USAF Spending $491M to Upgrade B-52H Radar | $3B Saudi Aid Package With Lebanese Cancelled | Jakarta Decides on Su-35s
- The USAF has earmarked $491 million over five years for the upgrade of B-52H radars. The modernization plan will replace the outdated Northrop Grumman AN/APQ-166 mechanically scanned array radar with further funds to be made available post-2021. The USAF strategy for the program has yet to be released, but it is likely that the plan will be to modify existing radar technologies and components to suit the B-52H, instead of developing something new, to increase reliability and durability of the radar.
- The US State Department has approved a $200 million Foreign Military Sale to Saudi Arabia. The sale will see the provision of support services by the United States Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia (USMTM), which will be responsible for identifying, planning, and executing U.S. Security Cooperation training and advisory support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Defense. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) did not elaborate on what exact training or services would be provided, although the deal would require the permanent or temporary assignment of as many as 202 case-funded US government or contractor personnel to Saudi Arabia.
Middle East North Africa
- An unknown Saudi Arabian order of 22 Hawk Advanced Jet trainers from BAE Systems has been revealed in the company’s 2015 report. This would double the amount to be procured by the kingdom’s air force, following the $3 billion deal for 22 of the same trainers in 2012. While little other information is given in the report, the deal does include associated ground equipment, and training aids for the Royal Saudi Air Force aimed at further enhancing their training capabilities. The news comes as BAE announced a sale increase of 7.6% for 2015, for a total of over $25.5 billion.
- A $3 billion Saudi Arabian aid package to allow the Lebanese Army to buy French weapons has been suspended. Saudi officials cited the lack of condemnation by Beirut over attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran for the cancelling the deal. The remainder of a further $1 billion package to help the Lebanese internal security service battle terrorism was also cancelled. The incident comes as one of a series highlighting the growing tensions between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’a Iran, with Lebanese Hezbollah a key ally of Tehran. Equipment to be procured included combat and transport vehicles, attack helicopters, three small corvette warships, surveillance and communication equipment as well as the provision of training maintenance.
- A modernization of Poland’s Leopard 24A tanks will involve collaboration between Germany’s Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH and Poland’s state-run defense company Bumar-Labedy SA. The $144 million contract will see Rheinmetall build a prototype upgraded tank, dubbed the Leopard 2PL, and modernize a trial batch of about a dozen units. As with all ongoing Polish defense deals, the next phase will see work domesticated after a knowledge and technology transfer to Bumar-Labedy, who will take care of the modernization of the remaining tanks. At present, the Polish Army operates 128 Leopolds after a 2002 purchase from the German Bundeswehr.
- Deutz AG is to provide new engines for armored personnel carriers (APC) for the Ukranian Army. The German manufacturer signed a deal with Ukroboronprom, Ukraine’s leading defense group. The engines will replace the older Russian made ones found in the Armed Force’s BTR-4 vehicles as Kiev looks to cut procurement costs and bring equipment in line with NATO standards. The new procurement deal is believed to save Ukroboronprom $25 million, with savings to go toward developing and producing new weapons and equipment.
- Speculation surrounding Indonesia’s fighter modernization have been put to rest. Jakarta looks set to sign a contract for around a dozen Su-35s to replace its aging Northrop F-5 fighters, and supplement a fleet of 16 Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 fighters that form the backbone of its air force. Russian officials from the plane’s manufacturer United Aircraft Corporation refused to comment on the sale at last week’s Singapore Air Show, but it’s been reported that some of the components for the Su-35 could be made indigenously by Indonesian firms. Contracts for the deal could be ready and signed within a month’s time.
- Airbus has delivered the last of three C-295 aircraft ordered by the Philippines Air Force. Future sales to Manilla and other C-295 customers such as Vietnam and Indonesia could come in the future, alongside the smaller CN-235, for use in maritime patrol duties monitoring Chinese activity around disputed islands in the South China Sea. Sales of the C-295 have been growing steadily with operators found in most continents. The first sale of 2016 was recently announced by the company, with one C-295 to be delivered to the Mali Air Force in the second half of this year.
- Actor Hugh Jackman flying a USAF F-16 at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base. Callsign Wolverine? :
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