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Newscast: December 7, 2007

Events / Calendar / News / Analysis / Defense Markets / Jobs

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Previous items published this month:

Recent News Analysis:

  • Russian Mediterranean Naval Build-Up Challenges NATO 6th Fleet Domination
    Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced sending a sortie of six Russian warships to the Mediterranean, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and the flagship Moskva a guided missile cruiser. This deployment further increases the strategic role of Russia's new naval buildup in the Eastern Mediterranean ports of Latakiya and Tartus in Syria. New!
  • Is Washington Losing the Gulf to Moscow?
    Internal rivalries and conflicts in the house of Saud have opened an unprecedented window of opportunity for Russia. Establishing closer strategic ties with Saudi Arabia and in other Persian Gulf countries brings Moscow closer to a region which played a strategic role in the security and stability of the USA and Europe.

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December 2007 - planned events

LIMA 2007 Dec 4-8, Langkawi, Malaysia
Military Airlift & Rapid Reaction Operations 2007 Dec 5-6, Rome, Italy
Directed Energy & Non-Lethal Weapons Dec 10-12, Arlington VA
Next Generation Materials for Defense Dec 10-12, Arlington VA
Lean Six Sigma for Defense, Dec 10-12, Arlington VA

Defense Update Sponsored Events are marked in emphasized text

NEW! 2008 Plan is now online


India Cancelled Plans to Buy Light Helicopters from Eurocopter

India has cancelled its intended procurement of 197 military helicopters from EADS's subsidiary Eurocopter. In February this year Eurocopter was selected as the preferred supplier for the helicopters, beating US competitor Bell Textron which was the second finalist for the bid, estimated at US $600 million value (the expected life cycle value could be up to $4 billion).

US Navy Awards $33 Million For Spiral 3 CREW Developments

The Network Communications Division of Northrop Grumman's Space & Mission Systems of San Diego, CA, ITT Advanced Engineering & Sciences, Annapolis Junction, Md. and Sierra Nevada Corp., ACM Systems, Sparks, Nev. were awarded $33 million contracts for the development 14 prototype models of Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems Spiral 3+ systems. Under the contract, the companies will produce seven Spiral 3.1 dismounted systems and seven mounted spiral 3.2 systems each.

Marines Reduce MRAP Order to 2,300 Vehicles

The US Marine Corps decided to cut their planned MRAP order by 1,400 vehicles, settling for about 2,300 vehicles to equip currently deployed forces in Iraq. The stated reason for the decision is the reduced violence in Iraq and the vehicle's mobility issues, restricting its movement in theater. Other considerations could derive from the difficulty to support the outsized vehicle with current or future naval transportation vessels. The reduction in MRAP orders could save the corps $1.7 billion.

AxleTech, Eaton Team to Offer JLTV Components

Eaton Corporation announced a teaming agreement with AxleTech International to offer a vehicle traction and stability control system for the future Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program. The Electronic All-Wheel-Drive System (eAWD) rollover protection system will provides tactical military vehicles with enhanced safety, mobility and maneuverability.

Eurofighter, BAE Sign Production Order for 72 Saudi Typhoons

The Saudi Typhoon order is now secured. Eurofighter GmbH has signed a contract with its shareholder BAE Systems acting as the industrial prime contractor on this government to government contract for the supply of 72 aircraft to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The contract represents the second and most significant export order for the Typhoon, first was the sale of 15 fighters to Austria. Including the recent order, the Typhoon order book now totals 707 Eurofighter aircraft.

Saab Promotes Gripen in Denmark Offering Industrial Incentives

Saab has signed a significant co-operation agreement with Terma, valued to more than 10 Billion Danish Krones ($1,9 Billion), part of a comprehensive industrial collaboration with Danish industry, covering cooperation in aviation, space, defense and civil security. This agreement is part of an incentive package Saab is offering Denmark, promoting the possible selection of the Swedish Gripen fighter as next generation fighter for the Royal Danish Air Force.

German Luftwaffe to Modernize Targeting Pods

The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) will acquire Israeli Litening targeting pods for its Tornado and Typhoon aircraft. The $25M deal is a follow-up to the German's previous order for a similar amount. The Luftwaffe is already operating Litening targeting pods with its Tornado strike fighters. The new generation Litening III pod employs an advanced, high resolution day and night sensors used for target acquisition and targeting with precise strike weapons. Rafael Defense Systems' Litening pods are operational with many air forces worldwide, including Israel Air Force, US Air force, Air National Guard and US Marine Corps (The US Congress recently approved the procurement of additional Litening pods in the amount of about $39M), the Australian and Indian, Dutch and Hungarian air forces. Litening is also on order to equip the British RAF Typhoons.

MDA Tests New Seeker for Boost-Phase Missile Interceptor

Earlier this week (December 3, 2007) Raytheon conducted the first test where an air-to-air missile successfully acquired and tracked a ballistic missile boosting off from its launch pad at the White sands missile range in New Mexico. The test was part of the 'Network Centric Airborne Defense Element', a missile defense system program. The test demonstrated the interceptor missile's infrared seeker's ability to acquire and track a ballistic missile target in the boost phase. The AIM-9X missile fitted with the NCADE seeker was launched from an Air National Guard F-16 test aircraft. If and when such missiles are employed the will be carried and launched from loitering over enemy areas from where missile could be launched. Such UAVs will be capable of loitering for long period of time using stealth technology to avoid detection.

F-22/F-35 - Trading Stealth for ISR?

Advances in sensor technology are expanding the data collection capabilities of next-generation fighter aircraft, enabling platforms like the F-22 and F-35 to perform sophisticated supersonic battlefield surveillance. But communication technology to transmit collected data without compromising the very-low-observable (VLO) "stealth" features of these aircraft stealth is lagging, according to a report in the December issue of Defense Technology International (DTI) magazine by Editor-in-Chief Bill Sweetman. As a result, contractors are scrambling to navigate new requirements and develop new communication protocols, including Internet-based systems, compatible with low probability of intercept (LPI) techniques to facilitate faster and more secure air-to-air and air-to-ground data networks.


mPhase AlwaysReady NanoBattery powers 120mm Smart Tank Round

mPhase Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB: XDSL) test fired its AlwaysReady Smart NanoBattery that delivered power for a 120mm smart shell fired by a US Army Abrams tank for 3 miles. NanoBatteries are intended to replace embedded thermal batteries for instant ready power for extreme high load applications such as tube artillery projectiles and tank rounds, missiles and other guided munitions.

Airborne Reconnaissance Systems for Oman, Thailand

BAE Systems deliveredlong-range, electro-optical reconnaissance systems to equip F-16 aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO). The commissioning marks the first fielding and sale of BAE Systems’ Airborne Reconnaissance System (ARS) camera. Recon Optical was awarded a contract for the delivery of the CA-295 Dual Spectral Band Reconnaissance Systems to the Royal Thai Air Force. The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF). These pods are designed for high-altitude missions, using a dual spectral band digital reconnaissance camera.

EADS, Sagem share multi-million Swiss Soldier Modernization Program

EADS Defence & Security and Sagem Défense Sécurité cooperate on Swiss Soldier modernization program (IMESS) The framework contract includes a first development phase plus options for series productions worth more than 120 M €. The prototype phase will be finalized in September 2008 followed by an optional industrialization phase in 2009 and optional series production phases in 2010 and 2014, according to current master planning (procurement bills RP 09 and RP 13). The procurement of series is subject to approval by Swiss Parliament.

Irvine Sensors and ARA Team for Unmanned Air Applications

Irvine Sensors and Applied Research is upgrading the payload package carried by Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) Nighthawk micro UAV, Irvine plans to integrate its proprietary thermal and visible cameras with the micro UAV. Further enhancements planned for the Nighthawk are the ability to launch it from a tube, facilitating launching from moving vehicles. Nighthawk is presently configured to be man-launched. The command and video datalinks are also to be improved introducing secure wireless transmission. The two companies are cooperating to pursue business opportunities with US MC and Army, as well as other applications and services. Under the teaming arrangement, Irvine Sensors will act as prime contractor for contracts involving Nighthawk-based applications for use on U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps mounted combat vehicles, with Applied Research serving as subcontractor. For other applications, the roles will be reversed.

Boston Micromachines Continues SCOUT Active optical IFF Development

Boston Micromachines Corporation has been awarded $750,000 by the U.S. Army for a two-year Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) for continued development of a Secure Communicating Optical Ultra-small Transponder (SCOUT). This research is pursued by Boston Micromachines and its partner Boston University. The new device facilitates basic communication interface utilizing active mirror, enabling the rapid identification of friendly soldiers, vehicles, or aircraft. The initial concepts for SCOUT were developed under a Phase I STTR award and success in that effort lead to the competitive selection of Phase II funding. The technical objective of the current phase is to develop a compact, portable, low power, light weight, and low cost modulated retro- reflecting device for free-space covert communication and remote sensor interrogation, and demonstrate its functionality.

US Air Force Closes BattleLabs

The U.S. Air Force is closing seven battlelabs due to "fiscal restraints," Aviation Week reports. While their missions will be transferred to other organizations, the focus and quick response that characterized these establishments in the past could be lost in the bureaucracy of the large service. The closures are the latest sign of the increasing fiscal pressure facing the services at the Pentagon. The Air Force is also undergoing major manpower reductions to pay for its modernization projects.

Iran Announces The Development of a New Medium-Range ballistic Missile

Claims Developing Iran announced it has produced a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles). The Iranian news agency quoted Gen. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying that the Ashoura missile has been locally produced at a factory related to the ministry. The Iranians said the range of the Ashoura missile would allow it to reach Israel, as well as United States military bases in the Middle East. Iran already posess Shahab 3 missiles which are claimed to be able to reach targets in Israel.


RAF Typhoon Demonstrates PGM Attack for the First Time

Last week (Nov. 15, 2007) a Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon from 11 Squadron performed the first drop of a precision guided bomb (1,000 lb laser guided Paveway 2 bomb) scoring a direct hit on the target 20 miles off the Welsh coast. The test followed an earlier weapon release trial performed by a BAE System last month. The target was designated by a twin seat Typhoon operated by BAE Systems, fitted with a Litening lll targeting pod.

Air Combat Training Heat Up over Asia

As Asian air forces are fielding modern fighters, and requirement for multinational training growing, air forces in the region are spending considerable amounts on the acquisition of air combat training systems. Recent orders received by Cubic, IAI and BVR indicate this trend.

US Navy Awards $11 Million for a New Countermine System

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is developing a new Expendable Mine Neutralization System (EMNS) for the Navy's Mine Counter Measures (MCM-1) Avenger-class ships. The company was awarded $11 million by the Navy for the System Development and Demonstration (SD&D) phase. The system will employ the BAE Systems' Archerfish mine disposal system for mine neutralization.

Trophy for the MRAP?

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, intends to purchase an Active Protection System from Israel's Rafael Defense Systems. According to the US Navy, Trophy was selected as it is "the only known devise currently available that demonstrates a high technical maturity level". The current procurement is assumed to be supportive of the 'Sheriff' follow-on systems, expected to be mounted on MRAP vehicles, operating in support of operations in Iraq.

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