Chinese-South Korean relations thaw over THAAD | KC-46 fix found, say USAF | Rheinmetall rails against German-Turkish rowNov 01, 2017 05:00 UTC
- The Armored Group (TAG), a Michigan-based armored vehicle supplier, has acquired two German-based armoring companies—JPA Armoring and Fahrzeugbau Stadthage. The merger includes both of the firms’ manufacturing facilities, tools, fixtures, intellectual property, designs, certifications and testing results, and will now operate as TAG Germany GmbH. TAG assured that key employees will be retained at TAG Germany with staff number to increase along with orders. The firm said that the acquisition will strengthen TAG’s market share in the European market and improve its service capability to global customers.
- Early test data gathered by the US Air Force (USAF) has led the service to be confident that a software solution could fix some deficiencies found in the Boeing KC-46 tanker aircraft. Speaking on the testing, Gen Carlton Everhart, commander of the USAF Air Mobility Command, said the reprograming could fix a high-frequency (HF) transmit as well as an “uncommanded boom extension”, although further testing will be required. The HF radio, which must be turned off to avoid electrical sparking between the boom and receiver, is now tolerable according to vendors, while the boom extension issue does not damage the aircraft.
Middle East & Africa
- General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems will provide the government of Iraq with 120mm insensitive munition high explosive with tracer tank (IM HE-T) ammunition cartridges. Valued at $93 million, the agreement falls under a firm-fixed-price foreign military sales contract, with GD responsible for any additional costs outside of that figure. Work will run through to October 26, 2022, with work locations to be determined with each other. 120mm IM HE-T is the primary ammunition used on M1 Abrams tanks.
- Rheimetall’s CEO has blasted the ongoing diplomatic spat between the Germany government and Turkey which has damaged relations and put a freeze on planned defense projects. Relations have been strained since the failed coup of 2016 against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the subsequent crackdown of opponents. Berlin has also refused to extradite people Turkey claim were involved in the plot. Armin Papperger, the German manufacturer’s CEO, said several defense projects had subsequently been put on hold, including the production of ammunition for fighter jets in Turkey and upgrades to Turkey’s Leopard tanks, and were still awaiting decisions by the two governments. Rheinmetall’s potential involvement in Turkey’s Altay tank program could also be in doubt—the firm has formed a joint venture with Turkey’s BMC to bid for the first tranche contract which would see 100-200 Altay units built.
- Having formed a joint entity with private Turkish company Kale Group in May, British engine maker Rolls-Royce intends to use the ‘Open General Export License’ issued by the UK government to secure its participation in Turkey’s next-generation TF-X fighter program. The license frees all British companies involved in the program to export the requisite technology necessary for the program to Turkey and is intended to support the British defense industry in Turkey. Rolls-Royce has already provided its CTS800 turboshaft engine for use on Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 ATAK attack helicopter, through its partnership in the Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC).
- Swedish defense contractor Saab announced two contracts for the delivery of next-generation light anti-tank (NLAW) and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to Finland and Brazil respectively. The Finnish order is the exercising of a 2015 contract option for the shoulder-fired NLAW and will be delivered to Helsinki next year. Meanwhile, Brazil ordered additional RBS 70 Very Short Range Air Defense, which includes launchers, training simulators, camouflage systems and associated equipment for operators and system maintainers. Systems will be delivered in 2018 and 2019. Saab did not disclose the value of both contracts.
- Relations between China and South Korea are set to normalise following a year-long dispute over the US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on the Korean peninsula. Korean firms operating in China, Chinese tourism to South Korea, and even K-Pop and television stars have all suffered from a boycott led by Beijing, which the Bank of Korea claim knocked about 0.4 percentage points off this year’s expected economic growth. Lotte Group, the sprawling chaebol whose land was chosen as the site for THAAD’s deployment was hardest hit, after its hypermarket and hotels in China faced severe sanctions. An agreement reached between the two will see both country’s leaders meet on the sidelines of the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries in Vietnam, scheduled for November 10-11. The detente comes just days before US President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia—a visit that has seen three US carrier strike groups assemble in the Pacific.
- As many as 200 North Korean construction workers are feared dead after the collapse of a tunnel being built at the regime’s Punggye-ri test site. The collapse, which is believed to have taken place on September 10, comes as prolonged underground nuclear testing shepherded by the god-king leader Kim Jong-un caused tremors and seismic shocks across the region. Pyongyang’s most recent nuclear test on September 3, one week before the tunnel collapse, led experts to claim that the test site was now more than likely unusable due to the activity.
- Russian MoD video of the Su-30SM: