* In a speech at the National Defense University, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the usual laudable calls for acquisition reform without quite explaining what would make it happen. Hagel asked for time and flexibility – as if huge bureaucracies ever willingly conducted meaningful reforms in the absence of true constraints – and pointed out that:
“the biggest long-term fiscal challenge facing the department is not the flat or declining top-line budget, it is the growing imbalance in where that money is being spent internally. Left unchecked, spiraling costs to sustain existing structures and institutions, provide benefits to personnel, and develop replacements for aging weapons platforms will eventually crowd out spending on procurement, operations and readiness – the budget categories that enable the military to be and stay prepared.”
* Pentagon Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter wrote to Congress that the acquisition of Mi-17 helos from Russia for the Afghan military would proceed.
* British Prime Minister David Cameron: we need a nuclear deterrent more than ever.
* FGS Hamburg (F220), the 2nd of 3 German Sachsen-class frigates, has fully integrated the carrier group of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in the North Arabian Sea, where it’s taking the lead in air defense. Its kit covers both point and area defense: Standard Missile 2 block IIIA (SM-2), Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). Germany is stretching the definition of frigates with both its F124 and F125 designs, with their displacement above 5,500 tons.
* Eurocopter and Turbomeca will work with Polish firm WZL-1 to assemble EC725 helicopters and Makila 2 engines in Lodz if they win Poland’s tender for 70 multirole helos. Press release | La Tribune [in French].
* Turkey’s TAI is working with Saab on jet design as the country intends to build its own fighters within the next decade.
* The US Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center (AFNWC) and the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems Directorate (ICBMSD) have changed the date of their forthcoming industry day about Strategic Inertial Guidance Modernization Acquisition (SIGMA) Phase 1. It’s still at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, but it will happen on April 23-24.