Leidos won a $58.9 million contract modification, which provides for the development of Adaptive Radar Countermeasure (ARC) Software/Firmware (SW/FW) capabilities and integration of ARC SW/FW on the AN/ALQ-214A electronic countermeasure host. ARC SW/FW supplements F/A-18C-F survivability in the presence of radio frequency guided surface-to-air and air-to-air weapons systems. Work will take place in Virginia, New Jersey, California, Missouri, North Carolina and Alabama. Expected completion date is in February 2023.
Lockheed Martin won a $35.3 million deal, which procures labor and hardware for the development of preliminary software for Phase 2 Network Enabled Weapons (NEW) capabilities. Specifically, this order provides software coding, testing and integration of NEW into a software development branch of the MH-60R/S software configuration with a merge into MH-60R/S fleet release baseline after the capability has established maturity. Work will take place in Owego, New York. Expected completion will be in August 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Reports in the Israeli media said that snipers from the Hezbollah terrorist group were responsible for Tuesday night’s incident in which IDF troops near the northern border were fired upon from Lebanese territory. The reports said the snipers took position about 300 meters away from the border in an area between two positions of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force. They fired two shots, which both missed. There were no casualties among the IDF troops. In retaliation for the incident, IDF attack helicopters and other aircraft attacked Hezbollah targets in Lebanon including observation posts. The IDF also conducted an intensive sweep of the border area to ensure that there was no infiltration.
Greek newspapers report that Greece will be getting 18 Rafale fighters. The report says a preliminary agreement for the acquisition has been reached. Ten of these fighters will be the F3-R variant built from scratch while the other 8 jets will be second-hand aircraft that will be transferred free to Greece from the French Air Force. Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short and long-range missions, including ground and sea attack, air defense and air superiority, reconnaissance, and high-accuracy strike or nuclear strike deterrence.
Saab announced that it is developing a new decoy missile system, the Lightweight Air-launched Decoy Missile, as part of Gripen’s E/F Electronic Warfare capability. The company will offer the missile together with the new Electronic Attack Jammer Pod for Finland’s HX fighter procurement program. It also revealed that the missile has a stand-in jammer that can jam or create false targets for acquisition, tracking, fire control and airborne radars. “The decoy missile, that we present today, will constitute a strong addition to Gripen E/F’s built-in electronic attack capabilities.The payload of the new decoy missile is to a large extent developed in Finland and this will strengthen our offer to Finland even further,” says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab Business Area Aeronautics.
The Indian government is expected to clear the purchase of two A-50EI airborne early warning platforms that are equipped with the Israeli EL/W-2090 radar. This is the second time that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is reviewing the purchase. India has three PHALCON AWACS with a 360 degree rotodome mounted on top of the aircraft and two DRDO-built AWACS with 240 degree rotodome. China has 28 AWACS and Pakistan has seven for directing the air battle in the worst case scenario.
Watch: U.S SELLING F-35 LIGHTNING II TO SINGAPORE, SOUTH KOREA & JAPAN -CHINA STILL HAS NO ANSWER TO IT !
Northrop Grumman Systems won a $44.6 million contract modification, which increases the ceiling of the contract for the production and delivery of an additional 228 H-1 Tech Refresh Mission Computers, increasing the quantity from 545 to 773 in support of domestic and Foreign Military Sales UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft. Northrop Grumman Gen III mission computers are at the heart of the company’s avionics system that powers the glass cockpit avionics of AH-1Z and UH-1Y. The conduction-cooled Gen III mission computer has a ruggedized 6U VME PowerPC-based single board computer. Interfaces include Fast Ethernet, four serial ports, parallel I/O, and built-in-test. It has a standard partitioned real-time operating system called INTEGRITY-178 tuMP for multicore architectures from Green Hills Software in Santa Barbara, Calif., with ARINC 653 and POSIX support. Work will take place in Utah, Maryland and California. Estimated completion is in December 2023.
The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $7.5 million modification, which exercises options to procure Intel Diminishing Manufacturing Sources parts that have reached end of life in support of the F-35 program future aircraft production and deliveries for the Air Force and Navy. The largest procurement program in the Department of Defense, the F-35 Lightning II is a strike fighter aircraft being procured in different versions for the United States Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Work will take place in Fort Worth. Expected completion will be in December 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Kellogg Brown & Root Services won a ceiling $974 million contract for US Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) base operating support. This contract provides day-to-day base operations and maintenance services throughout locations within USAFE-AFAFRICA. Air Force Installation Contracting Command at Ramstein Air Base in Germany received three offers for the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract and will obligate $10M on the first two task orders under the IDIQ. Work will take place at Spain’s Moron AB and Turkey’s Incirlik AB, Izmir Air Station and Office of Defense Cooperation. DoD expects contract services to be complete by Aug. 27, 2028.
The US State Department has authorized a British purchase of three hundred and ninety-five AGM-114R2 Hellfire missiles for an estimated cost of $46 million. The required certification notifying Congress about this possible sale was delivered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The UK Government had put a request for the acquisition of the 395 missiles and this request also included technical assistance, publications, integration support, and other related aspects regarding logistics and program support. The proposed sale will not only support the foreign policy but also the national security objectives of the US Government by bolstering the security of a Nato ally. Furthermore, the acquisition of these missiles is expected to help the UK to replace expiring and unserviceable missiles and bolstering its capability to meet current and future threats. The missiles are also expected to help maintain its ability to carry out missions across a wide range of military operations. These missiles will also be easily inducted by the UK into its armed forces.
The US government approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of 32 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) with support for an estimated cost of $63 million. Along with the missiles, the sales package includes one AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM guidance section spare, containers, support and support equipment, spare and repair parts. The Government of Japan had requested to buy 32 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM and one (1) AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM guidance section spare. Also included are containers, support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total cost is $63 million.
Taiwan has deployed a small number of its indigenous Albatross UAVs to Pratas and Taiping Islands in the South China Sea. Each island had one set of system which consists of 4 aircraft along with its ground control station. The system deployed to Pratas Island is tasked with monitoring the military exercises that China is executing off Shantou. It complements the reconnaissance assets that Taiwan will deploy from the island to monitor those exercises. The other system on Taiping Island will help monitor the artificial islands that China had constructed in the South China Sea. Previously operated by the Army Aviation and Special Forces Command, these UAVs were transferred to Naval Fleet Command in 2017.
Watch: U.S MAY DEVELOP NUCLEAR-ARMED HYPERSONIC BOOST GLIDE VEHICLE WITH RANGE EQUAL TO A TRADITIONAL ICBM!
Latest updates[?]: The US State Department has authorized a British purchase of three hundred and ninety-five AGM-114R2 Hellfire missiles for an estimated cost of $46 million. The required certification notifying Congress about this possible sale was delivered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The UK Government had put a request for the acquisition of the 395 missiles and this request also included technical assistance, publications, integration support, and other related aspects regarding logistics and program support. The proposed sale will not only support the foreign policy but also the national security objectives of the US Government by bolstering the security of a Nato ally. Furthermore, the acquisition of these missiles is expected to help the UK to replace expiring and unserviceable missiles and bolstering its capability to meet current and future threats. The missiles are also expected to help maintain its ability to carry out missions across a wide range of military operations. These missiles will also be easily inducted by the UK into its armed forces.
Latest updates: New 2011-2014 contract; Long-lead buy for AGM-114Rs under previous contract.
Hellfire II cutaway
Hellfire I/II missiles are the USA’s preferred aerial anti-armor missile, and are widely deployed with America’s allies. All use semi-active laser guidance as their base mode. They equip its helicopter fleets (AH-64, AH-1, OH-58D, MH-60S/R), AH-64 and S-70 helicopters flown by its allies, and even Australia and France’s Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters. Range is officially listed as 9,000 meters, or about 5.6 miles.
While Hellfires lack the fast-jet launch capabilities – and correspondingly extended maximum range – of the UK’s MBDA Brimstone missiles, Lockheed Martin’s missile has carved out unique niches as tripod-launched coastal defense assets in Norway and Sweden, and as the guided missile integrated into American UAVs like the MQ-1 Predator family. This article covers the current set of contracts, which began in 2008:
PAE Aviation and Technical Services won a $19.7 million contract modification for the Aerial Targets Program. The contract modification provides for the exercise of an option for an additional year of service under the multiple year contract which directly supports live-fire weapon system testing and enables the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group to perform developmental and operational weapons testing for all air-to-air missiles for F-15, F-16, F-22, and F-35 aircraft. Work will take place at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida; and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Expected completion date is September 30, 2021.
Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust won a $16.5 million deal for the ownership, operation and maintenance of the water and wastewater utility systems at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Earlier this month Oklahoma City officials authorized the city’s Water Utilities Trust and the city attorney’s office to finalize a draft contract with the federal government to modernize the base’s aging water and sewer systems. In March 2017 the Air Force tapped Honeywell with a $243 million contract to reduce energy consumption and costs at Tinker. That deal included updating wastewater treatment systems as well modernizing manufacturing lines, installing two new 2,000-ton chillers, installing smart meters and LED lighting and decentralizing the steam heating plant to use less energy. Work will take place in Oklahoma. Estimated completion date is August 31, 2071.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli Ministry of Defense released the first images from the new Ofek 16 satellite on August 25. The Ofek 16 was launched on July 6. According to the ministry, this is the first time it has released recent imagery from one of its satellites. The greyscale images showed the Roman Theatre and Temple of Bel in the ruined city of Palmyra in central Syria. In a statement, the Defense Ministry said the camera on Ofek 16 that took the photos was developed in a hitherto-classified joint project by the ministry’s research and development department, known by the Hebrew acronym MAFAT, and the Elbit Systems defense contractor.
Three kayakers have been rescued in a multi-agency response featuring a Royal Navy warship, the BBC reports. It is understood that HMS Sutherland was sailing along the west coast near Skye when it received a request to assist coastguard teams in rescuing three individuals from a nearby loch. The operation also involved the RNLI, the coastguard and nearby fishing boats. A Maritime and Coastguard spokesman said: “HM Coastguard received a report of three kayakers in difficulty at Loch Torridon, in the north-west Highlands. Kyle Coastguard Rescue Team, the Portree RNLI lifeboat and the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Stornoway were sent to assist at the scene. HMS Sutherland and a number of nearby fishing boats and other vessels also responded immediately and assisted.“
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to rectify a plan to buy 20 F-35As and 20 F-35Bs under phase 2 of its FX III fighter program in October’s meeting. The purchase is expected to cost $6.7 billion and the priority is to acquire the B-model first in order for the short take-off and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) to operate on the light aircraft carrier that Seoul intends to build.
Former Indian Navy aircraft carrier and Falklands War veteran INS Viraat will arrive at Alang shipyard next month to be dismantled. It was purchased by shipping firm Shri Ram Shipping after attempts to convert it into a museum failed. The iconic warship is hailed as the longest serving warship in the world. It was first commissioned as HMS Hermes by the British Royal Navy in 1959. It was deployed for peacekeeping mission to Sri Lanka in 1988 and Kargil War in 1999.
Watch: SINGLE F-35 EVEN IN STEALTH CONFIGURATION DROPS 8 GBU-39 SMALL DIAMETER BOMB ON TARGET ACCURATELY!
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems won a $15.5 million contract modification, that adds performance for site relocation activities and exercises an option to extend intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services utilizing contractor-owned/contractor-operated MQ-9 unmanned air systems. The Reaper is a UAV capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. The MQ-9 Reaper has an operational ceiling of 50,000ft, a maximum internal payload of 800lb and external payload over 3,000lb. It can carry up to four Hellfire II anti-armor missiles and two laser-guided bombs (GBU-12 or EGBU-12) and 500lb GBU-38 JDAM (joint direct attack munition). In May 2008, a USAF Reaper successfully test dropped four Raytheon GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II 500lb bombs, which have laser and GPS guidance. Work will take place in Arizona, California and other locations outside the continental US. Expected completion is in December 2020.
Areté Associated von a $9.7 million contract for integration services supporting incremental upgrades, block upgrades and future generations of MK 18 Family of Systems unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), additional UUVs and remotely operated vehicles. This 17-month contract includes no options.The Mk 18 Mod 1 Swordfish UUV is capable of performing low-visible exploration and reconnaissance in support of amphibious landing; mine countermeasures operations such as search, classification, mapping, reacquire, and identification; hydrographic mapping at depths from 10 to 40 feet. Work will take place in Arizona and Florida. Estimated completion is August 24, 2020-
Middle East & Africa
Turkey and Qatar will help restructure forces loyal to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) into a regular army based on the model that Turkey used to train the military of Azerbaijan after it became an independent country, turkish media reported. The three-way agreement was announced after talks in Tripoli between GNA Deputy Defense Minister Salah al-Namroush, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, and Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Muhammad al-Attiyah.
According to Rheinmetall, Hungary has embarked on a massive program worth over two billion euros (2.4 billion dollars) to modernize the country’s defense industry and military capabilities. Rheinmetall will be cooperating with Hungary to create a joint venture and production facility in Hungary to manufacture the most modern Lynx infantry fighting vehicle. Hungary is the first NATO and EU member state to choose the Düsseldorf-based Group’s innovative new IFV.
A giant Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft touched down at Glasgow Prestwick Airport to make an oversized delivery of a new Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) heading to RAF Lossiemouth, according to the UK Ministry of Defense. The simulator is one of two that will be installed in the new £100-million strategic facility built by Boeing Defence UK. From Autumn 2020, RAF Lossiemouth will be the headquarters of the UK’s submarine-hunting Poseidon MRA Mk1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet.
According to Indian media, the United States and India seem to be finally ready to sign an agreement to share geospatial defense intelligence. The two countries might sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during a virtual “2+2” foreign and defense ministers/secretaries’ dialogue in September. BECA is the last of the four “foundational” agreements that underpin deepening defense cooperation between the two countries. When signed, BECA will allow the United States to share satellite and other sensor data with India in order to improve the Indian military’s targeting and navigation capabilities.
Watch: Defence Updates #1042 – Rafale New Base, BrahMos Export, DRDO 108 System List, MiG-21 Shot JF-17
Latest updates[?]: Areté Associated von a $9.7 million contract for integration services supporting incremental upgrades, block upgrades and future generations of MK 18 Family of Systems unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), additional UUVs and remotely operated vehicles. This 17-month contract includes no options.The Mk 18 Mod 1 Swordfish UUV is capable of performing low-visible exploration and reconnaissance in support of amphibious landing; mine countermeasures operations such as search, classification, mapping, reacquire, and identification; hydrographic mapping at depths from 10 to 40 feet. Work will take place in Arizona and Florida. Estimated completion is August 24, 2020-
In October 2013, Kongsberg Defence subsidiary Hydroid, Inc., of Pocasset, MA received a maximum $36.5 million, 5-year, sole-source award for its unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) from the US Navy’s Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division in Indian Head, MD. They’ll be buying 2 types of UUVs.
BAE Systems Surface Ships won a $19.9 million contract for Archerfish Destructor full rate production, maintenance and associated technical services. The work to be performed under this contract will include maintenance, spare and repair parts and evolution of the Archerfish Destructors. BAE Systems will manage the destructor configuration as well as integrate new or upgraded capability and assess the destructor configuration for application to in-service upgrade efforts. Flown on board the MH-60S, Archerfish is a remotely-controlled underwater vehicle equipped with an explosive warhead to destroy sea mines. Work will take place in the UK, France and West Virginie. Expected completion will be by January 2023.
Lt. Col. Luke Sustman, commander of the newly-activated 249th Special Operations Squadron, is the first US Air Force pilot to clock more than 3,000 hours on the tiltrotor. He is a 19-year veteran who has flown the CV-22 since 2006. Sustman’s milestone achievement precedes the squadron’s historic activation, which is scheduled for later this month. “Nothing really compares to a CV-22. Going from 230 knots to a hover to landing in the middle of nowhere without a runway is amazing,” he said. “The flying is great but I find that the experiences and people I’ve had the opportunity to work with have made it the most rewarding“, says Sustman
Middle East & Africa
In mid-August, a Turkish and a Greek warship collided in the Eastern Mediterranean, raising tensions in the most combustible naval stand-off the region has witnessed in 20 years. The crisis had started two days before, when Turkey deployed an energy exploration ship along with its naval escort to search for oil and natural gas in waters near the Greek island of Kastellorizo—waters Athens claims as its own maritime territory. The Turkish geological survey vessel Oruç Reis continued to chart an area in the eastern Mediterranean claimed by both Greece and Turkey following the collision of frigates from the two countries. AIS tracking of the survey vessel showed it continuing its movement pattern on August 13-20. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s national security advisor, Rear Admiral Alexandros Diakopoulos, resigned on August 19 after he pointed out the day before that the Oruç Reis was continuing its research activities. For decades, Eastern Mediterranean maritime boundary disputes were a local affair, confined to sovereignty claims and counterclaims among Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. But over the past five years, the region’s offshore natural gas resources have turned the Eastern Mediterranean into a key strategic arena through which larger geopolitical fault-lines involving the EU and the MENA region converge.
A report on Russia’s military doctrine indicates a shift away from reliance on nuclear capability and emphasis on the military as only one element of strategy. The report by the Congressional Research Service on Thursday, notes Russia’s “new generation warfare.” It points out that Russia has expanded its military capabilities in the past decade, noting the Russian invasion of Crimea and its standing army in Syria. However, it acknowledges the military as a single component of an overall approach to warfare.
Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems won an $18.8 million contract modification under previously awarded Aegis Combat Weapon System development contract HQ0276-10-C-0001. Under this modification, the contractor will continue performing engineering design support and analysis of alternative services necessary for continuation of planning efforts and risk reduction efforts required to support the Aegis Ashore Japan analysis of alternatives and Foreign Military Sales. Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono had cancelled plans to build two Aegis Ashore sites, citing cost and concerns that falling booster stages from the interceptor missiles could drop on residents. Japan, however, has reportedly not cancelled the $1 billion contract for the defense system’s radars, built by Lockheed Martin. Work will take place in Moorestown, New Jersey. Estimated completion date is December 31, 2020.
An aviation brigade of China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) conducted an exercise at sea showing its ability to utilize a commercial semi-submersible heavy-lift ship as a flight deck. Video footage released on August 19 on the js7tv.cn website of the state-owned China Central Television 7 (CCTV 7) channel, shows Z-19 and Z-8 helicopters landing on and taking off from the vessel’s deck, which was marked with three operating spots. From the video it is clear that the exercise included serials for aircraft refueling, using conventional fuel bowser lorries embarked on the ship, and re-arming the attack helicopters with missiles.
Watch: DARPA’s INITIATIVE SHOWS THAT U.S IS AHEAD OF CHINA & RUSSIA IN MILITARY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE !
Honeywell International won a $20.8 million deal for the repair of the advanced display core processor (ADCP) and digital mapping service (DMS) in F-15Es. The Boeing F-15E dual-role fighter is an advanced long-range interdiction fighter and tactical aircraft. The F-15E is the latest version of the Eagle, a Mach 2.5-class twin-engine fighter. More than 1,500 F-15s are in service worldwide with the US Air Force, US Air National Guard and the air forces of Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia, including over 220 F-15E fighters. Work will take place in Phoenix, Arizona. Estimated completion date is August 19, 2025.
Lockheed Martin won a $8 million cost-share order, which is to consolidate Lots 12-14 known issues, funding and requirements on a single contract vehicle to ensure the most fiscally responsible business deals for customers. This supports concurrency related modification and retrofit activities for delivered air systems for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for non-Department of Defense (DOD) participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The F-35 is a stealthy, supersonic multirole fighter. It is being built in three variants: a conventional take-off and landing aircraft (CTOL) for the US Air Force; a carrier variant (CV) for the US Navy; and a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft for the US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy. A 70%-90% commonality is required for all variants. Work will take place in Fort Worth, Texas. Expected completion date is in December 2025.
Middle East & Africa
KBR Wyle Services won an $8.7 million cost contract to provide technical assistance, program management, engineering, financial and logistics support for the integrated product teams that acquire and sustain F-18 series aircraft for Foreign Military Sales customers and the governments of Finland and Kuwait. Delivery of the very first F-18s to Finland happened between November 1995 and ended in August 2000. Kuwait had ordered its first 32 F/A-18C and eight F/A-18D Hornets i 1988. Delivery took place between 1991 and 1993. Work will take place in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Kuwait, California, California and ist expected to be finished by August 2025.
Six US Air Force B-52 bombers from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, arrived on August 22, 2020, at RAF Fairford, England for a long planned training mission, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs has announced. “B-52s are back at RAF Fairford, and will be operating across the theater in what will be a very active deployment. Our ability to quickly respond and assure allies and partners rests upon the fact that we are able to deploy our B-52s at a moment’s notice,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “Their presence here helps build trust with our NATO allies and partner nations and affords us new opportunities to train together through a variety of scenarios.” According to local spotters, the bombers landed at around 7:30 a.m. local time.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is deploying four of its F-16 fighters to Souda Air Base to Crete, Greece. The jets will be there to train with the Hellenic Air Force over the eastern Mediterranean. In the next days, these aircraft and their crews will carry out joint training with the Greek Armed Forces over the Eastern Mediterranean. The F-16 crews will be joined by support staff – engineers and ground personnel.
Chinese state-owned media released video footage showing what appears to be a new tracked amphibious ferry and bridging system for use by the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF). The footage, which was released on August 20 on the Weibo social media page of the js7tv.cn website, shows two of the tracked vehicles deploying their pontoons before entering the water. It appears that the platform can provide both a ferry and bridging capability across rivers and other water obstacles. However, the video provided no further details about the system, including its designation and whether it is already in PLA service.
Watch: USS MUSTIN OF U.S NAVY OPERATES IN SOUTH CHINA SEA – TRANSITS TAIWAN STRAIT UNCHALLENGED !
Latest updates[?]: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is deploying four of its F-16 fighters to Souda Air Base to Crete, Greece. The jets will be there to train with the Hellenic Air Force over the eastern Mediterranean. In the next days, these aircraft and their crews will carry out joint training with the Greek Armed Forces over the Eastern Mediterranean. The F-16 crews will be joined by support staff - engineers and ground personnel.
F-16F “Desert Falcon”
The most advanced F-16s in the world aren’t American. That distinction belongs to the UAE, whose F-16 E/F Block 60s are a half-generation ahead of the F-16 C/D Block 50/52+ aircraft that form the backbone of the US Air Force, and of many other fleets around the world. The Block 60 has been described as a lower-budget alternative to the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, and there’s a solid argument to be made that their performance figures and broad sensor array will even keep them ahead of pending F-16 modernizations in countries like Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore.
The UAE invested in the “Desert Falcon’s” development, and the contract reportedly includes royalty fees if other countries buy it. Investment doesn’t end when the fighters are delivered, either. Money is still needed for ongoing training, fielding, and equipment needs – and the UAE has decided that they need more planes, too. This DID article showcases the F-16 Block 60/61, and offers a window into its associated costs and life cycle, including dedicated equipment purchases for this fighter fleet.
The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is on course to conduct the first ever intercept of a intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) target using a SM-3 Block IIA interceptor this year. Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill, director of MDA, says this will be executed under Flight Test Maritime 44 (FTM-44). It will be conducted in a “defense of Hawaii” scenario, with a ship and the SM-3 Block IIA, Hill added. Hill was speaking at a August 18 webinar sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, he said his agency is evaluating the feasibility of using the Aegis Combat System together with the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor as a layer in the missile defense of the US homeland.
The US Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command confirmed that it intends to scale down the T-1 Jayhawk fleet and students on the air mobility track will spend more time on the simulator instead. Pilots at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, will reportedly continue with the normal T-1 program but students assigned to Randolph Air Force Base will not fly the T-1 aircraft. Those at Vance Air Force Base will be exposed to a modified T-1 training syllabus. Senior leaders will make a decision whether to expand the program after gathering feedback from the two courses at Vance and Randolph. Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, said that this will lead to a reduction of T-1 aircraft if the program is successful. The T-1 fleet at NAS Pensacola will be retained to train combat systems officers.
Middle East & Africa
According to Jane’s Israeli company Rafael Defense is partnering with Pratt Miller and Oshkosh Defense in order to win a contract to provide 30 mm cannons for US Army Stryker vehicles. After a two-and-a-half-month deadline extension, all Medium Calibre Weapons System (MCWS) program proposals and bid samples are due on August 24. Although many vendors are remaining tight lipped over whether they are still competing, Janes confirmed with multiple, wholly separate, sources that Pratt Miller is no longer teaming up with CMI Defence and is now saddled up with Rafael and Oshkosh for its bid. Under the competition, the army wants to select a team to outfit Stryker vehicles with 30 mm cannons. Service plans called for a two-phased, concurrent approach involving a design integration study phase to help inform requirements development and the acquisition strategy, and a separate Stryker MCWS request for proposal.
British Army and German Bundeswehr Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) trained together at Kazlu Ruda training ranges in Lithuania on Exercise FURIOUS WOLF, alongside Typhoon aircraft from No. 6 Squadron Royal Air Force. The British and German troops have been training alongside other NATO JTAC partners across the Baltic States to hone their skills in accordance with NATO standardized practices. According to the British Army, all NATO JTACs use the same procedure when working with alliance aircraft. According to NATO, JTACs from Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States all worked together with air crews from the Estonian Air Force, the Royal Air Force as well as the Spanish Air Force.
Ukraine’s NATO-funded disposal of old and obsolete ammunition resumed this week after the project was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the alliance said. Ukraine acquired vast amounts of weapons and ammunition after the Soviet Union withdrew from Warsaw Pact countries in the 1990s. NATO’s Trust Fund Demilitarization Project has been working since 2005, at the request of Ukraine’s government in order of reducing the accumulation of unstable and potentially dangerous munitions. A second phase of the project, which will dispose of 29,600 tons of ammunition, 2.4 million antipersonnel mines and 1,500 tons of other unserviceable ordnance by the end of the year, began in 2011 but was halted to deal with the pandemic, NATO reported on Tuesday.
Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) has leased a CH-47D helicopter from Billings Flying Service of the United States for forest fire fighting and COVID-19 relief operations. The large rotorcraft is on a one month trial and will assist in the distribution of test kits to remote regions. It arrived in Sumatra on August 18 and is already painted in BNPB colors. The board says it will also lease a Black Hawk helicopter for similar duties.
Watch: 5 Worst Weapons Projects the US Military Has in The Works