Navy to Get New G-550 Gulfstream | LM Reopens MK 41 VLS Production | Rolls-Royce Wins Contract to Power Italian Navy LHD
- The US Navy has awarded Gulfstream a $91 million contract to supply one G-550 Green aircraft. The plane will be equipped with Airborne Early Warning air vehicle modifications. Completion of the contract is expected in December 2018. While the Navy currently operates three G-550s in a VIP transport capacity, it is a popular choice for early warning and special missions for several world air forces. Israel possesses a number of the jets fitted with EL/W-2085 AEW&C systems as well as a model fitted for air-to-air refueling missions.
- Lockheed Martin is to restart production on its MK 41 Vertical Launching System with a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned its Middle River plant in Baltimore County, Maryland on March 24. According to an invitation to media, the MK 41 VLS is “the only launching system capable [sic] launching anti-air, anti-submarine, surface-to-surface and strike missiles and can receive orders from multiple weapon control systems to handle every warfighting mission.” The news comes as Lockheed was awarded a potential three-year $197.6 million contract modification to carry out computer program baseline development work on the US Navy’s Aegis combat systems, of which the MK 41 is a core component.
Middle East & North Africa
- Islamic State forces have displayed military equipment captured from a Russian special military advisor killed in fighting near the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. Among the kit was included an MIB multi-function munition. The “grenade mine” has a design which allows it to be thrown as a hand grenade, or emplaced as an anti-personnel mine. Little information is available about the munition in the public domain. When employed as a hand grenade, it functions with a simple 3-5 second time delay fuse before detonating. When used as a mine, it is similar to that of the US M86 Pursuit Deterrent Munition (PDM) or the Russian POM-2 scatterable AP mine. This is believed to be the first documented instance of the capture of this type of munition by a non-state armed group.
- Russia has completed the first test of its hypersonic Zircon cruise missile. While little information is known about the missile, it will be mounted on the newest fifth-generation nuclear-powered Husky-class submarines. Earlier in February, it was revealed that the Russian Navy’s nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great) would also be armed with hypersonic cruise missiles by 2022. The cruiser will be refitted with the brand new multirole 3S-14 vertical launch systems, which house three types of anti-ship missiles, including the Zircon, Onyx and Kalibr.
- MBDA will conduct a 1 year feasibility study to see the possibility of integrating its dual-mode Brimstone air-to-surface missile onto the AH-64E Guardian attack helicopter for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Live test-firing of the system is expected to take place in third quarter of this year. The testing is expected to be low risk, as the UK-specific AH1 configuration already operates the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire as its main air-to-surface missile. The main portion of the work will involve modifying the fire control software.
- Rolls-Royce has won a contract to provide its MT30 gas turbine to power a landing helicopter dock (LHD) for the Italian Navy. Two of the MT30 engines will power the $1.2 billion 20,000-ton warship due to be built by Fincantieri. The contract comes as Rolls-Royce lost out recently to rival General Electric for its LM2500 to power a fleet of multipurpose offshore patrol vessels. At present, the Italian Navy is undergoing a major program to upgrade its fleet, with funding secured for a new logistics support ship, six of the multipurpose offshore patrol vessels, and the LHD.
- The Pakistan Armed Forces have commenced trials to help select the replacement of its G3 battle rifle and Chinese Type-56 AK-47 clones. Potential options are the Beretta ARX-200, CZ-806 BREN 2, FN SCAR, Kalashnikov AK-103, and Zastava M21. Modernization efforts are also underway at the state-owned Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), aimed at enhancing export success in what is a core export defense industry for Pakistan. The selected rifle will likely see orders for at least 500,000, but it is expected that Pakistan will insist on licensed production of the weapons.
- First exports of Thales’ Fulmar UAVs are going to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. The Malaysian shipbuilder has contracted Thales to deliver six of the mini-UAVs, which will be used for surveillance, reconnaissance, and border control missions, and is expected to cost around $1.1 million. Fulmar works with a catapult-based launcher system and net landing capability. It is available for use with a variety of fuel types such as diesel oil, JP8 and JP5, approved for use on combat ships. Thales are expected to produce up to 25 models over the next two years, with the company pushing its use by Spain’s Military Emergencies Unit and the Naval Infantry Force.
- A look at the MiG-35 production line:
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