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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
16 Dec 19. UK eyes Dismounted Joint Fires Integrator contract in 2021. The future Dismounted Joint Fires Integrator (D-JFI) for UK joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) and artillery fire support teams (FSTs) is on track for a main gate business case approval in September 2020, officials have said.
The D-JFI equipment suite encompasses communications, computing, and target acquisition aids intended to supersede the in-service FireStorm ensemble, which was originally acquired (from then Rockwell Collins) in 2007 in response to an urgent operational requirement for service in Afghanistan.
The D-JFI requirement has been set at 350+ systems, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Smith, SO1 Joint Effects (Integrate), Support Directorate, Army HQ, said during a briefing at the 2019 Omega Close Air Support (CAS) conference in November. This makes it a Category B acquisition project (those with a value between GBP100m and GBP400m, not needing direct ministerial and Treasury approval).
Initial gate business case approval was granted by the Defence Equipment and Support Investment Board in December 2016, since when the prospective prime contractor list is understood to have been reduced to three: Collins Aerospace (soon to be part of Raytheon), Elbit Systems, and General Dynamics. Tender evaluation is expected to be approved “shortly”, according to the Lt Col Smith.
The official programme schedule calls for a contract award not later than 25 January 2021, in time for system deliveries to begin in the second quarter of calendar year 2023, and initial operational capability (IOC) to be achieved 12 months later. Completion of fielding and full operational capability is set for 2027.
Meanwhile, it is expected that some of the new military off-the-shelf (MOTS) target-acquisition equipment items, such as the laser target designators, laser target markers, and infrared pointers funded under D-JFI, will be required to be delivered in advance of IOC for operation in conjunction with the current ensemble, said Lt Col Smith. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Dec 19. Bosnia and Herzegovina buys Huey II helicopters. Bosnia and Herzegovina has finally initiated the long-postponed process of modernising the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (OSBiH) Air Force and Air Defence Brigade (brZSiPZO). The nation’s defence minister, Marina Pendeš, and the US ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eric Nelson, signed a USD38.5m contract in Sarajevo on 13 December for the acquisition of four Huey II light utility helicopters, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website.
Sarajevo is contributing nearly USD4.4m and the US the remainder under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programmes. The procurement will be conducted in 2020–23. (Source: Jane’s)
13 Dec 19. Netherlands shortlists firms for submarine replacement programme. The Dutch Ministry of Defense has shortlisted three companies for the €2.5bn ($2.77bn) programme to replace the Walrus-class submarines used by the Royal Netherlands Navy. The MoD has issued a B-letter for the Walrus-class replacement programme that will involve the procurement of four new submarines. In a press release, the ministry stated that Spanish shipbuilder Navantia is now out of the competition. The remaining companies in the competition are Naval Group, Saab, and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).
The Royal Netherlands Navy intends to acquire a long-range, conventionally propelled submarine that can operate for a long time.
The MoD said: “In the next phase, the requirements, award criteria and weighting factors are determined, based on factors such as best boat for the best price, risk management and the elaboration of national security interests and strategic autonomy.”
The government hopes the programme will deliver significant opportunities for the Dutch industry in the design, construction and maintenance phases.
The Dutch Navy has been using the Walrus-class boats since the 1990s. The existing submarines are expected to reach the end of their service life in ten years.
The contract award to the winning bidder is expected in 2022. All four submarines are expected to enter service with the navy by 2031.
The Netherlands State Secretary for Defence Barbara Visser said: “This maritime power makes the submarine one of our most important weapon systems. The Dutch submarine service is highly regarded worldwide with the Walrus class.
“That is why the Netherlands wants to replace the ships now that the end of their life is approaching. Nato is also pushing for this. Submarines are an important and much-needed niche capacity.”
Navantia proposed a solution based on the S-80 submarine design for the Dutch programme. (Source: naval-technology.com)
18 Dec 19. Estonia, Latvia, Finland team up to buy armored troop rides. Two of the three Baltic nations plus Finland have signed a letter of intent to pursue a joint buy for new armored ground vehicles.
Senior defense officials signed the document on Tuesday in Talinn, Estonia’s capital, with the idea of beginning the initial preparatory work that would culminate in an eventual acquisition.
“We agreed to carry out defense-related technical research, and I believe that our cooperation will yield a positive result,” Estonian Defense Minister Jüri Luik was quotes as saying in a statement.
“We have a very positive long-term relationship with Finland in terms of procurement policy, we have bought self-propelled artillery and radar systems together,” Luik added. “Now, we want to extend this cooperation to Latvia, as all three countries share a common interest in armored vehicles.”
All three countries share a border with Russia, which means they have crucial requirements to ferry troops around their respective territories for homeland defense missions.
Some Latvian officials have previously expressed reservations about joint procurements in their neighborhood.
“I think there are many misperceptions on Baltic integration,” Janis Garisons, state secretary for the Latvian Ministry of Defence, told Defense News during a September visit to Washington. “I think this is a little bit of a wrong perception that there is a lot of added value in those common procurements.”
Lithuania’s vice defense minister, Giedrimas Jeglinskas, echoed his colleague’s sentiment when visiting Washington in October.
“Joint procurement, multinational procurement — I don’t think it exists that much in the world,” Jeglinskas told Defense News at the time. “Most of the programs out there are joint development. But when you talk about something like three-country procurement, it has been really hard for us to achieve.”
Lithuania this summer started taking delivery of new infantry fighting for its forces, a variant the Boxer, made by a consortium of Germany’s Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The country signed an order for 88 vehicles in 2016 at a price of roughly €386m. (Source: Defense News)
18 Dec 19. Portuguese Army seeks new 155mm howitzer. The Portuguese Army is considering procuring a new 155 mm artillery system to replace its M114A1 towed howitzers, an army staff source told Jane’s on 11 December. EUR18m (USD20m) has been allocated for the effort in the Portuguese 2019–2030 Military Programming Law. Towed lightweight and truck-mounted self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) are options to replace 18 M114A1 155 mm/23-calibre howitzers fielded by the Intervention Brigade’s field artillery group and which entered service in 1983. SPHs are the preferred solution, according to the source. Requirements for the future 155 mm artillery system include a ballistic computer and a link to an artillery command-and-control system. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Dec 19. Rival Shadow Drone Replacements Head To Combat Units For Tests. The Army aims to replace its RQ-7 Shadow with a new, more nimble drone that doesn’t require a runway, to better scout and survive in fast-moving conflicts with great powers.
Today, the Army announced the five operational units that will field-test the four contenders for the Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (FTUAS) replacing the Shadow. The units – real soldiers in deployable formations, not specialized testing personnel – represent a cross-section of the Army’s different kinds of Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs):
- The 1st Armored BCT, 1st Infantry Division – heavily armored tracked vehicles based in Fort Riley, Kansas – will get the first prototypes in April.
- The 2nd BCT of the 101st Airborne – helicopter-borne light infantry out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky – will get their FTUAS in May.
- The 1st BCT, 2nd Infantry – a medium-unit mounted in wheeled Strykers, based at Fort Lewis, Washington – gets theirs in June.
- The 3rd Armored BCT, 1st Armored Division – another heavy unit, this one at Fort Bliss, Texas – start in July.
- The 1st BCT of the 82nd Airborne – more light infantry, this time paratroopers – come last, in September. (The Army’s skipping August, like the French).
“We give our first briefing to the Big Red One last week and spoke to the battalion commander that’s going to receive these in the 101st also last week,” said Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, head of the Army’s aviation modernization task force, the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team. “These commanders and soldiers are extremely excited to get this kit,” he told reporters.
Each of the four FTUAS contenders will be tested by a different brigade for at least six months, culminating in wargames at the famed Combat Training Centers, with funding for another six if needed. One happy company will get to equip two brigades; Rugen said that determination is up to Army Contracting Command’s assessment of “best value” and should be announced this December.
Which unit gets which drone is still to be determined, largely based by which company gets its prototypes ready when. The contenders take two different approaches to taking off and landing vertically like a helicopter, without a runway, but still flying efficiently and quietly over distances like an airplane:
Arcturus UAV’s Jump 20 (in the video above), L3 Harris Technologies’ FVR-90, and Textron/AAI’s Aerosonde HQ are all part quadcopter and part propeller plane: They’ve got wings, pusher propellers, and helicopter-style rotors.
Martin UAV’s V-BAT (above) is what’s called a tailsitter: It perches on its tail, nose to the sky, to take off and land, but flips to horizontal flight once in the air.
As the field tests wrap up – in February 2021 if the schedule holds – the Army won’t immediately move to picking a winner. Instead, feedback from the brigades will inform the service’s final Capabilities Development Document (CDD) and the official requirement, which in turn will guide the final choice.
“Shadow has been around for a long time,” Rugen said, entering service in 2002-2003. It was revolutionary in its day – frontline ground units had never had their own scout aircraft before – but it’s showing its age:
- Shadow is loud enough to alert the enemy it’s overhead, giving them a cue to hide or – for well-armed adversaries like Russia or China – to shoot it down.
- It requires a runway to take off and land. That limits its ability to keep up with fast-moving combat units and makes it dependent on a static, centralized, and easily targeted base. These weren’t crippling problems in the largely stationary counterinsurgency warfare of the last 20 years, but they could be fatal against Russia or China, which have their own recon drones and long-range missiles.
- A full platoon of four Shadows, ground control stations, and support equipment takes two and a half C-130 transport planes to deploy. The goal for FTUAS is to fit the platoon in a single CH-47 helicopter — so it can not only operate without a runway, it can deploy without one as well. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
17 Dec 19. Major fix coming for Marine Corps CH-53K, but a 2-year delay is expected. Engineers have solved or mitigated most of the engine issues that have led to long delays of the operational date of the CH-53 King Stallion ― the Corps’ most powerful heavy lift helicopter ― Marine officials said Tuesday.
The Corps originally planned to have the new heavy lift King Stallion operational by this December, but a series of mechanical issues discovered in the helicopter’s new engine led to serious setbacks in the planned testing dates.
After receiving the helicopter in May 2018, the Corps found roughly 125 technical issues, including a major issue with exhaust gas reingestion, requiring design updates before the helicopter could be deployed, Capt. Christopher Harrison, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Marine Corps Times in a Tuesday morning email.
Harrison said the initial operational date is still expected to be pushed back to 2021, a delay of nearly two years, but the setbacks are not expected to affect the first operational deployment of the helicopter scheduled for 2024.
Since the issues were discovered, government engineers alongside Sikorsky Aircraft engineers have been able to solve more than 100 of the technical issues, including the exhaust gas re-ingestion problem, the Corps said.
Beyond the initial technical issues the Marine Corps also has come under criticism for the cost of the program.
The estimated cost of the program was at nearly $138m per helicopter, Marine Corps Times previously reported, while the first awarded contract to Sikorsky for two low-rate initial productions of heavy-lift helicopters was a total $303,874,406 or roughly $152m for each of the two aircraft.
maintains that even with the unanticipated problems that needed to be solved, the final cost over the life for the rest of the helicopters will be around $87m per aircraft.
The King Stallion is expected to be a key asset in the Marine Corps shift to a focus on the Pacific and plans a more distributed force.
With a max external lift of 36,000 pounds and the capability of moving 27,000 pounds for 110 nautical miles, the helicopter will be able to move some of the Marine Corps’ heaviest equipment to Marines located on small remote outposts.
The CH-53K is equipped with a T-408 engine built by General Electric, billed as being more powerful and fuel efficient than the T-64 engine used in the CH-53E Super Stallion.
“It was great to see the team turn the corner for the program and produce a resolution to an ongoing problem,” Col. Jack Perrin, PMA-261 program manager with the heavy lift helicopter program office, said in the press release. “This was a priority for NAVAIR, industry and the Marine Corps, and the team hit it out of the park.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Marine Times)
17 Dec 19. Against Army’s wishes, Congress primes pump to buy newest CH-47 variant for active force. Congressional appropriators and authorizers have increased advance procurement funds for the newest variant of the CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter as preparation to supply the aircraft to the Army’s active force, even though the service asked to only buy a small number of the helos in fiscal 2020 for special operations.
The service’s decision to cut the aircraft from the active force was based on the need to free up future cash to cover the cost of an ambitious plan to buy two new future vertical lift aircraft for long-range assault and attack reconnaissance missions.
But Congress has gone against the Army’s wishes to divert funding away from procurement for the active force, instead adding $28m in FY20 funding — in both the recently released spending and policy bill conference reports — for advance procurement to begin to prime the pump to restore CH-47F Block II deliveries to the conventional Army.
The cut the service made would only buy 69 special operations variants — or “G” models. The original plan was to procure 473 “F”-model Block II helicopters for the active force.
The Army approved the Block II effort to move into the engineering and manufacturing development phase in April 2017, and the program officially began in July 2017. In October 2018, the first two EMD Block II Chinooks were already on the assembly line with plans to fly in mid-2019. Boeing, which manufactures the aircraft, expects a production decision in July 2021.
While $28m won’t get the service much, based on the original plan the Army would start building five CH-47F Block IIs in 2021 meant for the active force. The advance procurement in FY20 would support buying longer-lead items from suppliers, but is still a stretch to claim that the additional funding restores the program.
Those five aircraft would be delivered in 2023 based on Boeing’s typical three-year lead time to build an airframe.
It remains to be seen whether the congressional plus-up will prompt the Army to restore funding for the five CH-47F Block IIs in its FY21 budget request due out early next year.
It’s also unclear how many of those long-lead parts procured in FY20 could be used in G-model aircraft or are exclusive to F-models. Therefore, it’s also murky how much of the $28m in parts might be wasted if the Army sticks to its plan to only procure G-model aircraft.
The Army has indicated it might reconsider the CH-47F Block II cut; the FY21 budget request, when it is released, will likely reveal the Army’s decision.
Shortly after the service’s plan to cut the CH-47F Block II was revealed in its FY20 budget request, then-Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, who is now chief, told reporters the Army was comfortable with its decision, but tempered that, adding: “I think in two to three years, we will have a better idea about where we are, as far as developing the helicopters we talked about, and that will drive the decision.”
McConville was referring to the Army’s plan to buy two future vertical lift aircraft.
The same day, then-Army Secretary Mark Esper, who is now defense secretary, told another group of reporters that the service would not be rethinking its plans to build CH-47 Block IIs for the conventional force.
The Army has also claimed it is pursuing foreign military sales of its CH-47F Chinooks to soften the blow from cuts made to its intended buy of the Block II variant, but none of the possible sales — to the United Kingdom or to the United Arab Emirates — were newly in the works at the time. And neither country has plans to buy Block II variants. Moreover, the number of helicopters the two countries plan to procure amount to less than 30 aircraft. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
17 Dec 19. Pentagon, NATO to ink long-term MOU for digital modernisation. US Department of Defense (DoD) officials and their NATO counterparts are expected to sign a long-term agreement to integrate the Pentagon’s initiative to modernise its digital infrastructure with similar efforts being taken by European allies. The quadrilateral memorandum of understanding (MOU) should be finalised within this fiscal year, bringing the United State’s largest military alliance in line with its strategy to revitalise defence digital capabilities, Pentagon Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said.
Deasy did not provide details on the specific areas of digital co-operation and integration covered in the new MOU during his announcement on the finalisation of the deal, which he revealed at an AFCEA-NOVA-sponsored Air Force IT Day on 12 December. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Dec 19. NASA seeks to license UTM technology suppliers. US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) invites inquiries from companies interested in obtaining license rights to commercialize, manufacture and market Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) technology detailed below. License rights may be issued on an exclusive or nonexclusive basis and may include specific fields of use. NASA provides no funding in conjunction with potential licenses.
Technology details: NASA has developed a traffic management system for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) to maintain safe and efficient UAS operations. This novel technology enables the growth in civilian applications of UAS operations at lower altitudes by developing a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system. There are a number of applications of UAS which includes goods and services delivery in urban, difficult terrain and rural areas, imaging and surveillance for agricultural, and utility management. To enable significant commercial use of UASs within lower altitude airspace and airspace that does not interfere with regular National Airspace System (NAS) operations, a UTM system is required. UTM is essential to enable accelerated applications of UASs. UTM will accommodate and support all types of UAS operations ranging from disposable with minimalistic avionics capabilities to highly capable UASs.
The UTM functions will include support for the strategic as well as tactical operations. These functions include: airspace design where altitudes are assigned based on direction of flight, and geo fencing design and updates based on the need to avoid sensitive areas (e.g., noise sensitive areas or high value assets). It will provide surveillance of vehicles; weather and wind prediction, and integration with route and flow management; congestion management, and constraint and obstacle management (e.g., terrain, tall natural and man-made structures). Other functions include demand and capacity imbalance management for crossing points, arrival and departure phases; separation assurance, collision avoidance and recovery, and emergency landing site selection and landing, if needed. It provides minimum requirements on UASs to operate at the lower altitudes as relates to communication, sensors, navigation, collision avoidance, and classification of UAS based on their performance characteristics in terms of weight, wake, ability to operate with certain types of wind and weather.
To express interest in this opportunity, please submit a license application through NASA’s Automated Technology Licensing Application System (ATLAS) by visiting https://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TOP2-237
NASA Space Research and Technology
Notice ID: T2P-ARC-00028
Published date: 9 December 2019
Response date: 4 December 2020
Please address questions to: Ames Research Center ARC-TechTransfer@mail.nasa.gov
For more information about licensing other NASA-developed technologies, please visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal at https://technology.nasa.gov/
For more information visit:
REST OF THE WORLD
20 Dec 19. Bumper response from Aussie businesses for Viper choppers. More than 60 new Australian businesses, supplying specialised equipment and services, have expressed interest in joining the Bell/BAE Systems (Team Zulu Viper) proposed solution for the replacement of the Army’s armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH) fleet.
Over the past four weeks, senior representatives from Bell Textron and BAE Systems Australia have travelled to every capital city presenting their combined solution to hundreds of small and medium enterprises, outlining the breadth of opportunities they may create.
As part of the LAND 4503 ARH replacement project, the Commonwealth has requested a fleet of 29 new helicopters be delivered and in-service by 2028.
Bell is offering the AH-1Z Viper under a foreign military sales (FMS) framework, while BAE Systems will draw upon 65 years’ experience and reputational rapport with Australian industry to introduce the aircraft into service as well as delivering through life, in-service and training support services.
Bell global military sales and strategy manager Javier Ball said, “We have had a significant degree of interest from suppliers in the maintenance, repair, overhaul, and training industries, which is encouraging to see.”
Maximising Australian industry capability (AIC) as part of the proposed solution is a priority for both Bell and BAE Systems Australia. The recent industry engagement of SMEs across the nation saw nearly 450 suppliers attend the recent forums, with more than 80 registering on the Industry Capacity Network (ICN) gateway, which will remain open until late January.
“The feedback from SME representatives who attended the national roadshow has been extremely positive, with many expressing their desire to get on board and be part of this proposed solution for the Commonwealth,” Ball added.
Team Zulu Viper aims to establish a dynamic and diverse mix between FMS and direct commercial sales to maximise AIC.
The acquisition strategy aims to reduce operational and in-service risk, allowing the Australian Army to rapidly achieve operational milestones for the replacement armed reconnaissance capability coupled with guaranteed value for money proposition.
Service personnel would be trained to fly and maintain the AH-1Z Viper within Australia and while deployed. To help ensure capability outcomes, we envisage that BAE Systems Australia would support embedded service personnel within our maintenance, repair and overhaul team.
Rowan Tink, senior business development manager at BAE Systems Australia, added, “Our partnership with Bell, established in 2016, has gone from strength to strength. We have a clear and united focus on capability and delivering sovereign capability for Australia.”
Underpinning this effort would be Australian industry’s capabilities to deliver services and a range of through life support activities.
With lower acquisition and total life cycle costs, the AH-1Z Viper is well positioned to provide a value for money product with the best aircraft weapons and survivability equipment in the world.
As the only marinised attack helicopter currently in operation, the Viper operates optimally in all climatic conditions over land and sea both day and night. Possessing unequalled speed, range and payload, the AH-1Z platform delivers unmatched multi-mission flexibility.
Threats are detected, identified and dispatched while employing advanced countermeasure technology.
“We’ve also been encouraged by the diversity of companies eager to be involved in what promises to be an exciting and significant program. We have seen in excess of 80 businesses officially registering on the ICN gateway, which is testament to this enthusiasm,” Tink explained.
The Australian Army is planning to replace the current fleet of EC665 Tiger ARH from the mid-2020s, as identified in the 2016 Defence White Paper.
LAND 4503’s program of delivery aims to support the Australian Army and is designed to contribute to the creation of the modernisation and development of a ‘networked and hardened’ Army.
The acquisition is broken down into three delivery stages, beginning with projected IOC in 2026 and FOC in 2028.
The government has brought the LAND 4503 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Replacement program forward and aims to acquire a proven and mature, off-the-shelf manned armed helicopter to deliver armed reconnaissance effects in the close and deep contested battlespace in support of the Australian Defence Force.
Currently there are three contenders for the LAND 4503 program, including Boeing with the venerable AH-64 Apache, Bell Aerospace offering the AH-1Z Viper and Airbus promising enhanced reliability and capability for the Army’s existing fleet of ARH Tiger helicopters.
If you’re a supplier and you would like to register your interest in working on the Bell/BAE Systems Australia proposed solution, or would like to know more, please visit www.icn.org.au. The deadline for registrations is 24 January 2020. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 Dec 19. Lockheed Martin working on Israeli-specific F-35 upgrade. Lockheed Martin is currently working to upgrade the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF’s) F-35I Adir aircraft to meet specifically Israeli requirements, a senior company representative has said.
Gary North, vice president for customer requirements, told journalists in Tel Aviv on 17 December that the Block 3F software version has been integrated into all F-35 aircraft worldwide, while the 3F+ version is specifically designed for Israeli operational requirements.
“The 3F+ is the integration of indigenous capabilities that meet the requirement of the IAF and that will be ongoing into the future,” North said, without elaborating on what Israeli weapons and systems are involved. (Source: Jane’s)
18 Dec 19. Lockheed Presses For Sale Of 75 F-35s To Israel; Boeing Touts F-15s. A senior military source told Breaking Defense that both competitors are needed and the question is — is who will get bought first: “The IAF needs 75 F-35s and the advanced version of the F-15, and the question is, who will be the first to be purchased.”
The final push is on between Boeing and Lockheed Martin as Israel closes in on a final decision– which to buy first, more F-35s or an advanced version of the F-15 similar to the F-15X the US Air Force will buy.
A senior military source told Breaking Defense that both competitors are needed and the question is — is who will get bought first: “The IAF needs 75 F-35s and the advanced version of the F-15, and the question is, who will be the first to be purchased.”
Lockheed Martin sent Gary North, the company’s VP for customer requirements, the former head of Pacific Air Forces to press the company’s case. Aside from the expected claim that the F-35 is the best solution for the Israeli Air force’s challenges in the region, North said the unit price of LRIP Lot 14 will be $77.9m, which means that the last six F-35s in the 50 aircraft contract will carry this price tag. They will be delivered in 2024. According to the best public estimate from the Pentagon, the F-15X will cost $90m a copy, according to its Cost Assessment and Program (CAPE) analysts.
North said that the price of the F-35 flight hour is going down, and is, as Lockheed keeps promising and the government keeps doubting, going to be $25,000 by 2025.
The Lockheed Martin senior official said that the radar of the F-35 is capable of detecting low flying threats like Iranian cruise missiles. North revealed that the F-35 test aircraft will be delivered to the IAF in the summer of 2020.
The IAF has prepared a list of weapon systems and “functional” systems that it intends to test on the special F-35 test aircraft.
The special test aircraft has been manufactured according to specifications that took two years to prepare.
The special aircraft is designed to adapt Israeli-developed systems to the IAF’s F-35s. “All our platforms have been upgraded to enable stretching the flight envelope while using the unique weapon systems made by the Israeli industries,” an IAF officer from its flight test center said.
Since the stealth fighter aircraft arrived, some Israeli-made systems have been tested in different scenarios, including during combat operations across the Middle East. But the test aircraft will allow these tests to be fully performed. We can’t offer many other details.
North said that the US and Israel are still negotiating how much the Israelis will be allowed to interface with the F-35’s core systems. While the US has claimed for years that partners and allies aircraft will have the same capabilities as those bought by the US, those negotiations make it clear there are limits. The test aircraft will help Israeli enhance the capabilities of the F-35 Adir in air-air and air-ground missions using highly classified Israeli systems developed for this purpose.
Israeli defense companies have been busy adapting operational systems for use on the F-35, including electronic systems and special weapons systems. These initial designs have been updated based on Israel’s combat experience, with the aircraft striking targets across the Middle East.
In addition to the special capabilities Israel plans to install on their F-35s, the IAF wants to perform all heavy maintenance — depot-level — in Israel but North said the aircraft has been designed so that it does not need depot maintenance.
The IAF has decided that only subsystems of the Lockheed Martin F-35 will be sent for maintenance and repair in special regional centers abroad.
“We have made it clear that the maintenance of the aircraft — including depot level — will be done in our bases” an IAF senior officer said. He added that even major subsystems will be sent to other countries only if “there is a technical reason.”
A Boeing source said that the F-15 “answers all the Israeli’s operational needs and the company has supplied the IAF all the relevant data.” The source also said the F-15 has the weapons capabilities that the Israelis will need in any future war. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
17 Dec 19. PAF Evaluating 2 Aircraft Types for Multi-Role Fighter Project. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is currently evaluating two aircraft for its multi-role fighter (MRF) project, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday night.
“One of the aircraft being evaluated is from Sweden (the Saab JAS 39 Gripen) and the other is the American (General Dynamics) F-16 (V),” Lorenzana said when sought for updates on the MRF which is being eyed to beef up the country’s air defense system.
He did not give additional details on the process. The Swedish-made ‘Gripen’ is a light single-engine MRF capable of speeds up to Mach 2.0. It is armed with a 20mm automatic cannon and is capable of carrying a variety of rockets, bombs, missiles and surveillance equipment.
Meanwhile, the American F-16V has a top speed of Mach 2.0, can also carry an assortment of bombs and missiles and sensors and armed with a 20mm cannon. The MRF is part of Horizon Two of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program slated for 2018 to 2022, which aims to acquire more equipment for external defense.
Any aircraft that will be selected must be able to integrate with existing radar systems that have a range of around 250 nautical miles.
Once these MRFs are acquired, the PAF, with the help of these radar systems, can be deployed to determine whether the aircraft flying in Philippine airspace is friendly or hostile. These proposed MRFs are expected to augment the existing fleet of 12 South Korean-made Mach 1.5 capable FA-50PH jet aircraft acquired from 2015 to 2017 by the PAF as its first supersonic aircraft after the decommissioning its Northrop F-5 “Tiger” jet fighters in 2005. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Philippines News Agency)
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