Huntington-Ingalls Industries won a $284.3 million contract modification for the accomplishment of CVN 79 single phase delivery and Joint Strike Fighter (F-35C) capabilities. The contract actions shifts the delivery strategy for the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) from a two-phase delivery to a single phase. It reportedly comes as a result of extensive collaboration with the Navy to support legislative requirements for Kennedy to be delivered with its complete warfare system, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capabilities, before the ship is commissioned into the fleet. Kennedy is approximately 76% complete. The ship was launched in December 2019, and currently is undergoing additional outfitting and testing at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2024. Work will take place in Virginia. Estimated completion will be in June 2024.
Integral Aerospace won a $9.3 million contract modification, which exercises an option for the production and delivery of 72 external fuel tanks in support of the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is the US Navy’s primary strike and air superiority aircraft. It is an updated version of the F-18C/D, featuring a 20 percent larger airframe, 7,000 lb heavier empty weight, and 15,000 lb heavier maximum weight than the original Hornet. The Super Hornet carries 33 percent more internal fuel, increasing mission range by 41 percent and endurance by 50 percent over the earlier Hornet. The EA-18G Growler is the U.S. Navy’s newest electronic attack aircraft intended to replace ageing EA-6B Prowlers in the service’s fleet. Based on the F-18 E/F Hornet airframe, the two-seater, twin-turbofan aircraft integrates the latest electronic attack technology, including the ALQ-218 receiver, ALQ-99 jamming pods, communication countermeasures, and satellite communications. Work will take place in Santa Ana, California. Expected completion is in May 2022.
Middle East & Africa
New frequency jammers acquired by the Spanish Defense Ministry from Israel’s Netline Communications Technologies have undergone operational evaluation tests at the facilities of La Marañosa Technological Institute (ITM). After finishing the tests, the Defense Ministry started the process of acquiring 51 kits including equipment and accessories. The first batch will arrive before the end of 2020, which will enable the start of the installation in vehicles of the armed forces starting from next year. In total, 334 systems are expected to be acquired. The process of the acquisition of these systems started at the end of 2008.
The Romanian Air Force took delivery of two more F-16 fighters from Portugal. This is the third and fourth aircraft from a batch of five jets bought from Portugal. The last aircraft is expected to be delivered the first quarter of 2021. Once all aircraft are in the country. All 17 jets will be getting the M6XR modifications.
Japan selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as the lead contractor of the country’s new fighter jet. The fighter will fly by 2028, with production scheduled for the 2030s. The new fighter will replace the F-2, also built by Mitsubishi, and will incorporate American aerospace technology and know-how. Mitsubishi built a number of famous World War I aircraft, including the A6M “Zero” naval fighter, but Japan stopped developing and producing warplanes after the war. The F-2, is a derivative of the F-16 that Lockheed Martin developed in the 1990s.
Reuters reported that the US State Department could notify Congress on the sale of four MQ-9 Sea Guardian unmanned air vehicles to Taiwan this week. The report said the sale “has crossed a key hurdle in Congress and is at the last stage of approval.” The $600 million deal would be the first such sale since US policy on the export of sophisticated and closely guarded drone technology was loosened by the Trump administration. The formal notification gives Congress 30 days to object to any sales, but this is unlikely given broad bipartisan support for the defense of Taiwan.
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