Raytheon’s Phalanx Marching with $159M Navy Contract | Air Force LRS-B $80B Choice Coming Soon | US Nixes SK Plans to Sell T-50 to UzbekistanOct 27, 2015 00:20 UTC
- The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) will reportedly be equipped with over-the-horizon missiles for their next deployment, with the specific model not yet determined. With the Brookings Institution rightly pointing out that the LCS do not currently possess the power-projection capabilities recently demonstrated by Russia’s Caspian Sea fleet, the USN is likely looking to bolt-on additional muscle to the fleet following the cancellation of the Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) missile in April 2010. With the USS Coronado and USS Freedom scheduled for deployment next year, a Request for Proposals is expected by the end of this year.
- The Navy has awarded Raytheon a $159 million production contract for the company’s Phalanx Close-In Weapon System. The contract also includes an option valued at $291 million for FY2016. The company will manufacture, inspect and test the new systems and provide support equipment for the Rolling Airframe Missile-based SeaRAM air defense system, including Block 1B radar upgrades, which equips Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships.
- The Air Force appears poised to award the much-delayed Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) contract, with the program thought to value around $80 billion. The award announcement was pushed back in May and then July, following the release of a Request for Proposals in July 2014 and the submission of designs by competitors Northrop Grumman and a Boeing/Lockheed Martin team in early September.
- The Brimstone 2 guided air-to-surface missile will enter service with the RAF’s Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers later than scheduled, according to a report by the UK’s Government Accountability Office. Problems during Operational Evaluation trials in February mean that contractor MBDA will now require an additional six months to fix technical issues, specifically the failure of several warheads to detonate. The missile’s In-Service Date (ISD) has now been pushed back by six months to May 2016, with Initial Operating Capability slated for May 2016. The RAF had a scare in July when two Brimstone 1 missiles accidentally detached from a Tornado GR4 as the aircraft landed in Cyprus.
- Turkey’s Roketsan is reportedly aiming to flight-test the Stand-Off Missile-Joint (SOMJ) ahead of the F-35’s block 4.2 increment, potentially in late 2016. The missile entered a risk-reduction phase in May, with the new flight test date brought forward from earlier schedules. The Turkish firm signed an agreement with F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin in September to further develop the missile, including integration of the missile onto US Air Force and Navy Joint Strike Fighters.
Middle East North Africa
- Israel has unveiled the first Eitan vehicle prototype, a locally-developed tracked armored vehicle intended to replace the Israeli Defense Force’s fleet of M113 vehicles. Developed by the state-owned Tank Production Authority, the Eitan (Steadfast) is reportedly half the weight of the current Namer APC, with serial production slated for 2020. The MAFAT Research and Development Bureau is also reportedly working on a research and development concept vehicle intended to provide technological advancements for Israel’s future generation of fighting vehicles, with the program known as Carmel.
- Russia has reportedly positioned a potential sale of S-400 Triumf air defense system to India, announced earlier this month, with the latter’s position on the developmental PAK-FA/FGFA fighter program. Moscow is now thought to be blocking the sale of the S-400 systems until the Indian Defence Ministry clarifies how many of the FGFA fighters it will buy, with work-share arrangements between the two co-developing states remaining unresolved. India is withholding $50 billion in development funds until these decisions are finalized, with Moscow seemingly growing impatient, as it is now five years since the two sides inked a development contract in December 2010. India is looking to bolster its air surveillance and defense capabilities, recently signing a $1.2 billion contract to improve the country’s radar coverage.
- The US government has put a stop to South Korean plans to sell the T-50 to Uzbekistan. The now-defunct $400 million deal would have seen a dozen KAI T-50 trainers sold to the Central Asian state, with the US reportedly fearing that Tashkent could hand over sensitive US-developed technology to Russia. The T-50 was co-developed with Lockheed Martin in the mid-2000s, with the US firm incorporating advanced technologies for several of the aircraft’s systems, including the avionics and engine.
- India has offered Sri Lanka the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft as an alternative to the JF-17 Thunder, co-developed by China and Pakistan. Previous reports in June by the Pakistani press indicated that the Sri Lankans had signed for an undisclosed number of JF-17s, with this subsequently denied by the Sri Lankan Air Force which stated that it was still evaluating possible fighter options. However, Sri Lankan and Pakistani officials are due to meet in November to discuss the possible acquisition of the JF-17, with India likely looking to export the problematic Tejas LCA in an attempt to undermine strategic rival Pakistan.
- Early Roketsan SOM-J testing: