Finland Blocks Direct Lobbying on HX-FRP | China Reaps Large Orders on Lower Cost Tech | Austal Completes Design Review on $243M Pacific Patrol Boat ProjectMar 01, 2017 00:58 UTC
- Raytheon has been contracted $128 million to support the USAF’s Mobile Sensors program. The four-year deal will see the company operate and maintain forward-deployed radars including the Cobra King used aboard the USNS Howard O. Lorenzen and the Gray Star radar used aboard the USNS Invincible. Both vessels are US Navy Missile Range Instrumentation Ships, which are designed to monitor missile launches and collect data.
- US President Donald Trump has announced hopes for an “historic” increase in defense spending, with plans to add $54 billion, or 10%, to current funds. Trump said the funds would go toward rebuilding a depleted military, and officials familiar with the proposal say there will be a focus on shipbuilding, military aircraft, and establishing “a more robust presence in key international waterways and choke points” such as the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea. In order to pay for the increase, cuts have been proposed to US foreign aid, environmental protection, and education, and have already been met with opposition from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as warnings from military officials.
- Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Elta North America subsidiary will provide counter-unmanned air system equipment to the USAF in a $15.5 million deal. The contract calls for the production and delivery of 21 MANPADS kits and the provision of training to the service. Last year, IAI unveiled the Drone Guard system which integrates a 3D radar and electro-optical (EO) sensors for detection and identification of UAS vehicles, plus jamming technology to disrupt its flight by either using a “send to home” function or causing the UAS to crash.
- Finland’s government has blocked the use of direct lobbying for the HX Fighter Replacement Program (HX-FRP) in an effort to add transparency and fairness to the competition. All the manufacturers entering the competition: Boeing (F/A-18), BAE Systems (Eurofighter Typhoon), Saab (JAS Gripen), Dassault Aviation (Rafale) and Lockheed Martin (F-35), have recruited Finnish lobbying and public relations agencies to represent their special interests, as well as contracting former senior Finnish military officers to help them develop sales strategies and add energy to their separate marketing efforts. The HX-FRP is estimated to be worth between $15 and 20 billion.
- Chinese media has reacted angrily to the Lotte Group and South Korea’s agreement to a land-swap that will allow for the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The influential state-run tabloid the Global Times called for a boycott of Lotte in China and proposed “that Chinese society should coordinate voluntarily in expanding restrictions on South Korean cultural goods and entertainment exports to China, and block them when necessary.” Tourism to South Korea has also been affected with South Korean central bank figures citing a drop in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the tourist island of Jeju by 6.7% over the Lunar New Year holiday from last year, partly because of Beijing’s “anti-South Korea measures due to the THAAD deployment decision.”
- China has received their largest foreign order for the indigenous next-generation Wing Loong II UAV. However, the report did not disclose the identity of the buyer or the size of the order. Beijing has been driving to increase their market share of the military drone market at the expense of US and Israeli products, by offering lower-cost technology to customers and a willingness to sell to governments to which Western states will not sell. The Wing Loong II’s predecessor is marketed for $1 million, while the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, to which it has sometimes been compared, is priced at around $30 million.
- Australian firm Austal has announced the successful completion of the detailed design review of its $243 million Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project. The contract has tasked Austal with designing, producing, and sustaining 19 steel vessels that will then be gifted to 12 Pacific island nations as part of efforts to bolster regional maritime security. Austal hopes to begin construction for the ships in April 2017, and expects to begin deliveries between 2018 and 2023.
- Australia and Indonesia are to resume defense ties following a short suspension in cooperation. In January, Indonesian Armed Forces’ head of communications, Major General Wuryantyo, announced that the service was halting all activities with their Australian counterparts in response to an Indonesian officer taking offense to allegedly insulting reading materials found at an Australian military training facility. In addition to military exercises, the agreement facilitates defense-related trade and cooperation on counter-terrorism and maritime strategies.
- Wing Loong UAV strike capabilities: