Mar 26, 2013 17:27 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Is Singapore about to buy F-35Bs - or more F-15s?; Britain picks its base; Rolls Royce having problems with engine parts.
F-35B: off probation
The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners,” and Japan as the 1st export customer.
The big question for Lockheed Martin is whether, and when, many of these partner countries will begin placing purchase orders. This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports during 2012-2013.
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Mar 18, 2013 17:35 UTC
Colombian K-767 MMTT
Brazil may be dithering about its future fighter fleet, but they’re taking steps to modernize another important air force capability. On March 14/13, Brazil’s FAB announces that they’ve picked Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to provide 2 Boeing 767-300ER aerial refueling and transport aircraft, in order to replace the FAB’s 4 KC-137s. Those Boeing 707 derivatives were built in the 1960s, and Brazil took delivery of their KC-137s in 1986. In 2008, Brazil’s air force general staff (EMAER) launched the KC-X2 program to replace them. IAI says that they beat “many international companies” for KC-X2, and their cost-effective solution is already flying with Brazil’s neighbor Colombia, in a smaller and shorter-range 767-200 aircraft.
Instead of ordering new aircraft, IAI Bedek uses its commercial conversion expertise to find suitable used 767 airframes at low cost, then performs a cargo conversion. That saves a lot of money, while improving the aircraft’s capabilities as Brazil’s long-range troop and cargo airlifter. Next comes installation of the aerial refueling equipment, which can be used for fighters, or to extend the reach of aircraft like their forthcoming KC-390 jet transports. IAI has developed a flying boom for the centerline, and has designed and manufactured its own wing pods for hose-and-drogue refueling. A final contract must still be signed with the FAB, which will include industrial participation from Brazilian firms. FAB [in Portuguese] | IAI.
Jan 29, 2013 17:02 UTC
Elbit Systems has enjoyed considerable domestic and export success with its Hermes 450, which sits at the smaller end of the MALE (Medium Altitude, Long Endurance) UAV spectrum. As UAVs proved themselves, Elbit wasn’t interested in ceding the market for larger and more capable MALE UAVs to the likes of IAI and General Atomics.
They invested company funds to create the larger Hermes 900, but those kinds of investments eventually need a buyer. In 2010, their home country of Israel stepped up, and became the anchor buyer for this system. They weren’t the last. A comparison with the popular Hermes 450 is instructive…
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Jan 15, 2013 15:18 UTC
In January 2013, the Colombian Ministry of National Defence awarded a $65.3 million contract to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, for 24 of the firm’s double-V hulled LAV-IIIs with add-on armor. In the USA, this LAV-III is known as the M1126 Stryker DVH, but Colombia’s new armored personnel carriers won’t have the same internal electronics fit-out. They’ll also swap in RAFAEL’s Samson RCWS weapon station up top. The contract was signed through the Government of Canada’s CCC export agency, and deliveries will be complete by May 2014.
The Ejercito Nacional de Colombia operates a very broad mix of APCs: M1117 ICVs from Textron, Russian BTR-80s, Brazilian EE-9 and EE-11s, and old US M113 tracked vehicles. None have the LAV-III DVH’s ability to survive land mine blasts. That’s becoming a bigger part of Colombia’s defense planning lately: Oshkosh’s Sand Cat vehicle was picked as a light patrol MRAP in December 2012.
Nov 30, 2012 10:10 UTC
Desk Iron Dome. Make it happen.
Ash is going to be SO jealous!
If you throw pens at Leon Panetta’s desk, the small Iron Dome replica he received as a gift from Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak won’t shoot to intercept. Panetta hid his disappointment gracefully but he would not say whether the anti-rocket system (marketed at full size by Raytheon in the US) would end up on the FY14 budget request. Joint press conference transcript.
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