Orbital ATK Gets $92M for US Army Supply | Next Batch F-35s May See Further Savings | Taiwan Searching Off Shore for Domestic Submarine TechApr 12, 2017 00:58 UTC
- The US Navy has continued the grounding of T-45 aircraft for another week, after the service’s instructor-pilots reported that crew were experiencing physiological episodes. A three-day grounding was initially called last Wednesday in order for an investigation to take place into what was causing the issues. Finding the cause or causes of the problem, however, has been difficult with several investigations taking place, including the aircraft’s oxygen system. A statement by Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces said that the service is taking “an ‘unconstrained resources’ approach to the problem, meaning we have not been nor will we be limited by money or manpower as we diligently work toward solutions.”
- Orbital ATK has been contracted $92 million for the supply of small caliber ammunition to the US Army. The 5.56mm and 7.62mm rounds will be produced at the company’s Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo. The largest manufacturer of small-caliber ammunition for the US DoD, Orbital has produced more than 17 billion rounds of small-caliber ammunition at Lake City to support US and allied troops.
- Negotiations on the next batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters could see savings of at least 5% as the unit cost per fighter looks to dip below $80 million. Current talks between the Pentagon and lead contractor Lockheed Martin are said to be for a batch of about 130 planes, 100 of which are likely to be the A-model configuration. It is on these 100 aircraft that between 5-7 percent, or $660 million, could be shaved off the total price in potential savings. This follows comments made by the program’s head Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan last month who said that the government hoped that by 2020 the F-35 would cost less than $80 million, a 16 percent drop from its current price.
Middle East & North Africa
- Thirty mostly Democratic Party lawmakers have expressed their concerns to US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, over the potential sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. The signed letter comes after an earlier attempt to sell the missiles to Riyadh last December was put on hold due to concerns raised over the increased reports of civilian casualties as a result of sorties from the Royal Saudi Air Force’s campaign in Yemen. Congressional aides told Reuters the Trump administration was on the verge of sending a formal notification to Congress about the sale, which would trigger the formal 30-day review to allow members of Congress to attempt to pass legislation to stop any sale.
- Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Hurkus aircraft has completed its first missile launch with a Roketsan L-UMTAS laser-guided long-range air-to-surface anti-tank missile. The March 7 test was conducted at the Firing Test and Evaluation Group Command test range near the central Anatolian town of Konya-Karapinar. Alongside the L-UMTAS, the Hurkus will be armed with Roketsan UMTAS infrared-guided anti-tank missiles, Cirit laser-guided 70 mm rockets as well as bombs upgraded with Teber precision guidance kits; has five stores pylons and will be able to carry a payload of 1,500 kg. As well as operating as a basic trainer, the aircraft will be used for light assault and armed reconnaissance missions in the counter-insurgency role. The type is planned to enter into service in 2018.
- The Trump administration is moving ahead with a plan to sell as much as $600 million worth of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and related equipment to help the Nigerian Air Force in their fight against the jihadist group Boko Haram. Initial permission had been granted under the previous Obama administration but was put on hold following Nigeria’s bombing of a refugee camp in January. Congress is expected to receive notification on the sale of 12 Super Tucanos and sophisticated targeting gear within weeks, and Trump plans to go ahead with other foreign defense sales delayed under Obama by human rights concerns.
- Rauma Marine Constructions has been contracted by the Finnish government to design new vessels for the Squadron 2020 project. The announcement of the $7.9 million award came without any specifics of what the design will entail. The Finnish Navy’s Squadron 2020 project is to replace seven Navy corvettes that have been, or will be, decommissioned. Contracts for the construction of the new vessels will be signed in 2018.
- Taiwan is in need of five types of submarine technology for their domestic submarine program, according to local defense analysts. Modern torpedo tubes and periscopes are believed to be some of the tech missing by Taipei, as well as the possible need for air-independent propulsion technology or an equivalent to allow the submarine to be practically silent when operating in a submerged environment. The government has allocated spending of $94.81 million for the program’s design phase, due to run until December 2020, and have already dispatched delegations to find foreign suppliers of the technology it requires. While several nations have established submarine programs, most may shy away from selling such tech to Taiwan for fear of upsetting relations with China.
- Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2017: