The US Navy completed the process of transitioning from P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon earlier this month as the “Fighting Marlins” of Patrol Squadron FORTY returned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. The conclusion of a six-month rotational deployment on October 10, 2019, marked the final active duty deployment for the P-3C Orion, which served as the US Navy’s airborne anti-submarine warfare and maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) force for more than five decades. After post-deployment leave, the Fighting Marlins will begin the final of 12 active duty squadron transitions to the more modern and capable P-8A Poseidon. The US Navy will continue to operate its intelligence collection variant, the EP-3E, for several years along with reserve component operations before the official retirement of all P-3 variants.
Rocket startup company Firefly Aerospace said Friday it will partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne, a defense and aircraft contractor. One of the first projects on which the two will collaborate is 3D printing of Firefly’s engines, according to the announcement. Firefly plans to launch its first rocket, named Firefly Alpha, in 2020, and also plans to build a rocket plant near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The company is aiming at small and medium launchers to low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous orbit and the moon. “We’re excited to work with Aerojet Rocketdyne under this new collaborative agreement because of their extensive experience and the unique mission solutions they offer. Combined with our already mature Alpha design, our cooperation with Aerojet Rocketdyne is a significant differentiator in the small to medium launch vehicle market and will enable rapid performance increases of the Alpha vehicle,” said Firefly CEO Tom Markusic.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has deployed one of its Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft to the Middle East in support of the International Maritime Security Construct aimed at assuring the safety and protection of maritime navigation in the Gulf region. Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds announced in an October 18 statement that the aircraft’s advanced patrol surveillance capabilities will be used to support the safe transit of naval and merchant vessels, and thus provide “a modest but meaningful contribution” to the mission. The P-8A is expected to remain in the region until the end of November. A series of incidents in the Strait of Hormuz have led to a US-led multinational effort to enhance maritime security in the region. The arrival of the P-8A Poseidon is in line with the Australian Government’s commitment to the coalition.
The four-country EuroDASS consortium, which consists of UK’s Leonardo, Italy’s Elettronica, Germany’s Hensoldt, and Spain’s Indra, has outlined its vision of a next-generation electronic warfare (EW) suite for the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft. Global Flight reports, that the industry partners launched plans for a so-called Praetorian Evolution, or “Evo” package of capabilities. Known as Praetorian Evolution, the future Defensive Aids Subsystem (DASS) builds on the Typhoon’s existing Praetorian DASS but introduces a new all-digital architecture and expands electronic warfare functionality beyond platform self-protection. EuroDASS has developed its roadmap independent of the Praetorian Long Term Evolution (LTE) study activity awarded earlier this year, although Praetorian Evolution work is expected to inform LTE outputs.
Taiwan’s program to upgrade 142 Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) F-16A/B fighter aircraft to the latest F-16V configuration is back on track. Defense Minister, Yen Teh-fa told lawmakers that all problems with the Ministry of National Defense’s Phoenix Rising Project, which was launched in 2016 and aims to upgrade 142 ROCAF A/B Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to the F-16V configuration by 2023, have been resolved, the South China Morning Post reports. The program is being carried out by Lockheed Martin and its local partner AIDC, with the first upgraded F-16V aircraft being delivered to the RoCAF in October 2018. First unveiled at the Singapore Airshow in 2012, the F-16V features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system, and a ground collision avoidance system.
Japan’s Board of Audit has found that the US has been behind schedule in delivering military equipment ordered by the Japan Self-Defense Force, the Japan Times reports. It found that only 40 percent of the flight computers ordered for the F-2 fighter have been delivered and some computers ordered nine years ago have yet been shipped. Delays also forced Maritime Self-Defense Force to hold back repairs for its Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The board on Friday urged the Defense Ministry to negotiate with the US side so that such delays will be resolved as soon as possible. In its survey, the audit board looked at Japan’s defense equipment procurement from the United States in four fiscal years through the end of March 2018. The F-2 support fighter aircraft is a multi role single engine fighter aircraft principally designed for the Japan Air Self Defence Force, the result of a joint Japan and USA development program.
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