Raytheon’s SM-6 Sets New Distance Record | Airbus Delivers First AS565 MBe Helos to Mexico | Iran Unveils New UAV Based on Captured RQ-170 SentinelOct 03, 2016 00:58 UTC
- An SM-6 air defense missile interceptor fired from the USS Princeton has set a new distance record for an intercept during testing at the Point Mugu Test Range on September 22. Using data from a remote airborne sensor and equipped with the latest Aegis Baseline 9, the missile beat the previous long-distance intercept record held by the USS John Paul Jones’ test in January.
- The US Air Force Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has requested funding in the FY 2018 defense budget for the modification of an AC-130W with a laser weapon. If approved, modifications will start in FY 2020 using an existing aircraft now stationed at Cannon Air Force Base. However, the plan has received skepticism from some quarters with Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, noting airborne lasers continue to face issues with weather and atmospheric conditions.
- Airbus has delivered the first batch of AS565 MBe variant helicopters to the Mexican Navy. The service ordered ten back in 2014 as the variant’s launch customer, coming with a new Safran Arriel 2N engine that improves its performance in hot & high conditions and enables it to achieve a top speed of 278 km/h and a range of 780 kilometers. Three more are to be delivered before the end of 2016 and the remaining six by early 2018.
Middle East & North Africa
- Bahrain’s purchase of F-16 fighters are believed to come with strings attached, with the Pentagon set to include a “declaration of concern” into the draft notification of the sale. Prior to the sale proceeding, Washington wants Bahrain to improve their human rights, although they did not specify what steps they want the Gulf kingdom to take. Other Gulf nations awaiting US fighters, namely Kuwait and Qatar, have not been required to undergo such conditions.
- Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen’s ongoing civil war have claimed the successful sinking of an HSV-2 Swift hybrid catamaran operated by the UAE. The UAE military said on Saturday that a boat under their command was involved in an “incident” in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, but also stated that no casualties were suffered. It’s believed that the vessel was carrying aid.
- A decision on Germany’s small transport requirement is expected for later this fall. The winner will replace existing Transall aircraft, due to be retired in 2021, for missions that the new Airbus A400M could not perform due to its larger size. A likely candidate touted by Reuters is Lockheed Martin’s C-130J, which could be purchased and used jointly with France or bought second-hand from the UK.
- A spokesperson for the Philippine Air Force has said the service is looking to acquire 36 additional FA-50PH fighter jets from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The official said the procurement is needed “to meet a requirement specified in Flight Plan 2028 to “detect, intercept, and neutralise” any perceived threat in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).” This adds to 12 FA-50PH fighters already ordered in 2014, with deliveries set to conclude in late 2017.
- Iran has unveiled a new unmanned combat aerial vehicle supposedly based on a captured American RQ-170 Sentinel. Dubbed “Saegheh”, or lightening, the UCAV will be able to carry up to four guided munitions, according to Iranian state media. In 2011, a US RQ-170 reconnaissance UAV was captured in eastern Iran which Tehran claim was taken over and landed by its cyberwarfare unit.
Maiden flight of the Yak-152: