- L-3 Communications will move forward with migrating the US Air Force’s EC-130H Compass Call equipment to a Gulfstream 550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) aircraft, after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) turned down a protest from rivals Boeing and Bombardier last month. The Compass Call “crossdeck” program (EC-X), will transition mission equipment from the USAF’s existing fleet of Lockheed Martin EC-130H aircraft, which serves as a communications eavesdropper and jammer for the service, onto new Gulfstream business jets. A service spokesperson said that a final agreement with L-3 on contract terms, specifications and price of the undefinitised contract action (UCA) is still pending.
- Israel’s Iron Dome is being prepared for its first intercept test in the US, as the platform is being considered as an interim solution for a medium- and short-range air defense system (SHORAD) for the US Army. The service started a demonstration series on September 4 at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, with the aim of allowing industry to test solutions that could fulfil the gap in SORAD capabilities found in the European theater. Iron Dome, developed by Rafael with assistance from Raytheon and heavily funded by the US, will face off against competing solutions, including a team involving Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems that is offering its Maneuver SHORAD Launcher Stryker made up of a modernized Avenger air defense system on the back of the vehicle reconfigured to accommodate the system on a turret.
- Lockheed Martin has received a $27 million modification to an existing US Navy contract for the supply of retrofitting kits for the 60 Automatic Radar Periscope Detect and Discrimination (ARPDD) program. The firm will deliver 11 standard and 5 SEED kits for the program, which will provide a series of radar upgrades for use on MH-60 Seahawk helicopters to help spot and discriminate enemy submarine periscopes. Work will primarily take place in Farmingdale, NY and Oswego, NY, with completion by October 2020. ARPDD has been in use with the Navy since 2009 and upgraded several times since then. It is one of the few systems available that are capable of identifying and tracking submarine periscopes.
Middle East & Africa
- Elbit Systems has unveiled its SmarTrack system, designed to give dismounted troops a new situational awareness tool while operating in GPS-denied environments. Weighing at just 5.29 ounces, the lightweight system uses radio frequency ranging technology and situational awareness data can be transmitted and read on any end-user device held by either the individual operator or the commander. The company called the technology a “natural addition” to its DOMINATOR infantry soldier suite.
- As the Syrian government announced on 5 September that its troops had lifted the siege of the eastern city of Deir al-Zor (Dayr al-Zawr), breaking through islamic State lines, Russia is to send 175 de-mining engineers to defuse mines in the area, forty of which, have already been deployed. The Deir al-Zor operation was the culmination of a three-month campaign to drive into the heart of the middle Euphrates valley and relieve the civilians and soldiers trapped in the city, ending a three year encirclement. Syrian government forces and US-backed militias converged on Islamic State in separate offensives against the militants in the eastern Syrian province on Sunday.
- Airbus is anticipating a Romanian commitment to purchase 16 H215M Super Puma helicopters before it kicks off production of the new variant in the country. “If we get an order for 16, we will start,” says Serge Durand, managing director of Airbus Helicopters Industries, the unit in charge of assemblies at the Brasov plant, adding that they are “waiting for a strong signal from the Romanian government” before production commences. Airbus will team on any Romanian order with state-owned IAR, its partner in its 15-year-old Brasov-based maintenance, repair and overhaul joint venture, and once operational, and will be able to produce up to 15 aircraft a year at the Brasov facility.
- Poland’s WZL-2 unveiled its Dragonfly vertical take-off and landing loitering munition system at the recent MSPO defence industry exhibition in Kielce. The quadcopter has 5.5m wingspan and 3.2m vehicle length, a maximum take-off weight of 80-90kg, including a 20kg payload such as an electro-optical/infrared sensor and synthetic aperture radar. After locating a target and actuating its video-tracking mode, the Dragonfly can conduct an attack mission, even continuing this if the communication link is lost. Program director, Tomasz Gugala, said the firm is close to launching mass production for Poland’s military forces.
- The Indian Defense Ministry is preparing a small light tank order for rapid deployment along its mountainous border region with China. Tensions between the world’s two most populous nations have been at their highest in decades, with recent reports of fist fights and stone throwing between rival soldiers as a result of Chinese attempts to build a road on a sliver of claimed territory in India-allied Bhutan. At present, India only operates the Russian-made T-72 and T-90, as well as the indigenous Arjun tank, which are all too heavy for the Chinese border’s terrain and are better designed for fighting in the desert regions bordering Pakistan. Military planners want lighter tanks that can be airlifted to elevated areas along the Chinese border and need to be able to penetrate highly protected armored vehicles and main battle tanks from a distance of more than 2 kilometers, as well as be able to fire highly explosive anti-tank shells and guided missiles.
- C-5M releasing flares during Dover AFB airshow:
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