Dec 02, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Following the completion of afterburner engine runs last week, Boeing has announced that the first flight of the Boeing-Saab T-X trainer will take place before the end of the year. However, several tests remain to be carried out prior to the full flight, including low, medium, and high-speed taxi tests, as well as takoff, climb, and landing. The Boeing-Saab offering is one of the two clean sheet designs being offered to the USAF, the other being Northrop Grumman, as part of the T-X competition. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin has partnered with KAI to offer the T-50A, a version of the Korean company’s T-50 trainer, while Raytheon has joined with Leonardo and CAE on the T-100, which uses Alenia Aermacchi M-346 as the basis.
- Northrop Grumman has announced the completion of two critical design reviews for the Tern UAS that it is designing alongside the Office of Naval Research, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Mid-October saw the NG team complete a critical design review for the vehicle’s General Electric engine, while the latest review covered its vehicle management system. The Tern program has been undertaken in order to develop a new UAS system that can be deployed from maritime platforms for surveillance and strike missions. It is also being designed to fly in vertical and horizontal modes.
- Norwegian UAS maker Prox Dynamics has been acquired by sensor developer FLIR Systems in a cash deal worth $134 million. Once finalized, FLIR will have access to the company’s product line, and will continue to develop new devices to support military and para-military intelligence operations. A specialist in covert surveillance systems, products offered include the pocket-sized Black Hornet aerial sensor, which can be hand-launched by soldiers on the battlefield to collect intelligence and support surveillance operations.
Middle East & North Africa
- The Iraqi government is reportedly set to finalize a deal to buy the HQ-9 long-range surface-to-air missile system from China. Valued at $2.5 billion, Baghdad is expected to finance the acquisition using credit from China, and paid for in installments of $833 million. The deal may also include Type 99 tanks and other Chinese military equipment.
- In response to the current missile testing by the Ukrainian military near Crimea, Russian warships have taken up position off the peninsula in order to improve their air defenses. The two-day exercises, which began yesterday, have angered Moscow, as their forces remain on high alert and fearful that international flights may be delayed. Ukrainian officials have dismissed the fears, saying the testing is being carried out in accordance with international law and does not threaten Crimean air space.
- A consortium led by state-run PGZ will provide six batteries of the PSR-A Pilica system to the Polish Ministry of Defense. Delivery of the anti-aircraft platforms will take place between 2019 and 2022, and will cost Warsaw $180 million. Plans to beef up all forms of air-defense capabilities has $9.5 billion earmarked for middle-range air and anti-missile defense systems, and a further $4.7 million available for short-range air-defense procurements.
- Australia’s government has issued a request for tender to three shortlisted designers for the production of their multibillion dollar Offshore Patrol Vessel program, with officials telling designers Damen, Fassmer and Luerssen that they must focus on local shipbuilding enterprises to support the project. Prospective contracts will cover 12 vessels and are slated to replace Australia’s Armidale-class patrol boats. The project is part of the Australian government’s $89 billion investment in naval ships and submarines over the next 20 years.
- Contracts have been signed between India and the US subsidiary of BAE Systems for the provision of of 145 M777A2 LW155 ultralight howitzers. The $737 million deal will see BAE partner with Indian private sector defense company Mahindra Defence Systems to assemble 120 ultralight howitzers, while the remaining 25 guns will be supplied over the next three years. Meanwhile, neighboring Pakistan’s own self-propelled howitzer competition is shaping up, with South Africa’s Denel and Serbia’s Yugoimport-SDPR offering their T5-52 and NORA B-52 guns respectively.
Overview video of Northrop Grumman’s Tern UAS:
Nov 30, 2016 00:58 UTC
- An undisclosed member of the Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense System program has contracted Raytheon to provide additional Patriot missile capabilities. The $225 million deal comes just 45 days after Poland requested the same product from the US government, and when Raytheon received another contract from the Netherlands to upgrade their own systems. Answers on a postcard please.
- US Senator Bernie Sanders has urged President-elect Donald Trump to leverage defense contracts in order to save jobs at an Indiana air conditioner manufacturer. The factory, owned by United Technologies, is slated to move operations to Mexico, at a loss of 1,400 jobs. As firebrand outsiders vying for the working vote, both men had used the announcement earlier this year to challenge Hillary Clinton as an example of how trade deals hurt US workers. With Trump now the insider, Sanders warned “it is not good enough to save some of these jobs” and said Trump should use as leverage United Technologies’ defense contracts, Export-Import Bank financing, and tax breaks. While Trump does not take office until January 20, he may already be feeling the Bern.
Middle East & North Africa
- Just ten days after the US State Department cleared the sale of 40 warplanes to Kuwait, the Gulf monarchy wants more. Major General Lafi al-Azmi, chief of the military’s Armament and Procurement Authority, said that Kuwait plans to purchase 28 more F-18 Super Hornets as well as return a number of outdated F-18s in their inventory as part of the purchase deal. Details of the sale will only be revealed once it is officially signed.
- The UN Security Council will vote this week on whether to ban arms sales to South Sudan. A US proposed resolution, the move comes after a summer of ethnic violence due to rivalries between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer, which has led to claims of genocide. The rivalries had previously led to civil war in 2013 but a tentative peace agreement was signed in 2015.
- From now on Heckler & Koch wares will be for NATO members and friends only, according to reports. Difficulty in obtaining government approval for exports is being cited as the main reason, and from now on the company will “only sell to countries that are democratic and free from corruption and that are members of NATO or NATO members’ partners.” The new strategy would rule out deals with Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, and India. Not even NATO members are safe, with Turkey – in the middle of a military, political and civil purge since a failed coup during the summer – also in the firing line for being freezed out.
- As part of governmental approval to increase defense spending, Norway plans to drop some $1.15 billion on five P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. With Norway sharing a long maritime border with Russia, the acquisition comes as Nordic and Baltic states ramp up modernization and capability efforts in order to dissuade Moscow from trying to pull another “Crimea” in the Baltics. Delivery of the planes will take place between 2021 and 2022 and will replace the current fleet of six P-3 Orion and three DA-20 Jet Falcon aircraft.
- Exercises by the Italian Navy have seen the successful first launch of the Aster 30 missile. A requirement for the missile’s qualification program, the test was part of the Italian Surface-To-Air Extended Self Defense system program. Capable of hitting targets over 62 miles away from their launch sites, the new system will greatly enhance defensive capabilities of naval vessels.
- With the US looking to replace Russian-made Afghan helicopters and India offering to fix them, it’s quite natural to be confused about what is actually going on with Afghan military procurement. The issue is muddied further with US regime change just around the corner, and presidents who have rather different foreign policy objectives. At present the US DoD has requested additional funding to refurbish and update 53 older-model US military UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for the Afghans, enough to replace the current fleet of Russian-designed Mi-17 helicopters. But with a Donald Trump presidency and potentially warmer relations with Russia, will the hundreds of millions of dollar price tag for refurb, transfer and retraining ever come about?
Third flight of Japan’s X-2 stealth demonstrator:
Nov 29, 2016 00:58 UTC
- The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office has been awarded a $267.2 million US Navy contract modification for additional logistics support for MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. Under the deal, both the USMC MV-22 and the USAF Special Operations Command CV-22 variant will be covered. The contract runs until November 2018.
Middle East & North Africa
- 17 more F-35As will be making their way to Israel, bringing the total ordered by the government to 50. Speaking on the new order, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the decision by the cabinet on November 27 was unanimous. The additional fighter order comes just two weeks before the first two F-35As destined for Israel fly from the US.
- The Indonesian state-owned firm PT Dirgantara Indonesia, will help in maintenance work for Saudi Arabian military aircraft. While the type of aircraft has remained classified, the company will work on both helicopters and airplanes. PTDI has previously conducted maintenance work on Colombian and Panamanian aircraft.
- Antonov has announced the successful assembly of their first An-132 prototype aircraft ahead of testing in December. The Ukrainian light multi-mission transport plane, a successor to the An-32, was built with zero technology and subsystems input from Russia, following the souring in relations over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Saudi Arabia will be the plane’s first export customer, with plans to purchase six An-132s, four of which would be configured for search-and-rescue operations and two for electronic warfare (EW) operations.
- The first flight of the Gripen E will have to wait until 2017 as manufacturer Saab self-imposes a delay of at least six months. It was initially expected that the latest Gripen model would fly before the end of the year, however Saab has chosen to fully qualify its distributed integrated modular avionics (DIMA) design to commercial standards prior to the first flight. Deliveries of orders to the Swedish and Brazilian air forces, slated for 2019, are not expected.
- India is positioning itself to supply Afghanistan with long-term spares and support for grounded Russian-made helicopters and aircraft operated by the Afghan Armed Forces. A team from the Indian Air Force, sent to Afghanistan to assess requirements, will now report back what kind of parts can be sourced from India’s inventory and others that need to be procured from Russia. The news comes shortly after it was reported that US DoD officials had asked Congress to cease buying Russian MI117 helicopters for Afghan forces and instead to buy American helicopters.
- Reports that Iran is eyeing a procurement of Su-30 fighters has been denied by Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan. Several agencies had originally quoted the minister saying “the purchase of this fighter is on the agenda of the Defense Ministry” when asked about the Sukhoi aircraft, but some later said the ministry had called the reports “incorrect.” Whether the intentions are real or not, any deal between Tehran and Moscow for such fighters would be subject to UN Security Council approval, potentially further straining relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US.
- A directional, high-powered electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generator has been developed by South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD), which will allow it to shoot down North Korean UAVs. The ADD presented its progress on the weapon during a conference hosted by the Korea Institute of Military Science and Technology. North Korean UAVs have emerged as new threats over the recent years. Most recently, South Korean forces detected but failed to down wanton North Korean UAVs that crossed the military demarcation line (MDL) five times in August.
Delayed gratification. With its first flight delayed, a look at the Gripen E’s unveiling this summer:
Nov 28, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Canada will purchase 18 Super Hornets from Boeing as an interim solution to its CF-18 fleet replacement. Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan made the announcement adding that Ottawa will also launch a brand new competition for a multi-role fighter. On the interim procurement, Sajjan said the Super Hornets would allow Canada to maintain NATO operational standards.
Middle East & North Africa
- The governments of Pakistan and Turkey have signed an agreement to supply 52 Super Mushshak basic trainers for the Turkish military. Signatories on the deal were Air Marshal Arshad Malik, Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), and Mustafa Seker, Deputy Undersecretary Turkish Ministry of Defense Industry. Delivery is expected by 2019 and comes with a $50 million price tag.
- Lockheed Martin and Boeing are expected to be the main competitors in an upcoming program to replace Israeli Air Force Sikorsky CH-53 Yasur helicopters. Israeli pilots are expected to test LM’s latest CH-53K and Boeing’s CH-47 before a winner is chosen in 2018. While figures on the deal have yet to be mentioned publicly, the IAF intends to acquire 20-25 helicopters.
- Firing trials have commenced of the Roketsan UMTAS anti-tank missile onboard Turkish T-129 attack helicopters. Both the laser-guided and imaging infrared seeker versions of the indigenous munition have been tested. 16 of the equipped helicopters are currently in service, with Ankara wanting to up this to 35 by the end of 2017.
- Released documents have revealed that Germany plans to spend as much as 1 billion euros on their participation in the European multinational MRTT fleet. The program will see a pool of A330 MRTT tankers stationed in Holland for sharing between partners. So far, Netherlands and Luxembourg have signed up while Norway and Belgium are considering the offer too. For Germany, membership fees to join the program start at 2.5 million euros.
- Russia’s Barguzin rail-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) complex has successfully carried out their first pop-up test. Each complex can carry up to six RS-24 ICBMs. Full flight development tests will now take place ahead of deployment in 2018. The new mobile complexes mark a major upgrade on Soviet-era rail-based strategic missile predecessors.
- Following in the footsteps of neighboring South Korea, Japan is considering the potential deployment of the THAAD system as they look to better protect themselves from North Korean nuclear threats. While no concrete plans are yet in place to deploy THAAD, military officials are looking at the option of beefing up defense capabilities and are “considering what can be done.” At present, Japan’s missile defense system involves on ship-based SM-3 interceptors to target missiles in space and land-based PAC-3 batteries to intercept rockets flying closer to the ground. While this had been deemed sufficient measures, Pyongyang’s increased ballistic missile testings have moved the procurement of a more long-range system onto the agenda.
- The Indian Air Force has given an initial operational clearance (IOC) to the latest Jaguar DARIN-III upgrade program. Upgraded by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the fighter was fitted with autopilots, next generation avionics and lethal armaments, and will keep the fleet flying until 2030. The Indian Navy has also been given the go ahead by the government to buy 12 upgraded Do-228 maritime patrol aircraft from HAL.
Swedish Coastal Artillery reactivating its RBS-15 coastal anti-ship missile system.:
Nov 24, 2016 00:08 UTC
It’s that time of year again. For those of you celebrating American Thanksgiving: if you’re deep-frying your turkey (otherwise known as “doing it right”), be safe. Hundreds of years ago, boiling oil was a weapon we would have covered. Treat it accordingly. Common tips include making 100% sure that adding the turkey to the oil will not cause an overflow or near-overflow. The turkey has displacement, and on top of that, oil will boil up a bit when the moisture of the turkey skin hits it. So test displacement first to figure out the fill line, then make sure the bird is fully thawed, and pat that bird dry inside and out. Fire Marshals also advise people to set up the fryer away from one’s house, on a flat, non-wooden surface, and have oil-rated fire extinguishers handy as you monitor the frying. Keep your home safe, and don’t forget to take precautions for yourself and your family, too.
Yummly offers some options for your leftovers, although around our house, the favorite use for leftovers is turkey tetrazzini!
DID offers thanks to all of our readers, and to all American and allied soldiers in uniform; we won’t be publishing again until Monday.
Nov 23, 2016 00:58 UTC
- The F-35B has reached another program milestone following the completion of weapons load testing during trials on board the USS America assault ship. During the trials, pilots intentionally conducted flight tests under unfavorable conditions to gauge the fighter’s limitations; international partners also participated. The tests were part of F-35 program lead contractor Lockheed Martin’s third developmental test phase for the fighter, which aimed to assess the aircraft’s combat capabilities in a maritime environment. In comparison to its A counterpart, the F-35B is designed to include a short takeoff and vertical landing capability to allow for operation on naval vessels.
- Repairs on the last of 13 F-35A fighters affected by faulty insulation issues have been completed. In September, 57 aircraft suffered the coolant line glitch, 15 of which were already fielded, while the others were still in production. Both the company and the USAF maintain that the faulty parts were the result of a supply chain issue rather than a design flaw.
Middle East & North Africa
- A deal negotiated between Germany and Israel for the provision of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) submarines is garnering criticism for its unusual secrecy from Israeli naval and military officials. When compared to the three year procurement negotiations needed for the F-35, the submarines were concluded within one. While the F-35 involved much coordination and contact between US government and industry representatives, the IDF branches and Israeli government, this recent deal has failed to involve the naval branches and is being spearheaded solely by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A potential conflict of interest raised by some media outlets highlighted that Netanyahu and the Israeli agent for TKMS share the same attorney, and that attorney’s law partner is the same man who Netanyahu entrusts to negotiate the most sensitive affairs of state.
- Switzerland’s Defense Ministry plans to ask parliament next year for funding to extend the life expectancy of their F/A-18 Super Hornets. $486 million will be requested for the modernization. The Swiss Air Force is also looking to keep a number of their aging F-5 Tiger aircraft, until a new replacement fighter is selected in 2022 and inducted into service in 2025. Saab’s Gripen, the Eurofighter and Dassault’s Rafale are believed to be in the running and follow the 2014 rejection by Swiss voters to acquire 22 JAS-39 Gripen fighters.
- Inspired by the shell of the ironclad beetle, BAE Systems will use a bendable titanium alloy in their future military vehicles. Known as “memory metal alloy,” the flexible material will allow the suspension to “bounce back” into shape after impact, allowing operators to continue their mission with the vehicle. The company claims that their latest project marks the first time it will be used to build an entire suspension system.
- Russian industry is currently developing a new anti-tank missile set to replace the Khrizantema-S and Shturm-SM currently in service. The new tank-killing munition will come with a fire-and-forget targeting capability, capable of destroying moving and stationary air and ground targets, including main battle tanks, small surface ships, low-flying air targets and fortifications.
- Officials from South Korea have continued their negotiations in Washington over technologies needed for their KF-X fighter program. A request for AESA radar, infrared search and track, electro-optical target tracking devices, and jammer technology transfers was denied by the Pentagon last year, resulting in Seoul having to pursue the technologies themselves. Speaking on the discussions, Korean Minister for the Defense Acquisition and Procurement Administration (DAPA), Myoung-jin Chang, said “there are additional technologies that we are awaiting approval from the US government and we are pushing for these to be approved and we look forward to your continued support.”
- The final six of new training helicopters ordered by Australia have been cleared by lead-contractor Boeing. In 2014, Canberra selected a joint team involving Boeing, Thales and Airbus to provide them with the airframes, flight simulators and synthetic training devices, as well as instruction for army and navy pilots under their Helicopter Aircrew Training System program. The full compliment of 15 helicopters are Airbus’ H135 model, manufactured to the older T2+ standard.
Indian fighters land on the newly opened Agra-Lucknow expressway:
Nov 22, 2016 00:58 UTC
- Arms trafficker Viktor Bout will continue serving his 25-year stint in federal prison following the denial of a retrial by the US Circuit Court of Appeals. Convicted of conspiring to kill US soldiers by agreeing to sell arms to DEA informants posing as members of the FARC terrorist group, Bout maintained that he could not have been part of such a conspiracy as his business associate, Andrew Smulian, was already an informant for the US agency. The judge stated that the evidence suggested merely that the agency “saw Smulian as a way to get to Bout.”
- The Dutch Damen Shipyards Group is to provide two modernized Stan Patrol 4207 vessels to the Jamaican Defense Forces as part of the JDF’s renewal of its patrol boat fleet. Three decommissioned Damen-built Count-class offshore patrol vessels previously used by the JDF are being traded in as part of the deal. Delivery of the new boats is expected by the end of the year.
Middle East & North Africa
- Rheinmetall has secured a $10.6 million contract to modernize and expand a live combat training facility for a country in the region. The deal will see the company supply up-to-date hardware and software components for the customer’s Mobile Combat Training Center, which includes new laser engagement simulator to support combat vehicle and weapon systems training. A modernized Legatus combat simulation training system will also be provided to the customer and is already in use by the German military.
- Turkey’s quest for an air-defense system continued with Defence Minister Fikri Isik saying on Friday that they were in talks with Russia over purchasing the S-400. Other countries are also being contacted, but Isik maintained that the Russian stance on the issue has been positive. Ankara is also looking to develop its own indigenous system, but a foreign procurement would be ready for operational use in a much shorter time period.
- The US State Department has cleared the sale of 26 Predator B UAVs to the UK. Valued at $1 billion, the deal also includes 12 Advanced Ground Control Stations, 12 Multi-spectral Targeting Systems, 25 AN/APY-8 Lynx IIe Block 20A Synthetic Aperture Radars, and other communication and identification devices, as well as equipment spares. Having already operated the MQ-9 Reaper, it is expected that British forces will have no problems making the transition.
- Officials from the French and British governments have come to an agreement on further collaborative missile defense development. Franco-British missile manufacturer MBDA has been selected to support the project, which includes the establishment of new development centers in the company’s UK sites Stevenage and Bolton. The missile cooperation agreement comes shortly after officials announced the launch of the next phase of the $145 million joint Franco-British Maritime Mine Counter Measures program, which aims to improve naval defense technology.
- The Afghan military will be flying more American wares following the decision by the Pentagon to swap out Russian-made Mi-17s for the Sikorsky Black Hawk. Citing increased problems in maintaining the Mi-17 fleet due to sanctions caused by “Russian aggression,” a number of US lawmakers have been pushing for the switch. It’s believed that Washington will modernize 53 UH-60As by acquiring them from the Army before transferring to the Afghans.
- South Korea has been cleared to continue with their purchase of Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure systems (LAIRCM). Developed by Northrop Grumman, the pods are designed to protect large aircraft from man-portable missiles. The $141 million sale will see four LAIRCM systems procured for Korean A-330 multirole tanker aircraft. South Korean F-16s are also slated for upgrade, following the awarding of a $1.2 billion contract by the Pentagon to Lockheed Martin.
Combat debut of the Tu-95MSM strategic bomber: