On June 16/11, the US DSCA announced Germany’s official request for base services, to support the German Air Force Tactical Training Center at Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), NM. Base services include training services, fuel, munitions, base operating support, and other related operational and/or logistics requirements. Munitions used by the German Tornado fighters on base will include 720 MK-82 500 pound bombs, 135 MK-84 2,000 pound bombs, and 5 BQM-167 Skeeter target drones. The estimated cost is up to $300 million, but that will depend on the final government-to-government agreement. Since there’s no contractor involved, it’s likely to be pretty close.
FN Manufacturing, LLC in Columbia, SC received a $28.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 3,053 of their M240L 7.62mm general purpose machine guns. Work will be performed in Columbia, SC, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/12. One bid was solicited with one bid accepted by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ (W15QKN-09-C-0108).
The M240 is widely used within NATO, and aside from a few carrying annoyances, it’s a good gun: reliable, with good accuracy and rate of fire. It can be mounted on vehicles and helicopters, or carried on foot, and the gun is convertible between these modes. The M240 has moved into a more central role with US forces in Afghanistan, where engagements often take place at 300+ meter ranges. At those ranges, the platoon’s M240 GPMGs and 7.62mm designated marksman rifles may be the only truly effective guns they have. Fortunately, the M240L improves on the M240B by using titanium alloy in key sections, with a chrome carbo-nitride coating to resist galling, and a ceramic-based top coat. The result? Same gun, but at 22.3 pounds/ 10.1 kg, it weighs 5 pounds/ 2.27 kg less. At about $9,200 a pop, they aren’t cheap. Still, when you’re humping your M240L over 5,000+ foot total elevation changes in the course of a day, at medium to high altitudes, it feels like money well spent.
In an address to the Center for Strategic Decision Research’s 28th International Workshop on Global Security, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn outlined the Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot. The program will enable the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to share classified information with participating defense companies to help them defend their computer networks from attack.
Reuters reports that new versions of the malware that infiltrated the computer system of the U.S. Central Command in 2008 are still infecting U.S. networks.
Former UK Defence Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind says the country should improve its overall response to state sponsored cyber-attacks.
Israeli defense exports reached $7.2 billion in 2010, an increase on $6.9 billion for the previous year.
The US Army is pursuing a 2-track future rifle strategy: its Individual Carbine competition; and the possibility of simply competing M4 Carbine buys, now that they own the data rights.
Reuters reports that the Chinese language Liberation Army Daily newspaper has published an article advocating that China builds up cyber warfare capabilities to counter American attempts to “seize the commanding military heights on the Internet”.
The French Directorate General of Armaments awards Zodiac Milpro [PDF] a contract for 20 multi-purpose commando RIBs (ECUME) and four air delivery systems (SLE).
Rheinmetall unveils new HE DM-11 secondary ammunition for MBT 120mm smoothbore guns. The HE DM-11 can be fired from any in-service 120 mm smoothbore gun and is deemed safe to fire in all climate zones.
As the Arctic continues to increase in strategic significance Defence Watch considers the Canadian Armed Forces’ procurement requirements.
Danger Room ponders over the topics to be covered by DARPA’s 100 Years Starship conference. The program ties ethical and moral concerns to DARPA’s quest to achieve interstellar flight by 2111. If Jack Kirby’s – the creator of the Silver Surfer cartoon – comments are anything to go by, then the defense industry will be more than welcome to attend.