March's top stories: USAF awards landing gear support contract, Belgium to replace F-16 fleet

USAF awards $909m landing gear support contract to AAR, Belgium plans to replace F-16 Fighting Falcon with new combat aircraft. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from March 2017.


USAF awards $909m landing gear support contract to AAR

The US Air Force (USAF) awarded a $909m contract to AAR to support its Landing Gear Performance-Based Logistics One programme.

The contract requires AAR to provide a complete supply chain management, including purchasing, remanufacturing, distribution and inventory control to support the USAF's C-130, KC-135 and E-3 landing gear parts for a period of 15 years.

The repair work under the contract will be carried out at the company's landing gear services facility in Miami, Florida, US.

Belgium plans to replace F-16 Fighting Falcon with new combat aircraft

Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput announced plans to replace its existing fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, in a bid to improve its air combat capability.

The 54 F-16s currently in service with Belgium will be replaced by 34 new multi-role combat aircraft.

Vandeput said: "The government has made the courageous decision to renew our air combat capability and to replace the F-16s fleet, and with this capability we are making an important contribution to Nato's collective defence.

"Choosing to maintain this capability means remaining a reliable partner of the alliance."

Permanent stationing of first CV-22 Osprey aircraft to Japan delayed until 2020

The US Department of Defense's (DoD) plans to permanently station CV-22 Osprey aircraft in Japan have been delayed by three years.

The first three aircraft were originally planned to be deployed in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, but this is now expected to take place in 2020.

Reasons for the delay remain undisclosed. An additional seven aircraft are expected to arrive by 2021.

KBRwyle secures position on $950m USAF contract for construction services

KBR's government services business KBRwyle has secured a position on a $950m indefinite quantity / indefinite delivery (IDIQ) contract to provide engineering and construction services for the US Air Force (USAF).

Awarded by the USAF Civil Engineer Center, the multi-award task order contract allows KBRwyle to compete for task orders to provide a range of design, construction and engineering services.

The Worldwide Engineering & Construction (WE&C) contract has a five-year base period and three one-year options.

BAE conducts flight trials of Eurofighter Typhoon with MBDA's Brimstone missile

BAE Systems successfully performed flight trials of Eurofighter Typhoon with MBDA's Brimstone air-to-surface weapon.

The trials were conducted using the UK Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 6 to collect air data on the weapon and expand the carriage envelope.

During the trials, Aero Data Gathering (ADG) flights were performed to test how the addition of the Brimstone weapon and other assets interacts with the aircraft’s flight control system software.

Leonardo bags UK MoD contract for RWUAS CCD Phase II programme

The UK’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) Technology Office has awarded a contract to Italian company Leonardo Helicopters for phase two of the rotary wing unmanned air system, capability concept demonstrator (RWUAS CCD) programme.

Under the two-year, jointly funded research and development (R&D) contract, Leonardo will also have to complete R&D works commenced under the RWUAS CCD Phase I programme held between 2013 and 2015.

The company will also carry out further R&D, analysis and experimentation related to rotary winged air-vehicle technologies and rotary wing platform operations, within future operating environments, fleet mixes and the complete defence aviation capability structure.

USAF deploys A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft to Afghanistan

The US Air Force (USAF) deployed four A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft to Kabul, in support of the Afghan Air Force.

The Afghan Air Force will use the aircraft for a variety of missions such as close-air attack, air interdiction, escort and armed reconnaissance.

An Afghan Air Force A-29 pilot said: “The four additional aircraft will allow us to increase the number of missions we are able to support nationwide.

“More targets can be attacked, more ground troops can be supported.”

Lockheed tests JASSM with updated GPS anti-jam hardware and software

Lockheed Martin conducted two product verification flight tests of its updated joint air-to-surface standoff missile (JASSM) aboard B-2 and B-52 bomber aircraft.

The tests demonstrate the ability of the missile's updated global positioning system (GPS) anti-jam hardware and software.

During the tests conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the long-range, air-to-ground missiles launched at altitudes more than 24,000ft navigated to and destroyed their intended targets.

ULA Delta IV delivers US military communications satellite WGS-9 into orbit

United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Delta IV rocket has successfully delivered the ninth Boeing-built US military communications satellite, Wideband Global Satcom (WGS-9), from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Supported by the US Air Force's (USAF) 45th Space Wing, the WGS-9 launch is said to boost communications links in the X-band and Ka-band spectra.

The communications satellite is expected to increase interoperability among the US, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

MBDA to perform mid-life refurbishment of Storm Shadow / SCALP missiles

European missiles manufacturer MBDA has been awarded a joint contract by the UK and French Ministries of Defence to provide mid-life upgrade of Storm Shadow / SCALP EG air-launched cruise missiles.

The Storm Shadow / SCALP EG mid-life refurbishment programme will help expand the operational life of the missiles against the anticipated evolving threat for another ten years.

Being a major step in the Franco-British route map, the current project will help the two nations continue their cooperation in the deep strike domain that began with the launch of the Storm Shadow / SCALP programme in 1996.