Americas

General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. won a $2.4 million contract modification to exercise an option for the construction of one Block V Virginia Class submarine with Virginia Payload Module. Electric Boat Corp. will continue to subcontract with Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding. The Virginia-class is a nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines (NSSN New SSN), currently in service in the United States Navy. Designed by General Dynamics’s Electric Boat (EB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries. The US Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) since FY1998, and a total of 34 have been procured through FY2021 (FY Fiscal Year). Since FY2011, Virginia-class boats have been procured at a rate of two per year. Contract work will occur in Virginia, Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania and other areas within and outside the US through February 2030.

Boeing has inducted the first US Navy (USN) EA-18G Growler electronic attack (EA) aircraft earmarked for the Block 2 upgrade process. Announced by the manufacturer on 19 March, the milestone saw the first Growler enter the modernization programme at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island in Washington state. Previously known as the Advanced Growler, the Growler Block 2 enhancement is based on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block 3 upgrade that is now in its early stages. Features common to both aircraft comprise 10 × 19 inch large-area display (LAD) cockpits and conformal fuel tanks (CFTs), while the Growler will also receive enhancements to the mission systems including the Next-Generation Jammer (NGJ) and EA sensors improvements related to the Electronic Attack Unit (EAU) Surrogate Processor (ESP), AN/ALQ-218(V)4 RF receiver system, and AN/ALQ-227(V)2 communication countermeasures. There will also be networking and crew-interface improvements.

Middle East & Africa

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) completed a series of successful live-fire tests of the Barak air defense system. The tests were carried out to evaluate the system’s capability to deal with a range of scenarios and threats, including the interception of a ballistic target by the Barak ER (extended range) interceptor. The Barak ER missile, part of the Barak family of interceptors developed by IAI, is capable of intercepting ballistic and non-ballistic threats at a range of 150 kilometers. The extended range is made possible in part by adjusting the interceptor and the missile system’s MMR radar to a 150 km range, according to the company.

Europe

The size of the British Army will be reduced as part of a move towards automation and cyber warfare. The downsizing will leave the British Army at 70,000 troops. Numbers in the regular Army will be reduced to about 70,000 soldiers, but it is understood that this will be achieved as people leave the forces, rather than redundancies. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show he was making decisions in the context of an increased defense budget. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said overhauling the armed forces would make them “more valuable” to the UK’s allies and act as a deterrent to the nation’s “foes”.

Asia-Pacific

The Telegraph reports that Babcock, BAE and Thales are hoping to sell their aircraft carrier technology to South Korea. According to the article, officials from the UK’s Department for International Trade have begun informal discussions with their South Korean counterparts on which areas Britain could participate in. The Aircraft Carrier Alliance is a partnership of BAE, Babcock, Thales and British Ministry of Defense which built the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.

Two F-5Es had a mid-air collision off Taiwan’s Pingtung County at around 15:06 local time on March 22. The crash on Monday was the third such incident in the past half-year, at a time when the island’s armed forces are having to intercept Chinese aircraft on an almost daily basis. One of the pilots was found unconscious in the sea but could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Rescuers were still searching for the remaining pilot.

Today’s Video

Watch: Virginia-Class Attack Submarines: Now a Spy Sub?

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