DoDs Multi-Year Contracts to Get More Scrutiny | Germany Reconsiders Arms Trade With Saudis | NK Saber Rattling Starts Early
- A proposed rule may give Congress greater power to scrutinize multi-year contracts from the Department of Defense (DoD) if passed. The rule will require the Defense Secretary to certify to Congress that certain conditions have been met before entering into a multi-year contract, such as making sure payments to the contractor are not made before costs are incurred, and that the contract does not provide for a price adjustment based on the failure to award a follow-on contract. It is hoped that the additional oversight will help with more effective cost saving measures and decision making. Multi-year contracts account for $10 billion of DoD spending annually.
- The DoD has awarded Raytheon $66.5 million to provide Navy Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 guided missile round pack requirements. The RAM defense system uses an infrared homing surface-to-air missile to provide anti-ship missile defense from multiple vessels, and is developed jointly by the US and Germany. The contract will see the manufacture and assembly of RAM Block 2 MK 44 Mod 4 guided missile round packs for the US Navy, with options that could include a foreign military sale to Japan. A sale to Japan would see the value of the contract rise to $142 million.
- Germany may reconsider its arms trade with Saudi Arabia according to Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. Gabriel made the comments in a press conference where he condemned the recent spate of new year executions by the Gulf nation, which saw forty-seven people killed, including a prominent Shia cleric. Germany has already stopped selling tanks and G36 Heckler and Koch assault rifles to Saudi Arabia, but not other defensive weapons. In the first half of 2015, SUVs, parts for armored vehicles, aerial refueling equipment and parts for combat aircraft worth $192 million were exported to Saudi Arabia from Germany. The execution of Nimr al-Nimr, along with three other Shia Muslims in the Sunni kingdom, has sparked protests and demonstrations across the Muslim world along with increased tensions with Iran. The burning of the Saudi embassy in Tehran just after the executions has resulted in a severing of diplomatic ties.
- UK Defence procurement minister Philip Dunne has said that the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers will hold more marines than ever before. The Queen Elizabeth class carriers will house 900 marines and navy personnel, an increase of 210 on the HMS Ocean. The Ocean will be decommissioned in 2018 and replaced with the new HMS Queen Elizabeth, and will be joined by her son, the HMS Prince of Wales, in 2020. The construction of the two vessels is reported to have cost $9.06 billion and they will be the largest warships in the Royal Navy.
- Russia has taken delivery of sixteen new MiG-29SMT multi-role fighters completing a 2014 order of the aircraft. The jets were delivered to the Astrakhan-Privolzhskiy airbase and it is believed that the order was split between fourteen MiG-29SMT fighters and two MiG-29UB trainers. The order was put in place as a stop gap measure to fill demand while Russia awaits the completion of the development of the MiG-35, but the program has been hampered by delays and not expected to enter service until 2018.
- Following the admission that South Sudan had obtained shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile launchers from China, it has been revealed that they are also operating the S-125 surface-to-air missile system. Satellite imagery of a military camp in the summer of 2015 suggests that South Sudan is operating at least four S-125 batteries each with four launchers. While South Sudan shows no record of having ordered the weapons, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute confirmed that Uganda acquired four S-135s from Ukraine between 2010-2012, which now may have been done on South Sudan’s behalf. South Sudan only obtained permission to import military equipment upon independence in 2011.
- Looks like this year’s round of North Korean saber rattling has begun early as the hermit kingdom claimed that it successfully conducted testing of a miniaturized nuclear hydrogen bomb. The underground test is said to have taken place near the known testing site of Punggye-ri. This would be the DPRK’s fourth nuclear test, but the first using a hydrogen bomb, significantly more powerful than an atomic one. While the extent of the truth in relation to the test has yet to be independently verified, the UN organization monitoring nuclear testing, UNODA, picked up on artificial earthquake activity on the Korean peninsula near the testing site. In the face of widespread international condemnation, Pyongyang has defended the testing claiming it was carried out to counter the US’s humongous stockpile of weapons.
- Despite the recent rounds of rumors and will-they-won’t-theys, Sri Lanka looks set to purchase eight JF-17 fighters from Pakistan according to Pakistani news sources. Officials to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that a number of agreements were signed between both nations on his visit to Colombo on Tuesday. The agreements cover a wide range of defense, security, trade and counter-terrorism issues and included the provision of the aircraft to Sri Lanka.
- Raytheon’s Phalanx and RAM weapons systems in action:
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