F-35 Costs Expected to Drop | Boeing-IAI Deliver First Arrow-3 to IAF | Turkey & Russia Conduct First Joint Air-Strike | Airbus Wins $2B A400M Buy from Indonesia
- Investors and traders looking to avoid/gain from the stock market turmoil caused by US President Donald Trump have a new best friend: an app that will generate trading alerts for shares based on comments made by the man on social media. Tweets sent by Trump in December, criticizing big ticket defense programs such the F-35 and the new Air Force One, sent stock prices of Lockheed Martin and Boeing tumbling, and the CEOs of the US’ biggest defense companies scrambling to find ways to trim the fat on program costs. Behind the creation, London-based FinTech firm Trading.co.uk said the Trump signal generator used artificial intelligence technology to differentiate between tweets or other messages that, for example, just mention Boeing and those liable to move markets. Happy Inauguration Day!
- Speaking of costs, the price of the F-35 looks set to take a tumble, as the US DoD and Lockheed Martin come close to an agreement on a new contract for the Joint Strike Fighter. While talks on the warplane’s tenth batch are still ongoing, sources close to discussions say the fighter will drop below its current $100 million per-plane price tag for the first time. Believed to be in the range of $9 billion, an official announcement on the 90-plane deal is expected to come at the end of the month.
Middle East North Africa
- The Israeli Air Force has received delivery of their first Arrow-3 missile defense battery. A joint-development effort by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Arrow-3 interceptor will form the upper-tier layer of Israel’s multi-tiered Arrow Weapons System (AWS), and is designed to fly nearly twice as high at half the weight of the Arrow-2 interceptor, which covers the lower-tier segment of the network. Arrow-3 missiles will allow the IAF to shoot twice against a single ballistic target, assess for battle damage and, if needed, divert to other approaching threats, with the Arrow-2 operating as a back-up.
- Warplanes from Turkey and Russia have conducted their first joint air-strike. In what is a strange development for a NATO member to coordinate so closely with Russia, the raid comes just fourteen months after Ankara downed a Russian Su-24 for allegedly crossing into Turkish airspace. Focusing on the town of al-Bab in Aleppo province, the strike included four Russian Su-24s, four Su-25s and an Su-34, joined by four F-4s and four F-16s from Turkey. Al-Bab, located just 12 miles from the Turkish border, has been the focus of a five-month Turkish-backed Syrian rebel campaign aimed at pushing back both IS and Kurdish forces.
- Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz has said that his government is considering a 2017 splurge on new military hardware. Macierewicz name-dropped Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky subsidiary, Leonardo, and somewhat surprisingly Airbus, as potential suppliers of 14 helicopters to the Polish army. While both Sikorsky and Leonardo have plants located in Poland, relations between Airbus and the ruling Law & Justice Party soured last year following the cancellation of a $3.2 billion deal to provide 50 H225M Caracals. The ministry has also proposed a plan to buy between 50-100 F-16s as well as three new submarines with contracts to be signed by either the end of the year or in early 2018.
- Thales will update the master radars for the Swiss Air Force in a deal worth $78.90 million. The five-year upgrade is part of a life extension project to keep the former’s FLORAKO system running until the 2030s. Thales said the project will involve development of a new radar signal and upgrading the radar’s data processing and antenna system.
- Indonesia’s government has approved a $2 billion plan to purchase five A400M transport aircraft from Airbus. News of the deal marks a significant leap in the country’s modernization plans and provisions included in the deal will allow Indonesian engineers to study and observe the assembly of various major aircraft components, including wings and fuselage shells, for the first two airframes in Seville, Spain. State-owned firm PT Dirgantara will then conduct the final fit-out of the last three airframes at its plant in Bandung.
- A Royal Thai Air Force plan to purchase Mil Mi-17V-5 helicopters has paved the way for the potential setting up a production and maintenance facility in the kingdom. The facility will help support the new helicopters as well as five models previously purchased by Bangkok; once established, the facility would look to provide maintenance support to other Mi-17V-5 operators in Southeast Asia. Once a strong US ally, relations between the two have gone south in recent years following a 2014 coup, resulting in a reorientation toward Russia for defense and industrial ties.
Unveiling of the Arrow-3 to the IAF:
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