Indonesia finally inks Su-35 deal with Russia | Boeing begrudgingly expresses interest in Canada’s fighter comp, say source | HMS Ocean sold to BrazilFeb 19, 2018 05:00 UTC
- All three variants of the F-35 have been cold weather tested by the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team (JOTT) at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The testing comes ahead of the aircraft’s stationing at Eielson from 2020, which poses some of the harshest environments that the fighter will operate in, and was part of the pre-Initial Operational Testing and Evaluation test event for the fighter. Speaking on the event, Robert Behler, Director, Operational Test & Evaluation Office of the Secretary of Defense, said: “Being here and showing the aircraft’s ability to operate in this environment will tell a lot of people we have a credible weapon system.”
- The British Royal Navy’s fleet flagship, HMS Ocean, has been sold to the Brazilian government for $117 million. Scheduled to be decommissioned next month, the amphibious assault ship and helicopter carrier will then undergo modifications—funded by Brazil and carried out by BAE Systems and Babcock—before sailing to South America in the summer. Profits from the sale, said to be in the region of $77 million, is expected to be pumped back into naval coffers.
- Three sources quoted by Reuters have said Boeing has notified the Canadian government that it is interested in bidding for a new contract to supply the Royal Canadian Air Force with 88 new fighters. It was unknown whether the firm—which fell foul with Ottawa last year by launching a trade challenge against Canadian firm Bombardier, accusing it of dumping airliners in the American market—would enter the competition after it avoided an information day on the C$15 billion ($12.1 billion) program earlier this month. However, Boeing did let Canada know it was interested, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The decision does not mean the firm will necessarily put forward its F-18 Super Hornet. Specifications are expected to be released by Ottawa next year.
Middle East & Africa
- Lockheed Martin was awarded Thursday, February 16, a $13.9 million US Navy contract modification to supply initial spares for F-35 deliveries to Israel. The agreement tasks Lockheed with the “procurement of initial air vehicle spares to include endurance spares packages to coincide with F-35 air vehicle deliveries” to Tel Aviv, the Pentagon said. Work will take place across the continental United State and in the United Kingdom, with a scheduled completion date set for December 2021.
- NATO announced Thursday, February 15, that Poland and Canada will join the alliance’s program to field a new maritime patrol aircraft in the next decade. The two countries will join France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey in the effort, which looks to find follow-on solutions for aging maritime anti-submarine and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft which will come to the end of their operational lives between 2025 and 2035. Speaking at the signing ceremony, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller encouraged the participants to “push on to the implementation phase. The goal here isn’t just a drawing board design–we need a new generation of aircraft, in the air, fulfilling what is an increasingly important mission”.
- The Belgian government may not have to decide between the the F-35 or the Eurofighter Typhoon as its F-16 replacement if the offers aren’t value for money, a Belgian lawmaker has said. The comment was made by Richard Miller, the deputy of the centre-right Reformist Movement (MR) that forms part of the ruling coalition, who said that if either of the two “do not meet the criteria for the best value for money” the panel could look at Dassault’s Rafale or Saab’s Gripen. While France did not officially respond to the competition, it maintains that it has more to offer than what was explicitly expressed in the tender documents, which it feels were too restricted, and advances the idea of a “deep and structured partnership”, as part of stimulating the European Defence program.
- Austria is to review a decision by the previous government to end its Eurofighter program early, however, it has ruled out any further business with the consortium until compensation has been paid for damages. Defence Minister Mario Kunasek’s Social Democratic predecessor Hans Peter Doskozil started an unprecedented legal battle with consortium member Airbus a year ago, accusing them of fraud and wilful deception in connection with a $2 billion 2003 Eurofighter order. While Airbus and the consortium deny the Austrian allegations, the firm paid German prosecutors also investigating the deal $99 million to drop their snooping. Last July, Doskozil said Austria planned to end its Eurofighter program early and replace it with a cheaper alternative fleet of aircraft bought or leased from another government. Kunasek, a member of the far-right Freedom Party who took up the post in December, told a press conference that while he will take into account the findings of a task force set up by Doskozil, he does not feel bound by Doskozil’s decision to end the Eurofighter program early.
- Russia’s Interfax news agency reports that Indonesia has finally inked contracts for the purchase of 11 Su-35 fighter aircraft. The agreement comes after two years of negotiations and will involve Jakarta supplying goods such as rubber and palm oil to help fund part of the acquisition, and it is believed Moscow will also provide a loan. While Russia’s defense ministry didn’t mention the total price tag for the sale, the Indonesian defense ministry have budgeted a total of $1.5 billion for the purchase of up to 16 new fighter jets. It’s unclear whether the deal includes options for a further five. The first two jets are scheduled to arrive in October.
- HMS Ocean enters Davenport naval base for the final time: