* A US Navy ban on T-45 flights has been lifted, although lower altitude restrictions have been put in place. The trainers were barred from flying late last month after instructor pilots reported incidents of physiological problems by pilots while in the cockpit. The pilot trainer will now fly below 10,000 feet to avoid the use of the aircraft’s On Board Oxygen Generator System as authorities continue to investigate the causes of physiological episodes experienced in the cockpit by aircrew. Air crew will also wear a modified mask that circumvents the OBOGS system.
* EDO Corp. Defense Systems, a subsidiary of Harris Corp., has been awarded a $29 million US Navy contract to deliver BRU-55A/A bomb ejector racks to the service. The contract calls for the delivery of 300 aircraft bomb ejector racks. BRU-55A/A racks are integrated with aircraft, enabling planes to carry a variety of munitions for combat missions including Joint Direct Attack Munitions, the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser and the Joint Standoff Weapon. Delivery is expected to be complete by April 2020.
* The Southwest Research Institute has developed a mobile treatment system that destroys chemical warfare agents without producing hazardous waste. The system comes in two configurations—wet and dry—with the wet pollution system developed by a Canadian company that has a stand-alone plasma torch treatment device with a liquid scrubber system. The dry system, used in arid or remote conditions, uses a Dedicated EGR engine thermal destruction device developed by Southwest Research Institute for the Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents program of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). When chemicals are destroyed, exhaust gases pass through a fluidized bed where the combusted byproducts are captured.
Middle East & North Africa
* Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense manufacturer, has announced that they will play an “active part” in the modernization of some 10,000 Mi-series helicopters across the globe. A specialist in defense electronics, the firm added that they have a particular interest in upgrading the helicopters of Gulf and Central Asian, or Turkic, countries. As part of a demonstration to showcase their abilities, Aselsan has already upgraded a Mi-17 helicopter for an undisclosed user which included adding its own products to upgrade multi-function displays, keyboard display units, inertial navigation systems, mission computers, digital moving map systems, internal communications systems, and very/ultra-high-frequency and high-frequency radios. The company said that after the demo upgrade on the Mi-17 they expect to start work on other platforms in the inventory of the “country concerned.”
* It’s been reported that Russia’s Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missile has reached speeds of Mach 8 during recent tests. Designed to be launched from the 3S14 Agat vertical launch system, the missile’s firing range is about 400 kilometers, while the maximum speed of the missile is indicated in about 4-6 Mach. The missile will be installed at the heave nuclear-powered cruisers Peter the Great and Admiral Nakhimov. Moscow plans for the missile to enter production next year.
* Iran has presented, for the first time, an indigenously-built stealth fighter jet. Previously reported as a hoax in Western media due to several aesthetic irregularities, the Qaher F-313 was unveiled during a ceremony attended by high-ranking government officials which included an address from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. It must also be noted that no flight display was given although the aircraft has under gone taxi tests. The ceremony also saw the unveiling of the Kowsar, a jet trainer that is capable of conducting short-range aerial support missions armed with various weapons.
* A delegation from Vietnam’s Defense Ministry has visited the Kazan Helicopter plant in Russia, amid expressions of interest in procuring a number of civilian and military model helicopters for the South-east Asian nation. Models being sought include the Mi-17V-5, Mi-38 and Ansat helicopters, and the visit to the plant was in order to discuss terms of delivery. Vietnam has been in talks with several nations, including India and the US, over acquisitions of new defense platforms and training, as it looks to beef up capabilities to deter against neighboring China.
* South Korea will decide next month if their M-SAM air-defense system will be declared operational. According to sources, testing and evaluations of the low-tier missile system have been completed and it now awaits a final process next month to determine its suitability for intended combat missions. Seoul had initially intended to have the system deployed in the early 2020s, but ongoing tensions with North Korea caused the government to push the deployment between 2018 and 2019. Employing hit-to-kill technology, the system will intercept incoming hostile ballistic missiles at altitudes of around 20 kilometers.
* F-35’s first deployment to Europe: