P&W Upgrade to Keep B-52 Aloft into 2040 and Beyond | State Dept to Approve Contested Sale to Qatar, Kuwait | Taiwan Plans to Develop Own Engine for IDF
- The US Army has successfully carried out a dual engagement flight test of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS). Developed by Northrop Grumman, the system has the ability to identify, track, engage, and defeat ballistic and cruise missile targets. The April 8 test built upon previous testing and validated the ability of IBCS to manage multiple threats. A Milestone C (production and deployment) decision is anticipated for later this fall.
- Pratt and Whitney has maintained that they can develop a TF33 upgrade package that will keep Boeing’s B-52 bomber flying until the 2040s. The eight engine bomber has kept the same TF33 engine since its induction in 1952, but high fuel consumption had the USAF looking at potential re-engine options. With oil prices dropping dramatically, the program was dropped; but P&W are still looking at improvements for the TF33 that will keep it on-wing, and allow the air force to reduce their maintenance costs.
- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems “Predator C” Avenger aircraft has successfully tested the USAF’s next-generation multi-spectral camera. Developed by UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS), the MS-177 sensor can pivot 20° to achieve a wider field of view. While the test was successful, the Predator C is unlikely to be the main platform for the MS-177 with plans to integrate it on Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk already in place.
Middle East North Africa
- The US State Department is set to approve the long awaited multi-billion dollar sale of Boeing fighter jets to Qatar and Kuwait. An announcement confirming the deals could be made during President Barak Obama’s visit to the region this week; despite concerns from Israel that equipment sent to Gulf states could fall into the wrong hands and be used against them. Qatar’s order for 36 F-15 fighter jets is believed to be around $4 billion, while Kuwait is awaiting on a $3 billion order for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.
- Turkey’s procurement agency is launching a competition to promote domestic development of key sub-systems used in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Systems Ankara want developed include turboprop engines, spare cruise systems, perceive-and-avoid systems, wide band satellite communication systems, automatic takeoff and landing systems, high-resolution cameras, surveillance systems, electronic support pods, electronic ground support systems, and search-and-rescue systems. The subsystems will initially be mounted on Turkey’s first domestically produced UAV, the Anka, developed by Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI).
- The Netherlands is to receive 12 tandem-rotor CH-47F Chinooks, adding to six already procured by the Royal Dutch Air Force. The $308 million contract was awarded by Boeing as the air force transitions away from the older D-model helicopters. Approval for up to 17 of the Honeywell T55-714A-powered helicopters was given in March 2015 through the US government’s foreign military sales (FMS); however, Boeing has stated that none of them have yet been delivered.
- Taiwan is currently embarking on a project to develop its own indigenous fighter engine. Work is being undertaken by the country’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) and is seen as part of the incoming Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) push to prioritize Taiwan’s defense industry. The engines are being developed for locally produced jets such as the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) and AT-3 trainers. While about 90% of the IDF and AT-3 are produced in Taiwan, some key technologies such as its engine is built in cooperation with foreign companies before the plane is assembled domestically.
- The Indonesian Navy has decided to select a stern mounted Chinese Type 730 close-in weapon system (CIWS) to be fitted on two missile attack craft. The two ships, KRI Sampari (628) and KRI Tombak (629), will undergo refits later this year when the systems will be integrated. China will also integrate its own combat management system (CMS) to link the warships’ other weapons together.
- US Army’s April 8 Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) test:
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