India’s Spike ATGM deal back on track, again | Upgraded C-130H begins testing at Eglin AFB | Airbus makes first A400M delivery of 2018
- The first upgraded C-130H arrived at Eglin Air Force Base on January 11 to begin testing. Operated by the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, testing will continue for the next several months, with the evaluations aimed at collecting data to confirm the increased fuel efficiency, reliability and overall performance improvements gained from the new propellers and upgraded engines. According to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the upgrades will give the C-130H’s a shorter take-off roll, improved climb, quieter operations, and lower operating and support costs. The Wyoming Air National Guard was chosen specifically to receive the C-130H because of its involvement in the initial testing with the new systems in 2008, when the Air Force explored the idea of upgrading the H-model.
Middle East-North Africa
- Israel’s Navy announced that it has successfully tested a new chaff defense system for its Sa’ar 4.5-class missile boats and it is expected that the system will be declared operational in the coming weeks. First to receive the upgrade was the INS Sufa, with testing conducted two months ago off the coast of Haifa. The system includes an algorithm that identifies and classifies any kind of projectile making its way towards the Israeli missile ship, and then programs a unique diversion plan: firing chaff rockets from the front deck and create a “wall” over the water of hundreds of metal wires, which mislead the enemy missile into “thinking” this was the Israeli ship. This helps divert the enemy missile, only a minute or two before it was to hit the Israeli ship.
- Sources close to the Greek Ministry of Defense told local daily Kathimerini that the government will commence negotiations next month for the purchase of new multi-mission frigates for its navy. Two FREMM multi-mission frigates—jointly designed by the Franco-Italian consortium of Naval Group and Fincantieri for the two countries’ navies—are being sought, however, coming with a price tag ranging between $612-735 million, Athens may also look atan acquisition of Gowind-class corvettes—also developed by Naval Group. News of the negotiations follows an earlier verbal agreement between French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and the order could be expanded to include a further two vessels.
- BAE Systems announced Monday, that the British Royal Navy’s latest nuclear-powered submarine, HMS Audacious, has completed its first dive. Fourth in the Navy’s line of Astute-class attack submarines, the vessel was submerged at BAE’s Barrow, England, facility, and many of the 318-feet long sub’s onboard systems were successfully tested during the submersion. Sea trials will commence later this year before joining the HMS Astute, HMS Artful and HMS Ambush, which are already in service. BAE have three more subs in the Astute-class—Anson, Agamemnon, and a yet-to-be-named seventh vessel—at various stages of construction at the Barrow site.
- Airbus made its first A400M Atlas transporter delivery of 2018 with the number of deliveries of the Atlas made by the firm now standing at 56. The aircraft was delivered to the German Air Force, bringing to 15 the total number now operated by Berlin out of a total order of 53 units ordered. Airbus also confirmed that a total of 19 A400Ms were delivered in 2017, the highest annual output since the program commenced deliveries in 2013, with the firm now holding a backlog of 118 aircraft to current European operators plus fellow program partners Belgium and Luxembourg. It also continues to market the type to a range of potential export customers.
- The new head of Indonesia’s air force, Air Marshall Yuyu Sutisna, told media that contracts for the purchase of the Su-35 are expected to be signed by the end of this month. The $1.14 billion deal, which is being funded partly by the transfer of much sought after goods by Russia such as rubber and palm oil, will see the aircraft replace the IAF’s six ageing F-5s. Sutisna added that he is trying to speed up the procurement of five ground-based radars and two passive radars.
- In another twist in India’s anti-tank procurement saga, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that he had been informed by New Delhi that it had decided to put a major anti-tank missile deal back on track. Netanyahu, who is currently on a five-day visit to India, called the revisiting of the Spike anti-tank missile deal as “very important,” adding that “there will be many more deals.” There was no immediate comment from Indian officials and no additional details of how the deal might be consummated were given, but Israel’s Channel 1 television said the original half-billion-dollar value would be cut in half. Developed by Israel’s state-owned defence contractor Rafael, the firm announced ahead of Nethanyahu’s trip that India had called off the deal, due to cost and India’s desire to develop its own systems.
- RAF Typhoons scrambled to intercept Russian bombers off the coast of Scotland:
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