10 Jun 16. US Army Readies Shadow Block 3 Engine Competition. The US Army plans to release a solicitation for a Block III engine for its Textron Systems RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system (UAS) later this year, according to the army’s product manager for the platform.
“We are absolutely doing a full and open competition” for the engine, Lieutenant Colonel Tory Burgess said during a 6 June press briefing. He added that a request for proposals is still going through the Pentagon’s approval process but expects a December or January release.
Lt Col Burgess noted that there is not a large industrial base producing engines in the class that the army is seeking. UEL is the incumbent engine manufacturer on the Shadow and is also developing a higher-horsepower option for Block III, Henry Finneral, Textron Systems’ unmanned systems vice president of tactical UAS, said at the same briefing. However, Finneral said the solicitation is likely to attract multiple bidders. “With the opportunity that the army has put on the table, I think it will draw a lot of interest from industry,” he said. The army has explained that it plans to order 200 units for in-service and newly built aircraft.
In addition to a new engine, the army plans to purchase additional laser designators for its fleet of 104 air vehicles, Lt Col Burgess said. It will also pursue both weatherisation and software improvements to enable the Shadow to operate in all environments encountered by the Boeing AH-64 Apache combat helicopter with which it teams and to “make it easier on the soldier operator,” respectively, he said.
Since 1999 the Shadow has received a variety of upgrades, including all-digital, encrypted communications, increased bandwidth, and extended wings. However, the army is not pursuing an armed version of the platform, according to Lt Col Burgess. “The army currently has no requirement to weaponise the Shadow platform,” he said. (Source: UAS VISION/ IHS Jane’s 360)
09 Jun 16. Peruvian Navy upgrade programme passes key milestones in 2016. Key Points:
• Several Marina de Guerra del Peru (MGP) capability programmes are passing prominent milestones in 2016
• Once completed, the capability augmentations would see the MGP deploying arguably one of the most modern navies in its region
The Peruvian Navy (Marina de Guerra del Peru: MGP) is continuing on its course of re-constituting its operational capabilities, with a number of procurement and upgrade programmes passing key milestones in 2016.
Reflecting the wider international focus on augmenting amphibious capabilities, BAPPaita – the first of two new multipurpose landing platform dock (LPD) ships based on the Indonesian Makassar-class LPDs – is scheduled to enter the water at the end of 2016. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jun 16. Nigeria waiting for US to approve Super Tucano sale. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is hoping to replace its Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets with Embraer EMB 314/A-29 Super Tucano turboprops, NAF spokesman Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa said on 6 June. The revelation came in a statement announcing that the apron at Yola Air Base was being expanded in preparation for the arrival of new platforms that have been ordered for the NAF, which include Mil Mi-35M helicopters, CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder fighters, and PAC Super Mushshak trainers.
“There are also strong indications that the US government may give the nod sooner than expected with regards to the sale of Super Tucano to the NAF to replace the ageing Alpha Jets,” the statement said. US approval would be needed if the aircraft were built at Sierra Nevada Corporation’s plant in Jacksonville, Florida, rather than in Brazil by Embraer. The Jacksonville plant is currently producing Super Tucanos for Afghanistan and has another contract to build six for Lebanon.
The United States government blocked the sale of Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters – reportedly ex-Israeli Air Force ones – to Nigeria in 2014 due to concerns about its mil