KC-390 touches down in Florida ahead of tests | E-6B Mercury to get comms upgrade | Philippines arms MPACs with Spike missiles
- Rockwell Collins has been awarded a $12.7 million contract modification to carry out upgrade work on the communication systems of US Navy E-6B Mercury aircraft. Under the award, the Navy will exercise an option for the installation of Block I/Internet Protocol Bandwidth Expansion Phase 3/Block IA Very Low Transmit Terminal/Nuclear Planning and Execution System kit on one E-6B aircraft. Field support engineering, training, and licenses are also included in the contract, which will be carried out at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (85 percent) and Richardson, Texas (15 percent), with an estimated completion time scheduled for June 2019. The E-6 Mercury platform, which first went into service in 1989, has the ability for command and control authority to launch land and sea based nuclear ballistic missiles. 16 were built for the US Navy between 1988 and 1991.
- Embraer’s KC-390 has flown from its test centre in the Brazilian interior to its US base in Jacksonville, Florida ahead of flight tests required for its certification. The dual-role tanker transport aircraft to make the trip is the second of two prototype’s built by Embraer as part of a 30-unit order for the Brazilian Air Force, as the first prototype undergoes minor repairs following a stall speed test incident in early October. Testing to be carried out in Florida includes evaluating avionics systems, crosswind operations and external noise. So far, the KC-390 test fleet has accumulated 1,450 flight test hours since the first example achieved first flight nearly three years ago. Alongside Brazil, Portugal is planning an acquisition of five KC-390s, with an option for a sixth, while Argentina, Chile, Colombia and the Czech Republic have expressed interest in buying a combined 26 more.
Middle East & Africa
- Saab announced Monday, an order from the South African National Defense Force for the provision of mass field feeding capabilities. The contract tasks Saab with delivering mobile containerised kitchens systems to the SANDF, which consists of 24 x 50-man systems and 11 x 200-man systems. The 50-man system consists of a fully equipped expandable unit and bladders to handle the potable and waste water, while the 200-man system comes with a fully equipped expandable kitchen unit, complete with a reefer unit, a storage unit, as well as a utility unit for potable water, diesel and waste water. Centurion of South Africa will execute the project over the next two years.
- Middle East Propulsion Company Limited, a Saudi Arabia-based firm, has signed agreements with Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems to maintain and repair Royal Saudi Air Force fighter (RSAF) jets in the country. The first contract covers the maintenance and repair of RSAF Tornado engines, the RB199, while the second contract, which will be finalized by the beginning of 2018, will cover the repair and maintenance of the EJ200 engine used on the Eurofighter Typhoon. The contract falls under Saudi Arabia‘s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud’s Vision 2030 initiative that looks to have 50% of local demand for military products and services covered in house. Next up for MEPC is to produce the engine parts within the kingdom, and is in talks with General Electric to become an international exporter of such parts.
- Norway has received the first of an eventual 16 Leonardo AW101 helicopters configured for search and rescue (SAR) operations. Leonardo said the aircraft departed it’s Yeovil, UK facility on Friday for Sola Air Base in southern Norway, and will now receive further operational testing and evaluation before entering active service with the Royal Norwegian Air Force next year. The remaining helicopters in the $1.32 billion deal will be delivered through 2020. For SAR missions, the AW101 employs a multi-panel Osprey AESA surveillance radar system along with two rescue hoists, searchlights and advanced communications equipment.
- A delegation from the Pakistan defense industry visited Poland last week to discuss potential cooperation with the Polish small arms industry. The meeting)—the first of three meeting scheduled for this year— saw representatives from the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) and Polish Armaments Group (PGZ), and the “main topic of talks” between Lt. Gen. Durrani and PGZ board member Maciej Lew-Mirski was the “potential of the purchase and transfer of technology related to the production of small arms and ammunition” for the purpose of supplanting the Pakistan Army’s G-3 and Type 56 assault rifles. Should the Pakistan Army proceed with a small arms modernization program, PGZ estimates that the Army could require “between 500 and 800,000 new automatic rifles, which should replace existing weapons”, a program that could be worth up to $2 billion.
- The Philippines Navy hopes to have equipped by Christmas, Rafael Spike Extended Range (ER) missile systems onboard its three new multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC). Once the systems are given a pre-delivery inspection in Israel, they will be then shipped back by a PAF C-130 before a tentative fitting on the MPACs in December. The Spike ER package is estimated to cost just in excess of $5.3 million.
- Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 makes emergency landing:
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