Raytheon to Supply $573M in AMRAAM to USAF | Finmeccanica Rebrands to Leonardo in 2017 | Test of India’s K-4 SLBM Complete Success
- The USMC is to
receive upgrades to their Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) as their replacement, the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), will not be operational until the 2020s. 392 AAV7A1s are to receive an extensive survivability upgrade in a $194 million contract. The USMC has found that AAVs have been vulnerable to improvised explosive devices (IED) and other weapons when operating in Iraq and elsewhere. Improvements to be made include flat-sided buoyant ceramic armor panels, new shock-mitigation seats, replacing benches in older AAVs, and a new transmission, increasing the vehicle’s top speed.
- Raytheon has been awarded a $573 million contract for the production and supply for Lot 30 of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and other AMRAAM system items to the USAF. Work is expected to be completed by February 28, 2019. The USAF contract follows the $95 million Foreign Military Sale of the missile to Indonesia earlier this month, and marks continued sales of the advanced missile for Raytheon. Since December 2014 the Air Force has placed AMRAAM missile orders with Raytheon worth more than $1.5 billion.
- A new weapons kit system for Black Hawk helicopters are in the works according to officials from Sikorsky. The move comes as the company is looking at adding some versatility to the utility helicopter in order to cater to market needs and increase desirability to foreign markets. The US military may not be interested in such kits, instead preferring separate attack and utility helicopter fleets, but the strategy may appeal to global markets looking to get the best value for their money. The announcement marks a proactive move by Sikorsky to exploit potential markets and new opportunities, likely influenced by new parent company Lockheed Martin.
Middle East & North Africa
- Negotiations between Russia and Egypt over communications equipment for the Egyptian Navy’s two new Mistral-class helicopter carriers is progressing well. The French made vessels initially intended for Russia had several armament, command-and-control, navigation systems, as well as radio and electronic equipment taken out in accordance with the terms of the cancellation of the sale. The Egyptians now seem to be turning to Russia to help provide these systems, after purchasing navalized Ka-52 helicopters from Moscow. It’s believed that Cairo is seeking radio and electronic equipment worth at least $1 billion USD to equip and operationalize the carriers, amounting to a nice chunk of money for Russia.
- The German Air Force may look to acquire additional transport aircraft alongside its procurement of Airbus A400Ms. Sources within the government and military have denied that the new buys are in relation to ongoing problems with the A400M; however, as many as ten new aircraft may be purchased. Potential models for the Germans could be Lockheed’s C130 Hercules, as the A400M is too wide and heavy to land on some runways.
- Norway’s Kongsberg has bought a 49.9% stake in Finnish company Patria in a deal worth $307 million. The new industry partnership will be seen as a significant strengthening of the Nordic defense industry. Kongsberg will benefit from Patria’s 50% stake in the Norwegian ammunition manufacturer Nammo, and Patria’s extensive experience of the aircraft composite industry, namely for their work on the Airbus A400 and the NH Industries NH90 helicopter.
- As of January 2017, Finmeccanica will be known as Leonardo. The rebrand of the Italian aerospace and defense giant was announced alongside a strong financial performance for 2015, ending half a decade of financial and legal turmoil. 2011 saw a net loss of more than $2.6 billion in heavy losses in power and road and rail in addition to an $848 million write-down against defects in fuselage sections and horizontal stabilizers supplied to the Boeing 787. However, for 2015, revenue was up 1.8% to $15.6 billion, and profit before interest and taxes soared 48% to $1.36 billion; return on sales increased by 1.6%, to 9.3%.
- The March 7 test by the India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of a K-4 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) has been successful. The missile was launched from a submerged pontoon in the Bay of Bengal. The missile was ejected from the launch tube underwater, ignited its engines, and proceeded to hit its target. The 10-metre tall two-stage missile has a launch weight of 20 tonnes can strike a target 3,500 km away. It is capable of carrying more than 2,000 kgs of warhead, both conventional and nuclear.
- The GaN-based AESA radar technology in Raytheon’s Patriot system:
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