Tomahawk to get marine strike variant | Iran building Scud factory in Syria, Israel claims | Bulgaria pushes back new fighter decisionAug 18, 2017 05:00 UTC
- The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin’s AN/APR-52 radar warning receiver Technical level 6 status after a round of successful testing by the US Air Force Integrated Demonstrations and Applications Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. News of the milestone comes over a year before the HH-60W combat rescue helicopter—which will use the receiver—makes its first flight. During the test, the receiver was evaluated in simulated threat environments. Sikorsky’s HH-60W will replace the Air Force’s aging HH-60G Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters.
- It is expected that Raytheon will be awarded a contract to turn a number of US Navy Tomahawks into anti-ship cruise missiles. The upgrade will take place when the service sends its Block IV Tomahawks back to Raytheon for mid-life recertification. A company executive said the multi-mode seeker for the anti-ship role will likely be a mix of passive and active sensors. The Block IV recertification effort will start in 2019 with the first Marine Strike Tomahawk variants to enter the fleet in the early 2020s.
- Raytheon/Lockheed Martin JV has received an additional $133.9 million US Army contract for the production and delivery of Javelin anti-tank missile sales to Jordan, Qatar and Taiwan. The foreign military sale includes test rounds, command launch units, Javelin vehicle mounts and associated services. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and will run until August 2020.
Middle East & Africa
- An Israeli news channel has reported that Iran is building a Scud missile factory in Syria. Satellite images taken by Israel’s Eros B were broadcast on Channel 2, and reports likened the facility to a similar structure located near the Iranian capital, Tehran. Israel are concerned that the facility will be used to produce the long-range missile for use by the Lebanese group, Hezbollah, who alongside Iran and Russia, have been helping the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad battle Islamist militants in a civil war now in its seventh year. US news reports have said that Israeli intelligence officials will discuss the situation in Syria and Lebanon with US counterparts in Washington this week.
- The Bulgarian government has pushed back the date for making a decision on new jet fighter aircraft procurement to later this year. The move comes as the newly elected government requested a report from the parliamentary investigation board into a previous caretaker-administration’s decision to approve the $900 million purchase of eight Saab JAS-39 Gripen aircraft, and associated equipment. An answer is expected to come by the end of September, although this could be extended by up to a further two months. In the meantime, defence minister Krasimir Karakachanov has called for the air force’s current fighters and strike aircraft to receive funding to maintain their airworthiness. The service operates 15 MiG-29s and 14 Su-25s, but he says that in early August only eight and four, respectively, were in a serviceable condition.
- Ukrainian President (and confectionary king) Petro Poroshenko has blasted claims that a Ukrainian defense factory supplied North Korea with engines for its ballistic missile program. Poroshenko has also ordered a “thorough and comprehensive investigation” into the claims, which surfaced in a New York Times article last weekend, adding that “I am confident that this will allow us to confirm reliably … the true source and purpose of this groundless fake.” On Monday, secretary of the Ukrainian Security and Defence Council, Oleksandr Turchynov, said that Ukraine “has never supplied rocket engines or any kind of missile technology to North Korea,” while the factory in question, Yuzhmash, said it had not produced military-grade ballistic missiles since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
- Following on from its 2015 purchase of 22 Apache and Chinook helicopters, the Indian Defense Ministry has said it has cleared the $655 million purchase of six additional Apache helicopters from manufacturer Boeing. Included in the deal alongside the helicopters are associated equipment, spares, training, weapons and ammunition. India’s Defence Acquisition Council—which clears Indian defense sales—also cleared an order for gas turbine engines—worth an estimated $76.4 million—for two ships currently under construction in Russia.
- However, India’s $5 billion program to build 12 high-tech mine countermeasure vessels (MCMV), which is already delayed, has hit another roadblock over the selection of propulsion engines. A split opinion on engine sourcing is the cause of the backlog with the Navy supporting a multi-vendor tender process for the engine selection, while Goa Shipyard—the state-owned company building the vessels—prefers a single-vendor nomination of German MTU engines. The shipyard’s reservations comes from its foreign partner, South Korea’s Kangnam, who have already produced MCMVs for the South Korean Navy, and have been contracted by New Delhi to provide technological assistance to the Goa Shipyard. Kangnam want to use German-made MTU engines, which have been used on the Korean vessels it built, while the Indian Navy is skeptical about the suitability of German MTU engines for Indian MCMVs because of the differences in geographical location and areas of operation.
- Taiwan’s development & testing of solid rocket motors: