* The Navy has begun integration testing and certification of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) onto F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The missile is scheduled for fielding on the aircraft in 2019, with the LRASM a joint DARPA/Navy development program intended to produce the Navy’s next generation of long-range strike missiles. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin was recently awarded a $104.3 million modification for the LRASM accelerated acquisition program in June, bringing the total value of Lockheed Martin’s LRASM contract to $306.9 million.
* The Navy has also ordered more radio-frequency jammers for its fleet of Super Hornets. Harris Corp was awarded a $97 million contract for the company’s twelfth production lot of ALQ-214 radio-frequency integrated countermeasures systems, with an option for a thirteenth in 2016 included within the contract terms. The ALQ-214 systems are capable of operating with ALE-50 or ALE-55 towed decoys and provides protection against radar-guided missiles.
* Two firms have been awarded contracts totaling $880.8 million to produce and maintain the tri-service Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Low Volume Terminal (LVT) communications system (MIDS-LVT). ViaSat Inc. and Data Link Solutions LLC (a Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems joint venture) have been handed IDIQ contracts potentially valuing $514.3 million and $366.5 million respectively, with these lasting five years. The MIDS-LVT system facilitates the exchange of real-time situational awareness data and voice communication using Link 16 connection on various platforms.
* The much-anticipated winner of the Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) competition is expected to be announced in coming days, with the winner poised to bag contracts for 54,600 of the vehicles for the Army and Marines. A BAE Systems/Lockheed Martin team is up against AM General – manufacturer of the Humvee, which the vehicles are intended to replace – and Oshkosh Defense. Proposals were submitted in January, with the Firm Fixed Price contract scheduled to see an initial three-year production contract followed by a subsequent five-year full-rate production contract. Each firm has a lot riding on this competition, with each of the three winners of the EMD phase in August 2012 having already produced 22 prototype vehicles.
* The Air Force is developing an air-dropped weapon capable of destroying chemical and biological weapon agents through the creation of extremely high temperatures. The Heated And Mobile Munitions Employing Rockets (HAMMER) project is designed to pelt a target with rocket-powered incendiaries, launched from a BLU-109B bunker-busting bomb, with these capable of producing temperatures of approximately 1,000°F; – all without creating an unnecessary level of explosive power which would eject and disperse the chemical/ biological agents, The Air Force is now seeking to progress this theoretical weapon, awarding General Dynamics a $7.2 million contract to develop the concept and demonstrate its viability.
* European defense giant Airbus is reported to be developing a new version of the Tiger attack helicopter, through work commissioned by OCCAR. The ‘Architecture Study’ for the Mk3 version will involve the assessment of new capabilities to be incorporated into the new version, with a particular emphasis on reduced life-cycle costs and drawing on lessons from the helicopter’s substantial operational deployment by European states over recent years.
* The United Kingdom’s Royal Marines may receive new amphibious vehicles to replace the force’s fleet of BV206 tracked vehicles. The Ministry of Defence’s DE&S procurement body is looking at a potential procurement of 233 vehicles for approximately $360.3 million. The precise requirement set scheduled to form the basis for selection of the new vehicles has not yet been released, but it is thought that the new vehicle will be a two-car design like the current fleet of BV206s. A contract is expected to be awarded in the spring of 2018, with the first new vehicles slated to enter service in 2021.
* Belarus and Russia are reported to be co-developing a replacement for the Strela-10M mobile air defense system currently operated by both countries. Meanwhile, Iran’s Defense Minister has announced that the country will collaborate with Russia to develop and manufacture new combat aircraft. Iran has previously stated its intention to procure new combat aircraft to bolster its capabilities in the short-term, citing French Mirage fighters in as a possible acquisition.
* Turkey is donating thirty-four T-36 Talon jet trainers to Pakistan. The trainers are reportedly scheduled for delivery by the end of 2015. In April Pakistan showed interest in the South Korean KAI T-50 jet trainer, principally in an effort to cement relations with the Asian country; it is unclear whether Turkey’s gift will satisfy the Pakistani Air Force’s trainer requirement, thus killing the T-50 deal, or not.
* Kazakhstan is reportedly selling armored vehicles to Azerbaijan, produced through a joint venture with South African firm Paramount Group, established last year. A contract with Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering for the sale of these vehicles is anticipated by the end of the year, with the company producing three vehicle models; a mine-resistant variant, an armored riot-control van and an infantry fighting vehicle, known as the Arlan, Nomad and Barys respectively.
* The F-35A firing its GAU-22/A 25mm cannon at full capacity during recent testing: