JSTARS Replacement Program Canceled Yet Again

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

Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Recapitalization (JSTARS Recap) program funding dropped in FY19.

It’s official.  The U.S. Air Force has taken formal steps to implement its stated intention to abandon the JSTARS Recap program. In the Department of Defense’s recently released forecast year 2019 budget documents, all requests for funding related to JSTARS Recap research, development, testing, and evaluation were dropped, with FY18’s budget of $417.2 million reduced to nothing. Continue reading

Electronic Warfare Simulation: Making Today’s Fighter Jets Ready for Real World Engagement

by Andrew Dardine, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

EA-18G Growler

Like a prizefighter needing a sparring partner between bouts, next-generation fighter aircraft and their operators require constant testing and training.  They simply cannot wait until they face a real air-to-air engagement to find out if critical self-defense systems actually work.  This is especially true for the many advanced electronic warfare systems being installed on the latest aircraft.  Accurate simulation is the only way to provide that much-needed sparring partner.    Continue reading

Recent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Retrofits

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

Special Mission King Air 350ER. Source: Textron Aviation

GDC Middle East was recently awarded a contract by Sierra Nevada Corporation to upgrade two King Air 350 aircraft to Special Mission (ISR) aircraft. The two King Air 350s will receive radar, secure communications, datalinks, and optical sensors as part of the upgrade. Further modifications will be made to the aircrafts’ cabins, wiring harnesses, and cockpits.

Continue reading

UAE’s Potential Mirage 2000-9 Upgrade Expected to Include RDY-3 Radar and TALIOS Pod

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

A Mirage 2000 fighter from the United Arab Emirates. Source: USAF

During Dubai Airshow 2017, held from November 12-16, Thales and the UAE armed forces announced their intention to sign a contract to modernize the UAE Air Force’s Dassault Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets.  Under the potential contract, Thales would upgrade the Mirages’ complete electronics package, including mission computers; fire control radars; electronic warfare suites; optronics systems; communications, navigation, and identification systems; cockpit displays; and helmet-mounted displays. Continue reading

As Fighter Pressures Mount, Bulgaria Seeks Offer from Boeing for Super Hornet

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

F/A-18 Super Hornet

As Bulgaria prepares to relaunch a tender seeking new combat aircraft to replace its Air Force’s small inventory of 1980s-vintage MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov has indicated via state-run radio that his ministry will be requesting an offer from Boeing for its F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighter. Continue reading

Fuel Efficiency a Driver of Retrofits for Airliners and Military Transports

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

Airbus A319. Source: Airbus

CTT Systems recently received an order from Eurowings to retrofit its Zonal Drying System on 25 A319 aircraft.  The retrofit’s big draw is that it reduces an aircraft’s weight by preventing water accumulation in the fuselage. The weight of just one B737/A320 can be reduced by up to 200-300 kilograms. Continue reading

U.S. Scrambles to Address Naval Aviation Readiness Issues

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

F/A-18 Equipped with ALQ-214. Source: Harris/Exelis.

Commander of U.S. Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker spoke about naval aircraft readiness at the 61st annual Tailhook Convention in Reno, Nevada, in September. He stated that international commitments and budget constraints are making it difficult to meet aviation readiness standards. He added, however, that the FY17 U.S. defense budget has $1 billion earmarked for naval aviation readiness – part of a slow push in the right direction. Continue reading

U.S. Approves Canadian Super Hornet Deal that May Never Happen

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

A U.S. F-18 Refuels from a KC-10 Tanker
Source: U.S. Air Force

The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and associated equipment to Canada as part of a potential deal worth $5.23 billion, according to a September 12 announcement from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).  The announcement outlines the potential sale of 10 F/A-18Es, eight F/A-18Fs, eight F414-GE-400 engine spares, APG-79 radars, 100 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II missiles, 30 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Captive Air Training Missiles, and eight AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Special Air Training Missiles, as well as additional avionics and electronics.  Continue reading

F135 Builds On P&W Legacy to Power the F-35

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

F-35B. Source: Lockheed Martin

Despite drawing equal amounts of praise and ire, the F-35 program is in a continual process of progressing as the airframe surpasses 100,000 hours of flight time.[1] An expensive piece of kit, the aircraft has conjured up arguments as to whether it is suitable in today’s military environment and if the price is commensurate with performance. Any aviation forum site chosen is rife with F-35 discussions; however, one aspect that seems to get less attention is the F135 turbofan engine that powers the fighter. Continue reading

Forecast International Launches Improved U.S. Defense Budget Database

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

Source: Forecast International’s U.S. Defense Budget Forecast

Forecast International is pleased to announce the launch of a newly enhanced U.S. Defense Budget Forecast database, now featuring the ability to track major program spending and identify winners and losers within every Pentagon budget request.  FI’s budget database provides quick access to DoD request and forecast budget data, justification documents, congressional markups, and more.  The Pentagon’s massive weapons spending plan can be sorted by value, with options for filtering programs by appropriation title (R1/P1), service, and appropriation account.       Continue reading