Egypt to buy another 12 Apache

May 28, 2009 -- Egypt is to buy another 12 AH-64D Block II Apache Longbow attack helicopters, taking its fleet to 47 from the current 35.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified the US Congress that it will sell Egypt the helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and support for an estimated cost of $820 million.

The latter includes 27 T700-GE-701D Engines, 36 Modernised Targeting Acquisition and Designation Systems/Pilot Night Vision Sensors, 28 M299 HELLFIRE Longbow Missile Launchers, 14 AN/ALQ-144(V)3 Infrared Jammers, and 14 AN/APR-39B(V)2 Radar Signal Detecting Sets.

Also included are composite horizontal stabilizers, Integrated Helmet and Display Sight Systems, repair and return, transportation, depot maintenance, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, US Government and contractor technical support “and other related elements of programme support”.

The Pentagon has told Congress the “proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. This sale is consistent with these US objectives and with the 1950 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.”

Egypt will use the AH-64D for its national security and protecting its borders. “The aircraft will provide the Egyptian military more advanced targeting and engagement capabilities. The proposed sale will provide for the defense of vital installations and will provide close air support for the military ground forces. Egypt will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.”

The sale will not alter the basic military balance in the region, Congress has been told.

The AH64 is now in use in 11 countries.


First flight of the 21st Century Stratofortress

May 25, 2009, Wichita, Kan. -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced the successful first flight of a B-52 Stratofortress upgraded with Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT), a modification that equips the legendary B-52 with 21st-century situational awareness and mission flexibility. The aircraft made the 3.5-hour flight on May 21 from the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita.

“The CONECT modification gives our warfighters equal footing in a network-centric battlefield,” said Scot Oathout, Boeing director of B-52 Programs. “It is fitting that this very airplane was delivered from Boeing Wichita in 1960 as the most advanced aircraft in the U.S. Air Force and now it’s on track to be delivered from Wichita again, transformed with a new capability for today’s mission.”

The CONECT modification installs a digital communications infrastructure in the B-52 that allows the aircraft to communicate with the Air Force’s digital communications network and tie in with Air Force command and control centers, ground forces and other platforms. This first aircraft will leave Wichita in June to go into flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. All 76 aircraft in the fleet will receive the CONECT modification after the flight test program is complete.

Boeing employees celebrated the achievement today at a ceremony that also included Air Force staff, state and local elected officials, and representatives from the city of Wichita.

"We are excited to be taking the CONECT program into the flight test phase," said Lt. Col. Darren Cochran of the Air Force's 651st Aeronautical Systems Squadron, which is responsible for the development, acquisition, fielding, modernization and sustainment of the B-52. "I want to personally thank the men and women of The Boeing Company for their hard work and dedication to the B-52 in the past, today and in the future. Together, we continue to transform this platform for today's fight."

Indonesia considering purchase of four new Hercules planes

C-130J Hercules. (Foto: Lockheed Martin)

May 21, 2009 Jakarta -- Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said his side was still considering an offer to provide four new C-130 Hercules planes from the cargo transport aircraft maker Lockheed Martin.

"We are also waiting for the investigation results by a Police Headquarters team on the Hercules crashes in Magetan and Wamena recently," the minister said here on Wednesday.

He made the remarks after presenting an honorary medal to Singapore`s Armed Forces Commander Desmond Kuek here on Wednesday.

The minister said that his side was also still studying the price and the possibility of purchasing four C-130 Hercules type H produced in the 1980s from a number of Asian countries.

He said there was a possibility that aging Hercules planes which had been used for a long time would be grounded and be replaced with new ones if they were no longer airworthy in technical terms.

The minister said the declining budget from year to year had caused the Indonesian defense forces to be unable to rejuvenate their armament system.

The funds for maintenance of the existing main armament system were less than 10 percent of the defense budget. "Ideally, the maintenance should get 20 to 25 percent of the allocated budget," he added.

At present, Indonesia has one squadron of C-130 Hercules of various types with a readiness level of 60 percent, or about nine units.

On Wednesday, the Indonesian government decorated Singapore Armed Forces` Commander Lt Gen Desmond Kuek with the `Yudha Dharma Utama` honorary star for his meritorious services in increasing cooperation between the two countries` armed forces.

The honorary star was pinned by Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono here on Wednesday in the presence of Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Chief General Djoko Santoso.

The defense minister said that relations between the two countries` armed forces had been developed well as marked by joint military exercises, coordinated patrols in the Malacca Strait and exchanges of officers` visits.


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