* A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Defense Industry Daily editor emeritus Joe Katzman posits that America’s defense edge – due in part to advantages in networked targeting and precision weapons – is now significantly eroded due to a profusion of almost-as-good technologies proliferating in the defense industries of non-Western nations.
* The LA Times slammed the Missile Defense Agency over the weekend, releasing a heavily critical piece outlining operational and cost problems with high-value projects, namely the $2.2 billion Seaborne X-Band Radar (SBX). The SBX has previously been the subject of spending oversight, with the system placed in “limited test support status” from 2012.
* L-3 KEO was awarded a $112 million Navy contract Friday for the development, production and support of the Low Profile Photonic Mast system, following a solicitation in February last year. The new masts will equip Virginia-class subs and feature infra-red and HD visual sensors, as well as being stealthy with a low visual profile.
* Huntington Ingalls received additional Navy funding for the continued development of the LX(R) Amphibious Ship Replacement, in the context of the company’s competition with NASSCO in an attempt to spur competition in an increasingly consolidated supply base. The LX(R) program will see eleven new amphibious support ships procured from FY2020.
* Sagem was handed a contract to upgrade the French Army’s FELIN infantry soldier system. The new system will include specialized software upgrades for sharpshooter and mortar units, as well as a reduced weight. The new version will be designated the FELIN V1.3. The French defense procurement agency unveiled an armored vehicle capable of interacting with the system in 2012, with Sagem awarded the first FELIN production contract in March 2004.
* The US would be willing to sell aircraft carrier-related technologies to India, DoD procurement chief Frank Kendall said Friday, including the EMALS catapult system. India’s aircraft carrier – the INS Vikramaditya – is not equipped with an aircraft catapult system. A joint working group has now been established to move things forward.
* Airbus was awarded a UH-72A support contract for the Royal Thai Army Friday, with the contract valued at $9.4 million. The helicopters were ordered last year, as part of Thailand’s drive to modernize its platform fleet. An additional request for six more helicopters was announced in September.
* The Afghan Air Force will inaugurate its armed MD-530 helicopters on Thursday. The Afghan Air Force received the first six helicopters last month, following a $44.2 million contract last year to install an armaments package on seventeen of the McDonald Douglas helicopters.
* Following Lockheed Martin’s $485 million contract last month, this is the company’s Sniper Targeting Pod…