US State Department approves $6bn sale of Abrams tanks to Poland

// Abrams Tanks. Credit: US ARMY

The US State Department has approved a potential $6bn foreign military sale of 250 Abrams tanks and associated equipment to Poland. US Congress was notified by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency regarding the possible sale.

The Polish Government requested 250 M1A2SEPv3 Abrams main battle tanks, along with 250 AN/VLQ-12 CREW Duke counter-IED systems. The potential sale will also include 26 M88A2 HERCULES combat recovery vehicles, 17 M1110 joint assault bridges, 276 M2 .50 calibre machine guns, 500 M240C 7.62mm machine guns, and 15 AGT1500 gas turbine engines.

The scope of supplies will also include forward repair systems, communications equipment, GPS receivers, ammunition, and spare parts, along with technical, engineering, and logistics personnel services.


Portsmouth Naval Base receives new specialist vessel Typhoon 3000

Dutch company Ravestein has delivered a specialist vessel to support the repairs and maintenance of the British Royal Navy’s ships at Portsmouth Naval Base. Named Typhoon 3000, the £15m jack up barge is designed to help keep the ships prepared to conduct frontline operations.

The vessel has four moveable legs that can stretch up to the seabed, enabling its large working platform to be lifted out of the water. It offers a stable platform to carry out maintenance and lifting of machinery. With this new capability, smaller ships will not be required to enter the naval base’s frigate and destroyer docks during repairs and other related works.

This will provide space for conducting repairs and speeding up the procedure of keeping vessels ready for operations.


Sweden’s Saab reports 4% drop in fourth quarter sales

Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab has reported a 4% drop in sales in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the three-month period ending in December 2021, the company’s sales totalled $1.26bn (Skr11.9bn). The figure was $1.32bn (Skr12.49bn) in the same quarter a year ago.

This comes as Saab reported decreased activity in the company’s civil aviation unit while the defence segment recorded strong business.

Order bookings in Q4 2021 were $1.29bn (Skr12.22bn), down 33% from $1.92bn (Skr18.1bn) in Q4 2020.

Despite this, the company recorded a strong demand for small and medium sized orders. Saab’s order book now amounts to $11.12bn (Skr105bn).


Swedish and US armed forces conduct joint exercise

The Swedish Armed Forces and the US Air Force (USAF) have conducted a joint military exercise in south Sweden.

During the exercise, Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets escorted the US B-52 Stratofortress of the Bomber Task Force into Swedish airspace. The aircraft descended to a lower altitude above Småland county with no threat to public safety.

The drill is part of a recurring exercise pattern in line with the established cooperation between the US and Sweden. In a statement, the Swedish Armed Forces said that participation in such exercises is aligned with the country’s defence policy.

It will help in improving interoperability and exercise activities in the Baltic Sea region, the statement added.


Royal Navy’s fifth Astute-class submarine conducts first trim dive

The British Royal Navy’s fifth Astute-class nuclear submarine, Anson, has concluded its initial trim dive at Devonshire Dock in England. As part of the operation, the 7,400t, 97m-long Anson completely submerged under the water.

During the trim dive, the crew carried out trials of on-board systems to confirm the submarine’s stability and safety. In April last year, BAE Systems launched Anson at its Barrow-in-Furness site in Cumbria.

The company is under contract to build a total of seven Astute-class boats for the service.

A trim dive includes numerous tests that to verify and set up the vessel’s accurate weight and centre of gravity.


Philippines signs $624m deal to purchase 32 S-70i Black Hawks

The Philippines Department of National Defence (DND) has signed a contract to acquire 32 additional S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters. The value of the deal stands at around $624m. The helicopters will be purchased from Poland’s PZL Mielic. The contract signing took place during a ceremony held at the DND Building in Camp Aguinaldo.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed the contract on behalf of the DND, and PZL Mielec president Janusz Zakrecki represented the Polish firm during the ceremony.

With the additional units, the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) fleet will increase to 48 helicopters, including the 16 units that were delivered earlier.

Boeing wins deal to deliver AH-6 helicopters to Thailand

The US Department of Defence has awarded a $103.7m contract to Boeing to supply AH-6 light attack reconnaissance helicopters to the Royal Thai Army. The acquisition will be carried out under the US foreign military sale route.

The scope of the deal covers eight aircraft, spares, training devices, support equipment, and technical publications. The new helicopters will replace the Royal Thai Army’s fleet of ageing AH-1F Cobras, under Thailand’s defence modernisation efforts.

Boeing Attack Helicopter Programmes business development director Jessie Farrington said: “We welcome Thailand’s selection of Boeing’s AH-6 light attack reconnaissance helicopter, and look forward to working with the US and Thai governments as part of the foreign military sale process.

Production will take place in Mesa, Arizona, and the aircraft will be delivered in 2024.

Australia’s Elphinstone to manufacture Huntsman howitzer components

Australian manufacturing company Elphinstone has secured a contract to manufacture 45 turrets and hulls for the Australian Army’s new Huntsman howitzers. The move is part of a $720m (A$1bn) defence contract, signed by Hanwha Defense Australia last year, to deliver new self-propelled howitzers for the Australian Army.

According to Australia’s Department of Defence statement, the works at Elphinstone will help the local Tasmanian economy, and create approximately 55 new jobs. As agreed, Elphinstone will carry out the steel fabrication, machining, and painting of the turrets and hulls at their Wynyard factory, in Tasmania. After this, the components will be shipped to Hanwha’s Geelong facility, where the Huntsman vehicles will be assembled.

TurbineAero secures C-17 APU MRO services contract from Boeing

Boeing has entered a multi-year auxiliary power unit (APU) maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) services agreement with TurbineAero. The contract aims to support the C-17 Globemaster III programme.

TurbineAero will offer APU and line replaceable unit MRO services, engineering development, supply chain, logistics, line maintenance training, and obsolescence tracking for the GTCP331-250G APU. Through TurbineAero’s SMaRT-Workscoping upkeep approach, Boeing will incur reduced overall expenses via a more analytical and modular-based maintenance method.

TurbineAero currently delivers obsolescence support for the 331-250G APU, which covers 38 parts with no current original equipment manufacturer equivalent. The company is also providing more than 330 US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved part repairs and over 240 FAA-approved alternate components.

Aerovironment wins FMS contract to deliver Puma UAS to US ally

AeroVironment has secured a US Department of Defense (DoD) foreign military sales (FMS) contract to deliver Puma 3 all-environment (AE) small uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) to a US ally.

The $8.5m firm-fixed-price contract also includes the delivery of initial spares packages, training, and necessary support to the allied nation. According to the AeroVironment website, the battlefield-proven Puma 3 AE provides mission critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) in all environments.

The UAS has a wingspan of 9.2ft and weighs approximately 15lbs. It has an endurance of neatly 2.5 hours when equipped with a Mantis i45 N multi-sensor night time imaging payload. The Mantis i45 N ensures maximum visibility during the night, or low light ISR operations.


US Navy plans to use UAS for cargo transport

The US Navy is assessing the feasibility of using uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) for cargo transport between vessels or from ship to shore. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division has acquired a logistics UAS prototype to demonstrate the transfer of cargo over long ranges. The vehicle will be tested and upgraded for military sealift requirements.

Naval Group delivers first Suffren-class submarine to French Navy 

French shipbuilder Naval Group has delivered the first of six Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines for the French Navy. This delivery marks an important milestone in the Barracuda programme, which upgrades the submarine component of France's nuclear deterrent.

Iran unveils domestic ballistic missile launcher

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has reportedly unveiled a domestically built ballistic missile launching system. Tasnim news agency reported that the air force manufactured thdine automated system, which is used for launching long-range ballistic missiles.


Australian Navy tests robots for counter-disaster operation

The Royal Australian Navy has tested robots in a simulated counter-disaster operation. As part of exercise Autonomous Warrior Genesis, the navy tested uncrewed land, air and sea vehicles in response to a simulated humanitarian relief scenario.

US and Japan complete exercise Keen Sword 21 

US Indo-Pacific Command units and the Japan Self-Defense Force have completed exercise Keen Sword 21, a joint-bilateral field training exercise in Japan. It involved maritime and air operations, amphibious landings, missile defence exercises, resupply, cyber and space operations.

Royal Air Force concludes Exercise Crimson Warrior 

The Royal Air Force has concluded Exercise Crimson Warrior, a three-week training operation involving fast jets, helicopters and unmanned air systems with involvement from the British Army, US Air Force and US Marines. Exercise Crimson Warrior has been adapted from Cobra Warrior with missiodinns being added to support the F-35B and helicopters that form part of the Carrier Strike Group Air Wing.

In brief

Fabri-Kal launches Recycleware Containers to expand sustainability

Food packaging solutions provider Fabri-Kal has expanded its sustainable product offerings with the launch of its new Recycleware Containers. Manufactured in the US, the products contain a minimum of 20-50% post-consumer recycled PET material and are recyclable.

Burger King and TerraCycle’s Loop to pilot new reusable packaging 

Fast-food chain Burger King has partnered with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, to pilot new reusable packaging. The partnership is part of the brand’s Restaurant Brands for Good framework to help reduce packaging waste.

Stora Enso launches take-away bowls for food service packaging 

Pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso has partnered with wholesale company Tingstad to market its new food service take-away bowls, PureFiber. The packaging is designed to replace plastic on-the-go food packaging. It is free from plastic and PFAS.

H&M presents new Looop garment-to-garment recycling system

Swedish clothing-retail company H&M is introducing a garment-to-garment recycling system that helps transform old textiles into new ones. Known as Looop, the container-sized machine promotes circularity in fashion and keeps unwanted garments from turning into waste.