The U.S. Army awarded Boeing a $234 million foreign military sales contract to supply 24 AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopters to Saudi Arabia, affirming a long pending order. The Department of Defense announced the contract award on August 29; the estimated contract completion date is Dec. 31, 2016.
Faced with a worsening security situation in Ukraine, Poland has issued a requirement for new attack helicopters that could be worth more than $1.3 billion. Meanwhile, however, the country’s choice of 72 new multirole helicopters worth nearly $2.7 billion remains undecided. Budget shortfalls continue to frustrate the armed forces’ desire for new equipment. Earlier this year, Poland decided to retain one squadron of aging Su-22 strike aircraft for up to 10 more years, since it cannot afford a replacement.
The U.S. Army’s 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB), based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, has fielded the latest model Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter in Afghanistan with impressive results, Army and Boeing officials said. The deployment has also afforded the “Tigersharks” an opportunity to direct unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) using the AH-64E’s UAS tactical datalink.
Russian Helicopters is stepping up efforts to strengthen its base of international partners. The move is in part driven by the fact that it can no longer count on Ukrainian engine suppliers Motor-Sich and Ivchenko-Progress in the wake of ongoing political tensions.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is showcasing its T129 ATK attack helicopter and its Anka Male UAV here at Farnborough International Airshow for the first time. The burgeoning aerospace giant needs to find export customers soon if TAI is to go some way toward self-sufficiency. It is no surprise then that marketing efforts of the T129 ATAK (tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopter) have been stepped up this year, with the company also displaying it at the Bahrain International Airshow in January and ILA Berlin in May.
Guided rocket conversion competitors BAE Systems and Raytheon announced new milestones for their respective offerings. BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon (APKWS) and Raytheon’s Talon laser-guided rocket (LGR) convert standard 2.75-inch Hydra rockets into precision guided munitions by adding a semi-active laser guidance package.
Boeing said that it recently flew its AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter for the first time in production configuration. Flight status moves the program “another step closer to full-scale production,” the manufacturer said on May 1.
Qatar has announced a raft of orders for new equipment worth around $23 billion, covering vehicles, vessels and aircraft, plus associated systems and weaponry. The announcements were made on March 27, which was the last day of the Dimdex show in Qatar’s capital Doha.
The Obama administration delivered a proposed $496 billion base U.S. defense budget for Fiscal Year 2015 to the Congress on March 4. In a round of briefings at the Pentagon, service budget officials spoke of making difficult choices because of spending limits Congress imposed in the Budget Control Act of 2011, followed by deep “sequestration” budget cuts that took effect in FY2013.
Last Friday Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that his government had signed a $3.5 billion contract with Sikorsky for the co-production of 109 T-70 utility transport helicopters, based on the Sikorsky S-70i International Black Hawk. The announcement comes nearly three years after Turkey had declared the T-70 as its preferred choice for the TUHP (Turkey utility helicopter program) requirement, and some seven months after it had been revealed that there were to be delays in finally putting pen to paper.
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