The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a $339 million contract modification for the production of 48 vehicle sets of M109A7 Self-propelled Howitzer (SPH) and its companion, the M992A3 Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked (CAT) vehicle, and includes post-delivery support and spare parts.
The M109A7 SPH and M992A3 CAT vehicle set is a vital program enhancement for increased combat capability and sustainment of the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs). The program offers enhanced indirect-fire artillery capabilities to the ABCTs with new technologies for power generation and survivability.
The new M109A7 addresses long-term readiness and modernization needs of the M109 self-propelled howitzer family through a critical redesign and production plan that leverages today’s most advanced technology. Its state-of-the-art «digital backbone» and power generation capability provides a more robust, survivable, and responsive indirect fire support capability for ABCT Soldiers. The M109A7 is a significant upgrade over the M109A6 as it enhances reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness, lethality, and crew survivability.
The initial contract was awarded in 2017 for low-rate production. This most recent order brings the total number of M109A7 and M992A3 vehicle sets to 204, with a total contract value of $1.5 billion. The award follows the Army’s decision, announced in February, to commence full-rate production of the vehicle.
BAE Systems has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin to design and manufacture next-generation infrared seekers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system, providing critical targeting technology that helps protect the U.S. and its allies from ballistic missiles. The sensor design work will improve the missile defense system’s ability to neutralize more threats and improve its manufacturability.
«The THAAD seeker is a key product in our precision munitions portfolio that’s recognized for its proven intercept capabilities. It demonstrates our ability to deliver advanced targeting and guidance systems for critical precision munitions», said Barry Yeadon, THAAD program director at BAE Systems. «This award is a testament to our ongoing success with the program, and enables us to advance our proven design and take the program into the future in support of the Missile Defense Agency’s mission».
The THAAD weapon system intercepts hostile ballistic missiles with kinetic force during their final, or terminal, phase of flight. BAE Systems’ seeker provides infrared imagery that guides interceptors to their intended targets, destroying enemy warheads inside or outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The company has been developing and producing missile defense seeker technology for more than four decades, and has delivered more than 500 THAAD seekers to date.
THAAD is an integral part of the MDA’s mission to field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system. Its high-altitude intercept capability mitigates the effects of enemy weapons before they reach the ground, and its non-explosive kinetic impact minimizes the risk of detonation. THAAD is a highly effective system for addressing ballistic missile threats.
BAE Systems’ THAAD seekers are assembled, integrated, and tested at the company’s facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire and Endicott, New York. Portions of the design work for the next-generation seeker technology will be conducted in Huntsville, Alabama, where the company is actively hiring and building a state-of-the-art facility. The THAAD seeker program provides an opportunity for engineers to join a cutting-edge design program at its early stages in the Rocket City.
BAE Systems has received a $113.5 million contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for an additional 26 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) under the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase of the program. This award brings the total vehicle orders for the ACV to 116, and moves the program closer to full-rate production.
The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable and adaptable platform for conducting rapid ship-to-shore operations and brings enhanced combat power to the battlefield. BAE Systems has been in low-rate production since 2018 on the personnel carrier variant in the ACV family, which is envisioned to consist of additional variants including command and control, 30-mm medium caliber turret, and recovery versions.
«The ACV provides the most survivable and mobile amphibious vehicle to the U.S. Marines Corps for supporting the warfighters’ ability to successfully execute their unique expeditionary missions», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems. «This award further demonstrates our commitment to that mission, it’s an important milestone for the program and represents a major step toward full rate production».
The BAE Systems team and the U.S. Marine Corps have been making significant strides to reach full-rate production, including the successful completion of Logistics Demonstration as a critical enabler for the program to move into Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) with trained U.S. Marine maintainers. This and other major milestones such as operator training and additional testing will take place before full-rate production.
The Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program to replace its legacy fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles, which have been in service for decades and were also built by BAE Systems.
ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.
PHASA-35, a 35 meters/115 feet wingspan solar-electric aircraft, has successfully completed its maiden flight. The landmark flight paves the way to this new aircraft becoming a game changer in the air and space market, plugging the gap between aircraft and satellite technology.
PHASA-35 has been designed, built and now flown in less than two years as part of a collaboration between ourselves and Prismatic Ltd, which we agreed to acquire last year. Designed to operate unmanned in the stratosphere, above the weather and conventional air traffic, PHASA-35 offers a persistent and affordable alternative to satellites combined with the flexibility of an aircraft, which could be used for a range of valuable applications including forest fire detection and maritime surveillance.
Sponsored by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and Australian Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), the successful flight trials took place at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Woomera Test Range in South Australia.
The trials marked the first fully integrated flight test of the PHASA-35 system, delivering rapid proof of capability from design to flight in just 20 months. They are the culmination of efforts from a collaborative team of British experts from Prismatic in Hampshire – where two full-sized concept aircraft were built last year – working alongside our engineers in Lancashire, where the aircraft underwent further integration testing prior to flight trials.
Going the distance
As a High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) vehicle, PHASA-35 is powered by the Sun during the day and by batteries overnight. The long-life battery and highly efficient solar technology could allow the aircraft to maintain flight for up to a year operating in the stratosphere (65,000 feet/19,812 m), the upper regions of the Earth’s atmosphere.
PHASA-35 is designed to provide a persistent, stable platform for monitoring, surveillance, communications and security applications. When connected to other technologies and assets, it will provide both military and commercial customers with capabilities that are not currently available from existing air and space platforms. The Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) also has the potential to be used in the delivery of communications networks including 5G, as well as provide other services, such as disaster relief and border protection, at a fraction of the cost of satellites.
Ian Muldowney, Engineering Director here at BAE Systems, said: «This is an outstanding early result that demonstrates the pace that can be achieved when we bring the best of British capability together. To go from design to flight in less than two years shows that we can rise to the challenge the UK Government has set industry to deliver a Future Combat Air System within the next decade».
Our acquisition of Prismatic forms part of the Company’s strategy to develop breakthrough technologies, making bolt-on acquisitions where they complement existing capabilities and provide an opportunity to accelerate technology development in key areas.
Further flight trials are scheduled for later this year, with the possibility that the aircraft could enter initial operations with customers within 12 months of the flight trials programme completion.
BAE Systems was awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the next generation of mixed-signal electronics that could enable new Department of Defense (DoD) applications including high capacity, robust communications, radars, and precision sensors, and lead to solutions that enhance situational awareness and survivability for the warfighter.
Recognizing that the DoD has performance demands that far exceed the capabilities of the commercial world in terms of speed, fidelity, capacity, and precision, DARPA created the Technologies for Mixed mode Ultra Scaled Integrated Circuits (T-MUSIC) program to enable disruptive Radio Frequency (RF) mixed-mode technologies by developing high performance RF analog electronics integrated with advanced digital electronics on the same wafer.
The next-generation capabilities that could be made possible with this program include a combination of wide spectral coverage, high resolution, large dynamic range, and high information processing bandwidth. These capabilities, which can cut through the electronic signal clutter, provide leap-forward performance that is mission critical as services rely on electronic sensors in highly congested environments. The new developments could be integrated into electronic warfare, communications, precision munitions, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.
«T-MUSIC will incorporate analog and digital signals on a single chip for high-performance data converters and digital processing and intelligence», said Chris Rappa, product line director for Radio Frequency, Electronic Warfare, and Advanced Electronics at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs. «The advanced electronics we are developing under the T-MUSIC program could create the foundation for greatly enhanced Department of Defense capabilities in advanced RF sensors and high capacity communications».
As part of the $8 million contract, BAE Systems FAST Labs research and development team – working closely with program foundries – will design and develop wafer-scale technology on a silicon foundry platform that can enable U.S.-based production of next-generation DoD electronics.
The T-MUSIC contract adds to BAE Systems’ advanced electronics portfolio and is based on many years of investment on various programs with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), U.S. Army, and DARPA, including DARPA’s CONverged Collaborative Elements for RF Task Operations (CONCERTO) and DARPA’s Radio Frequency Field Programmable Gate Arrays (RF-FPGA) programs. Work for the contract will be completed at the company’s facilities in Merrimack, New Hampshire; Lexington, Massachusetts; and Manassas, Virginia.
BAE Systems has successfully fired an integrated, long-range anti-tank guided missile from the CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) in a recent series of tests.
This advancement further diversifies the CV90’s operational capabilities on the battlefield by enabling indirect fire at long distances or at air targets, boosting the vehicle’s lethality while increasing crew safety.
The testing, which took place in difficult arctic conditions, used a Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Spike-LR (long range) missile mounted on a BAE Systems Hägglunds’ CV90 to defeat a target at more than 2,000 metres/6,562 feet. The exercise marks the first time an integrated version of an anti-tank guided missile has been launched from the CV90. It also demonstrates the platform’s versatility to perform a wide range of missions, and shows the CV90 can easily adapt to new technologies for meeting current and future customer needs.
«This integrated anti-tank capability confirms that the CV90 is a true benchmark when it comes to expanding a family of multi-mission armoured fighting vehicles», said Dan Lindell, CV90 platform director at BAE Systems Hägglunds. «This new capability can alter the battlefield dynamic and is yet another example of how the CV90’s already superior mobility and survivability allows the warfighter to pack an even heavier punch in any terrain or weather conditions, and at any time on any battlefield».
The December testing took place in northern Sweden in below freezing temperatures with heavy snowfall and low visibility.
«We fully appreciate Rafael and their Spike team for working with us to demonstrate this important capability and look forward to continuing our collaboration to provide present and future customers with this powerful addition to the CV90’s lethality suite», Lindell said.
The long-range missile testing is yet another recent example of improved lethality on the CV90. BAE Systems is currently executing a Swedish government contract to provide a mortar variant of the CV90 called Mjölner that adds greater mobility to close indirect fire support.
More than 1,200 CV90s of numerous variants are in service with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The vehicle has a combat-proven track record and is designed to accommodate future growth to meet evolving missions.
The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a $249 million contract modification to complete an additional 60 Paladin M109A7 self-propelled howitzers that will bring improved artillery capabilities to the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).
«We are excited about the opportunity to continue bringing new howitzers and increased survivability to our soldiers», said Jeremy Tondreault, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems Combat Vehicles. «The M109A7 positions the Army to execute its current mission with confidence and support its future needs and requirements as long range precision fires evolve».
The award exercises options on an existing low-rate production contract and includes the completion of an additional 60 M992A3 Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked (CAT) vehicles to accompany the Paladin M109A7.
The Paladin M109A7 and the CAT vehicle sets provide increased commonality across the ABCT, and have significant built-in growth potential in terms of electrical power and weight carrying capacity. The vehicle design includes a new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, steering system, a new high voltage architecture and improved survivability, while the vehicle’s cannon remains the same as that of an M109A6 Paladin.
The Paladin M109A7 is supported by the Army as a vital technology enhancement program to maintain the combat capability of its ABCTs. It will solve long-term readiness and modernization needs of the M109 family of vehicles through a critical redesign and production plan that leverages the most advanced technology available today. This state-of-the-art «digital backbone» and power generation capability provides a more robust, survivable, and responsive indirect fire support capability for ABCT Soldiers. The Paladin M109A7 is a significant upgrade over the Paladin M109A6 as it restores space, weight, and power cooling, while providing significant growth potential for emerging technologies.
The initial contract was awarded in 2017. This most recent order brings the total number of vehicle sets – Paladin M109A7 howitzers and M992A3 ammunition carriers – to 156, and the total contract value to $1.16 billion.
Work on the Paladin M109A7 will take place at several facilities within the Company’s combat vehicles manufacturing network including: Aiken, South Carolina; Elgin, Oklahoma; Sterling Heights, Michigan; and, York, Pennsylvania.
HMS Prince of Wales (R09) has been commissioned into the Fleet on 10 December 2019 as the largest warship ever built for the nation.
Her Royal Highness (HRH) The Duchess of Cornwall, as the ship’s Lady Sponsor, alongside His Royal Highness (HRH) The Prince of Wales, presided over the ceremony at Her Majesty’s (HM) Naval Base Portsmouth this morning, to an audience of 2,000 from industry, allies, friends and families.
Commanding Officer, Captain Darren Houston, read the commissioning warrant to the crew and guests gathered in the hangar which will soon house F-35B Lightning II jets and a variety of helicopters. Among those watching were the First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, ambassadors from France and USA, and the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti.
The iconic White Ensign then replaced the Blue Ensign which has flown since she left Rosyth in September for her initial sea trials. Leading Writer Megan Ryan (27, from Stoke-On-Trent) was granted the honour of raising the new ensign; and youngest sailor, Chef Seth Day (17), cut the commissioning cake with Liesl Houston, the Commanding Officer’s wife.
«The men and women of my Ship’s Company have demonstrated significant flexibility, patience and resilience. However, I also want to recognise the wider naval family for their support of our achievements, and I am so pleased that so many of our families and loved ones are able to share this special day with us», said Captain Houston.
About 550 VIP guests, 1,400 family and friends of the ship’s company, including guests with connections to the previous HMS Prince of Wales (53), a battleship sunk on that same date 78 years earlier by Japanese forces in the South China Sea, joined the crew for the ceremony.
Leading Writer Ryan said: «I am lucky enough to have been involved in the commissioning of three ships, but this is the one I will always look back on with exceptional pride. Raising the White Ensign for the first time on HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is such a privilege that I will never forget».
Nearly 7,000 miles away, the crew of HMS Enterprise (H88) stopped at the final resting place of HMS Prince of Wales (53) and HMS Repulse (1916) last week to hold a memorial service and lower a White Ensign to the remains.
For the whole crew, from the chefs making the cakes to the warrant officers perfecting the drills, there has been a sense of pride in preparing the ship and themselves for this day.
AET Patrick Gauson (30, from Edinburgh) said: «Having been present at HMS Queen Elizabeth’s commissioning, to be involved in HMS Prince of Wales’ as well is an immense honour and privilege. It’s another day in my career that I can look back on with great pride and a sense of achievement».
AET Sam Ward (21, from York) said: «To be part of such an important day in the ship’s history gives me great pride and it will definitely be an interesting story to regale to the grandkids one day».
HMS Prince of Wales (R09), which by naval tradition will be referred to in the feminine form despite carrying the title of the male heir apparent, is marginally larger and heavier than her sister.
The carrier is powered by four diesel engines and two gas turbines, run by the 170-strong marine engineering department. They are part of a core ship’s company of about 700 which can swell to more than double that with the addition of personnel from Naval Air Squadrons and Royal Marines.
She departed Rosyth in September and conducted her first sea trials before making her first entry to Portsmouth harbour in mid-November.
More than 10,000 people across the UK have contributed to the delivery of the ship as part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, building on the experience they gained in constructing and operating HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08).
HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) has recently returned from her second deployment to the east coast of North America conducting aviation trials with UK F-35B Lightning II jets and developing her warfighting capabilities. Both carriers are alongside in Portsmouth for routine maintenance and well-earned Christmas leave for their crews before resuming their programmes to reach operational capability.
BAE Systems has received a $120 million contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for additional Amphibious Combat Vehicles under a third order for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP).
This award is an important next step on the path to full rate production. This latest contract is for the ACV Personnel carrier variant (ACV-P), an eight-wheeled amphibious assault vehicle capable of transporting Marines from open-ocean ship to shore and conducting land operations. Each vehicle embarks 13 Marines in addition to a crew of three.
«This award further validates the Marine Corps’ confidence in the vehicle’s proven capability in meeting their amphibious mission, and represents an important step toward fielding the vehicle in the Fleet Marine Force. The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable and adaptable platform designed for growth to meet future mission role requirements while bringing enhanced combat power to the battlefield», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems.
Current low-rate production is focused on the ACV-P variant. More variants will be added under full rate production to include the command and control (ACV-C), 30mm medium caliber turret (ACV-30) and recovery variants (ACV-R) under the ACV Family of Vehicles program. BAE Systems previously received the Lot 1 and Lot 2 awards.
The Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program in 2018 to replace its legacy fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles, which have been in service for decades and were also built by BAE Systems.
ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.
BAE Systems debuted its Robotic Technology Demonstrator (RTD) representing leap-ahead advancements for unmanned combat vehicles today at the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exposition.
The RTD prototype showcases advanced capabilities and is adaptable for future weapon systems, sensors and other payloads. The RTD features autonomous mobility to help keep soldiers out of harm’s way, a Hybrid Electric Drive for fuel efficiency, a 30-mm remote weapons station, a suite of sensors for 360-degree situational awareness and surveillance, composite rubber track system, and a small legged robot for reconnaissance missions among other key new technologies. The demonstrator reflects BAE Systems’ commitment to investing in the future of Army warfighting capabilities and the soldier.
«The Robotic Technology Demonstrator is designed as a ‘rolling lab’ to integrate emerging autonomy and lethality technologies for testing. The electrical infrastructure, advanced optics, and software that have been integrated onto this highly reliable and robust chassis provides the foundation for truly game-changing battlefield capability», said James Miller, director for business development at BAE Systems Combat Vehicles. «BAE Systems built this demonstrator to help us determine the best way to mitigate risk for our soldiers while increasing their lethality».
The RTD technologies include sensors with true 360-degree situational awareness to include long-wave infrared imaging, signal processing and video distribution. It also includes a tethered unmanned aerial system to support situational awareness and reconnaissance.
The RTD prototype leverages decades of BAE Systems expertise in the design and development of combat vehicles, as well as advanced electronic systems. BAE Systems is a world leader in tracked and wheeled combat vehicles, including Infantry Fighting Vehicles, self-propelled howitzers, personnel carriers, and amphibious vehicles.