* The Army is currently evaluating Ultra Light Combat Vehicles – the Polaris MRZR-4 – with a potentially large procurement in the pipeline. This acquisition is dependent on results of the testing currently underway, with the vehicles already used by Special Operations. The Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence wants approval for a plan to procure commercial off-the-shelf vehicles, with a target of fielding 300 by 2016, before a longer-term acquisition strategy can be implemented.
* A dozen Air Force A-10s are to be deployed to the Middle East for six months, with 350 personnel accompanying them. This latest batch of A-10s in the second the US has sent to assist in the fight against ISIL.
* The Canadian Department of National Defense is testing a small UAV to evaluate its maritime surveillance and ASW capabilities. The Canadian-manufactured Brican TD100 will use magnetometers to search for metallic objects (submarines, mines, ships, etc), with the aircraft’s payload, which is more than twice as large as the Canadian military’s ScanEagles.
* Tinker Air Force Base (Oklahoma) has been named as one of four potential locations to base the Air Force’s fleet of new KC-46A refueling tankers, alongside Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base (North Carolina), Westover Air Reserve Base (Massachusetts) and Grissom Air Reserve Base (Indiana).
* Former managers of Italian group Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland company are reportedly being investigated by Italian police. The corruption probe is revolving around the sale of helicopters to Algeria over the 2009-2011 period. AgustaWestland was awarded a contract for 100 helicopters in 2009, following-on from a 2007 order worth EUR400 million. The company was awarded a further order for six helicopters in 2012.
* French firm Sagem has reportedly prepared an unsolicited upgrade package for the French Air Force’s fleet of C-130 transports. The proposal would see the aircraft kitted out with the firm’s SSA-1101 Gerfaut system, allowing the aircraft to carry eight AASM guided bombs under its wings.
* On Thursday, the UK’s Ministry of Defence released figures detailing the number of ground vehicles and aircraft it holds under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. The data reveals how the UK Armed Forces have been trimmed as a result of budgetary constraints. The number of attack helicopters held in the UK fell by 17% compared to 2014, part of a 43% fall from 2008. Over the last seven years the number of combat aircraft has fallen by 31%, the number of armored combat vehicles by 35%; however, the number of artillery pieces rose in comparison to last year by 3%.
* The country is also reportedly seeing export success with its Ptero-class UAVs. The manufacturer – AFM-Servers Ltd – is in talks with Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China regarding the UAVs, with six of the company’s Ptero-G0 systems already sold.
* The undisclosed customer in Raytheon’s $2 billion contract announced earlier this week for Patriot air defense systems is now thought to be Saudi Arabia. The company secured a multi-billion dollar contract with Poland this week, with the Patriot system also a contender for Germany’s air defense modernization requirement.
* India’s High Court has instructed the Defense Ministry to review steps to replace the INSAS assault rifle used by para-military and counter-terror troops, following a Public Interest Litigation filed by retired Lt Col Deepak Malhotra. The retired veteran has alleged that the rifles had directly contributed to the deaths of service personnel. In 2005 43 Nepalese troops were killed after their base was attacked by Maoists and their INSAS rifles malfunctioned. The rifle’s problems have now become well-documented, with the Defense Ministry making their most recent order of the rifles two years ago. The Ministry has ten weeks to respond to the PIL.
* Indian firm Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd has been awarded a $3.1 billion contract to construct three stealth frigates, as part of the Indian Navy’s Project-17 program. Seven frigates are due to enter service from 2023 onwards, with four ships planned for construction by Mazagon Dock Ltd in Mumbai, with the remaining three due to be constructed in Kolkata.
* A classic A-10 strafing run video…