Gray Wolf

Lockheed Martin received a $110 million, five-year Phase 1 contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to develop and demonstrate a new low-cost cruise missile called Gray Wolf.

Gray Wolf will operate in highly contested environments, and will be capable of collaborative, networked «swarming» behaviors to address air-defense system threats
Gray Wolf will operate in highly contested environments, and will be capable of collaborative, networked «swarming» behaviors to address air-defense system threats

The Gray Wolf program seeks to develop low-cost, subsonic cruise missiles that use open architectures and modular design to allow for rapid prototyping and spiral growth capabilities. The AFRL is developing the missiles to feature networked, collaborative behaviors (swarming) to address Integrated Air Defense (IAD) system threats around the world. The Gray Wolf missile design will allow for maximum mission flexibility.

«Lockheed Martin’s concept for the Gray Wolf missile will be an affordable, counter-IAD missile that will operate efficiently in highly contested environments», said Hady Mourad, Advanced Missiles Program director for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «Using the capabilities envisioned for later spirals, our system is being designed to maximize modularity, allowing our customer to incorporate advanced technologies such as more lethal warheads or more fuel-efficient engines, when those systems become available».

The Gray Wolf program consists of four spiral-development phases that allow for rapid technology prototyping and multiple transition opportunities. This first phase, defined by an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, is anticipated to run until late 2019. Initial demonstrations will be from an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. In addition to the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the system will be designed for compatibility with F-35 Lightning II, F-15 Eagle, F/A-18 Hornet, B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress aircraft.

«Our AFRL customer will benefit from decades of Lockheed Martin experience in building high-quality, low-cost systems like Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), while capitalizing on the experience of our team in developing and integrating advanced cruise missiles such as Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) on military aircraft», Mourad said.

Ahead of schedule

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) has been floated and moved to her fitting-out berth at Rosyth.

Britain's second aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales afloat for the first time
Britain’s second aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales afloat for the first time

In a delicate overnight operation, sluices were opened and water gradually filled the dry dock, specially enlarged for the 65,000-tonne warship and her older sister HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08).

She was then moved from her home for the past three years to the neighbouring basin and J and K berths, where her sister was fitted out before departing on sea trials during the summer.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: «This is an important moment in the monumental programme to build these two magnificent ships. I would like to thank the 10,000 people from across the UK who have helped us make such progress during 2017 on both HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and HMS Prince of Wales (R09)».

Crew and engineers from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance monitored the process throughout, while a flotilla of tugs moved the leviathan the short distance to her new berth.

«For me, seeing water surround the ship has really made it transform from being a ship in build to a ship preparing to go to sea», said Sub Lieutenant Freddie Spreckley, who’s just joined the ship as a marine engineer after completing his professional training at HMS Sultan in Gosport. I was privileged to be one of the last few people to walk underneath the ship before the sluices opened and flooded the dock. It was very exciting – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to be involved with this engineering milestone in the ship’s life and historic moment for the Royal Navy».

Captain Ian Groom, the carrier’s Senior Naval Officer, said that the effort made by teams from industry, the Ministry of Defence and the ship’s company to reach this milestone had been «immense».

He continued: «It has been a massive team effort and I am proud of every individual contribution. It is a fitting end to the Year of the Navy to have HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) commissioned and HMS Prince of Wales (R09) undocked and afloat for the first time. As the second of her class, HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is of strategic significance ensuring continuous carrier strike capability. Working as one team we are delivering an unmistakable sign of commitment to the defence of our great nation and that of our allies».

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is 3,000 tonnes heavier than her sister was at the same stage – as the second ship in the class, construction and fitting out has moved more swiftly thanks to the lessons learned building HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08).

Originally planned for 2018, the ‘undocking’ of the carrier took place ahead of schedule and just three months after the carrier was officially named by HRH the Duchess of Rothesay, as the Duchess of Cornwall is titled in Scotland.

The next milestone in the ship’s life will be the first running up of the generators and gas turbines, bringing the ship to life, which are earmarked for middle of 2018, followed by sea trials in 2019.

Order for 258 JLTV

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced on December 21, 2017 that the U.S. Army has placed a $100.1 million order for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program, to include 258 vehicles and associated installed and packaged kits. This is the seventh order for JLTVs since the contract was awarded in August 2015.

Intended to replace the aging up-armored HMMWV fleet, the JLTV program fills a critical capability gap in the U.S. military’s current vehicle line-up
Intended to replace the aging up-armored HMMWV fleet, the JLTV program fills a critical capability gap in the U.S. military’s current vehicle line-up

Intended to replace the aging up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) fleet, the JLTV program fills a critical capability gap in the U.S. military’s current vehicle line-up.

«From a scheduling perspective, the JLTV program is on track. We are currently in Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) and have delivered over 1,000 vehicles since October 2016», said Dave Diersen, Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs at Oshkosh Defense. «The initial LRIP vehicles are undergoing a spectrum of Government testing, and Soldiers and Marines will begin receiving JLTVs for operational use in FY19».

The program also anticipates a Full Rate Production decision in FY19, and both Army and Marine Corps Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in early FY20.

«Over time, we are confident there will be opportunities to expand this powerful vehicle platform to include new variants and configurations», Diersen continued. «The JLTV program was designed to provide a new generation of protection, mobility and network capability. We also see significant international market potential for allies requiring a tactical wheeled vehicle proven to provide the ballistic protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP)-class vehicle, the network capability of a mobile command center, and the off-road mobility of a Baja racer».

Japan Tanker

Through the Foreign Military Sale process, the U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a $279 million contract for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) first KC-46 tanker and logistics support, marking the aircraft’s first international sale.

Boeing’s KC-46A tanker takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, where the aircraft are built. Japan is the first international customer for the multi-role tanker that will bring unmatched capabilities and reliability upon delivery (Photo by Gail Hanusa)
Boeing’s KC-46A tanker takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, where the aircraft are built. Japan is the first international customer for the multi-role tanker that will bring unmatched capabilities and reliability upon delivery (Photo by Gail Hanusa)

Japan chose Boeing’s KC-46 tanker over competitors following its KC-X aerial refueling competition. The KC-46 adds to the JASDF’s current fleet of four KC-767J tankers.

«We are excited to partner with Boeing as we assist Japan in advancing its aerial refueling capabilities», said Brigadier General Donna Shipton, program executive officer, U.S. Air Force Tanker Directorate. «This is an important step in strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and will enhance our interoperability with both nations flying KC-46s».

The U.S. Air Force will operate and maintain its fleet of 179 KC-46 tankers through mid-century and beyond.

«This milestone order highlights a valued partnership with Japan that spans more than six decades, and we look forward to continuing that collaboration on the KC-46 program», added Brett Gerry, president, Boeing Japan. «The skilled Japanese KC-767 tanker and E-767 Airborne Warning and Control Systems pilots and maintenance personnel are already familiar with flying and supporting our highly efficient aircraft, and we look forward to helping them expand their capabilities in the future».

The KC-46 is a multirole tanker designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.

Boeing began developing the KC-46A Pegasus tanker for the U.S. Air Force in 2011 and is assembling the 767-derivative aircraft at its Everett, Wash., facility.

First flight of the fully-provisioned KC-46 tanker took place in September 2015. Six test aircraft have now completed more than 2,200 flight hours and conducted refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.

In addition to refueling, the KC-46 features a main deck cargo door and strengthened cargo deck. The floor includes seat tracks and a cargo handling system, allowing for a variety of mission configurations. The system enables KC-46 to simultaneously carry palletized cargo, personnel and aeromedical equipment in a variety of combinations. The highly reliable 767 derivative will also deliver tremendous savings through lower lifecycle costs compared to other larger or used aircraft.

Sixteen percent of the 767 airplane, on which the KC-46 tanker is based, is made with Japan. The Boeing-Japan relationship grows and expands with partnership opportunities in the space, commercial and defense businesses, continuing a legacy that spans more than 60 years. Boeing currently spends more than $5 billion annually in Japan, making the country the largest supply base for Boeing outside the United States. Boeing opened its first office in Japan in 1953 and now has approximately 200 employees at more than 20 major sites across the country.


General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs/188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs/140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs/96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs/94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs/29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment


Full-rate production

The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a contract that clears the path to begin full-rate production of the company’s M109A7 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) and M992A3 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicles (FAASVs).

BAE Systems receives U.S. Army contract to begin M109A7 Paladin full-rate production
BAE Systems receives U.S. Army contract to begin M109A7 Paladin full-rate production

The contract includes an initial $413.7 million award to execute the third and final option for low-rate initial production on the program. Options are also included that would begin the full-rate production phase, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the award to approximately $1.7 billion.

BAE Systems will initially produce 48 vehicle sets, with the options calling for 60 sets per year for approximately three years of deliveries thereafter during full-rate production. The M109A7 Paladin consists of a new chassis design for improved performance, upgraded survivability, and components common to other Army vehicles, as well as additional key features.

«We have been working with the Army to design, develop, build, and test this vehicle for several years», said Adam Zarfoss, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Combat Vehicles U.S. business. «By working closely with our customer, we were able to design a vehicle that meets the needs of the current forces, and provides the system infrastructure and electrical power generation that leaves ample room to incorporate future capabilities».

The M109A7 Paladin program is a significant upgrade over the vehicle’s predecessor, the M109A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer. It uses the existing main armament and cab structure of the M109A6 Paladin, but replaces the vehicle’s chassis structure with a new design that increases survivability and allows for the integration of drive-train and suspension components common to the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. This commonality reduces overall program cost and logistical footprint, and provides improved mobility and system survivability to maintain dominance on the battlefield.

The M109A7 Paladin also leverages technologies from previous design programs, such as a 600-volt on-board power generation, distribution, and management system, coupled with a high-voltage electric gun drive and projectile ramming systems. The state-of-the-art digital-backbone and power generation capability provides significant growth potential for future payloads, and will accommodate existing battlefield network requirements. The upgrades ensure commonality with the existing systems in the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team, including the BAE Systems-built Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle family.

Work on the M109A7 Paladin is currently underway at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, and at BAE Systems’ facilities in York, Pennsylvania; Elgin, Oklahoma; Aiken, South Carolina; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Endicott, New York.

Acceptance Trials

The future USS Manchester (LCS-14) successfully completed acceptance trials December 15 after a series of graded in-port and underway demonstrations for the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV).

Future USS Manchester (LCS-14) Completes Acceptance Trials
Future USS Manchester (LCS-14) Completes Acceptance Trials

Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the U.S. Navy. During trials, the Navy conducted comprehensive tests of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), intended to demonstrate the performance of the propulsion plant, ship handling abilities and auxiliary systems. While underway, the ship successfully performed launch-and-recovery operations of the 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat, completed surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises and demonstrated the ship’s maneuverability through high-speed steering and a four-hour full power run.

«The Navy/industry trials team in Mobile has found their stride and, with stability in the serial production line, are taking ships to trials with consistently improved performance at decreased cost», said Captain Mike Taylor, LCS program manager. «Manchester will be an exceptional addition to the rapidly growing in-service LCS fleet».

Following delivery, a post-delivery maintenance availability and crew training and familiarization exercises in Mobile, Alabama USS Manchester (LCS-14) will sail to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for commissioning. The ship will be homeported in San Diego, California with sister ships USS Independence (LCS-2), USS Coronado (LCS-4), USS Jackson (LCS-6), USS Montgomery (LCS-8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) and the future USS Omaha (LCS-12).

Several more Independence variant ships are under construction at Austal USA in Mobile. USS Tulsa (LCS-16) and USS Charleston (LCS-18) were christened and launched earlier in 2017. Other sister ships, USS Cincinnati (LCS-20), USS Kansas City (LCS-22), USS Oakland (LCS-24) and USS Mobile (LCS-26) are in varying stages of construction. In addition to these hulls, contracts for LCS-28 and LCS-30 were awarded to Austal in 2017.

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship designed to meet validated fleet requirements for Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, and Mine Countermeasures missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain, and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical theaters.


The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

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
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)
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
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
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 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
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules



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 San Diego, California
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017
USS Kansas City (LCS-22) 11-15-2017
USS Oakland (LCS-24)
USS Mobile (LCS-26)


Norwegian Thunder

Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency and Hanwha Land Systems signed a contract for the procurement of Artillery System 155-mm on December 20, 2017.

After Turkey and Finland, Norway is the third European country to select South Korea’s K9 Thunder 155-mm self-propelled guns to re-equip its artillery. It has ordered 24 vehicles for $226 million, with an option on 24 more (Norway MoD photo)
After Turkey and Finland, Norway is the third European country to select South Korea’s K9 Thunder 155-mm self-propelled guns to re-equip its artillery. It has ordered 24 vehicles for $226 million, with an option on 24 more (Norway MoD photo)

The Hanwha Land Systems K9 Thunder, is an off-the-shelf self-propelled gun system that satisfies the specific requirements and needs of the Norwegian Army. In addition, Hanwha Land Systems has demonstrated the ability to deliver in compliance with stated time and cost requirements.

«It has been essential for us to find the right artillery system with the highest degree of performance capabilities consistent with minimizing the lowest possible risk. Hanwha Land Systems was the Competitor with the greatest degree of compliance with the Norwegian Army’s requirements. The artillery system will become an important contribution to the Armed Forces’ operational ability», states the Head of Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency’s Land Systems Division, Brigadier General Morten Eggen.

The contract comprises of 24 self-propelled guns combined with designated ammunition resupply vehicles, with the option for another 24 self-propelled guns. The K9 Thunder 155-mm L/52 self-propelled gun is one of the worlds most utilised L/52 self-propelled guns, and exists in large numbers within the Republic of Korea and Turkey. Finland recently acquired the same system from the Republic of Korea Government.

A contract for logistic support, during the useful life of the materiel, together with a contract for the establishment of a Center of Excellence at Bjerkvik Technical Workshop were signed at the same time. The Center of Excellence contract involves that Hanwha Land Systems provides test equipment, training material in addition to the sharing of technical knowledge to Bjerkvik Technical Workshop in order to provide available systems and technical training throughout its useful life.

The Centre of Excellence will become central to the management of competence and operative availability, and will be able to offer services to partnering nations with a similar system.

A pre-series of the artillery system will be delivered for initial trials in 2019. The main delivery will be during 2020, with artillery battalion combat ready on the new system in 2021.

The total value for this acquisition is approximately 1.8 Billion NOK.

City of Bismarck

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of its ninth Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, USNS City of Bismarck (EPF-9), December 19.

Official seal of the Department of the U.S. Navy
Official seal of the Department of the U.S. Navy

EPFs are shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamarans that are capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo transport which provide combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility. EPFs enable rapid projection, agile maneuver and transport of personnel, equipment and supplies over operational distances with access to austere and degraded offload points.

«EPFs continue to be excellent additions to the U.S. Navy force», said Captain Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «With the delivery of EPF 9 to the fleet, the U.S. Navy continues to provide a variety of capabilities to U.S. operations around the globe».

As versatile, non-combatant vessels, EPFs provide increased operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations and flexible logistics support. These vessels are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. The EPFs include a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations and airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104. USNS City of Bismarck (EPF-9) will be owned and operated by the Military Sealift Command.

City of Bismarck was constructed by Austal USA which is currently under contract for the construction of three additional EPFs. USNS Burlington (EPF-10) held its keel laying ceremony in September 2017. Additionally, USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11) and EPF-12 were awarded in September 2016 and are currently in the early stages of production.

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, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.



Material Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 103 m/337.9 feet
Beam overall 28.5 m/93.5 feet
Hull draft (maximum) 3.83 m/12.57 feet
Area (with tie-downs) 1,863 m2/20,053 feet2
Clear Height 4.75 m/15.6 feet
Turning diameter 26.2 m/86.0 feet
ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations 6 Interface Panels
Crew 41
Single SR 2
Double SR 6
Quad SR 7
Troop Seats 312
Troop Berths Permanent: 104
Temporary: 46
Galley and Messing 48
Main Engines 4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
Gear boxes 4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
Average Speed 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
Maximum Speed 43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km
Self-Deployment Range 5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km
Survival Through SS-7
NAVAIR Level 1 Class 2 Certified Flight Deck for one helicopter
Centreline parking area for one helicopter
NAVAIR Level 1 class 4 Type 2 Certified VERTREP (Vertical Replenishment)
Helicopter Control Station
Active Ride Control Transcom Interceptors
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
Vehicle Ramp Articulated Slewing Stern Ramp
Straight aft to 45 Starboard
Telescoping Boom Crane 12.3 mt @ 15 m, 18.2 mt @ 10 m/13.6 Lt @ 49.2 feet, 20.1 Lt @ 32.8 feet



USNS Spearhead (EPF-1), Delivered

USNS Choctaw County (EPF-2), Delivered

USNS Millinocket (EPF-3), Delivered

USNS Fall River (EPF-4), Delivered

USNS Trenton (EPF-5), Delivered

USNS Brunswick (EPF-6), Delivered

USNS Carson City (EPF-7), Delivered

USNS Yuma (EPF-8), Delivered

USNS City of Bismark (EPF-9), Delivered

USNS Burlington (EPF-10), Under construction

USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11), Under construction

USNS Newport (EPF-12), On order

IFVs for training

On December 15 two training Vilkas Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) were brought to the Lithuanian Armed Forces Vehicle and Equipment Depot. On December 18 a media presentation of the vehicles will be held at the Vehicle and Equipment Depot in Kaunas with participation of Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis.

Vilkas Infantry Fighting vehicles delivered for training
Vilkas Infantry Fighting vehicles delivered for training

The training IFVs do not have weapons and a part of other systems that combat IFVs have. The training version includes equipment that assists instructors in training future operators.

When the currently ongoing procedure of transferring the training vehicles from the manufacturer to the purchaser is completed, the vehicles will be officially owned by the Lithuanian Armed Forces. As soon as this year they will be used for developing skills of Lithuanian future Vilkas IFV operators.

According to the procurement agreement, the Lithuanian Armed Forces will buy 88 combat Vilkas IFVs and three additional training Vilkas IFVs on the basis of a separate logistical package, also covering a part of repair services, technical logistical support from the manufacturer, technical and methodological documentation, means for simulation and training, special equipment and means for Vilkas IFV maintenance, ammunition, etc.

The contract on procuring Boxer IFVs for the Lithuanian Armed Forces was signed at the Ministry of National Defence on 22 August 2016. 88 infantry fighting vehicles manufactured according to requirements placed by the Lithuanian Armed Forces will be bought for EUR 385.6 million.

The first Vilkas IFVs are expected to be delivered in early 2019, and the rest would arrive by 2021.

Lithuania and the IFV manufacturer agreed that the vehicles will be renamed from «Boxer» to IFV «Vilkas» to retain the ties with the history of Lithuania and the traditions of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

The new IFVs will be designated to the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised and the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalions of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf.

14th F-35B

The UK has taken delivery of its 14th F-35B Lightning II which flew into Beaufort, South Carolina last week to take its place as part of the Lightning Fleet, set to operate from Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and Royal Air Force (RAF) Marham.

The UK has taken delivery of its 14th F-35B Lightning II which flew into Beaufort, South Carolina last week (Crown copyright)
The UK has taken delivery of its 14th F-35B Lightning II which flew into Beaufort, South Carolina last week (Crown copyright)

Operated jointly by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, the F-35 Lightning jets will be able to operate on land or embarked on the UK’s new aircraft carriers. This delivery is a significant milestone for the Lightning Programme and in particular, alongside the formal commissioning of the HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier into the Royal Navy earlier this month, demonstrates the advancement towards the establishment of the UK’s Carrier Enabled Power Projection capability.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: «This Christmas delivery is the 14th jet to join our fleet of fifth-generation F-35 fighters over in the US. The Carriers have taken centre-stage this year, and next year we look towards these aircraft joining us in Britain and taking off from HMS Queen Elizabeth’s enormous deck to undertake First of Class Flight Trials. With our famous Royal Air Force coming into its 100th anniversary, the F-35 keeps us right at the cutting-edge of combat air power».

Peter Ruddock, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK said: «There are more than 500 UK companies in our supply chain who play a vital role in producing every F-35 and we are proud to have delivered the UK’s 14th aircraft on schedule. More than 260 F-35s are now flying from 14 bases around the world and we look forward to supporting the UK’s Lightning Force, as they prepare to bring their F-35s to the UK and achieve initial operational capability next year».

There are currently some 200 British personnel based at Beaufort testing the aircraft and getting them ready to arrive in the UK next summer as 617 Squadron. Preparations are also being made for First of Class Flight Trials, due to take place on HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) later next year. The programme is on schedule to achieve Initial Operating Capability from land next year with Initial Operating Capability Carrier Strike in 2020. In addition to its short take-off and vertical landing capability, the F-35B’s unique combination of stealth, cutting-edge radar, sensor technology, and electronic warfare systems brings all of the access and lethality capabilities of a fifth-generation fighter.

In 2018, the aircraft – along with the Navy and RAF pilots and ground crew – will arrive in the UK to officially stand up at RAF Marham in Norfolk. RAF Marham will be the Main Operating Base for the Lightning Force in the UK and from here, they will deploy forward to either embark on-board our Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, or operate from Deployed Operating Bases.

Following successful trials on the land based ski-ramp design which is featured on the UK flagship, and with the RAF Marham runway infrastructure completed as part of a £250m major investment programme in preparation for the F-35 arrival, Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin earlier this year announced that the F-35 was cleared for take-off.

As the only level one partner on the F-35 programme, the UK has been working closely with the US from the outset. UK industry will provide approximately 15% by value of each F-35 to be built, which are due to total more than 3000 in number. The programme has already generated $12.9Bn worth of orders for the UK and at peak production the programme will support over 24,000 jobs in the UK.

Some milestones reached on the F-35 programme this year include:

  • 10% production milestone reached;
  • Runway resurfacing at RAF Marham complete;
  • F-35 is cleared for take-off from HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) following successful land trials using the ski-ramp design;
  • Commanding Officer of 617 Sqn, Wing Commander John Butcher takes his first flight in an F-35B;
  • Delivery of 14th F-35.



Length 51.2 feet/15.6 m
Height 14.3 feet/4.36 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 21.8 feet/6.65 m
Weight empty 32,300 lbs/14,651 kg
Internal fuel capacity 13,500 lbs/6,125 kg
Weapons payload 15,000 lbs/6,800 kg
Maximum weight 60,000 lbs class/27,215 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-600
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 41,000 lbs/182,4 kN/18,597 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 27,000 lbs/120,1 kN/12,247 kgf
Short Take Off Thrust 40,740 lbs/181,2 kN/18,479 kgf
Hover Thrust 40,650 lbs/180,8 kN/18,438 kgf
Main Engine 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Lift Fan 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Roll Post 3,290 lbs/14,6 kN/1,492 kgf
Main Engine Length 369 inch/9.37 m
Main Engine Inlet Diameter 43 inch/1.09 m
Main Engine Maximum Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Lift Fan Inlet Diameter 51 inch/1,30 m
Lift Fan Maximum Diameter 53 inch/1,34 m
Conventional Bypass Ratio 0.57
Powered Lift Bypass Ratio 0.51
Conventional Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Powered Lift Overall Pressure Ratio 29
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >450 NM/517.6 miles/833 km
Range (internal fuel) >900 NM/1,036 miles/1,667 km
Max g-rating 7.0
Planned Quantities
U.S. Marine Corps 340
U.K. Royal Air Force/Royal Navy 138
Italy 30
In total 508