of having these planes in service by 2017. That 2017 date was always a pipe dream, and even present dates depend on very large financial decisions being made very soon by an unpopular government, or by its electoral successor. It’s more realistic to assume that the draft R&D agreement won’t actually become a signed contract and disbursed funds until 2015 or later, with attendant effects on India’s schedule.

    Meanwhile, Russia continues to develop the plane,m but even they are several years from serious fielding. Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) First Deputy Director Alexander Fomin is quoted as saying that testing and manufacturing ramp-ups will require: “At least… [6-10 years] before we build a sample of the fifth generation fighter plane and being its serial production.” Sources: Itar-Tass, “Russia fulfils FGFA obligations with India – Alexander Kadakin”.

    Jan 21/14: India. India’s Air Force is directly criticizing the stealth fighter program, according to the minutes of a Dec 24/13 meeting chaired by secretary of defence production Gokul Chandra Pati:

    “Business Standard has reviewed the minutes of that meeting. The IAF’s three top objections to the FGFA were: (a) The Russians are reluctant to share critical design information with India; (b) The fighter’s current AL-41F1 engines are inadequate, being mere upgrades of the Sukhoi-30MKI’s AL-31 engines; and (c) It is too expensive. With India paying $6 billion to co-develop the FGFA, “a large percentage of IAF’s capital budget will be locked up.”

    On January 15, the IAF renewed the attack in New Delhi, at a MoD meeting to review progress on the FGFA. The IAF’s deputy chief of air staff (DCAS), its top procurement official, declared the FGFA’s engine was unreliable, its radar inadequate, its stealth features badly engineered, India’s work share too low, and that the fighter’s price would be exorbitant by the time it enters service.

    Top MoD sources suspect the IAF is undermining the FGFA to free up finances for buying 126 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for an estimated $18 billion, an acquisition that has run into financial headwinds because of budgetary constraints….”

    Perhaps if India hadn’t structured its MMRCA competition to completely ignore the costs of the competing aircraft, this wouldn’t be happening. But they did, and it is. Sources: India’s Business Standard, “Russia can’t deliver on Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft: IAF”.

    Jan 16/14: T-50 trolling. Rosoboronexport’s parent firm Rostec decides to troll the aviation world, with claims that the PAK-FA will have better stealth than the American F-22 Raptor:

    “The average [radar cross section value] for the T-50 fighter is between 0.1 and 1 square meter…. the T-50 is now ahead of not only all other fighters of the Russian Army, but also foreign models. For example, the visibility of the American fifth-generation F-22 fighter is 0.3-0.4 square meters, according to PAK FA chief designer Alexander Davidenko.”

    This means almost nothing. First, the Russian PAK-FA range includes values that are a closer match for the Eurofighter than the F-22. Second, Davidenko couldn’t know the F-22’s real production values without access to American flight test data, and there are rumors that it’s smaller than 0.3 m2. The third issue is production. Davidenko’s claims for the PAK-FA back existing assessments that it’s a legitimate stealth aircraft design, but production work affects final values for any plane. If it’s shoddy and alignment is poor, for instance, a design with RCS of 0.1 m2 could easily hit 1.0 m2 in reality. Russia is known for many things, including excellent and robust fighter designs, but precision work? Not so much. A real comparison would require test data from production aircraft (q.v. Nov 12/12 caveats), including different values from various angles, and their different success levels against different radar bands. That isn’t on offer for either plane.

    Other points in the release are more informative, if true. Rostec says that composite materials are just 25% of the fighter’s weight, but cover 70% of its surface. A new power system design from Rostec’s Aviation Equipment provides double the amount of electrical power offered by previous Russian systems. We hope they have better luck than Boeing has, but that power will be needed by Radioelectronic Technologies’ new avionics and related systems. With respect to the plane’s biggest current deficit, UEC has an initial-model of the next-generation AL-41F1 thrust-vectoring engines installed in a prototype now, and Rostec is feeding general expectations that the AL-41 will give the new fighter supercruise capability. Sources: Rostec, “The T-50 Fighter will feature even greater stealth capabilities” | Air & Cosmos, “Le T-50 russe serait plus furtif que le F-22”.

    2013

    Test flights, incl. the new 5th prototype; Negotiations and tensions with India.

    T50, incoming
    (click to view full)

    Oct 28/13: #5. Sukhoi flies the 5th T50 prototype at its Y.A.Gagarin KnAAZ aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Once it finishes local flight tests, the aircraft will join the program flight tests at Zhukovsky, near Moscow.

    Sukhoi pegs the number of flights to date at “more than 450”, with another 2 planes are involved in ground tests as a complex ground stand and static testing platform, respectively. Sources: Sukhoi release, Oct 28/13.

    Oct 21/13: Indian complaints. Aviation Week reports that India is dissatisfied with their development workshare, in a project they came op late and close to lockdown on their partner’s side, and for which they have only recently managed to produce anything resembling their specifications (q.v. April 10/13):

    “We have a major opportunity in the FGFA program,” Indian air force (IAF) Deputy Chief Air Marshal S. Sukumar says. However, “at the moment [the 15% development share] is not very much in favor of Indian development. We are flagging it through the government. It should be much more focused towards indigenous development capability.”

    The problem is that 4 Russian T50 prototypes have performed about 450 test flights since January 2010, and the VVS plans to begin inducting the fighter in 2015-2016. Even if they’re a year late, it doesn’t leave much room for development. That would have required fast decisions to begin the contract early, when the design was still in need of refinement.

    India’s desires and its modus operandi are in conflict once again, and the question is whether the dichotomy will become a stumbling block in negotiations for the final $11 billion system development contract. At this point, the only way to square that circle would be to increase the number of differences between the Russian and Indian fighters, or to involve India in developing the “Block 10” next iteration of a fighter whose core technologies are already a big stretch for Indian firms. Either approach would drive up overall costs for the contract under negotiation (q.v. July 15/13), and add substantial risk to India’s plans to begin manufacturing at HAL in 2022 – itself a problematic proposition, given HAL’s record. Sources: Aviation Week, “India Concerned About Fifth-Gen Fighter Work Share With Russia”.

    Oct 18/13: Aircraft issues. An article in The Aviationist looks at issues with the PAK-FA, which don’t get the same exposure as western projects with their public oversight. Piotr Butowski of the Polish Magazyn Lotnictwo notes that:

    “…the plane still suffers from the strict g-limits…. The plane underwent a modernization in the Sukhoi facility on the Polikarpov Street in Moscow Dec. 2012 and May 2013. The airframe was reinforced according to the flight tests and static tests that were already carried out; many new [metal strip] overlays can be seen on the airplane’s surface.”

    Problems and modifications aren’t abnormal. The 1st PAK-FA prototype has structural cracks in 2011, and the 2nd had an engine flameout cancel its public MAKES 2011 air show performance. Sources: The Aviationist, “Russia’s most advanced fighter jet’s troublesome childhood”.

    July 15/13: India Delays. The FGFA project’s parameters may be set (q.v. April 10/13), but there’s a problem with the R&D deal, which was pegged at $11 billion equivalent. The Times of India:

    “Defence ministry sources said the inking of the final design and R&D contract for the stealth fighter has been hit by a huge delay, with Russia also jacking up costs for the futuristic project. “It’s very unlikely the FGFA final design contract will be concluded in the 2013-2014 fiscal,” said a source. “The timeframes will now have to be revised. MoD has established a committee of specialists and finance officials to verify the rise in costs. An internal contract negotiation committee is also in progress…”

    Russia isn’t going to wait, and will continue development of their version while they wait for India’s signature. Operational testing is slated to begin in 2014. If FGFA negotiations stretch into 2015, the net effect will be to severely delay India’s variant, even as the base Russian design becomes more and more firmly set.

    April 25/13: VVS flight. The Russian air force’s (VVS) Chkalov Flight Test Center begins flying the PAK-FA prototypes, with a 2-hour flight from the M.M. Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky (Moscow region).

    At present, Sukhoi has 4 flying test planes, which are mostly flown by company test pilots, and 2 ground test planes. Sukhoi.

    April 10/13: India. Sukhoi announces that the parameters for their joint FGFA project with India are set:

    “The contract to develop a sketch and technical project of the Russian-Indian perspective multi-functional 5th-generation fighter (PMI/FGFA) was completed. The fighter design was fully developed. The both parties have agreed upon on the amount and division of work during the research and development (R&D) stage. A contract for the R&D is being prepared. It is to be signed this year.”

    March 1/13: Plans & Schedule. High-level Russian and Indian sources offer a bit more clarity concerning dates, but they seem to be at odds regarding electronics.

    Russian VVS commander Gen. Victor Bondarev expects weapons release trials to begin in 2013, as the number of aircraft rises from 4 – 8. If tests go well, the fighter could enter series production in late 2015 or early 2016. Based on past fighter programs, that may be a bit optimistic.

    Meanwhile, IAF chief of staff Air Marshall N.A.K. Browne is expecting to sign the big design & development contract for the FGFA in 2013. They’ll receive 3 developmental prototypes in India in 2015, 2017 and then 2018, rather than the wider 2014-2019 window reported earlier. That SDD version would apparently be fully common between Russia and India, making Pogosyan (vid. Feb 7/13) correct to that point. India would then fund, as a separate project, FGFA (SU-50KI?) customization for the Indian air force by a joint team of Russian and Indian engineers. The difference is described as “mission hardware and software,” though it would be surprising if Indian bureaucrats’ fetish for “indigenization” was forced to stop there. Series manufacturing would begin at HAL in 2022.

    If true, it means that India wouldn’t see operational serving FGFA fighters until 2025 at the earliest, and that’s only if HAL’s known industrial issues with high-tech production are fully solved by 2022. AIN.

    Feb 7/13: Avionics. At Aero India 2013, Obedinnoe Avaitstroitel’noi Corporatsii (United Aircraft Corp.) President Mikhail Pogosyan says that the new fighter will “have a single set of on-board equipment [cockpit avionics],” as a requirement of the Indian Air Force. He adds that India’s fighters will also share the Russian single-seat configuration.

    Both of those statements would represent major changes from India. India’s initial plans involved a 2-seat variant that would follow the example of programs like the SU-30MKI, and create a unique cockpit avionics set that used equipment from Indian companies and foreign vendors. If Pogosyan is correct, India has backtracked toward a standard type configuration, and joint funding of upgrades. UPI.

    2012

    India’s timeline keeps falling back, as it cuts plans to 144 jets; No SU-50 for ROKAF; Prototype #4 flies; AESA radar testing begins.

    #T2 lands
    (click to view full)

    Dec 12/12: #4 flies. The 4th prototype takes flight at the snowy Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO). UAC.

    Nov 12/12: RCS guess. Airpower Australia uses public-domain photos coupled with the Physical Optics (PO) method for predicting the Radar Cross Section of complex targets on Russia’s T50, using VisCam View software to produce a PolyChromatic Spherical Representation (PCSR). Without flight test data, it’s still a guess, but it’s a kind of guess that Moore’s Law has made available outside of large intelligence agencies.

    Their guess? It won’t match the F-22, or even China’s J-20, but if they introduce a rectangular faceted design to the engine nozzles and add radar absorbent coatings, they might beat the F-35. Sources: Airpower Australia, “A Preliminary Assessment of Specular Radar Cross Section Performance in the Sukhoi T-50 Prototype” | WIRED Danger Room, “Russia’s Stealth Fighter Could Match U.S. Jets, Analyst Says”.

    Oct 9/12: During an interview with India Strategic, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne confirms that HAL has committed $6 billion to joint development. Plans have changed, and India’s 144 planned FGFAs will all be single seaters, now, hewing much more closely to the Russian baseline. In the same vein as India’s SU-30 MKIs, however, they’ll have some avionics and integration differences. According to the ACM Browne:

    “… the first prototype is likely to be delivered to India in 2014 followed by two more in 2017 and 2019. The series production then “will only be ordered based on the final configuration and performance of the third prototype.”

    See: India Strategic | IANS.

    Aug 19/12: Even later to India. Reports now indicate that the 1st FGFA prototype flight tests should start in India in 2014, with deliveries to the Indian Air Force by 2022, a full ten years from now. This would be the start of a $30+ billion, 250 plane program over the next decade, at roughly $100 million each.

    Closer to the present, Russia and India are reportedly finalizing the research and development phase at $11+ billion, split evenly between the two parties. Business Standard | AviationWeek.

    Aug 8/12: Radar. Sukhoi announces that they’ve begun flight tests of the PAK-FA’s Tikhomirov “active phased array radar system” in both air-to-air and air-to-surface test modes. Initial trials toward flight refueling also take place this month. Sukhoi | The DEW Line | RIA Novosti.

    May 14/12: Late to India. India is already backtracking on service dates for its FGFA variant of Sukhoi’s T50, bringing them closer to predictions made by outside observers years ago. M M Pallam Raju has moved the plane’s certification and production start date from 2017 back to 2019. Close examination shows that 2020 or beyond is more likely.

    India’s Business Standard also highlights a number of areas that aren’t settled, where ongoing specifications changes and/or technical problems may end up delaying the fighter and send India’s costs skyrocketing. India reportedly wants 40-45 design changes to the current PAK-FA, including its own avionics and a “360 degrees” AESA radar. That last requirement is likely to involve AESA “cheek fairings” that need to maintain aircraft stealth levels, a tailcone radar, and the internal computing and software required to fuse all of those radars into a single picture. They also want at least 2,000 hours of certification flying, and possible configuration changes in light of tests. India now expects their fighters to prepare for service no earlier than 2019, and if the IAF fields a 2-seat version, it’s likely to take even longer. All of India’s changes add 3 types of risk.

    One is technical risk. India’s history is littered with overly ambitious projects that India’s Ministry of Defense and associated state-run agencies approved, but could not execute. The cutting-edge nature of the FGFA project magnifies those risks, even with Sukhoi’s assistance.

    The 2nd risk is cost risk. Sukhoi’s help, and the associated design, production, and testing of new FGFA equipment, won’t come for free. The more changes India makes, the more the project will cost them. Russia isn’t going to pick up the tab for changes to a design their air force has already approved, and even the “Tactical Technical Agreement” that specified Indian changes isn’t going to mean much if costs become a problem. Russia has forcibly renegotiated critical defense contracts with India several times, and won’t hesitate to do so again.

    The 3rd risk is schedule risk. Since Russia is focused on fielding the current single-seat configuration in its current form, while India is focused on major configuration changes and is still debating a 2-seat variant, both of those timelines could turn out to be true. Russia could wind up fielding SU-50 squadrons several years before India even finishes development. India’s Business Standard.

    Jan 29/12: Korea: No PAK-FA. The Korea Times quotes a DAPA spokesman, who confirms the potential F-X-III competitors:

    “No Russian firm submitted an application to attend the program’s explanatory session, which was a prerequisite to participate, by the Friday registration deadline,” a spokesman of DAPA said. He noted that a representative from Swedish company Saab, which has been searching for additional export orders for its Gripen multirole fighters, successfully filed an application for the mandatory session along with Boeing, Lockheed Martine [sic] and EADS.”

    This means that the Indo-Russian PAK-FA will not be part of the $7+ billion competition, despite reports (vid. July 20/11) that it was intending to participate, just as Russian disinterest kept the SU-35 out of F-X-2.

    2011

    Prototypes #2 & 3 fly; Testing flameout; South Korean opportunity?

    PAK-FA: takeoff!
    (click to view full)

    Dec 22/11: #3 flies. First flight of the 3rd PAK-FA prototype from Sukhoi’s KNAAPO aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Sukhoi.

    Sept 6/11: Exports? Russia & India Report highlights an analysis by Russia’s unofficial Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT), which takes a look at potential buyers of the PAK-FA’s export version. They see a potential for 274-388 export units beyond India or states that spun out of the Soviet Union, like Kazakhstan et. al. Their projections for possible buyers, and their projected purchasing periods, include:

    • Algeria (2025-2030)
    • Argentina (2035-2040)
    • Brazil (2030-2035)
    • Venezuela (2027-2032)
    • Vietnam (2030-2035)
    • Indonesia (2028-2032)
    • Iran (subject to lifting of the arms embargo, 2035-2040)
    • Kazakhstan (2025-2035)
    • China (“subject to certain conditions”, 2025-2035)
    • Malaysia (2035-2040)
    • Syria (2025-2030)

    Aug 24/11: Flameout. Flight International conveys NPO Saturn general director Ilya Federo’s explanation of the MAKS 2011 failure:

    “The motor did not fail – in fact, it was put by erroneous control input into a wrong mode that caused the surge. This is not an engine failure, but the wrong data input caused by a malfunctioning sensor feeding data to the flight control system. After what had happened the motor was checked [and] the malfunctioning sensor was replaced by a good one. Today, there is no issue with this engine.”

    Aug 22/11: Flameout. After performing a basic fly-over with the PAK FA, Sukhoi intended to close Russia’s MAKS 2011 air show with a bang – and did, sort of. The pilot of its second prototype PAK-FA/T50-2 was forced to abort his take-off run, and the planned flying routine, after 2 bursts of flame erupted from the right engine.

    The show’s organizers compounded the embarrassment by promising that the 1st prototype would fly instead – but it was not on site, and is believed to be in maintenance following its Aug 17/11 demonstration. Flameout: Flight International (incl. flame burst picture) | India’s Open magazine | China’s Xinhua || Appearance: Moscow Times | Pravda | RIA Novosti | Voice of Russia | Reuters | UPI | WSJ Emerging Europe blog | op-ed – Right-wing Heritage Foundation, USA.

    July 20/11: PAK-FA for South Korea? As South Korea’s DAPA eases the criteria to try and foster more competition, DAPA’s Col. Wi Jong-seong says that “Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi expressed its intent to compete in the fighter jet procurement project early this year.” The report quotes him as saying that Sukhoi’s T50 PAK-FA will be up against Boeing’s stealth-enhanced F-15SE Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II, and EADS’ Eurofighter Typhoon. Assuming we don’t have an F-X-2 repeat, where all competitors but one drop out.

    At this point, FX-III is being touted as a 60 jet buy of high-end fighters, with a budget of 8.29 trillion won ($7.86 billion). Eurofighter reportedly offered a better deal than the F-15K in F-X-2, but lost. The firm recently proposed to phase in Korean assembly for Phase III, with the 1st 10 made in Europe, the next 24 using Korean components, and the last 26 assembled in Korea. Korea Times.

    March 3/11: #2 flies. Russia’s 2nd PAK-FA fighter prototype successfully completes its 1st test flight in Russia’s Far East region of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Note that China’s Xinhua cites local reports dated Feb 23/11, but Sukhoi’s release pegs the date at March 3/11.

    UAC’s Mikhail Pogosyan adds that they expect to have a fleet of 3 test aircraft by year end, and says the existing jets have now made 40 flights since last January to test the model’s aero-dynamic characteristics and electronics. Beyond that, Pogosyan tells Russian media that the Indian Air Force will “acquire 50 single-seater fighters of the Russian version” before their 2-seat FGFA is developed. If true, it would go a long way toward ensuring that India meets its 2017 induction target. On the Russian end, plans are to purchase the first batch with existing engines, buying the first 10 aircraft after 2012 and then 60 after 2016. Russia’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies director Ruslan Pukhov predicts that Vietnam will be the 2nd export customer for the fighter. Sukhoi | Russia’s Pravda | China’s Xinhua.

    Feb 9/11: With Aero India 2011 underway, Sukhoi offers some additional details regarding the December 2010 agreement with India:

    “This is the first of a series of documents governing the obligations of the parties at different stages of the program. The PMF project includes the design and development of a next-generation fighter, which will have such advanced features as stealth, supersonic cruise speed, high maneuverability, highly integrated set of avionics, an advanced warning system about the situation, the internal deployment of weapons and the possibility of a centralized reporting and electronic warfare system. The fighter is being developed on the basis of the Russian perspective aviation complex (PAK FA) according to stringent technical requirements of the Indian side. The further development of the program envisages design and development of a two-place version of the aircraft and integration of an advanced engine with increased thrust. The two sides are supposed to cooperate in joint marketing of the complex in other countries.”

    Feb 9/11: India. Indian defence minister AK Antony reiterates their target of a 2017 induction for the FGFA. India’s defense procurement history suggests that they’re unlikely to make it. Time will tell. Sukhoi.

    2010

    1st flight; Russian air force plans; Contract with India.

    Sukhoi PAK-FA: 1st flight
    (click to view larger)

    Dec 20/10: Contract. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reportedly signs a set of defense and nuclear agreements in India, including the FGFA development contract. Details remain sketchy. Bloomberg | BBC.

    Dec 16/10: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman Ashok Nayak tells Russia’s RIA Novosti that Russia and India have agreed on key features of the design contract for their joint fifth-generation fighter project. The cost of preliminary design is estimated at $295 million, with work expected to be complete within 18 months. The partnership will develop both a single-seat and a twin-seat version of the aircraft by 2016, focusing on the single-seat version in the initial stages of development.

    Nayak said the contract could be signed by the representatives of India’s HAL and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) during a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India on December 20-22. RIA Novosti.

    Development contract

    Nov 30/10: The right-wing American Heritage Foundation think tank releases an analysis of the Russia program and its implications: “What Russia’s Stealth Fighter Developments Mean for America“.

    July 23/10: Testing. Sukhoi’s KnAAPO issues a release saying that:

    “Sukhoi Company has completed the preliminary on-land and in-flight activities which involved all 3 engineering prototypes of the Frontline Aviation Advanced Airborne Complex (PAK FA)… These prototypes were used for testbed strength tests, on-land optimization of fuel systems and other work towards flight trials. The flying prototype has made 16 flights… enables execution of a complete program of flight trials… Vladimir Popovkin, the Russian Defense Minister First Deputy, in his interview to the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper estimated the Russian Air Force’s demand for the 5th-generation fighters at 50 to 100 units. It is planned to complete all tests of the PAK FA airframe in 2011-2012, and to sign a contract in 2013 for a pilot lot of ten aircraft for testing the model’s entire weapons suite.”

    July 13/10: Russia. RIA Novosti quotes senior Russian figures. Russian Air Force chief Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin confirms the expected delivery dates of over 60 planes, which they hope to begin in 2015-16, but equipped with older, “non-fifth” generation engines from existing SU-30 family planes.

    “Deputy Defense Minister for Arms Procurement Vladimir Popovkin said the Defense Ministry would purchase the first 6 to 10 aircraft after 2012, based on the outcome of initial tests… The prime minister said 30 billion rubles (around $1 billion) had already been spent on the project and another 30 billion would be required to complete it, after which the engine, weaponry and other components would be upgraded.”

    April 2010: Testing. The 1st flying prototype of the fighter, and the avionics testbed used for systems optimization before flight trials, are delivered to the flying test center of the OKB Sukhoi Experimental Design Bureau in Zhukovsky, near Moscow. On April 29/10, the flying prototype begins preliminary tests. Source.

    March 29/10: Welcome to the new world of intelligence, where a pair of YouTube videos appear to provide insights into PAK-FA technologies. Veteran aviation journalist Bill Sweetman reports that:

    “…the video highlights a new honeycomb core material designed for high temperatures. It also states that the T-50 will have no fewer than five radar arrays: the 1500-module forward active electronically scanned array (AESA), two side-facing X-band sub-arrays and two “decimetric” (L-band) arrays in the leading-edge root extensions. It also states that the goal is to fight the F-22 by closing within visual range. Another new video shows a novel inlet radar blocker… It uses flexible vanes with a rotating ring at the rear end: in the “stealth regime” it provides extensive blockage, but it clears the airflow when it doesn’t matter or you need full speed or power.”

    Late March 2010: Testing. Acceptance trials of the flying prototype are fully completed. Source.

    March 16/10: Russia. In “The future of the Russian Air Force: 10 years on“, RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik discusses planned buys and pending recapitalization of the Russian Air Force over the next decade:

    “According to various media reports, the Ministry wants to buy at least 1,500 aircraft, including 350 new warplanes, by 2020. The fleet would include 70% new equipment at that point, said Air Force Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Alexander Zelin… The Defense Ministry has now signed contracts for the purchase of 32 Su-34 Fullback advanced fighter-bombers to be delivered by 2013, 48 Su-35 Flanker-E fighters by 2015, 12 Su-27SM Flanker-B Mod. 1 fighters by 2011, 4 Su-30M2 Flanker-C planes by 2011 and 12 Su-25UBM Frogfoot combat trainers. This year, the Defense Ministry intends to sign a contract for the delivery of 26 MiG-29K Fulcrum-D fighters by 2015. Additional contracts for the delivery of at least 80 Su-34s and 24-48 Su-35s are expected to be signed. In all, the Russian Air Force is to receive 240-260 new aircraft of these types. It is hard to say much about the specifications of another 100-110 aircraft, due to be manufactured primarily after 2015. They will probably include 25-30 MiG-35 fighters, another 12-16 Su-30 combat trainers for Su-35 squadrons and 40-60 Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA (Advanced Frontline Aviation Aircraft System) fifth-generation fighters…”

    Feb 12/10: Testing. The PAK-FA prototype reportedly makes its 2nd flight at Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Times Now | RT

    .

    Feb 6/10: Some aviation watchers ask “How long has the PAK-FA or T50 been flying?” They believe that the first prototype may have flown before January 2010, and that there may be more than 1 prototype, based on differences in available photos.

    Jan 29/10: Fly! The first prototype PAK-FA fighter lifts off from KNAAPO’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur facility for a 47 minute flight, piloted by Sukhoi test-pilot Sergey Bogdan. Sukhoi says that the plane met all expectations. Sukhoi JSC release | NPO Saturn release [in Russian] | Russia 1 TV video | Pravda | RIA Novosti | Times of India | Aviation Week | Defense News | Agence France Presse | BBC | Canadian Press | Washington Post | China’s Xinhua | Aviaiton Week’s Bill Sweetman: Preliminary Analysis.

    1st PAK-FA flight

    Jan 6/10: India’s Business Standard covers the workshare and capability issues that have must be addressed before production contracts and arrangements can be finalized. The project is currently expected to have development costs of $8-10 billion, and Russia and Sukhoi have already made substantial investments.

    The crux of the negotiations revolves around HAL’s designated development workshare, and the areas it will be applied to. On the other side of the table, the Russian United Aircraft Corporation is wary of India’s lack of design credentials, coupled with the cutting-edge nature of this project. HAL is intent on a 25% share, to include the mission computer and critical software (building on Indian SU-30MKI work), navigation systems, cockpit displays, counter-measures dispensing (CMD) systems, composites expertise and production to complement Russia’s titanium expertise, and modifying Sukhoi’s single-seat design into a twin-seat fighter for the IAF. HAL’s Chairman Ashok Baweja seems to have a different view of the fighter’s design state, referring to existing prototypes as “proof of concept” items rather than nearly final designs.

    Once the 2 sides come to a firm agreement on issues of design and funding, UAC and HAL will sign a General Contract, and set up a joint venture to design and build the aircraft. That has not happened yet, while Sukhoi has continued to push forward with general design, and has produced a prototype aircraft. Business Standard describes India’s workshare as “almost finalised,” but as we’ve seen with other Indian procurements, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

    Jan 3/10: Rollout. Reports surface that the first prototype of Russia’s PAK-FA aircraft has rolled out on the runway at KNAAPO’s plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, but did not fly. The test pilot reportedly switched on the engines and made 2 runs on the airstrip, while testing the brakes.

    Russia’s vice premier Sergei Ivanov had promised that tests would commence in December 2009-January 2010, and the Russian Air Force reportedly plans to induct the fighter beginning from 2015. DNA India.

    2008 – 2009

    Russia – India MoU signed; Russia approves their version’s design; Exports could be a challenge.

    PAK-FA: early concept
    (click to view larger)

    Oct 9/09: India. The Indian Ministry of Defence issues a release regarding the 9th meeting of the Russia-India Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation on Oct 14-15/09:

    “Among the major new projects which will be high in priorities of the Indian agenda for bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries, will be projects for joint design and development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and of the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MTA). The co-development and co-production of the FGFA with Sukhoi Design Bureau Russia has been progressing, with several rounds of discussion already completed to finalize the technical requirements. During discussions in the meeting of the Commission, Shri Antony would highlight New Delhi’s interest in ensuring that the development phase of the FGFA is completed by 2016, as originally anticipated and that induction of the aircraft into the IAF can start by 2017.”

    See also: Times of India.

    Aug 28/09: Radar. Tikhomirov’s NIIP reportedly exhibits models of the PAK-FA’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Tikhomirov reportedly says the AESA antenna entered bench testing in November 2008, and was mated with the radar’s other blocks for an initial integration test “this summer,” with a 2nd radar produced by mid-2010 for integration with the operational prototype aircraft.

    The Milaz report adds that Sukhoi will complete 5 prototypes for initial testing, including 2 to be dedicated for ground test activities. Initial trials are scheduled for completion in 2011-12, with the company expecting to produce an initial batch of aircraft for operational trials by 2015.

    April 16/09: Exports? Forecast International offers a cautionary market assessment of the FGFA:

    “…with the PAKFA program under increasing tension and the West’s major aerospace firms seeking to shore up additional orders for soon to be closed fourth-generation aircraft production lines, Russia faces the prospect of declining presence in the world’s most high sought after arms markets… Faced with the considerable research & development costs associated with developing a new, advanced fighter platform, Russia is seeking to both distribute costs and ensure that a viable export market will exist… Sukhoi, is reported to have already invested as much as $115 million in company capital…

    Several factors are working against the Rosoboronexport’s attempts replicate the international cost/production-sharing development model implemented for the F-35, which is expected to become the dominant fighter in the fifth-generation market… the unproven status of the PAKFA… its timeline for delivery its far behind its western competitors. Deliveries of the PAKFA are not anticipated to begin until 2017. Finally, as production of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-35 ramp up, the western aerospace firms currently producing advanced variants of fourth-generation aircraft are likely to push hard to gain additional order to extend production lines.”

    Aug 8/09: RIA Novosti quotes the chief of the Russian Air Force, Alexander Zelin, from the MAKS-2009 arms show. Zelin says there are problems with the PAK-FA’s proposed new engines, and:

    “For the time being the aircraft will use Saturn engines. There are problems, I admit, but research is continuing.”

    Dec 29/08: MoU. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) sign the deal to jointly develop and produce a 5th generation fighter aircraft. HAL Chairman Ashok K Baweja:

    “We (HAL and UAC) are moving forward as per schedule. We (have) just done the general contract yesterday. I went to Delhi and signed the general contract.”

    According to reports, Russia and India will simultaneously develop 2 versions of the aircraft: a 2-seat version for India, and a single seat version for the Russian Air Force. India Defence.

    India – Russia MoU

    Sept 29/08: India Today magazine reports that the Russian and Indian designs for the FGFA project will differ somewhat, while efforts continue to define India’s participation in a project that has reportedly already had its design frozen by Sukhoi. HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja is quoted as saying that the Indian aircraft will be a 2-seat aircraft, which changes some aspects of design and has an especial impact on stealth unless carefully managed. Bajewa added that both stealth and supercruise capabilities were expected for the aircraft, adding that both sides were closer to a real agreement defining India’s participation, almost a year after the original cooperation memo was signed. India’s capabilities in composite materials manufacturing was mentioned as a possible basis for industrial participation.

    Meanwhile, Russia’s the United Aircraft Corporation President Alexey Fedorov says that the single-seat T50 is set to fly in Russia in 2009 as planned; Bajewa adds that it will be powered by an ALF-31 FP engine.

    The most interesting quote was Indian Air Vice Marshal Kak’s, who noted that the opportunity to gain from being part of the design process was gone, and added that “…if we have missed out on the design phase, we have to analyse the cost-benefits of acquiring only super cruise and stealth technology for $10 billion.”

    A fair question. One likely to be asked in the political realm as well, when the time comes to finalize the agreement. Which leads to the corollary questions: How important each aspect is to the IAF? And where, if anywhere, might enough of these performance benefits be acquired at less cost?

    Summer 2008: Design approval. The fighter’s initial design is approved in Russia, and the prototype blueprints are delivered to the KNAAPO aircraft building company based in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Source.

    Russia approves design

    April 3/08: RIA Novosti reports that Russia plans to begin flight tests of a new fifth-generation fighter based on Sukhoi’s PAK FA project in 2009.

    Feb 28/08: HAL explains some of the timelines facing the FGFA program. HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja explains the process, which is also the set of implicit points of failure where the project can become stalled or canceled:

    “We have only signed an Inter-governmental Agreement which agrees to cooperate in developing the FGFA. Now from that will flow the project report, general contract, the structure of the company that will be set up, and where the funding will come from. An aircraft design, development, certification, the complete entity with its power plant, systems, weapons, trials, is a process which takes 15 years to be completed.”

    2004 – 2007

    India signs key agreement, but it isn’t finalized.

    India’s SU-30 MKIs
    (click to view full)

    Nov 6/07: India. Issues and rifts may be developing between India and Russia over the FGFA contract, which still lacks key signatories. Defense News reports that key difference include the design’s level of finalization (India wants more input and hasn’t finalized requirements, Russia says the design is final), India’s monetary share (HAL says $2 billion, agreement suggests $5-6 billion), and other issues. The Defense News report does claim that Sukhoi’s secret PAK-FA/ I-21/ T50 design has been selected as the foundation.

    The first prototype of the aircraft is reportedly projected to be test-flown by 2015, but the number of aircraft to be built remains among the unsettled issues, and the 2 state-owned firms (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. & Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau) have not signed any agreements yet.

    All of these things are solvable by negotiations, of course, but that means the partnership is still effectively in negotiations, rather than a final deal.

    Oct 18/07: India and Russia sign an Intergovernmental Agreement for joint development and joint production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). The agreement was signed in Moscow, Russia at the conclusion of the 7th Meeting of the India- Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation.

    India’s Defence Minister Mr. AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Mr. Anatoly Serdyukov also signed a Protocol which envisages a ‘new strategic relationship’ based on greater interaction at various operational levels. The two countries have agreed to strengthen and expand relations in all areas, especially in the areas of more frequent joint exercises and greater R&D cooperation. Talks with Russia to extend the 2000 Military Cooperation Agreement beyond 2010 have now begun, and Antony also expressed hope that the two countries would soon sign an Intergovernmental Agreement on co-development and co-production of Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MRTA). The India MoD release adds:

    “The Defence Minister described the Agreement on FGFA as a ‘major landmark’ and said that the Indo-Russian relationship is on a trajectory to reach new heights. He Mr. Antony expressed satisfaction at the outcome of discussions on other important projects e.g., supply and licensed production of T-90 tanks, SU-30 MKI aircraft and other strategic issues. He admitted that there has been a delay in the delivery of the repaired and refurbished aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov along with supply of deck-based fighter aircraft MiG-29K and said it was decided that some more studies by technical groups would be done to go through the details. He appreciated the efforts made by the Russian side to resolve issues relating to life cycle support of equipment of Russian origin.”

    Inter-Governmental Agreement

    Aug 29/07: India. India’s MoD issues a familiar release, in response to renewed questions:

    “Co-development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft has been identified as an important area of cooperation between the Indian and Russian Government. Technical discussions to work out the details are in progress. Efforts are on for finalizing the draft Inter Governmental Agreement in this regard. This information was given by the Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh in a written reply to Shri Gurudas Dasgupta and Shri CK Chandrappan in Lok Sabha today.”

    March 1/07: India.Advanced Combat Aircraft” release from India’s Minister of State for Defence Production Shri Rao Inderjit Singh:

    “The co-development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft has been identified as an important area of cooperation between the Indian and Russian governments. Technical discussions to work out the details are in progress. Efforts are on for negotiations and finalization of the draft Inter-Governmental Agreement in this regard.”

    Dec 10/04: The new fighter’s exterior design is approved. Source.

    Appendix A: “Fifth Generation”?

    MiG 1.44 MFI
    (click to view full)

    Russia’s SU-27/30 Flanker family fighters were invented in the 1980s and 1990s, and attempted to incorporate the lessons from America’s 4th generation “teen series” fighters (F-14, F-15, F-16, F/A-18) into their designs. They were successful, and India’s Air Force may now be flying the world’s second best air superiority fighter in the SU-30MKI. The MKI, and European designs like the Eurofighter, Rafale, and JAS-39 Gripen, are typically referred to as “4+ generation” aircraft.

    The term “fifth generation” fighter is part marketing hype, and partly based in reality. There are no objective criteria for this designation, and very few examples, which means it’s mostly applied based on when the development of a front-line, advanced fighter begins. There are a few general constants on the American side: some level of stealth, and internal weapon carriage to maintain it; arrays of embedded sensors within the airframe’s structure, rather than as bolt-ons; and sensor fusion into single displays. On the other hand, level of application varies for each category, and key capabilities like super-maneuverability and supercruise (Mach 1+ without using fuel-guzzling afterburners) have not been constants.

    F-22, bays open
    (click to view full)

    The USA’s “5th generation” F-22A Raptor offers full stealth, supermaneuverability, an advanced AESA radar, huge computing power that creates a single “sensor fusion” picture from the plane’s array of embedded sensors and datalinks, and the ability to “supercruise” above Mach 1 instead of just making short supersonic dashes. It is operated by the USAF, and just over 190 aircraft will constitute America’s entire fleet. America has refused to export it, despite interest from very close allies.

    To a lesser extent, there’s also the cheaper F-35 Lightning II, with some stealth, a smaller AESA radar, sensor fusion, and even more computing power and sensors embedded around the aircraft. It lacks supercruise or super-maneuverability, and will be produced for domestic use and export in Air Force, Marines/STOVL, and Navy variants.

    Russia’s MiG 1.44 (if indeed it was a real project?) and/or “I-21” type aircraft were early attempts to keep up with the Americans, but lack of funds suspended both efforts.

    The obvious solution was a foreign partner, but Europe had limited funds, and had invested in its own 4+ generation projects: Dassault’s Rafale, EADS’ Eurofighter, and Sweden’s Gripen. India, on the other hand, has a long-standing defense relationship with Russia, and the funds to pursue advanced projects. From their point of view, a joint development agreement is one way to restrict Russian cooperation with China along similar lines. See Vijiander K Thakur’s “Understanding IAF interest in the MiG fifth generation fighter” for more background.

    Until similar aspects of the Russian design became clear, however, it was impossible to know exactly what Russia and India meant by “5th generation.” Some of those ambiguities were resolved when Russia unveiled its T50 demonstrators.

    Appendix B: DID Analysis – Under Pressure (2008)

    The competition?
    (click to view full)

    If there’s one watchword to use for this deal, it’s “pressure.” Russia has been putting pressure on India lately to remain a customer, by giving China export rights to jet engines that will power Pakistan’s new fighters, and by working to evict India from its base in Tajikistan. Verbiage concerning deepened strategic cooperation needs to be seen in this light.

    The second kind of pressure at work here is the fiscal variety. With the Navy also demanding funds for new ships, submarines and aircraft as India’s geostrategy shifts toward securing the Indian Ocean sea lanes, any additional fighters will face an extremely tight fiscal environment over the next decade and more.

    India already faces cost pressures given limited defense budget and pressing need to refurbish its existing fleet, modernize its fighters via the MRCA competition, and bring the Tejas LCA on line to replace its MiG-21s. Not to mention adding new platforms to patrol India’s vital sea lanes, fulfill naval fighter needs, upgrade its transport aircraft fleet, and extend the IAF’s reach. Meanwhile, India’s SU-30MKIs remain one of the best 4th generation aircraft in the world, with a comfortable edge over regional rivals, good growth prospects, and superiority over most current and planned US aircraft as well.

    SU-30MK2s, China
    (click to view full)

    Then there’s pressure in future, as the strategic agreement lays the foundations for something of a dilemma down the road. There are no real guarantees when dealing with Russia, only its interests of the moment and the logic of cash. Any fighter whose R&D is partly underwritten by India can easily be sold to China later on if relations turn sour, or if India does not buy enough aircraft to make exclusivity worthwhile from Russia’s point of view. One might think that this would be counterbalanced somewhat by Russian wariness about giving a potential rival its best technology, but past experience shows that even this will be for sale. China’s real military budget is about 4-5 times India’s according to most credible estimates, and is likely to remain so.

    Given the amount of Russian equipment in India’s military, and the limitations of defense budgets in a democracy that prevent a massive “throw-out and re-equip” exercise, India’s options for retaliation would be very limited.

    India faces high hurdles to retaining future exclusivity – and is handing a potent lever to Russia for future “negotiations” involving Russian armaments.

    Additional Readings Background: PAK-FA

    • Global Security – PAK FA [Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsyi].

    • Air Power Australia (Feb 15/10) – Assessing the Sukhoi PAK-FA. “While the failure to account for the imminent arrival of this design in United States TACAIR force structure planning qualifies the PAK-FA as a “known capability surprise”, the important advances in PAK-FA aerodynamic, kinematic and low observables design also qualify it as a “surprising capability surprise”.

    • Wikipedia – Sukhoi PAK FA. Wikipedia is a useful source for concept aircraft, because it tends to aggregate the various sources. This article is a good example. Note that all articles concerning this aircraft must be regarded as very provisional.

    • Warfare.RU, via WayBack – PAK-FA Sukhoi T-50. As of 2011. The “T-50” is an internal designation; the operational aircraft will be SU-##.

    • RIA Novosti, via WayBack – FACTBOX: Russia’s fifth-generation fighter T-50 (PAK FA). As of 2012.

    • NPO Saturn – 117S. The engine that equips the Su-35, and early T50 models. For its successor, see Aircraft Engines of the 5th Generation [in Russian].

    News and Views

    Categories: News

    US Army Moves Ahead with V-Hull Strykers

    Fri, 08/11/2017 - 04:59

    M1126, post-IED
    (click to view full)

    Under current plans, the 8×8 wheeled Stryker armored vehicle will be the future backbone of 8 US Army and 1 National Guard medium armored brigades. The 5th Stryker Brigade from Fort Lewis, WA was the first Stryker unit sent to Afghanistan, deployed in the summer of 2009 as part of a troop level increase. The brigade was equipped with 350 Stryker vehicles. In the first few months of deployment, they lost 21 soldiers, with 40 more wounded, to IED land mines. The losses prompted the Army to examine modifications to their Stryker vehicles, in order to make them more resistant to land mines.

    One result is the Stryker hull redesign, creating the v-hulled Stryker DVH. The US Army is now on pace to order 2 brigades worth, as it moves toward the end of Stryker armored vehicle production.

    Strykers, Struck: The Afghan Experience & Response

    Struck Stryker
    (click to view larger)

    The Strykers have come under criticism for their performance in Afghanistan since the first Stryker brigade was deployed there in the summer of 2009. The Stryker vehicles have been faulted for their lack of maneuverability on rough terrain, a problem that Canada’s similar LAV-IIIs have also experienced.

    That creates an associated vulnerability to IED land mines planted in the road. In June 2009, the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division deployed to Kandahar province. It had 37 troops killed in action and 238 wounded over its year-long deployment, and their flat-bottom Strykers were diverted part-way through into road guard missions, away from intense combat. Their replacement, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, continued the “freedom of movement” missions, and had suffered 14 KIA, 5 noncombat KIA, and more than 100 wounded, as of May 2011. Stars and Stripes reports:

    “In one incident in August [2010], a 1st Squadron flat-bottomed Stryker was struck by a massive bomb hidden in a highway culvert in Kandahar province. The blast peeled away the armor protecting its engine like the skin of an orange, snapped off a wheel at the axel and mangled the metal cage that was designed to protect troops from rocket-propelled grenades.

    [Pfc. Dustyn Applegate]… doesn’t rate the Stryker as a good vehicle for the sort of counter-IED mission that his unit was engaged in… “That’s the bad thing about the Stryker,” he said. “It has a flat bottom, so when the blast happens, it just blows up instead of up and out like with an MRAP. There is no safe place on the Stryker.”

    On the other hand, “M1126 Strykers in Combat: Experiences & Lessons” detailed surprisingly positive reviews of the wheeled APCs’ performance in Iraq. There, they made good use of roads, and their relative silence compared to tracked vehicles was an asset in urban warfare. If the Stryker is not the vehicle for all situations, it has at least proven to be very useful under defined circumstances.

    Any campaign that includes the mission of securing key roads, which is to say any mission that depends on economic progress and trade growth, will find Strykers very useful – so long as they remain survivable.

    Deflecting Danger: The Strykker DVH Effort

    V-Hull at work:
    Cougar MRAP

    (click to view full)

    Hence the Stryker double-v hull design, which channels blast force away from the vehicle and its occupants. The US Army has announced contracts to produce 742 Stryker DVH vehicles, as retrofits and as new production vehicles. That’s the full extent of the current plan, which was a major step beyond the program’s initial plan of 450 Stryker DVHs.

    The modified M1126 Stryker ICVV/DVH infantry carrier is the base variant for 7 additional configurations, which will be employed as part of coherent v-hulled Stryker Brigade Combat Teams: M1129 DVH Mortar Carrier, M1130 DVH Command Vehicle, M1131 DVH Fire Support Vehicle, M1132 DVH Engineer Squad Vehicle, M1133 DVH Medical Evacuation Vehicle, M1134 DVH Anti-Tank Guided Missile Vehicle, and the Infantry Carrier Vehicle DVH-Scout (ICVV-S). The ICVV-S is a new configuration that allows internal stowage of the Long Range Advance Scout (LRAS) surveillance system, which is mounted externally on the standard M1127 Reconnaissance Vehicle.

    The Stryker DVH program retains a connection with overall Stryker modernization efforts. In a sense, it just prioritized one element of that plan for faster fielding, and made them the front-line vehicles for an SBCT in-theater. That will rise to 2 SBCTs by the end of 2012. After that, the Army says that:

    “Once the Army decides on the appropriate future force structure, fleet mix and overall number of combat vehicles, the quantity of DVH Strykers and variants of Strykers will be finalized.”

    America isn’t the only one upgrading its LAV-IIIs. Blast-protection efforts are underway for Australia’s ASLAVs, and in Canada via the near-term LAV LORIT program, and their longer-term LAV-III upgrade to the same base vehicle.

    To date, however, the Stryker Double-V Hull remains unique to the USA.

    Left Behind

    Stryker M1128, Iraq
    (click to view full)

    Some Stryker typers won’t be getting the DVH treatment. The US Army does not plan to purchase Stryker DVH versions of the M1127 Reconnaissance vehicle (which does have an ICVV-S DVH counterpart), M1128 MGS assault gun, or the M1135 Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle. Once the DVH vehicles are done, and the last set of M1135s are ordered and produced, overall Stryker production will end.

    During the December 2010 Stryker DVH Configuration Steering Board, the Army decided not to pursue full-rate production for the standard M1128 Stryker Mobile Gun System, either. While the M1128’s 105mm gun offers potent firepower, the type already has significant weight and protection issues that haven’t been resolved. The Army decided that neither continued production nor DVH made sense for this type, unless the Stryker Modernization program gave the vehicle more base heft and power.

    That seems less and less likely. According to US Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Peggy Kageleiry:

    “Stryker Modernization has been replaced with a reduced-scope Engineering Change Proposal (ECP). The scope of the ECP for Stryker upgrades is still to be determined, but the following will be considered: buy-back Space, Weight, Power, and Cooling (SWaP-C) deficiencies, improve mobility and protection, and provide ability to accept future network and protection upgrades.”

    Contracts & Key Events

    M1126 DVH Exchange
    (click to view full)

    Under the contracts, the GM General Dynamics Land Systems Defense Group partnership in Sterling Heights, MI will provide design and integration engineering services, test articles/prototypes, and procurement of materials, including long-lead materials, to support the modified hull design with related integrated system changes. The US Army says the contract objectives are an integrated solution that will provide improved protection levels to support operations in Afghanistan.

    The Army’s Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, MI manages these contracts.

    FY 2017

     

    M1126 DVH
    (click to view full)

    August 11/17: A team combining Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems will enter a US Army short-range air defense (SHORAD) shoot-off next month. The team will build a short-range air defense system by placing a modernized Avenger air defense system on the back of a Stryker combat vehicle reconfigured to accommodate the system on a turret. The new Avenger is designed to shoot a multitude of different missiles, can be equipped with a 30mm gun and potentially even directed energy weapons down the road. A need for a new SHORAD capability surfaced last year, when the Army noticed a requirement for such platforms in the European theater and has been moving quickly to fill it by developing a system that will give maneuver forces the capability to defend against air threats from peer adversaries on the forward edge of the battlefield.

    April 3/17: Latin American governments may soon be operating the Stryker combat vehicle as the US contemplates selling the vehicle to several modernization efforts. Brazil, Colombia, and Peru are all looking to upgrade their armored fleets and the Stryker is seen as an attractive capability that will help with countering threats from “illicit networks” within their borders. If an agreement is secured, it will be the first foreign military sale of the vehicle. Typically armed with either an M2 .50 caliber machine gun or an MK19 40mm grenade launcher mounted in a Protector remote weapon station, the Army has been investing in upgunning and improving the Stryker vehicle by giving it an optional 30mm cannon for anti-air missions and a v-shaped hull to increase protection from explosives.

    January 27/17: A US Army Stryker armored vehicle fitted with a 30mm cannon has been tested for the first time. Testing of the cannon, part of a series of upgrades designed to increase the mission capabilities of US Stryker vehicles, was undertaken in order to verify its combat abilities and make future determinations on the vehicle’s armament. The Pentagon’s decision to upgun a number of its Stryker’s – nicknamed the Dragoon – was taken in response to Russia’s 2015 invasion of Ukraine to close a ground vehicle capability gap, according to service leaders. The Army plans to field first of 83 Dragoons by the end of Fiscal 2018.

    December 8/16: The US State Department has cleared the sale of 178 reconditioned Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles to the government of Peru. Valued at $668 million, the deal also includes supporting weapons, Remote Weapon Stations, Global Positioning System navigation capabilities, special tool sets, and testing equipment. Once delivered, the vehicles will be used to support border security, disaster response, and counter-terrorism missions.

    November 1/16: The first upgunned Stryker infantry carrier vehicle has been returned to the US Army. Designated as the Stryker Dragoon, the vehicle comes armed with a more lethal 30mm cannon and will be fielded with the Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment in May 2018. Other new aspects of the upgrade include an integrated Kongsberg MCT-30mm Weapon System with a remotely-operated, unmanned turret; a new, fully-integrated commander’s station; and upgraded driveline component and hull modifications. Full rate production will commence following an abbreviated test phase in Spring 2017.

    FY 2016

     

    May 9/16: The US Army has awarded General Dynamic Land Systems a $329 million contract for the production, logistics product development, and test support for the Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) 30mm lethality upgrade. Upgrading the lethality and durability of the Army’s Strykers has become a recent priority for the service as the Pentagon looks to increase the vehicle’s operational capabilities. General Dynamic’s work on the project is expected to run until January 15, 2021.

    March 4/16: An industry wide search is to be carried out by the US Army to seek increased capabilities for its Stryker units. The Army will look at different sensors, better ways to integrate capabilities, and ways to make vehicles more survivable. This will go beyond the current efforts to upgun the armored vehicle by adding 30mm cannons or Javelin missiles, and to add Double-V Hulls for extra durability. The new and improved vehicles are expected to reach operational capability by early 2018.

    February 15/16: The US Army plans to upgun their 8×8 Stryker armored vehicles. The vehicles will be fitted with a 30mm automatic cannon, that comes with air-burst shells, for use in air defense activities. The gun would allow the vehicles to act as a mobile anti-aircraft gun, as the Army looks to increase capabilities of existing systems, while funds for any major programs are non-existent. The upgunning with the 30mm cannon was initially intended to destroy light-armored vehicles such as the Russian BMP, with the inclusion of the air-burst shells allowing for greater capabilities.

    November 6/15: Lithuania has requested 84 Stryker Infantry Combat Vehicles from the US, with the State Department approving the potential Foreign Military Sale. The request also includes 30mm cannons – recently approved as an upgrade for some US Strykers stationed in Europe – and Remote Weapons Stations, as well as machine guns, communications systems and auxiliary equipment. The potential deal is estimated to value $599 million, with 30 US government or contractor personnel required to travel to Lithuania to help implement the introduction and sustainment of the Strykers.

    October 6/15: The Army’s Stryker vehicles will benefit from a $411 million upgrade program for the vehicles’ main armament, with the 2016 NDAA bill including $314 million for modification work to the fleet to up-gun their 12.7mm cannons to 30mm guns. The remaining $97 million is earmarked for R&D, with the House and Senate Armed Service Committees criticizing the Army for an increasingly unacceptable per-vehicle cost to upgrade the Stryker fleet. A response to fears that the Strykers would be out-gunned by would-be Russian adversaries in Europe, the Army was given a provisional thumbs-up for the upgrade work in April, with the Hill stipulating that the upgrades will be limited to the Army’s European-deployed Strykers rather than form a fleet-wide upgrade program.

    FY 2013 – 2015

     

    May 5/15: The Army’s European-deployed Stryker mobile guns have been given a provisional thumbs-up for more powerful weapon systems. The current 12.7mm machine guns will be upgraded to 30mm autocannons, with the “high priority need” a reflection of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s requirement for increased lethality, according to a memo obtained by Breaking Defense earlier this month.

    Jan 12/14: Good news, bad news. The good news: the Army wants to convert all 9 of its standard Stryker Brigades to the DVH configuration, using the DVH Exchange option.

    The bad news is what you’d expect: no funding beyond the first 2 brigades they’ve already done, and the 3rd they hope to finish by 2016 (q.v. Sept 10/13). Which means GDLS Canada’s LAV-III/ Stryker manufacturing equipment will have to be placed in layaway mode for a future production line restart, to be triggered by either future US Army orders or foreign sales. Either way, however, a line restart always costs extra. Sources: Defense News, “US Plans Radical Upgrade of Stryker Brigades”.

    Sept 10/13: 3rd brigade. The Project Manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team received the approval from the Army Acquisition Executive to begin buying a 3rd brigade of Stryker DVH vehicles to switch with an existing brigade. The initial 66 vehicle conversions of an eventual 337 have been awarded via a $118 million contract to GDLS. Deliveries will begin in July 2014, and the initial 66 will be complete by February 2015.

    As of this order, the DVH Exchange pilot program had wrapped up in April 2013 after delivering 52 vehicles on time and under budget. Remaining brigade orders will be based on the availability of funding, using an incremental approach over FY 2014-2016. Sources: US Army, “Army gives green light for procurement of 3rd Stryker Double-V Hull brigade” | GD, “General Dynamics Awarded $118 Million for Stryker Double-V Hull Vehicles” | Yellowhammer News, “80 Anniston Army Depot jobs preserved with DVH Stryker announcement”.

    Orders for 3rd brigade begin

    Oct 15/12: DVH Exchange. The US Army announces that they’ve completed the 1st vehicle in their Stryker DVH exchange program. The exchange involves taking a standard Stryker variant, reusing common parts, refurbishing them, and inserting the parts into a vehicle on the DVH production line.

    The Army is documenting the teardown and reuse process, in hopes of having clearer figures if the Army decides that it wants more Stryker DVHs later on. Obviously, they’re hoping to find out that this saves money, by using a lot of the old parts. Once they’ve had a chance to try and make this process more efficient, then cost it, they’ll be in position to present a case. US Army.

    FY 2012

     

    M1126 DVHs, Afghanistan
    (click to view full)

    March 4/12: Plans. The US Army clarifies its plans for the Stryker DVH: 760 total, to be delivered by the end of 2012, equipping 2 Brigade Combat Teams. When queried, however, Lt. Col. Peggy Kageleiry said that:

    “…the Army has a current procurement target of 742 Double-V Hull (DVH) Stryker vehicles… which will be completed by December 2012. Procurement of 158 NBCRVs which are on contract in FY12 & FY13, will complete the current planned Stryker vehicle purchase. Once the Army decides on the appropriate future force structure, fleet mix and overall number of combat vehicles, the quantity of DVH Strykers and variants of Strykers will be finalized.”

    With respect to performance in-theater, Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, says there have been about 40 land mine incidents for the DVH. In 38 of those incidents, all soldiers walked away with just minor injuries. In his words: “That vehicle has performed beyond our expectations.”

    Jan 18/12: Industrial. GDLS’ newly-acquired Force Protection manufacturing facility in Ladson, SC, will be doing work on another v-hulled vehicle. About $10 million in new work is moving there, to install additional combat-related communication and protection equipment on 292 Stryker DVH (Double-V Hull) 8×8 wheeled APCs, which are getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan.

    The new work begins in March 2012, and will occupy about 45 jobs until about February 2013. Force Protection.

    Jan 17/12: DOT&E Report. The US Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation issues his FY 2011 Annual Report, which includes the Stryker DVH program. The program get good reviews, based on tests. The modified Strykers retained the same basic mobility, proved their performance against land mines, and actually had better reliability than their flat-hulled counterparts. They were rated both operationally effective for performance, and operationally suitable for reliability.

    Quibbles were minor, involving data collection for the M1126 ICVV’s operational assessment, and problems with the Stryker DVH driver’s compartment being too small for larger Soldiers. The Army is planning a driver’s compartment redesign, and will continue to test the other 7 DVH variants through Q3 2012. In the nearer term, February 2012 is expected to see the end of Styker ICVV-Scout operational testing, and M1129 Mortar Carrier Vehicle DVH developmental and operational testing, at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

    Oct 25/11: +177. General Dynamics Land Systems announces a $367 million order for another 177 Stryker double-V hull (DVH) wheeled APCs, raising the US Army’s buy to 2 full Stryker DVH Brigade Combat Teams. Work on Stryker DVH vehicles is performed in Anniston, AL and Lima, OH, as well as the main production facility in London, ON, Canada (W56HZV-07-D-M112, #0266, Mod.1).

    The firm says that over 320 double-V-hulled Stryker vehicles have been produced so far, under a contract awarded in July 2010 for 450 double-V-hull vehicles. Deliveries will be complete by July 2013. DID checked with GDLS, and confirmed that this order brings the total number of ordered Stryker DVH vehicles to 742.

    Oct 5/11: +115. General Dynamics Land Systems announces a $243 million contract to produce and deliver another 115 Stryker DVHs. General Dynamics will also provide production sustainment support and obsolescence management services. Work will be performed in Anniston, AL, London, ON, Canada, and Lima, OH. Deliveries will be complete by September 2012 (W56HZV-07-D-M112, #0266).

    The firm says that about 300 double-V-hulled Strykers have been delivered so far, under a contract awarded in July 2010, with initial deliveries rolling out in May 2011. This order begins to go beyond the program’s original goal of 450. GDLS.

    FY 2011

     

    M1126, Mosul – no DVH
    (click to view full)

    June 1/11: A $40 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification “for Stryker double-V hull development and delivery of prototype vehicles.”

    Work will be performed in Sterling Heights, MI, and London, Ontario, Canada, with an estimated completion date of July 30/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    May 20/11: Deployment. Stars & Stripes relays the US Army’s statement re: Afghan deployments of the Stryker DVH, and also details combat statistics and criticisms related to the Stryker’s deployments in Afghanistan.

    May 9/11: Deployment. US Army:

    “In the coming weeks, Soldiers in Afghanistan will begin to see 150 new Strykers with a double-V hull, or DVH… The Stryker DVH, with enhanced armor, wider tires and blast-attenuating seats, went from conception to production in less than one year… “The rapid turnaround of the DVH is responsiveness at its best,” Col. Robert Schumitz, Stryker Brigade Combat Team Project Management Office, project manager, said… Engineers at General Dynamics Land Systems conceived of the double-V-hull design and tested it at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif… There are 140 Stryker DVH’s already in the Army supply chain, and plans are to field a total of 450 vehicles.”

    April 12/11: +404. A pair of contracts worth $49.5 million revise earlier orders for 404 vehicles. The wording is confusing, but GDLS clarifies that: “The dod announcements are not new vehicles or contracts” – designating them as limit increases to existing contracts.

    A $37.2 million firm-fixed-price contract revises the not-to-exceed amount and obligated amount for Double-V hull production cut-in to 178 Stryker vehicles. Work will be performed at London, Ontario, Canada, and Anniston, AL, with an estimated completion date of Feb 29/12. One bid was solicited and one received (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    A $12.3 million firm-fixed-price contract revises the not-to-exceed amount and obligated amount for Double-V hull production cut-in to 226 Stryker vehicles. Work will be performed at London, Ontario, Canada, and Anniston, AL, with an estimated completion date of Feb 29/12. One bid was solicited and one received (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    March 3/11: +15. GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC in Sterling Heights, MI receives an $18.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract that will “provide for support for 19 Stryker flat-bottom vehicles and 15 Stryker double-V hull vehicles.” Work will be performed in Sterling Heights, MI, with an estimated completion date of Feb 29/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    Dec 3/10: Support. A $91.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee/firm-fixed-price contract, for service to support performance specification changes to the Stryker vehicle. These changes will design and buy “necessary components to support the Stryker mine protection kit” for vehicles in the Afghan theater.

    Work will be performed in Sterling Heights, MI (5%), and London, Canada (95%), with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/10. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    Oct 27/10: +46. A $8.3 million firm-fixed-price contract cuts the modified double-v hull design into another 46 Stryker vehicles on the production line. Note that cut-in contracts pay for making the changes and for the new materials, not for the entire Stryker.

    Work will be performed in London, Canada (50%), and Anniston, AL (50%), with an estimated completion date of Feb 29/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W56HZV-07-D-M112, #0256). This order brings the total to the program’s goal of 450 vehicles.

    Oct 13/10: +45. A $9.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to cut the modified double-V hull design into the production of another 45 Stryker vehicles. Work is to be performed in London, Ontario, Canada (50%), and Anniston, AL (50%), with an estimated completion date of February 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    FY 2010

     

    M1129 MC – no DVH
    (click to view full)

    Aug 10/10: Renovations may be more difficult than they first appear. A $20 million firm-fixed-price contract adds the modified hull design (double-V hull), into an additional 78 new-build vehicles, raising the total to 359. It also revises the obligated amount for the previous 281 vehicles (vid. July 9/10). Work is to be performed in London, Ontario, Canada (50%), and Anniston, AL (50%), with an estimated completion date of Feb 22/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W56HZV-07-D-M112). See also GD release.

    Aug 6/10: A $9.8 million firm-fixed-price contract revises the obligated amount for the production cut-in of the revised Stryker performance and hull design into 281 new-build vehicles (vid. July 9/10). Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, MI (30%), and London, Canada (70%), with an estimated completion date of Feb 16/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    July 9/10: A $30.1 million firm-fixed-price contract directs production cut-in of the revised Stryker performance specifications, which incorporates a modified double-V hull design, into 281 vehicles. The new vehicles will be sent to Afghanistan. Work will be performed in London, Canada (70%), and Sterling Heights, MI (30%). Deliveries will begin in January 2011 to allow vehicles to be available for use by the Stryker brigade that will rotate into Afghanistan in 2011, and will be completed by February 2012. (W56HZV-07-D-M112). See also GDLS release.

    June 1/10: The GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC in Sterling Heights, MI recently received a $29.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract buys 14 Stryker Double-V Hull prototype vehicles for government ballistic, performance/durability, and logistics testing and demonstration.

    Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, MI (41%); and London, ON, Canada (59%), with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/11. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by TACOM, CCTA-AI in Warren, MI (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    April 9/10: A $58.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a modified hull design for the US Army’s Stryker vehicles to improve performance and survivability in Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, MI (41%), and London, Ontario, Canada (59%), with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/11 (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

    March 11/2010: During US Senate testimony in early 2010, Gen. George Casey said that the US Army was planning to modify the Stryker vehicle with a double V-shaped hull designed to deflect land mine blasts from below.

    The Stryker M1135 NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) reconnaissance and M1128 MGS assault gun variants would reportedly not be modified under the current plan. That could create field issues, since the M1128 is meant to act as firepower support in Stryker brigades.

    Additional Readings

    Categories: News

    Modified Stryker as possible NATO SHORAD capability | Japan offers spare parts deal to Philippines | George meets Lizzie

    Fri, 08/11/2017 - 04:00
    Americas

    • BAE Systems has introduced its iMOTR mobile multiple-object tracking radar at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Ala. Billed as a radar that is cheaper than competitors without skimping on performance, it uses C or X-band active electronically scanned array antennas for tracking objects in flight close to the ground while reducing object clutter, and is mounted on a trailer for greater mobility. BAE see the radar being purchased for use on test and evaluation ranges for aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

    • AAR has announced that it has received a $909 million contract to conduct work for the Landing Gear Performance-Based Logistics One program for C-130, KC-135 and E-3 landing gear parts. Under the terms of the 15-year deal, work to be performed by the company involves manufacturing, supply chain management, inventory control and depot level maintenance for the US Air Force and foreign allied aircraft. Work will primarily take place at AAR’s landing gear maintenance facility in Miami, Fla.

    • A team combining Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems will enter a US Army short-range air defense (SHORAD) shoot-off next month. The team will build a short-range air defense system by placing a modernized Avenger air defense system on the back of a Stryker combat vehicle reconfigured to accommodate the system on a turret. The new Avenger is designed to shoot a multitude of different missiles, can be equipped with a 30mm gun and potentially even directed energy weapons down the road. A need for a new SHORAD capability surfaced last year, when the Army noticed a requirement for such platforms in the European theater and has been moving quickly to fill it by developing a system that will give maneuver forces the capability to defend against air threats from peer adversaries on the forward edge of the battlefield.

    Middle East & Africa

    • AH-64 Apache helicopters operated by the Israeli Air Force have been grounded following a crash on Monday. The August 7 crash, which caused the death of one crew member and injuring the second, occurred between two runways at Ramon air base seconds after the pilot reported technical problems. This is the second grounding of Israeli Apache aircraft in three months after a routine inspection of the helicopters found a 7.8in (20cm)-long crack in a tail rotor blade. However, preliminary indications from an investigation into the recent crash do not connect the crash to the previously identified cracked tail rotor blade issue.

    Europe

    • The Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has met the Nimitz-class USS George H. Bush and her carrier strike group off the coast of Scotland. Over 60 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines are currently on board the Bush, who have been working with their US counterparts to hone carrier strike skills ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s entry into service. The Saxon Warrior exercise, which has been at play for nearly a week, has seen UK staff work with their American counterparts to fight off a series of simulated threats from enemy forces, using all the air, surface and sub-surface assets of the entire task group.

    Asia Pacific

    • Malaysia has refuted media claims that China has offered as many as 12 AR3 multiple-launch artillery rocket systems (MLRS) and a radar system to be based in the south east of the country. The denial comes following earlier reports that a Chinese delegation visiting Malaysia this week had proposed basing the military equipment in Johor, a Malaysian state bordering Singapore, and included a purchase program with a loan period of 50 years. A Malaysia military spokesman said no such proposal had been received.

    • Japan has announced offers to transfer military equipment to the Philippines, as Tokyo hopes to improve its diplomatic clout with Manilla ahead of rival China. If the deal went ahead, it would include the transfer of thousands of helicopter parts to keep Philippine military choppers airborne, and would mark Japan’s first military aid deal since lawmakers scrapped a rule in June barring giveaways of surplus military kit to other countries. Japan’s interest in increasing defense aid to the neighboring archipelago comes as part of efforts to secure support against Chinese assertiveness in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. It fears that Beijing could defang opposition to its territorial assertiveness in these contested waters with arms sales and development aid to countries surrounding the busy waterway—which sees $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passing through each year.

    • Deliveries of the LCA Tejas aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been delayed after the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered only four aircraft to the IAF out of 40 ordered in 2005. The four aircraft so far delivered are from a batch of 20 designated for initial operational clearance (IOC), while the remaining 20 aircraft were designated for final operational clearance (FOC). In order to ramp up production, the government has established a second manufacturing line to support “structural and equipping activities. HAL has also altered the production of certain components and has reduced the manufacturing cycle time by improving supply chain management and boosting workforce.

    Today’s Video

    • Russian & Chinese aircraft destroy F-16 target during exercises:

    https://youtu.be/_0AFR0r4PgY
    Categories: News

    Israel’s AH-64A Attack Helos Get Custom Upgrades – Despite the USA

    Fri, 08/11/2017 - 03:58

    Israeli AH-64D
    (click to view full)

    Israel’s attack helicopter fleet still flies AH-1 Cobras, but larger and more heavily armored AH-64 Apache helicopters began arriving in 1990, and have distinguished themselves in a number of war since. The country received 44 AH-64A helicopters from 1990 – 1993. Additional buys, conversions, and losses placed the fleet at 45 helicopters as of Flight Global’s World Air Forces 2013 report, split between AH-64As and more modern AH-64D Longbows.

    The AH-64D Longbow’s sophisticated mast-mounted radar can quickly pick up tanks and other dangerous targets, but isn’t designed to distinguish civilians from combatants, or to hover close over the deck in highly populated areas. Confronted by asymmetrical urban warfare and budget priority issues, and faced with a lack of cooperation from the Obama administration, the IAF decided in 2010 to forego AH-64D upgrades for their remaining helicopters. On the other hand, the type’s consistent usefulness has led Israeli to make extensive improvements of their own, to the point where Israel has effectively created their own improved AH-64A configuration…

    Contracts & Key Events

    Israeli AH-64s

    August 11/17: AH-64 Apache helicopters operated by the Israeli Air Force have been grounded following a crash on Monday. The August 7 crash, which caused the death of one crew member and injuring the second, occurred between two runways at Ramon air base seconds after the pilot reported technical problems. This is the second grounding of Israeli Apache aircraft in three months after a routine inspection of the helicopters found a 7.8in (20cm)-long crack in a tail rotor blade. However, preliminary indications from an investigation into the recent crash do not connect the crash to the previously identified cracked tail rotor blade issue.

    November 14/16: AH-64 Apaches operated by Israel now have an anti-tank capability. Modifications to the attack helicopters now allow for the firing of the Rafael Spike anti-tank guided missile. The program began in 2014 following the halting by Washington of a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel during Operation Protective Edge. The offensive, which saw IDF forces conduct several weeks of operations in the Gaza Strip in response to Hamas rocket fire, has drawn international criticism on both sides.

    March 14/14: AH-64Ai. Israel has reportedly upgraded its AH-64As to its own improved configuration, which approaches the American AH-64D standard in sophistication but isn’t the same. Improvements reportedly include Israeli electronic warfare and self-protection systems, improved avionics, compatibility with modern Israeli battle management & communications systems, and “several new” Israeli missiles.

    Carriage of RAFAEL’s Spike-LR missiles as alternatives to AGM-114 Hellfires would be expected, along with Elbit Systems’ GATR-L laser-guided 70mm rockets. There are also reports that South Korea will be integrating the long-range Spike NLOS and its 25+ km reach onto its new AW159 Wildcat naval helicopters, and that kind of missile would be an equally excellent complement to Israeli AH-64s. All sources would say was:

    “They are based on the huge operational experience of the force in using the Apache Longbow in a variety of combat scenarios,” an officer, identified only as Maj. Yonatan…. The upgrade has been developed amid the U.S. refusal to modernize Israel’s Apache fleet, employed in attacks on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

    The sources said the administration of President Barack Obama blocked Israeli efforts to modernize the Apaches or purchase new helicopters from Boeing.”

    Sources: World Tribune, “Israel upgrades Apache helicopters after U.S. blocked their modernization”.

    Oct 8/13: AH-64A+. The commander of the IAF’s “Unit 22” says that Israel’s AH-64As are undergoing comprehensive upgrades in Israel. This includes replacing original wiring and some main computers, and a new unit-designed compartment beneath the fuselage that houses additional electronics.

    Israel still flies a number of AH-64A models, after deciding not to upgrade the entire fleet to the AH-64D standard. Flight Global’s Ascend databases places the number at 26 / 48 helicopters, but it may not fully account for casualties. Sources: FlightGlobal, “Israeli Apache upgrade adds avionics pod”.

    Dec 31/10: Weapons. Israel is reportedly looking to equip its AH-64 helicopters with guided 70mm rockets, and is reportedly considering whether tho use the American Hydra or Canadian CRV-7 as its base.

    That’s an odd contention, because Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd. partnered with America’s ATK on July 9/08 to create a 70mm GATR-L laser-guided rocket. It’s based on the Hydra, and reportedly had successful Israeli flight trials in June 2009. Sources: Jerusalem Post, “Rapid-fire rocket system aims to reduce civilian casualties”.

    IAF AH-64
    (click to view full)

    June 30/10. Israel abandons plans to upgrade its entire AH-64 fleet to the AH-64D Longbow configuration, and will choose to improve the helicopters’ weapon options instead. They’ll also continue operating their CH-53D helicopters until the CH-53K is available to replace them. Sources: Flight Global, “Israel ditches Apache upgrade plan, commits to CH-53K”.

    No more AH-64D upgrades

    Aug 4/09: After analyzing their AH-64D fleet’s participation during Operation “Cast Lead” against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the IAF has decided to upgrade all of its AH-64As to the AH-64D configuration. That’s fine with Boeing, who has been urging customer to upgrade to AH-64D Block II standard before the US military stops supporting the AH-64A. Sources: Flight Global, “Israel, Boeing negotiate Apache Longbow upgrade”.

    May 27/09: US blocks AH-64s. The Obama administration blocks Israel’s request for 6 more AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, using the old “interagency review” gambit. Israel had lost 2 AH-64s during the 2006 war with Hizbullah. Sources: World Tribune, “Administration blocks helicopters for Israel due to civilian casualties in Gaza”.

    US blockage

    April 12/05: The left-wing Ha’aretz publishes an article debating whether or not new rotor aircraft platforms such as the AH-64 Apache Longbow – of which Israeli just bought 18 – are worth the cost. Their immediate security threats are widely considered to be terrorism-related these days, rather than the historic threat of Syrian tank columns. Given their cost, are the really necessary? The report says that the Israeli debate mirrors the U.S. debate that led to the shelving of Boeing and Sikorsky’s RAH-66 Comanche program. A cost of $600 million recently bought Israel the 18 Longbows, plus 9 new Apaches and newly-scheduled upgrades for previously purchased Apaches.

    Israeli Longbow purchase opponents – many who would like to see the money put into land forces and ground security purchases – point to the expensive mission in Karbala, Iraq during the campaign that overthrew Saddam Hussein, where small arms managed to seriously hurt 28 of 30 Apaches as they hovered to acquire targets.

    Among aviators, much of the Karbala damage has been blamed on intelligence that failed to alert pilots that the terrain south of Baghdad was so heavily populated. Apache and Longbow supporters have also used the Karbala incident to boost their case, pointing out just how much lead the craft were able to absorb while still remaining in the air. Sources: Ha’aretz, “The Longbow – yes and no”.

    Additional Readings

    Categories: News

    US-Israeli interceptors to enter full-rate production | Loss of rotor the cause of German Tiger crash in Mali | Turkey orders armored vehicles to tackle PKK

    Thu, 08/10/2017 - 04:00
    Americas

    • Against the backdrop of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un threatening each other with nuclear annihilation, Lockheed Martin has reported an increased number of missile defense queries from customers. The company said Tuesday that the “level of dialogue around missile defense is now at the prime minister and minister of defense level,” adding that over the last 12-18 months, countries have increasingly put missile defense at the top of their list of desired capabilities, as tensions in East Asia mount over North Korea’s insistence on furthering its nuclear weapon ambitions. Reuters notes that shares in Lockheed are up nearly 8 percent, to $300.10, since North Korea’s first long-range missile test on July 4. The stock is up 20 percent year-to-date.

    • Kratos Defense and Security Solutions has said that a secret UAV developed by the company will enter production by the end of this financial quarter. News that Kratos had such a platform was revealed by the company earlier this year when it announced a series of successful demonstration flights with a new jet-powered, high-subsonic UAV. It’s believed that the drone is being developed for an unknown government agency and is designed for an anti-access area denied environment with an altitude performance ranging up to 45,000ft. It’s launched on a railed catapult and recovered by deploying a parachute and floating to the ground.

    Middle East & Africa

    • Turkey has contracted local manufacturer BMC for the production and delivery of 529 tactical armored vehicles. Estimated to value $350 million, the deal will also see contributions from other local companies designated as sub-contractors. The contract also requests an unspecified number of the Yeni Kirpi— an advanced version of the Kirpi—BMC’s mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle which was showcased in May 2017 at the IDEF defense and aerospace exhibition in Istanbul. Once delivered, the vehicles will primarily be used in Turkey’s southeastern regions where security forces have been tackling renewed violence from Kurdish militant group, the PKK, since the breakdown of a ceasefire in July 2015.

    • Production of interceptors jointly-developed by US and Israeli industry for the latter’s multi-tiered missile defense system is being ramped up, as three interceptor programs transition from low-rate initial production (LRIP) to full-rate production. The Boeing-IAI developed Arrow-3, and the Rafael-Raytheon developed Stunner—used in the David’s Sling system—and Tamir—used by the Iron Dome—interceptors are built in a large part by US-based firms, with a network of contractors and sub-contractors stretching out across 30 of its 50 states. This is due to congressional mandates and government-to-government agreements which stipulates that at least 50% of the work is produced in the US. Potential exports are also being taken into account, as the Stunner—marketed abroad as the SkyCeptor—is currently being considered by the Polish government for its Patriot active defense system.

    Europe

    • The crash of a German army Tiger helicopter in Mali which resulted in the death of two crew members was caused by the rotorcraft losing its rotor, a defense ministry report has revealed. While the report stated that it is still to early to speculate on the cause of the accident, it ruled out that the helicopter was downed in an attack, adding that “once the vehicle had started to descend, parts of the aircraft broke off, including the main rotor blades.” This could potentially mean that the cause of the in-air break up was due to maintenance or manufacturing issues, which if it is the case, could be bad news for manufacturer Airbus. Berlin’s decision to send four Tigers alongside four NH-90 helicopters to aid a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali earlier this year proved controversial with some lawmakers, after the Tiger required extra maintenance given the high heat and other environmental conditions in the desert country. Officials maintain that up until the incident, all four Tigers had been operating without issue.

    Asia Pacific

    • India’s Kalyani Group, in partnership with Israel’s Rafael, has opened the country’s first-ever private missile subsystems manufacturing facility. Located in Hyrdabad and trading under the name Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems, the facility will undertake the production and assembly of Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and its related technologies such as missile electronics, command, control and guidance, electro-optics, remote weapon systems, precision-guided munitions, and system engineering. In addition to establishing a robust supply chain in India to undertake spares and other parts requirements of missiles to be manufactured in the country, the joint venture will also look to export Spike ATGM family and SPICE precision-guided munitions to Southeast Asian counties. The company can also boast the status of being India’s largest-ever foreign direct investment joint venture firm.

    • The war, which has thankfully remained one of just words, between the leaders of the US and North Korea continue this week after US President Donald Trump promised that North Korea would would be met with “fire and fury” if it continued its aggressive testing of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear technology. Not deterred by such remarks, Kim Jung-un threatened nuclear strikes on the island of Guam, a US territory in the Pacific that boasts a military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group. In the absence of any diplomatic tact from both leaders, Guam Governor Eddie Calvo dismissed the threat and said the island was prepared for “any eventuality” with strategically placed defenses. He said he had been in touch with the White House and there was no change in the threat level.

    Today’s Video

    Categories: News

    David Gets Some High-Tech Help in His Battle with Goliath

    Thu, 08/10/2017 - 03:59

    David’s Victory
    (click to view larger)

    David didn’t need high technology to defeat Goliath, just some stones and a sling. But in the modern world, David is getting some high-tech help from the likes of Raytheon and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, who are developing a missile defense system called David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS).

    The DSWS is a joint short-range ballistic missile defense program between the US Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization. The system is designed to defeat short-range ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets and cruise missiles in their terminal phase of flight.

    Raytheon received 2 contracts from Rafael worth more than $100 million to build DSWS components.

    The 1st contract was awarded to codevelop the missile component of the DSWS called the Stunner Interceptor. Stunner is a hit-to-kill interceptor designed for use in the DSWS and allied integrated air and missile defense systems.

    The 2nd contract was awarded for the development, production and integrated logistics support of the missile firing unit (MFU), the launcher component of the DSWS. The MFU will provide the DSWS with vertical interceptor launch capability for 360-degree extended air and missile defense.

    Other joint US-Israel missile defense efforts include coproduction of the Arrow missile defense system interceptors and an initiative to provide Israel an upper-tier missile defense system. According to Defense Update, the United States and Israel have begun development of an upper-tier component to the Israeli Arrow 3 missile defense architecture. According to Arieh Herzog, director of Israel’s Missile Defense Program, the main element of this upper tier will be an exo-atmospheric interceptor, to be jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing.

    Updates

    August 10/17: Production of interceptors jointly-developed by US and Israeli industry for the latter’s multi-tiered missile defense system is being ramped up, as three interceptor programs transition from low-rate initial production (LRIP) to full-rate production. The Boeing-IAI developed Arrow-3, and the Rafael-Raytheon developed Stunner—used in the David’s Sling system—and Tamir—used by the Iron Dome—interceptors are built in a large part by US-based firms, with a network of contractors and sub-contractors stretching out across 30 of its 50 states. This is due to congressional mandates and government-to-government agreements which stipulates that at least 50% of the work is produced in the US. Potential exports are also being taken into account, as the Stunner—marketed abroad as the SkyCeptor—is currently being considered by the Polish government for its Patriot active defense system.

    April 3/17: Another Israeli missile defense system, David’s Sling, has had its initial operating capability (IOC) declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a ceremony on April 2. Deliveries of the system’s major components by Israel’s Missile Defense Organization and state-owned Rafael began in early March, followed by integration testing of all system components prior to gaining its IOC. The system was also put through multiple operational simulations as part of the US-Israel Juniper Cobra exercise, a biennial air defense drill aimed at honing interoperability between the two nations.

    March 21/17: Israel will declare their multi-tier defense network operational from next month following the deployment of the David’s Sling interceptor system. Developed and manufactured jointly by Rafael and Raytheon, David’s Sling will be responsible for shooting down rockets fired from 100 to 200 kilometers away, such as projectiles fired by the Iranian-backed Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. The network will include the IDF’s short-range Iron Dome and long-range Arrow missiles.

    January 31/17: Israel and the US government have granted Israeli manufacturer Rafael permission to discuss the David’s Sling air-defense system with Poland as part of a wider export push for co-developed interceptor systems. The announcement comes as the anti-ballistic system was recently cleared during a fifth round of trials. Tel Aviv has been developing multi-tiered missile defense system with US and local industry for some years now, with their Iron Dome, Arrow and David’s Sling systems all being offered to foreign customers.

    January 30/17: Israel and the US have completed a fifth series of tests on the David’s Sling missile defense system. The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) collaboration was tested at the Yanat Sea Range in Israel, with the system’s Stunner interceptors successfully engaging its targets. The David’s Sling project is for defense against large-caliber rockets and short-range ballistic missiles.

    March 4/16: The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has begun to take possession of the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS). The first phase of the gradual delivery of components include multimission radar by Elta Systems; Stunner interceptors by Rafael and its US partner, Raytheon Missile Systems; and the Golden Almond Battle Management Center by Elbit Systems Elisra. Once these are in place, an integration testing of all system components will take place prior to a declaration of initial operational capability by the IAF. The DSWS has been developed to bridge the gap between the lower and upper tiers of Israel’s four-layer active defense network, deployed above Israel’s Iron Dome and below the upper-atmospheric Arrow-2 and exo-atmospheric Arrow-3.

    Categories: News

    Eurocopter’s EC665 Tiger HAD Helicopters

    Thu, 08/10/2017 - 03:58

    Tiger HAP & HAC
    (click to view full)

    Eurocopter’s Tiger had always had a very odd setup in that it came in two seemingly incomplete versions (HAP scout and HAC/UHT anti-tank), whose respective deficiencies severely limited multi-role flexibility and hence exports. The new Tiger HAD (Helicoptere Appui Destruction) variant fixes those deficiencies, and looks set to become the default version for new-build EC665 Tiger exports.

    The HAD project began in December 2005, as the EU’s OCCAR organization for armament cooperation signed a formal contract in Bonn, Germany and set out initial procurement numbers for Spain. This was followed by the French DGA’s announcing the restructuring of its own 80-helicopter order, and each customer has made its own choices as the new variant has gone from concept to initial delivery.

    EC665 Tiger Species

    MTR390 maintenance
    (click to view full)

    The Tiger is the first all-composite helicopter developed in Europe, with a fuselage made from 80% carbon fibre-reinforced polymer and kevlar, 11% aluminium, and 6% titanium. The helicopter comes in different versions, however, and it was the shortcomings of the initial versions that pushed Eurocopter toward Tiger HAD.

    All Tiger helicopters use a common airframe, which can be mistaken for AgustaWestland’s A129 at first glance. Tiger helicopters lack the A129’s nose-mounted sensors (sometimes substituting a gun in their place) or the 5-bladed rotor of the A129I, however, and feature a “hunchback” over the engines and winglets on the tail stabilizer.

    A pair of compact Rolls Royce/ Turbomeca MTR390 engines deliver 1,285shp each, driving the Tiger to 124 knot (142 mph/ 237 kph) cruise speed and a 145 knot (167mph/ 277 kph) speed when armed. The cockpit is the digital “glass cockpit” one expects in modern aircraft, displaying instrument information, pictures from the sensors, moving digital maps, GPS navigation, et. al. Thales TopOwl helmet-mounted sights project most critical information right onto the pilot’s field of view, however, including weapon and sighting controls. Defensively, EADS electronic warfare suite, which also equips the NH90 medium helicopter, is used for most Tiger variants. It includes a radar warning receiver, laser warner, MILDS AN/AAR-60 missile launch detector, and MBDA’s SAPHIR-M chaff / flare dispenser, all tied together through a Thales central processing unit.

    The French Tiger HAP

    Tiger HAP
    (click to view full)

    The French HAP version is intended to be a scout and escort helicopter. It incorporates Mistral anti-aircraft missiles, a 30mm chin turret from Nexter, and 68mm SNEB unguided rockets. Unlike the Franco-German HAC/UHT version, however, the HAP lacked Sagem’s Osiris mast-mounted sight/designator that could be so useful to a scout helicopter, substituting a roof-mounted Sagem Strix sight instead.

    The other thing it lacks is laser-designation capability for guided rockets, or the ability to fire anti-tank missiles. While the HAP has an extra 10 knots of full speed when armed, and better climb and hover characteristics than its HAC/UHT counterpart, its configuration sharply limits the helicopter’s usefulness. The HAP variant has since become an orphan with a cut-down buy from France, and no exports.

    It is built in Eurocopter’s Marignane, France facility.

    The German Tiger UHT

    Tiger HAC/ UHT
    (click to view full)

    The HAC/UHT anti-tank version has the improved Osiris mast-mounted sights and can fire HOT-3 or Trigat/PARS-3 anti-tank missiles, American FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, 70mm Hydra rockets, or 12.7mm gun pods. An improved Tiger ASGARD variant was fielded as part of ISAF operations in Afghanistan as of December 2012. It incorporates sand filters, additional defensive systems, a mission data recorder, satellite communications, and upgraded 1,467 shp MTR390-E engines for operation in Afghanistan’s lift-sapping high altitudes and heat.

    What the German Tiger lacks is a chin turret and cannon, with its obvious applications against trucks and light armored vehicles. That’s a strange omission for an anti-tank helicopter, and Germany is the only customer for this variant. It is built at Eurocopter’s facility in Donauworth, Germany.

    The bottom line? The national requirements of France and Germany left each country with a variant whose basic deficiencies made them unexportable. It wasn’t until export customers demanded a fully multi-role scout and attack helicopter that Eurocopter began to field competitive platforms.

    Fixing the Tiger: From ARH to HAD

    Tiger ARH
    (click to view full)

    Australia’s Tiger ARH (Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter) version is a modified Tiger HAP with a Nexter 30mm cannon, and a laser designator incorporated in the roof-mounted Sagem Strix sight. That allows the firing of Hellfire II laser-guided anti-armor missiles, and gives Australia the option of adding laser-guided rockets as well. The helicopter carries the Hellfire’s M299 “smart” launchers, and adds the ability to carry 70mm rockets and American Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. Finally, Tiger ARH contains various changes to incorporate equipment that’s compatible with Australian communications, and items that come from Australian manufacturers.

    The first Tiger ARH took its maiden flight in February 2004, and deliveries on the 22-helicopter order began in December 2004. Tiger ARH has entered service with Australia’s military, but it has experienced issues. It will not be covered in this article.

    Tiger HAD test
    (click to view full)

    Tiger HAD was the next step, and seems likely to form the basis for all subsequent exports.

    Tiger HAD builds on ARH advances, adding upgraded MTR390-E engines rated at 1,467shp each, ban IFF interrogator function, and improved ballistic protection. The Spanish version substitutes an electronic warfare/warning system from Indra, in place of EADS’ EWS.

    Weapon carriage is also broadened, and includes a Nexter 30M781 30mm turret, 68mm or 70mm rockets, MBDA Mistral air-to-air missiles, and RAFAEL/Eurospike Spike-ER or Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire II anti-armor missiles.

    The 2005 contract modification that created Tiger HAD involved the Spanish DGAM (Direccion General de Armamento y Material), French DGA (Direction Generale de l’Armement) and German BWB (Bundesamt fur Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung). The agreement covers the development and production investments in Tiger HAD for both Spain and France, helicopter production for Spain and France, and the retrofit of Tiger HAPs to HAD status for Spain.

    French trials

    France’s fleet will include 40 earlier-model HAP escort and support versions and 40 HAD versions. Alex Youngs of Rolls Royce (who make the Tiger’s MTR390 engines) confirmed that this was just a restructuring of their existing order from 70 HAP escort/scout + 10 HAC/UHT attack helicopters to 40 HAP escort/scout + 40 HAD multi-role helicopters. The 1st French Tiger HAD was scheduled for delivery in late 2010, and was actually delivered early, in March 2010.

    Spain has ordered 24 Tiger HAD/E helicopters: 18 new, and 6 Tiger HAP-to-HAD/E upgrades. A 2013 decision by the Spanish government will put 6 of the helicopters up for sale on the global market, as a way to cut the military’s budget without paying contract cancellation fees.

    France’s Tiger HADs are built in Marignane, France. Spain’s Tiger HAD/Es are built in Albacete, Spain.

    These contracts bring the total number of Tiger helicopters ordered through the EU’s OCCAR armament cooperation agency to 172: 68 helicopters for Germany (UHT, cut from 80), 80 for France (40 HAP, 40 HAD) and 24 for Spain (HAD/E). A total of 17 EC665 helicopters are designated for the resale pool: 11 Tiger UHTs from Germany (so 57 operational), and 6 Tiger HAD/E from Spain (so 18 operational).

    Australia’s 22 Tiger ARH helicopters weren’t ordered through OCCAR, and subsequent exports are also likely to be beyond OCCAR’s ambit.

    Contracts & Related Events 2014 – 2017

    HAD Block 2.

    French Tiger HAD

    August 10/17: The crash of a German army Tiger helicopter in Mali which resulted in the death of two crew members was caused by the rotorcraft losing its rotor, a defense ministry report has revealed. While the report stated that it is still to early to speculate on the cause of the accident, it ruled out that the helicopter was downed in an attack, adding that “once the vehicle had started to descend, parts of the aircraft broke off, including the main rotor blades.” This could potentially mean that the cause of the in-air break up was due to maintenance or manufacturing issues, which if it is the case, could be bad news for manufacturer Airbus. Berlin’s decision to send four Tigers alongside four NH-90 helicopters to aid a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali earlier this year proved controversial with some lawmakers, after the Tiger required extra maintenance given the high heat and other environmental conditions in the desert country. Officials maintain that up until the incident, all four Tigers had been operating without issue.

    January 13/17: Early work on Tiger Mk III helicopter upgrades by the European defense procurement agency, the OCCAR, has commenced, although there is uncertainty over Australia’s participation in the project. Set up by Germany, the UK, France, and Italy, the OCCAR is in charge of the Tiger modernization program, and while Australia is not one of its members, it was hoped that Canberra, with a 22 Tiger fleet, would commit to the effort. Canberra, however, has expressed frustration with the rotorcraft, even hinting that they may ditch the Tiger in the mid-2020s. France, Germany and Spain are currently heavily involved in the program’s definition phase, which includes avionics and weapons overhauls, including the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire and Rafael Spike, used by the Tiger’s European operators.

    February 29/16: Australia is to replace its fleet of Tiger helicopters by the mid-2020s which could include a mix of manned and unmanned rotorcraft. The troubled history of the Tiger and the essential upgrades required to retain combat effectiveness was highlighted in the government’s recently released 2016 defense whitepaper. Canberra plans to acquire systems equipped with effective armed reconnaissance abilities, and capable of integration with joint forces. Other plans include obtaining “light helicopters” that can be easily transported aboard the Boeing C-17 strategic transport for use supporting Special Forces operations.

    Dec 10/14: France. Airbus delivers the first 2 HAD Block 2 Tigers that will be operated by the French Army’s GAMSTAT aero-mobility group, then assigned to the 1st Army Combat Helicopter Regiment located at the Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base in Eastern France.

    Nov 21/14: France. The DGA procurement agency qualified the HAD Block 2 Tiger for the French Army. So far they have received 46 Tiger helos, 40 of which are in HAP version to be converted to HAD over time. Block 2 qualification improves rocket targeting, and adds external fuel tanks, support for Spike and Hellfire anti-tank missiles, and digital communications. Airbus says these helos are also be navalized. Source: DGA, “Qualification finale du Tigre en version appui-destruction (HAD).”

    March 6/14: Germany. The German Army receives the last of 12 Tiger UHT helicopters modified to the ASGARD (Afghanistan Stabilization German Army Rapid Deployment) configuration.

    2011 – 2013

    Export opportunities; Delivered and Certified in France; Spain looking to sell 8 of 24 helicopters.

    July 30/13: The initial Tiger HAD/E variant assembled at Eurocopter’s Spanish facilities in Albacete, Spain, makes its 1st flight. Albacete makes the Tiger’s rear fuselage sections, but full assembly is a new step – Spain’s HAD/E testing prototype had been assembled in Marignane, France, as were all 6 of Spain’s Tiger HAP/E helicopters.

    HAD/E-5002 will be the first machine to enter service with the Spanish Army’s FAMET, with delivery planned by the end of 2013.

    EADS’ release cites other partners, including ITP/MTRI consortium (MRT390-E engine), Indra, Amper, ELIMCO, Aernnova, TECHNOBIT, DMP (Desarrollos Mecanicos de Precision), Sacesa, and Celestica. EADS.

    July 26/13: Spain. The Spanish government approves an extra EUR 877.33 million (about $1.165 billion) in their 2013 budget, in order to finance payments that have come due on several major weapons programs. The Tiger HAD/E is one of them, and will receive EUR 88.26 million. Spain’s Spike missile programs will receive another EUR 34.5 million.

    At the same time, in order to finance investments in their troubled S-80 submarine program, and purchases of their Pizarro (ASCOD) tracked IFVs, Spain will look to cut other programs – and the Tiger is also one of those. The contract is already signed, penalties make pull-out too expensive, so 6 of the 24 are now designated for second-hand sale. Other cuts include selling 13 of 27 A400M aerial transports, and reducing the number of serving Leopard 2A6E tanks from 190 – 116. Sources: Defense-Aerospace | Publico [in Spanish].

    Jan 25/13: Certified. France’s DGA bestows military type certification on the Tiger HAD. Certification is an often-overlooked aspect of delivering combat ready gear, and several helicopters (incl. the NH90 and Mh-92) have seen multi-year delays while that get sorted out. French DGA [in French].

    French military certification

    Dec 5/11: Malaysia. Eurocopter includes the Tiger in its LIMA 2011 presence, including a flying display. Malaysia is expected to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for attack helicopters, and Eurocopter has a local subsidiary. EADS.

    June 4/12: Korea. South Korea announces the finalists for its AH-X attack helicopter program, but the Tiger isn’t on their list. Eurocopter is KAI’s partner for South Korea’s Surion medium helicopter program, but that didn’t seem to help them here.

    The finalists are AgustaWestland/TAI’s T-129, Bell Helicopter’s AH-1Z, and Boeing’s AH-64. In the end, the ROK picks the AH-64E Apache Guardian. Defense Update.

    Oct 19/11: Korea. Eurocopter indicates its interest in participating in South Korea’s planned 2012 RFPs for helicopters. They’re proposing the AS565 Panther platform for the Light Attack Helicopter (LAH) program and the EC665 Tiger for the Heavy Attack Helicopter (AH-X) program. EADS.

    2008 – 2010

    Missile orders; Tiger HAD testing.

    Tiger HAD w. Spike
    (click to view full)

    Dec 17/10: France. The first pre-serial Tiger HAD (fire support and destruction) for France makes its maiden flight from Eurocopter’s plant in Marignane, France. During the next several months, Eurocopter will conduct joint testing and development flights of the French and Spanish Tiger HAD. EADS.

    Sept 16/10: Testing. The first Tiger HAD begins its 15 month flight test program at Eurocopter’s Albacete, Spain facility. This is the first time that Eurocopter Spain has taken on the responsibility for testing a helicopter prototype.

    Block 1 qualification is scheduled for December 2011, and includes Mistral and Spike missile firings. The first production Tiger HAD helicopters are scheduled for delivery early 2012. EADS | Eurocopter.

    April 10-19/10: Delivery. The Tiger HAD variant is qualified by the French DGA procurement agency on April 10th, and officially delivered on April 19th. EADS.

    1st delivery

    June 30/09: Engines. A Tiger helicopter powered by 2 of the new MTR390-E prototype engines successfully completes its maiden flight. The MTR390-E is being developed by MTRI GmbH, a German joint venture that includes MTU Aero Engines, Safran Group’s Turbomeca, Rolls-Royce and ITP. In the Turbomeca release, MTRI Managing Director Clemens Linden says that:

    “The MTR390-E engine will further enhance the performances of the Tiger under demanding flight conditions, providing power growth of 14 per cent for missions in ‘hot and high’ environmental conditions in which the new HAD helicopter will be operated. All of this is possible using the same engine architecture, envelope and installation interfaces.”

    Sept 11/08: Testing. EADS Eurocopter announces that it successfully completed a firing campaign using the Spike air-to-ground missile, at the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology’s (INTA El Arenosillo firing range in Spain. EADS reports that Spain is still on track to receive its first helicopters from 2011 onward.

    During the Spike tests in El Arenosillo, 7 missiles were fired: 5 without their main propulsion units, and the other 2 in lock on before launch (LOBL) mode and then lock on after launch (LOAL) modes at targets 6-8 km away. The first 5 firings validated integration with the Tiger HAD, and safe separation with the booster in hover and in forward flight. The 2 full firings hit their targets.

    Feb 6/08: Sensors. The SAFRAN Group’s Sagem Defense Securité received an order from OCCAR for roof-mounted STRIX surveillance and targeting systems that will equip all 64 Tiger HAD helicopters ordered by France and Spain. The first deliveries will take place in 2009. The Strix also equips Tiger HAP and ARH helicopters, but Germany’s Tiger UHT/HAC uses Sagem’s Osiris mast-mounted sight instead. Sagem release.

    Feb 6/08: Weapons. Spain announces a series of Tiger-related contracts:

    Sas Tda Armements of France received EUR 3.7 million for 68 mm rockets.

    Nexter received a small EUR 765,000 contract for 30mm ammunition to equip the Tiger HAD’s gun.

    MBDA France receives a EUR 27.7 million contract for Mistral II ATAM anti-aircraft missiles to equip Spain’s 24 Tiger HADs. See also Sept 7/07 entry.

    Feb 4/08: Weapons. France and Lockheed Martin sign a Letter of Offer and Acceptance for Hellfire II missiles, which will equip France’s Tiger HAD helicopters. Numbers and costs are not disclosed, but Defense News reports that the French received identical pricing to the USA’s Hellfire II Buy 13 contract, which bought 4,622 missiles for $305.9 million on behalf of the USA and Britain. That’s about $66,200 per missile. The contract covers “multiple warhead variants,” and the semi-active laser homing Hellfire II has 4 warhead options: AGM-114K high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT); AGM-114M blast fragmentation; AGM-114K-A HEAT and blast fragmentation; and the AGM-114N metal augmented charge (thermobaric) warhead.

    As an interesting side note, Defense News adds that France is also running a competition for its next long-range infantry missile, between the American Javelin, Israel’s Spike-LR, and MBDA’s Milan-ER. A winner is expected in 2009. Lockheed Martin release | Defense News report.

    Jan 28/08: Weapons. General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas operations in Spain signs a EUR 40 million (about $64 million) contract with the Spanish Army for the supply of 44 Air Land Spike-ER Missile System launchers and 200 missiles for Spain’s Tiger HAD helicopters. In addition, General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas will provide integrated logistics support (ILS). Work is expected to be complete by 2012. GD release.

    2005 – 2007

    Tiger HAD contract; France (Hellfire) & Spain (Spike-ER) pick different anti-armor missiles; 1st flight.

    Spanish testing
    (click to view full)

    Dec 14/07: The first flight of the HAD version of the Tiger (HAD S/N 5001) takes place at Eurocopter’s Marignane, France headquarters on schedule. This flight enables the start of the flight test period. HAD S/N 5001 is the first serial HAD for Spain, and will be transferred to Eurocopter España in 2009. The HAD version will be qualified end 2010, and deliveries to France and Spain are expected to begin in 2010. Eurocopter release.

    1st flight

    Nov 30/07: Weapons. The Spanish Council of Ministers sets aside EUR 44 million over 6 years (2007-2012) to buy Spike-ER missiles as their Tiger HAD helicopters’ primary anti-armor weapon. See DID coverage.

    Spain picks Spike-ER missiles

    Sept 7/07: Weapons. The Spanish Council of Ministers sets aside EUR 27.7 million over 5 years (2007-2011) to buy MBDA Mistral ATAM anti-aircraft missiles for its Tiger helicopters. Mistral is already in service with Spanish Army, airborne, and Marines units as a man-portable air defense missile, and equips earlier Tiger versions. See DID coverage.

    June 4/07: Weapons. Lockheed announces that the French have selected their Hellfire II missile to equip French Tiger HAD helicopters. The European Trigat missile was originally supposed to fill that role, but Germany’s withdrawal from the program killed it.

    The Australian Tiger ARH is another Tiger variant equipped with the Hellfire II missile; for the French competition, Lockheed Martin is teamed with MBDA, which will integrate the Hellfire missile launcher onto the Tiger and provide technical support. Original semi-cryptic announcement | June 18th Paris Air Show announcement.

    France picks Hellfire missiles

    Naval trials
    (click to view full)

    May 21 – June 7/07: Testing. Under the supervision of Eurocopter and the French DGA procurement agency, a Tiger HAP helicopter takes part in navalization trials on a Siroco Class LSD amphibious ship and a Lafayette Class frigate, in extremely severe weather that includes 6-meter (19 foot) swells, winds close to 100 km/h, and deck angles up to 12 degrees. Eurocopter Australian Aerospace release

    The trials are successful, with strong implications for French and Spanish employment of their Tiger HAD helicopters – and for Australia’s Tiger ARH, now that Australia has ordered 2 new Canberra Class LHDs based on Spain’s BPE ship.

    Jan 10/07: Spain. RAFAEL and General Dynamics Santa Barbara Systems of Spain announce a $424.5 million contract with the Spanish Army for 2,600 SPIKE-LR missiles and 260 launchers. This decision makes an accompanying air-launched buy much more likely – which is exactly what happens in November 2007. RAFAEL release [MS Word format] | General Dynamics release.

    Dec 15/06: Weapons. France’s DGA procurement agency has wrapped up testing of the Tiger ARH and Hellfire II missile at the Woomera Testing Range in South Australia. Successful testing will confirm a template for adding Hellfire capability to the new Tiger HAD. Gizmag.

    June 30/06: Turkey loss. Turkey shortlists 2 helicopters for their attack helicopter competition: AgustaWestland’s A129, and Denel’s Rooivalk. The Tiger was reportedly eliminated on cost grounds, and Kamov/IAI’s Ka-50/52 Erdogan also failed to make the shortlist.

    Turkey eventually chooses the A129, whose production line is moved entirely to Turkey. Read “Turkey Finally Lands Its Attack Helicopters” for full coverage.

    Loss in Turkey

    Dec 5/05: The inaugural Tiger HAD contract is signed between Eurocopter and the EU’s OCCAR armament cooperation organization in Bonn, Germany. This inaugural Tiger HAD contract involves the Spanish DGAM (Direccion General de Armamento y Material), French DGA (Direction Generale de l’Armement) and German BWB (Bundesamt fur Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung). It covers the development and production of Tiger HAD for both Spain (18) and France (40), and the retrofit of 6 Spanish Tiger HAPs to HAD status.

    This agreement supersedes the ITP (instruction to proceed) signed on Dec 8/04, which had officially launched the HAD (Helicoptere Appui Destruction) version of the Tiger. EADS.

    Contract: 40 France,
    24 Spain

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    Spike Served: India’s New ATGM

    Thu, 08/10/2017 - 03:57

    Spike firing
    (click to view full)

    India has been looking for a modern anti-tank/ infantry strike missile to take the place of MBDA Milan missiles that have been produced under license by Bharat Dynamics. The finalists in this competition were the American fire-and-forget Javelin, and Israel’s Spike with its combination of wire guided or fire-and-forget modes. As of October 2014, Spike appears to have won, despite offers from the USA to involve India in developing the next version of Javelin.

    The Spike Family

    Spike family

    The Spike infantry system consists of a missile in its cannister, a tripod, a Command Launch Unit that contains the optics and firing system, and a battery. It can go from “off” to firing in less than 30 seconds, as the operator lays the cross hairs on the aim point using either the 10x day sight, or the clip-on thermal imaging night sight.

    Fire-and-forget targeting uses the imaging infrared (IIR) seeker, but there’s also an optional fully guided mode, using a fiber optic wire that spools out from the rear. They can be combined via “fire and forget plus,” which locks a target before launch but can be used to change targets or abort after launch. The missile flies in a lofted trajectory, hitting the target in a terminal dive and detonating a tandem high-explosive warhead that can defeat explosive reactive armor. The lofted trajectory also allows the missile to hit targets that are behind earthen walls, or otherwise not directly visible in line of sight. Reloading takes less than 15 seconds.

    Spike-MR/ Gill is designed as an infantry-only weapon, and weighs 26 kg/ 57.2 pounds when fully assembled (13.3 kg missile in cannister, 5 kg CLU, 4 kg Thermal Sight, 1 kg missile, 2.8 kg tripod). Its effective range is 2.5 km. Spike-LR is a vehicle and infantry weapon that uses common systems, and extends effective range to 4 km. Vehicle variants include launch mountings and a control console, and Spike has been integrated into missile-capable Remote Weapons Systems.

    Beyond these infantry weapons, Spike-ER is a larger missile that equips a number of helicopter types, and reaches out to 8 km. A special helicopter and vehicle-mounted variant called Spike-NLOS extends range to 25 km, and relies heavily on “fire and forget plus” via optical guidance. Neither appears to be on India’s acquisition radar just yet, but once Indian firms are license-building Spike family weapons, the government can always sign subsequent agreements to broaden its scope.

    Contracts & Key Events

    Spike components
    (click to view full)

    August 10/17: India’s Kalyani Group, in partnership with Israel’s Rafael, has opened the country’s first-ever private missile subsystems manufacturing facility. Located in Hyrdabad and trading under the name Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems, the facility will undertake the production and assembly of Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and its related technologies such as missile electronics, command, control and guidance, electro-optics, remote weapon systems, precision-guided munitions, and system engineering. In addition to establishing a robust supply chain in India to undertake spares and other parts requirements of missiles to be manufactured in the country, the joint venture will also look to export Spike ATGM family and SPICE precision-guided munitions to Southeast Asian counties. The company can also boast the status of being India’s largest-ever foreign direct investment joint venture firm.

    March 27/17: India is moving ahead with a $1 billion procurement of Spike anti-tank missiles from Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The Spike will see New Delhi acquire 275 launchers and 5,500 Spike missiles in completed and kit form along with an undisclosed number of simulators, and also includes a technology transfer to India’s state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) to build another 1,500 systems and around 30,000 additional missiles. Meanwhile, Israel is considering selling armed Heron TP UAVs, including the technology transfers necessary to meet the “Make in India” requirement. A decision on the Heron deal will be made following Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel this July.

    August 18/15: The German Army is reportedly buying Spike-LR Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) from Israel’s Rafael Defense Systems. The missile family has found export success with India, with the Bundeswehr planning to equip some Puma IFVs with the weapon. The German Defense Ministry has reportedly already purchased a number of the missiles, with the integration with Puma vehicles scheduled for completion by 2018.

    Oct 24/14: Spike picked. India’s top-level Defence Acquisition Council clears INR 900 billion in acquisitions. New submarines are the biggest, but there’s also clearance for up to INR 32 billion to buy and license-build about 300 Spike family launcher systems and 8,000 missiles.

    Other DAC clearances include INR 530 billion for 6 submarines; 2 SDV underwater commando delivery vehicles; INR 20 billion to have the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board build about 360 more BMP-2 tracked IFVs under license; and INR 18.5 billion for 12 more license-built Do-228NG short-range transport and maritime surveillance aircraft from HAL. Sources: NDTV, “6 Made-in-India Submarines for Navy for 53,000 Crores” | IANS, “Defence ministry clears Israeli anti-tank missile, six submarines”.

    DAC Approval: Spike wins

    Nov 11/13: DAC delays. Indian defense minister AK Antony and the Defence Acquisition Council give Javelin an opening in India, by delaying any decision on INR 150 billion project to equip India with 321 Spike family launchers and 8,356 of RAFAEL’s Spike-MR missiles.

    Raytheon had received the Indian Army’s 2010 RFP, but only RAFAEL responded. Europe’s MBDA, Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Raytheon, and General Dynamics reportedly balked at India’s technology-transfer requirements, and did not bid. The Lockheed/ Raytheon Javelin needs the competition to be withdrawn and replaced by another RFP that it can enter, at which point India’s own state-run firms might choose to offer a version of their problem-plagued Nag missile. DAC’s non-decision leaves the entire situation very unclear.

    Even if RAFAEL does win, Javelin is expected to remain a viable competitor for subsequent infantry buys. Sources: Times of India, “Antony defers decision on critical but controversial missile deals with Israel” | Defense News, “India Again Considers Buying Israeli-made ATGM” | Defense News, “India Pursues Indigenous ATGM Amid Javelin Talks” | Times of India, “Scam-wary Army calls off Israeli missile deal” (March 2013).

    Nov 29/12: Competition. The Times of India reports that Israel’s Spike-MR missile may be about to elbow Javelin aside, because the Israelis are willing to transfer enough technology to allow production in India.

    The Ministry eventually wants to equip all 356 of its infantry battalions with an estimated 2,000 launchers and 24,000 missiles, produced by state-owned Bharat Dynamics. The Army reportedly wants to complete the induction of these anti-tank guided missiles by the end of the 12th Plan (2017).

    Sept 23/12: Javelin issues. India remains interested in the Lockheed/Raytheon Javelin. Their soldiers fired some in 2009 joint exercises with American troops, and Defence Minister AK Antony said in August 2010 that a Letter of Request would be sent. So, why has no DSCA request been approved? India’s PTI explains that conditions regarding the secrecy of certain components are holding up an agreement. This isn’t the first time transfer of technology and proprietary designs have had an impact on US-Indian sales, and it won’t be the last. Raytheon will say only that:

    “The Javelin JV stands ready to respond to all requests of the Indian government relating to the evaluation and procurement of the combat-proven missile while ensuring it adheres to a US and Indian governments’ agreement.”

    If Javelin continues to hit roadblocks, Israel’s RAFAEL awaits with its popular Spike family.

    March 25/11: RFP exclusion. Spike MR was the only bidder in India’s international tender, in part of because of language requiring an “active-passive fire-and-forget guidance system,” which only Spike meets. Most other missiles are either active/ passive guidance that requires crosshairs on target (GBM-71 TOW, AT-14 Kornet, MBDA Milan-ER), or fire and forget (FGM-148 Javelin). Defense Update writes:

    “The Indian Army plans to install the missiles on infantry combat vehicles currently carrying locally produced AT-5 or Milan missiles.

    The Indian Ministry of Defense plans to order 321 launchers, and 8,356 missiles, plus 15 training simulators in a multi-phase arms package worth over one billion US$. Two options are currently on the table – the U.S. Javelin and the Israeli Spike MR.”

    Reports are currently conflicting. Defense Update suggests that both programs are proceeding in parallel channels, and at some point either the RFP (Spike MR) or a government-to-government deal (Javelin) will win out. The challenge for RAFAEL is that India has rules discouraging awards to competitions that wind up with just 1 compliant vendor, so a waiver will be needed. For Javelin, the issue is technology transfer. Sources: Defense Update, “Spike or Javelin? India Still Undecided on a Billion Dollar Missile Buy”.

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