GE Aviation Systems LLC won a $26.6 million delivery order for the procurement of 101 generator converter units used on the F/A-18 aircraft. The F/A-18 Hornet is a single- and two-seat, twin engine, multi-mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases. The aircraft fills a variety of roles: air superiority, fighter escort, suppression of enemy air defenses, reconnaissance, forward air control, close and deep air support, and day and night strike missions. The F/A-18 Hornet replaced the F-4 Phantom II fighter and A-7 Corsair II light attack jet, and also replaced the A-6 Intruder as these aircraft were retired during the 1990s. Work under the new delivery order will take place in Vandalia, Ohio and is expected to be finished by January 2025.
Breaking Defense reports that the US Navy plans to launch long-range, ship killing missiles from its premiere submarine-hunting aircraft. The paper takes this a a clear sign that the Pentagon is looking for new ways to meet the tyranny of distance in the Pacific theater. Reportedly e a precision weapon equipped with an 1,000-lb warhead able to stealthily penetrate enemy missile defenses will be fitted on a Poseidon P-8 aircraft. The Long Range Anti Ship Missile LRASM has a range disclosed only as over 200 miles, but likely can go much further. The US Navy armed the P-8A with a development of the MK 54 torpedo that can be fired from high-altitude. The first MK 54 torpedo was successfully test-fired by the P-8A Poseidon in October 2011. The integral bomb bay can carry free-fall bombs, Raytheon Mark 54 torpedoes and depth charges. Air-to-surface missiles are installed on the underwing hardpoints.
Middle East & Africa
The Israel Defense Forces has procured the Fire Weaver networked sensor-to-shooter fire control system, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced on February 3. Developed jointly by Rafael, Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDRD), and the IDF Ground Forces, Fire Weaver is to be integrated into armoured brigades and become operational this year, the company said in a press release. Fire Weaver integrates weapons and sensors into a network and uses software to assign targets to the most appropriate effectors. A battalion command post equipped with a Fire Weaver fire management terminal has to approve engagements. The Rafael representative explained that the system has a “dual-custody fire-control system”, meaning the operators of both the weapon and the sensor must agree to engage before a target is fired on. The sequence takes five seconds as no radio voice control is needed, he said.
Polish legislator Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska has disclosed that the Polish Air Force is having issues keeping the F-16 and MiG-29 fleet operational. Kluzik-Rostkowska said that the F-16s are being cannibalized for parts to keep the fleet operational. The situation is so bad that only 30-40 percent of the fleet is serviceable. Local media reported in the last months that there are major problems in the post-Soviet MiG-29 and American F-16. The two aircraft are facing troubles, because of their age and lack of spare parts. Additionally, Onet reports that there are only 23 F-16 pilots authorized to fly in all conditions. This means that even with full combat readiness of Polish F-16, only half of them would be able to rise in the air.
Army Reserves made history by mobilizing for their largest ever deployment in a single unit, according to the British Army. Reportedly 240 reservists from 7 RIFLES and 5 RRF have been mobilized as a battlegroup on Operation TOSCA, the codename given to the British contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, one of the longest-running UK operational tours. The British Army says that the 7 RIFLES battlegroup will take over from 27 Regiment RLC (Royal Logistics Corps) and they will spend six months in country before returning in late October and ending the tour with a medals parade.
The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced that the Australian Army and the wider Australian Defence Force (ADF) will acquire the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Spike LR2 missile system as its “Long Range Direct Fire Support Weapon capability”. The DoD quoted Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr as saying that said the acquisition of the system – under the Land 159 Lethality System project – is expected to ensure that the Australian Army is equipped with “a modern and credible dismounted anti-armor guided missile system to target contemporary armored threats”. The Chief of Army also pointed out that “the alignment [of this weapon system] with the Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle will also enable the army to deliver improved operational effects for the ADF in sustainment, training, and maintenance”. The Spike LR2 weapon system is being integrated with the Rheinmetall Boxer 8×8 armored vehicle, 211 units of which are on order for the Australian Army under Project Land 400 Phase 2.
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