H&K to End Deals with Non-NATO Members | Norway to Spend $1.15B on P-8A’s | Italian Navy Launches First Aster Missiles
- An undisclosed member of the Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense System program has contracted Raytheon to provide additional Patriot missile capabilities. The $225 million deal comes just 45 days after Poland requested the same product from the US government, and when Raytheon received another contract from the Netherlands to upgrade their own systems. Answers on a postcard please.
- US Senator Bernie Sanders has urged President-elect Donald Trump to leverage defense contracts in order to save jobs at an Indiana air conditioner manufacturer. The factory, owned by United Technologies, is slated to move operations to Mexico, at a loss of 1,400 jobs. As firebrand outsiders vying for the working vote, both men had used the announcement earlier this year to challenge Hillary Clinton as an example of how trade deals hurt US workers. With Trump now the insider, Sanders warned “it is not good enough to save some of these jobs” and said Trump should use as leverage United Technologies’ defense contracts, Export-Import Bank financing, and tax breaks. While Trump does not take office until January 20, he may already be feeling the Bern.
Middle East & North Africa
- Just ten days after the US State Department cleared the sale of 40 warplanes to Kuwait, the Gulf monarchy wants more. Major General Lafi al-Azmi, chief of the military’s Armament and Procurement Authority, said that Kuwait plans to purchase 28 more F-18 Super Hornets as well as return a number of outdated F-18s in their inventory as part of the purchase deal. Details of the sale will only be revealed once it is officially signed.
- The UN Security Council will vote this week on whether to ban arms sales to South Sudan. A US proposed resolution, the move comes after a summer of ethnic violence due to rivalries between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer, which has led to claims of genocide. The rivalries had previously led to civil war in 2013 but a tentative peace agreement was signed in 2015.
- From now on Heckler & Koch wares will be for NATO members and friends only, according to reports. Difficulty in obtaining government approval for exports is being cited as the main reason, and from now on the company will “only sell to countries that are democratic and free from corruption and that are members of NATO or NATO members’ partners.” The new strategy would rule out deals with Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, and India. Not even NATO members are safe, with Turkey – in the middle of a military, political and civil purge since a failed coup during the summer – also in the firing line for being freezed out.
- As part of governmental approval to increase defense spending, Norway plans to drop some $1.15 billion on five P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. With Norway sharing a long maritime border with Russia, the acquisition comes as Nordic and Baltic states ramp up modernization and capability efforts in order to dissuade Moscow from trying to pull another “Crimea” in the Baltics. Delivery of the planes will take place between 2021 and 2022 and will replace the current fleet of six P-3 Orion and three DA-20 Jet Falcon aircraft.
- Exercises by the Italian Navy have seen the successful first launch of the Aster 30 missile. A requirement for the missile’s qualification program, the test was part of the Italian Surface-To-Air Extended Self Defense system program. Capable of hitting targets over 62 miles away from their launch sites, the new system will greatly enhance defensive capabilities of naval vessels.
- With the US looking to replace Russian-made Afghan helicopters and India offering to fix them, it’s quite natural to be confused about what is actually going on with Afghan military procurement. The issue is muddied further with US regime change just around the corner, and presidents who have rather different foreign policy objectives. At present the US DoD has requested additional funding to refurbish and update 53 older-model US military UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for the Afghans, enough to replace the current fleet of Russian-designed Mi-17 helicopters. But with a Donald Trump presidency and potentially warmer relations with Russia, will the hundreds of millions of dollar price tag for refurb, transfer and retraining ever come about?
Third flight of Japan’s X-2 stealth demonstrator:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire