Air Force, Contractors & Vendors, Lockheed Martin, Navy, Sensors, weapons systems

Hawker Beechcraft and Lockheed team on USAF light armed recon aircraft bid

The Air Force and Navy have both been investigating the idea of a return to propeller-driven aircraft for “irregular warfare” support — something that can provide both ISR for special forces on the ground with a long on-station time, and quick close air support when the need arises.  The Navy reportedly was looking at the Brazilian-made Super Tucano for that role (though the Super Tucano is not carrier-launch capable).

In July, the Air Force’s Air Combat Command issued a presolictation “capability request” for a Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft.  Now Hawker Beechcraft and Lockheed Martin have joined forces to put together a bid based on H/B’s T-6 Navy and Air Force trainer.

The AT-6, a hardened version of the T-6, is in prototype phase — a prototype successfully completed its first test flight on September 10.

From the release:Hawker Beechcraft Corporation

(HBC) and Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] have teamed to compete for the opportunity to

provide a low-cost, low-risk solution to address U.S. Air Force (USAF) needs for a Light

Attack and Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft. The USAF is expected to launch an

acquisition program in fiscal year 2010.

HBC, based in Wichita, Kan., will be prime contractor and Lockheed Martin Systems

Integration in Owego, NY, will be the mission systems integrator for the Beechcraft AT-6

LAAR aircraft. The AT-6 will be a product of the combined heritage and expertise of the

two companies, leveraging the existing worldwide fleet of Hawker Beechcraft T-6 aircraft

that recently passed the one million flying hour milestone, with the proven missions

systems integration expertise of Lockheed Martin.

Related links:

Hawker Beechcraft | Military/Trainer

Lockheed/Hawker joint release

Navy, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, weapons systems

This Just In–Sidewinder now can be launched from sub.

“U.S. company Northrop Grumman says it has demonstrated a successful launch of a Raytheon AIM-9X air-to-air test missile from a submerged Tomahawk Capsule Launching System. The successful test, part of the Littoral Warfare Weapon project, marks a milestone for a payload not designed for an undersea environment.”

via AIM-9X missile launched from under water –

Army, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, weapons systems

Army contracts for CROWS and rockets in end-of-FY buying spree

The Army released a whole pile of contracts last week in an end-of-FY buying spree. I’ll be parsing through these–and the latest Air Force and Navy contracts–over the next day. Here are two of note:

                General Dynamics Land Systems won two change-order fixed price contracts for $6.1 million and $18.2 million, for Common Remote Operated Weapons Stations version 2 (CROWS II) kits– 98 for unspecified vehicles, and 370 for the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank System Enhancement Package v2 upgrades. CROWS II is a remotely-operated weapons station that can be aimed and operated without exposing the gunner.

In the “things that go boom” department, one of the biggest winners in this spasm of procurement was Lockheed Martin, whose Missiles and Fire Control group was awarded on Sept. 11, 2009, a $111,514,752 firm-fixed-price contract 1,152 additional rockets for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (Full Rate Production IV). GMLRS is a precision-guided rocket that uses GPS and inertial guidance to deliver its payload of 404 bomblets to within meters of the target.

Air Force, Raytheon, weapons systems

Raytheon starts testing smarter Maverick missile

Today’s “things that go boom”  entry: Raytheon announced today that the company has begun testing a new model of the Maverick standoff attack missile for the Air Force designed for greater precision against targets in urban environments and on the move.

The new version, the AGM-65E2, is a semi-active laser guided weapon that  locks onto a target “painted” by a laser directed from the launching aircraft.  Based on the AGM-65E originally developed for the Marine Corps, which can follow a laser spot from the aircraft or a forward observer or other aircraft, the 65E2 will be less apt to be confused by movement of targets, and by clutter in a built-up area, making it less likely that it will hit the wrong target or cause “collateral damage”.

“The newest variant of the laser-guided Maverick is perfectly suited for urban combat and high-speed maneuvering targets,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of Air Warfare Systems. “Because of its accuracy and standoff range, the U.S. warfighter and our international partners can use this weapon against a variety of targets.”

Raytheon’s release at:  Raytheon Starts Developmental Testing of Upgraded Laser-Guided Maverick Missile – Sep 14, 2009.

Army, Northrop Grumman, Sensors, weapons systems

Northrop Grumman, SELEX GALILEO Team up again on IR countermeasures for U.S. Army Program

Announcing another strategic alliance with a European defense company, today Northrop Grumman Corporation revealed it had teamed with  SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica company, to compete for the U.S. Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) program.

SELEX Galileo, as noted in B&B recently, is assisting the Pakistani government in its development of its own UAV capability.

CIRCM is a US Army program to provide light and medium helicopters with a laser-based defense against infrared-seeking antiaircraft missiles and other IR “current and future IR threat systems.”  Northrop/SELEX Galileo’s proposed system for CIRCM program, uses the ECLIPSE micro pointer/tracker, a  relatively low-cost compact lightweight stabilized laser transmitter, designed for an earlier Northrop Grumman directed CIRCM system, NEMESIS, integrating it into a new”4th generation lightweight, highly reliable Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) system specifically designed for medium and light helicopter protection.” (from Northrop’s release).

via Northrop Grumman and SELEX GALILEO Team to Compete for U.S. Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures Program (NYSE:NOC).

Navy, Raytheon, weapons systems

U.S. Navy Awards Raytheon $93 Million Contract for Standard Missile-6

Raytheon has announced that it has won a $93 million contract,  the first of several planned low rate initial production (LRIP) contracts to build Standard Missile-6 systems for the U.S. Navy.  The contract includes the production of missiles and delivery of spare parts andmissile containers, with delivery early in 2011.

The SM-6 is the latest in a long line of anti-aircraft missiles Raytheon has made for the Navy, and cousin to the RIM-161 SM-3, used by the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.   SM-6 is intended for lower-flying threats, at long range, using an active seeker system (its own radar) to attack targets over the horizon.  SM-6 can also use a semi-active mode, relying partially on targeting from a target “painted” by fire control radar.

“Standard Missile-6 has been on budget and on schedule since the program started in 2004,” said Frank Wyatt, vice president of Raytheon’s Naval Weapon Systems. “LRIP clears the way for delivery to the warfighter of this integral weapon system.”

“When combined with future integrated fire control, SM-6 will provide the U.S. Navy with an extended battlespace capability against over-the-horizon AAW threats,” said Wyatt. “By taking full advantage of the Standard Missile family’s kinematics, SM-6 provides signal processing and superior guidance and control capabilities.”

via U.S. Navy Awards Raytheon $93 Million Contract for Standard Missile-6 – Sep 09, 2009.

Air Force, Boeing, weapons systems

Boeing successfully tests flying “death ray” on ground target

Boeing_ATL_01_540x359Boeing announced on Sept. 1 that it had successfully “defeated a ground target from the air” with  the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, a C-130 equipped with a high-energy chemical laser.  The test potentially ushers in the era of collateral-damage-free “surgical” attacks on  enemy targets in urban areas.

The concept: a “Star Wars” version of the Vietnam-era C-130 gunship, with a gimbaled laser weapon that can be directed against individual vehicles, buildings, or other small targets.  In this case, the target was a parked vehicle.

From Boeing’s press release:

“During the test, the C-130H aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and fired its high-power chemical laser through its beam control system while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The beam control system acquired the ground target — an unoccupied stationary vehicle — and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL’s battle management system. The laser beam’s energy defeated the vehicle.”

via Boeing: Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser Defeats Ground Target in Flight Test.