Embraer to enter Super Tucano for OA-X demo | Canadian senators rebel against F/A-18 | India to up production of Pinaka
- Embraer has announced that it will enter its A-29 Super Tucano into the US Air Force’s upcoming OA-X experiment. The Brazilian manufacturer will team with Sierra Nevada Corporation for the July demonstration, which aims to test low-cost options for acquiring light attack aircraft for the service. Manufactured in Florida and in use by a dozen air forces worldwide, the A-29 is a durable, versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of fighter and ISR missions. The USAF-certified A-29 is combat-proven, having seen combat in Afghanistan and in theaters around the globe.
- A Canadian senate committee on defense has urged the Canadian government to drop the planned acquisition of F-A/18 fighters from Boeing, describing it as as a “political decision” that fails to serve either the air force or taxpayers. The government announced its plans to purchase 18 Super Hornets as an interim measure following its pulling out of a deal to buy 65 F-35s as a replacement for its ageing CF-188s. Citing a letter from 13 former senior Royal Canadian Air Force officers which argues that the acquisition of such a small fleet – sharing only limited commonality with its current fighters – will be needlessly costly, the senators stated that the government’s “decision not to proceed with the procurement process for a new fighter fleet and purchasing an unnecessary and costly interim capability will leave the taxpayers with a significant burden and [RCAF] with a duplicate support system that will cost billions of dollars in equipment, training, and technical know-how.” The committee recommended that the defence ministry “immediately” begins a contest to select the CF-188’s replacement, with a decision to made by 30 June 2018.
- Damages to the the oxygen system of a VC-25A, also known as Air Force One, has been blamed on three mechanics from Boeing. A USAF accident report stated that the company reimbursed the government $4 million for the mishap, after mechanics used parts and a cleaning solution that did not meet the cleanliness standards for the oxygen system. An attempt to sanitise the contaminated parts with the unapproved cleaning solution also didn’t follow procedures, the report added. As a result, the cost to sterilize and re-check the oxygen system added $4 million to the repair bill for the VC-25A, but Boeing has re-imbursed the government for the costs.
Middle East & North Africa
- Saudi Arabia has produced its own strategic UAV under its own drone program. Built by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the Saqr-1 features a KA-band satellite communications system, has a range of more than 2,500 km, and an endurance of more than 24 hours. News of the new drone program comes after March’s announcement that Riyadh would partner with China to construct a UAV factory in the Gulf kingdom as part of a $65 billion economic pact. The factory is most likely to produce China’s CH-4 UAV, as well as providing after-sales services for China’s clients in the Middle East in addition to satisfying Saudi orders.
- Fincantieri’s shipyard at Muggiano has delivered the forth U212A Todaro-class attack submarine to the Italian Navy. Named the Romeo Romel, the vessel is the twin sub of the Pietro Venuti which was delivered in July last year. The project was conducted in cooperation with the German Submarine Consortium and features Kongsberg’s MSI-90U advanced combat management system.
- In what is being described as a “rare comment on defense”, the Taiwanese government has publicly announced that it is to continue purchasing US defense systems despite its own efforts to build up its indigenous defense capabilities. Citing that its purchase “have boosted the local economy of and employment in states such as Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Utah, Ohio and Pennsylvania,” the government statement added that companies like Raytheon Co, Lockheed Martin Co, Boeing Co, Sikorsky and BAE Systems PLC have benefited from Taiwan’s purchases of missile defense systems, attack helicopters, fighter jets, and other amphibious assault vehicles. The 40-page English-language response released by Taiwan’s cabinet late Thursday stated that US-Taiwan ties were a “top priority” and that the island was “open to any possible proposals that will strengthen US-Taiwan trade relations on a fair and mutually-beneficial basis.” While normally both Washington and Taipei keep a low profile on defense procurement matters, such a public announcement may move to antagonise China, which sees Taiwan as rightfully part of its bigger neighbor.
- The Indian government is planning a $2 billion acquisition of the home-made Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher system in an effort to become more self-sufficient. An order for six regiments is expected within the next 18 months and it is believed to involve a number of state-owned and private industry partners. It’s also suggested that New Delhi may be looking to export the Pinaka. However, the Pinaka is not without its problems, namely with the rockets of the two regiments that have been in use for more than a decade. According to Bhupinder Yadav, an analyst and former Indian Army Major General, the “production of Pinaka rockets is on hold after some quality-related issues mainly relating to OFB-produced propellant such as short ranges, residues after firings and accidents relating to burst in launchers, etc.”
- The US State Department has cleared the sale of CBRN equipment to India. Valued at an estimated $75 million, the foreign military sale includes includes 38,034 M50 general purpose masks; Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology — 38,034 each of suits, pairs of trousers, pairs of gloves, pairs of boots and NBC bags – plus 854 aprons; 854 alternative aprons; 9,509 Quick Doff Hoods; and 114,102 M61 filters. The equipment is used to protect service members from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
- The Kaplan MT:
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