Showing results 1 - 10 of 326 for the search term(s): super hornet
Jul 10, 2017 04:57 UTC
RAAF F/A-18F rollout
Australia’s A$ 10+ billion Super Hornet program began life in a storm. Australia’s involvement in the F-35 Lightning II program have been mired in controversy, amid criticisms that the F-35A will (1) be unable to compete with proliferating SU-30 family fighters in the region, (2) lack the range or response time that Australia requires, and (3) be both late and very expensive during early production years.
The accelerated retirement of Australia’s 22 long-range F-111s in 2010 sharpened the timing debate, by creating a serious gap between the F-111’s retirement and the F-35’s likely arrival. Further delays to the F-35 program have created new worries that even the upgraded F/A-18AM/BM Hornet fleet won’t last long enough to allow smooth replacement.
The Super Hornets survived potential cancellation, and the “surprise” stopgap buy has steadily morphed into a mainstay of the future RAAF, with a new and unique set of electronic warfare capabilities thrown into the mix. This DID Spotlight article describes the models chosen, links to coverage of the key controversies, and offers a history of contracts and key events from the program’s first official requests to the present day.
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Jun 29, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin has received a $39.2 million contract modification in support of several allied countries Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile systems. Germany, Netherlands, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Japan and United Arab Emirates are all covered under the deal, which includes work on the enhanced launcher system, field missile activities and unscheduled maintenance as ordered. Contract completion is scheduled for June 25, 2018.
- The US Navy has been asked by Congress to provide a plan for the replacement of reserve F/A-18 aircraft incapable of being integrated back into their fleet. As many as 33 Super Hornets were found to lag behind front-line aircraft in terms of technology and will be unable to participate in combat activity during a time of crisis. The aircraft are predominantly used by the service to act as opposition forces for training aviators and are painted to look like Russian MiG fighters. Congress expects the plan to be delivered no later than December 1.
- Next month will see the Croatian government send letters of interest to four governments for fighter aircraft. Both the US and Israel are being looked at to provide second-hand F-16s, while Sweden and South Korea are having their respective Gripen and FA-50 fighters considered as well. Responses are expected for the second week of September. Saab, which has targeted Croatia as a potential customer for the Gripen for the last ten years, remains the front runner at present, however, Israel have approximately 40 upgraded F-16C/D variants ready to roll at a much cheaper price.
- General Dynamics European Land Systems has been contracted by the Danish government to deliver Mowag EAGLE light armored 4X4 vehicles. The initial contract calls for 36 vehicles, with deliveries starting in 2018, to supplement their existing EAGLE fleet, and contains options to expand the program to include electronic-warfare, support, and reconnaissance variants of the vehicle. The value of the deal remains unknown. Used by a number of NATO members, including Denmark and Germany, the vehicle features a modular armor package that can be adjusted depending on mission needs, including improved improvised explosive device and rocket-propelled grenade protection.
- Germany has received its 15th and final H145M multi-role helicopter from manufacturer Airbus. The 2013 contract was awarded to provide the German military with light utility and light attack rotorcraft capability, and includes a fast-roping system for troops, a camera system for reconnaissance and equipment for fire support during deployment. With Germany acting as the launch customer for the platform, other countries who have subsequently ordered the H145M include Serbia with nine units and Thailand with five.
- AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) have been deployed to South Korea by the US military. As many as ten of the long-range, precision-guided missiles are now on the peninsula, and will be deployed on F-16 fighters located at Kunsan Air Base. While the type of JASSM variant deployed remains unknown at this time, the base model boasts a range of 300 kilometers and is equipped with a penetrating blast-fragmentation warhead. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin stated in March that it had performed several flight tests with an updated version of the JASSM. Its JASSM-Extended Range (ER) is also in production.
- Japan is considering a procurement of Kongsberg’s Joint Strike Missile (JSM) for its fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in what is being considered by analysts as “a big step forward in stand-off capability”. At present, Tokyo’s fighters are only equipped with anti-ship missiles, so an added air-to-surface missile strike capability would be welcomed as tensions in the region rise amid North Korean ballistic weapons testing and the controversial deployment of the THAAD missile defense system by the US in South Korea. However, Japan had previously resisted the purchase of air-to-ground munitions, in part not to offend sensibilities in Beijing and Pyongyang, and may now face further accusations of looking to pursue renewed imperial ambitions.
- A new domestically-built destroyer has been unveiled by China. Dubbed the Type 055 destroyer, the vessel is considered to be a successor class to the smaller Type 052D guided missile destroyers and is part of a drive by Beijing to modernize and increase its naval presence within its armed forces. Local media described the vessel as “equipped with new air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons,” and will undergo testing before being commissioned into use. China’s naval effort comes alongside its increasingly assertive stance over disputed territory in the South China, where it lays claim to territory believed to hold oil and gas reserves and through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
- Live-firing of Igla missiles in Russia’s Southern District:
Jun 29, 2017 04:58 UTC
The US Navy flies the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighters, and has begun operating the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare & strike aircraft. Many of these buys have been managed out of common multi-year procurement (MYP) contracts, which aim to reduce overall costs by offering longer-term production commitments, so contractors can negotiate better deals with their suppliers.
The MYP-II contract ran from 2005-2009, and was not renewed because the Pentagon intended to focus on the F-35 fighter program. When it became clear that the F-35 program was going to be late, and had serious program and budgetary issues, pressure built to abandon year-by-year contracting, and negotiate another multi-year deal for the current Super Hornet family. That deal is now final. This entry covers the program as a whole, with a focus on 2010-2015 Super Hornet family purchases. It has been updated to include all announced contracts and events connected with MYP-III, including engines and other separate “government-furnished equipment” that figures prominently in the final price.
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Jun 20, 2017 05:00 UTC
- It’s been revealed that the US Navy intends to acquire at least 80 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft over the next five years, running against initial plans to zero out the aircraft program beginning next year. The announcement was made by the sailing branch to the US Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee last week in a written testimony notes the “Fiscal Year 2018 President’s Budget requests $1.25 billion in [the Navy’s aircraft procurement account] for 14 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft” that will “address continuing warfighter demand for advanced tactical aircraft.” 23 aircraft will procured in 2019 for $1.95 billion, 14 in 2020 for $1.35 billion and 14 in 2021 for $1.27 billion and 15 in 2022 for $1.28 billion.
- Ahead of its debut at this week’s Paris air show, Lockheed Martin are close to finishing the latest round of negotiations for the manufacture of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. As many as 440 jets are being negotiated under the deal and are being spread out over three tranches in a multi-year deal estimated to reach at least $37 billion. As many as 11 customer nations will receive fighters as part of the deal, including Australia, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, South Korea, Britain and the United States. The price of the F-35’s A variant is then expected to drop to $80 million by the end of 2020.
- Raytheon is to restart the Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) production line after a $650 million dollar order from the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan and Australia. The sale calls for the delivery of a total of 280 SM-2 Block IIIA and IIIB missiles, and the sale is expected to keep the company’s Arizona production line open through 2035 as Raytheon anticipates more orders from the US and its allies as they rebuild their inventories using the modernized production line. Congress are expected to be notified of the sale in the coming days.
- Lockheed Martin has received a $472 million US Army contract for the production of Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets. The sale includes 2,868 alternative warhead rockets, 648 unitary warhead rockets and 370 pods of reduced-range low-cost practice rocket and covers delivery under a foreign military sale to Finland, France, Germany and Singapore. Work will be conducted in Grand Prairie, Texas, and has an expected completion date of July 31, 2019.
Middle Easy & North Africa
- A US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet has scored its first air-to-air kill, shooting down a Syrian Su-22 on Sunday. The incident occurred after reports that the Su-22 had bombed the forces of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as they moved on Islamic State positions south of Tabqah. A statement by the US Central Command issued a statement saying the plane was downed “in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces,” while a Syrian army statement initially suggested that that the US-led coalition shot down one of its planes as it conducted a combat mission against Islamic State militants. The US Super Hornet is based onboard the USS George H.W. Bush, the only US aircraft carrier operating in the region.
- A new fighter attack version of Leonardo’s M-346 has been unveiled at the Paris air show. The updated aircraft—the M-346FA— includes the company’s Grifo multi-mode fire control radar, as well as seven pylons for external weapons loads, enabling it to carry 2,000 pounds of external weapons. Leonardo stated that the new fighter was designed to help different air forces meet their needs rapidly by building on a common base, adding that they have found international interest in the plane “specifically in the Far East and South America.”
- Serbia could receive a new batch of MiG-29 fighters by the end of this month, according to Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic. It had been reported in March that Belgrade would receive six MiG-29 fighter jets as well as the modernization of another four planes from Russia in a deal worth $207 million and includes the cost of fuel storage facilities, hangers to store ten planes and the complete maintenance and modernization of the planes’ missiles. The deal is being seen as good value, enabling Serbia to modernize its fleet at a much lower cost than its neighbors.
- Japan’s ShinMaywa has said that it is willing to allow Indonesian industry to collaborate on the final assembly of the US-2 amphibian aircraft if the Indonesian government selects the aircraft as its amphibious search-and-rescue (SAR) platform. However, the firm ruled out the possibility of assembling the aircraft in Indonesia as it will not be economically feasible to do so. Instead, ShinMaywa stated that the aircraft could be delivered fully assembled with final configuration works to be done in the customer’s country, mentioning Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia as a possible partner in the collaboration.
- AV-8B Harrier performs reverse landing on USS America:
Jun 09, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Canada has decided to pull back from its plan to procure 18 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters as an interim replacement for its CF-18 successor program. Instead, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has unveiled a new defense plan which calls for 88 new fighters for the Royal Canadian Air Force – an increase from the previous government’s plan to purchase 65 jets – and to recapitalise the Lockheed Martin CP-140 Aurora anti-submarine warfare and surveillance fleet. The news comes amid a row between the Canadian government, Boeing, and Bombardier, after the US company accused Bombardier of “dumping” its CSeries jet onto the US market.
Middle Easy & North Africa
- It’s been announced that Egypt has received delivery of the S-300VM air defense system, after pictures were released of the system’s vehicles and missile canisters being unloaded at the port of Alexandria. The export version of the S-300, the system is equipped with 9M82M and 9M83M missiles, providing an engagement range of up to 200 km and maximum altitude of 25,000 m. The $1 billion purchase is part of a wider $3.5 billion package agreed with Russia in 2015, and includes 50 Mikoyan MiG-29M/M2 and Kamov Ka-52K attack helicopters.
- Heron TP UAVs leased to the German military by Airbus will be operated from an Israeli air base. It is also believed that German crew will be trained at the site. Deliveries of Heron TP systems for use by the German military will commence late next year and will go towards supporting international operations involving German personnel prior to the availability of a European-developed medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV from around 2025. The deal has been initially held up after a protest by General Atomics.
- Rafael will showcase its new Spike LR II missile at this month’s Paris Air Show, adding that deliveries to customers will start in late 2018. Capable of carrying either a tandem high-explosive anti-tank warhead or a multi-purpose blast warhead, the new missile also features a new electro-optical/infrared seeker with smart target tracker capabilities. It can be launched from any current Spike launcher.
- Leonardo has unveiled” a compact version of its BriteCloud decoy system for fast jets after successful testing on Danish F-16s. Known as BriteCloud 218, the system is 2-by-1-by-8 inches and is compatible using the standard-size flare decoy cartridge, such as the F-16 and F-15. Leonardo fitted the cartridge directly into a RDAF F-16’s standard flare dispenser with no integration work required. During the test, the aircraft dispensed the BriteCloud 218 in response to being locked-onto by a real radar-guided surface to air missile targeting system. The company said that once launched, “it creates powerful electronic emissions that create a ‘false target’ and draw enemy missiles away from the real aircraft.”
- Insitu will provide three of its Integrator UAV to the Netherlands as part of Dutch military plans to replace their ScanEagle UAVs. The Integrator is a multi-mission small UAV that carries custom payloads for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is the baseline aircraft for the RQ-21A Blackjack, a program of record with the US Navy and Marine Corps that entered full-rate production last year. Each has a 40-pound payload capacity and delivers line-of-sight communications for as much as 55 nautical miles. Delivery will take place next year.
- BAE’s Advanced Hawk trainer has completed its first test-flight at the company’s Warton, Lancashire, UK site. The test aimed to assess a series of enhancements developed which could equip new-build examples or be added as upgrades to in-service aircraft. Upgrades to cockpit include a large area display and the integration of BAE’s LiteHUD head-up display, and a new wing that increases performance and the capacity for an increased range of offensive weapons and defensive measures. The aircraft will now undergo a series of flights to collect test data on the new key capability enhancements.
- The Australian government has begun testing and evaluation of two rival armored vehicles as part of its LAND 400 Phase 2 program. Rheinmetall’s Boxer CRV and the BAE Systems Australia’s Patria AMV35 are currently undergoing a year-long assessment as a risk mitigation activity, which aims to help Canberra in the final selection of a vehicle. Text-generation combat reconnaissance vehicle procurement will eventually see 225 vehicles purchased by the Australian military for a total purchase price of more than $3 billion.
- The GAIC FTC-2000 advanced jet trainer:
May 30, 2017 05:00 UTC
- F/A-18 Super Hornets operated by the US Navy will have the Infrared Search and Track System (IRST) integrated onboard by Boeing. The $89 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract calls for the initial design and development, procurement of prototyping hardware, technical risk reduction efforts, integrated product support, and technical reviews of IRST Block II with the F/A-18E/F aircraft to support the system through the preliminary design review. Work is expected to continue through to April 2020. The IRST is designed to locate the heat emitted by aircraft engines without the use of active radar, which is easily detected by enemy planes and ships. It also helps countering stealth technology.
- The Canadian government is continuing to pay into the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, with the latest instalment of $30 million quietly paid in April. Having already paid $373 million into the program since 1997, the fees keeps Ottawa at the table as one of nine partners in the fighter jet project for the next year, allowing to compete for billions of dollars worth of contracts associated with the building and maintaining F-35, as well as benefitting from a discount on units for its air force. Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, had vowed to take Canada out of the F-35 program while on the election campaign trail last year. However, since taking office, the Liberal government has paid the annual fee twice while pursuing an interim procurement of Super Hornets in order to fill the capability gap left by the ditched F-35.
- General Atomics’ new MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAV has set a new flight endurance record by topping 48 hours in the air. The new variant of the Predator B broke the record during a flight at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., while carrying 6,065 pounds of internal fuel. It flew between 25,000 and 35,000 feet for the duration of the mission and landed 48.2 hours later. The previous endurance record was held by Predator XP, which flew 46.1 hours in February 2015.
Middle East & North Africa
- Elbit Systems has been contracted to deliver its J-Music DIRCM (Direct Infrared Countermeasures) system to an international organization. The $25 million deal will be carried out over a three-year period. The Multi Spectral Infrared Countermeasures (MUSIC) systems is a family of directed infrared counter-measures solutions to protect aircraft against heat-seeking ground-to-air missiles. The system is meant for protection of large aircraft and includes the PAWS IR missile warning systems.
- Saab hopes that its JAS-39 Gripen fighter stands a good chance in an upcoming Croatian fighter replacement competition, adding that the Balkan nation is closer to modernizing its fighter jet force than might have been previously expected and would look to take offers soon. Zagreb has already inspected the Gripen and is now in the process of researching information on other fighters as a possible replacement for its fleet of MiG-21s. Saab has been focusing on increasing Gripen sale and lease agreements in central and eastern Europe, with the Czech Republic and Slovakia recently signing a “Joint Sky” agreement to co-operate on maintaining a joint Gripen fleet, while a Bulgarian interim government selected the Gripen as the best option for a new fighter fleet. However, Bulgaria’s new Prime Minister, Boiko Borissov, recently indicated that its MiG-29s could keep flying for another eleven years so a quick sale to Sofia may not be on the cards just yet.
- The Indonesian government has officially deployed its first batch of five BTR-4M armored personnel carriers from Ukraine’s Kharkiv-based Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau after testing by the army in January. Ordered in 2014 with delivery coming in 2016, the contract provides the option for further supplies of 50 vehicles comes within the framework of increased capacity of Ukraine’s military industrial complex after supplying the APCs to Ukraine’s armed forces. Both countries are also looking at expanding bilateral defense cooperation with talks ongoing to form joint ventures for the production of guided air-to-air missiles, Ukrainian radar systems and Ukrainian military cargo planes.
- MD Helicopters has received a $76.7 million contract for logistical and contractor support for MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters operated by the Afghan Air Force. US Army Fiscal 2017 funds of $37.6 million have been allocated to the program, with work to be carried out in Mesa, Ariz., and Afghanistan. The program is expected to be finished by May 31, 2018. 27 Cayuse Warriors were delivered to Kabul last year to assist in a variety of missions including escorts, over-watch, and close air support.
- The Philippines may look to Russian defense wares to arm its fleet of KAI FA-50PH fighters and AW-109 attack helicopters. Manilla has been contemplating a Russian defense deal for a number of sought items, including sniper rifles, but is also looking at acquiring precision guided munitions for its air wing. Last week, Islamist militants affiliated with the Islamic State stormed the town of Marawi, resulting in President Rodrigo Deuterte declaring martial law across the country’s southernmost island of Mindana.
May 23, 2017 05:00 UTC
- A U-2S Dragon Lady participated in the Northern Edge military exercises based out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in order to test new technologies on this later version of the 5th generation upgraded version of the venerable aircraft. The high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance plane participated alongside some 6000 personnel and 200 aircraft from every service branch, in an exercise that aims to improve interoperability and cohesion between the various branches. For the U-2S’s participation in the exercise, 130 personnel from the 9th RW were deployed to JBE.
- 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.”
Middle East & North Africa
- The Turkish government has approved a deal with local firm Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the design, development and serial production of 12 Hurkus-C armed trainer aircraft. Ankara’s procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), said the program will maximize the use of locally developed software and hardware, including in the design and integration stages. So far, the aircraft has test-fired the L-UMTAS, a laser-guided, long-range, anti-tank missile designed by state-owned missile manufacturer Roketsan, and can fire several types of locally developed ammunition including CIRIT, TEBER, HGK and LGK. TAI expects the armed Hurkus to be widely used in Turkey’s increasing counterinsurgency fight against pro-Kurdish and Islamic militants both inside Turkey and across its Syrian and Iraqi borders.
- Saudi Arabia’s Military Industries Company has entered an strategic partnership with Raytheon after a memorandum of understanding was signed at the weekend. The ceremony took place in Riyadh and was witnessed by both the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and a visiting Donald Trump. Under the terms of the deal, Raytheon will establish a wholly owned subsidiary in the country, Raytheon Arabia, that will implement programs to create indigenous defense, aerospace and security capabilities. Among subsidiary functions will be in-country program management and development of supply and sourcing capabilities. Raytheon said it is expected that Raytheon Arabia activities will positively impact the economies of both countries and lead to job creation in both. They would also continue worldwide growth in the areas of air defense systems, smart munitions, C4I systems and defense system cybersecurity.
- The French Navy has fired an Aster 30 surface-to-air missile as part of a training exercise aimed at preparing crew and vessel in engagements against airborne threats. The May 18 exercise was conducted onboard the Forbin, a Horizon-class air defense frigate, while the vessel was at sea, and marks the third time that a missile was launched from the ship since its entry into service. Paris have also armed the Aster 30 on the Forbin’s sister ship, Chevalier Paul, and will be fitted on the two forthcoming multi-mission frigates to be adapted to the air defense mission. Five intermediate frigates will also be fitted with the system following a new work order issued last month.
- Italy’s Fincantieri is looking to acquire a majority stake in French shipbuilder STX France. Fincantieri is looking to purchase a 66.66% stake in STX at a cost estimated to be worth $89 million, and plans to pay for the acquisition out of its current finances. The two companies sign the share purchase agreement late last week and Fincantieri is negotiating with the French government for the finalization of the shareholders’ agreement.
- Rolls Royce will supply its MT30 gas engines to power the upcoming Daegu-class frigates for the South Korean Navy. The order covers the delivery of engines for the second third and fourth vessel of the eight frigate program, and marks the first application for MT30 outside the UK and US markets. Work for Seoul’s Daegu-class program has been split among a number of Korean shipbuilders with Daewoo responsible for the deliver of the second frigate, while Hyundai is building ships three and four.
- The AVIC Harbin Z-19E attack helicopter has conducted its maiden flight. An export version of the Z-19, testing on the E variant included hovering, ground-effect manouevring, and low passes. Designed for anti-tank and ground attack missions, the manufacturer stated that the helicopter is “able to be deployed for battlefield support and a variety of other missions in a complicated battlefield environment during both day and night.”
- Houthi forces fire missile at Saudi F-15 in Yemen:
Mar 17, 2017 00:58 UTC
- Canada moved a step closer to acquiring the F/A-18 Super Hornet after issuing a letter of request to the US government. Included in the letter were requirements on capabilities, schedule and economic benefits for 18 aircraft. The next steps in the deal will see the Pentagon approach manufacturer Boeing as well as other suppliers in order to develop an official proposal for Ottawa which is expected for this Fall. Canada has favored a procurement of Super Hornets as an interim solution to replace its aging CF-18s after dropping out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in 2015.
- MBDA has announced that an F-35B has successfully fired its Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), the first time a British-made, non-US missile has been used on the platform. Testing took place at both the Naval Air Station NAS Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base. The company was awarded the contract in 2016 to integrate and provide the missile for UK F-35s, and is already in service with both the RAF on its Eurofighter Typhoons as well as on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18s.
Middle East & North Africa
- March 16/17: Russian state-owned firm Rostec has confirmed that deliveries of Ka-52 Alligator helicopters to Egypt will commence later this year. Cairo finalized a deal with Russia in late 2015 for 46 Alligators for operation on two French-built Mistral-class landing helicopter dock vessels (originally intended for Moscow prior to sanctions imposed on it following its annexation of Crimea.) The first batch of Alligators scheduled for delivery to Russia in 2017 were transferred to the Russian Ministry of Defense ahead of schedule in December 2016. Problems have been encountered with the Ka-52K after shipborne trials, however, postponing delivery to Egypt.
- Following its debut at the recent IDEX defence expo in Abu Dhabi, the Paramount Group has announced “a phenomenal amount of interest” in its Mwari reconnaissance and strike aircraft.” Designed as an armed version of the Ahrlac aircraft, the company touts the aircraft as combining the technology of a BAE Systems Hawk aircraft and the job of a light helicopter at an operating cost of less than $1,000 per hour, “making it ideally suited to tackle the current insurgency and asymmetrical threats currently found in many parts of the world.” The South African firm say the Mwari is ideal for Middle East forces, claiming that it does 80 percent of what a fighter jet can do, at 1/12th of the cost, making it exponentially cheaper than anything else on the market.
- Denmark has placed an order with Northrop Grumman to provide additional LITENING advanced targeting pods for their F-16s. First delivered in 2013, Denmark was the first international buyer of the LITENING G4 pod, and they are now looking to expand the use of the pod within the Royal Danish Air Force. Technologies found on the fourth generation pod include digital, high definition video, 1K forward-looking infrared and charge-coupled device sensors, laser imaging sensors and advanced data links. These advances deliver more accurate target identification and location at longer ranges than previous targeting pod systems, while also reducing pilot workload. It has been integrated on the A-10, AV-8B, B-52, C-130, F-15, F-16 and F/A-18.
- The Romanian Defense Ministry has announced that they have earmarked funding for 20 additional F-16 fighters as part of wider defense procurements that also include 8-wheeled armored personnel carriers and other equipment for their ground forces. While officials have yet to announce who the supplier will be, they are likely to approach the United States for a deal on the aircraft. At present, Romania has accepted six F-16s as part of a 2016 deal for 12 aircraft from Portugal.
- In the aftermath of cyber attacks aimed at several Polish municipalities that have hosted US troops under a planned NATO operation, government officials have backed a plan to spend $250 million per annum on cyber security. The announcement continues a trend in other NATO members, who have drastically upped funding in order to prevent breeches. While Deputy Defense Minister Tomasz Szatkowsk declined to say who was behind the attacks, the content included anti-NATO and anti-US propaganda alongside pro-Russian content.
- The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DCSA) has cleared the possible sale of 2,000 XM395 precision mortar rounds to the government of Singapore. Built by Orbital ATK, the value of the sale is estimated to reach $66 million and will include support equipment and services. Singapore intends to use the mortar rounds to defend against current and future threats in addition to bolstering homeland defenses.
- A ride in Lockheed Martin’s T-50A trainer:
Jan 25, 2017 00:58 UTC
- A change in defense strategy by the Trump Administration could see the F/A-18 compete with the F-35, according to one analyst. Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday, defense acquisition analyst Andrew Hunter stated that an “advanced Super Hornet” still can’t compete with the stealthy F-35 in airspace monitored by radar surveillance, but a semi-low-observable F/A-18E/F with more carriage capacity could emerge as an attractive option against less sophisticated threats. However, if US strategy “requires to operate continuously in denied access air environments, there is no such thing as a comparable Super Hornet…It simply doesn’t exist.”
Middle East & North Africa
- The first US State Department Foreign Military Sale (FMS) approvals of 2017 came thick and fast on Monday, with total sales to partner nations amounting to $1.8 billion. One of the first buyers to be cleared was the government of Kuwait, who are seeking air-to-air missiles as well as Apache logistics support. The first deal involves the provision of 60 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), for use by the kingdom’s F/A-18 fighters, and is costed at an estimated $110 million, while the second covers a $400 million support contract, which includes sustainment and contractor logistics support for AH-64D Apache Helicopters. As with all FMS deals, Congress has 30 days to oppose the sale.
- Another FMS cleared by the State Department is the provision of ten 74K Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) Aerostats and related equipment, support, and training to the government of Saudi Arabia. Estimated in the region of $525 million, the sale also includes: 14 Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) Radars; 26 MX-20 Electro-Optic Infrared (EO/IR) Cameras; and 10 Communications Intelligence (COMINT) Sensors. PTDS is a large helium-filled lighter than air system designed by Lockheed Martin to provide soldiers long range intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication assistance.
- Kenya has been OK’ed by the US State Department to proceed with the possible $418 million sale of military aircraft. Included in the deal are up to 12 Air Tractor AT-802L planes and two AT-504 trainer aircraft, a weapons package, technical support and program management. The prime contractor on the deal is L3 Technologies Inc (formally L3 Communications), and once delivered, the aircraft will go toward augmenting the Kenyan Armed Force’s ability to conduct close air support missions against al-Shabaab militants from neighboring Somalia.
- US media has confirmed that a British Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) fired from HMS Vengeance off the coast of Florida last year did veer off course. Citing a US defense official, CNN also reported that the inert missile triggered its automatic self-destruct sequence once the test was in jeopardy. Since the story broke on Sunday, the UK government has come under increased pressure to release details on the test, which occurred weeks before last June’s Parliament vote on the program’s $49.5 billion renewal. PM Teresa May initially refused to comment on whether she knew about the test before the vote, before confirming that she had been briefed on a range of nuclear issues, including Trident, on taking office from David Cameron in June, 2016.
- Besides Trident, the UK has been unsurprisingly cleared to receive continued C-17 logistics support services, and equipment from the US. Valued at an estimated cost of $400 million, provisions in the contract include continued support for eight RAF C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft once the previous deal expires in September.
- Russia’s Buk-M3 medium-range anti-aircraft missile system is being prepared for export by state-owned firm Almaz-Antey. The company expressed confidence in the new system’s ability to sell abroad, citing its continuous “developments in the niche of medium-range antiaircraft missile systems” over the last half century. First units of the Buk-M3 were delivered to the Russian Armed Forces last October and are already on active duty.
- Preparations are underway for a late-January test of India’s K-4 SLBM. Slated for January 31, the missile will be launched from a submerged pontoon 20-30 meters below the surface in the Bay of Bengal. An earlier test in 2016 saw the missile successfully fired from 20 meters under water, traveling 700km range before striking its target. At its maximum, the K-4 can be fired from 50 meters below the surface and has a range of 3,500 km.
Aerial Refueling of the PAK FA/T-50:
Jun 21, 2016 00:50 UTC
- Sikorsky has announced that its VH-92A Marine One helicopter is on track to fly by Spring 2017. The company was selected to design a replacement for the aging fleet of current presidential helicopters in 2014 after a cancelled attempt by Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland which saw ballooned costs and requirements running out of control. Up next for the VH-92A program is the subsystem critical design review of the helicopter at the end of next month, and that is expected to take place earlier than scheduled.
- Members of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 776, who represent a significant portion of Lockheed Martin workers at the company’s Fort Worth plant, have voted in favor of strike action. At present, both the union and Lockheed are in negotiations to replace the current four-year contract which is due to expire on July 10. Union members are asking for an extended five year contract and a 38% pay increase.
Middle East North Africa
- Four Israeli pilots are to travel to the US next month to undergo F-35 training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The training will be ground-based and the men will only fly the real aircraft back in Israel. It is expected that 12 pilots will have completed their training by the middle of 2017.
- Pressure is mounting on the Pentagon to approve the sale of F/A-18 Super Hornets to Kuwait though US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has warned that his service will have to pay more to buy the F/A-18 due to cost increases. According to Mabus, Boeing needs more orders so that it can keep producing the fighter at an economical rate as the 16 slated for Fiscal year 2017 are not enough to ensure optimum production. Kuwait has been waiting over a year for approval for 28 fighters in a deal estimated to cost $3 billion.
- Turkish police reports believe that militants belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have access to up to 50 Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS). Three reports from late May were seen by Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet and included warnings that the systems could be used to target Turkey’s Cobra helicopters. The news comes following the release of footage of a PKK militant successfully targeting and shooting down a Turkish helicopter.
- The Norwegian government has published a whitepaper outlining their Long Term Plan for the Norwegian Armed Forces between the years 2017-2020. Included in the document is a plan to acquire new maritime patrol aircraft and a long-range air defense system to complement the current NASAMS 2 such as the AMRAAM-ER currently developed by Raytheon. $19.7 billion has been set aside for the purchases.
- United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has announced that its Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA is now ready for mass production. According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, the fifth generation fighter almost fully meets the requirements of the military’s combat capabilities. UAC is also currently preparing a proposal to be submitted to the Russian Ministry of Defense on starting serial production.
- South Korea’s government has completed its own investigation into the botched attempt to upgrade the Korean Air Force F-16 with BAE Systems as contractor. According to the investigation, its Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) failed to heed warning from the Pentagon and broke US foreign military sales (FMS) by having selected the vendor and negotiated the price via competitive bidding. The incident has delayed the program by four-years and incurred a loss of $89 million.
- A Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-15J firing off its M61 Vulcan gatling cannon during a mock intercept mission: