France keen to buy 12 US Reaper drones: minister

 

France keen to buy 12 US Reaper drones: minister

France wants to buy 12 Reaper drones from the United States, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday, as ministry officials put the cost at 670 million euros ($889 million).

Le Drian said he wanted two Reapers to be deployed in sub-Saharan Africa, where France is battling Islamist militants in Mali.

The 10 others would be deployed in French and European skies.

The deal needs the approval of Congress. Le Drian said that if it did not give a go-ahead, France could buy the drones from Israel.

The Reapers are made by California-based General Atomics.

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Fort Campbell air warriors light up Oklahoma sky with C-RAM

Fort Campbell air warriors light up Oklahoma sky with C-RAM
A loudspeaker blared “incoming, incoming, incoming” and Soldiers immediately dropped to the ground. A Counter — Rocket, Artillery and Mortar gun whirred as the weapon system tracked the threat. A four-second burst from the Gatling-type gun filled the air with tracer fire. Then the 300 rounds crackled as they exploded looking like a fireworks show that created a wall of flack which intercepted and destroyed the incoming mortar. The Soldiers scrambled to their feet and headed toward a bunker.

This was the scene May 26, at Thompson Hill Range here as 60 air defenders from B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery, from Fort Campbell, Ky., participated in a Counter — Rocket, Artillery and Mortar, known as a C-RAM, live fire. The live fire was part of their six-week pre-deployment certification to prepare them for C-RAM missions at outposts.

“The certification is going smooth. The group of Soldiers ahead of us took out every target that came toward them,” said Sgt. Orlando Rodriguez, B/2-44th, air and missile defense crewmembers team chief.

Instructors and contractors from D Battery, 2nd Battalion, 6th ADA, at Fort Sill conducted the training which is something they do about every nine months with deploying ADA units that are given the C-RAM mission, said trainer Sgt. 1st Class Kleber Soriano, D/2-6th ADA, academics section.

During the certification, the Fort Campbell short-range air defenders, who are a mix of Avenger missile crewmembers, air defense battle management system operators, and radar repairers, learn the C-RAM weapon system. The training culminates with about 10 days of live-fire training.

The biggest change from the Avenger system is learning the different procedures used by the C-RAM weapon system, Rodriguez said.

Raytheon contractor James Scott said the Avenger and C-RAM use similar electronics, but there is a different end process.

“It’s kind of like going from Microsoft to Apple,” he said.

One of the most challenging aspects of the certification is getting the gun crew and the engagement operations cell to communicate with each other, Soriano said.

“They need to learn how to work together and know what each other does,” he said.

Soriano emphasized that C-RAM is more than just an electric four-barrel gun that can fire 75 20mm high explosives rounds per second with a greater than 80 percent kill probability of mortar rounds.

Its layered network of counter-mortar radars can detect where mortars and rockets are coming from, he said. Soldiers can perform pattern analysis of the threats. This intelligence can be provided to, say, a forward operating base’s commander, who will then know where the threat is and how to address it.

Spc. Jason Campos, B/2-44th, air and missile defense crewmember, said he was looking forward to his first deployment, and using the C-RAM.

“After two years and three months, it’s really exciting for me,” he said.

Rodriguez said he believes his battery’s presence will definitely make a difference during deployment.

“I’m excited to get out there and help protect my team members from this enemy and indirect fire,” Rodriguez said.

Lockheed Martin Conducts Successful PAC-3 MSE Missile Flight Test

Lockheed Martin Conducts Successful PAC-3 MSE Missile Flight Test

Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) Missile successfully engaged, intercepted and destroyed two different threat representative targets during a flight test today at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The first target engagement involved two PAC-3 MSE Missiles ripple fired against an advanced Tactical Ballistic Missile (TBM) target. The first MSE Missile successfully engaged a TBM target, while the second missile self-destructed as planned. A third PAC-3 MSE Missile engaged a BQM-74 cruise missile target. Preliminary data indicates that all test objectives were achieved.

“Today’s test provides the final flight test data required to demonstrate the design maturity of the PAC-3 MSE configuration and its readiness to enter into production,” said Richard McDaniel, vice president of PAC-3 programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Additionally, we demonstrated for the first time a multi-target engagement with MSE interceptors.”

The PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE Missiles are two of the world’s most advanced, capable and reliable theater air and missile defense interceptors. They defeat advanced tactical ballistic and air breathing threats. As the most technologically advanced missiles for the PATRIOT air and missile defense system, PAC-3 and MSE Missiles significantly increase the system’s firepower, allowing 16 PAC-3 or 12 MSE Missiles to be loaded in place of just four legacy PATRIOT PAC-2 missiles on the launcher. The PAC-3 MSE Missile is packaged in a single canister that stacks to provide even more loadout flexibility for the operational warfighter.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is prime contractor for the PAC-3 Missile Segment and Missile Segment Enhancement upgrades to the PATRIOT air defense system. The upgrades consist of the highly agile hit-to-kill PAC-3/MSE Missiles, the PAC-3 Missile canisters (in four/one packs), the Fire Solution Computer and the Enhanced Launcher Electronics System, all of which are modularly integrated into PATRIOT.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 118,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

First Carrier Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo Launched

First Carrier Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo Launched

USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) conducted the first aircraft carrier-borne end-to-end at-sea test of the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) System, the Navy announced, June 6.

The SSTD System combines the passive detection capability of the Torpedo Warning System that not only finds torpedoes, but also classifies and tracks them, with the hard-kill capability of the Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo, an encapsulated miniature torpedo. The at-sea tests were conducted May 15-19.

The Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo is being developed by the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory (PSU-ARL). It is designed to locate, home in on and destroy hostile torpedoes. Over the four-day testing period, Bush engaged seven torpedo-like targets with seven Countermeasure Anti-Torpedoes. Designed to validate the end-to-end of the system, the testing proved successful.

“These tests are a culmination of a very focused effort by the Navy including the program office, Bush’s crew, Norfolk Naval Shipyard and our academic and industrial partners. With all seven of our shots doing what they are designed and built to do, it validates our work and significantly enhances our current capabilities,” said Capt. Moises DelToro, the Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems program manager.

This first end-to-end test of the SSTD System achieved several firsts: the first Torpedo Warning System detection of targets from a carrier, the first automatic detection and automatic targeting of an incoming torpedo target from a ship, the first launch of Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo from a carrier and the first end to end Torpedo Warning System and Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo system detection-to-engage at-sea test.

“It is gratifying to have these tests go so well,” said Rear Adm. David Johnson, program executive officer, Submarines, whose portfolio includes the Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems Program Office. “The engineering involved to detect a hostile torpedo, process its direction, speed, depth, and then engage it with a carrier-launched Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo is impressive. I am confident that the fleet will be pleased with the results.”

Given the complexity of the system, the program office is taking an incremental approach to the development and acquisition of the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System.

“What is currently aboard Bush is an engineering development model, or EDM, that is a fully-functioning system, but not the final configuration or production model,” DelToro said. “We’re learning from the Bush to improve the system so we can provide the most robust and cost-effective hard-kill anti-torpedo capability possible.”

The Navy currently plans to equip all aircraft carriers and other high-value units with the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense system by 2035.

F-35A Completes 1st In-Flight Missile Launch

F-35A Completes 1st In-Flight Missile Launch

An F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft completed the first in-flight missile launch of an AIM-120 over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range, June 5.

It was the first launch where the F-35 and AIM-120 demonstrated a successful launch-to-eject communications sequence and fired the rocket motor after launch — paving the way for targeted launches in support of the Block 2B fleet release capability later this year.

The Air Force F-35A variant has seen significant development in training and operations recently including the beginning of pilot training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the delivery of the first operational test aircraft to Edwards and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., the first operational aerial refueling and the completion of high angle of attack testing.

“It’s a testament to the entire military-industry test team,” said Lt. Col. George “Boxer” Schwartz, F-35 Integrated Test Force director, who also piloted the flight. “They’ve worked thousands and thousands of hours to get to the point where we are today. It’s fantastic to see that it’s all paid off. We’re rolling into a lot of additional weapons work in the coming months to put that expanded capability on the aircraft.”

The F-35A 5th Generation fighter is designed to carry a payload of up to 18,000 pounds using 10 weapon stations. The F-35A features four internal weapon stations located in two weapon bays to maximize stealth capability. The CTOL aircraft can also utilize an additional three external weapon stations per wing if required.

The U.S. Air Force has established an F-35A initial operating capability target date of December 2016. By this date, the Air Force will have fielded an operational squadron with at least 12 aircraft along with Airmen trained and equipped to conduct basic close air support, interdiction and limited suppression, and destruction of enemy air defense operations in a contested environment.

Moving into the active phase of weapons test is another large step toward delivering Block 2B software capability that will enable initial combat deployment.

“We’ve spent years working on the design of the aircraft, and many months ensuring that weapons could be contained within the aircraft and dropped as designed,” said Charlie Wagner, F-35 weapons director. “This event is the result of tremendous effort and collaboration in the F-35 Enterprise, and marks a turning point in F-35 capabilities; the AIM-120 launch is one small but critical increment toward proving combat capability,”

The 5th generation F-35 Lightning II combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for other countries.

New Laser Range Finders for Apache Helicopter

New Laser Range Finders for Apache Helicopter

Lockheed Martin recently delivered the first Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) Laser Range Finder Designator (LRFD) to the U.S. Army for the AH-64D/E Apache helicopter.

“The new laser is the first component to be fielded in the Modernized Day Sensor Assembly,” said Lt. Col. Steve Van Riper, U.S. Army product manager of Apache Sensors. “The U.S. Army looks forward to a lasting relationship with the Lockheed Martin and Selex team; we anticipate continued success as we quickly ramp-up to our planned production rate and begin fielding.”

The modernized LRFD is the first phase of upgrades for the M-DSA program. The modernized LRFD mitigates obsolescence and provides enhanced performance to the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) system. The modernized LRFD is also the chief targeting aid for the Apache, establishing the range to target for accurate weapon aiming.

The M-DSA second phase upgrades bring color to the Apache cockpit display, improving situational awareness and communication with ground troops.

“This milestone represents a highly successful team effort that provides significant benefit to the Apache pilot through system reliability, maintainability and performance,” said Matt Hoffman, director of M-TADS/PNVS programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “With more than 685 modernized LRFD kits on contract, this milestone signifies Lockheed Martin’s ability to deliver on its commitment to supporting the soldier.”

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is a 2012 recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence. The Malcolm Baldrige Award represents the highest honor that can be awarded to American companies for achievement in leadership, strategic planning, customer relations, measurement, analysis, workforce excellence, operations and business results.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 118,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

Exelis to Provide US Navy Aircraft with Advanced Electronic Countermeasures

 

Exelis to Provide US Navy Aircraft with Advanced Electronic Countermeasures

ITT Exelis has been awarded a contract valued at more than $125 million by Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Md., to deliver the latest variant of the AN/ALQ-214 airborne jammer.

The AN/ALQ-214 is a subsystem of the Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) suite. Under this contract, Exelis will engage in the second full-rate production lot of the new AN/ALQ-214 (V)4/5 system.

The AN/ALQ-214(V)4/5 combines sensitive digital receivers and active countermeasures to protect aircraft from radio frequency (RF) threats such as air defense radars and guided missiles. The new variant of the ALQ-214 system will be used on both the Department of the Navy F/A-18 C/D Hornet and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The previous variant is utilized on the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft only.

“The enhanced ALQ-214 ensures warfighters are equipped with the most advanced electronic self-protection system,” said Joe Rambala, vice president and general manager of the Exelis integrated electronic warfare systems business. “Our new system is not only designed to address current and future RF threats, but it also extends this level of protection to additional platforms, allowing more pilots to complete their missions safely.”

Deployed with the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, existing legacy AN/ALQ-214 IDECM systems will continue to provide detect-and-defeat protection against RF threats well into the future. Exelis will produce the AN/ALQ-214(V)4/5 at its facility in Clifton, N.J., with system deliveries under this contract planned through 2015.

Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense, information and technical services company that leverages a 50-year legacy of deep customer knowledge and technical expertise to deliver affordable, mission-critical solutions for global customers. Headquartered in McLean, Va., the company employs about 19,900 people and generated 2012 sales of $5.5 billion.