NG Tapped For T-38 Weapon System | USS Russell Completes Taiwan Strait Transit | Hunter Class Frigate Steel Deal Signed
Northrop Grumman Systems won a ceiling $11.4 million contract modification for left-hand and right-hand wing tips for the T-38 weapon system. The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record. Work will take place in Stockton, California. Expected completion is in July 2027.
The strike group led by aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman will return to Norfolk, Virginia after several months at sea, the Navy announced on Friday. The vessel left Norfolk, its home port, in November for deployment to the Middle East. Several ships in its strike force, which includes the Ticonderoga Class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy and the Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyers USS Lassen, USS Forrest Sherman and USS Farragut, have been at sea longer through multiple extensions of their deployment. In April, the strike group was kept at sea in the Atlantic Ocean for a “sustainment phase” in which crew members could remain safe from the pandemic but in a high readiness state. Sustainment phases are generally conducted pierside.
Middle East & Africa
The Air Force announced that it has deployed troops from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings, flying F-35A aircraft, into combat to support the United States in the Middle East. The 421st Fighter Squadron departed Utah’s Hill Air Force Base on May 20 for Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates to support Central Command in the region, the Air Force said. This marks the third deployment for the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings in about 12 months.
For the first time American B-1B Bombers conducted a joint training with Norwegian and Swedish fighter jets in Swedish airspace. Norway said that the exercise is “one of the largest of its kind, and several allied and partners trained along with the US B-1B”. The Norwegian military says such joint flight missions are of high priority. “Today we have conducted complex flight operations with advanced systems, both on the ground and in the air,” says Lieutenant Colonel Ståle Nymoen. He is the commander of the 332 squadron which operates the F-35s from Ørland airbase. Norway, as one of NATO’s founding members, points to the United States as the most important ally for defending Norway in case of a crisis or conflict.
The Navy destroyer USS Russell completed a transit of the Taiwan Strait, the waterway between China and Taiwan, on Thursday and Friday, officials said. The Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer made the voyage days after China’s newest aircraft carrier, Shangdong, left the area and sailed northward for sea trials in the Yellow Sea. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, US 7th Fleet spokesperson told USNI.
A delivery contract for 1,500 tons of steel plate, for prototypes of the Australian Navy’s Hunter Class frigates was signed, BAE Systems announced. BlueScope Steel AIS will supply the steel to ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia, to construct five ship blocks in the prototyping phase of the program. The blocks will then test processes, systems, tools, and facilities before the start of construction, in 2022, of the first of nine planned frigates.
According to media reports, South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has approved the development of a new close in weapon system for the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy. The CIWS-II program will defend ROK Navy surface vessels against anti-ship missiles and fast attack craft. The Close-in Weapon System (CIWS)-II is set to be developed between 2021 and 2030 for $289 million. It will reportedly feature a 30 mm Gatling-type gun and a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
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