* The Marine Corps is altering its aerial combat techniques to introduce F-35Bs alongside older F/A-18s. The Hornet Standard Game Plan will see the Corps adapt air-to-air combat tactics to maximize the new jet’s capabilities. Additionally, the plan will see the Marine Corps change the language used by pilots to better align with both the Air Force and international partners.
* The Air Force is also realigning B-1 fleets and the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRSB) program from Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command, with the move shifting 63 aircraft and around 7,000 personnel. The LRSB is slated to see an RFP this fall.
* In contract news, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $14 million modification Tuesday for F-22 sustainment, while General Dynamics bagged a $24.2 million contract for Littoral Combat Ship components. The Marine Corps is also set to receive Night Targeting Systems-Upgrade systems following a $43 million procurement contract with Kollsman (an Elbit Systems of America subsidiary), also announced Tuesday.
* Poland has reportedly selected Raytheon’s Patriot AMDR system as the winner in its Wisla program, following the firm’s selection as a finalist in June last year>. The Wisla program is designed to be the outermost, ballistic-missile-killing third tier of Poland’s modernized air defense system. The winning bid is reported to come with a price-tag of $5.6 billion.
* In addition to the Patriot announcement, Poland has selected the Airbus H225M to fulfill its tri-service helicopter requirement. 50 of the Airbus helicopters will replace the current 40-strong fleet of Mil Mi-17s; a figure revised down from the original requirement for 70 units. The H225M beat out AgustaWestland’s AW149 and Sikorsky’s S-70i Black Hawk and S-70B Seahawk, with the winning helicopter set to undergo checks this May and June to verify its capabilities against Poland’s requirement set. The Eastern European state is also looking to upgrade its attack helicopter fleet. Combined with the Patriot program, the helicopter procurement will account for approximately a quarter of Poland’s eight-year defense modernization budget.
* Estonia will host a major cyber defense exercise this week. The country saw a major cyber offensive in 2007, with NATO conducting annual cyber drills in the country since 2010. The exercises this week – known as Exercise Locked Shield 2015 – will focus on Windows operating systems and SCADA/industrial control systems.
* Switzerland is looking to replace its F-5E light fighters from 2017, with the problem-hit fleet recently seeing a third of its aircraft retired prematurely. When an additional six F-5Es taken offline for repairs return, the Swiss Air Force will have only 54 combat aircraft available for frontline service, 32 of these being F/A-18C/D Hornets.
* A report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute found that defense spending in across the African continent rose by 5.9% in 2014 compared to the previous year. Angola and Algeria were the most prolific spenders, spending 6.7% and 12% more respectively compared to 2013.
* The Philippines reportedly scrapped the country’s contract for UH-1D helicopters, having accepted only seven of the helicopters, a third of the number contracted for in 2013 from a joint venture between Rice Aircraft Services Inc and Eagle Copter Ltd of Canada. The country’s Department of National Defense has not only scrapped the $27 million contract, but has blacklisted the suppliers, citing defects in the helicopters, as well as late delivery.
* The 30mm Bushmaster: