Ukraine’s deal to sell Zubr hovercrafts made by the Feodosiya Shipyard to China was going along, with two of the landing craft delivered. There were disputes between it and Russia’s Almaz Shipbuilding about who owned the design (the craft does appear similar to the Almaz-designed Project 1232.2, the Bison Mark II), but then Russia went and annexed the territory on which important facilities sat. Now, it appears, Russia is selling Zubr hovercrafts to China, although the last two units in the contract were already to be built in China, so the project is largely a technology transfer to spin up Chinese shipbuilding capacity.
- Another crash of a HAL-built Dhruv helicopter – the third in a month – has the company looking into potential common causes. The Indian Army Dhruv crashed in Kashmir. It was one of 73 in the inventory, with 151 more ordered. The recent two other crashes were in Ecuador. Of Ecuador’s seven Dhruvs it has operated since 2009, four of them have crashed. Of the two recent crashes, local media report that the January 27 incident involved a fire after takeoff from Tena. The second one – on the Dhruv that sometimes carries President Rafael Correa – happened on a flight between Guyaquil and Quito.
- Taiwan commissioned a corvette designed and built on the island. The 502-ton Tuo Jiang was built by Lung Teh Shipbuilding Company and features Taiwanese anti-ship missiles, a 76 mm gun and Mark 46 torpedoes. Total cost: $66.39 million.
- A U.S. analyst believes China’s pressure on South Korea to avoid installing U.S. anti-missile systems will backfire, but more interestingly, indicates China thinks the South Korean-U.S. relationship is vulnerable to pressure.
- Sweden, as it assumes the chair of the Nordic Defense Cooperation, won approval for greater cooperation. The plan includes intelligence sharing for certain, and possibly the creation of a Nordic-Baltic Battle Group.
- Russia’s Krylov State Research Center – a state-owned design and research shop – built a model of a very large aircraft carrier. Their design, they say, reduces hull friction by about 20 percent. Russian press (Russian) indicate that if the ongoing lab tests prove promising, they will build a 1:1 scale model for further testing.
- Special Operations Command demanded – and got – upgrades to the AC-130 series gunships. The new AC-130J Ghostrider is testing now, with a lengthy series of upgrades, most dramatically an additional gun – this one facing backwards. Between the current inventory of AC- 130H, 130W and 130Us, the Air Force has 37 gunships, but it is retiring eight of the 130Hs and plans to retire more shortly.
- Israel’s IAI is going in with India’s Alpha Design Technologies to produce and market miniature UAVs for the Indian market. Domestic production is increasingly a requirement for tenders in India. The deal covers IAI’s Bird-Eye 400 and Bird-Eye 650 as well as others. The UAVs are designed to be hand-launched.
- And on the topic of Israeli drones, the IDF formed a new unit for the expressed purpose of attaching drones to artillery units to accelerate target acquisition and spotting.
- As the Air Force tries to shed the dead weight of the A-10 program, look what showed up over Syria for refueling…