* Navy surface ships and submarines are to be equipped with General Dynamics-developed Digital Modular Radios (DMR), with a $29 million contract modification covering the delivery of 56 sets. The company received a similar contract for DMRs in 2005, however this latest order covers radio sets capable of plugging into the Mobile User Objective satellite system (MUOS), as well as the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS).
* A group of hackers have developed a small unmanned aerial vehicle capable of scanning nearby networks and computers in order to identify vulnerabilities. These UAVs can then report back to distance handlers as well as inject malware from above. The company – Aerial Assault – markets itself as a group of penetration-testers, using the drone to highlight weak spots for friendly networks. The F-35, with it’s secretive ‘cyber-attack pod‘, could operate in a similar way, albeit with a greater range. Facebook has also been developing a UAV capable of distributing wifi connectivity using lasers. The new hacking drone will reportedly go on sale – for $2,500.
* The Air Force is planning an industry day to explore options for replacing the UH-1N Huey utility helicopter, a forty year-old platform. Seventy-two aircraft will be procured, with the Air Force planning to open a Huey replacement program office in 2016 and award a contract in 2017. The Japanese Self Defense Force awarded a $3.02 billion contract in July to replace the country’s fleet of Hueys.
* The Missile Defense Agency has awarded two contracts to Raytheon and Lockheed Martin – $9.8 million and $9.6 million respectively – for the conceptual development of the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle, an initiative revived in June, after previously being shelved in 2009. The initiative seeks to develop a multi-shot capacity to target ballistic missiles, increasing the probability of a hit and destruction of the incoming missile. The House Armed Services Committee has allocated the program $80 million in its 2016 National Defense Authorization Act.
* Turkey is planning to upgrade 25 of its fleet of F-16C/D Block 30 fighters. The upgrade work is principally an interim measure to ensure operational capability until the arrival of the country’s indigenous fighter through the ambitious TF-X program, scheduled for introduction in the 2020s, as well as the phasing-in of Turkey’s future F-35 fleet. Turkey also undertook a $1.1 billion upgrade program for 117 F-16s in 2011, also ordering more modern Block 50 aircraft in 2012. The 25 aircraft set to receive upgrades are thought to be some of the oldest F-16s in the Turkish inventory.
* The Russian defense ministry will reportedly soon sign a contract with United Aircraft Corporation thought to be worth approximately $1.6 billion for 48 Su-35 fighters, with 24 of the aircraft also heading for China following a contract signed in June. The Russian Air Force is also reported to be receiving fourteen Su-35 fighters this year.
* The Polish Air Force has begun using 3D printing to upgrade MiG-29 and Su-22 fighters to NATO standards. The Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze Nr 2 company is using the techniques to rapidly prototype upgraded components for the aircraft, which can print items within a matter of hours. The printers – manufactured by Polish company Zortrax – print plastic components which are then used to test integration onto the aircraft before series production with metal components begins.
* The Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates are to receive new propulsion systems through two contracts worth a total of $124.7 million. Running to 2024, the first, $106 million contract with Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU is for the production of diesel generators, with Hitzinger UK producing voltage converters under a second, $18.7 million contract. The new equipment will be manufactured in Austria and Germany, with the contracts announced days after the signing of a number of long-lead production contracts for the Royal Navy’s Type 26 future frigates, which include the Rolls-Royce designed gas turbines.
* The Eurofighter consortium has received formal support for plans to sell the multi-role fighter to Indonesia. Government officials from Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom have delivered a Letter of Support to Indonesia, with the letter reportedly highlighting the potential collaboration between Airbus – one of the Eurofighter’s manufacturers – and Indonesian firm PT Dirgantara Indonesia. Eurofighter announced plans in April to relocate final assembly facilities from Spain to Indonesia, if the latter chose to procure the fighter to replace the country’s aging F-5 fighters. Indonesia released a Request for Information for the replacement program in January 2014, which also attracted attention from Saab with the Gripen. However, the Indonesian Air Force appears keen to procure the Sukhoi Su-35 over European or US designs.
* Japan acquired one Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod last year for trials on a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-2 fighter. The Japanese defense ministry reportedly allocated $49.1 million to test the targeting pod as part of a potential upgrade package for the JASDF’s F-2 fleet. Jordan signed a contract for more Sniper pods in June, with the pod’s integration on the F-2 marking the eighth aircraft platform that the pod has operated from.
* The Energy Harvesting Assault Pack: