P&W: F135 Engine Dev Wraps After 15 Years | Russia Flight Testing United 40 MALE UAV | Kenya Commences Building 700km WallMay 03, 2016 00:49 UTC
- DefenseOne contains a piece highlighting the Pentagon’s $10 million program exploring the possibilities of automating the search for mobile missile launchers by teaching computers to filter them out from their surroundings. Researchers are experimenting with algorithms which train computers to pick out launcher-shaped objects in the ocean of digital imagery collected by American spy satellites, manned aircraft, or drones, and do it at least well enough to alert analysts to possible hits. At present, North Korea has been using these types of launchers while conducting missile tests.
- Following 15 years of work, Pratt & Whitney announced that they are coming to the end of the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter‘s F135 propulsion system. The F135 team is also about 85% of the way through correcting an engine fault inherent in 180 early-model units which caused one aircraft to catch fire on the runway at Eglin AFB, Florida in June 2014. Derived from the F119-100 turbofan that powers the F-22 Raptor, the F135 was selected for both Lockheed X-35 and Boeing X-32 JSF prototypes.
- Embraer’s second and final test aircraft of its KC-390 program has made its maiden flight test with the company optimistic that it’s sale of 32 of the transport-tankers to Brazil will continue. Brazil, the aircraft’s only confirmed purchaser, is in the midst of political turmoil caused by a mass corruption scandal and slow economy. Further more, a decrease in government spending resulted in payments to Embraer ceasing for several months in 2015, denying the program $300 million in unpaid bills. Both parties have, however, now come to an agreement to continue payments and pay off the balance over the next four years.
Middle East North Africa
- Saudi Arabia will launch a government-owned military holding company by the first quarter of 2017 to oversee the development of the local military industry. The announcement comes as the kingdom moves to direct 50 percent of its military purchases toward domestic industries. In 2005, Saudi defense spending totaled $87.2 billion, but only 2% of that went toward local industries.
- Norway’s decision to pursue its new submarine procurement with NATO member suppliers has dashed hopes of increased Nordic defense cooperation and cross-border industrial ties. Sweden’s Saab had offered its customized version of the Swedish next-generation A-26 submarine to Norway, however Oslo decided to omit the manufacturer from its sub procurement shortlist. Instead, Germany’s Thyssen Krupp and France’s Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS) have been selected as possible suppliers of the Navy’s new submarine-class.
- Russia has confirmed that is is flight testing the United 40 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The United 40 (referring to the 40th anniversary of unification of the Arab emirates) is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) class surveillance and combat UAV built by Abu Dhabi-based company Adcom. Containing an S-shaped fuselage in a tandem biplane configuration, the UAV is very tolerant to shifts in its centre of gravity. Munitions are carried externally on four 100 kg (220 lb) underwing pylons and internally within a six-round revolving dispenser.
- Construction of a 700km security wall along the Kenyan-Somali border has been confirmed by the Kenyan government. Stretching along Kenyas northeastern border with Somalia, the wall is part of a broader national security plan to curb cross-border terror attacks by Somali terrorist group al-Shabab. The security barrier consists of a concrete wall ringed with a barbed-wire electric fence and trenches. It will also have observation posts where electronic surveillance cameras will be installed to monitor movements on either side of the border.
- The Sri Lankan media has reported that Pakistan has offered its JF-17 fighter at $29 million each to the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). Islamabad has been pressing the Sri Lankan government to replace its fleet of MiG-27 and Kfir fleets with its indigenous aircraft, but the deal has been met with opposition from India. Instead, it is thought that the SLAF will purchase fighters from Russia, believed to be in the price range of $20-25 million per aircraft.
- A look at the BMP-T Terminator: