COBRA mine detection system gains IOC | First flight of S-97 Raider planned for early 2018 | IAF prepares for mass expressway landing exerciseOct 17, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Following the withdrawal of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS John S. McCain and Fitzgerald from service, the US Navy has issued the unscheduled deployment of the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas. This will allow the USS O’Kane—originally scheduled for deployment with the 5th and 6th Fleet around Europe and the Middle East—to instead be deployed to the 7th Fleet operating in the west Pacific, where it will take over ballistic missile defense (BMD) duties left by the untimely departure of both the McCain and Fitzgerald, which suffered catastrophic damage in separate incidents during the summer. The McCain and Fitzgerald collisions have spotlighted issues in the Navy’s 7th Fleet, based out of Japan, as the collisions bring to the fore leadership failures and diminishing training standards, based on Congressional testimony alluding to naval crews being overworked and spread thin. Two top officers on the McCain—which collided with a much lager cargo vessel near Singapore in August—have since lost their posts “due to a loss of confidence,” and have been reassigned.
- The US Navy has awarded Initial Operational Capability (IOC) to the service’s latest airborne mine detection system, the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA). The system can be integrated on the MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned air system and can detect and localize minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach zone area, keeping sailors and marines out of harms way on a potential landing zone. Part of the littoral combat ship’s (LCS) suite of mine countermeasures (MCM) systems, COBRA’s next test will involve at-sea trails onboard a LCS vessel equipped with a full MCM package, where it will fly various missions over beaches, while demonstrating system suitability for operating from the LCS.
- Following the crash of the first S-97 Raider prototype in August, manufacturer Sikorsky has traced the cause of the crash to a software issue and has corrected the problem in a simulator. Speaking on the incident, Sikorsky vice-president Chris Van Buiten said the crash was caused by “a very sophisticated fly-by-wire flight control issue,” adding that he did not see any requirement for hardware changes, and praised how all the systems behaved in the hard landing, including the fuselage, landing gear, seats and fuel systems. A second prototype, which had not been completely built at the time of the August crash, is expected to fly early next year. The helicopter is a development as part of the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program.
Middle East & Africa
- Tusas Engine Industries (TEI) of Turkey has completed development of the PD170 turboprop engine it has developed for the TAI-built Anka UAV. The Turkish Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM) commissioned TEI to develop the PD170 in 2012 as part of the Ankara’s drive to increase the number of locally-developed defense products and decrease reliance on foreign hardware. With development complete, TEI will proceed to supply the PD170 to TAI for integration and testing with the Anka, and engine and civil certification is expected to be completed in 2018. TAI are currently building ten Anka’s for the Turkish military, but the inclusion of domestically-developed components such as the PD170 could allow for opportunities to export the armed UAV to markets such as the Middle East and Central Asian, which until now, has been heavily dominated by Chinese-made products.
- The European unit of General Dynamics has reached an agreement with the Romanian government that will allow for the manufacturing of Piranha V armored fighting vehicles (AFV) at Romania’s state-owned Bucharest Mechanical Factory. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed, as many as 227 AFVs will be supplied to the Romanian Land Forces as part of its ongoing efforts to replace Soviet-designed gear with new vehicles. Bucharest Mechanical Factory is one of 15 factories owned by the state-owned defense group Romarm—established in 2000 with the aim of integrating Romania’s state-owned defense industry.
- Azerbaijan announced the successful field testing of its Buk-MB anti-aircraft missile system. The exercise, observed by the country’s defense minister, saw air defense units operate in conditions of complex electronic warfare jamming, where they detected, tracked and destroyed a series of small-sized air targets. Upgraded by Belarus in 2013, the Buk-MB comprises of six 9A310MB self-propelled transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicles, each mounting four SAMs (a total of 24 missiles), and three 9A39MB transporter erector launcher (transloader) vehicles. The transloaders can transport eight missiles, of which four can be fired from the elevatable platform (for a total of 12 missiles) if required.
- Preparations are underway in India for a scheduled October 24 test that will see Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft land on a stretch of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. The war drill will see more than 20 aircraft take off and land on the expressway and is likely to include fighters such as the Sukhoi, Tejas, Mikoyan MiG-29, Dassault Mirage 2000, Jaguar, MiG-27ML, MiG-21, as well as transport aircraft such as the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Ilyushin Il-76MD and Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules. Opened in November 2016, the Agra-Lucknow Expressway is a 302-km six-lane expressway which can be expanded to 8 lanes and goes via Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Oraia, Kannauj, Hardoi,Kanpur Nagar and Unnao in the state of Utter Pradesh.
- New Zealand’s new government is expected to evaluate the business case for the replacement of the RNZAF C-130H Hercules fleet by the end of the year. Lockheed Martin, the ageing C-130’s manufacturer, said it is already working with Wellington on how many flying hours the five planes have left, but will also likely enter its new model Hercules C130J into a tender expected next year. This Super Hercules will face off against competition from Embraer, Kawasaki, and Airbus.
- Azerbijan tests Buk-MB air defense missile system: