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US Army orders virtual training system | Iran flexes its muscles with fake ‘new’ plane | Bird 1, Gripen 0

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Americas The US Army is modernizing one of its training systems. Lockheed Martin will provide the service with an upgraded Close Combat Tactical Trainer Manned Module (CCTT) under a $356.3 million hybrid contract. The CCTT is a computer-driven, manned-module simulator that replicates the vehicle interiors of close-combat units. integrates all facets of combat vehicle operations […]

The US Army is modernizing one of its training systems. Lockheed Martin will provide the service with an upgraded Close Combat Tactical Trainer Manned Module (CCTT) under a $356.3 million hybrid contract. The CCTT is a computer-driven, manned-module simulator that replicates the vehicle interiors of close-combat units. integrates all facets of combat vehicle operations to immerse Warfighters in the scenarios they will face on the battlefield. Through the CCTT, units train and are validated in tactics, doctrine, weapons systems, mission planning and rehearsals. Crewed simulators, such as the Abrams MBT, the Bradley and the Humvee, offer sufficient fidelity for collective mission training. Work locations and relevant funding will be determined with each individual order. The modernization efforts are scheduled for completion by August, 2028.

The US Air Force is procuring an unspecified number of aerial target from Kratos. The contractor will provide the service with Lot 14-16 BQM-167A high performance, jet powered unmanned aerial target drone systems at a cost of $108.9 million. The Air Force uses the BQM-167A to test and evaluate air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons systems. The system is capable of speeds from 230 to 600 knots. The drone can achieve flight altitudes from 50 feet above ground level to 50,000 feet mean sea level. Maneuvers include G-turns up to 9G’s, and other aerial acrobatic turns. The UAV can carry a full range of current Air Force subscale target payloads which include a scoring system, infrared and radar enhancements, electronic attack pods and a chaff/flare dispenser set. Work will be performed at Kratos’ facility in Sacramento, California, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

The US Marine Corps is adding more unmanned aircraft systems to its inventory. Insitu is being contracted to provide the service with four Lot 2 RQ-21A Blackjack drone systems. The firm-fixed-price contract also includes the delivery of eight attrition air vehicles, of which seven are reserved for the USMC and one for Poland, which will receive the vehicle as part of a US foreign military sale. The order has a total value of $53.9 million. The Blackjack belongs to the family of Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (STUAS). The drone can be deployed in persistent maritime and land-based tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, data collection, target acquisition and dissemination missions. One UAS consists of five air vehicles with multi-mission payloads, two ground control stations and ancillary equipment. Work will be performed at Insitu’s facilities in Bingen, Washington and Hood River, Oregon. The systems are expected to be ready for delivery by June 2019.

Middle East & Africa

Iran is showing off its ‘new’ fighter jet as the diplomatic relations with the US further deteriorate. The Iranian Ministry of Defense claims that Kowsar-88 is the first domestically produced 4th generation fighter jet. However, experts quickly noted that the unveiled jet looks quite similar to the 50s era US-made F-5F. The F-5 was sold to Iran in the 1960s and first entered service in the Iranian Imperial Air Force in 1965. During the jet’s presentation President Hassan Rouhani reasserted Iran’s political standpoint that it will not yield to diplomatic or economic pressure. He clearly stated that the country is readying itself to counter any foreign military powers that seek to take over Iran’s territory and resources, while adding that under President Donald Trump the United States was becoming isolated even from its own allies. Iran is currently in the process of building up its influence in the region. It has a significant amount of troops stationed in Syrian and is sponsoring Houthi rebels in Yemen. To date the claim that the Kowsar-88 is indeed a new fighter jet seems to be just a product for domestic propaganda rather than genuine information.


The Swedish Air Force needs a new fighter jet after one of its JAS 39 Gripen crashed yesterday, August 21. Shortly after take-off the aircraft collided with a bird and subsequently crashed in a forested area about five miles north of a military air base near the southern Swedish city of Ronneby. The Gripen multirole fighter aircraft, developed by Saab, was first flown in December 1988 and entered operational service with the Swedish Air Force in 1997. The JAS-39, is a canard-winged successor to the Viggen and one of the world’s first 4+ generation fighters. The Gripen remains the only lightweight 4+ generation fighter type in service, its performance and operational economics are both world-class, and it has become one of the most recognized fighter aircraft on the planet.

Russia’s influence in the Balkans is growing, as the Serbian Air Force is now flying two Russian MiG-29 fighter jets. During the handover ceremony Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for helping make Serbia’s armed forces stronger. Produced between 1989 and 1991, the warplanes are somewhat newer than Serbia’s four existing MiGs, which were delivered in 1987. Serbia claims military neutrality and formally wants to join the European Union. But it is also negotiating additional arms purchases from Russia, including attack and transport helicopters, Buk-M1 and Buk-M2 air-defense missile systems, and Tunguska antiaircraft systems. The small country received the second-hand fighter jets free of charge but will be responsible to pay about $213 million for upgrades and maintenance work on a total of six MiG-29s. Serbia faces a mini arms race with NATO-member Croatia, which has recently agreed to purchase 12 used F-16 fighter aircraft from Israel.

The Royal Navy is introducing a new mine countermeasures sonar to its service. Produced by Thales, the enhanced 2093 Wideband variant has been developed under the Royal Navy’s 2093 Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP). The system is currently installed on the Navy’s Sandown-class minehunter HMS Grimsby and was extensively tested off the coast of Scotland. Thales will also refit the Grimsby’s six sister ships as part of multi-million pound contract. Sandown-class minehunters are built almost entirely of non-magnetic materials and are designed to resist high shock levels. Their manoeuvrability is controlled, either manually or automatically, by using the Ship Position Control System (SPCS) developed by Vosper Thornycroft. The 2093 sonar transmitter and receiver are contained within a towed body which is lowered below the ship by automated winch of armoured cable, penetrating oceanic temperature layers which can block sonar signals. The system greatly improves the minehunters ‘coverage rate’ and ‘speed of advance’.


The Japanese government is currently negotiating a potential development cooperation with Germany and France. Japan plans to sell its P-1 maritime patrol aircraft to the two European countries. The Japanese Ministry of Defense began the development of P-1 along with the C-X transport aircraft in 2001 to replace the ageing P-3C fleet. The aircraft built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and is equipped with new acoustics and phased array radar systems with enhanced capabilities for detecting and tracking submarines and small vessels. Germany is currently in possession of P-3Cs, while France relies on Dassault’s Atalantic. The two countries will soon need to replace their ageing aircraft and are looking for offers that reduce procurement costs as much as possible, while Japan at the same time is heavily promoting the export of military equipment as means to revitalise its domestic defense industry. Germany and France will use the new patrol aircraft to monitor increased Russian submarine activity.

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