Uruguay Interested in Elbit UAVs to Monitor Terror | UAE Uses Patriot Missiles to Defend Yemini Targets | Brit PM at G20: $3B for SAS/Special Forces
- Northrop Grumman have selected Swiss company Garmin’s GSX70 weather radar as part of a contract to modernize and retrofit the USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk fleet. The GSX70 was selected for its ability to better recognise weather threats and allow for better decision making as well as its easy integration capabilities with the RQ-4. The installation of the the radar is said to begin in the first quarter of 2016 with Northrop’s contract running until 2020.
- Argentina’s drive to replace its aging Mirage fighter fleet with second hand Israeli Kfir Block 60 fighters has come under criticism from Argentine Air Force number three, Brigadier Mario Roca. Argentina had planned to purchase fourteen of the fighters (which included two two-seat traners) with the deal to have cost between $220-360 million. The criticisms arose when the first six fighters would arrive within 18 months, but without weapons systems, and all upgrades needed to be completed in Israel. The deal has for now been put on hold indefinitely with Defence Minister Agustin Rossi deciding to leave the deal to be concluded by the next administration. Opposition politicians have stated that if elected, they would look into replacing the fleet independently.
- Uruguay has expressed an interest in purchasing a number of the Elbit Skylark I UAV after watching them being deployed by the Israeli Defence Forces. The UAV has been deployed extensively by the IDF at battalion-level system in support of artillery units and is operational in many militaries worldwide including Australia, Sweden and Canada. Uruguay would deploy the UAV in order to monitor areas which may potentially host terrorist threats. In August of this year, the Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas captured one of the drones after it fell into the Gaza Strip. They claimed to have been able to make its services operational after checking it wasn’t booby trapped.
Middle East North Africa
- UAE Patriot missiles have been credited with shooting down two ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militants in Yemen. The UAE have had the Patriot battery deployed in the Marib provence of Yeman since September as part of a Saudi led coalition against the Shia insurgency there. The sale of the Patriot missile systems to various Gulf nations by the US has been part of a concentrated effort to counter Jihadist activity in various countries in the region. Earlier this month, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) cleared the sale of $380 million worth of munitions to the UAE who it sees as an “important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East”.
- French multi-national Safran S.A. has cancelled its plan to build engine parts for the Rafale combat aircraft in India. The decision came after an initial order of 126 jets worth $15 billion was reduced to only 36 in June. Negotiations since then have stalled repeatedly over pricing offset clauses as well as civilian investments made by French firms in Indian industry. These investments would have seen $4.5 billion worth of offsets by French companies in India under Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India initiative which was launched last year. Safran’s participation would have seen a co-venture of a plant in Bangalore with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd but it seems Safran want you to buy in bulk if they’re to Make in India.
- Ukraine is seeking to license produce the Chinese Hongdu L-15 and assemble the fighter craft locally at the Odessa Aviation Plant. The cost and number of planes are unknown but the Ministry of Defense hopes to start production in 2016. While it had been speculated last year that the Ukraine may go with western companies to help modernize their forces, the Chinese deal will provide a cheaper alternative. Producing the L-15 will have the added the bonus of familiarity due to its similarity to the Russian Yak-130. The early 2000s saw discussions of the possibility of joint production between Russia and Ukraine of the Yak-130 however recent tensions over the Crimean annexation and fighting in Ukraine’s eastern region has seen an end to any military cooperation. The deal with China will see an increase in the production of the aircraft amid earlier deals with Zambia and Pakistan.
- Fresh from the G20 summit British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced an extra $3 billion for the SAS and other special forces in the wake of the Paris attacks by the Islamic State. The funding will be spread out over the next five years and is said to be spent on weapons, vehicles (including perhaps helicopters), protective equipment, night-fighting kit and improved communications. None of this funding will be used on a recruitment drive and it is earmarked singly to tackle terrorist threats. Specifics of what exact equipment and helicopters have yet to be released, but spread out over five years, one wonders how much this will help in the short to medium term besides giving Cameron the image as the best option for a safe Britain.
- The Indian Army has decided to cancel a two decade long indigenous Nishant UAV program after the third of four in use by the army crashed near the city of Jaisalmer on November 4. The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) had been developing the Nishant UAV since 1995 with the aim of developing India’s own reconnaissance and intelligence gathering abilities. Phase 1 had seen four of the UAVs introduced in 2011 and continuation would have seen 8 more orders of the UAV by the army. The announcement comes shortly after Prime Minister Modi’s recent push to increase development within India’s private defense industry and the sharing of indigenously designed Rustom UAVs by the government. In the wake of the Nishant duds, these companies may be best served looking elsewhere for design ideas.
- Boustead DCNS Naval Corporation has been awarded a $279 billion dollar submarine refit contract by Malaysia. The refit will take place upon the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN’s) two Scorpène-class diesel-powered attack submarines over the next 18 months. The joint venture between the Malaysian Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC) Defence Technologies and French shipbuilder DCNS is said to also greatly improve Malaysia’s shipbuilding and refit capabilities for further modernization of their fleet and future cooperation in the development of its own indigenous naval capabilities.
- A look at the Skylark I, one of the world’s smallest drones that may be making its way to the Uruguayan Air Force.
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire