Aegis Ashore

In a landmark demonstration, Lockheed Martin connected key components of its Aegis Ashore and Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) technologies, validating the ability to greatly increase operational performance, efficiency and reliability of Aegis Ashore.

Aegis Ashore configured with Lockheed Martin Solid State Radar provides greatly increased performance
Aegis Ashore configured with Lockheed Martin Solid State Radar provides greatly increased performance

«Connecting these systems is more than a technological advantage – it’s a way to provide the warfighter with earlier intelligence and expanded situational awareness», said Doctor Tony DeSimone, vice president and chief engineer of Lockheed Martin Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors. «Integration of these technologies allows us to deliver the most advanced solid-state radar system in LRDR with the proven tested capability of Aegis. For the warfighter this combination provides an increased capability, in terms of additional performance and reaction time, to safely protect the people and nations they defend».

Connecting the two mature systems, amounts to a low risk ‘technology refresh’ of the legacy SPY-1 antenna, resulting in:

  • Ability to detect targets at longer distances;
  • Ability to combat larger numbers of targets simultaneously;
  • Additional target engagement opportunities;
  • Higher performance in complicated land environments;
  • Minimized interference with civilian or military radio emitters and receivers;
  • Increased use of the new SM-3 Block IIA missile’s performance.

Lockheed Martin Solid State Radar (SSR) is a scalable Gallium Nitride (GaN) based radar building block, which in addition to cutting edge performance provides increased efficiency and reliability. The Department of Defense’s newest Ballistic Missile Defense sensor, LRDR, will use thousands of Lockheed Martin SSR building blocks to provide enhanced target acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System. LRDR completed its critical design review in 2017 and is on track to be operational in Alaska in 2020.

Aegis Ashore is the land-based ballistic missile defense adaptation of the proven Aegis Combat System, currently fielded in Romania and soon to be fielded in Poland.

The research and development demonstration proved that current and future versions of Aegis can simultaneously command tasking of the Lockheed Martin SSR and receive target tracks from the radar. The next phase of activity is to demonstrate simulated missile engagements with live tracking, scheduled for the first half of 2018. These tests build on multiple previous demonstrations in 2015 and 2016, in which Aegis software variant Baseline 9 already tracked live targets using a prototype version of Lockheed Martin SSR hardware powered by multi-purpose Fujitsu GaN from Japan.

The Aegis software has evolved over time and is now compatible with multiple radars. Recently, Australia and Spain selected Aegis configurations featuring their own solid-state radars. Weaving existing systems together is becoming more common to stay ahead of threats efficiently, by leveraging prior or concurrent investments in advanced technology.

«The Aegis Combat System is adaptable and flexible to address warfighting needs, which is one of the reasons the system is so widely used around the world», said Michele Evans, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors. «As our customers look to update their technology with the help of their industrial bases, they are increasingly choosing alternative radars to equip their platforms. In challenging threat environments, we can deliver advanced capability at lower cost if we can be flexible and connect a variety of existing technologies».

Lockheed Martin SSR, including very robust participation from Japanese industry, is one of the configuration options available to Japan for its upcoming Aegis Ashore installations. Because Lockheed Martin provides the Aegis Ashore software and SPY-1 radar, its SSR can operate in a way that uses a common Integrated Air and Missile Defense Aegis baseline with the one recently purchased by Japan’s Ministry of Defense for its new destroyers.

Multi-copter UAV

On January 10, 2018, Boeing unveiled a new unmanned electric Vertical-TakeOff-and-Landing (eVTOL) Cargo Air Vehicle (CAV) prototype that will be used to test and evolve Boeing’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles. It is designed to transport a payload up to 500 pounds for possible future cargo and logistics applications.

The electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing multi-copter UAV is designed to carry up to 500 pounds
The electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing multi-copter UAV is designed to carry up to 500 pounds

«This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy», said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop. «We have an opportunity to really change air travel and transport, and we’ll look back on this day as a major step in that journey».

In less than three months, a team of engineers and technicians across the company designed and built the CAV prototype. It successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.

Boeing researchers will use the prototype as a flying test bed to mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications. Boeing HorizonX, with its partners in Boeing Research & Technology, led the development of the CAV prototype, which complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype aircraft in development by Aurora Flight Sciences, a company acquired by Boeing late last year.

«Our new CAV prototype builds on Boeing’s existing unmanned systems capabilities and presents new possibilities for autonomous cargo delivery, logistics and other transportation applications», said Steve Nordlund, Boeing HorizonX vice president. «The safe integration of unmanned aerial systems is vital to unlocking their full potential. Boeing has an unmatched track record, regulatory know-how and systematic approach to deliver solutions that will shape the future of autonomous flight».

Powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system, the CAV prototype is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight. It measures 15 feet long (4.57 meters), 18 feet wide (5.49 meters) and 4 feet tall (1.22 meters), and weighs 747 pounds (339 kilograms).

Chicago-based Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries.

Classified spacecraft

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 on January 12 at 2:11 p.m. PST. Designated NROL-47, the mission is in support of national defense.

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-47 mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex-6
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-47 mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex-6

«As the nation’s most trustworthy launch provider, today’s launch exemplifies ULA’s ongoing commitment to 100 percent mission success», said Will Crawford, ULA’s NRO program manager. «My sincere thanks to the entire ULA team and our mission partners at the NRO and U.S. Air Force who made this, our 27th NRO launch, possible».

This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (5, 2) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) powered by one common booster core and two solid rocket motors built by Orbital ATK. The common booster core was powered by an RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine. A single RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage. The booster and upper stage engines are both built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. ULA constructed the Delta IV Medium+ (5,2) launch vehicle in Decatur, Alabama.

This is ULA’s first launch in 2018 and the 124th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. It was also the 36th flight of the Delta IV rocket since its inaugural launch in 2002.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the legacy launch systems.

ULA’s next launch is the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 4 mission for the U.S. Air Force on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for Jan. 18 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 120 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.

Delta IV NROL-47 Launch Highlights

The National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-47 payload, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex-6
The National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-47 payload, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex-6

SM-3 for Japan

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles for an estimated cost of $133.3 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on January 9, 2018.

The Standard Missile-3 Block IIA's larger rocket motors will allow it to take out threats sooner
The Standard Missile-3 Block IIA’s larger rocket motors will allow it to take out threats sooner

The Government of Japan has requested a possible sale of four (4) Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles. Also included are four (4) MK 29 missile canisters, U.S. Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, transportation, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.  The estimated total case value is $133.3 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a major ally that has been, and continues to be, a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region.

The proposed sale will provide Japan with an increased ballistic missile defense capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there.  Japan will have no difficulty absorbing these additional munitions and support into the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractors will be Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, AZ (SM-3); and BAE Systems, Minneapolis, MN (MK 29). There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to Japan involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews, support, and oversight for approximately five years.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Chamber tests

Officials at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station (PAX) say its Anechoic Chamber is a viable option for rapid testing and mission readiness… «it’s a win-win. It’s about speed to the fleet, safety, efficiency and cost savings».

The P-8A Poseidon, the U.S. Navy's latest aircraft for maritime patrol and reconnaissance has consistently deployed since 2013
The P-8A Poseidon, the U.S. Navy’s latest aircraft for maritime patrol and reconnaissance has consistently deployed since 2013

Recent live, virtual, and constructive infrastructure development of the AN/UPX-43 IFF Interrogator AIMS Certification test process, which is just one of the projects executed at PAX’s Anechoic Chamber, this fall resulted in reduced scheduling and costs for future certification testing. By conducting the AIMS certification in the chamber, versus inflight, the savings were achieved from 12 weeks at $5.31 million, producing 3.6 hours of data to approximately, 3.5 weeks of testing at about $800 thousand, yielding about 15 hours of data.

«Right now, one of the most important things we do for the warfighter is to get them the technology they need to complete their mission», said Lieutenant Denver White, aircraft P-8A project officer. «With the Anechoic Chamber, we are not susceptible to weather or other flight test issues that might cause test delays».

The P-8A’s Interrogator IFF-I infrastructure development results using the Multi-Jammer Characterization Wall is compared using previous flight test results at the AIMS Program Office to prove the capability for future P-8A AIMS certifications.

«It is historic and important; the P-8A had not been in the chamber for several years, and when it was in the chamber, these specific systems were not tested nor was infrastructure developed for them», said White. «Since we are not in the air, and we have a lot more instrumentation on the ground we can slow down, look into a deficiency more to isolate it».

About 75 percent of the required tests were conducted from inside the chamber. Once inside, UPX-43 Identification Friend or Foe; Interrogator, ALQ-240 Electronic Support Measures system; APY-10 Radar; GPS and cyber security of communications and navigation systems testing were all conducted; Saving time, money and wear-and-tear on the aircraft and parts. The aircraft was stressed during real-world flight test scenarios, using the navigation simulation equipment.

There was simulated motion, position and altitude, which allowed the P-8A mission systems to experience airborne environments and engage with other systems and platforms.

In the controlled environment, testers may try a lot of methods that aren’t options when airborne, he said. The testing gets to the root cause, which ultimately allows the deficiency to be evaluated, repaired and gets the aircraft back to the fleet mission ready.

If the test methods are approved and deemed successful, these methods may be used for other Navy aircraft, such as, the MQ-25 Stingray, F-18 Super Hornet, MH-60R Seahawk and F-35 Lightning II. The initial testing using this method was used on the P-8A Poseidon and its mission systems.

Cyber Division

About 20 Electronic Warfare Operators completed the division’s four month-training period last week, and officially joined the ranks of the IAF’s Electronic Warfare and Cyber Division. This division’s activity is classified and clandestine, but its capabilities and performance have a direct impact on the battlefield and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF’s) capability to succeed in every campaign and theatre.

They operate flown and ground systems that disrupt enemy weapons, and have a tremendous influence on the battlefield: new Electronic Warfare Operators joined the IAF’s EW and Cyber Division last week
They operate flown and ground systems that disrupt enemy weapons, and have a tremendous influence on the battlefield: new Electronic Warfare Operators joined the IAF’s EW and Cyber Division last week

«There is no doubt that the division significantly empowers the Israel Air Force (IAF) in emergency and routine», said Major H’, Commander of the Electronic Warfare (EW) and Cyber Academy, to the graduates. «It is important to understand that our operational activity will never be in the spotlight, and that secrecy is an inherent part of our mission. We are currently participating in clandestine missions day and night, most of which the public will not hear about. You should be proud to have received the opportunity to operate these advanced operational systems».

The IAF’s Electronic Warfare Division includes ground and aerial units, which are responsible for disrupting enemy signals in order to protect IAF aircraft flying in threatened territory. Throughout the four-month training period, which was led by the «Celestial Crow» Unit’s Electronic Warfare and Cyber Academy in Tel-Nof Air Force Base (AFB), the new operators studied the foundations of the division’s capabilities and acquired the necessary skills for their service.

«Course 171 can be summed up in two words: professionalism and innovation», said Lieutenant G’, Commander of the Training Center in the Electronic Warfare and Cyber Academy. «We emphasized professionalism – expanding the foundations stage from five to six weeks, adding many classes and practical skills. The course has been adjusted to the changing theatres, we utilized new training systems, and changed the way we evaluate cadets».

«Throughout the various stages of the course you proved that you are worthy to join this division», added Major H’. «You studied the foundations, became acquainted with the capabilities and acquired the basic skills you need. You now take the knowledge you acquired to your operational units, where you will expand and deepen your education and will quickly become certified to become part of the division’s operational core».

Major milestone

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser program passed a major NASA milestone for its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) contract with the completion of a successful Free-Flight test, which produced subsonic flight and landing performance data.

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser Spacecraft Passes Major NASA Milestone after Free-Flight Test
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser Spacecraft Passes Major NASA Milestone after Free-Flight Test

Milestone 4B validated the spacecraft’s design for a safe and reliable return of cargo services to Earth through a gentle runway landing, signaling the program is one step closer to orbital operations.

The Dream Chaser will go to the space station for at least six cargo resupply missions starting in 2020 under a separate contract, NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2).

The NASA Commercial Crew Program reviewed the data, confirming it fully met or exceeded all requirements and authorized full payment of the milestone.  Additionally, SNC collected a significant amount of additional information that will be used for the final vehicle design.

«The test was a huge success and when we looked at the data, we were thrilled to see how closely our flight performance projections matched the actual flight data», said Steve Lindsey, vice president of SNC’s Space Exploration Systems business unit. «This gives us high confidence in our atmospheric flight performance as we move towards orbital operations».

The approach and landing test included intentional maneuvers both to assess the responsiveness of the Dream Chaser to control inputs and to measure the resulting stability of the vehicle under very dynamic, stressful conditions. This showcased the aerodynamic capability of the Dream Chaser as well as performance of the integrated computer system that autonomously returned the vehicle to a safe runway landing. These are critical components for orbital missions to and from the International Space Station.

Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president for SNC’s Space Systems business area, commented, «Achievements of this magnitude require the involvement and collaboration of many people. The Free-Flight test took place at the same historic location where the sound barrier was broken 70 years ago and where the Space Shuttle program began 40 years ago. With that historic legacy, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to our whole flight team».

«I want to especially thank NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Director, David McBride, the entire Armstrong team, the U.S. Air Force, NASA’s Commercial Crew and CRS2 programs, and our industry partners, including Draper Laboratories, who helped design our flight software. Most importantly, I want to say how proud I am of the SNC Dream Chaser flight and program teams who have performed above and beyond to make the flight and milestone a success», Sirangelo added.

The Free-Flight test of the Dream Chaser was performed at Edwards Air Force Base, California on November 11. The vehicle’s next milestone will be the CRS2 Dream Chaser Critical Design Review, scheduled for 2018.

 

About Dream Chaser Spacecraft

Owned and operated by SNC, the Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable, multi-mission space utility vehicle. It is capable of transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, where the International Space Station resides, and is the only commercial, lifting-body vehicle capable of a runway landing. The Dream Chaser Cargo System was selected by NASA to provide cargo delivery and disposal services to the space station under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract. All Dream Chaser CRS2 cargo missions are planned to land at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility.

Super-secret

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket delivered the Zuma spacecraft to orbit.

SpaceX Launches Secret Zuma Mission for US Government
SpaceX Launches Secret Zuma Mission for US Government

SpaceX was targeting launch of the Zuma spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The two-hour primary launch window opened at 8:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, January 7, or 1:00 UTC on Monday, January 8. A backup two-hour launch window opened at 8:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 8, or 1:00 UTC on Tuesday, January 9.

Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The Zuma spacecraft launched on Falcon 9, a two-stage rocket designed from the ground up by SpaceX for maximum reliability and the cost-efficient transport of satellites and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Falcon 9’s first stage incorporates nine Merlin engines, with a combined thrust greater than five 747s at full power, that launch the rocket to space. Unlike airplanes, a rocket’s thrust increases with altitude; Falcon 9 generates more than 1.7 million pounds of thrust at sea level but gets up to over 1.8 million pounds of thrust in the vacuum of space. The second stage, powered by a single Merlin vacuum engine, delivers Falcon 9’s payload to the desired orbit.

Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of reflight. SpaceX believes rocket reusability is the key breakthrough needed to reduce the cost of access to space and enable people to live on other planets.

Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SpaceX’s SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is a world-class launch site that builds on a strong heritage. The site, located at the north end of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, was used for many years to launch Titan rockets, among the most powerful in the U.S. fleet. SpaceX took over the facility in May 2008.

The center of the complex is composed of the concrete launch pad and flame diverter system. Surrounding the pad are four lightning towers, propellant storage tanks, and the integration hangar. Before launch, Falcon 9’s stages and payload are housed inside the hangar. The payload is mated to the Falcon 9 inside SLC-40’s hangar on the transporter erector. The rocket and payload are then rolled out from the hangar to the launch pad and lifted to a vertical position.

ZUMA Mission

Mid-life upgrade

Patria has signed an agreement with the Finnish Defence Forces on the mid-life upgrade and overhaul of the Finnish Defence Forces’ Hamina Class fast attack craft. The procurement is part of the Naval Capability Development Programme, based on which the overhaul of Hamina Class vessels will ensure continued naval defence capabilities in the period between the decommissioning of Rauma Class fast attack craft and the commissioning of Squadron 2020 corvettes during the 2020s. The total value of the delivery contract, without options, is around 170 million euros (excluding VAT). The estimated employment effect of the programme in Finland will be around 300 person-years.

As it waits for the production of its new corvettes under the Squadron 2020 program, the Finnish Navy has awarded Patria, with Saab as the main subcontractor, a contract for the mid-life upgrade of its Hamina-class fast attack missile craft (FI Navy photo)
As it waits for the production of its new corvettes under the Squadron 2020 program, the Finnish Navy has awarded Patria, with Saab as the main subcontractor, a contract for the mid-life upgrade of its Hamina-class fast attack missile craft (FI Navy photo)

Patria will act as the prime contractor, designer and lead system integrator having the overall responsibility for the project. The delivery includes a number of sensor, weapon and communication systems, system upgrades, as well as ship technical modifications and overhauls. In addition to extending the lifecycle of the attack craft, their anti-submarine warfare capability is enhanced. Related to the new capabilities, Patria will equip the Hamina Class craft with its new, innovative Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Training Target system, which enables flexible and cost-effective anti-submarine warfare training.

As part of the extensive supply chain management effort involved, Patria also signed the most significant subcontracts related to Combat Management System (CMS), torpedo and sensor systems with Saab AB and ship technical work with Oy Western Shipyard Ltd.

«The Hamina Class mid-life upgrade is a large effort, which has been planned in close cooperation with the Finnish Defence Forces. We have strong expertise and capabilities for leading and implementing challenging and extensive system integration projects as a prime contractor. We were also responsible for the successful Rauma Class fast attack craft mid-life upgrade project», says Pasi Niinikoski, President of Patria’s Systems Business Unit.

Orion UAS

The U.S. Air Force has awarded a new $48 million contract to Aurora Flight Sciences for the continued development of the Orion Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

Aurora’s Orion Ultra Long Endurance UAS
Aurora’s Orion Ultra Long Endurance UAS

Orion is a twin-engine high performance UAS that can stay aloft over 100 hours at a time with payloads in excess of 1,000 pounds/453.6 kg. Development of the Orion started in 2006 and its first flight was in August 2013. In December 2014, the Orion established the current UAS world endurance record with an 80-hour, 2-minute and 52-second flight.

The new contract funds the development of a certified version of Orion that will be suitable for deployment anywhere in the world. The work will be performed in Columbus, Mississippi, and Manassas, Virginia.

Capabilities:

  • Reduces number of bases needed for worldwide ops;
  • Reduces forward footprint minimizing personnel in harm’s way;
  • Provides flexibility even when infrastructure or airfields are unavailable;
  • Previously unreachable areas of vast oceans are now reachable.

 

Specifications

Medium-Altitude Aircraft
Altitude 15,000-30,000 feet/4,572-9,144 m
Endurance 120+ hour
Payload Up to 2800 lbs/1,270 kg