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Australia buys Spike LR2 ATGM | Saudi Patriot shoots down Houthi missile | Bulgaria set to finally replace its MiG-29 fleet

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Americas * L-3 Communications is being tapped a contract modification in support if the TH-57 platform. The $42.3 million contract provides for organizational and depot level logistics services required to support and maintain the helicopter fleet. The TH-57 Sea Ranger, a derivative of the commercial Bell Jet Ranger 206 and kin to the OH-58 Kiowa, entered service with Navy in 1968. It has proven to be an exceptional trainer, stable but very sensitive to control inputs, especially rudder. Student Naval Aviators find it challenging at first to smoothly hover the aircraft, practicing over large white box outlines painted on the surfaces of outlying fields. Prospective Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard helicopter pilots spend approximately 106 hours flying the Sea Ranger. Just recently Airbus made an offer to the US government proposing its H135 as replacement to the current fleet of Sea Rangers’. L-3 has been awarded a similar contract back in 2005. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida, and is expected to be completed in November 2018. * Boeing is being awarded two contracts in support of the Navy’s fleet of F/A-18 A-F and EA-18G aircraft. A $22.6 million firm-fixed-price task order […]
Americas

* L-3 Communications is being tapped a contract modification in support if the TH-57 platform. The $42.3 million contract provides for organizational and depot level logistics services required to support and maintain the helicopter fleet. The TH-57 Sea Ranger, a derivative of the commercial Bell Jet Ranger 206 and kin to the OH-58 Kiowa, entered service with Navy in 1968. It has proven to be an exceptional trainer, stable but very sensitive to control inputs, especially rudder. Student Naval Aviators find it challenging at first to smoothly hover the aircraft, practicing over large white box outlines painted on the surfaces of outlying fields. Prospective Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard helicopter pilots spend approximately 106 hours flying the Sea Ranger. Just recently Airbus made an offer to the US government proposing its H135 as replacement to the current fleet of Sea Rangers’. L-3 has been awarded a similar contract back in 2005. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida, and is expected to be completed in November 2018.

* Boeing is being awarded two contracts in support of the Navy’s fleet of F/A-18 A-F and EA-18G aircraft. A $22.6 million firm-fixed-price task order provides for engineering required for the redesign of the Data Bus Interface Unit and the Deployable Flight Incident Recorder of the Deployable Flight Incident Recording Set (DFIRS). The redesigns will address obsolescence issues, as well as provide for additional memory and a 406 MHz beacon capability. The DFIRS 2100 is a combined flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, and emergency locator transmitter designed to provide instantaneous alert and accurate location of a downed aircraft, assist in the speedy rescue of survivors, aid in the recovery of the aircraft and assure timely recovery of vital accident investigation data. A $9.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee order provides for engineering services for incorporation Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) into the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. TTNT is a joint Tactical Radio System modern networking platform produced by Rockwell Collins. It creates a secure meshed network that can deliver megabits of voice, video and data at speeds up to Mach 8. Work will be performed in various locations including St. Louis, Missouri and El Segundo, California. Work is scheduled for completion by July 2022 and February 2023 respectively.

* The Navy is procuring airborne simulation trainers from Tactical Air Support Inc. The $106.7 million contract provides for the use of contractor-owned and -operated aircraft to Department of the Navy Fleet customers for a wide variety of airborne threat simulation capabilities to train aircraft squadron aircrew and shipboard system operators on how to counter potential enemy advanced airborne threats, tactics, electronic warfare and electronic attack operations in support of the Specialized and Proven Aircraft program office. Just recently the Navy awarded a similar contract to ATAC, a key competitor to Tactical Air Support. Work will be performed in Fallon, Nevada, and is expected to be completed in May 2023.

Middle East & Africa

* The Saudi government reports that it successfully shot down a missile fire by Yemen’s Houthi movement. The group fired a Badr-1 ballistic missile at Jazan airport. The incoming missile was intercepted by the Patriot air defense system. In January DSCA had approved a $500 million deal for Patriot (PAC-3) services in support of the Saudi Government. The Houthis, an Iran-allied group that holds much of Yemen including the capital, Sanaa, have fired a series of missiles into the kingdom in recent months, part of a three-year-old conflict in Yemen widely seen as a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Analysts fear that President’s Trump decision to stop the Iran deal, could lead to an increase in military provocations by Iran in the region.

Europe

* Jane’s reports that Slovakia’s defense contractor Konstrukta Defense has showcased the new 8×8 variant of its EVA 155/52 mm calibre self-propelled gun-howitzer. The howitzer is designated Truck Mounted Gun (TMG) in its export variant. It is jointly developed by Konstrukta Defence and Czech firms Czechoslovak Group and Tatra Trucks. The EVA is a self-propelled autonomous artillery system with automatic loading of ammunition providing an effective fire by means of both direct and indirect aiming. The gun system is mounted on a mobile platform at the rear of the truck chassis and can be fully controlled from inside the crew cabin at the front of the truck. The EVA can fire 5 rounds per minute in automatic mode and 13 rounds per minute in manual mode. The 28-tonne vehicle, is air-transportable by large tactical airlifters such as the Airbus A400M.

* The Bulgarian government is set to make a final decision for the acquisition for new or used fighter jets to replace its ageing Soviet-designed MiG-29s as well as the purchase of 150 combat vehicles. The eastern European country has been under pressure to modernize and replace its old Soviet-era systems ever since it joined NATO in 2004. Under the proposed plan, Bulgaria would acquire at least 8 jets worth $1.08 billion. Bulgaria has received offers by Saab for its Gripen warplanes as well as offers for used F-16s from Portugal and secondhand Eurofighter Typhoons from Italy.

Asia-Pacific

* The Israeli defense manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is set to supply the Australian Army with its Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missile. The Spike infantry system consists of a missile in its cannister, a tripod, a Command Launch Unit that contains the optics and firing system, and a battery. It can go from “off” to firing in less than 30 seconds, as the operator lays the cross hairs on the aim point using either the 10x day sight, or the clip-on thermal imaging night sight. Spike LR 2 is an advanced multipurpose missile designed for the future battlefield, with full commonality to the Spike Missile legacy. The 5th generation Spike LR 2 design is based on lessons learned from modern warfare, combined with accumulated data from more than 5000 Spike Missiles fired in combat and training across its large user base. The Spike competed against the French produced Missile Moyenne Portée. The LR2 will be deployed on the Rheinmetall Boxer CRV, which was procured earlier this year in a $3.91 billion deal. The Spike LR2 can be easily integrated into the Royal Australian Army’s existing Elbit-sourced battle management system. The Spike LR is currently in service with the German, Latvian and Israeli armed forces.

Today’s Video

* The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation will offer Cobra helicopter rides in California.

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