C-130 Super Hercules Multi-Year Contract to Save $680M | Israeli APS Heavy Combat Vehicle Passes Milestone Test | Competition to Extend Life of UK’s Challenger 2 FleetJun 07, 2016 00:55 UTC
- Canada looks set to procure an interim fleet of Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets to fill a capability gap as it procrastinates on how to proceed with its new fighter competition. The Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau promised during the election campaign not to buy the F-35 to replace its aging CF-18s; but the government has been struggling with how to fulfill that promise, for fear any attempt to exclude the stealth fighter from a competition will result in a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit, according to one senior Defence Department official.
- According to Joseph Fountain, supervisory contract officer with Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Mobility Directorate, a multi-year contract has been signed with Lockheed Martin to procure 78 C-130J Super Hercules with the option to buy up to 83 over the next five years. Under the contract, the second multi-year deal for the C-130J, the Defense Department will save about $680 million and provide the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard with important airlift capabilities. The contract also funds an affordability program in which Lockheed receives $35 million up front and agrees to $65 million in labor reductions over the life of the contract, which according to Fountain will allow the company to assemble the aircraft more efficiently.
Middle East North Africa
- The US military has commenced airdrops of small arms and munitions to rebels fighting with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the northern Syrian city of Marea. At present the town, located in Aleppo province, is besieged by militants from the Islamic State looking to increase their influence in the region where several armed militias, as well as the the Syrian government, are battling for control. This is the first reported time that the US has supplied weapons to any rebels fighting in Syria other than the Kurds.
- Israel’s new actively protected heavy combat vehicle for engineering missions has passed another milestone test after successfully navigating deep terrain, followed by another vehicle emplacing a self-deployed bridge in support of follow-on forces. Based on the Namer heavy troop carrier, the engineering version of the vehicle is equipped with the Trophy Active Protection System (APS), designed to give 360 degree protection from multiple launchings. The APS system has been developed by local company Rafael and a number of US companies.
- A looming capability gap in Germany’s military transport fleet may result in the Ministry of Defense looking to urge A400M partner nations to procure and jointly operate a limited fleet of C-130 Hercules airplanes. Ongoing participation of German forces in Mali has highlighted the need for aircraft capable of landing on small and poorly fortified airfields and participation in special operations, limitations found in the A400M. At present, Germany operates the C-160 Transall which is due for retirement in 2021.
- A partnership known as Team Challenger 2 has emerged to bid for the life extension project of the UK’s Challenger 2 main battle tank fleet. BAE Systems, General Dynamics UK, Leonardo-Finmeccanica, Moog Inc., QinetiQ and Safran Electronics have all teamed up to offer a bid, which sees competition from another team including Lockheed Martin, CMI Defence, Krauss Maffei Wegmann, and Ruag. The project will see the winners work to extend the out-of-service date of the tank by 10 years to 2035, addressing obsolescence issues on the aging vehicle as well as looking to install some capability enhancements.
- Kazakhstan is looking to purchase a number of transport, cargo and tanker aircraft with preliminary talks on such a sale with Russian manufacturer Ilyushin. A variety of models are being looked at including the modernized Il-76MD-90A, the Il-78 aerial refueling tanker and the Il-112 light military transporter. The discussions began at the KADEX-2016 military hardware exhibition in the Kazakh capital Astana.
- Reuters has reported that both South Korea and Vietnam may look to purchase refurbished Lockheed Martin P-3 and S-3 maritime surveillance planes with Hanoi expected to request formal pricing and availability data on four to six older US Navy P-3 Orion aircraft in the next few months. According to the company, the sales will help to counter China’s military buildup and repeated North Korean missile launches. Vietnam is also looking at making purchases of CN-295 transport aircraft, license built by Indonesia.
- Footage of the Lockheed Martin/KIA T-50A maiden flight: