The Air Force has awarded L-3 Communications a $61 million contract to add a weapons package to eight MC-130W Combat Spear special-mission aircraft to give them a gunship-like attack capability. Under the terms of the deal, L-3 will provide the weapons kits, which are called “precision strike packages,” for installation on the aircraft at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Georgia. MC-130Ws fitted with the weapons will be known as Dragon Spears. Air Force Special Operations Command is arming these aircraft to relieve the relentless operational demands on its regular AC-130 gunships until new AC-130Js enter the fleet. (See DOD’s Sept. 21 list of contracts; L-3 deal is the first Air Force entry.)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.