A second F-15EX has arrived at Eglin Air Force Base and the aircraft will be flown by the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron. This is also the final F-15EX delivery to the US Air Force for FY21. The F-15EX will make its exercise debut at Northern Edge 2021. The two F-15EXs and testers from the 40th Flight Test Squadron and 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron will work together in integrated developmental and operational test, effectively expediting the test timeline.
Northrop Grumman won a $2 billion deal for sustaining engineering support and program management support services for the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) propulsion subsystem. The deal with an ordering period of 18.5 years is provided for assistance to the government in maintaining the Minuteman III weapon system. The Minuteman is a strategic weapon system using a ballistic missile of intercontinental range. Missiles are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to an underground launch control center through a system of hardened cables. Launch crews, consisting of two officers, perform around-the-clock alert in the launch center. The location of performance is primarily Corrine and Magna, Utah, with various other locations. Work is expected to be completed November 5, 2040.
Middle East & Africa
According to Jane’s, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is currently configuring its Barak surface-to-air missile (SAM) for the first of the Israeli Navy’s four Sa’ar 6 corvettes, Boaz Levy, IAI president and CEO. The ships are being built in Germany, with the first, INS Magen, having arrived in Haifa on 2 December 2020, where it is being fitted with its Israeli-made systems, including the ELM-2248 radar. Barak-8 is an operational air & missile defense system used by the Israeli navy. It provides broad Aerial and point defense against a wide range of threats to the marine arena from the air, the sea or the land. The system integrates several advanced state-of-the-art systems as, digital radar, command and control, launchers, interceptors with modern RF seekers, Data link and system-wide connectivity.
Greek newspaper Proto Thema says Athens could buy another six Rafale fighters from France to increase the fleet size from 18 to 24. The jets will be assigned to 332 Squadron which is now flying the Mirage 2000 at Tanagra air base.
The British government has decided to proceed with the purchase of 14 H-47 (ER) Chinook helicopters, Bloomberg reports. However, it wants to delay deliveries by three years due to budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Letter of Offer and Acceptance was delivered by the British embassy in Washington on March 25. The UK is the largest operator of the Chinook outside United States. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency had announced the potential sale in October 2018. That notification says Britain is cleared to buy 16 Chinooks. It is likely that the new variant Britain is buying is the MH-47G.
The US Navy is preparing to operate the MQ-4C from Japan by shipping the Triton Unmanned Air System’s forward operating base (FOB) from NAS Patuxent River to Japan on April 12. Although the location in Japan was not disclosed. Flight tracking data shows the C-17 that transported the equipment over northern Japan on April 15. NAVAIR says this deployment will allow the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Fleet (MPRF) to have additional geographic flexibility to support operations beginning in summer 2021.
Watch: Top 10 ICBM | Top 10 Longest Range Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles