Navy eyes upping Super Hornet numbers | Lockheed close to next F-35 order | M-346FA unveiled at paris air showJun 20, 2017 05:00 UTC
- It’s been revealed that the US Navy intends to acquire at least 80 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft over the next five years, running against initial plans to zero out the aircraft program beginning next year. The announcement was made by the sailing branch to the US Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee last week in a written testimony notes the “Fiscal Year 2018 President’s Budget requests $1.25 billion in [the Navy’s aircraft procurement account] for 14 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft” that will “address continuing warfighter demand for advanced tactical aircraft.” 23 aircraft will procured in 2019 for $1.95 billion, 14 in 2020 for $1.35 billion and 14 in 2021 for $1.27 billion and 15 in 2022 for $1.28 billion.
- Ahead of its debut at this week’s Paris air show, Lockheed Martin are close to finishing the latest round of negotiations for the manufacture of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. As many as 440 jets are being negotiated under the deal and are being spread out over three tranches in a multi-year deal estimated to reach at least $37 billion. As many as 11 customer nations will receive fighters as part of the deal, including Australia, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, South Korea, Britain and the United States. The price of the F-35’s A variant is then expected to drop to $80 million by the end of 2020.
- Raytheon is to restart the Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) production line after a $650 million dollar order from the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan and Australia. The sale calls for the delivery of a total of 280 SM-2 Block IIIA and IIIB missiles, and the sale is expected to keep the company’s Arizona production line open through 2035 as Raytheon anticipates more orders from the US and its allies as they rebuild their inventories using the modernized production line. Congress are expected to be notified of the sale in the coming days.
- Lockheed Martin has received a $472 million US Army contract for the production of Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets. The sale includes 2,868 alternative warhead rockets, 648 unitary warhead rockets and 370 pods of reduced-range low-cost practice rocket and covers delivery under a foreign military sale to Finland, France, Germany and Singapore. Work will be conducted in Grand Prairie, Texas, and has an expected completion date of July 31, 2019.
Middle Easy & North Africa
- A US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet has scored its first air-to-air kill, shooting down a Syrian Su-22 on Sunday. The incident occurred after reports that the Su-22 had bombed the forces of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as they moved on Islamic State positions south of Tabqah. A statement by the US Central Command issued a statement saying the plane was downed “in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces,” while a Syrian army statement initially suggested that that the US-led coalition shot down one of its planes as it conducted a combat mission against Islamic State militants. The US Super Hornet is based onboard the USS George H.W. Bush, the only US aircraft carrier operating in the region.
- A new fighter attack version of Leonardo’s M-346 has been unveiled at the Paris air show. The updated aircraft—the M-346FA— includes the company’s Grifo multi-mode fire control radar, as well as seven pylons for external weapons loads, enabling it to carry 2,000 pounds of external weapons. Leonardo stated that the new fighter was designed to help different air forces meet their needs rapidly by building on a common base, adding that they have found international interest in the plane “specifically in the Far East and South America.”
- Serbia could receive a new batch of MiG-29 fighters by the end of this month, according to Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic. It had been reported in March that Belgrade would receive six MiG-29 fighter jets as well as the modernization of another four planes from Russia in a deal worth $207 million and includes the cost of fuel storage facilities, hangers to store ten planes and the complete maintenance and modernization of the planes’ missiles. The deal is being seen as good value, enabling Serbia to modernize its fleet at a much lower cost than its neighbors.
- Japan’s ShinMaywa has said that it is willing to allow Indonesian industry to collaborate on the final assembly of the US-2 amphibian aircraft if the Indonesian government selects the aircraft as its amphibious search-and-rescue (SAR) platform. However, the firm ruled out the possibility of assembling the aircraft in Indonesia as it will not be economically feasible to do so. Instead, ShinMaywa stated that the aircraft could be delivered fully assembled with final configuration works to be done in the customer’s country, mentioning Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia as a possible partner in the collaboration.
- AV-8B Harrier performs reverse landing on USS America: