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31 Mar 16. FIDAE 2016: Latin American militaries look to defend aircraft for overseas deployments. Orbital ATK (formerly Alliant Techsystems) has reported a marked increase in the number of Latin American militaries looking to equip their aircraft with defensive aids systems for overseas deployments in support of international peacekeeping and humanitarian relief efforts. Speaking to IHS Jane’s at the FIDAE Airshow on 31 March, Ray Mederos, Director of Business Development at Orbital ATK, said that this drive to fit missile approach warning systems (MAWS) and countermeasures is a relatively new phenomenon, as countries across the region look to increase their participation in international operations in regions that are somewhat less stable than their own.
“There’s not a local threat in Latin America that requires the fitting of defensive aids, but as regional countries look to do a lot more work in places like Africa they are becoming much more aware of the threat posed to their aircraft from MANPADS [man-portable air defence systems] and the like, and they want to protect themselves against them,” he said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Mar 16. APKWS II deployed on USMC Harriers. The US Marine Corps (USMC) has begun to field the fixed-wing variant of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System II (APKWS) on AV-8B Harrier II aircraft forward deployed to Bahrain as part of Operation ‘Inherent Resolve’, the US Central Command mission to degrade and defeat the Islamic State. The accelerated delivery into theatre – announced by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 30 March – comes just seven months after a formal requirement was raised by Marine Corps headquarters. Fielding of this rapid deployment capability has seen the AV-8B become the first tactical aircraft (TACAIR) platform to integrate APKWS II.
Developed and manufactured by BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration, APKWS II is a low-cost precision-guided 2.75-inch rocket that integrates a low-cost Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) guidance section with existing Hydra 70 rocket motors and warheads. Designed as a ‘plug and play’ kit, the DASALS unit is installed between the Hydra 70 warhead and the rocket motor; the seeker aperture is divided into four elements, with each element placed on the four wings of the guidance section to provide an integrated navigation solution of the weapon.
The USMC raised the requirement to introduce the fixed-wing APKWS to quickly provide the AV-8B with a low-cost, low-collateral damage, high-precision weapon offering improved weapon-to-target pairing. Two NAVSEA programme offices based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River – AV-8B Harrier Weapon System (PMA-257) and the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike (PMA-242) – have worked together to define a two-phase programme to rapidly release the APKWS II to service on the Harrier II platform: the first phase, which has included the delivery of 80 guidance kits, has expedited fielding of a limited AV-8B fixed-wing APKWS II employment flight envelope capability; the second phase will expand fixed-wing APKWS II employment envelope limits to the maximum extent possible for the AV-8B. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Mar 16. Analysis: Iskander missile launcher spotted in Syria. ANALYSIS
Russia has deployed at least one Iskander missile system to its Humaymim Air Base in Syria, although it is unclear if it is the ballistic or cruise missile variant.
The Iskander transporter erector launcher (TEL) was spotted in footage broadcast by Russia’s Zvezda TV channel on 27 March. The system could be seen on the east side of the runway at Humaymim as an An-124 transport aircraft took off from the base.
The TEL, which is 13 m long, can be seen at the same location in Airbus Defence and Space satellite imagery taken on 20 Marc