Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control won a $2.8 billion contract for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead rocket pods, GMLRS Unitary Warhead rocket pods, Low-Cost Reduced Range Practice rocket pods, cybersecurity services, integrated product support and other services. The company describes the Guided MLRS as a “rapidly-deployable, long-range, surface-to-surface, precision-strike capability.” It is fired from both the MLRS M270 family of launchers and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers. Six Guided MLRS rockets per launch pod, with 2 pods carried by the M270 launchers and 1 pod carried by the HIMARS launchers. Estimated completion date for work under the contract is October 31, 2024.
Northrop Grumman Systems won a $98.9 million contract modification, which increases the scope and provides for one additional low rate initial production Lot Five MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system. The order brings LRIP Lot 5 to three Tritons and, counting orders of the four previous LRIP lots, the Navy has ordered a total of 15. The service plans to procure a total of 68 production Tritons. The Navy has taken delivery of three LRIP 1 Tritons so far, in addition to its two prototypes used for development and testing. Work will take place in California, Texas, Maryland, Utah, West Virginia, Mississippi and North Dakota. Estimated completion will be in January 2025.
Middle East & Africa
Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Tornado fighters have deployed to Pakistan for exercise Aces Meet 2021-1. The US Air Force will participate in the exercise, which takes place over a two-week period at Mushaf air base.
The final Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft acquired by Romania from Portugal was delivered to the eastern European nation on March 25. NATO’s Allied Air Command announced that the 17th aircraft was delivered to Borcea Air Base. This completed an order that commenced in 2016 when Romania acquired 12 F?16AM/BM Block 15 fighters (nine single-seat and three twin-seat), with a further five F-16s (four single-seat and one twin-seat) following for a final tally of 17.
The Italian Air Force is arming its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets with new GBU-48 bombs, AMRAAM 120 missiles, and IRIS-T missiles, as well as Litening pods made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, to locate targets and direct guided munitions. The Aviationist website reported that the GBU-48 Paveway is a new 454kg GPS and laser-guided munition. Italian Air Force commanders said that Eurofighter Typhoons were originally intended mainly for missions to maintain aerial superiority, but starting from last year the planes were equipped with new and advanced software enabling them to carry out air-to-ground attacks.
Indian Air Force fighters participated in a Passage Exercise between the Indian Navy and Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG) on March 28. “In a first, enhancing Jointmanship, Indian Air Force fighters were also included in the Exercise affording IAF an opportunity to practice Air Interception / Air Defence with US Navy close to Indian Coast,” Indian Navy said.
Watch: Romanian Air Force F-16 Aerial Refueling