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Sikorsky Tapped For CH-53K Production | AFRICOM Conducts Vehicle Maintenance Training in Senegal | BA Pilots May Work For RAF
Sikorsky won a $29.9 million modification, which provides for rate tooling, physical configuration audits, associated systems engineering and program management in support of CH-53K aircraft production. The CH-53K King Stallion is a large heavy-lift cargo helicopter designed to replace the Marine Corps CH-53E to move Marines from ships to attack beaches. Back in April, it was reported that the aircraft successfully plugged into a funnel-shaped drogue towed behind a KC-130J during aerial refueling wake testing over the Chesapeake Bay. The CH-53K sea-based, long range, helicopter is designed to provide three times the lift capability of its predecessor. The CH-53K will conduct expeditionary heavy-lift transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations, Sikorsky officials say. It can lift more than 18 tons. Work will take place in Connecticut, Utah, Michigan, Kansas, Washington, New York and Nebraska. Estimated completion will be by December 2023.
United Technologies won a $10.6 million modification, which procures one low rate initial production Lot 11 afloat spares package kit for the Marine Corps in support of the F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft program. In the meantime a congressional watchdog group is concerned that as Lockheed Martin ramps up F-35 production, its suppliers are falling behind. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the number of F-35 parts delivered late skyrocketed from less than 2,000 in August 2017 to upward of 10,000 in July 2019. The number of parts shortages per month also climbed from 875 in July 2018 to more than 8,000 in July 2019. More than 60 percent of that sum was concentrated among 20 suppliers, it said. Work under the current modification will take place in Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Georgia, Illinois, Arizona, the UK and Israel. Estimated completion date is in September 2021.
Middle East & Africa
The Idaho Air National Guard’s 190th Fighter Squadron deployed to the Middle East on May 11. The personnel left on that day and the A-10s departed one day later. More than 400 members of the 124th Fighter Wing, based at Gowen Field, will continue to deploy throughout the spring and summer in support of Operations FREEDOM’S SENTINEL, INHERENT RESOLVE and NEW NORMAL. The deployment is the wing’s second largest deployment and includes multiple aircraft, pilots, security forces, maintenance and medical personnel, and various other support staff.
The US Africa Command announced on May 12 that Logistics Advisor Team 1610, 6th Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade earlier this year delivered a three-week long vehicle maintenance and recovery course in Dakar, Senegal. According to AFRICOM the course is to prepare the Senegalese Armed Forces as they support United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. The 1st SFAB’s operations in Africa have been interrupted by the coronavirus, but the unit will continue working with US Army Africa and the US State Department once conditions allow advisors to return, AFRICOM officials said.
The Royal Air Force is in talks with British Airways, British Airline Pilots’ Association and other aerospace companies for civilian pilots made redundant due to COVID-19 to be seconded to the military for 18 to 48 months. Pilots who had switched from military to civilian careers are likely to be sought after to fill vacancies. The BALPA said the talks are still “exploratory” while a spokesperson from the RAF said the service has “always interested in recruiting high quality people and are currently in initial discussions with the UK aviation industry on the possibility of employing suitable available personnel.”
The South Korean military conducted the first test-firing of its new Hyunmoo-4 ballistic missile in the middle of march, some two-and-a-half years after Washington and Seoul had agreed to scrap the warhead weight limit for South Korean missiles stipulated in US-South Korean guidelines. The Hyunmoo-4 is thought to be a solid-propellant rocket. has been reported to carry a payload as large as 2 tons to ranges of up to 800 kilometers. Testing was overseen by the Agency for Defense Development, South Korea’s indigenous defense research and development organization.
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