After years of cajoling by the United States, a number of European allies are moving forward with new investments in their missile defense systems.
Poland announced last month it would significantly speed up the time table for choosing a vendor to provide the country with a missile defense system, a so-called “Polish Shield.” The move coincides with rising anxieties in Warsaw about Moscow’s recent land grab in Ukraine and concerns that Russian aggression could drift further westward.
There is a “strong possibility” that Poland could narrow the field of bids to just two defense firms as early as June, said Marty Coyne, who leads air and missile defense business development for Lockheed Martin, in an interview with Inside Defense in late March.
Lockheed is pitching the Medium Extended Air Defense System — a mobile battlefield antimissile system that provides 360-degree coverage.
Berlin, which has partially funded development of the antimissile system, could decide in the coming months whether to purchase units, Coyne said. The German government is presently carrying out a study of its options. Rome — another source of program-development funds — also is expected to make a decision soon, he said.
“We would expect a positive decision to come out of Italy this spring, followed closely by Germany and Poland,” the senior Lockheed official said. “We are not overconfident but we think we stand a good chance that all three nations will see the benefit of merging into a single MEADS follow-on program.”
Also in the running for the Polish contract are Raytheon, a French industry team of consisting of Thales and MBDA, and the Israeli government, Inside Defense reported.
Meanwhile, Turkish procurement officials reportedly are weighing whether to scrap a controversial plan to buy Chinese missile interceptors and instead establish the desired national antimissile capability using local defense firms, Defense News reported on Monday. Faced with strong NATO opposition to the Chinese plan, Ankara has given U.S. and European defense firms until the end of April to sweeten their earlier contract proposals.
What We're Following See More »
"The U.S. has invested 16 years and more than $70 billion to train Afghan security forces, but the effort has been undermined by poor planning, training and oversight, a government watchdog said in a report Thursday. The 259-page report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or Sigar, offered a critical assessment of one of the top goals of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan—to train local forces so they can secure Afghanistan on their own. The report details how unprepared the U.S. was to train local forces when the war began in 2001 and concludes many of the problems that hampered the early days of the war still exist."
In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration warned that individuals with terrorist ties were licensed to fly or repair planes. Years later, it is still a problem. Researcher Mark Schiffer found several known terrorists have FAA licenses when testing an algorithm on public records. Part of the problem is the FAA does not use photos on licenses and does not completely vet information. But they claim pilot certificates are to show the pilot's training level—not security—and pilots have to have government-issued IDs.
"Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business." His lawyer said Kushner and his colleagues usually forwarded news articles or political commentaries.
"President Trump will meet with major GOP donors for a private dinner on Tuesday in New York as part of a fundraising effort for the Republican National Committee, according to three people briefed on his plans." Trump is expected to talk about the party's agenda on the Hill and the midterm elections.