Newscast: August 3, 2007

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Recent News Analysis:

  • A New Weapons Bonanza Rocks the Middle East
    It will probably become the largest arms deal in the history of the volatile Middle East: Advanced US weapons systems worth a total of about $40 billion will be sold over the next 15 years to America's allies in the region. Washington's main objective seems to create a strategic military balance vis-à-vis the rise of Russia's supported Iran, while curbing the erosion in the Bush administration's regional standing – which may escalate further following a withdrawal from Iraq, in a down-scaling military presence process, inflaming an already highly tension-filled region.
  • Was Damascus Meeting Preparation for Shrewd Anti-Siniora Coup?
    Hezbollah is attempting in vain, at least sofar, to bring down the Government of Lebanon, at the behest of its allies, Syria and Iran. The assassination of Industry Minister, Pierre Gemayel, a Maronite Christian, on 21 November 2006, added boost to the story, the general assumption being that this act was prelude of an ongoing "coup" action plan

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USMC Systems Command Releases MRAP II Solicitation

As enemy threats to warfighters evolve, the technology used to protect the troops in the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) is evolving as well. Last week the US Marine Corps released a solicitation to the industry, asking for proposals for even more capable MRAPs. Currently, more than 5,690 MRAPs have been ordered. About 210 vehicles are already operational in theater. The new vehicle is required to offer higher protection than the current models, particularly from advanced threats. Furthermore, the new solicitation is designed to provide the Joint Program Management Office with flexibility increasing production capability and providing vehicles with enhance protection and performance to meet future near-term requirements.


 

RAFAEL Unveils Trophy Retrofit Integrated into Merkava Mk 4

Israel's Merkava Mk4 tanks will soon mount the Trophy Active Protection System (APS). Following a slow process that almost killed the program prior to the 2006 Lebanon War, the Israeli Ministry of Defense funded the trophy's integration with current Merkava Mk4 tanks as a retrofit. An APS will also be integrated into the Merkava based Namer Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV), scheduled for delivery next year.


Northrop Grumman to Build an Unmanned Combat Aircraft for the US Navy

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) won a $635 million US Navy contract to build a Carrier-based (CV) Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration vehicle (UCAS-D). The program will mature critical carrier suitability technologies for future low observable unmanned combat platforms. Once proving these capabilities, the Navy is expected to launch a full scale development of a future UCAV, which could be fielded by 2018.


Two USAF Predator UAVs lost in Two days

The US Air Force lost two Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the past two nights, when operating from Balad airbase in central Iraq. The first Predator crashed near the end of the runway at Balad, while landing at approximately 11 p.m. local time, on Monday night (July 30, 2007). The second Predator crashed off base on the early evening of Tuesday (July 31, 2007). According to the official US Air Force report, in both incidents hostile activity does not appear to be a factor in either crash.



British Army Evaluates Boxer, VBCI and Pirhana FRES UVV

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) program office is conducting evaluation trials of three wheeled armored vehicles considered for the FRES Utility Vehicle role. The Boxer, Piranha and VBCI are put through their paces at the Bovington training area as part of trials for a FRES Utility Vehicle Variant (UVV). Based on these trials the Army will decide on the winning design to be used with the future program. The FRES program will equip the UK Armed Forces with over 3,000 new medium weight armored, air-transportable vehicles configured for reconnaissance, direct fire, and maneuver support roles.



Italian Air Force Recieves its First Block 5 Enhanced Typhoon

The first of the five block 5 Eurofighter Typhoons ordered for the Italian Air Force has entered into service. All five aircraft will be delivered this year, as part of 29 aircraft tranche 1 production series, envisaged for the Italian Air Force. The new Block 5 Typhoon representing the final standard of the tranche 1 introduces several new systems, including the Pirate infra-red search and track (IRST) system, full integration of the latest air/air missiles, an instrumented landing system, enhanced radar operating modes, in-flight simulation capability utilizing 'virtual weapons' and more.


 

6.3 billions in Multiyear Awards Complete Funding for 183 Raptors

The US Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) $5 billion the continued production of three lots of F-22 Raptor air dominance fighters, beginning late 2008 through the end of 2011. The current award brings the total multi-year F-22 contract value to $7.3 billion and extends the production of the aircraft through the year 2011, when the USAF F-22 fleet will reach the 183 aircraft level recommended by the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review. The U.S. government previously awarded $2.3 billion of the contract to buy long lead- time parts and maintain continuous manufacturing flow. The air force also awarded a $1.3 billion multiyear contract to Pratt & Whitney to produce the Raptor's F119 engines.


 

Ceradyne, I3 and Oshkosh Team to run the Bull for MRAP

Ceradyne (NASDAQ:CRDN) and Ideal Innovations (I3) are teaming with Oshkosh Truck Corp. (NYSE:OSK) to provide a truck chassis for the Bull armored vehicle. Ceradyne and I3 developed the Bull addressing the more demanding protection requirements tto be addressed by MRAP II vehicles. With its main competitors, International Engines and Trucks and Armor Holding's Stewart & Stevenson contracted to produce hundreds of MRAPs, Oshkosh was left behind with a relatively small involvement in one of the Pentagon's largest acquisition programs in recent years. The new teaming will enable the Oshkosh to regain a major role in the next phase of the program, offering a mature platform and large production capacities.

Army Launches a Mobile High Energy Laser Weapon Demonstrator

Boeing [NYSE: BA] won a $7 million US Army contract to design key elements for a truck mounted High Energy Laser (HEL) that will demonstrate the capability to destroy rockets, artillery shells and mortar rounds. The Army US Army Space and Missile Defense Command has yet to announce its selection of the Solid State Laser provider for the program. Boeing's share of the program could increase up to $50 million if both phase I and II options are exercised. The Army US Army Space and Missile Defense Command has yet to announce its selection of the Solid State Laser provider for the program.


 

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