As former Warsaw Pact neighbors like Bulgaria grapple with affordable solutions to their aged fighter fleets, Poland is choosing to modernize half of its MiG-29 interceptor fleet, which serves alongside 48 F-16C/D Block 52 fighters as the core of the Sily Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej’s front-line combat force. The MiG-29s of the 1st and 41st squadrons are part of the 1st tactical air wing at Swidwin, whose 3 Soviet-era SU-22 strike aircraft squadrons could disappear by 2014, with only a single squadron of trainer & light attack aircraft as their replacement.
Under the 133 million Zloty (about $48.5 million) contract with state-run WZL 2 in Bydgoszcz, the Poles will upgrade 13 of its MiG-29A interceptors, and 3 of its MiG-29UB interceptor/trainers. They will receive brand new avionics and mission computers, including a MIL-STD-1553 databus, and jam-resistant GPS. Poland appears to have chosen the basic upgrade option over a more extensive Sniper-class refit with helmet-mounted displays, improved ECM and radar, and the ability to use western weapons. The goal is to keep 1 of their 2 MiG-29 squadrons operational until 2030. Defense News | Flight International.
In September 2011, AAR Airlift Group, Inc. in Palm Bay, FL received a maximum $78.9 million contract to continue contracted ship-based helicopter services, including vertical replenishment services, in support of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and US Military Sealift Command. MSC ships are crewed by civilian mariners, and their accompanying helicopters are contractor operated.
AAR Airlift Group, Inc., will provide helicopters, personnel, and operational and technical support services in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Arabian/ Persian Gulf. Base contract funds are subject to availability of FY 2012 funding, and will expire at the end of that fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. The $15.5 million firm-fixed-price base contract also has 3 more 12-month options periods, and one 11-month option period, which could bring the total to the maximum noted above, and extend the contract to August 2016. This contract was competitively procured via solicitations posted to multiple government websites, with more than 50 companies solicited, and 4 offers received by US Military Sealift Command in Washington, DC (N00033-11-C-1003).
Meanwhile, ISVG points out that “open-source information indicates that while the United States and its allies have been highly effective at killing or capturing high-level members of [al Qaeda Central], the central leadership of [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] remains largely intact.”
The US military’s 1st JHSV catamaran is launched and christened at Austal’s Mobile, AL shipyard. Meanwhile, the Austal-built USS Independence Littoral Combat Ship has finished repairs for its corrosion issues, and steamed into St. Petersburg.
Ronald O’Rourke at the Congressional Research Service releases the latest version of “Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress”, based on information in the proposed FY12 budget, the Navy’s 30-year plan and CBO’s costing of it. Older versions are available for free thanks to Open CRS.
Andrew S. Erickson of the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) gave a book lecture at the Naval War College museum on Chinese aerospace power and maritime roles. 1-hour video embedded below: