* Canada has named five firms that will be considered to supply fighters to replace its fleet of CF-18s. Three European firms—Dassault, Saab, and Airbus—and two US—Boeing and Lockheed Martin—have all made the official fighter jet supplier list, which allows them to receive information about plans to buy 88 jets and ultimately bid on the program, estimated to cost CA$19 billion (U.S. $15 billion). The aircraft expected to be offered to Ottawa include Lockheed Martin’s F-35, Boeing’s Super Hornet, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Saab’s Gripen.
* Northrop Grumman received Thursday February 22, 2018, two contracts for the US Navy’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program. The first, valued in excess of $99.7 million, covers long-lead parts and support associated with the full rate production Lot 7 aircraft, while the second is a $50.6 million agreement for non-recurring engineering, product support, engineering investigations, engine and software support activity efforts for the full rate production Lot 6. Work on the tactical airborne early warning aircraft will take place at several locations across the United States, with Lot 6 work expected to be complete in March 2019 and Lot 7 work expected to be completed by December 2022.
* The US Defense Logistics Agency has awarded United Technologies a $2.5 billion contract for a sole-source acquisition for aviation-related spare parts and related services. All branches of the armed forces will benefit from the deal, as will the US Coast Guard, which falls under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. The deal will run for five years, expiring in April 30, 2028, with work to take place in Connecticut, Ohio, California, North Carolina, Arizona, New York, Minnesota, Vermont and Iowa.
Middle East & Africa
* Saab unveiled at its Linkoping site on 23 February, the first GlobalEye surveillance platform destined for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The aircraft is a heavily-modified Bombardier Global 6000 business jet with adaptations including Saab’s Erieye ER airborne early warning and control radar, as well as a search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensor which the firm says will give “extended detection range, endurance and the ability to perform multiple roles with one solution, including search and rescue, border surveillance and military operations.” Back in 2015, the UAE inked contracts for two GlobalEye platforms, adding a third to the backlog last year. Saab also plans to offer the GlobalEye to NATO as a possible future successor to the Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) currently fielded by the alliance.
* Defense News reports that French shipbuilder Naval Group is seeking to informally offer two Scorpene attack submarines to Italy, in an attempt to tempt Rome away from a deal with German rival ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. At present, Italy has already taken delivery of four U212A submarines, built by Italian shipyard Fincantieri under license from TKMS, and funding to the tune of $1.2 billion is believed to have been made available for two additional subs to be purchased in 2018. However, with an election due on March 4, a change of government could give Naval Group an opportunity to usurp the potential sale. Furthermore, both Naval Group and Fincantieri are in the midst of negotiations over an industrial agreement, expected for June, with one of the planned cooperation moves includes Naval Group adopting the Italian design for a fleet auxiliary tanker and adapting the vessels to meet French Navy requirements. Both firms declined to comment.
* Russian engineers have completed the development of an airborne anti-satellite laser weapon that is capable of targeting satellites. Developed with the help of information supplied by the Beriev A-60 airborne laser laboratory, the next step is to integrate it on a new airborne platform. Earlier this month, US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats published his 2018 ‘Worldwide Threat Assessment’, in which he cited Russian and Chinese pursuit of anti-satellite weapons “as a means to reduce US and allied military effectiveness.”
* The Indian government has issued a Letter of Request (LoR) to the US government for six additional AH-64E Apache helicopters. Funding for the purchase had been cleared in August 2017 as an option to a 2015 contract for 22 Apache helicopters and 15 CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters for its air force, however, the LoR officially kicks off the formal foreign military sales request with this batch of helicopters destined for the Indian Army. The first of the choppers are expected to be delivered in 2019 and will replace the mainly Russian-made platforms currently in its inventory.
* British shipbuilder Babcock International has announced plans to expand its operation in South Korea with a new facility to open soon in the port city of Busan. The facility will help support the construction of the Republic of Korea Navy’s (RoKN) third KSS-III-class diesel-electric submarines, with Babcock tasked with producing and delivering weapons handling and launch equipment for the subs. Babcock said its new office facility in Busan was an “ideal location” to support the KSS-III submarines and also “new business within the wider defence industry”. Babcock will also look to boost its commercial marine sector business and international supply chains through the new facility.
* Saab’s GlobalEye :