Sierra Nevada Corp. tapped for JCREW services | ATAC hoards Mirage F1s for USAF adversary tender | KC-46 schedule likely to slide, says Air Force
- A unit of Textron Airborne Solutions, ATAC, have acquired 63 Dassault Mirage F1s in anticipation of the US Air Force’s (USAF) adversary air (ADAIR) contract, a tender for 150 aircraft for use as “red air” training needs. The fleet sale also included support equipment and 150 engines, and ATAC will retrofit the aircraft with digital radio frequency memory jamming capabilities and active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars in anticipation of service requirements. However, ATAC’s options for obtaining the remaining aircraft needed for the program remain unclear, with options for aircraft that can operate for more than a decade or have parts that can be supported at the manufacturing level spread thin. The USAF’s $15 billion ADAIR award would contract out nearly 37,000 flight hours to provide adversary air services, filling the gaps at the USAF’s 57th Wing weapons school and Red Flag training events, as well as operational test and evaluation missions at Nellis AFB, Nevada.
- Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod has been selected by Boeing for use as the Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system on the USAF’s F-15C fleet. An engineering, manufacturing, development and production contract will be awarded in 2018, and Lockheed are expected to deliver as many as 130 Legion Pod systems for integration from 2018 through to 2019. The Legion Pod provides long-range detection and tracking of airborne threats in radar-denied environments.
- Sierra Nevada Corp has been awarded a $205 million US Special Operations Command contract to supply support services for Special Operation Command’s Dismounted Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare systems. Work will run through Sept. 12, 2022, and performed in Sparks, Nev., and Folsom, Calif. The Dismounted Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare system is part of the wider Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (JCREW) series of IED jammers. The JCREW is designed to jam enemy radio-frequencies used to detonate improvised explosive devices. It comes in three different models, including a man-portable version for foot patrols, vehicle-mounted variants, and a static model for protecting key points at installations.
- The head of the USAF’s Air Mobility Command has revealed that deliveries of the KC-46A tanker from Boeing will likely take place next year, and it remains unknown whether the firm will meet the “required assets available” milestone scheduled for October 2018. Speaking at the annual Air, Space and Cyber conference near Washington DC, Gen Carlton Everhart said that the service had discovered severe flaws on the tanker, known as “category 1 deficiencies”. Among the most glaring, the tip of its boom has on occasion struck receiver aircraft outside their refuelling slipways. Unless Boeing resolve the issue quickly it could delay a scheduled 1 December delivery.
Middle East & Africa
- Russia has delivered the first two of 12 Su-30K aircraft to the government of Angola, with remaining deliveries scheduled for early next year. The schedule was revealed on Tuesday by Aleksandr Vorobei, the deputy CEO of the 558 Aviation Repair Plant in Belarus—the facility were the aircraft have been stationed prior to modernization and transfer to Angola. The Su-30K is an interim model of the Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet and a total of of 18 units were delivered to India between 1997 and 1999, but the aircraft were returned to the Irkut Corporation in 2005 and replaced with 16 Su-30MKI jets instead. Angola ordered the modernized fighters in 2013.
- The head of MBDA expects Italian defense contractor Leonardo will remain part of the European missile consortium after it was floated that it may swap its share in the venture. MBDA is owned by France’s Airbus and Britain’s BAE Systems, both of whom have a 37.5 percent stake, and by Leonardo with 25 percent. However, in recent years, Leonardo has considered taking greater control of civil turboprop maker ATR, which it co-owns with Airbus, while Airbus expressed interest in buying out Leonardo at MBDA, prompting periodic discussions over a possible swap. While Italy has decided to stay in the missile game for now, questions still remain at ATR—the world’s largest civil turboprop maker—where Airbus and Leonardo disagree over whether to invest in a new turboprop program, a move supported on the Italian side.
- The Indian government is negotiating with MBDA for the purchase of Mistral air-to-air missiles for its indigenous HAL Rudra armed helicopter. The helicopter—an armed variant of the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH)—is currently armed with a forward mounted machine gun and rockets, so the inclusion of an anti-air capability will increase its operational role against enemy rotorcraft and UAVs. New Delhi also plans to conduct live-firing trials of the Mistral on its other indigenous helicopter, the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), by the end of the year.
- The Afghanistan Air Force (AAF) has received delivery of its first four Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters from the US. A total of 53 surplus US Army UH-60As will be sent to Kabul in accordance with a 2016 agreement, and could be extended to a total of 159 units as the helicopter replaces Afghanistan’s Mi-8/Mi-17 transport helicopters (of which there are fewer than 100 in service). These will join 30 additional MD Helicopters MD-530F Cayuse Warrior (to join the AAF’s existing 27 MD-530Fs) armed scout helicopters and the remaining eight of 20 Sierra Nevada Corporation A-29 Super Tucano turboprop-powered close air support (CAS) attack aircraft.
- A Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter accidentally fires rocket at bystanders during the Zapad military drills:
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