Sequester-Busting Defense Budget a Non-Starter to Majority

The budget trial balloon floated a few days ago showing the Administration going back to pre-sequestration defense spending increases received an abruptly negative reaction from the Republican-controlled Congress, with members making statements against both the breadth of the sequestration roll-back outside of defense and the tax increases needed to fund the change. The defense spending suggestion appears to have proved inadequate bait to change the majority party’s heart regarding hard spending limits. A Republican counter-proposal of sorts seems to be in the offing, concentrating on entitlement reform as a funding source. The positioning is likely to last throughout the year, with it becoming a bit more shrill as the presidential primary campaigns gain momentum. Asia The Philippine Navy will be the beneficiary of Australia’s recycling of heavy landing craft ships, with a package of spare parts…

JMR-FVL: Army Casts Dice for Future Helicopters

The future is now(click to view full) The JMR-TD program is the science and technology precursor to the Department of Defense’s estimated $100 billion Future Vertical Lift program, which is expected to replace between 2,000-4,000 medium class UH-60 utility and AH-64 attack helicopters after 2030. In reality, FVL will fall far short of that number if it ever goes ahead, but those figures are the current official fantasy. While they’re at it, the Pentagon wants breakthrough performance that includes the same hovering capability as smaller armed scout helicopters, and a 100+ knot improvement in cruising speed to 230+ knots. That’s almost certainly achievable, thanks to new developments that involve very different helicopter designs. …

AN-70 Aerial Transports Finally To Be Produced

AN-70(click to view full) Antonov’s AN-70 has had a long and difficult development history from its first studies and concepts in 1979. Roadblocks have included the dissolution of its sponsoring state in 1991, the crash of the initial prototype aircraft in a 1995 collision with its chase plane, and the selection of the EADS A400M development project as the basis of Europe’s Future Large Aircraft (FLA). Antonov’s project has been kept alive on a shoestring budget by the participating companies, who believe that they have a winner on their hands if they can just bring it into production. The A400M’s struggles and cost escalation, and the C-130J‘s 20-ton limitations, have validated that assessment – but assessments don’t meet payroll, or pay for equipment…

Drone Maker Bakes Exclusion Zone Into Devices

DJI, the manufacturer of the drone that crashed on White House grounds, is pushing a mandatory firmware “upgrade” that disables their devices within a 15.5 mile radius around Washington D.C. area. The move is a fast and shrewd move for a firm that likely faced – and still might – greater regulatory burdens after a series of ne’er-do-well recreational drone incidents. DJI had already developed the code for location exclusion in anticipation of needing to keep its customers a safe distance from airports and other obvious safety hazards…

Administration Budget to Reverse Sequestration

The Obama Administration is reportedly about to start pushing a suggested defense appropriation 8 percent above last year’s, an increase that by itself would roughly equal Germany’s annual defense spending. Procurement accounts would see a 15 percent increase. $51 billion would be set aside for overseas mission funding, an interesting part of the budget to watch…

KF-X Fighter: Korea’s Future Homegrown Jet

KODEF ’11 slide(click to view full) South Korea has been thinking seriously about designing its own fighter jet since 2008. The ROK defense sector has made impressive progress, and has become a notable exporter of aerospace, land, and naval equipment. The idea of a plane that helps advance their aerospace industry, while making it easy to add new Korean-designed weapons, is very appealing…