Three companies enter Polish sub replacement program | India launches new CIWS project to replace Russian guns | Pakistan scores in Harba test-firing
- Boeing has been awarded a $193 million US Air Force contract by the Department of Defense (DoD), to provide GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb Increment 1 (SBD-1) to several foreign partner nations. Saudi Arabia, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Singapore will all benefit from the deal, and 6,000 SDB 1 all-up-rounds are being produced under the modification to the original Lots 12-14 production order. Production will take place at St. Louis, Mo., and deliveries will be completed by December 2020.
- An incident before Christmas involving engine failure on an E-8C JSTARS aircraft, caused damage to a total of five aircraft in the ground surveillance fleet. Based at Warner Robins AFB, Georgia, the engine failed on December 21 during a maintenance test run on a crowded ramp by the runway, spewing debris from the engine around the ramp and parking areas. Three of the five damaged aircraft returned to flight status within three days, while a fourth was said to be repaired in the early new year. The fifth is believed to be still grounded, but none of the Northrop APY-7 radars installed inside the aircrafts’ belly were damaged. Each E-8C—a modified Boeing 707-300—is powered by four Pratt & Whitney TF33-102C engines, a 1950s design derived from the once ubiquitous P&W JT-3. A re-engining program for the aircraft was cancelled in 2011, and the USAF is currently considering whether to cancel a competition to select a business jet platform to replace the E-8C fleet, and restart it with a platform that could survive in contested airspace. Flight operations were reportedly not affected by the incident.
Middle East-North Africa
- US congressional records reviewed by Al-Monitor have revealed that year one of the Trump Administration has seen $600 million funnelled to Middle East and North African nations allied to Washington, in order to tackle threats from jihadist militants operating in the region. Part of the funding—authorized under Section 333 of the 2016 US defense budget—has gone towards beefing up the air force capabilities of Jordan and Lebanon to tackle insurgents, while Tunisian and Moroccan special forces have received training, arms, and equipment to help them better tackle the return of foreign fighters following the collapse of Islamic State territory in Iraq and Syria. Similar to arms received under foreign military financing, the money, which is subject to human rights vetting procedures, could help to deal with returning IS fighters and border threats.
- Three European companies have entered tenders to Poland’s Ministry of Defense, to supply three new submarines to replace the Polish Navy’s ageing Kobben-class subs. The contract is believed to be worth approximately $2.9 billion. Joining the fray are France’s Naval Group with its Scorpene-class subs armed with MBDA’s naval cruise missiles; Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is bidding with its Type 212CD-class subs; while Sweden’s Saab-owned company Kockum is offering its A26-class subs. Naval Group’s entry is the only tender to include cruise missiles as part of its deal, which some local observers say may give them the edge, while the German Type 212 has already been selected by Norway to replace its own ageing submarines—so if Warsaw was to join the procurement, it may drive down costs. According to the ministry, the new vessels will “constitute the essential combat and flagship element of the Polish Navy, and, at the same time, as they will be fitted with cruise missiles, they will be a key element of the state’s and alliance’s military deterrence.” Deliveries of the selected sub will take place between 2024 and 2026.
- Pakistan’s Navy announced on January 3, the successful test-firing of the indigenously produced ‘Harba’ anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) from the Azmat-class fast attack craft (FAC) PNS Himmat. The Harba surface-to-surface anti-ship missile also comes with a Land Attack capability and is a variant of the Babur land attack cruise missile (LACM), while the PNS Himmat is the first of two Azmat-class FACs modified to deploy the Harba (the second is under construction). Analysts believe that the ASCM will be likely deployed on Type 054A frigates being purchased from China, which may include the Type 366/SLR-66 over the horizon (OTH) radar necessary to provide mid-course guidance to targets for the Harba.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) has started a program to procure a new close-in weapons system (CIWS) that is open only to domestic firms under its “Buy & Make (Indian)” procurement category. Valued at $1.5 billion, the service-specific tender requests 244 air defense guns, 228 fire control and search radars, and 204,000 programmable bullets, and will replace the obsolete Russian-made L-70 and ZU-23-2B air defense systems. The new guns will havea range of 3.5 kilometers and be capable of firing 200 rounds of ammunition per minute, and will be capable of targeting fighters, helicopters, UAVs and cruise missiles. Local firms lining up for the program are Bharat Forge Limited, Punj Lloyd, TataPower SED, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Defence, and Mahindra Defence Systems, as well as state-controlled Bharat Electronics Limited and Ordnance Factory Board. Induction will take place over the next seven years.
- After two no-shows to requests to appear in front of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission, former Air Force chief of staff Agus Supriatna finally made an appearance on January 3, to answer questions over alleged graft during the purchase of an Agusta-Westland AW101 helicopter. Agus was one of several air force officers questioned as a witness in the commission’s investigation into graft suspect Irfan Kurnia Saleh, the CEO of military equipment supplier Diratama Jaya Mandiri. As with just about anyone who has been wrapped up in a corruption scandal, Agus told reporters after the questioning that he hoped all parties involved keep the legal case low-profile while it is being settled. “We will work together to resolve it. There is no need to be noisy,” he said. The attempted procurement of two AW101s for VVIP transport caused quite a ruckus in Indonesia and was cancelled by President Joko Widodo after public outcry in 2015. Despite this, air force officials went ahead with the purchase of one model for ‘other purposes’, and six military officers, along with another person, are now being investigated for alleged collaboration in acquiring the helicopter on the sly, which resulted in the loss of $16 million to the taxpayer.
- Pakistan tests the Harba ASCM:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire