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29 Jan 14. Finland has placed a EUR90m (USD122m) order for Raytheon Stinger man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS), the Finnish MoD announced on 29 January 2014. According to the MoD, deliveries will run from 2014 to 2017. Finland first requested Stinger missiles from the United States in November 2011, with the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) detailing a request for 600 Stinger FIM-92C Reprogrammable Microprocessor (RMP) missiles and related equipment and support valued at USD330m. Although not specified by the Finnish MoD, the eventual contract for the MANPADS indicates an order of around 200 missiles, based on the comparative pricing of the request and contract. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Jan 14. Great Britain orders Rheinmetall Vario-Ray laser light modules. During the next few years the British Ministry of Defence will continue procuring Rheinmetall’s state-of-the-art Vario-Ray laser light module for its infantry forces. Mounted on soldiers’ small arms, these devices enable them to detect, identify and mark targets. The framework contract, with a total value of €33m (approximately £28m), encompasses the supply of tens of thousands of these innovative devices. In the near term more than 7,000 units are to be delivered in a first lot. Vario-Ray, officially dubbed the “Laser-Light Module Mark 3” by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, forms part of a comprehensive programme to modernize the British infantry. In the competition to secure the order, it had to overcome a number of well-known rivals. Weighing less than 244 grams, the device can be attached to small arms of all types by means of a Mil-Std 1913 rail, and remotely operated using a trigger cable. It features a powerful white light lamp, a red light laser marker, an infrared laser marker and an electrically focusable infrared illuminator. The light source is selected via a rotary switch. All of the light sources are infinitely variable, while the lasers can all be adjusted via block calibration. The LLM Vario-Ray complements the tried-and-tested LLM-01, already widely used by the British military and likewise made by Rheinmetall. Vario-Ray also forms part of Germany’s new “Gladius” expanded future soldier system.
27 Jan 14. AgustaWestland has been awarded a £454m ($750m) contract to transform the U.K.’s Merlin battlefield support helicopter fleet for amphibious operations. Twenty-five of the U.K. Royal Air Force’s current fleet of 28 AgustaWestland EH101 Merlin Mk. 3 and Mk. 3A helicopters will undergo the upgrade to the Mk. 4/4A standard for the U.K. Royal Navy’s amphibious Commando Helicopter Force (CHF). The upgrade is part of the Merlin Life Sustainment Program and ship optimization project, which was approved by the U.K. defense ministry in December. The government is expected to formally announce the deal later this week. The upgraded Merlins will be used to replace the aging Westland Sea King Mk. 4 currently in use by the CHF, which will exit service along with all other Sea Kings in the U.K. inventory by the end of March 2016. AgustaWestland will use its experience from the development of a naval transport version of the EH101, now the AW101 for the Italian navy. The company will remove the current tail rotor system and replace it with a folding version. (Source: Aviation Week)
27 Jan 14. BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence have agreed to extend the Typhoon Availability Service (TAS) for the in-service support of the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fleet by 12 months until the end of 2014. The £100m contract extension will mean that BAE Systems continue to wor