DSCA clears THAAD for Saudi, Saudi signs deal for S-400 | Austral to build additional LCS | Finland sends RFIs for Hornet replacement program
- Austral USA, the Mobile, Alabama-based subsidiary of the Australian shipbuilder has been awarded a $584.2 million modification to a previously awarded US Navy contract for the construction of a littoral combat ship (LCS). Under the terms of the deal, the firm will perform and oversee all necessary design, planning, construction and test and trials activities in support of delivery of the vessel to the Navy, with a scheduled completion date set for October 2023. Work will primarily take place at Mobile, Alabama, but also at several other east coast locations. The Navy expects to release a competitive solicitation(s) for additional LCS class ships in future years, and therefore the specific contract award amount for these ships is considered source selection sensitive information and for the time being, will not be made public.
- Boeing plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences, both companies announced on October 5. Wanted to help accelerate Boeing’s development of game-changing autonomy technology for innovative aerospace vehicles, the Manassas-based company will retain an independent operating model after the acquisition. Since its founding in 1989, Aurora has designed, produced and flown more than 30 UAVs, and has collaborated with Boeing on several occasions in the last decade on the rapid prototyping of innovative aircraft and structural assemblies for both military and commercial applications. Further details on the acquisition were not given.
Middle East & Africa
- Saudi Arabia has been cleared by the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to proceed with the sale of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems. Valued at an estimated $15 billion, the package includes the provision of 44 THAAD launchers, 360 THAAD Interceptor Missiles, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group, and seven AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars. Additional items include THAAD Battery maintenance equipment, 43 trucks, generators, electrical power units, trailers, communications equipment, tools, and test and maintenance equipment, as well as spare and repair parts, logistics, construction of facilities and other program support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Raytheon will act as lead contractors in the deal, which the DSCA said will add an upper-tier to Saudi Arabia’s layered missile defense architecture and will support modernization of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Force.
- A historic visit by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Moscow last week was marked by the announcement that the kingdom has agreed to buy the S-400 air defense system from Russia. Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the system on Thursday, which will also see part of the system built in Saudi Arabia as part of efforts to develop its own military industries. The MOU also covers the production in Saudi Arabia of Kornet-EM anti-tank missiles, TOS-1A multiple rocket launchers, and AGS-30 automatic grenade launchers. Another general terms and conditions of contract agreement was also signed, and covers Saudi production of the Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifle and associated 7.62×39 mm ammunition. King Salman arrived, along with a 1,500 strong entourage, in Moscow on Wednesday, the first time a Saudi king has ever visited Moscow.
- South Africa’s Paramount Group has snapped up four surplus Dassault Mirage F1Bs from the French government in a “multi-million euro” transaction the firm did not want to specify. Once delivered, the aircraft will join the company’s existing fleet of single-seat Mirage F1s—which it bought from the South African air force in 2006—and will support both aggressor and pilot training in addition to aiding maintenance and support instruction. They will be operated by the Paramount Aerospace Systems subsidiary.
- German prosecutors examining portions of Airbus’s $2 billion sale in 2003 of Eurofighter aircraft to Austria are expected to complete their investigations soon. While Austrian prosecutors are also investigating the case, the Munich authority is focusing on 16 individuals on suspicion of breeches of trust, and whether money supposedly spent on so-called offset deals was instead used to influence decision-makers on the main sale. Meanwhile,Vienna prosecutors are pursuing a separate investigation into allegations of fraud against Airbus and the Eurofighter industrial consortium based on complaints from the Austrian defense ministry, which is seeking up to $1.3 billion in compensation.
- The Finnish government has sent a Request for Information (RFI) to seven countries about weapons and other equipment for Finland’s HX fighter project to replace its F/A-18 Hornet fleet by 2025. France, Germany, Britain, Israel, Norway, Sweden and the US, have all been contacted with the requests, which aims to determine what capabilities will be available to meet Finland’s estimated future fighter needs. Helsinki intends to seek pricing on the Hornet’s replacement next spring, with testing of candidate aircraft to commence in 2019, and a final procurement decision will come made in 2021.
- Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has dismissed claims that Bangkok has agreed to replace ageing AH-1F helicopters with new attack helicopters from the US. Instead, he added that the army has a procurement plan for some attack helicopters and that a committee has yet to setup to select and procure a new attack helicopter. While Prawit did not disclose the models or country the new rotorcraft is expected to come from, a source close to the procurement said six helicopters will be sought, adding the models in contention include the Cobra, AH-1Z Viper, AH-64 Apache from the US, the Mi-28 from Russia, the Z-10 from China or the AW-129 from Italy.
- T-50A: Mission X:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire