Turkeys moves closer to S-400 deal | France and Germany announce new fighter effort | More GMLRS rockets for Army and USMCJul 17, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin has received a $471 million contract for Lot 12 production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles for the US Army and foreign military customers. Work and production will take place in Camden, Ark., and Dallas, Texas, with an expected completion date in the summer of 2019. The rockets are deployed from the M270A1 MLRS and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System mobile rocket launcher vehicles, and is in use with several NATO members, as well as being the primary rocket artillery system of US Army and Marine Corps.
- The US Special Operations Command has awarded Boeing a $27 million contract to conduct preparatory work on the production of Block 2 MH-47G Chinook special operations helicopters. Under the terms of the agreement, the work will include incorporating new and existing stockpiles of government and contractor components to upgrade CH-47 airframes to the MH-47G variant, with the airframes being modified under the auspices of the Technology Applications Program Office. The variant also includes upgraded digital avionics and flight control systems, a monolithic airframe instead of assembled sheet metal for greater strength and modifications for easier transportation by cargo aircraft. It features other changes to make it better suited for air assault operations and can be refueled in mid-air for greater range.
- Nigeria has received the first five of ten of Super Mushshak trainers for its air force. The batch were received at the NAF’s 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna, and will take over from four trainers previously loaned by Pakistan last December so Nigeria could commence training pilots immediately. Other aircraft destined for Nigeria from Pakistan include three JF-17 multi-role fighters, while 12 A-29 Super Tucanos are on order with Brazilian firm Embraer.
Middle East & North Africa
- Bloomberg reports that Turkey has agreed to pay $2.5 billion for the purchase of two S-400 air defense systems from Russia. A NATO member since 1952, the sale is deemed as a big blow to the alliance—both politically and operationally—as Ankara begins to gravitate towards the Kremlin amid tensions surrounding US support for Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, and pressure from EU members opposed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown at home in the wake of last year’s attempted coup. Turkey has also been increasing its insistence that arms sales to the country is coupled with technology transfers, allowing it to grow its own defense industry, something the West has been reluctant to do. The Russian sale is expected to see the two batteries produced in Turkey and contracts could be signed by the end of the year.
- Croatia is to send out request for proposals to five countries this week as part of its MiG-21 replacement program. Sweden, the US, South Korea, Israel, and Greece have all been named by the Croatian Defense Ministry as possible suppliers, indicating that prospective fighter options include Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen, Lockheed Martin’s F-16, the Dassault Mirage, Israeli Kfir, and a version of KAI’s T-50. Out of the list of potential suppliers, austerity-striken Greece stands out as an interesting option—its inventory includes over 100 hundred F-16C and D variants, as well as over 40 Mirage 2000s. An F-16 deal could also see upgrades to the new Viper variant.
- Prior to entertaining (an unimpressed) US President Donald Trump with some brass band versions of Daft Punk hits for Bastille Day, French President Emmanuel Macron joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel last Thursday, July 13, to announce a new Franco-German fighter program. The effort is part of a move by both governments to shape the future of the European fighter industry and its three existing programs—the Eurofighter, France’s Rafale and Sweden’s Gripen—as well as boosting defense cooperation and inter-operability between Paris and Berlin. Analysts say that the system could include both manned and unmanned aircraft and will replace Germany’s Eurofighters and France’s Rafale fleets. The program is unlikely to include UK-based Eurofighter consortium member BAE Systems after the UK’s decision to leave the EU last year.
- The Malaysian government is to shelve plans to purchase new fighter aircraft, instead focusing on upping its aerial surveillance capabilities. The decision comes as pro-Islamic State fighters continue to battle security forces in Marawi in the southern Philippines. Malaysia and Indonesia, which share the nearby island of Borneo, are working with the Philippines to conduct air and maritime patrols along their shared borders in the Sulu Sea. Current surveillance assets operated by Malaysia include four Beechcraft BT200T aircraft, however, they are now looking to add a further four, larger aircraft with longer range, with sources adding that possible options include commercial-based platforms that are more affordable than a military specific one. The procurement is expected to be completed by 2020, after which, Kuala lumpur may revisit the fighter purchase.
- South Korea is to start production of a new indigenous air defense radar capable of North Korean UAVs. Developed by LIG Nex1 Co. Ltd, the system is truck mounted with its own power supply, allowing for flexible and rapid deployment. Once produced, the radars will be deployed with naval and army troops in South Korea’s northeast territories.
- French army band play Daft Punk: