USMC Completes Instant Eye UAV Training | Textron’s G-CLAW Achieves Results in Testing | India’s DRDO Busily Making Deals & Collaborations
- Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet Block 3 proposal will focus on adding firepower and an increased ability to network with other carrier-borne aircraft, such as the F-35C, in the US Navy. The new plan moves away from the company’s 2013 Advanced Super Hornet concept which focused on stealth, instead optimizing the Navy’s integrated network architecture. Under this proposal, Boeing believes the Navy could detail a plan to procure the Super Hornet Block 3 as soon as the fiscal 2018 budget proposal, and a fiscal 2019 buy would mean Boeing could have aircraft off the production line in the early 2020s.
- The USMC has completed their training with Instant Eye, a new hand-held UAV designed to support reconnaissance missions in heavily clustered areas. Up to 300 marines from Task Force Southwest took part in the testing, and will now go on to train, advise and assist troops in Afghanistan later this spring. Unlike most UAVs, which require either a runway or throwing for launch, the Instant Eye’s rotary wings make it capable of taking off and landing at 90-degree angles, and it has been praised for its stealth and maneuverability.
- Textron has announced that their G-CLAW precision-guided glide missile has been successfully tested. The October 2016 test saw the munition track and engage static and moving targets, confirming its lethality. Designed for anti-personnel and anti-materiel strikes, the missile can be integrated with various aircraft, including the company’s Cessna Caravan and Textron AirLand Scorpion jet. The company is currently participating in this year’s Aero India Expo.
Middle East & North Africa
- Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) has awarded TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI) a contract to develop and manufacture a new indigenous turboshaft engine. The engine will be used in Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) new clean-sheet T-625 utility helicopter, as well as the TAI T-129 ATAK attack helicopter and TAI Hürkuş turboprop-powered trainer and light combat aircraft. At present, Ankara depends on foreign turboshaft designs, such as the General Electric T700, which require them to secure licenses and approval for exports.
- A report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), claiming that the UK government failed to reach the NATO target to spend 2% of national income on defense, has been rejected by the government. The report stated that spending had fallen to 1.98% in 2016 as a result of the British economy growing faster than the defence budget. Also found in the report was that only Greece and Estonia spent 2% or more, with the UK falling short by about $471 million. A government spokesperson dismissed the figures as being “wrong.”
- India’s Defense Minister has announced intentions to start a second production line for the HAL Tejas fighter within the next three months. Valued at $203.47 million, Manohar Parrikar said the line will produce 16 Tejas fighters for the Indian Air Force. News of the second production line points to the Indian government’s commitment to weaning itself from foreign defense products and encouraging indigenous industry, also known as “techno-nationalism.” This, however, hasn’t come without its problems after the Indian Navy rejected the navalized version of the Tejas for being too heavy.
- India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has claimed to be close to a deal to sell their short range surface-to-air Akash missile to Vietnam. The sale would be the first of its kind between the two countries, following a steadily growing defensive relationship that has seen New Delhi already help the Vietnamese military with training and patrol vessels, as well as the granting of a $500 million credit line in order to buy defense equipment. A further deepening of ties manifested in the missile sale is expected to draw criticism from China, currently locked in a territorial dispute with Hanoi in the South China Sea, as well as their own border dispute with India.
- A joint venture will be launched by MBDA Missile Systems and Larsen & Toubro in order to develop missile-based solutions for India’s armed forces. Called L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd, the venture will collaborate with the Defense Research and Development Organization to supply 5th-generation anti-tank guided missiles for coastal batteries and high-speed target drones. The partnership will see L&T own 51% of the joint venture’s shares, while MBDA will own the remaining 49% in accordance with the country’s regulations.
- 2015 flight tests of Textron’s G-CLAW:
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