Canada’s Effort to Boost Defense Spending May Be Too Little, Too Late

by Shaun McDougall, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Canadian Forces troops train in the Arctic in April 2015 (Source: Canadian Forces)

Canadian Forces troops train in the Arctic in April 2015 (Source: Canadian Forces)

Ottawa has announced a plan to provide the military with sustained annual budget growth of three percent beginning in 2017, providing a cumulative CAD11.8 billion in additional spending through 2026. Previously, the government had planned budget growth of around two percent per year during that time. Under the revised plan, the defense budget will have increased by CAD2.3 billion by 2026, according to budget documents. The move is an attempt to offset recent cuts shouldered by the military as the government slashed expenditures to eliminate the deficit. The government has finally balanced the budget after many years of deficits, announcing a projected CAD1.4 billion surplus in 2015. However, the defense increases may not be enough to offset the damage that has already been done to the military, if the government is even able to follow through with the plan at all.

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Self-Propelled Artillery Market Looks to the East

by Dean Lockwood, Weapons Group Analyst, Forecast International.

PLZ45155mm Howitzer (Source: National War College)

PLZ45155mm Howitzer (Source: National War College)

In an age of smart bombs and tactical missiles, tube artillery remains the most cost-effective means of rapidly delivering large amounts of munitions on a target within a 50-kilometer (31-mi) range fan.

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Militaries Must Balance Growing Demand for Satellite Capacity with Shrinking Budgets

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

An atist's rendition of the Sicral 2 military communications satellite based on the Spacebus 4000.

An atist’s rendition of the Sicral 2 military communications satellite based on the Spacebus 4000.

Military planners in the U.S. and NATO expect the demand for satellite bandwidth to remain high, even with the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan and limited number of troops remaining in Iraq. Although fewer soldiers are stationed in these countries than in the recent past, a presence is being maintained to train local forces, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) continue to monitor activity. The need by the military for satellite bandwidth will therefore remain high. UAVs are particularly dependent on satellite communications, as commands must be sent to the UAVs and data must be sent back to operators. A combination of military-owned and commercial satellites will be employed to meet this demand.

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Turkey Gets Enhanced Airborne EW Equipment as U.S. Strengthens Allies Along the Arabian Peninsula

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

ALQ-211(V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare System (AIDEWS)

ALQ-211(V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare System (AIDEWS)

Under the terms of a U.S. Foreign Military Sales contract announced on March 9, Lockheed Martin will provide the Turkish Air Force with electronic warfare modernization on board its fleet of F-16s. Under the $13.98 million contract, to be performed through December 2017, the jet fighters will be fitted with the ALQ-211(V)9 Advanced Integrated Electronic Warfare System (AIDEWS). However, this is not just an ordinary deal, but part of an ongoing process whereby the U.S. is bolstering its allies along the border of the Arabian Peninsula. It seems to be no coincidence that as the U.S. is in talks with Iran regarding its nuclear program, it is also enhancing its allies’ border penetration and ground strike capabilities.

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Latest Swedish Defense Budget Increase a Token Measure

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

With worries about Russia percolating, Sweden’s center-left coalition government – in agreement with three of the four parties in the opposition Alliance coalition – has opted to raise the country’s defense spending by SEK10.2 billion ($1.18 billion) over the five-year period between 2016 and 2020. Upon coming to power in October 2014, the left-leaning minority government of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had proposed a military allocation totaling SEK4.16 billion ($480 million) over a four-year period beginning in 2015

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Royal Canadian Air Force Simulator Strategy Carries CAD544 Million Price Tag

by Shaun McDougall, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Canadian CF-18 Simulator (Source: Canadian Forces)

Canadian CF-18 Simulator
(Source: Canadian Forces)

The Royal Canadian Air Force hopes that investing in simulators will save money in the long run by reducing the strain placed on aircraft fleets. The service plans to spend CAD544 million on simulators and training systems over the next decade, which officials say could save CAD2 billion over the next 20 years. Increased use of simulators would reduce fuel spending and cut down on aircraft maintenance costs while also freeing up aircraft for actual missions. Training time could also be shortened, with an internal analysis finding that a CH-149 simulator could reduce the length of the First Officer training course from 16 weeks to 10 weeks. “This will make the RCAF even more responsive and relevant to Canada’s defense needs,” according to the service’s recent simulation strategy, dubbed RCAF Simulation Strategy 2025.

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Philippine Department of National Defense Terminates UH-1 Contract, Blacklists Supplier

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

UH-1

UH-1 Helicopter

Following a furor sparked by a series run by Philippine daily The Manila Times, which exposed the shadiness of a 21-unit procurement of UH-1 helicopters, the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) has cancelled the PHP1.263 billion ($28.5 million) deal. In addition, the DND has ordered the blacklisting of the contracted supplier – a joint venture combining Rice Aircraft Services and Eagle Copters Ltd – from further bidding on future Philippine defense projects.

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Global Grid Meltdown No Longer the Domain of Techno-Thrillers

By Richard Sterk, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Early U. Army Cold War Testing of Electromagnetic Effects and Electromagnetic Pulses  (Source: US Army)

Early U. Army Cold War Testing of Electromagnetic Effects and Pulses (Source: US Army)

Electromagnetic pulses are no longer plot devices for techno-thriller disaster films.  The threat to the world grid from an EMP is very real.  This threat could be man-made, such as a weapon of mass destruction, or it could be a natural phenomenon such as a geomagnetic storm on the sun sending huge solar flares in the direction of the Earth.

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Finmeccanica Finally Begins to Transform

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

AgustaWestland AW189 to be a top seller for the company

AgustaWestland AW189 to be a top seller for the company

It has been a long and difficult road, but Finmeccanica is finally getting its house in order. CEO Mauro Moretti, who took the helm in early 2014, has wasted no time in examining the conglomerate’s issues and quickly acting to correct course.

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In Surprise Move, India Orders 36 Rafales – and May Have Killed the MMRCA Program in the Process

by Dan Darling, Forecast International.

Dassault Rafale (Source: Rafale International)

Dassault Rafale (Source: Rafale International)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew to Paris on April 9 for a much-anticipated diplomatic swing through France, Germany and Canada. Prior to his departure, the speculation surrounding his Paris visit concerned the fate of the Indian Air Force’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) negotiations, which had winded their way over three-plus years to 90 percent completion.

The final 10 percent to be worked out, however, appeared to be on a path to nowhere.

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