Brazil’s Saab Gripen NG Contract Moving Forward | LM Advances EOTS for Coming Year | Czech’s to Spend $104.6M for TITUS from Tatra & NexterSep 14, 2015 00:26 UTC
- Brazil’s prosecutor’s office has ended its investigation [Portuguese] into possible corruption in the country’s procurement process of Saab Gripen NG fighters, finding insufficient evidence of wrongdoing to continue. The investigation centered on possible kickbacks for Air Force officials, with four of their sons placed in AEL Sistemas S/A, a company contracted to supply Gripen-manufacturer Saab with aircraft components, including avionics equipment. The Prosecutor’s Office has terminated the probe after four months, following its opening in April. Saab won the country’s FX-2 fighter competition in December 2013, with a contract announced in October 2014. Following renegotiated loan terms with Sweden’s Export Credit Corporation, this deal came into effect last week.
- Lockheed Martin has unveiled a new Advanced Electro-Optical Targeting System for the F-35‘s Block 4 configuration. Designed to replace the current EOTS in operation with existing F-35s, the new version has been a priority for the program, while the Pentagon announced in May that it was to decide which weapon systems it would bake into the Block 4 configuration. A prototype of the Advanced EOTS is expected to make an appearance next year, while the Block 4 configuration is scheduled to be rolled out between 2019 and 2025.
- Raytheon is remaining non-aligned as the competition for the Air Force’s JSTARS replacement program, offering its wide-area radar to the three competing industry teams. The three primes – Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman – were handed pre-engineering & manufacturing development contracts in August, with these now partnered with other industry partners to offer competing bids for the $6.5 billion program. The three teams are offering modified commercial designs, with Raytheon’s Skynet radar design expected to enter production in coming years.
- Lockheed Martin is offering to kit out Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft with sensors, re-purposing them for a maritime patrol and surveillance role. The company is competing with Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon to provide a replacement for MRA4 Nimrod aircraft retired following the 2010 Strategic Defence & Security Review. The modified Hercules – known as the SC-130J – would use some equipment taken from the P-3 Orion, such as the Magnetic Anomaly Detector, along with new equipment such as external racks and internal bays for weapons.
- Saab is teaming with Poland’s Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze Nr 2 S.A. (WZL No.2) to market self-defense systems for the Polish Air Force’s fleet of MiG-29 fighters. The two companies are trying to sell the Swedish firm’s Electronic Warfare protection systems, with the company recently demonstrating the use of a chaff dispenser on a MiG-29 during a military fair in Bydgoszcz. WZL No.2 has previously upgraded Polish MiG-29s, including avionics, mission computers and hardened GPS systems. However, the Polish Defense Ministry opted in 2011 for a simple set of upgrades, rather than more advanced features. It is now that these more capable options are being considered.
- The Czech Republic is buying 42 Tactical Infantry Transport and Utility System (TITUS) armored personnel vehicles from local firm Tatra and France’s Nexter, according to Czech press reports [Czech]. The contract is valued at approximately $104.6 million. The TITUS vehicle was collaboratively designed by the two European firms and first unveiled in September 2013.
Middle East North Africa
- Kuwait is buying 28 Eurofighters through the Italian government, following an order for a dozen of the aircraft in December 2012. The order is the first in three years for the multinational Eurofighter, with the Eurofighter consortium’s partner company Alenia Aermacchi reportedly having led the marketing campaign in the Gulf state. Oman similarly ordered twelve of the multi-role fighters in December 2012, with the aircraft already in operation with six national air forces.
- Russia appears to be moving advanced air defense weaponry into Syria, amid announcements by Russian officials that recent arms transfers to the Syrian government are an effort to help the Syrian Arab Army fight ISIS. The SA-22 (Pantsir-S1) system therefore seems to be angled more at protecting Russian forces deployed to the country, as well as the air base in Latakia in case of further airlift transfers, rather than defend against pathetic ISIS air assets. No other rebel groups hostile to the presence of Russian forces possess aircraft, with ISIS now thought to have lost all captured aircraft. Russia has been a staunch supporter of the Assad regime, supplying significant hardware to the government, including a transfer of MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor aircraft in August.
- Algeria is ordering an additional fourteen Su-30MKI multirole fighters from Russia to supplement the 44 already in service with the Algerian Air Force. Algeria is an important export customer for the Russian defense industry, with the North African country ordering a significant number of attack and transport helicopters last June. The Indian Air Force also operates the Su-30MKI, with the IAF suffering a high crash rate among its fleet in recent months. This latest deal is thought to value approximately $420 million, with deliveries expected between 2016 and 2017.
Asia & Pacific
- The Indian government has approved the purchase of ten armed UAVs from Israel Aerospace Industries, following a fast-tracking of the program by the Modi administration. The $400 million acquisition will see ten IAI Heron TP drones join other Israeli designs operated by the Indian Air Force, with Harpy loitering munitions, Searcher ISR aircraft and unarmed Heron-1 aircraft already seeing service. The country is also pursuing an indigenous UAV development program known as the Rustom 2. India has been the world’s largest importer of drones over the last thirty years, with IAI officials reportedly in talks with the Indian Defence Ministry over a possible joint production of the new UAVs. India is also planning to allocate significant funds to train increasing numbers of operators to use its expanding UAV fleet.
- The Indian government wants Russia to open up the PAK FA/T-50 fifth-generation fighter for testing by Indian pilots, while the country’s Defence Ministry is also contemplating an off-the-shelf procurement of 60 to 65 aircraft. This would be sufficient to satisfy the Indian Air Force’s recently-slashed requirement for three squadrons of the fighter.
- The Indian Army is speeding up its acquisition of new rifles, with the country’s Ordnance Factory Board producing 200 prototype Excalibur rifles for user trials later this year. Following the scrapping of a four-year tender in June, the Excalibur design was selected in July to replace the problematic INSAS service rifle, which has already been abandoned by some Indian forces operating in high-risk areas. The Indian Army is reportedly planning to procure over 600,000 new Excalibur rifles for approximately $541 million.
- The PLAAF’s new Shenyang J-11BS fighter flying on 10 September.