Malaysia begins evaluating proposals to replace fleet of Hawk Mk 108/208s

by Ridzwan Rahmat

A file image depicting a Royal Malaysian Air Force Hawk 208 in the foreground with a Hawk 108 in the background. (BAE Systems)

The Malaysian government has begun evaluating proposals to replace the country's ageing fleet of Hawk Mk108/208 light-attack and lead-in trainer aircraft.

The matter was disclosed by Malaysian Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein on 25 November in his reply to parliamentary questions on a fatal accident involving a Hawk Mk 108 aircraft.

The accident, which occurred on 17 November at the Royal Malaysian Air Force's (RMAF's) Butterworth Air Base in Penang, killed one crew member and injured another. It is the latest in a series of fatal crashes involving the aircraft type in Malaysia since 1998.

In his reply to a question from Ahmad Nazlan Indris, Malaysian member of parliament, Hishammuddin said that the government had recently invited international contractors to submit their respective proposals to replace the Hawk Mk 108/208s under the Light Combat Aircraft/Fighter Lead-In-Trainer (LCA/FLIT) programme.

The programme intends to acquire 36 LCA/FLIT airframes for the RMAF in two phases. Eighteen airframes are being procured in the 2021 process, with the remaining aircraft to be acquired from 2025 onwards.

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Snakehead LDUUV prototype completes ‘milestone' IPOE demonstration

by Richard Scott

The single Snakehead prototype was built under LDUUV Phase 1 (US Navy)

The US Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport has revealed an end-to-end demonstration of a so-called intelligence preparation of the operational environment (IPOE) mission involving the Snakehead Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) prototype.

Undertaken at the Narragansett Bay Test Facility in Newport, Rhode Island, in July, the test scenario was designed to build confidence in the vehicle software and hardware systems ahead of more complex extended endurance operations and additional system capability, according to the NUWC.

The Snakehead prototype, built under Phase 1 of the LDUUV programme, is a modular, reconfigurable, multimission undersea vehicle incorporating undisclosed hull materials and certified lithium-ion batteries. While plans for a follow-on Phase 2 production programme were cut from the US Navy's (USN's) fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget, NUWC is continuing risk reduction and fleet experimentation with the prototype as it seeks to mature undersea autonomy technologies.

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US Army approves new top-attack, anti-tank landmine production

by Ashley Roque

In 2018 the US Army released the illustration of its vision for a networked landmine concept. The service has awarded Textron Systems with a low-rate initial production contract to produce its new XM204 top-attack munition. (US Army)

The US Army awarded Textron Systems with a five-year, low-rate initial production contract to produce its new XM204 top-attack munition, a landmine designed to destroy combat vehicles.

Henry Finneral, the company's senior vice-president for weapon systems, told Janes on 9 August about the new contract inked in late July worth up to USD354 million. So far, he said the army has ordered 117 XM204 units and 38 trainers for delivery between July and late September 2023. Each subsequent order could range from 25 to 400-plus weapons, Finneral added.

This new weapon is part of the army's plan to replace its Family of Scatterable Mines (FASCAM), which it deems to be ‘nearing their end of useful life'. This replacement plan includes the XM204 top-attack munition and a future bottom-attack munition. Both would eventually be tied together to form a ‘full network capability'.

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India reports growth in offsets value but says firms are missing deadlines

by Jon Grevatt

The total value of discharged defence offsets in India has grown strongly since 2020, according to Indian MoD statistics. (Indian MoD)

Foreign companies have implemented defence offsets in India worth USD6.83 billion in the past 15 years, India's Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt has said in parliament. This total, he added, represents 82% of foreign firms' total offset obligations in the period up until 1 August.

In his parliamentary reply, Bhatt said 15 foreign companies have “missed the first deadline” set for offset obligations but gave no details. He also pointed to measures that the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has introduced to prevent foreign suppliers defaulting on, or delaying, their offset obligations.

“For unfulfilled offset obligations, penalties, as applicable, have been imposed on the defaulting vendors as per the governing defence offset guidelines,” said Bhatt. “Further, in genuine cases, re-phasing of offset obligations has been allowed to enable vendors to discharge the pending offset obligations.”

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