* Textron is currently testing their upgraded RQ-7 Shadow M2 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which they believe will allow the system to undertake increased mission capabilities currently reserved for larger UAVs such as the MQ-1 Predator. At present, Shadow V2s are used by the US Army in conjunction with AH-64 Apaches to fill the armed reconnaissance mission, following the retirement of the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter. The Shadow M2 will add longer endurance, more capable payloads, and more power than the M2 version, and also gain a satellite uplink that allows it to communicate beyond-line-of-sight.
* USAF’s fleet of more than 500 F-15s are to get a wheel and brake upgrade after successful flight testing. Once completed, F-15C/D/E fighters will be capable of undertaking 1,400 landings before having to swap out their brakes. The USAF stands to save over $194 million in F-15 maintenance costs once all of the aircraft are fitted with the upgrade, and this will be the first brake testing to be carried out on the jet since the 1980s.
* A USMC MV-22 Osprey has given a successful ground refueling of a Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The one-hour test consisted of hooking up fuel transfer lines between the two aircraft with the MV-22 fueling the F-35B with an aerial refueling to follow. Both aircraft will be used to allow the Marine Corps to employ assets in austere environments on short notice without having to rely on long-term planning and fixed facilities.
* The Missile Defense Agency has awarded a $235.3 million contract to Millennium Engineering & Integration to provide advisory and assistance services for test, exercise, and wargames in support of technical, engineering, advisory and management support. This contract provides support for the development, implementation, sustainment, and assessment of test processes, procedures, plans, and policies to support the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) through the test life cycle. Completion of the contract is expected for June 2020.
* The first prototype of the Ka-62 twin-engine helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight. Items tested on the multi-purpose rotorcraft included the main power supply systems and avionics during a ten minute hover flight at Progress Aircraft-Manufacturing Enterprise’s site in eastern Russia. Capable of undertaking a wide variety of missions, the Ka-62 has been designed for transportation, search and rescue, and for work in Russia’s oil and gas industry.
* Pakistan’s hope to procure subsidized F-16 fighters from the US has been scuppered by US Congress. State Department officials reported that if Islamabad wishes to purchase eight of the aircraft, it will cost up to $480 million, two and a half times the original cost. US foreign military financing of the deal had been criticized by many lawmakers who believed that Pakistan wasn’t doing enough to tackle Islamic militants operating in the country, and who would more likely use the F-16s against neighboring India than combating terrorism.
* Longbow LLC, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, has been awarded a contract by the Indian government to provide fire control radar (FCR) systems with advanced air and ground targeting capabilities. The $57.1 million contract will see Longbow install 12 systems on India’s AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, and could be worth up to $116.7 million. The FCR’s air over-watch mode provides aircrews with 360-degree situational awareness, improving survivability and mission success.
* Japan and the Philippines will conclude talks this week to lease five Beechcraft TC-90 Kind Airs from the Maritime Self-Defense Force to Manila. Japan’s Defense Minister Gen. Nakatani will call his Filipino counterpart Gazmin today, May 2nd to finalize the deal. The aircraft will help boost the Philippine’s maritime security efforts, particularly patrolling territory in the West Philippine Sea.
* Turkey’s indigenous Bayraktar TB2 UAV successfully dropped a Roketsan MAM-L laser-guided glide bomb on April 29: