USMC Proposes KC-130Js to Gunships | Cessna 208Bs Becoming ISRs Under FMS Contracts | Denmark Expected to Procure at Least 27 F-35sMay 13, 2016 00:50 UTC
- A scheduled to be retired KC-130R Hercules has been transferred to the Chilean Air Force. The plane was delivered on May 2 after being sold to Chile via the foreign military sales (FMS) route. Prior to its transfer, the plane was part of the Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20, at Patuxent River, Maryland as a test evaluation/range support platform.
- An ambitious plan is being proposed by the USMC to convert all of its 79 KC-130J aerial refueling aircraft into gunships, equipped with the Harvest Hawk weapons system. The package will also be added to the service’s MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor fleets and will allow both aircraft multi-mission capabilities. For the V-22, the most obvious “Osprey Hawk” benefit is the much-improved strike capability, while the C-130J, would become a multi-mission craft, with a sensor ball allowing for route reconnaissance missions when needed.
- North American Surveillance Systems and L-3 Communications Corp. have both been awarded separate contracts to modify Cessna 208B turboprop aircraft into intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms for Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Philippines. L-3 was given $14 million for the production of equipment and spares, while North American Surveillance Systems took home $39 million for modification and integration of ISR capabilities into Cessna 208B aircraft. The latter is also required to provide training and field service representative support.
- Raytheon Missile Systems has been awarded a $76 million contract from the US Navy for long lead support for the production of the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) Block I. The procurement will last for fiscal years 2016, 2017 and 2018. The ESSM program is an international cooperative effort to design, develop, test, and procure ESSM missiles for the US Navy and the governments of Australia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, and Norway as part of the NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium.
- Denmark looks set to sign up for F-35 procurement with an order expected for at least 27 aircraft. The selection by the country’s minority Liberal government follows intense public debate about the cost of modernizing the country’s air force, but it can still be blocked by parliament, where opposition politicians are urging budget restraint. Alternatives offered to the government came from Boeing with their older F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
- The apparent threat from Russia’s military in Europe will see Germany start its first buildup of military personnel since the end of the Cold War. Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement, and the armed forces will see the expansion of military personnel by 14,300 and that of civilian employees by 4,400. The increase in troop strength comes at a time of a new Russian threat in the east, and political and military turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East.
- Funding issues will see India’s planned procurement of the S-400 missile-defense system postponed according to sources inside its Defense Ministry. The cancellation comes as New Delhi prioritizes key purchases such as its 36 Rafale fighters, very short range air defense (VSHORAD) man-portable systems, and short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) systems. Five units of the new system would cost the Indian taxpayers a cool $4.5 billion.
- Indonesia is to consider purchasing a small number of Airbus A400M cargo aircraft, making them the first export country outside of Europe. The country’s interest in the troubled aircraft was expressed by Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu who talked to Reuters on May 11. Ryacudu also said the government agreed to buy eight Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets this year, but added the price was still being negotiated.
- Thales Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (HMCS):