Initial production

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Marlborough, Massachusetts, is awarded a $402,658,015 fixed-price-incentive (firm target) modification to previously-awarded contract N00024-14-C-5315 to exercise options for Air and Missile Defense Radar Program (AMDR) Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP). This modification will provide for three AMDR LRIP units. The LRIP units will be deployed on DDG-51 Flight III-class ships. Work will be performed in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by March 2023. Fiscal 2019 shipbuilding and conversion (U.S. Navy) funding in the amount of $402,658,015 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

Robots and engineers work together in Raytheon's new radar development facility to assemble an array for the U.S. Navy's AN/SPY-6(V) radar
Robots and engineers work together in Raytheon’s new radar development facility to assemble an array for the U.S. Navy’s AN/SPY-6(V) radar

AN/SPY-6(V) is the U.S. Navy’s next generation integrated air and missile defense radar. Currently in production, and on track for the DDG-51 Flight III destroyer, SPY-6 provides the Navy with unmatched protection against air, surface, and ballistic missile threats.

The radar is built with individual ‘building blocks’ called Radar Modular Assemblies (RMA). Each RMA is a self-contained radar in a 2’×2’×2’ box. These RMAs can stack together to form any size array to fit the mission requirements of any ship. This technology makes SPY-6 the Navy’s first truly scalable radar.

SPY-6 Advantages:

  • Scalable – can be configured for other ships based on mission requirements;
  • Capable – designed to counter large and complex raids;
  • Digital beamforming – provides exceptional capability in high-clutter and jamming environments;
  • Reprogrammable – able to adapt to new mission or emerging threats;
  • Gallium Nitride-based AESA – semiconductor technology enables 360 degree Active Electronically Scanned Array capability.

AN/SPY-6(V) Radar Build

NextSTEP Phase II

For long-duration, deep space missions, astronauts will need a highly efficient and reconfigurable space, and Lockheed Martin is researching and designing ways to support those missions. Under a public-private partnership as a part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Phase II study contract, Lockheed Martin has completed the initial ground prototype for a cislunar habitat that would be compatible with NASA’s Gateway architecture. This habitat will help NASA study and assess the critical capabilities needed to build a sustainable presence around the Moon and support pioneering human exploration in deep space.

The Lockheed Martin Habitat Ground Test Article (HGTA) Lunar habitat prototype is designed to accommodate a variety of missions around the Moon (Photo courtesy: Lockheed Martin)
The Lockheed Martin Habitat Ground Test Article (HGTA) Lunar habitat prototype is designed to accommodate a variety of missions around the Moon (Photo courtesy: Lockheed Martin)

The full-scale prototype, or Habitat Ground Test Article (HGTA), is built inside of a repurposed shuttle-era cargo container, called a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), at Kennedy Space Center. Using rapid prototyping and modern design tools like virtual and augmented reality, the team customized the interior making full use of the entire volume of the module to accommodate a variety of tasks like science missions and personal needs of future astronauts. The team also studied how to apply the advanced, deep space capabilities that are already built in to NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Through additional research and development funding, the NextSTEP team also applied mixed-reality technology to further refine the concept.

«Throughout the design and engineering process of this high-fidelity prototype, we have kept the diversity of missions top-of-mind», said Bill Pratt, Lockheed Martin Space NextSTEP program manager. «By building modularity in from the beginning, our design can support Lunar orbit and surface science missions along with commercial operations, all while accelerating the path to the Moon».

Over the past five months, the team used tools like virtual and augmented reality to simplify and streamline the build-up process. They also applied expertise from Lockheed Martin’s heritage of operating autonomous interplanetary robotic missions, like OSIRIS-REx and InSight, to integrate reliable robotic capabilities in to the design.

«Getting back to the Moon, and eventually Mars, is no small feat, but our team are mission visionaries», said Pratt. «They have worked to apply lessons learned from our experience with deep space robotic missions to this first-of-its-kind spacecraft around the Moon».

The Lockheed Martin team will soon transition the prototype to the NASA NextSTEP team for assessment. During the week of March 25, a team of NASA astronauts will live and work inside the prototype, evaluating the layout and providing feedback.  The NASA test team will also validate the overall design and will be able to evaluate the standards and common interfaces, like the International Docking System Standard (IDSS), and how to apply those systems for long-term missions based at the Lunar Gateway. Once NASA testing has completed, Lockheed Martin will continue to optimize and study the prototype to prepare for other Lunar efforts.

Keel Laid on Bougainville

The keel of the America-class amphibious warship USS Bougainville (LHA-8) was authenticated during a ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding on Thursday, March 14. Ship’s sponsor Ellyn Dunford declared the keel «truly and fairly laid» after her initials were welded onto a plate.

Official Keel Plate for Bougainville (LHA-8)
Official Keel Plate for Bougainville (LHA-8)

 

Bougainville and the America class

Bougainville will retain the aviation capability of the America-class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck. The well deck will give the U.S. Marine Corps the ability to house and launch two Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft or one Landing Craft Utility (LCU) as needed during their maritime missions. Other additions to Bougainville include a larger flight deck configured for Joint Strike Fighter and Osprey V-22 aircraft, which can be used for surface and aviation assaults. The additional area on the flight deck comes in part from a smaller deck house and an additional sponson.

 

Namesake background

USS Bougainville (LHA-8) will be the second U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name Bougainville. The name commemorates the Bougainville Campaign that took place during World War II. During the campaign, which lasted from 1943 to 1944, Allied forces secured a strategic airfield from Japan in the northern Solomon Islands, helping the allies break the Japanese stronghold in the South Pacific.

 

Ingalls amphibious shipbuilding background

Ingalls is currently the sole builder of large-deck amphibious ships for the U.S. Navy. The shipyard delivered its first amphibious assault ship, the Iwo Jima-class USS Tripoli (LPH-10), in 1966. Ingalls has since built five Tarawa-class (LHA-1) ships, eight Wasp-class (LHD-1) ships and the first in a new class of ships, USS America (LHA-6). The second ship in the class, USS Tripoli (LHA-7) is currently under construction and USS Bougainville (LHA-8) is the third ship in the class.

 

Sponsor

Ellyn Dunford, spouse of General Joe Dunford, 19th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the sponsor of Bougainville. A graduate of Simmons College, Mrs. Dunford worked as a physical therapist for close to 30 years. General and Mrs. Dunford have three children.

 

LHA Facts and Stats

With a typical air combat element embarked, an LHA amphibious assault ship can be equipped with:

  • 5 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters;
  • 4 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters;
  • 2 UH-1Y Venom attack helicopters;
  • 4 CH-53E Super Sea Stallion helicopters;
  • 12 MV-22 Osprey;
  • 2 MH-60S Search and Rescue helicopters;
  • Defensive weapons systems include .50 caliber/12.7-mm machine guns, The Phalanx, Sea Sparrow and Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) anti-ship cruise missile weapon systems and decoy launchers.

 

LHA-8 Milestones

Started Construction: October 6, 2018

Keel Authenticated: March 14, 2019

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS America (LHA-6) 07-17-2009 06-04-2012 10-11-2014 San Diego, California
USS Tripoli (LHA-7) 06-22-2014 05-01-2017
USS Bougainville (LHA-8) 03-14-2019

 

Missile Defense

The U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $713 million contract for the production of Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) for the first phase of Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program.

Northrop Grumman has been awarded $713 million to provide Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) next-generation capabilities for Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program
Northrop Grumman has been awarded $713 million to provide Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) next-generation capabilities for Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program

«Poland is taking a leadership role in today’s complex threat environment by selecting IBCS over legacy stove-piped systems that were designed decades ago for a much different threat profile. IBCS is the future of multidomain operations and with it, Poland will have a state-of-the-art system to modernize its integrated air and missile defense capabilities», said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. «Through the acquisition of IBCS, Poland will be in line with the U.S. Army’s future direction. Poland will have the flexibility to consider any radar and any interceptor, optimize sensor and effector integration and keep pace with an evolving threat».

Under this foreign military sales contract for WISŁA, Northrop Grumman will manufacture IBCS engagement operations centers and integrated fire control network relays and deliver IBCS net-enabled command and control for four firing units. The IBCS engagement operations centers will be integrated with IBCS battle management software that maximizes the combat potential of sensors and weapon systems. IBCS engagement operations centers and network relays will be transported by Polish Jelcz vehicles.

«Northrop Grumman continues to work closely with the Polish Ministry of National Defense and Polish industry toward a comprehensive offset program that meets the program goals and requirements. We look forward to continued collaboration and partnership with PGZ and its consortium of companies on this and future phases of the WISŁA program», said Tarik Reyes, vice president, business development, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. «We are pleased with the opportunity to deliver cutting-edge, net-centric IBCS technology to Poland and support the Ministry of National Defense’s modernization priorities».

IBCS is the air and missile defense command-and-control solution of choice for Poland. In March 2018, Poland signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the U.S. government to purchase IBCS and became the first international partner country to acquire this advanced capability. By implementing IBCS, Poland will transform its IAMD capabilities in a manner consistent with the U.S. Army.

IBCS creates a paradigm shift for IAMD by replacing legacy stove-piped systems with a next-generation, net-centric approach to better address the evolving complex threat. The system integrates disparate radars and weapons to construct a far more effective IAMD enterprise. IBCS delivers a single integrated air picture with unprecedented accuracy and broadens surveillance and protection areas. With its truly open systems architecture, IBCS allows incorporation of current and future sensors and weapon systems and interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system.

IBCS is managed by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

Training Center

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Distributed Training Center (DTC) recently hosted simulated training for the U.S. Marine Corps at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia.

An ANGLICO team operates from a rooftop during the Iraq War (Photo credit: USMC Corporal Rocco DeFilippis Courtesy: United States Marine Corps)
An ANGLICO team operates from a rooftop during the Iraq War (Photo credit: USMC Corporal Rocco DeFilippis Courtesy: United States Marine Corps)

During two training events, eight F-15E aircrew based at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho trained with four Marines from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state via the DTC. The Marines, trained as Joint Tactical Air Controller/Joint Forward Observers (JTAC/JFO), are part of the 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) tasked with calling-in air strikes and artillery fire in support of their attached formation. ANGLICO JTACs support Special Operations Forces and typically deploy to the battlefield in small teams.

Each mission scenario was designed, created and supported by Northrop Grumman DTC engineers based on mission demands. The multi-service Close Air Support (CAS) training closely replicated scenarios in current battle zones where warfighters are deployed, while at the same time providing virtual and constructive training at a fraction of the cost of live training.

«The Marines were impressed with the high fidelity training and said the customized scenarios felt like real life», said Martin Amen, director, secure network operations, Northrop Grumman.

The simulation training event met the following desired learning objectives provided by the participants:

  • (JTAC) Joint CAS environment – more than one service involved;
  • (JTAC) Integrated air and surface fires;
  • (JTAC) Deconflict multiple air assets – training included four virtual F-15Es and one constructive MQ-9 Reaper;
  • (F-15E) 25 mph+ moving target – fighter tracks and engages a target going more than 25 mph;
  • (F-15E) Hot gun to target artillery deconfliction – ensuring aircraft flight paths are not in conflict with the flight path of artillery rounds being fired at targets in the same vicinity;
  • (F15E) Squirters from a strike – track and target enemy fighters who survive the initial strike;
  • (F-15E) Bomb-on-coordinate targets utilizing different weapons – using varying classes of GPS-aided bombs to hit the right targets;
  • (F15E) CAS stack deconfliction – airspace management with the added value of matching aircraft to targets.

The DTC has provided live, virtual and constructive training for the U.S. Air Force for nine years, but this was the first time Marines used the DTC to train for their missions. Last year, the Army Rangers utilized the DTC for the first time to train for deployment.

Developed for Air Force simulation training in 1999, Northrop Grumman’s Distributed Mission Operations Network (DMON) provides the connectivity and network interoperability for the DTC, which became operational in 2010 to meet the need for real-world scenario development and advanced warfighter readiness training. Northrop Grumman wants to expand the use of the DMON and DTC beyond the Air Force to additional services such as the Marine Corps, the U.S. Army and international forces.

Joint Strike Missile

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS (KONGSBERG) has entered into contract with Japan to supply the initial deliveries of JSM (Joint Strike Missile) for their fleet of F-35 Lightning II fighter aircrafts.

KONGSBERG awarded Joint Strike Missile contract with Japan
KONGSBERG awarded Joint Strike Missile contract with Japan

The JSM development started in 2008 and was completed in mid-2018 after a series of successful validation test firings.

«This is an important international breakthrough which demonstrates the importance of cooperation between Norwegian authorities, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Norwegian industry», says CEO of KONGSBERG Geir Håøy.

The JSM is the only long-range sea- and land-target missile that can be carried internally in the F-35 Lightning II and thus ensuring the aircraft’s low-signature (stealth) capabilities. JSM is a new missile that will expand the overall capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II. No other weapon on the market today, can perform the same types of missions.

«The international F-35 Lightning II user consortium is showing great interest in the JSM and KONGSBERG is very proud to have been selected by Japan to provide the JSM for their F-35 Lightning II fleet. This is a major milestone for the JSM program, entering into the production phase», says Eirik Lie, President, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS.

Ghostrider Block 30

The Air Force has received an upgraded version of its Ghostrider gunship.

Air Force Gets First Upgraded Ghostrider Gunship
Air Force Gets First Upgraded Ghostrider Gunship

The 4th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, at Hurlburt Field, Florida, received its first AC-130J Ghostrider Block 30 gunship this week during a ceremony at Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview, Florida, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) said in a news release on March 8, 2019.

The 4th Special Operations Squadron currently operates and maintains the AC-130U Spooky.

The Block 30 model marks «a major improvement in software and avionics technology» over the original Block 20 software AC-130J, the release states.

«The Ghostrider is the newest and most modernized gunship in existence, fulfilling the same mission sets as the Spooky but with upgraded avionics, navigation systems and a precision strike package that includes trainable 30-mm and 105-mm weapons», according to the release.

The first Block 30 model will remain in a testing-only status for a year before it can deploy for battlefield operations, officials said.

Along with the 105-mm cannon the U-models sport, the AC-130J is equipped with a 30-mm cannon «almost like a sniper rifle. … It’s that precise, it can pretty much hit first shot, first kill», Colonel Tom Palenske, then-commander of 1st Special Operations Wing, told Military.com last May at Hurlburt.

The model achieved initial operational capability in September 2017.

The J-model also has improved turboprop engines, which reduce operational costs with better flight sustainability, the service has said.

It has the ability to launch 250-pound/113-kg, GPS- or laser-guided Small-Diameter Bombs (SDB). The aircraft is expected to carry AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, interchangeable with the SDBs on its wing pylons, AFSOC has said.

Palenske said last year that airmen have been waiting to see the aircraft in action.

«It’s going to be the most lethal, with the most loiter time, probably the most requested weapons system from ground forces in the history of warfare. That’s my prediction», he said.

The fourth-generation J is slated to replace the AC-130H/U/W models, with delivery of the final J-model sometime in 2021, according to the Air Force. The service plans to buy 32 of the aircraft.

Crews expect the J to be deployed in late 2019 or early 2020.

«It’s our big gun truck», Palenske said. «It’s going to have more powerful engines, a more efficient fuel rate. … You can keep the sensors on the bad guys longer … and it’s also going to have AGM-176 Griffin missiles on the back, so you can put 10 missiles on the back of them. It’s going to be awesome», he said.

SGM with Datalink

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) have successfully conducted initial testing of the Block I variant of the Dynetics GBU-69/B Small Glide Munition (SGM) incorporating a two-way datalink.

Dynetics Successfully Tests GBU-69 Small Glide Munition with Datalink
Dynetics Successfully Tests GBU-69 Small Glide Munition with Datalink

Flight tests, conducted in February achieved all test objectives including sending via the datalink updated target coordinates from the launch platform to the SGM, redirecting the munition to a secondary target located more than a mile from the initial target location and transmitting an in-flight command to inhibit munition arming. The munition also transmitted critical data such as its position, velocity, flight mode, and arming status back to the launch platform. Acknowledgement and verification of commands sent to and from the munition were verified via the Battle Management System on board the launch platform as well as a ground control station. Additionally, the SGM laser seeker was used for terminal guidance yielding a CE90 strike on the updated target coordinate.

 

Expanded System Capability

Dynetics initiated work with Raytheon Integrated Communications Systems to integrate the X-Net radio in 2017. Due to the highly collaborative design effort between the two companies, the SGM was able to accommodate the new hardware component within existing size, weight and power (SWaP) allocations for the munition electronics. A Dynetics-designed deployable mono-pole antenna, stowed under the wing prior to launch, is the only external modification made to the Block I datalink variant.

The RaytheonX-Net networked radio was designed to provide In-Flight Target Updates (IFTUs) in order to improve weapon performance in dynamic targeting environments and to receive telemetry data for both weapon performance and post-mission analysis. The X-Net is a new small form factor, software-defined, radio that meets the challenging SwaP requirements of small munitions. It is MIL-STD-6016 compatible and supports the SGM’s flyout range of over 20 nm.

The incorporation of a two-way datalink will greatly enhance the capabilities of the SGM allowing the weapon to be part of a network consisting of other airborne platforms and tactical air controllers. In the future, networked communications will facilitate collaborative strikes and lead to new tactics expanding SGM capabilities and effectiveness.

 

SGM’s History

The SGM, which became operational in 2017, was developed by Dynetics working in close collaboration with USSOCOM PEO-Fixed Wing under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Dynetics invested corporate resources to develop the munition which was first demonstrated under the CRADA. The munition was tested, qualified and fielded in less than two years. The success of the SGM program was noted as one of the key accomplishments of the PEO-Fixed Wing Stand-Off Precision Guided Munitions (SOPGM) Team which was recently recognized with the 2018 David Packard Acquisition Excellence Award – the DOD’s highest acquisition team award recognizing exemplary performance and innovation acquiring and delivering products and capabilities for the Warfighter.

Dynetics has increased SGM production capacity in response to a 1000-unit order from USSOCOM in 2018. Other near term planned activities include integration of SGM on Special Operation Forces (SOF) unmanned aircraft and demonstration of a new composite low-collateral damage warhead. Both are scheduled to occur in 2019.

 

Small Glide Munition Additional Details

The SGM is managed out of the Dynetics Missile and Aviation Systems Division which specializes in the rapid and affordable development of products to meet specific and sometimes urgent customer needs. The division is the Corporation’s lead for research, development, prototyping, testing and production of advanced munitions and unmanned systems.

Air-launched missile

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a $322.5 million contract from the U.S. Navy for the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) program.

Northrop Grumman received a contract from the U.S. Navy, valued at $322.5M, for Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD)
Northrop Grumman received a contract from the U.S. Navy, valued at $322.5M, for Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD)

The AARGM-ER program is leveraging the AARGM that is currently in production. The AARGM-ER will be integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft and configured for internal carriage on the F-35 Lightning II.

«AARGM-ER extended range coupled with AARGM lethality will meet a critical defense suppression requirement while protecting our strike aviators», said Cary Ralston, vice president, defense electronic systems, Northrop Grumman.

AARGM is an air-launched missile with the capability to rapidly engage air-defense threats. AARGM is currently deployed with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps on the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. AARGM is also integrated on the Italian Air Force’s Tornado Electronic Combat aircraft.

Cold-weather testing

Airbus Helicopters has successfully completed its certification programme of cold-weather testing of its latest H160 helicopter in northern Finland.

Airbus H160 helicopter happily handles Finland’s freezing winter
Airbus H160 helicopter happily handles Finland’s freezing winter

The company deployed the first serial aircraft to Rovaniemi in Lapland in February where the test team benefited from a period of exceptionally low temperatures down to -37°C (-35°F). The main objective of this second campaign was to confirm the excellent behaviour of the H160 in extremely cold conditions with its serial configuration as the first test campaign in Canada was performed with a prototype aircraft.

Operations took place from the base of Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance, which flies Airbus H145 helicopters for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) customers in the region, including Finland’s FinnHEMS and the Regional Government of Åland also in Finland. The campaign included over 20 hours of flight tests as well as a lengthy series of ground tests and a 13-hour ferry flight from Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane base to the test site.

Babcock is the global launch customer for the H160 and will be the first operator to receive the new model. Its new fleet of H160s is destined for EMS and other critical service missions starting in Europe and to be deployed progressively across Babcock’s bases worldwide.

The H160 is an ideal aircraft for EMS operations with its wide-opening sliding door, roll-on stretcher capability and 360-degree access to the patient. It features exceptionally low sound levels in the cabin as well as low vibration levels, providing a beneficial environment for high-intensity care of patients over long distances.

Airbus Helicopters Head of H160 Program, Bernard Fujarski said: «This was a highly productive test programme. The colder the temperatures in which we can successfully fly and operate, the colder the temperatures in which our customers can carry out their work. We have been very happy with the freezing conditions in Lapland and overall with the behaviour of H160».

Airbus has more than 330 highly skilled employees in Finland, primarily in research and development, engineering and project management and notably in mission-critical communications. Its commercial aircraft form the backbone of Finnair’s airliner fleet and its helicopters serve on EMS operations and with the Finnish Border Guard.

The attached photo shows the H160 flying near Rovaniemi.