Report: Army to Cut 1 in 12 Troops | Heron Gets NATO Compatible Links | China Commissioning New Anti-Sub Aircraft
- The Army is reportedly planning to cut 40,000 troops over a two-year period, in addition to 17,000 civilians. Budget constraints will reportedly force down Army personnel numbers to 450,000 by 2017, with sequestration potentially axing a further 30,000 troops. Officials are set to announce these plans on Thursday.
- The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command’s fleets of KC-135 Stratotankers will receive three Northrop Grumman systems pods to detect and track portable air defense systems (MANPADS), following a $31.7 million contract. The will allow the refuelling tankers to remain closer to combat areas, with a laser also installed to jam incoming missiles. The pods are based on the Guardian system, a third generation system.
- Israel Aerospace Industries and Thales have demonstrated successful operations of a NATO-standard data link on board an IAI Heron unmanned aerial vehicle, the French firm announced on Tuesday. The risk-reduction flight took place in Israel, with the data link complying to NATO Standard Agreement (STANAG) 7085, demonstrating interoperability with existing NATO systems as well as operation to international standards.
- Malta is to receive a third AugustaWestland AW139 helicopter following a $15.4 million deal. The new helicopter will augment to two AW139s already in service, with these ordered in July 2013 and April 2014.
- The Russian Instrument Design Bureau has begun small-scale production of the Pantsir-M air defense system, a navalized version of the land-based Pantsir S-1. Designed to replace the Kortik AAGM system currently in service with the Russian Navy, modifications to Russian Navy vessels have been underway for several months to accommodate the new systems, principally cruiser class ships, destroyers and frigates. The Pantsir-M is due to enter service in 2016, after completing service testing in September 2014. A tracked version of the Pantsir S-1 is also reportedly under development.
Middle East North Africa
- Algeria has reportedly received its first two Mi-26T2 heavy transport helicopters from Russia, with a further four set for delivery and an additional six available as future options. Photographs from Kefalonia, Greece appear to show one of the helicopters in transit, with the helicopters undergoing flight testing in Russia at the end of last year. Algeria has also ordered Mi-28N attack helicopters from Russia, with the Mi-26T2 entering series production in May.
- China has commissioned new anti submarine warfare aircraft, according to media reports Tuesday. The Gaoxin-6 ASW aircraft appears similar to the US P-3C Orion and has been undergoing a set of upgrades since 2013, with the type first uncovered in November 2011. An unknown number of aircraft have been delivered to the PLAN’s Northern Fleet, with these latest reports confirming previous rumors that the aircraft have entered service. The Gaoxin-6 appears to possess several advanced features, including the possibility of collaborative working with unmanned underwater vehicles, with the aircraft representing a jump in Chinese ASW capability.
- India’s anticipated Request for Information for a new model of rifle, following the scrapping of a four-year old tender last week, is likely to now cover only a single caliber. The previous tender covered a costly and technically difficult dual-barrel configuration to allow for the use of both 5.56mm and 7.62mm.
- In a similar move to a move to Mahindra’s recent joint venture announcement with Airbus, the Indian firm announced on Tuesday that it has established a Memorandum of Understanding with British firm Ultra Electronics to develop and manufacture sub-surface warfare equipment. In addition, the two companies will seek to address the Indian Army’s tactical radio communication requirement.
- BAE Systems and Saab Australia have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to boost the level of Australian participation in the joint BAE-Patria bid for Australia’s Land 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability program. The program is intended to produce a new Armored Fighting Vehicles to replace the existing Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) currently in service. The team’s bid centers on Patria’s Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV), with BAE Systems operating as prime contractor for the bid. The AMV has seen export success to Slovenia and several other European states, as well as South Africa and the UAE.
- The Australian government has approved the funding of new rifles to improve close combat performance. The enhanced F88 Austeyr gained second pass approval as part of the Land 125 Phase 3C – Soldier Enhancement Version 2 (Lethality) program, which will see Thales Australia produce the rifles under a $75 million contract, set to be signed by the end of the month. Delivery of 30,000 EF88 rifles is expected to take place in 2016.
- The EF88 rifle…
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