* Russia has stopped torpedo production because of a reliance on a Ukrainian manufacturer. Deputy Prim Minister Dmitry Rogozin admitted (Polish) as much. Rogozin is putting the task to a Caspian Sea manufactory in Dagdizel to start producing the parts, but experts consulted seem to think this could still take two years, including tests.
* German ground force resources are reported (German) to be so poor that they had to resort to using painted broomsticks instead of guns during a NATO exercise in 2014. These same soldiers belong to the presumably on-call NATO rapid reaction force and are supposed to be the troops deployed before others.
* Slovakia may soon get the nine UH-60M Black Hawk’s they’ve been negotiating, as the State Department approved the potential sale. The deal is estimated at $450 million. In the beginning of the month, Sikorsky had noted that the Eastern European militaries were all interested in U.S. helicopters at once, now that their Russian hardware appears to have increased risks with potentially unfriendly manufacturer support.
* Back in 2012, Russia ordered 39 Ilyushin IL-76s that are scheduled to be delivered by 2020. Now they’ve now ordered an unspecified number of IL-76 MD-90As to keep the lines running from 2020 to 2025. Russia and Ilyushin have been eager to attract export business from India and China for the 76s. Now the lines will be kept open, giving more time for the money and politics to align.
Middle East / Africa
* Ghana has been talking for several months about a purchase from Brazil for five (at first six) Super Tucanos. Confirmation came on 18 February from President John Dramani Mahama, indicating that five Super Tucanos will be purchased, along with the Z-9s and other equipment.
* Lockheed is teaming with Raytheon in its bid for the JSTARS replacement program, bringing its active array sensor technology to the competition. Other competitors include Boeing, and incumbent Northrop Grumman. The JSTARS replacement program was pushed back a year to 2023 with the Administration’s initial budget announced a couple weeks ago.
* Raytheon got approval to export its Gallium Nitride Active Electronically Scanned Array to partner nations. The AESA radars are a core component of Patriot missile batteries.
* Another day, another sortie of Russian nuclear bombers skimming along shipping channels. This time, the TU-95 Bear had on board a videographer who then forwarded the video to a military TV network, which then, of course, wound up on YouTube. You will see French and British fighters escorting the Bear. This is not from today’s interception.