Update – Changing the guard: Concern over US withdrawal of F-15 jets from Okinawa
25 November 2022
by Akhil Kadidal
The withdrawal from Okinawa of two USAF squadrons equipped with F-15C Eagles has alarmed US Republican lawmakers who said the move could embolden a militarily resurgent China. (US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Kyle Johnson)
The withdrawal of two squadrons of US Air Force (USAF) Boeing F-15C fighter jets from Okinawa has prompted concerns of a decline in US force capability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) announced the withdrawal in a statement on 28 October. “Starting in November  the Department of Defense will commence a phased withdrawal of F-15 C/D aircraft forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base over the next two years,” the PACAF said.
In their place, the US government has announced a plan to deploy more modern combat aircraft, albeit on a rotational basis. US lawmakers said on 1 November that the F-15C/Ds are “to be replaced initially by fifth-generation [Lockheed Martin] F-22 Raptors in six-month rotations from Alaska”.
The PACAF told Janes that the move to retire the F-15 C/D Eagle fleet has been prompted by “an increasingly severe security environment” around Japan.
According to Janes Defence Budgets, Australia's total defence spending will rise from the equivalent of about USD38.4 billion in 2024 to nearly USD48 billion by 2030. About 19% of the annual defence expenditure is allocated to procurement. (Janes Defence Budgets)
Australia launched on 29 February a new strategy to enable local industry to meet the future capability requirements of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra said the Defence Industry Development Strategy (DIDS) will shape Australia's industrial requirements in line with the Defence Strategic Review (DSR), which was released in April 2023.
“The DSR highlights the challenging strategic environment Australia faces and outlines the vision for [the ADF] to transition to an integrated and focused force,” the DoD said. “Defence industry is essential to delivering this vision. Defence industry supports our national security by delivering and sustaining the capabilities [the ADF] relies on.”
The DoD added that the DIDS establishes the “framework and principles” for Australia's defence industry policy. “These policy settings … deliver the initiatives required to develop Australia's sovereign defence industrial base required to meet our national security requirements,” it said.
US Marine Corps pinning tactical vehicle budget decisions on infantry experiment
31 January 2024
by Meredith Roaten
The US Marine Corps ACV is designed to deploy off the back of a ship and swim in open waters as well as operate in littoral environments. (US Marine Corps)
Amphibious combat vehicles (ACVs) and other tactical vehicles find themselves with an uncertain future until after the US Marine Corps (USMC) finishes its Infantry Battalion Experimentation (IBX), service officials said in January.
The USMC first released its Ground Combat and Tactical Vehicle Strategy (GCTVS) in 2021, but service leaders have since incorporated the vehicle strategy into the budgeting process, said Kevin McConnell, deputy director for fires and manoeuvre at USMC Ground Combat Element division. The ACV, Ultra-Light Tactical Vehicle (ULTV), and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) will be part of the USMC's analysis of IBX “to see if that is going to warrant reprioritisation of our vehicle procurements”, he told Janes in an interview on 18 January.
EU explores harnessing Copernicus for military applications
29 January 2024
by Olivia Savage
Sentinel‐1A, launched in 2014, was the first Earth-observation satellite built for Europe's Copernicus programme. (ESA)
The European Union (EU) awarded separate contracts to two consortiums led by Telespazio and OHB System on 23 January to explore the feasibility of exploiting the Copernicus Earth-observation constellation for defence.
The two contracts were awarded as part of the Earth Observation Governmental Service (EOGS), which seeks to bolster the defence and security of the EU member states. The selected consortiums will now compete to explore how best to deliver and implement the service under two simultaneous 12-month long studies.
Work will commence in the first quarter of 2024 and may include the development of new satellite-based reconnaissance capabilities at the European level. The aim is to make the service available to the EU and its member statesin the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2028–34).
Germany-based OHB System is leading one of the studies in conjunction with French CS Group and OHB Digital Connect. The contract is valued at EUR2.4 million (USD2.6 million) and includes additional partners: Geosystems, OHB Digital Services, Tekever, Geo4i, OHB Sweden, Officina Stellare, and Bird & Bird.
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