* The Navy awarded Boeing a $14.6 million contract for aircraft armament equipment for the Navy’s Growler and Super Hornet fleets. Also on Monday, Lockheed Martin was handed a $13.7 million contract modification to produce Aegis modernization requirements for the Navy’s Ticonderoga-class.
* Strike Fighter Squadron 101 is set to relocate to Naval Air Station Lemoore from Eglin Air Force Base by January 2017, with the base having beaten out NAS EL Centro to be chosen as the US Pacific Fleet’s F-35 base. The Navy also plans to move two F/A-18 squadrons, VFA-136 and VFA-11, from NAS Oceana to the megabase in June 2016 and January 2017, resulting in NAS Lemoore ultimately being home to approximately 60% of the Navy’s strike fighter force.
* The DoD has released its annual report to Congress assessing China’s military capabilities, which include analysis of how the country’s military has been investing significantly in new operational capabilities, including anti-access/area denial, amphibious assault and others. The upshot: much modernization, but little designed to go beyond short-duration regional conflicts. The report also details recent Chinese forays into anti-satellite tests and the country’s nuclear forces. The report can be found here.
* Turkey has signed a $1 billion contract with domestic shipyard Sedef for the country’s first generation of Landing Platform Dock (LPD). The Turkish firm will partner with Spanish company Navantia, with the new amphibious vessels scheduled to enter service in 2021.
* Contrary to recent reports that the Mistrals previously destined for Russia could be scuttled, Chinese media has reported that the two ships may be sold to China, with the French Navy’s Mistral-class Dixmude vessel currently in Shanghai with a group of other vessels. The rumours may amount to nothing, particularly as the two Mistral vessels have been constructed to Russian specifications and to refit them would cost a significant sum. However, merely keeping the two ships maintained is costing French taxpayers an estimated €5 million a month, with this putting increasing pressure on the government to sacrifice any profit margin in order to reduce current overheads as the ships float idle.
* Lithuania has reportedly bought howitzers from Germany, following reports last month that the Baltic country has also sought to procure other hardware, including Boxer APCs. The contract value hasn’t yet been announced but the model of howitzer is the PzH2000.
* The Russian Defence Ministry has been given permission from Russian Prime Minister Medvedev to launch a US telecommunications satellite. The Intelsat DLA-2 satellite will be launched from the Baikonur center, with the previous DLA-1 satellite launched from the European Space Centre in French Guyana in October last year.
* The Israeli Ministry of Defense announced Monday that it has signed a contract for four Sa’ar-class corvettes, manufactured by Germany’s TKMS. Discussions between the two countries over the supply of Littoral Combat Ships to protect Israel’s offshore gas reserves have been in the works since 2009, with the Germans agreeing to a discount in October last year, with the German government further subsidizing the deal, funding approximately a quarter of the contract’s value. The $480 million deal will see TKMS buying $181 million-worth of Israeli-manufactured equipment as offsets. Whilst the Israeli MoD did not announce the precise type of corvette the Israeli Navy will receive, it is likely to be the Blohm Voss-class 130 corvette, with modification to Israeli specifications.
* With India’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya due for an underwater refit next year, the country’s navy is currently weighing up options for whether the work will go to a publicly-owned shipyard, or to a private contractor. Cochin shipyard on the South-West coast of India was the site of a November 2012 refit for the carrier, with the private yard – Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company – seeing a $553.5 million construction contract in 2010 for Indian Offshore Patrol Vessels.
* India’s indigenous carrier INS Vikrant, currently under construction at Cochin, has also appeared to show substantial improvement in recent satellite imagery, with some reports indicating that the ship may be undocked for the first time this month.
* India’s ammunition reserves may only be sufficient for 20 days of intense conflict, according to a Comptroller and Auditor General report recently published. The shortage has reportedly been most severe in larger caliber munitions, including artillery and tank rounds, with this shortage having grown increasingly significant from 2009 onwards.
* USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) firing the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile…