* Lockheed Martin has received a $39.2 million contract modification in support of several allied countries Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile systems. Germany, Netherlands, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Japan and United Arab Emirates are all covered under the deal, which includes work on the enhanced launcher system, field missile activities and unscheduled maintenance as ordered. Contract completion is scheduled for June 25, 2018.
* The US Navy has been asked by Congress to provide a plan for the replacement of reserve F/A-18 aircraft incapable of being integrated back into their fleet. As many as 33 Super Hornets were found to lag behind front-line aircraft in terms of technology and will be unable to participate in combat activity during a time of crisis. The aircraft are predominantly used by the service to act as opposition forces for training aviators and are painted to look like Russian MiG fighters. Congress expects the plan to be delivered no later than December 1.
* Next month will see the Croatian government send letters of interest to four governments for fighter aircraft. Both the US and Israel are being looked at to provide second-hand F-16s, while Sweden and South Korea are having their respective Gripen and FA-50 fighters considered as well. Responses are expected for the second week of September. Saab, which has targeted Croatia as a potential customer for the Gripen for the last ten years, remains the front runner at present, however, Israel have approximately 40 upgraded F-16C/D variants ready to roll at a much cheaper price.
* General Dynamics European Land Systems has been contracted by the Danish government to deliver Mowag EAGLE light armored 4X4 vehicles. The initial contract calls for 36 vehicles, with deliveries starting in 2018, to supplement their existing EAGLE fleet, and contains options to expand the program to include electronic-warfare, support, and reconnaissance variants of the vehicle. The value of the deal remains unknown. Used by a number of NATO members, including Denmark and Germany, the vehicle features a modular armor package that can be adjusted depending on mission needs, including improved improvised explosive device and rocket-propelled grenade protection.
* Germany has received its 15th and final H145M multi-role helicopter from manufacturer Airbus. The 2013 contract was awarded to provide the German military with light utility and light attack rotorcraft capability, and includes a fast-roping system for troops, a camera system for reconnaissance and equipment for fire support during deployment. With Germany acting as the launch customer for the platform, other countries who have subsequently ordered the H145M include Serbia with nine units and Thailand with five.
* AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) have been deployed to South Korea by the US military. As many as ten of the long-range, precision-guided missiles are now on the peninsula, and will be deployed on F-16 fighters located at Kunsan Air Base. While the type of JASSM variant deployed remains unknown at this time, the base model boasts a range of 300 kilometers and is equipped with a penetrating blast-fragmentation warhead. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin stated in March that it had performed several flight tests with an updated version of the JASSM. Its JASSM-Extended Range (ER) is also in production.
* Japan is considering a procurement of Kongsberg’s Joint Strike Missile (JSM) for its fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in what is being considered by analysts as “a big step forward in stand-off capability”. At present, Tokyo’s fighters are only equipped with anti-ship missiles, so an added air-to-surface missile strike capability would be welcomed as tensions in the region rise amid North Korean ballistic weapons testing and the controversial deployment of the THAAD missile defense system by the US in South Korea. However, Japan had previously resisted the purchase of air-to-ground munitions, in part not to offend sensibilities in Beijing and Pyongyang, and may now face further accusations of looking to pursue renewed imperial ambitions.
* A new domestically-built destroyer has been unveiled by China. Dubbed the Type 055 destroyer, the vessel is considered to be a successor class to the smaller Type 052D guided missile destroyers and is part of a drive by Beijing to modernize and increase its naval presence within its armed forces. Local media described the vessel as “equipped with new air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons,” and will undergo testing before being commissioned into use. China’s naval effort comes alongside its increasingly assertive stance over disputed territory in the South China, where it lays claim to territory believed to hold oil and gas reserves and through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
* Live-firing of Igla missiles in Russia’s Southern District: