The U.S. Defense Department reports that Saudi Arabia has ordered the modification of two Beechcraft King Air 350 planes to fulfill an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance role through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) action. Under the $23.8 million award (FA8620-16-C-4003), Sierra Nevada of Hagerstown, Maryland, will act as the prime contractor. Continue reading
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
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
The U.S. Air Force is finally getting a new helicopter to replace its aging UH-1N Huey fleet. The venerable Huey will be replaced by the MH-139, a militarized version of the AW139, being built by a team of Boeing and Leonardo. The UH-1Ns primarily provide ballistic missile base security but also perform VIP transport and search-and-rescue operations. Continue reading
U.S. House and Senate lawmakers completed the conference markup of the FY19 defense authorization bill on July 23. The defense policy bill adheres to the spending levels agreed upon in the bipartisan budget act, providing a defense base budget of $639.1 billion. That figure comprises $616.9 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Defense, $21.9 billion for nuclear programs in the Department of Energy, and around $300 million for defense-related activities outside the DoD. Another $69 billion is provided for Overseas Contingency Operations, for a total of $708.1 billion in discretionary defense spending. When including $8.9 billion in mandatory spending, the FY19 topline authorized in the legislation totals $717 billion. The separate congressional appropriations process will finalize how much money the military actually has available to spend in FY19.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is poised for a boost in 2019, as two U.S. congressional defense panels have signed off on additional aircraft for the Department of Defense. Precisely how many additional aircraft each service will receive must be ironed out in conference committee. This plus-up contrasts with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, both of which expressed concern about the F-35 production ramp-up. Continue reading
Lockheed Martin formally delivered Turkey’s first two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters on June 21. However, the milestone occurred amidst various moves within the U.S. Congress aimed at blocking further deliveries of the new fighter to that country.
On March 15, 2018, four Central Asian leaders met at an important summit in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to discuss regional issues ranging from economic to environmental to security concerns. The summit featured the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, and marked a significant moment for the region, as Uzbekistan, after years of strained relations, has worked under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to improve his country’s ties with the other Central Asian states. Continue reading
The document detailing the new Russian State Armaments Program (SAP), covering the years 2018 to 2027, has been signed, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, who spoke to Kommersant in an interview in late February. In this timeframe, Russia will spend over $300 billion on the procurement of new military hardware as part of an effort to equip its forces with modern systems. Continue reading
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