Brazil’s Gripen Acquisition Still Under Contention | Belarus Plans to Replace Mig-29s with Su-30s | Japanese Observers Saw NK Missile Break in Pieces
- The US Department of Defense will acquire 404 F-35 fighters over the next five years. That number is a decrease of 5-7% on last year’s plan. The order will see $40 billion in revenue going to manufacturer Lockheed Martin and engine maker Pratt & Whitney. The deviation from last year’s plan comes as the Pentagon is shifting orders away from models ordered for the Air Force instead giving preference to the Navy & Marine Corps models. The coming years will see a total of 2,457 F-35s spread around all three military branches.
- The case involving alleged corruption over Brazil’s acquisition of 36 Saab Gripen fighters is to be reopened by prosecutors. The $5.4 billion purchase had been subject to an investigation by authorities last April, but collapsed due to lack of evidence in September. Federal authorities, however, have said that they will reopen the investigation into the deal since new evidence came to light during an investigation into tax fraud. The first of the jets are scheduled to be delivered in early 2018.
Middle East North Africa
- Kuwait’s delayed signing of a deal to buy 28 Eurofighters was caused by the country’s State Audit Bureau. The Bureau’s approval is needed for any sale to go through with auditors requesting information from Finmeccanica and Eurofighter on technical support, training, spare parts and the construction of support facilities. The $8.9 billion deal was supposed to be signed on January 31 with visiting Italian officials, but further delays to any deal seem likely. Discussions between parliament and the Bureau are still ongoing, with disagreements also over the price of the deal, most of which will go to Finmeccania. While Boeing’s F/A Super Hornets were the initial choice by the Air Force, US delays in approval have increasingly become a bone of contention for Gulf nations awaiting military hardware.
- A North African country is to receive 50 MiG-29M/M2 with deputy director general of Rosoboronexport, Alexey Beskibalov, calling it the largest contract in the history of military-technical cooperation. While not mentioning the country involved, he did say the contract was signed in April 2015. This would coincide with reports of Egypt agreeing to buy 46 of the fighters in a deal worth around $2 billion. The first two of the 4th generation fighters are set to be shipped later this year.
- Egyptian Navy crews have arrived in France to prepare for the delivery of two Mistral helicopter carriers due in June and September. Training will continue until the end of March. The French built vessels, which had been originally destined for Russia, have subsequently had their communications equipment replaced with Egyptian systems. In a separate deal, Egypt will purchase navalized versions of the Ka-52K attack helicopter designed for the Russian purchase. With the initial sale to Moscow billed at around $1.3 billion, Egypt has enjoyed a slight reduction, purchasing the vessels for $1 billion.
- BAE Systems Striker II helmet-mounted display (HMD) is nearing the end of development after completing a flight-test campaign to validate its integrated night vision capability. The Striker II was developed as an alternative system for the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter, but was subsequently dropped in favour of the original Vision Systems International design. It subsequently has been qualified on the Eurofighter Typhoon but is still awaiting on receiving a production contract. BAE still remains confident in picking up future contracts as it’s adopted by fighters while continuing in to look at incorporating new technologies such as eye tracking, blink control, and medical, sport and neurological technology.
- Belarus has concluded a preliminary deal to purchase Su-30 fighters from Russia’s Irkut Corporation. The new jets will replace the Belarussian Air Force’s aging MiG-29s after reports in October 2015 stating the deal could be done by 2020. Some of the MiG-29s have been in service for nearly 30 years with fleet renewal becoming a more cost effective method than constant maintenance. The Su-30 will also allow for much greater operational capabilities including increased range and targeting abilities. Belarus remains one of Russia’s only allies in eastern Europe as more former Communist-era states are increasing their military capabilities with NATO.
- Yesterday’s launching of a long-range rocket on Sunday has drawn condemnation from the international community with the UN Security Council vowing fresh sanctions. Pyongyang claimed that the rocket was for the purpose of placing a satellite in orbit, however critics believe it may have been a ballistic missile test. The launch follows a spate of recent testing, including last month’s nuclear test, and a failed attempt at a Submarine launched ballistic missile in December. Japanese observations of the launch, which saw the rocket fly over their airspace, said that the rocket broke into five parts in various places in the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean peninsula and the East China Sea. No interceptor was fired by Japanese forces.
- The latest ad from Northrop Grumman introducing the 6th Generation fighter concept:
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