Hurricane decimates Chadian AF fleet | MBDA tests Sea Venom missile | P-8 collaboration for US, UK, & Norway
- Huntington Ingalls has received a $218 million contract modification for advance construction activities on the San Antonio-class LPD 29 amphibious transport dock ship. Under the agreement, the firm will provide long-lead time manufacturing materials and construction in support of the program, running until February 2018. Work will be carried out at Pascagoula, Miss., Beloit, Wash., and at other sites across the United States.
- The US Navy has christened its latest Freedom-class littoral combat ship the USS Billings during a ceremony in Marinette, Wis. Built by Lockheed Martin, Freedom-class LCS is the smaller of the two variants of the LCS, the other being the Independence-class constructed by Austral USA. It has a top speed of over 40 miles per hour and carries a variety of light guns, short-ranged missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes. Each LCS is outfitted with a single mission package made up of mission modules containing warfighting systems and support equipment.
- A hurricane has decimated a large number of aircraft belonging to the Chadian Air Force in what has been described a s a huge setback for the service. The storm, which struck on 1 July with torrential rain and strong winds, broke tree branches and destroyed hangars and buildings at the airport in N’Djamena, along with a number of aircraft. Its been reported that only the Presidential aircraft, a transport plane and a French Air Force refueling tanker were spared from damage.
Middle East & North Africa
- After finding a crack in the tail rotor blade of one of its AH-64 Apache helicopters, the Israeli Air Force has decided to replace the tail rotors after 995 flight hours, rather than a previous interval of every 4,600h. A temporary grounding of IAF Apaches was called last month after a routine inspection found the crack and saw the US Army and manufacturer Boeing co-operate in the following investigation, which included X-ray inspections of helicopters intended to detect even the smallest crack.
- MBDA has successfully test-fired its Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile for the first time. The missile was launched from a Dauphin test bed helicopter owned by the French procurement agency, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), at the Île du Levant test range in France. Jointly ordered in 2014, the Sea Venom/ANL project has been developed 50/50 between the UK and France for use on their respective AW159 Wildcat and Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (HIL) helicopters, but has also been designed for use on a wide range of platforms, with air carriage trials having been conducted to demonstrate compatibility of the missile on legacy Lynx helicopters.
- Poland is close to signing a deal with Lockheed Martin for the long-awaited delivery of the HOMAR mobile artillery missile launcher system. The announcement was made on Wednesday by defense minister Antoni Macierewicz ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Poland. Trump is scheduled to make a speech in Warsaw on Thursay, where he is said to demonstrate his commitment to NATO, after months of calling out member nations for not spending enough on defense and remaining aloof on whether Washington would intervene against any acts of aggression against alliance members.
- The US, UK, and Norway are seeking to build a trilateral coalition based around the mutual use of P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. While the exact details of the plan have yet to be fleshed out, the agreement will initially seek to establish a framework for further cooperation in areas such as readiness, enhancing defense capability, and interoperability. Additional areas for further cooperation include joint operations in the North Atlantic, information sharing and the possibility of co-locating maintenance and training assets. It is hoped that the co-operation and sharing of assets such as maintenance will help bring costs down and keep readiness rates high for American assets surveilling the waters near Europe.
- In its fight against jihadist militants in the southern city of Marawi, the Philippine Air Force last month dispatched one its its C-130 cargo aircraft to the US in order to replenish stocks of rockets and munitions already used in its campaign to reclaim the city. Aircraft used by Manilla in the offensive include FA-50s, OV-10 Bronco attack aircraft and SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 light attack planes, as well as the AgustaWestland AW-109 and MG-520 attack helicopters. An Australian P-3 Orion has also been providing data and information for ground troops. The PAF also announced its intention to acquire ScanEagle UAVS from the US and is looking into buying KUH-1 utility helicopters from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).
- Christening & launch of USS Billings:
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