Tag Archives: BAE Systems

Meteor and Spear

A team of BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and MBDA engineers enhancing the capability of the UK’s fleet of F-35 Lightning II aircraft by commencing work on the integration of next generation weapons.

Work starts integrating next generation Meteor and Spear onto UK F-35 Fleet
Work starts integrating next generation Meteor and Spear onto UK F-35 Fleet

BAE Systems has received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 Lightning II programme, to start integration efforts for MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SPEAR precision surface attack missile.

Under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and with Raytheon on Paveway IV, initially integrated in support of delivering Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the UK.

Tom Fillingham, Senior Vice-President – U.S. Programmes of BAE Systems, said: «BAE Systems engineers played a crucial role in supporting the UK to achieve Initial Operating Capability for its F-35 fleet. Now, working alongside our partners including Lockheed Martin and MBDA, we are using our expertise to take that capability even further with advanced weapons systems such as Meteor and SPEAR. We are extremely proud of the critical contribution UK engineers are playing for both the UK and the global F-35 fleet through the development, production and sustainment of the aircraft».

Cliff Waldwyn, Head of Combat Air, Group Business Development of MBDA, said: «This is a significant milestone for the UK Combat Air’s capability. This initial package of work officially commences the integration of Meteor and SPEAR and will enhance the operational capability of the UK’s Lightning Force in the future; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise as it adds additional capability choice for international customers. MBDA’s integration team have worked well with our BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin colleagues and we plan to build on this excellent foundation into the future on this follow-on modernisation work».

Last year, a pilot from 17 Squadron, the RAF’s F-35 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California took to the skies for the first time with UK weapons, including ASRAAM and Paveway IV.

This followed work carried out during the F-35 Lightning II programme’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) initial testing phase to develop and certify weapons capabilities by an integrated test team. This team includes Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Raytheon and MBDA, working alongside the UK Air Warfare Centre to clear weapons for Operational Testing by Royal Air Force/Royal Navy (RAF/RN) pilots.

Active Protection

Lockheed Martin and industry partners supported U.S. Army integration of three countermeasures and a cueing sensor into the Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS) framework for a six-week «rodeo» conducted at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

MAPS-enabled countermeasures integrated by Lockheed Martin defeat threats in U.S. Army field tests (city road viaduct streetscape of night scene in Shanghai)
MAPS-enabled countermeasures integrated by Lockheed Martin defeat threats in U.S. Army field tests (city road viaduct streetscape of night scene in Shanghai)

In a series of live-fire tests, the MAPS-enabled systems defeated 15 out of 15 anti-tank guided missiles by jamming their signals, causing them to fly off-target.

«The success of the Army’s testing shows the effectiveness of an active protection system that can rapidly refresh with new components to meet specific mission and platform requirements», said Michael Williamson, vice president of Sensors & Global Sustainment at Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin engineers led hardware and software integration of an Ariel Photonics countermeasure into the MAPS framework ahead of the tests. They also supported U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center efforts with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman in integrating two other countermeasures and a cueing sensor.

Lockheed Martin was awarded the initial MAPS prototype controller contract in 2014 and continues to manufacture and deliver base kits to MAPS stakeholders. The base kit consists of a controller, user interface, power management distribution system, network switch and application software. It provides processing power to MAPS-enabled sensors and countermeasures and directs them in defeating incoming missiles and rockets.

The base kit supports the rapid integration of MAPS framework-compliant sensors and countermeasures to detect and defeat threats targeting MAPS-equipped vehicles. It is designed to protect current combat vehicles, as well as support future vehicle protection system capabilities.

Protected Firepower

The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a contract worth up to $376 million for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) phase of the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program and rapid prototyping effort with low-rate initial production options.

BAE Systems awarded development contract for Mobile Protected Firepower
BAE Systems awarded development contract for Mobile Protected Firepower

BAE Systems’ solution combines new technology with proven capability to provide the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) with a highly agile, armor-protected platform that delivers overwhelming and precise firepower for use across the spectrum of terrains and operations.

«Our offering integrates innovative technology that reduces the burden on the crew into a compact design deployable in areas that are hard to reach», said Deepak Bazaz, director of combat vehicles programs at BAE Systems. «We’re confident our design meets the requirements and the unique capabilities the IBCT needs».

Under the contract, one of two awarded ahead of the Government’s down-select to a final contractor, BAE Systems will produce 12 prototype vehicles during the EMD phase.

The BAE Systems MPF is the result of more than 30 years of research and development for an optimized, rapidly deployable, light combat vehicle designed specifically to support light infantry. The vehicle leverages investments the Army made in the M8 Armored Gun System, including its low-profile design, and proven technologies like the M35 105-mm cannon, and an auto-loading ammunition system that allows the gun to fire at a rate of 12 rounds per minute. The innovative roll-out powerpack design allows for easy access to the engine and transmission without the aid of heavy equipment.

It also integrates scalable armor and innovative survivability subsystems to protect the vehicle and crew from threats on the future battlefield. The vehicle employs situational awareness systems adding to the highest levels of survivability and crew protection. The compact design allows for multiple vehicle deployment on a C-17 Globemaster III and exceeds the Army’s transport requirement and it is sustainable within the IBCT.

Work on the EMD vehicles will take place at BAE Systems’ facilities in Aiken, South Carolina; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; and York, Pennsylvania.

Sea trials

The second of the Navy’s next-generation patrol ships will debut in Portsmouth in the New Year after successfully completing her maiden sea trials.

HMS Medway (P223) makes headway as new patrol ship completes sea trials
HMS Medway (P223) makes headway as new patrol ship completes sea trials

HMS Medway (P223) spent 15 days in the Firth of Clyde tested her engines, manoeuvrability, sensors and main cannon under a mixed civilian/Royal Navy crew under Admiralty Trials Master Captain Graham Baxter.

The ship is the second of five 2,000-tonne River-class 2.0 vessels built for patrol duties in home waters and beyond by BAE Systems on the Clyde.

After more than a year being fitted out at Scotstoun, the ship headed down the Clyde and into its estuary for a busy trials programme.

Throughout the trials package, all onboard systems were put through their paces including the Integrated Platform Management System, which controls and monitors most of the ship’s systems, and the Combat Management System which is used to collate sensor information and assist the command team in the decisions they make when in action.

The Automated Small Calibre Gun, the 30-mm cannon on the forecastle, fired rounds at a ‘killer tomato’ inflatable target with impressive accuracy and the off-ship fire monitors tested correctly.

Ship handling trials such as manoeuvrability, speed and range trials generated a lot of interest onboard, as HMS Medway (P223) was taken to the upper limits of performance.

«It was great to finally get to sea on Medway», said marine engineer Chief Petty Officer Will Davies. «The small Royal Navy team benefited from the experience and had a lot of opportunities to improve their ship and systems knowledge. The whole trials package was really positive».

Weapon engineer Chief Petty Officer Luke Travell added: «Achieving so much during our trials period really shows how much effort we have all put in. BAE, ship’s staff and all the contractors should be really proud».

Lieutenant Commander Ben Power – Medway’s first sea-going Commanding Officer – said the small ship presented a superb sight as she manoeuvred deftly in the Firth of Clyde. «She is a hugely-capable ship which will add flexibility and strength to the offshore patrol vessel force», he added.

HMS Medway (P223) is now back in Scotstoun undergoing a final period of planned maintenance and tweaks, as well as processing and analysing results from the trials to meet criteria which will her allow her to be accepted by the Royal Navy, before she sails down to her future home of Portsmouth in 2019.

Dreadnought
programme

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced a £400 million funding boost for the Dreadnought programme, as he opened a new training academy and revealed the name of the second Dreadnought submarine.

An artist's impression of HMS Dreadnought (Credit: BAE Systems)
An artist’s impression of HMS Dreadnought (Credit: BAE Systems)

The planned funding release, which supports the building phase of the programme, came as the Defence Secretary unveiled a £25 million BAE Systems academy that will upskill employees to work on Royal Navy submarines for the next two decades.

The £400million investment will safeguard more than 8,000 jobs in Barrow and across the UK, which are all supported by the £31billion Dreadnought programme and supply chain.

The announcement was made during the Defence Secretary’s visit to BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, where he also named the second Dreadnought submarine as HMS Valiant.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: «Next year marks half-a-century since British nuclear-armed submarines began patrolling the waters in response to the danger posed by the Cold War – and the world is again facing a raft of intensifying threats. This £400m investment will ensure the Dreadnought programme remains on track, so we continue to have a nuclear deterrent at sea for decades to come. Not only does today’s news see us safeguard 8,000 jobs right now, but I have also opened a brand new multi-million-pound facility to train Britain’s submarine engineers of the future».

The last vessel to carry the name HMS Valiant was the second Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine.

Launched in 1963, she took part in the Navy’s first tactical exercise under the Arctic ice and played an important role in the Falklands War, deterring the Argentine surface fleet from closing the islands.

The latest investment comes after £960 million worth of contracts were announced in May to ramp up the current phase of construction for the UK’s four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines.

Submarine Delivery Agency Chief Executive Ian Booth said: «The Academy for Skills and Knowledge is essential in developing the vast range of talent in Barrow and ensures that the workforce is equipped with the best possible tools needed to meet the ever-growing demands placed on the UK’s submarine construction industry».

The Submarine Academy for Skills and Knowledge will provide around 2,500 people a month – including 600 apprentices from across industry and the Ministry of Defence – with invaluable skills and training to benefit the work carried out on the Dreadnought and Astute submarine programmes.

Cliff Robson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said: «This is a fantastic facility that will provide a unique environment in which to train our growing workforce. Our investment in skills will not only ensure we have a pipeline of world-class talent available to deliver our complex programmes, but will also positively contribute to the economic prosperity of the region and the UK’s engineering industry. The new academy will give our current and future workforce access to the very latest in learning and development, demonstrating our lasting commitment not just to our current employees but to those who will join our company in years to come».

Today’s funding announcement comes a year after the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which set out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.

It demonstrates how defence is building a Britain fit for the future – how we will help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.

Cutting-edge warship

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced HMS Edinburgh as the name of a cutting-edge British warship on the eve of St Andrew’s Day.

New frigate named HMS Edinburgh
New frigate named HMS Edinburgh

The submarine-hunting state-of-the-art frigate builds on the city’s proud naval history and is the seventh warship to carry the name.

And as the eighth frigate to be named in the future Type 26 fleet, Edinburgh will be built on the Clyde as part of a £3.7bn programme that will sustain 4,000 jobs. HMS Edinburgh will be at the forefront of the nation’s world-leading navy, providing unrivalled capability at sea.

The Defence Secretary marked the announcement with Councillor Jason Rust, Bailie for the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh at the Nelson Monument and museum on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

Speaking during a visit to Edinburgh, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: «The new HMS Edinburgh is a symbol of the United Kingdom’s future global ambition, but also the important role Scotland plays in shipbuilding and the national security of our country. Her cutting-edge capabilities will ensure that the UK remains a world-leader at sea, protecting our national interests and promoting global peace. Built on more than 300 years of proud naval history, HMS Edinburgh will play a crucial role in defending our nation for decades to come».

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, said: «The last HMS Edinburgh famously retired from the Royal Navy’s fleet in 2013. Five years later, we are thrilled a new ship will be named in the city’s honour. Built on centuries of history, she will be the seventh ship to carry the HMS Edinburgh title. It will be a truly Scottish ship – built on the Clyde – and I hope she will visit us in the Port of Leith on her maiden voyage when the time comes. We’ve always enjoyed strong ties with the Royal Navy and the many hundreds of personnel who have served aboard the HMS Edinburgh vessels over the years. I’m sure the new ship will reinforce this bond».

The first ship to carry the name HMS Edinburgh was a fifth-rate ship, which was transferred into the Royal Navy in 1707. The last was a Type 42 destroyer, which was decommissioned in 2013 after deployments to the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf.

Royal Navy ships carrying the name Edinburgh have won nine battle honours between them, with five being awarded during the Second World War.

Scotland is already crucial to the United Kingdom’s defence capabilities, being home to the RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert interceptors and submarine-hunting Maritime Patrol Aircraft flying from Lossiemouth, and soon to the be home to the entire Royal Navy Submarine Service from 2020.

More than 10,000 sailors, soldiers and air personnel are also living permanently in Scotland, supported by 8,000 reservists and civilians.

Meanwhile, the Scottish industry benefits from £1.59bn of defence spending every year – supporting 10,500 private sector jobs – and just last year the Defence Board confirmed £1.7 billion would be invested to upgrade Scottish military bases over the next decade.

All the Type 26 frigates will be built on the Clyde, supported by suppliers across the country and securing decades of work for more than 4,000 people. The first three ships, HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast, have already been ordered for £3.7bn. HMS Edinburgh will join HMS Birmingham, HMS Sheffield, HMS Newcastle and HMS London as part of the second batch of Type 26 warships.

The first Type 26 warship, HMS Glasgow, will enter service in the mid-2020s.

Ultra Lightweight

Indian Army celebrated receiving its first M777A2 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers (ULH) at an official handover ceremony today, a key step toward the modernizing and strengthening of the Indian Army’s artillery capabilities.

Indian Army inducts its first M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers
Indian Army inducts its first M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers

The 155-mm M777 systems will deploy to their first regiment in 2019. The gun systems, produced by BAE Systems, were accepted earlier this year, as part of a 145-gun agreement between the U.S. and Indian governments.

«The Indian Army is receiving an extremely reliable and battle-proven artillery platform», Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ weapon systems business, said while attending the event. «The M777 brings a new level of capability to the artillery unit by offering rapid deployment and extreme accuracy. It can operate in areas that are difficult to access and is also very easy to maintain».

BAE Systems is building and delivering the first 25 M777 ULHs fully assembled, with the remaining 120 to be assembled in India by Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd. (MDSL) under an arrangement designed to support defense industrial cooperation and promote local economic growth.

«The M777 ULH is more than a very effective piece of artillery technology», said Nik Khanna, managing director India, BAE Systems. «With the M777 program, BAE Systems has made the first step of our substantive Make-in-India commitment, which includes our pledge to develop a network of Indian suppliers for our global supply chain and deepen our relationship with industry in India. We are committed to a strong and collaborative working relationship between BAE Systems, the Indian Armed Forces and Indian industry».

«This is a landmark event with the first M777s being delivered to the Indian Army. It is a product of our long-standing business partnership with BAE Systems», said SPShukla, Group President – Aerospace & Defence Sector, Mahindra Group, and Chairman – Mahindra Defence Systems. «In this program each of the M777 howitzers have value addition from Mahindra Defence. I believe that this is the first step towards Make-in-India with much bigger programs to follow».

The U.S. government recently certified that MDSL is ready to carry out the work at a purpose-built production facility created for this program to conduct the in-country Assembly and Integration of 120 of the 145 gun systems on order. The newly-handed over M777 ULHs were instrumental in establishing the new MDSL capability in India. The Mahindra team finalized these weapons by replicating the proven manufacturing processes to the highest of quality specifications, including modifications specifically tailored for the Indian Artillery, such as a unique camouflage paint scheme.

Earlier this year, BAE Systems delivered the first spares and other logistics including tooling, technical publications and training materials, to support the Indian Army as it brings these new M777 ULHs into service. The company also recently received a contract to provide 18 additional M777 systems to the U.S. Army, taking the total number of systems ordered and in service with the United States, Canada, Australia and India to more than 1,250.

ANZAC Class Ship

BAE Systems Australia has welcomed a third ANZAC class warship to its Henderson facility as part of the fleet upgrade to keep the ships in service until they are replaced by the Hunter class frigates.

An unusual view of two Australian ANZAC-class frigates at BAE’s dockyard in South Australia. The third frigate has arrived there to undergo the AMCAP upgrade, and all ten upgraded ships of this class will return to active service by 2023 (BAE photo)
An unusual view of two Australian ANZAC-class frigates at BAE’s dockyard in South Australia. The third frigate has arrived there to undergo the AMCAP upgrade, and all ten upgraded ships of this class will return to active service by 2023 (BAE photo)

The Mid Life Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade is being undertaken at Henderson by the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) Alliance.

HMAS Anzac’s docking marks a significant milestone for BAE Systems, where it joins sister ships HMAS Perth (FFH 157) and HMAS Arunta (FFH 151). This will be the first time that three warships have been on the hardstand at the Henderson facility.

HMAS Anzac (FFH 150) will be the second ship to receive the AMCAP upgrade which includes:

  • Upgraded ventilation systems;
  • New sewage systems;
  • Improvements to the diesel engines to improve power and efficiency;
  • Replacement of the air search radar capability with the Australian CEA L-Band radar; and
  • Replacement of the full communications suite on the ship.

BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive, Gabby Costigan, said: «The upgrade of the ANZAC fleet, through our role in the WAMA alliance, demonstrates the breadth and depth of work that BAE Systems Australia has done to date in the sustainment of the ANZAC class fleet over more than two decades. BAE Systems is an Australian industry leader in maritime sustainment. We are very proud of the skilled workforce capacity that we have grown to meet the technical challenges of maritime sustainment».

HMAS Arunta (FFH 151), the first of class AMCAP ship, most recently had her old mast removed to make way for the installation of a newly developed Air Search Radar System. The new mast is currently being manufactured by BAE Systems and scheduled to be installed at the end of October.

Australian company CEA Technologies is responsible for developing the new Air Search Radar System that complements the existing Anti-Ship Missile Defence system.

HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) will undock before the end of the year after having spent more than 12 months on the hard stand. She will then undertake sea trials ahead of a planned return to service in 2019.

The remaining seven ships will be back in service by 2023.

Tank upgrade

World-leading thermal imaging technology is being offered to the British Army as part of Team Challenger 2’s bid to upgrade the Army’s Main Battle Tank.

Team Challenger 2 offers world-leading, thermal imaging technology for Challenger 2 tank upgrade
Team Challenger 2 offers world-leading, thermal imaging technology for Challenger 2 tank upgrade

The technology, developed by Leonardo in the UK, forms part of the BAE Systems led bid to upgrade the tank and would for the first time bring independent night vision for both the gunner and the commander.

Also known as «electro-optic technology», the thermal imaging system will help British troops identify potential threats and move undetected in hostile situations, while also shaving valuable seconds off reaction times, which can make the difference between mission success and failure.

Instead of sensing light like a standard digital camera, Leonardo’s infrared camera senses heat emitted by all objects with temperatures greater than absolute zero (-273°C). The hundreds-of-thousands of individual pixels in the camera, each one-twelfth the thickness of a human hair, can detect temperature differences as small as one-fiftieth of a centigrade, allowing for extremely sharp images.

Simon Jackson, Campaign leader for Team Challenger 2 at BAE Systems said: «Leonardo’s sight brings to Team Challenger 2 the most capable night vision available. Combined with our engineering skills and knowledge of Challenger 2 – which we designed and built – we will work together to integrate Leonardo’s technology seamlessly into the tank, sharing data across crew stations and with battle management computers. Sighting is a vital element of a battle tank’s role and Leonardo’s sight will provide our troops with unparalleled 24-hour night-and-day visibility, giving them a long-range threat identification system that really makes the most of the tank’s firepower».

Mike Gilbert, SVP Optronics Systems UK at Leonardo, said: «Our thermal cameras – designed and built in the UK – can «see» in total darkness as far as the horizon, and the applications for this technology are endless – from helping improve our understanding of the natural world to improving the operational capabilities of the British Army’s Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank. Our infra-red technology plays a crucial role in supporting British troops in the most challenging environments and we’re pleased to be working alongside BAE Systems to offer this technology for Challenger 2, helping extend its life to 2035 and beyond».

The technology is already proven on other military platforms – such as the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier and the Royal Air Force’s Chinook fleet – but has wider applications, including being used by leading broadcasters to capture some of the most difficult shots possible for television.

In David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II documentary, cameras equipped with Leonardo’s technology allowed the filmmakers to capture the most detailed film ever seen of a leopard’s nocturnal hunt, down to the movement of individual hairs on its body. While in the fast-paced world of sport, the Hot Spot system used in international cricket incorporates Leonardo’s thermal imaging technology, helping umpires see whether a ball has struck the batsman, pad or ball, by looking for a temperature change caused by the friction of impact.

From a military standpoint, the thermal imaging system was previously used in Afghanistan to allow Chinook Helicopters to fly undetected through mountain valleys, even in poor weather conditions. It also brought the ability to detect, recognise and identify coalition troops or vehicles at a safe standoff range prior to entry into drop or landing zones.

GPS Navigation

The U.S. Army has selected BAE Systems to provide touch screen Computer Display Units (CDU) as an upgrade to the company’s ASN-128 Doppler GPS Navigation System on Black Hawk helicopters. The self-contained, all-weather, day or night navigation system enables Black Hawk pilots to view real-time flight plan data.

U.S. Army Black Hawks to receive upgraded Doppler navigation systems
U.S. Army Black Hawks to receive upgraded Doppler navigation systems

This task order, which was awarded to BAE Systems under a current $226 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, will bring touch-screen navigation system control to UH-60A/L Black Hawks. The Army plans to use the ASN-128 systems through 2035, and the upgrades will support safer operation for pilots by minimizing heads-down tasks.

«We’ve been a supplier for the ASN-128 program since 1978», said Alan Dewar, director of Communications and Navigation Solutions at BAE Systems. «The full touch screen with moving map capability will improve safety for pilots, assisting our customer’s mission success».

The CDUs will be produced at BAE Systems’ facility in Wayne, New Jersey, with circuit card production in Austin, Texas. Additional CDU delivery orders may follow as part of the Army’s upgrade plan. The initial order of 250 CDUs will be delivered in 2019 and 2020.

BAE Systems’ AN/ASN-128 operates on more than 15,000 helicopters in 35 nations. The company’s Doppler Navigation Systems provide accurate, independent, jam-resistant navigation in friendly and hostile environments and in operational situations where interference with GPS is likely. The system automatically selects Doppler navigation in GPS-denied environments.