Lockheed announces industry team for MQ-25 Stingray tender | DSCA clears APKWS FMS to arm Qatari Apaches | Serbia shops for new Russian rotorcraftApr 11, 2018 05:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin has unveiled its industry team that, if selected by the US Navy, would develop the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial tanker, company execs released Monday. Suppliers of equipment intended to be used include General Electric’s F404 turbofan engine—used on the F/A-18 Super Hornet—United Technologies—who supply the landing gear found on the F-35C—while Triumph Aerostructures will manufacture the internal structure of the drone. While Lockheed seems to be relying on equipment used on legacy airframes, it may have taken the most risk in its design, putting out a tanker drone concept that doesn’t look much like its competitors. When the Navy rejigged its requirements from a drone that could take on the ISR and strike missions to that of just an unmanned mission tanker, Lockheed threw out is previous design while competitors such as General Atomics and Boeing heavily reused theirs. Furthermore, since Northrop’s retirement from the competition last year, Lockheed is also the only competitor offering a flying wing aircraft as both General Atomics and Boeing have notably put forward wing-body-tail aircraft. The Navy plans to pick an MQ-25 vendor this summer, and will award a contract for the four engineering and manufacturing development aircraft, with an option for three more test assets.
- The Colombian government has been offered second-hand F-16A/BC/Ds from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems. According to Jane’s, both firms have offered to refurbish the former Israel Air Force (IAF) warplanes with new structural components and upgrade them to what has been described as “close to Block 50 standard.” Bogota’s requirement calls for the procurement of between 12 and 18 advanced combat aircraft that will replace its current fleet of IAI Kfirs.
- Advanced adversary air services provider Draken International has tapped Paramount Aerospace Systems to refurbish the 22 ex-Spanish Air Force Mirage F1M aircraft it recently purchased from Madrid. Draken purchased the aircraft in order to improve its adversary services to the US Department of Defense and allied nation customers. Paramount Aerospace was ticked to carry out the work due to its expertise in the modernization of fixed wing platforms and had previously carried out the modernization of the Mirage F1M while still in Spanish Air Force military service. Work on the acquired aircraft will take place at Draken’s Lakeland, Florida maintenance facility.
Middle East & Africa
- Qatar has been cleared by the US State Department to proceed with the purchase of Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II to arm its AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. A Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) statement released Monday, said the foreign military sale (FMS) package contains requests for 5,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II Guidance Sections, 5,000 MK66-4 2.75 inch rocket motors, 5,000 high explosive warheads for airborne 2.75 inch rockets, inert MK66-4 2.75 inch rocket motors, inert high explosive warhead for airborne 2.75 inch rockets. Also included are any spares, training and support associated with the program. Estimated total cost is set at $300 million with BAE tapped as the FMS’ principal contractor. According to the DSCA, the APKWS “will provide Qatar with a low-cost precision strike capability, decreasing collateral damage and expanding its options for counterterrorism operations.”
- Two US Air Force contracts awarded Friday, April 6, have tapped Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp. to provide services to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). The first, valued at $49.5 million, is a modification that gives Boeing a one-year extension to an existing contract for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) training on the F-15SA Strike Eagle. The modification brings the total cumulative face value to $305 million. Work will take place in Khamis, Saudi Arabia, with a scheduled completion date of August 6, 2019. The second gives Sierra Nevada a not-to-exceed $14.02 million ceiling increase modification for Riyadh’s Saudi King Air 350 program. Under the deal, the firm will provide for the modification of two King Air 350 extended range aircraft with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance/synthetic aperture radar capability, one transportable ground station, one fixed ground station, and one mission system trainer. Work will be performed in Hagerstown, Maryland, and is expected to be complete by April 2020.
- Serbia has entered talks with Russia for the purchase of new transport and attack helicopters. The rotorcraft in question are four Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters and the same number of Mi-35 attack helicopters. News of the potential buy came from the Serbian Defense Ministr, Aleksandar Vulin, after talks with his Russian counterpart and is a change from previous Serbian indications that Belgrade was just looking to purchase up to six Mi-17s. The Mi-35s will give Serbia’s attack helicopter capability a new lease of life as the nation’s sole attack helicopter inventory comprises a pair of Mi-24Vs that are in a non-flyable condition.
- Defense News reports that the US State Department has given the green light to American defense firms to market their wares to help Taiwan develop its own submarines. The okaying was confirmed by Taiwan Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi and presidential office spokesman Sidney Lin, with Lin saying that the granting of a marketing license is a significant step for Taiwan’s domestic submarine program, adding that the decision would upgrade Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, as well as benefit the safety and security of the region. While neither of the two confirmed what sort of submarine technology was covered by the license, local analysts say it covers a submarine combat management system (CMS) along with a separate technical assistance agreement, as well as sonar systems, modern periscopes and weapons systems. However, Taiwan will need to seek additional assistance in acquiring propulsion technology for its diesel-electric engine as US subs are all nuclear-powered.
- Lockheed Martin on its yet-to-be-made MQ-25 unmanned tanker program: