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Is it third time’s a charm for India’s MRTT comp? | Russia to ignore US over Myanmar fighter plea | Saab assured by Brazil over Embraer-Boeing deal

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Americas * Harper Construction received last Wednesday, a $127.9 million US Navy contract to build a F-35 aircraft maintenance hangar and flight lines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California. Under the terms of the contract agreement, Harper will construct an aircraft maintenance hangar, an aircraft parking apron, and aircraft parking apron expansion for the first wave of incoming F-35 aircrafts, along with additional buildings that are designed to maintain classified information and other construction services. Eight additional work options included could bring the total value to $131.5 million. Work will take place in San Diego, California, with a scheduled completion date of 2020. Meanwhile, Watterson Construction will build a F-35A aircraft weather shelter at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. The US Air Force contract, awarded Thursday, is valued at just over $58 million and will be completed at the air base by November 2019. * The Brazilian Defense Ministry has assured Saab that any defense tie-up between local airframer Embraer and Boeing is not going to happen. Speaking to the Swedish firm’s CEO on January 25, Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said any such deal with Boeing was off the table, adding that they had also ruled out […]
Americas

* Harper Construction received last Wednesday, a $127.9 million US Navy contract to build a F-35 aircraft maintenance hangar and flight lines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California. Under the terms of the contract agreement, Harper will construct an aircraft maintenance hangar, an aircraft parking apron, and aircraft parking apron expansion for the first wave of incoming F-35 aircrafts, along with additional buildings that are designed to maintain classified information and other construction services. Eight additional work options included could bring the total value to $131.5 million. Work will take place in San Diego, California, with a scheduled completion date of 2020. Meanwhile, Watterson Construction will build a F-35A aircraft weather shelter at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. The US Air Force contract, awarded Thursday, is valued at just over $58 million and will be completed at the air base by November 2019.

* The Brazilian Defense Ministry has assured Saab that any defense tie-up between local airframer Embraer and Boeing is not going to happen. Speaking to the Swedish firm’s CEO on January 25, Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said any such deal with Boeing was off the table, adding that they had also ruled out a spin-off or sale of Embraer’s defense or commercial units. Saab and Embraer are partners in the development of the Gripen NG fighter, and Saab had feared that a partnership between Embraer and Boeing could could result in the leak of sensitive data from the Gripen project. Jungmann has subsequently asked the Brazilian Air Force as well as the Defense and Finance Ministries to keep Saab executives informed of any progress in talks between the companies, adding that any deal would mean building safeguards for Saab with its input.

* Raytheon has been awarded a $92 million US Army contract to provide engineering and technical services in support of the FIM-92 Stinger Weapon System. The order includes support for domestic use as well as including foreign military sales (FMS) for Poland and Taiwan. Work locations will depend on each order request with contract completion expected for December 2022. Earlier this month, it was reported that the US Army is undergoing its most significant Stinger training operation in 15 years, as Washington looks to increase proficiency with the platform as part of increasing its short-range air defense systems (SHORAD) capabilities, particularly in Europe. This effort has also seen a number of Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle Dragoons upgunned with 30mm cannons.

Middle East-North Africa

* Qatar’s ambassador to Russia, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, told reporters Thursday that his government is in advanced negotiations to buy the S-400 Triumf air defense system. The deal follows the signing of a military and technical cooperation agreement last October—which includes “supplies of military hardware, military training of officers and soldiers, equipment and, indeed, cooperation on the level of special services” from Russia—with Al-Attiyah adding that both countries would also have military attaches posted in its respective embassies. The latest country in the region to enter advanced negotiations for the S-400, following Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Qatar is also an operator of the US-made THAAD and Patriot air defense systems.

* Kuwait is to finally go ahead with the purchase of 40 F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft from Boeing, after the foreign military sale was initially approved by the Obama administration back in November 2016. 32 E- and 8 F-model Super Hornets equipped with F414-GE-400 engines, as well as training, support, and other associated equipment are included in the package, estimated to be worth $10.1 billion. However, Kuwait is expected to set up specialized military committees to follow up on the details of the purchase, as well as their maintenance, training and spare parts.

Europe

* Flight Global reports that the first F-35B to be assembled outside of Lockheed Martin’s Forth Worth, Texas plant has rolled out of Leonardo’s final assembly and check out (FACO) facility in Cameri, Italy. The aircraft is the tenth Joint Strike Fighter to be assembled at the Leonardo-ran operation, following the nine conventional A-model F-35s already delivered, and as the F-35B features a short take-off and vertical landing propulsion system, the delivery is particularly significant, says Doug Wilhelm, Lockheed’s vice-president for F-35 programme management. In additional to Italy’s F-35 orders, 29 F-35As will be produced for the Royal Dutch Air Force at the Cameri plant.

Asia-Pacific

* Russia is likely to ignore a plea from the United States to cancel the sale of six Su-30 fighter planes to Myanmar. Commenting on the proposed sale, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that if reports on the sale were confirmed, it would “serve as another reminder of Russia’s continued efforts to arm militaries that flagrantly violate human rights,” a reference to the ongoing persecution by Myanmar military’s of minority Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine State, which had prompted the flight of 680,000 to Bangladesh. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the call the next day, telling reporters that “Russia has invariably observed the norms, rules and principles of international law [in the field of military-technical cooperation] and it will continue doing so in the future.” Washington had previously urged countries to suspend arms sales to Myanmar following the start of a military crackdown in August following a series of attacks on Myanmar’s armed forces by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

* For the third time in seven years, India has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the purchase of six aerial refueling tankers. Issued on January 25, the new procurement hopes to overcome pricing issues which have befallen the previous acquisition attempts, and will include necessary training and associated equipment. Previous entrants into the competition include the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) and Ilyushin’s Il-78. At present, India operates six IL-78 tankers that were purchased in the 2003-2004 Fiscal Year, however, improper storage and maintenance over the years has adversely effected their serviceability and life, and the aircraft continue to fly with vintage 1985 avionics.

Today’s Video

* First flight of the Il-78M-90A tanker:

https://youtu.be/Yv8SjemFnhI

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