Canada’s New Fighter Jet Competition Will Consider F-35 | Pentagon Approves Sale of Early Warning Radar to Qatar | India Orders $490M in MBRLDec 14, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Justin Trudeau has said that the F-35 will be considered in an upcoming competition for new fighter jets. The Canadian PM previously backed out of the F-35 program due to costs, and Canada has now bought 18 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets as an interim measure. “It’s an open and transparent competition we’re going to be engaged in and the various aircraft and aircraft producers will have an opportunity to make their best case,” Trudeau told a news conference when asked whether Canada might be more likely to opt for the F-35 if the costs fell.
- A USAF study has found that it will be soon possible for solid-state slab lasers to be demonstrated on an Air Force Special Operations AC-130 gunship. The study found that existing lasers will fit within the aircraft’s size, weight, power and budget limits, and would also be designed so the technology could be upgraded over the years as the service requires higher power levels. Although technologies must achieve a technology readiness level 6 to enter into a program of record, capabilities with a lower TRL are suitable for a near-term demonstration.
Middle East & North Africa
- Israel has received their first two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, making them the only Middle Eastern country to own a fifth-generation fighter. Greeting the arrival were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, currently on his last world tour as part of the Obama Administration. The USAF provided a KC-135 tanker to refuel the new planes.
- US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the Pentagon has agreed to sell a long-range early warning radar to Qatar. Carter said the radar will have a range of 5000 km and will enhance Qatar’s missile defense capabilities, therefore mitigating the threat from Iranian ballistic missiles. It was announced in July 2013 that Qatar had requested a Raytheon AN/FPS-132 Block 5 long-range early warning radar at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion.
- The German Air Force has received their first upgraded A400M Atlas military transport aircraft. According to manufacturer Airbus, the tactical upgrades include improvements in airdrops, paratrooping, and self-defense. Berlin intends to replace their legacy fleet of C-130 airlifters with the updated planes, however delays to the plane’s delivery have resulted in friction between the government and Airbus. The government has also awarded Rheinmetall a $143 million contract to upgrade 90 Fox armored transport vehicles for the country’s armed forces.
- French government officials have signed a deal with aerospace research office Onera to upgrade the ground-based “Graves” space-surveillance system. Worth some $42 million, the modernization contract will run for five years, with a further three years under option. The French air force operates the radar to locate and track satellites and objects in orbit at 400 to 1,000 km above the Earth, allowing the service to track foreign spy satellites gathering visual and signals intelligence on France. It also tracks space debris that could threaten French satellites.
- Despite issues surrounding faulty ammo, the Indian government has ordered 36 homemade Pinaka Mark-1 multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRL) at a cost of $490 million. Four different prime contractors will take part in the deal: state-owned organizations Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), as well as private sector defense companies Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Tata Power SED. Under the contract, BEML will supply a variety of vehicles for the MBRL, while L&T and Tata Power will supply the launcher systems and OFB will supply an unspecified number of rockets.
- South Korea has taken delivery of 60 KEPD 350K missiles from Germany’s TAURUS Systems. The missiles were delivered to K2 air base in the city of Daegu. A certification process will now take place in order to assess the safety and reliability of installing the Taurus missiles on US-manufactured F-15K fighters. South Korea’s defense ministry has agreed to acquire a total of 170 Taurus missiles, and it plans to introduce the remaining 110 in two intervals in 2017.
First F-35s land in Israel: