* The Obama Administration is reportedly about to start pushing a suggested defense appropriation 8 percent above last year’s, an increase that by itself would roughly equal Germany’s annual defense spending. Procurement accounts would see a 15 percent increase. $51 billion would be set aside for overseas mission funding, an interesting part of the budget to watch. It has become known as a sanctuary of sorts for unrelated programs that would have been cut during sequestration which will presumably have to be unwound when those missions draw down.
* Turkey is allowing would-be conscripts to pay a fee to absolve them of military service. The $7,500 fee is put into the Defense Industry Support Fund, which finances defense hardware purchases. Some rough estimates put expected revenues at between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion. The same fund already raises what is thought to be more than a billion dollars per year with special sin taxes, such as levies on alcohol, gambling and tobacco.
* Korea Aerospace Industries completed its first test flight of the amphibious Surion helicopter.
* Russia is being accused of deploying Iskander-K cruise missiles within a couple hours drive of Estonia. The U.S. has argued that this is a bright-line violation of nuclear arms control treaties and complained previously about remotely observed testing of either this missile or one very like it.
* The U.K.’s secretary of state for defense wrote a somewhat self-congratulatory think piece that reveals the direction he’s pushing MoD culture. “So as we work towards the next Strategic Defence and Security Review we will do so neither as victims resigned to further budget cuts; nor as fanatics opposed to any reforms at all….”
* Slovakia is warming to Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks for what is thought to be a nine-unit procurement.
* Orbital Sciences Corporation’s shareholders approved, as expected, the merger agreement with ATK. The deal will close within weeks.
* Another report indicates that the Navy is pushing for the new LX(R) “cost-effective amphibious ship” to be based on the LPD-17 San Antonio class design. This has been well predicted. Meanwhile, Huntington Ingalls, is already producing infographics promoting the use of its LPD-17 platform.
* Continuing a spate of UAV-related technology acquisitions, Raytheon bought the 50-employee firm Sensintel, which will be folded into the Missile Systems business.
* Footage from Russian television comprising a show of force – an exercise of moving an Iskander-M missile launcher to the arctic (and launch at 2:30).