The major deficit-reduction mechanism that the U.S. government adopted as law more than a year ago but never really intended to use, will nevertheless take effect on March 1 after political parties failed to reach agreement on cutting costs. “Sequestration” forces the Department of Defense to slash $46 billion from its budget through the end of the fiscal year in September, and some $500 billion over the next decade.
AIN Defense Perspective
Contrary to recent speculation in the financial press, EADS has no intention of reviving the merger talks with BAE Systems that were aborted last October. “It’s not on our radar; we’re both moving on,” said Tom Enders, CEO of EADS. “All the stars were aligned last summer, or so we thought. But at least one proved to be missing,” he continued, in a reference to the German government’s opposition to the merger.
After delays of nearly a year, the U.S. Air Force has selected Sierra Nevada Corp. and its partner Embraer Defense and Security for its light air support program (LAS).
The air force commanders of both Russia and India have this month discussed the progress and future schedule of the fifth-generation Sukhoi fighter project. They are keen to have their own pilots evaluate the design so that they can take a decision on further funding for the project.
The Indian Army has placed a $77 million order with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for 20 Cheetal helicopters, a re-engined variant of the Aerospatiale SA 316B Lama that was built under license in India as the Cheetah. The order is a short-term measure for logistics support to the Indian troops on the Siachen Glacier because of delays to the twice-bid competition for 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters (RSH).
The British Army is using what may be the world’s smallest UAV yet deployed on military operations. The Black Hornet “nanocopter” is eight inches long with a rotor diameter of about five inches and weighs less than two pounds. It can provide video and still imagery of difficult-to-reconnoitre targets such as walled compounds and even the interior of buildings. It was recently introduced in Afghanistan and demonstrated in public for the first time last week during a pre-deployment exercise on Salisbury Plain in the UK, for the next British Army task force to be sent there.
The U.S. Army cancelled development of the Northrop Grumman long-endurance, multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV), a huge, optionally manned hybrid airship that the service planned to deploy to Afghanistan as an urgent requirement for persistent surveillance. The airship was overweight and behind schedule; it made its first and only announced flight last August, about 10 months late.
This week’s IDEX defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi provided the first public view of the Saab 340AEW, purchased by the UAE Air Force and Air Defense as an interim airborne early-warning solution. One of two aircraft in service made a single flypast during a brief force demonstration. The air force’s latest acquisition, the Airbus A330 MRTT, also flew past, accompanied by four Mirage 2000-9 fighters, just days after being delivered. The remaining pair from the UAE’s order will be delivered later this year.
Top Russian officials have confirmed sales deals with China for the Sukhoi Su-35 and with Indonesia on an additional quantity of Su-30MK2 multirole fighters.
Boeing and Elbit Systems signed a memorandum of understanding to offer Elbit’s directed infrared counter measure (DIRCM) system for international customers of Boeing fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.