Navy announces first test of UMCS | Saudi Apaches to receive upgrades | India & Russia close to FGFA milestoneMay 09, 2017 05:00 UTC
- GKN Aerospace will produce and provide a new fuel bladder system for the first production model of General Atomic’s Predator B MQ-9B UAV, scheduled for 2018. An agreement signed between the two firms has a full potential value of $15 million when it enters service with NATO’s UAV airworthiness Requirements. According to GKN, the fuel bladder system will be made in a vacuum forming process using poly-urethane material for shapes that better fit available space on the aircraft airframe.
- Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $36.8 million contract to integrate radar systems on the MQ-8C Fire Scout UAV for the US Navy. The pre-existing contract will include software updates, testing programs, and installation and support systems, and work will be carried out both in the US and in the UK through to May 2020. Research and development funds previously allocated for Fiscal 2016 will include $11.8 million set to expire at the end of the fiscal year.
- The US Navy has reached the first round of testing of its Unmanned Carrier Mission Control System (UMCS), with an aim to validate its software, communications, advance electro-optical camera, as well as to determine how well the system software and hardware linked up with carrier-based networks. Includeing various versions of the Navy Sea Systems Command’s Common Display System and the Common Control System, UMCS is an upgraded and adapted version of what is used on the Navy’s new Zumwalt-class destroyer. The final goal will be to allow unmanned drones to refuel Navy strike fighters reliably from aircraft carriers, in addition to the standard roles of reconnaissance, attack missions and electronic-warfare missions.
Middle East & North Africa
- Boeing has received a $143.4 million US Army contract to deliver unique Block II and III modifications to AH-64E Apache attack helicopters operated by the Saudi Arabia National Guard. 24 Apaches will be covered under the agreement with $3.9 million in foreign military sales funding obligated at the time of the award. Work will be undertaken at Boeing’s facility in Mesa, Ariz., and is scheduled for completion by April 2022. Saudi-owned AH-64D Apaches have played a pivotal role in the kingdom’s ongoing combat operations in Yemen against Houthi militants.
- DCNS will upgrade three of the five La Fayette-class frigates operated by the French navy, coinciding with a French MoD decision to build new intermediate-size frigates to maintain a fleet of 15 first-rank frigates during a transition period accompanying the delivery of the FTI frigates, which will start in 2023. France’s Directorate-General for Armaments (DGA), said the La Fayette frigate modernization will begin in 2020, with the first modernized vessel planned for delivery in 2021. Work to be carried out by DCNS includes to the platform itself, with work to include modernizing the vessel’s structure and electronic and computer systems that manage propulsion, steering gear, and power plant. The ship’s combat system—which manages sensors and weapons—will be replaced by a system derived from the one used on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The tactical data links will be upgraded, and Crotale anti-aircraft defense systems will be replaced by two upgraded SADRAL launchers. The value of the award was not disclosed.
- The Bangladeshi government has selected the Sukhoi Su-30SME as its new fighter. Contracts signed between the government and Russian manufacturer Rosoborenexport call for the manufacture and delivery of 8 units of the multi-role fighter, with an option to add a further four units in the future. It will also include training of pilots and maintenance crew as well as the provision of related systems and armaments. In March, it was reported that Bangladesh was also looking at a procurement of FC-20 fighters from China as a solution to its ageing fleet of F-5 interceptors.
- After years of delay, India and Russia are close to signing an agreement for the further development of the PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). An inter-governmental pact on the FGFA project was initially signed in 2007, however negotiations over workshare, technology transfer, and IPR have hampered discussions but are now said to be mostly resolved. New Delhi has insisted on a full technology transfer, saying that it must get all the required codes and access to critical technology so that it can upgrade the aircraft as per its requirements.
- The saga surrounding Indonesia’s acquisition of the Leonardo AW101 helicopter continues with reports that the government has refused to take delivery of a helicopter already in the country. In February, photographs surfaced of an AW101 surrounded by police tape at a hanger in Jakarta, as a military investigation into the procurement was conducted. Now, defense officials say the helicopter had failed to meet the specifications laid out in the contract, with media reporting that there are issues with the helicopter’s cargo door. Three units were initially requested to serve as VVIP transport, but the procurement faced a massive public backlash due to its expense, before the deal was temporarily cancelled. Indonesian military officials have since then picked up the procurement out of its defense budget, saying that the helicopter will be used for military purposes instead.
- Egyptian Ka-52 flying for the first time: