MDA Adds Boeing to Kill Vehicle Competition | Navy Awards Contracts for C4ISR; JHMCS | Portugal F-16s Get NG LITENING Upgrade
- The Navy is reportedly considering reducing the number of F-35C fighters it plans to procure, alluding to budgetary concerns. The Navy is also less enthused by the Joint Strike Fighter compared to the Marines and Air Force because of the Service operating more modern aircraft, including new and upgraded Super Hornets
- The Air Force has alluded to future development of a replacement for the A-10 as the Service’s primary Close Air Support platform, according to the Air Combat Strategy 2015 report released earlier this week, citing a requirement to ‘explore opportunities for a future CAS platform’. With the Air Force pushing the line that the A-10 has no place in future combat, as well as making a dubious financial case for the aircraft’s retirement, the report’s call for a new CAS platform appears to run counter to the Air Force’s plan to use the F-35 for tactical CAS operations, despite embarrassing setbacks.
- On Thursday the Navy handed M. C. Dean Inc and Honeywell Technology Solutions two multiple-award contracts totalling $1.66 billion for the installation and certification of C4ISR systems, while Rockwell Collins-ESA Vision Systems was handed a $20.9 million contract for 120 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) Night Vision Cueing and Display (NVCD) systems.
- Meanwhile Boeing was awarded a $9.8 million contract by the Missile Defense Agency for the development of the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle, following similar contracts awarded to Raytheon and Lockheed Martin earlier this week totalling $9.8 million and $9.6 million respectively. The MDA is reportedly planning a move to proof-of-concept prototype development by the end of the decade.
- Belarus is buying four more Yak-130 combat jet trainers, according to local press reports [Russian]. The country ordered the first four aircraft in December 2012, with deliveries beginning this April.
- Portugal is planning to upgrade the targeting and navigation pods equipping its fleet of F-16s. The Northrop Grumman-manufactured Litening Advanced Targeting pods will be upgraded to the G4 standard, with this $22.7 million contract reportedly scheduled for completion by 2022. Denmark ordered this variant in June 2012, with India also a major operator of the G4 variant.
- The Polish Defense Ministry has responded to claims that its selection of the Airbus H225M Caracal helicopter in April broke procurement law. Accusations in the Polish media that the selection of the Airbus bid over AgustaWestland’s AW149 and Sikorsky’s S-70i Black Hawk/S-70B Seahawk saw a legal challenge from AgustaWestland subsidiary PZL Swidnik in June, with negotiations over the final contract between the defense ministry and Airbus ongoing. The Polish opposition Law and Justice Party has also criticized the incumbent Civic Platform administration for selecting a foreign bid over a domestic supplier.
- US and British military trainers in Ukraine are learning lessons from their students, with their experience of the highly kinetic fighting in Eastern Ukraine providing a useful insight into the type of ‘hybrid’ war for which the Pentagon is now practising.
- The Royal Navy’s third Astute-class submarine has begun sea trials. HMS Artful is the third of seven Astute-class boats, with HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, the first two subs in class already in service with the Royal Navy. Artful is slated to join the fleet toward the end of this year.
- India is planning to dry-dock its INS Vikramaditya carrier next year, with the ship’s maintenance and repair operation set to be the largest of its type to have taken place in India. The vessel reportedly requires dry-docking every eighteen months, recently departing from Karwar in July after being fitted with new ship defense equipment, including the Barak-1 missile system.
- The Indian Defense Ministry is considering excluding private firms undergoing corporate debt restructuring from tendering for defense contracts. The proposal would bar these companies from competing for projects under the “Make in India” procurement category, which sees the Indian government fund the majority of prototype development (80%) and the company filling the remaining 20%, with some of the country’s most expensive projects falling into this category.
- Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) has completed testing of scramjet engines in Norway as part of the joint Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) program, in collaboration with the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Boeing and the University of Queensland. Dating back to 2009, the project is seeking to develop understanding of hypersonic flight, with the Air Force recently restarting development of a hypersonic test vehicle, with a view to field the new vehicle for testing by 2023.
- HMS Artful’s first dive in October:
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