Saturday, July 31, 2010

Canadian Air Force intercepts Russian bombers over Atlantic

Canadian Air Force fighters intercepted two Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic Ocean, CBC television reported, citing Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay.

Canadian F-18 pilots took to the air from the Bagotville Air Force Base in Quebec after identifying two Russsian Tu-95 Bears in the country's buffer zone on Wednesday. The Russian aircraft were 450 kilometers off the coast of Labrador.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans in August 2007, following an order from then-President Vladimir Putin.

The patrols are regularly performed by Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, and by Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers.

All flights by Russian aircraft are performed in strict compliance with international law on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without intruding the airspace of other states.

Russia's defense spending to rise by 60% by 2013

Russian defense spending will increase by 60 percent, to more than 2 trillion rubles ($66.3 million) by 2013 from 1.264 trillion ($42 million) in 2010, a leading Russian business daily said on Friday.

The Russian government made the relevant decision during a meeting on Thursday. The largest growth is planned for 2013, when the figure will rise by 0.5 trillion rubles ($16.6 million), Vedomosti reported.

Konstantin Makiyenko from the Russian Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) told the paper that the government is likely to spend more on the Navy, as well as the aviation and space industries.

The construction of advanced submarines, including Yasen and Borei class subs, and Bulava ballistic missiles, as well as the construction of three new Talwar class frigates, three Improved Kilo class subs and other vessels for the Russian Black Sea Fleet are likely to require the largest part of the planned spending, Makiyenko said.

The budged allocation should also consider spending on the construction of the first two Mistral class amphibious assault ships under a Russian-French deal, a Russian military plant manager told Vedomosti. This may account to about $0.5 billion, he estimated.

Russia is currently in talks with France on the purchase of two Mistral class helicopter carriers and the construction of two others under a French license.

Besides this, Russia is planning to spend 80 billion rubles ($2.65 billion) on 60 Su-family fighter jets starting 2010, and buy 26 MiG-29K Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets, with the expected contract estimated at about 25 billion rubles (more than $828 million), a military aircraft plant manager told the paper. The plans also include the purchase of 32 Su-34 Flanker fighter bombers under the 2008 contract (a single plane then cost more than 1.1 billion rubles ($36.4 million), he said.

Northrop Grumman Corporation lifted two generators weighing over 195,000 pounds each into the aft section of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), currently under construction at the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va., yesterday.

The diesel generators supply backup power throughout the ship in the event that power is lost.

"Landing these diesel generators is a significant event for us and is just one example of the many major components the yard is receiving and installing in the ship," said Mike Shawcross, vice president of Newport News' Aircraft Carrier Construction program. "Ford is now about 11 percent complete. We continue to be committed to executing each phase of construction with a focus on first-time quality. We're excited with our progress and construction of the ship."

Named after the 38th president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), whose keel was laid Nov. 14, 2009, is the first ship of the new Gerald R. Ford class. The Ford class will continue the legacy of highly capable U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ship platforms.

Enhancements incorporated into the design include flight deck changes, improved weapons handling systems and a redesigned island, all resulting in increased aircraft sortie generation rates. It will also include new nuclear power plants; increased electrical power generation capacity; allowance for future technologies; and reduced workload for the sailors, translating to a smaller crew size and reduced operating costs for the Navy.

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.

ICBM Test Launches Showcase Global Strike Capabilities

Two Global Strike Command missile crews launched Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test vehicles June 16 and 30, respectively, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Missile maintenance and operational task forces from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and Malmstrom AFB, Mont., combined with the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg AFB to launch the missiles.

The launches give the crews a unique training opportunity to turn the launch keys that send an actual missile rocketing into the sky, said Capt. Isaac Earnhart, the 341st Operations Support Squadron missile combat crew commander..

The process is careful and deliberate, officials said.

"You don't get a second chance with an ICBM test launch," said Mr. Richard Serrano, the 576th FLTS instrumentation laboratory team chief. "You have to do it right the first time."

A successful launch is also a moment of pride for the missile maintenance team, said Tech. Sgt. Robert Houck, the 341st MMXS missile handling team chief.

"It shows what we work on is still a vital weapons system," he said. "There's a certain pride in ownership in knowing they put it together and watched it take off."

"Every flight test provides valuable experience to the crews and an evaluation of the missile's accuracy and reliability in its intended operational environment," said Col. Carl DeKemper, the 576th FLTS commander. "These launches are part of a continuous self-assessment of our proficiency."

The final launch sequence begins years earlier, as pre-determined criteria are used to carefully select a missile from the field and then transport it hundreds of miles to Vandenberg AFB for processing by the 576 FLTS, said Capt. Douglas Carmean, the 576 FLTS chief of ICBM test operations.

"The process requires deposturing a missile on alert after months of detailed monitoring and shipping the 60,000-lb. missile nearly half the length of the country," said Capt. Earnhart, Malmstrom AFB's missile combat crew commander.

Once it has been transported, all missile components are individually inspected, test equipment is installed and all components are reunited at the launch facility to once again take the shape of a flight-ready missile, said 1st Lt. Jared Hostetler, the 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron mechanical flight commander.

Teams from the operational missile bases come to Vandenberg and assemble the missile as they would at their home bases, he said. The test launches validate maintenance technicians' skills from the operational wings, he said.

Prior to the launch, members of the missile crew are certified by undertaking intensive simulated test launches, Mr. Serrano said.

Launch day is like the Super Bowl to the missile community -- a rare opportunity to see the pay-off all of the preparation, Captain Earnhart said.

Another Minuteman III launch is scheduled from Vandenberg Sept. 15, by a missile task force from the 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Czech Republic Ready to Host U.S. Missile Warning Center

The Czech Republic is prepared to host a missile warning center funded by the United States and incorporated into a NATO missile defense system, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said Friday.

"There is a plan to grant two million dollars in 2011-12 for the creation of a central shared early warning system, in the budget debate in the two houses of (U.S.) Congress," he said during a press briefing in Prague.

Necas said at issue was a "technical-administrative" center aimed at "detecting the launch of missiles against the territory of the Atlantic alliance."

"Right now, it is a bilateral issue, but it is assumed that this system will be part of NATO's missile defense," the head of the Czech government said.

Necas said it is likely that the centre could be located "in Prague or surrounding areas", but that "details will be negotiated later."

A team of Czech experts at the centre would check data coming from different satellites, Necas said.

Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra told the Czech CTK news agency the system would be passive without any capacity for missile launch.

In Bratislava, Slovakia's Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said Friday that his country was also ready to participate in the project.

"If this project ... in which the Czech Republic should be included, leads to greater security, we will say 'yes' unequivocally," he said during a news conference.

In September 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama scrapped a missile shield project, which had been pushed by his predecessor George W. Bush and would have seen a powerful radar installed in the Czech Republic and 10 long-range ballistic interceptor missiles in Poland by 2013.

Surveys showed some 70 percent of Czechs had disapproved of the plan.

The shield plan had enraged Russia, which called it a security menace on its doorstep, although Washington insisted the aim was to ward off a potential long-range missile threat from Iran.

"No to bases", an alliance that had protested the original missile shield, on Friday in Prague said it was also opposed to the new project.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Russia denies selling S-300 missiles to Azerbaijan

There is no truth to reports that Russia has agreed to deliver S-300 air defense systems to Azerbaijan, Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Thursday.

"There is no contract between Russia and Azerbaijan on the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to this country," a Rosoboronexport spokesman said.

Russian business daily Vedomosti said earlier on Thursday that Rosoboronexport signed an agreement with the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry on the delivery of two S-300PMU-2 Favorit (SA-20b Gargoyle b) battalions last year, citing a top manager at a company producing S-300 components.

Rosoboronexport official Vyacheslav Davydenko denied the report, while a spokesman for Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said he had no information on any sale.

Vedomosti said the contract was worth $300 million, which would have made it the biggest single purchase of weapons by an ex-Soviet state. Russia has previously sold S-300 missiles to Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Outside the post-Soviet space, Russia has delivered S-300 air defense systems to Algeria and China. In December 2005, Russia signed a contract on the delivery of at least five S-300 systems to Iran, but delivery has so far been delayed. In June, Russia said it would freeze the delivery due to a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1, has a range of over 150 kilometers (over 100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes, making it effective in warding off air strikes.

Boeing remains in talks with South Africa on potential C-17 deal

The Boeing Company remains in talks with South Africa regarding the potential sale of its C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft in the light of the government's cancellation of its A400M order in November 2009.

Paul Oliver, vice-president, Middle East and Africa, international business development, at Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), said: "We have had discussions, and South Africa is looking at its requirements."

The talks are "very much in the early phase", said Oliver. "We're telling them about the product."

The South African government decided on 4 November to withdraw from the A400M military transport aircraft programme due to delays and spiralling acquisition costs and in February, the US government proposed that the South African Air Force (SAAF) consider the C-17 and the Lockheed Martin C-130J super Hercules, as well as the Alenia C-27J Spartan aircraft.

In addition to a potential deal in South Africa, Boeing has indicated that it is maintaining a dialogue with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) with a view to offering additional C-17s should the UK opt to scale back its involvement in the A400M programme.

Flaws in New S. Korean Troop Vehicle

A South Korean soldier died when an K21 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) sank during a simulated river-crossing exercise July 29. Army officials said the accident apparently revealed flaws in the design of the 25-ton K21 IFV, which was jointly developed by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development and Doosan DST.

It was the second time that the K21 had been sunk since the vehicle entered service last November after 10 years of development.

A month after the first deployment of K21s, one of them was sunk during a river-crossing training exercise south of Seoul.

Water flowed into the air intake hose of the vehicle's engine, said investigators, who speculated the air induction nozzle might have been attached too low.

The latest incident occurred around 1:50 p.m. when a Doosan technician was teaching Sgt.1st Class Kim - no first name was provided - and another solider to operate the vehicle at a training range about 320 kilometers southwest of Seoul, according to the Army.

The soldiers and the technician were inside the K21 when it fell into a reservoir. The Doosan official and the enlisted soldier escaped. Rescue workers salvaged the vehicle three hours later and found the NCO dead inside it.

"We'll thoroughly look into the cause of the incident in cooperation with Doosan DST," an Army spokesman said. "If there are problems with the vehicle's design, we'll hold the company accountable."

A Doosan official said, "We don't want to jump to conclusions in a hasty manner. We'll investigate the cause of the accident in a careful and measured way."

The K21 has often been referred to as the country's key export item in coming years, thanks to its high performance and price competitiveness.

Doosan DST and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration say the vehicle offers better firepower, mobility and survivability than the U.S. Army's M2A3 and Russia's BMP-3. The $3.4 million vehicle is cheaper than the U.S.-built Bradley and German Puma IFV with full options, whose per-unit prices are estimated between $4 million and $4.5 million, according to the company.

The K21 IFV has a 750-horsepower turbo-diesel engine and 40mm auto cannon designed to shoot down slow-moving helicopters and aircraft. It has digital communication, GPS receivers and intervehicle digital links.

The vehicle can travel as fast as 70 kilometers per hour on paved roads and cross rivers at 7.8 kph with the help of the Water Jet Propulsion System, according to an Army release.

The South Korean Army plans to acquire about 450 K21s over the next decade.

Dutch Troops To Leave Afghanistan

The Dutch troop deployment in Afghanistan, often held up as a model for other peace missions, ends after four years on Aug. 1 amid concerns about the void it will leave.

"We offer the majority of the population relatively safe living conditions and advancements in health care, education and trade," chief of defense Gen. Peter van Uhm, said of his troops' legacy in the southern Uruzgan province.

"We have achieved tangible results that the Netherlands can be proud of," he told a news conference July 28.

But the Taliban welcomed the Dutch withdrawal and urged other countries with troops in Afghanistan to follow suit.

"We want to wholeheartedly congratulate the citizens and government of the Netherlands for having the courage to take this independent decision," Qari Yusuf Ahmadii, described as the Taliban's spokesman for west and south Afghanistan, told the Dutch daily Volkskrant in an interview published July 29.

"We do not wish to negotiate with anybody about peace as long as foreign soldiers are in Afghanistan and our country is occupied."

Around 1,950 Dutch troops are deployed in Afghanistan, mainly in Uruzgan where opium production is high and the Taliban very active, under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

NATO had asked the Netherlands to extend the mission, which started in 2006 and has cost the lives of 24 soldiers, by a year to August 2011.

This sparked a political row that led to government collapsing in February and the end of the Dutch deployment.

The Dutch mission is known for its "3 D" approach of defense, development and diplomacy.

Since the start of its lead role in Uruzgan at a cost of some 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the Dutch state, the number of NGOs doing development work in the province has risen from six to 50, according to a Dutch embassy document.

It states that 50,000 children are attending school in Uruzgan, four times as many as in 2002. A million fruit trees have been distributed to farmers to provide an alternative livelihood to poppy cultivation.

The Dutch are also helping to build a road between the province's two most populated towns, Chora and Tarin Kowt, in a bid to boost trade.

And it has trained 3,000 Afghan soldiers, who "are now able to independently carry out operations," according to Van Uhm.

"The work is not done," Rob de Wijk, director of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, a policy think tank, told AFP. "One does not leave as one starts registering success."

Jan Kleian, president of the ACOM military union, said he had spoken to several soldiers on the ground, "and they are not happy to leave".

"They want to finish what they started; the mission is not completed," he said.

Added Wim van den Berg, president of the AFMP soldiers' federation: "This mission cannot be completed in just a few years. It takes 20 or 30 years to bring security to such a war-torn country."

As from Aug. 1, Dutch troops will be replaced by American, Australian, Slovak and Singaporian soldiers.

The Dutch mission has been described by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as "the benchmark for others", and by U.S. President Obama as "one of the most outstanding" in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has thanked the Netherlands "for the work that Dutch soldiers and development workers have done, and are still doing, in building the country".

A ministry spokeswoman says all Dutch ISAF troops will be back home by September while the hardware, including four F-16 fighter jets, will be repatriated by year-end.

Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers set new flight duration record

Two Russian Tu-95MS Bear-H strategic bombers have carried out a record-breaking 40-hour patrol over three oceans, an Air Force spokesman said.

"The Tu-95MS bombers carried out patrols over the Arctic, the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans and set a new flight duration record of about 40 hours, exceeding the previous record by four hours," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said at a news briefing on Thursday.

The crews practiced instrumental flight and carried out four in-flight refuelings from Il-78 aerial tankers, the official said.
Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans in August 2007, following an order from then-President Vladimir Putin.

The patrols are regularly performed by Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, and by Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers.

All flights by Russian aircraft are performed in strict compliance with international law on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without intruding the airspace of other states.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Russia has agreed to deliver S-300 air defense systems to Azerbaijan

Russia has agreed to deliver S-300 air defense systems to Azerbaijan, leading Russian business daily Vedomosti said on Thursday.

Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport signed an agreement with the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry on the supply of two S-300PMU-2 Favorit (SA-20b Gargoyle b) batallions last year, a top manager of a company producing S-300 components told Vedomosti.

The contract is already being implemented and is expected to be fulfilled within a year or two, he said.
A Rosoboronexport official has refused to comment on the report, and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's spokesman, Azer Kasymov, said he has no information on the issue, the paper said.

The deal, worth at least $300 million, is the most expensive single purchase of weapons by a former Soviet state, excluding Russia, Mikhail Barabanov, the editor-in-chief of the English-language Moscow Defense Brief magazine, told Vedomosti. Russia has also sold S-300 missiles to Belarus and Kazakhstan, but these deals were much cheaper.

Outside the post-Soviet area, Russia has also delivered S-300 air defense systems to Algeria and China. In December 2005, Moscow signed a contract on supplying Iran with at least five S-300 systems, but the contract's implementation has so far been delayed.

Until the 1990s, Azerbaijan had had one of the most advanced air defense systems in the Soviet area, Vedomosti said.

However, these systems have since become obsolete.

A Russian Defense Ministry officer said the purchase of S-300 missiles would unlikely change the balance in relations between Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia, which have been at odds for almost two decades over the breakaway region of Nagorny Karabakh. None of the countries has modern fighter jets, cruise or ballistic missiles which S-300 air defense systems are designed to intercept.

The officer told the paper Azerbaijan was rather trying to assure its security in case of aggression from Iran.

Azerbaijan has been actively modernizing its military sphere, including the purchase of weapons from Ukraine, Belarus, Israel and South Africa, the head of the Russian Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), Ruslan Pukhov, told Vedomosti. If Moscow did not supply modern air defense systems to its former Soviet neighbor, then either South Africa or Israel would have done it, he said.

India and UK to conduct Submarine Exercise

Indian and UK submarines, INS Shishumar and HMS Talent (Trafalgar class) submarine respectively, will conducted a 2 day exercise from 28th July to 30th July 2010 off the West coast of India.

‘KONKAN 2010’ the annual IN-RN bilateral exercise is already being conducted at Mumbai from 26th July 2010. Konkan 2010 is the seventh edition of the ‘KONKAN’ series of exercises. 2010 edition of KONKAN is being conducted as a ‘Table-Top’ exercise at the tactical simulator located at Maritime Warfare Centre, Mumbai. A ‘Table-Top’ exercise is an exercise without actual participation of ships, but with participation of Planning Staff of both countries. The aim of this exercise is to exchange operational Planning concepts ; Maritime Domain Awareness procedures and to test these plans through simulations of a maritime scenario at sea. Experiences from this Table Top game will be utilised to refine concepts for future KONKAN series of exercises involving ships, submarines and aircraft.

The nine-member Royal Navy team is headed by Commodore James Morse, the COMUKTG (Commander United Kingdom Task Group) and the Indian Team of eleven officers is headed by Captain MA Hampiholi, Commanding Officer INS Talwar.

India to Boost Indigenous Manufacturing Capacity

India's Government on Tuesday said it was formulating a Defence Production Policy to enhance indigenous capabilities in manufacturing systems and equipment for armed forces.

"Government is in the process of formulating a Defence Production Policy to enhance indigenous capabilities to manufacture our requirement for defence equipment," Defence Minister A K Antony said in reply to a Lok Sabha query.

He said under the policy, both private and public sector would be involved to manufacture indigenous defence equipment.

The minister said that 144 Industrial Licenses and Letter of Intents have been issued to Indian companies for the manufacture of various defence equipments.

The Defence minister said the modernisation programme of the Ordnance Factory board and the defence public sector undertakings was also being undertaken to improve their performance and efficiency.

On a query on P Rama Rao committee recommendations to review DRDO's functioning, the minister said it has recommended selection of an Industry partner (private or public) through a transparent process and its early involvement in development of products to avoid delays and maintaining secrecy.

South Korea Orders 6 More U-214 AIP Submarines

The German Type 214 was selected by Korea over the French/Spanish Scorpene Class that has been ordered by Chile, India, and Malaysia. Some would argue that U-214s are the most advanced diesel-electric submarines on the market, with an increased diving depth of over 400 meters, an optimized hull and propeller design, ultra-modern internal systems, and an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that lets the diesel submarine stay submerged for long periods without needing to surface and snorkel air.

South Korea ordered its first 3 KSS-II/ Type 214 boats in 2000, which were assembled by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The Batch 2 order will add 6 more of the 65m, 1,700t boats, effectively doubling the ROKN’s number of modern submarines. The latest development is a $16 million order for Saab electronic systems for the 2nd batch of 214 submarines

India May Blacklist 4 Foreign Firms, 2 Local Firms

Four overseas defense companies face blacklisting in India if the Defence Ministry accepts the latest recommendations of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's federal anti-fraud agency.

The CBI recommended that Singapore Technologies Kinetics, Singapore; Israel Military Industries (IMI); Rheinmetall Air Defence, Zurich; and Russia's Corporation Defence be blacklisted.

n a July 28 news release, the Defence Ministry said the recommendations were based on CBI's investigation of a First Information Report (FIR) filed against the former head of India's Ordnance Factory Board, Sudipto Ghosh, who was arrested on corruption charges last year.

The four companies allegedly paid bribes to Ghosh, but the CBI has not released any details of their involvement in the corruption case.

"Further action in the matter will be taken after obtaining the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Ministry of Law," the ministry stated in the release, based on Defence Minister A.K. Antony's same-day written statement to the parliament's upper house. "Nexus, if any, between Indian and foreign companies does not appear to have been investigated by CBI in this case."

The blacklisting of Singapore Technologies would affect the pace of the procurement of the Indian Army's 155mm towed artillery gun program, in which the company is competing.

IMI had won the contract for building India's 40th factory under the Ordnance Factory Board at Nalanda in Bihar.

The Nalanda factory, which will make ammunition for the howitzers, will cost about $225 million. The Ordnance Factory Board, in collaboration with IMI, also is producing carbines with interchangeable barrels of 9mm and 5.56mm.

The CBI also recommended blacklisting two Indian defense companies - T.S. Kisan, based here, and R.K. Machine Tools, Ludhiana, for alleged bribes to Ghosh.

India Chooses U.S.-Built Javelin Anti-Tank Missile

The Indian Army has decided to buy the Javelin anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), Defence Ministry sources here said.

The decision comes within a month of media reports that Pakistan had included the Javelin on its wish list of U.S. weapons it wants to purchase. Senior Indian Defence Ministry officials had favored buying Israeli-made Spike ATGMs until those reports.

India's Javelin-purchase decision is final, ministry sources said. The missile's sale to India was approved in the U.S. last week, but the amount and cost are not yet known.

The fire-and-forget Javelin weapon system is produced by a joint venture of U.S. companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. The anti-armor weapon also has a direct-attack mode for use against buildings or fortifications.

The Indian Army began considering acquiring the Javelin after it rejected the Spike during trials in 2008.

The Army's tests of the Javelin in land exercises last year were satisfactory, a service official said.

The Javelin purchase would be in addition to the Indian Nag ATGM, which already has been ordered. The Army's current ATGM arsenal includes old Milan and Konkours missiles.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Israel and the US Sign Deal to Develop Arrow 3 Anti-Missile Defense System

Israel's Ministry of Defense and the United States Department of Defense signed a deal on Sunday evening (July 25) to develop the Arrow 3 anti-missile system, integrating Israel's anti-missile systems. The Arrow 3 will make it possible for Israel to intercept long-range ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction from outside the atmosphere.

The agreement was signed by Brig. Gen. Ofir Shoham, head of the Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT), and by Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, head of the US Missile Defense Agency.

The new interceptor will complete Israel's anti-missile multilayered capacity, which includes the Iron Dome, the David’s Sling, and the Arrow. The Iron Dome is a defense system against short-range missiles and rockets which will be operational by November after it recently successfully passed final tests. The David’s Sling system is intended to intercept mid-range missiles. Finally, the Arrow system is a defense system against long-range ballistic missiles and missiles carrying atomic warheads.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense reported that the deal continues a long and successful history of cooperation between Israel and the US in the field of anti-missile technology.

Serbia Studying Multipurpose Combat Aircraft Purchase

Serbia is hoping to wrap up a study by the end of the year concerning which combat aircraft alternative will best suit its Air Force needs. The Serbian Defense Ministry is analyzing responses from producers of the world's fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft, seeking to determine which multimission platform meets its Air Force requirements while also providing the most cost-effective solution. Belgrade will also broach the possibility of attaining offsets for its domestic industry from the contractor.

The Serbian Defense Ministry has reportedly reached out to Russia's MiG and Sukhoi concerns, as well as French (Dassault Rafale), Swedish (Saab Gripen) and American (Lockheed Martin F-16, Boeing F-18) manufacturers. Belgrade is believed to be eyeing a purchase of one squadron (12-16 aircraft), with the cost estimate placed at roughly EUR1 billion ($1.29 billion, RSD105 billion). The Serbian Air Force currently has 21 active fighter aircraft, including five MiG-29s, 10 MiG-29bis's and six J-22 Oraos. All of these were brought into service prior to 1992, with the last outright purchase being for a squadron of MiG-29s in 1987.

As recently as September 2005, the Serbian government was contemplating whether to completely scrap its Air Force given the recognition that all of its aircraft were in poor condition and nearly obsolete. The government ultimately decided to focus on overhauling the helicopter fleet and upgrading its five MiG-29 aircraft (four single-seat MiG-29 Fulcrum As and one two-seat MiG-29UB Fulcrum Bs).

Even that process was uneven, as a lack of money in the Defense Ministry coffers forced the government to draw from the 2008 National Investment Plan (NIP) budget to fund the overhaul of the four MiG-29As. Such a lack of available money may impede the Defense Ministry's plans, as its budget of roughly $1.1 billion is unlikely to grow significantly while the Serbian economy just begins to show signs of recovery from last year's recession.

Raytheon-Boeing Team on Target During First Government-Funded Test of JAGM

Raytheon Company and The Boeing Company completed the first of three government-sponsored firings of the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile. During the successful test, the JAGM used its laser guidance system to hit an 8-by-8-foot target board from a distance of 16 kilometers (10 miles).

The Raytheon-Boeing JAGM features a tri-mode seeker with laser; an uncooled imaging infrared sensor; and millimeter wave guidance. The weapon leverages proven components from other Raytheon and Boeing programs, including the Raytheon GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II and the Boeing Brimstone.

"When Raytheon and Boeing won the JAGM contract Sept. 11, 2008, we committed to demonstrate our affordable and innovative missile design in these prototype tests," said Bob Francois, Raytheon vice president of Advanced Missiles and Unmanned Systems. "We've kept our commitment, which is a credit to both the U.S. government for effectively managing this program and to the Raytheon-Boeing JAGM team for executing as promised. This latest test demonstrates Raytheon's fully integrated tri-mode seeker is an extremely reliable and mature approach."

This marks the third time the Raytheon-Boeing team test-fired the weapon; the team conducted two successful company-funded tests of the weapon in April 2010. During the most recent test, all three guidance systems operated simultaneously and provided telemetry data that enabled engineers to conduct further analysis of the weapon.

"This test demonstrates that the combination of Raytheon's guidance section with Boeing's rocket motor, airframe and warhead gives the warfighter a proven, affordable, reliable and accurate solution," said Carl Avila, director of Boeing Advanced Weapons and Missile Systems.

JAGM, designed to replace three legacy systems, offers the warfighter improved lethality, range, operational flexibility, supportability and cost savings compared with older weapons like the Hellfire missile.

Raytheon Company, with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75,000 people worldwide.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

Boeing Delivers 1st Super Hornet Featuring HAL Gun Bay Door

Boeing on July 20 delivered to the U.S. Navy the first F/A-18 Super Hornet featuring a gun bay door manufactured by India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

HAL manufactures the doors at its facility in Bangalore, India.

The gun bay door contract is the first military contract between Boeing and HAL. It is a direct result of Boeing's industrial participation commitment to India, which includes creating jobs with indigenous companies. The two companies also work together on projects for the P-8I multi-mission maritime aircraft and for the commercial Boeing 777 airplane.

The Boeing F/A-18IN Super Hornet is a competitor in India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Competition.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Russia has stronghold on Libyan weapons market

Russia holds a strong position on Libya's weapons market, a department head for Russia's state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport said.

Sergei Kornyev, the department head of Russia's Air Force special equipment and services, made the announcement after the Farnsborough Air Show outside London ended on Sunday.

"We confirm the signing of contracts of delivery for six training Yak-130 fighters and Mi helicopters to Libya," Kornyev said, adding: "We are looking at this market with optimism and are not planning on giving up our strong positions [on it]."

Russia's Irkut signed through Rosoboronexport a contract for the delivery of six Yak-130s to Libya. Under the contract, the first two fighters will be delivered in 2011, and the remaining four in 2012.

The Yak-130 passed the first stage of state tests in April 2009.

The new fighter boasts superior aerodynamics and radio-electronic equipment that gives it the leading role in pilot training with a high level of safety and low cost flight hours, as well as a long life cycle.

Irkut is in the process of fulfilling a 2006 contract with Algiers on Yak-130 deliveries and is in the first-stage process of signing delivery contracts to a number of other countries.

Venezuela may acquire Russian transport planes - arms exporter

Venezuela may soon buy several Russian military transport aircraft, a department head for Russia's state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport has said.

Sergei Kornev, of Rosoboronexport's Air Force department, made the announcement after the Farnborough Air Show outside London ended on Sunday.

"We hope to conclude a contract in transport aviation with Venezuela," Kornev said.

"We hold firm positions in arms delivery on the Latin American market. This is interesting for us, we succeed in concluding contracts and we fulfill our obligations," he said.

Russia has already exported Su-30MK2 Flanker-G aircraft, Mi-17B-5 Hip-H, Mi-35 Hind-E helicopter gunships as well as Mi-26T Halo freight transport helicopters to Venezuela.

India, Venezuela, Algeria and Malaysia are the major buyers of Russian military aircraft. The total volume of deliveries to these countries exceeded $2 billion in 2008.

Su-34 Frontline Bombers Proved Their Superior Operational Capabilities and Flight Performance

The Russian Air Force’s in-service Su-34s designed by the Sukhoi Company have proved their superior operational capabilities and flight performance in the East-2010 military exercises held in July. In performance of the operational mission a non-stop flight was carried out from the European part of Russia to the Far East with in-flight refueling and subsequent attack as per task assigned.

Soon it is planned to increase the operational capability of the aircraft by adding new aerial munitions, announced the Director General of Sukhoi Mikhail Pogosyan today at the press conference at the Farnborough International Airshow-2010.

The Su-34 frontline bomber will form the core of Russia's front-line air strike capability, and is a worthy successor to the Su-24M all-weather, day and night-time frontline bomber. Serial production of the Su-34 has been set up at the Chkalov Aviation Production Association in Novosibirsk, which is a part of the Sukhoi holding company. In 2008 a five-year contract was signed with the government to supply the Russian Defense Ministry with 32 serial-production aircraft. In time, the Su-34 will replace virtually the entire fleet of Su-24 frontline bombers that are currently in service.

The Su-34 can effectively attack land-based, sea- and airborne targets by day and night in all weathers using the entire suite of its airborne munitions, including high-precision types. In terms of operational capabilities this is a 4+ aircraft. Its active safety system, along with the newest computers, provides extra capabilities for the pilot and navigator to perform aimed bombing and to maneuver under enemy fire. The excellent aerodynamics, large capacity internal fuel tanks, fuel-efficient bypass engines with a digital control system, in-flight refueling device and add-on fuel tanks enable the aircraft to fly long distances close to those of medium strategic bombers.

The aircraft features an outstanding flight performance, maintainability and maneuverability. It has long-range aiming systems and modern onboard devices for communications and information exchange with on-land control posts, ground troops, surface ships and in-flight aircraft. The Su-34 uses highly effective long-range air-to-surface and air-to-air guided weapons enabling multi-channel operational employment. It is fitted with a smart anti-radar defense system. The Su-34 has a sophisticated survival system, including an armored cockpit. The aircraft can perform missions at a low altitude in by-pass and fly-by modes.

In 1999, the Su-34 frontline bomber set eight world records, including one in a horizontal flight with a payload of 5,000 kg.

Keel Laid for First Joint High Speed Vessel

The Army and Navy authenticated the keel for the future U.S. Army Vessel (USAV) Spearhead (JHSV 1) July 22, at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., symbolically recognizing the beginning of ship construction.

Spearhead is the first ship to be built as part of the DoD's Joint High Speed Vessel program, managed by the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships.

Though in development for less than four years - a relatively brief time for a major acquisition program - the ship underwent a rigorous production review process prior to the start of construction, where the ship's design maturity, the availability of materials and components and the shipbuilder's ability to successfully start fabrication were all closely evaluated.

"Our commitment to fully maturing the design prior to the start of construction has already paid huge dividends," said Capt. George Sutton, strategic and theater sealift program manager for PEO Ships. "Additionally, the use of proven commercial technologies and the shipbuilder's improvements to their production processes have paved the way for an already very successful program."

This commercially designed, non-combatant vessel leverages commercial technology and merges the previous Army Theater Support Vessel and the Navy High Speed Connector to decrease costs by taking advantage of the inherent commonality between the existing programs.

Leveraging the Navy's extensive experience in surface ship acquisition, PEO Ships has taken the lead on acquisition of both the Army and Navy high speed transport vessels. The future Spearhead is expected to be delivered to the Army's 7th Sustainment Brigade in 2012. The second ship of the class, the future USNS Vigilant, will be delivered to the Navy the following year.

"The JHSV's aggressive and streamlined acquisition process and the service's ability to leverage commercial investments has allowed us to provide a more maneuverable and flexible vessel to our warfighters," said Army Col. R. Eric Fletcher, the Army's project manager for Force Projection. "As a multiuse platform, the JHSV will provide our nation's warfighters with the capabilities to operate in a variety of missions, across the globe."

The vessels will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment for missions ranging from contingency operations and humanitarian assistance, to disaster relief and emerging seabasing concepts in austere port environments. The ships will be capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. They will be capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2).

Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations.

To further improve production efficiencies, JHSV shipbuilder Austal has constructed a Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF), completed in November 2009, which provides a five-fold increase in existing capacity and reduces construction duration.

PEO Ships is responsible for the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships and is currently managing the design and construction of 10 major surface ships classes and small boats and craft.

The PEO is committed to ensuring that prior to the start of ship construction, each program completes an exhaustive production readiness review to demonstrate that design is mature and the requirements are well understood. Fully maturing the design prior to the start of construction is one of a number of initiatives the PEO is undertaking to reduce costs in shipbuilding.

U.S. Considering Saudi Arms Sales Valued at Up to $30 billion

U.S. is considering an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia having a potential value of close to $30 billion, according to the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Navy Vice Adm. Jeffrey Wieringa.

The package will include 84 new Boeing F-15 jet fighters, 72 UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, and the refurbishment of 70 F-15s already in Royal Saudi Air Force service. The latter F-15s were acquired by the Saudis in 1992, the last large-scale purchase by Riyadh of U.S. equipment.

While the Saudis continue to lean heavily on the U.S. as a source of its military materiel, the kingdom also opts to diversify its supply chain by courting British, French, and Russian providers. In September 2007, the Saudis agreed to a $9 billion deal with U.K.-based BAE Systems regarding delivery of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft - a deal titled "Project Salam."

But the lure of American technology and the strategic relationship between the Saudi kingdom and the U.S. binds the ongoing arms connection between the two countries. In August 2007, the Bush administration began its Gulf Security Initiative, which involved a proposed series of arms sales meant to improve the defense capabilities of the six Arab nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The proposed arms sale package was estimated at the time to be worth $20 billion, mainly directed toward Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These two countries' requests through Washington's government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) channel have been largely focused on aviation, anti-missile air defense, and naval platforms.

For the U.S., providing arms to the Saudis is a way of building trust with a key ally in the Gulf region, providing them with improved military capabilities, enabling the Saudi military to become more interoperable with American forces, and creating a security counterweight to Iran. It also allows the U.S. to recycle its own petro-dollars by tapping into one of the world's most target-rich arms-importing markets.

Converteam develops catapult launch system for UK's largest carriers

UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is investing in the development of an electromagnetic catapult system for the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers in case procurement of the F-35B short take-off/vertical landing (STOVL) version of the Joint Strike Fighter is abandoned.

Power conversion specialist Converteam UK announced on 20 July that in 2009 it was awarded a GBP 650,000 (USD1 million) follow-on contract to continue the design, development and demonstration of high-power electrical systems for its EMCAT (electro-magnetic catapult) system and that work on the contract was nearing completion.

The naval director at Converteam UK, Mark Dannatt, told Jane's on 22 July that a small-scale EMCAT system had been completed in 2007 to prove the operation of modern linear motor, energy stores and control systems. Since then, extensive testing of the system has been successfully undertaken, as well as further work at the request of the MoD to enable Converteam UK to scale the system up to a full-size catapult suitable for the RN's new aircraft carriers.

"The EMCAT is designed to fit in the space envelope that has been allowed within the aircraft carrier for a catapult. The intention of building and designing a small electromagnetic catapult and then developing the technology so that it could be scaled up was always a de-risking exercise in case the MoD did not choose the STOVL aircraft or it was considered necessary to launch other types of aircraft from these ships. The option would then exist to fit a catapult and operate conventional carrier-borne aircraft," Dannatt said.

Iran Air Force To Stage Weeklong Drill

The Iranian air force will conduct a weeklong drill using fighter planes and drones in exercises that will include bombing targets at night, a senior commander said July 26.

The maneuvers are set to begin on July 31 in the western province of Hamadan, Gen. Mohammad Alavi, the deputy head of the air force, told Mehr news agency.

"Forty-three planes, including F-4, F-5, F-6, F-7 and Sukhoi 24s, will participate in the maneuvers, which will include bombing targets at night," Alavi said in a separate report carried by the Fars news agency.

"The maneuvers will also include mid-air refueling of aircraft," he said, adding that Iranian-made drones will be used in the exercises as well.

The Islamic republic's armed forces, including its elite Revolutionary Guards, regularly conduct such drills to showcase their abilities and often test-fire what they say are Iranian-built missiles.

Indian Trade Body Seeks Access To Defense Tech

India should open up its defense sector only if it gains more access to military technologies currently denied it by several Western governments, a national trade lobby said July 26.

Global armament firms such as Britain's BAE Systems, Europe's EADS, and Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky of the United States have invested in India after New Delhi opened up its defense sector in 2001 to foreign groups.

Foreign capital in joint ventures was limited at 26 percent, but an Indian parliamentary panel advised the government in 2008 to hike this cap to 49 percent to spur production.

"The 26-percent equity has been effective in bringing in big companies," said Amit Mitra, secretary-general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

"But if the government raises the cap to 49 percent then that should be done under a set of conditions," he added, saying that FICCI would offer its suggestions to the government later July 26.

The trade body explained that if the cap was raised then limits on the transfer of Western technology to India should also be removed.

It said countries such as Germany, China, South Korea and Canada had recently hardened their export rules.

India is among the world's top 10 military spenders with an annual defense budget last year of 1,420 billion rupees ($31.55 billion).

It plans to spend $50 billion by 2015 to upgrade its military mainly through imports as local production through collaborations is widely seen as just a drop in the ocean.

Pakistan Denounces U.S. Intel Leaks As 'Skewed'

Pakistan on July 26 denounced leaked U.S. intelligence reports accusing its premier spy agency of supporting Taliban insurgents as "skewed" and inconsistent with realities on the ground.

Tens of thousands of documents dating from 2004 to 2009 were released by whistle-blowers' website WikiLeaks to the New York Times, Britain's Guardian newspaper and Germany's Der Spiegel weekly.

They carry allegations that Iran is providing money and arms to Taliban and detail how widespread corruption is hampering a war now in its ninth year.

"These are far-fetched and skewed reports, evidently inconsistent with ground realities," Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said.

"If anything these betray the lack of understanding of the complexities involved."

The leaks reportedly link the ISI, Pakistan's secret service, to an assassination plot on Afghan President Hamid Karzai - which never got off the ground - attacks on NATO warplanes, a plot to poison the beer supply of Western troops and the 2008 Indian embassy bombing.

In April 2007, for instance, the Guardian said the ISI allegedly sent 1,000 motorbikes to Jalaluddin Haqqani, head of the Taliban and al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network based in Pakistan, to carry out suicide attacks in Afghanistan.

Other reports claimed the ISI and insurgents planned to buy alcohol to mix with poison and use against NATO and Afghan security forces; and accused the ISI of deploying children as suicide bombers.

Another inflammatory report said the spy agency offered 15,000 to 30,000 dollars for the assassination of road workers from India - Pakistan's arch rival whose interests in Afghanistan have rung alarm bells in Islamabad.

Pakistan last year launched major operations against Taliban threatening its own people, although U.S. officials have long called for direct action on the Haqqanis and Afghan Taliban.

"Pakistan's constructive and positive role in Afghanistan cannot be blighted by such self-serving and baseless reports," Basit added.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Russia plans to upgrade 3 nuclear-powered cruisers by 2020

Russia will upgrade and put on active duty three mothballed Soviet-era nuclear-powered missile cruisers by 2020, a high-ranking Navy official told RIA Novosti on Saturday.

Russia built four Kirov class nuclear-powered cruisers in 1974-1998. One of them, the Pyotr Veliky, is in active service as the flagship of the Northern Fleet.

"Cruisers Admiral Nakhimov, Admiral Lazarev and Admiral Ushakov will be modernized and returned to the Russian Navy's combat force in 10 years," the official said, adding that their equipment and weapons will be fully modernized.

The Kirov class heavy cruisers are second in size only to aircraft carriers, and are similar in size to a World War I battleship.
The Admiral Ushakov (former Kirov) was commissioned in 1980 and suffered a reactor accident in 1990 while serving in the Mediterranean Sea. Repairs reportedly have never been carried out, due to lack of funds and the ensuing collapse the Soviet Union.

The Admiral Lazarev (former Frunze) was commissioned in 1984 and mothballed in 1998.

The Admiral Nakhimov (former Kalinin) was commissioned in 1988 and mothballed in 1999. The ship has been reportedly undergoing a major overhaul at the Severodvinsk Shipyard since 2005.

The Kirov class main weapons include 20 SS-N-19 Shipwreck missiles, designed to engage large surface targets, and air defense is provided by 12 SA-N-6 Grumble launchers with 96 missiles and 2 SA-N-4 Gecko with 40 missiles.

U.S., Japanese warships take part in Russian Navy Day festivities

Several U.S. and Japanese warships are taking part in celebrations dedicated to the Russian Navy Day, a spokesperson for the Russian Pacific Fleet said on Sunday.

"Two groups of U.S. and Japanese warships, which arrived on Friday in the Pacific Fleet's main naval base [in Vladivostok] on an unofficial visit, are taking part in the festivities," the spokesperson said.

A U.S. mine sweeper and a frigate, and a Japanese destroyer and a frigate have lined up in the Vladivostok harbor alongside the Russian warships, led by missile cruiser Varyag.

The visit will continue through July 27 and includes brief joint drills to promote closer ties between navies in the Asia Pacific region.

Russia celebrates the Navy Day on the last Sunday of July.

The festivities usually include a military parade, a number of sport and cultural events and an exhibition of skills by naval personnel.

Three new ships, three submarines to join Russian Black Sea Fleet

Three patrol boats of a new project and three submarines of 636 project will be laid up at Russian shipyards for the Black Sea Fleet before the end of 2010, Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said.
"They [the ships] will be included in the Black Sea Fleet," Vysotsky said. "The three submarines of the 636 project have already been laid, and they will be included in submarine forces of the Black Sea Fleet."
He added that these ships and submarines will ensure a security of ships in the Black Sea.
Vysotsky said on Saturday Russia might be able to develop a fully-fledged fleet by 2050, but needs to act fast.
The main bulk of the fleet, however, may be ready by 2035, he said.
Russia seeks to bring its worn-out Soviet-era fleet up to modern standards as part of a larger effort to modernize its bloated armed forces.

MBDA Missile Systems unveiled SABER at Farnborough

MBDA Missile Systems have unveiled a small laser+GPS/INS guided weapon developed with company funding at MBDA’s U.S. subsidiary. The weapon called Small Air Bomb Extended Range (SABER) can be configured as a rocket or glide weapon, according to the customer’s requirements. The dual mode warhead uses blast-fragmentation or shaped charge, for reduced collateral damage and penetration effect. The SABER uses a semi-active laser seeker for terminal guidance, and GPS/INS mid-course navigation enabling the weapon to fly off-axis, regardless to the direction of the launching platform. An alternative seeker employing TV/IR sensor with data-link communications enabling ‘man in the loop’ control is currently in development. Douglas J. Denneny, Vice President of Government Relations at MBDA Inc. told Defense Update that the SABER could be available for operational use following the completion of flight tests anticipated in the ‘upcoming months’. The unpowered version weighs only 10 pounds, and its range is dependent on the launch altitude, with the rocket powered version adapted for low altitude launch, weighing about 30 pounds.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mig-27 crashed in India

A MiG-27 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Bhotputti village in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district today,killing one and, injuring the pilot and 25 villagers on the ground.

The pilot, Saket Verma, ejected from the aircraft but was injured and has been hospitalised, Superintendent of Police Anand Kumar said.

Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) Ranveer Kumar said that a farmer, B Rai, who was cultivating his field was killed when the MIG crashed between Moynaguri and Chengrabandha.

The SP said that 25 people were injured when the aircraft crashed, of whom 5 were in a serious condition.

An IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi that the MiG-27 took off from the Hashimara Air Base for a routine sortie and crashed within minutes of take-off at around 1030 hours.

This is the second Mig-27 crash in the eastern sector. In February this year, the IAF's entire fleet of over 100 Mig 27s were grounded for technical inspection, after a pilot was killed in a crash near Siliguri in West Bengal.

India lost two MiG-27 jets last year, and a total of about 12 since 2001, due to crashes attributed largely to defects in the aircraft's engines.

Soviet-designed MiG-27 fighter jets, known as the Bahadhur (Brave) in the IAF, have been produced in India under license since 1986. The IAF operates 5 squadrons of the ground attack fighter.

The world fastest Lynx Helicopters Help Bring Fight to Taliban

After nearly two months of being operational in Afghanistan, the world's fastest helicopter, the Lynx Mark 9A, has proved to be a vital boost to the UK's battlefield capability.

The crews from the Army Air Corps that fly the aircraft say it has massively enhanced capability, as it is light and agile and perfect for the rapid deployment and extraction of small numbers of troops.

In comparison to their predecessors, the Lynx Mk9As have increased fire power, more powerful engines, and the ability to operate all year in the harsh 'hot and high' Afghan environment.

The helicopter, which is capable of lifting surprisingly heavy loads for its size, is currently flown in Afghanistan by 672 Squadron of the Army Air Corps. Deputy Squadron Commander Captain Pete Marfleet said:

"It's fantastic to have the new Lynx Mk9A with its upgraded engines as it means we can be here throughout the summer, supporting the troops on the ground through the toughest time of the year.

"The increased aircraft performance means we can concentrate on bringing the fight to the insurgents."

The aircraft's value in the battle against insurgents lies in its versatile performance. The Lynx crews can track insurgent movements and watch over vulnerable areas with its sophisticated surveillance camera.

This 'overwatch' capability helps in the protection of the massive convoys used to resupply front line troops in the forward operating bases.

The convoys can be vulnerable to attack as they track across vast swathes of desert from base to base but with the Lynx and its formidable weapons systems circling above, the insurgents stay away.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Faulty engine nozzle blamed for latest Bulava missile failure

The latest failure of Russia's ill-fated Bulava ballistic missile test was caused by a defective engine nozzle, a government source said on Friday.

The latest launch of the Bulava (SS-NX-30), a three-stage liquid and solid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), from the Dmitry Donskoy nuclear submarine in the White Sea ended in failure in December 2009.

Since December, all further test launches of the Bulava have been suspended pending the results of a government commission probe.

The Bulava has officially suffered seven failures in 12 tests. Some analysts suggest that in reality the number of failures was considerably larger, with Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer contending that of the Bulava's 12 test launches, only one was entirely successful.

Peru clinches $250 mln deal to buy 8 Russian helicopters

The Peruvian Defense Ministry and Russian state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport have signed a contract for the sale of eight Russian-built helicopters to the South American country, the Russian company said on Friday.

It said the contract for the delivery of six Mi-171Sh Hip transport and two Mi-35P Hind attack helicopters was signed on Thursday in Lima.

The Russian agency said deliveries would start later this year and would be completed in 2011.

According to some media reports, the deal is worth $250 million.

Peruvian Defense Minister Rafael Rey was quoted as saying that the helicopters were to support military operations "in the fight against narcoterrorism."

Peru is one of South America's main cocaine producers along with Bolivia and Columbia.

The helicopters are expected to be used to fight with "drug terrorism" in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene River. The area was declared a zone of military operations in August 2009 as fighting between the government troops and the Shining Path Maoist guerilla group intensified.

Shining Path is believed to have strong ties with drug traffickers. The group is on the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist organizations.

PAK FA is Ready to Execute a Complete Program of Flight Trials

Sukhoi Company has completed the preliminary on-land and in-flight activities which involved all three engineering prototypes of the Frontline Aviation Advanced Airborne Complex (PAK FA) – the 5th-generation aircraft.

These prototypes were used for test-bed strength tests, on-land optimization of fuel systems and other work towards flight trials. The flying prototype has made 16 flights. Today, the optimization of aircraft and its safety systems enables execution of a complete program of flight trials, announced the Director General of Sukhoi Mikhail Pogosyan today at the press conference at the Farnborough International Airshow-2010 Press Center.

The PAK FA took to the air on January 29 in Komsomolsk-na-Amure. The acceptance trials of the flying prototype were fully completed in late March. In April the first flying prototype of the fighter and the avionics testbed used for systems optimization before flight trials were delivered to the flying test center of the OKB Sukhoi Experimental Design Bureau in Zhukovsky near Moscow.

Upon completion of the required on-bed preliminary tests of the systems, including the static example’s strength testing, on-land optimization of the avionics testbed and of the flying prototype, on April 29 the aircraft started preliminary tests.

Compared to the previous generation fighters, the PAK FA features a number of unique capabilities, including the functions of a strike aircraft and fighter. The fifth-generation aircraft is fitted with essentially new avionics integrating the function of “an electronic pilot” and with an advanced phased antenna array radar. This considerably reduces the pilot fatigue, enabling the pilot to concentrate on performance of a tactical mission.

The new aircraft’s onboard equipment makes it possible to exchange information in the real time mode both with on-land control stations and with aviation group aircraft. The use of composite materials and innovative technologies, and the aerodynamic streamlining ensure unprecedented radar, optic and infrared stealthiness. This significantly enhances the operational capability against aerial and ground targets in all weathers, day and night.

Vladimir Popovkin, the Russian First Deputy Defense Minister, in his interview to the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, estimated the Russian Air Force’s demand for the 5th-generation fighters at 50 to 100 units. It is planned to complete all tests of the PAK FA airframe in 2011-2012, and to sign a contract in 2013 for a pilot lot of ten aircraft for testing the model’s entire weapons suite.

Raytheon Joint Standoff Weapon C-1 Completes Captive Flight Test Series

The U.S. Navy completed a series of three captive flight tests on Raytheon Company's Joint Standoff Weapon C-1, putting the program closer to achieving initial operating capability in 2012.

JSOW is a family of low-cost, air-to-ground weapons that employs an integrated GPS- inertial navigation system and terminal imaging infrared seeker, guiding the weapon to the target. JSOW C-1 adds moving maritime target capability and the two-way Strike Common Weapon Datalink (SCWDL) to the combat-proven weapon.

"The Raytheon-U.S. Navy team completed a test series that showed JSOW C-1's seeker can detect moving maritime targets. The tests also demonstrated that JSOW C-1 can communicate via its two-way SCWDL," said Phyllis McEnroe, Raytheon's JSOW program director. "The JSOW platform is a 'truck' with many options that continues to evolve to meet emerging threats. Though not a program of record, we are working on a JSOW extended range variant with an objective range of up to 300 nautical miles (345 statute miles)."

JSOW ER completed its first demonstration flight in October 2009, flying more than 260 nautical miles.

"The warfighter asked for a Link-16 network-enabled standoff weapon that can engage moving maritime targets while maintaining the capability to attack stationary land targets," said Cmdr. Douglas Phelan, the U.S. Navy's JSOW Integrated Product Team leader. "JSOW C-1 will meet this requirement."

Raytheon Company, with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75,000 people worldwide.

France To Build 2 Ships for Russia

France will build at least two high-tech amphibious assault ships for the Russian navy, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced July 23, on a visit to a western shipyard.

Russia has been negotiating with France to buy up to four Mistral-class helicopter carriers, despite concerns among Paris' NATO allies over the transfer of western naval technology to their former Cold War foe.

"With our Russian friends, you are going to build the two BPCs," Sarkozy told workers at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, referring to the French abbreviation for the 21,300-ton vessels.

"We're still negotiating the contract, but the decision to go ahead is certain," the president added.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told AFP last month that Moscow would only go ahead with the deal if it includes a transfer of the technology that makes the Mistral one of the most powerful in the French fleet.

He put the price tag of the vessel at around 300 million euros apiece ($388 million), and said that it would be a good deal for French shipyards at a difficult economic time.

But some U.S. lawmakers and the governments of new NATO members on the Baltic fear that the added punch the Mistral would give Russia's naval forces will encourage the Kremlin to throw its weight around in its backyard.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

South Africa Purchases Raytheon Paveway Laser-Guided Bombs

The South African Department of Defence awarded Raytheon Company a contract for Paveway II laser-guided bombs.

Raytheon will provide the South African military with LGB computer control groups and air foil groups that transform "dumb" bombs into precision-guided munitions for operational test and evaluation on South Africa's Gripen fighter aircraft.

ARMSCOR awarded a contract on behalf of the South African Air Force for the procurement of LGB bomb kits. ARMSCOR, the Armaments Corporation of South Africa, is the officially appointed acquisition organization for the South African DoD.

The direct commercial sale was negotiated with the assistance of South Africa's ATLANTIS Corporation and calls for Raytheon to begin delivery in 2011. In addition to the weapons, Raytheon will provide air- and ground-crew training.

"The combat-proven Paveway family of weapons is integrated on more than 22 aircraft and serves 41 nations around the globe, making this weapon the ideal choice for the South African warfighter," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon's Air Warfare Systems product line. "Raytheon is the sole provider of the Paveway family of weapons and is committed to providing the warfighter with a reliable direct-attack weapon at a cost-effective price."

Raytheon Company, with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75,000 people worldwide.

Ghana to re-capitalise navy in two years

Ghana's Navy is set to acquire 10 new vessels over the next two years as the government seeks to improve the protection of its maritime resources and newly discovered offshore oil reserves.

Local media reports have stated that the first of these ships – a 35 m-long patrol vessel from South Korea – is expected to arrive in September.

The Ghanaian Defence Minister, Lieutenant General J H Smith, announced in June 2010 that the 10 ships would be acquired as part of a short-term plan to re-equip the navy, which is not currently capable of defending Ghana's exclusive economic zone.

In November 2009 Lt Gen Smith said that the Department of Fisheries was in the process of acquiring two Chinese 46 m boats for fisheries protection, while a separate agreement was signed with China's Poly Technologies to build two additional 46 m boats specifically for the Ghana Navy for maritime protection duties.

He added that the government was also working with a German company to procure two used vessels – possibly ex-German Navy Gepard-class fast attack craft.

Ghana's navy operates two 1940s-vintage ex-US Coast Guard Balsam-class buoy tenders; four fast attack craft built by L├╝rssen – two PB 45 Dzata class and two larger PB 57 Achimota class – that are about 30 years old; and a single 20 m-long ex-US Navy PB Mk III inshore patrol craft that was built in the 1970s and transferred to Ghana in 2001.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

India to to boost bilateral military ties with Vietnam

Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh will July 26 begin a four-day visit to Vietnam - the first such in the past 15 years - to 'boost' bilateral military ties between the two countries, an army spokesperson said Wednesday.
During the visit, the army chief will call on Vietnam Defence Minister General Phung Quang Than.

The trip, which comes 15 years after then army chief General Shankar Roy Chowdhury's visit to Vietnam in 1995, will take Singh to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh cities.

Singh will hold talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Colonel-General Nguyen Khac Nghien and interact with various military commanders 'to boost the defence cooperation between the two countries', the spokesperson said.

Vietnam and India share a strategic partnership, including cooperation on enhancing regional security and fighting terrorism, transnational crime and drug trafficking.

The two countries are members of the six-nation Mekong-Ganga Cooperation initiative that also includes Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos and which is meant to enhance close ties between the member nations.

Vietnam has supported India's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum

Russia ready to export Iskander missile

Russia is in talks with foreign customers interested in buying Iskander tactical missile systems, a senior executive at state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Wednesday.

Deputy General Director Alexander Mikheyev said it was too soon to identify the customers or countries in question.
"Rosoboronexport is marketing the Iskander, but no contracts have been signed yet," he said.

The Iskander-E (SS-26 Stone), an export version of the Iskander-M missile system in service with the Russian military, is a theater ballistic missile system designed to effectively engage a variety of targets at a range of up to 280 km (170 miles). It carries a single warhead with a payload of 400 kg to comply with the limits laid down by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

On Saturday, the chief of Russia's Ground Forces, Col. Gen. Alexander Postnikov, said Iskander missiles had been put into operation in the Leningrad Military District.

The report aroused concern among Russia's western neighbors. In particular, Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo said the deployment was "incomprehensible in view of Russia's current relations with NATO."

The United States has scrapped its plans for a missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Moscow welcomed the move, and President Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia would drop plans to deploy Iskander-M missiles in its Kaliningrad Region, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania.

However, Washington has not given up on its European missile shield initiative. In May, the United States opened a temporary military base in northern Poland, just 80 km (50 miles) from the border of Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, a move that drew fierce criticism from Russia.

Russia to compete for Afghan helicopter supply tender

Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport is preparing to compete for a U.S. tender to supply Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan, the company's deputy general director Alexander Mikheyev said on Wednesday.

In late May, the United States lifted sanctions against Rosoboronexport blacklisting it from tendering for U.S. arms deals.

The sanctions were imposed in 2006 after the U.S. government accused Rosoboronexport of violating the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Despite the ban, dozens of Mi-17s have been bought by the United States for Afghanistan and Iraq over the past four years via intermediary entities as commercial items, thus avoiding direct work with Rosoboronexport.

Mikheyev said U.S. companies equipping Afghanistan's military had shown considerable interest in Russian military hardware, especially helicopters.

"I think that since the sanctions [against Rosoboronexport] have been lifted something must change in relations with U.S. companies," Mikheyev said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told an International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul on Tuesday that Russia would continue to equip Afghanistan's military and police.

Russia may sign first Su-35 warplane export deal by year end

Russia could sign its first contract for the export of Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets by the end of the year, a deputy head of Russia's state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Farnborough International Air Show that is underway near London, Alexander Mikheyev said several countries were interested in buying the jets. A draft contract had already been agreed with Libya, he said.

The Su-35 Flanker-E, a modification of the Su-27, is a heavy class, long-range, multi-role fighter, whose technical characteristics can be compared with those of fifth-generation jets.

The plane is equipped with an advanced passive electronically scanned array radar and digital fly-by-wire and a rear-looking radar for firing Semi-Active Radar missiles. It is designed to carry 8 tons of weapons for a distance of up to 3,550 kilometers (2,200 miles) without outboard tanks.

The first modernized Su-35 was presented at the 2007 MAKS air show outside Moscow. The Russian Defense Ministry signed a deal with the plane's producer, the Sukhoi Aircraft Design Bureau, on the purchase of 48 modernized Su-35 jets at last year's MAKS air show.

BAE Systems Prepares for One-A-Day F-35 Build

BAE Systems is developing a brand new approach to manufacturing aircraft in order to meet the unprecedented one-aircraft-per-day eventual production rate for the F-35 Lightning II.

An aft fuselage and a set of empennage units (vertical and horizontal tails) currently roll off the F-35 production line at BAE Systems every 15 days. The target across the next four years is to reduce to this to one every day.

At the Company's Samlesbury site, where the F-35's aft fuselage is built, a team from across BAE Systems' Military Air Solutions business stripped one of the six work stations back to its bare floor and walls to examine the approach and techniques reauird to achieve the rate increase.

The exercise looked at every stage of the manufacturing process from the supply of parts, quality control and fuselage assembly to the different roles of people on the team. This has led to the team adopting a significantly different approach including a newly-created mock-up of how the work stations could be reconfigured as well as a 100-day plan for improvements.

This has led to the team adopting a significantly different approach, including a newly-created mock-up of how the work stations could be reconfigured, and an overall 100-day plan for delivering the production rate increase.
Keith Moore, BAE Systems Production Manager for the aft assembly line, said: “We looked at what was adding value and what wasn’t, and we looked at how we could remove the non-value added activity and waste from the process.
“As the 100-day plan is discharged and we start to see the benefits of it, the build time will drop as we are able to speed up the assembly in work station one. We’ll then move this process down the line to the other five stations, so they will also benefit from the plan.”

BAE Systems F-35 Managing Director, Mick Ord, said: “The challenge of producing one aft fuselage and empennage in a day is considerable but one I am confident we can meet. With F-35 being the biggest defence production programme of its type, the prize is huge and we are well on target to achieve it.”

China May Boost Missiles Aimed At Taiwan To 1,900

China could raise the number of missiles aimed at Taiwan to 1,900 by the end of the year despite warming ties between the former bitter rivals, according to the island's deputy defence minister.

Military experts estimate that the PLA currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island.

But recent media reports have said the People's Liberation Army may boost the number of short-range ballistic and cruise missiles facing Taiwan to 1,960 before the year's end.

"Judging from their manufacturing capacities, the PLA could increase to that number of missiles targeting Taiwan before the year's end," said Andrew Yang, an academic-turned deputy defence minister.

Although tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased since President Ma Ying-jeou's China-friendly administration came to power in 2008, "Beijing has never renounced the use of force against Taipei," Yang warned.
Beijing has repeatedly vowed to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence even though Taiwan has governed itself since the end of civil war in 1949.

Yang did not discuss possible evidence indicating a missile build-up by the PLA. The perceived military threat has prompted Taiwan to launch war games simulating an invasion by China.

Taiwan's president has also vowed to build stronger armed forces to serve as a deterrent against aggression from Beijing, while also promising to push for a peace treaty to end more than six decades of hostilities.