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Military Purchasing News for Defense Procurement Managers and Contractors
Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago

Canada Selects Airbus C-295 for Search & Rescue | Poland to Spend $14.5B For Mil Mod Campaign | UK Contracts BAE to Build 2 Add’l River Class Vessels

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 23:58
Americas

  • Airbus has been selected as the winner of the Canadian government’s competition for new search and rescue aircraft. The C-295 won out against offerings from Leonardo’s C-27J and Embraer’s KC-390 by offering the best pricing for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s requirements. Under the $2.3 billion program, Airbus will collaborate with key Canadian firms, including PAL Aerospace on in-service support, Pratt & Whitney Canada for engines, CAE for training and simulation, and L3 Wescam for the electro-optic sensors.

  • Ukraine’s Antonov have offered their services to build Donald Trump a new Air Force One, if he intends to scrap the current order with Boeing. The offer came in the form of a tweet and has yet to be replied to by the US president-elect. One of the Soviet Union’s top aircraft producers, Antonov has produced only around twenty planes since Ukraine gained independence in 1991.

Middle East & North Africa

  • Lockheed Martin will provide spare parts for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s F-15 Strike Eagle fighters. The $67 million USAF contract covers parts for Infrared Search and Track systems, Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods, and LANTIRN Extended Range navigation pods. Lockheed Martin has been providing sensor systems for the kingdom’s Boeing-made fleet since 1996.

Europe

  • Poland has announced that they will spend $14.5 billion between 2017-2022, as part of a massive military modernization campaign. The priority procurements for the Polish Armed Forces are to include new air defense systems, 14 multi-purpose helicopters, 1200 UAVs, three coastal defense vessels and two mine destroyers, as well as an undisclosed amount of submarines that are to be jointly acquired by Poland and another NATO ally. Other areas where funding will be allocated include expanding air defense, naval, cybersecurity, tank and armored vehicle, and territorial defense capacities.

  • The Germany Navy is to purchase more capable air defence radar systems for three F-124 frigates, in an effort to become part of NATO’s broader missile defence system. Experts have said the new system will cost about 450 million euros and is likely to be built by France’s Thales, which built the radars in current use, and has been chosen by the Netherlands to supply new radars for their frigates. Meanwhile, German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp has announced that ithey suffered a cyber-attack by southeast Asian hackers in February, making off with project data from ThyssenKrupp’s plant engineering division and from other areas yet to be determined.

  • BAE Systems has been contracted by the UK government to build two additional River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Navy. The $360 million deal adds two more manufacturing and support projects to the five-ship program, bringing the total contract value to $797 million. Work on the two vessels, named Tamar and Spey, will involve more than 100 companies from Britain. The designs build on existing River-class ships with variants already used by the navies of Brazil and Thailand.

Asia Pacific

  • Aging Cheetah and Chetak helicopter fleets operated by the Indian Army and Air Force will be ground for comprehensive safety checks by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The ruling came in the wake of a fatal crash in West Bengal in November that killed three soldiers. Both helicopters’ air-worthiness is being questioned as New Delhi waits to release funding for a $1 billion replacement program that will see the purchase of Russian Kamov-226T light utility helicopters. Previous attempts to replace the Cheetah and Chetak failed to make it over the line, amid corruption allegations and technical issues.

  • An agreement has been signed by the governments of Australia and France, allowing for the sharing of classified information on defense programs. In a joint-statement issued by both ministries, officials said that the treaty will “directly support the delivery of the Future Submarine Program and will further enable greater cooperation on a range of national security matters.” Australia picked French firm DCNS in April for exclusive negotiations for design and construction of the Future Submarine Program, worth AU$50 billion (US$37 billion) over 50 years.

Today’s Video

BAE Systems’ River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels:

Categories: News

Rescue Required: Canada’s Search-And-Rescue Aircraft Program

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 23:57
CC-115, BC coast
(click to view full)

The USA isn’t the only country whose SAR (search and rescue) aircraft programs are having a hard go of it lately. In 2004, Canada announced a program to replace its aging DHC-5 (CC-115) Buffalo (West Coast) and CC-130E/H Hercules (East Coast) search-and-rescue planes with at least 15 new aircraft. Some of the Canadian Forces’ CC-130s have already been grounded after flying 40,000 – 50,000 hours, and a contract has been signed for C-130J replacements.

The SAR project hasn’t been so lucky. The first SAR aircraft was supposed to be delivered in 2006, with all deliveries complete by 2009. Unfortunately, the Conservative Harper government temporarily shelved the project when it came to power, and subsequent efforts to restart it have featured one poor performance after another. The competitors have since expanded beyond the familiar duo of the Alenia C-27J Spartan with its speed advantage and C-130J compatibility, vs. the EADS-CASA C-295M with its longer fuselage and lower operating costs. Yet expanded options are no substitute for serving planes, and at least 1 victim has already died because the current fleet was unserviceable. What Canada’s SAR program really needs right now is transparency and urgency. Neither is currently in evidence.

Canada’s SAR Challenge SAR missions, 1998-2001
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Canada is the 2nd-largest country in the world in terms of square area. Its 9,976 km3 exceeds both China (9,596 km3) and the USA (9,363 km3), and its 3 ocean borders to the east, west and north expand its required coverage into large and hostile environments. Each year, the JRCCs handle an average of 8,000 air and marine SAR cases, and Canadian Forces SAR aircraft conduct well over 1,000 missions per year. In 2008, for instance, Canadian Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCC) handled 9,097 SAR cases across Canada.

JRCCs are staffed by a combination of coast Guard and Canadian Forces personnel, and are currently located in Halifax, NS; Trenton, ON; and Victoria BC. The SAR crews and aircraft are based in Gander, NL (EH-101 derivative CH-149 Cormorant helicopters); Greenwood, NS (CH-149 Cormorant helicopters and C-130E/H “CC-130” Hercules aircraft); Trenton, ON (Bell 412 derivative CH-146 Griffon helicopters and CC-130 Hercules aircraft); Winnipeg, MB (CC-130 Hercules aircraft); and Comox, BC (CH-149 Cormorant helicopters and DHC-5/ CC-115 Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft).

These are supplemented as required by Canadian Forces’ Griffon helicopters in Goose Bay, Labrador, NL; Bagotville, QC; and Cold Lake, AB; and by a small arctic fleet of DHC-6/ CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft based in Yellowknife, NWT.

The “Competitors” Bath for a Buffalo
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De Havilland’s DHC-5 Buffalo and DHC-4 Caribou aircraft were uniquely well designed for short-field operations in difficult conditions. The Buffalo program actually won an Us Army competition for a light STOL(Short Take-Off and Landing) airlifter, and its 1st flight was in 1961, but the production contract was never awarded because the USAF took over fixed wing operations and canceled it. Canada bought them, and so did a number of 3rd world countries who found its bush-plane design heritage appealing.

Buffalo production stopped in 1986, however, which is creating an issue with spare parts. Plans are currently in place to keep Canada’s 6 remaining Buffalos in the air until 2015, as their slow speed makes them ideal for searching the west coast’s difficult mountain ranges. At present rates, Canada may not even have a flying replacement by then.

Under the 2004 program, there were 2 competitors. That may expand to 5 or even 6 competitors once Canada releases its new RFP, but only if that RFP is a real competition.

C-27J Spartan
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C-27J. One sure competitor is Alenia’s C-27J Spartan, which won the US Army’s Joint Cargo Aircraft light transport competition. This is ironic, because the Buffalo arose out of a similar US Army contract. In time, the USAF’s emphasis on larger aircraft instead, and their mismatch with front line needs, would spawn the competitions that culminated in the USA’s Joint Cargo Aircraft. The C-27J’s win gave it a toehold in North America – until the role was given to the US Air Force again, and they killed the JCA just as they did the Buffalo.

The C-27J “Baby Herc” has a wider cabin with a strengthened floor that can accommodate vehicles and heavier loads; offers a 325 knot cruising speed; would offer commonalities with the US Army during continental emergencies; and offers long-term cost savings via engine and other commonalities with Canada’s new C-130J Hercules. The US fleet of 21 C-27Js needs to find a home, but Alenia has said point-blank that it will not support that fleet if it’s sold abroad. If Canada wants this plane, it will have to buy new.

Media reports indicate that the C-27J may be the government’s choice under an ACAN bid, which essentially picks the desired aircraft and then invites other competitors to make an offer. To date, ACAN experience is that the requirements are explicitly written to exclude many competitive choices. There is also no appeal process comparable to the US GAO, which can hold the government to fair application of set criteria and review procurement decisions. As such, ACAN bids by other manufacturers are generally a waste of time.

C-295, Alaskan mountains
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C295. EADS-CASA’s C-295M, is a stretched version of the smaller CN-235. The CN-235MP variant is a popular maritime search and patrol aircraft, and a modified version serves the US Coast Guard as the HC-144A “Ocean Sentry” surveillance aircraft. The larger C-295M offers substantial long-term savings by costing less to fly and maintain than the C-27J; may offer interesting cross-over possibilities by leveraging the HC-144A’s “mission pallet” approach. It has a longer cabin that can carry more pallets of cargo or medical litters, or offer more crew room, reportedly offers better range, and has a cruising time of 12 hours. Built-in air-to-air refueling capability can extend even that mission time, to the limit of the crew’s endurance.

That last set of performance statistics may prove especially appealing, given Canada’s vast distances. The tradeoff is a slow cruise speed of just 260 KTAS, which also has implications for long-range rescue attempts. On the other hand, EADS-CASA says that Portugal picked the C-295 because it outperformed its competitor in precisely the kind of long-term low-speed, low-level handling that’s required for mountain search operations on Canada’s west coast.

C-130J Hercules
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C-130J family. Lockheed Martin attempted to submit a 3rd aircraft in the USA’s JCA competition, but their bid was denied. That plane was a compact version of the C-130J Hercules. Now that Canada has confirmed itself as a C-130J customer, Lockheed Martin may seek to take advantage of the industrial offset partnerships it is already creating in order to meet the “Canada First” 100% industrial offset rule, and offer Canada a C-130J-SAR. One outside suggestion would have them offer their HC-130J Commando II, for use in a dual SAR/ Special Forces role.

Advantages in this SAR role would include size, speed, range and cruising time, C-130 class transport capabilities in an emergency, and full commonality with Canada’s new C-130J fleet. Its 4 engines create a tradeoff, however, as fuel economy and hence operating costs would suffer.

CoastWatch Q200
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The 4th and 5th potential competitors are Canadian entries.

Q400. Bombardier’s Q-series/ Dash 8 has been modified for use as a maritime patrol and search aircraft, and serves with similar organizations like Australia’s CoastWatch. The aircraft’s lack of a rear ramp is probably its biggest obstacle to its acceptance in a full search and rescue role.

DHC-5NG? The Buffalo itself is the 5th option. Viking Air Ltd. now holds the type certificates for most of DeHavilland’s aircraft, including the DHC-5 Buffalo. The firm has recently enjoyed success with its revival of the legendary DHC-6 Twin Otter, and has offered to upgrade the existing CC-115 fleet, while producing new aircraft for the SAR program at its manufacturing facilities in Calgary and Victoria. The Buffalo’s old GE CT64-410-3 engines would be replaced by Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW150 used in Bombardier’s Dash 8s and many other regional aircraft, and the planes would receive digital avionics suites and FLIR systems derived from the Series 400 Twin Otter.

The Buffalo has excellent short takeoff capabilities, and excels at slow-speed, all-weather flying, which is why it performs SAR on Canada’s mountainous west coast. The Viking proposal would offer Canada the largest industrial benefit, with nearly 100% Canadian content for the buy, and additional potential for exports. With Viking’s modifications, the DHC-5NG’s top speed is projected to improve from 235 knots to 300 KTAS, with a carrying capacity and profile that’s comparable to the slower C-295M. The DHC-5NG’s risks include development risks, and the risk of an aircraft type that could wind up being unique to Canada, with all of the attendant support and upgrade burdens.

MV-22 Osprey
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CV-22. The 6th option is quite recent, and surfaced with October 2011 reports that Bell Helicopter and Boeing were demonstrating their tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey in Canada.

Its notional advantage over current contenders is the V-22’s ability to do more than perform identification and supply drops. Unlike other competitors, an MV-22 or CV-22 derivative can pick up rescuees immediately, removing the risks and expense involved in sending additional helicopters or ground forces. All it needs is a landing spot or winching position. The flip side is its status as the most expensive option to buy and most expensive to operate, coupled with a readiness rate that remains below expectations. Canada’s poor experience with the readiness of its AW101/CH-149 Cormorant SAR helicopters may create especial caution around that last point.

Contracts and Key Events 2016

December 9/16: Airbus has been selected as the winner of the Canadian government’s competition for new search and rescue aircraft. The C-295 won out against offerings from Leonardo’s C-27J and Embraer’s KC-390 by offering the best pricing for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s requirements. Under the $2.3 billion program, Airbus will collaborate with key Canadian firms, including PAL Aerospace on in-service support, Pratt & Whitney Canada for engines, CAE for training and simulation, and L3 Wescam for the electro-optic sensors.

January 20/16: Canada’s hunt for a new fleet of search and rescue aircraft will not consider Lockheed’s C-130J. Proposals for the procurement were due mid-January and do include the Airbus C-295, Alenia’s C-27J Spartan and Embraer’s latest offering, the KC-390. Part of the competition involved the potential providers suggesting how many of their aircraft would be required by the Royal Canadian Air Force to conduct their operations, rather than a specified number being supplied by the government. Lockheed Martin’s lack of participation in the competition is said to have been in reaction to the saga revolving around Canada’s recent backing out of the F-35 program to launch a new procurement competition.

2015

December 15/15: Canada’s search-and-rescue procurement program has a new contender as Brazilian firm Embraer is to offer a bid for their KC-390. Embraer will likely face competition from Airbus’s C-295, and Alenia’s C-275 when bids are officially submitted in January. While Airbus and Alenia have been courting the Canadian government for a number of years, the KC-390 is said to have an advantage in terms of speed and range, although it is not expected to enter into service until 2018. Canada’s procurement competition will see companies submit bids based on how many they think will be needed to fulfill the country’s search-and-rescue needs as opposed to being given a fixed figure for tender.

Feb 13/15:The long, long, long delayed RFP for Canada’s new fixed-wing SAR capability is said to be coming shortly. By now, only three players are still waiting for it.

2014

May 30/14: One day, Canada might even have an RFP for an FWSAR program touted as a “top priority” back in 2008. The Canadian Press discovers that Canada did give serious consideration to buying the USA’s Joint Combat Aircraft fleet of 21 C-27Js, but it fell through. The RCAF’s Feb 12/12 presentation described it as “a unique, time-sensitive investment opportunity,” albeit one that would spark a political backlash from Canadian firms that wouldn’t get their cut. CP writes that:

“The air force’s proposal would have effectively blown up years of careful bridge rebuilding between Public Works and the aerospace industry, which complained loudly that the original specifications were wired to favour the…. C-27J…. protests were so deafening that MacKay ordered the National Research Council to examine the plan. It agreed the military’s specifications were far too specific and needed to be broadened in order to ensure competition.”

By the time that NRC examination would have been underway, it would have been abundantly clear that Alenia and the Italian government were prepared to use extreme measures. The Feb 27/12 statement from their CEO said that the manufacturer and Italian government would work hard to deny any support to any resale customer outside the US government, effectively making a Canadian purchase impossible. The USAF C-27J fleet now resides with SOCOM and the US Coast Guard. Sources: CP, via Vancouver Sun, “Fixed-wing search plane program almost short-circuited by RCAF proposal”.

May 29/14: Team Airbus. Airbus Military signs a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Provincial Aerospace Ltd. in Newfoundland to provide in-service support for their C295, if it wins the FWSAR competition. Sources: Canadian Manufacturing, “N.L. firm joins Airbus on Canadian Forces search and rescue fleet bid”.

May 27/14: Team Spartan. Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi picks Esterline CMC Electronics (CMC) in Montreal, PQ to provide the flight management system (FMS) for its worldwide C-27J Spartan fleet, and for Team Spartan’s FWSAR offering. CMC is already tapped to supply their its TacView Portable Mission Display and SureSight Enhanced Vision System sensor for Team Spartan in Canada. Sources: Ottawa Citizen Defence Watch, “Esterline CMC Electronics of Montreal Selected To Provide Flight Management System For Worldwide C-27J Spartan Fleet”.

2013

CC-130 over BC
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Dec 26/13: USCG. The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act is signed into law, locking in the transfer of the USAF’s 14 remaining C-27Js to the Coast Guard. Initial flight operations are scheduled to begin within 6-12 months, but a Jan 6/14 Alenia North America release shows that there’s more expense to come:

“The company also anticipates the USCG will immediately begin the process for expanding the C-27J’s capabilities with tailored mission kits to include surface-search radars, electro-optical sensors and mission suites installed on all 14 planes.”

Creation of these new kits will be good news for Alenia’s chances in Canada, which already seems to tilt toward the C-27J. Alenia improves their odds of winning by having the USCG use their solution as a lead customer, giving them parity with the fully integrated C295 MPA. It’s also better to have the USCG pay to integrate all of the required equipment, instead of adding that cost to a Canadian bid. Sources: Govtrack, “H.R. 1960: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014” | Alenia NA, “14 Alenia Aermacchi C-27Js transferred to U.S. Coast Guard”.

Aug 30/13: Canada’s Minister of Public Works and Government Services announces that after 2 years worth of Letters of Interest, Canada’s bureaucracy has produced… a draft RFP. Not a real RFP, which won’t arrive at the government’s BuyAndSell.ca site until 2014. A draft RFP “for final comments.”

The name of the ministry making the announcement is a clue regarding why this might be so. Canadian government.

June 17/13: Defence minister MacKay offers some thoughts on Canada’s SAR competition to
Aviation Week. It looks like Viking will have a very hard time pushing its modernized Buffalo. The required recertification of their upgraded aircraft comes with a time-to-service delay that could be a killer.

He also points to the Buffalo NG’s status as a developmental aircraft, though experience with Canada’s CH-147Fs and CH-148/S-92 helicopters shows that Canada is perfectly capable of turning an off-the-shelf buy into a developmental project. Aviation Week | CDFAI.

April 30/13: Report. The Auditor General of Canada’s 2013 Spring Report includes a section covering Canadian Search and Rescue. The bottom line is stark, but what’s DND doing? Still “reviewing its options.” Translation: nothing of substance. OAG:

“National Defence has not sufficiently replaced and has had difficulty maintaining its SAR aircraft at the level necessary to respond to SAR incidents effectively.”

Canada’s 11 CC-130E/H Hercules are based across Canada at Comox, BC (west), Winnipeg, MN (central), Trenton, ON (central), and Greenwood, NS (east). They lack modern SAR sensors and equipment, and are all over 20 years old. Maintenance is time-consuming and expensive, and 2 planes have received new wings to keep them flying. The Hercules planes are also needed for transport operations, so they aren’t always available.

The CC-115 Buffalos on the west coast cost $20 million per year to maintain, and will need new engines if they’re flown past 2015. In 2011, Buffalo airplanes were unavailable for SAR on 119 occasions, and in 5 of these cases there were no SAR replacement airplanes.

The CH-149 Cormorant/ AW101 helicopters have been spread more evenly across Canada, with 5 in B.C. on the west coast, 4 in Nova Scotia on the east coast, and 3 in Newfoundland to cover the northeast seas. Buying the USA’s failed Presidential helicopters has helped with spares, but “corrosion from salt water is increasing maintenance needs, with at least two helicopters always in maintenance…”

The 5 CH146 Griffon/ Bell 412 helicopters assigned to SAR duties lack range and payload. They’ve been relocated to Trenton, ON in a secondary role. OAG release | OAG Report, Chapter 7 | CDFAI.

March 19/13: The National Post runs an article covering DND’s SAR competition decisions, by former NDP (socialist party) candidate Michael Byers, and left-wing Rideau Institute research fellow Stewart Webb (q.v. also June 19/12 entry). Their failure to mention Public Works Canada’s role in defense procurement is odd, but their other factual assertions are pretty straightforward.

Byers and Webb allege that DND passed up an 2007 opportunity to buy Brazil’s retired fleet of Buffalo aircraft as a source of spare parts, and also dismissed an internal proposal to buy spare parts from Viking Air, which owns the rights to the design. A proposal to re-engine the Buffalos to allow service until 2015 was also reportedly rejected.

Their most damning allegation, if true, is that DND still hasn’t re-written their FWSAR specifications, over 3 years after the competition was derailed because the specification had been written to allow only 1 contender. We say “if true” because DND’s Aug 16/11 statement specifically said that the Statement of Requirements had been re-written. National Post.

2010 – 2012

Maneuvering and teaming by industry, disinterest and slipshod work by government; An alternative FWSAR proposal. HC-130J
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End 2012: FWSAR+. US Army Lt. Col. (ret.) Jim Dorschner offers an alternative FWSAR framework, in DND’s Canadian Military Journal. FWSAR Plus: A Way Forward proposes that Canada buying 10 Bombardier Q200s in the same SAR configurations bought by foreign militaries, plus 10 dual-role HC-130Js to fulfill SAR and Special Forces roles. The Q200/ Dash-8s would be based on both coasts at CFB Comox, BC and CFB Greewood, NS. The HC-130Js would be based in central Canada at CFB Winnipeg, MB and at Canada’s main C-130 base: CFB Trenton, ON. All existing C-130H transports and transport/tankers would be retired, leaving only C-130Js in the fleet.

The result would be a unified fleet of 27 C-130Js to serve in transport, tanker, SAR, and special forces roles, plus 10 lower-cost Q200s with conformal tanks to extend range. It’s an interesting proposal, and its venue ensures that it will be noticed.

Nov 27/12: Mixed signals. Defence minister Peter MacKay confirms to the Commons Defence Committee: “We’ve broadened the specs to include the possibility of a mixed fleet…” This confirms reports from Oct 16/12.

The public works ministry has given airplane manufacturers until Dec. 21 to express interest. Sun Media.

Nov 15/12: Embraer’s KC-390? The Ottawa Citizen’s David Pugliese writes:

“The recent industry day on the Canadian Forces fixed wing search and rescue (FWSAR) project brought a new player into the mix. Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embaer was invited to attend.”

The KC-390 is a twin-engine jet transport in the same performance class as the C-130J Hercules, and Embraer has built it into a trans-Atlantic, multinational project. Its faster cruising speed would give it advantages in a SAR/special forces role, and Embraer might be tempted to offer Canada a deal, in order to secure a high-end market endorsement. The bad news for Embraer is that they’re seen as a major competitor by Canadian aerospace firms, and especially by Bombardier. FWSAR’s rear ramp requirement caused Bombardier to bow out of the recent Industry Day. The political optics of shutting out Quebec’s flagship firm Bombardier, while giving the contract to their biggest competitor, make a KC-390 victory almost impossible to imagine.

Oct 16/12: Dual buy? The Canadian government is reportedly thinking of buying 2 different FWSAR platforms. That could open a West Coast niche for Canada’s Viking Air and its Buffalo NG. It could also open the door to a limited V-22 buy, if Canada wants to have those capabilities without compromising its entire fleet. Ottawa Citizen | Victoria Times-Colonist.

Oct 10/12: Team Airbus. Discovery Air in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to become Airbus Military’s primary Canadian partner, and provide training and in-service support if the C295 is picked for the FWSAR program. An Arctic partner is one way to strengthen their bids credential’s, and the partners hope their duties will include setting up a search and rescue base in Yellowknife, instead of dispatching planes from places like Winnipeg, many flying hours south. N.W.T. Premier Bob McLeod adds his support for their bid:

“The Northwest Territories is many hours from the nearest dedicated search and rescue facility. Whenever I say that to people, they are surprised. They know how harsh our climate is. In any search and rescue operation, every minute counts. This is particularly true in our northern winters. Northerners are Canadians, too. We should not be penalized for where we live.”

See: CBC News | CDFAI | Discovery Air.

Sept 14/12: LoI. Letter of Interest (amendment 004) issued to publish FWSAR Essential Elements V2.0. Source.

LoI issued

Sept 3/12: Air Force only. The Ottawa Citizen reports that the government will not consider public-private partnerships for its SAR requirements, along the lines of programs in Australia and Britain. A July 2011 statement had appeared to open that option, but:

“…industry sources say that the option of allowing firms to provide aircraft and crews on a contract basis to the Canadian Forces never really stood a chance. The RCAF was not keen on the option as they see SAR as a high-profile role they want to continue providing in all aspects.”

June 19/12: Rideau Report. The left-wing Rideau Institute releases a report: “Search and Replace: The Case for a Made-in-Canada Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Fleet” advises the government to choose a mixed fleet of SAR aircraft, using an open competition, with a clear Statement of Operational Requirements (SOR) that permits Canadian bidders.

The only Canadian options would be Viking’s Buffalo NG and Bombardier’s Q400/ Dash 8. Co-incidentally, a separate article by the authors of that report recommends picking only those 2 planes. The Q400s would be used on the East Coast and in the arctic, but modified with side door deflectors for parajumps, and underbelly “drop hatches” for life rafts and other equipment. The Ottawa Citizen points out that the Q400 may have another issue, beyond its lack of a rear ramp:

“Defence Watch has visited the Bombardier [CANSEC defense trade show] booth a number of times over the years to ask about the Q400 or other Bombardier products for FWSAR, only to be met with blank looks and the suggestion that some information might be available from corporate HQ… maybe.”

The Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs institute also chimes in and asks, reasonably, why would one bother recommending a competition when one’s mind is already made up? CDFAI also cites, and sources, the Canadian Forces’ unstated requirement that the planes should double as tactical transport aircraft. Within Canada’s closed and opaque procurement process, the fact that a requirement is unstated is no barrier to having it determine the winner. Rideau Institute release | full report || BC’s The Tyee | CDFAI | Ottawa Citizen.

May 30/12: Team Lockheed. Lockheed Martin and Cascade Aerospace Inc. announce a partnership at the CANSEC 2012 trade show. Their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) includes offering the C-130J for Canada’s FWSAR, “as well as other programs and projects relating to Lockheed’s C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.” The obvious selling points of that bid will be range, commonality, and an established industrial offsets program. The obvious pitfall is cost.

In 2010, Lockheed Martin awarded a 20 year contract to Cascade for maintenance services to support Canada’s 17 new CC-130Js, the last of which arrived on May 8/12. Cascade also provides fleet management services directly to the RCAF for their older CC-130E/H fleet, and is 1 of just 2 Lockheed Martin-authorized C-130 Service Centers in the western hemisphere. Cascade Aerospace.

May 29/12: Team Alenia. Alenia Aermacchi announces its C-27J FWSAR team. General Dynamics Canada will offer performance-based aircraft support, and Provincial Aerospace will handle the SAR conversions. Fellow Finmeccanica subsidiary DRS Canada’s role is not made clear. The release professes faith that a draft RFP will materialize in the fall of 2012, and that a winner will be picked in 2014. Alenia [PDF]

May 8/12: DND’s Report on Plans and Priorities 2012-2013’s “Supplementary Tables: Status Report on Transformational and Major Crown Projects” include FWSAR. It says that the Treasury Board approved a budget in March 2012, but approval isn’t due until the fall of 2013, and even if this contract actually keeps its schedule, no order will be placed until spring 2014. The 1st new aircraft isn’t expected until 2017, and it will be 2018 before the new planes can really take over.

Other sources report that the approved expenditure authority was C$ 3.8 billion. Treasury Board DND “Status Report on Transformational and Major Crown Projects” | left-wing Rideau Institute.

March 23/12: Public Works Canada announces yet another Industry Day workshop for Canada’s FWSAR, on April 11/12. They are “now ready to resume industry engagement on FWSAR”, after taking since Aug 16/11 to move things forward again. Companies are “invited to provide comments and questions,” but failure to attend the workshops won’t exclude any suppliers from bidding later on.

Note that this competition was supposedly re-started in 2009. PWGSC | MERX Solicitation.

Feb 27/12: Better buy new. Alenia Aermacchi CEO Giuseppi Giordo gives an interview at Singapore’s air show, which throws a major wrench in American plans to re-sell the C-27J fleet. The contract itself reportedly has clauses that given Alenia discretion over resales, and if the USAF doesn’t reassign or store the Spartans,

“…we will do our best – not only us, but the Italian government – not to support those planes. They can sell, but as the original equipment manufacturer, I will not give spares, not guarantee configuration control, and so on…”

See full coverage in “The USA’s C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft“.

Jan 26/12: Buy used? Preliminary FY 2013 budget materials discuss coming shifts in Pentagon priorities, as the US defense department moves to make future cuts. The USAF’s 38-plane C-27 fleet will now be eliminated entirely, and sold:

“The new strategic guidance emphasizes flexibility and adaptability. The C-­27J was developed and procured to provide a niche capability to directly support Army urgent needs in difficult environments such as Afghanistan where we thought the C-130 might not be able to operate effectively. However, in practice, we did not experience the anticipated airfield constraints for C-­130 operations in Afghanistan and expect these constraints to be marginal in future scenarios. Since we have ample inventory of C-130s and the current cost to own and operate them is lower, we no longer need – nor can we afford – a niche capability like the C-­?27J aircraft. The Air Force and the Army will establish joint doctrine relating to direct support.”

This could be an opportunity for Canada, if DND can act with uncharacteristic haste. Australia has an approved request for 10 new C-27Js, and could decide to step in. Other C-27J operators looking to expand their fleet may also see an opportunity. Pentagon release | “Defense Budget Priorities and Choices” [PDF]

Jan 5/12: The Ottawa Citizen reports that the Cabinet of government ministers has signed off on the FWSAR project. DND spokeswoman Tracy Poirier adds:

“The $1.55-billion FWSAR project will acquire a new off-the-shelf fleet of fixed wing aircraft to replace the existing fleet of six CC115 Buffalo and ten CC130 Hercules SAR aircraft by 2015. A project objective is to provide an equivalent level of SAR service to Canadians while reducing costs associated with supporting the fleets.”

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

The competition is currently off-again, so there’s no live RFP, and no commitment yet by Boeing to bid. AIN Online | Ottawa Citizen Defence Watch.

Aug 16/11: Canada’s DND finally addresses the FWSAR project:

“Based on the NRC review, the SOR(Statement Of Requirements) has been amended to allow for a wider range of Fixed Wing Search and Rescue solutions and to reflect a capability-based rationale.”

Jan 25/10: Defense News reports that a recommendation for Canada’s FWSAR program is expected to be put before the government by May 2010 for approval. In addition, the government has asked the National Research Council in Ottawa, to examine the military’s search-and-rescue needs and how such capabilities could be improved. That review is due March 5/10.

Even so, Defense News reports that some of their sources believe that even when FWSAR recommendations are made, the Canadian government will not move on it. Relief from incoming C-130Js, and statements that the Buffalo fleet could last until 2015, are likely to remove any sense of urgency. Barring some sort of systemic SAR failure that costs lives, of course.

2007 – 2009

Incoming government delays FWSAR in 2007, re-launches in 2009.< CC-115 Buffalo
(click to view full)

July 15/09: Re-launch. Canada’s DND formally re-launches the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Program. It is very vague on specifics, and mostly discusses Canada’s required Industrial/Regional Benefits policies. According to an Ottawa Citizen report, the 140 or so people who showed up for the Industry Day launch were generally unimpressed:

“Government representatives who called the meeting couldn’t answer questions on how many planes would be bought, when they would be purchased, whether they would be equipped with sensors or how they would be maintained… About 140 people were jammed into a room in a military hangar, with some having to stand in a nearby hallway. The audio-visual presentation that was to outline details of the program did not work and the microphones for the main speakers and audience members failed.

At the last minute, the Harper government shut down an invitation for the media to listen to the presentations, leading to a bizarre situation where government employees refused even to confirm they were government employees.”

Sources: DND Backgrounder | Ottawa Citizen | Halifax Chronicle Herald | Aviation Week | David Pugliese’s Defence Watch.

Re-start

July 9/09: Ottawa Citizen reporter David Pugliese notes that the July 14/09 Industry Day for the C$ 3 billion FWSAR project is scheduled to be only 90 minutes long, and wonders if the fix is still in:

“…only setting aside 90 minutes for his presentation and to deal with all the questions from industry that might be associated with a $3 billion project has some cynics in the defence industry world suggesting not much has changed on this project. They expect the same details from four years ago to be trotted out and polished up as something new, with the usual “fair and open competition” buzz words to be thrown in for good measure.

But again, they are very cynical about this project.

It also doesn’t look from the details the government has posted that Industry Canada and Public Works officials will be taking part in this industry day.”

Jan 20/09: The Ottawa Citizen’s David Pugliese reports that political considerations are spawning proposals for a different procurement strategy as the purchase recommendation is prepared for Cabinet – but not for a different outcome:

“Nothing would change, I’m told. The C-27J would be selected but there would be the appearance of a competition. The way the requirements are now set, the Airbus Military (CASA-EADS) C-295 would be automatically excluded. Same goes for Canadian company Viking and its proposal for new build Buffalos. One way a competition could be held, however, is if Lockheed Martin were to bid the C-130J for FWSAR… [but] C-130J would be disqualified because the FWSAR budget would not allow for the purchase of enough of the aircraft.”

Dec 23/08: Buffalo. Viking Air CEO David Curtis issues an open letter, offering to refurbish existing Buffalo aircraft and re-start production in order to fill the government’s SAR needs. An excerpt from the letter’s reproduction on the CASR site:

“The requirement to replace the present [SAR] fleet is not based on a lack of ability for the Buffalo to do the job, but simply due to the aging of the aircraft. By breathing new life into the program, the DND can continue to operate the best-suited aircraft, safely, reliably, and with a huge reduction in acquisition and direct operating costs [including aircrew / maintenance personnel training, airframe spares, etc.]… Canadian taxpayers will receive a proven, low-risk product with huge economic benefits and cost savings, thus allowing the DND to either acquire more aircraft for search and rescue or reallocate the funds to other projects within DND.”

See also: “DHC-5NG – a New-Production Buffalo Compared with C-27J.”

Dec 18/08: C-27J sole-source? Reports begin to surface that the Canadian DND plans to issue an Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN) for the SAR requirement, specifying Alenia’s C-27J as its preferred type. Martin Sefzig, Airbus’s director of Canadian programs, is surprised when the Ottawa Citizen asks him about it:

“We’re caught off guard by the current initiative calling for an ACAN… After five years of no evaluation and very little discussion, they now go for an ACAN. No aircraft has been tested. Why?”

The move would have to survive Cabinet scrutiny, and the unstable state of Canada’s Parliament makes that far less likely. Handing out a manufacturing contract that creates jobs in Italy, while shutting out Canadian competitors and creating controversies in Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia, isn’t a winning move if one’s political margins are as thin as the current Harper government’s. Time will tell. See also: Canada.com | Halifax Chronicle-Herald op-ed | The Torch | Flight International.

Dec 13/08: Canada’s Defence Minister Peter MacKay is quoted as saying that a proposal to replace the CC-115 Buffalos is on his desk, and ready to be presented to the federal cabinet in early 2009. He will ask the Cabinet to approve up to $3 billion for the project, and says “I hope to move very early in the new year toward procurement.”

The purchase of 15 new aircraft is now expected to cost around C$ 1.5 billion, with an additional C$ 1.5 billion tacked on for a 20-year service contract. Toronto Star.

June 4/07: Delay. Aero News reports that the Canadian SAR competition has now been pushed forward 4 years, and quotes Canadian Air Force spokesman Capt. Jim Hutcheson as saying that there isn’t even a projected delivery date any more.

“It is acknowledged that there are other government priorities, other departmental priorities that are being pursued right now, largely associated with operations in Afghanistan… We’ll most likely use the Buffalo and the Herc beyond 2010 until the new aircraft arrive… How much beyond, they’re looking at options that will cover that range.”

Giuseppe Giordo, President of Alenia North America in Washington, DC, notes that negotiations are ongoing and the first CC-130Js aren’t expected until 2009 at the earliest. He contends that the funds could be used now to finance SAR recapitalization.

Canada’s Conservative Party is a minority government, which means it can be brought down at any time via a vote of no-confidence by the other political parties. The deferral of this purchase is likely to prove contentious in many regions of Canada, which is the world’s second largest country and has large remote areas that are thinly-populated but important to its economy.

Stay tuned.

FWSAR delayed 4 years

Jan 3/07: Sole-source? Canada’ Globe and Mail newspaper reports that:

“A DND document obtained by The Globe and Mail confirmed that only one aircraft is being considered as a “viable bidder” for the search-and-rescue contract. The project is worth about $3-billion, including the maintenance of the aircraft over 20 years… Defence contracts are among the most lucrative deals the government signs, and if the Spartan is bought, it will illustrate a growing government habit of signing multibillion-dollar deals without accepting competing bids.”

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Categories: News

The Saudis’ American Shopping Spree: F-15s, Helicopters & More

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 23:52
F-15S & weapons
(click to view full)

In October 2010, talks that Saudi Arabia was negotiating a $30-60 billion arms package with the USA were made official with a full multi-billion request that included 84 F-15 Strike Eagles to replace the Kingdom’s Tornado strike aircraft and/or F-15A-D fighters, upgrades for another 70 planes, about 132 UH-60 Black Hawk utility and AH-64 attack helicopters, and armaments to equip them.

This article looks at those requests, their tie-ins, the issues that are part of these potential deals, and related follow-on requests. As is often the case with DSCA announcements, years can pass between the requests and the signed contracts, but these contracts have started to roll in, alongside other significant buys.

Quick Sales Summary

US Foreign Military Sale requests are required to be fairly public, beginning with US Department of State DSCA announcements. Even so, some contract disclosures and clarification can require the permission of the customer, and Saudi Arabia’s preference is not to give that. As such, items whose orders have not been publicly announced may be farther along in the process than the above chart indicates.

The Saudis are upgrading their air and missile defenses using American equipment, but that effort is covered in-depth in a separate article that looks at the entire Gulf Co-operation Council’s air and ballistic missile defense improvements.

Note that this dashboard does not cover American contracts that began before 2010, such as Saudi Arabia’s drive to upgrade its M1 tanks, or various Saudi Arabia National Guard sales initiated before the big October 2010 request. It also omits sales to Saudi Arabia from outside the USA, such as S-2000 AWACS aircraft from Sweden, advanced Eurofighter Typhoon fighters from Britain, etc.

Contracts & Key Events 2015 – 2016

Boeing on AH-6i

December 9/16: Lockheed Martin will provide spare parts for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s F-15 Strike Eagle fighters. The $67 million USAF contract covers parts for Infrared Search and Track systems, Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods, and LANTIRN Extended Range navigation pods. Lockheed Martin has been providing sensor systems for the kingdom’s Boeing-made fleet since 1996.

October 4/16: Saudi Arabia is set to buy a further eight UH-60M Black Hawks in a $91 million US Army contract. The foreign military sale will see Sikorsky provide the medium-lift utility helicopters by December 2017. Back in February, Sikorsky and Saudi Arabian firm Taqnia Aeronautics began investigating the possibilities of producing Black Hawks in the kingdom as part of efforts to diversify their economy amid dropping oil prices.

September 22/16: Saudi Arabia’s Al Raha Group has successfully been awarded a USAF contract to provide support to the Saudi Arabian F-15 fleet. Valued at $355.9 million, Al Raha will provide comprehensive material management of unclassified spares, support equipment, and support services required to support base stand-ups and continued F-15 and F-15SA Royal Saudi Air Force flying operations. Work will be carried out both in Georgia, USA and in Saudi Arabia.

September 06/16: PKL Services have been awarded a $495 million USAF contract for work on the Royal Saudi Air Force’s F-15 fleet. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract covers maintenance, upgrade, and training of the Saudi Strike Eagle S- and SA-type fighters. Saudi Arabia has been flying the F-15SA since 2013, and features include improved performance and increased survivability at a lower life-cycle cost as well as two additional wing stations for increased payload and capability.

July 13/16: Boeing is to commence deliveries of the AH-6i Little Bird light attack/reconnaissance helicopter to the Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) at the end of the month. The Gulf Kingdom ordered 24 Ah-6is at a cost of $243 million in 2014 as part of a wider $25.3 billion helicopter deal which includes a number of AH-64E Apaches, Sikorsky UH-60M Blackhawks, and 12 MD Helicopters MD-530F. Derived from the AH-6 Little Bird, the latest version includes advanced technology from the AH-64E Apache.

November 17/15: The US State Department has cleared the sale of $1.29 billion worth of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia. The purchase will replenish supplies used in recent air strikes against both Iranian backed Houthi insurgents in Yeman and Islamic State forces in Syria. Details of the sale were posted by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) last Friday and follow last months shopping spree by the Saudis which totalled $11.25 billion. Last months sale included four multi-mission Littoral combat ships as well as various equipment and munitions which came in the wake of the US-Iranian nuclear agreement. Several Gulf nations made requests to the US to help modernize their military before they acquiesced to the deal.

October 21/15: The US State Department has approved the sale of up to four Littoral Combat Ship-based Multi Mission Surface Combatant Ships to Saudi Arabia, with these based on the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class LCS, as opposed to the Austal Independence-class. If lawmakers agree to the sale, a Foreign Military Sales contract can be drafted, with this likely to be signed early next year. The deal – potentially worth $11.25 billion – forms part of the Kingdom’s Eastern Fleet Modernization program.

The Gulf state also requested a significant quantity of US-manufactured weaponry to complement the new MMSC ships. This includes over five hundred RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, 128 RIM-116C Block II Rolling Airframe Missiles to equip five new MK-15 Mod 3 SeaRAM air defense systems and 48 Block II GM-85 Harpoon missiles, along with eight launchers and five control systems. The request also covers eight MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems (capable of launching Raytheon’s family of Standard Missile munitions), .50 cal machine guns and five Oto Melara MK-75 Gun Systems, as well as sonar and communications systems.

October 16/15: Saudi Arabia has signed a deal with the US for 320 PAC-3 interceptor missiles, with this following a DSCA request in July for 600. The new missiles will modernize the Saudis’ Patriot air and missile defense systems, with the request valued at $5.4 billion. The Saudi government is also reported to be pushing ahead with plans to acquire the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, along with the remaining 280 PAC-3 missiles. This news comes on the heels of reports earlier this week that the Kingdom is mulling a possible acquisition of Israeli short-range air and missile defense systems; these would complement the medium and long-range capabilities of the Patriot and THAAD systems.

The country has also requested nine UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, along with auxiliary equipment, spares, and logistical support in a potential deal valued at $495 million. The Kingdom has already ordered a number of UH-60Ms, previously requesting 72 helicopters along with other US equipment. Other regional states have also ordered the Sikorsky helicopter, including Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

October 13/15: The Saudi Arabian National Guard will receive the first of twenty-four Boeing AH-6i armed reconnaissance helicopters in late June 2016, according to a report by Janes. The helicopters are being manufactured under a $234.7 million long-lead production contract awarded to Boeing in late 2013 and announced in August 2014, with Saudi Arabia the first customer for the type. Construction of the helicopters will begin in December. Saudi Arabia has been a loyal market for US helicopter manufacturers, with acquisitions including the UH-60L Black Hawk and AH-64D Apache.

2014

Sept 15/14: Hellfires. Hellfire Systems LLC, Orlando, FL, was awarded a $68.7 million to firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract modification to acquire 1,361 Hellfire II tactical missiles in containers and air-to ground missiles: model AGM-114R, AGM-114R-3, AGM-114P-4A, TGM M36E7, and ATM-114Q-6.

The countries involved in this foreign military sales contract are Iraq, Jordan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. All of these countries are AH-64 Apache attack helicopter customers or prospective customers, except Iraq (AC-208B aircraft), and Jordan (AC-235 aircraft). DID looked into these designations.

  • The AGM-114P is generally used on UAVs like the Predator, where its 360 degree firing capability and tolerance of high altitude temperatures are welcome. These traits also make it suitable for fixed-wing aircraft.
  • There is no AGM-114R-3 – but there is an AGM-114R2 with a Height Of Burst sensor, which helps improve the base AGM-114R’s tri-mode anti-armor/ timed anti-structure/ fragmentation warhead.
  • The AGM-114Q model is a training round, with an inert mass that’s the same weight as the warhead. It’s used for live-fire training, where it creates less mess.
  • The TGM M36E7 corresponds to what the USAF would call a “CATM” – a training missile with the seeker head, but no rocket or warhead.

Estimated completion date is Nov 30/16. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract on behalf of its FMS clients (W31P4Q-11-C-0242, PO 0104).

Oct 1/14: Saudi Arabia. The US DSCA announces a Saudi Arabian export request for more PATRIOT PAC-3 missiles, with Lockheed Martin in Dallas, TX and Raytheon in Tewksbury, MA as the designated contractors to negotiate with. the contract could be worth up to $1.75 billion, on top of previous request and sales involving a $1.7 billion upgrade of PATRIOT systems to Config-3 status for PAC-3 missile use (q.v. Nov 30/11), high-end maintenance and re-certification contracts (q.v. Dec 23/11, Nov 28/12), and a national C4I system (q.v. Nov 26/12).

This time, they want to buy up to 202 PATRIOT PAC-3 Missiles with containers, and 1 Patriot as a Target (PAC-2 Guidance Enhanced Missile GEM Flight Test Target). They also want up to 36 Launcher Station Modification Kits, 6 Fire Solution Computers, 6 Patriot Automated Logistics Systems Kits, 2 PAC-3 Telemetry Kits, 2 Missile Round Trainers, 2 PAC-3 Slings, 6 Shorting Plugs, spare and repair parts, lot validation and range support, ground support equipment, repair and return, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, a Quality Assurance Team, and other US Government and contractor support.

“The proposed sale will help replenish Saudi’s current [PAC-2] Patriot missiles which are becoming obsolete and difficult to sustain due to age and the limited availability of repair parts. The purchase of PAC-3 missiles will support current and future defense missions…. Although [industrial] offsets are requested, they are unknown at this time and will be determined during negotiations between the KSA and contractor.”

Implementation of this proposed program will require 1 additional US contractor to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a period of 3 years for equipment fielding and system checkout. Sources: US DSCA #14-43, “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) – Patriot Air Defense System with PAC-3 Enhancement”.

DSCA: Saudis request PAC-3 missiles (202)

Sept 10/14: F-15S EW. BAE Systems, Nashua, New Hampshire, has been awarded a $7.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for a DEWS ECM engineering change proposal, on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s F-15SAs. DEWS links various sensors that track threats to its fighter, and coordinates defensive flares, chaff, etc. The main DEWS contract was announced on April 2/12, at $366.5 million for 70 systems, as part of the RSAF’s F-15S conversions.

Work will be performed at Nashua, NH, and is expected to be complete by Nov 30/18. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition, managed by the USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Robins AFB, GA on behalf of their Saudi client (FA8540-12-C-0013 PO 0008).

Sept 8/14: Support. Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, VA receives a $43.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for services to support the Royal Saudi Land Forces: consulting, intensive management, logistics support, and contracting support within the United States. In addition, an office will be established in Saudi Arabia for local purchasing and local hires to sustain the fleet of M1A2S Abrams tanks purchased and sustained through the foreign military sales program.

Work will be performed in Saudi Arabia with an estimated completion date of Sept 8/17. Bids were solicited via the Internet, with 1 received by US Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (W91CRB-14-C-0048).

April 29/14: SANG AH-6i. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $234.7 million unfinalized contract covering 24 AH-6i armed scout helicopters, the initial spares package, and ground support equipment for Saudi Arabia. $115 million is committed immediately.

IHS Jane’s confirms that this is the AH-6i’s 1st sale, as Jordan has yet to make good on its Letter of Intent. The AH-6i Letter of Agreement for 36 machines was reportedly signed on Feb 13/12, but phases, numbers, and prices remained to be negotiated. This purchase appears to clarify comments from Lynn Tilton of MD Helicopters that the type’s initial order would be for 24, with more to follow. Beyond Saudi Arabia, Boeing is reportedly targeting AH-1 Cobra operators. Many of whom received daylight-capable surplus American aircraft at a discount, and they may not be able to afford a full replacement like the AH-1Z or AH-64E.

Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/16. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract on behalf of their Saudi FMS client (W58RGZ-14-C-0082). See also IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, “Boeing awarded AH-6i contract for Saudi Arabia” | Aviation Week Farnborough, “Boeing Readies Saudi AH-6i, Eyes More Customers”.

24 AH-6i armed scout helicopters

Aug 19/14: SANG UH-60Ms. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $30.3 million contract modification for 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, on behalf of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. All funds are committed immediately. This appears to be an initial award, with a follow-on to come that will modify the helicopters for Saudi use (q.v. March 25/13, Dec 20/13), and bring total SANG UH-60M sales to 24 of 72 requested machines.

The estimated completion date is Aug 31/17. Work will be performed in Jupiter, FL and Stratford, CT. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the order on behalf of its Saudi client (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0072).

April 23/14: TOW me. Raytheon announces:

“An international customer signed an agreement with the U.S. Government for a foreign military sale (FMS) of tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) missiles to be supplied by Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) in a deal valued at approximately $750 million.

Raytheon plans to deliver nearly 14,000 TOW missiles to the customer over a three-year period beginning in 2015. A resulting order is expected to be executed by the U.S. government with Raytheon in the coming weeks.”

Do they mention the customer? No, they don’t. Are there any other customers with pending orders for “nearly 14,000 TOW missiles” (q.v. Dec 5/13)? No, there aren’t. The only question is whether this includes only the SANG, whose DSCA request involved 13,935 TOW missiles, or stands as a joint buy that also includes the Royal Saudi Land Forces. Sources: Raytheon, “International customer signs agreement with USG valued at $750 million for Raytheon’s TOW missiles”.

~14,000 TOW missiles

April 11/14: F-15SA. Boeing in St. Louis. MO receives a $9.9 million unfinalized contract modification for Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA Training. The contract had an initial face value of $75.6 million, which brings the total to 84.5 million. The increase covers new activities within the contract’s original scope, including training in the USA, and maintenance and aircrew and academic training outside the USA.

Work will be performed until Aug 5/19 in St. Louis, MO; and at King Khalid Air Base near Khamis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia. The USAF 338th Security Assistance Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio in Randolph AFB, TX manages the contract on behalf of their Saudi client (FA3002-13-D-0012, PO 0005).

March 13/14: AH-64. Longbow LLC in Orlando, FL receives a $25.5 million FMS contract modification via the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command for initial spares, peculiar ground support equipment, integrated logistics support, management, and production line spares. Longbow, LLC makes the fire control radar used with the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.

All funds were committed immediately. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL until June 30/16. The US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract (W58RGZ-06-C-0134, PO 0045).

Feb 10/14: Hellfires. Hellfire Systems, LLC in Orlando, FL receives a $157.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for FY 2014 Hellfire II missile production requirements that include foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Indonesia. The Saudis are buying Hellfire missiles for their AH-64 and AH-6i helicopters.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 – 2014 budgets. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/16. US Army Contracting Command – Redstone Arsenal (Missile) at Redstone, AL manages the contract, and acts an an FMS agent for other countries (W31P4Q-11-C-2042, PO 0068).

Hellfire missiles

USMC LAV-ATs
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Feb 14/14: LAVs. The Canadian government announces a huge contract, and lets slip that it’s from Saudi Arabia in the footnotes. Mr. Fast led trade missions to the Saudi kingdom in 2012 and 2013, so he has cause to be pleased, but he may have missed the nuance that Saudi Arabia is generally reticent about its military buys. Even if it is a tremendously timely order for GDLS Canada, which will keep the plant and its supply chain open as US Stryker (LAV-III) purchases wind to a close:

“The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and Danny Deep, Vice President, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, announced today a historic multi-billion dollar contract win for vehicles and associated equipment, training and support services. The announcement was made in London, Ontario, where the light armoured vehicles will be designed and manufactured and which will become the epicentre of a cross-Canada supply chain directly benefiting more than 500 local Canadian firms. This 14-year contract will create and sustain more than 3,000 jobs each year in Canada, with southern Ontario accounting for approximately 40 percent of the supply base.”

To clear up any confusion about jurisdictions: The contractor is General Dynamics Land Systems, which is an American firm subject to US government export laws and approval requirements. At the same time, the state-run Canadian Commercial Corp. handles all exports from Canadian firms, even if they’re subsidiaries like GDLS-Canada.

There’s no official corporate release yet, but General Dynamics has described the deal to reporters as $10 billion, which could rise to $13 billion if all options are exercised. That’s far bigger than Oct 4/07 and June 13/11 DSCA requests for new vehicles (total: about $1 billion) can account for. Nor do purchases for the Saudi Arabian National Guard make up much of the difference. GDLS-Canada announced a $2.2 billion deal on Nov 24/09 for 724 LAV-II 8×8 wheeled armored personnel carriers, in 10 different variants, which exactly matched a July 20/06 Saudi DSCA request.

The Saudis already had a substantial fleet of LAV vehicles in their military branches. It seems very likely that a support contract covering all Saudi LAV fleets going forward is a big part of this deal, along with all LAVs requested to date and perhaps more. It is possible for the Saudis to order vehicles as a Direct Commercial Sale, which still requires approvals but doesn’t require the same announcements, and would make the Saudis fully responsible for managing the buy. Sources: Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, “Largest Advanced Manufacturing Export Win in Canada’s History” | Reuters, “General Dynamics Canada wins Saudi deal worth up to $13 billion”.

Huge LAV order, plus over a decade of support

Feb 5/14: LAV-AT SWORD. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives a $16.3 million firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract for 22 modified improved target acquisition systems for the Royal Saudi Land Forces SWORD program, and 3 for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. A seemingly-related FBO.gov solicitation describes SWORD as:

” WITHIN THE FMS CASE, ON LINE ITEM 012 NOTE 36, SWORD DIRECTED THE PURCHASE OF LIGHT ARMORED VEHICLE-ANTI TANK (MOD) (LAV-AT(M)) WITH THE MITAS.”

LAV-ATs use under-armor TOW missiles, and improving them with ITAS modified for those vehicles delivers a lot of bang for the buck. Bids were solicited via the Web, with 1 received. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and the estimated completion date is June 30/15. Work will be managed by US Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI as the Saudis’ agent (W56HZV-14-C-0066).

2013

1st F-15SA flight and official rollout; Significant contracts for WCMD cluster bombs & JTE trainers; Slew of AH-64E helicopter contracts; Export requests for a new array of precision strike weapons, Full naval C4I systems, Mk.V Patrol Boats, thousands of TOW missiles; Boeing & Sikorsky team of up for long-term Saudi support. TOW Launch
(click to view full)

Dec 20/13: SANG UH-60Ms. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $105.3 million contract modification to contract “to modify 8 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters to a General Service Configuration in Support of the Saudi Arabian National Guard.” The contract number indicates that these machines are purchases under the MYP-8 multi-year deal, which explicitly allows other countries to take advantage of American volume pricing. Essentially, they’re buying 8 UH-60Ms as an initial order under the Oct 20/10 DSCA request to export up to 72 machines.

One bid was solicited with one received. Work will be performed in West Palm Beach, FL and in Saudi Arabia. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as the Saudis’ agent (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0089).

8 UH-60Ms: initial order

Dec 19/13: F-15SA. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a maximum $8.8 million firm-fixed-price modification on an existing RSAF contract for AN/AAQ-33 Sniper surveillance & targeting pods (q.v. April 2/12). They’ll provide configuration support for compact multiband data link software and firmware on the RSAF’s F-15SAs, and handle various other support tasks involving the Sniper ATP.

Work will be performed at Orlando, FL, and is expected to be complete by November 2016. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WNKCB at Robins AFB, GA acts as the Saudis’ agent (FA8540-12-C-0012, PO 0004).

Dec 17/13: F-15 Sensors. Goodrich Corp. (now United Technologies’ Aerospace Systems) in Westford, MA has been awarded an $183 million firm-fixed-price unfinalized action within the Royal Saudi Air Force DB110 Reconnaissance System program. This modification changes the requirements to include in-country setup and installation, ground stations, and a pod survey study being produced under the basic contract, issued on April 13/12 for $183 million (see also May 31/12).

Work will be performed at Westford, MA, and is expected to be complete by July 23/21, which is a year ahead of the April 2012 announcement. It appears as if they’ve kept the price stable, but adjusted some terms. DID is investigating. A July 10/12 Goodrich release cited the Saudi order as 10 dual-band reconnaissance pods per the Oct 20/10 DSCA request, 5 ground stations, and “extensive training and logistics support.” The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WINK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH acts as the Saudis’ agent (FA8620-12-C-4020, PO 0013).

Dec 5/13: TOW missiles. The US DSCA announces Saudi Arabia’s official request for export clearance to buy 1,750 portable TOW anti-armor missiles for the Royal Saudi Land Forces. The request includes up to 1,000 BGM-71E TOW-2A missiles with a nose spike to help defeat advanced armor and fortifications, 7 TOW-2A test missiles, 750 BGM-71F TOW-2B Aero missiles with longer range (>4 km) and a top attack mode, and 7 TOW-2B test missiles. they’re also requesting containers, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment,and other US government and contractor support.

The estimated cost is up to $170 million, but the Saudis will need to negotiate a contract with prime contractor Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ. Saudi Arabia already operates TOW missiles, and they won’t need any additional personnel in country. The Saudi National Guard also submitted a request for TOW missiles today, but it was far larger at over 13,000 missiles and up to $900 million. Sources: US DSCA, 13-52.

DSCA request: TOW missiles

Nov 27/13: F-15SA. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives a $15.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for “disorientation recovery function capability on the F-15SA aircraft”. In English, if the plane is behaving in a way that suggests the pilot has lost control via G-force blackout or other causes, and isn’t receiving ongoing input from the pilot, an autopilot is engaged to right the aircraft. As they say, the ground always has a PK of 1.0.

$2.4 million is committed immediately. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO and will be complete by Feb 2/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH acts as Saudi Arabia’s managing agent (FA8634-12-C-2651, PO 0021).

Nov 20/13: Navy. The Royal Saudi Navy’s core currently consists of French Al-Riyadh (Lafayette) and Al-Madinah Class frigates at the high end, and older US-built Badr Class corvettes and Al-Sadiq Class patrol boats at the low end. The Saudi Naval Expansion Program II will shape the Kingdom’s next set of buys, and discussions have ranged from American LCS frigates, to full-size DDG-51 Aegis destroyers capable of ballistic missile defense. They could turn to options like Spain’s Navantia (F100 family), if they wish to buy Aegis ships from a source other than the USA. The Saudis are also evaluating France’s new FREMM frigates, which could offer missile defense capabilities of their own, and share some commonalities with their existing Al-Riyadh Class.

October statements by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan may have said that the kingdom was hoping to make a major shift away from the United States, but at this point, they can’t really do that for their C4I systems. The Saudis’ installed and committed C4I base is one reason. In addition, the US Navy is still the pre-eminent force they need to cooperate with in the Gulf, so they need C4I interoperability. Ships are another matter. Sources: Reuters, “Lockheed sees more clarity on Saudi naval buy in next months” | UAE’s The National, “Challenges in the Middle East for US defence companies“.

GCCS-J
click for video

Nov 19/13: Navy C4I. The US DSCA announces an official Foreign Military Sale export request from Saudi Arabia for C4I system upgrades and maintenance, aimed specifically at Saudi Arabia’s naval forces, at a cost of up to $1.1 billion. “The RSNF will use the upgraded C4I system to provide situational awareness of naval activity in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea…. and keep pace with the rapid advances in C4I technology to remain a viable U.S. coalition partner in the region.” The request includes:

  • Global Command and Control Systems – Joint (GCCS-J). A November 2012 announcement from Raytheon referred to a $600 million Direct Commercial Sale contract for a “national, strategic C4I system, providing capabilities for joint service coordination.” GCCS-J is what the US military uses for that purpose, and the US military has service-specific variants of it. Saudi Arabia has effectively financed other countries’ upgrades before, and a big contract could help DISA implement some of the GCCS-J changes it wants. Starting with moving GCCS-J off of SPARC-chip computers and onto Intel chip computers. DISA also wants to migrate the software from Windows into plug-ins for the Agile Client framework (Java NetBeans, NASA’s WorldWind, plus VMWare’s Gemfire), while migrating web client capabilities into the Joint Command and Control Common User Interface (JC2CUI, uses the Ozone Widget Framework). If the Saudis help to develop a system with 1 or more of these migrations, the impact will be felt by the US military.

  • Air Defense System Interrogator (Ultra Electronics’ ADSI), which provides tactical data link forwarding, and interfaces between a very large set of tactical data links, radar interfaces, and electronic intelligence interfaces.

  • Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS) and follow-on systems. Looks like there will be a CENTRIXS-SA soon, enabling text and web communication with the US Navy and other CENTRIXS-equipped nations like Britain.

  • 109 Link–16 Multifunction Information Distribution System Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT)
  • Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) hardware.

  • Commercial Satellite Communications (SATCOM).
  • Commercial High Frequency (HF) and Ultra High Frequency/ Very High Frequency (UHF/VHF) Radios, including HF Voice and Data, HF Sub-Net Relay (SNR), Commercial HF Internet Protocol (IP)/SNR.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) gear.
  • Plus communications support equipment, information technology upgrades, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and US Government and contractor support.

There will be no principal contractors involved with this proposed sale. Acquisition and integration of all systems will be managed by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Weapons Command (SPAWAR), and implementation will require the assignment of 14 U.S. Government and contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia for 10 years to support network design, acquisition, implementation, installation, and integration efforts. Sources: DSCA 13-44.

DSCA: Full naval C4I backbone

Oct 15/13: Weapons. The US DSCA announces Saudi Arabia’s formal export request for a variety of weapons that will equip its F-15SA fighters. Note that this list is in addition to the weapons mentioned in the main October 2010 request, and could be worth up to $6.8 billion in total:

  • 400 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles, which add GPS to the missile’s radar targeting. They can be used against land targets as well as ships.
  • 40 Harpoon CATM.
  • 20 ATM-84L Harpoon Exercise Missiles.

  • 650 AGM-84H SLAM-ER cruise missiles. This Harpoon variant adds IIR terminal guidance to GPS navigation, and extended-range wings that let it hit land and sea targets 250 km away. South Korea’s F-15Ks already deploy it. The US Navy uses its AGM-88K successor, which they consider to be their most accurate strike weapon. The Saudis already deploy MBDA’s stealthy, long-range Storm Shadow cruise missile from their Tornados, so they may be less impressed, but SLAM-ER will definitely add punch to the F-15 fleet.
  • 40 CATM-84H Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM), with seekers but no motor.
  • 20 ATM-84H SLAM-ER Telemetry Missiles for test shots.
  • 4 Dummy Air Training Missiles. Sometimes you just need similar weight & form factor.
  • 60 AWW-13 Data Link pods. Pilots can receive text, data, and photos from various sources, and can also use it to communicate with the SLAM-ER in mid-flight.

  • 973 AGM-154C Joint Stand Off Weapons (JSOW). This stealthy 2,000 pound glide bomb uses GPS for navigation and IIR guidance for terminal guidance.
  • 10 JSOW CATM.

  • 1,000 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDB). These 250 pound JDAM variants can be carried 4 to a rack. GPS guidance and pop-out wings give them decent range and accuracy, and their design makes them more effective against hard targets than their weight would suggest.
  • 36 SDB Captive Flight and Load Build trainers.

  • Containers, mission planning, integration support and testing, munitions storage security and training, weapon operational flight program software development, transportation, tools and test equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support.

The principal contractors will be Boeing in St. Louis, MO (Harpoon, SLAM-ER, SDB); Raytheon in Indianapolis, IN; and Raytheon in Tucson, AZ (JSOW). If contracts are negotiated, they’ll need to negotiate the addition of approximately 2-4 additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia. Sources: US DSCA 13-49, Oct 15/13.

DSCA: Precision strike weapons request

Oct 15/13: Support. The US DSCA announces Saudi Arabia’s export request for 3 years of support services to its Ministry of Defense from the US Military Training Mission (USMTM) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. They’re responsible for identifying, planning, and executing US security cooperation training and advisory support. The estimated cost is up to $90 million, no contractors are involved, and no additional personnel will be needed. Sources: US DSCA 13-53, Oct 15/13.

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

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

2 KC-130Js

Sept 26/13: Industrial. Boeing’s Al Salam Aircraft Corp. joint venture in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia receives a $33.1 million firm-fixed-price contract related to the F-15S to F-15SA upgrade program. The contract is all about getting the company ready to carry out the demanding Phase II program, and includes setting up the facility, developing manufacturing plans and schedules, and readying automated performance reporting tools.

During Phase I of this upgrade, 2 F-15S fighters will be converted to F-15SA status at the Boeing facility in St. Louis, MO. Following successful completion of the initial phase, production will resume under Phase II at Alsalam, to complete the remaining 68 aircraft.

The firm has experience with F-15s, and has been providing Programmed Depot Maintenance to the Saudi F-15C/D/S fleet since 2002. The initial phase is expected to be complete by Dec. 31/15, with overall contract completion on Dec 31/19. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WWKA at Robins AFB, GA, acts as the Saudi FMS agent (FA8505-13-C-0014). See also: Alsalam Aircraft Corp History | Video.

JTE
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Sept 9/13: JTE. Northrop Grumman Amherst Systems in Buffalo, NY received a $219.1 million firm-fixed and cost-type contract from Saudi Arabia for its Joint Threat Emitter (JTE). They’ll supply 1st article and production units, associated drawings, retrofit kits, provisioning, and software. $44 million is committed immediately.

This contract was a competitive acquisition, with 2 offers received by the Saudis’ agent: the USAF Life Cycle Management Center/PZZK at Hill Air Force Base, UT.

The JTE is a mobile multi-radar system that radiates at realistic power levels, reacting to attempted jamming, employing IFF technologies, and tracking pilots’ reactions to its own efforts. It can simulate Anti-Aircraft Artillery radar systems, and Surface-to-Air missiles up to modern high-end threats. The goal is to train combat aircrews to defeat or avoid integrated air defense systems (FA8210-13-C-0001). Sources: Pentagon | NGC, Joint Threat Emitter (JTE) | USAF, “Joint Threat Emitter transmits signals for attack training”.

Aug 23/13: Support. The US DSCA announces an official Saudi request to continue support and services for Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) aircraft, engines and weapons, to include contractor technical services, logistics support, maintenance support, spares, equipment repair, expendables, support and test equipment, communication support, precision measuring equipment, personnel training and training equipment, technical support, exercises, deployments and other forms of Government and contractor support.

The estimated cost is $1.2 billion, but the time period isn’t clear. There is no prime contractor, and no new deployment of support personnel required.

DSCA request: Aircraft support

Aug 20/13: WCMD. Textron Defense Systems in Wilmington, MA receives a $640.8 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for 1,300 “cluster bomb units.” The Oct 20/10 DSCA request was much more specific – these are GPS-guided “CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons.” They spew out BLU-108 rods, whose attached tuna-can shaped smart sub-munitions can target tanks and vehicles before blowing a formed projectile through their roofs. The Saudis haven’t agreed to the Convention on Cluster Munitions; indeed, its only Mideast parties are Lebanon and Iraq, and it has very few adherents in Asia.

The 2010 request was buried within the larger $30 billion F-15SA purchase, but the Saudis also placed a June 13/11 request for another 404 of them. If that contract is signed, it could add another $355 million to Textron’s balance sheet.

Work will be performed at Wilmington, MA, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2015. This contract involves foreign military sales (FMS) for Saudi Arabia. FMS funds in the amount of $410,218,248 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/OO-ALC/EBHKA, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8213-12-C-0064, PZ 00001).

July 18/13: Rockets. General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products Inc. in Williston, VT receives a $67.5 million firm-fixed-price, option-filled, foreign-military-sales contract order from Saudi Arabia for 70mm Hydra rockets, warheads and related parts. The rockets are most frequently used on helicopters, and can also be used on qualified fixed-wing aircraft, if the right launcher is added. The addition of guidance sections like APKWS, DAGR, etc. can even turn them into laser-guided precision weapons.

Work will be performed in Camden, AR, and the US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as the Saudis’ agent (W31P4Q-10-C-0190, PO 0136). The cumulative total face value of this contract is $1.025 billion, but previous orders have been on behalf of the US military.

July 17/13: F-15SA. Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. in St. Louis, MO receives a maximum $75.6 million firm-fixed-price and cost-reimbursable contract, in order to update Saudi training and reflect the F-15SA’s new features. Elements like fly-by-wire are significant changes, to give just one of several examples. That means updated courseware, revised initial training for new pilots, and differences training for RSAF pilots moving over from other F-15 models.

Work will be performed until July 19/19 in St. Louis, MO, and King Khalid Air Base in Khamis Mushayt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a sole-source acquisition, using FY 2011 international funding. Under Foreign Military Sale rules, the customer is the USAF’s Security Assistance Training Squadron. More specifically, Saudi Arabia’s agent is the Air Education and Training Command Contracting Squadron/LGCI (International Contracting Flight) at Randolph AFB, TX (FA3002-13-D-0012).

Mk.V & RHIB
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July 10/13: Patrol Boats. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s formal export request for 30 Mark V patrol boats, 32 foredeck-mounted 27mm guns, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and US government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $1.2 billion, but exact prices for the boats and support will depend on contract negotiations with the principal contractor, who hasn’t been picked yet, though USMI is a potential builder. Implementation of this proposed sale will require an additional 3-4 U.S. Government and contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia over a period of 7 years, to provide support and warranty work during delivery of the boats.

The Mark Vs are best known for their use by SEAL teams in the USA (Mk.V SOC), and have been used to launch and recover small UAVs. They are also used independently of the SEAL teams by the US Navy. Buying them creates a fast-moving armed force that can protect critical infrastructure in the Arabian/ Persian Gulf, and has the on-board guns to destroy Iranian “Boghammer” fast boats in a clash. They can also be used in efforts like Saudi operations around Yemen, which made significant but under-reported use of naval interdiction.

The DSCA says that this purchase represents an upgrade and modernization over the RSNF’s existing small patrol boat fleet. Note that the RSN’s 9 Al Sadiq Class boats, built in the early 1980s by Peterson, offer about 10x the Mk.V’s displacement, and include weapons like anti-ship missiles. They don’t sound like the boats the Mk.Vs will replace.

DSCA request: Mk.V Patrol Boats

July 2/13: AH-64E. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $15.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification as part of its AH-64E purchases. The customer is confirmed as Saudi Arabia, with a cumulative total face value of $50.6 million for this one contract. US Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as the Saudi agent (W58RGZ-12-C-0113, PO 0004).

July 2/13: AH-64 support. Boeing in Mesa, AZ received a $109.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification “for services in support of the Royal Saudi Land Force Aviation Command.” The exact uses for these funds are unclear, as the RSLF operates 12 older AH-64D Apache helicopters, while also buying new AH-64Es. The contract itself, however, seems to be associated with new AH-64Es.

The Pentagon gives a cumulative total face value of $394.9 million for this one contract. US Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as the Saudi agent (W58RGZ-12-C-0089, PO 0006).

June 20/13: Boeing-Sikorsky. With the Saudi government tipping sharply toward a very American helicopter fleet, Boeing (AH-6i, AH-64D/E) and Sikorsky (UH-60) have formed the Boeing Sikorsky International Services (BSIS) 50/50 joint venture to compete for Saudi support, maintenance & repair services. For Saudi helicopters bought under the huge Oct 20/10 announcements, those contracts will be passed through the US government as part of its Foreign Military Sales process.

Both firms have strong roots in the kingdom, and both are already performing maintenance service for the Saudis’ small AH-64 and UH-60 fleets. Boeing also supports research and community projects, and is involved in partnerships that address Saudi educational goals as well as industrial development. Sikorsky began later, in the early 1990s, and has been involved in a pair of Saudi upgrade programs as well as standard support work.

The Saudis have been willing to outsource their extensive maintenance and support contracts to 3rd parties, but firms like BAE have also demonstrated that original manufacturer’s with compelling offerings can capture a very profitable aftermarket business. BSIS makes it that much harder for outsiders to win, and strengthens the firms’ negotiating positions. Boeing | Sikorsky.

June 7/13: AH-64E. Longbow LLC in Orlando, FL receives a $39 million firm-fixed-price, foreign-military-sales (FMS) contract modification from Saudi Arabia, buying AH-64 mast mounted assemblies; the fire control radars that go inside them; and related support equipment.

The Pentagon says that the cumulative total face value of this contract is $333.3 million, but it’s a FY 2006 contract that far predates Saudi AH-64E buys, and involves just part of the helicopter.

Based on DID’s tracking of announced contracts, the Saudis have committed $339 million to their AH-64E buy so far, using several contracts. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract on behalf of its Saudi client (W58RGZ-06-C-0134, PO 0042).

May 22/13: AH-64E. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $69.2 million firm-fixed-price, foreign-military-sales contract modification for Saudi Arabia’s Apache Block III aircraft and associated parts and services. The US Army reports the total cumulative value of this contract so far as $259.4 million; when other known Saudi contracts are added, contract value to date is somewhere between $296-300 million. Given Saudi AH-64E export requests for up to 60 helicopters, and known helicopter prices, this is just a drop in the bucket.

US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract on behalf of its Saudi client (W58RGZ-12-C-0089, PO 0008).

May 22/13: AH-64E. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $14.3 million firm-fixed-price, foreign-military-sales contract modification for Saudi Arabia’s Apache Block III aircraft and associated parts and services. The US Army reports the total cumulative value of this contract so far as $35.2 million. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract on behalf of its Saudi client (W58RGZ-12-C-0113, PO 0003).

May 8/13: AH-64E. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $26.1 million firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales (FMS) contract modification covering AH-64E training and support in Saudi Arabia.

The Pentagon says that the cumulative total face value of this contract is now $216.2 million, which almost exactly matches the announced $216.5 million total of all contracts with this designation – many of which were unattributed. The Army seems to be using specific contracts for specific export customers (W58RGZ-12-C-0089, PO 0007).

April 30/12: F-15SA Rollout. Boeing formally rolls out the 1st F-15SA fighter, in a St. Louis ceremony. Boeing.

March 25/13: Saudi. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $49 million firm-fixed-price contract. This modification will provide engineering and configuration services to 4 utility helicopters for Saudi Arabia. The contract number indicates a MYP-8 purchase, and the amount indicates that there’s an accompanying base helicopter order still to come. There are ways that could be done outside the purview of standard contract announcements.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/16. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

Saudi Arabia: 4 UH-60Ms?

March 14/13: F-15SA, subtraction edition. The Pentagon announces the removal of $456.2 million from the $4 billion contract to develop and test F-15S to F-15SA conversion kits, install 4 initial kits, and produce 68. The revised not-to-exceed amount is now $3.544 billion.

Schedules and other elements are unaffected – see Nov 2/12 entry for the full listing (FA8505-12-C-0001, PO 0004).

F-15SA: 1st flight
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Feb 20/13: 1st flight. The F-15SA’s maiden flight takes place at Boeing’s St. Louis, MO facilities, and goes as planned. The F-15SA flight test program will include 3instrumented F-15SAs operating from Boeing facilities in St. Louis, MO and Palmdale, CA.

The Saudi F-15SA is the first F-15 model with full fly-by-wire controls, something that was standard on F-16s decades ago. That change makes flight testing more important than it might be for another F-15E variant like Korea’s F-15K, or Singapore’s F-15SG. Which may also explain why 1st delivery will take place about 2 years after 1st flight, in 2015. Deliveries are expected to finish in 2019. USAF.

F-15SA first flight

Jan 3/13: Saudi? Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives an $18.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification “to procure Apache Block III Aircraft in support of Foreign Military Sales.” We asked for further details to clarify which customer, but neither Boeing nor the US military will provide those any longer, except through Freedom of Information Act requests. AH-64 Foreign Military Sales seem to have different contracts for each country, however, and a subsequent announcement that pegs Saudi Arabia as the customer also offers totals that match the totals for this contract number.

Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ with an estimated completion date of April 30/13. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received (W58RGZ-12-C-0089).

2012

F-15SA fighter contract; F-15S upgrade kits and sensors bought; AIM-9X sidewinder missiles bought; AH-64E attack helicopter buys begin; MD-530F light utility helicopters bought; AH-6i armed scout helicopters bought. F-15S: right this way
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Dec 31/12: F-15 Upgrades. Lockheed Martin in Akron, OH receives a $253.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for the F-15SA modernization program.

Work will be performed in Akron, OH, and is expected to be complete by June 2020. The AFLCMC/WNSK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contract on behalf of their Saudi Foreign Military Sale client (FA8621-12-R-6256).

Dec 28/12: F-15 support. PKL Services Inc. in Poway, CA receives a $95 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for F-15C/D/S maintenance & upgrade training at King Khalid Air Base in Khamis Mushayt and King Abdul Aziz Air Base in Dhahran.

Work is expected to be complete by Jan 1/15. The AETC CONS/LGCI at Randolph AFB, TX manages the contract on behalf of their Saudi Foreign Military Sale client (FA3002-13-D-0003).

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

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

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

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

Request: 20 C-130J-30s & 5 KC-130Js

Nov 2/12: F-15 upgrades. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives a $4 billion firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-reimbursable-no-fee contract for 68 F-15S to F-15SA conversion kits, Country Standard Time Compliance Technical Order (CSTCTO) development, CSTCTO integration and testing, fabrication of trial kits to support validation and verification activities, and the procurement and installation of 4 base stand-up kits.

This is the same listing as the June 26/12 entry, and the current announcement appeared to be the finalized version – until a March 14/13 announcement cut the total to $3.544 billion for the same work.

Note that this amount doesn’t reflect the full cost of the 72 upgrades. As one can see below, the conversion kits are accompanied by a wide variety of modern sensors, and other equipment from vendors beyond Boeing. That equipment is included in the fighter upgrade program, and installed / integrated under this contract, but it isn’t bought under this contract.

Work is expected to be completed by Dec 31/19. The AFLCMC/WWKA at Robins Air Force Base, GA manages this Foreign Military Sale on behalf of its Saudi Arabian client (FA8505-12-C-0001, PO 0002). See also Arabian Aerospace.

68 F-15S to F-15SA conversions

Aug 6/12: RSAF support.The US DSCA announces Saudi Arabia’s request to buy continued support and services for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s aircraft, engines and weapons; publications and technical documentation; airlift and aerial refueling; support equipment; spare and repair parts; repair and return; personnel training and training equipment; and other forms of US government and contractor support. To sum up: “Saudi Arabia needs this follow on support… in order to sustain the combat and operational readiness of its existing aircraft fleet.”

The estimated cost is $850 million. This appears to be a government-to-government agreement, so that limit is probably reasonably accurate. There is no prime contractor, and all the U.S. Government personnel or contractors required are already in Saudi Arabia.

RSAF Support request

July 13/12: MD-530Fs. MD Helicopter in Mesa, AZ receives a $40.7 million firm-fixed-price contract, to buy MD 530F helicopters and related equipment for Saudi Arabia’s National Guard. This is the type’s 2nd military order, after Afghanistan ordered it as a training & utility platform, so the buy is significant to the company.

Saudi Arabia’s Oct 20/10 DSCA request had mentioned 12 MD-530Fs, which are designed to operate in the thinner air created by hot and/or high-altitude conditions. These helicopters are often used in policing and light utility roles, but they can be armed with light weapons. The SANG’s forthcoming AH-6is (vid. Feb 13/12 entry) are more explicitly designed for the Armed Reconnaissance role.

Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ with an estimated completion date of July 30/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL, on behalf of its Saudi Foreign Military Sale client (W58RGZ-12-C-0105).

MD-530F helicopter buy

June 26/12: F-15 upgrades. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives a $1.837 billion firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-reimbursable-no-fee contract for 68 F-15S to F-15SA conversion kits, Country Standard Time Compliance Technical Order (CSTCTO) development, CSTCTO integration and testing, fabrication of trial kits to support validation and verification activities, and the procurement and installation of 4 base stand-up kits. This is a Foreign Military Sales requirement for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and subsequent announcements show that it’s meant to get work underway at about 45% funding.

Work is to be complete by Dec 31/13. The Warner-Robins air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA manages the contract (FA8505-12-C-0001).

May 31/12: F-15 Sensors. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives an $18.4 million addition to a firm-fixed-price contract, to pay for the “urgent requirement for limited integration of the DB-110 Reconnaissance Pod System” on 8 RSAF F-15S aircraft. The April 13/12 contract will add pods to the upgraded F-15SAs, but this urgent contract will improve Saudi Strike Eagles immediately. Those DB-110 pods would certainly help the F-15S Strike Eagles at Khamis Mushayt keep an eye on Yemen, for instance.

Work is to be complete by July 2013. The ASC/WWQ at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract on behalf of their Saudi Foreign Military Sale client (FA8634-12-C-2651, PO 0004).

May 18/12: F-15S/SA. S7K Aerospace, LLC in Saint Ignatius, MT receives a $10 million firm-fixed-price/ cost-reimbursable-no-fee contract for 3rd party logistics repair and return management services, to support RSAF F-15s.

Work will be performed from Saint Ignatius, MT, and the contract runs until May 19/13. The Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center/GRMK at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract (FA8505-12-D-0002, PO 0002).

May 6/12: AH-64E? A $171.8 million firm-fixed-price contract “for the procurement of Apache Block III aircraft and related services in support of Foreign Military Sales.” The Pentagon does not mention which country, but AH-64 Foreign Military Sales seem to have different contracts for each country. A subsequent announcement that pegs Saudi Arabia as the customer also offers totals that match the totals for this contract number.

Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 30/14. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as Taiwan’s agent (W58RGZ-12-C-0089).

AH-64E contracts begin?

April 13/12: F-15SAs, Recon. Recent United Technologies’ acquisition Goodrich Corp. in Westford, ME received an $183 million firm-fixed-price unfinalized letter contract for DB-110 pods, support equipment, and contractor logistic support “for the Foreign Military Sales F-15 Modernization Program.”

No official confirmation yet, but the Saudis have the current FMS F-15 modernization program. Their Oct 20/10 DSCA request included 10 DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods, and a July 10/12 Goodrich release cites a new-customer order from Saudi Arabia for 10 dual-band reconnaissance pods from its Westford, MA facility; 5 fixed, transportable and mobile ground stations from its Malvern, UK facility; and “extensive training and logistics support.”

Work will be performed in Westford, ME, and is expected to be complete by July 31/22. The ASC/WINK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, is acting as the agent for this contract (FA8620-12-C-4020).

April 9/12: F-15SA C2. Rockwell Collins, Inc. in Cedar Rapids, IA receives a $14.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for 168 RT-1851A-C / ARC receiver-transmitters (including royalty fees) for the government of Saudi Arabia under the Foreign Military Sales program. Note that the ARC-210 radio system uses 2 RT-1851s, whose Bandwidth Efficient Advanced Modulation (BEAM) Line of sight technology enables higher data rates.

AN/ARC-210 Talon radios can handle both voice and data, and can include jam-resistant and SATCOM modules. They are used by a number of platforms, including the F-15. Since 168 of these R-Ts would equip 84 aircraft, this order seems to be destined for Saudi Arabia’s new-build F-15SAs.

Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is expected to be completed in December 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0069).

March 30/12: AIM-9X. A $97.1 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive-firm target contract modification, buying AIM-9X Sidewinder short range air-to-air missiles for South Korea and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi order is $85.3 million, or 87.85% of the total, for 120 AIM-9X Block II All Up Round tactical missiles in containers; 42 more containers; and 33 Block II captive air training missiles with no motor or warhead.

April 2/12: F-15S Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $410.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 95 sniper advanced targeting pod and spares; 35 compact multiband data links; 70 infrared search and track (IRST) systems and spares; 75 IRST pylons; and data, in support of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S to F-15SA conversion. The F-15S already uses LANTIRN, and both of these systems offer considerable improvements over that existing gear. The 2 systems can even be combined, via a single underbody pylon that contains the Tiger Eyes and mounts the Sniper pod.

Lockheed Martin’s Sniper pod offers pilots advanced day/night ground surveillance and laser or GPS targeting. The version offered is not clear; the most recent variant is the USAF’s new Sniper-SE.

Lockheed Martin’s Tiger Eyes IRST is also a long-range surveillance tool, but one focused on heat emissions from aircraft. That gives fighters a non-radar surveillance option, which is useful on a tactical level and offers options against stealth aircraft. As a side benefit, Tiger Eyes provides classic LANTIRN capabilities like terrain following, and all-weather navigation. Work is to be completed by Nov 31/17. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract on behalf of its Saudi FMS client (FA8540-12-C-0012).

April 2/12: F-15S EW. BAE Systems in Nashua, NH received a $366.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 70 Digital Electronic Warfare Systems (DEWS) and Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) and spares; 3 DEWS/CMWS test stations and associated spares; and data. This effort is in support of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S to F-15SA conversion, and will improve the planes’ ability to be aware of and counter enemy radar threats. DEWS was picked by Boeing in 2008, as its future F-15 EW offering.

Work will be performed in Nashua, NH Work is to be complete by Nov 31/18. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract on behalf of its Saudi FMS client (FA8540-12-C-0013). See also BAE release.

March 8/12: F-15SA contract. Following the December 2011 $29.4B LOA, this is a $11.4B firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, time-and-materials procurement contract for 84 new planes, as well as some related development work. This is a subset of what the LOA covers, since there are also retrofits on 70 existing planes, weapons and support services in the overall package.

Work will be done at El Segundo, CA, Ocala, FL., and Cedar Rapids, IO, with an expected completion date set to October 2020. ASC/WWQ, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contract (FA8634-12-C-2651) on behalf of the Kingdom.

F-15SA contract

Feb 13/12: SANG AH-6is. Boeing representatives tell reporters that Saudi Arabia signed a Letter of Agreement for 36 AH-6i light scout and attack helicopters “a few weeks ago.” The AH-6i were part of the Oct 20/10 DSCA request for its National Guard, and the next step involves negotiations on price and delivery schedules. If those are completed, it isn’t clear whether Saudi Arabia would be the type’s 1st customer. A Rotor & Wing report says that:

“Tilton can also see further military riches on the horizon as Boeing pushes the AH-6i into the world market as a mini-Apache “with attitude.” There is a first order of 24 aircraft with more to follow.”

The other country that has been publicly associated with the AH-6i is Jordan, who reportedly signed a Letter of Intent in 2010. The actual contract takes until 2014, and it makes the SANG the type’s 1st customer. Sources: Rotor & Wing, “A Modern Love Affair: Lynn Tilton and U.S. Army” | Defense News, “Saudi Arabia, Boeing Strike Deal for 36 AH-6i”.

Jan 5/12: SANG AH-64s. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL received a $66.6 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The award will provide for the procurement of AH-64D Apache M-TDAS/PNVS (“Arrowhead“) systems and spares for the Saudi Arabia National Guard. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL, with an estimated completion date of March 31/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL as the Saudi’s FMS agent (W58RGZ-11-C-0120).

This is one of several ancillary contracts supporting reports that Saudi Arabia has signed a deal to buy AH-64D Longbow Block III helicopters. That deal wasn’t announced publicly, so it isn’t clear if other services may be covered. Beyond the SANG’s interest in buying 36 Apache Longbow Block IIIs, the Royal Guard wanted 10, and the regular Army wanted to add 24 Block IIIs to its existing fleet of 12 Block IIs. See the Oct 20/10 DSCA request for more.

2011

F-15SA LoA signed; LAV armed vehicle request & contract; WCMD smart bomb request; AH-64s bought? AH-64D Longbow
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Dec 24/11: F-15SA LoA. Saudi Arabia signs a $29.4 billion Letter of Acceptance to buy 85 new F-15SA Strike Eagle fighters, upgrade 70 existing F-15S Strike Eagles, purchase all of the accompanying weapons named in the fighters’ Oct 20/10 DSCA request, and pay for support work and 10 years of training. Much of the Saudi training in the F-15SA will occur alongside U.S. forces, and approximately 5,500 Saudi personnel are expected to be trained through 2019. They expect upgrades of the F-15S to the F-15SA configuration to start rolling out in 2014, and 1st delivery of new-build F-15SAs in early 2015.

The additional work is expected to keep Boeing’s F-15 line open until at least 2017 or so, along with 600 suppliers in 44 states. Big winners include Raytheon (radar, many weapons), and GE Aircraft Engines. While the State Department briefing would not answer the question of which engine the fighters would use, the DSCA request was clear: GE’s F110-GE-129 IPE. It will also create work in Saudi Arabia, as some of the F-15S upgrade work, and some structural sub-assembly fabrication, will be handled through the Alsalam Aircraft Company.

An Aviation Week report adds that Saudi Arabia had previously signed a Letter of Agreement for the 36 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters it requested on Oct 20/11. That would make 2 components worth over half of the $60 billion mega-deal under contract, plus a major upgrade of the kingdom’s PATRIOT missile system on the side, in the space of just over a year beyond the DSCA announcement. Boeing | US White House | US State Dept. Briefing | Aviation Week | BBC | Bloomberg | Defense News | St. Louis Today | Flight International DEW Line.

F-15SA LoA

Dec 20/11: LAVs. GDLS SVP for international operations, Dr. Sridhar Sridharan, announces that U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command has awarded a $126 million contract modification for 73 more Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) “for a Foreign Military Sale (FMS).” The release adds that: “With this latest contract modification, the original contract, announced on January 4, 2011, is now valued at USD$264 million for 155 LAVs.”

Vehicles provided under this contract will be the 300hp, 8×8 LAV II, with a base gross vehicle weight of up to 32,000 pounds/ 14,500 kg. The vehicles will be produced in 6 different variants, which matches all numbers and information from the June 13/11 DSCA request.

Since the LAVs are made in London, ON, Canada, the contract was signed through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, the Canadian government’s Crown Agency for military exports.

LAV contract

Nov 10/11: Aviation Week’s Robert Wall writes that some observers are beginning to doubt whether the huge 2010 arms request will become a deal in time. Boeing has already spent money to avoid an F-15 production gap, and that’s the portion of the deal with the greatest need for a signed contract.

It would not be the first time a Saudi DSCA request has failed to become a signed deal, but the size and scope creates its own financing issues, even as it raises expectations and scrutiny. Unfortunately, at this point, all he can say is that uncertainty exists, not why it exists, or how deep it is.

Sept 19/11: Artillery. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces Saudi Arabia’s formal request for up to $886 million of equipment to augment the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s existing light artillery capabilities. The Royal Saudi Land Forces already have towed 155mm and 105mm howitzers and support vehicles and systems, but the 105mm M119A2 and lightweight 155mm M777A2 would be an upgrade over the Royal Saudi Land Forces’ existing M102 105mm guns. The Saudis are also looking to buy C3 systems, artillery locating radars, and Humvees as part of this buy.

Artillery request

Sept 7/11: AH-64s. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $15.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, buying M-TADS/PVNS “Arrowhead” surveillance and targeting turrets for Saudi Arabia’s AH-64D helicopters. This could be an upgrade to existing helicopters, or part of the new aircraft order.

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received, by U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-06-C-0169).

June 13/11: LAVs. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s formal request to buy up to 73 LAV wheeled armored vehicles, plus additional equipment. The force within Saudi Arabia requesting them is not named, unlike other DSCA releases. Saudi Arabia’s National Guard also requested 82 LAVs on the same day, but this is separate request, implying a separate customer within Saudi Arabia. LAVs haven’t traditionally been part of the RSLF’s American-equipped divisions, but an Oct 4/07 DSCA request [PDF] for 126 LAVs and other vehicles confirmed that Saudi Arabia has been thinking along these lines:

“The Light Armored Vehicle is the primary combat vehicle of the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG). This proposed procurement by the Royal Saudi land forces will promote interoperability between the SANG and Ministry of Defense and Aviation.”

Absent any other matching DSCA requests since 2001, it’s possible that the release’s noted Jan 4/11 contract for 82 LAVs was a partial fulfillment of that 2007 request – but its exact match remains unclear. The 2011 DSCA request also repeats a justification from that notice:

“The proposed sale of Light Armored Vehicles will provide a highly mobile, light combat vehicle capability enabling Saudi Arabia to rapidly identify, engage, and defeat perimeter security threats and readily employ counter- and anti-terrorism measures. The vehicles will enhance the stability and security operations for boundaries and territorial areas encompassing the Arabian Peninsula.”

This sale is worth up to $263 million, but that will depend on the contract details, if one is negotiated after the 30-day blocking period expires in Congress. Requested items include:

  • 14 standard LAV wheeled armored personnel carriers
  • 23 LAV-25s, with 25mm cannon turrets
  • 20 LAV-ATs, whose pop-up turrets carry BGM-71 TOW missiles
  • 4 LAV-A Ambulances
  • 3 LAV-R Recovery Vehicles, which can tow or winch other vehicles out of trouble
  • 9 LAV-C2 Command and Control Vehicles

Vehicle accessories

  • Driver vision enhancers
  • Sight bore optical sets
  • Improved Thermal Sight Systems (ITSS) and Modified Improved TOW Acquisition Systems (MITAS), where applicable
  • Defense Advanced Global Positioning System Receivers
  • M257 Smoke Grenade Launchers
  • AN/USQ-159 Camouflage Net Sets

Other Accessories

  • 155 AN/PVS-7B night vision goggles
  • M2A2 Aiming Circles, compasses, plotting boards, reeling machines, telescopes
  • switchboards, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

The prime contractors will be General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Michigan (LAVs) and Raytheon in Tucson, AZ (LAV-AT weapons etc.). Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of approximately 5 additional U.S. Government and 10 contractor representatives through at least 2014. The requirement for support personnel in-country suggests that they’re going to a branch that does not already employ LAVs. Possibilities include the Royal Guard, or use by Army Military Police/ Air Force/ Navy forces in a rapid response security role.

LAV request

BLU-108 submunition

June 13/11: Bombs. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s formal request to buy up to 404 GPS-guided CBU-105D/B WCMD Sensor Fuzed Weapons, 28 CBU-105 Integration test assets, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor support. The prime contractor will be Textron Systems Corporation of Wilmington, MA, and the estimated cost is up to $355 million. Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to Saudi Arabia involving up to 2 U.S. Government and 3 Textron representatives for technical reviews/support, and program management for a period of approximately 2 years.

WCMD is a GPS-guidance tail kit for cluster bombs, similar to JDAM, and bombs equipped with them take on new designations. The base CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon bomb body contains BLU-108 submunition cylinders, each of which carries explosive projectiles that look like cans of tuna. If their millimeter-wave sensor detects sizable objects below after release from the bomb body, a shaped charge fires, forming a metal slug that drives down through armor. If the projectiles don’t find a target, 3 safety modes will deactivate them. That’s why DSCA can say “After arming, the CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapon will not result in more than one percent unexploded ordnance across the range of intended operational environments.” Other countries in the region already use WCMDs, including Oman. DSCA adds that:

“Saudi Arabia intends to use Sensor Fused Weapons to modernize its armed forces and enhance its capability to defeat a wide range of defensive threats, to include: strongpoints, bunkers, and dug-in facilities; armored and semi-armored vehicles; personnel; and certain maritime threats… The agreement applicable to the transfer or the CBU-105D/B and the CBU-105 integration test assets will contain an agreement of the Government of Saudi Arabia that the cluster munitions and cluster munitions technology will be used only against clearly defined military targets and will not be used where civilians are known to be present or in areas normally inhabited by civilians.”

The target list is interesting, since CBU-105s, unlike some of their WCMD cousins, are not primarily anti-personnel weapons – unless the target is riding in a truck or something. It could certainly be a deadly way of taking out a small truck convoy of AQAP types, and might be equally effective against some fast boat swarms. See also the Oct 20/10 DSCA request, for 1,300 CBU-105/Bs.

WCMD bomb request

March 18/11: Amidst an environment of widespread unrest in the Arab world, including the invited intervention of Saudi troops to quell protests in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah returns from 3 months of medical treatment, and announces nearly $100 billion in spending. Even with the ability to pump more oil, Saudi finances have limitations, and a program worth over 20% of 2010 GDP, or 56% of the state’s FY 2010 budget, can hardly help but impact military spending plans.

The initiative includes 60,000 more military and security jobs to beef up the Interior Ministry, a large number of promotions for soldiers and officers, boost in salaries for all public sector workers including the military; and an announcement of massive social benefits for the populace at large, including unemployment payments, better health care and improved housing services. The Saudi private sector is reportedly less than happy about its exclusion from pay raises… but then, if the government could offer them pay raises, would it really be the private sector? Arab News | Zawya. Political concept: “rentier state.”

March 14/11: Link-16. The new Link-16 capability for Saudi Arabia’s F-15 fleets is a significant development, but it comes with a corresponding need for training. Tactical Communications Group, LLC announces that it has deployed a Link-16 Ground Support System (GSS) at 4 Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) airbases, to provide a training and simulation environment for Live, Virtual, and Constructive training in the RSAF F-15 fleet’s growing Link-16 capabilities.

TCG, LLC installed the units and trained on-site RSAF Personnel to provide live operations and training, under a USAF NETCENTS held by General Dynamics Information Technology. The firm describes it as “the first of several Foreign Military Sales (FMS) awards for the U.S. Government’s data link Ground Support System (GSS) which teams General Dynamics Information Technology and TCG’s GSS.”

2010

Ship buys considered. Austal’s LCS

(click to enlarge)

Oct 26/10: LCS. Lockheed Martin MS2 President Orlando Carvalho confirms that his company has supplied price and availability information on its version of the littoral combat ship (LCS) to Saudi Arabia, which is looking to buy 8 modern frigate-sized warships. Lockheed is proposing an LCS equipped with AN/SPY-1F radars, an AEGIS combat system, and set equipment instead of mission modules.

It remains understood the Saudi authorities are waiting to see which LCS version the U.S. Navy chooses, but the ship’s capabilities might be well suited to the Arabian/Persian Gulf’s shallow waters. At Euronaval 2010, a French official reportedly said that France is hoping to sell between 4-6 FREMM frigates for the Saudis’ western (Red Sea and Indian Ocean) fleet, while the LCS was seen as likely for the eastern (Gulf) fleet. Defense News | Shephard Group | Tactical Report.

Oct 20/10: DSCA Mega-Request. The potential Saudi deals are announced as 4 separate Foreign Military Sales cases, one for each military service branch looking to receive equipment. As usual, this is a step required under US law, not a set of contracts. If Congress does not vote to block these sales within 30 days, the Saudis can begin negotiations for some or all of the items below. As we’ve seen with past notifications, those negotiations can take a long time as the Saudis look to fit each item into their own budgetary planning and foreign policy diplomacy.

Each DSCA request is linked where it’s detailed. Other sources and reactions include: Bloomberg | LA Times | Washington Post | Voice of America || Saudi Arabia’s Arab News | Al-Jazeera | Jerusalem Post || Agence France Presse | Malaysia Star | Reuters | Straits Times | China’s Xinhua || Defense News.

(click to view full)

Oct 20/10: Air Force. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s formal request for 84 new “F-15SA” fighters, upgrades for the RSAF’s 70 existing F-15S fighters to full F-15SA configuration, an array of advanced weapons to equip them, and long-term support that explicitly includes infrastructure and construction. The estimated cost is up to $29.432 billion.

Overall, the fighters appear to be very close to Singapore’s new F-15SGs, which are currently the most advanced Strike Eagles in the world. The DSCA does not detail the support personnel required, but it does spend time on the rationale for this sale, since this is the one that’s going to create any controversies in Congress:

“For the past twenty years the F-15 has been a cornerstone of the relationship between the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the RSAF. The procurement of the F-15SA, the conversion of the F-15S fleet to a common configuration, and the CONUS (CONtinental US) training contingent will provide interoperability, sustained professional contacts, and common ground for training and support well into the 21st century.

The F-15SA will help deter potential aggressors by increasing Saudi’s tactical air force capability to defend KSA against regional threats. The CONUS-based contingent would improve interoperability between the USAF and the RSAF. This approach will meet Saudi’s self-defense requirements and continue to foster the long-term military-to-military relationship between the United States and the KSA. Saudi Arabia, which currently has the F-15 in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing the F-15SA aircraft into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this service will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

  • 84 F-15 SA Strike Eagle fighters

  • 193 F-110-GE-129 Improved Performance Engines. Saudi Arabia is shifting firmly toward the GE F110 for its future fleet, and away from Pratt & Whitney’s original F100. Each fighter requires 2 engines.

  • 170 AN/APG-63v3 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESA) radar sets, which would equip all F-15S fighters as well. Answers a big pre-deal question. The USA is developing an APG-82v1 derivative to retrofit its own F-15E Strike Eagles, but the APG-63v3 is the most advanced exported radar for F-15s.

  • 100 M61 Vulcan Cannons. The F-15’s 20mm gatling gun.

  • 300 AIM-9X Sidewinder short range, infrared air-to-air missiles. AIM-9X is the most advanced version, and Saudi Arabia already has them.
  • 25 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM-9X). Seeker, no warhead or motor – used for training.
  • 25 Special Air Training Missiles (NATM-9X). Fully live, but telemetry instead of a warhead.

  • 500 AIM-120C/7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). The C7 is the most advanced exportable version, and Saudi Arabia already has them.
  • 25 AIM-120 CATMs. Seeker, no warhead or motor – used for training.

  • 1,000 of Lockheed Martin’s 500 pound Dual Mode Laser/Global Positioning System (GPS) Guided Munitions (DMLGB).
  • 1,000 of Lockheed Martin’s 2,000 pound DMLGBs
  • 1,100 GBU-24 Paveway-III 2,000 pound Laser Guided Bombs, with penetrator warheads for use against hardened targets.

  • 1,000 GBU-31Bv3 2,000 pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) GPS/INS guided bombs.

  • 1,300 CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapons (SFW)/Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD). These are GPS-guided cluster bombs that can destroy both troops and tanks. DID has a better name for them.
  • 50 inert training CBU-105s

  • 1,000 MK-82 500 pound General Purpose Bombs. These can be converted by using precision kits like Paveway, DMLGB, and JDAM.
  • 6,000 MK-82 500 pound Inert Training Bombs
  • 2,000 MK-84 2,000 pound General Purpose Bombs. These can be converted by using precision kits like Paveway, DMLGB, and JDAM.
  • 2,000 MK-84 2,000 pound Inert Training Bombs

  • 200,000 20mm Cartridges
  • 400,000 20mm Target Practice Cartridges

  • 400 AGM-84 Block II Harpoon missiles. The Block II has a GPS guidance mode, and can attack land targets as well as ships.

  • 600 AGM-88B HARM missiles. Used to destroy enemy radar sites.

  • 100 Link-16 MIDS/LVTs and spares. Link 16 offers all participating aircraft and ground platforms to share what they see and where they are, creating a common view of who’s where.

  • 169 AN/AAS-42 Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Systems. IRST allows pilots to look for enemy aircraft using their infrared signatures, but because it’s passive, the target can’t detect the scan the way it can detect radar emissions.

  • 158 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper advanced surveillance and targeting pods.

  • 193 LANTIRN Navigation Pods (3rd Generation-Tiger Eye). Largely succeeded by the Sniper ATP, but Saudi F-15S aircraft use the twin-pod LANTIRN, and the navigation pod’s features are not copied in the Sniper.

  • 10 of Goodrich’s DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods.

  • 40 of L-3’s Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receivers (ROVER). Allows equipped fighters to share more information with ground forces, and get targeting information from them.

  • 80 Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation Pods. Used for combat training; transmits the position, velocity, etc. of the attached fighter to the central coordinators.

  • The DSCA specified both 338 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS) and 462 JHMCS Helmets. JHMCS is a helmet-mounted sight that performs the same functions as a Head-Up Display for key information, weapons targeting, etc., but moves with the pilot’s head.

  • 462 of ITT’s AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles (NVGS).

  • 169 Digital Electronic Warfare Systems (DEWS) for self-defense.

Saudi F-15

Under the contract, Saudi Arabia will take a step beyond existing modernizations of its F-15S fleet, and upgrade all 70 F-15S Strike Eagles to the F-15SA configuration.

The existing F-15 A-D Eagle fleet of air superiority fighters will remain unaffected. In addition, Saudi Arabia may order:

  • Provision for US-based fighter training operations for a contingent of 12 F-15SA fighters, leaving 72 in Saudi Arabia.
  • Construction, refurbishments, and infrastructure improvements of several support facilities for the F-15SA in-Kingdom and/or CONUS(CONtinental US) operations.
  • RR-188 Chaff
  • MJU-7/10 Flares
  • Training munitions
  • Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices
  • Plus communication security, site surveys, trainers, simulators, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of U.S. government and contractor support.

The prime contractors aren’t mentioned, but:

  • Boeing (F-15, JHMCS, Harpoon, JDAM)
  • GE (F110 engines)
  • Lockheed Martin (DMLGB, LANTIRN, Sniper, IRST)
  • Raytheon (AN/APG-63v3 radar, AIM-9X, AMRAAM, Paveway III, HARM)
  • General Dynamics OTP (Basic bombs, Cannons, Ammunition)

Would form a partial list.

F-15S/SA request

AH-64 Apache
with Arrowhead sensor
(click to view full)

Oct 20/10: The Saudi Royal Guard – see DSCA announcement [PDF]. The Royal Guard is pretty much what it sounds like: a force made up of troops whose tribes and members are considered most loyal to the King. They’re about to get AH-64 Block III Apaches, if this US DSCA announcement of the Saudis’ formal request leads to a contract. That contract could be worth up to $2.223 billion, when all services and support are included.

If a contract is signed, the Royal Guard may need up to 35 U.S. Government and 150 contractor representatives in Saudi Arabia, beyond the existing 250 U.S. Government personnel and 630 contractor representatives in Saudi Arabia supporting the modernization program. Also, this program will require multiple trips to Saudi Arabia involving U.S. government and contractor personnel to participate in annual, technical reviews, training, and one-week Program Reviews in Saudi Arabia.

This would be a high priority contract, within the constellation of Saudi Requests. The Royal Guard would receive:

Night Vision Sensors. M-TADS/PVNS, also known as the AH-64D’s “Arrowhead” turret.
  • 14 30mm Automatic Weapons. The Apaches use ATK’s M230 chain gun
  • 7 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars with Radar Electronics Unit. The Apache Longbow’s mast mounted radar.
  • 7 AN/APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometer

  • 640 AGM-114R Hellfire II Missiles. The -114R is the most modern version, with a triple-threat blast, armor defeating, and fragmentation warhead.

  • 2,000 2.75″/ 70mm Laser Guided Rockets. It will be interesting to see which rockets they buy – they might be the big kickoff sale for Lockheed Martin’s DAGR, but the Raytheon/UAE LOGIR is also available, as is BAE/GD’s APKWS-II.

  • 13 of Northrop Grumman’s AN/APR-39 Radar Signal Detecting Sets
  • 13 of Goodrich’s AN/AVR-2B Laser Warning Sets
  • 13 of BAE’s AAR-57v3/5 Common Missile Warning Systems
  • 26 Improved Countermeasures Dispensers

  • 26 Improved Helmet Display Sight Systems. IHDSS is the Apaches helmet-mounted sight.
  • 14 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles

  • 307 Combat Survivor Evader Locators (CSEL). Radios used by pilots, especially if they’re shot down.

  • 6 Aircraft Ground Power Units.
  • 1 BS-1 Enhanced Terminal Voice Switch
  • 1 Fixed-Base Precision Approach Radar
  • 1 Digital Airport Surveillance Radar
  • 1 DoD Advanced Automation Service
  • 1 Digital Voice Recording System
  • Also included are trainers, simulators, generators, training munitions, design and construction, transportation, tools and test equipment, ground and air based SATCOM and line of sight communication equipment, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, GPS/INS, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor support services. The Saudis usually require a lot of support from contractors, in part because it’s an opportunity for royal family members to take a cut.

The prime contractors will be:

  • Boeing in Mesa, AZ (AH-64D, CSEL)
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, FL (Arrowhead, Hellfire IIs, launchers)
  • Lockheed Martin Millimeter Technology in Owego, NY (Longbow system)
  • Longbow LLC in Orlando, FL. A Lockheed/Northrop-Grumman joint venture (Longbow system)
  • General Electric Company in Cincinnati, OH (engines)

A number of other items above will be provided by sub-contractors.

Saudi Royal Guard

DAGRs & Hellfires
(click to view full)

Oct 20/10: Army Apaches. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s formal request to grow its 12-helicopter AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet, adding 24 of the most modern AH-64D Block III variant, plus extensive support that may include construction activities, for a total cost of up to $3.33 billion.

The Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) “will use the AH-64D for its national security and to protect its borders and vital installations. This sale also will increase the RSLF’s APACHE sustainability and interoperability with the U.S. Army, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and other coalition forces. Saudi Arabia will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.”

Perhaps that’s because implementation of this proposed sale may another 35 U.S. Government and 130 contractor representatives in Saudi Arabia, beyond the existing contingent of 250 U.S. Government personnel and 630 contractor representatives supporting the Saudis’ modernization program. Also, this program will require multiple trips involving U.S. government and contractor personnel to participate in annual, technical reviews, training, and one-week Program Reviews in Saudi Arabia.

The RSLF would buy:

Night Vision Sensors. M-TADS/PVNS, also known as the AH-64D’s “Arrowhead” turret.

Also included are trainers, simulators, generators, training munitions, design and construction, transportation, tools and test equipment, ground and air based SATCOM and line of sight communication equipment, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, GPS/INS, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor support services. The Saudis usually require a lot of support from contractors, in part because it’s an opportunity for royal family members to take a cut.

The prime contractors will be:

  • Boeing in Mesa, AZ (AH-64D, CSEL)
  • General Electric Company in Cincinnati, OH (engines)
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, FL (Arrowhead, Hellfire IIs, launchers)
  • Lockheed Martin Millimeter Technology in Owego, NY (Longbow system)
  • Longbow LLC in Orlando, FL. A Lockheed/Northrop-Grumman joint venture (Longbow system)

A number of other items above will be provided by sub-contractors.

RSLF AH-64D attack helicopters

Boeing’s AH-6 ARH
(click to view full)

Oct 20/10: Saudi National Guard. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s formal request to buy helicopters, long-term support, and possibly even base construction, worth up to $25.6 billion.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require approximately 900 contractor representatives and 30 U.S. Government personnel on a full time basis in Saudi Arabia, for a period of 15 years. Also, this program will require multiple trips to Saudi Arabia involving U.S. government and contractor personnel to participate in annual technical reviews, training, and one-week Program Reviews in Saudi Arabia.

Items requested include:

  • 36 Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow Block III attack helicopters. This is the latest version, and Saudi Arabia could become its first confirmed export customer.

  • 72 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters. The most current variant. Saudi neighbors Bahrain and the UAE have already ordered them.

  • 36 Boeing AH-6i Light Attack Helicopters. A different branch of the same family tree that gave birth to the MD 530F. Nearby Jordan signed a Letter of Intent for the AH-6i in May 2010.

  • 12 MD Helicopters MD-530F helicopters. Often used by law enforcement as an excellent light utility helicopter, though some countries operate militarized light attack variants. The 530F variant has longer rotor blades and other enhancements, so it performs better in the thinner air of hot or high altitude conditions. It doesn’t use MD’s patented NOTAR system.

  • 243 T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines. The UH-60M and the AH-64D both use 2 engines for each helicopter.

  • 40 Modernized Targeting Acquisition and Designation Systems/Pilot
Night Vision Sensors. M-TADS/PVNS, also known as the AH-64D’s “Arrowhead” turret.

  • 20 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars with Radar Electronics Unit. The Apache Longbow’s mast mounted radar.
  • 20 AN/APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometer

  • 40 Wescam MX-15Di (AN/AAQ-35) Sight/Targeting Sensors. Likely for the AH-6is.

  • 52 30mm Automatic Weapons. AH-64D Apaches use ATK’s M230 chain gun.

  • 40 GAU-19/A 12.7mm (.50 caliber) Gatling Guns. Can be used as door guns, or pylon-mounted on helicopters. Popular light helicopter weapon.

  • 168 M240H Machine Guns. FN Herstal USA’s 7.62mm helicopter door guns, not used on Apaches.

  • 421 M310 A1 Modernized Launchers. For Hellfire missiles.
  • 158 M299 Hellfire Longbow Missile Launchers
  • 2,592 AGM-114R Hellfire Missiles. The -114R is the most modern version, with a triple-threat blast, armor defeating, and fragmentation warhead.

  • 171 of Northrop Grumman’s AN/APR-39 Radar Signal Detecting Sets
  • 171 of Goodrich’s AN/AVR-2B Laser Warning Sets
  • 171 of BAE’s AAR-57v3/5 Common Missile Warning Systems
  • 318 Improved Countermeasures Dispensers

  • 108 of EFW’s Improved Helmet Display Sight Systems. IHADSS is used by the Apache. The number involved indicates that they may have been picked for the AH-6is as well.

  • 300 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles.

  • 1,229 AN/PRQ-7 Combat Survivor Evader Locators (CSEL). Radios used by pilots, especially if they’re shot down.

  • 18 Aircraft Ground Power Units.
  • 4 BS-1 Enhanced Terminal Voice Switches
  • 4 Digital Airport Surveillance Radars
  • 4 Fixed-Base Precision Approach Radar
  • 4 DoD Advanced Automation Service
  • 4 Digital Voice Recording System
  • Also included are trainers, simulators, generators, munitions, design and construction, transportation, wheeled vehicles and organization equipment, tools and test equipment, communication equipment, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, GPS/INS, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor support services. The Saudis usually require a lot of support from contractors, in part because it’s an opportunity for royal family members to take a cut.

UH-60M Test flight
(click to see full)

The DSCA specifies the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) as the AH-64D recipient, but is less clear about the other helicopters. The implicit message is that they’re part of the same FMS case to the same military entity, and the SANG could certainly make good use of the UH-60Ms, AH-6is, and MD 530Fs for “the defense of vital installations and will provide close air support for the Saudi military ground forces.” The DSCA adds that this sale will improve the SANG’s “Apache sustainability and interoperability with the U.S. Army, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and other coalition forces.” Saudi Arabia already operates some AH-64s and UH-60s, and the DSCA believes they will have no difficulty absorbing all of these helicopters into their armed forces. Given the level of contractor support included, that’s no surprise.

The prime contractors will be:

  • Boeing in Mesa, AZ (AH-64D, AH-6i, CSEL)
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, FL (Arrowhead, Hellfire IIs, launchers)
  • Lockheed Martin Millimeter Technology in Owego, NY (Longbow system)
  • Longbow LLC in Orlando, FL. A Lockheed/Northrop-Grumman joint venture (Longbow system)
  • Sikorsky Aircraft West in Palm Beach, FL (UH-60M)
  • MD Helicopters in Mesa AZ (MD 530F)
  • General Electric Company in Cincinnati, OH (engines)
  • ITT Aerospace/Communications in Fort Wayne, IN (night vision)

A number of other items above will be provided by sub-contractors.

Saudi National Guard request

 

Sept 14/10: LCS for Saudi Navy? Saudi Arabia may be interested in the Littoral Combat Ship as part of its rumored $60 billion weapons package. Saudi Arabia has focused on the General Dynamics/ Austal trimaran design before, but a Washington Post report says that:

“The official said the Saudis continue to have internal discussions about those purchases and are watching to see the outcome of a competition to build a new Littoral Combat Ship.”

Aug 14/10: The Wall Street Journal reports that adding UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters, plus other equipment, to Saudi Arabia’s arms shopping list could push the eventual deal set as high as $60 billion. WSJ [subscription] | Bloomberg | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Israel’s Arutz Sheva | Jerusalem Post.

Aug 8/10: The Wall Street Journal reports that the US and Saudi Arabia are pursuing a $30 billion weapons deal, which could include up to 84 F-15 Strike Eagles. An order that size would keep the production line open for about 4 more years:

“After a round of talks in Washington late last month between Mr. Barak and top U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Israeli officials said they felt more comfortable about how the F-15s would be equipped. The U.S. argued to Mr. Barak that the proposed sale would strengthen moderates in the Gulf, ultimately bolstering Israel’s security. U.S. officials say the F-15s in the package will be “very capable” aircraft, comparable to the F-15s flown by South Korea and Singapore, which are among Asia’s most advanced militaries, said a senior U.S. defense official.”

See: WSJ [subscription] | Agence France Presse | Newsweek | St Louis Today.

Appendix A: Rumors, Questions & Competitors (2010)

Before the sales were finalized, a number of questions and political crosscurrents swirled around Saudi Arabia’s rumored and potential choices, as well as its alternatives if the USA balked.

Wings of Eagles – Which F-15s? F-15SG, armed
(click to view full)

Before October 2010, Saudi Arabia’s F-15 sale was the least clear aspect of the proposed deal. It was fairly clear that the Kingdom wanted F-15s. The question was what configuration of F-15, with what equipment, to replace which platforms.

The Panavia consortium’s swing-wing Tornado was designed for low level strike missions during the Cold War, and the Saudi fleet continues to receive upgrades. Their lifespan is finite, however, and replacements are reportedly being considered as a way of enhancing Saudi Arabia’s perceived and actual capabilities. Iran looms as a threat, and Saudi military operations near the Yemeni border have apparently led to requests for more advanced aircraft with better precision attack capabilities, to be delivered sooner rather than later.

Saudi Arabia currently operates about 87-96 strike-optimized Tornado IDS, and Scramble places them within 7, 66, 75 & 83 Squadrons, based at Dhahran on the east coast. A 2006 upgrade contract was intended to keep them in service to about 2020. The Tornado is notorious for its heavy maintenance requirements. On the other hand, that is not necessarily a disadvantage in a society where foreign subcontractors perform that work, and the contracts themselves are seen as lucrative opportunities for the Saudi elite.

The Kingdom also operates 153 F-15s: about 82 F-15 C/D air superiority fighters that may also be targeted for replacement, and 70 (of an original 72) newer F-15S Strike Eagles bought in 1999. The Saudi F-15S is an F-15E Strike Eagle variant with downgraded avionics, and a simplified Hughes APG-70 radar without computerized radar mapping refinements. Subsequent upgrades are adding higher-thrust GE F110 engines, Link-16 compatible datalinks, and Lockheed Martin’s Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods with excellent long-range surveillance capabilities, laser rangefinding and designation, and targeting geolocation capabilities.

F-15SE unveiled
(click to view full)

The F-15 Strike Eagle is a stable weapons system that provides excellent versatility in both air superiority and ground attack roles, with very good range for a fighter if conformal tanks are used. All Strike Eagles are not created equal, however, which makes quotes like F-15s that are “comparable to the F-15s flown by South Korea and Singapore” very ambiguous. There were at least 3 possible options:

F-15SG equivalent. Singapore currently flies the world’s most advanced operational F-15s, with GE F110 engines, integrated Infrared Search and Track capabilities, and an APG-63v3 AESA radar whose capabilities far outstrip the mechanically-scanned APG-70. Detailed mapping down to surveillance of man-sized targets, simultaneous air-air and air-ground modes, better range, and maintenance free operation would all offer significant advances over anything the Saudis or even the Israelis currently field. American F-15Es are being retrofitted with an advanced variant of this radar, the AN/APG-82v1. The resulting aircraft would be markedly better than the F-15S or Israel’s F-15I, but a step below the F-35As that Israel has approved for delivery in 2015-2017.

This is the path suggested by the F-15SA’s listed equipment, with the reported inclusion of BAE’s integrated DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System). Like the Singaporean fighters, F-15SAs will carry advanced Sniper ground surveillance and targeting pods, alongside Tiger Eyes IRST thermal imaging systems that offer long-range passive air-to-air targeting. A set of Goodrich’s popular DB-110 reconnaissance pods will round out the fighter fleet’s core capabilities. For F-15SAs derived from upgraded F-15S fighters, their internal electronics and mission computers may need another upgrade, and some structural life extension work may also be part of the program. Those details aren’t yet clear.

F-15SE Silent Eagle (No). Boeing is financing initial development of this stealth-enhanced Strike Eagle with internal weapon carriage options and fully digital fly-by wire, and was known to be looking for a launch customer and partner. A sale to Saudi Arabia would hardly be the first time that an advanced Western fighter reached production status thanks to a middle eastern order, though the USA’s experience with Iran and the F-14 offers a cautionary note. Boeing’s future F-15 program manager Brad Jones has previously commented that it’s not a question of how much stealth can be added to an airframe like the F-15 or F/A-18, but how much would be permitted for export to a given country.

The USA’s sensitivity concerning stealth technology, quiet concerns about Saudi Arabia’s long-term stability, and Israeli unease about an enemy with stealth capabilities, made this a tough and unlikely sale. The Saudis didn’t want, or didn’t get, this option.

F-15S+ equivalent (No). This option would essentially field new-build counterparts to Saudi Arabia’s upgraded F-15S fleet, with Link-16 capability, Sniper targeting pods, and F110 engines. The key difference would be the radar. The APG-70 is out of production, but there are reports that USA would like to offer the AN/APG-63v1, chosen by South Korea for its F-15Ks. The APG-63v1 has a fully digital back end, but uses a mechanically-scanned array like the APG-70’s up front. Its performance would be an improvement on the APG-70, while its back end reportedly gives operators the option of adding an AESA front end at a later date.

This might have offered a graceful way to finesse the issue of AESA capability with the Saudis – if the Saudis were inclined to accept it. They weren’t. In the end, they got their way.

The other controversy concerned weapons.

U.S. officials have said that said weapons systems deemed “not conducive to regional stability,” or likely to create serious issues with Israel or with Congress, are being excluded. That includes long-range, precision-guided “standoff systems” like cruise missiles. America has reportedly refused to provide the most advanced long-range strike missiles for the Saudis’ new F-15s, which would eliminate options like Lockheed Martin’s stealthy AGM-158 JASSM, or Boeing’s AGM-84K SLAM-ER anti-ship and land attack missile that will serve with South Korea’s F-15Ks.

The Saudis still got their share of precision weapons. Their request proceeded with GPS-guided JDAM bombs, and even dual laser/GPS guidance DMLGBs. Unlike existing RSAF Paveway laser-guided bombs, they are not affected by conditions like sandstorms, adding important short-range precision-strike against targets the F-15s can overfly. CBU-105 cluster bombs add another GPS-guided weapon that can decimate armored vehicles, and AGM-88 HARM missiles will make life very difficult for enemy radars. The Saudis even got AGM-84 Harpoon Block II missiles, with dual GPS and radar guidance and the ability to attack land or maritime targets over 100 miles away.

The Harpoon isn’t a stealthy weapon like Lockheed’s JASSM or MBDA’s Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and offers less range. The Saudis can live with that, since the RSAF’s Tornado fleet is receiving stealthy, long-range MBDA Storm Shadow missiles from Europe, and its advanced Eurofighters will eventually be Storm Shadow qualified as well. The Harpoon gives their F-15SA’s an acceptable medium range land strike capability, whose effectiveness against maritime targets fills an existing gap.

What’s the Buzz – Helicopters AH-64D Blocks
(click to view full)

The helicopter buy is interesting, because 2006 and 2007-2009 reports had the Saudis modernizing their force with 130-150 French Eurocopter or Russian Mi-family helicopters, respectively. The French deal has been in limbo for a very long time, and the Russian deal has never been confirmed.

Initial reports concerning the prospective American deal revolved around 2 types: the UH-60/S-70 Black Hawk, and the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. Both types are already in Saudi service.

Bell Helicopter’s 212 and 412 twin-Hueys, and single-engine 205 Hueys, currently form the biggest fraction of Saudi Arabia’s helicopter fleet. The RSAF also fields about 30 UH-60/S-70 Black Hawk helicopters, and seems interested in adding more. On the attack front, the Saudis field 12 AH-64A Apache helicopters, and a 2008 DSCA request involved another 12 AH-64D Apache Longbow Block IIs, but there has been no subsequent contract announcement.

Early reports correctly placed the potential UH-60 buy at around 72 machines, which would instantly make the Black Hawk the backbone of the Saudi helicopter fleet. Those reports did not specify which type, but earlier reports concerning a Eurocopter deal involved naval helicopters, which could result in a mixed UH-60/MH-60 deal.

The 1st question involves what type of Black Hawk the Saudis will want, for use on land. Gulf Cooperation Council neighbors Bahrain and the UAE have both ordered the latest UH-60M Black Hawks. Keeping up with the neighbors is an important tradition in the region, and the volume buying terms in the USA’s multi-year contracts are likely to make UH-60Ms the Saudis’ most attractive land option.

In the end, the official request specified UH-60Ms. What other possibilities were there?

MH-60S AMCM
(click to view full)

The MH-60S Seahawk naval utility helicopters, which has already been exported to Thailand, is the most likely naval helicopter buy. The MH-60S is already designated for search and rescue roles in the US Navy. Armed with Hellfire missiles and/or light gatling guns, they could decimate the fast patrol boats that Iran prefers, or provide capable patrols to help enforce actions like the quiet Saudi naval blockade around Yemen. If fitted with the AMCM system set, they become a potent force against the mines that Iran has used in the past to disrupt Gulf shipping. Those 4 roles (utility/ SAR/ scout-attack/ MIW) cover most of the Saudis’ naval needs, but if they are determined to counter Iranian submarines as well, a purchase of MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters was also possible. Fortunately for the Saudis, the USA’s umbrella MYP-VII helicopter contract also covers production of the MH-60R/S.

The 3rd question revolves around whether the Saudis wish to arm their UH-60s as additional battlefield support, using the “Battlehawk” kits under development by Sikorsky. The UAE had been expected to serve as the lead customer for the UH-60M Battlehawk Level 2/3 kits, which add precision-guided missiles and a 20mm cannon to the standard utility model, but a Saudi order could easily place them in that role instead. The DSCA requests leave that topic unclear.

They may not need the option, anyway.

The Wall Street Journal gave a figure of 60 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters in its more recent reports, which would grow the Saudi fleet to 72. In the end, the actual figure turned out to be 70 total, spread across the Royal Guard, Army, and National Guard. Most orders these days are for AH-64D Apache Block IIs or Block II upgrades, but it was always possible that the Saudi order would focus on the more advanced AH-64D Block III, becoming the type’s first export sale. It did, and they might.

Upgrades of the existing 12 Apaches to the same configuration would be an expected complementary sale, but is not mentioned.

AH-6i, 1st flight
(click to view full)

The other attack enhancement for Saudi forces came in the form of additional light helicopters.

Boeing has developed the AH-6i light attack and scout helicopter, as a thoroughly updated form of the AH-6J Little Bird used so successfully to support trapped US Special Operations forces in Mogadishu, Somalia. The Saudis may buy up to 36 of them, giving them a potent armed scout and urban warfare option. Of course, you’d have to fly them the way the “Night Stalkers” do, which is a pretty tall order.

The other unheralded addition was 12 of MD Helicopters MD-530F helicopters. MD has descended in a long and convoluted line from the same Hughes OH-6 Cayuse/ “Loach” helicopters that led to the AH-6i. Corporate shifts and sales have left MD Helicopters in a weakened market position, and attempts in the past few years to re-enter the military market hadn’t gone so well for them. The MD-530 is often used by law enforcement as an excellent light utility helicopter, though some countries like South Korea still operate militarized light attack relatives as a holdover from previous era military sales, and Boeing used it the MD-530F as the basis for its Unmanned Little Bird demonstrator. A successful sale to Saudi Arabia could offer MD Helicopters a useful market opening, and burnish its military and parapublic credentials.

Foreign Affairs: Considerations and Competitors Spanish Tiger HAD
(click to view full)

The Saudis have long-standing relationships with America and its defense firms. That relationship frayed in the wake of 9/11, as 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudis, and the kingdom’s global financial support for Wahabbi preachers of jihad became a sore point. Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and its proxy wars to gain armed influence in the region, have helped paper over those wounds by putting the Saudis back on the front lines against a common foe. Saudi Arabia’s own internal struggles with al-Qaeda have also represented a form of progress for its American relationships.

In a world where people often buy arms from you because they want you to be their friend, and a region where shiny new equipment is often meant as a message to neighbors, these political winds bode well for American arms sales to the desert kingdom.

The Americans aren’t the Saudis’ only options, however. Nor is support for Saudi Arabia America’s only regional consideration. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell responded to the Wall Street journal by saying that “Israel is not the only one with security concerns in the region, and we have responsibilities to other allies as well.” Which is a lot more diplomatic than: “Well, their Gulf neighbors are also a bit uneasy, and frankly, we wonder who’s going to be in charge there 10 years from now.”

Saudi choices are most clearly represented in its helicopter buys. If it chose not to buy 72 UH-60/MH-60s transports, 60 AH-64D attack helicopters, 36 AH-6i light scouts, and 12 MD-530F light utility helicopters (180 total), it could just as easily buy 120 Mi-17s with cargo and weapon capabilities, and 30 Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia (150 total). Or turn to France for 54 NH90 TTH troop transports, 10 NH90 NFH naval helicopters, 32 AS 550 Fennec light scouts, 20 AS 532-A2 Cougar CSAR helicopters, 4 AS 565 Panther naval CSAR helicopters, and 12 Tiger attack helicopters (132 total).

Relations with France are somewhat cool at the moment, and Russia’s enabling role in Iran’s nuclear program may be an obstacle to improved Saudi relations, but it’s certain that either country would be delighted to sell the Saudis whatever they ask for. A Russian relationship would also offer the Saudis interesting political diversification, giving Saudi Arabia both a new lever with the Russians, and assured access to an friendly country who sells weapons with no strings attached.

Rafale F3 w. AASMs
(click to view full)

Likewise, a crashed deal for more American F-15s could have lead the Saudis to turn to the French for the Rafale, a versatile fighter with less range than the F-15, but more advanced features and weapons. An AESA radar is currently under development for the jet. In a similar situation, the neighboring UAE chose French diversification to co-develop the Mirage 2000v9 variant for service alongside its American F-16s. Since the Americans would not sell them long range strike weapons for their F-16s, they armed the Mirages with long range, stealthy “Black Shaheen” derivatives of MBDA’s Storm Shadow cruise missile, which has already been approved for Saudi Arabia’s Tornado IDS fleet. France’s GPS-guided, rocket-propelled AASM glide bombs would also be available to customers buying French aircraft.

Adding French Rafale fighter jets would force the Saudis to support a whole new set of equipment, and to buy a different set of aircraft weapons all the way down to fighter cannon ammunition. Since most support costs are outsourced by the Saudis no matter what they buy, and dealing with many kinds of equipment for similar roles has never been a consideration with the Saudis before, those issues aren’t likely to present significant obstacles. On the flip side, the Rafale currently has issues with precision attack missions, owing to delayed integration of its Damocles targeting pod. In the end this gap, and the lack of an AESA radar, might have made the Saudis more eager to do an F-15 deal for military as well as political reasons.

RSAF Eurofighter
(click to view full)

A less drastic option could simply have involved a doubling of the RSAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon order, something that was reportedly discussed. The Wall Street Journal add reports from Saudi officials that a desire to avoid dependence on American permissions was partially behind the 2007 BAE deal for 72 Eurofighters, which have become the kingdom’s top-end air superiority fighters. Long-range MBDA Meteor air-air missiles, and an AESA radar, are both slated as future upgrades for global Eurofighter customers.

Typhoons slated for more of a strike role would still use the existing set of IRIS-T and AMRAAM air-air weapons common to the existing Typhoon and/or F-15 fleets, while options like the Taurus KEPD 350 long range cruise missile, Storm Shadow cruise missile, Brimstone anti-armor missile, and possibly even Raytheon UK’s dual-guidance laser/GPS Paveway IV bombs would all be available to replace equipment types the USA does not have, or might decline to sell. Lockheed Martin’s Sniper ATP surveillance and targeting pod would require an integration program, however, as the Saudis cannot use the RAFAEL/Northrop Grumman LITENING pod currently qualified on the type. On the support side, the Saudis already have a complete set of support agreements with BAE, who is building a maintenance & training facility in Saudi Arabia.

A more esoteric option could have involved taking a cue from Algeria and Malaysia, by buying Russian SU-30MKA/M variants. These fighters compare very favorably to American F-15s, with better aeronautical performance, similar versatility, and similarly impressive range. They even come with French avionics and targeting pods. That option was far less likely for the Saudis, however, because the Russians are known for offering poor support capabilities, and Saudi Arabia needs partners with the structures and experience to handle most of their support needs.

Additional Readings & Sources

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.

Key Equipment: Platforms

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News & Views

Categories: News

UK OPVs: Bridge Over the River Class

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 23:50

River Class
(click to view full)

The UK’s forthcoming Ocean Class 90m+ Offshore Patrol Vessels stem from a shipbuilding sector agreement that the UK MoD signed with BAE in November 2013. Britain needed to find an affordable bridge-buy that kept its naval shipyards running in-between completion of existing ships, and delayed construction of the new Type 26 frigates. Rather than paying termination and industrial costs to keep the shipyard idle, the UK government decided to buy 3 OPVs, for delivery by 2017. This would also allow the Royal Navy to retire or gift out the existing River Class OPVs HMS Tyne, HMS Severn and HMS Mersey.

As of August 2014, the contract for these new open-ocean patrol vessels is complete…

Batch 2 OPVs

The new British OPVs will be built at BAE Systems’ facilities in Glasgow, under a GBP 348 million contract announced on Aug 12/14. That brings the total to GBP 368 million, following a GBP 20 million long-lead parts contract announced on March 12/14.

The design based on vessels already sold abroad: Thailand’s HTMS Krabi, and the 3 similar Amazonas Class OPVs that Brazil picked up when Trinidad and Tobago cancelled their deal.

The new ships will be larger and more efficient than Britain’s existing River Class OPVs, with more room for embarked personnel, more storage space, and the addition of a flight deck capable of landing the Royal Navy’s AW101 Merlin medium-heavy helicopters. The Ocean Class are designed for a maximum speed of 24 knots, and a range of 5,500 nautical miles. Sources: UK MoD, “£348 million warship contract delivers Clyde jobs boost” | BAE, “New contract award for Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessels” | UK MoD, “£20 million contract for new Royal Navy ships” (March 2014) | UK MoD, “New offshore patrol vessels for Royal Navy” (Nov. 2013).

Update

December 9/16: BAE Systems has been contracted by the UK government to build two additional River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Navy. The $360 million deal adds two more manufacturing and support projects to the five-ship program, bringing the total contract value to $797 million. Work on the two vessels, named Tamar and Spey, will involve more than 100 companies from Britain. The designs build on existing River-class ships with variants already used by the navies of Brazil and Thailand.

Categories: News

Boeing Blusters Over Tweet | US State Dept Clears $668M Stryker Sale to Peru | $619B Defense Bill May Send MANPADS to Syria

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 23:58
Americas

  • President-elect Donald Trump proved a tweet can be worth a billion dollars, with $1 billion being temporarily wiped off Boeing’s stock market value, after Trump deemed the company’s new Air Force One offering too expensive and called for it to be dropped. Boeing maintained that it has so far only received a $170 million contract for capability exploration work, far from the $4 billion price tag Trump was claiming. While $2.87 has been officially budgeted for the Air Force One replacement program from 2015 through to 2021, production contracts have yet to be awarded.

  • 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.

  • Veyance Technologies will carry out Abrams track assemblies for the US Army. Valued at $77 million, the contract was awarded by the Defense Logistics Agency. Work is expected to be completed by 2017.

Middle East & North Africa

  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May has reaffirmed her government’s commitment to increase defensive cooperation with Gulf allies. Addressing the Gulf Cooperation Council, May said Britain wanted to “make a more permanent and more enduring commitment to the long-term security of the Gulf” and invest more than 3 billion pounds in defense spending in the region over the next decade. British support will also go towards countering “Iran’s aggressive regional actions”.

  • The recent $619 billion defense bill passed by Congress will provide for the possibility of sending Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) to rebel groups fighting in Syria. While the bill does impose certain restrictions on the shoulder-fired antiaircraft weapon, it represents a significant shift from prior iterations of the legislation. The version of the bill the Senate passed in June made no mention of MANPADS.

Europe

  • Statoil has confirmed that they will drop the use of H225 Super Puma helicopters, even if Norway’s Civil Aviation Authority decides to lift a ban imposed after a fatal crash off Norway in April. The Norwegian state-controlled oil firm stated that it would instead rebuild its capacity with the Sikorsky S-92. Following last April’s Super Puma crash that killed 13 oil workers flying from a Statoil-operated oil platform, unions representing oil workers expressed concern about the H225 helicopter and asked for a permanent ban.

  • Dutch F-16s will be fitted with AN/ALQ-131 electronic countermeasure pods, following an agreement between the Royal Netherlands Air Force and Northrop Grumman. Under the agreement, the company will aim to improve threat detection and jamming capabilities for the aircraft, a move they add will make pilots safer in an evolving threat environment. The pods will give Dutch fighters a fifth-generation electronic warfare technology and makes a significant leap in capability for electronic countermeasures.

Asia Pacific

Today’s Video

The world’s largest rocket. June launch of a Delta IV Heavy:

Categories: News

Australia’s 2nd Fighter Fleet: Super Hornets & Growlers

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 23:58
RAAF F/A-18F rollout
(click to view full)

Australia’s A$ 10+ billion Super Hornet program began life in a storm. Australia’s involvement in the F-35 Lightning II program have been mired in controversy, amid criticisms that the F-35A will (1) be unable to compete with proliferating SU-30 family fighters in the region, (2) lack the range or response time that Australia requires, and (3) be both late and very expensive during early production years.

The accelerated retirement of Australia’s 22 long-range F-111s in 2010 sharpened the timing debate, by creating a serious gap between the F-111’s retirement and the F-35’s likely arrival. Further delays to the F-35 program have created new worries that even the upgraded F/A-18AM/BM Hornet fleet won’t last long enough to allow smooth replacement.

The Super Hornets survived potential cancellation, and the “surprise” stopgap buy has steadily morphed into a mainstay of the future RAAF, with a new and unique set of electronic warfare capabilities thrown into the mix. This DID Spotlight article describes the models chosen, links to coverage of the key controversies, and offers a history of contracts and key events from the program’s first official requests to the present day.

RAAF Super Hornets: Variants and Variances

In December 2006, Liberal Party Defence Minister Brendan Nelson was discussing an A$ 3 billion (about $2.36 billion) purchase of 24 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet aircraft to fill the fighter gap. The move was described as “a surprise to senior defence officials on Russell Hill,” but hurried requests and contracts quickly made it an official purchase. Australia’s subsequent Labor government decided to keep them rather than pay cancellation fees, but added an interesting option to convert 12 into EA-18G electronic warfare planes. Now more of the fighters and electronic warfare aircraft may be on the way.

The F/A-18F Block II AN/APG-79 AESA Radar

The 2-seat F/A-18F sacrifices some range, carrying only 13,350 pounds of fuel – 900 fewer pounds than the F/A-18E. In exchange, it adds a second crewman with an advanced attack station cockpit to assist in strike roles. The F/A-18F Block II adds a number of enhancements, but all are electronic rather than aerodynamic. The most significant improvement is its AN/APG-79 AESA radar; Australia will be the first country outside the United States to receive it, and only the 3rd country (UAE APG-80 in F-16 Block 60, Singapore APG-63v3 in F-15SGs) to receive AESA fighter radars in a US sale.

After the failure of Australia’s own “ALR 2002” electronic countermeasures program, some of its early-model Hornets and all of its F/A-18F Super Hornets will mount Raytheon’s AN/ALR-67v3 instead. This is a radar warning receiver that provides visual and audio alerts to F/A-18 aircrew when it detects ground-based, ship-based, or airborne radar emissions hitting the aircraft. It is the modern self-protection standard for F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft, and has also been incorporated into a number of earlier model Hornets flown around the world.

Other items bought specifically for the F/A-18F fleet include Raytheon’s AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR surveillance and targeting pods, and AIM-9X short range air-to-air missiles. Australia’s Hornet fleet uses LITENING III pods and AIM-132 ASRAAMs instead, but ATFLIR and AIM-9X are the only fully qualified counterparts for the Super Hornet.

This kind of unique equipment drives up the long-term cost of the Super Hornet fleet by creating additional training, inventory, and maintenance requirements. On the other hand, there’s a flexibility bonus as well as a cost penalty. The Super Hornets are qualified with a number of other weapons that wouldn’t be available to Australia’s Hornets or its initial F-35As, such as AGM-84K sea and land attack missiles, AGM-88E AARGM advanced radar-killing missiles, etc.

Electronic Attack: EA-18G EA-18G: key systems
(click to view full)

For operators who need much greater electronic defense and even offensive capabilities, the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare version is a derivative of the F/A-18F Block II that removes the internal gun, adds electronics within the aircraft to help it detect and jam enemy radars, and mounts 4 specialized ECM (Electronic CounterMeasures) pods under the wings.

In the US Navy, EA-18Gs will replace the EA-6B Prowler, which is based on a Vietnam-era airframe and has become the only Western electronic warfare aircraft capable of accompanying fighters into combat.

Australia’s EA-18G buy has made them the first export customer for an American electronic warfare fighter, and will give the RAAF an historically novel range of capabilities. As of February 2009, 12 of Australia’s 24 F/A-18Fs were slated to receive the additional wiring required to allow future EA-18 conversions. They were delivered that way, and as of December 2012, orders for the associated equipment, jamming pods, and remaining conversion work have begun, and a 2014 contract will add 12 new-build EA-18Gs to carry them.

If Australia eventually wants to expand to 24 EA-18Gs, they could do so in future by paying conversion costs for 12 of their F/A-18Fs, and buying the required jammers.

Training & Infrastructure Super Hornet TOFT
(click to view full)

The Australian order will include training simulators, which come in 3 key variants of their own.

Tactical Operation Flight Trainers (TOFTs) are for advanced pilot tactical training. Each one is a Boeing/ L-3 Link collaboration including L-3 Link’s 360-degree SimuSphere visual display, SimuView image generator, and Boeing Training Systems & Services’ mission computer emulation; simulated radar, electronic countermeasures, and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System; and high-fidelity crew station controls.

The Boeing-built Low Cost Trainers (LCT) run a mission computer emulation, and provide pilot and air combat officer training for navigation, weapons, radar, and electronic countermeasures.

The Integrated Visual Environment Maintenance Trainer (IVEMT) is a maintenance trainer that includes an interactive 3-D model environment, test/support equipment and realistic aircraft responses for more than 500 routine troubleshooting procedures.

The Future of the Fleet The Gap
(click to view full)

The RAAF can be expected to hang on to its Super Hornets for many years. Its F/A-18A/B Hornets entered service in 1987, and the last aircraft in that 71-plane fleet will retire in 2022 thanks to upgrades and life extension overhauls. A similar career for the Super Hornets would see them serve beyond 2040, and the EA-18G’s usefulness could give them an even longer career.

There had been talk of retiring the F/A-18F fleet well before 2040, and having an all-F-35 fleet. Instead, growing orders made it likely the Super Hornets and Growlers would end up subtracting F-35s from Australia’s planned 100-fighter fleet. The May 2013 White Paper dropped planned F-35A orders to 72 planes, with the ability to raise that to 90 planes if Australia wants to replace its Super Hornet family around 2030. Give the F-35’s higher operating costs, and Australian demographics, it remains to be seen whether Australia will be able to afford that 4th squadron.

Meanwhile, the late arrival of Australia’s F-35As pushed Australia toward a second bridge buy, in order to keep up fighter numbers as older F/A-18AM/BM Hornets are retired. Once the 12 planned EA-18G Growler electronic warfare planes are under contract, the odds of early retirement for the Super Hornet fleet will drop to almost zero, and the government is beginning to acknowledge this publicly.

Contracts & Key Events

Even though these are Australian planes, readers will notice that American military departments manage the contracts. This is the normal procedure for purchases designated as US Foreign Military Sales, vs. a Direct Commercial Sale that would let Australia manage its buys directly.

2014 – 2016

12 EA-18Gs bought; F-35 approval rises to 72. F-35 mockup
(click to view full)

December 8/2016: Australia has been cleared to purchase AEA-18G Growler Aircraft Electronic Warfare Range Systems in a $115 million foreign military sale. The deal includes two systems, personnel training, integration testing, and other supporting equipment. Alongside the US, Australia is the main customer of EA-18G Growler aircraft.

Oct 9/14: Training. L-3 Communications Corp. in Arlington, TX receives a $12.1 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for 2 EA-18G Tactical Operational Flight Trainers (TOFT), 1 brief/debrief Station, 2 F/A-18 retrofit kits, spares, and associated technical documentation for the government of Australia under the foreign military sales program.

Work will be performed in Arlington, Texas, and is expected to be completed in November 2015. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $12,086,117 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, FL, is the contracting activity (N61340-12-G-0001, PO 0004).

Oct 8/14: Support & deployment. A $7.5 million delivery order for peculiar support equipment and spares, to outfit emerging squadron stand-ups for extended Australian deployment of F/A-18F and EA-18G aircraft. In addition, this order includes a support equipment integrated logistics support package. All funds are committed immediately.

Australian F/A-18Fs are currently based at Al Minhad AB in the UAE, where they are conducting strikes in Iraq against The Islamic State.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete in October 2016. US Navy Naval Air Systems Command in Lakehurst, NJ acts as Australia’s FMS agent (N68335-10-G-0012, DO 0057).

Aug 28/14: HARM computers. Raytheon in Tucson, AZ receives $24.6 million for a firm-fixed-price delivery order to provide 158 High Speed Anti-Radiation Command Launch Computers for the U.S. Navy (121) and the government of Australia (37) for F/A-18 E/F and EA-18G aircraft. These CLCs work with AGM-88 HARM and AARGM missiles, which are designed to destroy enemy air defense radars. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 – 2013 US Navy ($20.5M / 83.5%) and Australian ($4.1M / 16.5%) budgets.

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete in February 2018. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-10-G-0006, DO 0060).

Aug 18/14: EA-18s. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Minneapolis, MN receives a $16.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for the full-rate Lot 38 production of 60 Advanced Mission Computer Type 3s for EA-18Gs ordered by the US Navy (48 AMCs / $9.8 million / 60%) and the government of Australia (12 AMCs / $6.5 million / 40%). All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy aircraft budgets and Australian FMS funds.

Work will be performed in Bloomington, MN and is expected to be complete in August 2016. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 USC 2304 (c)(1) by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-14-C-0068).

Aug 11/14: EA-18s. General Electric Co. in Lynn, MA receives a $311.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 75 F414-GE-400 engines and associated devices: 48 production installs for the US Navy ($194.9 million / 63% / all production installs), and 27 for Australia ($116.6 million / 37% / 24 EA-18G production installs and 3 spares), under Production Lot 14. In addition, this modification provides for spare after burner modules, fan modules, high pressure combustor modules, combustor modules, and high and low pressure turbine modules for the US Navy and the government of Australia. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013-14 US Navy aircraft budgets, and Australian funds.

Work will be performed in Lynn, MA (59%); Hooksett, NH (18%); Rutland, VT (12%); and Madisonville, KY (11%), and is expected to be complete in September 2016. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contracts (N00019-11-C-0045).

July 30/14: Weapons. The RAAF has tested their AGM-154C Joint Standoff Weapon glide bomb against a hardened wall target at the RAAF Woomera Test Range. That’s a difficult target for an active seeker, though it’s easy enough to get in range using the GPS. Sources: Raythgeon, “Royal Australian Air Force scores direct hit with JSOW C”.

July 14/14: Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives a $6.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to a previously awarded for aircraft armament equipment items: SUU-789A/A centerline pylons for the US Navy (35) and Royal Australian Government (15); and ALE-50 towed decoy well covers for the U.S. Navy (11). All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA (95%); Irvine, CA (4%); and St. Louis, MO (1%), and is expected to be complete in May 2017. This contract combines purchase for the U.S. Navy ($4.9 million / 70%) and the government of Australia ($2 million / 30%) under the Foreign Military Sales Program (N00019-14-C-0032).

July 3/14: Support. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives $20.8 million for non-recurring engineering and associated program management, logistics and spares for Australia’s “AEA-18G aircraft” under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (79%); El Segundo, CA (11%); Palm Bay, FL (3%); and other locations within the continental United States (7%), and is expected to be completed in September 2017. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-11-G-0001, DO 0201).

June 30/14: EA-18Gs. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives a $1.939 billion fixed-price-incentive-fee contract for full rate production of 11 Lot 38 F/A-18E aircraft for the US Navy, and 33 EA-18G aircraft for the US Navy (21) and the government of Australia (12 for $533.4 million, which is 27.3% of the total). These are standard Block II aircraft rather than Advanced Super Hornet configuration, and Australia will have to pair its airframes with their expensive jamming equipment in order to field operational EA-18G jammers.

$1.406 billion in USN FY 2013 and 2014 aircraft budgets is committed immediately. Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA (46%); St. Louis, MO (30%); Fort Worth, TX (2%); East Aurora, NY (1.5%); Irvine, CA (1percent); Ajax, Ontario, Canada (1%), and various locations within the United States (18.5%), and is expected to be complete in December 2016. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 USC. 2304(c)(1). US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contracts for the US Navy, and acts as Australia’s agent (N00019-14-C-0032).

12 EA-18Gs

April 23/14: F-35s. Australia’s new Liberal Party government announces that they’ll buy up to 58 F-35s, which would raise the fleet size to the 72 aircraft mentioned in the Labor Party’s May 2013 White Paper (q.v. May 3/13). This isn’t a contract yet, and the budget is supposedly fixed. If F-35 costs remain high until 2020, and rework is expensive, it will lead to cuts in Australian orders. Even so, it’s a clear sign that the Super Hornet fleet won’t be growing past 36 planes. Read “Australia Raises their F-35 Commitment” for full coverage.

2013

Request for more; ANAO Report. RAAF F/A-18F, armed
(click to view full)

Dec 17/13: ANAO Report. Australia’s National Audit Office releases their 2012-13 Major Projects Report, which includes some interesting notes concerning the JSOW-C1/ Block III. Australia to place an interim buy of AGM-154Cs in time for the F/A-18F’s planned December 2010 Initial Operating Capability, and they did. But the AGM-154C-1s which can also be used against ships and moving targets won’t be done until at least February 2016, because software integration issues forced the US Navy to delay JSOW-C1 integration until the next core software release. They also canceled the planned September 2014 tests. Other issues and notes:

“The Super Hornet is meeting its capability objectives. Identified anomalies, limitations and improvements of the USN common aircraft software, radar, electronic warfare, mission planning, and training devices are being fed back into the USN spiral development program as part of Super Hornet sustainment, and RAAF/DMO are accessing opportunities to influence USN decision makers on the priority for addressing these areas under a RAAF/USN common paradigm.

….Spares availability has been affected by late delivery of spares because of Original Equipment Manufacturer delays and USN delays in award of Supplier contracts leading to an impact on performance, supportability and schedule.

….There is a possibility that the Forward Looking Infra Red performance will be degraded. This was identified as an emergent risk in the 2011-12 MPR and has now been realised. Engineering Change Proposal No 35 will introduce an Electronic Image Stabilisation Card. This issue has been transferred to Air Combat and Electronic Attack Systems Program Office Risk and Issues Log for management.”

Sept 25/13: Weapons. ATK Defense Electronic Systems in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $102.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for AARGM Full Rate Production Lot II, which includes the conversion of 8 AGM-88B HARM missiles to AGM-88E AARGM CATM no-rocket training missiles ($9.3M/ 9% of order) for the Government of Australia (N00019-13-C-0162).

May 31/13: Weapons. The US Navy signs an agreement with the Australian Government to provide training related to Raytheon’s AGM-88 HARM (High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and ATK’s AGM-88E AARGM (Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile), as part of the RAAF’s EA-18G Growler buy. Both weapons will be integrated with the Growler, so they’ll be able to support whichever missile the RAAF chooses.

While it’s just a training capability, its the 1st Foreign Military Sales agreement with any country regarding AARGM. Italy is already a customer, but as a co-development partner not an FMS customer. Subsequent contracts begin to buy AGM-88E CAT training missiles. Sources: US NAVAIR, June 18/13 release.

May 3/13: White Paper. Australia’s Labor government releases its 2013 Defence White Paper. Australia’s plans for their Super Hornet fleet have changed:

“…the Government has decided to retain the current 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets (one operational squadron) in their current air combat and strike capability configuration. The Government has also decided to acquire 12 new-build EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft instead of converting 12 of Australia’s existing F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft into the Growler configuration.”

Australia’s Feb 28/13 export request already covers the EA-18Gs, while their May 22/12 export request covers the added electronics for 12 planes. The plan also commits Australia to 3 F-35 squadrons (72 planes), which is pretty meaningless from a government that will be long gone before those larger buys become reality. It is a good way of spending less now by promising more later, knowing all the while that the promise isn’t likely to be kept. The Labor government adds that any decision on a 4th F-35 squadron to replace the Super Hornet fleets won’t be made until “around 2030.” Given budgetary entitlements and demographic realities, we wouldn’t bet on that, either. Australia DoD.

Feb 28/13: More. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Australia’s official request for another 24 Super Hornet family planes and associated equipment, which could be worth up to USD $3.7 billion. The split includes 12 more EA-18Gs, but its special equipment is missing from the request: AN/ALQ-99F-V and ALQ-218 jamming pods, CN-1717/A INCANS to prevent the plane from jamming itself, and equipment associated with radar-killing HARMN/AARGM missiles.

Without those things, Australia has essentially asked to buy another 12 pre-wired F/A-18Fs, though they can always share the items bought under the May 22/12 special equipment DSCA request throughout the fleet. This request could be negotiated into contracts for up to:

Aircraft & Stores

  • 12 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft
  • 12 “EA-18G Growler” aircraft
  • 54 F414-GE-402 engines (48 + 6 spares)
  • 35 AN/APG-79 AESA radar systems (24 + 9 spares – a lot for an AESA)
  • 15 M61A2 Vulcan Cannons (Super Hornets only, 12 + 3 spares)
  • 72 LAU-127 Guided Missile Launchers
  • 2 engine inlet devices
  • 30 AN/AYK-29(V) Distributed Targeting Systems (DTS)
  • 24 AN/ASQ-228 Advance Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) Pods

Defensive

  • 40 AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Countermeasures Systems
  • 24 AN/ALR-67(V)3 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Receiving Sets
  • 24 AN/ALE-47 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Systems
  • 400 AN/ALE-55 Fiber Optic Towed Decoys

Avionics

  • 80 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS)
  • 32AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles or Night Vision Cueing Device System
  • 70 AN/USQ-140 MIDS-LVT Link-16 or RT-1957(C)/USQ-190(V) Joint Tactical Radio Systems
  • 4 AN/PYQ-21 DTS Mission Planning Transit Cases
  • 100 Digital Management Devices with KG-60s
  • 36 Accurate Navigation Systems
  • 40 AN/APX-111 Combined IFF Interrogator Transponders
  • 80 AN/ARC-210/RT-1990A(C) Communication Systems
  • 40 AN/PYQ-10 Simple Key Loaders (SKL)
  • 80 KIV-78 Mode 4/5 Module
  • 48 COMSEC Management Workstations (CMWS)

The contractors will also provide system integration and testing, tools and test equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documents, personnel training and training equipment, aircraft ferry and refueling support, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance. Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Australia, but that remains to be negotiated.

The prime contractors will be Boeing in St. Louis, MO; General Electric Aircraft Engines in Lynn, MA; Data Link Solutions in Chesterfield, MO; BAE Systems in Rockville, MD; Northrop Grumman Corporation in Falls Church, VA; Raytheon Corporation in Waltham, MA; and Visions Systems International in San Jose, CA.

Request: 12 more F/A-18Fs, 12 more EA-18Gs

Feb 21/13: Here to stay. Australia’s government is beginning to confirm what many have surmised: the Super Hornets are here to stay, and the fleet could rise to 48 planes. Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, to Australian Broadcasting Corp. News:

“We have committed ourselves contractually to two Joint Strike Fighters. We’ll receive those in 2014 in the United States for training purposes. We’ve announced that we will take another 12, effectively our first squadron, but we have not made a judgment as to when we will place the orders for those…. at the end of last year, we placed a letter of request with the United States authorities to enable us to investigate the potential purchase of up to 24 more Super Hornets.

We’ve now got a fleet of 24 Super Hornets, 12 of those can be wired up for the electronic warfare capability Growler, and we’ve got about 70 Classic Hornets…. [The F-35] has been subject to very serious scheduling delays and that’s what’s causing us to risk a gap in capability…. we’re now looking not just to the Super Hornets [covering a] gap in capability, but whether into the longer term it makes sense for Australia to have a mixed fleet, a mixed fleet of Super Hornets, Growler and Joint Strike Fighters, which is what you essentially see the United States Navy and Air Force now embarking upon.”

Jan 28/13: F-35 delays. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that:

“According to a leaked draft of the 2013 defence white paper, Australia will take delivery of just two Lockheed Martin JSFs by 2020, indicating the government will need to buy a batch of rival Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets…. The white paper states the government “remains committed” to acquiring the JSF but makes no mention of the next batch of 12 planes, which were expected around 2020.”

Given that time frame, a buy of 12-24 more Super Hornets seems very likely.

2012

$1.5B order for 12 Growler conversions. EA-18G in front,
F/A-18F behind
(click to view full)

Dec 20/12: EA-18G Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives a $164 million firm-fixed-price contract, exercising an option to begin procurement of 12 Airborne Electronic Attack Group B-Kits and 4 Equivalent Ship-sets of spares for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Work will be performed in Baltimore, MD (41.1%); St. Louis, MO (36.3%); Bethpage, NY (19%); and Fort Wayne, Ind. (3.6%), and is expected to be complete in March 2015. All contract funds are committed immediately. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manage the contract on behalf of its Foreign Military Sale client (N00019-09-C-0086). Note that the entire conversion of 12 aircraft is expected to cost about $1.5 billion (vid. Aug 23/12).

EA-18G orders begin

Dec 18/12: Raytheon Technical Services Co. LLC in Indianapolis, IN receives a $17.3 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for 102 LAU-115B/A missile launchers to equip US Navy F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft (86, $15.1M), and Australian F/A-18Fs (16, $2.2M). These launchers are used with various adapters for air-to-air missiles: short range AIM-9 Sidewinder/ AIM-132 ASRAAM, or medium range AIM-7 Sparrow/ AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN in and is expected to be complete in October 2015. All contract funds are committed (N00019-10-G-0006).

Aug 23/12: EA-18G. Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announce their decision to proceed with the conversion of 12 Super Hornets into Growlers for about $1.5 billion, with availability expected for 2018.

EA-18G conversion OK

Aug 7/12: EA-18G. Australia’s Canberra Times gets some clarification on the difference between the Australian government’s A$ 300 million estimate to convert 12 F/A-18Fs into EA-18Gs, and the USD 1.7 billion mentioned in the May 22/12 DSCA request. Short answer: The difference is the $1.4 billion cost of the 34 AN/ALQ-99 jamming pods, if they are bought outright:

“Australia wasn’t planning to buy the ALQ-99 electronic warfare pods, just the systems and hardware to allow them to be fitted on an “as required” basis… a Defence spokesman has explained. “The initial proposal that underpinned the 2009 cost estimate would have provided a lesser capability than Defence now proposes to acquire”. The pods would have had to be obtained from the United States Navy whenever Australia wanted them, a source said.”

The key tradeoffs here are money, risk, and time. An “obtain as needed” approach might work reasonably well in coalition operations, and if Australia sees a low risk of high intensity regional conflict over the next decade. In exchange for some risk that the pods wouldn’t be available in all situations, Australia would save money, and buy time for the USA to field a more reliable “Next Generation Jammer” system around 2020. If NGJ succeeds, Australia could either be approved for the new technology and then invest large sums, or seek to buy older ALQ-99 pods at a discount. On the flip side, paying for the ALQ-99 pods now ensures that Australia has a jamming capability now, which isn’t dependent on either US political whims, or on the NGJ’s ability to overcome its technical challenges and Navy budget crunches.

June 27/12: Radars. Raytheon in El Segundo, CA receives a $6.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order, for upgrades that will let the F/A-18 AN/APG-79 AESA radar commercial depot diagnose and validate repairs of RAAF APG-79s under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA (70%), and Forest, MS (30%), and is expected to be complete in August 2014. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-10-G-0006).

May 22/12: EA-18G request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Australia’s formal request for 12 EA-18G Modification Kits. They include:

  • 34 AN/ALQ-99F-V Tactical Jamming System Pods, 2 per operational aircraft, plus 10 spares. These are known to have serviceability issues.
  • 22 CN-1717/A Interference Cancellation Systems (INCANS), which prevent the plane from jamming itself.
  • 22 R-2674C/A Joint Tactical Terminal Receiver (JTTR) Systems
  • 30 LAU-118 Guided Missile Launcher pylons, for AGM-88 HARM/AARGM anti-radar missiles
  • A Command Launch Computer (CLC) for HARM/AARGM missiles
  • Plus support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support.

Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Australia; that will be determined in negotiations. The estimated cost is up to $1.7 billion, and the prime contractor will of course be Boeing in St. Louis, MO.

EA-18G kits request

May 10/12: Need a HUG? In the wake of budget plans that would slash defense spending, and move further F-35A buys back 2 years due to delays in the program, Australia is considering its bridging options. Minister for Defence Stephen Smith:

“The Budget effect of [our F-35A delay] is that it takes out of the forward estimates for this year’s budget about $1.6 billion… In the meantime, I will not allow, and the Government will not allow, a gap in our air combat capability… Government will also consider whether any alternative options need to be implemented to supplement and ensure our air combat capability in the light of Joint Strike Fighter delays.

An obvious option is the [F/A-18F]… However, other alternatives will be examined before any decision is taken. This includes considering the life of our existing 71 ‘classic’ F/A-18 Hornets [via the HUG program].”

March 30/12: EA-18G initial buy. Australia announces an A$ 19 million buy of long-lead time items, which would be used to convert RAAF F/A-18Fs into EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft. This is on top of the A$ 35 million spent to ensure that 12 new-build F/A-18Fs came with some of the necessary systems already built-in, which is much cheaper that cutting the planes open to retrofit them later. At the same, all concerned stress that no final decision has been taken regarding that conversion. Minister for Defence Stephen Smith:

“Growler was used very effectively by the US Navy in the recent Libya conflict… Whether we proceed down the track to adopt and acquire the Growler capability is a very substantial and significant decision… The Government has always been attracted to this capability, which is why on two occasions in 2009 and now, for the expenditure of a modest capital sum, we have kept ourselves in the game in this respect… [Further] judgments and decisions will be made in the course of this year… The formal process in terms of acquiring the long-lead items is what’s described as a Letter of Request and we’ve received every indication from the United States system, including the United States Air Force, that our Letter of Request will be accepted… So we are absolutely confident that if we determine to pick up the capability that our United States colleagues will respond positively. We’ve been working very closely with them in that respect.”

See: Australian DoD press conference transcript.

March 30/12: Boeing in Saint Louis, MO receives a firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract with a maximum $12.9 million to support RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets from FY 2012 through June 2015, as a Foreign Military Sale transaction. The US Defense Logistics Agency Aviation in Philadelphia, PA acts as the RAAF’s agent (SPM4A1-09-G-0004).

March 23/12: Boeing in St Louis, MO receives a $7.2 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for RAAF Super Hornet operational test program sets, support equipment, and spares. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete in November 2013. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract, on behalf of their Foreign Military Sale client (N68335-10-G-0012).

Feb 22/12: EA-18s. Adelaide’s The Advertiser reports that March 2012 will feature Defence Minister Stephen Smith announcing an A$ 200-300 million decision to upgrade 12 of Australia’s Super Hornets to EA-18 electronic warfare planes.

“News Limited understands that the first [EA-18] aircraft will be converted at the Boeing factory in St Louis and the remainder at Amberley RAAF base near Brisbane.”

It also reports that the Minister favors a September 2012 decision to buy another 12 F/A-18Fs, in order to make up for the F-35A’s expected lateness. The RAAF is reportedly against this, given expected defense reductions this year, and worries that the cost will eventually be paid for by fewer future F-35s. Which may be true. On the other hand, Australia needs to keep its fleet combat-capable while it waits.

Feb 14/12: Top Guns. Cubic Defense Applications has received a new $11+ million contract valued at more than $11 million to provide the RAAF’s Super Hornets with the P5 Tactical Combat Training System (P5TCTS). The system isn’t a simulator, it’s a set of tracking and debriefing equipment used for monitoring live-flight exercises, including simulated aerial combat. The RAAF’s new P5TCTS will be very similar to the current U.S. Navy TCTS system, and will include airborne instrumentation pods built by DRS, transportable ground systems with live monitoring, and portable ground subsystems, which includes Cubic’s Individual Combat Aircrew Display System (ICADS) software for debriefing.

Australia is an existing Cubic customer, and has installed their 4th-generation system at RAAFB Williamstown. The P5TCTS will be located at the Super Hornets’ base instead, which is RAAFB Amberley, and delivery is expected in late 2012. Cubic is also contracted to make sure these 2 systems can merge data, allowing for training between Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft. Australia’s future F-35As will come with P5TCTS already installed internally. Defense Update.

2011

All Super Hornets delivered; Ground trainers arrive in Australia; AMRAAM request; EA-18 and F-35 questions. Celebration flight
(click for whole photo)

Oct 21/11: All 24 arrived. The last 4 of 24 Super Hornets arrive at RAAF Base Amberley.

The occasion is marked by celebration flights of 16-20 Super Hornets in formation over parts of northern New South Wales and SE Queensland. Australia’s DoD says that they have been delivered on schedule and under budget. Minister for Defence Materiel speech | Australia DoD | Boeing | US NAVAIR.

All 24 in Australia

Oct 19/11: EA-18s. During an interview with Australia Broadcasting Corporation Radio, Labor government defense minister Stephen Smith discusses the possibility of turning 12 of Australia’s Super Hornets into EA-18G Growler electronic warfare fighters, whose conversion price tag is described by the interviewer as “upwards of A$ 300 million.” The EA-18G recently saw their its combat use over Libya, and:

“We’ve just started the process of making a judgment about whether acquiring [them] would be in our national interest or our national security interest… we took the sensible precaution of wiring up half of our Super Hornets for this potential. But it is a very expensive capability. We’re just going through the process… this possibility would come as no surprise to our friends and neighbours in the region. It’s been on the public record before and part of the [2009 Defence] White Paper.”

The minister does not contradict the price figure, and in a related ABC TV interview, he mentions costs of “hundreds of millions.” The minister also implied that further delays or issues with the F-35A could make an EA-18 conversion more likely, as a way to strengthen Australia’s air capability in the interim. ABC radio transcript | ABC24 TV news transcript | Reuters.

Sept 12/11: More F/A-18Fs? During a joint press conference with Canada’s defense minister Peter MacKay, Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith says that they might buy more Super Hornets – but no decision has been taken. The window is closing, however, unless the USA extends F/A-18 production beyond MYP-III. So:

“Our position on Joint Strike Fighters I’ll restate. We’ve committed ourselves to 14. The White Paper or the Defence Capability Plan talks in terms of ultimately a number up to or around 100, but we’ve committed to 14… we’ll do an exhaustive risk assessment in the course of next year and make a judgment next year about whether we need any transition capability… The last thing I will allow will be a gap in our capability for our air combat capability. And if I am concerned or worried or not persuaded there won’t be a gap in terms of delivery of the Joint Strike Fighters, then an obvious option for us is more Super Hornets. We’ve made no decision to that effect.”

July 15/11: 3 more. Australia’s DoD:

“The Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today welcomed three new F/A-18F Super Hornets worth more than [$A]175 million to RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland… This is the fourth batch of Super Hornets the RAAF has received, bringing the current Australian fleet to eighteen. A further six aircraft will be delivered by the end of the year.”

The photo archive blurbs add:

“The Super Hornets participated in their first overseas exercise in May for Bersama Shield in Malaysia, which brought the project another step closer to declaring Final Operational Capability anticipated in 2012… The Super Hornet transition project remains on budget and on time.”

July 12/11: Former USAF F-16 pilot Mike Gerzanics pens “Testing the new-generation Super Hornet“, documenting his experience flying an F/A-18F Block II simulator. Overall, he was impressed by the radar and liked the aircraft, but said:

“My overall feel for the pilot/vehicle interface, while it is effective and combat proven, was that it lags newer aircraft. Tactical information, for the most part, is presented on separate displays, forcing the pilot to do much of the fusion. This federated arrangement is no different from what I experienced when I flew a Block 60 F-16 simulator… [In contrast,] The F-35’s level of integration and sensor fusion was a generation ahead of what I experienced in the Block II Super Hornet and Block 60 F-16 simulator sessions… A next-generation [Super Hornet] cockpit is also under development and has a very large 19in x 11in touch-sensitive display. I was able to fly a cockpit built around this display and can confirm that it provides an ideal palette to display fused tactical information.”

June 2/11: AMRAAMs for Super Hornets. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Australia’s formal request to buy up to 110 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs, 10 AIM-120C-7 Air Vehicle-Instrumented (tracking telemetry replaces warhead), 16 AIM-120C-7 CATMs (has seeker, no motor), plus containers, weapon system support equipment, support and test equipment, site survey, transportation, repair and return, warranties, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of support. The DSCA specifically notes that:

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

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

AMRAAM missile request

May 9/11: Trainers. Boeing announces that it has delivered 6 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircrew and maintenance trainers to RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland: 2 Tactical Operation Flight Trainers (TOFT), 2 Low Cost Trainers (LCT), and 2 Integrated Visual Environment Maintenance Trainers (IVEMT); plus 1 conversion of a VEMT to full IVEMT capability. They are the first Super Hornet training devices for a Foreign Military Sale customer.

See the “Variants and Variances” section, above, for full details re: each type of flight trainer. The short explanation is that TOFTs are for full simulation, LCTs for key cockpit processes like navigation and weapons use, and IVEMT for maintenance training.

Trainers & sims in.

March 25/11: Boeing receives a $10.6 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for 741 Honeywell model GG1320 ring laser gyros, to be installed in F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft for the U.S. Navy (714) and the government of Australia (27 spares).

Work will be performed in Clearwater, FL (87%), and St. Louis, MO (13%), and is expected to be complete in April 2013. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-11-G-0001).

March 4/11: Martin-Baker Aircraft Co., Ltd. in Middlesex, England receives an $18.3 million firm-fixed price contract modification, exercising an option for 65 Navy Aircrew Common Ejection Seats (NACES). They will equip F/A-18 A+/C+ Hornets and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft flown by the U.S. Navy ($18.2M/ 99.4%), and the air forces of Australia (F/A-18A+ and F/A-18F; $51,920/ 0.27%) and Kuwait (F/A-18C+; $61,730; 0.33%). This option also buys associated hardware, equipment, technical data, and production support services.

Work will be performed in Johnstown, PA (60%), and Middlesex, England (40%), and is expected to be complete in December 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-07-C-0011).

2010

F-111s retired; 1st F/A-18F lands in Australia, with help from Omega; 15/24 delivered by year end; ROVER kits. Awaiting transfer
(click to view full)

Dec 8/10: 4 more. Another 4 planes arrive at RAAFB Amberley, making 15, and Australia’s 1st squadron of F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets is declared operational and ready for duty. The current fleet includes the first 3 of Australia’s EA-18 compatible Super Hornets.

“The fleet of Super Hornets has reached initial operational capability on time and on budget… The four newly arrived aircraft departed from the Boeing facility in St. Louis USA, and over a number of days transited to RAAF Base Amberley via Travis Air Force Base California, Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and Guam.”

See Australia DoD release & photo gallery | Boeing.

Dec 3/10: F-111s retired. Australia formally retires its F-111 fleet. Australia DoD event photos.

Nov 15/10: Trainers. US NAVAIR announces that its Naval Aviation Training Systems program office (PMA-205) delivered 2 Super Hornet Integrated Visual Environment Maintenance Trainers (IVEMT) to Amberley Air Force Base, Ipswich, Australia in October 2010.

“The IVEMT is a 3-D visual trainer which allows military personnel to virtually navigate through multiple aircraft systems. It provides maintainers training on ground operation, maintenance, and testing. It also offers troubleshooting procedures for the F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft including avionics, environmental control, electrical, flight control, fuel, engines, landing gear, and hydraulic systems… [It] is the first Super Hornet maintenance trainer to be delivered to a foreign military. The design is an upgraded version of the U.S. Navy’s Visual Environment Maintenance Trainer (VEMT)… built by Boeing, St. Louis, Mo., and DiSTI, Orlando, Fla.”

Sept 23/10 Boeing announces that the 1st RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet with EA-18 pre-wiring has completed production. That fighter took its first test flight on Aug 12/10. Boeing is pre-wiring the RAAF’s second lot of 12 Super Hornets for potential electronic attack capability conversion, giving them a new capability dimension while eliminating high retrofit costs later.

As of this announcement, the RAAF has 11 Super Hornets operating at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, all of which were delivered ahead of schedule and on budget. Boeing is scheduled to deliver Australia’s 24th Super Hornet in 2011.

July 26/10: ROVER. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives an $11.5 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-05-G-0026) for 889 Rover data link kits, in support of engineering change proposal #6342 for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet’s ATFLIR surveillance and targeting pod. Orders will be divided between the US Navy (837 kits, $9.76 million, 85%) and the Royal Australian Air Force (52 kits, $1.7 million, 15%).

The ATFLIR pod is actually a Raytheon product, but Boeing is the Super Hornet’s system integrator and manufacturer. Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (70.5%); Spring Valley, CA (17.5%); Wallingford, CT (6.5%); Murphy, NC. (3.5%); and Van Nuys, CA (2%). Work is expected to be completed in July 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract.

July 20/10: Trainer IOC. L-3 Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) announced today that the first F/A-18F Tactical Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT) has achieved initial training capability status, including a fully integrated mission briefing and debriefing system. L-3 Link is under contract from Boeing Training Systems and Services to support the delivery of 2 F/A-18F TOFTs to RAAF Base Amberley. See also Feb 19/10 entry.

Each F/A-18F TOFT consists of independent cockpits and visual display systems for both the pilot and weapons sensor officer. They use L-3 Link’s 360-degree SimuSphere visual display and SimuView image generator, along with Boeing’s advanced avionics simulations and simulated JHMCS helmet display. The second F/A-18F TOFT, which will include a new Australian visual system database, will be delivered with an additional mission briefing and debriefing system in late 2010. That 2nd delivery will be accompanied by a parallel upgrade to the current simulator. L-3 Communications LST.

July 5/10: 6 more. Another 6 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornets arrive at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, after a 4-day journey from Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. Omega Aerial Refueling provided assistance.

That makes 11 Super Hornets in Australia now, while the first Super Hornet delivered [A44-201], remains in the United States conducting advanced software development trials. A44-201 is expected to finish its trials this year, and arrive in Australia in December 2010. Australian DoD release | Image gallery.

June 25/10: Australia’s DoD announces that RAAF is planning to transit 6 more F/A-18F Super Hornets from NAS Lemoore in the USA to RAAF Amberley, in early July 2010. A detachment of RAAF aircrew and maintenance personnel from No 1 Squadron is currently conducting work-ups with the new aircraft at NAS Lemoore, CA, which includes up to 96 hours of test and evaluation flying and 2 weeks of Electronic Warfare flight trials.

“Another key task involves working with an air-to-air tanker conducting day and night refuelling flights to ensure we are ready for the flight to Australia.”

June 21/10: Aerial refueling. Omega Aerial Refueling Services, Inc. receives a $6.8 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00421-10-D-0009) to provide air-to-air refueling services in support of RAAF F/A-18s under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Omega already performs contracted aerial refueling work for the US government, and for Australia since 2008.

Work will be performed at Naval Air Station, Lemoore, CA (50%), and at the Royal Australian Air Force Base, Williamstown, Australia (50%), and is expected to be complete in February 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00421-10-D-0009).

March 22/10: Fly-in. Australia’s first F/A-18F Block II Super Hornets begin their flight to Australia. By March 26/10, the first 5 RAAF Super Hornets arrive at RAAF Amberley. Australian DoD image gallery | US NAVAIR | Boeing release.

Feb 23/10: 1st 2. Australia’s DoD informs us that F/A-18F Super Hornets A44-204 and A44-202 (see Sept 30/09 entry) were formally transferred to Australia’s DMO on this day, at NAS Lemoore.

Feb 19/10: Raytheon Australia wins an A$ 21.5 million Training Support Services Contract at RAAF Base Amberley. The firm will provide maintenance, logistics, and training services to support the Super Hornet flight simulators, visual environment maintenance trainers and electronic classrooms for Australia’s Super Hornets. Minister’s announcement | Raytheon Australia [PDF].

Feb 18/10: Formal transfer. The first Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet, aircraft #A44-203, is formally transferred from the USA’s Defense Contract Management Agency to Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation, in a contract signing and ceremony at Naval Air Station Lemoore, CA, USA. Australian DoD gallery.

1st hand-over

2009

1st Australian F/A-18F unveiled; Pre-wiring for EA-18 upgrade gets OK; ALE-55 decoys; 3-year sustainment contract; Maintenance training can begin in Australia now. ALE-55 concept
(click to view full)

Dec 16/09: Sustainment deal. Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science Greg Combet announces a Super Hornet Aircraft Sustainment Contract for Boeing, worth approximately A$ 20 million per year for 3 years, and provides for about 74 jobs at RAAF Base Amberley.

Under the contract, Boeing will provide engineering, supply chain management and maintenance services. The first 4 F/A-18Fs are scheduled to be at RAAF Base Amberley in March/April 2010, with the remaining 20 aircraft arriving through 2010-2011.

Dec 8/09: Trainers. Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science Greg Combet announces the introduction of a Visual Environment Maintenance Trainer to RAAF Base Amberley. This will allow RAAF Super Hornet maintenance training to move out of the United States and back to Australia, beginning in January 2010.

The VEMT system consists of a mock Super Hornet cockpit with touch screens that allows RAAF maintenance students to perform diagnostic and system functional checks, without actually being in a real aircraft. As is usual for such simulators, they can be monitored by an instructor who can bring up teaching points as the student works toward finding a fault, and can quickly be reprogrammed to simulate new faults.

Dec 1/09: Raytheon in Fort Wayne, IN receives a $12.7 million delivery order against a previously issued basic order agreement (N00019-05-G-0008) for 30 electronic modules. This contract for the RAAF F/A-18F aircraft will be performed in Fort Wayne, and is expected to be complete in August 2013. The US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract.

Sept 30/09: 3rd delivered. Boeing delivers the 3rd RAAF F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet, 3 months ahead of schedule. Each of the 3 completed aircraft has now been delivered 3 months ahead of schedule, and the remaining 21 planes will be delivered through 2011. Note that “delivery” happens in the USA.Boeing release.

Sept 22/09: Raytheon in Goleta, CA received a $6.7 million firm-fixed-price contract to retrofit 603 integrated multi-platform launch controllers (IMPLCs) on F/A-18 aircraft for the US Navy (576 for $5.9 million, 89%) and the government of Australia (27 for $764,613, 11%). The IMPLC is the launch controller component of the AN/ALE-50 and AN/ALE-55.

Work will be performed in Goleta, CA (99%) and Fullerton, CA (1%), and is expected to be complete in April 2013. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to the FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract (N00019-09-C-0036).

July 8/09: Unveiling. Boeing unveils the 1st complete RAAF F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet during a ceremony at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems’ production facilities in St. Louis, MO. The program is on budget to date, and the aircraft will be delivered later in July 2009, 3 months ahead of schedule. It is scheduled to arrive at RAAFB Amberley in March-April 2010.

The remaining 23 Super Hornets, each equipped with the Raytheon-built AN/APG-79 radar, will be delivered to the RAAF throughout 2010 and 2011. Australian DoD release | Australian DoD image gallery | Boeing release | US NAVAIR release.

July 1/09: Honeywell International, Inc., Defense and Space Electronic Systems in Albuquerque, N.M receives a $26.3 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N00019-07-C-0014). It exercises an option for the full-rate production of 498 Advanced Multi-Purpose Displays (AMPD) for Lot 33 F/A-18F and EA-18G aircraft, and retrofit of Lot 26-28 F/A-18E/F and E/A-18G aircraft. Work will be performed in Albuquerque, NM and is expected to be complete in December 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD is managing the contract.

Customers include the US Navy (422 for $21.8 million, 82.8%) and the Government of Australia (76 for $4.5 million, 17.2%). Australia is ordering 30 of the 5″x5″ forward; 30 of the 5″x5″ aft; and 16 of the 8″x10″ AMPDs.

The U.S. Navy is ordering 167 of the 5″x5″ forward, 134 of the 5″x5″ aft, and 64 of the 8″x10″ AMPDs, along with 57 8″x10″ AMPD High Resolution Recorder Interface kits to upgrade legacy displays with higher-resolution capability. The USN’s Lot 26-28 F/A-18 Super Hornets are currently receiving a number of upgrades, including a swap-out of their mechanically-scanned AN/APG-73 radars for the more powerful and advanced AN/APG-79 AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) used in Australia’s F/A-18F Block IIs.

April 17/09: Decoys. The AN/ALE-55 (V) consists of an electronic frequency converter (EFC) and a fiber optic towed decoy. It works together with an aircraft’s onboard electronic warfare (EW) equipment, throughout the ECM cycle of Suppression (harder to acquire or track), Deception (active jamming techniques aimed at launchers); and Seduction (active jamming aimed at missile, and decoy target).

BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems in Nashua, NH received a $33.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-08-C-0044) for the Low Rate Initial Production Lot V of the Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) AN/ALE-55 (V) Subsystems and associated technical support and non-recurring engineering for the U.S. Navy (70 EFCs, 251 decoys, $27.5 million, 81.57%) and Royal Australian Air Force (12 EFCs, 72 decoys, $6.2 million, 18.43%) F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft.

Work will be performed in Nashua, NH (92%) and Mountain View, CA (8%), and is expected to be complete in August 2011. The US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract. See also “ALE-55 Towed Fighter Decoys for US Navy, Australia.”

March 3/09: Engines. General Electric Aircraft Engines in Lynn, MA receives a $438.1 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract, exercising an option for FY 2009 full rate production of 116 F414-GE-400 engines and 114 F414-GE-400 device kits. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (90 engines, 90 kits; $343.7M; 78.4%) and the Royal Australian Air Force (26 engines, 24 kits; $94.4M; 21.6%). Note that 26 engines covers only 13 planes, but see also Sept 8/08 entry, which makes 56 engines in total.

Work will be performed in Lynn, MA (50%); Madisonville, KY (22%); Hooksett, NH (13%); Albuquerque, NM (6%); Rutland, VT (5%); Dayton, OH (2%); Evandale, OH (1%); and Bromont, Quebec, Canada, (1%), and is expected to be complete in April 2011 (N00019-06-C-0088).

USN F/A-18F at
Minister’s press conference
(click to view full)

Feb 27/09: In an important procurement shift, Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon announces that Australia is pre-wiring 12 of its planned 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets, in order to allow future conversions to EA-18 Lite electronic warfare aircraft. The additional cost for the pre-wiring on the production line is cited as A$ 35 million, out of a total order now cited as A$ 6.6 billion. Completing that fit out to “Growler Lite” status is expected to involve an additional A$ 300 million, with the go/no-go decision set for 2012.

Characteristically, the new Labor Party government’s release ends with a shot at the procurement policies of the previous Liberal Party government:

“If the Howard Government had taken a more prudent approach in making the Super Hornet decision rather than rushing to fill their impending air combat capability gap, they may have realised that this was a more effective approach to take.”

EA-18G pre-wired

Feb 27/09: Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp., in St. Louis, MO received a not to exceed $26.5 million (A$ 40.75 million at that day’s exchange rates) modification to a previously-awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-04-C-0014) for “non-recurring engineering and recurring effort associated with Engineering Change Proposal 6359 in support of Australian F/A-18 aircraft.”

Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (40%); El Segundo, CA (30%); Bethpage, NY (25%); and Mesa, AZ (5%) and is expected to be complete in August 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this Foreign military Sale contract.

Feb 27/09: Raytheon Co., Electronic Warfare Operations in Goleta, CA received a $9.9 million cost plus fixed fee contract for products and engineering services in support of the AN/ALR-67v3 operational flight programs for US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets ($5.4 million, 55%) and the F/A-18 A-D and E/F aircraft owned by the Governments of Canada ($1.5 million, 15%), Australia ($1.5 million, 15%), and Switzerland ($1.5 million, 15%). The estimated level of effort for this contract is 57,686 man-hours.

Work will be performed Goleta, CA (80%) and Point Mugu, CA (10%); and China Lake, CA (10%), and is expected to be complete in February 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $1.15 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA (N68936-09-C-0029).

2008

Australia to keep the Super Hornet after review; Engines and ancillaries bought; ATFLIR pods bought; Support request. F/A-18F over CV-63
(click to view full)

Dec 19/08: Raytheon Technical Services Co. LLC in Indianapolis, IN received a $26.2 million firm-fixed-price modification to a previously-issued basic order agreement. The order exercises an option for 65 LAU-115D/A Launchers and 140 LAU-116B/A launchers, split between the U.S. Navy (38 LAU-115, 126 LAU-116; $20.3 million, 80.3%) and the Royal Australian Air Force (27 LAU-115, 14 LAU-116; $5.2 million, 19.7%).

The LAU-115 is an underwing pylon for Hornet family fighters that can be fitted with LAU-7 launchers or LAU-127 launchers on the sides, in order to carry short range AIM-9/ASRAAM or AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. The LAU-116’s are the 2 ejection launchers placed in the Hornet family’s semi-recessed slots along the fuselage, under the engine intakes. They carry AIM-7 Sparrow and/or AIM-120 AMRAAM medium range air-to-air missiles.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in April 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $5.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-05-G-0008).

Dec 19/08: General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Bloomington, Minn., is being awarded a $45.4 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for full rate production of 195 Type 3 Advanced Mission Computers for the US Navy (166, $38.5 million, 85%) and Australia (29, $6.9% million, 15%). The computers will be installed in F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler aircraft.

Work will be performed in Bloomington, MN and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $1.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-07-C-0030).

Nov 6/08: Boeing in St. Louis, MO received a $14 million ceiling-priced delivery order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N68335-06-G-0024) for 72 varieties of “peculiar support equipment items” for the RAAF’s F/A-18F fleet.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO and is expected to be complete in December 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages this contract.

Sept 24/08: Boeing in St. Louis, MO received an $8.8 million not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price delivery order contract (N00383-06-D-001J) for in-service engineering and logistics services in support of the Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F aircraft. In addition, this modification provides for the design, development, fabrication, qualification, and delivery of the Logistics Support Analysis Records (LSAR) and the Automated Maintenance Environment (AME) systems.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO (75%); Amberley, Australia (10%); Brisbane, Australia (10%); and Patuxent River, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in September 2010.

Sept 19/08: ITT Industries Avionics Div. in Clifton, NJ received a $55.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-05-C-0054), exercising an option for 32 AN/ALQ-214 On-Board Jammer Systems for F/A-18 E/F aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy (13, $22.6 million, 41%) and the Government of Australia, (19, $3.1 million, 59%).

Work is expected to be complete in December 2011. The US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract.

Sept 8/08: General Electric Aircraft Engines Business Group in Lynn, MA received a $120.2 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0088) for the FY 2008 Full Rate Production of 30 F414 GE-400 jet engines, 24 device kits; and 19 various modules in support of the Royal Australian Air Force under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

Work will be performed in Lynn, MA (50%); Madisonville, KY (22%); Hooksett, NH (13%); Albuquerque, NM (6%); Rutland, VT (5%); Dayton, OH (2%); Evandale, OH (1%); and Bromont, Quebec, Canada, (1%), and is expected to be complete in January 2010. Note that Australia buys its engines under the same firm-fixed-price contract used by the US Navy. That’s an advantage offered to prospective sales by the US government, allowing them to leverage the pricing for America’s much larger orders.

Aug 1/08: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Australia’s formal request for follow-on support for its pending F/A-18F Super Hornet purchase, as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1.5 billion.

The exact request includes avionics software, engine component improvement and spare parts, technical ground support equipment, spare and repair parts, supply support, publications and technical data, engineering change proposals, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of program support. It also adds:

  • Up to 4 AIM-9X Sidewinder Captive Air Training air-air missiles, which have seeker heads but no rocket motor
  • 10 of BAE’s AN/ALE-47 Electronic Warfare Countermeasure Systems
  • 8 of ITT’s AN/ALQ-214 Radio Frequency Countermeasure Systems
  • 10 of Raytheon’s AN/ALR-67v3 Electronic Warfare Countermeasure Receiving Sets.

The principal contractors will be: Boeing Company of St. Louis, MO (F/A-18F), Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, AZ (AIM-9X); Raytheon EW Systems of Goleta, CA (ALR-67), ITT EW Systems of Clifton, NJ (ALQ-214), and Symetrics Industries of Melbourne, FL. Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Australia.

Weapons & gear request

May 23/08: ATFLIR pods. Raytheon in El Segundo, CA received a $51.6 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0310) for 19 Full Rate Production Lot 6 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pods. These ATFLIR pods will equip the Government of Australia (18, confirmed for the new F/A-18F Bock IIs, $35.6 million; 69%) and also buys 1 ATFLIR pod and long lead time items for the Government of Switzerland ($5.4 million; 10.6%), plus Units Under Test and one Electro-Optical Sensory Unit for the U.S. Navy ($10.5 million; 20.4%).

Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA (60%) and McKinney, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in November 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD administers the contract.

Australia uses Northrop Grumman’s LITENING AT pods on its F/A-18A Hornets, but Raytheon’s ATFLIR is currently the only pod qualified with the Super Hornet. Faced with the choice of buying a different pod off the shelf, or paying the integration costs and having a common fleet resource, Australia apparently decided that buying off the shelf was the better decision.

May 20/08: Training. Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. in St. Louis, MO received a $139 million ceiling-priced indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for F/A-18F aircrew and maintainer systems, computer-based training systems and support for the Royal Australian Air Force under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Initial requirements include: 2 Tactical Operation Flight Trainers, 2 Low Cost Trainers, 2 Integrated Virtual Environment Maintenance Trainers, and related courseware.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, MO and is expected to be complete in May 2014. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61339-08-D-0006).

F/A-18F, refueling
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March 17/08: Australia to keep the Super Hornet. Australia’s new defence minister announces several decisions in the wake of Part A of Australia’s Air Combat Capability Review. One is that the decision to retire the F-111 by 2010 was made in haste, but is now irreversible. Another is that an air capability gap will exist due to the F-111s’ retirement, and the decision to pursue the F-35. Meanwhile, “No other suitable aircraft could be produced to meet the 2010 deadline the former Government had set.”

In interviews, the Minister cites data from classified briefings he has received when he vouches for the planes’ ability to handle any threats in the region. His release adds that:

“The analysis also highlighted additional capabilities such as specialist electronic warfare variants (the F/A-18G) [sic – it’s the EA-18G] that will be considered as part of the Super Hornet acquisition. These additional capabilities will be more fully considered under the second stage of the Air Combat Capability Review.”

Sources: Australian DoD | Opposition Liberal Party release | ABC news [with video of the announcement and an interview] | The Age | News Australia | Sydney Morning Herald | Aviation Week | Defense News | Flight International.

F/A-18Fs survive

Feb 27/08: A report in Australia’s The Age newspaper cites Dr Stephen Gumley, the head of Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation, as saying that “it would cost about $400 million to cancel the [F/A-18F] contract with penalties accruing at the rate of $80-100 million a month.”

Feb 27/08: The Australian Liberal Party, now the loyal opposition in Parliament, vigorously disputes a Labor Party argument that the government paid too much under the contract. Liberal Party release:

“The fact is Australia will pay the best possible price for the Super Hornet. In Senate Estimates, 20 February 2008, Dr Stephen Gumley CEO, Defence Materiel Organisation said “We get the same unit prices as the US government. I know no way of getting better prices than the US government, particularly in the home market; therefore I am confident that the price we are paying for the aircraft is as good as Australia is going to get.”

This is true. Of course, if one believes the Super Hornet is the wrong aircraft; $1 is too much. The Liberal Party alludes to this in their Feb 26/08 release, which states that: “Labor set up an Air Capability Review presumably as a pretext to scrap the Super Hornet contract.”

Feb 26/08: In an Australia Broadcasting Corporation interview, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon offers an outwardly confusing statement re: the F/A-18F purchase, which he has opposed to date. The key is to strip away the statements re: ‘want’, since a politician can always say that circumstances force something unwanted. Note, instead, what they say they will do, and under what conditions. Full quote, as reported by news.com.au:

“I will follow the advice of the experts who are doing the capability review. If they come to the conclusion or recommend that the Super Hornet isn’t up to the job, I will have no hesitation in cancelling it… I’m really hoping that the air combat review recommends that we retain the Super Hornet. It’s a pretty rude, if you like, thing for us to do now to move in and cancel the project and I’ll be very, very happy if we don’t have to.”

Feb 18/08: Australia’s new government formally announces its Air Combat Capability Review. Extension of the F-111s’ lives, re-evaluation the F-35 and F-18F buys, and the desirability of the F-22 Raptor will be discussed in light of regional air power trends to 2045.

Feb 11/08: Smiths Aerospace Mechanical Systems – Santa Ana, Inc. in Santa Ana, CA received a $13.6 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00421-00-C-0433), for a total of 420 of its 480-gallon external fuel tanks. The firm will deliver 210 tanks to the US Navy ($7.8 million; 57%), and another 210 to Australia under the Foreign Military Sales Program ($5.8 million, 43%), for use on their F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

Feb 5/08: Despite the new Australian government’s review of their Super Hornet purchase, GKN Aerospace-Monitor begins machining the first wing bulkhead for a RAAF Super Hornet, one of 3 titanium bulkheads that hold the F/A-18 wings in place.

The wing bulkheads will be shipped to Northrop Grumman’s production facility in El Segundo, CA, where the company produces the F/A-18E/F’s center/aft fuselage section and twin vertical tails and integrates all associated subsystems. Northrop Grumman is Boeing’s main sub-contractor for the F/A-18 Super Hornet program, and expects to begin assembling the first Super Hornet fuselage shipset for Australia in late March 2008. Northrop Grumman release.

2007 and earlier

Initial DSCA request and contract; Australian DoD was surprised by the deal; Change of government; Cancellation rumored; Weapons requested. SU-30: overmatch?
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Dec 31/07: The Sydney Morning Herald: “Axe set to fall on Nelson’s fighters.” Maybe – despite the likely $300 million price tag of canceling the Super Hornet buy:

“The Herald understands that Department of Defence planners have been asked to present an analysis on all the fighter jet options to the Federal Government and how they stack up against likely adversaries, the first time such a study has been done for at least five years. All projects in the $30 billion program will be scrutinized “with fresh eyes”. That includes what aircraft are to be bought, how many, when and at what price. “Absolutely everything is on the table,” a Government source said.”

Dec 3/07: Change of government. In the aftermath of the Nov 24/07 election, John Howard’s Liberal Party coalition loses its majority in Parliament, and Labor gains one. In a Parliamentary system, this means that Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd automatically becomes Prime Minister, and the Labor party forms a majority government – albeit one that can have legislation blocked by the Liberal Party majority in the Upper House: ABC summary results. Some counting is still ongoing in certain ridings, but the overall margin (80-86 seats, 76 required for a majority) means that Rudd is sworn in as Prime Minister on Dec 3/07. Former defence minister Dr. Brendan Nelson is now serving as leader of Howard’s center-right Liberal Party, in the wake of ex-Prime Minister Howard’s resignation as party leader.

Oct 4/07: The US DSCA announces Australia’s formal request for weapons and equipment to be integrated on its 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $617 million. The announcement was revised on Oct 11/07 to correct inaccuracies.

The principal contractors will be Boeing in St. Louis, MO (JHMCS, overall F/A-18F integrator); Raytheon Missiles Systems in Tucson, AZ (AIM-9X, AGM-154, ATFLIR); and General Electric Aircraft Engines in Lynn, MA (support?). Implementation of this sale will require approximately 8 contractor representatives to provide technical and logistics support in Australia for 2 years. U.S. Government and contractor representatives will also participate in program management and technical reviews for 1-week intervals twice annually. Specific items requested include:

Weapons & gear request

F/A-18F, incoming…
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Sept 26/07: F/A-18F initial order. Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. received a USD $1.32 billion not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0014) for 24 F/A-18Fs and Alternate Mission Equipment (AME) for the Government of Australia, under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo. (28.7%); El Segundo, Calif. (25%); Goleta, Calif. (8.6%); Clearwater, Fla. (2.3%); Greenlawn, N.Y. (2.1%); Burnsville, Minn. (2.1%); Johnson City, N.Y. (2.1%); Brooklyn Heights, Ohio (2%); Vandalia, Ohio (2%); Grand Rapids, Mich. (2%); South Bend, Ind. (2%); Mesa, Ariz. (1.8%); Fort Worth, Texas (1.8%); and at various locations across the United States (17.5%), and is expected to be complete in July 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the official contracting agency.

Aug 9/07: Just how surprised was Australia’s DoD? Australian Senator John Faulkner rises to make a speech that highlights the minister – department relationship, and the decision process behind Australia’s Super Hornet purchase. He says [full speech, MS Word]:

“Evidence provided during Senate Estimates Hearings in February this year confirmed that there had been no specific Defence recommendation to the Minister on the Super Hornets – so without doubt, both the CDF and the then Secretary to the Department of Defence Mr Rick Smith, must have been stunned at the Minister’s actions at that NSC meeting.

There is much we do not know about what happened at that strange meeting, but it was clearly a remarkable – possibly unique – occasion. The NSC decided to buy a new fighter without advice from Defence or the RAAF. I have been told by very reliable sources that neither the Secretary nor CDF even knew the issue was on the agenda, let alone what their Minister was going to propose…”

July 11/07: Raytheon Electronics Systems in Goleta, CA received a $24.4 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0123), exercising an option for 24 Full-Rate Production Lot 10 AN/ALR-67(V)3 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) systems for the Royal Australian Air Force under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Raytheon’s Aug 2/07 release confirms that the order is for Australia’s F/A-18F Super Hornets.

Work will be performed in El Segundo, Calif. (27%); Goleta, CA (23%); Lansdale, PA (23%); Forest, MS (21%); Portland, OR (3%), and McKinney, TX (3%), and is expected to be complete in September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

F/A-18F: launch!
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May 5/07: Australia’s DoD announces the signing of its 1st contract for the new F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet fleet, valued at approximately A$ 2.9 billion (currently about US$ 2.39 billion), for 24 aircraft and associated support systems. Additional contracts will be established later in 2007 for weapons acquisition and sustainment.

The aircraft will be based at RAAF Amberley, which currently houses Australia’s long-range strike fleet of F-111 fighter/bombers. The government will be focusing on local Industry participation as part of the through life support concept, in order to maintain the extensive support infrastructure that has grown up around the F-11 fleet. Australian personnel are scheduled begin Super Hornet training in the United States in 2009, and the current government plans to retire its F-111s in 2010 instead of 2020 as originally forecast.

F/A-18F initial contract

March 6/07: Defence Minister Nelson officially announces the F/A-18F Block II purchase in his release: “$6 Billion to Maintain Australia’s Regional Air Superiority.” A$ 6 billion is the estimated total cost for purchase, training, and maintenance over 10 years.

The Australian Super Hornet program plans to use local contractor owned and operated intermediate maintenance and training for aircrew and support personnel. Additionally, the supply chain infrastructure, warehousing and operation will be manned locally in support of both Australian and US Navy Super Hornets in the region.

Note, however, that the Minister’s quoted Aviation Week reference to the aircraft’s 5th generation capability “similar to that of the F-22A Raptor…” refers to the Super Hornet Block II’s APG-79 radar, which is an AESA radar like the F-22A’s larger, more powerful, frequency-agile APG-77. It does not refer to the entire aircraft, as the selective excerpt might lead one to believe.

Feb 6/07: Australia has submitted a formal request. The US DSCA has announced the $3.1 billion request and its details. In addition to the 24 F-18Fs, Australia has requested:

  • 48 installed and 6 spare F414 engines
  • 24 AN/APG-79 AESA radar systems
  • 24 AN/USQ-140 Multifunctional Informational Distribution System Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT Link 16)
  • 30 AN/ALR-67(V)3 Electric Warfare Countermeasures Receiving Sets, the same kind that will also equip Australia’s other Hornets after the ALR 2002 project’s failure.
  • Integration of the AN/ALE-47 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Systems
  • 145 LAU-127 Guided Missile Launchers. These wingtip launchers allow the plane to launch AIM-9 Sidewinders or medium-range AIM-120 AMRAAM air-air missiles.
  • 30 AN/PVS-9 night vision goggles
  • 12 Joint Mission Planning Systems
  • AN/ALE-55 Fiber Optic Towed Decoys
  • System integration and testing, software development/integration, test sets and support equipment, spare and repair parts, maintenance and pilot training, software support, publications and technical documents.

Australia falls under the same provisions as NATO for Foreign military Sales announcements, in that it only takes 15 days for DSCA requests to be considered approved, as long as Congress doesn’t specifically block it. Negotiations regarding the next step, a contract, can then begin.

F/A-18F request

Dec 20/06: The Australian reports that:

“Defence Minister Brendan Nelson intends to ram through a $3 billion purchase of 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, amid concerns Australia may lack a fully deployable air combat capability early next decade… His swift action came as a surprise to senior defence officials on Russell Hill. The decision to buy an expensive interim fighter will generate a major rethink of the 2006-16 defence capability plan…”

Appendix A: RAAF Super Hornet Controversies RAAF F-111, smokin’
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Liberal Party defense minister Dr. Nelson reportedly decided to opt for the Super Hornet without a detailed study of alternative aircraft types, such as the longer-range F-15E Strike Eagle, advanced air superiority options like the Eurofighter Typhoon, or even an export version of the USA’s F-22 Raptor. Despite its name, the Super Hornet is a larger aircraft that offers only 25-30% commonality with the Australian air force’s existing F/A-18A/B Hornets. What is does share, is the same support structure.

Justifications advanced for this buy include service as a gap-filler to the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter after the F-111’s retirement in 2010, and also the ability to boost aircraft numbers while existing F/A-18A Hornets rotate through year-long center section replacements, designed to lengthen their service fatigue life. The Super Hornet buy had significant impacts on the 2006-2016 Defence Capability Plan, and reportedly cut the number of F/A-18A Hornets undergoing the A$ 1+ billion HUG mid-life upgrade program to 42. It may also result in cuts to other programs, unless additional funding is provided to cover the interim fighter purchase.

RAAF F/A-18B Hornet
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For a detailed account of the Super Hornet’s origins and its specific differences vs. the earlier model F/A-18 A-D Hornets, plus an in-depth first-person flight report, see “Flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet,” originally published in the May/June, 2001 issue of Australian Aviation.

Whether these attributes will be enough to deal with present and future SU-30 family aircraft on even terms remains a matter of controversy.

For a more detailed account of the ongoing controversy around Australia’s F-35 Lightning II/ F/A-18F Block II purchases, as well as links that shed more light on the F-111 program at RAAF Amberley, see DID’s Spotlight article “The Australian Debate: Abandon F-35, Buy F-22s?, especially the updates and readings sections which include Super Hornet related news. See also DID’s follow-up: “Australian Air Power Controversy: F-35 and Super Hornets Under Fire,” which has been updated to reflect subsequent DoD speeches and defenses of their purchase, as well as follow-ups by those who believe that the F/A-18F is the wrong aircraft for Australia.

Those controversies may be of historical interest, but the issue has become moot. Large signed contracts turned the buy into a fait accompli. After a review of the aircraft and the likely costs of canceling the contract, the new Labor Party government decided to continue with the buy. The last plane from that order arrived in October 2011.

Additional Readings Background: Super Hornet

Official Reports

News & Views

Categories: News

ULA Receives $269M Contract Mod for Delta IV | EU & UN Train Somaliland Coastguard | Rheinmetall and Day & Zimmerman Form Joint Venture RDZS

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 23:58
Americas

  • President-elect Donald Trump has urged for the cancellation of the new Air Force One. Believing that manufacturer Boeing “is trying to do a little number,” Trump took to Twitter saying “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” In 2015, the USAF announced plans to acquire Boeing’s 747-8 to replace the two current Air Force planes used to transport the US president. $1.65 billion has been earmarked for the purchase, although exact figures have yet to be released.

  • United Launch Alliance has received a $269 million contract modification to execute production services for the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle. The deal will see the joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin support launch vehicle configuration for the USAF. Satellites launched with the vehicles are used to support a variety of missions, including national security, telecommunications, and interplanetary exploration.

  • The Pentagon’s chief arms buyer, Frank Kendell, is hopeful that a three-year block buy of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will go ahead. Covering some 400 F-35 units for both the US military branches and partner nations, the agreement is expected to generate large savings through bigger economies of scale between the fiscal years 2018 through 2020. Negotiations with lead contractor Lockheed Martin, however, have been slow as seen in the year-long negotiations of the fighter’s ninth batch, while the government’s chief weapons tester, Michael Gilmore, has long argued about the need to test the planes before buying and building larger quantities.

Middle East & North Africa

  • Officials from the EU and supported by the UN, have carried out maritime security training with the Somaliland Coastguard. European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) sailors, supported by staff from EUCAP Nestor, carried out radar training on board the Spanish offshore patrol vessel, ESPS Relampago, in Berbera Bay, as a precursor to an engagement the following day on board EU NAVFOR flagship, HNLMS Tromp. On the following day, EUCAP Nestor’s Head of Operations, Chris Reynolds, EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Commodore Rene Luyckx, and representatives from UNSOM’s Rule of Law and Security Institutions Group, hosted Somaliland representatives on board HNLMS Tromp alongside Berbera Port for the Joint Maritime Security Seminar (JMSS). The JMSS follows a series of engagements conducted in recent months by EU NAVFOR and EUCAP NESTOR in Mogadishu and Bosasso, where maritime security and the strengthening of Somali maritime capacities were discussed.

Europe

  • Mid-life upgrades of Finnish F/A-18 fighters will see the inclusion of the Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS-JTRS), following approval by the US State Department. 90 units of MIDS-JTRS will be sold to Helsinki at a cost of $156 million. MIDS-JTRS is the communication component of the Link 16 military technical data exchange network, used by the US, NATO, and approved partner nations.

  • A joint-venture is to be established between the German manufacturer Rheinmetall and the Philadelphia-based family-owned enterprise Day & Zimmerman. The focus of the joint venture is the production of medium-caliber ammunition for the US market and will include the 25mm ammo used by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The new firm will be known as Rheinmetall, Day & Zimmermann Solutions, or RDZS.

Asia Pacific

  • Vietnamese Su-30 pilots will be trained by India. While the cost of the training is yet to be finalized, the numbers and scope of the program is expected to be resolved quickly after both governments’s defense ministers reached a provisional agreement during bilateral discussions on Monday. Indian sailors have already trained their Vietnamese counterparts in operating the Kilo-class submarines.

Today’s Video

The world’s largest rocket. June launch of a Delta IV Heavy:

Categories: News

India Ordered, Modernized, Perhaps Regrets Su-30MKIs

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 23:50
Indra Dhanush 2007
(click to view full)

India’s Su-30MKI fighter-bombers are the pride of its fleet. Below them, India’s local Tejas LCA lightweight fighter program aims to fill its low-end fighter needs, and the $10+ billion M-MRCA competition is negotiating to buy France’s Rafale as an intermediate tier.

India isn’t neglecting its high end SU-30s, though. Initial Su-30MK and MKI aircraft have all been upgraded to the full Su-30MKI Phase 3 standard, and the upgraded “Super 30” standard aims to keep Sukhoi’s planes on top. Meanwhile, production continues, and India is becoming a regional resource for Su-27/30 Flanker family support.

India’s Flanker Fleet SU-30MKs & Mirage 2000s
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India originally received standard Su-30MKs, while its government and industry worked with the Russians to develop the more advanced Su-30MKI, complete with innovations like thrust-vectoring engines and canard foreplanes. The Su-30MKI ended up using electronic systems from a variety of countries: a Russian NIIP N-011 radar and long-range IRST sensor, French navigation and heads-up display systems from Thales, Israeli electronic warfare systems and LITENING advanced targeting pods, and Indian computers and ancillary avionics systems.

Earlier-model Su-30MK aircraft and crews performed very well at an American Red Flag exercise in 2008, and the RAF’s evident respect for the SU-30 MKIs in the 2007 Indra Dhanush exercise is equally instructive. The Russians were intrigued enough to turn a version with different electronics into their new export standard (Su-30MKA/MKM), and even the Russian VVS has begin buying “Su-30SM” fighters.

So far, India has ordered 272 SU-30s in 4 stages:

1. 50 Su-30MK and MKIs ordered directly from Russia in 1996. The Su-30MKs were reportedly modernized to a basic Su-30MKI standard.
2. Another 40 Su-30MKIs, ordered direct in 2007. These machines have reportedly been upgraded to the “Phase 3” standard.
3. A license-build deal with India’s HAL that aims to produce up to 140 more Su-30MKI Phase 3 planes from 2013-2017
4. An improved set of 42 HAL-built Su-30MKI “Super 30s”. A preliminary order was reportedly signed in 2011, but the final deal waited until December 2012.

The Super 30 represents the next evolution for the Su-30MKI. Upgrades are reported to include a new radar (probably AESA, and likely Phazotron’s Zhuk-AE), improved onboard computers, upgraded electronic warfare systems, and the ability to fire the air-launched version of the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

India may eventually upgrade its earlier models to this standard. For now, they represent the tail end of HAL’s assembly schedule, as the assembly of standard Su-30MKIs continues. The big challenge for HAL is to keep that expansion going, by meeting India’s production targets.

The overall goal is 13-14 squadrons by 2017. Based on 3rd party sources, IAF Su-30MKI squadrons currently comprise:

  • 2 Wing’s 20 Sqn. “Lightnings” & 30 Sqn. “Rhinos”, at Lohegaon AFS in Pune (W)
  • 11 Wing’s 2 Sqn. “Winged Arrows”, at Tezpur AFS in Assam (NE, near Tibet)
  • 15 Wing’s 8 Sqn. “Eight Pursuits” & 24 Sqn. “Hawks”, at Bareilly AFS in Uttar Pradesh (NC, near W Nepal)
  • 14 Wing’s 102 Sqn. “Trisonics”, at Guwahati/Chabua AFS in Assam (NE, near Tibet)
  • 27 Wing’s 15 Sqn. “Flying Lancers”, at Bhuj AFS in Gurajat (NW)
  • 34 Wing’s 31 Sqn. “Lions” & 220 Sqn. “Desert Tigers”, at Halwara AFS in Punjab (NW)
  • 45 Wing’s 21 Sqn. “Ankush”, at Sirsa AFS in Haryana (NW)

Initial Su-30 MKI squadron deployments had been focused near the Chinese border, but the new deployments are evening things out. There have also been reports of basings in other locations, though the number of active squadrons suggest that these are yet to come:

  • Bhatinda AFS in Punjab (NW, currently 34 Wing’s 17 Sqn. “Golden Arrows” MiG-21s)
  • Jodhpur AFS in Rajasthan (NW, currently 32 Wing’s MiG-21 and MiG-27 squadrons)
  • Thanjavur AFS in Tamil Nadu (SE) needs to finish building out, but is expected to permanently house SU-30MKIs by 2018. Its Su-30MKIs will offer India comfortable strike coverage of Sri Lanka, including the major southern port of Hambantota that’s being built with a great deal of Chinese help.

Contracts & Key Events 2013 – 2016

Engine and Fly-by-Wire issues; Industrial issues highlight cost waste; Crash grounds fleet. IAF SU-30MKI

December 7/16: Vietnamese Su-30 pilots will be trained by India. While the cost of the training is yet to be finalized, the numbers and scope of the program is expected to be resolved quickly after both governments’s defense ministers reached a provisional agreement during bilateral discussions on Monday. Indian sailors have already trained their Vietnamese counterparts in operating the Kilo-class submarines.

July 29/16: Negotiations continued regarding the modernization of 194 Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force. A visiting delegation from Russia came to New Delhi to explain their “Super Sukhoi” concept, which if implemented, will give the aircraft near-fifth generation capabilities and effectiveness. With the deal expected to be finalized within four to six months, the project is expected to top $8 billion.

December 10/15: India’s capabilities to maintain its Su-30 fleet quickly and effectively has received a boost after a new deal signed with Russia. The agreement allows for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to receive spare parts of Su-30 aircraft within 30 days instead of the previous 12 months. The five year agreement will cut away red tape such as license, customs clearance and bank guarantees which in the past had to be completed for each part ordered. This will allow for the IAF to keep its Su-30 fleet at optimum levels of operational capacity. For two countries who love bureaucracy, 12 months to 30 days is quite an achievement.

May 27/15: India is to review its SU-30MKI fleet following the loss of one aircraft earlier this month. The high-level safety audit is a response to not only this latest crash, but the loss of six SU-30MKIs since the Indian Air Force received the first batch in 2002, a high attrition rate for a fighter which comprises roughly a third of the IAF’s fast jet force.

Nov 17/14: Air Chief Arup Raha was cited by PTI as saying that the reason for the sudden ejection seat activation in the Oct 14/14 crash isn’t clear, but inspections aren’t showing problems in the remaining fleet. The Court of Inquiry’s report is being finalized, and the fleet should be back in use by Nov 21/14. Sources: Russia & India Report, “India’s Su-30s to be back in use this week”.

Oct 23/14: Readiness. According to India’s Business Standard, the readiness rate for IAF SU-30MKIs has risen from 48% before 2013 to around 55%, meaning that 87 of 193 fighters are grounded at any one time. The paper cites MoD figures and documents that show 20% of the fleet (about 39) undergoing 1st line and 2nd line maintenance by the IAF, another 11-12% (about 22) undergoing overhaul at HAL, and 13-14% (about 26) grounded waiting for major repairs.

What’s interesting is that HAL is beginning to push back against the IAF, offering to take most maintenance off of the IAF’s hands under a Performance Based Logistics (PBL) arrangement that would pay HAL for fighters fit to fly, instead of paying for parts and labor. PBL would threaten a lot of military jobs, so the IAF has resisted such offers for the SU-30MKI and Hawk Mk.132 fleets. But HAL is touting the possibility of a 20% absolute improvement, under a contract structure that directly links pay and performance. That’s 2 full operational squadrons worth.

Meanwhile, the current arrangement continues, with the IAF vastly underspending on spares (INR 500 million per year, vs. INR 34.5 billion at a standard 5%/year rate), and spares worth INR 4 billion stockpiled by HAL at Nashik. Even if the IAF doesn’t adopt PBL, HAL would like to see 5 years worth of spares stockpiled. Most of the spares must still come from Russia, and surge capability is very poor. Sources: India’s Business Standard, “Govt takes note of Su-30MKI’s poor ‘serviceability'”

Oct 22/14: Grounded. IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Simranpal Singh Birdi says that the IAF’s SU-30MKIs are all grounded, which removes a substantial chunk of India’s front-line airpower.

“The fleet has been grounded and is undergoing technical checks following the latest accident in Pune. It would be back in air only after a thorough check…. A Court of Inquiry is in progress to ascertain the actual cause of accident…”

Meanwhile, the need to deal with the Sukhoi fleet’s various issues means that HAL needs to ramp up their ability to overhaul India’s SU-30s, from the current pathetic rate of 2 per year to 15 or so. Sources: | IBNS, “India temporarily grounds Sukhoi-30 fighter jets” | Hindustan Times, “Cloud over cause of Sukhoi crash”.

Oct 14-22/14: Crash. An IAF SU-30MKI crashes about 20 km from Pune airbase. Wing Commander Sidharth Vishwas Munje survived the type’s first crash in Indian service as a co-pilot, which was also a dangerous low-altitude ejection. The pilots apparently did quite a job, as Shiv Aroor (incorrectly) reports:

“They grappled to control a doomed fighter and eject only after ensuring it would glide into a sugarcane field, away from a built-up area that may have been the site of impact had the pilots chosen to eject earlier…. The IAF is still piecing together the full sequence of events, though it appears clear at this time that Munje and his junior had mere seconds to take a decision after lift-off.”

Both pilots escaped safely, but Aroor’s account turns out to be completely wrong. The IAF subsequently issues a release that says:

“One Su-30 fighter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) was involved in an accident on October 14, 2014 in which both ejection seats had fired whilst the aircraft was coming in to land.”

The Russian specialists brought into the investigation say that’s impossible without the pilot’s command, but Former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Major is quoted as saying there have been a few incidents in other air forces. Sources: India PIB, “IAF SU30 Crashed” and “Update on Su-30 Accident” | Livefist, “Twice Lucky: Pilot In Yesterday’s Su-30 Crash Also Survived 1st MKI Crash In 2009” and “Flanker Trouble: Did Fly-By-Wire Glitch Crash IAF Su-30?” | Bangalore Mirror, “No engine failure, pilot error in Sukhoi crash” | Deccan Chronicle, “Cause of Sukhoi-30 crash unclear” | Hindustan Times (Oct 23/14), “Cloud over cause of Sukhoi crash”.

Crash & fleet grounding

Aug 4/14: Engine issues. NPO Saturn has proposed a set of modifications designed to reduce mid-flight AL-31FP engine failures (q.v. July 20/14), and the IAF has accepted it. The modified engines will be tested first, then the refit of India’s 200 plane fleet will be carried out in batches over the next 18-24 months at HAL’s Sukhoi engine plant in Orissa. The Russians will reportedly include modified engines in India’s remaining 72 kits. Sources: Tribune News Service, “Engine rejig to cut Su-30 burnouts”.

July 20/14: Engine issues. Reports indicate that the IAF fleet’s problems aren’t limited to mission computers and displays (q.v. March 15/14). It also has a problem with engine failures in flight. Fortunately, as a 2-engine fighter, it can generally land on 1 engine, and the accident rate is low. The flip side is that this isn’t something you want to happen in a dogfight. Worse, every time this happens, the engine has to be taken out, tested, fixed, and put back. That takes a minimum of 4-5 days, which cuts readiness rates.

“The IAF has so far not arrived at a conclusion of its findings, but as a precautionary step, it has started servicing the engine after 700 hours instead of the mandated 1,000 hours of flying, adding to the non-availability of the aircraft…. The IAF had told Russians after studying each failure in detail that Sukhoi’s engines – AL-31FP produced by NPO Saturn of Russia – had been functioning inconsistently for the past two years (2012 and 2013). The number of single-engine landings by planes in two years is high and not healthy. It lowers the operational ability of the fleet, besides raising questions about war readiness, said sources.”

sources: Tribune News Service, “Su-30MKI engine failures worry IAF; Russia told to fix snag”.

June 16/14: Display fix. HAL chairman R K Tyagi discusses the issue of SU-30MKI display blanking and mission computer failure (q.v. March 15/14):

“The issue has been addressed by upgrading the software by the Russian side and replacing the mission computer and HUD wherever it was found unservicable during service checks [in India].” He further said that following the software upgrade and other service action taken, no problems concerning the Su-30 fighters has been reported from any IAF base.”

Sources: Defense World, “Software Upgrade Solves IAF Su-30MKI’s Display Problem”.

May 5/14: Astra AAM. An SU-30MKI successfully test-fires an Indian Astra BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile), marking the next stage beyond the avionics integration and seeker tests that went on from November 2013 – February 2014. The firing marks a significant milestone for India.

The SU-30MKI will be the 1st fighter integrated with India’s new missile, giving its pilots an indigenous option alongside Russia’s R77 / AA-12 missiles. It will also be integrated with India’s LCA Tejas light fighter, alongside RAFAEL’s Derby. Sources: The Hindu, “Astra successfully test-fired from Sukhoi-30 MKI”.

April 22/14: Waste. India’s Business Standard discusses HAL’s planned schedule, and explains some of the difficult aspects of their contract with Russia. Deliveries currently sit at 15 per year, but completion of the program will be late. Final delivery is now scheduled for 2019, instead of 2016-17.

The second issue is price, which began at $30 million but rose to $75 million each, even though most work is being done in a lower-cost country now. The key is the contract, which mandates that all raw materials must be sourced from Russia. Of the SU-30MKI’s roughly 43,000 components, there are 5,800 large metal plates, castings and forgings that must come from Russia. Another 7,146 bolts, screws, rivets, etc. have similar stipulations, and Russia also produces major assemblies like the radar and engines. Those plates, castings, and forgings are a source of considerable waste:

“For example, a 486 kg titanium bar supplied by Russia is whittled down to a 15.9 kg tail component. The titanium shaved off is wasted. Similarly a wing bracket that weighs just 3.1 kg has to be fashioned from a titanium forging that weighs 27 kg…. manufacturing sophisticated raw materials like titanium extrusions in India is not economically viable for the tiny quantities needed for Su-30MKI fighters.”

An assembly line that wasn’t state-owned wouldn’t be wasting all that left-over titanium. Sources: India’s Business Standard, “Air Force likely to get entire Sukhoi-30MKI fleet by 2019”.

March 29/14: MAFI. India’s Business Standard discusses India’s INR 25 billion “Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure” (MAFI) project, which is being led by Tata Power’s strategic electronics division. It uses Doppler Very High Frequency Omni-directional Radio Range (DVOR), and Category II Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), allowing direction from 300 km and operations in visibility as low as 300 meters.

Bhatinda is MAFI’s pilot project, and a SU-30MKI was used to test the system on March 25/14. The challenge is that they can only upgrade 5-6 bases at any given time. The eventual goal is 30 IAF and navy bases set up by 2016, including 8 along the Chinese border. By the end of 2019, the goal is to expand MAFI to 67 air bases, including 2 owned by the ministry of home affairs. The larger goal is greater tactical flexibility for all fleets, and the SU-30s will be a major beneficiary. Sources: India’s Business Standard, “First upgraded IAF base commissioned”.

March 15/14: Readiness. India’s Sunday Guardian obtains letters and other documents sent by HAL to its Russian counterparts, pointing to serious maintenance problems with India’s SU-30MKI fleet. Compared with India’s older Mirage 2000 and MiG-29 fleets, whose readiness rates hover near 75%, fully 50% of the SU-30MKIs are considered unfit for operational flying. That’s a strategic-class issue for a country like India, and could provide the missing explanation for reports that India may abandon the joint FGFA/SU-50 5th generation fighter program in order to pay for French Rafale jets.

This isn’t the first time such issues have arisen (q.v. Dec 16/11), and the Russians have general reputation for these kinds of problems. One February 2014 letter from HAL’s Nasik plant reminds the Russians that they’ve been pursuing a critical issue since March 2013, with no reply:

“…multiple cases of repeated failure of Mission Computer-1 and blanking out of Head Up Displays (HUD) and all Multi-Function Displays (MFD) in flight… As the displays blanking off is a serious and critical issue affecting the exploitation of aircraft (it) needs corrective action/remedial measures on priority…”

From a Dec 24/13 letter:

“Due to non-availability of facilities for overhaul of aggregates [aircraft parts], the serviceability of Su-30MKI is slowly decreasing and demand for Aircraft on Ground (AOG) items on the rise…. Huge quantities of unserviceable aggregates [parts] are lying due for overhaul at various bases of IAF…. It appears that Rosboronexport and Irkut Corporation have limited control over other Russian companies [which provide vital parts like engines].”

One reason the MiG-29 fleet is doing better is that India has worked to build infrastructure like local RD-33 engine plants, bypassing the Russians entirely. Russian firms were supposed to set up a SU-30MKI repair-overhaul facility at HAL by December 2013, but that has fallen into a black hole, and so has the posting of aircraft specialists. India itself is often at fault in these scenarios, and indeed they’re reportedly haggling over price – but the specialist support contract reportedly states that they’re to be posted even if price negotiations aren’t finalized. India’s core defense posture demands that they resolve these issues, one way or another. Sources: India’s Sunday Guardian, “Russians go slow, Sukhoi fleet in trouble”.

Serious maintenance & readiness issues

BrahMos brefing

Jan 4/14: Russia and India Report looks at the way the SU-30MKI is changing the IAF’s strategy, citing the huge April 2013 IAF exercise based on “swing forces” in a 2-front war against China and Pakistan. The SU-30MKIs range made them the natural swing force, flying 1,800 km bombing missions with mid-air refuelling. The report also makes an interesting observation:

“There is another ominous angle. India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has asked for 40 nuclear capable strike aircraft to be used conjointly with land-based and submarine launched ballistic missiles. Although it’s not clear whether the IAF or the SFC will operate this mini air force, what is clear is that exactly 40 Su-30 MKIs have been converted to carry the BrahMos. That’s some coincidence.”

Sources: Russia & India Report, “How the Su-30 MKI is changing the IAF’s combat strategy”.

July 11/13: Weapons. Russian BrahMos Aerospace Executive Director Alexander Maksichev promises that 1st test-launch of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from an Indian Su-30MKI will be scheduled in 2014. Integration is underway, and 2 SU-30MKIs are being adapted for the missile. Sources: Russia & India Report, “First test-launch of BrahMos missile from Indian Su-30MKI in 2014”.

May 27/13: Infrastructure. The IAF has finished modernizing the old WWI vintage airbase near Thanjavur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, across the strait from Sri Lanka. A pair of SU-30MKIs took off from the runway as part of the ceremonies, and the base is eventually slated to house a full squadron of the type. The airfield last served as a civil airport in the 1990s, and renovations began in 2006.

Thanjavur was used as an emergency airstrip during flood relief in 2008, but the dedication marks its inauguration as a base for high-performance fighters, which will reportedly include a squadron of SU-30MKIs. They will offer India comfortable strike coverage of Sri Lanka, including the major southern port of Hambantota that’s being built with a great deal of Chinese help. While the runway and other facilities are in place for “lily pad” deployments, Thanjavur AFS still needs flight hangers, avionic bays, labs, fuel dumps and other infrastructure before it will be ready to host SU-30MKI fighters on a permanent basis.
Sources: India MoD, “Antony Dedicates to Nation New Air Force Station at Thanjavur” | Defence News India, “Sukhoi-30MKI’s to dominate South India and Indian Ocean” | The Hindu, “Full-fledged IAF airbase at Thanjavur from May 27”.

2011 – 2012

SU-30MKI
(click to view full)

Dec 24/12: Super-30s contract. Russia signs over $4 billion worth of defense contracts with India, including the deal for 42 “Super 30” upgraded SU-30MKIs. Key Super 30 upgrades are reported to include a new radar (probably AESA, and likely Phazotron’s Zhuk-AE), improved onboard computers, upgraded electronic warfare systems, and the ability to fire the air-launched version of the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

Russian sources place the Super 30 deal at $1.6 billion, which is significantly below previous figures. The Hindustan Times places its value at Rs 16,666 crore instead, which is about $3.023 billion at current conversions. The Times’ figure is in line with previous estimates, and is the one DID will use. The planes will arrive at HAL as assembly kits, and will be added to HAL’s production backlog. So far, the company says that they have assembled and delivered 119 SU-30MKIs to the IAF.

Other major agreements signed at the 2012 summit include a buy of 59 more Mi-17 helicopters, and a memorandum of cooperation regarding Russia’s GPS-like GLONASS system. India has indicated that it isn’t looking to add to its Flanker fleet after this deal, but they may choose to modernize older aircraft to this standard. That would keep Russian firms busy for quite some time. Indian Ministry of External Affairs | Hindustan Times | Times of India | RIA Novosti || Pakistan’s DAWN | Turkey’s Hurriyet |
Wall St. Journal.

“Super 30” contract?

Nov 23/12: More upgrades? Indian media report that India and Russia may be set to sign a $1 billion deal to upgrade the basic avionics of its existing SU-30MKIs, alongside the $3.8 billion “Super 30” deal. The big deadline date is just before Christmas, when Russia’s Vladimir Putin arrives in India for high-level talks.

The report mentions a SU-30MKI squadron in Jodhpur, near Pakistan, but all other sources offer the same total of 8 current and near-term squadrons without listing this as a Flanker base. 32 Wing’s 32 Sqn. “Thunderbirds”, who are currently listed as a MiG-21bis unit, would be the most likely conversion candidates in Jodhpur. Russia & India Report.

Oct 17/12: Indonesia. During his visit to Jakarta, Indian Defence Minister A K Antony agrees to train and support the Indonesian Air Force’s Flanker fleet. India flies a large fleet of SU-30MKIs, and is conducting manufacturing and final assembly work in India at HAL. They’ve already leveraged that base to provide similar support to Malaysia’s fleet of SU-30MKM fighters, though there are some items like engines that still need to be handled by Russia.

Note that this isn’t a contract just yet. Indonesia needs to firm up its requirements, and a India high-level Indian Air Force team will be sent to finalize the training and spares support package. The move will have an importance that goes far beyond its dollar value, as it’s part of a wider set of enhanced defense cooperation agreements the 2 countries are reportedly pursuing. Indonesia isn’t looking to antagonize China, but China’s aggressive claims in the South China Sea are comparing poorly with India’s support for freedom of navigation, and for multilateral resolution of these disputes under international law. The result is an important Indonesian tilt toward more cooperation with India, which fits very well with India’s own strategic priorities. India MoD | Indian Express | The Jakarta Globe.

Oct 5/12: Infrastructure. Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne offers a window into planned Su-30 deployments:

Code-named Flying Lancers, the process to set up a new 15 Squadron in Punjab would be started in December and become operational by the middle of next year, he said.

“By the end of this year, in December and early next year, we will be inducting a new Su-30 squadron, based in Punjab. That will be the 10th squadron of Su-30s… Two extra squadrons are being raised in the eastern sector…. One more squadron will be based in Punjab and one will be in Thanjavur. Therefore, we will eventually have 13 to 14 squadrons of Sukhois,”

Sources: Hindustan Times, “IAF to modernise, raise four more Su-30MKI squadrons”.

Aug 8/12: Infrastructure. An Indian government response to a Parliamentary question shows that the Thanjavur base is behind schedule:

“Audit Para 2.7 (Inordinate delay in development of Air Bases) of Comptroller and Auditor General Report No. 16 of 2010-11 (Air Force and Navy) had made observations regarding delay in the establishment and activation of air bases at Phalodi and Thanjavur. The delay was due to various factors including change in plans necessitated due to operational requirements of the Indian Air Force, paucity of resources as well as changes in the geopolitical situation.”

Aug 5/12: Air chief NAK Browne confirms that the IAF has identified a “design flaw” with the SU-30 MKI’s Fly-By-Wire system. He says that the planes are still fit to fly, but more checks are being implemented within the fleet, and India has taken the issue up “with the designing agency.”

The implicit but unstated corollary is that the IAF’s fighters will have corresponding flight restrictions and/or changed procedures until the problem is fixed, in order to avoid another crash. Hindustan Times.

March 23/12: Russian order. Russia’s own VVS moves to buy 30 SU-30SM fighters, for delivery by 2015. These planes are a version of the canard-winged, thrust-vectoring SU-30MKI/M variant that was developed for India, and has since been exported to Algeria and Malaysia. Which raises the question: why didn’t Russia buy 30 more SU-35S fighters? A RIA Novosti article offers one explanation:

“Irkut has been churning out these planes for 10 years thanks to its completely streamlined production method. This means that its products are of high quality, relatively cheap… and will be supplied on time.

It is one thing if, in order to make 30 aircraft, you have to breathe life into an idling plant, to fine-tune (or develop anew) your technological method, buy additional equipment, and – still worse – hire personnel. But it’s quite another if you have been manufacturing standardized aircraft for years and years and can easily divert your workforce to produce an “improved” modification for your own country’s Air Force… This approach (buying quickly and on the cheap what can be produced immediately) has been growing in popularity in the Russian military.”

The systems inside will differ, but overall, this is very good news for India. Similar designs have been exported to Malaysia and Algeria, but Russia’s order locks in loyalty within the equipment manufacturer’s home country. Other Russian orders follow, but we won’t be covering them here.

Russia buys

Dec 20/11: Super-30s. Russia has reportedly signed a preliminary deal with India to sell 42 upgraded Su-30MKI “Super 30” fighters, to be added to HAL’s license production backlog. That brings total Indian SU-30 orders to 272. Price was not reported, but Parliamentary transcripts place the budget for this buy at around $2.4 billion.

The Super 30 deal is 1 of 5 trade & defense deals signed in Moscow during the summit meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. A proposed nuclear plant deal was not among them. Assam Tribune | Deccan Herald | AP.

Dec 20/11: Cleared for flight. India’s fleet of SU-30MKIs resumes flying, after being informally grounded in the wake of the Pune crash. As for that crash, Daily Pioneer reports that:

“There was a problem in the fly-by-wire system… This is a new thing. Pilot did not get any warning. There were no indications in the cockpit and the aircraft was out of control,” the IAF chief told PTI here. He said the pilot “tried his best to control the aircraft for 15-20 minutes” before ejecting out along with the Weapon Systems Operator (WSO)…”

Dec 16/11: Readiness. The Hindustan Times reports that perennial problems with Russian spares & reliability have become an urgent issue for the SU-30MKI fleet now:

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to red-flag [SU-30] serviceability, product support and pending upgrade… at the annual [Russian] summit meeting… Top government sources said that Air Headquarters has urgently requested the Prime Minister to raise the issue of engine serviceability with his Russian counterpart after few incidents of engine failures… the top brass has conveyed to government that “shaft bearing failures” have occurred in some [AL-31FP] engines. “In peacetime, the fighter can land on the other engine but this can be a life and death situation in adverse conditions, said a senior official.”

Dec 13-15/11: An SU-30MKI crashes 25 minutes after takeoff, in the flying area of the Lohegaon IAF base, in Pune. Both pilots ejected safely. This is the IAF’s 3rd SU-30MKI crash; the 1st crash in 2009 was due to a fly-by-wire fault, and the 2nd also happened in 2009 when foreign matter was sucked into the plane’s engine.

In response, A Court of Inquiry (CoI) has been ordered to look into the reasons behind the crash. India also grounds its SU-30MKI fleet, pending maintenance inspections and some idea of what caused this crash. Rediff | Economic Times of India | IBN Live | Indian Express | Hindustan Times

Crash & grounding

Nov 23/11: Industrial. Minister of State for Defence Shri MM PallamRaju is grilled about SU-30 deliveries by Parliamentarians in Rajya Sabha, and explains both the project history, and HAL’s manufacturing responses. So far, he says that “Out of the total 180 aircraft”, India has received 99 SU-30MKIs “till 2010-11”.

That delivery total and date is very ambiguous. It implies orders with HAL for 180 planes, which would entail a 2nd contract for another 40-42 fighters (vid. Aug 9/10 entry). Earlier reports re: HAL deliveries (vid. June 26/10 entry) pegged them at 74 planes from HAL, and the Russian deliveries are expected to wrap up in 2012; 99 total planes from both sources would fit that model, if the answer is read as “99 by the beginning of the 2010-11 fiscal period.” With expected 2010 production of 28 HAL SU-30MKIs, however, a read of “99 of 180 SU-30MKIs delivered as of November 2011” only makes sense if all the planes he’s referring to are from HAL. HAL’s responses to production delays are said to include:

  • Commissioning of additional tooling jigs & fixtures in manufacturing and assembly Shops.
  • Increased Outsourcing.
  • Development of alternate vendors.
  • Improvements in manufacturing processes & Operations in order to reduce cycle time.
  • Effective monitoring and timely actions through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
  • Recruitment/Redeployment of manpower in critical work Centers.

Oct 11/11: AESA. India is reportedly looking at fitting its Su-30MKIs with Phazotron’s Zhuk-AE active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, instead of their present Tikhomrov N011M Bars passive mechanically scanned array radars. The switch would improve reliability, radar power, and performance, but the new radars would have to be tied into the combat system, tested for aerodynamic balance and other changes they might create, etc.

The X-band Zhuk-AE can reportedly track 30 aerial targets in the track-while-scan mode, and engage 6 targets simultaneously in attack mode. Aviation Week.

Aug 29/11: Super 30. Russia and India have reached agreement on the technical specification of the Super 30 upgrade, including BrahMos missile integration and an AESA radar. The exact nature of that radar is still in question. Reports to date have discussed an enlarged version of the MiG-35’s Phazotron Zhuk-AE, but Tikhomirov’s NIIP could also be chosen, and the firm demonstrated an improved version at the Moscow Air Show (MAKS 2011). AIN.

2009 – 2010

SU-30MKIs
(click to view full)

Aug 18/10: Defence Minister Antony replies to Parliamentary questions about the “Super 30” upgrade:

“There is proposal to upgrade the SU-30 MKI aircraft of the Indian Air Force by M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with the support of the Russian Original Equipment Manufacturer. The current estimated cost is Rs. 10920 crores and the aircraft are likely to be upgraded in a phased manner from year 2012 onwards.”

Note the word “proposal.” At this point, the estimate in rupees is equivalent to about $2.41 billion.

Aug 9/10: Super 30. Defense minister Antony offers an update re: additional SU-30MKI purchases, in a written Parliamentary reply to Shri Asaduddin Owaisi:

“The Defence Acquisition Council has accepted a proposal for the procurement of 42 Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft from M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, India. The proposal is being further progressed for submitting to the Cabinet Committee on Security. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 20,107.40 crores [DID: about $4.36 billion, or about $104 million per plane] and the aircraft is planned to be delivered during 2014-2018. The proposal is being progressed as a repeat order from M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, India under the Defence Procurement Procedure-2008.”

That’s even higher than the estimates in June 2010, when the story broke (vid. June 26/10 entry). The cost of this deal soon attracts controversy, especially given that a 2007 deal for 40 SU-30MKIs cost only $1.6 billion/ Rs 7,490 crore. That prompts speculation that these will be upgraded “Super 30” aircraft. DNA India.

July 4/10: Upgrades. India’s Economic times quotes unnamed sources within India’s MoD:

“As part of IAF’s modernisation programme, we are going to upgrade 50 Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft with help of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from Russia… The ones to be upgraded are from the first phase [from Russia, before the HAL order, of mixed SU-30MKs and MKIs] and the project is likely to be completed in the next three to four years…”

Details are consistent with earlier “Super 30” reports. Is there, in fact, a contract to do this work? Not yet.

June 26/10: Super 30. The Times of India reports that India’s Cabinet Committee for Security has cleared a nearly Rs 15,000 crore (about $3.3 billion) order for another 42 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters, for delivery by around 2018:

“The present order for 42 fighters was originally supposed to be 40, but two more were added to the order book to make up for the two crashed fighters. A senior official said that HAL is expected to complete all the SU-30 MKI orders by 2016-17 period… last year it delivered 23 of these fighters, this year it is expected to produce 28. HAL has already supplied 74 of these fighters.”

May 30/10: Super 30. India Today magazine reports that India has placed orders with the Russian defense industry to modernize 40 Su-30MKI Flanker-H fighters to “Super 30” status, with new radars, onboard computers, and electronic warfare systems, and the ability to fire the air-launched version of the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. RIA Novosti.

Dec 7/09: Industrial. Defense minister Antony offers an update on the existing program to assemble SU-30MKIs in India:

“In addition to licensed manufacture of 140 SU-30 aircraft by M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a contact for procurement of additional 40 SU-30 MKI was signed with M/s HAL in 2007. Out of these three aircraft have been delivered to the Indian Air Force and delivery of the remaining aircraft is expected to be completed by 2011-12”

Nov 30/09: A SU-30MKI crashes near the firing range at Pokharan, triggering a fleet-wide grounding and investigation. Both pilots eject safely, and initial suspicion focuses on the plane’s engine. MoD announcement | Indian Express re: Grounding | Indian Express.

An SU-30 had also crashed on April 30/09, reportedly due to the failure of its fly-by-wire system. These 2 accidents are the only SU-30 losses India has experienced.

Crash & grounding

Nov 12/09: Sub-contractors. India’s Business Standard reports that the SU-30MKI program is about to include Samtel Display Systems’ multi-function displays; their first delivery will equip 6 Su-30MKIs in lieu of Thales systems manufactured under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in Nashik. Samtel has a joint venture with Thales, and went forward on its own through the 5-year road to “airworthy” certification from DRDO’s CEMILAC. A public-private partnership with HAL has created Samtel HAL Display Systems (SHDS), which may create wider opportunities for Samtel’s lower-priced displays – if both delivery and quality are up to par on the initial SU-30MKI orders.

The article notes that Samtel has succeeded, in part, by embracing obsolete technology that others were abandoning (CRT displays), even as it prepares to leapfrog LCD displays with Organic Light Emitting Diodes. The road to military certification isn’t an easy one, though:

“Starting with liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, commercially procured from Japan and Korea, Samtel has ruggedised them for use in military avionics. The display must be easily readable even in bright sunlight; it must be dim enough for the pilot to read at night without losing night vision; it must work at minus 40 degrees Centigrade when conventional LCD screens get frozen solid; and it must absorb the repeated violent impacts of landing on aircraft carriers.”

Oct 9/09: Super 30. 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:

“The modernisation of the SU 30 MKI aircraft is also expected to come up for discussion in the Commission’s meeting. The aircraft, contracted in 1996, are due for overhaul shortly and the Russia side have offered an upgrade of the aircraft with incorporation of the latest technologies during the major overhaul.”

Obvious areas for modernization would include the aircraft’s N011M Bars radar, now that Russian AESA designs are beginning to appear. Engine improvements underway for Russia’s SU-35 program would also be a logical candidate for any SU-30MKI upgrades. The most important modification, however, might be an upgraded datalink that could reduce the level of coalition fratricide observed in exercises like Red Flag 2008. Indian MoD | RIA Novosti.

Oct 2/09: +50 more? Jane’s reports that India is looking to buy another 50 SU-30MKIs, quoting Air Chief Marshal P V Naik who said that the IAF was “interested.” This comes hard on the heels of comments that the IAF’s fleet strength was 1/3 the size of China’s, coupled with comments that the IAF would eliminate its fighter squadron deficit by 2022.

Interest is not a purchase, but reported prices of $50-60 million for an aircraft that can can equal or best $110-120 million F-15 variants do make the SU-30 an attractive buy, even relative to options like the foreign designs competing for the MMRCA contract. Forecast International offers an additional possibility, citing the context within which that interest was expressed, and wondering if the new SU-30KIs might be tasked with a nuclear delivery role. Their range and payload would certainly make them uniquely suited to such a role within the IAF.

If a purchase does ensue, it would be good news for a number of players, including Indian firms that have contributed technologies to the SU-30MKI design. Samtel Display Systems (SDS), who makes avionics for the SU-30MKI’s cockpit, would be one example of a growing slate of private Indian defense firms with niche capabilities. Construction firms may also benefit; The Deccan Herald reports that:

“The IAF is keeping one squadron of its most advanced Su-30 MKI fighters in Bareilly whose primary responsibility is the western and middle sector of the LAC. Similarly a Su-30 base is being created in Tezpur, Assam, for the eastern sector [near China].”

See: Jane’s | Russia’s RIA Novosti | Times of India | Associated Press of Pakistan | Pakistan’s Daily Times | Avio News | Forecast International | IAF size comments: Daily Pioneer and Sify News | Frontline Magazine on Indian-Chinese relations.

2000 – 2008

IL-78 refuels SU-30MKIs

March 31/06: Speed-up +40. India’s Cabinet Committee on Security approves the speeded-up delivery plan. The IAF signs revised contracts for 140 previously-ordered SU-30MKIs, to be delivered by 2014-15. A 2007 contract adds another 40 SU-30MKIs, by the same deadline, but those are ordered direct from Russia. Source.

180 SU-30MKIs

June 2005: Speed it up. IAF Headquarters looks at its fleet strength and planned aircraft retirements, and asks HAL if it could deliver all of the SU-30MKIs by 2015 instead. HAL responds with a proposal that they believe will get them to a full-rate assembly flow of 16 planes per year. Source.

Dec 12/04: Irkut Corp. announces that they have begun delivery of final “3rd phase” configuration Su-30MKIs to the Indian Air Force.

Initial deliveries involved aircraft optimized for aerial combat, while Phase 2 added more radar modes for their NIIP N-011 radars, TV-guided Kh-59M missiles, the supersonic Kh-31A/ AS-17 Krypton multi-role missile, and simultaneous attack of 4 aerial targets by guided air-to-air missiles. Phase 3 Su-30MKIs fully implement all navigation and combat modes in the contract, including laser-guided bombs, weapon launch in thrust-vectoring “supermaneuverability” mode, and engagement of up to 4 aerial targets in front or rear. Ramenskoye Design Bureau (RPKB) is responsible for the avionics and software, and also provide the Sapfir maintenance and mission planning ground suite.

SU-30MKI Phase 3 deliveries begin

Oct 6/04: The SU-30MKI’s Saturn AL-31FP engines have their “Certificate of the AL-31FP life-time” signed by the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defence, the Central Aviation Engines Institute (CIAM), NPO Saturn, UMPO, SUKHOI Corporation, and IRKUT Corporation.

The statistics are: MTBO (Mean Time Between Overhauls) 1,000 hours, and 2,000 hours assigned life. The thrust-vectoring nozzles take a beating, though, with only 500 hours MTBO. Irkut Corp.

Engines certified

January 2001: Indian government formally approves the SU-30MKI project, with an expected full-rate assembly flow of 12 planes per year, beginning in 2004-05 and continuing until 2017-18. Source.

Dec 18/2000: India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approves the project to assemble the SU-30MKIs in India. Source.

Oct 4/2000: Russia and India sign an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for transfer of License and Technical Documentation to India, for “production of 140 SU-30 MKI Aircraft, its Engines and Aggregates.” Source.

SU-30MKIs: initial local assembly order

Additional Readings

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

The SU-30 MKI

Related IAF Programs

  • DID – India’s M-MRCA Fighter Competition. Intends to buy 126 aircraft that will be very competitive with SU-30MKI performance, but will cost much more – $18 billion has been mentioned. Dassault’s Rafale is the preferred bidder. Essentially pays more up front to have a SU-30MKI analogue with better electronics, and much better support and readiness.

  • DID – PAK-FA/FGFA/T50: India, Russia Cooperate on 5th-Gen Fighter. Will probably become the SU-50. Early read is F-35 class stealth and F-22 class aerial performance, probably slightly less than its cited peers in both areas. SU-30MKI troubles may be affecting India’s willingness to spend the billions of development and acquisition dollars required.

News & Views

Categories: News

Sikorsky Gets $93.8M for Work on H-60 Variants | Gen Atom Contracted by UK Gov for New UAVs | India Policy Change to Allow Private Co to Supply Ammo

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 23:58
Americas

  • Sikorsky has been tapped to provide technical and logistics services for variants of the H-60 helicopter operated by the US Army. Valued at $93.8 million, work carried out by the company includes the provision of engineering services in addition to other weapon system supplies. Helicopters included in the deal include the UH-60 Black Hawk.

  • John Richardson, the US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations Admiral, has spoken of American shipyards capabilities to boost warship production, as hopes of more orders soar under a Trump presidency. Promises to expand the target vessels from 308 to 350 would be incredibly easy if funding is made available to fit the bill, said Richardson, speaking in an interview at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California. Navy officials were still calculating how much it would cost to expand the Navy to 350 ships from around 290 now, but it would depend on the mix of ships and related costs.

  • As part of efforts to upgrade USMC radar capabilities, Saab has received an $18.6 million contract to provide supporting AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar components. The contract was awarded by lead contractor Northrop Grumman, work will include major subsystem delivery and assembly in addition to software for the next 9 low-rate initial production units. Saab delivered the first six systems for the program in previous contracts. Its next deliveries are expected to begin in 2018.

Africa

  • The first batch of four Super Mushshak trainers have been delivered to Nigeria. Delivery comes six weeks after the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) signed a deal with the Nigerian Air Force to supply 10 new Super Mushshaks, eight of which will be loaned on an interim basis until the new trainers are exported. The next four will arrive by the second quarter of 2017, while the new models will be delivered later that summer.

  • Kenya has taken ownership of six of an eventual eight Bell Huey II helicopters, following delivery by the US government. Washington had contracted Bell $52.1 million back in September for a five helicopter foreign military sale to Kenya, however this has now been extended. The final two will arrive in May 2017 and will go toward helping Kenyan forces tackle militants associated with the Somali jihadist group, al-Shabaab.

Europe

  • Contracts have been signed between General Atomics and the UK government to develop new UAVs. The company will equip existing drone technology into new remotely piloted aircraft for the RAF, in a deal worth $127 million. 20 Protector UAVs will be developed under the program and will replace the current fleet of 10 MQ-9 Reapers.

  • The Netherlands will participate alongside Norway in the development of the F-35’s brake chute. Dutch participation in the work comes as it agreed to pay $11.4 million to Oslo as part of a cost-share and will allow the Norwegian government to redirect those funds to other areas of its F-35 program. The incorporation of drag chutes on Norwegian and Dutch F-35s will help the aircraft land on icy runways.

Asia Pacific

  • Private companies in India will be allowed to produce and supply ammunition as part of a rule change by New Delhi to fill demand and improve quality control. Until now, the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) was permitted to produce ammunition, with private firms limited to providing fuses and shells. The rule change has been followed by a request for information (RFI) for a $400 million program to supply a wide variety of ammunition in the next five to eight years, and has attracted the interest of several large and small-medium local firms participating. Foreign companies may also be able to get in on the game with the potential for joint ventures with Indian companies, offering established designs from abroad, licensing and manufacturing ammunition in India.

Today’s Video

S-300 misfire:

Categories: News

Sikorsky’s $8.5-11.7B “Multi-Year 8” H-60 Helicopter Contract

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 23:50
US Army HH-60Ms
(click to view full)

In July 2012, the US military signed another huge contract with Sikorsky. With production of the Army’s HH/UH-60M, and the Navy’s MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters, all in full swing, there’s no question about the need for future orders. In that environment, multi-year contracts allow efficiencies in purchasing, and security of staffing, throughout Sikorsky’s supply chain. These new helicopter types are also available to Foreign Military Sales class customers, under the American contract’s advantageous pricing and terms. The UH-60M, MH-60S and MH-60R models have already inked export deals, and official requests indicate that more deals are in the pipeline.

The new multi-year 2013-2017 contract could be worth up to $11.7 billion, and follows a 5-year, multi-service “MYP-VII” contract in December 2007. Like its predecessor, it covers UH-60M Black Hawk troop transport and light cargo helicopters, Army HH-60M SAR (Search And Rescue) / MEDEVAC (MEDical EVACuation) helicopters, and the US Navy’s MH-60S and MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.

MYP-VIII: Contract in Context USN Heli Plan
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The US Army plans to order 956 UH-60M and 419 MEDEVAC HH-60M Black Hawks through 2026, a total of 1,375 H-60M models. By then, the US Army’s total H-60 Black Hawk fleet, including upgraded UH-60As and UH-60Ls, is expected to reach more than 2,100 helicopters. US Navy production will end much sooner, and beyond about 2018 the only Seahawks built will be for export.

MYP-VIII’s base award covers 653 helicopters from FY 2013 – 2017: 234 UH-60M and 120 HH-60M Black Hawks, 193 MH-60R/S Seahawks, plus 106 helicopters for Foreign Military Sales. Like its predecessor, The 5-year agreement also allows the Army and Navy to order as many as 263 more helicopters within the same contractual terms, either for the USA or for export sales. If exercised, the optional purchases could push the contract value from $8.5 billion to a maximum of $11.7 billion.

Note that this MYP-VIII contract is a price framework agreement, rather than a firm schedule. Orders are planned 5 years in advance at the Pentagon, but annual budgets can and do increase or decrease those numbers. Actual production orders will be determined year-by-year over the life of the program, based on American budgets and foreign orders. Under the terms of the contract, Sikorsky will provide helicopters, technical publications, and changes/upgrades within set terms, while its field service representatives provide technical guidance and on-site training.

The need for replacement is certainly clear. According to FY 2011 budget documents, the USA’s oldest UH-60As are now over 30 years old, and the average age of the UH-60A fleet is 23 years. New UH-60Ms have an 18 month lead time from order to delivery, while the more advanced HH-60M for SAR/ MEDEVAC duties has a 24 month lead time.

In the Navy, the helicopters being replaced by the MH-60S armed utility & mine-warfare helicopter, and by the MH-60R strike and anti-submarine helicopter, date from the Reagan years – or earlier. The MH-60S/Rs are replacing the US Navy’s remaining SH-60B/F Seahawks, HH-60 CSAR(Combat Search and Rescue), CH-46D Sea Knights, and HH-1N Huey SAR helicopters.

The minimum production rate to sustain the H-60 line is 18 helicopters per year, while the maximum is listed in FY 2011 US Army budget documents as 150 per year. American orders are large but don’t push that limit, leaving plenty of room for export production.

Contracts & Key Events UH-60M
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Unless otherwise specified, all order are placed by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL to Sikorsky in Stratford, CT.

Note that a contract for helicopters is not the same thing as a contract for flying, ready-to use helicopters. Many contracts omit key “Government Furnished Equipment” items like engines, sensors, etc., which make the cost of a ready-to-use helicopter higher than the base contract. Sikorsky does sometimes buy items that are usually GFE when filling some Foreign Military Sales contracts. There are still some questions about FMS inclusions within MYP-VIII, and some buys whose structure is unclear. Australia’s Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the MH-60R, for instance, was signed in June 2011, and some contracts have begun. DID will attempt to resolve those questions and details going forward.

Finally, the naval MH-60R strike and MH-60S Seahawk utility/ specialty helicopters have a large array of unique features, and a central place within the USN. We will cover purchases under MYP-8 here, but full details regarding the helicopters, their foreign sakes opportunities, and all of their related contracts can be found in “MH-60R/S: The USA’s New Naval Workhorse Helicopters.”

FY 2015 – 2017

Orders: US Army, US Navy.

December 6/16: Sikorsky has been tapped to provide technical and logistics services for variants of the H-60 helicopter operated by the US Army. Valued at $93.8 million, work carried out by the company includes the provision of engineering services in addition to other weapon system supplies. Helicopters included in the deal include the UH-60 Black Hawk.

March 18/15: Mexico. The DSCA notified Congress of the potential sale of three Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks to Mexico, in a deal potentially worth $110 million. That there are only three Black Hawks in the deal is surprising, as the application appears to have gone in with five requested.

March 18/15: Slovakia. Slovakia is also poised to receive nine of the same model.

March 18/15: Tunisia. Sikorsky saw a $93.3 million contract modification today for eight “Green” UH-60M helicopters for the Tunisian government.

Dec 15/14: Mexico. $56.4 million modification (P00217) to contract W58RGZ-12-C-0008 to exercise an option for 5 UH-60M aircraft for Mexican Navy’s foreign military sales case MX-B-UEU. Estimated completion date is May 30, 2016. Work will be performed in Stratford, Connecticut. Fiscal 2010 funds in the amount of $2,221,115 were obligated at the time of the award.

HH-60M
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Nov 17/14: FY 2015 USA. The US military buys 102 helicopters for the Army and Navy for $1.302 billion, as its FY 2015 purchases.

A $772 million contract modification buys 41 UH-60M helicopters and 24 HH-60M helicopters, plus associated support functions. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2015 Army aircraft budgets. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and is expected to complete in June 30/15 (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0201).

At the same time, a $535.3 million contract modification funds 29 MH-60R and 8 MH-60S helicopters for the Navy, plus associated sustaining engineering, program management, systems engineering, provisioning, technical publications, other integrated logistics support. There’s also advance procurement funding for program years 4 and 5. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2015 Navy aircraft budgets. Work will be performed at Stratford, CT (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0202).

FY 2015 USA: 41 UH-60M, 24 HH-60M, 29 MH-60R, 8 MH-60S

FY 2014

Orders: US Army, Mexico, Saudi Arabia; Requests: Austria, Brazil, Mexico, Tunisia; Unmanned UH-60MU tested; US Navy wants to cancel MH-60R buy without destroying MYP-8 – can they? UH-60M, Ft. Bragg

Sept 29/14: Mexico. An unfinalized $93.2 million not-to-exceed, undefinitized contract for 8 “uniquely configured” UH-60Ms and other support equipment and services for Mexico’s secretary of national defense. Mexico has now ordered 35 UH-60Ms, with confirmed customers in the Federal Police, Navy, & Air Force. This order didn’t mention the purchasing service, nor did the recent DSCA request (q.v. June 24/14).

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of June 7, 2015; this contract falls under the Foreign Military Sales program. One bid was solicited and one received. Fiscal 2010 other procurement funds are being obligated at the time of the award. With all modifications, the cumulative total of this contract is $7,035,259,311. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal (Aviation), Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0171).

Mexico: 8 UH-60Ms

Sept 15/14: Mexico. Sikorsky receives a $203.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 18 “green” UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, plus their conversion to the Mexican Air Force’s designated configuration using contractor-furnished and government-furnished (and paid for) equipment. In other words, this is the entire FAM order mentioned in the April 21/14 DSCA request.

Estimated completion date is May 30/16 (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 00179).

Mexico FAM: 18 UH-60Ms

Sept 9/14: Brazil. The US DSCA formally announces Brazil’s export request for 3 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, equipped for search and rescue. Brazil already has the Army 4th squadron and Air Force 7/8 “Harpia” air group at Manaus, whose H-60L and S-70 Black Hawks/ Pave Hawks perform a SAR/ counter-narcotics role, and are well-equipped for disaster response. These would be Brazil’s first UH-60Ms.

The full request involves 3 UH-60Ms, 8 T-700-GE-701C engines (6 installed and 2 spares), 12 M-134D 7.62mm gatling guns, 8 H765GU Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems, spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, and other US government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $145 million.

The principal contractors will be United Technologies’ Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT; GE Engines in Lynn, MA; and Dillon Aero Systems in Mesa, AZ. Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of 1 contractor representative to Brazil for up to 3 years to support fielding, maintenance, and personnel training of this new helicopter type for Brazil. Sources: DSCA #14-36, “Brazil – UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters”.

DSCA request: Brazil (3)

June 24/14: Mexico. The US DSCA formally announces Mexico’s export request for 5 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters in standard US government configuration with designated unique equipment and Government Furnished Equipment (GFE), 13 T700-GE-701D Engines (10 installed and 3 spares), 12 Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation Systems (10 installed and 2 spares), 10 M134 7.62mm gatling guns, 5 Star SAFIRE III day/night surveillance turrets, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, AN/ARC-210 RT-8100 series radios, 1 Aviation Mission Planning System, and 1 Aviation Ground Power Unit. Also included are aircraft warranty, air worthiness support, facility construction, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, tool and test equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor technical and logistics support. The estimated cost is up to $225 million.

Mexico has previously ordered 9 UH-60Ms, with 6 going to Mexico’s federal police, and 3 to the Armada for use in land-based operations. These 5 would bring the Mexican Navy’s fleet to 8:

“Mexico intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its existing naval/maritime support in its efforts to combat drug trafficking organizations.”

The principal contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Company in Stratford, CT; and General Electric Aircraft Company (GEAC) in Lynn, MA. Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of 3 more US Government and 5 more contractor representatives in country, as full-time delivery and training support for approximately 2 years. Sources: DSCA #14-25, “Mexico – UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters”.

DSCA request: Mexico (5)

Aug 19/14: UH-60M. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $30.3 million contract modification for 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, on behalf of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. All funds are committed immediately. This appears to be an initial award, with a follow-on to come that will finalize the buy, modify the helicopters for Saudi use (q.v. March 25/13, Dec 20/13), and bring total announced SANG UH-60M sales to 24 of 72 requested (US DSCA, Oct 20/10) machines.

The estimated completion date is Aug 31/17. Work will be performed in Jupiter, FL and Stratford, CT. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the order on behalf of its Saudi client (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0072).

July 24/14: Tunisia. The US DSCA announces Tunisia’s official request for 12 UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters, complete with Battlehawk kits that allow them to be used as attack helicopters. these helicopters will include surveillance turrets with laser designators, laser-guided 70mm rocket capability, Hellfire missiles, various defensive and communications systems, and associated support that may include an infrastructure build-out. The estimated cost is up to $700 million, or about $58.3 million per helicopter with weapons and support. Sources: DID, “Armed & Versatile: Sikorsky’s ‘Battlehawk’ Helicopters” for full coverage | US DSCA #14-23, “Tunisia – UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters”.

DSCA request: Tunisia (12 + Battlehawk kits)

May 20/14: +13. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a $143.4 million contract modification for 13 Army UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 “other procurement” budgets. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/15 (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0146).

13 UH-60M

May 29/14: A $24 million contract modification to “realign the funding between the fiscal 2014 advance procurement funds and the planned aircraft production funds for fiscal 2015, with no change to the UH-60 or HH-60 contract price.” All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Stratford, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/15. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0163).

April 22/14: MYP-8. Lockheed Martin ups the pressure on the US Navy, by reminding everyone that they also have a multi-year contract that involves termination fees. CFO Bruce Tanner says that work had already begun on cockpits, radars, and other equipment for the MH-60Rs. He recommends buying them and selling them to allies:

“That would probably be a better deal for the taxpayer than paying close to 100 percent and not getting anything for it…. The cost to terminate partially built helicopters is pretty significant relative to the cost to actually finish those helicopters.”

Sources: Reuters, “Lockheed says costly for Pentagon if it cancels MH-60 helicopters”.

Apr 21/14: Mexico. The US DSCA announces Mexico’s formal request for up to 18 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters and associated equipment, at an estimated cost of up to $680 million. The order could also include up to:

  • 40 T700-GE-701D Engines (36 installed and 4 spares)
  • 42 Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation Systems (36 installed and 6 spares)
  • 36 M134 7.62mm gatling guns
  • 5 Aviation Mission Planning Systems
  • 18 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles
  • 1 Aviation Ground Power Unit
  • Communication security equipment including AN/ARC-210 RT-8100 series radios and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems
  • Plus aircraft warranty, air worthiness support, facility construction, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, tool and test equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor support.

The principal contractors will be Sikorsky in Stratford, CT; and GE in Lynn, MA. If congress doesn’t block the sale, and Mexico negotiated a contract, implementation may require the assignment of an additional 3 US Government and 5 contractor representatives, who would be in country full-time for 2 years to support delivery and training. Sources: DSCA #14-10, “Mexico – UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters”.

DSCA: Mexico request (18)

April 15/14: MYP-8. The Pentagon is trying to find ways not to break their MYP-8 multi-year contract with Sikorsky, given the likely effects on the Army’s Black Hawk fleet. Defense News goes a step further, and reports that Sikorsky officials are saying that any cancellation of the Navy buy would cancel the entire contract, destroying multi-year procurement for the US Army. Sources: Defense News, “DoD Looking for Ways Not To Break MH-60R Helicopter Deal”.

Apr 11/14: Unmanned UH-60M. Sikorsky successfully demonstrates autonomous hover and flight operations, using a UH-60MU from the US Army Utility Helicopters Project Office (UH PO). The project is called MURAL (Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter), and uses technology from Sikorsky’s July 2013 Matrix research program and an advanced Ground Control Station (GCS).

Sikorsky began this work in 2007, but they only signed MURAL’s CRADA (Cooperative Research & Development Agreement) with the US Army Aviation Development Directorate (ADD) in 2013. Sikorsky has also been flying its own SARA (Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft) helicopter since July 26/13. The long-term goal is to avoid conceding the unmanned helicopter resupply market to Lockheed Martin’s K-MAX, the MQ-8C Fire Scout, etc. Making their core H-60 helicopters “optionally manned” is a strong competitive position, if they can pull it off. Sources: Sikorsky, “Optionally Piloted Black Hawk Demonstrator Helicopter Takes Successful First Flight”.

April 9/14: MYP-8. Sikorsky director of maritime programs Tim Healy points out that the US Navy’s proposed cancellation of 29 helicopters within the current multi-year deal has consequences. One involves the likelihood of higher prices for US Army Blackhawks, which are still being purchased. The other is more basic:

“This is not a legal issue. This is a confidence issue…. If multiyear contracts are negotiated and then not followed through … industry is back to making year-to-year calculations and investments because you never know when the next year’s contract is going to be canceled.”

That would be the rational approach, but industry enters into these contracts in order to reduce the odds of program cutbacks and cancellation in an irrational political environment. In other words, the contracts are primarily political acts. Our take: cancellation will dent industry’s credence in these contracts, but won’t make much difference. Companies will still rush to sign them, until and unless they see a behavior pattern that destroys their belief in this strategy. Sources: Reuters, “U.S. Navy move to ‘break’ multiyear deal worries industry-Sikorsky”.

March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The USAF and USN unveil their preliminary budget request briefings, but it takes another week to release detailed documents. FY 2015 orders are unaffected: 8 MH-60S will end production for the US Navy, and 29 MH-60R helicopters will be bought as planned. On the other hand, the planned FY 2016 close-out order for 29 MH-60R helicopters is gone.

The cut is linked to the planned removal of 1 carrier air wing (to 10) and cap in the number of LCS ships at 32. The problem is twofold. One, the air wing would have to be put back if the Navy does decide to fund USS George Washington’s mid-life RCOH in FY 2016. Two, the 20 subsequent LCS buys are supposed to be replaced by ships with frigate-like capabilities, and those ships will need ASW helicopters. Navy officials said that advance procurement funds for FY 2016 were still present in the FY 2015 budget, and the Navy could reverse course. They’re under a multi-year procurement deal, so unless there’s a resale of some kind that’s allowed within the terms, you’d have to think that the penalty fees for cancellations would be high. Sources: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | Defense News, “US Navy Budget Plan: Major Questions Abound”.

Jan 9/14: FY 2014 USN. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $549.9 million contract modification, funding the base airframes and some integration for 18 MH-60S and 19 MH-60R helicopters, plus advance procurement for years 4 & 5 of the multi-year deal; and associated sustaining engineering, program management, systems engineering, and other support.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and will be complete by Dec 31/15 (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0126).

USN 2014: 18 MH-60S, 19 MH-60R

Dec 23/13: FY 2014 Army. A $724 million contract modification buys the initial set for program year 3: 33 UH-60M helicopters, 24 HH-60M helicopters, plus the associated associated program management, systems engineering, provisioning, technical publications, and integrated logistics support. Funding to buy long-lead material for the next year is also normal, but this modification includes long-lead funding for years 4 & 5 as termination liability. All funds are committed immediately, using US Army FY 2014 other procurement budgets.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and the contract runs until June 30/15 (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0127).

33 UH-60M + 24 HH-60M

Dec 20/13: Saudi Arabia. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $105.3 million contract modification to contract “to modify 8 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters to a General Service Configuration in Support of the Saudi Arabian National Guard.” The contract number indicates that these machines are purchases under the MYP-8 multi-year deal. Essentially, they’re buying 8 UH-60Ms as an initial order under the Oct 20/10 DSCA request to export up to 72 machines.

One bid was solicited with one received. Work will be performed in West Palm Beach, FL and in Saudi Arabia. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as the Saudis’ agent (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0089).

Saudi Arabia: 8 UH-60Ms

Dec 5/13: Austria. The US DSCA announces Austria’s formal export request for 3 UH-60Ms and associated equipment, worth up to $137 million. The principal contractor will be Sikorsky in Stratford, CT, with engines from General Electric in Lynn, MA. Austria already has 9 earlier model S-70A-42 aircraft in its inventory. The full request includes:

  • 3 standard UH-60Ms with designated unique equipment and Government Furnished Equipment (GFE)
  • 7 T700-GE-701D Engines (6 installed and 1 spare)
  • 8 Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation
  • 8 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles
  • Communications gear including AN/VRC-92 SINCGARS, AN/ARC-201D, AN/ARC-210, AN/ARC-220, and AN/ARC-231 radios.
  • 3 Aviation Survivability Equipment (ASE)
  • 3 Aviation Mission Planning Systems
  • 1 Transportable Black Hawk Operations Simulator (TBOS)
  • 1 Aviation Ground Power Unit
  • Plus Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, aircraft warranty, airworthiness support, tool and test equipment, spare and repair parts, site surveys, facility construction, support equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other US Government and contractor support.

Austria won’t need any additional foreign support personnel in country. Sources: DSCA 13-69.

DSCA: Austria request (3)

FY 2013

MYP-8 signed; USAF and US Army exercise options. MH-60S
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Sept 27/13: Support. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a 3-year, $84 million cost-plus-fixed-fee indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for support services. They’ll provide incidental H-60 Black Hawk materials for foreign military sales and other government agency customers. Note that the award isn’t restricted to H-60M helicopters.

Funding and performance locations will be determined with each order. The contract was solicited via the Web, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command – Redstone Arsenal (Aviation), Redstone Arsenal, AL, is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-13-D-0177).

Sept 27/13: MH-60M DVE. The Technical Applications Contracting Office in Fort Eustis, VA issues 3 contracts to develop and field “the degraded visual environments (DVE) system.” DVE will “integrate information from [MH-47E/G and MH-60K/L/M helicopter] sensors,” in order to help aircrews perm their missions through rain, fog, sand brownouts, etc. Dust-driven brownouts are an especially prevalent killer in many operating theaters, and the advanced sensors already on board US SOCOM’s helicopters offer an interesting option for cutting through the clutter. See also: US Army, “Army acquiring ‘brown-out’ assistance for helos” for additional context regarding this area in general. This area is being pursued by a number of US military programs, and by a number of private companies.

The 60-month SOCOM DVE contracts were awarded from 5 offers received in response to the FBO.gov solicitation, and they will run until Aug 31/17. Winners include:

Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, IA wins a maximum $22.4 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost reimbursement contract, with $1.3 million in FY 2013 research, development, test and evaluation funds committed immediately for task order 0001 (H92241-13-D-0008).

Sierra Nevada Corp. in Sparks, NV receives a maximum $22.6 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee DVE contract, with $624,013 in FY 2013 research, development, test and evaluation funds committed immediately for task order 0001 (H92241-13-D-0010).

Boeing in Philadelphia, PA wins a maximum $23 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee DVE contract, with $2.1 million in FY 2013 research, development, test and evaluation funds committed immediately for task order 0001 (H92241-13-D-0011).

Aug 21/13: No CVLSP. The US Air Force cut their planned UH-1 Huey replacement program from the FY 2013 budget. Now they’re planning to refurbish their existing UH-1N fleet for another 10 years of service in securing nuclear launch sites, and ferrying people around Washington. The Hueys will add night vision compatible cockpit lighting, crash worthy seats, a helicopter terrain awareness warning system, and traffic collision avoidance. The USAF will also pick up about 26 used UH-1Ns from the US Marines, and have begun with 3 helicopters already.

Even the 10 year horizon isn’t fixed, and the service could choose to keep the helicopters running longer. Bottom line: replacement with H-60s is a long way away, unless a Huey crashes with a prominent member of an appropriations committee on board. Defense News, “USAF Planning Decade-Long Huey Extension”.

June 13/13: Army FY13. Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT receives a $244.9 million firm-fixed-price modification to by an unspecified number of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, using FY 2013 procurement funds.

It would appear that the $804.4 million Nov 16/12 buy didn’t fully fund FY 2013’s plan for 71 helicopters, which makes sense given Pentagon cost estimates of around $18 million per machine. $1,049.3 million / 71 = $14.8 million per, which is closer to the mark given the price of added engines, avionics, etc. (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0077).

May 8/13: Thailand. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT an $11.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, to buy 1 UH-60M base helicopter and related equipment for Thailand. The cumulative total face value of this multi-year contract is now $4.819 billion. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract on behalf of their FMS client (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0055).

Thailand: 1 UH-60M

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

The UH-60M/ HH-60M budget line is interesting, because it plans for 64 more buys than the base multi-year deal. Instead of 318 helicopters over FY 2012 – 2016, the total becomes 382. The framework is obviously able to handle those planned options, and MYP-8 overall has a top limit of 916 helicopters for the US Army, US Navy and foreign customers.

March 25/13: Saudi. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $49 million firm-fixed-price contract. This modification will provide engineering and configuration services to 4 utility helicopters for Saudi Arabia. The contract number indicates a MYP-8 purchase, and the amount indicates that there’s a base helicopter order still to come. There are ways that could be done outside the purview of standard contract announcements.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/16. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

Saudi Arabia: 4 UH-60Ms?

Dec 11/12: +37 Navy. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a $563.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, which funds the Navy’s 2nd Program Year of the MYP-8 multi-year program. Sikorsky tells us that Year 2 buys 18 MH-60S Production Lot 15 helicopters for delivery in 2013-2014, and 19 MH-60R Production Lot 11 Helicopters for delivery in 2014. The contract also covers sustaining engineering, and the usual set of advance materials for the next production lots.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/16. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

Nov 16/12: +71 Army. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received an $804.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. Sikorsky confirms that this fully funds Year 2 of MYP-8: 47 UH-60M and 24 HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, plus associated engineering, program management, provisioning, technical publications, and support.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT with an estimated completion date of June 30/14. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

FY 2012 MH-60R
(click to view full)

Sept 25/12: +22 Army. A $242.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy UH-60M Plus-Up Helicopters, which are over and above the yearly baseline buys under MYP-8. Sikorsky confirms that the contract covers 22 helicopters, but doesn’t include support.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and will run until Sept 16/16. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

Sept 25/12: +18 USAF. A $203.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, which Sikorsky confirms will buy 18 UH-60M helicopters for the USAF. This appears to be part of the USAF’s Operational Loss Replacement (OLR) program for their HH-60H Pave Hawk combat search and rescue fleet.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/16. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

Sept 18/12: UH-60 CPTD. Sikorsky announced the award of a Combat Tempered Platform Demonstration (CTPD) contract from the U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). This program will builds upon previous work by Sikorsky Innovations to develop key technologies including: a zero-vibration system, adaptive flight control laws, advanced fire management, a durable main rotor, a more damage tolerant airframe, and better “full-spectrum crashworthiness.” Asked about the program, Sikorsky said that:

“We currently have nothing slated for the next two block upgrades that come from the Combat Tempered Platform Demonstration program. We are testing how components play together.”

Sikorsky Innovations will have more than 15 partnering companies, including Lord Corporation, Phyre Technologies, and Firetrace Aerospace.

July 18/12: #500. Sikorsky delivers the 500th H-60M helicopter since production began in December 2007, which divides up as 400 UH-60Ms (incl. 73 exported) and 100 HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopters. Most of those deliveries which were made under the MYP-VII contract, which ended this month.

Sikorsky adds that the US Army plans to order 956 UH-60M and 419 HH-60M aircraft through 2026, a total of 1,375 H-60M models. By then, the Army’s total H-60 Black Hawk fleet, including upgraded UH-60As and UH-60Ls, is expected to reach more than 2,100 helicopters. Sikorsky.

UH-60M #500

July 11/12: MYP-8. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a firm-fixed-price umbrella contract to buy and provide initial support for up to 916 UH/HH/MH-60 Helicopters for the US Army and US Navy, with Foreign Military Sales options. The Pentagon announces the initial total as $2.828 billion, but Sikorsky puts the base contract’s total value at $8.5 billion. Sikorsky also breaks up the MYP-8 contract into an $8.5 billion base for 653 helicopters, plus options for up to 263 more that could push the contract as high as $11.7 billion. Interestingly, Sikorsky adds that:

“To reach the full baseline value of $8.5 billion, the services are ordering aircraft in the base agreement to be sold via the U.S. Government’s Foreign Military Sales program. These aircraft include Foreign Military Sale (FMS) UH-60M aircraft for several allied countries and MH-60R SEAHAWK anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy… BLACK HAWK and SEAHAWK aircraft deliveries under the new contract will begin this month.”

Those totals compare to $7.4 billion for 537 helicopters in MYP-7, plus 263 additional options that Sikorsky said could push the contract to $11.6 billion for 800 helicopters. Orders ended up falling well short of that total, but the options were there.

Recent DSCA requests indicate that interest in Sikorsky’s helicopters is rising, so MYP-8 looks set to produce more machines. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, but the helicopters themselves are made on 4 separate production lines located in West Palm Beach, FL, and in its Stratford, CT final assembly facility. The contract is announced by the Pentagon as running until Sept 30/16 (end of FY 2016). Sikorsky, on the other hand, cites December 2017 as the end date. Subsequent Pentagon documents continue to insist on FY 2012 – 2016, even though MYP-7 technically ended on Dec 31/12.

The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-12-C-0008). Since only Sikorsky can make those helicopters, it isn’t surprising that only 1 firm responded. See also Sikorsky.

MYP-VIII Framework

Feb 13/12: The USA’s FY 2013 budget documents include a proposal for the next multi-year deal. Helicopters bought will be in basically the same configuration as MYP-VII machines, and overall savings vs. single year buys add up to $850.3 million:

“This proposed Multiyear Procurement (MYP) covers the purchase of 318 UH-60M/HH-60M BLACK HAWK aircraft and 193 Navy MH-60 helicopter airframes in FY 2012 through FY 2016 under a single, five year fixed price type contract. The MYP strategy is structured to achieve $850.3 Million (TY$) in cost savings over the five year period with $502.9M realized in the Army Aircraft Procurement Appropriation and $347.4M in the Navy Aircraft Procurement Appropriation. This proposed Joint Service multiyear contract for the procurement of Army UH-60M/HH-60M aircraft and Navy MH-60R/S aircraft follows a currently executing (FY 2007 through FY 2011) Joint Service MYP between the Army, Navy, and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for H-60 helicopters. The UH-60M/HH-60M,MH-60S, and MH-60R aircraft .being procured on the proposed multiyear contract are essentially the same configuration as those being procured on the current FY07-11 multiyear contract. The MYP will include a Variation in Quantity Clause allowing for minor fluctuation of aircraft quantity and provide baseline pricing for potential Foreign Military Sales. The U.S. Army and Navy met SECDEF certification requirements on March 1, 2011.”

Additional Readings

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

Tags: myp-viii, myp-8

Categories: News

LM-KAI T-50 Collaboration Begins Flight Ops | Qinetiq Snares $1.26B Contract from UK MoD | HAL’s LCA Deemed Too Heavy; India to Import For Now

Sun, 12/04/2016 - 23:58
Americas

  • Officials from Lockheed Martin have announced that the T-50A trainer has commenced flight operations in order to test the plane’s capabilities. A joint effort between LM and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the T-50A is based off the legacy T-50 and is being offered to the USAF’s T-X program. For combat training, the aircraft incorporates air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, an avionics suite with electronic warfare capabilities, and a multi-mode radar.

  • The US Navy plans to invest in more F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as a means of stopping a shortfall in capabilities. Delays in the fielding of the F-35C, longer-than-expected maintenance times for older model Hornets, and higher usage rates, have resulted in a predicted shortfall of 70 fighters over the next number of years. If implemented, the plan could receive funding in the fiscal 2018 budget and keep the Super Hornet production line in continuation for the next several years.

Middle East & North Africa

  • Egypt is to receive 65 LANTIRN targeting pods under the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the navigation and targeting pod systems will come from existing USAF stocks and are most likely to be used on Cairo’s fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons. Some of Egypt’s F-16s already operate LM’s AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pod, LANTIRN’s successor.

Europe

  • Lockheed Martin has been contracted to supply two US government-configured C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft to France. Work on the $133.4 million deal is expected to be completed by August 2020. A stretched-out version of the C-130J, the Super Hercules acquisition comes as France tries to fill a cargo and refueling capability gap created by problems related to the development and delivery of the A400M by Airbus.

  • Qinetiq has been awarded a $1.26 billion contract by the UK MoD to modernise the test and evaluation services it provides at three sites across the UK. The company has provided test and evaluation services to the MoD since 2004, under a 25-year long-term partnering agreement (LTPA). The new deal will include the modernization and continued operation of air ranges at MoD Aberporth in Wales and MoD Hebrides in Scotland, plus test aircrew training at the Empire Test Pilots’ School at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.

  • Armored personnel carriers from the German Armed Forces will be transferred to the Lithuanian Army in a deal worth $1.71 million. 168 M577 vehicles will be delivered in stages between 2017 and 2018. While not normally equipped with defensive weapons, the vehicles are primarily used as a tactical operations center by warfighters on the battlefield.

Asia Pacific

  • India’s navy has decided not to deploy the HAL Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) onboard its aircraft carriers. In what will be seen as a blow to the country’s growing indigenous industry, the fighter was deemed too heavy and did not meet the service’s requirements. New Delhi will instead import a foreign-made carrier-borne fighter while still encouraging India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop the Naval LCA.

  • Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force has received their first F-35A, joining Israel and South Korea as the first three export customers for the Joint Strike Fighter. The fighter will join an international training fleet at Luke Air Force, where pilots from partner countries will receive instruction. Six aircraft are currently under contract and Tokyo plans to purchase 28 over the next five years, eventually procuring 42.

Today’s Video

Maiden flight of the Certifiable Predator B:

Categories: News

Building a Better LANTIRN

Sun, 12/04/2016 - 23:57
F-16 with twin LANTIRNs
(click to view full)

Targeting pods are a very affordable way to upgrade existing aircraft with precision strike and surveillance capabilities. As such, their popularity in the modern age is likely to remain very strong for the foreseeable future. At present, the top offerings on the market include the Northrop-Grumman/ RAFAEL LITENING series (vid. the recent Dutch order), Lockheed’s Sniper XR/Pantera, and Raytheon’s ATFLIR. All are 3rd generation offerings, successors to the early 2nd generation LITENING all-in-one pods and the first-generation LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night) twin-pod set.

LANTIRN pods may be first-generation technology, but they still fly with a number of air forces and were included as the pods specified for Greece’s new F-16Ds. As such, Lockheed’s announcement that it is selling upgraded LANTIRNs to Denmark offers an interesting look at potential opportunities at the lower end of the global market.

(click to view larger)

As noted earlier, LANTIRN is a system of two pods. The AN/AAQ-13 navigation pod provides high-speed penetration and precision attack assistance in all flying conditions, using a terrain-following radar and a fixed infrared sensor to display an image of the terrain in front of the aircraft on a heads-up display of cockpit viewscreen. This helps the pilot maintain a pre-selected altitude above the terrain and avoid obstacles, while flying at high speed and using mountains, valleys and the cover of darkness to avoid radar detection.

The AN/AAQ-14 targeting pod is just what it says: a laser and infrared targeting pod to assist in the delivery of precision weapons like Paveway laser-guided bombs, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, et. al.

(click to view larger)

The Royal Danish Air Force will pay Lockheed Martin $20 million for the latest round of upgrades to their 13 LANTIRN targeting pods, and also requests another 3 LANTIRN ER (extended range) pods. The 26-month contract includes organizational-level spares, maintenance training and pilot familiarization training.

As part of Lockheed’s 8-year partnership with the RDAF, its LANTIRN targeting pods were upgraded in a previous contract to include a CCD TV, a 40,000-ft. laser and a laser spot tracker. LANTIRN ER adds a third-generation mid-wave forward-looking infrared (FLIR), an infrared pointer, an inertial measurement unit to assist with positioning fixes guided weapons, and extended range software. It also simplifies the original pod design and eliminates many parts in an effort to increase reliability and reduce operation and support costs. See Lockheed press release.

While the LANTIRN ER is significantly less capable than the LITENING AT pod recently ordered by the Dutch for their F-16s, the deal’s economics are worth noting: $20 million for 13 upgrades of existing systems plus 3 pods (16), vs. just over $40 million for 20 LITENING AT 3rd generation targeting pods and spares.

Update

December 5/16: Egypt is to receive 65 LANTIRN targeting pods under the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the navigation and targeting pod systems will come from existing USAF stocks and are most likely to be used on Cairo’s fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons. Some of Egypt’s F-16s already operate LM’s AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pod, LANTIRN’s successor.

Categories: News

Korea’s T-50 Family of Trainers/Fighters

Sun, 12/04/2016 - 23:55
T-50 Golden Eagle
(click to view full)

South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle family offers the global marketplace a set of high-end supersonic trainer and lightweight fighter aircraft. They’re hitting the international market at a good time: just as many of the world’s jet training fleets are reaching ages of 30 years or more, and high-end fighters are pricing themselves out of reach for many countries.

Most recently, Thailand is increasing its defense budget and the speed of its procurement process to, among other things, procure a replacement for its aging L-39. The T-50 is one of three candidates.

The ROK’s defense industry is advancing on all fronts these days. Its shipbuilding industry, one of the world’s busiest, is beginning to turn out its own LHDs, and even high-end KDX-III AEGIS destroyers. On the armored vehicle front, Korea’s XK2 tank and K9/K10 self propelled howitzer are beginning to win export orders, and its XK-21/KNIFV amphibious infantry fighting vehicle may not be too far behind. All fill key market niches, promising performance at a comparatively inexpensive price. Now its aerospace industry is in flight abroad with the KT-1 turboprop basic trainer, complemented by the T-50 jet trainer, TA-50 LIFT advanced trainer & attack variant, and FA-50 lightweight fighter.

The TA-50 and FA-50 are especially attractive as lightweight export fighters, and the ROKAF’s own F-5E/F Tiger II and F-4 Phantom fighters are more than due for replacement. The key question for the platform is whether it can find corresponding export sales.

T/F/A-50: The Planes T-50, 3-view
(click to view full)

The T-50 was developed by Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd., with cooperation and global marketing support from Lockheed Martin. Both firms were aware that many training aircraft fleets are aging, even as higher-performance fighters demand trainer aircraft that can keep up. The Korean government needed a fleet of trainers, and saw an opportunity to give their aerospace sector a strong boost in the process. Total investment in the T-50’s RDT&E program amounted to more than $2 billion: 70% from the Korean government, 17% from KAI, and 13% from Lockheed Martin.

With a length of 43 feet and a wingspan of 30 feet, the 2-seat T-50 is about 4 feet shorter than the F-16; overall, it’s only about 80% of the F-16’s size. The relative size of the control surfaces and tails are larger, however, to improve handling characteristics at lower speeds and make the aircraft easier to land. Larger landing gear is also fitted, to absorb harder landings, which is to be expected from student pilots. Its form’s resemblances to Lockheed Martin’s F-16 are suggestive, and include the blended mid-set wing, complete with leading-edge root extensions and rear ‘shelf’ fairings ending in F-16-style split airbrakes. The air intake layout on the sides is somewhat similar to the F/A-18 Hornet or Northrop’s excellent but ill-fated F-20A Tigershark, and the aircraft is powered by the same engine: GE’s popular, reliable and fuel-efficient F404, with slight improvements over the F404-GE-402 to enhance single-engine redundancy and reliability.

The T-50 trainer carries a basic navigation / attack system, which gives it some multi-role capability. The aircraft can carry Sidewinder missiles on the wingtips, as well as fuel, rockets, or qualified bombs on its 5 underwing and center pylons. The center pylon and 2 inner underwing pylons are “wet,” and can accommodate 150 gallon fuel drop tanks.

The T-50 family’s empty weight is 14,000 pounds, and maximum takeoff gross weight is 27,700 pounds. The plane’s F404-GE-102 engine produces 17,700 pounds of thrust at afterburner. Maximum rate of climb is 39,000 feet per minute; and the maximum speed is Mach 1.5. Service ceiling is 48,500 feet, the design load factor is 8gs, and the trainer airframe is designed for up to 10,000-hour service life (8,344 hours for the A-50).

T-50 cockpit
(click to view full)

Still, the plane is designed to be a trainer, with better rear visibility than a 2-seat F-16. An “active stick” ensures that stick movements in the front or rear are transmitted to the stick in the other seat, to improve monitoring and learning. Embedded training features, in-flight recording and post-mission debriefing capability are all built in. The standard tools of a modern fighter pilot’s trade are likewise present: “glass cockpit” of digital screens, HUD (Head Up Displays), HOTAS (Hands On Stick And Throttle) control systems to keep everything at the pilot’s fingertips, triple-redundant electrical system, fly-by-wire, advanced radio and navigation systems including INS/GPS, and a Martin-Baker zero-zero ejection seat. The seat back angle is 17 degrees – similar to the seat angles of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F/A-22.

Per the standards for modern trainers, the aircraft is part of a larger, integrated training system that includes simulators, computer-based training, cockpit and maintenance trainers, and a training management system.

Maintenance has also received careful thought. The new trainer’s airframe will require no mandatory depot maintenance, and the aircraft boasts a “single-tier design” with some 250 access panels, allowing technicians to get at any major system. Extensive self-diagnostics are expected to help keep maintenance costs down.

All in all, the T-50 may remind some people of the F-16 that was originally designed by the 1970s “Fighter Mafia,” who were busy breaking every big-jet, multi-role, high-priced rule the USAF had cultivated for over a decade. The T-50’s 0.65:1 thrust/weight ratio ensures that it’s no F-16. Even so, more than 25 years after the F-16 entered service, the T-50 family retains one more comparison point: a similar price point in absolute dollars. Its $20-30 million cost places it firmly on the high end of the modern trainer market, but its supersonic performance and fighter versatility could still make the T-50 family very popular indeed.

Key market competitors include the subsonic BAE Hawk, Aermacchi’s now-supersonic M346, and its Russian twin the Yak-130.

T-50 Variants Black Eagles
(click to view full)

At present, 3 variants of the T-50 are planned, beyond the basic T-50 trainer aircraft.

T-50B aerobatic variant. It has replaced ancient A-37 Dragonflys in South Korea’s “Black Eagles” national aerobatic team. This makes South Korea 1 of just 4 countries whose aerobatic teams fly locally designed and manufactured supersonic aircraft. Their Black Eagles perform in this category alongside the USA’s Thunderbirds (F-16) and Blue Angels (F/A-18), Russia’s Swifts (MiG-29) and Knights (SU-27), and China’s 1st Aerobatic Team (J-10s).

TA-50 lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT). Offers weapons training and usage, eliminating weapon training hours in more expensive jets, and allowing operational employment. TA-50s add an internal 3-barreled M61 20mm cannon, and can carry AIM-9 Sidewinder air-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick short-range strike missiles, rocket pods, Mk80 family bombs, and SUU-20 practice bomb carriers. The TA-50 has full avionics including stores management, and the IAI/ LIG Nex1 version of the ELM-2032 multi-mode radar is an option. Some reports add Lockheed Martin’s AN/APG-67v4 multi-mode radar as an alternative option, derived from the radar that equipped Northrop’s F-20 Tigershark.

Other reports have mentioned that the TA-50 has provisions for radar warning receivers and specialty pods, if customers wish to add them, but this isn’t confirmed. That would seem like a better fit with the FA-50, as a complete low-end light fighter that’s able to add precision strike bombs and other weapons to its arsenal.

KAI’s FA-50
(click to view full)

FA-50 lightweight fighter. A slightly more expensive variant that’s fully fitted for the lightweight fighter and light attack roles, with a secondary role as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) if necessary. It is beginning to gain good traction in the international marketplace.

Weapons are slated to include the same lightweight 3-barreled M61 20mm gun and weapon set as the TA-50. The ELM-2032 radar is a big step forward, and the plane’s electronic architecture reportedly adds the ability to integrate GPS-guided weapons like JDAM bombs, WCMD/SFW cluster bombs, and eventually JSOW glide bombs. A targeting and surveillance pod, AIM-120 AMRAAM radar-guided air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and other advanced weapons will likely follow, as the ROKAF and other customers look to diversify their roles.

KAI on FA-50

There is a small catch. The FA-50 is a joint KAI/ Lockheed Martin project, and the associated co-operation agreements reportedly included a number of restrictive terms. One is that Lockheed Martin won’t transfer aircraft source code to other nations, leaving Lockheed as the sole integrator for key capabilities. A 2nd provision is that the T-50’s capabilities cannot exceed Korea’s F-16s. A 3rd provision reportedly banned South Korea from integrating T-50 variants with non-U.S. technology that the United States doesn’t have.

Provisions 2 and 3 had a big influence on the plane’s radar options. Instead of SELEX Galileo UK’s Vixen 500E AESA, the first FA-50s will use a cooperatively produced version of IAI’s popular ELM-2032 multi-mode radar, via LiG Nex1 and SamsungThales. The radar will be tied to additional datalinks like Link-16, radar warning receivers, and a MIL-STD-1760 databus. FA-50s will also be able to carry additional electronic countermeasures equipment, and specialty pods like LITENING or Sniper ATP for targeting, surveillance, etc.

SamsungThales and LiG Nex1 may be enough “laundering” for ELM-2032 radar exports to Islamic countries. Reports re: Iraq’s sale say nothing about a substitution, and any radar switch would require a full integration project. Lockheed Martin’s AN/APG-67v4 radar, developed for the F-20, would be an obvious alternative, and Selex ES’ Grifo is a popular global choice for light fighters. A longer-term possibility involves a step up to more advanced AESA radars, which are already making inroads into the medium end of the fighter market. An imminent program to upgrade the ROKAF’s KF-16s with AESA radars could offer KAI a way up. Once the ROKAF adds Raytheon’s RACR AESA radars to its F-16s, the FA-50 could add the same radar without violating the FA-50’s MoU restrictions. The need for Lockheed Martin’s agreement to integrate an American AESA radar would be the only remaining obstacle.

T/F/A-50: The Program T-50 cutaway, KAI

Click here for full graphic, from KAI [1500 x 696, 454k].

Home Customer: 142 ROKAF: 50 T-50, 10 T-50B, 22 TA-50, 60 FA-50.
Export Customers: Indonesia (16 T-50i), Iraq (24 FA-50), Philippines (12 FA-50).
Prospects: Botswana, Chile, Peru, Thailand, Brunei, UAE (~48), USA (up to 350).
Losses: Israel (M-346), Poland (M-346), Singapore (M-346), UAE (M-346 picked 2009, but still no contract).

Arirang report

KAI is the T-50’s prime contractor, and is responsible for the design of the fuselage and tail unit, final assembly of the aircraft, and design of the accompanying training systems. The mid-mounted variable camber wings are manufactured by Lockheed Martin, who is also responsible for the avionics and fly-by-wire flight control system, and provides technical consulting.

The production line at Saechon is designed for a 1.5-aircraft-per-month production capability with a single shift, but the assembly process can produce up to 2.5 aircraft per month by simply adding another shift if orders increase. Man Sik Park, director of the T-50 management team at Sacheon, adds that “Getting more customers than our line can currently handle is no problem because we can increase the production rate further with additional tools and assembly jigs.”

KAI’s TA-50

The ROKAF already has production orders for 102 of KAI’s aircraft: 50 T-50 trainers, 22 TA-50 LIFT/ light fighters (with an option for another 22), 10 T-50B aerobatic aircraft that replaced the Black Eagles’ A-37 Dragonflys, and 60 FA-50s to replace the RoKAF’s F-5 Tiger II and F-4 Phantom fighters.

Outside South Korea, Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems and KAI have created the T-50 International Company (TFIC) to pursue export markets. Indonesia (16 TA-50 “T-50i”), Iraq (24 FA-50 “T-50IQ”), and the Philippines (12 FA-50) have signed contracts. Botswana and Chile have both reportedly expressed interest, as well as Brunei. The UAE has yet to sign its trainer deal for 48 planes, and wants an armed variant that doesn’t exist for its chosen M-346, so KAI may yet be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, as they did in Iraq. The USA is TFIC’s biggest target, however, thanks to the 300-plane T-X program to replace the USAF’s supersonic T-38 trainers.

The FA-50 in particular will offer performance that competes favorably with peers like the Chinese/Pakistani JF-17, and India’s Tejas LCA. All 3 of these jets are likely to find themselves dueling for the niche once occupied by a pair of 1960s-1970s era competitors – Russia’s MiG-21s, and Northrop’s amazingly popular F-5, which still flies with the ROKAF. Both aircraft types are still flying in many air forces, and both are reaching the end of their lifespans. Hence the market opportunity. The difference is that unlike its Chinese and Indian competitors, the F/T/A-50 family’s secondary trainer role makes it attractive to 1st and 2nd world air forces as well.

Contracts & Key Events 2015 – 2017

Thailand chooses T-50 over Hongdu L15; FA-50 & AGM-65G

December 5/16: Officials from Lockheed Martin have announced that the T-50A trainer has commenced flight operations in order to test the plane’s capabilities. A joint effort between LM and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the T-50A is based off the legacy T-50 and is being offered to the USAF’s T-X program. For combat training, the aircraft incorporates air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, an avionics suite with electronic warfare capabilities, and a multi-mode radar.

November 15/16: The first US flight of the T-50A advanced jet trainer will take place on November 17 at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Pilot Training facility in Greenville, South Carolina. Developed jointly by LM and Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), the trainer is an upgraded version of the T-50 Golden Eagle and is being offered to the USAF’s T-X trainer competition. It was expected that RoKAF Chief of Staff Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo and Vice Defense Minister Hwang In-moo would witness the flight, but due to the recent political turmoil at home, will not make the trip. South Korean President Park Geun-hye is under increased pressure to resign following allegations that she let her friend Choi Soon-sil, a shamanist cult leader, have extensive access and influence over government policy and decision making.

October 13/16: The chief of the Republic of Korea Air Force is to visit the US next month to help promote the T-50A bid by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin. Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo is scheduled to meet his US counterparts during the trip. Washington is expected to begin its selection process for 350 advanced jet trainers next year which could reach $20 billion in value.

October 3/16: A spokesperson for the Philippine Air Force has said the service is looking to acquire 36 additional FA-50PH fighter jets from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The official said the procurement is needed “to meet a requirement specified in Flight Plan 2028 to “detect, intercept, and neutralise” any perceived threat in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).” This adds to 12 FA-50PH fighters already ordered in 2014, with deliveries set to conclude in late 2017.

September 12/16: Officials from Argentina’s air force are evaluating Korean Aerospace Industries’ (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle. An Argentine delegation visited the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) 16th Fighter Wing at Yecheon on 7 September with a pilot also spotted in the aircraft. The service is looking to acquire a new fighter type following the retirement of the Dassault Mirage III and Mirage 5 fleets in late 2015, and the subsequent grounding of the Douglas A-4R Fightinghawk fleet.

August 4/16: Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) CEO Ha Sung-young is so confident in their T-50A, that he will resign if the trainer is not selected for the USAF’s ongoing T-X competition. The bold statement was made in front of 39 executives attending an executive strategy meeting held at LIG’s Sacheon Training Institute in Gyeongnam Province. Ha’s bet is said to be backed up by T-X partner Lockheed Martin making a clean sweep of contracts recently in the US.

December 2/15: The Philippine Air Force (PFA) has received the first two FA-50 Golden Eagle fighters from South Korea. 12 were ordered in 2013 in a deal between the two governments totaling $400 million. The remaining jets will be delivered in batches throughout 2017 with the first two being utilized as trainers. Weapons systems for the fighters are to be purchased later, but it is said that an Israeli firm is being looked at to meet these requirements. The purchases come at a time when the Philippines is trying to beef up its maritime and air force capabilities amid creeping expansion by China in the South China Sea.

October 27/15: The US government has put a stop to South Korean plans to sell the T-50 to Uzbekistan. The now-defunct $400 million deal would have seen a dozen KAI T-50 trainers sold to the Central Asian state, with the US reportedly fearing that Tashkent could hand over sensitive US-developed technology to Russia. The T-50 was co-developed with Lockheed Martin in the mid-2000s, with the US firm incorporating advanced technologies for several of the aircraft’s systems, including the avionics and engine.

September 18/15: Thailand has opted to buy four Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 trainer/light attack jets, with the South Korean design fending off competition from the Hongdu L15. Thailand joins South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines as the fourth Asian state operating the T-50, with the jet also participating in Peru’s light attack aircraft competition.

June 26/15: The first of twelve Korean Aerospace Industries FA-50 fighter aircraft sold to the Philippines through a government-to-government deal with South Korea in 2013 has successfully completed its first test flight, with the first deliveries expected by December, when the Philippines will receive its first two FA-50s ahead of schedule. The full dozen should be delivered by 2017, with the Korean fighter/trainers a strategic interim as the Philippines looks ahead to acquiring more capable multi-role aircraft.

Feb 4/15: Peru.The Peru tender for about $1 billion of fighters is the next target for South Korea. The decision is supposed to happen in the second half of the year. Other expected competitors include firms from Russia, Italy and China.

2014

Philippine contract for 12 FA-50s; Export prospects; Indonesian deliveries done; Does the ROKAF need stopgap rental fighters?

Dec 14/14: Philippines. Filipino President Benigno Aquino says that the first 2 of 12 FA-50s ordered back in March are on track to be received by his country sometime in 2015, with the remaining 10 to follow by 2017. That’s a couple years later than they were aiming for when the negotiations started, but the order took about 2 years to materialize. Source: Manila Standard: “First 2 Korean jets to arrive next year”.

Dec 12/14: Brunei? Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah gave a smiling thumb up aboard an FA-50 on display at the Gimhae airport. According to South Korea’s Yonhap agency, this may be more than a photo op as an envoy from Brunei visited the headquarters of KAI in Sacheon last month. Source: Yonhap: “S. Korea’s FA-50 jet to be displayed at Busan airport”.

Oct 10/14: Weapons. The FA-50 fires an AGM-65G Maverick short-range strike missile for the first time, hitting a retired ship moored 7 km away in the East Sea (Sea of Japan). The Maverick actually has an outside range of around 20+ km, but that wasn’t what they were testing here. Sources: Chosun Ilbo, “FA-50 Fighter Jets Hit Target with Guided Missile” | Joong Ang Daily, “Air Force successfully test fires guided missile.”

July 17/14: USA The USAF experiences a flight in a ROKAF TA-50, as part of their due diligence for the coming T-X advanced trainer competition. Major-to-be Lee Seong-wook and Lieutenant Lee Kwang-won from the 16th fighter wing put the American team in the backseat of their TA-50s for 4 sorties.

The American due diligence team also visited South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), 16th Fighter Wing and Logistics Command, and the 16th fighter wing’s operation and maintenance. Sources: ROK MND, “Korean Trainer Aircraft TA-50 shows its excellence”.

March 28/14: Philippines. The Philippines signs the P18.9 billion contract for 12 FA-50 jets, paid for from the P85 billion initial fund under the Revised Modernization Program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. That’s currently $420.9 million, which is close to the $422 million at which the government starts paying the exchange risk. Let’s hope they’re hedged. The moves will give the Philippines a fighter force again, with 2 jets arriving for training and IOT&E 18 months after the Letter of Credit is “opened,” another 2 a year after that, and the last 8 by 2017. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin had an interesting way of describing the negotiations:

“In the Philippines we have an old saying that goes like this, “Pagkahaba-haba man ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy. Literally, this translates to no matter how long the procession is, it still ends up in the church. What we went through these past months even years is akin to a procession: slow, tedious and full of challenges. And like a procession we knew where our destination was and why we’re doing it.”

That last sentence becomes especially interesting, in light of PAF spokesman Col. Miguel Okol’s comments to GMA News. He said “kung anong ibbiigay sa atin ngayon, we make do what is given,” while adding that the FA-50s are “a step in the right direction.” The PAF ultimately wants more advanced fighters, with full multi-role capabilities. They may find their FA-50s growing into precisely that, as the ROKAF adds more advanced weapons. Otherwise, they’ll need to be able to afford what they want. Sources: KAI, “KAI won a contract to export 12 FA-50s to the Phil” | GMA News, “PAF wants more sophisticated fighter planes, but will make do with FA-50” | Philippine Daily Inquirer, “PH acquires P23.7B-worth of fighter jets, helicopters” | The Philipiine Star, “2 contracts for purchase of fighter jets signed today” | Rappler, “PH Air Force a joke no more, gets fighter jets” | Arirang, “Korean government to sell 12 FA-50 fighter jets to Philippines”.

Philippines: 12 FA-50s

March 28/14: Exports. A post on KAI’s official blog announces the Philippine sale, and confirms that “KAI is eyeing to further exporting the T-50 variant aircraft to the U.S.A., Botswana, the U.A.E., Thailand and Peru.” Chile no longer gets a mention, but they still have a need. Sources: KAI, “KAI won a contract to export 12 FA-50s to the Phil” | KAI Fly Together Blog.

March 26/14: Fill-ins. The ROKAF needs to retire its fleets of 136 or so F-5E/F Tiger light fighters, and about 30 F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers. Meanwhile, The F-16 fleet is about to begin a major upgrade program that will keep part of that fleet out of service. The F-X-3 buy of F-35As is expected to be both late, and 20 jets short of earlier plans. The KF-X mid-level fighter project will be even later – it isn’t likely to arrive until 2025, if it arrives at all. The ROKAF is buying 60 FA-50s to help offset some of the F-5 retirements, but the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) sees this combination of events leaving South Korea about 80 planes short.

FA-50 deliveries only began in August 2013, and foreign FA-50 orders from Iraq and the Philippines are beginning to take up additional slots on the production line. As such, the ROKAF may be leaning toward a quicker stopgap:

“The Air Force is considering leasing used combat jets as part of ways to provide the interim defense capability because replacement of aging F-4s and F-5s wouldn’t take place in a timely manner,” a senior Air Force official said, asking for anonymity. “As midlevel combat jets are mostly in shortage, the Air Force is considering renting 16 to 20 used F-16s from the U.S. Air Force…. “The U.S. Air Force stood down some F-16s in the wake of the defense spending cut affected by the sequestration,” another Air Force official said, asking not to be named. “Under current circumstances, we can rent F-16s or buy used ones.”

It will be interesting to see if the USAF will let the ROKAF lease, or just have them buy the jets at cut-rate prices. Sources: Yonhap, “S. Korea considers F-16 lease deal to replace aging jets”.

Feb 21/14: Philippines. News reports say that the 2 sides have reached agreement, with a formal contract signing to follow in March 2014. It’s reportedly a $422 million deal for 12 FA-50s, denominated in US dollars, with the Philippine government taking the exchange risk that total costs won’t climb much above P18.9 billion. They’ve also decided to reduce spare parts purchases by $500,000, which is almost always a false economy that hurts aircraft availability. In exchange, KAI accepted a much lower down payment of 15% per Philippine law (q.v. Dec 26/13), and will take risks regarding the cost of some equipment furnished through the USA.

The first 2 FA-50s will be delivered by September 2015. Sources: Philippine Daily Inquirer, “Deal to buy 12 fighters jets from South Korea reached” | Rappler, “PH completes negotiations for 12 fighter jets” | Yonhap, “FA-50 sales to Philippines make headway, deal possible as early as March: source” | The Malay Mail, “Philippines to buy 12 South Korean fighters for US$422m”.

Indonesian T-50i
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Feb 13/14: Indonesia. KAI has completed the delivery of all 16 T-50i jets, via a series of ferry flights between September 2013 and January 2013. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hosts a commemoration ceremony celebrating the T-50i’s deployment at Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in Jakarta. Sources: KAI release [in Korean] | The Korea Herald, “S. Korea completes delivery of 16 T-50 trainers to Indonesia”.

Indonesian deliveries done

2013

ROKAF follow-on FA-50 buy, takes 1st FA-50 delivery; Iraq buys 24 FA-50s; Philippines pick FA-50; Loss in Poland; FA-50 potential in Indonesia; Opportunity in Taiwan? TA-50 drops tank
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Dec 26/13: Philippines. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin says that they’ve recommended an exemption from laws that limit government contracts to 15% payment before goods are delivered, in order to allow KAI’s requested 52% down payment for FA-50 fighters. Ultimately, it will be President Aquino’s decision.

Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez had more good news concerning negotiations, saying that: “We have settled the turnaround time issue. We are discussing the payment scheme” (q.v. Dec 2/13). It sounds like they’ll end up pretty close to KAI’s request payment schedule, but Velez still wouldn’t place any kind of timeline on negotiations. The issue is that any delays beyond this point are going to change the in-service date for the country’s air force, and the planned 2015 time frame is already a bit late, given Chinese pressure. Sources: The Philippine Star, “DND seeks release of funds to buy Korean fighter jets”.

Dec 20/13: Poland. Poland’s MON picks the M-346 as its next jet trainer. The package includes 8 planes + 4 options, along with simulators and other training systems, spares, and technical support.

Even though the M-346 was the only finalist without certified dual-role capability, Alenia (PZL 1.167 billion / $377.1 million) was the only contender to submit an offer within the MON’s PZL 1.2 billion budget. BAE’s Hawk T2 LIFT (PZL 1.754 billion/ $566 million) and KAI/Lockheed’s T-50 (PZL 1.802 billion/ $582 million) did not fit, and consideration of lifetime costs wasn’t enough to save them from disqualification. Read full coverage at: “Poland’s New Advanced Jet Trainer: M-346 Wins“.

Loss in Poland

Dec 12/13: FA-50. Iraq signs a $1.1 billion deal to buy 24 T-50IQ light fighters, which Korean news agencies cite as an FA-50 variant. The price works out to about $46 million per plane, but it necessarily includes added costs like initial training infrastructure. If the Iraqis have learned anything from their other programs, it will also include a solid initial supply of spare parts. KAI expects a 25-year, $1 billion T-50IQ support deal to follow shortly.

These “T-50IQs” will apparently serve double duty: as the IqAF’s advanced jet trainers once pilots graduate from T-6B turboprops, and as a backup fighter force. The deal is a big save for KAI, as Iraqi interest in the TA-50 armed trainer had apparently waned in favor of the Czech L-159T. Increased instability in the region may have helped revive their interest, as it will take more than the IqAF’s 36 ordered F-16IQs to provide even reasonable airspace control. A supersonic “F-16 lite” provides Iraq with better air defense, though it may come at the cost of some counterinsurgency strike performance relative to the L-159. KAI is quoted giving a delivery window of 2015 – 2016, while Reuters cites April 2016 – 2017.

Note that the Yonhap article has a key error. The plane exported to Indonesia, Peru & Turkey is KAI’s KO-1/KT-1 turboprop trainer and counterinsurgency aircraft, not the T-50 family. The T-50 family has been exported to Indonesia, and the Philippines is negotiating. KAI hopes that the breakthrough in Iraq may trigger interest elsewhere in the Middle East. Perhaps it will re-open the UAE’s 48-plane armed trainer pick, which has been stalled since 2009. Sources: KAI, “KAI has signed the contract with Iraq for exporting T-50 supersonic advanced jet trainer & light attack” | Korea Times, “Korea exports 24 attack jets to Iraq” | Reuters, “S.Korea’s KAI sells fighter jets worth $1.1 billion to Iraq” | Yonhap, “S. Korea to export 24 FA-50 light attackers to Iraq”.

Iraq: 24 FA-50s

Dec 2/13: Philippines. As China places growing pressure on the Philippines and Korea alike over territorial claims, TA-50/ FA-50 negotiations drag on and actual fielding of useful jets is farther and farther away. The issues seem to be substantive, however, rather than bureaucratic. South Korea wants a 52% down payment of PHP 9.8 billion ($224.25 million). The budgeted funds involved 15% down, which is apparently tied to government contracting laws rather than a different self-evaluation of customer risk. The 2nd issue reportedly concerns delivery times for spares under the support contract. South Korea wants a much longer delivery time.

Philippine Defense Undersecretary for Finance Fernando Manalo says that they’re preparing a “firm position” for submission to KAI, who have to decide whether they’ll accept it. If not, however, the Philippines’ alternatives are sparse. India’s Tejas isn’t ready, and the Chinese/Pakistani JF-17 is out of the question. They could take on the risk of old, high flight hours, early-block F-16s from the USA. Or, they could seek to buy refurbished Israeli Kfir C10s for less money, if Israel is willing cross China by selling them. Meanwhile, they’ll remain helpless against Chinese aerial provocations. Sources: Rapler, “‘Major issues’ with South Korea delay PH fighter jets”.

Nov 13/13: Taiwan? Submarines remain high on Taiwan’s agenda, but they aren’t the only items. The ROCAF plans to go outside the USA entirely for its new jet trainer, but replacements for the AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chung have been canceled before. The last AT-3 was delivered in 1990, but South Korea’s T-50 family is reportedly quite tempting.

Taiwan needs to grow its fighter fleet, and a TA-50 sale would also provide Taiwan with a local interceptor and light attack jet. China has been antagonizing South Korea lately, and a TA-50 sale would certainly provide a diplomatically painful riposte. Sources: Defense News, “Taiwan Still Hungry for More US Arms”.

Oct 28/13: KF-X shrunk? Aviation Week reports that KAI has responded to the KF-X’s program’s stall with a smaller, single-engine “KFX-E/ C501” design that uses the F-35-style C103 design as a base, and proposes to reuse some systems from the FA-50. South Korea’s subsequent decision to short-circuit a competition in favor of Lockheed Martin’s F-35A fighter means that the T-50 partner is also committed to helping with KF-X, and efforts to move the delivery date earlier will add impetus to plans that reuse existing technologies. Read “KF-X Fighter: Pushing Paper, or Peer Program?” for full coverage.

Oct 22/13: Poland. President Park Geun-hye and President Bronislaw Komorowski signed a cooperation pact in Seoul, spanning issues from defense to trade and energy. President Park pitched T-50 trainers as well as submarines. Her counterpart sounded somewhat noncommittal, as the AJT competition remains open at least until early 2014.

Oct 17-21/13: Philippines. For her first state visit at home since her election, President Park received Filipino President Benigno S. Aquino III to discuss several bilateral agreements, including defense cooperation. The phrasing of her official statement implies that a contract for FA-50 aircraft has not been signed yet, but a Memorandum of Understanding has. So much for a deal signed by July (q.v. Jan 30/13).

The MoU request is confirmed at 12 jets, backed by a budget set aside of close to PHP 19 billion (about $440.5 million). After the official visit, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that China had pressured South Korea not to sell the planes. This was officially denied by the South Korean government, but confirmed by anonymous government officials. China and the Philippines have unresolved territorial disputes in the South China Sea, in that section the Philippines calls the West Philippine Sea. Sources: ROK President | Chosun Ilbo.

Sept 10/13: Indonesia. The first 2 T-50i jets take off from Sacheon airfield in Korea, en route to Indonesia. Their trip will take it to Gaishung, Taiwan; Cebu, Philippines; and Spinggan, Indonesia; before arriving at its future home base of Ishuwahyudi, Indonesia. Source: ROK MND | KAI release, Sept 10/13.

June 28/13: T-50i cert. The T-50i receives its military type certificate through the South Korean Government’s airworthiness authority committee, which is chaired by the DAPA defense procurement agency’s bureau of analysis and evaluation, MACA (Military Airworthiness Certification Authority).

KAI adds that 6 pilots from the Indonesian Air Force have been training since February 2013 with the T-50 and TA-50, accompanied by Indonesian ground maintenance crews. T-50i deliveries are expected to begin in September 2013, with all 16 delivered within the first half of 2014. Source: KAI release, June 28/13.

T-50i military type cert

Aug 20/13: FA-50. KAI delivers the 1st FA-50 fighter to the ROKAF, with another 60 due for delivery by 2016 to replace about 120 Vietnam-era F-5E/F Tiger II fighters. KAI sees a bright future in Asia, where IHS projects that defense budgets will increase beyond by 35% from 2013 – 2021.

Park Jeong-soo and other KAI officials say they aim to sell about 1,000 T-50 family planes by 2040 or so, but even factoring in Asian growth, their success or failure in the USA’s 300 plane T-X requirement will play a huge role in whether or not they achieve it. Source: Reuters, “South Korea targets growing Asian defence market with fighter jets”

TA-50 delivered

June 19/13: Indonesia. KAI representatives at the 50th Paris Air Show tell Flight Global that Indonesia will receive its full complement of 16 T-50i jet trainers (q.v. May 25/11) between September 2013 – February 2014. They’re also pursuing a deal for 12 FA-50 light fighters, which would replace the TNI-AU’s F-5s. Flight Global.

May 7/13: FA-50s. KAI borrows the people who seem to write most of the technical manuals for consumer electronics, in order to describe the 1.1 trillion won (about $1.02 billion) ROKAF contract for full rate production of the FA-50. Based on our translation of their English translation, KAI seems to be saying that follow-on FA-50s will begin arriving in August 2013, and that production will continue into 2016. This timeline fits previous reports, and implies that KAI has been doing advance production work.

KAI’s writers wouldn’t be faithful to the spirit of those technical manuals if they didn’t leave out important information, so they made sure to leave out the number of planes bought. The ROKAF ordered 20 FA-50s in December 2011, and was slated to order another 40-110 as the follow-on. Given the contract funding, and expected costs, it appears that the ROKAF has ordered another 40 FA-50s, at around $25.5 million per plane. Subsequent reports confirm it.

You’re denying yourself one of life’s guilty pleasures if you don’t read the original KAI release in all its glory. See also: UPI.

ROKAF: 40 FA-50s

March 6/13: Philippines. The Zamboanga City Times reports that the country’s Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) has only just given the go-ahead to draw up a Terms of Reference document, in advance of a government-to-government deal for 12 FA-50 fighters.

The document will define what has to be achieved; stakeholders, roles and responsibilities; resource, financial and quality plans; work breakdown structure and schedule; and success factors/risks. That isn’t a small job, yet the official line is that the TOR will be done and negotiations held by the end of 2013, which aircraft flying within about 2 years – or about a decade after they retired the F-5s in 2005. It’s possible, but both of those dates seem optimistic at best.

Jan 30/13: Philippines. Agence France Presse reports that the Philippines is headed into negotiations with KAI in February 2013, and expects to have a deal by July. Their jets won’t arrive until 2015.

The big question is, which jets they will be? AFP and Flight International report that they’ll be FA-50 fighter variants, rather than the TA-50 armed trainers. If the PAF technical team mentioned in the Oct 29/12 entry came back with unsatisfactory answers about the TA-50, KAI’s FA-50 is the logical next option. Close parsing of the public statements made by Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez don’t provide direct confirmation. FA-50s will be more expensive, however, making TA-50s a potential fallback option in negotiations. Nothing is final yet, and we’ll only know the answer when the deal is done.

Postscript: Manila Channel wins the award for media confusion, by posting a graphic of Russia’s developmental T50 stealth fighter in their story. Uh, guys, these aren’t the fighter jets you’re looking for. Chosun Ilbo | Manila Channel | Manila’s Sun Star | Bloomberg | Flight International.

2012

ROKAF orders 1st FA-50s; Philippines picks TA-50? KAI privatization fails. T-50 line
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October 2012: FA-50. The FA-50 gets South Korean type certification. Source.

Oct 29/12: Philippines. The Philippine Star says that a PAF technical team is investigating whether the TA-50 can deliver “medium range missiles”, and the quality of its radar system. If the country decides to remain on course for a competition, these questions will become more important.

Radars are important to surveillance as well as air superiority, and the Philippines needs both. South Korea has a partnership with IAI for its EL/M-2032 radar, which includes surface scan capabilities, on the FA-50; will the Philippines pay for that? Beyond the radar, the term “medium range missile” is very ambiguous. TA-50s can deliver AGM-65 Maverick short-range strike missiles or AIM-9 Sidewinder short range air-to-air missiles, but they would require additional integration to deliver a medium range anti-ship weapon like an American AGM-154C JSOW glide bomb, an anti-ship missile like the AGM-84 Harpoon, or a medium-range air-to-air missile like the AIM-120 AMRAAM.

Oct 28/12: Philippines. The Philippine Star reports that their buy is becoming a competition again:

“The Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s planned acquisition of lead-in fighter jets from South Korea or any friendly state may take longer than expected after it was decided that the multi-billion peso defense procurement will be bid out instead of the government entering into a government-to-government deal.”

That changes Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s June announcement of a TA-50 buy from South Korea, with deliveries expected to begin in 2013. Philippine media report that the offer of 12 jets would include a soft loan of $560 million from South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund, disbursed through the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

Aug 31/12: KAI Privatization fails. Korean Air Lines Co. is the only bidder to register by the extended deadline, but rules governing sales by government entities require at least 2 bids.

Korean Air generated 3.3% of revenue making plane parts in 2011, and has tried to buy into KAI before. Beyond stepped up Korean orders for T-50 jets and Surion helicopters, KAI is also makes civil and military parts for Boeing, and is building a new plant to make Airbus A320 wing components under a $1.2 billion deal signed in March 2012. Bloomberg.

Privatization

Aug 6/12: KAI privatization crashing. The government wants to privatize KAI, but finding a bidder has been difficult, and it looks like they’re about to fail on the Aug 16/12 deadline.

The government and its Korea Finance Corporation (KoFC) wanted to sell 41.75% of KAI via a publicly opened bid, which includes 11.4% of KoFC’s 26.41%, and shares owned by Samsung Techwin (10%), Hyundai Motor (10%), Doosan (10%), and KDB Bank (0.34%). The bid terms require at least 2 competing bidders, but as the JoongAng Daily explains, all of the major South Korean firms who could afford such a bid have other priorities. The asking price is also perceived to be high, and the market is reinforcing that by driving down KAI’s share price in anticipation of a failure to privatize it. Now political opposition to privatization is also growing, which could be the final nail in the coffin.

Aug 2/12: Philippines pick. The Philippines DND’s undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel, Fernando Manalo, makes the country’s choice official: KAI’s T-50s. Chinese bullying in the West Philippine Sea around Scarborough Shoal played a significant role in pushing them toward a more capable fighter, which would remove the M-346 from contention. Meanwhile, used F-16s were seen as too expensive to operate, with little airframe life left.

The problem is that without an approved modernization budget, the armed forces can’t sign a contract. If the country does sign a contract by the end of 2012, they want 2 of the Golden Eagles to be delivered immediately, so that their pilots will be trained by the time the other 10 arrive in 2015. Manilla Bulletin | Manilla Standard Today.

June 20/12: Philippine buy? ABS-CBN news of the Philippines quotes Philippine air force officials as saying they will buy 12 TA-50s, in order to restore the air force’s ability to police Philippine airspace.

That ability was lost when the country retired its remaining F-5 aircraft in 2005, and the USA no longer bases fighters at Clark AB or USNB Subic Bay. Chinese violations of Philippine airspace and claimed maritime zones have been creating a lot of tension, and the country has been looking at its options for a couple of years now. Their efforts have involved requests for 12 used American F-16s, as well as examination of KAI’s TA-50 and Alenia’s M-346 Master. The M-346 doesn’t have an armed version yet, and the USA hasn’t issued a formal DSCA clearance yet. That leaves the TA-50 as its only approved option that can be bought right now.

The TA-50 deal is reportedly worth around 25 billion pesos (about $590 million), with a contract expected by the end of 2012. All 12 fighter jets are expected to be delivered by the end of 2013. If so, the Philippines would join its neighbor Indonesia as a TA-50 customer.

A 2nd contract for 6 fixed-wing aircraft is expected to replace the country’s OV-10 Bronco counter-insurgency planes, and designs from the USA (likely the AT-6B), Brazil (Super Tucano), and Korea (likely the KT-1) are expected to compete. Given the TA-50’s 2-seat design and ability to use laser-guided weapons, another possibility would be to add options to any TA-50 contract, and use it in both roles. This would be less effective for counter-insurgency, or as an intermediate trainer, but contribute more to airspace policing and defense. It depends where the country’s priorities lie at the time, and external events are unstable enough to change them. Philippines’ ABS-CBN | ABS-CBN re: 2nd buy | South Korea’s Yonhap.

May 16/12: Philippines. Philippine President Benigno Aquino says that his government had asked to buy second-hand F-16s from the USA, but is concerned that maintenance costs on these aging aircraft could end up being too high. This was the problem that forced the country to mothball its F-5 force in 2005, but it seems there is good news. From the AFP report:

“We do have an alternative, and – this is a surprise – it seems we have the capacity to buy brand-new, but not from America… These are manufactured by another progressive country that I won’t name at this point.”

Feb 17/12: US T-X delayed. The USAF confirms that it won’t make a T-X selection until 2016, and doesn’t expect initial operational capability for its new trainers until 2020. Until then, they will continue to use 2-seat F-16Ds to bridge the gap from T-38 trainers, to the F-22A and F-35. Flight International.

Feb 16/12: Israel. The T-50 loses to Alenia’s M-346, as the preferred bidder to stock IAI & Elbit’s TOR public-private joint training venture. Governmental approval is required, and a contract award for 30 planes is expected later in 2012. If the expected billion-dollar contract is signed, deliveries would be expected to begin in the middle of 2014. In return, Italy is rumored to have pledged to buy an equivalent amount of equipment from Israel: IAI’s CAEW 550 AEW&C jets, and a new jointly-developed reconnaissance satellite.

Those contracts were signed in July 2012. Until now, South Korea has been buying a lot of defense gear from Israel. The question is whether that will continue. Read “Trainer Jets for Israel: From the Skyhawk, to the Master” for full coverage.

Israel loss

Feb 11/12: International training. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quotes an unidentified defense ministry source who said that Portugal has become the preferred partner for a WON 300 billion (about $267 million) T-50 International Military Flight Training Center Consortium (IMFACC). A Memorandum of Understanding might be reached as early as March 2012.

If Portugal wins, they will have beaten potential sites in the USA, Australia, the Philippines and Spain. IMFACC will be a training center for international customers like Indonesia, as well as South Korean pilots who need to be free of flight time restrictions in their own, crowded country. Portugal has large over-water territories to facilitate flight training, and offers a more central location than Australia or the Philippines.

Feb 7/12: FA-50 radars? IAI reveals a $150 million order from an unnamed customer for its EL/M-2032 fighter radar, from an unnamed customer. A Globes report places the customer within Asia, and the timing is one of several factors that suggests a South Korean order.

Read “IAI’s $150M EL/M-2032 Radar Contract Mystery” for full coverage. It includes a survey of potential Asian customers, and the other likely candidate for this order.

Feb 3/12: US T-X. Asia One reports that recent announcements of US budget cuts are expected to affect the T-50, as the USA’s cornerstone T-X program looks set to be delayed:

“The US is by far the largest market for KAI, which hopes to sell at least 350 units to it. But it has deferred its decision on whether to acquire new trainer jets or develop them on its own, or turn their old fighters into trainer aircraft. The so-called T-X project is expected to be further delayed given the US defence cuts. Experts have estimated that the global demand for trainer jets and light fighters over the next three decades will amount to around 3,300 units. KAI aims to export around 1,000 units during that period.”

2011

FA-50 order; Indonesia is T-50’s 1st export customer; TA-50 rollout; Polish do-over; Israeli competition; KAI IPO. FA-50 prototype
(click to view full)

Dec 28/11: FA-50. Korea Aerospace Industries signs a 20-plane, $600 million FA-50 production contract with DAPA, bringing total T-50 family orders to 102 planes. This is a follow-on to the December 2008 development contract, which produced 4 prototype and test aircraft. Deliveries to the ROKAF are expected to begin in 2014.

South Korean orders could eventually swell to over 100 FA-50s, as the ROKAF seeks to replace its F-5E/Fs. This could also help in competitions like Poland’s, by broadening KAI’s in-production T-50 family technology options. KAI | Flight International.

ROKAF: 20 FA-50s

Nov 22/11: AESA for KF-16s? Raytheon declares that it is “responding to the Republic of Korea’s official launch of the F-16 radar upgrade competition with the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar system (RACR).” RACR is designed as a drop-in AESA radar for F-16 fighters, and is based on the technologies in the AN/APG-79 radar that equips US Navy Super Hornets.

No word yet on other competitors, but any KF-16 AESA upgrade could break a technology logjam for the FA-50 as well.

Oct 28/11: Poland. Poland steps back from its existing trainer & light fighter RFP, and says it will re-do the competition. They seem to have been surprised at the cost of meeting their previous specifications, and will opt for a trainer with lower combat capabilities in the next round. That means the new jets won’t really be able to replace their SU-22s, but it also means that, in the words of deputy defense minister Marcin Idzik, Poland won’t “be the sole country to acquire such an [aircraft as we had requested].” This implies that even the TA-50, which looked to have good odds of winning the bid, was insufficient.

The new RFP is expected in spring 2012. Read “Poland Seeks Advanced Jet Trainers/ Light Fighters” for full coverage.

Oct 10/11: Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports that KAI has formally partnered with Lockheed Martin in its bid to sell T-50 trainers to Israel, citing the advantage of being able to use American military aid funds. That possibility has been a live option since September, but this makes it official.

In Israel, KAI is once again competing against Alenia’s M-346 Master. Italy has reportedly made an interesting barter offer, and the 2 countries built close ties under Prime Minister Berlusconi. Israel’s final choice will be a significant geopolitical decision – read “Trainer Jets for Israel: Skyhawk Scandal Leads to End of an Era” for a full explanation, and ongoing coverage.

Sept 15/11: US FACO? The Korea Herald reports that Lockheed Martin is setting up a T-50 final assembly and check-out (FACO) plant in the USA. That makes perfect sense as it competes for the USA’s pending T-X trainer competition, and it also affects Israel’s buy. If the T-50 series can be considered an American product, that means Israel could buy it with American foreign aid dollars. The M-346 is unlikely to be able to offer that, which would give the Korean jet a significant edge.

The existing T-50 Golden Eagle contract reportedly states that KAI takes 70% percent of the production work, while Lockheed takes the rest. The firms would not address speculation that this ratio might be adjusted for the US T-X and /or Israeli competitions.

June 2011: Iraq. Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that the Iraqis may have made an oil-for-aircraft deal to buy Korean T-50 family jet trainers, some of which could also serve as effective light fighters. If so, this indicates serious budget issues, and makes the reported deal for Aero Vodochody L159T jet trainers questionable. Will the L-159’s potential Iraq deal become yet another canceled Czech?

As of Jan 5/12, however, no public announcement had been made regarding either platform.

May 26/11: KAI IPO. If KAI seemed to jump the gun on the Indonesia announcement, there may be a clear motive. The Korea Exchange has just approved an IPO for the firm to go public, which is expected to raise around $525 million in cash for the firm. Announcing the sale just ahead of that approval is permissible, and has the effect of boosting the expected asking price. Woori Investment & Securities, and Hyundai Securities, will manage the deal. Reuters | Wall St. Journal.

KAI IPO

T-50: takeoff
(click to view full)

May 25/11: Indonesia win. Well, that was fast. KAI executive VP Enes Park is quoted as saying that the Indonesian Defense Ministry signed a $400 million deal for 16 jets – or $25 million per plane, which is not the deep discount deal touted earlier. Aviation Week says that the contract reportedly involves a T-50 with a gun and weapon pylons (i.e. TA-50), though the actual designation is T-50I.

The planes will replace about 10 Hawk Mk.53 subsonic trainers, and may also supplement or replace the TNI-AU’s 5-6 remaining F-5E/F fighters. Read “Indonesia Looking for Trainer/Attack Aircraft” for full coverage.

May 20/11: Indonesia win? In the wake of an ROK-Indonesian agreement to expand economic and industrial cooperation via a joint secretariat, and reports that KAI has been designated as Indonesia’s preferred trainer jet bidder, Indonesia’s Amir Sambodo suggests that Indonesia might buy 16 T-50 family jets, in exchange for 4 or more additional CN-235 aircraft bought from Indonesia’s Dirgantara. Read “Indonesia Looking for Trainer/Attack Aircraft” for full coverage.

April 12/11: Indonesia. The Indonesian government sends a letter to KAI, designating the South Korean firm as the preferred bidder to replace Indonesia’s BAE Systems Hawk 53s. Source.

Indonesia is 1st export win: 16 “T-50i” TA-50s.

Feb 24/11: UAE stall. Flight International reports that M346 negotiations between the UAE and Alenia Aermacchi have stopped, with no word on when they might resume. Having said that:

“The door appears to remain closed to KAI and the T-50, with officials from the South Korean company agreeing. “Obviously, we would love to get back into the competition and offer the T-50. But we have not had any discussions with the UAE officials about the T-50 since they picked the M-346, and we are not expecting that to change any time soon,” says a KAI official.”

That quote would seem to contradict recent reports by UPI and Defense News, which said that the UAE had re-opened talks.

Jan 24/11: TA-50 rollout. South Korea rolls out the first production TA-50 variant, with light attack capabilities. The TA-50s will mostly be used to train new military pilots on air-to-air and air-to-surface missions before they deploy to KF-16s or F-15Ks, but they can also perform combat missions themselves as secondary air patrol or ground attack assets, and could be asked to do that in the event of a war.

South Korean media report that TA-50 deliveries will continue until 2012, to be followed by full F/A-50 fighters from 2013 onward. KAI | Korea Herald | idomin [in Korean, picture]

TA-50

2010

50th T-50 delivery; SFW bombs for FA-50s; Singapore loss; Iraq stall. Alenia’s M346
(click to view full)

Oct 25/10: Iraq Czeched? Prague Monitor and Iraq Business report that the Czech Republic might sell up to 25 used Aero L-159s to Iraq. Iraq has been holding a competition for 24 jet trainers between Korea’s T-50, the UK’s Hawk, and Italy’s M-346.

If the L-159 has become a focus, rather than just a competitor, it’s likely that the price of new jet trainers was too high, given other pressing needs – and that Iraq is now looking at value over newness. Time will tell.

Sept 28/10: Singapore loss. Rumors of a loss in Singapore are confirmed, via a EUR 250 million contract to supply Singapore with 12 M-346 trainers and related systems. The win comes via Alenia’s global marketing agreement with Boeing, who already supplies Singapore’s new F-15SG fighters. Read “Finmeccanica’s M-346 AJT: Who’s the Master Now?” for full coverage.

Singapore loss

Sept 2/10: Poland RFP. Poland’s Ministry of Defense (MON) issues its jet trainer RFP for 16 planes, plus support, related training systems like simulators; and initial training for 6 instructors, 6 pilots, and 50 ground crew. 1.45 billion zlotys (about $467 million) has been budgeted, and the T-50 is a contender.

Aug 9/10: Indonesia finalists. Air Forces Monthly reports that Indonesia’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration has narrowed its 16 plane advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft shortlist to the Czech Aero L-159B, South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle, and Russia’s Yak-130.

That leaves both Alenia’s M346 Master and China’s JL-9/FTC-2000 out in the cold. Interestingly, the common denominator for the 2 eliminated types is poor secondary ground attack capabilities.

July 1/10: Singapore loss? Defense News reports that Singapore’s government has selected Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 as the preferred bidder in its $1.3 billion competition for 48 advanced jet trainers. Aermacchi teamed up with Singapore’s ST Aero to compete against the KAI-Lockheed team, with Boeing providing the ground-based training system to support the M-346.

Singapore’s MINDEF has not made its decision public, and neither KAI, nor Aermacchi, nor South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) procurement and export agency could confirm the tip. The report adds that the UAE’s M346 deal remains in limbo over a side deal to develop UAVs together, which may give the T-50 an opening. Singapore’s loss in particular is a sharp blow to the platform, however, and may set other events in motion – including privatization:

“The state-owned Korea Development Bank (KDB) announced in April 2009 that it would sell its 30.5 percent stake in KAI, which has three other major local shareholders – Samsung Techwin, Doosan Infracore and Hyundai Motors, each with a 20.54 percent stake. But KDB temporarily withdrew from its decision in the face of opposition from KAI’s labor union, which argued that the privatization effort could hurt overseas sales of the T-50… Earlier this year, a KoFC(Korea Finance Corp.) official said, “If KAI fails to sell the T-50 to Singapore, discussions of the KAI privatization would certainly be resurfaced. Our position will be re-established after that.”

See also the official SAF cyberpioneer’s articles covering the BAE Hawk, Alenia M346, and KAI T-50.

May 12/10: #50. The ROKAF holds a ceremony to celebrate the delivery of the 50th T-50 jet, which completes the RKAF’s orders for that variant.

The Korea Herald reports that the T-50 project had cost WON 2.2 trillion ($1.9 billion) on the T-50 project as of 1997, with training beginning in April 2007. The jet has been used to train 190 pilots so far. KAI | Korea Herald.

Last ROKAF T-50

April 6/10: SFW for FA-50s. Textron Defense System announces that the ROKAF will integrate their Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) smart cluster bombs on the FA-50 light combat aircraft. Through a foreign military sale led by the Eglin Air Force Base Air Armament Center and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration of South Korea, Textron Defense Systems expects to begin providing inert integration rounds starting in 2010.

2009

ROKAF’s Black Eagles switch; UAE loss; IAI EL/M-2032 radar & Elisra ECM for FA-50; M61 20mm gun contract. Black Eagles T-50B
(click to view full)

Oct 29/09: AESA offered. Flight International reports that Raytheon officials are touting their RACR model AESA radar for the F/A-50 at the 2009 Seoul air show. Northrop Grumman’s similar SABR radar, which has been designed to compete with RACR in the F-16 retrofit market, is another possibility. Buying an American radar would step around the provisions that F/A-50 source code may not be shared with other countries; whether it would also overcome the agreements’ other obstacles remains to be seen.

Sept 23/09: EL/M2-2032 radar deal. Israel Aerospace Industries announces a $280 million pair of contracts with South Korea, one of which covers EL/M-2032 radars for the TA-50 and FA-50 fighters. The fighter radar will be co-produced by IAI ELTA and South Korea’s LIG Nex1.

The other order reportedly involves Israel’s Oren Yarok (“Green Pine”) long-range air defense and missile tracking radar. Earlier discussions had revolved around figures of about $215 million for 2 Green Pine radar systems, and current reports offer a figure of $200 million for an undisclosed number of systems. The low number of TA-50 and F/A-50 fighter orders at this early stage of their development, and the EL/M-2032 fighter radar’s low R&D needs given its mature state, makes those figures plausible in the absence of a detailed breakout between the 2 contracts. Globes adds that IAI’s usual contract policies involve a down payment of 25-35%, suggesting that it will record $70-98 million revenue from these contracts in its consolidated financial report for 2009.

The release and follow-on reports do not mention South Korea’s KF-16s, which are also slated for a radar upgrade. IAI release | Globes business | Agence France Presse | Flight International.

M-2032 radar deal

Sept 21/09: Israel. Flight International reports that Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 Master and the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50 have emerged as the leading candidates to replace the Israeli Cheyl Ha’avir’s TA-4 Skyhawk advanced jet trainers. See also full DID coverage: “Israel’s Skyhawk Scandal Leads to End of an Era.”

Aug 2/09: Israel. As reports of Israeli radar cooperation to equip KAI’s TA-50 and FA-50s swirl around the media, Israel has sent a formal delegation to evaluate and test-fly the T-50 as a potential replacement for its Skyhawks. This is the first time in 40 years that Israel is considering purchasing a fighter jet not made either locally, or in the United States.

Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that other candidates include the T-45 Hawk variant, and Alenia’s M-346. Media reports currently cite the T-50 family as the front-runners for the 20-30 plane Lead-In Fighter Trainer order. Read “Trainer Jets for Israel: Skyhawk Scandal Leads to End of an Era” for ongoing coverage.

July 23/09: IAI radar. The Korea Times reports that South Korea’s LIG Nex1 will sign a deal with Israel’s IAI Elta Systems on Sept 3/09. That deal will involve the first phase of development for an indigenous radar based on the EL/M-2032 passive phased array radar, to equip TA-50 and F/A-50 aircraft. The radar’s back end ends up being a SamsungThales project.

An official from the ROK’s DAPA procurement agency told the Times that the radar is expected to be built by the end of 2010, and enter service in 2011. In the mid- to long-term, sources told The Kora Times that the domestically-built radar is likely to be installed on upgraded KF-16 fighters. The Times adds that the effort may even lead to Korean development of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar under future agreements with IAI Elta, who has also developed the EL/M-2052 AESA.

The South Korean Air Force is buying 50 T-50 trainers, 22 TA-50s with secondary attack capabilities, and 10 T-50Bs modified for aerobatics; and is expected to add 60 F/A-50 light fighters by 2012 to replace its F-5 Tiger and F-4 Phantom fighters.

April 30/09: Black Eagles switch. The ROKAF’s Black Eagles acrobatic flight display team retired its Cessna A-37 Dragonflys after the 2009 Seoul Air Show. The ROKAF announces that they will re-debut with a fleet of 8 T-50B Golden Eagles at Seoul’s international air show in October 2009. Note that the final Black Eagle paint scheme ended up being different than the initial scheme depicted in the photo, above.

This will make the Black Eagles one of the few air force aerobatic teams to use locally designed and manufactured supersonic aircraft, alongside the USA’s Thunderbirds (F-16) and Blue Angels (F/A-18), Russia’s Swifts (MiG-29) and Knights (SU-27), and China’s 1st Aerobatic Team (J-10s). Defense News.

Black Eagles fly T-50B

March 15/09: UAE post-mortem. The Korea Times cites an upcoming $500 million competition in Singapore between the Aermacchi M346 and KAI’s T-50, while delving into some of the reasons behind the recent UAE loss:

“The government’s role is much bigger than it appears in this kind of competition,” [the military analyst] said. “And what the Korean government did in the UAE is, to be frank, far from [adequate].” Italy, which had developed close ties with Middle Eastern countries over the years, rolled out marketing promotions there with pledges of large industrial cooperation projects, including construction of an F-1 racing track… [in contrast] None of the Korean projects have been delivered to Abu Dhabi through a ministerial channel.

When National Assembly Speaker Rep. Kim Hyeong-o visited the UAE in January, he heard from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, that the preferred bidder will be “decided upon industrial cooperation offered, as well as the trainer jet quality.” He remarked that the country hadn’t heard anything from Seoul for nine months… To make matters worse, Seoul didn’t even take the opportunity of a last chance from Abu Dhabi, after the Korean delegation failed to make it to February’s International Defense Exhibition & Conference held there, where UAE was awaiting a new offer.”

March 12/09: Price problem? The Korea Times publishes an article that wonders if the T-50’s supersonic speed has created a price handicap:

“Although the UAE acknowledged the T-50 has remarkably high quality, the country apparently put more value on cooperative projects in the aerospace industry that the Italian side pledged,” the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement, which also pointed out a disadvantage in price. A T-50 jet’s flyaway cost is set at 20 billion won to 25 billion won ($13.5 – $16.9 million), while the M-346 costs 18 billion won to 20 billion won.” [$12.15 – $13.5 million]

DID’s take? Advanced jet training does focus on in-air operation, take-off and landing, and blind flying, with secondary weapons training opportunities. Within those constraints, the price of supersonic flight may not be seen as worthwhile. What the capability does, is give the T-50 family a full secondary fighter role that goes beyond the traditional “secondary light ground attack” role for trainers. The ultimate question for the market to answer is how much it values that capability, in an era of shrinking defense budgets that create stronger demands for multi-role platforms, as well as closer attention to costs.

Feb 25/09: UAE setback. At IDEX 2009, the UAE announces that it has begun negotiations for 48 M-346 aircraft from Finmeccanica’s Aermacchi. If the EUR 1 billion deal is finalized, the T/A-50 will have lost this export competition.

Feb 24/09: Iraq. Iraq officially requests T-50 jets, even as Iraq and the ROK sign economic agreements to develop oil fields near Basra, and open Iraqi public infrastructure contracts to South Korean firms. For full details and updates, read “T/A-50 Golden Eagles for Iraq?

Feb 11/09: Elisra ECM for FA-50. Flight International reports that Israel’s Elisra will supply the F/A-50’s electronic warfare and self-protection equipment, under an initial contract worth $7 million for the initial 4 prototypes. The equipment will be supplied over the next 2 years, and “Elisra sources indicate that the selected EW system will include radar warning receivers and chaff and flare dispensers.”

This contract involves the adaptation of proven systems, rather than a new design. The joint Elbit systems (70%)/ IAI (30%) venture Elisra already makes the self-protection systems that equip many of the IAF’s F-16s.

Jan 15/09: Iraq. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency and the World Tribune both file reports concerning Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi’s ongoing visit to South Korea, which included inspection and a test flight of the T-50. South Korea sent a 3,600-strong contingent to the northern Iraqi city of Irbil in September 2004 as part of the U.S.-led forces, and a total of 18,000 South Korean troops served in rotation around northern Iraq until 2008.

DJ Elliott of the Long War Journal says that the T/A-50 was suggested in fall 2007 to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense by MNSTC-I’s Coalition Air Force Transition Team. Iraq’s pending trainer aircraft purchase appears to be Hawker Beechcraft’s T-6 Texan II, but a jet trainer is required as an interim step between the T-6 and more advanced planes like the F-16s Iraq is requesting. If Iraq begins with T/A-50s, however, they would also become the new IqAF’s first jet fighters, and give Iraq qualitative parity with many of the fighters currently flown by its semi-hostile neighbors Syria and Iran.

Read “T/A-50 Golden Eagles for Iraq?” for more.

Jan 12/09: M61. General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products announces a contract by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for up to 82 of its 3-barreled M61 20mm cannons that will equip the TA-50 and FA-50 variants. Price was not disclosed, but deliveries will begin in October 2010. By May 2013, there are enough orders to account for all guns.

Manufacturing will be performed at General Dynamics’ Saco, ME, facility, and the program will be managed by General Dynamics’ Burlington, VT facility. S&T Dynamics, LTD of South Korea is the designated Korean Industry Partner (KIP) for the program, and they will produce the ammunition containers under a subcontract arrangement with General Dynamics.

Jan 8/09: Poland. The Korea Times reports that Vice Defense Minister Kim Jong-cheon will visit Poland later from Jan 19-23, and that his agenda includes a push for the T-50 trainer. The jets may have very stiff competition, however, as Finland is re-selling its used BAE Hawk trainers.

The report also confirms that competitions are still active in Singapore (12-16 jets, up to $500 million) and the UAE (35-40, $1+ billion, subsequently lost to M346).

2008

FA-50 development contract; Radar complications. EL/M-2032
(click to view full)

Dec 30/08: FA-50 development. South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) signs a WON 400 billion (about $317 million) contract with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to develop 4 prototypes of the F/A-50 light attack jet by 2012.

Full production of about 60 aircraft is scheduled to begin in 2013, at which point the F/A-50s will begin replacing 1960s era A-37 dragonfly attack jets, F-5E/F Tiger II light fighters, and F-4 Phantom II fighters as the ROKAF’s low-end fighters. The Korean buy could extend to 150 aircraft, and its capabilities and price point make exports likely.

That potential was one of the reasons the F/A-50 project has been delayed. The F/A-50 is a joint KAI/ Lockheed martin project, and the agreement includes a number of provisions related to American weapons export policies, and to corporate interests at Lockheed Martin. One stipulation was that Lockheed would not transfer aircraft source code to other nations. Another was that the T-50’s capabilities could not exceed Korea’s F-16s. A 3rd provision banned South Korea from integrating T-50 variants with non-U.S. technology that the United States doesn’t have.

Korea originally wanted to equip the F/A-50 with the lightweight Vixen-500E AESA(Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar developed by U.K. firm Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems, but that would have violated all 3 of the above provisions. Lockheed Martin pushed for its AN/APG-67v4 radar, which equips the T/A-50 LIFT. Instead, the Koreans chose the proven EL/M-2032 mechanically scanned radar from Israel’s IAI Elta Systems. That radar serves on some Israeli F-16s and also equips a range of other aircraft around the world that include F-16s, F-4 Phantoms, F-5 Tigers, MiG-21s, Kfirs and other Mirage variants, India’s Sea Harriers, and India’s forthcoming Tejas lightweight fighter. Korea Times.

FA-50 development

Dec 10/08: After more than 40 years of service, Israel is finally looking to replace its versatile A-4 Skyhawk fleet. KAI’s T-50 family is reportedly one of the 4 contenders. Read “Israel’s Skyhawk Scandal Leads to End of an Era“.

Aug 28/08: An upgraded F/A-50 lightweight fighter counterpart would be a logical replacement for South Korea’s vintage F-5E/F and F-4 fighter fleet, and may also prove attractive as a global export. Flight International reports that the design is almost complete, but program approval for additional South Korean F/A-50s is being held up by 2 key issues.

One is the desire for an AESA radar, which would sharply improve the little fighter’s capabilities while lowering maintenance costs. Both Northrop Grumman (SABR) and Raytheon (RACR) have designed new AESA radars for F-16 refits, and the nature of AESA radars allows them to be resized very flexibly. The bad news is that negotiations with the US government haven’t been able to secure US authorization for AESA radar exports to South Korea. This forces the Koreans to go ahead with a more conventional but limited radar like the AN/APG-67v4, or put the F/A-50 on hold until AESA approval is granted. If it would be granted to a project that’s likely to compete with made-in-USA F-16s on the global export market.

The other issue is Lockheed Martin’s participation. Lockheed helped develop the T-50, and has the fighter development and advanced weapon integration experience that KAI lacks. On the other hand, its involvement raises costs. KAI is reportedly pushing for this partnership, but the government must conclude that the benefits would be worth those extra costs. Likely arguments to that end include lower project/financial risk, improved export prospects, and greater likelihood of American technology export approvals.

2006 – 2007

ROKAF orders 50 more; 1st T-50 delivery; Lockheed Martin MoU; UAE opportunity. T-50, underside
(click to view full)

Nov 1/07: UAE. Reports claim that Aermacchi’s M-346 and KAI’s T/A-50 are the finalists in the UAE competition, with Britain’s Hawk LIFT eliminated by BAE’s own admission. Flight International report. A Korea Times report pegs the UAE’s purchase total at 35-40, rather than 60. Time will tell.

They also add a market prediction from KAI officials that expect T-50 variants will secure about 30% of the 3,300 aircraft global trainer market within 25 years – about 1,100 aircraft.

Oct 26/07: KOIS reports that Korea’s commerce and industry minister Kim Young-ju is headed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the T-50 is competing against the BAE Hawk Mk128 LIFT and Aermacchi’s M-346 for an estimated 60-plane, $1+ billion order. The UAE is expected to choose its next generation trainer jet by early November 2007. See “Korea’s commerce, industry minister pitches T-50 jet to UAE.”

Oct 15/07: On the eve of the Seoul 2007 Air Show, KOIS reports that the T-50 is poised to pick up orders in the United Arab Emirates (60 jets), Greece (30), and Singapore (40). “Korea is expected to sign the deals with the three nations this month or next month,” said Yoon Cha-young, executive director of the Korea Aerospace Industries Association.

Dec 13/06: 2nd ROKAF order. The Government of South Korea has signed a contract with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for “approximately 50” additional T-50 and TA-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainers. The new aircraft will be used for advanced jet training and lead-in fighter training. All the aircraft will be delivered from KAI’s production facility in Sacheon, South Korea.

Subsequent reports from South Korean media mail this order down at 57 planes: 25 more T-50s, 22 TA-50s, and 10 T-50Bs to replace the Black Eagles’ aerobatic planes. Lockheed Martin release.

ROKAF #2: 57 planes

Nov 16/06: Lockheed MoU. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin sign a memorandum of understanding today to expand their strategic relationship. Ralph Heath, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, in the Lockheed Martin release:

“First, the memorandum is a recommitment to continue our efforts in marketing the T-50 Golden Eagle to international customers. Additionally, we will seek ways to collaborate on future opportunities in Korea, the United States and the international marketplace. We value the important, long-standing relationship we have with KAI.”

“First, the memorandum is a recommitment to continue our efforts in marketing the T-50 Golden Eagle to international customers” said Ralph Heath, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “Additionally, we will seek ways to collaborate on future opportunities in Korea, the United States and the international marketplace. We value the important, long-standing relationship we have with KAI.”

Hae Joo Chung, KAI president:

“This new agreement means that our two companies will look to cooperate in the areas of aircraft modification and upgrades, as well as the future fighter requirements for the Korean government. The new business sector of Performance Based Logistics Support provides an important opportunity for cooperation with Lockheed Martin in Korea and with international customers.”

Lockheed MoU

July 17/06: Lockheed Martin release: “Last month program officials announced the opening of a new marketing office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This facility gives KAI greater proximity to potential customers in the Middle East and Europe and allows the Korean-based company an opportunity to grow its business-base.”

Jan 4/06: 1st delivery. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) delivers its first 2 production T-50 advanced jet trainer aircraft to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). Designated KAI-1 and KAI-2, these aircraft are the first deliveries to a customer since the award of the production contract just 24 months ago. In addition to these 2 aircraft, KAI will deliver another 8 aircraft to the ROKAF in 2006, and 1 per month afterward. Lockheed Martin release.

1st deliveries

2005 and Earlier

Testing milestones. T-50: KAI-1
(click to view full)

Feb 11/05: The supersonic T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer has attained several significant technical milestones, including reaching maximum load factors (8g), maximum operating speed (Mach 1.3, design limit Mach 1.5), beginning stores separation testing (fuel tank jettison), and completing its second lifetime (lifetime = 8,334 flight hours) of structural durability testing. Lockheed Martin release.

Oct 26/04 – Jan 6/05: The T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer successfully completes aerial gunfire testing. A total of 10 test flights were conducted under a variety of flight conditions, including 3 supersonic flights. Testing included operation of the gun and ammo handling system, plus measurement of vibration levels and adequacy of the gun bay gas purging capability.

The tests used the 3rd Full Scale Development aircraft, the first in the A-50 lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) configuration. The gun is a lighter weight, internally mounted 3-barrel version of General Dynamics’ standard 6-barrel M61 used by many fighters. It has a rate of fire of 3,000 rounds per minute, and the ammo system holds 205 rounds of ammunition. The gun will be used for both ground strafing and aerial gunnery training. Lockheed Martin release.

Feb 7/04: As part of the aircraft’s external stores testing, the first flight with external fuel tanks occurs. The 150-U.S. gallon, jettisonable fuel tanks are built by Sargent Fletcher of El Monte, CA. A single tank extends mission duration and range about 15-20%, and the three-tank configuration extends them by about 40%.

These external stores tests aim to verify the T-50 aircraft’s stability and control, flutter and handling qualities when loaded with fuel tanks, weapons, and other stores. Later flights will verify performance, store functionality and interfaces, and store separation. Approximately 280 sorties utilizing all 4 of the T-50 flight test aircraft are planned for external stores testing with external fuel tanks installed, and external stores flight testing will continue until the end of Full-Scale Development. The ROKAF is conducting the flight testing from Sacheon Air Base, South Korea. Lockheed Martin.

March 15/04: Lockheed Martin announces that the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has begun engine air start flight testing of the T-50’s F404-GE-102 jet engine. Air start testing involves intentionally shutting down the engine in flight and restarting it, in order to verify the air start envelope and procedures. This effort is expected to include 15 flight tests over a 7-month period.

Dec 19/03: 1st orders. KAI receives a production contract from South Korea’s DAPA for 25 T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainers. The undisclosed contract covers the aircraft, alternate mission equipment, integrated support, and production start-up costs. The aircraft will be built at KAI’s modern aircraft production facilities at Sacheon, South Korea, with Lockheed Martin as the principal subcontractor. The first production T-50 will be delivered in late 2005. Lockheed Martin adds that:

“The Korean government had earlier approved plans to purchase about 100 aircraft, half in the basic T-50 configuration and half in the T-50 Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) version. The T-50 LIFT version is designated the A-50 by the ROKAF and includes a multimode radar, an internal 20 mm cannon and… weapons… The 25 aircraft in the initial contract to KAI are all in the basic T-50 configuration. The remaining aircraft in the approved plan will be purchased in a follow-on contract.”

ROKAF order: 25 T-50s.

Nov 3/03: T-50 Flight testing with captive AIM-9 air-to-air missiles is initiated. Source.

July 29/03: F/A-50? Flight International reports that KAI has begun a study for a possible fighter version of the T-50, even as it finalizes production plans with Lockheed Martin in preparation for an expected order for the first 24 T-50s next month.

April 28/03: The T-50 Golden Eagle completes its 100th test flight, and reaches a speed of Mach 1.2 on the same day.

On April 25th, the airframe durability vehicle completed one lifetime of testing, equivalent to 8,334 flight hours, at the Agency for Defense Development testing laboratory in Taejon, South Korea. Testing continues on a second lifetime, which is expected to be complete in April 2004. Lockheed Martin.

Feb 19/03: Supersonic. The T-50 achieves supersonic flight for the first time. The milestone flight was accomplished on the No. 1 flight-test aircraft during the 60-minute flight from the air base at Sachon, South Korea. The top speed achieved was Mach 1.05 at an altitude of 40,000 feet. Full afterburner on the General Electric F404-GE-102 engine was used to accelerate to the target speed, then minimum afterburner was used to sustain the speed. Approximately one minute was spent in the supersonic regime.

“The aircraft accelerated through the Mach smoothly and quickly,” said Major Choong Hwan Lee, Republic of Korea Air Force test pilot for the flight. “I observed no adverse flight or handling characteristics. I was able to hold the target speed of Mach 1.05 with plenty of excess power available, so I have no doubt this aircraft will be able to achieve its maximum design Mach of Mach 1.5.” Lockheed Martin release.

Supersonic

Nov 25/02: The T-50 Golden Eagle advanced supersonic trainer reaches its stated operational ceiling of 40,000 feet during a test flight. All systems operate normally.

The actual maximum service ceiling for the T-50 is estimated to be 48,500 feet, the altitude where rate of climb is limited to 100 feet per minute at maximum power (full afterburner). Lockheed Martin.

Nov 8/02: The 2nd T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer successfully completes its 47-minute flight from KAI’s facility at Sachon, South Korea. Lockheed Martin.

Additional Readings The T-50 Family

Competitors & Market

Competitions Covered

Categories: News

First Flight of Boeing-Saab T-X Trainer Due Before 2017 | NG Completes Design Review for Tern UAS | Iraqis to Buy HQ-9 Surface to Air Missiles from China

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 23:58
Americas

  • Following the completion of afterburner engine runs last week, Boeing has announced that the first flight of the Boeing-Saab T-X trainer will take place before the end of the year. However, several tests remain to be carried out prior to the full flight, including low, medium, and high-speed taxi tests, as well as takoff, climb, and landing. The Boeing-Saab offering is one of the two clean sheet designs being offered to the USAF, the other being Northrop Grumman, as part of the T-X competition. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin has partnered with KAI to offer the T-50A, a version of the Korean company’s T-50 trainer, while Raytheon has joined with Leonardo and CAE on the T-100, which uses Alenia Aermacchi M-346 as the basis.

  • Northrop Grumman has announced the completion of two critical design reviews for the Tern UAS that it is designing alongside the Office of Naval Research, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Mid-October saw the NG team complete a critical design review for the vehicle’s General Electric engine, while the latest review covered its vehicle management system. The Tern program has been undertaken in order to develop a new UAS system that can be deployed from maritime platforms for surveillance and strike missions. It is also being designed to fly in vertical and horizontal modes.

  • Norwegian UAS maker Prox Dynamics has been acquired by sensor developer FLIR Systems in a cash deal worth $134 million. Once finalized, FLIR will have access to the company’s product line, and will continue to develop new devices to support military and para-military intelligence operations. A specialist in covert surveillance systems, products offered include the pocket-sized Black Hornet aerial sensor, which can be hand-launched by soldiers on the battlefield to collect intelligence and support surveillance operations.

Middle East & North Africa

  • The Iraqi government is reportedly set to finalize a deal to buy the HQ-9 long-range surface-to-air missile system from China. Valued at $2.5 billion, Baghdad is expected to finance the acquisition using credit from China, and paid for in installments of $833 million. The deal may also include Type 99 tanks and other Chinese military equipment.

Europe

  • In response to the current missile testing by the Ukrainian military near Crimea, Russian warships have taken up position off the peninsula in order to improve their air defenses. The two-day exercises, which began yesterday, have angered Moscow, as their forces remain on high alert and fearful that international flights may be delayed. Ukrainian officials have dismissed the fears, saying the testing is being carried out in accordance with international law and does not threaten Crimean air space.

  • A consortium led by state-run PGZ will provide six batteries of the PSR-A Pilica system to the Polish Ministry of Defense. Delivery of the anti-aircraft platforms will take place between 2019 and 2022, and will cost Warsaw $180 million. Plans to beef up all forms of air-defense capabilities has $9.5 billion earmarked for middle-range air and anti-missile defense systems, and a further $4.7 million available for short-range air-defense procurements.

Asia Pacific

  • Australia’s government has issued a request for tender to three shortlisted designers for the production of their multibillion dollar Offshore Patrol Vessel program, with officials telling designers Damen, Fassmer and Luerssen that they must focus on local shipbuilding enterprises to support the project. Prospective contracts will cover 12 vessels and are slated to replace Australia’s Armidale-class patrol boats. The project is part of the Australian government’s $89 billion investment in naval ships and submarines over the next 20 years.

  • Contracts have been signed between India and the US subsidiary of BAE Systems for the provision of of 145 M777A2 LW155 ultralight howitzers. The $737 million deal will see BAE partner with Indian private sector defense company Mahindra Defence Systems to assemble 120 ultralight howitzers, while the remaining 25 guns will be supplied over the next three years. Meanwhile, neighboring Pakistan’s own self-propelled howitzer competition is shaping up, with South Africa’s Denel and Serbia’s Yugoimport-SDPR offering their T5-52 and NORA B-52 guns respectively.

Today’s Video

Overview video of Northrop Grumman’s Tern UAS:

Categories: News

China Gearing up to Export HQ-9 Anti-Air Missiles

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 23:51

HQ-9 launcher
(click to view full)

Kanwa Asian Defense reports that the China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation has put CASIC’s HQ-9 surface-to-air missile on the export market, under the name FD-2000. “Brochures advertising China’s latest missile appeared at the most recent African Ground Force Equipment Exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa and also at the Defense Exhibition in Karachi, Pakistan last November.”

The Chinese Air Force has already deployed the HQ-9 at its bases in the north-central provinces of Xi’an and Lanzhou. A brigade reportedly contains a command vehicle, six control vehicles, 6 targeting radar vehicles, 6 search-radar vehicles, 48 missile-launch vehicles, and 192 missiles; plus a positioning vehicle, a communications vehicle, a power supply vehicle and a support vehicle. A battalion reportedly contains 8 missile launch vehicles.

The HongQi-9/FD-2000 reportedly combines elements “borrowed” from Russia’s S-300 and America’s MIM-104 Patriot…

S-300PMU2 Favorit
radar & launchers
(click to view full)

SinoDefense reports that the HQ-9 uses a ‘Track-Via-Missile’ (TVM) terminal guidance system that is similar to the Patriot’s, but the state of China’s solid rocket technology has forced the use of a much larger missiles. The final missile reportedly uses elements of the S-300’s solid rocket, aerodynamic layout, gas-dynamic spoilers, and launcher technologies, as well as some search and guidance systems. There have also been accusations that Israel transferred some elements of Patriot technology to China in the early 1990s. Israel has denied this, however, and some of the benefits one might expect do not appear to have materialized. Among other things, the HQ-9’s deployment patterns suggest second-tier status within China itself, compared to alternatives like advanced Russian S-300 family surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.

Kanwa offers statistics and information about the HQ-9 that differentiates it from the FT-2000 radar killer missile, which is often described as an HQ-9 variant. Kanwa believes that this description is incorrect.

With respect to market positioning, the HQ-9/FD-2000 missile’s range of 125 km against aircraft is shorter than Russia’s S-300 PMU1 with its 150km range, or the S-300 PMU2 with its 200 km reach. According to Kanwa, the HQ-9’s effective engagement envelope rises 27,000 m/ 88,600 feet, dropping to 50 km range and 18,000m/ 59,000 feet against incoming air-ground missiles, 15 km range against ground-hugging cruise missiles, and 25 km at up to 15,000m/ 49,200 feet against ballistic missiles.

HongQi9’s range against conventional air targets exceeds America’s Patriot system, and may be more comparable to its THAAD theater-level defense system. That reach is also slightly longer than the original S-300 missile (SA-10), and MBDA’s new Aster-30 SAMP/T.

There has been some question about the HQ-9’s radars, and overall performance will not equal that of America’s THAAD, Europe’s SAMP/T, or Russia’s newer S-300 or S-400 variants (SA-20). Customers shopping for high-end solutions will choose one of those options instead, and China is an example. They depend on more advanced S-300 variants from Russia for front-line deployments.

Akash SAM exhibit
(click to view full)

To the extent that China enjoys export successes, it will depend on customers who are looking for high mid-range air defense performance at a low to mid-range price. That orientation will put it on a competitive collision course with India’s much shorter range Akash system, as well as the MR-SAM project under joint development by India and Israel.

Akash is likely to find itself shut out of the export market by this superior Chinese alternative. The MR-SAM project is far more likely to result in a competitive design, but may offer the Chinese product a number of opportunities due to self-imposed export restrictions that the Chinese do not share.

In terms of the larger strategic context, exported HQ-9 systems can be expected to give added impetus to an existing trend. The steady proliferation of relatively advanced air defense systems to 3rd world militaries has already become something of a concern to the USA, whose 1980s generation fighters will find it challenging to deal with them on even terms. Depending on the HQ-9’s export pricing, that trend may soon extend to a number of lower-tier militaries, extending existing challenges to American air dominance.

Update

December 2/16: The Iraqi government is reportedly set to finalize a deal to buy the HQ-9 long-range surface-to-air missile system from China. Valued at $2.5 billion, Baghdad is expected to finance the acquisition using credit from China, and paid for in installments of $833 million. The deal may also include Type 99 tanks and other Chinese military equipment.

Additional Readings

Categories: News

M777: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Howitzer

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 23:45

M777: dragon’s breath
(click to view full)

The M777 ultra-lightweight towed 155mm howitzer has an integrated digital fire control system, and can fire all existing 155mm projectiles. Nothing new there. What is new is the fact that this 9,700 pound howitzer saves over 6,000 pounds of weight by making extensive use of titanium and advanced aluminum alloys, allowing it to be carried by Marine Corps MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft or medium helicopters, and/or airdropped by C-130 aircraft. The new gun is a joint program between the US Army and Marine Corps to replace existing 155mm M198s, and will perform fire support for U.S. Marine Air Ground Task Forces and U.S. Army Stryker Brigade Combat Teams.

Britain is the USA’s M777 LWH co-development partner, but Canada became the first country to field it in combat, thanks to an emergency buy before their 2006 “Operation Archer” deployment to Afghanistan. Customers now include the US Army & USMC, Australia, and Canada – but not Britain.

M777: Capabilities and Upgrades

M777 parts
(click to view full)

The M777 offers significant advances in 2 areas. One is obviously weight.

Weight matters. The M777’s weight and profile allows 2 M777 howitzers to be fitted into a C-130 Hercules tactical transport, instead of just one equivalent-caliber M198. Previous howitzers could be lifted by heavy helicopters like the CH-47 Chinook or CH-53E Super Stallion, but the M777 expands those options to include carriage under a V-22 Osprey, or a medium class helicopter like the EH101.

Weight has increased slightly over the initial specification, but this is largely attributable to over 2,000 design changes from the original shoot-off specification to today’s gun. Run-flat tires added over 100 pounds, while a cradle assembly that went from 400 components to 5 main castings trades some added weight for significantly improved maintenance and reliability.

The gun remains stable when firing, despite its light weight, by being out of balance. The barrel is mounted low and forward, which keeps the gun from overturning. Even so, these are not the gun’s most significant features.

M777: bulls-eye
(click to view full)

There’s also a front-line payoff to the new howitzer. Rate of fire is 4-8 rounds per minute in bursts, or 2 rounds per minute sustained fire.

When using previous generations of artillery, units like the US Marines had to communicate with the fire direction center through radio, and use iron sights to aim at targets. The M777 is equipped with iron sights as a backup, but the military doesn’t expect those sights to see much use outside of training. Modern artillery has features like data distribution systems, self location via INS and/or GPS, automatic or assisted gun-laying, and other add-ons that automate the process of receiving fire orders and acting on them. Coordinates can be usually transmitted digitally from tactical air controllers, UAVs, or other platforms, and the M777’s own display can be used to send text messages to other cannoneers.

These advances improve efficiency, and survivability. Instead of being forced to cluster together near communications nodes, artillery pieces can be spread out over a larger area, with each gun executing “shoot and scoot” tactics using the M777’s fast 2-3 minute set-up and displacement times. This compares to its predecessor the M198, which has a 6.5 minute emplacement time and 10.5 minute displacement time.

The key to this capability is called Towed Artillery Digitization (TAD). General Dynamics ATP’s TAD includes sensors like the integrated muzzle velocimeter, vehicle motion sensor, and ammunition inventory capability; mission computer with on-board ballistic computation and Joint Variable Message messaging format capabilities; GPS receiver which works with the Inertial Navigation System and motion sensor to provide self-location within 10m and gun pointing within 1 mil RMS azimuth and 0.5 mil elevation.

The M777-A1 version used the TAD Block 1 set. Communications and other key features like self-location are present, but it uses manual target entry instead of direct digital transmission from tactical air controllers, UAVs, or other platforms.

The M777-A2 incorporates more advanced TAD capabilities, including a software update that enables the howitzer to program and fire the M982 Excalibur GPS-guided shell. That shell improves the gun’s maximum range from 30km/ 18 miles to 40km/ 24 miles, with official accuracy on target to within 10 meters, and unofficial reports of about half that figure. The M777-A2 is the version issued to all U.S. Army and USMC units, and previously-equipped M777-A1 howitzer units are receiving a software upgrade to bring their systems to A2 standard.

Canadian M777s are currently equipped to fire the Excalibur shell, but use their own LINAPS fire control system.

On the foreign export front, Australia has joined Canada as a buyer, and Denmark, India, Oman, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia have all reportedly shown interest.

M777: Program

M777: Chinook pick-up
(click to view full)

The M777 was originally a trilateral program involving the USA, Britain, and Italy, with a Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 1999. Italy ended up backing out of the development program due to budget issues, leaving the USA and UK to fund development efforts.

Within the USA, the US Marines funded development of the weapon, while the US Army funded development of the Towed Artillery Digitization system. The M777 is currently managed by US Army Program Executive Office (PEO) Ammunition in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, under “Project Manager Towed Artillery Systems”. Before January 2011, it had been managed by PEO Ground Combat Systems in Warren, MI, under “PM Lightweight 155”; the latest restructuring placed the US Army’s artillery tubes, ammunition, propellants, and associated aiming hardware & software under the same organization.

BAE Systems Global Combat Systems’ facility at Barrow-in-Furness is responsible for M777 prime contract management, including direct customer liaison, control of the trans-Atlantic supply chains, engineering design authority, and manufacturing and assembly of the complex titanium structures and associated recoil components. Final integration and test of the weapon system is undertaken at BAE’s Hattiesburg, MS plant.

Ironically, M777 development partner Britain has yet to buy any. Indeed, the first use of M777 howitzers in combat came from a country who hadn’t even been involved in the development partnership. Canadian forces in Afghanistan found the howitzer’s weight and range to be just what they needed, and an emergency buy led to fast fielding. While they aren’t a national program partner, the US and Canada took steps in the 1950s to create a North American defense industry, and so some Canadian firms were already involved in the program when Canada made its initial purchase.

M777 Industrial participants include:

  • US Army Light Weight 155mm Joint Program office: program management (Picatinny Arsenal, NJ)
  • BAE Systems: Prime Contractor, Elevating Mass & Cradle Assembly, (Barrow-in-Furness, England and final assembly Hattiesburg, MS)
  • General Dynamics: Digital fire control (Burlington, VT)
  • General Dynamics Canada: Mission computer software and displays (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
  • Howmet Castings: Upper carriage (Whitehall, MI)
  • Hydro-Mill Co.: Body assembly (Chatsworth, CA)
  • Mitchell Canada: Aluminum castings (St. Laurent, PQ, Canada)
  • Precision Castparts Corp.: Lower carriage (Portland, OR)
  • RTI International Metals: Titanium (Niles, OH)
  • Seiler Instrument: OFC (St. Louis, MO)
  • Wegman USA: Elevating Gear (Lynchburg, VA)
  • Watervliet Arsenal: Cannon assembly (Watervliet, NY)
  • Selex Galileo: LINAPS gun management system, see PDF (Edinburgh, UK – Canadian orders)

Canada was the 1st country to field the M777 in combat, firing them in Afghanistan in February 2006.

The US Army’s 2nd Battalion 11th Field Artillery Regiment at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii was equipped with M777A1 howitzers in January 2007, but were converted to the A2 version later in 2007 and used the guns in Iraq. As of July 2007, initial units also included both the 11th Marine Regiment and the 10th Marine Regiment; they had received the M777A2 version. The 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Bragg, NC; and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team fielded the M777A2 for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Deliveries and fielding continued from there.

As of October 2012, total orders stood at 1,090 guns for the US Army, US Marines, Australia, and Canada.

M777: Contracts and Key Events FY 2016 – 2017

ADF M777
(click to view full)

December 2/16: Contracts have been signed between India and the US subsidiary of BAE Systems for the provision of of 145 M777A2 LW155 ultralight howitzers. The $737 million deal will see BAE partner with Indian private sector defense company Mahindra Defence Systems to assemble 120 ultralight howitzers, while the remaining 25 guns will be supplied over the next three years. Meanwhile, neighboring Pakistan’s own self-propelled howitzer competition is shaping up, with South Africa’s Denel and Serbia’s Yugoimport-SDPR offering their T5-52 and NORA B-52 guns respectively.

June 28/16: India’s defense procurement agency has cleared a proposal to purchase 145 M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzer artillery guns from BAE Systems. As part of the $750 million deal, some 120 of the 145 guns will be assembled in India in line with Indian foreign procurement policy and will see BAE cooperate with Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group to build a plant for the assembly of the artillery.

FY 2013-2015

Australia; India.

September 18/15: The Pentagon and India’s Defence Ministry are fast-tracking India’s Foreign Military Sale acquisition of 145 M777 Howitzers, following delays to the acquisition. The two sides are reported to be jointly drafting a letter of acceptance, following procurement clearance of the BAE Systems-manufactured guns by the Indian government in May. With a revised price of $700 million, the letter of acceptance is also reported as a prompt for BAE Systems to kick offset arrangements in motion with local Indian firms, with this estimated to cover approximately 30% of the contract’s value.

May 19/15: India. Indian firms are pushing for a greater slice of the M777 contract pie awarded last week. The prospect of a much larger order than the 145-gun contract – potentially reaching around a thousand guns if the Indian Army replaces all its current legacy systems – would be boost to the Indian defense industry, with manufacturer BAE System likely to increase the Indian work share of a larger future contract.

Feb 25/14: M777. With elections looming, India’s Ministry of Defence clears a whole series of defense projects, worth up to INR 130 billion. The M777 isn’t among them:

“The M-777 howitzer contract, which is a direct government-to-government deal under the US foreign military sales programme, has been hanging fire since January 2010. Due to the long delay, the American Defence Security Cooperation Agency has hiked the cost of the M-777 deal from the earlier $ 647 million to $885 million now. The Army wants these 155mm/39-calibre howitzers since they can be swiftly deployed in high-altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh by helicopters and aircraft to counter China.”

China has been seizing Indian territory again in this high-altitude region, but apparently that isn’t urgent enough to prompt action. Thermal imagers and light machine guns are useful, but they aren’t going to change the situation anywhere. Sources: Times of India, “Decision on four key defence deals put off”.

Aug 7/13: India. The US DSCA publishes [PDF] an official follow-on export request from India for 145 M777 guns, under modified terms compared to the Jan 26/10 request, which is superseded by this one.

The Indian guns will use the same Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems (LINAPS) equipment as Canada’s M777s, and the estimated cost for the guns plus warranty, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, training, and other US government and contractor support has risen from $647 – $885 million.

The other item that has changed is the acknowledgement of a 30% industrial offsets contract, in conformance to India’s official Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP). That has to be part of a negotiated contract, which can be signed within 30 days of this notice.

The principal contractors haven’t changed: BAE of Hattiesburg, MS; Watervliet Arsenal of Watervliet, NY; Seiler Instrument Company of St Louis, MO; Triumph Actuation Systems of Bloomfield, CT; Taylor Devices of North Tonawanda, NY; Hutchinson Industries of Trenton, NJ; and Selex in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Likewise, implementation of this proposed sale will still require annual trips to India involving up to 8 U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, training, and in-country trials, over a period of approximately 2 years.

DSCA: India Request, Revised

Aug 3/13: India. Negotiations are still underway in India. So what’s new? According to the Business Standard, the expected price is now INR 40 billion due to the falling rupee, and the industrial offsets issue is almost resolved. If India can manage to finalize the sale, the Mountain Strike Corps that they announced in July 2013 would receive the 145 guns.

The key seems to be offsets. The initial DSCA announcement (q.v. Jan 26/10) didn’t include offsets, but BAE sees the potential to equip artillery regiments in up to 7 more Indian corps, given deployment patterns and India’s mountainous borders. As such, they’ve accepted a standard 30% offset liability of about $195 million. About $58.5 million can be discharged by transferring technology, as India badly needs to field bi-modular charge systems (BMCS) for artillery. If they hadn’t blacklisted Denel and Israel Military Industries, they’d have BMCS already. The rest will reportedly be discharged by manufacturing some components in India, including work for “future artillery gun” and “future naval gun” programs.

India’s challenge is to break with its general practice and place a timely order. BAE’s Mississippi plant is being kept active in anticipation of an Indian order, but if India dithers much, the price will rise sharply to pay production line restart costs. On the other hand, early execution could see India field the new gun by early 2014. India’s Business Standard.

Feb 6/13: India. India Strategic quotes Chief of the Army Staff Gen Bikram Singh as saying that “whatever the reasons earlier [for delaying the M777 purchase], there would be no delay now.” India has held its firing trials, asked for some changes, and verified that BAE has made them. The Maintainability Evaluation is done, and negotiations are now focused on the price of 145 of the 155mm/ 39 caliber guns, plus a support package.

India’s 2004 buy of counter-fire artillery radars in 2004 reportedly omitted support considerations, and they don’t want to have to go through that problem again. India Strategic writes:

“Senior officers of the Army are confident that the acquisition of M-777 will not go beyond 2013, and if there is a delay, it would not be beyond the coming fiscal year April 2013-March 2014. That is, a delay of not more than three months beyond 2013.”

Oct 16/12: Australia. The Australian government had approved another 2 artillery batteries of Lightweight Towed Howitzers, comprising 19 M777A2s, for A$ 70 million (about $72 million). In response to queries, BAE confirms that the actual contract still has to go through a Foreign military Sale case.

They will be a substitute for the self-propelled howitzers the Army had initially included under its LAND 17 Phase 1C program, and “Government will consider additional support and facilities costs associated with this acquisition later in the 2012-13 Financial Year.” Australia DoD | DID’s LAND 17 Spotlight.

FY 2011 – 2012

Saudi Arabia. USA.

Alaska cold trial
(click to view full)

July 17/12: Sub-contractors. Finmeccanica’s DRS Tactical Systems in Melbourne, FL receives a $22 million firm-fixed-price contract for ongoing design, development and integration services in support of the M777A2 digital fire control system.

Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL with an estimated completion date of July 13/17. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 6 bids received by Army Contracting Command in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ (W15QKN-12-D-0088).

May 11/12: India. CNN-IBN reports that India’s MoD has cleared a Rs 3000 crore deal to buy 145 of BAE’s M777 ultra-light 155mm howitzers, as a government-to-government deal through US Foreign Military Sale channels. They’re careful to note that this isn’t a contract yet, which may explain the absence of any announcement from BAE. At current conversion rates, the deal would be worth around $557 million, but exchange rates may change when and if negotiations produce an actual contract. Read “Murky Competitions for Indian Howitzer Orders May End Soon… Or Not” for the whole sorry story.

Oct 4/11: +70. BAE announces that the US military has placed a $134 million order for 70 more M777 howitzers, “to begin equipping the U.S. Army’s Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs).”

This is almost certainly the M777A2 variant, and the order takes the production to a total of 1,071 guns. The manufacturing line has enough orders at present to run until October 2013, with additional orders expected from the USA, and potential orders from customers like India and Saudi Arabia waiting in the wings.

USA – 70

Sept 19/11: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces Saudi Arabia’s formal request for up to $886 million of equipment to augment the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s existing light artillery capabilities. The Royal Saudi Land Forces already have towed 155mm and 105mm howitzers and support vehicles and systems, but the 54 105mm M119A2 systems and 36 M777A2s would be an upgrade over the Royal Saudi Land Forces’ existing M102 105mm guns. The Saudis are also looking to buy C3 systems, artillery locating radars, and Humvees as part of this buy.

DSCA: Saudi request

May 18/11: In “India’s consolation prize to US,” The Times of India reports that India is close to an M777 buy, pursued as government-to-government Foreign Military Sale. The Times of India reports that:

“…the Army has dispatched a team to the US to carry out quality assurance assessments of maintenance and other technical specifications of M777… Once the team returns, “it wouldn’t take much time to conclude the deal”, sources said, adding that a June-end deadline was being looked at. He also hinted that this order too could go up, now that the government is expected to approve Army’s recommendation to raise a dedicated mountain strike corps for China border.”

Feb 22/11: +46. BAE Systems announces that an American order for 46 more M777 howitzers brings the total number of M777 guns ordered so far to 1001. The firm is still producing weapons for Canada and Australia, and is also “responding to a range of enquiries.”

USA – 46

Jan 20/11: Program shifted. US Army Acquisition Executive Malcolm O’Neill approves the immediate transfer of the Program Manager Lightweight 155 office from US Army Program Executive Office (PEO) Ground Combat Systems in Warren, MI, to US Army PEO Ammunition in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ. O’Neill also approves the immediate renaming of “PM Program Manager Lightweight 155” to “Project Manager Towed Artillery Systems.”

The M777 was 1 of 6 programs shifted in the restructuring, which places the Army’s artillery propellant, fuses, primers, munitions and now guns at the same place. US Army.

FY 2009 – 2010

Australia, Canada, India, USA.

M777 in Afghanistan
(click to view full)

July 19/10: +93. BAE systems announces 3 contracts related to its M777 howitzers. For starters, the US Army and U.S. Marine Corps are buying another 58 guns.

Australia is buying 35 guns as US Foreign Military Sales (FMS), under the ADF’s LAND 17 program. The order makes Australia the 3rd M777 customer, after the USA and Canada, and the program’s total budget is A$ 493 million (q.v. Oct 20/09).

The 3rd order is an USD $18 million support package with Canada, for their 37 ordered M777 guns (q.v. May 28/09). The contract covers the supply of spares and engineering support. The firm adds:

“The U.S. government is currently discussing the provision of 145 systems to India as well as several other countries. In parallel, BAE Systems is responding to requests for information from a large number of countries wishing to expand their indirect fire capability.”

USA, Australia, Canada – 93 TL.

Jan 26/10: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] India’s formal request to buy 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers with Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems (LINAPS), warranties, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, and U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and support.

The estimated cost is $647 million, but a DSCA announcement is not a contract. In this case, it may not even be an intended sale. Read “Murky Competition for $2B India Howitzer Order May End Soon… Or Not” for more.

DSCA: India request

Oct 20/09: Australia’s Defence Minister John Faulkner announces that BAE Systems’ M777 has won the towed portion of Australia’s LAND 17 competition, whose total value is placed at A$ 493 million.

Phase 1 will provide the Army with 35 M777A2 guns, equipping 4 batteries of towed 155mm howitzers. An earlier DSCA request specified up to 57 systems, which allows Australia to order more guns later if it decides that’s necessary.

July 21/09: +62. BAE announces that the U.S, Department of Defense has ordered 62 more M777 howitzers under its existing contract, in a delivery order worth GBP 71 million/ $117 million.

May 28/09: +38. BAE Systems announces 3 more M777 contracts, worth a total of $118 million.

The USA is buying 38 guns for the Marine Corps and Army. A $3 million contract will RESET 33 U.S. howitzers returning from operations in Afghanistan to like-new condition. And Canada is acquiring 25 more M777s, to add to the 12 it already has in service. According to BAE, these 63 additional howitzers bring their order total to date to exactly 800 guns.

USA – 100

April 16/09: #500. BAE systems delivers the 500th M777 howitzer to the US military. In the BAE Systems release, Artillery Programmes Director Ian McMillan says that:

“M777 follows two other Anglo-U.S. weapon success stories – the 105mm Light Gun and the 81mm mortar are both British BAE Systems designs which have been adopted by the U.S.”

A report in the British North West Evening Mail added that:

“The substantial and complex cradle and saddle is made in Barrow and shipped out at the rate of 14 a month… Mr McMillan said with the main US order running out in less than two years, BAE would be looking for M777 orders from more countries, and for other projects to keep the Barrow factory busy… However BAE revealed yesterday it is expecting at orders for at least 150 more M77s from the US, Canada and Australia combined. They will be built by the same plants in Barrow and the US and would stretch work to 2012.”

#500 delivered

FY 2007 – 2008

Australia, Canada.

The business end at
Camp Taji, Iraq
(click to view full)

Aug 14/08: +43. BAE Systems has received additional orders from the U.S. Department of Defense for 43 more M777 lightweight towed howitzers.

The GBP 42.8 million ($85.6 million) contract brings the number of M777s ordered by the US military to 719, and brings the total value of M777 orders in 2008 to GBP 147 million ($294 million). BAE release | NW Evening Mail, UK | Hattiesburg American, MS.

USA – 43

July 17/08: Australian request. The US DSCA announces [PDF format] Australia’s official request for 57 of BAE Systems’ M777A2 howitzers, 57 of ITT’s AN/VRC-91F Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS), plus integration services, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is USD$ 248 million.

Note that a DSCA request is not a contract, merely a step that’s required for export approval.

DSCA: Australia request

June 19/08: Canadian follow-on. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Canada’s official request for 37 additional M777 howitzers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements.

The estimated cost is $114 million (about C$ 116 million). The prime contractors will be BAE Land Systems in Hattiesburg, MS and Alcoa business Howmet Castings in Whitehall, Michigan. See also Jan 9/08 entry re: the Canadian MERX Letter of Intent, which sets out a timeline for the process: Statements of Interest and Qualification are to be received by the end of 2008, RFP issued in early 2009, and a contract awarded in autumn 2009.

DSCA: Canada request

April 1/08: +87. BAE Systems announces a new $176 million order from the U.S. Department of Defense for 87 additional M777A2 155mm towed howitzers. The order adds to the 589 M777A2 howitzers already on order for the U.S. armed forces, of which more than 300 have been delivered. The 155mm towed howitzers purchased under this contract will be delivered in 2010. BAE Systems release.

USA – 87

March 2008: M777 + Excalibur for Canada. The new M982 Excalibur precision-guided projectile is cleared for use by the Canadian Forces’ M777 guns in Afghanistan. Source.

Feb 25/08: Combat. Soldiers of Charlie Battery, 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, fires the USA’s first 155 mm global positioning system-guided Excalibur artillery round in Afghanistan. The round was fired from an M777A2 howitzer in Kunar Province, and reportedly hit its target. DVIDS story.

Jan 9/08: Canada. The Canadian government issued a request for Letters of Interest (LOIs) for 34 new 155mm Light Weight Towed Howitzers. The M777 is the current incumbent, and Canada must have exercised an option because the solicitation states that “The CF has 12 M777 LWTH howitzers currently in-service.”

Those guns have performed very well, making the M777 the favorite to win. The contract is expected in late 2009. MERX LOI notice, Ref# PW-$$RA-002-16420, Solicitation# W8476-08PM01/A.

Canada – 12 TL. now, LoI for more

Jan 2/08: Combat. The US military announces that The Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division’s Battery B, “Banditos,” 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team became the first US Army unit to fire the 155 mm M777A2 Light Weight Howitzer in Iraq. DVIDS story.

Banditos M777A2
fires Excalibur
(click to view full)

December 2007: Combat. Commanders in the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team’s Task Force Bayonet receive M777A2 lightweight 155 mm Howitzers. CH-47 Chinook helicopters flew in the new M777A2s to various forward operating bases the last 2 weeks of December.

Dec 23/07: USMC. The USMC reveals that the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in Okinawa, Japan received its first M777 Lightweight Howitzers recently on Camp Hansen as part of a Marine Corps-wide artillery upgrade. Field artillery cannoneers with L Battery, arriving from Twentynine Palms, CA inspected the M777s before accepting the new guns from the Camp Pendleton, CA- based E Battery, 2nd Bn., 11th Marines, 1st MarDiv.

June 2007: Combat. The USMC’s 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit says that Marines from Bravo Battery 1st Battalion, 11th Marines are making history as the first American unit to use the new M777A1 Howitzer in combat, though the Canadians beat the to the punch overall. The 13th MEU is deployed to Anbar province in western Iraq.

March 20/07: Australia. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and BAE Systems Australia team for LAND 17. KMW will offer the PzH-2000 to the team, while BAE Systems Australia adds their M777 ultra-lightweight howitzers to the partnership, for a combination towed/ self propelled solution. LAND 17 is Australia’s program to replace its 105mm howitzers with modern equipment.

March 18/07: Excalibur 155mm. Excalibur 155mm GPS-guided shells complete final testing by the US military. An order is placed soon afterward. DID coverage.

FY 2005 – 2006

LRIP then FRP. Canada.

Canadian M777s
(click to view full)

May 15/06: Canada. StrategyPage:

“When discussing relationships with local tribal leaders, Canadian commanders have sometimes had an M777 put a shell in a nearby field or hill side, on command, to demonstrate what the Canadians have at their disposal. Afghans understand that sort of thing. U.S. Marines and British troops have also used the M777 in Afghanistan.”

See also the Canadian Forces’ movie clip report about the M777 in Afghanistan, featuring CF Major Steve Gallagher.

March 9/06: Canada. SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems of Edinburgh, UK, working together with BAE Systems Land Systems, has secured a contract with the Canadian Department of National Defense (DND) for 6 LINAPS (Laser INertial Automatic Pointing System) Gun Management Systems (GMS), plus spares, for their M777 Howitzers. The systems were deployed to Afghanistan until late fall 2006, however.

The DGMS is integrated with the Indirect Fire Control Computer System (IFCCS) and the Raytheon MicroLight digital radio to provide a digital link from the Command Post to the guns, self-positioning and boresighting, etc. Finmeccanica Inc News blog | Space Daily | See also follow-on Canadian DND release | DND Video.

Feb 20/06: Canada in combat. The Canadian Forces fire their M777s for the first time in combat near Gumbad, 60 kilometres northeast of the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Illumination rounds are used to turn the tables on a night attack with RPGs.

It’s the 1st combat firing of the M777. National Post.

1st combat use

M777 arrives
(click to view full)

Dec 2/05: Canada. The 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery conducts an inaugural firing of the first 155mm, M777 towed howitzers delivered to the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). BAE release.

Nov 26/05: Canada takes delivery of its first M777 howitzers. DND:

“Major Paul Payne, Chief Instructor in Gunnery at the Field Artillery School in Gagetown says “With the equipment we’ve been using until now, it would sometimes take up to 8 minutes after receiving a fire-mission request to have effective rounds hitting the target. With a digitized Triple 7 effective fire can be achieved in under 2 minutes.”

November 2005: Canada. As part of its preparations for Operation Archer in Afghanistan, the Canadian Forces orders 6 BAE Systems M777 Lightweight towed howitzers with precision-guided Excalibur 155mm shells and digitized fire control systems (C$ 70 million). The howitzers are to arrive by February 2006, and Excalibur shells by May 2006. See “Canada Purchases $200M in Equipment for Operation ARCHER in Afghanistan

Canada – 6

Oct 2005: USMC 3/11 Mike battery returns from their second deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom, mostly in infantry roles, to begin training on the M777. USMC release.

August 2005: 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, is firing the M777 Howitzer at USMC Camp Pendleton for the first time. USMC release.

May 2005: The cannoneers of Kilo and Lima Batteries, 11th Marine Regiment, are the US Marine Corps first 2 artillery batteries to field and fire the M777.

In December 2005, however, 3/11 Kilo Battery are scheduled to deploy to Okinawa, Japan, as part of the Unit Deployment Program. Okinawa does not have the M777, so Kilo Battery begins fielding their older M198s to refresh their skills. US Marine Corps.

M777
(click to view full)

March 24/05: +495. Following additional system development, BAE Systems announces an $834 million dollar contract for full-rate production of the M777A1 155mm howitzer. Under the production contract, issued by the Joint Program Office in Picatinny, NJ, BAE Systems will manufacture 495 howitzers between 2005-2009. The howitzer is assembled at BAE Systems’ integration facility in Hattiesburg, MS, and incorporates components manufactured in 10 states and the U.K.

Full-rate
production – 495

Dec 2/02: +94. The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded a $135 million contract to BAE SYSTEMS for low rate initial production (LRIP) of the M777 lightweight 155mm howitzer. Under the initial phase of the LRIP contract, BAE SYSTEMS will manufacture 94 howitzers for the Marine Corps over the next 2 years. Initial deliveries will begin in February 2004 from the company’s Hattiesburg, MS facility. Approximately 70% of the M777 is manufactured in the USA, as BAE SYSTEMS has assembled an industrial team that includes 9 suppliers located in 9 states. Business Wire..

Initial
production – 94

Additional Readings & Sources

Categories: News

Russia Protests Ukraine Plan to Test Fire Near Crimea | US State Dept Clears Sale of JASSM-ER to Poland | USAF Contracts Raytheon in $22M FMS to Taiwan

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 00:27
Americas

  • Defense officials from Bolivia are exploring the possibility of purchasing A-29 Super Tucanos from Brazil. The Embraer-made light attack aircraft will be used to clamp down on illegal activity, namely drug and mineral trafficking, along both nation’s 3,423 km shared border. According to Brazil’s defense ministry, Bolivian interest in the counter-insurgency plane was raised during a meeting to deepen bilateral relations.

  • Saab will provide further training and simulation systems under a contract awarded by the US Army. According to the company, the contract falls under the service’s Program Executive Office of Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI), and will provide OSAG 2.0 interoperability upgrades for the 7th Army Training Command’s Deployable Instrumentation System, Europe (DISE) and Combat Vehicle Tactical Engagement Simulation System (CVTESS). The new capability will allow the US, who use the MILES Communicaton Code (MCC), to train seamlessly with the European partners, who mostly utilize the OSAG 2.0 standard.

Middle East & North Africa

  • Tunisia’s government has admitted that US drones are patrolling its border with Libya, to help fend off attacks from the Islamic State. Speaking on television, President Beji Caid Essebsi maintained that the UAV’s were unarmed and denied that they took off from Tunisian air bases. Essebsi also stated that the surveillance drones would be given to Tunisia after training conducted by 70 US soldiers, although exact numbers remain unclear.

Africa

  • The Nigerian Air Force has announced that they have refurbished 13 aircraft, some of which have returned to active duty putting down an insurgency led by the jihadist group, Boko Haram. In addition, ten more aircraft will be added to their fleet, including four new Mi-35N attack helicopters, at least three ex-Brazilian Air Force Super Tucanos, and three JF-17 Thunders from Pakistan. This will add to a recent order of Super Mushshak trainers and a soon to be completed refurbishment program of older helicopters and light aircraft to carry out surveillance and counter-insurgency missions.

Europe

  • Plans by Ukraine to test fire missiles near Crimea have been met with protest from Russia. Having annexed the peninsula in 2014, Moscow is regarding the planned tests as violating “Russia’s sovereign air space,” summoning the Ukrainian defense attache to hand over a protest note ahead of the December 1 & 2 launches. Meanwhile, Russian military buildup in Crimea continues.

  • The US State Department has cleared the potential sale of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) to Poland. Estimated at $200 million, if passed Warsaw will receive 70 AGM-158B JASSM-ER missiles, 2 AGM-158B Flight Test Vehicles, 2 AGM-158 Mass Simulant vehicles, and 1 Captive Carry variant of the AGM-158B Flight Test Vehicle. F-16 C & D upgrades, along with training services, and additional supporting equipment are also included in the deal.

  • In the wake of Brexit and Trump, the European Union unveiled its biggest defense funding and research plan in more than a decade as part of a broader push to revitalize defense cooperation within the bloc. Also included is the European Commission’s proposed plan for a 5 billion-euro ($5.3 billion) fund to let governments club together to buy new helicopters and planes to lower costs. Another plan, according to EU officials, to let the EU’s common budget and its development bank invest in military research, would open the door to new drones, cyber warfare systems and other hi-tech gear.

Asia Pacific

  • Raytheon has been contracted by the USAF to provide upgraded missile warning radar centers to Taiwan in a $22 million foreign military sale. Under the deal, the company will upgrade Taiwan’s Early Warning Radar Surveillance Radar Program Missile Warning Center to address obsolescence concerns. The new system will warn operators of incoming ballistic missile attacks, as well as track threats, and provide accurate determination of threat versus non-threat objects.

Today’s Video

Aster 30 SAMP T:

Categories: News

Support & Smokes for Brazil’s Super Tucanos

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 23:58

T-27: Smoke & Mirror
(click to view full)

Brazil has kicked off the LAAD 2013 expo with a pair of announcements related to their Super Tucano fleet. The first is a 5-year, BRL 252 million (about $127.4 million) contract for Embraer to support the FAB’s 92 remaining “A-29″/EMB-314 Super Tucanos, of the 99 originally purchased. Programa de Suporte Logístico Integrado (PSLI) is a fixed-price contract with performance requirements, mirroring Britain’s recent advances in reducing support costs using “contracting for availability.” PLSI covers materials and planning, supplies for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, repairs, and overhauls of components, support for the landing gear and propeller groups, and specialized technical support. The basic service package is BRL 223 million, with BRL set aside for unexpected services. Embraer.

The number of combat-capable Super Tucanos is about to shrink, however, as Brazil’s national “Esquadrilha da Fumaca” (“Smoke Squadron”) aerobatic team will get 12 of the FAB’s A-29s. They’ll replace the current “T-27″/ EMB-312 Tucanos with a larger, higher performance aircraft. Embraer received BRL 26.1 million ($13.2 million) guaranteed: a BRL 16 million contract to convert the Super Tucanos for aerobatics by stripping off unneeded weight and adding provisions for smoke pods, etc., plus a BRL 10.1 million service package. Another BRL 5.9 million ($3 million) could be added if the FAB picks up the option for ground support equipment and additional services. Embraer.

Update

December 1/16: Defense officials from Bolivia are exploring the possibility of purchasing A-29 Super Tucanos from Brazil. The Embraer-made light attack aircraft will be used to clamp down on illegal activity, namely drug and mineral trafficking, along both nation’s 3,423 km shared border. According to Brazil’s defense ministry, Bolivian interest in the counter-insurgency plane was raised during a meeting to deepen bilateral relations.

Categories: News

H&K to End Deals with Non-NATO Members | Norway to Spend $1.15B on P-8A’s | Italian Navy Launches First Aster Missiles

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 23:58
Americas

  • An undisclosed member of the Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense System program has contracted Raytheon to provide additional Patriot missile capabilities. The $225 million deal comes just 45 days after Poland requested the same product from the US government, and when Raytheon received another contract from the Netherlands to upgrade their own systems. Answers on a postcard please.

  • US Senator Bernie Sanders has urged President-elect Donald Trump to leverage defense contracts in order to save jobs at an Indiana air conditioner manufacturer. The factory, owned by United Technologies, is slated to move operations to Mexico, at a loss of 1,400 jobs. As firebrand outsiders vying for the working vote, both men had used the announcement earlier this year to challenge Hillary Clinton as an example of how trade deals hurt US workers. With Trump now the insider, Sanders warned “it is not good enough to save some of these jobs” and said Trump should use as leverage United Technologies’ defense contracts, Export-Import Bank financing, and tax breaks. While Trump does not take office until January 20, he may already be feeling the Bern.

Middle East & North Africa

  • Just ten days after the US State Department cleared the sale of 40 warplanes to Kuwait, the Gulf monarchy wants more. Major General Lafi al-Azmi, chief of the military’s Armament and Procurement Authority, said that Kuwait plans to purchase 28 more F-18 Super Hornets as well as return a number of outdated F-18s in their inventory as part of the purchase deal. Details of the sale will only be revealed once it is officially signed.

Africa

  • The UN Security Council will vote this week on whether to ban arms sales to South Sudan. A US proposed resolution, the move comes after a summer of ethnic violence due to rivalries between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer, which has led to claims of genocide. The rivalries had previously led to civil war in 2013 but a tentative peace agreement was signed in 2015.

Europe

  • From now on Heckler & Koch wares will be for NATO members and friends only, according to reports. Difficulty in obtaining government approval for exports is being cited as the main reason, and from now on the company will “only sell to countries that are democratic and free from corruption and that are members of NATO or NATO members’ partners.” The new strategy would rule out deals with Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, and India. Not even NATO members are safe, with Turkey – in the middle of a military, political and civil purge since a failed coup during the summer – also in the firing line for being freezed out.

  • As part of governmental approval to increase defense spending, Norway plans to drop some $1.15 billion on five P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. With Norway sharing a long maritime border with Russia, the acquisition comes as Nordic and Baltic states ramp up modernization and capability efforts in order to dissuade Moscow from trying to pull another “Crimea” in the Baltics. Delivery of the planes will take place between 2021 and 2022 and will replace the current fleet of six P-3 Orion and three DA-20 Jet Falcon aircraft.

  • Exercises by the Italian Navy have seen the successful first launch of the Aster 30 missile. A requirement for the missile’s qualification program, the test was part of the Italian Surface-To-Air Extended Self Defense system program. Capable of hitting targets over 62 miles away from their launch sites, the new system will greatly enhance defensive capabilities of naval vessels.

Asia Pacific

  • With the US looking to replace Russian-made Afghan helicopters and India offering to fix them, it’s quite natural to be confused about what is actually going on with Afghan military procurement. The issue is muddied further with US regime change just around the corner, and presidents who have rather different foreign policy objectives. At present the US DoD has requested additional funding to refurbish and update 53 older-model US military UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for the Afghans, enough to replace the current fleet of Russian-designed Mi-17 helicopters. But with a Donald Trump presidency and potentially warmer relations with Russia, will the hundreds of millions of dollar price tag for refurb, transfer and retraining ever come about?

Today’s Video

Third flight of Japan’s X-2 stealth demonstrator:

Categories: News

Timely Defenders: Keeping Patriots in Shape

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 23:48
Patriot system

The USA’s MIM-104 Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept On Target (PATRIOT) anti-air missile system offers an advanced backbone for medium-range air defense, and short-range ballistic missile defense, to America and its allies. This article covers domestic and foreign purchase requests and contracts for Patriot systems. It also compiles information about the engineering service contracts that upgrade these systems, ensure that they continue to work, and integrate them with wider command and defense systems.

The Patriot missile franchise’s future appears assured. At present, 12 nations have chosen it as a key component of their air and missile defense systems: the USA, Germany, Greece, Japan, Israel, Kuwait, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and the UAE. Poland, Qatar, and Turkey have all indicated varying levels of interest, and some existing customers are looking to upgrade their systems.

The Patriot Missile Family PATRIOT Ground Systems BBC: 2013 report
click for video

A Patriot firing battery includes several components: an antenna mast group, radar, electric power station, launchers, ECC command center, and maintenance center. They are carried on a mix of heavy and medium trucks.

The OE-349 antenna mast group is usually carried on a M927 5-Ton truck.

The radar set is either an AN/MPQ-53 radar for PAC-2 systems, or an AN/MPQ-65 for PAC-3 systems, and is carried by a 10-ton M983 HEMTT truck pulling a M860 semitrailer. That equipment needs a lot of power, hence the truck mounted electric power plant, with 2 150kW generators on a modified HEMTT.

An AN/MSQ-104 engagement control station acts as the command center, pulled by a 5-ton FMTV or similar truck, and a semi-trailer maintenance center rounds out the battery. A battalion is usually made up of 4-6 batteries, with a command center and maintenance center of its own. It can include up to 600 soldiers including command, maintenance, and other roles.

With the other ground elements deployed, the battery’s 8 x M901 launching stations can be effective, deploying over a wide area on fully self-contained M983 HEMTT trucks pulling M860 semitrailers. In a PAC-2 battery, each launching station has 4 missiles, for a total of 32. In a PAC-3 battery, each launching station has 16 missiles, for a total of 128.

Raytheon is the prime contractor for the Patriot system as a whole. The most current standard for the Patriot’s ground systems is known as “Configuration 3”, and is compatible with both PAC-2 and PAC-3 launchers.

Raytheon recently completed a major upgrade to the ECS’ interface and computing, is currently testing Gallium Nitride radar semiconductor components that would improve performance at all power levels, and has proposed a rotating radar with 360-degree field-of-view, instead of the current 120 degree regard and 90 degree fire control cone.

PATRIOT Missile Variants PAC-3 test launch
(click to view full)

PAC-2 GEM. In 2002, Raytheon completed a separate upgrade of their PAC-2 missiles, which became known as Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+). GEM missiles, including next-step upgrades like GEM-C/T, are essentially PAC-2 systems that still use the larger PAC-2 fragmentation missiles, but have a range of improvements to their guidance systems, fuzes, etc. GEM-T is optimized against tactical ballistic missiles, while GEM-C is optimized against cruise missiles. They’re fielded by the USA and by foreign militaries, such as Israel and South Korea. In 2003, the U.S. military launched approximately 20 PAC-2 missiles during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the majority of which were GEM interceptors.

PAC-3.The current US standard for new-build Patriot Missiles is the Patriot Advanced Capability 3. While Lockheed Martin’s missile is as long as previous Raytheon versions, it’s thinner and weighs only 30% as much (688 vs. 2,000 pounds). PAC-3 uses a “hit-to-kill” approach, instead of the PAC-2’s large fragmentation warhead, which allows it to packs more missiles per launcher (16 instead of 4). Its enhanced capabilities also allow it to be used for point defense against ballistic missiles, and its Config-3 ground systems also feature a range of improvements to the battery’s radar, communications, electronics, and software.

Lockheed Martin produces the PAC-3 missile, including the hit-to-kill interceptor, the missile canister 4-packs, a fire solution computer, and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System (ELES). It has been exported to Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Taiwan, and the UAE. The latest PAC-3 variant is the PAC-3 CRI (Cost Reduction Initiative).

Beyond the USA, America is working with Japan on missile defense. Japan’s system will use the long-range naval SM-3 missiles as the outer layer, and Patriot PAC-3s as the point defense component. Japan has been licensed to produce its own Patriot PAC-3s.

A subsequent variant called the PAC-3 MSE was originally part of a canceled system called MEADS, but has been incorporated into the USA’s future plans. It’s covered as part of the USA’s ongoing PATRIOT programs.

The USA’s Patriot Programs Pure Fleet, etc. Patriot operation
(click to view full)

Budgets for PATRIOT systems as a whole are difficult to quantify, as recent years have seen them fully conflated with the separate MEADS program. Beyond MEADS, however, the U.S. Army has 2 important Patriot programs underway: “Pure Fleet” and “Grow the Army.”

Pure Fleet involves upgrading all its ground systems to Configuration-3. It will not necessarily replace all missiles in these batteries, which are often a mixed PAC-3/PAC-2 fleet, and are expected to remain so. What it will do, is make all batteries capable of firing the latest missiles, and ensure that the system’s technologies are kept up to date. This involves upgrades of multiple ground systems, and will be coupled with PAC-2 GEM-T missile upgrades under “continuous technology refreshment” programs.

Grow the Army was set to add 2 PAC-3 battalions to the Patriot force structure.

Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3 Patriot-based air-launched hit-to-kill (ALHTK) concept was a much more radical concept. It would be launched from fighter jets, and used to target ballistic missiles during their vulnerable but hard-to-reach launch phase. Initial studies were conducted, but neither this variant, nor Raytheon’s internally-mountable NCADE, managed to gain much traction.

Beyond Patriot, the USA has also been involved in the tri-national American/ German/ Italian MEADS project. Pentagon documents started to lump the Patriot and its successor MEADS together after 2006, making it difficult to track each system. The 2 air defense systems use very different technologies, but the Pentagon’s treatment of MEADS in its documents may have been prescient. MEADS became an R&D-only effort in 2011, and looks set to feed in some of its technologies as future PATRIOT upgrades. Patriot system production appears to be secure for the near future.

Even so, American production has tailed off, and the production line has been weighted in favor of foreign orders:

After 2013’s orders are delivered, foreign orders will be the only thing sustaining PAC-3 missile production. The reason for that is a new missile. The multinational MEADS R&D program looks set to end, but it produced a PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) design that will become part of existing PATRIOT batteries.

Over the Horizon: PAC-3 MSE PAC-3 MSE drawing
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One element that will survive from MEADS is the improved PAC-3 MSE missile, which is becoming its own program. PAC-3 MSE is designed to be a longer range missile that is more agile, and able to counter both tactical ballistic missiles and more conventional threats. Improvements begin with a higher performance, dual-pulse, 11″ diameter Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) design, a thermally hardened front end for longer fly out, enlarged fixed fins, more responsive control surfaces, upgraded guidance software, an improved Hit-To-Kill system, and upgraded batteries. They’re also pushing toward Insensitive Munitions (IM) compliance in order to lower safety risks, and a more compliant SRM propellant is being developed. The missile’s “single canister” design concept is similar to the Navy’s approach with its “all-up-rounds” for delivery, transport storage, and firing.

The MSE takes the PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) missile design as its base, and the Army hopes this will lower its overall cost per missile. By 2015, the Army expects the more capable PAC-3 MSE to cost less per missile (around $7.5 million) than the current PAC-3 (about $7.6 million), with costs continuing to drop toward an average of about $5.5 million over the life of the program. The USA plans to order 1,680 of them in the coming years.

Patriot Engineering Services Contracts ECS command vehicle
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PATRIOT Engineering support is a sole source contract initiated on Aug 26/03 by the Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-04-C-0020). A follow-on contract was issued in FY 2009 (W31P4Q-09-C-0057).

Raytheon releases note that “engineering support” includes system and software engineering, hardware engineering, system testing, quality assurance, configuration management, logistic support and program management. The contract also funds specific tasks, including the implementation of the architecture for the first phase of the Combined Aggregate Program (CAP), CAP phase 2 studies, system of system architecture studies, Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missile integration and missile segment enhancement, and conducting annual service practice missile firings. The CAP program aligns the Patriot system to incorporate and field Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) Major End Items (MEIs) as they become available.

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The overall program is an international cooperative effort, in which foreign partners both fund and benefit from common support. The FY 2004 – 2009 umbrella contract called for engineering services tasks to be performed specifically for Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Taiwan. Beginning in 2009, South Korea and the UAE added themselves to that list.

What follows are all of the publicly-announced disbursements since the FY 2004 base award:

Work on PATRIOT Engineering Services is generally performed at Raytheon IDS HQ in Tewksbury, MA; its Integrated Air Defense Center in next-door Andover, MA; its Missile Defense Center in Woburn, MA; its Integrated Force Protection and Security Center in Huntsville, AL; its Mission Capability Verification Center at White Sands Missile Range, NM; and additional Raytheon facilities that include Burlington, MA and El Paso, TX. The vast majority of work is done in Tewksbury and Andover, MA. These facilities also process Patriot Advanced Configuration-2 (PAC-2) and Guidance Enhanced Missile-T (GEM-T) missiles for stockpile reliability testing, recertification and repair in support of the Patriot Field Surveillance program.

Other PATRIOT-Related Contracts & Events

Unless otherwise specified, contracts are awarded by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

FY 2017

PAC-3 MSE
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November 30/16: An undisclosed member of the Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense System program has contracted Raytheon to provide additional Patriot missile capabilities. The $225 million deal comes just 45 days after Poland requested the same product from the US government, and when Raytheon received another contract from the Netherlands to upgrade their own systems. Answers on a postcard please.

FY 2016

October 18/16: Radar signal management technology made by a Taiwanese company will be used in Lockheed Martin’s latest MIM-104F (PAC-3) air defense missile system upgrade. Developed by the state-owned National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the technology is also found in the indigenous Sky Bow III air defense system. So far, it has made $25.3 million in international orders.

October 10/16: Raytheon has been contracted to update the Netherlands’ Patriot missile system. Work to be undertaken as part of the upgrade includes the installation of the Modern Man Station user interface — the latest operator-machine interface upgrade to Patriot command and control shelters. The upgrade will make it easier to operate Patriot and provide enhanced situational awareness.

October 7/16: Plans by Taiwan to shoot down one of its indigenous Sky Bow II interceptors with the American Patriot air defense system have been postponed due to a China Coast Guard vessel being found lurking nearby. The Sky Bow II was supposed to be fired from Jihui Fish Port with a Patriot fired from Jioupeng Military Base attempting to shoot it down on October 5. Initially scheduled for May, the test had been first postponed due to typhoons.

September 8/16: Poland has officially selected the Patriot air defense missile system, making it the 6th NATO Patriot country and the 14th Patriot partner nation. Manufacturer Raytheon made the announcement saying that the company “will continue supporting the US and Polish governments through the Foreign Military Sales process,” and that it “will also partner with Poland’s government and industry to finalize offset and industrial participation plans.” So far, Raytheon has already signed eight contracts and more than 30 letters of intent with Polish industry.

August 31/16: The Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ watchdog, has stated that it wants more oversight into the Army’s Patriot upgrade. With $1.8 billion in funding allocated for the next five years, the GAO stated that the service’s plan, which is expected to remain in operation until at least 2050, lacks oversight mechanisms as the Army carries out its strategy in the coming years. Congress has consistently taken issue with what it sees as the Army’s inability to estimate the cost of the system in future years, and has regularly withheld funds to upgrade portions of the system, demanding the Army provide more clarity to its plans before shelling out all of the requested cash to fund it.

August 19/16: Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have submitted offers for upgraded integrated air-and-missile defense radar concepts as the US Army decides on its eventual Patriot system replacement. The service was initially planning to integrate the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), but this was ultimately shelved. As a result, the request for fresh radar concepts may prove a progressive first step in deciding whether to upgrade Patriot or go for something new.

July 28/16: Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz expects to have their Patriot missile-defense system finalized by the end of the year. The $5.5 billion deal could also be joined by more missile-systems as Warsaw accelerates efforts to enhance their missile-defense capability. $15 billion has been earmarked for the modernization with plans to spend some $10 billion on mid-range air- and missile-defense systems, and over $5 billion on short-range air-defense systems.

July 19/16: Last week Raytheon announced the success of Saudi-operated Patriot batteries in intercepting missiles coming from Yemen, however the system failed to take down a Syrian UAV that ended up in Israeli air space. The intrusion took place over airspace on the Golan Heights, which has been in Israeli possession since its annexation in 1967. While the IDF have often responded to stray rocket fire from the neighboring Syrian Civil War with tank and mortar shells, this marks the first time that Patriot missiles have been brought into play.

July 14/16: Patriot anti-missile systems operated by Saudi Arabia have had a 100% success rate according to manufacturer Raytheon. The system has seen service as part of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen intercepting missile attacks from Houthi rebels. Iran is believed to be arming the rebels with small arms and munitions including scud missiles.

July 7/16: Following its agreement with Raytheon over offsets, Poland’s state-run defense group PGZ has signed a letter of intent with Raytheon to install a Patriot missile defense system. According to a PGZ statement, “the signed letter of intent positions the Polish industry as an important component of the Global Patriot program, including the transfer of key technologies. It also opens the doors to the Polish industry to enable its participation in the modernization programs of 220 Patriot systems operated by 13 countries.” The agreement comes days before the commencement of Warsaw’s hosting of this year’s NATO summit between July 8-9.

July 6/16: Poland finally looks set to make a $5 billion deal to acquire the Patriot missile defense system after a breakthrough in discussions with manufacturer Raytheon. Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz made the announcement as the US defense giant capitulated to allow for at least 50% of the money to be spent on works done by Polish plants. Just a few short months ago the deal, started by the previous government, had been seriously questioned by Macierewicz in a bid to secure more offsets to boost Polish manufacturing employment.

January 18/16: Belgium’s government is looking to buy the Patriot air defense system as part of its new strategic defense plan. The plan, if approved by the parliamentary defense select committee, could potentially see over $600 million used to purchase a battery of the system. Defence minister Steven Vandeput said the system would be used not only as part of Belgium’s defense from ballistic missile threats, but could be utilized by other NATO allies in places where such a system is most needed such as on the Turkish-Syrian border. The announcement comes alongside the news that Poland may also install the system in their country in a procurement that could reach $5 billion.

December 29/15: Kuwait is to receive technical assistance for the PATRIOT system after Raytheon was awarded a $9.27 million foreign military sales contract by the US Department of Defense. The contract shortly followed a previous $74.5 million award to provide pre-PATRIOT training classes to Kuwaiti military personnel ahead of the delivery of batteries of the missile defense system in July 2016, and will run until December 2016.

December 16/15: Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $1.09 billion contract to provide Patriot PAC-3 missiles for use by the US Army, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Qatar. Delivery of the missiles is expected to be completed by June 30, 2019. The contract follows a similar one awarded in July worth $1.5 billion. The award follows a growing increase in demand for missiles and defense systems from both the US and countless other foreign buyers. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency has come under scrutiny as of late for not being able to process foreign arms sales quickly enough to keep up with demand.

November 30/15: Poland’s new government is considering backing out of a previous $5 billion deal to install the Patriot missile defense system. A further order of 50 Caracal EC725 helicopters worth $3 billion is also in doubt. The agreements were made last April amid rising tensions among NATO member states in eastern Europe after the Russian annexation of Crimea. The ruling Law & Justice party have brought the nature of the deal into doubt expressing concerns over extra costs and increased delivery time and may look at a renewed tendering process in 2016.

November 18/15: UAE Patriot missiles have been credited with shooting down two ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militants in Yemen. The UAE have had the Patriot battery deployed in the Marib provence of Yeman since September as part of a Saudi led coalition against the Shia insurgency there. The sale of the Patriot missile systems to various Gulf nations by the US has been part of a concentrated effort to counter Jihadist activity in various countries in the region. Earlier this month, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) cleared the sale of $380 million worth of munitions to the UAE who it sees as an “important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East”.

November 9/15: The Netherlands is planning to modernize its Patriot air defense missile systems, rather than procure new MEADS systems. Beyond Germany’s selection of the Medium Extended Air Defense System – a Lockheed Martin/MBDA Deutschland project – in May, MEADS has not seen the success some hoped for. The Dutch are reportedly planning to upgrade their Patriots between 2017 and 2021, extending their service lives out to 2040, with the Dutch withdrawing Patriot batteries from Turkey in August 2014 to facilitate this modernization work.

FY 2015

Purchases: Kuwait, Taiwan, Qatar, UAE; Requests: Saudi Arabia.

July 30/15: Saudi Arabia has requested Patriot PAC-3 missiles and auxiliary equipment through a potential $5.4 billion deal, which would modernize the Kingdom’s current stockpile of Patriot missiles. This DSCA request comes on the heels of a $1.5 billion contract announced by Lockheed Martin earlier this month, which will see Foreign Military Sales partners worldwide upgraded with new PAC-3 and PAC-3MSE interceptors, including Saudi Arabia, as well as another DSCA request from October 2014 for PAC-3 missiles, with that request valued at $1.75 billion.

July 27/15: Lockheed Martin will upgrade US Army and international partners’ Patriot systems through the Foreign Military Sales program in a deal worth $1.5 billion. The contract will supply PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE interceptors for Taiwan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. These states all operate the PAC-3, with Saudi Arabia requesting $1.75 billion-worth of PAC-3 enhancements in June 2014, with Qatar ordering the PAC-3 in October as part of a $11 billion equipment deal with the US. South Korea announced in April 2014 that the country’s Patriot systems would be upgraded to the PAC-3 configuration between 2016 and 2020, with a budget of around $1.25 billion.

May 19/15: Raytheon was awarded a $7 million contract modification in support of the UAE’s Patriot systems, with this totaling 138 man-months of work. The GCC member state first procured the systems in 2008, with the country operating the PAC-3 variant.

April 24/15: The undisclosed customer in Raytheon’s $2 billion contract announced earlier this week for Patriot air defense systems is now thought to be Saudi Arabia. The company secured a multi-billion dollar contract with Poland this week, with the Patriot system also a contender for Germany’s air defense modernization requirement.

April 20/15: On Friday, Raytheon announced the award of a $2 billion contract to an undisclosed international customer for the supply of new-production Patriot systems, training and support. The precise variant of the system was not revealed, however the new systems will include the “latest technology for improved threat detection, identification and engagement,” which sounds like the PAC-3 variant.

Nov 5/14: Korea. The US DSCA announces South Korea’s official export request for PAC-3 missiles to upgrade its Korea Air Missile Defense (KAMD) system from its existing PAC-2 GEM-Ts. This will create better interoperability with American forces in theater, while enhancing the country’s ballistic missile defenses (q.v. March 12/14). The estimated cost is up to $1.405 billion, and includes:

  • 136 PAC-3 Missiles with containers
  • 2 Patriot-As-A-Target (PAAT) Flight Test Targets with 2 PAC-3 Telemetry Kits
  • 10 Fire Solution Computers
  • 18 Launcher Station Modification Kits
  • 8 Guided Missile Transporters
  • 8 Missile Round Trainers
  • 8 PAC-3 Slings
  • 13 Installation Kits for TPX-58 Identification Friend or Foe with KIV-77 crypto
  • PAC-3 Ground Support Equipment (GSE)
  • 10 Shorting Plugs
  • 77 Defense Advanced Global Positioning Receivers (DAGR GPS) and Installation Kits
  • Patriot Fiber Optic Modem
  • 4 AN/VRC-90E Radios with Installation Kits
  • 10 Patriot Automated Logistics System Kits
  • Plus the usual spare and repair parts, support equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and US Government and contractor support.

The principal contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA (config-3 ground systems); and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, TX (PAC-3 missiles). Implementation of this proposed sale won’t require the assignment of any additional US Government or contractor personnel to Korea, beyond temporary in-country visits to meet program technical and management oversight and support requirements. Sources: US DSCA #14-52, “Republic of Korea – Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missiles”.

DSCA request: South Korea (136 PAC-3 & Config-3 upgrades)

Oct 14/14: PATRIOT. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $595.5 million foreign military sales contract modification, covering FY 2014 production for Kuwait, Taiwan, Qatar, and the UAE. They’re selling 152 PAC-3 cost reduction initiative missiles, 15 PAC-3 launcher modification kits, and the associated ground equipment, tooling, and initial spares. $543 million is committed immediately.

The PAC-3 CRI missile was used as the base for the PAC-3 MSE missile, but the MSE also adds a number of new technologies, and changes the missile’s structure. In contrast, PAC-3 CRI missiles offer PAC-3 performance at a slightly lower cost.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Lufkin, and El Paso, TX; Camden, AR; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL; Huntsville, AL; and Anaheim, CA; and will continue until May 31/16. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-14-C-0034, PO 0008).

PAC-3 missiles: Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, UAE

Oct 1/14: Saudi Arabia. The US DSCA announces a Saudi Arabian export request for more PATRIOT PAC-3 missiles, with Lockheed Martin in Dallas, TX and Raytheon in Tewksbury, MA as the designated contractors to negotiate with. the contract could be worth up to $1.75 billion, on top of previous request and sales involving a $1.7 billion upgrade of PATRIOT systems to Config-3 status for PAC-3 missile use (q.v. Nov 30/11), high-end maintenance and re-certification contracts (q.v. Dec 23/11, Nov 28/12), and a national C4I system (q.v. Nov 26/12).

This time, they want to buy up to 202 PATRIOT PAC-3 Missiles with containers, and 1 Patriot as a Target (PAC-2 Guidance Enhanced Missile GEM Flight Test Target). They also want up to 36 Launcher Station Modification Kits, 6 Fire Solution Computers, 6 Patriot Automated Logistics Systems Kits, 2 PAC-3 Telemetry Kits, 2 Missile Round Trainers, 2 PAC-3 Slings, 6 Shorting Plugs, spare and repair parts, lot validation and range support, ground support equipment, repair and return, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, a Quality Assurance Team, and other US Government and contractor support.

“The proposed sale will help replenish Saudi’s current [PAC-2] Patriot missiles which are becoming obsolete and difficult to sustain due to age and the limited availability of repair parts. The purchase of PAC-3 missiles will support current and future defense missions…. Although [industrial] offsets are requested, they are unknown at this time and will be determined during negotiations between the KSA and contractor.”

Implementation of this proposed program will require 1 additional US contractor to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a period of 3 years for equipment fielding and system checkout. Sources: US DSCA #14-43, “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) – Patriot Air Defense System with PAC-3 Enhancement”.

DSCA request: Saudis (202 PAC-3s)

FY 2014

Purchases: USA, Kuwait, Qatar; Requests: Saudi Arabia, South Korea; 2 batteries deployed to Turkey; DOT&E highlight reliability issues with radar, Raytheon crafts significant system upgrades for Polish competition, becomes a finalist; South Korea buys PAC-2 GEM-Ts, will upgrade to PAC-3/Config-3. Greek PAC-2
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July 16/14: Upgrades. Raytheon announces a $235.5 million full rate production contract for Radar Digital Processor (RDP) kits, to upgrade PATRIOT systems for the USA and 2 partner nations. The changes will also allow support for the new PAC-3 MSE missile. As DID discussed when covering industrial process and component increases (q.v. May 10/14):

“The introduction of the new Radar Digital Processor in the Configuration-3 radar eliminates older components, provides a 12x improvement in mean time between failure, and increases radar processing efficiency. Innovations include radar system chips that have shrunk by 87.5%, and would almost fit into the grooves on a dime’s side. Meanwhile, Radar Digital Processor has dropped from 435 circuit cards to 5 in one of its assemblies, 16 power supplies have been combined into 1, and wiring that used to require 31 cables now takes 10. The space this opened up could house some refrigerator models, and is available for future upgrades.”

Raytheon also expects 40% improvement in Mea Time Between Failure, and notes that reducing the number of battery replaceable units from 759 to 56 should provide some maintenance savings. US Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract. Sources: Raytheon, “US Army awards Raytheon $235.5 million contract for Patriot”.

July 15/14: R&D. Raytheon touts successful prototyping of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) technologies into the PATRIOT system’s radar. It’s part of a wider, privately-developed upgrade that will also include 360 degree coverage (q.v. June 12/14), and goes beyond extensive manufacturing and design improvements within the existing technology framework (q.v. May 10/13):

“…these technologies will significantly increase the defended area and decrease the time to detect, discriminate and engage threats. The introduction of GaN-based AESA technologies will also further improve reliability and lower the life cycle costs for the Patriot radar, beyond what has already been achieved with other recent Patriot radar improvements.”

Raytheon has made significant investments in GaN as a better base for semiconductors, and is also working with materials like synthetic diamond’s improved heat dissipation for denser circuits. GaN is more expensive than standard Gallium Arsenide, so for the moment it’s restricted to high-value applications like radars that appreciate its performance boost. Sources: Raytheon, “Raytheon demonstrates successful prototyping of AESA/GaN technologies into Patriot radar”.

July 14/14: Qatar. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hosts Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah at the Pentagon, where they sign letters of offer and acceptance worth around $11 billion for AH-64E Apache helicopters, Patriot PAC-3 air and missile defense systems (q.v. March 27/14, July 8/14), and FGM-148 Javelin Block 1 anti-tank missiles.

Details remain scarce, but their Nov 7/12 DSCA request covered up to 11 fire units, using Config-3 ground equipment and a combination of PAC-2 GEM-T (246) and PAC-3 (768) interceptor missiles. Lockheed Martin’s Oct 15/14 release only says that the initial contract “…is for missile and command launch system production.” Sources: Pentagon, “U.S., Qatar Sign Letters on $11 Billion in Helicopters, Defense Systems” | Lockheed Martin, “Qatar Becomes 8th International Customer for Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3 Missile”.

Qatar PATRIOT systems

July 14/14: Kuwait. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $28.5 million modification for PATRIOT PAC-3 Launcher Modification Kit Phase II Redesigns, on behalf of Kuwait. All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed at Grand Prairie, TX; Clearwater, FL; Minneapolis, MN; and Aguadilla, PR; and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/17. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-12-G-0001, PO 0007).

July 8/14: Sub-contractors. Japan’s new relaxation of its self-imposed arms export ban may be about to benefit Qatar, via a sub-component of Qatar’s PAC-2 GEM-T missiles. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries already manufactures the PAC-2 GEM missile and related ground equipment for Japan, under a license agreement with Raytheon. They also assemble PAC-3 missiles under an agreement with Lockheed Martin.

The report said that MHI would produce a “key component of the infrared seeker set into the tip of the missile to identify and track incoming targets,” but Raytheon has confirmed that the PAC-2 GEM-T has no such infrared component. They’ve also confirmed that this is still just a discussion about incorporating components manufactured by MHI, rather than a hard agreement. Sources: Raytheon | Channel NewsAsia, “Japan reportedly set for first arms export under new rules”.

June 30/14: Poland. Poland’s MON announces the Wisla air and missile defense program’s finalists: Raytheon (q.v. June 12/14), and EuroSAM. Poland won’t become part of the MEADS program, nor will it buy Israel’s David’s Sling. The 2-stage technical dialogue led Poland to conclude that they required an operational system that “znajdowac sie na uzbrojeniu panstw NATO.” Once those requirements were set, MEADS and David’s Sling failed to qualify. Sources: Poland MON, “Kolejny etap realizacji programu Wisla zakonczony”.

June 12/14: Poland, Upgrades. Raytheon Company and Bumar Elektronika announce a partnership to design and develop a modernized Patriot Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) antenna that can upgrade previous ground systems. Meanwhile, Raytheon has begun laying out its broader vision for WISLA.

The IFF system will be used as part of an “advanced Patriot 360 degree radar.” Raytheon says that it would be based on the current AN/APG-65 with the new Radar Digital Processor, but it would carry an all-new antenna, and rotate for full hemispheric coverage. The result would also be an attractive upgrade for customers whose emplaced PATRIOTs are currently limited to a 120 degree field of regard. It would also bring Raytheon closer to parity with Lockheed’s MEADS, which substitutes three 360-degree radars (2 X-band MFCR, 1 UHF-band VSR) in place of the PATRIOT system’s single G-band MPQ-53 (PAC-2) or MPQ-65 (PAC-3).

A new open-architecture, NATO-compatible Common Command and Control (CC2) system would be a joint Raytheon-Polish development, incorporating PATRIOT fire control software, but allowing the integration of options like NASAMS and other systems. CC2’s design, development, and testing would be done in partnership with Polish industry, with the final product produced in Poland.

Missile choice would be up to Poland. Raytheon makes PAC-2 GEM missiles, while Lockheed Martin makes PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE missiles. To flank their rival at the high end, Raytheon is offering a “new advanced Low Cost Interceptor (LCI)” option. This refers to Raytheon’s PAAC-4 offering, which can add RAFAEL’s Stunner missiles from the competing David’s Sling air defense/ ABM system. If previous reports are true (q.v. May 14/14), Raytheon has effectively recruited their Israeli competitor into their team. The final LCI missile solution would be based on Polish requirements, and it’s worth noting that Raytheon is also RAFAEL’s partner for the famous Iron Dome counter-rocket system. Sources: Direct discussions | Raytheon, “Poland’s Bumar Elektronika and Raytheon Partner to Develop New Patriot IFF Antenna”.

May 19/14: Support. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $212.3 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity foreign military sales contract, for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Support Center’s services to PAC-3 customers.

Funding and work location will be determined with each order, from customers including Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Netherlands, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Estimated completion date is Dec 31/17. This contract is for 3.5 years instead of 1, but it’s a full order of magnitude larger than similar contracts since 2006. The US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as their agent (W31P4Q-13-D-0030, PO 0006). See also Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Receives $212 Million Contract for PAC-3 Missile Support”.

April 28/14: South Korea. South Korea’s defense establishment formally confirms their intent to upgrade existing PATRIOT systems to PAC-3/Config-3 status (q.v. March 12/14). The budget is WON 1.3 – 1.4 trillion (about $1.25 billion), and they aim to deploy the system between 2016 – 2020. Sources: The Korea Herald, “Seoul to upgrade missile defense”.

March 31/14: Support. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives an $8.3 million contract modification for the repair and return of PATRIOT Missile parts pertaining to Israel, Kuwait, Taiwan, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Holland and the United Arab Emirates.

All funds are committed, using FY 2013 – 2014 budgets. Estimated completion date is June 30/15. Work will be performed in Andover, MA. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract on behalf of its FMS clients (W31P4Q-13-C-0111, PO 0008).

March 28/14: PAC-3 MSE Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $610.9 million “modification to a foreign military sales contract” for the PATRIOT system advanced capability production to include 92 one pack Missiles, 50 launcher modification kits and associated ground equipment, tooling, and initial spares.

Only the PAC-3 MSE is a “one pack” missile, and an April 29/14 release from Lockheed describes this as “…the first production order of the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) following the Army’s successful Milestone C decision earlier this year.” It would appear that the Pentagon’s wording to imply exports was misleading – the contract number, which is associated with Kuwait, may be as well.

The effect of the contract is to commit a total of $873.8 million in FY 2013 – 2014 budgets. The estimated completion date is May 31/16. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Lufkin, and El Paso, TX; Camden, AR; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL; Huntsville, AL; and Anaheim, CA. US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract as an agent of their FMS customer (W31P4Q-14-C-0034, PO 0003). See also Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Receives $611 Million Contract for Production of First PAC-3 MSE Missiles”.

1st PAC-3 MSE order

March 27/14: Qatar. At DIMDEX 2014 in Doha, the Emirate announces $23 billion worth of military contracts, including a PATRIOT missile system contract related to its Nov 7/12 DSCA request. Sources: Al Defaiya, “Qatar Announces Big Defense Deals at DIMDEX 2014” | Arabian Aerospace, “Qatar in $23bn arms order including Apache and NH90 helicopters” | Reuters, “Qatar buys helicopters, missiles in $23 billion arms deals”.

March 12/14: Korea. DAPA spokesman Baek Youn-hyeong announces that South Korea has decided to shift its missile defense into higher gear. They’ll push for a full upgrade of their ex-German PATRIOT PAC-2/ Config-2 batteries to Config-3 ground systems, then buy PAC-3 missiles to switch in for existing PAC-2s. An anonymous official said that their goal is to sign a contract by December 2014, and begin to take deliveries in 2016.

Costs haven’t been negotiated yet, and another export request will be necessary, but the ministry reportedly set aside around KRW 1.5 trillion ($1.34 billion) in an earlier arms procurement plan. It isn’t clear whether DAPA would still seek to add another 112 PAC-2 GEM-T missiles (q.v. Dec 23/13), but PAC-3/ Config-3 naturally positions itself as a replacement rather than a supplement.

The ROK will also be pursuing related offensive and defensive systems, in the wake of recent North Korean rocket launches. DAPA intends to develop its MLRS rockets for ranges beyond 70-80km, in order to match the North’s 300mm systems, and one can expect precision guidance for lethal counterfire capabilities. On the defensive front, DAPA intends to spend KRW 200 billion ($186 million) in the next 5 years to field a tracked short-range gun/missile system based on the Bi-Ho, with twin-30mm guns and the SA-18 derived Chiron/ Shin-Gung missile. That won’t kill rockets, but it will add air defense resources. Alongside the ROKAF’s modern qualitative edge in the air, their SAM system seems to be evolving toward Biho Hybrid LLAD, plus short range Chun Ma/ Crotale NG missiles, plus remaining MIM-23 Hawk batteries which will be replaced by the K-SAM/ Cheongung cooperative effort with Russia. That’s an effective layered system, reducing reliance on PATRIOT batteries for conventional air defense. Sources: IMINT & Analysis, “The South Korean SAM Network ” | Arirang, “South Korea seeking Patriot missile upgrade by end of year” | Chosun Ilbo, “S.Korea to Upgrade Patriot Missile Defense” | Korea Herald, “Korea to buy PAC-3 missiles next year” | Reuters, “South Korea says seeks Patriot missiles upgrade deal by December”.

March 4-11/14: Budgets. The US military slowly files its budget documents, detailing planned spending from FY 2014 – 2019. For the PAC-3 MSE missile, there have been several notable changes.

The first is a sharply increased initial FY14 buy of 86 missiles, instead of 56. After that, the amounts are slightly below previously projections. The 2nd change is that the projected cost per missile drops sharply from $8 million in FY15 to around $5.5 million in FY16, and every year thereafter. $5.5M had been the program’s goal, but FY14 documents didn’t expect to get there until after FY18. The 3rd noticeable change may be related, and involves R&D spending dropping off a cliff beginning in FY15.

Feb 28/14: Kuwait. Raytheon in Andover, MA was awarded a $655.4 million firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract from Kuwait for 2 new-build Patriot fire units and associated initial spares. The new systems include recent upgrades to the PATRIOT’s ground systems, including increased computing power and radar processing efficiency, and a better interface for the operators. These new systems are part of Kuwait’s PAC-3 missile orders, and seem especially linked to their July 25/12 DSCA request, but note that the PAC-3 missiles themselves are a separate Lockheed Martin product (q.v. Dec 31/13).

All funds are committed immediately, and the contract runs until April 30/18. Work will be performed in Andover, MA, Chatsworth, CA, and in Greece. One bid was solicited with 1 received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, A. They’re acting as Kuwait’s FMS agent (W31P4Q-14-C-0052). Sources: Pentagon DefenseLINK | Raytheon, “Raytheon Awarded $655 Million Contract for Patriot”.

Kuwait: PATRIOT Fire Units

Jan 29/14: R&D. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives a $107.9 million in FY 2014 RDT&E funds for work on the Patriot missile system.

All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed at Andover, Billerica, Burlington, and Tewksbury, MA; El Segundo CA; El Paso TX; Huntsville AL; Norfolk VA; Pelham NH; and White Sands, NM until July 31/14 (W31P4Q-09-C-0057, PO 0108).

Jan 28/14: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2013 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), which features the PAC-3 & MSE. It was a good year for PATRIOT testing, with 5 PAC-3 & MSE tests that killed 4 ballistic missiles and 3 cruise missiles. The Army also addressed 14/21 recommendations from last year’s report, but there are still a few areas of concern.

The latest overall system version is Post Deployment Build-7 (PDB-7), which offered improvements against some threats compared to PDB-6.5 (q.v. Jan 17/12), and a step back against others. Those details are classified, but Army engagement procedures are said to be part of the problem. At the same time, DOT&E publicly spotlights reliability issues with the PATRIOT’s radar, which doesn’t collect key reliability data from the field, and training that isn’t adequate for complex engagements.

On the other hand, PATRIOT testing against radar-killing ARM missiles is only models and simulations. Those are the most common air defense killers, so a real test or 2 seems like a good idea. DOT&E also wants the Army to conduct PATRIOT testing during joint and coalition exercises that include large numbers of different aircraft types, sensors, battle management elements, and weapons systems, while conducting cyber-penetration testing of the system. Having PATRIOT act as a live interceptor backup while testing other systems like THAAD could be helpful, especially in cases like the FTI-01’s SM-3 test failure.

Nov 14/13: R&D. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $16.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for “the design, development, production, and fielding of a mobile capability outside the continental United States for reconstitution of 4-pack PAC-3 launcher assemblies.”

$4.2 million in FY 2014 funds is committed immediately. Estimated completion date is Nov 30/15. Work location is Grand Prairie, TX. One bid was solicited and one received (W31P4Q-14-C-0022).

Dec 31/13: Kuwait. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $263.4 million firm-fixed-price contract from the Emirate of Kuwait for 14 Patriot missile 4-packs and 7 launcher modification kits. Kuwait operates PATRIOT PAC-2 batteries, and is in the process of converting some of them to the PAC-3/Config-3 standard (q.v. July 25/12, July 2/13), while enhancing others with PAC-2 GEM-T missiles.

$23.8 million is committed immediately. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Lufkin, TX; Camden, AR; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL; El Paso, TX; Huntsville, AL; and Anaheim, CA; and will run until June 30/16. One bid was solicited with one received by US Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL, who acts as Kuwait’s agent (W31P4Q-14-C-0034).

Oct 25/13: South Korea. The US DSCA announces South Korea’s official request to buy 112 Patriot Anti-Tactical Missiles (basically PAC-2), which will be upgraded to the GEM-T configuration via a follow-on Direct Commercial Sale. They’ll also buy test equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training, publications and technical data, and other forms of Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $404 million.

Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA will be the prime contractor, and would also be the contractor for any DCS GEM-T upgrade. No additional US Government or contractor representatives will be deployed long-term, though teams will travel to the country on a temporary basis for logistics support. Sources: US DSCA #13-55 | NTI, “S. Korea Seeks More Patriot Missiles as N. Korea Eyes Rocket Launches”.

DSCA: South Korea PAC-2/GEM-Ts

Oct 17/13: Support. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $17.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, multi-year foreign military sales contract modification for PATRIOT repair and return services. This FMS contract is in support of Israel, Kuwait, Taiwan, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL will act as their FMS agent (W31P4Q-13-C-0111, PO 0004).

FY 2013

Annual order; Kuwait begins PAC-3 orders; Raytheon discusses major upgrades to ground systems; New PAC-3 MSE aces twin-kill; South Korea pushed to PAC-3 by PAC-2’s BMD performance; Deployment to Turkey; Corruption investigation in Greece; Good PAC-3 performance in varied FIT-01 BMD test. New MMS Interface
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Sept 23/13: MMS upgrades. Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $44.9 million firm-fixed-price contract to buy PATRIOT MMS (modern manstation) upgrade kits for the USA and Kuwait.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA as a non-competitive acquisition, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command (Missile) at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-13-C-0017).

Sept 9/13: Support. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA, was awarded a $9.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee multi-year contract modification of contract for foreign military sales for repair and return of Patriot missile parts. This contract was a foreign military sale to: Israel, Kuwait, Taiwan, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Republic of the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA as a non-competitive contract, with the US Army Contracting Command – Missile at Redstone Arsenal, AL acting as the program agent for these countries (W31P4Q-13-C-0111, PO 0003).

Aug 31/13: PAAC-4? Raytheon’s partnership with Israel’s RAFAEL is about to result in a challenge to Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3/MSE missiles. Raytheon is RAFAEL’s US marketing partner for the well-known Iron Dome, and RAFAEL’s development partner for a different, longer-range system called David’s Sling. It will replace Israeli MIM-23 Hawk and PATRIOT PAC-2 batteries, and the US military has expressed cautious interest. The firms’ American proposal would integrate the 2-stage, EO and radar-guided, hit-to-kill Stunner/ Magic Wand missile into PATRIOT Config-3 ground systems.

What’s the attraction of a “Patriot Advanced Affordable Configuration 4”? Cost. The new PAC-3 MSE missile is just starting production, and budget figures show a production cost of about $6.3 million each in 2018. That’s expected to drop, but even a standard PAC-3 missile at full-rate production costs around $3.3 million. Raytheon and RAFAEL are touting Stunner cost figures that amount to less than $500,000 per missile, assuming 60% production in the USA, and the savings would be noticeable even if they doubled that cost. For $20 million, they’re prepared to prove their claims and build a prototype.

There are 2 catches here. The first is operational. David’s Sling won’t be fielded in Israel until 2014, and its initial block won’t have key capabilities like cruise missile/ UAV interception, or the ability to hit maneuvering ballistic targets. The 2nd catch is that the PAC-3 is well tested by the Army, and the MSE variant that begins production in FY 2014 is a derivative successor with full-spectrum capabilities. Unless further cuts really bite the Army hard, they’re going to be reluctant to embrace a less proven missile with fewer capabilities, even if the cost savings are significant. Sources: Defense News, “Raytheon-Rafael Pitch 4th-Gen Patriot System” | RAFAEL: Stunner (David’s Sling).

Aug 30/13: R&D. Lockheed Martin in Grand Praire, TX receives a $44.1 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification to redesign the PAC-3’s tactical telemetry.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie and Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL, and Camden, AR, with funding from FY 2013 other authorization funds. One bid was received (W31P4Q-12-G-0001, PO 006).

Aug 26/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a maximum $7.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for PAC-3 and MSE engineering services, support for launchers’ ELES and fire solution computer software, and hardware post deployment.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX using FY 2012 “other procurement” funding. This contract was a competitive acquisition via the web with one bid received – though realistically, it’s unlikely that any other firm could have won. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Missile at Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract (W31P4Q-12-G-0001).

Aug 23/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a maximum $20.5 million cost-plus-incentive fee contract to redesign the PAC-3 and MSE’s Simplified Inertial Measurement Units (SIMU) and remove obsolete/ out-of-production parts. Inertial measurement uses very accurate accelerometers to help the missile know where it is in space, relative to its launch point.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Clearwater, FL, Minneapolis, MN, and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, using FY 2013 Other Procurement funds. This contract was a non-competitive acquisition, with 1 bid solicited and 1 received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command ? Redstone Arsenal (Missile), Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-12-G-0001, Order 0004).

Aug 15/13: Testing. Another PAC-3 test against a ballistic missile target. Two missiles ripple-fired at White Sands, NM, and the target is destroyed by the 1st missile. Sources: Lockheed Martin Aug 15/13 release.

July 2/13: FY 2013. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $308.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification from the USA and Kuwait. The Gulf Emirate becomes the PAC-3 missile’s 6th export customer, alongside Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Taiwan, and the UAE. Discussions with Lockheed Martin confirm that the total for the Jan 3/13 order and this one amount to 244 PAC-3 tactical missiles and 72 PAC-2 to PAC-3 launcher modification kits. The cumulative total face value of this contract is now $1.063 billion.

PAC-3 launchers mount 16 missiles instead of just 4 PAC-2s per launcher, and use some different systems. The modification kits include 4 PAC-3 Missile quad-pack canisters, a fire solution computer, an ELES (Enhanced Launcher Electronics System), and launcher support hardware.

The implication is that Kuwait is ordering 48 modification kits, but the missile buys don’t add. US Army budget FY 2014 justification documents show just 84 PAC-3 missiles, as the USA’s final order for the type. FY 2013 documents show 40 missiles for Taiwan, completing their multi-year order for 386, and FY 2014 documents show 60 missiles for Kuwait, beginning in that fiscal year. Lockheed Martin’s Jan 10/13 release left 44 missiles unaccounted for (168 – 40 = 128), and this release raises that number to 60, even if we presume that Kuwait has moved its entire FY 2014 buy into FY 2013 (244 – 84 – 40 – 60 = 60). DID is seeking to clarify.

$151.1 million is committed immediately, and the US Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL both manages American buys, and acts as Kuwait’s agent for those sales. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Lufkin and El Paso, TX; Camden, AR; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL; Huntsville, AL; and Anaheim, CA (W31P4Q-13-C-0068, PO 0002). Deliveries will begin in 2014. See also: Lockheed Martin Aug 12/13 release.

FY 2013 PAC-3, Part 2: USA & Kuwait

Aug 1/13: Testing. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $25.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for the new PAC-3 MSE missile’s follow on test program. $6.1 million is committed immediately, and the cumulative total face value of this contract is now $51 million (W31P4Q-07-G-0001, #001213).

Aug 1/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $9.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for unscheduled maintenance at the PAC-3 Missile Support Center. This brings the contract’s total value so far to $29.5 million (W31P4Q-13-D-0030, #0005).

July 25/13: Support. Raytheon in Huntsville, AL receives a modification to their $16.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, option-filled, multi-year contract, paying for PATRIOT depot-level diagnostics and repair. The cumulative total face value of this contract is now $31.1 million. Work will be performed in Fort Sill, OK; El Paso, TX; Fort Bragg, NC; and Fort Hood, TX (W91P4Q-12-C-0238, PO 0004).

June 27/13: Training. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a maximum $19.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for PATRIOT Mobile Flight Simulators. $9.6 million in FY 2013 RDT&E funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in White Sands Missile Range, NM, and Andover, MA. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-13-C-0018).

June 18/13: Upgrades. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $10.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, for PATRIOT Radar Digital Processor Upgrade Kits (q.v. May 10/13 entry), bringing the contract’s cumulative total value to $21.2 million. FY 2013 Procurement funds are being committed (W31P4Q-13-C-0016).

June 16/13: Kuwait, Germany. Raytheon’s VP of Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Sanjay Kapoor, tells Bloomberg that negotiations to sell Kuwait its next set of PATRIOT equipment and missiles (q.v. July 25/12 entry) are almost done.

Germany is discussing an upgrade of its own PATRIOT systems, and wants to incorporate elements of MEADS after spending all that R&D money. Bloomberg.

June 7/13: MSE Splash 2. The improved PAC-3 MSE aces its 1st major test at White Sands Missile Range, NM, killing both a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) target and a cruise missile.

The TBM got 2 ripple-fired missiles, but the 1st hit so #2 self-destructed. Missile #3 took out the BQM-74 jet-powered target drone. Preliminary data indicates that all test objectives were achieved. Lockheed Martin | Raytheon.

June 3/13: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a maximum $12 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for PAC-3 field support services.

Fiscal 2013 Procurement funds this award, and work will be performed in Dallas, TX; Kuwait; El Paso, TX; Killeen, TX; Lawton, OK; Fayetteville, NC; Bahrain; Germany; Japan; Korea; Qatar; Turkey; and the United Arab Emirates. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-13-C-0100).

May 10/13: Support. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $32.1 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification, extending recertification and repair services in support of the PAC-3 Missile Support Center program. The cumulative total face value of this contract is now $91 million. FY 2013 Operation and Maintenance funds are being used to find this award (W31P4Q-12-C-0100, PO 0014).

Upgrades
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May 10/13: Raytheon’s Upgrades. Raytheon discusses major design and manufacturing changes to the PATRIOT Config 3 ground systems, and PAC-2 GEM missiles, over the last few years. The firm says that designers have invested more than $400 million over the last 4 years to change manufacturing, improve performance, and make the system more reliable. That’s a big deal, after a DOT&E report (q.v. Jan 17/12 entry) that slammed the system’s “poor radar reliability and system availability”.

First, the components themselves have changed. The introduction of the new Radar Digital Processor in the Configuration-3 radar eliminates older components, provides a 12x improvement in mean time between failure, and increases radar processing efficiency. Innovations include radar system chips that have shrunk by 87.5%, and would almost fit into the grooves on a dime’s side. Meanwhile, Radar Digital Processor has dropped from 435 circuit cards to 5 in one of its assemblies, 16 power supplies have been combined into 1, and wiring that used to require 31 cables now takes 10. The space this opened up could house some refrigerator models, and is available for future upgrades. Similar changes have taken place within the PAC-2 GEM-T missile, even as the Config-3 control room got a big makeover with color touch screens, faster computers, etc.

In tandem with that, the manufacturing processes have changed, as work crews ripped out whole sections of the factory to installed brand-new machinery. New ceramics are used in the missile’s radome. Computer-controlled tools that can compensate for room temperature and other factors cut beams to support the radar’s antenna. “Chip shooter” machines install 30,000 components an hour, making cleaner connections.

The first new GEM-T missile was fired at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in August 2011, followed by a test firing of the first complete, new-production Patriot system in 2012 (q.v. March 29/12 entry). Raytheon: Release | Feature | Infographic [PDF, view at 200+%]

Raytheon’s Config-3 & PAC-2 upgrades

April 12/13: PAC-3 Testing. Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3 Missile successfully detects, tracks and intercepts a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) in a Lower Tier Project Office flight test at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The 1st missile kills it, and so the 2nd one self-destructs.

It’s one of the steps along the path to the PAC-3 MSE’s big test at White Sands, later this year. Lockheed Martin.

April 10/13: FY 2014 Budget. The President releases a proposed budget at last, the latest in modern memory. The Senate and House were already working on budgets in his absence, but the Pentagon’s submission is actually important to proceedings going forward. See ongoing DID coverage. FY 2014 is a big transition for PATRIOT, as PAC-3 missiles are no longer being ordered, and PAC-3 MSE missile production begins in earnest. Relevant figures can be found in the article’s charts.

April 1/13: PAC-2 GEM-T Recert. Raytheon announces that its PAC-2/ GEM-T missiles have received US Army approval for a 2nd recertification, extending the world-wide fleet’s operational life from 30 – 45 years. Recertification and upgrades can be done at a fraction of replacement cost, and since replacements are likely to be Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3s, that’s a very good selling point for Raytheon.

The decision comes on the heels of a recent $46.7 million U.S. Army contract awarded to Raytheon to recertify and upgrade Patriot missiles to the latest GEM-T configuration, as part of the continuous Patriot modernization effort. Raytheon.

Feb 11/13: Sweden. Sweden’s deputy prime minister and Liberal Party leader Jan Bjorklund thinks Sweden’s military capabilities have hit a dangerous level, and believe the country needs to place national defense priorities before international missions as Russia begins to re-arm.

What’s unusual is that he openly suggested buying PATRIOT missiles from the USA during an interview with Svenska Dagbladet, and proposed to base them on the Baltic island of Gotland as forward air defense. MBDA probably feels slighted that their longer-range Aster-30 SAMP/T wasn’t mentioned.

The comments come about a month after Swedish Armed Forces commander-in-chief Sverker Göransson said that the country could only defend itself for about a week under sustained attack. It probably didn’t make things any more comfortable when Danish NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the same annual security conference that Sweden couldn’t count on NATO coming to their defense, despite Swedish membership in NATO’s Partnership for Peace. The Local.

Jan 7/13: Testing. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $12.5 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to establish a PAC-3 MSE Missile Field Test Program.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX, with an estimated completion date of March 31/14. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-13-C-0094).

Jan 3/13: PAC-3. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $755.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for PAC-3 missiles and related services, which includes support for Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan.

The contract covers 168 hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missiles, 27 launcher modification kits and associated tooling, and program management and services. This is the US government’s 14th production buy of the PAC-3 Missile. US Army budget documents place Taiwan’s FY 2013 order at 40 missiles, completing their multi-year order for 386.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie & Lufkin, TX; Camden, AR; Chelmsford, MA; and Ocala, FL; with an estimated completion date of July 31/15. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract (W31P4Q-13-C-0068). See also Lockheed Martin 2013-01-10 release.

FY 2013 PAC-3

Jan 3/13: Taiwan. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $72.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for PATRIOT Config-3 spares in support of Foreign Military Sales. Raytheon confirms to DID that these are spares for Taiwan.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, and El Paso, TX, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0002).

Jan 3/13: Taiwan. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $22.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for PATRIOT Technical Refresh Spares. Raytheon confirms to DID that these are for Taiwan.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/14. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0002).

Jan 3/13: Kuwait. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $22.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification buying PATRIOT Spare Parts. Raytheon confirms to DID that these are are for Kuwait.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/14. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0002).

Dec 20/12: CTR. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $46.7 million firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the modernization of the PATRIOT Advanced Capability missiles through the continuous technology refreshment program.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA with an estimated completion date of Dec 17/16. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract (W31P4Q-13-C-0088).

Nov 28/12: Saudi Arabia. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s official request to buy technical services and re-certify up to 300 PATRIOT PAC-2 GEMs (MIM-104D Guidance Enhanced Missiles). They also want to perform some modernization of existing equipment, and receive spare and repair parts, support equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $130 million.

The DSCA says that proposed re-certification program will allow the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces to extend the shelf life of the PAC-2 missiles for another 12 years. Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA will be the prime contractor, but the US Army’s Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA will perform the re-certification. Implementation of this proposed sale will require 1 Raytheon representative to travel to the Missile Assembly Disassembly Facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on an extended basis for missile assembly/disassembly support, system checkout, training and technical and logistics support.

DSCA: Saudis request PATRIOT PAC-2 re-cert

Dec 14/12: To Turkey. The USA will send 2 batteries of Patriot missiles and 400 troops to Turkey, as part of a NATO force meant to protect Turkish territory from potential Syrian missile attack. Germany and the Netherlands had already agreed to provide 2 PATRIOT batteries each, along with 400 German and 360 Dutch troops, bringing the total number of Patriot batteries slated for Turkey to 6. Yahoo! News.

Nov 7/12: Qatar. The US DSCA announces that Qatar is looking to buy up to 11 PATRIOT Configuration 3 fire units, at a cost of up to $9.9 billion. The PAC-2 GEM-T and PAC-3 missiles would serve as the country’s lower BMD tier, beneath the requested (q.v. Nov 5/12) THAAD exo-atmospheric interceptors. The request includes up to:

  • 11 AN/MSQ-132 Engagement Control Systems
  • 11 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets
  • 11 Electrical Power Plants (EPPII)
  • 30 Antenna Mast Groups
  • 44 M902 Launching Stations
  • 246 PATRIOT MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-TBM (GEM-T) with canisters
  • 2 PATRIOT MIM-104E GEM-T Test Missiles
  • 768 PATRIOT Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missiles with canisters
  • 10 PAC-3 Test Missiles with canisters
  • 8 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems/Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVTs)
  • Plus communications equipment, tools and test equipment, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, facility design, and other Government and contractor support.

The prime contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MD (Config-3 ground systems and GEM-T missiles), and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX (PAC-3 missiles). If a sale is concluded, the Qataris will need about 30 U.S. Government and 40 contractor representatives in Qatar for an extended period for equipment de-processing/ fielding, system checkout, training ,and technical and logistics support. Sources: US DSCA #12-58.

DSCA: Qatar request

Oct 29/12: Greece. Up to 8 Greek arms deals signed since the late 1990s are the subjects of investigations into illegal bribes and kickbacks, and Greece’s purchase of US-made Patriot missiles has advanced to the docket of an investigating magistrate. Investigators are probing bank accounts and offshore companies, and some cases involve more than 1 defense minister.

There is a precedent in former PASOK (socialist) Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who sits in Korydallos Prison awaiting charges for money laundering during his 1996 – 2001 term. ekathimerini.

Oct 28/12: South Korea. A joint study by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses and the US Missile Defense Agency concludes that the PATRIOT PAC-2 system has an interception success rate of below 40% against ballistic missiles. South Korea’s government looked at that, then concluded that they need to buy PAC-3 batteries, in order to push their odds above 70% for covered areas.

The PAC-3 systems appear to be a priority, with deliveries to begin in 2014. To achieve that, a DSCA export request will need to be issued in the very near future. As PAC-3 systems arrive, South Korea reportedly plans to divert their billion-dollar buy of German PAC-2 batteries to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles. ROK’s Yonhap News Agency | Chosun Ilbo.

Oct 25/12: FIT-01 Test. Pacific Chimera (aka. Flight Test Integrated-01) features a combination of land and sea missile defense systems, who go 4/5 against a combination of ballistic missile and cruise missile targets. The USA’s Command and Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) system acted as FIT-01’s command and control backbone.

The Medium Range Ballistic Missile E-LRALT (Extended Long Range Air Launch Target) was launched out of a C-17, tracked by a US Army AN/TPY-2 radar on Meck Island, and destroyed by its companion THAAD missile.

A pair of Short Range Ballistic Missile targets were launched from a platform in the ocean. One was destroyed by a US Army PATRIOT PAC-3 system, but the USS Fitzgerald’s [DDG 62] attempt to intercept the 2nd SRBM target with a long-range SM-3 Block 1A missile failed. They’re still trying to figure out why, because there were no obvious malfunctions.

The USS Fitzgerald had better luck with an SM-2 missile against a low flying cruise missile target, and the Army’s PATRIOT PAC-3 battery racked up a cruise missile kill of its own. Final tally: 80%. US MDA | Lockheed Martin | Raytheon.

Oct 5/12: Infrastructure. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price contract to upgrade PATRIOT depot maintenance plant equipment.

Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA, and White Sands, NM, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/16. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-12-C-0287).

FY 2012

Annual order; Big Taiwan order for PATRIOT/PAC-3 systems; Export request from Kuwait; Successful test using JLENS aerostat for cueing; BMD test for new PAC-3 CRI missile variant; New PAC-3 MSE missile kills “over the shoulder”; Testing milestones for new-build Config-3 ground systems; PATRIOT shipment to Korea gets much more exciting than intended; Pentagon testers highlight poor system reliability. Patriot Radar
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July 25/12: Kuwait. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Kuwait’s official request to add to its PATRIOT assets. The request begins by asking for 60 more PAC-3 missiles, a request that has been made before (q.v. Dec 4/07 – 80 PAC-3 missiles). Kuwait has also added a stock of PAC-2 GEM-T missiles (vid. Dec 11/10 and Jan 24/11 entries).

Beyond the missiles themselves, this request requests ground equipment for 2 more fully modern (Config-3) batteries, plus additional equipment to extend existing infrastructure: 4 PATRIOT radars, 4 PATRIOT Engagement Control Stations, 20 PATRIOT Launching Stations, 2 Information Coordination Centrals, 10 Electric Power Plants, communication and power equipment. The Dec 4/07 request has already ordered Config-3 upgrades to 6 radars and associated equipment. Personnel training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, facility design and construction, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support round out the possible order. The estimated cost is up to $4.2 billion

The principal contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Tewksbury, MA and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, TX. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 3 contractor representatives to Kuwait on a temporary basis for program, technical support, and management oversight.

DSCA: Kuwait PAC-3/Config-3 request

Sept 13/12: Testing. A pair of PAC-3 missiles are successfully ripple-fired at a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) target at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The first interceptor destroyed the target and the second PAC-3 Missile self destructed as planned. Lockheed Martin.

July 16/12: CTR. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA received a $7.5 million firm-fixed-price export contract for new modern adjunct processor upgrade kits. The recipients were not discussed.

Work will be performed in Phoenix, AZ; El Segundo, CA; Anaheim, CA; Fremont, CA; Charlottesville, VA; and Andover, MA; and will run until Nov 30/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-10-C-0301).

July 13/12: Getting MSE ready. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $69 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to support of PAC-3 MSE Initial Production Facilities. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie and Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; and Ocala, FL; with an estimated completion date of July 2/14. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-12-C-0001).

The contract is pretty explicit about getting the new PAC-3 MSE missile ready for production, which is set to begin in FY 2014 with orders for 56. The US Army plans to order a total 1m680 PAC-3 MSE missiles over the lifetime of that program, which will be worth $9.114 billion. By 2015, the Army expects the more capable PAC-3 MSE to cost less per missile (around $7.5 million) than the current PAC-3 (about $7.6 million), with costs continuing to drop for the MSE after that. Time will tell if beginning MSE’s design from the PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) blueprint will deliver on its promise, or not. See also Lockheed Martin release.

May 6/12: Support. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX wins a $34.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract, to fund the PAC-3 Missile Support Center. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX until Dec 31/13. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received by the US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-12-C-0100).

April 30/12: JLENS/ PATRIOT test. The promised firing test takes place during an exercise at the Utah Training and Test Range. The JELNS high-altitude aerostat picked up the target on radar, and provided tracking data to the PATRIOT system. Raytheon says that:

“In addition to destroying the target drone, initial indications are that the JLENS-Patriot systems integration met test objectives.”

That will help make the case for JLENS as a very low operating cost option for cruise missile defense, but is it too late? The Pentagon has decided to remove the program’s production phase, leaving just the 2 testing “orbits”. Raytheon | Lockheed Martin.

April 13/12: Support. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $7.6 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract, to support the PAC-3 Missile Support Center. Work will be performed in Dallas, TX, with an estimated completion date of March 30/13. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received by the US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-12-C-0100).

April 9/12: Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $45.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for PAC launcher modification kits. Lockheed makes the PAC-3 missile, which demands a different launcher system than Raytheon’s larger PAC-2.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of July 31/14. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-11-C-0001).

April 2/12: UAE. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $67.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for UAE Patriot spares. Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-G-0002).

March 30/12: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs” for 2012. It places the current total PAC-3 sub-program cost at $11.581 billion in FY 2012 dollars. That number has risen just 14.1% over the past 5 years, though the change from the initial program estimate is a bit more radical: 122.2%.

March 30/12: SAR. The Pentagon’s Selected Acquisitions Report ending Dec 31/11. The overall program cost for the PAC-3 sub-program stands at $10.205 billion in base-year dollars.

March 29/12: New-production tests. Raytheon announces a series of testing milestones involving new-production PATRIOT Config. 3 systems, as opposed to upgraded systems. One is the successful firing of 2 PAC-3 missiles to engage a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) at White Sands Missile Range, NM. Surprisingly, this is the 1st firing of PAC-3s from a new-build system.

This test comes on the heels of a successful March 21/12 system-level guided flight test of the new-production Patriot system, and the successful test of the first ground-up production PAC-2 GEM-T missile in October 2011. Raytheon.

Feb 15/12: New BMD target. The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command successfully complete a test flight of the new Economical Target-1 at Eglin AFB, FL. ET-1 is a threat representative tactical ballistic missile that could be used to test PATRIOT missiles going forward. It’s a combination of excess body and motor assemblies from the government, and a nose and tail assembly made at Holloman AFB, NM.

The ET-1 was launched using SMDC’s new 25K Transportable Target Launcher, a mission-configurable rail launcher with 25,000 pounds-capacity that complies with applicable treaties, and lets the Army simulate a number of incoming missile flight geometries. It can be carried inside C-17 and C-5 aerial transports for fast shipping, and expands the number of available launch sites for Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense testing. US Army.

Feb 13/12: The USA’s FY 2013 budget documents include $646.6 million to buy 84 PAC-3 missiles and 38 Enhanced Launcher Electronic Systems (ELES). It adds $12.85 million to finish preparations for PAC-3 MSE missile manufacturing; production orders will begin in FY 2014.

Feb 13/12: Support. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Andover, MA receives a $15.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, to support of the Patriot Missile Support Center.

Work will be performed in Chambersburg, PA; Andover, MA; Burlington, MA; and Germany; and the contract runs until Jan 31/14. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0156).

Jan 17/12: Testing report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2011 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). All PATRIOT missile variants are included, even the MEADS’ PAC-3 MSE, which gets a good review:

“The first MSE intercepted the [ballistic missile] target and the second intercepted debris from the first intercept… performance was consistent with preflight predictions and body-to-body impact was achieved… The system met the mission objectives.”

The report also notes a series of GEM-T tests, which have generally been successful, though firings of 2 missiles generally have just 1 successful intercept by the 1st missile. Proximity fuzes can be like that, if the 1st hit doesn’t leave much of a proximity target to trigger. Unfortunately, this next excerpt is much more disturbing, given PATRIOT’s status as the main modern air defense weapon for the USA and several of its key allies:

“Based on the PDB-6.5 LUT conducted during FY10, DOT&E assesses the current Patriot system as effective against some threats and partially suitable due to poor radar reliability and system availability. There has been substantial variance in Patriot’s reliability and resulting availability as observed during testing. The causes of this variance are unknown.”

The Army has updated the PATRIOT’s Test and Evaluation Master Plan, which DOT&E approved on Sept 1/11.

Jan 17/12: An $11.3 million firm-fixed-price contract “for the procurement of Patriot missiles and spares.” DID is given to understand that this Pentagon description of the items bought is in fact a mistake, but official clarification has yet to arrive.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W31P4Q-12-D-0009).

Jan 5/12: CTR. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives a $51.3 million firm-fixed-price contract, to modernize Patriot PAC-2 missiles to the GEM-T configuration. Raytheon says that this is a follow on to AMCOM’s PATRIOT missile continuous technology refreshment program, initiated in 2000.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Feb 28/15. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-12-C-0079).

Dec 30/11: US FY 2012 & Taiwan. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $606 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for FY 2012 PATRIOT requirements – which includes missiles, launchers, and ground support for Taiwan. Within the PATRIOT system, Lockheed Martin produces the PAC-3 missile, the missile canister 4-packs, a fire solution computer, and the Enhanced Launcher Electronics System (ELES).

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of July 30/15. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract for the USA, and as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W31P4Q-12-C-0002).

FY 2012 PAC-3

Dec 30/11: Taiwan. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Andover, MA receives a $34.3 million firm-fixed-price contract, providing initial funding for 3 Taiwanese Patriot fire units and training equipment. DID is investigating possible connections to the Dec 16/11 announcement.

Work will be performed in several locations within Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Italy, Greece, and Canada, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2016. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, incl. services as Taiwan’s agent (W31P4Q-12-C-0069.

Dec 23/11: Saudi request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s official request to buy continuing services for the PATRIOT Systems Engineering Services Program (ESP). Also included: modification kits, engineering changes, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $120 million, but no duration is specified.

Saudi Arabia has had a Shared Engineering Services Program (SESP) with the USA for the past 20 years; this just extends it. The prime contractor will be Raytheon Integrated Defense in Andover, MA, and implementation won’t require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia, beyond those already there.

DSCA: Saudi support request

Dec 23/11: Support. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives a $13.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for PATRIOT training services. Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Dec 15/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-12-C-0102).

Dec 21/11: Thor & bothered. Finnish Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen says that they have detained 2 crew members of the M/S Thor Liberty, an Isle of Man-flagged vessel that left Emden, Germany en route to China but had 69 Patriot surface-to-air missiles and 160 tons of explosives on board. Virtanen said that “the missiles did not have the appropriate transit papers.”

Which sounds alarming, but a spokesman for Germany’s Defense Ministry said the missiles were an official shipment to South Korea that was fully declared, and had all necessary clearings from German authorities. The ship is eventually allowed to sail, and the German story proved to be true, but some members of the crew were kept for questioning. BBC | Sacramento Bee | Voice of Russia | Washington Post World.

Dec 16/11: Taiwan order. Raytheon announces a $685.7 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract from Taiwan for additional PATRIOT fire units, featuring current electronics, an improved man-machine interface, and claims of lower life-cycle costs. The firm adds that this award is in addition to the 2009 contract for new systems, and the 2008 contracts to upgrade Taiwan’s existing systems. Work under this contract will be performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; El Paso, TX; and Huntsville, AL.

When queried, the firm clarified that this order will be built from the ground up as PATRIOT PAC-3, and that “fire unit” means the complete system, including radars, generators, antenna, ECS command module, and missile launchers. Taiwan is already beginning to build experience with the equipment, as Raytheon recently delivered the first upgraded Configuration-3 radar system, 10 months ahead of the original requested program plan.

Dec 7/11: Taiwan order. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Sudbury, MA receives a $42.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract for the Surveillance Radar Program. Specifically, this system includes a UHF phased array radar integrated with Taiwan-furnished Identification Friend-or-Foe beacons; 2 Missile Warning Centers; and communications and interface architecture and protocols to specific nodes within Taiwan’s military communications infrastructure, consistent with US restrictions

The SRP is a Foreign Military Sales Program managed by the USAF Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, MA, to provide Taiwan with the elements of a missile and air defense capability. Work will be performed in Sudbury, MA, and is expected to be complete by Nov 9/12 (FA8722-05-C-0001, PO 0062).

Taiwan – adjunct radar & PAC-3 units

Dec 7/11: Support. Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $12.7 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-reimbursable contract. The award will modify an existing contract for technical services in support of Taiwan’s PATRIOT air defense missile system.

Work will be performed in El Paso, TX, and Taipei, Taiwan, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/15. by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL, who is acting as Taiwan’s agent (W31P4Q-11-C-0317).

Nov 30/11: Saudi Arabia OK. Raytheon announces U.S. Congressional and State Department approvals for Saudi Arabia’s $1.7 billion Direct Commercial Sales contract to upgrade to PATRIOT Config. 3 (vid. June 21/11 entry).

Nov 21/11: Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $25.5 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to support the “PAC-3 production requirement for 11 launcher mod kits.”

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA; and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0001).

Nov 17/11: MEADS test. The 1st full MEADS firing test successfully engages a simulated “over the shoulder” target (approaching from behind) at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The test used the PAC-3 MSE missile, lightweight launcher and BMC4I battle manager, and the nature of the test required a unique sideways maneuver from the missile.

This matters to the larger Patriot program, because it’s very probable that PAC-3 MSE missiles will be incorporated into existing Patriot systems. That makes the “unique sideways maneuver” an item of interest. Lockheed Martin.

Nov 1/11: BMD test. Lockheed Martin announces a successful intercept against an aerodynamic tactical ballistic missile target at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The test included a ripple fire engagement, using a PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) Missile as the 1st interceptor and a standard PAC-3 as the 2nd interceptor.

The CRI Missile includes block upgrades to the PAC-3 for performance improvement, as well as reduced costs.

Oct 24/11: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $33.3 million firm-fixed-priced and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, for 12 PAC-3 launcher modification kits.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA; and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0001).

Oct 11/11: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $37.8 million firm-fixed-priced and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, for 11 PAC-3 launcher modification kits.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA; and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of July 31/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0001).

Oct 5/11: CTR. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $7.1 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for PATRIOT Modern Adjunct Processor Upgrade Kits. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and El Segundo, CA, with an estimated completion date of May 3/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W31P4Q-10-C-0301).

Oct 5/11: Taiwan. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $20.4 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, to provide PATRIOT technical assistance services to Taiwan. Work will be performed in El Paso, TX; Taipei, Taiwan, and Andover, MA; with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0317).

Oct 5/11: Support. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $6.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for “various PATRIOT Secondary Items.” Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of July 31/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0349).

FY 2011

Annual buy; Big Saudi upgrade to ground systems; Kuwait orders GEM-T missiles; Shining as light on UAE industrial offsets; Korean experience shows importance of spares; PAC-3 motor redesign. PAC-2, Japan
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Sept 19/11: ROKy start. South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reports that 3 of the key tracking radars that equip its 8 Patriot missile batteries have broken down, rendering their corresponding missile batteries useless for “a few months.” The information comes from Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Jang-soo.

One radar was reportedly failed by a power supply breakdown in March; a 2nd by an IFF system breakdown in March, followed by a frequency generator breakdown in June; and a 3rd by a broken compressor in April. Part of the problem is that the “SAM-X” project is still in early deployment stages, with just under 10% of the required 32,149 Patriot system parts in stock from Germany, and no proper maintenance float program in place yet. South Korea hopes to import replacement parts for the broken down systems by the end of 2011, allowing them to put the Patriot PAC-2 system into operation by early 2012 as planned.

Why spares matter

Sept 19/11: Support. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives an $8.4 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to fix and replace Patriot missile systems assemblies and sub-assemblies.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Oct 14/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the Directorate of Contracting at Letterkenny Army Depot, Chambersburg, PA (W911N2-09-D-0001).

Aug 30/11: Patriot spares umbrella. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives an initial $37.6 million delivery order for 15 additional NSNs (National Stock Numbers, individual items identified by a a 13-digit numeric code), that are being added to the basic firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to support the Patriot Missile System.

Raytheon confirms that this is the new Patriot spares contract. The overall contract will run to May 1/14, and is managed by the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Redstone Arsenal, AL (SPRRA2-11-D-0012, PO 0001).

New Raytheon spares umbrella deal

Aug 3/11: Japan support. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives an $8.4 million firm-fixed-price cost-plus-fixed-fee contract from Japan for M818E3A fuzes, and upgrades of their existing Patriot missile M818E2 fuzes to M818E3A configuration. Though Japan does deploy PAC-3 systems among its air defenses, these fuzes are used in the larger PAC-2 missile.

Work will be performed in Lowell, MA, with an estimated completion date of Jan 31/14. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0224).

June 21/11: Saudi order. Raytheon announces a $1.7 billion contract to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s MIM-104 PAC-2 Patriot batteries to Config 3 status. The Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) includes ground-system hardware, a full training package and support equipment upgrades. As noted above, PAC-3 hit-to-kill missiles are made by Lockheed Martin, and improved Raytheon PAC-2 GEM-T missiles can also be part of a Config 3 system. Reports thus far have been silent on the Saudis’ chosen missile path.

Because the Saudis chose a DCS contract, instead of a Foreign Military Sale contract process, they will manage it themselves. Subject to customary U.S. DCS regulatory approvals, work under this contract will be performed by Raytheon at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA and in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s air defense network relies on MIM-23 I-Hawk and MIM-104 Patriot PAC-2 batteries, concentrated around key sites within the kingdom. Since their initial 1990, Patriot order, they are believed to have received 21 Patriot batteries, and to field 11 operational batteries at 15 prepared, hardened sites. They are joined by 10 operational I-Hawk batteries; advanced MIM-23K/J Hawk variants have some ballistic missile defense capability, but all Hawk missiles have shorter ranges than Patriot, and the exact variant fielded by Saudi Arabia is not certain. Raytheon | Saudi Arabia’s Arab News | US-Saudi Arabian Business Council | IMINT on the Saudi SAM Network.

Major Saudi upgrade

June 20/11: Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives an $18 million firm-fixed-price contract, with some cost-plus-fixed-fee contract line item numbers. It covers FY 2011 U.S. Patriot capability production: 5 launcher mod kits, ground support equipment, and a parts library.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Lufkin, TX; and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of July 30/14 (W31P4Q-11-C-0001).

June 7/11: Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Andover, MA receives a $6.8 million contract, for 10,500 antenna elements used in the Patriot missile system. Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of May 25/14. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the U.S. Army Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA (W911N2-11-C-0021).

June 3/11: UAE support. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $17.6 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the integration support of Post Deployment Build-7 software in the UAE’s PAC-3 Ground System Engagement Control System.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, NM, with an estimated completion date of May 31/14. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-07-G-0001).

May 27/11: Sub-contractors. Boeing announces a $274 million firm fixed price sub-contract from Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, to produce more than 300 seekers for PAC-3 missiles.

This is Boeing’s 9th consecutive PAC-3 seeker production award, and the largest PAC-3 contract received by Boeing to date.

May 4/11: PAC-3 MSE test. Raytheon’s Patriot system successfully test fires Lockheed Martin’s enhanced PAC-3 MSE missile at White Sands Missile Range, NM. This is another step forward for the MEADS development program. It also shows that the missile can be incorporated into existing Patriot systems, as an upgrade that stops short of full MEADS capabilities. Raytheon.

May 2/11: Support. Raytheon announces a $15.7 million contract to provide material and technical services in support of the Patriot Missile Field Surveillance Program. This is a follow-on to the 3-year contract awarded in January 2008, and this one runs through 2013. Raytheon IDS VP for Patriot programs, Sanjay Kapoor:

“This work supports all Patriot customers, U.S. and our 11 international partners, who have selected the combat-proven Patriot… The Field Surveillance Program is a key part of Raytheon’s commitment to ensuring system performance…”

Work will be performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; at Raytheon IDS Headquarters in Tewksbury, MA; at Raytheon Technical Services Company in Burlington, MA, and at Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA.

April 26/11: CTR. Raytheon announces a $58.3 million contract to upgrade 131 PAC-2 missiles to the PAC-2 GEM-T configuration.

This is a follow-on contract as part of AMCOM’s Patriot missile continuous technology refreshment program, which was initiated in 2000.

April 21/11: FY 2011 order. Lockheed Martin announces a set of contracts totaling $1.06 billion from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command. It covers the USA’s FY 2011 PAC-3 missile production, as well as follow-on sales to international partners. The contracts include PAC-3 missile production, launcher modification kits, spares and other equipment, as well as program management and engineering services. Production of all equipment will take place at Lockheed Martin manufacturing facilities in Dallas and Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL; and the PAC-3 All-Up Round facility in Camden, AR.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade, which consists of the PAC-3 Missile, a highly agile hit-to-kill interceptor, the launcher’s 4 PAC-3 Missile canisters (which each hold four PAC-3 Missiles, instead of 1 PAC-2), a fire solution computer and an enhanced launcher electronics system.

FY 2011 PAC-3

March 3/11: Motor redesign. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $7 million incremental-funding, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to eliminate obsolete materials in the PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE solid rocket motor, in support of the United States and Taiwan.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX, with an estimated completion date of June 30/14. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-07-G-0001).

March 2/11: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, for Patriot PAC-3 Missile Support Center work that includes technical and consumable material support, planning, management, failure analysis, quality reliability assessment, maintenance of the Certified Round Data Management system, and maintenance support.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AZ; and Lufkin, AR, with an estimated completion date of Jan 31/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0180).

Feb 21/11: UAE Industrial. UAE’s The National reports on Raytheon’s industrial offset commitments, which are attached to the UAE’s 2008 Patriot missile buy (vid. Dec 17/08 entry). The firm is waiting for the UAE’s Offset Program Bureau to approve 2 new facilities:

  • A joint venture with Abu Dhabi Ship Building to build an intermediate level maintenance facility for missiles used by the UAE Navy, incl. Raytheon’s RIM-116 RAM and RIM-162 ESSM ship defense missiles

  • A 3 way joint-partnership with Lockheed Martin and Emirates Advanced Investment’s Global Aerospace Logistics, to build a consolidated maintenance facility for Patriot missiles. Since The UAE ordered both PAC-2 GEM and PAC-3 missiles, both Lockheed and Raytheon need to participate.

The latter facility could quickly become a regional asset, speeding maintenance turnaround for Patriot missiles bought by nearby Arab states.

Feb 1/11: UAE. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives an $18.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for PAC-3 software modernization development on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX, with an estimated completion date of Aug 31/13 (W31P4Q-07-G-0001).

Jan 24/11: Kuwait order. Raytheon announces a $145 million production contract from Kuwait, for Patriot GEM-T missiles. The new missiles will work with Kuwait’s upgraded Configuration-3 radar systems, and that upgrade work is already underway at Raytheon. See also Aug 11/10 entry.

Kuwait – GEM-T missiles

Dec 28/10: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $209.1 million firm-fixed-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for 58 tactical Patriot (PAC-3) missiles; 5 launcher mod kits; ground support equipment; and contractor field support.

Work will be completed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA; and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of July 30/14. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0001).

PAC-3s

Dec 28/10: CTR. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a $58.3 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, to upgrade 131 PAC-2 missile forebodies to GEM+ status.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of March 31/14. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0072).

Dec 20/10: Support. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA receives a $20.1 million firm-fixed-price/cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for support of Foreign Military Sales. Raytheon will provide advice and assistance in all areas of the Patriot air defense system, associated equipment, and logistics support.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, and will run until Dec 31/15. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0112).

Dec 10/10: Japan. Kyodo News reports that Japan’s 5-year National Defense Program Guideline (NDPG) may involve deploying PAC-3 interceptor missiles at air bases nationwide.

Kyodo cited government and defense officials as saying the missiles will be deployed on ships as well as air bases, but that’s almost certainly a mistake. At sea, Japan is an active participant in the Standard Missile 3 program, and has already conducted successful SM-3 test firings from its Kongo class AEGIS destroyers. Reuters.

Oct 22/10: Support. A $7.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to repair and recapitalize Patriot missile system assemblies and sub-assemblies. Work is to be performed at Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Oct 14/12. One bid was solicited and one received by the Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA (W911N2-09-D-0001).

Oct 19/10: Sub-contractors. Raytheon announces an agreement with Aselsan of Ankara, Turkey to co-develop of the antenna mast group for the UAE’s PATRIOT Configuration-3 systems. Raytheon.

FY 2010

Major order from Taiwan; Annual buy; Export requests from Kuwait, Taiwan; Control station improvements unveiled; JLENS aerostat integration; PAC-2 GEM missile #1,000 produced; MEADS cancellation likely to extend PATRIOT. Launcher w. PAC-3s
(click to view full)

Sept 21/10: ECS MAP. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives a $16.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for Patriot MAP upgrade kits, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/13. In response to questions, Raytheon said that the Modern Adjunct Processor used in the engagement control stations of new-build Patriot systems offers improved memory and speed, and will be required in order to host future revisions to the Patriot tactical software. Hence the importance of a command station upgrade track as well.

Work is to be performed at El Segundo, CA, and Andover, MA. One bid was solicited, with one received (W31P4Q-10-C-0301, Serial #1932).

Sept 20/10: GEM-T #1,000. Raytheon celebrates its 1,000th Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical (GEM-T) upgrade for the U.S. Army, a modernized PAC-2 missile with better capabilities against ballistic and cruise missiles, and refreshed electronics. GEM-T missile upgrades are still ongoing, and are performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA.

The firm also celebrates its progress as a result of 6 Sigma and Lean manufacturing principles, including cutting manufacturing cycle time in half, resulting in 77 consecutive months of on or ahead-of-schedule deliveries.

PAC-2 GEM-T #1,000

Sept 15/10: JLENS. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $7.1 million firm-fixed-fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for “PAC-3 Integrated Fire Control.” Lockheed Martin representative confirmed that this contract is “for integration of the PAC-3 Missile Segment with the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS), which is scheduled to run a live-fire test involving a PATRIOT missile in 2012.

Work is to be performed at Grand Prairie, TX; White Sands Missile Range, NM; and Chelmsford, MA, with an estimated completion date of Aug 30/12. One bid was solicited with one received (W31P4Q-10-C-0304; Serial #1936). See also FBO solicitation.

Sept 13/10: US & Taiwan. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas & Grand Prairie, TX received a $7.8 million firm-fixed-fee and cost-plus-fixed fee contract for PAC-3 FY 2010 subset efforts to include the following: United States enhanced launcher electronics system kit cables; Taiwan control interface circuit card assembly redesign; Taiwan power and control circuit card assembly redesign; Taiwan missile test set; Taiwan portable four-pack test set; Taiwan seeker digital processor parts; United Arab Emirates (UAE) portable 4-pack test set; UAE guidance processor unit redesign – tooling and test equipment.

The estimated completion date is Oct 31/12, with work to be performed at Dallas, TX (95.74%), Camden, AZ (0.25%), and Ocala, FL (4.01%). One bid was solicited and one bid received (W31P4Q-10-C-0002).

Aug 11/10: Kuwait request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Kuwait’s formal request to buy 209 MIM-104E PATRIOT GEM-T Missiles, for an estimated cost of up to $900 million.

The GEM-T missiles use the PAC-2 missile body and configuration, but have warhead and guidance upgrades that make them more effective against ballistic missiles. The prime contractor will be Raytheon Corporation in Tewksbury, MA. See also Arabian Aerospace.

DSCA: Kuwait GEM-T missile request

July 20/10: New MMS. At the 2010 Farnborough International Airshow, Raytheon shows visitors its new state-of-the-art Patriot modern man station (MMS) control station, with its touch-screen display, color graphical user interface, and improved ergonomics. Raytheon.

June 1/10: Kuwait & Taiwan. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA receives a $21.3 million firm-fixed-price contract, covering spares for Taiwan’s PAC-3 configuration upgrade, and for Kuwait’s Patriot radar upgrade.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of June 30/13. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0002).

April 30/10: Taiwan. BAE Systems in Sealy, TX received a $5.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 8 of its M1086A1P2 and 9 of its M1A096A1P2 Patriot vehicles with Patriot kits installed for the country of Taiwan, as well as 7 M1088A1P2 FMTV tractor-trucks, for a total of 24 vehicles purchased with this modification. Work is to be performed in Sealy, TX, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/10. One bid was solicited with one bid received by the TACOM Contracting Center in Warren, MI (W56HZV-08-C-0460).

Taiwan appears to have chosen FMTV medium trucks, as opposed to the Oshkosh HEMTT heavy trucks used by the US Army. While Oshkosh will own the next FMTV medium truck contract as well, BAE Systems retains the rights to key variants, and are the only production source for FMTV vehicles at this point.

Taiwan – trucks

April 30/10: Support. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a $13.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Patriot on-site depot level diagnostic, fault isolation, clean and repair capability beyond the capabilities of battalion and intermediate support units. This includes depot level clean-up, repair, and maintenance of PATRIOT major items, including services required to return and maintain PATRIOT major items deployed in Southwest Asia, Germany, Korea, and locations inside the contiguous United States to maximize operational readiness.

Work is to be performed in Korea (39.1%); Qatar (5.7%); Germany (14.0%); El Paso, TX (18.6%); Killeen, TX (2.5%); Fayetteville, NC (1.8%); Lawton, OK (1.8%); Andover, MA (7.0%); Japan (4.5%); and Kuwait (4.9%), with an estimated completion date of June 16/11. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-06-C-0352).

April 9/10: Kuwait. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a $16.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for Kuwait Patriot Radar upgrade spares, including fabrication, production, testing, and delivery. Work is to be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Aug 31/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-G-0002).

March 9/10: MEADS endangered. The Washington Post reports that the US Army wants to cancel MEADS, the intended follow-on system to Patriot that uses a modified PAC-3 missile:

“After several failed attempts, the Army is trying again to cancel a $19 billion missile defense system that the United States is developing in partnership with Italy and Germany… the Army says MEADS has become too expensive, is taking too long to produce and is difficult to manage because any changes in the program require German and Italian approval. “The system will not meet U.S. requirements or address the current and emerging threat without extensive and costly modifications,” an internal Army staff memo concluded last month in recommending the cancellation of MEADS… Officials said a primary reason for sticking with the project is that it would be too expensive to stop. If the Defense Department were to cancel the system now, it would be required to pay $550 million to $1 billion in penalties… [and could] undercut the Pentagon’s relations with Germany and Italy, which need to replace their own aging missile defense systems… The Army is scheduled to decide this week whether it will continue to oversee the development of MEADS or hand over responsibility to the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency.”

Defense News reports that the meeting, involving senior Army officers and the US Missile Defense Agency, produced no resolution concerning the potential transfer of MEADS to the US MDA. Instead, senior officials from both organizations reportedly agreed that follow-up questions needed to be answered, and additional analysis was needed first.

March 17/10: Support. Raytheon Company announces an $11.9 million award to provide material and technical services in support of the Patriot Missile Field Surveillance program. It modifies a 3-year award, under which Raytheon offers routine services to support the manufacture, assembly and testing of Patriot missiles through 2010. See also Apr 13/07 entry. Raytheon release.

Feb 24/10: To Poland. In the wake of a December 2009 agreement between the USA and Poland, the PAP news agency reports that an American Patriot battery will be headed into Poland:

“The Defense Ministry expects the first stage of the stationing of a Patriot air-defense battery and a 100-man service team to get under way in the [northern] town of Morag at the turn of April [2010].”

Jan 29/10: Taiwan request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request to complete its Patriot upgrade plans, adding PAC-3 missiles and additional command equipment.

  • 114 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles
  • 26 M902 Launching Stations
  • 3 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets
  • 1 AN/MSQ-133 Information and Coordination Center
  • 1 Tactical Command Station
  • 3 AN/MSQ-132 Engagement Control Stations
  • 3 Communication Relay Groups
  • 5 Antenna Mast Groups
  • 1 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP)
  • Plus battery and battalion maintenance equipment, prime movers, generators, electrical power units, trailers, communication equipment
  • Also personnel training and equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, Quality Assurance Team support services, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

The estimated cost is $2.81 billion, and the principal contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA, and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX. “The recipient, which already has PAC-3 missiles in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles… Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government and contractor representatives.” See also Dec 23/09, Oct 16/09, Jan 26/09, and Oct 3/08 entries.

DSCA: Taiwan PAC-3 request

Jan 26/10: UAE order. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX a $44.9 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for 16 PAC-3 launcher modification kits, and 16 PAC-3 motor control units, from the UAE.

Work is to be performed in Dallas, TX (82.8%), Camden, AR (0.2%), Lufkin, TX (10.9%), Ocala, FL (6.1%). One bid was solicited with one bid received by U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-C-0002).

UAE PAC-3

Jan 6/10: PAC-3. Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $968.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for the FY 2010 PAC-3 missile buy. It includes 253 tactical missiles, 5 test missiles, 20 launcher modification kits, 15 motor control units, 13 fire solution computers, 13 programmable array logic systems, 13 shorting plugs, 6 telemetry kits, and 1 lot each of the following: United States storage and aging, replenishment spares, obsolescence; United States/United Arab Emirates/Taiwan basic missile tooling upgrades, command and launch control tooling; United Arab Emirates unique cost; Taiwan unique cost; Taiwan spares, ground support equipment; German concurrent spares; and United States contractor field support and data items.

Work is to be performed in Dallas, TX (88.7%); Camden, AR (4.0%); Lufkin, TX (2.4%); Chelmsford, MA (3.5%); and Ocala, FL (1.4%), with an estimated completion date of Oct 31/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received by U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-10-C-0002).

FY 2010 PAC-3

Dec 29/09: CTR. Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $58.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract to upgrade 124 PAC-2 missile forebodies to the PAC-2 GEM-T/GEM+ standard. Work is to be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of March 31/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command’s Aviation and Missile Command Contracting Center in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-10-C-0132). Raytheon release.

Dec 23/09: Taiwan order. Raytheon announces Foreign Military Sales contract awards totaling $1.1 billion to fund new production of Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for Taiwan. The awards include ground-system hardware through an initial contract valued at $965.6 million, and an initial spares contract valued at $134.4 million.

See the Oct 3/08 DSCA release; this is the contract for the radars, ground stations, and other ancillary equipment besides the missiles themselves. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages this contract for new-production Patriot fire units, which will include new advances in technology, improved man-machine interfaces, and (hopefully) reduced life-cycle costs over earlier generations.

Major Taiwan order

Nov 16/09: Kuwait support. The USA’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Kuwait’s official request to purchase 4 years of Patriot sustainment, including repair/return programs, associated spare parts, modification kits, equipment, Liaison Office Support Services, and US government and contractor support worth approximately $410 million.

The principal contractor will be Raytheon Corporation in Tewksbury, MA. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

DSCA: Kuwait support request

Oct 16/09: Raytheon in Andover, MA receives a $77.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for Taiwan’s Patriot hardware upgrade program. Work is to be performed in Andover, MA (8%), and Burlington, MA (15%), with an estimated completion date of June 30/15. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0001).

See also the Jan 26/09 and April 23/08 entries, below, and the Feb 22/08 engineering services contact, above.

Taiwan

Oct 6/09: Support. Raytheon announces a $64 million performance-based contract to establish and maintain inventory levels for select Patriot parts. Work under this contract will be performed by Raytheon IDS at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA, with support from Raytheon Technical Services Company locations in El Paso, TX and Norfolk, VA.

This sole-source, firm-fixed-price contract from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) at Redstone Arsenal, AL is a follow-on. Under the previous contract, Raytheon says that it increased parts availability by up to 40%, decreased response time for soldier requests, and reduced the overall inventory of parts required. Raytheon intends to drive further improvements in all 3 categories.

FY 2009

Annual order makes UAE a new customer; Kuwait begins ground system upgrades; Export requests from Taiwan, Turkey, UAE; South Korea starts receiving German PAC-2s. PAC-2 launch
(click to view full)

Sept 9/09: Turkey request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Turkey’s official request for up to $7.8 billion worth of Patriot-related equipment. Note that this comes in the midst of its international competitions for medium (T-MALADMIS) and long-range (T-LORAMIDS) air defense systems (see April 29/09 entry); as such, this request is about assuring access to all elements of the offer, rather than indicating Turkey’s choice.

If Patriot does win, the principal contractors would be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA, and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. The order could include up to:

  • 13 Patriot Fire Units
  • 72 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles
  • 4 PAC-3 Lot Validation Missiles
  • 197 MIM-104E Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missiles-T (PAC-2 GEM-T)
  • 4 MIM-104E GEM-T Lot Validation Missiles
  • 5 Patriot Digital Missiles
  • 5 Anti-Tactical Missiles
  • 13 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets
  • 13 Battery Command Posts
  • 13 Engagement Control Stations
  • 4 Tactical Command Systems
  • 6 Communication Relay Groups
  • 8 AN/USQ-140V2c (RT-1785) or AN/USQ-140V11c MIDS/LVT-2 Link-16 terminals for a shared battlespace picture
  • 48 M902 Launching Stations
  • 52 Antenna Mast Groups
  • 13 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP)
  • 100 THALES 9310C Very High Frequency (VHF) Voice Radios
  • 150 THALES 9310C VHF Data Radios
  • Plus containers, battery and battalion maintenance equipment, prime movers, generators, electrical power units, personnel training and training equipment, trailers, communication equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor support services.

The DSCA notes that Turkey has not previously purchased PAC-3 missiles, but believes it will be able to absorb and effectively utilize these missiles. Support would include 26 contractor representatives in Turkey for training for a period of 24 months, major item repair for approximately 12 months, and several U.S. Government representatives who will participate in program management and technical reviews in Turkey for 2-week intervals twice annually.

DSCA: Turkey PAC-3 request

June 29/09: Kuwait order. Raytheon announces a $36.1 million Foreign Military Sales award to provide Kuwait with PAC-3 radar upgrade depot test equipment, training, and related technical services.

This depot test equipment contract complements a June 27/08 order placed with Raytheon to upgrade Kuwait’s Patriot system to Configuration-3. The June 2008 order covers the upgrades, while this order adds the equipment and services needed to maintain the upgraded equipment. Work under this contract will be done at 3 Raytheon centers in Massachusetts – Raytheon IDS headquarters in Tewksbury, the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, and the Surveillance and Sensors Center in Sudbury; as well as at the Seapower Capability Center in Portsmouth, RI.

Kuwait – Config-3 support

May 20/09: Support. An $8.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 3 Patriot missile depot test equipment upgrades, and new depot test equipment, including installation and training.

Raytheon is performing the work at the following MA facilities: Andover (50%), Tewksbury (20%), Sudbury (20%), and Burlington (10%), with an estimated completion date of June 08/15. Only one bid was solicited and received by U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-C-0321).

May 6/09: Pure Fleet. Raytheon announces a $115 million contract to upgrade 4 additional U.S. Army Patriot batteries to Configuration-3 status, via enhancements to its ground components and radar. The contract option supports the USA’s “Grow the Army” initiative, and will equip an additional Patriot battalion with the PAC-3 system.

May 1/09: Support. Raytheon announces an additional $9 million modification, under a 3-year contract previously awarded to Raytheon in January 2008. This brings the total value of the contract to $45 million, with the potential for additional funding through 2010. Work involves technical services like missile testing, data analysis, and spares. Work will be performed by Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center, Andover, MA; at Raytheon Technical Services Company in Burlington, MA; and at various overseas locations.

The contract also provides funding for Raytheon to move Patriot maintenance operations and test equipment from Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, TX to Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA. That move was prompted by the 2005 BRAC(Base Relignment and Closure) process and plans.

April 29/09: UAE & Turkey. Raytheon names Roket Sanayii ve Ticaret A.S (Roketsan) of Ankara, Turkey as the sub-contractor who will integrate and test the control actuation system for the UAE’s Patriot GEM-T missiles. Roketsan will work with subcontractors throughout Turkey and the United States, coordinating and perform the major assembly work at its Ankara facility. The Raytheon release adds that:

“Roketsan is Raytheon’s first major trans-Atlantic supplier strategically located to support the 11 countries in Europe and Asia, including several in the Middle East, that have chosen Patriot as a key component of their air and missile defense programs.”

What it doesn’t add is that Turkey is preparing several competitions for surface to air missiles, which will include a number of Patriot competitors. A March 21/09 RFI from the Turkish SSM will by 3 medium-altitude air defense missile systems (T-MALADMIS) for the Land Forces, with responses due by June 29/09. Meanwhile, announced competitors for the SSM’s long-range air and missile defense systems (T-LORAMIDS) RFI for missile capable of ballistic missile defense include Boeing/IAI (Arrow), Lockheed Martin/ Raytheon (PAC-3), China’s CPMIEC (HQ-9, derivative of S-300), and local companies including Aselsan, FNSS and Roketsan.

April 27/09: Support. Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $14.8 million cost plus fixed-fee and cost reimbursable contract for an on-site depot level diagnostic, fault isolation, clean up, repair, and maintenance of Patriot-related items that are beyond the capability of the battery, battalion, and intermediate support units. It includes services required to return, and maintain, these items on deployment in Southwest Asia (SWA), Germany, Korea, and the USA, to maximum operations readiness.

Work is to be performed in Korea; Qatar; Germany; Japan; Kuwait; El Paso, TX; Killeen, TX; Fayetteville, NC; Lawton, OK; and Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of June 16/10. One bid was solicited and one bid received by the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W32P4Q-06-C-0352).

April 7/09: PATRIOT AAM? Flight International reports that Lockheed is proposing a $137 million program to adapt its Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles for use on the USAF’s F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters. The missiles would reportedly be used to help the fighters kill ballistic missiles during the boost phase or mid-course phase, instead of hoping for a Patriot’s usual final phase intercept.

March 5/09: Support. Raytheon announces an $11 million option under a 3-year January 2008 contract to support Patriot missile facilities. A total of $35.5 million have now been awarded under this contract, with the potential for additional options through 2010.

Discussions with Raytheon reveal that the contract number is (W31P4Q-08-C-0025), which corresponds to the Feb 1/08 entry below.

March 2/09: Kuwait order. A $71.6 firm-fixed-price Letter Contract Modification contract to buy, install, and test 6 Radar Enhancement Phase 3 and Classification, Discrimination, and Identification Phase 3 modification kits for Kuwait’s Patriot radars.

Work is to be performed at Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Oct 30/12. One bid was solicited and one bid received by the Aviation and Missile Command Contracting Center at Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-07-C-0151). This is part of Kuwait’s effort to upgrade its own systems to PAC-3 capability; see Dec 4/07 entry.

Kuwait – Radar upgrades

Feb 24/09: Pure Fleet. A $9.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for Patriot Pure Fleet Lot XII Add on Items. “Pure fleet” is the American program to bring all of its batteries up to PAC-3/ Config-3 capability.

Work is to be performed at Andover, MA with an estimated completion date of Feb 28/10. One bid was solicited and one bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command’s Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-07-C-0151).

Feb 9/09: UAE request. Raytheon announces a $246 million Foreign Military Sales contract from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for Patriot system spares. The firm fixed price contract that is initially funded at $123 million, which represents the first delivery order awarded under a 5-year agreement for Patriot system spares. See Dec 17/08 for the main contract.

Work will be performed by Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems at its headquarters in Tewksbury, MA; its Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; the Surveillance and Sensors Center in Sudbury, MA; and the Seapower Capability Center in Portsmouth, RI. The contract will be managed by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL.

UAE – PAC-3 Spares

Jan 26/09: Taiwan order. Raytheon announces a $154 million Foreign Military Sales contract to upgrade Taiwan’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems from Configuration-2 to Config-3 standard, enhancing its ability to deal with targets like China’s growing array of ballistic missiles pointed at the island. See also the April 23/08 entry, below, and the Feb 22/08 engineering services contact, above.

Work under this contract will be performed by Raytheon IDS at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; the Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL; the Mission Capability and Verification Center at White Sands, NM, and by Raytheon Technical Services Company in El Paso, TX.

Taiwan – Config-3 Upgrades

PAC-3 in flight
(click to view full)

Dec 24/08: FY 2009 order. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX received a $774.8 million firm-fixed-price (FFP) and cost plus fixed fee (CPFF) contract for the FY 2009 production buy of PAC-3 missiles. These orders include missile production for the U.S. Army as well as the first sale of the PAC-3 Missile Segment to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who joins the Netherlands, Germany and Japan as PAC-3 version customers. Lockheed Martin expects in excess of $1.8 billion in PAC-3 Missile-related business over the life of the initial UAE program.

The DefenseLINK announcement says that the order is for 188 Missiles, plus associated work like tooling, maintenance of the parts library, storage and aging services, interim contractor depot support, and spares. Lockheed Martin’s release states 172 hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missiles, 42 launcher modification kits, plus other services as mentioned.

FY 2009 PAC-3

Work is to be performed at Lockheed Martin manufacturing facilities in Grand Prairie and Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA; Orlando and Ocala, FL; and the PAC-3 All-Up Round facility in Camden, AR. Deliveries on the contracts will be completed by July 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received (W31P4Q-09-C-0002). Lockheed Martin release.

Dec 19/08: Support. An $8.3 million cost plus fixed fee contract for U.S. PATRIOT new equipment training within and beyond the continental USA. Work is expected to be complete by Dec 14/11. One bid was solicited from the OEM on July 2/08 (W31P4Q-09-D-0001).

Dec 17/08: Big UAE order. Raytheon receives a not-to-exceed $3.3 billion order for Patriot Config-3 systems, including Patriot GEM-T and Lockheed PAC-3 missiles, whole life support, and training.

Raytheon and teammate Lockheed Martin have worked with the U.S. and UAE governments during the past year to develop this agreement. The initial request was for up to 9 full fire units, with a stated maximum value of $9 billion. See “Gulf States Requesting ABM-Capable Systems,” and the Sept 9/08 order, for more background.

Raytheon established its first office in the UAE in 1983, and began delivery and support of the medium range Hawk Air Defense System to the UAE in 1987. The Hawk has also been upgraded to have limited ABM capabilities, but the addition of Patriot 3 systems represents a major advance in capability for the UAE. Raytheon multimedia release.

UAE – PAC-3

Oct 3/08: Taiwan. Taiwan issues a series of DSCA-cleared official requests to buy $6.363 billion of equipment, thanks to Congress’ extended session. All export requests are listed in DSCA releases as being “…consistent with United States law and policy as expressed in Public Law 96-8. The U.S. is committed to providing military assistance under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act.” Purchase requests include Patriot PAC-3 systems [PDF]:

  • 330 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles
  • 24 Launching Stations
  • 4 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets
  • 2 Tactical Command Stations
  • 2 Information and Coordination Centrals
  • 12 Antenna Mast Groups
  • 6 Communication Replay Groups
  • 4 Engagement Control Stations
  • 282 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) (115 AN/VRC-88E, 96 AN/VRC-90E, 13 AN/VRC-91E, and 58 AN/VRC-92E) radios
  • 9 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP)
  • 50 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems (MIDS, provides Link 16 data sharing)
  • Plus battery and battalion maintenance equipment, vehicles, generators, electrical power units, personnel training and equipment, trailers, communication equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications, supply support Quality Assurance Team support services, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics services, technical documentation, and other related elements of logistics support.

See also their Nov 9/07 request re: upgrading its Patriot PAC-2 batteries to be PAC-3 compatible. The estimated cost of this request is $3.1 billion, and the prime contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX. Taiwan has not previously purchased PAC-3 missiles, but they do use PAC-2s. They will require several U.S. Government representatives for 2-week intervals twice annually, to participate in program management and technical reviews.

DSCA: Taiwan PAC-3 request

Nov 28/08: South Korea. The South Korean Air Force formally receives the first shipment of Patriot missiles from Germany, after a series of performance tests since their delivery in August 2008.

The shipment is reportedly part of a EUR 551 million (about $710 million) second-hand deal signed in September 2007. The Patriot missiles will replace the country’s outdated Nike air defense missiles. They will be deployed by 2012, after 2 years of trial operation. Deutsche Welle.

Nov 21/08: CTR. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA receives a $77.4 million firm-fixed fee price contract. It exercises an option for the ongoing “technology refreshment” of 166 Patriot PAC-2 missile forebodies to Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+) standard.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Aug 30/11. One bid was solicited and one bid was received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (DAAH01-00-D-004).

Oct 10/08: PAC-3 re-cert. Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX received a $5.4 million firm-fixed-price contract to support re-certification of 72 baseline PAC-3 missiles during each of the fiscal years of 2009 and 2010 (144 tl.), and 1 Lot of consumable material to support re-certification of 24 baseline PAC-3 missile during FY 2009.

A weapon’s certification for use does not last forever. Recertification is important to assure the Army that stored missiles remain fully operational, and will perform to standard if needed. Work will be performed in Huntsville, AL and will end on Sept 30/10 (W31P4Q-06-C-0180).

Oct 2/08: Pure Fleet. Lockheed Martin Corp. of Grand Prairie, TX received a $9 million firm fixed price contract on Sept 26/08, for add-on items to the Patriot Pure Fleet. Since Lockheed makes the PAC-3 missiles, the items are likely to be related. The work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX and will be complete by Feb 28/10 (DAAH01-03-C-0164).

FY 2008

South Korea buys German missiles, and new ground systems for “SAM-X”; Export requests from Israel, Kuwait, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE; Saudi support contract; Japanese PAC-3 test; Israel evaluates “Sniper” EO addition; Deployment in Poland. PAC-3, labeled
(click to view full)

Sept 30/08: Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a $11.3 million firm fixed price contract for 1,201 Patriot thread rings, part number 10272350. Work will be performed in Killeen, TX with an estimated completion date of May 31/11. One bid was solicited and one bid was received (W31P4Q-07-C-0159).

Sept 26/08: Pure Fleet. A $77.5 million firm-fixed-fee price contract for Patriot “Pure Fleet” conversion equipment. Work will be performed in Andover, MA with an estimated completion date of April 30/11. One bid was solicited and one bid was received (W31P4Q-07-C-0151).

Sept 17/08: Japan test. Members of the Japanese Self Defense Force conduct a successful interception of a tactical ballistic missile target (usually a Lance rocket) at White Sands Missile Range, NM, USA. They used the Patriot PAC-3 system, whose missiles are license-produced in Japan for the JASDF.

The PAC-3 system will provide the point defense component of Japan’s missile defense shield, while the jointly-developed SM-3 Standard Block IA naval missile provides wider theater-level coverage. Lockheed Martin release.

Sept 9/08: Israel Config-3. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Israel’s official request to enhance 3 of its existing Patriot fire units to Config-3 status, while using the PAC-2 GEM+ missile. The request includes 3 Patriot System Configuration 3 Modification kits, which will upgrade 3 PATRIOT fire units to Radar Enhancement Phase 3 (REP-3) and Classification, Discrimination and Identification Phase 3 (CDI-3). The sale will also include communication support equipment, tools and test equipment, integration and checkout, spares and repair parts, installation and training, publications and technical documents, and other forms of support.

The estimated cost is $164 million, the contractor is Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA, and Israel won’t need any US government or contractor representatives to help with the upgrades.

DSCA: Israel Config-3 request

Sept 9/08: UAE. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] the United Arab Emirates’s official request for 4 Patriot PAC-3 missiles with containers, 19 MIM-104D Patriot Guided Enhanced Missiles-T (GEM-T) missiles with containers, 5 Anti-Tactical Missiles, and 5 Patriot Digital Missiles. These missiles are for lot validation and testing of the PAC-3 missiles notified for sale in the $9 billion Dec 4/07 request noted below, which would equip 9 full fire units.

The estimated cost of this sale is $121 million, as it also includes AN/GRC-245 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS Export), Power generation equipment, an Electric power plant, Trailers, Communication and support equipment, plus other related elements of support.

The principal contractors are the Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA; and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX (PAC-3 missiles). The purchaser intends to request industrial offsets, but these will be negotiated with each contractor. An in-country field office will likely be manned by 1-4 U.S. Government personnel who will remain in country for an undetermined length of time, and 65 contractor personnel are expected to be in country for an extended period for training purposes.

UAE – Test equipment

Aug 25/08: Poland. The US State Department announces a missile defense agreement with Poland, which includes the deployment of an American Patriot PAC-3 battery in country:

“We also talk about the desire of the United States and Poland to pursue cooperation involving air and missile defense cooperation. The United States is prepared, and we commit in this document to deployment of a U.S. Army Patriot battery in Poland. We’ll begin those deployments once, of course, we reach the necessary agreements with the Poles, and that could begin next year. And then we set the goal of establishing a garrison for the U.S. Army Patriot battery in Poland by the year of 2012.”

The battery will be redeployed from another location, and many analysts believe it will be removed from Germany. See: US Department of State briefing | Stars and Stripes | RIA Novosti, Russia | UPI.

Aug 6/08: Israel’s PATRIOT + Sniper. David Eshel reports that Israel is evaluating an electro-optical add-on system called “Sniper” that can scan for, find, and magnify targets out to the Patriot missile’s full range.

As Eshel explains, many surface-air missiles cannot take advantage of their range right now, because rules of engagement will not allow them to be fired without positive identification. IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe) technology is supposed to provide that, but it is not 100% reliable. This has led to “blue on blue” kills in the past, which have helped create the current restrictions.

July 15/08: South Korea. The second part of South Korea’s Patriot missile buy has now come through. Germany will be selling 64 Patriot PAC-2 missiles to Korea. Then, a joint venture between Raytheon and German MBDA subsidiary LFK called COMLOG will manage upgrades to PAC-2 GEM-T configuration, to give the missiles some anti-ballistic missile capabilities, and greater effectiveness against UAVs.

COMLOG has now issued a $38.5 million contract to Raytheon for this work, and Raytheon’s same-day release re: Kuwait places the total value of South Korea’s Patriot-related orders at $269 million so far. Raytheon release.

ROK buys missiles from Germany

June 27/08: Raytheon Integrated Defense in Andover, MA receives a $76.5 million firm fixed price / cost-plus-fixed-fee, level of effort contract to upgrade 6 Patriot Radar Sets to PAC-3-Kuwait configuration. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; its Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL; and their Mission Capability and Verification Center in White Sands, NM; with an expected completion date of July 31/13. One bid was solicited with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-07-C-0151).

This contract is related to the Dec 4/07 DSCA request; Raytheon’s July 15/08 release refers to it as a $156 million contract, which indicates that the DefenseLINK announcement covered the 50% initial payment, with the rest to follow. It also notes that the Kuwaiti upgrades are very similar to the upgrades the US Army is implementing under its “Pure Fleet” initiative.

A 2009 release later reports the value of this contract as $148 million.

Kuwait – Config-3

May 5/08: Raytheon – Integrated Defense Systems in Andover, MA received a $68.6 million firm-fixed price and cost-plus-fixed fee contract for “PATRIOT tactical assets.” Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by Apr. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited on Dec 20/06 (W31P4Q-07-C-0151).

April 23/08: Raytheon announces a $79 million Foreign Military Sales award from the U.S. Army to provide Taiwan with Patriot Configuration-3 radar upgrade kits and related engineering and technical services. This is part of a much larger order; see Nov 9/07 entry for more.

Work will be performed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; the Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL; and the Mission Capability and Verification Center in White Sands, NM.

Taiwan – Config-3

March 31/08: ROK. A $118.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for the design, development, fabrication, production, training, integration, testing and delivery of PATRIOT hardware for the Republic of Korea Air Force. The firm will provide command and control, communications, maintenance support, and training equipment for Patriot systems. See Feb 4/08 entry.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/10. One bid was solicited on Feb 26/08 (W31P4Q-08-C-0288). See also Raytheon’s April 22/08 release, which places the total value of the effort at $241 million.

South Korea

Feb 4/08: SAM-X. Raytheon has announced an initial contract (amount undisclosed) for preliminary planning efforts aimed at integrating Patriot Fire Units into South Korea’s national command and control structure. This work is in preparation for a Foreign Military Sale of the Patriot air and missile defense system to South Korea under its $1.2-1.6 billion SAM-X program. Raytheon says that it expects significant follow-on awards to complete the system integration and to provide command and control, communications and maintenance support equipment, as well as the training of Korean operators and maintainers and technical assistance to the deployed systems.

Under SAM-X, up to 48 fire systems of Patriot PAC-3 missiles would replace South Korea’s aged Nike missiles; Raytheon has been the only contender since Russia’s Rosvoorouzhenie (S-300/SA-20) dropped out of the race in 2000. While the S-300 has longer range, that isn’t South Korea’s priority. The capital city of Seoul contains 25% of the country’s population, and is within range of at least 11,000 short-range missiles and artillery tubes on the other side of the Demilitarized Zone. South Korea’s Defense Ministry had originally planned to award the SAM-X contract to Raytheon by the end of 2001, but the negotiation broke up over funding approval, and price and the payments timetable issues. An attempt was made in 2007 to buy second-hand Patriot PAC-2 systems from Germany, and there are reports that this is still the plan – missiles and launchers from Germany, electronics and integration from Raytheon.

South Korea: Work on SAM-X begins

Jan 31/08: Support. An $11.4 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for services in support of the Patriot Missile Support Center. Work will be performed in Andover, MA, and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/11. One bid was solicited on Dec 20/06, and 1 bid was received (W31P4Q-08-C-0025).

The contract was issued on Jan 31/08, so Raytheon’s March 5/09 release is correct in its timing. Subsequent discussions with Raytheon also place this contract’s value at $24.1 million, rather than $11.4 million.

Dec 19/07: Pure Fleet. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX received a $71.4 million firm-fixed-fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a PAC-3 Fiscal Year FY 2008 production buy for pure fleet requirements. This involves supplying PAC-3 missiles, 4-box launchers, et. al. for retrofit onto Patriot PAC-2 systems, which are having their other components upgraded to PAC-3 status.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX and is expected to be complete by May 31/10. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was 1 bid solicited on Nov 24/06, and 1 bid was received (W31P4Q-06-C-0180).

Lockheed Martin’s Jan 8/08 release says that the Dec 18-19/07 contracts include production of 148 hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missiles, 17 launcher modification kits, spares and other equipment, as well as program management and engineering services. Production of all equipment will take place at Lockheed Martin manufacturing facilities in Dallas and Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL; and the PAC-3 All-Up Round facility in Camden, AR. Deliveries on the contracts will be completed by July 2010.

Dec 18/07: Lockheed Martin Corp Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX received a $485.1 million firm-fixed price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles and associated systems. Note that this would be a FY 2008 order, and is likely to be an order for the full year’s planned procurement of 108 missiles and associated systems.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX and is expected to be completed by July 31/10. There was 1 bid solicited on Nov 24/06, and 1 bid was received (W31P4Q-06-C-0180).

FY 2008 PAC-3

Dec 14/07: Pure Fleet. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Andover, MA received a $155 million firm-fixed-price contract for Patriot “Pure Fleet” tactical assets. In English, they will upgrade additional tactical Patriot fire units from PAC-2 to PAC-3 standard, in order to meet current and emerging threats. Exact numbers were not mentioned by DefenseLINK, but a Feb 13/08 Raytheon release put the number at 8 Patriot fire units (includes radars, control stations, and launcher sets).

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, and is expected to be complete by Apr. 30, 2010. There was one bid solicited on Dec. 20, 2006, and one bid was received (W31P4Q-07-C-0151).

Dec 11/07: GEM-T. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a $66.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for “Patriot PAC-2 frequency generator upgrades.” A Feb 13/08 Raytheon release described the work as “152 Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical (GEM-T) upgrades, the second of two large orders received in 2007 for GEM-T. The award increases the total number of GEM-T missiles ordered to 952 since program inception for a total contract value of $430 million.”

Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by July 31/10. There was one bid solicited on June 30/99, and one bid was received by the US Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (DAAH01-00-D-0004).

Dec 4/07: UAE. The United Arab Emirates moves to become a Patriot missile customer, officially requesting 9 full fire units with all equipment, plus 288 PAC-3 missiles, 216 PAC-2 GEM-T missiles, and support. The bill? Up to $9 billion.

See “Gulf States Requesting ABM-Capable Systems” for full details.

DSCA: UAE PAC-3/GEM-T request

Dec 4/07: The US DSCA announces Kuwait’s formal request to upgrade its Patriot systems to PAC-3 capability, upgrading 6 radar sets, bringing 60 PAC-2 missiles to GEM-T standard, adding 80 PAC-3 missiles, and more. The entire contract would be worth up to $1.363 billion. See “Gulf States Requesting ABM-Capable Systems” for full details.

DSCA: Kuwait PAC-3 upgrade request

Nov 9/07: The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s formal request to upgrade and refurbish their 3 existing PATRIOT fire units’ ground support equipment to the latest Army Configuration 3 under a $939 million contract. Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA will be the prime contractor, and the effect of the sale will be to add Patriot PAC-3 radar and communications enhancements to Taiwan’s existing Patriot batteries, turning them into a PAC-2 GEM-T type configuration in use by other US allies.

  • 2 PATRIOT, MIM-104 (Patriot-As-A-Target)
  • Radar Enhancement Phase 3 (REP-3)
  • Classification, Discrimination and Identification Phase 3 (CDI-3)
  • Remote Launch Communication Enhancement Upgrade (RLCEU)
  • An Electric Power Plant.
  • 36 AN/VRC-88E SINCGARS EXP Vehicle Short Range Radio Systems
  • 32 AN/VRC-90E SINCGARS EXP Vehicle Long Range Radio Systems
  • 4 AN/VRC-91E SINCGARS EXP Long Range Radio Systems
  • 11 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS EXP Dual Range Radio Systems

It also includes non-MDE (Military Designated Equipment under US Arms transfer laws) items such as all necessary modification kits, communication support equipment, tools and test equipment, integration and checkout, spares and repair parts, installation and training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, other related elements of logistics and program support, and 4 telemetry kits for its live fire training.

DSCA: Taiwan Config-3 request

Oct 9/07: Dutch delivery. Lockheed Martin announces that it has delivered the first PAC-3 Missiles to government and military representatives of The Netherlands, during a ceremony held at its manufacturing facility in Camden, AR.

The Netherlands became the first international customer to buy the PAC-3 Missile in 2005, when it purchased missiles through a Foreign Military Sales contract with the U.S. government.

Oct 8/07: Pure Fleet Raytheon announces a $150 million U.S. Army contract to begin the Patriot “Pure Fleet” modernization program bringing all Army Patriot equipment to state-of-the-art PAC-3 status. “Pure Fleet” is the result of the Army’s decision in February 2006 to upgrade additional tactical Patriot fire units to the Config-3 standard, in order to meet current and emerging threats.

The new contract calls for Raytheon to provide hardware upgrades to 4 Patriot radars, engagement control stations and launchers as well as enhanced logistics capability through support to a common configuration. The initial contract provides for the upgrade of 1 battalion, consisting of 4 fire units, and work will be performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center, Andover, MA.

Oct 3/07: Saudi Arabia. Raytheon announces 2 contracts from The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totaling more than $100 million. The awarded contracts include a multi-year contract to Raytheon to continue to provide technical, training and logistics support from 2007-2009 inclusive for the Kingdom’s Patriot and Hawk surface-air missile systems. The other is a contract extension to provide local support services for 2007. Raytheon release.

FY 2007

US Buys; Kuwait’s 4-year support contract; 500th PAC-3 missile delivered. Patriot PAC-2
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Aug 16/07: #500. A Lockheed Martin release celebrates their recent delivery of the 500th PAC-3 missile to the US military.

PAC-3 #500 to USA

April 24/07: Support. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received an $11.5 million modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-reimbursable contract for an on-site depot level diagnostic, fault isolation, clean-up, and repair capability for the PATRIOT weapon system major items.

Work will be performed in Korea (39.1%), El Paso, TX (18.6%), Germany (14%), Killeen, TX (2.5%), Fayetteville, NC (1.8%), Lawton, OK (1.8%), Andover, MA (7%), Japan (4.6%), and Kuwait (4.9%), and is expected to be complete by June 16, 2010. This was a sole source contract initiated on Dec. 15, 2005 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-06-C-0352).

April 13/07: Support. Raytheon announces contract modifications totaling $13 million from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command to continue to provide technical and material support of the Patriot Missile Field Surveillance program in the United States and at overseas locations. The facilities under contract process Patriot PAC-2 and Guidance Enhanced Missile-T (GEM-T) missiles for stockpile reliability testing, recertification and repair in support of the Patriot Field Surveillance program. The program is an international cooperative effort, in which foreign partners fund and benefit from common support. International partners include Germany, the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Japan, Israel, Kuwait, Taiwan, Greece, and Spain.

The contract modifications, which include options for up to $12 million, call for Raytheon to provide technical personnel and material to support the processing of Patriot missile rounds and the operation of the Patriot missile facilities, missile assembly/disassembly facilities and the Patriot missile transmitter facility. The modifications exercise $13 million in options for 2007 against the basic 2005-2006 contract award, that now totals $43 million. Raytheon release.

April 4/07: Support. Walton Construction Co. LLC in Kansas City, MO received a $13.5 million modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for FY07 PATRIOT engineering services. See this corporate list of projects for a better idea of their usual expertise.

Work will be performed in Burlington, MA (3.95%), Huntsville, AL (8.09%), Andover, MA (9.82%), Tewksbury, MA (76.44%), El Paso, TX (1.67%), and Norfolk, VA (0.03%), and is expected to be complete by Jan. 9, 2009. This was a sole source contract initiated on Aug. 26, 2003 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-04-C-0020).

This exact amount, contract number, and workshare is identical to the April 3, 2007 Raytheon award in all respects, so this may be a mistake. DID is treating it as one for the purposes of our FY 2007 calculations.

March 19/07: Lockheed Martin received a $376 million contract for hardware and services associated with the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missile program. The contract includes production of 112 hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missiles per the FY 2007 budget, launcher modification kits, spares and other equipment, as well as program management and engineering services.

Production of all equipment will take place at Lockheed Martin manufacturing facilities in Dallas and Lufkin, TX, and the PAC-3 All-Up Round facility in Camden, AR. See Lockheed Martin release.

FY 2007 PAC-3

March 12/07: Pure Fleet. Raytheon announces a $38.6 million US Army contract for test equipment upgrades and engineering as the first step in the upgrade of three Patriot battalions (12 fire units) from PAC-2 to the PAC-3 configuration. The intent of the so-called “Pure Fleet” effort is to upgrade Patriot fire units for the Army’s worldwide requirements, providing all fielded units with Patriot configuration-3 capability.

The initial work includes software and hardware upgrades to Patriot test stations, and engineering to address obsolescence in the factory and key suppliers (i.e. components that are no longer manufactured). The work will be performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA. Raytheon release.

March 1/07: Raytheon received an $18 million operation and maintenance support contract from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command to provide Kuwait with Patriot system technical assistance. The firm will provide support to Kuwaiti operational and maintenance personnel at fire unit locations, and also at the depot in Kuwait. This program is a 4-year follow-on Foreign Military Sale award to continue a program that has been in place under various awards since 1996. Raytheon release.

Kuwait is also upgrading its Spada anti-aircraft missile systems to Spada 2000 configuration, a move that will offers these less advanced weapons similar range to Kuwait’s Patriots.

Kuwait – 4-year support

Feb 2/07: Support. Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $10.5 million modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Patriot (PAC-2) Missile Support Center. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by Jan. 31, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on Nov 9/04 (W31P4Q-05-C-0033).

Feb 2/07: Support. Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX received a $5.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Patriot PAC-3 Missile support services, Field Surveillance Program. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/10. This was a sole source contract initiated on July 3/06 (W31P4Q-07-C-0135).

Feb 1/07: CTR. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a delivery order amount of $59.6 million as part of a $257.4 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for continuous technology refreshment of Patriot PAC-2 Forebodies to Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+) Frequency Generator upgrade. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by April 30/09. This was a sole source contract initiated on June 30/99 (DAAH01-00-D-0004).

See our April 3/06 contract coverage. This would be the 12th delivery order for GEM+ upgrades. Raytheon release.

Jan 18/07: Upgrades abroad? As the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Regiment deploys to Kuwait to accompany the USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group, the Boston Globe reports that Raytheon has been talking to 9 foreign customers about upgrading their existing Patriot systems. They would be upgrading from various versions of the larger, fragmentation warhead PAC-2, to the “hit to kill” Patriot PAC-3 system with more anti-missile capability.

Countries named by Raytheon executives included Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Israel, Japan, and Taiwan. Raytheon also revealed that they are in discussions with several potential new customers, including Turkey and South Korea. See also Raytheon’s pointer, and the full Boston Globe article.

Dec 27/06: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX received a $376.9 million modification to a firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Patriot PAC-3 FY 2007 production effort.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX (53.6%), Lufkin, TX (2.6%), Camden, AR (4.4%), Huntsville, AL (28%), Chelmsford, MA (4.5%), Clearwater, FL (1%), and Atlanta, GA (5.9%), and is expected to be complete by July 31, 2009. This was a sole source contract initiated on March 24, 2006 (W31P4Q-06-C-0180).

FY 2007 PAC-3

Dec 27/06: Kuwait. Raytheon Southeast Asia Systems Co. in Andover, MA received an $18.1 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for technical assistance for the Kuwaiti Patriot missile system. Work will be performed in Kuwait, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2, 2011. This was a sole source contract initiated on June 30, 2006 (W31P4Q-06-C-0232).

FY 2006

US orders; Export requests from Germany Japan, South Korea; Deployment to Japan; GEM+ missile BMD test. PAC-3 development
(click for video)

Sept 29/06: Support. Raytheon Co. in West Andover, MA received a delivery order amount of $223.6 million as part of a $600.3 million firm-fixed-price contract to buy new spares for the Patriot Missile System. Work will be performed in West Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/09. This was a sole source contract initiated on Sept. 3/03 (W31P4Q-05-D-0029).

Sept 29/06: The US DSCA (Defense Security Cooperation Agency) notifies Congress of Japan’s request for 16 PAC-3 sets (each cannister contains 4 missiles, so 64 total missiles) plus support equipment, modification kits, publications, spare and repair parts, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $144 million.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, TX is the prime contractor, and implementation will involve up to 2 U.S. Government representatives and up to 8 contractor representatives in Japan for two weeks following delivery. See full DSCA release [PDF].

DSCA: Japan PAC-3 request

Sept 28/06: The US DSCA notifies Congress of South Korea’s request for up to $1.5 billion worth of SINCGARS and Patriot missile system support equipment as well as associated equipment and services.

In addition to a request for 58 AN/VRC-90E ITT Long-Range Radio System SINCGARS(Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System) vehicular systems, Korea is requesting two (2) 30 KW Electric Power Unit II, Patriot missile system support equipment including spare and repair parts, Information Coordination Centrals, maintenance equipment, transporters, calibration support, tools and test equipment, modification kits, system integration and check out, devices, documentation, personnel training and training equipment, technical support, and other related elements of logistics support.

Korea needs this surface-to-air equipment to continue the upgrade of its air defense capabilities, and implementation of this proposed sale will involve up to 24 U.S. Government and contractor representatives for up to 2 years to participate in training, maintenance, program management and technical reviews in Korea. See full DSCA release [PDF].

DSCA: South Korea request

Sept 6/06: Germany has requested a possible sale of 72 PAC-3 CRI (cost reduction initiative) missiles, and 12 each of Missile Round Trainers, support equipment sets, modification kits, publications, spare and repair parts, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost if all options are exercised is $298 million.

Germany already operates Patriot missiles, and requires no technical or contractor assistance. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, TX is the contractor for the missiles et. al. See DSCA release [PDF format].

DSCA: DSCA: Germany PAC-3 request

Sept 6/06: Support. A delivery order amount of $135.1 million as part of a $376.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for new spares to support and maintain the Patriot Missile System. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/09. This was a sole source contract initiated on Sept 3/03 (W31P4Q-05-D-0029).

August 24/06: Japan. Associated Press reports that the USA has offered Japan up to 80 Patriot PAC-3 missiles to boost its defenses following North Korea’s missile tests last month. Note that the report was very unclear re: the distinction between missiles and Patriot systems. Quoting NHK, AP noted that instead of deploying an unspecified number of locally produced missiles in 2008 or 2009, the missiles would be US-made and delivered to a Japanese military base in March 2007.

Japan’s Defense Agency will reportedly ask for an extra $100 million in the 2007 budget (219 billion yen or $1.87 billion for missile defense, up from 140 billion yen this year) to buy the missiles while local production gears up, in addition to the anticipated $1.88 billion Kyodo reported as the likely request for development and deployment of missile defenses. Kyodo adds that a supplementary budget will also be requested to speed up the deployment of the Patriot PAC-3 missiles.

June 30/06: Support. A $7.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-reimbursable contract for on-site depot level diagnostic, fault isolation, clean-up, and repair capability for the Patriot weapon system.

Work will be performed in Korea (19.14%), Germany (8.76%), Tacoma, WA (10.39%), Qatar (9.79%), Killeen, TX (15.14%), Lawton, OK (7.05%), El Paso, TX (17.88%), Fayetteville, NC (8.68%), and Andover, MA (3.17%), and is expected to be complete by June 16/10. Contract This was a sole source contract initiated on Dec 15/05 (W31P4Q-06-C-0352).

June 26/06: To Japan. AP reports that the U.S. military will deploy 3-4 Patriot PAC-3 batteries on the southern island of Okinawa by the end of 2006, and sending 500-600 additional U.S. troops. In related news, testing of the USA’s X-Band ABM radar at its new location in JASDF Shariki at Tsugaru, 360 miles northeast of Tokyo, has been moved ahead by several weeks. In addition, a previously negotiated agreement to expand cooperation on a joint ballistic missile defense shield and joint production of interceptor missiles was formally signed.

The moves come as North Korea prepares to test-fire a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile at a launch site on its northeastern coast. See Military.com for more details.

June 5/06: Testing. Raytheon’s Patriot PAC-2 Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM+) destroys 2 surrogate ballistic missile targets, highlighting a successful test flight at White Sands Missile Range, NM. This was the first of four development flight tests to be conducted by the Army’s Patriot Lower Tier Project Office using Raytheon’s newly developed Patriot system post deployment build-6 (PDB-6) software.

Many foreign militaries use the PAC-2 version, so these upgrades offer the potential for an immediate capability boost. See details in corporate release.

April 19/06: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX received a $379.8 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for 112 PAC-3 missiles, launcher mod kits, parts library, storage and aging, missile and midsection audits, interim contractor depot support, PALS FSC, shorting plugs, test set cables, concurrent spares, and replenishment spares for the PATIROT PAC-3. The PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade consists of the PAC-3 Missile, the PAC-3 Missile canister (which holds four PAC-3 missiles), a Fire Solution Computer and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System.

Work on this contract will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX (53.6%), Lufkin, TX (2.6%), Camden, AR (4.4%), Huntsville, AL (28%), Chelmsford, MA (4.5%), Clearwater, FL (1%), and Atlanta, GA (5.9%), and is expected to be complete by July 31, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on March 31, 2005 by the Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-06-C-0180). See also: Lockheed Martin May 4/06 release. /p>

FY 2006 PAC-3

April 3/06: CTR. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a delivery order amount of $46.9 million as part of a firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the “Continuous Technology Refreshment of Patriot PAC-2 Forebodies to GEM+ Frequency Generator Upgrade.” Raytheon reports that this is the eleventh delivery order awarded for GEM+ upgrades, for a total contract value of $256 million. This was a sole source contract initiated on June 30/99 (DAAH01-00-D-0004).

GEM+ missiles are essentially PAC-2 interceptors that have been refurbished, modernized, and integrated with the PAC-3 system of radars, et. al. Since the program’s inception in 2000, Raytheon has received awards for 770 GEM+ upgrades and has delivered 515 consistently on or ahead of schedule, with the remainder on track for delivery in 2006 and 2007. Work will be performed in Andover, MA, and is expected to be complete by Aug 31/08. See also Raytheon press release.

April 3/06: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX received a $6.1 million increment as part of a $36.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Development and Maintenance of a PAC-3 Missile Support Center. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX and is expected to be complete by Jan. 31, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Dec. 13, 2005 by the Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-04-C-0125).

March 21/06: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX received a $250.1 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for production of PATRIOT PAC-3 missiles.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX (87%), Chelmsford, MA (7%), Camden, AR (4%), and Lufkin, TX (2%), and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2010. This was a sole source contract initiated on May 27, 2004 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-05-C-0051).

FY 2006 PAC-3

Feb 2/06: Support. Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $13.5 million modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Patriot (PAC-2) Missile Support Center. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on Nov 9/04 (W31P4Q-05-C-0033). This 2-year award follows exactly one year after the original $7.1 million contract was issued for CY (calendar year) 2005.

Dec 1/05: Industrial. Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems in Redondo Beach, CA received a $6.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee R&D contract to develop and demonstrate a wafer-scale assembly (WSA) process for a batch fabricated SMART three-dimensional cell that will enable affordable, scalable, high performance architectures for millimeter-wave arrays.

Solicitation began March 2005, and 7 proposals were received. Negotiations were complete November 2005, and work will be complete by October 2007. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages contract. (FA8650-06-C-7600). The Patriot system uses this technology.

Additional Readings Background: Missiles

Other PATRIOT Modifications

  • DID – Getting More Value from Patriots: Israel’s Sniper EO Add-on. In practice, air defense units often require positive identification before they can fire. This Israeli system helps provide that, and can also lower the firing battery’s emissions signature.

  • DID – Patriots for Eagles? Covers the ALHTK concept, which would mount PAC-3 derivative missiles on fighter jets for use as launch-phase missile interceptors.

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