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[*] posted on 3-6-2020 at 09:50 AM


US Army buys $3.4bn worth of Hydra-70 rockets

By Garrett Reim

3 June 2020

The US Army is buying $3.42 billion worth of General Dynamics Hydra-70 rockets.

The number of rockets in the deal was not disclosed, but all of the munitions are estimated to be delivered by September 2026, according to an online US Department of Defense notice posted on 29 May.


U.S. Army AH-64E Apache helicopter ground crew members load a Hydra 70 rocket at at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan
Source: US Army


The Hydra-70 is an unguided 70mm (2.75in) rocket. When the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) II upgrade kit is added it becomes a precision weapon, however.

The US military has experimented using APKWS upgraded rockets in new roles recently.

In December 2019, an US Air Force F-16 shot down a subscale drone with the guided rocket. The proof-of-concept demonstration aimed to show that the fighter’s targeting pod, combined with the precision rocket, could shoot down a cruise missile, a lower-cost alternative than using an air-to-air missile like the sophisticated AIM-120.

BAE Systems also recently test fired APKWS-guided rockets from a ground-based vehicle for the time, the company says on 1 June.

In September 2019, BAE Systems won a $2.68 billion contract from the US Navy (USN) for an undisclosed number of APKWS II upgrade kits. Those rocket upgrade kits were intended for the USN, but were also ordered on behalf of the US Army, USAF, as well as several foreign military sales customers.

The APKWS is qualified to be launched from 13 aircraft, including the US Army’s Boeing AH-64D/E Apache attack helicopter, Sikorsky UH-60L/M Black Hawk utility helicopter and Boeing AH-6M Little Bird light helicopter gunship.

To precisely hit targets, the APKWS uses a distributed aperture semi-active laser seeker, a self-contained guidance and control system that is installed between the warhead and rocket motor of a Hydra-70. APKWS rockets have a maximum range of 2.7nm (5 km) and hit targets 80% of the time within 2m (6.6ft), claims BAE Systems.

The company pitches APKWS as cheap and effective.

“Declining budgets and concern over collateral damage has increased the need for precision-guided weapons for a more low-cost and effective response against soft and lightly armoured targets,” BAE Systems says.
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[*] posted on 4-6-2020 at 10:26 PM


US Navy completes first captive carry flight test of Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile on F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter

POSTED ON THURSDAY, 04 JUNE 2020 01:25

On June 2, 2020, the United States Naval Air Systems Command has announced that U.S. Navy completed the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1, 2020, at the Patuxent River test range.


US Navy completes first captive carry flight test of Advanced Anti Radiation Guided Missile on FA 18 Super Hornet fighter 925 001The Navy conducts the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1 at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River test range in Maryland. (U.S. Navy photo)

During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate integration and structural characteristics of the AARGM-ER. Test points were completed across a range of flight conditions to demonstrate carriage compatibility of AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Testing will continue over the next few years in preparation for initial operational capability in fiscal year 2023, he said.

The extended-range variant, which leverages the AARGM program that’s currently in full rate production, has been upgraded with a new rocket motor and warhead. It will provide advanced capability to detect and engage enemy air defense systems.

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G, and will also be compatible for integration on the F-35A/B/C.

The Navy's FY 2016 budget included funding for an extended range AARGM-ER that uses the existing guidance system and warhead of the AGM-88E with a solid integrated rocket-ramjet for double the range. Development funding will last to 2020. The AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) is a tactical, air-to-surface anti-radiation missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems.

In September 2016, Orbital ATK unveiled its extended-range AARGM-ER, which incorporates a redesigned control section and 11.5 in (290 mm)-diameter rocket motor for twice the range and internal carriage on the Lockheed Martin F-35A and F-35C Lightning II. Internal carriage on the F-35B isn't possible due to internal space limitations. The U.S. Navy awarded Orbital ATK a contract for AARGM-ER development in January 2018. The USAF has formally joined the AARGM-ER program and is involved in internal F-35A/F-35C integration work.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet is a naval twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. It has 11 weapon stations which include two additional wing store stations and will support a full range of armaments including AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, guided air-to-ground weapons such as Harpoon, SLAM/SLAM-ER, GBU-10, GBU-51, HARM and Maverick; and free-fall air-to-ground bombs, Mk-76, BDU-48, Mk-82LD, Mk-82HD and Mk-84. The aircraft can also carry the GPS- / inertially guided JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition), JSOW (joint stand-off weapon), and JASSM (joint air-to-surface stand-off missile).
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[*] posted on 13-6-2020 at 08:48 PM


Production of one of the F-35′s most anticipated bombs has been on hold for almost a year

By: Valerie Insinna   13 hours ago


An F-15E fighter aircraft is armed with the Small Diameter Bomb II, under development by Raytheon for the Air Force and Navy. (Raytheon)

WASHINGTON — Deliveries of a new precision-guided bomb under development by Raytheon for the F-35 and other fighter jets have been at a standstill for about a year as the company struggles to correct a technical problem involving a key component.

A fix for the issue, which brought production of the Small Diameter Bomb II to a halt in July 2019, could be approved by the government as soon as July, said Air Force spokesman Capt. Jake Bailey in response to questions by Defense News.

However, a June report by the Government Accountability Office pointed out that continued technical issues have already caused a delay in fielding the munition, with Raytheon forced to redesign a key component and retrofit all 598 bombs already delivered to the Air Force and Navy.

The Small Diameter Bomb II — also known as the CGU-53 StormBreaker — was designed with a tri-mode seeker that includes a millimeter wave radar, imaging infrared and semi-active laser that allow the weapon to engage targets in all weather conditions and environments where visibility is obscured by dust and debris.

The Air Force and Navy plan to integrate SDB II with a range of fighter aircraft including the F-15, F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-35 joint strike fighter, but the munition has been mired in development for more than a decade.

This latest stoppage in production was prompted by internal audits by Raytheon, which found that the clips used to hold the bomb’s fins in place “suffered vibration fatigue over long flight hours,” Bailey said. The clips serve “as the backup fin storage device” used to keep the fins in place in case other components fail, noted Bailey, who added that there have been no incidents during tests involving the SDB II fins inadvertently deploying.

However, the GAO wrote that the premature deployment of the fins, which help guide the bomb in flight, could damage the weapon as well as cause a safety hazard for the aircraft carrying it.

“While this problem could affect all aircraft carrying the bomb, officials said the greatest impact is to the F-35, because the bomb is carried in the aircraft’s internal weapons bay and could cause serious damage if the fins deploy while the bomb is in the bay,” the GAO stated.

Raytheon declined to comment on this story, directing questions to the Air Force.

Raytheon plans on mitigating the issue with a newly designed clip that reduces the vibration of the fins, and will completely pay for developing the fix and retrofitting it on the bombs that have already been delivered, the GAO said. The Air Force confirmed that testing of the new device has already been completed and is going through final reviews.

But while Raytheon and the Air Force had hoped to restart production in April, travel restrictions caused by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic contributed to further delays. The government now hopes to approve the fix in July, after which production will restart and the retrofit process for existing bombs will begin.

“The fin clip failure is the sole reason production was partially halted; once final government approval is obtained, ‘all up round’ production can resume,” Bailey said, using a phrase that describes a fully assembled weapon. The Air Force estimates that retrofits will be completed by August, as Raytheon’s supplier has already begun manufacturing the replacement component, which are easily installed on the outside of the weapon.

“Until production resumes, the total Lot 3 deliveries remain at 204 of the 312 assets on contract,” Bailey said.

All this puts initial operational capability at least a year later than the service’s original timeline, which predicted IOC would occur in September 2019. The Air Force declined to name a current estimate for when IOC would be achieved, but said it would happen after a separate milestone known as the “initial fielding decision,” which involves the approval of the head of Air Combat Command and is set for the third quarter of 2020.

The issue with SDB II’s fins is just one of several technical problems with which Raytheon is grappling. The program completed operational tests in 2019, but hardware and software changes are needed after 11 failures were reported. Two hardware fixes have already been put in place, and eight failures were related to software problems that will be addressed in future updates, the GAO said.

The sole outstanding issue involves an anomaly with SDB II’s guidance system. Fixing it could require Raytheon to redesign the component and conduct retrofits on all bombs already delivered, according to GAO.

A review board of the problem is in the “final stages of analysis,” Bailey said. The Air Force and Raytheon plan to establish whether a replacement component is necessary no later than June 30.

Although the weapon has not even been officially fielded, some components are already becoming obsolete. A Raytheon subcontractor that makes circuit cards used in the guidance system is expected to stop producing those components years sooner than anticipated.

As a result, that the Defense Department may have to order all circuit cards needed for the program of record before December, according to the GAO.

That timeline has now been extended to January 2022, “which provides ample time for program office action before the new deadline,” Bailey said.

Despite the bomb’s ongoing problems, Raytheon continues to rake in contracts for the program. In February, the Defense Department awarded a $15 million increase to a previous SDB II contract for additional technical support. In September, the company received a $200 million contract for lifecycle support during the bomb’s engineering and manufacturing development phase.

According to a Raytheon news release, the Navy recently completed the first guided release of SDB II from a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
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[*] posted on 16-6-2020 at 09:51 PM


Super Hornet tests StormBreaker foul-weather munition

By Greg Waldron16 June 2020

A Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has conducted a guided release of Raytheon’s new GBU-53/B StormBreaker munition, which is designed to hit moving targets in poor visibility conditions.

The Super Hornet will be the second aircraft type to cleared to operate the weapon after the F-15E Strike Eagle, says Raytheon. The weapon is also being integrated on the Lockheed Martin F-35.


Source: Raytheon
StormBreaker can engage targets in poor weather


The F/A-18E/F test saw the weapon separate from the jet, which then sent it guidance data while in flight.

The 93kg (204lb) StormBreaker, previously known as the small diameter bomb II, features a tri-mode seeker that incorporates infrared and millimetre-wave radar. In addition, it can be guided by semi-active laser guidance or use GPS.

The weapon can distinguish between tracked and wheeled vehicles, and can fly up to 39nm (72km).

“StormBreaker is the only weapon that enables pilots to hit moving targets during bad weather or if dust and smoke are in the area,” claims programme director Cristy Stagg. “Super Hornet pilots will be able to use poor visibility to their advantage when StormBreaker integration is complete.”

Raytheon says StormBreaker is expected to reach initial operational capability (IOC) later in 2020. At the Paris air show in June 2019, however, the company said that it expected IOC in late 2019.
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[*] posted on 17-6-2020 at 01:43 PM


Canada approved to buy 50 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II missiles for CF-18 Hornets

By Garrett Reim

17 June 2020

Until the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) makes a decision on its next generation of fighter aircraft, it’ll have to rely on its aging fleet of classic McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornets, known in Canada as the CF-18.

To keep those fighter aircraft relevant for air-to-air combat in the 21st Century, Ottawa has requested and was approved by the US State Department to buy 50 examples of the Raytheon Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II missile, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency says on 16 June.


RCAF CF-18
Source: Royal Canadian Air Force


As part of the Hornet Extension Programme, Canada is approved to purchase the air-to-air missiles, plus related equipment, and additional CF-18 upgrades for $832 million. The package also includes 10 Sidewinder training missiles, 38 Raytheon APG-79(V)4 active electronically scanned array radar units, 20 Raytheon Joint Standoff Weapons, and the installation of an Automated Ground Collision Avoidance System on an unspecified number of CF-18s, among other items.

“This sale will provide Canada a two-squadron bridge of enhanced F/A-18A aircraft to continue meeting [North American Aerospace Defense Command] (NORAD) and NATO commitments while it gradually introduces new advanced aircraft via the Future Fighter Capability [Project] between 2025 and 2035,” says the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Canada is hosting the Future Fighter Capability Project to pick an advanced jet to replace its CF-18 Hornets. The country wants to buy 88 fighter aircraft. Three companies are offering aircraft for the programme: Saab is offering the Gripen E; Lockheed Martin is offering the F-35; and Boeing is offering the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

A contract for the fighter programme is anticipated in 2022, with the first aircraft to be delivered by 2025, the RCAF has said.

Canada plays a critical role in NORAD, a joint airspace warning and protection partnership between Ottawa and Washington. The country’s northern location means it is well positioned to detect and intercept missiles, fighters and bomber aircraft flying over the top of the world should there ever be a Russian attack on North America.
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[*] posted on 17-6-2020 at 01:53 PM


The enemies of the West will be quaking in their boots, now that Canada has ordered 50x AIM-9x Block II’s... :lol:



In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 19-6-2020 at 11:30 AM


US Navy’s AARGM-ER completes critical design review

By Garrett Reim

19 June 2020

The US Navy (USN) recently completed a critical design review of Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile, a new air-launched weapon intended to destroy enemy radar and communications systems.

The service completed design verification tests of the AARGM-ER rocket motor and warhead, in addition to critical design review of subsystems and system-level performance, says Northrop Grumman on 18 June.


Northrop Grumman AARGM-ER fit check in F-35
Source: Northrop Grumman


“Rocket motor design verification tests represented a significant knowledge point and milestone for engineering and manufacturing development,” says Gordon Turner, vice-president of advanced weapons with Northrop Grumman. “These tests were important to informing the critical design review and verifying performance of the missile. With our government partners, we are aggressively focused on achieving speed-to-fleet while holding to programme cost objectives.”

To test propulsion performance, the rocket motor was fired in extreme cold and hot temperatures. The warhead was also tested to demonstrate “lethality performance”, says Northrop Grumman.

The AARGM-ER is an extended-range version of the USN’s current AARGM weapon, which is in full-rate production. The –ER variant borrows many components of the classic AARGM, but adds a new rocket motor for increased range and a new warhead for increased destruction. For lift, it has a short strake along its length, instead of its predecessor’s mid-body wings.

As a standoff weapon, which can be launched by aircraft beyond the reach of enemy surface-to-air missiles, the missile’s exact range is classified. Anti-radiation missiles are designed to destroy enemy radar, jammers and radio transmitters – to blind an adversary, preventing them from tracking and downing US aircraft. The missiles would be fired early in a conflict, clearing the way for waves of fighters and bombers.

AARGM-ER is to be integrated on the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Boeing EA-18G Growler. The US military plans to eventually integrate it onto all three variants of the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter.

On 1 June, the USN completed the first captive-carry flight test of AARM-ER on a F/A-18E.

The service plans to award a low-rate initial production contract to Northrop Grumman in the third quarter of fiscal year 2021 to begin manufacturing an undisclosed quantity of the AARGM-ER.
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[*] posted on 19-6-2020 at 02:39 PM


Amidst Border Bloodshed, Air-Launched BrahMos Cleared for Combat (excerpt)

(Source: LiveFist Defence; posted June 18, 2020)

By Shiv Aroor


The air-launched version of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, seen here during testing, has received ‘fleet release clearance’ from India’s military airworthiness authorities. (DRDO photo)

At a time when an escalating 40-day border standoff has led to a savage clash with multiple casualties in Indian and Chinese army units in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, the Indian military has just welcomed a new weapon into its operational arsenal.

While the brutal violence that exploded on a lonely ridge in eastern Ladakh on the night of June 15 saw the use of Chinese nail-studded clubs, barbed-wire wrapped rods and rocks to inflict medieval-style death and injuries, over 3,500 km away at an air base in South India, a crucial weapon was quietly cleared into combat service.

The Indian Air Force can now fly Su-30 MKI combat missions with the BrahMos-A air-launched supersonic cruise missile. In a final milestone that clears the decks for use in operations, the missile system has just received ‘fleet release clearance’ from the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), DRDO, the government’s gatekeeper that provides a final stamp on flying equipment before military use.

The first BrahMos-armed Su-30 MKI jets were inducted into the Indian Air Force’s 222 Squadron ‘Tigersharks’ in January this year at the Thanjavur air force station in Tamil Nadu. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Live Fist Defence website.

https://www.livefistdefence.com/2020/06/amidst-border-bloods...

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[*] posted on 30-6-2020 at 09:51 AM


29 JUNE 2020 00:00 GMT+0

Lockheed Martin to build 44K Hellfire, JAGM missiles for US and international customers

by Gareth Jennings

Lockheed Martin is to be contracted to build and deliver 44,000 of its air-to-surface missiles for United States and international customers over a four-year period.


A US Air Force Reaper UAV seen carrying Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. Lockheed Martin is to be contracted to deliver 44,000 Hellfire and JAGM missiles to US and international customers over a four-year period. (US Air Force)

The US Army disclosed on 28 June that it is to award the manufacturer a sole-source contract to build and deliver its AIM-114 Hellfire and Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) weapon systems from fiscal year (FY) 2022 through to FY 2025.

“The US Army Contracting Command-Redstone has a (FY 2022–25) requirement for the acquisition of a total quantity of 44,000 (11,000 per year) air-to-ground missiles [AGMS] in support of the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, special customers and various foreign military sales customers,” the notification said. “Additionally, this requirement consists of Hellfire and JAGM guidance sections, air trainer missiles, AGMS quality assurance lot verification test flight testing, non-recurring engineering support, initial spares, and missile storage.”
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[*] posted on 2-7-2020 at 10:57 PM


Pentagon Contract Announcement

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued July 01, 2020)

-- Raytheon Missiles Systems, Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded a $495,058,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee, firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for advanced medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) program support and annual sustainment.
The contractor will provide non-warranty repairs, program support, contractor logistics support and service life prediction program analysis supporting the AMRAAM weapon system.
Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed June 30, 2026.
This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. No funds are being obligated on the action at the time of award. Concurrently, the first task order will be awarded with $989,450 in fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds.
The Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8675-20-D-0020).

-- Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded a $27,054,192 firm-fixed-price modification (P00004) to contract FA8675-20-C-0033 for the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile program obsolescence.
This modification provides for a life of type procurement of known obsolete component in support of production and sustainment through the program of record and foreign military sales procurements.
Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed Aug. 31, 2021. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Poland, Qatar, Romania and Spain.
Air Force fiscal 2020 missile procurement funds in the amount of $8,810,304; Navy fiscal 2020 weapons procurement funds in the amount of $5,277,696; and FMS funds in the amount of $12,966,192 are being obligated at the time of award.
Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.

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[*] posted on 8-7-2020 at 02:00 PM


Pentagon Contract Announcement

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued July 06, 2020)

Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Tucson, Arizona, is awarded a $34,749,670 modification (P00011) to previously-awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm contract N00019-18-C-1068.

This modification provides for the production and delivery of 58 additional Lot 20 AIM-9X Block II all up round tactical missiles (29 for the Navy and 29 for the Air Force); an additional 61 Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (one for the Navy and 60 for the Air Force); an additional 35 all up round containers (12 for the Navy and 23 for the Air Force); and one lot of spares assets for the governments of Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Turkey and Poland.

Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona (31%); Andover, Massachusetts (10%); Keyser, West Virginia (9%); Santa Clarita, California (8%); Hillsboro, Oregon (5%); Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (5%); Goleta, California (4%); Cheshire, Connecticut (4%); Heilbronn, Germany (3%); Simsbury, Connecticut (2%); San Jose, California (2%); Valencia, California (2%); Anaheim, California (2%); Cajon, California (2%); Cincinnati, Ohio (1%); Anniston, Alabama (1%); San Diego, California (1%); Chatsworth, California (1%); Amesbury, Massachusetts (1%); Claremont, California (1%); Sumner, Washington (1%); and various locations within the continental U.S. (4%), and is expected to be completed by July 2023.

Fiscal 2020 missile procurement (Air Force) funds in the amount of $23,081,565; fiscal 2020 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $11,021,806; fiscal 2019 missile procurement (Air Force) funds in the amount of $135,020; fiscal 2019 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $40,506; fiscal 2018 missile procurement (Air Force) funds in the amount of $40,506; fiscal 2018 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $13,502; and Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $416,765 will be obligated at the time of award, $54,008 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

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

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[*] posted on 17-7-2020 at 11:35 PM


Japan Readies Its Ship-Smashing Super-Missile (excerpt)

(Source: Forbes magazine; posted July 16, 2020)

By David Axe


Japanese defense undersecretary Tomohiro Yamamoto poses in front of an F-2 fighter during a visit to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Nagoya plant. A redesigned Mitsubishi ASM-3 supersonic anti-ship missile is visible under the fighter’s wing. (Japan MoD photo)

The Japanese navy has one major mission in wartime: To bottle up the Chinese fleet, preventing Beijing’s warships from reaching the open Pacific Ocean.

Which is why Japanese planners take anti-ship missiles very, very seriously. And why, last year, the Japanese defense ministry took a hard look at its newest anti-ship missile design ... and decided to go back to the drawing board.

The ASM-3 lacked range, the ministry decided. Rather than field the missile in its current, 100-mile incarnation, officials sent the weapon back to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries with one major note: Make the missile fly twice as far ... without making it much bigger.

A year later, the ASM-3 has reappeared. In mid-July, Japan’s state minister for national defense, Tomohiro Yamamoto, posted a photo on social media depicting an F-2 with the redesigned ASM-3 under its wing. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Forbes website.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2020/07/16/japan-readi...

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[*] posted on 22-7-2020 at 06:45 PM


​Raytheon tapped for aircraft self-defence missile work

By Greg Waldron

22 July 2020

Raytheon has secured a $375 million contract from the US government to develop a miniature self-defence missile (MSDM) that will form part of an aircraft’s defensive suite.

The work involves researching and developing a flight-test ready missile, says the US Department of Defense in a contract award. It adds that two other bids were received for the project.

In January 2016, the US Air Force had awarded Raytheon a contract worth up $14 million to research and develop new missiles, including MSDM.

The MDSM would help to counter advanced long-range missiles such as China’s PL-15 and Russia’s R-37 Vympel, both of which could engage vulnerable support aircraft such as airborne early warning & control platforms and tankers.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2020 at 06:49 PM


U.S. DoD awards contract to Raytheon Missile Systems for miniature self-defense missile

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, 22 JULY 2020 07:23

According to a piece of information published on July 21 by the U.S. DoD, Raytheon Missile Systems has been awarded a $375,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for a miniature self-defense missile.


Miniature Self-Defense Munition size comparison (Illustration source: U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory)

The contract provides for the research and development of a flight-test ready missile. The first task order is $93,380,234. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by October 2023. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and two offers were received. Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $26,712,000 are being obligated at the time of the award. Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity
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[*] posted on 23-7-2020 at 11:06 AM


416th FLTS, AFRL Tests “Gray Wolf” Prototype Cruise Missile

(Source: Air Force Research Laboratory; issued July 14, 2020)


An F-16 fighter from the 416th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, carries a Gray Wolf cruise missile prototype over the Pacific Ocean. The missile is carried next to the fuel tank, and appears quite small in proportion. (USAF photo)

EDWARDS AFB, California --- The 416th Flight Test Squadron recently completed a round of tests of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s “Gray Wolf” prototype cruise missile at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Gray Wolf is a DoD-directed prototype production and demonstration of low-cost, subsonic and networked collaborative cruise missiles. The missiles are designed to launch in a swarm to target enemy integrated air defense threats.

“Gray Wolf is a science & technology demonstration effort, intended as a proof of concept program,” said Conor Most, 416th FLTS Flight Test Engineer. “AFRL serves as the system program office (SPO) for the weapon and developed the original request for proposal.”

The missiles offer a stand-off solution for the warfighter through its variable payload capability. Earlier this year, the Gray Wolf’s TDI-J85 engine completed a successful flight test campaign culminating in multiple inflight windmill starts and operation at high altitude.

The program has already reached certain test milestones: Electromagnetic Interference & Compatibility (EMIC) and a “captive carry” flight. A live release test at the Naval Air Station Point Mugu Sea Test Range is scheduled later this summer.

“The EMIC check is ground check to confirm the missile is okay to fly on our specific test aircraft,” Most explained. “A captive-carry flight is the first flight with the weapon; the goal is to rehearse the weapon flight profile and gather critical state/environmental data about the weapon.”

Most added that the importance of successfully conducting physical tests, as opposed to laboratory-simulated, provides the Gray Wolf team with invaluable critical data.

“Getting the weapon airborne and gathering data is crucial to the development for a new weapon system like this,” Most said. “With just one captive carry flight, the team learned more than in weeks or months of laboratory testing. Modeling and simulation go a long way to helping you predict how a new weapon will behave, but they will never replace actually putting the weapon on an aircraft and observing how it actually behaves in a real-world environment.”

Conducting physical flight tests is critical to mission success, and the Gray Wolf test team faced challenges amidst COVID-19 restrictions as different portions of the test team were located throughout the country. Besides the test team at Edwards, the Gray Wolf tests included personnel from AFRL, Point Mugu, and others throughout the Air Force Test Center enterprise, namely at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

“Key support from AFRL and AFTC leadership enabled the missions to take place,” said Capt. Adam Corley, AFRL Gray Wolf Program Manager. “These tests overcame, and were accomplished, during the COVID-19 posture. Collaboration between Eglin, Edwards, and the Point Mugu Sea Range made these flight tests possible. Through close partnership, we were able to fly on the sea range and stream live feeds to Edwards and Eglin control rooms overcoming the travel ban issue and allowing key personnel to participate in the flight tests.”

-ends-
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[*] posted on 3-8-2020 at 08:20 PM


03 AUGUST 2020

Image shows Chinese Z-10 attack helicopter firing possible new ASM

by Andreas Rupprecht

An image has emerged on Chinese social media showing what appears to be a new air-to-surface missile (ASM) being fired from a Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Zhishengji-10 (Z-10) attack helicopter, suggesting that the missile is either in service with, or being trialled by, the aviation units of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF).

The image, which appears to be a screengrab from footage by the state-owned China Central Television 13 (CCTV 13) channel, shows that the weapon is somewhat similar in appearance to the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) Blue Arrow 21 (BA-21) missile that was displayed at the Airshow China 2018 defence exhibition in Zhuhai.

The BA-21 appears to be an improved export version of the AKD-10 third generation, precision-guided battlefield missile carried by the PLAGF’s Z-10 and Z-19 attack helicopters. The BA-21, of which no official information has emerged, is believed to have a range of around 18 km and be fitted with a dual-mode millimetre wave radar/semi-active laser seeker.

That said, the missile shown in the recent image seems to have a slightly different tail configuration than that seen in the BA-21 version displayed at Airshow China 2018.


A screengrab from CCTV 13 footage showing what appears to be a new ASM being fired from a Chinese Z-10 attack helicopter at an undisclosed location. (CCTV 13 via Weibo)

An earlier – and slightly different-looking – version of the BA-21 had been displayed two years earlier at Zhuhai as part of weaponry stated to be compatible with the Wing Loong II strike-capable reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the Cloud Shadow medium/high-altitude, long-endurance UAV, both of which were presented for the first time to the public that year.
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[*] posted on 8-8-2020 at 03:48 PM


07 AUGUST 2020

More details emerge about new Chinese helicopter-launched ATGM

by Andreas Rupprecht

More details have emerged about a new helicopter-launched anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) that was used in training exercises by the aviation units of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF).

Chinese state-owned media released video footage on 6 August showing the weapon being fired from several Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Zhishengji-10 (Z-10) attack helicopters assigned to the PLAGF’s 161st Air Assault Brigade under the 83rd Group Army.


A screengrab from CCTV 7 footage released online on 6 August showing two units of a new ATGM being loaded onto one of the launchers of a PLAGF Z-10 attack helicopter. The launcher is also carrying what appears to be a pod. (Via js7tv.cn)

The missiles were shown striking targets, including tanks and other armoured vehicles, after being fired from some distance, suggesting that this is a fire-and-forget weapon. Each of the launchers under the helicopter’s stub-wings was seen carrying two missiles along with what appeared to pods, although their precise function was not immediately clear.

The Z-10s were seen working in conjunction with at least one Z-19A attack helicopter equipped with a mast-mounted millimetre-wave (MMW) radar that is similar in appearance to the Lockheed Martin AN/APG-78 Longbow fire-control radar fitted to the Boeing AH-64 Apache.

As Janes previously reported, the new missile somewhat resembles the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) Blue Arrow 21 (BA-21) missile that was displayed at the Airshow China 2018 defence exhibition in Zhuhai.

The BA-21 appears to be an improved export version of the AKD-10 third generation, precision-guided battlefield missile carried by the PLAGF’s Z-10 and Z-19 rotorcraft. The BA-21, of which no official information has emerged, is believed to have a range of about 18 km and be fitted with a dual-mode MMW radar/semi-active laser seeker.
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[*] posted on 14-8-2020 at 07:12 PM


14 AUGUST 2020

Update: US Air Force seeks information on maritime strike weapon

by Pat Host

The US Air Force (USAF) is conducting market research into kinetic weapons capable of engaging and defeating maritime surface vessels, according to a 24 July request for information (RFI) posted on the federal contracting website beta.sam.gov.

No further details were available with the public version of the RFI, which had a version classified secret by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) armament systems development division. USAF spokesperson Ilka Cole said on 10 August that while the specific capabilities sought are classified, the service seeks information on any kinetic weapon capable of engaging and defeating maritime surface vessels.

An expert believes that this RFI is the USAF’s effort to capture weapons compatible with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) that are not the Lockheed Martin AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) nor the Raytheon-Kongsberg Defense Systems Joint Strike Missile (JSM) air-launched anti-ship weapon being developed for the F-35. Bryan Clark, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington, DC, told Janes on 31 July that the LRASM will probably not be compatible with the F-35 as the stakeholders have not been able to integrate it on to the aircraft for internal carriage due to the weapon’s large size.

Lockheed Martin spokesman Brett Ashworth said on 12 August that the company is investing in F-35 integration efforts for LRASM and the AGM-158B Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER). He said there is operator interest in both weapons and the company is working to ensure outstanding weapon stand-off and effects.
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[*] posted on 15-8-2020 at 12:05 PM


Interesting that USAF wants this. "Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) armament systems development division".

Quote:
capable of engaging and defeating maritime surface vessels.


(1) USAF thinks production rates of existing weapons are too slow and can't be accelerated quickly, so is looking for more missile numbers sooner (as opposed to new missiles, per-sec).

(2) USAF wants more anti surface missile options on long-range bombers, to clear oceans faster with higher priority.

(3) USAF FARPs with F-35A go after surface craft early, i.e. operate in advance of the main navair force arrival in the western Pacific. Makes good sense. Quickly limits the ability of ships to strike US island bases as well, and reduces area denial more quickly.

I like the sound of it, it would enable earlier more aggressive USN ASW effort, and more functional distributed operations with a smaller naval force.

JSOW-ER seems one of several obvious options. If such weapons are going on USAF F-35A, this becomes relevant to RAAF sooner.
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[*] posted on 15-8-2020 at 03:02 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
14 AUGUST 2020

Update: US Air Force seeks information on maritime strike weapon

An expert believes that this RFI is the USAF’s effort to capture weapons compatible with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) that are not the Lockheed Martin AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) nor the Raytheon-Kongsberg Defense Systems Joint Strike Missile (JSM) air-launched anti-ship weapon being developed for the F-35. Bryan Clark, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington, DC, told Janes on 31 July that the LRASM will probably not be compatible with the F-35 as the stakeholders have not been able to integrate it on to the aircraft for internal carriage due to the weapon’s large size.


An “expert” is he? Well I guess this “expert” also feels the AIM-9X is not “compatible” with the F-35 because it cannot be “integrated” for internal carriage, despite the fact we see F-35’s flying with AIM-9X daily?

LRASM will go onto F-35 on the wing pylons, Mr “Expert”...

Expert? No. F*cking idiot? More likely...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 16-8-2020 at 08:50 AM



Quote:
told Janes on 31 July that the LRASM will probably not be compatible with the F-35


Yeah, an incredibly stupid view to voice to Janes, of all organisations, especially if he came to that based on this RFI wanting to know about other USAF maritime attack missile options. JASSM has been on various versions of the F-35A weapon integration plan for about 12 years (at least) despite not fitting inside it. You'd think he'd know it's the best conventional standoff strike weapon the USAF has and the USAF just ordered a stack more of them, and many more LRASM.

From LM in 2011. It does say "EXTERNAL WEAPONS".


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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 06:12 PM


Beijing hypes airbase-killer munition following Lockheed F-16 contract

By Greg Waldron

17 August 2020

Following a major US government contract award to related to Lockheed Martin F-16s for foreign military sales customers, Beijing has released information about a glide weapon designed to attack airbases.

On 14 August the US government announced that Lockheed had received a ten-year contract worth up to $62 billion for new-build F-16 fighters for foreign military sales customers.


Source: Greg Waldron
A model of the Norinco YJ-6 at Airshow China in 2016.


The initial package is for 90 aircraft. Though initial customers for the single-engined fighter were not named, media reports suggest that the package includes 66 examples for Taiwan as well as 24 for Morocco.

In March 2019, the US government had approved the sale of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 jets to the Royal Moroccan Air Force, followed by approval for Taiwan’s long-awaited 66-jet deal in in August. The price of the Moroccan deal was originally pegged at $3.8 billion and the Taiwan deal at $8 billion.

US weapons sales to Taiwan invariably draw the ire of Beijing. It claims the democratic island as a breakaway province, and has not renounced using force to unify it with the Mainland.

While Chinese media outlets have not directly addressed the Lockheed contract, state-run news outlet Global Times referenced the deal in a story about a new standoff weapon designed to attack airbases with bomblets.

“Foreign media reported on Saturday that the island of Taiwan has officially signed an agreement with the US to buy 66 F-16V fighter jets,” said the Global Times story.

“Chinese mainland military analysts said that if a reunification-by-force operation breaks out, the PLA would destroy Taiwan’s airfields and command centres, giving the F-16Vs no chance to even take off, and giving those already in the air no place to land.”

The report, citing Chinese state television, said the new weapon was designed by state-run weapons firm Norinco, weighs 500kg, and uses winglets to glide over 32.4nm (60km) to a target. Upon arriving it can deploy 240 sub munitions over an area of 0.6ha (1.5 acres), It did not give a designation for the weapon.

In addition to destroying airfields, the weapon can be used against armored formations. Apparently it can be carried by fighters such as the Shenyang J-16 and Xian JH-7, as well as Beijing’s versatile H-6 bomber.

At the Zhuhai airshow in recent years, Norinco has displayed a 500kg glide weapon designated YJ-6, with the description “500kg Satellite-Guided Cargo Aerial Bomb.”

Should a conflict occur in North Asia, analysts believe Beijing would seek to destroy rivals’ ability to generate airpower by attacking vulnerable air bases with both ballistic and cruise missiles. A weapon capable of using bomblets to attack airbase infrastructure is consistent with this strategy.

In addition to obtaining 66 brand new F-16C/D Block 72s, Taiwan is also upgrading its fleet 144 F-16A/B fighters to the F-16V standard, which is the equivalent of F-16C/D Block 72. Lockheed has a major role in this work, which is being undertaken locally by AIDC.

In July, Beijing said it would impose sanctions on Lockheed citing the US company’s sale of Patriot surface-to-air missiles to Taipei.
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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 07:00 PM


Quote:
...and uses winglets to glide over 32.4nm (60km) to a target.


That means Chinese aircraft will have to fly an awful long way through contested airspace to launch said weapon. They should have stuck to ballistic and cruise missiles.




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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 07:15 PM


To hit that distance they are going to have to be at 30,000+ feet, like a beacon for anti-air missiles/radar......
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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 08:37 PM


Given they have J-20 they could hold the air while J-10s take turns plinking. VHF LOS chirping could show if it's present. J-20 has a DAS-ski and EOTS-ski, to potentially provide fused networked targets for other systems. That's what they're aiming for, I presume it works on some level. A SAM launches, J20 DAS and ESM locate, EOTS or radar image it, a long-range artillery rocket hits 6 minutes later. Can't discount how dangerous J-20 can become for Taiwan, even without dedicated A2G weapons on it. And why would they have attack sensors like that, and not put A2G weapons on it once systems and sensors mature? Better to anticipate how that could go.

They'll use decoys and EA versions to penetrate them in obscured waves. It's what we would do if we had a JSOW based version for OCA, and were not squeamish about sub-munition persistence. I doubt they're likely to tell us the range or payloads, it could be quite effective. Best to presume it'll work. The background says, "UAV launched weapons".
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