is Rearming for another round with Israel
Just over eight months since the Second Lebanon war ended,
Hezbollah leaders are already renewing their sabre rattling
rhetoric against Israel. Hezbollah has regained most of
its strength since the last summer with Israel and that
the rate of weapons smuggling has nearly doubled over the
past few weeks.
Straits come into Focus as Gulf Tension Mounts
The waters in the Arabian Gulf (or Persian Gulf), are highly
turbulent these days. The increasing presence of US naval
presence, and continued Iranian defiance of UN pressure
led Iran to raise the level of alert among its armed forces,
in anticipation of a possible attack. While potential nuclear
threat in the future is certainly a serious consideration,
Iran's domination of the strategic straits of Hurmoz is
the imminent threat.
Thales is integrating the AESA version of the RBE2 radar on
the Rafale and is planning to start flight testing soon, following
the conclusion of a series of flight tests on Mirage 2000 test-bed
aircraft. Series production start-up is scheduled for late 2010.
The plan addresses a roadmap recently outlined by the French
Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and the Rafale industry team,
to equip the French Air Force and Navy with Rafale fighters
upgraded with new sensors by 2012.
BAE Systems received an additional US$109 million award to
complete the design, development and integration of the Advanced
Gun System (AGS) weapon for the Zumwalt destroyer (DDG 1000).
Two years ago (In May 2005) the company (then, United Defense)
received $376 million to begin the development of the gun, a
fully automated, single barrel, 155-mm gun that will be capable
of firing guided, Long Range Land Attack Projectiles at land
targets, over the horizon.
Force Protection Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRPT)
received a third order from the Marine Corps Systems Command,
worth $480 million for the delivery of 1,000 Mine
Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. This is the
largest order received by Force Protection to date, representing
about 25% of the entire anticipated MRAP buy.
US Navy to
Explore Ionatron to Demonstrate Laser Guided Energy
The US Navy awarded Ionatron (NASDAQ: IOTN) about $10 million
cost-plus, fixed-fee contract for research, development and
demonstration of a transportable laser equipped vehicle which
will demonstrate Ionatron's laser
guided energy effects, and advanced ultra short pulsed laser.
Demonstrations will be completed by April 2009.
The US Air Force is embarking on the development of a future
transport aircraft to be manufactured from composite materials.
By October 2009, the Air Force plans to test fly the Advanced
Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA) - a new X-plane to be built
primarily from composite materials, featuring advanced structural
design and aerodynamics. The Air Force awarded two contracts
to Lockheed Martin and Aurora Flight Sciences, The Air Force
is expected for concept development (phase 1). Within 6 months,
AFRL will downselect the contractor for the program, to develop
and build the aircraft and conduct flight testing under a follow-on
$46 million (Phase 2) contract.
US Army Sends
XM110 Sniper Rifles to Afghanistan
The Army is deploying the XM110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System
(SASS) to Afghanistan, in thefirst combat deployment of the
new weapon. The rifle has several new features, the most prominent
being an improved rate of fire. Older rifles such as the M24
Sniper Weapon System are bolt-action weapons that require the
user to manually feed another round into the chamber after each
shot. The automatic firing capabilities of the SASS will decrease
lag time in between shots. The rifle has an improved flash suppressor
which significantly reduces blast signature and eliminates the
small cloud of dust that rises off the ground from the gases
emitted through the barrel, thus making locating snipers in
the field, even after they have fired a shot, difficult for
the enemy. (US
Boeing (NYSE:BA) and iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ:IRBT) are teaming
to design, develop and market 'SUGV Early' - a small unmanned
ground vehicle based on commercial subsystems designed for reconnaissance
and intelligence capabilities for military and civil applications.
Under the teaming agreement, Boeing will provide expertise in
systems integration, large volume production and global marketing
for the iRobot designed robots. Both companies will jointly
offer these commercial robots to all U.S. Department of Defense,
civil and international markets.
QinetiQ North America is strengthening its position n the
unmanned systems market with two acquisitions of robotics specialist
companies, acquired by the company's Foster-Miller, Inc. Both
of the acquired businesses are located at Pittsburgh: Automatika,
Inc., and Applied Perception, Inc. Boston based Foster-Miller
is the largest provider of man- transportable robots to the
Department of Defense and recently delivered its 1000th TALON
robot to the U.S. military in support of operations in Iraq
Ammunition Magazine for Future Combat Systems
General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products (GDATP) will
develop and demonstrate a lightweight ammunition magazine under
a $14 million awarded by Meggitt Defense Systems. It will be
compatible with existing and future ammunition for the Mounted
Combat System, a variant of the Future Combat Systems manned
ground vehicle family. The Mounted Combat System is one of eight
manned vehicles being developed for the Army's Future Combat
Systems program. Highly maneuverable, the MCS vehicle can deliver
rapid, precision fire on multiple targets and can provide direct
support to dismounted infantry in assaults, defeating bunkers
and breaching walls.
for Singapore, Finland and Switzerland
The US Air Force is exercising an option to acquire more AIM-9X
missiles for export. Raytheon Missile Systems was awarded about
$60 million modification to extend Lot 7 production with 230
additional advanced air/air AIM-9X missiles. These missiles
will be delivered to the US air force, and the air forces of
Finland, Singapore, and Switzerland.