May's top stories: Vietnam arms ban lift, Singapore’s $1.7bn on Australian bases

The US Government has fully lifted arms ban on Vietnam, Singapore to invest $1.7bn in Australian military bases and Northrop Grumman wins position on $7.2bn contract for ATSP4 contracting programme. Army-technology.com wraps up key headlines from May.


Ajax

Obama lifts arms ban on Vietnam

US President Barack Obama fully lifted the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam.

The move aimed to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries.

The New York Times quoted Obama as saying: "The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations.

"It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalisation with Vietnam."

Northrop Grumman wins position on $7.2bn contract for ATSP4 contracting programme

Northrop Grumman secured a position on a $7.2bn engineering services contract to support Defense Microelectronics Activity's (DMEA) Advanced Technology Support Program IV (ATSP4).

Under the indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity contract, the company will conduct trade studies, technology development and upgrades for a period of ten years.

The ATSP4 programme aimed to develop advanced technology to resolve problems with obsolete or unreliable hardware and software.

Singapore to invest $1.7bn in Australian military bases

Singapore was reportedly planning to invest A$2.25bn ($1.7bn) to expand its military bases in Australia, as China demonstrated its military strength in the South China Sea.

As part of the proposed expansion, Singapore will increase the number of troops it has on rotation in Australia from 6,000 to 14,000 over the next 25 years, ABC News reported.

Both countries were said to have also agreed to develop military training areas and facilities in Australia.

Military bases at Townsville and Shoalwater Bay were to be upgraded, under the agreed terms of the deal.

Germany to recruit 14,300 additional soldiers over next seven years

The Germany Defence Ministry planned to recruit nearly 14,300 soldiers over the next seven years, marking the German Army's first expansion since the Cold War.

The ministry will also increase its budget from €34.2bn to €39.2bn by the end of the decade.

According to German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, the proposed plan will help the armed forces to react appropriately to new tasks.

In a statement, von der Leyen said: "A quarter century of contraction is over. It is time for the Bundeswehr to grow again.

"The Bundeswehr is under pressure to modernise in all areas. We have to get away from the process of permanent shrinking."

US launches new ground-based missile defence system in Romania

aegis

The US launched a new land-based Aegis ballistic missile defence system at Deveselu base in Romania.

The Aegis Ashore site in Deveselu, which is located around 100 miles west of Bucharest, is said to be critical for defending Nato's 28 members.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Defense Policy and Verification Operations Frank Rose said: "Combined with the missile-defence-capable ships in the Mediterranean, the site provides a significant enhancement to the coverage of Nato from short and medium-range ballistic missile threats originating from outside the Euro-Atlantic area."

US approves sale of Hellfire missiles to UAE

hellfire missile

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a potential $476m foreign military sale (FMS) of Hellfire missiles and associated equipment, training and support to the UAE.

Under the sale, the UAE requested 4,000 AGM-114 R/K Hellfire Category III missiles over a period of three years.

The contract will also cover training and technical assistance.

The potential sale will improve the UAE's ability to combat threats and provide security for its critical infrastructure.

Amnesty calls for investigation over use of UK cluster bomb in Yemen

cluster bombs

Amnesty International called for an immediate investigation into allegations that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition used UK-manufactured cluster bombs in Yemen.

The human rights organisation requested UK Prime Minister David Cameron probe to find out if British personnel were involved in dropping banned cluster bombs from UK-supplied Tornado jets.

The move follows Amnesty's recent field research in the Sa'da, Hajjah, and Sanaa governorates near the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border, where a partially-exploded UK-manufactured BL-755 cluster bomb was found.

British Army's Ajax armoured fighting vehicles to be built in Spain

Nearly 100 Ajax vehicles will be manufactured in Spain for the British Army, Minister of State for Defence Frederick Richard Penn Curzon has revealed.

In a written statement to the UK Parliament, Curzon said that hulls for a further 489 armoured fighting vehicles will be built in Spain before being transported to the Merthyr Tydfil facility in Wales, UK.

The hulls will be used to manufacture complete vehicles at the Wales facility.

CITT rules in favour of Oshkosh Defense over MSVS SMP contract award decision

Oshkosh Defense won the legal conflict over a medium support vehicle system (MSVS) standard military pattern (SMP) contract award decision by the Canadian Department of National Defence.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) ruled in favour of Oshkosh, which raised concerns over procurement processes, technical compliance and testing protocols shortfalls during the MSVS SMP evaluation.

Valued at C$834m ($636.5m), the MSVS SMP contract was awarded to Mack Defence last year.

India test fires Prithvi-II nuclear-capable missile

The Indian Army's strategic forces command (SFC) reportedly conducted another user trial of the Prithvi-II nuclear-capable missile.

During the trial, the indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile was launched from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, off the Odisha coast.

The trial was supervised by scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), reported the Press Trust of India (PTI).