27 Oct 16. Brazilian downturn delays helo upgrade plans. The recent downturn in the Brazil’s economy has caused the government to delay the upgrade of the Brazilian Army’s (Exército Brasileiro – EB) helicopters but the scope of the work will remain as previously planned.
Speaking to reporters at the Helibras facility in Itajuba on 26 October, Walter Filho, VP Business & Services, said that upgrades to the army’s 36 Airbus Helicopters AS550A2 Fennec (H125M) and AS350L1 Ecureuil/Esquilo (H125) HA-1-variant platforms, as well as to its 34 Airbus Helicopters AS365 Panther (HM-1 Pantera) platforms, have been delayed by two years as a result of the financial crisis, but that work is now proceeding and the full set of enhanced capabilities will be rolled-out.
“The budget constraints caused a rescheduling in the programmes. For the [HA-1] the rate was reduced from seven helicopters per year to four, with the end-date put back from 2019 to 2022. It is the same for the [HM-1], which has been reduced from four-to-six airframes per year to just three and a finish date of 2021 now 2024,” Filho said.
The Brazilian Army has 20 Fennec and 16 Ecureuil/Esquilo helicopters in its inventory, all of which are designated HA-1. Under the upgrade plan, Helibras is rebuilding two Fennecs and one Ecureuil/Esquilo, and is equipping the fleet with a ‘glass’ cockpit, crashworthy seating, and other systems, with the goal of keeping them in service through to the mid-2030s. Of the 36 HA-1s set to go through the upgrade process, 12 have been delivered back to the army to date. Beyond this process, Helibras is also pitching the HForce Generic Weapons Systems to the Fennec portion of the HA-1 fleet, though no decision on this has yet been taken by the army.
The upgraded AS365K Panther/Pantera is being fitted with new Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 CG engines that deliver 40% more power, new engine fairings, a night vision goggle-compatible ‘glass’ cockpit with a four-axis autopilot, new wiring and a cable-cutting device, enhanced communications and navigation equipment, a weather radar, and a Fenestron tail rotor with asymmetric blades. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Oct 16. Saab Signs Submarine and Surface Ship MoU with Polish Armaments Group. Defence and security company Saab announces it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ), the biggest defence company in Poland. The document foresees the development of close cooperation between Saab and PGZ in the planning and delivery of Polish naval programs, including surface ship and submarine construction for the Polish Navy and export customers.
Earlier this year Saab and PGZ signed a letter of intent to cooperate within a range of projects related to Poland’s defence modernisation in the naval, air and land domains. PGZ is a leading manufacturer of equipment for the Polish defence forces and will play a key role in Polish defence projects.
“I am convinced that the cooperation between Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa and Saab will be beneficial both for our partner and for the Polish Navy. Ensuring Polish security, also at sea, is one of the most important tasks for PGZ arising from the Technical Modernisation Plan. The signing of this agreement opens the door for the Polish defence and shipbuilding industries to a wide range of technological cooperation, while for the Polish Navy, it is an opportunity to procure the most modern ships”, said Arkadiusz Siwko, CEO of Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa.
“Saab sees the Polish market as very important and aims at developing an even stronger partnership. We share the same security challenges in the Baltic Sea and together we can work to deepen defence projects partnership and offer an unbeatable industrial offering to the Polish end customer,” explains Gunnar Wieslander”, head of Saab Kockums.
The Polish Armed forces are currently seeking to develop modern defence capabilities through 15 priority modernisation programs. Importantly these include