August’s top news stories

3 September 2018 (Last Updated September 4th, 2018 14:39)

Leidos won $620m support contract for USAF’s F-16 avionics shops, USAF awarded $480m contract for Lockheed’s hypersonic weapon design, and RAAF’s KC-30A tanker delivered fuel during Operation Okra. Airforce-Technology.com wraps up key headlines from August 2018.

August’s top news stories
A USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft takes off from Eielson AFB. Credit: Tech Sgt Joseph Swafford Jr.

Leidos wins $620m support contract for USAF’s F-16 avionics shops

The US Air Force (USAF) Sustainment Center awarded a prime single-award contract to Leidos for F-16 Fighting Falcon avionics product support.

With a total contract ceiling value of $620m, the indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity award has a base period of three years with two one-year option periods.

Under the deal, Leidos will be responsible for providing support to the Air Force Avionics Intermediate Shop Product Support Integration programme for the F-16 supersonic multirole fighter jet.


USAF awards $480m contract for Lockheed’s hypersonic weapon design

The USAF awarded a new contract worth up to $480m for the design of a second hypersonic weapon prototype.

Awarded to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, the contract will include the delivery of critical design review, test and production readiness support for the USAF’s air-launched rapid response weapon (ARRW).

USAF secretary Heather A Wilson said: “We are going to go fast and leverage the best technology available to get hypersonic capability to the warfighter as soon as possible.”


RAAF’s KC-30A tanker delivers fuel during Operation Okra

The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft provided 100 million pounds of fuel during Operation Okra in the Middle East.

Operation Okra is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to combat terrorist threats in Iraq and Syria.

The KC-30A tanker is used by the Australian Air Task Group (ATG) and delivers the air-to-air refuelling capability for both the RAAF and coalition assets.


Lockheed ships USAF’s GPS III SV01 satellite for launch in December

The USAF’s first advanced GPS III space vehicle (GPS III SV01) has been shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for its expected launch in December.

Designed and developed by Lockheed Martin at its GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, the higher-power satellite has been shipped from the USAF’s Buckley Air Force Base (AFB) in Colorado on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.

The GPS III SV01 satellite offers new features specifically designed for the US and allied forces.


Australian DoD receives P-8A Poseidon simulator and training systems

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has received the P-8A Poseidon simulator and training systems at the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Edinburgh base.

According to Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne, the A$470m ($343.64m) P-8A training system would help prepare pilots and maintenance crews of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for their required roles.

Payne said: “This A$470m facility marks the beginning of a transformation of our training that will support airforce’s ability to meet emerging threats and future challenges.

“The facility will deliver over 39 separate training courses, which will minimise training demands on the P-8A Poseidon aircraft, reducing aircraft fatigue, increasing safety, and improving availability for higher priority tasking.”


India tests SAAW precision-guided bomb from IAF’s Jaguar aircraft

The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully carried out flight tests of its new Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) precision-guided glide bomb.

Launched from the IAF’s Jaguar aircraft at the Chandan range in Rajasthan, the weapon system was integrated with a live warhead and has successfully destroyed simulated targets with exact precision.

During the event, a total of three flight tests with varied release conditions were carried out by the airforce.


Lockheed Martin delivers USAF AEHF military communications satellite

Lockheed Martin delivered the fourth advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite to the USAF for launch on an Atlas V rocket.

The company transported the satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US, where preparatory works will be conducted for the launch slated for October.

The company assembled the satellite at its Sunnyvale, California, US, facility and is under a USAF contract to deliver six AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment.


Boeing completes UAV flight tests using autonomous control system

Boeing successfully concluded the first series of synchronised unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight tests using a new and advanced on-board autonomous command and control system.

Test flights involved five UAV test beds that were integrated with the new on-board command and control system, also developed by Boeing in Australia.

Carried out at a regional Queensland airfield, the trials demonstrated the technology’s ability to enable UAVs to safely complete in-air programmed missions as a team without any human interference or control.


New Zealand Air Force to receive CAE 700MR NH90 flight training device

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) awarded a new contract to Canadian manufacturer CAE for the delivery of a CAE 700 Mission Reality (MR) Series NH90 flight training device (FTD) to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

Valued at more than C$50m ($38.03m), the contract also includes the delivery of long-term maintenance and support services of the simulator, which is due to be housed at the RNZAF Base Ohakea in 2020.

Recently launched, the CAE 700MR Series NH90 FTD has been specially designed for military helicopter flight and mission training.


Sarcos Robotics to develop second exoskeleton robot for USAF

Microelectromechanical systems developer Sarcos Robotics secured a second exoskeleton robot development contract from the USAF.

Under the current contract, the company will be responsible for building a more robust variant of full-body exoskeleton robots that would be capable of lifting loads of up to 200lb.

The new quasi-powered exoskeleton robots will be specifically developed for the USAF’s logistics applications.