US Army Solicits Proposals for Quadcopter Swarm Dispenser | Boeing to Develop Parachute Kit for SHARC | Safran Elec Acquiring Zodiac Aerospace for $9B
- The USAF is looking into testing a new low-cost light attack aircraft as soon as this spring. While Pentagon plans to acquire a new light attack platform are not new, the funding and scope of an earlier effort, the OA-X program, has never materialized into contracts being signed. However, if the experiment is approved and funded fully, the new platform will compliment the A-10 in close air support and reconnaissance missions.
- Industry has been asked by the US Army to submit proposals for a missile that can dispense a swarm of quadcopters. Once released, the drones will decelerate and seek out their target and terminate them by landing on them, detonating explosively formed penetrators. Possible targets named in the solicitation are tanks and large caliber gun barrels, vehicle roofs, fuel storage barrels, and ammunition storage sites. The call out comes shortly after the launching of a swarm of 103 Perdix micro-drones from three separate F/A-18 Super Hornets as part of Pentagon efforts to integrate micro-drones for use on surveillance missions.
- Boeing is developing a parachute kit to fit on the Sensor-Hosting Remote Autonomous Craft (SHARC) unmanned surface vehicle. The company purchased SHARC’s developer, Liquid Robotics, last month and sees great potential in SHARC as a persistent sensor platform for long-dwell surveillance needs, such as anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. SHARC is capable of towing underwater sensors and sensor arrays and is being promoted as an ideal solution for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions.
Middle East North Africa
- Rolls Royce will provide MTU diesel engines to the Turkish Coast Guard for use in their six new search and rescue vessels currently under construction at Damen Shipyards. Ankara is expecting all of the boats to be delivered by the end of 2017 with the EU providing financial support for the effort. Since 2015, the UK has sold $405 million-worth of arms to Turkey, representing a growing market for UK defense exports. However, human rights and anti-arms trade campaigners have criticized the deals, saying London is putting arms deals ahead of human rights, a reference to the ongoing political crackdown by Turkish authorities in the wake of a failed coup against the Erdogan regime.
- Safran Electronics will acquire fellow French aerospace firm Zodiac Aerospace in a $9 billion deal, creating the world’s third-largest aircraft equipment provider. Following the acquisition of Zodiac, Safran will gain access to the companies assets, which include seats, cabin interiors, power distribution, and fuel equipment. Safran says it will use its new capabilities to push for the development of “more electrical aircraft.” The pending merger will now be subject to approval from regulatory agencies and is expected to be finalized by early 2018.
- UK PM Teresa May has come under fire following news that ministers covered up a failed test of the Trident nuclear deterrent weeks before a crucial Commons vote on the future of the £40 billion program. Previous tests have been publicized by the Government. Details of the test, which happened last July, still remain undisclosed to the public, and opposition MPs are calling for an inquiry into the incident.
- Stocks of certain munitions in the Indian armed forces are so low, they are at half the reserves necessary to conduct 40 days of intense fighting. Urgent requirements for the Indian Air Force call for 50,000 rounds of 30mm ammunition for the GSh-30-1 gun and more than 60,000 rounds of 12.7 mm ammunition to be fired from the Yak-B Gatling gun. The munitions are used on IAF Su-30MKI and Mi-35 platforms. Efforts in the last three months have seen New Delhi rush to buy $1 billion worth of arms and ammunition from Russia and Israel for the Indian Army and Navy under a fast track procedure instead of relying on the notoriously slow bureaucratic channels.
- Confusion is rife in Indonesia as military and government fail to collaborate over the purchase of AW101 helicopters. Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacud told reporters that he needs to “coordinate” with the new Air Force chief over the procurement. Initially planned to be used as Presidential VIP transport before being scrapped by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the deal was then pursued by the air force for use in combat and rescue operations.
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