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16 Mar 22. Pentagon to request fewer Lockheed F-35 warplanes in next budget – report. The Pentagon will request 61 F-35 stealth warplanes from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) in its next budget, 33 fewer than previously planned, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Lockheed, whose shares were down 6.4% in early trading, said in a statement that it was “premature” to speculate about the proposed budget.
“The Department (of Defense) cannot confirm specific budget details until after the FY23 President’s Budget is released,” a Pentagon spokesperson said.
Reuters reported last month that U.S. President Joe Biden was expected to ask Congress for a defense budget exceeding $770 billion for the next fiscal year, compared with $778 billion in 2022.
The budget is expected to benefit the biggest U.S. defense contractors, including Lockheed, Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) and General Dynamics Corp .
“This is a significant issue for the program,” Cowen analyst Roman Schweizer said, referring to the news on request for fewer F-35s.
Several factors from high operating and maintenance costs to difficult contract negotiations might have contributed to the development, Schweizer said.
The F-35 is one of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft and considered a highly sensitive export, sold only to the closest allies of the United States. Lockheed Martin delivered a total of 142 F-35 fighter jets to the United States and its allies last year, three more than originally planned. (Source: Reuters)
15 Mar 22. Generals Discuss Security Challenges in Africa, Middle East. China, Russia, Iran and terrorist organizations continue to engage in malign activities in the Middle East and Africa, generals told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee today. Witnesses were Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, and Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command.
“Iran continues to pose the greatest threat to U.S. interests and the security of the region as a whole,” McKenzie said. They supply weapons to proxies and client states in an arc from Yemen through the Arabian Peninsula, across Iraq and Syria into Lebanon, and up to the very borders of Israel, he said.
Saudi Arabia endures regular attacks from the Houthis, who — courtesy of the Iranians — have some of the most advanced unmanned aerial systems and cruise missiles in the region, he said.
Recently, the Houthis have expanded these attacks to include urban centers and bases where U.S. forces reside in the United Arab Emirates, he said.
Officials in Tehran, Iran’s capital, also enable allied militias in Iraq and Syria to carry on a persistent, low-level campaign of indirect fire and unmanned aerial attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, McKenzie said.
Iran’s ballistic missile forces can constitute a threat to the security of every state in the region, he added.
China and Russia are also watching closely for any sign that the U.S. commitment to the collective security of the region is wavering, and they’re poised to capitalize on whatever opportunities emerge.
McKenzie also mentioned regional threats from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and al-Qaida.
Russia and China see Africa’s rich potential in terms of resources and strategic partnerships, Townsend said.
Both countries seek to convert soft- and hard-power investments into political influence, strategic access, and economic and diplomatic engagements, he said.
They also seek to buttress autocracies and change international norms in a patient effort, he added.
Townsend also said deadly terrorism has metastasized to Africa.
Those threats include terrorist groups al-Qaida and al-Shabab in East Africa and al-Qaida and ISIS in West Africa and elsewhere, he said.
“They are among the world’s fastest growing, wealthiest and deadliest terrorist groups and remain grave and growing threats that aspire to kill Americans, both there and in our homeland” Townsend said.
“Our willingness to work together with African partners creates a huge demand for U.S. engagement and partnership Africa,” he noted. “Modest and predictable investments yield outsized returns for U.S. and African security interest.” (Source: US DoD)
11 Mar 22. Congress puts $349m for IVAS ‘on hold,’ but Army sees major boost to counter drones. Learning from Turkish drone success in Ukraine, Army pulls in money to counter unmanned aerial vehicles. One analyst called the service’s counter-drone cash surge “extraordinary.” Congress is withholding $349 m in procurement funding for the beleaguered Integrated Visual Augmentation System in its fiscal 2022 defense package, but provided a whopping $374 m increase for counter-small drone procurement. Lawmakers announced earlier this week a $782bn national defense spending package for FY22 nearly six months after the fiscal year started. While the Army received substantial increases to both its procurement and research and development accounts, lawmakers chopped $393.7 m in procurement funding off the IVAS program — essentially battlefield augmented reality headsets — labeling it “ahead of need.”
“We are working through that,” Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said Wednesday when asked by reporters about the impact of the cuts on IVAS.
The IVAS program’s operational test was moved the last quarter of FY21 to May after the goggles experienced numerous issues in the field. In response, appropriators put $349 m “on hold,” according to the explanatory statement, until IVAS completes its initial operational test and Program Executive Office Soldier briefs the appropriations committees. The agreement leaves in place $405 m in procurement “to maintain contractual production requirements.” The bill also moved $55 m from procurement to R&D for the program.
But while the IVAS may have seen a cut, other programs saw a boon. The Army received a $1.5 bn increase above its budget request for its overall procurement funds, totaling $22.8 bn, including cash for some major initiatives.
Included in that procurement is an eye-popping $374m budget increase over its FY22 budget request of $60 m for counter-Small Unmanned Aerial System (c-UAS), bringing its total to $434m. The Army has become increasingly concerned about drones in recent months, with Army Chief of Staff James McConville frequently referring to drones as the new improvised explosive device (IED). On Tuesday, he specifically pointed to the success that the Ukrainian-operated, Turkish-made TB2 Bayraktar drones were having against Russia despite their formidable air defenses.
Tom Spoehr, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center of National Defense, said the amount of money the Army allocated to c-UAS is “extraordinary.”
“That’s much more than just like a program plus up. That’s an extraordinary amount of money. I think that’s a recognition of the role of the drone … in modern warfare,” Spoehr said, also citing the TB2’s success in Ukraine and the Nagorno-Karabakh. “This problem has got everyone’s attention.”
Also in procurement, Congress significantly boosted procurement for weapons and tracked combat vehicles portfolio, increasing its budget to $4.3bn, about $443m above the service’s budget request. The defense bill gives the Army a $175m above the request, about $1.15bn total, to upgrade 90 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks, according to a congressional summary of the legislation.
The legislation also includes $139m above the budget request to buy 41 more Stryker combat vehicles, bringing the total budget for Strykers to $1.08bn for 228 vehicles. The defense spending bill also fully funds the service’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program, putting $574.6m into the Army’s coffers for 2,744 trucks and trailers. Oshkosh Defense currently manufacturers the JLTV for the Army and Marines Corps, but the Army is re-competing that contract this year.
The Army’s new Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle was fully funded at $16.5m. Oshkosh and BAE Systems both built prototypes for the CATV program that passed grueling testing in the Alaska last year and competing for the production contract. The service plans to buy 10 CATVs in FY22, eventually buying 163 by FY32.
The service’s RDT&E budget overall saw a $1.6 bn increase over the original request, with the Army’s six priority modernization areas receiving tens of ms of dollars more than their requests ask.
Congress added $77.5 m to the service’s budget for its Future Long Range Assault Aircraft, bringing its total to $521 m. While lawmakers are adding money to the FLRAA program, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth signaled earlier this week that programs such as FLRAA will soon be needing more money, even if the FY23 budget will have “continuity” for modernization platforms.
“After a few years of initial work on FVL [future vertical lift] and ground vehicles, we’re reaching a point where obviously getting out into the mid- and far-years, the investments required are going to be very significant,” she said Wednesday.
The future vertical lift RDT&E portfolio received $42m bump over the budget request, bringing its total to $133.4 m. That includes a $15m program increase for a high density power source for electric vertical take off and landing platforms (eVTOL).
The Air and Missile Defense research line received $93.6m, up from $19.3m in its budget request. That includes $26 m in program increased for high energy laser technology, testing and integration. It also received a $12.5m increase for beam control systems and optical fiber fabrication for directed energy weapons.
Long-Range Precision Fires, the Army’s top modernization priority, fared well under the omnibus bill. Lawmakers provided $286m for the service’s Mid-Range Capability and $188m for its Precision Strike Missile, fully funding both of those programs. The service also received $315 m for its Long Range Hypersonic Weapon, $15m more than the ask. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Homeland Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company