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Daily Rapid Fire

THAAD continues 100% intercept streak | Textron to compete for Navy ISR work | Romania cleared for Patriots

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Americas * Tuesday saw the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and US Army successfully complete the first ever test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system against an incoming intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). Orbital ATK provided the target, which was air-dropped North of Hawaii by parachute from the cargo hold of a C-17 aircraft before its rockets ignited and the missile simulated an intermediate range ballistic missile threat. Meanwhile, in Kodiak, Alaska, THAAD radars detected, acquired and tracked the target and developed a fire control solution. The interceptor was then launched, destroying the target’s re-entry vehicle through kinetic force. This success leaves THAAD with a 100 percent track record for all 14 intercept attempts since flight testing began just over a decade ago. * Textron Systems’ Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) will join Boeing’s Insitu-built Scan Eagle SUAS in competing for US Navy ship-based surveillance work after the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded Textron a potential maximum of $1.73 billion indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract for their systems. Speaking on the announcement, David Phillips, Textron Systems Vice President of Small/Medium Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems, said that the Navy requirements state that the UAS operating on ships must use […]
Americas

* Tuesday saw the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and US Army successfully complete the first ever test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system against an incoming intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). Orbital ATK provided the target, which was air-dropped North of Hawaii by parachute from the cargo hold of a C-17 aircraft before its rockets ignited and the missile simulated an intermediate range ballistic missile threat. Meanwhile, in Kodiak, Alaska, THAAD radars detected, acquired and tracked the target and developed a fire control solution. The interceptor was then launched, destroying the target’s re-entry vehicle through kinetic force. This success leaves THAAD with a 100 percent track record for all 14 intercept attempts since flight testing began just over a decade ago.

* Textron Systems’ Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) will join Boeing’s Insitu-built Scan Eagle SUAS in competing for US Navy ship-based surveillance work after the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded Textron a potential maximum of $1.73 billion indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract for their systems. Speaking on the announcement, David Phillips, Textron Systems Vice President of Small/Medium Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems, said that the Navy requirements state that the UAS operating on ships must use the same aviation fuel already aboard Navy ships rather than using their own fuel or battery-powered systems, and must also stay within a tight footprint on the ship and be completely roll-on/roll-off, meaning no modifications can be made to the ship and the system must be completely removed from the ship’s deck when not in use. Textron already operates hundreds of Aerosonde vehicles including in US European Command, US Africa Command and US Central Command.

Middle East & North Africa

* Bell Helicopters Textron has been awarded a $22 million US Army contract modification for continued contractor logistics support of Iraq’s Bell 407GX fleet and other helicopters. The deal expands the previous contract for another year and adds the 407GX and associated spares and parts to the company’s work order. Work will be conducted at Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by August 2017. Iraq already uses the older Bell 206 and variants of the Bell UG-1 “Huey” series of helicopters as part of its fleet.

* Israel is to soon demonstrate a smart helmet-mounted system that will allow tank commanders to see through the walls of tanks for safe and effective ground-maneuvering combat. Developed by Elbit Systems, the vehicle-adapted Iron Vision is expected to bring Israel into the world of closed hatch operations, keeping commanders free from sniper fire in urban environments by eliminating the need for them to stick their head out of the tank’s turret. The helmet is one of several upgrades planned for an improved Merkava Mark IV tank, known as the Barak, or Lightening, which also include a second-generation version of Rafael’s Trophy active protection system, precision-rounds and an Elbit-developed, upgraded C4I system that integrates armor, infantry, artillery and other ground-force elements on the same, cyber-secure digital network.

Europe

* The US State Department has approved the possible sale of Patriot missile defense systems to Romania. Estimated to be worth $3.9 billion, the sale includes the provision of seven Patriot Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units consisting of: seven AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, seven AN/MSQ-132 engagement control stations, 13 antenna mast groups, twenty-eight M903 launching stations, 56 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-TBM (GEM-T) missiles, 168 Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles, and 7 Electrical Power Plants (EPP) III. If approved, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will act as main contractors. A NATO member since 2004, the procurement comes as Bucharest looks to modernize its Soviet-era equipment and improve its defense capabilities as tensions with neighboring Russia continue.

* The Netherlands has been cleared to purchase additional AGM-114R Hellfires, adding to a previously implemented deal for the missiles. Approved by the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the sale calls for 70 extra missiles, bringing to 250 the total number of missiles to be acquired by Amsterdam, in addition to training rounds, spares, support, and equipment. The missiles will be used on Dutch-operated AH-64D Apache helicopters.

Asia Pacific

* Australia has been cleared by the DSCA for the sale of tanks rounds and F/A-18 Super Hornet upgrades. The first deal, valued at an estimated $50 million, calls for the delivery of 120mm tank ammunition and related support services in order to sustain necessary training levels for Australia’s tank operators and to maintain operational readiness and training requirements. The second sale, estimated to cost $101.4 million, calls for upgrades to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, including 32 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) with four channel Concurrent Multi-Network (CMN-4), and 39 AN/ALQ-214A(V)4 Countermeasure Systems.

* Rafael has completed integration of its I-Derby air-to-air missiles on India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), with test-firing scheduled for the end of 2017. The Israeli firm also confirmed earlier reports that the fighter could be equipped with the latest Extended Range (ER) version of the missile, and is also looking to offer its Spike ER air-to-surface missile to meet an Indian requirement for helicopter-launched weapons. The Spike tender will also come with a new launcher to meet New Delhi’s technical specifications.

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* THAAD’ll do:

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