Bankrupt Remington looks for funding to bore hole in debt | USAF plans to upgrade A-10s with new contractor | WW2 bomb find halts London air traffic
- Draft acquisition documents seen by Flight Global reveal that the US Air Force is planning to go ahead with upgrading its A-10 fleet and revive the tank-killer’s production line after March 2019. Even though a contract with Boeing to re-wing the fleet lapsed last month, putting the A-10’s future in doubt, the documents show service intentions to buy 116 new wing sets, and continue with upgrading the fleet with a new contractor. The Air Force plans to buy the first four wing sets for the A-10s under a low-rate initial production contract, then buy up to 112 more over a seven-year period, the documents state.
- Harris Corp will deliver electronic countermeasure systems for F/A-18 aircraft operated by the US Navy and Australian government. Valued at $161 million, the contract modification exercises an option for 86 full-rate production lot 15 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures AN/ALQ-214 A(V)4/5 Onboard Jammer systems for the F/A-18 aircraft. It also exercises an option for eight WRA1 A(V)4 receiver and processors, along with seven WRA2 A(V)4 modulators. Contract completion is scheduled for May 2021, after work taking place primarily in New Jersey and several sites across California.
- Remington, one of the largest US firearms manufacturers, is seeking to file for bankruptcy and is looking for debtor-in-possession financing from banks and credit investment funds. Controlled by buyout firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, the move to bankruptcy follows the reaching of a forbearance agreement with its creditors this week following a missed coupon payment on its debt—reportedly to be in the range of $950 million. The firm’s funds were hit after it was abandoned by some of Cerberus’ private equity fund investors after one of its Bushmaster rifles was used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut in 2012 that killed 20 children and six adults. Credit ratings agencies also put a decline in sales, in part due to receding fears that guns will become more heavily regulated by the US government. Remington’s sales plunged 27 percent in the first nine months of 2017, resulting in a $28 million operating loss.
Middle East & Africa
- Discussions between Saudi Arabia and Russia over the sale of the S-400 Triumf air-defense system are “progressing,” but the Saudi’s requirement for a technology transfer is complicating the negotiations. Speaking in an interview with Kommersant, Presidential Aide for Military-Technical Cooperation (MTC), Vladimir Kozhin, said Riyadh has been anxious for a “sudden breakthrough” in talks over a transfer-of-technology (ToT) agreement, and while Moscow has said it is willing to extend a ToT for the S-400, it prefers moving gradually, to reduce risk and complications. “First, the supply of finished weapons, mastering and understanding it, familiarizing our specialists with the capabilities of the opposite side. This is a complex chain, so we tell the partners that we should not hurry,” said Kozhin. It’s believed that Saudi Arabia is aiming to localize the sustainment/support of the S-400 as part of efforts to boost defence industry growth under its Vision 2030 plan—an initiative to localize 50 percent of its defense procurement.
- London’s City Airport was closed Monday, following the discovery of an unexploded World War Two-era bomb in the River Thames. Metropolitan Police said the ordnance—believed to be a German 500kg fused device—was found at King George V Dock during work at the airport on Sunday and they set up a 200-metre exclusion zone, evacuating properties lying within that zone, and closing nearby roads. At the time of writing, specialist officers were working with the Royal Navy to remove the device. Approximately 24,000 tonnes of explosives were dropped on London by the Luftwaffe during World War Two, and unexploded ordinance from that time is mostly found by builders digging foundations.
- Russia will commence upgrading its Su-30SM fighter with new weapons later this year, with the first examples being delivered to the Russian Air Force in 2019. 14 more Su-30SMs will also be delivered in 2018. Speaking on a tour of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant last Thursday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said the Su-30SMs—of which 100 examples are currently in Russia’s inventory—”performed in the best possible way in Syria and proved all their capabilities. This aircraft is to be upgraded in terms of import substitution and adaptation of new air weapons.” Borisov also announced that 12 of the fifth-generation Su-57 stealth fighters will be ordered later this year, with ten of the 12 planes already built and undergoing tests, and first deliveries hoped for 2019.
- The third week of March has been given as the transfer date of three TC-90 utility aircraft from Japan to the Philippines. Two King Airs were delivered in March 2017 and the aircraft recently began maritime patrol operations over the Scarborough Shoal, one of several disputed territories in the South China Sea claimed by Manila, China, and Taiwan. The planes will be tentatively delivered to the Naval Air Group headquarters in Sangley Point, Cavite City. At present, the Philippine Naval Air Group operates around six Norman Britten “Islander” patrol aircraft, four GAF “Nomad” planes, five AgustaWestland combat utility helicopters and one Robinson R-22 training helicopter.
- Iomax is considering a maritime surveillance variant of its Archangel light-attack aircraft as part of efforts to meet a growing requirement by Southeast Asian countries for inexpensive MPA and ISR platforms. Having already sold the Archangel to the UAE, Yemen, and Jordan, the firm set up shop at last week’s Singapore Airshow to solicit information from Southeast Asian representatives on their unique security issues and needs, as well as buying habits and funding mechanisms. Speaking to Defense News from Singapore, Seamus Flatley, IOMAX’s vice president of business development, mentioned Indonesia as a potential target saying as “an island nation of 7,000 islands…they’re not so much interested in a weaponized solution. They’re interested in a maritime domain awareness platform.” He added, “For the Archangel, with the EO/IR sensor and the Osprey radar [from Italian defense firm Leonardo], this airplane becomes and ideal coastal patrol platform with the ability to go out there and see at extended ranges. Marry that up with the sensor and you’ve got the ability to patrol your coastline, patrol out to 100 miles.” Additionally, the aircraft possess enough size, weight and power to accept additional payloads, if capability in signals or electronic intelligence was desired, and Ethernet set up in the pylons allow for other sensors to be included on the aircraft if desired.
- Su-30MKM GoPro footage at Singapore Airshow:
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