10 Sep 21. AL TAIF, the UAE’s leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for military equipment, today signed a contract with L3 Harris Technologies (L3Harris), the US-based specialist in surveillance solutions, microwave weaponry and electronic warfare.
Valued at AED47m, the agreement mandates AL TAIF to deliver programme management and engineering services for Phase 3 of L3Harris’s systems integration project conducted on the vehicle fleet of the UAE Armed Forces. The work scope comprises fabrication, bracket design support and installation in compliance with ISO 9001:2015, OHSAS 18001:2007 and other regulatory standards. The three-phase project has been ongoing since 2014.
Saif Al Dahbashi, Acting CEO of AL TAIF, said, “After the successful completion of Phase 1 and 2 of the systems integration projects, we are delighted to sign the contract for the final phase. With our qualifications, knowledge of the UAE Armed Forces vehicles, and experience in executing the previous phases, we are perfectly positioned to support our partner L3Harris in providing seamless technical services to the customer. This collaboration will also help expand on our combined strategic skills and we are honoured to continue supporting the Ministry of Defence and L3Harris with our land systems capabilities.”
For his part, John Koenig, Vice President and General Manager, Global Communication Systems, L3Harris, said: “AL TAIF continues to be an exceptional partner to L3 Harris and the Ministry of Defence. Its extensive knowledge and vast experience working with the UAE Armed Forces has contributed to the overall success of the programme.”
L3Harris, one of the largest American technology and defence contractors, produces Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber-Defence and Combat Systems and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C6ISR) solutions for defence and commercial use.
Al TAIF provides essential lifecycle services and technical capability development to guarantee the ultimate asset performance and mission readiness for its customers. Its nine state-of-the-art workshops are geographically distributed to offer seamless convenience and flexibility, with a mobile unit that can quickly and efficiently address MRO demands for all land platforms and systems. The company is part of the Platforms & Systems cluster within EDGE, an advanced technology group which ranks among the top 25 military suppliers in the world.
17 Sep 21. Introducing the LMXT: America’s Next Strategic Tanker. Lockheed Martin Offers the LMXT for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-Y Program. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] introduces the LMXT as America’s next strategic tanker ― built in America by Americans for Americans. Offered in response to the U.S. Air Force’s KC-Y Program, the LMXT represents the newest chapter in Lockheed Martin’s 60+ year history of producing and delivering tanker and cargo aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and multiple operators around the world.
The LMXT complements the U.S. Air Force’s tanker capabilities by providing the most advanced aerial refueler to meet America’s immediate and long-term mission requirements. The LMXT strengthens and expands the U.S. aerospace industrial base by working with existing and new American suppliers. The LMXT also cultivates and sustains high-tech, high-skill American manufacturing jobs.
“Lockheed Martin has a long and successful track record of producing aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, and we understand the critical role tankers play in ensuring America’s total mission success,” said Greg Ulmer, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “The LMXT combines proven performance and operator-specific capabilities to meet the Air Force’s refueling requirements in support of America’s National Defense Strategy.”
The LMXT offers a proven airframe with distinct U.S. Air Force-only capabilities designed to meet operator requirements, with advantages that include:
- Significantly improved range and fuel offload capacity
- A proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by allies to refuel U.S. Air Force receiver aircraft in operations around the world
- The world’s first fully automatic boom/air-to-air refueling (A3R) system
- Operational and combat proven advanced camera and vision system
- Open system architecture JADC2 systems
- A multi-domain operations node that connects the LMXT to the larger battlespace, increasing onboard situational awareness to provide resilient communications and datalink for assets across the force
The Lockheed Martin strategic tanker builds on the combat-proven design of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin works directly to implement U.S. Air Force-specific requirements within the LMXT. As the strategic tanker of choice for 13 nations, the MRTT has logged more than 250,000 flight hours refueling U.S. and allied fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft in combat theater environments.
17 Sep 21. NP Aerospace Awarded Contract Under the UK MoD’s Vehicle Support Capital Spares Framework Agreement. NP Aerospace confirms it has been awarded a contract under the UK MoD Vehicle Support Capital Spares Multi-Supplier Framework Agreement (VSCAPS). Further details will be announced to the market over the coming weeks.
James Kempston, CEO, NP Aerospace: “NP Aerospace has an extensive history of providing through life vehicle spares and engineering support for the UK MoD’s fleet of vehicles. Our award of the VSCAPS contract continues this legacy into the future and reinforces NP Aerospace’s long-term commitment to the UK MoD’s fleet of vehicles and personnel who depend on them.”
The multi-year contract covers the full range of British Army vehicles and cements NP Aerospace’s position as a tier one supplier.
Members of the NP Aerospace Vehicle Systems and Services Team responsible for the contract are exhibiting at the DSEI event in London this week (14-17 September, stand H4-622).
14 Sep 21. U.S. Navy, Boeing Conduct First MQ-25 Refueling Mission with F-35C. Unmanned MQ-25 T1 test asset refuels a third U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft, demonstrating the maturity of the aircraft’s design and performance.
The U.S. Navy and Boeing [NYSE: BA] have used the MQ-25TM T1 test asset to refuel a U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter jet for the first time, once again demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to achieve its primary aerial refueling mission.
This was the third refueling mission for the Boeing-owned test asset in just over three months, advancing the test program for the Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft. T1 refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet in June and an E-2D Hawkeye in August.
“Every test flight with another Type/Model/Series aircraft gets us one step closer to rapidly delivering a fully mission-capable MQ-25 to the fleet,” said Capt. Chad Reed, the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. “Stingray’s unmatched refueling capability is going to increase the Navy’s power projection and provide operational flexibility to the Carrier Strike Group commanders.”
During a test flight Sept. 13, an F-35C test pilot from the Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) conducted a successful wake survey behind T1 to ensure performance and stability before making contact with T1’s aerial refueling drogue and receiving fuel.
“This flight was yet another physical demonstration of the maturity and stability of the MQ-25 aircraft design,” said Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 program director. “Thanks to this latest mission in our accelerated test program, we are confident the MQ-25 aircraft we are building right now will meet the Navy’s primary requirement – delivering fuel safely to the carrier air wing.”
The T1 flight test program began in September 2019 with the aircraft’s first flight. In the following two years, the test program completed more than 120 flight hours – gathering data on everything from aircraft performance to propulsion dynamics to structural loads and flutter testing for strength and stability.
MQ-25 is benefitting from the two years of early flight test data, which has been integrated back into its digital models to strengthen the digital thread connecting aircraft design to production to test to operations and sustainment. Boeing is currently manufacturing the first two MQ-25 test aircraft.
T1 will be used to conduct a deck handling demonstration aboard a U.S. Navy carrier in the coming months to help advance the carrier integration progress.
13 Sep 21. The F-35 Joint Program Office awarded the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) industry team annualized contracts covering fiscal years 2021-2023 to support operations and sustainment of the global F-35 fleet, supporting mission readiness and further reducing costs.
“These contracts represent more than a 30% reduction in cost per flying hour from the 2020 annualized contract.”
The annual contracts fund critical sustainment activities for aircraft currently in the fleet and build enterprise capacity to support the future fleet of more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft. This includes industry sustainment experts supporting base and depot maintenance, pilot and maintainer training, and sustaining engineering for the U.S. and our allies across the globe. It also covers fleet-wide data analytics and supply chain management for part repair and replenishment to enhance overall supply availability for the fleet.
“Together with the F-35 Joint Program Office, we recognize the critical role the F-35 plays in supporting our customers’ global missions and the need to deliver this capability affordably,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “These contracts represent more than a 30% reduction in cost per flying hour from the 2020 annualized contract, and exemplify the trusted partnership and commitment we share to reduce sustainment costs and increase availability for this unrivaled 5th generation weapon system.”
The FY2021-2023 contracts represent a planned next step in further reducing overall operations and support costs for the F-35 program, which are shared between government and industry. Lockheed Martin has reduced our cost per flight hour by 44% in the past five years, with a forecasted reduction of an additional 40% in the next five years. The cost savings in the FY21-23 annualized sustainment contracts support Lockheed Martin’s efforts to realize these goals. The savings will be achieved through improved cost and velocity in our supply chain, continued reliability improvements, and greater manpower efficiencies to provide product support solutions across the growing, global fleet. We remain committed to partnering with our customers and teammates to drive F-35 sustainment costs down.
The contracts also pave the way for a longer-term, Performance Based Logistics (PBL) agreement for the F-35 program. PBLs are an industry best practice, facilitating agile sustainment solutions for the fleet and incentivizing even further affordability and performance results.
The F-35 Joint Program Office, together with each U.S. service, international operators and the F-35 industry team, leads F-35 sustainment and the Global Support Solution. The 2021 annualized sustainment contract will cover industry sustainment activities through Dec. 31, 2021.
Greater Reliability and Affordability
Program data shows the F-35’s reliability continues to improve as the jet is approximately twice as reliable as fourth generation fighters. It also shows maintenance labor hours needed per flight hour are well within the contractual requirement, while the global fleet is averaging around 70% mission capable rates. Lockheed Martin has significantly lowered its share of cost per flight hour over the last five years, and the broader F-35 team is working across government and industry to achieve greater affordability.
More than 690 aircraft have been delivered and are operating from 21 bases around the globe. More than 1,460 pilots and 11,025 maintainers have been trained and the F-35 fleet has surpassed 430,000 cumulative flight hours.