Spain to Spend $243M on Reaper UAVs | Work Begins on Royal Navy’s Third Patrol Vessel | South Korea Taking Lessons from US DAU
- The Army’s first PAC-3 MSE interceptor missile systems have been delivered by contractor Lockheed Martin. The first Missile Enhancement Segment (MSE) system production contract was in April 2014, with a follow-up order in July 2014. Borne out of the MEADS program, the PAC-3 MSE is designed to be a longer range missile than other Patriot missiles, and it is more agile, able to counter both tactical ballistic missiles and more conventional threats.
- The State Department has given the green light to Spain acquiring four MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 UAVs, through a potential acquisition valued at $243 million along with auxiliary equipment and services. The Spanish Defence Ministry set aside money in its 2016 budget for the four UAVs, which it reportedly opted to sole-source from manufacturer General Atomics. The Reapers will be used exclusively for ISR, with the United Kingdom the only nation currently operating armed Reapers outside of the US, with the Netherlands also requesting four MQ-9s in February. Spain’s proposed sale will now be referred to Congress for approval.
- Poland has progressed its competition to replace the country’s fleet of Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters, with talks scheduled to soon begin with the four bidders. The ‘Kruk’ (‘Raven’) competition has attracted bids from Airbus with the EC665 Tiger; Bell Helicopters with the AH-1Z Cobra; Boeing with the AH-64 Apache and Turkish Aerospace Industries with the T129 ATAK. Despite the Polish Defence Ministry announcing in April that a winner is due for selection by the end of the year, these talks are scheduled to last one week per company, concluding by the end of November and a contract is now expected in the latter half of 2017.
- Sukhoi has delivered an undisclosed number of Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers to the Russian Air Force, following earlier deliveries in June. The company is manufacturing 92 Fullbacks through a contract announced in March 2012, with these scheduled for delivery by 2020. Full rate production of the Su-34 – a number of which are currently deployed on operations in Syria – began in 2011.
- Steel has been cut on the Royal Navy’s third new River-class Offshore Patrol Vessel, the future HMS Trent. The Trent is scheduled for commission in 2017 and is the third of three vessels under construction by BAE Systems in Glasgow, Scotland following a GBP348 million ($560 million) contract awarded to BAE Systems in August 2014. Work on the first and second vessels began in October 2014 and June 2015 respectively, with the River-class an important stepping-stone before construction of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship fleet begins.
- The Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) has ordered French armored personnel carriers for five African countries across the continent. The order for Bastion APCs was made through Mack Defense with a $25 million contract awarded by the US Army. The company has now confirmed that the 62 APCs headed to Cameroon, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tunisia and Uganda are all ACMAT-manufactured Bastion APCs. The French company is a subsidiary of Renault Trucks Defense, with both RTD and Mack Defense part of the Volvo Group. Somalia and Uganda will receive the majority of the 62 vehicles; 17 and 13 vehicle respectively, both intended to be used as part of AMISON operations in Somalia, while the remaining 32 will be split between Cameroon (15 vehicles), Ethiopia (12) and Tunisia (4).
- Seoul is attempting to learn from the US Defense Department (rightly, or wrongly) on how to do defense procurement. The country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is opening a pilot course based on the US’ Defense Acquisition University, with DAU instructors helping to shape the content and structure. The trial course could be extended to a more regular course for DAPA officials next year.
- The Indian government’s recent decision to procure seven squadrons of the heavily-criticized indigenous Tejas Mk.1A was pushed on the Indian Air Force by the Modi administration, according to a report by Reuters on Wednesday. The Indian Air Force had reportedly requested 44 additional Rafale fighters on top of the 36 announced in April turned down by the government, instead the Modi government pushed the Tejas on the IAF despite concern over the aircraft’s performance.
- Pakistan is reportedly planning to construct four of the eight Chinese submarines it is acquiring at a domestic shipyard. The two countries are thought to have signed a contract in July for the eight diesel-electric submarines, thought to be an export variant of the Type 041/Yuan-class. The four boats are likely to be constructed at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works, with the remaining four undergoing construction in China simultaneously.
- The ACMAT Bastion:
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