Bell Gets More Sole-Sourced Orders from Canada | Plan ‘Floated’ for Using Old CVNs as Bridge | Croatia Following Trend of MiG-ectomiesApr 13, 2015 15:19 UTC
- The Canadian Coast Guard is purchasing seven more Bell 412EPI helicopters, in addition to the fifteen Light-Lift 429 models contracted for last year, amid controversy over the bidding process.
- The Canadian armed forces are attempting to developed armor 25% lighter than existing designs, principally through the use of boron nitride nanotubes.
- A Republican Representative is suggesting using disused aircraft carriers as bridges in the Seattle area; a “novel idea” planners admit. The plan envisages former carriers lined end-to-end to link the Bremerton and Port Orchard areas on the Kitsap Peninsula.
- Raytheon has successfullytested the Small Diameter Bomb II‘s verification review, a key achievement following the awarding of the SBD II engineering contract in 2010. The SDB II recently hit the headlines for failing to fit in the F-35’s petite weapons bay, the only place on the fighter to which bombs may be attached without spoiling some of its stealth capabilities.
- Sikorsky was awarded a $480 million five-year contract for aircraft spares, including the H-53 and H-60 helicopters.
- Croatia is planning to replace its fleet of MiG-21 fighters, with the Czech Defense Ministry currently evaluating three options with a view to announcing a winner by the end of the year. There are reportedly three candidate platforms, all of which are western in origin.
- Germany will reportedly spend $23.6 million bringing a hundred Leopard II main battle tanks back into service, following their mothballing and storage by industry. The decision effectively reverses a 2011 decision to cut the number of Bundeswehr Leopards from 350 to 225, with the German Defense Ministry planning on modernizing the new tanks from 2017.
- France’s Rafales may receive terrain-following autopilot capabilities, with a comparable system currently fitted to two-seat models of the Rafale.
- In a twist to the Indian Rafale deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Friday that the country will buy 36 models of the fighter outright, with these in a ready-to-fly condition. The contract doubles the number of planned aircraft to be procured from the original tender. How this new contract – a reflection of increasing pressure from the Indian Air Force – will impact the ongoing negotiations with Dassault is uncertain, with the deal potentially requiring renegotiation. This deal, driven by operational necessities, is however being interpreted as a setback for Modi’s “Make in India” campaign, with the original deal seeing 18 ready-made Rafales to be combined with 108 more produced in India; this announcement is likely to reduce the future workload for Indian aerospace manufacturers, although it may increase the available lead time during which a local manufacturer could be brought up to production competence.
- Japan is unlikely to field its Soryu-class subs in the $12 billion, six-boat conventional submarine tender, despite the Indian side having expressed a willingness to include the Japanese sub as a potential bid.
- The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization is planning on conducting a user-trial of its Agni-III nuclear-capable missile Thursday. This follows from a successful earlier test in 2009 and integration of the missile into the Indian arsenal in 2010.
- China’s J-31 may be capable of VTOL flight capabilities. The validity of this claim is uncertain, particularly as the J-31 has seen criticism of its flight capabilities since its maiden flight in 2012.
- Quick-thinking during grenade practice…