* Lockheed Martin has received a $15.5 million contract modification to conduct repair work on the damaged USS Fitzgerald. The contract marks the beginning of the repair work required on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer following its June 17 collision with a civilian cargo vessel that killed seven US sailors. Under the agreement, Lockheed will provide delivery, installation and testing of one SPY-1D radar array, water cooling systems for the radar system and power cables. Work will be performed in Moorestown, NJ, Clearwater, Fla. and Oswego, NY with an expected completion date of October 2019. The AN/SPY-1D phased array radar is the primary component of the AEGIS Weapons System mounted on Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
* Marines from US Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 conducted a hot-load of AIM-120 air-to-air missiles on a F-35B Joint Strike Fighter at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. The hot-load—the loading of ordinance while the aircraft’s engine is still running—took place during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) on September 21, an exercise that takes service members from all over the world in a joint training exercise for mission readiness. The hot-load exercise was conducted to ensure both pilots and ground crew have a real example of operations should those units deploy. The F-35Bs were loaded with the AIM-120 missile and took off horizontally immediately after.
Middle East & Africa
* Elbit Systems of Israel has been awarded a $240 million contract to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. Over a two year period, the customer will receive the Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) system to protect its aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade. The contract follows a $20 million June award from another unnamed African customer to equip a VIP Gulfstream G650 aircraft with J-MUSIC Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) systems that include Elbit Systems’ advanced Infrared based Passive Airborne Warning System (IR PAWS).
* S&K Aerospace will provide supply, maintenance and facility services for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RSAF) F-15 fighter fleet, after winning a $559 million US Air Force contract on Friday. The agreement, which falls under foreign military sales to the Gulf kingdom, covers the provision of consumables, parts and maintenance of print on demand parts facilities for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s F-15 program, including all F-15 C/D/S/SA fleets. Work will be carried out in Saudi Arabia and is expected to run through March 31, 2023. The F-15 Eagle is one of the main fighter aircraft operated by the RSAF, and is currently receiving delivery of its most advanced version, the F-15SA, which features upgraded avionics, electronics warfare systems and a greater payload.
* Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli has accused US and German defense suppliers of a “covered” [indirect] arms embargo on Turkey. Canikli said that the firms were either halting shipments of spare parts of weapons systems to Turkey, or deliberately delaying them, while a Turkish diplomat dealing with NATO matters confirmed that some Turkish requests for systems and subsystems have not been addressed by the US and Germany. However, the British-based European division of US company Caterpillar—engine-maker Perkins—is in talks with Ankara to produce and supply an engine for the Altay, Turkey’s indigenous Main Battle Tank. Austria’s AVL List GmbH had initially been contracted to supply the power pack (engine and transmission) for the Altay, but this deal was cancelled after Austria’s parliament unanimously adopted a non-binding motion that imposed an arms embargo against Turkey in November 2016.
* Germany and Norway have placed orders for five Airbus A330 MRTT aerial tankers through OCCAR—Europe’s organisation for the management of cooperative armament programs. The deal follows earlier orders from the Netherlands and Luxembourg for two MRTT tankers, and the aircraft will be managed under the European/NATO Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) program. The program is funded by the four nations who will have the exclusive right to operate these NATO–owned aircraft in a pooling arrangement. The aircraft will be configured for in-flight refuelling, the transport of passengers and cargo, and medical evacuation flights.
* The Irish Army has tested Saab’s RBS 70 and RBS 70 NG man-portable surface-to-air missiles during a series of live-fire exercises at Saab Bofors Test Center in Karlskoga, Sweden. The exercises saw soldiers fire 8 RBS 70 and 2 of the newer RBS 70 NG missiles, with the aim of enhancing the soldiers’ operational capability to engage both aerial and static targets. The RBS 70 NG has improved imaging systems for target acquisition, including thermal sights and has easier-to-use training functions. It can engage targets at altitudes of several miles, and it’s laser beam-riding system makes it difficult to jam compared to more conventional infrared guided missiles.
* Australia has commissioned its first of three air warfare destroyers into the service. The HMAS Hobart was put into service during a ceremony at Garden Island in Sydney at which Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the vessel “provides clear evidence of our determination to keep Australians safe and ensure we are ready and able to meet the challenges that come our way in the years ahead.” The Hobart is equipped with an Aegis combat system, including the phased array radar and missile systems capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges of up to more than 93 miles.
* A German H145M flying over Jordan: