The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet has conducted its first firing trials of the MBDA ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) air-to-air combat missile.

Conducted from both Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base in the USA, the effort has seen both flight trials and air-launched firings of the ASRAAM take place.

MBDA is currently under contract, awarded in 2016, to produce the infra-red guided air-to-air missile for the United Kingdom’s F-35s Lightning II aircraft.

The trials were conducted by the integrated test teams at Patuxent and Edwards, which include Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, MBDA and Northrop Grumman.

MBDA is also under contract for the ASRAAM capability sustainment programme to build replenishment missiles for the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon aircraft. The capability sustainment programme effort makes use of ASRAAM’s commonality with the CAMM missile family, also being bought by the Royal Navy and British Army.

(ASRAAM, MBDA).

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Boeing has received a five-year contract to continue long-term sustainment of the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) F-15K Slam Eagle fighter aircraft.

Boeing has been sustaining the ROKAF’s F-15K Slam Eagle fleet since 2012. Hyundai Glovis will partner with Boeing on logistics handling and supply chain distribution in country.

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As a response to the Spanish Ministry of Defence’s requirements, MBDA will modernize existing ATLAS VSHORAD missile launchers of Spanish Armed Forces to ATLAS-RC remotely-controlled configuration.

This new system is based on a remotely controlled turret, equipped with two ready-to-fire MISTRAL missiles and a latest generation thermal sight, capable of being mounted on 4×4 light armoured vehicles such as the UROVESA VAMTAC ST5 of the Spanish Army’.

ATLAS-RC is compatible with all versions of the MISTRAL missile. MBDA Spain will develop, produce and support this system.

(UROVESA VAMTAC ST5, MBDA).

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A further series of flight trials of Typhoon fighter jet with the low-collateral MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface weapon have been completed at BAE Systems’ site in Warton, Lancashire. The trials are part of ongoing development work on the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package for Typhoon aircraft, which will also deliver further sensor and mission system upgrades as part of Project CENTURION. The programme is to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado fighter jet capabilities on to Typhoon for the Royal Air Force (RAF) by the end of 2018.

The trials were conducted using the United Kingdom’s Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 6, and formed part of work to gather air data on the weapon and expand the carriage envelope. Firing trials are now scheduled for later this year to test the effectiveness of the weapon in operational scenarios.

In total around 40 trials to integrate Brimstone weapon with Typhoon fighter have seen the aircraft flown with four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, two Paveway IV laser guided/GPS bombs and two launchers each containing three Brimstone missiles. Eight of the 40 flights have been carried out with RAF’s 41(R) Squadron.

The flight trials programme for Brimstone is running alongside ongoing Typhoon development programmes with the Meteor and Storm Shadow weapons, which form part of the aircraft’s Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) package due to be delivered into service in 2018.

(Typhoon, MBDA).

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HMS Forth, the first of the five new River-class Batch 2 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), was officially named during a ceremony held on 9 March at BAE Systems’ site at Scotstoun in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

The 1,800 tonne, 90-metre-long vessel HMS Forth is scheduled to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2018.

(HMS Forth, BAE Systems).

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Airbus Defence and Space has signed Intelsat General to its channel partner programme for Skynet 5 military satellite communication services. Under this channel partner agreement, Intelsat General will be offering Skynet X-band and UHF services as part of their mobile and fly-away communications portfolio, to the US Government.

Since the move of Skynet 5A in September 2015, Airbus Defence and Space has signed nine channel partner agreements with companies in the Asia Pacific region and in the USA.

The relocation of Skynet 5A was initiated to extend the X-band coverage and services from 178 West to 163 East, including the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific region.

Airbus Defence and Space owns and operates the hardened Skynet X-band satellite constellation of seven satellites and the ground network to provide all beyond line of sight communications to the UK Ministry of Defence. The contract also allows other NATO and allied governments to use the system to augment their existing services.

Besides covering the complete range of frequency bands (L, C, Ku, Ka, X and UHF), the company provides military satellite communications to some of the most high-tech armed forces in the world.

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MTU, a brand of Rolls-Royce Power Systems will deliver the propulsion systems for two new high-speed vessels currently under construction by Intermarine for the special forces unit GOI (Gruppo Operativo Incursori) of the Italian Navy. The fast patrol vessels will each be powered by three MTU 16V 2000 engines connected to Kamewa S4 water jets via Reintjes gearboxes. MTU Italia will supply the shipsets in September 2017 and January 2018 to Intermarine, which has already begun to construct the vessels at its shipyard in Sarzana, Italy.

The high-speed naval vessels are designed to be capable of serving in a wide range of missions at very short notice, covering long distances in less time than other vessels. They are particularly well suited for the patrolling of maritime traffic, actions against human trafficking, defence against asymmetric attacks such as terrorism and piracy and the evacuation of personnel from crisis areas.

(Intermarine).

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