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January 25, 2008

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Gaza Exodus in Reverse: Events Threatening Repercussions on Egypt's Future
The Gaza exodus is not only about the humanitarian crisis. The well planned campaign already provided Hamas with strategic gains. While thousands of Gazans spilled over into Egypt, Hamas military used the confusion to seize Egypt's strategic deep water port of Rafah on the Gaza Mediterranean coast. The Egyptian border police redeployed to a new line, covering El Arish, Bir Lahfan and Abu Agheila. More countries could also be at risk, as the crisis could spill over exciting Moslem uprising.

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Boeing, Lockheed Martin Team to Study the Next generation USAF Bomber

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] today announced they will team to study and develop technologies for the anticipated U.S. Air Force Next Generation Bomber program. The collaboration will cover development of advanced sensors and future electronic warfare solutions, network enabled battle management, command and control, and virtual warfare simulation and experimentation. In the past the two companies teamed for several high profile programs including the F-22 Raptor and Small Diameter Bomb Increment II.

US Forces Suffer Fatality in the new MRAP

The New York Times reports on the first fatality inflicted by a roadside bomb on a newly arrived Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) armored vehicle; these vehicles were recently deployed to Iraq in an effort to improve the protection of US patrols in the country. The crew, part of a combat-engineer unit, suffered one fatality (the gunner) and three injuries from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack. While the unfortunate incident is a first fatality involving the MRAP in Iraq, previous attacks that took place in 2007, aimed at equally protected Buffalo and RG-31 vehicles resulted in several fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Israeli Satellite Successfully Launched by an Indian Missile

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced today the successful launch of the TECSAR satellite carrying a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) developed by its subsidiary Elta Systems. The satellite was launched on January 21, 2008 at 03:45 GMT from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, SHAR, Sriharikota in southwest India on a PSLV-C10 satellite launcher.

First Locally Modified Boeing 737 Wedgetail AEW Aircraft Flys in Australia

On January 23, 2008 the Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has conducted a successful functional check flight of Wedgetail Aircraft #3, the first 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft modified by Boeing Australia Limited at Amberley. The modifications performed including the installation and checkout of an advanced Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) antenna, ventral fins and mission system equipment. The aircraft is one six aircraft included in the Australian Air Force Wedgetail Project. The airplane is equipped with an extensive communications suite and aerial refueling capability. It's electronic architecture is based on an open system, easily accommodating future upgrades. Boeing is expecting to deliver the first two Wedgetail aircraft in March 2009 and the remaining four aircraft by the end of 2009.

Israel Tests a New Propulsion System for a Jericho III 4,000 km Missile

Israel carried out a missile test on Thursday, January 18, 2008. In contrast to being illusive on providing information on such tests, Israel's Defense Ministry confirmed the launch explaining it was a successful test of a new rocket propulsion system coupled with a test missile. MOD sources added that following the test, the system could now be integrated with different missiles. Various news sources indicated the missile being tested was the Jericho III, capable of attacking ground targets at a range beyond 4,000 km.

Field Testing of SUGV, MAV Could Lead to Early Fielding of FCS Components

The U.S. Army has accelerated testing of two Future Combat Systems (FCS) robotic prototypes, based on positive feedback from soldiers who are using early versions of the systems in with current forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through the next six months the FCS Lead System Integrator team will deliver 25 iRobot Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) units, and 11 Class I (Block 0) Honeywell Miniature Aerial Vehicles (MAVs), for field testing by the Army Evaluation Task Force at Fort Bliss. Following the operational test, scheduled for September 2008the Army will decide whether to field an early version of the robots or continue their development under the core FCS program.

Lockheed martin details a new version of the F-16, Proposed to India

Lockheed Martin introduced an F-16IN version, competing for India's Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) program. The aircraft is likely to be equipped with an AESA radar, (The Falcon has already integrated an AESA – the AN/APG-80 used with 80 F-16 Block 60 destined for the UAE). The new export version of the Advanced F-16 will receive an Infra-Red Search & Track sensor, aiding the pilot in passive, long range target acquisition during air/air combat. According to Lockheed martin, the aircraft will be fitted with life saving system that would be automatically used in states of emergency, assuming control of the plane in situations where the aircraft runs out of control. As the production line of the F-16 is expected to end in next decade, Lockheed Martin is inclined to set up an assembly line in India in collaboration with Indian partners.

Canada Orders 17 C-130Js for $1.4 Billion

The Canadian Ministry of Defense selected the C-130J as the future transport aircraft of the Canadian Air Force. Contract negotiations began last year after the selection was announced in November 2006. Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay announced the US$1.4 billion (C$1.428 billion) contract award on January 16, 2008, for the supply of of 17 tactical transport planes by Lockheed Martin. Earlier reports mentioned much higher costs for the program, assuming C$3.2 billion to be spent on procurement and additional C$1.7 billion for life cycle support. The C-130J will replace C-130 Hercules aircraft currently in service. Initial deliveries are expected within 24 months, by 2010.

SOCOM Funds a Defensive Weapon for the Osprey

CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft will soon receive an interim all-quadrant defensive weapon system based on the Remote Guardian System (RGS) unveiled by BAE Systems during the Modern Day Marine expo in 2007. The company will develop, test and qualify the system under a U.S. Special Operations Command $491,000 contract. Follow-on deliveries of RGS to the CV-22 fleet will follow, under a $16.3 million growth option. The belly-mounted remotely controlled weapon system will provide defensive fire protection to all quadrants of the aircraft throughout the flight envelope, particularly during landing approach and egress from a hot landing zone.

New Hyper-spectral Sensor Automatically Finds Targets over a Wide Area

The US Army is fielding a new hyper-spectral sensor developed by BAE Systems. The payload can automatically detect and identify targets over a wide area, utilizing hyperspectral imaging. The stabilized payload is designed for operation by low- and medium altitude UAVs supporting payload capacity of about 35 kg. It is currently integrated on the AAI RQ-7 Shadow operated by the US Army.

First Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon Takes Off

The first Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon has made its first flight at EADS Military Air Systems' site in Manching, piloted by EADS Test Pilot Chris Worning. 32 aircraft are already in final assembly with initial deliveries scheduled for summer 2008 to the RAF.

Datalink Enhanced TARS Recce System Demonstrates Real-Time Advantage

BAE Systems has demonstrated a data-link enhancement for the Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System (TARS) enabling recce aircraft to transmit images over long distances, for near-real-time analysis by image analysts. The two-way datalink enables the pilot to receive mission updates while airborne.

Lockheed Martin to Upgrade Brazilian Submarines

Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors will modernize the combat information system of the Brazilian Navy’s Tupi Class Submarines. The company was awarded US$35 million contract by the US Navy, for the project, to be managed under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The modernization effort of the four locally built submarines will include improvements for the sonar systems and flank arrays. Brazil's Tupi submarines are based on German design and are equipped with a CSU-83/1 from Atlas Elektronik and a separate intercept sonar. The work is expected to be completed by Jun. 2011.

RAF Upgrades Tornados, Harriers with Aerial Datalinks

The RAF will upgrade its strike aircraft installing secure communications and datalinks in Tornado GR4 and Harrier GR9s. The British Ministry of Defense announced the two programs this week (January 14, 2008) at a cost of about £350 million.

U.S. Offers JDAMs to Saudi Arabia

The U.S. is proposing to sell to Saudi Arabia 900 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) kits, as part of a $123 million sale. The weapons are expected to be deployed with the kingdom's F-15S fighter strike aircraft.

Moscow: Fifth Missile Regiment to Get SS-27 Topol ICBM

Fielding of mobile Topol-M missiles continue with the planned delivery of Topol and Topol-M (NATO reporting name SS-27) Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) to the fifth strategic missile regiment operating under the Tatishchevo strategic missile division.

With the new regiment the number of operational regiments equipped with the Topol M to eight. In a parallel move, Russian Navy submarines will get the naval version known as RSM-56 Bulava-M, (NATO Reporting name SS-NX-30) currently undergoing flight testing. The first submarine of the Borei series, Yury Dolgoruky, is expected to join the Navy in 2008. Russia has also made a decision to start serial production of the Bulava-M missile, following a successful test launch in late June.

Mississippi State University to Develop Portable Fuel-Cell Battery with Ultralife

The Mississippi State University (MSU) will develop a portable power system to support long endurance military applications. The development is funded by a $1.6 million program awarded by a U.S. Defense Department. MSU established a 'technology partnership' with Ultralife (NASDAQ: ULBI) for the development, awarding the company $475,000 contract to participate in this program as a subcontractor.

'Some' F-15s are Cleared to Resume Flying

Air Combat Command officials cleared a portion of the F-15 Eagle A through D model aircraft Jan. 9 for flying status and recommended a limited return to flight for Air Force units worldwide following engineering risk assessments and data received from multiple fleet-wide inspections. The aircraft were grounded for several months, after catastrophic structural failure caused an Air national Guard F-15C to break apart and crash on a training mission. After inspecting over 90% of the F-15A-D fleet, cracks similar to those found in the crashed aircraft were detected in nine aircraft.

BAE Systems' RG-33 Selected for US Army MMPV

BAE Systems has been selected by the U.S. Army to be the sole producer of the new Medium Mine Protected Vehicle (MMPV), and has been awarded an initial $20 million delivery order under the $2.288 billion MMPV program. The MMPV contract envisions production of up to 2,500 vehicles for use by U.S. Army Engineers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams through 2015.

Northrop Grumman Leads an Industry Team Pursuing Army ACS

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC - News) announced today that it will lead a team to compete for the U.S. Army's Aerial Common Sensor (ACS), an airborne platform that will provide the warfighter with actionable intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition capability. Northrop will serve as prime contractor and overall systems integrator for ACS. Other team members include AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems Corporation; General Dynamics C-4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz.; and L-3 Communications Corp., New York.

General Atomics Team with Sener, Promoting Predator in Spain

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is teaming with SENER Ingeniería y Sistemas, S.A., a leading Spanish engineering, consulting and systems integration company, to promote GA-ASI's Predator Unmanned Aerial Systems meeting Spain’s airborne surveillance and reconnaissance requirements.

Northrop Grumman to Lead JLTV Team with Oshkosh Truck Corp.

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and Oshkosh Truck Corporation (NYSE: OSK) have teamed to compete for the U.S. military’s next-generation family of lightweight vehicles. According to the teaming agreement, if selected, the prime contractor for the program will be Northrop Grumman's Mission. Oshkosh Truck’s Defense Group will be responsible for designing, engineering and manufacturing the vehicle. Other bidders planning to compete on Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) include the Boeing-Textron Systems team, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems Mobility & Protection Systems, General Dynamics and AM General (the GTV team) and BAE Systems and International Military and Government company.

ArmorWorks Delivers Vehicle Armor To Protect Canadian Troops

ArmorWorks announced the early completion and delivery of a production contract to deliver lightweight vehicle armor to Canadian special operations forces. The kits are of the same type of advanced armor protection used by U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The advanced armor provides advanced ballistic protection against small arms fire, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and mines.

ATK, ADG (Mecar) team to Modernize Stocks of Aging Tank Ammo

Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) and Allied Defense Group, Inc. (AMEX:ADG are teaming to modernize tank ammunition introducing Insensitive Munition (IM) based propellants and explosives. The team will initially focus on propellant replacement for aging tank rounds, produced in the 1980s, as they reach their 20 year shelf life limit. The introduction of IM has been mandatory in Europe, and will improve safety of ammunition in storage and during transportation, improve the mobility of supplies, both on land and at sea, and improve safety and survivability of armored vehicles carrying the ammunition.

American Airlines, BAE Systems to test the JETEYE on Passenger Aircraft

BAE Systems has received a $29 million award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to test an infrared aircraft missile defense system on passenger aircraft. The tests will evaluate the system’s compatibility with daily passenger airline operations and maintenance.

United Kingdom - MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Aircraft

The British Royal Air Force is planning to increase its UAV unit with ten additional MQ-9 Predator B unmanned aerial system. RAF No 39 Squadron operating the unmanned aircraft began operations in Afghanistan by fall 2007. The potential value of the acquisition could be over US$1 billion. The planned delivery will include 10 unmanned aircraft, five ground control stations and three Satellite Earth Terminal Sub Stations (SETSS), nine payload sets comprising EO payloads (Raytheon MTS-B) and SAR radars (General Atomics AN/APY-8 Lynx). The potential sale was reported to the US Congress by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. No delivery date was provided.

US Sells TOW Missiles, Guided Weapons for Persian Gulf States

Missiles Arms sales rally continues in the Persian Gulf, this week, sales of advanced versions of the TOW missiles to Kuwait and various aerial weapons to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were reported by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Israeli Infantry Battalions to Improve Fire Support

The Israeli Army is planning to complete the fielding of CARDOM mortar systems with its regular infantry brigades this year (2008). The CARDOM version selected by the IDF is a more advanced version of the vehicle mounted 120mm mortar system developed by Soltam, and fielded with the US Army Stryker brigade combat teams. The Israeli version designated "Keshet" is fully integrated with brigade's command and control system, enabling automatic mortar aiming, (traversing and elevation) to rapidly target targets with high precision.

Saudi Arabia Orders Three A330 Tankers

The Royal Saudi Air Force will acquire three aerial tankers from EADS' Airbus company. According to EADS America, the Saudis are buying the Multi-Role Tanker/Transport (MRTT), based on the A330 airframe, similar to the version currently being completed for the Royal Australian Air Force. Each aircraft will be equipped with EADS' centerline-mounted advanced Air Refueling Boom System (ARBS) and a pair of underwing hose and drogue refueling pods. A similar configuration is proposed for the Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker competing for the U.S. Air Force KC-135 replacement competition. A330 MRTTs were also selected by Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Air Forces of Canada and Germany are already using tankers based on the Airbus A310 aircraft.

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