Australia awards contract for guided missile production

by Kapil Kajal

The M142 HIMARS – pictured above from Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre' 2019 – is a 227 mm (six-round) MLRS. HIMARS can hit targets at a range of 70 km using GMLRS missiles. (Australian Department of Defence)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded a contract worth AUD37.4 million (USD24.9 million) to Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) to manufacture guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) missiles in Australia, the DoD said in a press release on 16 January.

Under the ‘Guided Weapons Production Capability (GWPC) Risk Reduction Activity' contract, LMA will begin manufacturing a guided weapons production capability at the Defence Establishment Orchard Hills in western Sydney, and the initial GMLRS missiles are expected to be rolled out from 2025, LMA said in a press release on 16 January.

According to LMA, the contract will enable the production of an initial batch of GMLRS All Up Rounds (AURs) and Launch Pod Containers (LPCs) in Australia for the country's M142 high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS).


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US Space Force working to lower programme secrecy levels

by Zach Rosenberg

A USSF radome receives data from satellites at Kaena Point Space Force Station, Hawaii, in September 2022. Lowering classification levels of space-based assets and space-gathered data is intended to allow greater sharing with allied countries, effectively increasing USSF's influence over the space environment. (US Space Force)

The US Space Force (USSF) is working to lower secrecy around its highly classified programmes, two service officials said at separate events on 21 May.

Most USSF assets on orbit are classified under Special Access Program (SAP) restrictions, based on a policy written in 2004, said Frank Calvelli, assistant secretary of the air force for Space Acquisition and Integration, during testimony before the US Senate on 21 May.

SAPs are among the most highly classified secrets in the US government. Access to SAP-classified information is determined on a case-by-case basis and is not often shared with allies and close partners.

The policy classifying most USSF assets as SAPS was rewritten in December 2023 by then assistant secretary of defence for Space Policy John Plumb, said Calvelli, allowing USSF to lower classification levels of SAP programmes as necessary.


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BlueHalo to provide autonomy capabilities for Kraken Technology Group's unmanned maritime platforms

by Jeremiah Cushman

BlueHalo is partnering with Kraken Technology Group to supply autonomy capabilities and payloads for its unmanned surface vehicles including the K4 Manta, pictured above. (BlueHalo)

US company BlueHalo has partnered with Kraken Technology Group in the UK to integrate its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-backed autonomous mission systems into Kraken's unmanned maritime platforms, the companies announced in a joint statement on 3 May.

The co-operation will focus on integrating BlueHalo's autonomy capabilities with various Kraken unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned surface/subsurface vehicles (USSVs) as well as multidomain ‘marsupial' capabilities. A marsupial capability involves the delivery of a payload to a forward position in a protected fashion, Jonathan Moneymaker, CEO of BlueHalo, told Janes on 16 May. In this case, the K4 Manta USSV dives and then surfaces near the target location to deliver a payload such as an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a swarm of UASs, a counter-UAS (C-UAS) capability, or various systems for contested logistics, he said.


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GAO finds risk of additional delays to F-35 programme

by Zach Rosenberg

US Air Force F-35A Lightning II. F-35 deliveries are on hiatus until the Department of Defense certifies the TR-3 configuration for service. (US Air Force/Staff Sergeant Zade Vadnais)

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that problems with F-35 hardware and software have led to delays and cost overruns, the agency said in a report released on 16 May.

In 2023 most Lockheed Martin F-35s and the Pratt & Whitney (P&W) F135 engines that power them were delivered late, with the risk of delays to future deliveries.

“The engine contractor – Pratt & Whitney – did not deliver any engines on time in 2023,” noted the GAO. “Furthermore, in 2023, engines were delivered more than 2 months late, on average, compared with 1 month late in 2022.”

Engine deliveries were suspended following a December 2022 crash of an F-35B during a Department of Defense (DoD) acceptance evaluation flight. The cause was traced to harmonic vibrations in an engine fuel delivery tube, which cracked under the strain. Deliveries resumed in February 2023 following the development of a fix to prevent such resonance.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/industry-headlines/latest/australia-awards-contract-for-guided-missile-production

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded a contract worth AUD37.4 million (USD24.9 mil...

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