Raytheon won a $72.8 million order, which provides non-recurring engineering in support of early identification, development, and qualification of corrections to potential and actual F135 propulsion system operational issues, to include safety and reliability/maintainability problems identified through fleet usage. Additionally, this order provides for continued engine maturation, evaluates component life limits based on operational experience, improves operational readiness, and reduces engine maintenance and life cycle costs in support of the F-35 Lightning II program. Work will take place in Connecticut. Expected completion will be in December 2026.
The US Department of Defense awarded Textron Aviation to produce and deliver 10 T-54A multi-engine training system (METS) aircraft for the US Navy. The training jets will provide naval aviation students with advanced instrument and asymmetric multi-engine handling instruction. The initial contract, worth $113.1 million, covers the development and acquisition of 10 jets, with an optional extension of up to $677.2 million for as many as 64 planes.
Middle East & Africa
According to Jane’s, Ethiopia has acquired dozens of Chinese-built 155 mm SH15 wheeled, self-propelled howitzers, images of a joint military exercise revealed. Columns of howitzers were pictured at the Awash Arba war technical school during the exercise 165 kilometers (102 miles) south of the capital Addis Ababa. Satellite imagery showed 32 howitzers lined up in four columns at the Harar Meda Air Base.
Belgium announced a new package of military aid for Ukraine on Friday, promising cash, missiles, machine-guns, and armored vehicles to help fight off the Russian troops. But DefenSe Minister Ludivine Dedonder had to admit that Belgium has no main battle tanks to match the latest offers from NATO allied like Britain, Germany, Poland, and the United States. The Belgian shipment, she said, would notably include “anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank missiles, machine guns, grenades and other military equipment.”
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force is set to decommission its J-7 fighter jets this year, according to a report from Global Times. The J-7, China’s first supersonic fighter jet, has been in use by the PLA Air Force and the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) for many years, but has been gradually retired since 2018 as the country’s production capacity of new aircraft has increased.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has signed an agreement with Northrop Grumman to cooperate on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial system development. The domestically-developed drones will be deployed on naval destroyers and coast guard patrol ships for various missions, such as surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition. Northrop has extensive experience in VTOL drone technology. Its MQ-8 Fire Scout VTOL system is currently operated by the US Navy.
WATCH: Pratt & Whitney F135 Overview