Egypt is acquiring four corvettes based on the French Gowind 2500 design. The first two ships in the El Fateh class have entered service, with two more under construction. The lead ship was built in France, with the remainder being constructed by Alexandria Shipyard in Egypt. The class offers stealth characteristics and extensive anti-aircraft, surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. It has a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 3,700 nm.
The El Fateh class (at left) is armed with eight MM 40 Exocet Block 3 anti-ship missiles; an Oto Melara 76-mm Super Rapid main gun; 16-cell VL MICA anti-aircraft missile system; 324-mm torpedo launchers with MU-90 torpedoes; and a pair of Sea Rogue 20-mm remotely operated cannons. These are supported by a Thales SMART-S Mk 2 search radar and STIR EO Mk 2 fire-control radar. A Thales Kingklip hull-mounted sonar and CAPTAS 2 variable-depth sonar are fitted. Naval Group supplies its SETIS combat management system.
The U.S. Army is finally procuring a replacement for its M113 armored personnel carriers after decades of service. The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) features the drivetrain of the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle and a new hull design. It is being acquired in several variants for different combat support missions. These include supply transport; medical evacuation; wide area security; medical evacuation; medical treatment; mortar carrier; and command-and-control.
The AMPV (in a medical configuration at right) offers improved survivability and mobility to operate with the Army's armored brigade combat teams. It features upgraded protection against mines and improvised explosive devices, including electronic protection systems. Armament is a single crewed weapon station at the front that can be armed with machine guns or an automatic grenade launcher. BAE Systems was selected for the program in 2014. The AMPV was approved for full-rate production in late 2018.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has developed a new utility helicopter for civilian and military missions. In Turkish military service, the T-625 is expected to replace aging UH-1 Iroquois aircraft. It is designed for search-and-rescue, troop transport and medical evacuation missions. The modular cabin can be optimized for a variety of operations. It can carry a maximum of 12 passengers. The helicopter is fitted with a glass cockpit and four-axis, dual-redundant flight-control system.
Development of the T-625 (at left) began in 2013. First flight took place in September 2018. The second prototype made its maiden flight in June 2019. Civil certification is anticipated in 2020, with military certification to follow around two years later. Once development of the base helicopter is completed, TAI expects to begin designing a number of variants. Plans include a four-seat training version.
20 De Julio-class OPVs Boost Colombian Maritime Security
Other new records include Colombia's 20 de Julio-class offshore patrol vessels and the Polish Wolczenica command-and-control system for electronic and communications intelligence assets. The Japanese Akizuki-class destroyer record has also been updated.
Several artillery records have been brought up to date, including the Slovak 152-mm DANA self-propelled howitzer; 76-mm Super Rapido naval gun; Turkish STAMP remotely operated weapon station; and the Russian Pantsyr-S1 air defense system.
M51 ICBM Brings Force de Frappe Into 21st Century
Strategic weapon updates this month include the French M51 submarine-launched ballistic missile and the Russian RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system. The record on U.S. nuclear bombs and warheads has also been made current.
The latest information on sensor systems has been provided for the Turkish Kalkan mobile air defense radar; the U.S. Wideband Global Satellite Communications (WGS) system; and the Spanish Mobile Situation Awareness System (MSAS).
Marines Continue Modernization
Armed forces record updates this month include the U.S. Marine Corps, which has been upgrading its helicopter and amphibious vehicle capabilities. The orders of battle for Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago have also been brought up to date.
Corruption, Economic Slowdown Challenge Chinese Regime
Endemic corruption and a slowing economy may pose significant threats to the Chinese Communist Party and hinder ongoing efforts at military modernization. Reuben Johnson considers the situation in "Beijing's Internal Challenges."
In Iraq, corruption, corroding infrastructure and unhappiness with the current political system have brought hundreds of thousands into the streets demanding change. Nations Editor Kevin Ivey has the latest in "Iraqis Seek New Road."
South Korea is making progress on its indigenously developed fighter jet. A mockup was shown at a recent defense exhibition in Seoul, with construction of an initial prototype underway. Weapons Editor Brody Ladd has the story in "Seoul Shows Off Fighter Progress."
Finally, Andy Oppenheimer provides a look at how militaries prepare for the future in "Planning For The Unknown."