FMS Not Likely to See Reform in 2016 | US Army Successfully Tests Multi-Mission Launch Platform | S-3 Viking Sale to Seoul May Entice Other BuyersApr 04, 2016 00:50 UTC
- The US Navy has given Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office $151 million to start development work on the CMV-22B, the naval variant of the V-22 Osprey. The new plane will be used a as a carrier onboard delivery plane. Work included in the contract involves adding new radios, a public address system, and extra fuel tanks to the new tilt-rotor variant by the manufacturer, and it is expected that the Navy will be placing orders by the end of next year.
- A lack of interest by Congress is likely to result in no meaningful reform to the foreign military sales (FMS) occurring this year, according to analysts and congressional sources. The process has been criticized by several parties including Pentagon officials, foreign leaders, and industry executives, but due to its complexity and global sensitivities to weapon sales, any reform will not be rushed. Calls to speed up the approval for sales has come at a time when several US partner nations have been buying equipment while participating in regional conflicts against Islamic State militants. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, however, which has oversight over foreign weapon sales, calls the complaints “part of the natural back and forth that occurs when a foreign nation wants a US weapon.”
- The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a number of Phase 1 contracts for its Gremlins program. The project aims to develop innovative technologies and systems enabling aircraft to launch volleys of low-cost, reusable unmanned air systems (UASs) and safely and reliably retrieve them in mid-air. Four teams including Composite Engineering, Dynetics, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, and Lockheed Martin will seek to prove that their solutions will be the best option going forward to pave the way for a proof-of-concept flight demonstration that would validate an air recovery concept of multiple gremlins.
- Testing by the US Army has resulted in the successful launch of an AIM-9X and Longbow Hellfire missile from their new Multi-Mission Launcher. Test firing of the platform took place at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on March 25 and 29 respectively. Both missiles were tested as part of the of the Engineering Demonstration of the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept (IFPC Inc 2-I), designed to defeat unmanned aircraft systems, cruise missiles, and rockets, artillery and mortars.
Middle East North Africa
- Sierra Nevada Corp. has been awarded a $71.4 million contract to participate in the Saudi King Air 350 program. The contract includes modification of two King Air 350 extended range (KA350ER) aircraft with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance/synthetic aperture radar (ISR/SAR) capability, one transportable ground station, one fixed ground station and one mission system trainer. Completion of the contract is expected for April 2020.
- New issues surrounding the propeller gear boxes on the Airbus A400M will not affect delivery, according to the company. The first issue regards the material structure and strength of the ring gear in about 14 gear boxes produced in the first half of 2015. A separate fault is an issue with the cracking of a plug that could see small parts of metal released into the oil system of the gearbox, affecting gear boxes that rotate to the right. Airbus plans to deliver 20 of the cargo planes to customers this year.
- Lockheed Martin hopes to have South Korea’s purchase of the S-3 Viking approved in June. Seoul’s purchase of the maritime patrol and and submarine hunter is also acting as a barometer for other countries, including Vietnam, and two other nations. The comments were made by the company’s director of maritime patrol programs, Clay Fearnow at this year’s FIDAE 2016 expo in Chile. Renewed interest in the plane by South Korea, as a supplement to its order of P-9 aircraft, has given it a new lease on life since the 2009 divestment by the US Navy.
- North Korea revealed that it has tested the KN-06 missile defense system for the first time, with the Hermit kingdom’s leader Kim Jong-un rumored to have been in attendance. Dubbed the “Patriot missile of Pyongyang,” experts believe the system has a target range of between 100-150 kilometres, posing a significant threat to South Korean aircraft in any future conflict that may arise. While both countries are still technically at war, the 1953 armistice, and building of the heavily guarded demilitarized zone on their 4 km shared border has prevented any further military action.
- March’s test-firing of an Aim-9x from the US Army’s new multi-mission launcher: