On Monday the North Atlantic Council announced that it will begin operating airborne early-warning flights in response to the situation in Ukraine, where pro-Russian forces are largely in control of Crimea. NATO will fly Boeing E-3 Awacs airborne early-warning aircraft in the airspace of member states Poland and Romania, which both border Ukraine. The flights are intended to “enhance the alliance’s situational awareness” of events in Ukraine.
Ministry of Defence
The cost of converting the UK’s fleet of 25 AW101 Merlin Mk3 transport helicopters for future use as Mk4s by the Royal Marines Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) will be £330 million ($545 million). British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the amount during a visit to AgustaWestland’s Yeovil factory, where much of the work will be done. He also announced that the Anglo-Italian company is receiving a five-year follow-on integrated operational support (IOS) contract worth £430 million ($710 million) for the British Army’s Apache AH.1 fleet.
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) abandoned a radical plan for a commercial company to manage the UK’s defense procurement.
Delivery of a new SIGINT aircraft for the Royal Air Force has been postponed. The UK’s Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA) has not yet reviewed the safety case. The Airseeker (the RAF’s name for the U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint system) is the latest airframe that could be delayed by the MAA’s detailed scrutiny, which British contractors have privately called overzealous.
The Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) in London this week was supported by more than 1,500 exhibitors, with 30,000 visitors from around the world expected, according to organizer Clarion Events. DSEI’s main focus has traditionally been on land, naval and security equipment. But a number of exhibitors this year featured air systems, and the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) ran a series of seminars in which senior officers outlined the service’s capabilities and future plans.
British Defence Minister Philip Hammond published the details of his plan to appoint a commercial company to manage the UK’s defense procurement. The controversial proposal has been mooted for more than a year and is Hammond’s response to what is widely perceived to be a long history of under-performance by the 15,000-strong Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organization.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) introduced two BAE Systems 146 jet transports modified to accommodate troops and their equipment. BAE Systems Regional Aircraft designed the conversion–from a quick-change interior–under a $23 million urgent operational requirement (UOR) contract; subcontractor Hawker Beechcraft Services at Chester in the UK completed the project.
India’s defense minister A K Antony today admonished the country’s Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) for “delays in delivery” and said he was “impatient” to see completion of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program. Antony was addressing the “Aerospace products- challenges in design to deployment” seminar held as part of the biennial Aero India show in Bangalore.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) published its equipment spending plan for the next 10 years for the first time. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond–known in political circles as “spreadsheet Phil”–has made a virtue of cutting unrealistic ambition in UK defense spending plans, following a painful review in 2010 that made substantial force cuts that are still being implemented.
With UK operations in Afghanistan scheduled to draw to a close by the end of 2014, and with reduced budgets going forward, the Ministry of Defence is facing a number of tough challenges. Speaking yesterday here at Farnborough at the ADS Defence Conference, UK Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond defined those challenges into three broad areas.
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