Reporting from the show by Keith Arscott
Avascent Analytics attended this year’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London. The exhibition brought together defense suppliers and customers from around the world, and provided an opportunity for both to display their latest programs and equipment. In order to provide our readers with better insight into what we experienced at the show, we have put together a concise summary of some of the important and interesting programs on display at DSEI 2015. Check out some pictures from the show floor.
UK Ground Vehicle Plans Take Shape
Vehicle prototypes for the UK’s two major ground vehicle modernization programs, Scout SV and the Warrior Capability Sustainment Program (WCSP), were prominently displayed at this year’s exhibition. Scout SV, now named Ajax, will provide 589 armored fighting vehicles to the British Army though 2024. Produced by General Dynamics, the vehicles will feature an improved turret from Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and gun system from CTAI, a joint venture between BAE Systems and Nexter. Other variants include the Ares reconnaissance support vehicle, the Apollo repair vehicle, Atlas recovery vehicle Argus engineer vehicle, and the Athena command vehicle.
Lockheed Martin also displayed a prototype of the upgraded WCSP turret, which will be equipped on 380 Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
Separately, the British Army announced a requirement for 300 new combat vehicles by the end of the decade. No specific details were available, but the new program is expected to build on General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin’s current vehicle programs.
Together, these three programs will drive the ground vehicle market in the UK. Avascent Analytics projects per-annum ground vehicle spending in the UK to grow at 10.7% over the next decade, from USD 1.3 billion in 2015 to 3.8 billion in 2025.
Poland Considers Further Rotorcraft Fleet Overhauls, Acquires JASSM
Poland’s defense spending has grown substantially over the last decade as it seeks to modernize its armed forces in an effort to counter growing Russian influence in the region. Central to Poland’s modernization plans is a full overhaul of its aging rotorcraft fleet, which is comprised largely of Soviet-era aircraft. Earlier this year, Airbus won a competition to replace the Mil Mi-8/14 utility rotorcraft with the H225M Caracal. The company is now one of 10 bidders seeking to replace the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter. Poland also plans to extend the life of its Mi-17 helicopter fleet, keeping the aircraft in service well into the next decade. Avascent Analytics projects Poland will spend over USD 2 billion on these and other rotorcraft programs over the next five years.
Poland also became the third export customer of Lockheed Martin’s JASSM air-launched cruise missile, behind Australia and Finland in 2014. Avascent Analytics projects the JASSM acquisition program to cost Poland over USD 400 million from 2016 to 2019. Poland will also undertake a modification effort on its F-16 fleet that would enable them to carry the missile.
Sonar Upgrades for Royal Navy’s Minehunters
Thales UK announced that it will upgrade seven Royal Navy Sandown-class minehunter vessels with a new sonar system. The USD 50 million program, known as the Sonar 2093 Capability Sustainment Program, will begin in 2017 and is scheduled to finish by 2022. Thales sonar systems are widely used by international navies, and the new sonar may present upgrade opportunities for minesweepers in Australia, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Turkey.
Malaysia Gets Upgraded Launcher with Starstreak purchase
Malaysia and the UK finalized an agreement to supply the former with the Starstreak short-range air defense system. Central to the agreement, worth over USD 150 million, is Thales’ new Lightweight Multiple Launcher–Next Generation (LML-NG). The launcher includes new optical and targeting systems as well as improved communications systems.
The deal is part of a wider Malaysian effort to overhaul its armed forces in response to growing regional tensions. Avascent Analytics projects Malaysia’s annual defense spending to grow by 4.3 percent per year over the next ten years, totaling nearly USD 1.6 billion by 2025. Key spending drivers over this time period include a new littoral patrol vessel and the A400M Transport Aircraft.
Counter-UAS Systems Rise with UAS Market
The past decade has seen the proliferation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) around the globe, a trend that Avascent Analytics projects will continue well into the next decade. The UAS market will grow by nearly 6 percent annually, as armed forces around the world spend nearly USD 10 billion a year on new UAS capabilities.
Along with this rise comes a growing demand for counter-UAS systems, several of which were on display at DSEI 2015. Rheinmetall Defense displayed two high-energy laser (HEL) systems, a ground-based system and one optimized for maritime use. Selex ES, a part of Finmeccanica, announced the development of the Falcon Shield counter-UAV system. Falcon Shield integrates several target identification and tracking systems with a RF-based electronic attack capability to down UAS. Similarly, the Anti-UAS Defence System (AUDS) uses RF disruption to counter UAVs. The system is the product of a joint effort by three UK companies: Chess Dynamics (optics), Blighter Surveillance Systems (surveillance radar), and Enterprise Control Systems (RF-disruption). All three systems are still in various stages of development and testing with a number of customers around the world.