Boeing Wins $2.1B for KC-46 Provision | UK’s May Talks TF-X Fighter with Turkey | Israel & US Complete 5th Test Series on David’s SlingJan 30, 2017 00:58 UTC
- US Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work has been tasked by new boss Jim Mattis to do a comparison analysis of the F-35C and F/A-18 Super Hornet. The investigation’s spec tasks Work to do a review “that compares F-35C and F/A-18 E/F operational capabilities and assesses the extent that F/A-18 E/F improvements (an advanced Super Hornet) can be made in order to provide a competitive, cost effective, fighter aircraft alternative.” In his war on costs, the Trump Administration has suggested the development of an advanced Super Hornet in order to get a better deal on defense procurements.
- Boeing has won a $2.1 billion contract for the provision of 15 KC-46 aerial refueling aircraft to the US Air Force. The contract, awarded on Friday, is in addition to the initial $4.2 billion contract awarded by the USAF to develop and test the aircraft, and an earlier $2.8 billion award for 19 planes. So far, the fixed-price contract has incurred cost-over runs of $2.4 billion, including a recent $201 million after-tax charge that Boeing announced on Wednesday.
Middle East & North Africa
- After meeting President Trump on Friday, UK PM Theresa May was in Turkey for trade and defense talks with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Among the discussions was the inking of a deal for the $125 million to help Turkey build its new TF-X fighter jet. BAE Systems will collaborate with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) on the program and it is hoped by London that it will be the first of many defense deals with Ankara. The deal has been criticized by human rights organizations, citing Erdogan’s recent crackdown and alleged human rights abuses.
- Israel and the US have completed a fifth series of tests on the David’s Sling missile defense system. The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) collaboration was tested at the Yanat Sea Range in Israel, with the system’s Stunner interceptors successfully engaging its targets. The David’s Sling project is for defense against large-caliber rockets and short-range ballistic missiles.
- The Serbian government is being gifted eight MiG-29 fighters as well as two Buk air-defense systems from Belarus. While the delivery of the systems are on a no-pay basis, Belgrade will have to pay overhaul and modernization costs for the aging machinery. Bi-lateral talks between both governments are also underway for the purchase of the P and V variants of the S-300 long-range missile defense system, currently owned by Belarus.
- Airbus has signed a $37.5 million one-year lease extension with the German military for its Heron 1 UAV. Used by the German military as a reconnaissance drone in Afghanistan, the Heron 1 has been active in combating Taliban insurgents since 2010, which will now be extended until February next year. Airbus DS Airborne Solutions operates the Heron 1 aircraft system in a consortium with the manufacturer, Israel Aerospace Industries.
- India’s quest for new carrier-borne fighter jets has kicked off, with a Request for proposals (RFP) released for 57 aircraft. The 57-page RFP outlines significant parameters such as air defense, surface strike, reconnaissance and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as the ability to to fly further via buddy refueling. Indigenous offerings have been ruled out with likely contenders to be Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale M and the MiG-29K.
- New Delhi is also looking at boosting air-defense capabilities and is currently soliciting for vendors to supply approximately 200 missiles for their 2K12 self propelled air defense system. India is working closely with Russian industry to extend the range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. Based on Russia’s P-800 Oniks (Yakhont) cruise missile, the BrahMos can be launched via vessels, submarines, aircraft, and on land.
Inside Russia’s Don-2N early warning radar site: