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

India Launches Second Scorpene Submarine, but Capacity Pressures Still Haunt Navy

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

Scorpene class submarine

With India’s submarine capacity dwindling, small rays of sunshine are beginning to appear in the distance. The launching on January 12 of the second in a six-boat class of French-designed Project 75 Scorpene attack submarines (SSKs) marks another small, slow step in building up a capable submarine arm that has dangerously atrophied over the years. During the 1980s, the Indian Navy submarine inventory numbered 21 vessels, while today it features just 13 conventional submarines, plus one indigenous nuclear-powered ballistic missile (SSBN) submarine, the Arihant. Another boat, the Russian Akula-class Chakra, is leased and used only for training purposes. Continue reading

Safran Helicopter Engines Hovers Above the Turboshaft Pack

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

Assembly work at Safran Helicopter Engines ~ (c) Cyril Abad / CAPA Pictures / Safran

Helicopters – Unequalled maneuverability; life-saving capability; powerful and indispensable. The helicopter’s value is undisputed and its utility second to none.  Companies  like Cierva, Breguet, and Sikorski did the pioneering work that resulted in the helicopters we now depend on. Today, the V-22 and AW609 are revolutionizing the field with their tilt-rotor technology, while utilizing capabilities that would astound those early developers. Continue reading

Safran Expands with $9.1 Billion Zodiac Aerospace Buy

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

Zodiac Seats

Safran has announced that it will acquire seats manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace for approximately EUR8.5 billion ($9.1 billion).

The new entity will combine Safran’s capabilities in landing gear, wheels and brakes, nacelles, power systems, actuation systems and avionics with Zodiac Aerospace’s positions in seats; cabin interiors; power distribution; lighting; fuel, oxygen and fluid systems; and safety equipment. Zodiac Aerospace’s electrical systems assets will reinforce Safran’s portfolio of technologies and position the group ideally for future developments toward the “more electrical aircraft.”

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Poland’s Legislature Backs 2017 Defense Earmark

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

Flag of Poland

Poland’s defense allocation for fiscal year 2017 received approval from the country’s highest legislative body on January 4. The defense oversight element, the Senate National Defense Commission, remarked positively on the planned PLN37.152 billion ($9 billion) military budget, which represents a 3.4 percent year-on-year nominal increase from 2016. Continue reading

Sounds of Life Heard from Cold War Sonar System

by Richard Sterk, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

U.S. Navy Surveillance Towed Array Sensor Systems (SURTASS) Low Frequency Active (LFA) is part of the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS), installed on U.S. Navy T-AGOS class ships. (Source: U.S. Navy)

Today, more and more nations are using highly advanced diesel-electric submarines that are extremely difficult to detect. And, the U.S. Navy has been forced to rely once again on its Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) – not seen in priority use since the height of the Cold War. This sonar system is considered essential to America’s efforts to detect newer and quieter diesel-electric submarines, especially those operating in the littoral environment. Continue reading

MTU Aero Engines Ramps Up New Engine Production

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

Pratt & Whitney PW1000G

MTU Aero Engine is well positioned for years of solid profitability, thanks to the healthy status of its commercial engine production operations and an increasing emphasis on MRO activities.  Business remains brisk in both these sectors. Continue reading

Indian Navy’s Quest for New Minehunters Mired on Shoals of Indigenization Pressures

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

Kangnam mine countermeasures vessel

The Indian Navy’s long-standing quest for a new-build, modern class of mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) continues to flounder amid government demands regarding technology transfer and indigenization. A $5 billion project to build 12 MCMVs through state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd is currently stalled as South Korea’s Kangnam Corporation balks at the Indian Ministry of Defence requirement for transfer of complete intellectual property rights of the ships. Continue reading

A350-1000’s Maiden Flight Completes Trent’s Trio of XWB-Powered Platforms

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

The new Airbus A350 XWB, with nearly 50 aircraft currently in service, has just received an addition to the family. After its maiden flight in late November, 2016, the A350-1000 is seeking to make its mark in the aviation world. The flight was a triumph for both Airbus and Rolls-Royce, whose engines exclusively power this particular range of aircraft. The Trent, a well-known name in aviation, is used aboard Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Continue reading

Launch Vehicles: Year in Review 2016

Recent Decline Continued, but Stage Set for Renewed Activity in 2017

Atlas V Launch

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

The year 2016 saw 85 launches into Earth orbit  (this count excludes the Falcon 9 that exploded in September, since the explosion occurred during the pre-launch phase). Launches were carried out by nine countries, utilizing 22 different launch vehicle families, built by 13 different manufacturers or organizations. Continue reading