November’s top news stories

7 December 2018 (Last Updated December 11th, 2018 12:52)

Northrop won $330m USAF E-8C Joint STARS contract for TSSR FY 19, Viasat to produce 1,000 Mini Crypto devices for USAF, and USAF began test flights with F-35 and Auto GCAS technology. Airforce-Technology.com wraps up key headlines from November 2018.

November’s top news stories
E-8C Joint STARS aircrew members monitor moving target indication data at their operator workstations. Credit: US Air National Guard / Senior Master Sgt Roger Parsons.

Northrop wins $330m USAF E-8C Joint STARS contract for TSSR FY 19

The US Air Force (USAF) awarded a $330m contract to Northrop Grumman to support the 16 aircraft E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar system (E-8C Joint STARS) fleet.

Under the deal, the company will provide total system support responsibility (TSSR) for the USAF’s E-8C airborne ground surveillance aircraft.

The 12-month agreement covers TSSR Period Year 19 from 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2019.


Viasat to produce 1,000 Mini Crypto devices for USAF

The USAF placed a low-rate initial production order with global communications company Viasat for 1,000 Mini Crypto devices.

Certified by the National Security Agency, the Mini Crypto devices will be used by the USAF to enable forward-deployed troops to secure the small, tactical-edge systems in extremely adverse environments.

The Viasat devices have been designed to facilitate easy embedding on small form factor systems such as unmanned systems, emerging robotics applications, communications devices, and existing and emerging sensors used by the US Department of Defense.


USAF begins test flights with F-35 and Auto GCAS technology

The USAF’s 461st Flight Test Squadron commenced test flight missions to assess the automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto GCAS) with the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.

The mission was carried out at the USAF’s Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California to test the ability of the technology to prevent ground collisions when pilots get disoriented due to scenarios such as target-fixation or gravity-induced loss of consciousness.

Under such scenarios, the Auto GCAS would activate, take control from the pilot and return the aircraft to a safe altitude.


South Korean Air Force set to receive first Airbus A330 MRTT

The South Korean Air Force is reportedly ready to take delivery of its first Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

A military official was quoted by South Korean news agency Yonhap as saying that the tanker was expected to arrive on 12 November.

With the completion of the delivery, the air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft is expected to undergo a series of acceptance tests over a period of nearly one month, reported the news agency.


Saab’s Gripen E conducts test flight with Meteor missile

Saab’s Gripen E multirole fighter aircraft completed a test flight with the Meteor active radar-guided beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM).

During the test flight conducted from Saab’s airfield at Linköping, Sweden, the Gripen E jet was integrated with two MBDA-built Meteor missiles, designated 39-8.

The current trial is part of the weapon integration project being carried out under the Gripen E test programme.


QinetiQ acquires 85% shares of Inzpire Group

UK-based defence technology company QinetiQ Group acquired 85% of shares of operational training provider Inzpire Group.

As part of the transaction terms announced on 22 October, QinetiQ has completed its strategic £23.5m investment in Inzpire.

In addition, QinetiQ is entitled to acquire the remaining 15% of Inzpire’s shares after two years.


RAF’s A400M Atlas airdrops record-breaking heavy cargo load

An A400M Atlas aircraft deployed with the British Royal Air Force (RAF) delivered a record-breaking cargo load during a test conducted to evaluate the aircraft’s next-generation capabilities.

During the trial, the Airbus-built turboprop military transport aircraft dropped a cargo load of 23t by parachute over the Salisbury Plain in the UK.

The A400M Atlas demonstrated its ability to deliver heavy loads such as military equipment, supplies, and humanitarian aid, without the need to land on the ground.


Airbus delivers first H145M helicopter for Serbian Air Force

The Serbian Ministry of Defence received the delivery of the first H145M military multirole helicopter from Airbus.

A total of nine Airbus H145M helicopters are being built for the airforce and the Serbian Ministry of Interior.

The four aircraft to be supplied to the Serbian Air Force will be fitted with Airbus’ HForce weapon management system, which will enable the country to equip and operate its fleet with a large suite of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons.


Harris delivers sixth navigation payload for USAF’s GPS III satellite

Information technology services provider Harris delivered an advanced navigation payload for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite programme.

The sixth of the total ten payloads has been delivered to Lockheed Martin.

GPS III navigation payload is fitted with a mission data unit (MDU) with a 70% digital design that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened processors and powerful transmitters.


Belgium to purchase GA ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS from US

Belgium is set to acquire the new MQ-9B SkyGuardian medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The Government of Belgium approved Belgian Defence to begin negotiations with the US for the procurement of the aircraft.

Manufacturer of the remotely piloted aircraft system General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA‑ASI) was also notified.