Leonardo deliver Falco Evo drone to ME | MiG-35 export targets set at $10 billion | Norwegian opposition criticise arms exports to Saudi ArabiaNov 16, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $44.1 million contract for the provision of Intelligence Test Instrumentations Kits for use on the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM). The kits—which have been upgraded to eliminate obsolete parts from previous generation test kits and provide a new product that can be used on several different missiles including JASSM baseline and Extended Range missiles, as well as the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)—will be used on the missile’s flight tests for telemetry and flight termination purposes. Speaking on the new kits, Lockheed said the “electronic components in this new kit will provide enhanced reliability over the previous generation’s mechanical configuration.”
- Italy’s Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group will jointly bid to sell the FREMM frigate to Canada, a concrete first step in establishing what has been dubbed “the Naval Airbus.” The frigate had been jointly developed by both countries for use in their navies but has since then been marketed separately—Italy is pitching the vessel to Australia while France has sold units to Egypt and Morocco. The Royal Canadian Navy is looking for 15 such frigates.
Middle East & Africa
- Leonardo used the Dubai Airshow to announce the delivery of its Falco EVO tactical unmanned aerial system to unnamed customers in the Middle East. Assembly of the first unit was completed at Leonardo’s facility in Italy in August prior to testing and delivery to customers in September. The drone is used as a surveillance and intelligence-gathering platform that can fly for more than 20 hours while carrying a payload of up to 100 kg. It is Leonardo’s longest-endurance model from its Falco RPAS family.
- Despite testing issues and delivery delays, Boeing has been aggressively marketing its new KC-46A tanker aircraft to Middle East governments at this year’s Dubai Airshow. There is a high demand for aerial tankers in the region as the US Air Force’s (USAF) tanker fleet supports the Saudi Arabian-led aerial campaign in Yemen with air refuelling, and the airshow is being used by Boeing as an opportunity to get governments to augment their tanker capabilities or switch allegiances. But the US airframer will have its work cut out for them—rival Airbus has recently delivered its A330 tanker to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
- Russian export targets for its MiG-35 have been set at over $10 billion, ahead of the fighter’s release for export next year. Speaking to Bloomberg, Director General of RSK MiG, Ilya Tarasenko, said as many as 30 countries that fly the older MiG-29 have approached the firm about upgrading their existing fleets or adding extra planes at this week’s Dubai Airshow. The MiG-35 is based on the older MiG-29, boasting a greater range and weapons load, and reduced radar signature making it ideal for Middle East environments. Egypt has already ordered 24 of the fighters, while the UAE hopes to incorporate Russian fighters with its US-made air platforms (although this has been met with skepticism by some US military officials).
- Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter will be considered by Bulgaria as a potential fighter candidate as part of its MiG-29 replacement program. Other candidates expected to receive a request for proposals this month are Lockheed Martin’s F-16, Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon. A winner is hoped to be chosen by the end of July 2018, and $890.9 million has been made available for the acquisition. The new competition comes as Sofia scrapped a decision by an earlier interim government to go for the JAS-39 Gripen earlier this year. If the Super Hornet is selected, Bulgaria will be the first operator Boeing hardware in Eastern Europe.
- The Norwegian arms industry is the latest to come under fire for selling arms and equipment to Saudi Arabia, over the Gulf kingdom’s ongoing military conduct in Yemen. Opposition leaders from a number of political parties led by the Socialist Left Party (SV) have been recently scrutinising Norwegian arms export policy and have been pushing for tighter export controls to the industry, which made $442 million in sales in 2016, an increase of 10% on the previous year. SV lawmaker Petter Eide called for “more checks and balances to our exports that prevent the weapons and munitions we export from being used in conflicts, such as the war in Yemen where Saudi Arabia is the key actor. Norway’s foreign ministry is unable to say if Norwegian weapons are being used in such conflicts,” he added. Rocket engines, weapon systems and ammunition are among Norway’s leading export products, with Kongsberg and Nammo its biggest arms exporters.
- A US Department of Defense (DoD)contract has tapped Bell-Boeing for “field representative and logistic support services” in support of Japanese V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. Valued at just of $10 million, the cost-plus-fixed-fee contract will be mostly carried out at Camp Kisarazu, Japan, with other work taking place in Pennsylvania and Florida. Scheduled completion is set for December 2019. Japan received the first of its 19 ordered Ospreys in August.
- The JAS-39 Gripen and JF-17 at the Dubai Airshow: