US State Dept Finally Clears FMS to Qatar & Kuwait | French Train Eagles to Take Down Rogue Drones | Taiwanese AF to Get F-16 Upgrades in $3.45B DealNov 21, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Sources close to the Canadian government claim that Ottawa is still hoping to acquire approximately 20 F/A-18 Super Hornets without the need for an open competition. It’s believed that the procurement, intended as an interim solution to replace their soon-to-be retired fleet of CF-18s, could move the need for a new fighter selection process for another decade. It’s been just over a year since Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party took office, and they vigorously campaigned for the cancellation of Ottawa’s participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program during ithe election campaign. Trudeau deemed the jet too expensive and not necessary to Canadian defense requirements.
- The Brazilian government has finally contracted South African firm Denel to integrate the A-Darter missile on the Brazilian Air Force’s new Saab Gripen E/F fighters, alleviating fears that the program was off track. While Brazil has been heavily involved in the fifth-generation munition’s development, fiscal woes along with political turmoil and a change in government resulted in the official nod to finance the procurement being delayed. The missile will also be integrated on South African Gripens as well as their Hawk Mk 120 lead-in trainers.
Middle East & North Africa
- With the Obama administration entering its final weeks, the US State Department has cleared a number of big ticket foreign military sales to Qatar and Kuwait. Destined for Qatar are 72 Boeing F-15QAs in a $21.1 billion deal that includes weapons and related support, equipment, and training. Also included is the building of a Lead-in-Fighter-Training unit to be located in the US. A $10.1 billion sale will see Kuwait receive 32 F/A-18Es and 8 F/A-18F, including systems, training and support.
- While defense firms are always looking for high-tech solutions to the problem of rogue UAVs, the French Air Force is currently training eagles to engage drones that may be utilized by terrorists. The low tech high-talon method follows that of the Dutch police, who announced earlier this year that the birds of prey were being trialed to tackle nuisance drones. France, having just experienced a year of devastating terrorist attacks at the hands of jihadists, are concerned that mini-UAVs may be used to drop explosives, similar to those used by IS militants, currently on the defensive in Iraq.
- Armata tanks being built by Russia’s Uralvagonzavod will now come with a tethered drone, dubbed Pterodactyl. Equipped with a tether management system, the drone will provide full data protection and improve the tank’s situational awareness and aid in guiding rounds. With a flight range of 100 metres, the drone can be launched from the Armata’s hull and is capable of maintaining the tank’s speed.
- Gulfstream is the latest beneficiary of increased Polish defense spending, with the company to provide two G550 business jets configured for VIP transport duties. Delivery of the jets is scheduled for 2017, at the end of a lease between Warsaw and the national carrier LOT Polish Airline for two Embraer 175s. With their transport fleet mostly consisting of older Russian models, there has been a push to modernize transport aircraft following the 2010 crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 which killed 96 people, including the nation’s then-president, Lech Kaczy?ski.
- The site for THAAD‘s deployment on the Korean peninsula has been settled with Seoul agreeing to a deal with the Lotte Group. A well known Korean cheabol, Lotte owns a golf course in Seonju county, identified as a potential deployment for a THAAD battery site during the summer. Under the agreement, a land swap will take place of lands owned by the Ministry of National Defense for the golf club, while valuators will assess whether the government needs to give a bigger parcel of land or make up any disparity with cash.
- F-16s operated by the Taiwanese Air Force will receive upgrades to the V model, with work to be undertaken by Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) and overseen by Lockheed Martin. Four fighters will initially take part in the conversion program, dubbed Phoenix Rising, with the government aiming to upgrade 25-28 of the fighters every year. With 144 A/B variant F-16s set to be upgraded, the retrofitting will cost approximately $3.45 billion.
Su-33 launched from the Admiral Kuznetsov via ski-jump: