Gen Dyn gets $75.3M to Design 30mm Cannon | F-35A to Begin Laser-Guided Bomb Tests | Saudi Arabia Considering Big Spend with RussiaJan 20, 2016 00:20 UTC
- General Dynamic Land Systems will design and develop a 30mm cannon to be mounted on an unmanned, stabilized turret onto the Stryker infantry carrier vehicle along with eight prototypes. The $75.3 million contract was awarded last week, and completion of the process is expected for January 2021. The development of the new unmanned cannon is part of efforts to increase the fire power capabilities of the vehicle and give infantrymen greater fire superiority in fire fights.
- Testing of a new blade for the V-22 Osprey is to take place after the current rotor blades fitted to the aircraft were deemed too labor intensive to manufacture. The new prop rotor blade has been designed as part of the manufacturer Bell’s Advanced Technology Tiltrotor (ATTR) program, which aims to reduce production costs for the aircraft. The test has been derived from ongoing development work on the next-generation V-280 with flight testing of the new modified components due to last between 2017-2018.
- The F-35 program will face one of its first live test challenges when a combat-coded F-35A will release an inert, laser-guided bomb at the Utah Test and Training Range between February and March. The releasing of the GBU-12 Paveway II will be the first one conducted outside of development or operational testing, and will mark a milestone in the development of a program plagued by delays, redesigns and spiraling costs. The full compliment of weapons will not arrive until late 2017. Until then, the Air Force will first operate with basic laser and GPS-guided weapons, as well as beyond-visual-range AIM-120 air-to-air missiles. It will also have advanced targeting, surveillance and radar-jamming equipment.
- Canada’s hunt for a new fleet of search and rescue aircraft will not consider Lockheed’s C-130J. Proposals for the procurement were due mid-January and do include the Airbus C-295, Alenia’s C-27J Spartan and Embraer’s latest offering, the KC-390. Part of the competition involved the potential providers suggesting how many of their aircraft would be required by the Royal Canadian Air Force to conduct their operations, rather than a specified number being supplied by the government. Lockheed Martin’s lack of participation in the competition is said to have been in reaction to the saga revolving around Canada’s recent backing out of the F-35 program to launch a new procurement competition.
Middle East North Africa
- Kommersant has reported that Saudi Arabia may be turning to Russia to make purchases amounting to $10 billion. Usually seen as one of the best customers of arms from NATO countries, the newspaper claimed that the Saudis were looking at a wide range of Russian products including a variety of navel vessels, the Iskander-E missile system, and the S-400 missile defense system. Reports that the kingdom is interested in Russian hardware started last summer sparking speculation as to what their motives were. A likely theory was that the purchases may be to help sway Russian foreign policy away from supporting regional rival Iran, or at the very least, take stock of weapons that may be destined for Tehran.
- Germany’s acquisition program for replacing their Sikorsky CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters has been narrowed down to two choices. Rather than launching a clean-sheet development program, the Luftwaffe are looking at rotorcraft already in production, namely Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook and Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion, as their preferred replacement. Both helicopters meet the needs to support special forces operations and combat search and rescue tasks. One difficulty that has arisen is Germany’s lack of aircraft that have the capability to perform in-flight refuelling; however, Berlin believes that the Airbus A400M will be able to cater to that need by the helicopter’s introduction in 2022.
- Inquiries into the purchase of refurbished AV-8Bs from the USAF (denied by Taiwan) were actually made by the newly elected Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Talks with US officials took place prior to the election, with the intention that the aircraft would be procured in order to develop an indigenous short take-off and vertical landing fighter (STOVL). Development of such a fighter by Taiwan was said to take over two decades with thirteen years required to master the thrust vector nozzle technology and another thirteen years to develop a prototype. Further obstacles would have included negotiating with the UK, as the Pegasus engine technology found in the aircraft belongs to Rolls Royce. Taiwan’s interest in STOVL fighters stems from the fear that any potential attack from China would instantly knock out any capabilities to launch fighters from traditional runways.
- The “Make in India” initiative is causing problems for the Ka-226t helicopter. Both manufacturer Kamov and India are finding it difficult to meet the program’s requirement to have 50% of the helicopter produced in India. The difficulty arises as third party vendors of components for the helicopter have not been included in a deal which will only see Russian made components indigenized in India. New Delhi will be required to negotiate separate contracts with third party nations to produce their weapons and components at home. Further difficulty added to the 50% target includes Russia delivering the first sixty to India in flyaway condition.
- A look at Embraer’s KC-390: