- Patrick Shanahan, an executive at Boeing, has been tapped by US President Donald Trump to become the administration’s new deputy defense secretary. If approved by Congress, Shanahan will take over the DoD’s number two spot currently held by Obama-era secretary Robert Work, who has stayed during the transition period as the new administration looks for a replacement. Under administration rules, if confirmed, Shanahan will have to recuse himself from Boeing-related issues for the next two years. Other defense-related appoinments announced by the Pentagon include David Norquist, a partner with Kearney and Co., as under secretary of defense, comptroller; and David Joel Trachtenberg, president and CEO officer of Shortwaver Consulting, as principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy.
Middle East & North Africa
- Boeing and the US Army have signed a five-year $3.4 billion contract that will see the company provide Apache helicopters to both the US Army and the government of Saudi Arabia, marking the first multi-year agreement for the helicopter’s “E” variant . Under the deal, Riyadh will receive 24 brand new Apache Guardians while the Army will receive 244 remanufactured aircraft, with work expected to be completed by June 30, 2022. Saudi Arabia’s procurement of Apaches is part of an effort to build a 156-strong rotary-wing force and they have so far procured 36 helicopters in the last two years.
- The Israeli Air Force is considering a procurement of advanced F-15 jets from Boeing instead of purchasing additional F-35s. Tel Aviv will evaluate and consider this advanced version, capable of carrying more missiles and potentially in line with Boeing’s suggested 2040 configuration, and could order as many as 20-25 aircraft to augment its F-35 fleet. At present, the IAF has plans for a 50-strong F-35I fleet.
- Russian media has reported on Turkey’s desire to order the S-400 air-defense system, adding that Ankara has expressed an interest in a loan from Moscow in order to make the purchase. Speaking on the negotiations, Rostec state corporation CEO Sergey Chemezov indicated that a decision would be made by the Finance Ministry in relation to the loan after contracts have been signed for the supply of the system. Once agreed upon, Turkey will become the third foreign customer for the S-400, following China in 2015, and India in 2016.
- The British government has been cleared by the US State department to move forward with the purchase of AGM-114R1/R2 Hellfire II Semi-Active Laser (SAL) missiles. Estimated to value around $150 million, the foreign military sales contract will involve the transfer of 1,000 rounds from existing US military stocks, as well as the provision of logistics support services and other related program support. London previously ordered 500 AGM-114s back in 2015.
- Ukraine is to embark on the development of a twin-engine multi-role fighter that closely resembles the appearance of the MiG-29. The indigenous fighter, however, will be powered by engines based on the AI-322F turbofan and feature Western and Ukrainian-made avionics. The development program is currently being referred to as Legkiy Boiviy Litak (LBL), or Lightweight Combat Aircraft. Speaking on the new design, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko hailed the fact that Ukraine is among a small group of just five nations in the world that are capable of independently developing aero-engine designs.
- The German military will add 13 A400M transporters to their own planned fleet of 40 aircraft after failing to find suitable buyers. While Berlin will continue to search for a multi-national use for the 13 planes, the short term will see the additional aircraft incorporated into the German forces, which will see startup costs of $543 million, including $161 million needed to prepare a second A400M base. Meanwhile, government documents show that Germany is moving ahead with plans to buy six Lockheed Martin C-130J military transport planes in a $966 million deal starting in 2019 under a joint operating agreement with France. The decision to purchase the C-130s is part of a plan to augment the A400M fleet and fill a capability gap that will come up starting in 2021 when Germany retires their fleet of smaller C-160 Transall transport.
- It has been reported that the Trump Administration is considering substantial arms sales to Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles. The package is expected to be significantly larger than one that was shelved at the end of the Obama administration, but any sale is expected to take months and possibly into next year, as the White House overcomes obstacles such as concern that Beijing’s sensitivities over Taiwan could make it harder to secure cooperation on priorities such as reining in North Korea. December 2015 saw Washington clear a $1.83 billion package to Taipei, including two Navy frigates in addition to anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles.
- The Apache E Guardian:
View the full article