Textron AirLand Accelerates R&D on Scorpion Program | Huntington Ingalls Looks at Camber Corp Purchase | Leonardo-Fin Unveils Centauro II Armored Vehicle
- In preparation for an imminent flight of the first production model of the Scorpion light attack plane, manufacturer Textron AirLand has accelerated research & development spending on the program. The move comes as the consortium, a self-funded effort between companies Textron and AirLand Enterprises, looks to demonstrate the jet’s capabilities as customer engagement increases. While the Scorpion had been floated as a potential candidate for the USAF’s T-X trainer competition, it remains to be formally offered due to the service’s changing requirements. They will instead focus on marketing the jet as a low-cost light attack and surveillance aircraft.
- Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls is thinking to diversify their portfolio by looking to purchase government services contractor Camber Corp. for $400 million. With larger contractors such as Lockheed Martin exiting or shrinking their services business, Huntington see an opportunity to invest in a potential growth engine. Company CEO Mike Peters alluded to such a move saying on the company’s August 4 earnings call that he wanted to “grow our services business in support of the Navy and the Department of Energy.”
- Following the butting of horns over who runs the show, Raytheon and Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s joint effort as part of the USAF T-X trainer competition is back on track. Both companies came together in February this year to offer the Italian firm’s T-100 jet trainer; however, Raytheon’s role as prime contractor has riled Leonardo since they designed and built the aircraft and had already sold the M-346, on which the T-100 is based, to Italy, Israel, Poland and Singapore. Other bones of contention include work share roles and assembly as well as the possibility by Raytheon to export the aircraft as an “American” plane to governments who prefer doing business through the US Foreign Military Sales program.
Middle East & North Africa
- A team of 40 UK military personnel will travel to Tunisia to provide training on Operational Planning, Intelligence and Surveillance and mobile patrolling. The Short Term Training Team is the third tranche of training delivered as part of the UK’s commitment to improving security in the region, following the previous installments in February, and before that in late 2015. Including both theoretical and practical exercises, the training will help Tunisian forces better defend their borders, especially with Libya, from threats by jihadist militants.
- Leonardo-Finmeccanica unveiled their Centauro II armored vehicle during an event at the Cecchignola Army range near Rome. Sporting a 120mm gun, the latest electro-optics and communication systems, the light tank was put through its paces in front of a crowd that included Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff Lt. Gen. Danilo Errico and Leonardo CEO Mauro Moretti. At present, Italian lawmakers are debating approval for a $582 million order for a first tranche of 11 pre-series Centauro II tanks and 39 production vehicles, along with 10 years of logistics service. The Italian Army hopes to acquire 150 units to operate alongside the new Freccia armored troop carrier.
- A French light reconnaissance aircraft crashed in Malta on Monday killing all five passengers on board. The incident occurred shortly after takeoff where the crew had been taking part in a five month-long customs operation, tracking human trafficking and drug smuggling in the Mediterranean. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed that three of the victims were ministry staff while the other two were contractors.
- For the first time since WW2, UK and Japanese fighters will duke it out in aerial combat drills at Japan’s northern Misawa Air Base. Four RAF Eurofighter Typhoons and a C-17 support plane touched down on Saturday and will face off against and fly with Japanese F-15s and domestically built Mitsubishi F-2s in an exercise dubbed Guardian North 16. The exercise is also being seen as an opportunity by Tokyo to see the Typhoon in action as it ponders the replacement of the F-2 and the choice of using a cheaper non-stealth superiority fighter based on an existing design or a much more expensive program to develop their own indigenous stealth fighter.
- Malaysia has announced a number of upgrades to both Navy frigates and their fleet of antiquated S-61 helicopters. Danish electronics firm Terma A/S will install their SCANTER 6000 radar systems on two Lekiu-class vessels as part of a mid-life modernization and service life extension program. The X-band 2D solid-state radar has been specifically designed as an affordable all-weather sensor solution to plug the gap between standard marine navigation radars and more expensive military surveillance radar systems. Meanwhile, Heli-One and Malaysian firm Airod will fit new displays, a new mission computer, and a new search radar on their 30 S-61 helicopters following the scaling back on orders of the Airbus Helicopters EC725s.
RAF Eurofighters touch down in Japan:
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