* The Pentagon is seeking $5.5 billion over the next five years to bolster protective capabilities for its space-based assets, as well as ground-based supporting stations. With commercial firms likely to see a greater share of the military’s space capabilities, the use of smaller, cheaper and diversified systems could yield both security and cost benefits.
* The Navy is mulling testing its rail gun on board the DDG 1000, with the ship’s Integrated Power System providing sufficient energy (up to 58 megawatts) to power the weapon system. Other reports have also stated that the newly-delivered Spearhead-class USNS Trenton (JHSV-5) will also be used as a testing vessel, with this test planned for next summer.
* The Air Force has completed operational testing of Raytheon’s MALD-J, with this step allowing the system to move closer to full-rate production. The decoy-jammer was successfully tested with the Marines in December last year, when its in-flight targeting datalink was tested in Yuma, bringing the total number of successful tests to 42.
* The Fire Scout MQ-8C‘s IOC deadline has been pushed back a year, owing principally to the limited availability of Littoral Combat Ships for testing. The first MQ-8C system was delivered to the Navy in December.
* Argentina is seeking closer defense technology cooperation with Brazil. With Argentina searching high and low for new aircraft, the two countries are reportedly negotiating a possible sale of 24 Gripen NG fighters last week. Although unconfirmed, the 24 fighters will reportedly be manufactured in Brazil and enter service between 2019 and 2024. Embraer and Saab have also been discussing exporting the fighter from 2023, with the two companies also signing a joint management agreement for the Brazilian FX-2 program on Wednesday.
* In parallel with the confusing statements coming out of the Indian Defense Ministry regarding the Rafale deal, the Defense Minister has also stated that the country may seek to purchase a replacement for its fleet of MiG-21 light fighters. Croatia also announced earlier this week that it intends to replace its MiG-21 fleet, with Bulgaria also looking to swap out its fleet.
* Indian media reported Wednesday that while pushing Dassault to partner with an Indian firm through a joint venture after delivering the first 36 of the fighters, that the partner doesn’t have to be HAL.
* A Navy video showcasing the USNS Spearhead, complete with cheesy music…