SpaceX Cleared by AF to Compete Against ULA | Pentagon Mulls Wish List for F-35 Block 4 | Germany Attempts a ‘French End-Run’ on Behalf of…

Americas SpaceX has been cleared by the Air Force for national security-related launches, injecting competition into a previous United Launch Alliance monopoly on private DoD launches. This is part of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain’s efforts to end US reliance on the Russia-manufactured RD-180 rocket for space launches. However, the Pentagon has previously urged Congress to allow ULA to continue using the Russian rockets in order to “ensure access to space”…

S-300 Maker Fights EU Sanctions with Russia Tempering (Again) Iran Proliferation Threat | Crash-Prone SU-30MKI Earns Safety Audit | Italy Ups Defense…

Americas Aerojet Rocketdyne has begun a series of hot-fire tests with the company’s oxygen rich pre-burner engine for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator (HBTD) program. The HBTD program aims to provide reusable space flights through the use of a combination of liquid oxygen and liquid kerosene, hoping to fulfil the requirements laid out in the Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology. …

Lockheed to Upgrade Japanese AEGIS Destroyer for ABM Use

JS Kongou(click to view full) Lockheed Martin Maritime Sensors and Systems won a $124 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification to upgrade Japan’s Kongo-Class AEGIS destroyer JS Kongo [DDG-173] to give it AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense Block 2004 capability. Japan’s Kongo-Class destroyers are based on the USA’s Flight II DDG 51 Arleigh Burke Class, but feature many modifications both internally and externally. The Kirishima itself was posted to the Indian Ocean as part of Japan’s contribution to the war on terror, acting as flagship for the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. DID has covered related Japanese contracts, including cooperation with the USA on missile defense and a related $400 million order for naval ABM components and services…

India Ordered, Modernized, Perhaps Regrets SU-30MKIs

Indra Dhanush 2007(click to view full) India’s SU-30MKI fighter-bombers are the pride of its fleet. Below them, India’s local Tejas LCA lightweight fighter program aims to fill its low-end fighter needs, and the $10+ billion M-MRCA competition is negotiating to buy France’s Rafale as an intermediate tier. India isn’t neglecting its high end SU-30s, though. Initial SU-30MK and MKI aircraft have all been upgraded to the full SU-30MKI Phase 3 standard, and the upgraded “Super 30″ standard aims to keep Sukhoi’s planes on top. Meanwhile, production continues, and India is becoming a regional resource for SU-27/30 Flanker family support. …

S-97 Raider Flies | Heaviest Heavy Lift Copter Ever Upgraded, Produced Again | Bell to Let Russian Firm Build 407GXP

Americas Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider helicopter prototype has made its maiden flight, with this likely to be a welcome distraction from the firm’s current ailing business situation. The coaxial helicopter’s core X2 technologies will be at the heart of the Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant, a finalist for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role, Future Vertical Lift (JMR – FVL) competition. BAE Systems has submitted a bid for the USMC’s Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) competition, with the company teaming with Italian firm Iveco Defence to develop the ACV 1.1 design. Lockheed Martin has been handed a $27.3 million option for seven TB-37 multi-function towed array (MFTA) production units, as well as auxiliary equipment and support services. …