France, Germany to Create Export-Savvy Land Forces Specialist
- France’s state-owned Nexter and Germany’s privately-owned Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) have announced [PDF] their intent to form a joint holding company. If this alliance (the word merger is studiously avoided) is completed as expected next year, the French government will hold 50% of the new entity, though Les Echos reports [in French] that it will also maintain a golden share to preserve strategic interests in ammunition supply. The fact the joint press release is issued from Munich and Versailles only increases the symbolic value of this move.
- French defense minister Le Drian hints that other similar mergers may be in the wings, as France can no longer support military manufacturers dependent on just waning internal demand.
US Biz Dev
- The US Air Force’s Air Operations Center Weapon System (AOC WS) program office will host an industry day on July 16-18 at Hanscom AFB, MA. AOC WS is a command and control software suite that will need another round of ongoing sustainment and modernization [MS Word] from FY16. Incumbents were Jacobs (AOC-WS 10.1) and more recently Northrop Grumman (10.2, which passed Milestone B in October 2013). More than $300M have been spent so far, though funding from FY16 onward is set to decline to the $18M-$21M/year range. For reference: DOTE FY13 report [PDF] | USAF PB FY15 [PDF].
- US NAVAIR’s Precision Strike Weapons Program (PMA-201) will host a conference on improvement requirements for the FMU-139 D/B electronic tail fuze on July 23 in Lexington Park, MD.
- Some of the SU-25s now operated by Iraq seem to be of Iranian origin – 7 aircraft according to local media and various informal internet sources.
- Jordan is boosting its military presence on its border with Iraq.
- Syrian weaponized chemicals are being transferred aboard US ship MV Cape Ray. They will soon be destroyed in international waters off the Italian coast.
- Turkey postponed for a 3rd time the deadline for bids for the missile defense system its NATO allies really don’t want the Turks to purchase from China.
- AgustaWestland will upgrade 8 of the Brazilian Navy’s Lynx Mk21A helicopters with new engines, avionics and other parts, for more than $160M between 2015 and 2019.
UAVs in National Airspace
- NASA has been working on assessing civil uses for UAVs for the past decade, or arguably even longer [PDF]. Today’s video, from Rockwell Collins, explains the communications tests the contractor has recently conducted with the agency so that radio links can connect several unmanned aircraft to a single tower: