October’s top news stories

7 November 2019 (Last Updated November 7th, 2019 10:40)

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin finalised a $34bn agreement for the next three lots of F-35 fighter jets, and Leonardo and its consortium partners unveiled a concept that is projected as a significant upgrade of the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft’s Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS). Airforce-Technology.com wraps up key headlines from October 2019.

October’s top news stories
The F-35A is now below $80m, a lower cost than legacy aircraft. Credit: Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Pentagon and Lockheed Martin finalise $34bn F-35 fighter jet deal

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin finalised a $34bn agreement for the next three lots of F-35 fighter jets, setting the price of an F-35A jet below $80m.

Under the deal, the US Department of Defense (DoD) will purchase 478 F-35s from Lockheed Martin to support the country’s military services, partner nations and foreign military sales customers.

The deal covers lots 12, 13 and 14. Lockheed Martin will deliver 149 F-35s in Lot 12, 160 aircraft in Lot 13 and 169 for Lot 14.


EuroDASS consortium unveils Praetorian Evolution concept for Typhoon

Leonardo and its consortium partners unveiled a concept that is projected as a significant upgrade of the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft’s Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS).

The EuroDASS consortium launched what is known as Praetorian Evolution, a concept of the future DASS system at the EuroDASS Future Capability user conference.

The consortium is a provider of the Praetorian DASS for the Typhoon aircraft. Other members in the consortium include Elettronica, Indra and Hensoldt.


India receives first Rafale fighter from Dassault Aviation

The Indian Defence Ministry received the first Rafale fighter aircraft during an official handover ceremony at Dassault Aviation’s facility in Merignac, France.

The Indian Air Force will procure a total of 36 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft under an approximately $8bn intergovernmental agreement signed between India and France in 2016.

India chose Rafale over other proposals, including Lockheed Martin-built F-16, Boeing’s F/A-18, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen fighter and Russian-made MiG-35.


Boeing wins $2.6bn contract to deliver more KC-46A aircraft for USAF

Boeing received the lot five production contract for KC-46A tanker aircraft from the US Air Force (USAF).

Valued at $2.6bn, the contract will see the production of 15 KC-46A. Under the contract, Boeing will also provide spares, support equipment, spare engines and wing air refuelling pod kits.

The fifth production lot brings the total KC-46 tankers under contract to 67.


US approves possible F-15J aircraft upgrade sale for Japan

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a potential sale of F-15J aircraft upgrades for Japan.

Under the estimated $4.5bn foreign military sale, the Japanese Government has requested configuration of up to 98 F-15J aircraft to a Japanese Super Interceptor (JSI) version.

The US State Department has decided to approve the sale, which includes 103 APG-82(v)1 active electronically scanned array radar with five spares, 116 advanced display core processor II mission system computer with 18 spares, and 101 ALQ-239 digital electronic warfare system with three spares.


Nammo completes initial developmental test phase of ramjet motor

Nammo announced the completion of the initial developmental test phase of its ramjet motor concepts intended to deliver a significant increase in range and speed for missiles and artillery shells.

The company hopes its new ramjet motors will revolutionise the approach to missiles and artillery.

The initial test phase involved more than 150 successful motor tests. The programme will transition to the second stage of the testing, which will include ballistic firing tests.


USAF receives Raytheon counter-UAS high-energy laser weapon system

The USAF received the first anti-unmanned aerial system (UAS) laser weapon system from Raytheon to tackle the threat of enemy drones.

The high-energy laser counter-UAS will undergo an overseas field test. The year-long overseas deployment will test the performance of the system against UASs in real-world conditions.

The airforce will also use the period to train operators on the laser counter-UAS system.


Lockheed wins contract for GBSD Reentry Vehicle TMRR phase

Lockheed Martin received a contract from the USAF to mature its design for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent’s (GBSD) reentry vehicle (RV).

The company was awarded the $108m contract for the Mark21A Reentry Vehicle (Mk21A) programme’s Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide a ‘low technical risk and affordable RV’ that can deliver the W87-1 warhead from the GBSD weapon system.


Reaction Engines tests precooler technology in Mach 5 conditions

British company Reaction Engines tested the viability of its precooler heat exchanger in Mach 5 speed conditions at its test facility at the Colorado Air and Space Port, US.

The test has proved the capability of the precooler technology to operate in airflow temperature conditions representing Mach 5.

The ground-based test marks a key milestone in the company’s development of the SABRE air-breathing rocket engine that could power hypersonic combat jets, civil aircraft, and reusable space vehicles.


USAF’s XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aircraft damaged during test flight

The USAF’s XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned combat aerial vehicle has suffered damage after landing following the completion of its third flight test.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions produced the XQ-58A for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstration programme.

The mishap happened moments after the drone completed the flight test at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, US, on 9 October.