Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that the Virginia Class submarine Montana was launched into the James River at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. The 7,800-ton submarine, which had been in a floating dry dock since being transferred from a construction facility in October, was submerged and moved by tugboats to the shipyard’s submarine pier, for final outfitting, testing and crew certification, it says in a news release. Through the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat approximately 10,000 shipbuilders, as well as suppliers from all 50 states, have participated in Montana’s construction since the work began in 2015. Montana is approximately 92% complete and scheduled to be delivered to the US Navy in late 2021.
Cobham has been given a contract by the US Navy to supply a new oxygen concentrator for its T-45 advanced jet trainer fleet. The new GGU-25 is an upgraded version of GGU-7, which is currently installed on the T-45. The GGU-25 is smart enough to supply the required amount of oxygen to the pilot and also records key operational parameters in real time. The service decided to replace the concentrator after a series of hypoxia events which lead to more than 100 T-45 instructors refusing to fly the jet back in 2017. Investigations found no root cause but it was determined that the oxygen concentrator was not sending out enough air to the pilots in certain flight profiles.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (M0U) with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for unmanned loitering munition (LM) systems. Under the MoU, the two companies will partner to provide the LM systems to the Republic of Korea (ROK) military forces. KAI president and CEO Hyun-ho Ahn said that IAI and KAI partnered on many programmes for the past few years. These programmes included defencse and commercial projects. The agreement is aimed at expanding the long-standing cooperation of the two companies to market the loitering munitions as per the requirements of the ROK Army.
A B-1B Lancer conducted a Bomber Task Force mission in Norway and Sweden earlier this week, according to the Air Force. The B-1B, from the 7th Bomb Wing at Texas’ Dyess Air Force Base, provided support to Norwegian and Swedish joint terminal attack control training. The aircraft also conducted a “warm-pit refuel” at Bodø Air Force Station in Norway and integrated with four Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft. The mission is one of several recent B-1 deployments to the Arctic region.
The Philippine Air Force has started training 10 officers since March last year to operate the SPYDER air defense missile system. The Missile System Office Course is being taught at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca town. Rafael is expected to deliver the system to Philippines this year.
A report from Bloomberg says India is to approve the $3 billion purchase of 30 MQ-9B unmanned air vehicles next month. The deal would add to India’s military capabilities as the drones it has now can only be used for surveillance and reconnaissance. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is reportedly expected to visit India this month. The MQ-9B will give the Indian Navy the ability to better monitor Chinese warships in the southern Indian Ocean, and equip the army to engage targets along the disputed India-Pakistan border in the Himalayas.
Watch: Akula Class Submarine vs Virginia Class Submarine