January's top stories: France-UAE-Falcon Eye deal runs into rough weather, Russia establishes new helicopter squadron for Armenian airbase

The Falcon Eye deal between the UAE and France has run into trouble following the discovery of security compromising components in the intelligence satellites and the Russian Ministry of Defence has established a new helicopter squadron for Armenian airbase.


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USAF awards research grant to University of Cincinnati

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The University of Cincinnati's (UC) trauma and critical care researchers secured a US Air Force (USAF) grant to study the impact of air medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) on patients, medical professionals and medical equipment.

Valued at more than $1m, the funding supports a total of seven research projects led by eight members of UC's Institute for Military Medicine, which is focused on studying the complex traumatic injuries of warfare.

Specifically, the funding will enable the scientists to continue research on the unique environment of air medical evacuation, conducted as part of a $24m cooperative agreement approved by USAF in 2010, and also launch new projects.

ATASS, SSBV collaborate on manned and unmanned aerial delivery systems

Advanced Tactical Airborne Systems and Services (ATASS) has signed a cooperation agreement with Netherlands-based company, SSBV Aerospace & Technology Group, for provision of products, solutions and services for manned and unmanned aerial delivery systems.

The agreement primarily focuses on implementation of products and solutions that integrate and provide high compatibility and commonality between manned and unmanned systems that make use of steerable parachutes.

ATASS' manned systems, such as high altitude-high opening (HAHO)/high altitude-low opening (HALO) parachute systems and CCT-equipment, navigation systems and SSBV-built precision airdrop systems, and tactical resupply, mission planning, communication systems are expected to offer a strong basis for a full European-based approach to provide common and integrated aerial delivery solutions.

Cubic to develop air combat training system for F-35 fighter

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Cubic Defense Systems has been awarded a contract for delivery of its latest-generation air combat training system for installation onboard the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft.

Awarded by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the $18.3m contract covers supply of airborne instrumentation and ground station planning in addition to debrief software systems as part of the F-35 system development.

Jointly developed by Cubic and its principal subcontractor DRS Technologies, using an embedded P5 solution as the baseline, the initial F-35 internal training subsystems will be deployed on the Block 3 F-35 stealth fighters.

Russian MoD establishes new helicopter squadron for Armenian airbase

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has established a new helicopter squadron to strengthen its air contingent at the country's 3624th Air Base, located at the Erebuni airport in Yerevan, Armenia.

A statement by the press service of Russia's Southern Military District noted, ''The Russian air contingent [in Armenia] will be strengthened with Mi-24P attack helicopters, Mi-8MT and Mi-8SMV military transport helicopters, which will be used for ground support and transportation of the [Russian] troops deployed in Armenia.''

A part of Russia's 102nd military base located in Gyumri, the 3624th Air Base currently hosts 16 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters that are operating under the framework of air defence agreements signed between the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), RIA Novosti reports.

Thales develops new generation laser designation pod for French DGA

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Thales has received a contract from the French defence procurement agency DGA to develop the New Generation Laser Designation Pod (PDL NG).

Capable of being integrated with both the Rafale and Mirage 2000D fighter aircraft, the Thales-built PDL NG will offer the French air forces with new day/night imaging and engagement capabilities in composite theatres of operations.

The latest contract award follows the completion of a risk-reduction phase, which is a first step in the development of any programme and is focused on confirming the system's architecture, its high level of functional integration, reliability and the development schedule.

France-UAE-Falcon Eye deal runs into rough weather

The multi-million euro Falcon Eye deal between the UAE and France has run into trouble following the discovery of security compromising components in the intelligence satellites, a high-level UAE source has revealed.

A source was quoted by DefenseNews as saying that the observation satellites featured two US-supplied components that provide a back door to the highly secure data transmitted to the ground station.

"We have requested the French to change these components and (have) also consulted with the Russian and Chinese firms,'' the source added, without discussing the role Russia or China could play in future negotiations."

Indian MoD cancels VVIP helicopter contract with AgustaWestLand

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The Indian Government has cancelled the controversial VVIP helicopter contract with AgustaWestLand International (AWIL) on grounds of breach of the pre-contract integrity pact (PCIP) and the agreement, with immediate effect.

Covering supply of 12 AW101 medium-lift helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF), the €560m contract ran into controversy in early 2013 following allegations that the company paid INR3.6bn ($58.8m) in bribes to European and Indian middlemen to win the deal.

The IAF has so far taken delivery of three helicopters, having paid approximately 45% of the total contract value.

Israeli Air Force opens first C-130J Super Hercules squadron

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The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has officially opened the first squadron of its C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft during a ceremony at the Nevatim Airbase near Be'er Sheva, Israel.

Also known as 'Elephants', the squadron had operated the C-130J predecessor, the C-130 Hercules, until it closed more than five months ago.

The squadron is slated to operate the advanced transport plane, which will be nicknamed Shimshon in IAF service, from 2014.

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