World defense update (Part 1)

US Navy aims for JSOW maritime moving target capability
Raytheon Missile Systems has received a USD93.7 million Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) contract to develop a new variant of the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) conferring the US Navy (USN) a moving/relocatable target (MRT) capability against moving maritime targets. JSOW is a joint USN/US Air Force programme covering a family of low-cost, air-to-ground precision strike munitions that employ an integrated GPS/Inertial Navigation System to guide the weapon to its target
Thales works on novel sonar array for future Astute submarines
Thales Underwater Systems Limited (TUSL), part of Thales Naval UK, has commenced the design and development of an experimental ‘thin’ flank sonar array as a technology insertion for the fourth and subsequent Astute-class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) for the UK Royal Navy (RN). At-sea testing of a scaled demonstrator array is planned to take place in 2009 aboard a Trafalgar-class SSN, enabling the evaluation of thin flank performance against conventional flank array technology
Australia mulls Collins-class submarine build
Australia is to consider building a number of Collins-class submarines in the coming few years for use by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and for potential export, the office of Defence Minister Brendan Nelson has told Jane’s. The ships would be built by ASC, the builder of the six Collins submarines currently in service, the final one of which, HMAS Rankin, was delivered to the RAN in 2003
RNZN takes delivery of Canterbury

The first of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN’s) seven ‘Project Protector’ ships was handed over in Melbourne, Australia, on 31 May. The 9,000-ton-displacement multirole vessel HMNZS Canterbury, built at the Merwede shipyard in the Netherlands and outfitted by Tenix in Australia, will be formally commissioned into service on 12 June in Melbourne and will arrive at its homeport of Lyttleton, New Zealand, on 28 June

LongShot enables P-3 Orion high-altitude missile launch
Lockheed Martin is claiming a successful high-altitude launch of an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedo from a P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft flying at more than 8,000 ft. The demonstration of the High Altitude ASW Weapons Concept (HAAWC) is another milestone on the road to the P-3’s replacement, the P-8A Poseidon, entering service with the US Navy (USN) in 2012 or 2013

Final MU 90 trials pave way for French Navy acceptance
The Franco-Italian Eurotorp EEIG (European Economic Interest Grouping) has completed a final series of trials paving the way for the formal acceptance of a first production batch of MU 90 Impact Block 1 lightweight torpedoes by the French Navy. This milestone follows the completion in 2006 of an extensive reliability assurance programme to resolve quality control issues and demonstrate the performance of the Block 1 modification kit
UK RN’s Argus gets new lease of life

The UK Royal Navy (RN) aviation training ship RFA Argus has undergone a GBP12 million (USD23.8 million) upgrade to extend its operational life to 2020. The 28,000-ton vessel, which also serves as a primary casualty reception ship, had its diesel generators replaced and improvements made to its aviation and communications systems and to its 100-bed hospital facility
US DoD report cites China’s growing power projection
A report issued by the US Department of Defense (DoD) notes China’s growing emphasis on power projection within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as official concern in Beijing over security of energy supply. The DoD issues an annual report to Congress on China’s military power

Bulgaria and Romania propose joint acquisition programmes
Bulgaria and Romania are poised to embark on a number of multinational acquisition and training programmes. The defence ministers of the two countries, Veselin Bliznakov and Teodor Melescanu respectively, expressed their readiness to provide broad support for the Partnership for Peace programme’s new members, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, in Sofia on 30 May
Denel eyes new ventures home and away

South African arms manufacturer Denel has been holding talks with various “overseas and local companies”, as part of its strategy to “unbundle the organisation”.
Analyst expects new direction for L-3
Speculation that the death of Frank Lanza would lead to the break-up of L-3 Communications was wide of the mark, but his passing will significantly change the group’s direction, a leading aerospace and defence dealmaker has argued.
PLA increases outsourcing to private sector
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) plans to outsource many of its logistic services to private Chinese contractors in what the country’s state-controlled media said is a “drive for efficiency”.
Committee urges Israel to raise defence budget
A committee appointed by Israel’s Prime Minister to examine all aspects of the country’s defence budget has concluded that “Israel’s defence budget should be increased by an additional ILS46 billion [USD11 billion] in the next 10 years”. In the most comprehensive report ever prepared on the defence budget, the committee, consisting of defence and economics experts, determined that the Israel Defence Force (IDF) could save an additional ILS30 billion in 2008-18 by adopting extensive cost-saving and efficiency measures

Source: Jane’s defense journal

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