KAI selects Martin-Bakker for KF-X ejection seats | MDA calls for more THAAD interceptors | Poland signs off on Patriot offsets dealMar 27, 2018 05:00 UTC
- The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has contracted Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas for the production of additional missile round pallets, spares, and associated peculiar support equipment for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The contract modification worth over $53 million puts the overall value of the contract close to $978 million and is set to be completed by April 30, 2021. The THAAD system is a long-range, land-based theatre defense weapon that acts as the upper tier of a basic 2-tiered defense against ballistic missiles. It’s designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere. This allows it to provide broad area coverage against threats to critical assets. This capability makes THAAD different from a Patriot PAC-3 or the future MEADS system, which are point defense options with limited range that are designed to hit a missile or warhead just before impact. The MDA has almost tripled its production orders for THAAD interceptors from the systems’ manufacturer, Lockheed Martin.
- President Donald Trump signed into law a spending bill that adds 143 aircraft to the order that was already requested by the Department of Defense. This bill includes the purchase of 20 additional F-35 Lightning II fighters, 10 F/A-18 Super Hornets, and three KC-46A tanker aircraft worth $9.5 billion. The defence spending was part of a $1.3 trillion budget that was six months overdue and only funds the government until September 30. The Pentagon’s budget was boosted by $61 billion over last year to $700 billion. Congress appropriated $44 billion to aircraft procurement, 27.5 percent above what was requested by the Department of Defense. The largest pile of money will be set aside to buy 90 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, worth $10.2 billion in total. Congress also topped off the military’s wish list with 10 more Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets for the Navy, worth $739 million.
Middle East & Africa
- 25-year old William Elong, a young entrepreneur from Cameroon, managed to produce a UAV that is 25 times cheaper than the standard market price. The drones are multipurpose and can fly autonomous. The utility of the UAV’s made in Cameroon is diverse and includes surveillance, weather prediction and assist in disaster relief. The current prototype has a range of 12 miles and can stay in flight for about 45 minutes and is definitely an addition to the mini-UAV market to look out for. However it still has to be seen if Elong’s drone truly is a match for other UAVs of its size such as the PUMA.
- The Polish government has officially signed an offset agreement with the US industry that will pave the way for the purchase of the Patriot integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) system under the Wisla program. The Wisla program is part of the Tarcza Polskior (Shield of Poland), aiming at to give the country an advanced air defense system to match. Missile proliferation in the Middle East, American fecklessness, and a rearming Russia have all led Poland to the conclusion that they can no longer depend on old Soviet-era air defense equipment. They need their own advanced national air defense system, which can benefit from allied contributions without being dependent on them. The purchase of the Patriot system was initialised in March 2017 when Poland signed a deal worth up to $7.6 billion with Raytheon. Warsaw sees the deal as central to a thorough modernisation of its armed forces by 2023. The MIM-104 PATRIOT anti-air missile system offers an advanced backbone for medium-range air defense, and short-range ballistic missile defense, to America and its allies. A Patriot firing battery includes several components: an antenna mast group, radar, electric power station, launchers, ECC command center, and maintenance center. They are carried on a mix of heavy and medium trucks.
- Jane’s reports that the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has awarded MBDA in France a $204 million contract to submit detail on three air-to-surface missile options regarding the French Army decision on its future MAST-F requirement. The MAST-F solution is intended to equip the army’s upgraded Airbus Helicopters EC665 Tiger HAD Mk3 standard attack helicopter. Work is scheduled to begin in 2023. The MAST-F missile is planned to replace the current air-to-surface anti-armour capability provided by the Lockheed Martin AGM Hellfire II missiles, which France acquired under a foreign military sales request in November 2015. The 140mm Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP) is a ‘fifth generation’ land combat system that features a new infrared seeker allowing engagement of both hot and cold targets.
- The government of Belgium is looking into the replacement of its F-16 fighter fleet. Currently this is a hot topic in the Belgian parliament after a F-16 replacement affair transpired earlier this year. Currently there are two options on the table: either extending the life of the current F-16s; or purchase Rafale jets for which France already proposed a strategic partnership.
- After years of delays, cost blow-outs and questions over its performance, the focus on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is shifting from development and production to sustaining operations ahead of the permanent basing of the first two aircraft in Australia later this year. Canberra has ordered 72 of the fifth-generation fighter, and expects over time the price of each aircraft will average $116 million. While the F-35 JSF is seen very much as an American jet, it has always been a development partnership with Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Turkey, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark, paving the way for companies indigenous to those countries to participate in production. More than 50 Australian firms have shared in $1 billion of contracts to deliver parts and services to the project, a tally expected to double by 2023.
- Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) selected the Mk18 ejection seat produced by Martin-Baker for its KF-X fighter program. The selection of the Mk18 seat continues long history of cooperation between KAI and Martin Baker which included both the KT-1 and T/A-50 programs. The Mk18 ejection seat is the most advanced ejection seat ever produced for fighter and trainer aircraft. A similar seat to the one currently in competition for the US Air Force new trainer Jet, the T-X. The KF-X fighter program started back in 2008 and is part of South Korea’ success story in the defense sector. The ROK has become a notable exporter of aerospace, land and naval equipment. The KF-X program has progressed in fits and starts, and became a multinational program when Indonesia joined in June 2010. DARPA’s estimated that the KF-X program will cost about $5.5 billion, Indonesia reportedly contributed about $165 million so far. In a nearly 70 years long history Martin-Baker products have saved the lives of 7,563 aircrew from around the world.
- Iron D’Oh! Hamas drill triggers Israel’s Iron Dome meltdown: