Pentagon Contract: Lockheed Martin

August 28, 2012

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Ft. Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $206,821,828 modification to a previously awarded cost-reimbursement contract (N00019-12-C-0070).

This modification provides for the System Development and Demonstration Phase I Increment 1, in support of F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) Air System for the Government of Israel under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

This modification includes the development of the hardware and software for the Israel F-35A CTOL Air System from the initial requirements development to the Preliminary Design Review (PDR).

In addition, the post PDR of hardware only, will continue through finalized requirements, layouts, and build to prints, including production planning data.

Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas (60 percent); Los Angeles, Calif. (20 percent); Nashua, N.H. (15 percent); and San Diego, Calif. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2016. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Source: U.S Department of Defense


South Korea to Begin Spike-NLOS Acquisition

Future SPIKE missiles will be offered with a laser-homing head

7/3/2012 Arie Egozi –

Despite Seoul’s anger over Israel’s preference for an Italian training aircraft over a South Korean one, South Korea’s military will soon receive the Rafael-produced Spike-NLOS missiles.

South Korea sought to gain portable capability for launching long-ranged missiles, and therefore, chose to install missile launchers on Ford 550 vehicles, which carry protective solutions against small arms and shrapnel designed by Plasan. The Spike-NLOS is the long-range missile of Rafael’s SPIKE missile family. It has a range of 25 km, is extremely precise, and can be equipped with several types of warheads.

Rafael is anticipating additional deals for the export of Spike missiles. A demonstration of the Spike-ER missile was recently held in Israel when it was installed onboard an IAF Cobra helicopter. Representatives of foreign corps attended the demonstration of the missile, which has a range of 8 km. The advanced missile is marketed around the world as a more efficient substitute to the aging Hellfire missile, and it seems that several militaries will replace the US missile with the one produced by Rafael. Thus far, the missile has been installed on Spain’s Tiger helicopters, Italy’s I-129 helicopters, and Romania’s Puma helicopters.

The long-ranged missile can also be installed on helicopters, enabling a launch towards a ground target from a great distance that could be difficult to hit using ground fire.

Rafael’s Spike missiles are presently equipped with day and night homing heads. According to a source in Rafael, the missile will also be offered in the future with a laser homing head that will enable the missile to home in on a laser spot created by a laser marker positioned on the ground or operated from the air.

South Africa’s restored Cheetah fighters make Ecuador debut

By Stephen Trimble


Ecuador has received 12 ex-South African Air Force Cheetah C/D fighters, ordered in late 2010, from Denel Aviation.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa Delgado announced on 21 January that the entire batch of 12 fighters has arrived from South Africa.

The 10 C-model and two D-model Cheetahs had been in storage since their retirement from service in South Africa four years ago. Ecuadorian officials visited South Africa in April 2009 to start negotiations, and signed a $78 million contract in December 2010. The deal also includes five years of maintenance support.

The Cheetah was developed in the 1980s during South Africa’s apartheid regime. Israeli and South African engineers modified Dassault Mirage IIIs with a modern suite of avionics, radar, and electronic warfare systems, creating a configuration similar to Israel’s Kfir.

The Cheetahs are expected to replace Ecuador’s fleet of 12 ageing Mirage F1s.

Ecuador bought the Cheetah fleet shortly after a border crisis with the Colombian air force, which was accused of violating Ecuadorian airspace to attack suspected guerrilla camps.

Since 2008, the Ecuadorian air force has also acquired or ordered Dhruv advanced light helicopters from India’s Hindustan Aeronautics, Xian MA60 transports from China, unmanned air vehicles from Israel, and Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack fighters from Brazil, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Source: Flight International

AEW-themed C-295 clears flight test phase


By Craig Hoyle

Airbus Military has completed initial flight test activities on an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) derivative of its C-295 medium transport, as radar supplier Elta Systems anticipates a first sale of the developmental system.

Work on the project was revealed in May 2011, before Airbus Military announced the Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary as its programme partner at the Paris Air Show the following month. The European manufacturer also exhibited a radome-equipped demonstrator at the event.

« We have completed the flight trials and matured the aerodynamic configuration of the radome, » said Fernando Ciria, Airbus Military’s head of marketing and development for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. This activity has indicated that a C-295 modified for the AEW&C mission could provide an on-station endurance of up to 8h, operating at a maximum altitude of between 20,000ft (6,100m) and 24,000ft, he said.

Up to six operator consoles would be installed, using Airbus Military’s fully integrated tactical system mission suite, with Elta to provide its active electronically scanned array radar and related equipment.

Ciria cited the C-295’s large cabin, robust design and reliability as supporting the proposed new role, and said operators could acquire other versions of the same type to meet their air transport, maritime patrol and anti-surface/anti-submarine warfare requirements.

Elta already offers AEW&C conversions of the Gulfstream G550 business jet and Ilyushin Il-76 transport, and completed deliveries of both types in 2011 under orders with respective customers the Israeli and Indian air forces. By also equipping the C-295, the company hopes to enter a new market segment, said Avishai Izhakian, deputy general manager marketing, business development and sales for its airborne systems and radars division.

« This solution can be purchased by many more countries not accessible to us with higher-performance systems, » Izhakian told IQPC’s AEW and Battle Management conference in London on 17 January. « The radar is currently under advanced development, and we hope to have our first customer soon, » he said, adding that production deliveries could start within three to four years of a deal being signed

Source: Flight International

Small, silent UAV for covert urban operations

Published 15 August 2011

A 9-pound man-packable UAV called Ghost is designed for silent urban operations in daylight and at night; Ghost’s two rotary electrical engines allow it to operate in complete silence, provide real-time intelligence to ground forces working in cities and towns where densely located buildings and other urban cover can conceal enemy forces, terrorists, or other hostile combatants; the UAV is ideally suitable for law enforcement as well

Columbus, Mississippi-based Stark Aerospace, an Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI) North America company, is showing its 9-pound twin-rotor man-packable UAV called Ghost for silent urban operations in daylight and at night. IAI will unveil the covert-operations UAV this week at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America trade show being held in Washington, D.C. on 16-19 August. Observatoire de l’Industrie reports that the Ghost small hovering UAV which looks like a smaller – much, much smaller — version of the Boeing CH-47 Chinook twin-rotor heavy-lift helicopter. It is designed to provide real-time intelligence to ground forces working in cities and towns where densely located buildings and other urban cover can conceal enemy forces, terrorists, or other hostile combatants.

The UAV can be fitted with different imaging equipment and sensors, such as visible-light cameras and infrared sensors. Sensor data can be data-linked back to operators.

The Ghost UAV-helicopter has automatic vertical takeoff and landing capability and can loiter for as long as thirty minutes. IAI engineers designed the system with two rotary electrical engines so it can operate silently and support day and night special operations missions.

IAI designed the Ghost UAV and its control system based on computer gaming to make the system intuitive for operators, who need little training to work the system, company officials say. Two soldiers can carry the entire system in their backpacks. System components include two UAVs, batteries, control unit, and communications. Ghost is suitable for paramilitary and homeland security applications, IAI officials say.


Ethiopia buys unmanned aerial vehicles from BlueBird

The Ethiopian army has ordered unmanned aerial vehicles from Israeli manufacturer BlueBird Aero Systems, and has also contracted the company to establish maintenance facilities for the aircraft.

BlueBird specialises in small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for military and civilian markets. Its products include the MicroB, SkyLiteB, Boomerang and Blueye. Flight International reported last month that the deal involves a version of the Boomerang and SpyLite.

According to BlueBird, the Boomerang is a man-portable, catapult-launched UAV that is recovered by parachute. The fuel cell powered aircraft has a payload capacity of 2.5 kg and an endurance of three hours. The SpyLite is another small UAV, with the entire system weighing only 40 kg, making it transportable by a two-person team.

BlueBird could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.

More and more African countries are looking into purchasing UAVs as a cost effective and less labour intensive way of monitoring long borders and infrastructure such as oil installations. In early February this year the Ugandan army signed a contract with another Israeli manufacturer, Aeronautics Defence Systems, for two Orbiter 2 UAVs.

The Orbiter 2 is another small UAV with a three metre wingspan and an endurance of 3.5 hours. Last year the type was selected by the Israeli navy for deployment aboard some of its vessels, Flight International reports.

Meanwhile, Angola could soon purchase Heron UAVs from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and is currently negotiating with the company. IAI has also been promoting the Heron in Africa and has conducted flight demonstrations in Angola and Kenya. However, IAI did not want to comment about its marketing efforts in Africa.

Angola has previously used another Israeli company to supply unmanned aerial systems. In 2003 Aeronautics Defence Systems supplied its Aerostar UAS to patrol oil installations for Chevron/Texaco over a two year period. The contract was reportedly worth US$4 million, according to E&P Magazine. The Aerostar carries a payload of up to 50 kg (110 lbs) and has an endurance of 14 hours.

The Heron 1 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance air vehicle designed to perform strategic reconnaissance and surveillance operations. Capable of automatic take-off and landing, it has a 30,000ft (9,150m) maximum altitude and can be fitted with a variety of payloads totalling 250 kg (550 lb), including infrared, visible light and radar surveillance systems. Communication with the ground is via line of sight data link or satellite/airborne relay.


F-35 deal isn’t perfect but it’s the only one in town

May 8, 2011


ZURICH — Canadians are missing something in the debate over the purchase of the Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35.

Two unprecedented shifts are rocking the global arms market for fighter jets.

First, there’s a quasi-revolution taking place in fighter jet technology. We are now entering a period dominated by “fifth generation” aircraft, fighters which will have “allaspect” stealth abilities with internal weapons systems, integrated avionics at the pilot’s fingertips, and “supercruise” capabilities that greatly enhance performance.

When it becomes operative, the F-35 will be the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world.

While opponents of the F-35 argue that Canada’s aging CF-18 Hornets can be replaced with fourth (and “fourth-plus”) generation aircraft, they’re missing the broader point. Upgraded fourth generation aircraft —like the F-18 Super Hornet — will be able to fly future combat missions, but that won’t stop them from becoming increasingly obsolete.

It won’t happen overnight, but eventually fourth generation aircraft will go the way of third and second generation aircraft: To the dump.

The F-35 will have a qualitative edge over older aircraft models no matter what the upgrade. The only comparable fighter is the F-22 Raptor, flown by the U.S. Air Force.

But Washington has already phased out the Raptor’s production, having placed all its bets on the F-35. Our allies have gotten the message: Britain, Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Norway will all be flying F-35s by 2020. Israel, Japan and others are likely to follow.

If Canadians want to equip their air force with the best available tools, they need to focus on next generation technology.

There’s little point in looking back. The future rests with fifth, not fourth, generation technology. The risk in spending less today on a souped-up version of the CF-18 is Canada will find itself replacing outdated hardware before long — an expensive proposition.

Second, the fighter-jet industry has become increasingly polarized. The Americans, Russians, and Chinese are tomorrow’s heavyweights. While some Canadians find it suspicious no alternative bids were entertained when selecting the F-35, in reality, there are virtually no competitors.

When a government decides to purchase military hardware from another country, it isn’t only thinking about improving the quality of its armed forces. It’s also thinking about the political and strategic signals it’s sending to others.

The arms trade can be a political minefield. Ideally, Canada will buy its fighters from an ally.

In doing so, we’ll avoid sending an unintended message with our purchase and pre-emptively grease the wheels in the event spare parts are needed during periods of crisis. It’s important, too, that Canada signs off with a manufacturer that will survive over the long haul. That will ease maintenance, upgrades, and future developments. Buy Russian? Chinese? Where does that leave Canada? We could approach the French or the Swedes. Both have sophisticated options in the Rafale and Gripen but, like the Super Hornet, these rely on older technology.

Given the huge investment needed to leap into the next generation, both countries are likely to eventually close shop. It’s possible a European consortium, like the one behind the Eurofighter Typhoon, will emerge in the future, but it’s a long shot.

Several European partners have already invested in the F-35 project, so they won’t be inclined to support another risky venture. Like it or not, the era of the European fighter jet is coming to a close.

That leaves Russia and China. Both countries are developing next generation fighters to rival the F-35. Russia began testing the PAK-FA a year ago, while China unveiled its J-20 in January.

But are Canadians really prepared to fly Russian or Chinese jets into battle?

The political and strategic ramification would be monumental. What would our allies think? What would Moscow and Beijing think? Neither option will do. While the F-35 deal isn’t perfect, it’s the only one in town.

Source : Calgary Sun

China’s largest unmanned helicopter makes 1st flight

BEIJING–An unmanned helicopter, the largest of its kind in China, has successfully completed its first flight in Weifang City in eastern Shandong province.

The medium-size helicopter, with a maximum take-off weight of 757 kilograms, took off from the flight test center of Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace Industry last Saturday morning, reported the Global Times.

It hovered for 10 minutes, performing a few maneuvers before finishing with a stable landing, said the newspaper.

The helicopter, model no. V-750, has a load capacity of more than 80 kilograms.

It can fly at a maximum speed of 161 kph with a cruising duration of more than four hours and at a height of 3,000 meters, according to the newspaper.

The aircraft can be remotely controlled within a distance of more than 150 kilometers or automatically fly following input fed to its programs.

Further, it could be used in surveillance, and search and rescue in all sorts of geographical and weather conditions, and for scientific exploration for both military and civilian purposes, said Mr. Cheng Shenzong, chairman of Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace.

The helicopter was developed together by several organizations, including Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace, Qingdao Haili Helicopters Manufacturing and China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation, and was unveiled in August last year.

Currently, the airplane factory producing the V-750 could put out 150 units a year, reported China’s media.

The appearance of the V-750 broke the dominance of the United States and Israel in the field of unmanned helicopters, noted the Shandong-based Pufang Daily.

Source: The China Post

US legislators seek $110m. increase for Israeli-American missile defense systems

Proposal more than doubles $106m. budgeted
for 2012 by Obama administration

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., together with their US partners Boeing Co. and Raytheon Co., may benefit from a US House proposal to more than double the funding next year for US-Israeli missile defense technology.

Senior members of the House Armed Services Committee are proposing increasing by $110 million the Obama administration’s request for $106.1 million in 2012 for David’s Sling, the Arrow anti-missile defense system and Arrow-3 high-altitude missile defense technology.

The committee this week is writing the 2012 defense authorization bill, which will set military policy and funding targets for the fiscal year starting October 1.

The leaders of the panel’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee – Representatives Michael Turner, an Ohio Republican, and Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat – are proposing the $216.1 million total for the missile defense systems, which are designed to protect against threats from Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Islamic militant group that is on the US State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The House defense panel does not specify how much of the additional money will go to either the Arrow Weapon System or David’s Sling. The director of the US Missile Defense Agency will allocate the money at his discretion, according to committee report language that will be included in the House’s 2012 defense authorization bill.

The administration’s budget request for Israeli missile defense in 2012 is $103.8 million less than the funding approved by Congress for the current fiscal year.

For 2012, the Missile Defense Agency is requesting $11.8 million for improvements to the Arrow Weapon System, $53.2 million for continued development of the Arrow-3 interceptor and $41.1 million for continued development of the David’s Sling Weapon System, according to committee report language.

Lawmakers said they were concerned that the administration’s request for next year is not sufficient for allowing the first battery of David’s Sling to be delivered in 2012, according to the prepared committee report language. They also said that the money requested by the Missile Defense Agency wasn’t enough to complete the development and testing of upgrades to the Arrow system, or to accelerate the development of the Arrow-3 interceptor.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon are jointly developing the David’s Sling Weapon System, designed to shield Israel from short-range ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets and slow-flying cruise missiles, such as those possessed by Hezbollah that are fired at ranges from 40 kilometers to 300 kilometers, according to a 2010 Congressional Research Service study on US aid to Israel.

David’s Sling is designed to counter the inexpensive and easily produced short-range missiles and rockets used during Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon. It will also advance low-altitude intercept technology and provide that technology to those in the US and Israeli industry, according to a September 27, 2010, Missile Defense Agency press release announcing the project agreement.

Raytheon is working with Rafael’s missile division on the development of the system’s “Stunner” interceptor, which is designed to detect and home in on targets in any weather.

Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing have been developing the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 systems, which are part of the Arrow Weapon System, Israel’s national missile defense program. Arrow is designed to defend against medium-range ballistic missiles such as those possessed by Iran.

The US and Israel have cooperated on missile defense since 1986. The two countries also participate in joint missile defense exercises and tests.

Source: Bloomberg

India’s Tejas fighter to get Derby missiles

SOURCE: Flight International

A contract to integrate Rafael’s Derby medium-range air-air missile with India’s Tejas light combat aircraft will be signed soon, according to industry sources.

Delivery of the missiles is expected from the second half of 2012, following the final phase of integration tests that are planned for early next year.

The active radar- and infrared-guided Derby, which provides an all-weather, beyond visual-range capability, has previously been acquired for the Indian navy’s British Aerospace-built Sea Harrier FRS51 fighters. Fourteen aircraft have been modified to use the weapon, said Indian sources.

The Derby missile can be fired in lock-on before launch mode for short-range engagements, or in lock-on after launch mode for use against medium-range targets.

India’s air force has so far signed for 40 production examples of the single-engined Tejas, but the service could eventually acquire up to 100 more in an improved Mk II configuration. The service is now evaluating more Israeli-made systems for the fighter, including additional weapons.

The Indian navy also could buy 60 of the Aeronautical Development Agency-designed Tejas.

The Derby contract is an example of the huge potential market that Rafael is trying to exploit in India. Company sources have described the nation as its current first priority, due to the size and diversity of its requirements.