Gen Atomics Contracted for $359M in MQ-1 & MQ-9 Support | US State Dept Clears FMS of JDAM Tail Kits to Kuwait | India’s Nirbhay Cruise Missile Program in TroubleDec 28, 2016 00:58 UTC
- General Atomics has been contracted to perform MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper support services for the USAF. Under the $359 million contract, the company will be tasked with conducting logistics support, program and configuration management, depot repair, and additional services, with work to be completed in December, 2017. Both the Predator and its successor, the Reaper, have been used by the US and UK for intelligence gathering missions as well as targeted strike operations as part of counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East.
- AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopters operated by the US Navy will receive Target Sight Systems provided by Lockheed Martin. Valued at $150 million, the deal also includes production orders for the government of Pakistan under the foreign military sales program. Options included in the contract could raise the value to $284 million. The Target Sight System is a large-aperture mid-wave forward-looking infrared sensor designed to identify and designate targets at maximum weapon range, increasing the Cobra operator’s survivability and lethality.
Middle East & North Africa
- Kuwait has been cleared by the US State Department for the purchase of 750 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Tail Kits. The $37 million deal is divided into three equal number purchases for the GBU-31, GBU-32 and GBU-38 munitions. JDAM tail kits contain a global positioning system and an inertial navigational system to improve accuracy, and are an integral part of the guidance kit that converts unguided bombs into precision-guided weapons.
- Rival branches of the Israeli military are at odds with who gets to be equipped with long-range surface-to-surface missiles that can reach targets deep inside Lebanon. While the Army wants its Artillery Corps equipped with either IMI Systems’ Extra rocket and Israel Aerospace Industries’ LORA surface-to-surface missile, the Air Force believes its warplanes are more suited for the job. At present, the Artillery Corps uses the Romach artillery rocket system which only has a range of 35km. The new long range missiles would allow for the military to strike targets 150km away.
- The Croatian government is looking to purchase Western-made fighter jets, with a decision to be made by the end of 2017. It is also likely that Zagreb will procure a number of Black Hawk helicopters for transport missions. Speaking on the planned acquisitions, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic stated that the upcoming deals were not indicators of a regional arms race with neighboring Serbia, who recently confirmed the purchase of MiG-29 fighters from Russia.
- Midlife upgrades of Finnish F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters have been finished by local firm Patria. Beginning in 2012, the MLU 2 modernization program saw 62 Super Hornets receive new hardware and system installations, with the last model returned to service earlier this month. Initial upgrades under the MLU I program were conducted between 2006 and 2010.
- Following its fourth failed test, India’s indigenous Nirbhay cruise missile program is now under review and could face the axe. Four years of development has seen the program face a plethora of problems with scientists still struggling to fix the problems in the flight control software and navigation system, while some others point fingers at the subsonic missile’s hardware. The blame game is in part due to the fact that both are developed separately by two different organizations, the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), who has developed the software, and the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), who has made some of the hardware.
- Indonesia is looking into the possible acquisition of the SIDAM 25 self-propelled howitzer. Developed by Italy during the 1980s, the SIDAM 25 uses the M113 chassis and is equipped with four 25 mm Oerlikon KBA cannons. If the deal goes ahead, Jakarta will become the first export customer of the weapon.
Azerbaijan’s live-fire test of its new land-based Barak-8 air defense system: