AIM-120D Deployed Early in Pacific | Saudis May Get Bunker Busters | A-400Ms Grounded, Waiting for Crash Data
- General Electric Aviation was awarded a $2 billion IDIQ contract Friday in part to fulfill a Foreign Military Sale to Taiwan for the company’s T700 engine, with the contract stretching to 2020. The T700 engine family powers a number of US-manufactured helicopters, including the UH-60 Black Hawk, which Taiwan purchased 60 of in 2010. GE Aviation is not unaccustomed to significant contracts, with the company awarded a major multi-year contract extension in 2009. Friday’s contract covers not only the Taiwanese FMS but also US defense and other government agency requirements.
- The Canadian government will soon begin compiling a shortlist of firms competing for contracts as part of the $24 billion Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program, which will see up to fifteen ships replace the existing Iroquois- and Halifax-classes. With Irving Shipbuilding having been selected as prime contractor, two additional firms will design the CSC and integrate the ships’ systems, with a decision regarding the winner of these expected in 2017.
- The Navy is planning to spend $1.6 billion on carrier and amphibious ship defenses in order to protect the Service’s fleet of F-35s. The new defenses will focus on supersonic threats, with a series of overhauled technologies including new missiles and radars set to be integrated into Ship Self Defense Systems (SSDS). Key components of these future systems include the Rolling Airframe Missile and the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile.
- The US has reportedly deployed the AIM-120D AMRAAM missile to the Pacific, with recent photographs appearing to show the Raytheon-manufactured missile equipping a F/A-18E Super Hornet. Previous statements indicated that the missile wouldn’t be deployed until later this year, with the missile achieving Initial Operating Capability only last month.
- The US is mulling the sale of GBU-28 “bunker buster” bombs to Saudi Arabia, with the munitions currently only sold to Israel. The GBU-28 was developed by Raytheon, following 2005 contract.
- The Navy will hold a Sundown Ceremony on Monday for the SH-60B helicopter, as the last detachment of the Sikorsky-manufactured helicopters is rotated out of service. Replaced by the MH-60R, the older helicopter entered service thirty years ago in 1985.
- Following the crash of an Airbus A400M transport aircraft in Seville, Spain on Saturday, the Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe and Turkish Air Force have grounded their fleets. The aircraft was on an Airbus test flight, with the crash killing four crew members. The destroyed aircraft was due for delivery to Turkey in June, which would have made it the third Turkish A400M, following a 2003 contract for ten of the aircraft.
- Serial production of Russia’s new Kurganets IFV is reportedly set for 2017, with the new platform unveiled as part of the recent military parade in Moscow marking the end of the Second World War. The new vehicle has shown a number of new technologies, including a remote weapons station and elements of an active protection system. The Russian Ministry of Defense has ordered a batch of the vehicles for field trials and testing.
- India’s indigenously-developed Tejas Mk I light combat aircraft has come under serious criticism from the country’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), with 53 deficiencies cited in a recent report. A major concern is the lack of defensive countermeasure capability, with the jet reportedly failing to meet Indian Air Force (IAF) survivability standards. The LCA achieved initial operating clearance in December 2013, with the project severely delayed from its original scheduled induction date of 1994. The CAG report to Parliament also highlighted how the IAF will likely be forced to induct the aircraft without a trainer variant available for pilot training, with a repair and overhaul facility also yet to be established at manufacturer HAL’s facilities, a requirement previously set out by the IAF.
- North Korea has appeared to have launched a missile from a submarine, with state media releasing photos of the launch on Saturday. The country has been attempting to miniaturize nuclear warheads to fit on ICBMs, with the US military categorizing North Korea’s ICBM as operational last month.
- A Russian Buk anti-air system catches fire during the country’s Victory Day Parade on Saturday…
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