* The Air Force has launched a tender for the launch of a next-generation Global Positioning System satellite, releasing a RFP for the launch vehicle production, mission integration and launch operations. The latest Lockheed Martin GPS-III satellite was recently announced as being ready for system testing.
* The Pentagon is set to award $4 billion in contracts for modernization of the RQ-4 Global Hawk over the next five years, with the program funded to 2020. The program recently achieved milestone C, a key requirement for the platform to progress with modernization efforts.
* Raytheon has been awarded another contract for the Tactical Boost Guide program, with DARPA exercising a $19.5 million option, bringing the total value of Raytheon’s contract with the agency to $24,390,645. The TBG program seeks to develop air-launched tactical range hypersonic boost glide systems, with DARPA working in conjunction with the Air Force.
* Norway has requested 200 AIM-9X Block II missiles. The potential $345 million deal will likely see the missiles equip the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s (RNoAF) fleet of F-16s. The Norwegians helped develop the IRIS-T missile as part of a German-led multinational program, with this missile supposedly meant to replace the AIM-9 missiles in service with many NATO countries.
* The Spanish Air Force has taken over the investigation of the crashed A400M, which came down outside Seville. The government initially tasked civilians from the Defense and Transport Ministries to investigate, however that responsibility has passed to the Spanish Air Force’s CITAAM investigative body.
* The State Department has approved a possible sale of 48 UGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles to Japan. The submarine-launched Block II version of the missile is designed to improve the missile’s ability to attack targets in congested littoral environments, where nearby land masses and other ships can provide cover for targets. The Foreign Military Sale would be worth $199 million, with the missiles manufactured by Boeing. The company is meanwhile offering the latest version of the missile – known as the Harpoon Next-Gen – to the US Navy.
* India has cleared three defense procurement deals worth a total value of $3.8 billion, media reported Thursday. These include 145 M777 howitzers through a government-to-government Foreign Military Sale with the US, with Indian firms set to provide maintenance and ammunition.
* The government also cleared the procurement of Russian Ka 226T light utility helicopters, following the restart of the program’s procurement process in March. The helicopters will be manufactured in India.
* Airbus and TATA have teamed to supply the Indian Air Force with new transport aircraft, edging out home side HAL in the process. The partners will supply 56 C-295 transporters, with that particular deal worth $1.89 billion. Forty of the planes will be manufactured in India, with the remainder purchased in ready-to-fly condition.
* The Indian Defence Acquisition Council also cleared the construction of India’s second domestically-manufactured aircraft carrier, to supplement the INS Vikrant currently under construction in Cochin Shipyard. The ship will be called the INS Vishal (Giant). In a further boost for the Indian Navy, the DAC cleared the procurement of six indigenously-developed BrahMos missile systems, with these set to equip Talwar and Delhi class ships.
* L-3 has been selected to supply the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with SATCOM terminals, according to a company press release. The $81.8 million contract, awarded by prime contractor Raytheon as part of Joint Project 2008 Phase 5B1, will enable more ADF units to connect to the Wideband Global SATCOM network, with this latest contract a follow-on to a similar 2013 contract to supply 51 Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs). This latest contract will see the firm supply 236 VSATs, with these split between the company’s Hawkeye and Panther systems.
* The 155mm M777, soon to be in the hands of the Indian Army…