* The Marine Corps conducted its first successful live ordnance drops from a F-35B in late June, the USMC announced on Friday. The Joint Strike Fighters dropped both inert and live ordnance, which consisted of JDAM GPS-guided munitions in both GBU-12 and GBU-32 configurations. The Marine Corps decided in May to push on towards the F-35B’s Initial Operating Capability (IOC) objective timetabled for 1 July, despite the unearthing of software problems. While it appears that the 1 July objective IOC date has now been missed, the jet has until December to achieve this milestone, with the dropping of live ordnance reportedly one of the last remaining items on a checklist of required capability tests required for IOC.
* Slovakia is buying thirty Rosomak-based armored personnel carriers from Poland over the next three years in a deal worth approximately $32 million, the Polish Prime Minister announced on Friday The armored vehicle – licensed-produced by Polish Armaments Group from Finland’s Patria – could also be equipped with a Remote Weapon Station manufactured by Slovak firm Elektrotechnicky Vyskumny a Projektovy Ustav Nova Dubnica.
* Armenia is set to receive a $200 million loan from the Russian government to buy weapons and other hardware from Russian manufacturers. The thirteen-year, 3% loan comes after Russia handed regional rival Azerbaijan a $1 billion arms package in 2013, with Armenia and Azerbaijan locked in a frozen conflict over the Nagorny Karabakh region.
* Russia has grounded its fleet of MiG-29 fighters, following the loss of a fourth aircraft of the type over the last year. The Russian Defense Ministry purchased carrier-capable MiG-29K models for naval use, with these delivered in 2013. The Russians operate approximately 200 of the aircraft, with the Russian Air Force also recently grounding its fleet of Tu-95 heavy bombers following a crash in June.
* Singapore’s Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) has released more information on its plans to upgrade the RSAF’s fleet of F-16C/D fighters. The upgrades will take place in phases from 2016 onward, with various capability enhancements planned. These include laser-designated JDAM munitions, air-to-air weapons, datalink capability and helmet mounted displays, as well as an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system, as per a previous DSCA request. The AESA system is thought to be the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) system. Singapore announced its intention to upgrade its F-16s in 2013, with Lockheed Martin seemingly tipped to win the upgrade contract.
* With the launch of its first Littoral Combat Vessel on Friday, the Republic of Singapore Navy has also reportedly confirmed that it has selected the MBDA Vertical Launch Mica air defense system for the eight LCVs due for full operational delivery by 2020. The LCVs were contracted for in January 2013, with domestic firm ST Marine jointly designing the vessels with Saab Kockums AB. Singapore operates the MBDA Long Range Aster 30 air defense system both on land and aboard its Formidable-class frigates.
* China may look to export its J-10B fighter to Pakistan, with the Pakistanis previously expressing interest in the J-10 several years ago. Manufacturer Chengdu Aerospace Corporation began mass production of the J-10B last year, which uses Russian-produced AL31FN-S3 engines. The Chinese firm is looking to develop its own turbofan engine, the Shenyang WS 10B, in order to sidestep Russian objections to international exports. Pakistan and China jointly developed the JF-17 Thunder fighter, with this recently gaining its first export customer, likely Myanmar.
* European firm Airbus and India’s Mahindra Defence have announced plans to establish a joint venture in order to produce helicopters for the Indian military. The joint venture will act as a prime contractor in future contracts to produce the helicopters for three procurement programs, including India’s Naval Utility, Reconnaissance and Surveillance, and Naval Multi-role helicopter requirements. The two companies are currently finalizing the joint venture’s details.
* The Rosomak APC: