Possible talks on selling the F-35 to the UAE | BAE complete Brimstone tests on Eurofighter | Scorpion to debut at Dubai air showNov 06, 2017 05:00 UTC
- A search through unclassified budget documents has revealed that the Pentagon has been secretly developing a long-range engagement weapon (LREW) that could replace or surpass the capabilities of the Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM. The discovery by Flight Global found that hidden away in an obscure budget line item for an Office of the Secretary of Defense account named “emerging capabilities technology development”, which is mostly reserved for small electronic warfare projects, had launched a a two-year engineering assessment of a new long-range engagement weapon (LREW) designed with the goal of “maintaining air dominance,” that when “successful, LREW will transition to multiple services.” An unclassified concept image of the potential LREW was also published last April, which showed a large, two-stage missile launched from an internal weapons bay of a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
- US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, a $19 million contract in support of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter parts production. The award is a modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee and fixed-price-incentive-firm-target contract signed in April 2015 for an estimated $2.24 billion for a over a four year period, and calls for the procurement of extra-long-lead items in support of the low-rate initial production Lot XII F-35 JSF aircraft. Items to be produced include hardware and aids for both the conventional takeoff and landing systems for USAF, Navy, as well as non-DoD partners and foreign military customers. It also covers short takeoff and vertical landing propulsion systems for the US Marine Corps version of the aircraft. Work will take place mainly at East Hartford, Ct., where United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines is located, as well as other locations across the country and overseas. Contract completion is scheduled for November 2019.
- Raytheon received Tuesday a modified $29 million contract for mission systems equipment for the Navy’s DDG 1000, or Zumwalt-class destroyer. The order calls for the firm to deliver total ship computing environment hardware, and software research, test and development for the Zumwalt—the largest and most technologically advanced guided missile surface combatant ship in the world. Work will be performed across the country, with 46 percent place in Portsmouth, Rhode Island., and the work is expected to be completed by September 2018.
Middle East & Africa
- A missile fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen was shot down by the Royal Saudi Air Force over the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The ballistic missile was intercepted near King Khaled Airport on the northern outskirts of the city, with fragments falling near the airport grounds, but air traffic carried on normally. Saudi Arabia, the lead interventionist in the ongoing civil war in Yemen, and which receives logistical and intelligence help from the US, accuse the Houthisof being a proxy of Iran.
- The Trump administration may consider selling the F-35 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of efforts to enhance security cooperation with the Gulf state. While no decision has been made on entering preliminary talks—a key first step to any eventual purchase—the F-35 has been sought by the Emiratis since 2011 but procurement requests were consistently rebuffed by the Obama administration. One reason often quoted is Israel’s so-called Qualitative Military Edge (QME), which supplies Tel Aviv with the weaponry and assistance it needs to unilaterally defend itself against any combination of regional foes—namely its often hostile Arab neighbours. But when considering the common threat that both Israel and the UAE see in Iran, and the time it would take for Abu Dhabi to negotiate a contract with Washington, let alone begin to take first deliveries, sources note that Israel will have enjoyed more than a decade of exclusivity as the only Air Force in the region to operate the F-35.
- A production standard model of the Textron AirLand Scorpion will debut at this year’s Dubai Air Show from November 12-16. Ahead of the Dubai display, the twin-jet light attack aircraft has also been tracked to Saudi Arabia, where it has been performing demonstration flights from Tabuk air base in Saudi Arabia, with Textron CEO Scott Donnelly describing the talks as at an early stage. The jet is touted as a low-cost light attack, ISR, and trainer aircraft, with potential markets identified including Middle East and African governments looking to boost counter-insurgency operations, as well as being entered in both the USAF’s T-X trainer competition, and demonstrated in the USAF’s OA-X light attack experiment in August.
- BAE Systems has completed firing tests of the Brimstone precision strike missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, paving the way for evaluation by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) in 2018. A total of nine firings and nine jettisons were conducted from the aircraft as part of the firm’s Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package, which aims to transfer capabilities from the Tornado GR4 onto the Eurofighter before the former is taken out of service in 2019. The flight trails, which commenced in July, covered a range of specific release scenarios, testing at various heights, speeds, levels of G-force and in different positions on the aircraft wing and in the launcher. It was also used to perform data analysis and models of the weapon’s performance, and was completed with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies, Airbus and Leonardo.
- An Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar combat aircraft has successfully dropped its indigenous Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) light weight glide bomb. Testing took place last week at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur with a total of three tests successfully conducted under different release conditions. The SAAW is developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), along with other laboratories of the DRDO and the Indian Air Force. Preparations are also underway for the testing the indigenous Nirbhay cruise missile this week, after the missile failed three of the last four launches. Changes made since the last launch include switching to a turbojet engine instead of the usual turbofan, and the fixing of wing deployment and navigation software problems.
- India’s latest test of its Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW):