* Future US Navy amphibious transport dock, the USS Portland, has successfully completed Builder’s Trials and has returned to its shipyard in Mississippi. The Huntington Ingalls-built vessel will now be prepared for Acceptance Trials, where the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey will formally assess the ship’s capabilities. The Portland will be the 11th ship of the LPD 17 San Antonio-class to join the Navy fleet next year. It will be home ported in San Diego, Calif., and will deploy combat and support US Marine Expeditionary Units and brigades.
* Lockheed Martin has received contracts with a total value of $74 million to cover the sourcing of advanced materials for F-35 construction for the USMC and engineering services for Japan. The DoD stated that the contracts will apply to long-lead time parts, materials for future low-rate production of F-35s for the Marine Corps along with engineering and assembly on future jets for Japan, with work projected to be completed by December 2017 for the Marine Corps and December 2018 for Japan. Work for the Marine Corps F-35s will primarily be conducted in Fort Worth, Texas, El Segundo, Calif., Warton, Britain and other locations across the United States and in Japan. The assembly and engineering work for Japan will take place in Nagoya, Japan, and Baltimore, Md.
* Jordan is to donate an undisclosed number second-hand AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters to Kenya. The announcement comes as Kenya takes delivery of UH-1 helicopters from the US, of which it has received six of eight, and has recently requested the purchase of 12 armed MD 530F helicopters. Bell Helicopters has added that it will be giving support to Kenya’s new aircraft when required. Kenya’s recent military modernization effort comes as it looks to bolster its efforts against al Shabaab militants in Somalia and its contributions to the UN/AU mission in the region.
* After alleged disagreements over price, the US has agreed to sell Patriot missile defense systems in the latest configuration after both parties signed a memorandum on Wednesday. Poland’s Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz made the announcement on US President Donald Trump’s arrival to Warsaw onWednesday, ahead of his trip to the G20 summit in Germany this weekend. The deal is estimated to be worth $7.6 billion.
* Rheinmetall MAN Vehicles expects to receive a contract from ARTEC—the consortium behind the Boxer 8×8 vehicle—to modernize 38 of the armored vehicles for the German Army. ARTEC, a joint venture of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Nederland, received the order from OCCAR, the European procurement agency in late June, in a deal that is in excess of $23.8 million. The deal will see the vehicles upgraded from the command variant to the A2 level, which requires changes to the vehicles’ chassis and mission modules. Other enhancements include advanced driver visualization technology, new weapon systems, IT equipment modules and new communication systems.
* Australia has contracted Boeing to carry out upgrades to the early-warning and control capabilities of its fleet of E-7A Wedgetail aircraft. Valued at $442.4 million, the aircraft will be fitted with new sensors as well as tactical data links, and communication and encryption systems. The project will be completed by mid-2022. Wedgetail aircraft are configured Boeing 737-700, with the addition of advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar and 10 mission crew consoles. Australia currently has the aircraft deployed to the Middle East region as part of its contribution to the fight against the Islamic State.
* Airbus is taking a C295 maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA), recently delivered to the Brazilian air force, on a tour of five Asian countries. Already in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea are all scheduled for stops as the aerospace giant looks to capitalize on the region’s interest in procuring MSA aircraft amid rising tensions over conflicting territorial claims in littoral regions. Airbus has particular interest in selling the aircraft to Thailand, as the country already operates transport versions of the C295 and CN235, which “potentially leads to an easy crew transition and lower operating costs in the future,” according to the company. Following its Asian tour, the C295 will conduct a demonstration tour in North America.
* The Royal Australian Air Force (RAFF) has commenced flight training operations with the latest version of the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT). Manufactured by BAE Systems, the latest variant comes with a number of digital upgrades and can simulate radar and electronic warfare attacks that the company says “provides the RAAF with a leading edge capability and, coupled with the CAE full mission simulators, delivers a highly impressive Lead-In Fighter Training System that will ensure Hawk retains its effectiveness into the next decade and beyond.” Australia’s Hawk fleet modernization started in 2014 and is expected to be fully upgraded by 2019.
* US & SK conduct missile drills in response to NK’s recent ICBM test: