Navy Books Huntington Ingalls for Next LPD | US Manufacturers Struggle to Keep Up With Arms Demand | JLENS Gets Another Vote of ConfidenceDec 08, 2015 00:20 UTC
- The US Navy has awarded Huntington Ingalls $200 million to build the next amphibious transport dock (LPD) warship. The advanced procurement contract will fund the final of twelve of the San Antonio class ships to be commissioned by the Navy. The vessels are to be used by both the Navy and Marine Corps and are to be utilized for the embarking and landing of Marines and their supplies as well as supporting them across a variety of operational tasks. The John P. Murtha San Antonio class LPD was launched in March and was the programs most cost effective and advanced to date.
- As conflicts continue to escalate in the Middle East, US arms manufacturers have stated that they are struggling to keep up with demand. Several firms have stated that they are nearing production capacity as foreign nations continue to make purchases with the aim to stockpile munitions for the next 5-10 years. While sales and share prices have been steadily increasing this year, the Islamic State attacks in Paris in November have added a heightened sense of urgency and a ramping up of military action in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. To cope with demand, companies such as Lockheed and Raytheon have been adding extra shifts, and expansions to existing plants have been planned to increase production capacity.
- The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System(JLENS) radar program has received another vote of confidence after a group of retired admirals and generals gave their support for the program. The group have spent their careers specializing in missile defense, and follows last week’s news that the 35 members of the defense appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate were in favor of continued funding of the program. JLENS aims to spot low flying cruise weapons and UAVs with plans to have them as part of a defense network for major cities. Since beginning military action in Syria, Russia has been able to test its latest military technologies and hardware, which included the first the first real-world test of its Kalibr land attack cruise missile in October. The testing has given rise to the need for an effective defense system for the US from long range cruise missile attacks.
- The Polish Ministry of Defense has denied that Poland is looking to ask for access to nuclear weapons. The announcement comes after Defense Minister Tomasz Szatkowski stated in an interview that the ministry was discussing the possibility of asking for the weapons. Poland would be able to acquire access to nuclear arms under a NATO “sharing program” to strengthen their ability to defend themselves, which has been implemented in Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey, Germany and Italy. Of NATOs 26 members, only France, UK and US have nuclear weapons, but only the US has shared weapons as part of the program. The ministry claimed that Mr. Szatkowski’s remarks “should be set in the context of recent remarks made by serious Western think-tanks, which point to deficits in NATO’s nuclear deterrent capability on its eastern flank.”
- The Sunday Times has reported that Boeing made an unsolicited bid to buy Westland off Italian arms company Finmeccanica. Westland, The UK’s last remaining helicopter manufacturer, merged with Finmeccanica in 2001 to form AgustaWestland. The bid has roots in the battle to win a contract earlier this year to upgrade the British Army’s fleet of Apache helicopters. News of the attempted takeover bid has been seen as part of Boeing’s attempts to break into the European defense market and boost its manufacturing presence in Britain in order to gain more Ministry of Defence contracts from the British government.
- South Korea is to develop their own stealth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to enhance their reconnaissance and defense capabilities along the demilitarized zone (DMZ). The Defense Acquisition Program Association announced plans to develop indigenous UAVs back in November, but would not elaborate on specific details. These stealth UAVs will operate at altitudes that are outside the range of North Korean long range artillery and mobile missile systems, and will have the capability to destroy these targets. Applied research is expected to take place between 2017-2018. Initial research into the project is expected to cost $327,000.
- The first of Bangladesh’s new Yak-130 fighters, and AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters have been inducted into the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF). The ceremony took place over the weekend with the Prime Minister as guest of honor. The induction comes after slight delays in the delivery of the aircraft. The BAF have purchased 16 fighters in total in a $1 billion credit agreement with Russia. Initially 24 were planned, but the order had to be decreased due to budget restrictions.
- India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier will be delivered to the Indian Navy by December 2018. The INS Vikrant was undocked in June by Cochin Shipyard (CSL) who are anxious to start construction of a second vessel, although no formal agreements have been made. Some minor delays have been experienced due to lack of availability of warship grade steel, and delays in Russian approval over designs and equipment supply. When commissioned, the INS Vikrant will become the third aircraft carrier in service in the Indian Navy, which has been increasing its fleet size to boost India’s presence in the Indian Ocean.
- Russia launching two military satellites designed to monitor submarines on Soyuz 2-1v rockets. One didn’t quite make it: