Anyone who has spent much time around either submarines or the Bahamas is likely to have heard of something called AUTEC. Not many people know much about it since it involves submarines and testing to ensure the subs and their weapons work well. AUTEC’s main base is on Andros Island, a short flight from Nassau. A key part of AUTEC is its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Naval Forces Sensor and Weapons Accuracy Check Sites (FORACS), known as NFA. AUTEC was picked for its access to the Tongue of the Ocean, a remarkable site protected from the open Atlantic so ambient noise is at a minimum. Here’s the surprisingly readable and detailed entry on it from Wikipedia:

“Chosen because of its ideal natural characteristics, and its climate which permits year-round operations, the TOTO is a U-shaped, relatively flat-bottomed trench approximately 20 miles (32 km) wide by 150 miles (240 km) long with a depth which varies gradually from 3,600 feet (1,100 m) in the south to 6,600 feet (2,000 m) in the north. Its only exposure to the open ocean is at the northern end, and except for this ocean opening, the TOTO is surrounded by numerous islands, reefs, and shoals which make a peripheral shelter isolating it from ocean disturbances, particularly high ambient noise which degrades undersea tests and evaluations.” Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: As US defense spending drops, lots of arms makers are seeking sales abroad, including mighty Lockheed Martin. But Raytheon executive Thomas Kennedy insists his company’s different.

While other US contractors began emphasizing foreign sales in the last year, “54 percent of the revenue for the IDS business is from international [already],” said Kennedy, president of Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) division, in a breakfast with reporters on the sidelines of this week’s Association of the US Army conference. For Raytheon as a whole, he said, the percentage of foreign sales is a smaller but still impressive 25 percent, higher than (for example) Lockheed. Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Steve Grundman

After three years of the “age of austerity” in Western military spending, investors’ imperatives and corporate strategies show one indication of how the defense-industrial base will evolve over the next decade. Investors want public companies that demonstrate an attractive risk-adjusted total return, not just M&A-fueled arbitrage plays. In response, companies are husbanding or harvesting their financial… Keep reading →