World Defence Update

US tanker contract award faces backlash
The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) decision to choose a team of Northrop Grumman and EADS North America to build 179 aerial refuelling aircraft has been strongly criticised by some US lawmakers. Boeing’s KC-767 was widely expected to win the award because of its domestic production base and the company’s experience in building the USAF’s old KC-135 Stratotanker fleet
DCNS eyes ‘new avenues of growth’
France’s DCNS will undertake a fresh drive for export contracts and embark on a cost-cutting exercise this year to compensate for current uncertainty over warship sales to the French Navy and a shortfall in new bookings in 2007. DCNS Chief Executive Jean-Marie Poimboeuf said fresh orders in 2007 fell to EUR1.86 billion (USD2.8 billion) as opposed to EUR2.59 billion the previous year and predicted that the drop could result in a 10 per cent decrease in the yard’s global turnover in 2008

US upgrades Aegis and SM-3 for anti-satellite role
The US Navy’s (USN’s) first shootdown of a satellite, on 20 February 2008, was the result of a rapid programme to upgrade and tailor the Lockheed Martin Aegis combat system and Raytheon Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptors for the one-off engagement. Both manufacturers were contacted by the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in early January, and then spent the next six weeks prototyping and modelling the engagement with a mixed team of around 200 people drawn from industry and the navy
Raytheon upgrades more US Navy ships for ESSM integration
Eight more US Navy (USN) aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships are to be fitted with kits to facilitate integration of the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) for medium-range air defence. Under a USD17.8 million contract modification, Raytheon will provide eight Ordinance Alteration (ORDALT) kits for the Mk 57 MOD 12/13 fire-control system, the Mk 73 solid-state transmitter and the Mk 29 guided-missile launch system, to enable the ships to upgrade to ESSM from the existing NATO SeaSparrow Surface Missile System (NSSMS)

US Army boosts civilian role in wargames

The US Army is increasing civilian involvement in planning exercises and wargames as part of a fresh focus on stability operations. The army has updated its basic doctrinal manual ‘FM 3-0 Operations’, placing stability operations and civil support on a par with offensive and defensive combat missions for the first time. Army chiefs believe the service is entering an era of “persistent conflict” that will require the US Army to be heavily involved in reconstruction and nation-building operations, but they also acknowledge that military force alone is not adequate for dealing with such situations
Sri Lanka nears MiG-29 purchase

Sri Lanka is in advanced talks with Russia over the procurement of five MiG-29 fighter aircraft, the head of the country’s state-owned procurement agency has said. Jayantha Wickramasinghe, chief executive officer of Lanka Logistics and Technologies Limited – the company was created by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence in 2007 to procure equipment for the armed forces – said that the acquisition of four MiG-29SM and one MiG-29UB fighters was “well under way”

New multipurpose gun-missile system emerges from Belarus

The Belarus company Tetraedr is developing a new multipurpose gun-missile system. Designated A3 (Anti-air, Anti-armour, Anti-terrorism), it will be offered in two versions: one based on a wheeled chassis and a second on a tracked vehicle. Naval applications are also being proposed
Israel reveals Barak 8 design
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has provided a brief glimpse of the configuration of its new Barak 8 naval surface-to-air missile, writes Doug Richardson . During a visit to IAI on 28 January, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Pinchas Buchris, director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD), received a secret presentation of future developments and were shown a mock-up of the Barak 8
Source: Jane’s defence journal

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