GA-ASI opposes possible Chinese corn plant near US airbase
26 September 2022
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.
Japan aims to achieve defence spending worth 2% of GDP by 2027. Janes Defence Budgets analysis suggests that while this effort might prove overambitious, even a limited increase in the proportion of funding allocated to defence will result in strong growth in expenditure. (Janes Defence Budgets)
Japan's Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada has confirmed a government plan to strongly increase defence spending over the next few years to support the “drastic strengthening of [Japan's] defence capabilities”.
Hamada said in a Ministry of Defense (MoD) press conference that the plan had been endorsed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who, on 28 November, directed his government to increase defence spending to 2% of national GDP by 2027.
“Towards the drastic strengthening of our defence capabilities, [the] prime minister has said it is necessary to urgently strengthen [the defence budget] within five years,” Hamada said in comments published by the MoD.
He added, “I have been instructed to decide on measures to secure financial resources for defence expenditure and revenue in an integrated manner. In response to the prime minister's instruction, the MoD will accelerate co-ordination with the Ministry of Finance and others.”
Czechoslovak Group buys ammo maker Fiocchi Munizioni
30 November 2022
by Marc Selinger
Fiocchi makes ammunition for the .50 Browning Machine Gun. (Fiocchi)
Czech Republic-based conglomerate Czechoslovak Group (CSG) has expanded its foreign footprint by acquiring a 70% stake in Italian ammunition manufacturer Fiocchi Munizioni, the buyer announced on 25 November.
Petr Formánek, CSG's head of mergers and acquisitions, said the Fiocchi purchase is consistent with CSG's strategy of buying companies that are “oriented towards Western Europe and the US”. CSG chairman Michal Strnad said that Fiocchi enjoys a “solid presence” in NATO countries.
Fiocchi, which makes ammunition for handguns, machine guns, rifles, and shotguns, will become part of a new CSG division called CSG Ammo+. Fiocchi employs more than 1,300 people and expects to generate a consolidated revenue of over EUR380 million (USD393 million) in 2022. It has operations in the UK and the US in addition to Italy.
About a fifth of Fiocchi's production is for its defence and law-enforcement segment, a CSG spokesperson told
on 28 November. Fiocchi also serves the hunting and sports shooting markets.
The first of five C-130J-30s ordered by Indonesia conducts its first test flight on 27 October 2022. (Lockheed Martin)
The first of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30s ordered for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) has conducted its first test flight, and the aircraft is being prepared for delivery in 2023.
Lockheed Martin told Janes that the first aircraft (serial number A-1339) is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2023. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered through 2024, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said. The company added that the first aircraft conducted its maiden test flight on 27 October.
Indonesia has been considering augmenting its existing C-130 fleet for several years. The Indonesian Ministry of Defense did not respond to Janes query for information about the contract details or the acquisition at the time of publication.
The company has since confirmed to Janes that the first aircraft are being sold to Indonesia as part of a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS). Janes assesses that the deal was likely signed in 2019.
In this episode we speak to Claire Chu, Senior Chinese Analyst at Janes Group to discuss economic statecraft as a valuable element of your OSINT toolbox and how open source intelligence on state sponsored commercial activity can support their na...