Monthly Archives: December 2014

CBO Sees Through US Navy’s Backloaded Shipbuilding Budgeting

The latest review by the US Congressional Budget Office concludes like in past years that the US Navy’s shipbuilding plan is underfunded, especially in the out years. “CBO’s estimate of the cost of new-ship construction in the Navy’s 2015 shipbuilding plan is $66 billion, or 13 percent, higher over the next 30 years than the Navy’s estimate.” Loren Thompson from the Lexington Institute: Why The Navy’s Next ‘Boomer’ Is The Most Important Program In The Pentagon Budget. Use It Or Lose It Canada is looking to add [CTV] a 5th aircraft to its fleet of C-17s. Algeria reportedly received [Jane’s] the first of possibly 2 C-17s, though there is no confirmation from either their government or Boeing…

Brazil’s Mi-35M / AH-2 Sabre Attack Helicopters

AH-2 Sabre(click to view full) Brazil’s defense budget saw a steep rise in the late 2000s, a necessary step after years of neglect. One of its priorities was to select an attack helicopter – something the country has not previously fielded to its Army or Air Force. competitors reportedly included the Italo-Turkish AW-TAI A129 Mongoose, EADS’ Tiger, and Russia’s heavyweight Mi-35M, a modern variant of the Mi-24 Hind that became famous in Afghanistan. The Mi-24/35 is unique among dedicated attack helicopters in that it can carry a handful of troops, in addition to performing its offensive role. …

Korea’s T-50 Family of Trainers/Fighters

T-50 Golden Eagle(click to view full) South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle family offers the global marketplace a set of high-end supersonic trainer and lightweight fighter aircraft. They’re hitting the international market at a good time: just as many of the world’s jet training fleets are reaching ages of 30 years or more, and high-end fighters are pricing themselves out of reach for many countries. The ROK’s defense industry is advancing on all fronts these days…

JLTV: Final Production RFP Released

Ultra APV demonstrator(click to view full) In an age of non-linear warfare, where front lines are nebulous at best and non-existent at worst, one of the biggest casualties is… the concept of unprotected rear echelon vehicles, designed with the idea that they’d never see serious combat. That imperative is being driven home on 2 fronts. One front is operational. The other front is buying trends. …

Eurocopter’s EC665 Tiger HAD Helicopters

Tiger HAP & HAC(click to view full) Eurocopter’s Tiger had always had a very odd setup in that it came in two seemingly incomplete versions (HAP scout and HAC/UHT anti-tank), whose respective deficiencies severely limited multi-role flexibility and hence exports. The new Tiger HAD (Helicoptere Appui Destruction) variant fixes those deficiencies, and looks set to become the default version for new-build EC665 Tiger exports. The HAD project began in December 2005, as the EU’s OCCAR organization for armament cooperation signed a formal contract in Bonn, Germany and set out initial procurement numbers for Spain. …

Global Defense Sales in Second Year of Decline

According to the SIPRI nonprofit, global armament sales lost 2% YoY to $402 billion. Russia’s internal demand has driven strong growth for their manufacturers for 2 years in a row. See also SIPRI’s updated top 100 list. US Biz Dev DARPA is organizing a webcast [FBO] on January 6 to present the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program, whose purpose is to develop algorithms that can be used to help UAVs fly autonomously in busy environments. DARPA is also looking for information [FBO] on composite material formats and manufacturing techniques that may lower costs in the aerospace sector close to those enjoyed by the automotive industry…

Britain’s Future Frigates: Type 26 Global Combat Ships

Type 26 concept(click to view full) In the late 2000s Britain slated to replace its existing fleet of Type 22 Broadsword Class and Type 23 Duke Class frigates with 2 new ship classes under a program known then as “Future Surface Combatant” (FSC). By the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the FSC’s C1 (T26) and C2 (type 27) tentative variants were merged into a single Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS) class. Outside attention often focuses on big-ticket ships like aircraft carriers, submarines, and advanced destroyers – but the frigate is the real backbone of most modern navies…

House Armed Services Subcommittee Chairmen Shuffle Chairs

US House Armed Services Committee Chairman-elect Thornberry announced subcommittee chairs: Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities: Joe Wilson [SC – was Thornberry]; Seapower and Projection Forces: Randy Forbes [VA – same]; Military Personnel: Joe Heck [NV – was Joe Wilson]; Tactical Air and Land Forces: Michael Turner [OH – same]; Strategic Forces: Mike Rogers [AL – same]; Readiness: Rob Wittman [VA – same]; Oversight and Investigations: Vicky Hartzler [MO – was Joe Heck, she’s the only new entrant]. All Republicans of course since the GOP controls the lower house. Industry BAE Systems is to buy Eclipse Electronic Systems from Esterline for $28M. Reuters. …

Airspace Management Decongestion & Deconfliction Issues

Readers can decide for themselves what the latest GAO report on regulatory efforts over UAV integration in the US national airspace may say about the Administration’s priorities, or the state of the US economy as a whole: “As of December 4, 2014, FAA granted seven commercial exemptions to the filmmaking industry allowing small UAS operations in the airspace. However, over 140 applications for exemptions were waiting to be reviewed for other commercial operations such as electric power line monitoring and precision agriculture. […] A 2014 MITRE study found that Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada have progressed further than the United States with regulations that support commercial UAS operations.” [Emphasis DID.] That said, US lawmakers expressed alarm [WaPo] about the risks posed by cheap drones used in civilian airspace at a House Transportation Aviation Subcommittee hearing yesterday (full video). And they have a point, as deconfliction is a serious issue. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently disclosed [BBC] that a “serious risk of collision” had occurred last July between a small rotorcraft UAV and an Airbus 320 about to land in Heathrow. …