The US Air Force has secured funding to buy the first of six new E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communication Node aircraft. The press release from the 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs says the BACN Program Office is expected to award the contract by end of March, and the aircraft to be delivered by the end of June. The five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity agreement also includes funds for research, development, testing and evaluation, and integration of existing and future payloads. The contract also provides support for infrastructure contained in or connected to the BACN system and associated ground stations, controls, and ancillary or support equipment for system integration laboratories.
The Chilean Government is seeking to procure Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIA missiles through the US foreign military sale (FMS) programme. Approved by the US State Department, the potential FMS has an estimated value of $85 million. Under the proposed sale package, Chile has requested for the supply of 16 SM-2 Block IIIA rail launched missiles, two MK 89 Mod 0 guidance sections, and one target detection device kit, including shroud and MK 45 Mod 14. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Tucson, Arizona. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.
Middle East & Africa
The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel’s security cabinet has approved the Defense Ministry’s proposal to buy new aircraft and helicopters from the US. This ends a three-year long dispute between the Defense and Finance ministries over how to pay for the purchase. The defense side wants to take a foreign loan to pay for the deal but finance says this will bypass a spending limit set by law. News reports say the arms deal involves four KC-46A tankers, more F-35s, purchase of the F-15EX and CH-53K. The purchase still requires final approval by the procurement ministerial committee.
HMS Talent recently fired a torpedo at itself – three times. This was part of the trial process and according to the Royal Navy, there was no risk to the submarine. “The Trafalgar-class boat – whose mission is to hunt and, if necessary, kill hostile submarines – fired the upgraded Spearfish on the ranges near the Isle of Skye to rigorously test it before it enters service. During the three-day trial, the cutting-edge Spearfish was fired at Talent three times – and was programmed to safely pass the submarine to ensure there was no risk of the boat torpedoing herself“, the service said. The trials provided valuable data in the final stages of the upgraded torpedo’s development ahead of its impending entry into service.
Kongsberg Maritime announced the next generation of its advanced HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The company claims HUGIN Endurance will offer up to 15 days of mission runtime and travel distances of up to 2,200 km – which it notes is equivalent to the sailing distance from New York City to Cuba – enabling shore-to-shore commercial and military inspection and survey operations without the need for an attendant mothership. However, it can still be launched and recovered on a vessel of opportunity (VOO) if desired. The AUV can also be configured with a range of sensors focused on mission capabilities and situational awareness, such as the HISAS 1032 dual-receiver synthetic aperture sonar (SAS), which is claimed to be capable of generating a 1,000 m swath at 2.5 kt with a typical resolution of 5×5 cm for SAS imagery.
The latest edition of the annual exercises between the Indian and US armies kicked off on February 8 at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Rajasthan, a western Indian state bordering Pakistan. The 16th edition of the Yudh Abhyas exercises, which will continue until February 21, will focus on counterterrorism and promote interoperability between the two forces, according to the Indian Army. Exercise Yudh Abhyas is one of the largest running military training and defense cooperation endeavors between India and US.
Watch: Bombardier E-11A BACN (SN 11-9358)