US State Dept Signs Off on $1.7B FMS to Kuwait | CAR Reports Islamic State Established Robust Supply Chain | Germany Seeks Further Penalties on Airbus DelaysDec 15, 2016 00:58 UTC
- January will see Boeing move the HQ of their defense unit from St Louis to Washington, DC. A company spokesperson said of the move, that “it is driven by our commitment to improve our ability to engage with customers and decision-makers in Washington,” and had been on the cards for some time. The announcement also coincides with a recent push by President-elect Donald Trump to get defense contractors, such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to cut costs, but this has been dismissed as a reason for the change of office.
- Communication data links on all three variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter have been tested by the USAF. The pilots focused on the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), a direct communications link that allows operators to transmit secure tactical information, and is beneficial for interoperability between the F-35 and the 4th generation planes it is meant to replace, such as F-16s and F/A-18s. MADL also allows for F-35s to share information on air and ground threats in order to more effectively target and engage them.
Middle East & North Africa
- Accusations of war crimes and rising civilian casualties in Yemen has lead the Pentagon to limit military support to Saudi Arabian-led forces fighting in the country. Washington will also revamp future training of the kingdom’s air force to focus on improving Saudi targeting practices, a persistent source of concern for the Obama Administration. Riyadh will lose out on foreign military sales cases for air-dropped munitions and precision-guided munitions.
- The US State Department signed off on a $1.7 billion foreign military sale with Kuwait for the recapitalization of 218 of the kingdom’s M1A2 tanks. Work included in the deal involves the supply of 240 M2A1 machine guns; 480 7.62 M240 machine guns; 240 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS radios; 1,085 night vision goggles; technical support; and training services. A number of defense contractors will be included in the program, with General Dynamics, Raytheon, Meggitt, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell, all involved.
- Visits to former Islamic State facilities by the Conflict Armament Research (CAR) group, has resulted in a report on the state of the self-described caliphate’s arms production capabilities. Although using a range of non-standard materials and chemical explosive precursors, the jihadists have been able to establish a “robust supply chain” of raw materials from Turkey, and the technical precision of its work meant that it could not be described as “improvised” weapons production. The six facilities were located in eastern Mosul and were visited last month following the area’s reclamation by Iraqi special forces.
- Germany will still seek to give further penalties to Airbus over the severe delays experienced to the delivery of A400M Atlas transport aircraft. A Defense Ministry report to parliament stated that the European multinational A400M program is years behind schedule, with Germany’s share of the costs having risen to 9.6 billion euros ($10.2 billion) from an initial estimate of 8.1 billion euros. Initial aims of the program would have seen Germany receive 11 A400Ms in 2016, for a total of 17. Instead, it will have received just seven by the end of the year.
- Saab will provide RBS 70 simulators to the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Lithuania, having imported the portable air defense system since 2004, will see the inclusion of the simulators as a significant improvement to their training capability, allowing for soldiers to practice their deployment and engagement of targets in an exact “virtual” replication of the real world environment that they operate in. Under the contract, Saab will work with the Lithuania-based Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology to integrated customized 3D maps into the simulators. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2018.
- Delivery of the first of five leased TC-90 aircraft from Japan to the Philippines will take place in March, 2017. In addition, it was announced that equipment previously stripped from the aircraft by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will be replaced with new avionics before delivery. Manilla plans to use the TC-90s for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, rescue operations and maritime security patrols.
It’s been 10 years since the F-35’s maiden flight. Testimony from Lockheed Martin test pilot Jon Beesley: