Renewal Contract

Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) renewed a $2.3 billion H-60 Seahawk Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract with Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission System (LMRMS) located in Owego, New York, February 1.

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 1st Class Mikhail Levin, left, and Aviation Electrician’s Mate Airman Tamara Shinhearl, both assigned to the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), attach cargo to and MH-60S Seahawk assigned to the «Dragon Whales» of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 during a vertical replenishment while underway in the Caribbean Sea, October 23, 2019. Comfort is working with health and government partners in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean to provide care on the ship and at land-based medical sites, helping to relieve pressure on national medical systems, including those strained by an increase in cross-border migrants (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Morgan K. Nall/Released)

The H-60 Seahawk PBL renewal is NAVSUP WSS’ fourth PBL contract with LMRMS since 2004, and runs from February 2020 to January 2027 (a five-year period of performance and an option to extend for two years). This contract will continue to provide value to the fleet and demonstrate the benefits of long-term contractual arrangements, allowing the government to roll out best practices into follow-on contracts.

This PBL contract, based on Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 15 (Contracting by Negotiation), provides supply support for the MH-60R/S helicopter platform. It will cover almost a thousand individual items comprised of Weapon Replaceable Assemblies (WRAs) and Shop Replaceable Assemblies (SRAs) and includes the main rotor blade, main gearbox and the Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS).

ALFS is a new system add that was not previously supported under the original Seahawk PBL. The ALFS allows for rapid search rate, longer detection range over a wider area and is high performing in both deep and shallow water.

The Seahawk PBL is organically sourced with three Fleet Readiness Centers: Southeast, East and Southwest, along with Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport and Tobyhanna Army Depot.

The renewal will continue to include demand bands, which are a pricing adjustment mechanism utilized to mitigate the risk associated with demand fluctuation in a long term, firm-fixed price contract.

According to Stephen Van Note, NAVSUP WSS contracting officer, «The demand band structure is utilized to incentivize the contractor to implement product and process improvements to increase time-on-wing and reliability, reduce failures, and improve supply chain processes».

The objective of the PBL contract is to increase reliability and availability of H-60 components, as well as the potential to improve Mean Time Between Depot Demand (MTBDD). By decreasing the MTBDD, parts will be available sooner and reduce the number of backorders to the fleet.

Contracting officer Tara Hartung explains that this contract is integral to the NAVSUP WSS mission of keeping the H-60 platform performing at optimal levels as well as improving material availability for fleet readiness.

«This innovative $2.3 billion contract will ensure the H-60 platform is always mission ready», said Hartung.

Keeping in line with Secretary Geurts’ initiatives to be more agile and innovative in our contracting approach and the Naval Aviation Enterprise’s push to improve fleet readiness, the Seahawk PBL continues to set the standard for exceptional support to the H-60 fleet, which includes US Navy, nine Foreign Military Sales partners and the US Coast Guard.

In addition, the NAVSUP WSS H-60 Integrated Weapon Systems Team was awarded the 2019 Secretary of Defense PBL award for innovative sustainment solutions that yield improved lethality. This award will be presented at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland in April 2020.

NAVSUP WSS is one of eleven commands under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP’s mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the US Navy and joint warfighter.

Demonstrator phase

The governments of France and Germany have awarded Dassault Aviation, Airbus, together with their partners MTU Aero Engines, Safran, MBDA and Thales, the initial framework contract (Phase 1A), which launches the demonstrator phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Demonstrator phase launched: Future Combat Air System takes major step forward

This framework contract covers a first period of 18 months and initiates work on developing the demonstrators and maturing cutting-edge technologies, with the ambition to begin flight tests as soon as 2026.

Since early 2019, the industrial partners have been working on the future architecture as part of the programme’s so called Joint Concept Study. Now, the FCAS programme enters into another decisive phase with the launch of the demonstrator phase.

This phase will, in a first step, focus on the main technological challenges per domains:

  • Next Generation Fighter (NGF), with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor and Airbus as main partner, to be the core element of Future Combat Air System;
  • Unmanned systems Remote Carrier (RC) with Airbus as prime contractor and MBDA as main partner;
  • Combat Cloud (CC) with Airbus as prime contractor and Thales as main partner;
  • Engine with Safran and MTU as main partner.

A Simulation Environment will be jointly developed between the involved companies to ensure the consistency between demonstrators.

The launch of the Demonstrator Phase underlines the political confidence and determination of the FCAS partner nations and the associated industry to move forward and cooperate in a fair and balanced manner. The increased momentum enables industry to deploy the necessary resources and best capabilities to develop this decisive European defence project. FCAS will be the cornerstone project guaranteeing Europe’s future operational, industrial and technological sovereignty.

The next important step in the FCAS programme will be the onboarding of Spain and the involvement of additional suppliers from Phase 1B onwards, which will succeed Phase 1A after its successful conclusion.

Tactical Vehicles

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced on February 17, 2020, that the U.S. Army Contracting Command – Detroit Arsenal has placed an order for 1,240 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) and associated kits.

Oshkosh Defense receives $407.3 million order for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles

This order includes JLTVs for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), Slovenia and Lithuania and kits for the U.S. Army, USMC, Slovenia and Lithuania.

«We work side-by-side with the Joint Program Office to give the military the necessary technological edge to compete with and defeat the most advanced adversaries», said George Mansfield, vice president and general manager of joint programs for Oshkosh Defense. «Without sacrificing mobility or transportability, the JLTV can accommodate over 100 mission package configurations, a true testament to its agility and modularity».

The Oshkosh JLTV is the only light tactical vehicle with the protection and extreme off-road mobility to maneuver with combat formations against great power adversaries. The vehicle’s digital architecture allows incorporation of advances in weapons, lasers, sensors, networking, and communications. It is designed to meet the requirements for the threats faced today and the decades to come.

Additionally, foreign interest in the highly capable JLTV platform continues to grow. The award includes orders for JLTVs to Slovenia and JLTVs to Lithuania through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process.

«We are proud of our vehicle and proud of this program», continued Mansfield. «The JLTV stands out as one of the few major programs delivering on its promises – it is on time, on budget, and delivering against all program requirements. Our mission is to enable the brave men and women of our Armed Forces and our allies to complete their missions and return home safely».

Cherokee Nation

A keel laying ceremony was held February 12 for the future USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS-7), the second ship of the Navy’s Navajo class of Towing, Salvage, and Rescue vessels. The ceremony was held near Gulf Island Shipyard at the Houma Terrebonne Civic Center.

An artist rendering of the future USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS-7) (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Paul L. Archer/Released)

The keel laying ceremony formally marks the start of a ship’s life and the joining of the ship’s modular components. The keel serves as the symbolic backbone of the ship.

In attendance to authenticate the keel was Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, The Honorable Chuck Hoskin, Jr. and the ship’s sponsor and Deputy Speaker of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, The Honorable Victoria Mitchell Vazquez.

During the ceremony, the keel authenticators etched their initials into the keel plate and declared it to be «truly and fairly laid».

«We are honored to have so many representatives of the Cherokee Nation in attendance to celebrate this early milestone», said Mike Kosar, support ships, boats and craft program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «The ship is critical to the operations of our fleet, and will soon sail with the pride and determination of the Cherokee people, which it is named to honor».

The Navajo-class will provide ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities to support fleet operations. The current capabilities are provided by three T-ATF 166 and two T-ARS 50 class ships, several of which will reach the end of their expected service lives later this year.

Navajo-class ships will be capable of towing U.S. Navy ships and will have 6,000 square feet/557 square meters of deck space for embarked systems. The platform will be 263 feet/80 meters long, have a beam of 59 feet/18 meters, and can carry a load of nearly 2,000 tons.

In addition to the future USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS-7), Gulf Island Shipyard is constructing the future USNS Navajo (T-ATS-6) and is under contract for the detail design and construction of the future USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T-ATS-8).

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, sealift ships, support ships, boats, and craft.

Aerial Refueler

Lockheed Martin delivered the second of two KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refuelers to representatives from France’s Armée de l’Air on February 4, at the company’s Aeronautics facility in Marietta, Georgia.

France’s second KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refueler takes off from Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, Georgia

France has received a total of four Super Hercules aircraft – two C-130J-30 Super Hercules combat delivery airlifters and two KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refuelers – through a Foreign Military Sale with the U.S. government. The two C-130J-30 Super Hercules airlifters were delivered in 2017 and 2018, and first KC-130J Super Hercules delivered in September 2019. All of these Super Hercules are operated in conjunction with France’s existing C-130H fleet.

«France’s C-130 crews have long demonstrated the unmatched and proven performance of the Hercules aircraft in support of critical missions», said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. «This additional KC-130J Super Hercules expands the Armée de l‘Air’s already robust airlift and refueling resources to not only serve as a national asset, but a global resource as well».

France is the 17th country to choose the C-130J Super Hercules for its airlift and refueling needs. The C-130J Super Hercules is the most advanced tactical airlifter in operation today, offering superior performance and enhanced capabilities with the range and versatility for every theater of operations and evolving requirements.

As the preeminent tactical aerial refueling tanker, the KC-130J Super Hercules is a battle-tested solution that takes full advantage of the tremendous technological and performance improvements inherent in the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. A true force multiplier, the KC-130J Super Hercules refuels both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft as well as conducts rapid ground refueling.

With this delivery, France joins a global community of KC-130J Super Hercules operators. In 2018, Germany announced the acquisition of a C-130J-30/KC-130J Super Hercules fleet, to be operated in partnership with France – making this the first operator relationship of this type in C-130J Super Hercules history.

The C-130J Super Hercules is the global standard in tactical airlift, providing a unique mix of versatility and performance to complete any mission – anytime, anywhere. The Super Hercules worldwide fleet has more than 2 million flight hours and is the airlifter of choice for 20 nations.

 

Fast Facts

Length 97 feet 9 inches/29.61 m
Height 38 feet 10 inches/11.84 m
Wingspan 132 feet 7 inches/40.41 m
Powerplant 4 Rolls-Royce AE 2100D-3 GE-Dowty Aerospace R391 6-blade propellers, all composite
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 164,000 lbs./74,389 kg
Payload (2.5 g)* 50,000 lbs./22,670 kg
Operating Weight Empty 81,000 lbs./36,740 kg
Zero Fuel Weight** 131,000 lbs./59,420 kg
Landing Distance (135,000 lbs./61,235 kg) 3,100 feet/945 m
Range (40,000 lbs./18,144 kg payload) 2,390 NM/2,750 miles/4,425 km
Maximum Cruise Speed 355 KTAS/410 mph/660 km/h

* Higher payload allowable with wing relieving fuel

** Higher zero fuel weight allowable with wing relieving fuel

Kansas City

Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Austal USA has delivered its 11th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to the U.S. Navy at the company’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Austal USA has delivered LCS-22, the future USS Kansas City to the U.S. Navy (image: Austal USA)

The future USS Kansas City (LCS-22) is the first Independence-class LCS to be delivered by Austal USA in 2020.

Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the latest LCS delivery from Austal’s USA shipyard builds upon the company’s strong record in recent years.

«Austal USA’s delivery of the Independence-class LCS program continues to impress, with quality, cost and productivity improvements being achieved with each new vessel. We have now delivered 11 of the 19 Independence-class LCS currently contracted and it’s very pleasing to see more and more of these ships deployed around the world, adding great capability to the U.S. Navy», Mr. Singleton said.

Upgrades to the LCS program continue to take shape, both in production and post-delivery. Austal USA and General Dynamics Mission Systems teams recently integrated a new over-the-horizon missile system onto the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) prior to her deployment. USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) and her sister ship, USS Montgomery (LCS-8), are currently deployed and meeting U.S. Navy operational requirements in South East Asia.

Five Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (small surface combatants) are under various stages of construction at Austal USA including the future USS Oakland (LCS-24) and USS Mobile (LCS-26) that are preparing for sea trials. Assembly is underway on the future USS Savannah (LCS-28) and USS Canberra (LCS-30), and modules for the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32) are under construction in Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF). Three more LCS are under contract and scheduled for production, through to the USS Pierre (LCS-38).

The Independence-class LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation.

The 421 feet/128.3 m trimaran is designed to defeat asymmetric «anti-access» threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship successfully integrates new technology and capability to support current and future U.S. Navy mission capability in any operating environment.

Austal USA is also under contract to build 14 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) for the U.S. Navy. The company has delivered 11 EPFs, while an additional two are in various stages of construction at the Mobile, Alabama shipyard.

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
FLIGHT DECK AND HANGER
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015 02-03-2018 San Diego, California
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016 05-26-2018 San Diego, California
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016 03-16-2017 02-16-2019 San Diego, California
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016 09-14-2017 03-02-2019 San Diego, California
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017 05-22-2018 10-05-2019 San Diego, California
USS Kansas City (LCS-22) 11-15-2017 10-19-2018 San Diego, California
USS Oakland (LCS-24) 07-20-2018 07-21-2019 San Diego, California
USS Mobile (LCS-26) 12-14-2018
USS Savannah (LCS-28) 09-20-2018
USS Canberra (LCS-30)
USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32)
USS Augusta (LCS-34)
USS Kingsville (LCS-36)
USS Pierre (LCS-38)

 

Missile on target

MBDA’s Marte Extended Range (ER) anti-ship missile has completed its second firing carried out at the Poligono Interforze del Salto di Quirra (PISQ) test range in Sardinia. This firing confirmed the overall design and performance of the missile marking a critical milestone in its development path.

New Marte Extended Range (ER) missile on target in second test firing

Compared to the first firing, which took place at the end of 2018, several additional features and functionalities were tested. These included an integrated navigation system, proximity fly-over fuze, with weapon controller and actuation system in advanced configuration. The missile also featured the terminal guidance with a new seeker, engineered and developed by the MBDA Seeker Division.

The floating target was hit with «almost zero» miss distance after a flight of about 100 km/62 miles. The missile pushed its envelope to the limit with several major manoeuvres including very low sea skimming at very high speed.

Hitting the target confirmed the perfect behavior of the missile and the telemetry system recorded a huge amount of data. Flight data showed very good alignment with simulation outcomes.

The Marte ER programme is progressing at full speed in order to meet customers’ requirements and the full integration of Marte ER on the Eurofighter Typhoon platform is proceeding at pace in order to implement an anti-ship capability onto the fighter.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 315 kg/694.5 lbs.
Length 3.60 m/11.81 feet
Maximum body diameter 316 mm/12.44 inch
Range Well beyond 100 km/62 miles
Speed High subsonic

 

Glide Breaker

Aerojet Rocketdyne has been awarded a contract worth up to $19.6 million by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop enabling technologies for an advanced hypersonic defense interceptor known as Glide Breaker.

Artist’s concept of Glide Breaker (Credit: DARPA)

«Advancing hypersonic technology is a national security imperative», said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. «Our team is proud to apply our decades of experience developing hypersonic and missile propulsion technologies to the Glide Breaker program».

According to DARPA, the Glide Breaker program intends to advance the United States’ means to counter hypersonic vehicles. The effort aims to develop and demonstrate a technology that is critical for enabling an advanced interceptor capable of engaging maneuvering hypersonic threats in the upper atmosphere.

Aerojet Rocketdyne supplies both solid-fueled and air-breathing propulsion systems for hypersonic flight. The company provided both types of systems for the joint Air Force-DARPA-NASA X-51A WaveRider, which completed the first practical hypersonic flight of a hydrocarbon-fueled and -cooled scramjet-powered vehicle. More recently, the company successfully completed a series of subscale propulsion-system test firings as part of DARPA’s Operational Fires (OpFires) program, which is an effort to develop a ground-launched hypersonic missile for tactical use.

Model Aircraft

Airbus has revealed MAVERIC (Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls) its «blended wing body» scale model technological demonstrator.

Airbus reveals its blended wing aircraft demonstrator

At 2 metres/6.56 feet long and 3.2 metres/10.5 feet wide, with a surface area of about 2.25 m²/24.2 square feet, MAVERIC features a disruptive aircraft design, that has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up-to 20 percent compared to current single-aisle aircraft. The «blended wing body» configuration also opens up new possibilities for propulsion systems type and integration, as well as a versatile cabin for a totally new on-board passenger experience.

Launched in 2017, MAVERIC first took to the skies in June 2019. Since then the flight-test campaign has been on-going and will continue until the end of Q2 2020.

«Airbus is leveraging emerging technologies to pioneer the future of flight. By testing disruptive aircraft configurations, Airbus is able to evaluate their potential as viable future products», said Jean-Brice Dumont, EVP Engineering Airbus. «Although there is no specific time line for entry-into-service, this technological demonstrator could be instrumental in bringing about change in commercial aircraft architectures for an environmentally sustainable future for the aviation industry».

Airbus is using its core strengths and capabilities of engineering and manufacturing, in close collaboration with an extended innovation ecosystem, to accelerate traditional research and development cycles. By doing this Airbus is able to achieve proof of concepts, at a convincing scale and speed, thereby driving forward maturity and increasing their value.

Through AirbusUpNext, a research programme, Airbus is currently working on a number of demonstrator projects in parallel; E-FAN X (hybrid-electric propulsion), fello’fly (v-shaped «formation» flight) and ATTOL (Autonomous Taxi Take-Off & Landing).

An innovative shape for improved performance & an enhanced passenger experience

Militarisation of the H160

Airbus Helicopters and the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) are pursuing a new set of studies to further the militarisation of the H160 and to define its associated support ecosystem in the frame of the Joint Light Helicopter program (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger: HIL) This contract launches pre-development activities for the military version of the H160, also called the Guépard by the French armed forces, in order to meet the delivery schedule that was brought forward in May 2019 by the French Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly.

Airbus Helicopters continues the militarisation of the H160 and its support framework

The new set of studies will also focus on defining the optimal set-up for supporting the tri-service H160M fleet. Airbus Helicopters, Safran Helicopter Engines, and the DGA will work closely together in order to maximize the availability rate of the helicopters, as well as optimizing the cost of supporting the fleet.

«Launching this collaborative work between Industry and the Ministry of the Armed Forces in order to define the support framework for the Guépard and the associated processes, as early as the pre-development phase, is essential. The output will provide us with all the levers necessary to ensure a high level of availability at the H160M’s entry into service in the French armed forces», said Alexandra Cros, Vice President and Head of Governmental Affairs France at Airbus Helicopters. «The studies build upon the work and commitments taken recently in the global support contracts for the Cougar, Caracal, and Tiger fleets of the French armed forces».

The H160 was designed to be a modular helicopter, enabling its military version, with a single platform, to perform missions ranging from commando infiltration to air intercept, fire support, and anti-ship warfare in order to meet the needs of the army, the navy and the air force through the HIL programme. Bringing the launch of the HIL programme forward to 2021 will enable first deliveries to the French armed forces in 2026.