DoD Working on Swarming Drones | Polish Prosecutors to Investigate Scrapped Caracel Deal with Airbus | China to Premier J-20 Stealth Fighter at Airshow ChinaNov 01, 2016 00:57 UTC
- Two men in California have been charged for taking part in a scheme to smuggle $3 million worth of military aircraft parts and other defense equipment to Iran. Zavik Zargarian and Vache Nayirian stand accused of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, according to the US Department of Justice. If convicted, Zargarian faces a maximum sentence of 115 years in federal prison and a $4,770,000 fine, while Nayirian faces a maximum sentence of 95 years in prison and a $3,770,000 fine, prosecutors said. Their trial begins on December 20.
- Expect to hear more about the DoD Strategic Capabilities Office’s (SCO) swarming drones concept in the coming months, says deputy secretary of defense Ash Carter. Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington last week, Carter claimed the technology has made some important strides in recent weeks, but specific details are still being kept close to the chest of the SCO. The office is currently testing the Perdix, a palm-sized, expendable UAV that springs out of a fighter jet’s chaff dispenser and flies low to capture video. However, Perdix is not believed to be part of the swarming drones concept.
- The first upgunned Stryker infantry carrier vehicle has been returned to the US Army. Designated as the Stryker Dragoon, the vehicle comes armed with a more lethal 30mm cannon and will be fielded with the Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment in May 2018. Other new aspects of the upgrade include an integrated Kongsberg MCT-30mm Weapon System with a remotely-operated, unmanned turret; a new, fully-integrated commander’s station; and upgraded driveline component and hull modifications. Full rate production will commence following an abbreviated test phase in Spring 2017.
- A delegation from Airbus visited Nigeria following a proposal earlier this year to sell their C295W light transport aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force. While it remains to be seen how many of the aircraft Nigeria would purchase, Airbus is expected to include training and support personnel in any deal made. Ghana, Mali, Algeria and Egypt have all either ordered or currently operate the C295W as Airbus looks to grow sales to the African market. This September saw the company help bring a Portuguese maritime surveillance/patrol variant of the C295 to display at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition in South Africa.
- Polish prosecutors are to investigate the recently scrapped Caracel military helicopter deal with Airbus to see if the move circumvented Polish law or was linked to corruption. Speaking to local media, prosecutor Michal Dziekanski said “this will be a complicated, comprehensive investigation, encompassing a very large set of evidence.” Tomasz Siemoniak, the defense minister responsible for originally brokering the deal during the previous administration, called the Airbus tender “fair and transparent” and said it was canceled by his rivals for political reasons.
- Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft operated by the RAF will live to fly until at least March 2017 despite the fact one of the five-strong fleet should have been retired by now. Manufacturer Raytheon has been contracted for $159 million in support work on the remaining fleet which will see four Sentinel aircraft continue in operation until 2021, extended from the previous retirement date of 2018. Funding has yet to be released in order to keep the fifth plane flying over the same period with a decision expected in March.
- This week will see China unveil its J-20 stealth fighter during a flight demonstration at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in the southern city of Zhuhai. The warplane, along with the J-31, are attempts by Beijing to close the technological gap with the US and to increase their offensive and defensive capabilities. While the J-31 is still in development, it is hoped that the plane will compete with the US-made F-35 on the international market.
- Israeli-made Heron and Searcher UAVs will be armed with missiles by India. Known as Project Cheetah, the program will see the drones equipped with advanced surveillance technology as well as the ability to conduct surgical strikes, severing the need for the deployment of further aircraft. It’s expected that Israeli firms will be involved in the upgrades. The armed drones will then undergo operations against militants fighting in the disputed Kashmir region with the aim of limiting Indian military casualties.
Testing of the Chengdu J-20 earlier this year: