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Lack of $$ May Kill JSTARS | NG Nets $91.7M for SEWIP | India Extends Deadline on $15.4B FICV Program

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Americas * A senior Air Force official has revealed that budgetary constraints may kill off the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) recapitalization program. William LaPlante, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, stated on Tuesday that given sequestration and competing priorities, the program could now face the axe, a particularly poignant point […]
Americas

* A senior Air Force official has revealed that budgetary constraints may kill off the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) recapitalization program. William LaPlante, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, stated on Tuesday that given sequestration and competing priorities, the program could now face the axe, a particularly poignant point given that the Pentagon recently blocked the program from moving to its demonstration phase, known as Milestone A. The announcement will undoubtedly spook the three contractors currently working on the early development for the program, following the awarding of engineering and manufacturing development contracts in August.

* Lockheed Martin is reportedly evaluating whether the F-35 could one day field a fiber laser weapon, building on expertise the company has accumulated working with DARPA. Air Force Special Operations Command is also looking to develop and use laser weapons, including plans to test them on C-130U gunships, with plans to eventually install laser weapons onto C-130J Ghostriders, while the Missile Defense Agency also rebooted its airborne laser concept in August. Lockheed Martin is considering offering an adapted version of its vehicle-mounted 60kW laser system, with other firms also looking to upgrade aircraft with laser systems, including General Atomics with the HELLADS system.

* Raytheon has demonstrated how a Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile can be used to assess battlefield damage, loiter and then attack a target following analysis of the data it provided to operators. The test demonstrated how the missile could be launched from one location, travel to a second area of operations and communicate via a UHF SATCOM link with a third location half-way around the world, before striking a target. The Block IV Tomahawk demonstrated flexible mission planning capabilities in flight during previous testing in August, with this latest round of testing also demonstrating that multiple missiles could be coordinated from a single control point.

* Northrop Grumman has been handed a $91.7 million contract modification for the SEWIP Block 3’s engineering and manufacturing development phase. The Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP)’s Block 3 increment is intended to provide a scalable electronic warfare and electronic attack capability, building on out-of-production AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare systems. Block 2 is already in low rate initial production, following a $147.5 million contract to Lockheed Martin in September 2014.

Europe

* The Netherlands has signed a contract for 29 Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting pods, with these set to equip the country’s fleet of F-16s. Jordan also opted to buy more Sniper pods in June, with Taiwan and Japan also recently placing orders.

* Latvia has ordered a further three TPS-77 Multi-Role Radar air surveillance systems from Lockheed Martin to complement three already in operation. The last of these three was installed in May, with the first two ordered in 2007.The company is also upgrading one of these three existing TPS-77 systems, which are located at Calas, Lielvarde and Audrini to cover the country’s Eastern border with Russia.

Middle East North Africa

* Egypt and France are reportedly engaged in talks over a potential acquisition of NH90 helicopters. With Egypt recently purchasing a significant quantity of French naval hardware with Saudi funding – including Gowind corvettes and a FREMM frigate – with which the NH90 would be compatible, the precise model being discussed could be the naval NFH variant, or a mix of NFH and TTH troop transport variants. Egypt signed a contract to buy the two Mistral LHDs formerly destined for Russia, with reports indicating that the country had also ordered Ka-52 navalized attack helicopters from Russia to equip the new vessels; however, these reports now appear to have been erroneous, with Russian officials now denying that an order has been placed.

Asia Pacific

* South Korea and Indonesia look set to sign a set of agreements later this month to cement the two countries’ industrial commitments to the collaborative development of the South Korean KF-X indigenous fighter program. The two states signed an engineering and development agreement in October 2014, which split the development costs 80-20 to South Korea. The two countries reiterated their commitment to the program in May this year. Meanwhile, the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced on Tuesday that a separate organization will be established specifically to manage the KF-X program.

* The Indian Defence Ministry has extended the deadline for the country’s Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), the $15.4 billion program which will see the Indian government fund domestic companies to develop a new armored vehicle, with a planned acquisition of 2,600 FICVs planned. The deadline has now moved to mid-January 2016, following a request from several firms. The program was resurrected in July after a five-year delay.

Today’s Video

* The NH90 in service with the New Zealand Defence Force, feat. incredible scenery:

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