MQ-4C ’s 1st Time In IFC-4 Configuration | DoS Approved CH-53K Sale To Israel | Italian F-35B Lands On ITS Cavour
General Atomics won a $33.7 million contract, which provides for logistic support, maintenance services, supply chain and spares management, and sustainment support in support of the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft and its dual control mobile ground control station. The MQ-9 Reaper is the primary offensive strike unmanned aerial vehicle for the US Air Force. It is part of a remotely piloted aircraft system. A fully operational system consists of several sensor/weapon-equipped aircraft, ground control station, Predator Primary Satellite Link, and spare equipment along with operations and maintenance crews for deployed 24-hour missions. Work will take place in Arizona, Bahrain and California. Estimated completion date is in July 2022.
An MQ-4C in Integrated Functional Capability (IFC)-4 configuration has made its first flight at NAS Patuxent River on July 29. The press release added that multiple MQ-4Cs have been modified into the IFC-4 configuration in support of IOC in 2023.
Middle East & Africa
The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale worth $3.4 billion of 18 examples of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter to Israel. The package includes the King Stallion helicopters, made by Lockheed Martin, in Shelton, Conn., and up to 60 T408-GE-400 engines, made by GE Aviation, in Lynn, Mass., as well as up to 36 embedded navigation systems with anti-spoofing and an unspecified number of GAU-21 .50-caliber machine guns.
An Italian F-35B Lightning II, belonging to the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) landed on the Italian Navy’s ITS Cavour aircraft carrier for the first time on July 30, 2021 during navigation in the Gulf of Taranto. The aircraft is the BL-4 built at the Cameri Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO), in northwestern Italy, and recently delivered with the serial MM7454 and codes “4-03”, which flew for the first time in June. As the other two F-35Bs delivered to the Navy, it features the wolf’s head insignia on the tail, the wolf’s paw prints on the rudder, the Italian Navy roundel and the “MARINA” text.
South Korea has started deploying an upgraded version of its indigenous 81-millimeter mortar system. According to Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the development of the system took five years and was completed in 2019. The system is about 20% lighter and can now be move easily due to having its own carrier vehicles.
Watch: Italian Navy F-35B Lands Aboard ITS Cavour for the First Time