International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

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brar_w
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 18 Apr 2020 19:40

I believe the particular name has its origins from the original F-15 air-show routine.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 18 Apr 2020 21:59

Interesting Finnish perspective on their HX competition and particularly Boeing's offer. Apparently, Boeing has secured clearance (in advance) to offer the Next Generation Jammer system to Finland as part of its bid. AARGM-ER should also be cleared given they are linked.

Boeing has also *very strongly* hinted (though not explicitly confirmed) in their HX campaign that they have obtained similar assurances on the export of the AIM-260 JATM.

A key part of the jamming system is the two large ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammers (NGJ) for the mid-band. These are amongst the most advanced US electronic warfare capabilities, and just the fact that they have been released for export to Finland even before the US Navy has accepted them into operational use tells something about the US-Finnish bilateral relation. Ernie Winston from Raytheon, the developer and manufacturer of the pods, was happy to confirm that the development program is moving forward according to plan, and that the first pre-production batches are expected to join the program this year, which also will see the first mission system flight testing. The first series production deliveries will take place in 2022.

What exactly makes the NGJ different from the current generation then? A lot, as it turns out. The big thing is that it is capable of hitting numerous targets simultaneously, thanks to AESA features and “extremely high power”. To counter modern radars, it is also able to switch modes very quickly. The pod is designed from the bottom up to be modular and easily upgradable. Winston describe the system as providing “transformative electronic attack capability”, while the more modest HX-programme manager colonel Keränen just noted that the Growler represents a capability currently not found in the Finnish Air Force.

The versatility of the Growler also means that they can be used in a number of different ways. The US Navy likes to use the superior intelligence gathering and presence of a backseater to allow the aircraft to stand back a bit from the fight (the high power of it’s jammers ensure that it can perform stand-off as well as stand-in jamming), sharing it’s tactical picture with the rest of the flight and having the Growler’s WSO (backseater) play the role of a mission commander, directing the fight. ‘Quarterbacking it’, as Boeing put it with a good analogy that will be meaningless for a majority of Finns.

The RAAF on the other hand has a more hands-on approach, and isn’t afraid to use their Growlers up close and personal. This is aided by the fact that the Growler in essence has all the air-to-air capabilities of a F/A-18F Super Hornet (minus the wingtip AIM-9 Sidewinders), coupled with vastly superior jamming capabilities. While a Growler preferably shouldn’t get involved in the air-to-air fight, it certainly is capable of defending itself.

The Australian connection is interesting. While there are lot of difference between Finland and Australia, there are surprising similarities when looking at the air forces. Both were major operators of the ‘legacy’ Hornet (sorry Boeing, the designation has stuck already), and were the first two (and for a long time, only) export customers of the AGM-158 JASSM which gave their respective fleets a precision deep strike capability. Both also operate in the grey zone of being somewhat non-aligned but enjoying close bilateral relations with the US (though Australia has a significantly more expeditionary approach). This closeness of the respective US-relations is what makes deals such as the JASSM or Growler possible. And if Finland chooses the Super Hornet, there is something very interesting brewing down under.

Recently Boeing made headlines by flying three Growlers simultaneously, with one controlling the other remotely two (they were often referred to as ‘unmanned’ by the press, something that wasn’t strictly true as they had a back-up crew aboard to take control if something would have gone wrong). The news wasn’t that a Growler can be flown remotely, but rather that Boeing had successfully demonstrated that without modifying the cockpit hardware, it is possible to effectively command unmanned wingmen from a Growler or Super Hornet using currently available data links (Link 16 or ATDL). The software part is included on both the Growler and Super Hornet road maps, and is expected to be rolled out sometime during the latter half of the decade (i.e. when Finland is receiving its HX-fighters). The question is then what would you control? Granted you can use the Growler (or a ‘legacy’ Hornet using Link 16, though that is suboptimal due to bandwidth and security concerns), but a smarter way is to use a purpose-built platform. Such as the Loyal Wingman....

But the Loyal Wingman is just one piece of the puzzle making the Super Hornet-family “networked and survivable”, to use Boeing’s phrasing. The key here is the Advanced Tactical Datalink, or ATDL, that allows for vastly increased amounts of data being sent between the aircrafts (and other friendlies, including ground and ship units). To be able to cope with this increased amount data received, as well as the increased amount of data from the Block III’s own sensors (including the ATFLIR targeting pod and the long-range IRST pod), the aircraft has received the increased processing power of the DTP-N (a “big computer”, as it was described). This in turn makes the creation of a common tactical picture (CTP) possible, which is presented to the pilot on the new wide-angled display that is the most visible part of the Advanced Cockpit System, vastly increasing the situational awareness of the pilots. In essence, what Boeing does is linking together the aircraft to get a clear situational picture even in complex high-treat environments. The new cockpit coupled with the CTP also lower the pilot workload, providing a “huge step up” when it comes to how the information is presented to the crew, and helps avoid overloading the pilot with data....

LINK




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While the author correctly conclude that the Growler represents a capability not currently possessed by Finland this will come at a considerable cost. The Growler as a system may cost 30-40% than a Block III Rhino but quite a bit of capability will need to be built up to support it. This includes EW/EA jamming ranges that are large enough and capable enough to train on the system and this includes Next Generation threat emitters, large swaths of air-space and land based training ranges adequately equipped to train pilots and a virtual linked network to support training that cannot be done live. The USAF/USN combined threat emmitter investment (that supports the Growler, and F-35 programs among others) runs into the mid single digit billion $'s (though that includes development) and add upgrades to the training ranges and you are easily in the high single digit billions of dollars to do this right. I guess they could avoid some of the cost and just train in the US but some capability would need to be maintained for routine training.
Last edited by brar_w on 18 Apr 2020 23:04, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 18 Apr 2020 22:55

NASA Announces Date for the First Crewed American Space Launch in Nearly a Decade


Elon Musk’s SpaceX will fly American astronauts to the International Space Station on May 27, according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration Administrator Jim Bridenstine, setting an official launch date for the mission.

The launch, which Bridenstine announced in a tweet on Friday, will mark the first for NASA astronauts from American soil to the orbiting lab since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the first to fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of what’s known as the Demo-2 mission.

The historic flight, from launch complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is the final test for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft to be certified by the space agency to conduct regular flights to the station with crew on board.Musk, the chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., founded the company in 2002 with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets, but the company has never flown humans before.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 21 Apr 2020 00:55

Germany approves Super Hornet and Growler buy, national media reports

The German government has approved the procurement of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler to partially satisfy its Tornado replacement requirement, national media has reported.

German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has told the US government that Berlin has given clearance for the Luftwaffe to acquire 45 Super Hornet and Growler aircraft as part of its wider plans to replace 90 Panavia Tornado Interdiction and Strike (IDS)/Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft with 85 new platforms from 2025.

The 30 Super Hornet multirole and 15 Growler electronic attack (EA) jets would enable the Luftwaffe to fulfil its airborne nuclear strike and EA requirements within the required timeframe, Der Spiegel reported Kramp-Karrenbauer as saying in mid-April. The remaining 40 aircraft would comprise additional Eurofighters to add to the 143 already received (of these, 38 early Tranche 1 aircraft are set to be replaced by the same number of Tranche 3 aircraft under Project Quadriga).

While Der Spiegel has reported Kramp-Karrenbauer's comments to her US counterpart, Secretary Mark Esper, no official announcement has been made and no contracts signed. An announcement was expected at the ILA Berlin Airshow in May, and despite that event recently being cancelled due to the coronavirus an announcement is still expected in approximately the same timeframe (although it is unclear as to whether this will be a down-select or a type selection).


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 21 Apr 2020 01:10

Airbus DS demonstrates automatic aerial refueling for A-330 MRTT

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Airbus Defence and Space (DS) announced the first ever automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) operation for an aircraft fitted with a boom system on 17 April.

The event saw a company-owned A330-200 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft connect with a Portuguese Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon receiver using the Airbus automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) solution.

Testing itself took place earlier this year over the Atlantic Ocean, with 45 flight test hours and 120 dry contacts with the A3R system made. The entire aerial refuelling envelope was covered, and certification is slated to commence in 2021.

As noted by Airbus, the A3R system requires no additional equipment on the receiver aircraft and is intended to reduce air refuelling operator (ARO) workload, improve safety and optimise the rate of air-to-air refuelling transfer in operational conditions. The goal for the A3R system is to develop technologies that will reach fully autonomous capabilities, the company said.

“Once the system is activated by the ARO, the A3R flies the boom automatically and keeps the alignment between the boom tip and the receiver receptacle with an accuracy of a couple of centimeters; the proper alignment and the receiver stability is checked in real-time to keep a safe distance between the boom and the receiver and also to determine the optimum moment to extend the telescopic beam to achieve the connection with the receiver. At this point, the fuel transfer is initiated to fill up the receiver aircraft and once completed and the disconnection is commanded, the boom is cleared away from the receiver by retracting the telescopic beam and flying the boom away to keep a safe separation distance. During this process, the ARO simply monitors the operation,” Airbus explained.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 21 Apr 2020 04:04

Very interesting..hopefully something of this sort could emerge as sensor fusion for the MWF and AMCA (if the AMCA gets an IRST), allowing them to detect stealthy objects at longer ranges. Basically usually the IRST and AESA radar together or to confirm the detection of an object by either sensor by using the other sensor.

From AW&ST

BEIJING—The Japanese defense ministry has reported a 20% improvement in detection range with a fused sensor system for use against stealth aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles.


The infrared and radar system is evidently intended for a contemplated long-endurance surveillance aircraft, though no such development program is in published planning. The technology is surely also a candidate for Japan’s Next-Generation Fighter, especially since the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning already has such composite functionality.

To test the technology, Japan has fitted a Lockheed Martin UP-3C trials aircraft with a large infrared-search-and-track turret (IRST) in a dorsal position and a ventrally mounted side-looking radar. The ministry’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) is running the program from the fiscal year beginning in April 2012 to fiscal 2021. Its name can be translated as Composite Radio and Light Sensor System.

ATLA said the system’s IRST operates in medium wavelengths to search for ballistic missiles and in long wavelengths to track them and to search for and track stealth aircraft. The radar uses the S band, has gallium-nitride technology and faces to the left of the UP-3C.

Reporting on testing up to March 2019, the agency described a specific objective of seeing whether the system could detect targets farther away by making the radar accept fainter signals—which also meant allowing it to generate more false targets. The IRST was used to check detections and reject false ones. This idea has been applied in other countries.

ATLA said the accepted signal-to-noise ratio was reduced by 3 dB—presumably from the normal operating level of the radar, which was not named.

The evaluations confirmed that targets could be detected at 20% greater ranges, ATLA said. For a 3 dB reduction in accepted signal-to-noise ratio, that is about the theoretical result from the radar equation, a standard formula that relates detection range with various factors.

A further advantage of fusing such sensors is that radars are precise in range but not in direction, whereas IRST’s have the opposite characteristics. Together, they can far more precisely locate a target than either can do separately. But the IRST needs satisfactory atmospheric conditions, while radar operation must not expose the carrying aircraft to detection and attack.

The agency did not say whether the system also worked in the other direction, with the radar verifying the IRST detections achieved from weak signals. This seems to be a likely requirement, since a stealth aircraft’s infrared emissions may well be detected before its radar reflections can be. If one sensor made a detection in scanning, it could cue the other to stare in the target’s direction until good data were acquired—or nothing found.


The tests also validated theoretical principles for sensor operation as a passive radar. The term usually refers to a mode in which a radar detects a target’s reflections of radio frequency energy that happens to be present, such as television transmissions. Outlining the program in 2012, the ministry described this function as using emissions from radars, which seems to suggest a cooperating source.

Accuracy in passive-radar mode can be improved by using multiple ground stations, ATLA said, evidently referring to the transmitters. The agency stressed that this was only a theoretical evaluation. It did not elaborate.

The IRST showed very good results against Japanese rockets used in the trials, ATLA said. The 2012 program outline suggested that the turret would be derived from Airboss, a Fujitsu IRST that was used to detect a ballistic missile target off Hawaii in December 2007. One change was the addition of long-wavelength capability for better detection of ballistic missile warheads; formerly the sensor operated in only medium wavelengths.

The fused sensor system used the track-before-detect technique, ATLA said. This is a process in which imaginary tracks are projected ahead of a target to work out whether its apparent movement is plausible.

Japan has three aircraft types that could serve as long-endurance carriers of such a system: the Kawasaki Heavy Industries C-2 airlifter and P-1 maritime patroller; and the Mitsubishi Aircraft SpaceJet regional jet. Since the P-1 has a fuselage similar in size to that of the UP-3C used for the trials, it should be a likely candidate—though it would be a new type for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, which would presumably field the operational system. An unmanned aircraft could be preferred.

The NGF is supposed to enter service in the mid-2030s.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 21 Apr 2020 05:35

Kartik wrote: Basically usually the IRST and AESA radar together or to confirm the detection of an object by either sensor by using the other sensor


The F-35's closed loop fusion does the very same. The fusion logic has a hierarchy of sensors which are used and CID probabilities stated. Beyond a stated threshold of ID accuracy (probability) this data is shared to the pilot. If the baseline shows below threshold level of ID confidence other sensors are tasked. The logic can be changed but by default, the AN/ASQ-239 develops a wide field of view of the extended battlespace (air to air and air to surface threats) and shares and augments its data with other F-35's autonomously using the Ku band MADL. Because F-35 4 or 8 ship flies much farther apart this cross-collaboration using high frequency LPI data links is the first layer of battlefield SA. Confirmed tracks at medium ranges are handed over to the AN/AAQ-37 for constant tracking. When all passive systems on the entire ship are working on this they can set up exchanges more efficiently and not overload the system. Folks forget that the EODAS sensor is a short-medium range IRST (MWIR) and that while it may loose its ID abilities at extended ranges it has enough capability to maintain tracks (and apparently the Raytheon DAS solution is a complete generation more advanced than the current DAS sensors) and has done the same against even ground fire like targets (detection).

The logic escalates if it is unable to resolve targets and uses the other two sensors available on the jet (EOTS and AN/APG-81 radar). Multi-ship IRST allows a 4 ship (or more or anything beyond 1 F-35) to orient vis-a-vis each other (using MADL and organic PNT) divvy up airspace and set periodic boundry tracks to check for changes. Same thing with the radar. The EW guides the radar if required, and uses it in LPI mode to check the boundaries of previously sanitized air-space to see if anything new has popped up. This is set by the pilot or a multi-ship lead and can be adjusted based on what scenario and mission one is flying. EW+MDF+EO/IR/RF sensors collaborate to develop positive ID and tracks with passive sensors prioritized for LPI purposes. This allows various aircraft in a multi-ship to task sensors differently. One aircraft could be looking for fighter radars to jam while still getting fire-control level data into its fusion engine (from another fighter) beyond anything that a Link-16 based data-link will ever be capable of handling (and do so within LPI/LPD standards).
Last edited by brar_w on 21 Apr 2020 05:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 21 Apr 2020 05:43

thanks for the explanation, brar_w. Clearly a very sophisticated system that sets the F-35 apart from the rest of the field.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 21 Apr 2020 06:19

Raytheon Prevails on LRSO, Lockheed Out


The Air Force will continue development of the highly classified Long-Range Standoff nuclear cruise missile with Raytheon Technologies alone, closing-out Lockheed Martin’s efforts more than a year early, the service announced April 17.

Raytheon will become the “sole source contractor” on the technology, maturation, and risk reduction (TMRR) phase, the service said in a press release. “This is an off-ramp, not a downselect,” a spokeswoman for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center said. She explained that Raytheon must still conclude its TMRR work, and there must be a formal contract proposal and award before Raytheon is considered the chosen LRSO contractor.

The LRSO will replace the nuclear AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missile beginning in about 2030. It is a very-low-observable missile, which will equip the B-52 and B-21 bombers as part of the bomber leg of the nuclear triad. Its range is expected to be in excess of 1,500 miles.

Although the service is looking at wrapping some of the engineering and manufacturing work, including flight tests, into the technology, maturation, and risk reduction phase, that decision has not yet been made.

Raytheon recently passed its preliminary design review stage on LRSO and expected to complete TMRR in January 2022, said Wes Kramer, president of the company’s missile and defense sector.

“Our competitive TMRR phase, which included both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon as the prime contractors, enabled us to select a high-confidence design at this point in the acquisition process,” said Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris, commander of the Nuclear Weapons Center and program executive officer for strategic systems.

“Contract negotiations for the [EMD] phase, with a strong focus on schedule realism, and cost-capability trades, will start in fiscal year 2021,” Kramer said.

The Air Force awarded matching $900 million TMRR contracts to Raytheon and Lockheed Martin in August 2017, which called for a 54-month preliminary development program. That should have concluded in early 2022, but the spokeswoman said the Air Force had assessed the progress of the contractors and determined that Raytheon would deliver “full program requirements … on time.”

“We are re-framing our relationship with Lockheed Martin to focus on specific technology maturation we believe either has future applicability for the final LRSO design or will reduce overall program risk,” said Elizabeth Thorn, a system program manager at the Nuclear Weapons Center, in a press release. While that sounds like Lockheed will continue to contribute to the program, it actually means that Lockheed will “close out” its LRSO efforts and the Air Force will shift its focus to Raytheon’s design.

No layoffs are planned as a result of the Air Force’s action, a Lockheed spokeswoman said. A number of people working on LRSO have already been assigned to the company’s other efforts, she added.

“We are partnering with the Department of Defense on numerous important programs and initiatives that will benefit from the knowledge and skill sets gained by the employees that were part of the LRSO TMRR phase of the program,” the Lockheed spokeswoman said in an email.

The Air Force has designated the competing efforts AGM-180 and -181, but has never specified which one applies to the Raytheon entrant in the LRSO competition.

Gen. Robin Rand, then-head of Air Force Global Strike Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in June 2017 that USAF planned to spend $2.7 billion on LRSO between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2022. The Congressional Budget Office, in a 2017 report, estimated that LRSO will cost $10 billion to produce 1,000 missiles, for a unit cost of $10 million apiece.

Air Force officials have said LRSO will not be a hypersonic weapon, and the program as now structured does not include a conventional variant. However, AFGSC commander Gen. Timothy Ray told Air Force Magazine recently that if a very long range conventional cruise missile—beyond the range of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extreme Range (JASSM-XR)— is needed, the LRSO would be the logical “starting point.”

The LRSO was singled out for special review by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who was unconvinced at the outset of his tenure that it was necessary. He later offered his full endorsement of the weapon in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, calling it key to preserving the efficacy of the bomber element of the strategic deterrent.

Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., then USAF’s top uniformed acquisition officer at the Pentagon, said in 2017 the LRSO’s TMRR phase would probably cost a little more than that for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, “to ensure that we have a design that we can produce that will be reliable and available once it gets out into the field.” The idea was to avoid reliability issues with other cruise missiles, he said.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 22 Apr 2020 01:08

Iraq moves towards S-400 acquisition

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Iraq has become the latest country to consider acquiring the Russian-made S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name SA-21 'Growler'), the Iraqi press reported on 18 April.

According to a report from the Al Sabaah newspaper, the country's Parliamentary Security and Defence committee had submitted a report to the Iraqi prime minister's office recommending the acquisition of the S-400.

The country had previously announced in January that it would be examining potential offerings from China, Russia, and Ukraine.

The acquisition will have to await approval of the country's prime minister, with the post currently vacant. Former director of the country's National Intelligence Service Mustafa al-Khadimi is currently the prime minister designate and is negotiating with other parties to form a coalition government.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 Apr 2020 03:37

Lockheed Martin Expects Coronavirus to Delay F-35 Deliveries


The coronavirus pandemic will disrupt production of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as its U.S. and international suppliers grapple with sick workers, stay-at-home orders, and shipping delays, company executives said Tuesday.

The problems could cost the company $375 million in projected sales this year, Lockheed CFO Ken Possenriede said on a Tuesday call with Wall Street analysts to discuss the company’s first-quarter earnings. The company is also bracing for disruptions within its missile projects as it is unable to get an increasing number of parts from its suppliers.

“We are beginning to experience some issues in each of our business areas related to the coronavirus, primarily in access to some locations and delays of supplier deliveries, which have caused us to adjust our full-year sales outlook,” Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said on the call.

Lockheed’s supply problems are one of the first visible signs that the defense industry is not immune to the kind of coronavirus-related disruptions that have decimated the retail, travel, and hospitality sectors. Lockheed’s defense-sector competitors are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings over the next two weeks.

In regulatory filings over the past two months, Raytheon Technologies, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, have said COVID-19 could reduce sales and performance. Boeing has been among the hardest hit by coronavirus; it had to stop work at military and commercial factories in Washington state, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

“Our current expectation is that the next few months will be the peak of disruption as the country and the rest of the world looks to successfully flatten the curve and move forward,” Possenriede said.

Even though F-35 delivery delays could cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, Lockheed still expects to log between $62.35 billion and $64 billion in 2020. That’s down from its January projection of 2020 sales between $62.75 billion and $64.25 billion. Despite the slight sales decline, the company expects to make between $6.8 billion and $6.95 billion in profits, the same range predicted in January.

For Lockheed, any F-35 disruption could be bad for business since the stealthy fighter jet — being purchased by the U.S. and more than a dozen allies — accounts for about a quarter of its annual sales. Over the past two months, coronavirus forced F-35 factories in Japan and Italy to temporarily close. So far, coronavirus has not affected Lockheed’s F-35 assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas — which builds the lion’s share of jets each year — but that could change.

“There’s likely going to be some production impacts at our [F-35] site,” Possenriede said. “There’s more analysis that we’re going to do over the next couple of weeks working with our supply chain and our Fort Worth production line and our customers to determine if any impact and [to] what extent it will be on the program including deliveries.”

A number of F-35 foreign and domestic F-35 suppliers have not filed the required invoices documenting their work, Possenriede said, noting “probably most of it is COVID-related.” Development of new technology for F-35 jets has not been affected.

But Lockheed executives are closely monitoring the company’s missile business. A week ago, about 6 percent of its suppliers were projecting coronavirus-related issues. That number increased to 10 percent this week, Possenriede siad.

“They had two suppliers that had closed operations,” he said. “One of them we’re still working through second sources and also containment plans for them. And another one had an operation in Mexico. We worked through that and got that one open. So we feel good right now where Missiles and Fire Control is … from a guidance standpoint.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 Apr 2020 18:31

Original timeline for the JSOW MMT F-35C integration was mid 2022. It looks like integration was sanctioned in February 2020 and it is quite possible that the weapon will be integrated by the end of the summer with testing in fall. The AGM-154 JSOW is already certified to be carried inside the F-35C's IWB making integration of an upgraded variant of that weapon a lot easier.

Looks like the US Navy wanted an initial Maritime Strike capability before it does its first F-35C multi-month deployment/cruise aboard an Aircraft Carrier. While Anti surface warfare is not yet an F-35 mission (it is handled by the Super Hornet with LRASM) both the JSOW MMT, and the eventual JSOW-ER (which nearly triples the range to beyond 300 km) will provide a pretty good way of stealthily lobbing weapons at surface targets. External store LRASM integration is also planned for the F-35C but at a much later date.

CSB accelerates JSOW C-1 NEW integration on F-35


The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) Configuration Steering Board (CSB) has approved an accelerated timeline to integrate a Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) C-1 full Network-Enabled Weapons (NEW) capability on the F-35 Lightning II platform.

Sanctioned in February, the CSB decision accelerates by approximately two years the JSOW C-1 NEW capability on the F-35, with funding already programmed to support the C-1 integration effort. NEW effectively enables a Moving Maritime Target (MMT) capability for the C-1.

A joint US Navy (USN)-led USN/US Air Force (USAF) programme, the Raytheon Missiles & Defence (RMD) AGM-154 JSOW is comprised of a family of 1,000 Ib-class, advanced glide munitions. The AGM-154C-1, along with the AGM-154C (JSOW Block IIIC), are the latest design JSOW production variants.

The AGM-154C incorporates the UK-developed BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge) multi-stage warhead – consisting of a 100 kg (220 lb) penetrating shaped-charge in front of a 145 kg (320 lb) conventional follow-through warhead, an uncooled, long-wave imaging infrared (IIR) seeker with autonomous target acquisition algorithms for precision Stationary Land Target (SLT) engagements.

The AGM-154C-1 NEW variant adds a Rockwell Collins TacNet 1.5 dual-waveform (UHF and Link 16) Strike Common Weapon Datalink (SCWDL), enabling the weapon – which can interface with the USN/USAF Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) – to be retargeted after launch, for Stationary Land Target (SLT)/Re-locatable Land Target (RLT) engagements. The JSOW C-1 weapon also incorporates a redesign of, and software modification to, the IIR seeker algorithm to support a network-enabled MMT engagement capability. The JSOW C Block III and C-1 variants have a stated range of 130 km (80.0 miles/70.0 n miles) at high altitude (40,000 ft), and 22 km (13.7 miles/11.9 n miles) at low altitude.


The JSOW-ER is expected to be operational on the F-18E/F and the F-35C by 2023.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 Apr 2020 22:23

Seems like the Block III Super Hornet program has not been impacted by COVID-19 (yet) :

US Navy to receive first Super Hornet Block 3 test aircraft ‘by end of May’


The US Navy (USN) is soon to receive the first Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block 3 testbed aircraft.

A representative from Boeing told Jane's on 17 April; "The two test jets are scheduled to be delivered on-time by the end of May."

In 2019 at Boeing's St Louis production facility in Missouri, Jennifer Tebo, director of development for the F/A-18 programme, said this schedule had been accelerated by about 12 months to allow the USN to have two test aircraft to start carrier suitability trials of the advanced computing and networking capabilities of the Block 3 platform.

With the first aircraft set to be handed over shortly, Tebo previously noted that Boeing will begin to deliver full-up Block 3 jets to the navy during late 2020 and early 2021.

Senior programme officials recently outlined the importance of what Boeing terms 'the evolutionary approach' to the Hornet platform that has resulted in the latest Block 3 iteration of the McDonnell Douglas aircraft that was first rolled out to the fleet in the early 1980s.

Boeing announced in 2011 that it was developing a USN Flight Plan upgrade path that would run in parallel with an International Roadmap for current and future export customers. With some tweaks, this Flight Plan/International Roadmap became the Advanced Super Hornet in 2013 and the Block 3 Super Hornet in 2017. In the FY 2018 President's Budget, the USN fully funded the Block 3 development programme. This involves five major changes, or Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs), to the aircraft.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 23 Apr 2020 00:28

Germany set to acquire 138 Eurofighters, Super Hornets and Growlers

The German government has stated its intention to acquire 138 new combat aircraft for the Luftwaffe, comprising 93 Eurofighters and 45 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets / E/A-18 Growlers.

The plan, disclosed by German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on 21 April, would appear to satisfy the Luftwaffe's three separate combat aircraft procurement requirements that are each due to see new platforms introduced into service in the mid-2020s.

These three requirements comprise the Tornado replacement programme for 85 new aircraft, Project Quadriga for 38 new aircraft, and the Luftgestützte Wirkung im Elektromagnetischen Spektrum (luWES) electronic attack (EA) programme for 15 new aircraft.

Under Kramp-Karrenbauer's numbers, reported by the AFP news agency, the Luftwaffe would seemingly receive 55 Eurofighters and 30 Super Hornets for the Tornado replacement requirement; 38 Eurofighters for Project Quadriga; and 15 Growlers for luWES. Though this breakdown has not been confirmed by the German government, and it should be noted that luWES has not even been formally launched yet.

For the Tornado replacement programme, the Luftwaffe is looking to retire its 90 Tornado Interdiction and Strike (IDS)/Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft from 2030. A request for proposals (RFP) for 85 new aircraft to perform 10 current Tornado missions and two additional but undisclosed missions (one of which is understood to be the nuclear delivery mission) was issued in early 2018. The Eurofighter, Super Hornet/Growler, Boeing F-15 Advanced Eagle, and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II were all put forward, with all but the Eurofighter and Super Hornet/Growler being discounted for operational and/or political reasons. A formal announcement (either a type-selection or contract) is expected in the coming weeks.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 23 Apr 2020 01:27

I wonder if any aircraft acquisition program, in recent history, has contracted 3 out of the 5'ish aircraft that competed.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 23 Apr 2020 04:40

Growler/Super Hornet can be considered as one solution. But I think it's a sensible solution. Keeps Airbus and the unions happy, gives the Luftwaffe a potent EW airplane like the Growler, and they keep the B61 nuke capability intact as well. Eurofighter should be able to take on most of the strike roles that the Tornado is responsible for as of now, with the necessary integration of weapons.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Gerard » 23 Apr 2020 04:50

Iran's Revolutionary Guards ‘successfully launch military satellite’

IRGC's commander-in-chief, Maj-Gen Hossein Salami, said the force had taken "a major step in promoting the scope of [its] strategic information capabilities".
"Today, we are looking at the Earth from the sky, and it is the beginning of the formation of a world power," he was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.
IRGC Aerospace Force commander Brig-Gen Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said the Qased "used a compound of liquid and solid propellants" and declared: "Only superpowers have such capability".

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 23 Apr 2020 05:53

Kartik wrote:Growler/Super Hornet can be considered as one solution. But I think it's a sensible solution. Keeps Airbus and the unions happy, gives the Luftwaffe a potent EW airplane like the Growler, and they keep the B61 nuke capability intact as well. Eurofighter should be able to take on most of the strike roles that the Tornado is responsible for as of now, with the necessary integration of weapons.


It would require a fair bit of accounting wizardry to consider the Growler and Super Hornet as one and same. For starters, the former as a system is likely to have at least a 100% cost premium to acquire (with the re-start) compared to even the Block III SH. Secondly, it shares very little infrastructure with the SH, at least the type of infrastructure that chews up OPEX. Different range needs, different threat emitters, different re-programming labs, different test and training footprint and even some of the mission planning tools and processes are different. Essentially it ammounts to a completely different system when looked at through the broad platform+sustainment+training+modernization+weapons perspective (which is what drives cost and readiness).

Typhoon as a Tornado replacement will also be a fair bit of stretch but granted that it was safe to shed a bit of capability for the sake of commonality with existing aircraft and because it has some local production. That can be considered a justified compromise.

Now if only someone had the foresight to design and build a nuke capable, better than Typhoon/Super-Hornet strike fighter, at roughly similar or lower cost and incorporate within it, cutting edge Low-Observable and EW/EA ability to detect, and target IADS, then I'm willing to bet that they would sell it by the thousands.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Mollick.R » 02 May 2020 00:28

Boeing backs out of Embraer merger
April 25, 2020 at 9:07 p.m. GMT+5:30

Boeing has terminated a long-planned $4.2 billion deal with the Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer after negotiations broke down shortly before a Friday night deadline, the company announced Saturday.
The move comes as a global air travel shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has left Boeing’s commercial aircraft division grasping for cash. And it shows how the economic crisis already is having long-term effects on the company’s global competitiveness.

“Embraer believes strongly that Boeing has wrongfully terminated the MTA, that it has manufactured false claims as a pretext to seek to avoid its commitments to close the transaction and pay Embraer the US$4.2 billion purchase price,” the statement reads. “We believe Boeing has engaged in a systematic pattern of delay and repeated violations of the MTA, because of its unwillingness to complete the transaction in light of its own financial condition and 737 MAX and other business and reputational problems."

The move by Boeing puts an end to years of careful negotiations and regulatory approvals in both countries. The deal would have given Boeing an 80 percent controlling stake in Embraer and allowed it to take control of the company’s prized narrow-body commercial jetliners.

The deal was announced in 2018 at a time when Boeing’s aerospace business was reaching historic financial peaks. The Embraer deal was an aggressive move to build out its commercial aircraft portfolio to compete with Airbus. Embraer competes directly with Bombardier, a Canadian jet manufacturer that merged with Airbus in 2017.

But 2019 and 2020 have brought a historic collapse in Boeing’s commercial aviation business that few could have foreseen. Last year the company was forced to stop selling the 737 Max, its best-selling commercial jet.......

The company’s stock price has lost two thirds of its stock value over the past year.

Full article here.....
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/25/boeing-backs-out-embraer-merger/

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Mollick.R » 02 May 2020 00:33

Embraer to seek damages as it accuses Boeing of sabotaging merger

https://www.flightglobal.com/aerospace/embraer-to-seek-damages-as-it-accuses-boeing-of-sabotaging-merger/138077.article



Brazil’s Embraer says Boeing ‘wrongfully terminated’ deal for $4 billion tie-up
PUBLISHED SAT, APR 25 20209:07 AM EDTUPDATED SAT, APR 25 20203:09 PM EDT


Boeing said Embraer did not satisfy conditions under the agreement.........................

“It is deeply disappointing. But we have reached a point where continued negotiation within the framework of the [merger transaction agreement] is not going to resolve the outstanding issues,” said Marc Allen, president of the Embraer Partnership and Group Operations, in a Boeing news release earlier Saturday.

But Embraer said the deal was “wrongfully terminated” and vowed to “pursue all remedies against Boeing for the damages incurred.”

Boeing is required to pay $100 million if antitrust approvals for the deal aren’t secured, according to a company filing, but a Boeing spokeswoman said the company doesn’t believe that the termination fee applies in this case.

The deal, which would have given Boeing control over Embraer’s commercial jet arm, was meant to help Boeing grow even stronger in commercial aerospace to better compete with European rival Airbus. Airbus, for its part, has already taken a stake in what’s now called the A220 passenger-plane program of Canada’s Bombardier.

CNBC Link Here
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/25/boeing-terminates-joint-venture-agreement-with-brazils-embraer.html

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Mollick.R » 02 May 2020 00:46

And so the wrost is going to be true, the dragon will surely look for a scavenging job. They have / can afford the cash, they have the national will power & a meaning full acquisition / JV/ or full scale TOT will save them at least a 10- 15 years of hard work


Embraer takes Boeing to arbitration over failed deal as Brazil eyes China tie-up
BUSINESS NEWS APRIL 27, 2020 / 6:21 PM / 4 DAYS AGO

BRAZIL AND CHINA

Embraer maintains a close relationship with the Brazilian government, which kept veto power over strategic decisions at the company following its privatization.

President Jair Bolsonaro also said on Monday that Embraer might be ripe for exploring new buyers.

“Maybe we’ll begin new negotiations with a new company,” Bolsonaro told reporters.
.
.On Monday, UBS also suggested China may be interested in buying up Embraer’s commercial planes.

“We believe China still aspires to a global aerospace leadership position and, in our view, (Embraer) would bring both the talent for design and development,” it said in a client note.



Reuters Link Here....

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-embraer-m-a-boeing/embraer-takes-boeing-to-arbitration-over-failed-deal-as-brazil-eyes-china-tie-up-idUKKCN2291OM

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Mollick.R » 02 May 2020 00:52

Collapse of Boeing-Embraer deal could have major impact on C-390 Millennium’s future

WASHINGTON — Boeing’s termination of a $4.2 billion deal for a majority stake in Embraer’s commercial aviation business could have widespread implications on the Brazilian firm’s flagship military aircraft.

Boeing on Saturday announced that it would walk away from a joint venture that would give it an 80 percent stake in Embraer’s commercial business, as well as a 49 percent stake in the company’s C-390 Millennium cargo plane.

Although Boeing said that the company would maintain previous teaming agreements to support Embraer with marketing the C-390 internationally, analysts told Defense News that the vitriol between the two companies could portend a wider collapse of their collaboration in the military sphere.

“The future of the KC-390 without Boeing — or without a U.S. defense prime helping — isn’t all that great,” said Richard Aboulafia,

At Dubai Air Show last November, the companies announced the formation of a new entity known as Boeing-Embraer Defense set up specifically to proactively market the C-390 around the world — a step up from previous agreements that had Boeing in more of a hands-off role. The agreement gave Boeing a new plane that could compete head-to-head against Lockheed Martin’s C-130, and gave Embraer the resources to match.

The big question now is whether Embraer seeks out partnerships elsewhere for either the KC-390 or its commercial business, said Byron Callan, an analyst with Capital Alpha Partners.

“I just wonder, is there something else or someone else that emerges in 2021 or 2022 that ties up with Embraer. Could that be Chinese? Indian? Another country, company or entity outside of the United States?” he said. “That would be a more interesting broader change for aerospace, that has military implications as well, too.” (At least they are counting us, don't know about our national will power is there or not to work on such fluid development swiftly)

It’s even possible that Airbus could try to usurp Boeing’s role as Embraer’s partner on the C-390, said Callan, who noted that Airbus — like Boeing — does not offer a medium cargo transport aircraft that directly competes against the C-130.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/04/27/collapse-of-boeing-embraer-deal-could-have-major-impact-on-c-390-millenniums-future/

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Prem » 05 May 2020 05:10

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... ngman-demo
Designed to be affordable enough to be purchased in quantity and flexible enough to perform multiple missions, the ATS is the first clean-sheet Boeing aircraft to be developed outside the U.S. and the first military aircraft to be built in Australia for more than 50 years.The RAAF is interested in operating the loyal wingman alongside its F/A-18E and F-35A strike fighters, EA-18G electronic attack aircraft, and E-7A airborne early warning and P-8A maritime patrol platforms, to increase force mass and survivability. Boeing is also pitching the Australian-developed system to international and U.S. customers.hane Arnott, ATS program director, said the Boeing Australia-led team has brought disruptive ideas to designing, engineering and manufacturing an affordable, but relatively high capability platform. The flexible payload approach is based on a reconfigurable nose that can snap on and off. The 8.5-ft.-long nose section provides 90,000 in.³ of payload volume, he said.
“The idea is that the nose is completely removable in theater. So you can have a nose and a tail off doing a mission and be programming a new nose on the ground for a new mission and, during that mission flow, change the nose and therefore change the role of the system and achieve affordable multimission capability,” Arnott said.The reconfigurable nose provides open-architecture payload interfaces, he said, adding: “We can work with customers to create their own mission systems and are able to do that in-country, so there are some industrial opportunities there.” Initially, the ATS is focused on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.The system has been designed using model-based engineering and “is one of the most comprehensive digital twins within Boeing,” Arnott said. The digital twin is key to developing trust in the autonomy and artificial intelligence that will enable the loyal wingman to team safely with manned platforms

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 05 May 2020 05:24

Canada halts CH-148 Cyclone helicopter ops after a Cyclone crashed off the coast of Greece, with 5 crew members still missing

From AW&ST

Image

The Canadian Air Force is pausing operations with its Sikorsky CH-148 helicopters after a Cyclone crashed during military exercises off the coast of Greece.

Search-and-rescue operations following the April 29 crash have recovered one body, Canada Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said. The other five crewmembers still are missing.

The helicopter had been operating from the back of the Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Fredericton on a NATO exercise in the Ionian Sea when it crashed.

Aircraft and helicopters from Italy and Greece have been supporting the rescue effort west of Kefalonia island.

The accident is the first involving the CH-148 Cyclone, a fly-by-wire derivative of the S-92.

The CH-148 has a troubled past. Contracts were signed in 2004, but the aircraft did not enter service until 2015. It replaced the aging Sikorsky H-124 Sea King.
Tony Osborne

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 06 May 2020 01:07

Image

First GlobalEye handed over to UAE

On April 29, the first GlobalEye multi-sensor aircraft for the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defense (UAE AFAD) landed in Abu Dhabi to be handed over to the customer. Leaving Sweden on the evening of the 28th, it arrived in the Gulf nation after a scheduled stop in Bulgaria. The aircraft, which was the second GlobalEye to fly, operated as SE-RMZ while being tested in Sweden. Tests are ongoing with two more of the GlobalEye swing-role surveillance platforms GlobalEyes in preparation for handover. The first aircraft to fly is likely to be the last to be delivered, as it was heavily instrumented for flight tests and requires additional work to bring it to operational standard.

The UAE ordered two GlobalEyes in November 2015 and added a third in February 2017. The delivery of the first has been made according to an aggressive development, testing, and delivery schedule, with the handover being conducted a little less than four and a half years after contract signature. It is to undergo a brief joint Saab/UAE acceptance test campaign in Abu Dhabi before embarking on its UAE AFAD career. The handover and acceptance testing has required considerable planning to mitigate the effects of Covid-19, and to ensure that the requisite Saab personnel from Sweden cleared quarantine in time. The schedule for subsequent deliveries, and military certification, has not been revealed, but Saab CEO Micael Johansson told reporters on April 29 that it was a “tight delivery schedule” and that only a few tests needed to be completed.

Saab has delivered all of the associated ground segment ahead of delivery of the first aircraft, including a mission-training simulator. UAE air and groundcrew have been training in Sweden on the system for some time.

In November 2019, the UAE AFAD revealed at the Dubai Airshow that it intended to order an aditional pair of GlobalEyes. Johansson reported that negotiations were still ongoing but were in the final stages. He acknowledged that the Covid-19 issue had resulted in “limited facetime with the customer” but said that work was progressing, with much of it being performed by Saab’s Abu Dhabi office.

Discussions are also ongoing concerning support for the GlobalEye fleet beyond the initial phase. The length of that initial support, and the nature of what could follow, are being examined, with options such as working with local industry and a performance-based support solution on the table. Another subject under review is the upgrade of the UAE AFAD’s two older Saab 340-based Erieye airborne early-warning aircraft, with a range of options being considered. The upgrade of the 340s was announced as part of the initial deal unveiled in 2015 but may have been superseded by subsequent events.

It is likely that the UAE’s fourth and fifth GlobalEyes—if ordered—would be based on the current Bombardier Global 6000 airframe to maintain fleet commonality, but they could also be based on the Global 6500 that is being phased into production. Saab holds sufficient delivery slots for both 6000 and 6500 to meet the additional UAE requirement and some other potential sales, such as to Finland (as part of the HX fighter offer). The UAE could support Saab with respect to potential export customer demonstrations on a “case-by-case basis,” Johansson told AIN.

....

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 08 May 2020 03:48

M-346FA gets Rafael's advanced targeting recon system

Image

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has announced that its Litening-5 and RecceLite podded systems are to equip the Leonardo M-346FA light fighter/attack aircraft in the first integration of fifth-generation podded electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) systems to the aircraft. Guy Oren, v-p and head of the company's electro-optical systems directorate, remarked that “This new cooperation with Leonardo opens new markets to integrate our advanced systems to additional light, cost-effective platforms, based on our vast experience and integration legacy in all domains.”

Leonardo has produced the M-346FA version of its advanced trainer to undertake a range of combat roles, including air-to-air, air-to-surface, and tactical reconnaissance, as well as lead-in fighter and weapons training. It was unveiled at the 2017 Paris airshow and received its first order from an undisclosed customer in July 2019.

The aircraft comes equipped with a Leonardo Grifo-346 multi-mode radar, and the addition of sophisticated targeting and reconnaissance pods to the aircraft significantly expand its operational capabilities. “We see a growing number of nations that have requirements for trainers that are also able to perform close-air-support missions, and the addition of Rafael's globally combat-proven fifth-gen targeting and ISR pods is a significant, force-multiplying enhancement to our platform,” said Emanuele Merlo, senior v-p trainers of Leonardo’s aircraft division.
...

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Vayutuvan » 10 May 2020 04:25

First restartable rocket motor to maneuver satellites in space

From LANL

Image

Los Alamos researchers developed the first-ever restartable motor for solid rockets. With the patented design, the scientists and engineers were able to demonstrate restarting the motor at least six times in succession. All other solid rocket motors in use are a “one and done” scenario for maneuvering in space.

This new technology will help solve the increasing problem of space traffic, as more small satellites (cubesats) are sent into orbit. The restartable motor will enable satellites to maneuver around other orbiting objects on short notice, preventing costly space crashes.the first-ever restartable motor for solid rockets.
The first-ever restartable motor for solid rockets

A second high-priority defense application of this invention is missile maneuvering.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 16 May 2020 00:04

F-22 crashes in Florida, pilot safe

From AW&ST

Image

A Lockheed Martin F-22 crashed May 15 during a routine training mission near Eglin AFB, Florida, and the pilot is in stable condition after ejecting, the U.S. Air Force says.

The crash occurred around 9:15 a.m. about 12 mi. northeast of the Eglin main base on the test and training range, a spokeswoman for the 96th Test Wing said.

The pilot and aircraft involved in the crash belonged to the 43rd Fighter Squadron of the 325th Fighter Wing, the spokeswoman said.

The training unit has been housed temporarily at Eglin since a hurricane destroyed much of Tyndall AFB, Florida, in 2018.

The details of the training mission have not been released, but the aircraft was not participating in a scheduled local flyover by other aircraft.

The Air Force has now lost five production versions of the F-22 since 2004, but the May 15 crash is the first since 2012. Prior to the crash, the Aviation Week fleet database showed 186 F-22s in service with the Air Force.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 16 May 2020 05:32

Super Hornet Block 3 complete's it's first test flight.

Image
Image

The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet took to the skies over St. Louis on Thursday, moving the program closer to delivering the first Block III test jets to the U.S. Navy.

Flight-test aircraft F287 flew for 70 minutes, during which two Boeing pilots tested the Block III mission components, including the new 10-by-19-inch (25-by-48-centimeter) touchscreen Advanced Cockpit System (ACS).


Boeing will deliver two flight-test aircraft to the Navy in the coming weeks, the two-seat F287 and single-seat E323. The jets will be used for carrier suitability and integration testing of all Block III mission system components. The Navy also will use the aircraft to familiarize pilots with the ACS and the capabilities delivered with the enhanced network capability.

“This is a landmark event for Boeing, the U.S. Navy and the F/A-18 program,” said Steve Wade, vice president of the F/A-18 & EA-18G programs. “First flight and eventual delivery of the test jets puts us one step closer to delivering operational Block III Super Hornets next year, keeping the jet the Navy’s preeminent fighter through the next decade.”

The Block III configuration also provides the Navy with capability upgrades, including longer range, reduced radar signature and an enhanced communication system. It also extends the fighter’s life from 6,000 to 10,000 hours.


Last year, the Navy awarded Boeing a contract for 78 Block III Super Hornets to be delivered through 2024. Additional domestic and international interest would further extend production of the jet.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 21 May 2020 03:24

USAF loses 2 stealth fighters in 1 week.

1 F-22 and 1 F-35A. This is the fourth F-35 crash. So far 3 F-35A and 1 F-35B have been lost in crashes.

From AW&ST


A U.S. Air Force F-35A crashed at Eglin AFB, Florida, on May 19, four days after the loss of an F-22 at the same location.


In the most recent incident, the F-35 pilot, assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, ejected and is in stable condition, an Air Force statement said.

The F-35A was participating in a routine night training sortie before the crash, which took place at 9:30 p.m., the Air Force said. An investigation is underway.

The aircraft became the third F-35A variant and fourth F-35 to be lost. They include a fatal Japanese F-35A crash in April 2019, a Marine Corps F-35B accident in 2018 and a USAF F-35A accident at Eglin in 2014.


Along with the F-22 crash on a routine training flight on May 15, the loss of two U.S. stealth fighters within a week is a blow to the still-nascent fifth-generation fighter fleet.

Separately, Lockheed announced on May 19 that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply chain would slow deliveries by 18-24 aircraft this year.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 21 May 2020 04:44

From AW&ST

Image
On May 15, an F-22 with the 43rd Fighter Squadron (FS) crashed; the pilot was in stable condition.

Every such loss to the Raptor fleet is a blow to the U.S. Air Force. As the U.S. Defense Department prioritizes great power competition, demand for the Raptor fleet as the Air Force’s “silver bullet” air dominance force has never been greater.

The service originally envisioned acquiring 750 aircraft under the Advanced Tactical Fighter program, with 72 aircraft produced annually. A total of 195 F-22As were produced and delivered between 1997 and 2012; 185 remain in the Air Force’s inventory today.

Image

Of the 185 Raptors, approximately 123 are primary mission aircraft inventory airframes or combat coded. These aircraft are assigned to Langley AFB, Virginia; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; and Hickam AFB, Hawaii. The 24 F-22s of the 95th FS at Tyndall AFB, Florida, were reassigned to these bases following Hurricane Michael in 2018. Approximately 30 F-22s remain in the 43rd FS training fleet, which was relocated temporarily to Eglin AFB, Florida, from Tyndall. These aircraft are of the older Block 20 configuration and are not budgeted to be upgraded to the latest Increment 3.2B standard like Block 30/35 aircraft.

Compounding the F-22’s limited fleet size has been its relatively poor mission-capable (MC) rates, which effectively lower the number of available aircraft. MC rates fell to 49% in 2017 but since have recovered. Earlier this month, Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Charles Brown testified that F-22 MC rates reached 68% in April 2019.


Image

The leading cause of the F-22’s poor MC rates are related to its older low observable (LO) technology. A thick topcoat of radar-absorbent material coating is needed to cover gaps on surface of the F-22’s airframe. Lockheed subsequently developed a laser-aligned construction process to effectively eliminate this problem for the F-35.
The Air Force and Lockheed Martin have developed a number of initiatives to reduce the Raptor’s LO-related maintenance burden and the company currently provides performance-based logistics services through the FASTeR (Follow-on Agile Sustainment for the Raptor) program.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 21 May 2020 20:44

Kartik wrote:
1 F-22 and 1 F-35A. This is the fourth F-35 crash. So far 3 F-35A and 1 F-35B have been lost in crashes.



This was the 3rd F-35 crash (2 x F-35A and 1 x F-35B. 2 in the US and one in Japan) in about 300K hours of flying over the last decade plus. Other losses or lower class damages have occurred on the ground.

Compounding the F-22’s limited fleet size has been its relatively poor mission-capable (MC) rates, which effectively lower the number of available aircraft. MC rates fell to 49% in 2017 but since have recovered. Earlier this month, Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Charles Brown testified that F-22 MC rates reached 68% in April 2019.


It is very difficult if not impossible to keep a small fleet of aircraft at high MCR while simultaneously supporting the capability to deploy it at a disproportionately high number of air-bases around the world (for extended periods of time) and within budgets. The only realistic way to keep the raptors at 70-80% MCR affordably is to move everything to one or maybe 2 large air-wings and then have them operate out of just 1 or perhaps two forward deployed locations. This for everything including operational units, training units, and the test fleet. Even then, given the constant upgrades (which have their associated down-times) and the small fleet the challenges are enormous especially if you have to spend money on duplicating capability and manpower because of expeditionary needs. Current operational F-22 and F-35 crews are forward deploying at a rate of roughly 4-6 months every 14-18 months. These could be shorter snap deployments through multiple air-bases in Europe or more prolonged deployments to the Middile East. Maintaining that capaiblity is very expensive and definitly unique to the USAF (most other large air-forces only maintain that capability for occasional joint exercises). Expeditionary requirements run havoc on sustainment and especially if the fleet is small.

The Raptor fleet was always an "insurance" policy after Bob Gates terminated the program. It is in the best USAF interest to get maximum use out of it this decade and look to retire the entire type by the mid 2030's. Perhaps even earlier. In fact, if the USAF was smart they'd be drawing up these plans about now. They are inducting roughly a wing's worth of F-35A's each year. That's 60-80 aircraft per year sustained through the 2020's. Add 100+ F-15 EX's on top of that. At least with the block-4 F-35A's they can begin rotating raptor drivers in and present some sort of plans to begin divesting some of that fleet. It makes a lot of sense. When there was no F-35's the F-22A's as an insurance worked. When you are inducting 5+ dozen F-35A's each year the value of that insurance diminishes especially when your risk profile shifts (from F-22 as only 5GFA until F-35 arrived to divesting F-22A and moving that funding to a next generation program).
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 21 May 2020 21:29

Manish_P wrote:Is 'serviceability' the same as the 'availability/readiness'?

King Khan is dropping it's earlier policy target of having a uniform 80% availability rate across multiple fighter types, underscoring the challenges involved even for a MIC as powerful as theirs..

The Air Force Is Dropping Mattis' 80% Aircraft Readiness Goal



If you watch the testimony of the incoming USAF CS he didn't say that they were walking away from high MCR or it was the inability to deliver high MCR despite of the MIC. Industry actually makes most of its money through sustainment so it is in its favor to have these MCR demands to be very high. A large portion of the MCR woes of the USAF (and previously USN) have to do with delays in depot construction, modernization, or understaffing related. While spares have been often blamed the real problem is depot capacity (or lack of adequate ammts) because that means higher spare utilization (because you are using spares instead of fixing parts because depot turn around times are high) They delayed some of that CAPEX for budgetary reasons choosing instead to put that money down on buying aircraft or munitions. Mission Capability Rates are not the same as "readiness" which is broader. The former is only a representation of what subset of your fleet is capable of executing a mission. The latter is much broader than that and encompasses the actual capability of your service to execute that mission, per a set standard, if called upon to do so.

What the incoming CSAF is proposing is that while maintaining 70 or 80% MCR is a good metric for readiness it is not the ONLY metric and not the only lever that a service leadership can pull to maintain high state of readiness. He, as a service chief, wants budgetary flexibility to pick and choose between various investment tracks. For example, what's the right balance between pilot training and fleet MCR's? If given a finite budget topline should the CSAF be able to make a determination that instead of an arbitrary 75% or 80% MCR they'll maintain 65% or 70% but increase investments in annual training hours or cycle 20% more squadrons through large force exercises each year etc. etc. That's what he was asking for i.e. a broader approach to determining and maintaining a particular state of readiness.

There is no point of having a fleet at 90% MCR if you rob them of adequate training hours or if you don't fill those units with the appropriate end strength required to sustain prolonged operations halfway around the world on a 6 month deployment (because you spent a disproportionately high $$ on maintaining a SecDef mandated MCR). Similarly, if you want the crews to focus on preparing for a higher end fight like in the pacific then you need to cycle them differently through large force exercises compared to how you train them for a lower intensity fight. This means more $$ per year on exercises like Northern Edge and in fitting out, and cycling crews through, EW and radar ranges that are capable of simulating that environment. All that costs a lot more and that money has to come from somewhere. But if you do that you have your people better trained for a particular type of fight. That doesn't easily show on a dashboard like mission capability rate but it is equally as important (if not more). Having an available aircraft is just step 1. You need a crew that can deploy and the deployment sustained around umpteen global hotspots around the world. This means having adequately staffed and trained maintainers. Then you get to pilot training and having a level of training that is commensurate to what the threat is or how the COCOM's are going to utilize your service.

USAF needs are very unique and at a global scale and some fleet will always be kept at very high state of readiness (like transporters, refuellers or UAV's) because they enable the rest of the joint forces or because they are constantly in demand. The rest of the fleet requires a balance during peacetime - balance between what the equipment can deliver (as measured by MCR) and what the service can support. The service chiefs in the US system don't fight or plan wars. Their job is to train and equip the fleet only. And this is what he was getting at. His job will be to turn the signals being sent to him by the war planners (COCOM leaders) into action. He was seeking multiple ways to intelligently do that within a set budget profile. Ideally you want all of everything. But that is not what happens. If tommorow the CSAF gets an option of reducing MCR by 5% across some of the fleet and using that money to add 2 additional Red Flags..he needs to be empowered to make that decision. Mattis's actions were a great "snap" way to recover readiness after the sequestration down-years but it is not an effective sustained strategy as it robs the services of the flexibility..

Case in point is this: While % variation in MCR is easily measurable and can be put on a dashboard and price for +/- 5% determined. It is hard to gauge the true value of something like this -

F-117 Spotted Playing Stealthy Aggressor Against F-15s And F-22s Over Nellis Range


Having the ability for your Counter Air squadrons to train against dissimilar Low Observable aircraft is going to be a pretty substantial competitive advantage if they were to go up against a J-20 somewhere in the Pacific. But maintaining that capability comes at a cost and with finite budgets this must be traded against other investments. Another example is the Advanced Radar Threat System program that the USAF is currently running. It is a 4 tranche program that is super expensive but basically replicates the entire swath of the Chinese IADS complex across the entire gamut of possible RF and IR sensors (low frequency, and high frequency, EO/IR and RF-Passive). And then builds it out at scale across training ranges around CONUS. How do you value the billions that will be spent on it compared to diverting that investment towards upping MRC by say 3% over the same time-frame?

Same applies to your weapons ranges and actually cycling deploying squadrons through them so that they launch their AIM's at a set cadence. If the demand signal is "train for the high end fight" then you need to do things differently and invest in different things compared to Middile East deployments that the USAF has done over the last 20 years. This means more choices and flexibility which the original Mattis mandate didn't provide. The incoming USAF chief of staff is currently the Commander, Pacific Air Forces and as such is someone who needs to think about the higher-end capability the most. This will be reflected in the decisions he makes.. But the qualitative advantages are usually harder to make a case for compared to quantitative advantages. But it is smart to find the right balance between the two.

If the order to maintain very high MCR was a be all and end all for the fleet, the USAF bureaucracy would be easily able to game that system. They'll flood their service with MQ-9's and overhaul more F-16's. Infra for those programs exists in quantity and they are cheap to run and keep running. But this will in fact reduce the capability of the USAF to fight and win when called into action by the COCOM's. This is the situation that the incoming Chief of Staff is trying to avoid. He would know - He is an airpower provider to one of the most important COCOM's that the USAF supports. You have to balance quality and quantity, and equipment readiness and total force readiness. And you have to find an optimal sweet spot given any given budget profile - when budgets are high and when they are low (US defense spending is cyclical). You can't go to one extreme without paying a big cost for it.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 May 2020 03:56

Improved Turbine Engine Programme to reach critical design review in mid-June: US Army


The US Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Programme (ITEP) is scheduled to receive a critical design review in mid-June.

Development of the GE Aviation T901-GE-900 turboshaft was delayed by two weeks due to coronavirus disruptions, but is still ahead of schedule, says US Army Colonel Roger Kuykendall, Aviation Turbine Engines project manager, on 7 May.“We continue to monitor and assess [risks] daily, in conjunction with [GE Aviation] to minimise future impacts,” he says.

ITEP is the designated engine for the US Army’s forthcoming scout helicopter, the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). Bell’s 360 Invictus and Sikorsky’s Raider X are competing in the FARA development programme. The service wants a new rotorcraft designed, built, tested, flown and fielded to its first unit by 2028.

The T901 will also replace T700 turboshafts that power the US Army’s Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters. The service plans to install T901s into 1,300 UH-60s and more than 600 AH-64s after 2025.

The new ITEP engine is to be 50% more powerful – 3,000shp (2,240kW) – 25% more fuel efficient, and provide a 20% longer design life over the T700.

It should also be able to maintain performance at 6,000ft and 35°C (95°F). US Army helicopters have previously struggled to fly in those conditions, which are commonly found in hot and high-altitude countries like Afghanistan.

For a UH-60 carrying nine troops that means a range extension of 161% to 141nm (261km). The utility helicopter’s payload would be increased 150% to 2,680kg (5,920lb) over a distance of 30nm, according to GE Aviation.


Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 22 May 2020 04:53

brar_w wrote:This was the 3rd F-35 crash (2 x F-35A and 1 x F-35B. 2 in the US and one in Japan) in about 300K hours of flying over the last decade plus. Other losses or lower class damages have occurred on the ground.


As per AW&ST, the fourth. 3 X F-35A including the Japanese crash and 1 X F-35B. See the original article I posted.

In 2014, a F-35A was severely damanged and possibly destroyed as a result of a fire that broke out on it.

Fire breaks out on F-35 at Eglin Air Force Base- pilot safe

A Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was severely damaged — possibly destroyed — in a Monday morning fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., USNI News learned.

No injuries were reported and officials have begun an investigation into the incident, defense officials told USNI News on Monday.

“The aircraft was preparing to conduct a continuation training mission at the time of the incident, but aborted during takeoff at Eglin Air Force Base due to a fire in the back end of the aircraft,” according to a Monday statement provided to USNI News from the Air Force.
“Emergency responders extinguished the fire with foam.”

..

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 May 2020 05:09

Kartik wrote:
brar_w wrote:This was the 3rd F-35 crash (2 x F-35A and 1 x F-35B. 2 in the US and one in Japan) in about 300K hours of flying over the last decade plus. Other losses or lower class damages have occurred on the ground.


As per AW&ST, the fourth. 3 X F-35A including the Japanese crash and 1 X F-35B. See the original article I posted.

In 2014, a F-35A was severely damanged and possibly destroyed as a result of a fire that broke out on it.


As I wrote in my post there have been 3 aircraft crashes since the aircraft first flew in 2006. 2 x F-35A's (One US and One Japanese) and one USMC F-35B. One was over water, and two over land with the latest one being a crash landing which was severe enough for the pilot to eject. The incident you mention wasn't a crash but an aborted take off with the pilot egressing the aircraft on the ground. A picture of the aircraft is posted below.

Image

The three incidents were when the aircraft was or went airborne and involved an ejection on the two occasions the pilots survived. Hence crashes. Other class A and lower incidents have occurred which I clearly referenced in my post. Aviation Week also never mentioned four crashes. They referred to 4 losses one of which was a ground event. This is a nuanced distinction but important for the investigators. A crash during or following a flight triggers some automatic investigations that don't get triggered if it is a ground based event where the aircraft did not get airborne.
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Prem » 22 May 2020 05:19

https://fighterjetsworld.com/air/pakist ... ods/21831/\

Pakistan Air Force To Upgrade F-16 Fighter Jets Fleet With IRST, LANTIRN & Sniper Pods

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) has approved an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Pakistani F-16s. The contract has been awarded to Lockheed Martin.The contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for Sniper, Infrared Search and Track (IRST), and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) navigation pod (fixed wing) hardware production.This contract provides the necessary resources required for the management, fabrication, upgrade/retrofit, integration support and testing and shipping of its non-developmental item (NDI) Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) System, NDI LANTIRN Fixed Image Navigation Set upgrades, and the NDI IRST system as it relates to the requirements document associated with each specific delivery order placed under this contract.The contract, from Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, is valued at more than $485 and covers Sniper, Infrared Search and Track (IRST); and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) navigation pod (fixed wing) hardware production.The work on the production will be performed in Orlando, Florida and it will be completed by May 2025.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 May 2020 06:34

Prem wrote:https://fighterjetsworld.com/air/pakistan-air-force-to-upgrade-f-16-fighter-jets-fleet-with-irst-lantirn-sniper-pods/21831/\

Pakistan Air Force To Upgrade F-16 Fighter Jets Fleet With IRST, LANTIRN & Sniper Pods


Misleading headline and a distorted statement in the body of the article.The actual contract award and its language is posted below -

Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Florida, has been awarded a ceiling $485,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Department of Defense and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Sniper, Infrared Search and Track (IRST); and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) navigation pod (fixed wing) hardware production. This contract provides the necessary resources required for the management, fabrication, upgrade/retrofit, integration support and testing and shipping of its non-developmental item (NDI) Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) System, NDI LANTIRN Fixed Image Navigation Set upgrades, and the NDI IRST system as it relates to the requirements document associated with each specific delivery order placed under this contract. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, and various locations to be identified at the order level. The work is expected to be completed by May 2025. This contract involves FMS to (this list is not all inclusive): Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. FMS funds in the amount of $34,900,000 are being obligated at the time of award under delivery order FA8540-20-F-0034 for the country of Morocco. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8540‐20‐D‐0001).



https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contra ... e/2190758/

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 May 2020 07:13

Some major movement on the F-16 program. US Government estimates that they'll process another 300-500 F-16V aircraft worth of FMS cases and want to do this in bulk upfront to make contracting and approval process fast. When Lockheed notified that they were shifting the production line to South Carolina several people questioned the move because orders would dry up before they would recover their investments. But it seems they had a pretty good idea that they'd sell a fair bit more. Not good for job security if you work for SAAB I suppose :wink:

Article is from last month :

USAF, Lockheed finalizing $62B contract to sell allies commoditized F-16 jets


The Air Force's F-16 program office is finalizing a contract worth up to $62 billion with Lockheed Martin to provide foreign partners a standard version of the advanced Block 70/72 Viper variant -- starting with Morocco and Taiwan.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity deal is the first of its kind for the F-16 program and part of a new commoditization approach to foreign military sales. The idea is to put customers on contract for more affordable fighter jets quickly and then add their desired modifications later.

The Air Force expects to make the award this summer, service spokesman Brian Brackens confirmed in an April 17 statement to Inside Defense, and perhaps as early as June, according to an Air Force official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Brackens confirmed Morocco and Taiwan are expected to be the first partners to use the contract. The State Department last year cleared Morocco to buy 25 F-16s for $3.8 billion and Taiwan to buy 66 F-16s for $8 billion after years of refusing to sell the East Asian island new fighter jets to avoid antagonizing China.

They will be the fourth and fifth customers of the latest Block 70/72 aircraft -- after Bahrain, Slovakia and Bulgaria, which have already signed separate contracts.


The high ceiling value of the upcoming IDIQ contract reflects the Air Force's confidence in continued demand for the newest F-16s, which are based on the Viper variant and have active electronically scanned array radar, structural upgrades, new software and advanced datalink capabilities.

While the Air Force official who spoke to Inside Defense would not identify which, if any, countries have already submitted formal requests, the source is eyeing several of those operating Soviet-built fighter jets. Slovakia's purchase of 14 F-16s, for example, is intended to replace its current fleet of Soviet MiG-29 aircraft.

The official added that Air Force Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs Kelli Seybolt is working with combatant commanders at U.S. European Command and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to determine which interested partners the service should prioritize making deals with.

Seybolt revealed earlier this year the service was pursuing the new commoditization concept for F-16 sales after testing out the strategy with General Atomics' MQ-9 Reaper.

It's intended to make the notoriously complicated FMS process more efficient for customers. The IDIQ contract will give partners greater pricing clarity and faster contract awards, Brackens said, as well as a lower-cost option, according to the Air Force's program executive officer for fighters and bombers.

"We'll set the common configuration and by far that'll be the most affordable and quickest jet to deliver, but then, sovereign nation, they can ask to put anything else on it that they want and then we work the deltas," Brig. Gen. Heath Collins told Inside Defense in a Feb. 27 interview.

As the first customer to sign a contract for the latest F-16, Bahrain will receive the first Block 70/72 jet off Lockheed's production line, but that delivery is still some time away.

The company just began manufacturing at its facility in Greenville, SC, in November, and the Air Force will have an extensive campaign to test all the technology upgrades. The service official said testing may last as long as 10 months.


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