Philippines scraps Mi-17 order with Russia

by Akhil Kadidal

The cancellation of an order for Mil Mi-17s from Russia has the Philippines seeking alternative heavy-lift rotorcraft. (Mil)

The Philippines has scrapped a multimillion-dollar deal with Russia to acquire Mil Mi-17 heavy-lift helicopters.

A source in the Philippine Air Force (PAF) confirmed the cancellation to Janes and added that the Technical Working Group of the project is now considering other platforms with similar capabilities for acquisition.

The cancellation of the order has interrupted Manila's ability to close a long-standing requirement of the country for heavy-lift, utility helicopters. According to the PAF source, the Mi-17s would primarily have been used for high-cargo operations involving troops and equipment. The Philippines military had also planned to use the helicopters for High Availability Disaster Recovery (HADR).

The cancellation comes just months after the former Philippines Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana acknowledged on 10 March that a deal had been signed with Moscow in November 2021. The deal was among a handful of major military purchases approved by the former Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte before his departure from office in June 2022.

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Submarine Arkansas reaches ‘pressure hull complete' milestone

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy is worried about Virginia-class submarine construction delivery rates. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

Virginia-class attack submarine Arkansas (SSN 800) is now “pressure hull complete” at HII's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) in Virginia, HII confirmed on 27 September.

Pressure hull construction of the submarine was completed when all the hull sections were joined to form a single, watertight unit, HII noted in a statement.

“It's a visible sign that construction has progressed to the point where Arkansas really starts to take its final shape,” Jason Ward, NNS vice-president of Virginia-class submarine construction, said in a statement.

Arkansas is the US Navy's 27th Virginia-class fast-attack submarine.

The milestone comes in the wake of the 25 September Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, Navy Virginia-Class Submarine Program and AUKUS Submarine Proposal: Background and Issues for Congress

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US Army awards four contracts for RCV prototypes

by Meredith Roaten

Ripsaw M5 and M3. (Textron Systems)

The US Army has selected four companies that will build two prototypes each for the service's Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light (RCV-L) programme, officials announced on 20 September.

Textron Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, McQ Inc, and Oshkosh Defense were awarded the contracts, which task them with delivering prototypes by August 2024. The companies will also go through a preliminary design review during the first phase, David Phillips, senior vice-president of Textron Systems' Land and Sea Systems, told Janes on 22 September.

The army will hold a competition between the first-phase awardees for the second-phase contracts, according to an army press release. A single winner will be selected in fiscal year (FY) 2025 to finalise system designs, build, and deliver up to nine full-system prototypes in FY 2026, the release said. Further testing will support a follow-on production decision in FY 2027, with first unit fielding planned for FY 2028.

“Human-machine integrated teams are the future of successful ground combat in the land domain,” said Brigadier General Geoffrey Norman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team.

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TADTE 2023: GEOSAT to manufacture Japanese C-UAV systems in Taiwan

by Kapil Kajal

DDD (Drone Detective & Disabilitating System), pictured above from TADTE 2023, can detect UAVs within a range of 25 km. (Janes/Kapil Kajal)

Taiwan's GEOSAT Aerospace & Technology signed a transfer of technology (ToT) agreement with Fortunio Japan to manufacture the latter's counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) known as ‘DDD (Drone Detective & Disabilitating System)' in Taiwan at the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition 2023 (TADTE 2023) held in Taipei from 14 to 16 September.

A GEOSAT spokesperson told Janes at the showthat the system will be offered to the Republic of China (RoC) Armed Forces to meet the service's C-UAV requirements.

According to the company specifications, the DDD can detect UAVs within a range of 25 km.

The DDD comprises three units: detection head unit, tripod, and software and personal computer. The circular detection head unit is mounted on the tripod with an overall height and weight of 1,430 mm and 35 kg respectively.

The height, weight, and diameter of the head unit are 150 mm, 7 kg, and 375 mm respectively. The system can be mounted on a ship or a military vehicle, the spokesperson added.

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