USMC Performs POC Hot Load of GBU-32 on F-35B | Carrier Gerald R. Ford to Begin Sea Trials | Gen Dynamics Chosen by UK for $409M Morpheus Project
- The USMC has completed the first hot load of a GBU-32 on an F-35B fighter. Hot loading — when the Marines are performing the loading evolution while the aircraft is turning — poses several challenges as far as communicating; just creating some chaos as far as noise and a lot of moving parts, and requires five marines to perform with two to give direction, two to manually move and insert the bomb, and a quality assurance safety observer Marine to ensure everything runs smoothly. The process can save wear and tear on the aircraft, and while in combat situations, it saves time and minimizes any failure opportunities with the aircraft.
- Aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford is to commence its first sea trials this week, paving the way for the US Naval Systems Command to take possession of the vessel by early April. The $12.9 billion warship has experienced several delays over its development, much of it due to growing pains with new technology including issues with its electromagnetic catapults and aircraft arresting gear that uses water-twister technology. Next week’s testing will involve putting the ship’s basic systems through rigorous checks prior to further acceptance trials after a period of downtime.
Middle East & North Africa
- Bell Helicopters is scheduled to deliver the first three of 12 AH-1Zs to Pakistan this summer, with the remainder to be delivered next year after being handed over to the US government. Approval for the deal was granted by Washington last April. The sale comes as the company expects the signing of a second export order for the H-1 series UH-1Y Venom utility and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters in the coming months.
- General Dynamics has been picked by the UK to design and develop next-generation battlefield communication systems. The $409 million contract is part of the MoD’s Morpheus Project, an effort launched to address critical system obsolescence and procure more advanced Tactical Communication and Information Systems for the British Army; allowing British warfighters to integrate new radios and other communication platforms faster and more easily. Under the agreement, GD will implement the Evolve to Open approach, which will modify existing Bowman communication systems into an open, modular platform.
- A JAS-39 Gripen fighter operated by the Swedish Ministry of Defense has completed the first flight with a GKN RM12 engine completely powered by renewable biofuel. The fuel, named CHCJ-5, is interchangeable with normal jet fuel, so no changes to the engine are necessary for use. GKN Aerospace, who conducted the flight test with Saab, said the RM12 engine demonstrated good performance during the biofuel flight. GKN, Saab and FMV, Sweden’s defense procurement agency, will use the flight to show the potential of biofuel for military aerospace.
- Four eager Taiwanese flag officers have been reprimanded for purchasing the Phalanx Block-1B close-in weapon system (CIWS) prior to gaining government budget approval. The officers received written warnings as punishment, and the navy has admitted negligence in the matter as they have seen several other deals come under scrutiny and suspension from lawmakers. The reasoning behind the officer’s decision to move ahead with the foreign military sale stemmed from an offer from the Pentagon; willing to sell the entire CIWS package at a price of $278.33 million if the deal was signed before Jul. 22.
- Kongsberg is to integrate a BAE Systems-developed RF-seeker sensor onto the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) for the Australian government. Valued at $17.3 million, the new capability will enable the fifth-generation JSM to locate targets on the basis of their electronic signature and will further strengthen the capabilities of the missile for the most challenging scenarios in a modern battlefield. The JSM is a multi-role version of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), and is being integrated for carriage on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
- The Indian government has given the go ahead for the $1.8 billion purchase of the Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). A land-based version of the Barak-8, the MRSAM was developed by IAI and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in collaboration with Rafael and IAI/Elta, and worked with various Indian companies including BEL, L&T, BDL and other private vendors, and will be operated by the Indian Army. The company will also supply additional LRSAM air & missile defense systems for the first build in India Indian aircraft carrier.
- Egypt receives third batch of Rafale fighters from Dassault. :
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire