Global defence update

TKMS unveils new reconfigurable patrol ship

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has unveiled a second reconfigurable littoral combatant design, called the MEKO Fusion, following on from the MEKO Combatant Ship for the Littorals (CSL) concept. As with the CSL, the Fusion concept envisages the use of interchangeable mission modules housed in 20 ft ISO Type 1C containers

USMC Harriers embark on RN carrier

Fourteen AV-8B Harrier II short take-off and vertical landing aircraft from the US Marine Corps (USMC) have embarked on the UK Royal Navy (RN) aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious as part of a US-led exercise. The deployment by Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 14 is the largest ever gathering of non-UK fixed-wing aircraft on board the RN high-readiness strike carrier and the biggest deployment of AV-8Bs on a non-US warship
Egypt’s Fast Missile Craft programme faces uncertainty
The Egyptian Navy’s Fast Missile Craft programme and other weapons purchases could be jeopardised by moves in the US Congress to pre-condition USD200 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Egypt. VT Halter Marine was awarded a USD41 million contract on 22 June, by US Naval Sea Systems Command, to modify the command-and-control systems of three vessels Egypt is purchasing from the US through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme
Russia set to receive first Steregushchiy corvette
Handover for the first Project 20830 corvette for the Russian Federation Navy is planned for August, subject to the successful completion of contractor sea trials and state acceptance tests, Jane’s has learned. Named Steregushchiy, the 2,200-ton multirole ship is the first of a planned class of up to 20 units
F-35C JSF passes its critical design review
The F-35C variant of Lockheed Martin’s Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme has passed its air system critical design review (CDR). A key milestone following a series of subsystem reviews, it gives the development team behind F-35C – a conventional take-off and landing aircraft for carrier-borne operations – the “green light to proceed toward production” of three test and evaluation units, according to a company spokesman
Norway gives go-ahead for series production of NSM missile
Norway’s Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) has awarded Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace (KDA) a long-awaited contract for series production of the NSM (Nye Sjomalsmissiler, or Naval Strike Missile) anti-ship missile. The award follows approval of the programme by the national parliament (Storting)

US congressional caucus to fight for Europe missile shield

The US Congress has revived a missile-defence caucus to encourage the US to forge ahead on a European missile shield and fight for proposed US missile defences threatened by budget cuts. The co-founders, Arizona Republican Trent Franks and Georgia Democrat Jim Marshall, offered a mission statement for the caucus co-signed by about 30 other members on 28 June

Bases in Afghanistan and Iraq set to receive better overhead protection

Base fortification specialist Hesco Bastion is close to finalising negotiations with UK and US armed forces to provide overhead protection at a variety of temporary camps in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and US Department of Defense (DoD) are conducting contract talks with Hesco, Jane’s has learnt, to procure  its Military Shelter for forward operating and other bases
Korean MND proposes 9.9% budget increase
South Korea’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) has proposed a 9.9 per cent increase to the Fiscal Year 2008 budget. Based on figures published in Jane’s Defence Budgets, the rise; which still needs to be approved by the National Assembly later this year; would be equal to an expenditure of about KRW26.9 trillion (USD29.3 billion)
Russian defence spending set to hit RUR1 trillion
Russia’s national defence expenditure is set to break the RUR1 trillion (USD39.3 billion) mark for the first time in 2009. Reaching this milestone would close the spending gap with Western European countries such as France and Germany
Indian Army inducts BrahMos missile
The Indian Army inducted its first battery of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile – developed jointly by India and Russia – on 21 June. Deliveries had originally been planned to start in July 2008, but the delivery date for the first mobile command post and two mobile autonomous launchers was brought forward by one year

Taurus deliveries exceed 50%
Deliveries of Taurus KEPD 350 stand-off missiles to the German Luftwaffe have passed the half-way mark, writes Doug Richardson.  Deliveries started in November 2005 and the 300th operational Taurus missile left the production line at MBDA Deutschland’s Schrobenhausen facility on 23 May 2007

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