BAE Systems’ Semi-Autonomous Software Speeds Combat Decisions in Contested Environments

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

Distributed Battle Management System. Photo: DARPA

BAE Systems recently announced the development of semi-autonomous software under the Distributed Battle Management program.  The DBM program of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency provides timely and relevant information to operators and pilots when communication is not assured so they can better manage and control air-to-air and air-to-ground combat in contested environments.  DBM technology enables pilots to continue operations when satellite communications and tactical datalinks are shut down – a likely scenario in the modern battlefield, and one that militaries are preparing for. Continue reading

Dolphins in Trouble

by Stuart Slade, Senior Naval Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Dolphin-Class Submarine. Source: IDF Navy

With the original group of Dolphin-class submarines designed to have a hull life of 30 years and a design initiation-to-commissioning cycle of at least 10-15 years, attention turned to designing replacements for the first three submarines in 2015.  At first, Israeli ambitions seemed somewhat excessive, with references to “an entirely different submarine from the Dolphin or the Dolphin AIP.” Reality appears to have set in, however, with attention now focused on an upgraded version of the Flight II Dolphin class that includes “some room for growth, with new materials, better sonar … but pretty much the same design.” Continue reading

Upgrade of Taiwan’s F-16s with APG-83 SABR Begins, while Raytheon’s RACR Looks Down for the Count

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

F-16 over Iraq in 2008.   Photo – United States Air Force (via wikipedia)

Sources in Taiwan report that the first four of the Air Force’s F-16A/Bs that will undergo an upgrade arrived at a plant in Taichung on January 16.  The aircraft will be upgraded and overhauled to the F-16V configuration.  As part of the estimated $3.47 billion upgrade, the F-16 fighters will be equipped with Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 SABR active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Continue reading

Jordan Fills the Gaps, Purchasing and Enhancing Venerable FPS-117 and TPS-77 Radars

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

Lockheed Martin TPS-77 Radar.  Source: Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin TPS-77 Radar. Source: Lockheed Martin.

On behalf of Jordan, the U.S. Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin of Syracuse, New York, a not-to-exceed $41.7 million, firm-fixed-price, undefinitized FMS contract (FA8730-17-C-0005) to procure, deliver, and install the “gap filler radar.” Under the terms of the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide two long-range radars, plus three upgrades to existing long-range radars.  Additionally, the company will integrate the new and upgraded radar into Jordan’s overall command, control and communications system. Continue reading

Could Saudi Arabia Be the First International EMARSS Customer?

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

Artist’s rendering of the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System now under development. (Photo by U.S. Army PEO IEWS)

Artist’s rendering of the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS). (Photo by U.S. Army PEO IEWS)

On April 1, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the sale of two King Air 350ERs to Saudi Arabia. Typically, that would not be a very noteworthy occurrence, but this particular contract was awarded to Sierra Nevada of Hagerstown, Maryland, a significant provider of defense electronics and a partner with the U.S. Army on a high-profile King Air 350 program. Continue reading

U.S. Army Makes Significant Investment in HEMTT/PLS Recapitalization

by Dean Lockwood, Military Vehicles Analyst, Forecast International.

HEMTT-A3. Source: Oshkosh Defense

HEMTT-A3. Source: Oshkosh Defense

The U.S. Army continues to bolster its logistic support capability with a series of recent contracts let to truck manufacturer Oshkosh Defense. In late March 2016, the U.S. Army awarded Oshkosh Defense three contracts, with a combined value in excess of $433.3 million, for the recapitalization of at least 991 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks and Palletized Load System vehicles and 345 PLS trailers. Continue reading

Harris Lands $47 Million Order from Middle East for RF-7800M Radios

by Greg Giaquinto, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

RF-7800M  Multiband Networking Manpack Radio (MBNR). Source: Harris Corp

RF-7800M Multiband Networking Manpack Radio (MBNR). Source: Harris Corp

Harris Corp recently announced that in 2015, it received a $47 million order for wideband radio systems from an undisclosed nation in the Middle East, reportedly as part of the customer’s tactical communications modernization program.  According to Harris, the systems will be used to support a C4ISR network employed by the nation’s military and security forces. Continue reading

Will Saudi Executions Affect LAV Purchase?

By Derek Bisaccio, Middle East Analyst, Forecast International.

Canadian LAV IIIs on Patrol in Afghanistan. Source: Canadian Forces

Canadian LAV IIIs on Patrol in Afghanistan. Source: Canadian Forces

On January 2, Saudi Arabia carried out the execution of 47 people on terrorism charges. Among those executed was Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent figure in anti-government protests. Al-Nimr was convicted in October 2014 for sedition and illegal possession of weapons. He denied having advocated for violence and rejected that he had any weapons, but even so, a Saudi court upheld his death sentence. Continue reading

EA-18G Production Contract a Big Boost for Jamming System

By Andrew Dardine, Electronics Analyst, Forecast International.

EA-18G Growler

EA-18G Growler

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

Gallium Nitride – As the G/ATOR Goes, So Too Will the Market

by Zachary Hofer, Electronics Analyst, Forecast International.

Gallium Nitride (GaN)

Gallium Nitride (GaN) component

The inexorable march to the future continues. One of the U.S. Navy’s most prominent radar programs will be upgraded before the system even goes into production. It will receive an important reconfiguration with gallium nitride (GaN) components as the radar enters low-rate initial production (LRIP) and well before it enters full-rate production (FRP). Continue reading