Friday, December 31, 2010

Iran to launch 'reconnaissance' satellite

Iran will launch a reconnaissance satellite dubbed the "Fajr" in the next few months, Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a report Saturday by the official IRNA news agency.

Vahidi said the Islamic republic would also put into space around the same time another satellite, the Rasad 1 (Observation), whose launch was originally scheduled for August 2010.

Iran is "building different satellites and by end of the (Iranian) year (March 2011), the Fajr and Rasad satellites will be launched into space," the minister was quoted as saying.

Pakistan considers defense budget increase

Pakistan's government is considering a 10-percent boost to defense spending amid a warning that it might slow down economic development.

The army wants an extra $521 million on top of the budgeted $5.17 billion for 2010-11 to meet the country's security needs.

But the finance minister reportedly suggested a much smaller increase, predicting such a large boost to spending would seriously jeopardize the country's economic development.

In July the government approved a defense spending increase of 17 percent in the face of intensified battles with Taliban insurgents operating from remote areas near Afghanistan.

Russia's arms exports at record high

Russia's state arms exporting agency, Rosoboronexport, 2010 is ending on a high note.
In the wake of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's three-day state visit to India, the two countries have agreed to a $295 million joint development of a fifth-generation multirole fighter. In all, 30 bilateral documents were signed during Medvedev's visit.

The agreement for the aircraft's development was signed between Rosoboronexport General Director Anatoly Isaikin and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Chairman Ashok Nayak. Isaikin said he is upbeat about his firm's future, telling journalists last month, "Rosoboronexport currently exports several thousand military products, expanding arms sales by $500 million-$600 million each year."

The contract formalizes an earlier 2010 arrangement between Russia's Sukhoi aeronautics company and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to develop in tandem a fifth-generation fighter jet based on the Sukhoi's T-50 fifth-generation fighter jet (also known as PAK FA) design. That model draws on Sukhoi efforts to develop a fifth-generation fighter since the 1990s capable of competing with the West's most advanced aircraft, including the American F-22 Raptor.

Portugal takes delivery of second sub

Portugal took delivery of the second of two Class 209PN diesel submarines, the NRP Arpao, handed over at the Baltic coast shipyards of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft.
In August, the navy took delivery of the Arpao's sister ship Tridente.

The handover to the Portuguese navy and the ship's commissioning at HDW in Kiel, Germany, completes the $1 billion contract signed with the German submarine consortium in 2004 for the two vessels.

But controversy surrounding the contract is far from over.

China backs S.Korea call to resume nuclear talks with North

China on Thursday reiterated its support for the resumption of six-party negotiations aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear drive, one day after the South's president said the talks should be revived.
The comments from South Korea's Lee Myung-Bak appeared to reflect a shift in position -- Lee has been tough with Pyongyang since the deadly shelling last month of a South Korean border island and cool on the idea of new negotiations.

China -- the host of the on-off talks which also include the two Koreas, Japan, Russia and the United States -- has meanwhile constantly pushed for the forum to reconvene since Pyongyang stormed out in April 2009.

"We believe the six-party talks are the effective approach to realise denuclearisation on the peninsula and safeguard regional peace and stability," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters.

Israel deploys APS-equipped Merkavas to Gaza border

The Israel Defence Force (IDF) has decided to deploy its Merkava Mk 4 main battle tanks (MBTs) equipped with Rafael's Trophy active protection system (APS) along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip amid fears that Hamas has obtained advanced Russian-made anti-tank guided weapons (ATGWs).

Hamas militants fired a Russian-made Kornet (AT-14 'Spriggan') ATGW at an Israeli Merkava tank stationed along the border with Gaza in early December that penetrated the tank, although none of the crew was injured. The laser-guided Kornet has a range of up to 5,500 m.

The attack prompted the IDF to reconsider its use of armoured vehicles and led to a decision to deploy Battalion 9 of the 401st Brigade, which operates Merkava Mk 4 tanks equipped with the Trophy system to the border.

Pakistan to build radar for JF-17 'Thunder' fighter

The chief of staff of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has said that Pakistan has built its first facility to manufacture radars for fighter aircraft.

Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said the indigenously produced radar, built with China's assistance at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), in Kamra, north of Islamabad, would equip the JF-17 'Thunder' fighter aircraft jointly produced by the two countries.

"This is a major step forward. This will be the first such [radar manufacturing] facility in Pakistan," ACM Suleman said in an interview on 21 December at PAF headquarters in Islamabad. He confirmed that the radar would be fitted on the JF-17, which, along with US-supplied F-16 Fighting Falcons, is set to be the PAF's front-line combat aircraft.

Russian missile maker to build two plants, expand exports

Russia's Almaz-Antei conglomerate will receive a government loan to build two new production facilities to expand the export of missile defense systems, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Wednesday.

The conglomerate's core products are the S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems, most of which are procured by the Russian military, he said, adding that exports were limited.

"However, these goods, to so speak, are in great demand on the international market," he noted.
The S-300PS Grumble model entered service with the Russian Armed Forces in 1985. It has an effective range of 90 kilometers (56 miles).

U.S. Lawmaker Urges France Not Sell Lebanon Arms

France should scrap its planned sale to Lebanon of 100 anti-tank missiles because they could end up being used by the powerful militant group Hezbollah against Israel, a U.S. lawmaker said Dec. 23.

Democratic Rep. Steve Rothman urged French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a letter to find "other ways" to help Lebanon's armed forces.

"The stakes are too high, and the danger this would pose to Israel is far too real. I therefore respectfully request that you reconsider this arms deal of anti-tank missiles and seek to aid the LAF in other ways," wrote Rothman.

Russia To Pay Almost $2B For French Warships

Russia will pay France 1.37 billion euros ($1.81 billion) for two Mistral-class assault warships that Moscow agreed to purchase from the NATO member last week, news reports said Dec. 30.

"The first ship will cost 720 million euros and the second 650 million euros," the RIA Novosti news agencies cited a source close to the negotiations as saying.

The deal, which involves joint construction of the vessels, is the first sale to Russia of such naval high-tech by a NATO country.

N.Korea Boosts Special Forces, Conventional Arms

North Korea's special forces have grown by 20,000 over the past two years, reaching about 200,000 in total and increasing the so-called asymmetric threat the country poses to the South.

The numbers come from the defense white paper 2010 published on Thursday, which says the North has consistently boosted its special warfare capabilities, deploying a light infantry division under an Army corps stationed on the frontline and adding a light infantry regiment to an Army division there.

The 200,000-odd special troops are primed to carry out combined operations such as attacks on major facilities in South Korea, assassination of VIPs and harassment in the rear by infiltrating the South using underground tunnels and AN-2 aircraft capable of low-altitude infiltration, the white paper said.

Japan To Consider Using Drones for Surveillance

Japan is to consider using unmanned aircraft for surveillance flights, a newspaper reported Dec. 30, at a time of heightened tensions with neighboring China and North Korea.

Japan will send military officials to the United States, which uses the cutting-edge Global Hawk high-altitude surveillance aircraft, to study how they operate and maintain the drones, the Yomiuri daily said.

The defense ministry will start fully fledged research in the next fiscal year starting April, and intends to make a final decision on whether to deploy such aircraft by the end of fiscal 2015, according to the report.

Photos of Chinese 5th-Generation Fighter Revealed

Reports coming form internet sites in China have published images of a large, stealth-like aircraft that, if confirmed, could be the first hard evidence of China's new 5th Genaration multirole aircraft. The images show the parked aircraft being inspected, and taxiing along a taxiway. Analysts in the West accepted the images with some doubts, due to the Chinese' in displaying imaginary 'facts' but the photos released today seem genuine. recent reports coming from China mention Chengdu has recently completed two J-20 technology demonstrator aircraft sofar, one model will be used for the test flights and another one will be used for ground testing.

The development of such program was known for some time but has never officially attributed to a specific type or maker. In 2009 deputy commander of the People's Liberation Army Air Force He Weirong stated in a TV interview that China had multiple such programs underway and that an as-yet-undesignated fifth-generation fighter developed jointly by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation would be in service by 2017-2019. According to U.S. intelligence assessments Chinese 5th generation aircraft could become operational by the turn of the decade.

EU Could End China Arms Embargo In Early 2011

A European Union arms embargo clamped on China in 1989 following the Tiananmen crackdown could be lifted in early 2011, Brussels sources told France's Le Figaro daily.

The lifting of the embargo on all lethal weapons "could happen very quickly," a source close to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told the paper.

An EU diplomat in Brussels refused to confirm the claim, but acknowledged that Ashton recommended as much in a report presented at a December 16-17 summit to the bloc's 27 national leaders.

China steps up anti-carrier missile tests: US commander

China is stepping up efforts to deploy a "carrier-killer" missile system, the commander of the US Pacific Command has said in an interview with a Japanese newspaper, published Tuesday.

"The anti-ship ballistic missile system in China has undergone extensive testing," Admiral Robert Willard told the Asahi Shimbun in Honolulu, according to a transcript of the interview on its website.
Willard said China

appeared to have achieved "initial operational capability" but it would take "several more years" before fully deploying the system.

New Taiwan anti-sub aircraft in service next year

The first of a dozen anti-submarine aircraft are set to go into service in Taiwan next year, local media reported Sunday, as east Asian governments look to counter an increasingly assertive China.

Washington agreed in 2007 to sell the refurbished P-3C Orion patrol aircraft, along with three non-operational machines for spares, and "the first ones will be delivered beginning next year," the Taipei-based China Times said.

"The surveillance range of Taiwan's anti-submarine fleet will expand tenfold after the P-3Cs join the navy," it quoted an unnamed military source as saying.

Pentagon notifies Apache helicopters sale to India

With India inviting proposals from foreign suppliers, the Pentagon has notified the US Congress about the possible sale of 22 Apache helicopters and that of AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles to the country at a potential cost of USD 1.6 billion.

The US Defense Department said India has requested proposals from several foreign suppliers, including the US, to provide the next generation attack helicopter for the Indian Air Force.

In this competition, India has yet to select the Boeing-United States Army proposal.

IAF to deploy fighter aircraft in South

Amid heightened threat perception, the Indian Air Force is planning to deploy fighter aircraft squadrons in southern parts of the country to tackle the threat from non-state actors and to secure the sealanes.

"This is in our plans. The first two squadrons of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) would also be based in South India and squadrons of either the M-MRCA or the Su-30 MKI would also be based there," IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora told reporters here on the sidelines of a function here.

He was responding to a question whether the air force had any plans of deploying its fighter assets in the southern peninsula in wake of increasing threat from non-state actors like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and sea pirates.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Russia to develop new heavy ICBM by 2020

Russia's state arms procurement program through 2020 provides for the development of a new heavy ballistic missile, a leading missile designer said on Monday.

The final decision should be made in 2012-13 by the expert community, not solely the Defense Ministry, said Yury Solomonov of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), the developer of the troubled Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile.
"This matter is beyond the Defense Ministry's competence. It is a matter of state importance," he said.

"Heavy ICBM" refers to a class of missiles with a heavy throw weight between five and nine metric tons and a length of over 35 meters, capable of delivering a large number of warheads in a single MIRV missile.

Russia's Strategic Missile Forces are still armed with Soviet-era SS-18 Satan and SS-20 Saber ICBMs with an extended service life and are expected to remain in service until 2026.
The SS-18 Satan is deployed with up to 10 warheads with a yield of 550 to 750 kilotons each and an operational range of up to 11,000 km (6,800 miles).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Russian Air Force receives new Su-34 fighter-bombers

Russia's Air Force received four new Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers on Tuesday as part of its current modernization program, an Air Force spokesman said.

Russia started full-scale production of Su-34s in 2008 at a Novosibirsk-based aircraft-manufacturing plant, a subsidiary of the Sukhoi Aircraft Holding.

A total of 70 aircraft will be delivered by 2015 to replace outdated Su-24 Fencer fighter- bombers, which are currently undergoing modernization to prolong their service life.

Designed by Sukhoi, the $36-million Su-34 fighter-bomber is a two-seat strike aircraft fitted with twin AL-31MF afterburning turbofan engines.

It is designed to deliver high-precision strikes on heavily-defended targets under any weather conditions, day or night, and is equipped with a 30-mm GSh-301 cannon, up to 12 Alamo or Archer AAMs, ASMs, and bombs.

Pakistan Navy test-fires several surface-to-air missiles

The Pakistan Navy on Monday successfully test-fired several surface-to-air missiles to assess its air defence capabilities, officials said.

Three surface-to-air missile tests were carried out in Sonmiani area of Sindh province, a navy spokesman said, adding all missiles hit their targets precisely.

Naval chief Admiral Noman Bashir and Air Defence Commander Vice Admiral Tayyab Ali Dogar witnessed the drill.

Baltic States Fault French Ship Deal With Russia

Lithuania and Latvia on Dec. 27 took NATO ally France to task over a warship deal with Russia, with Vilnius warning that Paris was setting a risky precedent.

"I think this is a mistake," Lithuania's Defence Minister Rasa Jukneviciene told reporters.

"This is a precedent, when a NATO and EU member sells offensive weaponry to a country whose democracy is not at a level that would make us feel calm."

Lithuania and fellow Baltic states Latvia and Estonia - who were ruled by Moscow until 1991 - have repeatedly criticized France's plans since Paris began negotiating a warship sale with Russia in 2009.

IAF to induct LCA by next month

The first Tejas squadron will receive its initial operational clearance at a function on January 10, catapulting India to a select club of nations that built a fighter plane from scratch. The historic first squadron will be stationed at Sulur near Coimbatore, sources said. Defence Minister A Kantony will be present at the function.

Even though the development began in 1983, the first LCA technology demonstrator flew only in 2001. Four years later, the IAF placed the first order of 20 Tejas at a cost of Rs 2,700 crore. Subsequently, it placed an order for another squadron.

The second LCA squadron will be stationed at Kayathir near Tuticorin, where the IAF is developing a new fighter base. The small World War II base will be converted into a major aviation hub in a few years.

DRDO readies underwater missile test-fire

AFTER the success of Prithvi-II, the DRDO is planning to test-fire a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from an underwater platform off the Andhra Pradesh coast in January.
While no one would elaborate whether it would be K-4 or K-15 missile, sources at the Chandipur base said preparations were on for the test. The missile has been planned to be launched from a Pontoon (replica of a submarine) which is being readied.

Both the missiles are submarine launched and ready for a trial. While K-15 has a strike range of about 700 km, K-4 will hit the target 3,500 km away. Land version of the missile has been renamed as Shaurya which has already been tested once at Chandipur in 2008.

The Pontoon is, however, used to test the K missiles because India does not have an operational submarine capable to undertake firing of such missiles.

DRDO Tests Indigenous Aerostat Radars

Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has developed the Aerostat radar which will help strengthen the air defence network of the armed forces and boost the country's surveillance and air defence capabilities. Developed by DRDO's Agra-based Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) laboratory, the Aerostat is undergoing final trials with full payload and is expected to be delivered to the armed forces in the near future, DRDO officials said.

The Aerostat radars, which basically include sensors mounted on blimp-like large balloons tethered to the ground with long cables, are a long-standing requirement of the air force. The DRDO-made aerostat radar has been designed to rise one km above the ground and its payload includes electro-optical sensors and equipment for communication intelligence, they said. The armed forces have till now relied on Israeli aerostat radar systems, which have been deployed along the western frontiers and allow the defence forces to keep a watch on flying objects well outside its territory.

Boeing to pitch P-8 for Indian Navy MRMR RFI

US defense major Boeing will be pitching a ‘diet’ version of the P-8 Poseidon aircraft in response to the Request for Information (RFI) issued by the Indian Navy for Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) Aircraft, due by the end of the year, next week.

Boeing has already begun work on the first of eight P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft to be supplied to the Indian Navy, in a deal concluded in the beginning of 2009 at a cost of US $ 2.1 billion.

Company sources told StratPost that even though the derivative proposed for the MRMR RFI will look the same as the P-8I and be based on the 737 platform, it will have smaller tanks and a shorter range and will only have surface warfare capability. The P-8I is capable of both surface as well as sub-surface warfare.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Indian GSLV fails during launch with GSAT-5P satellite

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) GSLV-F06 launch vehicle has suffered another failure, when it exploded around 60 seconds into ascent. The vehicle was carrying the GSAT-5P telecommunications satellite on Christmas Day, lifting off at 10:34am GMT from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Shriharikota. The launch was originally rescheduled due to a leak in the Russian cryogenic engine on the third stage of the vehicle.

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is capable of placing the INSAT-II class of satellites (2000 – 2,500 kg) into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

The standard GSLV is a three stage vehicle GSLV is 49 m tall, with 414 t lift off weight. It has a maximum diameter of 3.4 m at the payload fairing. First stage comprises S125 solid booster with four liquid (L40) strap-ons. The second stage (GS2) is liquid engine and the third stage (GS3) is a cryo stage. The vehicle develops a lift off thrust of 6573 kn.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First Multi A4 FSA Armored Truck Delivered to Germany

Made by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV), the first Multi A4 FSA protected military transport vehicle has been formally transferred to the Bundeswehr at an official rollout ceremony in Munich.

Featuring a heavily protected driver's cab, the Multi A4 FSA does an excellent job of keeping its occupants safe from typical threats encountered during deployed operations. Capable of carrying a 16 ton-payload, the high-performance Multi A4 FSA system platform is well suited to a wide variety of transport roles.

An efficient, well-protected system, this robust RMMV vehicle bridges a significant capabilities gap, enabling the German military to supply and support the growing number of remote outposts in Afghanistan it is currently setting up under a new strategy.

Israel Wants More Stealth Fighters

Israel is still looking to acquire another 20 U.S.-built F-35 strike fighters, even though Washington withdrew such an offer after the Jewish state refused a new settlement ban, a senior government official said on Dec. 15.

Israel agreed to buy a first tranche of 20 F-35s in August, but had hoped to acquire another 20 free of charge as part of a lucrative deal with the United States aimed at salvaging the peace process.

Under terms of the offer, Washington would have asked Congress to approve 20 additional F-35 fighter planes for Israel, worth some three billion dollars, in exchange for a 90-day moratorium on settlement building - the Palestinian condition for remaining at the table.

Israeli Jet Downs Flying Object Near Nuclear Plant

An Israeli warplane shot down a "suspicious object" flying on Dec. 16 over the southern part of the Dead Sea, the military said, adding that the intruder appeared to have been a balloon.

The country's main nuclear reactor is about 20 miles from the Dead Sea, at Dimona in the Negev desert.

"Air force planes were scrambled after a suspicious object was seen," a military spokeswoman told AFP. "It was shot down." She did not elaborate.

Local news site Ynet said one of the planes fired a missile at the object "which was hovering close to the nuclear research institute at Dimona."

India And China To Tackle Border Dispute

China and India vowed yesterday to resolve the longstanding Himalayan border dispute that once sparked war between the two Asian giants.

The dispute has also ignited fresh tensions in the past year.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed to work together to disrupt regional terror finance networks, and resolve a water dispute over the shared Brahmaputra river.

"There is enough space in the world for the development of both India and China, and indeed enough areas for India and China to co-operate," the two leaders declared in a joint statement. The statement echoed sentiments expressed by Mr Wen, who arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday with a 400-strong business delegation and called for a new era of "strategic consensus" with India.


Diehl BGT Defence successfully demonstrated the MAPS Active Vehicle Protection System on November, at the Federal Armed Forces Technical Centre WTD 91 Meppen, Germany. The test campaign was witnessed by numerous representatives of the German Bundeswehr as well as military officials of allied armed forces and both national and international industry representatives.

During the test campaign, the MAPS Active Protection System, mounted on a FUCHS transport vehicle, defeated incoming anti-tank rockets and guided missiles including advanced models with tandem warheads. MAPS includes active and passive sensors for situational awareness, threat detection and fire control as well as highly agile interceptors (blast effectors) which destroyed all anti-tank weapons at safe distance from the defended vehicle.

In addition to effective vehicle protection, MAPS accurately localizes enemy firing positions enabling rapid and precise counterstrikes by the armoured vehicle thus actively countering repeated attacks.

Israel Concerned Over France-Lebanon Missile Sale

Israel fears weapons sold to Lebanon's army could end up in the hands of militant group Hezbollah, an official said Dec. 19, two days after France announced it would supply anti-tank missiles to the Arab nation.

"We have raised with foreign governments our concerns of Hezbollah's growing domination of the Lebanese government apparatus and concern that weapons transfer to the Lebanese forces will in fact become part of the Hezbollah arsenal," said an Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

France on Dec. 17 confirmed it would supply the Lebanese military with 100 anti-tank missiles, despite concerns raised by both Israel and the United States.

New F-Model for OH-58 Kiowa Warrior

The US Army has decided to move ahead with its F-model upgrade program for the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, while completing analysis on a future scout helicopter.

According to DefenseNews report, Brig. Gen. William Crosby, program executive officer for Army aviation, gave the program milestone B approval, officially moving it into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase.The OH-58F will feature a cockpit and sensor upgrade, including digital flight controls and cockpit displays, nose-mounted sensors and aircraft survivability equipment.

The Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) program was supposed to replace the OH-58 Kiowa Warriors, which have seen heavy use in Iraq and Afghanistan. When ARH was canceled in October 2008, the Army began redirecting the program’s money toward the effort to keep the Kiowa Warrior flying until 2025.

S. Korea To Hold Large-Scale Artillery Exercise

South Korea plans to hold major artillery training exercises including some in an area close to its disputed maritime border with the North, media in Seoul reported today. Analysts warned the move, which emerged as the South’s military completed joint drills with a US aircraft carrier group, increase tensions already running high in the wake of last attack by the North.

Analysts believe the most likely outcome of the current stand-off is further negotiations, and that North Korea’s actions are in part intended to push Seoul and Washington back towards talks based on giving the North aid in exchange for a pledge on scaling back its nuclear capabilities.

But some analysts warned that more military drills could escalate a delicate situation by angering the North. “The overall situation might be intensified and a new crisis might be brought by doing this,” said Professor Chu Shulong, an expert on international security at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. He added: “Because of the Cheonan incident in March and the shelling in Yeonpyeong, [South Korean] people are angry and their anger has not been addressed yet. They are not happy with the reaction of the government. “At the same time, South Korea cannot attack North Korea. They can only express their anger through military drills; it is their only way to show the determination to defend their country and to warn the North.”

Indian forces can enter Myanmar to hunt terrorists

Indian security forces can enter Myanmar to hunt for terrorists after taking due permission from Myanmarese authorities, it was decided in Aizawl on Monday. And to boost their crackdown on Indian separatists hiding in Myanmar, it was also decided that Myanmarese security officials have promised to learn English or Hindi to overcome communication problems.

The decisions to curb trans-border movement of terrorists, arms smuggling and prevent drug trafficking came at a meeting of officers from the Indian home ministry and Myanmar's Chin state.

According to Indian officials, several militants from the northeast have taken shelter in Myanmar and Bangladesh and have set up bases and training camps.

Engine leak delays GSAT-5P launch

In the second setback to the country's space programme this year, the launch of India's latest communication satellite GSAT-5P tomorrow from the spaceport of Sriharikota, was deferred today after a leak in the Russian cryogenic engine on board the launch vehicle.

The mission was called off after the Launch Authorisation Board did not give the go-ahead after a leak in one of the valves of the cryogenic engine stage was identified during the pre-countdown checks, Indian Space Research Organisation said.

Indian Air Force to induct 400 new aircraft

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon acquire over 400 new aircraft into its fleet, including advanced fighter and transport aircraft in order to augment its fleet in tune with its changing requirements, said Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, said here on Saturday.

He was speaking to presspersons after reviewing an impressive Combined Graduation Parade at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal here. He said about 200 to 250 fighter aircraft, including 126 medium multi-role combat planes, C-70 and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, apart from air-to-air refuelling planes would be inducted into the fleet. Besides, attack helicopters would be inducted from January, 2011 he said, apart from special heavyweight and VIP transport aircraft.

Prithvi-II Ballistic Missile Test Fired from Mobile Launcher

India today successfully test-fired its indigenously developed and nuclear-capable Prithvi-II ballistic missile, which has a striking range of 350 km, from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off the Orissa coast.

"The missile mounted on a mobile launcher was test-fired from the launch complex-3 in the ITR at around 0815 hours", defence sources said. The test-firing of the missile, which has already been inducted into the armed forces, was successful, the sources said, adding it was a routine trial conducted by the personnel of strategic force command (SFC). "The entire trajectory of today's trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, electro-optic telemetry stations and ships launched in the down range impact point area in the Bay for the post-launch analysis," the sources said.

During the last user trial from the same launch complex on September 24, 2010, the missile, had failed to perform due to some technical problems. "Prithvi-II missile had proved its robustness and accuracy repeatedly during many trials earlier," a Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) official said.

HAL, Rosoboronexport Sign Contract to Design and Develop FGFA

A Contract for Preliminary Design of the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft was signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi here today. The Project involves design and development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft that will have advanced features such as stealth, supercruise, ultra-maneuvrability, highly integrated avionics suite, enhanced situational awareness, internal carriage of weapons and Network Centric Warfare capabilities.

The aircraft to be jointly developed is termed Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF). PMF draws upon the basic structural and system design of the Russian FGFA Technology Demonstrator with modifications to meet IAF specifications which are much more stringent. The broad scope of bilateral cooperation during the joint project covers the design & development of the PMF, its productionization and joint marketing to the third countries. Programme options include the design & development of a twin seater variant and the integration of an advanced engine with higher thrust at a later stage.

India, Mongolia Conduct Joint Military Exercises

he troops of India and Mongolia engaged in joint exercises, with the latest two-week drill in counter-insurgency ending in Belgaum on Sunday. Nearly 30 officers and personnel of the Mongolian armed forces participated in the workout called "Nomadic Elephant" along with 50 officers and personnel of the Indian Army in counter-terrorism environment.

The current engagement tapered and ended around the time the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was in India and Pakistan. Defence cooperation and relations between the militaries of the two countries has seen a steady growth over the last decade with the first joint exercise in 2004. For the last few years, the joint drills are being held every year.

In recent years, the exercises varied with the one in 2005 being held at the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairnagte, Mizoram while another exercise held in Mongolia in September 2008 was on peacekeeping operations.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Russian shipyard seeks $100 mn to complete Indian contract

ussia's naval shipyard Yantar has sought extra funds to the tune of $100 million from authorities here to complete three Talwar class stealth frigates for Indian navy, according to a media report.

The lack of funds has delayed the completion of three frigates for India under the $1.6 billion deal signed in 2006, which were to be delivered beginning next year, Kommersant business daily said.

"The lack of funding is linked to the VAT refund problem: we will only receive the money after the frigates have been delivered to India," CEO of Kaliningrad-based Yantar shipyard Igor Orlov was quoted as saying by Kommersant.

Navy to induct first Italian-made tanker in January next

Navy is scheduled to induct the first of the two Italian-made tanker ships in its fleet by the end of January next, providing it with the capability to send supplies to its sailing warships instead of these having to visit ports for replenishment.

"The Navy will formally induct the first of the two tankers, christened INS Deepak, at a function in Mumbai by the end of January next year," a senior Defence Ministry official said here today.

Tentatively, the induction ceremony will take place at the Mumbai Naval docks on January 21 or there about.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Indian Air Force Receives First Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules

Lockheed Martin delivered the first of six C-130Js for the Indian Air Force at ceremonies here today. The new fleet was ordered under a $1.2 billion U.S. Foreign Military Sale (India's first) in late 2008.

"There are few mottos that impart such passion as that of the Indian Air Force, which is Touch the Sky With Glory," said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin's vice president for C-130 Programs, during today's ceremony. "Today begins a new glorious, enduring partnership with India as the fourth largest air force in the world proudly joins the worldwide C-130 family."

This is India's first experience with the C-130 so the package being provided by the U.S. government is comprehensive. The contract includes six aircraft, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spares, ground support and test equipment, servicing carts, forklifts, loading vehicles, cargo pallets and a team of technical specialists who will be based in India during a three-year initial support period. Also included in the package is India-unique operational equipment designed to increase Special Operations capabilities.

Israel Tests Trophy Tank Protection System

The “Trophy” system to protect tanks from anti-tank missile was tested as part of an exercise by 9 Battalion on its way to becoming a fully operational system. "We now have the ability to fight effectively, fast and secure than ever before," said the deputy commander of 401 Brigade.

The "Trophy" active protection system for tanks was tested during the first week of regimental exercises by 401 Brigade. It had been previously tested, and provided specific feedback, in controlled environments, but this trial was conducted by the 9th Battalion of the Armored Corps in areas of the Golan Heights.

"Trophy" is the fruit of a joint development by Rafael, Elta and the American company General Dynamics. It identifies, with special sensors, threats directed against the tank, such as anti-tank rockets and missiles, and fires a special charge to neutralize them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fire-X Vertical Unmanned Aircraft Successfully Completes First Flight

Fire-X, a vertical unmanned air system (VUAS) developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation and Bell Helicopter, a Textron company, completed its first fully autonomous flight Dec. 10 at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., less than one year after development began.

"The speed which Fire-X was developed shows that a low-risk, fast-track solution can be safely flown using the proven MQ-8B Fire Scout's unmanned systems autonomous flight architecture," said Paul Meyer, sector vice president and general manager of the Advanced Programs and Technology Division at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "We developed a VUAS that meets growing needs for cargo and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. We can now expand Fire-X's operational capabilities to meet emerging U.S. military requirements in all the Services and Special Operations Command."

South Africa Sells Cheetah Fighters to Ecuador

South African company Denel Aviation has sold 12 Cheetah C supersonic fighter aircraft to Ecuador. An agreement to conclude the deal was recently signed by the CEO of Denel Aviation, Mike Kgobe in the capital city of Ecuador, Quito.

Denel Aviation is the design authority of the single-seat fighter that was locally developed as a variant of the Mirage lll in the 1980s. In terms of the agreement with the Ecuadorian Air Force, Denel Aviation will continue to provide a comprehensive maintenance and support service for at least five years following the sale, with an option for renewal.

Lockheed Martin Successfully Tests First GMLRS+ Rocket

Lockheed Martin successfully launched a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Plus (GMLRS+) rocket recently in a test at White Sands Missile Range, NM.

The GMLRS+ rocket, which is equipped with a Semi-Active Laser (SAL) seeker, was fired from the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher. The rocket flew approximately 40 kilometers downrange, acquired the laser designated target and diverted over 150 meters to the target.

The GMLRS+ rocket is a Lockheed Martin internal research and development program to incrementally improve the combat-proven GMLRS Unitary program. GMLRS+ is anticipated to address operational needs including increased range, scalable effects and fleeting targets.

Turkey May Develop Fighter Aircraft with S Korea, Indonesia

Turkey keen to bolster the capabilities of its Air Force, Turkey is interested in developing a new fighter aircraft with South Korea and Indonesia, senior Turkish and South Korean officials have said.

"There have been some preliminary talks about our possible participation in the KF-X program," a senior Turkish procurement official told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review over the weekend. "We are investigating the feasibility and possibilities of this program."

Maj. Gen. Choi Cha-kyu, director general of South Korea's aircraft program bureau at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, said in September that Ankara was seriously considering taking part in the KF-X program.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Austria Plans Massive Cut in Army Equipment

Defence Minister Norbert Darabos has announced a massive reduction of the heavy equipment of the Austrian Army. Specifically, over 500 tanks and armoured vehicles of different types will be sold sold or scrapped - which means a reduction of the heavy equipment inventory by over 50 percent.

"We will continue to operate heavy protected equipment for foreign missions to protect our servicemen and women, and in case of long-term change in the security situation we must retain the ability to operate tanks. However, the current security situation and the missions of the armed forces allow a drastic reduction in the size of the tank fleet," the minister said.

The Jagdpanzer Kürassier tank destroyers and the Saurer tracked armored vehicles will all be retired and sold and scrapped, as will part of the inventory of Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks and [M-109] self-propelled howitzers.

In addition, the army also partially reduce its holdings of 20mm and 35mm anti-aircraft guns, Mistral anti-aircraft missiles, Panzerabwehrlenkwaffe 2000 anti-tank missiles, 81mm and 120mm mortars, and parts of the air-defence network. In all, about 1,000 items of equipment will be retired.

Germany to Suspend Compulsory Military Service

Leaders of Germany’s ruling coalition have agreed to suspend military conscription as of July 2011. The decision marks a profound change for Germany, where compulsory service was re-introduced 50 years ago.

Senior officials in Germany's coalition government have agreed to suspend military conscription as of July 1, 2011. Defense Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg's proposal was accepted during closed-door talks in Berlin on Thursday evening.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) have both in principle approved abolishing the draft at party conferences in the past six weeks. Their other coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democrats, had included stopping conscription in their manifesto during last year's general election.

UK to Scrap New, £3.6 Billion Nimrod Aircraft

Nine brand new Nimrod surveillance aircraft, which cost taxpayers £3.6 billion, will be dismantled and scrapped without ever having flown.

The MRA4 planes, only one of which has ever left the ground, will be stripped of their equipment and abandoned following Coalition defence cuts.

The decision led to the Nimrods being branded “the world's most expensive pile of scrap metal".

Hundreds of jobs could also be lost, according to BAE Systems, which built the Nimrods.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Indian Government nod for 4 more stealth destroyers

The government has cleared another major programme, 'Project-15B', to indigenously construct four guided-missile stealth destroyers for around Rs 30,000-crore at Mazagon Docks.

In its quest to become a powerful three-dimensional blue-water force and maintain a fleet of around 140 "surface and sub-surface combatants", the Navy already has 30 warships and six submarines on order in various Indian shipyards.

Moreover, it has an aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshkov or INS Vikramditya, three additional Talwar-class stealth frigates in Russia, as also two fleet tankers in Italy under construction.

Project-15B, which will be undertaken at MDL after the three Kolkata-class 6,700-tonne destroyers already being constructed there under a long-delayed Rs 11,662-crore project are finally delivered in 2012-2014, is understood to have been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security on Wednesday evening. It was earlier cleared by the Defence Acquisitions Council, chaired by defence minister A K Antony, in July.

Indian MoD Reports Steps Toward New Tank

Requirements for the Indian Army's Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) have been finalized, the Defence Ministry here announced Dec. 6, and the tank will be developed by the government's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) by 2020.

The Army has completed its Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirement for the tank, according to the ministry's official statement. The DRDO is carrying out FMBT feasibility studies. Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Indian parliament of these developments Dec. 6, the statement said.

Sources in the Indian Army said the proposed tank will be in the 40-metric-tons category and will be mounted with a 125mm gun. Six prototypes will be developed by 2020 before the FMBT enters bulk production.

Taiwan Readies Mass Production of Cruise Missiles

Taiwan is preparing for the mass production of the Hsiung Feng 2E (HF-2E) land attack cruise missile (LACM) and the Hsiung Feng 3 (HF-3) anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM).

Taiwan's Deputy Defense Minister Chao Shih-chang told legislators on Nov. 8 that production for the two missiles had already begun. Chao made the comments during questioning by the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and Defense Committee. In response to a question about the missiles by legislator Lin Yu-fang of the ruling party Kuomintang (KMT), Chao said the programs, code-named the Chichun (Lance Hawk) and Chuifeng (Chasing Wind), were "progressing smoothly."

An official with the Ministry of National Defense (MND) clarified the confusion over the designations used to describe the programs. "The code names are changed every year or two for security reasons." The Chichun is the HF-2E and the Chuifeng is the HF-3, he said. The source also corrected some media reports that indicated Chao had stated "mass production" had begun. "A few have been produced and could be fielded in case of war," the MND source said.

U.S. Not Helping Taiwan Produce Cruise Missiles

The United States has not provided any help to Taiwan in its bid to mass produce cruise missiles, a Pentagon spokesman said Dec. 10, as a Chinese military delegation held talks here.

Taiwan's Deputy Defense Minister Chao Shih-chang confirmed to parliament for the first time Dec. 8 that the island was mass-producing cruise missiles.

"Mass production of indigenous weapons like the ones under the code names of Chichun [Lance Hawk] and Chuifeng [Chasing Wind] is very smooth," Chao said.

S. Korea To Stage Big Air Raid Drill Amid Tension With North

South Korea will stage a major civil defense drill this week against mock attacks by North Korean aircraft amid continuing high tensions after the North's bombardment last month, officials said Dec. 13.

The drill will take place at 2 p.m. (5 a.m. GMT) on Dec. 15, with a dozen South Korean fighter jets flying across the country to simulate air strikes, the National Emergency Management Agency said.

"Along with air raid sirens, people will be asked to run into some 25,000 state-managed shelters or other civilian underground facilities," said agency official Yoo Byung-Koo.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

India and Sri Lanka step naval cooperation

India and Sri Lanka on Friday continued to step up defence cooperation with navy chief admiral Nirmal Verma leading two Indian naval ships to participate in Sri Lanka navy's diamond jubilee celebration. Indian naval ships Mysore, the largest indigenously built largest destroyer of the Indian navy

Mysore and Tarangini a sail training ship took part in the celebrations, which began on Wednesday. These two ships along with Indian navy's Tir, Shardul and Indian Coast Guard Ship Varuna had earlier provided extensive training to Sri Lankan Navy cadets in October.
Mysore and Tarangini will be in Colombo till December 11 and will participate in the Presidential Fleet Review' and 'Sail Past'.

Pakistan navy chief admiral Noman Bashir and Pakistan navy war ship Zulfiquar are also in Colombo to participate in the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Lankan navy.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Agni-II plus missile test fails in Orissa

The maiden launch of the Agni-II Prime missile from the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast, on Friday failed.

Within moments of takeoff from a specially designed truck at 10.05 a.m., the missile plunged into the Bay of Bengal following a deviation in its trajectory. As the consoles in the Block House showed that the mission failed, gloom engulfed missile technologists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The two-stage, surface-to-surface missile has a range of about 2,500 km. The 17-tonne missile is 20 metres long, capable of carrying nuclear warheads of one tonne.

Navy retires INS Vagli, India down to 14 subs

The last of India's Foxtrot-class submarines, INS Vagli, will retire after 36 years of operational service on Thursday. But the well-deserved nostalgia over INS Vagli's yeoman service should come with a harsh reality check.

India is now down to just 14 ageing submarines, with only eight to nine operational at any given time. It will get progressively worse. By the time Navy gets the first of the six Scorpene submarines being built at Mazagon Docks in 2015 — the Rs 23,562-crore project is already running three years behind schedule — only 10 submarines will be operational.

Latest projections, in fact, show India will have only five of the existing 10 Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW submarines by 2020. And only two by 2022.

US sells CBU-105 Sensor-Fuzed Weapon to India

Going after a vehicle such as a surface to air missile launcher, or a cluster of vehicles like a formation of enemy tanks, can be a tricky business for a fast jet pilot. Vehicles hide, they shut off their radars, or there are just too many of them to effectively target and destroy en masse. Weapons like ATK’s AGM-88E AARGM and MBDA’s Brimstone missile can help, but there’s another solution. Textron’s Sensor-Fuzed Weapon (SFW) bomb scatters 40 projectiles, to cover 30 acres. The “skeet” projectiles, which look like tuna cans, will search for targets as they descend, then fire the equivalent of a tank shell through the target’s top armor. If no targets are found, 3 safety modes ensure that the area is safe for troops to move through within several minutes – which means it’s also safe for civilians years later.

On Sept 30/08, the US DSCA conveyed India’s formal request for a variant of the SFW with GPS guidance… but which IAF aircraft will carry them?

First indigenous anti-submarine rocket handed over to Navy

The first lot of 20 anti-submarine missiles, designed by the Ammunition Factory, Khadki (AFK), was handed over to the Indian Navy at a function on Tuesday. This is India's first indigenous, anti-submarine rocket.

As per AFK officials, two variants of the rocket that can strike at a range of 1.5 km and 6 km respectively have been developed. Besides, the rockets have been classified into two categories practice ones and high explosive ones. The Navy needs 3,000 such pieces.

The factory has a capacity to produce 1,000 per year. The first lot of 20 practice rockets was handed over to Rear Admiral S Kulshrestha, Director General Naval Armament Inspection, Delhi, by B N Singh, senior General Manager of AFK. "The Ammunition Factory Khadki, under the Ordnance Factory Board of Ministry of Defence, has indigenously developed an anti-submarine rocket with the Indian Navy to meet their tactical requirement. The Ministry of Defence had given the mandate to OFB to make indigenous efforts for developing new products for defence forces. To accelerate the process of in-house development of ammunition stores, the OFB set up an ordnance development centre at the AFK," said B N Singh.

Eurofighter, Saab Pitch Fighters to Canadian MPs

The makers of two different fighter jets Canada is not buying made their sales pitches anyway to Parliament's defence committee Tuesday.

Representatives from the German-based Eurofighter Typhoon and Sweden's Saab Gripen appeared at committee and told members their planes can meet Canada's air force demands, and are far cheaper than the fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter stealth jet the government agreed to buy in July.

Canada intends to buy 65 F-35s for $9 billion — plus maintenance costs — to replace the aging fleet of CF-18s, with delivery expected to start in 2016.

Norway Orders Raven Small UAV

AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) announced it received an order valued at $4,862,674 under a contract with the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO). The order comprises new Raven small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), spares, training services and logistics support. Delivery of the systems is scheduled for early calendar 2011.

“With years of successful deployment, Raven is proving its value to military forces around the world,” said Tom Herring, AV senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “As the most prolific unmanned aircraft system, Raven gives frontline forces the ability to perform their tasks more effectively and safely. We are committed to helping the Norwegian armed forces employ Raven systems successfully.”

Friday, December 10, 2010

France Launches Espadon Naval Drone Demonstrator

The demonstrator of a naval surface drone was launched at Hennebont (Morbihan on December 8, 2010. It was developed under a basic research contract awarded in July 2009 by DGA to an industry group comprising DCNS, Thales and ECA, and financed by the French government’s economic recovery plan.

The Espadon (swordfish) is an unmanned surface vessel that is 17 meters long and displaces 25 tonnes, and christened Sterenn Du (black star in the local Breton language). In 2011, it will be fitted with a towed array sonar and small submarine drones developed by Thales and ECA respectively.

This “drone-carrying drone” was fabricated by the firm Pech’Alu International, also based in the Morbihan district, under the prime contractorship of DCNS. Detailed blueprints were designed by the Nantes-based HT2 design office.

Poland Orders Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile

Kongsberg Defence Systems has signed a MNOK 660 contract with the Polish Ministry of Defence. The scope of the contract includes Naval Strike Missiles (NSM) and logistics equipment.

The contract is pending approval of the related offset contract.

When searching for missiles for its new frigates and coastal corvettes, the Royal Norwegian Navy studied thoroughly existing missiles on the market and the planned upgrades of these. None of these missiles were found to satisfy the requirements of a modern navy well into 2015 and beyond. It was therefore decided to develop a completely new missile based on latest technology, the NSM.

Boeing Delivers Three More F-15Ks to S. Korea

Boeing on Nov. 8 delivered three F-15K Slam Eagles to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) at Daegu Air Base. The company delivered the first three of 21 F-15Ks it is producing under the Next Fighter II contract to the ROKAF in September. The remaining 15 aircraft will be delivered through March 2012.

"Boeing is honored to deliver these highly advanced fighters to the ROKAF," said Roger Besancenez, Boeing F-15 Program vice president. "We will continue to work closely with our ROKAF customers to prepare for upcoming deliveries that will provide them with superior air combat capability, as we remain committed to our goal of completing the deliveries on budget and on schedule, as promised."

RAF Typhoons in UAE Air Combat Exercise

Successful UAE-UK Air Force and Navy exercises have been held at Al Dhafra Air Base in UAE between the 18th November and the 1st December 2010.

The Royal Air Force Typhoons alongside UAE aircraft proved their effectiveness and sustainability qualities whilst operating in fierce desert conditions. Both air forces gained experience in ‘Dissimilar Air Combat Training Flights’ putting the Typhoon up against the UAE Air Force’s F-16 and Mirage 2000 jets as well as taking part in naval exercises over the Persian Gulf. The naval aspect included challenging attack and protection scenarios and involved the British HMS Cumberland ship.

Identifying the major aims of this exercise, Wing Commander Jez Attridge, Officer Commanding XI Squadron and for the duration of Ex AIR KHANJAR, Officer Commanding 906 Expeditionary Air Wing, stated to the UK MOD: “We’ve found the UAE Air Force to be very flexible in its operations and able to adapt well to working with us. They have some excellent aircraft that have integrated remarkably well with Typhoon”.

Indian Navy Sees Midget Submarines as Primary Threat

The Indian Navy and Coast Guard believe that improvised mini-submarines constitute the nation's primary emerging threat. These may range from swimmer-delivery vehicles of the type employed for recreational scuba diving to remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles. These types of vehicles are already in service with the navies of Iran, Myanmar and Pakistan (all having procured them from North Korea).

As has been amply demonstrated by the navies of North Korea and Iran, these small vessels make good platforms for ambushes even at submerged depths of 150 feet, enough room for the midget submersible to maneuver. These submarines cannot travel too far on their own, and depend on support vessels to extend their range. However, in their shallow water element where sonar returns are cluttered, they can prove quiet and deadly. Their capabilities include the ability to lay mines or insert commandos on beaches.

As North Korea demonstrated with the sinking of the Cheonan, attacks from midget submersibles can also include torpedoes armed with 250-kilogram warheads.

Russia to Poland: Don't Host U.S. Fighter Jets

Russia on Dec. 9 warned Poland against hosting U.S. F-16 fighter jets, possibly from 2013, saying it would work to counter the move.

Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich announced last month that his country would accept a U.S. proposal to host rotations of F-16 and Hercules transport aircraft and their crews on its territory.

"I hope this will begin in 2013," Klich told Poland's TOK FM commercial radio station.

A statement issued by the Russian defense ministry on Dec. 9 said that Moscow would "take into account the American-Polish plans and carry out [its] own armed forces development projects."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Indian Navy Launches Fourth Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel

The Chief Guest, Shri RK Singh, Secretary (Defence Production), Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai NM, Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area, RAdm (Retd) Vineet Bakshi, Chairman & Managing Director GSL and various other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The NOPV will help meet the increasing requirement of the Indian Navy for undertaking ocean surveillance and surface warfare operation in order to prevent infiltration and transgression of maritime sovereignty.

This Vessel will be deployed for monitoring sea lines of communication, defense of offshore oil installations and other important offshore national assets. Besides this, the Vessel can be deployed for escorting high value ships and fleet support operations. Sporting a flight deck, the vessel also supports operation of helicopters.

Boeing begins work on Indian P-8I

Fabrication of the first P-8I maritime patrol aircraft for India began Dec. 6 at a Boeing facility in Wichita, Kan., the company reported. The aircraft is the first of eight that will be built for the Indian Navy - the first international customer for the new plane.

India signed its deal with Boeing for eight P-8Is on Jan. 1, 2009, and the final design review was completed in July of this year. The first aircraft is due for delivery by January 2013, with the remaining seven to come by 2015.

Mi-38 helicopter production to begin in 2013

Russian Helicopters will start production of its new Mi-38 utility transport helicopter in 2013, after resolving engine supply problems with Canadian supplier Pratt & Whitney Canada, Russian state-owned rotorcraft builder Russian Helicopters said on Thursday.

Russian Helicopters'spokesman Roman Kirillov said all problems with Pratt & Whitney have been resolved.

"The company plans to equip the helicopters with both Russian and Canadian engines. We see it as an additional advantage for our buyers. Partners in Russia and the CIS states traditionally opt for Russian-made engines, while partners worldwide may prefer Canadian," he said.

Two Russian ASW jets interrupt U.S.-Japanese drills

A joint U.S.-Japanese military exercise in the Sea of Japan was suspended when two Russian Il-38 May anti-submarine aircraft flew over the area, the NHK channel said on Wednesday citing the Japanese defense ministry.

The biennial Keen Sword drills were suspended amid fears that the Russian aircraft may obtain top-secret data, the channel reported.

Around 34,000 Japanese military personnel with 40 warships and 250 aircraft joined more than 10,000 U.S. troops with 20 warships and 150 aircraft in the drills in the Sea of Japan, off the southern island of Okinawa.

The agenda of the exercises, which will continue until December 10, include integrated air and missile defense, base security, close-air support, live-fire drills, maritime defense and search and rescue missions

Russian General Staff chief visits India

The chief of the Russian General Staff, Army Gen. Nikolai Makarov, will visit India on December 7-9 to discuss bilateral military cooperation, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
Makarov will meet with his Indian counterpart Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik and other top military commanders.

The sides will focus, in particular, on the preparation for the Indra 2011 joint military drills.

During his stay in India, Makarov will also visit the BrahMos Aerospace Ltd., a Russian-Indian joint venture manufacturing supersonic cruise missiles, and the headquarters of the 50th independent parachute brigade, the first Indian airborne unit formed in 1941.

Navy moots to make Scorpene subs more lethal

The navy is weighing a proposal to modify the under-construction Scorpene submarines to enable the boats to stay underwater for longer periods and enhance their combat capabilities. It is considering to equip the submarines, being built at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), with an air independent propulsion (AIP) system that can recharge their batteries without having to surface for more than three weeks. Conventional submarines have to surface almost every second day to run their air-breathing diesel engines, running the risk of detection.

Six Scorpene submarines are being built with transfer of technology from French firm DCNS, under a Rs 18,798-crore programme called Project 75. DCNS CEO Patrick Boissier, who is accompanying visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said his company was in talks with the navy to equip the submarines with AIP systems.

Mirage-2000’s roll for upgrade takeoff starts

India and France moved closer on Monday to signing the almost three-year-old Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft upgrade deal. The deal has been hanging fire for close to three years after it was cleared by the ministry of defence’s (MoD’s) defence acquisition council (DAC) during French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s first visit to India in January 2008.

It involves integration of advanced multimode pulse Doppler radars and fire-and-forget missiles by French firms Dassault Aviation and Thales along with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
MoD had approved the Rs12,000-crore deal with Dassault, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the aircraft, at a DAC meet chaired by defence minister AK Antony on January 21, 2008.

The file for upgrade of 51 Mirage-2000 aircraft was moved by the air headquarters in 2007 and was under study by OEM.

India's first warship design centre to reduce dependency

With the inauguration of the country's first warship design centre at Challiyar in Kerala's Kozhikode district in 18 months, 75 percent of the Indian Navy's vessels would be made in the country itself - reducing the dependency on other nations, an official said.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony has been for long speaking of indigenising military hardware and this is one step towards that.

'In this centre, the design for warships will be drawn up and a prototype will be made. Once this is approved, the manufacture of ships can be taken up by the shipyards,' Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) managing director Alkesh Kumar Sharma told IANS.

India's DRDO develops hybrid armour for tanks

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a specialised ‘hybrid’ armour that will make tanks safer in battle and somewhat immune to anti-tank missiles. The DRDO’s Pune-based High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has worked on the new armour.

Dr A Subanandha Rao, HEMRL Director, said the hybrid armour would take care of tandem warheads and also kinetic energy projectiles aimed at tanks in the battlefield. It would increase the survivability rate of tanks.

Tandem warheads and kinetic energy projectiles are much more dangerous than the anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) that are currently used. The kinetic energy projectiles have rod warhead with multiple sections, each enclosing a projectile and an explosive charge. These can prove to be lethal for the tank and its crew in a tank battle. Most modern-day tanks built by major tank makers in the US and Ukraine are now incorporating the hybrid armour. The tandem warheads also work on similar lines. The hybrid armour will drive back incoming tandem warheads and kinetic energy. It will work almost on the same pattern on which the HEMRL developed the explosive reactive armour (ERA) for the T-72 series of tanks.

The hybrid armours are likely to be used on the latest Russian-origin T-90 tanks and the indigenous Arjun tanks, Rao said, adding that the Army had been involved at every stage of testing and developing.

MBDA Delivers Final Taurus KEPD to Luftwaffe

TAURUS System GmbH (TSG), a subsidiary of LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH (MBDA Deutschland) and Saab Dynamics, has delivered the 600th missile to the German Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB). The delivery of the 600th missile marks the successful conclusion of the series order.

“The TAURUS order was of decisive importance to our organisation. This contract played a major role in the positive development of MBDA Deutschland. My special thanks go to our customers who supported our work over the years and helped to make this success possible”, said Werner Kaltenegger, Managing Director of MBDA Deutschland.

“We are proud to have delivered this unique missile to our German customer in the required quality and within the specified time and budgetary framework”, added Helmut Hederer, Managing Director of TAURUS Systems GmbH. “Going forward, we are optimistic that we will be able to successfully market the TAURUS KEPD 350 for export”.

France, India Close to Deals on SAM Missiles, Mirage Upgrade

India and France have agreed to intensify their cooperation in defence sector, particularly in the field of anti-piracy and maritime security and expected to finalise soon a deal for upgrading IAF's Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft.

"The two states agree to continue and intensify their cooperation on counter-piracy and maritime security. France and India recognise the need for an intensified cooperation in combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden and other areas," said a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy in New Delhi on Monday.

It said the two countries welcomed efforts and future prospects for joint programmes in defence industry, which would include joint research and development and transfer of technology and as a first step, they "expect to launch soon the Short Range Surface to Air Missile and Kaveri (aircraft engine) programmes. Discussions concerning the upgrading of Mirage-2000 aircraft are expected to be finalised soon," the statement said.

KMW Begins Deliveries of Puma IFV to German Army

Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) handed over on December 6th in time the first two PUMA infantry fighting vehicles to the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB) in Kassel for verification tests.

This marks the start for the contractual delivery of 405 ordered vehicles to the German Armed Forces. The contract with a volume of roughly EUR 3.1 bn was signed in July 2009. The delivery of the PUMA is a significant milestone for the most important procurement program of the German Army.

“This is a crucial day on the way of introducing the PUMA to the German Armed Forces. We have undergone a challenging period of research and development, pushing the limits of this technology,” stated Klaus Eberhardt, CEO of Rheinmetall, and Frank Haun, CEO of KMW.

Technology of extremes: lessons learned from current operations

North Korea Has Torpedo-Armed Midget Subs

North Korea’s new midget submarines feature torpedo launch tubes, according to South Korean intelligence sources, suggesting that the North is planning more torpedo strikes.

According to sources, satellite imagery examined by South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials have shown 4-meter-long (13.1 feet) torpedo launch tubes attached to North Korea’s new line of “Daedong-B” mini-submarines. Intelligence authorities from both countries had suspected that satellite images showed launch tubes attached to the submersibles. An intelligence tip later confirmed that they were for lightweight torpedoes.

The Daedong-B model is said to be 17 meters long, 4 meters wide and 2.2 meters high. One special characteristic of the midget submarine, intelligence sources said, is the rear of the vessel, which is shaped like a ramp to easily enable agents to get on and off.

Bell to Supply Four Hueys to Yemen

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, was awarded a $27M contract to provide the Yemen government with a comprehensive mission package to support military requirements.

The package includes: four commercially designated Huey II aircraft, pilot and maintenance training, spares, special tooling and dedicated service representatives.

"This contract award is the result of a true team effort," said John L. Garrison, Bell Helicopter president and chief executive officer. "We are delighted to partner with AMCOM, DCAA and DCMA to provide the Yemen Government with aircraft and support that not only adds value to their mission, but are expected to be delivered ahead of schedule."

RAAF Is First Foreign Operator of JSOW-C

The Royal Australian Air Force launched two Raytheon Company Joint Standoff Weapon Cs from the RAAF's new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, marking the first time a U.S. ally has operationally tested a JSOW C. This test series also marked the first time the JSOW C variant has been employed outside the continental United States.

The RAAF also has placed an order for the JSOW C-1, which is currently in production; deliveries are expected to begin in 2011. The JSOW C-1 maintains the land attack capability of JSOW C and adds a moving maritime target capability by incorporating a datalink. This enables the JSOW to receive target updates as it flies to its target.

"The successful tests are a result of the hard work and close cooperation between the U.S. Navy's JSOW program office, the RAAF and Raytheon," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile System's Air Warfare Systems' product line. "Raytheon congratulates the U.S. Navy and the RAAF on this milestone; we are pleased to be a trusted partner on this important new capability for Australia."

Russia Fails to Put Satellites Into Orbit

Three Russian satellites crashed into the Pacific on Sunday after a failure to launch them into orbit. The satellites were supposed to complete the Russian navigation system Glonass, a rival to the American GPS.

Russia has lost three of its satellites intended to complete a new navigation system to rival the American GPS network.

The satellites are believed to have crashed into the Pacific Ocean after the rocket carrying them failed to reach orbit.

Dutch Deliver Two F-27s to Peru

The two Fokker-60 Utility transport aircraft that Defence has sold to Peru today took off from Woensdrecht air force base on their ferry flight to that country. These Netherlands-manufactured aircraft are redundant to air force requirements.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force bought the Fokker 60 Utility aircraft from their manufacturer to efficiently transport small numbers of personnel and cargo. The aircraft took part in emergency services during crisis management operations and missions.

In 2006, the Air Force stopped operating the Fokker-60 when the C-130 Hercules tactical airlift fleet took over their missions.

Earlier this year the Peruvian government purchased two Fokker 60s that will be used as maritime patrol aircraft.

US Launches Third Littoral Combat Ship

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team today launched the nation's third Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Fort Worth, at the Marinette Marine shipyard.

The 389-foot Fort Worth was launched into the Menominee River. Just prior to its launch, the ship's sponsor, Congresswoman Kay Granger of Texas, christened Fort Worth with the traditional smashing of a champagne bottle across the ship's bow.

"It is an incredibly rewarding experience to see Fort Worth launch into the water -- on time and on budget," said Orlando Carvalho, president of Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Sensors business. "The team's strong performance and hard work in bringing Fort Worth to this point illustrates our ability to meet the Navy's need for a class of affordable, multi-mission combatants."

Royal Navy Gives Up Aircraft Carrier, Fixed-Wing Capabilities

Fleet flagship HMS Ark Royal returned to her home port of Portsmouth for the final time today (December 3), ending 25 years of service to the Royal Navy across the globe.

The aircraft carrier is being decommissioned early next year and sailed into Portsmouth Naval Base following a brief farewell tour of the UK and a stopover in Hamburg.

In keeping with tradition she flew a decommissioning pennant.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

High cost of Indian Mirage 2000 fighter upgrade causing a rethink

French President Nicholas Sarkozy may miss signing of the Mirage 2000 upgrade deal with the Indian Air Force (IAF) during his visit to India. While officially, “negotiations are still going on”, according India’s senior foreign ministry officials, the reason for the delay seems to be that the high cost of upgrading the fighters is causing a rethink, informed sources told

The cost of upgrading the 51 fighters is working out to an average of Euro 45 million per piece which is well over the price of acquiring a new generation fighter such as the Rafale or F-16 which is around Euro 30million-35 million. India is seeking to upgrade the fighters with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capabilities, Look-down, shoot-down capabilities, Advanced Electronic Counter Counter Measures (ECCM) and Multi-target, multi-shoot capabilities.

The total cost is around Euro 2.4 billion of which work worth Euro 1.5 billon will be directly with the French company Dassault and the rest for work done and equipment supplied by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).