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04 Sep 18. Spain cancels bombs sale to Saudi Arabia amid Yemen concerns. Spain said Tuesday it has canceled the delivery of 400 laser-guided bombs purchased by Saudi Arabia, amid fears that the weapons could be used against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen. The arms deal was originally signed in 2015 under Spain’s former conservative government, but the new center-left administration of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez plans to return the €9.2m (U.S. $10.7m) already paid by the Saudis, Cadena SER radio reported Tuesday. A Defence Ministry spokeswoman confirmed the report, but declined to elaborate. She was not authorized to be identified in media reports. International rights groups have blamed a Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes and other attacks in Yemen for the killing of civilians, including children. U.N. human rights experts say all sides, including militias backed by the United Arab Emirates, may have committed war crimes in the conflict raging since March 2015. The Saudi embassy in Madrid did not immediately respond to emailed questions and follow-up calls. (Source: Defense News)
04 Sep 18. Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, Boeing compete for laser-armed drone. Lockheed Martin, General Atomics and Boeing have received contract modifications for drone-mounted Low Power Laser Demonstrator system missile defense testing. Lockheed Martin’s contract has increased to a total value of $37.7m, while General Atomics and Boeing’s have been increased to $34m and $29.4m respectively, the Department of Defense announced on Friday. Work for all three companies will take place in various locations across the United States. The contract modifications come from the Missile Defense Agency and can extend as far as July 2019. Specifications listed include a flight altitude of at least 63,000 feet, the endurance to stay on station for at least 36 hours after a transit of 1,900 miles, and a cruising speed of up to Mach .46 while patrolling its station. The aircraft needs to be able to carry a payload between 5,000 and 12,500 pounds and sufficient power generation to operate a 140 kilowatt laser, with the possibility of up to 280 kw or more. The system must also be able to operate the laser for at least 30 minutes without affecting flight performance, and be capable of carrying a one- to two-meter optical system for the laser. The Missile Defense Agency is responsible for the defense of U.S. territory and its allies from ballistic missile threats. It coordinates a network of land-based and ship-based missile interceptors, along with radars and satellites to detect and destroy enemy ballistic missiles. ICBMs are at their most vulnerable during their boost phase. A UAV capable of targeting them before they exit the atmosphere would greatly increase the possibility of intercept, the Pentagon said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/UPI)
04 Sep 18. DoD extends deadline for its $10bn cloud contract. The Pentagon has pushed back the response deadline for its $10bn, single-award Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract by nearly a month, according to an Aug. 31 FedBizOpps posting. The Department of Defense made amendments to five documents associated with the contract, which, according to the new posting, were part of the consideration for moving the request for proposal due date to Oct. 9, rather than the previous Sept. 17 deadline. In addition to the amended documents, the DoD released 59 industry comments and corresponding government answers about the first RFP amendment made Aug. 23. The contract has already received industry protest prior to award, after many criticized the DoD’s intent to award the contract to a single cloud provider. The due date for that protest, moved to Dec. 3 after an update was made, is still well beyond the new bidding deadline. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
07 Sep 18. Bahrain unveils upgraded Cobra. The Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) effectively confirmed it is the previously unidentified customer for an AH-1 Cobra upgrade, which was announced by the Turkish company Aselsan in 2015, when it released a photograph on 6 September showing one of its modernised attack helicopters. The Royal Bahraini Air Force’s (RBAF’s) head of planning told the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference in January 2015 that the service was planning to upgrade its Cobra fleet by integrating new weapons and enhancing crew situational awareness. Aselsan announced in June 2015 that it had signed a USD24.8m contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to upgrade Cobras for an unidentified foreign customer, with deliveries expected to be completed by 2020. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Sep 18. Indian MoD formally lifts Denel blacklisting. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 6 September that it has formally lifted its defence trade ban on South African defence company Denel. The MoD said the ban was lifted after the “MoD and the South African side” signed a “final settlement agreement” on 19 July 2018. In a statement the MoD said its decision comes 13 years after it blacklisted Denel following South African news reports alleging corruption in a defence contract awarded to the company to supply firearms and ammunition to the Indian Army. These news reports prompted India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to launch an investigation into Denel. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Sep 18. U.S. Officials Seek to Boost Arms Sales to India. A decade ago, U.S. arms sales to India amounted to virtually nothing. Today, the United States is the second-largest arms supplier to India, and U.S. officials say they hope to increase that business. Army Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, spoke to reporters while traveling to India with Defense Secretary James N. Mattis. His agency is responsible for foreign military sales. India is modernizing its military and the United States would like to compete for those sales, he said. “There are four values that govern our relationship with India, and our relationship with all our partners: … transparency, responsiveness, integrity and commitment,” the general said.
Transparency means the agency shares all the information about systems and associated costs with its partners. This allows other nations to make informed decisions on the types of capabilities they need.
“We’re very confident that, when given all of the information that they need, they’ll choose American systems and American services,” Hooper said.
Responsiveness is another key. The general stays in constant touch with his partners. In India’s case that is the director general for acquisition. “Every time I see him, I provide him with a spreadsheet that updates … the status of all of our systems,” Hooper said. “And we have discussions on how we can better strengthen the partnership.”
Integrity is a key value that separates the U.S. approach to security cooperation from others, he said.
“Integrity means, quite simply, our books are always open,” Hooper said. “We don’t charge one penny more than we have to for the finest systems and the finest services in the world. The books are always open, and we can account for every penny that our partners spend.”
The U.S. is committed to providing goods and services at the point of sale, and to forging and strengthening a long-term relationship, the general said.
“We found that when we follow those four values with our Indian partners, it helps to support, to strengthen that relationship,” he said.
Hooper cannot comment on possible sales to India, but he said he believes that no matter the domain, any U.S. system would bring enormous capabilities and be economically competitive. “What I can say is, I expect some very fruitful discussions,” he said. “All of our systems are the best in the world, and I’m sure are very competitive to suit and meet the requirements of our Indian partners.”
India has already bought U.S. C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. One aspect of the current U.S.-Indian talks is the communications compatibility and security agreement. Once signed, a much larger range of U.S. weapons systems would be available to India. Over the years, first the Soviet Union and then Russia were the largest arms suppliers to India. Russia remains the biggest supplier, mainly because of contracts for legacy systems.
“We’re confident that when our partners take a look at the capabilities that we’re offering as opposed to whatever capabilities they previously been committed to, that … U.S. capabilities will stand head-and-shoulders above all of them and will become the selection of choice, and we will become their partner of choice,” Hooper said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/U.S. Department of Defense)
06 Sep 18. India issues RFI for 75 mini remotely piloted aircraft systems. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has invited responses by 26 November to a recently issued request for information (RFI) regarding the import of 75 high-altitude mini remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPASs) for the Indian Army (IA). Released on 31 August, the RFI requires that the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) associated with the systems can be launched and recovered at an elevation of 5,500 m and operated at a minimum height of 1,000 m above ground level. The UAVs’ endurance, with maximum all-up weight including the optical payload, would need to be 120 minutes. Each RPAS should come with three UAVs, a man-portable ground control station, a launch and recovery system, a remote video terminal, a day-and-night sensor package, and a two-way airborne data relay to control the UAVs beyond the line of sight. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Sep 18. Defence calling for submissions for Network Centric Soldier program. The Department of Defence via the Defence Innovation Hub is seeking innovation proposals that will assist Defence in developing a soldier personal area network (SPAN) that connects the soldier to current and future systems and communication networks – a Network Centric Soldier. For geographically dispersed soldiers and commanders, the ability to fuse multiple sensor data feeds and exchange information through a useful interface is challenging. At the first Australia-Israel Defence Industry Cooperation Joint Working Group held on 9 July 2018, both the Australian Department of Defence (ADOD) and the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) identified this shared capability challenge and the need for innovative solutions. Emerging technologies have seen multiple systems on the soldier providing advanced capabilities to enhance the lethality, survivability and situational awareness of the dismounted combatant. Currently these are largely stand-alone and the ability to combine or fuse these is very limited. Soldiers currently carry a number of discrete sensors that collect data, such as laser range finders, rifle optics, cameras, thermal imagers and night vision systems. To increase the effectiveness of the soldier, Defence is seeking new technologies (i.e. novel communication systems, smart devices and/or cyber systems) that can network these systems, collate and analyse the data and display key information onto a single device (such as a tablet, weapon optic etc). This network of systems (or the SPAN) should be able to connect to current and future systems and with broader Army networks. For example, information gathered and exchanged on an individual soldier should be able to feed into Army’s Land Combat System (including the Battle Management System [BMS]). Defence is particularly interested in technologies that answer the following questions:
- What information sharing system can be developed to integrate all the inputs used by the soldier to create a SPAN that will allow them to effectively receive, send and use the information within their section/platoon (including integration into BMS)?
- What innovative capabilities exist to allow Defence to connect, analyse, share and receive system data from multiple sources in real-time to create an effective SPAN?
Respondents should note that this is a capability challenge shared by both the Australian Defence Force and the Israeli Defense Force. Respondents are encouraged to think creatively about ways in which they may be able to address this shared capability challenge, including potential opportunities for collaboration with other entities in order to meet the needs of both the ADOD and the IMOD.
Defence’s objective in this call for submissions (Stage 1) is to select up to 10 respondents to display, exhibit and demonstrate their proposed innovations at the ADOD’s Army Innovation Day on 25 October 2018. After the day has concluded, Defence will invite selected respondents successful at Stage 1 to participate in a more detailed request for proposals process (Stage 2).
Defence’s aim for Stage 2 is to select one or more respondents to enter into an Innovation Contract with Defence to deliver a prototype of the technology for user trial and evaluations with the ADF within 12 months of Army Innovation Day 2018. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Sep 18. Australia Signs New Military Drone Contracts. The Australian federal government has signed two contracts to further develop the Australian Defence Force’s unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities. Defence minister Christopher Pyne said the Defence Innovation Hub contracts, signed with UAV Vision and Textron Systems Australia, would enable Australia to remain at the forefront of surveillance, intelligence and force protection capabilities.
“The $2.1m contract signed with UAV Vision will allow the company to develop a lightweight, compact micro gimbal with several integrated systems to enhance performance and accuracy,” Pyne said.
“Textron Systems Australia signed a $283,000 contract to develop a small UAS including communication systems, sensors and ground control systems.”
The Defence Innovation Hub works with industry partners to fund technologies so that they are developed in accord with the needs of defence force capabilities. An initiative of the government’s 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement, it has been established to deliver approximately $640m up to 2025-26, maturing and further developing technologies that have moved from the early science stages into the engineering and development stages of the innovation process.
Founded in 2006, UAV Vision designs and manufactures high-performance, lightweight, gyro-stabilised camera systems for ISR applications. Textron Systems designs and manufactures multi-mission unmanned aircraft and other systems.
Brigadier Scott Benbow, the director general of Aviation in the Defence department, said both innovators attended a demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Area to see current UAS capability in action and speak with operators.
“These innovators are working on an exciting and important capability, key to modernising our Army and enhancing the capabilities of Australian soldiers on the battlefield,” Benbow said. (Source: UAS VISION/Manufacturer’s Monthly)
05 Sep 18. Brazilian Navy plans to buy Swedish MCMVs. The Brazilian Navy has plans to purchase two MCMV 47 Koster-class mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) from Saab Kockums through its Directorate of Naval Engineering, hoping to replace its existing maritime mine countermeasures (MCM) fleet. A contract award to Saab Kockums is currently awaiting clearance by the top echelon of the navy, with the budget difficulties as the main obstacle for a rapid decision, a source told Jane’s . At first, the navy had considered acquiring in-service MCMVs directly from other friendly navies for the project, known as the ‘Programa de Navios de Contramedidas de Minagem’, but no deal could be struck with one of the other services. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Sep 18. Investment priorities updated for Australian Defence Innovation Hub. Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has announced an updated list of Defence Innovation Hub investment priorities as part of the government’s $1.6bn investment in domestic industry capability over the next decade. Minister Pyne said the government was investing $1.6bn in defence industry and innovation over the next decade, including $640m to support the development of innovative technologies through the Defence Innovation Hub.
“The government’s approach to innovation in Defence is driven by its Defence Strategy, ensuring innovation investment is linked to our capability priorities,” Minister Pyne said.
Investment priorities are reviewed on an annual basis. The Defence Innovation Hub is seeking proposals aligned with the six capability streams identified in the 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Program:
- Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space and cyber;
- Key enablers;
- Land combat, amphibious warfare and special operations;
- Air and sea lift;
- Maritime and anti-submarine warfare; and
- Strike and air combat.
Within these six capability streams, the top three priorities for investment in the 2018-19 financial year, in priority order, are:
Priority 1: Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space and cyber: These capabilities are critical to maintaining the Australian Defence Force’s decision-making superiority and ability to conduct operations safely and effectively.
This is a continuation from the previous financial year with a focus on ISREW enabling joint decision support, cyber and joint integration effects and the addition of social media exploitation, automated dynamic use of spectrum monitoring and switching, proximity electronic support/electronic attack (including development of EW open architectures) and artificial intelligence.
Priority 2: Key enablers: This is a continuation from the 2017-18 financial year with the removal of autonomous identification technologies and the addition of quantum technologies, IT automation, machine learning/cognitive computing, cloud adoption, alternative navigation and positioning, and rapid manufacture.
Priority 3: Land combat, amphibious warfare and special operations: This is a continuation from the 2017-18 financial year with a continued focus on potential special operations capabilities and the addition of enhanced human performance, robotics and autonomous systems.
Land forces require the mobility, firepower, protection and situational awareness capabilities to deploy quickly, achieve their objectives, and return home safely. Defence is seeking innovative proposals for leading-edge equipment to bolster ADF land forces in these capability areas, including amphibious warfare.
Further information about the investment priorities and innovation the Defence Innovation Hub is particularly seeking refer to www.business.gov.au/cdic/defenceinnovationpriorities.
“The Defence Innovation Hub has made significant progress since its launch in December 2016, receiving over 510 proposals and signing 59 innovation contracts with a combined value of more than $77.9m. Around 85 per cent of the proposals align to the top three investment priorities I first announced at the 2016 Land Forces conference,” Minister Pyne said. (Source: Defence Connect)
04 Sep 18. Lockheed to make wings for F-16 jet in India with partner Tata. Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) will build wings for its F-16 combat plane in India with its local partner, Tata Advanced Systems Limited, an executive at the U.S. company said on Tuesday. Lockheed is bidding for a contract – estimated at more than $15bn – to supply the Indian air force with 114 combat planes, which must be all manufactured locally under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Make in India program. However, Vivek Lall, vice president of strategy and business development at Lockheed, said the proposed Indian production of the F-16 wings would not be contingent upon the company winning the order for the planes.
“Producing F-16 wings in India will strengthen Lockheed Martin’ strategic partnership with Tata and support Make in India,” the company said in a statement.
Modi has been pushing for local manufacturing that will provide jobs and also end the military’s dependence on imports.
Lockheed’s announcement came just days ahead of top level talks between the United States and India aimed at expanding defense ties.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will meet with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Boeing (BA.N) has pitched its F/A-18 Super Hornet for the Indian contract as well as Sweden’s Saab with its Gripen fighter. France’s Dassault (AVMD.PA) Systemes SE’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Russian aircraft are also in the fray.
Lall said Lockheed had offered to make India its sole F-16 production facility that would supply the Indian military but also other countries. “If India buys the F-16 then it becomes the center of manufacturing for the global market,” he said.
Lall said the company planned to begin production of the F-16 wings in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad from 2020. He said these were being produced at a facility in Israel and would not impact any jobs in the United States.
The Israeli center will continue to be involved in other production, he said. “All F-16 wings globally are to be built in the Hyderabad facility,” he said.
03 Sep 18. Israel to Decide on Next Fighter Jet Fleet By the End of the Year. The Israeli Air Force will decide within three to six months between purchasing a third squadron of F-35 jets or Boeing’s latest F-15I, The Jerusalem Post has learned. With most of Israel’s aircraft acquired up to 30 years ago, the IAF is modernizing its squadrons of aging fighter jets and helicopters in order to keep ahead of increased threats in the Middle East. Israel’s Air Force has already received 12 F-35I “Adir” stealth fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin and is expected to receive a total of 50 to make two full squadrons by 2024. While the original letter of intent signed between Israel and Lockheed Martin was for 75 aircraft, the IAF is now currently deciding whether to purchase another 25 F-35s or to purchase an advanced squadron of the F-15s built by Boeing. (Source: (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Jerusalem Post)
04 Sep 18. Australian Navy to expand and upgrade simulation trainer fleet. The Australian Department of Defence is set to invest more than A$80m ($57.50m) to expand and upgrade the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) simulation trainer fleet. A new bridge simulation trainer will be installed at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia as part of the upgrade, in addition to the integration of a new command team trainer and improvements to other simulators at HMAS Watson in Sydney, Australia. The bridge simulation trainer is designed to replicate a real-life vessel’s bridge with realistic scenarios and will be used to train bridge teams in ship navigation and handling techniques. RAN sailors and officers deployed to operate the vessel’s combat and communications systems will be trained using the system. The command team trainer represents the operations room of a virtual ship and uses simulated scenarios to teach navy personnel.
Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said BAE Systems Australia, DXC Technology Australia, L3‑Oceania Australia, and SAAB Australia are involved in the simulation trainer upgrade project.
The development of the simulation trainers will help sustain more than 100 job opportunities across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
Pyne said: “We are committed to improving the quality and efficiency of the training delivered to navy personnel. By expanding the fleet of onshore simulation trainers, navy will not be limited by factors that can impact training at sea and can deliver more reliable and increasingly sophisticated training packages. Simulation training also provides an environment where individuals and teams can safely rehearse complex and high-risk missions.”
The investments will help reduce the time spent on completing qualifications and transporting people across the county, as well as the training load on ships. (Source: naval-technology.com)
04 Sep 18. WA minister strengthens defence industry links with Singapore. Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia has used his recent trip to Singapore to urge 20 leading Singaporean defence companies to consider joint projects with West Australian industry. At a meeting in Singapore, local representatives were presented with copies of the WA Defence Industry Capability Directory, which lists more than 100 WA companies with advanced capabilities in defence related technology and manufacturing. The directory also provides information on defence related capabilities at WA universities and vocational training providers. The minister encouraged the business representatives to review the directory for opportunities for collaboration or partnerships with WA industry, universities and vocational training providers. The Singaporean companies were also invited to the Indo-Pacific Defence Conference in Perth on 30 October. The inaugural conference will build on WA’s strategic economic and locational links, and promote its defence industry sector and its potential for a greater contribution to national and regional defence and security matters.
“Singapore’s defence supply sector is recognised as being a global leader. The government’s annual defence spend, worth more than $13bn, has a strong emphasis on advanced technology, including remotely operated equipment and robotics,” Minister Papalia said.
The minister also met with Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman, Minister of State for Defence, to discuss opportunities for strengthening collaboration between Singapore and Western Australia in defence science and technology. (Source: Defence Connect)
03 Sep 18. Modi govt mulls purchase of 114 new fighter jets amid Rafale row. While the political squabble over purchase of 36 Rafale jets from Paris-based Dassault Aviation is far from over, the government is reportedly ready to give its nod to the long-drawn acquisition project for 114 new fighter jets. While the political squabble between BJP and Congress over purchase of 36 Rafale jets from Paris-based Dassault Aviation is far from over, the government is reportedly ready to give its nod to the long-drawn acquisition project for 114 new fighter jets for over $20bn (Rs 1.4 lakh crore).
According to a report in The Times of India, Defence Acquisitions Council, chaired by minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is likely to consider “acceptance of necessity (AoN)” for the 114-jet project later this month or early next month. The report added that a new contender will be in the race to sell aircraft this time.
The Russian Sukhoi-35 fighter has also joined the competition for what is being touted as ‘mother of all defence deals’. The Russian aircraft manufacturer reportedly submitted its bid to the preliminary tender or request for information (RFI) issued by IAF in April. This comes after the first six contenders, F/A-18 and F-16 (US), Gripen-E (Sweden), MiG-35 (Russia), Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale, sent their bids in early-July. Under the proposed project, while the first 18 jets will come in “a flyaway condition” in three to five years after the contract is inked, the rest will thereafter be produced in India under the new “strategic partnership (SP)” policy in a joint venture between the selected foreign aviation major and its Indian partner, the daily said. The report, however, added it will take at least four to five years for the actual contract to be inked with the selected foreign original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-Indian partner combine. It’s estimated each bare-bone fighter will cost around $100m, with another $100m for the “add-ons” in terms of weapons, simulators, performance-based logistics and the like.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had earlier questioned why a ‘fighter jet worth Rs 520 crore’ was bought for Rs 1,600 crore. He even challenged the Modi government to form a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to scrutinise the Rafale deal.
Rafale is a French twin-engine multi-role fighter jet designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Rafale jets are considered to be one of the most potent combat jets globally. India and France signed a deal worth 7.87bn euros (Rs 59,000 crore approximately) on September 23, 2016, for 36 Rafale jets. The delivery of the aircraft will start from September 2019.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who recently got back to North Block after recovering from his kidney transplant, has countered Gandhi’s claims on Twitter. “Any issue diversion by @RahulGandhi on my Rafale questions, will not wipe out his falsehood on Rafale,” he tweeted yesterday. In another tweet he claimed that “The fully weaponised Rafale air craft’s 2016 price is 20% cheaper than the 2007 offer. This is what the 2015 statement of the PM and the French President refers to as ‘on terms better than the 2007 offers’.” (Source: News Now/www.businesstoday.in)
03 Sep 18. Azerbaijan arms purchases from Russia exceed USD5bn. Azerbaijan has bought military equipment worth more than USD5n from Russia, President Ilham Aliyev said after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 1 September. Aliyev said the upward trend continues “because Azerbaijan continues to modernise its armed forces and Russia is a very important global producer and supplier of military products on international markets”. In addition to military-technical co-operation, the two presidents discussed Azerbaijan’s continuing dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is the main reason for high defence spending by both countries. Equipment bought by Azerbaijan from Russia includes armoured fighting vehicles. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Sep 18. Indian MoD issues RFI for 650,000 assault rifles. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has invited responses from local manufacturers by 20 September to a request for information (RFI) regarding the supply of 650,000 7.62×39mm assault rifles for the Indian Army (IA) for an estimated INR120bn (USD1.69bn). Issued on 31 August, this is the fourth alteration made by the IA since 2011 to the qualitative requirements for the rifles, which are set to be procured under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category of the MoD’s Defence Procurement Procedure 2016. The latest RFI lists revised requirements that supersede those stipulated by the IA when the MoD approved the local manufacture of 740,000 7.62×51mm assault rifles in January 2017 for all three services, including 550,000 for the IA. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Sep 18. Japan’s Improved Atago-class to field SM-6 air-defence missiles. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo has decided to equip the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF’s) two Improved Atago-class destroyers with Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) air-defence missiles, an MoD spokesperson told Jane’s on 3 September. The revelation comes just four days after the MoD asked for JPY11.1bn (USD99.9m) in its 2019 budget request to procure an undisclosed number of SM-6 interceptors, and JPY2.1 bn to acquire additional ones for testing. The decision follows the launch of Maya (with pennant number 179) on 30 July, the first of the two Improved Atago-class destroyers. The 170m-long vessel entered the water at the Japan Marine United (JMU) Corporation’s facility in Yokohama and is expected to be commissioned in March 2020, while the second ship is expected to enter service in March 2021. The vessels will be equipped with the US-developed Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system, which will enable the destroyers to act as part of a wider ‘grid’ of sensor and weapon platforms that allows other CEC-equipped ships to share surveillance and targeting information. The ships, which are 5 m longer than the Atago-class destroyers, will also field SM-3 Block IIA missiles designed to intercept short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
The MoD is advancing Japan’s integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) capabilities through the combined use of Aegis-equipped vessels, early-warning aircraft, radars, and other equipment. Maya is expected to use the Aegis Baseline J7 supported by the Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1D-series radar. At the Yokosuka naval base in Kanagawa Prefecture the US Navy’s 7th Fleet has already deployed CEC-capable Aegis ships that can launch SM-6 interceptors. The commissioning of Maya in 2020 is expected to facilitate data-sharing with US warships and enhance the interoperability between the Japan Self-Defense Force and the US military. The latest revelation comes six days after Tokyo referred in its Defense of Japan 2018 White Paper to North Korea’s ballistic missile programme as an “unprecedentedly serious and imminent threat to Japan’s security”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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