LM Handed $10B Deal on C-130J Super Hercules | Kalashnikov Opens Store at Moscow Airport | Japan’s MoD Looks to Increase Defense Budget
- The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has scheduled the testing of the SM-3 Block 2A ballistic missile defense interceptor this October. A joint development involving both the MDA and Japan, the interceptor has been previously flight tested twice by the agency without any target intercepts initially planned. October’s test will see it engage and destroy a medium-range ballistic missile target. If successful, the SM-3 will be in full-rate production in 2017.
- Contractors aiming to secure deals in relation to the Navy’s MQ-25A program have been given vague hints at what the service is expecting. Hopefuls looking to secure a slice of the action have been told they need to get that “sweet spot” between supporting mission tanking and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Born out of the scrapped Carrier-Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) program, the MQ-25 Stingray looks to include higher endurance for ISR capabilities in addition to just refueling. A lot of food for thought for those looking to get involved, but at least the initial “stealth tanker” concept has been shelved, for now.
- Chemical and biological contamination testing is one of the few remaining tasks left to be ticked off on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter before certification for full-rate production. In order to do this, a decontamination system and facility has been constructed at Edwards Air Force Base in California and an F-35A attached to the 461st Flight Test Squadron will be the lucky volunteer. The late August tests will see the fighter (modified to be able to collect test data) contaminated several times and towed into the decontamination facility to see if it can be cleaned of chemical or biological weapons exposure.
- Last week ended on an extremely good note for both Boeing and Lockheed Martin after the companies were awarded major multi-billion contracts by the USAF. For Boeing, an impressive $2.8 billion award was granted on Thursday as part of the low rate initial production of the KC-46A following the tanker’s Milestone C decision earlier this month. 19 aircraft will be produced alongside spare parts, engines and refueling pods. However, this was astronomically dwarfed on Friday when Lockheed Martin was handed a $10 billion deal for all future orders of the C-130J Super Hercules production program as well as any foreign military sales for the aircraft.
- Surplus military vehicles have made their way to the Lithuanian armed forces over the last six months through a bilateral defense agreement with the Netherlands. The influx comes as part of a $7.89 million deal, which is providing a phased delivery of vehicles and equipment to bulk up Lithuania’s Baltic Fleet. Lithuania, alongside neighbors Estonia, Latvia and Poland are playing host to a four-battalion NATO force sent to provide a deterrent to any further Russian expansionism. Moscow, on the other hand, sees their presence so close to its own borders as inflammatory and expansionist in its own right.
- Flying from Moscow and need a last minute gift for a friend on the other side? Well alongside the usual airport fare of fridge magnets and duty-free vodka, Sheremetyevo airport now has its very own Kalashnikov store. Known across the world for the being the father of the infamous AK-47, the company has set up shop selling all things AK including pens, umbrellas, bags, hats, camouflage gear and “I love AK” T-shirts. Model guns are also available, but we’ve been assured that they don’t pose any security problems. Kalashnakov: looking to saturate its wares in the retail market as well as on the battlefield.
- Japan’s ministry of defense is to request some $51 billion for its 2017 budget, a new record. The request comes as the government of Shinzo Abe further angles toward increasing the country’s military prowess and rewriting the constitution to remove a pacifist clause imposed on its armed forces at the end of the Second World War. An increasingly daring Chinese military has been a cause for worry for many of its neighbors, all of whom are currently rushing to modernize their naval and air capabilities with US and European hardware. If the funds are secured, Tokyo plans to funnel a portion of the money to its joint development of the new SM-3 Block 2A interceptor and upgrade its F-15 fighters.
- Approval has been given for the Indian ministry of defense to procure one additional C-130J Super Hercules, adding to six recently ordered by New Delhi in a $1 billion deal. The new aircraft was earmarked to replace one that crashed during an exercise in 2014, resulting in the death of five crew members. Once delivered, the aircraft will most likely be based in West Bengal’s Panagarh, which has been slated to be the base of the Indian Air Force’s second C-130J hub.
Russian Su-34s leaving for missions in Syria from Iran for the first time:
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