* The Army’s European-deployed Stryker mobile guns have been given a provisional thumbs-up for more powerful weapon systems. The current 12.7mm machine guns will be upgraded to 30mm autocannons, with the “high priority need” a reflection of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s requirement for increased lethality, according to a memo obtained by Breaking Defense earlier this month.
* The first GPS-III satellite currently under construction by Lockheed Martin is now ready for system testing. The satellite was connected to its propulsion system on Monday and will undergo rigorous testing in coming months. The GPS-III contract covers eight satellites, which will bring improved accuracy and anti-jamming capabilities compared to current systems.
* On Monday Boeing was awarded a $118.1 million contract modification for training systems and services for the Navy and Australia, in support of the P-8A maritime multimission aircraft, including the procurement of Operational Flight Trainer and Weapon Tactics Trainer systems, as well as other training assets for the Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force.
* Also on Monday, Virginia-based S-T Solutions was handed a $24.5 million contract modification for support services to the Asymmetric Warfare Group. This support includes the provision of “personnel, expertise and skills” to the AWG, including the observation, training and advising of Army and Allied forces in the identification, mitigation and countering of asymmetric and emerging threats. The AWG incorporates a mix of Service personnel and Department of the Army civilians and contractors.
* Saudi Arabia has reportedly used cluster munitions during operations in Yemen against Houthi rebels. Outlawed in 91 countries via a 2008 treaty, another 81 countries reserve the right to keep using them, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the (supplier) US, Iran, Russia, China, the Koreas. In the Middle East, full state signatories include only Iraq and Lebanon.
* Following the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighters in April through government to government negotiations – side-lining India’s negotiations with manufacturer Dassault – the Indian Defense Minister announced on Monday that further negotiations between the French and Indian governments will begin this month. The Rafale’s selection as preferred bidder in the country’s MMRCA competition subsequently stagnated, with Prime Minister Modi bypassing the negotiations following pressure from the Indian Air Force. The French Defense Minister will visit India later this week, during which time the opening negotiations for more government to government Rafales are expected to begin.
* Meanwhile, an Indian parliamentary panel has slated the country’s defense procurement processes, the failed Rafale negotiations in particular. New Defence Procurement Procedure policies are expected to be finalized this June in an attempt to recover from decades of well-earned notoriety for procurement delays.
* On Monday, the Indian Defense Minister announced that a massive block of potential defense procurement deals had been cleared, with 90% of these in the “Make in India” contract category.
* With 22.5% of all UAV imports over the 1985-2014 period, India has topped the list of unmanned aerial systems importers. The principle beneficiary of India’s UAV spending has been Israel, particularly the IAI Heron and Searcher variants.
* The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has received its sixth Austal Cape-class patrol boat, ordered in August 2011. The $330 million design, built and support contract covers eight ships, with the remaining two set for delivery later this year.
* The Royal Australian Air Force has received its first range-extended JDAM wing kits. Designed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and manufactured by Boeing and sub-contractor Ferra Engineering, the kits increased the JDAM’s range from 24km to 72km in tests and will equip the RAAF’s F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft.
* The Stryker Mobile Gun System: