Lockheed Martin won a $38.7 million contract modification, which exercises an option for ordering emerging capabilities and analysis systems engineering to include programmatic and logistics tasks that will analyze the F-35 air system’s ability to meet future operational requirements, investigating cost and weight reduction program options and conducting modeling and simulation activities. Additional assessments may include such efforts as analyzing changes to design life, operational readiness, reliability and air system design and configuration. Work will take place in Fort Worth, Texas. Estimated completion is in December 2021.
The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron recently flew an F-15E carrying six JDAMs on a single side of the fighter to prove a concept for Agile Combat Employment (ACE). The test proves that the Strike Eagle can now carry up to 15 JDAMs, up from nine previously, to a remote location and use those bombs to reload itself or other fighter aircraft. Previously, it took two C-130s to carry the necessary munitions and personnel to a remote location for the loading. And those JDAMs had to be assembled once they arrived. With this new approach, the requirement for onsite bomb building is now longer needed. Only one C-130 will be used instead.
Middle East & Africa
Ten rockets were fired March 3 at a military base in Iraq that hosts US forces, the Defense Department said. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the rockets landed at the Ain Ain al-Asad air base. The base, which is located just north of Baghdad, hosts US, Iraqi and coalition troops. No US service members died or sustained injuries in the attack, but a US civilian contractor had a “cardiac episode” while sheltering and died, Kirby added.
Thales UK has won a £98.4 million contract to maintain Short-Range Air Defense (SHORAD) capabilities for the British Army and Royal Marines. The Ministry of Defense says that SHORAD is made up of “High Velocity and Lightweight Multi-role Missile systems that can intercept air threats including fast jets, attack helicopters and unmanned air systems in a matter of seconds”. Thales UK won the initial contract in 2018, helping to modernize and develop the missile systems as part of the Future Air Defense Availability Project (F-ADAPT).
Philippine Defense Undersecretary Raymund Elefante and Indian Ambassador Shambu Kumaran have signed an agreement that will support Manila’s potential purchase of the BrahMos supersonic missile. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who witnessed the signing ceremony, told reporters that the country is buying the BrahMos. The agreement involved the procurement of defense materiel and equipment by the Philippines from India.
Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force will now scramble fighters to intercept Chinese aircraft less frequently and only do so when the planes are threatening to violate the country’s airspace, Kydo News reports. The report says this is in order to reduce the burden on personnel and free up resources in order to conduct more training on the F-35.
Watch: Indian Navy’s Stealth Destroyer Successfully Test Fired BrahMos Supersonic Missile