Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Highlights – 7/3/17 Edition
(Source: Forecast International; issued July 03, 2017)
by Matthew Beres
This blog post briefly highlights recent Airborne Retrofit & Modernization news. More in-depth news can be found in Forecast’s E-Market Alerts. Sign up here to receive our World Aerospace and Defense Intelligence Newsletter.

USAF May Cut A-10 Fleet
The U.S. Air Force has announced plans to cut its A-10 fleet down to six squadrons, under an effort that will begin within the next few years. The announcement was made by Representative Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee that was cut short, so a number of questions remain to be answered regarding the drawdown.

These plans notwithstanding, there has historically been significant pressure to maintain the current A-10 fleet-strength. (McSally said that the current fleet includes nine squadrons.) Still, budget levels and the availability of A-10 replacement aircraft will have a significant effect on how many squadrons remain through the coming 15 years. The USAF has maintained a commitment to operate a minimum of six A-10 squadrons through 2030.

BriteCloud Tested on RDAF F-16A/Bs
Leonardo’s BriteCloud expendable active decoy has been tested on board a Royal Danish Air Force F-16A/B. The successful test will be followed by initial deliveries by the end of 2017. Although the system is targeted for the F-16, other target platforms include the Typhoon, the Gripen, the Tornado, and the F-15.

Pratt Proceeds with F-35 Engine Upgrade
Pratt & Whitney is offering an F135 upgrade package that provides a fuel burn reduction of 4-6 percent and a thrust increase of 6-10 percent. The upgrade, which will become available as early as 2020, could serve as a stepping stone to a next-generation fighter engine.

Hawk Trainer Being Retrofitted with New Technology
BAE Systems plans to fly its Advanced Hawk fitted with technologies that will keep it competitive for the USAF T-X trainer program. Some of the new capabilities may be retrofitted onto legacy Hawk fleets. Improvements include a modified wing and vertical stabilizer and an advanced cockpit.

Saab Will Continue to Support Sweden’s Gripens
Saab has signed a $217.98 million contract with the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration for continued support and maintenance of Swedish Gripen C/Ds.

Swiss Fighter Replacements
The Swiss Air Force may replace its F-5Es and F/A-18C/D Hornets with 30 new aircraft and a ground-based air defense system.

Update: German P-3 Bombs
The German Navy is planning to replace its P-3 Mk 46 lightweight torpedo with the Raytheon Mk 54. The fleet is currently undergoing a life extension program that will extend the life of the aircraft to 2035.

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DoD Contracts

-- E-6B:
Rockwell Collins Inc, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a $9,145,465 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-13-C-0004) for the procurement of upgrades for the Block I Sustainment and Support System in support of the E-6B Block I aircraft.
This modification is an engineering change proposal for technology refresh, obsolescence mitigation, and material and software builds. Work will be performed in Richardson, Texas, and is expected to be completed in October 2018. Fiscal 2015 Aircraft Procurement (Navy) funds in the full contract amount of $9,145,465 are being obligated at time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

-- F/A-18:
The Boeing Co, St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded $11,601,558 for a cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to delivery order N0001917F1032 under previously issued basic ordering agreement N00019-16-G-0001 to provide production engineering support for the installation and integration of systems required for the follow-on test and evaluation of the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System.
Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland (75 percent) and St. Louis (25 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2018. Fiscal 2017 Aircraft Procurement (Navy) funds in the full contract amount of $11,601,558 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

-- V-22:
Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $7,378,057 cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N68335-13-G-0010). This order provides for the design and development of the Midwing Avionics Obsolescence Vibration Structural Life and Engine Diagnostic operational test program set, as well as the production of three VSLED weapon replaceable assemblies for the V-22 aircraft.
Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri (75 percent); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (20 percent); and Ft. Worth, Texas (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2020. Fiscal 2015 Aircraft Procurement (Navy) funds in the full contract amount of $7,378,057 will be obligated at time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

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