AF Releases RFI for Re-Winging A-10s | MDBA Delivering Sea Ceptor Hardware in Prep for CAMM | Call for RN to Open Competition on $3.1B Maritime Patrol ContractSep 21, 2015 02:03 UTC
- The Air Force released a Request for Information on Friday to identify potential industry sources for the re-winging of an unspecified number of A/OA-10A close air support aircraft. Over half of the A-10 Warthog fleet is already undergoing a re-winging program, with Boeing acting as prime contractor for 173 of the aircraft, with options for an additional 69. The RFI comes despite repeated calls by the Air Force’s top brass to retire the fleet early in order to free up money and resources. These calls have been blocked, with this latest RFI part of the A-10’s Thunderbolt Lifecycle Program Support (TLPS) program, intended to keep the aircraft flying until at least 2028.
- DARPA has released a solicitation for the Gremlins aerial UAV launch and recovery program, following a Request for Information release last year. With an industry day scheduled for Thursday, DARPA is hoping for a flurry of innovative ideas to push onto a concept and system architecture development Phase I.
- The Navy has test fired a Rolling Airframe Missile Block 1A from an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship, the USS Coronado (LCS-4). The trimaran’s SeaRAM air defense system fired the missile as part of a risk-reduction and certification trial. The SeaRAM system incorporates the Rolling Airframe Missile and the Block 1B Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) as a more flexible air defense system, trading bolt-on versatility for a reduced missile load compared with the RAM system on its own.
- Following the increased F-35 procurement cost suffered by the Netherlands last week, Canada is likely to see any possible F-35 procurement skyrocket in cost thanks to international exchange rates. Canada needs a replacement for its CF-18 Hornets, with a possible acquisition of the F-35 a highly politicized issue, this latest cost estimate revision likely to see any future program take the form of either a down-sized F-35 buy or comprise another aircraft design altogether, such as a Canadian F/A-18 Super Hornet fleet.
- MBDA has completed a final set of qualification firings of the company’s Common Anti-air Module Munition (CAMM) missile in Sweden, ahead of planned testing next year by Lockheed Martin for the 3-Cell ExLS Stand Alone Launcher designed to fire the missile. The European missile manufacturer has also begun delivering Sea Ceptor hardware to the Royal Navy for installation on HMS Argyll, with the air defense system intended to modernize the aging Type 23 frigate by replacing the Seawolf system currently fitted. The CAMM missile forms part of the Sea Ceptor system, along with advanced targeting sensors. The system is also capable of receiving targeting data from a third party, allowing it to form part of a comprehensive air defense network.
- Germany will upgrade 16 Dutch Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks to the 2A7 configuration, before these are integrated into the Bundeswehr’s 1st Panzer Division, according to reports on Friday. The Dutch already operate airborne forces embedded with Germany’s rapid reaction force, with this the first time a main battle tank unit will be directly integrated into a German division. The two armies also cooperate on air and missile defense, as part of bilateral military cooperation agreements. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann previously upgraded German Leopard 2s to the 2A7 configuration, including twenty former Dutch tanks supplied by Canada. Germany has been looking to bolster its tank inventories in recent months, dusting off approximately 100 Leopard 2A4s in April to bring back into frontline service, with upgrades planned from 2017.
- Despite Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon seemingly earmarked for a lucrative Royal Navy maritime patrol aircraft contract as part of the UK’s Strategic Defence & Security Review (due for release in coming weeks) industry competitors and the Royal United Services Institute are calling for a competition to open up the deal, estimated to value GBP2 billion ($3.1 billion). Airbus, Finmeccanica, Lockheed Martin, L-3 and Saab are among those calling for such a competition, along with Northrop Grumman, thought to be considering offering the company’s Triton UAV. The UK has been without a dedicated airborne maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare platform since the MRA4 Nimrod was scrapped in 2010.
- The Royal Navy’s AW159 Wildcat helicopter has completed heat trials in the Middle East, with these taking place aboard Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan, following dispatch of the helicopter to Bahrain.
- Russia has deployed ground-attack aircraft to its forward operating base in Latakia, Syria, satellite imagery revealed over the weekend. The aircraft appear to be SU-30SM multi-role aircraft capable of conducting long-range ground attack missions, despite incorrect identification in early reports identifying the four aircraft as SU-27 air superiority fighters. Several Mi-24 Hind attack and Mi-17 Hip utility helicopters have also appeared at the base in recent days, along with T-90 main battle tanks, BTR-type APCs, artillery units and other equipment. Strategic transport aircraft have also been identified unloading at the base, amid reports that Russian personnel are keeping their Syrian partners at an arm’s length from the base.
Asia & Pacific
- A Pakistani military official reportedly confirmed rumours on Friday of negotiations to buy Russian SU-35 fighters, despite scepticism from analysts over Pakistan’s ability to operate and maintain the aircraft, as well as concern over potential political backlash from India. The negotiations were first reported earlier this month, with the discussions also thought to involve a possible acquisition of Mi-35M attack helicopters. Pakistan’s Air Force reportedly requires a twin-engined aircraft with a longer strike range than the JF-17s, Mirage-5s and F-16s it currently operates, with reports from last year indicating a possible interest in the Chinese J-31 to this end.
- Four or five Indian companies are reportedly competing for a contract to assemble Ka-226T helicopters in India alongside Russian Helicopters. The Indian government cleared the helicopters’ procurement in May, following a competition restart in March. The Russian design beat bids from Airbus and Bell to clinch the $700 million deal for 197 helicopters, with these destined for use by the Indian Army. Moscow is hoping that an agreement between the Indian and Russian governments during Modi’s visit to the country later this year will help the helicopter deal bypass India’s notorious Defence Procurement Procedure acquisition process.
- The Royal Navy’s Wildcat display team, the Black Cats: