F-35 Engine Incident Cost About $50 Million | Super Hornets Too to Get SDB II Integration | Kuwait Kicks Wheels of both Super Hornets and Eurofighters
- The cost of the F-35A engine fire last June has been calculated as $50 million by the investigation board responsible for looking into the failure of the third-stage rotor of the engine fan module, with the fire resulting in significant damage to the aircraft. The fire temporarily grounded the F-35 fleet worldwide and led to red faces when the Marine Corps were prevented from demonstrating their F-35B at Farnborough. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin was awarded a $920.4 million advanced acquisition contract last week, while F-35As were scheduled to take part in upcoming USMC exercises for the first time last week.
- The US and Japanese governments have successfully conducted a test firing of the Standard Missile 3 Block IIA at the Point Mugu Sea Range in California. The SM-3 is scheduled to enter service by 2018, with both nations having invested $1 billion each into the program.
- Raytheon has been awarded a $10.6 million contract to provide testing equipment for assessing the Small Diameter Bomb II on the FA-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft, including jettison test vehicles and instrumented measurement vehicles, with these presumably to assess the future viability of using the SDBII with Super Hornets. The SDBII recently passed Milestone C, facilitating its progression to low rate initial production by manufacturer Raytheon.
- As the British Army’s Thales WK450 Watchkeeper UAV heads toward Full Operating Capability, the responsibility for personnel training on the system is being transitioned from contractor services to the Army’s own program. The first course run by British Army personnel will take place in October, with the Watchkeeper deployed to Afghanistan last year, equipped with new synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indication capabilities.
- Airbus is reportedly planning to resume test flights of its A400M transport aircraft, following the crash of one aircraft during a test flight on 9th May. The aircraft saw three engines freeze as a result of a software problem, with the resulting crash killing four crew members.
- As part of the British government’s push for privatization in the nation’s defense apparatus, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has invited bids from industry as it seeks to privatize the British Armed Forces’ fire and rescue services. The Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation is the organization in question, with industry teams competing against an internal MoD bid. The publicly-owned Defence Support Group was sold to Babcock International in December last year, whilst the Government Pipeline and Storage System was sold to a Spanish company earlier this year.The government is also mulling the sale of some of its Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) arm, the multi-billion dollar procurement agency which it attempted to partially privatize in a 2013. That effort failed and has subsequently been heavily criticized.
- Work has begun on the second of three Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), with BAE Systems cutting steel at the firm’s Glasgow shipyard. The first OPV has been under construction since October, with the River-Class Batch II vessels an important bridge-buy prior to the introduction of the Royal Navy’s future Type 26 Frigates, with the $560 million construction contract sustaining industry capability in the interim.
- Kuwait is talking to the Italians regarding a sale of Eurofighters, in a potential $4.5 billion deal comprising between 24 and 28 of the jets. The Kuwaitis are looking to replace their F/A-18 Hornet fleet, with a separate $3 billion deal slated for Super Hornets thought to be in the works alongside the Eurofighter negotiations.
- Iraq has reportedly received a third of the Mi-28NE helicopters it ordered alongside Mi-35M helicopters. The first batch of these two helicopter models were delivered in July last year, with the first Mi-28 flights taking place in September The country is thought to have ordered fifteen Mi-28s and twenty-five Mi-35s, but precise numbers have not been officially disclosed. Russia is also looking to improve its Mi-28 fleet.
- Pakistan is reportedly preparing to assemble a Chinese Type 039A Yuan-class submarine at the country’s Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works. This follows an order for eight boats early last month.
- Iraq’s first batch of Mi-28NEs…
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