Lockheed receive DDP contract for SHiELD laser | Three more F-16s for Iraq | Seoul asks Jakarta to show them the money after missing KF-X payment
- The US Navy has placed fresh orders with Raytheon for 196 Tomahawk Block IV all-up-round vertical launch system missiles and spares. Worth up to $260.3 million, the contract modification also includes the procurement of spare parts and support for the government of the United Kingdom. Deliveries are scheduled for completion by August 2019 after work taking place in Tucson, Arizona, and nearly two dozen other locations across the continental US.
- Lockheed Martin announced Monday the receipt of a $26.3 million contract from the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) for the design, development and production of a high power fiber laser. The contract falls under the AFRL’s Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program, and plans are in place to test the laser on a tactical fighter jet by 2021. This particular contract falls under the Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments (LANCE) subsystem of the SHiELD program, which covers the development of the high energy laser itself. The other two subsystems include the SHiELD Turret Research in Aero Effects (STRAFE)—the beam control system which will direct the laser onto the target—and the Laser Pod Research & Development (LPRD)—the pod that will be mounted to the fighter and responsible for both powering and cooling the laser.
Middle East & Africa
- The Iraqi Air Force has received delivery of three additional F-16 fighter aircraft, bringing the number of the aircraft currently operated by Baghdad to 17. A total of 36 F-16s were ordered back in 2014 at a cost of $2 billion, although two have subsequently crashed during the training of Iraqi pilots in the US. The most recent arrivals touched down at Balad airbase, north of the capital Baghdad.
- Following the interception of a ballistic missile near its capital Riyadh’s airport, Saudi Arabia and the military coalition it leads in Yemen said Monday that it will close all air, land and sea ports into its southern neighbor. The move is hoped to stem the flow of arms and ammunition from Iran to the Houthi rebels fighting the coalition, but is more likely to worsen the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the war-stricken country, which has left some seven million on the brink of famine and a widespread cholera epidemic effecting over half a million. Riyadh has also topped out the bounty for the Houthi’s leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, at $30 million.
- In Denmark, a report by Rigsrevisionen, an independent parliamentary audit agency, has raised a number of issues with the country’s procurement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Costing Copenhagen over $10 billion, the program will be Denmark’s most expensive state purchase but may not be able to fulfil the tasks the government informed parliament they are capable of, including being too optimistic in its estimates of what the F-35 fighters are capable of in terms of flight hours. The Danish Ministry of Defense said the report would not effect the government’s plans to buy more aircraft.
- Russian media is reporting that negotiations are underway between the Ukrainian state-owned Antonov and Russia’s Aviastar-SP on maintaining the airworthiness of Russian-Ukrainian Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy cargo aircraft. The jet, which was designed by Antonov and manufactured by Aviastar-SP was used by Volga-Dnepr for its air cargo business, but the decline in relations following the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 cancelled any cooperation between both firms, and causing Antonov to explore other avenues for production and sales. Antonov hopes an agreement will bring fresh cash into the firm as it has not made any new An-124s since the freeze in relations, while Volga-Dnepr are capable of sustaining their fleet.
- The German Navy will continue to operates its P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft until 2035, after awarding Lockheed Martin a $158 million contact to proceed with a modernization program on the fleet’s eight aircraft. A previous award for the preliminary design-phase was worth $55 million. As part of the refresh, expected to be complete by 2022, the firm will integrate its airborne tactical mission system—which includes new acoustic processors—on the aircraft, as well as giving structural upgrades and updated cockpit systems. Berlin acquired the aircraft second hand from the Netherlands in 2006.
- Indonesia has failed to pay the latest round of fees for its involvement in the South Korean KF-X fighter program, prompting lawmakers in Seoul to threaten postponement of the program. Jakarta’s state-owned PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) had been expected to pay the remaining $124.5 million required for this year at the end of October, after agreeing in January 2016 to cover 20% of the program’s overall expenses—or some $1.33 billion. Questioning the government on the matter, Rep. Kim Jong-dae of the Justice Party said “If Indonesia does not pay in time, then Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has to shoulder the burden of 40 percent of the development costs,” adding that the “KF-X project could easily be put in danger,” and accusing the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) of downplaying concerns over the delayed payment. DAPA responded by saying that the matter will be discussed during an upcoming summit between the leaders of both countries later this week.
- Ten F-35As land in Japan:
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