US Army Seeks to Improve Stryker | Russia Readies for Su-34 Sale to Algeria | Poland in Talks with LM Over MEADS
- The US Army has told the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities that the service is to have its own laser weapon system by 2023. When asked about the length of time the system was to take, Mary J. Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, stated that the project was being done in “step-wise demonstration of capability.” She added, “We have to make sure the lasers work and do the full set of scopes against the threats we project. And those threats include the counter-rockets, counter-artillery and counter-mortar as well as [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] and cruise missile threats.”
- Mitch Snyder, the chief executive of Bell Helicopter has suggested that the company’s AH-1Z & UH-1Y will be the last conventional clean-sheet helicopters offered by Bell to the US military. He believes that tiltrotor technology and other “future of flight concepts” will take precedence in any new long term requirements. The company has invested heavily in this new technology, with their V-280 Valor being developed for the US military’s Joint-Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMT-TD) program.
- An industry wide search is to be carried out by the US Army to seek increased capabilities for its Stryker units. The Army will look at different sensors, better ways to integrate capabilities, and ways to make vehicles more survivable. This will go beyond the current efforts to upgun the armored vehicle by adding 30mm cannons or Javelin missiles, and to add Double-V Hulls for extra durability. The new and improved vehicles are expected to reach operational capability by early 2018.
Middle East North Africa
- Russia and Algeria are expected to sign an agreement for 12 Su-34 fighter-bombers by the end of 2016. Russian news source TASS reported that contracts on the deal were waiting on approval of export licenses. Negotiations on the deal were opened last November, and could also be extended to a larger purchase of up to 40 of the aircraft. When the deal is confirmed, it will cement Algeria as manufacturer Sukhoi’s best customer in the region following last September’s order of 14 Su-30 fighters. The North African nation already operates 44 Su-30 aircraft.
- The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has begun to take possession of the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS). The first phase of the gradual delivery of components include multimission radar by Elta Systems; Stunner interceptors by Rafael and its US partner, Raytheon Missile Systems; and the Golden Almond Battle Management Center by Elbit Systems Elisra. Once these are in place, an integration testing of all system components will take place prior to a declaration of initial operational capability by the IAF. The DSWS has been developed to bridge the gap between the lower and upper tiers of Israel’s four-layer active defense network, deployed above Israel’s Iron Dome and below the upper-atmospheric Arrow-2 and exo-atmospheric Arrow-3.
- Poland and Lockheed Martin are back in discussions over the possible procurement of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). The tender, estimated to be in the region of $5 billion, would form a central pillar of Poland’s large-scale military modernization efforts made all the more urgent by the Ukraine crisis and Russia’s renewed assertiveness in the region. A deal between Lockheed and the government, now five months in power, would represent a shift from the previous government, who were on the cusp of purchasing two Patriot batteries from Raytheon. An agreement on the MEADS deal would represent a massive coup for Lockheed, as they try to gather customers from countries looking to replace their aging Patriot systems.
- A US civilian contractor has been indicted for exporting F-16 parts to Indonesia without permission. Scott A. Williams, a former employee of Hill Air Force Base, Utah was charged by the US District Court for allegedly preparing a document falsely authorizing two F-16 brake assemblies to be shipped to Indonesia, in violation of federal law. He is also facing charges for illegally exporting USAF technical orders for F-16 aircraft. If found guilty of all charges, Williams could potentially serve up to 25 years.
- The United States and India signed the first international fuel agreement between the two nations in more than a decade. After five years of deliberation, leaders from the Defense Logistics Agency Energy and the Indian navy, on behalf of the Indian Ministry of Defence, signed a fuel exchange agreement to allow the partner nations to trade fuel with each other as needed. The new agreement allows the US Navy to refuel the Indian navy, or vice versa, at sea, with F76 naval distillate fuel and/or JP5 jet fuel, during joint training exercises and anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
- A look at the Stryker’s current capabilities:
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