Sikorsky won $1.1 billion to build 12 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters. The contract with the Lockheed Martin subsidiary, issued by the Navy will include programmatic support, logistics support and peculiar support equipment. Under the terms of the contract, known as Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 2 and 3, Sikorsky will begin deliveries of 12 CH-53K helicopters in 2022. According to Lockheed Martin, the advanced helicopters are part of the 200 program of record aircraft for the US Marine Corps. The King Stallion can carry up to 12,200 kg over 204 km, more than tripling the load of Sikorsky’s CH-53E helicopter. It is the only sea-based, long-range, heavy-lift helicopter in production. The helicopter was originally intended to be delivered in 2018, but it was delayed because of technical issues in the design that required a major restructuring of the program. Sikorsky is expected to finish work in December 2023.
The Navy awarded Boeing a $163.9 million modification to continue modernizing the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F fighter jet fleet under the service life modification program. The deal will extend the operational service of 10 Super Hornets from 6,000 flight hours to 10,000 flight hours. It is the second US Navy contract for Super Hornet Service Life Modification. In a press release, program director Dave Sallenbach said, „the Service Life Modification program is making great strides as we’ve already inducted seven Super Hornets into the program, and will deliver the first jet back to the Navy later this year“. Boeing will perform work in St. Louis, Missouri and San Antonio, Texas. Work is scheduled to be completed in May 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Afghanistan received the first two of four Russian-built Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters from India. The choppers are to boost Afghanistan’s counter-insurgency capabilities. In 2018, India had promised the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) to deliver four Mi-24s as a replacement for the four attack helicopters previously gifted by India. India delivered Mil Mi-25 assault helicopters to the ANDSF in April 2015 as part of a bilateral strategic agreement signed in 2011 between New Delhi and Kabul. It is unclear whether these Mi-25s have been lost operationally or simply become inoperative. The two refurbished Mi-24s were purchased from Belarus and handed over by Vinay Kumar, India’s ambassador to Afghanistan, during a ceremony held on May 16 at the Afghan Air Force Base in Kabul.
According to reports, Turkish President Erdogan said that Russia will produce the S-500 together with Turkey. The S-500 is a long-range anti-ballistic missile system with a planned range of 500-600 kilometers. This comes after Turkey’s controversial purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. This purchase has taken a toll on relations between Turkey and the US since Turkey is also part of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. The US has even gone as far as opposing shipment of the F-35 jets if Turkey goes through with the S-400 purchase. However, Reccep Tayyip Erdogan has recently shown confidence that the F-35 will be delivered.
The UK defense ministry approved an engine order for the second batch of Type 26 frigates. This order secures the immediate future of the General Electric’s Rugby site. General Electric previously announced the site’s closure. Workers’ union Unite said the Ministry of Defenses’s order comes after months of intense campaigning and a recent House of Commons defense select committee hearing where Unite gave evidence. Eight Type 26 Frigates are to be built in total with three in the first batch.
Dutch shipbuilder Damen launched the first of two corvettes for the Pakistan Navy (PN) at its facilities in Galati, Romania. The multirole corvettes have been previously described by the PN as state-of-the-art vessels especially suited for anti-surface, anti-air, and maritime security operations. The contract for the two vessels was signed in June 2017, with the first corvette expected to enter service by the end of 2019, and the second one set to be delivered by mid-2020. Each of them features a helicopter pad to facilitate search-and-rescue missions, as well as surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations.
Watch: INS VELA – INDIA LAUNCHES STEALTH SUBMARINE !!