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Australia inks $582.5 million deal with Boeing to upgrade aircraft
by Richard Tomkins
Washington (UPI) Jul 5, 2017

Australian air force starts using Hawk advanced jet trainers from BAE
Washington (UPI) Jul 5, 2017 - The Royal Australian Air Force has begun flight training operations using the latest version of the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer.

The Hawk AJT has received a number of digital upgrades and can simulate radar and electronic warfare attacks, BAE Systems announced on Wednesday.

Australia's Hawk fleet is expected to be fully upgraded by 2019.

The Hawk will be the primary training aircraft for pilots of the RAAF's F-18s, its variants and the F-35 Lightning II when it enters service. Teams from BAE Systems, CAE and Cubic Defense Applications all participated in the upgrades, which included full ground crew training for servicing the aircraft.

"The upgraded BAE Systems Hawk aircraft provides the RAAF with a leading edge capability and, coupled with the CAE full mission simulators, delivers a highly impressive Lead-In Fighter Training System that will ensure Hawk retains its effectiveness into the next decade and beyond," Glynn Phillips, BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive, said in a press release.

The Hawk series of jet trainer aircraft has been in use with upgrades since its introduction in 1976. Nearly 1,000 of the aircraft have been produced, with exports to 19 countries. It is the primary jet training aircraft for the RAAF, Britain, India and other nations.

Australia is upgrading the early-warning and control capabilities of its fleet of E-7A Wedgetail aircraft with new sensors and other systems.

The $582.5 million deal with Boeing Defense Australia was announced Wednesday by Marise Payne, minister for defense, and Christopher Pyne, minister for defense industry, in a Royal Australian Air Force news release.

"The Wedgetail is a modified Boeing 737-700, with the addition of advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array radar and 10 mission crew consoles," Pyne said in a statement. "It is one of the most advanced pieces of aerospace technology in the Australian Defense Force.

In addition to the new sensors, the Royal Australian Air Force's aircraft will receive tactical data links and communication and encryption systems.

"The upgrades are an important step in maintaining a potent Australia air combat force and will ensure continued interoperability with Australian allies including the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization members,'' Payne said in a statement.

The project will be completed by mid-2022.

Boeing receives contract for U.S., Australian F/A-18 environmental systems
Washington (UPI) Jul 5, 2017 - Boeing has received an $8 million contract for engineering support and retrofitting for software improvements to environmental control systems of U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy F/A-18 aircraft.

The contract will provide for Environmental Control System Controller Software Improvements to the ECSs of F/A-18E/F fighter and E/A-18G electronic warfare aircraft, the Department of Defense announced on Monday.

Work will be conducted in Windsor Locks, Conn., El Segundo, Calif., and St. Louis, Mo. The retrofitting is expected to be completed by March 2020. Fiscal 2017 Navy aircraft procurement and foreign military sales funds of $8 million are being obligated upon award.

The F/A-18 series of fighter planes has had a history of reported incidents with oxygen and environmental control systems, leading to hypoxia-like symptoms and other debilitating conditions that can be dangerous in flight.

Similar problems with T-46 training aircraft and F-35 Lightning II fighters, as well as the F/A-18, under testing have led to multiple recent groundings of aircraft. The U.S. Navy is conducting comprehensive reviews of the problem.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet is the primary carrier and land-based multi-role fighter of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. It has been widely exported and is expected to serve for decades to come alongside the F-35. The E/A-18G Growler is an electronic warfare jamming, anti-radar variant of the series.

Northrop Grumman awarded contract for large aircraft infrared countermesure
Washington (UPI) Jun 30, 2017
Northrop Grumman Systems has received a $179 million modification to an existing contract for Large Aircraft Infrared Counter Measure hardware and support services. The work will be conducted at Rolling Meadows, Ill., and is projected to be completed by April 2019, the Department of Defense announced Thursday. Fiscal 2015, 2016, and 2017 operations and maintenance, research, development ... read more

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