LM Claims Can Meet Early IOC on T-X Trainer Program | Airspace Systems Demos Drone Disabling Craft | Germany Denies Turkish Arms Export RequestsMar 23, 2017 00:30 UTC
- Lockheed Martin claims they can deliver the T-50A aircraft to meet the USAF’s T-X trainer program two years ahead of the service’s 2024 initial operating capability schedule. Speaking at the company’s annual media day, Rob Weiss, the executive vice president and general manager of aeronautics advanced development programs said “If there’s a desire for an earlier IOC, we will be ready,” adding that the off-the-shelf T-50A could be flying six years ahead of other firms’ proposals designed specifically to compete for the T-X contract, which he said could be delayed until 2028 or later because of additional hurdles that clean-sheet designs need to overcome. Lockheed Martin has teamed with South Korea’s KAI to offer the T-50A against a clean-sheet design by Boeing and Saab, and a variant of Leonardo’s M-346.
- Leonardo fears that US domestic politics may scupper their chances in the T-X trainer competition, as the Italian defense giant goes it alone without a US airframer as a partner. Despite applying through US subsidiary DRS, the company fears that political considerations will favor domestic suppliers, despite Italy’s considerable defence purchases from the USA, notably the Lockheed F-35. Leonardo is set to submit their bid by the end of the month which will include the location of a US final assembly line.
- Silicon Valley startup Airspace Systems has demonstrated a small compact aircraft capable of hunting and disabling wanton drones. The firm is just one of 70 companies working on counter-drone systems as small consumer and commercial drones proliferate. But unlike others, it aims to catch drones instead of disabling them or shooting them down. While the USAF recently tested experimental shotgun shells for shooting down drones, the drone could still fall on targets and cause damage if it is carrying a payload like a bomb or chemicals. Airspace Systems plan to lease out the system, complete with operators and a mobile command center, to customers.
Middle East & North Africa
- An unusually high number of requests for arms exports to Turkey have been denied by Germany due to mounting concerns over deteriorating human rights in the country. There have been 11 requests denied since November, compared to just ten between 2010 and 2015, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. Germany and other European countries have criticized Turkey’s crackdown on alleged dissenters in the wake of July’s failed coup, and in past weeks expressed concern at planned reforms that would hand Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greater powers. Earlier this month Ankara was forced to cancel a contract with Turkish firm Tümosan, after the firm failed to secure a new design and development partner to replace AVL List GmbH from Austria to provide the engine for the Altay main battle tank (MBT) .
- Ukraine’s state-owned defense firm Ukroboronprom has demonstrated the Shkval and Stilet combat modules built for infantry fighting vehicles. The Shkval module was equipped with a 30mm cannon ZTM-1 automatic grenade launcher, a 7.62mm machine gun and guided missiles, and assisted by a laser range finder and imager to boost its accuracy. The Stilet was equipped with a ZTM-2, reinforced armor, and a similar set of weapons. Kiev will now decide on which module to procure and will then commission Ukrobotonprom to produce a modernized armored vehicle for Urkaine’s army.
- It’s been revealed that Myanmar has received the first batch of three Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft, with the contract to be fully delivered by the end of 2017. Yangon ordered the aircraft back in 2015 to become the fourth export customer (after Algeria, Belarus and Bangladesh), and followed up with an order of a Yak simulator in 2016. The announcement was made by Mikhail Petukhov, deputy director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), at this year’s Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition LIMA-2017.
- An executive at BrahMos Aerospace has indicated that an export contract for the supersonic cruise missile could be signed this year, although the identity of the potential customer remains unrevealed. The Russian-Indian missile can travel 290 km, carries a warhead weighing from 200 to 300 kg, and can be both land and sea based. An Extended Range (ER) version of the BrahMos was tested earlier this month, although it remains unknown if it will initially be available for export.
- Afghanistan’s Air Wing has taken delivery of four additional A-29 attack aircraft, bringing to twelve the amount in operation by the service. The latest batch arrived from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, where seven other Super Tucanos are currently assigned for training purposes. An anonymous pilot at the AAW said the extra air craft “will allow us to increase the number of missions we are able to support nationwide,” adding that “more targets can be attacked—more ground troops can be supported.”
- Testing of the Shkval and Stilet combat modules: