Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will export more than $14B worth of arms in 2012. Their military sales doubled to $10B from 2005 to 2010, but while growth continued to be steady in past years it is now slowing down, as new orders in 2012 amounted to about $15B. Reuters | RIA Novosti | Voice of Russia.
US Senator Daniel K. Inouye [D-HI] passed away yesterday at age 88. A bona fide WWII war hero, he was the Senate’s president pro tempore and the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations as well as its Defense subcommittee. Patrick Leahy [D-VT] succeeds him as the Senate’s most senior member, and is likely to also take the committee chair. Statement from Sen. Inouye’s office | NYT | WaPo.
The US DOD’s Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) released the 2012 update to the DEPPS dataset [PDF] projecting defense purchases by state and industry for 2011-2017 (calendar years). These expenditure estimates reflect the FYDP(Future Years Defense Program) as of the February 2012 President budget so they do not include sequestration and thus may soon prove to be too optimistic.
The GAO reviews progress made by the Pentagon in implementing the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 that led to the creation of a bunch of new offices: CAPE, Systems Engineering (SE), Developmental Test and Evaluation (DT&E), and Performance Assessments and Root Cause Analyses (PARCA). DOD has implemented that legislation for the most part, but input does not necessarily translate into output and for the GAO “it is too early to tell if the Reform Act is going to result in systemic change to DOD’s weapon acquisition process.”
The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei has a report on the state of Taiwan’s defense that underlines the asymmetric nature of their capabilities, as they cannot expect to keep up with the mainland’s level of spending.
The Council of the European Union’s latest incantations express (again) their will to enhance the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. In typical fashion this will be achieved with another EU summit a year from now with little concrete to show for it.
Patrick Boissier, president of DCNS, is calling for [in French] rationalization of European naval programs, and between the lines, for a consolidation of suppliers on the continent: “Europeans can no longer afford the luxury of developing in parallel 6 frigate programs, 4 submarine programs and 3 torpedo programs.”
In the same testimony to the French lower chamber, Boissier underlines how naval programs have turned into massive software projects. The Combat Management System on FREMM frigates weights 25 million lines of code, about the same scale as TCSE and other naval software used on US Zumwalt destroyers, almost 3 times the amount of code developed for F-35s, or an order of magnitude more than on a Rafale.
Researchers from Cornell University present a quantum-secured imaging system that “uses a photon’s position or time-of-flight information to image an object, while using the photon’s polarization for security. This ability allows us to obtain an image which is secure against an attack in which the object being imaged intercepts and resends the imaging photons with modified information. […] In order to jam our imaging system, the object must disturb the delicate quantum state of the imaging photons, thus introducing statistical errors that reveal its activity.”
The UK Ministry of Defence’s concerted effort to reform its defense support operations continues. Overall, “future contracting for availability,” rather than paying for parts and labor hours, remains the overall direction. The Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, which provided a number of services in and around the Royal Navy’s major ports, was outsourced to Serco in a GBP 1 billion December 2007 contract.
Now, a deal that could last for 30 years is providing provide through-life support for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary of Britain’s oilers, supply ships, and landing ships.
With Susan Rice out of the picture as the USA’s next Secretary of State, John Kerry is the top contender for that spot, which reportedly makes Chuck Hagel the Administration’s top pick for Secretary of Defense.
Buck McKeon [R-CA], the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced subcommittee chairmen for the new legislature: Emerging Threats and Capabilities:
Mac Thornberry [TX], Seapower and Projection Forces: Randy Forbes [VA], Military Personnel: Joe Wilson [SC], Tactical Air and Land Forces: Mike Turner [OH], Strategic Forces: Mike Rogers [AL], Readiness: Rob Wittman [VA]. See also The Hill for background.
At the end of February 2012, the US Navy moved to diversify its sources of contracted UAV services. Boeing’s ScanEagle has performed that role since 2004, providing a complete turnkey service for the US Navy and Marines. ScanEagles were involved in some of Iraq’s fiercest fights, the SEAL operation that rescued the Maersk Alabama, and other operations ranging from concept tests to full combat. They’ve also been used by American allies as an outsourced service, with rent-a-UAV customers in Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands.
Under the new umbrella agreement, which could issue up to $874 million in contracts over 5 years, the US Navy and its international partners will be able to choose between 2-3 vendors, each of whom offers a different platform.
The Pentagon released its latest full progress report [PDF] on Afghanistan, acknowledging significant risks:
“The insurgency’s safe havens in Pakistan, the limited institutional capacity of the Afghan government, and endemic corruption remain the greatest risks to long-term stability and sustainable security in Afghanistan. The Taliban-led insurgency and its al-Qaida affiliates still operate from sanctuaries in Pakistan, however, the insurgency and al-Qaida continue to face U.S. counterterrorism pressure within the safe havens. U.S. relations with Pakistan have begun to improve following the re-opening of Pakistani Ground Lines of Communication (GLOCs), and there has been nascent improvement with respect to cross-border cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
The Institute for the Study of War updated their Order of Battle [PDF] for coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The Australian Department of Defence updated its Projects of Concern list. The Wedgetail AEW&C and JP 2070 lightweight torpedo projects have been taken off the list, while a propellant manufacturing facility in Mulwala, NSW, and the Light Weight Automatic Grenade Launcher (part of Land 40 Ph 2) have been added to it because of repeated schedule slippages.
Some Republican congressmen such as Paul Gosar of Arizona are not reflexively against defense spending cuts, notes Politico.
Brazilian news weekly Istoé published an article [in Portuguese] claiming that Brazil’s Air Force is partial to Super Hornets in the ongoing FX-2 competition for 36 fighters. President Rousseff is in France for two days, though discussing the stalled decision to buy Rafales is not officially on the agenda according to the AFP [in French]. Both countries are facing markedly slower economic growth this year.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon will all get fixed priced contracts from the US Air Force to support the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) program in preparation of its Technology Development phase. The intent is to replace AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM), though the Air Force also has modernization plans to extend their life until 2030. As of last February’s FYDP, $2M were to be allocated to the program in FY13 with a ramp-up leading to $209M in FY16 and $353M in FY17. The Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) was at the time scheduled to be completed during the current fiscal year (i.e. FY13) with a Milestone A decision in 2014.
United Technologies won’t sell its pump and engine control systems business to TransDigm as the US Department of Justice objected to the deal. They do have to divest that unit though as a condition imposed by regulatory authorities to approve UTC’s acquisition of Goodrich.
BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair in California should have a steady workload for the next 5 years, according to its general manager Robert Kilpatrick. San Diego Union-Tribune.
US Senators Carl Levin and John McCain – the two most senior members of the Armed Services Committee – sent a letter to SecDef Leon Panetta denouncing the Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support System as what “appears to be one of the most egregious examples of mismanagement in recent memory.” The Air Force cancelled the $1B logistics system last month. Its failure will not make it easier for the service to meet its legal obligation to pass an audit by FY17.