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Daily Rapid Fire

US-Israeli interceptors to enter full-rate production | Loss of rotor the cause of German Tiger crash in Mali | Turkey orders armored vehicles to tackle PKK

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Americas * Against the backdrop of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un threatening each other with nuclear annihilation, Lockheed Martin has reported an increased number of missile defense queries from customers. The company said Tuesday that the “level of dialogue around missile defense is now at the prime minister and minister of defense level,” adding that […]

* Against the backdrop of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un threatening each other with nuclear annihilation, Lockheed Martin has reported an increased number of missile defense queries from customers. The company said Tuesday that the “level of dialogue around missile defense is now at the prime minister and minister of defense level,” adding that over the last 12-18 months, countries have increasingly put missile defense at the top of their list of desired capabilities, as tensions in East Asia mount over North Korea’s insistence on furthering its nuclear weapon ambitions. Reuters notes that shares in Lockheed are up nearly 8 percent, to $300.10, since North Korea’s first long-range missile test on July 4. The stock is up 20 percent year-to-date.

* Kratos Defense and Security Solutions has said that a secret UAV developed by the company will enter production by the end of this financial quarter. News that Kratos had such a platform was revealed by the company earlier this year when it announced a series of successful demonstration flights with a new jet-powered, high-subsonic UAV. It’s believed that the drone is being developed for an unknown government agency and is designed for an anti-access area denied environment with an altitude performance ranging up to 45,000ft. It’s launched on a railed catapult and recovered by deploying a parachute and floating to the ground.

Middle East & Africa

* Turkey has contracted local manufacturer BMC for the production and delivery of 529 tactical armored vehicles. Estimated to value $350 million, the deal will also see contributions from other local companies designated as sub-contractors. The contract also requests an unspecified number of the Yeni Kirpi— an advanced version of the Kirpi—BMC’s mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle which was showcased in May 2017 at the IDEF defense and aerospace exhibition in Istanbul. Once delivered, the vehicles will primarily be used in Turkey’s southeastern regions where security forces have been tackling renewed violence from Kurdish militant group, the PKK, since the breakdown of a ceasefire in July 2015.

* Production of interceptors jointly-developed by US and Israeli industry for the latter’s multi-tiered missile defense system is being ramped up, as three interceptor programs transition from low-rate initial production (LRIP) to full-rate production. The Boeing-IAI developed Arrow-3, and the Rafael-Raytheon developed Stunner—used in the David’s Sling system—and Tamir—used by the Iron Dome—interceptors are built in a large part by US-based firms, with a network of contractors and sub-contractors stretching out across 30 of its 50 states. This is due to congressional mandates and government-to-government agreements which stipulates that at least 50% of the work is produced in the US. Potential exports are also being taken into account, as the Stunner—marketed abroad as the SkyCeptor—is currently being considered by the Polish government for its Patriot active defense system.


* The crash of a German army Tiger helicopter in Mali which resulted in the death of two crew members was caused by the rotorcraft losing its rotor, a defense ministry report has revealed. While the report stated that it is still to early to speculate on the cause of the accident, it ruled out that the helicopter was downed in an attack, adding that “once the vehicle had started to descend, parts of the aircraft broke off, including the main rotor blades.” This could potentially mean that the cause of the in-air break up was due to maintenance or manufacturing issues, which if it is the case, could be bad news for manufacturer Airbus. Berlin’s decision to send four Tigers alongside four NH-90 helicopters to aid a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali earlier this year proved controversial with some lawmakers, after the Tiger required extra maintenance given the high heat and other environmental conditions in the desert country. Officials maintain that up until the incident, all four Tigers had been operating without issue.

Asia Pacific

* India’s Kalyani Group, in partnership with Israel’s Rafael, has opened the country’s first-ever private missile subsystems manufacturing facility. Located in Hyrdabad and trading under the name Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems, the facility will undertake the production and assembly of Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and its related technologies such as missile electronics, command, control and guidance, electro-optics, remote weapon systems, precision-guided munitions, and system engineering. In addition to establishing a robust supply chain in India to undertake spares and other parts requirements of missiles to be manufactured in the country, the joint venture will also look to export Spike ATGM family and SPICE precision-guided munitions to Southeast Asian counties. The company can also boast the status of being India’s largest-ever foreign direct investment joint venture firm.

* The war, which has thankfully remained one of just words, between the leaders of the US and North Korea continue this week after US President Donald Trump promised that North Korea would would be met with “fire and fury” if it continued its aggressive testing of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear technology. Not deterred by such remarks, Kim Jung-un threatened nuclear strikes on the island of Guam, a US territory in the Pacific that boasts a military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group. In the absence of any diplomatic tact from both leaders, Guam Governor Eddie Calvo dismissed the threat and said the island was prepared for “any eventuality” with strategically placed defenses. He said he had been in touch with the White House and there was no change in the threat level.

Today’s Video

* Carrier Queen Elizabeth strike group, Saxon Warrior 2017:

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