Army Plans to Upcycle Their Strykers | Navy to Release RFP For CBARS Program FY2017 |F-16 FMS Sale to Pakistan up For Debate
- The US Army plans to upgun their 8×8 Stryker armored vehicles. The vehicles will be fitted with a 30mm automatic cannon, that comes with air-burst shells, for use in air defense activities. The gun would allow the vehicles to act as a mobile anti-aircraft gun, as the Army looks to increase capabilities of existing systems, while funds for any major programs are non-existent. The upgunning with the 30mm cannon was initially intended to destroy light-armored vehicles such as the Russian BMP, with the inclusion of the air-burst shells allowing for greater capabilities.
- Boeing is to decide whether or not they are to go ahead and self-fund the building of F/A-18 fighters, as production of the planes at their St. Louis plant has slowed from three planes a month to two. Delays in approval of the sale of 28 F/A-18s to Kuwait by the US Government has forced Boeing to consider investing hundreds of millions in order to maintain production rates for future sales of the fighter. The investment comes as the company faces job cuts, particularly in the commercial division, in addition to a federal investigation into whether it properly accounted for two jetliners, the 747 and 787. The deal with Kuwait is said to be worth approximately $3 billion to the company.
- A draft Request for Proposal (RFP) by the US Navy will be released this year for the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) program. A final RFP will be released in Fiscal Year 2017. Development of the CBARS program came out of the earlier Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program, with focus shifting from developing an aircraft from a lightly armed, information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) unmanned aerial vehicle (that would orbit around the carrier strike group) into primarily an aerial refueling tanker. The CBARS will retain a limited strike capability in addition to an ISR role for the carrier with the Navy expecting to field the aircraft by the 2020s.
Middle East North Africa
- Iraq and Russia have commenced talks over increased cooperation in the gas, oil, and energy sectors as well as continuing military-technical. The Baghdad meetings included Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin alongside more than 100 Russian officials and businessmen. The talks may also see the Iraqi government discuss the procurement of a small batch of MiG-29M fighters, however, any specific numbers have been undisclosed. Back in 2012, both countries agreed on a $4.2 billion arms package for air-defense systems, helicopters and other various armaments.
- Following the delays in finalizing Kuwait’s Eurofighter fighter deal, Kuwaiti Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Sheikh Khaled Jarrah Al-Sabah has said that contracts will be signed this week. Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti will visit Kuwait after both ministers discussed issues surrounding the deal during wider NATO talks over tackling the Islamic State in Brussels. With the deal originally planned to be finalized by the end of January, procedural delays over cost and training had put in doubt a deal being concluded any time soon.
- Belgium will issue a request for proposals (RFP) this summer for a replacement of its F-16A/B fleet. A decision on the new fighters is to be made in 2018, but an election due in 2019 will need to be taken into account. The new fighters will be brought into service by 2025 with competition expected from the usual offerings of the big five; Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed’s F-35 and the Saab Gripen. 36 new fighters are to be procured with $4 billion to be set aside for the purchases.
- Lockheed Martin is to perform mid-life upgrades to Greece’s P-3 Orion fleet. The US Navy awarded the $141 million modernization contract, which will provide an extension of service life by 15,000 flight hours. Four P-3Bs will undergo the structural mid-life upgrade, while Lockheed Martin also will reactivate one aircraft. Lockheed Martin will also provide for the inclusion of a Greek indigenous mission integration and management system, new avionics, and other ancillary hardware and services. The upgrades are to be completed by July 2019.
- Pakistan is to receive eight F-16s as the State Department approved the sale on Friday. The $699 million subsidized sale will see Islamabad get two C models and six D models of the fighter alongside 14 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS), eight AN/APG-68(V)9 radars, and eight ALQ-211(V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS). But the sale has come under scrutiny from lawmakers. Republican Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker expressed his concern in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. Corker stated that the Pakistani government’s provision of safety to militant groups such as the Haqqani Network, who operate extensively in destabilizing Afghanistan, did not warrant US taxpayers subsidizing arms sales to the country. However, he would not be opposed to the sale if Pakistan paid for the fighters themselves.
- Russian Su-34 jets serving in Syria carrying Kh-35 anti-ship missiles:
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