South Africa’s Paramount enters the US market with Bronco II | Erdogan wants unmanned tank | Raytheon announce Canada’s Phalanx CWIS upgrade
- Raytheon Canada will overhaul and provide in-service support for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems. Valued at CAD$330 million (USD$260.1 million), the deal tasks Raytheon with providing “maintenance, fleet technical support, repair and overhaul services on the Phalanx mounts which will ensure the systems are ready to address current and emerging threats.” Work will take place at Raytheon Canada’s Calgary facility. The deal follows an award reported earlier this month for Raytheon to upgrade the radars used on the RCN’s Phalanx CIWS.
- Two firms—Capco and Design West Technologies—will provide M205 lightweight tripods to the US Army. The split contract is valued at $38.9 million and work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of February 19, 2023. First entering use with the service in November 2013, the tripod support weapons such as the M2 Browning .50 caliber machine gun and the Mk 19 grenade launcher. It offers a stronger tripod than its predecessor—the M3—while reducing its weight by a third, and its integrated Traverse & Elevation (T&E) mechanism allows for deployment with one hand for faster and more accurate engagement.
- UTC Aerospace Systems announced Wednesday, February 21, the receipt from the US Air Force of an initial ceiling $22.9 million contract for the DB-110 Airborne Reconnaissance System. The sensor, which is electro-optical and infrared, offers a high-endIntelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability to operators with a stand-off range of 80-plus nautical miles along with the ability to collect more than 10,000 square miles of high-resolution imagery per hour. The reconnaissance pod is in use with more than 14 nations and is in use on a variety of platforms including the F-16, F-15, P-3, MQ-9, and Tornado. This recent contract supports requests for the DB-110 system from multiple countries via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, and is the single largest acquisition of the pod through the FMS process.
- A new enterprise, Bronco Combat Systems, is looking to enter the US military market with a new observation/light attack platform—the Bronco II. The aircraft is based on South Africa’s first indigenous turboprop aircraft designed AHRLAC (Advanced High-performance Reconnaissance and Surveillance Aircraft), developed by a joint venture between the Paramount Group and Aerosud. The US-based subsidiary has been set up by Paramount in conjunction with the original AHRLAC supplier Aerospace Development Corp, and Virginia-based mission systems integrator Fulcrum Concepts to form Bronco Combat Systems. According to the BCS press release, the Bronco II is “capable of carrying a wide range of weapons, sensors and systems in extended airborne mission operations. It is a unique platform that is built for purpose; uses a pusher propeller and has an open system architecture allowing for the rapid incorporation of current and emerging systems, setting a new standard for mission flexibility and adaptability.
Middle East & Africa
- The possible foreign military sale (FMS) of four King Air 350ER Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft has been cleared by the Trump administration to the government of Kuwait. An announcement posted by the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) estimate the sale at $259 million, with the package to include enhanced PT6A-67A engines, AN/AAQ-35 WESCAM MX-15HDi Electro-Optical & Infrared Imaging Sensor Turrets, Selex Seaspray 7500E Active Electronically Scanned Array Radars (AESA), AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (MWS), AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Systems, as well as other systems, training and support. Furthermore, one of the four aircraft will be further modified to accommodate VIP/senior leadership personnel for transport and Med Evac capability or command and control,and other related elements of logistical support. Sierra Nevada Corp will act as lead contractor on the sale.
- Turkey wants to develop unmanned tanks, its strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday during a conference on the state’s five-year development plans. “We need to be able to manufacture unmanned tanks, and we will do this,” he said. “We are becoming a country that is catching this technology,” adding that the driverless tanks would minimize the risks to soldiers. The news comes as Turkish troops and its backed militias entered northern Syria in January, as part of efforts to clear an area along its border that is occupied by US-backed Syrian Kurds. Ankara claims these groups the are in cahoots with militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—a group originating in Turkey that is deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU. Footage of German-made Leopard tanks and their shelling of Kurdish positions have been circulated widely on social media, as have footage of clashes showing them being destroyed by Kurdish anti-tank fire.
- Romania’s National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor, announced Tuesday, his country’s ambition to acquire four more F-16 fighter jets in order to complete a full squadron. The Romanian Air Force currently operates 12 F-16s purchased second-hand from Portugal. Fifor added that the eventual goal is to add a further 36 F-16s to its inventory and the ministry has already contacted the US on availability and is awaiting a response from Washington. As with several other former-Communist bloc governments in the region, Bucharest also operates a fleet of ageing MiG-21 fighter aircraft, which they are gradually replacing with NATO-compatible fighter aircraft as the alliance moves east.
- Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems (RCEVS), a joint venture between Israel’s Elbit Systems and Rockwell Collins, will incorporate the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II (JHMCS II) helmet-mounted display into the Republic of Korea Air Force’s F-16 fighter aircraft. The value of the contract was not disclosed. In a statement announcing the deal, Elbit said the new system will give South Korea’s F-16 operators with “enhanced situational awareness during day and night missions with immediate and accurate visor-projected display of friendly, threat, and unknown targets. The JHMCS II Night Vision Goggle (NVG) and Digital Eyepiece (DEP) solution allows pilots to easily convert from day to night operations by using one hand while airborne and without removing the helmet. With the JHMCS II NVG/DEP night solution, pilots are able to fly with HMD symbology during both day and night missions.” RCEVS will also supply the F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System. In 2016, it was announced that 35 of Seoul’s Block 32 fighters were successfully upgraded to include new AESA radar and the ability to launch more advanced munitions.
- Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A deploys drag chute in the country for the first time:
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