Five-Year Contract to Support SPIRIT Service Life Extension Programme
Company Expects Market for Several Thousand Units
ViaSat announced on 22 May it has received an order from Boeing for its KOR-24A Small Tactical Terminals (STT) for the US Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8B HARRIER fleet as well as international customers. Contract value including all options is approximately $20 million.
The STT was competitively selected based on its capability, product maturity and proven reliability as the only small form factor Link 16 and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) compatible aviation terminal fielded in the world. It will enable USMC HARRIERs to better coordinate their activities with other US and allied aircraft, as well as with ground forces using both Link 16 and SRW networks, in order to more rapidly engage enemy targets with reduced risk of fratricide or collateral damage.
"Being selected by Boeing to provide the Link 16 radio for the AV-8B is another big milestone for us," Ken Peterman, President, Government Systems at ViaSat commented. "It is further evidence of the value of our STT product as well as our commercial approach to developing products to provide our warfighters with the capability they need to address their critical gaps with little or no investment necessary by the government customer. This order from Boeing for the HARRIER increases the quantities of STTs either in the field or on order to well over 1,200 units; and we anticipate a market with at least several thousand additional units to follow."
At its annual media trip, Boeing presented its T-X solution for the US Air Force (USAF) trainer of the future. The company is very proud that it took only 36 month from the start of planning until the first flight. Boeing's main partner, responsible for the fuselage, is Saab.
All tests are done by industry, following the requirements and guideline book of the USAF. At the end, all test data has to be handed over to the USAF on 28 June 2017. Boeing built two of T-X demonstrators, BT-X1 and BT-X2, which are equal. These are more than just demonstrators, though, as they are series ready, Boeing pointed out. "They could be handed over tomorrow," one Boeing official said. If Boeing wins the tender, production will take place at Boeing's St. Louis, MI/USA facility, expected to support approximately 1,800 jobs in the region. Story here.
The cockpit is reconfigurable and offers a growth capability. As to who will provide the cockpit, Boeing stayed mum, i.e. did not disclose any information. It is offering a great field of view for both seats, and can be used by small and large personnel. Another built-in option is air-refuelling. As part of the concept, the T-X can also go supersonic with its afterburner, which is not an USAF requirement. “Boeing is meeting all the requirements,” the official said. No other capabilities were disclosed.
Looking into the future, the T-X could be also the future trainer for the US Navy or other nations, as well as a light fighter. The aircraft has the possibility/growth capability of hard points, e.g. for sensors or weapons. These are no requirements stated by USAF, but gives industry better export chances. This is the first time in the US that industry had to pay for design and production by themselves. There has not been an USAF order for the demonstrators this time, just requirements. In the end, 351 jets could be ordered, but Boeing thinks there is an opportunity for 2,000+ in the world.