Air Force One capped at $3.9 billion after Trump intervention | US Senators want more aid for Israeli missile defense | Russia reveals supersonic UAVMar 01, 2018 05:00 UTC
- A handshake agreement between the White House and Boeing has capped the cost of developing and producing new Air Force One aircraft at $3.9 billion, Defense News reports. According to a Boeing official, the price includes all previously definitized contracts—including a $600 million contract for design work and a still-undisclosed contract for two Boeing 747 planes—as well as the engineering, manufacturing and design contract, which has not yet been awarded. While the White House claimed the deal will save the taxpayer $1.4 billion, down from the $5 billion it said the program was estimated to cost, experts and officials close to the program said the actual estimate for the program was worth only around $4 billion, giving a grand saving of only $100 million.
- L-3 Technologies received Monday, February 26, a $25.6 million US Navy contract for datalink systems to be used on the service’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. The agreement tasks L-3 with the manufacture, testing, delivery, management, and support of the Common Data Link Hawklink AN/SRQ-4 system, which will give helicopters the ability to share sensor information in real time with naval surface ships. Work will occur in multiple locations across the US and Canada, with completion scheduled for August 2020.
- Raytheon will produce additional Small Diameter Bomb (SBD) IIs for the US Air Force, under a $77.3 million contract option exercised by the service on Tuesday, February 27. Under the terms of the deal, the firm will provide low rate initial production for 570 SDB II Lot 4 munitions, 398 SDB II Lot 4 single weapon containers, 126 SDB II Lot 4 dual weapon containers, 20 Production Reliability Incentive Demonstration Effort captive vehicles, 24 SDB II Lot 3 weapon load crew trainers /conventional munitions maintenance trainers, and other data. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be complete by July 31, 2020.
- The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a $158.2 million contract to a previously issued basic ordering agreement for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The agreement will see Lockheed undertake program management, nonrecurring engineering, recurring engineering, site support and touch labor in support of modification and retrofit activities for delivered air systems for F-35s for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participant, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. Work will take place at the firm’s Forth Worth facility, with the contract running until February 2019.
Middle East & Africa
- US Lawmakers returning from a trip to Israel have called for Washington to increase its military aid to Israel, specifically in a shortfall they found for missile systems. The United States and Israel signed an agreement in September 2016 to give Israel $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade, the largest such aid package in US history but one that included concessions by Israel’s government. Attracting bi-partisan support, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, and Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chris Coons, said they considered the provision of $38 billion over 10 years, “a floor.” Graham told reporters that the provision of just $500 million in missile defense funding were “short-sighted,” while Coon said tensions in the broader region supported the idea of more funding for Israel, citing the ongoing war in Syria and Iran’s recent use of a stealth drone.
- Russia’s Ministry of Defense has revealed that the 30th Central Scientific Research Institute is currently developing a supersonic unmanned combat aerial vehicle. Speaking during a report on the Zvezda television station, Alexander Nemov, deputy chief of the research department at the Institute said the UAV will be able to carry precision-guided and unguided air-launched weapons, and it “would appear sometime in the next few years.” Zvezda clarified that the aircraft will, on the one hand, be capable of performing low-altitude flights, much like a cruise missile, and will fly faster than the speed of sound, providing the Russian military with fundamentally new strategic capabilities not currently enjoyed by any other military in the world.
- Japan is considering the deployment of surface-to-ship missiles to Okinawa island as part of efforts to better defend the Miyako Strait. Tokyo already plans to place the weapons on the more southerly Miyako island, however, the weapons do not have enough range to cover the strait by themselves. The waterway—which is approximately 250km with international waterways and airspace—has seen Chinese warships increasingly transit the strait over the past few years.
- Indonesia has acquired four Wing Loong I armed unmanned aerial vehicles, Jane’s reports. The UAVs will be operated by Squadron 51 out of Supadio International Airport in West Kalimantan, where the unit currently uses the Israeli Aerostar. According to Jane’s, the sale was agreed last year.
- Japan launches its IGS Optical 6 satellite using a H-2A rocket: