* A report published by the Center for New American Security has recommended the Pentagon acquire a mix of high and low assets in order to counter new threats. The authors of the document suggest that the next ten years should see the fighting branches increase their number of aircraft and vessels with a focus on giving greater priority to laser weapons and electromagnetic rail guns. The trade off? The Pentagon should cancel the Ford-class aircraft carrier and America-class amphibious assault ship programs.
Middle East & North Africa
* The fourth C-130J “Samson” tactical transporter has been delivered to Israel. Operated by the Israeli air force’s “Elephants” squadron, the aircraft has already been tested during aerial refuelling missions with a Boeing 707 tanker, and is currently testing its low-level flight capabilities using some Israeli-developed systems. Two more will be delivered by the end of the year.
* Turkey’s procurement agency SSM is looking into tank upgrades and further UAV research to counter multiple asymmetrical security threats. A massive $1 billion tank upgrade would see Turkish operated Leopard 2 and M60 main battle tanks with work likely to be carried out by Rheinmetall’s three-partner, Turkey-based venture, RBSS and by Israeli Military Industries (IMI) respectively. Ankara has also released two requests for information (RFI) to task industry with research on two new types of drones, a multicopter type strike drone and nano drone. Contenders must obtain the RFI document from SSM by October 24 and must reply by November 9.
* Negotiations are underway between Poland and Ukraine to launch a joint production effort of helicopters that could be used by the militaries of Central and Eastern European allies. But while Poland is currently in the midst of two increasingly complicated helicopter tenders, Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said any joint effort would most likely be on a new model “based on the industrial potential of both countries. We know that the Ukrainians make excellent engines, produced by Motor Sich.” Based in southeastern Ukraine, Motor Sich has supplied engines for a variety of Ukrainian and Russian aircraft including the Antonov An-8 and An-10, the Yakovlev Yak-40 and Yak-42, and the Mil Mi-8MT, Mi-14 and Mi-171.
* The design for a new intermediate frigate has been unveiled by the French defense minister at the Euronaval trade show. Known as the Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire (FTI), Paris has slated $4.2 billion to go toward the production of six vessels that will replace the French Navy fleet of Lafayette-class frigates starting in 2023. An export version, dubbed and spelled “Belh@rra”, was released by shipbuilder DCNS with a large model located at the show’s entrance.
* North Korea could have an operational Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile by next year, according to experts. John Schilling, an aerospace engineer specializing in rocket propulsion, wrote on the 38 North website that Pyongyang’s aggressive testing schedule also points to its determination to have the weapon ready in the near future. The dictatorship’s latest test this month was tested far from its Musudan-ri test facility, instead moving to a roadside near Kusong. Schilling likened the move to “taking the training wheels off the bicycle, seeing if you really have mastered something new.”
* An agreement has been made between Russia and India to extend the range of theBrahMos cruise missile. Accords between both governments were signed during a summit of BRIC member nations in Goa last week. Work carried out will eventually see the target range of the munition double to 600 km. India was previously prohibited from undertaking such work until it became a signatory of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June.
* With its own spy satellite program facing delays, South Korea is contemplating leasing a surveillance satellite from Israel. Seoul is already heavily reliant on intelligence data provided by the US and military officials are keen to be able to independently obtain information on North Korea’s military activities. In addition, the military plans to purchase another 90 KEPD-350K air-launched cruise missiles from Germany to add to the 170 currently en route.
Israel’s C-130J Samson: