KAI probe widened to include Iraqi T-50 sale | Qatar pursues interest in Eurofighters | India completes Astra missile trials
- The US Navy’s newest America-class amphibious assault ship has been christened the USS Tripoli (LHA7). During a ceremony in Pascagoula, Miss., on Saturday, acting Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Dee said the vessel “will be a force multiplier, and her crew will proudly serve our country for decades to come. I am grateful to the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding for their dedication and to the citizens of Pascagoula for their unwavering support as we continue to make our Navy stronger.” The Tripoli is an enlarged version of the America-class of amphibious assault ships. It is 844 feet long, displaces 45,000 tons and has larger hangars and storage capacity for aircraft and helicopters. Once operational, the US Marine Corps is expected to to deploy their vertical take-off and landing version of the F-35 Lightning II on the ship.
- General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems has been awarded a $20.6 million US Army contract modification for foreign military sales of Mk82 and Mk84 bomb bodies. The order will provide 10,933 Mk82-6, 866 Mk84-4 and 1,365 Mk84-10 bomb bodies for Australia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in support of Air Force, Navy and foreign military sales requirements. Work will be performed in Garland, Texas, and completion is scheduled for 31, 2018.
Middle East & Africa
- An investigation by South Korean prosecutors into corruption at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has been widened to include a $2.65 billion sale of T-50IQ light attack aircraft to Iraq. According to prosecutors, officials at KAI inflated the value of the proceeds of the 2013 sale, which saw 24 of the advanced trainer aircraft sold as part of Baghdad’s air force modernisation. They have also uncovered circumstantial evidence of corruption in the KF-X indigenous fighter contract. The fraud allegations at KAI were first raised in 2015 when the state auditor’s inspection found that KAI pocketed some 24 billion won in illicit profits by manipulating development costs in the Surion helicopter project.
- Qatar has signed a Statement of Intent with the British government for the purchase of 24 Eurofighter Typhoons from BAE Systems. Speaking on the deal, British Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, who is on a visit to the Gulf State, said this will be the first major defence contract between both countries, and will run into the billions of dollars. Human rights and anti-war organisations are likely to protest the sale, which comes as the UK’s $16 billion defence industry is facing intense scrutiny over exports to Saudi Arabia and other states accused of major human rights violations.The UK has exported more than $6 billion in arms to authoritarian states since the summer’s general election, with a huge increase in arms exports to Saudi Arabia and exports worth $160 million to Qatar, where political opposition is banned.
- A ship-building alliance between Leonardo and Thales has been floated as part of efforts to end a rift between the French and Italian governments. The dispute involving the STX shipyard in Western France, that was nationalized by a Paris concerned over job loses if sold to Italian Fincantieri, in turn infuriating Rome. The two governments hope to resolve the STX shipyard dispute in time for a Sept. 27 summit in Lyon where French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni hope to smooth tensions created by growing French influence over Italian businesses. As to the alliance, the deal proposed would see Thales and Leonardo brought in as partners for Fincantieri and Naval Group, another French shipbuilder and a small shareholder in STX. Thales owns 35 percent of Naval Group. Both firms have not commented on the offer.
- Issues among the Japanese consortium involved in F-35 Joint Strike Fighter production for Tokyo has led to aircraft assembly falling behind schedule. The industry team chosen—Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. was picked for final assembly and checkups, IHI Corp. for engine parts production and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. for radar parts production—was expected to have joined production of F-35s to be delivered to Japan in fiscal 2017 under the fiscal 2013 contract. However, both IHI Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. have yet to sign parts production subcontracts with the original equipment manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney and Northrop Grumman respectively. The board added that checks by the Defense Ministry’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency found the local companies’ manufacturing processes to be lacking.
- Development test-firing of India’s Astra Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) has been successfully completed. A total of seven tests were conducted against Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA) over the Bay of Bengal between September 11 and 14, which the Ministry of Defense said “included engagement of target at very long range, engagement of high manoeuvring target at medium range and multiple launches of missiles in salvo to engage multiple targets.” The missile has been integrated on Indian Air Force SU-30 MKI aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and is expected to be inducted into service later this year.
- Taiwan’s planned modernization of its ageing F-16A/B aircraft to the V standard is likely to cost $4.31 billion, $651 million more than the original estimate. Features on the F-16V include an AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array radar, an upgraded mission computer system and cockpit improvements. However, Taipei has hand to dish out additional funds to shoulder the development cost and new weapons that the United States recently agreed to export to Taiwan, and it is likely that further orders of the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSTOW) system and other enhancements and weapons will need to be procured in piecemeal fashion.
- Turkish F-16s land in Azerbaijan for the joint TurAz Qartal?-2017 air exercise:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire