Army Submits RFP for Biodegradable Training Ammo | Raytheon’s SM-6 Missile Cleared for Int’l Export | Leonardo Heli to Provide AW159 Wildcat Support to UK
- The US Army is looking to shoot green, releasing a solicitation for biodegradable ammunition to be used during training exercises. Biodegradable alternatives for low-velocity 40mm grenades, various mortar shells, shoulder-launched munitions, 120mm tank rounds and 155mm artillery rounds are all being sought, with the Army stating that “materials identified can be utilized by private industry to manufacture biodegradable water bottles, plastic containers, or any other composite or plastic product(s) on the market today.” Current training rounds can often take 100 years or more to biodegrade with long-term effects including the pollution and corrosion of soil and nearby water.
- Raytheon’s SM-6 missile has been cleared for international export by the US DoD. At present, the missile is in use by the US Navy, providing anti-aircraft and anti-ship defenses for its fleet. First deployed in 2013, testing of different variants of the SM-6 have progressed over the last several years, the most recent in December 2016, which confirmed the missile’s ability to be used against ocean surface targets. During the trials, the SM-6 set a record for the longest range surface-to-air interceptor.
- UAV manufacturers are off to a busy 2017, with branches of the US Armed forces commissioning new orders and sustainment works. Washington firm Insitu has been contracted $70 million for the provision of six additional Lot I RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aircraft systems to the Navy, comprised of unmanned aircraft, ground control stations, multi-mission plug-and-play payloads, and additional supporting equipment. The Army, meanwhile, has contracted Textron to perform sustainment services for the Army’s RQ-7 Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system. Valued at $ 206 million, Textron will provide engineering, logistics, field service operations, depot materiel repair and post-production software support to the Army’s fleet of 117 Shadow aircraft.
- Joint exercises between the militaries of the UK and Sierra Leone will take place for the first time. Speaking on the announcement, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said the exercises are “the latest example of the UK stepping up globally to tackle international threats that put Britain at risk.” 90 soldiers from the Queen’s Dragoon Guards will partner with 25 soldiers from Sierra Leone, with a focus on learning to fight and survive in a jungle environment.
- Germany will send troops and attack helicopters to Mali to support the current UN peace mission in the country. 150 personnel alongside eight attack helicopters will join existing troop numbers as part of efforts to tackle an Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgency that had previously co-opted an ethnic Tuareg uprising in the north of the country. The four attack helicopters and a similar number of transport machines will stay in Mali until mid-2018.
- France’s procurement agency has contracted Safran to develop and build an improved version of the global navigation system currently used on French Triomphant-class nuclear submarines. The system will incorporate new technologies for higher performance to eliminate the need for electrostatically suspended gyroscopes, which are traditionally used for navigation on strategic platforms. Safran’s navigation systems are used on more than 500 surface ships from around the world as well more than 70 nuclear-powered and diesel-electric submarines.
- Leonardo helicopters has been commissioned to provide support for UK AW159 Wildcat helicopters. The five-year Wildcat Integrated Support and Training contract, worth $333 million, will see Leonardo provide a range of support and training services for Wildcat variants operated by the Royal Navy and Army and will preserve some 500 jobs at its UK facilities. Navy Wildcats act as the core of the service’s aviation capability, tackling ASW roles, force protection, transport and information, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance, while the Army variant performs reconnaissance, command and control, force protection, and transport missions.
- A $5 billion plan to build 12 mine counter-measure vessels (MCMVs) for the Indian Navy has run aground following the refusal by South Korea’s Kangnam Corporation to provide a performance guarantee for supervision of construction of the vessels by state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd. As a result, both parties are no where near signing the $1 billion design and technology transfer agreement required for the program to go much further. According to India’s MoD, “the real bone of contention is that we want full intellectual property rights of the MCMVs which is not acceptable to the selected design and technology partner.” Discussions continue.
A recap of US SM-6 and SM-2 Block IV interceptor tests:
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