Demonstrators Protest US Role in Killing Civilians

August 13th, 2021 - by The Associated Press & Aaron Mehta / Defense News

Protesters Block Entrances to Raytheon Plant

The Associated Press & Aaron Mehta / Defense News

PORTSMOUTH, RI (August 12, 2021) — A group of activists blocked the entrance to a Raytheon Technologies plant in Rhode Island on Thursday morning to protest what they allege is the company’s role in the “killing of civilians” and “other human rights abuses.”

Some members of the Fang Collective chained themselves to a car next to the guard shack at the entrance to the Portsmouth plant.

Law enforcement, firefighters and tow trucks responded to the scene.

The group in an emailed statement said it was protesting the Waltham, Massachusetts-based defense contractor’s “weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and their involvement in enforcing the US-Mexican border.”

“Raytheon profits from the killing of civilians, families and children in Palestine, Yemen and elsewhere,” the group said.

The company is ranked as the second largest defense contractor in the world on Defense News’ Top 100 list. The firm brought in $42 billion in defense-related revenue during fiscal 2020. Raytheon Company (ranked 5th last year) and United Technologies Corporation (ranked 10th last year) merged in April 2020 to form Raytheon Technologies.

Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems plant in Portsmouth focuses on what it calls sea power capability — sensors, combat management systems, radar and sonar. About 1,000 people work at the facility.

“We respect the right to lawful and peaceful protest,” the company said in a brief emailed statement.

US Clears Weapon Sales for Saudi Arabia,
Lebanon, Croatia, Canada, Brazil and South Korea

US airstrikes are killing innocent civilians around the world.

Aaron Mehta / Defense News

WASHINGTON (December 1, 2020) — The US State Department on Tuesday cleared six Foreign Military Sales cases, potentially worth a combined total of $1.55 billion.

The six cases, spread across South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Croatia, Lebanon and Canada, were announced on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

DSCA announcements mean that the State Department has decided the potential FMS cases meet its standards, but this does not guarantee the sales will happen in their announced forms. Once approved by Congress, the foreign customer begins to negotiate on price and quantity, both of which can change during the final negotiations.

Here are the details on each case:

Croatia: The largest dollar value of the announced FMS cases comes from Croatia, which seeks to spend $757 million on refurbishing its 76 M2A2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles. The NATO ally operates older models dating to Operation Desert Storm, and is looking to upgrade capabilities.

In addition to maintenance, upgraded radios, armor and simulators, the package includes 84 M240 machine guns, 1,103 TOW 2A radio frequency missiles, 100 TOW 2B radio frequency missiles and 500 TOW bunker buster radio frequency missiles. Work will primarily be done by BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania, facility as well as Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona.

Canada: America’s northern neighbor wants to upgrade its fleet of five C-17 transport aircraft to the tune of $275 million.

The package includes “aircraft hardware and software modification and support; software delivery and support; ground handling equipment; component, parts and accessories; GPS receivers; alternative mission equipment; publications and technical documentation; contractor logistics support and Globemaster III Sustainment Program (G3) participation; other US Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistical support services; and related elements of program and logistical support,” according to the DSCA announcement. Boeing would perform the work.

Saudi Arabia: The most unique of the six cases, the Saudi request involved $350 million in support services for five years, covered through the US Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, or USMTM, located in Riyadh — an office of roughly 330 service members and US contractors who help train the Saudi military.

Services included in the package are “pay and allowances for US Military, US Government, and Foreign National staff members; USMTM communications support costs; local contracting costs; construction and renovation costs of housing area; transportation costs; US Mail services support costs; dependent education (grades K through 12); administrative costs; temporary duty costs for USMTM personnel; Value Added Taxes (VAT) assessed by Saudi Arabia; and future transition costs to move USMTM” to a proposed new housing location in Saudi Arabia, per DSCA.

Brazil: The government in Brazil wants to spend $70 million on 22 MK 54 conversion kits, which would convert existing MK 46 Mod 5 A(S) torpedoes to MK 54 Mod 0 lightweight torpedoes. Those would be equipped on the country’s fleet of Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk helicopters and its surface ships. Work would be performed at Raytheon Integrated Defense System’s Portsmouth, Rhode Island, facility.

Lebanon: The country seeks to spend $55.5 million to procure 300 M1152 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles in two tranches of 150 each. Beirut currently operates more than 1,000 HMMWVs of various designs, according to the DSCA, which are primarily used to “counter violent extremist organizations and to secure its border.”

The primary contractor would be American General, with work happening in its South Bend, Indiana, facility. This is the first FMS case cleared for Lebanon since the start of the Trump administration.

South Korea: A frequent customer of US weapons, South Korea now seeks to purchase two MK 15 MOD 25 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System Block 1B Baseline 2 systems for $39 million. This anti-missile defense weapon for ships would come along with training and 4,000 rounds.

According to DSCA, Seoul plans to use the systems aboard its first KDX III Batch II-class ship “to provide it with effective means of detecting and defending itself against incoming airborne threats.” The primary contractor is Raytheon, with work to be done at its be Louisville, Kentucky, location.

All told, the six notifications mean the Trump administration has cleared 23 FMS cases since Oct. 1, the start of fiscal 2021, with an estimated price tag of $58.75 billion. However, that number is inflated by the inclusion of two pre-cleared cases for Finland’s fighter competition; while Finland may pick either the F-35 (for $12.5 billion) or the F/A-18 (for $14.7 billion), it would only select one, and may still choose a European bidder instead.

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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