Raytheon Leaves Leonardo in the Lurch on T-X Competition | Stryker Dragoon Gets a Spin with a 30mm Cannon | Croatia Boosts Defense Spending by $57M for 2017
- The USAF’s T-X Trainer competition has taken a sudden turn, with Raytheon and Leonardo announcing that they will no longer be collaborating on the program. As a result, Leonardo now has to decide whether to go it alone with the T-100 variant of its Aermacchi M-346 advanced trainer without a US partner, find another US collaborator, or pull out of the $16.3 billion competition altogether. Whatever will happen next?
- A US Army Stryker armored vehicle fitted with a 30mm cannon has been tested for the first time. Testing of the cannon, part of a series of upgrades designed to increase the mission capabilities of US Stryker vehicles, was undertaken in order to verify its combat abilities and make future determinations on the vehicle’s armament. The Pentagon’s decision to upgun a number of its Stryker’s – nicknamed the Dragoon – was taken in response to Russia’s 2015 invasion of Ukraine to close a ground vehicle capability gap, according to service leaders. The Army plans to field first of 83 Dragoons by the end of Fiscal 2018.
- Missile giant Raytheon has revealed a 1.4 percent fall in quarterly revenue, sparked by a drop in sales by its units in charge of missile systems and tracking and navigation sensors. Speaking on the slump, CEO Tom Kennedy said that a renewed campaign against militants of the Islamic State by the Trump administration could boost sales of its precision guided munitions. Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman has forecast lower 2017 earnings per share below Wall Street estimates due to lower segment operating margins, which some analysts attributed to costs related to some of its new programs.
Middle East & North Africa
- Textron Systems has been contracted by the USAF to provide maintenance training for the Afghan Air Force. The $9.3 million deal orders the provision of maintenance training to Afghan crew and includes logistics support for 24 aircraft operated by Kabul. Work will be performed in Afghanistan and is expected to be completed by the end of January, 2018.
- Romania has made an additional order with General Dynamics European Land Systems for its Piranha III wheeled armored vehicles. This is the country’s fifth order with GDEL for the vehicle, which has been in service with its armed forces since 2006. Announcing the order, GDEL did not give any further information on the procurement in relation to unit numbers or cost.
- The Croatian government has laid out their defense spending plans for 2017, with a focus on coastal patrol vessels, new howitzers, as well as continuing procurement of second-hand OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopters from the US. An additional $57 million has been added over last year’s figures, representing a 7% increase on funds in 2016. Other defense projects for this year include medium-lift helicopter overhauls, ordnance procurement, and M-84 main battle tank upgrades.
- Taiwan’s Minister of National Defense has announced his government’s ambition to pursue an indigenous stealth fighter once Taipei completes work on its advanced jet trainer. Feng Shih-kua, a former Air Force pilot, said that the Rep. China Air Force’s new aerospace research center will play an important role in the development of the fighter. Military officials later added that the jet will rely on its TFE-1042-70 afterburning turbofan as its power plant.
- A state-run Chinese newspaper has reported that Beijing is testing a new long-range air-to-air missile capable of downing early warning aircraft and aerial refueling aircraft. The munition’s development runs alongside what is described as an “ambitious modernization program” led by President Xi Jinping, including stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and the testing of anti-satellite missiles. While the air force has yet to comment on this new missile, pictures posted on the service’s website, showed a J-11B fighter carrying a large, unidentified missile during drills last year.
What could have been for the USAF: The M-346:
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