The last line of defense

After waiting on the U.S. to make good on plans to develop a diesel electric attack submarine (SSK) for almost 15 years, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence announced it was kicking off its own domestic attack submarine construction program, the agency told Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan. Defense officials told the legislative body preparation work would begin this year starting with a modest $315,000 start into a $94.46 million four-year effort, beginning in earnest in 2016.

A Taiwan Navy SS-793 Hai Lung diesel-electric submarine emerges from underwater during a naval demonstration near a military naval base in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, in this file picture taken January 22, 2013
A Taiwan Navy SS-793 Hai Lung diesel-electric submarine emerges from underwater during a naval demonstration near a military naval base in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, in this file picture taken January 22, 2013

According to Sam LaGrone, USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, the planned result would be around four SSKs to replace the island’s current boats – 2 Dutch-built, 1980s vintage 2,600-ton Hai-lang-class SSKs and 2 World War II era U.S. Guppy-class boats used for training. «At present the navy’s demand is submarines ranging from 1,200-3,000 tons», Vice Adm. Hsiao Wei-min with the Republic of China Navy (RoCN) told the legislator on Monday.

The new boats are a long awaited hedge against the expansion of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the looming threat of an amphibious assault from the mainland. «After Taiwan has lost air and sea control, it’s the submarines that will still be able to attack groups of amphibious landing aircraft», Wang Jyh-perng, RoCN reserve captain told the Asia Times.

As is known, in 2001, the Bush administration promised Taiwan 8 U.S.-built SSKs but the boats never materialized for several reasons. With rare exception, the U.S. naval submarine industrial base has built only nuclear submarines (SSN) since the 1960s. Moreover, there are elements in the U.S. Navy are also reportedly reluctant to stray from the SSN model.

Hai Shih (SS-791), ex-USS Cutlass (SS-478), oldest active submarine in the world
Hai Shih (SS-791), ex-USS Cutlass (SS-478), oldest active submarine in the world

Taiwan’s other submarine options are non-existent. Other countries have been fearful of drawing the ire of mainland China by supplying Taiwan with submarines, or even design help. By the way, in November, 2014 the Chinese foreign ministry reiterated its position on foreign design aid to the RoCN following the announcement of U.S. and Italian companies in developing a domestic mine countermeasures (MCM) ship.

«We ask relevant countries to respect China’s core interests, adhere to the one-China principle, neither sell arms to Taiwan in any form nor assist Taiwan in developing its military equipment, and take concrete actions to support the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and peaceful reunification of China», said a foreign ministry spokesman.

Taiwan is now in the midst of naval capabilities refresh. In addition to the new SSK submarine program, it plans to acquire four U.S. Oliver Hazard Perry frigates – the USS Taylor (FFG-50), USS Gary (FFG-51), USS Carr (FFG-52) and USS Elrod (FFG-55) – and has recently launched the first of a planned class of missile frigates (USS Taylor).

USS Taylor, one of the frigates that the U.S. is scheduled to sell Taiwan
USS Taylor, one of the frigates that the U.S. is scheduled to sell Taiwan

Modern, powerful, stealthy

The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) has received its third Incheon-class guided-missile frigate, delivered under the Future Frigate Experimental (FFX) programme, Ridzwan Rahmat, IHS Jane’s Navy International correspondent reported.

HDF-3000 type Frigate is the latest multi-purpose combatant designed by HHI in the late 2000 under RoKN FFX Program
HDF-3000 type Frigate is the latest multi-purpose combatant designed by HHI in the late 2000 under RoKN FFX Program

The news agency Yonhap cited the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) as saying that the vessel, named RoKS Jeonbuk (pennant number 813), will become operational in May following a four-month integration process. The warship is expected to take on roles such as maritime surveillance and anti-submarine patrol.

Jeonbuk is the third ship in the class to be produced by shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries. The company was also contracted to produce the first two vessels in class, Incheon (811) and Gyeonggi (812), commissioned in January 2013 and November 2014 respectively. Another local company, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, has been contracted to produce ships four to six.

IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships notes that a further nine ships are projected to enter service by 2020. This batch of nine will be built to a substantially revised design. Some estimates suggest that a class of up to 20 vessels in total may be procured.

Principal Mission: Surface-to-surface warfare; Anti-Submarine warfare; Anti-aircraft and anti-missile; Self-defence
Principal Mission: Surface-to-surface warfare; Anti-Submarine warfare; Anti-aircraft and anti-missile; Self-defence

HDF-3000 type Frigate (official designation of the FFX) is the latest multi-purpose combatant. The modern, powerful, stealthy frigate will replace HDF-2000 Ulsan Class Frigate, which have been operating as major force of RoKN ever since delivery by HHI in 1980 HDF-2000H is derivative and 2nd generation of HDF-2000 with helicopter landing deck and hangar, applying stealth technology.

Equipped with Raytheon’s Mk-49 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile surface-to-air weapon, a Phalanx Block 1B Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), and a hull-mounted sonar, the platform offers improved Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities. As IHS Jane’s reported, the RoKN will deploy AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat ASW helicopters on the Incheon class.

The frigates’ six torpedo tubes (2×3) will carry indigenously developed K745 Cheong Sangeo (Blue Shark) 324 mm torpedoes: these weapons have a speed in excess of 45 knots/51.8 mph/83 km/h; they can also be operated in shallow waters such as the Korean peninsula’s West Sea.

The Incheon-class frigates have a length of 114 m, a beam of 14 m, and a draught of 4 m. The frigates displace 3,200 tons at full load and can attain a top speed of 30 knots/34.5 mph/56 km/h. Maximum range is 4500 NM/8,334 km at a cruising speed of 18 knots/20.7 mph/33 km/h. The vessel is powered by gas turbines in a CODOG configuration (Combined diesel or gas). The new frigates accommodate a crew of 140.

 

Helicopters to Poland

According to Jaroslaw Adamowski, DefenseNews.com correspondent, Poland’s Ministry of Defense has obtained three offers in its much-awaited tender to acquire some 70 new helicopters for the country’s armed forces. The bidders include:

  • Airbus Helicopters;
  • Sikorsky;
  • PZL-Swidnik – a Poland-based subsidiary of AgustaWestland.
Airbus Helicopters EC-725 Caracal (also named Super Cougar)
Airbus Helicopters EC-725 Caracal (also named Super Cougar)

«The next phase of the tender will be to perform an analysis of the submitted documents by the commission which is carrying out this procedure, and to select the best offer and test the helicopter», Col. Jacek Sonta, the spokesperson for the Defense Ministry, said in a statement.

A consortium led by Airbus Helicopters is offering the EC-725, while Sikorsky wants to supply its S70i Black Hawk, and AgustaWestland is offering the AW-149.

The Airbus Helicopters EC-725 Caracal (also named Super Cougar) is a long-range tactical transport helicopter developed from the Super Puma/Cougar family for military use. It is a twin-engined aircraft and can carry up to 29-seated troops along with 2 crew, depending on customer configuration. The helicopter is marketed for troop transport, casualty evacuation, and combat search and rescue duties, and is similar to the civilian EC-225.

The Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk is an international military version assembled by Sikorsky subsidiary, PZL-Mielec in Poland. It was developed for the U.S. Army in the 1970s, winning a competition to be designated the UH-60 Black Hawk and spawning a large family in United States military service. New and improved versions of the UH-60 have been developed since. Civilian versions and some military versions of this medium transport/utility helicopter are produced under various S-70 model designations.

S-70i Black Hawk is an international military version assembled by Sikorsky subsidiary, PZL-Mielec in Poland
S-70i Black Hawk is an international military version assembled by Sikorsky subsidiary, PZL-Mielec in Poland

The AgustaWestland AW149 is a medium-lift military helicopter being developed by AgustaWestland. On 20 June 2011, AgustaWestland announced the AW189, a civilian development of the AW149, for service in 2013.

The new helicopters are designed to replace the Polish military’s Soviet-designed Mil Mi-8, Mi-14 and Mi-17 old helicopters.

Local newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported that the planned deal is estimated to be worth up to 10 billion zloty ($2.8 billion).

According to the ministry, the helicopters are to be supplied in three variants, including:

  • Multi-Task Transport;
  • Search-And-Rescue;
  • Anti-Submarine.

«Following the signature of an offset deal, it will become possible for us to sign a contract for the delivery of the helicopters. Under the plan, this will happen in the second half of 2015», Sonta said.

Deliveries are scheduled for 2017 to 2022.

The AgustaWestland AW149 is a medium-lift military helicopter
The AgustaWestland AW149 is a medium-lift military helicopter

Big Three

It is said in The Aerospace Daily & Defense Report that Airbus and Boeing are jointly attempting to unseat Lockheed Martin from South Korea’s KF-X indigenous fighter program, offering stealth know-how from Europe that could not be supplied from U.S. sources.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in flight over mountains, snow. In route to India Aero Show.
F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in flight over mountains, snow. In route to India Aero Show.

With Korean Airlines as the local partner, the pair are likely to be proposing the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as a base design for the KF-X. The defense ministry’s procurement office, the Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA), issued a request for proposals for KF-X development on December 23, 2014.

The Boeing-Airbus KF-X proposal should be an economical alternative to a fighter design of the defense ministry’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) that Korea Aerospace Industries has been expected to build with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin.

According to DefenseNews.com, Seoul aims to produce 120 KF-X jets between 2023 and 2030. The state-funded ADD has long studied a twin-engine concept, either of the C103 design that looks somewhat like the F-35 or the C203 design following the European approach and using forward canards in a stealth-shaped airframe. Both of the twin-engine platforms would be powered by two 18,000-pound (80 kN/8,165 kgf) engines, ADD officials said.

The Agency for Defense Development has long studied a twin-engine concept, either of the C103 design that looks somewhat like the F-35
The Agency for Defense Development has long studied a twin-engine concept, either of the C103 design that looks somewhat like the F-35

Korea Aerospace Industries, on the other hand, prefers a single-engine concept, dubbed C501, which is to be built based on the FA-50, a light attack aircraft version of the T-50 supersonic trainer jet co-produced by Lockheed Martin. The C501 aircraft, powered by a 29,000-pound (129 kN/13,154 kgf) engine, is designed to be fitted with a limited low-observable configuration and advanced avionics.

The U.S. limits the technology that its companies can transfer abroad. Thus, South Korea lacks technology in many fields, such as active, electronically scanning radar. Nevertheless, Airbus, as an airframe company, is probably involved in the Boeing bid as a supplier of stealth know-how that the U.S. company is not authorized to provide.

A budget of 8.6991 trillion won ($7.9171 billion) approved by the finance ministry this month must be intended to pay for development of the ADD KF-X. However, parliament has not yet authorized that spending or the launch of full-scale development, nor can it do so before it votes on the government’s 2016 budget next December.

Korea Aerospace Industries, on the other hand, prefers a single-engine concept, dubbed C501, which is to be built based on the FA-50, a light attack aircraft version of the T-50 supersonic trainer jet co-produced by Lockheed Martin
Korea Aerospace Industries, on the other hand, prefers a single-engine concept, dubbed C501, which is to be built based on the FA-50, a light attack aircraft version of the T-50 supersonic trainer jet co-produced by Lockheed Martin

In the meantime, KAL (Korean Air Lines) looks likely to submit the cheaper alternative, based on the Super Hornet, to DAPA in response to its request for proposals.

Industry officials previously told Aviation Week that Boeing was proposing the Advanced Super Hornet, an update of the F/A-18E/F with a weapons pod and conformal tanks. Other industry officials said Boeing was working with Korean Airlines. Now different officials say that Airbus is also on the team.

This is not the first time that Boeing has offered non-U.S. technology to South Korea. When proposing an advanced F-15 version called the Silent Eagle for the separate F-X Phase 3 fighter program, Boeing suggested technology transfer from Israel Aerospace Industries, an industry official says. Lockheed Martin won F-X Phase 3 with the F-35 and in return is supposed to back KF-X development.

Boeing suggested F-15 Silent Eagle for the separate F-X Phase 3 fighter program
Boeing suggested F-15 Silent Eagle for the separate F-X Phase 3 fighter program

Like a smartphone

The third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy was encapsulated into its payload fairing. It is scheduled to launch January 20 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

MUOS SV1 is encapsulated at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Florida
MUOS SV1 is encapsulated at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Florida

«This third MUOS launch is another major step toward achieving a fully operational MUOS end-to-end capability by 2016», said Navy Capt. Joseph Kan, the MUOS program manager in a statement. «The Navy, in close collaboration with the Army, Air Force and our industry partners, is bringing the future of worldwide mobile satellite communications into reality for the United States and potentially allied nations».

MUOS operates like a smart phone network in the sky, vastly improving current secure mobile satellite communications for warfighters on the move. Unlike previous systems, MUOS provides users an on-demand, beyond-line-of-sight capability to transmit and receive high-quality, prioritized voice and mission data, on a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

«MUOS is a game changer in communications for our warfighters and will allow them to have high-fidelity voice conversations, networked team calls and data exchange, including video, with anyone connected to a secure terminal around the world», said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. «The launch of MUOS-3 will increase our network coverage to about three-quarters of the globe».

Replacing the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Follow-On system, MUOS satellites have two payloads to ensure UHF narrowband communications accessibility and new capabilities. MUOS’ advanced Wideband Code Division Access (WCDMA) payload incorporates commercial technology and a new waveform to provide users priority-based capacity. Once fully operational, MUOS will provide comparatively 16 times the capacity of the legacy system. More than 50,000 terminals in the field today can be retrofitted with WCDMA.

The system consists of four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations
The system consists of four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations

MUOS is expected to provide warfighters global coverage before the end of 2015. MUOS-1 and MUOS-2, launched respectively in 2012 and 2013, are already operational and providing high-quality voice communications. MUOS-4 is on track to launch later in the year. The fourth and final required MUOS ground station also is expected to be operational early next year.

For MUOS, Lockheed Martin is building on its proven record of providing progressively advanced spacecraft for protected, narrowband and wideband military satellite communications. Lockheed Martin built the legacy Milstar protected communications satellites, as well as the Defense Satellite Communications Systems (DSCS) wideband communications spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force. Lockheed Martin is also the prime contractor on the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program, a next-generation military satellite communications system to deliver vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.

According to Sam LaGrone, the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, MUOS was originally to be paired with the Pentagon’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program that was cancelled in 2011. Now there are few program of record radios for the systems, though General Dynamics, Rockwell Collins and Harris have developed MUOS compatible radios.

The MUOS Flt 1 vehicle prepares to enter the DELTA chamber for thermal vac testing
The MUOS Flt 1 vehicle prepares to enter the DELTA chamber for thermal vac testing

 

Communication Service Types

Voice:                                                Conversational and recognition voice

Data:                                                  Low data rate telemetry, short digital messaging, imagery transfer, file transfer, electronic mail, remote computer access, remote sensor reception, sporadic messaging for distributed applications, video, video teleconferencing

Mixed Voice and Data Services:      Mixed transport of voice and data

 

Communication Characteristics

Satellites:                                            4 GEO satellites and an on-orbit spare.                                                                   16 WCDMA beams per satellite.                                                                                 Satellite carries MUOS WCDMA and                                                                       legacy UHF SATCOM payloads

Access Type:                                      WCDMA

Data Rates:

Up to 384 kbps on the move

Bandwidth:

Four 5-MHz carriers

Transport Network:

IPv4 and IPv6 dual stack network

DoD Teleport:

Portal to Defense Information Systems Network:

DSN, SIPRNET, NIPRNET

Access Type:                                      Legacy UHF SATCOM

Bandwidth:

17 25-kHz and 21 5-kHz channels

 

The foundation of the MUOS architecture is a direct sequence spread spectrum WCDMA waveform leveraged from 3G commercial mobile technologies. WCDMA offers adaptive power control to provide the required quality of service to each user while simultaneously maximizing system capacity. MUOS uses Internet Protocol versions 4 and 6 (IPv4/IPv6) to give the warfighter global roaming connectivity to the Global Information Grid. The architecture is also designed for significant growth as capacity demand increases. In fact, the MUOS frequency allocation reserves enough space for four more satellites, providing effortless growth capability.

 

Unmanned Aircraft

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk
Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk
MODEL/DESIGNATION LENGTH (FT./M) SPAN (FT./M) GROSS WEIGHT (LB./KG) POWERPLANT (NO./TYPE) POWER/THRUST PAYLOAD, LB./KG (WT./TYPE) SPEED (KT./KM/H) ENDURANCE MAX. ALTITUDE (FT./M)
AAI Corp.
RQ-7Bv2 Shadow 11.8/3.596 20.4/6.217 467/211.8 1 × UEL AR741 rotary 38 hp/28.3 kW 45-80/20.4-36.2 (EO/IR/LD) 90-110/ 166-203 9 hr. 15,000/4,572
AeroVironment Inc.
RQ-11B Raven 3/0.914 4.5/1.371 4.2/1.9 1 × electric 200 W 6.5 oz./184.2 gram (EO/IR) 17-44/31-81 60-90 min. 500/152.4
RQ-20A Puma AE 4.6/1.402 9.2/2.804 13/5.8 1 × electric 600 W EO/IR 20-45/37-83 2 hr. 500/152.4
Elbit Systems
Hermes 450 20/6.096 34.5/10.515 1,200/544.3 1 × UEL AR801 rotary 60 hp/44.7 kW 400/181.4 (EO/IR/LD) 70-95/129-175 17 hr. 18,000/5,486.4
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
MQ-1C Gray Eagle 28/8.534 56/17.068 3,200/1,451.5 1 × Thielert Centurion 2.0 HFE 135 hp/100.6 kW 1,075/487.6 internal/external 167/309 25 hr. 29,000/8,839.2
MQ-9 Reaper 36/10.972 66/20.116 10,500/4,762.7 1 × Honeywell TPE331-10 900 shp/671.1 kW 3,850/1,746.3 internal/external 240/444 27 hr.+ 50,000/15,240
Insitu
RQ-21A Blackjack 7.2/2.194 16/4.876 135/61.2 1 × NWUAV gas/HFE 8 hp/5.9 kW 37.5/17.0 (EO/IR/LRF) 55-80+/ 101-148+ 24 hr. 15,000+/4,572+
ScanEagle 2 5.6/1.706 10.2/3.108 51.8/23.4 1 × N20 (gas), N21 (HFE) 2.7 hp/2.0 kW 7.7/3.4 (EO/IR+) 50-80/92-148 16 hr.+ 19,500/5,943.6
Israel Aerospace Industries
Heron TP 45.9/13.990 85.3/25.999 10,230/4,640.2 1 × P&WC PT6A 1,200 shp/894.8 kW 4,400/1,995.8 (EO/IR, SAR, Elint, comm) 242/448 36 hr. 45,000/13,716
Super Heron HF 55.8/17.007 3,200/1,451.5 1 × HFE 200 hp+/149.1+ kW 990/449.0 (EO/IR, SAR, Elint, comm) 60-150+/ 111-277+ up to 45 hr. 30,000+/9,144
Lockheed Martin
Fury 1500 14.3/4.358 300+/136.0+ 1 × HFE 75-125/34.0-56.6 (ISR + EW) 65-95/120-175 15 hr.+ 15,000/4,572
Northrop Grumman
MQ-4C Triton 47.6/14.508 130.9/39.898 32,250/14,628.4 1 × R-R AE3007H 9,500 lb./42.25 kN 3,200/1,451.5 internal 2,400/1,088.6 external 357/661 24 hr. 56,500/17,221.2
MQ-8C Fire Scout 41.4/12.618 35/10.668 (rotor diameter) 6,000/2,721.5 1 × R-R M250-C47E 700 shp/521.9 kW 1,000/453.5 internal 2,600/1,179.3 sling load 140/259 12 hr. 17,000/5,181.6
Piaggio Aero
P.1HH HammerHead 47.3/14.417 51.2/15.605 13,500/6,123.5 2 × P&WC PT6A-66B 850 shp/633.8 kW each 500/226.7 (EO/IR, SAR) 395/731 16 hr. 45,000/13,716
Turkish Aerospace Industries
Anka 26.2/7.985 56.8/17.312 3,530/1,601.1 1 × HFE 155 hp/115.5 kW 440/199.5 (EO/IR/LD, SAR) 110/203 24 hr. 30,000/9,144

Eye of Sauron

According to Kris Osborn, Military.com Daily News correspondent, the U.S. Navy is making progress developing a more sensitive, next-generation radar system engineered to integrate onto new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers by 2023.

AMDR provides greater detection ranges and increased discrimination accuracy compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s destroyers
AMDR provides greater detection ranges and increased discrimination accuracy compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s destroyers

The Air and Missile Defense Radar, or AMDR, is said to be at least 30-times more sensitive than radars configured on existing DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. «Among other things, the additional power and sensitivity will allow the ship to detect a much wider range of threats at much greater distances», said Capt. Mark Vandroff, program manager DDG 51 Shipbuilding.

«I can see a target that is half the size, twice as far away. What this means is an individual destroyer will be able to engage more ballistic missiles at the same time versus what you have today – and it will be able to engage more advanced threats because it can see them farther away», Vandroff said. «It can see smaller objects farther away so it will be better at picking out what is a threat versus what is not a threat».

«The AMDR platform, being developed by Raytheon Co. under an EMD (Engineering and Manufacturing Development) contract awarded in October 2013, will enable next-generation Flight III DDG 51s to defend much larger areas compared with the AN/SPY-1D radar on existing destroyers», Vandroff said.

The Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) Program successfully completed a Hardware Critical Design Review (CDR) in conjunction with prime contractor, Raytheon, in Sudbury, Massachusetts, December 3, 2014.

AMDR provides greater detection ranges and increased discrimination accuracy compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s destroyers. The system is built with individual «building blocks» called RMAs (Radar Modular Assemblies). Each RMA is a self-contained radar transmitter and receiver in a 2’x2’x2’ box. These RMAs stack together to fit the required array size of any ship, making AMDR the Navy’s first truly scalable radar.

A partially-populated, full-sized AMDR array
A partially-populated, full-sized AMDR array

 

This advanced radar comprises:

  • S-band radar – a new, integrated air and missile defense radar;
  • X-band radar – a horizon-search radar based on existing technology;
  • The Radar Suite Controller (RSC) – a new component to manage radar resources and integrate with the ship’s combat management system.

AMDR Advantages:

  • Scalable to suit any size aperture or mission requirement;
  • Over 30 times more sensitive than AN/SPY-1D(V);
  • Can simultaneously handle over 30 times the targets than AN/SPY-1D(V) to counter large and complex raids;
  • Adaptive digital beamforming and radar signal/data processing functionality is reprogrammable to adapt to new missions or emerging threats.

 

 

Pegasus on the rise

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus development program completed its first flight of Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) aircraft №1 on December 28. Boeing EMD №1 is a provisioned 767-2C freighter and the critical building block for the KC-46 missionized aerial refueler. The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle.

The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle
The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle

«Getting in the air is a critical step in the development of this important capability for the warfighter», said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. «The team at Boeing has done a remarkable job creating an entirely new aircraft that will soon become the backbone of our ability to project power anywhere in the world».

The 767-2C freighter is the initial step toward producing a KC-46. The aircraft will undergo additional finishing work s at the Boeing facility such as installing the refueling boom and other military specific equipment. The first flight of a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (EMD №2) is expected in the spring of 2015.

«Today’s flight is a key step in the next generation of tankers», said Col. Christopher Coombs, the KC-46 system program manager. «We know flight testing will lead to some discovery; today’s flight kick-starts that work. There is an aggressive schedule going forward into the Milestone C decision point for approval to start Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), but we remain cautiously optimistic we can meet the mark».

The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 Boeing KC-46 refueling tankers to begin recapitalizing the aging tanker fleet. This flight is an early but important step toward meeting the required assets available date – a milestone requiring 18 KC-46 aircraft and all necessary support equipment to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs, by the August 2017 timeframe.

 

Mission

The Boeing KC-46A Pegasus is intended to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, which has been the primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.

The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force
The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force

 

Features

The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission. This aircraft is equipped with a modernized KC-10 refueling boom integrated with proven fly-by-wire control system and delivering a fuel offload rate required for large aircraft. In addition, the hose and drogue system adds additional mission capability that is independently operable from the refueling boom system.

Two high-bypass turbofans, mounted under 34-degree swept wings, power the KC-46A to takeoff at gross weights up to 415,000 pounds/188,240 kg. Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the boom, drogue and wing aerial refueling pods. The centerline drogue and wing aerial refueling pods are used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. All aircraft will be configured for the installation of a multipoint refueling system.

MPRS (Multi-Point Refueling System) configured aircraft will be capable of refueling two receiver aircraft simultaneously from special «pods» mounted under the wing. One crewmember known as the boom operator controls the boom, centerline drogue, and wing refueling «pods» during refueling operations. This new tanker utilizes an advanced KC-10 boom, a center mounted drogue and wing aerial refueling «pods» allowing it to refuel multiple types of receiver aircraft as well as foreign national aircraft on the same mission.

A cargo deck above the refueling system can accommodate a mix load of passengers, patients and cargo. The KC-46A can carry up to 18 463L cargo pallets. Seat tracks and the onboard cargo handling system make it possible to simultaneously carry palletized cargo, seats, and patient support pallets in a variety of combinations. The new tanker aircraft offers significantly increased cargo and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

The aircrew compartment includes 15 permanent seats for aircrew, which includes permanent seating for the aerial refueling operator and an aerial refueling instructor. Panoramic displays giving the ARO (Aerial Refueling Operator) wing-tip to wing-tip situational awareness.

 

Background

The Boeing Company was awarded a contract for the EMD phase of the KC-46 program on February 24, 2011. The first flight of a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (EMD №2) is expected in the spring of 2015. The current contract, with options, provides the Air Mobility Command an inventory of 179 KC-46 tankers.

Boeing KC-46 Pegasus
Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

 

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 meters)

Length:                                                165 feet, 6 inches (50.5 meters)

Height:                                                52 feet, 10 inches (15.9 meters)

Maximum Takeoff Weight:    415,000 pounds (188,240 kilograms)

Maximum Landing Weight:    310,000 pounds (140,614 kilograms)

Fuel Capacity:                                 212,299 pounds (96,297 kilograms)

Maximum Transfer Fuel Load: 207,672 pounds (94,198 kilograms)

Maximum Cargo Capacity:     65,000 pounds (29,484 kilograms)

Maximum Airspeed:                   360 KCAS (knots calibrated airspeed)/ 0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h

Service Ceiling:                              43,100 ft/13,137 m

Maximum Distance:                    8400 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

The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission
The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission 

 

Black Panther

According to Jon Grevatt, IHS Jane’s Defence Industry correspondent, South Korean company Hyundai Rotem signed on 29 December a contract to supply an unspecified number of K2 (Black Panther) Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

Main Battle Tank of the Republic of Korea Army
Main Battle Tank of the Republic of Korea Army

The company said that the contract – signed with the government’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration – is worth $820 million and features the supply of a first batch of K2 MBTs fitted with indigenously produced engines and transmission systems.

Hyundai Rotem did not reveal the number of tanks covered by the new contract, although IHS Jane’s understands it features the supply of 100 K2 units. Already in production, these tanks are scheduled to be delivered to the RoKA between the latter half of 2015 and December 2017.

The K2 MBT (Black Panther) is a tank based around a brand-new concept with combat efficiency maximized through digital-based ergonomic designs suited for the 21st century technical combat environment. It features dramatically strengthened firepower due to an extended turret gun and new shells. In addition, it features high mobility and maneuverability through a small powerpack and its advanced suspension and navigation system.

The survivability of the K2 MBT has been reinforced with armored plates made of new material and an active protection system, while its 3D battlefield control capability has been enhanced with the Vetronics system and the combat command and control system. Furthermore, the K2 MBT incorporates advanced intellectualization of its various control systems, most notably including its newest fire control system.

Main gun: 120 mm (55 Caliber)
Main gun: 120 mm (55 Caliber)

 

Specifications

Year of Development:                                      2014

Crew:                                                                         3

Weight:                                                                     55 tonnes

Mobility

Engine:                                                             1,500 hp/1119 kW, Diesel

Underwater fording:                               4.1 m

Attitude Control:                                      Roll/Pitch/Height

Navigation:                                                   GPS/INS

BMS connected with the C4I

Firepower

Main gun:                                                      120 mm (55 Caliber)

Ammo Loading:                                          Automatic

Fire control:                                               Auto Target Detection & Tracking

K2 MBT (Black Panther)
K2 MBT (Black Panther)

The first line of defence

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and the Polish Ministry of National Defence have signed a contract worth $173.5 million for a second battalion-sized Nadbrzezny Dywizjon Rakietowy (NDR) unit of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) Coastal Defence System, reported Doug Richardson, IHS Jane’s Missiles & Rockets correspondent.

A standard NASAMS unit has a modular design comprising a command post FDC, an active 3D radar AN/MPQ64F1 Sentinel, a passive electro-optic and infra-red sensor and a number of missile canister launchers with AMRAAM missiles
A standard NASAMS unit has a modular design comprising a command post FDC, an active 3D radar AN/MPQ64F1 Sentinel, a passive electro-optic and infra-red sensor and a number of missile canister launchers with AMRAAM missiles

NSM was originally developed as a shipboard system for the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNN), and entered service on Norway’s new Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates and Skjold-class corvettes in 2012. An earlier contract signed by Poland in 2008 covered the 6 launchers and 12 missiles needed to arm the first NDR, and deliveries started in mid-2013. This order made Poland the first export customer for the shore-based version. An additional 38 missiles and associated logistics equipment were ordered in December 2008.

A second NDR had always been planned, but in April 2014, Poland decided to speed its procurement as part of the country’s reaction to the current crisis in Ukraine.

The coast-defence variant uses command and weapon control system similar to that of the Kongsberg/Raytheon Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), while its radar system and communications system are provided by Polish subcontractors, as are the trucks used to carry the missile launchers.

The new contract will also cover the setting-up of a capability to maintain the NSM system in Poland. This will involve the Polish company Wojskowe Zaklady Elektroniczne (WZE). Kongsberg also plans to expand its co-operation with Polish industry to cover what Kongsberg president Harald Ånnestad described as «a broader technological arena».

 

Characteristics:

  • Open architecture provides growth potential;
  • Single and multiple engagement capability;
  • Unprecedented fire capability;
  • Beyond visual range capability with active seeker missile;
  • Strategic and high mobility;
  • Low manpower requirements;
  • Network Centric Warfare principles of operation;
  • High survivability against electronic countermeasures;
  • Look down/shoot down capability;
  • High value asset defense, area and army defense, vital point and air base defense.
The radar and launcher elements can be deployed over a large area separated by up to 25 kilometres, providing an extended coverage with few elements
The radar and launcher elements can be deployed over a large area separated by up to 25 kilometres, providing an extended coverage with few elements

 

Integration of sensors and effectors

The proven, fielded, reliable and highly capable NASAMS system contains a BMC4I (Battle Management, Command, Control, Computers, Communications, and Intelligence) Air Defense capability through the integration of sensors and launchers. It employs the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AIM-120) as the primary weapon. Targets are detected and tracked by a high-resolution, 3D pencil beam radar. Multiple of these radars and the associated Fire Distribution Centres (FDCs) are netted together via radio data links, creating a real-time recognized air picture.

NASAMS can fire on target data provided by external sensors. Advanced emission control features of the radars minimize the risk of revealing the NASAMS unit’s own position. The FDC automatically performs track correlation, identification, jam strobe triangulation, threat evaluation and weapon assignment. The AMRAAM missiles used within NASAMS are identical to those used on fighter aircraft, yielding considerable rationalization returns for the user.

 

NASAMS in operation

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) was the first customer to introduce the NASAMS program. Because of their success during NATO live flying exercises, NASAMS batteries are taken extremely serious by NATO aircrew. From 2004, NASAMS is earmarked by the Norwegian armed forces to be deployed in support of international crisis management operations. NASAMS is under continuous development and every new program is adapted to the latest available technology. Currently, NASAMS is in use in 6 different nations.

NASAMS uses the Raytheon AMRAAM missile, identical to the AMRAAMs used on fighter aircraft
NASAMS uses the Raytheon AMRAAM missile, identical to the AMRAAMs used on fighter aircraft

 

NASAMS features

Status of NASAMS:                            In production and in operational use

NASAMS Tests & tactical firings:             162 (90,5 % success)

AMRAAM Dual use (identical missile): Fighter Aircraft and NASAMS

AMRAAM combat kills:                                  >9

Target sets:                                                            Aircraft, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), helicopters, cruise missiles, UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles)

NASAMS Architecture:                                  Open SW & HW architecture, COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf software), Network Centric

Simultaneous multiple engagements: 72

Engagement modes:                                      Active and/or Passive

Mission of Reference:                                   >70,000 hours in the U.S.(continuous operations (24/7), ongoing)

Transportability:                        Air (C-130 and helicopter), Sea and Land

Data links (implemented and in use):  Link 16, JRE, Link 11, Link 11B, LLAPI, ATDL-1 (Army Tactical Data Link – 1)

Mission Planning Tool:                              Embedded and stand-alone (PC)

NASAMS User nations:                                 6

Air Defence C2 (FDC) User nations:   10

AMRAAM User nations:                             35