US to sell 34 F-35 jets to Belgium for $6.53bn

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale (FMS) of 34 F-35 joint strike fighter conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft to Belgium for an estimated cost of $6.53bn.

Along with 34 F-35 Joint Strike CTOL, the Government of Belgium also requested to buy 38 Pratt and Whitney F-135 engines, which include 34 installed and four spares.

The possible sale also includes electronic warfare systems, an autonomic logistics global support system (ALGS), autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), full mission trainer, weapons employment capability, as well as other subsystems and F-35 support equipment.


USAF encapsulates SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite for launch

The US Air Force (USAF) encapsulated its fourth Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite for launch.

Developed by Lockheed Martin , the SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite is currently ready for its planned launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US.

During encapsulation, the satellite was sealed in its launch fairing, which is an aerodynamic, nose-cone shell that helps protect the satellite during its launch.


Boeing wins $279m contract to deliver first KC-46 tanker to JASDF

Boeing secured a $279m contract to deliver first KC-46 Pegasus multi-role tanker to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF ).

With the latest contract award, the JASDF becomes the first international customer to procure the KC-46 aircraft.

US Air Force Tanker Directorate programme executive officer brigadier general Donna Shipton said: “This is an important step in strengthening the US-Japan alliance and will enhance our interoperability with both nations flying KC-46s.”


Indian MoD approves plans to purchase bombs and Barak missiles

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) approved the proposed plans to purchase precision-guided bombs and Barak missiles.

Under a deal worth Rs12.54bn ($197.4m), India plans to procure 240 bombs from Rosoboronexport in Russia for use by the country’s Airforce .

The MoD stated: “This procurement will address the deficiency of precision-guided munitions in the Indian Air force (IAF) arsenal, besides enhancing the offensive capabilities of the IAF.”


Lockheed Martin to build Gray Wolf cruise missile for USAF

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) awarded a $110m Phase I contract to Lockheed Martin to develop and demonstrate a new low-cost, subsonic cruise missile, Gray Wolf.

According to the AFRL requirements, the missiles will be designed to be able to feature networked, collaborative behaviours (swarming) that would help address integrated air defence (iAd ) system threats across the globe.

The Gray Wolf missiles will be built using open architectures and modular design that would facilitate rapid prototyping and spiral growth capabilities.


Orbital ATK signs CRADA with USAF SMC for NGL system

Orbital ATK signed a new cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the US Air Force’s (USAF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC ).

The CRADA will enable the certification of the company’s next-generation launch (NGL) system to conduct National Security Space missions.

Orbital ATK Flight Systems Group president Scott Lehr said: “Under this CRADA, Orbital ATK is better able to support SMC in being the guardians of assured access to space.

“We look forward to certifying NGL to launch National Security Space missions.”


Danish Air Force detachment to conduct Nato air policing mission

The Royal Danish Air Force Detachment took over the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic states.

The Danish air contingent has replaced the US Air Force (USAF) contingent for the fifth rotation in the air policing mission.

The current rotation formed by personnel and equipment of the Danish Air Force’s Fighter Wing Skrydstrup landed in Lithuania on 5 January.


Block MEMS wins Phase II award for USAF’s IARPA programme

Block MEMS received a Phase II award of the Intelligence Advanced Research Programs Activity (IARPA) programme for the standoff detection of explosives and toxic chemical threats.

Called ‘Standoff Illuminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures’ (SILMARILS), the IARPA programme is managed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, US.

Block MEMS CEO Dr Petros Kotidis said: “The technology being developed under this programme has far-reaching applications within the security markets, as it will eventually enable the highly sought-after capability of standoff detection of trace chemical threats.

“Ranging from protection of soft targets against explosive terrorist attacks and faster check-in lines at transportation terminals and airports, to detection of chemical warfare agents (CAWs) and better surveying of contaminated ground and surfaces, the SILMARILS capability will revolutionise the field of chemical security.”


Terma to install 3D-Audio system on-board USAF’s F-16 jets

Terma North America was awarded a new contract to deliver the 3D-Audio system for the US Air Force (USAF) Reserve Command and the US Air National Guard ’s F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft.

Valued at $44.3m, the new indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract will see the company engineering, integrating, generating, and supporting the 3D-Audio for F-16 C and D aircraft models.

The scope of work under the current contract also involves providing repair support, spares, and support equipment.


UK RAF to open new radar head facility in Scotland

The British Royal Air Force is set to soon start operating its new remote radar head facility, located at Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland, Scotland.

The radar will enhance the Raf and Nato’s understanding of the airspace in the north of the UK and across the Norwegian Sea, while it will enable tracking of unidentified military or civilian aircraft.

This, in turn, will help improve the sovereign capability of the country at a time of enhanced military activity from Russia.