USS Little Rock delivered to Navy | Germany begins Leopold tank modernization | Next British Type 26 frigate to be named HMS Belfast
- Shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine has delivered the future USS Little Rock, a Freedom variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), to the US Navy. The Little Rock—completed last summer and is expected to be commissioned into service in December—is the Navy’s 11th LCS and the fifth Freedom variant delivered to and accepted by the service. Speaking on addition Freedom-class LCS vessels under construction, Fincantieri added that the future USS Sioux City will enter into trials soon, the future USS Wichita was christened and launched in September of last year and is conducting system testing in the Menominee River, and the future USS Billings was launched in July and is to begin trials next year.
- Black Hills Ammunition of Rapid City, South Dakota has landed a $50 million US Naval Sea Systems Command contract to provide 5.56mm ammunition to US armed forces. The firm, which designs, manufactures and markets ammunition for weapons ranging from sporting firearms to military sniper rifles, said that it is unlikely that the full order will purchased but it will absorb production expenses over the contract’s five-year length. “As a contractor, we’re obligated to be prepared to deliver that quantity should the government order it,” Black Hills co-owner Jeff Hoffman said. “The government is only obligated to order a small fraction of that.”
- Sierra Nevada Corp and Turkish Aerospace Industries has unveiled their collaboration aircraft developed for the USAF’s T-X trainer competition to Aviation Week. A less talked about entry in the much anticipated program, the T-X Freedom trainer has been designed to be a relatively low-cost solution both in terms of acquisition and life-cycle maintenance. It is built with an all-composite airframe, includes a fully digital fly-by-wire flight control system, and is powered by two Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan engines, each with a thrust output of 16.01 kN, cruise speed of 833.4 km/h and range of 3,700 km. As a cost-saving measure, the team decided to omit weaponization of the aircraft, instead using digitally simulated air warfare experiences.
Middle East & Africa
- The US State Department has hit back at claims made by Turkey that it has imposed an unofficial arms embargo against the government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “There is no ‘covered arms embargo’ in place for Turkey,” an US official told Defense News. “We continue to review all potential arms sales on a case-by-case basis, as is consistent with the US Conventional Arms Transfer Policy,” they added. Tensions have been mounting between Turkey and Western allies in NATO over issues ranging from human rights crackdowns in Turkey after last summer’s failed coup against the regime, as well as Washington’s continued support for Kurdish forces fighting against Islamic State militants in both Iraq and Syria—forces that Ankara deems to be terrorists. This has spilled into ongoing arms deals with Turkey, with its indigenous Altay program suffering sets backs over engine supply, and Turkey choosing the Russian S-400 air defense system instead of a Western option with NATO interoperability.
- The British Ministry of Defence has announced that the next of its new Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy will be named the HMS Belfast. The announcement was made by defense minister Sir Michael Fallon during a visit to the shipbuilder Harland and Wolff in the city, where the Navy’s last HMS Belfast—a light cruiser that is now a museum ship moored in London—was built before World War Two. Eight Type 26 frigates have been slated for production, with the first beginning combat operations in the mid-2020s, and will be used to protect the UK’s nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.
- Germany released funds to upgrade 104 Leopard 2 tanks, contracting Rheinmetall to carry out the modernization. The $139.4 million award will see 68 Leopard 2A4, 16 Leopard 2A6 and 20 Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks modernized “to state-of-the-art design status,” eliminating obsolescent features in the tank’s fire-control computers and control consoles and install new laser rangefinders and thermal imaging devices. A new L55A1 gun will also be added to the 68 Leopard 2A4 MBTs, enabling them to fire the latest armor-piercing ammunition in the upper pressure zone. The first tanks will be completed by 2020.
- While a corruption investigation continues at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced Seoul’s intentions to buy additional T-50 advanced trainer jets from the company. The decision was made at the 105th session of the weapons procurement committee, presided over by Defense Minister Song Young-moo, however, the model or number of jets sought remain unspecified. The project will begin in 2019 and will be procured under a “domestic purchase” program.
- Singapore deploy F-16Ds to New Zealand’s Ohakea air base :
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire