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Daily Rapid Fire

Poles to Get Howizters in $1.1B Deal with HSW | NATO Signs with US for Munitions to Eight Member Countries | SK’s $250M F-16 Upgrades Completed

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Americas * General Dynamics has been awarded an $82 million contract to convert M1A2 tanks to the M1A2S configuration for the US Army. The M1A2S is a specialized configuration for tanks operated by the government of Saudi Arabia. GD design and manufacture the vehicles in the US, which are then sold to the kingdom through foreign military sales agreements. * The Pentagon’s man in charge of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has responded to recent criticisms from Donald Trump. Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan stated on Monday that if he had an opportunity to speak with the Trump transition team, he would tell them that the program is now under control after years of delays. Bogdan also added that he understood the incoming administration’s desire to get better value for money saying “I applaud the new administration for that, because that is what we should all be striving for.” * Kongsberg has announced the successful flight test of their Joint Strike Missile (JSM). Designed for internal carry for the F-35, the JSM was used by a USAF F-16 over the Utah Test and Training Range, demonstrating safe separation from the aircraft. The missile is in development for the […]
Americas

* General Dynamics has been awarded an $82 million contract to convert M1A2 tanks to the M1A2S configuration for the US Army. The M1A2S is a specialized configuration for tanks operated by the government of Saudi Arabia. GD design and manufacture the vehicles in the US, which are then sold to the kingdom through foreign military sales agreements.

* The Pentagon’s man in charge of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has responded to recent criticisms from Donald Trump. Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan stated on Monday that if he had an opportunity to speak with the Trump transition team, he would tell them that the program is now under control after years of delays. Bogdan also added that he understood the incoming administration’s desire to get better value for money saying “I applaud the new administration for that, because that is what we should all be striving for.”

* Kongsberg has announced the successful flight test of their Joint Strike Missile (JSM). Designed for internal carry for the F-35, the JSM was used by a USAF F-16 over the Utah Test and Training Range, demonstrating safe separation from the aircraft. The missile is in development for the Norwegian military and will complete the qualification program in 2018. It will be integrated on the F-35A but can also be integrated on other types of aircraft.

Middle East & North Africa

* After months of denial, the Saudi Arabian government has admitted to using UK-made cluster munitions against Houthi militants in Yemen. Following an internal Saudi investigation, a government spokesperson said “It has become apparent that there was limited use by the coalition of the UK-manufactured BL755 cluster munition in Yemen,” and that they would cease to use UK-manufactured cluster bombs and that they had informed the UK government of this decision. The confirmation of the weapons use will put increased pressure on London, which has defended their arms sales to Riyadh despite mounting evidence of war crimes during the conflict.

Europe

* The Polish government has contracted local firm Huta Stalowa Wola SA (HSW) to provide 96 self-propelled howitzers to the military. Valued at $1.1 billion, the deal comes two years after HSW purchased from South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin, the rights to manufacture, “Polonize,” develop and re-export a new chassis for the 155mm “Krab” system. A gradual process will eventually result in the chassis and hull being completely built in Poland, except for the engines, automatic transmissions and some other components.

* NATO has signed an agreement with the US government for the procurement of precision-guided munitions for eight member countries. Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Spain will all receive the munitions between 2017 and 2019, including GBU 12 Paveway bombs and Paveway II bomb kits that convert freefall bombs into precision-guided weapons.

Asia Pacific

* A $250 million upgrade of South Korean F-16s has been completed as part of the F-16 Peace Bridge Upgrade (PBU) project. 35 of the Block 32 fighters underwent the modernization and are now capable of launching the AIM-120 missile as well as dropping the GBU-31 JDAM. Seoul also plans to further improve the fleet by installing advanced equipment including active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.

* Officials from France and Australia have signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement in order to establish a framework for development of Royal Australian Navy submarines by the French naval Group DCNS. The accord provides for the transfer of skills and technology to the Australian government and Australian industry to achieve a sovereign operational and sustainment submarine capability in Australia. DCNS also announced the opening of their new HQ in Canberra, providing “an innovative hub delivering cutting edge administration and support services focused on delivering regionally superior submarines and creating and sustaining jobs across Australia for decades to come.”

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Ukrainian Su-25s firing Kh-25 air-to-surface missiles:

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