U.S. to provide four maritime surveillance radars for the Colombian Navy

As published by Infodefensa, Erich Saumeth reported on the current provision of four Kelvin Hughes SBS-900 maritime surveillance radars to be installed by Northern Defense Industries on U.S. counter-drug funding. Sources indicate that at a cost of over 8 million U.S. dollars. These installations will be deployed in Jurado, Solano Bay, Pizarro and Gorgona Island. They will be integrated within the SICTVM, The Navy’s surveillance and traffic control system, to support Naval Pacific Force responsibilities on Jurado, Solano Bay, Pizarro and Gorgona Island. Such radars will improve the capabilities of the Colombian Navy in countering go fast boats, semi submersibles used for drug trafficking and smuggling by organized crime and armed groups.

The FA-50 is not enough for the Argentine AF

Once again, Argentine mass media takes notice on the proposed purchase of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Golden Eagle for the Argentine Air Force. We did cover this fact recently and in short, Clarin published already known information but with stating a supposed green light by the President Mauricio Macri to go on and submit this agreement. Such negotiations allegedly are for first squadron of 8 to 10 aircraft and their logistical support and training for the next two years. Financial restraints would prevent the AF to also include advanced weaponry to which will turn to its own arsenal of AIM-9L/M and free fall bombs for the time being. 

Many criticisms come from the fact that no FA-50 in service is capable of using Air to Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weaponry and still with no air to air refueling capacity or large capacity conformal fuel tanks (CFT), which would leave the aircraft with internal fuel only and on a very limited combat radius. This is only offered by KAI as a possible development on request. 

The FA-50 is no match in the class of neighboring F-16’s and Gripens but will bring sustainable scalability and capabilities in which the aging and progressively obsolete A-4Ar Fightinghawks don’t make the cut anymore.

U.S. reinforces overflights of Venezuelan EEZ

As we reported last Monday, after
July 19th’s encounter of the U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II with a pair of
AMBV’s Su-30MK2, USN flights resumed over the Venezuelan Economic Exclusion
Zone (EEZ). Although this is nothing new, its going on for both Obama’s and Trump’s administration. For sure, Venezuela and its Caribbean Sea surroundings are one of the main interests of the VQ-1 Squadron, based at NAS Whidbey Island. VQ-1 is among the last squadrons of the P-3 Orion in USN service, in this case the ELINT specific EP-3 Aries II variant. Starting 2023, the EP-3 is to be replaced by the MQ-4C Triton UAS with a MULTI-INT suite in the U.S. Navy.

Brazilian Navy procures tooling for its S-70B Seahawk helicopters

The Brazilian Navy is procuring through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program a Reamer Kit for its S-70B Seahawk helicopters. This case, BR-P-SDE, is being sourced by the Naval Air Systems Command of the U.S. Navy on behalf of its Brazilian counterpart. The Brazilian Navy operates six S-70B (export version of the SH-60 SeaHawk) since 2012. These multipurpose helicopters can operate both in day and night and in rough weather, they are equipped with a variety of weapons both for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.

The Argentine Army is looking for optical sights and NVG’s

OFFICE IN THE UNITED STATES has made public bids 01/2019 and 02/2019 for
procurement of optical sights and night vision goggles, respectively. These
acquisitions are framed upon the Northern Integration Op. or OPINOR, of which
the armed forces are providing logistical and other support to security forces
deployments and patrols. PB 01/2019, is requesting 217 Vortex Solo 8x36 optical sights. PB 02/2019 is for 40 AN/PVS-7D Night Vision Googles, both of the PBs support infantry and special operations forces.

The argentine IA-63 Pampa won’t be sold to Bolivia, here’s why.

Yesterday, the newspaper Clarin published an article stating that any possible sales prospect of the IA-63 Pampa advanced jet trainers is under pressure by Israel and the U.S. considering Bolivia’s direct links with Iran.The fact is that Bolivia and Iran have just signed an agreement to provide “nanotechnology” for a military academy and Drones for counter-drug and smuggling operations. Although the actual drone which is to be purchased has not yet been disclosed, this is causing serious concerns on Bolivia’s neighbors and sets as the first Iranian drone export in Latin America. Israel and the U.S. are very annoyed by the fact considering their high-level lobbying and Mike Pompeo’s presence in the region to bolster anti-terrorist cooperation and the recognition of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization by Latin-American nations. Argentina and Bolivia have a very important gas trade and to this fact, Gustavo Lopetegui, the argentine Secretary for Energy, proposed that on any compensation required from the argentine state to the bolivian state, it could be paid by the export of IA-63 Pampa advanced jet trainers. This has been seen at first as an opportunity to provide new customers for the Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA), but such a salesmanship collided with the fact that it was not thorough in considering that the IA-63 Pampa has components made in Israel, U.K and U.S. which are subject to export approvals.

Tamandare class corvettes purchase contract heats up in Brazil

A few days ago, the Correio Braziliense published that the contract that the Brazilian Navy and EMGEPRON, subscribed with Aguas Azuis, a joint venture by EMBRAER and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), to build the Tamandare class corvettes is under the investigation of the Tribunal de Contas da União, Brazilian state accountability office. Pernambuco state shipbuilders, as in their metalworker’s union, protested the agreement with the TCU. This is to build four Tamandare class corvettes (CCT) with deliveries between 2024 and 2028 for 5.500 million Reales, approximately 1.4 billion U.S. dollars. This union claims that the contract chose an unqualified company to build them. Supporting also the need of scrutiny under current corruption allegations worldwide for both EMBRAER and TKMS.

The selection of the Oceania Shipyard would be a direct conflict of interest to the fact that BNDES, who is funding the entire project, has a 20% share on the CBO Group, owner of Oceania.

U.S. deploys more assets near Venezuela

Following on the incident that took place on July 19th between an EP-3 Aries II ELINT/SIGINT platform and venezuelan Su-30MK2s , the United States Air Force in agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is to deploy an E-3 "Sentry" AWACS platform, to support counter-drug operations in Curacao. Its no surprise that what happened this Friday triggered a number of actions, one of which is this deployment. Actually any counternarcotics operation won't name directly Venezuelan leaders and their alleged links with drug cartels, but the E-3 also is to provide an early warning capability over the Caribbean Sea and venezuelan airspace with its AN/APY-2 long range early warning radar for both surface ships and aircraft. The U.S. is increasing the pressure on the venezuelan government, as much as Russia if beefing up its support. Let's hope this doesn't escalate any further.

There’s no better timing for the argentine Airbus C-295s than now

The Argentine Air Force is on the verge of decommissioning the last of its Fokker F-28 transports as recently happened with the F-27. Thus, the argentine military has no medium transport aircraft other than the C-130 operated by the AF, since the navy operated F-28s and the Army’s G-222A have been long scrapped. A tender was proposed in 2015/2016 in which both Leonardo’s C-27J and Airbus C-295 were competing and the cost-effective Spanish built transport took the lead. Unfortunately, the financial situation combined with lack of political interest delayed indefinitely this process of which at the time was disclosed the possibility also to include MPA/SAR variants and as AEW platform. Still, only Chile operates the Persuader MPA version and there’s no customers for AEW yet.

Colombian Kfir fleet is only at 50% availability and the AF looks for replacements

According to Infodefensa, the Colombian Air Force’s Air Combat Command has issued on July 5th a report on the current status of the IAI Kfir COA fleet, comprised now of 3 twin seaters and 19 single seater aircraft, which are supported by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Lahav Division. Among specifics in which of the aircraft are in service or not, the main concern is related to depot maintenance or budget cuts in which the Air Force is under that causes delays on pending field level maintenance, since they acknowledge that IAI is in full compliance of their 128-00-A-COFAC-CAF-2018. Having demonstrated its new systems and capabilities in a fair transition to the 4th generation, colombian Kfirs fall short on providing a fully-fledged deterrence against, although in desperate need of an upgrade, Venezuelan Su-30MK2. The Venezuelan Sukhois, probably with russian assistance, are being brought back to service. A few days ago, the F-Air Colombia expo took place where aviation and defense related industries have gathered and to that effect, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Saab have presented their proposals for Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche III, F-16V Block 70 and JAS-39NG respectively.