CNAS Report on Drones: Sky Isn’t Falling Yet, But Look Out | Lebanon Getting Its Super Tucanos | China Employs Fast Trains in Troop Movement Exercises
- Raytheon has completed lab testing of the Advanced, Medium Range Air to Air Missile – Extended Range (AMRAAM-ER), a ground-based air defense missile based on the AIM-120D and designed to be integrated with the Kongsberg NASAMS launcher. These latest tests validate that the missile can be integrated with the launcher, which will team with the AN/MPQ-64F1 Improved Sentinel radar to provide a highly capable air defense system. Raytheon is also taking the motor from its Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and integrating it into the AMRAAM-ER to improve the missile’s range and engagement ceiling.
- The Air Force awarded an approximately $1.5 billion, eight-year contract for the sustainment and test operation of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, with $2 million of this awarded on Wednesday. The AEDC is the world’s largest and most sophisticated flight simulation test facility, with fourteen unique test units worldwide.
- DynCorp was handed an $18.3 million support service contract modification in support of Joint Special Operation Task Force – Philippines, bringing the total value of the contract to $154 million. The US officially ended the JSOTF in the Philippines in February, with some advisors remaining after thirteen years of operation in the country. This force reduction was intended to conclude by the beginning of May, with this latest contract scheduled to run to June next year.
- The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) think tank has released a report detailing the potential danger of proliferating small UAVs becoming aerial IEDs, including being used as ‘swarms’ capable of causing significant destruction with a low price tag. China has been developing cheap UAVs, with the readily-available cheap civilian market already significantly growing throughout the world.
- Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces have test-fired a short-range anti-missile system in Kazakhstan, with this test coming as the country’s Defense Ministry announced that it intends to triple the number of air defense missiles in 2015 compared with 2014.
- Russia’s new main battle tanks are not quite as modern as the Russian media makes them out to be. The Russian Defense Ministry has marketed the T-14 Armata tank as a cutting-edge machine designed to surpass rival NATO designs. The T-14 is less heavily armored and armed than the Abrams, Challenger II and Leopard II, each of which have been around for several years.
- Lebanon is buying six Super Tucano ground attack aircraft from the US through a Foreign Military Sale thought to be worth approximately $462 million, including spares, support services and auxiliary equipment. The US and Lebanese governments discussed the potential sale of Super Tucanos in 2010, with the DSCA announcement on Tuesday confirming reports from March which set a deadline of 2018 for delivery of the six aircraft. The Embraer-manufactured turboprop aircraft is particularly useful in counterinsurgency operations, as well as being more very affordable. For these reasons the Super Tucano has seen export success to several African states and numerous other nations worldwide.
- In addition to the Super Tucano order, the Lebanese government is also set to receive BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System to equip the Super Tucano light attack aircraft. The system modifies 70mm rocket rounds to use semi-laser guidance, increasing the precision of the otherwise unguided round.
- Along with the recently announced potential purchase of Eurofighters and Super Hornets, Kuwait is looking to acquire twenty-four H225M/EC725 Caracal helicopters, manufactured by Airbus. Poland recently ordered the Caracal, with these undergoing testing with the Polish Army last month.
- South Korea has requested the sale of the Aegis Combat System through a Foreign Military Sale. The potential sale of three of the systems, as well as auxiliary equipment, could be worth $1.9 billion and comes weeks after the North tested a “submarine-launched” missile. The ACS comprises the SPY-1 radar, Display System and Underwater Countermeasure System, with the Aegis system also capable of operating in a Ballistic Missile Defense capacity.
- Vietnam has upgraded its air defense systems, test-firing three Russian-manufactured S-125-2TM (NATO designation SA-3) Surface to Air Missiles. The improved system is now reportedly capable of targeting advanced low-flying aircraft and cruise missiles in an extreme jamming environment. The SA-3 is the SAM which downed a F-117 Nighthawk in 1999, with this driving the US to develop the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), designed to target and destroy enemy radar stations used to guide SAMs.
- The PLA used a high-speed railway to ferry troops in a recent mobility exercise. The Lanzhou-Xinjiang high-speed railway has 16,000km of track and can reach speeds of 350kph to the
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