Second LM T-50A Takes Maiden Flight | UAE First in ME to Operate RIM-116 RAM | Russia’s T-90MS Ready for Export and in Talks at IDEX
- Lockheed Martin’s second T-50A jet trainer has made its maiden flight. The trainer, based on the T-50, has been designed to bridge the gap between 4th- and 5th-generation fighter jet technology, and is being entered into the USAF’s T-X trainer competition to replace the service’s fleet of aging Northrop Grumman T-38 Talon aircraft. Lockheed is also offering the T-50A Ground-Based Training System, a simulator designed to provide immersive instruction for pilots prior to taking flight. If selected, pilots will use the trainer to be able to fly F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
- Lockheed Martin has announced two successful rounds of testing of the modernized Tactical Missile System for the US Army’s TACMS Service Life Extension program. The missiles were launched using a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico last December and earlier this month. Updates to the missile include an improved guidance and control system, new software, and an upgraded fuze.
Middle East & North Africa
- The UAE will become the first Middle East operator of Raytheon’s RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 close-in weapon system. While the number of systems ordered remains unknown, the systems will be installed on the Emirate’s Baynunah-class corvettes, of which six vessels will be manufactured. Improvements made on the system’s predecessor include kinematic and sensor upgrades to expand the missile’s engagement envelope in order to defeat more maneuverable and higher speed anti-ship cruise missiles. Furthermore, the Block 2 upgrade significantly expands the missile’s effective engagement envelope by introducing a larger dual-thrust rocket motor and independent four-canard control actuator system to increase effective range by about 50% and deliver a three-fold improvement in maneuverability.
- Russian firm Rostec has revealed that they have signed an initial agreement with the UAE to develop a fifth-generation joint light fighter. The announcement was made at this week’s IDEX 2017 defense expo as Russian industry seeks to expand defense exports in the region. Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov said that development work on the new fighter could begin as early as next year , and it is believed that will be a variation of the MiG-29 fighter jet. The UAE is also potentially looking at purchasing the Sukhoi Su-35.
- Russia’s latest variant of the T-90 main battle tank, the T-90MS, is now ready for export. Speaking at IDEX 2017, General of the Army Alexei Maslov said that low-rate production of the vehicle had been established, serial production processes has been fine-tuned, and they are now ready to begin taking orders. Maslov added that the tank features a high degree of process automation. It can conduct self-testing and self-diagnostics and can be integrated with foreign components, such as communication systems and air-cooling units. A number of Middle East nations are in discussions.
- Finland has concluded negotiations with South Korea to purchase 48 used K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers. Valued at $155 million, deliveries are scheduled to begin next year and will continue through to 2024. The 155mm howitzer was tested by the Finnish Army in the Lapland region and is part of a partnership with Estonia to bulk buy the system as both government’s phase out their older Soviet artillery pieces.
- China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has warned South Korea’s Lotte Group of grave consequences if the conglomerate allows the South Korean government to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system on part of a golf course it owns. The words of warning come shortly after Lotte reported that Chinese authorities halted work at a multi-billion-dollar real estate project following a fire inspection, indicating that Beijing was finding ways to retaliate at Seoul for going ahead with THAAD’s deployment, and includes reports of discriminating against some of their companies and cancelling performances by K-Pop artists without explanation. Over the weekend, a meeting between both nation’s foreign ministers saw China’s Wang Yi say that China understands South Korea’s need to protect their security but Seoul still needs to respect Beijing’s concerns about the deployment of THAAD.
- Nextar has inked contracts with the Indonesian government for the provision of 18 CAESAR wheeled self-propelled howitzer systems. The undisclosed value sale adds to 36 CAESAR systems ordered by Jakarta in 2012 and will include Nextar’s FINDART firing control system and CAESAR simulators. More than 50 artillery battalion auxiliary vehicles will be assembled in Indonesia by Nexter partner PT Pindad. Indonesia has become the first customer for the V-200 UAV, developed by the joint venture of Saab and UMS Aero.
- The V-200 maritime UAV:
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