In September 2018, the US Army awarded competitive contracts to Thales Defense and Harris Radio Corporation, for procurement of the 2-Channel Leader Radio, to support the Army’s Network Modernization strategy, Security Force Assistance Brigade communication needs, and Network Cross-Functional Team experimentation efforts with a software-defined radio capable of providing data and voice communications via multiple waveforms. With the 2-Channel Leader Radio, soldiers will only carry one radio instead of the two currently required for voice and data. Thales’ Leader Radio is its AN/PRC-148C (IMBITR), embedding the TrellisWare TSMTM waveform.
Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) programs tend to be among the most classified programs in the U.S. and other militaries. While bits of information often become available – especially RFPs – comprehensive program information and funding tend to remain secret. It is certain that many small, probably inexpensive SIGINT sensors are currently flying aboard small UAVs, but comprehensive information is not available publicly.
Topline output continues at near record levels. Key segments look set for growth through the next three years, at least. There are areas of concern, and not all manufacturers will benefit equally, but overall the industry is in excellent shape.
World industry output in 2017 came to just over $180 billion. Deliveries in 2014-2016 have all been at about this level in constant 2018 dollars (2015 was the all-time record, at $183.5 billion).
Production of the AN/ALQ-135 has ended for US aircraft, but updated systems were in production for South Korea’s F-15Ks through about 2013 (Singapore turned to Israel for its F-15SG’s EW suite). The F-15 has been among the most successful US fighter programs, and the sale to South Korea was hugely important for its future. The F-15K/SG rejuvenated the aircraft, with new systems, weapons, and sensors. Also, both countries have al-ready bought more planes, as a 40 or 12 aircraft force is not a sustainable minimum for the long run.
For the past year, it seems like just about everyone I encounter within the space industry has asked me about this thing called “NewSpace”. It has suddenly become all the rage, a phenomenon. NewSpace has been described as both a movement and a philosophy based on the idea commercializing space—both in Earth orbit and beyond.
There has been some growing concern within the U.S. Congress and Department of Defense (DoD) in recent years about the shrinking U.S. industrial base for solid rocket motors (SRM). During the past two decades, the number of American SRM manufacturers has gone from six companies to two companies—Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, CA and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (formerly Orbital ATK) of Dulles, VA.
Although the AN/APY-8 Lynx was the best of the first generation of production-ready small SARs (Northrop Grumman’s TESAR was the only other major system, and that was removed from service on Predators without a replacement), Teal Group has long believed there has been a chance that Lynx production could have been cancelled or greatly reduced for the USAF Reaper procurement. But the first published Lynx/Reaper contract in a long time – the Air Force’s contract for 72 Block 20A Lynx upgrades in May 2015 – gave us new confidence that Lynx would continue to serve on Reaper. In February 2016, USAF FY17 budget documents indicated there were about 250 Lynx radars procured or planned for Reaper – basically one per Reaper.
Torpedo countermeasures have been a vital but little-heralded component of a surface combatant’s defensive systems, which will only become more important as the US Navy “pivots” to Asia, increasingly exposed to Chinese, North Korean, and other modern, quiet diesel submarines. The Navy will continue to install Cold War-origin AN/SLQ-25A/C NIXIE systems aboard all its new surface combatants until follow-on systems become available. Original US Navy requirements called for a total of 240 SLQ-25A systems, and perhaps 300 systems for all navies had been produced by 2005. Funding began increasing in the May 2009, FY10 budget, and continued to grow.