* Boeing wants to sell refurbished A-10s to international customers. The US is the only operator of the Warthog, with the House recently voting to fund the fleet for another year, despite the Air Force chiefs’ efforts to cut down numbers. Boeing is currently engaged in an extensive re-winging program for the aircraft, following a $2 billion 2007 contract.
* Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $735 million support contract for the Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellites, Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System III. The company was awarded a similar contract for the latter two in 2009.
* The Army also awarded a $496 million contract to four firms for advisory/assistance services to Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command and supported agencies. The contract will run until 2020, with the tender having attracted ten bids.
* Turkey has requested upgrades for its Phalanx close-in weapon systems, as well as four new systems, in a potential $310 million deal. The deal would also include Remote Weapons Stations, equipment, parts and training, as well as contractor (Raytheon) support. The Phalanx has been exported to several countries, with Australia recently requesting an upgrade package, with the UK and South Korea having imported the system, alongside other international customers. The CIWS is designed to provide a final tier defensive capability, with radar guiding a cannon to shoot down missiles and aircraft.
* France is setting aside $1.7 billion to acquire new equipment over the next four years, according to reports Thursday. A portion of this is earmarked for 4 C-130 transports, as well as seven additional Tiger helicopters, to bring the total number ordered to 67. France recently increased its defense budget by 4%, representing €3.8 billion. The model of C-130 expected to be procured is either the J or K model.
* Saudi Arabia has requested ten MH-60R helicopters, as well as associated equipment, spares and support through a Foreign Military Sale from the US for $1.9 billion. The proposed sale also includes 38 Hellfire II missiles and 380 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons Systems rockets. Saudi Arabia evaluated the MH-60R back in 2010, also requesting 72 MH-60Ms in that year.
* Israel’s Elbit Systems signed an agreement Thursday to acquire NICE Systems’s Cyber and Intelligence division for $157.9 million, with $114.9 million set to be paid by the in Q3 this year. The acquisition will be by Elbit’s subsidiary Cyberbit.
* Alongside the news that India is pursuing closer ties to South Korea’s shipbuilding industry, the country is also reportedly talking to Russia regarding potential joint construction of warships based on the Russian Admiral Grigorovich class frigates. Russia has previously built six warships for the Indian Navy.
* India and Israel are reportedly in the final stages of organizing a deal which will see the two sides jointly develop a new medium-range surface to air missile, following reports earlier this month that confirmed that the two sides were in negotiations.
* South Korean and US forces will form a joint division next month, in what the military says is a response to threats by the North. However, this was originally announced last September. The division’s size has not been disclosed, however the number will be evenly split between the US and South Korea, combining a brigade from the South Korean Army and one from the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division.
* India has successfully landed a Mirage 2000 fighter on a highway in a test of a plan to use India’s roadways as emergency landing strips. Other nations use this strategy, including Switzerland, Germany and Sweden. Highways need to be adapted in order for aircraft to land – aside from the obvious lack of chicanes, they require lighting to be at ground level, with no telephone or electricity pylons in the vicinity.
* Footage of China’s Xian H-6K flying over the Miyako Strait for the first time on Thursday. The most advanced variant of the H-6 bomber, a copy of the Russian Tupolev Tu-16, the new model boasts several upgrades over previous models. Thursday’s drill is likely to scare Japanese defense planners, given the range of the bomber and the proximity of Thursday’s flight to Okinawa.