* Canada’s participation in the F-35 program continues to be shrouded in confusion. The government plans to pay an installment of $32.9 million in May to continue its involvement in procuring the Joint Strike Fighter. This runs contrary to promises made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to abandon the project during the run-up to the federal election in October. Trudeau had pledged that a cheaper alternative could be found as a replacement to the country’s aging CF-18 fighters, however, the F-35 has been allowed to participate in the latest replacement competition. The payment will ensure Canada’s place in the program until September 30, 2016, when a more concrete decision on the CF-18 competition may have been made.
* Honeywell has put an end to its $90 billion bid to acquire United Technologies. The acquisition was met with much opposition from United Technologies who cited low valuation and antitrust regulations as reasons for the deal to not go ahead. But all may not be lost for Honeywell, as they have not ruled out the possibility of a merger in the future if United Technologies continues in their financial rut, or if shareholders pressure CEO Gregory Hayes to go back to the table. Shares for Honeywell rallied 4.5% to $105.87 at the news, while United Technologies saw a drop of 1.7% to $95.02.
Middle East North Africa
* UAE plans to test their first indigenous radar system in July. The radar is being developed by The Emirates Technology Innovation Centre, which claims that the technology is capable of detecting hostile aircraft and missiles. The company is one of several Dubai based defense manufacturers currently developing their own high quality military hardware, including a selection of UAVs, naval warships, and electronic countermeasure systems. Plans for the following year include research and development in electro-optics, laser seeking platforms, un-manned vehicles, and robotics that match world standards.
* A Kuwaiti newspaper has reported that Russia has frozen its $800 million delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Iran. The move from Moscow comes after revelations brought by Israeli intelligence that Russian made advanced weapons systems were being transferred to the Shiite militia group Hezbollah. While Iran has a long history of supplying Hezbollah with weaponry and training, the SA-22 surface-to-air missile systems were spotted in the militia’s controlled territory in Lebanon, proving that Tehran had reneged on earlier promises not to do so. The freezing of the deal will frustrate future weapons deals for the Iranian government, which has recently been trying to procure new technology after the lifting of sanctions in January.
* In the aftermath of a spate of terrorist attacks, and months of counter-insurgency operations against Kurdish militants, Turkey is on the lookout to boost its anti-terror capabilities. A restructuring of its homeland security system could see a big spend on equipment and technology as Ankara scours the market for the latest intelligence and surveillance systems. The Interior Ministry has requested that “Local and international companies should contact us if they think they can propose technologically proven systems to combat various asymmetrical threats we are facing today.”
* Serbia has announced Zoran Djordjevic as the country’s new defense minister, as Belgrade moves closer to a deal with Russia to purchase the S-300 air-defense system. A growing arms race in the Balkans has been ongoing, since regional rival Croatia asked the US government to provide it with 16 M270 multiple-launch rocket systems from its military surplus last year. The procurement of ballistic missiles by NATO member Croatia has worried the Serbian government, who wish to maintain the balance of power by procuring a similar system themselves. Russia is also keen to maintain influence in the region where neighbors are continuously orienting toward NATO.
* Mitsubishi’s X-2 has been performing well in taxi tests according to Japan’s Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA). The agency was happy with the progress it was making, saying they were “proceeding with tests, performing very careful maintenance, and making some minor adjustments.” However, the agency hasn’t commented on the jet’s future flying schedule, or how many test flights will take place in 2016. The maiden flight had been originally planned for February.
* Airbus plans to generate $2 billion in procurement under the “Make In India” initiative between now and 2020. The statement comes as the company’s Indian suppliers and partners generated over $500 million worth of aero-structures, components, materials, and services in India during 2015, which represented a 15% growth over the previous year. Over 45 suppliers, both private and public, have employed more than 6,000 people to contribute toward most of Airbus’ leading platforms, including the A380, A350 XWB, A320 Family, A330, C295W, A400M, Eurofighter, Tiger, and NH90. The company hopes that its willingness to engage in the “Make In India” program will put it in the running for India’s plans for a indigenous fighter.
* Rheinmettal’s Mauser BK-27 destined for the Gripen NG: