* The Pentagon will petition Congress to allow it to buy up to 450 F-35s in a three-year international block buy. The bulk purchase from 2018 would drive down the per-unit cost of each aircraft, as well as provide industry contractors with a greater customer commitment to the program.
* A set of serious technical flaws have been identified in the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, with this the latest technical problem in a program which has cost over $41 billion.
* Radio manufacturer Harris Corp. completed its merger with Exelis Inc. on Friday, following a company statement in February that announced the deal worth $4.75 billion. The deal has resulted in Harris’ shareholders owning 85% of the new merged company, with Exelis shareholders the remaining 15%.
* Analysis of the blackbox of the Airbus A400M which crashed on 9th May has revealed that engine software is the likely cause of the accident. The announcement that the cause was down to incorrectly installed software, rather than structural problems with the aircraft, follows a call by Airbus for A400M customers to check engine software following the crash. The Spanish Air Force took over investigation of the incident from a Spanish civilian team, with many air forces grounding their fleets in the wake of the crash.
* The United Arab Emirates has requested a purchase of 1,600 guided bombs, in a potential deal worth approximately $130 million. 1,000 of these will be GBU-31 variants, with the remaining 600 GBU-12s. The UAE is conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, recently sending F-16s to Jordan to carry out operations.
* It has emerged that Iraq lost 2,300 Humvees when Mosul fell to the Islamic State last year, prompting the US government to send 1,000 of the vehicles to the beleaguered country, following a request in December.
* In an announcement that will shock few, the Indian defense minister announced over the weekend that the country will only purchase the 36 Rafales contracted for in a government to government deal in April, with no plans to purchase the 126 jets the Indian government has been in negotiations with manufacturer Dassault for over the last three years.
* Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force will likely have to wait a further five years before the Tejas MkII will be available for combat operations. The aircraft’s engine – the General Electric F414 – will provide the MkII with more thrust than the MkI’s F404 but will require significant alterations to the aircraft’s structure in order to accommodate its size. The much-delayed program is 32 years in development, with the MkII also set to be equipped with new radar and other components. Additionally, the MkI is also likely to fail to achieve its Final Operating Clearance scheduled for later this year, following a highly critical report released earlier this month which found the aircraft will not meet IAF standards.
* The Indian Navy is planning to test fire a Barak-8 SAM in coming weeks, according to Indian media. The jointly-developed Israeli/Indian missile was successfully tested last November, with this coming test scheduled to take place aboard the INS Kolkata, which will eventually be equipped with 32 of the missiles.
* German firm Atlas Elektronic is supplying the Indian Navy with ASW Active Towed Array Sonar systems, which will equip the Kamorta-class. The Indian Navy has stated that these will assist their vessels when operating in warm waters.
* F-35Bs refuel from a KC-130…