* Issues affecting an F-22 Raptor weapons system have been fixed and the fighter has returned to normal operations with student pilots. While few details have been released, the issues surround the in-flight operations including radar functions and low observability capabilities. The USAF’s thrifty maintenance crews took as little as two days to formulate a solution at a cost of only $250. A replacement system would have set them back $40,000 and $50,000.
* Boeing is to consolidate their defense, space and security operations, resulting in the closure of some plants and relocation of jobs. Plants in El Paso, Texas and Newington, Virginia are earmarked to be shut with the company stating that their manufacturing area will be shrunk by about 4.5 million square feet by the end of 2020. Approximately 500 jobs will be cut over the period. A new global operations group will also be established to include defense units in Australia, Saudi Arabia, and UK which will be headed by the company’s current UK managing director, David Pitchforth.
Middle East & North Africa
* In a bid to push foreign cyber-security sales, Israel is targeting more than 20 countries following an earlier easing of its export control policy. Cyber related exports have been increasing year over year with last year’s figure amounting to $4 billion, $800 million more than in 2014. It’s believed that this year could potentially top $5 billion, more than all other nations combined, barring the US.
* The Czech Prime Minister has rejected notions of future US missile defense radar deployment in the country. Calling the idea “pure fiction,” Bohuslav Sobotka stressed that the country had more pressing security concerns than a potential missile threat from Iran, a moot fear since last year’s nuclear deal. US missile defense plans for Europe currently include Aegis-equipped ships patrolling from Spain, and rocket equipped silos in Romania and Poland, with Turkey, Germany and other NATO states providing radar capability.
* Russia’s federal national guard will test a new fixed-wing UAV from Zala Aero early next year. The catapult-launched 16E5 is currently in the final stages of factory testing which so far has seen the replacement of the original motor with a combustion engine, increasing the aircraft’s maximum speed and flight duration. With a 5m (16.4ft) wingspan, it has an endurance of 16h at a range of 81nm (150km). Other features include a day/night camera and a thermal imager, and it can return itself to base in the event of loss of communications, all while maintaining a low radar frequency signature.
* F/A-18 Hornet fighters operated by the Spanish Air Force will be replaced by a “system of systems” by 2030. Known as the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), the prgram will see about 50 legacy Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Eurofighter Typhoons upgraded to network with a fifth-generation aircraft; a new fifth-generation aircraft (type and numbers to be decided); and an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (type and numbers to be decided). While the fifth-generation aircraft will likely be the F-35, Spanish Navy plans to retire their AV-8B Harrier II will result in a joint procurement between the two branches.
* RUAG Australia has won an F-35 sustainment contract in support of the Australian Defense Forces. Under the deal, RUAG will repair and install new valves, auxiliary power systems, landing gear components, and additional supporting equipment on the 72 aircraft slated to go down under. The company’s participation in the F-35 program stretches back to its development phase in 2003, manufacturing major hydraulic components for the next-gen fighter.
* Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) has said it will open up to allow the private defense sector to participate in programs such as the JF-17 Thunder fighter and Super Mushshak trainer. As well as looking for new design and development programs for upgrades to the aircraft, PAC is also entertaining the possibility of allowing collaboration on the manufacture of propulsion and industrial gas turbines. Benefits of opening up the domestic industry include using public funds that otherwise would have gone abroad as domestic stimulus and making it easier for foreign vendors to pick private firms in matters involving sensitive technology intellectual property, which could make transfer-of-technology and expertise easier to negotiate.
Russia’s demonstrates the land attack capability of its K-300P Bastion-P mobile coastal defense missile system in Syria: