- British MoD officials’ efforts to consider export market requirements in the speccing of defense programs are confirmed as wise moves. However a lack of teeth in the policy – forcing agencies to adopt lower requirements consistent with cost/value ratios sought by foreign customers – means that the idea hasn’t yet produced much fruit. An analysis of the U.K. Type 26 Frigate program in relation to this strategy indicates that the requirements discovery process didn’t happen early enough, and didn’t have much more than a normative, nice-to-do, perception of importance.
- China started exporting aviation fuel again to North Korea, according to statistics just now released for 2014. The previous year saw almost no such sales, as China had effectively cut off jet fuel to North Korea after its third nuclear test.
- A casual discussion of business development in city of Changzhou, China revealed an alleged effort to build a second aircraft carrier.
- The Tu-95 that was intercepted multiple times just outside U.K. airspace last week was reportedly carrying a nuclear warhead and running an exercise being managed by a second Tu-95.
- The U.K. is starting to employ prison labor to furnish certain basic supplies to the military, such as fence posts and sandbags.
- The National Security Agency (NSA) is giving $367.3 million to L-3 for something. The amount could rise to as much as $1 billion for more of something.
- The U.S. Navy is retiring its tagline “Global force for good,” which has done a decent job of helping recruit service-minded youth, but has proven unpopular with the ranks. This might have something to do with U.S. Army razzing: “Global farce for mediocrity.” The Navy (with Marines) typically spends about $85 million per year on media, which is a fairly significant advertising account in the private sector, on par with mid-level major retailers. The new tagline is “America’s navy.”
- The new issue of the Naval Institute’s Proceedings, has a piece on lessons learned from the LCS. The upshot: if you’re going to make a ship designed not to survive intense combat, it should have either a high lethality, or at least operate under the protection of other defending assets. And if it has neither survivability nor lethality, one probably shouldn’t have to spend a generation’s worth of shipbuilding budget for 52 copies of it.
- The USS Elrod was decommissioned Saturday, one of seven remaining frigates in the Navy. All of the others will be decommissioned by the end of the year. The Navy’s plans for FY 2014 included decommissioning 17 major vessels, keeping two for reserves and one as a moored training ship. Eight ships were slated for commissioning in the same time period.
U.S. defense contractor employees in Saudi are continuing to take fire.
- The USNS Montford Point lowers itself into the water to allow LCACs to offboard with vehicles shorebound.