- China’s submarine fleet outnumbers that of the U.S., according to the U.S.’s deputy chief of Navy operations. Numbers aren’t everything, but Pacific based submariners will miss the days when all the Chinese boats could be shadowed.
- The F35B’s petite weapons bay is forcing some redesigns so that the Marines (and the U.K.) can enjoy the luxury of carrying SBD-II armaments. Carrying the bombs on the outside would negate the stealth characteristics for which the U.S. has spent a great deal of money and time developing.
- The U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) published a pair of studies along the same theme. The second noted a similar set of phenomena in defense logistics. The DOD has set a policy of measuring the time between orders and deliveries, but that leaves much of the logistics chain a big black box. And, worse, the data that the DOD collects is sometimes too fudgy to reliably report actual performance, with delivery dates backfilled at later times and similar slop.
- CORRECTION: Yesterday’s piece on the 200th anniversary of the USS Constitution’s most famous sea battle correctly pointed out that about $114,000 was appropriated by the very young U.S. Congress. One of the ship’s official historians, however, wrote in to point out that it actually cost north of $300,000 by the time the ship launched due primarily to the selection of stronger live oak versus white oak as a primary material. DID had pointed out that the ship’s initial appropriation cost about 0.03 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) at the time – and compared that to today’s most expensive ships, which cost about 0.08 percent of GDP. Comparing actual expenditures, however, the Constitution proportionately took just as much of the nation’s treasure as today’s most expensive ships.
- The U.S. gave Polish special forces 45 MRAPs M-ATVs.
- A firm in Australia is making the aviation show rounds with a 3-D printed jet engine. It isn’t running, but it is impressing with its combination of different components employing different metals with different properties.
- NDTV uncovered a couple details on the ever-longer saga of the Dassault/India negotiations for a long-negotiated Rafale deal. Getting to the sticking points, it was told that certain processes used by the Indian-mandated domestic manufacturing partner – such as manually creating carbon composite materials – were a time liability for which Dassault did not wish to be held responsible. And bringing HAL up to speed on new manufacturing technologies is a tall (and time sucking) order.
Middle East / Africa
- The UAE continued its spending spree on defense aviation, including the announcement of a new order of two Boeing C-17s.
- Another new technology set to vastly improve design and manufacturing capacity: 3-D printing. See the Aussies’ 3-D printed jet engine…