USAF commits nearly USD11 billion to future F-22 upgrades
08 November 2021
by Gareth Jennings
The US Air Force has earmarked close to USD11 billion to future upgrades for its fleet of 186 F-22 Raptor aircraft over the coming decade. (US Air Force)
The US Air Force (USAF) has committed nearly USD11 billion to future upgrades for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor combat aircraft.
The service awarded the original equipment manufacturer USD10.863 million on 5 November for Advanced Raptor Enhancement and Sustainment for the F-22 Program Office.
“This [indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity] contract vehicle provides support for the necessary supplies and services to sustain and modernise the F-22 Raptor, including modernisation hardware kit procurement and services such as upgrades, enhancements, and fixes, as well as performance-based logistics services,” the contract notification said.
The location of performance is Fort Worth, Texas, and if all options are utilised, work is expected to be completed by 31 October 2031.
The USAF fields 186 F-22s, with the ‘fifth generation' type's all-aspect stealth making it difficult to detect for all but the most advanced of systems and dedicated of operators. It is employed in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense said the North Korean missiles launched on 17 January from Pyongyang fell near the east coast of North Korea, outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone. (Japanese MoD – https://www.mod.go.jp/j/press/news/2022/01/17b.html)
North Korea launched two more missiles on 17 January, the latest in a series of similar drills since the beginning of 2022. Janes assesses that the new launches featured a version of the KN-24 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the two “tactical guided missiles” were fired from the “western region of our country [and] hit an island target in the East Sea of Korea with precision”. The East Sea of Korea is also known as the Sea of Japan or East Sea.
KCNA added, “The inspection [and] firing test was conducted for the purpose of selectively inspecting the tactical guided missiles being produced and verifying the accuracy of the weapon system.
“The Academy of Defence Science has confirmed the accuracy, safety, and operational effectiveness of this weapon system being produced.”
A Spanish Eurofighter combat aircraft carrying a pair of Meteor missiles on its underfuselage weapon stations. (Spanish Air Force)
The Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Espanol: EdAE) has begun flight operations of the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft armed with the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), the service announced on 15 January.
According to the service's official Twitter account, a Eurofighter (designated C.16 in national service) flew operationally for the first time with the Meteor missile on 14 January.
“Yesterday, a Eurofighter of the Ala 14 [No. 14 Wing] of the EdAE carried out, for the first time, its mission equipped with a Meteor missile,” the post said, adding that the milestone followed installation of the Phase 2 Enhancements B (P2Eb) software enhancement performed on the aircraft of Ala 14.
China's Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation (XAC) is progressing rapidly with the development of both the Y-20B heavy transport aircraft fitted with Shenyang WS-20 high-bypass turbofan engines and its KJ-600 carrier-capable airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, satellite imagery captured in late November 2021 shows.
The images – published on 12 January 2022 on several social media platforms – show at least four WS-20-powered Y-20B transport and three green KJ-600 AEW aircraft at the Xi'an-Yanliang airfield, which is home to both a XAC plant and the China Flight Test Establishment. Together with one more already painted KJ-600 prototype, four of these aircraft are confirmed to be in existence.
At least two of the Y-20Bs appear to be fitted with in-flight refuelling pods, suggesting that besides the Y-20U dedicated aerial refuelling aircraft, which is being built in larger numbers for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), a new tanker variant based on the improved Y-20B is under development, possibly for the PLAAF or the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force.
The Y-20B had its maiden flight in November 2020 and in October 2021, a second aircraft was confirmed.
In this episode of The World of Intelligence we talk about some of the current real-world challenges we face and how commercial open-source providers like Janes and like our guests, Fivecast, have started to solve some of those challenges and ho...