The U.S. Air Force has awarded three companies a combined $2.3 billion in contracts to help fund the development of new launch vehicles under the Air Force’s Launch Service Agreement (LSA) program. Under contracts announced on October 10, United Launch Alliance was awarded $967 million to develop the Vulcan Centaur launch system, Northrop Grumman was awarded $791.6 million to develop the OmegA launch system, and Blue Origin was awarded $500 million to develop the New Glenn launch system. Continue reading
On September 27, Boeing and Saab emerged as the winning team in the U.S. Air Force’s T-X advanced jet trainer contest. The Air Force chose the team’s all-new, clean-sheet aircraft to replace its fleet of some 444 Northrop T-38Cs. The service awarded Boeing an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, worth up to $9.2 billion, for the program. The contract includes an initial delivery order, valued at $813.4 million, for five engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft and seven simulators. Continue reading
The U.S. Air Force is finally getting a new helicopter to replace its aging UH-1N Huey fleet. The venerable Huey will be replaced by the MH-139, a militarized version of the AW139, being built by a team of Boeing and Leonardo. The UH-1Ns primarily provide ballistic missile base security but also perform VIP transport and search-and-rescue operations. Continue reading
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract worth up to $480 million for the conduct of a Critical Design Review and to provide test and production readiness support for the U.S. Air Force’s Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW, pronounced “Arrow”), one of the service’s ongoing hypersonic weapon development efforts. The Air Force is obligating $5 million at time of award. Contract work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, and is expected to be completed by November 30, 2021. Continue reading
The U.S. Air Force has awarded two new contracts, worth a combined $161.9 million, as part of its effort to develop a replacement for the RD-180 rocket engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne was awarded $115.3 million to continue development of its oxygen/kerosene-fueled AR-1 booster engine, while United Launch Alliance (ULA) was awarded $46.6 million to continue work on the Blue Origin’s liquefied natural gas-fueled BE-4. ULA will also use funding to work on the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES).[i] Continue reading
Northrop Grumman secured its position as a military aircraft producer when the U.S. Air Force selected it to produce the next-generation Long Range Strike-Bomber.
At a time when sales have been slowly sliding, the program win breathes new life into the country’s fifth largest defense contractor. Prior to this, the company was ably managing the slowdown in defense spending. The firm embarked on a strategy that entailed increasing program performance, aggressively pursuing new business, reducing cost structures, and aligning its portfolio to match customer spending priorities. Continue reading
The U.S. Air Force’s fifth and sixth Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) reconnaissance satellites will be based on updated versions of Lockheed Martin’s A2100 platform. The contract modification was signed on June 9 following negotiations between the USAF Space and Missile Systems Center and Lockheed Martin Space Systems. The effort will modernize the geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) spacecraft for the fifth and sixth satellites at no additional cost to the $1 billion bulk-purchase contract originally awarded in June 2014.
by Zachary Hofer, Forecast International.
The EISS and ASQ-230 ASIP are living in tumultuous times. Northrop Grumman’s Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) and ASQ-230 Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) make up the two primary electronics systems on board the U.S. Air Force’s RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV). They are expensive and they require constant RDT&E funding in order to stay relevant. While the EISS has the benefit of being fitted to international-spec Block 30s, the ASQ-230 ASIP, containing far more sensitive intelligence technologies, has been deleted globally. The ASIP does hold one advantage over the EISS, however, in that it has also been specified for another, even more rarified application: the U-2 spy plane.
by Greg Giaquinto, Forecast International.
The U.S. Air Force’s Operational Awareness Technology project is a multifaceted effort that will continue to be supported by the defense budget even in the face of pressures to lower costs. FI is projecting that the Air Force will allocate around $215 million toward this project over the next 10 years, with some $39 million to be spent from FY15 through FY16 alone. Driving these expenditures is the Air Force’s push for a network-centric, collaborative intelligence analysis capability.