Middle East / Africa
* Israel will order another 14 F-35s for $110 million a piece, including logistical support, training, parts and maintenance, which appears to be a much better price than the U.S. itself has been able to manage. The 14 fighters will join an earlier order of 19 jets. An option to acquire 17 more has been secured, bringing the total to 50, which has been Israel’s goal in fielding two squadrons of 25 fighters each.
* Germany has rejected a request for Boxer tanks from Lithuania, according to Die Welt (German). The paper cited concerns for Germany’s own preparedness (recently called into question with “rapid reaction” troops found to be operating without rifle barrels during a NATO exercise.)
* The Eurofighter Typhoon will get the latest Brimstone 2 surface attack missiles in a $228 million deal with Eurofighter Jagdflugzeung GmbH to integrate the missiles as has been done with the British Tornados in Afghanistan.
* The recently announced approval of UH-60M exports to Slovakia may be for naught, as Slovokia is reportedly balking at the price. Likely unrelated to that, news reports appear to be erroneously tagging the entire buy’s cost as a cost-per-helicopter.
* Russia has begun construction on two new stealth corvettes.
* Now that the U.S. has agreed to allow UAV exports, the Philippines is seriously considering the various U.S. options, likely for an unarmed reconnaissance version.
* In addition to the known 6-submarine procurement sought by India for a domestically-produced undersea platform, seven new stealth frigates are to be produced, Four at the will be produced in Mumbai at Mazagon Docks, with the other three being built in Kokata. This, on top of three recently completed.
* Raytheon announced its newest AMRAAM-ER air-to-air missile will have extended range and more maneuverability. It plans tests before the year is out.
* The chief of Lockheed’s Skunkworks, Rob Weiss, has been unapologetic and fairly vocal in the past week regarding U.S. military aviation needs, acting as the source of several news stories; generally indicating that new programs are needed, and that those programs need to be done large. The comments have come after the latest Administration budget was released, causing some military officials to make noise about being more cost conscious, such as lowering new trainer requirements and discussing the taboo of possibly ignoring stealth in the F/A-XX program. That Weiss’s comments keep rolling in indicates that neither Lockheed nor the Air Force has been proactive in asking Weiss to pursue a lower key approach. The latest: an insistence that a new spy plane program is needed to supplant both the U-2 and the Global Hawk that was supposed to – at least at one point – replace it.
* DynCorp has characterized as a response to several potential threats, ranging from Russia’s recent belligerence and the growing ISIS threat.
* Austal USA laid the keel for the USS Omaha (LCS 12), the latest and sixth littoral combat ship in the Independence class.
* Lockheed Martin announced it has tweaked the Fury UAV to have longer endurance.
* With two new Russian stealth corvettes under construction (see above), here is the
shipyard’s promotional video showing their most interesting features…