NG Bags $53.2M Contract for LWSD Program | AF Spending $176.1M with LM for Sniper ATPs | SK Presses Ahead on KF-X Indigenous Fighter Program
- Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $53.2 million contract for the Solid State High Power Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) program. The Solid State Laser (SSL) system is intended to be used against small and fast vessels, unmanned aircraft and ISR systems, with the laser’s power thought to be in the 100-150kW range. The LWSD is also intended to demonstrate adjustable power levels, allowing the operator to disrupt or damage, rather than just destroy the laser’s target. The system will be installed on a US Navy ship for testing and evaluation, with this contract running until next October.
- The Air Force is buying kits to upgrade Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods from Lockheed Martin. The company has been awarded a $176.1 million contract to produce Sniper ATP-Sensor Enhancement configuration upgrade kits, as well as supply new Sniper ATP-SE pods. Deliveries will begin in late 2016, with the new ATP-SE incorporating new functionalities such as improved air-to-air and maritime targeting, upgraded sensors and a two-way datalink.
- French firm Dassault has offered the Rafale fighter to Canada as an alternative to the F-35. The new Canadian PM looks set to withdraw from the international Joint Strike Fighter program, pushing up the cost of the other partners’ fighter in the process, although this still remains to be officially finalized. Dassault has offered the country its Rafale fighter.
- Latvia has ordered more missiles for its RBS-70 MANPADS very short range air defense systems. The country has been looking to bolster its air defense capabilities in recent months, installing new air surveillance radar in May and ordering three more TPS-77 Multi Role Radar systems earlier this month. The country is also thought to have signed for FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS in August. Deliveries of the new RBS-70 missile will take place over the next year.
- Bulgaria and Poland have officially signed a contract for servicing of the former’s MiG-29 fighters. The two countries have been discussing a more substantial modernization program for the Soviet-era fighters, with the engine repair contract valuing EUR1.23 million ($1.36 million). The contract is likely to irk Russia, with Moscow asserting that the Poles do not have the required license to carry out repairs on the six Fulcrums’ engines.
- Botswana is engaged in talks with South Korea over a possible sale of the latter’s Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 Golden Eagle trainer jets to the African country. Botswana has expressed interest in acquiring the type before, with a delegation of KAI, South Korean Air Force and government officials travelling to the country in November 2013.
- In a not unexpected decision, the Japanese Defence Ministry has opted to buy three KC-46A Pegasus tankers, marking the first international sale of the aircraft, which is still in development. The three new aircraft will bolster the JASDF’s fleet of four KC-767s, with each of the new aircraft thought to value $173 million. The KC-46As are slated for fielding in 2020, with the Boeing bid fending off competition from Airbus’ A330 MRTT. Elsewhere in the region, South Korea selected the Airbus design in July, signing a contract for four A330-MRTTs.
- South Korea’s defense acquisition agency is reportedly planning to press ahead with development of the four key technologies required for the country’s KF-X indigenous fighter program, refused by Washington in April. South Korea is thought to be capable of finding replacements for three of these technologies; however the acquisition of an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system is a particularly difficult problem for Seoul. It was thought that the technology would be transferred as part of offset arrangements for the South Korean F-35 acquisition, with Saab reportedly offering to develop an AESA solution for South Korea, unveiling a new radar system earlier this month.
- Vietnam has purchased [Vietnamese] SPYDER air defense systems, manufactured by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. The surface-to-air missile system is capable of launching the company’s advanced Derby beyond visual range and Python-5 missiles, with it unclear whether the Vietnamese military has purchased the Short Range (SPYDER-SR) or Medium Range (SPYDER-MR) version, with respective ranges of 20km and 50km.
- The Indian Air Force is reportedly buying twenty Hawk Mk132 Advanced Jet Trainers for the service’s Surya Kiran aerobatics team. The deal is thought to value over $500 million, with the new aircraft coming equipped with smoke pods and decorative livery.
- The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle back in 2011:
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