* Lockheed Martin announced the successful intercept of a tactical ballistic missile with a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) surface-to-air-missile controlled from a remote launcher, the first time such a test has been completed. The test was conducted by the US Army at Reagan Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Lockheed Martin said the “test demonstrated the expanded defended footprint available by deploying the launcher remotely from the Patriot radar. It also confirmed PAC-3 MSE’s unique ability to detect, track and intercept an incoming threat.”
* General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has been awarded a $27 million US Army contract modification for service support to the Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system program. Work will be performed in Poway, California, with an estimated completion date of March, 17, 2019. Derived from the Predator UAV, the Gray Eagle conducts intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and strike missions. It has space for mounting electro-optical and infrared cameras for target detection and can mount up to four Hellfire laser-guided missiles. It can also carry its own laser designator for targeting of its own ordnance or for other platforms.
* The US Air Force (USAF) has expressed concern that Boeing will face difficulties in meeting a contractual obligation to deliver 18 KC-46 tankers to the service on time. Testing conducted in 2016 found a series of “category one” deficiencies, including where its boom scraped the surface of the aircraft being refueled. The testing also found that the tanker is not detecting when it is missing the receptacle, making it impossible for a KC-46 pilot to communicate that the receiving aircraft has potentially been damaged, the USAF said. While the USAF still believes that Boeing will fix these deficiencies in time to deliver the first KC-46 in late spring of 2018 (with a contractually mandated “required assets available” deadline for 18 tankers following in October), the service did not commit to accepting the aircraft from Boeing if the problem was not fixed, and at this point the timeline for resolving the issue is yet to be determined.
Middle East & Africa
* Despite continued pressure from US President Donald Trump, Iran announced the successful testing of a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles) and vowed to keep developing its arsenal despite warnings from Washington. The US imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, saying its missile tests violate a UN resolution, which calls on Tehran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran denies any such intentions and reiterated its commitment to the nuclear deal reached with Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama. Footage of the Khorramshahr missile launch was broadcast on state broadcaster IRIB after its was unveiled for the first time at a military parade on Friday, where President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would strengthen its missile capabilities.
* The office of French President Emmanuel Macron has said that it could reach a deal with the Italian government at a meeting on Wednesday, potentially ending a dispute over the sale of the STX France shipyards. Italian tempers flared in June after Paris imposed the “temporary” nationalization of STX, cancelling a deal in which Italian state-owned Fincantieri and another Italian investor had agreed to buy a 54.6 percent stake in the South Korean owned firm. To solve the spat, France has proposed extending co-operation to Italy in the field of naval defense, in which its Naval Group military shipyard – formerly known as DCNS – is an important player.
* Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu told media that the government will sign contracts solidifying the purchase of eleven Su-35 fighter aircraft in November. Ryacudu added that the aircraft will be delivered within two years but did not confirm plans to acquire a further 5 Su-35s in order to have a full squadron. Jakarta’s deal to buy the fighters includes a substantial barter deal with Russia for Indonesian commodities including rubber and palm oil.
* A former chief executive at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has been arrested as part of investigations into corruption at the firm. Ha Seong-yang, who was detained on 22 September, had previously served as head of the company’s international division, and played a role the company’s efforts to sell variants of the T-50 trainer aircraft internationally. Ha has denied the claims, which include profiteering, accounting fraud, and embezzlement, and investigations are being conducted into big ticket programs such as the KUH-1 Surion utility helicopter, T-50, and the next-generation KF-X fighter.
* AM General will deliver 6,576 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to the Afghan armed forces. The $45.9 million contract awarded by the US Army falls under foreign military sales and provides the expanded capacity M115 HMMWV. Production will take place in South Bend, Ind., and is expected to run through Aug. 31, 2018. Variants of the vehicle can be used as a troop and weapons carrier, as well as light cargo carriers, ambulances and command-and-control vehicles. However, the vehicles are scheduled to be phased out in favor of Oshkosh Defense’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) due to its vulnerability to improvised explosive devices.
* Iran’s Khorramshahr missile launch: