Trump’s Asia trip: More arms for allies | F-35 aircraft and simulators delivered to Norway, Israel | Japan plans visit to Hawaiian Aegis facility |Nov 08, 2017 05:00 UTC
- General Electric will conduct the overhaul and recapitalization of the T700 series of engine in support of US Army Blackhawk and Apache helicopters. Valued at $84 million, the contract follows the $1 billion December 2016 award that called for 2,500 T700 engines to support all four branches of the US military, including the US Coast Guard and foreign military sales, through 2019. The overhaul is expected to be completed by November 2, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
- Israel’s next F-35i delivery is expected later this week with two aircraft scheduled to touch down at Nevatim air base, bringing its current fleet to nine. Tel Aviv will add a dedicated test aircraft in 2019 to support future software and equipment updates, and deliveries of its currently planned 50-strong fleet will be completed in 2027. A cabinet decision to whether to order additional F-35is in order to equip a third squadron will be made next year.
- Three Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighters touched down at Ørland Air Base on Friday, November 3, the first of Norway’s ordered units to be permanently based in the country. Seven are currently stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where pilots are undergoing training, and manufacturer Lockheed Martin has already commenced deliveries of F-35 training simulators to international customers, of which Norway stands alongside Israel, Italy and Japan as recipients. These simulators will allow for more in-house training of F-35 pilots to take place instead of recruits having to travel to the US. Oslo plans to acquire 52 F-35As at a rate of six per year up until 2024 as part of its F-16 Fighting Falcon replacement program.
- The Romanian government will buy H215 and H215m Super Puma helicopters from IAR S.A. Brasov, a domestic partner of the rotorcraft’s manufacturer Airbus who has helped market the helicopters to Romania and prospective third-party export customers. Over the course of the fifteen year agreement, Airbus anticipates that Romania could acquire up to 60 H215/H215m to supplant its legacy Puma and aging Super Puma helicopters. Airbus recently brought the H215/H215m Super Puma production line to offer an affordable competitor to the Russian Helicopters Mi-171. The Brasov facility had until then produced over 360 helicopters, including the IAR 330 Puma, for domestic and overseas markets.
- BAE Systems announced an order received by the Swedish Defense and Material Administration for the delivery of 254 additional Bofors 155mm BONUS artillery rounds for its military. The munition is used on the BAE-built Archer Artillery System, a next-generation self-propelled howitzer developed for the Swedish and Norwegian armies, and capable of successfully detecting and combating heavily armored vehicles within 35 kilometers. When BONUS smart ammunition is fired from the system, its carrier shell separates to deploy two sensor-fuzed munitions that then search for targets within a given footprint, up to 32,000 square meters. Each of the two expelled munitions independently seeks and neutralizes its own target. Production on the contract will take place at BAE Systems’ facility in Karlskoga, Sweden, and delivery is scheduled for sometime in 2019.
- Lockheed Martin will undertake the modernization and upgrade of four P-3B aircraft for the government of Greece. The US Department of Defence (DoD) contract is valued at $260 million and supports structural mid-life upgrades, tailored phased depot maintenance, a country-specific designed mission integration and management system, and new avionics that is aimed at providing a service life extension of 15,000 flight hours per aircraft. Work will be carried out primarily in Georgia, USA (38%), and Greece (36%), as well as other locations across the North America and Israel. The overhaul is scheduled to be completed by December 2023.
- As US President Donald Trump continues his trip through Asia, three US carrier strike groups will conduct exercises in the Western Pacific. The Commander-in-Chief’s first stop was Japan, where he guaranteed his Japanese counterpart Shizo Abe would “shoot ‘em [North Korean ballistic missiles] out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States.” Japan, under its war-renouncing Constitution, can shoot down a missile only when it is aimed at the country or in case debris are falling onto its territory. In South Korea, Trump’s visit was met by the South’s presidential office announcing the immediate start of discussions with the United States on developing the Asian nation’s military capabilities, including deploying the latest surveillance assets, to help counter Northern aggression. Pyongyang has not committed a missile launch in over 53 days, the longest such lull in testing this year.
- Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera is scheduled to visit the US Navy’s Aegis Ashore test facility in Hawaii during a visit to the volcanic archipelago US state next January. Washington conducts missile intercept tests at the complex on Kauai Island, and Onodera will visit to learn more about the operation of the system and issues it should take into account when introducing the system to its self-defense forces. Tokyo is keen to procure the system as part of its land-based air defense network from North Korean ballistic missiles.
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