* India’s DRDO announced [PDF] the 3rd successful test launch of its 4,000 km-range (2,500 miles) Agni-IV ballistic missile. Agni 5 missiles with 25% more range have been recently tested too.
Lasers to Cut Anti-Rocket Defense Costs
* RAFAEL is unveiling “Iron Beam,” a solid-state laser extension of past joint work with the USA. Iron Dome has performed well against rockets, but C-RAM systems need to shift toward energy weapons to escape the wrong side of the cost tradeoff. An Iron Beam HELWS won’t replace Arrow, David’s Sling, or even Iron Dome, but it’s a critical supplement.
Russian 2013 Procurement
* The Russian Defense Policy weblog tried to put together a list of the military equipment Russia bought last year. It’s more than in 2012, but it remains to be seen whether Russia will really meet its ambitious modernization goals.
Africa: Logistics; Impact of Chinese Investment
* The latest Army Sustainment [PDF] looks at the logistical challenges faced by USAFRICOM in East Africa, while an article in Parameters [PDF] sees China’s “economic statecraft” in Africa as an opportunity rather than a vital threat to American interests. The US Air Force’s Strategic Studies Quarterly recently pondered the broader question [PDF] of whether Chinese-US relations are moving toward greater cooperation or conflict.
ISR Needs Qualified Manpower
* Air & Space Power Journal argues [PDF] that Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) guidance, training, and human capital have not kept up with the fielding of new technology.
All About Naval Corvettes
R&D: US Spending and Understanding Failure is Part of the Process
* Today’s video comes from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) think tank, which recently hosted a panel about federal R&D spending and the future of the defense-industrial base. Frank Kendall articulates that “time is not a recoverable asset”, and R&D “buys time” by establishing technical superiority, so the opportunity cost coming from today’s decreased R&D investment cannot be instantly compensated later with increased future spending. The Pentagon will soon make an announcement to support research in digital manufacturing, following work at the US Army’s RDECOM: