All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

Cost-effective solution

The United States Army has exercised $65.8 million in contract options for 12 additional UH-72A Lakota helicopters and associated mission equipment packages. The UH-72A is manufactured by Airbus Helicopters Inc. at its final assembly plant in Columbus, Miss., which has already produced and delivered almost 350 Lakotas to date, all on time and on cost.

UH-72A Lakota in flight
UH-72A Lakota in flight

The UH-72A was competitively selected in 2006 for a broad range of active Army and Army National Guard missions, including training, search and rescue, medical evacuation, border security, command and control, VIP transport and general utility.

The 12 aircraft on this latest contract option will be delivered starting in August of 2017, configured for the Army as initial entry rotary-wing trainers. This year the Army has fielded more than 50 Lakotas to Fort Rucker, Alabama, in preparation for the UH-72A’s formal introduction into the training curriculum by early 2016. Ultimately, Army plans call for an initial-entry rotary wing training fleet of 187 Lakotas, made up of a mix of new deliveries and already in-service aircraft reconfigured for the training mission.

«Time and again the UH-72A has proven to be the most cost-effective solution to meet a wide variety of needs for the U.S. military and our allies», said Allan McArtor, Airbus Group Inc. Chairman and CEO. «The Army’s flawless execution of the Lakota program has proven that even in today’s challenging defense acquisition environment, there are success stories for the taxpayer and warfighter alike».

«Almost half the men and women who build the UH-72A in Mississippi are U.S. military veterans, and some even fly in Lakotas in the National Guard or Reserves», said Chris Emerson, President and CEO of Airbus Helicopters Inc. «Everyone on that production line takes a great amount of pride in their unbroken record of delivering on their commitments, and we hope they’ll be building Lakotas for many years to come».

The Lakota continues to meet a wide range of needs for several military user communities. The Navy operates the Lakota in a training role at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and the Army National Guard units operating specially equipped Lakotas are deployed supporting Customs and Border Protection missions along the U.S. southwest border. The Royal Thai Army is the first allied operator of the UH-72A, having purchased six aircraft to date through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program.

A modern, twin-engine helicopter, the UH-72A is a powerful, stable, and agile platform with a glass cockpit that is compatible with night vision goggles. The Lakota is also single-pilot Instrument Flight Rules certified. It has the lowest cost to buy, own and operate of any U.S. military helicopter in production.

Airbus Group delivers first new UH-72A Lakota for Army initial-entry trainer mission
Airbus Group delivers first new UH-72A Lakota for Army initial-entry trainer mission

 

Characteristics

Maximum Take-Off Weight 3,585 kg/7,903 lbs (All configurations)
Useful load 1,810 kg/3,990 lbs
Capacity 1 pilot + up to 11 passengers
2 pilots + 10 passengers
Maximum cargo sling load 1,500 kg/3,307 lbs
Engine 2 × Turbomeca ARRIEL 1E2, turboshaft engines
Maximum emergency power (OEI) 574 kW/770 shp
Fast cruise speed 133 knots/153 mph/246 km/h
Range 461 NM/531 miles/855 km
Endurance 4 h 30 min
The EC145’s integrated glass cockpit includes Airbus Helicopters’ Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD) and a Caution and Advisory Display (CAD) to enhance pilot efficiency – thereby reducing pilot fatigue and enhancing flight safety
The EC145’s integrated glass cockpit includes Airbus Helicopters’ Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD) and a Caution and Advisory Display (CAD) to enhance pilot efficiency – thereby reducing pilot fatigue and enhancing flight safety

Christening of Munro

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the company’s sixth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC), Munro (WMSL-755), on November 14, in front of nearly 600 guests. Julie Sheehan, the great niece of the ship’s namesake, Signalman First Class Douglas Munro, is the ship’s sponsor. At the culmination of the ceremony, she smashed a bottle across the bow of the ship, proclaiming, «May God bless this ship and all who sail in her».

Ship’s Sponsor Julie Sheehan smashes a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the National Security Cutter Munro (WMSL-755). Also pictured (left to right) are Captain Thomas King, the ship’s prospective commanding officer; Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft; and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
Ship’s Sponsor Julie Sheehan smashes a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the National Security Cutter Munro (WMSL-755). Also pictured (left to right) are Captain Thomas King, the ship’s prospective commanding officer; Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft; and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

Admiral Paul Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, was the ceremony’s principal speaker. «I couldn’t help but notice when I drove into the shipyard today the banner that read, ‘What you do today matters,’» he said. «Nothing could be truer than what you do today at Huntington Ingalls, because 45 years from today – if not longer – this ship will continue to serve our nation. Many of us will have crossed the bar by that time, but this ship will live on».

Munro died heroically on September 27, 1942, on Guadalcanal. Having volunteered to evacuate a detachment of U.S. Marines who were facing annihilation by a large and unanticipated enemy force, he succeeded in safely extricating them and in doing so was mortally wounded. For his heroic and selfless actions in the completion of this rescue mission, Munro was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He is the Coast Guard’s sole recipient of the award. Ingalls has delivered five NSCs, and three more, including Munro, are currently under construction.

«Our Ingalls/Coast Guard team continues to get stronger, proving that serial production and stable requirements have a direct effect on improving quality, cost and schedule, and this program has been an excellent one», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «The National Security Cutters are clearly changing the game in how to protect our country. Not only does that make us proud, but more importantly, it makes our enemies nervous. It is our job to build a ship that protects the brave men and women who go into harm’s way. And it is a job our shipbuilders take very seriously».

Legend-class NSCs are the flagships of the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet. Designed to replace the 378‐foot/115-meter Hamilton-class High-Endurance Cutters that entered service during the 1960s, they are 418 feet/127 m long with a 54-foot/16-meter beam and displace 4,500 long tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h, a range of 12,000 nautical miles/13,809 miles/22,224 km, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 110.

NSCs are capable of meeting all maritime security mission needs required of the High-Endurance Cutter. They include an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck to accommodate a range of manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft. The Legend class is the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutter in the Coast Guard, with robust capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions. NSCs play an important role enhancing the Coast Guard’s operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for their services has never been greater.

Ingalls Shipbuilding Christens Sixth National Security Cutter, Munro
Ingalls Shipbuilding Christens Sixth National Security Cutter, Munro

 

Facts

Displacement 4,500 long tons
Length 418 feet/127 m
Beam 54 feet/16 m
Speed 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range 12,000 NM/13,809 miles/22,224 km
Endurance 60 days
Crew 120
Equipped with Mk-110 57-mm turret mounted gun
6 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber machine guns
3D air search radar
2 level 1, class 1 aircraft hangers
A stern launch ramp for mission boats
The fifth U.S. Coast Guard NSC, James (WMSL 754), has successfully completed acceptance trials in early May 2015. The Ingalls-built NSC spent two full days in the Gulf of Mexico proving the ship’s systems (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
The fifth U.S. Coast Guard NSC, James (WMSL 754), has successfully completed acceptance trials in early May 2015. The Ingalls-built NSC spent two full days in the Gulf of Mexico proving the ship’s systems (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

 

Ship list

USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750)

USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751)

USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752)

USCGC Hamilton (WMSL-753)

USCGC James (WMSL-754)

USCGC Munro (WMSL-755)

USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756)

USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757)

 

Finnish GMLRS

The Finnish Defence Forces is currently preparing the procurement of GMLRS AW and the GMLRS UNITARY munitions. The invitation to tender concerning the procurement is currently under consideration in the United States Congress.

The Integration software of the upgraded M20B1 UK launcher fires its first GMLRS rocket at the White Sand Missile Range in New Mexico. GMLRS and M270B1 are now deployed in theater in support of UK ground forces and complement their US counterparts (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
The Integration software of the upgraded M20B1 UK launcher fires its first GMLRS rocket at the White Sand Missile Range in New Mexico. GMLRS and M270B1 are now deployed in theater in support of UK ground forces and complement their US counterparts (Photo by Lockheed Martin)

Procurement of the new guided munitions will make the use of the rocket launch system procured in 2006 more efficient and diversify the range of munitions available for the multiple launch rocket systems. The use of guided munitions is possible due to the reform of the fire control of rocket launcher systems drawn up in 2012-15.

When exploding the GMLRS AW spreads fragments above the target. The effect of the GMLRS UNITARY on the other hand is based on its explosive and pressure impact. The range of both the munitions is approximately 70 kilometres.

The procurement decision for the munitions will be made by Finland’s Ministry of Defence following the contract negotiations. The product is in accordance with the international Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Guided MLRS Unitary Rocket diagram (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
Guided MLRS Unitary Rocket diagram (Photo by Lockheed Martin)

 

Guided MLRS Unitary Rocket

The MLRS Family of Munitions includes three rockets and four missiles with an additional six variants in development. This MFOM meets the complete Army requirement for tactical and operational support.

Guided Unitary MLRS:

  • A pre-planned product improvement to GMLRS;
  • Integrates approximately 200 pound Unitary Warhead into the GMLRS;
  • Enhanced anti-jam and accuracy processor;
  • Low cost/risk program to greatly reduce collateral damage;
  • One round, one kill capability.

 

Test milestone

The Joint Strike Missile (JSM) successfully completed a missile flight test in the United States last week. The missile was launched at 22,000 feet/6,706 m from an Edwards Air Force-based F-16 over the Utah Test and Training Range and performed a number of challenging flight maneuvers. The test proved the maturity of the missile, which is specifically designed to fit inside the F-35A weapons bay, and the missile flight control software.

The JSM missile is primarily designed for operations from fixed wing aircraft platforms
The JSM missile is primarily designed for operations from fixed wing aircraft platforms

«This is a major accomplishment for the JSM program, and in addition several critical capabilities beyond the scope of the test were verified. The test demonstrates that we are on track with the qualification of JSM, which brings critical capability to F-35A and the warfighter», says Harald Ånnestad, President Kongsberg Defence Systems.

The JSM is a new missile being developed in partnership with Raytheon for the Norwegian Armed Forces. The missile will complete the qualification program in 2017 and will have unmatched operational capabilities enabling the F-35 to fight well-defended targets across long distances. The missile will be integrated on the F-35A but can also be integrated on other types of aircrafts, meaning its market potential extends beyond the future users of the F-35.

«This successful flight test further validates that JSM will be an ideal solution for the medium-range anti-ship and land attack mission», said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Air Warfare Systems. «Raytheon and Kongsberg are working together to deliver this important, new capability to customers around the globe».

The missile flight test program started early 2015 with numerous captive carry tests on an F-16 and will continue with flight tests of increasing complexity through 2016 and 2017. The flight test program is scheduled to complete in accordance with plan in 2017.

 

Joint Strike Missile (JSM)

The JSM is based on the well-proven and modern technology of NSM (Naval Strike Missile) which is operational in the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) and Poland. The development of JSM is well under way and fully funded by Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF). The JSM operational analysis and design process has focused on the following key operational capabilities.

Survivability (launch platform and missile):

  • Stand-off Range;
  • Low Observable;
  • Mission Profile;
  • End Game Profile.

Target Selectivity:

  • Target Detection & Identification;
  • Autonomous Target Recognition (ATR);
  • Target Discrimination (in cluttered invironment);
  • ROE Compatible.

Lethality:

  • Precision Aimpoint;
  • Warhead Effect;
  • Collateral Damage Mitigation.

Mission Flexibility:

  • Multi Target Capable;
  • Multiple Operational Domains.

Service Suitability:

  • Multi-Platform Capable;
  • Net Ready;
  • Minimum Maintenance;
  • Aircraft Carrier Suitable.

 

JSM Key Characteristics

Length 13.1 feet/4 m
Height 1.7 feet/0.52 m
Width 1.6 feet/0.48 m (stowed)
Mass 917 lbs/416 kg
Speed High Subsonic
Agility High

Norwegian industry contributes to the F-35 program

 

Storm Shadow

A Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) has successfully completed a release of the MBDA Storm Shadow, conventionally armed, stealthy, long-range stand-off precision missile, Eurofighter GmbH has announced. This continues the series of trials that Eurofighter Partner Company, Alenia Aermacchi, is leading to demonstrate the full integration of the Storm Shadow missile with Typhoon’s weapon system.

After launch, the Storm Shadow/SCALP (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée) missile descends to a low cruising altitude powered by a turbojet engine
After launch, the Storm Shadow/SCALP (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée) missile descends to a low cruising altitude powered by a turbojet engine

With support from Eurofighter Partner Company BAE Systems, missile designer and producer MBDA, and specialist trials support from QinetiQ, the trials were conducted in November 2015 at Aberporth MoD firing range, in the UK.

The integration of the missile with the aircraft’s weapon system was successfully demonstrated. The trials also verified the interface of the missile with the weapon system for pre-launch checks, demonstrated post-launch safe separation and the subsequent commencement of missile flight.

Test pilot Enrico Scarabotto flew the sorties and he said: «The Eurofighter and its weapon system performed exactly as expected. The aircraft’s performance is not significantly degraded by this heavy missile and, thanks to the aircraft’s performance and the large number of weapon stations, after the launch of the missiles the Eurofighter keeps a full spectrum of capabilities for both air-to-air and air-to-surface engagements. This is a great advantage that only the Eurofighter, among western fighters, can guarantee. A truly swing-role combat aircraft».

Storm Shadow provides a significant leap in the Eurofighter Typhoon’s operational capabilities, enabling the platform to deploy multiple weapons at a very long range well clear of danger from air defences. Storm Shadow, already in service with the Italian Air Force, Royal Air Force and others, is a long-range weapon system designed to neutralise high value, hardened or buried targets.

The new weapons system will add the capability to strike in day or night in all-weather conditions, well-defended infrastructure targets such as port facilities, control centres, bunkers, missile sites, airfields and bridges that would otherwise require several aircraft and missions.

This is a new addition to the Eurofighter Typhoon’s potent simultaneous multi-role/swing-role capabilities. Powered by a turbo-jet engine, with a range in excess of 155 miles/250 km, the Storm Shadow missile weighs approximately 2,866 lbs/1,300 kg and is just over 16.7 feet/5.1 metres long.

The missile follows its pre-planned trajectory through continuous updates to its navigation system. This is supplied by the missile avionics, which incorporates an Inertial Measurement Unit, combined with both digital terrain profile matching and GPS
The missile follows its pre-planned trajectory through continuous updates to its navigation system. This is supplied by the missile avionics, which incorporates an Inertial Measurement Unit, combined with both digital terrain profile matching and GPS

Successful test flights

The U.S. Navy conducted successful test flights November 7 and 9 of two Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles built by Lockheed Martin. The world’s most reliable large ballistic missile, the D5 missile has achieved a total of 157 successful test flights since design completion in 1989. The D5 is the sixth in a series of missile generations deployed since the sea-based deterrent program began 60 years ago.

The U.S. Navy tested two Trident II D5 fleet ballistic missiles November 7 and 9 in the Pacific Ocean. One of the missiles is shown here shortly after its launch from a submerged submarine (Photo: U.S. Navy)
The U.S. Navy tested two Trident II D5 fleet ballistic missiles November 7 and 9 in the Pacific Ocean. One of the missiles is shown here shortly after its launch from a submerged submarine (Photo: U.S. Navy)

The Navy launched the unarmed missiles in the Pacific Ocean from a submerged Ohio-class submarine. The missiles were converted into test configurations using kits produced by Lockheed Martin that contain range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation. The test flights were part of a demonstration and shakedown operation, which the Navy uses to certify a submarine for deployment following an overhaul.

«This reliability record is a testament to the unwavering dedication to the deterrence mission by the Navy program office, the submarine crews and the industry team», said Mat Joyce, vice president of Fleet Ballistic Missile programs and deputy for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. «Building on a six-decade history of success, we’re moving into the future by implementing new engineering methods that will pave the way for continued innovation and performance».

To support the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs, Lockheed Martin is incorporating modernized electronics technology to cost effectively prolong the service life of the D5 missile design on current and next-generation submarine platforms. These two missile flights formally qualify the new flight control and interlocks electronics packages for deployment in 2017. The modernized avionics subsystems, which control key missile functions during flight, enable missile life extension through 2042.

The company also is transitioning to designing components in a digital environment and using 3-D printing to efficiently produce prototypes.

«This is an example of how Lockheed Martin continually moves forward in advancing our ballistic missile systems to ensure that we are employing the latest technologies to meet our customers’ mission and budget requirements», said Joyce.

The Trident II D5 missile is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class and U.K. Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines to deter nuclear aggression. The three-stage ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles/4,603 miles/7,408 km and carry multiple independently targeted reentry bodies.

Lockheed Martin has been the Navy’s strategic missile prime contractor since December 27, 1955 – one of the longest government and industry partnerships for a major U.S. weapon system. The company also performs program management and engineering services for the Royal Navy under the Polaris Sales Agreement.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Strategic Nuclear Deterrence
Contractor Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Inc., Sunnyvale, California
Date Deployed 1990
Unit Cost $30.9 million
Propulsion Three-stage solid-propellant rocket
Length 44 feet/13.41 m
Diameter 83 inches/2.11 m
Weight 130,000 pounds/58,500 kg
Range Greater than 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Guidance System Inertial
Warhead Nuclear MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles)

 

Design Review

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation announced today the successful completion of the VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program Preliminary Design Review (PDR), completion of the integration and performance testing of Mission Communications System (MCS) components, and Sikorsky’s acceptance of the second S-92A aircraft for the program. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

H-92 helicopter is the military version of the company's commercial S-92 helicopter
H-92 helicopter is the military version of the company’s commercial S-92 helicopter

«Completing these three milestones on or ahead of schedule is a fantastic accomplishment. We are committed to executing this program on-time and within budget. These achievements keep this program moving forward», said Spencer Elani, Sikorsky program director, VH-92A.

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Navy awarded a $1,244,677,064 fixed-price incentive Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract with production options to Sikorsky for 21 operational and two test aircraft.

Initial fielding is planned for 2020, with production concluding in 2023. Under the contract, Sikorsky will use its in-production S-92 aircraft and integrate government-defined mission systems and install an executive interior.

The PDR, completed on August 21, allowed the VH-92A team to demonstrate the preliminary design for the VH-92A aircraft, including integration of the MCS, and the supporting logistics elements. Completing this step signals that the program is ready to proceed into detailed design (Critical Design Review).

«This is but one of many steps toward the replacement for our Presidential Fleet of helicopters. I am pleased how effectively we’ve gotten out of the gate and established a solid foundation on which we’ll mature the detailed design work of this important program», said U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Robert Pridgen, program manager for the Naval Air Systems Command’s Presidential Helicopters Program Office. «This team is focused and disciplined. We must maintain both to ensure we meet or exceed the expectations of a program such as the VH-92A in the months ahead».

Engineering Development Model 0 (EDM-0), the first S-92A helicopter for the VH-92A Program, completed MCS testing on August 25. More than 80 hours of ground and flight-testing was conducted over the course of three months in Owego, New York, site of system integrator Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky’s principal supplier on the program.

Sikorsky accepted the second S-92A aircraft for the VH-92A program on September 3 when it was flown from Sikorsky’s commercial aircraft facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, to the Stratford, Connecticut, location. This aircraft has commenced the early stages of the modification process.

Sikorsky is working with the U.S. Navy on a fleet of VH-92A helicopters to support the presidential worldwide vertical-lift mission. To help ensure an affordable program, Sikorsky is integrating the already-FAA certified S-92A aircraft with a mature MCS and an executive interior. The VH-92A will continue to provide safe and reliable helicopter transportation for the President and Vice President of the United States and other officials.

Eventual production quantities will be determined over the life of the program, based on Department of Defense funding priorities and subject to Congressional approval of funding.

Grass runway tests

Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed certification testing of the A400M new generation airlifter on a grass runway. The tests using the development aircraft MSN2 took place over a three-week period at the airfield of Écury-sur-Coole in France in September and examined the aircraft’s behaviour on grass and natural soil runways. The A400M demonstrated excellent performance both in taxying manoeuvres, such as U-turns, and during take-off and landing on the 1,500 m strip. These tests followed earlier successful results on the gravel surface at Ablitas in Spain and will be followed by tests on sand surfaces next year.

A400M completes grass runway certification tests
A400M completes grass runway certification tests

 

Specifications

DIMENSIONS
Overall Length 45.10 m/148 feet
Overall Height 14.70 m/48 feet
Wing Span 42.40 m/139 feet
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m/58 feet
Cargo Hold Height 3.85-4.00 m/12 feet 7 inch-13 feet
Cargo Hold Width 4.00 m/13 feet
Cargo Hold Volume 340 m3/12,000 feet3
WEIGHTS
Maximum Take Off Weight 141,000 kg/310,850 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight 123,000 kg/271,200 lbs
Internal Fuel Weight 50,500 kg/111,300 lbs
Maximum Payload 37,000 kg/81,600 lbs
ENGINE (×4)
EuroProp International TP400-D6 11,000 shp/8,200 kW
PERFORMANCE
Maximum Operating Altitude 12,200 m/40,000 feet
Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS) 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h
Cruise Speed Range 0.68-0.72 M
RANGE
Range with Maximum Payload (37,000 kg/81,600 lbs) 1,780 NM/2,050 miles/3,300 km
Range with 30,000 kg/66,000 lbs Payload 2,450 NM/2,796 miles/4,500 km
Range with 20,000 kg/44,000 lbs Payload 3,450 NM/3,977 miles/6,400 km
Maximum Range (Ferry) 4,700 NM/5,406 miles/8,700 km

 

Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed certification testing of the A400M new generation airlifter on a grass runway. Tests took place over a three-week period at the airfield of Écury-sur-Coole in France in September and examined the aircraft’s behaviour on grass and natural soil runways.

LRIP of the Paladin

The U.S. Army awarded BAE Systems a contract option worth $245.3 million to complete the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of the M109A7 self-propelled howitzer and M992A3 ammunition carrier. «The success of this program is directly attributable to the partnership between the Army and BAE Systems», said Adam Zarfoss, director of Artillery and Bradley programs at BAE Systems. «We’ve worked as a team to bring this much needed enhanced combat capability to the soldier to address immediate needs while providing a platform that can support future growth as requirements evolve».

The M109A7 is considered to be the most cost-effective method to significantly improve sustainability and survivability, while reducing the logistics burden on the ABCT and supporting fires brigades
The M109A7 is considered to be the most cost-effective method to significantly improve sustainability and survivability, while reducing the logistics burden on the ABCT and supporting fires brigades

The M109A7 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, but replaces the vehicle’s chassis structure with a new design that increases survivability and allows for the integration of Bradley common drive-train and suspension components. Additionally, the system leverages technologies developed under the Crusader and Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon programs such as a 600-volt on-board power generation, distribution and management system, coupled with high-voltage gun drive and projectile ramming systems.

The state-of-the-art «digital-backbone» and power generation capability provides significant growth potential for future payloads as well as accommodating existing battlefield network requirements. The upgrades ensure commonality with the existing systems in the U.S. Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team, including the BAE Systems-built Bradley Fighting Vehicle and Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle.

BAE Systems was awarded a one-year base contract for the M109A7 in October 2013, and the first of two option year awards to produce an additional 18 vehicle sets in October 2014. The current exercise is for the second option year to produce an additional 30 sets. One set includes an M109A7 Paladin Self Propelled Howitzer (SPH) along with its battlefield companion, the M992A3 Carrier Ammunition, Tracked. With all two options exercised, BAE Systems will deliver a total of 66 vehicle sets plus one additional SPH and associated kits, spares, and technical documentation to complete the LRIP phase. The U.S. Army has a total acquisition objective of 580 vehicle sets.

Work on the M109A7 is currently underway at Anniston Army Depot, Alabama and BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania, and Elgin, Oklahoma, facilities.

Extended range: 30 km/18.6 miles with High Explosive – Rocket Assisted Projectile (HE RAP) and M203 propellant
Extended range: 30 km/18.6 miles with High Explosive – Rocket Assisted Projectile (HE RAP) and M203 propellant

 

Specifications

Gross vehicle weight 80,000 lbs/36,288 kg
Crew 4
Engine 675 hp/503 kW
Fuel tank 143 gallons/541 liters
Speed 38 mph/61 km/h
Estimated cruising range 186 miles/300 km
Slope 60%
Side slope 40%
Trench crossing 72 inches/1.8 m
Maximum fording depth 42 inches/1.0 m
Overall length 382 inches/9.7 m
Width 154 inches/3.9 m
Height 129 inches/3.3 m
Howitzer/gun mount M284 cannon/M182A1 mount
Main generator 70 kW; 600 vdc/28 vdc
Reserve power >50%
Sustained rate of fire: 1 round/minute (dependent on thermal warning devices)
Sustained rate of fire: 1 round/minute (dependent on thermal warning devices)

Globemaster fleet

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has officially welcomed its newest aircraft into service at RAAF Base Amberley on 2 November 2015. The acquisition of two additional Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, and associated equipment and facilities, is a $1 billion investment in Australia’s ability to provide vital heavy airlift to a range of global military operations.

The RAAF's eighth C-17A Globemaster touches down at RAAF Base Amberley
The RAAF’s eighth C-17A Globemaster touches down at RAAF Base Amberley

«With extraordinary lift and range, the C-17A Globemaster is an integral part of the Australian Defence Force’s airlift capability. It allows Australia to rapidly deploy troops, combat equipment, tanks, helicopters and humanitarian resources worldwide», Minister Brough said. «The C-17A Globemaster has played a central role in the ADF’s activities, including supporting the international effort to combat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, recovering the victims of the MH-17 tragedy in the Ukraine, and delivering disaster relief to victims of the Vanuatu cyclone and Queensland floods».

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, AO, CSC, said the Royal Australian Air Force was part of the global fleet of C-17A Globemasters, including the global sustainment system that delivered improved interoperability with our coalition partners.

«The C-17A Globemaster is an incredibly versatile aircraft. It allows us to provide an air bridge from Australia with supplies to the men and women deployed around the world, support Army operations, and assist at home with disaster relief such as the Queensland floods», Air Marshal Davies said. «Additional aircraft mean we can better meet the demands of moving personnel and equipment, within the short timeframes required in emergency situations, such as floods and cyclones».

Australia has worked closely with the United States Air Force to acquire the additional operating capability within a short time-frame, supporting the Government’s commitment to building a strong, capable and sustainable Australian Defence Force.

This aircraft, A41-212, is part of a two aircraft purchase that was announced by the Federal Government in 2015
This aircraft, A41-212, is part of a two aircraft purchase that was announced by the Federal Government in 2015

 

Technical Specifications

External dimensions

Wingspan to winglet tip 169.8 feet/51.74 m
Length 174 feet/53.04 m
Height at tail 55.1 feet/16.79 m
Fuselage diameter 22.5 feet/6.86 m

 

Cargo compartment

Cargo compartment crew One loadmaster
Cargo floor length 68.2 feet/20.78 m
Ramp length 21.4 feet/6.52 m structural length
Loadable width 18 feet/5.49 m
Loadable height (under wing) 12.3 feet/3.76 m
Loadable height (aft of wing) 14.8 feet/4.50 m
Ramp to ground angle 9 degrees
Ramp capacity 40,000 lbs/18,144 kg
Aerial delivery system capacity
Pallets Eleven 463L(*) pallets (including 2 on ramp)
Single load airdrop 60,000 lbs/27,216 kg platform
Sequential loads airdrop 110,000 lbs/49,895 kg (60 feet/18.29 m of platforms)
Logistic rail system capacity Eighteen 463L(*) pallets (including 4 on ramp)
Dual-row airdrop system Up to eight 18 foot/5.49 m platforms or twelve 463L(*) pallets
Combat offload All pallets from ADS (Alternative Distribution Systems) or logistic rail systems

(*) Each 463L pallet is 88 in/2.24 m wide, 108 in/2.74 m long and 2-1/4 in/0.57 m high. The usable space is 84 in/2.13 m by 104 in/2.64 m. It can hold up to 10,000 lbs/4,500 kg of cargo (not exceeding 250 lbs/113 kg per square inch) at 8 g. Empty, each pallet weighs 290 lbs/130 kg, or 355 lbs/160 kg with two side nets and a top net.

On 2 November 2015, the eighth C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force touched down at its home of RAAF Base Amberley
On 2 November 2015, the eighth C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force touched down at its home of RAAF Base Amberley

 

Seating

Sidewall (permanently installed) 54 (27 each side, 18 in/45.72 cm wide, 24 in/60.96 cm spacing center to center)
Centerline (stored on board) 48 (in sets of six back-to-back, 8 sets)
Palletized (10-passenger pallets) 80 on 8 pallets, plus 54 passengers on sidewall seats

 

Aeromedical evacuation

Litter stations (onboard) Three (3 litters each)
Litter stations (additional kit) Nine
Total capability (contingency) 36 litters and 54 ambulatory

 

Cockpit

Flight crew 2 pilots
Observer positions 2
Instrument displays 2 full-time all-function Head-Up Displays (HUD), 4 multi-function active matrix liquid crystal displays
Navigation system Digital electronics
Communication Integrated radio management system with Communications Open System Architecture (COSA)
Flight controls system Quadruple-redundant electronic flight control with mechanical backup system
RAAF Completes the C-17A Globemaster Fleet
RAAF Completes the C-17A Globemaster Fleet

 

Wing

Area 3,800 feet2/353.03 m2
Aspect Radio 7.165
Wing sweep angle 25 degrees
Airfoil type Supercritical
Flaps Fixed-vane, double-slotted, simple-hinged

 

Winglet

Height 8.92 feet/2.72 m
Span 9.21 feet/2.81 m
Area 35.85 feet2/3.33 m2
Sweep 30 degrees
Angle 15 degrees from vertical

 

Horizontal tail

Area 845 feet2/78.50 m2
Span 65 feet/19.81 m
Aspect ratio 5.0
Sweep 27 degrees

 

Landing gear

Main, type Triple Tandem
Width (outside to outside) 33.7 feet/10.26 m
Tires 50 × 21-20
Nose, type Single strut, steerable with dual wheels
Tires 40 × 16-14
Wheelbase 65.8 feet/20.06 m

 

Engine Specifications

Thrust 40,440 lbs/179.9 kN/18,345 kgf
Weight 7,100 lbs/3,220 kg
Length 146.8 in/3.73 m
Inlet diameter 78.5 in/1.99 m
Maximum diameter 84.5 in/2.15 m
Bypass ratio 5.9 to 1
Overall pressure ratio 30.8 to 1