US Advances $500M for Ukraine Training | AF Awards Big 3 Contracts to Replace JSTARS | Baltic States Mull Joint Procurement in View of Bellicose NeighborAug 11, 2015 00:25 UTC
- The Air Force has handed out three one-year contracts to further develop competing designs for the JSTARS replacement program. The competition to replace the fleet of Northrop Grumman E-8Cs is scheduled to lead to a production contract before the JSTARS fleet is retired from FY2019. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were each awarded pre-engineering and manufacturing (EMD) contracts – Boeing and Northrop Grumman each approximately $10 million, with Lockheed Martin receiving the largest at $11.5 million – as a risk-reduction measure ahead of a planned production contract expected in late 2017. A Request for Proposal (RFP) is anticipated ahead of this date, with the Air Force planning to award two EMD contracts for test aircraft, followed by a further contract for three low-rate initial production aircraft.
Middle East North Africa
- Jordan has opted to buy Swiss turboprop trainers, signing a contract with Pilatus for nine of the company’s PC-9M aircraft, as well as a simulator and support services. Delivery will begin in January 2017. Oman also operates the PC-9M, with the model at the heart of a political scandal in 2008 centered around Chad’s breach of Swiss export controls.
- Nigeria has received a thousand new Polish rifles, following a contract signed in 2014. The M762 rifles were ordered from Fabryka Broni Lucznik last December, marking the company’s first successful export order for the rifle. Under the terms of the agreement with the Polish manufacturer, a further four thousand rifles are scheduled to be delivered this year to the west African state.
- The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are discussing the possibility of collaborative defense procurement. The NATO states border an increasingly belligerent Russia and may also seek to join the development activities of the Nordic Defence Cooperation’s (NORDEFCO) Military Cooperation Areas in a bid to maximize rising defense investment. Estonia already meets NATO’s target defense spend of 2% GDP, with Latvia and Lithuania planning to meet this target by 2020. Lower per-unit costs through larger equipment buys are likely to drive joint investment, with air defense systems specifically mentioned. The US and Poland have been keen to develop the Baltics’ air defense systems, with Sweden also planning a revamp of its capabilities.
- Ukraine will receive an additional $500 million from the US government to finance the training of Ukrainian military personnel. The Obama administration modestly increased US training to include Defense Ministry forces in June, after US personnel were first deployed to train Interior Ministry troops in April. The announcement comes several days after a report published by the Center for New American Security identified several strategic deficiencies with US policy on defense assistance.
- Georgia’s Defense Minister has criticized the country’s largest state-owned defense firm, the Delta State Military Scientific-Technical Center. Tinatin Khidasheli has called for greater accountability and oversight, as well as having taken aim at the lack of export success for the company’s flagship product, the Didgori armored vehicle. The company has been marketing the vehicle to Azerbaijan, Congo, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, all to no avail.
- Following the induction of the Akash surface-to-air missile into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in mid-July, the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) is now clearing a procurement of fourteen units to equip the IAF. The indigenous Akash also entered service with the Indian Army in May, with the IAF currently operating two squadrons.
- RAC MiG has delivered more MiG-29 upgrade kits to the Indian Air Force, for fitting onto the IAF’s Flankers by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The kits will bring the fleet up to the MiG-29UPG standard, with a number of the 63 fighters already delivered to the IAF following upgrade work by RAC MiG in Russia. The company is also reportedly planning to deliver six carrier-capable MiG-29K fighters to India by the end of the year, with a further six following in 2016. A local maintenance, repair and overhaul center is also being established, to allow for these services to take place in-country rather than in Russia, with this following a contract signed in August 2013.
- China’s state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is reportedly looking to bolster partnerships with French firm Thales and US-based Honeywell. The company’s subsidiaries include Chengdu Aerospace Corporation – manufacturer of the J-10 multi-role fighter and J-20, J-31 stealth fighters, Shenyang and Xian companies, which are responsible for the majority of China’s military aerospace development in recent decades. The extent to which the firms will engage in defense technology is likely limited, however there will likely be opportunities for dual-use technological development to spill over into China’s defense technology base. Honeywell’s relationship with AVIC dates back to 2011, whilst Thales and AVIC signed a MoU to develop a joint solution for the Chinese helicopter market last November.
- A civilian Pilatus PC-9: