LM Wins $27B Contract from US DoD for CH-53K | Defense Ties Strengthen with UK / France Cruise Missile Project | Philippines Navy AW159s to Get Spike NLOS
- The US Department of Defense is expected to award Lockheed Martin a multi-billion contract to start production of 200 new heavy cargo helicopters for the US Marines Corp by the end of the week. Colonel Hank Vanderborght, head of the Pentagon’s CH-53K King Stallion program, stated that each unit will cost $87 million on average and $105 million including spare parts and certain service contracts. The total value of the program is $27 billion. Developed by Lockheed’s helicopter subsidy Sikorsky, the CH-53K can lift 36,000 pounds and would replace the CH-53E Super Stallion, which has operated as the backbone of field logistics for the USMC since the mid-1980s.
- Boeing has received a $59 million contract modification to continue production for the USAF’s KC-46 tanker aircraft. The deal will see the company provide interim contracting support, a temporary service conducted in lieu of organic capability for a predetermined time. The deal allows Boeing to defer investment in all or part of required support resources. Work is expected to be complete by March, 2018.
- Navy Rear. Adm. Mat Winter is to take charge of the F-35 program office upon the retirement of program head Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan this summer. Winter, who is currently the F-35 deputy program executive officer, will assume the rank of vice admiral prior to assuming the role. Prior to joining the F-35 program in 2016, Winter acted as chief of Naval Research, working as program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, and oversaw the development of the X-47, a stealthy unmanned aircraft that could autonomously launch from a carrier. He was also responsible for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program before it was cancelled and transferred into a requirement for an unmanned tanking capability.
- Budget constraints in Argentina will prevent the government from buying too much defense gear, according to their Defense Minister, Julio Martinez. Plans to buy warplanes in the short-term have been dismissed, and the only defense spending earmarked by Buenos Ares is for a modest purchase of 12 Beechcraft Texan aircraft in order to train pilots. Martinez added that the Beechcraft aircraft could be used to fulfil the government’s goal of better patrolling borders with Paraguay and Brazil to stop drug flights.
Middle East & North Africa
- Leonardo will supply Pakistan with additional AgustaWestland AW139 twin-engine helicopters for use in utility, search-and-rescue, and emergency medical operations. The exact numbers of rotorcraft remain undisclosed but will be delivered from the start of next year. A press release by the company stated that the deal is “a major achievement for Leonardo expanding the already successful presence of the AW139 model in the country.”
- France and the UK are to commence a new joint project to develop a new cruise missile program led by MDBD Missile Systems. Under the terms of the pact, signed by British Defense Minister Harriett Baldwin and French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon, each country will contribute roughly $62 million for the Future Cruise / Anti-Ship Weapon program, which seeks to introduce a new generation of missiles to be the successor to the Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow. A three-year concept development phase will focus on developing new capabilities that will allow each armed force to perform enhanced anti-ship and deep-strike missions.
- Myanmar has received an upgrade package for their MiG-29 from Russia’s RAC MiG. The upgrade carried out on the 10 fighters, referred to as MiG-29SM, is a cheaper alternative to the MiG-29UPG modification undertaken by India, retaining the aircraft’s original N-019E radar but with some technology improvements and new parts. Malaysia and Bangladesh are now being offered the same upgrade package for their respective MiG-29 fleets.
- The Philippines Navy is to equip its AugustaWestland AW159 naval helicopters with Spike non-line of sight (NLOS) missiles. Originally designed as an anti-tank munition, the Spike NLOS was chosen for its ability to engage enemy vessels beyond visual range of up to 25km and possesses a built-in camera that allows it to be operated day or night. The missile’s manufacturer Rafael said the system can “be operated in either direct attack or mid-course navigation based on target coordinates only. These modes enable defeat of long-range hidden targets, with pinpoint precision, damage assessment and the obtaining of real-time intelligence.”
- South Korean Spike NLOS:
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