Lacking Realistic CAS Alternative, Congress May Forbid AF from Dumping A-10 | House Also Meddling in F-35 Basing Decisions | Poland to Decide Attack Heli Vendor in 2015
- The House Armed Forces Readiness Subcommittee is seeking clarification regarding F-35 basing criteria. The panel is asking the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force to specify the methodologies leading to site selection, as well as a host of other related F-35 stationing, basing and laydown decisions. All this is included as Report Language attached to the 2016 Defense Authorization Bill, which can be found on page 145 of the bill.
- Also on Monday, the House is seeking to block the A-10 from being retired, with Rep. Martha McSally reportedly planning to introduce an amendment to prevent the Air Force from pushing the aircraft aside. This amendment will be attached to Thornberry’s version of the defense budget, with the A-10 fleet fully-funded. An A-10 recently had to conduct an emergency landing while deployed to Iraq, with the aircraft’s engine reportedly suffering “catastrophic damage.”
- MIT was awarded a $3.06 billion IDIQ contract Monday for operation of the Lincoln Laboratory Federally Funded Research and Development Center, with the aim of long-term technological development and prototyping. The contract extends to 2020, with $600,000 committed immediately. Also on Monday, DRS Sensors & Targeting Systems Inc. was awarded a $7.3 million cost-plus fixed-fee development contract for Air Force detector array systems, beating out 18 other offers.
- The Air Force has retired a final pair of C-130P special mission aircraft from the Pacific region, with the aircraft being replaced with the upgraded C-130J Commando II.
- On the heels of Poland’s recent selection of Airbus for its new fleet of transport helicopters, the country’s Deputy Defense Minister announced Monday that the Defense Ministry will select a winning supplier for thirty attack helicopters by the end of the year. Four companies have reportedly expressed interest in competing.
- A Franco-Italian satellite was launched on Sunday, joint developer Thales announced Monday. The SICRAL 2 telecom satellite is a joint program between the Italian Defense Ministry and the French defense procurement agency DGA. The Italians will benefit from a majority stake in the new capability. This is the latest in a series of French and Italian cooperative satellite projects.
- Swedish subsidiary of the UK-based defense giant, BAE System Hägglunds has incorporated “active damping” technology from Formula 1 motor sport into its family of CV90 armored vehicles. This is designed to improve the speed and stability of the vehicle, reducing the wear on components and providing a more stable platform for gunnery targeting. The new system reportedly boasts speed improvements of 30 to 40%, setting records in the process.
- Taiwanese media reported Monday that a Chinese S-300PMU2 SAM system acquired a lock on a Taiwanese Air Force Ching-Kuo IDF fighter last year, with the jet taking evasive maneuvers to break the SAM’s lock. The PLA tested the S-300PMU2 system in May last year, with the Russians agreeing to sell the Chinese more capable S-400 systems in January this year.
- Indian defense imports rose 56% over three years, according to data published by Janes. The Indian defense market remains robust for international players, with the government seeking to boost the country’s domestic manufacturing base through mandatory technology transfers, offset agreements and majority-Indian ownership. Despite the increase in imports, India’s own defense industry is becoming increasingly capable, with indigenous warships, aircraft and strategic weapons all taking great strides in recent months.
- In a further illustrative example, the Indian Navy is reportedly using Swedish composite fiber materials for its new stealth corvettes, with the carbon fibre-based composite forming the new ships’ superstructure.
- In parallel to a recent push from the Indian High Court to the Defense Ministry, the Indian Home Ministry is replacing many INSAS rifles of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the counter-terror force responsible for combating Maoist and Islamist terror groups. The much-criticized INSAS rifles – developed by the state Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) – will be replaced by 67,000 time-tested AK-47s. Criticism of the INSAS stems principally from its error percentage rate of 3%, resulting in much more regular jamming than the AK’s 0.02% error rate.
- A pre-dampened CV90…
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