Sikorsky’s Suitors Down to One | AF SOC Retiring C-145As | Airbus Eurofighter Upgrades Boost Agility
- The Defense Department is reportedly monitoring negotiations for the sale of Sikorsky, with Textron also having dropped out of the running according to Reuters. Textron and Lockheed Martin emerged as bidders last week for the helicopter manufacturer, following United Technologies’ June announcement it would not keep the division. Lockheed Martin now seems to be closing in on a roughly $8 billion deal. The DoD can protest a merger or acquisition involving principle suppliers through a federal antitrust review.
- The Marine Corps has begun its F-35B readiness inspection, with the outcome intended to form the basis of the fighter’s Initial Operational Capability status due to be decided in coming weeks. The inspection is intended to assess the combat readiness of ten of the fighters from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-121 (VMFA-121), with the squadron’s first deployment scheduled to take place in 2017. The tests will involve armed flights for each of the aircraft’s mission sets, as well as the testing of the squadron’s ability to maintain the aircraft.
- Air Force Special Operations Command is retiring the bulk of its fleet of PZL Mielec C-145A light cargo aircraft, with eleven of these set to be mothballed while five will remain in service. The C-145A has been used by AFSOC during the training and assistance of foreign militaries, as part of Aviation Foreign Internal Defense missions.
- Airbus completed flight tests of the Eurofighter Typhoon‘s Aerodynamic Modification Kit (AMK), a set of modifications to upgrade the fighter’s aerial combat capabilities. The upgraded Eurofighter reportedly saw significantly improved maneuverability scores, including an increase of 25% to the lift generated by the aircraft’s wings, as well as a 45% increase in the aircraft’s angle of attack values.
- Textron AirLand has reportedly demonstrated the Scorpion light attack jet to Bulgarian officials, as the company searches for a first export customer for the jet. Bulgaria is looking to replace its MiG-29 and SU-25 fighters, with reports indicating that F-16s are the likely replacements. However, Textron is seemingly pushing the Scorpion’s low procurement and running costs as a contender to replace the Bulgarian Air Force’s Aero L-39ZA Albatros light strike fighters. The Scorpion has also been pushed at India, with Nigeria and the UAE also previously expressing interest.
- France’s defense procurement agency has awarded a contract of undisclosed value to Renault Trucks Defense/Panhard to extend the operational life of the French military’s fleet of
- The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale for the KF-16 Upgrade Program and associated support. The proposed $2.5 billion sale includes the upgrade of 134 KF-16C/D Block 52 fighters, including unnamed AESA radar systems – most likely the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) – Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) systems and various weapons systems (such as JDAM kits), among a list of other new equipment. This list includes a number of training variants of advanced missile systems, including UGM-84L Harpoon Block II, ATM-65 Maverick and CATM-9X Block II Captive Air Training Missiles, indicating that there may be future weapon full-on orders as a result of the FMS contract. This DSCA announcement comes days after South Korea counter-sued BAE Systems and Raytheon over a previously cancelled $1.7 billion upgrade program.
- Pakistan is buying and upgrading Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods, with a contract announced on Wednesday covering the procurement of fifteen of the pods and the upgrading of twenty-two currently in service on the Pakistani Air Force’s fleet of F-16s. The twenty-two Sniper pods were ordered in 2007 under a $54.6 million contract.
- India is looking to procure more Talwar-class frigates, with these likely to be built in India, rather than being imported from Russia. The Indian Navy is also reportedly keen to acquire the technology to improve on the fleet’s six Talwar-class frigates with upgraded versions, known as the Admiral Grigorivich-class.
- South Korean prosecutors have indicted sixty-three citizens – including ten serving or retired military generals – on fraud and corruption charges in relation to defense procurement programs. The accused also reportedly include a former government minister.
- India’s INS Vikramaditya is scheduled to leave Karwar next week after a recent refit. As per previous reports, the carrier has been updated with new air defense systems, including the Barak-1 missile system and the Russian AK-630 close-in weapon system (CIWS). The Indian Navy carried out feasibility studies for the integration of the two systems in June 2014, with the original plan being to fit the vessel with the Barak-8 missile system, jointly developed with Israel; however, development delays led to the carrier being fitted with the older Barak-1 system.
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- The Russian AK-630 CIWS: