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United Launch Service wins Air Force satellite contract | Rafael unveils new missile „Rocks“ | Lockheed Martin offers new jet to IAF
The US Air Force contracted United Launch Services with $441.8 million for launch services to deliver the Silent Barker, BIRS GEO-5, and SBIRS GEO-6 missions to their intended orbits. United Launch Services is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that provides launch services for aircrafts and missiles. Silent Barker is a classified space situational awareness program by the Air Force Space Command and the National Reconnaissance Office. SBIRS (Space Based Infra Red Sensor) GEO is the geostationary component of the SBIRS-High program. The SBIRS-High satellite program is a key component of the USA’s future missile alert system, designed to give maximum warning and monitoring of ballistic missile launches anywhere in the world. The current contract will include launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission launch operations/spaceflight worthiness, and mission unique activities for Silent Barker and SBIRS GEO-5, with an option for an additional SBIRS GEO-6 launch service. Work will be performed at Centennial, Colorado; and Cape Canaveral, Florida. Silent Barker is expected to be completed by March 2022, and SBIRS GEO-5 is expected to be completed by March 2021. The Air Force divided $739 million in launch contracts between United Launch Services and SpaceX for six national security missions slated for 2021-2022.
The Navy tapped Lockheed Martin with $8.2 million to exercise options for ship integration and test of the Aegis Weapon System (AWS). The deal is a cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to a previously awarded contract and includes AWS Baselines through Advanced Capability Build 16. The Aegis Combat System is an advanced command and control and weapon control system that uses powerful computers and radars to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. The AWS is the heart of Aegis and comprises the AN/SPY-1 Radar, MK 99 Fire Control System, WCS, the Command and Decision Suite, and the SM-2 Standard Missile family of weapons. Work under the modification will take place in New Jersey, Mississippi, Virginia, Washington, California and Washington DC, and is scheduled to be finished by September 2024.
The US destroyer Donald Cook re-entered the Black Sea on Tuesday to conduct exercises with the Ukraine and other allies. It is the ship’s second visit to the Black Sea this year and comes amid escalating tensions and violence between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces. The USS Donald Cook or DDG-75 is an Alreigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer made a port stop last month in Batumi, Georgia, and conducted an exercise with two of that country’s coast guard vessels while the Russian navy watched. The destroyer’s last visit to the Black Sea was in late January. The ship will augment maritime security, help to ensure regional stability and boost the readiness and capability of its Black Sea partners through a multi-national exercise.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems developed a new air-to-surface long-range missile called „Rocks“. The new missile is equipped with a penetration or blast fragmentation warhead that is capable of destroying targets above the surface or deep underground in heavily surface-to-air defended areas. The new missile uses its INS/GPS for midcourse navigation. It can be used against quality targets, whether stationary or mobile, and even in areas where the enemy uses countermeasures against GPS systems. „Rocks“ performs a high velocity trajectory toward the target, reducing the exposure of the aircraft as well as improving the chances of successfully hitting targets. Rafael will present the missile at the Aero India Air Show in Bengaluru, India this week.
Britain will deploy the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to the Arctic next year in order of tackling the growing threat from Russian submarines. The proposed deployment is part of the so called Defence Arctic Strategy, which was launched in September to address the increasing opportunities and threats present in the region. As part of the Defence Arctic Strategy, British Royal Marines carry out cold weather training in collaboration with Norway. Nine Poseidon aircraft will be delivered to Royal Air Force Lossiemouth next year for reconnaissance patrols over a wide range including the High North and North Atlantic. The Poseidon is a military aircraft that conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and shipping interdiction.
The Royal Danish Navy Frigate HDMS Niels Juel is en route to the Mediterranean Sea port of Toulon where it will join French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle for two months of training and operations. The Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate will operate with France’s sole aircraft from March 4 to April 27, providing air defense for the carrier and other ships from the task group. HDMS Niels Juel is deploying with a complement of 160 sailors and an embarked EH101 medium-lift helicopter. The Iver Huitfeldt class is a three-ship class of frigates that entered service with the Royal Danish Navy in 2012 and 2013. Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy and the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel. The Danish frigate will carry out air control tasks around the French Carrier Strike Group, including control of air traffic to and from the aircraft carrier. The vessel will operate in the eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the northern Indian Ocean down to the Seychelles and the Persian Gulf.
Lockheed Martin unveiled the F-21 fighter jet, which is a proposed tailor-made version of the F-16, at the Aero India show in Bengaluru. The company is pitching the new jet to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The US defense firm previously offered its F-16 fighter for the Indian Air Force’s ongoing competition for 114 planes to be made in India. Lockheed is competing with Boeing’s F/A-18, Saab’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and a Russian aircraft for the IAF order. The proposed F-21 plane has a retractable probe, similar to the kind used by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, that allowing them to take on fuel in flight via a hose-and-drogue system used by the Indian Air Force. Lockheed Martin’s illustrations show the place with a heavy weapon load and a Sniper targeting pod.
Watch: UK 19/2/19: RAF Tornado jets make final ’emotional’ aerial flypast before being retired.
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