Sikorsky is being contracted for upgrades to the helicopters used by Marine Helicopter Squadron One. Awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, the deal is worth close to $15 million and modifies the previous terms of an IDIQ for executive helicopter special progressive aircraft rework. The task order provides for security, project engineering, sustainment engineering, integrated logistics support, material support, program support and training. The executive helicopter program flies two types of rotorcraft, the VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N White Hawk. The Marine Corps currently operates 11 VH-3D Sea Kings, and 8 smaller VH-60N Black Hawk helicopters. The current helicopters will eventually be replaced by VH-92As. Work will be performed at Sikorsky’s factory in Stratford, Connecticut and in Quantico, Virginia. Performance of the contract is scheduled for completion by November 2019.
The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office is receiving a ceiling increase for additional V-22 Osprey support. The modification is priced at $20.5 million and provides for additional Joint Performance Based Logistics support for the MV-22 flown by the Marine Corps, and the CV-22 flown by US SOCOM and by the Air Force. The Corps’ currently flies the Osprey in its Block C configuration which adds features AN/ALE-47 defensive systems, a “Cabin Situational Awareness Device”, a Color Weather Radar System and large HUD displays. The CV-22 features more sophisticated surveillance capabilities, beefed-up defensive systems that include the AN/ALQ-211v2, extra fuel tanks, and useful capabilities like terrain-following flight. Its most current configuration is the CV-22 Block 20. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the United States, including Fort Worth, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and St. Louis, Missouri. The contract is set to run through January 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Egypt is requesting the purchase of 10 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. Approved by the State Department, the deal is valued at $1 billion and will expand Egypt’s existing fleet of multi-mission heavy attack helicopters in an attempt to beef up forces to counter terrorist activities emanating from the Sinai Peninsula. Included in the deal are targeting systems, Hellfire missiles, night vision goggles, radars and other equipment needed for combat operations. Spare parts, maintenance services and training materials are also included in the sale. The Apache Guardian is the latest variant of the helicopter boasting a greater stand-off attack capability and more advanced sensors. The armored attack helicopter carries a 30mm chaingun and can fire a variety of rockets and guided missiles. Main contractors will be Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Raytheon.
Sierra Nevada Corp is being tapped to provide outside of continental US (OCONUS) contractor logistic support. Worth $329 million the undefinitized contract action will support 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft flown by the Nigerian Air Force. Included in the deal are ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment and FLIR systems for six aircraft. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $220 million are being obligated for this contract. The A-29s will assist the Nigerian military in conducting surveillance, reconnaissance and counter insurgency operations against threats such as piracy in the Niger Delta as well as the ongoing insurgency by the jihadists of Boko Haram.
Saudi Arabia is one step closer in acquiring Lockheed’s THAAD missile defense system. The Kingdom recently signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the US. Priced at $15 billion, the deal includes the delivery of 44 THAAD launchers, 360 THAAD Interceptor Missiles, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group, and seven AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars. “After completing required congressional notifications in 2017, followed by many months of negotiation, signing letters of offer and acceptance marks a step toward protecting the United States and its regional partners from Iranian-origin missiles,” CNBC was told by State Department spokesperson. THAAD is a long-range, land-based theater defense weapon designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere. This allows it to provide broad area coverage against threats to critical assets such as population centers and industrial resources as well as military forces.
Bulgaria’s upcoming fighter jet overhaul program is expected to cost about $106 million. The Bulgarian Air Force is in dire need to modernise its fleet of ageing Soviet-era combat aircraft, as an acquisition process to choose a modern NATO-standard aircraft is still pending. A statement by the Bulgarian MoD says that the overhaul program is needed so that the air force can continue to carry out its NATO required air policing duties. “The implementation of the project is directly dependent on the implementation of the project to acquire a new type of combat aircraft and is of paramount importance both for the national security and defence of the country and for the implementation of the Nato collective defence mechanisms and the common security and defence of the EU,” the statement said. The Su-25 is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft, designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The MiG-29 is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft developed as an air superiority fighter.
Global helicopter manufacturers are currently eyeing an upcoming Japanese requirement for over 50 attack helicopters. Previously known as AH-X competition, the ‘New Attack Helicopter’ requirement seeks to replace the current AH-1Ss in service with the Japan Ground Self Defence Force. An initial RFI was issued in May, to which Bell, Boeing, Leonardo Helicopters, Airbus Helicopters, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries responded. Flight Global notes that Bell is promoting its AH-1Z. Leonardo is pitching its upcoming AW-249 with an offer for a full industrial package. Airbus is promoting its HForce configured H-125Ms and Mitsubishi is offering upgraded UH-60s. A request for proposals is expected to follow in the next months.
Watch: F-15E Strike Eagle Cockpit Vid • Exercise Point Blank (2018)