Lockheed Martin won a $138.8 contract modification, which adds scope to continue the development of pilot training device software to align the F-35 air system with continued capability development. Additionally, this modification provides for testing and continuous re-certification activities for dual capable F-35 aircraft as Block 4 capabilities are developed, matured and fielded in support of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and non-Department of Defense (DOD) participants. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft. Just recently it was reported, that by the end of 2020, F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martins production will be equipped with a modified lightning protection system that will fix problems discovered earlier this year, the company’s head of production said. Work under the current modification will take place in Texas. Expected completion date will be in June 2024.
The first live fire test of the MK 57 Vertical Launching System on the first-in-class USS Zumwalt, using a Standard Missile-2, was executed successfully on the Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division Sea Test Range, Point Mugu, earlier this month. The Zumwalt, delivered to the Navy in April, successfully showed off its ability to detect, track and engage an anti-ship cruise missile with an SM-2, the US Navy announced this week. The test also assessed the ship’s ability to hold up against the shock and vibration of weapon firing, along with any hazards and degradations resulting from the live firing, the Navy said. At 610 feet long and 80 feet wide, which is 100 feet longer and 13 feet wider than the Arleigh Burke Class destroyer, Zumwalt has the space to conduct a wide array of surface, undersea and aviation missions, the Navy has said.
Middle East & Africa
The UN’s Libya envoy said she was “quite optimistic” about the prospects of a ceasefire emerging from talks underway in Geneva between the two warring factions in the troubled north African country. After two days of face-to-face discussions at the United Nations, which are scheduled to last until Saturday, the two sides have agreed to open internal land and air routes. They also agreed to maintain the current calm on the frontlines and to avoid military escalation, and on moves which should ensure the increase of oil production. “The two sides have reached agreement on several important issues which directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan people,” Stephanie Williams, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), told a press conference. “I’m quite optimistic… there is an air of seriousness and commitment,” she said on the prospect of a ceasefire.
Eurofighter formally submitted to Spain its offer to provide a further 20 Typhoon aircraft under the country’s Project ‘Halcon’ (Falcon). Delivery of the offer, which was disclosed by the consortium on 19 October, came three months after Spain announced that it was seeking to augment its existing Typhoons and to begin the process of replacing its Boeing EF-18 Hornet fleet. “Eurofighter has submitted proposals for the replacement of the Spanish Air Force’s EF-18s which are based on the Canary Islands. Spain is looking to secure 20 new Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to boost its existing fleet under what is called Project Halcon,” the consortium said.
Bucking the trend, the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) will not be assigning a local nickname for the RQ-4. Instead, the unmanned air vehicle will still be called Global Hawk. The service had given the nickname “Freedom Knight” to the F-35A last year. Separately, Korea Herald reports that the Tasking, Collection, Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (TCPED) system for the RQ-4 is expected to be delivered to the country next month. The “due to prolonged negotiations between the US government and its manufacturer, along with the COVID-19 situation,” the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) mentioned in a report to the National Assembly.
The US government made requests in July and August this year to Indonesia for its P-8A to land and refuel in the South East Asian country but those requests were rejected. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo personally rejected those requests, Reuters reports. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US State Department press office and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defence and Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi declined to comment. The proposition, which came as the US and China escalated their contest for influence in Southeast Asia, surprised Indonesia’s government, the officials said, because Indonesia has a long-standing policy of foreign policy neutrality. The country has never allowed foreign militaries to operate there.
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