$5.37B Contract Action to LM for Joint Strike Fighters | LM Gets Green Light on Sikorsky Acquisition | Army Announces RFI for FUANov 05, 2015 00:20 UTC
- Lockheed Martin has been handed a $5.37 billion contract action for 55 Lot IX Joint Strike Fighters, including 41 F-35As, 12 F-35Bs and 2 F-35Cs. Six of the F-35As are to complete foreign sales to Norway, while seven are headed for Israel and two for Japan. Half of the 12 F-35B variants are for the Royal Navy, with the remaining B and C models for the Marine Corps and Navy respectively.
- The Navy has reiterated its desire to procure additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to cope with operational demands and cover delays to the F-35 program. The service is looking for an addition of 24 to 36 Super Hornets, with acquisitions taking place in FY2017 and FY2018; meaning an extension to Boeing’s St Louis production line’s planned closure in 2017. The company has previously asserted that it intends to keep this line open even if orders from the Navy are slow, citing potential international orders including an expected order for 28 jets from Kuwait. Congress is also deliberating over a production order for a dozen Super Hornets in FY2016, which in itself could extend the production line out through 2018.
- Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of Sikorsky has been cleared by China’s Ministry of Commerce, according to a company press release. The green light was the final regulatory clearance required for the the $9 billion takeover, following similar approvals from the European Commission and the US government, as well as five other jurisdictions, since the acquisition was first announced in July. The deal is scheduled for finalization by the end of the week.
- The Army has released a Request for Information” (RFI) for 92 fixed-wing utility aircraft (FUA), with a Request for Proposals expected later this month. The RFI also covers the requirement for modifications to the aircraft, including communications, navigation and surveillance systems, as well as training and support services. It is thought that the new aircraft will replace the Army’s fleet of C-12 Huron and C-26 Metroliner aircraft.
- In an attempt to downsize the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) system, the Army is working to reconfigure the system – currently reserved for larger vehicles – to fit onto Humvees. The smaller nodes will allow rapidly-deploying forces to better communicate and tap into the digital battlefield on the move, with testing scheduled to take place in May 2017 and low-rate initial production of the smaller systems slated to see deliveries early next year.
- The United Kingdom and France have signed a technology-sharing agreement to develop a next-generation cruise missile. The two partners are expected to award MBDA a development contract in coming months, with the Intergovernmental Agreement covering several complex weapons programs, including the helicopter-launched anti-submarine missile known as Sea Venom.
- A British Army Watchkeeper UAV has crashed while coming in to land at a test and evaluation site in the south west of England. The GBP1.2 billion ($2.4 billion) program has come under fire for cost overruns, with the majority of the 33 Watchkeepers owned by the British currently in storage. An Initial Operating Capability timetabled for 2017 is unlikely to be achieved, with the Ministry of Defence ultimately planning to procure 54 of the aircraft.
- Thailand is reportedly close to finalizing a contract to locally-produce Ukrainian BTR-3E1 armored vehicles. The Royal Thai Army is intending to manufacture the vehicles, with Ukraine providing training to incrementally increase the complexity of work carried out by Thai factories. Thailand ordered two batches of the vehicles in 2008 and 2011 after some controversy, with these under construction in Ukraine and slated for final delivery by the end of the year.
- The Indian Navy reportedly conducted live-firings of BrahMos surface-to-surface missiles earlier this month while civilian aircraft were still using the testing area’s airspace. A result of miscommunication between the Indian Navy and Mumbai’s Air Traffic Control, the administrative error saw the airspace closed hours after the tests had concluded. The missile will soon begin flight testing with the Indian Air Force, with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd recently delivering Su-30MKI fighters modified to integrate the missile.
- India is considering handing four Mi-25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan, with Kabul also reportedly engaged in talks with Russia over a possible acquisition of more advanced Mi-35 helicopters. Afghan and Indian officials are due to meet this coming weekend to discuss the proposal, with India previously transferring three unarmed transport helicopters to the country in April.
- A KC-135 ‘Elephant Walk’: