Australia has committed A$22 billion ($18.2 billion) to defence spending in its 2007-8 budget released last week, representing an increase of 10.6% over 2006-7. Spending will rise further to reach A$29.9 billion in 2016-17, says defence minister Brendan Nelson, with A$50 billion allotted for acquisition efforts over the next decade. Major outlays will include A$16 billion on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and A$6.6 billion for 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets, including an initial A$621 million this year. Australia's defence budget has increased by about 47% in real terms since 1995-6.


The Indian air force's first of 20 limited series production examples of the Tejas light combat aircraft made its 47min debut flight from Bangalore late last month, reaching an altitude of 36,000ft (11,000m) and Mach 1.1. India's Aeronautical Development Agency faces continued difficulty in completing work on the aircraft's multi-mode radar and Gas Turbine Research Establishment Kaveri engine, and the Tejas is not expected to enter service until 2010.


Israel is close to selecting a precision airdrop system for use with its Lockheed Martin C-130 transports, with the enhancement sought following its air force's operational experience during last year's war with southern Lebanon. The use of GPS guidance will allow cargo to be dropped from an altitude of up to 25,000ft (7,620m), with the reusable systems likely to cost up to $50,000 for a 907kg (2,000lb) load and $90,000 for 4,530kg.

Source: Flight International