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June 8, 2021 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

Contracts for June 7, 2021

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  • Strict export regulations may be costing US industry billions in foreign sales

    June 19, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Strict export regulations may be costing US industry billions in foreign sales

    WASHINGTON ― A new RAND report assessing the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles suggests existing export controls for drones may hurt the U.S. more than it helps. Limiting U.S. drone exports has left a hole in the global market for the technology, especially in historically U.S.-dominated Middle East markets, which has been readily filled by U.S. competitors — specifically China and Russia. The Trump administration recently unveiled a new set of export policies regarding military technology in an attempt to facilitate the transfer of military technology, but the changes do not change the status of drones under the Missile Technology Control Regime, or MTCR. How does the MTCR work? The MTCR is a voluntary export control consortium of 35 nations designed to prevent signatories from proliferating longer-range cruise and ballistic missile technology. The arms control regime was extended to UAVs because early iterations of drones were considered a subset of cruise missile technology due to their active guidance system. The regime divides missiles into two categories. Category I items are capable of delivering a 500 kg payload more than 300 km. The sale of category I systems is restricted by a “strong presumption of denial,” meaning they are only exported in rare circumstances. The MQ-9 Reaper, RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4 Triton are well-known unmanned systems that fall under this category. Over the past several years, U.S. partners such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and UAE were denied requests to purchase American drones, and have since turned to China to purchase comparable systems. Trump administration officials have been attempting to alter the regime by adding new languagethat would drop any vehicle that flies under 650 kilometers per hour to category II systems. This would make all but the most advanced U.S. systems available for international sale. For example, the MQ-9 Reaper clocks in with a cruise speed of 230 mph or 370 kph, according to an Air Force facts sheet. Drone proliferation RAND found that 10 nations operate category I drones, and more than 15 operate near-category I systems that register just below the MTCR's payload and distance restrictions. The report says increased proliferation rates are due to a handful of countries, specifically China, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, who are not party to the MCTR. More countries are expected to procure drones, which pose a “growing threat to U.S. and allied military operations,” the report says. While category I systems can deploy missiles and other guided munitions, their main threat lies in “their ability to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations against U.S. forces prior to hostilities,” according to RAND. “Adversaries that would otherwise have difficulty detecting U.S. force deployments, monitoring U.S. operations, and maintaining targeting data on U.S. units can employ UAVs to maintain situational awareness of U.S. capabilities” The report identifies Russia, China and Iran as unfriendly nations that will seek to utilize drones to complicate U.S. military operations. For example, China and Saudi Arabia recently agreed to set up a UAV manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia for up to 300 new UAVs, and Italy will receive 20 Hammerhead UAVs from the UAE. The coproduction of regional drone factories “could further exacerbate the proliferation of large UAVs to the degree that these systems are exported to other nations,” according to RAND, and that hurts U.S. industry. A U.S.-sized hole Voluntarily restricting U.S. drone exports have allowed competitors to establish themselves in a market Rand expects to “grow from about $6 billion in 2015 to about $12 billion in 2025.” RAND expect export controls to have a negative impact on the U.S. industrial base, something those in industry already know. “What you are enabling the competition to do is not just to sell some hardware,” Linden Blue, General Atomic's chief executive, told reporters during an Aug. 16, 2017 roundtable at the company's headquarters in Poway, California. “You're enabling it to build a customer base for at least 20 years, I would say. You're enabling them to build a logistics system. It will take them many years to get to where we are right now, but you're helping them start out. They should be very thankful.”

  • Lockheed Martin awarded $76.7M for AEGIS development, test sites

    June 21, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Lockheed Martin awarded $76.7M for AEGIS development, test sites

    By Allen Cone June 20 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $76.7 million contract for operation and maintenance of AEGIS missile system development and test sites for the U.S. Navy, Missile Defense Agency, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Norway. Work by Lockheed's Rotary and Mission Systems is for the Combat Systems Engineering Development Site, SPY-1A Test Facility and Naval Systems Computing Center in Moorestown, N.J., the Defense Department announced Wednesday. This option exercise includes continued technical engineering, configuration management, associated equipment/supplies, quality assurance, information assurance, and other operation and maintenance efforts required for the AEGIS development and test sites. This option also includes work on upgrades for the Ticonderoga class of guided-missile cruisers, designated as CG-47, and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, designated as DDG-51, through the completion of Advanced Capability Build 20 and Technology Insertion 16. Work is expected to be complete by June 2020. This contract modification combines purchases for the U.S. Navy at 34.7 percent, Missile Defense Agency at 22.7 percent, and the governments of Japan at 34.4 percent, Australia at 4.7 percent, South Korea at 2.1 percent and Norway at 1.4 percent under the foreign military sales program. Funding in the amount of $29.7 million has been obligated at time of award and funding in the amount of $4.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Besides foreign military sales, funding will come from the Navy's fiscal 2014 shipbuilding and conversion; fiscal 2019 Navy operation and maintenance; fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation as well as MDA fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation and fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance. The AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense system is the naval component of the Missile Defense Agency's BMD system, providing warships with the capability of intercepting and destroying short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. As of October 2017, there are 33 ships with the AEGIS system, 17 are assigned to the Pacific Fleet and 16 to the Atlantic Fleet. Japan has four destroyers that have been upgraded with AEGIS BMD operational capabilities. The first deployment of European capabilities came on March 7, 2011, aboard the USS Monterey. AEGIS Ashore is the land-based component of the system. The deckhouse and launchers are designed to be nearly identical to the version installed aboard U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers.

  • Switzerland takes step towards sale of 25 Leopard 2 tanks back to Germany

    May 24, 2023 | International, Land

    Switzerland takes step towards sale of 25 Leopard 2 tanks back to Germany

    The Swiss government on Wednesday backed the decommissioning of 25 advanced Leopard 2 battle tanks with a view to selling them back to Germany, a step that could allow Western countries to send more military aid to Ukraine.

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