Lockheed Martin won a $4 billion contract modification, which consists of all work associated with the manufacturing, assembly, integration, test, and delivery of three Next Generation Geosynchronous (NGG) Earth orbiting space vehicles (SV), and delivery of ground mission unique software and ground sensor processing software. Additionally, this modification includes engineering support for launch vehicle integration and launch and early on-orbit checkout for all three NGG SVs. The Space Force is acquiring five Next-Gen OPIR (Overhead Persistent Infrared) satellites — the three geosynchronous orbit satellites made by Lockheed Martin and two polar orbit satellites made by Northrop Grumman. The NGG program is developing two infrared mission payloads in a competitive, parallel development effort to mitigate schedule risks for the first NGG satellite launch in 2025. Work will take place in California. Estimated completion date is May 31, 2028.
A new x-ray scanner taking only two minutes to inspect an incoming commercial vehicle is in use at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, the US Air Force announced. The first Mobile Vehicle Access Control Inspection System, or VACIS M6500, of the Air Force was deployed in mid-December and significantly reduces the time it takes to inspect a vehicle arriving with construction supplies.
Middle East & Africa
Boeing won a $21.7 million contract for F-15S to F-15SA conversion support. This contract provides support for the conversion of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S into an F-15SA aircraft, which includes program management, reach-back support for the 48 continental United States and Washington, DC; temporary on-site for outside the continental US assistance; and round robin repairs. An advanced version of the F-15S, the F-15SA is equipped with several capabilities to enable the Royal Saudi Air Force to deter regional threats. The aircraft features a digital electronic warfare suite, fly-by-wire flight control system, Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, an infrared search-and-track system, advanced cockpit displays and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems. In early December, it was reported that the Royal Saudi Air Force has received the F-15SA advanced fighter aircraft, marking the final delivery of the Boeing-produced aircraft as part of a $29 billion foreign military sales agreement signed in 2010. Work will take place in Missouri and estimated completion date is December 30, 2022.
Saab announced that it received a follow on contract with the United Arab Emirates regarding the sale of two GlobalEye systems. According to the Swedish aerospace company, this contract is an amendment to a deal signed in 2015. The $1 billion contract was signed on December 30. GlobalEye provides simultaneous air, maritime and ground surveillance. It combines sophisticated radar technology with the ultra-long range Global 6000 aircraft from Bombardier.
The Carrier Strike Group centered on the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth achieved Initial Operating Capability, the British government said. The group includes ships, aircraft and trained personnel organized in October 2020 after the Queen Elizabeth’s commissioning in 2017 and several training and shakedown exercises. Its first operational deployment is scheduled for May 2021. The rating, regarded as a milestone, indicates that all elements of the group are fully functional.”Both the air and naval elements of the CSG have now met this milestone, which includes qualified pilots and ground crews being held at short notice for carrier-based operations and trained to handle weapons and maintain the equipment,” the British government said in a press release.
South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo daily newspaper has received a computer rendering of the final design of the light aircraft carrier that Seoul plans to build. While sources in the Navy claim that this is not the final design, there will not be much changes to the appearance of the ship in the final form. The carrier is based on the America-class and British Queen Elizabeth-class. It will not have a ski-jump or well deck like USS America. It will have two islands similar to the British carrier. While one island is for navigating the ship and the other for flight deck control. The South Koreans are adopting two islands so that one island can still operate the ship if the other is damaged during an attack. The aircraft elevators are both on the starboard side. This approach was chosen in order to give more space to the flight deck. For protection against airborne threats, the ship will be armed with a Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) and the Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile (SAAM) from LIG Nex1.
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