DSCA clears Patriots for Poland | Leonardo look for additional partners for new attack helicopter | China to establish defense facility in ThailandNov 20, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Raytheon has received a $79 million contract for the installation of telemetry equipment on future US Navy Gulfstream G550 Range Support Aircraft. The solution will be based within the G550 airborne early warning airframe and will offer multi-role capabilities in telemetry data collection, range safety and surveillance, and communications relay. Once operational, the Range Support Aircraft will be able to collect and process telemetry data from missiles, aircraft, UAVsand ships, and the firm states that the platform will be able “to support advanced weapons testing and other missions for the next 25 years.” The latest high-tech jet is expected to replace the Navy’s traditional telemetry test aircraft, which has been in service since the 1970s.
- The Navy awarded Raytheon a $7.7 million firm-fixed-price modification to an existing contract for the procurement of spares for the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) under 2016-2017 Block I multi-year production requirements. The majority of the work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and other locations across the US, Germany, Australia, Canada, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands and Greece, with a scheduled completion time of May 2020. In other missile news, Raytheon said it would not offer an air-to-air variant of the Extended-Range (ER) AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). Instead, the AMRAAM-ER will be offered as a ground-launched, air defence missile for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS)—a joint development between Raytheon and Norway’s Kongsberg.
Middle East & Africa
- Turkey has expressed an interest in obtaining the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), HMS Ocean, once the vessel is decommissioned by British Royal Navy. The vessel is being offered for the relatively low upfront cost of $105 million, and has also received interest from the cash-conscious Brazilian government. It can carry up to 40 vehicles, 830 troops, and can support 18 helicopters covering a range of sizes from the heavyweight Chinook and Merlin to lightweight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters such as the AW159. Ankara is currently producing its own LHD—the TCG Anadolu—with support from Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, and purchasing the HMS Ocean could be used as a a training platform ahead of the Anadolu’s expected delivery to the Turkish Navy in 2021. Outside of the Mediterranean, the vessel could also be used to support operations where Turkey has established a military base—such as in Mogadishu, Somalia, where it is training local forces—without the need of building extensive infrastructure.
- Saudi Arabia and Turkey are in discussions for the former to purchase Turkish Aerospace Industry’s (TAI) Anka medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV. Six drones in addition to two ground control stations are included in the deal, and the Gulf kingdom is also believed to be pursuing a technology transfer as part of any deal. However, Saudi-Turkish discussions have dragged since their inception in 2013, partly due to budgetary and administrative restrictions imposed by low oil prices resulting in Riyadh having to request a lower price on the sale.
- The US State Department has notified Congress that it is allowing the possible sale of the Patriot air defense system to Poland. Released through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the statement calls for the first phase purchase of a two-phase program for an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)-enabled Patriot Configuration-3+ with Modernized Sensors and Components. Valued at an estimated $10.4 billion, the package consists of 4 AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, 4 engagement control stations, 4 Radar Interface Units (RIU) modification kits, 16 M903 Launching stations adapted, 18 Launcher Integrated Network Kits (LINKs) (includes 2 spares), 208 Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles, 11 PAC-3 MSE test missiles, IBCS software, 2 future operations – IBCS Engagement Operations Centers (EOCs), 6 current operations-IBCS EOCs, 6 engagement operations-IBCS EOCs, 15 Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN relays, 4 Electrical Power Plants (EPP) III, and 5 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems/Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVTs). Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman have all been listed as prime contractors on the deal, and as many as 42 US Government and 55 contractor representatives will travel to Poland for an extended period for equipment de-processing/fielding, system checkout, training, and technical and logistics support. While Warsaw has also requested offsets as part of the purchase, a decision will be announced upon negotiations between contractors and the Polish government. Current NATO allies that already operate the system on the continent include the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Greece, while Romania is also obtaining the system.
- Russia is to commence the modernization of the Tu-22M3 supersonic bomber from next year. To be dubbed the Tu-22M3M, the first upgraded aircraft will fly in 2018 after receiving new advanced precision weapons such as the Kh-32 cruise missile, while its radio-electronic devices and engines will be similar to the avionics aboard the latest Tu-160M2 aircraft and includes the SVP-24-22 radio-electronic system and NV-45 radar. Moscow operates approximately 62 Tu-22M3 aircraft and plans to have 30 of these upgraded to the new standard, however, sources close to the program have said that the timeframe of modernization and the number of upgraded aircraft will depend “on the enterprise’s capacities and on how work will proceed on the first planes.”
- Italian firm Leonardo is looking for additional partner nations to take part in its new attack helicopter program and successor to Italy’s AW129 Mangusta fleet. To be known as the AW249, the new helicopter is being financed under a $515 million contract awarded by Rome in January of this year which aims to see its 48 Mangusta’s phased out from 2025. But the firm are claiming that the helicopter “is not just for Italy.” Speaking to Flight Global, chief commercial officer Lorenzo Mariani said “It is a basis for collaboration – we believe that other nations can join this project.”
- Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute (DTI) announced plans to set up a joint defense facility with China that will produce and maintain Chinese military equipment purchased by Bangkok. While specific details are subject to future negotiations, the facility will be located in Thailand’s northeastern province of Khon Kaen in cooperation with China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO)—whose output includes a wide range of firearms, artillery, anti-tank weaponry, and tanks. News of the facility—and discussions on a new Chinese naval centre to serve submarines Thailand ordered this year—point to a growing defense relationship between Beijing and Bangkok, particularly since the United States and Western countries downgraded ties after the army seized power in 2014. Recent big ticket purchased include $320 million procurement of 49 Chinese tanks and 34 armored vehicles in 2015, and a $1 billion procurement of three new submarines.
- US Navy pilots grounded after this rather rude display: