USS America Downs UAV with RAM in Test | USAF Will RFP for Next Gen Ejector Seats End of FY 2017 | USAF Selects URS Fed Svcs for $3.6B UAV Support
- The Navy’s USS America has successfully shot down a UAV with the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), during live-fire exercises designed to verify the new amphibious assault ship’s defense capabilities. During the test, the UAV posed as an anti-ship missile threat while the RAM utilized its quick-reaction fire-and-forget capabilities to down the drone. The USS America is the first vessel of its class and is designed to accommodate modern fighters such as the F-35B, alongside other vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) aircraft and helicopters. It will support US Marine Corps aviation requirements, from small-scale contingency operations of an expeditionary strike group, to forcible entry missions in major theaters of war.
- USAF brass are looking for a next-generation ejector seat to be integrated on existing fighters and bombers, according to a notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website. A draft request for proposals is expected for the end of FY 2017 and the service will select two qualified sources and award contracts at the beginning of FY19. A production decision would come in the middle of FY20. The contract could open the door for production of a domestic ejection seat, namely United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS) Advanced Concept Ejection Seat 5 (ACES), and line up a potential competitor to the UK-based Martin-Baker.
- URS Federal Services has received a $3.6 billion USAF contract to deliver various support services for the branch’s UAVs. The deal will see the company provide testing, tactical development, advanced training and operational need missions at several testing grounds in Nevada up until the end of March 2034. The USAF did not disclose which remotely piloted aircraft would be involved with the agreement.
Middle East & North Africa
- The US State Department has given approval to Kuwait to upgrade its Al Mubarak Airbase with US support. Work will be carried out by the US Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors, and will cover the areas of design, construction, procurement of key airfield operations, command and control, readiness, sustainment, and life-support facilities. An operations center, hangars, training facilities, barracks, warehouses, and support facilities will all be built at the airbase, with the estimated total cost expected to reach $319 million.
- Bangladesh has been offered a $4.5 billion credit line by neighboring India in order to help it pay for various priority projects, and includes having $500 million earmarked for defense procurements. The announcement was made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi following a meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, who is on a state visit to India. Modi said that the following cooperation “would include working in the fields of electronics, information technology, cyber security, space exploration, civil nuclear energy, and other areas,” and a government statement added that both nation’s armed forces would be cooperating closely in future.
- Tuo Chiang-class stealth corvettes operated by Taiwan’s navy are to be redesigned in order to give them an anti-air capability. All 11 vessels planned for production will receive the new capability which will see the current design lengthened by 4.6 meters with width to increase from 14 meters to 15 meters. The ships will be armed with the indigenous Tien Chien 2 (TC-2) air defense missile, guided by a 3D radar. Crew size per ship will increase from 41 to 53 personnel. Taipei believes the upgrade to the vessels with a Tien Chien anti-air capability will compliment the current model’s Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III (“Brave Wind”) anti-ship missiles, allowing for the missile systems to be combined in whatever configuration the mission calls for.
- It’s been discovered that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered at least 18 Su-30MKI fighters to the Indian Air Force that have been fitted with second-hand engines. A report seen by the Deccan Chronicle stated that “it was noticed while checking the records…that AL 31FP engines fitted in certain aircraft was in Cat B condition at the time of inspection / delivery to Indian Air Force (IAF).” While the Su-30MKI is powered by a pair of AL-31FP turbofan engines, the report found that some of the aircraft were installed with new and old engines. The Indian Defense Ministry has claimed that the second-hand engines were installed by by HAL without its knowledge.
- Raytheon has been selected by the Australian government to deliver a $1.5 billion ground-based air defense system. The new system will replace the country’s 30-year-old short-range capability, which is due to be retired by early next decade, and will be based on the Raytheon/Kongsberg Gruppen ASA National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) currently operated by the US, Norway, Finland, Spain and the Netherlands. Raytheon Australia will receive a single supplier limited request for tender (RFT) from the government for the ground-based air defense system by the end of June, 2017.
- USS Gerald R. Ford begins builders trials:
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