The U.S. Air Force has declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighter aircraft. Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the commander of Air Combat Command, declared the F-35A ‘combat ready’ on August 2. “I am proud to announce this powerful new weapons system has achieved initial combat capability,” Carlisle said. “The F-35A will be the most dominant aircraft in our inventory because it can go where our legacy aircraft cannot and provide the capabilities our commanders need on the modern battlefield.”
Orders for two additional AW139 intermediate twin helicopters have been placed by the Italian Coast Guard with Leonardo-Finmeccanica, along with options for a further two helicopters. With the latest order, the total number of AW139s chosen by all Italian government operators now rises to 41. The Italian Coast Guard already operates 10 of the type and the helicopters will be used to perform a range of missions including maritime patrol, search and rescue (SAR), and emergency medical services.
Northrop Grumman Corporation has commenced production of the second Japanese E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning (AEW) and surveillance aircraft. Production of the first Japanese E-2D is now underway at the company’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine, Florida and will be delivered in 2018.
L-3 Communications’ Electronic Systems group has received a seven-year contract to provide training solutions to the U.S. Air Force’s Warfighter Readiness & Training program following a recompetition process. L-3’s Link Simulation & Training division in Arlington, Texas, will serve as the prime contractor on the program and has received an initial task order valued at US$23.5 million with a maximum ceiling value of US$200 million.
BAE Systems will extend its Devonshire Dock Hall to incorporate new manufacturing and installation capabilities under a £67 million contract the company has signed with Morgan Sindall. The facility undertakes the construction of Astute class submarines and is where Successor will also be integrated and tested.