Raytheon Snags $59M from MDA for MOKV Research | F-35’s Ejection Seat Test Complete | $418M FMS to Kenya Up in Air; IOMAX Challenges L-3Apr 06, 2017 00:28 UTC
- Saab has announced that they are developing the first Gripen fighter for the Brazilian Air Force. The two-seat version of the Gripen NG is being developed in the Brazilian state of Säo Paulo in conjunction with 56 engineers and with participation from several local firms. Saab made the announcement during a recent discussion of the Gripen NG program at the recent LAAD International Defence & Security Exhibition.
- After a 13-year production hiatus, the Czech Republic’s Aero Vodochody is reported to be in early negotiations to produce and deliver the L-159 light attack fighter to Argentina. One twin-seat L-159 was delivered to Iraq in 2016, and the firm is now looking to sell more units to both Baghdad and Buenos Ares. Argentina has been looking to purchase a cost-effective replacement for retired Dassault Mirage fighters and currently operates 22 Douglas A-4 Skyhawks and 32 FMA IA-58 Pucaras in combat roles, with 22 FMA IA-63 Pampas on order as an interim solution. Recent elections and financial constraints, however, have stalled attempts to purchase second-hand Kfir Block 60 warplanes.
- The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded Raytheon a $59 million contract to conduct further Multi-Object Kill Vehicle research. Under the agreement, the firm will support the Kill Vehicle technology risk reduction effort, which seeks to improve performance and reduce risks. Raytheon began research on the MOKV platform in 2015 and it is being designed to counter the threat of long-range ballistic missiles.
- Testing of the F-35’s Martin-Baker US16E (MKk16) ejection seat has been completed. The last test involved electromagnetic environmental effects (EEE) testing which saw the seat’s electronic controls were hit with electricity to test their functionality. The data from the EEE, helmet and dummy testing on the ejection seat will help the USAF decide whether to remove restrictions on pilots weighing less than 62kg (136lb). Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 program, said that the “weight restriction could be removed anywhere from April and beyond,” and that the USAF will “start modifying airplanes in April to the new seat configurations with the new helmets, so as soon as the USAF gives it the OK, that’s up to them.”
- A sale of 12 armed Air Tractor aircraft to Kenya has yet to be approved by the US Congress, as Iomax and a US congressman continue to dispute the proposed deal. The $418 million contract was sent to Congress for approval in January, which tasked L-3 Communications with providing 12 Air Tractor AT-802L and two AT-504 trainer aircraft, weapons, and technical support to Kenya to help combat the activities of the Somali jihadist group al-Shabaab. US Congressman Ted Budd, however, has argued that the deal was massively inflated, and that the firm Iomax could instead provide Kenya with “superior” aircraft, weapons, technical support and program management at a cost of $237 million, which is $181 million lower than the contract ceiling of L-3 Technologies.
- Norway and Denmark have contracted Saab to provide both government’s with static and mobile camouflage systems. The framework agreement comes under a joint procurement deal between Saab and the two countries, where the countries will be able to order the systems over a four-year period. The armed forces of Denmark and Norway have used the company’s Barracuda advanced camouflage systems for many years, and Saab has sold the systems to more than 60 countries around the world.
- The Donald Trump administration could approve a new fighter jet deal with Taiwan as early as next summer, according to Japanese media. A decision on any sale will be made following a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this week. While Taipei may find the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter too costly for acquisition, it is likely that they will look to purchase upgraded F-16s. China has hit back at such arms sales, though, adding that they will not get in the way of unification with the mainland.
- North Korea has ramped up ballistic missile testing, with the latest launch occurring on the eve of a summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The missile flew about 60 km (40 miles) from its launch site at Sinpo, a port city on North Korea’s east coast and home of its submarine fleet. But experts and officials in Seoul and Washington believe Pyongyang is still some time away from mastering all the technology needed for an operational ICBM system, such as re-entry into the atmosphere and subsequent missile guidance.
- Saab’s Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System: