Estonia orders HIMARS

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The ECDI signed a contract with the DSCA on 3 December for the procurement of six Lockheed Martin HIMARS MLRSs. (ECDI)

The Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) announced in a press release on 3 December that its director general, Magnus-Valdemar Saar, had signed a contract with the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) for the procurement of six Lockheed Martin High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs) worth USD200 million. The procurement also includes different types of missiles with ranges from 70 to 300 km, communication systems, training, logistics, and life-cycle solutions, according to the ECDI. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2024.

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MADEX 2023: KAI to integrate Archerfish onto Surion MCH

by Chinmay Kohad

A model of the Surion MCH displayed at MADEX 2023. (Janes/Chinmay Kohad)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and BAE Systems signed a contract agreement on 8 June to support delivery of the UK company's Archerfish Mine Neutralisation System (AMNS) for integration onto the KAI KUH-1 Surion mine-countermeasures helicopter (MCH).

The total number of AMNS units to be delivered to KAI under the agreement, which was signed at the MADEX 2023 exhibition held in Busan, is unknown. However, KAI intends to fit the MCH with four Archerfish systems and an associated launcher.

The AMNS will be integrated onto the Surion MCH alongside one Teledyne Gavia autonomous underwater vehicle for deep-sea mine detection and Northrop Grumman's Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) to detect floating mines and shallow-water mines. Agreements to integrate these systems onto the Surion MCH were finalised earlier in the first quarter of 2023.

Another capability to be integrated into the helicopter will be a chin-mounted electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) system.

In January 2022 South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration awarded KAI a KRW345 billion (USD264.9 million) contract to design the Surion MCH for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).

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Update: GAO finds problems with F-35 costs and technology in new report

by Zach Rosenberg

A US triservice formation of the US Air Force F-35A (lead), the US Marine Corps F-35B, and the US Navy F-35C. (US Air Force)

On 30 May the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report about the Lockheed Martin F-35, finding that the programme has not adequately explained a cost increase of USD13.4 billion since 2019, that the upgraded Block 4 version has run into technical snags and a USD1 billion cost increase, and that the US Department of Defense (DoD) has not fully defined requirements for an engine cooling system upgrade.

The USD13.4 billion increase is because of greater acquisition costs, the GAO wrote. “The programme attributes the increased procurement cost to additional years of costs related to airframe and engine production, along with support costs for equipment, technical data, and training,” the GAO wrote. “According to programme officials, the programme is deferring the delivery of these 215 aircraft to later years at the request of the air force.” F-35 development costs have increased by a total of USD21.1 billion between 2012 and 2021, the GAO found. The programme's total 77-year lifespan cost now hovers around USD1.7 trillion.

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TKMS, Mazagon Dock enter submarine partnership

by Jon Grevatt

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders are expected to offer the Indian Navy a version of the Type 214 submarine for the service's P-75I programme for six AIP-capable submarines. (Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft)

India's Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) and Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) have signed an agreement to support the construction in India of air-independent propulsion (AIP)-capable diesel-electric submarines (SSKs).

The deal is intended to position the two companies for the Indian Navy's stalled Project 75 (India) (P-75I) programme – estimated to be worth about INR400 billion (USD4.8 billion) – to procure six AIP-capable SSKs.

MDL said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange that its “non-binding non-financial” memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed with TKMS on 7 June during German Federal Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius' visit to MDL shipbuilding facilities in Mumbai.

TKMS said that under the agreement, TKMS would be responsible for SSK design, engineering, and consultancy, while MDL would handle construction and delivery to the Indian Navy. TKMS said that if the proposal is successful, the submarines would feature “significant” levels of local content.

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The Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) announced in a press release on 3 December that i...

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