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Germany: No Weapons to Saudi

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* Unlike other western nations, Germany’s public has been interested and concerned about Saudi Arabia’s record on suppressing minorities and women, as well as lending help to organizations affiliated with violent extremism. With four out of five Germans indicating that the country should disallow arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the Merkel administration announced they would do just that. Germany had about $400 million in arms sales to Saudi Arabia in 2013, and rumor had it a $2.5 billion Euro request for submarines. Asia * A U.S. Naval Warfare College professor indicated that China’s anti-ship weapons are essentially succeeding in providing an umbrella of area denial against the world’s most powerful navies. * Australia sent over its first pilot to become trained (and, eventually, a trainer) on the F-35. The island nation is to receive 72 of the aircraft. * New Zealand is reportedly looking at replacing its aging C-130 heavy lift planes with C-17s. Europe * Searching for ways to reassure allies – and show umbrage to a misbehaving Russia – the U.S. is making a show of looking to base equipment such as tanks in Eastern Europe. Heavy equipment could be in place by as early as the end […]

* Unlike other western nations, Germany’s public has been interested and concerned about Saudi Arabia’s record on suppressing minorities and women, as well as lending help to organizations affiliated with violent extremism. With four out of five Germans indicating that the country should disallow arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the Merkel administration announced they would do just that. Germany had about $400 million in arms sales to Saudi Arabia in 2013, and rumor had it a $2.5 billion Euro request for submarines.

Asia

* A U.S. Naval Warfare College professor indicated that China’s anti-ship weapons are essentially succeeding in providing an umbrella of area denial against the world’s most powerful navies.

* Australia sent over its first pilot to become trained (and, eventually, a trainer) on the F-35. The island nation is to receive 72 of the aircraft.

* New Zealand is reportedly looking at replacing its aging C-130 heavy lift planes with C-17s.

Europe

* Searching for ways to reassure allies – and show umbrage to a misbehaving Russia – the U.S. is making a show of looking to base equipment such as tanks in Eastern Europe. Heavy equipment could be in place by as early as the end of 2015.

U.S.

* SpaceX has said it will call off the legal dogs on the Air Force. SpaceX sued after the Air Force bundled up a great number of future space launches and pre-contracted for the services without letting SpaceX bid. In an odd sort of settlement, SpaceX will drop its suit, and in return, the Air Force will add more launches that will not necessarily go to the Boeing-Lockheed-led United Launch Alliance consortium. When asked directly this morning an Air Force representative said that there was not a specific number of launches attached to that settlement. The Air Force has also agreed to work toward getting SpaceX certified for launches, although it is unclear if that last aspect is actually part of the settlement, as it is something that wouldn’t be properly withheld. When asked, the Air Force referred back to the single-paragraph statement. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk previously accused an Air Force official of seeking employment from the bidders during the process, an offer SpaceX had refused. That accusation made news at the time (May 2014) partly because of the significance of the contract size, but primarily because it is fairly rare for a contractor to speak of such alleged behavior publicly.

* The Navy will reportedly show off its long-awaited rail gun at a D.C. conference on the 4th .

* The perennial process of the Pentagon asking for BRAC authority to realistically have a chance at needed base closures has begun, with Congress expected to, again, decline the request for fear of home district hand wringing. The European closures recently announced had the convenient feature of happening in districts where people cannot vote for congressional candidates. Some seem to read that those foreign closures give the Pentagon added moral authority to pursue a domestic closure analysis, but this relationship seems strained.

* F-35 manufacturing is taking shape.

Today’s Video

* Australia’s first F-35 trainee, Squadron Leader Andrew Jackson, will soon be due in Florida to start his studies. Below, is a Lockheed video describing the simulators and other tools available for the program.

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