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Iraqi L-159 Pilots Complete Training in Czech Republic | Dreadnought 2050 to be Future of Naval Warfare | Army Taps AMEC to Support Aegis in Poland

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Americas * The head of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has played down reductions to the F-35A annual procurement quota to 48. Lt. Gen Christopher Bogden said that this would be upped to 60 units annually from fiscal 2018-2020. When adjusted for increased orders for the F-35B & F-35C procurement, the program will see […]
Americas

* The head of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has played down reductions to the F-35A annual procurement quota to 48. Lt. Gen Christopher Bogden said that this would be upped to 60 units annually from fiscal 2018-2020. When adjusted for increased orders for the F-35B & F-35C procurement, the program will see 36 less F-35 aircraft procured overall between 2017-2021. Bogden has claimed however that the overall price per unit to the program will only increase fractionally by 1%. While warnings have been given that the forces aren’t modernizing quickly enough to counter Russia and China, the deferrals in production may come as a financial positive in the long run. With 20% of development testing yet to go in the program, reducing procurement at this stage will save on costly modernization of models produced in the next two years.

* A carpenter from West Virginia has managed to produce a 95% 3D printed submachine gun, the Shuty MP1. While the most important parts, such as the springs and firing pins, are either handmade or repurposed (the barrel comes from a glock), the stock, magazine, and upper and lower receivers are printed on a Fusion F306 3D printer using PLA material. What’s impressive is that the gun is a much more refined version of earlier incarnations with a rather successful firing capability. Shuty’s creator, who goes by the name of Derwood, has no plans to register the creation, citing the more do-it-yourself, off the grid type attitude.

Middle East North Africa

* The first group of Iraq’s L-159 fighter pilots have completed training in the Czech Republic. The training follows the sale of 15 of the combat aircraft by the Czech government to Baghdad last March as part of attempts by Prague to sell surplus stock and to showcase their export potential. Two were delivered in 2015 with three more expected to be delivered in the first half of this year. The $29.89 million sale came after an initial pitch to sell 28 of the aircraft fell through. The L-159s will be used by Iraq to increase attack capabilities in future missions against the Islamic State.

Europe

* The UK Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence have released plans for their future stealth warship dubbed the Dreadnought 2050. Named after the revolutionary Dreadnought warship launched in 1906 which represented a highpoint of British naval dominance during the era, the Dreadnought 2050 looks to become the future of naval warfare. Technological highlights of the program include a moon pool located at the stern, which is flooded to launch underwater rovers or divers, a drone launcher to launch 3D-printed and possibly on-demand unmanned aerial vehicles, and a permanently running quadcopter which provides the ship with 360-degree visibility. Furthermore, a silent propulsion system and a ballast system that lowers parts of the ship underwater will make the vessel harder to detect by radar.

* The US Army has awarded AMEC a $182.7 million contract with option to support the Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Poland. The contract comes as part of Phase III of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) program, which aims to boost land based missile defense systems for NATO allies against ballistic missile threats. The Polish installations will be placed to protect nations in northern Europe and follows the installation of an interceptor site in Romania during Phase II. The deployment of the Aegis systems will act as part of NATO’s forward deterrence policy in Europe in ally nations that border Russia.

Asia Pacific

*The Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Lakomov has said that his country may cooperate with Pakistan in its defense sector with a potential collaboration in joint-producing the Antonov An-225. This may lead to further cooperation in other areas, although in what capacity remains unknown. With orders of the cargo plane going to Iran and Egypt as well as a host of other potential clients, Ukraine may work with Pakistan as a regional partner for the plane’s renovation/modernization process to production. The increase in bilateral trade and development for Pakistan would add to the ongoing development being experienced via the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

* Iran looks to be negotiating a deal with Russia to license produce the Su-30 Super Flanker. The announcement was made by Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan during a recent television interview during which he also added that Tehran had rejected the idea of procuring the J-10 from China. Rumors of Iranian interest for purchasing 150 of the Chinese fighter surfaced in August, but were denied by Beijing. If a successful deal over the Su-30 can be made, Iran will be the first foreign nation to produce the latest Russian fighter locally.

* The Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin was recently photographed while out for its first taxi test at Nagoya airport. After its unveiling to the public just last month, a maiden flight for the stealth demonstrator, formally known as the ATD-X, is just weeks away, bar any upcoming technical problems. The Shinshin, which means “spirit of the heart,” is Japan’s first foray into developing experimental stealth technologies and will form the basis for its fifth generation F-3 fighters planned for 2027.

Today’s Video

* Footage of the X-2 taxi test:

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