Launch Vehicle Flexibility Increasingly Important

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Proton launching ExoMars. Source: : ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016

International Launch Services (ILS) recently announced that it will introduce a new Proton launch vehicle variant with a larger payload fairing – a clear sign that flexibility is now a key differentiator in the launch vehicle market.[i] Continue reading

China Unveils 2017 Defense Budget Target

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

China has announced its latest military spending earmark for fiscal year 2017 with a topline figure of CNY1.044 trillion ($151 billion). This amounts to about 9.4 percent more in nominal spending than in 2016, when the official defense target budget was set at CNY954.4 billion ($144 billion). Continue reading

Ex-Alenia Boss Looks to Aero Vodochody Trainer Resurgence

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

L-39NG two seat trainer. Source: http://www.l-39ng.cz

With new management at the helm, Aero Vodochody is looking back to its future.  Under the guidance of new CEO Giuseppe Giordo, formerly of Leonardo (née Alenia Aermacchi), Aero Vodochody is looking to revitalize its training aircraft operations. Continue reading

Taiwanese Navy Pushes the Throttle on Indigenous Shipbuilding with LHD Plan

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

Computer drawing of LHD amphibious warfare ship based on Juan Carlos class.

The Taiwanese Navy has revealed its plans for a proposed helicopter-carrying, amphibious landing helicopter dock (LHD) warship that aligns with the indigenous defense industry buildup approach being pursued by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen. Continue reading

Airbus’ Order Drought Continues as Boeing Rolls Out 787-10 Dreamliner

Airbus, Boeing Report February 2017 Commercial Aircraft Orders and Deliveries

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

On February 17, 2017, Boeing rolled out the 787-10, the third member of the 787 Dreamliner family, at Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston. President Donald Trump and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster were present, along with Boeing CEO and Chairman Dennis Muilenburg and thousands of Boeing employees.  Photo: The Boeing Company

Boeing and Airbus delivered 51 and 49 commercial jets in February 2017, respectively, compared to 56 and 46 during the same month last year. In 2016, Boeing delivered 748 jets (762 in 2015), in line with company expectations, while Airbus surpassed its delivery target of 650 jets by handing over 688 jets during 2016 (635 in 2015).

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Higher Defense Budgets Likely to Give Medium/Heavy Military Rotorcraft Market a Lift

by Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

V-280 Concept for Future Vertical Lift (FVL). Source: Bell Helicopter

Forecast International’s Platinum Forecast System 3.1 indicates that a total of 6,175  medium/heavy military rotorcraft will be produced during the 15-year period from 2017 through 2031.  The value of this production is estimated at $158.4 billion (in FY17 dollars).  We define a medium/heavy military rotorcraft as one having a gross weight of at least 6,804 kilograms (15,000 lb). Continue reading

Reaction to White House Budget Plan Highlights a Divided Congress

 by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

The White House
Source: Teddy Yoshida/National Science Foundation

The White House has issued initial budget guidance to federal agencies for the 2018 fiscal year, calling for an increase in defense spending that will be offset by an equal reduction for non-defense discretionary programs.  The plan calls for $603 billion in defense spending in FY18, reflecting an increase of $54 billion, or nearly 10 percent, over the current $549 billion Budget Control Act (BCA) cap.  The topline figure applies to budget function 050, which covers the Department of Defense, defense programs within the Department of Energy, and defense-related programs in other agencies.  The Pentagon’s base budget accounts for 95 to 96 percent of function 050 spending each year, with the exact amount varying with each budget. Continue reading

E-3 AWACS Block 40/45 Pushed Back Two Years

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

An E-3G Sentry (AWACS) patrols the skies over the U.S. on a recent homeland defense mission. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Production of the E-3 AWACS Block 40/45 aircraft, also known as the E-3G, will be delayed by another two years. The delay was announced in the U.S. Director, Operational Test and Evaluation report for FY16. The E-3G completed initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) in 2010. Continue reading

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

Poland’s Wisla Air Defense Competition Could Prove Lucrative for Embattled MEADS

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

MEADS air defense system

Until recently, Poland’s Wisla medium-range air defense contest appeared to be locked up, with the Raytheon Patriot and its re-engineered 360° AESA radar looking poised to win. Now, the competing MEADS team has been granted a renewed opportunity.  Poland recently invited the MEADS International consortium, of which Lockheed Martin is a member, to present an updated offer for the Wisla program. MEADS followed through with a presentation in the final week of January. Continue reading