LCS to be Turned into Test Vessels | LM Announces Successful Aegis Live-fire Testing on F-35 | FMS to Kuwait & Qatar on Hold Pending Mil Funding Agreement with IsraelSep 14, 2016 00:58 UTC
- A US Navy announcement for an overhaul of the troubled Littoral Combat Ship program will include turning the first four ships into test vessels. The change comes after the naval branch announced an engineering stand-down for LCS crews following an August 29 engineering casualty on the USS Coronado. Under Thursday’s plan, the Freedom, Independence, Fort Worth and Coronado will become single-crewed testing ships that could be deployed as fleet assets on a limited basis, the Navy said.
- Lockheed Martin has announced that the Aegis weapon system has been successfully live-fire tested on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. During the test, an unmodified Marine Corps F-35B acted as an elevated sensor and detected an over-the-horizon threat. The jet sent data through the aircraft’s Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to Aegis on the USS Desert Ship, a land-based ship.
Middle East & North Africa
- Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has voiced his opposition to a proposed ban on $1.5 billion worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. While acknowledging the cause of the proposed ban, Saudi Arabia’s conduct in the ongoing Yemen Civil war, Cardin dismissed the claims saying “They’re trying to make a point with an arms sale that’s not relevant to those concerns.” Saudi Arabia has been carrying out airstrikes in their war with the Iranian-allied Houthi movement in Yemen since March 2015.
- Despite last week’s tantalizing claims that the US State Department would clear a three year backlog of jets destined for Kuwait and Qatar, the sales will continue to be delayed. It is believed that the sales of the new tranche fighter have been frozen until after the US completes a new military funding agreement with Israel, a process which has dragged on longer than either nation expected. Qatar is seeking 72 F-15E Strike Eagles, while Kuwait wants 28 F/A-18E/F fighter jets in deals totalling over $7 billion.
- Israel’s Defense Ministry plans to ease restrictions on their export policy. Under the new changes, proposals include: Expanding exemptions for marketing permits for unclassified products to the US; Updating Israel’s controllable munitions list; waiving temporary export licenses now required for marketing participation in trade shows; waiving marketing licenses for most counter-terrorism products and services; expanding marketing license exemptions for international brokers from exempted countries; instituting a single generic marketing license that will apply to some 98 preferred countries; instituting online export licensing applications; and extending marketing licensing from three to four years.
- Saab has revealed that they have sent their Giraffe AMB radar to South Africa for the last six months for testing. During this time, the radar has been paired with Denel’s Umkhonto surface-to-air missile, with the pairing due to be on display at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition this week. Saab’s presence at AAD will see the company be part of a situational awareness/command and control demonstration with other companies such as Reutech and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
- Russian media reported that the upcoming T-50 PAK-FA is having a new cluster bomb developed specially for carriage on the fighter. Dubbed “Drill,” the munition relies on satellite navigation for guidance and has an effective range of 30km. Russia is one of only 16 nations left that still produces cluster munitions.
- With tensions rising on the Korean peninsula, South Korea may look to purchase 20 additional F-35A fighters. Military officials say the move comes as North Korea’s growing nuclear capabilities have resulted in a reassessment of the South’s existing wartime strike programs against the North. In 2013, South Korea paid $7.06 billion for 40 F-35A fighters for delivery between 2018 and 2021. At that time, it had the option of buying 20 additional warplanes depending on the security situation.
UkrOboronProm’s Mi-24PU1 attack helicopter. :