Boeing Lands $678M DoD Contract for USN | Airbus Retrofitting CH-53’s for German Mil | Saab Pitches Swordfish to NZ’s P-3C Replacement ProgramMar 02, 2017 00:59 UTC
- Boeing has won a $678 million DoD contract to supply seven Lot 40 EA-18G Growlers and five F/A-18E Super Hornets to the US Navy. Delivery of the aircraft is expected to be completed by February 2019 after production and assembly at various US locations. The EA-18s will come with airborne electronic attack kits which support the Growler’s communication jamming capabilities.
- Firearms manufacturer Glock has lodged a protest with the US government against an award given to Sig Sauer to fill the Army’s new pistol requirement. As a result, planned testing by the Army of its XM17 Modular Handgun System has been put on hold. A modified version of Sig Sauer’s P320 was chosen by the Army in January to replace the service’s legacy M9 Beretta, beating competition from Glock and Smith & Wesson. The Army has until June to respond to Glock’s complaint.
Middle East & North Africa
- Houthi forces fighting against a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen have unveiled four indigenously designed and manufactured UAVs. The Qasef-1 is a combat drone that has a flight endurance of two hours and is capable of carrying a payload of 30 kilograms. Three other drones, the Hudhud-1, the Raqib, and the Rased are various types of reconnaissance UAVs with flight endurance ranging between 90 minutes and 2 hours, and an operational range of between 15-35 kilometres. The Houthi’s have also used their own home-made ballistic missiles against Saudi targets.
- Airbus will start retrofitting 23 CH-53 helicopters for the German military this year, extending the fleet’s lifespan up to 2030. The company will replace obsolete parts with new components on the heavy transport helicopters and the whole project will be completed by 2022. Airbus Helicopters is currently responsible for supporting the air force’s fleet of 66 VFW-Sikorsky CH-53G/GS/GA Stallions at its site in Donauworth, southern Germany. However, with the German government looking to replace the older CH-53s with either Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook or Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion, Airbus has been looking for ways to get involved with work share agreements with the two pitching firms.
- The UK MoD and Leonardo will enter phase 2 of the Rotary Wing Unmanned Air System Demonstrator program. Known as RWUAS CCD Phase 2, the two-year agreement will task the company to identify, develop and explore plans to integrate rotary-wing capabilities with military unmanned aircraft, and will build on the research and development facilitated under the first phase of the program, which took place between 2013 and 2015. Funding for the second phase is valued at $9.8 million.
- China’s Wing-Loong II UAV has made its maiden flight. Developed by Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute, the aircraft, with a wingspan of 65.6 feet, flew Monday in western China for 31 minutes. Speaking to the Xinhua news agency Li Yidong, chief designer of the Wing-Loong UAS series said that the new aircraft “can rapidly identify then strike against time-critical and fleeting targets. The capability is not possessed by previous unmanned aircraft, even manned aircraft,” and that China was following the US as “another country capable of developing such new generation large reconnaissance and strike UAS.”
- Textron AirLand has marked the Asia-Pacific market as an opportunity to promote its developmental Scorpion light attack aircraft. The company believes that Australia will soon release a request for proposals for an electronic warfare training jet that could see a small order for about three aircraft. Discussions have occurred with some Southeast Asian nations, who see an opportunity to use the Scorpion as an armed reconnaissance platform to monitor exclusive economic zones, or as an intermediate jet trainer. Textron hopes to bring Scorpion to the Singapore air show in early 2018.
- Saab has expressed interest in New Zealand’s P-3C Orion replacement program, saying its Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) system integrated with a Bombardier Global 6000 business aircraft would fit Wellington’s requirement. While details of the replacement plan have yet to be fully released, several companies have expressed interest in the procurement including Kawasaki’s P-1 platform and Boeing with its P-8 Poseidon. Saab claim their system would be a more cost effective solution to its competitors and are willing to share technology and work with local industry.
- Saab’s Swordfish MPA system: