LM to Design New EW Pod for Navy’s MH-60s | Harris to Fit Moroccan F-16s with New EW Gear in $91M Deal | Warsaw Considers 96 More F-16 Fighters
- Lockheed Martin will design a new Electronic Warfare (EW) pod for US Navy MH-60 helicopters. Known as the Advanced Off-board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system, the pod will relay the signals it picked up back to the ship’s existing SLQ-32 system without any input from the helicopter crew. Company officials said the new capability will allow the fleet to respond to threats beyond the horizon, however declined to comment on whether the technology would come with any offensive capacity.
- Flight testing of the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile has been completed. A Raytheon announcement stated that the launches were conducted to demonstrate the missile’s ability to engage time-sensitive targets. The first test saw personnel onboard the USS Pinckney utilize the Launch Platform Mission Planning capability while during the second test, crew members fired the weapon for a longer duration, and also conducted a terminal dive maneuver to strike the intended target. The company said the performance confirms the Tomahawk’s ability to attack heavily defended targets.
- The US Navy plans to test-fire Boeing’s AGM-84 Harpoon Block II+ER extended range anti-ship missile this year. Upgrades to the missile can fit inside the existing Block 1C airframe, providing for easier integration as well as a cheaper separation testing process. Navy F/A-18 and P-8A Increment III aircraft will be fitted with the missile, and will give the platforms a doubling in target range alongside a new warhead.
Middle East North Africa
- Moroccan F-16s will be fitted with new EW gear thanks to a $91 million deal with Harris Corp. The company will provide a number of the AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS) to the Royal Moroccan Air Force in an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract issued by the US Air Force’s Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. AIDEWS is the only combat-ready electronic warfare system available to allied countries flying F-16 aircraft.
- Poland’s military modernization marches on as Warsaw is reported to be exploring the possibility of more F-16 fighters. A plan by the Defense Ministry looks to purchase 96 second-hand A/B models from the US, and have the overhaul and upgrade work carried out by local industry. At present, the Polish Air Force operates 48 F-16 C/D variants alongside soon to be phased out MiG-29 and Su-22 fighters.
- Reports that the New Zealand government are in talks with Japan over a deal for maritime patrol and cargo aircraft have been downplayed by Wellington. A Defence Ministry spokesperson said that no offers had been made by Tokyo to sell Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft and C-2 cargo planes to the Royal New Zealand Air Force, in a deal that would exceed $1 billion. The statement also reiterated that the ministry will not release a new competition to replace its existing fleet of six P-3 Orion, five C-130 Hercules, and two Boeing 757s this year.
- The Chinese Air Force has taken delivery of its first four Su-35 fighters. Beijing has ordered 24 models in total following a negotiation process that has dragged on for several years. Chinese brass have commented that Moscow was eager to complete the deal due to concerns about the rolling out of the People’s Liberation Air Force’s new Chengdu J-20 fighter. The J-20 made its debut last year, although much of its capabilities have yet to be demonstrated publicly, and it is believed to have already entered low-rate production.
- Early work on Tiger Mk III helicopter upgrades by the European defense procurement agency, the OCCAR, has commenced, although there is uncertainty over Australia’s participation in the project. Set up by Germany, the UK, France, and Italy, the OCCAR is in charge of the Tiger modernization program, and while Australia is not one of its members, it was hoped that Canberra, with a 22 Tiger fleet, would commit to the effort. Canberra, however, has expressed frustration with the rotorcraft, even hinting that they may ditch the Tiger in the mid-2020s. France, Germany and Spain are currently heavily involved in the program’s definition phase, which includes avionics and weapons overhauls, including the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire and Rafael Spike, used by the Tiger’s European operators.
US Army demonstrates 3-D printed drones:
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