Shock to Delay New Naval Carrier | Czechs Pay $70M to Kit Leased Gripens | Afghani Cayuse Warriors See First CombatAug 13, 2015 00:20 UTC
- The Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) carrier will undergo shock testing, despite this likely causing schedule delays of up to six months. Previously, Navy officials planned to carry out the tests – designed to replicate extreme combat stress – on the second carrier in class, the John F. Kennedy, due to enter service in the early 2020s, in order to accelerate the Gerald R. Ford’s entry into service. Pentagon procurement chief Frank Kendall reportedly ordered the Navy to conduct the tests, despite the inevitable delay such testing would produce.
- Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) successfully shot-down a UAV during the Army’s Black Dart exercise earlier this month. The 2kW laser engaged the UAV by focusing energy on the aircraft’s tail, inducing a loss of control. The system, capable of being transported by a squad of eight to twelve men, is thought to weight approximately 650lbs.
- Rockwell Collins has delivered the first Generation III helmet-mounted display system to the F-35 Joint Program Office. Use of a Distributed Aperture System (DAS) will allow pilots using the HMDS to see through the aircraft’s airframe, with the helmet system scheduled to enter the F-35 fleet during low rate initial production lot 7, timetabled for next year.
- The Brazilian Air Force has outlined what weapons it plans to procure to equip its new fleet of 36 Gripen E/F fighters, following the approval of a Swedish loan earlier this month for both the aircraft and weapons. The $4.6 billion deal will see the first Gripens delivered in 2019, with weapons including the A-Darter short-range air-to-air missile, the IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile, SPICE bomb kits and targeting pods built by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
- The Czech Republic has decided to equip its fourteen leased Gripen C/D fighters with air-to-ground weapons, according to local press reports. The country signed a renewed leasing agreement with Saab last year, with this extending a ten-year deal in 2004 to 2027, with a two-year option period. The Czechs are scheduled to pay approximately $70 million a year for the fourteen aircraft, with the new, unspecific ground-attack equipment timetabled to enter service by 2018. The Czech defense ministry announced its intention to release a tender for the new weapons in late July.
- The Indian Air Force has reportedly cut the its required number of PAK-FA/T-50 fighters by half to approximately 65 aircraft. The joint Russo-Indian project has had its fair share of problems, not least lack of cooperation between the two co-developer nations. India is now looking to sign a research and development contract worth approximately $11 billion, with this having been kept on ice since 2013. The IAF is pressing for an off-the-shelf procurement, which would allow for speedier delivery than under the proposed R&D contract route, which would see delivery take place in around eight years’ time. The defense ministry is now reportedly looking to undertake both options simultaneously, with a reduced number of aircraft procured to fulfil IAF demand whilst eyeing future manufacturing opportunities through the parallel R&D contract.
- Afghanistan’s armed MD-530 helicopters have been used in combat for the first time, reports indicated on Wednesday. The Afghan Security Forces announced in July that the helicopters would be equipped with rocket pods to complement .50 cal machine guns. MD Helicopters was awarded a contract in March 2011 for the first six helicopters, with an additional order for a further twelve announced in September 2014.
- Taiwan’s Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology has unveiled [Chinese] new air defense systems and unmanned aircraft at the country’s 2015 Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition. These include the Sea Oryx, a short-range air defense missile system, the Tan An rocket system and a Reaper-lookalike MALE unmanned aircraft.
- The South Korean Navy has launched its sixth Incheon-class guided missile frigate. The Gwangju is the sixth vessel in a program of twenty new vessels scheduled to enter service by 2020. The new ship will undergo testing before deployment in 2016.
- An example of a ship shock test: