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Turkey Embarks on $400 Million Strategic Recce Programs

The Turkish Air Force selected an Israeli industry team to provide strategic, combined airborne IMINT (Imagery Intelligence) systems under a $141 million program recently approved by the Governments' arms procurement agency (SSM). Turkey also selected the Italian satellite manufacturer Telespazio as the preferred bidder for the $250 million Göktürk electro optical satellite program. The satellite, to be launched within 3 years (by 2012) will carry a space camera built by the French company Alcatel, capable of delivering images at a resolution of 0.8 meters.

Marine Corps Awards $30 Million for Javelin Missile Upgrades

The Javelin Joint Venture (JV) received a $29.9 million U.S. Marine Corps contract to upgrade 404 Block 0 command launch units to Block I. The upgrade will extend the detection, recognition and identification range of the CLUs while doubling the operating time. The JV team began the upgrade program in October 2008 and expects to have it completed by spring 2011. "One of the many advantages of the Block I is that it increases the radius of lethality by 38 percent," said Duane Gooden, Raytheon Missile Systems Javelin program director and president of the Javelin Joint Venture. "Enemy forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are engaging our warfighters with machine gun fire and mortars at a range of 2,500 meters (more than 8,200 feet). The upgrade to Block I gives U.S. Marines the ability to employ the Javelin missile within that same effective range."

Swiss Army to Receive 244 Armored carriers and NBC Vehicles

MOWAG GmbH, a unit of General Dynamics European Land Systems, has been awarded an order valued at $217 million for 220 DURO IIIP (6x6) armored personnel carriers, 12 Duro IIIP configured as Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) verification vehicles and 12 Pirhana IIIC 8x8 vehicles equipped as NBC reconnaissance vehicles, with real-time NBC detection capabilities. All vehicles will be produced in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. The vehicles will be delivered to the Swiss army between 2010 and 2012.

Russian Plant Considers Reopening Su-25 Production Line

The Su-25UBM prototype took of on its maiden flight on December 6, 2008 from the Cubinka airport near Moscow. The Su-25UBM is an upgraded version of the Su-25 combat trainer/ground attack aircraft. The company expects to complete integration test with two prototypes, by the end of next year. The upgraded aircraft is expected to be operated by the Russian air force as well as foreign air forces currently operating the Su-25SM. Ulan-Ude Aviation and the Russian ministry of trade have recently discussed the possible establishment of serial production of modernized 1980s vintage Su-25UBM trainers and Su-25TM ground attack aircrafts.

Nexter Completes AMX-10P Modernization for the French Army

Nexter announced the completion of an upgrading program of 108 French Army AMX 10P tracked armored personnel carriers. The program, under a contract awarded by the French Defense Procurement agency (DGA) in 2005, was carried out in six French Army infantry regiments was completed ahead of the initial schedule. The last armored vehicle was returned to the 92nd Clermont-Ferrand Infantry Regiment on October 23, 2008. The upgrade included a new suspension systems and the delivery of 258 gearboxes for replacement and spares, other aspects included enhancement of the vehicle's protection, with the installation of add-on armor.

USAF Expedites Actionable Information to Dispersed Warfighters

The US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) is investing $17 million in the development of new means to expedite "actionable information to dispersed members of dismounted ground units". AFRL awarded two cost plus fixed fee contracts worth $7 and $10 million to Lockheed Martin Corp. and Applied Research Associates Inc., to develop the information system which will extend actionable combat information from available sources, as necessary to increase the situational awareness obtained by dispersed members of dismounted units operating on the ground, deep in the battlespace. While the description is vague, it could hint on extending decision support and enhanced cpabilities to operational systems such as the Rover video datalink which is widely used by the Air Force and other servcies. 

Emergency Escape Windows for U.S. Army HMMWVs

BAE Systems will deliver 4,702 Vehicle Emergency Escape (VEE) Window kits under a $17 million contract awarded by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command. These kits are designed for use on the up-armored M1151 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). The patent-pending VEE Window technology enables soldiers to quickly exit the vehicle in the event of an emergency, such as a rollover or accident, by releasing and pushing the front window out in seconds. The company has already delivered some 3,000 VEE kits for M1114 and M1151 vehicles. The windows are adaptable to different tactical up-armored combat vehicles, including the MRAP, FMTV and Marine's MTVR.

Pentagon funds Long-Lead Materials for 4 Additional F-22 Raptors

Reuters news agency reported today that the Pentagon approved the release of $50 million payment to fund long lead items for four additional F-22 Raptor stealth fighters. This amount is part of $140 million approved by congress to sustain long lead supplies for 15 additional aircraft, bringing the total buy to 203. Sofar actual production orders are capped at 183 aircraft, about half of the inventory originally considered for the US Air Force. The current decision will enable Lockheed Martin to maintain continuity through its production line and supply chain, enabling president elect Barack Obama  to take decision on the fate of the program later next year. If the new administration will decide to continue production, the Pentagon is likely to release the remaining $100 to fund long lead material for additional 16 aircraft.

Embraer, Elbit to Upgrade Brazilian Air Force AMX Attack Aircraft

While evaluating its future fighter, the Brazilian Air Force is also sustaining the current force. After completing upgrades of its F-5E/F fighters and AM-X trainers, the air force is set to launch yet another upgrade for its AMX attack aircraft, to be completed by 2014. The prime contractor for the program will be Embraer, which continues its successful cooperation with avionics provider Elbit Systems, (NASDAQ:ESLT). The modernized avionics suite for the AMX will comprise new cockpit displays, an improved central mission computer and new stores management system. New self-protection systems will also be provided by Elbit's EW subsidiary Elisra. Last week (November 10, 2008) Embraer awarded Elbit Systems a $67 million development contract to tailor the new avionics suite for the aircraft. Once production is approved, the companies will enter the production phase, which Elbit estimates to be worth approximately $187 million for the company. The Israeli company will perform the project in cooperation with its wholly-owned Brazilian subsidiary Aeroeletronica S.A. (AEL), located in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

NP Aerospace Awarded £60 million contract for new Mastiff 2

The UK Ministry of Defense announced a £60million contract award to NP Aerospace, to deliver 170 new generation Mastiff 2 vehicles. The vehicles will be built by NP Aerospace, based on the Mastiff platform (Force Protection 6x6 Cougar). The new model will have improved axles and suspension to cope with the harsh Afghan terrain better and a new driver thermal imager. Improved protection for the crew includes improved armor and blast attenuating seats. The procurement of 170 Mastiffs and 150 Ridgback (Cougar 4x4) vehicles was announced by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in December 2007, as part of over £150 million spending on improving protection for British forces.

U.S. Army Orders 17 Shadow 200 UAV Systems

Last week the U.S. Army ordered 17 new Shadow 200 tactical UAV systems from Army Armaments Incorporated (AAI), under a US$242 million firm/fixed price contract. The systems will be delivered within 18 months. Since late 2007 AAI is operating as part of the Textron Systems group. The current order has been the largest UAV order the group received sofar. The company will also provide support the UAV system's tactical communications data link and airborne control equipment II health & usage monitoring systems, under an extension of a separate contract worth $6 million.