Category Archives: Aerial Warfare

Work starts integrating next generation Meteor and Spear onto UK F-35 Fleet

BAE Systems has received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 programme, to start integration efforts for MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SPEAR precision surface attack missile. Under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on ASRAAM and with Raytheon on Paveway® IV, initially integrated in support of delivering Initial Operating Capability for the UK. Meteor and SPEAR are advanced weapons that complement the ‘5th gen’ F-35, bringing networked capability with stand-off – both weapons are key elements of the UK’s carrier strike capability in the future.

Tom Fillingham, Senior Vice-President – US Programmes of BAE Systems, said: “BAE Systems engineers played a crucial role in supporting the UK to achieve Initial Operating Capability for its F-35 fleet. Now, working alongside our partners including Lockheed Martin and MBDA, we are using our expertise to take that capability even further with advanced weapons systems such as Meteor and SPEAR. We are extremely proud of the critical contribution UK engineers are playing for both the UK and the global F-35 fleet through the development, production and sustainment of the aircraft.”

MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile

MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile


Cliff Waldwyn, Head of Combat Air, Group Business Development of MBDA, said: “This is a significant milestone for the UK Combat Air’s capability. This initial package of work officially commences the integration of Meteor and SPEAR and will enhance the operational capability of the UK’s Lightning Force in the future; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise as it adds additional capability choice for international customers. MBDA’s integration team have worked well with our BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin colleagues and we plan to build on this excellent foundation into the future on this follow-on modernisation work.”

Last year, a pilot from 17 Squadron, the RAF’s F-35 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California took to the skies for the first time with UK weapons, including ASRAAM and Paveway® IV.
This followed work carried out during the F-35 programme’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) initial testing phase to develop and certify weapons capabilities by an integrated test team. This team includes Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Raytheon and MBDA, working alongside the UK Air Warfare Centre to clear weapons for Operational Testing by RAF/RN pilots.

MBDA’s SPEAR precision surface attack missile

MBDA’s SPEAR precision surface attack missile

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MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing

MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing


The Brimstone 3 ultra-high precision missile system has successfully achieved a major milestone by completing its first firing trial at the Vidsel Trials range in Sweden. Whilst enduring extreme weather conditions with temperatures below -30°C, the missile was surface launched against a pick-up truck target. All trials objectives were fully achieved with the missile proving, through a telemetry unit, full closed loop guidance with the seeker progressing into target acquisition and track.

MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing

MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing


Russell Jamieson, Chief Engineer, said: “The trial further proves Brimstone’s fully flexible platform approach, providing a “one missile, multiple platform” capability, for surface launch, fast jet, remotely piloted air systems (RPAS), attack helicopter, land and maritime platforms, all utilising the same missile. The result really was a tremendous success, and thanks to the hard work and determination of the whole team.”
MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing

MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing


The demonstrated surface to surface capability builds on the advanced guidance and targeting abilities developed during the Brimstone programme and from hundreds of successful operational firings against targets in structures, main battle tanks/armoured vehicles, maritime vessels, trucks, fast moving and manoeuvring cars/motorbikes and individual targets in the open. Brimstone 3 is the product of the Brimstone Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP), announced in March 2018, that will provide new Brimstone missiles for the UK Armed Forces in order to replenish the country’s inventory and to maintain the UK’s battlefield edge into the future. It will also provide the ability to fully meet current and future export supply needs.
MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing

MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing


The new-build Brimstone missiles will incorporate all of the improved functionalities offered by the spiral upgrades of Brimstone that have taken place over recent years which include the highly capable Dual Mode semi-active laser (SAL)/millimetric wave (mmW) seeker, enhanced autopilot, and the new insensitive munition compliant rocket motor and warhead, all combining to provide unique performance capabilities of Brimstone against the most challenging of targets. The new hardware standard will also enable the addition of further capability upgrades in the future.
MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing

MBDA conducts first Brimstone 3 firing

IBCS to provide leap-ahead capabilities for Poland’s national air and missile defense program

IBCS to provide leap-ahead capabilities for Poland’s national air and missile defense program


The U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) a $713 million contract for the production of Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) for the first phase of Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program. Under this foreign military sales contract for WISŁA, Northrop Grumman will manufacture IBCS engagement operations centers and integrated fire control network relays and deliver IBCS net-enabled command and control for four firing units. The IBCS engagement operations centers will be integrated with IBCS battle management software that maximizes the combat potential of sensors and weapon systems. IBCS engagement operations centers and network relays will be transported by Polish Jelcz vehicles.

“Northrop Grumman continues to work closely with the Polish Ministry of National Defense and Polish industry toward a comprehensive offset program that meets the program goals and requirements. We look forward to continued collaboration and partnership with PGZ and its consortium of companies on this and future phases of the WISŁA program,” said Tarik Reyes, vice president, business development, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “We are pleased with the opportunity to deliver cutting-edge, net-centric IBCS technology to Poland and support the Ministry of National Defense’s modernization priorities.”

Northrop Grumman has been awarded $713 million to provide Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) next-generation capabilities for Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program.

Northrop Grumman has been awarded $713 million to provide Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) next-generation capabilities for Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program.


IBCS is the air and missile defense command-and-control solution of choice for Poland. In March 2018, Poland signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the U.S. government to purchase IBCS and became the first international partner country to acquire this advanced capability. By implementing IBCS, Poland will transform its IAMD capabilities in a manner consistent with the U.S. Army.

IBCS creates a paradigm shift for IAMD by replacing legacy stove-piped systems with a next-generation, net-centric approach to better address the evolving complex threat. The system integrates disparate radars and weapons to construct a far more effective IAMD enterprise. IBCS delivers a single integrated air picture with unprecedented accuracy and broadens surveillance and protection areas. With its truly open systems architecture, IBCS allows incorporation of current and future sensors and weapon systems and interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system.

F-35B Lightning II

F-35B Lightning II


The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. It is designed to operate from austere bases and a range of air-capable ships near front-line combat zones. It can also take off and land conventionally from longer runways on major bases. The U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B aircraft reached initial operational capability (IOC) on July 31, 2015, and as of January 2017, a squadron of F-35Bs is permanently based at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. The F-35 will replace AV-8B Harrier IIs in the Marine Corps inventory. F-35B aircraft have been delivered to the U.S. Marines and the UK. U.S. STOVL aircraft are stationed at the first operational F-35B base, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, where F-35B training is taking place. The first UK F-35Bs are located at RAF 17 Squadron, Edwards AFB, California, where operational testing is being conducted. The Italian Air Force will also operate the F-35B.

F-35B Lightning II

F-35B Lightning II


Designed to operate from austere bases and a range of air-capable ships with its short takeoff/vertical landing capability, the F-35B can also takeoff and land conventionally from longer runways on major bases. The F-35B has a Lift Fan just behind the cockpit and an engine that can swivel 90 degrees when in short takeoff/vertical landing mode. The F-35B STOVL operation is made possible through the Rolls-Royce patented shaft-driven LiftFan® propulsion system and an engine that can swivel 90 degrees when in short takeoff/vertical landing mode. Because of the LiftFan®, the STOVL variant has a smaller internal weapon bay and less internal fuel capacity than the F-35A. It uses the probe-and-drogue method of aerial refueling.
F-35B Lightning II

F-35B Lightning II


The F-35’s low observable stealth allows it to safely enter areas without being seen by radars that 4th generation fighters cannot evade. The combination of the stealth features, the F-35’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar technology, and the aircraft’s ability to carry weapons internally means the F-35 can engage ground targets at long ranges without detection and use precision weapons to successfully complete air-to-ground missions. Integrated sensors, information and weapons systems—combined with speed and maneuverability— are critical to the F-35’s air superiority. In air combat, 4th generation aircraft have a higher radar cross-section, which means they can more easily be seen by enemy fighters. A 5th generation fighter has a lower radar cross-section to allow the F-35 pilot to see the other aircraft first and take action.
F-35B Lightning II

F-35B Lightning II


Lockheed Martin awarded $506.9M contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles

Lockheed Martin awarded $506.9M contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles

The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $506.9 million contract to build the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles. the Department of Defense announced Thursday, the contract is for incidental services, hardware, facilities, equipment, as well as all technical, planning, management, manufacturing and testing efforts to produce the Patriot, which is an acronym for the Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s plant in Grand Prairie, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2024. Army fiscal 2019 other procurement funds in the amount of $506 million were obligated at the time of the award.

Lockheed Martin awarded $506.9M contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles

Lockheed Martin awarded $506.9M contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles


Patriots defend against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. The PAC-3 missiles first were deployed during the Iraq conflict in 2003 with 100 percent effectiveness. The PAC-3 significantly increase the Patriot system’s firepower because 16 PAC-3s load-out on a Patriot launcher, compared with four Patriot PAC-2 missiles. The PAC-3 upgrade consists of the PAC-3 missile, a hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 missile canisters in four packs, a fire solution computer and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System. The missile system uses a solid propellant rocket motor, aerodynamic controls, attitude control motors and inertial guidance to navigate.
Lockheed Martin awarded $506.9M contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles

Lockheed Martin awarded $506.9M contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles


Late last month, the Defense Department awarded separate contracts to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for Patriot missile support for several allied nations. Lockheed was awarded a $680 million deal earlier this month for foreign military sales to South Korea, Poland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Germany and Netherlands. Raytheon also received $102.5 million for parts on domestic and Netherlands Patriot systems on the same day. Lockheed has manufactured more than 2,000 missiles for 13 foreign nations and the United States.

Qatar Emiri Air Force Received First AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters

Qatar Emiri Air Force Received First AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters

Qatar Emiri Air Force has received the first of 24 AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters, during a ceremony at the Boeing’s manufacturer production facility in Mesa, Arizona. In July 2014, the Qatari government signed an agreement for the acquisition of 24 AH-64Es with associated equipment and training for 70 pilots and 100 ground crewmembers. The ceremony was attended by Qatar Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah. The new helicopters will allow the Qatari Armed Forces (QAF) to replace its aging airframes (SA342 Gazelle scout helicopter) with multi-mission attack helicopters. The U.S. State Department had approved the sale of 24 AH-64D Apache Block III (now called AH-64E Apache Guardian) Longbow attack helicopters on July 12, 2012 through Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route.

Qatar Emiri Air Force Received First AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters

Qatar Emiri Air Force Received First AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters


The AH-64E attack helicopter is the latest version of the AH-64, used by the US Army. It is also known as Apache Guardian. This gunship comes with new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities. Furthermore, the AH-64E helicopter can control a couple of UAVs. The AH-64Es, also known as Apaches, are helicopters that typically carry AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. They have four blades and are rotary-winged. The AH-64 Apache is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and is used by the U.S. Army and a growing number of international defense forces.
Qatar Emiri Air Force Received First AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters

Qatar Emiri Air Force Received First AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters

RAM High Precision Loitering UAV

RAM High Precision Loitering UAV


The RAM UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle ) is a high precision loitering munition developed by Defense & Electronics Technology Company (CDET) LLC, and in partnership with SpetsTechnoExport. The RAM UAV is meant to search and attack air defense batteries and armored targets to be located in the target area on land or at sea. RAM UAV carries up to 3 kg warhead and engage most targets on the battlefield. It has utilized advanced computer vision algorithm to track target based on visual feed from integrated EO camera. It is cost-effective and high power solution for combat missions. The UAV RAM has been tested in real-world combat scenarios as part of the Joint Forces Operation (renamed from Anti-Terrorist Operation as of 1 May 2018) against Russian military aggression in Eastern Ukraine, and showed very high immunity against enemy jamming attempts.

RAM High Precision Loitering UAV

RAM High Precision Loitering UAV


The RAM loitering munition has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 8 kg and measures 1.78 m long and with a 2.3 m wingspan. An electric motor enables it to stay aloft for up to 40 minutes at cruising speeds of up to 70 km/h, although it can reach a maximum speed of 150 km/h when engaging a target with its 3 kg warhead. Propelled by a low acoustic signature electric motor, the RAM UAV can covertly attack by surprise, even from a short distance from the target. Launch is catapult assisted. The drone takes only 10 minutes to go from unpack to launch. It can stay aloft for up to 40 minutes, which is quite enough to get a target detected and destroyed by lethality.
RAM High Precision Loitering UAV

RAM High Precision Loitering UAV


The RAM UAV kamikaze drone is built with extensive use of composite materials, which its designer claims makes it very low-observable to enemy air defenses. The RAM UAV has an integral flight controller capability which supports the functionality that includes autonomous preprogrammed flight, live video streaming, and guiding the munition to a target once it is located. SpetsTechnoExport claims that these munitions can engage targets out to a maximum distance of 30 km with a circular error probable (CEP) under 2 m. SpecTechnoExport is promoting RAM UAV for export. It is cost-effective and high power solution for combat missions.
RAM High Precision Loitering UAV

RAM High Precision Loitering UAV


The munition comes with three options for warhead depending on the types of targets to be attacked:
– thermobaric warhead will be used to defeat enemy personnel sheltered in buildings and fortifications, and to destroy light armored vehicles with crews and infantry passengers;
– High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead will be used against armored targets on land or at sea;
– High Explosive Fragmentation (HEF) warhead will be used against personnel targets encountered in open-area engagements.
RAM High Precision Loitering UAV

RAM High Precision Loitering UAV