09 May 11. Brimstone Air-to-Surface Missile: Conversion. The Defence Equipment Minister said (9 May 11) that the MoD placed an order for an additional 150 Dual Mode Brimstone missiles in December 2010. The Prime Contractor (MBDA) is contracted to spend six to nine months preparing the missiles for conversion, after which they will be delivered in monthly batches. The cost of conversion is between £35,000 and £45,000 (excluding VAT) per missile.
Comment: It was earlier (16 Apr 11) established that “a number” of Dual Mode Brimstone (DMB) had been transferred from Afghanistan (OP HERRICK) to OP ELLAMY. DMB has had numerous operational firings in Afghanistan since the first in June 2009. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/19, 16 May 11)
16 May 11. Raytheon hopes to be on contract by summer for the development of two increments of the RIM-174 SM-6 Sea-Based Terminal (SBT) missile defense interceptor for U.S. Navy ships, according to senior company officials. The Navy recently selected the SM-6 as its ship-defense system over a Lockheed Martin design based on its PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement interceptor. Raytheon submitted a proposal May 6 to the Navy to outline the modifications to today’s SM-2 Block IV that are needed to achieve an SBT Increment 1 capability in 2015. A second increment will follow in 2018, according to Frank Wyatt, vice president of air and missile defense at Raytheon. Company officials say the upgrades include software changes as well as some hardware, which they declined to identify. SM-6 is based on the Standard missile body but includes an advanced seeker. Meanwhile, company officials are preparing to enter the operational testing period for SM-2 Block IV in July, Wyatt says. The system has undergone a two-phase period of developmental trials. After four flight tests, some problems were uncovered in May 2010. Among them was a problem with the testing configuration that affected the system’s fuze, Wyatt says. SM-2 Block IV returned to developmental testing in January and with two test firings demonstrated fixes to the issues that arose last year, he says. Raytheon is already on contract for three low-rate initial production lots of SM-2 Block IV over fiscal 2009-11. (Source: Aviation Week)
17 May 11. Operational deployment of the U.S. Air Force’s Blue Devil 2
persistent-surveillance airship is on track for February 2012, less than 18 months after initial contract award, a senior official says.Blue Devil 2 is an optionally manned multi-intelligence platform based on a TCOM Polar 100 airship and being integrated by small Alexandria, Va.-based MAV6. The airship will provide five days of persistence carrying wide- and narrow-field-of-view, high-definition electro-optical/infrared video sensors and a signals-intelligence payload for cueing, collection, geolocation and target identification, according to Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, military deputy for Air Force acquisition. The initial contract was awarded in October 2010, the airship’s hull is to be completed in July and first flight is scheduled for September, according to Shackelford’s presentation at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Inside Aerospace conference in Washington. MAV6 was awarded an $82.6m follow-on contract in March. Blue Devil 2 is a collaboration between the Air Force, the Army and the Pentagon’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. It is a follow-on to the Blue Devil 1 prototype, which was fielded in December to provide an interim capability, Shackelford says. (Source: Aviation Week)
17 May 11. At least five teams are bidding to develop a lightweight laser missile jammer for U.S. Army helicopters in a competition that pits experienced infrared countermeasures suppliers against newcomers keen to enter a market that is expected to grow significantly. Confirmed bidders for technology development (TD) contracts under the Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (Circm) program are BA