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Canada Considering Entering New Fighter Sweepstakes

Right now two of the biggest military aviation contracts out there are new fighters for Brazil and India. Both of these contracts have attracted bids from United States and European defense contractors. In Brazil the contest seems to be between the Boeing (BA) F/A-18 and the French Rafael. In India there have been offers from Boeing, Lockheed Martin (LMT), MiG of Russia, Rafael. Eurofighter and SAAB of Sweden. These contracts are interesting as all of these companies face declining markets at home due to budget difficulties and the decision by the U.S. and many of its Allies to focus on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) headed up by Lockheed.

Canada currently operates a force of older F/A-18 aircraft and is planning a potential buy of more modern aircraft worth about $9 billion (Canadian). Canada has put some money into the development of the JSF as have countries like Great Britain, the Netherlands, Australia and Japan but is not committed to buy the aircraft. They certainly could do that when the aircraft is ready in the 2015 – 2017 time frame or they could conduct a new competition. If they did this they would certainly draw a diverse group of suitors similar to what India has. The market for new fighters was supposed to stagnate as thousands of F-35 replace the F-16 aircraft of numerous U.S. Allies. Now with the delays and cost increases to that program some countries are having second thoughts.

A third major competition would be good for the industry and would allow some production lines like the SAAB Gripen to remain hot as the JSF program tries to get itself sorted out. If countries like Holland do decide to go a different path the market for current in production aircraft will increase greatly.

More fallout as the JSF program struggles with its cost and schedule may be expected as current customers re-think their commitments. This will increase the cost to the U.S. military while reducing Lockheed’s chances of making up some of their losses on the development piece of the contract. Canada if they choose to not buy the JSF may be the start of some bad news for the program and its prime contractor.

Photo from TMWolf flickr photostream.

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More MiGs For India?

January 20, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: BNET 

India is currently buying an aircraft carrier from Russia while building its own. It looks like an order for MiG-29 aircraft will be placed to…

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Russia At A Loss With Iran Over S-300 Sale

It is now being reported that the Iranian Government has failed to pay Russia for the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile systems that they ordered in 2005. Russia is discussing canceling the contract and not delivering the hardware due to this non-payment. If it did the country would lose the $1 billion in contracted cost as well as the $400 million or so assessed in penalties.

The only way to make up the end of this large contract would be to sell the systems to another country. The S-300 is a very modern system and the purchase of it by Iran has met a great deal of criticism from the U.S. and other countries. It is assumed that the system will provide defenses for Iran’s nascent nuclear program. Not having the systems would make Iran more susceptible to attack if required.

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U.S. And India’s Weapon Buying Relationship Moves Forward

As part of her diplomatic mission to India Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed a new agreement between the countries that will facilitate sales of U.S. weapons. This “end user monitoring” will make it possible for the U.S. to make sure that the Indian government does not sell its technology to a third party or misuse it for their economic gain. This type of agreement is fairly common among countries and allows sales to be made with some confidence.

India has embarked on a major upgrade to its military through acquisition of foriegn sourced weapons. This is a change from the past when the South Asian country tried to develop its own advanced weapons and relied on the U.K. and Russia. The decision to buy American, European and advanced Israeli technology allows India to leap forward in capability. As part of these contracts significant offsets are required of the selling companies through investment in the Indian economy.

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India Rejects Rafale For New Fighter

Update — Flight International is reporting that India says it has not ruled out any competitor in the program.

The Indian Air Force is looking to purchase an advanced fighter to add to their inventory. Six foreign companies had submitted bids for the 126 aircraft order. Now word comes that the French proposed Dassault Rafale was eliminated from the competition. The Indianexpress.com reports that publicly it was stated the aircraft did not meet certain “qualitative” requirements. It was also said that the proposal submitted showed the aircraft did not meet some of the technical requirements for the program. This means that the contest will continue with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SAAB, MiG and Eurofighter participation for now.

The deal is one of several that India is proceeding with in an attempt to upgrade the technical capability of their armed forces. In the past the country had tended to buy from Russia or England. India has also spent the last several years developing an indigenous arms industry. Although lately they have turned to outside sources to include Israel and the U.S. for advanced weapons.

Currently there are several nations looking at buying advanced fighters. The Rafale has not been bid for many as most of the competition has been between the F/A-18G, SAAB Gripen, F-35 JSF and the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Indian contract is certainly one of the largest percolating.

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Estonia Worried About Russia

November 30, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Estonia 

In an recent interview the Estonian Defense Minister recommends that the country increase its defense spending to about 2% of GDPAs reported at iStockAnalyst he bases this recommendation on the events the past year in the Caucasus.  While there was no specific mention of Russia, it is obvious that they are worried that what happened to Georgia could happen to the Baltic States.

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Israel passes Britain to become fourth largest defense exporting country

May 30, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: FMS, Israel 

According to this article in 2007 Israel passed Britain to become the fourth largest defense exporting country. They follow the US, Russia and France now. The two biggest customers are the US and India. The recent win of the Indian AWACS contract, reported here, had a great deal to do with that. The Israeli government and industry have made major strides in recent times increasing their exports rather then just focusing on domestic needs.

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