General Dynamics won a $25.1 million contract modification for additional fiscal 2021 development studies and design efforts for Virginia Class submarines. The Virginia Class new attack submarine is an advanced stealth multimission nuclear-powered submarine for deep ocean anti-submarine warfare and littoral (shallow water) operations. The Virginia-Class submarines are being built by a partnership between Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division and General Dynamics Electric Boat. General Dynamics Electric Boat built the first of the class,Virginia (SSN 774), and Northrop Grumman Newport News the second,Texas (SSN 775). Work will take place in North Carolina. Estimated completion will be in September 2021.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has taken delivery of its final F-5M fighter from Embraer. FAB 4810 was handed over to the customer at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto plant last week. A total of 49 aircraft underwent the modernization program. The aircraft delivery on October 14 marked the completion of a 15-year program that saw the company overhaul a total of 49 Northrop Grumman-built light fighters. Embraer was responsible for fitting the aging aircraft with Italian Grifo F multimode radars, electronic countermeasures and the capability to employ a range of modern missiles and laser-guided bombs. The overhaul will allow the aircraft to remain in service into the 2030s. Brazil started operating the aircraft in 1975 after ordering the first 42 units a year before. In 1988, the country bought additional aircraft in the form of used F-5s from the US Air Force and subsequently from Jordan. Northrop Grumman built well over a thousand of F-5 fighters that saw service with close to twenty countries.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan have risen six-fold before fighting broke out over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to figures by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly. The figures show Azerbaijan bought $123 million in defense and aviation equipment from Turkey this year. Most of the purchases arrived were after July. The data shows that sales jumped from $278,880 in the month of July to $36 million in the month of August, and $77.1 million in just September. Military sales to Azerbaijan in the first nine months of 2019 totalled $20.7 million. Armenia and Azerbaijan were part of the Soviet Union and have been involved in a territorial conflict since gaining independence within the 1990s. The main issue is the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians. The fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh began on September 27. Each side has accused the other of targeting civilians. Both sides have rejected talks and ignored growing international calls for a ceasefire.
The Netherlands is to retire its aging fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules airlifters earlier than planned. The country’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on October 13 that the four C-130H aircraft operated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), the oldest of which date back to 1978, are to be replaced as their readiness rates have become so poor as to hinder simultaneous operations. The RNLAF received two new ‘stretched’ C-130H-30 Hercules in 1992 and two surplus ‘standard’ C-130H Hercules in 2005. The MoD had planned to modernize these aircraft, although it has now decided that such a programme would reduce the already poor availability of the fleet further and so an immediate replacement is the best option.
British engineers have revealed some of the latest concepts under development for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) next generation combat air system.The pioneering technology is being delivered by Team Tempest, a UK technology and defense partnership formed by BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and the RAF, and involving hundreds of high-tech companies, SMEs and academia across the UK. Tempest is one of the UK’s most ambitious technological endeavors and designed to deliver a highly advanced, adaptable combat air system to come into service from the mid-2030s. This next generation combat aircraft, which forms part of a wider combat air system, will exploit new technologies as they evolve to respond to the changing nature of the battlespace, addressing increasingly high-tech and complex threats and conflict.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has launched the first of a new class of diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs) for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) equipped with lithium-ion batteries. The new 3,000-tonne submarine, which has been named Taigei (with pennant number SS 513), entered the water on October 14 in a ceremony held at MHI’s facilities in Kobe City. According to the JMSDF, the new boat has a crew complement of about 70, an overall length of 84 m, a beam of 9.1 m, a draught of 10.4 m, and a standard displacement of about 3,000 tonnes, meaning that it is almost the same size as the Soryu Class SSKs, which are 84 m long, 9.1 m wide, 10.3 m depth, and have a standard displacement of 2,950 tonnes.
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