Brazil Starts Producing Gripen Jets | UK Loans Jackal Vehicles To Estonia | New Zealand Receives Polaris ATVs
Brazil has officially begun manufacturing fighter jets with the start of production at a new facility that makes sections of the Saab Gripen, Swedish aerospace company Saab announced Tuesday. Saab Aeronáutica Montagens, a new manufacturing plant located near Sao Paulo, has begun producing Gripen E/F aerostructures, including the tail cone and front fuselage for the single-seat Gripen E version of the jet. It will eventually also make the brakes, rear fuselage, wing box and front fuselage for the two-seater “F” model, Saab stated. Those structures will then undergo final assembly at Embraer’s nearby plant in Sao Paulo and Saab’s main Gripen production hub in Linköping, Sweden. Saab won a contract with Brazil in 2014 for 36 Gripen E/F aircraft after a hard-fought competition that included Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Technology transfer was a major requirement for all proposals.
Northrop Grumman announced that the US Air Force has placed an initial order for Litening pods with full-color digital video capability and two-color laser spot search and track. The pod includes full-color digital video (with resolution of more than 1k x 1k) and two-color laser spot search and track, the company announced. A color video capability gives aircrew and ground forces ‘more complete situational understanding in less time’, said Ryan Tintner, VP of navigation, targeting and surveillance at Northrop Grumman. Any Litening pod can be upgraded to the color configuration. This upgrade also includes the ability to record simultaneous video feeds from all sensors for post-mission analysis, automatic laser code display and an eye-safe mode that allows for more realistic training while using the laser.
Middle East & Africa
Elbit Systems has integrated a mini-Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) onboard the Seagull Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) further enhancing its intelligence gathering capabilities. According to the company, the trials with the mini-UAS were conducted in recent weeks. With this, Elbit Systems is expanding the operational capabilities of the Seagull USV beyond Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Mines Countermeasure (MCM) missions. The shipborne mini-UAS, with a takeoff weight of up to 15kg, is capable of point water recovery. The visual feed generated by the mini-UAS can be transmitted to the land based control unit of the Seagull USV and to the Combat Management System (CMS) of additional vessels.
Estonian Special Forces deploying to Mali will be loaned four Jackal armored vehicles by the Ministry of Defense. Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey confirmed the loan, plus a three-week training package, for elite soldiers of the Estonian Armed Forces. The loan will equip Estonian troops as they join the fight against Islamic terrorism in the Sahel region of Africa, a further example of the UK’s strong partnership with one of its closest NATO allies, say the MoD.
UAC has delivered another four Su-35 fighters to the Russian Knights aerobatics team, local media reports. This brings the total number of aircraft delivered to 8. The first four were transferred in November last year. These aircraft were manufactured at Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant (KnAAZ).
Polaris has delivered six of its diminutive 4×4 all-terrain vehicles (ATV) to the New Zealand Army, as part of the latter’s Protected Mobility Capability Project. The lightweight four-seat vehicles, which are powered by a turbo diesel engine, are meant to replace quad bikes and other small vehicles operated by the army, and to provide improved mobility, safety, and versatility to rapidly deployable mobile forces.
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