Opposition on the rise in Iran
While no definite proof has surfaced over any direct, or indirect
involvement of American intelligence agencies in the latest
bombing in Zahedan, the US should certainly be interested
inflaming ethnic and political opposition inside Iran.
America Losing its Strategic Hold on Central Asia?
Over the past two years, US relations with former Soviet Central
Asia nations have collapsed. For the United States be able
to rapidly deploy troops or have theater strike capability
in the future, America will need new Central Asian allies
Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESLT) introducing at AUSA Winter
the Versatile, Intelligent, Portable Robot (VIPeR), the newest
member of its unmanned systems family. The new robot is displayed
at the company's booth at the USA Winter Symposium and Exhibition.
VIPeR™ was developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
within the framework of its Portable Unmanned Ground Vehicle
(PUGV) program, and in close cooperation with The Israeli Ministry
of Defense’s Directorate of Defense R&D (DDR&D).
Following operational evaluation, the IDF plans on fielding
VIPeR in its infantry platoons.
The US Air Force began integration testing of the F-22A
Raptor and the GBU-39/B Small-Diameter
Bomb (SDB). Testing is conducted since February 2007 by
the 411th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB. TheSDB weapon
is a low-cost, stand-off precision strike weapon, capable of
flying autonomously. Integrating the F-22's stealth and speed
and the weapon's autonomy enables pilots to strike targets at
a stand-off distance of up to 60 nautical miles (111 km).
Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) unveiled today two guided missiles
designated to improve and fill capability gaps experienced by
the current force. One system, called DAGR
will engage targets at very short range, in urban setting while
the P-44 will
strike at point targets from 70 kilometers away. The two systems
are designed to integrate within the current forces. DAGR is
designed for operation from systems currently using the Hellfire,
such as attack helicopters and weaponized
unmanned aerial systems, while th eP44 missile is designed
for deployment with HIMARS and MLRS rocket launchers.
Another Israeli developed IED, mine and ambush protected system
was unveiled today, with the introduction of International Trucks'
MRAP Category I vehicle, developed by International Trucks and
Plasan for the US Marine Corps' MRAP program. In January International
was awarded an initial contract to supply four test vehicles.
Collaboration with Plasan provided International Trucks with
the armor suite designed to meet the MRAP specifications, offering
resistance to mines and IEDs. International plans to assemble
the armor kits at its armor integration center in Mississippi.
BAE Systems is also expected to show two configurations of its
RG33 - the 4x4
and 6x6 vehicles, which have already entered production for
the MRAP program.
Australia decided to acquire 24 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet
multi role aircraft to close a potential air combat capability
gap that could have opened in 2010, when current F-111 are retired
and 2015, when JSF fighters
are expected to be fully operational in Australia. A dozen Super
Hornets will be delivered starting in 2009. The remaining twelve
will be delivered in 2011. Full Operational Capability is expected
to be achieved by the end of 2012, including full indigenous
training, EW support, logistics and full deployment capability.
Minster for Defence Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP at the announcement
of the acquisition by Australia of 24 F/A-18F Block II Super
Hornet multi-role aircraft at RAAF Base Fairbairn. (Photo: Australian
The tank is not dead. In its annual analysis “The Market
for Tanks,” the Forecast International (FI) Weapons Group
projects that the international market will produce over 7,600
new main battle tanks, worth in excess of $31.5 billion, through
2016. Significant spending is also directed to retrofits and
The Republic of Korea is planning to field new XK2 tanks in
2011, gradually replacing the K1 tanks current in service. ADD
is one of two finalists competing for a Turkish main battle
tank acquisition tender, where it is competing against a version
of the French Leclerc tank
offered by GIAT. Given traditionally stressed relations between
Turkey and France, Korea's chances to win the program are considerably
high. Turkey plans to select one of its domestic companies to
lead the next-generation tank project in the spring of 2007.
According to ADD officials, as the tank enters production in
2009, it is expected to cost about 8.3 billion won (US$7.9 million)
Recent new contracts from the US Army and Sweden have helped
BAE Systems Land Systems OMC achieve record growth. “Since
BAE Systems purchased a major share in the company in 2004,
Land Systems South Africa’s annual turnover has quadrupled
from 300 million Rand (US$40.6 million) to over 1.2 billion
Rand ($120 million) in 2006." said Johan Steyn, managing
director of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa.
Force Protection was awarded $16.2 million US Navy contract
to supply 19 Buffalo mine-resistant, route clearance (EOD) vehicle
to be used for convoy operations in Iraq. The company is expected
to deliver the vehicles to the US Marines by September 2007.
US Army tank crews will soon be able to 'watch their back'
using new rear-view cameras to be delivered by BAE Systems.
The Driver’s Rear View Camera (DRVC) system uses a thermal
imager to monitor the area behind the tank day, night and through
dust and smoke. The system is part of the U.S. Army’s
Abrams Tank Urban Survivability
Kit, fits into taillight housings common to more than 200,000
Export control systems should be modernized to improve performance
and competitiveness in the world defense markets by implementing
a modern system that will be more efficient, predictable and
transparent. In an open letter to President George W. Bush,
the newly formed Coalition for Security and Competitiveness
outlined several proposals to modernize the export regulation
process. The coalition recommended the implementation of more
efficient export control regulatory management, by identifying
and safeguarding the sensitive and militarily critical technologies
essential for US defense, facilitating defense trade and technological
exchange with allies and trusted partners, promote greater multilateral
cooperation on mutually agreed export control.
Arrowheads for US Army Apaches
Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] will supply 158 Arrowhead kits
for US Army AH-64 Apache helicopters, under a follow-on $311
million production contract awarded by the US Army. Final deliveries
are expected in December 2009. The first Arrowhead production
contract was awarded in 2003. Arrowhead, also known as Modernized
Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor
(M-TADS/PNVS) replaces the original sighting system developed
for these attack helicopters. Boeing [NYSE:
BA] completed the delivery of six AH-64D Apache Longbow multi-role
combat helicopters for the Kuwait Air Force. The helicopters
are part of a 16-aircraft order signed in 2002 between Kuwait's
Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense. The
delivery schedules for the remaining 10 aircraft and contract
details have not been announced.
Fields New Protective Neck Gear
The Army is fielding 430,000 new helmet pads, officially referred
to as Nape Pads, designed to better protect Soldiers' neck areas
from ballistic fragmentation. Shipment of the new protective
pads is already underway, according to the US Army. The neck
pad further complements the Army's continuously evolving 'system-of-systems'
based protection gear which includes the advanced combat helmet,
ballistic eyewear, hearing protection, fire resistant uniforms,
and integrated body armor
with enhanced small-arms protective inserts, deltoid auxiliary
protectors, and side-armor plates.
The French Army is planning to employ commercial-based WiMAX
system to support high capacity wireless data communications
(broadband connectivity) in support of deployed forces. The
system will support the transfer of classified information up
to the 'restricted' level, thus allowing direct access from
the field level to INTRADEF, the Intranet of the French Ministry