DSCA clears naval missile package for Mexico | Babcock announce team for Royal Navy frigate competition | Germany could procure both Typhoon and F-35
- The US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has approved the potential foreign military sale (FMS) of RGM-84L Harpoon Block II surface launched missiles, Block II Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) tactical missiles and MK 54 Mod 0 lightweight torpedoes to the government of Mexico. Valued at an estimated $98.4 million, the package includes six Harpoons, 23 RAMs, and six of the torpedoes. Also included are additional guided-missile round packs, torpedo tube, 250-round rounds of AA98 25-mm high-explosive and semi-armor piercing ammunition, 750 rounds of tracer ammunition and practice rounds, 480-rounds of BA22 57mm high explosive programmable fuse ammunition, and 960 rounds of BA23 57mm practice ammunition, as well as containers, spare parts, test equipment, publications and technical documentation, and personnel training and equipment. The equipment will come from existing US stocks and once procured, the weapon systems will be integrated on the Mexican Navy’s Sigma 10514 Class ship—four of which are being built as Long Range Patrol Vessels.
- Lockheed Martin received Friday a $10.1 million contract modification from the Pentagon to exercise an option to procure, assemble, integrate, and test AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 4.0.2 equipment for the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Stout (DDG 55). The modification could provide additional funds to Lockheed Martin depending on how well the company performs on the contract, and the money comes from fiscal year 2018 defense-wide procurement funding and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will take place at Moorestown, New Jersey and Clearwater, Florida, with a scheduled completion time of April 2019.
Middle East-North Africa
- Nigerian budget documents for 2018 show that three JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft will be procured from the Chengdu Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, making it the first export purchaser of the fighter to be publicly named. $36 million has been earmarked as partial payment for the purchase, and will also include support equipment and spares. While no official announcement has been names, a Pakistani air force official told FlightGlobal at last year’s Paris Air Show that a “contract had been signed” with an Asian country, and Chinese social media have shown a JF-17 in Myanmar air force markings, and the junta are expected to add 16 models to their inventory. Nigeria is also expected to buy two AgustaWestland AW109 helicopters in 2018, as well as undergoing depot maintenance for two Dassault Alpha Jets and a Lockheed Martin C-130H.
- The Sultanate of Oman has been given US DCSA clearance for the possible FMS package of items and services to support an incremental Operational Flight Profile (OFP) software upgrade for F-16 subsystems, as well as Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) and secure communications equipment for Mode 5 operations. Costing $62 million, the 23 Royal Air Force of Oman F-16s—currently using the Mode 4 IFF—will receive the systems, and the package will also include six spare of each acquired item, as well as Classified and Unclassified Computer Program Identification Numbers (CPINS) upgrades; OFP upgrades for IFF Mode 5 capable systems, Joint Mission Planning (JMPS) upgrade; Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod software, service support, support equipment, spares, and training; systems support and test equipment; spare and repair parts; publications and technical documentation; training and training equipment; US Government and contractor engineering; logistics and technical support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. If approved by Congress, Lockheed Martin will act as lead contractor.
- UK-based think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has weighed in on Germany’s Tornado replacement program, saying a procurement of both the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter may be the best option for Berlin—after a split of option arose between some German military officials and the Ministry of Defense. While the ministry has come out in favor of the Eurofighter, the aircraft is not certified to drop the American B61 thermonuclear weapon—a NATO requirement—and modifying the aircraft to be capable of nuclear bombing would not only be expensive (estimates say between $350-600 million), the certification process will drag beyond 2025, when theLuftwaffe wants to start phasing out the Tornado. As a compromise, the Luftwaffe could possibly buy a small fleet of F-35s to fill the nuclear requirement, with a larger procurement of Eurofighters.
- Defense News reports that UK-based engineering firm Babcock International has announced its team that will compete for a Ministry of Defense (MoD) contract to build at least five Type 31e general purpose frigates for the Royal Navy. Dubbed Team 31, the industrial partnership will consist of fellow British warship designer BMT, French mission systems developer Thales, as well as the Glasgow-based Ferguson Marine and Belfast-based Harland & Wolff shipyards. On offer is “a blend” of the warship designs available from Babcock and BMT—Babcock launched its Arrowhead design at last September’s DSEI defense show in London, while BMT has its own Venator-110 frigate—but the final platform that will be submitted to the MoD will likely depend on the outcome of a value-management process—now entering its final phase—where the MoD and the rival bidders are exploring the possible trade-offs between cost and capability of the Type 31e. Whitehall has capped the total cost of each vessel at approximately $338 million, with the total program expected to reach around $1.7 billion.
- The US State Department came out on Thursday saying it was to suspend at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan, after President Trump tweeted frustrations with Islamabad’s inability to tackle militant groups operating the in country. However, the department declined to say exactly how much aid would be suspended, adding that the numbers were still being calculated, and included funding from both the State and Defense departments. The two main areas to be affected include foreign military financing (FMF), which funds purchases of US military hardware, training and services, and coalition support funds (CSF), which reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations. Pakistan lambasted the move, rejecting claims that it fails to tackle Taliban and Haqqani network militants launching attacks on the neighboring Afghan government from bases in Pakistan, and criticized what it called “shifting goalposts” required by Washington in order to get aid. In September, the Pentagon withheld $255 million in military aid, claiming Pakistan was not meeting its counter-terrorism obligations.
- Thailand’s first batch of two KAI T-50TH advanced trainer aircraft have been delivered from South Korea, after an overnight stay in Taiwan on January 8. Pictures of the aircraft at Kaohsiung Siaogang Airport were shared on the Alert5 blog, prior to their early morning onward flight south. The Royal Thai Air Force first ordered four T-50s in 2015, with eight additional units ordered in the summer of 2017. Next deliveries are scheduled in March.
- The Royal Thai Air Force’s T-50TH, ready for delivery:
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