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Daily Rapid Fire

More Gripin’ About Alleged Gripen Corrupt Deals | South Korea to Make Tanker Award | Kiwis Replace Mercedes and Unimog with Rheinmetall

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Americas * General Dynamics has completed avionics software upgrades for the USMC’s fleet of AV-8B Harrier II aircraft, to help keep the aging fleet flying and operationally capable until the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter‘s carrier and STOVL variants (the B and C models) enter service. The software package is up to Future Airborne Capability Environment […]
Americas

* General Dynamics has completed avionics software upgrades for the USMC’s fleet of AV-8B Harrier II aircraft, to help keep the aging fleet flying and operationally capable until the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter‘s carrier and STOVL variants (the B and C models) enter service. The software package is up to Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) standards, delivered as the result of a $6.1 million contract awarded in September 2013.

* On Monday the Navy awarded Boeing a $14.1 million delivery order for development and definition of system requirements for the P-8A Poseidon Multi Mission Aircraft, to build towards the program’s Increment 3 Capabilities Integration System Requirements Review Systems Engineering Technical Review. The aim of Increment 3 is to enhance the Multi-Static Active Coherent system, provide early delivery of the High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability datalink, improve the Tactical Operations Center mission software and introduce the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) high-resolution AESA radar, as well as other changes to the plane’s sensors and systems as time and money allow.

Europe

* European defense giants Saab and BAE Systems may become embroiled in fresh corruption allegations, with the Swedish press reportedly unearthing fresh UK Serious Fraud Office documents relating to the sale of 26 Gripen fighters to South Africa in 1999, as well as a separate deal for Hawk trainers. The lucrative sale saw allegations up to and including the bribery of former South African President Jacob Zuma, just one of a set of BAE-related bribery allegations. The new documents reportedly show that the company paid out approximately $1.58 billion in bribes to secure the Gripen and Hawk deals, with Saab kept in the loop regarding the illicit payments.

* The Italian Air Force will receive a Predator UAV trainer, to develop its Predator A and Predator B/MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators. The trainer will be provided by General Atomics and CAE and is scheduled to enter service in 2017. Italy requested four of the UAVs back in August 2008, placing an order for an additional pair in November 2009. The Predator B recently passed an internal critical design review, with this inching the aircraft closer to certification for entry into European airspace.

Middle East

* Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $119.2 million contract action to provide contractor logistics support for the Iraqi Air Force’s fleet of F-16 fighters. The majority of work is expected to take place at Balad Air Force Base, the same location where the US Government was supposed to deliver F-16s to the Iraqi Air Force in November last year, with these subsequently delivered to Tucson instead owing to a dire security situation.

Asia

* The South Korean National Defense Acquisition Program Committee will announce the winner of the country’s $1.25 billion aerial tanker competition on Tuesday. The competitors come from Europe, Israel and the US, offering the Airbus A330 MRTT, Israel Aerospace Industries B767 MMTT and Boeing KC-46A respectively. The latter has been touting the KC-46A’s lower lifecycle cost ahead of the decision. The competition to supply four tankers was delayed last year owing to the three firms’ positions on offset arrangements complicating the negotiation process.

* Thailand has reportedly opted to buy Chinese submarines, with the bid for three submarines representing the best value for money offer received. The $1.1 billion contract also saw interest from Russia, France and Sweden, with the proposal set to go to the country’s cabinet in July. Thailand has come close to acquiring subs before, including former German Type 206A diesel-power boats in 2011. The Chinese have also thrown in a significant level of technology transfer, with the deal indicative of deepening political ties between Beijing and Bankok, especially since the coup d’etat in May last year.

* As per previous reports, Myanmar may be looking to buy the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 Thunder fighter, according to Chinese media. These reports after Pakistani media reported last week that Sri Lanka was the fighter’s first undisclosed export customer, with this subsequently played down by the Sri Lankan Air Force. Myanmar has a history of buying Chinese hardware, including MiG-29 fighters and the K-8 jet trainer.

* India will test Beyond Visual Range missiles on the LCA Tejas this July, following a schedule slip from May. The indigenously-developed aircraft has recently seen Israeli Python-5 and Russian R-73 Archer air-to-air missiles integrated, as well as the Russian Gsh-23 cannon. The Derby BVR missile has also been integrated but has yet to be test-fired. With the Tejas’s Final Operating Clearance scheduled for December, the program is still waiting for a refueling probe and nose radome, both provided by foreign suppliers.

* The New Zealnad Defence Force (NZDF) has taken delivery of the final medium heavy operational vehicle contracted for in May 2013. The $113 million deal saw Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia supply the NZDF with 194 of the logistics vehicles to replace an aging fleet of Mercedes and Unimog trucks.

Today’s Video

* An AV-8B flight cam…

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