USAF T-X Competition Heats Up | Airbus Takes Major Hit for A400M and A350 Problems | Poles Expect Patriot Missile Defense Deal by Year’s End
- The USAF T-X competition is continuing to heat up with Lockheed Martin announcing the successful maiden flight of its second T-50A aircraft. Developed in conjunction with T-50 manufacturer Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), testing took place in South Korea one month after first T-50A completed its initial flight tests. The consortium faces a number of clean and off the shelf designs from Boeing/SAAB, Raytheon/Finmeccanica and Northrop Grumman/BAE Systems.
- A US Navy LCS has fired a Harpoon Block IC missile for the first time at this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. The move comes as part of a drive by the service to implement its distributed lethality concept. While integration only took four months, and gives LCS vessels an increased anti-ship capability, a decision still needs to be made whether or not all LCS platforms will get tricked out with Harpoons.
- Reports that the USAF was proposing a dual procurement to replace the A-10 Warthog have been dismissed by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, saying that the funds were not available for two programs, and stating that she had heard of the dual proposal via the news and had not been briefed by anyone within the service, or options or strategy in relation to the new close air support (CAS) A-X program. The stories that the USAF had met with industry officials were initially reported last week.
Middle East North Africa
- Plans are in motion for Israel to examine the contracting out of its F-35 fleet maintenance to domestic firms. Despite Lockheed Martin establishing a European regional maintenance facility at Cameri airbase in Italy, Tel Aviv maintains its desire to conduct as much maintenance as possible in house. Likely beneficiaries to such a move is Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) due to its experience in maintaining and upgrading existing IAF fleets.
- IAI looks set to win a major contract to provide its TopGun precision guidance kit to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Designed to convert standard 155mm artillery shells into precision munitions, the kit is set to earn IAI some $100 million from the IDF over the next ten years, in addition to countless more in international sales.
- Airbus is to take a $1.5 billion hit for issues involving delays with its A400M transporter and A350 jetliner. The A400s gearbox issues accounted for $1.03 billion of the losses, adding to $5 billion already ready written off during the aircraft’s development. Designed to give some of Europe’s NATO members an independent heavy transport capability, the cost overruns are now being attributed to an overambitious fixed cost with delays and mishaps cutting into a slim profit margin.
- Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz expects to have their Patriot missile-defense system finalized by the end of the year. The $5.5 billion deal could also be joined by more missile-systems as Warsaw accelerates efforts to enhance their missile-defense capability. $15 billion has been earmarked for the modernization with plans to spend some $10 billion on mid-range air- and missile-defense systems, and over $5 billion on short-range air-defense systems.
- India is formally adding four more P-8I aircraft to its Navy fleet in order to bolster their maritime surveillance capabilities. Contracts for the $1 billion deal were inked on Wednesday and will be delivered over the next three years. The long-range patrol craft can also carry an anti-submarine Harpoon missile for ASW missions.
- LCS USS Cole firing a harpoon at RIMPAC 2016:
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