THAAD goes 15 for 15 in latest intercept test | LM gets Interim payment for foreign F-35 orders | Portugal moves forward with KC-390
- The US DoD has granted Lockheed Martin a $3.7 billion interim payment for 50 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that are earmarked for non-US program members. The deal will allow Lockheed to continue production of the F-35 jets while it finalizes the terms of the 11th contract with the Pentagon and includes one F-35B aircraft for the UK, one F-35A for Italy, eight F-35A aircraft for Australia, eight F-35A for the Netherlands, four F-35A for Turkey, six F-35A for Norway, and 22 F-35A aircraft for other foreign military sales customers. According to the F-35 Program office, the DoD would continue to negotiate the 11th low rate initial production contract with Lockheed Martin and expected an agreement by the end of 2017, adding that it was “confident the final negotiated Lot 11 aircraft unit prices will be less than Lot 10.”
- Boeing has won a $276.6 million US Army contract for engineering work and manufacturing development for the CH-47F Chinook Block II program. The program will see Boeing upgrade existing CH-47F and special operations MH-47G Chinooks, totaling 542 airframes, including new composite rotor blades for better performance, drivetrain upgrades, and a strengthened airframe. Work will be conducted in Ridley Park, Penn., and is scheduled for completion by July 27, 2020.
- Electromagnetic testing of the KC-46A Pegasus tanker has been completed by a joint team involving Boeing, the USAF, and the Naval Air Systems command, moving the aircraft closer to its first delivery. Testing took place at Naval Air Station Patuxent, Md. electromagnetic pulse laboratory and the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif, which aimed to assess whether the aircraft could safely operate when confronted by the electromagnetic fields generated by equipment like radar. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report in March had deemed the tests as one of the two key risk factors that could keep Boeing from meeting its delivery goals. However, Boeing has stated that the timing of the electromagnetic tests would not push back other key milestones and that the company still intends to deliver the first KC-46A this year.
- Huntington Ingalls announced that its latest Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), has successfully completed its builder’s sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. During the trails, the vessel underwent basic testing of its main propulsion, controls, and other ships systems in the Gulf out of Pascagoula, Miss. It is expected to be home-ported at Naval Station Everett, Wash, following its commissioning later this year. So far, Huntington has delivered 29 Arleigh Burke’s to the US Navy and have four additional vessels—Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) and Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123)—currently under construction.
Middle East & North Africa
- The world’s first integrated national center for defense against weapons of mass destruction has become operational in Kuwait. Developed by Saab and delivered in co-operation with Kuwait partner Bader Sultan & Bros, the center now covers the entire country with fixed and mobile sensors and units, and will also provide simulated defense training, which will support the Kuwait National Guard’s automatic warning and reporting system—also developed by Saab. The Automatic Warning and Reporting (AWR) system was delivered to the national guard in 2015 and can be operated from fixed locations and carried by personnel or mounted on vehicles, giving operators the ability to make fast and accurate decisions to limit the effects of a CBRN attack.
- Egypt has received its first of eight single-seat Dassault Rafale C multirole combat aircraft in the latest batch of Rafale deliveries from manufcaturer Dassault. This is the fifth batch of Rafale deliveries since Cario ordered the aircraft in 2015—the previous four only containing the twin-seat Rafale B variant—and the Egyptian Air Force will eventually operate a fleet of 24—8 Rafale Cs and 16 Bs. While most fighter customers receive twin-seat variants first to allow for the training of pilots ahead of the arrival of the fully operational single seaters, in the case of the Egyptian Rafale deal it appears that the EAF intends to use the Rafale Bs in a full combat role, with the additional crew member taking on a mission commander role.
- Portugal’s Council of Ministers has given its Defense Ministry the go ahead to commence negotiations for the purchase of five KC-390 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft from Brazil’s Embraer. The ministry will now form a negotiation team with representatives appointed by the Minister of Finance, Of Science, Technology and Higher Education and by the Minister of Economy, for what could be the first foreign sale of the KC-390 after Brazil placed an order for 28 in 2014. In an effort to boost foreign interest in the tanker, Embraer recently completed a 40 day global demonstration tour, visiting 19 prospective markets in Asia, Africa and Europe.
- The US has successfully shot down another medium-range test ballistic missile in the latest test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. Conducted over the Pacific Ocean, the scheduled test comes shortly after North Korea tested its own long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Saturday, which Kim Jong-un claims is capable of striking the US mainland. While the US launch was planned well before North Korea’s latest missile launch, it comes at a time of rising tension with the country since Pyongyang launched its first-ever test of an ICBM on July 4. In response to the recent North Korean launch, South Korea said it will proceed with the deployment of four additional THAAD launchers after delays caused by South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s ordering of an environmental assessment on the system.
- Launching and landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford:
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