The UK awarded a £1.5 billion contract ($2.4B) to Aquila, a joint venture set between Thales and NATS to update and sustain military air traffic management. They’re merging what used to be about 70 contracts into a single program called Marshall, whose geographical scope extends all the way down to the Falkland Islands.
Vietnam – India – China
India’s and Vietnam’s prime ministers met last Tuesday and defense was on their agenda. Modi had this to say on their bilateral defence cooperation, which the Times of India quipped is a joint effort to “tame the dragon”:
“India remains committed to the modernization of Vietnam’s defence and security forces. This will include expansion of our training programme, which is already very substantial, joint exercises and cooperation in defence equipment. We will quickly operationalise the 100 million dollars Line of Credit that will enable Vietnam acquire new naval vessels from India.”
It will be interesting to see if the vessel deal goes to a private shipyard. India is already helping Vietnam with submarine and fighter training.
East Asia Forum reviews Vietnam’s military strategy:
“[A]lthough Hanoi’s effort on defence may not effectively check Beijing’s massive military power, it does provide some strategic value. First, Vietnam is able to deter China much better than before. [...] Second, Hanoi’s military modernisation may serve as a bargain chip in negotiation with other powers for security cooperation.”
Want China Times relays an analysis from Japan Military Review [in Japanese] saying that China may buy 5,000 air-to-air missiles from Russia, on top of the 1,500 they already bought.
Wait, Drones There?
French authorities would really like to know who’s flying mini-UAVs of various types nearby its nuclear plants. Some of the drones where large enough to be able to carry explosives and the matter is under judicial investigation. Quartz | Le Monde [in French].
A Dutch graduate student at TU Delft designed a system meant to deliver cardiac defibrillators to heart attack victims by air in record time. Sounds like something militaries would want to have a look at.
Last Post in Camp Bastion
John Sopko, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), delivered his latest quarterly report [PDF]. He is troubled by the fact the assessment made by ISAF Joint Command of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) capabilities is now classified. Transparency and Open Government, in practice.
Today’s video is an invitation to pause and reflect after 13 years in Afghanistan, as UK forces just handed over Camp Bastion to locals:
| Extended-range, dual-mode AGM-176C finishes testing, but appears to have lost its shot at the Littoral Combat Ship's Surface Warfare package; Background improved, incl. full variant information, past milestones, new graphics and videos. More »