• Mexican government makes inroads against Knights Templar cartel but Michoacán state likely to remain violent hotspot

    EVENT The Knights Templar cartel networks have been severely weakened and the Mexican federal government is prioritising the capture of its leader Servando Gómez Martínez (alias La Tuta), Michoacán state attorney general José Martín Godoy Castro said on 16 September. The

  • Colombia receives final T-90 Calima primary trainer

    The Colombian Air Force's Air Maintenance Command (CAMAN) received its 25th and final T-90 Calima primary trainer on 26 August, the command announced. The T-90 Calima was selected to replace the long-serving Beechcraft T-34 Mentor in the Military Aviation School Marco Fidel Suárez located in

  • Venezuela-Colombia border closure to cause cargo disruption without achieving long-term smuggling reduction

    EVENT Venezuela instituted measures to control smuggling on its border with Colombia. The Venezuelan government began a 30-day programme of nightly closures of its border with Colombia on 11 August. Authorities dispatched 17,000 soldiers to enforce a total ban on the movement of people and goods

  • US airstrikes in Iraq likely to prevent Islamic State militants' advance into Kurdistan Region or Baghdad

    EVENT US president Barack Obama yesterday (7 August) authorised airstrikes on Islamic State militants to protect the Kurdistan Region and Yazidi refugees stranded in the Sinjar Mountains; humanitarian relief was also delivered today (8 August). The authorisation of US airstrikes comes after the

  • Brazil adds BAE Systems' RG32M to VBMT-LR competition

    The Brazilian Army has begun evaluating BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa's RG32M LTV (Light Tactical Vehicle) 4x4. The army's Evaluations Center (CAEx) is studying the vehicle as part of the VBMT-LR (Viatura Blindada Multitarefa-Leve de Rodas) competition. The VBMT-LR programme will buy an

  • USAF strategy seeks more 'agile' acquisitions

    Key Points USAF wants to build 'modularity' and 'open architectures' into new equipment development efforts from their inception. The new Joint STARS and combat aircraft trainer programmes will likely be test cases for the new methodology. The US Air Force (USAF) wants to create a more

  • Reauthorisation of US financial agency Ex-Im Bank likely with significant reforms despite calls for its disbandment

    EVENT The United States Congress Oversight and Government Reform Committee on 29 July held a congressional hearing into corruption accusations involving employees at the US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Ex-Im Bank is an independent US government agency that in 2013 provided USD27 billion in

  • Mk VI Patrol Boat promises greater reach for US coastal forces

    The US Navy (USN) is preparing to receive its first Mk VI Patrol Boat (PB), in a move that will significantly enhance the blue-water capabilities of the service's riverine and coastal forces. Designed and manufactured by Safe Boats International, the 85 ft (26 m) aluminium-hulled Mk VI PB is

  • F-35 fleet grounded as engine investigation continues

    Key Points The Pentagon is expected to soon decide whether the F-35B will be allowed to fly at the Royal International Air Tattoo and the Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom The US government is continuing its investigation into a 23 June F-35A fire The Pentagon grounded the entire Lockheed

  • Analysis: US No Longer Spends More on Defense than Next 10 Biggest Countries Combined

    A commonly cited metric used to highlight American dominance in the post-Cold War era is that not only does the United States spend more on its defense than any other country in the world, but that it actually shells out more than the next 10 highest defense spenders combined. However, 2014 will

  • US Navy trials Fire Scout with new maritime search radar

    The US Navy has begun trials of the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter fitted with a new maritime surface search radar, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) disclosed on 16 June. Test sorties of the Fire Scout equipped with the Telephonics AN/ZPY-4(V)1 maritime search radar

  • Venezuelan cabinet reshuffle unlikely to change policy direction but cements militarisation of government

    EVENT Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced a cabinet reshuffle yesterday (17 June) with Jorge Giordani removed as Minister of Planning. Giordani was replaced by Ricardo Menendez, who will now serve as Vice-President of Planning and Territorial Development, and will oversee the

  • Exelis acquires Celestech

    Exelis announced that it has completed the acquisition of Arizona-based firm Celestech on 12 June. Celestech specialises in advanced signal processing for use in intelligence operations and electronic warfare; wireless communications networks operating across satellite and terrestrial systems;

  • QinetiQ acquires optics firm as US services division divested

    UK technology company QinetiQ will expand its OptaSense subsidiary through the acquisition of low noise semi-conductor laser manufacturer Redfern Integrated Optics (RIO). In a statement on the acquisition released on 22 May, OptaSense Managing Director Magnus McEwen-King said the acquisition would

  • Risks of IED attacks against energy assets in Colombia's Antioquia to continue despite ceasefire or possible peace agreement

    EVENT Soldiers de-activated an improvised explosive device (IED) in the area around the 2,400-megawatt Ituango hydroelectricity mega-project (Hidroituango), Antioquia, on 25 May, according to the army's Fourth Brigade. The commander of the Fourth Brigade, General Néstor Robinson Vallejo,

  • Pratt continues AETD design work, preps for 2016 testing

    United Technologies' Pratt and Whitney military engines unit is working on the final two years of design work on the Pentagon's Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) programme, according to the company official who oversees the company's sixth-generation engine work. AETD "goes through

  • Airbus expects international Lakota sales in wake of US Army buy

    The US Army's decision to purchase additional Airbus UH-72A Lakota helicopters and to put them at the centre of its training mission raises the potential for international sales, according to the company's top official in the United States. Airbus sees an opportunity to sell hundreds of Lakotas

  • US court bans Russian rocket engine purchases for military space launches

    Key Points US Federal Court Judge Susan Braden has prevented the purchase of Russian-made rocket engines The legal maneuovre follows a suit filed by private launch provider SpaceX and a congressional effort to commence a new rocket engine development A US federal court judge has issued an

  • Thales Alenia Space stakes claim on UK

    Thales Alenia Space - the space technologies joint venture of Thales and Finmeccanica - has announced that it will establish a subsidiary in the UK. The decision emerged on 30 April, and was followed the next day by the announcement that Thales Alenia Space will underpin its place in the UK through

  • Ecuadorian MoD establishes aircraft and aerospace component factory

    The Ecuadorian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Ministry of Industries have launched a joint programme for the design and development of a light aircraft to replace the country's ageing fleet of primary trainers and crop dusters. According to both ministries there is a domestic market for 424