January’s top news stories

6 February 2020 (Last Updated February 6th, 2020 14:59)

The USAF selected Citizant to support its $13.4bn SBEAS programme, and annual assessment of Lockheed Martin’s progress on the F-35 fighter jet found that the plane has 873 unresolved deficiencies. Airforce-Technology.com wraps up key headlines from January 2020.

January’s top news stories
A maintenance qualifications training instructor uses a virtual reality headset at Little Rock Air Force Base. Credit: USAF / Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin.

USAF selects Citizant to support $13.4bn SBEAS programme

The US Air Force (USAF) selected Citizant to support its $13.4bn Small Business Enterprise Applications Solutions (SBEAS) programme.

Citizant is one of only 20 companies that secured the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract awarded by airforce in December last year.

SBEAS is the replacement IDIQ vehicle for Application Solutions Small Business currently in use through Network-Centric Solutions 2 (NETCENTS-2).


Annual assessment reveals F-35 has 873 unresolved deficiencies

Annual assessment of Lockheed Martin’s progress on the F-35 fighter jet conducted by the US Department of Defense found that the aircraft has 873 unresolved deficiencies.

Most of them were identified before the completion of System Development and Demonstration (SDD) and entry into IOT&E.

All three F-35 airforce models of the Joint Strike Fighter have a 25mm gun that has ‘unacceptable’ accuracy in hitting ground targets, according to the departments’ testing office.


Raytheon to modernise USAF’s missile warning architecture

The USAF awarded a contract to Raytheon to support the department with the update of its missile-warning architecture.

Under the five-year, $197m contract, the modernisation work will involve providing a new system dedicated to collect and integrate data from various sensors.

This fusion of data will provide the military with a broader view of the launch activity.


USAF to use VR technology for C-130 maintenance training

The US Air Mobility Command (AMC) and Air Education and Training Command (AETC), along with the USAF, teamed up to develop a virtual reality (VR) platform for training purposes.

The VR solution will allow the USAF to offer safe and effective training to new maintenance airmen on mission-essential tasks.

The technology is focused on the C-130 and is expected to be completed by mid-2020. It is being designed to provide a visual environment covering the intricate details of the C-130H Hercules and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.


Huntington Ingalls wins $954m contract from US Air Force

Huntington Ingalls Industries secured a $954m intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance contract from the USAF.

The One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) task order was awarded by the US General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM).

Under the contract, Huntington Ingalls will provide persistent multi-role operations (PMRO) support to the US Air Force-Europe (USAFE). The contract has a base period of one year with four option years.


UK MoD signs contract to boost Rotary Wing pilot training services

The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) signed a £183m contract with Ascent Flight Training Management to enhance training services for Rotary Wing pilots.

The contract amendment signed by the MoD’s UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) includes uplift of four new Airbus H145 helicopters, a new flight simulator, and improve training infrastructure.

With the four new H145 helicopters and simulator, which will be based at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire, students will be able to learn how to fly a range of missions, covering expected scenarios on operational deployment.


Russia to deliver six Pantsir-S1 air defence systems to Serbia

Russia is reportedly set to deliver up to six Pantsir-S1 air defence missile systems to Serbia as part of a contract between the two countries.

According to news published on the Sputnik Russian press agency website, the systems will be delivered this year.

The Pantsir-S1 system has been designed to offer protection against a precision-guided air attack from low and extremely low altitudes.


Dynetics’ X-61A GAV performs maiden flight

Defence contractor Dynetics performed the first flight test of its X-61A Gremlins Air Vehicle (GAV) in Utah, US.

X-61A GAV is being developed under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Gremlins programme.

The goal of Gremlins is to enhance the US Armed Forces’ operational flexibility by providing them with the capability to launch and recover a large number of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems (UAS).


Pentagon initiates review of Pratt & Whitney’s F-35 engine programme

The Pentagon’s auditors initiated a review of United Technologies’ unit Pratt & Whitney’s $66bn F-35 engine programme in order to determine why the company is failing to gain more savings from subcontractors on its share of the US weapons programme.

The review was started after Pratt & Whitney claimed cost savings of around 3% in its prices for the 12th through 14th F-35 production batches over the previous contract.

As a result, the Defense Contract Audit Agency is reviewing whether subcontractor prices are falling.


GA-ASI and HAF complete MQ-9 RPAS demonstration flights

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) completed a series of demonstration flights with its MQ-9 Guardian remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) in Greece.

The demonstrations were performed for various European military and civilian representatives over ten days and were done to exhibit the MQ-9 RPAS’ maritime surveillance capabilities.

They showcased the ability of the detect and avoid (DAA) system, which is designed to allow the RPAS to fly safely in civil airspace.