DoD Invites LM to Tune Up F-16s for Singapore | US Navy Looks to Distributed Lethality to Inform Upgrades on Defense | Spanish A400M Agreement Up in the AirDec 03, 2015 00:20 UTC
- The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a $914 million contract to Lockheed Martin to upgrade F-16 aircraft for the government of Singapore. The work is to be carried out at Fort Worth, Texas. The number of aircraft to be upgraded is unknown, but the DoD notified Congress that they had approved the sale of upgrades for 60 fighters in 2014. The Singapore Air Force announced earlier this year that it was planning a major overhaul of its current fleet, with enhancements including laser-designated JDAM munitions, air-to-air weapons, datalink capability and helmet mounted displays, in addition to an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system.
- In an effort to increase “distributed lethality”, the US Navy is looking at adding offensive upgrades and modifications to older defensive systems. While the concept of distributed lethality was announced earlier this year, several admirals gave examples of what could be done to these older systems at a panel discussion at the America Society of Naval Engineers’ Combat Systems Symposium on Tuesday. Options mentioned include working to allow the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile to engage enemy targets and the announcement that software upgrades are being researched for the SM-6 anti-air missile. The new strategy aims to increase the collective “punch” of all ships operating in the Navy.
- The Russian ambassador to Venezuela has stated that they are still awaiting formal talks over the deal to purchase 12 more Su-30 aircraft. The announcement comes after President Maduro stated his intentions last month having allocated $480 million for the acquisitions. Despite falling oil prices, Venezuela is still moving ahead with upgrading and maintaining its military capabilities in the region. According to the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade, Venezuela is said to be Russia’s second largest exporter of military hardware.
- Argentina has officially said adiós to the last of its serving Dassault Mirage fighters. A large-scale public air show on November 30 saw the fleet decommissioned after over forty years of service. The Mirage had been the jet of choice in Argentina since 1973, after the government was impressed by its capabilities when used by the Israeli Air Force during the Six Day War. The decommissioning will leave a hole in the Argentinian Air Force’s capability as a replacement for the aircraft has not yet been found. An earlier deal to purchase second-hand Kfir Block 60 fighters from Israel has been put on hold indefinitely amid issues over weapons systems and upgrades. The newly elected government of Maurico Macri will be responsible for obtaining replacement fighters subject to available funding.
- Boeing and the US Navy have announced that they have been testing the capabilities of Windows tablets on board the EA-106 Glower jets. The tablet has been incorporated as part of testing new target technologies, and aims to give pilots easier access to data and communication between other aircrews. Other items being tested are an advanced targeting processor, and an open architecture, high-bandwidth data link. Boeing said that the testing resulted in multiple Growlers communicating successfully with an E-2 Hawkeye via the data link, and an increased speed and accuracy in target locating. The upgrades will be retrofitted on existing Navy Growlers in service and made available for new orders in future.
- The Spanish government has come to an agreement with Airbus to decrease its order of A400M cargo aircraft. Spain is legally obliged to continue with the purchase of the full fleet of 27, but this has been postponed. Instead, a temporary reduction in the order will be allowed with 14 planes being delivered by 2022. Discussions will then continue as to what will be done with the remainder of the acquisition. Problems with the order arose after the Spanish Air Force found it difficult to fund the full order on time. The Airbus A400M Atlas program was developed for the requirements of seven European NATO members. At a cost of $22 billion, it is Europe’s biggest arms contract, but had been initially fraught with delays and technical problems. One of the planes crashed in May, just north of Seville, during an air force test flight.
- Belarus has announced intentions to start start test-firing R-73 air to air missiles from Yak-130 jets next year, following confirmed orders for four of the aircraft in August. The news comes amid reports that ten Mig-29s were returned to operational duty after repairs and upgrades that started in 2014. For nine of the aircraft, it was their second overhaul, while one was on its third. Reports stated that a third overhaul of such aircraft has never been done by any other country.
- Russia is to receive five more regimental sets of the S-400 missile defense system in 2016 from manufacturers Almaz-Antey. The batteries will all be deployed throughout the Central Military District (CMD). With its HQ based in Ekaterinburg and bases spread out through central Russia and parts of Siberia, the CMD is responsible for orchestrating Russian engagements in local conflicts that may occur in Central Asia. Furthermore, it manages its bases located in the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and is there to protect against conflicts that threaten to spill over domestically.
- Scenes from the Mirage farewell air show in Argentina last weekend: