* The Defense Contract Management Agency has expressed its “low confidence” in Boeing’s ability to deliver the KC-46A on time. Delivery of the tanker to the USAF is expected by August 2017 and is currently in the process of undergoing its Milestone C Demonstrations. Despite this, the agency now believes Boeing can only deliver the 18 KC-46As by March 2018, and there is a possibility that the new date might not be achievable either.
* Oshkosh Defense havs been awarded a further $243.7 million modification contract to provide 657 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, 25 trailers, 2,977 kits; 12 months of system engineering and program management, test support, 175-test hardware, and one technical data package. Estimated completion of the contract is expected for December 1, 2024. The contract marks the US Army’s first lot of JLTVs from Oshkosh following a brief stoppage to the program, while Lockheed Martin protested the Army’s award to Oshkosh to build the vehicles. Tuesday’s contract comes a day after the company received three separate contracts totaling over $530 million for recapitalized Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks and various palletized load systems for the US Army.
* US Congressman Brett Guthrie visited and toured the Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems operation in Danville, Ky. last Friday, March 18. The Republican representative for Kentucky’s 2nd district observed final quality inspections on a brake assembly, and was updated on an expansion of the Danville operation later this year that is expected to add some 50 jobs as part of a wider expansion planned over the next three to five years. Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems is one of the leading aircraft wheels and brakes suppliers in the world, with facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia.
* Raytheon has been awarded a $4.8 million contract to repackage two air-launched cruise missiles as high-power microwave weapons. The contract will see the use of pulsing electronic kits produced by the directed energy firm Ktech, a company Raytheon acquired in 2011. The contract is the first award as part of the Counter-electronics High-power microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) since a demonstration in 2012, where rival Boeing proved that the technology could knock out banks of computers. Under pressure to untilize the technology from Congress, the USAF is pursuing integration with Lockheed Martin’s extended-range AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and reusable unmanned aircraft.
* Swedish defense giant Saab is to offer its Sea Giraffe 1X 3D, active electronically scanned array (AESA) naval radar to the US market, showcasing it at the Maritime Security East Conference in Norfolk, Virginia this week. At 650 pounds, the radar is suitable for small patrol boats, giving them the ability to detect unmanned aerial vehicles for the first time. With no forced cooling requirements, and a minimal number of line-replaceable units (LRUs), it requires little power or upkeep. All maintenance, including LRU repair, can be performed by low-level trained engineers.
* Airbus Group has sold its Defence Electronics Unit to a New York-based investment firm – KKR – for $1.24 billion. The sale comes as part of the company’s efforts to reshape its Defense & Space division, but will maintain a minority stake in the company to ensure a smooth transition. Defence Electronics has 4,000 employees worldwide, and annual revenues of around $1.13 billion.
* The Japanese government has opened talks with western fighter manufacturers such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, over their participation in helping to build the country’s next F-3 series of fighter jets. Talks come as the Mitsubishi developed ATD-X experimental stealth aircraft prepares for its first test flights within the next few days. The indigenous ATD-X would be part of any attempt by Japan to develop their own F-3 fighter, with analysts expecting such a program to cost at least $40 billion. While this may prove too costly, Japan is anxious to continue developing its stealth technologies as it tries not to fall behind regional rival China.
* India has received a tender from French state-owned weapons manufacturer Nexter to supply its army with 1,400 155mm towed cannons. Nexter’s participation in the $1.1 billion bid was made when its chairman, Stéphane Mayer, informed the National Assembly defense committee that it would be “the contract of the century for artillery.” The company has teamed with local partner Larsen & Toubro to offer its Trajan 155mm/52 caliber gun and faces competition from Elbit Systems, partnered with Bharat Forge.
* Air-to-air video of CH-53K during flight testing: