* The USAF awarded Lockheed Martin a $104 million contract to develop, produce and field a threat simulator to train combat aircrews to recognize and deal with rapidly evolving threats, such as surface-to-air missiles. The deal will see the firm undertake the development and test of a single Advanced Radar Threat System Variant 2 (ARTS-V2) production representative system, with follow on options for a further 20 systems. Lockheed added that future sales could come from countries that plan to operate the stealthy F-35 fighter jet in coming years.
* A report into restarting production of F-22 Raptor aircraft has been received by the US House Armed Services Committee. The USAF report was ordered by the committee last year, asking what it would take and how much it might cost to begin producing the high-tech, fifth generation aircraft again. Congress voted in 2009 to stop purchasing the F-22 after just 187 were made, hundreds less than USAF procurement needs. It is now been considered as a possible solution to filling US air power requirements, cost depending.
* Despite an agreement with India’s Tata Advanced Systems to establish hub for future F-16 services, logistics, and plane and parts production, Lockheed Martin is moving ahead with plans to relocate its F-16 production line to its Greenville, S.C. facility. The F-16 production line, currently located in Forth Worth, is being moved from its Texas facility to make way for the F-35, with Greenville announced as the new location in March. Lockheed’s F-16 is facing off with Saab’s Gripen in India’s new fighter competition, and the Tata agreement is part of New Delhi’s ‘Make in India’ offsets requirement. When asked about a possible move from Greenville to India, Lockheed spokespersonJohn Losinger said that if selected, Indian F-16 production would start in South Carolina, adding that they don’t currently have a timeline for moving production lines east.
Middle Easy & North Africa
* Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced the successful test-firing of its Long-Range Artillery weapon system (LORA). For the purpose of the trial, LORA was placed on board a cargo vessel and successfully attacked a ground target with a high degree of precision. The test was also part of a conclusive stage for the sale of the system to several customers, and the system is also a key focus for IAI at this week’s Paris Air Show.
* Thales has been chosen by Airbus to supply a number of flight and mission training equipment for Kuwaiti-operated Airbus Caracal helicopters. Under the deal, Thales will provide one Reality H FFMS simulator and two flight procedures and tactical training stations to the Kuwait Air Force and National Guard as part of a contract aimed at collective training exercises to prepare pilots and crews for complex missions, such as combat search-and-rescue. The training stations provide new pilots with initial training in flight procedures, as well as tactical training for captains and crews, while the H FFMS system provides pilots with training in navigation, instrument flight, equipment failures and emergency procedures.
* Germany has delayed a decision on a military defense package, citing that lawmakers needed more time to discuss its contents. Valued at $14.5 billion, the procurement includes orders for Corvette warships and UAVs, but Social Democrat (SPD) representatives have requested more time to discuss the deal further before signing off on the decision. Speaking on the deferment, SPD lawmaker Christine Lambrecht said that the committee were now discussing how to proceed.
* Sukhoi and MiG are scheduled to merge into a single combat aviation structural unit of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). Starting in 2019, the UAC will switch to the format of a single company, a single corporate contour while the division will be in the format of a unit of the UAC single company. However, this does not mean that two of the world’s most iconic fighter brands will disappear from the skies any time soon, after Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov had previously said that the brands would continue even if the companies merge.
* Boeing has been awarded a three-year support contract for the Indian Navy’s fleet of P-8I maritime patrol aircraft. Included in the deal are the supply of field logistical representatives, engineering, planning, and material support for the 737-based airframe and other systems. The contract continues the service Boeing provides under the program’s current initial production contract, scheduled to expire in October. India currently operates a fleet of eight P-8I aircraft and Boeing are scheduled to deliver a further four from 2020.
* IAI test LORA: