* Raytheon has completed flight testing of DARPA’s Persistent Close Air Support program which is intended to provide ground controllers and air crews with real-time situational data and the ability to target multiple enemy positions simultaneously. This technology having been in development since 2010, DARPA is looking to field the technology on MV-22 Ospreys and A-10C Thunderbolt aircraft.
* The last of 22 Air Force QF-4 target drones will be taken out of service by mid-2017. The transition to unmanned versions of the F-16 – the QF-16 – were bolstered in March with a Boeing-awarded contract covering the conversion of twenty-five F-16s to unmanned targets.
* Saab has received an order for two additional Airborne Early Warning aircraft from the United Arab Emirates in a deal valuing $1.27 billion. The Swing Role Surveillance System (SRSR) will incorporate the company’s Erieye radar and other sensors aboard two Bombardier Global 600 business jet platforms. The UAE already operates two Saab Erieye-equipped AEW turboprop aircraft, ordered in November 2009 through a $220 million contract.
* South African firm Denel Vehicle Systems has also bagged a $63 million contract to develop and produce N35 mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles with UAE firm NIMR, with this contract reportedly covering the development of both 4×4 and 6×6 variants over the next two years. An initial batch of South African-produced vehicles will be followed by a transition in production to the UAE, including transfer of the production line’s supply chain and technical expertise.
* Delays by the US government are holding up Kuwait’s Super Hornet deal, according to reports Monday. The sale of 28 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as replacements for the country’s fleet of aging F-18C Hornets also includes options for a further twelve aircraft. Boeing is now worried that the Kuwaitis could purchase Eurofighter Typhoons, as reports from June indicated that the country was engaged in talks with Italy over a possible acquisition.
* Iran’s deal for Almaz-Antey S-300 air defense systems is expected to be signed with Russia next year, reports TASS, while Defense News reports that the two sides have in fact signed a contract. The Kremlin nominally authorized the sale of S-300s to Iran in April, signing a decree to reverse a cancelled deal in 2010. The future of the sale has remained uncertain since this decree was signed, with the history of Russo-Iranian air defense deals littered with back-peddling and cancellations.
* A Eurofighter Typhoon has fired the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile for the first time, according to a company press release Monday, with an Italian test aircraft launching the missile at a UK test range on Friday. The aircraft arrived in the UK in September, with integration of the missile part of the Typhoon’s Phase 2 Enhancements package, along with the Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) and the Brimstone II air-to-surface missile. Eurofighter has also been boasting the aircraft’s anti-ship capabilities at the Dubai Air Show.
* China has transferred Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) to Cambodia as part of a military aid package. The South East Asian country has received a substantial amount of Chinese hardware over recent years, including a dozen Z-9 utility helicopters in November 2013.
* Japan is reportedly considering an acquisition of multi-purpose helicopters to equip its fleet of ships, particularly the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Izumo-class. The JMSDF launched its second helicopter carrier in August, with the Japanese Ministry of Defense now thought to be evaluating several possible helicopter options.
* QF-16 first flight: