* The Air Force has released a RFP for its next generation of space launch engines, as it tries to move away from reliance on the Atlas-V’s Russian-produced RD-180 engines. Reports from March expected the RFP to have been released sooner, with industry being given tight deadlines in order to meet Congressional timelines. The Air Force aims to allocate $160 million, which will be distributed between four companies to produce prototypes for evaluation, with the Pentagon recently arguing for the continued use of the RD-180 as an interim measure before new engines can be introduced.
* The Air Force is also reportedly investigating a possible leaking of information prior to the release of a RFP as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, with this a potential violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. The first competition in over a decade within the EELV program is to launch next-generation GPS-III satellites, with the RFP being released on 14 May.
* Following a contract modification worth $149 million, Raytheon will manufacture 74 Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) air defense rounds for the Navy. This follows a $110 million contract in March and the transition of the SM-6 from low-rate to full-rate production last month.
* The United States and India have announced a set of joint technology programs amid the signing of a ten-year defense cooperation pact by SecDef Carter and Indian counterpart Parikkar. Two projects have been approved initially; one for building generators and another to develop soldier biological and chemical protective equipment. Carter has previously stated that the US would be willing to export the General Atomics-developed EMALS system, building on this on Wednesday with farther-reaching plans to sell the Indians carrier and aircraft engine technology.
* The Air Force awarded Boeing a $466.5 million contract Wednesday to repair Minuteman III ICBMs, with this set to run to 2021. Also on Wednesday, Lockheed Martin was handed a $226.9 million contract for rockets and pods to fulfill Foreign Military Sales to unspecified international customers.
* DARPA also awarded Raytheon BBN Technologies and Vencore Labs Inc contracts totaling 34 million for the Edge-Directed Cyber Technologies for Reliable Mission program – abbreviated to EdgeCT – which aims to build in resilience of communication over IP networks through new capabilities at the edge of wide-area networks.
* Following the news that the 9 May Airbus A400M crash was most likely the fault of defective engine software, the company announced on Wednesday that the aircraft saw three of its TP400-D6 engines freeze in flight. The focus of attention is not on the structural design of the aircraft, rather the quality assurance procedures in place at the Airbus final assembly plant.
* Romania has taken delivery of six final Panhard PVP armored vehicles, following a 2012 contract for 16 of the vehicles. They will be fitted out for area and perimeter control mission sets by local company CVR.
* The Polish Defense Ministry is looking to acquire two VIP jets and end their reliance on LOT Polish Airlines-chartered Embraer 175 aircraft in a leasing contract which will end in 2017. The new aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2016, with a contract expected by the end of this year.
* Poland has also released a tender for MP-5 type sub-machine guns, with the intention of procuring up to 218 of the 9x19mm weapons for the nation’s police force. Competitors have until July to prepare documentation, with the final deadline in December. MP-5 manufacturer Heckler & Koch also announced Wednesday the appointment of a new CEO, former COO of Rheinmetall Defence’s Combat Platforms division Nicola Marinelli.
* Bangladesh has begun construction of eight X12 high-speed patrol boats, with state-owned Dockyard and Engineering Works (DEW) Narayanganj manufacturing the vessels, based on the design of X15 patrol boats built by Indonesian firm North Sea Boats under a technology transfer agreement last year.
* Sweden has supported India’s application to the Missile Technology Control Regime, a multinational association of 34 states aiming to limit the spread of missile and UAV technology through export controls, dialogue and collaboration. India is also seeking to gain early membership of several other non-proliferation organizations, including Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
* South Korea has reportedly tested a domestically-produced ballistic missile capable of hitting targets anywhere within the North. This ability stems from a reported range of 300 miles, which can be extended to 500 as a result of an unspecified agreement with the US.
* The domestically-produced South Korean ballistic missile…