* The Navy’s EA-18G Growlers could use their electronic warfare capabilities to locate insurgents for targeting through the triangulation of intercepted signals, with three aircraft working as a team. However, before this can happen, the aircraft need new, faster data links in order to corroborate intercepts and locate the source of the tracked signals. A USN study recently argued that the Navy needs more of the aircraft to meet future operational demand. A Pentagon Electronic Warfare Committee was also stood up in March, highlighting the continued relevance of these non-stealthy workhorses despite uncertainty over the aircraft’s future production line.
* The future Flight III Arleigh-Burke-Class destroyers – currently under development – are making good progress, with an order scheduled for 2019. The Navy recently told Congress that the program would take the shape of a ten-ship multi-year procurement contract.
* The MQ-4C Triton could see flight tests this week, depending on the weather at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The flights will test the maritime UAV‘s radar and other systems, forming part of the 2,000 test hours the Navy plans to log over the next three years. The first deployment of the system has been slated for FY2016, with the Navy planning on adding a ‘due-regard’ radar as part of a capability upgrade that should be operational by 2020.
* The Army isoutlining plans to incorporate cloud-based networks into its virtual training systems, such as the Small Unit Decision Making program. Canada recently published a strategy paper outlining plans to include a networked common synthetic environment into the RCAF’s training.
* Frank Kendall has advocated the use of commercial technologies to maintain a technological edge; particularly the use of more open architecture in modular systems.
* A second Borei-class nuclear submarine has reportedly entered service with the Russian Navy. Costing approximately a third of the price of an Ohio-class boomer, at $713 million each, a planned total of six Borei-class boats will enter service by 2020. The first of the class – the Yuri Dolggoruky – was commissioned last year, while the third – the Vladimir Monomakh – was delivered to the Russian Navy in December.
* Russia also announced Tuesday that it is prepared to sell its Iskander ballistic missile abroad, following the satisfaction of production orders from the Russian military. The Defense Ministry stated its intention to buy up to 120 of the systems in 2011.
* On Tuesday South Korea announced the start of bidding for its new aerial refueling tanker program, following a delay earlier this year. However, the delay was anticipated to take twelve months, so this announcement is surprising. The $1.26 billion program will see four tankers procured, with Boeing (with the KC-46A 767), Airbus (A330 MRTT) and Israel Aerospace Industries (B767 MMTT) named as competitors. Price bidding will last until the end of April, with a final decision anticipated in June. The first two tankers are expected to enter service in 2018, with remaining other pair following the year after.
* The Indian Defense Minister stated Monday that all future Rafale deals would be through Government to Government sales only, with the final number of jets the Indian government plans to procure still uncertain. The original MMRCA program called for 126 fighters to be procured, with the Indian government stepping in to buy 36 ready-to-fly jets on Friday, sidestepping the stalled Dassault negotiations. This may well be the final nail in the coffin for the sluggish Dassault deal, which saw the increase in price due to technology transfer requirements of the Rafales become a major sticking point in negotiations. According to reports, the Indian Defense Ministry was kept in the dark about the contract announced Friday, only learning of it following Modi’s announcement, owing to the fact that the deal was signed by the Prime Minister’s Office.