USAF to Host Light Attack Experiment Aircraft | France Selects Airbus’ H160 as Light Rotorcraft Replacement | RAAF’s KC-30A to Get Air-to-air RefuelingMar 07, 2017 00:47 UTC
- This summer will see the USAF host a light attack aircraft experiment by inviting industry to demonstrate off-the-shelf models at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The demonstration is being seen as the first active steps by the service toward introducing a low-cost light fighter after a narrowing of scope for the platform; if successful, it could be followed by a second demonstration in the Middle East. The experiment is being led by USAF chief Gen David Goldfein and acting USAF secretary Lisa Disbrow, both of whom made a push for the revitalisation of the OA-X project at last week’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.
Middle East & North Africa
- Ukraine and Pakistan have recently begun implementing an agreement for collaboration and support in armor programs. Ukrainian media reported that Ukrainian industry will supply 88 tank sights to Pakistan as well as support Heavy Industries Taxila in overhauling the Pakistan Army’s T-80UD main battle tanks (MBT). This will start with a pilot program covering five T-80UDs. A November 2016 memorandum-of-understanding valued at $600 million called for the supply of 200 diesel engines for al-Khalid 1 MBTs and technical support for the maintenance and modernization of other Pakistan Army tanks and armoured vehicles.
- Kongsberg will deliver updated Protector remote weapon systems to the government of Switzerland in a deal worth $15 million. A Protector customer since 2007, Switzerland will have the new systems integrated on various mounted and armored platforms and can accommodate light and medium-caliber weapons. Kongsberg has sold over 17,000 systems to 17 nations including Australia, Canada, France, India, the UK, and the US.
- France has selected the developmental H160 as the basis for their light rotorcraft replacement program. The award, a major coup for Airbus, will see the company provide between 160 and 190 aircraft to all three of France’s fighting branches with deliveries expected to begin in 2024. Approximately 420 helicopters will be replaced by the H160 including the French navy’s Alouette IIIs, SA 365 Dauphin and AS565 Panther, the French Air Force’s AS555 Fennec and SA330 Pumas; and the French army Pumas, SA341/SA342 Gazelles and Fennec.
- North Korea continued its missile testing on Monday, firing four ballistic missiles, three of which flew approximately 1,000 km into the East Sea, within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. While South Korean military officials doubt that the missiles were intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US, the tests received the usual condemnation from Seoul, Tokyo, Washington, and acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn said that his country would continue with the swift deployment of the THAAD missile defense system despite condemnations from China. It has been reported that US officials have discussed reintroducing nuclear weapons in South Korea as a warning to Pyongyang.
- Airbus and the Royal Australian Air Force have agreed to develop an automatic air-to-air refueling capability for the latter’s KC-30A tanker. The two-year project will see the RAAF’s five tankers being used for the engineering program, and is one of four strategies in Airbus DS’s program for a smarter multirole tanker designed to increase the capability of the aircraft without major modifications. Hardware changes as part of the upgrade will include the addition of a vertically mounted camera under the aft fuselage of the KC-30A to assist in triangulation and enhance depth perception of the computer-controlled system.
- Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has selected Triumph Group to provide Airframe Mounted Accessory Drives for the KF-X fighter project. Triumph will support the project by designing and producing the AMADs, which will allow the aircraft to receive and distribute engine power to generators, pumps and other systems. The award follows January’s selection by KAI of the US-based Texstars for the provision of canopy and windshield transparencies for the aircraft, as well as February’s opening of a KF-X joint program office in order to facilitate program cooperation with Indonesia.
- Vietnam is in talks over the potential purchase of an advanced version of the Israel Military Industries (IMI) Delilah standoff-range air-to-surface missile. The purchase was discussed between Vietnamese president Tran Dai Quang and IMI chairman Yitzhak Aharonovitch during recent meetings in Hanoi, as Israeli defense cooperation with Vietnam grows. The warhead would most likely be integrated on Vietnam’s fleet of 36 Sukhoi Su-22 strike aircraft and 40 Su-27/30-series fighters.
- US to deploy nukes in South Korea?: