Tuesday, September 30, 2014

South Korea to Buy 40 F-35A CTOL Fighter Aircraft

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced that South Korea will buy 40 F-35 fighter aircraft. South Korea is the third country to acquire the F-35 after Israel and Japan, besides the United States and eight other countries that are part of the F-35 program.

A contract is expected to be signed soon and will be worth 7.3 trillion South Korean won or about $7 billion for 40 of the F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant to be delivered starting in 2018. They are to replace the F-4 and F-5 aircraft in service.

The F-35, the F-15 Silent Eagle and the European Typhoon were the three candidates that had submitted a bid to be awarded a contract for the F-X III project, which originally sought 60 aircraft for no more than 8.3 trillion won. Only the F-15 managed to stay under the budget allocated.

However, South Korea decided not to select the F-15 despite being the only candidate to meet the original requirements. Instead, the F-35 was selected at the cost of reduced numbers with only 40 to be acquired and not 60 as originally planned.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

First P-15A / Kolkata Class Destroyer Commissioned in India

The Indian Navy has commissioned the first of its latest P-15A class destroyer, the INS Kolkata. Two more, the INS Kochi and INS Chennai, have been launched to make a total of three units for the P-15A class, with the P-15B class in the works.

The P-15A class has been plagued by numerous delays and cost overruns. The Kolkata itself was laid down back in 2003 and launched in 2006. This gives the P-15A class the distinction of having one of the most drawn out development ever witnessed for a surface warship.

Further more, despite being formally commissioned into service, the ship still has yet to be fully fitted. Among other things, it still lacks the Barak 8 surface-to-air-missile that is being jointly developed by Indian and Israel and which also has seen extensive delays during development.

Even so, the introduction of the P-15A class marks a major milestone for the Indian Navy as it gives it capabilities that it did not possess before. This is sorely needed as India comes up short in terms of warships, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Qatar Commits to Patriot SAM Batteries, Javelin Missiles and Apache Attack Helicopters

Qatar has committed itself towards purchasing over $11 billion worth of arms from the United States. Around $7 billion will be spent on Patriot Surface-to-Air Missile Air Defense Systems, another $3 billion on Apache attack helicopters and the remainder towards Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Around 10 batteries of Patriots with over 350 missiles are expected to be delivered and will include both Patriot Advanced Capability 2 (PAC-2) and PAC-3 variants. The PAC-3 variant was designed specifically to intercept incoming ballistic missiles, including those that Iran could potentially use in a conflict.

Qatar will join Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as countries in the region that have all acquired the Patriot system. Qatar's addition is another step towards a regional missile defense network using common equipment.

All four countries will also operate the Apache with Qatar's decision to acquire 24 AH-64 attack helicopters. Qatar will join Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by purchasing 500 man-portable, fire-and-forget Javelin missiles.

However, Qatar has yet to make a decision on which fighter aircraft it will acquire. The F-15, F-18, Typhoon and Rafale are all competing to replace the French Mirage fighters that are currently being used by Qatar.