- The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin and Raytheon separate $900 million contracts for the development of the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) nuclear cruise missile. Work will primarily be conducted in Orlando, Fla., and Tucson, Ariz until 2020, after which the service will select one of the firms to finish development of the missile. Expected to be deployed by the late 2020s, the LRSO will be mounted on the B-52H Stratofortress , B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the future B-21 Raider bomber currently under development. It will replace the AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile currently used on the B-52.
- Are you a US Army soldier? Do you like video games? Well if you are and do, the US Army is looking for personnel to provide input through online gameplay to help develop the Operation Overmatch crowd-sourced innovation platform. The game involves an eight-on-eight scenario with players fighting advanced enemies equipped with realistic capabilities in a variety of real-world scenarios, and is part of the Early Synthetic Prototyping program designed to connect scientists, soldiers and engineers with their ideas on prototype weapons, equipment and tactics. While still in its early development stages, it will allow soldiers to test weapons and tactics and provide instant feedback and data through game analytics. The program will allow the Army to test thousands of variants of weapons and equipment still on the drawing board without the need for spending on prototypes. The game currently features models of planned future armored and unmanned vehicles and is set in an urban environment.
Middle East & Africa
- Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900 UAV has been declared fully operational by the Israel Air Force following the successful completion of evaluations by the service. The inspection carried out included assessments of the aircraft’s operation and maintenance, and the squadron’s flight department’s capability to receive a mission from HQ and complete it successfully, among others. Nicknamed Kochav, it is the most advance UAV in the Israeli Air Force UAV division.
- Boeing has been awarded a $222.5 million contract modification for the production and delivery of eight CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the Royal Saudi Land Forces. Production of the new builds will be conducted at Ridley Township, Penn., with an estimated completion time of July 31, 2021. Last year, the US State Department approved the sale of 48 CH-47F Chinooks and associated equipment to Saudi Arabia in a deal worth an estimated $3.5 billion. The Royal Saudi Land Forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deploy a variety of US-made helicopters, including UH-60 Black Hawk medium-lift transport aircraft, AH-64 Apache gunships and the CH-47, among others.
- Norway’s Kongsberg Defense Systems has announced that is will maintain gear boxes on Norway’s Sea King helicopters. The framework agreement, signed with the Norwegian Defense Logistics organization, will run until 2020 at an estimated cost of $37.9 million. Kongsberg also announced it will deliver its Integrated Combat Solution for Finland’s new K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled artillery, after signing a deal with the howitzer’s manufacturer, South Korea’s Hanwha Land Systems. Finnish modifications to the K9s aim at accommodating the country’s existing digital radios and Patria-made battlefield management system (BMS).
- The Danish government will supply Stinger air-defense missiles and launch systems to the Latvian armed forces with deliveries scheduled to take place next year. While the exact cost and number of systems to be supplied in the acquisition has yet to be revealed, a Latvian government statement said that all units will receive the systems, including the National Guard. Its Ministry of Defense (MoD) added that it is in the process of obtaining support, maintenance and training equipment for the Stinger, as NATO allies help Riga with training for use of the missiles.
- India has issued a global request for information (RFI) for a $10 billion acquisition involving 123 naval multi-role helicopters and 111 naval multi-utility helicopters for its Navy. An MoD spokesperson said that Lockheed Martin (which has acquired Sikorsky) and Bell Helicopter of US, Airbus Helicopters of France, and Russian Helicopters of Russia have all been contacted for information, one of which will then pair with one of India’s domestic private sector companies, who in turn will produce the helicopters. Domestic private companies, which will compete to be the strategic partner for both helicopters programs are Bharat Forge Limited, Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra Aerospace, and Tata Advanced Systems Limited. The latest RFI will be replaced by a formal RFP likely next year, and thereafter the formal selection of the overseas original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The selection process for a strategic partner and an overseas OEM is likely to take two to three years, according to an MoD defense production official.
- Cobham Mission Systems has been selected to provide launchers for South Korea’s next-generation KF-X fighter program. The company will provide an unspecified number of the launchers by 2020 at a cost of $9 million. Ken Kota, general manager of Cobham Mission Systems, called its launcher system “a highly robust, long stroke ejection system that allows the interchangeable carriage and release of either Meteor or AMRAAM air-to-air missiles without role change.” South Korea plans to produce 120 KF-X fighters while Indonesia, a program partner, looks to operate 80 IF-X aircraft.
- The now fully operational Hermes 900 UAV:
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