- It’s not an official request yet, but Afghan President Ashraf Ghani would like the US to slow its drawdown in the next 2 years.
It’s time to modernize New Zealand’s only serious combat ships. New Zealand bought 2 ANZAC frigates in the 1990s, as a cooperative venture with Australia using the MEKO 100 German design. F77 Te Kaha was commissioned in 1996, and F111 Te Mana was commissioned in 1997. At the time, the ships were adequate low-end frigates, but 20 years later, they’re simply obsolete. New Zealand has long realized that changes were required, and has been planning and funding a whole series of changes since 2006.
At the end of August 2011, Brazil’s Ministerio da Defesa announced the beginning of a BRL 1.09 billion (about $685 million) project to update Avibras’ ASTROS (Artillery SaTuration ROcket System) multiple rocket launcher system to the ASTROS 2020 configuration. It will also develop a GPS-guided short-range rocket, and an AV-TM300 missile option that gives the new system a 300 km strike range. That level of reach would stand out in the global market, as it would rival the USA’s MLRS(Multiple Launch Rocket System)/ATACMS(Army Tactical Missile System) combination.
The initial funding amounts belie the importance of this program, on 2 levels. One source of importance is industrial. The other is ASTROS 2020’s status as an indicator, pointing the way toward the future spread of advanced precision strike technologies.
Just before resigning, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel launched a “third offset” strategy whose purpose was to invite DoD and civilian resources to identify future technologies that would allow the US to maintain and renew its military technological superiority. Senior DoD officials such as Frank Kendall had been fretting for months about the challenge posed by rising technical savvy from the likes of China, whether developed locally or through spying. This is a legitimate concern, and continuity should be insured after Hagel’s departure by Defense Deputy Secretary Bob Work, who was named as the point man for this initiative.
Indeed by early December 2014 this strategy was couched into a Long Range Research and Development Plan (LRRDP) Request for Information (RFI). But this document lacks specifics or attractiveness for the type of organizations DoD would most like to hear from.