The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon Technologies a $320 million contract to produce and deliver 1500 GBU-53/B StormBreaker smart weapons, which are air-to-surface, network enabled weapons that can engage moving targets in all weather conditions using its multi-effects warhead and tri-mode seeker.
«Having StormBreaker in the warfighter’s arsenal provides unprecedented capability against moving targets, regardless of conditions», said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «It also expands our production line and reinforces our commitment of ensuring the warfighter has the next-level munitions they need to safely and successfully accomplish the mission».
GBU-53/B StormBreaker is fielded on the F-15E Strike Eagle with testing underway on the F-35B Lightning II and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet; between the three platforms, GBU-53/B StormBreaker has had hundreds of successful operational test shots to date.
March 13, 2023, the U.S. Army completed initial deliveries of its newest combat vehicle at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, received the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), signifying the completion of the Army’s First Unit Equipped for the platform.
«The AMPV is a major piece of Army modernization», said Major General Glenn Dean, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for the Army’s ground combat platforms. «The platform offers Soldiers better protection and survivability, and completing First Unit Equipped is a major milestone that could not have been accomplished without the entire Army and industry team».
AMPV is the replacement for the M113 Family of Vehicles within the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), comprising approximately 30 percent of its tracked vehicle fleet. The Army’s worldwide fleet of AMPVs will include nearly 3,000 vehicles delivered within the next 20 years.
«Working with the PEO Ground Combat Systems (GCS) and others, we’ve been able to accelerate getting AMPV into the hands of our Soldiers», said Brigadier General Geoffrey Norman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team. «AMPV is a more rugged, reliable and capable platform than the M113s that it replaces, bringing more capability to our ABCTs and allowing our formations to transform how they are able to fight».
There are five variants of the AMPV that provide Soldiers with improvements in survivability, protection, weight, size, power, cooling and compatibility with future technologies.
The AMPV shares a common powertrain and suspension with the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and the M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzer, which reduces logistical and mechanical burdens among ABCTs.
«The U.S. Army is transforming our ABCT through integration of improved technology with warfighting concepts across the force. These modernization efforts increase our capacity to deter adversaries and if necessary, fight and win in combat», said Colonel Peter Moon, commander, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. «We look forward to the capabilities that AMPV will bring to the battlefield to ensure we remain lethal and ready to win the fight».
The AMPV is produced by BAE Systems in York, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Army’s «24 in 23» Modernization Signature Systems to be in the hands of Soldiers in fiscal year 2023. The APMV program’s development, production and fielding is managed by Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems and the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team, both headquartered in Warren, Michigan.
The M1283 General Purpose (GP) provides protected maneuver for soldiers alongside ABCT combat vehicles during tactical operations and provides support to the infantry squad during mounted/dismounted assault during tactical operations. The GP variant accommodates two crew and four Soldiers and is reconfigurable to carry one litter.
The M1284 Medical Evacuation variant supports the ABCT integration of medical support and CASEVAC as an integrated part of the networked combat forward formation, enhancing the organic medics who ride with and accompany cavalry units during mounted and dismounted operations. Crew capacity is for three crew members, and a reconfigurable crew compartment that accommodates four litter casualties, six ambulatory (sitting) casualties, or a combination of two litter and three ambulatory casualties.
The M1285 Medical Treatment (MT) variant integrates advanced medical treatment in a mobile surgery suite to the ABCT. The MT hosts four crew members, which includes a medic and Physician Assistant or Unit Surgeon, and a treatment table that can serve to carry one litter patient. The vehicle also hosts the capability for onboard medical equipment for casualty care.
The M1286 Mission Command (MCmd) variant is the cornerstone of the Army’s ABCT Network Modernization Strategy. It takes advantage of increased size, weight, power, and cooling and provides a significant increase in Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4/ISR) capability. The variant accommodates two crew members, and three workstation operators, and its hosted network provides full Tactical Command Post capabilities at brigade and battalion levels.
The M1287 Mortar Carrier (MC) provides immediate, responsive, heavy mortar fire support to the ABCT in the conduct of fast paced offensive operations by utilizing the M121 Mortar System and M95 Mortar Fire Control System. The MC variant accommodates four Soldiers, one vehicle crew member and three mortar crew members.
In order to meet U.S. Army in Europe and Africa requirements, to improve command and control capabilities, and to manage forward operating sites within the Republic of Poland, the Army established the U.S. Army Garrison Poland in a ceremony March 21.
The garrison is one of the enduring improvements to the DoD posture in Europe based on assessments from the 2021 Global Posture Review and consultations with NATO allies, and announced by President Biden in June 2022.
During his remarks, Tommy. R. Mize, Director, Installation Management Command – Europe, addressed directly the V Corps Commanding General, Lieutenant General John Kolasheski, also in attendance.
«This garrison exists to support you, V Corps, and all your Soldiers. They will support you in accordance with your priorities and will enable V Corps readiness», Mize said. «IMCOM-E’s mission is to set the conditions for the garrison’s success».
«The relationship of the U.S. and Poland serves as an example of the deepening ties throughout the alliance. Today’s activation ceremony is a tangible reminder of the growth in our relationship», Kolasheski said.
In addition to Kolasheski, Mize, and Colonel Jorge Fonseca, USAG Poland commander, other speakers at the event were the Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski.
«This Army garrison ensures our brave men and women in uniform have the support they need so they can focus on their mission. Permanent support for troops permanently stationed in Poland», Brzezinski said.
In October 2022, a memorandum of agreement between the U.S. Army Materiel Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa transferred operational control of Area Support Group Poland from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command to IMCOM-Europe, the higher headquarters for all Army garrisons in Europe.
«We must recognize that we are not just building a military installation, but we are also becoming an enduring member of the vibrant and proud communities of the 11 sub-sites of our garrison», Fonseca said.
USAG Poland will support three Forward Operating Sites (FOS) in Poland: FOS Poznan, FOS Powidz, and FOS Zagan, comprising a total of 11 locations in Poland.
In addition to supporting the permanently assigned forces, USAG Poland will also provide direct base operations support to roughly 4,000 rotational forces and 2,500 surge or exercise personnel.
«Our decades-long relationship with other communities and host nations throughout Europe has taught us valuable lessons we eagerly look forward to applying here in Poznan and in the communities surrounding all of the garrison’s installations here in Poland», Mize said.
Boeing delivered the most powerful satellite platform the company has built to date, the 702MP+, a custom-designed spacecraft for network provider Viasat.
«Working with Boeing, we’re very excited to complete the ViaSat-3 Americas and bring us one step closer to providing higher speeds, more bandwidth, and greater value to our customers on a global scale whether they be on land, on the sea, or in the air», said Dave Ryan, president Space & Commercial Networks, Viasat. «The innovation of this satellite allows us new levels of flexibility to dynamically allocate capacity to the most attractive and engaged geographic markets».
Upon embarking from the Boeing factory in California, ViaSat-3 Americas was flown to the Florida Space Coast where Boeing and Viasat teams will support launch and mission operations as the spacecraft prepares to travel to geostationary orbit, approximately 22,000 miles/35,406 km from Earth. Once in orbit, ViaSat-3 Americas will be the first of three 702MP+ satellites to make up the ultra-high-capacity ViaSat-3 satellite constellation, designed to provide high-quality, affordable global connectivity and coverage.
«We designed, built and delivered the most powerful satellite platform we have ever provided to a customer. The result really is an engineering marvel», said Michelle Parker, vice president of Space Mission Systems at Boeing Defense, Space & Security. «We expanded the boundaries of our design and the platform components to exceed Viasat’s demanding mission requirements, while ensuring alignment with Boeing’s proven qualification and reliability standards».
Based on the flight-proven 702 vehicle design hosting the U.S. Department of Defense’s Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) constellation, and more than 40 other high-performing satellites, including ViaSat-2, Boeing’s 702MP+ features all-electric propulsion for the first time aboard a 702MP, providing more sustained thrust and efficiency.
Boeing improved the platform’s structure to support Viasat’s large payload. The platform also accommodates the largest commercial satellite solar arrays Boeing-subsidiary Spectrolab has ever produced, along with batteries and supporting electronics, which generate well over 30 kW of solar power.
The satellite has some of the largest reflectors ever sent to space and will be significantly larger than most geostationary satellites, requiring highly-refined, highly reliable hardware and software to maintain optimal satellite control. In addition to designing and manufacturing the platform, Boeing worked with Viasat to integrate the payload.
Australia’s aerospace company Hypersonix Launch Systems has been selected to provide hypersonic vehicles to the United States’ Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) for testing.
The Australian start-up was selected from a field of major international aerospace companies competing for the DIU contract under the Hypersonic and High-Cadence Airborne Testing Capabilities (HyCAT1) program.
The Silicon Valley-headquartered organization that taps into ‘non-traditional’ innovators, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and its U.S. Air Force and Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (USD R&E) partners, selected Hypersonix Launch Systems to provide a hypersonic vehicle for its Hypersonic and High-Cadence Airborne Testing Capabilities (HyCAT1) program. DIU’s contract with Hypersonix demonstrates the United States’ increased willingness to source commercial technologies from allied countries to meet urgent strategic challenges.
DIU selected Hypersonix from the 63 respondents to the agency’s September 2022 HyCAT solicitation seeking vehicles usable for high cadence long-endurance testing of: hypersonic platforms and components; sensors for detecting and tracking; and systems for communications, navigation, guidance and control. Specifically, DIU requested a vehicle capable of operating in a ‘representative environment’ that can maintain speeds above Mach 5 with a manoeuvrable/non-ballistic flight profile and at least a 3-minute flight duration with near-constant flight conditions. DIU also wishes the flights to be repeated at short intervals.
Hypersonix responded with its DART AE (Additive Engineering) vehicle. DART AE makes significant use of 3D-printing and is powered by a hydrogen-fuelled SPARTAN scramjet engine, capable of flying non-ballistic flight patterns at speeds of Mach 5 to Mach 7 and up to 1000 kms in range (400 seconds flight time). The DART AE has a modular payload bay of up to 20 lbs./9 kg and Hypersonix plans to fly it in early 2024.
«Our vehicles are capable of non-ballistic flight patterns to at least Mach 7, which exceeds the HyCAT1 specification», said David Waterhouse, Managing Director, Hypersonix Launch Systems.
«Our longer-term focus is to capture a slice of the emerging multi-billion-dollar commercial market for deployment of small satellites, but clearly Australia’s strategic defence allies see immediate potential in our technology. This is our first major contract and a key step in our commercialisation process – we couldn’t be happier. This puts Australia one step closer to being a major player in the international space race», David Waterhouse added.
On the night of March 18 to 19, 2023, the Jacques Chevallier, the first of the four force supply vessels (BRF) of the «Logistics Fleet» program (FlotLog) intended for the French Navy, left its construction port of Saint-Nazaire in order to begin a new phase of sea trials before heading to her future home port in Toulon.
After being put on hold in December 2021, being floated in April 2022 and the ceremony for the first raising of colors on March 3, 2023, the BRF Jacques Chevallier has taken a new step by leaving its builder port before being received by the Organization Joint Armaments Cooperation (OCCAR), on behalf of the General Armaments Directorate (DGA), and its delivery to the French Navy in the summer of 2023.
The conduct of the ship will now be entrusted to a crew from the French Navy. In the short term, the ship will sail to Toulon, its future home port, where it will arrive at the end of March. This sea trial campaign is dedicated to the refueling system at sea (supplied by Chantiers de l’Atlantique), and the combat and communication system (supplied by Naval Group).
The construction of the second BRF, Jacques Stosskopf, will begin in Saint-Nazaire in about a year, for delivery in 2025.
Laurent Castaing, Managing Director of Chantiers de l’Atlantique declared: «We are delighted with the excellent result obtained thanks to the good cooperation of our teams and those of our various partners. We will now continue this quality collaboration until the delivery of the ship in July in Toulon».
Laurent Castaing praised the excellent result obtained thanks to the commitment of the teams and the good collaboration between the manufacturers, the DGA and the OCCAR.
«The FlotLog program is a great story of cooperation between European partners but also between industrial partners. The departure of the ship for its home port is an important milestone for the DGA, the French Navy, the Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Naval Group and all our industrial partners. We are proud to be part of this European program and remain fully committed to providing the DGA and the French Navy with the best expertise in the civil and military sectors in the construction of high-tonnage vessels», underlines Olivier de la Bourdonnaye, Buildings Director of surface of Naval Group.
A multi-purpose vessel resulting from a strategic European industrial partnership serving the French Navy
As a reminder, the BRF Jacques Chevallier is the first of a series of four ships intended for the French Navy, the order of which was notified in January 2019 to the Momentary Group of Companies formed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group. The FlotLog program is part of a Franco-Italian cooperation led by OCCAR on behalf of the DGA and its Italian counterpart Naval Weaponry Direction (NAVARM).
Through their alliance, Naval Group and Chantiers de l’Atlantique combine and leverage their skills in order to offer the best of each of the two companies in the construction of ships of more than 8,000 tons, in the service of the French Navy.
Equipped with a self-defence capability, the new series of BRFs is intended to replace the current tankers, with increased capacities and modern equipment in order to fully ensure the specific support missions of the carrier battle group, formed around the Charles de Gaulle aircraft, as well as any French or allied naval action group.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique is responsible for all of the design and construction of the four vessels and is responsible for the integration and assembly of on-board systems. Naval Group is responsible for designing, developing and integrating the ship’s military systems, including the combat system, the systems contributing to the reception capacity of aircraft and the loading of ammunition and the centralized control system for the installations of the platform. The combat system of the four buildings allows the ships to deploy independently to their area of operations, to provide protection against close threats and to lead the fight against asymmetric threats.
Full load displacement
194 m/636.5 feet
27.6 m/90.5 feet
190 people, including 130 crew members, an aeronautical detachment of 10 people, and 50 passengers
According to Naval News, the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) on March 20, 2023 commissioned the submarine JS Hakugei (SS-514) during a ceremony at Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) in Kobe.
JS Hakugei (SS-514) is the second Taigei class submarine for the JMSDF. Its name means «White Sperm Whale». Taigei-class submarines are all named after large fishes. Hakugei will be based in Kure.
The first submarine of the class, JS Taigei (SS-513) (meaning «Great Whale») was launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) shipyard in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture in October 2020 and was commissioned into the JMSDF in March 2022. It is currently based in Yokosuka and used as a test submarine. It acts as a dedicated ship to conduct all tests related to future JMSDF submarine technologies. For example, Naval News learned during DSEI Japan 2023 that the latest Inertial Navigation System (INS) by French company Safran (product name: Black Onyx) will be tested aboard JS Taigei (SS-513) in coming weeks.
This means that JS Hakugei (SS-514) is now the first boat of the Taigei-class able to conduct operational deployments.
The third-in-class submarine, JS Jingei (SS-515) (meaning « Swift Whale») was launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in October last year.
About Taigei class Submarine
The external appearance of the Taigei is not much different from the Sōryū-class, but inside of it is a completely different submarine. First, the Taigei uses lithium-ion batteries instead of the 4V-275R Mk. III Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, which was installed aboard the first 10 Sōryū-class submarines.
Secondly, the capabilities of the sonar and combat command system have been improved, as well as the use of new acoustic absorbent materials and a floating floor structure to make it quieter. It is also equipped with Torpedo Counter Measures (TCM), which ejects decoys to evade enemy torpedoes for improved survivability.
Standard Displacement: about 3000 tons
Length: 84 meters/275.6 feet
Total width: 9.1 meters/29.8 feet
Crew: about 70
Propulsion: Diesel Electric Propulsion (with lithium-ion batteries)
A new generation of hunter-killer submarines will join the Royal Navy fleet at the end of the next decade following a deal between the UK, USA and Australia.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden and Australia’s premier Anthony Albanese announced the next stage of the AUKUS programme in San Diego – which includes £5bn investment in the Royal Navy’s submarine arm and the industry which builds and supports it.
The programme will deliver a new breed of conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines – SSN-AUKUS, built in the UK and Australia to a British design incorporating cutting-edge US submarine technology – to both the Royal and Royal Australian Navies.
«The AUKUS partnership, and the submarines we are building in British shipyards, are a tangible demonstration of our commitment to global security», Mr. Sunak said. «This partnership was founded on the bedrock of our shared values and resolute focus on upholding stability in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. And I am hugely pleased that the plans we have announced today will see pioneering British design expertise protect our people and our allies for generations to come».
The boats – larger than the RN’s 7,400-tonne Astutes and packed with next-generation sensors and weaponry – will be built for the UK at BAE’s yard in Barrow, where the final Astute-class submarines and three of the four replacement deterrent boats of the new Dreadnought class are being constructed.
The programme will create, support and sustain thousands of UK jobs – not just in Cumbria, but across the supply chain and not least in Derby, where Rolls-Royce develop the nuclear reactors which power the submarines.
Meanwhile Australia will build up its submarine industrial base so the boats can be constructed in the country, with some components manufactured in the UK.
And to forge a cadre of Australian submariners who can operate a nuclear-powered submarine, RAN personnel will serve with the British and American Silent Services both at sea and ashore.
HMS Astute (S119) visited Perth during the UK Carrier Strike Group’s Indo-Pacific deployment in 2021 and British and American boats will make more frequent visits to Australia to help develop the workforce, infrastructure and regulatory system.
Construction of the UK’s SSN-AUKUS submarines will begin towards the end of this decade. Decisions about how many new boats the Royal Navy requires will be made in the coming years, based on the strategic situation.
The first SSN-AUKUS boats will begin replacing the Astute class from the late 2030s, while the first Australian variants will be delivered in the early 2040s.
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, announced the delivery of three Bell 505 helicopters to the Royal Bahrain Air Force. Bell delivered the aircraft during an inspection and acceptance event in February 2023 at Bell’s Mirabel facility.
«We are honored to provide the Bahrain Defense Force another premiere Bell asset to train the next generation of Bahrani pilots», said Sameer Rehman, managing director, Africa and Middle East, Bell. «Generations of Bahraini pilots have flown in Bell helicopters, and the Bell 505 will continue the tradition of excellence for years to come».
The Bahrain Defense Force has flown the Bell 212 and multiple generations of AH-1 attack helicopters. This delivery marks the first 505 helicopters for the country and includes a package with training, tooling, and spares.
«With low operating costs and high reliability, the Bell 505 has emerged as a customer favorite to prepare cadets for a safer and more effective transition to advanced helicopters», Rehman added.
The Kingdom of Bahrain joins other countries in the region employing the Bell 505 as their advanced military trainer of choice. Horizon International Flight Academy in the UAE operates 12 Bell 505s, and the Royal Jordanian Air Force signed an agreement for 10 Bell 505s in November 2022. More than 30 Bell 505 helicopters operate throughout the Middle East and Africa. Additionally, the Bell 505 is the military training helicopter for the Montenegro Air Force, Republic of Korea Army and Republic of Korea Navy.
Bell has delivered more than 400 Bell 505 helicopters to domestic and international customers. The Bell 505 program has collectively achieved more than 100,000 flight hours. The Bell 505 recently became the world’s first single engine helicopter to fly on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is leveraging its weapons system integration and battle management leadership to compete for the U.S. Navy’s E-XX TACAMO fleet of aircraft systems.
The U.S. Navy’s E-XX TACAMO aircraft will be based on the C-130J Super Hercules platform, and provides connectivity between the National Command Authority and ballistic submarines capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The U.S. Navy currently operates a fleet of E-6B Mercury aircraft to provide survivable, reliable and endurable airborne command, control and communications between the National Command Authority and U.S. strategic and non-strategic forces. The U.S. Navy intends to replace the E-6B Mercury fleet with the E-XX TACAMO to modernize this critical strategic deterrent mission.
«Our extensive experience integrating aircraft and mission systems, combined with our expertise in creating operationally-ready solutions in support of the nuclear enterprise, makes Northrop Grumman the optimal partner to deliver the U.S. Navy’s E-XX TACAMO weapon system», said Janice Zilch, vice president, multi-domain command and control programs, Northrop Grumman. «As we’ve demonstrated with the U.S. Navy’s E-2 Hawkeye programs, we have been a longtime partner in helping the Navy meet its operational requirements. We will bring this expertise in helping the U.S. Navy deliver the E-XX TACAMO on time and optimized for this strategically important mission».
For more than six decades, Northrop Grumman has delivered on the development, production and modification of the Navy’s E-2 Hawkeye system as the prime contractor, and continues to provide total mission assurance with proven solutions that are secure, survivable, multi-layered systems designed for total weapon system security.
«Our team has vast knowledge and expertise in delivering critical command and control, and nuclear enterprise capabilities», said Henry Cyr, director, multi-domain command and control capture programs, Northrop Grumman. «We perform challenging work that has a real-world impact. You can see that on our legacy platforms, the platforms currently in operation, and the platforms we will deliver tomorrow».