Exelis Wins $70M Contract for Precision Approach Radar | Elbit Brightnite Illuminates the Obscure | Leonardo-Finmeccanica Launches New 360 Airborne Radar
- Exelis Inc has been awarded a $70 million contract to provide a maximum of 42 commercial-off-the-shelf Precision Approach Radar (PAR) systems to replace the currently fielded AN-FPN-63(V). The Navy contract will see 21 of the systems go to the US Army, 16 to the Navy, and 5 to the USAF; and it also includes the provision of uninterruptible power supplies, training, and ancillary installation support for each PAR system. Work completion is expected for May 2021.
Middle East North Africa
- Elbit Systems has announced the successful testing of their new BrightNite multi-spectral panoramic vision system. The system was installed on an Airbus Twin-Star helicopter and trialed by a dozen pilots from various Air Forces. BrightNite’s function is to allow utility helicopters to successfully operate in poor visibility missions, and was tested during moonless and pitch-back night-time conditions, when missions are rarely executed.
- While we often look at the high-tech developments in the industry, the Islamic State’s (IS) “Air Force” has been resorting to more traditional methods. Jordanian border police reported intercepting an IS “Spy Plane” in the form of a homing pigeon. The bird was being used to deliver a letter to a Jordanian, but was caught by authorities along Jordan’s 375km border with Syria.
- The Cyprus National Guard has commenced destroying its expired Mistral surface-to-air missiles at the Kalo Chorio shooting range in Larnaca. A decision to destroy the French-made munitions alongside other weapons and equipment was taken by the National Guard and Ministry of Defense following the 2011 Mari Naval Base blast. The blast killed 12 people following a fire that ignited caches of confiscated Iranian explosives.
- Codenamed “Ptitselov,” sources inside the Russian Defense Ministry have announced that the Russian Airborne Forces are to get the world’s first air-droppable missile defense system. Based on the BMD-4M infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) the system is currently undergoing experimental design work but it will be delivered via parachute. The BMD-4M is equipped with the Bakhcha-U combat unit, which comprises two guns (one 100-mm caliber and one 30-mm caliber) and a machine gun.
- Leonardo-Finmeccanica has launched a new 360 degree airborne radar using fixed panels distributed around the body of aircraft, which it claims is the first of its kind. Known as the Osprey, the fixed radar requires less parts than other 360 degree radar, which would normally sit on a gimbel, located on the belly of an aircraft, running the risk of damage when landing in snow or semi-prepared strips. The radar has already been sold to the Norwegian Air Force for use on their new AW101 search and rescue helicopters.
- Airbus and Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland have been shortlisted by Singapore as part of a $1 billion military helicopter procurement. The contract will see the winning company provide utility helicopters to replace Singapore’s older Airbus Super Puma fleet. Following the helicopter contract, the city state will look at modernizing its tactical lift helicopter fleet, maritime patrol aircraft, and could potentially obtain the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by the end of the decade.
- India’s ongoing AgustaWestland helicopter bribery scandal is likely to cause further delay to the country’s perpetual Rafale fighter negotiation with France. An increasingly cautious government in New Delhi still hasn’t finalized an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France as bilateral discussions continue to drag on. The $8.9 billion deal includes 36 Rafale fighters alongside state of the art stealth, radar, thrust vectoring for missiles, and materials for electronics and micro-electronics from defense companies Dassault, Thales and Safran.
- A look at Ebit Systems’ Brightnite system:
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