*The LA Times has been investigating the huge monetary waste on the abandoned Precision Tracking Space System program conducted by the Missile Defense Agency. The program aimed at developing a satellite system capable of deterring ballistic missile threats from rogue states such as North Korea and Iran beginning in 2009. The system was abandoned by the Obama administration four years later at a cost of $231 million. While the program had been initially lauded as a cost effective defense from potential nuclear attacks, the findings included that the initial twelve satellites needed for adequate protection was not enough. Furthermore, budgetary predictions set at $10 billion over twenty years was way off, with extra costs running to $24 billion over the same time period.
* Raytheon has been granted a $41.9 million contract to provide work for both the US Navy and the government of Switzerland. The deal will see Raytheon manufacture, test and deliver full rate production lot 15 AN/ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receivers to the US Marine Corps worth $36.1 million. Switzerland will receive weapon replaceable assemblies in a foreign military sale worth $5.9 million. Work is to be completed by December 2017.
Middle East North Africa
* Egypt is to receive the President-S missile Approach warning system according to an official from the Russian Radioelectronic Technologies Group (KRET). Contracts for the purchase are currently being drafted with delivery of the system due to commence in the near future. The President-S system will provide protection to both military and civilian aircraft and helicopters from airborne missile threats, as well as those launched from ground and sea based defense systems. It can destroy and suppress the optical homing warheads of air and anti-aircraft missiles, including the homing warheads of man-portable air defense missile systems. The purchase of the system coincides with the procurement 50 Ka-52 reconnaissance and attack helicopters, with deliveries to be carried out between 2016-2018.
* Kuwait is to receive technical assistance for the PATRIOT system after Raytheon was awarded a $9.27 million foreign military sales contract by the US Department of Defense. The contract shortly followed a previous $74.5 million award to provide pre-PATRIOT training classes to Kuwaiti military personnel ahead of the delivery of batteries of the missile defense system in July 2016, and will run until December 2016.
* Lockheed Martin is to provide AH-64 modernized sensor assemblies for the government of Qatar. The foreign military sales contract worth $130.6 million is to be completed by March 2019. The Gulf Emirate purchased 24 AH-64D APACHE Block III LONGBOW Attack Helicopters in 2014 in a deal worth $3 billion as part of a massive modernization of its helicopter fleet, giving them multi-mission attack capabilities.
* In addition to the $130.6 million contract to provide AH-64 modernized day sensor assemblies to the government of Qatar, Lockheed Martin has been awarded over $227 million in additional contracts by the US Department of Defense to provide work to Saudi Arabia. The first, worth $117.2 million, is a modification of a previously existing fixed price contract for the manufacture and delivery of 10 MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems and Common Cockpits to Riyadh. The second is for non-recurring engineering to support the MH-60R aircraft. The contract, worth $110.2 million, is for the development, test and qualification of the MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems and Common Cockpits configuration for production. Both contracts will run until April and June 2016 respectively. The US State Department approved the sale of the multi-mission helicopters back in May 2015, in a deal worth $1.9 billion as part of a modernization of the Saudi navy’s eastern fleet.
* The UK is to receive contractor logistics support from General Atomics for the MQ-9 Reaper UAVs currently in service by the Royal Air Force. The work is to be completed by March 2017, costing $57.4 million. The ten Reapers in operation by the RAF are all currently being used in operations in the Middle East, first seeing service in Afghanistan in 2008 until the British withdrawal in 2014. They are currently being used in armed reconnaissance and strike missions in Iraq and Syria, targeting jihadists fighting for the Islamic State.
* Mitsubishi’s ATD-X stealth fighter is to make its maiden flight in February 2016 according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. The indigenous fighter is set to complete taxiing and ground trials in late January prior to the voyage. The demonstrator model is Japan’s first attempt at developing an entirely domestically produced stealth fighter, but has been suffering from delays. It is hoped that the ATD-X program will eventually lead to their own F-3 fighter to be produced by 2027.
* The US military recently sent two Ah-64 helicopters to Qatar to conduct operations in the region: