M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer: M-346 advanced jet trainers operated by the Israeli Air Force are scheduled for a set of upgrades that includes the integration of inert training bombs and external fuel tanks. Tel Aviv possesses 30 M-346 trainers—the last of which arrived in 2016—and the upgrades are expected to enable the air force to further streamline its training process. The air force's flight test centre is currently collaborating with manufacturer Leonardo and will oversee the modifications, as well as opening the trainer's full flight envelope, to match the service's operational requirements. More »
F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (2012-13): Lockheed Martin has won a $137.8 million contract modification for cost-reduction programs for the initial low-rate production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement funds from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps of $137.8 million will be allocated to the program, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. Eighty percent of the modification will go to the Air Force, with the rest split between the Navy and Marine Corps. Scheduled to be completed by December 2020, work will take place at Waco, Texas, El Segundo, Calif. and Warton, England, with other work being completed across the United States. More »
Rapid Fire | Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 05:00 UTC ()
Reuters has revealed that the Venezuelan government has stockpiles of 5,000 Russian made MANPAD surface-to-air weapons. The stash of SA-24 missiles is the largest known stockpile in Latin America and is a source of concern for US officials amid the country’s mounting turmoil, where anti-government protests against the socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, has resulted in deaths. Weapons experts said there have long been fears that the weapons could be stolen, sold or somehow channeled to the wrong hands, concerns exacerbated by the current civil unrest in Venezuela and the economic crisis roiling the oil-producing nation.
Lockheed Martin has won a $137.8 million contract modification for cost-reduction programs for the initial low-rate production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement funds from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps of $137.8 million will be allocated to the program, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. Eighty percent of the modification will go to the Air Force, with the rest split between the Navy and Marine Corps. Scheduled to be completed by December 2020, work will take place at Waco, Texas, El Segundo, Calif. and Warton, England, with other work being completed across the United States.
Boeing has been awarded a $1.09 billion undefinitized modification to a previously awarded contract for the procurement of Redesigned Kill Vehicle development. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) made the award, with work to include, but not limited to, payload development, payload ground testing, integration with the Ground-based Interceptor (GBI) and Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) Ground system, flight testing and four initial production RKVs for initial fielding. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the program to $5.84 billion.
Middle East & North Africa
In addition to its deal to build Blackhawk helicopters in the kingdom, Lockheed Martin will develop a $28 billion air and missile defense program that will include the THAAD ballistic missile defense system, the anti-aircraft missile Patriot, 150 utility Blackhawk helicopters, and other systems and logistical support. The program is projected to support 18,000 skilled jobs in the US, along with thousands of jobs maintaining the equipment in Saudi Arabia for the next 30 years. It had been reported that Riyadh was interested in THAAD ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit last weekend.
Israel Military Industries (IMI) has unveiled a new precision rocket system for special forces’ operating in urban environments. The ACCULAR system is a 122mm rocket with a 44-pound penetration or controlled fragmentation warhead with a range of 27 miles. It was developed to respond to a need by forces who operated beyond the range of traditional artillery fire support.
Malta has taken delivery of its third King Air maritime patrol aircraft. The $18 million purchase was made possible due to funds made available by the European Union (EU), and will go towards improving the Mediterranean island’s situational awareness with the ability to have a maritime domain awareness picture and advanced navigational capabilities. The previous two aircraft had been commissioned in 2011 and 2012 respectively
Japanese firms have partnered with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin to work on rival projects to develop new radars that will enhance Japan’s shield against any North Korean missile strike. Mitsubishi Electric Corp have paired with Raytheon, while Lockheed is working with Fujitsu Ltd in an effort to extend the range of Japan’s detection and targeting radars multiple times beyond range of models currently deployed at sea. Tokyo’s announcement comes as the government forge ahead with a plan to acquire the Aegis Ashore system ahead of THAAD.
The Indian government is likely to approve an Army plan to to buy 11 AH-64 attack helicopters. A previous batch of 22 Apaches had been ordered for the Air Force in 2015, but an initial procurement designated for the Army had been rejected by the previous government. The additional helicopters will now be purchased out of an optional clause in the original 2015 deal through the US Foreign Military Sales program.
| In addition to its deal to build Blackhawk helicopters in the kingdom, Lockheed Martin will develop a $28 billion air and missile defense program that will include the THAAD ballistic missile defense system, the anti-aircraft missile Patriot, 150 utility Blackhawk helicopters, and other systems and logistical support. The program is projected to support 18,000 skilled jobs in the US, along with thousands of jobs maintaining the equipment in Saudi Arabia for the next 30 years. It had been reported that Riyadh was interested in THAAD ahead of US President Donald Trump's visit last weekend. More »
| Boeing is planning future upgrades for the F/A-18 Super Hornet that will keep the fighters flying into the 2040s. If approved, the plan will see continued development of the aircraft after the current Block 3 enhancement planned for the E/F variant of the Super Hornet enters production in 2020. Speaking on the plan, Larry Burt, director of Global Sales & Marketing for the Global Strike division, said that there "could well be lots of new capabilities added after Block 3. The Block 3 is built around a new processor that is a hundred times more powerful that today's. This processor resides outside of the aircraft's Operational Flight Program [computer], and so is not tied to its five-year software development cycle. It is truly open architecture that allows for plug and play of weapons, sensors, and systems."
| The Canadian government have threatened to pull the plug on its planned acquisition of F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters following an attempt by manufacturer Boeing to have the US government investigate Bombardier’s sale of CSeries jetliners to Delta Airlines. Boeing argued at a hearing in Washington on Thursday that duties should be imposed on Bombardier's new larger C Series passenger aircraft, insisting it receives Canadian government subsidies that give it an advantage internationally. In response, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a statement after the hearing saying that the Canadian government was “reviewing current military procurement that relates to Boeing.” What ever will happen next?
| General Atomics has received a $$195.2 million contract modification for the advanced arresting gear of the CVN-80 Enterprise aircraft carrier currently under construction. Built as the the third in the Gerald R. Ford-class line of aircraft carriers, the contract includes manufacturing, assembly, and testing, while technical data and drawing changes are also part of the program. Work will be completed in primarily in San Diego, Calif., with portions conducted in Tupelo, Miss., Boston, Mass., and other locations across the country. Completion is scheduled for September 2027.
| Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been awarded an additional contract by the Indian government to supply air and defense missile systems for four ships of the Indian navy. Valued at an estimated $630 million, the agreement will include local state-owned firm Bharat Electronics Ltd, who will serve as the main contractor on the project under New Delhi's "Make in India" initiative. The deal follows a $2 billion one signed with IAI last month to supply India's army and navy with missile defense systems. The Barak-8 system is a joint development effort between IAI, India'sDefence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Israel's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Elta Systems, and Rafael, while Bharat produce the system's missiles.
| The USAF has awarded a $400 million contract to General Atomics for the production and delivery of 36 MQ-9 Reaper UAVs. The contract comes from acquisition funds already appropriated sole-source acquisition funds from Fiscal 2016. Work will take place at Poway, California, and is expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2020. The Reaper, the larger and more heavily successor to the MQ-1 Predator, the UAV boasts a cruise speed of 230 mph, a flight ceiling up to 50,000 feet, and a range of 1150 miles, and can carry a payload of up to 3750 lbs. Munitions integrated include the Hellfire laser-guided missiles, GBU-12 Paveway bombs, and GPS-guided GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions.