World defense & security update

Piracy report shows downward trend for first quarter

Reported worldwide incidents of piracy in the first quarter of 2007 have shown a marked decline compared to the same period for 2006.However, the most recent statistics produced by the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau (IMB) show a doubling of attacks in Nigeria when assessed against the first three months of 2006.   The IMB’s Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships Report for the first quarter of 2007 cites 41 incidents of piracy: 20 less than the 61 incidents reported in the first quarter of 2006
Streamlining of UK shipbuilding is gathering pace, says MoD

Attempts to streamline the UK naval shipbuilding industry are beginning to gather pace despite initial concerns over the slow rate of progress, according to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).Government officials insist they remain “fully committed” to plans to build two large aircraft carriers for the UK Royal Navy – orders that ministers have said will only be placed if hitherto rival shipyards prove they can work more closely together to drive down costs and eliminate procurement delays.
US seeks to reassure Russia on NATO missile defence plans

The US has been trying to reassure Russia that the deployment of parts of its missile-defence system in Europe does not pose a threat, using NATO as a forum.A US delegation including US Air Force Lieutenant General Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency, briefed a session of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) in April for the third time in five months on its deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic
Afghanistan ISAF needs more troops, says former NATO commander

NATO needs an additional three infantry battalions to complete the reinforcement of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, General David Richards has told the UK House of Commons Defence Committee.

SPAR agrees EWSPS deal with New Zealand air force
Canadian-based SPAR Aerospace Limited, a subsidiary of L-3 Communications, has been awarded an NZD21.2 million (USD15.6 million) contract to design and install an electronic warfare self-protection system (EWSPS) for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s fleet of five C-130H Hercules aircraft.

Former UK MoD chief argues for greater transatlantic co-operation
The former head of procurement at the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has criticised US and European defence industrial policies, arguing that a “more effective and co-operative programme” is required for a viable transatlantic military relationship to flourish.Addressing the Jane’s ‘US Defense to 2008 and Beyond: Policy-Programs-Partnerships’ conference on 1 May in Washington, DC, Vice-Admiral (ret) Sir Jeremy Blackham stressed the fundamental need for European forces to field equipment that is interoperable with their US counterparts, “who will almost always be in the lead in serious international coalition operations”.This objective remains unrealised partly because of “a strong streak of protectionism both here and in Europe”, Sir Jeremy argued. He referred not only to the ‘Buy America’ policy followed by some US politicians but also to initiatives elsewhere such as the MoD’s Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS) white paper
BAE Systems to acquire Armor Holdings
BAE Systems has announced that it is looking to acquire US armour systems specialist Armor Holdings for USD4.53 billion.This would constitute the company’s biggest ever acquisition and would strengthen its position both in land systems globally and in the key North American market.The merger agreement – which was announced on 7 May but remains subject to the approval of Armor Holdings shareholders – will see BAE Systems offer USD88 per share, valuing the company at USD4.14 billion. The assumption of Armor Holdings’ net debt of USD388 million brings the total value up to USD4.53 billion.
US estimates Iran capable of striking US by 2015

Iran could acquire a long-range ballistic missile capable of striking Europe and the US in less than eight years, a senior US official said on 3 May.John Rood, State Department Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, told a Congressional hearing: “Our intelligence estimates are based on projections of when Iran could acquire this capability on its own, perhaps with some foreign assistance. A key determinant to how rapidly Iran might progress, of course, would be that foreign assistance.”

Russia releases details of 9M96
First studies conducted in the early 1990s for what would become the 9M96 missile for the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile (SAM) system were intended to create a naval weapon able to defend Russian navy ships from attacks by then current and future anti-ship missiles, Vladimir Grigoryevich Svetlov, principal designer of the Fakel Machine-Building Design Bureau, told the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
Bulava to fly mid-year

Russia expects to conduct the next flight test of the Bulava (SS-N-30) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in mid-2007. The last three launches all failed, but according to Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Masorin, commander of the Russian Federation Navy, the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MIT) – the developer of the new missile – has “uncovered the technological flaws [and] spotted the weak points” in the design.

The inaugural Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition & Forum (BRIDEX 2007) is set to take the defence industry by storm when it opens on 31 May.

More than 90 exhibitors from 17 countries will showcase equipment, software, products & services at this auspicious event that will be opened by His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei. Concurrent events, including a global forum, will be attended by top brass officials from the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.
Janes Defense Journal

BRIDEX Organization

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