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

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

Enhanced Polar System Should Avoid Ice Station Zebra Scenario

By Richard Sterk, C4I Analyst, Forecast International.

Enhanced Polar System (EPS).

In an attempt to prevent a real life Ice Station Zebra incident, the U.S. DoD has pumped money and technology into the Enhanced Polar System (EPS). The system’s mission – to provide around-the-clock protected communications in the polar north – is considered vital by the DoD.  Continue reading

The Ongoing A-10 Replacement Saga

by Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthog (Source: U.S. Air Force)

In early 2014, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to retire the U.S. Air Force A-10 fleet over a period of five years.  However, the proposal sparked considerable congressional opposition and, in FY15 and FY16 budgetary legislation, Congress blocked the Pentagon from retiring the attack aircraft. Continue reading

Sale of PTDS Aerostat to Saudi Arabia Could Lead to Sales of ZPY-1 STARLite Radar

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

ZPY-1 STARLite Radar. Source: Northrop Grumman

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

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