E-2D Hawkeye Aces First Flight | Royal Norwegian AF Tests Diehl’s IRIS-T | Czech Republic to Replace Soviet Era Radars with IAI’s MMR Family
- An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with aerial refueling has made its debut flight. Work carried out by Northrop Grumman included the installation of a probe along with associative piping and electrical cabling, as well as long endurance seats that will enhance the field of view in the cockpit and reduce fatigue over longer missions. A 2013 engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) contract has tasked the company with modifying three aircraft for testing followed by retrofits and production cut-in starting from 2018.
- The US Navy has awarded the Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office two contract modifications to perform repair services for the sailing branch’s V-22 Osprey aircraft. Valued at $246 million and $165.7 million, the awards are part of a contract with options that can reach a total value of $545 million if all options are exercised. Work is expected to be completed by December 2019.
- Canadian-based firm Héroux-Devtek have been tapped by Saab to manufacture landing gear systems for the Gripen E fighter. Under the contract, the company will assemble and deliver landing gear equipment for 96 Gripen planes being developed for the Swedish and Brazilian air forces. Manufacture work will be conducted at the company’s UK facilities and deliveries will commence next year.
Middle East & North Africa
- Reports that the US is limiting military support for Saudi Arabia has been downplayed by both governments. It was announced last week that Washington would limit certain arms sales to the Gulf kingdom as a result of increased pressure surrounding Saudi conduct during its war in Yemen. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, however, that Riyadh had not been officially informed of such decisions, which he described as contradicting the reality, while visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested the issue related more to a long procurement process than restrictions on military support.
- The Royal Norwegian Air Force has tested a new air-to-surface capability for the IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile (AAM). Developed by German firm Diehl BGT Defence, this new ground attack function of the missile only requires a software update to expand its capabilities. The IRIS-T was initially designed as a replacement for legacy AIM-9 Sidewinder variants, and the missile is cleared for carriage with the AMX International AMX, Boeing F/A-18, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, Panavia Tornado, and Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
- Radars used primarily in the Israeli David Sling and Iron Dome anti-missile systems are being ordered by the Czech Republic. Eight EL/M-2084 3D S-band AESA radars will be purchased by Prague at a cost of $100 million, replacing older Soviet-era systems still in use. The radars are to be delivered between 2019 to 2021 and will be complimented by a parallel acquisition of Patriot missile batteries.
- Leonardo-Finmeccanica has delivered the first two of four ATR 72MPs to the Italian Air Force. Designated P-72A by the service, the new planes will replace older Breguet Atlantic as the “future guardian of the Mediterranean,” operating on maritime patrol, surveillance, and anti-piracy missions. Based on the ATR 72-600 turboprop, the P-72A can remain on station for 6.5 hours at 200 nautical miles from its base.
- The South Korean government has confirmed that its northern neighbor is flight testing a long endurance UAV. Reports of the new drone surfaced on North Korean TV last week although clear images of the new drone were not provided. Pyongyang has claimed that the drone has real-time observation and tracking capabilities, as well as the ability to check the atmosphere, detect forest fires and observe fishing grounds.
Recent SM-6 missile launch on board USS John Paul Jones:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire