LM-KAI T-50 Collaboration Begins Flight Ops | Qinetiq Snares $1.26B Contract from UK MoD | HAL’s LCA Deemed Too Heavy; India to Import For NowDec 05, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Officials from Lockheed Martin have announced that the T-50A trainer has commenced flight operations in order to test the plane’s capabilities. A joint effort between LM and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the T-50A is based off the legacy T-50 and is being offered to the USAF’s T-X program. For combat training, the aircraft incorporates air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, an avionics suite with electronic warfare capabilities, and a multi-mode radar.
- The US Navy plans to invest in more F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as a means of stopping a shortfall in capabilities. Delays in the fielding of the F-35C, longer-than-expected maintenance times for older model Hornets, and higher usage rates, have resulted in a predicted shortfall of 70 fighters over the next number of years. If implemented, the plan could receive funding in the fiscal 2018 budget and keep the Super Hornet production line in continuation for the next several years.
Middle East & North Africa
- Egypt is to receive 65 LANTIRN targeting pods under the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the navigation and targeting pod systems will come from existing USAF stocks and are most likely to be used on Cairo’s fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons. Some of Egypt’s F-16s already operate LM’s AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pod, LANTIRN’s successor.
- Lockheed Martin has been contracted to supply two US government-configured C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft to France. Work on the $133.4 million deal is expected to be completed by August 2020. A stretched-out version of the C-130J, the Super Hercules acquisition comes as France tries to fill a cargo and refueling capability gap created by problems related to the development and delivery of the A400M by Airbus.
- Qinetiq has been awarded a $1.26 billion contract by the UK MoD to modernise the test and evaluation services it provides at three sites across the UK. The company has provided test and evaluation services to the MoD since 2004, under a 25-year long-term partnering agreement (LTPA). The new deal will include the modernization and continued operation of air ranges at MoD Aberporth in Wales and MoD Hebrides in Scotland, plus test aircrew training at the Empire Test Pilots’ School at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.
- Armored personnel carriers from the German Armed Forces will be transferred to the Lithuanian Army in a deal worth $1.71 million. 168 M577 vehicles will be delivered in stages between 2017 and 2018. While not normally equipped with defensive weapons, the vehicles are primarily used as a tactical operations center by warfighters on the battlefield.
- India’s navy has decided not to deploy the HAL Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) onboard its aircraft carriers. In what will be seen as a blow to the country’s growing indigenous industry, the fighter was deemed too heavy and did not meet the service’s requirements. New Delhi will instead import a foreign-made carrier-borne fighter while still encouraging India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop the Naval LCA.
- Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force has received their first F-35A, joining Israel and South Korea as the first three export customers for the Joint Strike Fighter. The fighter will join an international training fleet at Luke Air Force, where pilots from partner countries will receive instruction. Six aircraft are currently under contract and Tokyo plans to purchase 28 over the next five years, eventually procuring 42.
Maiden flight of the Certifiable Predator B: