All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

Production Contract

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $414 million contract from the U.S. Navy and Air Force for Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) production. This is the largest LRASM production contract in the history of the program.

LRASM
Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile provides unmatched offensive anti-surface warfare capabilities for our U.S. warfighters

The combined Lot 4/5 contract continues production of the air-launched variant of LRASM, now operational on the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer.

«This contract reflects LRASM’s increasing significance to our customers’ missions. Focused teamwork around a shared vision with our customers and our dedicated supply partners remains key to this program’s success», said David Helsel, LRASM director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «We look forward to continuing our important work and growing our capabilities and platforms».

LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships by employing advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments. LRASM will play a significant role in ensuring military access to operate in open ocean, owing to its enhanced ability to discriminate and conduct tactical engagements from extended ranges.

LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER). It is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force warfighters in contested environments. LRASM provides an operational capability for the U.S. Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement.

Flexible Array Radar

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, has delivered the first-ever experimental Flexible Distributed Array Radar, or FlexDAR, to the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Built in partnership with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, FlexDAR combines digital beam forming, network coordination and precise time synchronization to perform multiple missions, such as surveillance, communications and electronic warfare, simultaneously with a single array.

FlexDAR
Raytheon Missiles & Defense and U.S. Naval Research Laboratory deliver world’s most advanced digital radar

«FlexDAR is a new apex in phased array radar system development», said Colin Whelan, vice president of Advanced Technology at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «It will improve military communications and deliver on our vision for a multi-mission radar. There really is nothing else like it on the planet».

NRL developed FlexDAR’s back-end subsystems, which were integrated with Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s front-end subsystems at the company’s Rhode Island facility. Further integration and testing occurred at the NRL’s Chesapeake Bay Detachment in Maryland, before delivering FlexDAR to ONR at their NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

«This was a highly successful collaboration between the Navy’s technology arm and a trusted industry partner», said Doctor Bradley Binder, program officer at ONR. «The partnership between ONR, NRL and Raytheon Missiles & Defense on FlexDAR has resulted in the delivery of a digital testbed that will pioneer next-generation capabilities for surface-, sea- and air-based platforms».

FlexDAR is being developed under ONR’s Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare Command and Control (EMC2) program to demonstrate the benefits of migrating digital technologies closer to a sensor’s front end. It comprises two experimental phased-array radars equipped with digital beam forming, communications and network-linked, distributed radar tracking.

FlexDAR’s aperture is capable of using a very large portion of its operating band at once, and it can expand to include future software upgrades.

Alliance Surveillance

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk has recently enabled NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) Force to achieve a declaration of initial operating capability (IOC) from Supreme Allied Commander Europe, giving NATO commanders the ability to perform uninterrupted in-theater operations 24/7/365. The RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk variant provides cutting-edge Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) in support of global security.

RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk
NATO AGS RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk

«NATO AGS will help the Alliance with persistent regional defense and deterrence», said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. «The commitment of the entire AGS team partnership – both government and industry – has shown incredible dedication, working across cultures, time zones and languages, all aiming toward one goal – providing the Alliance with this critical capability».

The NATO AGS system is comprised of five aircraft, ground and support segments, along with advanced sensor technologies. The Phoenix aircraft has met the rigorous standards required for the first large unmanned aerial vehicle – military type certification and approved by the Italian Directorate of Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA). Companies from across NATO member nations, including Leonardo, Airbus and Kongsberg, comprise the Northrop Grumman-led industry team that developed the NATO AGS capability.

The wide area surveillance of the RQ-4D Global Hawk and the fixed, mobile and transportable ground stations will support a full range of missions, including protection of ground troops and civilian populations, border control, crisis management and humanitarian assistance in natural disasters. The platform’s high-altitude, long-endurance capability delivers sustained, uninterrupted in-theater operations providing an unprecedented amount of ISR data to the Alliance. With the state-of-the-art main operating base at the Italian Air Base, Sigonella, Italy, data can be rapidly disseminated to allied forces, providing an unmatched advantage.

Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) systems, including Global Hawk, are a critical component of networked, global ISR collection for allied nations and mutual defense organizations around the world. Global Hawk collects ISR data that enables decision makers to act with the right information at the right time.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Third generation of SSBN

Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed forces, will announce on February 19, 2021, at the Centre of expertise for Hydrodynamic techniques of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), the launch of the program for the third generation of SSBN (SNLE 3G) for the French Navy. This submarine program is a major challenge for Naval Group, a leading industry partner in the service of the French sovereignty. The first of class is scheduled to enter operational service by 2035. Three other submarines will then be delivered, every five years.

SNLE 3G
Launch of the third generation of French nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN)

Pierre-Eric Pommellet, Naval Group CEO, declared on this occasion: «Naval Group is very proud to put its skills, talents and industrial resources at the service of France’s nuclear deterrence. The whole company will be mobilized with its partners to carry out this exceptional project. We are aware of our responsibility and we will do our utmost, as previous generations have done, to provide France with the tool of its sovereignty».

SSBN remain one of the most complex industrial products ever made. Their design and construction require rare know-how, unique industrial means and the ability to federate the contributions of two hundred partner companies that make up the French defence industrial base, present across the country.

Naval Group benefits from a unique position as a systems architect and integrator which enables it, in collaboration with TechnicAtome, the prime contractor for the nuclear boiler room, to commit to the overall performance of these armed vessels, to assume overall responsibility for their construction and to guarantee control of quality, deadlines and costs.

 

A core program for French sovereignty

The program aims to provide a new generation of four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines that will serve the French Navy’s operational needs between the 2030s and the 2090s.

They will gradually replace the second-generation SSBN that will be phased out of active service during 2030s and 2040s, to be replaced by these third-generation submarines.

The SNLE 3G program is being carried out on behalf of the French government, under the auspices of the DGA and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), in conjunction with the Armed Forces Staff and the French Navy.

SNLE 3G
Naval Group remains the key industry partner of French nuclear deterrence

 

Mobilisation of the whole the naval defence industry

More than 200 companies from the French defence industrial and technological base will work with Naval Group to provide design or construction services for equipment and systems.

In the end, over the next 30 years, this program will represent up to 100 million hours of work, including 15 million hours of design and more than 80 million hours of construction.

 

400 skills required

Most of Naval Group’s sites will be mobilised for this program.

At the Cherbourg site, more than 300 employees work in design activities, and construction represent more than 2,000 employees. The teams in Cherbourg will build the platform (hull, structure, part of the internal modules), integrate the equipment and systems into the platform, and carry out the commissioning and testing of the submarine’s facilities.

The Nantes-Indret site will produce the main components of the boiler room and build the major modules, such as the engine unit module and the nuclear boiler room module.

The Angoulême-Ruelle site will design and build the submarine’s structural equipment: weapon launcher tubes, masts, weapon handling system, etc.

The Ollioules site will be the reference site for embedded information systems. It will design and integrate the combat system and the control system.

The Bagneux site concentrates various program management activities.

The Lorient site will contribute to the design of the SNLE 3G, and will produce the composite parts.

The Brest site will be called upon to prepare the reception and support of the future SNLE 3G, at the heart of the Ile Longue base, as well as its tests on the launching device in Cherbourg.

Launch of the third generation of French nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines

 

Command variant ACV

BAE Systems has handed over the first of a new variant of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle to the U.S. Marine Corps for testing.

ACV-C
First Command Variant for ACV program delivered to Marines for testing

The Command variant (ACV-C) is designed to provide the highest levels of communications, coordination, and analysis on the battlefield to support command and control.

BAE Systems is under contract to deliver two variants to the Marine Corps under the ACV Family of Vehicles program: the ACV Personnel carrier (ACV-P) and the ACV-C. A 30-mm cannon (ACV-30) is currently under contract for design and development and a recovery variant (ACV-R) is also planned.

The ACV-C employs multiple work stations for Marines to maintain and manage situational awareness in the battle space. The work stations access independent networks for advanced digital communications while on the move. This capability supports immediate information synchronization in the application of combat power.

«This ACV’s base design for payload makes it a uniquely adaptable platform for the integration of numerous mission capability sets», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems. «The delivery of the first ACV-C for testing is significant as it provides Marines with advanced operational control for defeating adversaries. Marines will be able to quickly receive and analyze data, coordinate battlefield functions, and transmit information to provide terminal mission control rapidly from the mobile protected ACV-C».

The ACV platform was designed to grow and adapt to mission needs, allowing space for new capabilities as technology evolves such as turreted, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, anti-air, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) systems integration.

The Marine Corps and BAE Systems entered full-rate production on the ACV program with a contract award in December, achieving its most significant milestone to date along with the Marine Corps’ decision to declare Initial Operational Capability (IOC). Work is currently underway on the ACV-30 variant.

ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.

Blessing Ceremony

On 12th February, the South African Navy (SAN) held a blessing ceremony of the first of three Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV) at Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT).

MMIPV
Damen Shipyards Cape Town holds blessing ceremony for first of MMIPV

Initially, the plan had been to hold a large launching ceremony, but due to the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, SAN took the decision to do something on a smaller scale.

During the event, the vessel was blessed and a bottle of champagne was broken over the bow as is the custom. The South African flag was raised on the vessel and she was cheered by her crew.

Sam Montsi Director at DSCT said, «Despite the low-key nature of the event, this remains a momentous occasion – the blessing of the first of these three important vessels that we are building in Africa for Africa. With this taking place as the global pandemic continues, every care has been taken to ensure the well-being of everyone here today. This counts also for the day-to-day work on the project, with strict safety measures in place. Because of these measures we can continue our work on the vessels and remain on time and on budget, something in which we can all take pride».

The MMIPVs will contribute to South Africa’s maritime security in augmenting the country’s capability to respond effectively, rapidly, and cost-efficiently to threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing.

«Today marks another milestone in the history of the SA Navy. To think where this first MMIPV might end up in history is exciting. This vessel will be crucial in search and rescue operations and a critical link in security operations. The reconfigurability of the ship makes it a force multiplier in any littoral environment for the SA Navy. What the future holds for this ship, is anyone’s guess. What I do know, without a doubt, is that the brave men and women, who took an oath to uphold the constitution and protect the freedoms we hold so dear, are the true heroes and protagonists of this story», stated Chief of the SA Navy, Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane during the blessing ceremony.

The 62 × 11 meters/203.4 × 36 feet naval vessel will be the first Damen Sea Axe vessel to operate in South Africa. The Sea Axe is a Damen patented design offering exceptional seakeeping behavior. The straight-edged, axe shaped bow cuts through the water, minimising slamming for improved safety and comfort on board and significantly reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

Protection System

Lockheed Martin will soon begin supporting formal integration and testing of the U.S. Army’s combat vehicle protection system intended to keep warfighters safer and more secure from battlefield threats.

Modular Active Protection System (MAPS)
U.S. Army Selects Lockheed Martin To Integrate and Test Combat Vehicle Protection System

Under the terms of a recent contract, the company will provide its Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) base kit, which includes an open-architecture processor that integrates vehicle sensors and countermeasures in a common framework to detect, track and defeat rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles.

«Lockheed Martin partnered with the U.S. Army in 2014 to develop MAPS as a safe and secure vehicle defense system that protects warfighters from a variety of anti-armor threats», said David Rohall, program manager for Advanced Ground Vehicle Systems at Lockheed Martin. «Since then, the MAPS base kit has proven itself in multiple live-fire demonstrations. We’re ready to support integration and testing on a variety of Army combat vehicles, the final step before the Army makes a formal decision on fielding this capability».

Under the 36-month contract, Lockheed Martin will deliver five production-ready base kits with an option for up to 20, and support Army integration and testing on Abrams, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Bradley and Stryker vehicles. The contract also covers developing base kit support for vehicle protection capabilities beyond active protection, such as underbelly blast protection.

Lockheed Martin’s MAPS base kit supports the rapid integration of MAPS-compliant sensors and countermeasures. It is designed to protect current combat vehicles and support future vehicle protection system capabilities.

LongShot Concept

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Tactical Technology Office (TTO) to develop an advanced technology weapon concept designed to significantly increase engagement range and weapon effectiveness of U.S. Forces against adversary air threats.

LongShot
Northrop Grumman to Develop Advanced Air-to-Air Missile Engagement Concept

«Our collaboration with DARPA is the critical first step in the development of innovative operational concepts and solutions that will enhance our warfighter’s combat capability against a rapidly growing threat», said Jaime Engdahl, program director, kinetic weapons and emerging capabilities, Northrop Grumman. «The LongShot program enables us to combine our digital engineering skillset with our extensive knowledge in advanced technology weapons, autonomous systems and strike platforms to increase weapon range and effectiveness».

Spurred by rapid technological advancements and an ever more dangerous and disruptive battlefield, DARPA’s LongShot program will explore new lethal engagement concepts by leveraging multi-modal propulsion, weapon systems that can be operationally deployed from existing fighters or bombers.

DARPA’s advanced aerospace systems activities are focused on utilizing high pay-off opportunities to provide revolutionary new system capabilities, as opposed to incremental or evolutionary advancements, in order to achieve undeterrable air presence at dramatically reduced costs.

The LongShot program enables Northrop Grumman to combine its expertise in weapon system design, survivability, autonomy, advanced mission systems and rapid prototyping to deliver advanced solutions that help to maintain a competitive military advantage in highly contested environments.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Maiden Flight

The first Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker destined for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) took to the skies on its maiden flight on February 8, 2021. This successful flight highlights an important milestone as the aircraft now transitions into the certification phase of development.

KC-46 Pegasus
First KC-46 Pegasus for an international customer completes successful first flight

«This is an exciting milestone for the JASDF and Boeing», said Jamie Burgess, KC-46 Pegasus program manager. «Japan is getting closer to receiving the most advanced air refueling tanker in the world».

Japan is the KC-46 Pegasus program’s first international customer and is scheduled to receive its first jet this year.

«Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus and its robust defensive systems will play an invaluable role in the security alliance between our two countries», said Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan. «This tanker’s ability to carry cargo and passengers also makes it a critical tool to support humanitarian relief efforts across the Pacific region and beyond».

The KC-46 Pegasus refueling certification encompasses U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and JASDF aircraft.

Boeing is assembling KC-46A Pegasus aircraft for both the U.S. Air Force and Japan on its 767 production line in Everett, Washington. Boeing’s Japanese partners produce 16% of the KC-46 Pegasus airframe structure.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.

 

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

 

Airbus Survey Copter

Airbus Defence and Space mini UAS subsidiary Survey Copter signed a contract with French DGA Armament general directorate to provide the French Navy with 11 systems, (22 aircraft), of the electrically powered fixed-wing Aliaca maritime version Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) (officially called SMDM/«Systèmes de Mini Drones aériens embarqués pour la Marine» by French authorities), including training and integrated logistic support. First deliveries are expected in 2021.

Airbus Survey Copter Aliaca
French ministry for Armed Forces selects Airbus Survey Copter Aliaca fixed-wing drone systems to equip its ships

«We are honored to contribute to the missions of the French Navy which we will support with the highest standards of quality and reliability. This new contract strengthens Survey Copter’s position as a global key player for maritime mini UAS», said Nicolas Askamp, Head of Survey Copter/Airbus Unmanned Aerial Systems.

The Aliaca maritime UAS is a high endurance versatile system allowing up to 3 hours missions over a 50 km/31 miles/27 NM range, perfectly adapted to maritime missions with high gyro stabilized Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) payload performances and qualified to operate in severe environmental conditions. Launched by catapult, the Aliaca maritime UAS concludes its flight by landing automatically using a dedicated net landing solution. With a length of 2,2 m/7.2 feet and a wingspan of 3,6 m/11.8 feet for a maximum take-off weight of 16 kg/35 lbs., the Aliaca maritime UAS benefits from a powerful yet silent electric motor. The system can be deployed easily and rapidly in less than 15 minutes by 2 operators only.

Similarly, the «user-friendly» ground control station enables the operator to constantly monitor the automatic flight of the UAS while receiving in real-time day and night images and Automatic Identification System (AIS) data gathered by its on-board sensors.

It is designed to conduct several types of missions around the ships, including increasing the understanding of the tactical situation, control of illegal operations at sea, search-and-rescue, traffic monitoring, pollution detection, tracking of any suspicious behaviour in the ship environment and coastal surveillance.

This light on-board aerial solution gives the opportunity to vessels, traditionally not equipped with aerial assets, to enhance their tactical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, support decision making and reactivity in operations.

The Aliaca maritime UAS can easily be integrated on board any ships, with or without helicopter landing-deck, and its small logistic footprint enables operations and storage on board smaller sized ships. Its integration does not require heavy on-board modification nor storage of specific fuel.

The result of 10 years of Research and Development (R&D) investments and on-board experimentations, Survey Copter’s «off the shelf» Aliaca maritime UAS is a robust and resistant system to the corrosive maritime environment, an adapted solution to the electro-magnetic constrains on board, and benefits from an efficient net recovery system, fully automated, meaning that no human action is required during the recovery phase.