Cayman ARV Procurement Reflects Belarus’s Pursuit of Strategic Autonomy, Part I

by Thomas Dolzall, Defense Analyst, Forecast International.

Cayman armored reconnaissance vehicle. Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

The adoption by the Belarusian armed forces in early 2017 of the Cayman armored reconnaissance vehicle, which had recently entered serial production, represents a modest but significant step in the maturation of the Belarusian defense industry, and serves as one of several prominent indicators of an emerging trend in Belarusian military procurement patterns toward the acquisition of indigenously developed hardware in response to the country’s subtly shifting strategic demands. Continue reading

Iran Said to be Considering JF-17 Buy

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

JF-17 Block I fighter jet. Photo credit: Eric Salard/ Wikimedia Commons

On November 27, 2018, Defence Blog reported that the Iranian Air Force is considering the procurement of the joint Pakistan-China fighter jet JF-17.[i] The report noted that importing new fighter jets would allow the Air Force to replace aging jets currently in service. The report referenced several videos released by Pakistani analyst Muzammil Hatami, in which Iranian Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari can be seen at the IDEAS 2018 exhibition in Karachi examining a JF-17 Block II fighter jet as well as a Super Mushshak trainer aircraft. Rear Admiral Sayyari formerly served as the Navy’s commander but now is the Deputy Coordinator of the Iranian Army. Iranian media noted that Rear Admiral Sayyari headed a military delegation to the Pakistani expo.[ii]

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Sea Change: Japan Plans Destroyer Conversion, Larger F-35 Order with China in Mind

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

F-35A Misawa, Japan, Rollout Ceremony, February 24, 2018. JASDF Misawa Base. Photo: Lockheed Martin

As the Japanese government sets out its new National Defense Program Guidelines defense capability target policy that will guide the upcoming Medium-Term Defense Program (Japan’s military acquisition plan), two major considerations are in play that are intended to complement each other. Continue reading

Pentagon Budget Faces Increased Pressure After Elections

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

Rep. Adam Smith has balked at developing a low-yield nuclear warhead, which would be mounted on a Trident missile. Source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ronald Gutridge

The Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following Tuesday’s midterm elections, setting the stage for what could be a prolonged battle over defense spending and policy.  The Pentagon’s topline was already facing cuts recently announced by the Trump administration, but the change in power in the House will give Democrats momentum as they push for increased domestic spending.

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Jair Bolsonaro Will Be Brazil’s Next President

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

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro. Source: Wikipedia/ Antonio Cruz/Agência Brasil

Brazilian right-wing congressman Jair Bolsonaro has won a runoff election to become Brazil’s next president. Bolsonaro defeated opponent Fernando Haddad with 55.1 percent of the vote. The two men, on opposite sides of the political spectrum, faced each other after they were the two top vote-getters in the first round of elections on October 7. Since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote in those earlier elections, a runoff was required. Continue reading

NATO Military Mobility in Europe Remains Key Focus of Alliance

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

With deterrence against a Russian incursion along its Baltic flank a paramount strategic concern of NATO, military mobility has emerged as a key Alliance focus over the past several years. Issues related to rail and roadway sovereignty across national borders, diplomatic notices, environmental concerns, bridge and tunnel heights, railcar and custom regulations, plus others, all combine to slow down west-to-east military resupply and reinforcement capabilities.[i] Continue reading

Forecast Roundtable – The Khashoggi Murder and its Effects on Saudi-U.S.-Turkey Relations

 By Matthew Beres and Dan Darling, Forecast International.

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.

This episode features Daniel Darling, Jim Head, and Derek Bisaccio on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and how his death impacts Saudi Arabia’s arms imports. Continue reading

Trump Opens the Door to Defense Spending Cuts as Sequestration Looms

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

An F-35 Flies Alongside an F-16. Source: U.S. Air Force

President Donald Trump has called on department secretaries to deliver 5 percent cuts for their upcoming FY20 budget requests, opening the door for a potential decline in defense spending.  At the same time, Trump said the defense budget would “probably” total $700 billion in FY20.  Initially, it was unclear if this $700 billion figure applied only to the Pentagon, or to the total national security budget, which also includes programs and agencies outside of the U.S. Department of Defense, such as nuclear programs within the Department of Energy.  Continue reading

Examining U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

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

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo departs from King Salman Air Base on October 17. He is accompanied by the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khalid bin Salman. Photo: Ron Przysucha / U.S. Department of State

The news of the disappearance and killing of The Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi has put a spotlight on the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially the close security ties between the two countries. President Donald Trump remains reluctant to address arms sales in response to the crisis. He has contended that terminating those sales would hurt the U.S. economy.[i] Congress, however, is not buying the president’s argument and may seek to force his hand, if nothing else by seeking to delay or slow down the approval process for weapons.[ii] Continue reading

Heads or Tails – or Wedgetail? Britain Weighing E-7 AEW Purchase

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

Australian Wedgetail AEW&C Aircraft

The British Ministry of Defence has launched exclusive negotiations with Boeing regarding a potential buy of Wedgetail E-7 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on October 2 that discussions with the U.S. manufacturer are underway, though exactly how many aircraft and at what cost are still yet to be outlined. Continue reading