France’s DGA defense procurement agency has awarded Thales a €119 million ($162 million) contract to develop a new laser designation pod for French air force Dassault Rafale and Mirage 2000D fighters, Thales announced in January. The development contract follows a risk reduction phase the government awarded Thales (Booth F23) in late 2012.
Brazil has chosen the Saab Gripen E as its new fighter aircraft, after years of indecision. Defense Minister Celso Amorim and Brazilian air force commander Bg. Juniti Saito announced their preference for the Swedish jet over the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale after authorization from President Dilma Rousseff. Previous attempts to decide the FX-2 competition failed at the political level.
Ushering in a new era of capability for the UAE’s growing defense business is the Al Tariq glide-bomb kit family produced by Tawazun Dynamics. The joint venture between Tawazun (51 percent) and South Africa’s Denel Dynamics (49 percent) was announced in September 2012 at the AAD show in Pretoria. Based on Denel’s Umbani weapon, Al Tariq is a modular family of bomb kits that turn regular freefall bombs into stand-off precision-guided weapons.
Brazil’s Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) plans to retire its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters at the end of this year. The announcement has brought new focus on Brazil’s longstanding but deferred FX-2 new fighter requirement. In testimony to the Brazilian Senate on August 13, FAB Commander Lt. Gen. Juniti Saito defended the need for new fighters to maintain an adequate air defense, as well as for the benefits any purchase would bring to Brazil’s own aerospace sector.
Speaking prior to the Paris Air Show, Antoine Bouvier, CEO of European missile house MBDA, said, “2012 was an excellent year in terms of performance but it was a year of contrast for order intake. It was our best ever year for export, but the domestic market fell short, especially in France.” Leading those good export figures was a sizeable sale of MICA air-to-air missiles to India to support a Mirage 2000 upgrade program.
The $10 billion-plus contract to sell 126 Rafale combat jets to India will be completed by the end of the year. That was the confident prediction of Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation president and director-general, at an eve-of-show press conference. Since India selected the French combat jet in January 2012, negotiations have dragged on, with thorny issues of local partnerships, offsets and liabilities unresolved.
At an eve-of-show press conference, Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation president and director-general, predicted that the $10 billion-plus contract to sell 126 Rafale combat jets to India would be completed by the end of the year. And he confirmed that the option for a further 63 aircraft was under active discussion.
The United Arab Emirates Air Force has decided to buy another 25 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 fighters. The deal is worth $4 to $5 billion, according to a senior Pentagon official who briefed reporters in Washington. The UAE, together with Saudi Arabia, will also be receiving unspecified “advanced standoff weapons” for its fighters, added the same official. The sales have not yet been formally notified to the U.S. Congress, although the Pentagon had consulted with key legislators there, according to the official.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is poised to take important decisions on new helicopters and refueling aircraft, said Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne in a briefing to mark the service’s 80th anniversary and the release of a new, unclassified doctrine document.
India’s government-owned electronics giant, Bharat Electronics (BEL), will sign a joint venture with France’s Thales next week to manufacture air defense components, AIN has learned from a senior defense official. The venture is expected to start operations within 18 months.
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