F-35A Takes Down Aerial Target with AIM-9X | Israel Looks to Procure Own Air Force One | India and France Close to $9B Deal on Rafale Fighters
- An F-35A has shot down its first aerial target with AIM-9X missiles off the coast of California. The kill test saw the fighter take down a drone, and test data confirmed the F-35 identified and targeted the drone with its mission systems sensors, passed the target “track” information to the missile, enabled the pilot to verify targeting information using the high off-boresight capability of the helmet mounted display (HMD), and launched the AIM-9X from the aircraft to engage the target. F-35s carry two AIM-9X missiles on their wings.
- Boeing is to provide $1 billion in spare parts for US Navy F/A-18 fleets. A total of four contracts were awarded by the US Defense Logistics Agency with the largest amounting to $640 million. All four orders were made against the same five-year base contract with one five-year option period.
- Approval has been granted by the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for the production engineering phase of their B61-12 nuclear warhead life extension program (LEP). The first production unit (FPU) of this weapon is planned for 2020, followed by full-scale production. With the modernization projected to cost anywhere between $350-450 million over the next decade, the B61-12 will replace the existing B61-3, -4, -7, and -10 thermonuclear bombs.
Middle East North Africa
- Israel is moving ahead with their $100 million program to procure their own Air Force One. Tricked out with its own special defense systems and advanced communications, it has been reported that the conversion will be carried out on a Boeing 767. Once in service, the aircraft will replace an aircraft leased from flag carrier El Al.
- Sukhoi Su-34 bombers are to be fitted with new radio surveillance gear that will allow them to spot and destroy enemy headquarters, communications and drone control centers. Dubbed UKR-RT, the system is a scaled-down version of the M-410 radio reconnaissance system that is installed in the Tu-214R. Many foreign military specialists regard the Tu-214R as a unique information gathering platform able to spot targets hundreds of kilometers away.
- Regulations imposed on the testing of the F-35’s on board laser designator will make it almost impossible for Royal Air Force versions to test in the UK. The strict rules prohibit the use of optic devices within 33km of the aircraft, and no observers being allowed within 9km when the laser designator is fired. Approval is now being sought by the MoD to use the device in the UK.
- Australia has taken delivery of their last MH-60R Seahawk helicopter from manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Replacing the older S-70B-2 Seahawks, the MH-60Rs now complete a requirement for a fleet of 24 next-generation, multi-role naval combat aircraft. The cost of the replacement is believed to be in excess of $2.2 billion.
- India and France are edging ever closer to closure on a potential $9 billion Rafale fighter deal. According to Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, New Delhi has agreed to sign a long awaited inter-governmental agreement (IGA), a key requirement for a potential sale; however, negotiations on offsets and final pricing are still to be confirmed.
Induction of AW159 naval helicopters into the South Korean Navy:
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