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Daily Rapid Fire

India denies interest in F-35 | Imitation the highest form of flattery with Iran’s new Sidewinder-like anti-tank munition | USMC tweet APKWS on Hornet

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Americas * UAV-manufacturer AeroVironment announced the order from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) for Puma II AE mini UASs. The system’s will come equipped with the Mantis i45 sensor and 360-degree antenna system and the firm will partner with MDA to implement the contract. They will be fielded on the RCN’s Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels […]
Americas

* UAV-manufacturer AeroVironment announced the order from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) for Puma II AE mini UASs. The system’s will come equipped with the Mantis i45 sensor and 360-degree antenna system and the firm will partner with MDA to implement the contract. They will be fielded on the RCN’s Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDV). The value of the contract was undisclosed.

* US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet aircraft is ready to deploy the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) onboard, Jane’s reports. The reveal was made in a picture posted by NAVAIR to Twitter last week where the weapon was spotted loaded on the pylons of a Hornet assigned to VMFA-314. APKWS II is a precision-guided 2.75-inch rocket system that integrates a low-cost Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) guidance section with existing Hydra 70 rocket motors and either the Mk 152 or M282 warheads. Previously, the AV-8B was the only fast jet in the USMC cleared to operate the laser-guided weapon.

Middle East & Africa

* Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled last week its new Azarakhsh anti-tank missile which bears the uncanny resemblance to the American AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile. To be fired from helicopters, the missile is said to have a range of 10 km and was unveiled along with other new developments during a ceremony on February 28, 2018. Footage of the ceremony shows that the missile on display had a new, bare metal front end, which typically houses the seeker and warhead, the control fins appeared to be identical to those on the AIM-9J, N, and P models. The rest of the weapon looks entirely the same as a standard Sidewinder. Between 1971 and 1979—when the US-friendly Iranian regime ofShah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown and replaced with a theocratic regime of Shi’ite clerics— Iran purchased or otherwise received nearly 2,000 AIM-9J and P models from the United States.

* Pakistan’s Air Force has inducted the AW139 helicopter into service, being assigned to its No 88 search and rescue squadron which is now designated as a advanced helicopter training school. The event was marked by a ceremony held at PAF Base, Shahbaz (Jacobabad) with Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman as the chief guest, with other high ranking military officials civil dignitaries also in attendance. In February 2017, manufacturer Leonardo announced the sale of an undisclosed number of AW139s to Pakistan with the aim to use them in a variety of utility and transport roles.

Europe

* Sikorsky has selected German engine manufacturer MTU to be its engine maintenance partner as the US helicopter firm builds up local partners to help its bid to supply CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter to the German Air Force. The agreement tasks MTU with providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the helicopter’s GE Aviation T408-GE-400 engines should Berlin order the King Stallion as the replacement for its ageing fleet of CH-53G/GA/GS helicopters. At present, MTU already have an 18 percent share of the T408’s engine program, producing its power turbine, exhaust casing and output shaft. Also included on the team for Sikorsky’s German bid is Rheinmetall.

Asia-Pacific

* Japan will seek an international partner to help develop and build a successor for its F-2 fighter fleet, abandoning plans on a solo development of a next-generation fighter. The Ministry of Defense is expected to send out a request for information (RFI) over such a collaboration to US aerospace firms later this week, however, there are also plans inplace to simply acquire additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Derived from the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-2 has been in operation with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force since 2000, Tokyo plans to retire the F-2 from the 2030s.

* Japanese daily Sankei reports that the Japanese MoD is evaluating whether the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout and fixed-wing Insitsu RQ-21 Blackjack can operate from the Izumo-class helicopter destroyers. The evaluation is part of a wider study being carried out by the Tokyo-based firm Japan Marine United (JMU), who specialize in marine engineering and services, and also includes evaluations on the the possibility of operating the F-35B from the vessel. Work on the study commenced in April last year and no reports have been filed yet.

* Indian Air Force (IAF) officials have denied earlier reports that the military had requested a classified briefing on the F-35. Speaking to The Indian Express, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said New Delhi had “not officially asked for a briefing on the F-35 nor has any request been made to the Americans.” News that the IAF had approached the manufacturer Lockheed Martin for a classified briefing on the F-35 came amid news that the government had decided to scrap the proposal to make a single-engine foreign fighter in India. The decision to scrap the proposal for a single-engine fighter was taken because the government felt it would result in a single-vendor situation. While Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter aircraft was in contention along with Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen fighter, the American warplane was reportedly a non-starter as it does not have a “probe-and-drogue” air-to-air refueling system.

Today’s Video

* Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson arrives in Vietnam—the first time such a vessel has been in the area since the end of the Vietnam War :

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