T-X: Next Big USAF Aircraft Contest

By Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

US Air Force T-38 Talon Trainer

US Air Force T-38 Talon Trainer

Now that the U.S. Air Force has awarded the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) contract to Northrop Grumman, and the inevitable protest of the award has been lodged, the service’s next big aircraft procurement program is the T-X.  The T-X effort involves acquisition of an advanced trainer to replace the Air Force’s fleet of some 447 Northrop T-38C trainers. Continue reading

Sales of SELEX Personal Role Radio Will Spike Late Decade

by Greg Giaquinto, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

SELEX Elsag's PRC-343 Personal Role Radio

SELEX Elsag’s PRC-343 Personal Role Radio

Sales of SELEX Elsag’s PRC-343 Personal Role Radio will spike later in the decade to meet the short-range communications needs of defense departments worldwide.  The PRC-343 provides short-range communications for frontline foot soldiers.  It replaces traditional, “non-radio” means of frontline communications such as the use of hand signals – or simply shouting.   Continue reading

China’s AVIC Moves Closer to World Stage with Rollout of C919

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

C919 Rollout Cermony. (COMAC)

C919 Rollout Cermony. (COMAC)

China’s dream of becoming a major aerospace power took a step closer to becoming reality with the long-awaited rollout of the C919.  This all-new narrowbody airliner is designed to compete directly against Airbus’ A320 family and Boeing’s 737.

Led by AVIC’s COMAC subsidiary, the program is now entering the difficult phase of testing, certification and delivery. It’s true that AVIC may have gained experience through the long-delayed ARJ21 regional jet program, but even Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier have trouble keeping to aggressive schedules with all-new aircraft.  Testing and certificating the C919 is going to be a long, drawn-out process, and service entry in the Chinese market is unlikely to occur until 2018 or later. Continue reading

Brief Overview: Russian Intervention in the Syrian Civil War

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Two Russian Su-25s at Hmeymim air base in Latakia, Syria

Two Russian Su-25s at Hmeymim air base in Latakia, Syria

Russia’s intervention into Syria marks a new turn in the nation’s relationship with the Syrian government and the direction of the ongoing civil war. In late August, rumors began to circulate of an increasing Russian presence in Syria, particularly in Latakia. By late September and early October, Russia had acknowledged that it was conducting combat operations in Syria, in the form of air strikes. Continue reading

Cobra King & Gray Star: Two Critical BMD Defense Assets for the Future

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronics Analyst, Forecast International.

Cobra King BMD radar platform USNS Howard O. Lorenzen departs the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon to leave on one of its first missions.

Cobra King BMD radar platform USNS Howard O. Lorenzen departs the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon to leave on one of its first missions.

On October 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that the Air Force had awarded Raytheon a $24.6 million fixed-price, one-year contract for the strategically crucial Cobra King and Gray Star radar facilities, based on a sole-source acquisition.  One might think that the award is somewhat large for just one year of O&M services, and that assumption may be correct.  However, this award represents just a tiny portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Cobra King and Gray Star programs are worth to the defense contracting community. Continue reading

Prioritization of Defense in Europe Depends upon Geography

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

European_flag_in_Karlskrona_2011As the crisis in Ukraine unfolded in 2014, risk perceptions stirred across the European continent. Defense policy reassessments skewed depending on geography, but across Europe, there was a sense of renewed threat emanating from Russia.

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Satellogic Tops List of Largest Planned Commercial Remote-Sensing SmallSat Fleets

By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Two Planet Labs Satellites Being Deployed from the ISS - Source: NASA

Two Planet Labs Satellites Being Deployed from the ISS – Source: NASA

Small satellites are the next exciting technology in the space industry. Once the domain of universities, spacecraft under 100 kilograms have caught on in the commercial sector. At least eight private companies have announced plans to build huge networks of SmallSats to provide remote-sensing imagery data to customers.

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A Good Water Fight Requires Research and Planning

By Richard Sterk, Naval Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Product _0006_anti sub warfareBest described as an umbrella-type program overseen by the U.S. Navy, the Ocean Warfighting Environment Applied Research program covers a wide variety of marginally related projects that cannot easily be fit into any one category. The importance of the work can be surmised by how much of it remains classified.  The program enjoys steady funding and has an unusually high number of efforts, with the average project lasting around three years from initiation to completion.

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EA-18G Production Contract a Big Boost for Jamming System

By Andrew Dardine, Electronics Analyst, Forecast International.

EA-18G Growler

EA-18G Growler

On October 28, the U.S. Navy awarded Boeing an $897.5 million contract for the procurement of 15 EA-18G Growler aircraft, plus their airborne electronic attack kits. With this production now assured, the replacement of one of the most essential components of the aircraft can also move closer to reality. Continue reading

The Eurofighter Typhoon’s Roller Coaster Ride

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

Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon

The Eurofighter Typhoon has had quite the roller coaster ride this year. Germany suspended deliveries of the aircraft and grounded its fleet after one of the external fuel tanks fell off the aircraft prior to takeoff. Also this year, a manufacturing defect was found that affects the connection between the fin and rear of the jet. In 2014 a fault was discovered in the Typhoon’s fuselage, which also led to grounding of European fleets and suspension of orders. In 2010 a failed ejector seat on a Saudi Arabian Typhoon also led to groundings. Continue reading