Qinetiq North American company Westar Aerospace & Defence has a new five-year contract with the US Army to continue upgrading the Apache Block III (AB3) Attack Helicopter, a programme it began supporting in 2004. The AB3 programme will introduce new technologies from 2008 to modernise 634 aircraft and keep them combat capable up to 2030. Among the additions to the current system will be unmanned air vehicle control capability, improved situational awareness, enhanced engines and drive systems, a better targeting capability and an upgraded communications suite. Westar will also provide support relative to the AB3 programme, such as resource management, cost analysis and scheduling development assessment.


The Spanish air force has purchased two more EADS Casa C-295 military transport aircraft, bringing its fleet to 13. The air force purchased its first nine C-295 in December 2000, and added two more in December 2005 and December 2006.


Lockheed Martin has received a $2.44 billion contract for long-lead components for Lot 2 low-rate initial production of 12 Joint Strike Fighters - six US Air Force conventional take-off and landing F-35As and six US Marine Corps short take-off and vertical landing F-35Bs. Lockheed has also received an initial $187 million in long-lead funding for Turkey's $1.1 billion purchase of 30 additional F-16 Block 50s.


Northrop Grumman's troubled US National Polar-orbiting Operational Environment Satellite System programme has been modified to cover two development satellites for launch in 2009 and 2013, carrying nine meteorological sensors (a reduction of five). The modified contract is valued at $4.2 billion and includes a production option for two more satellites.


Bell Aerospace has received a $4.5 million US Marine Corps contract to support H-1 helicopters. This is the fourth year of a five-year contract to provide field level support for the USMC's fleet of UH-1Ns and AH-1Ws. BellAero, via its BA Support Services Business unit, provides technical assistance and maintenance support teams at field locations throughout the world, including support teams embedded with operational units deployed overseas.


Greece has launched negotiations with Rafael after formally selecting the Israeli company's Spice precision guidance system for use by its air force. Already in use as the Israeli air force's main stand-off weapon, the Spice system - which incorporates a deployable wing kit - enables a Mk84 907kg (2,000lb) bomb to achieve a range of over 60km (32nm) and a Mk 83 450kg bomb to travel over 100km.

Source: Flight International