Pentagon Contract Awards Stay on Downward Trend
- Bloomberg’s tracking of Pentagon awards of $6.5M and more shows another Y/Y drop in May, with a total of $13.7B vs. $19.4B last year. For the past 6 months, only April was above levels seen in 2013.
- The Institute for the Study of War provides ongoing, very detailed updates about the unfolding situation in Iraq, and a recent review of ISIS’ annual report (just the fact they’d release a 400-page annual report is a good hint that these are not just random disorganized suicide bombers):
“The most important question we must answer to understand whether ISIS is pursuing a well-laid plan or is pushing its luck too far is whether the same ISIS forces are moving from location to location, or are prepositioned forces being activated for simultaneous advance? This question is critical to understand the size and composition of ISIS’ force involved in the northern campaign. Reflections from the ground indicate that ISIS attacked Mosul with 150 vehicles armed with mounted crew-served weapons and between 500 and 800 troops. It is unclear if elements of this same force moved on to take Sharqat, Qaiyara, Baiji, and Tikrit, or if separate forces already proximate to these locations simply moved in to take their respective targets in sequence.”
- President Obama says “all options are on the table” to aid Iraq, which probably means there will be a choice of MREs offered as assistance. Secretary of State John Kerry described ISIL as a threat not just to the region but also to Europe and the US. Meanwhile the President has more pressing issues to take care of, such as hosting a Tumblr Q&A/fist bump session.
- Military Times: Iraq War vets angry, distraught as insurgents gain ground.
- In a new book, conservative writer Kenneth Timmerman claims that “Taliban fighters in Kunar province successfully targeted a US Army CH-47 helicopter with a new generation Stinger missile [...] My sources in the US Special Operations community believe the Stinger fired against the Chinook was part of the same lot the CIA turned over to the Qataris in early 2011, weapons Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department intended for anti-Khadafy forces in Libya.” There might be partisan motivations behind the timing and phrasing of these allegations, but there is precedent.
- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram covers the competition between BAE and Lockheed for F-16 upgrade work. We’ve seen this rivalry play out already in Taiwan and South Korea, with top-end F-16V/Block 60 class modifications. Singapore is next, and the report suggests that Bahrain, Egypt, Greece and Turkey are all interested in fleet upgrades. Egypt has a hurdle or 2 to overcome first, though.
- Software continues to be a roadblock to getting the F-35 program fully back on track. But the ALIS software, as well as data rights, may stand in the way of F-35 maintenance and logistics being really open to competitors in the future.
- South Korea wants to have deployed 5 homegrown military reconnaissance satellites by the early 2020s, according to the Yonhap news agency.
- China and Japan are having another spat, this time over the alleged close intercept of a Chinese Tu-154 aircraft by 2 Japanese jets over the East China Sea: South China Morning Post | Chinese MOD, video below from the same source: