As Fighter Pressures Mount, Bulgaria Seeks Offer from Boeing for Super Hornet

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

F/A-18 Super Hornet

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

Greece Aims for F-16 Upgrade, but F-35 Plans Remain a Pipe Dream

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

F-16V
Source: Lockheed Martin

The Hellenic Defense Ministry announced on February 7 that Greece intends to move forward on an upgrade to its large inventory of F-16C/D combat aircraft and begin exploring a future purchase of the new-generation F-35 from the U.S.

The first project represents a much-needed focus on deteriorating Greek military capabilities in the air-sea domain, while the second remains an over-the-horizon dream nowhere remotely near Athens’ current fiscal reality. Continue reading

Shifts and Changes in Line-Up of T-X Contenders

by Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

US Air Force T-38 Talon Trainer

The U.S. Air Force’s T-X advanced trainer program is one of the biggest prizes in the military aircraft market in the near future.  This is due to the scale of the program itself:  under the program, the Air Force intends to buy 350 advanced jet trainers to replace its fleet of Northrop T-38Cs.  In addition, the winning T-X aircraft will be in a position to become perhaps the leading competitor in the future global market for advanced jet trainers. Continue reading

Poland’s Legislature Backs 2017 Defense Earmark

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

Flag of Poland

Poland’s defense allocation for fiscal year 2017 received approval from the country’s highest legislative body on January 4. The defense oversight element, the Senate National Defense Commission, remarked positively on the planned PLN37.152 billion ($9 billion) military budget, which represents a 3.4 percent year-on-year nominal increase from 2016. Continue reading

Indian Navy’s Quest for New Minehunters Mired on Shoals of Indigenization Pressures

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

Kangnam mine countermeasures vessel

The Indian Navy’s long-standing quest for a new-build, modern class of mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) continues to flounder amid government demands regarding technology transfer and indigenization. A $5 billion project to build 12 MCMVs through state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd is currently stalled as South Korea’s Kangnam Corporation balks at the Indian Ministry of Defence requirement for transfer of complete intellectual property rights of the ships. Continue reading

Estonia Earmarks 2.2 Percent of GDP for Defense under 2017 Budget

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

Flag of Estonia

Under the Estonian government’s 2017 budget, recently has passed by the Parliament, topline defense spending will reach a record high. The FY17 state budget will see government expenditures climb by 7.6 percent year-on-year, with defense receiving a 5.8 percent boost to bring military spending up to EUR477 million ($498 million). More importantly, the uptick in military-related spending will increase the defense budget to 2.2 percent of GDP – above the symbolic 2 percent of GDP minimum threshold required of its members by the NATO Alliance.  Continue reading

Cash-Strapped Serbia Eyes Russian Military Hardware – But Its Future Lies Westward

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

Flag of Serbia

Flag of Serbia

The much-neglected Serbian armed forces are in need of an equipment overhaul, and the government is betting on Russia to be its provider. The two countries have a centuries-old friendship rooted in ethnic, religious, and political ties. More importantly, Russia has stood in Serbia’s corner over such issues as the 1999 Kosovo War between the Serbia-led Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and NATO and the postwar declaration of independence by the Kosovar Albanian government in February 2008. Continue reading

Poland Opts to Scrap Multibillion-Dollar Caracal Utility Helicopter Procurement

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

Airbus Helicopters H225M

Airbus Helicopters H225M

After many months of speculation, Poland’s center-right Law & Justice (PiS) government has at long last opted to forgo further negotiations with Airbus regarding a PLN13.5 billion ($3.5 billion) deal to purchase 50 H225M Caracal medium-lift utility helicopters. The PiS government inherited the negotiations from its predecessor, the centrist Civic Platform (PO) government.

Continue reading

As Combat Aircraft Fleet Atrophies, Sri Lanka Seeks New Fighters

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

Kfir fighter

Kfir fighter

A single Israeli-built Kfir fighter was purchased in 1995. That lone aircraft represents all that remains of Sri Lanka’s operational jet fighter fleet. After a 26-year war against Tamil Tiger insurgents and a failed $400 million bid last summer to purchase eight JF-17s from Pakistan (the failure stemming in part from Indian diplomatic intervention against the deal), Sri Lanka’s Air Force finds itself in a desperate situation as it seeks to protect the national airspace and claims to the offshore exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Continue reading

We Should Never Have . . .

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

CVN-78 aircraft carrier

USS Gerald R Ford is the latest U.S. aircraft carrier Source: U.S. Navy

Sea-Air-Space Symposium, Washington One of the topics that invariably comes up at a meeting of naval-oriented people concerns the iniquities of the past wherein ships that were supposedly the perfect solutions to the requirements of the time were scrapped, allegedly to “save money.”  Those of the aviation persuasion add in their pleas on behalf of aircraft that were once in service but are now relegated to museums.  So, why were these alleged paragons of virtue removed from service and scrapped? Continue reading