Lockheed Martin won a $21.9 million modification to exercise an option for industrial post-delivery availability support for the Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Beloit (LCS 29). Work will be performed in Marinette, Wisconsin, and is expected to be completed by March 2025.
In a landmark achievement for the F-35 Lightning II program, the final Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) event was successfully completed on September 21st. This pivotal phase of testing took place in the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE), marking a significant milestone in the development of the world’s most advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
Middle East and Africa
The French government is talking to Saudi Arabia about selling the kingdom Rafale fighter jets, France’s defense minister said on Monday. Sebastien Lecornu told reporters there were “discussions” between Rafale maker Dassault Aviation and Saudi Arabia about a potential sale but gave no details. Weekly La Tribune Dimanche reported that Saudi Arabia — whose airforce is mostly equipped with American F-15s and Eurofighters built by Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain — had asked Dassault for a cost estimate for 54 Rafales by November 10.
The US State Department has approved a potential $957.4 million sale of Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles to the United Kingdom, according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency announcement. The UK intends to buy 3,000 Lockheed Martin-developed JAGMs — or AGM-197A missiles — the announcement states. It notes Congress must now approve the sale.
The US State Department has approved a potential $100 million sale of AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) to Lithuania, further fortifying the Baltic nation’s defense capabilities, according to a recent announcement. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency officially notified Congress of this prospective sale. Lithuania has expressed its interest in acquiring thirty-six AIM-120C-8 AMRAAMs and one AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM Guidance Section as part of this deal. Additionally, it includes munitions support and support equipment, classified software delivery and support, as well as classified and unclassified publications and technical documentation.
The Australian government has labeled its Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels (OPV) a “defense project of concern” following delivery and sustainment support delays. The ships were supposed to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s Armidale-class patrol boats, but numerous delays beginning in 2021 have hampered the transition. Canberra has ordered 12 Arafura OPVs, with the first vessel originally scheduled to enter service in 2022. However, the timeline was unmet. The developer, Luerssen Australia, launched the ship in December 2021 due to unspecified delays.
WATCH: How Powerful is Littoral Combat Ship?