* A US Navy EA-18G Growler crew had a lucky escape after the electronic warfare aircraft’s environmental control system (ECS) failed during a flight from NAS Whidbey Island to NWS China Lake on January 29. During the flight, the temperature inside the cockpit dropped to -30 degrees and a layer of ice engulfed the canopy and instrument panels. Flying blind, the crew used their Garmin watch for navigation back to Whidbey Island while breathing on oxygen from emergency equipment. The crew suffered from frostbite with “severe blistering and burns on hands,” and one crew member is already back in flight status after treatment while the other is expected to make a complete recovery.
* The Pentagon announced Monday, February 26, the award of a $48.06 million US Navy contract to Raytheon for work on the Phalanx close-in-weapon system (CIWS). The agreement tasks Raytheon with providing performance-based logistics support for the Phalanx in managing the systems by furnishing repaired and new units for 1041 line items under prescribed performance metrics in response to Fleet requisitions. Work will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, and and is scheduled to be completed by August 2019.
* AM General will provide 60 M1167 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) to the Army National Guard, a Pentagon statement said Friday. Valued at $11.8 million, work on the US Army contract will occur in Mishawaka, Ind., and is expected to be complete by December 2018. The total amount of the contract will be obligated to AM General from Army fiscal 2017 other procurement funds.
* The US Navy has christened its latest Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport, the USNS Burlington, during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama, on Saturday. It is the tenth of 12 Expeditionary Fast Transports being built for the Navy at a cost of $1.9 billion. Overseeing the event were the ship’s primary sponsors US Senator Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle Pomerleau. Marcelle Leahy said naming the ship after the Vermont city of Burlington was “fitting because Vermonters have long heeded the nation’s call to service.” Built by Austal USA, the vessel is designed to transport troops and equipment at high-speeds and in shallow waters for rapid deployment. The Navy says it can “carry 600 short tons of military cargo for 1,200 nautical miles, at an average speed of 35 knots.” This equates to the Burlington being able to carry 1,200,000 pounds for 1,380 miles at an average speed of 40 mph. It also has a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-loading ramp for disembarkment missions.
Middle East & Africa
* Iraqi MP Hakim Al-Zamili, head of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, has suggested that Iraq procures the S-400 Triumf air-defense system from Russia. “Iraq has the right to own cutting-edge weapons to defend its territory and air space from air attacks,” he said. “Terrorism targets our country abundant in places sacred for every Iraqi. There are signs andwarnings that extremists might use aircraft for attacks on those shrines, which cause lots of worries and anxiety in the country, as it was after an attack on Samarra’s holy places.” Al-Zamili added that the US “is unwilling to equip Iraq with arms and to supply it with systems that will ensure comprehensive protection in its territory and air space,” but wants Iraq “to be an open arena for realization of [US] plans.”
* A former Austrian defense minister is being investigated for breach of trust, as part of a widening of a probe by Vienna prosecutors into 2003’s $2 billion Eurofighter Typhoon jet purchase. Norbert Darabos, who served as Defense Minister from 2007-2013, oversaw a settlement with Eurofighter in 2007 to reduce the order from 18 jets to 15, as well as the volume of so-called offset deals meant to provide business for the local economy to 3.5 billion euros ($4.2 billion) from 4 billion. He is the first known former cabinet member to formally be targeted by prosecutors. While an earlier parliemnatray enquiry found no indications of bribery or that Airbus and its partners illegally influenced Austrian politicians, the committee’s final report assessed that Darabos did not liaise sufficiently with other ministries and agencies while negotiating the settlement and was not transparent enough to allow a court audit of the deal.
* South Korea’s Hanwha Systems will team with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) to jointly research artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that can be employed on weapons. Four objectives will be pursued under the program: The first is to come up with an AI-based command system; followed by an AI algorithm for navigating an unmanned submarine; third is the development of an AI-base aviation training system; with an AI-based object-tracking technique the final priority. Chang Si-kweon, CEO of Hanwha Systems, said his company is well-prepared to lead the development of defense technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, based on its advanced skills and achievements it has made so far in the area of defense electronics. Members of its defense arm will join 25 researchers from KAIST in accordance to subjects from the research.
* India tests its Rustom-2 medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle: