BAE Systems announced a contract Monday worth up to $111 million to supply the US Navy with Archerfish mine neutralizers. Archerfish is used by the US Navy’s MH-60S Helicopter squadrons as part of their Airborne Mine Neutralization System capability, and reduces the need to put diving personnel in the water for clearance missions, according to the company. Archerfish is a remotely-controlled underwater vehicle equipped with an explosive warhead to destroy sea mines. The Navy established a requirement for rapid neutralization of bottom and moored sea mines to support operations in littoral zones, confined straits, choke points and the amphibious objective area.
HSC-22 received their first MQ-8C Firescout on September 15 aboard Naval Station Norfolk, the US Navy said. It is now the first East Coast squadron to operate the MH-60S, MQ-8B and MQ-8C. The Firescout is the US Navy’s latest combat drone to hit the skies and provide aerial surveillance, reconnaissance, situational awareness, aerial fire support, and precision targeting support to ground, air, and sea units. The MQ-8C Fire Scout’s main purpose is to provide radar surveillance with its multi-spectrum targeting system. The multi-spectrum targeting system is a camera that is capable of reading light, heat, and electrical signatures to find anything that might be of interest.
Middle East & Africa
Lockheed Martin won a $12.8 million contract modification, which exercises options to procure consumable parts and material in support of the C/KC-130J aircraft for the Marine Corps, Marine Corps Reserves, Coast Guard and the government of Kuwait. The KC-130J is a multi-role tanker aircraft designed and developed by Lockheed Martin to replace the KC-130F/R/T aircraft. The KC-130J is in operation with the US Navy, the US Marine Corps (USMC), the Italian Air Force, the Kuwait Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force. Work will take place in Georgia, California, Kuwait, Japan, North Carolina, Texas, New York and South Carolina. Estimated completion will be by December 2023.
The British government classifies its new fleet support ships as “warships”. Previously the Government had argued that the new Fleet Solid Support Ships were not warships and as such, were eligible for international tendering rather than being restricted to British shipyards. The $1.9 billion competition to build up to three Fleet Solid Support Ships was suspended last year and an update was due this autumn. The definition of warship used by the Government had been previously challenged by people from all sides of the political spectrum. Until today, ministers repeatedly insisted the vessels would not be “warships” – meaning they could be built abroad. For national security reasons, Royal Navy warships can only be built in the UK. But because the supply ships will be part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Government previously claimed they were not warships.
A woman MiG-21 fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force has been selected to transition to fly the Dassault Rafale fighter. The Indian Air Force pilot will reportedly begin active duties flying Rafale jets soon. She will be the first woman in the Rafale squadron. The woman pilot, who had earlier operated MiG-21 fighter jets, has been placed under the ‘full fighter training course’ and will join ‘active duties’ soon in the 17 Squadron. As per the report, the training regimen for both men and women pilots are identical. Every pilot, irrespective of gender, has to mandatorily undergo conversion training while switching from one fighter jet to another. Currently, there are 10 women fighter jet pilots in the Indian Air Force.
The Political Work Department of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) released a video propaganda on September 19 and in the video, the H-6K bomber from the 28th Air Regiment was shown launching a missile strike on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The Chinese propaganda video borrows heavily from Hollywood and depicts an airstrike on an island some observers say resembles the US base in Guam. The presentation suggests that it was produced as a warning to any country of base within the strike range of the bombers.
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