The defence industry briefing

The news, views and numbers you need to know about this month

News in numbers


US defence budget for FY19, approved by Congress in record time


Date the new US Space Command is expected to launch


Increase of the UK’s defence exports in 2017 over 2016


Worth of India's purchase of advanced air defence systems from the US

Mach 5.5 to 6

Top speed reportedly achieved by China's waverider hypersonic aircraft for more than 400 seconds of independent flight

25 days, 23 hours, 57 minutes

Record for longest ever flight on a maiden trip, achieved by the Airbus Zephyr S high-altitude pseudo satellite


The gap between the claimed savings on the F-35 programme and the actual amount saved 

Quotes from the industry

"Two years ago we started to hear a dialogue about a need for hypersonic capabilities, to catch up to Chinese and Russians... Now we’re up to hundreds of millions of dollars of budgets DoD-wide. The operational pull is there from services, and the budget is there. Early 2020s is a realistic goal."

Frank St. John, executive vice-president of Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business, on the push for hypersonic weapons

"There could be a convergence between Tempest and the Franco-German project — it is difficult to think of EU programs with no UK input."

Giovanni Soccodato, head of strategy, markets and business development at Leonardo, on the possibility of EU collaboration on Britain's Tempest fighter

"Previous administrations all but neglected the growing security threats emerging in space. Our adversaries have transformed space into a war-fighting domain already, and the United States will not shrink from this challenge."

US Vice-President Mike Pence, announcing the creation of a US Space Command

"We will bring every tool to bear against them in every corner of cyberspace.”

Howard Marshall of the FBI’s cyber division on a joint US and UK response to alleged Russian cyber attacks.

Around the world

Afghan security forces, backed by US advisers and air strikes, have reportedly regained control of the city of Ghazni, where hundreds were killed or wounded during a Taliban attack. During four days of fighting US Special Forces units helped coordinate air strikes and ground operations and the US military said it launched two dozen air strikes. Diplomats in Kabul said the government had admitted to being taken by surprise by the attack.

Source: Reuters

Britain will remain a “tier-one” military power, UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said on a visit to Washington, and the UK and US would continue to be “reliable partners for the long term”. This comes after Prime Minster Theresa May refused to confirm that the UK would remain a tier-one military power and reported clashes in government over future defence spending levels.

Source: The Guardian

The UK MoD has partnered with TechVets, a non-profit helping veterans get jobs in the cybersecurity and technology sector, in a bid to increase the numbers of veterans with cyber and tech skills. TechVets will work with the MOD’s Career Transition Partnership, which provides service leavers with training and education opportunities whilst transitioning out of the armed forces.

Source: GOV.UK

Chemring’s shares plunged 20% after an employee died and another was injured in an accident at its site near Salisbury in the UK last week. The company said its annual underlying profits could be £10m to 20m lower than expected after it stopped production at the site, with a “corresponding impact on the group’s operating cash flow and net debt”.

Source: The Independent

Italian shipyard Fincantieri has bought Italian technology firm Vitrociset ahead of its planned merger with France’s Naval Group. Fincantieri is taking over Vitrociset’s defence work while its partner Mer Mec will control the company’s civil work. This gives Fincantiery control of Vitrociset’s aerospace work, including ground support work on the F-35. The move has caused speculation that Fincantieri is trying to bulk up ahead of its deal with Naval Group.

Source: DefenseNews

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