The Weekly Wire: For Your Situational Awareness 11.2.17
On October 30, BAE Systems Australia selected Milspec Manufacturing to provide complex electromechanical subsystems, power systems, and electrical wiring harnesses for their Armored Modular Vehicles (AMV35), should it be chosen in Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 2 competition. The LAND 400 Phase 2 is a $3.7 billion project that will replace the country’s Australian Light Armored Vehicle. BAE Systems and Patria are offering the AMV35 and are competing with Rheinmetall’s Boxer Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The winner of this phase would likely be well positioned to win follow on projects for an M113 replacement, an integrated training system, and other sustainment contracts worth a combined $11.2 billion.
One of the most important aspects of this competition has been maximizing Australian involvement in the production of the winning vehicle. The demise of Australia’s automobile production industry has hit the manufacturing sector hard, and state governments have been competing for defense contracts to bring jobs back to their constituencies. BAE Systems and Rheinmetall have signed partnering agreements with several Australian firms. BAE Systems plans to set up a production facility in Victoria, while Rheinmetall selected Queensland as the site of its production facility. The Australian government hopes this competition will provide a pathway for small and medium sized domestic firms to enter the global defense supply chain.
On October 28, Slovakia received the first of two C-27J transport aircrafts at Kuchyňa Air Base. According to Slovakia’s Minister of Defense, Peter Gajdoš, the C-27J will replace the country’s Antonov AN-26s, which have already been phased out. The second C-27J is expected to be delivered in early 2018. Slovakia awarded a contract to acquire the transport aircraft in 2014 with deliveries expected to take place shortly after. However, budgets cuts in Slovakia delayed the acquisition of the aircraft to 2017-2018. Avascent Analytics estimates the total contract value for the procurement of the aircraft is about $133 million.
Malaysia’s new budget was unveiled on October 27, with defense spending increasing by 5.3% to $3.75 billion. According to Avascent’s analysis of the budget, personnel and procurement spending is expected to remain stable this year, while O&M is expected to see moderate recovery after drastic cuts over the last three years. The deal was accompanied by the announcement of governmental approval for the acquisition of four maritime patrol aircraft and 155mm self-propelled howitzers. Malaysia has already made overtures to the Japanese government in an effort to acquire Japanese P-3s once they are retired and currently has DSCA approval for the acquisition of 30 M109A6 Paladins from the United States.
In late October, the Brazilian Army conducted factory tests for the first batch of Saab RBS 70 very short-range man-portable air defense (VSHORAD) systems. The delivery will ultimately include missile launchers, simulators, spares, and accessories for nine units. The contract was signed in March for $11.6 million. Brazil purchased 16 units of the RBS 70 VSHORAD in 2014 in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. The Army also has a stated opportunity for a medium-range surface-to-air missile system worth an estimated $112 million, although the Pantsir-1 system is the likely front-runner.
According to media reports, India and Russia are expected to sign a contract for four missile frigates with an estimated value of approximately $4 billion. Two of the ships are expected to be built in Russia, and the remaining two will be built in India to facilitate skill and technology transfers associated with their construction. The frigates are not likely to be delivered before 2023, and will be successors to the Talwar-class ships which India currently uses. Avascent estimates that the Indian market for large surface combatants will have an annual value of $1.1 billion from 2018 through 2024, and will grow at a rate of 5% during that same time period.
On October 18, CYBERCOM began flexing its new acquisition muscle and awarded one of its first major task orders to SAIC. The $93 million task order will support the Directorate of Operations (J3) Joint Operations Center and Special Programs with operational planning support including the development of J3 training objectives, plans and priorities for these exercises. In addition to new contracting developments, CYBERCOM also revealed new forward-deployed planning cells, called Cyber Operations-Integrated Planning Elements (CO-IPE); which will be responsible for helping combatant commands plan DoDIN operations, defensive cyber operations, and offensive cyber operations. This is a unique approach that the DoD has not used before and will allow for the CO-IPE teams to deploy to geographic commands and help integrate cyber operations into broader strategic planning.