Leonardo’s T-100 Coming Soon to US | UAE to Buy $661M in 8×8 IFVs from Al Jasoor | Bulgaria Flush with MiG-29 Replacement BiddersMar 15, 2017 00:55 UTC
- Despite losing Raytheon as a US-based partner in the USAF’s T-X trainer competition, Leonardo is still forging ahead with plans to establish final assembly for the M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer derivative — the T-100 — in the US. The location of the final assembly point is expected to be announced soon; however, no shortlists of potential sites for the plant have yet been offered by the firm. Prior to exiting from the project, Raytheon had chosen Meridian, Mississippi, as a final assembly location. Despite a US partner, Leonardo is confident of the off-the-shelf model’s low cost against its competitor’s clean sheet designs, and the track record the M-346 has had in already being used to train Israeli pilots for fifth-generation aircraft.
- Lockheed Martin has announced that they have upgraded the Airborne Multi-INT Lab (AML) to speed up the mission system’s ability to turn sensor data into intelligence for customers. The modified Gulfstream III aircraft is used to test various onboard sensors for military and non-military purposes and is fitted to enable in-air experimentation for products with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications. Upgrades added by Lockheed Martin include an autonomous sensor control mode that can coordinate operations between the plane and onboard sensors which will accelerate the aircraft’s ability to produce actionable intelligence from experimental data.
Middle East & North Africa
- The UAE is to buy hundreds of 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles in a deal worth $661 million. Providing the vehicles is Al Jasoor, a joint venture by local firm Tawazun and the Turkish firm Otokar’s subsidiary, Otokar Land Systems UAE. Otokar said the vehicles, developed by Al Jasoor, will be built at existing facilities of Tawazun Industrial Park in Abu Dhabi under a special arrangement. The vehicle has already completed an array of successful extensive all-terrain tests in the UAE.
- Bulgaria’s Defense Ministry has received three bids from Italy, Sweden and Portugal for the country’s MiG-29 replacement competition. Sweden is offering Sofia its Gripen package; Italy second-hand Eurofighters; while Portugal wants to sell its F-16s second-hand alongside a logistics package and weaponry from the US. $820 million has been earmarked by the government for the acquisition of eight new aircraft in order to improve compliance with NATO standards while reducing reliance on Russian-made aircraft. Formal negotiations with the preferred bidder could start as early as next month.
- Following Boeing’s accusations that Denmark unfairly chose Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter over the former’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Danish Office of Attorney General is expected to unveil a formal legal defense position as early as next month. A lawsuit was filed by Boeing after the company complained of the lack of access to selection process documents pertaining to Denmark’s next-generation fighter competition. So far, Denmark’s MoD has only released a small number of documents to Boeing despite regular formal requests for greater access that were lodged by the company over the last six months.
- South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo reports that North Korea has tested technology necessary to give its Scud-ER ballistic missiles an anti-ship capability. Pyongyang threatens “merciless” attacks if an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson, which is joining South Korean forces for exercises, infringes on its sovereignty or dignity. Sources say Pyongyang probably inherited the know-how from Iran which has turned its Fateh missile into an anti-ship weapon and officials in Seoul claim that tests were carried out last September and February.
- Iran has commenced mass-producing their domestically built main battle tank. Said to be inspired by Russia’s latest T-90MS, Tehran has boasted of the platform’s capabilities that can rival those used by the West. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the start of production, Iran’s Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said the tank, known as the Karrar, “can compete with the most advanced tanks in the world in the three main areas of power, precision and mobility, as well as maintenance and durability in the battleground.” The tank possesses advanced features like an electro-optical fire control system, a laser rangefinder, and a ballistic computer. It can also fire guided missiles.
- The Pakistan Army has inducted the Chinese LY-80 (HQ-16) medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system into service. Islamabad has made two separate orders for the system having ordered three HQ-16 systems and eight IBIS-150 radars in 2013-2014 for USD $225.77 million and $40 million respectively, and was followed up in 2014-2015 with a $373.23 million order for six additional HQ-16 systems. To augment their air-defense network, there are also plans to procure a long-range SAM system with CPMIEC HQ-9’s export variant, the FD-2000, considered the likeliest option as fiscal constraints may rule out Russian platforms such as the S-400.
- Time-lapse video of the USS Independence leaving Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for the scrapyard: