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26 Jul 18. General Dynamics Receives Delivery Order to Upgrade 100 Abrams Main Battle Tanks. The U.S. Army has signed a delivery order for General Dynamics Land Systems to upgrade 100 more M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to the state-of-the-art M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3) configuration. The delivery order is part of an Army Requirements Contract signed in December 2017 through which the Army can upgrade up to 435 M1A1 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 SEPv3 configuration. The M1A2 SEPv3 configuration features technological advancements in communications, reliability, sustainment and fuel efficiency, plus upgraded armor. Work on this delivery order will be performed at Land Systems locations in Scranton, Pa., and Tallahassee, Fla., and at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, the only operational tank plant in the country. Initial pilot M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks were delivered to the Army in October 2017.
21 Jul 18. DoD Policy Chief Urges U.S.-Russian Collaboration on Mutual-Interest Issues. The Pentagon’s chief policy maker addressed the Aspen Security Forum last night about the need for the United States and Russia to seek common collaboration on issues of national security concern as such opportunities might arise. In Aspen, Colorado, John C. Rood, undersecretary for defense for policy, said of the two near-peer competitors outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy – China and Russia – the latter is the larger near-term threat because of the overwhelming lethality of its nuclear arsenal and some of the behavior the Russian government has exhibited, such as threatening NATO allies and illegally annexing Crimea.
Overall, globally, “[we] have to stand firm in defending the ideals and the values of the international rules-based order we’ve put in place, [which] is of benefit for all,” the undersecretary said. “We’ve got to work very closely with allies – [and take] steps to make NATO fit for our times. And the European Deterrence Initiative is also getting some greater momentum,” he added. “We also have to be open to opportunities for collaboration,” with Russia, Rood emphasized. “Where our interests align and we have an opportunity to do something together with the Russians, we should look for those opportunities.”
One such opportunity has been the “deconfliction” line in Syria between the United States and Russia, where the U.S. military is working to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, while Russia defends the Syrian president’s regime in a civil war.
“We would also like to talk more about strategic stability, making sure there are clear understandings between the United States and Russia, about these terribly lethal weapons that we both control, and talk about the future of nonproliferation,” Rood said of potential future opportunities with Russia. “We have shared interests in the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery,” he added. “It’s an area where we’ve had a lot of good cooperation from Russia in the past. This is another area we can collaborate on if there’s enough of an alignment of interest.”
Another concern the United States has with Russia is its lack of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of NATO nations, he said. “That’s why we’re doing things like deploying, on a rotational basis, troops in four countries along NATO’s eastern periphery; why we’re doing things like the Four-30s initiative,” in which NATO allies, by the year 2020, would have 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels ready for deployment in 30 days or less. The Four 30s initiative was announced at the June 7-8 meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
On North Korea, Rood said it is a solemn obligation for America to make sure that nation makes good on its offer to return the remains of 5,300 U.S. service members from the Korean War, so that American families can have closure. “We’re encouraged that there could be a return of remains in the near future,” he said.
Rood said the Defense Department is hopeful to see progress in North Korea’s efforts to denuclearize.
“What gives me hope this time is [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] is a different leader than his father and his grandfather,” the undersecretary said of Un’s main focus on the economy, rather than making the military his priority. “I have deep skepticism of denuclearization and their activities, but I’m hopeful,” he said.
The National Defense Strategy also lists the malign influence of Iran as another major challenge to the United States, and Rood noted the long-standing concern the nation has had over Iran’s nuclear program, in addition to other issues, such as its support for terrorism. As Iran continues to threaten to close shipping in the Persian Gulf to other nations, he advised the Iranians against such action.
“One of our missions for the United States military is, if called upon, to continue the free flow of commerce in that strategic waterway, whether it is vital oil shipments or other commercial goods, [and] to allow for the free and open navigation in the gulf,” Rood said. “Therefore, I really discourage the Iranian government from thinking about trying to interrupt that free flow of commerce. It would not be in their interest.” (Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)
20 Jul 18. The US Navy’s new anti-ship missile scores a hit at RIMPAC, but there’s a twist. The U.S. surface fleet’s brand-new anti-ship missile was used as part of the barrage of rockets and missiles that put an end to the landing ship tank Racine on July 12 during the Rim of the Pacific exercise, but it wasn’t shot by the Navy. The U.S. Army shot the Naval Strike Missile from the back of a truck using its Palletized Load System in a demonstration that is likely to raise eyebrows in China. The missile, a joint venture between the Norwegian company Kongsberg and Raytheon, was fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Barking Sands, Hawaii, at the former USS Racine, which was floating 55 nautical miles north of Kauai, Hawaii. Joining the U.S. Army was the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, which fired Mitsubishi’s Type 12 surface-to-ship missile. The Navy inked a contract with Raytheon to start buying the NSM for its littoral combat ships and likely its future frigate. The Army’s shot successfully detonated on target, according to U.S. Pacific Fleet officials. The shots dovetails with a concept that the Army and the JGSDF have been developing, known in some circles as “archipelagic defense,” which in essence calls for the use of ground forces to deny Chinese forces free movement through the theater by deploying anti-ship and anti-air missiles throughout the island chains that pepper the Asia-Pacific region. Deploying ground forces armed with anti-ship and anti-air missiles throughout islands, while leaving those forces open to attack, complicates what many analysts see as China’s goal of exercising de facto military control of 1.7 million square miles of the East and South China seas. In a 2015 article in Foreign Affairs, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments analyst Andrew Krepinevich argued that deploying ground forces to the first island chain (a region that refers to a line of islands that runs from Japan’s southern tip through the East and South China seas) could change China’s game plan.
“If Washington wants to change Beijing’s calculus, it must deny China the ability to control the air and the sea around the first island chain, since the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] would have to dominate both arenas to isolate the archipelago,” he wrote. “The United States must also integrate allied battle networks and strengthen allied capabilities — both of which will help offset the PLA’s efforts to destabilize the region’s military balance. By and large, those goals can be achieved with ground forces, which would not replace existing air and naval forces but complement them.”
The concept has gained traction in some circles, but the Army has been touch-and-go on the notion as it balances security concerns in Europe, said Jan van Tol, also an analyst with CSBA.
“Archipelagic defense has some merit to it, and there was initial excitement when we started talking about this a few years ago, but it has seen less emphasis recently, especially as the Army is focusing more in Eastern Europe,” he said.
The former head of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry Harris, told a conference audience in Hawaii in 2016 he wanted the Army to think about ways of using its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and 155mm Paladin artillery to target ships from land.
“One thing I can tell you: The question of the role of land forces in ensuring access to, and maneuver in, shared domains is something the U.S. and our friends, partners and allies must address,” he said. “Not only as a matter of security, but also a matter of economic prosperity. … Our adversaries get this. If we get this right, the Army will kill the archer instead of dealing with all of its arrows.” (Source: Defense News)
19 Jul 18. State Dept. Moves to Implement Conventional Arms Transfer Policy. On July 13, 2018 Secretary of State Michael Pompeo submitted the Implementation Plan requested as part of the Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy (NSPM-10). In line with the U.S. National Security Strategy, these documents lay out a whole-of-government strategy to better align U.S. conventional arms transfers with our national security and economic interests. The tasks in the implementation plan include:
* Working with partners and allies to identify critical capability requirements and energizing a whole-of-government effort to expedite transfers that support these essential foreign policy and national security objectives;
* Improving U.S. ability to compete with adversaries by providing allies and partners with alternatives to foreign defense articles to maintain U.S. influence in key regions;
* Increasing the competiveness of U.S.-made systems, including by working with industry to build exportability into design and development, expanding support for non-Program of Record systems, and by incentivizing increased production capacity and timely delivery;
* Continuing to update the policy and regulatory framework that underlies U.S. arms transfers including revising outdated policies, updating regulatory frameworks such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and working with partners to modernize multilateral regimes;
* Expanding and enhancing U.S. Government advocacy and trade promotion in support of the U.S. defense industry, and exploring mechanisms to reduce financial barriers to the procurement of American defense goods and services;
* Working with partners to ensure that barriers to U.S. entry are reduced, and that policies such as offset requirements do not imperil American jobs or reduce our technological edge; and
* Continuing to improve our arms transfer processes including by establishing milestones and timelines and improving the contracting and procurement processes that underpin the systems. (Source: glstrade.com)
16 Jul 18. U.S. State Department in talks with Turkey to sell Patriot system. The U.S. State Department on Monday said it was working with NATO ally Turkey on the possible sale of a Raytheon Co Patriot missile defence system to avert its purchase of a Russian-made S-400 system. Tina Kaidanow, Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, told reporters at the Farnborough Airshow that U.S. officials were “trying to give the Turks an understanding of what we can do with respect to Patriot.” She did not say if the delegations were meeting at the air show. Turkey had passed over the Patriot system twice in its selection process, first choosing a Chinese system, then turning to the Russian S-400 system in 2017. Industry executives said Turkey had sought more technology transfers than Washington was previously willing to approve. U.S. and NATO officials have repeatedly warned Ankara that the Russian system cannot be integrated into the NATO air and missile defence system, and its purchase would jeopardise Ankara’s purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets. Assistant Secretary of Defense Kevin Fahey, the Pentagon’s most senior official weapons buyer at the show told reporters at the show that “Turkey has had an interest in Patriot, so we’ve been working for a while how we can make that work.” Kaidanow said Washington was worried that U.S. allies purchasing Russian systems would support “some of the least good behaviour that we have seen from them (Russia) in various places including Europe but also elsewhere.”
She said Washington wanted to ensure that systems acquired by U.S. allies “remain supportive of the strategic relationship between us and our allies, in the case of Turkey that is Patriots.” In April, the Trump administration rolled out a long-awaited overhaul of U.S. arms export policy aimed at expanding sales to allies, saying it would bolster the American defence industry and create jobs at home. Wes Kremer, who heads Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business, welcomed the Trump administration’s greater engagement on a possible sale of Patriot to Turkey.
“Turkey is an example of where this administration has engaged … to get the U.S. systems out there,” he said.
Lockheed Martin Corp, which makes the interceptors for the Patriot system, said one approach could be to offer Turkey an open architecture system like the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) it developed with European missile maker MBDA, which would allow Turkey to integrate its own missiles.
“Turkey has a fairly well developed industrial infrastructure,” Lockheed’s top missile defence executive said. “They have their own indigenous interceptors that could be integrated, if we can move to something more of an open system.” (Source: Reuters)
16 Jul 18. U.S. arms makers praise new U.S. weapons export policy. U.S. arms makers attending the Farnborough Airshow in Britain on Monday lauded the U.S. government’s push to sell more weapons overseas and said they expected European defence spending to increase in the coming years.
Western arms makers are jockeying to take advantage of expanding defence budgets among NATO allies and in other regions. Shares in Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), Boeing (BA.N) and other big U.S. arms makers have seen double-digit percentage rises since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
“We always felt like we were a company competing against countries. Now we feel like we’re a company within the United States defence industry, and that we have some sponsorship from the United States government to work these deals,” Wes Kremer, Raytheon Co.’s (RTN.N) head of Integrated Defense Systems, told Reuters at the airshow, 40 miles (60 km) southwest of London.
Many U.S. executives hope that bigger defence budgets and greater U.S. government advocacy will spur more sales, but say it may take time for the new policy to translate into orders.
“It’s very early days,” said John Bottimore, vice president of international business development at the U.S. unit of Britain’s BAE Systems (BAES.L). “It’s too early to say it’s making a difference yet.”
The U.S. State Department on Monday hailed the implementation of the Trump administration’s new weapons export policy, days after Trump pressured NATO allies at a meeting in Brussels to boost their military spending. The State Department said the new policy was “a whole-of-government effort to expedite transfers” that support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives. The changes, first rolled out in April, are aimed at expanding sales to allies, bolstering the American defense industry and creating jobs at home. The Aerospace Industries Association, the biggest U.S. arms industry lobbying group, welcomed Monday’s announcement, made by senior State Department official Tina Kaidanow.
“We are gratified to see our recommendations for strategic focus, whole of government coordination, and enhanced accountability feature prominently,” AIA’s CEO Eric Fanning said in a statement.
Kaidanow told reporters the U.S. was working with NATO ally Turkey on the possible sale of a Patriot system to halt Ankara’s plans to buy a Russian-made S-400 system that has sparked serious concerns. Raytheon’s Kremer said Turkey showed how the Trump administration was already making a difference.
“Turkey is an example of where this administration has engaged … to get the U.S. systems out there,” he said, referring to his company’s push to sell its Patriot missile defence system to Ankara.
However several executives at the Farnborough Airshow, speaking on condition of anonymity, raised concerns that the new policy did not go far enough, and said they still lacked details on what equipment could now be sold. (Source: Reuters)
16 Jul 18. Trump advances ‘Buy American’ arms sales plans. U.S. President Donald Trump has approved the State Department’s implementation plan for the administration’s “Buy American” push for boosting weapons exports that emphasizes the U.S. economy, the State Department announced Monday. The Trump administration is undertaking an effort to support U.S. defense trade overseas to strengthen security partnerships, encourage interoperability, and protect American economic security and jobs, said the State Department’s Tina Kaidanow, who was in London leading the U.S. delegation at the Farnborough Airshow.
“The point is that it is exactly reflected in a place like Farnborough, where we are supporting U.S. economic security, and we are also achieving a number of national security goals in conjunction with our important partners and allies overseas,” the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs said in a call with reporters.
The implementation plan for the rule changes, announced in April, are in part meant to reverse the perception that the State Department is a frequent site of logjams in the Foreign Military Sales process. Officially called the Conventional Arms Transfer policy, it’s intended to help private U.S. defense firms directly sell some types of weapons and unmanned drones to allies without the firms having to go through the U.S. government. Since April, the U.S. government has been working on implementation plans with industry, which hailed Monday’s move. Aerospace Industries Association CEO Eric Fanning said its recommendations for a strategic focus, whole-of-government coordination and enhanced accountability feature prominently in the implementation plan.
“It is absolutely essential for our government and our industry to get to the right answers on defense trade with our allies sooner so that we can continue to ‘outpartner’ our adversaries,” Fanning said. “Going forward, we commit to expanding our already robust dialogue and partnership with the government’s security cooperation enterprise to sustain and grow the competitiveness of U.S. defense exports.”
The U.S. already leads the world in arms transfers. In 2017, the State Department approved $42bn in government-to-government sales; and so far this year, 2018 is on track to beat last year at $46bn. The State Department, under its plans outlined Monday, would help allies to identify critical capability requirements and employ a whole-of-government effort to expedite transfers. In February, Kaidanow led a large U.S. delegation to Asia’s largest air show to pitch U.S. arms sales as China’s military footprint and political influence are surging. What’s spelled out in State’s plans is competition with adversaries by “providing allies and partners with alternatives to foreign defense articles in order to maintain U.S. influence in key regions.”
The plans also call for State to work with the defense industry to build exportability into its designs and development efforts, expanding support for non-program-of-record systems, and by incentivizing increased production capacity and timely delivery. The State Department would tweak relevant rules, like the International Traffic in Arms Regulations framework; expand and enhance government advocacy and trade promotion in support of the American defense industry; and avoid offsets that imperil domestic jobs or reduce America’s technological edge. The implementation plan may finally give the Defense Department and military services some much-needed direction on how to better align itself for arms deals. The Air Force was standing by to hear from the White House — through the Defense Department — on how to move forward, its undersecretary, Matt Donovan, told Defense News on the sidelines of Farnborough.
“We are waiting for implementation guidance from the White House,” he said Monday morning, just a couple hours before news hit of the approved plan. The Pentagon “and folks like [Under Secretary of Acquisition and Sustainment] Ellen Lord are getting ready to posture us for when that implementation guidance comes out. But as of right now, we’re still waiting.” (Source: Defense News)
13 Jul 18. Allies’ plans for new fighter jet technology a boon for US Air Force, chief says. Numerous European countries are laying the groundwork for domestically produced, next-generation fighter jets, but the U.S. Air Force isn’t feeling left out by the emerging partnerships — in fact, its top general says the different projects could end up fueling a step change in technology.
Competition between potential aircraft designers will be pivotal to spur innovation and “to get the best solution to the complex challenges we face,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein in an exclusive July 10 interview with Defense News.
“I’m not at all concerned by the fact that we might have alternative solutions being put forward by England, France, Germany, you name it,” he said. “That to me is all for the good because it produces the competitive environment that you need for innovation to occur.”
Goldfein’s comments came days before a meeting of international air chiefs and the Royal International Air Tattoo, which kicks off this Friday at Royal Air Force Fairford in England. During either RIAT or the Farnborough Airshow, which starts next week, the United Kingdom is expected to lay out a road map for a fighter jet that could be fielded in the 2040s to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon. Meanwhile, Germany and France have decided to partner on their own Future Combat Air System to replace the Typhoon and Dassault Rafale. Officials have said the program would be opened to other countries further down the line, but French and German defense firms such as Airbus, Dassault, Thales, MBDA and Safran are expected to pick up major work. Since the reveal of the new National Defense Strategy earlier this year, U.S. Air Force leaders have been loathe to comment on its next fighter jet — alternately called Next Generation Air Dominance and also known as Penetrating Counter Air. Leadership has instead promoted a vague “family of systems” that would be developed by the service to preserve air superiority into the 2030s. But while the F?35 was conceived from the ground up as a multinational program, experts say it’s unlikely the U.S. Air Force’s next fighter jet would involve that level of foreign cooperation. U.S. allies don’t necessarily need to use the same aircraft in order to be interoperable, Goldfein said. However, more work needs to be done to ensure current and future aircraft are able to share data with international partners and exploit the data incoming from foreign operators.
“When it comes to interoperability, I think we all recognize we’ve all been moving down this path of multidomain operations, and the hardest nut to crack moving forward in this vision is the C2 part, the command and control,” he said. “That’s why you’ve seen me pushing so hard on that. And there’s recognition with every air chief I talk to that we’ve got to find ways to bust down the barriers of information sharing because anything we field has got to connect, it’s got to share, it’s got to learn, and that’s not a U.S.-only mandate. That’s an international mandate for coalition partners that will fly together.” (Source: Defense News)
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