Lockheed Martin won a $372.4 million modification, which adds scope to procure F-35 Lightning II Lots 15-16 ancillary mission equipment requirements for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Additionally, this modification adds scope to procure F-35 Lightning II initial spares for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers, and non-US Department of Defense (DOD) participants. Work will take place in Texas. Expected completion will be in December 2024.
The US Marine Corps will have a second aggressor squadron by 2024 when VMFT-402 is declared safe for flight in 2024 at MCAS Beaufort. VMFT-402 will initially have three F-5N+ fighters before growing to a fleet comprising of eight F-5N+ and two F-5F+ aircraft. These jets will be ex-Swiss Air Force aircraft. According to the 2022 Marine Corps Aviation Plan, the service has a 15,000 sorties requirement for adversary training this year, but the existing VMFT-401 aggressor squadron can only generate 3,300 sorties per year.
Middle East & Africa
Morocco is in talks to acquire the Delilah cruise missile to equip its F-5 fighters.The F-5 is a a supersonic light fighter jet. The missile system is developed by Israeli weapon manufacturer Elbit Systems. Morocco intends to use the Delilah cruise missiles to upgrade its already-existing fleet of F-2 fighter jets.
Training is set to begin in Germany next week for Ukrainian soldiers on the Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzer, after officials confirmed Friday that the Dutch and German governments approved sending 12 of the heavy weapons to the fight. Friday’s announcement came a week after the German parliament voted to send “heavy weapons” to Ukraine following weeks of intense debate in Germany on whether that would be a step too far, escalating the war Russian President Vladimir Putin started in February.
Serbia displayed a recently delivered Chinese anti-aircraft missile system HQ-22, raising concerns in the West and among some of Serbia’s neighbors that an arms buildup in the Balkans could threaten fragile peace in the region. The Chinese missile system has been widely compared to the American Patriot and the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, although it has a shorter range than more advanced S-300s. Serbia is the first operator of the Chinese missiles in Europe.
India’s indigenous Astra Mk. 2 long-range air-to-air missile will be fired from the Su-30MKI fighter for the first time this year, a Times of India report says. Utilizing a dual-pulse solid rocket motor, the Astra Mk. 2 has 60 percent more range than the Astra Mk. The Astra Mk. 3 with solid fuel-based ducted ramjet will also be tested for the first time since 2019. This variant is reported to have a range of 350km.
WATCH: All facts about, China’s New HQ-22 Long-Range Air Defense Missile System