US weapons exports for 2018 have reached $192.3 billion, a 13% increase over the 2017 fiscal year, the State Department said. "We're very happy with these numbers, and we expect significant momentum and an upward trajectory of these numbers, given that a lot of these reforms will continue over the next years," one official said. AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning noted that Thursday's announcement includes "significant and important steps toward bringing more transparency, efficiency and predictability to the defense trade system." AIA's Remy Nathan called the reforms "a true paradigm shift," adding that the association began advocating for these changes during the 2016 campaign.
Chile is eager to upgrade its F-16s and purchase eight more, with Chile's air force commander Gen. Arturo Merino setting the modernization of the country's fleet as a top priority.
Bombardier will shift its focus from commercial aircraft to business planes. It's selling the Dash 8 program and Q400 aircraft to a Viking Air affiliate.
The Air Force Space Command is taking over the responsibility of buying satellite communications services for the Pentagon, per congressional order. "Our team is looking forward to an unprecedented window of opportunity to transform how we acquire commercial satcom," says Clare Grason, division chief for satellite communications at the Defense Information Systems Agency, who will begin reporting to the Air Force in late December.
The US military is stepping up its focus on the ground portion of space missions such as network operations and command and control systems. The ground segment of the GPS 3 satellite program has faced delays.
The federal government is expected to continue the Trump administration's program of upgrading cyberdefenses when Democrats take control of the House. "IT modernization will always remain a top priority no matter who is in control because it is a legacy priority," Robert Ferrell of World Wide Technology says.
Michael Herson, president and CEO of American Defense International, says the change in leadership of the House Armed Services Committee is not likely to affect major defense investment. "When you look at the top line in defense spending as a whole, defense spending was coming down regardless of who controlled the House," he says.
The Aerospace Industries Association says it will no longer hold its annual luncheon and will replace the luncheon with an informal holiday happy hour. "Our members and journalists told us that they really valued the opportunity to network with each other in a social setting, but would prefer a less formal event in the evening," according to AIA's Caitlin Hayden. AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning will likely brief reporters around the annual release of the Pentagon budget early next year.