Senate Proposes Cuts in Funding for the SM-3B2 ABM Interceptor
September 25, 2011: In its version of the 2012 defense spending bill, unveiled Sept. 15, the Senate Appropriations Committee provides no funding for the Standard Missile SM-3 Block 2B AEGIS interceptor, slated to become the interceptor of choice for the forward land-based missile defense system the Pentagon plans to position in Europe. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) requested $123.5 million for the effort next year. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are competing for program. The SM-3 Block 2A is also in trouble, suffering a two year delay in development. The current missile being deployed is the SM-3 Block 1A. The SM-3 Block 1B has recently failed a test flight. (Space News)
USAF Gets its First Combat King II
September 24, 2011: Lockheed Martin delivered the first of 11 HC-130J Combat King II personnel recovery aircraft to the United States Air Force’s Air Combat Command (ACC). Combat King II is the successor of the HC-130P (Combat King I) based on the modern C-130J tanker configuration has the Enhanced Service Life Wing, Enhanced Cargo Handling System, a Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation for boom refueling. It is equipped with an electro-optical/infrared sensor for night piloting. A combat systems operator station is also added on the flight deck. The aircraft also has dual Satcom links. (Defense-Update)
Lockheed Martin delivered the first of 11 HC-130JCombat King II personnel recovery aircraft to the United States Air Force’s Air Combat Command (ACC). Combat King II is the successor of the HC-130P (Combat King I) based on the modern C-130J tanker configuration has the Enhanced Service Life Wing, Enhanced Cargo Handling System, a Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation for boom refueling. Self protection systems include radar and missile warning receivers, chaff and flare dispensers. It is equipped with an electro-optical/infrared sensor for night piloting. A combat systems operator station is also added on the flight deck. The aircraft also has dual Satcom links supporting low-probability of detection data-burst communications. The 71st and 79th Rescue Squadrons in Air Combat Command, the 550th Special Operations Squadron in Air Education and Training Command, the 920th Rescue Group in Air Force Reserve Command and the 106th Rescue Wing, 129th RQW and 176th Wing in the Air National Guard will operate the new aircraft.
The HC-130J is a result of the HC/MC-130 recapitalization program, replacing the Air Combat Command’s aging HC-130P/N fleet as the dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force inventory. The HC-130P/N are operated by the Air Combat Command since 2006.
The HC-130J can fly in the day; however, crews normally fly night at low to medium altitude levels in contested or sensitive environments, both over land or overwater. Its mission is to rapidly deploy to execute combatant commander directed recovery operations to austere airfields and denied territory for expeditionary, all weather personnel recovery operations to include airdrop, airland, helicopter air-to-air refueling, and forward area ground refueling missions.
Crews use NVGs and the new stabilized EO payload for tactical flight profiles, avoiding detection to accomplish covert infiltration/exfiltration and transload operations. To enhance the probability of mission success and survivability near populated areas, crews employ tactics that include incorporating no external lighting or communications, and avoiding radar and weapons detection.
Drop zone objectives are done via personnel drops and equipment drops. Rescue bundles include illumination flares, marker smokes and rescue kits. Helicopter air-to-air refueling can be conducted at night, with blacked out communication with up to two simultaneous helicopters. Additionally, forward area refueling point operations can be executed to support a variety of joint and coalition partner.
BAE Systems is set to announce up to 3,000 job losses in the U.K., as it struggles to secure new orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet and slows deliveries to the project’s existing customers amid cuts to defense budgets. According to the The Telegraph, the job cuts are part of the company’s cost cut measures, preparing for a possible slowdown in production of the Eurofighter Typhoon line. Typhoon is currently in the final competition in India, and is positioned to be one of three possible fighters considered for Japan’s next generation fighter, but for the interim phase, production levels are expected to fall as the European air forces set to meet budget cuts by reducing operational and procurement costs.
September 22, 2011: Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) both announced stock repurchase plans yesterday; LMT board of directors authorized spending up to $2.5 billion for the purchase of the company’s common stock. The board also authorized a fourth quarter 2011 dividend of $1.00 per share, marking the ninth consecutive annual increase of at least 10% in Lockheed Martin’s quarterly dividend rate. “We continue to deliver on our long-standing goal to return at least 50 percent of free cash flow [to the shareholders]” said Chairman and CEO Bob Stevens. The Board of Directors of Raytheon Company has allocated $2.0 billion for common stock repurchase and declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.43 cents per outstanding share of common stock.
Qatar Interested in Daimler’s EADS Shares
September 21, 2011: Qatar has shown interest in buying a 7.5 percent share of EADS currently held by German company Daimler, Defense News reports. Controlling 22.5 percent of the European Aerospace and defense giant, Daimler decided to sell its holdings in EADS but denied negotiating the sale with Qatar. Selling of these stocks is particularly complex since, according to the shareholders’ agreement, France and Germany should own exactly equal percentage of EADS. (Defense News)
India has tested the Shourya nuclear-capable surface/surface missile September 24, 2011, at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off Orissa coast, about 15 km from Balasore. The missile took off from a 35 foot, underground silo. Shourya is a derivative of the K-15 missile developed by the DRDO for the Indian Navy submarines. The launch marks the second developmental trial of the missile. The first was conducted on November 12, 2008. Both tests were successful.
The missile is being developed by the Indian Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). The two-stage missile is powered by solid propellant. The weapon is described as a ‘hybrid’ missile, that can shape its descent trajectory. To achieve this capability in atmospheric flight the missile uses aerodynamic flight controls enabling sufficient maneuverability to reduce the missile’s vulnerability to missile interceptors while rendering it more accurate for conventional attack. The range of the missile is 750 kilometers.
The Shourya missile can carry a warhead weighing one ton, a weight sufficient for a nuclear device. However, its massive warhead combined with relatively high accuracy of less than 20-30 meters (GPS aided INS) make the Shourya effective for conventional attack of high value targets. Shourya is scheduled to enter service with the Indin Army in 2013.
At Defexpo 2010 the missile was displayed without the container shroud, mounted on a land-mobile erector-launcher. According to V K Saraswat of the India Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Shaurya can be launched from under water as well as from land. The K-15 missile is contained in a gas-filled canister stored inside the submarine’s hull and uses a two-stage solid propelled rocket after launch. To achieve high accuracy, the missile can perform trajectory corrections using an on-board inertial navigation system.
The EGBU-28/BLU-113 Hard Target Penetrator was first deployed during the First Gulf War in 1991 as a laser guided munition. It is now available with GPS aided guidance (offering all-weather accuracy of less than six meters, or with laser guidance. These 18 foot long (5.7 meters) weapons, weighing 4,400 pounds (2.2 tons) each, are capable of penetrating 20 foot (6 meter) of reinforced concrete or 100 foot of earth (30 meter); these weapons are now a standard weapon with the B-2A SpiritF-15E Strike eagle in USAF service.
Two versions are available – the EGBU-28B/BLU-113 carried by the Strike eagle, employing the GPS enhanced laser guidance kit and GBU-37/GAM, using a GPS Aided Munition guidance kit, carried by the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber. The bombers’ almost undetectable APQ-181 Attack Radar and GPS aided GAM/GATS targeting system provide a true all weather around the clock precision capability. (More on the GBU-28 development at from ausairpower)
The U.S. has recently delivered deep penetration guided bombs to Israel, according to the New York Times quoting unidentified U.S. officials. In the past, Israel requested such weapons several times but delivery was halted due to political pressure. EGBU-28 weapons were already on the way to Israel two years ago but the shipment was diverted elsewhere.