incident: Bluff or Coercion
There are some highly intriguing military issues pondering
over the 23rd March incident where two British boarding parties
were captured by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Sofar
no explanation has been offered over this embarrassing incident
by an authoritative source in Britain.
Gas Attacks: Paradigm in Unconventional Terror
Last Friday's triple chlorine-gas suicide attacks that hit
Fallujah, Ramadi and Amiria, almost simultaneously, sent shockwaves
all over Iraq, raising the specter of further widespread use
of chemical weapons by terrorist groups in Iraq and the entire
region. The brutal attack by suspected al Qaeda suicide bombers
also sent a chilling message to Sunni tribal leaders who have
rebuffed the Islamic terrorists.
AgustaWestland, a member of the Finmeccanica group won a major
Turkish program worth $2.7 billion to supply Tactical Reconnaissance
and Attack Helicopters for the Turkish Land Forces Command.
AgustaWestland estimates its share of the program to be in excess
of Euro 1.2 billion, based on the requirement for 51 A129 helicopters.
AgustaWestland proposed significant industrial benefits for
Turkey, involving several companies including TAI and Aselsan.
The US Army is conducting Military Utility Assessment (MUA)
of five demonstration trucks built under a US$60 million technology
evaluation program known as "Future Tactical Truck System"
(FTTS). The test involving vehicles developed by Lockheed Marin,
International Trucks and Armor Holdings (formerly Stewart &
Stevenson) include three utility vehicles and two maneuver sustainment
vehicles (MSV). During the evaluation, the vehicles are operated
by troops of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and the
14th Engineer Battalion at Ft. Lewis to assess their military
To Get Upgraded Radar
The AN/APG-77V(1), the upgraded version of the Lockheed Martin/USAF
F-22 Raptor stealth fighter has completed flight testing certification.
The enhanced radar, developed by Northrop Grumman will be installed
in the F-22 aircraft beginning with 24 Raptors of Lot 5, which
will be the first to receive the fourth-generation radar variant.
Flight testing conducted in the past three months involved launches
of AIM-120 and AIM-9 missiles and dropping of 1,000-lb. Joint
Direct Attack Munitions against simulated threats. Follow-on
evaluation phases, prior to formal acceptance will include the
Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE) phase. Successful completion
of the OUE, which is conducted at several Air Force bases, signifies
that the Raptor, as equipped with the fourth-generation radar
variant, is available for combat.
new Contracts for Continues Meteor Testing
Saab has been awarded two new contracts, worth approximately
300 million SEK, for continued Meteor missile testing, including
firing and radar tests, taking place in the Hebrides in Scotland,
at Aberporth in Wales and at FMV’s test base in Vidsel,
Sweden. Gripen is the first and so far only fighter aircraft
that has launched the Meteor missiles. The new contracts will
sustain this operations until 2010. Meteor is a European collaborative
program to develop and field an advanced, medium range radar
guided air/air missile. The
UK, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Germany are participating
in the program. The missile is planned to be the primary air-to-air
missile for all the modern European fighter aircraft; Gripen,
Eurofighter and Rafale.
Britain is accelerating the procurement of helicopters in support
of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK has agreed in
principle with the Danish Government and AgustaWestland that
six Merlin helicopters delivered in the past 12 months to Denmark,
will be transferred to the UK, where they will be refitted to
meet the British Royal Air Force requirements. Subsequently,
Denmark will receive new aircraft from future productions. The
RAF will also modernize eight Chinook Mark 3 helicopters at
a cost of £50-60 million, to increase its heavy transport
capability. The 14 helicopters are expected to be available
for deployment in 24 months. The combined program is expected
to cost around £230 million.
The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) $260 million
for Aegis Weapon Systems to equip three Australian Air Warfare
Destroyers (AWD) and one Spanish F-100-class frigate. The four
systems will be next-generation Aegis Weapon Systems - among
the first to fully utilize commercial off-the-shelf hardware
and a open architecture computing environment. Production of
the systems destined for Australia and Spain with be synchronized
with the U.S. Navy's Aegis modernization program, which calls
for delivery of the first fully open architecture Aegis Weapon
System to the USS Bunker Hill in 2008.
Marine Corps Systems Command awarded Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC)
a $256 million contract for the first phase (Increment I) development
and demonstration of Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR).
The funding covers the development and production of 15 systems,
designed to fulfill Short range air defense and air surveillance
missions. Additional 48 systems are planned for production in
further increments. Further developments will introduce enhanced
capabilities and address multi-mission tasks including counter
fire/targeting missions and air traffic control missions.
Boeing [NYSE: BA] has been awarded the second phase of a $27
million U.S. Air Force contract for the Small Diameter Bomb
I Focused Lethality Munition (SDB
I FLM) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration program.
During the $17.7 million second phase, Boeing will integrate
the FLM warhead into the SDB I weapon, perform a series of ground
and flight tests, and manufacture a limited number of FLM weapons.