Multi-million FMS program underway | The Reaper operates out of Greece | F-35 used in a combat mission for the first timeMay 25, 2018 05:00 UTC
- The United States government is continuing to supply some of its key international allies with further Patriot support. Lockheed Martin is being awarded a contract valued at $282 million as part of the US Foreign Military Sales program. The contract sees for the delivery of Patriot PAC-3 support services. The Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept On Target missile system is a mainstay in many military inventories. At present, 12 nations have chosen it as a key component of their air and missile defense system. Lockheed Martin produces the PAC-3 missile, including the hit-to-kill interceptor, the missile canister 4-packs, a fire solution computer, and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System. The modification includes a number of not predefined orders to be delivered to the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of South Korea. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order. All work is expected to be completed by May 2019.
- The Air Force Sustainment Center is procuring spares and support services for its APX-114 and APX-119 systems. Under this $7.2 million contract, Raytheon will provide for repairs, spares and support services for line repairable units and shop replaceable units to support the aforementioned systems. Raytheon’s AN/APX-114 interrogator represents the most technically advanced, compact and lightweight interrogator available for airborne, long-range and shipboard IFF and is an integral part of the US Air Force’s F-15 modernization plan. It provides the advanced processing capability to rapidly identify friendly targets. The APX-119 is Raytheon’s Identification friend or foe (IFF) system that is currently installed on 50 different platforms of the US and international partners. IFF systems enable forces to recognize friendly aircraft, surface vessels, and submarines to avoid inadvertent firing on friendly forces. They consist of an interrogator, which ask the questions, and transponders, which provide the responses. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s primary locations in California and is expected to be completed by June 2020.
- The US Army is currently planning to renew its Aerial Target System. As part of its of Aerial Target Systems 2 program the Army is contracting Griffon Aerospace, Kord Technologies, Kratos Defense and Rocket Support Services and Trideum Corp. for research, development, testing and evaluation of the program. The four companies will be assigned different orders under a $93.4 million contract. Aerial Target Systems are unmanned aircraft that are used for simulation and training. They can also be used for the testing of equipment, particularly missiles. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of May 21, 2023.
Middle East & Africa
- Israel is the first nation to ever use the F-35 joint strike fighter in combat mission over the Middle East. On Tuesday the head of the Israel Air Force, Major General Amikam Norkin announced that the aircraft had already participated in two airstrikes. Operating over Syrian airspace, a country equipped with the S-400 Russian air-defense systems, requires careful targeting and maximum survivability, the F-35’s two strongest attributes. Israel is a Security Cooperation Partner in the F-35 II program and is allowed to integrate its own ECM defensive equipment and its own weapons like Rafael’s Python 5 short-range air-to-air missile and Spice GPS/IIR guided smart bomb. The F-35 ‘Adir’ is a key part of their IAF recapitalization plans, however it is yet unclear if the country will decide to expand its F-35 order beyond the 50 jets under contract or to buy more F-15s.
- The Italian defense manufacturer Leonardo Helicopters is currently conducting preliminary discussions with the Italian government regarding the possible acquisition of its AW169 and AW609 models. Rome is in pressing need to find suitable replacements to its ageing fleet of legacy Bell and Agusta-Bell types that are currently operated by the military and other governmental bodies like the Guardia di Finanza. The AW169 is a new generation multi-purpose twin engine light intermediate helicopter providing a multi-role capability and a high mission flexibility. The AW609 TiltRotor features a composite airframe, advanced touch-screen cockpit and full fly-by-wire digital controls. The platform is can be adapted for counter-terrorism, quick reaction force insertion/extraction, hostage rescue, incident management and law enforcement missions. The ability to operate more than 300 nm from the coast adds border and maritime patrol, long-range surveillance and anti-piracy. If Italy selects the AW169 for the army or air force, the country would become the launch customer for the military variant.
- The US is temporarily operating its MQ-9 Reaper drones out of Larisa Air Force Base in Greece. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in an interview with Defense News that the aircraft are being stationed at Larisa while their usual base in Africa undergoes repairs. The drones are being stationed at Larisa under the aegis of an existing joint training order between the two nations. Staff handling the take-off and landing of the Reapers will be stationed at Larisa, with operators in the continental US handling normal flight operations via satellite. The Pentagon did not disclose where the drones are operating, however considering the Air Force Base’s location it seems likely that the UAVs are flown over North Africa and the locations in the Middle East. Stationing drones in Greece is a new move that has the potential to complicate US-Turkish relations. The US has long relied on the Incirlik military base to launch operations in the region, but the relationship between Washington and Ankara has been strained ever since a 2016 coup attempt by members of the Turkish military.
- The Russian defense manufacturer Rostec has announced that it will supply China with 10 Su-35 fighter jets this year. The $2.5 billion contract for the delivery of a total of 24 long-range 4+ generation super-maneuverable aircraft was signed between Rostec and the Chinese government in November 2015. Four Su-35s were previously delivered to China in 2016, and 10 more were shipped in 2017. Su-35 is current on the top of Russian air-superiority inventory. It is equipped with a phased array antenna, advanced electronics and a variety of weaponry. The fifth-generation technology of the Sukhoi-35 is very similar to other fighters of the next-generation class. China is currently one of the top buyers of Russian arms.
- Russia’s Borey-class strategic submarine Yuri Dolgoruky conducted a salvo-launch of 4 Bulava SLBMs for the first time.