Poland’s PiS-Led Government Scraps $3 Billion Utility Helicopter Deal

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

Airbus Helicopters H225M

Airbus Helicopters H225M. Source – Airbus Helicopters.

In an about-face, Poland will scrap its planned $3 billion procurement of 50 helicopters from Airbus, according to a report published in local daily Rzeczpospolita on February 4.

The decision came quickly.

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Prioritization of Defense in Europe Depends upon Geography

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

European_flag_in_Karlskrona_2011As the crisis in Ukraine unfolded in 2014, risk perceptions stirred across the European continent. Defense policy reassessments skewed depending on geography, but across Europe, there was a sense of renewed threat emanating from Russia.

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Polish Defense Budget Set to Grow by Nearly 9 Percent in 2016

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

Flag of Poland

Flag of Poland

The Polish government has adopted a 2016 budgetary outline that would see the country’s year-on-year nominal defense budget rise by PLN2.876 billion ($761 million) from the 2015 earmark, amounting to an 8.7 percent increase.

The additional expenditures earmarked for defense will push Poland’s military budget up to 2 percent of GDP, bringing the country’s defense allocation in line with the NATO minimum spending requirement for the first time since the country became an Alliance member in 1999. Previously, Poland had earmarked 1.95 percent of annual GDP towards defense, holding to the Act of May 25, 2001, which mandated this level of military spending. Continue reading

U.S. Navy the Clear Winner in Senate Armed Services Committee Markup

by Shaun McDougall, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

CVN 73 Carrier Strike Group (Source: US Navy)

CVN 73 Carrier Strike Group (Source: US Navy)

The U.S. Navy came out as the clear winner in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the FY16 defense authorization bill, receiving funding for additional aircraft, ships, and weapons. The results were more mixed for the Air Force and Army. The legislation, approved by the SASC on May 14 by a vote of 22 to four, supports the president’s budget request level of $612 billion for the Department of Defense and security programs in the Department of Energy. That level exceeds current defense budget caps, so the committee provides an additional $38 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, which is not subject to spending limits. This move mirrors the GOP budget resolution, as well as the House’s version of the FY16 defense policy bill.

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Militaries Must Balance Growing Demand for Satellite Capacity with Shrinking Budgets

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

An atist's rendition of the Sicral 2 military communications satellite based on the Spacebus 4000.

An atist’s rendition of the Sicral 2 military communications satellite based on the Spacebus 4000.

Military planners in the U.S. and NATO expect the demand for satellite bandwidth to remain high, even with the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan and limited number of troops remaining in Iraq. Although fewer soldiers are stationed in these countries than in the recent past, a presence is being maintained to train local forces, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) continue to monitor activity. The need by the military for satellite bandwidth will therefore remain high. UAVs are particularly dependent on satellite communications, as commands must be sent to the UAVs and data must be sent back to operators. A combination of military-owned and commercial satellites will be employed to meet this demand.

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U.S. Navy’s $2.7 Billion Wish List Includes Additional Super Hornets and Joint Strike Fighters

by Shaun McDougall, Forecast International.

F/A-18F Super Hornet (Source: U.S. Navy)

F/A-18F Super Hornet
(Source: U.S. Navy)

The U.S. Navy last month delivered to Congress a $2.7 billion procurement wish list, above and beyond the service’s $44.3 billion procurement tab in the FY16 base budget and $418.8 million for procurement contained in the Overseas Contingency Operations account. The bulk of the funding in the unfunded priorities list would pay for additional F/A-18F Super Hornets and F-35C Joint Strike Fighters.

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Lockheed Martin Adapts to the New Defense World Order

by Richard Pettibone, Forecast International.

F-35A Weapons Carriage (Lockheed Martin Photo by Matt Short)

F-35A Weapons Carriage (Lockheed Martin Photo by Matt Short)

As the world’s largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin has been restructuring its operations to deal with a global defense downturn and the effects of sequestration in the USA.

To its credit, Lockheed Martin was already preparing for a downturn following the wind-down of hostilities abroad.  Now, with sequestration reductions the law of the land, the firm has begun investigating further overhead and employment cuts while simultaneously ramping up lean manufacturing processes.

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Britain’s Defense Budget at a Crossroads

By Dan Darling, Forecast International.

British-Flag-Retro-WallpapersHeading down the finishing stretch to Britain’s general election on May 7, the question of what constitutes adequate defense investment has emerged as a thorny political issue.

Thrust into the forefront of electoral issues in recent weeks, questions regarding the state of the British armed forces in the face of ongoing fiscal cutbacks have prompted concerns from Britain’s leading ally, the U.S., as to whether the two militaries will be able to fight side by side in the future. Meanwhile, the U.K. House of Commons Defense Committee just published a report stating that the most recent defense strategy document has become a relic in the face of Russian recidivism and Moscow’s aggressive stance toward Europe.

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Operational Awareness Technology – A $215 Million USAF Project to Improve Threat Intelligence

by Greg Giaquinto, Forecast International.

The U.S. Air Force’s Operational Awareness Technology project is a multifaceted effort that will continue to be supported by the defense budget even in the face of pressures to lower costs. FI is projecting that the Air Force will allocate around $215 million toward this project over the next 10 years, with some $39 million to be spent from FY15 through FY16 alone. Driving these expenditures is the Air Force’s push for a network-centric, collaborative intelligence analysis capability.

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Britain’s Trident Nuclear Deterrent Replacement Program is a Political, Financial Headache

by Dan Darling, Forecast International.

HMS Vengeance SSBN

HMS Vengeance SSBN

With an election just two months away and funding pressures bearing down on its budget, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has topped up spending on the assessment phase for a new class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile (SSBN) submarines for the Royal Navy. The funding allocation comes amidst the backdrop of campaign politics and mounting concerns over the long-term trajectory of Britain’s defense spending.

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