India cancels Spike missile buy ahead of Bibi’s visit | Norway suspends UAE arms sales over Yemen War | Scorpion jet integrated with US AFRL AgilePodJan 04, 2018 05:00 UTC
- Textron Airland’s self-funded Scorpion light attack/Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) jet has been integrated with the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) AgilePod multi-sensor reconfigurable pod at only a few weeks’ notice. Work took place at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and it is the first time the USAF-trademarked pod was fit-tested on a commercially-built manned platform. Already integrated on Special Operations aircraft like the MQ-9 Reaper UAV, the pod takes advantage of the AFRL Sensors Directorate Blue Guardian Open Adaptable Architecture construct and Sensor Open System Architectures—which enables rapid integration of sensor technologies through standardized software and hardware interfaces that enable the pod to seamlessly integrate on platforms that use the standard architectures—thus increasing the number of missions the pod can augment, expanding the scope of ISR mission possibilities.
- The USAF has awarded Boeing with a $17.5 million contract modification to provide engineering sustainment support onboard C/KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, the Department of Defense (DoD) has established negotiated prices for the contract’s option II which along with engineering services, caters for airframe components, mechanical and electrical systems, as well as subsystems and their components. Contract completion is scheduled for September 13, 2019, after work at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, along with subsidiaries in Huntsville, Alabama and San Antonio, Texas.
Middle East-North Africa
- The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has announced the suspension of all arms exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), over the Gulf state’s participation in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. While the ministry said that no evidence exists of Norwegian-made ammunition being used in the conflict, there was a rising risk related to the UAE’s military involvement there—thus the necessity to temporarily revoke existing export permits and cease to issue any new ones. Reuters reports that Norwegian exports of weapons and ammunition to the UAE rose to $9.7 million in 2016 from $5.05 million in 2015.
- Egypt’s AH-64 Apache helicopter fleet will be fitted with Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor System (M-TADS/PNVS) kits, following the award of a foreign military sales (FMS) contract modification by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to Lockheed Martin. Work on the $25 million contract, which includes spares, will take place at Orlando, Florida, with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2020. The M-TADS/PNVS system is designed to integrate onto the AH-64 Apache, giving operators a long range, precision engagement and pilotage solution for day, night, and adverse weather missions. Egypt operates at least 45 Apache helicopters following orders in 2003 and a follow on order in 2009—the latter delivered in late 2014 to help counter jihadists operating in the Sinai desert after the sale was suspended after the military ousted the elected president Mohamed Morsi.
- France finished 2017 with the delivery of its first C-130J tactical transport aircraft on December 22, Flight Global reports. Touching down at Orléans air base, its second transporter will follow later this year, while a pair of KC-130J tanker/transport variants will follow in 2019. Meanwhile, UK firm Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group received a contract to provide engineering services for the French air force’s 14-strong fleet of C-130H transports. While the value of the support deal was not disclosed, the agreement will “ensure the delivery of support to the French air force C-130H aircraft to enable improved availability,” and will be “followed by four years of full service delivery, with two additional option periods,” the firm added.
- Israeli missile specialist Rafael has got the jump on the Indian Defense Ministry, telling media Wednesday that New Dehli has cancelled a $500 million order for Spike anti-tank missiles. The firm said that it “regrets the decision and remains committed to cooperating with the Indian Ministry of Defence and to its strategy of continuing to work in India, an important market, as it has for more than two decades, to provide India with the most advanced and innovative systems.” While Indian officials had no immediate comment on the cancellation, it is believed that the ordering of such missiles would “adversely impact the program for indigenous development of the weapon system by DRDO [India’s Defense Research and Development Organization],” according to Indian media. News of the cancellation comes less than two weeks before a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India, and follows last summer’s visit by his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to Israel last summer. Rafael’s CEO, who is to join Netanyahu on the trip (awkward), said the cancellation was made prior to the signing of the final contract and despite the firm’s compliance with all demands. However, a consolation thrown out by New Delhi on Tuesday—the same day the Spike deal was officially dumped—is the $70 million for 131 Barak anti-air missiles for its first aircraft carrier.
- The beefing up of the Philippine Navy’s capabilities are set to get a boost this year, with deliveries of Rafael Spike E-R (Extended Range) missiles—for use on Manilla’s brand-new multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC)—scheduled for very early in the first quarter of this year. Adding to the missiles, the first delivery of two AgustaWestland AW-159 Wildcat anti-submarine helicopters will be completed by the end of 2018, with the second model coming in early 2018. A government spokesperson said the Wildcats will be based on two frigates ordered from South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, without giving any further information.
- Indian Navy MiG-29K veers off runway and catches fire at Goa Airport: