Washington’s F-15 offer “pure speculation” says Taiwanese MoD | Wilson slams Boeing over Pegasus delays | RAAF declares IOC on its P-8 Poseidons
- Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus tanker program has come under fire after Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson took the firm to task during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Flight Global reports. During the hearing, Wilson criticised the airframer over delivery delays of the aircraft to the USAF saying: “One of the frustrations with Boeing is they are much more focused on their commercial activity then getting this right for the Air Force, and getting these aircraft to the Air Force.” “We have asked them to get their A team on this to get these problems fixed and get the aircraft to the Air Force,” she added. The firm responded by saying that “there is no greater priority at The Boeing Company right now than the delivery of the KC-46,” however, did not guarantee that the first batch of tankers would be delivered by the second quarter of 2018. The USAF awarded Boeing a $4.9 billion contract in 2011 to modify the 767-2C commercial freighter into the KC-46A military tanker, but manufacturing and development issues have caused the firm to reportedly lose $2 billion.
- Rolls Royce has been tapped by the US Navy to provide engine support for its T-45 Goshawk trainer aircraft. Valued at $69.4million, Monday’s contract modification exercises an option for the intermediate, depot level maintenance and related logistics support for approximately 209 in-service T-45 F405-RR-401 Adour engines. Work on the contract will occur at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Contract completion is set for September this year.
- Lockheed Martin has received a $8.5 million US Navy contract modification for services related to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Under the agreement, Lockheed will provide the Navy, Marine Corps and the government of the United Kingdom with additional mission training capabilities for their F-35 program. Work will occur in multiple locations across the United States and England. The contract is expected to be complete in May 2021.
Middle East & Africa
- On Monday, March 19, Boeing was awarded a $7.1 million foreign military sales (FMS) contract by the US Navy for the procurement of a Harpoon Obsolescence Redesign Study for the government of Qatar. The majority of the work will take place in St. Charles, Missouri, but also at St. Louis, Missouri and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. No contract completion date was issued. While not a current operator of the Harpoon anti-ship missile, the contract suggests that the emirate may be considering a buy of the anti-ship missile as either a replacement or compliment of the stocks of the MBDA-made Exocet missile currently used onboard Qatari Emiri Navy vessels.
- The German government has chosen the southern city of Ulm as the location of a new NATO logistics command aimed at deterring Russian aggression on the continent. A broad plan for this Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) would be completed by mid-April, with a formal decision by NATO expected at a meeting of alliance defense ministers from June 7-8. Speaking to lawmakers, state secretary in the Defence Ministry Peter Tauber said locating the command in Ulm would create synergies since the city in southern Germany is already home to Germany’s Multinational Joint Headquarters, which plans and exercises command and control of global crisis management operations for the United Nations, NATO or the European Union. The two commands would have up to 1,500 personnel in total.
- Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense has dismissed reports that it would lease F-15C/D Eagles from the United States. The story had first surfaced on local news outlet Up Media, with ministry spokesperson Major General Chen Chung-chi calling the claims “pure speculation.” Sources quoted in the earlier report had claimed that Washington was offering decommissioned USAF F-15s upgraded to the 2040C specification, which is designed to carry up to 16 air-to-air missiles, climb at 15,240m per minute and take off and land on relatively short runways. They added that by offering Taiwan refurbished F-15s without auxiliary fuel tanks, US officials believed that the transfer may allay Chinese fears about Taipei having an advanced, long-range multi-role fighter.
- Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has proposed plans to purchase a number of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter as well as a multi-purpose aircraft carrier. The proposals were made to a party national security panel on Tuesday. Under the plan, the F-35Bs—which are the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the the fifth-generation fighter—would allow Japan to operate its fighters from its islands that have shorter runways as well as from its Izumu-class helicopter destroyer vessels. As to the aircraft carrier, the panel wants to procure a multi-purpose aircraft carrier that can also serve as a hospital ship with conversion of one of the Izumus listed as an option. The buys are being suggested as part of efforts by the LDP to boost Japan’s defense capabilities both in quality and quantity, stressing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program and China’s military build-up and growing maritime presence in the region as factors. They will be submitted to the government for discussion in late May.
- Australia’s fleet of P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft have achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC). So far, the Royal Australian Air Force has taken delivery of six aircraft out of a total order of 12, with the aircraft operated by the No. 11 sqn. from RAAF Edinburgh. “The arrival of the P-8A has allowed Air Force, under Plan Jericho, to develop and evolve new operating concepts, support arrangements and sustainment options,” adds RAAF air marshal Leo Davies. “These will best exploit the P-8A’s sensors and networking as part of integrated Navy and Air Force integrated Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Family of Systems.” Under this plan, first announced in 2015, Canberra also aims to acquire and integrate Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton UAV, and has hinted that it could obtain “up to seven”.
- Hawk trainer jet crashes in India:
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