Raytheon to Supply Griffin A&B Block II/III Missiles to USAF | FMS Approval Process Comes Under Scrutiny | China to Get First Su-35s by 4Q 2016
- Raytheon has been given an $85 million contract to supply Griffin A & B Block II/III missiles to the USAF. Delivery of the missiles is expected to be January 31, 2017. The missiles are the two variants of the AGM-176 Griffin mini-missile. The Griffin A is an unpowered precision munition that can be dropped from a rear cargo door, or a door-mounted launcher of an aircraft, while the rocket-powered Griffin B can be employed as an air-to-surface or surface-to-surface missile. Both are currently being used on a variety of weapons platforms including LCS vessels, C-130 aircraft and UAVs.
- The foreign military sales approval process has been described as “tortuous” by the US Navy Secretary, Ray Mabus. Mabus made calls for continual streamlining of the approval process which he claimed frustrated all parties involved. The announcement comes amid frustrations felt by companies such as Boeing over large purchase orders by the governments of Kuwait and Qatar. Kuwait and Boeing are currently awaiting approval of a $3 billion deal for twenty-eight F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets which Mabus viewed as symptomatic of a larger problem in place.
- All variants of the F-35 fighter jet are to get design overhauls since the discovery that the fuel tanks could over-pressurize in certain flight profiles; 154 F-35s have been delivered to date. Lockheed Martin has already received contracts to implement fixes on F-35A and F-35B, and are currently putting together a proposal for engineering works on the F-35C. Fuel tank ruptures have potentially devastating consequences, especially for fast moving aircraft such as the F-35s, with the potential to cost millions of dollars worth of damage.
- Belgium’s government is looking to buy the Patriot air defense system as part of its new strategic defense plan. The plan, if approved by the parliamentary defense select committee, could potentially see over $600 million used to purchase a battery of the system. Defence minister Steven Vandeput said the system would be used not only as part of Belgium’s defense from ballistic missile threats, but could be utilized by other NATO allies in places where such a system is most needed such as on the Turkish-Syrian border. The announcement comes alongside the news that Poland may also install the system in their country in a procurement that could reach $5 billion.
- Running contrary to earlier reports, Serbia’s up and coming defense shopping list will not include the S-300 system. With limitations to its current budgets, the system was not part of discussions with Russian officials who visited Belgrade for a defense and trade summit last week. Instead, requests to buy MiG-29 fighters, the short-range Tor missile system and medium-range Pantsir-S1 systems have been made. Keeping their budget in mind, it’s been reported that these will be supplied from refurbished existing stocks rather than fresh off the production line. News that they were looking to buy the long-range S-300 system was seen as a counter-measure to recent plans for NATO to establish its own missile defense shield in Croatia.
- The suspense surrounding India’s Rafale jet acquisition continues. With plans seemingly already in place for the deal to be finalized, India is looking to negotiate a new option to the existing deal to buy thirty-six fighters from Dassault. A visit to New Delhi by French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian last week was initially seen as a final dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s on negotiations ahead of President Hollande’s visit next week. The Indian government seems to be more confident that the $9.1 million deal will be ready for the visit, claiming the contract to be “politically ready”.
- China will receive its first batch of Su-35 fighters by the fourth quarter of this year with completion due in the next three years. It’s unknown how many will be delivered in 2016, but twenty-four fighters have been ordered in total at a cost of $2 billion. Beijing is the first foreign customer of the latest multi-role jet, although there have been fears that the purchase is only being made in order to reverse engineer key technologies for China’s own indigenous fighters.
- Japanese Air Self-Defense Force aircraft has failed to detect nuclear material over North Korea. Since the apparent hydrogen bomb test by the DPRK earlier this month, the Japanese have been conducting environmental tests to monitor radiation levels near where the testing took place. Earlier monitoring posts had also failed to detect any such material which prompted Tokyo to send four T-4 training aircraft and one C-130 to collect further air samples.
- Japanese sniffer aircraft sent to DPRK:
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