Japan’s Pursuit of New-Generation Stealth Fighter Confronts Hurdles

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries F-2 Fighter

Japan’s Ministry of Defense is facing a dilemma in its quest to develop an indigenous stealth combat aircraft that would replace the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fleet of F-2 fighters starting around 2030. Continue reading

Major Electronics Upgrades a Key Part of the Netherlands’ AH-64D to AH-64E Remanufacture

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

APG-78 Longbow Radar Sits Atop AH-64 Apache. Photo: Northrop Grumman

The Netherlands has received approval from the U.S. State Department for the upgrade and remanufacture of its AH-64D Block II Apache attack helicopters to the AH-64E configuration. While the contract would largely entail work on the helicopter itself, it would also include the replacement of many of the helicopters’ primary electronics systems. The overall deal carries an estimated value of $1.191 billion. Continue reading

Military Increases ADS-B Out Upgrades

by Matthew Beres, Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Analyst, Forecast International.

Boeing C-17 heavy lift transport aircraft (Source: Boeing)

Raytheon was recently awarded a $30 million ceiling increase modification to a previously awarded contract for T-38A/B, C-17, C-5, and A-10 Automatic Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B Out) upgrades. Continue reading

Japan Upgrades Its E-767 AWACS

by Matthew Beres, Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Analyst, Forecast International.

Japanese AWACS. Source Japanese Air Self Defense Force

Boeing was recently awarded a $60.9 million hybrid (fixed-price-incentive-firm, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-plus-incentive-fee) contract to perform the mission computing upgrade installation and checkout on four Japanese E-767 aircraft and associated ground systems. Work will be performed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2022. Continue reading

Medium/Heavy Military Rotorcraft Market Stabilizing

By Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace AnalystForecast International.

Boeing and Sikorsky’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) concept. Source: Boeing

Data from Forecast International’s unique Platinum Forecast System underscores the importance of the medium/heavy military rotorcraft segment to the world’s rotorcraft manufacturers.  Over the next 15 years, from 2018 to 2032, the medium/heavy military sector will be the largest segment of the world rotorcraft market in terms of monetary value, and second only to the light civil rotorcraft segment in terms of unit production. Continue reading

JSTARS Replacement Program Canceled Yet Again

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Recapitalization (JSTARS Recap) program funding dropped in FY19.

It’s official.  The U.S. Air Force has taken formal steps to implement its stated intention to abandon the JSTARS Recap program. In the Department of Defense’s recently released forecast year 2019 budget documents, all requests for funding related to JSTARS Recap research, development, testing, and evaluation were dropped, with FY18’s budget of $417.2 million reduced to nothing. Continue reading

Electronic Warfare Simulation: Making Today’s Fighter Jets Ready for Real World Engagement

by Andrew Dardine, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

EA-18G Growler

Like a prizefighter needing a sparring partner between bouts, next-generation fighter aircraft and their operators require constant testing and training.  They simply cannot wait until they face a real air-to-air engagement to find out if critical self-defense systems actually work.  This is especially true for the many advanced electronic warfare systems being installed on the latest aircraft.  Accurate simulation is the only way to provide that much-needed sparring partner.    Continue reading

Recent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Retrofits

by Matthew Beres, Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Analyst, Forecast International.

Special Mission King Air 350ER. Source: Textron Aviation

GDC Middle East was recently awarded a contract by Sierra Nevada Corporation to upgrade two King Air 350 aircraft to Special Mission (ISR) aircraft. The two King Air 350s will receive radar, secure communications, datalinks, and optical sensors as part of the upgrade. Further modifications will be made to the aircrafts’ cabins, wiring harnesses, and cockpits.

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UAE’s Potential Mirage 2000-9 Upgrade Expected to Include RDY-3 Radar and TALIOS Pod

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

A Mirage 2000 fighter from the United Arab Emirates. Source: USAF

During Dubai Airshow 2017, held from November 12-16, Thales and the UAE armed forces announced their intention to sign a contract to modernize the UAE Air Force’s Dassault Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets.  Under the potential contract, Thales would upgrade the Mirages’ complete electronics package, including mission computers; fire control radars; electronic warfare suites; optronics systems; communications, navigation, and identification systems; cockpit displays; and helmet-mounted displays. Continue reading

As Fighter Pressures Mount, Bulgaria Seeks Offer from Boeing for Super Hornet

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

F/A-18 Super Hornet

As Bulgaria prepares to relaunch a tender seeking new combat aircraft to replace its Air Force’s small inventory of 1980s-vintage MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov has indicated via state-run radio that his ministry will be requesting an offer from Boeing for its F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighter. Continue reading