06 May 16. Harris Corp was awarded a $405.5m contract for the sale of military radio systems to Morocco, the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday. (Source: Reuters)
04 May 16. India stalls Leonardo-Finmeccanica bid to increase JV stake. Indian authorities have stalled a bid by Leonardo-Finmeccanica to increase investment in its joint venture (JV) with Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) said on 2 May that it has deferred judgement on a proposal submitted by the Italian defence and security group to increase investment in the JV from INR176m (USD2.6m) to INR196.4m. The FIPB’s judgement also relates to the Italian group’s proposal to change the identity of the foreign owner of IRL from AgustaWestland to Finmeccanica, reflecting its move in 2015 to integrate its subsidiaries under one name. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
04 May 16. Helicopter Corruption Case Rocks Indian Parliament. Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told Parliament on Wednesday that the procurement process was circumvented in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland UK. Parrikar was replying during a debate on the alleged corruption charges in the purchase of VVIP helicopters by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2010. Last month a Milan, Italy, court ruled that the $553 million AgustaWestland contract for buying VVIP helicopters from Italian company Finmeccanica, signed in 2010, involved payoffs to Indian officials.
Parrikar gave a chronology of the procurement process from when the IAF first sought to acquire the VVIP helicopters to replace the aging MI-8 helicopter. India’s Upper House of Parliament hotly debated the VVIP helicopter purchase, some members calling it a “scam.” While some members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the former Congress government of changing technical specifications in a bid to favor AgustaWestland’s AW-101 helicopter, the Congress Party refuted the charges. One matter all the parties in the debate agreed to: India’s investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), should speed its investigation of the VVIP deal. India’s former Defense Minister A.K. Antony demanded that AgustaWestland and parent company-Finmeccanica should not be allowed to participate in any of the future “Make in India” projects. India terminated the contract for the 12 VVIP helicopters in January 2014 with AgustaWestland on grounds of a breach of the pre-contract integrity pact. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
05 May 16. SOFEX To Kick Off in Jordan Amid Expanded Battle Against Islamic State. With war and insurgencies imperiling nation states throughout the Middle East and Africa, military commanders and government officials from around the world are convening May 9 here for the biennial Middle East Special Operations Commanders Conference (MESOC) and Special Operations Forces Exhibition (SOFEX).
Under the patronage of Jordanian King Abdullah II and in collaboration with the Jordanian Joint Special Operations Command, the four-day SOFEX event takes place as the Hashemite Kingdom takes on an ever-increasing role in the global war against the Islamic State state and other extremist groups spreading terrorism and anarchy in the region and beyond.
“Jordan has proven itself to be extremely effective in combating terror and providing for its homeland security,” said Riad Kahwaji, initiator of the MESOC conference, now in its eighth year. “Jordan has played a big role in training of the Iraqi Army and its King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) has become the place to go for the type of training needed to meet today’s threats.”
He noted that this year’s theme is “Networking for Global Security,” and will include presentations by Jordanian, US, German, Egyptian, Pakistani, French and Australian commanders.
Amer Tabbeh, founding director of the exhibition, said SOFEX remains the region’s only event exc