USS Enterprise Decomissioned After 55 Years | AFATDS Contract Re-Opened to Competition | UAV Competition Attracts Four Israeli RivalsFeb 07, 2017 00:58 UTC
- Last Friday saw the decommissioning of the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier after 55 years of service. Affectionately know as “Big E,” the vessel had been removed from active service in 2012 and has since been docked at its home port in Norfolk, Va., where the military de-fueled the nuclear-powered carrier. Throughout its career, the Enterprise has seen service through some of the most significant historical events of recent history, starting with the the Cuban Missile Crisis up through the response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It was one of the last Navy vessels to depart from the shores of Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War, supporting the final evacuation efforts there.
- A decision to award a $98 million US Army contract to Leidos to provide the new Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), has been reversed. Originally awarded last December, the latest decision will now allow the three losing bids from Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman to be reconsidered. Leidos knocked out long-term provided Raytheon as the provider of AFATDS to the Army, who had been providing the system since 1984. In response to the decision, protests were lodged by both Raytheon and General Dynamics, with the Government Accountability Office ruling that the request for proposals needed to be amended in order to “more accurately describe” what the agency needs.
Middle East & North Africa
- Four Israeli firms have applied to provide a multi-rotor vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle to the nation’s land command. Aeronautics Defense Systems, Aero Sentinel, Rafael, and an Elbit Systems team also involving Flying Production, all have their hat in the ring to provide the requested “Zur” system, with a decision expected to be made by mid-2017. The need for a multi-rotor VTOL system has been identified during recent combat operations, with even small infantry units requiring their own “eye in the sky”.
- The Serbian Air Force is scheduled to receive six MiG-29 fighters from Russia as soon as this May. Once delivered, Russian engineers will also help with overhaul efforts on the fighters alongside four additional fighters already in use with the Serbian Air Force. Meanwhile, Belarus announced intentions to begin orders for new Su-30SM fighters, with expectations to order enough for one squadron. The new 4+ generation plane is super-\maneuverable and features a radar with a phased antenna array, engines with a controlled thrust vector and canard surfaces.
- Tatra Defense Vehicles will provide additional Steyr Pandur II trucks to the Czech Republic, adding to the 107 Pandurs already operated by Prague. The $82 million contract will see the provision of 20 vehicles, six of which will be fitted as command-and-control trucks and another 14 vehicles configured as communications platforms.The Pandur II 8×8 armored vehicle is an updated all-wheel drive version of the Pandur 6×6 armored personnel carrier.
- Taiwan is to move forward with their advanced jet trainer program. Commander Gen. Shen Yi-ming of the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) later today. The $1 billion program will see the development of 66 trainers, with the first factory prototype expected for 2019.
- A commander from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has promised “roaring missiles,” if they feel their enemies are continuing their “destabilizing activity.” The remarks by Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace unit, were made in relation to growing tensions between Tehran and a renewed hostility coming from the Trump Administration in Washington. Despite the heated words, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday he was not considering raising the number of US forces in the Middle East to address Iran’s “misbehavior,” but warned that the world would not ignore Iranian activities.
- China’s state-run media has announced intentions by Beijing to offer their new drone-capable air-to-surface AR-2 missile for foreign export. The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics-developed munition has been recently tested in live-fire exercises in order to verify its capabilities. Capable of being integrated on a variety of platforms such as UAVs and attack helicopters, the missile is also pegged as a cheaper alternative to rival munitions like the US-made AGM-176 Griffin.
- Decommissioning of the USS Enterprise: