Elbit Garners $49.8M for HDTS for USN Seahawks | USN’s MQ-25A Stingray Competitors Pushed to Redesign | Rafale Pref Choice in Malaysia $2B+/- Fighter Deal
- Lockheed Martin has ruled the T-50A out of the USAFs upcoming light attack aircraft experiment, instead focusing on offering the plane as part of the service’s T-X trainer competition. The company stated that the T-50A, a variant of Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI) T-50 Golden Eagle, already has a light-attack version, the FA-50, hinting that a solution may come not from the fixed-wing side of the company but rather from its rotary and mission systems business. Last week’s invitation by the Air Force details plans to choose up to four companies to bring non-developmental, low-cost, multi-role aircraft to Holloman Air base for a capability assessment. Over a period of four to six weeks, each plane’s “basic aerodynamic performance” will be tested as well as weapons, sensors, and communications capability. On the success of these demonstrations, the Air Force aims to prove whether there is a business case for creating an OA-X program of record.
- Elbit will deliver 126 helmet display tracker systems associated with MH-60 Seahawk helicopters to the US Navy in a contract worth $49.8 million. The system is designed to integrate with the rotorcraft’s 20mm automatic gun subsystem, 2.75-inch unguided rockets and digitally-guided precision rockets, and enhances the situational awareness and targeting capabilities for Seahawk pilots and co-pilots. Work on the contract will be performed at Elbit’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by June 2021.
- The US Navy’s MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial tanker is likely to have a wing-body-tail design after Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Work division found that a flying wing design is not the best aerodynamic shape for the service’s latest requirements. While the Navy had initially intended a surveillance and possible strike capability for the aircraft, the current requirements suggest a strong emphasis on a tanking role and less on ISR. As a result, competing firms Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and Boeing are likely to redesign their bids for the competition.
Middle East & North Africa
- L-3 Fuzing and Ordnance System has won a $37 million US Army contract to provide various military fuses for the government of Saudi Arabia. The foreign military sales contract will see the kingdom receive more than 38,000 M734A1 multi-option fuses and more than 165,000 M783 detonating and delay fuses by May 31, 2019. Fuses are used as components in artillery munitions, grenades, sea mines, and other explosive devices.
- Rheinmetall has been revealed as one of the defense manufacturers affected by defense export denials to Turkey by the German government. Speaking at the company’s end of year results, Chief Executive Armin Papperger reported that the “German government is currently denying clearance for some export contracts,” which could get in the way of current talks with Ankara over a contract to supply a defense system for its Leopard battle tanks, after the country lost 10 such vehicles in its war against the Islamic State. The latest tensions between the two governments have arisen from a row over campaign appearances in Germany by Turkish officials to drum up support for a referendum that could boost President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.
- An explosion at an army base warehouse storing tank ammunition in eastern Ukraine is being blamed on Russia or Russian-backed separatists. Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak told a press conference that a fire and explosions caused the detonation of ammunition in several sites at the base, possibly set off by a drone attack or a radio or timed device. Poltorak added that “I think that first of all it could be representatives who help the (separatist) groups that carry out combat missions,” hinting that a “friendly” country (Russia) may have been involved.
- Dassault’s Rafale is being touted as the preferred selection by Malaysia for their latest fighter procurement program. A pitch in fovor of the fighter is expected to be made during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to the country next week, and could initially be worth as much as $2 billion for 19 aircraft. Hollande’s arrival will be marked by a ceremony which will see two French Rafales join a Royal Malaysian Air Force A400M in a flypast at Subang airbase in Kuala Lumpur. Also in the hunt include BAE with the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russia’s Sukhoi and Sweden’s Saab, which is selling its single engine Gripen.
- The Indian government is considering whether it will pay for the maintenance and repair of grounded helicopters and transport planes belonging to the Afghan Air Force. Experts sent by New Delhi to access Kabul’s need estimate that it will cost close to $50 million for new parts and repairs to 11 grounded Soviet-made Mi-35 helicopters and seven transport aircraft. A final decision is expected within the next few months as soon as final costing is complete. As most of Afghanistan’s small air force dates from the Soviet era, sanctions against Russia means that Western donors that fund the military cannot pay to get grounded aircraft flying again. Here, India plays an important role in potentially supporting Afghanistan as it is not posed by such restrictions.
- Airspace System’s drone catcher:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire