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30 Aug 18. German shipbuilders push for government favor against European rivals. German shipbuilding advocates are pressing the government to insulate the military surface ship sector from international competition in a bid to boost the industry segment here. At issue are thousands of jobs in northern Germany, plus, proponents contend, a capability sector so critical to national security that it deserves an exemption from European acquisition requirements. The campaign is expected to pick up steam as a key naval program, the MKS-180 multirole frigate, proceeds toward a second call for offers by the German Ministry of Defense later this year. Up for grabs is a $4bn deal to build an initial batch of four ships. The two contenders are a Dutch-led team headed by Damen Shipyards and one led by German Naval Yards Kiel, which is owned by a French-Lebanese investor. Both bids have German firms as partners: Lürssen’s subsidiary Blohm+Voss in the case of Damen, and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems with GNYK.
Daniel Günther, the minister-president of Germany’s northernmost state Schleswig-Holstein, which includes the city of Kiel, was the latest to demand special treatment for German shipyards.
Günther told the German press agency DPA he is rooting for the German Naval Yards bid because his state, which hosts both shipyards comprising the team, stands to benefit from the work. “It’s important for me that the contract goes to Schleswig-Holstein, and that’s why I use all opportunities to lobby for it in Berlin – though it’s still on the companies to put together a good offer,” he was quoted as telling the German press agency DPA. But besides the customary parochial interests at play, the national security-related argument cited by those favoring a domestic advantage remains murky. It comes down to the interpretation of the term “key technology,” and whether the surface shipbuilding segment is covered by the definition.
Günther, like other advocates, pointed to the coalition agreement forged earlier this year between the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democrats, which states that above-water shipbuilding would be labeled a “key technology.”
What proponents fail to mention, however, is that the relevant passage is contained in a chapter covering civilian economic objectives for the new government. As for military applications, the coalition agreement defers to a 2015 strategy document by the Defense Ministry, which weights key technologies differently. According to that document, only the construction of submarines is considered a key technology in the shipbuilding arena; surface ships are to be sourced Europe-wide. For now, defense officials are sticking to that interpretation. A solo bid for MKS-180 by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems was turned down by government analysts earlier this year, sending shockwaves through a company not used to rejection, local media reported. Appeals for the ministry to rethink its decision based on the need to protect domestic firms fell on deaf ears, with government sources insisting that protectionism would play no role whatsoever in an eventual award.
Meanwhile, the battle over the “key technology” status for surface shipbuilding is far from over. And while it’s unclear whether the government is open to revisiting its 2015 classification scheme anytime soon, the MKS-180 program is expected to move forward based on the original European-wide tender that includes Damen as one of the contenders still in the race.
ThyssenKrupp, for its part, is not taking any chances. Once counted out of the race, executives this month announced an agreement to act as a second-tier partner to German Naval Yards, portraying the arrangement as the most German offering of them all. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
29 Aug 18. Austria to receive new helicopters. On 22 August the Austrian cabinet’s ministerial council announced that additional funding in the “high hundreds of millions of euros” had been added to the agreed government budget to launch the long-delayed replacement of the air force’s 21 remaining Alouette III helicopters. Defence Minister Mario Kunasek said that before the end of 2018 his ministry’s air materiel staff would publish requests for proposals for 12 lightweight multirole helicopters with a maximum take-off weight of 3-4 tonnes and for six lighter training helicopters, for which manufacturers are expected to offer combined bids. Kunasek is aiming for delivery in 2022-23. It was also announced that three UH-60/S-70 Black Hawk helicopters, expected to be procured second-hand, would be added to the service’s nine S-70A42s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 Aug 18. Additional US legislation banning further F-35 deliveries to Turkey advances. Key Points:
- Another US bill banning further F-35 deliveries to Turkey advanced
- There are a handful of bills banning deliveries over concerns Turkey may buy the Russian S-400
Additional US legislation banning further Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) deliveries to Turkey over the Russian S-400 air defence system advanced on 23 August, with the Senate passing the fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) defence appropriations bill. The bill contains a provision authored by Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen that prohibits spending Pentagon funds to transfer or facilitate the transfer of F-35 aircraft to Turkey. That is until the defence secretary in consultation with the secretary of state certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that Turkey is not purchasing the S-400 and will not accept delivery, according to the Van Hollen statement.
Whether Van Hollen’s amendment will become law is uncertain as the House-approved FY 2019 defence appropriations bill does not contain a similar provision. This means the amendment could be stripped during conference negotiations as lawmakers from both chambers hash out one bill to present to the House and Senate for approval. Once both chambers pass the same bill, the legislation arrives on the desk of President Donald Trump for approval into law or veto.
Defence officials are concerned that Turkey operating the S-400 in the vicinity of the F-35 would compromise the aircraft’s security, including its stealth capabilities, and represent a strategic threat to the United States. Jane’s believes that because the S-400 can map the F-35 as it flies around Turkish airspace, Russia can modify radar systems to better locate, track, and engage the aircraft. The close proximity of the two systems could also enable Russian personnel to physically inspect the aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Aug 18. Currency crisis risks Turkish defense programs. On Aug. 21, 2017, the U.S. dollar closed at 3.50 liras on the foreign currency markets. Exactly a year later, the dollar was being traded at 6.10 liras. In the same one-year period, the euro-to-lira rate went up from 4.12 to 7.03. The Turkish lira’s value has fallen by almost one-third this month alone. Turkey’s defense and procurement planners now worry that the plunge of the national currency could expose foreign currency-related weapons programs to the risk of major delays or suspension.
“This (the lira plunge) has become a major externality,” a Turkish procurement official said. “It was an uncalculated risk which now jeopardizes several procurement programs unless the lira quickly recovers to pre-crisis levels. A quick recovery or a recovery at all looks quite unlikely,” according to Ahmet Dogan, an economist and founder of the Ankara-based Sigma Insight Turkey think tank. “Apart from the political and economic challenges, [which have driven the lira downward], there are fundamental macroeconomic problems making a lira recovery nearly impossible.”
Turkey’s current account deficit was $57.4bn in June, a record high 5.9 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Annual interest rates on 10-year government bonds hover around 21 percent, the highest in emerging market economies. Debt piled up elsewhere in the economy, too; the government, banks, factories and homeowners all binged on cheap credit from abroad — to the tune of $460bn, more than half of Turkey’s GDP.
“All that picture tells us [is] that the lira will remain a weak currency,” Dogan said. “That will put additional financing pressure on all government projects, including defense, that come with foreign financing.”
For instance, Turkey has been negotiating the acquisition of Russian-made S-400 air and anti-missile defense systems since early last year. If finalized and paid in full a year earlier, the $2.5bn deal would have cost Turkey’s treasury 8.75bn liras. Today the same contract would cost Turkey 15.25bn liras, about a 75 percent increase in terms of Turkish currency. Similarly, Turkey would now face a bill worth 97.6bn liras, at the current exchange rate, for the planned purchase of 100 F-35 aircraft instead of 56bn liras.
“You can apply the same logic and simple computation to all other foreign currency-related programs,” Dogan said. “That makes a gloomy financing picture.”
Turkey must select a foreign-made engine to power the TF-X, the first Turkish indigenous fighter jet in the making. The Ankara government also will select a foreign-made engine and transmission system for the Altay, the Turkish indigenous main battle tank in the making.
And there are several critical foreign parts and systems used on the T129, the Turkish helicopter gunship produced under license from the Italian-British AgustaWestland. Turkey also regularly acquires imported smart ammunition used in its fight against Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey and in northern Iraq and Syria.
“These are all payments that must be done in dollars and euros,” Dogan said. “All of these items have suddenly become exorbitantly expensive or unaffordable for Ankara.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames the currency chaos on an “underhanded plot” that aims to bring Turkey to heel. Despite being NATO allies, Turkey and the United States have clashed over a number of issues in recent years, including divergences over Syria policy, Turkey’s planned deployment of the S-400 system, U.S. sanctions on Turkey’s arms purchases, including the F-35 program, looming U.S. penalties on a Turkish state bank, and differences over U.S. sanctions on Iran. Tensions most recently boiled over when Turkey refused to free a U.S. evangelical preacher despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s demands he be released immediately. In response, Trump doubled U.S. tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium imports, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned of more punitive measures against Turkey. Erdogan replied with a call on Turks to boycott U.S. electronics products. Turkey’s defense procurement office, the Defence Industry Executive of the Presidency (SSB in its Turkish acronym), announced new measures to counter the effects of currency fluctuations on its acquisitions. It announced that it would convert foreign currency guarantees in past and ongoing contracts into Turkish liras and sign up new contract guarantees (like letters of credit from banks) in lira terms instead of U.S. dollar terms. SSB, previously the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, reports directly to Erdogan.
“That may put foreign and local contractors at currency risk. Contractors would be reluctant to accept bank guarantees in lira terms or they would reflect that risk into their final prices,” a foreign company executive said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
It’s also possible that banks may grow increasingly reluctant to offer loans and bank guarantees in financing defense programs.
“The lira’s plunge has eroded capital reserves in the banking system and threatens a wave of bankruptcies. Financing public projects in general and defense programs in particular may prove be difficult for Turkish banks,” Dogan said. “The crisis came at a time when a number of leading business and industrial conglomerates in the country have been queuing up in front of banks for debt refinancing and debt restructuring.”
A local aerospace company official said the currency crisis would not only distort off-the-shelf purchases and foreign suppliers’ business in Turkey, but also several local producers.
“Turkish companies use a rich list of imported equipment, even in indigenous Turkish systems they produce. They now face a tremendous increase in their Turkish lira-based costings. It is inevitable that even locally developed systems will become a lot more expensive for the Turkish end user,” he said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
30 Aug 18. BAE to Compete for Army’s New All-Terrain Vehicle. BAE Systems has announced its intention to compete for a joint Army and National Guard program seeking an all-terrain vehicle that can operate in the most rugged off-road conditions and “swim” across rivers and lakes. The Army released a request for information document in June for the “all terrain all weather support vehicle,” which will replace a diminishing number of the Guard’s small unit support vehicles. The military had about 1,100 of the small unit support vehicles, which were first fielded in the 1970s, but their numbers have dwindled to only a few dozen, Jim Miller, director of combat vehicle business development at BAE, told reporters Aug. 30. They are used in cold weather operations in Alaska by Guard and active duty units.
“Those vehicles are really at the end of their life expectancy. … They’ve got parts issues, resupply issues, they are just aging vehicles so not many of them are actually being used,” Miller said.
The Army Contracting Command in Warren, Michigan, and the product director for medium tactical vehicles issued the RFI seeking a vehicle capable of performing four missions: transporting a combat-loaded infantry-like squad element; emergency medical evaluation; command and control; and general cargo transportation.
“The JAASV shall be a tracked vehicle that has excellent on- and off-road mobility in extreme cold temperatures, deep snow, rugged uneven terrain, thick brush or forest, soft wet ground, rivers, streams and lakes, and mountainous terrain,” the RFI said.
The infantry squad configuration must carry nine soldiers plus a driver. The vehicle should be transportable by CH-47 and UH-60 helicopters and C-130 aircraft, the RFI stated.
“It’s a pretty unique vehicle that they are describing,” Miller said. While it was not mentioned in the RFI, it will most likely also have a disaster response/humanitarian relief mission as it will be used by the National Guard during fires, floods and blizzards, he added. It is also an articulated vehicle — it comes in two parts — which allows it to operate in all the conditions described in the RFI, he said.
Miller said the Army may post a request for proposals in the late summer, early fall time frame. BAE plans on offering its armored BvS10, which has been around since 2004 and is in service with several militaries. It also has a new unarmored version, the Beowulf. The company was the contractor in the 1970s for the small unit support vehicle, which was designed by its Swedish business unit. BAE considers the BvS10 the “son of the small unit support vehicle,” as it is also tracked, articulated, and traverses rivers and lakes, Miller said.
It was designed in Northern Sweden, so it performs well in Arctic conditions, he added. Five countries use the vehicle and it has seen action in Afghanistan, he said.
The Army and National Guard have not revealed how many of the all-terrain vehicles they will purchase, Miller said. It is also unknown whether they will use a traditional acquisition contract or a nontraditional means such as other transaction authority, which would allow them to speed up the process. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
28 Aug 18. When you should expect the Air Force to announce its next trainer aircraft. With the U.S. Air Force having received final bids from industry, the service is now poised to award a contract for its 350-plane next-generation trainer fleet in just a few weeks. An Air Force official, speaking on background, said the service expects to award the contract by the end of the fiscal year — in other words, before Sept. 30. Many have speculated that the days before the Air Force Association’s annual conference, being held Sept. 17-19 outside of Washington, would be a potential time for an announcement to come. However, a source with knowledge of the situation said the current plan is to make the announcement after AFA concludes, likely the week of Sept. 24. If true, it could create an awkward environment at the event, where senior leaders will have to duck commenting on the soon-to-come T-X winner. Three industry teams have submitted bids for the T-X competition, with an estimated price tag of $16bn over the life of the program. Boeing and Swedish aerospace firm Saab have developed a new, clean-sheet design; Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries are offering the T-50A, a take on KAI’s T-50 jet trainer; and Leonardo DRS is offering the T-100, a modified version of the Italian aerospace company’s M-346. The contract represents more than just 350 jets, although that alone would make it one of the biggest U.S. Air Force programs in years. Whichever contractor captures the USAF market may have the inside track on a number of future trainer competitions around the globe, particularly among countries looking to buy the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In addition, if the U.S. Air Force decides to purchase aggressor aircraft for live-flying training, something that has been discussed on and off in recent years, simply buying more T-X trainers would be a logical solution.
The contact has been a long time coming, and the contest has been filled with twists and turns. The service has for years sought to replace its aged T-38 jet, which ended production in the early 1970s and has served as the primary training plane for fighter pilots for decades. However, other priorities and sequestration-related budget caps saw the T-X campaign pushed to the right; while companies began announcing their entries for the competition as early as 2010, it wasn’t until 2015 that the service revealed its actual criteria. At this point last year, the Air Force was still pledging to announce a winner by the end of calendar 2017. That projected award was pushed to March, and then to the end of the fiscal year.
The expected winners have shifted over time as well. Around 2013, the conventional wisdom was that either Leonardo or the BAE Hawk, teamed with Northrop Grumman, would be the winner, as the service was looking for an off-the-shelf solution that has already been proven in service elsewhere. Boeing’s idea of a clean-sheet design was seen as a longshot, due to the associated costs and timeline. However, that view shifted to the point that in 2015, Northrop and BAE scrapped plans to offer the Hawk and instead developed a new clean-sheet design of their own; the companies ultimately dropped out of the competition entirely in February of 2017. Meanwhile, the T-100 team struggled, with original partner General Dynamics dropping off the project in March 2015. GD was replaced by Raytheon in February 2016, but quit less than a year later.
Other competitors, including Textron AirLand’s Scorpion jet and a team-up between Turkish Aerospace Industries and Sierra Nevada, have come and gone, leaving only the three remaining competitors. Of those, industry analysts largely agree the winner will be either the Lockheed/KAI team or the Boeing offering. (Source: Defense News)
27 Aug 18. US legislative attempt to move funding from light attack aircraft procurement to CH-53K fails. Key Points:
- An amendment to appropriate money for CH-53K at the expense of light attack aircraft failed
- The USAF expects to award a contract or contracts for light attack aircraft in September 2019
US legislation that would have diverted funding from the procurement of light attack aircraft in favour of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter programme failed on 23 August. An amendment proposed by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy to the fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) defence appropriations bill would have increased US Marine Corps (USMC) CH-53K research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) funding by USD161m. The bill would have accordingly decreased funding available for the procurement of light attack aircraft, formerly known as OA-X, by USD161m. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 Aug 18. With $294m in contracts, the US Navy keeps its promise to upgrade cruisers. The Navy is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to modernizing its cruisers. General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego and BAE Systems Norfolk have both received roughly $147m contracts to modernize the cruisers Cowpens and Gettysburg, which have been in layup since Fall of 2015. The contracts appear to fulfill a promise made to Congress three years ago that they would not move to decommission the aging warships, which serve in the fleet as the primary air defense platforms for protecting the aircraft carriers, something lawmakers were skeptical of when the Navy first advanced its cruiser modernization plan.
The contracts, aimed at the maintenance, modernization and repair of the hulls, come as the ships enter their last year in the program known as the “2-4-6 plan,” which allowed the Navy to lay up two cruisers a year, for no more than four years and allow no more than 6 of the ships to undergo modernization at any one time. Both Cowpens and Gettysburg were put into phased modernization in 2015, meaning they’ll need to come out in 2019. The Navy’s cruiser modernization efforts will likely continue in 2019. The cruisers Vicksburg and Chosin were inducted into phased modernization in 2016, meaning they will be within their year window next year. Furthermore, the Navy asked for funding for six cruiser service-life extensions in 2019, according to its most recent 30-year shipbuilding plan.
Earlier in the decade the Navy was looking to cut costs by decommissioning early some of the cruisers that had not reached their expected hull life, a move that angered some in Congress including then-House Armed Services seapower subcommittee chairman Rep. Randy Forbes, and current seapower chairman Rep. Rob Wittman (Rs-Virginia). Since the Trump administration has taken office, however, talk of decommissioning older combatants has all turned to keeping them around as long as possible to reach a 355-ship fleet now required by law. In addition to the cruisers, the Navy is also putting a plan together to extend the lives of all the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to 45 years, as a means of driving up the ship count, the Navy’s top requirements officer Vice Adm. Bill Merz told lawmakers in April.
“We saw a path to achieve this 355 [-ship fleet] achievement as quickly as the 2030s,” said Merz, deputy chief of naval operations for Warfare Systems. “NAVSEA [Naval Sea Systems Command] completed the analysis of the class, so we will in fact be extending the entire class out to 45 years. … With that, now we know the life expectancy of the entire class,” he said. “We can roll in the right maintenance, the modernizations much more efficiently, much more affordably, for the entire duration of the class.”
But keeping older ships in the fleet comes at a premium because, much like maintaining a classic car, the cost of maintaining and operating the hull only goes up as ships push the limits of of their service lives.
“If the Navy wants to get the fleet numbers up, this is the way to do it,” said Bryan Clark, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and retired submarine officer. “But at some point it becomes more cost-effective to just buy a new ship. If they don’t have the money to do that right now then the only choice they have is to keep the older ships. But you end up spending more money in the long run, because you don’t have the money for new ships in the short term.
“That is something the Navy is really going to have to wrestle with, especially as they are talking about keeping the destroyers around for 45 years. At some point the [operations and maintenance] costs become unsustainable.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
30 Aug 18. Aussie SMEs to benefit from Indo Defence ‘18 opportunities. The biennial Indo Defence Expo and Forum is a four-day event hosted in Jakarta from 7-10 November 2018 by the Ministry of Defence, and is an indispensable place to learn, network and do business for Australia’s defence industry. Indo Defence 2018, which will be held concurrently with the fifth Indo Marine 2018 Expo and Forum, will be the Indonesia’s number one tri-service defence industry event. The event is four days, hence an extensive experience and exposure to sectors beyond just the defence industry. Indonesia’s National Police, their Coast Guard, Search and Rescue Agency and Maritime Security Agency will all take part in the event as well. Additionally, Indo Defence 2018 should allow Australian participants to talent scout among the entities displaying, hence it is an opportunity to find viable partners if that is necessary. The converse is also true, i.e. to get a sense of which entities an Australian SME doesn’t want to deal with. While defence sales are governed by the 2012 law, sales to other non-Defence security agencies are not. Many Australian defence SMEs, especially with products in the surveillance, personnel protection, intelligence and intelligence support, personnel weapons and sighting systems, or systems integration areas would possibly find business opportunities with non-defence customers. As part of participating with the Team Defence Australia delegation to Indo Defence ’18, all involved Australian SMEs will receive orientation briefs from AusTrade and Defence representatives at the event to provide current experience and insights.
Additionally, involved SMEs will have the unique opportunity to share ideas and experiences with each other over the four days of the event. This also provides opportunities to build relationships with Defence Export Office personnel and key personnel, who will be on site to help make connections and smooth out language and cultural disconnects that may emerge. The Australian Defence Export Office is the centrepiece of the new defence export system announced in January 2018. It consolidates and grows existing export support functions, providing a focal point for defence exports and helping Australia’s defence industry to market its capability internationally. Based in the Department of Defence, the Australian Defence Export Office works hand-in-hand with the CDIC to support the export efforts of Australian industry, for example:
- The Australian Defence Export Office manages an expanded Team Defence Australia initiative; and
- The CDIC continues to manage the Global Supply Chain Program and supports the Team Defence Australia initiative by helping businesses through export readiness support. Additionally, the CDIC leverages relationships with prime companies in the Global Supply Chain Program to maximise engagement at international trade shows attended by Team Defence Australia. The Indo Defence 2018 event will showcase leading-edge capabilities in sophisticated weapons systems and technologies, hardware and electronic warfare, training, simulation systems, defence and security peripherals. Held every two years, the exhibition brings together around 850 exhibitors from over 40 countries, offering capabilities and innovation for the defence and security sector. Exhibiting on the Team Defence Australia stand is free of charge, however successful companies will be responsible for flights, accommodation, freight and other related costs. The Indo Defence event runs from 7-10 November 2018, and a pre-event industry briefing will be held in Jakarta on Tuesday, 6 November. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Aug 18. Ashok Leyland wins tender for Indian Army’s tracked combat vehicles. India-based Hinduja Group firm Ashok Leyland has won a tender for developmental works for the Indian Army’s defence tracked combat vehicles. Under the deal, the automobile company will work in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE). The two organisations will jointly carry out the production, assembly and testing of a lightweight clutch in order to design and develop weight-optimised 1,500hp automatic transmission for the army’s main battle tanks. Ashok Leyland Defence head Amandeep Singh said: “For over three decades, Ashok Leyland has been a vital part of our defence forces through our mobility solutions.
“For over three decades, Ashok Leyland has been a vital part of our defence forces through our mobility solutions. As part of our strategy to enhance our contribution to our defence forces and to expand our business scope within our focus area of ‘Solutions for Mobility on Land’, we have been working on tracked vehicles. With this win, we mark yet another milestone where we start working on the tracked vehicles that our soldiers use.”
According to Singh, the company sees a potential opportunity to upgrade and repower the BMPs or tanks in service with the Indian Army. In addition, Ashok Leyland is engaged in building indigenous solutions for power packs and running gear that would help overhaul both the service’s existing fleet of infantry combat vehicles (ICVs) and the new future infantry combat vehicles (FICVs).
Singh added: “We are proud that we are the only vehicle manufacturer in India having indigenously designed, developed and manufactured power packs beyond 350HP. “The tracked combat vehicle opportunity also exists in several other countries which use Russian-made combat vehicles.” (Source: army-technology.com)
27 Aug 18. Indonesia allocates USD1.9m for consultancy work on sixth submarine. Key Points:
- Indonesia has moved closer towards acquiring a sixth submarine for its navy
- Consultancy project aimed at establishing more beneficial technology transfer arrangements
Indonesia’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has set aside a total sum of IDR283.8trn (USD1.9m) for consultancy services in relation to the acquisition of a sixth submarine for the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL). A document on this allocation, which was obtained by Jane’s on 28 August from the ministry’s directorate for defence potential, indicated that the funds will be drawn from Indonesia’s defence budget allocation for 2018. A specific focus on the consultancy will be on transfer-of-technology (TOT) arrangements, and how Indonesia’s local industry can better benefit from the contract for a sixth submarine when it materialises. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 Aug 18. Russian MoD signs contracts worth RUB130bn. Key Points:
- The Russian MoD has signed 32 contracts worth RUB130bn with 20 defence companies
- Over 600 new and 1,500 overhauled weapon systems will be delivered to the Russian military through 2020
The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed 32 contracts worth RUB130n (USD2bn) with 20 defence companies, Deputy Defence Minister Alexey Krivoruchko announced on 22 August at the Army 2018 defence exhibition in Kubinka near Moscow.
“The implementation of these contracts will result in the delivery of over 600 brand-new and over 1,500 overhauled weapon systems to the Russian military, along with the delivery of munitions and laying the scientific and technological groundwork required for the development of advanced equipment,” Krivoruchko said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 Aug 18. Philippine president says buying US F-16 jets ‘utterly useless.’ The Philippine president is opposing an offer by the U.S. defense chief and other top American officials to buy F-16 fighter jets, saying such an acquisition would be “utterly useless” because his country needs lighter combat aircraft to fight insurgents. President Rodrigo Duterte scoffed Thursday night at the offer he said was made in a letter by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, which came after the president was slammed by the U.S. for his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs. After he took office in mid-2016, Duterte immediately took steps to revive once-frosty relations with China while often taking an antagonistic stance toward U.S. security policies. He had lashed out at former President Barack Obama, who raised concerns over human rights under Duterte. The Philippine leader, however, has cozied up to President Donald Trump. During a televised speech in a military ceremony in southern Davao city, Duterte read what he said was the letter to him by the three U.S. Cabinet officials, who cited the long alliance between Washington and Manila and assured American support for Philippine efforts to modernize its military.
“We hope to partner in other significant defense procurement (for) our mutual benefit, including through the Lockheed Martin F-16 multi-role fighter platform and your attack helicopter platform among other U.S. systems,” Duterte quoted the letter as saying.
The Philippines, however, doesn’t need the F-16s “and yet they dangled (them) before us after they humiliated us,” Duterte said. “It would be utterly useless to buy it. But I need attack helicopters and small planes for the counterinsurgency.”
Duterte repeated his frustrations with the U.S., including the nondelivery of about 23,000 rifles, which the Philippine police sought to buy from an American supplier. The arms purchase got derailed after some U.S. legislators raised concern over Duterte’s police-led crackdown against illegal drugs, he said. He also renewed his demand for the return of three church bells seized by American forces as war spoils from the Philippines more than a century ago. The two governments have discussed the return of the Balangiga bells, named for the Philippine village from which they were taken in the early 1900s. “If they won’t return the Balangiga bells, we have nothing to talk about,” Duterte said.
Despite Duterte’s antagonism toward Washington, a Philippine security official said the government may buy combat utility helicopters from the U.S., among other countries, following the president’s order to cancel a multimillion-dollar deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada. Known for his impromptu decisions and public outbursts, Duterte ordered the cancellation of the deal to acquire the Bell 412EPI helicopters after the Canadian government decided to review the 12bn peso (U.S. $224m) contract due to concerns the Philippine military might use the utility helicopters in counterinsurgency assaults instead of just transporting troops and supplies. (Source: Defense News)
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