Spain Halts, Renews Saudi Arms Deal

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

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (then the Deputy Crown Prince) in a 2016 meeting in Riyadh with then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Source: U.S. Department of Defense.

Earlier in September, a curious development took place in Spanish-Saudi bilateral relations. On September 4, Spain announced that it had terminated the sale of 400 precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and would return a $10.6 million payment to the Gulf nation.[i] The announcement won praise from human rights agencies, but prompted head-scratching even within the Spanish government. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat the day after the report emerged, the Spanish Consul to Saudi Arabia, Pablo Perez, said, “The Spanish embassy was surprised by these claims,” noting that “our ties with Saudi Arabia are fraternal and friendly.”[ii] Around a week later, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell announced a reversal, saying that the Spanish government “found no reason not to carry” the munition sale out.[iii] Continue reading

After Counterinsurgency Victory, Syria Looks to Rearm

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

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov in November 2017. Source: Russian Presidency website

More than seven years after domestic protests broke out against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian military, with Iranian and Russian backing, has achieved victory over insurgent forces. Pockets of anti-government forces certainly remain, including in the southwest and southeast of Syria, as well as the province of Idlib in the northwest, and a large question mark hangs over the future of the Syrian government’s relations with the U.S.-protected People’s Protection Units (known by the Kurdish acronym YPG) and of portions of rebel territory where Turkey has deployed troops. Nevertheless, the war for the ouster of President Assad is at its conclusion. Continue reading

Egypt Leverages Diversified Arms Suppliers to Escape U.S. Pressure

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

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) in Cairo, December 2017.   Source: Russian presidency website.

Earlier this month, La Tribune reported that France and Egypt are moving forward on negotiations for another sale of Dassault Rafale fighter jets to the Egyptian Air Force.[i] Cairo and Paris are said to be negotiating on a new agreement for the sale of up to two dozen Rafales to Egypt, on top of the initial group of 24 ordered in 2015. Furthermore, Egypt may procure another two Gowind 2500 corvettes and is interested in French drones and helicopters. Continue reading

President Trump Nears Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal

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

White House briefing on situation in Syria in April 2018, ahead of President Trump’s decision to conduct missile strikes on Syrian government positions. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead.

Toward the end of April, French President Emmanuel Macron made a three-day state visit to the United States to meet with his American counterpart, President Donald Trump, to discuss in particular the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal. The French president, who enjoys a productive relationship with President Trump, sought to urge his American counterpart to remain in the deal. Continue reading

Denel’s New Board of Directors Facing Herculean Task

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

Denel’s G6 155mm Self-propelled Artillery System. Photo: Denel

Denel is currently a mess.

It appears that the company may have been overzealous in some of its recent expansion efforts.  Some of its more recent moves, such as the acquisition of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (LSSA) and the formation of Denel Asia, are drawing fire from the South African government. Continue reading

Forecast Roundtable – The Global Defense Spending Environment: A Look Back, a Look Forward, Part 4

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.

Continue reading

Recapping Global Defense Spending for 2017, Eyeing Future Growth

by FI’s International Military Markets Group.

The first annual Global Defense Snapshot by Forecast International’s International Military Market (IMM) group indicates continued growth in the worldwide market following relatively flat investment over the course of the 2015-2016 periods. An increasingly multi-polar global security environment buffeted by healthy economies and ongoing military modernization cycles contributed to a 3.3 percent year-on-year rise in consolidated worldwide defense spending for 2017. 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

Turkmenistan Wary of Afghan Border

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

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov steps out of a truck and, after posing for pictures, takes aim at several targets, first with a rifle, then a handgun, and lastly throwing knives. He then calls in helicopter strikes during the military exercise. The video, which first aired on Turkmen State TV, gained prominence after the Chronicles of Turkmenistan, a dissident website, satirized the original by editing in clips of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando, a 1985 movie. Continue reading

Dolphins in Trouble

by Stuart Slade, Senior Naval Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Dolphin-Class Submarine. Source: IDF Navy

With the original group of Dolphin-class submarines designed to have a hull life of 30 years and a design initiation-to-commissioning cycle of at least 10-15 years, attention turned to designing replacements for the first three submarines in 2015.  At first, Israeli ambitions seemed somewhat excessive, with references to “an entirely different submarine from the Dolphin or the Dolphin AIP.” Reality appears to have set in, however, with attention now focused on an upgraded version of the Flight II Dolphin class that includes “some room for growth, with new materials, better sonar … but pretty much the same design.” Continue reading