Gulf Allies See Friend in Trump Administration

by Derek Bisaccio, Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud walk along the West Colonnade of the White House in March 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s first 100 days saw a flurry of activity on both the domestic and foreign fronts as the new president seeks to address what he sees as the policy shortcomings of his predecessor and enact the pledges he made on the campaign trail. These efforts have at times prompted bipartisan support while at other times drawn fierce condemnation from the opposition Democratic Party and even his own Republican Party. Continue reading

Sale of PTDS Aerostat to Saudi Arabia Could Lead to Sales of ZPY-1 STARLite Radar

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

ZPY-1 STARLite Radar. Source: Northrop Grumman

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on January 23 that the State Department had approved a possible sale to Saudi Arabia of model 74K Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) aerostats and related equipment.  The contract would carry an estimated value of $525 million. Continue reading

Antonov Becomes Cornerstone of New Ukrainian Aircraft Corp

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

Antonov An-32

Antonov An-32 (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

Under the aegis of Ukraine’s state-owned defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom, Antonov is rapidly becoming the focal point of the country’s aviation industry.

The new ownership has not been idle with its acquisition. In June 2016, Ukroboronprom consolidated its aerospace holdings into a new Ukrainian Aircraft Corp centered on Antonov.  This new group is aimed at helping the nation’s aviation industry to develop and to integrate into the global market.  Further, the cluster will also help reduce redundancy in production, planning, procurement and marketing among its various operations.  Perhaps most importantly, the formation of this corporation will help Ukraine sever ties with Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. Continue reading

Forecast Roundtable, #3

Featuring Forecast International analysts Doug Royce, Derek Bisaccio and Daniel Darling. Edited by Matthew Beres.

2podcast logoWelcome to the third episode of the Forecast Roundtable podcast. Each podcast features several analysts discussing various aerospace and defense-related issues.

This week Doug Royce continues the interviews of Derek Bisaccio and Daniel Darling regarding Middle East defense cooperation and military acquisition. Matthew Beres edited.

Click the button below to download the podcast.

PodcastButton100:50 – What’s happening with defense budgets in the region now that oil prices are going down?

02:25 – How does Israel feel about the defense buildup that’s happening in the GCC?

04:27 – F-35 comments

04:32 – Israel and Turkey’s Relationship

10:22 – Defense trade between the Arab world and China. Will China be a future competitor for the U.S. and European companies?

12:05 – Will the future see greater reliance on China as an arms supplier to GCC countries?



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Forecast Roundtable, Podcast Episode 2

By Matthew Beres and Bill Ostrove, Forecast International.

2podcast logo

Welcome to Forecast International’s second episode of the Forecast Roundtable podcast. Each podcast features several analysts discussing various aerospace and defense-related issues. Continue reading

Could Saudi Arabia Be the First International EMARSS Customer?

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Artist’s rendering of the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System now under development. (Photo by U.S. Army PEO IEWS)

Artist’s rendering of the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS). (Photo by U.S. Army PEO IEWS)

On April 1, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the sale of two King Air 350ERs to Saudi Arabia. Typically, that would not be a very noteworthy occurrence, but this particular contract was awarded to Sierra Nevada of Hagerstown, Maryland, a significant provider of defense electronics and a partner with the U.S. Army on a high-profile King Air 350 program. Continue reading

Will Saudi Executions Affect LAV Purchase?

By Derek Bisaccio, Middle East Analyst, Forecast International.

Canadian LAV IIIs on Patrol in Afghanistan. Source: Canadian Forces

Canadian LAV IIIs on Patrol in Afghanistan. Source: Canadian Forces

On January 2, Saudi Arabia carried out the execution of 47 people on terrorism charges. Among those executed was Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent figure in anti-government protests. Al-Nimr was convicted in October 2014 for sedition and illegal possession of weapons. He denied having advocated for violence and rejected that he had any weapons, but even so, a Saudi court upheld his death sentence. Continue reading

Challenges Face Upcoming Syria Negotiations

By Derek Bisaccio, Eurasia Analyst, Forecast International.

kataib thuwar al-sham tank

Kataib Thuwar al-Sham Tank Engaging IS Forces Near Talalin in Northern Aleppo, August 2015

On December 18, the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) – composed of top players with stakes in the Syrian conflict – will meet in New York City to discuss the war and efforts at peace negotiations. They are due to formally codify the framework reached in Vienna last month, which, among other provisions, “agreed on the need to convene Syrian government and opposition representatives in formal negotiations under UN auspices, as soon as possible, with a target date of January 1.”[i] Continue reading

Yemen to Request GCC Membership

By Nicole Auger, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

2000px-Flag_of_Yemen.svgYemen will make a formal request to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to a government spokesman. Yemeni leaders will present the plan for membership in Saudi Arabia this month.

Yemen has long sought greater integration with – and eventual accession into – the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.  The six GCC states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – remain divided over Yemen’s request for membership, with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia consistently vetoing Yemen’s entry into the council.  Worries over Yemen’s domestic climate (tribal culture rife with infighting), poor economy, rapidly growing population burdened with high unemployment, loose borders used for trafficking weapons and militants, and fledgling democratic structures (potential threats to the authoritarian sheikdoms) make GCC members hesitant to proffer membership in their group anytime soon.

Continue reading