06 Jul 16. New lease of life: delivering the HCM/FELEX programme. The Halifax-class frigates will remain the backbone of the Royal Canadian Navy’s surface fleet out to at least 2030. Richard Scott examines the implementation of the Halifax Class Modernization/Frigate Life Extension programme. Commissioned between 1992 and 1996, the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN’s) 12 Halifax-class frigates were designed and built by Saint John Shipbuilding in Saint John, New Brunswick, under the mantle of the Canadian Patrol Frigate (CPF) programme. Conceived in the 1980s, when the Cold War was at its height, the Halifax-class design developed under the CPF project reflected the prevailing threats of the age, with a strong bias on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and, to a lesser degree, anti-surface warfare (ASuW) in the open-ocean environment. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jul 16. Lockheed sees deal soon with Pentagon for 160 more F-35 fighter jets. Lockheed Martin Corp said on Thursday it expects to reach an agreement soon with the U.S. Defense Department about contracts for the next 160 F-35 fighter jets, a deal valued at around $15bn. Jeff Babione, Lockheed’s F-35 programme manager, told reporters he was “very, very encouraged” by the discussions about the ninth and 10th contracts, which are being conducted in tandem, and expected to finalise a deal with the Pentagon soon.
Babione said the price of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing jets would drop to under $100m in the 10th batch of low-rate production jets.
“I know it’s going to be less, it’s just how much less,” he said. He said Lockheed was still working to drive the price of the jets down to around $85m by 2019. (Source: Reuters)
06 Jul 16. Portugal, Morocco discuss further patrol ship refits, following return of first vessel. Portugal’s state-owned shipyard Arsenal do Alfeite is negotiating with the Marine Royale Marocaine over possible refurbishment work on a second Osprey Mk II large patrol ship. A first unit, El Hahiq (308), was returned to the Royal Moroccan Navy on 30 May following overhaul by the company.
Morocco has three more Osprey Mk IIs in its fleet: El Tawfiq (309), El Hamiss (316), and El Karib (317). The ships were received from Danish shipbuilder Danyard between 1987 and 1990.
The overhaul work on El Hahiq included: repair work; replacement of 1,000 tons of steel; installation of a power control system and government-furnished generator sets; and an update of the propulsion suite. The Portuguese Navy also delivered a training package for the crew. The ship had arrived at the yard near Lisbon, Portugal, in February following the signing of a contract in January 2014. Moroccan personnel were based at the shipyard to oversee the work.
El Hahiq is the third Moroccan ship to be updated by Arsenal do Alfeite, following the logistics support ship Dakhla (408) in 2012 and the Floréal-class patrol frigate Hassan II (612) in 2013. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Jul 16. Italy’s M-345 Fighter Trainer Slated for Contract This Year. The M-345 HET, the latest jet trainer to be developed by Italy’s Leonardo-Finmeccanica, will be acquired by the Italian Air Force this year once the Italian government releases initial development funding, a senior defense source has told Defense News.
The new aircraft, which will prepare pilots to move up to the firm’s advanced M-346 trainer, is edging towards first flights this year and may enter service by the end of 2018, company officials said.
Three years after the company announced it would develop the M-345 to replace its MB-339 trainer, Leonardo-Finmeccanica will be showing off the cockpit of the new aircraft at Farnborough, with officials calling the aircraft “unbeatable” for life cycle cost.
The M-345 basic-advanced trainer is based on the firm’s planned, but never-produced, M-311 trainer, albeit with new engines, avionics and some structural aerodynamic changes.
The M-311 was in turn a development of the S-211, which was sold to the