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Daily Rapid Fire

Trudeau’s Vow to Ditch the F-35 Could be Tough | Denel & Poly Tech Join to Produce Naval Vessels for SA | Airbus to Introduce Digital Methods into Operations

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Americas * BAE Systems has been awarded a US Army contract for the upgrade and repair of 32 155mm self-propelled Howitzers for Brazil. Valued at $53.8 million, the deal is expected to be completed by March 2019. This follows the 2014 approval by the US State Department for the sale of up to 40 Howitzer […]
Americas

* BAE Systems has been awarded a US Army contract for the upgrade and repair of 32 155mm self-propelled Howitzers for Brazil. Valued at $53.8 million, the deal is expected to be completed by March 2019. This follows the 2014 approval by the US State Department for the sale of up to 40 Howitzer upgrade kits to Brazil, along with the associated equipment parts, training, and logistics as part of a deal estimated to be worth $110 million at the time.

* With nearly a year in office under his belt, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet will have to make some tough choices over the next year with analysts warning they could effect popularity and political capital. The biggest question in relation to the defense industry is of course the decision over the replacement of CF-18 fighters following the valiant vow to drop of the F-35 during the election campaign. It’s expected that the Liberals will soon announce whether they intend to break this pledge to launch a new competition for fighter jets, with talk inside military circles believing that Ottawa could announce a sole-source contract.

Middle East & North Africa

* Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were accidentally bombed by Western warplanes in attacks supposedly aimed at militants of the Islamic State. The US-led coalition halted Saturday’s sorties once Russian officials notified the US of the mistake. 62 Syrian government soldiers were killed in the strike which involved US, Australian, Danish and British aircraft.

Africa

* A memorandum of understanding has been signed between South Africa’s Denel and Chinese Poly Technologies in a deal aimed at “SA’s maritime rejuvenation.” The deal will see Poly Technologies, a division of the larger Poly Defense Group, take a stake in the Simons Town shipyard and join Denel in constructing three naval vessels. It’s believed that Poly is likely to make an investment in the recapitalization of the Simons Town dockyard as part of its management takeover by Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime (Denel ISM). Denel aims to have Poly help develop the naval vessels presuming Poly wins the SA Navy’s Projects Biro and Hotel for hydrographic, inshore and offshore patrol vessels.

Europe

* The UK MoD has announced that they will purchase Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s BriteCloud decoy system in a deal worth $3.25 million. Speaking on the deal, defense official Tony Douglas said “flight trials planned for later this year will test the system’s effectiveness against a wide range of current and potential threats, helping to ensure that UK pilots have the tools they need to successfully complete their missions wherever they are in the world.” If trials are successful, the system will be operational aboard RAF Tornado fighter-bombers by mid-2017.

* Airbus admits to planned cost-cutting measures as the European defense giant embarks on a project to introduce more digital methods into its operations. The company stated that “the envisaged cost-cutting aims at being a contribution to value creation and in particular to the digital transformation at Airbus Group,” but denied reports that they are working on new cuts as a result of cost overruns on their largest planes. Aircraft such as the A400M military transporter have undergone severe delays, cost overruns, and fines during its development, causing much ire from customer nations.

Asia Pacific

* Dassault Rafale fighters purchased by the Indian government are believed to operate as the platform to take over the nuclear strike role from the Indian Air Force’s current fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters. It’s expected that a long awaited Inter-Government Agreement for the purchase of 36 of the French fighter will be announced over the next few days after New Delhi dropped its initial plan to procure 126 Rafales. While there is a follow up clause for an additional 12 Rafales, the IAF’s capability gap will be filled by either the indigenous Tejas fighters, or another foreign fighter such as the Gripen or F-16, both of which have been offered in conjunction with the “Make in India” initiative.

* Chinese media sources have reported that Thailand is looking to replace its fleet of C-130H transport aircraft. Quoting outgoing Air Force chief, Trithod Sonchaeng, likely candidates for the aircraft’s replacement include the Chinese Shaanxi Y-9 and Lockheed Martin’s updated C-130J. However, a procurement plan has yet to be finalized giving time for a third contender to potentially emerge.

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