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January 3, 2018

2017: The year’s biggest Airforce Technology stories

Boeing received a $2.1bn LRIP contract for KC-46A tanker aircraft, the UK MoD signed a £146m contract with MBDA to upgrade RAF’s long-range missile. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from 2017.

Boeing receives $2.1bn LRIP contract for KC-46A tanker aircraft

Boeing secured a $2.1bn contract to supply components for the third low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot of KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft.

Awarded by the US Air Force (USAF), the contract covers the production and supply of 15 KC-46A tanker aircraft, spare engines and wing air refuelling pod kits.

Boeing would manufacture 179 units of the 767-based refuelling aircraft in total, which are intended to replace the USAF’s existing tanker fleet.


MBDA wins £146m UK MoD contract to upgrade RAF’s long-range missile

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a £146m contract with MBDA for the modernisation of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) long-range, air-launched missile.

The contract will see the upgradation of the UK’s Storm Shadow and France’s SCALP missiles in order to keep them ready for operational use.

The planned upgrade is expected to keep the missile in service for the next decade.


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.


Boeing wins $2.2bn contract to modernise 17 P-8A Poseidon aircraft

Boeing secured a $2.2bn contract to modernise maritime patrol capabilities of P-8A Poseidon aircraft worldwide.

The contract covers modernisation of at least 17 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the US, Australia, and the UK.

The US Navy will receive 11 of the aircraft, while the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will expand its P-8A fleet by four units. The British Royal Air Force is expected to receive the first of two P-8A jets in 2019.


USAF conducts second test-firing of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile

The US Air Force (USAF) conducted a further test-fire of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) equipped with a single test re-entry vehicle.

On 3 May, the latest test launch was conducted from the Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), California, US, following a similar test-firing carried out on 26 April.

The test launches validate the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, while the data collected will be used by the US Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and US Strategic Command for continuing force development evaluation.


MBDA’s Brimstone missile completes first live fire trial from Typhoon aircraft

MBDA’s Brimstone air-to-surface missile successfully completed the first live test firing from a Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The live firing has been conducted as part of Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package for Typhoon.

Sensor and mission system upgrades are being provided to Typhoon as part of Project Centurion to ensure the smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities for the British Royal Air Force (RAF).


USAF awards $1.8bn worth contracts for LRSO weapon design work

The US Air Force (USAF) awarded two separate contracts, totalling $1.8bn, to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to develop design concepts and technologies for the service’s new long-range standoff (LRSO) weapon.

Each Technical Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract will run for a 54-month period and enable the USAF to replace the ageing AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) with modernised weapon capabilities for the nuclear bomber fleet.

First deployed in the early-1980s, the ALCM will continue to face increasingly significant operational challenges against emerging threats and reliability challenges until replaced, the USAF stated.


MD Helicopters wins $1.4bn contract to deliver armed MD 530 aircraft

MD Helicopters secured a $1.4bn contract to deliver MD 530 armed scout attack helicopters to the US and partner nation army aviation forces.

Under the five-year foreign military sales indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, the company will deliver a total of 150 armed MD 530 aircraft.

Initial deliveries include 30 new MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters for the Afghan Air Force.


UK MoD to invest £90m in RAF aircrew training facility

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to invest more than £90m to continue pilot training operations at Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility for another eight years.

The MoD’s procurement organisation, Defence, Equipment and Support, has extended a contract with CAE Aircrew Training Services to continue delivering training for Chinook, Puma and Merlin aircrews at the facility.

British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy future helicopter pilots will be trained to fly in emergency situations such as the effects of icing and rotor blade damage, the impact of gun or missile fire and electronic warfare, total electrics failure, and fuel management issues.


Raytheon to support Australia’s air defence project worth $1.53bn

Raytheon Australia secured a contract from the Australian Department of Defence to support the short-range, ground-based air defence project worth up to A$2bn ($1.53bn).

Under the A$12.1m ($9.3m) contract, the company will support the first stage development of the new air defence system.

Expected to create up to ten new jobs, the contract covers the delivery of risk mitigation activities for one year to inform the final system configuration of national advanced surface-to-air missile system (NASAMS).

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