Canadian Gov Stands by LAV Sale to Saudis | UK Upgrading Challenger 2 Tank | France to get 2nd MQ-9 Reaper UAV in 2017Jan 21, 2016 00:20 UTC
- Despite recent protests arising from recent Saudi Arabian executions, the Canadian government will stand by a multi-billion dollar vehicle deal. The executions, alongside a variety of other human rights issues including alleged war crimes committed in Yemen, have sparked renewed calls for governments to cease their arms sales to the Saudis. For Canada, this involves a $10.4 billion sale of an undisclosed number of light armored vehicles (LAVs), the largest export contract in Canadian history. The sale was approved in February by the previous government of Stephen Harper, and became a thorny issue during last fall’s election. The new Liberal Party government has defended the deal, citing its importance to the economy, and that all other allied nations are continuing their own exports to the Gulf nation.
Middle East North Africa
- Despite their commitment to the F-35 acquisition program, Israel plans to conduct a deep upgrade of their Boeing F-15I Ra’am fleet, with plans to keep it as the backbone of their strike capabilities. The modifications, including structural changes, the addition of an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, updated avionics and new, unspecified weapon systems, will allow for the aircraft’s continued use as a strategic aircraft even after the F-35I comes into operation. While it’s been said that some missions will be switched over to the F-35I, the F-15 will continue to be used as the air force integrates weapons systems on the newer fighter.
- Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) has announced that a number of parties have expressed interest in purchasing their indigenous new generation main battle tank, the Altay. Those that may look to make purchases are regional allies, including a number of Gulf countries and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia in particular has been expressing keen interest after officials from these countries were invited to observe firing tests of the tank. While still in development, and a manufacturer for serial production is yet to be announced, the interest seemingly generated may lead to some big business for Ankara in the coming years.
- The UK is to upgrade their Challenger 2 tank, with three contractors bidding to carry out the work. The tank’s builder, BAE Systems, will be joined by rivals General Dynamics UK and Lockheed Martin UK to have applied to take part in the $1 billion Challenger 2 Life Extension Program (LEP). The contract may also be extended to conduct upgrades on Challenger’s operated by the government of Oman according to the Ministry of Defence. The upgrades will extend the life of the Challenger for another ten years, bringing the tank’s life expectancy to 2035.
- France is in talks with Australia, Germany and Spain over the latest upgrades to the Tiger Mk 3 attack helicopter. One of the key specifications to be agreed on involves deciding on a common anti-tank missile to be used by all countries. At present, France and Australia use the Hellfire on their Tigers, Germany uses the Parsys Trigat and Spain uses the Rafael Spike. To allow for all governments to reach a decision on a common armament, the Mk 3 upgrade program has been pushed back to 2023. Other parts of the upgrade program include enhancements to the helicopter’s communications suite, including a Link 16 datalink and Blue Force Tracking system.
- A second MQ-9 Reaper UAV system will be delivered to France by October 2017 after the US DoD announced contracts on Tuesday. Work and delivery of the system is set to cost $47.7 million and will be carried out by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The awarding of the contract follows the December order of a third batch of Reaper systems by France set for delivery in 2019. France has been operating the UAVs on missions on the African continent, primarily in the Sahel-Saharan region. The MQ-9s will most likely continue to be operated until a pan-European UAV development project is completed which will see a drone developed jointly by France, Germany and Italy.
- Pakistan’s C-130 fleet is set to get a series of upgrades with Rockwell Collins selected to carry out the work. The Pentagon awarded the company a $30 million contract to carry out the work including the design, manufacture, integration, training, provision of technical support during installation, and delivery of 11 C-130E model kits and five C-130B integrated avionics suites and kits to Pakistan. Furthermore, they are to develop, validate, and deliver consolidated B/E flight manual and associated checklists, and maintenance supplements required to operate, maintain, and sustain the PAF C-130 fleet. All work will be carried out in Islamabad, and will be completed by the end of 2020.
- Successful testing of the Ra’ad air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) has been announced by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations. The indigenously developed missile had undergone seven separate test flights assessing its guidance and navigation system’s ability to accurately hit pin point targets. With a range of 350km, the Ra’ad has been developed to achieve air delivered strategic stand off capability on land and at sea and contribute to the country’s deterrence capabilities. The testing comes as both Pakistan and regional rival India promised to resume high level peace talks at a regional summit in Afghanistan last week.
- A look at some development tests of Turkey’s Altay tank: