* NAVAIR has been slamming missiles into the side of its KC-46 tankers as part of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division survivability testing at the Weapons Survivability Laboratory. The tests used – among other sensors – ten high-speed cameras to capture the impact of the test missiles, themselves specifically designed to inflict maximum possible damage to the aircraft. The Air Force intends to buy 179 of the tankers to replace approximately a third of the current tanker fleet, which consists principally of KC-135 Stratotankers.
* The Navy has begun “deadload-testing” the EMALS system aboard the Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). The electrically-power catapult system was successfully no-load tested in May, with Navy personnel also now qualified to operate the system, following certification earlier this month.
* The go-ahead has been given to General Dynamics for full rate production of the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment II, following Defense Acquisition Board approval to the Army in May. This means that the system – which is designed to act as a mobile command post, providing mobile command, control and communications – may be bought for remaining units due to receive the WIN-T system up to 2028. This increment also begins embedding WIN-T communications gear in select vehicles, such as MRAPs, bringing them Secure Internet Protocol Router (SIPR) connectivity as well as SATCOM capability.
* Microsoft was handed a $9 million Navy contract on Tuesday, for software support services and fixes. The contract also includes options totalling $30.8 million if all exercised up to 2017, with the base contract scheduled to finish in July next year. Microsoft began a major push into DoD contracting in 2005.
* Seemingly a confirmation of previous reports, Germany has reportedly selected the US-European MEADS system for its air defense requirement, beating out a rival offer for upgraded Raytheon Patriots. Reports from May in the German press cited undisclosed sources indicating that the Defense Ministry had selected MEADS, with these latest reports stemming from comments made by Sen. Charles Schumer, who appears to have acquired the information from the German Embassy in Washington.
* In what will come as a relief to European NATO states enduring repeated scrambling of interceptor aircraft over recently months, the Russian Air Force has grounded its fleet of sixty-three Tu-95 long-range bombers, following an engine fire leading to a runway overrun on Monday.
* Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Ltd has conducted a set of test flights of the company’s Harop loitering munition for an unspecified customer. The UAV is designed to stay on target for several hours before utilizing a 15kg warhead as it conducts a ‘kamikaze’ attack on its target. The Indian Air Force is an international customer for the system, having bought 10 Harpy systems in 2009, with Turkey also having purchased the system in 2005. Germany successfully tested teaming of the Harpy with Rheinmetall’s KZO UAV in 2011, with the country’s Defense Ministry procuring the Harpy for a demonstration phase of its WABEP (Weapon system for Stand-off Engagement of Individual and Point Targets) requirement in 2009.
* IAI subdiary ELTA has also unveiled a new Ultra High Frequency Active Electronically Scanned Array radar system, reportedly capable of detecting targets with very low Radar Cross Sections (RCS), as well as being capable of operating as part of a Ballistic Missile Defense system. The system is modular, capable of seeing multiple units bolted together to transition the system from a mobile system with a 500km range to up to 22 units providing a strategic BMD and space-object tracking capability.
* The Israeli and US Air Forces signed a Strategic Accord on Tuesday, with twelve joint teams being stood-up to tackle common issues, including one tasked with integrating Israel’s future F-35s into its Air Force.
* India appears to have deployed carrier-capable MIG-29K fighters to the Eastern base of Vizag, likely a prelude to the standing-up of the next squadron of the Russian-manufactured aircraft for the Western side of the country. India will order up to 45 of the aircraft, with the Russian manufacturer expected to deliver 6 by the end of 2015, with another 6 in 2016. However, the most significant issue facing the future deployment of the MIGs is not the aircraft themselves but rather the lack of new carrier to launch them from, particularly given thelatest slippage in the domestically-manufactured INS Vikrant’s schedule.
* Australia has established an expert panel to review the country’s future submarine evaluation process. With France, Germany and Japan all potential partners in the $50 billion program, the panel will try to maintain good procedural practise throughout the Australian government’s Future Submarine Strategy.
* An Indian Navy MIG-29K taking off from the INS Vikramaditya…