NG Stays Coy on USAF T-X Trainer Competition | Russian Mil Selects MiG-35 For Multi-purpose Fighter | Rafael Permitted to Discuss David’s Sling with PolandJan 31, 2017 00:58 UTC
- Northrop Grumman has remained coy on their participation in the USAF T-X trainer competition, with CEO Wes Bush remaining non-committal to the program despite having designed and developed a prototype. Bush’s tone shocked some analysts and has led some to speculate that the company would rather lose out on the $16 billion competition than have a price war eat away at its bottom line. Northrop recently won the development contract for the USAF’s next long-range bomber, the B-21 Raider, a greater priority.
- In other T-X news, Raytheon’s withdrawal from collaboration with Leonardo boiled down to pricing disagreements. The team was set to offer a variant of the Italian firm’s M-346 trainer, however Raytheon wanted to drop the cost of the trainer by a third. Disagreements within the camp initially surfaced last October in a row over control of the program, but the final straw seems to have come over the ultimate cost of the procurement.
- A US Navy contract has tasked Charles Stark Draper Laboratory with Trident D5 MK 6 guidance system production. Valued at $53 million, work carried out under the deal will include the performance of several services for the submarine-launched ballistic missile including failure verification, testing, repairs, recertification of inertial measurement units electronic assemblies, and electronic modules. The Trident II D5 program will replace the current Polaris and Poseidon systems currently used by the US and UK armed forces.
Middle East & North Africa
- In what has been a rather hectic week for the White House (and those reporting on it), US Senator John McCain has spoken out against President Trump’s recent travel ban. The measure, according to McCain, will prevent Iraqi F-16 pilots from training with Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing. McCain stated that he has expressed his concerns with director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David Petraeus, saying, “I talked with Gen. Petraeus last night, he is very concerned about the special visas for those interpreters whose lives are literally in danger as we speak.”
- The MiG-35 has been selected by the Russian military to act as their new light multi-purpose fighter. Flight tests on the 4++ generation jet commenced last Thursday and it is expected that serial production of the fighter will commence in 2019. Developed on the basis of the serial-produced MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 aircraft, the MiG-35 will have eight weapons bay points (up from six), and the potential for the integration of new weapon technologies such as lasers.
- Israel and the US government have granted Israeli manufacturer Rafael permission to discuss the David’s Sling air-defense system with Poland as part of a wider export push for co-developed interceptor systems. The announcement comes as the anti-ballistic system was recently cleared during a fifth round of trials. Tel Aviv has been developing multi-tiered missile defense system with US and local industry for some years now, with their Iron Dome, Arrow and David’s Sling systems all being offered to foreign customers.
- North Korea has expressed concern over “mad-cap drills” conducted by US and South Korean marines during recent military drills. Pictures of shirtless marines on the ski slopes of Pyeongchang, site of next year’s Winter Olympics, seemingly worried and/or confused Pyongyang, where up to over 300 marines from the USMC and RoKMC practiced hand-to-hand combat drills. The annual drills will run between Jan. 15 and Feb. 3.
- Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has completed their first swap out of foreign-made equipment on their Hawk MK132 advanced trainer aircraft. Designated as Hawk-i, the jet had imported mission computer and data transfer units upgraded with Indian-made components and includes additional capabilities such as digital map generation. Other additions include a secured voice communication and data link capability by integration of Softnet Radio.
South Korea completes deployment of upgraded AH-64E helicopters: