SASC blesses OA-X procurement | NATO members to develop maritime aircraft capabilities | DSCA clears $1.4 billion in arms sales to TaiwanJul 04, 2017 05:00 UTC
- The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has thrown its support behind the USAF procuring new OA-X light attack aircraft, authorizing some $1.2 billion to go towards buying the planes. While the committee is unable to green-light funding for such a program, voices on the panel have been very vocal in their support for the program. SASC chair John McCain called for buying 300 low-cost, off-the-shelf light attack aircraft. Two hundred of those planes should be procured by fiscal 2022 to meet current operational demands, he said. Despite this early support, the USAF has yet to commit to to any official procurement plan, instead hosting a light attack demonstration in August before making any concrete decisions.
- Dynetics has been contracted by the USAF to deliver 70 GBU-69/B Small Glide Munitions (SGMs), with options to buy 30 more. With a value of $10.9 million, the missiles are reportedly scheduled to be installed on AC-130 aircraft operated by the service. Dynetics’ Stand-Off Precision Guided Munition (SOPGM) beat out competition from Textron’s G-CLAW, Raytheon’s Griffin and Northrop Grumman’s Viper Strike munition, as is was the only one of the competitors to satisfy the competition’s full requirements.
Middle East & North Africa
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $18.9 million contract modification for the United Arab Emirates’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ground component systems. Under the deal, Lockheed will provide software engineering support for UAE THAAD ground control integration and will raise the cumulative value of the contract from $449 million to $468 million. Work will be performed in Sunnydale, Calif., Huntsville, Ala., El Paso, Texas, and the UAE. The contract is expected to be completed by Jan. 23, 2019.
- The latest version of the MQ-9 Reaper, the Block 5 variant, flew its first successful combat mission, June 23, 2017. The 16-hour flight was in support of Operation Inherent Resolve—the US operation against the Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria—and the UAV dropped a GBU-38 JDAM munition during the mission in addition to two Hellfires. Upgrades found on the Block 5 variant include an improved electrical and communications systems which provides better software and hardware upgrades for future operations, an a new Block 30 cockpit that required different training for the aircrews.
- Germany and Norway will join France and Luxembourg in their European multinational tanker transport program. Launched in 2016, the program initially sought to acquire two Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, but this will now be expanded to a fleet of seven. Belgium is expected to join the program in 2018, and the initiative remains open to other new members. With the first aircraft scheduled to be delivered in 2020, the program aims to address the European shortage in air-to-air refueling and the over-reliance on US capabilities.
- Seven NATO members have announced that they will cooperate on the development of new maritime multi-mission aircraft. Defense Ministers from France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey signed a Letter of Intent on “Cooperation on Multinational Maritime Multi Mission Aircraft Capabilities,” which aims to replace ageing maritime patrol aircraft fleets with new maritime anti-submarine and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and a possible joint acquisition. NATO sees it as important that European members maintain high-end maritime capabilities, and sees a consortium for the purchase of maritime patrol aircraft as a cost-effective way for Alliance members to build a robust set of capabilities, at a time when NATO’s maritime flanks are increasingly turbulent, contested, and competitive.
- Recent framework agreements between the US and Ukraine call for the delivery of new military equipment to Kiev and the establishment of joint research and development in defence. Ukraine’s equipment needs include radar systems, drones and secure communications as it battles a Russian-backed separatist insurgency in the Donbass region, and the recent accords will make it easier for Ukraine to buy the gear it needs while being able to sell its own defence equipment to the US. The R&D agreement is expected to see US funding made available to develop new technologies, as well as the potential for some US army equipment to be partly manufactured in the country.
- The Trump administration has cleared almost $1.4 billion in arms to Taiwan. In several notifications issued by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA to Congress, Taipei are set to receive 56 AGM-154C JSOW Air-to-Ground Missiles, 56 HARM AGM-88B missiles, 46 MK 48 Mod 6AT Heavyweight Torpedoes and MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo Conversion Kits, SM-2 missiles, AN/SLQ-32(V)3 Electronic Warfare System upgrades for destroyers, as well as operations and maintenance support for Taiwan’s radar program. These are the first arms sales to Taiwan under Trump’s presidency.
- Khrizantema-S anti-tank missile system delivered to Azerbaijan: