The US Naval Air Systems Command awarded L-3 Technologies with a $12.6 contract modification to manufacture, test, deliver, manage, and support the common data link Hawklink AN/SRQ-4 systems for the MH-60R aircraft. The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter is equipped for a range of missions including anti-submarin warfare, anti-surface warfare, search-and-rescue, naval gunfire support, surveillance, logistics support and personnel transfer. AN/SRQ-4 is the shipboard element of a situational awareness system that links the MH-60R helicopter with surface warships in the area. The L3 Technologies’ next-generation AN/SRQ-4 provides Command/Control, sensor data transfer, data link operation and comprehensive built-in test. CDL Hawklink offers real time exploitation of aircraft sensors, extending situational awareness over the horizon. L3 Technologies’ Communication Systems produce network and communication systems, secure communications products, radio frequency components, satellite communication terminals and space, microwave and telemetry products. The products include secure data links that are used to connect a variety of space, airborne, ground and sea-based communication systems and are used in transmission, processing, recording, monitoring and dissemination functions. Work is scheduled to be finished by December 2020.
The US Navy contracted General Dynamics with $91.4 million for the planning and execution of maintenance and upgrades to the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The George H.W. Bush is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier of the US Navy, named after the 41st president of the United States, who was a naval aviator during World War II. Northrop Grumman built the aircraft carrier using a modular construction of 161 super-lift sections. The George H.W. Bush is part of Carrier Strike Group 2 and spent 119 days at sea in 2018. It was designed as a transitional ship between the Nimitz Class and the Ford Class. As such, CVN 77 has been a candidate for development, evaluation, and incorporation of a range of advanced technologies and acquisition reform initiatives. The contract funds the 2019 dry-docking planned incremental availability of the vessel, which includes the planning and execution of depot-level maintenance, alterations, and modifications that will update and improve the ship’s military and technical capabilities.
For the first time Chile showcased the Elbit Systems Hermes 900 medium-altitude long endurance UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that it acquired from Israel in 2011. The Chilean Airforce highlighted the roles of several of its aircraft in fighting recent wildfires. Chile was Israel’s first export customer for the Hermes 900. The UAV was shown on static display at Quintero Air Base. The Hermes 900 is designed for tactical missions, has an endurance of over 30 hours and can fly at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet. It is currently assigned to surveillance and monitoring.
Middle East & Africa
Israel is looking into the loss of a canopy from a Boeing F-15 Eagle Combat aircraft during a training flight at 30,000 feet last week. A twin-seat F-15 ‘Baz’ (Falcon) suffered an explosive canopy separation. The pilots radioed the control tower, slowed their flight, began an orderly descent and landed safely at the Nevatim Airbase east of Beersheba. All training flights on the F-15 are currently on hold. The F-15 Eagle is a twin-engined, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft weighing up to 30 tons. The fighter is armed with air-to-air missiles that can be launched from beyond visual range, and has air-to-ground capability to penetrate hostile air and ground defenses to deliver up to 24,000lb of precision ordnance.
The Netherlands ended its F-16 mission in the Middle East. Six F-16 aircrafts deployed by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) operated from Al-Azraq in Jordan since January 2018. They supported troops on the ground and conducted more than 3,000 missions using their weapons about 2,100 times to attack targets such as vehicles, logistic nodes, and weapon positions of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and eastern Syria. The F-16 is a single-engine supersonic multi-role fighter aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin for the US Airfare. The dutch F-16s remain available in support of NATO.
Singapore abandoned its F-15 training plans in New Zealand. The Ministry of Defense was looking to use the uncongested airspace of New Zealand to train Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) crews on the Boeing F-15SG Eagle combat aircraft. The decision follows nearly two years of discussions between the two countries. The training was supposed to be conducted in Ohakea, in Manawatu on the North Island. The Singapore Ministry of Defense gave no specific reasons why the proposal was cancelled.
The Indian Navy establishes a new naval airbase on its Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba will commission the new Base christened as the INS Kohassa on January 24. The Indian Navy wants to extend the base into a bigger air base in future. The airbase will be able to handle Helicopter and Dornier Aircraft and will initially feature a 1,000 meter long runway, which will later be extended to 3,000 meters to enable operations to be carried out by fighters and other aircraft.
Watch: Breaking: Israeli F-15 Fighter Jet Loses Canopy at 30,000 Feet