The Morning after the night before: Canada investigate Filipino helicopter deal | JASSM-ER operational on F-15E | RAF hail 2018 “Year of the Typhoon”
- Lockheed Martin has declared that the Extended Range variant of its Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), the JASSM-ER, is now fully operational on the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter. A company statement released by the firm on February 6 said that the F-15E is the first Universal Armament Interface (UAI)-compliant platform—which features standardized interfaces to support future weapon integration—to field JASSM-ER, following a period of integration of the baseline and ER-variant of the missile led by the US Air Force Seek Eagle Office. The JASSM-ER boasts a range of over 500 nautical miles, or over two-and-a-half times the range on its baseline equivalent, and Lockheed already have planned block upgrades for the missile already in the works.
- A US Department of Defense (DoD) statement awarded on Monday, February 5, a $119.7 million modification to an existing contract for the delivery of air vehicle deployment spares in support of the USAF’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. The agreement tasks Lockheed Martin with providing initial air vehicle deployment spares packages in support of Air Force F-35 air vehicle delivery schedules, with deliveries scheduled to be completed by July 2022. Work will take place across the United States, as well as in the Netherland and United Kingdom.
Middle East & Africa
- South African defense manufacturer Paramount Group announced that its production factory for the AHRLAC (Advanced High Performance and Reconnaissance Light Aircraft) system is ‘fully operational.’ Serial production is already underway for several undisclosed launch customers, and the platform is being advertised as a low-cost (light cost per hour is projected at $1,000), multi-mission aircraft with sub-Saharan Africa identified as a target market. Suitable for surveillance, border patrol, anti-smuggling and disaster relief operations, an armed version of the AHRLAC—the Mwari—is undergoing armament tests using Mokopa anti-tank guided missiles along with 70 mm rockets and 20 mm cannon pods, making the platform capable of undertaking counter insurgency and close air support missions.
- German-Dutch consortium ARTEC has promised to produce and assemble the majority of its Boxer armored personnel carrier (APC) at Pearson Engineering’s factory in northeast England, if the UK Ministry of Defense finalizes orders for the supply of several hundred of the eight-wheel drive APCs to the British Army. Assembly, design, and manufacture in the UK would generate approximately 1,000 jobs and keep about 60 percent of the $2.7 billion contract within the UK—an attractive offer in a nation looking to keep and boost manufacturing employment after the decision to leave the European Union in 2016. The announcement was made by ARCTEC—a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall?as part of a statement that it had recruited as part of its team, Pearson, BAE Systems and Thales UK, and comes as the MoD closes on a decision whether to buy the Boxer without a competition. However, as the Daily Telegraph reports, concerns about a funding hole in the defence budget means a decision contract has been pushed back, as well as being complicated by rival suppliers complaining they have been shut out of the program and that Artec’s proposals would not offer as much work to the UK supply chain as theirs.
- The Croatian government has demanded that Ukraine take back four faulty MiG-21 fighter aircraft previously overhauled for Zagreb. Delivered in 2014, the contract undertaken by the state-run Ukrspecexport was to overhaul seven Croatian MiG-21s and supply another five refurbished jets, with the aim that the aircraft would keep flying until 2023, upon delivery of NATO-friendly warplanes to the Croatian Air Force. However, aircraft numbers 131, 132, 134 and 135 have been inoperable since 2016—they were five years older than previously stated and repair work was not done properly—and Croatia have now informed Kiev that these will now need to be replaced as per state guarantees in the contract. Croatia’s MiG-21s will be replaced by either Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen or Lockheed Martin’s F-16.
- Russia’s Ministry of Defense has announced fresh orders of the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters that falls under the new State Arms Program that runs from 2018-2027. 114 of the reconnaissance-strike helicopter will be acquired under the program, and will fall under a new modification equipped with new long-range missiles and an improved optical-sighting system. Speaking on the announcement, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov added that six new Ka-52s will be delivered to the Russian armed forces in 2018.
- Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has hailed 2018 the “Year of the Typhoon” as modernization work to the multi-role fighter’s continues to pass tests. Upgrades to systems and weapons under Project Centurion—an effort to improve the capabilities of Eurofighter Typhoons in the RAF fleet as it replaces the Tornado as the force’s main fighter—have been undergoing testing by 41(R) Squadron, a Test and Evaluation Squadron based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. The head of Project Centurion, Gp Capt John Cunningham, said that by the end of the year “no other aircraft in the world will have all of the Typhoon’s capabilities.” He added: “It will have the long-range air-to-air Meteor missile, Brimstone and Storm Shadow which can hit moving targets and underground structures, Paveway IV laser guided bombs, the Litening III targeting pod and ASRAAM air-to-air missiles. All this will come together by December 2018 making the next year the biggest game changer ever in the development of this aircraft.”
- A day after finalizing a deal to sell 16 Bell 412EP helicopters to the Philippines, the Canadian government has asked for a review into the deal for fear that they may be used to tackle insurgents operating on the archipelago nation. The $233 million deal had been tentatively agreed in 2012 with the understanding that the helicopters would be used for search & rescue missions, however, Philippine Major-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, told Reuters on Tuesday the helicopters would be used for the military’s internal security operations, adding they could also be deployed in search-and-rescue and disaster relief operations. In response, Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne—who signed the deal on Tuesday—told reporters “that when we saw that declaration … we immediately launched a review with the relevant authorities. And we will obviously review the facts and take the right decision,” without giving more details. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated the concerns by adding: “We are going to make sure before this deal or any other deal goes through that we are abiding by the rules … that Canadian governments have to follow.” News of this investigation may further irk the Philippines hard-man leader, President Rodrigo Duterte, who in November, blasted Trudeau for questioning his ongoing violence campaign against suspected drug dealers. Duterte called the criticisms an “official insult”, adding that he “would not answer to any other bullshit, especially (from) foreigners”. While Canada maintains that it has very clear rules that any weapons exports are not sold to countries that flaunt human rights, Trudeau’s Liberal government, in 2016, deciding to honor a contract to sell light armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, despite human rights concerns.
- Singapore Airshow 2018 Day 2—Introducing foreign companies innovative technologies:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire