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Steel cut on third Ford-class carrier | Nigeria eyes Yak-130 | KAI could loose out on USAF T-X comp, warns union

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Americas * Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $547.9 million US Army contract for the production and delivery of Hellfire II air-to-ground attack missiles. As many as 7,359 Hellfire II missiles, in a number of air-to-ground variants, and including their containers will be produced by September 20, 2020 at the firm’s facility in Orlando, Florida. […]
Americas

* Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $547.9 million US Army contract for the production and delivery of Hellfire II air-to-ground attack missiles. As many as 7,359 Hellfire II missiles, in a number of air-to-ground variants, and including their containers will be produced by September 20, 2020 at the firm’s facility in Orlando, Florida. The Hellfire is the primary air-to-ground short-range precision guided missile for US helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and is in service with many other nations. It also comes in ground and ship-launched models.

* Advanced construction has commenced on the US Navy’s third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier by Huntington Ingalls. The firm’s Newport News Shipbuilding division started the process last Thursday with a ceremonial cutting of a 35-ton steel plate of the Enterprise (CVN 80) under an advance-fabrication contract awarded earlier in the year. The Navy expects to make an award for the ship’s detail design and construction next year.

* As a falling oil and gas sector has reduced demand for its wares, Bell Helicopter is looking to sell its 525 Relentless medium helicopter to the military sector as a 20-passenger troop transport or search and rescue (SAR) platform. In a market that already faces stiff competition from Sikorsky, NH Industries, Airbus, and Leonardo, Larry Thimmesch, vice-president of 525 sales and business development, is confident that the advanced technologies on the Relentless, such as fly-by-wire controls, will appeal to military operators, adding that some governments have already reached out about the helicopter. However, the firm has yet to set a baseline configuration for the military variant of the 525.

Middle East & Africa

* The Nigerian Ministry of Defense is looking at further procurements of Russian weaponry to help it tackle the insurgency of the jihadist militant group, Boko Haram. Items being viewed include new rifles, armored vehicles, MiG fighters and the Yak-130. Speaking on the sidelines of the International Army Games-2017, Nigerian Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali said that after having a look at potential new equipment, they will “look at some of its specifications before we sit down for negotiations” upon the delegation’s return to Nigeria. Abuja already has ordered 12 Mi-35 helicopters from Russian helicopters, with two models already delivered.

Europe

* Elbit Systems has won a $14.9 million contract to arm 126 Patria eight-wheel drive armored modular vehicles operated by the Croatian military. Under the terms of the deal, Elbit Systems will supply its UT30MK2 unmanned turrets fitted with a 30mm cannon and a 7.62x51mm gun, as well as Spike-LR missile systems made by fellow Israeli firm, Rafael. Government sources said that while both firms had initially presented separate offers, the final tender submitted was a joint bid which aimed to offer both company’s systems at the lowest possible price. The Israeli firms won out against an offer from Croatian manufacturer, Duro Dakovic, who had previously worked with Finland’s Patria to help produce the vehicles for Zagreb, however, its offer is believed to be twice that of the Israeli one. Delivery of the weapons systems is scheduled for early 2018.

* Helicopter manufacturer Russian Helicopters has been awarded a contract by the Russian Ministry of Defense for the “formation of the concept of a high-speed combat helicopter.” The two-year agreement will see both sides work on determining the “technical appearance of the perspective high-speed combat helicopter.” Andrey Boginsk, Russian Helicopter’s CEO, hailed the contract as “a serious step towards the new generation of helicopter construction, with higher speeds and flight and technical characteristics.”

Asia Pacific

* The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Leidos Innovation Group a $727.7 million Army contract for support of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and Special Mission Wing (SMW) helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft fleets. The agreement will run until May 31, 2020, and will be carried out by Leidos in Kabul, Afghanistan. Despite receiving heavy investment from the US since the ousting of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan government still relies heavily on US air support. The AAF’s inventory is a mixture of Russian–Soviet-era platforms like the Mi-17 transport and Mi-24 attack helicopters— as well as American and other nation’s helicopters and light aircraft—planes like the A-29 Super Tucano turboprop attack planesand MD-530 utility helicopters.

* A labor union for workers at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has warned that an ongoing probe into corruption at the company could damage its chances of participating in the US Air Force T-X trainer competition. The union demanded that there be a swift normalization of business irrespective of the probe’s findings. It also wants a new KAI chief to be named as soon as possible to resolve liquidity issues and put business back in order. KAI has teamed with Lockheed Martin to enter an upgraded version of the T-50A as a solution for the USAF’s Advanced Pilot Training (APT) program, which aims to replace the service’s existing fleet of trainer aircraft.

Today’s Video

* Gymnasts help cut steel for the future USS Enterprise:

https://youtu.be/HLmeVewQHOg

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