KC-46A May Not Meet Delivery Schedule | Navy Greenlights Advanced Arresting Gear Development | Germany Pushes for Short Range Missile Defense SystemJan 26, 2017 00:58 UTC
- It seems likely that the KC-46A aerial tanker will not meet its aggressive delivery schedule, with manufacturer Boeing stalling deliveries to the USAF until late 2017. Boeing had already moved its delivery schedule from March to August. The revelations were found in an annual report by the DoD’s Director of Operational Test & Evaluation, which stated “execution of the current schedule assumes historically unrealistic test aircraft fly and re-fly rates.”
- Developments on the new Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) have been given the thumbs up from the US Navy and will be installed on board the next USS John F. Kennedy. Designed to stop carrier-borne aircraft, the decision was made following a thorough review by an AAG Resource Requirements Review Board (R3B) last November. The 350th trap of an F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter was completed in December and the AAG team continues multisite test operations with the next type/model/series and the E-2/C-2 platform.
- Raytheon has been selected to provide SM-6 missiles and spares, to be deployed on AEGIS-equipped cruisers and destroyers. Valued at $235 million, the award comes following several testing and milestone events for the weapon that verified the weapon’s capability to intercept incoming medium-range ballistic missile attacks. This contract represents funding for the fourth year of full-rate production for the multi-mission missile and deliveries are expected to begin in 2018.
- Lockheed Martin has announced that it is close to signing a deal with the F-35 Joint Program Office on the next batch of the Joint Strike Fighter. The announcement was made by CEO Marilyn Hewson to investors on Tuesday, where the company also disclosed that it beat revenue estimates for fourth-quarter 2016/17. Hewson added that the defense giant plans to “drive affordability” in 2017, a reference to ongoing discussions between President Trump and the defense industry to get a “better deal” on government contracts.
Middle East & North Africa
- A rift between the Austrian and Turkish governments has resulted in the scrapping of a collaboration deal on the Altay Main Battle Tank. AVL List, an Austrian engine firm, had previously signed a deal with Turkish counterpart TUMOSAN in 2015 to provide technical support for the engine that the Turkish company had been commissioned to develop for the Altay. However, Ankara insisted that it should finally have the intellectual property rights and export licenses for each part of the engine, something Vienna refused. Matters were made worse following criticisms from the Austrian government (and many others in Europe), in regards to Turkey’s democratic values, following the purge of some 100,000 government employees as a result of the government’s dragnet of conspirators and sympathizers behind last summer’s failed coup. The deal was effectively killed last November, when the Austrian Parliament decided to impose an arms embargo on Turkey. It remains unknown if the decision will affect the time schedule for the Altay’s production.
- Germany is pushing ahead with a plan to procure a new short-range missile defense system, with a decision on the plan due to be made soon. Contenders for the program include the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) and a surface-launch variant of the IRIS-T missile made by German manufacturer Diehl Defense. Berlin’s new program is a result of efforts by NATO members to increase defense spending amid pressure from US President Donald Trump for NATO allies to up their contributions to the alliance. Almost $500 million has been earmarked for the initial stages of the sale, but could see extras, such as lasers and radars, added at a later date.
- Pakistani authorities have announced the successful first test of their second nuclear-capable Ababeel ballistic missile in a month. The missile has a maximum range of 1,367 miles, and is capable of carrying multiple warheads using the Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle technology. Pakistan’s latest demonstration follows that of their Babur-III launch on January 9, and a number of test-firings conducted by neighboring India, which have contributed to escalating tensions between the historically hostile nations.
- The competition to replace Indonesia’s aging fleet of F-5E Tiger fighters is still open, according to the country’s new Air Force head. Contenders for selection include the Russian Sukhoi Su-35, the US F-16 Block 60 Viper, and Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen, with the eventual winner expected to supply 16 fighters in a deal costing in the region of $1.5 billion. All 16 of Indonesia’s F-5E/F fighter jets have been retired since late 2005, and under reserve for future use.
Pakistan claims successful Ababeel ballistic missile test: