Category Archives: Rocket

Bulgaria selects AMRAAM

Bulgaria became the world’s 40th Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) user when the European nation recently signed an agreement to purchase the missile from the U.S. Air Force through a foreign military sales contract. This letter of offer and acceptance allows the U.S. government to begin contract negotiations with Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, for production of an undisclosed quantity of missiles.

AMRAAM
Bulgaria selects AMRAAM missile to bolster its air-to-air defense capabilities

«AMRAAM delivers unprecedented air superiority to pilots, giving them a decisive advantage in the sky», said Paul Ferraro, vice president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s Air Power business. «The weapon will significantly improve Bulgaria’s ability to defend against advanced threats».

The AMRAAM is a dual-role missile, offering operational flexibility in air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the air-to-air role, the weapon’s advanced active guidance section and mature seeker design allow it to quickly find targets in the most challenging environments.

AMRAAM is the world’s most sophisticated, combat-proven air dominance missile. With more than 30 years of design, upgrades, testing and production, the AIM-120 missile continues to meet warfighter requirements in all weather and beyond visual range engagements. Its capabilities have been fully demonstrated in over 4,800 test shots and more than 10 air-to-air combat victories.

Strategic Deterrent

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.

Northrop Grumman will lead a nationwide team to deliver the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent 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.

Missile Defense System

MBDA Deutschland and Lockheed Martin, the TLVS bidders consortium (TLVS JV), have submitted an updated proposal to the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). The proposal includes development, test, certification and delivery of Germany’s future Integrated Air and Missile Defense system.

MBDA and Lockheed Martin submit proposal for Germany’s next generation Integrated Air and Missile Defense System

«More than 80 subcontractors will support the TLVS program. At peak performance, more than 6,000 highly qualified employees will benefit from the implementation of TLVS, with the majority in Germany. A broad spectrum of industrial capabilities is to be involved covering system of systems engineering, cybersecurity, digitization, as well as cutting edge radar, optical and electrical engineering including small and medium suppliers. With these capabilities the TLVS program will ensure defense against advanced and future air and missile threats», said Thomas Gottschild, managing director MBDA Deutschland. «In the last months we made progress in further detailing the Integrated Master Schedule, relevant specifications as well as performance simulations to de-risk the future contract».

Current threats demand a mobile IAMD system that is full 360-degree capable and based on an open network-centric architecture. Only the TLVS system has these capabilities and the ability to rapidly adapt to the ever-changing threat environments.

«Supporting Germany’s essential security interests, the TLVS Joint Venture between MBDA Deutschland and Lockheed Martin builds on our proud legacy of partnership with Germany to create jobs, share technical expertise and deliver capabilities to benefit industry on both sides of the Atlantic», said Scott Arnold, vice president, Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «TLVS is a demonstrated, modern system that can transform Germany’s defense capabilities and enable Germany as the NATO Framework Nation for Air & Missile Defense».

Designed to replace Germany’s aging, sectored Patriot systems designed in the late 1960s, the 2020 TLVS proposal provides protection from a broader threat spectrum with two mission-specific effectors, significantly enhanced sensor capabilities for long range engagements and a new communications and Battle Management system to support enhanced interoperability, data fusion and cyber resilience. TLVS will transform Germany’s defense capabilities and set an important precedent in how neighboring nations address persistent global threats for years to come.

Flight test

The U.S. Army successfully engaged multiple targets during a flight test using the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS). The test, conducted as part of the IBCS Limited User Test (LUT), demonstrated IBCS’ ability to maintain continuous track custody of the targets, despite contested environment conditions, by fusing data from multiple sensors.

A Northrop Grumman produced Engagement Operations Center (EOC) and Interactive Collaborative Environment (ICE) emplaced at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico for the IBCS Limited User Test (Source U.S. Army)

«We are extremely pleased with how IBCS performed during this flight test», said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. «We have been working on an extraordinary command and control system in partnership with the U.S. Army, and our goals are the same – to get this capability into the hands of the warfighter as soon as possible».

The first of two planned operational flight tests was conducted at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico by the soldiers from the U.S. Army 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment. The test’s defense laydown included an Air and Missile Defense task force including two Battery and 1 Battalion engagement operations centers, two Patriot and Sentinel radars, and three Patriot Advanced Capability Three (PAC-3) launchers connected at the component level, to the IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN).

The test began when two cruise missile surrogate threats were launched and flew at a low altitude in a maneuvering formation through a mountain range towards defended assets. IBCS fused real-time data from all sensors into a single, accurate composite track for each threat. The soldiers were presented with engagement solutions computed by IBCS which were then executed. The soldiers launched two PAC-3 missiles controlled by IBCS that successfully intercepted both threats. IBCS was able to perform all functions successfully despite being subjected to contested environment conditions designed to disrupt the IFCN network, demonstrating the resilience and survivability of the system.

The Limited User Test, which comprises several tests, is intended to simulate realistic warfighting operations and place performance stresses on the systems to ensure it will perform as intended under the most rigorous circumstances once deployed. This LUT is conducted to inform a Milestone C decision which will transition the IBCS program into the production and operational testing phase.

IBCS utilizes multiple sensors and effectors to extend the battlespace, engage threats providing 360° protection, increases survivability by enabling early detection and continuous tracking, and delivers transformational warfighting capabilities to defeat an increasingly complex threat.

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.

Iron Dome facility

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, and RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., an Israeli-based defense technology company, have signed a joint venture to establish an Iron Dome Weapon System production facility in the United States. The new partnership, called Raytheon RAFAEL Area Protection Systems, anticipates finalizing a site location before the end of the year.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, RAFAEL team to establish U.S.-based Iron Dome Weapon System production facility

«This will be the first Iron Dome all-up-round facility outside of Israel, and it will help the U.S. Department of Defense and allies across the globe obtain the system for defense of their service members and critical infrastructure», said Raytheon Missiles & Defense Systems’ Sam Deneke, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense business execution.

The new facility will produce both the Iron Dome Weapon System, which consists of the Tamir interceptor and launcher, and the SkyHunter missile, a U.S. derivative of Tamir. Both Tamir and SkyHunter intercept incoming cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems and short-range targets such as rockets, artillery, mortars and other aerial threats.

«We are excited about this new stage in our partnership with Raytheon and proud of our U.S. production», said Brigadier General (res.) Pini Yungman, executive vice president for Air and Missile Defense of RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems. «We have long partnered on U.S. production of Iron Dome and are pleased to increase manufacturing and bring SkyHunter to the U.S».

Raytheon Missiles & Defense and RAFAEL have teamed for over a decade on Iron Dome, the world’s most-used system with more than 2,500 operational intercepts and a success rate exceeding 90 percent.

Gray Wolf

The 416th Flight Test Squadron recently completed a round of tests of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s «Gray Wolf» prototype cruise missile at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Members from the Gray Wolf test team and 416th Flight Test Squadron, pose for a photo following a captive-carry flight test of the Gray Wolf cruise missile prototype at Edwards Air Force Base, California, June 9 (Air Force photo by Kyle Brazier)

Gray Wolf is a DoD-directed prototype production and demonstration of low-cost, subsonic and networked collaborative cruise missiles. The missiles are designed to launch in a swarm to target enemy integrated air defense threats.

«Gray Wolf is a science & technology demonstration effort, intended as a proof of concept program», said Conor Most, 416th FLTS Flight Test Engineer. «AFRL serves as the System Program Office (SPO) for the weapon and developed the original request for proposal».

The missiles offer a stand-off solution for the warfighter through its variable payload capability. Earlier this year, the Gray Wolf’s TDI-J85 engine completed a successful flight test campaign culminating in multiple inflight windmill starts and operation at high altitude.

The program has already reached certain test milestones: Electromagnetic Interference & Compatibility (EMIC) and a «captive carry» flight. A live release test at the Naval Air Station Point Mugu Sea Test Range is scheduled later this summer.

«The EMIC check is ground check to confirm the missile is okay to fly on our specific test aircraft», Most explained. «A captive-carry flight is the first flight with the weapon; the goal is to rehearse the weapon flight profile and gather critical state/environmental data about the weapon».

Most added that the importance of successfully conducting physical tests, as opposed to laboratory-simulated, provides the Gray Wolf team with invaluable critical data.

«Getting the weapon airborne and gathering data is crucial to the development for a new weapon system like this», Most said. «With just one captive carry flight, the team learned more than in weeks or months of laboratory testing. Modeling and simulation go a long way to helping you predict how a new weapon will behave, but they will never replace actually putting the weapon on an aircraft and observing how it actually behaves in a real-world environment».

Conducting physical flight tests is critical to mission success, and the Gray Wolf test team faced challenges amidst COVID-19 restrictions as different portions of the test team were located throughout the country. Besides the test team at Edwards, the Gray Wolf tests included personnel from AFRL, Point Mugu, and others throughout the Air Force Test Center enterprise, namely at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

«Key support from AFRL and AFTC leadership enabled the missions to take place», said Captain Adam Corley, AFRL Gray Wolf Program Manager. «These tests overcame, and were accomplished, during the COVID-19 posture. Collaboration between Eglin, Edwards, and the Point Mugu Sea Range made these flight tests possible. Through close partnership, we were able to fly on the sea range and stream live feeds to Edwards and Eglin control rooms overcoming the travel ban issue and allowing key personnel to participate in the flight tests».

First SPY-6 Radar

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, delivered the first AN/SPY-6(V)1 radar array for installation on the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), the U.S. Navy’s first Flight III guided-missile destroyer. The SPY-6 family of radars performs simultaneous air, missile and surface defense on seven types of U.S. Navy ships.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, delivered the first AN/SPY-6(V)1 radar array for installation on the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), the U.S. Navy’s first Flight III guided-missile destroyer

«SPY-6 will change how the Navy conducts surface fleet operations», said Captain Jason Hall, program manager for Above-Water Sensors for the U.S. Navy’s Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems. «Our ships will be able to see farther, react quicker and defend against threats in a way we couldn’t before».

The 14′ × 14’/4.27 m × 4.27 m modular array was transported by truck from the company’s automated 30,000-square-foot/2,787 square-meter Radar Development Facility in Andover, Massachusetts, to Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

«This is the start of what will be a steady stream of SPY-6 array deliveries to the shipyard», said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «Threats to Navy ships are getting smaller and faster. SPY-6 will extend the Navy’s reach against dangers like drones, ballistic missiles, aircraft and unmanned ships».

The SPY-6(V) family of radars delivers significantly greater range, increased accuracy, greater resistance to environmental and man-made electronic clutter, advanced electronic protection, and higher reliability than currently deployed radars.

Beyond-Line-Of-Sight

MBDA is joining with 13 partners and subcontractors from 5 countries to develop a new capability based on the MMP missile system (Missile Moyenne Portée, Medium-Range Missile) that will be unique for mounted and dismounted forces.

MBDA’s MMP missile selected to fulfill the European Beyond-Line-Of-Sight battlefield engagement capability

LynkEUs, an MBDA coordinated project, has been selected by the European Commission as part of the new European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), following consultation with Member States.

LynkEUs is the first technological and industrial contribution to the objectives of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) capability project. The BLOS capability project had been approved in November 2018 by the EU Defence Ministers.

The LynkEUs project is managed in close partnership with the French, Belgian and Cypriot armed forces. The project seeks to define an initial operational concept for a European BLOS capability. It will also provide an opportunity to identify and test emerging solutions of potential value for future upgrades to the capability, and will be validated by a test campaign.

The concepts and tests completed for the PESCO BLOS project will contribute to the development of a family of man-on-the loop BLOS missile systems with back image, based on the MMP medium range missile, and under full control of Europe’s defence industry.

Eric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said: «LynkEUs is the first cooperative project in the missile systems field leveraging on the new EU defence instruments, and the first EU defence R&D project to be coordinated by MBDA. It demonstrates our eagerness to cooperate to an ever-greater extent in Europe and to expand our circle of industrial and technological partnerships, particularly with innovative SMEs and European research centres. It also demonstrates our commitment to serve European strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty ambitions».

MBDA and its 10 partners – from Belgium: The Royal Military Academy, John Cockerill Defense, FN Herstal, Thales Belgium, and Xenics; from Cyprus: Aditess, Cyprus Institute, and SignalGenerix; from France: Novadem and Safran; along with the 3 subcontractors: MILREM (from Estonia), DELAIR (from France), and Carmenta (from Sweden) – are now entering the negotiation phase of the grant agreement with the Commission.

This first success at the European level paves the way for further collaborative projects, that will consolidate a European BLOS capability by developing associated functions such as training systems and cooperative engagement. These new projects could be eligible for the future European Defence Fund as early as 2021.

Air Defence Systems

On June 19 the NASAMS (National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) medium-range air defence systems procured from Norway were delivered to the Air Defence Battalion of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The modern air defence equipment will provide the Lithuanian Air Force with a several tens of kilometres effective range capability.

NASAMS medium-range air defence systems delivered to the Lithuanian Air Force

«Arrival of the systems has made the Lithuanian air defence stronger and contributes to further strengthening of deterrence. If we link together all elements of the defence system, we get good results that will make potential aggressor think twice, and consequently give us more security and discretion», Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys says.

NASAMS is the most widely used mid-range air defence system in NATO member states, and even for guarding the airspace over the White House. Lithuania has acquired the most recent, their generation, NASAMS 3, its current users are still only the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of Norway, the manufacturer.

The procured NASAMS systems comprise many components – fire control centres, missile launchers, communications equipment, etc. Lithuania also upgraded the RBS70 short-range air defence systems it has been using, both systems will be integrated to form an overall Lithuanian airspace defence shield.

Training of qualified personnel for work with the new equipment began in Norway in the end of last year according to methodology and programs developed by the Norwegian Armed Forces and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Further training will be carried in Lithuania by Norwegian professionals on the ground, in the Air Defence Battalion. The personnel are planned to be fully trained by 2021 and integration of the systems into the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS) will begin.

Anti-Radiation Missile

The U.S. Navy completed the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1 at the Patuxent River test range.

The U.S. Navy conducts the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1 at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River test range in Maryland (U.S. Navy photo)

During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate integration and structural characteristics of the AARGM-ER. Test points were completed across a range of flight conditions to demonstrate carriage compatibility of AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

«This first flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase», said Captain Mitch Commerford, who oversees the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242). «Data collected from this testing will inform the planned build-up and overall expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER».

Testing will continue over the next few years in preparation for initial operational capability in fiscal year 2023, he said.

The extended range variant, which leverages the AARGM program that’s currently in full rate production, has been upgraded with a new rocket motor and warhead. It will provide advanced capability to detect and engage enemy air defense systems.

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and will also be compatible for integration on the F-35A/B/C Lightning II.