* Poor sales and a lack of interest in both the Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) and Reconfigurable Airborne Multi-Intelligence System (RAMIS) has resulted in Boeing dropping both platforms from its portfolio. The firm said that despite marketing the Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet-based MSA to potential operators around the world, no sales had materialized and was thus being withdrawn and shelved. The RAMIS—based on the King Air 350— has been discontinued since late 2014. Boeing’s MSA had been billed as a cheap yet capable option for those operators who had a requirement to conduct most major maritime patrol missions, however, was not equipped with any offensive anti-submarine or anti-surface warfare weaponry.
* From July, Boeing will restructure its defense, space and security (BDS) division, which will see the division broken into smaller units as well the trimming of some 50 executive positions. It’s BDS division, which accounted for nearly a third of the company’s total revenue in 2016, will now be divided into seven units, instead of the present five, with all units reporting to BDS Chief Executive Leanne Caret. Executive positions cut are part of efforts to limit a layer of bureaucratic management and marks at least the third major reorganization since Caret took the executive helm in 2016.
* US Navy aircraft carriers, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), will be the first vessels to carry the MQ-25A Stingray, the service’s upcoming unmanned aerial refueling tanker. Both carriers will receive upgrades to include the control stations and data links needed to control the tanker, and while no date for the upgrades have been set, it is believed that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson intends to accelerate the deployment of the Stingray and get it on carrier decks as early as 2019. News of the first carriers set for the MQ-25A introduction comes as the Navy decided to reprogram $26.7 million for control systems and data link installation the MQ-25A will need to operate from an aircraft carrier, taking that money from the USS George Washington (CVN-73) during its four-year midlife refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
* Raytheon has been awarded a $116 million contract to enter the maturation and risk-reduction phase of the Long Range Precision Fires program. The US Army contract will go towards funding a series of tests of all missile components to ensure readiness for construction, with live-fire tests of the weapon, by the end of 2019. The LRPF will supplement existing M270 MLRS and HIMARS battlefield missile and rocket systems, and can also be adapted as an anti-ship weapon due to its modular design.
Middle East & North Africa
* The Trump administration is to forge ahead with a planned delivery of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. Ordered in 2015, the sale of of precision-guided munitions to Riyadh had been suspended by the Obama administration in December because of concerns over civilian casualties in Yemen, where a Saudi-led Arab coalition is fighting Houthi rebels supported by Iran. That is no longer the case. The announcement comes as Congress voted 53 to 47 to narrowly defeat legislation that sought to block about $500 million of a separate $110 billion arms deal arranged with Saudi during Trump’s first foreign trip in May.
* German arms exports dropped by 16% in 2016, according to government documents seen by German newspapers. The Handelsblatt newspaper listed approved arms sales valued at $2.72 billion during the first four months of the year, down compared to $3.72 billion in thesame period of 2016, and added that 53.6% of German exports in 2016 went to countries that are not in the European Union, NATO or otherwise allied with Germany, bolstered significantly by the sale of a frigate to Algeria that had been approved in 2012. “Overall, the arms export policy remains restrictive and transparent,” the report said.
* Ukrainian officials have pitched its defense industry to 16 diplomats from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific region, in an effort to boost exports and modernization work. State-owned Ukroboronprom Director General for Development Artur Kheruvymov pitched its industry as an ex-Soviet nation that is capable of developing and producing the latest defense systems while also modernizing older Soviet gear and provide after-sales service to customers. Products being offered include unmanned aerial vehicles, communications gear and a variety of weapons.
* The Bangladesh Air Force has announced the purchase of five Mi-171Sh helicopters from Russian manufacturer Rosoboronexport. A ceremony to mark the sale took place at the air force’s headquarters on Monday, with Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operation & Training) Air Vice Marshal M Naim Hassan Ageev and Dmitry, Deputy Chief of Section, Joint Stock Company “Rosoboronexport” putting their names on the contracts. The deal is part of the government move to modernise Bangladesh Air Force.
* First fire of the Tor-M2 air defense system: