B-21 Prelim Design Review Complete | Air Force Bestows $1B Contract on Kelly Aviation for KC-10 Support | LCS to Get More Lethality with SSMM
- Vice chief of the staff of the USAF Gen. Stephen Wilson has announced that the preliminary design review for the B-21 Raider has been completed. The progress on the new long-range bomber came as Wilson spoke to a House Armed Services Committee hearing on nuclear deterrence where he told lawmakers that he receives regular updates on the uber-classified program and is happy with its progression. Since the award of the B-21 contract to Northrop Grumman in October 2015, news has been scarce on the program’s development as the company and Air Force try to protect any information about the bomber’s design and development from leaking out into the press or to potential adversaries.
- Kelly Aviation Center has won a $1 billion contract to provide contractor logistic support for engines used by KC-10 aircraft. According to the USAF contract, the agreement outlines that the company provides engine teardown and overhaul, on-wing support, various parts and logistics services, and will also provide all labor, materials, tools, equipment and transportation required to fulfill the contract. Work is expected to be completed by March 2026.
- The US Navy completed the test-firing of a surface to surface missile module (SSMM) from littoral combat ship USS Detroit. This marks the first time that such a system was fired from an LCS platform as well as the first time such a platform utilized a vertical lift launch. By giving LCS vessels an SSMM package, the Navy will be able to engage the increasing threats posed from small boats by giving them an added lethality.
- Lockheed Martin has successfully completed several flight tests with an updated version of the company’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM). Testing involved equipping the munitions with modernized GPS anti-jam hardware and software, and launched from B-2 and B-52 bomber aircraft at altitudes over 24,000 feet. Lockheed stated that the successful tests verified the weapon’s capabilities in GPS-degraded and non-jammed environments. JASSMs have been equipped on a variety of US fighters and bombers, including the B-52, F-16, F-15E and B-1B.
Middle East & North Africa
- Eqypt is in talks with Iomax over the modernization and support of the AT-802 counter-insurgency aircraft as well as the acquisition of nearly a dozen Archangel border patrol aircraft. Cairo was originally donated 12 AT-802s from the UAE for border surveillance and light attack duties, and are now being offered ten more of the Archangel Block II models developed by Iomax. Prior to launching the Archangel, Iomax delivered 24 AT-802s to the UAE which have now been passed on to several nations including Yemen and Jordan. However, since launching the Archangel, the AT-802’s original manufacturer Air Tractor has teamed with L-3 to offer the AT-802L (AKA the OA-8 Longsword) as a more costly ISR platform.
- Serbia is set to receive its six MiG-29s from Russia later this month. The aircraft will land at Batajnica airport in Serbia and it is expected that an official handover ceremony will take place on March 24, 2017 where it is expected that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu may be in attendance. Options for shipping the fighters are either by flying directly from Russia or disassembled and ferried by Il-76s.
- The official China Daily newspaper has claimed that Beijing is developing stealthy UAVs capable of evading anti-aircraft missiles. Wei Yiyin, deputy general manager of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, told the newspaper that drones “have become an indispensable weapon in modern warfare because they can play an important role in high-resolution reconnaissance, long-distance precision strikes, anti-submarine operations and aerial combat.” China has stepped up research into military drones, hoping to take market share from the US and Israel with their cheaper technology and willingness to sell to countries with which Western states are reluctant to deal.
- India plans to negotiate for a full technology transfer as part of any deal with Russia over their collaboration for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). Defense Ministry sources reported in a media coverage claim that India has learned from the mistakes made with the Su-30MKI acquisition program and instead will want industry to play a more active role in assembly and modernization efforts. New Delhi now wants access to the source codes for the FGFA so that it can perform upgrades locally and the development work done should be useful in the indigenous advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) program.
- USS Detroit test-firing of the Surface to Surface Missile Module (SSMM):
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