Air Force resumes Pegasus Delivery | Rheinmetall benefits from Dynamic Defense Sector | Indonesia might get Danish Frigate
The US Air Force received a KC-46 Pegasus on March 11 after the aircraft passed a Foreign Object Debris inspection at Boeing’s production facility. The Pegasus is a military aerial refueling aircraft developed by Boeing. The Air Force selected the Pegasus to replace the KC-135 Stratotankers. The first Pegasus was scheduled to be delivered in August 2017 but was delayed until January 2019. Deliveries of the jets were halted last month after foreign object debris was found in one of the aircraft. Boeing had offered to inspect all the aircraft that were accepted by the Air Force. Loose tools and other items were found inside a completed airplane. Subsequent deliveries will occur as Boeing successfully completes each aircraft’s inspections and actions assigned from the review. Boeing plans to deliver 36 of the aircraft this year and about a dozen more are nearing completion.
The US Air Force on Tuesday unveiled a nearly $166 billion budget request for fiscal 2020. The Pentagon plans to buy eight Boeing F-15EX fighters FY 2020 as part of a purchase of 144 total aircraft over an undisclosed number of years. According to the budget request, it will cost $80 million per airframe. However, that cost will rise to approximately $125 million for each of the eight jets to set up the line and account for non-recurring engineering costs in the first year of procurement. The total deal will be priced at more than $1.1 billion and covers production of eight brand-new F-15EX fourth-plus generation fighters. The F-15EX is the latest version of the F-15 Eagle fighter jet. The Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft that has an all-metal semimonocoque fuselage with a large-cantilever, shoulder-mounted wing.
The USS Zumwalt arrived in British Columbia, Canada on March 11 after it left its homeport of San Diego for its first deployment that includes a trip up the West Coast. Zumwalt is the lead ship of the next-generation multi-mission destroyers. It has stealth capabilities with a radar cross-section similar to a fishing boat despite the large size of the ship. The Zumwalt Class was primarily designed to support ground forces in land attacks, in addition to the usual destroyer missions of anti-air, anti-surface, and antisubmarine warfare. The ship is equipped with two Advanced Gun Systems, which are designed to fire the Long Range Land Attack projectile. During the scheduled port visit in BC, Zumwalt will host Canadian Forces, Marine Forces Pacific Commander, Rear. Adm. Bob Auchterlonie, and US Consul General in Vancouver Katherine S. Dhanani.
Middle East & Africa
The US Army Corps of Engineers awarded ExpFederal Inc. an $11.3 million firm-fixed-price contract in support of the US Forces-Afghanistan. The deal includes electrical safety assessments, repairs program, materials management and control services. ExpFederal operates as an architectural company that provides engineering design, construction management, interior, landscape, urban design, surveying, and master planning services. Work will take place in Bigram, Afghanistan and is scheduled to be finished by March 11, 2021.
Germany’s chief defense staff, General Eberhart Zorn, reported improvements in the readiness of the country’s military equipment to German parliament defense committee. According to the report, which unlike the past years will from now on be classified as secret, 70 percent of the most important weapon systems of the Bundeswehr, the Unified Armed Forces of Germany, were operational in the past year. The general added that the low availability of Luftwaffe CH-53 helicopters and Tornado bombers was stabilized at the 2017 level, despite the deployment of the former to Afghanistan and the latter to Jordan. In comparison to previous years, Zorn sees the equipment readiness of 70 percent as a positive development.
German defense contractor Rheinmetall anticipates more sales and operating result growth for 2019, the company stated in a press release. This increase is primarily driven by continued dynamic development in the defense sector. The trend toward stepping up the modernization of Armed Forces linked to the rising budgets is already leaving its marks in Rheinmetall’s order books. The Rheinmetall Group generated sales of $6.9 million in fiscal 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent. The defense sector achieved an operating result of $287.3 million, 46 percent above the previous year’s figure of $196.9 million. Sales growth in the defense sector was due to increased deliveries of trucks for the major project Land 121 in Australia and to the fact that series production was being utilized to full capacity for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle for the German Armed Forces. In addition, the start-up of the major project Future Soldier System – together with the German Armed Forces – contributed to a significant increase in sales in the Electronic Solutions division. However, the Weapon and Ammunition division suffered a year-on-year drop in sales of approximately 10 percent or $134.6 million in 2018, owing to the loss of trading sales.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Defense is leaning towards a variant of the Danish Iver Huitfeldt Class in their plan to acquire two more frigates for the country’s Navy, Jane’s reports. Within the second phase of the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) modernization blueprint, Indonesia acquired two SIGMA 10514 vessels from Damen that now serve as the Martadinata Class. The country requires at least four more hulls in the longer term as part of wider MEF requirements. A piece of unclassified correspondence between the country’s defense minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu, and the cabinet secretary of President Joko Widodo made the case for the Iver Huitfeldt class. The Iver Huitfeldt Class is a three-ship class of frigates. Its main role is air defense. Most anti-air warfare sensors and equipment are similar to the German Sachsen Class frigates as well as the Dutch De Zeven Provincien Class destroyers. The Iver Huitfeldt class frigates have a modular mission payload system.
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