USAF RFI for Bell UH-1N Replacement in Works | Israel’s Space Comm Looks for Free Flight or $50M from SpaceX | Philippines Requests 14% Defense Budget IncreaseSep 06, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Two former executives of Brazil’s Forjas Taurus SA have been charged with selling weapons to a well known arms trafficker to Yemen. The indictment charges that the executives oversaw the shipping of 8,000 handguns in 2013 to Fares Mohammed Hassan Mana’a, an arms smuggler active around the Horn of Africa, which were first sent to Djibouti and then redirected to Yemen. Yemen has been in the grips of a civil war between Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
- The USAF are to reset their Bell Helicopter UH-1N replacement program with a new request for information and a draft system requirements document to be issued on September 9. Under the long-awaited program, the new acquisition will replace the 62 Vietnam-era UH-1N Huey helicopters that support the service’s nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile bases in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. The service had previously wanted to sole-source 41 UH-60Ms to replace the 62 UH-1Ns, but they have now elected to open the competition to other manufacturers.
- Israel’s Space Communication Ltd may seek either $50 million or a free flight from SpaceX, following the destruction of a Spacecom communications satellite last week by an explosion at SpaceX’s Florida launch site. The failed launch has had a profound impact on Spacecom with its equity expected to decline by $30 million to $123 million following a 9% dip in its share price on Thursday, followed by a further 34% drop when trading resumed. SpaceX said on Friday that it would shift flights to a second launch site in Florida, which is nearing completion and which was last used to launch NASA’s space shuttles.
Middle East & North Africa
- Qatar has signed a deal with MBDA for the purchase of a coastal missile system that uses two types of missiles. The system will deploy the Marte ER (the Extended Range version of the Marte missile) and Exocet MM40 Block 3, and can work autonomously or data-linked to a coastal surveillance network. Further details of the sale remain unknown, but follow a deal signed in June to supply missiles for new naval vessels recently procured from Fincantieri.
- PKL Services have been awarded a $495 million USAF contract for work on the Royal Saudi Air Force’s F-15 fleet. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract covers maintenance, upgrade, and training of the Saudi Strike Eagle S- and SA-type fighters. Saudi Arabia has been flying the F-15SA since 2013, and features include improved performance and increased survivability at a lower life-cycle cost as well as two additional wing stations for increased payload and capability.
- With their own new shiny weapons soon to be delivered as part of its NATO upgrade, Lithuania is passing on their older ammunition to embattled neighbor Ukraine. Over 150 tons of Soviet ammunition, mainly AK-47 cartridges, are been sent from their old munitions stocks as part of a 2014 commitment to support Ukraine’s operations against a Russian-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine. So far NATO, primarily the US, has been reluctant to directly support non-NATO member Ukraine with offensive military equipment, limiting its support to “non-lethal” aid.
- An export version of the Kalibr cruise missile may be sold to India, according to Russian media. Due to provisions of international agreements that prohibit the export of missiles with a greater flight distance, the distance of the export models could be curtailed to to less than 300km. The Kalibr has seen battlefield testing during Russia’s support for the Syrian government through their ongoing civil war with several launches targeting groups such as the Islamic State and former Al-Qaeda outfit, Jabhat Fatah al Sham (previously known as the Al Nusra Front).
- Philippines are to request a 14% defense budget increase in order to enhance maritime security and tackle Islamist militants. Large budget increase jumps are fast becoming a trend for south and east Asian governments, as many aim to counter both an increasingly assertive China and domestic security issues. With these funds, President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to “destroy” the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf, responsible for a spate of kidnappings in the country’s Muslim majority south, and also linked to last Friday’s bombing in Davao City.
A CH-47 Chinook assisting an Apache stuck in a muddy Texas field :