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.

Pentagon reveals dates for F-35 initial operational capability

The US Air Force plans to declare initial operational capability (IOC) for its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35As in 2016, according to a new report issued by the Department of Defense on 31 May.

In its report to Congress, the Pentagon states that if its current plan holds firm, IOC for the largest Joint Strike Fighter customer could be achieved between August and December that year.

The USAF‘s criteria for IOC consists of being able to stand up the first operational F-35A squadron equipped with 12 to 24 aircraft and with enough trained personnel “to conduct basic close air support, interdiction, and limited suppression and destruction of enemy air defence operations in a contested environment”.

However, the 2016 deadline does indicate a departure from the service’s earlier insistence that it would require the fighter to have the full capabilities of its final Block 3F configuration to declare IOC.

That software block is expected to be complete in the latter half of 2017, according to the Pentagon’s most recent indication.

Instead the air force is likely to declare IOC with either the earlier Block 2B software load or with Block 3i, which is the same configuration rehosted on newer avionics hardware.

Although the USAF says the earlier software configurations will “provide sufficient initial combat capability”, it will still require the “enhanced lethality and survivability inherent in Blocks 3F and beyond” at a later date.

The US Marine Corps, meanwhile, is sticking to its plan for IOC with the Block 2B configuration between July and December 2015.

USMC will declare IOC when the first squadron of between 10 and 16 aircraft is trained and ready to conduct a broad spectrum of mission types.

The USMC also requires the jet’s Autonomic Logistic Information System V2 software to declare IOC. As with the USAF, the Marines require Block 3F for their future needs, the report says.

The US Navy, however, is holding firm on requiring the full Block 3F configuration for its F-35C IOC date, which it anticipates in late 2018 or early 2019. The USN says it must have the Block 3F configuration to deal with threats in the post-2018 environment.

USN F-35C IOC is expected to be declared when the first operational squadron of 10 aircraft is manned, trained, and equipped to conduct its assigned missions.

F-35A operating costs to exceed F-16, official says

Operating costs for the conventional take-off and landing version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are expected to be roughly 10% greater than those of the Lockheed F-16.

According to the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan, who leads the tri-service effort, provided some preliminary numbers to the Dutch parliament comparing costs per flying hour between the two aircraft on 18 April.

“In his statement, Bogdan indicated that the cost per flying hour of an F-35A is estimated to be $24,000 per hour; roughly 10% higher than F-16 cost per flying hour,” the JPO says. “This data was derived in co-operation with the US Air Force and the Department of Defense Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation Office. Comparable baseline assumptions were used to evaluate relative operational costs between F-35 and legacy aircraft.”

 

 

 Lockheed Martin

The final cost figures are due to be released in the Pentagon’s 2012 selected acquisitions report for the F-35, which is set to be published during May.

Earlier this year, USAF chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh told reporters that the JPO was attempting to reconcile two different sets of cost estimates: one from the USAF and another from Lockheed. The cost numbers diverged because of differing underlying assumptions from which each side based its estimates.

French army receives first enhanced Tiger HAD

France’s DGA defence procurement agency has received its first Eurocopter Tiger in the enhanced HAD configuration for operation by the country’s army aviation units.

The delivery on 19 April follows acceptance of the type by the DGA earlier in April and certification in January 2013. Enhancements over the previous HAP air-support variant include uprated MTR390 engines, the addition of Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and increased ballistic protection.

France has 40 Tiger HADs on order, with a further 24 examples ordered by Spain, including the retrofitting of six previously delivered aircraft.

Lutz Bertling, the outgoing Eurocopter chief executive, says the airframer is in discussions for at least one further Tiger order, although he plays down suggestions that any deal is close.

 

 Eurocopter

Meanwhile, France continues to mull the status of an order for 34 NH Industries NH90 troop transport helicopters, as it works to define its future defence spending priorities.

“The requirement is clearly there, but the French government is in the process of deciding which requirements will be prioritised depending on the available budget,” said Bertling at a media event in Marignane on 17 April.

Nonetheless, Bertling says he remains confident the order will come through, albeit in a modestly reduced form. “I don’t expect much deviation from 34,” he notes.

He refused to be drawn on the authenticity of a note, leaked to the French media, which purported to be from Eurocopter to the French government warning of the consequences for the NH90 programme should the commitment not be forthcoming.

However, Bertling pointed out the logic of the claims. “Any business, for whatever product, needs to make sense for a production line. Below a certain quantity it does not make such sense. Without this [French] contract we are facing a risk. We would anticipate export orders to have largely finished [by that point]. We would be facing a critical situation on that programme,” he says.

Eurocopter continues to eye further export opportunities for its military helicopters, with Bertling again highlighting the potential of the US Army’s as-yet-unlaunched Armed Aerial Scout programme. This comes despite last week’s US defence budget request for 2014, which saw the total number of UH-72 Lakotas trimmed by 30 units.

United Kingdom to Buy Hellfire Missiles

hellfire

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress April 16 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for 500 AGM-114-N4/P4 HELLFIRE missiles. The estimated cost is $95 million.

This program will directly contribute to the U.S. foreign and national security policies by enhancing the close air support capability of the United Kingdom in support of NATO, ISAF, and other coalition operations. Common close air support capabilities greatly increases interoperability between our two countries’ military and peacekeeping forces and allow for greater burden sharing.

The proposed sale will support the UK’s ability to meet current and future threats by providing close air support to counter enemy attacks on coalition ground forces in Afghanistan. The UK, which already has HELLFIRE missiles in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corporation of Orlando, Florida. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the United Kingdom.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Northrop’s SABR ‘well positioned’ to clinch USAF F-16 radar upgrade effort

Northrop Grumman says that its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) is “well positioned” to secure contracts to upgrade US Air Force and Taiwanese Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system despite a recent loss to rival Raytheon in South Korea.

“The US Air Force and Taiwan are working hand-in-hand together,” says Joseph Ensor, Northrop’s vice president for its targeting systems division. “They’re a separate programme from what Korea did with their competition.”

 

 

 Lockheed Martin

South Korea conducted a commercial source selection for their new radar, ultimately selecting the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar which will be integrated onto the F-16 by BAE Systems.

The USAF, meanwhile, has selected Lockheed to be its prime integrator for the combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES) upgrade. The service has left it up to the company to choose a new radar for the USAF’s 300 healthiest F-16s.

“I think we’re well positioned based on the technology and our offering,” Ensor says. “Nothing’s a given, we have to compete and win that programme, but I still believe we’re well positioned.

Ensor says that the USAF’s CAPES programme will be the starting point for future F-16 upgrade foreign military sales (FMS) contracts, including the Taiwan upgrade effort. “Taiwan will be one of the launch customers for this F-16 AESA upgrade,” he says.

Northrop expects that Lockheed will pick a radar for the CAPES programme in August, Ensor says.

Picking the SABR would offer many benefits for the USAF and Lockheed, Ensor says. The SABR is highly common in terms of hardware and software with radars Northrop is already building for the USAF’s fifth-generation fighter fleet comprised of Lockheed-built F-22 Raptors and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

For future upgrades, that means software developed for the Raptor’s APG-77 radar and F-35’s APG-81 system can be ported over to the SABR with only minor tweaks, Ensor says. Moreover, pilots transferring from one airframe to another would be familiar with many of the displays, company officials say.

Lockheed PAC-3 Missile Intercepts and Destroys Tactical Ballistic Missile in New Test

By on Monday, April 15th, 2013

pac3

Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3 Missile successfully detected, tracked and intercepted a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) in a Lower Tier Project Office flight test today at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

Two PAC-3 Missiles were ripple-fired in the test per current doctrine. The first interceptor destroyed the target and the second PAC-3 Missile self-destructed as planned. Mission objectives were focused on reducing risk for a flight test of the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) scheduled later this year.

“Today’s flight test provided us the opportunity to demonstrate the PAC-3 Missile against a challenging TBM target,” said Richard McDaniel, vice president of PAC-3 Missile programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our preliminary data indicate that all objectives were achieved.”

The PAC-3 and MSE Missiles are two of the world’s most advanced, capable and reliable theater air defense missiles. They defeat tactical ballistic and air breathing targets.

As the most technologically advanced missile for the PATRIOT air defense system, PAC-3 significantly increases the PATRIOT system’s firepower, allowing 16 PAC-3 Missiles to be loaded in place of just four legacy PATRIOT PAC-2 missiles on the launcher.

Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, including the first operational hit-to-kill missile.

It also has considerable experience in missile design and production, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as radar and signal processing.

The company makes significant contributions to all major U.S. missile defense systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.

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 their achievements in leadership, strategic planning, customer relations, measurement, analysis, workforce excellence, operations and results.