Boeing Commences Grey Wolf Production | Romania Plans To Buy Abrams | Germany Considers Australian Boxers
Boeing will commence production of the first 13 MH-139A Grey Wolf multi-mission helicopters under a $285-million contract with the US Air Force. The production begins an effort to replace the service’s aging UH-1N Huey fleet with up to 84 MH-139As. Once delivered, the helicopters will be used for aircrew survival training, airlift missions, and intercontinental ballistic missile support. Each MH-139A will have 50 percent more speed and range and 5,000 pounds (2,300 kilograms) maximum gross weight compared to its predecessor.
All F-35 fighter jets should be retrofitted within 90 days with a fix intended to solve a potential engine vibration problem, the F-35 Joint Program Office said Thursday. The JPO issued an order Wednesday evening recommending the fleetwide retrofit — globally, not just American aircraft — over the next three months, as well as immediately putting it in place for a “small number” of fighters that have been grounded since December.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), through its defense electronics subsidiary, ELTA Systems, has announced the release of its new multi-mission ARC 840 Software Defined Radio – Network Centric Operations (SDR-NCO) system. The latest product in ELTA’s line of military airborne communications systems, SDR-NCO draws on decades of experience in the development of high-performance communications solutions, including advanced Line of Sight (LOS) and AESA satellite terminal systems. The SDR-NCO provides voice, video and data communications over a comprehensive frequency range including VHF, UHF and L-Bands. It is interoperable with a wide variety of existing military and commercial radios – allowing aircrews to communicate with forces on the ground, in the air, and on the sea, for effective collaboration across a diverse task force.
Romania plans to buy a battalion’s worth of Abrams tanks from the United States, with a request to approve the acquisition expected to be sent shortly to the Romanian parliament, according to Maj. Gen. Teodor Incica?, the head of the armaments directorate at the country’s Ministry of Defense. Incica? said in an interview with Observatorul Militar, a podcast produced by the ministry, that the tank type was selected after the General Staff of the Romanian Land Forces decided it was best suited to strengthen the service’s combat punch.
Germany is considering purchasing many Boxer armored vehicles from Australia in a potential $1.9-billion deal. The development was reported by Andrew Tillett in the Australian Financial Review, citing Berlin’s $157-billion spending spree on new weapons and equipment. According to the report, negotiations are in the advanced stages, and deliveries could begin as soon as 2024. The outlet also noted that Germany’s planned acquisition could be much bigger than the Australian Army’s order, which covers 211 Boxer vehicles.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense has assessed that the use of manned fighter jets has limitations in responding to the increased number of scrambles needed to counter the risk of unauthorized entry into Japanese airspace. Of significant interest is the fact that the Ministry is contemplating using unmanned aerial vehicles to scramble for balloons as well. As a part of their initiatives, the Self-Defense Forces aim to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles manufactured in the United States, which they plan to purchase. Initially, they will utilize these vehicles to track ships sailing offshore, with the intention of gradually increasing their capabilities to respond to fast-moving aircraft and balloons, which have recently gained attention.
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