18 May 16. Rheinmetall wins contract to extend the service life of Switzerland’s air defence systems. Rheinmetall Air Defence AG of Zürich, a member of the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Group, has won an important modernization order from the Swiss armed forces. Recently booked, the order is worth a seven-figure euro amount. Through to 2019, Rheinmetall will upgrade the fire control units and guns of the 35mm medium-calibre Oerlikon Skyguard air defence system, which has been in service with the Swiss air force for many years. The contract also includes an overhaul of the associated command and control systems in the operations centre as well as additional spare parts. By boosting the system’s operational effectiveness, these measures will extend its service life until at least 2025. The contract between armasuisse (the Swiss federal procurement agency) and Rheinmetall Air Defence AG was signed a short time ago. In its capacity as general contractor, Rheinmetall Air Defence AG is responsible for the work to extend the system’s service life. At the request of the customer, Rheinmetall Air Defence has assigned a number of tasks to RUAG Aviation, an important Swiss partner in the project. The Swiss air force’s ground-based short-range air defence systems include the lightweight Stinger guided missile, the mobile Rapier surface-to-air missile and the 35mm medium-calibre Oerlikon Skyguard. These systems are used for defending assets and infrastructure from aerial attack. All three would have reached the end of their service life during the next few years. In order to avoid a capabilities gap prior to introduction of a successor system for short-range air defence of ground assets, the 35mm medium-calibre air defence system will undergo a major service life extension programme.
16 May 16. More than thirty Royal Navy ships and submarines are to be fitted with a brand new compass system developed by Lockheed Martin as part of a six year, £17m contract from the Ministry of Defence. The Navigation Compass Programme (NCP) contract will see Lockheed Martin replace the current systems in use on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 Frigates, Hunt and Sandown Class Mine Counter Measure Vessels, Trafalgar and Vanguard Class Submarines, and a number of Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, with new, high accuracy solid state sensor based technology. Lockheed Martin has teamed up with iXBlue, a company that develops fibre optic gyroscopes, to produce the NCP. The new compasses are able to operate in the most remote locations where there is sporadic or no GPS signal available. The entire system uses the latest fibre optic technology making them ideal for use in the most demanding situations where the Royal Navy operates.
20 May 16. Airbus Helicopters in the UK has been selected by Ascent as the Aircraft Service Provider for the UK’s Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS). The contract, worth £500m over 17 years, will see Airbus Helicopters deliver aircraft and an integrated support solution
over the course of 18 months, ready to start training in April 2018. This will involve the manufacture of aircraft in addition to developing the support infrastructure and training initial crews and maintenance personnel. As part of the contract, Airbus Helicopters will supply a fleet of H135 and H145 capable of delivering the 28,000 hours per year necessary to meet the training requirement. The two types,
already a favourite for military helicopter training in the US, Australia and Germany among many other partner nations, incorporate the latest technology, allowing the crews to perform the widest envelope of training from basic flying to offshore, night time operations. Furthermore, through the UKMFTS contract, the UK will be the first country to receive the newly updated H135 Helionix, Airbus Helicopters’ advanced avionics kit which increases performance and improves safety.
18 May 16. The UK MoD has awarded a £411m contract to