$5.1 billion released for Columbia-class development work | Germany lifts Tiger grounding, restrictions placed | KAI exec takes life amid probeSep 25, 2017 05:00 UTC
- General Dynamics Electric Boat has landed a $5.1 billion US Navy contract to commence development work on the Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine. Announced last Thursday, the award includes component and technology development, missile tube module and reactor compartment bulkhead prototyping and manufacturing efforts, and United Kingdom Strategic Weapon Support System kit manufacturing—which is covered under a foreign military sale—for the Columbia class ballistic missile submarines. Work will be conducted at several US locations and is scheduled for completion by December 2031. 12 Columbia-class submarines are planned by the Navy, and will replace the current fleet of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. The first vessel, the Columbia, is expected to be completed by 2031 at a cost of $10.4 billion counting research and engineering costs. The expected cost of follow-on vessels has been floated at over $5 billion a piece. The vessels will support the US Navy and British Royal Navy’s Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) system.
- Oshkosh Defense has been awarded a $466.8 million modification to an existing US Army contract for the production of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV). Based on the current A1P2 technical data package, procurement will be determined by individual orders and is expected to be finished by August 25, 2018. The A1P2 variant of the FMTV is the standard cargo version of the truck for moving equipment and supplies. Other variants of the platform are used for troop transport, vehicle recovery and other tasks in a utility role.
- The US Navy has received into service its first new Block III Virginia-class attack submarine, the future USS Colorado (SSN 788). Built by Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics Electric Boat, the vessel is expected to be commissioned into service next spring. Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow with enhanced payload capabilities, replacing 12 individual vertical launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. This, among other design changes, reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.
Middle East & Africa
- Egypt has received delivery of the first of four Gowind 2500 corvettes ordered from French shipbuilder Naval Group—formerly DCNS. Delivered just 36 months after the order being placed, the ENS Elfateh was handed over in a ceremony at a Naval Group shipyard in Lorient before setting sail for Egypt on Saturday. Naval Group added that the Royal Malaysian Navy has also ordered six of the vessels.
- Saab announced that an unnamed customer has ordered its Giraffe 1X AESA radar system for an undisclosed sum. The firm added that the sale “further underlines Saab’s position as a supplier of world-leading protection against a wide range of air threats.” Giraffe 1X is a flexible and agile 3D active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, featuring the latest in radar technology, including gallium nitride (GaN) circuits. Compact and lightweight with unparalleled performance, Giraffe 1X is suited for changing needs and mobile forces. The complete radar is portable and can be transported on a pickup truck-sized vehicle.
- German military authorities have agreed to lift a ban on Tiger helicopter operations after a helicopter crashed while on UN deployment in Mali. However, the flights are being resumed with certain conditions such as restrictions on speed, weight and usage of autopilot system. A preliminary investigation into the wreckage of the downed helicopter did not point to a specific cause of the crash, but more thorough examinations are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks. Earlier this month, manufacturer Airbus warned Tiger pilots to be careful of rapid switches from autopilot to manual mode during turbulence, after initial indications showed that such a switch may have played a role in the July crash that killed both crew members.
- Sri Lankan media has reported that Columbo is interested in purchasing six ex-Indian Air Force Su-30K fighter aircraft that have been grounded in Belarus while Russia looks for a new buyer. 12 of the former Indian jets have already been sold to Angola. The Sri Lankan government had previously been looking at the Chinese-Pakistani JF-17, however,this was met with protest by India who in turn suggested a procurement of its own development, the LCA Tejas. Instead, the government turned its attention to the Su-30 as a possible third-party alternative, but a lack of trained pilots in the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) could prove fielding the fighters difficult without additional funding for a new fighter training program and more advanced training aircraft.
- A vice-president at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has taken his life, as South Korean authorities probe allegations of corruption at the firm. Kim In-sik, a former Brigadier General in the air force, had been in charge of overseas sales including the purchase of the T-50IQ trainer by Iraq—a deal that is now under scrutiny. In a three-page suicide note, Kim said he had done his best, “but it’s so unfortunate that things didn’t work out.”
- The Pakistan Navy tests an Exocet anti-ship missile: