MBDA mulls land-based Sea Venom for coastal defense | USS Wasp and F-35Bs to play role in South Korean drills | Brazil keen on acquiring Super CobrasMar 13, 2018 05:00 UTC
- Brazil’s army has expressed interest in acquiring surplus Bell AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters previously used by the US Marine Corps (USMC). Brasilia has already contacted Washington over the sale, however, no bilateral negotiations have yet taken place. It was reported in January that Washington wants to sell its Super Cobra fleet on the international market either via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) route as the USMC gears up to replace the rotorcraft with the new build AH-1Z Viper by 2020.
- A three week test period of a Replacement Head-Up Display (RHUD) for the C-17 Globemaster III has just wrapped up at Edwards Air Force Base. During the testing, the 418th Flight Test Squadron’s C-17 Integrated Test Team partnered with pilots from Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron Detachment 3 and operational pilots from Travis Air Force Base to collect test data from the ground and in the air. Designed by Elbit Systems of America, the new HUD is larger and has more clarity of symbology than the obsolete Legacy HUD and is designed to be installed and removed easier for maintenance and includes other enhancements.
Middle East & Africa
- The Pakistan Navy (PN) has test-fired an unknown land-based anti-ship missile (AShM) as part of a training drill. While details on the type and specs of the AShM were not given, Pakistan announced that it inducted a land-based AShM—designated ‘Zarb’—in April 2016. However, the PN followed the Zarb with a test in March 2017 of an identified “long-range” land-based AShM, again not disclosing the specifications while also not confirming it was the Zarb or another AShM. Quwa suggests that in theory, the recently-tested Harba AShM and—if modified with terminal-stage seeker—Babur Version 2 land-attack cruise missile (LACM) could also be used as land-based AShM. In any of these cases, the PN’s emphasis could be to leverage range to deter enemy activity near Pakistan’s coasts. However, optimal use of such range necessitates long-range surface detection, targeting and missile-guidance capability. Having procured land-based AShM, it will be worth seeing if the PN pairs these with land-based over-the-horizon (OTH) radars for long-range surface-level detection and targeting.
- Russia’s TASS news agency reported Sunday, March 10, the successful launch of its Kinzhal hypersonic missile from a MiG-31 interceptor jet. Footage of the launch was posted on Twitter by the Defense Ministry and it is believed that the missile cantravel up to 1,200 miles without entering the enemy’s air defense zone. The ministry added that crews of the Kinzhal air system comprising a MiG-31 interceptor jet and an advanced hypersonic missile have made 250 flights since the start of the year.
- Four new AW159 Wildcat helicopters will be deployed by the British Army to Estonia in what will be the its first operational deployment. The mission will last for four months from April and is part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Eastern Europe. During their deployment the Wildcats will be supporting Estonian troops and British ground troops in training, as well as participating in NATO’s Exercise ‘Sabre Strike’, which is to span all three Baltic states and involve the armed forces of about 20 nations.
- European missile manufacturer MBDA has told Jane’s that the consortium is considering a land-based variant of its Sea Venom/Anti-Navire Léger (ANL) lightweight medium-range anti-ship missile. Developed for both the British Royal Navy and French Navy to equip the Wildcat HMA2 helicopter and Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (HIL—Joint Light Helicopter) respectively in the anti-ship role, the new land variant could potentially play a part of a networked multilayered coastal defence solution. An internal feasibility study on whether the missile could fill this added role is now underway.
- Amphibious assault ship USS Wasp will be dispatched from its base in Sasebo, Japan, to South Korea, in order to take part in this year’s amphibious assault exercise—Foal Eagle. Also operating from the vessel for the first time will be the recently added F-35B—the short-takeoff & vertical landing variant of the stealth fighter—which was deployed to Wasp in January. According to Chosun, the landing exercise will be more than twice as large as last year’s, reflecting Washington’s determination to keep up maximum pressure on North Korea until substantial progress in denuclearization efforts is made. With its F-35Bs on board, USS Wasp could be a key weapon in a preemptive strike against the North and has taken part in the joint landing drills several times.
- Taiwan’s A & B variants of their Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) aircraft will be upgraded to the C & D standard including new anti-radiation missiles, the Air Force said on Friday. The upgrades will allow the fighters to play the ‘Wild Weasel’ role in attacking enemy anti-aircraft defenses. Also announced were upgrades to existing C & D model IDFs’ avionics, software, radar and weapons package—which will include new munitions being developed by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and technology (NCSIST). Improvements are expected to improve both air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities.
- The Sea Venom/ANL: