The Wisła (“Shield of Poland”) air and missile defense (AMD) program is the largest and most far-reaching defense procurement ever in the post-Communist history of this NATO border nation. The program has immense implications for Poland’s national security even under normal circumstances, but the invasion and occupation of the Ukrainian region of the Crimea by Russia, and an escalating Russian-backed incursion in the eastern regions of Ukraine, has upped the stakes in this program.
Israeli defense group Rafael believes it will be more responsive to the markets it serves following the reorganization that took effect at the beginning of this year. The company is now split into three divisions: air superiority, land and naval systems, and air and C4ISR.
CAE, the Montreal-based training solution provider, announced on the eve of the Farnborough Airshow winning four defense contracts valued together at approximately $110 million. The contracts are for a T-6C ground-based training system for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF); a visual system upgrade on German air force Eurofighter simulators; an image generator for a T-501Q simulator ordered by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI); and a KC-135 boom operator weapon systems trainer (BOWST) for an undisclosed international customer.
Raytheon is in the final stages of preparing the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II for a system verification review to be undertaken within the coming weeks in advance of the U.S. government’s Milestone C review. If the review is passed successfully, a decision to enter the low-rate initial production (LRIP) phase is expected.
For years UAVs from the United States and Israel have dominated the larger end of the unmanned market, but now a number of new players have begun to emerge. While they have yet to threaten the dominance of the “big two,” newcomers from other countries are increasingly chipping away at the marketplace and threatening to take sales away from the established suppliers.
In response to increased scrutiny of armed UAV operations by human rights groups, British legislators and the United Nations, the British Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) has stepped up efforts to reassure the public. Late last year, it allowed media (including AIN) access to the Royal Air Force Reaper ground control station (GCS) at RAF Waddington for the first time. New documents describing UK operational procedures, including targeting, have been released. The UK is one of only three countries to have fired weapons from UAVs in combat, the others being Israel and the U.S.
Spain is forging ahead with plans to become one of Europe’s leading nations in the unmanned arena through the launch of two connected initiatives that will place the country, and the region of Andalucía in particular, at the forefront of unmanned air vehicle research and test.
Fast-jet pilot training in the UK has been thoroughly modernized, thanks to the introduction of new simulators, courseware and the BAE Systems Hawk T.2 trainer. Ascent, the contractor that is taking over the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS), says the new set-up is “affordable, and demonstrably good value for money.” Still, there are grumblings from those opposed to the commercial provision of British military flying training, on either philosophical or practical grounds.
The Heron 1 UAVs that have been providing imagery for the German air force (GAF) over Afghanistan have now clocked more than 18,500 hours in four years. The lease-operate-maintain contract has already been extended twice, and will likely be extended for a further six months, as the German ponders its long-term UAS policy.
MBDA successfully undertook two CAMM (common anti-air modular missile) launches in recent weeks, the company announced. The firings were carried out at the Vidsel overland range in northern Sweden on May 29 and June 5, and were the first seeker-guided launches for the CAMM. Instrumented-only firings of CAMM were conducted in April last year.