An Afghan air force MD 530F Cayuse Warrior flies over Kabul, Afghanistan.

“You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.”

Dear Readers,

The Taliban are pursuing an campaign of assassinating Afghan Air Force (AAF) pilots according to a report released by Reuters on Friday 9 July, 2021. “At least seven Afghan pilots…have been assassinated off base in recent months, according to two senior Afghan government officials,” states the report.

That Afghan pilots have been targeted in this way indicates how valuable the AAF is to the government’s ground forces, both in terms of rotary and fixed-wing ground attack as well as logistical transportation, and to security in general.

Pilots and other aircrew have been given international training in the US, UK and elsewhere to increase their abilities and allow more recruits to be trained at a faster rate than would be possible in their home country.

Over the decade the United States and NATO nations have been encouraging (and financing) the modernisation of the AAF. New armed aircraft have included Embraer A-29 Super Tucanos and MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters which can both carry out ground attack roles. The rotary transportation role has been traditionally operated by a large number of Russian Helicopter Mi-17s but these are gradually being supplemented with Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawks.

Without airborne mobility and ground attack aircraft, the ability of the Afghan forces to maintain cohesion and resupply across the country, as well as to detect and break up Taliban attacks are significantly reduced. Assassinating pilots and other aircrew on the ground when they are off-base is a much easier prospect than bringing down aircraft while they are flying. It is also guaranteed to reduce the numbers of new recruits.

While some contractor maintenance now looks like being delivered securely out of country in the United Arab Emirates, the deadly threat to aircrew might serve to reduce the AAF’s effectiveness quicker than breakdowns.

Best to all,



Missiles communicating with each other as well as with their host aircraft is the subject of a study being undertaken by the United Kingdom Government’s Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The Co-operative Strike Weapons Technology Demonstrator (CSWTD) will examine how missiles can be made to communicate with each other, making them more responsive to a quickly developing tactical scenario.

“Currently missiles can communicate with the launch platform but not each other. The aim of this programme is to investigate how inter-missile communication and cooperative behaviours can be technically achieved to solve UK military challenges,” stated a DSTL scientist connected to the project.

DSTL began working on the CSWTD in April with a projected end date in two years. The organisation is collaborating with MBDA at this early stage to analyse military tactics and scenarios involving missile use.

Should this programme be successful, smarter integrated missiles could enter service in around five years according to DSTL.


Today market the conclusion of the annual quadrilateral maritime exercise Pacific Vanguard (PACVAN) 2021 which began on 5 July and was hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Four navies from Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States participated in the exercise staged off the eastern coast of Australia. Missions include anti-submarine warfare, air warfare, live-fire missile events, and advanced manoeuvring scenarios.

The RAN was represented by the Hobart-class destroyer HMAS Brisbane (DDG 41), Collins-class submarine HMAS Rankin (SSG 78), and aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force. The Japanese Takanami-class destroyer Makinami, South Korea’s Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer ROKS Wang Geon, and the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta were also participants.

Pacific Vanguard gives the U.S. and its allies a venue for high-end training that will contribute to our ability to effectively work together to face current and future threats,” said Commander J.J Murawski, commanding officer, USS Rafael Peralta

Pacific Vanguard 2021 is a high-end joint-action exercise against complicated high-risk threats to preserve stability and freedom of access to the global commons,” explained Captain Hirai Katsuhide, commander, representing the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Escort Division 1.

US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).

No further updates.


Highlighting a selection of $100 million+ government awarded contracts awarded between 5-8 July 2021 and Foreign Military Sales contracts.

8 July
Black Sage Technologies; Clarity Innovations; Deloitte Consulting; Frontier Technology; Global Infotek; Greystones Consulting Group; Government Research Specialists; Hughes Network Systems; Hypergiant Galactic Systems; Kymeta; Mission Solutions; Net Vision Consultants; NXM Labs; Oracle America; PARASANTI; PLEXSYS Interface Products; Polysentry; Rackner; Research Innovations; Rolls-Royce North American Technologies; SAAB Sensis; East Syracuse; Scientific Systems; SLICEUP; Software AG Government Solutions; Spectral Sensor Solutions; Systems & Technology Research; UMBRA LAB; XL Scientific; and Yakabod Federal Solutions, have been awarded a ceiling $950 million IDIQ, multiple-multiple award contract to compete for future efforts associated with the maturation, demonstration and proliferation of capability across platforms and domains, leveraging open systems design, modern software and algorithm development in order to enable Joint All Domain Command and Control. These contracts provide for the development and operation of systems as a unified force across all domains (air, land, sea, space, cyber, and electromagnetic spectrum) in an open architecture family of systems that enables capabilities via multiple integrated platforms. Air Force Life Cycle Management is the contracting activity.

GSI-ENET JV; Structural Associates; Silver Mountain Weston SB JV; Reliable Contracting Group; Dawson Enterprises; S&B Infrastructure; and KNK Engineering Consulting, will compete for each order of the $349 million contract for oil and gas pipeline and related structures construction. US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.

MDT Armor was awarded a $9.9 million contract for procurement of the David Urban Light Armoured Combat Vehicle. Fiscal 2010 Foreign Military Sales (Israel) funds in the amount of $9.9 million were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

Huntington-Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding is awarded an $89.9 million modification for planning yard, engineering, technical, trade, and program management support of industrial type work for submarine availabilities, facilities, and conversion. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (98.8 percent); and the government of the United Kingdom (0.2 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.

7 July
Northrop Grumman Systems has been awarded a $3.8 billion IDIQ contract for Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ground subsystems support. This contract provides for sustaining engineering, maintenance engineering, test and assessment, modification of systems and equipment, software maintenance, developmental engineering, production engineering, repair and procurement. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center is the contracting activity.

Northrup Grumman Systems has been awarded a $61.8 million IDIQ contract for MJU-62A/B and MJU-73/B countermeasure flares. This contract provides highly specialised flares used on Department of Defense fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft to protect against infrared missiles. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Land & Armaments was awarded a $600 million contract in support of the Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicle and M113 Family of Vehicles. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity

G-W Management Services; Biscayne Contractors; Tuckman-Barbee Construction; C.E.R; Belt Built-CFM JV; EGI HSU JV; Desbuild EGMS JV; and Tidewater, are each being awarded an IDIQ multiple award construction contract for construction projects located primarily within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington area of responsibility (AOR). The maximum dollar value including the base period and one option year for all 10 contracts combined is $240 million. The work to be performed provides for various construction services including new work, additions, alterations, maintenance and repairs. These eight contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract.  NAVFAC Washington is the contracting activity.

6 July
(Highest award of the day). BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration; Centauri; and KAB Laboratories, are each awarded a not-to-exceed $49.8 million IDIQ contract. These contracts provide support services to include software design and testing; updates to existing software products; cybersecurity; information assurance risk assessments; microservice module development and design; software interface development and design; development of technical support data and training materials; modification and design of new sensor models; performing photogrammetric, geo-positioning, and error propagation algorithm development; configuration management; web services; and distributed systems development for the Navy and the governments of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Poland, Finland, Korea, United Arab Emirates, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division is the contracting activity. 

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $12.6 million contract for Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation System refurbishment support. Fiscal 2010 Foreign Military Sales (Netherlands and United Kingdom) funds; and 2021 aircraft procurement, Army funds in the amount of $12.6 million were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity. 


DEFEA, 13-15 July, 2021
Metropolitan Expo, Athens, Greece.

MAKS, 20-25 July, 2021
Zhukovsky International Airport, Zhukovsky, near Moscow, Russia.

DSEI, 14-17 September, 2021
ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, London UK

SAHA EXPO, 10-13 November 2021
Defence and Aerospace Exhibition, Istanbul Expo Centre, Turkey

AVALON 2021, 30 Nov- 5 Dec 2021
Avalon Airport, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.


No further updates.

Andrew Drwiega
Andrew Drwiega, Editor-in-Chief, Armada International / Asian Military Review.

Best wishes,

Andrew Drwiega

Armada International / Asian Military Review