MQ-9 Takeoff/Landing Automation Pursued by USAF | Indonesia/Russia to Sign Su-35 Deal EOM | NK Gears Up for New Class of Ballistic Missile SubsMay 05, 2016 00:47 UTC
- The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded a $119 million contract to Yorktown Systems Group. Under the contract, Yorktown will provide advisory and assistance services for office administration support to the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) organizations, including foreign military sales, in support of technical, engineering, advisory, and management support. Services will be provided until contract completion in July 2021.
- Canada’s replacement for the CC-150 Polaris aerial refueling tanker will only be considered after the fighter to replace the Hornet has been selected, according to the head of Royal Canadian Air Force. Lt.-Gen. Michael Hood told lawmakers that its fighter selection will in turn determine its tanker needs saying, “So whether it is a probe-and-drogue, as we use right now, or a boom that flies into a refueling receptacle, we will replace the tanker aircraft with whatever our front-line fighter is at the time.” Canada’s Polaris lifespan is to run until 2026.
- An upgrade to automate takeoff and landing of MQ-9 Reaper UAVs is being pursued by the USAF, making training Reaper pilots easier and allowing access to more runways. A similar upgrade already exists on US Army MQ-1C Grey Eagles. According to General Atomics’ senior director of strategic development, Chris Pehrson, the air force tried last year to shift money from other accounts to begin implementing the automatic takeoff and landing system, but the request was denied by Congress.
Middle East North Africa
- Testing of newer versions of Israeli-made weapons systems is currently underway, and will be eventually installed on Israel’s coming F-35I Adir fleets. While specifics regarding the systems being tested have not been released, the list includes versions of Rafael’s Spice precision-guided bombs and infrared- and radar-guided air-to-air missiles. Testing has been conducted using Boeing F-15s and Lockheed F-16s.
- While many European nations have been quick to join the ongoing bombing campaign against Islamic State militants in Syria, not all are being fully utilized. Dutch F-16s sent in February seldom fly over Syria as they are not equipped with satellite communication equipment. Instead they need to reply on ground controllers to find targets, and since no NATO ground troops are deployed in Syria, Dutch F-16s are not being used. The Netherlands’s decision to join action in Syria followed after months of debate and appeals from the US and France.
- Inking of contracts between Indonesia and Russia for eight Su-35 fighters is to occur at the end of the month. Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the signing will coincide with the visit to Russia of President Joko Widodo from May 19-20 during the Russia-ASEAN Summit. Jakarta’s new signing follows on the purchase of 24 Su-27/30 aircraft as part of its drive to modernize its fleet.
- Corruption allegations have been debated in India’s Parliament in relation to the 2010 purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland UK. The $553 million contract allegedly involved payments made to Indian officials by AgustaWestland UK’s parent company, Finmeccanica. Last month, an Italian court ruled that the deal had indeed included payoffs, which has now resulted in Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar giving a chronology of the procurement process from when the Indian Air Force first sought to acquire the VVIP helicopters to replace the aging MI-8 helicopter. The contract was cancelled in 2014 by India on grounds of a breach of the pre-contract integrity pact.
- North Korea has completed the external renovation of a shipyard dedicated to building and launching a new class of ballistic missile submarines. Satellite photographs indicate that external work on the yard’s submarine construction halls has been completed, and a ramp where new vessels are launched is nearly finished. While experts say no such vessels would be completed before 2020, Pyongyang will eventually be capable of building and launching submarines much larger than the GORAE-class — including a new class of ballistic missile submarines.
- Russian Su-24 buzzing the USS Donald Cook: