Dec 30, 2016 00:58 UTC
The Defense Industry Daily team wishes you all a Happy New Year. We’ll be enjoying time with our families and will be back to you on Tuesday, 1/3.
- A request for proposals (RFP) has been released by the USAF for the replacement of the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). $6.9 billion has been earmarked for development and production of the new aircraft, with interested parties required not to offer used, reconditioned or remanufactured platforms. The radar system for the new platform will be a separate competition involving offers from Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.
- Raytheon has been awarded a number of contracts to provide various missiles to the US and foreign governments. A $303.7 million contract will see the company provide 214 Tomahawk Block IV vertical launch missiles and spares for the US Navy and spares for the UK. Another $207.9 million foreign military sale requests the production and delivery of Stinger FIM-92H Block 1 missiles, FIM-92F Block 1 missiles, spares, captive flight trainers, and other training devices to the governments of Qatar, India, and Italy.
- An unknown customer has contracted Raytheon to provide a $600 million modernization of its Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense System. The upgrade will advance the country’s Patriot system to the most advanced configuration available, the Configuration 3+ with Post Deployment Build 8 software and hardware. Configuration 3+ enables the Patriot to use the PAC-3 missile Segment Enhancement interceptor, which provides greater range and mobility in destroying tactical ballistic missiles.
Middle East & North Africa
- Saab will provide maintenance and support services for the Erieye early warning and control radar system it has sold to the UAE. Valued at $17.3 million, the two-year contract will cover support of Saab’s airborne 340 Erieye radar, Saab 340 aircraft and ground equipment. Speaking on the deal, Saab official Jonas Hjelm said the “agreement is a confirmation of our ability to deliver a comprehensive support solution over the product’s entire life cycle, during which we are able to guarantee availability for the customer.”
- The Senegalese Air Force is to receive a CN-235-220M multipurpose aircraft from PT Dirgantara Indonesia. Capable of operating with limited runway space, the aircraft will be primarily used for general logistics and transport duties, but can also be deployed for insertion of paratroopers, medical evacuation, and VIP transport, due to its quick-change configuration. A.D.-Trade Belgium brokered the deal.
- An advisory panel working on Croatia’s planned fighter acquisition has recommended Zagreb procure either the Saab Gripen or KAI FA-50. Two other options eventually ruled out were second-hand F-16s from Israel and the Dassault Rafale. Sweden has apparently offered generous loan terms if the Gripen is selected; Croatia can take up to 15 years to repay the loan with a three-year grace period; while the Swedish Air Force is willing to loan four jets to Croatia while it waits for Saab to manufacture the aircraft. An earlier attempt to sell Gripens to Croatia in a $1.1 billion deal back in 207 fell through due to the effects of the 2008 financial crash.
- The German subsidiary of MBDA has submitted its proposal for the development of TLVS, the planned follow-up to the MEADS air defense system, to the German government. Based on MEADS technology, MBDA plans to use the system for both civilian and military defense applications. TLVS will provide operators with 360-degree coverage, open system architecture, and a “plug and fight” capability for attaching and detaching additional sensors and effectors, all while cutting operational costs and personnel required.
- Chinese defense media have published photographs and footage of the maiden flight of the second AVIC FC-31 Gyrfalcon fighter. Produced by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the FC-31 features a cropped tail, whereas the first prototype designated J-31, had nearly triangular tails with a horizontal top. The status of the fighter remains close to the chest of the manufacturers, with AVIC officials declining to discuss the aircraft at this year’s Airshow China.
Need something cheap and cheerful to occupy yourself this January? The Gripen Fighter Challenge app is available to download for Android and Apple:
Dec 29, 2016 00:58 UTC
- MQ-4C Triton UAVs will replace EP-3E signals reconnaissance aircraft operated by the US Navy. Speaking on the announcement, NAVAIR’s Triton program manager Sean Burke said that approval to kick-start an 18-month process to install a signals intelligence payload on the Triton was given back in August. It’s expected that MQ-4Cs with low- and high-band signals receivers are expected to reach initial operational capability in 2021.
- Bechtel Plant Machinery will deliver nuclear propulsion components in a $303 million US Navy contract. The components provide nuclear propulsion capabilities to power a variety of Navy vessels, including submarines and aircraft carriers, by drawing power from a small nuclear power plant installed on the vessel. Bechtel received $205 million in Fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and Fiscal 2017 procurement funding at the time of the award.
Middle East & North Africa
- Having just retired their fleet of F-16A/B fighters, the Israeli Air Force is looking to sell them to interested second-hand buyers. As many as 40 of the warplanes will be available to buy, having being rigorously combat tested during their 36 years of service. However, upgraded C and D variants of the fighter will still play an important part in the IAF’s fighting fleet, even as the latest F-35I Joint Strike Fighters are delivered to the service.
- US-backed Syrian militias may receive shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, as Moscow and Damascus call such a move a “hostile act.” There has been much talk, but little action, of supplying MANPADS to the various militias fighting in Syria, as unopposed Russian air power has helped regime forces gain ground in rebel strongholds such as Aleppo. Now the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), formed primarily of the Kurdish YPG, may receive such weapons. While the YPG has mainly stayed out of conflict with government forces, focusing instead on the Islamic State (who do not have warplanes), an SDF spokesperson said the procurements would protect their forces from potential future enemies, possibly indicating preparations for a potential conflict with Bashar al-Assad.
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract modification by the US DoD to provide PAC-3 missiles to Qatar. Valued at $29.5 million, the foreign military sale includes Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles and a missile segment enhancement task order for a planned flight test. Work is expected to be completed by September 2021.
- A deal is in the works between Belarus and China to form a joint venture for the production of UAVs in Europe’s last dictatorship. An official with the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus claimed that contracts are expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2017, bringing production to a joint Sino-Belorussian business park. Once signed, the agreement will join a number of recent bilateral agreements between the two government in various fields.
- 40 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles operated by the Swedish Army will be fitted with 120mm mortar systems. BAE Hägglunds, a local subsidiary of defense giant, will install the systems in a $68 million contract, with deliveries to take place in early 2019. Sweden owns approximately 500 CV90s, over half of which are currently being slated for modification and upgrade by BAE.
- Engineers at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are to commence a new round of spin testing for their HJT-36 subsonic intermediate jet trainer in order to validate their redesigned vertical tail. Earlier designs of the tail and testing had performed poorly, including a 2011 crash, and resulted in the potential mothballing of the project. However, consultancy provided by BAE Systems since 2014 has seemed to put the trainer back on track for now.
Ten years of Fire Scout flight:
Dec 28, 2016 00:58 UTC
- General Atomics has been contracted to perform MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper support services for the USAF. Under the $359 million contract, the company will be tasked with conducting logistics support, program and configuration management, depot repair, and additional services, with work to be completed in December, 2017. Both the Predator and its successor, the Reaper, have been used by the US and UK for intelligence gathering missions as well as targeted strike operations as part of counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East.
- AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopters operated by the US Navy will receive Target Sight Systems provided by Lockheed Martin. Valued at $150 million, the deal also includes production orders for the government of Pakistan under the foreign military sales program. Options included in the contract could raise the value to $284 million. The Target Sight System is a large-aperture mid-wave forward-looking infrared sensor designed to identify and designate targets at maximum weapon range, increasing the Cobra operator’s survivability and lethality.
Middle East & North Africa
- Kuwait has been cleared by the US State Department for the purchase of 750 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Tail Kits. The $37 million deal is divided into three equal number purchases for the GBU-31, GBU-32 and GBU-38 munitions. JDAM tail kits contain a global positioning system and an inertial navigational system to improve accuracy, and are an integral part of the guidance kit that converts unguided bombs into precision-guided weapons.
- Rival branches of the Israeli military are at odds with who gets to be equipped with long-range surface-to-surface missiles that can reach targets deep inside Lebanon. While the Army wants its Artillery Corps equipped with either IMI Systems’ Extra rocket and Israel Aerospace Industries’ LORA surface-to-surface missile, the Air Force believes its warplanes are more suited for the job. At present, the Artillery Corps uses the Romach artillery rocket system which only has a range of 35km. The new long range missiles would allow for the military to strike targets 150km away.
- The Croatian government is looking to purchase Western-made fighter jets, with a decision to be made by the end of 2017. It is also likely that Zagreb will procure a number of Black Hawk helicopters for transport missions. Speaking on the planned acquisitions, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic stated that the upcoming deals were not indicators of a regional arms race with neighboring Serbia, who recently confirmed the purchase of MiG-29 fighters from Russia.
- Midlife upgrades of Finnish F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters have been finished by local firm Patria. Beginning in 2012, the MLU 2 modernization program saw 62 Super Hornets receive new hardware and system installations, with the last model returned to service earlier this month. Initial upgrades under the MLU I program were conducted between 2006 and 2010.
- Following its fourth failed test, India’s indigenous Nirbhay cruise missile program is now under review and could face the axe. Four years of development has seen the program face a plethora of problems with scientists still struggling to fix the problems in the flight control software and navigation system, while some others point fingers at the subsonic missile’s hardware. The blame game is in part due to the fact that both are developed separately by two different organizations, the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), who has developed the software, and the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), who has made some of the hardware.
- Indonesia is looking into the possible acquisition of the SIDAM 25 self-propelled howitzer. Developed by Italy during the 1980s, the SIDAM 25 uses the M113 chassis and is equipped with four 25 mm Oerlikon KBA cannons. If the deal goes ahead, Jakarta will become the first export customer of the weapon.
Azerbaijan’s live-fire test of its new land-based Barak-8 air defense system:
Dec 27, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Boeing will manufacture and deliver 51 Lot 90 Harpoon weapon systems for Brazil, Egypt and South Korea. Valued at $207 million, the contract was issued by the US Navy, and also includes components and spares for the governments of Japan, Australia, Thailand, India, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, and Taiwan. The anti-ship missile system is utilized by navies and air forces in over 30 countries.
- The first production conforming Textron AirLand Scorpion jet has made its maiden flight. Lasting one hour 42 minutes, the flight saw pilots perform a range of maneuvers, with the company saying that the aircraft “incorporates a number of improvements based on target customer feedback.” While the Scorpion had been seemingly dismissed as a potential offering in the USAF’s upcoming T-X trainer program, company officials said last week that they still haven’t ruled themselves out of the competition, just weeks away from the expected request for proposals (RFP).
- Contracts have been awarded to Lockheed Martin for $1.4 billion worth of Patriot advanced capability production. The foreign military sales deal will see the delivery of 205 missile segment enhancements for the governments of South Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. The agreement also includes associated ground support equipment for the missiles.
Middle East & North Africa
- Battleground testing of 162 new and upgraded weapons by Russian military forces in Syria has revealed that 10 of these had flaws that had been missed during trials. The Defense Ministry said that it has stopped procurement of these weapons and their manufacturers have been ordered to fix the flaws. Among the systems tested in Syria were Su-30SM and Su-34 fighter jets, Mi-28N and Ka-52 helicopters, and Kalibr cruise missiles.
- Local Polish firm Mesko will provide the Piorun Man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) to the Polish military, as Warsaw’s beefing up of its air-defense capabilities continues. $220 million has been set aside for the acquisition, which will include a total of 1,300 missiles and 420 missile launchers. Meanwhile, plans are moving forward for Lockheed Martin to produce and deliver Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Missiles Extended Range (JASSM-ER) for the Polish Air Force’s F-16 fighter jets. Polish F-16s will also be equipped with new AIM-120 (AMRAAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles.
- Rheinmetall and BAE Systems have both been awarded contracts as part of the Challenger 2 Assessment Phase for the UK government. Each company will receive $28 million in order to conduct technical studies with the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank to produce digital models to determine appropriate upgrades for the legacy vehicles. In use with the British armed forces since 1998, the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project will upgrade the vehicle with the latest technology to make it available for operations until 2035.
- Japanese government and industry are vying for the sale of Mitsubishi-built air defense radar systems to Thailand. Competitive bids are expected to be solicited early next year, as Bangkok looks to upgrade and add to older European and US-built radars. If selected, the sale would mark the first Thai-Japanese military hardware sale. Tokyo is looking to push for stronger ties with Thailand, partly to counter the growing influence of China in southeast Asian, as relations between old ally the US and Thailand have been strained following a military coup in 2014.
- The Pakistan Army will receive four Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters from Russia in 2017. Islamabad has paid $153 million in the deal, signed in August 2015, bringing to an end a self-imposed Russian ban on military exports to the country. Once wary of potential Indian protests at such a sale, Moscow now plans to sell as many as 20 of Mi-35s to Pakistan over the next few years.
Pharewell F-4 Phantom II:
Dec 23, 2016 00:58 UTC
The Defense Industry Daily team wishes you all a wonderful Christmas holiday. We’ll be enjoying time with our families and will be back to you on Tuesday, 12/27.
- Guarantees have been made by Boeing that the new Air Force One will not exceed $4 billion. The assurances were given to Donald Trump by CEO Dennis Muilenburg, during an interview following a “productive” meeting with the president-elect. Also at the meeting was Marillyn Hewson, chief executive of Lockheed Martin; however Hewson did not talk directly to media after the meeting. Speaking on the F-35, of which Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor, Trump called the program “very expensive,” and vowed to bring its costs down. Both defense giants have become recent targets for Trump, who has been looking to get better value for money from defense firms on big ticket Pentagon programs in the run up to his inauguration in January.
- The US Navy has awarded Raytheon a $64.6 million contract to perform technical support services for several of the service’s naval anti-ship weapon systems. Systems included in the work are the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), the SeaRAM, and the Land-based Phalanx Weapon System, and the contract also involves foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Canada, Britain, South Korea, Portugal, and Greece. Work is expected to be completed by January 2018, and the deal is comprised of options which, if exercised, have the potential to raise the contract value to $398 million.
Middle East & North Africa
- Space Communications purchased a new Amos-17 telecommunications satellite from Boeing, with plans to launch it in 2019. The Israeli firm made the purchase following the loss of an earlier satellite in September, during the accidental explosion of a Space X Falcon rocket, that was due to bring it into orbit. If successfully launched, Amos-17 will expand and strengthen Spacecom’s coverage of growing satellite service markets in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
- RQ-11B mini-UAVs used by the Ukrainian military have proved ineffective against Russian-backed insurgents fighting in the eastern Donbass region. Separatists have proved adept at jamming and hacking the drones’ video and data feed, due to the datalink being analog. This has left command channels and data unprotected from interception and suppression by modern means of electronic warfare. As a result, the UAVs have been left far from the front lines, in case they give away Ukrainian positions.
- Russian hackers have also managed to track and target Ukrainian artillery positions, by successfully targeting Android devices with malware. A report into the matter has revealed that between late 2014 through 2016, the malware was able to retrieve communications and some locational data from infected devices, intelligence that would have likely been used to strike against the artillery in support of pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine. The hacking group, known commonly as Fancy Bear or APT 28, is believed by US intelligence officials to work primarily on behalf of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.
- A 12-month study has been ordered under a bilateral agreement between the French and British government, marking the next interim stage of the joint Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program. It is hoped that the study will then lead to a full-scale demonstrator development program by the end of 2017, which has $1.87 billion earmarked for the production of two full-scale unmanned combat air vehicles. Companies to take part in the preparatory work include BAE Systems, Dassault, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Leonardo and Thales.
- The Japanese government has signed off on a 1.4 percent increase in its defense spending to 5.13 trillion yen ($43.66 billion) for the year starting April 1. A record figure, the planned hike comes as Tokyo bolsters its capabilities in order to counter growing Chinese military power in the East China Sea and an escalating North Korean ballistic missile threat. Lawmakers are likely to pass the new bill, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party controlling parliament.
- A Nirbhay cruise missile had to be destroyed by Indian scientists, following the munition type’s fourth failed test. Often compared to the US Tomahawk missile, the Nirbhay has been plagued with difficulties, with none of the previous testing attempts going according to plan. The most recent test saw the missile successfully launched from its mobile launcher, however it began to veer off course minutes after take off prior to being self-destructed by those monitoring the launch.
South Korea to mass produce M-SAM air defense system:
Dec 22, 2016 00:58 UTC
- The Boeing-Saab T-X trainer offering has made its first successful flight. During the 55 minute flight, the team validated key aspects of the aircraft and demonstrated the performance of the low-risk design. Initial operating capability is planned for 2024 and could potentially replace the USAF’s fleet of T-38 trainers.
- Staff at Northrop Grumman have been getting into the Holiday spirit, with employees volunteering to help the United Service Organizations (USO) assemble more than 1,000 care packages destined for American service members stationed overseas. The drive took place on a November 9 “Salute to the Troops” event at Baltimore Washington International (BWI) airport.
Middle East & North Africa
- Raytheon has been awarded a $53 million foreign military sales contract to provide TOW missiles to Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The heavy assault weapon has been integrated on several land platforms by the US Army such as the Stryker, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and ITAS High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. Work on the deal is expected to be completed by October 2017.
- Raytheon will also supply APG-82(V)1 AESA radars to the Israeli Air Force, to be integrated on their F-15I fleet. The sale marks the first export deal for this variant of radar, designed specifically for the Strike Eagle. Israel has been keen to keep its F-15s in top operational order while it waits for the deliveries of its new F-35Is, and are even considering further procurements of the Strike Eagle. Such a move would be good news for Boeing, as they already have the fighter’s production line increased until at least 2020 due to a recent order from Qatar.
- Ukrainian manufacturer Antonov has rolled out its first AN-132D military transport plane at its plant in Kiev. The aircraft is an evolution of the classic An-32, featuring Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150 engines and avionics supplied by Honeywell. Saudi Arabia has been a big backer in the project and are looking to procure six of the planes, and aim to eventually manufacture units in a new facility in Riyadh.
- The US State Department has cleared the potential sale of P-8A surveillance aircraft to Norway. Five aircraft and associated systems and support, valued at $1.75 billion, will be provided in a deal aimed at upgrading Norway’s maritime surveillance capabilities. The P-8 will replace Oslo’s current fleet of P-3 Orions.
- Serbia’s plans to purchase Russian air defense systems are believed to be moving ahead, according to their Prime Minister. Aleksandar Vucic announced that a favorable deal to procure Buk-M1 or Buk-M2 systems would be discussed during an official visit to Moscow next week. A plan to buy six MiG-29 fighter jets was also announced.
- India is looking overseas to procure some 5,000 sniper rifles with plans to have them manufactured at home. A request for information (RFI) was issued to Blaser Jagdwaffen GmbH of Germany; Steyr Mannlicher of Austria; SIG Sauer of Switzerland; Israel Weapon Industries of Israel; Kalashnikov Concern (Izhevsk Machinebuilding Plant) and KBP Instrument Design Bureau of Russia; Armalite and Barrett Firearms Manufacturing of the United States; and Nexter and PGM Précision of France. However New Delhi may have problems getting such a deal, with an industry official commenting that such numbers are too small an order to receive offsets such as a technology transfer.
First flight of Boeing-Saab T-X trainer:
Dec 21, 2016 00:58 UTC
- General Dynamics has been awarded an $82 million contract to convert M1A2 tanks to the M1A2S configuration for the US Army. The M1A2S is a specialized configuration for tanks operated by the government of Saudi Arabia. GD design and manufacture the vehicles in the US, which are then sold to the kingdom through foreign military sales agreements.
- The Pentagon’s man in charge of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has responded to recent criticisms from Donald Trump. Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan stated on Monday that if he had an opportunity to speak with the Trump transition team, he would tell them that the program is now under control after years of delays. Bogdan also added that he understood the incoming administration’s desire to get better value for money saying “I applaud the new administration for that, because that is what we should all be striving for.”
- Kongsberg has announced the successful flight test of their Joint Strike Missile (JSM). Designed for internal carry for the F-35, the JSM was used by a USAF F-16 over the Utah Test and Training Range, demonstrating safe separation from the aircraft. The missile is in development for the Norwegian military and will complete the qualification program in 2018. It will be integrated on the F-35A but can also be integrated on other types of aircraft.
Middle East & North Africa
- After months of denial, the Saudi Arabian government has admitted to using UK-made cluster munitions against Houthi militants in Yemen. Following an internal Saudi investigation, a government spokesperson said “It has become apparent that there was limited use by the coalition of the UK-manufactured BL755 cluster munition in Yemen,” and that they would cease to use UK-manufactured cluster bombs and that they had informed the UK government of this decision. The confirmation of the weapons use will put increased pressure on London, which has defended their arms sales to Riyadh despite mounting evidence of war crimes during the conflict.
- The Polish government has contracted local firm Huta Stalowa Wola SA (HSW) to provide 96 self-propelled howitzers to the military. Valued at $1.1 billion, the deal comes two years after HSW purchased from South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin, the rights to manufacture, “Polonize,” develop and re-export a new chassis for the 155mm “Krab” system. A gradual process will eventually result in the chassis and hull being completely built in Poland, except for the engines, automatic transmissions and some other components.
- NATO has signed an agreement with the US government for the procurement of precision-guided munitions for eight member countries. Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Spain will all receive the munitions between 2017 and 2019, including GBU 12 Paveway bombs and Paveway II bomb kits that convert freefall bombs into precision-guided weapons.
- A $250 million upgrade of South Korean F-16s has been completed as part of the F-16 Peace Bridge Upgrade (PBU) project. 35 of the Block 32 fighters underwent the modernization and are now capable of launching the AIM-120 missile as well as dropping the GBU-31 JDAM. Seoul also plans to further improve the fleet by installing advanced equipment including active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.
- Officials from France and Australia have signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement in order to establish a framework for development of Royal Australian Navy submarines by the French naval Group DCNS. The accord provides for the transfer of skills and technology to the Australian government and Australian industry to achieve a sovereign operational and sustainment submarine capability in Australia. DCNS also announced the opening of their new HQ in Canberra, providing “an innovative hub delivering cutting edge administration and support services focused on delivering regionally superior submarines and creating and sustaining jobs across Australia for decades to come.”
Ukrainian Su-25s firing Kh-25 air-to-surface missiles:
Dec 20, 2016 00:58 UTC
- An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with aerial refueling has made its debut flight. Work carried out by Northrop Grumman included the installation of a probe along with associative piping and electrical cabling, as well as long endurance seats that will enhance the field of view in the cockpit and reduce fatigue over longer missions. A 2013 engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) contract has tasked the company with modifying three aircraft for testing followed by retrofits and production cut-in starting from 2018.
- The US Navy has awarded the Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office two contract modifications to perform repair services for the sailing branch’s V-22 Osprey aircraft. Valued at $246 million and $165.7 million, the awards are part of a contract with options that can reach a total value of $545 million if all options are exercised. Work is expected to be completed by December 2019.
- Canadian-based firm Héroux-Devtek have been tapped by Saab to manufacture landing gear systems for the Gripen E fighter. Under the contract, the company will assemble and deliver landing gear equipment for 96 Gripen planes being developed for the Swedish and Brazilian air forces. Manufacture work will be conducted at the company’s UK facilities and deliveries will commence next year.
Middle East & North Africa
- Reports that the US is limiting military support for Saudi Arabia has been downplayed by both governments. It was announced last week that Washington would limit certain arms sales to the Gulf kingdom as a result of increased pressure surrounding Saudi conduct during its war in Yemen. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, however, that Riyadh had not been officially informed of such decisions, which he described as contradicting the reality, while visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested the issue related more to a long procurement process than restrictions on military support.
- The Royal Norwegian Air Force has tested a new air-to-surface capability for the IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile (AAM). Developed by German firm Diehl BGT Defence, this new ground attack function of the missile only requires a software update to expand its capabilities. The IRIS-T was initially designed as a replacement for legacy AIM-9 Sidewinder variants, and the missile is cleared for carriage with the AMX International AMX, Boeing F/A-18, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, Panavia Tornado, and Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
- Radars used primarily in the Israeli David Sling and Iron Dome anti-missile systems are being ordered by the Czech Republic. Eight EL/M-2084 3D S-band AESA radars will be purchased by Prague at a cost of $100 million, replacing older Soviet-era systems still in use. The radars are to be delivered between 2019 to 2021 and will be complimented by a parallel acquisition of Patriot missile batteries.
- Leonardo-Finmeccanica has delivered the first two of four ATR 72MPs to the Italian Air Force. Designated P-72A by the service, the new planes will replace older Breguet Atlantic as the “future guardian of the Mediterranean,” operating on maritime patrol, surveillance, and anti-piracy missions. Based on the ATR 72-600 turboprop, the P-72A can remain on station for 6.5 hours at 200 nautical miles from its base.
- The South Korean government has confirmed that its northern neighbor is flight testing a long endurance UAV. Reports of the new drone surfaced on North Korean TV last week although clear images of the new drone were not provided. Pyongyang has claimed that the drone has real-time observation and tracking capabilities, as well as the ability to check the atmosphere, detect forest fires and observe fishing grounds.
Recent SM-6 missile launch on board USS John Paul Jones:
Dec 19, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Raytheon has secured a number of contracts as part of upgrades within the USAF. A $458.9 million DoD contract will see the company modernize various cryptographic equipment for the flying branch, including existing VINSON and Advanced Narrowband Digital Voice Terminal capabilities used by the National Security Agency, as well as involving undisclosed foreign military sales. Another deal will see Raytheon develop and produce new mission computers for the F-16 fighter aircraft under the F-16 Modular Mission Computer Upgrade program. The new computers will offer two times the processing power and 40 times the current memory of existing F-16 mission computers.
- The former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has lashed out against allegations that he interfered with a government tender to procure new fighters. Lula’s lawyers said he had no role in the selection of the Saab Gripen fighter jets in December 2013, and obtained no illicit gains related to the deal. In response to the case, Saab reiterated that they had rigorous policies controlling their business relationships, and highlighted that the company and their representatives were not facing any charges.
- Recent testing on board the USS John Paul Jones by the US Missile Defense Agency have successfully demonstrated the ability of the Aegis baseline 9.C1 to tackle against a “complex medium-range ballistic missile target. A salvo of two SM-6 Dual I interceptors was fired during the December 14 exercise, using their explosive warheads to defeat the target. Program officials will continue evaluating system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
Middle East & North Africa
- Lebanese pilots and maintenance crew of the A-29 Super Tucano will travel to the US to receive training from the 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, commencing February 2017. Six new aircraft alongside 80 personnel will travel from Lebanon; of which Twenty-two are maintainers with twelve pilots, while the rest are civilians and contractors required to support the training program. The 81st Fighter Squadron has already provided such training to A-29 operators from the Afghan Air Force.
- MBDA Missile Systems have completed firing trials for their Enforcer lightweight precision weapon system for the German Army. A disposable, shoulder-launched guided weapon system, the weapon was fired at ranges between 3,280 and 6,560 feet, with the homing head effectively guiding the missile to the center of the intended targets. The company has additional guided firings slated for 2017, with qualification for the missile due in the coming years.
- Former top executives at Leonardo-Finmeccanica will face a re-trial in front of Milan’s appeals court, following their jailing for corruption in a 2010 helicopter deal with the Indian government. In April, former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former head of the group’s helicopter unit AgustaWestland, received sentences to four and a half, and four years respectively for their part in the graft. Last week India’s federal police arrested the former head of the air force S.P. Tyagi, 71, who was at the center of allegations of impropriety in the order of 12 helicopters meant to fly senior Indian politicians.
- Following the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Baku in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani government has signed a deal to procure the Iron Dome missile defense system. The sale was announced by Defense Minister Javer Jamalov, although details regarding price and expected delivery of the system have yet to be revealed. Baku has already agreed to $5 billion worth of long-term contracts over the years to buy weapons and security equipment from Israel, signalling a growing of bilateral defense ties.
- Contracts have been signed between JSC Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, Super Jet International and the Royal Thai Air Force for delivery of another Sukhoi Business Jet (SBJ), the third to join the fleet of the Royal Air Force of Thailand in 2018. While the previous SBJs are only capable of carrying 60 passengers in a three-class configuration, the latest one can accommodate up to 73 passengers.
A Chinese Navy ship, steals US Navy underwater drone: