US Presidential helos: The US Navy has cleared Lockheed Martin's VH-92A program Critical Design Review (CDR). Tasked with transporting the president and vice president of the United States and other officials, the VH-92 will see initial fielding in 2020, and production continuing until 2023. First flight is expected next year.
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD): China has hailed the US deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) batteries to South Korea as harming the "foundation of their trust." THAAD's presence on the Korean peninsula as a counter to North Korean nuclear missile testing also caused Chinese officials to warn that the government in South Korea "should think twice about the deployment and value the good momentum of ties between Beijing and Seoul." Meanwhile, the North moves ahead with the construction of fortified submarine pens for its ballistic missile submarines.
Rapid Fire | Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 00:58 UTC ()
The US Navy has cleared Lockheed Martin’s VH-92A program Critical Design Review (CDR). Tasked with transporting the president and vice president of the United States and other officials, the VH-92 will see initial fielding in 2020, and production continuing until 2023. First flight is expected next year.
Middle East North Africa
Two years since the commencement of deliveries, Israel has received the last of its M-346 Lavi jets from manufacturer Leonardo-Finmeccanica. The $1 billion deal sees the 30 jet trainers delivered to replace the 1960s-era Douglas TA-4 Skyhawk. Equipped with the Elbit Systems Targo helmet, the Israeli Air Force can provide synthetic on-board training for pilots transitioning onto the full range of the IAF’s frontline combat aircraft fleets which will soon include the F-35.
As US and Israeli officials move to finalize talks over the upcoming military aid package, a former IDF general has warned against his government looking to increase the amount sent. Maj. Gen. (Res) Gershon Hacohen called the increased dependence on US financing as suiting and expanding US interests and a reduction in such dependence would be better for all over time. Lamenting what he sees to be an addiction to advanced US platforms, US aid merely institutionalizes IDF reliance on air power, at the expense of innovative and daring ground maneuver warfare.
French aerospace laboratory Onera has released details on their test of the A400M transporter. The company had been contacted by manufacturer Airbus to conduct the studies of a new hose and drogue configuration designed to permit helicopter refueling from the airlifter. Customers involved in the A400 program’s development have experienced frustration over the lack of helicopter refueling capabilities, with France having already bought two Lockheed Martin KC-130J tankers to perform the task, and Germany considering a similar acquisition.
Greece’s P-3B Orion aircraft are to undergo a $142 million mid-life modernization program. Work to be carried out as highlighted in the deal include the reactivation of one of the navy’s P-3Bs and the procurement of software and hardware kits for the upgrade and modernization of a total of four aircraft. Greece operates six of the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) P-3Bs.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica is expecting to deliver the first of its ATR-72 maritime patrol aircraft to the Italian Navy within the next few weeks. A total of four will be delivered and are to conduct missions including aiding navel vessels searching for migrants crossing the Mediterranean. The $397 million deal does not give the Navy any ASW capabilities, with budget shortfalls after the 2008 economic crash causing Rome to ditch plans to look at Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon.
China has hailed the US deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) batteries to South Korea as harming the “foundation of their trust.” THAAD’s presence on the Korean peninsula as a counter to North Korean nuclear missile testing also caused Chinese officials to warn that the government in South Korea “should think twice about the deployment and value the good momentum of ties between Beijing and Seoul.” Meanwhile, the North moves ahead with the construction of fortified submarine pens for its ballistic missile submarines.
Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is to partner with South Korean giant Samsung to produce 100 tracked 155mm howitzer guns at Indian facilities. The contract, at $700 million, constitutes India’s largest ever order for the domestic private sector, and could lead to further orders of wheeled guns for the Indian Army. Offering the K-9 Vajra-T gun, the winning team beat out Rosoboronexport’s MSTA howitzer.
| Rafael's SPICE 1000 EO/GPS-guided munitions are to be adopted by the Israeli Air Force as the weapon enters into its final development stage. Integration will take place on all fighter squadrons with F-16C/D "Barak" aircraft first in line. Features of Spice include being camera operated with real time maneuver and response abilities when facing fixed and mobile targets. More »
| Boeing has announced the latest in an ongoing saga of cost overruns with the company taking a $393 million hit on the KC-46 tanker program. Well published issues such as the fault with the aircraft's refueling boom have resulted in delays to the aircraft reaching an important program milestone prior to initial production. The charges are to be formally announced on July 27 and brings the total value of penalties to almost $1.9 billion. Don't worry Boeing, the next round of drinks are on us.
| A B-52 has dropped the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) precision-guided bomb from its internal bomb bay for the first time. The test was carried out to certify the new Conventional Rotary Launcher being developed for the legacy bomber. Following the successful drop, testers will now continue with dropping the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Miniature Air Launched Decoy, and the MALD Jammer from the launcher. More »
| It's been reported that restrictions placed on Japan's RQ-4 by the US is limiting Tokyo's capabilities. Ideally, Japan wanted the RQ-4 to provide round-the-clock surveillance against neighboring North Korea and China. Now the Defense Ministry has discovered that the drone can only loiter for at most three times a week. Washington is only willing to supply optical sensors for Japanese Global Hawks, AIS tracking of ships and electronic emissions gathering sensors will not be provided at the outset. As a result, Japan may look to Israeli industry to supplement its UAV requirements with the IAI Heron.
| Saab has sent a proposal to Indonesian authorities to sell Gripen C/D fighters to their air force (TNI-AU). If selected, the Gripens would replace a well-seasoned fleet of Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters, in service since 1980. The government's replacement program initially seeks to procure 16 aircraft at a cost of $1.5 billion, but this could be expected to increase if territorial disputes in the region require Indonesia to beef up its capabilities further. More »
| Boeing is to deliver four P-8 Poseidon aircraft to the Australian government. A US Navy contract modification awarded Boeing a $100 million order to produce and deliver the aircraft by June 2017. Once delivered, the P-8s will engage in long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. More »