2nd Batch of MRAPs Sent to Egypt | Airbus A330 MRTT Takes Maiden Flight in Spain | Philippine Prez Expresses Hostility; Ready to Break Up with America
- Lockheed Martin is to upgrade a target acquisition and vision sensor aboard US Army AH-64E Apache helicopters. The upgrade to the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor, or M-TADS/PNVS on the AH-64E was commissioned by the Army under a $49 million contract. Lockheed said that under the award it will produce an additional 42 Modernized Day Sensor Assembly upgrade kits and spares for the US Army as part of Lot 1 production at two of its facilities in Florida.
Middle East & North Africa
- A second batch of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles have been delivered to Egypt under the US Excess Defense Articles grant program. While the exact number of vehicles delivered remains unknown, the original shipment contained 762 MRAPs. First used for US operations in Afghanistan, the vehicles will give enhanced levels of protection to Egyptian soldiers tackling Islamist militants in the Sinai desert.
- Regional changes and increased demand has Israel looking for more airborne early warning, communications intelligence and electronic intelligence aircraft. It’s believed that the newly agreed 10-year $38 billion foreign military financing package from the US may facilitate the needed acquisition, which will add to the Gulfstream G-5 Shavit COMINT/ELINT aircraft and G-550 Eitam AEW aircraft that are in service. An IAF source said that the radar and other systems that are installed in the two types have been upgraded, and now have an improved performance.
- The Ukrainian state-owned Kiev Design Bureau released footage of the successful test of their Sarmat anti-tank guided missile. Sarmat missiles form part of a module mounted on jeeps and can engage tanks, motionless helicopters, sea vessels, and ground forces. Its smaller version has a maximum range of about 8,200 feet, and the larger variant has a range of about 16,400 feet.
- An enhanced production version of the Airbus A330-200-based multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) has made its maiden flight in Spain. Manufacturer Airbus stated the aircraft – already carrying its advanced refuelling boom system and under-wing hose and drogue pods – “performed in line with expectations”. The enhanced model represents the new build standard that also will be delivered to other future customers of the MRTT, which currently include France, South Korea, and a consortium of NATO members.
- Philippine hardman Rodrigo Duterte has continued his war of words with the Pentagon, saying he doesn’t need to buy arms from US manufacturers. Telling US President Barack Obama to “go to hell”, Duterte continued with “If you don’t want to sell arms, I’ll go to Russia. I sent the generals to Russia and Russia said ‘do not worry, we have everything you need, we’ll give it to you'”. His comments were the latest in a near-daily barrage of hostility toward the United States, during which Duterte has started to contrast the former colonial power with its geopolitical rivals Russia and China.
- Singapore remains interested in purchasing the F-35, however it won’t be until a 2030s timeframe. While the country has long been linked to the F-35 program, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said his country’s crop of F-15s and F-16s will “last us well into the next one or two decades.” This is backed up by last December’s $914 million award to Lockheed Martin to upgrade Singapore’s 60 plane F-16 fleet, with work occurring through 2023.
- Two more H225M helicopters are on their way from Airbus with Thailand looking to add to the existing fleet of four of the twin-engined type operated by the Royal Thai Air Force. Delivery of the two Caracals is due in 2019, and will be preceded by another pair due to be handed over this year dating from a 2014 order. The H225Ms will be used on a variety of missions including combat search and rescue, and troop transportation.
Highlights from North Korea’s first airshow:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire