JLENS Plagued by Inaccuracy | $692.9M FMS Sends Bunker Busters to Turkey | European Countries Show Interest in Patriot Air Defense
- With testing only resumed within the last fortnight, the latest problem to afflict the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) program has reared its ugly head. A recent report stated that tests found that the radars are having problems identifying “high priority radar targets” as the system struggles to convey accurate, timely information about potential airborne threats. Software which incorporated special features to supposedly deal with “very high target densities” instead excludes “certain target sets.” While Defense Secretary Ashton Carter wants to increase funding into the troubled program, the latest report may only increase an already vocal support for scrapping the project.
- The USAF Special Operations Commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold wants three more V-22 Ospreys before the product line ceases. 51 aircraft are already being funded through fiscal year 2016, however three more have been suggested as extra attrition reserves. According to budget documents, there are no further plans to procure the aircraft in fiscal years post 2016, so any additional orders would need to be added quickly before the end of production. Having four aircraft in attrition reserve as back-ups when an aircraft goes down will ensure that AFSOC forces are flying at its capacity of at least 50 airplanes well into the future, Heithold said.
- General Dynamics Land Systems has been awarded a $101.8 million modification contract for Stryker garrison/deployment maintenance and field service representative support, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2019. The armored carrier has been subject to a spate of upgrade and upgunning announcements over the last few months, with a major $411 million upgrade program made last November. The modernization serves as a move to improve durability against IEDs and to increase its operational potential such as giving it anti-aircraft and anti-tank abilities to counter Russian and Chinese threats.
- Canada has opened a competition to provide aggressor training services to its Air Force, with incumbent provider Discovery Air Defence facing a rival bid from US based Draken International. The ten year Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) program is worth $1 billion with an additional option for a five year extension. The winner will provide aircraft to simulate hostile threats for ground and naval forces as well as fighter pilots, along with training forward air controllers, towing targets, and carrying electronic warfare systems for various training scenarios. Discovery Air Defence will offer its services on the F-16 while Draken International will offer its A-4 fleet in partnership with Canadian firm CAE.
Middle East North Africa
- Ellwood National Forge and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems will share a $682.9 million foreign military sales contract to provide an unknown quantity of BLU-109 penetrator bomb bodies and components to Turkey. Despite being sold to several countries in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the sale will be the first time the bunker buster ordinance has been sold to the Turkish military. The contract follows last October’s approval of a $70 million sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) to Ankara, which when attached to BLU-109s, turns them into smart muntions.
- The Turkish government has granted land to defense firm BMC to relocate and build a new plant. The 222-hectare site will see $430 million invested by the company into the expansion with the plant believed to be operational within two years. BMC is currently bidding for the serial production of the indigenous Altay battle tank, which has been developed by rival company Otokar. While the bidding process has yet to begin, the winners would see a contract to produce up to 1,000 Altays after an initial run of 250 for the Turkish Army.
- Several European countries are looking at procuring the Patriot air-defense system from Raytheon. According to Ralph Acaba, the company’s vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Sweden has expressed significant interest with ongoing discussions over the last twelve months in regard to increasing their defensive capabilities. Others including Romania, the Czech Republic, and Finland are also in early stages of inquiry. The comments came as Raytheon unveiled their new Gallium Nitride (GaN) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar capability for the system. $200 million has been invested by Raytheon into GaN technology to counter growing competition from Lockheed Martin’s Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) as both companies look to increase business with foreign governments looking to upgrade older systems.
- New Delhi’s plans to acquire the ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft from Japan look in trouble after Tokyo has said that they have no immediate plans for “selling or delivering” the capacity-multiplier aircraft to India. The sale would mark the first big military sale between the two countries. While India is keen to obtain the amphibious aircraft, the deal was not discussed during last week’s Foreign Secretary level talks, despite discussions on a wide range of maritime security issues. The lack of clarity over the sale seems to have put the deal in limbo for the time being, or perhaps be a prelude to New Delhi having to look elsewhere.
- The USAF’s recent ‘arsenal plane’ concept:
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