- Lockheed Martin has announced the successful testing of the surface-launch variant of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). Built on the same production line as JASSM, JASSM-ER and LRASM air-launch weapons, the missile was launched from a topside canister with an angled launcher which uses the same launch control and launch sequencer software currently employed by the Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS). This launcher allows the LRASM surface-launch variant to be employed aboard various platforms in the Navy’s surface fleet, providing the potential for a powerful new anti-ship role under the US Navy’s “Distributed Lethality” concept of operations.
- Its been reported that Raytheon is experiencing issues with the development of a new processor for the AIM-120 air-to-air missile. Ordered under a Form Fit Function Refresh program issued by the Pentagon aimed at upgrading components in the missile’s guidance section, the component in question is a application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that will run the missile’s software. Fearing that Raytheon are struggling to keep the AIM-120 on the cutting edge, both the USAF and Navy have slashed their planned FY 2018 acquisitions of the missile by hundreds, but still remain hopeful that a fix can be found despite a key test being postponed by more than a year. Raytheon responded by assuring that a fix had been found for the issue and that the missile program is still on track.
- The Canadian armed forces have ordered 1,148 new C6A1 FLEX General Purpose Machine Guns as it replaces its stocks of C6 machine guns. Valued at $25.6 million, Colt Canada will begin deliveries in September, which includes cleaning and repair kits, spare parts and slings. A Defense Ministry statement said the procurement “will replace equipment that was procured over 30 years ago and will ensure that the CAF are properly equipped and continue to be ready for operations.” The new gun features a polymer butt stock and soldiers are able to attach pointing devices and optical sighting systems if desired.
- Saab will partner with Lockheed Martin to deliver a next-generation Tactical Engagement Simulation (TES) system to the US Army’s live training modernisation program. Both firms already provide laser-based TES equipment to the service, and there are currently several different generations of equipment in service, all of which utilise the MILES Communication Code (MCC). The Instrumentable-Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (I-MILES) Vehicle Tactical Engagement Simulation System (VTESS) will include detectors for trucks and smaller vehicles and laser transmitters for both small arms and for main armament for armoured vehicles, together with the instrumentation for control, tracking, and after-action review. The system will be modular, allowing for components such as the lasers and detectors can be decoupled from the system, which now makes interoperating with dual code based systems possible. This in turn will allow for improved interoperability for US Army training with other nations, at home or abroad, where vehicles conducting exercises need to support more than one TES standard.
Middle East & North Africa
- Jordan has recently received delivery of two additional Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk helicopters, bringing to 26 the number operated by the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF). The batch is part of a wider order for 12 helicopters which is scheduled to be completed by September. Amman’s Black Hawk build-up is geared at reinforcing the defence of border security against Islamic State forces in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, and to enable the Royal Jordanian Army’s Quick Reaction Forces to immediately deploy forces anywhere in the country.
- Croatian-operated Patria armoured modular vehicles (AMVs) will be fitted with the Elbit Systems 30 mm UT30Mk2 remote-controlled weapon stations, after Zagreb’s Defense Ministry officially sanctioned the purchase. First ordered in 2007, the vehicles originally utilized Kongsberg’s M151 Protector stations. Other bidders included Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with the Samson RCWS-30, and Croatia’s ?uro ?akovi? Special Vehicles with the Protector MCT-30, jointly developed with Kongsberg.
- BAE Systems, in conjunction with the British Royal Air Force (RAF), are testing a new package of advanced weapons, software and avionics enhancements for the Eurofighter Typhoon as part of its Project Centurion program. Upgrades already tested during the program—which looks to provide a seamless transition between use of the GR4 Tornado and Typhoon—have included the successful live firing of the Brimstone air-to-surface missile. The ongoing operational testing and evaluation of the upgrades, known as the Project Centurion Phase 1 capability package, includes trials of MBDA’s Meteor ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air and Storm Shadow deep attack air-to-surface missile software systems.
- The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) have moved forward with its purchase of a further eight T-50TH advanced jet trainers from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), adding to four first ordered in 2015. Valued at $260 million, KAI said that the first two models in the deal will arrive in November 2019, with deliveries to continue up until May 2020. The company added that the latest deal will also give a boost to the company’s plan to sell the jet to more countries, including the United States, Argentina and Botswana. Indonesia, Iraq, and the Philippines have all made purchases of the trainer, bringing to 64 the total number of exports sold by KAI.
- Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) has added a further 10 Super Mushshak aircraft to its order books after signing contracts to deliver the trainers to Azerbaijan. This is the second, albeit smaller, order for the trainer in 2017 following Turkey’s 52 plane order in May. PAC are also looking to sell its JF-17 fighter to Baku, who may look to replace their ageing fleet of Su-25 and MiG-21 aircraft.
- UT-30 Remote Weapons Station: