Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GSLV relaunch with indigenous cryogenic engine in one year: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to relaunch the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with a home-grown cryogenic engine in a year's time after the failure in April this year.

"We have come across a few scenarios after detailed analysis of the failure. Now the immediate task is to test it on the ground and we look forward to relaunch it next year," ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan told reporters on the sidelines of the 117 birth anniversary celebrations of Professor PC Mahalanobis at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata.

The five earlier versions of the GSLV had Russia- supplied cryogenic engines. India's cryogenic upper stage (CUS) engine was meant to replace the Russian engines.

The GSLV D-3, the satellite launch vehicle showcasing the country's indigenous cryogenic technology, trailed off its designated course and went out of control shortly after the lift-off on April 15.

The rocket, along with its two payloads -- satellites GSAT-4 and GAGAN -- crashed into the Bay of Bengal minutes after blastoff.

The failed mission caused loss of the GSLV-D3 rocket costing about Rs 180 crore and the satellites valued at Rs 150 crore.

The launch was the key to India's space programme as it would have made it the sixth nation to successfully deploy cryogenic technology, joining US, Russia, Japan, China and France.

Meanwhile, Radhakrishnan said Chandrayaan-II will be launched in 2013

Northrop Grumman-Built Aegis Destroyer Gravely (DDG 107) Performs Well in the Ship's Acceptance Trial

The Northrop Grumman Corporation-built Aegis guided missile destroyer Gravely (DDG 107) returned successfully from her first-ever sea trial last week in the Gulf of Mexico. Reaching this milestone paved the way for delivery to the U.S. Navy later this summer. The destroyer is being built by the company at its Gulf Coast facilities in Pascagoula, Miss.

DDG 107's super trial, normally combining builder's and U.S. Navy acceptance trials, was modified to an integrated acceptance trial to mitigate the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We made a commitment to take DDG 107 to sea and we were able to do that despite the current situation in the Gulf," said Richard Schenk, test and trials vice president for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. "The Northrop Grumman/Navy sea trial team worked extremely well together to test the ship's systems, which performed very well. Any testing that could not be accomplished because of the oil spill will be achieved at a later date. I couldn't be more excited of our team's efforts."

During the trial, Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) tested the ship's communications and propulsion systems, and conducted several other inspections including habitability.

"We're pleased with the flexibility of Northrop Grumman and the entire team in making the sea trial a success," said U.S. Navy Capt. Steve Mitchell, deputy for operations, Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast. "In the areas of focus such as propulsion and damage control, among others, we're happy with the improving trends in these areas. I was proud to be teammates with the shipyard on this trial."

"The shipbuilders and Navy team worked well together, and despite the short time at-sea, we were able to perform necessary tests in a quality manner," said George Nungesser, Northrop Grumman's DDG 51 program manager. "The response we've received from the Navy has been excellent and we greatly reduced the number of trial cards from the last sea trial."

U.S. Navy Commander Doug Kunzman is the ship's first commanding officer and will lead a crew of over 300 officers and sailors. The 510-foot, 9,500-ton Gravely has an overall beam of 59 feet and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas-turbine propulsion plants will power the ship to speeds above 30 knots.

This highly capable multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States' military strategy. Gravely will be capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

4th International UVS-TECH 2010 Kick's off

At the 4th International Forum and Exhibition Unmanned Multipurpose Vehicle Systems - UVS-TECH 2010, held as part of Engineering Technologies 2010 that opens today in Zhukovsky,Russian Helicopters rotorcraft-manufacturing holding company showcases two perspective unmanned helicopters, Korshun and Ka-135.

These models are designed under Russian Helicopters program on developing a broad spectrum of vertical take-off and landing UAVs within three categories: long range (over 400 km), medium range (up to 400 km) and close range (up to 100 km).

Korshun medium-range unmanned helicopter weighs 500 kg and enjoys the range of 300 km, payload of 150 kg and maximum speed of 170 km/h. In the niche of close-range vehicles Russian Helicopters debuts Ka-135, new UAV of co-axial scheme with piston-engine and tricycle landing gear, weighing 300 kg and boasting up to100 km operational range, up to 100 kg payload and 170 km/h max speed.

Both unmanned helicopters are multi-purpose and feature the capability of equipping base platform with a variety of functional modules. They are intended for monitoring the environment, aerial patrol and security, transporting cargo, ecological monitoring, meteorological tasks, providing communication with hard-to-reach areas.

“Unmanned helicopters are a new on-going trend in world unmanned aviation evolving within the past decade. We estimate UAV market as one of the most dynamic and highly perspective. Russian rotorcraft industry should take a niche on this market. In current context our company’s main task is to develop up-to-date and competitive UAVs that are multifunctional, highly reliable and easily maintainable“, states Andrei Shibitov, COO Russian Helicopters.

Russian Helicopters plans to design various-purpose unmanned vehicle systems for a wide range of operations.

“Manned light helicopters like Mi-34, Ka-226, Patrol, Ansat, Aktai can be utilized as platforms for developing unmanned systems”, says Unmanned helicopters’ systems program director Gennady Bebeshko. –“At presentRussian Helicopters conducts initiative R&D to define technical configuration of unmanned helicopter automatic control system. This project is financed out of Russian Helicopters own funds”.

Russian Helicopters, JSC is an affiliated company of UIC Oboronprom. It is the managing body of the following helicopter industry enterprises: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Vpered Moscow Machine-Building Plant, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM , Helicopter Service Company (VSK) and Novosibirsk Aircraft Repairing Plant.

UIC Oboronprom, JSC is a multi-profile industrial and investment group established in 2002. Its main tasks include helicopter engineering (Russian Helicopters managing company), engine-building (United Engine Industry Corporation managing company), air defense systems and complex electronic systems (Defense Systems holding company), and other machine-building activities. The companies of the group reported revenues of over 130 billion roubles in 2009.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Russia To Strengthen Black Sea Fleet with 15 New Combat Ships and Subs

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet will have 15 new surface ships (Project 22350 frigates) and diesel submarines (Project 677 Lada), RIA Novosti reports with reference to Commander of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky. In addition, two vessels of the Baltic Fleet will be redeployed to the Black Sea to struggle against piracy.

“In total, we plan to build 15 frigates and non-nuclear submarines for the Black Sea Fleet before 2020,” the official said. The construction of one frigate and one non-nuclear submarine will begin already this year.

"The Black Sea Fleet will be rearmed with new vessels, it will not be a matter of relocating vessels from other fleets,” Vysotsky said.

Project 22350 was based upon Project 1135 Krivak IV class frigate and it is the most modern Russian frigate and is derived from the Project 1135.6 Talwar class built for the Indian Navy.

Project 677 Lada is a "fourth generation" diesel-electric submarine, it's an highly improved version of the Project 636 Kilo class with much quieter and new combat systems, and possibly air-independent propulsion. Several less capable variants of Lada class like the Project 1650 Amur class have been designed for export.

Zvezdochka shipyard plans to complete upgrade of INS Sindhurakshak in 2012

The sub is expected to arrive to Zvezdochka for further repairs early August. INS Sindhurakshak will be the fifth Project 877EKM submarine passed overhaul at Severodvinsk's shipyard.

As it was previously reported, the corresponding contract was signed between Indian defense ministry and Zvezdochka on June 4, 2010 in Delhi. In the course of works the sub will be rearmed; the standard torpedo armament will be modernized, and missile system Club-S will be mounted into the submarine (developed by Novator Design Bureau). The upgrade also provides installation of some Indian-made systems like sonar USHUS and radio communication system CCS-MK. In 2008 Zvezdochka shipyard completed overhaul of the forth same-class Indian submarine Sindhuvijay. The first one – INS Sindhuvir – was repaired in 1999; the second one – INS Sindhuratna – left the yard in 2002; the third sub – INS Sindhughosh – passed overhaul in 2005. In fall 2009 FSUE Rosoboronexport and Indian Navy signed a contract on armament upgrade (including installation of missile system Club-S) of four Project 877EKM diesel subs – INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhuraj, INS Sindhushastra, and INS Sindhuvir. Zvezdochka was assigned a major executor of the rearmament contract. The upgrade will be performed at Indian yards. Along with contracting parties (OKB Novator, NPO Avrora, and SPO Arktika) Zvezdochka will complete those works within the nearest five years.

Diesel electric submarine S63 Sindhurakshak was laid down in Feb 1995 at Admiralteyskie Verfi shipyard by order of Indian Navy. In Dec 1997 the ship was delivered to the orderer and obtained the current name. The Project 877EKM was developed by Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering.

Surface displacement is 2,300 tons; length is 72.6 meters; beam is 9.9 meters; surface speed is 10 knots; submerged speed is 19 knots; operational range is 6,000 miles; endurance is 45 days; test depth is 300 meters; crew is 52; armament: six 533-mm torpedo tubes.

MCB HERCULES Team Gets Tank Retriever Out In Record Time

The Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Lift and Excavating System, or the M88A2, is capable of towing four M-1A2 Abrams tanks at once or lifting 70, 000 pounds of dead weight straight in to the air. In the event of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack, it can be completely sealed and driven through the use of video monitors mounted on the rugged chassis.

HERCULES is also a major project at Maintenance Center Barstow, keeping a 19-man crew busy year-round rebuilding and upgrading the massive vehicle.

Dave White, the program supervisor for the M88A2 project at MCB, said the need for the HERCULES by the Marine Corps increased dramatically very recently. “We moved in to Afghanistan, which had very rocky and mountainous terrain with lots of broken vehicles, such as MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) and M1A2 tanks and no way to recoup them unless you use the HERCULES; that’s why this is such a vital piece of equipment for the Marines.”

The HERCULES line was not just given to MCB. “We earned our line through proof,” White said. “That means showing Headquarters Marine Corps that we can get these things in and out when we say we can.”

The contract production schedule for a single M88A2 calls for a 180-day completion rate. Using the recently instituted single-piece flow method at MCB, White said his team blew that schedule out of the water with 156 days, 145 days, and even a 140-day completion rate.

The timeline of the Barstow team caught the attention of some important Marine Corps officers. “We are about a month ahead of schedule, which actually opened the eyes of the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and Brig. Gen. James Kessler (Commanding General, Marine Corps Logistics Command), who were both here,” White said. “They were both extremely interested.

“Right now we’re producing six a year,” he continued. “We’re expecting to get more M88A2s to work on because of the shortage on the (tactical operations equipment) list for the Marine Corps for this vehicle in the field.”

In the hands of experienced and knowledgeable workers, the right production plan really speed the process along. “If they stick to the letter of the single piece flow method process, which is just a sequential execution of the work load from A to Z, anybody can step in and do this work because of the way it’s laid out in the process,” White said.

Heavy mobile equipment mechanic David Graham, a Barstow native, calls the HERCULES one of the biggest projects he has worked on at MCB. “This is the largest vehicle we produce in terms of hydraulics, complexity and weight of the finished product,” Graham said.

Robert Crownover, a team leader and native of Monterey, Calif., said the HERCULES is certainly one of the most challenging projects with which he has been involved. “Everything on this is hard, it doesn’t always go the way you want it to,” he said. “You have to have a lot of knowledge and experience to work on it. Everything on it is heavy.”

Former Air Force dependent David Merica, born at George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif., and heavy mobile equipment mechanic for 12 years, calls the HERCULES a versatile piece of equipment. “I like that it does virtually everything from refueling vehicles to towing the M-1 tanks,” Merica said.

As with so many other projects at MCB, working on the M88A2 project comes down to helping the warfighter accomplish the mission. “The main reason why this team likes working on this vehicle is because it’s a combat vehicle that has the sole purpose of saving Marines’ lives,” White said.

DCNS Displays MSS Innovations at MAST

The MAST Americas 2010 Maritime Systems & Technology show* held in Washington DC from 22 to 24 June gave DCNS an excellent opportunity to showcase its latest studies and innovations to combat maritime insecurity and monitor changing naval missions.

Maritime safety & security (MSS) has become one of the biggest challenges in all seas due to the combination of asymmetric threats including piracy and terrorism, ever-expanding maritime traffic, rising accident rates and growing levels of illegal trafficking. Drawing on its expertise in naval systems, DCNS offers innovative new solutions tailored to customer needs.

Single integrated mast gives Gowind OPV/corvettes 360° visibility

The DCNS-designed single integrated mast gives the bridge and the mast-mounted sensors of Gowind OPV/corvettes 360° visibility. This patented solution significantly improves overall operational efficiency and the safety of flight deck (by helicopters and UAVs) and commando boat operations. The mast's inherent simplicity ensures lower costs as well as minimum (and easy-to-perform) at-sea maintenance and full compliance with standard sustainability requirements under all operating conditions.

DCNS experts specialising in materials and radar engineering have developed a solution offering optimal balance between structural strength and RF transparency. Following successful prototype testing in 2009, the single integrated mast technology will be a key feature of the Hermes OPV, the first of the Gowind range, now under construction at DCNS's Lorient shipyard. Towards the end of 2011, the French Navy will begin sea trials to test both ship and mast under actual operating conditions. Single integrated masts are also part of other innovative ship designs now being offered to navies and coastguards around the world.

Successful Test Firings for Three PAAMS Program Partners

On Thursday June 17, 2010, Direction Generale de l’Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, successfully carried out the test firing of two Aster 30 missiles from the Royal Navy barge Longbow. The barge was operated from the DGA Missile Test Range at Ile du Levant (Var district) on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence.

Carried out as part of the French-Italian-British Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) program, these firings were intended to validate modifications that were made to the Aster 30 missile after launch failures in 2009.

With the successful launch of Aster 30s from the Italian navy frigate Andrea Doria on May 25, 2010 and from the French navy frigate Forbin on June 1, this final test consisted of a salvo launch of two Aster 30s from the barge Longbow, representative of a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer.

The success of these launches validates the modifications designed and implemented by MBDA on certain missile components that had been subject to faulty workmanship.

This series of four Aster 30 missile launches confirms the operational capabilities of the French navy Horizon-class frigates Forbin and Chevalier Paul to operate their main weapon system, and to shortly assume their main mission of naval air defense.

THAAD System Intercepts Target in Successful Missile Defense Flight Test

The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army soldiers of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, successfully conducted an intercept test for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System today.

A target missile was launched at approximately 9:32 p.m. Hawaii time, June 28 (3:32 a.m. EDT, June 29), and about five minutes later a THAAD interceptor missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) off the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved.

The test involved the intercept of a short-range unitary target in the endoatmosphere (inside the earth’s atmosphere). The target, represent
Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the THAAD system developed a fire control solution and launched an interceptor missile, which acquired and successfully intercepted the target missile. The intercept occurred at the lowest altitude to date for the THAAD interceptor missile, which has the capability to engage targets both inside and outside the earth’s atmosphere.

Soldiers of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade of Fort Bliss, Texas, conducted launcher, fire control and radar operations, using tactics, techniques, and procedures developed by the U.S. Army Air Defense School. Soldiers operating the equipment were not aware of actual target launch time. Also following the engagement, test personnel used the Simulation-Over-Live Driver (SOLD) software system to inject multiple simulated threat scenarios into the THAAD radar. This exercised THAAD’s capability to track and engage a mass raid of enemy ballistic missiles.

Several missile defense assets and emerging technologies observed the launch and gathered data for future analysis. Participants included the Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system and elements of the U.S. Army’s PATRIOT system. The PATRIOT system, located at PMRF, conducted engagement coordination with THAAD and conducted upper tier debris mitigation exercises during the intercept engagement.

This was the seventh successful intercept in seven attempts for the operationally-configured THAAD system. Operational elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System are currently deployed, protecting the nation, our allies and friends against limited ballistic missile attack. The system continues to undergo development and testing to provide a robust layered defense against ballistic missiles of all ranges in all phases of flight.

The THAAD Program is managed by the Missile Defense Agency in Washington, D.C., and executed by the THAAD Project Office in Huntsville, Ala,

Monday, June 28, 2010

Korea Utility Helicopter Soars Up to the Sky

The maiden test flight of Korea's first utility helicopter Surion was conducted at the Korea Aerospace Industries on June 22 in Sacheon, South Chungcheong.

The helicopter flew in the sky for about 20 minutes, beginning with flying in the same place 100 feet above the ground. It also turned its direction 30 degrees to each left and right side. The chopper showed its rapid maneuvering capabilities by spinning around 360 degrees.

With two pilots and one technician on board, the flying performance showed its soaring, stationary hovering, S-shaped maneuvering and diving.

The helicopter's name combines "suri" meaning eagle and "on" meaning perfection.

The improved performance followed Surion's maiden flight on March 10 when a 8.7-metric-ton aircraft demonstrated a stationary hover at 30 feet about seven months after its rollout.

The performance is organized to introduce the process of making the chopper and elevate people's interest toward the helicopter. It also aims to boost credibility of domestic technology of making helicopter toward foreign countries in order to lay a ground work for exporting the product in the future.

"Despite the fact that our military ranks [seventh] in the world in operating the number of military helicopter, we have been relying on foreign countries in importing major technologies in developing functions and maintenance," said Byun Moo-keun, the Commissioner of Defense Acquisition Program Administration, in his speech on behalf of Korea's Defense Minister Kim Tae-young. "The successful development of Surion has not only led in operating the military tactics efficiently but also formed the basis in improving our own aerospace industry technology."

Byun also said Korea's defense capabilities could improve if other helicopter projects are implemented without problems.

The test flights will continue through September before initial production of the helicopter. Mass production is to begin by March 2012.

The government and private firms have poured a combined 1.3 trillion won ($1 billion) into the aircraft’s development since it began in 2006. South Korea has produced propeller-driven [aircraft] and supersonic jets in the past, but the Surion makes it one of only 11 countries in the world to turn out an indigenous helicopter.

Helped by Europe’s leading helicopter manufacturer, Eurocopter, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. and other local companies designed the Surion, with 60 percent of all parts and components being made in the country. Officials have stressed the Surion’s ability to serve in both defense and civilian roles is significant in terms of potential growth.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy, which contributed heavily to the project, said the aircraft will help South Korea make inroads into the fiercely competitive global aerospace market. In addition to the prototype, three other aircraft will be built to conduct various flight safety tests. Full-scale production is to begin in June 2012.

South Korea’s aging fleet of UH-1Hs and 500MD choppers, many of which have been in service for over 30 years, are set to be phased out. Independent sources speculate the South Korean military may require as many as 250 Surion choppers. Seoul also aims to win 300 overseas military orders for the KUH during the next 25 years, a government official said. That is roughly 30 percent of the projected global demand for Surion-type choppers, which are larger than the UH-1 Iroquois but smaller than the UH-60 Black Hawks.

The Surion is designed to fly a fully equipped squad of troops or an equal amount of equipment for two hours. It can climb 152 meters per minute and maintain a stable hover at 3,000 meters. Special emphasis was placed in the design on meeting variable combat conditions needed to ensure the survival of the crew.

First Firing Of MBDA’s SCALP Naval Missile


The first test firing of the SCALP Naval missile was carried out successfully by the French DGA (Direction Generale de l'Armement) at its Biscarosse test range on 28th May 2010. SCALP Naval is a development for the French Navy's naval cruise missile MdCN (Missile de Croisiere Naval) programme.

The firing was carried out using a FREMM frigate configuration from a production series Sylver A70 launcher.

As a result of this successful test, the maturity of the weapon system's definition as well as the technology options selected by MBDA have been validated. Indeed, all phases of the missile's flight proceeded perfectly to plan, from the vertical launch, the separation of the ejectable booster right through to the conclusion of its cruise flight.

This first test firing, being representative of a typical mission, has, amongst other benefits, allowed the full flight envelope to be by and large carried out. It has also validated SCALP Naval's interface with the operational Sylver launcher.

The SCALP Naval munition is a development covering two configurations responding to the French Navy's mission needs, comprising a vertical launch variant destined for surface vessels such as the FREMM frigate and a sub-surface / air transition version to arm the nuclear-powered Barracuda attack submarine.

"MdCN is a major programme for MBDA. The total success of this first SCALP Naval firing demonstrates our ability to maintain the highest level of technology as well as a strong industrial base in France, both coming together in response to the country's strategic needs", said Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA

Lockheed Martin’s Scorpion Successful in Flight Test

A Lockheed Martin Scorpion munition was successfully flight tested June 17 from a C-130 aircraft at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ. Ejected at an altitude of 5,000 feet through a Common Launch Tube on the aircraft, Scorpion successfully deployed its fins and wing, allowing it to precisely glide 1.65 nautical miles to the target.

Utilizing a Global Positioning System / Inertial Navigation System to locate the target area, Scorpion employed its Semi-Active Laser (SAL) seeker to strike the laser-designated target. The SAL seeker is one of several seekers that can be used with Scorpion.

Scorpion is an unpowered, lightweight, compact munition that provides the Warfighter with an affordable strike option against a broad target set. Scorpion is adaptable to multiple launch platforms, including manned and unmanned systems. Targets can include structures, personnel, lightly armored vehicles, trucks, cars, missile launchers, and artillery or gun positions. It has a maximum range of over 10 nautical miles.

"Scorpion provides the Warfighter with a much-needed affordable solution against targets in areas requiring low collateral damage, such as urban environments," said Randy Bigum, vice president of Strike Weapons for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "This precision attack munition features a small, lethal warhead which can be launched from a wide variety of platforms to take out time-critical fixed or moving targets."

Scorpion uses a SAL seeker for man-in-the-loop terminal guidance, and can be tailored to use planned, imaging infrared, shortwave infrared or millimeter wave seekers. The precision provided by these seeker types ensures accuracy to less than one meter and dramatically reduces the possibility of collateral damage. Multiple warhead options are also available for use against various target types.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.

Iran Again Criticizes U.S. Policy On Its Missiles

Iran on June 19 accused the United States of "deception" and insisted its missiles are for self-defense only, after a top U.S. official charged that Iran could rain missiles down on Europe.

"The Islamic Republic's missile capability has been designed and implemented to defend against any military aggression and it does not threaten any nation," Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a statement carried by state media.

He was reacting to remarks by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on June 17 that U.S. intelligence has shown that Iran could attack Europe with "scores or hundreds" of missiles, prompting major changes to U.S. missile defenses.

Washington seeks to "expand its domination over Europe, and to find an excuse not to dismantle its nuclear weapons stationed in the region, while putting the pressure on Russia and surrounding it," Vahidi said.

"The U.S. seeks to create regional discord and impair [Moscow's] regional ties to humiliate Russia and weaken its relations with neighboring countries," he added, urging Russia not to fall for "U.S. deception and psychological war."

President Obama in September cited a mounting danger from Iran's arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles when he announced an overhaul of American missile defense plans.

The new program uses sea- and land-based interceptors to protect NATO allies in the region, instead of mainly larger weapons designed to counter long-range missiles.

Gates said the United States believed "that if Iran were actually to launch a missile attack on Europe ... it would more likely be a salvo kind of attack, where you would be dealing potentially with scores or even hundreds of missiles."

Iran is under mounting international pressure over its controversial nuclear program of uranium enrichment, which the West fears masks a covert weapons drive.

Iran vehemently denies the charge, but it has been flexing its military muscle mainly in the strategic Gulf region by staging regular war games and showcasing an array of Iranian-manufactured missiles.
The United States and Israel have not ruled out a military strike to curb Iran's atomic drive. Iran has vowed to deliver a crushing response if it comes under attack.

Iran has developed more than a dozen short- and medium-range (up to 1,240 miles) missiles and continues to expand its ballistic missile capability, even launching satellite carriers into space despite U.N. Sanctions.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies has estimated that Tehran will have the capability to fire missiles at western Europe by 2014, but that it will need at least a decade to be able to target the United States.

Despite close economic and energy ties with Iran, Russia supported the latest round of sanctions against Iran on June 9 and froze a deal to sell S-300 anti-missile systems to Tehran.
The deal has been in the pipeline for years and was strongly opposed by Israel and the United States.

Two more Water Jet Propelled Fast Attack Craft to join indian Navy

Two Water Jet Propelled Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC) of the Navy – INS Cankarso and INS Kondul – will be commissioned here on Tuesday by Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan.
According to a spokesman of the Eastern Naval Command here, Yard 2061 (Cankarso) and Yard 2062 (Kondul) were formally handed over to the Navy in May 2010 by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata. The ships are the fifth and sixth of the Car Nicobar class Fast Attack Craft.

Seen as ideal replacements for the erstwhile Seaward Defence Boats (SDBs), these ships bear testimony to the Navy’s commitment to indigenisation. Conceived, designed and built indigenously at the GRSE, these small yet highly manoeuvrable craft are ideally suited for their intended deployment along the coast.

A large number of initiatives were launched in the recent past to enhance maritime security, including coastal and offshore defence, the spokesman said. These include augmenting the existing numbers and the technology of the patrol craft.

The safe operability of the new WJFACs in shallow waters and at high speeds, and their day-night surveillance capability, coupled with enhanced fire power, is expected to give a tremendous boost to combating asymmetric threats emanating from the sea and further enhance the coastal security.
Named after the pristine island located in the Nicobar group, INS Kondul is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Shashidhar R. Patil. INS Cankarso, named after an island off Goa, has Lieutenant Commander Arun Bahuguna at the helm.

The ships, measuring close to 50 metres in length and displacing 325 tonnes, can achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots. They have a complement of four officers and 45 sailors.

Induction Ceremony of F-16 Block 52 in Pakistan

Pakistani pilots flew the three F-16 fighter jets from America.

The US will formally handed over these jets at a ceremony held on Sunday, Online news agency reported.

In the second phase five F-16 fighter jets would be handed over to Pakistan in one and a half month. Overall a total of 18 fighter jets would be inducted in the PAF fleet by this year end.

The officials said talks are on with US authorities for another 15 F-16 jets. After the induction of 18 jets, the PAF fleet of F-16s would swell to 63.

Lockheed to offer fifth generation F-35 fighters to Indian Navy

US defence major Lockheed Martin said on Monday that it will offer its latest fifth generation F-35 fighters to meet Indian Navy's requirements for carrier-based combat aircraft.

"We have received the Request for Information (RFI) from the Navy seeking information about the F-35 aircraft, which are capable of taking off from aircraft carriers. We are going to offer our aircraft to them," Lockheed Martin vice president Orville Prins said.

He said presentations had been given to the Indian Navy about both the 'B'and 'C' versions of the aircraft in the recent past.

The B version the F-35 is a short take-off and vertical landing aircraft and the C version is an aircraft carrier-based version.

The Navy, which will acquire the under-construction Indigenous Aircraft Carrier around 2015, is likely to build another larger-size carrier and is looking to procure fighter aircraft for it.

American Boeing, Swedish Saab, European EADS and the French Dassault Aviation are also likely to offer their aircraft to the Navy.

Commenting on other projects of the company in India, Prins said the C-130 J Hercules aircraft are likely to be delivered to the IAF by February next year, two months ahead of the original schedule.

He said IAF is also planning to order six more aircraft as the construction of ground infrastructure is also going on schedule at the Hindan air base near here.

Prins said the IAF has also shown interest in the air to air refuelling tanker-version of the C-130J, which can be offered to it by the company.

Article Source: Times of India


The United States was seeking clarification from China on its deal earlier this year to build two new civilian nuclear reactors for Pakistan, the State Department said. 

"We have asked China to clarify the details of its sale of additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan. This appears to extend beyond cooperation that was grandfathered when China was approved for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters.

"We believe that such cooperation would require a specific exemption approved by consensus of the Nuclear Suppliers Group," Crowley said. 

The United States was expected to oppose the China-Pakistan deal next week at a meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. 

The 46-nation group controls trade in dual-use nuclear fuel, materials and technology to ensure they are applied only to civilian nuclear energy programs and not diverted into clandestine nuclear weapons work. 

The Washington Post reported that China has suggested that the sale is grandfathered from before it joined the NSG in 2004, because it was completing work on two earlier reactors for Pakistan at the time.

Sagem delivers Sigma 30 systems for Indian rocket launchers

Sagem has completed delivery of its Sigma 30 artillery navigation and pointing systems to the first two regiments in the Indian army deploying the Pinaka multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

Developed and produced by Sagem, the Sigma 30 is a laser gyro land navigation and pointing system for artillery pieces, enabling accurate firing on short notice.
Sagem has also set up a maintenance shop near New Delhi to help the Indian army keep its Sigma 30 systems in fighting trim. Indian mechanics received specialized training for this system in both France and India.

The Defense R&D Organisation, part of the Indian Ministry of Defence, originally chose the Sigma 30 system in 2008. They were installed by Larsen & Toubro Ltd. and Tata Power Company Ltd., the two Indian companies in charge of integrating the Pinaka MLRS.

The Sigma 30 pointing system has been proven in combat on a Caesar 155 mm gun. It is also used with NATO’s Mars MLRS and the 2R2M 120 mm mobile mortar, within the scope of a modernization program. In addition, the Sigma 30 has been qualified on the Archer, Donar, PZH 2000 and FH 77 B05 155 mm guns.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Delays in Global Hawk Decision

Pentagon officials have deferred a decision on whether to buy long-lead parts for four RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs after one aircraft performed poorly in tests with a "non-production representative" intelligence processing system, industry sources said.

The Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) chose that path June 24 at a meeting to discuss the high-altitude spy drone that is slated to one day replace the half-century-old U-2.

A decision on the parts, which are to equip two Block 30 and two Block 40 Global Hawks in the 10th production lot, will likely be made in October or November, one source said. That will allow Northrop Grumman to test all aspects of the UAV airplane using the standard Distributed Common Ground System in July and again in the fall, the source said.

The board did approve the production of two Block 30 and two Block 40 UAVs in Lot 9, a production block that also includes five Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) packages, two Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suites (EISS) and two Multi Platform-Radar Technology Insertion Program sensors.

Last week, David Van Buren, the U.S. Air Force's top acquisition official, told reporters that he was unhappy about the program's cost hikes and testing delays.

Today's Block 10 Global Hawks carry an integrated sensor suite of electro-optical/infrared sensors and synthetic aperture radar. Sensor maker Raytheon says the EISS will double the ISS' range. Block 20 jets are getting Battlefield Airborne Communications Nodes, Block 30 jets will carry the EISS, and Block 40 UAVs will get the powerful MP-TRIP moving-target ground surveillance radar.

India's Mahindra and UK’s BAE Systems will start manufacturing RG-31

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and UK’s BAE Systems will soon start manufacturing the RG-31 a mine-proof vehicle in the country for the Indian Army and police forces operating in Maoist strongholds.

Sources in M&M, which has entered the defence automotive business, said the automobile major was also looking at producing the FH77 B05 Advanced Howitzer, already in use in the country.

BAE Systems has supplied 165 mine-proof vehicles to the Indian Army and another 600 to the US, UN and Canadian forces. The monocoque hull of the RG-31, made of welded armour steel, is supposed to protect occupants against anti-tank mines and has a modular interior layout. The vehicle can be configured as an armoured personnel carrier, ambulance and surveillance vehicle. The air-conditioned vehicle can carry up to 10 people.

Maoists have often targeted police vehicles with mines planted deep inside highways and jungle tracks, which normal minesweepers fail to detect. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Bengal have been impacted by Maoist attacks.
Though M&M officials have targeted the army as the principle buyer of the vehicle, the company will also chase possible orders from paramilitary forces as well as limited orders from state police forces, especially specialized anti-Maoist squads such as Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhound.

“We are also looking at bringing in a battle tank for the army through our joint venture with BAE but bringing in restricted technology will be possible if we are able to offer them a 49 per cent stake in the venture,” M&M sources said.

At present, FDI rules allow foreign investors a 26 per cent stake in Indian defence. The M&M-BAE venture is complying with the norm.

However, the commerce ministry has put forward a proposal to increase FDI in defence to 74 per cent, a move which domestic firms such as the Mahindras, L&T and the Tatas have opposed.

They maintain that a 49 per cent stake will suffice to attract top firms in defence business and join Indian partners.

M&M has entered the lucrative defence automotive sector with Defence Land Systems Ltd — the joint venture with BAE — and the manufacturing of bullet-proof and customised vehicles. Among others, it makes the Rakshak, a bullet-proof Scorpio, and Marksman, a customised war vehicle.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Senate's Document about the claims recently made against the cancellation of F-22A:

Assertion: F-22 maintenance man-hours per flying hour have increased, recently requiring more than 30 hours of maintenance for every hour airborne.

Facts: The F-22 is required to achieve 12.0 direct maintenance man-hours per flight hour (DMMH/FH) at system maturity, which is defined to be when the F-22 fleet has accumulated 100,000 flight hours. In 2008 the F-22 achieved 18.1 DMMH/FH which then improved to 10.5 DMMH/FH in 2009. It?s important to recognize this metric is to be met at system maturity, which is projected to occur in late 2010. So the F-22 is better than the requirement well before maturity.

Assertion: The airplane is proving very expensive to operate with a cost per flying hour far higher than for the warplane it replaces, the F-15.

Facts: USAF data shows that in 2008 the F-22 costs $44K per flying hour and the F-15 costs $30K per flying hour. But it is important to recognize the F-22 flight hour costs include base standup and other one-time costs associated with deploying a new weapon system. The F-15 is mature and does not have these same non-recurring costs. A more valid comparison is variable cost per flying hour, which for the F-22 in 2008 was $19K while for the F-15 was $17K.

Assertion: The aircraft's radar-absorbing metallic skin is the principal cause of its maintenance troubles, with unexpected shortcomings.

Fact: Stealth is a breakthrough system capability and it requires regular maintenance, just like electronics or hydraulics. The skin of the F-22 is a part of the stealth capability and it requires routine maintenance. About one-third of the F-22?s current maintenance activity is associated with the stealth system, including the skin. It is important to recognize the F-22 currently meets or exceeds its maintenance requirements, and the operational capability of the F-22 is outstanding, in part due to its stealth system.

Assertion: The F-22 is vulnerable to rain and other elements due to its stealthy skin.

Facts: The F-22 is an all-weather fighter and rain is not an issue. The F-22 is currently based and operating in the harshest climates in the world ranging from the desert in Nevada and California, to extreme cold in Alaska, and rain/humidity in Florida, Okinawa and Guam. In all of these environments the F-22 has performed extremely well.

Assertion: The F-22 can only fly an average of 1.7 hours before it gets a critical failure that jeopardizes success of the aircraft's mission.

Facts: Reliability is measured by Mean Time Between Maintenance (MTBM). One of the F-22 Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) is to have an MTBM of 3.0 hours at system maturity, which is defined to be when the F-22 fleet has accumulated 100,000 flight hours. Through 2008, F-22s averaged 2.0 hours MTBM while the fleet has accumulated 50,000 flight hours. The F-22 is on-track to meet or exceed 3.0 hours of MTBM at system maturity, projected to occur in late 2010, and the latest delivered F-22s, known as Lot 6 jets, are exhibiting an MTBM of 3.2 hours.

Assertion: The plane's million-dollar radar-absorbing canopy delaminates and loses its strength and finish.

Facts: The F-22 canopy balances multiple requirements: mechanical strength, environmental resistance, optical clarity and other requirements. Initial designs for the canopy did not achieve the full life expectancy of 800 hours. The canopy has been
redesigned and currently two companies are producing qualified canopy transparencies that meet full service life durability of 800 hours.

Assertion: The F-22 has significant structural design problems that forced expensive retrofits to the airframe.

Facts: The F-22 had a series of structural models that were tested throughout its development in a building block manner. Lockheed Martin completed static and fatigue testing in 2005 on two early production representative airframes. The results of those tests required upgrades to the airframe in a few highly stressed locations. Follow up component level testing was completed and structural redesigns were verified and implemented into the production line. For aircraft that were delivered

prior to design change implementation, structural retrofit repairs are being implemented by a funded program called the F-22 Structural Retrofit Program. Structural reinforcements are common during the life of all fighters and have occurred, or are
occurring, on the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18.

Assertion: The F-22 costs $350M per aircraft.

Facts: The F-22s currently being delivered have a flyaway cost of $142.6M each, which is the cost to build and deliver each aircraft. This number does not include the costs for research and development (that were incurred since 1991), military construction to house the aircraft, or operations and maintenance costs.

Assertion: F-22 production uses a shim line and national spreading of suppliers has cut quality, thus the F-22 lacks interchangeable parts.

Fact: The F-22 does not have a shim line. During the earliest stages of production while tooling was undergoing development, there were a few aircraft with slight differences which were subsequently modified. The F-22 supplier base is the best in the industry, as demonstrated by the aircraft?s high quality and operational performance. All operational F-22s today have interchangeable parts.

Assertion: The F-22 has never been flown over Iraq or Afghanistan.

Facts: The F-22 was declared operational in 2005, after air dominance was achieved in South West Asian Theater of conflict. Due to the absence of air-to-air or surface-to-air threats in these two theaters, stealthy air dominance assets were not an imperative. 4th generation fighters operate safely and effectively supporting the ground war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The best weapon may be the one that isn?t used but instead deters a conflict before it begins. Just as we have Trident submarines with nuclear weapons, and intercontinental ballistic missiles that were not used in the current conflicts, we need air superiority capabilities that provide deterrence. The F-22 provides those capabilities for today?s contingencies as well as for future conflict. It is important to remember that the F-15 was operational for 15 years before it was first used in combat by the USAF."

India asks US to remove ISRO, DRDO from banned list

India has "very firmly" asked the US to ease export controls and remove top Indian agencies like the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from the banned list.

"We have taken up export controls very firmly" commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma. told reporters on Wednesday at the end of a three day visit asserting there was no justification for such controls "after elevating our relationship to a strategic partnership" and the signing of the India-US civil nuclear deal.

Noting that DAE, ISRO and other institutions involved in high end research were actively involved in partnership or in coordination with US agencies, he said: "India cannot be bracketed with other countries."

"Our entities, particularly the government research organisations like ISRO and the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), must not remain on the list," Sharma said.

The US side had been "very receptive and reassuring", he said hoping that the issue would be sorted out soon.

Sharma said that in his separate meeting with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, he had also raised labour related non-tariff barriers, other market access issues and removal of India from the Special 301 watch list of countries engaged in practices impeding US exports.

He also raised issues relating to the Totalisation Agreement for avoiding double taxation of income with respect to social security taxes, H-1B visas for Indian skilled labour and Generalised System of Preferences.

"We are all working on various deliverables" for the forthcoming visit of US President Barack Obama to India, Sharma said.

To this end, he would be back in Washington in September for a meeting of the Trade Policy Forum for facilitating trade and investment flows between the two countries. He had also invited Kirk and US commerce secretary Gary Locke to Delhi to look at possible deliverables.

Asked about Kirk's call's to India to address "longstanding impediments" like investment caps, agricultural market access barriers, high tariffs and intellectual property rights, Sharma said he had conveyed that India was fully TRIPS compliant.

The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation.

"We are also party to multilateral agreements within WTO and GATTS (General Agreement on Tariffs And Trade)," he said. But tariffs was "a two way process. There are certain tariff and non-tariff barriers, which we feel are important to be raised" and he had done so.

Stressing that India is committed to a strong and equitable IPR regime and has put in place legislation and enforcement mechanisms to this effect, Sharma said that the issue of balance cannot be wished away.

India’s first Super Hercules airlifter dons IAF colours

The first of India’s six C-130J Super Hercules airlifters, considered the world’s most advanced transport aircraft, has emerged from the paint shop in Indian Air Force colours, roughly six months before its scheduled delivery.

Purchased from the U.S. in a $1 billion deal, the tactical transport “aircraft now enters flight test in preparation for delivery at the end of the year,” its manufacturer Lockheed Martin said releasing an image of the plane in IAF colours at its Marietta plant in Georgia

Lockheed last month released an image of India’s first three of six stretched-fuselage C-130J-30s in final assembly and said the first example would arrive in India next February.

The plane, it said would provide the Indian Army and Air Force “new special operations capabilities using the world’s most advanced airlifter.”

The programme for India includes six C-130Js, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spare parts, and ground support and test equipment, it said. Also included is India-unique operational equipment designed to increase Special Operations capabilities
Equipped with an infrared detection set (IDS), the aircraft for the first time will provide the IAF an ability to conduct precision low-level flying operations, airdrops and landings in blackout conditions.
To ensure 80 percent availability of the aircraft at any given time, Lockheed Martin has offered a long-term maintenance contract to the IAF on the lines of the ones it has with the U.S. Air Force and the air forces of Australia, Britain and Canada.

The C-130J primarily performs the tactical portion of an airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.

The flexible design of the Super Hercules enables it to be configured for many different missions, allowing for one aircraft to perform the role of many. Much of the special mission equipment added to the Super Hercules is removable, allowing the aircraft to quickly switch between roles.

The C-130J “Super” Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems.

The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. During more than 50 years of service, the family has participated in military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations.

The Hercules has also outlived several planned successor designs, most notably the Advanced Medium STOL Transport contestants.

The C-130J is the newest version of the Hercules and the only model still in production. Externally similar to the classic Hercules in general appearance, the J model sports considerably updated technology.

The aircraft can also be configured with the “enhanced cargo handling system”. The system consists of a computerised load masters station from where the user can remotely control the under floor winch and also configure the flip floor system to palletised roller or flat floor cargo handling.

The cargo compartment is approximately 41 feet long, 9 feet high, and 10 feet wide, and loading is from the rear of the fuselage. Initially developed for the USAF, this system enables rapid role changes to be carried out and so extends the C-130J’s time available to complete taskings.

These combined changes have improved performance over its C-130E/H siblings, such as 40 percent greater range, 21 percent higher maximum speed, and 41 percent shorter take-off distance.

Sukhoi deal cleared

The Cabinet Committee on Security earlier this month quietly cleared one of the biggest defence orders of recent times.

The almost Rs 15,000 crore order for an additional 42 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters would add up the total number of these modern Russian fighters for Indian Air Force to 272.

When the entire Sukhoi-30 MKIs, including the 42, are delivered to IAF by around 2018, it would become the single largest type of fighters in service, marking a huge technological transition from the dominance of MIG-21 fighters today.

A senior official said the CCS cleared the new order in the first week of June.

By the time HAL begins manufacture of the 42 aircraft sometime in 2014, each of them would cost in the range of Rs 350 crore, according to present day projections.

The new order for Sukhoi-30 MKIs comes even as attention is fully on the tender floated by the Air Force for $10 billion worth 126 MMRCA (medium multi role combat aircraft). But by the time the MMRCA enters the service, it would be the Sukhoi-30 MKI that would actually be the dominant fighter of the Air Force. And the combined contract value of SU-30 MKIs would be more than double that of the MMRCA.

The Su-30 MKI was originally contracted in 1996, when the Russian military-industrial complex was in a shambles after the Soviet Union collapsed. Its design and capabilities, however, continues to impress globally.

The initial contract was for 50 fighters, at $1.46 billion. Over the years, the numbers kept increasing. In 2000, the government contracted the licenced production of 140 of these highly advanced fighters by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Then another 40 were added to the contract.

The present order for 42 fighters was originally supposed to be 40, but two more were added to the order book to make up for the two crashed fighters. A senior official said that HAL is expected to complete all the SU-30 MKI orders by 2016-17 period.

HAL has been steadily stepping up its Sukhoi-30 MKI delivery schedules. While last year it delivered 23 of these fighters, this year it is expected to produce 28. HAL has already supplied 74 of these fighters.

Delivery of New F-16s to Pakistan Shows Deepening Relations

Three F-16s are scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on June 26, with 15 more to be delivered later this year and next, Air Force Maj. Todd Robbins, the Pakistan country director in the office of the undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs, said in an interview with American Forces Press Service.

“This is the most visible part of a strong and growing relationship between the two air forces that will benefit us both near-term and long-term,” Robbins said.

This sale of F-16s to Pakistan renews new aircraft sales that existed between the United States and Pakistan in the 1980s, but were halted in the 1990s. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and other U.S. military and civilian leaders have spoken out about “not repeating the mistakes” of the U.S. halt in relations with Pakistan in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In March, the United States and Pakistan held their first ministerial-level strategic dialogue here, co-chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. High-level officials from both governments participated in the dialogue, including Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gates said then that the talks included discussion of “how we can help Pakistan in dealing with the security challenges that face them, but also face us and NATO as well.”

The two countries held follow-up meetings in Pakistan in early June that focused on improving military-to-military relations and security cooperation, officials said.

Relations with Pakistan improved after Sept. 11, 2001, Robbins said, “and this is just one very tangible example of the currently strong and growing relationship between the U.S. Air Force and the Pakistan air force and, in the larger context, between the United States and Pakistan.”

The F-16 is a multirole jet fighter sold to 24 countries around the world, according to its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. The 18 being sold to Pakistan are the Block 52 versions of the aircraft, Robbins said, which will give Pakistan new capabilities, including day-night, all-weather and precision-attack capabilities.

“They’ve not had [these capabilities] before, so this is a major milestone in the U.S. providing this capability, which older models [of F-16s] don’t have,” he said. “This will enable them to strike terrorists within their borders while helping them to avoid collateral damage. It’s an increase in capabilities that are beneficial to us all.”

Pakistan is paying $1.4 billion for the 18 new aircraft, in addition to $1.3 billion in upgrades to its existing F-16 fleet, which are to begin being delivered in 2012, Robbins said.

The Air Force also is training Pakistan air force pilots. The first eight recently completed training with the Arizona National Guard in Tucson, with additional training done by Lockheed Martin, Robbins said. The Air Force also is training Pakistanis in night-attack training and recently completed training for four instructors and five flight leads, he said.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pakistan begins submarine procurement talks with China

China's vice-president, Zheng Dejiang, met with civil and military leaders in Pakistan in a visit surrounded by reports of a major new defence deal under discussion that would see Pakistan buying at least three Chinese submarines.

A senior Pakistani government official said the Pakistan Navy began discussions with "the Chinese authorities last month for an eventual submarine deal" for up to three or four boats, but declined to specify the types or terms under discussion.

China has a long history of helping Pakistan overcome shortages of key military hardware, notably the hardware it was denied by the Western world following sanctions imposed from 1990 in response to Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme.

The Pakistani government official said that it was vital for the navy to acquire more submarines to offset "the pressure we will definitely come under" due to the rapid expansion of India's naval capability. "Our Chinese brothers have always come to our help and we are asking them for assistance once again," he said.

Although neither China nor Pakistan have ever publicly revealed the terms of their past financial arrangements, defence analysts say that China continues to offer long-term loans to Pakistan on concessional terms, allowing the country to continue with its military hardware purchases.

Indian Army seeks short-range SAM

The Indian Army is planning to import a short-range surface-to-air-missile (SAM) system to replace its obsolete Soviet-vintage OSA-AK (SA-8 'Gecko') and Kub (SA-6 'Gainful') units to counter threats to cities and important installations from enemy aircraft and missiles.

In an international request for information (RfI) dispatched on 29 April, the army announced its requirement for a short-range SAM system with active and passive guidance and a 20 km strike range capability to hit multiple and hovering targets simultaneously moving at speeds between zero to 500 m per second.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Israel Launches Ofeq-9 Satellite

Israel delivered its latest spy satellite into low Earth orbit on June 22, using an improved version of its indigenous Shavit launcher, defence sources here said.

An official Ministry of Defence (MoD) notice of the launch, which took place about 10 p.m., was expected by midnight, once technicians ascertained that the satellite appeared to be functioning.

By June 25, officials said they should be able to validate the operational capability of the 300-kilogram Ofeq-9 satellite and its subsystems and begin receiving the first pictures from its high-resolution sensor. Ofeq-9 is a "twin brother" of the Shavit-launched Ofeq-7 and Ofeq-5, the former operational since June 2007 and the later since June 2002. A launch failure in September 2004 caused the loss of Israel's planned Ofeq-6 satellite. TecSAR, the country's synthetic aperture radar satellite launched from an Indian rocket in January 2008, now occupies the Ofeq-8 slot in the MoD lineup.

Ofeq-9 will operate in a constellation with the two other Ofeqs currently in orbit. While precise imaging capabilities remain classified, sources here say all three offer resolutions "much better than" a half-meter.

Israel Aerospace Industries is prime contractor for the Ofeq satellites and the Shavit launcher, while Elbit Systems' Elop produces the satellite's high-resolution imaging camera

Taiwan Deploys Sky Bow Strike Missile

Taiwan deployed a surface-to-surface version of its Sky Bow 2 air defence missile on Dongyin, an outlying island near mainland China. Taiwan has held several islands near the mainland since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Taipei has a Sky Bow (Tien Kung) missile battery on the island outfitted with Sky Bow IIB surface-to-surface missiles. These missiles have a range of 600 kilometres, enabling them to strike targets as far away as Shanghai. Now, Taiwanese legislators are considering withdrawing troops from Dongyin in an effort to improve relations with China. Taipei could withdraw these missiles to convince China to remove its own ballistic missile force within striking range of Taiwan.

In addition to the missiles, Taiwan maintains a military force of more than 3,000 servicemen on Dongyin. Taiwan also has land-based anti-ship missiles with a range of 150 kilometres deployed on the island.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

US Navy seeks information for LCS missile system

The US Navy (USN) is planning to replace the Non-Line of Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) for the final Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) design.

Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Naval Surface Warfare Center issued a notice on 26 May for a new missile for the LCS’s anti-surface warfare (ASuW) module.

The issuance does not bode well for the joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Cost overruns and test failures prompted the US Army to leave the NLOS effort with the navy. The navy is also conducting a review of its precession strike portfolio to include the N-LOS programme. The results of a similar army review resulted in the NLOS cancellation.

Article Source: Jane's Defence

Indian carrier's deck systems tested with MiG-29K prototype

A non-flying MiG-29K naval strike fighter prototype is being used to test aircraft handling systems in the former Soviet aircraft carrier being refitted for the Indian Navy at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, northern Russia.

Sevmash announced on 9 June that the MiG-29K was brought on board Vikramaditya (ex-Admiral Gorshkov ) to trial flight-deck hardware, in particular the restraints that are designed to hold an aircraft in place until its engines generate sufficient thrust for take-off.

The yard's head of production for military-technical co-operation, Sergey Novoselov, said that successful testing of the restraints was a condition for the next contractual payment for the carrier refit.

Article Source:Jane's defence

Indian Army and navy plan to set up a marine brigade

The navy and army have sent a proposal to the government seeking permission to transport a 5,000-strong armed infantry and special forces troops, tanks and weapons - an independent brigade group (IBG) - on foreign shores for active operations. This capability has both been controversial and strategically provocative.

It has been learnt that after years of consultations, the army and navy have finally started seeing eye to eye on the modalities required to incrementally build up the capability to deliver a full brigade- strength contingent of troops - including two special forces units - with arms, ammunition, vehicles and weapons outside the Indian mainland.

"The need to move forces is in keeping with the expanded security focus on India's island territories and the ability to deliver forces expeditiously for humanitarian relief operations," navy spokesperson Commander PVS Satish said. While the financial implications of such a capability are being worked out, they will involve integrated expenditure on larger amphibious assault vessels, equipment and joint training.

The army has an IBG, the 340 Independent Infantry Brigade under Jodhpur- based 12 Corps, for amphibious assault operations. It re-raised the 91 Infantry Brigade early last year for amphibious warfare.

But the navy currently only has the capacity to transport a little less than two battalions on expeditionary missions. The move now is to crank up that capacity more than twice over for a full IBG. Former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash said it was absolutely essential that the navy built up the capacity to transport a brigade- sized group across the seas. "We have 1,200 island territories. We have energy investments worth thousands of crores far from our shores. We have huge diaspora in the Middle East. If there was a Kargil-like situation on any of our island territories, we would need adequate boots on the ground for combat. There are also other liabilities such as piracy and potential hostage situations. The most recent was the army's expression of interest in procuring up to 4,000 amphibious assault rifles for the infantry.

Monday, June 21, 2010

USAF Rejects DoD Cost Estimates for F-35 Negotiations

The Air Force is rejecting the Pentagon estimate of $92 million per copy for the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. (Lockheed Martin)

"There is no vectoring by the [F-35] negotiating team" based on estimates by the Pentagon's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office released this month predicting that the overall costs of the airplanes could reach as high as $92 million each, David Van Buren, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said during a briefing. "We're focused on the instant contract proposal at hand."

The Pentagon's top weapon buyer, Ashton Carter, "holds us accountable not to accept a will cost [estimate] but to drive for the lowest cost across the board," added Van Buren.
This means that Air Force negotiators are pushing aggressively for what "we believe is the appropriate cost" for the jets, Van Buren said. He did not elaborate on those numbers.

Lockheed Martin has said for months that the Pentagon's initial offer for the latest batch of 32 low-rate initial production F-35s, known as LRIP-4, was 40 percent below the CAPE's December 2009 cost estimate for the program, which at the time pegged the costs at roughly $76 million per plane in 2010 dollars.

Officials from the Bethesda, Md.-based firm first said in April that the final contract for LRIP 4 will be signed at more than 20 percent below the December 2009 CAPE estimates.

On June 17, Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president of F-35 business development, reiterated the company's stance that its LRIP 4 jets will be priced more than 20 percent below those estimates, noting that the price of its LRIP 3 lot of jets also came in at a price 20 percent below the Pentagon's 2009 predictions.

Article Source: DefenceNews

Russia Offer Development of Advanced RADARS to India

As the race in the Indian Air Force's $10-billion tender for 126 combat jets reached the crucial stage of flight trials, Russia, on top of a full technology transfer, is offering India help in building its own advanced radar. This would put India in the elite league of manufacturers of some of the most sophisticated defence equipment.

"We are ready to develop a new advanced radar jointly with India," said Vyacheslav Tishchenko, head of the Phazotron-NIIR Corporation. The company has built Russia's first Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Zhuk-ME, for the MiG-35 fighter, the Russian contender in the IAF tender for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). Two planes will go to India next month for flight evaluation trials.

Also in the fray are the U.S. F-16 and F-18, the French Dassault's Rafale, the Swedish Saab Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Transfer of technology is a prime requirement in the MMRCA tender, but as far as the radar is concerned, Russia alone seems prepared to meet the demand in full. "Out of six-seven countries in the world that have the know-how to build radars for combat jets, only two — Russia and the U.S. — domestically produce the full range of radar components," Phazotron's chief designer Yuri Guskov said.

Raytheon, the U.S. company that manufactures radars for the F-18 fighter, has already said it would only transfer "limited" technology "up to the level the U.S. government allows us." This means America's European competitors in the MMRCA tender will also face restrictions on the transfer of technologies sourced from U.S. companies. Russia is the only bidder which does not depend on the U.S. for any aircraft technologies, including the radar. 

Article Source: INDIADEFENCE

Deadly new Russian weapon hides in shipping container

A new cruise-missile system being marketed by a Russian firm is attracting attention as a weapon that, according to its own promotional video, could transform ordinary civilian freight vehicles into long-range missile launchers.

Russian Company offering the "Club K" cruise missile system hasn't sold any units, but their prototypes sure work well. Barabanov said the Club-K used proven missiles from Novator, an established Russian maker of weponry including anti-submarine, surface-to-air and sumbamarine-launched missiles, The prototypes being mobile units, which generally have S 300 or PMU-2 missiles on them, and these types of missile tubes can be mounted on Russian Made mobile platforms similar to those which have been sold to nations like Iran and others. The cruise missiles mounted on first stage rockets are launched and then the wings fold or pop out as the missile makes its way to the target.

These missiles could have any number of warheads such as nuclear, anti-ship, anti-personnel, or other type munitions. Recently, a video rendering of such a weapon system mounted inside cloaked as a cargo container hit the Internet, an excellent animation with some brilliant thinking that went into it. The estimated price for one cargo container with four missile tubes $25-40 million dollars. Apparently, the Russian company wants to sell this to Asian nations as part of their arsenal. Unfortunately, this causes a real challenge to world trade. If you cannot trust the freight or cargo containers you cannot trust cargo ships, trans-national trucking, or rail, and we already know it's next to impossible to check all the cargo containers.

Potential customers for the formidable Club-K system include Kremlin allies Iran and Venezula, says defense experts. They worry that countries could pass on the satellite-guided missiles, which are very hard to detect, to terrorist groups.

Article Source: