Boeing commences new Air Force One program | Sweden tests air defense solutions during exercises | Oshkosh JLTV visits the UKSep 15, 2017 05:00 UTC
- The US Navy has awarded a contract modification to Boeing for continued production of F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft. Valued at $677 million, six F/A-18E and eight F/A-18F aircraft will be produced at various locations throughout the US, including El Segundo, California, and St. Louis, Missouri. Contract completion is scheduled for February 2019.
- Boeing has been awarded a near $600 million contract by the US Air Force to begin preliminary design efforts for the next Air Force One under the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization (PAR) Program. Under the agreement, Boeing will incorporate a mission communication system, electrical power upgrades, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system and autonomous ground operations capabilities into two commercial Boeing 747-8s. Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2018. The program has been brought to public attention through US President Donald Trump, who criticised the cost of the program, one of the USAF’s smaller procurement efforts. The service has assured that it has got a good deal on the 747s and reiterated that cost-saving work will continue during the preliminary design phase.
- Northrop Grumman will enter its software-programmable jammers, known as JCREW, into full-rate production, after receiving a $57.7 million US Navy contract. If all options are exercised, the total contract value could rise to $505 million, with contract completion scheduled for August 2022. JCREW systems are software-programmable jammers for use against device-triggered IEDs. Northrop Grumman have developed dismounted, mounted and fixed-site variants of the system.
Middle East & Africa
- The French government has said that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia was not cause for comment by NATO allies, despite concerns raised by partners over the deal. “The purchase of military equipment by Turkey is a sovereign choice which does not need to be commented (upon) by members of the Atlantic alliance,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne said in response to a question on whether this was a blow to the alliance. Turkey said it opted for the S-400 because Western companies had offered no “financially effective” alternative, with some NATO officials voicing disquiet over the purchase of missiles being incompatible with alliance systems. Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed these concerns himself on Wednesday, saying that Ankara would continue to take the security measures it thought right. “They went crazy because we made the S-400 agreement. What were we supposed to do, wait for you? We are taking and will take all our measures on the security front,” Erdogan said. Western offerings to the tender included Raytheon’s Patriot system and the Franco-Italian consortium, Eurosam.
- Sweden is expected to shortly make a decision on an air defense system, after batteries of two competing systems—Raytheon’s Patriot and Eurosam’s SAMP/T—started three weeks of military exercises with its armed forces. The Aurora 2017 exercise is Sweden’s largest military exercise in more than 20 years and has more than 1,000 US soldiers are involved. Debates over funding had delayed Sweden’s planned procurement of an air defense system, however, approximately $9 billion has been recently earmarked by government, reassuring industry competitors that Sweden is committed to buying a system. A letter of request is expected soon.
- Raytheon is developing a set of major upgrades to the British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Shadow R1 fleet, a key intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) asset. The firm is currently working on the concept phase, which will see the heavily adapted Beechcraft King Air 350CERs equipped with the best sensors available, also featuring an open-architecture mission configuration with increased levels of software automation. New solutions will then be explored for a Mk.2 variant. The RAF’s current planned out-of-service date for the Shadow fleet is during 2030, and the MoD is negotiating a long-term support contract for the type with Raytheon, to come into effect from April 2019. Maintenance and airworthiness assurance work under this deal will be subject to “open and fair competition”, the ministry says.
- Oshkosh Defense has brought its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to the DSEI show in London, England. In anticipation of a forthcoming sale to the UK, the model brought was given an obligatory coat of British Army green paint, and came equipped with an in-service Kongsberg remote weapon station, AmSafe Bridport anti-rocket-propelled grenade armor and a Harris radio. George Mansfield, the vice president of international programs at Oshkosh Defence, said the configuration was meant to give a glimpse of the sort of items the British could fit based on those already in the inventory. He noted it wasn’t representative of any particular requirement. While the US State Department have already cleared the foreign military sale (FMS), the MoD does not expect a final decision on the FMS proposal until “early 2018.” The final go-ahead for the deal may have to await the results of a largely financially driven capability review due for completion by the end of the year by the British government.
- South Korean President Moon Jae-in has told CNN that he is opposed to his country obtaining nuclear weapons as a deterrent to when North Korea finally develops an operational nuclear Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Introducing nuclear weapons in South Korea would make it impossible for the two Koreas to establish peace and could fuel an nuclear arms race in Northeast Asia, Moon said in the interview, on the same day North Korea threatened to use nuclear weapons to “sink” Japan and reduce the United States to “ashes and darkness” for supporting a UN Security Council resolution and sanctions over its latest nuclear test. On Monday, the UN Security Council agreed to tighten sanctions on North Korea, banning its textile exports and capping fuel supplies, and making it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with North Korean entities.
- South Korea conducts F-15K Taurus cruise missile strike: