Dissent in the Ranks over Canada’s Fighter Jet Replacement | Elbit Debuts IronVision HMS for Tank or Armored Vehicles | Denmark Makes it Official: F-35s to Replace F-16s
- Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s new Osprey X-band active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar has been selected by the US Navy for mounting on its MQ-8C VTOL unmanned aerial vehicle. Consisting of three panels for 360 degree field of regard, the Osprey contains incorporated algorithms from the company’s other radar product lines such as the Seaspray maritime search radar and Vixen air-to-air radar. This now makes it possible for the MQ-8C to function with an airborne early-warning capability while operating on small ships.
- Canada’s new fighter jet selection has started to cause a bit of a ruckus in parliament with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slamming the F-35 as a fighter “that doesn’t work.” In response to the Liberal government’s plan to purchase F/A-18 Super Hornets as an interim fighter, Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose accused Trudeau of selecting a fighter jet without the proper knowledge of what the Royal Canadian Air Force needs. By purchasing Super Hornets on an interim basis, Trudeau would keep his election promise of renewing the CF-18 replacement competition but also perhaps kicking the can on any new fighter competition well into the late 2020s.
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- The USAF has acquired the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets for its A-10s and F-16s operating in Afghanistan and Iraq under an urgent field requirement. To fulfill the urgent need, the service will acquire its initial supply of rockets out of the current Navy inventory. The BAE-developed guidance kit was first tested on the AV-8B Harrier, F-16 and A-10 during flight demonstrations in May 2013, the company said. It is already widely used on Navy and Marine Corps helicopters such as the Bell AH-1Z Viper, and was acquired last year by the Army for the Boeing AH-64 Apache gunship. The addition of the kits will allow current “Hydra” rockets to act as a precision-guided munition capable of destroying soft targets like hostile boats, vehicles, and exposed enemy combatants instead of using more expensive guided bombs and missiles.
- Elbit Systems has debuted a new sensor-fused Helmet Mounted System (HMS) that allows tank commanders to essentially see through the walls of their armored vehicles. Dubbed IronVision, the vehicle-adapted HMS provides “protective glass walls” for tank or armored fighting vehicle crews who may need to operate in so-called closed-hatch mode when maneuvering in high-threat areas. The system has been developed from using airborne platform technologies to help improve crew’s abilities to locate, identify, track and engage enemy forces and threats.
- Denmark has officially selected the F-35 as its replacement for its F-16 fleet. The official announcement follows early indications that Copenhagen would purchase the fighter following a government recommendation in May for 27 F-35A models at a cost of $3 billion. Earlier, competitors such as Boeing had hoped that they could offer their F/A-18 Super Hornets by calling into question the F-35’s questionable cost estimates, but these efforts did nothing to curry favor with the Danes.
- A request for information by the French government for an off the shelf purchase of light multi-role armored vehicle in the French army’s Scorpion program has passed. The Scorpion modernization drive will see the defense ministry order 358 four-wheeled, 10-ton vehicles, with first delivery in 2021. While the tender is restricted to French suppliers, electronics company Thales plans to pitch its Australian Bushmaster vehicle in the competition, picking an industrial partner for assembly in France. It’s likely that the Lohr Group could provide such a partnership having built the Mercedes Unimog chassis under license for the MBDA Multi-Purpose Combat Vehicle, which was sold to Saudi Arabia.
- The Indonesian ambassador to Russia, Mohamad Wahid Supriyadi, has told Russian media that his country’s talks with Moscow over the purchase of eight Su-35 multi-role fighters is drawing to a close. With the main negotiations over, the deal now complete, the talks have now moved to discuss the matter of transferring technology from Russia to Indonesia. Indonesian laws require that any military pronouncements are supplemented by the transfer of technology, something Supriyadi claims has not been an issue for the Russians.
- The International Institute for Strategic Studies has released a piece on Vietnam’s indigenous KCT 15 anti-ship missile program that can trace its lineage to the Russian Zvezda-Strela 3M24 Uran. This makes Vietnam the second Asia-Pacific nation to embark on a home-made adaption of the Russian missile after North Korea. While Pyongyang’s development -as with the majority of its military production- remains mostly shrouded in secrecy, Hanoi’s initial acquisition of the 3M24 was aimed at improving the anti-surface warfare capacity of the Vietnam People’s Navy. The missile’s development, along with potential aircraft procurements from the US and Indonesia, come as militaries in the region scramble to increase naval maritime capabilities to protect and monitor island territories in the South China Sea.
- Elbit Systems’ IronVision:
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