JLTV Costs Drop Significantly | F-35 On Publicity Tour This Summer | NATO Cmdr Suggests U-2 Surveillance on Russia
- The US Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program (JLTV) will cost significantly less than initially expected, according to a a recent Pentagon Selected Acquisition Report (SAR). The program’s cost is to drop about $6 billion, over 19 percent, from $30.6 billion to $24.7 billion. Breaking down the savings, $3.7 billion goes in realized savings, $1.3 billion in adjustments due to a stretched out procurement, and $550 million due to a changed methodology in estimating technical data package costs, among a few other factors.
- Orbital ATK is to keep producing AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) multi-mode seekers until 2023. The extended orders were made by the US Navy, which requires 556 additional units. The addition, among some other changes, has caused a bump in the program’s cost by $484.8 million to over $2 billion. Jointly developed by the USA and Italy, the missile modification aims to improve the effectiveness of legacy Raytheon AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) variants against fixed and relocatable enemy radar and communications sites, particularly those that shut down to throw off incoming anti-radiation missiles.
- USAF stockpiles of smart munitions and bombs are being “loaned” to coalition partners currently taking part in air sorties against Islamic State territories in Iraq and Syria. The coalition, which includes Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, have been taking from the stockpiles as needed, and have been “using those weapons well” according to Lt. Gen. John Raymond, deputy chief of staff for operations at Headquarters Air Force. Raymond said the U.S. gets reimbursed for the “leasing” of its bombs, but did not specify if the reimbursement was monetary, or if partners and allies in the fight against ISIS have a trade agreement of some sort.
- Despite the delays, spiraling costs, and cynics, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has gone on a global publicity tour to win over hearts and minds for the fifth-generation stealth aircraft. Two planes due for the Netherlands are expected in June, so that they “can tell their story.” This is followed by American and UK planes performing at UK’s Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough Airshow in July. The program has been questioned by several nations, including Australia where their Senate is leading an inquiry into the planned acquisition of up to 72 conventional A-models. The inquiry will report its findings on 29 June.
Middle East North Africa
- Turkey is expecting delivery of its ordered CH-47F heavy transport helicopters as the platform has made its maiden flight recently at Boeing’s Philadelphia facilities. The first five deliveries will go to the army, and the sixth to the Turkish General Staff command. Others, including one VIP modification for the presidential office, will be used by the Turkish Special Forces. Developed in the 1960s, the CH-47 has been exported to Australia, Britain, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
- General Philip Breedlove, the head of US forces in Europe, and Nato’s supreme allied commander, has recommended the deployment of a U-2 spy plane in order to keep Russia in check. Breedlove’s comments came as he stressed the need for “additional intelligence collection platforms” to effectively counter an increased threat posed by Moscow, after decades of downgrading of American military assets in the region. Intelligence gathering capabilities needed by America’s European Command, EUCOM, to bolster their surveillance platforms, are seen as vital to assist the increased collection requirements on the continent. The plane’s ability to use its powerful cameras and sensor arrays would allow NATO to “peer” into hostile territory from an operating altitude of 70,000ft.
- Allegations of corruption surrounding Croatia’s repair of seven and purchase of five MiG-21 jets has resulted in Ukraine offering to buy back the aircraft if any wrong doing is proven. Ukraine’s ambassador in Zagreb, Oleksandr Levchenko made the offer, saying that his country was prepared to buy back the 12 jets as it is “defending its independence,” while “in a war, any weapon is welcome.” The 12 plane deal is said to be in the region of $15.6 million.
- India is to start a new procurement policy, Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016, in an initiative geared toward the theme of partnership with Indian defense companies and not mere purchase of weapons. The new policy was announced at this years Defexpo India exhibition in Goa. Under the new DPP, top priority will be given to a new category of procurement known as Indigenous Design, Development and Manufacturing (IDDM) followed by Buy (Indian), Buy and Make (Indian), and Buy and Make (Global) with the last priority Buy (Global) category. The last priority category, Buy (Global) will require foreign companies to transfer technology for providing maintenance infrastructure to India as New Delhi continues to gear its procurement of weapons systems to eventual indigenization.
- Final flight of the British Royal Navy’s Sea King Mk 4 helicopter:
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