Next Gen Jammer Under Development | Boeing Optimistic on Early KC-46 Deliveries | Mitsu’s X-2 Stealth Demo Expected by EOMApr 13, 2016 00:50 UTC
- The Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Increment 1 (Inc 1) has been approved to enter the Engineering & Manufacturing Development Phase. The announcement was made after the approval by Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, on April 5. During the EMD phase, the pod will undergo further development prior to a system-level critical design review in early- to mid-2017 and then eventual production. Once produced, the pod will replace the AN/ALQ-99 tactical jamming system currently integrated on the EA-18G GROWLER aircraft.
- A $93.6 million USAF contract modification has been awarded to Lockheed Martin to add a terrain following radar on the MC-130J. Work is expected to be completed on the special missions aircraft by March 31, 2021. It’s believed that the radar model being used is likely the Silent Knight from Raytheon. Having such a radar will allow the pilots to fly as low as 100 feet above the ground.
- Orbital ATK’s production of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) was ceased for five weeks due to bad resistors supplied by a sub-contractor. The supplier quality issue will likely result in delays to the delivery of the company’s second and third full-production contracts. Developed as an improvement on the HARM missile, the AGM-88E contains a more modern homing receiver and navigation system to detect the radar signals of both stationary and mobile air-defense systems.
- Despite development setbacks and a recent Milestone C demonstration hiccup, Boeing believes that it can deliver 18 operational KC-46 Pegasus tankers within six months instead of the original 14. The plan has been labelled “optimistic” in a new report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). While the GAO notes that most of the issues have been amended successfully, the recent problems seen in the aircraft’s centerline drogue system and wing aerial refueling pods may make this optimistic projection nothing but wishful thinking.
Middle East North Africa
- Talks have reportedly been started between the governments of Jordan and Russia over Jordan’s potential purchase of a small number of Su-32s. Interest in the export version of the Su-34 bomber as well as other Russian made military hardware has increased following Moscow’s military intervention in Syria. Until late, military and technical cooperation between the two have been fairly small, with contracts last year amounting to a refurbishment deal of two Il-76MF transport aircraft and the supply of components for the assembly of RPG-32 grenade launchers. However, a sale of any number of Su-32s would point to a potential reorientation from Jordan, who until now have happily been purchasing American weaponry with American money.
- Swiss newspaper Neue Luzerner Zeitung has revealed that Jordan has signed an updated agreement to change its order for nine PC-9M turboprop trainers, instead buying eight PC-21s. Delivery of the original deal was expected to begin in January 2017. Jordan’s changed commitment sees it join a growing list of nations acquiring the PC-21 including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
- Russian Helicopters are to integrate a new defensive suite on some of their rotorcraft platforms that apparently will make them invulnerable to attacks by air-to-air and shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles. Developed by ROSTEC sister company Kret, the President-S system includes a laser illumination detector, ultraviolet missile approach warning system, electro-optical electronic warfare system, decoy flares, and control system. Helicopters to get the upgrade include the Mil Mi-171Sh and Mi-17V-5 medium transports, Mi-26T2 heavy helicopter and, from 2017, Mi-28NE and Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters.
- The first flight of Mitsubishi’s X-2 (formally ATD-X) stealth demonstrator is expected to take place toward the end of this month. Initially scheduled for February, the maiden flight was pushed back by the developers out of caution, but the jet has been spotted undertaking runway and taxiing tests over the last number of weeks. The X-2 is being developed to lay the basis for a Japanese made replacement of Mitsubishi’s F-2, due to be retired in 2028.
- A look inside the MQ-1 Predator’s cockpit: