Lockheed Martin and USN Set To Integrate HELIOS Onto Arleigh Burke | UK Sends Aid To Turkey-Syria Border | India’s Rafale Delivery On Schedule
Northrop Grumman won a $49.1 million contract modification for engineering services to support the Littoral Combat Ship Mission Modules Program. The deal modifies a contract awarded in March 2017. It funds engineering services for gun mission modules, including support for outfitting and installation, interim deport level maintenance, engineering support and sustainment as well as incidental costs related to engineering services for mission modules. LCS mission modules will have the capability to be changed, tested and available to be deployed within 24 hours. Work will take place in New York, Florida, California,Massachusetts, Florida and Washington DC. Estimated completion will be by March 2021.
Lockheed Martin and the US Navy are set to integrate the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) system onto an Arleigh Burke destroyer in 2021. The move comes after the laser system underwent the US Navy’s Critical Design Review (CDR). Set to undergo system integration in Moorestown, New Jersey this year, the HELIOS system will then be tested at the Wallops Island Navy land-based test site. This is expected to significantly reduce program risk prior to its delivery to a shipyard for integration into an Arleigh Burke destroyer. HELIOS will become an integrated component of the destroyer’s Aegis combat system.
Middle East & Africa
Iran’s primary way of threatening the US and its allies in the region is its inventory of about 2,500-3,000 ballistic missiles, US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander General Kenneth McKenzie told the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 10. Gen McKenzie did not breakdown the types of missiles that make up this arsenal but indicated most are shorter-range weapons when he explained why the US military is moving more assets to Prince Sultan Air Base in central Saudi Arabia. He confirmed that the US is also moving air defense assets to Iraq, where he said the US has around 5,000 soldiers deployed, to defend against Iranian ballistic missile attacks. Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) attacked US personnel at Ain al-Asad Air Base on January 8 in retaliation for the assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani, a high-profile IRGC commander who developed and directed pro-Iranian militant groups across the region.
The UK Government has sent aid to the Turkey-Syria border, which it says will provide much-needed relief and protection for Syrians amid the worsening humanitarian crisis in Idlib. A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter carrying 37 tonnes of UK aid landed in Hayat on March 11. The supplies on board include tents to provide life-saving shelter, hygiene kits, blankets, water purification tablets, cooking equipment and lanterns for around 300 families who have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in harsh conditions. The aid supplies are being distributed in the worst affected areas including Idlib in north west Syria, with the cooperation of the Turkish Red Crescent. The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors to the Syria crisis, providing more than £3.1 billion to trusted partners in Syria and the region since 2011.
India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has assured that the delivery of four Rafale fighters to India is still on schedule despite worries over the spread of coronavirus. Speaking on television program ‘Aap Ki Adalat’, Singh said the jets are expected to be home by end of May. His assertion comes in the wake of reports that Coronavirus scare may hit the delivery schedule of four Rafale jets which were expected in May this year. The four Rafale jets will be inducted in the Indian Air Force at its station in Ambala.
Brunei has announced a defense budget of $430 million for 2020-21. The country’s Ministry of Defense said on March 12 that the new budget is a 0.27 per cent increase over the allocation in 2019-20. The 2020-21 defense budget amounts to about 10 per cent of total government expenditure for the year. MINDEF said the defense budget reinforced the country’s three-pillar defense policy – diplomacy, deterrence, and ‘holistic defense’ – in addressing the country’s challenges, which include protecting Brunei’s assets in the South China Sea, cyber defense, and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
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