* Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) intends to negotiate and award a Firm-Fixed-Price (FFP) contract with Boeing for the integration of the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile on the Saudi F-15SA. The notice was made on the US Federal Business Opportunities website. NAVAIR’s plan to award Boeing the contract was justified as the company “alone has the experience, special skills; proprietary technical documentation, software/algorithms; facilities and manufacturing techniques required to produce, assemble and integrate this equipment and furnish the supplies and services within the required timeframe.”
* Workers at the Lockheed Martin plant in Forth Worth are to ballot on potential strike action next week as the current contract between the aerospace giant and the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers union expires next month. A vote in favor of industrial action would put pressure on Lockheed to come up with an offer that is more amicable to the workers. A 2012 strike, which lasted ten weeks, led to an 11% pay increase, however the union was unable to stop the company from ending a traditional defined-benefit pension for new hires and shifting instead a 401(k) plan.
Middle East North Africa
* Aerospace giant Airbus and Turkish missile producer Rokestan are to collaborate on integrating the latter’s Cirit laser-guided rocket on H135 and H145 helicopters. The Cirit missile project was launched to equip Turkish Army’s T-129 Atak, AH-1P Cobra and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters with low-cost precision strike capabilities, but now has started to attract foreign clients as the Eurocopter selected the missiles to equip the EC635 helicopters. Test operations will be conducted in Turkey.
* Botswana has confirmed that negotiations to purchase between eight and 12 JAS Gripen C/D from Sweden are underway. With an estimated cost of $1.7 billion, the fighters will replace the country’s F-5 fleet bought from Canada in the mid-1990s. Other procurements in Botswana’s sights include a $179 million deal to purchase 45 Piranha 3 8×8 armored wheeled vehicles from Swiss company General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag (GDELS-Mowag).
* A senior French official has disclosed that they are offering the Aster 30 missile to Sweden as a potential option for the latter’s hunt for a new ground-based air defense system. The joint French-Italian Aster 30 missile program will compete against the Norwegian NASAM – which has seen interest from Poland and Lithuania – and other competing products from Diehl and Rafael. The offering to Stockholm comes as the Aster program enters a new phase, with France and Italy having signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on the Aster Block 1 New Technology, a version which extends the missile’s range.
* Belarus has announced plans to purchase Su-30SM fighters from manufacturer Irkut. Interest in the new aircraft was admitted by Belarusian Defense Minister Andrei Ravkov when asked by media if his ministry had any plans to procure newer fighters than the current Su-27 and MiG-29 in service. Regarded as a 4+ generation fighter, the Su-30SM is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with a wide variety of precision-guided munitions. The aircraft features thrust-vectoring engines to enhance maneuverability.
* A series of British Army sponsored live-firings of the Lockheed Martin & Raytheon Javelin missile have scored 100%. The missiles were fired from a Kongsberg M151 Remote Weapon Station mounted on a Spartan armored fighting vehicle in Salisbury Plain Training Area in Wiltshire, England. Traveling distances of between 1.2 and 4.3 kilometers, the tests were conducted following a growing demand to fire Javelins from infantry fighting vehicles and the need by soldiers to have a flexibility to fire the missile from either a vehicle or in the dismounted mode.
* Saab is to push to increase its presence in India with a series of plans to boost their Aerospace production and sales to the country. Among these are to create dedicated manufacturing and maintenance facilities for fighter aircraft, aligning supply of the Gripen E fighter aircraft under the “Make in India” policy, and the setting up of a joint venture in India for the fighter program with a domestic private firm. Other ongoing talks with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) aim to offer electronic-warfare technologies, avionics, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and weapon-integration solutions for the Indian-made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas 1A.
* The Rokestan Cirit laser guided rocket: