V-22 Aerial Tanker Variant on Tap for 2018 | Israel’s Sea-based Iron Dome Intercepts Salvos in Test | Saab Premiers First of Three Gripen E’s
- The Navy’s V-22 Osprey program has set 2018 for the deployment of the aerial tanker variant of the USMC’s MV-22B. Once the new capability is installed, it will be possible for the air combat element of a Marine Expeditionary Unit to refuel in air its F-35 Lightning II strike fighters and CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters, and eventually even other V-22s may be a possibility. This capability will extend the reach of the amphibious ready groups for strike and assault missions.
- Raytheon’s SeaRam anti-ship defense system has undergone its most rigorous testing in recent US Navy testing. Targets successfully engaged involved two supersonic missiles flying in complex, evasive maneuvers which the system successfully took down with the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 missiles. The SeaRAM is an upgrade of Phalanx Block 1B and it swaps out the gatling gun with an 11-round Rolling Airframe Missile guide.
- A collaboration between MIT and Lockheed Martin engineers is to focus on the innovations needed to enable generation-after-next autonomous systems. The signed agreement was formalized during a ceremony at the campus last Friday and provides a multi-year framework between MIT and Lockheed Martin for collaborative research, exchange of visiting scientists, support of student Undergraduate Research Opportunities, fellowships, and internships at Lockheed Martin. Dr. Padraig Moloney, who spearheaded the new initiative, stated “We’re confident that our relationship and collaboration in these technical areas will influence the fields of autonomy and robotics for the next 15-20 years.”
Middle East North Africa
- On Wednesday, Israel claimed that it had successfully intercepted a test salvo of shore-launched short-range rockets with a new sea-based version of the Iron Dome. The testing took place two week ago on board the force’s INS Lahav Sa’ar-5 corvette-class surface vessel which has had the IAI/Elta developed Adir radar and Rafael-developed Iron Dome integrated on board. It remains unclear, however, what types of threats the system engaged.
- Austria’s Diamond Aircraft has announced the maiden flight of its DART-450 (Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer). The aircraft is a first all-carbon fiber tandem, 2-seat civilian and military trainer with a sidestick and pneumatic ejection seats. Powering the DART-450 is the Ivchenko-Progress/Motor Sich AI-450S turboprop engine, a 5-blade MT propeller, and a GARMIN avionic system, giving the trainer a top speed of 250kts.
- Saab rolled out the first of its three Gripen E fighters yesterday, with the test fighter to be handed over to the flight test department this summer. The unveiling comes three years before the first of at least 96 production models are to be delivered to the governments of Brazil and Sweden. Saab expects that between 400-450 Gripen E models could be produced over the life of the program.
- MBDA has been awarded a $600 million UK MoD contract for futher development of the Spear 3 missile. The missile is described as the sister weapon to MBDA’s Brimstone already in service with the RAF, in use in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State militants. Already, the Spear 3 has been test-fired from a Typhoon aircraft but the contract will allow MBDA to develop the missile for use with the controversial F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
- Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha became the first chief to fly the indigenous HAL Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter in a short sortie on Tuesday. Raha’s flight came during a visit to meet team LCA in Bengalaru which involved the inauguration of the Tejas’ painting hanger. The only other top IAF officer to have flown the LCA was Deputy chief of Air Staff Air Marshal SBP Sinha, in September 2014.
- V-22 Aerial Refueling Proof of Concept:
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