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UK selects preferred frigate designers; Morocco secures Abrams upgrades

m a abrams

This global wrap-up provides key updates of industry developments across the globe, including new procurement deals, capability introductions and key announcements.

Asia-Pacific: 

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  • DSME has been awarded a US$397 million contract to deliver a new auxiliary submarine rescue ship (ASR-II) to the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). The ASR-II, which is expected to feature a helicopter deck and reach speeds of up to 20 knots, will have a 'centre well' (moon pool) through which a deep-sea rescue vessel (DSRV) will be deployed to rescue the crews of distressed submarines at depths of up to 500 metres amid waves as tall as four metres.
  • Korea has allegedly kicked off a series of studies to determine the feasibility of modifying the Dokdo Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships to accommodate a fleet of F-35B aircraft, this follows a recent announcement that Japan would proceed with the procurement of its own F-35B fleet for the Izumo and Hyuga Class vessels. 
  • China has issued a stern warning to both the US and Taiwan as tensions in the Taiwan Strait continue to heat up. A People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) colonel issued the warning, stating that China should be prepared to ram US Navy warships and "be ready to take over Taiwan".   
  • The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has selected the UH-60 Black Hawk and the Turkish made T129 ATAK attack helicopter to bolster the air mobility and close air support capabilities of the PAF. 
  • The Philippine Navy (PN) has successfully integrated the Rafael Advanced Defense made Spike-ER surface-to-surface missile system into the fleet. The weapons were installed and fired by the PN's three Mark III multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC).
  • India has successfully tested the Agni-V nuclear tipped ballistic missile, which will see India become the eighth nation in the world to incorporate ICBM capabilities into their arsenal. 
  • Boeing has been awarded a US$158 firm-fixed-price modification to a contract to provide a KC-46A tanker to Japan. This contract modification will allow for the addition of another KC-46. The total contract is worth US$449.4 million  

Middle East: 

  • Morocco has secured a deal worth US$1.26 billion to deliver enhancements to 162 M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBT). This proposed sale of M1A1 tank enhancements will contribute to the modernisation of Morocco's tank fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats.
  • The Iraqi Air Force has taken delivery of six more KAI T-50 Golden Eagle combat aircraft. The T-50 is designed and manufactured in South Korea. The delivery is part of a US$2 billion deal inked between the two nations, which will see 24 T-50s in Iraqi service.
  • Egypt and Naval Group have signed a five-year deal that will see the European company provide maintenance, sustainment and upgrade support for the Egyptian Navy's two Mistral Class LHDs, FREMM Class guided missile frigate and the four Gowind Class corvettes. 
  • The Egyptian Air Force is currently reviewing the joint Pakistani/Chinese designed and manufactured JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter aircraft. 

Europe: 

  • Poland has inched closer to securing a US$655 million deal with the US to provide 20 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) M142 Launchers and related equipment. Poland has requested to buy 20 HIMARS M142 Launchers, 36 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) M31 Unitary, nine Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) alternative warheads, 24 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS), 24 M1151A1 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs). Also included are 20 Low Cost Reduced Range (LCRR) practice rockets, support equipment, communications equipment, spare and repair parts, test sets, batteries, laptop computers, publications and technical data, facility design, personnel training and equipment and elated elements of logistics support, training, sensors, and other related elements of logistics and program support. 
  • The UK has shortlisted BAE Systems, Thales and Babcock International as the preferred designers as part of a competitive evaluation process to determine the best design to build give Type 31e Frigates as part of a US$1.6 billion program to complement the larger Type 26 Global Combat Ships to be used by the Royal Navy
  • The German Army has officially formed a sixth tank battalion, which will operate the Leopard 2 A6 variant and will be headquartered at the Hardheim military base south of Frankfurt, with units also based in Bavaria and Thuringia. 
  • The Italian Air Force became the first European nation to declare initial operation capability (IOC) for their fleet of F-35A aircraft. 
  • The Italian Navy's eighth FREMM frigate has successfully completed sea trials, deliveries of the ninth and 10th vessels for the Italian Navy are scheduled to take place after 2020. 
  • Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons have successfully launched the Meteor air-to-air missile in defence of UK airspace during a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission. This event represents the culmination of many years of research, development and testing to bring this advanced weapon into service on front-line aircraft.

North America: 

  • BAE Systems has been awarded a US$140 million contract modification to build another 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) for the US Marines. The company won the Marine Corps’ ACV competition in June, and was awarded a US$198 million contract to deliver an initial 30 vehicles. The deal could be worth up to $1.2 billion if all options are exercised, the Marines acquisition objective is to buy 204 platforms.
  • The US Navy has officially launched the third and final Zumwalt Class guided missile destroyer, the USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002). The Navy had planned to build 32 of the class but gradually slashed the number to three, which sent the Navy looking for a new mission for the ship. 
  • Lockheed Martin remains the world's largest arms producer, with a 2017 profit of US$44.92 billion. The company was followed by Boeing Defense and Space with a profit of US$26.93 billion and Raytheon bringing in third place, with a profit of US$23.87 billion. 
  • General Dynamics Land Systems was awarded a US$58 million firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of expedited active protection systems mounting kits and ballast kits to support the Abrams M1A2 battle tank.
  • The Royal Canadian Navy will spend US$21.7 million to purchase new radar antennas. Saab Microwave Canada will provide the new antenna sets, bringing the total investment to US$97.5 million. Delivery is expected to take place in early 2021. 

Australia: 

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  • The Royal Australian Air Force has officially taken delivery of its first two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters at a ceremony at RAAF Base Williamtown. 
  • BAE Systems Australia opened a $5 million ship-side support tower at the company's Henderson, Western Australia facility, which will support the mid-life upgrade of the Royal Australian Navy's Anzac Class frigates.  
  • Austal and the Commonwealth government delivered the first Guardian Class patrol boat to Papua New Guinea as part of the Pacific Patrol Boat program to enhance the security of the region. 
  • Airbus Defence and Space announced the launch of the world’s first high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) flight base in Wyndham, WA.
UK selects preferred frigate designers; Morocco secures Abrams upgrades
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