Final F-15SG’s delivered to Singapore | Thailand’s PM defends T-50 plans amid backlash | Arrests made in Israeli submarine probeJul 14, 2017 05:00 UTC
- US Special Operations Command’s C-130J aircraft are scheduled to receive new electronic warfare systems aimed to enhance the aircrafts’ survivability equipment to detect, identify, locate, deny, degrade, disrupt and defeat various threats. BAE Systems will conduct the work, installing its Radio Frequency Countermeasure (RFCM) system—designed to be integrated on the USAF’s AC-130J Ghostrider and MC-130J Commando II aircraft—over the next 30 months in a $67 million contract modification. The contract’s total value, including all options, is expected to exceed $300 million.
Middle East & North Africa
- A high court in London has ruled that British arm sales to Saudi Arabia can continue, after claims by anti-arms trade campaigners that the weapons may have been used to kill civilians in Yemen. UK and EU arms sales rules state that export licences cannot be granted if there is a “clear risk” that the equipment could be used to break international humanitarian law. However, this was not deemed the case by judges despite uncomfortable disclosures for the government, including documents in which the export policy chief told the business secretary, Sajid Javid, then in charge of licensing, “my gut tells me we should suspend [weapons exports to the country]”. The group behind the judicial review, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), said it would appeal the decision. Since the conflict in Yemen started in March 2015, the UK Government has approved no less than 194 export licences for arms and related equipment to Saudi Arabia, worth more than $4.2 billion.
- Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under fire after David Shimron, his lawyer and cousin, was arrested by Israeli police as part of an investigation into a $2.5 billion deal to buy submarines and naval patrol craft from Germany. The arrest comes amid accusations of bribery, money laundering, fraud and conspiracy. Mickey Ganor, who acted as an agent for the German ThyssenKrupp shipyard in the deal, and who is also a client of Shimron, was also arrested as part of the probe, while other individuals questioned include Netanyahu’s former pick for his national security adviser and a senior naval commander. Known as Case 3,000, the scandal is one of several ongoing investigations into Netanyahu and his closest circle.
- UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced that Whitehall will spend $52 million on upgrading the anti-missile defense system of its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets. The Eurofighter consortium member Leonardo will undertake the work on the jets’ Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS), and the government said it would help the aircraft in missions against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The work will sustain approximately 65 jobs at Leonardo’s site in Luton, 30 miles north of London, as well as a further 41 jobs at fellow consortium member BAE Systems’ site in Warton, northwest England.
- Leonardo is also chasing a UK MoD contract to provide air combat training for the British military under the Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) program. The Italian firm—in collaboration with an unnamed UK company—is likely to face stiff competition from Airbus, making this a re-run of a recent duel over helicopter training, which saw Airbus emerge the victor. Other likely contestants include Canadian firm Discovery Air Defence Services, UK engineering firm Qinetiq and French defense contractor Thales. Under the program, London is looking for a single company or consortium to fulfill the prestige contract to train its military pilots with methods including aggressor training, or simulating ‘bad guys’ in mock battles. The winner will stand to gain $1.6 billion over fifteen years for their services.
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $41.8 million foreign military sale contract to provide lifetime software maintenance for the AEGIS systems in the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class destroyers. Work will primarily take place in Moorestown, N.J., and several other sites in the United States and Australia, with a completion time expected by November 2019. The Hobart-class guide-air warfare guided missile destroyer is the newest ship class in the RAN. Equipped with Aegis Combat System and AN/SPY1 radar to detect and destroy enemy aircraft and missiles, the vessels come with a MK 41 Vertical Launch System capable of firing Standard surface-to-air missiles and mounts Sea Sparrow point-defense missiles. It will also carry torpedoes and other undersea munitions for anti-submarine operations. A total of three Hobart-class vessels will be constructed by Canberra, with the first expected to enter active service next year after further testing and outfitting.
- Singapore is believed to have received the final eight F-15SG fighter jets from Boeing, bringing the believed total of the nation’s fleet to 40 units. The variant is the most advanced F-15 model on the market and comes equipped with the Raytheon AN/APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned array radar as well as Lockheed Martin’s Sniper targeting pod. News of the delivery comes from data provided by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website, which stated that the last of eight F-15SGs on its civil register had its registration canceled in the middle of June, with export being listed as the reason for cancellation, and its new destination listed as Singapore. Singapore’s Defence Ministry has denied to confirm that the jets have been delivered citing operational security.
- Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has been forced to defend his country’s recent announcement that it will purchase eight more KAI T-50TH advanced jet trainers from South Korea, after accusations that the order is a waste of taxpayers money. Prayut, a retired Royal Thai Army officer, urged the public to understand the necessity of the purchase, saying that there was an urgent need to replace its ageing Czech-made L-39 aircraft, which have been in service for more than 30 years. He added that the choice of South Korea as the vendor for the L-39’s replacement should also be seen as proof that the government does not favor any specific country for procurement, alluding to recent big ticket purchases from China instead of long-time ally, the US. Critics unfazed by the PM’s words are planning to mount legal action if the sale is not delayed.
- Animated tour of Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier: