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DEFEXPO 2018 – Photo Highlights (Part I)

Following are our first photographic impressions from DEFEXPO 2018 that was held south of Chennai, in South India this week. Follow-up reports will highlight specific areas including combat aircraft and weapons, unmanned systems, armor and artillery.

Textron Defense Systems Receives $257M Order to Supply Sensor Fuzed Weapons to Indian Air Force

February 8, 2011 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 

BANGALORE, India–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Textron Defense Systems announced it has received a contract from the US Air Force to produce 512 CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon units for the Government of India under a Foreign Military sale agreement.



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OSD Committed To Current KC-X Strategy

Ashton Carter the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD (AT&L), who is the head “weapons buyer” at the Pentagon had a press availability recently. At this he stated he is committed to the current plan for the KC-X program with a final RFP coming out by the end of the year. The draft RFP in his eyes was less subjective then past ones and the questions from industry are being used to shape the final RFP. He is confident that the Air Force will get it right on their third try. It will have to be seen if this is true.

BAE Continues To Build Armor Kits For Military Vehicles

Yesterday it was announced that BAE Systems won two different contracts to build armor kits for U.S. military vehicles. Due to the IED and mine threat in Iraq and Afghanistan the Army and Marines primarily have been developing extra armor and weapons for their different vehicles to maximize crew protection. BAE’s two contracts support the HIMARS mobile artillery as well as one for MRAP vehicles.

BAE Systems through its acquisition of Armor Holdings a few years ago made it well placed to get into this market. If the U.S. does begin winding down its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan though there will be little demand for further armor kits of these types and that market might dry up.

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Army Buys More Strykers From General Dynamics

The U.S. Army awarded General Dynamics a contract to build a further 352 Stryker vehicles. The total contract has a value of over $640 million. The Styrker wheeled vehicle is made in several variants from a basic troop carrying one to others with different weapons such as mortars, anti-tank missiles and even a large gun.

The Stryker initially was intended to be the bridge vehicle between the current heavy brigades and the upcoming Future Combat Systems (FCS) which was based on wheeled vehicles as well. FCS has been canceled by the Obama Administration but the number of Stryker equipped brigades is planned to increase. The vehicle has been deployed to Iraq and operated fairly successfully. General Dynamics has built almost three thousand of the vehicles. They are based on systems originally developed and built for the Canadian military.

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U.S. Army Buys Non-Standard Weapons From ATK

October 8, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: BNET 

The U.S. Army has awarded a contract for non-standard weapons. These will be made in Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries most likely to…

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Algeria Struggles With Russian Arms

The former Soviet Union used to provide weapons to its proxy states and allies across the world for almost nothing. They did this as a way to reward them and also to allow them to fight their wars for them. Many times the weapon systems were stripped down versions of their own aircraft with less capable engines, electronics and weapon systems. Some countries like North Vietnam did receive the best that the USSR could supply to help them in their wars.

Since the break up of the Soviet Union the new Russia has seen a huge decrease in the size of their military and industrial base. They have attempted to increase the overall technology level of their weapons but have had limited funds to invest. The Russian Government has attempted to sell modern systems overseas to help fund their procurements and provide R&D dollars. To this end the MiG and Sukhoi fighters have often been exported and are contenders in India’s new fighter programs.

It is now reported that Algeria is having problems with their advanced MiG-29 fighter aircraft ordered back in 2007. The thirty-four aircraft were part of a much larger arms deal signed as a way for Russia to forgive some of Algeria’s debt. Algeria supposedly returned the fifteen aircraft delivered and canceled the remaining ones due to poor performance and quality.

According to a Russian investigation the problem has been that one of the sub-contractors for the aircraft provided not new parts but ones that had been recycled from old aircraft. This has been an issue in the past in all countries with aircraft production and repair. It is a scam that may often happen with new part prices being paid for old, reconditioned parts. This problem led to the issues with Algeria ending their order.

The problem faced by Russia is that it needs the good will of its customers to keep the money flowing as without the foriegn funds it might not be able to keep sustaining parts of its arms industry. There is just not enough domestic business. Russia has been using some of its oil revenue to modernize their military but still needs to keep up its foriegn sales.

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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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Israel Moves Out On F-35

It is being reported that the U.S. and Israel have come to an agreement on the purchase of the JSF by that country. There had been some rumors in the past that Israel would not be able to get the advanced fighter due to demands that they be allowed to modify the technology with their own. Israel commonly modifies their equipment with indigenous produced systems and weapons.

The initial buy will be for twenty-five aircraft and expected delivery is sometime in 2014. Congress must still approve the request but normally has no issues with sales to Israel of U.S. weapon systems.

Over the last twenty years the U.S. has placed more-and-more restrictions on technology transfers to other countries with worries that the technology sold will end up in unapproved hands. There are often restrictions on what the buyers can do or access with their systems. Israel’s history of modifying and using the foriegn technology they purchase may have caused second thoughts about selling to them although they have been involved with the JSF since almost program inception.

The JSF will be used by a variety of countries across the globe as it is designed as a replacement for the F-16 and is the only modern U.S. aircraft available for export. Australia and Japan are in discussions with the U.S. about buying F-22 as they would like an aircraft with longer range among other things. Right now the sale of the F-22 is prohibited by law but some in Congress are looking at changing that to keep the production going.

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Navy Continues Laser Investment

The U.S. Navy continues its investments into free electron lasers by awarding Raytheon a $150 million contract to develop a system for them. This follows a similar contract given to Boeing in April. While lasers seem science fiction when it comes to using them as weapons there has been significant research done on several applications.

The most advanced in the U.S. was the Airborne Laser (ABL) system for missile defense made by Boeing. This program was recently canceled by Secretary of Defense Gates. All of the U.S. services have made efforts to build weaponized systems. The Navy makes the most sense as a ship is able to carry the large amount of chemicals needed for that type of laser as well as provide plenty of power.

There should be many more contracts like these in the future.

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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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Raytheon Buys Phalanx Systems from GD

Raytheon awarded a contract to General Dynamics for the Phalanx weapon system. This multi-barreled gun was developed to provide point defense of ships but has also been modified to protect U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan from rockets and other indirect weapons. Forbes reports that GD will make the systems at their Saco, ME facility. The Counter Rocket and Mortar (C-RAM) system has proven effective in Iraq. www.Michaelyon-online.com has a video of the system in action.

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Kuwait Buys AH-64 CLS

The US Army awarded DynCorp a contract to support the AH-64 Apache attack helicopters operated by Kuwait. MarketWatch has the press release here. The CLS contract is worth $11 M in the first year. Kuwait purchased a small number of these advanced aircraft through the US Army. DynCorp has other contracts with both the US and Kuwait governments to perform this type of work on other aircraft. Use of CLS, especially for non-combat systems, has been growing in the US and UK as it is considered cheaper as you do not have the associated personnel and training costs of using service personnel. Of course, CLS in support of FMS systems is also common as it is the simplest way for the nations to get the support they need for advanced weapons.

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Bush administration rushing to complete overseas sales

According to an article in the International Herald Tribune; the Bush administration is moving quickly to ok deals for foriegn partners on US weapon systems.  The Pentagon plays a role in organizing and having Congress approve these deals.  There has been a rash of equipment for Iraq and Afghanistan lately as well for former Soviet and Eastern Europe states.  This is seen as building good will with them, as well as counteracting other nation’s attempts to sell weapons.  The deals also help out US contractors.

See the article here.

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India steadily increases defense spending

The headline on this article in the Daily Telegraph is a little misleading once you read it. India is on a path to more then double defense spending in the next twenty years, where it will be higher then the current UK’s budget. For India to exceed Britain’s budget it would take the UK holding spending steady, and actually adjusted for inflation, reducing it. It is certainly possible to imagine that the UK, and the US for that matter, may have to reduce spending as the budgetary reality catches up to them regarding the cost of social services and deficit spending. The other point of the story the money that India is putting into updating and modernizing their military by moving to buying advanced Western weapons rather then relying on Russian and indigenous producers is probably more important then the amount of spending.

The article by David Blair and Thomas Harding can be found here.

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US Army continues CROWS production

Kongsberg received further work under the general CROWS contract. The Crew Remotely Operated Weapon System provides a way for soldiers to work sensors and weapons while staying under armor. Kongsberg makes parts of the overall system and this is a continuation of earlier contracts. The overall CROWS contract is worth over $1 B, and this contract has a value of over $200 M.

See The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.com for more.

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BRAC money flows to Huntsville

B.L. Harbert International won the contract to build two new building complexes at Redstone Arsenal (RSA) as part of the last round of BRAC moves. See a press release here. BRAC was good to RSA as it moved the headquarters of the US Army Material Command (AMC) and the US Army Security Assistance Command (USACA) to the base. AMC is responsible for buying, fielding and supporting most of the Army’s material. USACA helps transfer US weapons to foreign countries. The $100 M plus contract will build the necessary buildings to house the commands.

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FN reiterates desire for M4 contract

This article describes the FN plant in South Carolina. FN makes M16, M240 and other weapons for the US military there. FN has been expanding the plant steadily over the last few years and is waiting for the biggest prize in the US small arms business – next years M4 competition. Currently Colt makes all of the M4 carbines and has since the Nineties. There have been many complaints about its performance and even if FN won the contract many of the design issues could not be fixed without going to a whole new weapon. The contest next year will be interesting.

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FN moves to compete with Colt

Slowly over the last several years, FN, the Belgian small arms manufacturer has been expanding its US operations. They have developed several NATO standard weapons that have been adopted by the US military – such as the M249 SAW and the M240 LMG. Now, according to this article, they plan to bid on the next M4 contract. The M4, and Colt, have had issues since 9/11. There are many complaints about the weapon and its jamming in dusty environments. The US Special Forces have adopted a separate weapon, the SCAR, and have also looked at 6.8 mm rifles. There have also been issues with how the US Army has managed the contracts for the M4. It will make for an interesting contract process next year.

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FMS Position posted on DefenseProcurementNews.com

March 24, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Rakotis.llc posted an opening on our Job Board for a research position looking at weapon system historical pricing. This will support an entity in their negotiations for weapons procurement. For more information see the announcement here.

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Dutch government comes up with creative way to make money on US weapon buys

February 11, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: FMS, Holland 

According to this article in NisNews.nl, the Dutch government has come up with a way to make money on the foreign currency they transfer to the US to buy weapons and training. Rather then doing a direct government-to-government transfer of the $350 M or so they spend each year, they utilize a commercial account and pay over time. This allows them to get interest on the money.

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