2017: The year’s biggest Army Technology stories

5 January 2018 (Last Updated June 11th, 2020 10:39)

US and Saudi Arabia sign $110bn arms deal, Suicide bomb blast at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester and Northrop agreed to acquire Orbital ATK in a $9.2bn deal. Army-technology.com wraps up key headlines from 2017.

US and Saudi Arabia sign $110bn arms deal

US President Donald J Trump and King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia signed a $110bn arms deal, which is expected to support the Middle East nation’s defence needs.

The defence capabilities deal covers a package of defence equipment and services to support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats, The White House stated.

During the meeting, Trump and Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud also signed a Joint Strategic Vision Statement to strengthen relations between the countries.

Suicide bomb blast at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester kills 22 people

A suicide bomb blast in the city of Manchester, England, killed at least 22 people and injured more than 50.

The explosion occurred at Manchester Arena after a performance by US pop singer Ariana Grande.

A suicide bomber attacked the indoor arena as concert-goers, including children and teens, were leaving the concert.

Northrop agrees to acquire Orbital ATK in $9.2bn deal

Northrop Grumman agreed to acquire aerospace and defence technologies company Orbital ATK in a deal valued at approximately $9.2bn.

Under the terms of the agreement, Northrop will pay $134.50 per share to Orbital ATK.

Northrop Grumman chairman, chief executive officer and president Wes Bush said: “The acquisition of Orbital ATK is an exciting strategic step as we continue to invest for profitable growth. Through our combination, customers will benefit from expanded capabilities, accelerated innovation and greater competition in critical global security domains.”

US approves $10.5bn sale of Patriot defence system to Poland

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of an estimated $10.5bn foreign military sale of integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) battle command system (IBCS) enabled Patriot Configuration-3+ weapon system with modernised sensors and components to Poland.

The potential sale package covers 208 Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) missile segment enhancement (MSE) missiles and 11 PAC-3 MSE test missiles.

It also includes four AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, four engagement control stations and four radar interface units (RIU) modification kits to support Phase I of a two-phase programme for the IAMD IBCS-enabled Patriot system.

CACI wins position on $6bn contract for DLA

CACI International secured a position on a $6bn multiple-award contract to support the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).

The company will provide a full range of IT support to advance DLA enterprise functions under the indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract.

CACI will also provide technical and management support for the DLA’s Information Operations Office (J6), programme offices, and other Department of Defense (DoD) agencies.

MBDA and Poland’s PGZ sign missile cooperation agreement

European guided-missile manufacturers MBDA and Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) agreed to cooperate on a number of a new naval and air-launched missile projects.

PGZ managing board president Arkadiusz Siwko said: “Following a month-long negotiations process we have reached an agreement on deep co-operation and exchange of technologies between the companies composing PGZ, and the facilities of MBDA.

“Thanks to this we are now confident that we can obtain the competencies and deliver a number of military programmes, especially the ‘Narew’ short-range air defence system, among others. This is a very important day for us, as it opens the perspective of co-operation between defence industries in European countries which are Nato members.”

Boeing wins $3.4bn contract to deliver 268 AH-64E Apache helicopters

Boeing secured a $3.4bn contract from the US Government to deliver AH-64E Apache helicopters to the US Army and Saudi Arabia.

Under the contract, the army will procure 244 remanufactured Apache helicopters while the foreign military sales contract requires the company to deliver 24 new Apaches to Saudi Arabia.

Boeing Attack Helicopters vice-president and programme manager Kim Smith said: “The Apache has made a tremendous impact in the defence of the nations that have flown it for the last 37 years.

US begins moving THAAD equipment to South Korean site

The US military reportedly started moving Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) equipment to the designated site in Seongju county, South Korea, amid protests from local residents.

The planned THAAD deployment, agreed by the US and South Korea in July 2016, is aimed to counter North Korean missile threats.

Operated by the US Forces Korea, the THAAD will be able to shoot down short and medium-range ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final flight phase.

US Senator decides to withhold consent on arms sales to Gulf States

US Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker decided to withhold arms sales to member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) until they end the ongoing dispute with Qatar.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE and Yemen ended diplomatic ties with Qatar over charges of supporting terrorism.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Corker said: “I could not have been more pleased with the President’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia. The unity of the Gulf States and their commitment to security cooperation were welcome steps forward. We need to remain united in the face of rising threats from Iran and ISIS.”

US DoD authorises US military bases to shoot down drones

The US Department of Defense (DoD) authorised several military bases across the country to destroy drones that are deemed as threats.

As part of the new policy, more than 130 military bases in the country can shoot down, destroy or seize both private and commercial drones flying illegally around their installations, Reuters reported.

US DoD spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis was quoted by media sources as saying: “The increase of commercial and private drones in the US has raised our concerns with regards to safety and security of our installations.”