The Philippines and the United States launched their largest-ever joint military exercises on Tuesday, as the longstanding allies seek to counter growing Chinese assertiveness in the region. Nearly 18,000 troops are taking part in the annual exercises dubbed Balikatan, or “shoulder to shoulder” in Filipino, which for the first time will include a live-fire drill in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost entirely.
The US Navy has awarded Leonardo a more than $1-billion contract to provide integrated electric propulsion components for the future Columbia-class submarine. The ballistic missile submarine class will feature the stealthier electric-drive propulsion system, unlike the mechanical-drive propulsion system outfitted on other US submarines. The navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat selected Leonardo to design and manufacture the submarine’s electric drive propulsion components, including the main propulsion motor.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense is acquiring Rafael’s SPIKE missiles in agreement which is valued at approximately 370 million Euros. Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Eyal Zamir and the Greek Director of the General Directorate for Defence Investments and Armaments, Vice Admiral (rtd) Aristeidis Alexopulos signed a GTG agreement for the export of naval, air and land-based SPIKE missiles manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
Romania’s Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT) approved the acquisition of Lockheed Martin F-35 fifth-generation fighters. A meeting of the CSAT led by the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, was held on April 11, 2023, to discuss the security situation in the Black Sea region and Romania’s position in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The council ruled that the development of Romania’s air defense was necessary to deter possible aggression, with the help of both air and anti-missile defense capabilities and long-range precision fire and strike capabilities. To achieve the latter, the CSAT confirmed a future order of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters.
Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) has successfully test-fired an AIM-2000 InfraRed Imaging System-Tail control (IRIS-T) missile from its KF-21 fighter aircraft for the first time. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced this maiden launch of the IRIS-T missile from the KF-21 in a video on April 7. The launch represents the expansion of the KF-21’s armaments testing programme. The weapons-launching phase of the KF-21 test programme began on 28 March.
Australia has purchased a 13-year-old Norwegian commercial vessel for $73.4 million, which it will convert into a military vessel for undersea military operations, according to an ABC News Australia report. Inspections and certifications are currently being conducted on the 107-meter (350 feet) ship in Singapore before it sails to Australia and is renamed the Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Guidance.
WATCH: See it in action: SPIKE NLOS exceptional performance Live