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First F-35B Lightning II produced in Italy rolls off assembly line
by Stephen Carlson
Washington (UPI) May 5, 2017

Boeing receives contract to upgrade Saudi Apache helicopters
Washington (UPI) May 5, 2017 - Boeing has been awarded a $143.4 million contract to provide unique Block II and III modifications to AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the Saudi Arabia National Guard.

The contract covers 24 of the Apaches, with $3.9 million in foreign military sales funding obligated at the time of the award.

The work will be conducted at the Boeing facility in Mesa, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by April 2022.

Saudi Arabia is currently the largest recipient of U.S. arm sales, with nearly $100 billion in active military contracts,

The Apache is the primary attack helicopter of the U.S. Army. It has been widely exported across the world from Saudi Arabia to Japan. It carries a 30 millimeter cannon and can be armed with a wide variety of ordnance such as laser-guided Hellfire missiles, unguided rockets, and even air-to-air missiles.

The first F-35B Lightning II manufactured outside of the United States has rolled out of a Final Assembly and Checkout, or FACO, facility in Cameri, Italy.

The facility is owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense and run by the defense industry firm Leonardo in cooperation with Lockheed Martin.

"Italy is not only a valued F-35 program partner that has achieved many F-35 program firsts, but is also a critical NATO component force, providing advanced airpower for the alliance for the coming decades," Doug Wilhelm, vice president of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Program, said in a press release. "Italian industry has participated in the design of the F-35 and Italian industry made components fly on every production F-35 built to date."

The first flight of the jet is expected to be in August with delivery to the Italian Ministry of Defense in November. Two F-35A models are anticipated to be delivered from the Cameri FACO in November.

The FACO is slated to deliver 30 F-25B and 90 F-35A type fighters for the Italian armed forces. It will also produce 29 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

The facility will also produce 835 full wing sets that will be distributed across all participants in the program, along with other parts and maintenance equipment.

Kenya approved for possible helicopter buy
Washington (UPI) May 4, 2017
The possible sale of 12 weaponized MD 530 aircraft to Kenya by the United States has been approved by the State Department. The sale, which would be handled by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, would come under the Foreign Military Sales program and be worth about $253 million. This proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United St ... read more

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