Quick-fielding contracting model touted for US Navy Task Force 59 unmanned systems in the Middle East

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy Task Force 59 is experimenting with Saildrone platforms. (Saildrone)

The contracting model employed by US Navy (USN) Task Force 59 (TF 59) makes it possible to field, test, and evaluate unmanned systems quickly in the Middle East, according to Michael Stewart, USN Unmanned Task Force lead.

“Task Force 59 is using a fee-for-service contracting model,” Stewart said on 25 May during a media roundtable update on unmanned systems' work. “They can get stuff out there really quick. They see it, lease it, get it into the theatre and test it.”

Established by the US 5th Fleet in September 2021, TF 59 works closely with members of industry and academia as well as other experts to provide operator feedback and help drive the innovation process forward for unmanned systems.

TF 59 is testing the limits of commercial technology, Stewart noted. “They are trying to get to the leading edge of commercial [technology] and see what the gaps are.”

In particular, he cited the task force's work with Martac unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and Saildrone unmanned platforms.


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Indonesia receives final C-130J-30

by Akhil Kadidal

Indonesia was supposed to receive its fourth and fifth (and final) C-130J-30s in January 2024. In this January 2024 picture is the first C-130J-30 received by Indonesia (serial no A-1339), which arrived in Indonesia on 6 March 2023. (Eko Siswono Toyudho/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) has announced that it has received its fifth and final Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules.

“The fifth C-130J-30 (with tail number A-1342) has arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base in Jakarta,” the Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on 16 May. Janes has previously reported that the acquisition of the five aircraft was part of a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) contract with Lockheed Martin.

According to the original delivery schedule, four C-130J-30s were to be delivered by October 2023, with the final aircraft to be delivered in January 2024. According to the MoD, three C-130J-30s were delivered in 2023: the first in March 2023 (serial no A-1339), the second aircraft in June 2023 (A-1340), and the third in August 2023 (A-1343). A fourth aircraft (A-1344) was delivered in January 2024.


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UK continues search to sell surplus Hercules airlifters

by Gareth Jennings

One of the last C-130Js in RAF service made its farewell flypast in June 2023. The MoD is continuing its search to find buyers for this and 14 other surplus airframes. (Crown Copyright)

The UK is continuing its search to find buyers for its fleet of retired Lockheed Martin C-130J/C-130J-30 Hercules airlifters, with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) telling Janes that it has identified several potential buyers.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) retired one ‘short' C-130J (C5 in UK service) and 13 ‘stretched' C-130J-30 (C4) airframes on 31 March 2023 (with the type's final farewell flypast following in June 2023), all of which, along with an additional C5 aircraft carried over from the previous round of retirements in 2015, are now available to overseas buyers.

“The Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) is managing the sales programme on behalf of the MoD and continues to actively pursue sales with a number of potential buyers,” the ministry said on 10 May.


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BAE touts long-term relevance of Eurofighter to UK

by Gareth Jennings

Currently scheduled to be retired in 2040, the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 could serve the UK as a force multiplier to its higher-end F-35 and Tempest aircraft well beyond that date, BAE Systems says. (Crown Copyright)

BAE Systems has touted the continued relevance of the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 to the UK, saying the ‘fourth-generation' combat aircraft can provide much-needed mass and resilience beyond its projected out-of-service date (OSD).

Speaking at the site of the BAE Systems' Warton production facility in northern England on 14 May, Mike Baulkwill, Combat Air Strategy director at the company, said that, with the international Eurofighter operator base set to fly improved and upgraded variants of the type out into the 2060s, the Royal Air Force (RAF) could retain its own aircraft beyond its current 2040 OSD.

“The Typhoon will be relatively enduring, as sometimes you will not want to use your higher-end aircraft [such as the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning and/or Tempest] – the Typhoon and the Typhoon Evolution [along with Eurofighter Evolution, the name being given to the Long-Term Evolution [LTE] mid-life refresh standard aircraft now being developed] is in a good place for that,” Baulkwill said.


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The contracting model employed by US Navy (USN) Task Force 59 (TF 59) makes it possible to field, te...

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