Japan Opts for More Small Ships – and a Faster Build Rate

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Faced with a growing People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) naval capacity and maritime presence in waters of the East China Sea, Japan’s government plans to accelerate, alter and expand a warship building project. Rather than continuing with a build rate of one new 5,000-ton destroyer per year, a decision was reached to shift to construction of two smaller 3,000-ton destroyers per year beginning with the launch of the fiscal year in April 2018. This will allow for an expansion of the class from four to eight ships, thus providing the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) with greater fleet capacity with which to counter the growing naval arm of the PLAN. Continue reading

In a Sensible Move, Argentina’s Defense Minister Decides Not to Purchase Supersonic Jets

by Bill Ostrove, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Argentina IA-58 Pucara. Source: Wikipedia/Rob Schleiffert

Argentine Minister of Defense Julio Martinez has ruled out the purchase of supersonic fighter jets for the Argentine Air Force. The defense minister made his announcement on February 1 during an interview with Argentina’s Radio El Mundo.

Argentina has been searching for new supersonic fighter jets since it retired its Mirage IIIs in November 2015. The search has been wide-ranging, with Buenos Aires searching the world for both new and secondhand fighters. Continue reading

Indian Navy on the Hunt for Multirole Carrier-Borne Fighters

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Indian Air Force MiG-29

The Indian Ministry of Defense – acting upon the Navy’s formal requirement for 57 multirole carrier-based fighters (MRCBFs) – has issued  a Request for Information (RFI). The RFI comes with multiple queries, which range from weapons payload capability to license production agreements to transfer of technology. And, it also sends a signal that the effort to develop an indigenous naval fighter variant – via state-owned  Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s version of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (the LCA-Navy) – faces further hurdles. Continue reading

Greece Aims for F-16 Upgrade, but F-35 Plans Remain a Pipe Dream

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

F-16V
Source: Lockheed Martin

The Hellenic Defense Ministry announced on February 7 that Greece intends to move forward on an upgrade to its large inventory of F-16C/D combat aircraft and begin exploring a future purchase of the new-generation F-35 from the U.S.

The first project represents a much-needed focus on deteriorating Greek military capabilities in the air-sea domain, while the second remains an over-the-horizon dream nowhere remotely near Athens’ current fiscal reality. Continue reading

Mattis Budget Guidance Spans Multiple Budget Cycles, Calls for FY17 Growth

 by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

The Pentagon. Source: Department of Defense

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis released a memo on January 31 providing initial guidance for strengthening the armed forces through an FY17 budget amendment, the FY18 budget request, and the FY19-FY23 Future Years Defense Program.  The memo is a direct response to a memorandum on rebuilding the U.S. armed forces, released by the president on January 27.  Mattis outlines a three-phase approach: improve warfighter readiness; achieve program balance by addressing pressing shortfalls; and build a larger, more capable, and more lethal joint force.  Those objectives are centered around the completion of the FY17 budget process, and the release of the next two budget requests.

Continue reading

RUAG Expands into Cybersecurity

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

Not content to remain idle, RUAG has expanded the scope of its defense operations with a new focus on cybersecurity.

Over the past year, the company has initiated a strategy that will rapidly expand its presence in the growing cybersecurity market.  As part of this effort, RUAG established a dedicated Cyber Security business unit and plans to invest “multiple millions of Swiss francs over the next few years.” Continue reading

U.S. Army Lays Out $26.5 Billion Worth of Unfunded Priorities

 by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

Strykers on the way to the Raptor Fury training exercise
Source: U.S. Army

The U.S. Army has released a pair of unfunded priorities lists for FY17 and FY18 calling for $26.5 billion in additional spending.  The documents serve as wish lists for items not contained within existing budget plans.  The FY17 portion is a revision of a list released in March 2016, and supports end-strength increases contained in the FY17 defense authorization bill.  Continue reading

Serbia’s Soviet-Legacy Military Rearmament Project Gets New Supplier

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

MiG-29

In an interesting twist to the long-expected Serbian acquisition of a batch of MiG-29 combat aircraft and Russian-designed missile systems, Serbia’s defense minister, Zoran Djordjevic, has announced that both military platforms will be donated from Belarus. Continue reading

Thailand-Russia Relations Warm as Defense Industrial Collaboration Agreement Nears Finalization

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Mi-8MTV-5 (export variant: Mi-17V-5) is a medium-lift military helicopter. Photo – Russian Нelicopters, JSC.

Ties between Russia and Thailand appear to be heating up on the defense front following a meeting in Bangkok on January 16 between Russian defense officials and military leadership of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. According to reports, the meeting involved discussions of a potential government-to-government accord aimed at military-technical cooperation. The agreement outline in question would extend Thailand partnership status on a jointly run production and maintenance facility for the Mil Mi-17V-5 transport helicopter export variant. Continue reading

Crime and Internal Strife Remain Greatest Drivers of Military Spending in Latin America

by Bill Ostrove, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Georgia Army National Guard provides CQB/MOUT [close quarters combat and military operations on urbanized terrain] weapons handling instruction with two soldiers from the Guatemalan Interagency Task Force.  Photo: Georgia National Guard

The greatest threat to most Latin American governments is internal.  Even though transitioning to a democracy and using effective counterinsurgency strategies have successfully defeated – or at least defused  – several insurgencies, the risk of guerrilla activity remains.  This is especially true in Colombia and, to a lesser extent, Peru.  In Mexico and Central America, violent gangs have forced a military response. Continue reading