* On Friday, Raytheon announced the award of a $2 billion contract to an undisclosed international customer for the supply of new-production Patriot systems, training and support. The precise variant of the system was not revealed, however the new systems will include the “latest technology for improved threat detection, identification and engagement,” which sounds like the PAC-3 variant.
* Four firms and five individuals have been charged with illegally assisting Iranian procurement of defense technologies, including microelectronics. They stand accused of violating US sanctions, funneling the export of $24 million-worth of military-grade components through third countries, including Turkey and Taiwan.
* The X-47B UCAV currently being developed by Northrop Grumman, has conducted successful aerial refueling from a KC-707, the first time the demonstrator has completed this difficult test set. Additionally, the US Office of Naval Research recently successfully tested the ability of UAVs to “swarm”, sharing information in flight with some autonomy, as part of its LOCUST program.
* In another significant step for the company at the back-end of last week, reports indicated on Friday that Raytheon is in the process of acquiring an 80% in cybersecurity business Websense, for approximately $1.9 billion. Raytheon also acquired cybersecurity firm Blackbird Technologies last November, for $420 million.
* The Navy awarded a $21.1 million contract Friday for Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, while HDR Environmental, Operations, and Constructions Inc was handed a $75 million contract for the implementation of the Navy’s marine species monitoring program.
* Following Egypt and India’s lead, the UAE has restarted talks with France regarding the potential sale of Rafale fighters. The Dassault production line is currently under strain following the Indian order, potentially having to divert production of French Rafales in order to meet the spike in demand.
* On Friday, French shipbuilder DCNS began work on the first Egyptian Gowind 2500 corvette, the first of four ships set to be delivered between 2017 and 2019. Egypt was the second customer for the Gowind, with a EUR1 billion contract signed in June 2014.
* In further British political jousting, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has threatened to block the state’s defense spending in a hypothetical coalition government following next month’s election, unless the government scraps its Trident nuclear deterrent. Such a move could lead to an effective shutting-down of the UK’s defence expenditure if the SNP does well at the polls.
* Putin and Hollande will reportedly discuss the Mistral dilemma this coming Friday when the two meet in Armenia. The French leader is in a difficult position, facing substantial fines if he breaches the contract signed before the Ukraine crisis, or expect significant political blowback if he hands over the highly-capable amphibious assault ship.
* India will launch the first of its new stealth destroyer on Monday. The largest destroyer in the Indian Navy, the INS Visakhapatnam will be equipped with 32 Israeli Barak-8 long-range SAMs and MF-STAR radar, as well as larger guns and improved protection compared to the previous INS Kolkata. India has been looking to bolster its fleet, particularly stealth capabilities, with this new ship – the so-called Project 15B – set to be complemented in the future by Project 17 stealth frigates.
* Pakistan is reportedly showing interest in procuring South Korean T-50 trainers, with the Pakistani Air Force requiring a supersonic trainer capability in the future, as it looks to procure increasingly advanced combat aircraft.
* Saab is positioning to shape a potential government-to-government sale with India for the development of a single-engine light fighter, if India does indeed plan on replacing its fleet of MiG-21 light fighters. The company would offer the Gripen E, which was eliminated from the ill-fated MMRCA competition.
* The LOCUST program demonstrating swarming…