General Atomics switch production to Gray Eagle ER | ATACMS hits another test-fire success | Saab tapped for NATO radar work in NorwayOct 13, 2017 05:00 UTC
- General Atomics announced this week that it has officially switched production of its MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAV over to the longer-range variant, the MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range. The new UAV will be tasked with long range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, in addition to aiding in communications relay and the delivery of weapons to assist ground forces. Recent endurance tests of the new long range drone saw it fly for 41.9 hours, significantly more than the 25-hour capability of the current variant. The firm said the first four MQ-1C ER aircraft are currently being used for developmental testing and will progress to follow-on operational test and evaluation next spring 2018, with customer deliveries of MQ-1C ER to proceed from summer 2018.
- John Rood, a senior executive at Lockheed Martin, has been selected by US President Donald Trump to fill the empty position of undersecretary of defense for policy. Prior tobeing awarded the Pentagon’s No. 3 job, Rood had also worked for arms maker Raytheon Inc and was a State Department and National Security Council official in the George W. Bush administration. He has also served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for forces policy and spent 11 years as a CIA analyst following missile programs in foreign countries. His position is still subject to Senate confirmation.
- Lockheed Martin conducted the successful test-firing of the MGM 140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The flight was a system-level test conducted in collaboration with the US Army’s Precision Fires Rocket & Missile Systems (PFRMS) Program Management Office. Other test objectives included the missile’s performance range and accuracy from launch to impact, validating the interface with the soldier-manned M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher, and testing system software performance. The firm said that the ATACMS missile flew more than 86 miles and demonstrated a proximity sensor height-of-burst detonation over the target area, meaning the missile exploded in the air versus on contact with the ground or intended target. The ATACMS’ current Life Extension Program aims to replace ageing components of the system and the program will see 150 missiles modernized.
Middle East & Africa
- Turkish electronics company Aselsan has signed a $43.6 million contract to supply communications systems to Ukraine’s state-owned defence conglomerate UkrOboronProm. Deliveries of the systems are expected to take place in 2018. The firm is also chasing a contract to supply very high frequency (VHF) radios to the Ukrainian armed forces, where it is facing competition from the US radio giant Harris Corp. Both Ukraine and Turkey have been looking to expand bilateral defence industry relations since 2016, with both Aselsan and UkrOboronProm signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May to source an avionics suite for the Antonov An-158 airliner and An-178 military transport aircraft.
- The Netherlands has been cleared by the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to proceed with the purchase of AIM-120 C-7 medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM). Estimated at $53 million, the package calls for 26 AIM-120s, one AMRAAM Guidance Section Spare (MDE items), 20 AMRAAM Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM), missile containers, control section spares, weapon systems support, test equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training, training equipment, US Government and contractor engineering, logistics, technical support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. Raytheon will act as lead contractor.
- Saab has been contracted by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) in Luxembourg to carry out upgrades on three SINDRE I air surveillance radars in Norway. Work on the radars will start this year and run through to 2020, with Saab replacing obsolete hardware as well as updating the software for the radars. Saab Technologies Norway and Saab Defense and Security USA will work on the project in Halden, Norway, and Syracuse, NY, respectively. Sindre 1 radars are part of NATO’s chain of radar systems and have been in operation in Norway since the early 1990s.
- A cybersecurity hack last year which stole non-classified information on defense programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft, and JDAM was done through an Australian defense contractor. The Australian defense industry ministry confirmed Thursday that about 30 gigabytes of data was stolen in the cyber attack, where the hacker accessed the small contractor’s systems for five months in 2016, and the “methodical, slow and deliberate,” choice of target suggested a nation-state actor could be behind the raid. A spokesman for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), a government agency, said the government would not release further details about the cyber attack.
- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Russia will donate assault rifles to support Manilla’s fight against pro-Islamic State militants operating in the archipelago. Duterte told troops that a deal is expected to be signed later this month for 5,000 Kalashnikovs and would end a reliance by the Philippine military on second-hand arms. A defense official added that deliveries of the rifles will take place later this month to coincide with a visit by Russia’s defense minister for a regional meeting, and will be accompanied by millions of rounds of ammunition and dozens of army trucks.
- The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS):