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 »
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD): Lockheed Martin projects slow but steady growth in the international sale of its missile- and air-defense systems. Products such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) interceptor have all been garnering interest from European and Middle East governments and the company expects to win various competitions over the next few years. Missile and fire control division is responsible for about 50 percent of their international purchases.
The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester Michael Gilmore has blasted the Army’s Mid-Tier Networking Vehicular Radio (MNVR) just as the service prepares to make a production decision for the system. Gilmore described the MNVR, saying the radio “did not meet commanders’ operational needs for a mid-tier network solution.” and “provided no value added in mitigating the significant impacts to communications and mission execution experienced in a satellite communications (SATCOM)-denied environment.” Only time will tell if the report affects the Army’s production decision.
Lockheed Martin projects slow but steady growth in the international sale of its missile- and air-defense systems. Products such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) interceptor have all been garnering interest from European and Middle East governments and the company expects to win various competitions over the next few years. Missile and fire control division is responsible for about 50 percent of their international purchases.
Middle East North Africa
The Algerian Navy has commissioned their third C28A-class corvette after delivery from China. Featuring a displacement of 3,000 metric tons, the 360-foot-long stealth-guided missile ship can conduct offshore defense operations and long-distance combat missions. The three vessels, ordered in 2011, come as part of a wider naval modernization by Algeria which includes orders for two Meko A-200AN frigates, and two Project 636 Varshavyanka (Kilo class) diesel electric submarines from Russia, which are due in 2018.
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.
Thales Deutschland has been contracted to upgrade German Army training simulators. The work, due for completion in 2017, includes all small arms/handheld anti-tank weapons shooting simulator training devices in use with the German army. A total of 185 AGSHP shooting simulators are covered under the $5.5 million contract.
A series of human errors has been blamed for the torpedoing of a fishing vessel by the Taiwanese Navy. A draft report of the investigation seen by media sources found that the patrol vessel was loaded with live missiles, and to enable drills to be carried out, a simulator box was supposed to be installed between the missile control and launch tube. Only two of the four missiles, however, were installed with the simulators. Petty Officer 2nd Class Kao Chia-chun, unsupervised, had selected salvo fire of two missiles and one of those missiles was not connected to a simulator. As a result, the missile fired when activated.
Policemen and soldiers in the Afghan Army are said to be cashing in spent ammunition to scrap dealers amid corruption, poor pay and conditions experienced. With average pay at around $200 per month, a kilo of scrap can be sold for $2.55 with soldiers happy to spend 5-10 minutes firing until merchants have what they need. Other reports found troops in Helmand and Kunduz provinces firing 7,000 artillery shells in May alone. Commenting on the issue, an Afghan official said “We asked army commanders about it and said if each shell killed only one person, we should have 3,500 Taliban dead in each province….It’s very clear they fire aimlessly and collect the shell casings for copper and sell them.” $300 million worth of ammunition was given by the US to Afghan security forces last year.
The world’s largest amphibious aircraft has rolled off the production line in China. Developed by state aircraft maker Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the AG600 is about the same size as a Boeing 737, and plans are to use it to perform marine rescue missions and fight forest fires. The aircraft has a maximum flight range of 4,500 km and can collect 12 tons of water in 20 seconds.
| Two new close air support aircraft to complement and eventually replace the A-10 are being sought by the USAF. Beechcraft’s AT-6 and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano are being looked at for an off the shelf procurement while an initial order of 20 light attack OA-X aircraft could deliver as early as next year. For the OA-X, the service is looking for a medium-altitude aircraft with some level of precision strike capability, such as the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser-guided rocket.
| 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.
| Never mind the coup, it's the F-35! Despite the recent attempt at political overthrow by certain cadres of Turkey's military, Lockheed Martin is forging ahead with its planned production of the first two F-35As for Turkey. Assembly of the aircraft is expected to commence within the next six to twelve months and delivery scheduled for 2018. But could further political instability in an already volatile region put the deal into doubt, only time will tell.
| 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 »