* The Pentagon has expressed concerns over Raytheon’s new GPS Operational Control System (OCX) program, amid soaring costs and completion delays. Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, has the program scheduled for a “deep dive” review on Friday which may result in a new competition being announced. The system is integral to the Air Force’s ability to access GPS satellites for critical timing information and weapons targeting. Awarded in 2010, costs for the program have risen by 80.5% of the initial contract value to $1.6 billion and the program has experienced an operational delay until 2018.
* Siemens Government Technologies, a subsidiary of conglomerate Siemens, has been awarded a $200 million contract by the Department of Defense. The work aims to expand and upgrade the U.S. Army‘s building automation systems that use the Desigo for Apogee software product. Work on the project is expected to be completed by December 2020. Desigo for Apogee is designed to offer users an integrated view of information to control building automation and security systems.
* Europe’s largest weapons manufacturers saw their stock prices soar on Thursday after the British government voted to conduct air strikes in Syria on Wednesday night. BAE systems saw a jump of four points which follows an earlier 14% increase after the Paris terror attacks. Airbus, who develop the Tornado air craft being used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) saw an increase of 1.5% while shares for Italian firm Finmeccanica moved up by 2%. RAF Tornados struck Islamic State held oilfields shortly after Parliament voted in favor of action, following a full day of debates on the issue.
* Germany has received the first Airbus A400M cargo aircraft, with a second planned to be delivered by the end of the year. Five were initially to be delivered to Germany in 2015, but delays have caused this to be scaled back to just two. Slow production of the aircraft has led to delays in deliveries to seven European NATO members involved in the A400M program. Germany fined Airbus $14 million last month once the late delivery was announced. Germany has ordered 53 of the aircraft in total which is Europe’s most expensive aircraft acquisition program.
* Russia has announced the successful test of its first anti-satellite missile after two failed attempts. Named Nudol, the November 20 test follows China’s successful launch at the end of October, marking an advancement for both countries in strategic space warfare. The Obama administration has long opposed Chinese attempts to develop space weapons, but will not agree to a Russian and Chinese backed proposal over their banning. According to Frank Rose, assistant secretary for arms control, verification and compliance (who spoke in Beijing on Monday) this is due to the proposal not including ground based space weapons.
* The US Department of Defense has released $309 million toward the construction of a new marine base in Guam. Contracts have yet to be awarded for the initial construction of the base and follows $1 billion already put forward by Japan for the base’s development. The funding follows a 2006 agreement between the two nations to relocate 5,000 US Marines and 1,700 of their dependents from Okinawa to Guam. The base and its support facilities are expected to cost $8.7 billion in total, and will see millions injected into the island’s local economy.
* The Australian Senate will launch an inquiry into its planned acquisition of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters after a vote on Monday. The Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade committee will investigate how the fighter will integrate with the air force’s needs, its cost and benefits, performance testing and possible alternatives. The Royal Australian Air Force has planned to purchase 72 of the aircraft with the possibility of increasing to 100 fighters. At $11.7 billion, it is the most expensive defence acquisition program to date. Findings in the report will be presented to the Senate in May 2016.
*Experts from navies, academia and industry met in Tokyo this week to discuss the unique challenges of operating in the littoral or coastal environment. The Littoral OP Tech East conference is the first of its kind to be held in Asia, and looks at fostering increased innovation and creation of solutions to both new and old problems. Speakers stressed the importance of the development of new war-fighting concepts and increased operational capabilities of fleets. The meeting comes at a time when the US navy and its allies are looking to incorporate wider capabilities for all ships in its fleets and the rolling out of the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class warship throughout various theaters.
* Royal Air Force Tornado jets returning from its first sortie against Islamic State targets: