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Program Milestones and Tests Support Radar and Weapons Systems
April saw a fair number of reports of test successes for major programs for various armed forces across the globe with activity in radar and weapons systems particularly prominent
On the radar front, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman completed a significant milestone for the Cobra Judy Replacement program by delivering the CJR S-band active phased-array antenna to the CJR integration site at Kiewit Offshore Services, Corpus Christi, TX. Meanwhile, Raytheon's JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System) successfully demonstrated tracking targets of opportunity in the Salt Lake City air space. Northrop Grumman started system tests of a new Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) being developed for use by the US Navy onboard the MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS). Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin’s Tactical Reconnaissance and Counter-Concealment-Enabled Radar, TRACER, has completed flight testing aboard a Predator B MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial System.
On the weapon systems front, Raytheon's SLAMRAAM (Surface Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) system successfully destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle target and intercepted a cruise missile target at White Sands Missile Range, NM and also completed the first flight test of a Standard Missile-3 Block IA against an IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile). Northrop Grumman worked with the US Navy to successfully demonstrate high-energy, solid-state laser defenses at sea by completing a "counter-material" test of the Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD) against small boats. At the French DGA-Essais Missiles test centre in Biscarosse, South West France, a VL MICA missile launched from a ground based vertical launcher and controlled by a Tactical Operations Centre (TOC) developed by MBDA, intercepted a manoeuvring target flying at medium altitude and at a range greater than 15 km.
As well as radar and smart weapons, another area of growth moving forwards will be electronic warfare. Air, sea, and land electronic warfare (ASLEW) is waged within the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum to both attack and defend against enemy personnel and equipment. Electronic Warfare (EW) uses the EM spectrum to attack and disable an enemy's sensors, data links, communications, and directed energy weapons while also denying enemy EW efforts, thus degrading the enemy's warfighting capabilities.
Strategy Analytics sees space communications systems playing a strategic role as an electronic warfare force multiplier. As electronic warfare becomes increasingly integrated and net-centric, and with the tighter integration of EW and cyber/information warfare (CIW) opening up another front, space communications assets will be pivotal in supporting net-centric capabilities across airborne, naval and ground systems as part of the electromagnetic battlefield management (EMBM) strategy.
Merger and Acquisition activity in April continued at the same pace with eight defense-oriented mergers, acquisitions and similar partnerships in the past four weeks including:
BAE Systems completing the acquisition of the outstanding equity of privately owned Fairchild Imaging Inc.
Ducommun Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding stock of LaBarge Inc.
Harris Corp has completed its previously announced acquisition of the Global Connectivity Services (GCS) business from an operating unit of Schlumberger.
Microsemi acquired AML Communications, Inc a provider of microwave amplifiers and subsystems for defense electronics applications.
Defense sector contract orders again showed few signs of letup in the past month. Raytheon had a particularly strong month with accumulated contracts totalling around $400 M for April. Harris also maintained its contract momentum in the communications sector with several contracts including an agreement to supply the Canadian Navy with maritime wideband terminals.
The US Department of Defense awarded SRCTec an undefinitized bridge contract to provide spare parts for the Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar (LCMR) system.
BAE Systems received a contract from the US Navy to demonstrate a Tactical Laser System (TLS) that can be integrated with existing gun mounts.
The US Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for concept definition and program planning for the Standard Missile-3 Block IIB (SM-3 IIB), formerly known as the Next Generation Aegis Missile.
Announcements from CTT and G-Way touted the use of GaN technology while Northrop Grumman demonstrated industry leading performance for its GaN modules demonstrated through 180 days of continuous tests to validate the use of this technology for future radar, EW and communications systems. On the broader component front, US Navy researchers have put out requests for the development of innovative anti-tamper techniques so potential enemies cannot reverse-engineer US military-critical technology.