Boost for Lossiemouth as more personnel, Typhoons planned
The UK Government plans to station a dozen more Typhoon jets at RAF Lossiemouth and bring an extra 400 personnel to the base. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said he “expects” the Moray airbase to play host to another squadron of the fighter aircraft.
Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter when in combat with other aircraft. Later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with a likewise increasing number of different armaments and equipment including Storm Shadow and the RAF’s Brimstone.
Speaking before his speech to the Scottish Conservative conference in Edinburgh, Mr Fallon said:
He later added: “Now we are investing in proven aircraft that will be based in Lossiemouth and will be bringing an extra 400 RAF personnel to Lossiemouth.”
The announcement was made after Moray SNP MP Angus Robertson said Lossiemouth had fought “tooth and nail” to retain a strong military presence.
Lossiemouth is one of the largest and busiest fast-jet stations in the Royal Air Force and known for its close proximity to flight training areas in Scotland and it’s favourable local flying conditions. It is now the only operational RAF station in Scotland and is one of two main operating bases for the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 in the UK.
The base is home to three frontline units which operate the Typhoon (No. 1 Squadron, No. 2 (AC) Squadron and No. 6 Squadron) each of which contribute to the Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) North capability which provides protection to the UK’s airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
UK Royal Marine unit ditches the SA80 for Colt C8
Tim Ripley, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
03 March 2016
The Colt Canada C8 tactical carbine now equips the Royal Marines' 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group instead of the SA80. Source: Colt Canada
A high-profile UK Royal Marine unit has been re-equipped with the Colt Canada C8 carbine to enhance its ability to protect the Royal Navy's nuclear deterrent submarine base and nuclear weapon convoys.
The move makes the unit the first British non-special forces unit to completely drop the bullpup L85A2 (SA80) rifle used by the rest of the regular forces. Various UK special forces units already use the C8, which is designated the L119 in British service.
Details of the re-equipment effort were revealed by the commander of 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, Colonel Graeme Fraser, in a briefing document to service members distributed in February.
He said all of the unit's operational squadrons, which have the task of protecting UK nuclear weapons at HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane in Scotland or when they are being move around the UK, had been equipped with the Canadian weapon. The 790-strong commando unit also serves as the Royal Navy's specialist naval boarding unit. The "roll-out of the weapon" had been completed by the end of 2015, said Col Fraser.
43 Commando already used small numbers of L119s, as well as other specialist weapons such as the H&K MP5 submachine gun, but the move now confirms the L119 as the unit's standard weapon. A senior Royal Navy source told IHS Jane's that 300 more C8s had been purchased to fully equip 43 Commando. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) was unable to provide IHS Jane's with the cost of the acquisition.
The logic behind the move was because the L119 has "reduced ricochet, limited collateral damage" features. Both the L119 and L85A2 are chambered in the NATO-standard 5.56x45 mm round, indicating that 43 Commando will be using a low-velocity round for its L119s.
The Royal Navy said this was a "one-off" purchase and was not a signal that the Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade was going to be re-equipped with new weapon.
MBDA and Boeing studying Apache Brimstone integration
MBDA is carrying out a feasibility study for the UK Ministry of Defence into the possibility of integrating its dual-mode Brimstone air-to-surface missile onto the Boeing AH-64E Guardian attack rotorcraft.
- 18 March, 2016
- BY: Beth Stevenson
The one-year study contract was awarded to MBDA and Boeing in the second half of 2015, and will see a live firing test carried out in the third quarter of 2016, said David Armstrong, managing director of MBDA UK, speaking at an annual results briefing on 17 March.
“We are under a study contract with Boeing to explore the fit of it on the Apache,” Armstrong says. “That will result in a live test firing later this year.”
He says this is likely to be carried out in the USA using one of Boeing’s E-model test aircraft, but could also use a US Army example, if required.
The UK Army Air Corps is in the process of deciding how to upgrade its Apache capability, currently in a UK-specific AH1 configuration that carries Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfires as its air-to-surface missile.
It will either upgrade these to the US Army’s E-standard or acquire brand new rotorcraft. US government approval for a $3 billion upgrade package was granted in August.
Armstrong notes the integration risk for Brimstone on the Apache is low, as it already carries the Hellfire, and a large amount of the work surrounds modifying the fire control software.
Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database shows the Army Air Corps has 49 Apache AH1s in service, plus 17 in storage.
The company is also anticipating a follow-on contract for the UK’s SPEAR 3 next-generation air-to-surface missile development. It will be for the continuation of the development phase, but could involve a demonstration element, Armstrong says. A contract is expected in the second quarter of this year.
Brimstone Reaper integration still in the pipeline
MBDA is still hopeful its dual-mode Brimstone air-to-surface missile will be carried on General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned air vehicles, as it awaits requirements that will lead to the next round of testing.
- 18 March, 2016
- BY: Beth Stevenson
An initial test campaign concluded in January 2014 at the US Navy’s China Lake weapons range in California included nine live firings against moving ground vehicles, all of which resulted in direct hits.
Follow-on testing is yet to take place, although David Armstrong, managing director of MBDA UK, says it is still a priority of the Royal Air Force to integrate it on its current Reapers, or its future MQ-9-derived Protector fleet.
“We’ve been in dialogue with General Atomics and have quoted prices, but the issue is finding a slot in the heavy duty workload that they have ongoing,” Armstrong said at the company’s 17 March annual results briefing in London. “We have done the first phase, but it is now [about] getting full clearance on the next phase.
“It is finding the right prioritisation in the programmes. The intent is still there.”
A campaign has been under way to promote the weapon to the USA, a tough market for the European manufacturer due to the strong weapons portfolio offered by American industry.
Antoine Bouvier, chief executive of MBDA, says he is once again optimistic of the potential the company has in this market, with the Reaper being a key target platform for its weapons.
“Last year I was pessimistic… we’d spent a lot of time, resources and credibility focusing on the US… with limited success,” he says. “However, in the past couple of months we’ve seen new opportunities that we are progressing with.”
He says Brimstone is a “logical weapon for the Reaper”, but the US has no overriding requirement for it because it uses the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire in the role – as the UK also does.
“I still hope one day it will be on US Reapers,” he adds. ...
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced a further £472 million for the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme. It will allow the MOD to continue progressing the project’s demonstration phase, with additional investment for detailed design work, the purchase of essential equipment and setting up shore-based testing facilities.
Key equipment purchases will include diesel generators; sonar domes, which form the bow-mounted sonar used for Anti-Submarine detection; helicopter handling equipment to control the movement of aircraft to/from the hanger; mission bay side doors, for the loading/unloading of equipment; and the stabiliser and steering gear system, key elements of the T26 navigation system. These will all provide further work for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship supply chain.
but, yeah, later I realized the RAF would get the Poseidons, and it's time to admit to this as UK's Boeing P-8 purchase gets US tick of approvalyou sure increased my curiosity, based on "an article speculating on the potential progress of a contract", about the number of the Poseidons to be eventually procured LOL
source:The UK has moved a step closer to filling a maritime patrol void left by the retirement of the Nimrod MR2 in 2010 after being approved by the US State Department to acquire nine torpedo-carrying Boeing P-8A Poseidons for the Royal Air Force.
Estimated to be worth $3.2 billion, the deal is unlikely to face opposition from Congress during the 30-day notification period as the advanced, radar-carrying submarine and surface ship hunter is already being exported to Australia and India.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced approval of the pending foreign military sale on 25 March, just four months after British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the P-8A plan as part of a £178 billion ($270 billion) investment in new military hardware.
The Ministry of Defence opted to sole-source the nation’s lapsed maritime patrol need to the Boeing 737-based P-8 over European and Asian alternatives, such as a C295-based solution put forward by Airbus Defence & Space and the Kawasaki P-1.
Since divesting the Nimrod and abandoning its intended replacement, the BAE Systems Nimrod MRA4, the UK has retained its airborne maritime patrol and reconnaissance competency by embedding RAF crews with Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and American forces.
A Nimrod replacement “has remained the United Kingdom’s highest priority unfunded requirement,” DSCA notes.
If the acquisition in finalised, the top-tier contractors will be: ViaSat, GC Micro, Rockwell Collins, Spirit AeroSystems, Raytheon, Telephonics, Pole Zero, Northrop Grumman, Exelis, Terma, Symmetrics, Arnprior Aerospace, General Electric and Martin Baker.
source:The U.K. is gearing up to start hunting submarines and other targets with U.S. aircraft, notably the
The Pentagon recently notified Congress that Britain plans to buy up to nine of the so-called submarine hunters as part of a deal worth $3.2 billion. The Chicago-based aerospace giant also has contracts to supply as many as two dozen of the planes to other international customers including Australia and India.
The company’s biggest customer for the aircraft remains the U.S. Navy, which plans to purchase a total of 114 of the twin-engine jets at an estimated cost of $32.4 billion to replace its aging fleet of
The officer couldn’t offer many details about the unit’s recent several-month deployment to the Pacific region, but he did highlight the 28 submarine decals painted on the side of the plane, each of which represented a foreign submarine identified and located by the squadron.
The P-8 sensor suite includes an active multi-static and passive acoustic sensor system, an electro-optical/infrared sensor and a digital magnetic anomaly detector. It also carries an inverse synthetic aperture radar.
The Pentagon’s independent testing office recently concluded that the aircraft’s sensor system “provides an early P-8A wide-area, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) search capability similar to P-3C MAC search capability,” but also noted that the technology “is strongly dependent on the environmental conditions present in the search area and the actions taken by adversaries to avoid detection.”
The test report also concluded that while the sensor system “provides an effective capability in some environments and scenarios, it fails to deliver the full capability described by the Navy P-8A ASW concept of operations and MAC operational requirement documents.”
In the past, company officials have said described the acquisition program as “incremental” and “evolutionary,” with upgrades planned over time. For example, the aircraft is slated to receive software improvements, anti-submarine warfare upgrades, network-enabled weapons and additional sensor enhancements by 2021.
While the aircraft is better known for its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance abilities, it also has four wing pylons and two centerline pylons to carry weapons, including MK 54 torpedoes and AGM-84D Block 1C Harpoon anti-ship missiles.