Bahrain the latest Gulf state to express interest in S-400 | More Skyshields wanted by Indonesia | Greece approved for F-16 upgrade program, DCSAOct 19, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Harris Corp. has received a series of contracts from the US Department of Defense (DoD) for wares totalling nearly $900 million. The first, announced last Friday, is the $133 million order for Lot 14 ALQ-214(V)4/5 integrated defensive electronic counter-measures jammers that will protect US Navy and Australian F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft. Harris said the equipment will be used on F/A-18C/D/E/F variants with deliveries expected to be completed by May of 2020. The second deal is a five-year, $765 million ceiling, single-award IDIQ contract to provide tactical radios and ancillary devices to the Navy and Marine Corps. It replaces a $300 million IDIQ contract that expired in August and includes the Harris AN/PRC-117G, AN/PRC-152A and the new AN/PRC-160 wideband HF/VHF radio, as well as peripheral attachments to support handheld, manpack, vehicular and base station mission needs.
Middle East & Africa
- Kuwait has been cleared by the US State Department to proceed with the purchase of M1A1 Abrams tanks. The proposed deal, which still can be blocked by US Congress, covers the supply of 218 tank hulls with 120mm guns and AGT-1500 engines from current US stocks. At an estimated cost of $29 million, the Kuwaiti purchase supports the gulf state’s M1A2 tank recapitalization program and includes transportation and other logistics support for the tanks.
- Boeing has been awarded a $240.2 million US Department of Defense (DoD) contract for the provision of an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). The fixed-price-incentive firm contract calls for the provision of AWACS mission computing, navigation and communication upgrades and enhanced target acquisition systems to rapidly distinguish between friend or foe. Work will take place at Oklahoma City, Okla., with a scheduled completion date of February 2019. The sale comes under the first phase of of the RSAF’s AWACS recapitalisation program.
- The Commander of Bahrain’s Royal Guard, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad El Khalifa, confirmed ongoing negotiations with Russia over the purchase of the S-400 air defense system, joining Saudi Arabia and Turkey as the latest governments in the region to look at the system. The three deals, which are at various stages of negotiation and payment, mark Russia’s brisk entry into the Arab Gulf market which has traditionally been loyal to buying big ticket items from the US and other Western suppliers. If the sale goes ahead, Bahrain will have a multi-layered land-based air defence system capable of engaging targets at up to 400 km, which will cut into Iranian territory, albeit at high-altitude.
- Airbus has selected Spanish defense electronics firm Indra to develop a tactical and integrated procedures simulation trainer for pilots of the former’s new A330 MRTT aerial refueling tanker. Indra’s Integrated Procedures Trainer (IPT) will be connected to the Partial Training system (PTT) used by boom operators to learn how to handle the refueling tube for supplying fuel to the aircraft, and will allow pilots to familiarize themselves with the systems of the A330 MRTT tanker and practice situations impossible to reproduce using a real plane, such as engine failure, aircraft stall and emergency landings. Previous work with Airbus has seen Indra develop simulators for Airbus’ commercial A320 and A330 aircraft and Airbus helicopters’ H135, H225, H175, H145 and AS350.
- Serbia’s Defense Ministry is looking to Belarus as the supplier for new fighter jets and an S-300 air defense system. A deal is expected to be signed in November during a state visit to Minsk by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic where he will meet with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko. While the ministry did not disclose how much the procurements would cost, Belgrade is seeking seven additional MiG-29 fighters to add to the six second-hand models recently handed over for free from Russia. The six Russian hand-me-downs are still in need of upgrading, with the bill to be fitted by Serbian taxpayers.
- The Royal Greek Air Force’s F-16 fleet has been approved for a potential upgrade program by the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). Costed at an estimated $2.404 billion, 123 jets will be modified to the Block V configuration by Lockheed Martin, however, only 26 jets will have their Advanced Self-Protection Integrated Suite (ASPIS) upgraded from I to II standard. The potential sale was announced the same day Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsirpas met with US President Donald Trump at the White House.
- Indonesia’s Air Force chief of staff announced his service’s desire to acquire a further eleven sets of the Skyshield air defense system. Manufactured by Oerlikon—now a unit of Rheinmettal Defense—four Skyshield systems are currently defending air bases in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Makassar, and Pontianak, and feature a 35 mm multirole cannon that can fire 1,000 rounds per minute and precision-guided shells that can down enemy aircraft. In 2016, Jakarta announced plans to forward deploy the Skyshield to the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea, where the Air Force has requested additional air defense systems for an expanded air wing at the nearby Ranai air base. The plan to expand the Ranai base has been considered since 2015, as a portion of China’s “nine dash line” claim passes through Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone extending from the Natunas, creating unease among defense officials that Beijing may in the future lay claim to oil and gas deposits in the region.
- Greek PM Alexis Tsipras rides in a soon-to-be-upgraded HAF F-16D: