Americas

The Department of Defense awarded contract options this week to two companies to create a final prototype for a transportable advanced nuclear microreactor. BWXT Advanced Technologies and X-energy, both of which won contracts last year to develop portable nuclear reactors, will continue that work under the new options, according to a Pentagon press release. The teams are working under a Strategic Capabilities Office initiative called Project Pele. One of the two companies may be selected by the Pentagon to build and demonstrate a prototype once design review and environmental analysis are finished early next year, according to the Pentagon.

The Missile Defense Agency on March 23 awarded Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin contracts worth a total of $7.6 billion to develop technology for the Next Generation Interceptor, which will replace aging ground-based interceptors and serve as the first layer of defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the homeland. Lockheed Martin received a total of $3.693 billion with a performance period through August 2025, while Northrop Grumman was awarded a total of $3.932 billion with a performance period through May 2026. The funding for the contract is limited to $1.6 billion through fiscal 2022.

Middle East & Africa

According to Defense News, two Saudi companies, Intra Defense Technologies and Advanced Electronics Company, are developing the medium-altitude, long-endurance drone under license from the Ankara-based defense company Vestel Savunma. EurAsian Times could not independently confirm the reports. Karayel is a surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat UAV system designed and developed by Vestel for the Turkish Armed Forces. After the co-production, the Karayel drones will be renamed ‘Haboob’ in Saudi Arabia.

Europe

Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation has awarded the development of the SAMP/T NG (New Generation) for France and Italy. The new ASTER Block 1 NT missile which as a new seeker and computer will be used. It will be fired from a new launcher and the system will use a new multifunction rotating Active Electronically Scanned Array radar for detection. OCCAR has awarded the contract, by delegation of DGA and SGD, to the Franco-Italian consortium eurosam; backed by its three shareholders MBDA France, MBDA Italy and Thales.

Asia-Pacific

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has denied that it had informal talks with the British government on the transfer of aircraft carrier technology. The Telegraph had earlier reported that Babcock, BAE Systems and Thales held informal talks on the transfer of Queen Elizabeth-class technology to South Korea to help Seoul build its first aircraft carrier. Another anonymous official to Yonhap that the talks could have been between companies from both countries. He added that the carrier project is yet to select companies to participate.

Japan is preparing to have its F-35A fleet take up scramble duty. A pair of F-35As were seen entering the alert shed that is located next to Misawa airport on March 22, according to news reports. #09-8722 and #89-8708 landed after their flight and both taxi to the shelter on a YouTube video that was taken on March 15.

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