LCS Launched SeaRAM Test Complete Success | Belgium to Modernize AF Fleet in Equipment/Personnel Trade-off | HAL Tejas Lightweight Fighter Set for Bahrain DebutJan 13, 2016 00:20 UTC
- The US Navy successfully tested a Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block II from the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense system for the first time. SeaRAM, used on the Independence class of Littoral Combat Ships, successfully detected, tracked and engaged an inbound threat, and fired a RAM Block II that successfully intercepted the target. The SeaRam system utilized Raytheon’s Phalanx Close-In Weapon System for the test which is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm gun system that acquires, tracks and destroys enemy threats that have penetrated all other ship defense systems. The two systems combined can also be found on the Navy’s destroyers.
- The Belgian government has approved a plan to modernize its airforce by 2030, but at a cost of a reduction in personnel. $10 billion will be made available for upgrades to equipment and machinery, however it will necessitate a decrease in the military and civilian workforce from 32,000 to 25,000. While no preferences have been made as to what will be bought, the investment will see thirty-four fighter bombers bought to replace the fifty-six aging F-16s in service. This will go alongside two new frigates, six minesweepers and two new UAVs. Brussels is also considering participation in the Tanker Aircraft Program.
- United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is to supply fifty more of their Su-35 fighters to the Russian Army. When delivered, this will bring the number of the jets in operation by the Russians to ninety-eight. The deal is estimated to be worth between $787-800 million. UAC subsidiary Sukhoi, who manufactures the jets, looks to have a busy 2016 ahead as the order from the defense ministry adds to a recent agreement to export twelve Su-32 bombers to Algeria.
- There are unconfirmed reports that Serbia may purchase MiG-35 warplanes from Russia as part of a wider defense package for the country. The rumours come as Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is visiting Belgrade to take part in a meeting of the Serbia-Russia Intergovernmental Committee for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation which ended yesterday. Serbia’s recent economic recovery has been praised tentatively by the IMF as it looks to increase foreign trade with Russia, a potential growing partner. Serbia is anxious to increase its defensive capabilities at a time when neighbouring NATO members are modernizing their militaries.
- The delivery of four Phoenix 30 UAVs to the Romanian Army has been completed. Developed by UAV Solutions, the rotorcraft also come equipped with the company’s Dragon View combined electro-optical/infrared stabilized camera, a ground control system, spares and ground support equipment. The sale was approved under the US Foreign Military Sales program. Romania is also one of fifteen NATO member states participating in the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance program. The program will see five RQ-4 Global Hawk acquired from Northrop Grumman, and operated by NATO on behalf of the members.
- Swiss defense company Rheinmetall is to supply four Oerlikon Skyguard 3 systems to the Royal Thai Army. This is the first purchase the kingdom has made from Rheinmetall. The order includes four fire control systems and up to eight 35mm Oerlikon GDF 007 twin guns, the company’s Ahead airburst ammunition and additional support services. The system uses air surveillance, target acquisition, calculation of the derivative-action values, and the control of two Oerlikon 35 mm anti-aircraft guns and can quickly be deployed to bring down fast moving, small targets.
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is making final preparations for their HAL Tejas lightweight fighter debut at the Bahrain Air Show next week. With plans to impress the experts and pick up a few potential customers along the way, HAL’s display apparently “significantly surpasses any aerobatics display the fighter has presented earlier”. The company plans to have gained final operating clearance (FOC) by mid-2016, and has also annouced that it is to test fire the Rafael Derby beyond-visual-range missile (BVRAAM) in March. The Israeli made missile has been bought as a stopgap arrangement as India grapples to make BVR missile Astra, which is still in development, operational.
- Remington has completed its $40.1 million delivery of M4 carbine rifles to the Philippine Army ahead of schedule. Over 56,000 of the rifles have been delivered in total, and will replace the antiquated 1960s era variant of the M-16 currently in use by the PA. Prior to distribution, a third of the new arms will undergo mandatory ballistic testing while the M-16s will be distributed to reservists.
- A look at South Korea’s plans to develop stealth UAVs: