February's top stories: Australia’s $195bn investment, Syrian cease-fire plan

Australia announced plans to invest $195bn in military acquisition, the US and Russia agreed to cease hostilities in Syria, and European Parliament votes for Saudi arms embargo. Army-technology.com wraps up key headlines from February.


top feb 16

Australia announces plans to invest $195bn in military acquisition

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) released a white paper highlighting the government's $195bn investment plans for the country's defence capabilities over the coming decade.

The country has decided to increase the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) workforce to approximately 62,400.

The Australian Army will receive new equipment for soldiers and combat engineering, as well as a new generation of armoured combat reconnaissance and infantry fighting vehicles.

US and Russia agree on cessation of hostilities in Syria

The US and Russia entered an agreement over the cessation of hostilities plan in Syria, which is to be enforced from 27 February.

The two nations are co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) that aims at peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis with support from the UN.

The countries have agreed to jointly develop mechanisms to monitor the Syrian Government's and other force's compliance with the ceasefire.

European Parliament calls to impose arms embargo on Saudi Arabia

The European Parliament reportedly voted to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia.

The move is said to be in response to Saudi Arabia's violations of human rights and possible war crimes during aerial and ground attacks in Yemen.

A Saudi-led coalition has been launching airstrikes in Yemen to weaken the Houthi rebels, who currently control the nation's capital Sana'a, and also dissolved the parliament earlier this year.

US to release $582.7bn proposed 2017 defence budget

Ash Carter

The US Department of Defense (DoD) was due to release its proposed budget request seeking $582.7bn for fiscal year 2017.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter revealed that the department's budget planning has sought to address five evolving challenges.

These include Russian aggression in Europe, the rise of China in the Asia Pacific, North Korea, Iran, and the ongoing fight against terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Oshkosh to resume work on US Army's JLTV contract worth $6.75bn

The US Court of Federal Claims instructed Oshkosh to resume work on its recent $6.75bn contract to manufacture joint light tactical vehicles (JLTV) for the US Army.

The court denied Lockheed Martin's request for a preliminary injunction against Oshkosh while hearing its formal protest.

In August, Oshkosh was selected over Lockheed and AM General to deliver approximately 17,000 armoured trucks and sustainment services under an eight-year contract.

Saudi Arabia halts military funding to Lebanon

The Saudi Arabian Defence Ministry reportedly halted $3bn worth of funding in military aid to Lebanon.

The decision follows Lebanon's failure to condemn a recent terrorist attack on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran, Iran, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

Uncertainty about the prevention of misuse of newly acquired weapons by Hezbollah in supporting Syria's president Bashar al-Assad's government is also reported to have contributed to the decision.

Cuba returns Lockheed-built Hellfire missile to the US

hellfire missile

Cuba reportedly returned an inactive Hellfire missile that had been wrongly shipped from the US to Havana in June 2014.

The dummy training version of AGM 114 Hellfire missile was received by the US Federal Government in Florida on Saturday following several months of requests, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The shipping error was reported to have occurred with Lockheed Martin's freight forwarders, and the US Government has been trying to get back the missile that that was probably used by Nato during training exercises in Europe.

US Army to induct women into all military occupational specialty codes

us army

The US Army revealed plans to fully integrate women in all military occupational specialty (MOS) code and combat units.

The proposal, which is yet to be approved by the US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, recommends including measurable gender-neutral standards based on combat readiness requirements.

Upon execution, the decision will see women being integrated as infantry and armour officers later this year in designated brigade combat teams.

BAE ready to demonstrate solution for ADF's Land 400 programme

BAE Systems Australia announced plans to demonstrate its armoured modular vehicle (AMV35) combat reconnaissance vehicle (CRV) for Phase 2 of the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) Land 400 programme.

A result of the partnership between BAE and Finnish Patria, the AMV35 is designed to meet the Australian Army's mounted combat reconnaissance requirements.

The vehicle integrates BAE Systems Hägglunds' CV9035 turret onto a highly protected military-off-the-shelf (MOTS) Patria AMV.

US Army validates use of MUOS network and AN/PRC-155 radios for operations

muos

The US Army and Navy successfully demonstrated the AN/PRC-155 mobile user objective system (MUOS) manpack radios as part of the US Army, Pacific Command (USARPAC) exercise.

The radios, which had been upgraded by General Dynamics (GD), provide voice and data communications using the Lockheed Martin-built MUOS communications network in the Pacific.

US Army Tactical Radios project manager colonel James P Ross said: "The manpack radio and MUOS waveform, along with joint battle command-platform (JBC-P), enable soldiers to not only share enroute mission command information, but to also know where friendly and enemy forces are located."