EMALS Glitches in Front of Press | France Mulls C-130Js | Jordan Too Buys Sniper Pods
- General Dynamics NASSCO has delivered a third Mobile Landing Platform to the Navy, following the start of construction in 2013. The USNS Lewis B. Puller was initially floated in November, with the new vessel the first Afloat Forward Staging Base variant.
- The Navy and Raytheon have completed operational testing of the AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missile, including live-firings. The Air Force similarly tested the missile from an F-22 last month, with those tests including the downing of aerial drones.
- The General Atomics-manufactured EMALS system recently installed aboard PCU Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has delayed further dead-load testing on Wednesday owing to components failing to communicate properly with one another. Successful dead-load testing – shooting heavy weights off the edge of the ship to test the system’s capacity – took place earlier this month, with the company recently being awarded a $3.35 billion contract for an additional EMALS system for CVN-79. The glitch, although not thought to be serious, was instead embarrassing, given that press were watching on board.
- Russia will deliver nine helicopters to Peru next month, following a $400 million contract for the 24 Mi-171Sh helicopters in December 2013 and a first batch delivery at the tail-end of last year. Previous reports from March indicated that the number of helicopters still to be delivered stood at fifteen, with the Russian manufacturer also reportedly set to open a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) center in the South American country to support its new helicopter fleet. Russia has also been angling to provide an upgrade program for Peru’s T-55 tanks.
- Lockheed Martin and French defense officials are reportedly in discussions regarding a potential procurement of C-130J aircraft. The country’s defense ministry augmented its procurement budget last month to cover the potential purchase, with reports from earlier this year [French] stating that the country was in negotiations with Lockheed Martin regarding a deal estimated to be worth $670 million; however the French procurement agency DGA subsequently refuted these claims.
- French firm Thales and Textron AirLand announced Wednesday that they have successfully integrated the former’s I-Master radar onto the latter’s low-cost light attack Scorpion jet. The radar also scored export success to Jordan this week, following a 2014 contract to equip the country’s fleet of AC-235 aircraft. The Scorpion has recently been pushed at India, with other possible customers spread globally, including several African and Asian states.
- The Scorpion is also reportedly set to head to the United Kingdom’s naval aviation service, the Fleet Air Arm, for trials and flight demonstrations. These will take place over a period of ten days, with the jets also scheduled to undergo demonstrations at defense firm QinetiQ’s pilot training center. QinetiQ provides pilot training services to the UK Armed Forces, as well as to civilians.
- Lockheed Martin has been contracted to supply ten Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods to the Royal Jordanian Air Force, with the country currently engaged in airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The company was awarded a $485 million contract by the US Air Force in March, with a portion of this allocated for Foreign Military Sales. Jordan become the sixteenth Sniper ATP customer in 2013.
- Pakistan is planning on inducting the JF-17 Block II into its air force next year, with work reportedly having started already. The jointly-developed Chinese/Pakistani JF-17 recently bagged its first export customer, with Myanmar previously expressing interest in the fighter.
- Indian firm OIS-Advanced Technology has reported signed a Memorandum of Understanding with France’s LH Aviation to produce open an assembly line for LH-D Tactical UAV in India.
- An Australian E-7A Wedgetail has successfully refuelled from a KC-30A tanker during trials earlier this month. The RAAF Wedgetail AWACS fleet recently gained Full Operational Capability.
- The Scorpion jet… Cheap and effective?