Israel Desires V-22 Ospreys in New FMS Deal | Poland’s PGZ Signs LOI with Raytheon for Patriots | China’s Y-20 Aircraft Officially Inducted into ServiceJul 07, 2016 00:55 UTC
- Martin-Baker, the supplier of the ejector seat to be used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has refuted the suggestion that their design will not be sufficient to ensure pilot safety. On June 24, it was reported that the USAF was looking to certify rival United Technologies’ ACES 5 design as an alternative. The F-35 Joint Program Office has stood behind Martin-Baker in sticking with its selection, however this is in part due to the potential cost overruns it could cause to an already notoriously expensive program.
- A laser is to be mounted on the side of the AC-130J Ghostrider instead of on the gunship’s belly in order to increase its fielding time. While this will limit the area of coverage of the weapon, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) believe they will still learn a lot about how to employ a laser in AFSOC missions. AFSOC chief Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold is also aggressively pushing the schedule for the laser gunship and plans to field a testbed by 2020 saying “Let’s go simple, let’s shoot it off the left side and eventually it will evolve.”
- Raytheon has been awarded a number of munition contracts including a $7.8 million modification to a foreign military sales contract for Excalibur 155mm projectiles, and a $23 million cost-plus-fixed fee US Navy contract for a variety of support duties on the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) program. The Excalibur projectile, compatible with every howitzer on which it has been tested, is expected to be completed by June 2017 while work on the ESSM program is scheduled to finish this December, and could see options that would bring its value to $197 million.
Middle East North Africa
- Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has alluded to his government’s desire to acquire V-22 Ospreys as part of a new military aid deal with the US. Hints at such a procurement came during an Independence Day event in Israel where Netanyahu mentioned the latest F-35 procurement as well as wanting to talk further about a “vertical lift” platform. The current Foreign Military Financing (FMF) deal expires in in 2018, with its follow on expected to be concluded by November.
- A Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon has dropped the GBU-48 dual-mode GPS and laser guided bomb for the first time. Testing took place in the Gulf of Cadiz in support of the Air Force´s Arms and Experimentation Logistical Centre (CLAEX) between June 20-24. According to the service, the event marks a significant increase for the C-16’s air-to-ground capabilities allowing the fighters to carry out simultaneous offensives against several ground targets.
- Following its agreement with Raytheon over offsets, Poland’s state-run defense group PGZ has signed a letter of intent with Raytheon to install a Patriot missile defense system. According to a PGZ statement, “the signed letter of intent positions the Polish industry as an important component of the Global Patriot program, including the transfer of key technologies. It also opens the doors to the Polish industry to enable its participation in the modernization programs of 220 Patriot systems operated by 13 countries.” The agreement comes days before the commencement of Warsaw’s hosting of this year’s NATO summit between July 8-9.
- Austria is to join France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK in operating BAE System’s BvS10 Beowulf military vehicle after signing contracts with the Swedish government for the delivery of 32 vehicles. While the value of the contract is unknown, deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2017 and conclude in 2019. Designed to operate in rugged terrain to deliver personnel or cargo in combat and disaster relief situations, the BvS10 will play a role in Austria’s European Union Mountain Training Warfare Initiative where it will host schools, training and support to enhance military effectiveness in mountain terrain.
- China’s Air Force has inducted its new Y-20 aircraft into service. The indigenously developed cargo and troop transporter has a maximum takeoff weight of 200 tons and is capable of traveling vast distances in difficult weather conditions. Beijing’s ongoing modernization program has sparked its neighbors to scramble to improve their own capabilities to protect coastal waters and island territories.
- Documents viewed by Reuters reveal that the US cancelled a 2014 plan to supply the Afghan National Army with 300 armored Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFVs). $900 million was sought from Congress to cover the deal and while the money was released, it was then put on hold and eventually scrapped “to address overall concerns about long-term sustainability and affordability” of Afghan forces. Instead, US officials decided to provide additional upgraded Humvees as a way to provide more armored vehicles.
- China’s Xian Y-20 AKA “Chubby Girl”: