F-35B complete GAU-22 testing | General Atomics to build 36 Reapers | Singapore to buy two more subs
- The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter has successfully completed airborne gunfire testing by the US Marine Corps Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons ‘Integrated Test Force’. The GAU-22/A is a four-barrel gun designed for the F-35 and has a rate of fire of 3,300 rounds per minute and an improved accuracy of 1.4 milliradians as compared to the GAU-12. On CTOL version of the aircraft, the gun is carried internally, while on STOVL and CV variants, it comes as an external podded gun.
- Raytheon has received a $26.8 million contract for the engineering and support of the MK-31 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). The US Navy contract was awarded as part of a joint cooperative development and production program between the United States and Germany under a memorandum of understanding. The program is meant to test reliability, along with maintenance, logistics, and software issues, and work is expected to be completed by September 2018. The RAM is designed for point-defense against anti-ship missiles and can be deployed on ships of any size. . It uses passive radio frequency and infrared guidance systems to track and destroy targets.
- Lockheed Martin has received a $13.4 million contract modification to a previous work order concerning the AEGIS weapons-system mounted on Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Under the deal the company will provide procurement, engineering, testing, and design and software services, with completion scheduled for September 2020. The funding comes from Fiscal 2016 ship-building money already obligated.
- The USAF has awarded a $400 million contract to General Atomics for the production and delivery of 36 MQ-9 Reaper UAVs. The contract comes from acquisition funds already appropriated sole-source acquisition funds from Fiscal 2016. Work will take place at Poway, California, and is expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2020. The Reaper, the larger and more heavily successor to the MQ-1 Predator, the UAV boasts a cruise speed of 230 mph, a flight ceiling up to 50,000 feet, and a range of 1150 miles, and can carry a payload of up to 3750 lbs. Munitions integrated include the Hellfire laser-guided missiles, GBU-12 Paveway bombs, and GPS-guided GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
Middle East & North Africa
- Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Heron 1 UAV has been selected to replace the manned Sea Scan maritime patrol aircraft of the Israeli Air Force. In order to make the Heron more suitable to maritime operations by including a maritime radar and an electro-optical payload suitable for maritime patrol and intelligence gathering missions. The maritime Heron 1 is currently being displayed at this week’s IMDEX ASIA 2017 in Singapore.
- A missile ship operated by the Israeli Navy has began sea trials with its new advanced ALPHA (Advanced Lightweight Phased Array) ELM-2258 radar. The Saar 4.5 vessel is one of nine currently fitted with the ALPHA with two more expected to receive installation by the end of the year. Based on digital AESA technology developed by IAI, the ELM-2258 is a rotating system that can produce a number of simultaneous beams for maritime and aerial targets.
- The German Air Force has requested a classified briefing on the F-35 Joint Fight Strike, indicating that Berlin is in the initial stage of requesting information for a replacement fighter that will be procured from 2025 to 2035. The request was made in a letter to the US military and makes clear that the German government has not yet authorized a procurement program and is not committed to any particular aircraft to replace its current warplanes. While a member of the Eurofighter consortium and home to strong labor unions wary of building US aircraft, Germany’s interest in the F-35 may be seen as a gesture aimed at strengthening its hand in negotiations with its European partners over the scale and timing of development of a next generation of European fighters.
- Singapore has announced that it will acquire a second batch of two more Type 218SG submarines from Germany, adding to the two already on order with manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. The first two subs are expected to be delivered in 2021 and 2022 in a deal that is estimated to be worth around $1.8 billion. Meanwhile, the second batch will be delivered post-2024, and are expected to replace Singapore’s existing two Archer-class boats, which are former Swedish Västergötland-class submarines refurbished and extensively modernized in the early part of this decade.
- F-35B airborne gunfire testing:
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