Turkey and Russia to Cooperate Again | Germany to Lease Heron TP UAVs from IAI | Airbus Gearbox Believed at Fault for April Crash in Norway
- The MQ-8B deployed on board USS Coronado (LCS-4) is the first to be equipped with the new AN/ZPY-4(V)1 radar. Previously, the unmanned helicopter was fitted with the RDR-1700 maritime surveillance radar under an urgent requirement. Compared to the previous radar, the AN/ZPY-4(V)1 will increase the search area of the LCS, improving the ability to simultaneously track up to 150 targets and increase detection accuracies out to 70 nautical miles.
- Gabon is considering doubling the size of its transport fleet by revamping an early B model C-130. The 1976-built aircraft (TR-KKB) is currently at the Alverca facility of Portuguese maintenance and overhaul specialist OGMA, following its recovery from the African state after being grounded for eight years. OGMA has now sent a proposal to the government for upgrades which would see the installation of new avionics and a glass cockpit, as well as the replacement of several structural parts, including outer wing-caps and the 6m (19.7ft)-long sloping longerons at the rear of the aircraft.
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- After several months of frosty relations, Turkey and Russia have resumed bilateral ties including coordination on the fight against terrorism. Tensions between Ankara and Moscow have been high since the former’s shooting down of a Russian fighter accused of invading Turkish airspace last November. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan expressed regret for the incident on Wednesday and the Kremlin announced that Vladimir Putin said he would order the government to start talks with Turkey on resuming “mutually advantageous” trade relations and to drop restrictive measures on Russian tourists visiting Turkey.
- Germany’s Ministry of Defense has reached an agreement with Israel Air Industries (IAI) over the lease of five Heron TP unmanned aerial vehicles. The $666 million deal will see the drones become operational in 2018. A previous deal to lease drones to Germany was specifically intended for aerial intelligence-gathering missions; however, the Heron’s are capable of carrying payloads of up to one ton.
- An investigation by Norwegian authorities into an Airbus helicopter crash in April has found that the incident was probably the result of metal fatigue in the aircraft’s gearbox. All 13 people on board were killed when the Super Puma’s main rotor blades separated from the aircraft as it was ferrying passengers from a Norwegian offshore oil platform operated by Statoil. Previous Super Puma incidents linked to gearbox problems include a 2009 crash off Peterhead, Scotland, in which the rotor also flew off and 16 people died.
- BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) are to team up to bid for a significant long-term deal to become the avionics sustainment hub for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Europe. The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed the involvement of BAE and Northrop Grumman, but declined to say anything about whether DECA, the British state-owned components repair operation, would have a role; however, due to US government insistence, some avionics repairs on the jet here are only undertaken by UK government employees.
- The US Army has awarded a number of contracts to companies for the Afghanistan Intelligence Services supporting US Forces in Afghanistan. BAE Systems and Six3 Intelligence Solutions were given $31 million and $28.6 million deals respectively with work to be carried out in Afghanistan, and will last until January 9, 2017.
- Four types of aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force are to receive the latest version of Rafael’s Litening targeting pod as part of a larger $500 million deal between India and Israel. The improved system has been equipped with upgraded infrared cameras and a charge-coupled device color camera to help identify targets on the ground, particularly in dense areas. Furthermore, the new pod doubles as a surveillance and reconnaissance system in addition to being a targeting pod.
- VMA-211 is set to become the second operational F-35B squadron and the first unit to transition from the AV-8B Harrier on Jun. 30:
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