* The government has approved the $9 billion takeover of Sikorsky by Lockheed Martin announced in July, joining approvals from the Japanese and South Korean governments. The Justice Department reportedly led the takeover review, with officials from the Defense Department and other agencies also involved. Lockheed Martin still requires approval from other states where it operates – including China and the European Union – before the takeover can be finalized. The review has come through quickly, despite a DoJ probe into alleged overcharging by Sikorsky in 2006.
* The Navy and Orbital ATK successfully conducted a test-firing of the Block 1 AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) in August, the company announced on Thursday. A Super Hornet was used to launch the missile, which struck a moving ship target. Further tests are planned before the upgrade is rolled out. The US Marine Corps and Navy currently operate the missile, with the Italian Air Force scheduled to employ the weapon on its Tornado ECR attack aircraft from 2017.
* The next set of testing on the F-35C will include new pilot helmets, integration with the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) and operations involving a full internal weapons bay, with these scheduled to take place during the first half of October. The Navy will build on tests conducted at sea in November, which saw the carrier version of the Joint Strike Fighter achieve 100% of its threshold requirements.
* Poland’s Armaments Inspectorate has released a tender to acquire over a hundred battlefield reconnaissance radar systems. Five bids will be down-selected after a deadline of 21 October. The country plans to procure 104 of the mobile surveillance systems, which are intended to be operated by two soldiers. Deliveries are expected by 2023. Potential bids include the Thales SQUIRE system, Telefunken Racoms PRS 2020 and the IAI ELI-3370.
* Russia and Serbia signed a preliminary agreement for two Mi-17 transport helicopters, with Belgrade putting down an advance payment. A final contract is expected in October, with reports from August indicating that the Balkan state is looking to acquire a mixture of Russian and European designs (the latter thought to be the Airbus AS532 Cougar) to replace its aging Mi-8 helicopters.
* Polish and Ukrainian companies are collaborating to co-develop unmanned aerial vehicles. Ukraine’s Antonov and Poland’s WB Electronics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop and market tactical UAVs for Ukrainian forces, building on the experience possessed by the Polish firm, which is currently working with Thales on a bid for Poland’s Griffon tactical UAV competition.
Middle East North Africa
* Egypt has signed an agreement for fifty Russian attack helicopters, seemingly confirming reports from August which indicated that the country would receive around fifty helicopters by 2019. The Egyptians are thought to be buying the navalized Ka-52K version of the Alligator scout/attack helicopter, most likely those intended to equip the Russian Mistral LHDs now also destined for Egypt following a contract earlier this week.
* Egypt’s state-owned AOI-Aircraft Factory has also signed a co-operation agreement with French firm Sagem, indicating an upcoming Egyptian contract for Patroller unmanned aircraft. The Egyptian company will establish a training facility in the country specifically for the UAV, as well as have responsibility for systems support and the capacity to assemble the UAVs in-country.
* The government of Lebanon will receive 50 Humvees through an $11.6 million Foreign Military Sales contract modification awarded to AM General. The Lebanese government has been the recipient of military equipment from a number of countries in recent months, including weapons from France and China and requesting A-29 Super Tucano close air support aircraft from the US. The government has received over a billion dollars in US military assistance over the last eight years.
Asia & Pacific
* In a bid to spur development in the country’s private defense industry, the Modi government has decided to share designs of indigenously-developed unmanned aerial vehicles with private firms. Developed by the Indian state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation, details of the Rustom family of UAVs were until now kept secret from the private sector. As the Indian government looks to develop its defense industrial base domestically, it has also recently relaxed joint venture restrictions on foreign companies in a bid to build expertise through collaborative working. However, foreign companies still face stringent offset policies and investment restrictions, despite slow progress.
* A Super Tucano flying low. The Afghan Air Force will have to wait until early next year to get theirs.