Black Hawks Being Converted to Pave Hawks | MBDA Italia Will Supply $1.1B in Missiles to Qatar| Japan: mid-July Tender for $40B Fighter Acquisition ProgramJul 01, 2016 00:48 UTC
- The first of 21 US Army UH-60L Black Hawks, converted and remissionized into HH-60G Pave Hawks, has been introduced as part of the service’s Operational Loss Replacement (OLR) program. Works on the UH-60s is being carried out by Science and Engineering Services LLC which involves adding a comprehensive kit of modifications to the utility helicopter, along with additional equipment to convert it into a combat search and rescue HH-60G. The OLR program aims to replace aircraft lost in nearly 15 years of deployed combat operations since the commencement of the “War on Terror.”
Middle East North Africa
- MBDA Italia has secured a contract with Qatar to provide $1.1 billion worth of missiles for its new naval vessels. Missiles to be sold include the Aster 30 Block 1, VL MICA air defense missiles and Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles. The munitions deal follows shortly after Qatar agreed to the $5.1 billion purchase of seven naval vessels from Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, which include four corvettes, one landing platform dock, and two offshore patrol vessels.
- Iraq has received the last of its ordered Mi-28 NE Night Hunter attack helicopters from Russia. The first of an estimated 15 Night Hunters was delivered in 2014 as part of a wider $4.2 billion defense package signed in 2012. According to Reuters, the deal marks the third biggest agreement for Russian arms sales since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
- The High Court in the UK has ruled in favor of a judicial review into British arms exports to Saudi Arabia. This unprecedented decision follows a challenge by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills’ decision to continue issuing licenses worth $3.7 billion to the Saudi regime. CAAT’s campaign against British arms manufacturers has grown in recent years amid growing concerns over Saudi human rights abuses conducted with British made weapons and munitions in Yemen.
- Airbus is to conduct full contact flight trials of the automatic boom mode on its A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft by the end of 2016. While normally the task of a fully qualified boomer, the technology being trialed involves the use of real-time video and image processing to track a receiver aircraft’s exact position. The new concept involves the operator controlling the boom manually until it has been positioned within a required area, close to the receiver aircraft. At this point, its automatic mode would be engaged to complete the contact procedure. If successful, this method is believed to improve time, safety and operational aspects of air-to-air refueling.
- An agreement to create a joint Armenian-Russian air-defense system has been ratified by Armenia’s parliament. Initially signed by both nations last December, the new system will enable the inclusion of the Russian Air Force’s full range of capabilities, including multifunction fighter jets, into joint regional air defense. Opponents of the pact fear that too much control will now be extended to Moscow threatening Armenian sovereignty.
- Singapore is to announce its decision on which helicopter will replace its aging Super Puma fleet sooner rather than later. The $1 billion decision was put on ice following April’s crash of a civilian Airbus Super Puma in Norway which killed 13 people, whose military variant was a frontrunner in the competition. As a result, a decision in favor of Airbus would represent a strong vote of confidence in the helicopter after an 18 month evaluation process. Waiting in the wings, however, is Italian firm Leonardo Finmeccanica who is looking to steal the deal and get a foothold with one of South-East Asia’s biggest buyers.
- Japan is to launch a tender in mid-July for its $40 billion fighter acquisition program which has been dubbed the F-3 fighter jet program. Sources close to the program have revealed that US giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin have already been invited to take part in the project alongside local manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Adding to this, analysts say Japan’s preference for an aircraft that can operate closely with the US military, given close Washington-Tokyo ties, makes a non-US option a long-shot. Regardless, Saab AB and the Eurofighter consortium will none the less be looking for any opportunities to involve themselves in this mega bucks project.
- The first F-35B Lightning II lands in UK for first time: