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  • The US Navy’s new autonomous refueling drone takes historic first flight

    September 20, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    The US Navy’s new autonomous refueling drone takes historic first flight

    By: David B. Larter WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy's MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone, destined to be the first carrier-launched autonomous unmanned aircraft integrated into the service's strike arm, took its first test flight from MidAmerica Airport in Illinois, Boeing announced Thursday. The two-hour flight, remotely controlled by Boeing pilots, tested the basic flight functions of the aircraft, a Boeing statement said. “The aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and takeoff and then flew a pre-determined route to validate the aircraft's basic flight functions and operations with the ground control station,” the release said. Boeing's project head said it was an important step toward getting the drone on the flight deck. “Seeing MQ-25 in the sky is a testament to our Boeing and Navy team working the technology, systems and processes that are helping get MQ-25 to the carrier,” MQ-25 Program Director Dave Bujold said in the release. “This aircraft and its flight test program ensures we're delivering the MQ-25 to the carrier fleet with the safety, reliability and capability the U.S. Navy needs to conduct its vital mission.” An $805 million contract awarded to Boeing last August covers the design, development, fabrication, test and delivery of four Stingray aircraft, a program the service expects will cost about $13 billion overall for 72 aircraft, said Navy acquisition boss James Geurts. The award to Boeing kicks off what the Navy would is aiming to be a six-year development effort moving toward a 2024 declaration of initial operational capability. At the end, it will mark a historic integration of drones into the Navy's carrier air wing. The MQ-25 flown Thursday is a Boeing-owned test asset and a predecessor to the first four engineering design model aircraft provided for under last year's contract. The model “is being used for early learning and discovery to meet the goals of the U.S. Navy's accelerated acquisition program,” the release said. The Stingray was a priority pushed by the Navy's previous chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, who saw it as a chance to force a program through the system and field a new capability quickly. “The MQ-25 was really a signature program to test the limits and plow new ground in that direction,” Richardson told Defense News last April. "And so we brought industry in way earlier. I think that's key to getting the acquisition cycle faster, even in the refinement of the requirements phase. “And so that's where we've been with MQ-25, is to bring them in, see what they've got and see how fast they can get a prototype together to fly. One thing we did do was we locked down on requirements. We could probably get agreement from everybody that we need something to tank. It liberates a lot of our strike fighters from doing that mission and it's something that we can get done ― its relatively straightforward.”

  • Raytheon awarded $25.4M for Tomahawk Weapons Systems Military Code, AGR5 kit

    September 20, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Raytheon awarded $25.4M for Tomahawk Weapons Systems Military Code, AGR5 kit

    BySommer Brokaw Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Raytheon Missile Systems has been awarded a $25.4 million contract by the Navy for the Tomahawk Weapons System Military Code review and AGR5 kit. The contract, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, is for the company to conduct critical design review of the Tomahawk Weapons System Military Code's software and hardware. The contract also covers development work on an AGR5 kit, an anti-jam tool to be used for the global positioning system. The design review will include "studies, analysis, design, development, integration and test of hardware and software solutions," the Pentagon said in a press release. The contract also includes Navy funds for "assembly, integration, test and documentation of an AGR5 kit," the notice said. Raytheon will perform more than half the work in El Segundo, Calif., and the rest in Tucson, Ariz., with work expected to be completed by March 2021.

  • L3Harris awarded nearly $12.8M for Eglin AN/FPS-85 radar work

    September 20, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    L3Harris awarded nearly $12.8M for Eglin AN/FPS-85 radar work

    The radar, located at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, performs detection, target recognition, acquisition and tracking of many space objects. Sept. 19 (UPI) -- L3Harris Technologies has been awarded a $12.8 million in a contract for sustainment support of the Eglin AN/FPS-85 radar in the Air Force Space Command Space Surveillance Network. The contract, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, applies to a previously awarded contract to L3 Harris Technologies, Colorado Springs, Colorado for sustainment support of the radar. The Eglin AN/FPS-85 Radar is a computer-controlled, phased-array radar set operating in the Air Force Space Command Surveillance Network that performs detection, target recognition, acquisition and tracking of many space objects. The radar operates at Site C-6 Eglin Air Force Base as part of the weapon systems for the 20th Space Control Squadron to conduct space object identification and intelligence in support of space domain control. Earlier this year, the 20th Space Control Squadron celebrated the 50th anniversary of the AN/FPS radar since space operation began for the AN/FPS-85 Space Track Radar in February 1969. Work on the new contract will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla, where the radar is located, with a completion date of June 30, 2020.

  • Are meetings with industry actually accelerating military acquisitions?

    September 20, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Are meetings with industry actually accelerating military acquisitions?

    By: Adam Stone Military leaders say they are determined to find faster ways to buy cutting-edge technologies. “We can't afford to spend seven years thinking about a requirement,” Army Undersecretary Ryan D. McCarthy said during a 2018 visit to Fort Belvoir, Virginia. “If it is going to take that long, you are probably not going to get it. So, we need to get these capabilities sooner.” To that end, the Department of Defense has increased the number of engagements with industry, launched alternative contracting vehicles, and taken other steps to streamline innovation more effectively. Industry officials are often clamoring for that interaction, but some say the Pentagon's efforts are beginning to bear fruit. ‘Big change' One area where those changes are most visible has been in the Army's modernization of its battlefield network. David Huisenga, president and chief executive at Klas Telecom Government, said he has noticed a marked difference in the quality and quantity of engagements between industry and the Department of Defense. After more than two decades in the business, “I have seen a really big change in the past two years with how the Army is adopting technology,” he said. “They are really focused on rapid-insert capabilities. I had heard that talked about a lot in the past, but it's only recently that we have really seen that put into action.” The Army's establishment of cross-functional teams has helped to focus energy around priority areas within the C4ISR realm. Those areas include the Synthetic Training Environment Team (STE); the Network, Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Team (NET); and the Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Team (APNT). “They have really clarified their priorities within that here are the top five or 10 things they want to do and they have released actual timelines for implementation of those priorities,” Huisenga said. Klas has taken advantage of the technical exchange meetings, supported by the cross-functional teams and Program Executive Office Command Control Tactical, where both industry and military leaders together work through all of the practical details of emerging requirements. “Now you have the CFT with the charter to identify and rapidly field the technology, and you have the program executive office that procures and sustains that equipment, working together with industry, all at the same time,” Huisenga said. For Klas, those engagements helped lead to a recent contract supporting Army's Security Force Assistance Brigade with an initial trial deployment of advanced networking equipment components. Those are slated for service officials to quickly test and refine those components before a final acquisition. Army leaders have said they plan to upgrade the network with new capabilities approximately every two years. “The PEO made these purchases rapidly, probably the fastest acquisition I have ever seen, and now we will be getting real feed-back on that product,” Huisenga said. “We, as industry, know that they will refresh every two years, so we can really focus our engineering on those requirements.” ‘One-stop' model Rosemary Johnston, senior vice president of operations at Savi, a maker of geospatial-enabled logistics solutions, likewise gives the military high marks for its efforts to accelerate tech buys. “The services are doing a phenomenal job of trying to hasten the acquisition process,” she said. She pointed to the Air Force's emerging “one-stop” model as an example. “They encourage vendors to come to a pitch day and if they like what they are hearing they can go ahead and execute a contract right away.” Another helpful tool for Savi is the Pentagon's blanket contract for logistics solutions, under which vendors can be pre-vetted for price and suitability, thus allowing end users in the military to effectively buy direct and bypass the usual prolonged procurement process. Savi recently took advantage of its place on that list to help secure a contract with the Defense Logistics Agency, under which the company will supply 23,000 sophisticated tracking devices to help DLA manage vast inventories of vehicles and equipment stored at multiple distribution sites. That opportunity arose in 2018, with just two months to go before the close of the fiscal year, when there was pressure on the agency to get a deal done before the clock ran out on the 2018 money. Thanks to the rapid acquisition process, “they were able to place the order with us, obligate those 2018 funds, and take delivery before the end of calendar year 2018,” Johnston said. Tools and tactics Officials from both PEO C3T and the network cross-functional team told C4ISRNET these are exactly the type of outcomes that the military is looking for. While it is difficult to gauge the specific outcomes of these early efforts, and many acquisitions departmentwide still drag, officials point to early metrics that suggest industry is responding well. Take, for instance, those technology exchange meetings. “We are averaging 400 people per meeting representing more than 120 companies, from large defense contractors to small businesses and startups,” said Maj. Brian Wong, chief of market research for the network cross-functional team at Army Futures Command. “I don't think we could have seen something like this in the past.” Another tool that officials say has proven useful is the Middle Tier Acquisition authority: Granted by Congress in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, it gives the military the ability to make small purchases for rapid prototyping. “If we see innovation coming out of industry, whether it's server infrastructure or radio waveforms, we can use rapid prototyping and see how that fits in our network design in order to make better decisions,” said Paul Mehney, who helps manage the office's industry affairs. Rapid Innovation Funds offer another means to keep the department ahead of the technology curve. With projects worth as much as $3 million per project, Mehney said, these dollars have been used to explore ways that soldiers can communicate when their first line of communications fail. The funds have also supported advances in dismounted blue force tracking. Rather than require soldiers to access vehicle-mounted equipment for identifying their status in the field, the Army is testing prototypes of handheld variants that could make soldiers jobs easier. On the contracting side, the increasingly popular OTA — or Other Transaction Authority — has freed military planners to buy small quantities of emerging tech solutions for prototyping and testing. The military also is deepening its market research “We are taking a wider look — beyond the traditional defense contracting space — to include startups and smaller companies,” Wong said. “We have discussions with incubators and with the venture capital community to see what may be in their portfolios that could be of interest to government.” The close ties between the CFTs and PEOs help ensure that streamlined buys are targeted to actual military need. PEO C3T leaders point to the fact that they've held four technology exchange meetings with the network team and other program offices. For the vendor community, the fast-track environment presents new opportunities but also new challenges. Klas, for instance, outsources production of its core product. In order to meet new demand for accelerated deployments, Huisenga said, the company must keep up through more frequent and more specific communications with its manufacturer. Johnston said her firm's biggest challenge lies in ensuring that military procurement professionals understand the emerging rules of the road. “We still get requests from contracting officers who aren't familiar with these contracts,” she said. “They'll ask for a quote, they'll send a statement of the work, and we have to let them know that a lot of this has already been negotiated. We need to explain to them the process we have already gone through to get to this point.” Military officials, meanwhile, say their challenge lies in ensuring industry is up to speed on the emerging requirements. Especially in the rapidly evolving C4ISR environment, the military can only meet its accelerated objectives if industry is already up to speed on emerging needs. “It's up to us to make sure industry is informed about what our network design looks like currently, what we anticipate our network design goals to shape up like for future capability sets, and to ensure that industry knows what our architecture looks like so they know how to plug into it,” Mehney said. “We aren't totally there yet. We still owe industry a better lay-down on those three critical components.”

  • Tank-killing missile tests ‘Europe First’ weapons policy

    September 20, 2019 | International, Land

    Tank-killing missile tests ‘Europe First’ weapons policy

    By: Sebastian Sprenger COLOGNE, Germany — The defense chiefs of France, Belgium and Cyprus have signed an agreement to pursue a common anti-tank missile meant for wider adoption in Europe — an effort that puts the spotlight once again on accusations of protectionism in defense programs here. The three defense ministers inked the cooperation deal for the Beyond-Line-of-Sight Land Battlefield missile project on the sidelines of a meeting of European defense chiefs in Helsinki, Finland, in late August. The goal is to develop a new “family” of missiles for integration on an “extensive variety of platforms,” according to the official project description. It would be operated by a “dedicated users' club” under a common European doctrine for such weapons. Pan-European missile company MBDA has claimed the project as its own since officials announced it under the Permanent Structured Cooperation framework, or PESCO, in fall 2018. The vendor wants to sell its Missile Moyenne Portée, or MMP, to other armies besides the French, eyeing a far-reaching partnership with Belgium on ground vehicles as a potential avenue. Aside from being handed a potentially lucrative market on the continent, products or concepts picked as PESCO leads can win sizable funding contributions from common coffers like the envisioned €13 billion (U.S. $14 billion) European Defence Fund, or EDF. MBDA executives have danced around the question of how they came to be the quasi-incumbent for the missile project, arguing that the company is the only eligible manufacturer because the weapon is wholly developed and made in Europe. At the same time, company officials coyly painted the selection of the MMP weapon as a decision still up in the air. That is because there is a formal solicitation process under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme with a closing date of Sept. 20. The process envisions weapons trials sometime in 2020 or 2021 funded by the European Union, according to an MBDA spokesman. “The next step is that we hope to achieve this trial campaign and demonstrate the capability to inform future acquisitions from European nations,” the spokesman told Defense News. The problem is, however, that several other European nations already have a different weapon in their arsenals: a variant of the Spike missile, made by Israel's Rafael and sold in Europe by Germany-based Eurospike. Over the summer, Estonia moved to buy the weapon under a €40 million deal, becoming what Rafael said is the 19th user within NATO and the EU. Germany, which seeks to drive Europe's new defense posture alongside France, also relies on Spike — both the man-portable and the vehicle-mounted variants. Eurospike officials at the DSEI defense trade expo in London, England, last week complained about being left out of the nascent European missile program. While the Spike weapon is entirely produced in Germany, it is based on Israeli technology, resulting in what one company executive in London estimated to be an overall ratio of roughly 70 percent European and 30 percent Israeli. According to still-emerging rules for access to European defense projects, only members of the European Economic Area are eligible for EDF funding and collaboration-inducing mechanisms promised by PESCO. As it stands, Britain — after it leaves the EU — and its wares likely would be in, but the Israel connection means the Spike missile is out. For now, Eurospike officials said they are closely watching the process. “I can't imagine that they will just take the market by storm,” one executive said of MBDA and its missile offering. With its industrial infighting, the anti-tank weapons serve as something of a test case for whether common projects set up under EU auspices can truly serve the purpose of increasing collaboration among member states. Industry insiders suggest that the raft of existing PESCO efforts — covering everything from battlefield communications to future naval platforms to ground vehicles — comes with a built-in potential for turf battles. In the end, it seems a good number of PESCO projects come with a vendor team pushing a specific product under the banner or European unity. And as the dust of Euro enthusiasm settles, insiders say, vendors that weren't part of the initial project considerations are bound to find out that defense cooperation on the continent is also about winners and losers.

  • Opportunity knocks: A look at the used helicopter market

    September 20, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Opportunity knocks: A look at the used helicopter market

    by Howard Slutsken If you're thinking of buying or selling a used helicopter, this might actually be a good time to do so. Maybe we're finally getting past our focus on the doldrums in the oil and gas sector, or it could be that the replacement cycle is catching up with older helicopters, with operators making the decision to upgrade their fleets. The helicopter market has always been very cyclical, and the perceived strength of the marketplace will often depend on the specific needs of a region — and the opinion of who you talk to. “The trend we're seeing in Canada is for hydroelectric powerline work, whether patrol or working on the towers, they're going with Cat A twin-engine aircraft,” said Steve Dettwiler, president of Maple Leaf Helicopters Canada, a brokerage service based in British Columbia. “Some operators are using the MD 902 Explorer, others the [Airbus] EC135. There are lots of [Airbus AS350] AStars available, but for Cat A [performance requirements], you'd have to go with an [Airbus] AS355NP TwinStar. “We're seeing the Bell LongRangers being sold off and replaced by the AS350 B2 and B3 series,” Dettwiler continued. “When it comes to the B3e [H125], most Canadian operators are interested in the ones that have dual hydraulics. For forest service work, there's the inclination to go to twin-engine on the Bell mediums.” Airbus machines are certainly in demand, and it might be a better financial and operational decision to search the used market rather than buy new, according to Jason Kmiecik, president of HeliValue$, producers of The Official Helicopter Blue Book. “The lights twins — EC135s, 145s — there's a big market for those,” he said. “In the U.S., Metro Aviation and Air Methods have pretty much grabbed everything [in terms of those types] that was for sale or is about to come online for sale. In today's market, you could buy two used aircraft, fully retrofit them with brand new interiors and avionics in both aircraft, and you're at about the price of one brand new aircraft. “There are plenty of transactions happening on those aircraft all over the place,” Kmiecik continued. “Some of them have actually started going up in value — the AStars and some of the newer 407s — because there's just starting to not be that many out there for sale.” Finding a deal But, as with any marketplace, there are bargains to be found. “There are some really good deals out there,” said Dettwiler. “As an example, we've got a Bell 212 for sale for $1.5 million, which is a good price for a 212. [The market] does go in cycles. Right now there are a lot of aircraft available for sale, which drives the prices down. You can get into a nice little JetRanger probably for $350,000 to $400,000.” There's also a bit of an underground marketplace where transactions happen quietly, with a handshake, explains Kmiecik. “You'll see the sales happen,” he said. “They were never listed online. They sell to the operator next door or somebody's buddy. The smaller, cheaper aircraft are garage transactions.” And speaking of those smaller machines, Kmiecik believes that the operators who still love Schweizer helicopters are going to be happy with the company's new owners, Schweizer RSG. “Their plans are to go full production again,” he said. “So I think there's going to be a comeback of Schweizer.” While Kevin Mawhinney, helicopter technical advisor at Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI), doesn't think much has changed in “the day-to-day, ins-and-outs of the industry,” he does see a trend developing in the “larger-medium” sector. “I think you're going to see more people move into this segment with machines that fill that niche,” he said. “For example, the [Leonardo] AW139 has really filled a need, and we're seeing a lot of interest in it.” He points to the multi-role capability of the AW139 as being a driver for new operators. “I think it fills a niche that no other machine was filling before.” Super Pumas airborne again And what about all of those Airbus H225 Super Pumas that have been languishing on helipads around the world? They're now in demand, according to Kmiecik — but for utility work, not offshore. “What we're seeing now is supply is actually shrinking,” he said. “Aircraft that were once for sale are now pulled off the market and are back to work with the original lessees or new people.” With the shift in deployment of Super Pumas from offshore work to utility missions, Kmiecik said that there's a bottleneck getting the parts that operators need to change the primary mission of their helicopters. “The 225 is becoming the utility machine, the go-to machine now,” he said. “The problem is the supply of utility parts with Airbus — cargo hooks and stuff like that. They can't get them in stock fast enough to ship out to the people who need them. There's aircraft waiting on the ground right now for parts so they can get out on a contract.” Kmiecik said that some operators have recognized the value in the 225 and have focused their acquisition strategy on the type. “It's a lot of aircraft with a lot of lifting for the price.” Dettwiler also knows of companies that targeted an opportunity by buying up inventory of specific types. “We sold 14 SA 315B Lamas in the past few years to a company in Scandinavia, who's basically stockpiling all the Lama inventory from around the world and supporting the existing Lama operators. But it's going to come to an end. Airbus would prefer to sell the H125/AS350 B3e,” he said. Operating costs Brandon Battles, vice-president, Conklin & de Decker, has been researching and analyzing helicopter operating costs for over 30 years. With his years of experience, Battles has seen the cyclical changes that the industry has faced. “I think we've all seen it through our careers - oil and gas is bad right now, but another operation that uses helicopters might be very strong,” he said. “The firefighting folks are probably having some pretty good years, from a business point of view. “I'm noticing now that it's not just the acquisition cost that's important anymore, it's also those operational costs that they'll be encountering over the long ownership of that aircraft,” he added. Kmiecik echoes that thought. “Pretty much everybody's complaint is to try to get operational costs cheaper for these aircraft, especially for the S-92,” he said. “It's a very expensive aircraft to operate, and with what they're making each month on their contracts, it's getting very tight to be able to make a profit at all on them.” While some of the focus on operational costs may be driven by corporate acquisitions and industry consolidation, Battles believes that operators at all levels have become more attuned to the business side of the equation, in some ways resulting from the economic downturn of 2008. He said that operators may have planned to acquire a helicopter and keep it for perhaps 10 years. After that, they may look to sell it to avoid major inspections or the required replacement of life-limited items or other significant maintenance. “They had a plan but when the economy changes and they can't sell the aircraft for as much as they planned, now they must continue to operate it and wrestle with some of the higher costs that are associated with an older aircraft,” said Battles. “Maybe because of that experience, people are considering the maintenance and operating costs more than they used to.” What's next? Kmiecik's analysis of the super-medium market suggests that machines like the Airbus H175, Leonardo AW189 and the upcoming Bell 525 are going to face challenges in making an impact on the market. “In general, the super-mediums haven't lived up to expectations that everybody thought was going to happen,” he explained. “And that's because the S-92 has dropped in value, so where it's actually cheaper to rent a S-92 than it is to buy a brand new super medium. “Capital is drying up in the space,” Kmiecik continued. “There's not many people that are willing to go out and buy a $15- to $35-million helicopter anymore for offshore when we've got so much supply still in the market right now that is sitting idle for sale.” And Kmiecik is pretty blunt in his assessment of what needs to happen in the oil sector to ensure that helicopter operators can continue to provide service. “I think over the next six months to a year, you're probably going to see some change in the attitude of the oil companies,” he said. “There has to be a change because they're forcing everybody into bankruptcy. I think that people are now telling them ‘no' on certain requirements that they're setting on tenders, like age requirements for aircraft. I think that they're going to have no choice but to start helping out the people who are keeping them in business.”

  • USAF Picks B-21 For Software Learning Demo Challenge

    September 20, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    USAF Picks B-21 For Software Learning Demo Challenge

    By Steve Trimble The U.S. Air Force has selected the Northrop Grumman B-21 to demonstrate a potentially revolutionary approach to flightworthy software. The future stealth bomber will demonstrate a software architecture running the operational flight program (OFP) that learns and adapts as it flies a mission, says Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. Such an approach potentially “allows them to land with better code than they took off with,” Roper tells Aerospace DAILY. The architecture enables the code to update itself during a mission. Asked if the demonstration involves software code in the OFP, the operating system of a military aircraft, Roper replied affirmatively: “Within the OFP. That kind of adaptability is what we want to aspire to.” As a special access program, details of the B-21's schedule, capabilities and even cost are kept secret. But Roper says he is able to discuss what he calls the “digital bullet challenge,” albeit within strict limits. Asked if the B-21 software demonstrations imply the insertion of a deep learning technique known as a neural network, Roper declined to answer. “Details of how I won't go into,” Roper says. “But B-21 is trying to not just do agile software. They want to blaze new territory, a new trail for the Air Force. The idea that one of our most complicated airplanes with one of the most challenging missions is also taking on one of the most challenging software approaches to make their software living [and] breathing on the plane itself is inspiring. “They're going to be pushing the boundaries of how aircraft software should work in this century, and increasingly the software is where the cutting edge—the winning edge—is going to come from,” he explained. Roper's description appears to push the boundaries of software used in the flight computers of a commercial or military aircraft. Aircraft certification standards demand a highly rigid approach to software architecture, with the function of each line of code validated and verified on the ground before it is allowed to be used in flight. The challenge set for the B-21 could lead to altering or even adding software lines of code in the OFP during a flight. The Air Force launched the B-21 program in 2015 by awarding a $21.4 billion contract to Northrop. Air Force officials have previously announced that first flight is scheduled around December 2021. The aircraft will take off from Northrop's final assembly center in Palmdale, California, and fly to the flight test center on the adjoining Edwards Air Force Base.

  • BAE Systems San Diego shipyard to tandem dry-dock two destroyers

    September 20, 2019 | International, Naval

    BAE Systems San Diego shipyard to tandem dry-dock two destroyers

    September 18, 2019 - BAE Systems has received $170.7 million in contracts from the U.S. Navy to perform simultaneous maintenance and repair on two Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided-missile destroyers in its San Diego shipyard. Under the awarded contracts, the shipyard will tandem dry-dock the USS Stethem (DDG 63) and USS Decatur (DDG 73) in October. The synchronized two-ship docking will be a first for the company's newest dry-dock in San Diego. The contracts include options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $185 million. “The ability to simultaneously dock two DDGs is a special capability that BAE Systems brings to our Navy customer and comes at a critical time when additional throughput is necessary to meet surface combatant demands and modernization requirements,” said David M. Thomas Jr., vice president and general manager of BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair. “Beyond the remarkable nature of this tandem docking, it will be business as usual for our shipyard team and partners given our significant experience working with the Arleigh Burke class.” Positioned end to end, the USS Stethem and USS Decatur will be lifted together inside BAE Systems' “Pride of California” dry-dock. Installed in 2017, the Pride of California is 950 feet long, 160 feet wide and has a lifting capacity of 55,000 tons – making it the largest floating dry-dock in San Diego. The destroyers each displace about 9,000 tons and are expected to be re-floated in April 2020. The USS Stethem is the 13th ship of the Arleigh Burke class, which is the Navy's largest class of surface warfare combatants. Named for Master Chief Constructionman Robert Stethem, the 505-foot-long ship was commissioned in October 1995. BAE Systems will perform hull, mechanical and engineering repairs aboard the ship. Once back in the water, the Stethem's Extended Docking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) is expected to be completed in October 2020. The USS Decatur is the 23rd ship of the Arleigh Burke class. Named for the early 19th Century Naval hero Stephen Decatur Jr., the ship was commissioned in August 1998. BAE Systems will perform much of the same upgrade work aboard the 505-foot-long Decatur as it will perform on-board the Stethem. After undocking, the Decatur's EDSRA work is expected to continue into October 2020. BAE Systems' San Diego shipyard currently employs about 1,300 people and hundreds of temporary workers and subcontractors nearby the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. BAE Systems is a leading provider of ship repair, maintenance, modernization, conversion, and overhaul services for the Navy, other government agencies, and select commercial customers. The company operates four full-service shipyards in California, Florida, Hawaii, and Virginia, and offers a highly skilled, experienced workforce, six dry docks, two railways, and significant pier space and ship support services.

  • Saab Selected as Combat System Provider for Finnish Squadron 2020 Programme

    September 20, 2019 | International, Naval

    Saab Selected as Combat System Provider for Finnish Squadron 2020 Programme

    September 19, 2019 - In accordance with Finland's Ministry of Defence's proposition, the Government of Finland has today selected Saab as the combat system provider and integrator for the Finnish Navy's four new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes within the Squadron 2020 programme. Saab has not yet signed a contract or received an order relating to Squadron 2020. Finland's Ministry of Defence has stated that the contract is scheduled to be signed on 26 September 2019 and that the order value will be 412 million Euro. “This announcement marks a major milestone in Saab's relationship with Finland and we look forward to continuing to support the Finnish Navy's capabilities with our world-leading combat system expertise”, says Anders Carp, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Surveillance. The contract period will be 2019-2027 and the scope will include a range of solutions, including Saab's 9LV Combat Management System, related sensors and other systems. All of the Finnish Navy's current vessels feature at least one system from Saab, with the majority of vessels operating several systems from Saab. For further information, please contact: Saab Press Centre, Petter Larsson, Media Relations Manager +46 (0)734 180 018 Follow us on twitter: @saab Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defence and civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents around the world. Through innovative, collaborative and pragmatic thinking, Saab develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers' changing needs. The information is such that Saab AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, on 19 September 2019 at 12.33 (CET).

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