August’s top news stories

5 September 2019 (Last Updated September 12th, 2019 15:51)

The US Department of Defence (DoD) terminated Boeing’s $1.2bn Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) programme, and the US decided to proceed with an $8bn sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. Airforce-Technology.com wraps up key headlines from August 2019.

August’s top news stories
The Redesigned Kill Vehicle was being developed to upgrade the US Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System. Credits: Missile Defence Agency.

Pentagon kills redesigned kill vehicle

The US Department of Defence (DoD) terminated Boeing’s $1.2bn Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) programme and will replace it with a new push for missile interceptors.

The DoD dropped the programme after repeated delays led to a stop-work order being placed in May 2019. At the time the Pentagon said it had ‘determined the technical design problems were so significant as to be either insurmountable or cost-prohibitive to correct’.

The weapon would have been used to intercept incoming ballistic missiles as part of the US Missile Defence Agency’s suite of anti-air countermeasures.


US Government to proceed with F-16 fighter jets sale to Taiwan

The US Government decided to proceed with an $8bn sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.

This proposed sale is claimed to be one of the largest arms deals between the two countries.

Congress was informed about the sale by the State Department after the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed a memo giving approval to the sale.


Rolls-Royce wins Typhoon engine maintenance contract

Rolls-Royce signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide maintenance and repair support for the EJ200 engines of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Typhoon fighter aircraft fleet.

The £346.7m engine support contract (EJISS) is a follow-on to the ten-year Partnered Support Operational Phase arrangement.

Rolls-Royce new contract means the company will continue to provide maintenance support for the EJ200 engine until 2024.


US Senator questions DoD’s management of F-35 programme

US Senator Chuck Grassley called for greater transparency and accountability in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) management of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) programme.

In a letter to DoD Secretary Mark Esper, Grassley highlighted the pressing need to resolve ongoing issues in the fighter jet programme.

The letter pointed to shortcomings identified by two recent audits pertaining to the management of the programme.


Boeing secures USAF contract for A-10 Thunderbolt II wing replacements

Boeing received a potential $999m 11-year contract to deliver sustainment work on the US Air Force’s (USAF) A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft.

The indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract award will involve managing the production of up to 112 new A-10 wing assemblies and 15 wing kits.

Boeing received an initial order for 27 wing sets.


Lockheed Martin GPS III satellite responds to commands

The US Air Force’s (USAF) second next-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite responded to commands and is preparing to enter orbit.

Manufacturer Lockheed Martin said it had gained full control of the GPS III space vehicle after its separation from the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket.

The GPS III SV02 satellite will climb to its operating orbital height of 12,550 miles above the Earth’s surface. Lockheed Martin engineers are controlling the satellite from the company’ space facility in Colorado, US.


ULA offers Vulcan Centaur rocket for USAF Launch Services competition

United Launch Alliance (ULA) proposed its Vulcan Centaur rocket for the second phase of the US Air Force’s (USAF) Launch Services competition.

The company is developing the first Vulcan Centaur rocket at its factory in Decatur, Alabama.

The rocket is on schedule for delivery to the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida next year and a planned first launch in 2021, ULA said.


Lockheed Martin and Australia to work on F-35A sovereign sustainment

Lockheed Martin Australia signed a contract to streamline operational support for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The five-year A$91m ($62.58m) agreement with the Australian Department of Defence will focus on the efficient delivery of sustainment support for the country’s F-35A aircraft.

The idea behind this agreement is to consolidate the existing arrangements into one Australian-managed contract with Lockheed Martin Australia.


Bahrain signs agreement to buy Patriot systems from US Army

Bahrain signed a letter of offer and acceptance agreement to purchase Patriot air and missile defence systems from the US Army.

The agreement allows the US Government to start contract negotiations with Patriot system manufacturer Raytheon for the production of the systems and missiles.

The quantity of the systems has not been revealed.


Viasat selects Blue Canyon Technologies for Link 16 LEO spacecraft

Viasat selected Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) to support the US Air Force (USAF) programme to deliver and test the Link 16-capable low Earth orbit (LEO) spacecraft.

In May, Viasat won a contract under the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles XVI programme to prototype and test space-based Link 16 capabilities.

The capabilities are compatible with the fielded Link 16-enabled platforms, including ground vehicles, aircraft, maritime vessels and dismounted users.