LM Contract Mod Allots Five Add’l C-130Js to USAF | USAF Global Hawk UAVs to Get Upgrades | China Gets in the Game with Own Aircraft Engine ManufacturerAug 30, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Lockheed Martin is to provide five additional C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the USAF. The $287 million modification contract is expected to be completed by April 2020. An update of the C-130 Hercules, the C-130J has attracted a wide number of interested customers, with orders received from at least 15 nations since induction in 1999. It’s expected that the company could see another 100 units produced for US and international customers.
- RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs operated by the USAF are to get an upgraded control system following a $104 million contract awarded to Raytheon. Under the deal, new payload controls for UAV will be incorporated, and the GCSs will be moved from temporary building to permanent structures at Beale AFB in California and Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota. Raytheon added that a new open architecture will be introduced, which will introduce scalability and the operation of new payloads and platforms, following which the old system will be gradually phased out.
- The words “weapons tester,” “memo,” and “F-35A” have seldom come with good news; and the latest memo on the F-35A from director of Operational Test and Evaluation is no different. Despite the USAF declaring initial operational capability on the fighter earlier this month, the memo highlights many significant limitations that remain on the aircraft, in particular with the aircraft’s new Block 3i software. However, the Joint Program Office remains confident that the capability gaps will be fixed on the aircraft in time and under the current budget parameters.
Middle East North Africa
- Turkey is in talks with Eurosam over the possible purchase of the SAMP/T air defense missile system as part of bolstering its air defenses. Government sources stated that negotiations have been ongoing between the missile consortium and Turkey’s military procurement agency, the undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) and National Defense Ministry. Turkey has been struggling with finding a suitable platform for some of its air defense, and it is possible that if the ongoing talks reach maturity, the main procurement is going to address the country’s urgent security needs via a short-term bridge solution and technology transfer and co-production will be considered as the long-term solution.
- Airbus has successfully conducted a sand strip landing test of its A400M transporter during certification demonstrations in Woodridge, UK. The surface is the last of three unprepared landing strips on which the company is certifying the aircraft to operate, and follows completion of gravel testing during trials in Ablitas, Spain, and testing on a grass surface in Écury-sur-Coole, in France. A final week of testing will now be carried out with the aircraft carrying higher payloads.
- A recently received S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system has been deployed by Iran at its Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility. A number of the Russian-made S-300s have been delivered to Tehran since Moscow decided to lift a 2010 self imposed ban on selling equipment to Iran following Western pressure. The 2015 nuclear deal allowed for a new deal to continue with delivery to be completed by the end of 2016.
- China has set up its own state-owned aircraft engine maker. Registered with $7.5 billion in capital, the move comes as Beijing seeks to push Chinese products and services up the value chain, prioritizing aircraft engines, high-speed rail, and nuclear power as areas in which it wants China to excel. State-owned AVIC said in March that it was finalizing a 129 billion yuan merger of its aircraft engine businesses in a move to create a giant that could eventually compete with the likes of United Technologies Corp’s aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney.
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $7 million contract for providing the multispectral database for the upcoming delivery to South Korea of 40 F-35A fighters with conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) capability. Seoul had initially been cleared to purchase 60 F-35s at a cost of $10.3 billion, but budgetary constraints saw that number culled with the current acquisition costing $7.06 billion. Delivery of the fighters will be carried out between 2018 and 2021.
The A400M sand strip landing test: