The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on January 23 that the State Department had approved a possible sale to Saudi Arabia of model 74K Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) aerostats and related equipment. The contract would carry an estimated value of $525 million. Continue reading
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.
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. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and U.S. Representative John Culberson (TX-07) have introduced a bill in Congress to require NASA to develop plans for the future of U.S. human space exploration, with the goal of landing an astronaut on Mars. The plan is called the Mapping a New and Innovative Focus on our Exploration Strategy (MANIFEST) for Human Spaceflight Act. According to a statement released by Senator Cornyn’s office, the plan is based on recommendations of a 2014 National Academies report. Continue reading
The U.S. Air Force’s T-X advanced trainer program is one of the biggest prizes in the military aircraft market in the near future. This is due to the scale of the program itself: under the program, the Air Force intends to buy 350 advanced jet trainers to replace its fleet of Northrop T-38Cs. In addition, the winning T-X aircraft will be in a position to become perhaps the leading competitor in the future global market for advanced jet trainers. Continue reading
Bell Helicopter plans to terminate production of the 206L4 LongRanger during the first half of 2017, according to a report by Flight International.
The seven-seat LongRanger remained in production long after production of its smaller sibling, the iconic five-seat Bell 206B, ended in 2010, but sales have been declining for years. Continue reading
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
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
Since the turn of the last century, natural gas has been growing in popularity across the board as a fuel for power generation. Power from natural gas has traditionally been a relatively clean way to augment other sources of power, including renewables such as solar and wind. More recently, owing to lower prices and an increasing aversion to energy sources such as coal, methane-based gas has also been growing in appeal for baseload operations. Continue reading
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