Now that the U.S. Air Force has awarded the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) contract to Northrop Grumman, and the inevitable protest of the award has been lodged, the service’s next big aircraft procurement program is the T-X. The T-X effort involves acquisition of an advanced trainer to replace the Air Force’s fleet of some 447 Northrop T-38C trainers. Continue reading
Sales of SELEX Elsag’s PRC-343 Personal Role Radio will spike later in the decade to meet the short-range communications needs of defense departments worldwide. The PRC-343 provides short-range communications for frontline foot soldiers. It replaces traditional, “non-radio” means of frontline communications such as the use of hand signals – or simply shouting. Continue reading
China’s dream of becoming a major aerospace power took a step closer to becoming reality with the long-awaited rollout of the C919. This all-new narrowbody airliner is designed to compete directly against Airbus’ A320 family and Boeing’s 737.
Led by AVIC’s COMAC subsidiary, the program is now entering the difficult phase of testing, certification and delivery. It’s true that AVIC may have gained experience through the long-delayed ARJ21 regional jet program, but even Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier have trouble keeping to aggressive schedules with all-new aircraft. Testing and certificating the C919 is going to be a long, drawn-out process, and service entry in the Chinese market is unlikely to occur until 2018 or later. Continue reading
Russia’s intervention into Syria marks a new turn in the nation’s relationship with the Syrian government and the direction of the ongoing civil war. In late August, rumors began to circulate of an increasing Russian presence in Syria, particularly in Latakia. By late September and early October, Russia had acknowledged that it was conducting combat operations in Syria, in the form of air strikes. Continue reading
On October 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that the Air Force had awarded Raytheon a $24.6 million fixed-price, one-year contract for the strategically crucial Cobra King and Gray Star radar facilities, based on a sole-source acquisition. One might think that the award is somewhat large for just one year of O&M services, and that assumption may be correct. However, this award represents just a tiny portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Cobra King and Gray Star programs are worth to the defense contracting community. Continue reading
As the crisis in Ukraine unfolded in 2014, risk perceptions stirred across the European continent. Defense policy reassessments skewed depending on geography, but across Europe, there was a sense of renewed threat emanating from Russia.
By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.
Small satellites are the next exciting technology in the space industry. Once the domain of universities, spacecraft under 100 kilograms have caught on in the commercial sector. At least eight private companies have announced plans to build huge networks of SmallSats to provide remote-sensing imagery data to customers.
Best described as an umbrella-type program overseen by the U.S. Navy, the Ocean Warfighting Environment Applied Research program covers a wide variety of marginally related projects that cannot easily be fit into any one category. The importance of the work can be surmised by how much of it remains classified. The program enjoys steady funding and has an unusually high number of efforts, with the average project lasting around three years from initiation to completion.
On October 28, the U.S. Navy awarded Boeing an $897.5 million contract for the procurement of 15 EA-18G Growler aircraft, plus their airborne electronic attack kits. With this production now assured, the replacement of one of the most essential components of the aircraft can also move closer to reality. Continue reading
The Eurofighter Typhoon has had quite the roller coaster ride this year. Germany suspended deliveries of the aircraft and grounded its fleet after one of the external fuel tanks fell off the aircraft prior to takeoff. Also this year, a manufacturing defect was found that affects the connection between the fin and rear of the jet. In 2014 a fault was discovered in the Typhoon’s fuselage, which also led to grounding of European fleets and suspension of orders. In 2010 a failed ejector seat on a Saudi Arabian Typhoon also led to groundings. Continue reading