* On Monday the Air Force handed a $138 million modification to United Launch Services for launch vehicle production services, in support of the launch vehicle configuration of one National Reconnaissance Office Atlas V 541. The modification also included the backlog transportation of GPS IFF-10 and -11 satellites, plus commodities for the MUOS-4 mission. The company also showed-off of its Next Generation Launch System earlier this month<, which is set to include reusable booster main engines.
* General Dynamics was awarded a $36.4 million contract to produce and repair components for the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical network (WIN-T), with the firm beating two other bids to take the contract.
* The US Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has selected AVL Powertrain Engineering to help develop an opposed piston, two-stroke Single Cylinder Advanced Combat Engine Technology Demonstrator. This follows a similar contract at the end of March with Achates, a firm specializing in fuel efficient engines. The latter contract saw Achates partner with engine developer Cummins.
* Mapping firm DigitalGlobe has unveiled low-bandwidth technology to facilitate rapid access to maps and analytical software from tablets and other small devices. This will reportedly allow the military user to access high-powered analytics powered by cloud-based assets, with this converted to very low-bandwidth signals and sent to the individual. The aim of the technology is to enable the leverage of powerful computing power to allow the military to blend up-to-date mapping images with other data sources on the fly, without the need for wide channels of data. This is particularly relevant given the intelligence community’s increasing utilization of publicly available data.
* Belarus has begun receiving Yak-130 light attack aircraft from Russia. The country signed a contract in December 2012 for four of the aircraft, with this recent delivery on-schedule according to the 2012 contract.
* 24 European-based US Apache helicopters will be relocated to Alaska over the next two years, despite criticism that their removal will reduce NATO’s capacity to counter assertive Russian behavior in the region. This said, the US is spending $985 million on the European Reassurance Initiative, deploying armor on exercises in Baltic states and warships to the Black Sea, as well as allocating $175 million of military equipment for Ukraine and Baltic states.
* Following sustained Royal Air Force strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq – which reached the 300 mark since September 2014 – the UK’s Ministry of Defence is looking to replenish munition stocks as Paveway IV bomb and Brimstone missile numbers dwindle. To this end, the MoD has reportedly opened negotiations with manufacturer Raytheon to top up stockpiles.
* $3 billion-worth of Saudi-funded French arms have begun arriving in Lebanon, the first shipment since the Franco-Lebanese deal was struck in November last year. This first shipment reportedly includes 48 Milan anti-tank missiles.
* Saab Grintek Defence has reportedly sold its IMPI Blue Force Tracking Device to a Sub-Saharan country. The devices operate as miniature encrypted modems, capable of using radio, cell phone and satellite networks to communicate. The IMPI system can also be fitted to ground vehicles and aircraft, with this being being the first export order for the Blue Force system.
* South Korea will significantly increase its defense budget over the next five years, a reflection of concerns over the North’s nuclear program. The North Koreans are thought to be close to possessing an operational ICBM, a scare for their Southern neighbor who will pump over $8 billion into their defense budget through to 2020, much of it to missile defense, surveillance and a pre-emptive strike capacity. US military chiefs want to base THAAD interceptor systems in South Korea, leading to a diplomatic furor with China, with the two Asian nations recently holding arms control talks.
* The Philippines is sourcing ten new 40-meter multi-role response vessels from manufacturer Japan Marine United Corporation to equip the state’s Coastguard. The $107.4 million deal was partially financed by the Japanese government and will see the new ships delivered between 2016 and 2018.
* Taiwan is dispatching anti-submarine aircraft to the Spratley Islands for the first time, the country’s Ministry of National Defense announced Monday. Twelve originally-US P-3C Orion aircraft were refurbished and sold to Taiwan in 2007, with a price-tag of $1.96 billion. Taiwan has taken delivery of eight of the twelve, with the remaining four scheduled for the end of the year.
* A RAF Typhoon demonstrates the Paveway IV: