Scorpion omitted from OA-X demo round 2 | Norway’s NH90s won’t meet mission requirement | F-35 to receive GCAS ahead of planned date
- Textron AirLand’s self-funded Scorpion light-attack aircraft has been omitted from the next phase of the US Air Force’s (USAF) OA-X experiment, a blow to the joint venture’s five-year-old campaign to win the endorsement of the service. The two aircraft that have made it to the OA-X’s second phase are Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, which will face off again from May to July at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, rather than the original plan to host demonstrations in a combat zone. Speaking on the next phase, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said that rather than doing such a combat demonstration “we have decided to work closely with industry to experiment with maintenance, data networking and sensors.” The decision to forgo such a combat demonstration could also stem from the lack of finalized funding for an OA-X procurement, but this could change on February 12, when the Trump Administration is set to submit the Fiscal 2019 budget request to Congress.
- Boeing was awarded Thursday, February 1, a $195 million contract modification for the provision of additional Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits. The awarding of the USAF contract brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $927,581,526. Work will take place at Boeing’s St. Louis, Missouri, facility with an expected completion date set for January 30, 2020. JDAM tail kits turn previously unguided free-fall munitions such as the 2,000-pound BLU-109/MK 84 or the smaller 500-pound BLU-111/MK 82 warhead, into guided air-to-surface munitions.
- The installation of automatic ground collision avoidance software (GCAS) on the F-35 will take place sooner than expected, Inside Defense reports. News of the planned change was announced on January 31, by F-35 Program Executive Officer Vice Adm. Mat Winter, who said the program plans to field the new technology by 2019, five years ahead of the original schedule. The program had expected to incorporate Auto GCAS during its Block 4 Follow-on Modernization phase. However, as part of its new Continuous Capability Development and Delivery effort, the program is looking to incorporate new capabilities, like Auto GCAS, as well as fixes to already fielded software.
Middle East & North Africa
- Lockheed Martin will provide Israel-specific F-35i Adir services under a $147.9 million contract modification awarded by the US Navy. Under the terms of the deal, which is a 100 percent Foreign Military Sale, the firm will provide procurement of Israel-unique weapons certification, modification kits, and electronic warfare analysis in support of the F-35 Lightning II Israel system design and development to provide 3F+ fleet capability to Tel Aviv. Work will take place across the continental United States, as well as in the United Kingdom. Contract completion is scheduled for December, 2021.
- The Turkish Ministry of Defense has announced the successful test-firing of the indigenous HISAR-A short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. Developed jointly by munitions-maker Roketsan and defense electronics specialist Aselsan, the February 1 firing “provided 100% success in the tests,” a ministry statement said. The platform is expected to be carried on a modified version of FNSS Savunma Sistemleri AS’ ACV-300 tracked infantry fighting vehicle and will join the Aselsan Korkut self-propelled anti-air gun in the Turkish Army’s armour formations.
- A report published by Norway’s defence research institute has found that Norway’s planned procurement of 12 NH90 naval helicopters will not meet its flight hours requirements to fulfil both frigate-based anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions for the navy, as well as search and rescue (S&R) and fisheries and border protection missions for the coastguard. The report found that in order to fill both the needs of the navy and coastguard, Oslo requires 5,400 flight hours a year from the entire fleet, however, an analysis performed by the armed forces suggests that availability is only 2,100h a year. Instead, it has been recommended that all 12 NH90s—seven of which have already been delivered—should now be used for the navy’s ASW mission, while the coastguard requirement is filled by a procurement of civilian operators or unmanned platforms.
- The Philippine Navy’s recently acquired TC-90 maritime patrol aircraft have flown over the contested Scarborough Shoal for the first time on January 31. During the flight, crew observed four Filipino fishing boats, five Chinese vessels and four Chinese Coast Guard vessels during the flight, which was flown at 800 feet. The aircraft were not challenged by the Chinese ships in the area during the flight despite efforts by Beijing to assert ownership of the shoal in opposition to a 2016 UN-backed ruling that Manilla had the right to fish and explore the resources of the area. The Japanese government originally leased out five patrol planes to the Philippines, with the first two arriving in March of last year. Deliveries of the remaining three are expected early this year.
- Turkey tests HISAR-A missile system:
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