Monthly Archives: December 2017

The World According to Shephard: Week 50

Kuwait all day for a fast jet…

Show news this week was dominated by GDA 2017 as industry brought their key assets to the Middle East’s premier aerospace event, held in Kuwait. Among the big stories we learned that final assembly of the Eurofighter Typhoon is anticipated to start early in 2018 with subsequent deliveries scheduled for 2020. In tandem, the ASR Captor-E continues to undergo testing.

Patriot

Meanwhile the Kuwaiti armed forces is to receive delivery of additional Patriot missile firing units imminently, according to industry officials speaking at the show. The Gulf country will retain two more systems from Raytheon, as a follow on to those they received in the early 1990s, as well as Patriot Advanced Capability-3 hit-to-kill missiles from Lockheed Martin.

As ever, a full rundown of all the news from the show, alongside video content can be found on our dedicated microsite here.

Notes on a shipbuilders scandal

Taiwan has cancelled a minehunter contract between the Republic of China Navy and Ching Fu Shipbuilding. The shipbuilder has suffered from a ‘serious financial crisis’ recently and has also witnessed the Coast Guard Administration take decisive action by rescinding a patrol boat construction contract – following Ching Fu’s failure to deliver boats in keeping with deadline. Twenty-eight 100t patrol boats were under contract in that deal with Ching Fu only managing to deliver 13.

Taiwan

The minehunter programme, formally known as Project Kang Ping Phrase II, dates back to 2014. Worth NTD35 billion ($1.16 billion), the project had been created to build six minehunters by 2025.

Lessors to enjoy wind in their sales

A new report from Waypoint Leasing has revealed that wind farms are increasingly turning to the civil helicopter market to support their transport needs. Two main reasons for the emergence of such a trend are identified by the report, namely, new wind farm projects being created further from shore and the strategic advantage offered by helicopters over crew transfer vessels.

$RH049KC

Moving from lessors to manufacturers, Leonardo has confirmed its received orders for eight AW139s. Two of the eight aircraft will be handed over to the Italian Coast Guard for SAR operations while the Italian Customs and Border Protection Service will take receipt of the other six – reserving them for patrol operations.

Ukraine revs up rocket firing tests 

Alex Mladenov reports that the Ukraine MoD has completed a rocket firing test campaign using its two new combat helicopter types – the Russian Helicopters Mi-8MSB and Mi-2MSB – with both aircraft also receiving upgrades from Motor Sich.

The testing included the Mi-2MSB firing a series of two, four and eight rockets launched simultaneously, with the demonstration used to evaluate aircraft and engine behaviour when using the powerful S-8.

Motor-sich-Mi-2MSB-rockets

Talking about an AI revolution

China’s AI military capabilities have been examined in a new report from the Center for a New American Security. Wendell Minnick reports that author Elsa Kania ‘paints a disturbing picture of China’s AI military modernisation programmes,’ and one that could potentially wipe out the US military by 2030.

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According to Kania, the country is focusing its efforts on ‘impact and disruptive military applications of AI’ with the intention of becoming the leading superpower of the technology. Should such a target be achieved, it would represent a strategic capability shift between China and the US while altering the very nature of warfare itself.

 

 

 

 

 

Defence spending: the boom times are back

Spending in the military world may once again be on the uptick after five consecutive years of decline according to a new report by SIPRI.

Over the past few years we’ve all heard the defence industry rumblings about sequestration, budget squeezes and cost efficiency but it seems that these terms might be in the past, for now.

You only have to look at some of the ongoing regional tensions to guess why defence spending might be increasing, that accompanied with various major national weapons programmes and ongoing military operations.

Recently, there have been reports of the US Military conducting operations in almost every African nation. Tensions in Eastern Europe have led to nations neighbouring Russia to increase their military capabilities and in Asia tensions over the South China Sea and North Korean aggression continues to help spur on defence spending.

Specifically SIPRI looks at the top 100 arms-producing companies from 2016 with sales totalling $374.8 billion for the year.

In line with increased spending the report found that arms sales by US-based companies in the top 100 rose by 4% in 2016 to $217.2 billion.

With a belligerent neighbour to the north, South Korean companies in the Top 100 increased their arms sales by 20.6% to $8.4 billion in 2016.

Moreover, the Ukraine, with its ongoing Russia issues, saw its national defence developer, Ukroboronprom, increase arms sales by 25.1% in 2016. This is primarily a result of high local demand as a result of conflict in the east of the country.

As for the companies themselves, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon, all for the US, come in the top three. Followed by the UK’s BAE Systems at four and Northrop Grumman in at number five.

Lockheed Martin increased its arms sales by 10.7% in 2016, reaching $40.8 billion, according to the report. Notably, the company is lead in one of the largest international programmes, the F-35 stealth fighter, which has seen increased order and the company’s acquisition of Sikorsky has helped bolster its profits.

With Trump in the Whitehouse promising to increase defence spending, amid all the other mentioned global issues, I think defence spending has truly taken a turn and for now spending will only continue to increase.