Forecast Roundtable – Discussion of Elon Musk’s Mars Colonization Plan

By Matthew Beres and Bill Ostrove, Forecast International.

forecast-roundtable-mars

Welcome to the Forecast Roundtable Podcast. Forecast Roundtable brings together expert analysts, industry professionals, and government officials to discuss the latest issues in the aerospace and defense markets. Produced at the Forecast International headquarters, Forecast Roundtable offers unique and in depth insight and discussion on any range of topics from geopolitics to aerospace and defense markets. Topic suggestions are welcome. Continue reading

Google’s Deep Pockets Benefit Terra Bella

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

SkySat-1. Source: SkyBox Imaging.

Terra Bella is part of a wave of new remote sensing satellite operators that hope to utilize new technologies and business models to break into the Earth imagery business.  SkySat satellites have a launch mass of between 100 and 120 kilograms, making them larger than those of some competitors, such as Planet Labs, which is building 6-kilogram satellites.  However, SkySats are still smaller than typical commercial remote sensing satellites, like DigitalGlobe’s 2,800-kilogram WorldView-2.  Terra Bella expects its satellites to offer a compromise between the two extremes, with better resolution and lifespan than extremely small satellites but higher revisit rates than networks with a few large satellites. Continue reading

Elon Musk Lays Out Ambitious, Challenging Plan to Colonize Mars

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Mars image taken by Hubble. Source: NASA

Mars image taken by Hubble. Source: NASA

Elon Musk has proposed an ambitious plan to make humans a multiplanet species. The announcement of the initiative was made at the International Astronautical Congress on September 27 in Guadalajara, Mexico, to much fanfare. Attendees of the event described the atmosphere as closer to a rock concert than a scientific or business presentation. Continue reading

India Finally – Finally – Inks Rafale Deal

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

Dassault Rafale

Dassault Rafale

More than nine years after India initially sought out a Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) under its $11 billion “Deal of the Century” competition, over four years since the Rafale was downselected as the winning bid, and nearly a year-and-a-half since Prime Minister Narendra Modi cut through the byzantine MMRCA technical parameters in an attempt to speed things up by reaching an inter-government agreement with French President Francois Hollande, India finally signed a deal with France for the procurement of Dassault Rafale combat aircraft on September 23. Continue reading

Brazilian Economic Crisis Limits Defense Spending

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

Embraer KC-390

The Embraer KC-390 is being acquired by Brazil.

While Brazil is a country largely at peace, it also maintains the largest defense budget in Latin America. Externally, Brazil’s military is responsible for defending the country’s territory. This became more important after Brazil discovered oil reserves off its coast, prompting investment in air and sea assets. Although Latin American countries are relatively free from conflict, the Brazilian military is still seen as a deterrent to other nations in the region. For example, many of Brazil’s current acquisition programs have been a response to Venezuelan purchases. Continue reading

F-15 Modernization is Hot Again, but EO and Radar Upgrades Have Been Underway for Years

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

U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle

U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle

The conversation has heated up again: the U.S. Air Force will be modernizing its aging fleet of Boeing F-15s.  Although CNN and Fox have both recently reopened discussion of the topic, this upgrade has been a long time coming and was confirmed to news sources even in advance of one of the aerospace and defense industry’s most prominent coming out parties, July’s Farnborough Air Show.  However, one of the humorous aspects behind the latest wave of news reports (including those this past July) is that information on the F-15 upgrade had been available for a significant amount of time through regular government reporting. Continue reading

The European Defense Environment: Part 2

By Matthew Beres, Forecast International.

2podcast logo

Welcome to the Forecast Roundtable Podcast. Forecast Roundtable brings together expert analysts, industry professionals, and government officials to discuss the latest issues in the aerospace and defense markets. Produced at the Forecast International headquarters, Forecast Roundtable offers unique and in depth insight and discussion on any range of topics from geopolitics to aerospace and defense markets. Topic suggestions are welcome.

This episode features Dan Darling, European Military Markets analyst, and Matthew Beres, Airborne Retrofit and Modernization analyst, as they continue to discuss the European Defense Environment, with an emphasis on an EU army.

Continue reading

Small Platforms Key to Turbojet Engine’s Future

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

turbojet_operation-_axial_flow

Schematic diagram showing the operation of an axial flow turbojet engine. Source: wikipedia

The end of the Second World War marked the beginning of a new era in aviation. Turbine-powered aircraft were a vast improvement over previous piston-engine designs in a great many respects and could fly higher and faster. The Jet Age was marked by record-breaking aircraft doing the seemingly impossible. The jet engine had arrived, and its basic form, the turbojet, would power some of the most iconic aircraft of the time. Continue reading

The European Defense Environment: Part 1

By Matthew Beres, Forecast International.

2podcast logo

Welcome to the Forecast Roundtable Podcast. Forecast Roundtable brings together expert analysts, industry professionals, and government officials to discuss the latest issues in the aerospace and defense markets. Produced at the Forecast International headquarters, Forecast Roundtable offers unique and in depth insight and discussion on any range of topics from geopolitics to aerospace and defense markets. Topic suggestions are welcome. Continue reading

India Creeps Closer to FGFA Final Work-Share Agreement with Russia

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

Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA)

Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Source: aerofatos.com

Reports in the Indian media indicate that following months of intense negotiating over technical details, a work-share agreement for joint production of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) between India and Russia is now close at hand. Continue reading