The Weekly Wire: For Your Situational Awareness 9.27.16
The Obama administration confirmed this week that during its tenure, Israel has received Boeing F-15D fighters, Lockheed Martin C-130 cargo aircraft, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and joint direct attack munitions. So far, the U.S. Air Force has delivered eight of the ten total F-15Ds promised, which are intended as trainers but can also be used in air-to-air combat. The F-15Ds are excess defense articles (EDAs) rather than foreign military sales (FMS). While there may be a nominal transportation fee, Boeing will not receive money from the transfer. With the delivery of the first F-35I Adir scheduled for this December, the confirmed F-15 deliveries could affect the relative inventories of F-35s and F-15s for Israel.
The first of the Egyptian Navy’s new corvettes now floats at the DCNS shipyard in Lorient, France, and is expected to be delivered next year. It is a Gowind 2500 corvette, which can be adapted to meet a variety of different tasks, including off-shore patrol duties, air defense, and anti-submarine warfare. The corvettes purchased by Egypt will reportedly be equipped with VL-MICA air defense missiles and Exocet MM40 anti-ship and land strike missiles. While Egypt will receive a total of six new Gowind 2500 corvettes, the Egyptian market for maritime platforms is fairly full – less than 6% of the opportunities in that market remain addressable.
There are reports that the Thai Air Force will try to replace its aging fleet of C-130H transport aircraft in the next few years. Thailand currently owns 12 C-130H aircraft, and it looks like the two most likely candidates to replace them will be either the Shaanxi Y-9 or the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. A considerable number of open opportunities exist in the Thai market for transport aircraft – nearly 63% of the market remains open. Near-term growth may be limited though, as Avascent Analytics predicts that the market will contract sharply around 2020 before experiencing another period of high-level growth through 2026.
On September 23, France and India finalized a $7.87 billion deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets. The long-delayed deal was formally signed by French and Indian defense ministers in New Delhi. The agreement culminates a nine-year saga that began in 2007 with an Indian Air Force requirement for 126 aircraft. Dassault Aviation SA won the competition in 2012, but disagreements over costs and offsets led to the abandonment of the tender in 2015. Instead, a government-to-government agreement for 36 aircraft that involved both heads of state emerged. Negotiations for the scaled-down deal also became mired on offset requirements until last week, when a compromise settlement was reached. India will still have an outstanding requirement for another 100 fighter aircraft as its long-serving fleet of Mig-21, -25, and -27s reach the end of their service lives. Possible contenders include the Eurofighter Typhoon, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, and the JAS-39 Gripen.
Despite the efforts of Senators Rand Paul and Chris Murphy to prevent a $1.15 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia, the Senate has voted to move forward with the sale. The arms deal would provide Saudi Arabia with 153 M1A2S Abrams battle tanks, 20 M88A armored recovery vehicles, smoke grenade launchers, and machine guns, amongst other equipment to support Saudi efforts to combat ISIS, according to Senator John McCain. Notably, the DSCA request notes that 20 of the 153 tanks are “battle damage replacements”, offering a rare glimpse into combat losses from their war in Yemen. General Dynamics has been listed as the principal contractor by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in the deal. Avascent Analytics projects the first delivery of weapons and equipment to take place in 2017, attributing the delay to the recent attempts by congressional leaders to prevent the sale, with deliveries extending to 2020.