BAE Systems To Drydock USS Boxer | New European Takuba Task Force in the Sahel Region | Kazakhstan Ramps Up Military To Fight Covid-19
Thales Defense won a $8 million contract for H-60 reel and cable assemblies. The UH-60 Black Hawk, developed by Sikorsky, has been operational in the US Army since 1978. Black Hawk helicopters have logged over four million flying hours, including a diverse range of combat missions in Grenada, Panama, in the liberation of Kuwait, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous humanitarian and rescue missions including operations in Bosnia. The deal is a one-year contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Maryland, with a September 30, 2021, performance completion date.
BAE Systems has received a $200.3 million contract from the US Navy to drydock and perform nearly 18 months of maintenance and modernization work aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). The USS Boxer is a Wasp Class amphibious assault ship. The drydocking of USS Boxer will be the first time the company’s San Diego shipyard will use its 950-foot-long Pride of California drydock to service a large-deck warship. BAE Systems’ San Diego shipyard will begin working aboard the 843-foot-long USS Boxer in June 2020. Under the awarded contract, BAE Systems will upgrade the ship to support and operate Joint Strike Fighters on-board; perform hull, tank and mechanical work; and make other shipboard improvements. The shipyard is expected to complete its work aboard the 25-year-old ship in December 2021. The contract includes options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $207.48 million.
Middle East & Africa
An F-15E on a combat mission over the Middle East encountered a rare emergency on both engines in January but the crew was able to fly the aircraft to an emergency divert location. Jonathan Kipp, weapons system officer, from the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron led a two-ship of F-15Es on a close air support mission. Four hours into the flight, the crew experienced problems. The datalink and air-to-air distance measuring equipment that improve situational awareness on their wingman were both inoperative. Finally, coalition ground control radar was temporarily down, meaning they were not getting updates on where other aircraft were in the area. This left them with only one way to locate their wingman, their radar.
Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Portugal have all committed troops to a new French-led special forces mission in the Sahel region called Task Force Takuba. The Takuba Task Force should reportedly reach its initial operational capacity in the summer of 2020 and its full operational capacity in early 2021. The Takuba Task Force will be able, by its structure, to act quickly and adapt to the evolution of the threat posed by terrorist groups. It will play a key role in the rapid empowerment of local armed forces. The taskforce will mainly consist of European special forces backed by the necessary support assets. It will be under the command of France’s Operation ‘Barkhane’ regional counter-insurgency mission, but will have a high level of autonomy. It will work closely with the G5 Sahel Joint Force that is made up of battalions from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
The 7th Antiaircraft Artillery Group of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force has completed its move to Miyako-jima. The 7th Antiaircraft Artillery Group of the ground-to-air missile unit relocated from Takematsu Garrison in Nagasaki Prefecture. It operates a Type 03 medium-range surface-to-air missile (Medium SAM). The Japanese Ministry of Defense revealed on March 26 that the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force has deployed surface-to-air and anti-ship missile batteries along with about 340 troops to Miyakojima Island in Okinawa Prefecture to bolster the country’s defense capabilities amid China’s growing assertiveness near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.
Kazakhstan is ramping up the involvement of its military in the fight against the outbreak of the coronavirus in the Central Asian country. In a statement the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Nur-Sultan said the Kazakh military is now “intensively involved in the maintenance of the state of emergency” in the country, adding that approximately 1,000 troops are being deployed to “disinfect facilities, man roadblocks, and carry out patrols” in Almaty – the country’s largest city – alone. On March 19 the Kazakh military also began setting up roadblocks in the streets leading in and out of both Nur-Sultan and Almaty.
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