2019 Set by USMC for V-22 VARS IOC | Stavatti Enters USAF’s T-X Trainer Competition with Javelin | US MDA Conducts Successful SM-3Block IIA Test with JapanFeb 09, 2017 00:58 UTC
- The USMC has given March 2019 as the date for declaring initial operational capability for the V-22 Aerial Refuelling System (VARS). Four V-22 Osprey’s will be part of the initial program and will be able to refuel all fixed-wing USMC fighters and the CH-53 helicopter. The V-22 joint program office is looking at the feasibility of adding a chin-mounted gun and crew-served door guns for the Osprey, the latter being of particular interest to the service.
- While some of the industry’s heavyweights having been dropping out of the USAF’s T-X trainer competition, Stavatti have entered the fray with a modified version of their Javelin plane. Initially built as a civilian sportplane, the Javelin has since been configured as a very light fighter and a military jet trainer with more powerful twin-engines and an increased internal fuel capacity, alongside other enhancements. The company began redesigning the Mk-30 platform for military applications in November 2016.
- The chairman of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has urged the Pentagon to expand missile defense capabilities in the wake of threats from North Korea and Iran. Republican Representative Mac Thornberry made the comments Monday, following new US sanctions against Iran after Tehran’s recent ballistic missile tests. Mac Thornberry called not only for the provision of more systems, but also for the expansion and investment in new missile defense technology.
Middle East & North Africa
- Boeing has been awarded $18 million to provide AN/APG-63(V) radars for Saudi Arabia’s F-15SA aircraft. The USAF contract covers three of the radars, and work completion is expected for March 2017. Riyadh recently commissioned the new F-15SA fighter jets in January, which feature updated avionics, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, and ASM-135 missiles.
- Norway’s army is to purchase a mobile version of the Kongsberg NASAMS air defense system operated by their air force. Valued at $115 million, the MoD said the system is being obtained under Project 7628 Kampluftvern for new acquisitions and the reuse of existing equipment and solutions from the Air Force. The new variant will be integrated into armored transport vehicles with fire-control and communication solutions that are in use by the air force.
- Alongside the signing of a memorandum between the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) and National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) for the indigenous advance jet trainer, the NCSIST revealed their in-house AESA radar to the public for the first time. The radar will be used as part of the development for Taiwan’s advanced trainer, and marks a new generation of fighter-related research since the development of the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) in the 1990s.
- Indonesia’s ongoing AgustaWestland AW-101 helicopter saga will be investigated by new air force chief, Staff Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto. According to Hadi, the investigation will then be delivered personally to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. The procurement of the AW-101 helicopter as a VIP transport sparked controversy because it took place after President Jokowi had initially rejected the plans amongst public outcry. Air Force brass then restarted the procurement for use as a military cargo transport.
- The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Japanese Navy have conducted the first successful intercept of the new SM-3 Block IIA interceptor off the west coast of Hawaii. Co-developed by both nations as part of the Aegis BMD system, the missile is designed to deliver a capability to defend against short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in both the ascent and midcourse phases of flight. A second flight test is already being planned.
- US-Japanese first test of the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor: