Leonardo to Carry on with USAF T-X Competition | Elbit Tapped with $110M to Upgrade and Maintain Mi-17s | Greece MoD Looking to Modernize F-16s to V-Variant
- Despite not having a US-based partner and prime contractor, Leonardo is to go it alone in the USAF T-X trainer competition. Raytheon withdrew from the partnership last month. The Italian firm’s US-subsidary, Leonardo DRS, will now act as prime contractor, although it remains unclear where the T-100 advanced jet trainer will be assembled if the company secures the contract.
- Bell Helicopters will provide long-lead items and components for the US Navy’s AH-1Z aircraft. valued at $49 million, the agreement covers 27 Lot 15 AH-1Z Vipers operated by the USMC, and work is expected to be completed by March 2018. According to manufacturer Bell, the AH-1Z is the only helicopter in the world to feature air-to-air missile attack capabilities.
Middle East & North Africa
- Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will supply signals and communication intelligence capabilities to various unnamed customers in contracts worth $30 million. IAI subsidiary ELTA Systems will deliver advanced communication intelligence system (COMINT) to an unidentified operator in Europe and a signal intelligence (SIGINT) suite to an undisclosed buyer in Asia. The COMINT system is designed to provide real-time intelligence and tactical information for military operators, as well as cooperate with existing defense communication networks, while the SIGINT is comprised of ELK 7071 COMINT and ELL-8385 ELINT systems, and can be integrated on military aircraft.
- An unnamed Asia-Pacific customer has contracted Elbit Systems to upgrade and maintain Mi-17 helicopters. The $110 million award will include work on dozens of helicopters and will take place over a five-year performance period. Some of the region’s operators of the aging Mi-17 include Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, India, and Pakistan.
- A Greek publication has revealed that the country’s Defense Ministry plans to upgrade their fleets of 155 F-16C and F-16D aircraft to the V-variant. The cost of the modernization is expected to run between $1.7 and $2 billion. It was also revealed that the ministry wishes to lay the foundation with Washington for an eventual procurement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, that would be paid over a period of time. In addition, Athens is looking to have maintenance work done on their S-300 air defense system, however information on a deal remains unclear.
- Indonesia and South Korea have opened a joint program office in Sacheon, South Korea, in order to collaborate on the KF-X/IF-X fighter program. 74 personnel from PT Dirgantara Indonesia have made the move to work on the program, and will work with staff from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The opening of the office comes just a year after both governments signed a $7.1 billion agreement to jointly develop the KF-X/IF-X 4.5-generation fighter. In exchange for their capital, Jakarta will receive 50 IF-X fighters as well as a certain amount of knowledge and technological transfer.
- Textron Systems has been tapped to provide contractor logistics support for the Cessna C-208B Caravans used by the Afghan air force. Valued at $9.35 million for the first year, the contract has the potential to reach a maximum of $50 million over the next five years, and will include transfer of capabilities in addition to maintenance training. Manufactured by Textron, Afghanistan operates about 26 C-208Bs for use on a wide variety of missions.
- Israel’s Rafael is ramping up efforts to offer their systems to India’s indigenous Tejas fighter. The Indian Air Force is currently evaluating the company’s Python 5 and 54nm (100km)-range I-Derby ER air-to-air missiles for the Tejas, while it is also promoting its Litening 5 targeting pod and BNET secure radio. Yuval Miller, executive vice-president and head of Rafael’s Air and C4I Systems division, stated that the wide cooperation involved on the Tejas’ development could make it easier to bring the Light Combat Aircraft to the 4.5-generation standard.
- The US Navy’s Spike missile program:
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