Hydroid Wins $7M MK18 Contract for US Navy | Swedish Defense Contracts Saab for HMD System | Britain to Be a Global Repair Hub for F-35 Components
- US weapon exports for FY 2016 have hit $33.6 billion, down $13 billion from last year. While the drop was expected, DSCA head Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey argued that the total overall figure is not a barometer his agency uses to judge its success, as sales were a fundamental result of foreign policy, stating “It’s nothing more than a tool for us to anticipate what we’re going to anticipate and work with.” Rixey also pointed out that if the long-awaited sale of fighter jets to Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain had been cleared in 2016, as many had expected, the total would have eclipsed the record-setting year of 2015.
- Hydroid has won a $7 million US Navy contract for work on the MK18 Kingfish underwater drone. The contract modification exercises a third-year option for engineering support and training services for the Kingfish’s Mod 1 and Mod 2. Offering better endurance and area coverage rates than its Swordfish predecessor, the Kingfish system supports very shallow water missions, very shallow mine countermeasures and underwater object localization tools.
Middle East & North Africa
- Head of the Saudi Royal Air Force, Gen. Muhammad bin Saleh Al Qtaibi, has expressed his country’s interest in purchasing Pakistani aircraft. Al Qtaibi is on an official visit to Pakistan to discuss ongoing security issues in the region, but expressed Saudi intentions towards a hefty procurement of JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighters and Super Mushshak trainers. The Saudis already operate approximately 20 Super Mushshaks but the prospect of a significant export order for JF-17s from the Gulf kingdom adds to the fighter’s growing interest abroad.
- Turkey has committed to looking everywhere for a long-range missile defense system, including Russia, if its plan to develop one locally takes too long. Ismail Demir, undersecretary for defence industries, made the comments during a news conference in Ankara yesterday. Due to pressure from fellow NATO members, Turkey dropped a $3.4 billion tender for such a system last year after it had provisionally awarded China the deal. But with tensions mounting between Western allies, particularly over Washington’s support for Kurdish fighters operating in Syria, a reorientation toward Russian or Chinese suppliers may be more than just mild flirtation.
- The Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV), Stockholm’s procurement agency, has contracted Saab to provide an advanced helmet mounted display (HMD) system, known as Targo. Valued at $13.2 million, the HMDs will be manufactured and supplied by the Brazilian company AEL Sistemas (AEL) and used on the Swedish Air Force’s Gripen E fighters. The same HMD system has also been selected for Brazil’s Gripen fighters.
- Britain has been selected as a global repair hub providing maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for F-35 fighter avionic and aircraft components. The move is expected to generate hundreds of millions of pounds for the UK defense industry with the potential to unlock more than 2 billion pounds of future F-35 support revenue over the lifetime of the program. Centered in Wales, the work will be conducted by a partnership enterprise between Defence Electronics & Components Agency (DECA), BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, supported by key F-35 Original Equipment Manufacturers.
- India’s Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the purchase of 83 Tejas Mk 1A fighters and 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH), marking the first clearances under the Indigenous Design Development and Manufacturing (IDDM) category. However, it was also reported that a hotly expected decision on whether New Delhi would sign off on purchasing 12 US-2 amphibious aircraft from Japan was deferred. DAC also cleared India’s new blacklisting policy.
- Following a US State Department block on the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines, the archipelago’s hard-man President Rodrigo Duterte has cancelled the sale outright. The guns had been destined for use by the Philippine National Police, who, since Dutetre assumed office in June, have been pursuing an aggressive anti-drugs policy which has seen thousands of suspected drug dealers and addicts murdered. Duterte has suggested that replacement rifles could be cheaply procured from Russia instead.
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