Pentagon Admits No F-35 IOT&E Until 2018 | USS John Paul Jones Validates Aegis MRBM Tracking | Chinese Not Keen on US Supplying Tomahawks to JapanMay 26, 2016 00:55 UTC
- It may have been coming for some time, but the Pentagon has finally admitted that the F-35 will not be cleared for full rate production until 2018. Frank Kendell, the program’s chief weapons tester, had been warning of delays for some time; however, it had been maintained by some that the jet’s initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) would occur as planned in August or September 2017. Now that reality has hit home, the extra six months will be spent retrofitting the 23 aircraft required for IOT&E with the full 3F software and hardware patches.
- USS John Paul Jones was used to validate the ability of the Aegis Baseline 9 to track Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) targets within the Earth’s atmosphere recently. Supported by the Navy, Missile Defense Agency, and Lockheed Martin the use of the missile destroyer marks the first demonstration of Aegis’s ability to conduct a complicated tracking exercise against an MRBM during its endo phase of flight. The development comes as targets and threats have become more advanced, with Aegis BMD evolving over the last 20 years from a tracking experiment to today’s capability in which it can detect, track and engage targets.
Middle East North Africa
- Leonardo-Finmeccanica has announced that Pakistan will purchase an undisclosed number of AW139 helicopters for Search & Rescue missions. This will add to 11 already in service, and delivery is to commence in 2017. The contract is part of a fleet renewal program spread over several batches, including a logistic support and training package.
- Ukraine’s Antonov has been tipped as the favorite candidate in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s. (HAL) medium military transport aircraft program. The company emerged as the frontrunner out of five bids received by the company after meeting all the necessary requirements alongside a recent design with state-of-the-art aviation systems like fly-by-wire, high-efficiency engines and all-weather operations. Antonov or AN class of aircraft have been part of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for over five decades. The IAF has more than 100 AN-32 aircraft recently upgraded on its inventory.
- Sweden’s air force looks set to advance a competition to select its new jet trainer to replace the service’s Saab 105 by the end of the decade. After an initial request for information was issued late last year, the air force and the state’s procurement agency now need to refine their exact needs for the right replacement. Sweden had initially expressed interest in participating in a proposed multinational Eurotraining project however that failed to materialize.
- An op-ed piece published last week, suggesting the US should supply AGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles to Japan has received a rebuttal from Chinese researchers. Experts from the China Institute of International Studies stated that while the idea of supplying the missile to Tokyo was not new, it would pose a threat to other countries in East Asia. The warning most likely comes following efforts started last year by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pursue changing the country’s post-WW2 constitution to allow it to re-arm and expand its forces.
- Israel’s Rafael Advanced Systems looks set to win the Indian Army’s short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) contest with its Spyder system. According to the Economic Times, the Spyder seems poised to win after offerings from Sweden’s Saab and Russia’s Rosoboronexport failed to comply with the Army’s requirements during technical trials. The competition has been running for five years.
- The “Hell Cannon“: Homemade artillery of Syria’s rebel armies: