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September 5, 2018 | International, C4ISR

Modular Northrop Grumman Vanguard Surveillance Radar Details Unveiled

Northrop Grumman has revealed the details of a production-ready new radar called Vanguard that the company's Electronic Systems division quietly launched about five years ago with the ambitious goal of reinventing the active, electronically scanned array (AESA), the company confirms exclusively to Aviation Week. Northrop designed the Vanguard architecture to support a shift away from developing highly tailored AESA systems optimized for only one application to a modular approach that ...

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  • $100M contract awarded to upgrade special ops comms

    January 8, 2020 | International, C4ISR

    $100M contract awarded to upgrade special ops comms

    By: Chiara Vercellone WASHINGTON — U.S. Special Operations Command has awarded L3Harris Technologies a $100 million contract to upgrade about 550 satellite ground stations that support military command, control and communications, according to a Jan. 6 news release. Under the five-year contract, L3Harris will provide software and hardware to maintain and upgrade the Hawkeye III Lite very small aperture terminals, or VSAT. “This agreement extends the service life of our customer's existing terminals and highlights the priority USSOCOM places on ensuring their deployed users are equipped with the latest in VSAT technology,” said Chris Aebli, president of global communication systems at L3Harris Technologies. For its part, the U.S. Army has received 4,000 Hawkeye systems to date. In 2017, L3Harris delivered 46 Hawkeye III Lite VSATs to the U.S. Air National Guard's Joint Incident Site Communications Capability teams and trained personnel to facilitate direct communications with the satellite terminals. In 2019, USSOCOM awarded L3Harris an $86 million contract as part of a $390 million program that started in 2015 for handheld tactical radios that can be used with multiple channels for special forces.

  • UK government to retake control of its atomic weapons management from industry

    November 3, 2020 | International, Land

    UK government to retake control of its atomic weapons management from industry

    By: Andrew Chuter LONDON – Britain's Ministry of Defence has taken back management control of its nuclear weapons facilities from an industry-led consortium that has been running the operation for two decades. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement to parliament that the Atomic Weapons Establishment will become wholly owned by the MoD, with the new arrangement expected to be in place by June 2021. “Under the revised arrangements, AWE plc will become an arms-length body wholly owned by the MoD. It will continue to be managed by a world-leading team and a new board will be appointed by the MoD,” he told lawmakers. Since 1999 AWE has been managed and operated by a Lockheed Martin-led consortium, which also includes Jacobs Engineering and Serco, in a deal which had been expected to run until 2025. The arrangement, won in competition, followed several years of commercial management by Hunting-BRAE. The establishment, based at Aldermaston in southern England, is at the core of British activities toward developing, producing and disassembling nuclear warheads for the Royal Navy's fleet of Trident missile-armed submarines. In February the MoD committed itself to development of a new nuclear warhead to allow the Navy to field an effective deterrent for deployment on the new fleet of Dreadnought-class submarines due to start replacing the existing boats early in the next decade. The MoD owns the AWE sites and facilities. The day-to-day management, operations and the maintenance of Britain's nuclear stockpile are the responsibility of the consortium, which employs the workforce and maintains the nuclear site operating licenses. Wallace said the MoD has been looking at a successor arrangement for the current deal since July last year. “Although the existing arrangements have brought stability to the organization the MoD has concluded that AWE will revert to a direct government ownership model,” said the defence secretary in his statement to parliament. The MoD appears to have left the door open to some degree of commercial involvement in AWE. In his statement Wallace said the new business model will see AWE “continue to draw on private sector specialist support to strengthen capability as well as playing a key role in managing capital projects and contracts.” In a separate statement the defense ministry said removal of the current commercial arrangements would "enhance the MoD's agility in the future management of the UK's nuclear deterrent, whilst also delivering on core MoD objectives and value for money to the taxpayer. “The decision was taken in order to simplify and further strengthen the relationship between AWE and the MoD,” the statement said. AWE Management Limited, the name of the company formed by the consortium to manage and operate the nuclear facilities, only appointed a new chief executive, Alison Atkinson, in May. An industry competition for what is thought to be a three-year transformation program at AWE is already in its early stages. An industry executive who asked not to be named said the MoD had invoked what is known as a “termination of convenience” clause in the contract to prematurely end the deal with the consortium. “It was not performance related. Lockheed Martin and its partners could be due compensation,” said the executive. AWE has not been without its problems though, and, along with the MoD, most recently attracted criticism from the National Audit Office, the government financial watchdog, for its handling of a program known as Mensa to build a facility to assemble and disassemble nuclear weapons. Progress on Mensa has quickened recently but the program is expected to be over six years late and 146 percent over budget, according to an NAO report published in the summer. In a statement, a Lockheed Martin spokesman said the company remains “fully committed to the delivery of the UK's continuous at-sea deterrent. We'll continue to support the UK government, as the Atomic Weapons Establishment transitions to a new operating model and delivers current and future requirements.”

  • Hanwha, Kongsberg team up to bolster Australia’s K9 howitzers

    November 17, 2020 | International, Land

    Hanwha, Kongsberg team up to bolster Australia’s K9 howitzers

    Brian Kim SEOUL — Hanwha Defense Australia has announced a partnership with Kongsberg Defence Australia to integrate command, control, communication and computing technology into the K9 self-propelled howitzer and the K10 ammunition resupply vehicle. The announcement came two months after the Australian branch of Hanwha Defense, a defense company in South Korea, was selected as the preferred supplier for Australia's self-propelled howitzer acquisition project, code-named Land 8116 Phase 1 Under the project, the Australian Army is to acquire 30 155mm, 52-caliber K9 “Huntsman” howitzers and 15 K10 armored ammunition resupply vehicles, both of which are built by Hanwha. “The selection of KONGSBERG as a central part of our Land 8116 Phase 1 industry team will make a very important contribution to Hanwha's capacity to deliver effective capability for the [Australian Defence Force] while fulfilling our extensive Australian Industry Capability commitments,” Richard Cho, managing director of Hanwha's branch Down Under, said in a statement. The partnership has already proven to be successful, he added, citing their recent involvement in Norway's Vidar program for K9 and K10 procurement, and pointing to their delivery of K9s to Finland and Estonia. Under the partnership, Kongsberg is responsible for the integration of tactical communication systems and battle management systems. “Together with Hanwha Defence Australia, KONGSBERG is committed to the establishment of a sovereign industry capability to support the Australian Protected Mobile Fires capability throughout its service life,” said Joh Fry, general manager of Kongsberg Defence Australia. “We'll continue to source as much C4 hardware as possible through Australian and New Zealand-based suppliers.” Developed by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development and Samsung Techwin in 1998, the K9 Thunder is touted as one of the world's most advanced self-propelled howitzers. It's designed to provide effective and deep fire support across theaters. The howitzer is now manufactured by Hanwha Defense, a defense contractor of Hanwha Group that acquired Samsung Techwin in 2017. The main weapon is the 155mm, 52-caliber gun with a burst rate of fire of three rounds per 15 seconds, and a maximum rate of fire of six rounds a minute for three minutes. It has a firing range of 40 kilometers and is capable of “multiple rounds simultaneous impact” firing. On Nov. 13, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced that the completion of deliveries of K9s to the South Korean military. The announcement came about two decades after the first K9 fleet was deployed on the western border islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong An upgraded variant, the K9A1, is in production with improvements in fire control and power systems. DAPA and Hanwha Defense plan to continue to improve the K9′s capabilities to add automatic loading and unmanned maneuvering functions. The K9 has been exported to several countries, including Turkey, Poland, India, Norway and Estonia. About 1,700 units are in service around the world, according to Hanwha.

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