Canada wants “trusted partner” for CF-18 successor, Boeing on the outside | Draken Intl adds SA Cheetahs for Red Air | Ukraine to test new radar
- A news conference held by the Canadian government on Tuesday made clear that Boeing would not be supplying them with 18 F/A-18 Super Hornets—they will instead buy second-hand from Australia in a deal worth $388 million—and warned the US airframer that it had little chance of winning a much larger contract unless it dropped a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier. Ottawa announced last year it wanted to buy the Boeing fighters in order to fill a capability gap while it restarted a competition for 88 jets to replace its aging 77 CF-18s fighters, after it dropped out of procuring the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In a clear reference to Boeing, Carla Qualtrough, public works and procurement minister, told the news conference that “bidders responsible for harming Canada’s economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage” compared to other companies participating in the competition for the 88 jets. Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains added to the Boeing bashing by saying the government wanted a trusted partner—many in the government do not consider Boeing as such—prompting Boeing rival Lockheed Martin to issue a statement describing itself as “a trusted partner”. The saga continues.
- Draken International announced the acquisition of 12 fighter aircraft from the South African Air Force’s (SAAF) inventory. A leading provider of advanced adversary air training to the US Department of Defense (DoD), the deal saw Draken acquire nine single-seat C-model and 3 twin-seat D-model Atlas Cheetah fighters—retired in 2008 and replaced by the SAAF with the JAS-39 Gripen, with some sold to Ecuador. In addition to the sale, Draken has also formed a partnership with the Cheetah’s manufacturer, Denel, that will include follow-on service support to help ensure performance reliability. Draken hope to have the Cheetahs operational by mid-2018, where they will then provide the USAF, USN, and USMC with an advanced radar-equipped supersonic platform to train against. Developed as a variant of the Mirage III, the Mach 2.2 Cheetahs are equipped with radars, radar warning receivers, and other advanced avionics. They also have an average of 500 hours on each airframe and are considerably younger than many of the F-16’s, F-15’s and F/A-18s they will challenge in the Red Air capacity.
- The US Navy has awarded Bath Iron Works a $23.9 modified contract to provide engineering and technical services on Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. US Navy shipbuilding and conversion funds from fiscal years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 totaling more than $22.5 million has been obligated to the Maine-based firm and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The agreement is also a cost-reimbursement contract that potentially could provide Bath Iron Works with an award fee, based upon a later evaluation by the Pentagon. Work on the contract will mostly be split between Brunswick, Maine, and Bath, Maine, with some taking place in Washington, DC, and Pascagoula, Miss., and is expected to be completed by June 2018.
Middle East & Africa
- Turkish and Russian officials are expected to finalize Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 Triumf air defense system in the coming week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. It is also believed that Russia will offer credit to Turkey in a partial financing of the system, with a Russian presidential aide telling the Interfax news agency that technical issues such as interest rates were being finalized by the Finance Ministry. The first of two S-400 systems will begin delivery in 2019, with options for a third. Turkey has also signed a deal with the Eurosam consortium to help develop an indigenous system that will actually be interoperable with NATO systems.
- Leonardo will deliver eight additional twin-engine AW139 helicopters to Italy for public service and security operations within the country. Totalling nearly $132 million, two models will be delivered to the Italian Coast Guard in 2018 for use on search-and-rescue missions, while the remaining six will be delivered by 2020 and used by the Italian Customs and Border Protection Service (Guardia di Finanza) on patrol missions. Once delivered, both services will operate 14 AW139s each, with the total number of units ordered by Rome for publicservices now reaching 53.
- Ukranian state-owned defense manufacturer Ukroboronprom has announced that the 80K6T air defense radar is ready for factory trials. The active phased array radar has a range of 500 km and altitude of 40 km, and will be primarily tasked with target destination and is integrated with all types of AA missile systems used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It can make 12 turns per minutes and updates data every five seconds. Kiev’s 80K6T development is part of an effort to both revitalize its defence industry and re-equip its national armed forces. The 80K6T aims to provide an analogous capability to the Saab Giraffe 4A, Hensoldt TRML-3D/32 and -4D and Thales Ground Master, among others. However, while the 80K6T has promising specifications, actual performance and reliability has yet to be tested. If available on the export market, the 80K6T can provide a capable non-Western solution, especially for Ukraine’s traditional client base.
- Two out of six upgraded F-16C fighters scheduled to fly from the US to Indonesia this week had to make a stopover in Guam due to engine trouble. The six aircraft—part of a deal that saw 24 F-16C/D aircraft upgraded with new avionics and weaponry for Jakarta—left the continental US on Monday with a scheduled stopover in Guam before moving on to Iswahjudi air base on Tuesday—where many of the aircraft will eventually be based. However, two of the aircraft didn’t make the second leg of the journey and are now undergoing repair work.
- Ukroboronprom’s 80K6T radar:
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