AF, CG & Marines to Get C-130J’s | Second Sweep Slated for Boeing’s MOP | German Eurofighters Face Delivery Suspensions, DelaysOct 19, 2015 00:20 UTC
- Lockheed Martin and the Air Force have reportedly reached an agreement on the acquisition of C-130J Hercules transport aircraft. The five-year contract will see 83 C-130Js delivered to the Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps and is anticipated to be finalized by the end of this year. Lockheed Martin sunk nearly $1 billion into the development of the aircraft, with the type seeing significant export success; sixteen countries have purchased the C-130J, including Canada, India, Israel and Norway.
- Boeing’s GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) will undergo a second phase redesign, known as the Enhanced Threat Reduction IV, with a contract anticipated soon. With no plans to competitively procure the weapon, the next GBU-57 contract – expected to be for the redesign, qualification and testing of the weapon – will be a sole-course acquisition. The bunker-busting bomb has been in development since 2004, with early tests conducted by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The hard-penetrating weapon is intended to be carried on B-2A Spirit stealth bombers, thought to be capable of carrying two of the weapons in internal bays.
- The Army’s foreign military sales pulled in over $20.7 billion in FY 2014, according to figures published by Defense News over the weekend. With annual sales figures forecast to drop to approximately $15 billion in FY 2016, the Army Material Command is hoping big ticket sellers such as the Patriot air and missile defense system – requested by Saudi Arabia in July in a deal worth potentially $5.4 billion – can continue to bring in significant dollars for US industry.
- In further bad news for the German Eurofighter program, a malfunction with the aircraft’s external fuel tank grounded [German] the fleet from flying with the additional fuel pod attached, reducing the ability of the fighters to operate at longer distances. One of the German contingent of Eurofighters deployed to the Baltic region saw one of its fuel tanks fall off last week, leading to the grounding. This follows news earlier this week that the German government has temporarily suspended deliveries of new Eurofighters, citing manufacturing defects. German press also reports [German] that the EUR1 billion ($1.27 billion) contract to develop the CAPTOR-E radar system for the fighter, signed in November 2014, is now delayed by five months, as well as being above budget.
- The European Commission has cleared Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of Sikorsky, with the takeover “raising no competition concerns”. The $9 billion deal has received clearance from the US, Japanese and South Korean governments, with the Chinese government still to give the deal a green light, following the announcement of the acquisition in July. Other states where the two companies have business interests are also required to clear the acquisition’s regulatory red tape, with these expected by the end of October.
Middle East North Africa
- The Bahraini government has pushed back on a report by Sky News earlier this week that the Gulf Cooperation Council may purchase Israeli air and missile defense systems, with the country’s Minister for Information Affairs telling the country’s Shura Council that the reports are unsubstantiated. The Minister reiterated the country’s intention to acquire US-manufactured systems, with the country already operating Patriot PAC-3 systems.
- Boeing announced on Friday that it plans to assemble one of the two helicopter designs it is selling to India in the country. The company signed a contract with the Indian government in September for fifteen CH-47F Chinook transport and twenty-two AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. Boeing agreed to a 30% offset clause as part of the contract for the two helicopter designs, with this expected to bring in a billion dollars-worth of business to the Indian defense industry. Boeing also cut its contract with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in July citing quality issues with the company’s production line.
- The company’s Light Attack Helicopter also completed its latest set of trials on Friday, following several months of hot and cold weather and high altitude testing. The Indian Army has ordered 114 of the helicopters, with the Indian Air Force also ordering 65 to date. HAL is now anticipating military airworthiness clearance, with weapons trials now scheduled to begin.
- India’s Nirbhay cruise missile test ended in failure on Friday, when the state-designed missile crashed into the Bay of Bengal after a seven minute flight. The failed test is the second time the missile has crashed mid-flight, with a first test fire in March 2013 also seeing the missile fall from the sky after twenty minutes. Friday’s test was the program’s third, with a second round of testing in October 2014 also seeing the missile failing to meet defined parameters.
- India’s Light Combat Helicopter: