April’s top stories: China’s missile test, Boeing Apache helicopters deal

China test fires DF-41 ballistic missile, Boeing secures $1.5bn contract to upgrade Apache helicopters, Switzerland lifts ban on arms export to Middle East. Army-technology.com wraps up key headlines from April 2016.


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China test fires DF-41 ballistic missile

China reportedly test-fired a new variant of its 10,000km-range Dongfeng missile near the disputed South China Sea.

Unidentified Pentagon officials were quoted as saying that China tested its DF-41 missile with two vehicles.

According to the South China Morning Post, testing for the mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) shows that China is reinforcing its nuclear deterrent.

Boeing to upgrade US Army's fleet of Apache helicopters

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Boeing secured a $1.5bn contract to upgrade the US Army's fleet of AH-64D Apache helicopters.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company was to convert 117 AH-64D Apaches into the more capable AH-64E model.

The company will also provide longbow crew trainers, logistical support and spare parts.

US Army Apache project manager colonel Jeff Hager said: "The AH-64E Apache continues to meet the requirements of aviators, battlefield commanders and soldiers deployed on missions worldwide.

"The army, Boeing and Team Apache suppliers continue a valuable collaboration that ensures soldiers have the latest technologies to succeed in defending freedom with this outstanding weapons system."

The latest contract represents a modification to an existing army contract signed with Boeing for the full-rate production of Apache helicopters.

Work under the new contract will be performed at the company's production centre in Arizona, US.

Switzerland lifts ban on arms export to Middle East

The Swiss Ministry of Defence (MoD) reportedly lifted a ban on the export of certain arms to the Middle East.

The decision approved the sale of air defence systems, military aircraft, artillery spare parts and other defence equipment.

However, restrictions are still in place for weapons and war-related materials that would potentially support ground combat in Yemen.

US DoD approves 22 female officer candidates for combat units

The US Department of Defense (DoD) approved 22 female officer candidates for infantry and armour combat units.

Nine female officers were to be inducted as infantry officers, with 13 added to the armour branch.

The officers will graduate as second lieutenants from the US Military Academy, the reserve officer training corps programmes and the army's officer candidate school.

British Army completes live-fire test of AJAX platform

The British Army has successfully completed a live-firing test programme for its next-generation of armoured vehicles at a range in Wales, UK.

Conducted by General Dynamics UK and Lockheed Martin UK, the test marks a milestone in the development of AJAX armoured vehicles.

The main 40mm stabilised cannon and chain gun were test-fired on-board the AJAX platform.

US Army tests Israeli Tamir interceptor air-defence missile

The US Army test-fired the Israeli Tamir interceptor air-defence missile, which is used by the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.

Marking the first ever live simulation of the Iron Dome on foreign soil, the test is said to have been carried out as part of the army's weapon review process.

Lieutenant colonel Michael Fitzgerald was quoted as saying that the army is reviewing defence systems for a future military tender.

US DoD releases new network strategy for 2025-2040

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The US DoD revealed the US Army's new 15-year strategy for modernising its enterprise network.

Titled 'Shaping the Army Network: 2025-2040', the new guideline will focus on key areas affecting networks and systems to meet operational information requirements by 2040.

The areas include dynamic transport, data to decisive action, robotics and autonomous operations, computing and edge sensors, cyber-security and resiliency, and human cognitive enhancement.

Lockheed Martin test-fires miniature hit-to-kill missile

Lockheed Martin conducted an engineering demonstration of its new miniature hit-to-kill (MHTK) interceptor at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, US.

The company launched the missile from a multi-mission launcher (MML), a key component of the US Army's Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 - Intercept programme.

The MML can carry and launch a variety of missiles from a single launcher.

MDA to develop programmes to tackle North Korea, Iran threats

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The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) was set to develop cost-effective programmes to address rising threats from North Korea and Iran.

MDA director James D. Syring testified before the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee on the agency's $7.5bn fiscal year 2017 budget request.

During the procedure, Syring highlighted that funding was required for demonstrations and prototypes of new technologies.

Raytheon to supply Stinger air-to-air missiles to India

Raytheon secured a contract to supply Stinger air-to-air missiles to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The deal was to see India acquire 245 missiles as part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed by the Indian MoD with the US DoD.

The contract also covered the provision of launchers and engineering support.