DRS to deliver PCMs to the USN | Egypt buys more Chinese attack drones | USN procures more Mk 41 VLS canisters
DRS Power & Control Technologies is receiving additional funding to exercise an option to support the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The contract modification is priced at $13.4 million and provides for the delivery of power conversion modules (PCM) for Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) production ship sets. Efforts covered under this contract include non-recurring engineering work, procurement of long-lead-time materials and of low-rate initial production units for testing. Up to 12 ship sets for the guided missile destroyers can be procured. PCMs support Raytheon’s AN/SPY-6 air and missile defense radar with the right power output. This contract supports DDG-51 Flight III ships. Work will be performed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is expected to be complete by April 2022.
BAE Systems Land & Armaments is being contracted to deliver several missile canisters to the US Navy. Worth $41.5 million, the firm-fixed-price modification sees for the delivery of Mk 21 mod 2 and Mk 21 mod 3 canisters used on the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). The mod 2 and 3 variants support SM-2 and SM-6 missiles respectively, and are used on the Mk 41 VLS strike length system that accommodates the widest variety of missiles. The canisters serve as missile shipping and storage containers. During missile launch, they provide an internal launch rail and help contain the rocket motor’s exhaust gas. Work will be performed at BAE’s facilities in Aberdeen, South Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The canisters are expected to be completed by August 2021.
Middle East & Africa
The Philippine Air Force plans to boost its strike capability with Turkey’s T-129 ATAK helicopter. Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told Philstar newspaper that “the Air Force has also chosen the T-129 ATAK helicopter. I think we can only get less than 10, maybe eight.” The proposed purchase is part of a larger procurement process that also includes the acquisition of new transport helicopters. It has yet not been disclosed how much the Philippine Air Force is willing to spend on Turkey’s ATAK, but it says that its overall budget of $240 million will be enough for buying 16 Black Hawks and 8 to 10 T-129s. The T-129 is an attack helicopter, but a bit smaller and lighter than classic competitors like Russia’s Mi-28 or the USA’s AH-64 Apache. The T129A EDH carries the nose-mounted 20mm cannon turret with 500 rounds, and 4 pylons for unguided rockets. The aircraft is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions. Philippine officials have yet to formally announce the deal.
The Egyptian Air Force will buy more Chinese-made Wing Loong II attack drones. It is believed that Mohamed Abbas, chief of the Egyptian Air Force, signed a deal with CATIC officials on the sidelines of the EDEX 2018 exhibition held in Cairo earlier this week. A documentary recently broadcast on Egyptian state television suggests that China’s National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) has already sold several of its Wing Loong II UAVs to Egypt, which would make it the second export customer after the United Arab Emirates. Since this maiden flight in February 2017, the Wing Loong II has been hyped as potential best seller on the export market, offering a cheaper alternative to its rival—the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.
Jane’s reports that the Italian Army is currently fielding the first examples of the latest-generation Light Multirole Vehicle (LMV). The Iveco produced LMV is a four-wheel-drive purpose-built military vehicle designed to perform a range of duties from patrolling and escorting to commanding and liaisons. The LMV is similar to American Hummers in size and number of occupants but comes at a significant higher cost, that stems from some fundamental design differences that are designed to protect their occupants from mine blasts and small arms fire. The latest variant is the LMV Lince 2 in a Networked Enabled Capability (NEC) configuration. This latest variant comes with a higher payload (3000 lbs, which is an 87% increase over earlier models) and a higher level of ballistic protection and protection against explosives. The LMV Lince 2 NEC is armed with Leonardo’s HITROLE remote weapon station that can mount 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine guns to a 40 mm aromatic grenade launcher. Italy plans to buy a total of 400 LMVs Lince 2 NEC over the coming years.
Japan may sell an overhauled air defense radar system to the Philippines, this move would be the first defense export since ending a nearly 50-year ban in 2014. If approved, Manila could receive an upgraded model of the Mitsubishi Electric-made FPS-3 air defense radar system. The FPS-3 has been in use with the JASDF since 1991. The radar features two antennas capable of detecting fighters and ballistic missiles, and are highly capable of tracking fighters. The potential deal is expected to cost between $8.9 and $17.7 million.
Tokyo may still retrofit one of its Izumo-class helicopter carriers to embark its new F-35Bs, but refuses to call it an aircraft carrier so as to avoid criticism that having such an offensive platform would violate country’s pacifist constitution. Instead, the Izumo will be called a “multi-purpose operation destroyer”. Retrofit work will include thickening of the decks so that the Short Takeoff & Vertical Landing (STVOL) variant of the fifth-generation stealth fighter can land vertically on the deck and modification of elevators to transport aircraft to their hangars.
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