Northrop Grumman buys Orbital, ups missile assets | Airbus denies wrongdoing in Austrian Eurofighter sale | AJAX begins live-firing trails
- Northrop Grumman announced Monday that it is to buy rocket maker Orbital ATK for $7.8 billion in cash. The acquisition—Northrop’s first since 2002’s takeover of TRW Inc—would establish Orbital as a new, fourth business sector under Northrop, and comes ahead of a likely jump in demand from the planned upgrades of US ballistic systems and continued ballistic missile testing by North Korea. The US Air Force last summer called for proposals to replace its aging nuclear cruise missiles and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system as the military moves ahead with a costly modernization of older atomic weapons systems.
- Triumph Aerospace Structures has been selected by Boeing to provide the wing, vertical tail and horizontal tail structures for the Boeing-Saab T-X trainer aircraft. The firm has already worked with Boeing as a supplier for the V-22 Osprey and C-17 Globemaster. Boeing partner Saab built the aft fuselage for its first two production ready T-X aircraft and the company will continue that work if awarded the USAF’s trainer replacement contract, estimated to be worth $16 billion. Boeing-Saab’s cleansheet desugn T-X will compete against Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries’ T-50A, and Lenoardo DRS’s modified M-346 trainer, dubbed the T-100.
Middle East & Africa
- Deliveries of F-35i Adir Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Israel continue, with two additional fighters recently touching down in the country, bringing the number now in possession to seven. The fighter will now undergo an integration process and will conduct initial operational testing in December. Israel’s F-35i ‘Adir’ fighter is based on the standard F-35A variant modified with Israeli requirements. 50 will eventually be procured.
- Airbus has refuted claims levelled at it by Austrian prosecutors that it carried out fraud and willful deception during a $2 billion Eurofighter Typhoon deal. The aerospace giant went on to threaten legal action at Austria’s Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil, accusing the minister of disregarding the presumption of innocence in the case and therefore violated the firm’s rights. A final report of a parliamentary inquiry into the 2003 jet purchase, how side deals were awarded and whether bribes were paid, is expected on Tuesday.
- A new joint venture is to be formed to target business with the German armed forces. German defense giant Rheinmetall said Monday that a new entity will be formed with electronics group Rohde & Schwarz, and plans to bid to modernize the German army’s mobile communications—a program that will see thousands of vehicles retrofitted in the medium term. Rheinmetall will hold 74.9 percent and Rohde & Schwarz 25.1 percent of the venture.
- General Dynamics Land Systems UK has commenced live firing trials for its AJAX armored vehicle program. The trials are being held in West Wales, Great Britain, and will last for approximately five months, starting with static firing positions against immobile point targets and gradually progressing to a moving vehicle engaging moving targets. It is armed with the CT 40 autocannon and a coaxial 7.62mm chain gun for lighter targets. Used by both the UK and French armed forces, the CT 40 ustilizes a type of telescoping 40mm ammunition designed to take up less space and reduce the necessary size of the gun. It can fire armor-piercing discarding sabot and high-explosive airburst ammunition out to an effective range of 2500 meters. It has a maximum rate of fire of up to 200 rounds per minute.
- The British Royal Navy has rolled back on a decision to retire the Harpoon anti-ship missile in 2018 and will keep it in service until at least 2020. The Ministry of Defense had earlier announce the plan to retire the Boeing weapon from its Type 23 frigates in 2018 without a replacement. Speaking at last week’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2017 defence exhibition in London, on service source added that “there is work ongoing to look at options for longer extension in service.”
- Babcock International has been contracted by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) to supply weapons-handling and launch equipment for a South Korean submarine program. Delivery of the uncosted systems will be completed by 2024. The equipment ordered is for a third Jangbogo III submarine and follows a contract from DSME for the design, production and delivery of the weapon-handling and launch equipment for the first and second Jangbogo III submarines. Babcock’s weapon handling launch system features an air turbine pump and a programmable firing valve launch system. The compact system is quiet and needs less maintenance than other systems.
- 75 years of Skunk Works at Lockheed Martin:
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