“Currently only four dual EU-NATO members have military budgets that allocate the NATO minimum requisite of 2 percent of annual GDP for defense: France, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and Romania… Greece – typically one of the bigger defense spenders in Europe – is reining in its budget, bringing it down to 1 percent of GDP or less through 2015. Forecast International projects that, by 2011, total defense spending across the European continent will amount to just under $300 billion…
“As it now stands, the European dual EU-NATO members have a rough total of $234.34 billion allocated toward defense among them for 2007, with the combined spending of France and the U.K. representing almost 55 percent of that total. And this is only the financial aspect – the manpower and equipment facets of each nation’s armed forces are also severely strained… defense spending across the entire European continent will reach only $266 billion in 2007, or about 58 percent of the U.S. baseline defense budget of $462 billion for the current fiscal year… many of these nations’ domestic defense industrial bases feel the crunch from lack of state orders needed to sustain themselves.
“What you have today is a Europe that seeks to project greater international involvement and security responsibility, whether through defensive measures in Afghanistan or humanitarian or peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, Kosovo and areas of Africa,” [Forecast International analyst Dan] Darling continues. “Yet these governments are asking more from their downsized militaries while providing less by way of defense appropriations… So long as Europe’s public at large lacks the perception of a distinct security threat, raising defense spending will not be an immediate concern in European capitals, thus forcing governments to confront hard choices.”…”
On Oct 29/07, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] Israel’s formal request for a wide variety of missiles and ammunition. Previous orders have outfitted its air force for air-air and air-ground combat. While many of this order’s missiles are likely to find themselves aboard Israeli helicopters, this is not exclusively true, and the overall picture is one of rebuilding ammunition stocks for the ground forces and their supporting arms.
The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1.329 billion. Specific items requested include:
On Oct 29/07 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] Egypt’s formal request for 2,000 TOW 2A anti-armor guided missiles. The TOW 2A is an improved version of the original Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided missile that’s designed for “bunker busting” attacks on fortifications, bunkers and urban structures. It can also defeat reactive armor if used against tanks et. al., and has a range of 3,750m. The order also includes 28 buy-to-fly missiles, which are test-fired to assure the recipient that the rest work fine. But since you fire ’em, you just bought ’em. Containers, test sets and support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government (USG) and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support round out the request. The estimated cost is $99 million.
Egypt will use these TOW 2A missiles and launchers to augment its current TOW missile inventory and provide mechanized infantry and field artillery units with an anti-armor capability. The 2 U.S. Government representatives already in country, who currently manage the existing TOW 2A programs, will also manage this program. Raytheon Company in Tucson, AZ will be the prime contractor.
Goodrich Corp. subsidiary Sensors Unlimited Inc. in Princeton, NJ received a $1.25 million increment of a $5.7 million cost plus fixed fee contract to develop extremely small, lightweight, shortwave infrared imaging sensors on a chip. They’ll be used in helmet-mounted and micro air/ground vehicles.
The primary goal of this program is to establish the micro-systems technology for extremely light weight, low power cameras with the performance necessary for medium to short range applications. Micro-air and micro-ground platforms and helmet mounted applications require some special features: sensor operation at room temperature or with extremely low power cooling and temperature stabilization, micro-packages with operational lifetimes consistent with military operations, and optics and electronics consistent with the platform. DARPA specifically excluded research targeted at evolutionary improvements; innovations in optical and detecting materials, sensor design and fabrication, signal processing, and micro-packaging will be necessary to achieve their extremely light weight goals.
The first phase of the program will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating an imaging array into a micro-package of the size and weight necessary, with measured data supported by models and calculations predicting performance. Options may be exercised to continue the program after this initial demonstration; if they’re exercised, the second phase will feature a feasibility demonstration of an integrated system. Work will be performed in Princeton, NJ (93%), White Plains, MD (3%), and Woodland Hills, CA (4%) and is expected to be complete February 2009. Funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. DARPA posted Broad Agency Announcement BAA06-46 “Micro-Sensors for Imaging (MISI)” on the Federal Business Opportunities website on Oct 3/06, and 10 proposals were received (HR0011-08-C-0011).
Our readers aren’t the only ones with electricity bills to pay. Governments of all levels get them, including the military. In addition, the military’s purchasing power often makes it easier and cheaper for federal civilian government agencies to include themselves in these contracts than to negotiate and manage their own. Individual locations like the Fermi National Accelerator Lab can rack up truly impressive annual bills – and see these March 2006 New Jersey & Maryland contracts as another recent example.