US Defense Arsenal Plane Not Yet Off the Ground | India & Russia to Jointly Produce FGFA | NK Conducts 5th Nuke Test; Largest YetSep 12, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Officials from Argentina’s air force are evaluating Korean Aerospace Industries’ (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle. An Argentine delegation visited the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) 16th Fighter Wing at Yecheon on 7 September with a pilot also spotted in the aircraft. The service is looking to acquire a new fighter type following the retirement of the Dassault Mirage III and Mirage 5 fleets in late 2015, and the subsequent grounding of the Douglas A-4R Fightinghawk fleet.
- The US Defense Department’s Strategic Capabilities Office is still weighing platform options for its Arsenal Plane concept, a standoff system with a large weapons carriage that would support forward aircraft. While the USAF gave an artist’s rendering of the arsenal plane last year, which depicted an aircraft with an eight-engined Boeing B-52 bomber wing and a Lockheed Martin C-130 turboprop fuselage, no further decisions regarding the aircraft have been given. The aircraft is being described as “something that’s large, long-range, not very maneuverable, [with] very long weapons; and because it has very long weapons it either needs very exquisite sensors feeding it on that particular platform so that it can cue those weapons to where they need to go.”
Middle East & North Africa
- Leonardo and Algeria’s Ministry of Defense have signed a deal that will see the establishment of a joint company for production of three AgustaWestland light and medium helicopter types in the North African country. The joint company will also provide after-sales services, including repair, overhaul, and training for the MOD and other customers, as well as the development of high tech capabilities in fields of aeronautical material production. Mission capabilities of the helicopters include transport, medical evacuation, and surveillance.
- Latvia has decided to exercise an option to buy more RBS 70 air defense missiles from manufacturer Saab. The company made the announcement and aims to conduct deliveries between 2016 and 2017. In June, the Latvian Air Force test-fired the RBS 70 and the latest generation RBS 70 NG during the air defense exercise “Baltic Zenith 2016”.
- The air-launched variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is being looked at for integration on Russia’s Su-30SM fighter. Moscow has expressed interest in the Indian-made missile with negotiations expected to start in 2017 after India completes the flight test program. At present, the Indian military currently has the missile’s ground and sea-launched versions in service.
- MEADS International has teamed with Poland’s Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) to bid on the country’s Wisla air defense program and related opportunities. PGZ stands to take a partnership role with MI alongside Lockheed Martin and MBDA. Benefits would ensure PGZ’s long-term participation in future expansion and sales of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). Before production specifications are finalized, Poland will be able to tailor elements of the system to national needs through the Wisla program.
- India and Russia have reached an agreement on the joint production of a new fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). A detailed work-share agreement on the fighter has been released which includes production of over 100 fighters in India and will see New Delhi committing to invest $4 billion over the coming years to develop a tailor-made version of the fighter. The two nations are also expected to incorporate a new company by October for the production of Kamov Ka 226 light choppers, which would involve significant private sector participation.
- Saturday saw North Korea conduct its fifth, and biggest, nuclear test. The incident has received the usual condemnation from the international community with President Barack Obama calling for increased UN sanctions on the hermit kingdom. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said that North Korea’s nuclear capability had grown to a “considerable level” and tougher sanctions and greater pressure were needed. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General (and fellow Korean) Ban Ki-moon called for the breaking of what is becoming an “accelerating spiral of escalation.”
The USAF’s Arsenal Plane Concept: