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L-3 enters Longsword into USAF OA-X experiment | Hawks land in Oman | DSCA clears Super Hornet upgrades for Switzerland

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Americas * L-3 Communications and Air Tractor have made a late entry into this month’s US Air Force OA-X experiment, bringing with them the Air Tractor AT-802L Longsword, an armed reconnaissance version of the latter’s cropduster. Modifications added by L-3 to bring the aircraft to the Longsword configuration include a glass cockpit, the firms’ Wescam MX-15 EO/IR sensor and ForceX mission management system. It also possesses 11 hard points and can carry 6,200 pounds of fuel or munitions, including precision-guided weapons with the addition of a laser designator. The Longsword joins Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine turboprop and Scorpion jet, along with Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano for the demonstration which will see the USAF assess off-the-shelf options to fill an attack and support role for the service. It has also been reported that if a successful platform is chosen as an OA-X platform, the winning aircraft may also be selected as a light air support capability for special operations forces. * The USAF has awarded ARCTEC a $37.9 million contract modification for operations and maintenance services for the Alaska Radar System. Work is scheduled to run until September 28, 2018, extending services currently being provided for another 12 months on […]
Americas

* L-3 Communications and Air Tractor have made a late entry into this month’s US Air Force OA-X experiment, bringing with them the Air Tractor AT-802L Longsword, an armed reconnaissance version of the latter’s cropduster. Modifications added by L-3 to bring the aircraft to the Longsword configuration include a glass cockpit, the firms’ Wescam MX-15 EO/IR sensor and ForceX mission management system. It also possesses 11 hard points and can carry 6,200 pounds of fuel or munitions, including precision-guided weapons with the addition of a laser designator. The Longsword joins Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine turboprop and Scorpion jet, along with Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano for the demonstration which will see the USAF assess off-the-shelf options to fill an attack and support role for the service. It has also been reported that if a successful platform is chosen as an OA-X platform, the winning aircraft may also be selected as a light air support capability for special operations forces.

* The USAF has awarded ARCTEC a $37.9 million contract modification for operations and maintenance services for the Alaska Radar System. Work is scheduled to run until September 28, 2018, extending services currently being provided for another 12 months on the network of radars covering Alaskan airspace and the Arctic circle. Alaska’s radar stations form a key part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System and the Missile Defense Agency whose sites can be located in extremely harsh terrain and weather conditions, including high winds and sub-zero temperatures for much of the year.

Middle East & North Africa

* BAE Systems has delivered the first two of eight Hawk advanced trainer jets ordered by Oman in 2012. The trainers arrived a month after the Sultanate received the first of 12 Eurofighter Typhoons—made by a consortium including BAE, Leonardo, and Airbus—and further deliveries are expected over the next coming months. In May, the first Hawk and Typhoon were formally presented to Oman at a ceremony held at BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information business in the UK, in front of an audience including His Excellency Sayyid Badr bin Saud al Busaidi, theSultanate of Oman’s Minister Responsible For Defence Affairs (MRDA) and the Commander of the Royal Air Force of Oman, Air Vice-Marshal Mattar bin Ali bin Mattar Al Obaidani.

* An upgraded prototype of the Namer heavy armoured personnel carrier (APC) has been unveiled by the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Developed by the ministry’s Merkava Tank Administration in conjunction with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Ground Forces, the vehicle includes a new turret with Trophy radars fitted to either side of the gun and countermeasures dispensers on both sides. It also has two sets of electro-optics: one mounted coaxially to the left of the gun and a second that appears to be able to rotate independently of the turret. A 30mm gun, thought to be an Orbital ATK Mk44 Bushmaster has also been included, and will give “significant firepower to infantry units, allowing the soldiers to be more independent on the battlefield, and to reduce the dependency on support from other units.” The vehicle is expected to undergo trails this week.

Europe

* The US State Department has approved a foreign military sale (FMS) package to upgrade Swiss F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft. If approved by US Congress, the sale of the Service Life Extension Program for the aircraft would include as many as 50 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems with Concurrent Multi-Net 4 capability, 50 ARC-210 GEN 5 RT-1900A(C) radios with a second-generation anti-jam tactical UHF radio for NATO frequency hopping, and 20 joint helmet-mounted cueing system/night vision cueing display systems. Also included in the deal are software enhancements to the APG-73 radar, improvements to the F/A-18 Software Configuration Set 29C, and sustainment for the ALQ-165 Airborne Self Protection Jammer system. The estimated value of the sale is worth up to $115 million.

* HMS Astute, a British Royal Navy hunter-killer submarine, has returned to active service after a period receiving a capability upgrade and sea training. Commissioned in 2010, HMS Astute is the first of seven new Astute class hunter-killer submarines being constructed for the Royal Navy. The training period included fire-fighting and damage control exercises and completion of weapon certification of its anti-surface and anti-submarine weapon system. The training also included a simulated war environment and training alongside Canadian Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

Asia Pacific

* Leidos has been contracted to provide operations and sustainment services for the US Army’s Saturn Arch intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance program in Afghanistan. Valued at $61 million, the contract modification will run until September 18, 2018 and work will go towards Saturn Arch quick reaction capabilities, sustainment and integration in Afghanistan as part of US counter-IED operations in the country. Since its inception in 2010, the Saturn Arch program has expanded to include more conventional ISR missions and is designed to easily share data with Afghan security forces and international partners. It uses a variety of platforms and sensor assets for detecting and assisting in the removal of enemy IEDs and other threats.

* 10 former US Army UH-60 Black Hawks have been ordered by Australia and will be refurbished into firefighting platforms. Sikorsky, Kaan Air Australia and StarFlight Australia have all been contracted in the $50 million deal and includes options for a further 10 helicopters. The planned refurbishment will include engine upgrades, gear boxes and the installation of terrain avoidance systems along with firefighting modifications.

Today’s Video

* AT-802L Longsword at Paris Air Show 2017:

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