USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) logged its 4,000th aircraft launch and recovery on September 10, showcasing the performance capabilities of the ship’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), as part of the aircraft carrier’s 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials (PDT&T) period.
Captain Kenneth Sterbenz, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) program manager (PMA-251) for EMALS and AAG, noted the milestone is a significant achievement for both the ALRE program and the Ford crew.
«EMALS and AAG are consistently performing as expected and standing up to the rigorous testing of PDT&T operations», said Sterbenz. «Reaching 4,000 launches and recoveries is not only an important performance datapoint, but it also represents years of technological development and the dedication, professionalism, and successful work put forth by the ALRE team and CVN-78».
Ford’s EMALS and AAG systems are now more than halfway through the carrier’s test and evaluation period, and the ship’s force remains on track to complete all required assessments and critical system milestones in preparation for CVN-78 to formally enter the fleet.
Shannon Coulter, PMA-251 assistant program manager for Systems Engineering, has been aboard Ford for every fixed-wing launch and recovery, including the first aircraft launch and recovery in 2017.
«It’s been incredibly rewarding for the team to watch AAG and EMALS mature over the past nine months, as Ford’s crew gains significant experience and increased confidence with maintenance and operations», said Coulter. «The NAVAIR and General Atomics programmatic, engineering, maintenance, and logistics team has done an absolutely outstanding job of supporting CVN-78 over the past 4,000 EMALS and AAG launches and recoveries, and we look forward to strong system performance throughout the remaining PDT&T events».
The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft launch and recovery technology was designed for use aboard Ford-class aircraft carriers, beginning with USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Land-based test sites, located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, enable test, troubleshooting and Sailor training. Managed by the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program Office (PMA-251) and developed by prime contractor General Atomics, EMALS and AAG provide significant technological advancements to the U.S. Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carriers, requiring a smaller footprint aboard the ship, less maintenance, and less manpower than comparable steam catapults and arresting gear aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68)-class carriers.
In order to achieve new quality in the Lithuanian Armed Forces and ensure provision of modern soldier equipment, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence has concluded an agreement with the German company Heckler & Koch and will provide its troops with pistols SFP9 SF Paddle. These pistols were chosen as the ones that best meet the needs of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The decision to purchase new pistols for Lithuanian troops was made in order to abandon using different calibre pistols and change over to the use of uniform calibre 9×19 mm pistol ammunition, leaving still usable ones for reserve and replacing weapons that are running out of resources.
The value of the concluded agreement totals to about 1.57 million euros. The agreement also provides for the possibility of purchasing additional pistols if necessary. It also includes training of personnel to operate the newly acquired weapons.
According to the agreement, the new pistols will be delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces by the end of 2021.
The German manufacturer Heckler & Koch’s pistols SFP9 SF Paddle were selected from models of thirteen manufacturers as the most suitable for the needs of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The process of selecting a pistol model also included test firing in various conditions – the firing was performed in shooting ranges of different types, in the tactical field and intervention building.
Currently, the Lithuanian Armed Forces is using Austrian GLOCK 17, American COLT 1911, and Czech ČZ75 pistols, most of which are already running out of resources.
The modernization of the Lithuanian Armed Forces armament and infrastructure is the top priority of the national defence system. After reaching, for the first time since the restoration of independence, the minimum 2% GDP financing provided for in the commitments to NATO, very important projects were launched: acquisition of infantry fighting vehicles, armoured combat support vehicles, installation of modern artillery systems, enhancement of airspace surveillance and air defence capabilities, renewal of military armament and equipment.
In its first ceremony celebrating the U.S. Navy’s newest fast-attack submarine in front of a virtual audience, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) christened pre-commissioning unit Montana (SSN-794) on September 12, 2020 at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions on the size of public gatherings, the christening ceremony was hosted virtually at Newport News’ Module Outfitting Facility.
«Yes, we are disappointed we couldn’t host the normal pomp and circumstance today, and that our shipbuilders and their families couldn’t be here in person to witness history. But as shipbuilders, we know the show must go on», said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding. «Our work doesn’t stop for a pandemic, just as the Navy’s mission never ends. It is our honor, our duty and our calling to keep the wheels of shipbuilding turning, and in doing so, bring Montana one step closer to her ultimate mission of defending the United States of America».
Boykin also applauded the work and craftsmanship of more than 10,000 shipbuilders from Newport News and its partner, General Dynamics Electric Boat who continue to assemble Montana. She also acknowledged the support of the supplier base – more than 5,000 companies in all 50 states – that provided parts and materials critical to Montana’s construction.
Former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, the ship’s sponsor, smashed a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to mark the christening of the submarine that honors the state of Montana.
«I am grateful to the shipbuilders and dedicated Navy officers and crew for building and readying Montana for service to our nation and the world», Jewell said. «It is a privilege to bless and christen this incredible submarine, and to join the current and future submariners as their shipmates for life».
The virtual event included pre-taped segments where maid of honor Mariah Gladstone, of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, recited a Native American blessing and members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, of Flathead Indian Reservation, performed a traditional Native American honor song. Representative Robert C. Scott, of Virginia; members of the Montana congressional delegation including Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, as well as Representative Greg Gianforte; and General Dynamics Electric Boat President Kevin Graney also offered pre-recorded remarks celebrating the ship’s milestone.
Vice Admiral Richard P. Snyder, the U.S. Navy’s inspector general, also was in attendance.
In his keynote address, Acting Undersecretary of the Navy Gregory J. Slavonic said: «Montana will enhance our fleet with next generation stealth, surveillance and special warfare capabilities. This powerful platform is proof of an ironclad relationship between the U.S. Navy and industrial partners who form the backbone of our maritime strength. While this submarine has the capacity to project power on the surface and undersea, it’s important to recognize the people in every stage of bringing this ship to life because our people make a difference. Montana is proof of what teamwork of all the people – civilian, contractor and military – can accomplish together».
PCU Montana is the second U.S. Navy warship bearing the state’s name. The first USS Montana (ACR-13) was an armored cruiser built at Newport News Shipbuilding and launched in 1906. During the ceremony, a replica of the bell that sailed on the first Montana was rung. The bell will be formally presented to the crew at the ship’s commissioning, and will be part of the submarine for its entire service life.
«Today is an exciting day for the Navy and the crew as our sponsor christened the Navy’s newest Virginia-class submarine, the Montana», said Captain Mike Delaney, commanding officer of the pre-commissioning unit. «While the coronavirus precluded most of the crew’s participation in this ceremony, it in no way diminishes the great accomplishment. I couldn’t be prouder of the way the crew of Montana alongside our shipbuilding partners have adapted to the new normal and focused on responsibly living up to our mission. This is not all too surprising given the innate resiliency and toughness I’ve seen my whole career in the submarine force. This submarine, like all the individuals who have contributed to getting it to this major milestone, will stand as a reflection of strength through adversity».
Three of Montana’s crew members hail from the state of Montana.
Construction of Montana began in 2015 under a teaming agreement with Electric Boat. The submarine achieved pressure hull complete earlier this year, and is about 85% complete. USS Montana (SSN-794) is scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Navy in late 2021.
Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division supports national security missions around the globe with unmanned systems, defense and federal solutions, and nuclear and environmental services. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 42,000 people operating both domestically and internationally.
General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
October 3, 2004
One GE PWR S9G* nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
377 feet/114.8 m
33 feet/10.0584 m
34 feet/10.3632 m
Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
800+ feet/244+ m
132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles
Two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes
4 torpedo tubes
MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)
NATO member Hungary orders 218 Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) from Rheinmetall worth more than €2 billion.
Hungary is the first NATO and EU member nation to order Rheinmetall’s newly developed Lynx infantry fighting vehicle. This important contract represents a major breakthrough in the global defence market for the Düsseldorf-based technology group’s innovative new combat vehicle.
The Hungarian Ministry of Defence has awarded Rheinmetall an order to supply tracked armoured vehicles and related products and services with a total value of more than €2 billion. The contractual agreement, which has now been signed in Budapest, encompasses 218 Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicles and nine Buffalo armoured recovery vehicles. The contract includes additional products and services such as simulators, training and instruction, plus an initial supply of spare parts as well as maintenance support. The Lynx IFVs will be equipped with a manned 30-mm Lance turret, likewise developed by Rheinmetall.
Looking ahead, Rheinmetall sees further potential orders stemming from this contract. Given an expected service life of several decades, the Lynx will require spare parts and regular maintenance in order to remain operationally ready.
During a first phase of production, Hungary is to receive forty-six Lynx infantry fighting vehicles as well as nine Buffalo armoured recovery vehicles, all built in Germany; delivery is to be complete by the start of 2023.
In the second production phase, an additional 172 Lynx vehicles built in Hungary will meet in full the needs of the country’s armed forces.
To this end, the Hungarian government and Rheinmetall agreed in August 2020 to establish a joint venture responsible for creating a Lynx production facility in Hungary, to be financed by a local company.
As Armin Papperger, chairman of the executive board of Rheinmetall AG, explains: «The Lynx’s market breakthrough is a major success for us. And the fact that we were able to convince Hungary – an important EU and NATO partner – to choose this innovative vehicle makes this success all the greater. In making this forward-looking procurement decision, Hungary’s top political and military officials have demonstrated real leadership. Not only does the move place Hungary at the forefront of European army technology. It reaffirms the Hungarian government’s commitment to being a reliable, more militarily effective partner of its NATO allies, a policy which it is pursuing with systematic energy».
«We greatly appreciate the Hungarian government’s trust in us which this order implies», declares Armin Papperger. «Rheinmetall is very proud to be able to make an important contribution to the sustained expansion of Hungary’s defence technology capabilities in cooperation with local industry. We look forward to working together with our Hungarian friends and partners, and will do everything in our power to assure the long-term success of this venture».
Rheinmetall will hold a majority stake and take the lead in the joint venture company to be set up in order to produce the Lynx in Hungary. In the process, Hungary will make a material investment in the project in the form of a newly constructed production facility. The resulting centre of excellence for the development, production and maintenance of armoured vehicles will create an important nucleus for the Hungarian defence industry. This constellation, which involves a local production partner in Hungary, will ensure that a substantial share of the added value deriving from the procurement project takes place in the customer country.
For Hungary, this procurement order represents a big step in its efforts to introduce a new generation of military equipment, with key systems that meet the latest NATO standards. The Lynx is currently competing in similar procurement programmes in the neighbouring Czech Republic as well as in Australia. It is foreseen that a majority of the Lance turrets for the first phase will be produced and supplied from the Rheinmetall Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Lynx – modular, flexible, future-proof
Less than five years elapsed between the initial idea for a new infantry fighting vehicle and the breakthrough order, including formulation of a strategy and the concept and development phases – an impressive feat for an inhouse-financed combat vehicle in a highly demanding market segment where prolonged procurement cycles are the norm.
The Lynx concept embraces a complete vehicle family, consisting of a chassis module and flexible mission kits in numerous variants. This means that the basic vehicle can be configured as an infantry fighting vehicle, an armoured personnel carrier, a command vehicle or field ambulance. Moreover, switching from one configuration to another can be accomplished in a matter of hours. Thanks to the uniformity of the basic vehicle, the system will result in substantially lower lifecycle costs, while simultaneously letting military users adapt to changing tactical requirements and/or leverage new capabilities. Outstanding survivability, mobility and lethality characterize the Lynx, as do excellent growth potential, including in terms of its total weight.
Its spacious interior is unsurpassed by any vehicle in its class, assuring the operational effectiveness of its three crew members and up to nine infantry dismounts.
The Lynx shields its occupants from the full spectrum of battlefield threats, including explosions, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), direct and indirect fire, cluster munitions and antitank guided missiles. With its hard-hitting combat effectiveness and excellent off-road mobility, the Lynx will give tomorrow’s armed forces a decisive edge in complex military operations at every level of intensity in all kinds of environments, overcoming multiple threats and securing favourable outcomes.
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) was selected by the U.S. Air Force to modernize the nation’s aging InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system under a $13.3 billion contract awarded on September 08, 2020 for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program.
The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center announced that the effort will span 8.5 years and include weapon system design, qualification, test and evaluation and nuclear certification. Upon successful completion of EMD, the Northrop Grumman team will begin producing and delivering a modern and fully integrated weapon system to meet the Air Force schedule of initial operational capability by 2029.
«Our nation is facing a rapidly evolving threat environment and protecting our citizens with a modern strategic deterrent capability has never been more critical», said Kathy Warden, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. «With more than 65 years of technical leadership on every ICBM system, our nationwide team is honored and committed to continuing our partnership with the U.S. Air Force to deliver a safe, secure and effective system that will contribute to global stability for years to come».
The EMD award follows a highly successful three-year Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase-one effort under the GBSD competition. The Northrop Grumman team has demonstrated innovation and agility by applying a digital engineering approach and has achieved all TMRR design review milestones on time and on cost.
Work on the program will be performed at the Northrop Grumman GBSD facilities in Roy and Promontory, Utah, as well as other key Northrop Grumman sites across the U.S. that include Huntsville and Montgomery, Alabama; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Bellevue, Nebraska; San Diego and Woodland Hills, California; Chandler, Arizona; Annapolis Junction, Maryland; and at our nationwide team locations across the country.
The Northrop Grumman GBSD team includes Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bechtel, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, HDT Global, Honeywell, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Textron Systems, as well as hundreds of small and medium-sized companies from across the defense, engineering and construction industries. Overall, the GBSD program will involve over 10,000 people across the U.S. directly working on this vital national security program. For more information, please visit: www.northropgrumman.com/gbsd.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.
The Space Development Agency (SDA) awarded a Tranche 0 contract of the Space Transport Layer to Lockheed Martin to demonstrate a mesh network of 10 small satellites that links terrestrial warfighting domains to space sensors – all launching in just two years.
The $187.5-million contract for Transport Layer’s Tranche 0 is an initial test and demonstration phase, with two prime contractors building a total of 20 satellites. The first step toward building an interoperable, connected secure mesh network, it will help enable Joint All-Domain Operations, allowing warfighters to stay ahead of emerging threats. By linking nodes together, seamless connectivity is created between all domains, much like today’s smartphones.
«We see a world across all warfighting domains where fourth and fifth-generation fighters and tactical forces on the ground can connect seamlessly with holistic situational awareness», said Kay Sears, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Military Space. «Interoperability and battlespace connectivity are critical to staying ahead of our adversaries».
The 10 satellites, operating in Low Earth Orbit, will provide secure high-bandwidth, low-latency data links. Additionally, new Link 16 network connectivity will be introduced to space. This capability will connect to systems that include fighter aircraft like F-16, F-22, and F-35, missile defense networks like PAC-3 and THAAD, weapons systems, and Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) networks, and will provide sensor-to-shooter targeting and situational awareness for tactical land and maritime warfighters.
Changing the Dynamics of Warfighting
This beyond-line-of-site tracking, targeting and communications will dramatically extend U.S. warfighting options and allows additional coalition and allied partners to eventually bring their capabilities into the network. Interoperability extends into space with prospective data connections to commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) and other military protected satcom systems, which will require close partnership with multiple companies across industry.
How Software Adds Flexibility to Missions
Each Transport Layer satellite will be fully-software defined, using SmartSat, Lockheed Martin’s software-defined platform that makes it easier to dynamically add and quickly change missions in orbit through simple app uploads. The satellites will also be fully cyber-hardened from day one using Lockheed Martin’s Cyber Resiliency Level model to identify cyber strengths and weaknesses so we can address those early in the design process.
The Transport Layer contributes to resilience in space communications. Mission resilience comes from being able to form a seamless network of networks, with network nodes spanning multiple domains and services provided via multiple tactical data links, making it much harder for an adversary to disrupt because of network diversity and node distribution.
Destroyer USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) departed from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division on September 04, 2020, sailing to its homeport in Mayport, Florida.
«Our shipbuilders have done an excellent job throughout the construction of Delbert D. Black preparing the new Aegis destroyer to join the Navy’s fleet», Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said. «Today we celebrate the continued monumental achievements of our shipbuilders with great pride, and we look forward to continuing to build state-of-the-art Navy destroyers for years to come».
Ingalls has delivered 32 destroyers to the Navy and currently has four more under construction including USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121), USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) and USS Ted Stevens (DDG-128). In June, Ingalls was awarded a $936 million contract for the construction of an additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are highly capable, multi-mission ships and can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States military strategy. Guided missile destroyers are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline
59 feet/18 m
30.5 feet/9.3 m
Displacement – Full Load
9,217 tons/9,363 metric tons
4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
SPY-1D Phased Array Radar (Lockheed Martin)/AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (Raytheon Company) and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
USNS Newport is the 12th Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship to be delivered to the United States Navy – and brings the total number of ships delivered to the Navy by Austal USA to 24 in ten years, including three this year.
Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the delivery of EPF 12 by Austal USA further strengthens the status of its Mobile, Alabama shipyard as an industry-leading facility.
«Austal USA has now delivered 24 ships to the US Navy, in just over ten years, including three in this year alone. This is a remarkable achievement and testament to the productivity and efficiency of the shipyard, which is now expanding to enable the shipbuilding and support of steel vessels», Mr. Singleton said. «The ongoing, successful delivery of both the Spearhead-class EPF and Independence-class LCS shipbuilding programs has positioned the Austal USA shipyard to pursue new aluminium and steel shipbuilding opportunities in the future».
The Spearhead-class EPF is a 103-metre high-speed aluminium catamaran with a large, 1800 square meter cargo deck, medium-lift helicopter deck and seating for 300+ embarked troops; providing a fast, high-payload transport capability to combatant commanders around the world.
The Austal-designed EPFs support a wide range of missions – from maritime security operations to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. An EPF’s flexibility also allows it to support potential future missions; such as special operations, command and control, and primary medical operations.
One additional Spearhead-class EPF is under construction at Austal USA’s shipyard; the future USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13), while the future USNS Cody (EPF-14) is scheduled to commence construction before the end of the year.
In addition to the EPF program, Austal USA is contracted to deliver 19 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Twelve Independence-class LCSs have been delivered, with an additional five ships in various stages of construction and two contracted but yet to start.
Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
103 m/337.9 feet
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
4.75 m/15.6 feet
26.2 m/86.0 feet
ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations
6 Interface Panels
Galley and Messing
4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit Range
1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km
5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km
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
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
According to Oh Seok-min from the Yonhap News Agency, South Korea began assembling a prototype of what would be the country’s first indigenously developed fighter jet Thursday, September 3, 2020, in a landmark step that means the ambitious project is materializing.
Under the KF-X project worth 8.8 trillion won (US$7.3 billion), South Korea has been working since late 2015 to develop a home-grown cutting-edge fighter aircraft to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 jets.
Following the design confirmation last year, Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI) got down to the final assembly of a prototype jet at its assembly line in Sacheon, 440 kilometers/273 miles south of Seoul, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
KAI is the country’s sole aircraft manufacturer and is in charge of the KF-X project.
The prototype is expected to be ready in the first half of 2021, and the agency is eyeing 2026 for the completion of development after ground and flight tests, according to DAPA.
Last month, the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) produced a prototype of an advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system as a key part of the envisioned combat jet.
«Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, the KF-X project has been under way as planned, and the prototype is expected to be available next year», DAPA official Jung Kwang-sun said.
The aircraft is designed to be able to fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.81, with its flying range reaching 2,900 kilometers/1,802 miles. It bears outward similarities to the fifth-generation F-35A Lightning II, according to the KAI.
With a maximum payload of 7,700 kilograms/16,976 lbs., the fighter is capable of installing 10 pods for missiles and fuel barrels. It will be able to carry several types of air-to-air missiles, such as Germany’s IRIS-T and European developer MBDA’s active radar guided Meteor missiles, it added.
September 1, 2020, DARPA and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) announced successful completion of captive carry tests of two variants of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) and are ready to proceed to first free-flight testing within the calendar year. The joint Agency and Service effort seeks to develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile.
HAWC performers Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies have each tested advanced air vehicle configurations that promise to achieve and sustain efficient hypersonic flight. Their upcoming flight tests will focus on hydrocarbon scramjet-powered propulsion and thermal management techniques to enable prolonged hypersonic cruise, in addition to affordable system designs and manufacturing approaches.
«Completing the captive carry series of tests demonstrates both HAWC designs are ready for free flight», said Andrew «Tippy» Knoedler, HAWC program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. «These tests provide us a large measure of confidence – already well informed by years of simulation and wind tunnel work – that gives us faith the unique design path we embarked on will provide unmatched capability to U.S. forces».
The HAWC program, since inception, has been executed as a joint program between DARPA and the USAF. In addition, DARPA is working in cooperation with military services and agencies, including the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to validate, and eventually transition key technologies. The extensive flight data collected is intended to increase the confidence in air-breathing hypersonic systems and reduce the risks to potential future acquisition programs across the U.S. government.