Rolls Picks up Contracts to Tune of $153M | LM Outlook Positive with 1.2% 2015 Sales Increase | NATO Data: Cuts to Defense Spending Lowest in Four Years
- Rolls-Royce Corp has been awarded two contracts by the DoD for a combined total of $153 million. The first will see the company supply twenty-four engines for Saudi Arabia’s C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in a foreign military sale worth $77 million. The engines will be delivered by the end of this year. Rolls will also supply C-130J propulsion system sustainment to the USAF in a deal worth $76 million. Due to be completed by this time next year, they will provide logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares, and technical data for the system.
- Lockheed Martin has reported a positive financial outlook with a net increase of 1.2% in sales for 2015. $15.5 billion of the company’s $46.1 billion profits came from its aeronautical division, thanks to its development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Despite lower F-16 orders and reduction in F-22 sustainment work, 21 C-130Js, 11 F-16s and nine C-5Ms were delivered alongside forty-five orders of the F-35. It is expected that they will deliver fifty-three jets this year, sixty in 2017 and up to one hundred in 2018. Furthermore, the company’s acquisition of Sikorsky saw an additional $99.6 billion in backlog orders added to their coffers.
Middle East North Africa
- Armenia’s defense minister has indicated that they many acquire more Russian weaponry, but declined to elaborate on specific details of any potential deal. The news comes after last week’s meeting of the two counties as part of a Russian-Armenian intergovernmental commission on bilateral military-technical cooperation. Negotiations follow a June 2015 loan of $200 million made to Armenia for the purpose of buying more Russian-made defense equipment. The shopping list includes the latest Iskander-M missiles and potentially a small number of MiG-30 fighters. The procurements may stoke tensions with neighbour Azerbaijan, who fought a war with Armenia over the territory of Nagorno-Karabach in the late 1980s to early 1990s. With a range of up to 500 kilometres, Iskander missiles could easily reach oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan if the conflict were to arise again.
- Standards found in the German Armed Forces have been criticized after comments that it is overstretched and underfunded. Defense Commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels demanded a significant increase in funding as systemic budget shortages now endanger training, military exercises and missions. With Germany taking part in overseas missions in Syria, Afghanistan and Mali, as well as overseeing an influx of refugees domestically, the importance of having a combat effective force and working equipment is seen as being more important than ever. At present, the plan is to increase spending to over $140.6 billion until 2030, in order to purchase new equipment and to go into research and development. Shortages in aircraft has hampered efforts in overseas missions, while the force recently resigned the G36 assault rifle after it failed to shoot straight in hot climates.
- France may accelerate its light helicopter acquisition process due to begin in 2020. Aging aircraft across a broad range of helicopters and multiple weight classes could see as many as 442 new helicopters required. While the eventual number may be much lower than that, it highlights the rather large scale of replacement that is to occur. Key debates over the procurement involve whether they want to purchase single or multiple platforms for the wide-ranging requirements of the various branches of the armed forces. Selection will also count on the resources available, but could see newer rotorcraft coming into service by the early 2020s.
- Data released by NATO saw defense cuts of European members slow sharply in 2015. Fears over Russian expansion and the threat of jihadist attacks in Europe has seen a recalibration towards defending nations’ own borders after a decade of operations in Afghanistan. Cuts to spending are the lowest in four years at 0.3% but also highlighted a divide among member states. Eastern European nations, wary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the current quagmire in Ukraine has seen sharp defense increases; while Italy, still reeling from years of austerity measures post 2008 cut their spending by 12%. In all, only Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia meet a NATO goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has unveiled to the press their latest ATD-X stealth fighter prototype at their plant in Komaki. The fifth generation stealth fighter was developed alongside Defense Ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) with the aim of seeing if an indigenously produced stealth fighter could be developed in Japan along with researching the technologies required. With its first test flight due this year, full scale production could be under way as early as 2018. The new jet will replace the aging Mitsubishi F-2 and F-15, while complementing its F-35 acquisition as Japan looks to take more responsibility over defending it’s territory and population.
- India’s Rafale deal with France is expected to be complete within four months according to French ambassador to India, Francois Richier. Speaking to Indian television, it is the first time a senior official has given a time scale for the completion of the deal. President Francois Hollande had indicated earlier in the week that the process would take some time, but that there would be gradual progress on agreeing to a final sale price. Dassault had previously stated that a deal may be signed within a month after a signing of an inter-governmental agreement on Monday, but officials from both governments have admitted that the price may become somewhat of a sticking point. Richier also stated that he hoped that India would in time purchase more Rafale’s from Dassault after their initial order of 126 fighters was slashed to just thirty-six.
- The unveiling of Mitsubishi’s ATD-X stealth fighter :
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