Canada Mulls Joining US in GMD System | US Considers Restarting F-22 Production | SK Decision Coming on KAI KF-X Fighter Engine Provider
- Canada’s government is considering joining the US-led Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system with Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, soliciting feedback from the public on the issue. In 2005, the previous Conservative government had rejected George W. Bush’s offer to participate in the program, and in 2014, a Senate committee had urged the former government to join the GMD system as a partner. If a decision is made to join the program, Canada could contribute sites for interceptors or radars for the system.
- The latest testing of the US Army’s Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) has used an Israeli Tamir interceptor. Tamir missiles are used in Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Each launcher can fit up to six different interceptors at a time with the AIM-9X and Longbow Hellfire fully integrated into the system. While not integrated yet, Tamir joins both Mini-Hit-to-Kill and the Stinger as missiles that have all been shown to have the capability to be shot from the MML.
- Testing of a submarine-launched UGM-109 Tomahawk was terminated by the US Navy after the inert cruise missile crashed 50 minutes after its launch in southern Florida. The Navy was conducting a routine flight test, which was coordinated by the Navy’s Tomahawk Weapon System program at the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Maryland. Causes of the missile crash are currently being investigated by Navy officials.
- A study has been ordered by US Lawmakers into potentially restarting the F-22 Raptor production line. It’s been nearly six years since Lockheed Martin ceased manufacturing the jet; however, due to the growing perception that the US military is losing its technological edge to adversaries like Russia and China, Congress has expressed keen interest throughout this year’s budget season in restarting the line. Only 187 jets were ever produced, falling short of the initial production aims of 749.
Middle East North Africa
- Afghanistan’s National Army has launched its first ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The first operational site is in the often volatile Helmand province, and there will be a total of eight sites situated across the country. The systems will provide the Afghan National Army with airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities as it conducts security missions against militants operating within its borders.
- A joint South African and Brazilian development of the 5th generation A-Darter infrared short-range air-to-air missile (AAM) is in trouble, as the latter may be pulling out of the project. Despite development work already being done on the missile, only South Africa has put in a production order, with Brazil citing financial troubles to be able to further integrate the missile on the JAS 39 Gripen E fighter. South Africa has signed commitments to order the missile for the next five years, while Brazil is looking at existing missiles that are cleared for carriage on the latest variant of the JAS 39.
- A number of bids have been received by Poland’s Defense Ministry to provide battlefield simulation systems for the country’s military. Five consortia have submitted tenders with the participation of US Cubic, Germany’s Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, Israel’s Elbit Systems, Thales Poland, Sweden’s Saab, Ruag Defence France, and the state-run Polish Armaments Group (PGZ). The companies teamed up with a number of other defense manufacturers and research institutions, predominantly from Poland, which hopes to have the simulation systems supplied by October 2021.
- South Korea looks set to decide on which engine provider will be selected for its KAI KF-X fighter as early as the end of the month. Suppliers looking to win the contract are European firm Eurojet Turbo GmbH and the US’s General Electric. Seoul is seeking to locally produce 120 twin-engine combat jets under the KF-X program that is estimated to cost some $16 billion. Deployment of the new planes is hoped to start in mid-2020 to replace its aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s.
- Su-34 fighter-bombers clearing ice jams in Russia’s Vologda region:
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