QF-16s Achieve IOC Milestone | Bell Heli Gets $86.9M FMS to Supply Huey IIs to Kenya & Uganda | MBDA Proposal to Offer MEADS to Germany Under Scrutiny
- A MQ-8B Fire Scout was used to laser designate a moving target for an AGM-114N Hellfire missile fired from an MH-60S for the first time. Conducted on September 14, the test was part of a program to use the drone as a remote designater for the helicopter to shoot moving targets . The successful Hellfire shot marks a significant milestone in the integration between Navy-manned helicopters and unmanned assets.
- The Canadian government is currently assessing data from defense manufacturers for this summer’s request for up-to-date information on options for the replacement of its CF-18 fighters. Specifics wanted by the government were on areas including fighter capabilities and potential economic benefits any sale would bring. In a bid to be selected, Boeing has been citing the work opportunities that would be available to Canadian firms across the country if the federal government were to purchase their F/A-18 Super Hornet, with other competitors coming in the form of France’s Dassault, Sweden’s Saab and the Eurofighter consortium. Data from Lockheed Martin is also being considered, even though Ottawa has vowed not to select its F-35.
- Initial operational capability has been given by the USAF Air Combat Command for the QF-16 full-scale aerial target (FSAT). All 15 QF-16s located at the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida have been approved for target operations. Due to replace the legacy QF-4 aerial target, the QF-16 will introduce fourth-generation fighter capabilities in the aerial target mission, maintaining all inherent capabilities of the baseline F-16 Fighting Falcon, including supersonic flight and 9 G maneuverability.
- Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Heron 1 could be produced in Brazil, if the platform is selected for a new requirement with the nation’s air force. Local firm Avionics Services have teamed with IAI to offer the UAV, having experience already servicing Heron’s operated by the Brazilian police force. A tender for the deal is expected to be released early next year.
Middle East &North Africa
- 516 additional US troops will be sent to Iraq as Baghdad gears up for its offensive to take the city of Mosul, occupied by the Islamic State since June 2014. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that the US is adding what he calls a “final increase” of American forces. US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter confirmed the upcoming deployment and reiterated that the troops would not act as front-line combat troops, instead advising Iraqi security forces and militias as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.
- The US Army has awarded Bell Helicopters a total of $86.9 million in foreign military sales contracts to supply Huey II helicopters. Kenya and Uganda will receive five helicopters each in deals worth $52.1 and $34.5 million respectively. Work for both projects will be performed in Ozark, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 29, 2017. Both governments operate a mishmash of Russian, Chinese, and US-made helicopters.
- A proposal by MBDA to offer its Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) to Germany will be “scrutinized” by the Defense Ministry prior to submission for parliament approval next Spring. The $ 4.5 billion missile defense system, developed in conjunction with US giant Lockheed Martin, won out against Raytheon’s Patriot system, but the companies have been tasked to meet tough performance milestones in order to retain the contract. Lockheed and MBDA had hoped to finish negotiations with Germany by the end of year, but those prospects dimmed after the companies missed their goal of submitting a proposal by the end of July.
- The EU Commission has submitted a plan to invest some 90 million euro ($100 million) in a joint research project lasting between 2017-2019, in order to boost the bloc’s joint defense and security. The pilot scheme marks some what of a turning point for the EU, which has seen defense research spending drop by a third since 2006. When compared to the US, the EU Commission’s funding allocation into new defense technologies pales in comparison to the $18 billion set aside Washington. Meanwhile, the EU’s duplication of defense items outnumbers that of the US; they have 19 types of armored infantry fighting vehicle, compared with one in the US.
- Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), an Indian defense electronics giant, aims to develop into a leading missile systems integrator within the next five years. An investment of more than $120 million is being pumped into the development of a Defence Systems Integration Complex at Palasamudram in Andhra Pradesh in southern India which, when completed, will be that country’s largest missile systems integration facility where missile systems such as navigation, seeker, radar, fire control and guidance will be manufactured. BEL won’t delve into missile development however, instead focusing on the development of electronics for missiles as well as building technical expertise and infrastructure for the integration of missile systems.
Having just been awarded IOC, a look back at the QF-18’s first full flight:
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