Canada Looks to Boeing’s Super Hornets | Paramount’s Mwari Garners Great Interest After IDEX Debut | Poland Plans to Spend $250M/yr on Cyber Security
- Canada moved a step closer to acquiring the F/A-18 Super Hornet after issuing a letter of request to the US government. Included in the letter were requirements on capabilities, schedule and economic benefits for 18 aircraft. The next steps in the deal will see the Pentagon approach manufacturer Boeing as well as other suppliers in order to develop an official proposal for Ottawa which is expected for this Fall. Canada has favored a procurement of Super Hornets as an interim solution to replace its aging CF-18s after dropping out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in 2015.
- MBDA has announced that an F-35B has successfully fired its Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), the first time a British-made, non-US missile has been used on the platform. Testing took place at both the Naval Air Station NAS Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base. The company was awarded the contract in 2016 to integrate and provide the missile for UK F-35s, and is already in service with both the RAF on its Eurofighter Typhoons as well as on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18s.
Middle East & North Africa
- March 16/17: Russian state-owned firm Rostec has confirmed that deliveries of Ka-52 Alligator helicopters to Egypt will commence later this year. Cairo finalized a deal with Russia in late 2015 for 46 Alligators for operation on two French-built Mistral-class landing helicopter dock vessels (originally intended for Moscow prior to sanctions imposed on it following its annexation of Crimea.) The first batch of Alligators scheduled for delivery to Russia in 2017 were transferred to the Russian Ministry of Defense ahead of schedule in December 2016. Problems have been encountered with the Ka-52K after shipborne trials, however, postponing delivery to Egypt.
- Following its debut at the recent IDEX defence expo in Abu Dhabi, the Paramount Group has announced “a phenomenal amount of interest” in its Mwari reconnaissance and strike aircraft.” Designed as an armed version of the Ahrlac aircraft, the company touts the aircraft as combining the technology of a BAE Systems Hawk aircraft and the job of a light helicopter at an operating cost of less than $1,000 per hour, “making it ideally suited to tackle the current insurgency and asymmetrical threats currently found in many parts of the world.” The South African firm say the Mwari is ideal for Middle East forces, claiming that it does 80 percent of what a fighter jet can do, at 1/12th of the cost, making it exponentially cheaper than anything else on the market.
- Denmark has placed an order with Northrop Grumman to provide additional LITENING advanced targeting pods for their F-16s. First delivered in 2013, Denmark was the first international buyer of the LITENING G4 pod, and they are now looking to expand the use of the pod within the Royal Danish Air Force. Technologies found on the fourth generation pod include digital, high definition video, 1K forward-looking infrared and charge-coupled device sensors, laser imaging sensors and advanced data links. These advances deliver more accurate target identification and location at longer ranges than previous targeting pod systems, while also reducing pilot workload. It has been integrated on the A-10, AV-8B, B-52, C-130, F-15, F-16 and F/A-18.
- The Romanian Defense Ministry has announced that they have earmarked funding for 20 additional F-16 fighters as part of wider defense procurements that also include 8-wheeled armored personnel carriers and other equipment for their ground forces. While officials have yet to announce who the supplier will be, they are likely to approach the United States for a deal on the aircraft. At present, Romania has accepted six F-16s as part of a 2016 deal for 12 aircraft from Portugal.
- In the aftermath of cyber attacks aimed at several Polish municipalities that have hosted US troops under a planned NATO operation, government officials have backed a plan to spend $250 million per annum on cyber security. The announcement continues a trend in other NATO members, who have drastically upped funding in order to prevent breeches. While Deputy Defense Minister Tomasz Szatkowsk declined to say who was behind the attacks, the content included anti-NATO and anti-US propaganda alongside pro-Russian content.
- The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DCSA) has cleared the possible sale of 2,000 XM395 precision mortar rounds to the government of Singapore. Built by Orbital ATK, the value of the sale is estimated to reach $66 million and will include support equipment and services. Singapore intends to use the mortar rounds to defend against current and future threats in addition to bolstering homeland defenses.
- A ride in Lockheed Martin’s T-50A trainer:
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