More upgrades for Super Hornets | Raytheon to set up in Saudi Arabia | Export Z-19 makes flying debutMay 23, 2017 05:00 UTC
- A U-2S Dragon Lady participated in the Northern Edge military exercises based out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in order to test new technologies on this later version of the 5th generation upgraded version of the venerable aircraft. The high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance plane participated alongside some 6000 personnel and 200 aircraft from every service branch, in an exercise that aims to improve interoperability and cohesion between the various branches. For the U-2S’s participation in the exercise, 130 personnel from the 9th RW were deployed to JBE.
- Boeing is planning future upgrades for the F/A-18 Super Hornet that will keep the fighters flying into the 2040s. If approved, the plan will see continued development of the aircraft after the current Block 3 enhancement planned for the E/F variant of the Super Hornet enters production in 2020. Speaking on the plan, Larry Burt, director of Global Sales & Marketing for the Global Strike division, said that there “could well be lots of new capabilities added after Block 3. The Block 3 is built around a new processor that is a hundred times more powerful that today’s. This processor resides outside of the aircraft’s Operational Flight Program [computer], and so is not tied to its five-year software development cycle. It is truly open architecture that allows for plug and play of weapons, sensors, and systems.”
Middle East & North Africa
- The Turkish government has approved a deal with local firm Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the design, development and serial production of 12 Hurkus-C armed trainer aircraft. Ankara’s procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), said the program will maximize the use of locally developed software and hardware, including in the design and integration stages. So far, the aircraft has test-fired the L-UMTAS, a laser-guided, long-range, anti-tank missile designed by state-owned missile manufacturer Roketsan, and can fire several types of locally developed ammunition including CIRIT, TEBER, HGK and LGK. TAI expects the armed Hurkus to be widely used in Turkey’s increasing counterinsurgency fight against pro-Kurdish and Islamic militants both inside Turkey and across its Syrian and Iraqi borders.
- Saudi Arabia’s Military Industries Company has entered an strategic partnership with Raytheon after a memorandum of understanding was signed at the weekend. The ceremony took place in Riyadh and was witnessed by both the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and a visiting Donald Trump. Under the terms of the deal, Raytheon will establish a wholly owned subsidiary in the country, Raytheon Arabia, that will implement programs to create indigenous defense, aerospace and security capabilities. Among subsidiary functions will be in-country program management and development of supply and sourcing capabilities. Raytheon said it is expected that Raytheon Arabia activities will positively impact the economies of both countries and lead to job creation in both. They would also continue worldwide growth in the areas of air defense systems, smart munitions, C4I systems and defense system cybersecurity.
- The French Navy has fired an Aster 30 surface-to-air missile as part of a training exercise aimed at preparing crew and vessel in engagements against airborne threats. The May 18 exercise was conducted onboard the Forbin, a Horizon-class air defense frigate, while the vessel was at sea, and marks the third time that a missile was launched from the ship since its entry into service. Paris have also armed the Aster 30 on the Forbin’s sister ship, Chevalier Paul, and will be fitted on the two forthcoming multi-mission frigates to be adapted to the air defense mission. Five intermediate frigates will also be fitted with the system following a new work order issued last month.
- Italy’s Fincantieri is looking to acquire a majority stake in French shipbuilder STX France. Fincantieri is looking to purchase a 66.66% stake in STX at a cost estimated to be worth $89 million, and plans to pay for the acquisition out of its current finances. The two companies sign the share purchase agreement late last week and Fincantieri is negotiating with the French government for the finalization of the shareholders’ agreement.
- Rolls Royce will supply its MT30 gas engines to power the upcoming Daegu-class frigates for the South Korean Navy. The order covers the delivery of engines for the second third and fourth vessel of the eight frigate program, and marks the first application for MT30 outside the UK and US markets. Work for Seoul’s Daegu-class program has been split among a number of Korean shipbuilders with Daewoo responsible for the deliver of the second frigate, while Hyundai is building ships three and four.
- The AVIC Harbin Z-19E attack helicopter has conducted its maiden flight. An export version of the Z-19, testing on the E variant included hovering, ground-effect manouevring, and low passes. Designed for anti-tank and ground attack missions, the manufacturer stated that the helicopter is “able to be deployed for battlefield support and a variety of other missions in a complicated battlefield environment during both day and night.”
- Houthi forces fire missile at Saudi F-15 in Yemen: