Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $331.7 million foreign military sales contract by the US Army. The sale will see the company provide the defense departments of Israel, Singapore, Finland and Jordan with the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which includes 290 alternative warhead rocket pods, 34 unitary rocket pods and 529 reduced range practice rocket pods. Work and delivery of the system is expected to be completed by March 31, 2018.
Sikorsky’s HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter is to move into the detailed design phase after successfully passing an air vehicle preliminary design review by the US government. The UH-60 Black Hawk variant will now enter a 75-month engineering and development phase which will see nine aircraft produced, including five “system demonstration test articles” to support operational testing. The design includes air force and mission-specific avionics, equipment and defensive countermeasures, plus a larger internal fuel capability and cabin area when compared to its UH-60 cousin and is unique enough to warrant its own development phase and even a separate assembly line.
Middle East North Africa
British-made cluster bombs have been discovered in a village in northern Yemen, all but confirming that the banned munition is being used by the Saudi-led coalition in the region. The BL-755 cluster bombs, originally manufactured in the 1970s, were purchased by the air forces of Saudi Arabia and UAE to be used on the British made Tornado fighters. Locals described the ordinance as “hanging off trees”and are believed to have been there since air strikes in July and August.
An advanced missile approach warning system has been integrated on Israeli CH-53 transport carriers, giving the helicopters an extended service life until 2025. Dubbed Dragon Block 3, the system provides 360 degree coverage alongside a more effective warning of missile attack and fast activation of countermeasures equipment. The troop transports have had their fair share of trouble from rocket attacks having seen extensive use in conflicts in south Lebanon and the Palestinian territory of Gaza.
Russia’s Defence Ministry looks set to become the first customer of the Mil Mi-38 multi-role helicopter. The helicopter’s manufacturer Russian Helicopters made the announcement in a press release last week, and it is expected to pass a series of flight tests according to the ministry’s requirements. Designed to take part in a variety of missions, the Mi-38 is capable of carrying either troops or cargo as well as participating in search & rescue and offshore operations.
Italy is to release $179.5 million toward the development of the Centauro II wheeled tank program by the consortium of Italy’s Iveco and Leonardo-Finmeccanica. An update of the older Centauro wheeled tank, it will include a new hull, better armor and upgunning to a 120mm gun compared to the 105mm found on the original. However the cash injection will be lacking in other programs with the planned arming of Italy’s UAVs to be postponed and only $23.5 million made available for procurement of the light-weight Freccia armored vehicles.
Prosecutors in South Africa are to appeal a court ruling that they should reconsider corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma. 783 charges against the controversial president were dropped just weeks before the 2009 election in which he was elected. The allegations stem from a $5 billion arms deal in 1999 which involved companies from Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK, France and South Africa. In 2005, Schabir Shaik, Zuma’s former financial advisor was jailed in connection with the deal after being found guilty of soliciting a bribe on behalf of the president.
US President Barack Obama has announced the lifting of a decades long arms embargo on Vietnam. Speaking in Hanoi with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and under a looming bust of Communist leader Ho Chi Minh, Obama said that the move will end a “lingering vestige of the Cold War” and pave the way for more-normal relations between the two countries. The move comes as Vietnam looks to recenter allies amid a growing spat with China over ownership of islands in the South China Sea, while also looking to lessen their reliance on Russian weapons manufacturers, factors that may make Hanoi one of Washington’s new best friends in the region.
Latest updates[?]: Russia's Defence Ministry looks set to become the first customer of the Mil Mi-38 multi-role helicopter. The helicopter's manufacturer Russian Helicopters made the announcement in a press release last week, and it is expected to pass a series of flight tests according to the ministry's requirements. Designed to take part in a variety of missions, the Mi-38 is capable of carrying either troops or cargo as well as participating in search & rescue and offshore operations.
Russian Mi-8 and its Mi-17 derivative have been familiar sights for several decades, and continue to sell around the world. These helicopters are significantly larger than the American UH-60 Black Hawk family, but have about the same carrying capacity, at about half the price. They are also far more commonly armed than their American counterparts, giving them a secondary strike and fire support role that many countries find useful.
Successor designs have been hurt by funding delays, but the Russian oil and gas industry’s push toward more remote regions is creating a demand for higher performance machines. As an interim step before Russian manufacturers can field longer-range, compound helicopter designs like the Ka-92 or Mi-X1, the EuroMil collaboration between EADS Eurocopter and Oboronprom subsidiaries Mil and Kazan aims to produce the Mi-38. Improved engineering, and Pratt & Whitney Canada’s 2,500 shp PW127 T/S engine, aim to raise the helicopter’s maximum internal load from 4,000 kg to 5,000kg, and maximum sling load from 4,500 kg to 7,000 kg. While the initial target market is civil, military variants are certainly possible.
May 24/16: Russia’s Defence Ministry looks set to become the first customer of the Mil Mi-38 multi-role helicopter. The helicopter’s manufacturer Russian Helicopters made the announcement in a press release last week, and it is expected to pass a series of flight tests according to the ministry’s requirements. Designed to take part in a variety of missions, the Mi-38 is capable of carrying either troops or cargo as well as participating in search & rescue and offshore operations.
March 12/09:Kazan Helicopter Plant announces that they expect to receive about RUB 3 billion (approx. $85 million) in Russia’s upcoming Federal Target Program (FTP) for the development of civil aviation technology, split 50/50 between the state and Oboronprom, toward the completion and launch of the Mi-38. flight tests are scheduled to end in 2009, with serial production at the Kazan Helicopter Plant slated to begin in 2010.