* Reuters reported Wednesday that Boeing is on the cusp of being awarded a more than $3 billion contract for 28 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, with the potential customer named as Kuwait. The Kuwaitis currently operate the older F/A-18 Hornet fighter. The sale, combined with a USN request for a dozen of the aircraft, should be sufficient to maintain the company’s St Louis production lines past their slated 2017 closure.
* Small business Quantitech Inc. was awarded a $10 million contract on Wednesday to support the Counter-Rocket, Mortar & Artillery (C-RAM) program directorate in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the one-year contract covering integration of the C-RAM into the Air and Missile Defense Planning and Control System.
* Also on Wednesday, Raytheon was handed a $27 million contract for Army Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System (LRAS3) configuration and integration. A hundred of the units will be configured under the contract, with the systems moving from Block 0 to Block 1 configurations. The systems principally equip Humvee vehicles, providing scouting capabilities from around 15km away.
* Following previous observations of Russian armored vehicles during preparations for the country’s Victory Day parade this Saturday, more detailed pictures have emerged of the Armata family of vehicles. The new photographs show modernized weapons stations and turrets, previously covered during preparations.
* Norway has chosen to buy the Supacat High Mobility Transporter (HMT) Extenda vehicle for its land forces, with an option to double the number of procured vehicles in the initial $38.4 million contract, announced Wednesday, although the number of vehicles Norway plans to buy was not disclosed. Other international customers for the UK-based company’s selection of HMTs include Australia and the UK.
* Israel has awarded a $310 million contract to General Dynamics Land Systems for upgrade kits which will be fitted to the country’s indigenously-developed Namer MkIV armored personnel carrier. Announced by the Israeli MoD and funded through US military assistance, the number of Namer APCs is set to increase following the reversal of a decision in 2014 to cut orders, a result of Israel’s experience of urban conflict in Gaza during the summer of 2014.
* The US approved $11.7 billion-worth of Foreign Military Sales to Iraq over a seven year period, 2007-2013. The latest of these is a potential sale of 1.2 million-plus rounds of 40mm, 81mm and 155mm ammunition – manufactured by American Ordnance and AMTEC Corp. – in a deal expected to be worth $395 million.
* US President Barak Obama is expected to push the GCC to create a regional defense system when he hosts the Council’s leaders at the White House and Camp David on the 13th and 14th May. The recent Patriot customer is now thought to be Saudi Arabia, with the THAAD system also operated by several GCC nations. Arab states have invested considerably in anti-ballistic missile capable systems in recent years. However, the GCC currently lacks an integrated air and missile defense system.
* Japan has formally requested the sale of V-22B Block C Osprey aircraft from the US. The $3 billion potential FMS includes seventeen aircraft, forty engines and a variety of auxiliary equipment. In November the Japanese defense ministry announced that it intended to purchase seventeen tiltrotor aircraft, without specifying the V-22B; however joint manufacturers Bell-Boeing confirmed soon afterwards that it was the Osprey that the Japanese intended to purchase. This would be the first international export for the Osprey, with plans for an Israeli contract unclear despite the US making the V-22 available in 2013. South Korea has also expressed interest in acquiring the aircraft.
* The State Department has also approved two potential missile sales to Indonesia and Malaysia. The potential FMS to Indonesia is a $47 million sale of AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder missiles, including thirty Block II All-Up-Round variants of the missile. The sale to Malaysia is for ten AIM-120C7 AMRAAM missiles for a pricetag of $21 million. The AMRAAM missiles are set to equip the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s fleet of F/A-18D Hornets.
* France reportedly offered India a 25% price drop in order to seal the deal for 36 Rafales in April. The French also agreed to an extended maintenance schedule, with the 36 fighters thought to be the minimum number they would sell. The deal is thought to bring the per-unit cost of the Rafale to around $220 million, far below the approximate $300 million pricetag which became the death-knell for the Indian negotiations with Dassault. The recently announced Qatari order saw a comparable cost of $290 million per aircraft.
* Down the scope of a LRAS3 sight…