USN Awards $55.9M to Bell Helicopter | Finmeccanica Gets Confirm on Eurofighter Payment | Rheinmetall to Supply Cannons for Gripen NGs
- General Dynamics has been awarded a $156.59 million contract to carry out phased maintenance availability (PMA) on the USS Essex (LHD-2). Work on the Wasp-class amphibious assault vessel will include depot-level maintenance, alterations, and modifications that will update and improve the ship’s military and technical capabilities. Completion is expected to be finished by June 2017. In September 2012, the ship underwent 18 months of upgrades and maintenance at a cost of $108 million, which included gaining proficiency in the launching, landing and refueling of various helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys on the flight deck.
- The US Navy awarded a $55.9 million advance acquisition contract to Bell Helicopters for the procurement of long-lead parts and components for the manufacture and delivery of 24 Lot 14 AH-1Z new build aircraft. The contract is part of the Navy’s H-1 upgrade program with work expected to be completed by June 2017. However, the Navy may be looking away from Bell for the replacement of its helicopter training program. It’s been reported that Finmeccanica plans to offer the AW119 Koala, which could potentially replace the 117 Bell 206-based TH-57 Sea Rangers currently in use.
Middle East North Africa
- Finmeccanica can breath a sign of relief as Kuwait’s parliament approved a draft law to allow for a $500 million down payment on its future Eurofighter deal. The purchase of 28 jets at a total cost of $8.7 billion had been hanging in the balance since a memorandum of understanding was signed in September. A final was expected to be signed in January, but issues over final cost and training requirements had been put under scrutiny. The delay had stoked fears that the deal could be cancelled, causing a 6 percent tumble in the Italian manufacturers’ shares in early February.
- Almaz-Antey are expected to deliver five more S-400 Triumph systems to the Russian Armed Forces this year. Deliveries of the air-defense systems will be rolled out between September and October, ahead of their original schedule. The end of 2015 saw deployment of the system to 11 Russian missile regiments, and these latest deliveries bring the number of operational S-400s to 16 by the end of the year.
- Rheinmetall has been contracted by Saab to supply 88 BK27 automatic cannons for the latest Gripen NGs. 36 of the jets fitted with the cannon will be destined for the Brazilian Air Force. The cost of the deal has been said to be in the mid-8 figure euro amount, and delivery will take place between 2017-2025. The latest cannons feature a newly developed linkless ammunition feeding system. A linked ammunition-feeding version of the cannon features as the standard weapon in the Eurofighter Typhoon.
- Russia’s Krylovsky State Research Center (KRSC) will be offering its Project 23000E aircraft carrier design for India’s fourth aircraft carrier. New Delhi has just started the production of its second indigenous carrier vessel. The Shtorm-class (Storm) carrier has a displacement between 90,000 – 100,000 tons, and there is a ski jump plus two catapults. Russia and the KRSC are confident that their design is a front runner in the selection process, which will see offerings from both France and the US. Russian willingness to allow for greater technology transfers ahead of other competitors will be favored under Prime Minister Modi’s “Make In India” initiative.
- Taiwan’s new government is keen on developing their own indigenous jet trainer aircraft to replace its AT-3s. The military fears however, that the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) lacks the skills necessary for the development, alongside Taiwan’s inability to manufacture its own engines. The military may instead prefer the acquisition of the Alenia Aermacchi M346, with the AIDC participating in a 20% workshare of the project.
- The Indian government has cleared the purchase of two more Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft, bringing their total fleet size to five. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) agreed on the acquisition on Tuesday at a cost of $1.1 billion. The purchase involves a tripartite contract with both Israel and Russia. Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elta Electronic Industries provide an AESA radar system which is then mounted on the Russian made Ilyushin IL-76 heavy transport aircraft.
- Still waiting for that take off. Taxi testing of the X-2 continues into March:
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