A Pentagon panel has recommended that once the Pentagon picks a Joint Strike Fighter candidate, it should have both contractors bid each year to build the winning plane, with the low bidder getting up to 2/3 of that year's purchase and the high-bidder getting the rest. That would keep both Lockheed and Boeing in the fighter business, and the competition would keep the price down.--Stephen V Cole
The US Army is developing a new targeting system that would allow the older AH-1F Cobra helicopters to fire Hellfire missiles instead of the older TOW anti-tank missiles, but doesn't have the money to buy it. The Army hopes that if the system is built, foreign users of the Cobra will buy it, bringing the price down to the Army's budget level.--Stephen V Cole
The Canadian military has been warned to find $68 million from its existing budget each year for the next five years to fund major new equipment purchases. The Canadian military has declared its top five projects to be:
1. A Maritime helicopter to replace the CH-124 Sea King.
2. Completing the purchase of 651 LAV-III armored cars.
3. Modernization of the CP-140 Orion anti-submarine plane.
4. Modernization of the CF-18 fighter.
5. Acquisition of Canada's own military communications satellites.--Stephen V Cole
The Air Force admits that the Joint Air-to-surface Standoff Missile is suffering delays and extra costs, but rejects charges that it will ultimately be canceled as the previous Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile was. The delays have been caused by problems with the engine and a $53 million redesign of the missile body after problems launching it from an F-16. The missile body has been redesigned and now has small control fins that force the missile away from the aircraft and then fall away before it begins flight. The Air Force says that the price will still be under half a million dollars per missile; TSSAM had reached $2 million per copy due to its design problems before it was canceled.--Stephen V Cole
Australia is still looking for a new medium-range ground-based air defense system, but selection has been delayed again while Australia redefines its requirements.--Stephen V Cole
Lightweight Body Armor Ltd sold the Sri Lanka government hundreds of sets of body armor which met international test standards. The Sri Lankans staged their own tests, which were not according to the accepted procedures and which the vests did not pass. The Sri Lankans then denounced the armor, seeking to cancel the contract. The company then sued the Sri Lankan government for $530,000 for defaming its products.--Stephen V Cole
Yemen is buying "several dozen" reconditioned T-55s from the Czech Republic. The Czechs had 500 of these old tanks in storage, but sold 100 of them to Georgia in Nov 98. Poland had sold 20 T-55s to Yemen, but these tanks showed up in Sudan instead and Poland (under heavy US pressure) stopped future sales.--Stephen V Cole
Courts in Bangladesh have stopped the government from buying eight MiG-29s from Russia, saying that the country doesn't need the planes and cannot afford the $124 million price.--Stephen V Cole