Korea: FFX frigates: Incheon-class frigates operated by the South Korean Navy are to be armed with Haeseong II ship-to-surface cruise missiles. Six of the vessels have already been produced as part of the first batch with 18-24 planned in total. While Seoul had initially scheduled the missiles to be incorporated on all vessels from batch two onward, it was decided to retrofit the first six as well, with work scheduled to commence next month. To accommodate the new missiles, the ships will have angled canister launchers installed on their decks. More »
Raytheon has been awarded a $92 million US Navy contract for engineering and manufacturing development of the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR). The deal includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $723 million. A 2015 US Naval Institute report stated that EASR will be deployed on the future USS John F. Kennedy, the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier that is set to debut in 2020.
The US Army awarded a series of contracts as part of the preliminary design review for the replacement of General Electric’s T700 engine. General Electric and Advanced Turbine Engine were awarded $102 million and $154 million contracts respectively, with the winner getting to provide engines for a wide variety of military helicopters including the UH-60 Blackhawk and AH-64E Apache. The Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) plans to deliver an engine early in the next decade that will replace the T700 with a new design that delivers more power and consumes less fuel, yet fits into the same space reserved for current engines.
Following the Twitter reveal of the Northrop Grumman & BAE offering to the USAF’s T-X trainer competition, Boeing and Saab’s clean sheet design was revealed on Boeing’s website. With two engine inlets, a high mounted wing and a conventional, vertical tail, the design is a step away from its T-45 Goshawk used by the US Navy. Things are hotting up.
After much waiting, trial and error, the F-35’s Block 3F software upgrade has speeded up testing of the new fighter’s weapons systems. Since it’s completion, Lockheed Martin has completed 30 weapons delivery accuracy tests in one month, compared to just three accomplished with the Block 2 software. These include Boeing’s Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and GPS-guided Small Diameter Bomb, and Raytheon’s AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder.
Middle East & North Africa
The US State Department has approved the sale of Mark V fast patrol boats, weapons, ammunition and training to Qatar in a $124 million defense package. Used by US Special Operations Forces for insertion and extraction of SEAL combat swimmers, the vessels will be equipped with .50-caliber machine guns, MLG 27mm naval gun systems and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Systems.
An inquiry into a leak of sensitive technical information of France’s Scorpene attack submarine is being planned by the French government. The leak surfaced in a report by an Australian newspaper who received 22,400 pages of ship builder DCNS’s company data on the six Scorpene boats it’s constructing for the Indian Navy. The company fears that such a leak may harm the company’s deal with Australia to design and build the Shortfin Barracuda A1 diesel-electric submarine.
Russia’s latest armored tank, the T-14 Armata, is to be equipped with additional protective armor in order to better defend it in urban operations. Developed by the Russian Research Institute, “plate shields,” which are similar in appearance to the bars on metal bunk beds, will be installed along the perimeter of the machines giving additional protection to the platform’s wheels and tracks. The Russian Army plans to acquire 2,300 of the tanks by 2020.
The annual US-South Korean war games kicked off this week in what has been a year of growing diplomatic tension on the peninsula. The Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise will run until September 2 and involves some 50,000 US troops stationed in South Korea. In response, the The North called the exercises preparations for invasion, and early on Monday threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike that did not occur. The last number of months has seen increased North Korean missile testing, the deployment of THAAD systems in the South and most recently, the defection of the North Korean ambassador to the UK. What’s next?
| Contractors aiming to secure deals in relation to the Navy's MQ-25A programhave been given vague hints at what the service is expecting. Hopefuls looking to secure a slice of the action have been told they need to get that "sweet spot" between supporting mission tanking and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Born out of the scrapped Carrier-Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) program, the MQ-25 Stingray looks to include higher endurance for ISR capabilities in addition to just refueling. A lot of food for thought for those looking to get involved, but at least the initial "stealth tanker" concept has been shelved, for now.
| Approval has been given for the Indian ministry of defense to procure one additional C-130J Super Hercules, adding to six recently ordered by New Delhi in a $1 billion deal. The new aircraft was earmarked to replace one that crashed during an exercise in 2014, resulting in the death of five crew members. Once delivered, the aircraft will most likely be based in West Bengal's Panagarh, which has been slated to be the base of the Indian Air Force's second C-130J hub.
Last week ended on an extremely good note for both Boeing and Lockheed Martin after the companies were awarded major multi-billion contracts by the USAF. For Boeing, an impressive $2.8 billion award was granted on KC-46A following the tanker's Milestone C decision earlier this month. 19 aircraft will be produced alongside spare parts, engines and refueling pods. However, this was astronomically dwarfed on Friday when Lockheed Martin was handed a $10 billion deal for all future orders of the C-130J Super Hercules production program as well as any foreign military sales for the aircraft.
| Last week ended on an extremely good note for both Boeing and Lockheed Martin after the companies were awarded major multi-billion contracts by the USAF. For Boeing, an impressive $2.8 billion award was granted on KC-46A following the tanker's Milestone C decision earlier this month. 19 aircraft will be produced alongside spare parts, engines and refueling pods. However, this was astronomically dwarfed on Friday when Lockheed Martin was handed a $10 billion deal for all future orders of the C-130J Super Hercules production program as well as any foreign military sales for the aircraft.
| Elbit Systems has launched a maritime variant of its Skylark I Mini UAV. Dubbed Skylark C, the new system offers the extended operational capabilities of its land-based counterpart and provides the ability to inspect maritime activities from a safe distance, observe targets, perform reconnaissance over coastal areas, and perform continuous covert surveillance. Those standing to benefit from this latest offering include special forces and other small-scale naval crews.
| Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have submitted offers for upgraded integrated air-and-missile defense radar concepts as the US Army decides on its eventual Patriot system replacement. The service was initially planning to integrate the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), but this was ultimately shelved. As a result, the request for fresh radar concepts may prove a progressive first step in deciding whether to upgrade Patriot or go for something new.
| The Pentagon and the USAF have run into issues over the latter's plan to replace the LGM-30G intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Concern over cost estimates given the USAF have been expressed by Washington, who found that the flying branch's figure differs greatly from that of the office of independent cost assessment. The disparity stems from the fact that the US hasn't built new ICBMs in decades, and nuclear spending over the next 30 years could exceed $1 trillion. More »