- Northrop Grumman has pulled out of the US Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray unmanned refueler competition. Despite being the company who developed the test platform that proved a UAV could take off and land from an aircraft carrier, CEO Wes Bush cited the Navy’s requirements in the request for proposal issued earlier this month as the reason for the firm’s forfeiture from the race, noting “if you can’t really execute on it and deliver on it to your customer and your shareholders, then you’ve done the wrong thing.” That leaves Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics still in the race.
- Orbital ATK announced hitting the milestone of delivering its 1,000th tactical motor for the AGM-114 Hellfire missile to military customers. The motor is currently in service with the US Armed Forces as well as 16 other allied nations, and is utilized on dozens of platforms ranging from helicopters, aircraft, unmanned aircraft, land combat vehicles and combat ships. The company is also working on upgrading the Hellfire rocket motor to include insensitive munitions, called the IM Hellfire, which will be produced exclusively at the Orbital’s new Large Tactical Motor Manufacturing Facility in Rocket Center, West Virginia. Also in development is a rocket pulse motors capable of operating at extremely cold temperatures that provide increased range and flexibility for both tactical and defense applications.
- For the ninth consecutive year, Lockheed Martin has been selected by the US Air Force for follow-on production of Paveway II plus Laser-Guided Bomb Kits. Valued at $131 million, the award also includes all available funding for the service’s foreign military sales and replacement kits. Paveway II Plus includes an enhanced guidance package turns free-fall, or dumb bombs, into laser guided weapons through the addition of a nose-mounted laser seeker and fins for guidance. Production is expected to commence in the first quarter of Fiscal year 2018.
Middle East & Africa
- Embraer and its US partner Sierra Nevada Corp. will produce and deliver a further six A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to the Afghan Air Force. Production of the aircraft will start immediately at Sierra Nevada’s plant in Jacksonville, Florida, and once delivered, Kabul will be operating 29 of the aircraft in its fleet. Speaking on the order, Embraer said they were “proud to continue our support of the Air Force’s A-29 Afghanistan Program,” citing the order as “a testament to the capability of the A-29.”
- On October 26, the Lithuanian government signed a $127.7 million contract with Kongsberg to move forward with the procurement of the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS). Included in the deal are two air defence batteries and logistical maintenance package, as well as training for operators and maintenance personnel of the system. Deliveries are expected to be complete by 2021.
- Following in the footsteps of Dassault’s generous fighter jet offer to Belgium, the Eurofighter consortium is offering its own incentives in conjunction with the Eurofighter Typhoon, as part of efforts to woo Brussels for its business. The offer includes a commitment by members BAE Systems, Airbus Defense and Space, Leonardo and missile systems company MBDA to try and develop two national innovation centers in Belgium, one in Flanders and one in Wallonia, and would focus on advanced manufacturing and additive layer manufacturing. The partners will invest in the development of research agendas by the centers. BAE Systems have also offered to establish infrastructure, technology and training to accommodate and run a Belgian National Network Cyber Center in partnership with the UK and Belgian Governments. The offer comes shortly after BAE Systems announced over 2,000 redundancies at its UK facilities due to dwindling Typhoon orders.
- Five Beechcraft TC-90 training aircraft will be donated free of charge by Japan to the Philippines following recent legislative changes made by Japan’s parliament that makes the transfer of military hardware easier to allied nations. Two of the aircraft had already been delivered to Manilla under a lease agreement with the next three scheduled to arrive in March 2018. But according to Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency, the deal changed after the Philippines approached them with a request to switch from a leasing arrangement to one where it would acquire the naval reconnaissance aircraft free of charge. They added that they hope the aircraft will enhance the Philippines’ ability to protect its waters and help the country better deal with Chinese efforts to build military facilities in the South China Sea.
- French firms Dassault, Thales and Safran, have been slapped with a $268 million fine by Taiwan in relation to a scandal involving kickbacks paid during the 1992 sale of 60 Mirage 2000 fighters to the island. Dassault will pay the biggest share, $155 million, while Thales and Safran will have to pay $64 and 29 million respectively. Reports stated that all three companies are now considering what next steps will be taken. The Mirage sale was one of a number of arms deals between French companies and Taiwan in the early 1990s that have recently come under scrutiny and have underpinned accusations of widespread corruption during the final years of then-French president Francois Mitterrand. The sales also soured relations between France and China, who oppose any foreign military sales to Taiwan—whom they consider a wayward province.
- SpaceX launches US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) Kestrel Eye microsatellite:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire