Americas

Sikorsky won a $17.3 million contract modification, that adds scope to provide production system engineering and program management support in support of CH-53K aircraft low-rate initial production. The CH-53K is the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) heavy lift replacement for the CH-53E. The CH-53K is a new-build helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material, more rapidly throughout the area of responsibility using proven and mature technologies. Work will take place in Stratford, Connecticut and is expected to be finished in June 2022.

The US Navy issued Northrop Grumman with a prototype and risk reduction contract for the development of a sense-and-avoid (SAA) capability for the MQ-4C Triton high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV. SAA is geared at enabling the Triton to operate in controlled airspace and is a focus of the next developmental increment of the co-operative development programme for the USN and RAAF.

Middle East & Africa

According to Africa News, the defense ministers of Burkina Faso and neighbouring Ivory Coast said they would step up their fight against Islamists ravaging the region. A jihadist conflict in the Sahel nations of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso has left vast swathes of territory outside of state control, and thousands of people dead. More than 1,300 people have been killed in Burkina Faso and one million have fled violence since 2015, when jihadists emerged in the formerly tranquil West African nation.

Europe

According to a notice by the Ministry of Defense, it is launching a competition that aims to develop alternative future concepts for the Early Warning systems currently deployed in Maritime Task Groups. Current early warning maritime capabilities are delivered by sensors mounted aboard airborne platforms, with the current assumption for a follow-on for Crowsnest (an airborne early warning system fitted to the Merlin Mk2 helicopter) being a singular large radar sensor mounted on an uncrewed air platform. According to the notice, the Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) “welcomes alternatives that are not based on this approach and match or exceed current airborne capabilities. We are seeking a potential successor to Crowsnest, which has a planned out-of-service date of 2029.”

Asia-Pacific

Japanese ground troops joined American and French counterparts in their first three-way exercise on Japanese land, as they seek to strengthen military ties amid growing Chinese assertiveness in the region. The “ARC21” exercise started on May 11 at the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Ainoura base in Nagasaki prefecture. Japan is seeking to expand its military ties beyond its alliance with the United States to include “like-minded” countries such as France, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters.

Chengdu J-10 jets powered by indigenous engines have entered operational service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. This represents China’s confidence in the local technology to equip the single-engine, multirole aircraft. According to Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation officials the J-10 uses a multi-mode fire-control radar designed in China. The radar has a mechanically scanned planar array antenna and is capable of tracking 10 targets.

Today’s Video

Watch: CH 53E Super Stallion Big Helicopter in Action at Japan • Hagåtña Fury 21

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