France orders last tranche of Glock 17 pistols

by Nicholas Fiorenza & Amael Kotlarski

France's DGA ordered the last tranche of 9,600 Glock 17 Gen 5 FR semi-automatic pistols on 26 April. (DGA)

The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, has ordered 9,600 more Glock 17 pistols, French Ministry of Armed Forces spokesperson Hervé Grandjean told a press conference on 12 May. The order was placed on 26 April and is the last tranche of Glock 17 Gen 5 FR 9 mm semi-automatic pistols foreseen by France's Loi de Programmation Militaire 2019–25 military funding programme as part of efforts to modernise the French military's personal equipment.

At the end of 2019, the DGA ordered the self-loading pistol from Glock, ammunition from Sellier & Bellot, and training conversion kits from UTM. The pistol features a coyote frame with a black slide and front serrations, luminescent U-shaped sights, and extended slide lock, according to Glock. Some will be issued with night sights, laser/light modules, threaded barrels, and sound suppressors, most likely for army commando units.

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Rafael buys mine plough maker Pearson Engineering

by Marc Selinger

Pearson Engineering's Full Width Mine Plough attaches to the front of a combat engineering vehicle. (Pearson Engineering)

Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has expanded its land warfare offering by acquiring British ground vehicle equipment provider Pearson Engineering, the buyer announced on 28 September.

Rafael paid about GBP100 million (USD107 million) to obtain Pearson and its subsidiary Responsive Engineering from UK-based Reece Group. Pearson, including Responsive, employs about 285 people and will become a subsidiary of Rafael.

Pearson managing director Craig Priday said that becoming part of a larger company like Rafael ‘‘will not only allow us to enhance our existing product portfolio, but will enable the development of innovative, class-leading products, and capabilities''.

Pearson's products include the minefield-clearing Full Width Mine Plough, which attaches to the front of a combat engineering vehicle. Following the acquisition, Pearson, which is located in Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England, will add to its repertoire by starting to locally manufacture Rafael's Trophy active protection system for armoured vehicles.

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Ukraine conflict: Parliament discusses record 2023 defence budget

by Matilde Stronell

Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko presented Kyiv's draft 2023 state budget to parliament on 21 September. The bill includes a record UAH857.9 billion (USD23.02 billion) allocated to defence, which is equivalent to a third of total government spending.

Around 40% of the budget, UAH355 billion, will be allocated to weapons and equipment procurement and modernisation as Ukraine seeks to replenish stockpiles lost during the continuing war with Russia. An additional UAH494 billion is available for personnel training and upkeep.

The Ukrainian defence budget is 30 times higher in nominal terms than it was when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Comparing its real dollar value now and in 2014 (USD3.65 billion), this is the equivalent of compound annual growth of around 23%.

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February prompted an unprecedented rise in military expenditure, which more than doubled to reach UAH383 billion in 2022. The new defence budget is 124% higher in nominal terms (98% in real terms) than the 2022 defence budget. Ukraine is now spending more than 15% of its GDP on defence, compared with an average of 2% during the decade before the Russian invasion.

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GA-ASI opposes possible Chinese corn plant near US airbase

by Marc Selinger

UK Royal Air Force crews are supposed to undergo training on the MQ-9B Protector UAV near the site of a proposed Chinese corn mill in the US. (Crown Copyright)

US defence contractor General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI), which has a significant presence near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, is urging the US government to block Chinese company Fufeng Group from building an agricultural facility near the military installation, citing national security concerns.

GA-ASI asserted on 20 September that the Chinese government could use the proposed corn milling plant as cover to conduct electronic surveillance or other forms of military espionage. GA-ASI tests and evaluates unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), radar, and other military technology in the local airspace. At a facility near the base, GA-ASI trains UAV pilots and maintainers, and is scheduled to begin training crews from the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF) on their new GA-ASI MQ-9B Protector UAV in 2022.

“The proposed agricultural project represents a major vulnerability for maintaining the necessary secrecy and integrity of classified weapons, communications frequencies, satellite connectivity, and many other technologies vital to global security,” GA-ASI said.

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The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, has ordered 9,600...

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