At Defense Industry Daily’s “Rapid Fire”:
- Multi-year funding for orders of C-130 procurement by the Pentagon has been awarded to Lockheed Martin. The first thirty-two aircraft were ordered on December 30 in a deal worth $1 billion. Up to seventy-eight will be delivered by 2020 in contracts potentially worth $5.3 billion of the company. The total order will see the US Air Force receive thirty MC-130Js, thirteen HC-130Js and twenty-nine C-130J-30s. The Marine Corps will get six KC-130Js and the Coast Guard will have the option to buy five HC-130Js.
Middle East North Africa
- A deal has been reached which will see Egypt acquire forty-six of a navalized variant of the Ka-52 Alligator helicopter. The Ka-52K was developed to operate on the French manufactured Mistral class helicopter carrier that had been initially ordered for the Russian Navy. The $1.28 billion order went south amid sanctions placed on Russia over Ukraine in 2014. Egypt became the alternative purchaser of the warships after signing contracts in October so the acquisition of the helicopters originally developed for it is not surprising.
- After eight years of negotiations, Algeria seems to have formally ordered Su-34 fighters from Russia. The procurement is said to be for about twelve of the aircraft’s export variant, the Su-32, to replace the aging MiG-25s in service. The announcement was made in an interview with director of Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association, Chkalov Sergey Smirnov.
- Slovakia is set to go ahead with leasing Saab’s Gripen jet fighter, although final contracts will not be signed until after elections due in March. The Gripens will replace the Mig-29 fighters currently on loan to the Slovak Air Force after the current lease ends this year. A more cost effective way of obtaining a fleet, leasing six to eight Gripens between now and 2029 is estimated to cost about $340 million.
- An order of sixty Airbus Caracel EC725 helicopters is to be scaled back by the Polish government. The conservative Law & Justice party (PiS) decided to cut back from the initial order of 60 to between eight and ten of the EC725 while considering acquisitions of UH-60 Black Hawk and AW149 helicopters from Sikorsky and AugustaWestland. The shift comes as PiS aims to source military hardware requirements that has production based in Poland. Both Sikorsky and AugustaWestland have subsidiaries based in Poland which manufacture parts for the Black Hawk and AW149 respectively.
- India has completed its first naval test of the Barak-8 long range surface to air missile (LRSAM). Developed jointly between the Indian Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and IAI Israel, the recent test follows November’s successful testing on board an Israeli naval platform. The maiden firing consisted of the missile intercepting aerial targets at extended ranges up to 70km. Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile. When completed, the missiles will be fitted on board all Kolkata class destroyers and major warships in the Indian Navy.
- One more aircraft carrier is to be added to the world as Chinese officials confirmed that they are building a second aircraft carrier. The new vessel will be the first to be built indigenously by China, with work being carried out in the north-eastern port city of Dalian. It is believed that the aircraft carrier currently in service, the Liaoning, has been used primarily for training personnel in operation of the carriers. A second addition will allow for further expansion in the scope of potential missions by Beijing.
- Australia is to procure and operate the Gulfstream G550 as a special missions aircraft. A US Department of Defense foreign sales contract has awarded L-3 $93 million to provide special missions modifications to the aircraft to be completed by November 30 2017. While the Australian government has yet to confirm its intention to operate special missions aircraft, it is believed that it will be announced in a forthcoming Defence Department white paper.