U.S. Navy Seeks Nearly $4 Billion for SEWIP, Set to Provide Key Components of the LCS

by Andrew Dardine, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

SLQ-32(V) Shipboard EW System. Source: Raytheon

Under the massive Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), the U.S. Navy is enhancing the capability of its SLQ-32 electronic warfare system to provide early detection, analysis, and warning of – and protection from – anti-ship missiles.  The multi-stage SEWIP provides a family of modular shipborne electronic warfare equipment for installation on all surface combatants, aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, and auxiliaries in the surface Navy.  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

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

Elbit Systems Gains Critical Mass with New Acquisitions

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

Condor 2 – EO/IR Long Range Oblique Photography (LOROP) system. Source: Elbit Systems

Ongoing conflicts and terrorism have increased the focus on defense systems for low-intensity conflicts, homeland security and cyber warfare – areas in which Elbit Systems is firmly established. Continue reading

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

Congress Pushes Development of Space-Based and Boost Phase Missile Defense Capabilities

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

North Korea Missile Launch. Source: Korean News Agency via Reuters

The U.S. Congress continues to push the Department of Defense to develop new missile defense technologies, but it remains to be seen if some of these efforts will come to fruition.  In particular, the FY19 defense authorization bill recently signed into law calls for developing a new space-based missile defense layer and a boost phase intercept capability.  Last year’s FY18 defense authorization bill also included provisions for space-based and boost phase missile defense, if consistent with the Ballistic Missile Defense Review.  The new FY19 authorization bill essentially reworks those original provisions, and calls for the development of these technologies subject to the availability of appropriations.  Continue reading

U.S. Air Force Awards Hypersonic Weapon Contract as Pentagon Continues Broader Development Efforts

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

High-Temperature Structures Concept Image
Source: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract worth up to $480 million for the conduct of a Critical Design Review and to provide test and production readiness support for the U.S. Air Force’s Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW, pronounced “Arrow”), one of the service’s ongoing hypersonic weapon development efforts.  The Air Force is obligating $5 million at time of award.  Contract work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, and is expected to be completed by November 30, 2021.     Continue reading

Strong Forecast for New-Build Submarines Drives Sales of Advanced Periscope System

by Andrew Dardine, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Virginia class, North Carolina (SSN 777)

The U.S. Navy has recently awarded $20 million in contracts to L3 KEO for production and support of non-penetrating periscopes (NPPs).  Work on the first NPPs will be performed in Bologna, Italy and Northampton, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by April 2020. Continue reading

Boeing Increases Production and Insourcing Efforts as Backlog Rises

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

Boeing 737 MAX 7 First Flight. Source: Boeing

The market for large commercial transports continues to rise following a brief downtick in 2015-2016.  At the 2018 Farnborough Airshow, both Airbus and Boeing generated an impressive number of orders and commitments. All told, the over 1,400 aircraft orders placed was the biggest total since 2013, with Airbus garnering 431 orders and Boeing “winning” the show with 676. 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