Falcon to fight Griffin in Czech fighter comp | Russia deploys ballistic missile system to Kaliningrad exclave |SkyTech signs LOA for Embraer’s KC-390
- The first Italian Navy F-35B assembled in Italy has arrived at NAS Patuxent River after a transatlantic flight on January 31. Having rolled off the Cameri F-35 final assembly line in Italy on January 25, the aircraft will now spend three months at Patuxent River undergoing electromagnetic environmental effects certification at the Integrated Battlespace Simulation and Test Facility. Outside of Lockheed Martin’s Forth Worth, Texas, facility, and the Leonardo-operated Cameri facility, F-35 models are being assembled at Nagoya, Japan.
- Oshkosh Defense will provide the US Army with 416 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV), under a contract awarded by the service last Friday, February 2. Valued at $106.3 million, the agreement also includes the delivery of 832 kits, which include installation and packaging kits. Work will take place in Oshkosh, Wisconson, and is expected to be complete by March 2019.
- The Singapore airshow has seen Brazilian airframer Embraer sign a letter of intent to sell six KC-390 airlifters to aviation services firm SkyTech. SkyTech is a tie-up between HiFly—an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance (ACMI) firm from Portugal—and Adagold Aviation—an Australian aviation services and charter provider—who has had experience in the military charters market by supporting the Australian Defence Force efforts in the Middle East. During this contract, Adagold sub-contracted HiFly to perform this work with an Airbus A340.
Middle East & North Africa
- Both the Chadian and Cameroonian Air Force’s have each received two Cessna 208 aircraft modified for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions from the United States, Jane’s reports. The Cessnas had been modified into ISR platforms under contracts awarded to American Surveillance Systems and L-3 Communications by the Pentagon in May 2016, with all aircraft donated to the recipients. Air crew from both air forces have already completed flying, maintenance, and support training and the platforms are likely to be incorporated into existing air observation units.
- Slovakia’s Defense Ministry will decide between either Lockheed Martin’s F-16 or the Saab JAS-39 Gripen as the successor to its air force’s ageing MiG-29 fighter aircraft. The ministry said it would submit an analysis of the two options by June 29 for government approval. At present, Bratislava has a maintenance contract with Russia for its 12 MiG-29s that will run until fall 2019, however, as new jets typically take 18 to 24 months to deliver, this may need to be extended. Within central Europe, neighboring Hungary and the Czech Republic already operate Gripens, while Poland flies F-16s. Slovakia also has a “joint sky” agreement with the Czech Republic, which allows both nations to protect each other’s air space beyond the standard air defense cooperation within NATO. If Slovakia were to purchase the Gripen, both air forces could also share maintenance and pilot training.
- Russia has permanently deployed the Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile system to its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis has confirmed. Kaliningrad, a Russian oblast between Poland and Lithuania, had previously hosted the system for military drills, however, Karoblis confirmed that permanent infrastructure for the platform was now in place. While Lithuanian intelligence said that deployment of the Iskander would make no difference to the threat already posed to Lithuania by existing Russian capabilities, it could hinder NATO allies that would come to its aid in the event of conflict.
- South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced that all South Korean Air Force F-16s have been equipped with Lockheed Martin’s Sniper advanced targeting pod (ATP). According to the agency the new pods “significantly improves both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations.” The Sniper ATP laser designates small tactical targets at long ranges and supports deployment of all laser and GPS-guided weapons against multiple fixed and moving targets, significantly improving air-to-air and air-to-ground operations while reducing the odds of an erroneous strike. The pods were ordered by DAPA in 2013.
- Monday saw the Chinese military successfully complete another test of a ground-based midcourse anti-missile intercept system. Announced on Tuesday by the Defense Ministry, the statement said the test, which was conducted within China’s borders, had “reached its expected goals,” and “was defensive and not aimed at any country.” No other details on the test were given. Beijing remains secretive about its missile programs, with information often limited to brief government statements or state media reports. Anti-missile system tests have been ongoing since 2010.
- USAF chief General David L Goldfein flies in IAF LCA Tejas:
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