Virginia-Class Sub Launches UUV | Brits Train Others on MANPAD Mitigation | China Sea Nations in Amphib Aircraft Race of SortsJul 22, 2015 01:46 UTC
- In a Navy first, the USS North Dakota (SSN 784) successfully launched and recovered an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) during its two-month deployment to the Mediterranean. Previous reports indicated that the UUVs tested would include the autonomous Remus 600, which was partially funded by the US Office of Naval Research.
- The Chief of Naval Operation Adm. Jonathan Greenert wants to buy ten Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDGS) to the tune of two a year, according to his Navigation Plan announced this week. This will bring the total number to be procured by 2020 to seventy-two. The Plan also calls for the procurement of the Navy’s Small Surface Combatant frigates by 2019, as well as investment in deterrent and attack submarines. The latter would involve boosting the fleet of Virginia-class boats to twenty-two within five years, in addition to the maintenance of the Ohio-class ballistic missile boats, with a replacement eyed for 2031.
- Russia is reportedly opting to focus on the development of upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M2 bombers over development for its PAK DA strategic bomber project, with serial production of the upgraded Cold War design scheduled to begin in 2023. This will shunt the PAK DA project timeline backward, with the Russia Air Force scheduled to receive batches of three Tupolev bombers a year from 2023 onward. The Russian Defense Ministry recently announced its intention to procure at least fifty of the Tupolev strategic bombers, with an upgrade program for in-service Tu-160s nearing completion ahead of time.
- An interdepartmental team from the British government and the airline sector, comprised of Police, Royal Air Force and transport officials have begun training overseas governments on how to prevent missile attacks on airliners. The threat of MANPADS proliferation has prompted the creation of the ‘Counter MANPADS Team’, with Israel testing counter-missile systems for use on commercial airliners last year, deploying these on some flights. Israeli firms have been quick to fill customer demand for the systems, particularly as the weapons have proliferated across the Middle East North Africa region, including Libya, Syria and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula; the last of these catalyzing Israel’s push to fit certain flights with counter-missile technology.
- Russian forces in the Eastern Military District are planning to live-fire Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles in September, following the delivery of a brigade of the missiles this month. The 500km-range missile was recently offered to Saudi Arabia, with Armenia also a potential export customer. Rosoboronexport announced its intention in April to sell the system abroad following the fulfillment of orders from the Russian armed forces.
Middle East North Africa
- Egypt has taken delivery of its first three two-seat Rafale fighters, in time for the opening of a new Suez waterway in August. Egypt surprised many by ordering twenty-four of the jets in February, in a deal worth $5.9 billion. Photos emerged last week showing the three aircraft in flight, with the Egyptian Rafale fleet reported to come equipped with a plethora of advanced French missiles manufactured by MBDA and Safran.
- In a characteristic set-back, India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will see its Final Operating Clearance delayed until next year. The schedule has slipped consistently for the indigenous fighter, with FOC previously pushed back to December this year. The Indian Defense Ministry has blamed the delays on late delivery of components from foreign manufacturers; however the program also came under severe criticism from the Indian government’s principal oversight body in May, with the aircraft’s performance in question after over three decades of development. The new FOC for the aircraft is now reported to be timetabled for March 2016.
- Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has reportedly begun final assembly of the world’s largest amphibious aircraft at a subsidiary’s facility in the south of China. The AG600 aircraft is intended to be used for long-range sea rescue and firefighting missions, as well as resupply and other tasks. Other states with a geopolitical interest in the region have also been investing in amphibious aircraft capabilities; including Japan’s US-2, which has also attracted interest from India and Indonesia.
- The Philippines announced an increase to the country’s 2016 defense budget of 25% earlier this week, with the defense spending budget now set to reach approximately $552 million. The country has exchanged rhetoric with China and other regional powers over claims to South China Sea territory, with this latest budgetary increase part of a five-year modernization plan announced in 2013. The 2016 defense budget is now set to equate to five times that of the 2013 budget.
- The REMUS 600 UUV: