France’s Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) is similar in concept to the American GPS-guided JDAM bomb, but its execution includes several key differences. The global trend toward GPS-guided weapons makes a French entry important for industrial as well as operational reasons, and the Sagem/MBDA team hope AASM will earn them a market niche.
In order to become a true market success, however, Sagem and MBDA know that their AASM will have to find export markets beyond France. Will that place them in conflict with Dassault?
Former Navy Undersecretary Bob Work joined the CNAS think tank last year. He’s now presenting a new report [PDF] making the case that it’s a matter of when rather than if before the emergence of a “new war-fighting regime in which guided munitions and battle networking has fully proliferated and unmanned and autonomous systems have become central to combat”.
US military leaders submitted a new proposal to the White House keeping 10,000 troops in Afghanistan until 2015, but then dropping to just a few hundreds by 2016.
Israel and Kazakhstan signed a defense cooperation agreement. Among Central Asian countries, Israel has already built a strong relationship with Azerbaijan.
Russia and Central Asian countries may have overblown concerns of Islamist spillover outside of Afghanistan, but there are other sources of instability in the region.
The CSIS think tank conducted a press briefing [PDF] yesterday to discuss the security implications of the coming Winter Olympics in Sochi, South-Western Russia. The US may help with some high-end equipment.
China may give itself more leeway than Western countries in getting cozy with authoritarian regimes, but that is not working out so well.
USPACOM commander Admiral Locklear, in his speech at the Surface Navy Association Conference last week, expressed the hope that China would become a “net provider of security” but was adamant that American “historic dominance” was diminishing in the Asia/Pacific region.
The Ministry of Defence wants to scrap INS Vikrant: not the new carrier under construction in Kochi, the old one (R11) bought from the UK in 1957.
India’s procurement rules may be about to leave 13 major surface combatants without naval guns. The problem is a rule that cancels single-bidder competitions, coupled with foolish contract structuring that deterred supplier bids. The same underlying contract issue is also stalling India’s Rafale fighter buy.
The Observer Research Foundation, an Indian think tank, looks at how detente between the US and Iran will ease Indian-Iranian trade, while Pakistan struggles to close a pipeline deal with Iran.
General Robert Cone, commanding general of US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), wants the fact that US troops were not exactly greeted with rose petals in Iraq to sink in. The integration of “engagement” and consideration for “human terrain” skills into Strategic Landpower doctrinal work should counterbalance a natural American tendency to see everything through the prism of technology.
What’s left of the Dutch tank fleet has been sold to Finland. The Finnish Minister of Defence just approved the proposal to buy 100 Leopard 2A6NL main battle tanks, plus spare parts for 10 years, combat simulators, maintenance simulators, special tools and testing equipment, and ammunition. At EUR 200 million, that’s less than EUR 2 million per tank. The Finns don’t have a huge tank force, and the new vehicles will become the country’s entire front line tank fleet after they’re delivered between 2015 – 2019.
There are still some ancient T-55s in service, but…
So what has Christine Fox, a former director of the Pentagon’s cost assessment office, been up to since she was recently appointed as acting deputy defense secretary? Writing a memo to cancel a significant part of the LCS buy, it turns out. We’ll see whether this is reflected in the FY15 president budget, which may be delayed to late February or March, since they have to reflect the sequester relief emerging from Congress. Passback guidance from the Office of Management and Budget is only reaching DoD this month, instead of November in the baseline federal budget schedule.
The Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle is another big program long known to be on the ropes that looks increasingly likely to be slashed. This won’t surprise the contractors currently involved in the program’s Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase.
China has been repeatedly calling for the establishment of a “new type of major country relationship” with the US. The CSIS think tank explains [PDF] what that’s supposed to mean, and the risks such phraseology entails.
The US House Armed Services Committee had a hearing yesterday on China’s maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas. Peter Dutton, a professor at the US Naval War College, offered a good primer [PDF] on these issues, and like the Obama administration he believes the US should accede to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to help open a path that “lies in the further advancement of the economic and security institutions, international law, and norms of acceptable behavior.” Hearing video.
To show its military ramp-up can be a force of good in international waters, China is increasingly touting its anti-piracy efforts. That is a worthwhile development, but it is not quite making up for ongoing Chinese bullying of their neighbors.
From Africa to the Caribbean, China has spent political capital and hard cash to thin down the list of countries officially recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign nation state. This presents a significant challenge for the island.
Peter Layton, an associate professor at the US National Defense University, opines on Japan’s National Security Strategy, whose recent publication was primarily reactive to China’s rise:
In Japan’s case, the desire to cling to the status quo international order is understandable but may not be the best objective. Given a rising China, it may be more realistic to devise an NSS that attempts to deliberately construct a favourable new regional order. Embracing change may be difficult, but ultimately more sensible.”