Pratt & Whitney to Produce Engines for F-35 | Dev Program Seeks to Increase Tomahawks Payload | Afghanistan Gets 4 Super Tucanos
- The upgrade program of the Chinook CH-47F looks to be shortly approved after a successful meeting at the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council. All that is required for the project to be green lit, is a signed decision memorandum that will allow the service to release a request for proposals for its “Block II” upgrade program. While little is known of the exact upgrades that will be part of the program, it is believed that changes will be made to the electrical system, transmission and rotor system, as well as increasing the helicopter payload by 4,000 pounds to 54,000.
- Engine makers Pratt & Whitney will make engines for the F-35 program. Details of the agreement have yet to be finalized, but two contracts will be issued to produce 167 engines to power Lockheed Martin’s latest jet within the next month. Further details of the deals have yet to be realized, but sources close to the deal revealed that the production of the engines alongside engineering support, spare parts and program management, would be worth more than $3 billion to Pratt, a unit of United Technologies Corporation. The USAF said that the latest contracts will help drive down costs of the program which makes it affordable for customers.
- Tomahawk cruise missiles could get a lot more destructive if a new development program is successful. Researchers from Energetic Materials Research and Engineering have been successfully utilizing residual fuel left inside a missile during impact and turning it into a fuel-air explosive that can contribute to the blast created by the missile’s warhead. At present the team are looking to find the best way to implode the fuel tank to generate a cloud of fuel that will mix with surrounding air to ignite into an intense, high-temperature explosion. If successful, the add on to the missile could increase the Tomahawks payload without any need to change the dynamics of the warhead.
Middle East North Africa
- Britain’s largest warships may have problems docking at some Royal Navy bases according to a question answered in parliament. It’s been revealed that the HMS Jufair in Bahrain would be unable to support Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers when they come into operational capability in 2020. Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt stated that while the aircraft carriers would be able to access facilities while at anchor in the vicinity of the Mina Salman port, it would not be able to berth directly alongside the support facility itself due to draught constraints.
- Increased Swedish-Finn defense ties may see the latter purchase Gripen fighters replacing the Air Force’s F/A-18 C/D Hornet aircraft, which are scheduled to be retired between 2025 and 2030. While both governments have remained tight lipped about any particular deal, the increase in bilateral ties may see Sweden’s Gripen gain an advantage as a potential choice for the Finish HX-program. Both nations follow neutrality clauses which prevent them from joining NATO, but they are looking build the basis for a stronger regional military-security alliance with NATO-neighbors Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
- After some delays, Afghanistan has finally received delivery of four A-19 Super Tucanos. The light attack aircraft are equipped with the capacity to fire guided and unguided rockets. The Brazilian manufactured jet will be used to carry out advanced training, border surveillance and internal security missions. Pilots and maintenance crew for the aircraft underwent training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia in late 2015. On December 7, two of the students went missing from the base prompting a search. One of the airmen was recently located while the other remains unaccounted for.
- The visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Sri Lanka did not result in a purchase of JF-17 fighters. A Sri Lankan Air Force spokesperson said that while the fighter is still being considered, among others, a deal was never going to be signed alongside Sharif’s visit to Colombo. The JF-17 still seems to be the top choice for Sri Lanka which is looking to replace the Israeli Kfri jet currently in use.
- An earlier Defense News report that Taiwan may procure refurbished AV-8 Harrier Jump Jets from the USMC has been refuted by Taipei. A potential sale would have been facilitated through the Excess Defense Articles program as the USMC replaced the jets with the F-35B stealth fighters. Despite this, the Taiwan defense ministry denied that they would be looking to buy the aircraft, stating that the fighter is outdated and that performance is inconsistent with future needs.
- A SpaceX Falcon 9 crashing after a mishap landing on a sea platform.:
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