F-35 fighter plane engines are in short supply, with the solution months away, causing the Defense Department to reduce its schedule of exhibition flights and to start planning for a shortage as soon as 2022. The Defense Department’s F-35 office has advised that about five to six percent of the US. F-35 fleet could be without useable engines by 2022, and up to 20 percent of the plane’s fleet could be sidelined by 2025. According to Defense News, the F-135 Heavy Maintenance Center, located at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, has been unable to process engines for repairs and maintenance, and catching up will take months.
According to Lockheed Martin, the company will soon begin supporting formal integration and testing of the US Army’s combat vehicle protection system intended to keep warfighters safer and more secure from battlefield threats. Under a new contract, the company will provide its Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) base kit, which includes an open-architecture processor that integrates vehicle sensors and countermeasures in a common framework to detect, track and defeat rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. Lockheed Martin will deliver five production-ready base kits with an option for up to 20, and support Army integration and testing on Abrams, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Bradley and Stryker vehicles.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli ministerial committee for military acquisitions signed off on the purchase of another squadron’s worth of F-35 fighter jets, as well as four Boeing KC-46 refueling planes and advanced missiles and bombs on Tuesday, following government approval last week for a contentious funding scheme to pay for the equipment involving massive loans from the United States, the government said.
Turkish companies Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defense launched the first prototype of their ULAQ weaponized unmanned surface vehicle (USV) in early February, according to a joint statement released by both firms. The prototype USV was launched in Antalya, where Ares Shipyard is located, and an intensive period of sea trials has been initiated. While the companies did not disclose further details at the launch event it is understood that initial testing will focus on sea keeping, maneuverability, and other navigational matters.
The British Army says that the Urban Training Facility boasts “moveable walls; interactive smoke, light, and sound effects; and a video monitoring system for soldiers to be able to review their performance”. It is designed to let troops, armed with rifles adapted to use paint marker ammunition, practice entering and moving through buildings, clearing the enemy as they go.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense has signed a contract with Czech’s OMNIPOL for 12 L-39NG aircraft. The jets will be delivered between 2023 to 2024. The value of the contract was not given but includes the training of pilots, instructors, ground crew and mechanics. Vietnam had previously ordered 31 L-39s.
Watch: Turkey’s Armed USV “ULAQ” starts sea trials