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

International Air Forces Relying on F-5 Fleets to Maintain Battle Readiness

by Matthew Beres, Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Analyst, Forecast International.

Iranian F-5 Saeqeh. Source – Shahram Sharifi

The past year has seen a significant surge worldwide to upgrade legacy fighters. Despite a rapidly aging worldwide fleet with an average of more than 50 years in service, international F-5 fleets are no exception. Even aircraft with more than 40 years of service are receiving upgrades. The 575 aircraft with an on average of between 30-40 years of service, therefore, may provide ample opportunities for retrofit programs. We’ve highlighted two such programs in this article. Continue reading

Top Eight Countries Dominate Defense Spending in Latin America

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

Defense spending in Latin America will remain strong between 2017 and 2021. While allocations will not be as high as in other regions, economies are expected to slowly improve after years of commodity price declines, giving governments more resources for defense. At the same time, governments will continue to battle violent gangs and illegal trafficking. 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

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