Aurora Flight AACUS Program Soars with $11M Contract | Argentina Gets US Approval for 4 Bells | LM Visits SK Re: Tech Xfer for KF-X Fighter ProgramNov 19, 2015 00:19 UTC
- The US Navy has awarded Aurora Flight Sciences a contract worth $11 million to support flight testing of the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) program. The flight testing will take place as part of the governments development of the latest generation of unmanned cargo UAS which are able to land in more rugged terrain and will forgo the need for trained operators. The issue of safe resupply in remote areas has been a question for some time with the Marines requesting such a need while in Afghanistan.
- Argentinas updating of its air force continued today after the $80 million sale of 4 Bell 412EP Helicopters was approved by the US State Department. The sale follows the recent delay in upgrading its fighter fleet after problems concerning the quality of Kfir Block 60 fighters from Israel which were set to replace its aging Rafales.
Middle East North Africa
- The Israeli Knesset has begun deciding on this years budget which will see a vote on a major overhaul of defense spending and funding of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The changes will see a shift from shorter defense budgets to a long-term one fixed at $15 billion over the next five years. This will allow for greater long term acquisition and training programs as well as increased efficiency in the awarding of longer term fixed contracts. The measures come as the government is looking to increase technological abilities and cost effectiveness of existing defense systems such as its Iron Dome batteries to counter regional threats. Recent upgrades to the system which increased threat sensitivity caused an interceptor to launch after a false alarm caused by gun-fire within the the Gaza Strip. The rocket exploded mid-air resulting in an expensive firework display.
- The US State Department has approved a sale worth $157 million to the Kingdom of Morocco. The deal includes TOW 2A, Radio Frequency (RF) Missiles (BGM-71E-4B-RF), M220A2 TOW Launchers as well as the associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support with the principal contractor being Raytheon. The sale goes as part of the cooperation between the two countries and aiming to help against security threats in the region.
- Andreas Heeschen, majority shareholder of German arms manufacturer Heckler and Koch (H&K), is set to invest $74.6 million of his own money into the company. The move comes in an effort to reduce the large debt at H&K, increase the firms liquidity and boost credit ratings. H&K have had a tough time of it lately with the German Army dropping the G36 model as the primary rifle of the force and export restrictions imposed by chancellor Angela Merkel. This saw exports to the middle east grind to a halt; however it may not be all doom and gloom for H&K. The most recent installment in the 007 franchise saw James Bond drop his trusted Walther PPK in favor of Heckler’s VP9. The switch may see an increase in sales of the $719 pistol among US gun enthusiasts leaving the company shaken but not quite stirred.
- Russia has successfully launched the new EKS-1 satellite as part of the upgrade of the Oko early warning system. The satellite is set to be able to operate in the highly elliptical Tundra orbit and is the first in a series of replacements in its aging missile defense system which dates back to the Soviet era.
- Indonesia’s PT Pindad has continued its recent spate of industrial collaborations after announcing that it is to team up with South Australia defense industry body the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC). This follows announcements in September and October that PT Pindad was to collaborate with BAE Systems and PT Len Industri respectively which aim at increasing the capabilities and technologies at PT Pindad who are the largest suppliers of military equipment and systems to the Indonesian National Armed Forces. The nature of the most recent deal is said to focus on the production of 4×4 and 6×6 vehicles and comes at a time where the company has received increased interest from international customers looking to do business.
- Lockheed Martin staff are visiting South Korea this week to further discuss the transfer of technologies in relation to the development of the $6.9 billion KF-X fighter program. The talks come following a recent refusal by the US to allow the transfer of the four core technologies necessary for the program which could put the future of its development in jeopardy. Despite this, both Lockheed and the South Korean government are confident that the transfer of another 21 technologies will go ahead as planned with possibly some minor alterations to the technologies initially listed. The State Department however did approve the sale of 19 UGM-84L Harpoon Block II All-Up-Round Missiles and 13 Block II upgrade kits totally $110 million.
- A look at AACUS and its capabilities.