* Raytheon has been awarded a $14.6 million contract modification for Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) and SM-6 engineering and technical services, with this modification partially covering a Foreign Military Sales contract with Australia. The Navy handed Raytheon a SM-6 production contract in June for 74 of the missiles, following the program’s transition to full-rate production in May. This latest contract modification covers systems integration, design integrity and production continuity.
* BAE Systems has also been handed a $54.7 million Foreign Military Sales contract to upgrade 236 M113 armored personnel carriers belonging to the Brazilian Army. The company has been upgrading the Brazilian fleet for some time, with Brazil requesting 434 M113A2MK1 upgrade kits in June 2014. The Brazilians have been looking to upgrade their M113s from the M113B configuration to the M113A2MK1, with other countries also having selected to upgrade their M113 fleets rather than procure new vehicles; these include Australia and Jordan, with Iraq recently buying new M113A2s.
* A second RC-135W Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft will reportedly be delivered to the Royal Air Force within coming weeks, with separate reports suggesting this second aircraft will be rapidly deployed to support the UK’s operations against ISIL in Iraq. The delivery of the first aircraft took place in November 2013, with the scheduled delivery for the second aircraft not timetabled until April 2016, meaning that both Rivet Joint aircraft will be delivered ahead of schedule.
* Two Brimstone ground-attack missiles reportedly detached from a Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 fighter-bomber during landing on Wednesday morning. The aircraft saw a heavy landing at the RAF’s Aktrotiri base in Cyprus, which has been used to launch operations against ISIL in Iraq. The missiles did not detonate and there were not reported injuries.
* The Polish Air Force has announced the integration of the NATO Link 16 data system with its fleet of F-16C/D Block 52+ fighters, facilitating data exchange between the fighters and AWACS platforms. The Polish Defense Ministry is also acquiring Link 16 systems for use by the country’s Navy and Special Forces units, with ground terminals established at eight locations round the country. The system will allow Poland to plug data into NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS).
Middle East North Africa
* Photos have emerged showing Rafale fighters flying in Egyptian colors. Egypt ordered twenty-four of the French aircraft in February, recently opting to buy AASM Hammer precision air-to-ground missiles to equip its new fleet. The first three Egyptian Rafales are due for delivery before 5 August.
* French shipyard DCNS is set to offer its Shortfin Barracuda submarine to Australia as a pre-concept design for the country’s future submarine Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP), part of the $50 billion SEA1000 procurement program. The design being offered is the Block1A variant of the Barracuda-class, developed from the larger design destined for the French Navy.
* India has approved a $2.6 billion program to purchase upgraded air defense guns to replace the country’s L-70 and Zu-23mm guns in service with the Indian Army since the 1960s. The Indian Army issued a Request for Information regarding the replacement of the Bofors L-70s in May 2014, with the Indian government now planning to replace 428 of its air defense guns. A Request for Proposals in expected in coming weeks, with a tender also expected to cover the purchase of new acquisition radar systems to complement the guns. Indian firms are expected to bid for the work, with Tatas, Punj Llyod and Bharat Forge reportedly expressing interest.
* Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) have signed a defense framework manufacturing agreement, following similar partnerships in recent weeks. Boeing recently agreed to a tenth price extension on a deal for CH-47 and AH-64 helicopters, with the sale currently proceeding through clearance in the India government’s defense procurement labyrinth. The framework agreement also reportedly covers the manufacture of unmanned aircraft, with Boeing manufacturing and developing both the ScanEagle and X-45, as well as the unmanned version of the Little Bird helicopter, the AH-6U. TASL has already been contracted to provide aerostructures for the manned version of the helicopter, the AH-6i.
* China has arrested four individuals working for a state-owned defense firm, accusing them of leaking information to foreign intelligence agencies. The individuals were reportedly recruited through internet messaging and job application websites. This follows reports from March in which a taxi-driver was arrested for allegedly providing information on Chinese military installations to foreign bodies.
* Japan’s Parliament approved Thursday the adoption of a more adaptive defense policy, despite significant domestic and international criticism. The policy would allow for increased use of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in contexts outside of purely homeland defense. Polls indicate that approximately 80% of Japanese citizens oppose the bill, with Prime Minister Abe citing regional geopolitical tensions as the principal drivers of the new legislation. Japan has been looking to bolster its military assets in recent months, recently requesting seventeen MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft capable of providing significant mobility for Japanese forces.
* A Tornado GR4 landing at RAF Akrotiri back in June, Brimstones still attached…