Thursday, March 31, 2011

India To Test Fire Barak Missile This Year

The first test flight of the Indo-Israeli long-range, surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM), also called Barak-2, will be undertaken this year, says a senior official at India’s defense research agency.

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the prime developer of the project, says the missile, at an estimated cost of 26.06 billion rupees ($581 million), has reached its final stage. “We expect to carry out the test flight soon,” the official adds. The test flight of Barak-2 will be one of 11 missile tests scheduled by DRDO this year. It had been expected last year. According to the DRDO official, more than 70% of the content in the missile will be indigenous.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the key partner of the program, says the missile is designed to be used as a point-defense system on warships, defending against aircraft, anti-ship missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. The missile can hit targets at a range of 70-100 km (37-62 mi.).

IAF refuses last minute offers from MMRCA contenders

Indian Air Force as quoted by PTI says that it will not accept last minute offers from Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contenders. IAF says that it has evaluated the bids as per the initial offers and last minute proposals like upgrade with more powerfull engines etc is unacceptable.

There are 6 contenders for the10 billion dollar plus MMRCA tender. Lockheed Martin with F-16 IN, Boeing with F/A-18 E/F, Dassault Aviation with Rafale, Saab with Gripen, Rosoboronexport with MiG 35 and EADS with Eurofighter Typhoon are vying the 126 plane contract.

The IAF chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik had said that the price negotiations are to begin by the end of this month. A price negotiation committe is being set up for the same.

Israel, Russia Sign Space Cooperation Agreement

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the Israel Space Agency on Sunday signed an agreement to increase cooperation in space exploration.

"The agreement, which was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, enhances cooperation between the Israeli and Russian space agencies in the fields of space research, observation, navigation, medicine and biology in space, research in advanced materials and launchings," said a press release from the Israeli prime minister's office.

The Head of Roscosmos, Anatoly Perminov, said that bilateral cooperation in space is at the initial stage, and required efforts to establish contacts between Russian and Israeli organizations in the space-missile industry.

RAF Fires Brimstone Missiles on Libyan Armor

It has been announced that RAF Tornado aircraft have destroyed three armoured vehicles in Misrata, and three further vehicles in Ajdabiya, following a missile strike.

The Chief of Defence Staff's Strategic Communication Officer Major General John Lorimer said:

"British Tornado GR4 Aircraft, on a mission over Libya yesterday afternoon in support of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 took part in a co-ordinated missile strike against units of Colonel Gaddafi's Libyan Military.

Active Protection System (APS) that will be installed on K-2 tank

Agency for Defense Development (ADD) recently unveiled a plan to develop Active Protection System (APS) that will be installed on K-2 tank to protect the tank from enemy's anti-tank rockets and missiles.

The agency made public the image of the APS launcher along with 70-millimeter guided rocket during a defense science and technology exhibition, which was organized by the United States Pacific Command, in Hawaii on Mar. 15,

According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration and ADD, the new system has been developing since 2006 with a budget of 40 billion won ($36 million) and it is scheduled to be complete within this year.

Refurbished US Frigate Transferred to Pakistan

The Pakistani warship, the PNS Alamgir, officially departed from Naval Station Mayport after several months of refurbishment and the training of its personnel on 21 March. It is scheduled to arrive at its home port in Karachi, Pakistan 53 days from now.

The PNS Alamgir started its life as the USS McInerney (FFG-8), an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate. Pakistan acquired it from the U.S. under the Department of Defense Excess Defense Articles program because the U.S. Navy planned to decommission it after 31 years of service. Pakistan signed the transfer deal on 21 April 2010 and it was formally transferred during a ceremony at Naval Station Mayport on 31 August 2010.

The frigate underwent dry docking and pier-side refurbishment at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards from September 2010 to March 2011 using $58.7 million of Foreign Military Financing funds.

Marines Use Relay Balloons in Libya Strikes

As 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit AV-8B Harriers conducted air strikes on Libya as part of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, the new Lofted Communications System was operationally deployed for the first time aboard ship, March 20.

The helium-balloon transmission system was used to bridge the gap in communications from ship to Harriers conducting air strikes against the Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi's ground forces and air defenses, as part of an international effort to halt an offensive against the Libyan populace.

Normally, Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft would be used to relay and ensure command and control from the ship. The system, which was first tested in Kuwait in January 2009 during the MEU’s sustainment training for its 2008/2009 deployment, costs a fraction of the expense to put additional aircraft in the air and doesn’t risk additional lives.

US Navy Christens Latest LPD Ship

The Navy christened its newest amphibious transport dock ship, USS Arlington (LPD 24), during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., March 26.

The ship is named for the city of Arlington, Va., honoring the 184 victims in the air and on the ground, who lost their lives when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001.

"Sailors of the Arlington, you are the spirit that will carry this ship forward," said Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert. "This is the ship we'll need for the future. She's exactly what we called for when we looked out on our cooperative strategy for the 21st century."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ground operation in Libya could start in April - Russian intelligence

The international coalition force is planning a ground operation in Libya that could start in late April, a high-ranking Russian intelligence service source said on Friday.

"Information coming via different channels shows that NATO countries, with the active participation of Britain and the United States, are developing a plan for a ground operation on Libyan territory," he said.

"From all indications, a ground operation will be launched if the alliance fails to force the Gaddafi regime to capitulate with air strikes and missile attacks."

Russia ready to equip 1st Borey class sub with Bulava missiles

A missile production plant in southern Siberia has produced enough Bulava ballistic missiles to complete its tests and arm the first Borey class strategic submarine, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Monday.

"A batch of missiles sufficient to finish the tests and equip one submarine has been produced already. Larger production would cause the missiles to stock up," Ivanov said after a meeting of defense industry officials in the southern Siberian republic of Udmurtia.

Russia to double production of ballistic missile systems - Putin

The production of ballistic missile systems in Russia will double starting in 2013, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

"The Armed Forces will receive new strategic and tactical missile systems, such as RS-24 Yars, Bulava and Iskander M," Putin said at a meeting with defense industry officials in the southern Siberian republic of Udmurtia. "Starting from 2013, the production of [ballistic] missile systems must be doubled."

Putin said Russia will invest 77 billion rubles ($2.6 bln) in the production of ballistic missiles in line with a state program on the modernization of the defense industry until 2020.

Qatar Seizes Two Iranian Boats With Arms

Qatar, which has sea borders with Bahrain and Iran, has seized two Iranian boats in the Gulf carrying weapons, a Kuwaiti electronic newspaper reported on March 27.

The boats were intercepted off Al-Zubara coast, northeast of Qatar and close to the country's territorial waters with Bahrain, Al-Aan said, citing sources it did not identify.

The sources provided no details on the crew, the date of the operation or the destination of the boats. There was also no confirmation of the report from authorities in the Qatari, Bahraini or Iranian capitals.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain, where Shiite-led protests broke out on Feb. 14, accuses Shiite-led Iran of meddling in its affairs and elements of the Bahraini opposition of links with foreign powers.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Al-Qaida Snatched Missiles in Libya: Chad President

al-Qaeda's offshoot in North Africa has snatched surface-to-air missiles from an arsenal in Libya during the civil strife there, Chad's president said in an interview to be published March 28.

Idriss Deby Itno did not say how many were stolen, but told the African weekly Jeune Afrique that he was "100 percent sure" of his assertion.

"The Islamists of al-Qaida took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere," a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad, Deby said in the interview.

Qatar Becomes First Arab State to Overfly Libya

Qatari warplanes have flown over Libya, becoming the first Arab state to take part in military operations to enforce a no-fly zone under a U.N. resolution, its air force announced March 25.

The air force said an undisclosed number of planes had "overflown sister Libya as part of the international coalition" to enforce the no-fly zone imposed on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces "to protect civilians."

It did not specify a date for the start of Qatari operations nor a location for the first flights, in a brief statement carried by state news agency QNA.

U.S., NATO Consider Arming Libyan Opposition

The United States and its allies are considering supplying weapons to the Libyan opposition, The Washington Post reported March 26.

President Barack Obama's administration believe the U.N. resolution that authorized international intervention in Libya has the "flexibility" to allow such assistance, it reported, citing unnamed U.S. and European officials.

According to The Post, Gene Cretz, the recently withdrawn U.S. ambassador to Libya, said administration officials were having "the full gamut" of discussions on "potential assistance we might offer, both on the non-lethal and the lethal side."

Russia's Top General Says Libyan Air Strikes 'Failed

Russia's top general called air strikes in Libya unsuccessful on March 26 and gave his opinion that a ground operation would likely be needed to topple the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"Air (strikes) as I see it have not given them results," the chief of staff of Russia's armed forces, Gen. Nikolai Makarov told the Interfax news agency in Moscow.

"If their aim was to topple the regime of Gadhafi, then probably they will not manage without a ground phase," he was quoted as saying. "I would not rule it out."

BDL inks Rs 14,000-cr deal with Army for Akash missiles

In one of the biggest Defence production contracts, Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) has signed a Rs 14,000-crore contract with the Indian Army for the production of Akash, the surface-to-air (SAM) missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The public sector undertaking, BDL, recently received an order for the Air Force version of Akash for over Rs 1,000 crore, the Chairman and Managing Director, Major Gen Ravi Ketarpal, said in a release from the company.

The Akash missile has a range of 25 km with a low reaction time of 15 seconds. It can shoot down aircraft, helicopters and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) travelling at speeds of up to 700 m/sec. The weapon system is capable of engaging targets in all weather conditions.

DRDO looks beyond HAL for Tejas production

Over the last two decades, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) have cooperated closely in developing the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to replace the ageing MiG-21s of the Indian Air Force. Now, with 40 fighters on order for the IAF’s first two Tejas squadrons, ADA is pushing HAL to outsource more of the Tejas’ production, including to the private sector, to boost production to the levels needed by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

A high-level HAL team is touring the production facilities of the world’s three biggest fighter manufacturers — Boeing and Lockheed Martin in the US; and Eurofighter in Europe — to examine how Tejas’ production can be raised from the eight fighters per year that HAL’s Tejas production line in Bangalore will start building next year. The IAF will eventually need 120-140 Tejas, while the Navy will require another 20-40 fighters.

The DRDO aeronautics chief, Prahlada, who also oversees ADA, told Business Standard, “We have asked HAL to find a way to step up Tejas production. They should look for alternatives, like more outsourcing, or setting up joint ventures [to build sub-systems of the Tejas]. This will also help HAL to grow. But each agency knows its own problems best… only they know where the shoe pinches! So, HAL knows best how to fix their problem.”

India's CAG hits out at delays in indigenous warship projects

India's indigenous warship-construction can give the Tejas light combat aircraft and the Arjun main-battle tank a run for their money in terms of colossal delays and cost overruns, which ultimately impacts the operational readiness of armed forces.

It's a no-brainer that India needs a robust defence-industrial base (DIB) with private sector participation, instead of being strategically-vulnerable as it is due to an overwhelming dependence on imported weapon systems, if it ever wants to fulfill its aspirations of becoming a superpower. But the way crucial defence projects are run in the country needs a complete overhaul, with concrete long-term planning to systematically build military capabilities indigenously.

Tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the latest CAG report is a stinging indictment of the way the defence ministry, Navy and defence shipyards plan and execute construction of destroyers, frigates and corvettes.

Slovenia Cancels Controversial Armored Vehicle Deal with Patria

The Slovenian government has decided to cancel the nation’s controversial armoured vehicle order from the Finnish defence contractor Patria.

The cabinet's decision on Thursday was unanimous.

The majority-state-owned Patria said late Thursday that it had not been informed of any change to the deal.

In 2006, Slovenia agreed to buy 135 armoured vehicles from Patria. The contract was worth nearly 280 million euros.

Patria executives are suspected of bribing Slovenian leaders to secure the deal.

RAF Tornados Attack Libyan Armoured Vehicles

RAF Tornado GR4s launched a number of guided Brimstone missiles at Libyan armoured vehicles last night which were threatening the civilian population of Ajdabiya.

Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:

"British Tornado GR4 Aircraft, on armed reconnaissance missions over Libya, last night (24/03/11) took part in a co-ordinated missile strike against units of Colonel Gaddaffi's Libyan Military in support of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.

S.Korea launches Third KDX-3 Destroyer

The South Korean Navy has launched the third of its 7,600-ton KDX-3 class AEGIS destroyers. The Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong is now being fitted out at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard and will enter service in March 2012.

There is some doubt over whether construction of the KDX-3 class ships will continue beyond the three already ordered. The original plan was to build three, but the number was then expanded to a class of six. However, the KDX-3 class are very expensive warships, and a proposal for a less expensive AEGIS derivative of the smaller KDX-2 gained much support.

Six of these modified KDX-2 class ships could be purchased for the investment made in three additional KDX-3 class vessels.

Australia Won’t Review F-35 Plans Despite Cost Increases

The Defence Department will not review plans to spend more than $20 billion on 72 F-35 stealth fighters despite American program cost blow-outs that are threatening to bring down Canada's minority conservative Government.

It is now believed the final cost of the multinational F-35 program will be $1 trillion, more than twice the cost of rebuilding Japan after the recent disaster and almost equal to Australia's gross domestic product for 2010.

''Detailed analysis shows the JSF is the preferred and most cost-effective long-term solution for Australia's air combat superiority,'' a Defence spokesman said.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Turkey Freezes F-35 Order Over Access to Source Codes

Turkey has announced that it is putting the planned purchase of 100 F-35 fighter jets from the US on hold because the Pentagon refuses to share the source code used in the software designed for the aircraft as well as the codes that might be used externally to activate the planes.

Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül said on Tuesday, following a meeting of the Defense Industry Implementation Committee (SSİK), that the negotiations over the F-35 procurement tender had not yielded “satisfactory results.” He said, “We will evaluate the order in the next meeting, in light of the progress made in the talks by then.”

He said much ground had been covered in the talks in terms of technology sharing, but this was not enough for Turkey to accept the jets. He said the costs of the project had also increased but that the Turkish side had failed to secure the source code and the remote flight codes for the planes for which it will be paying $16 billion.

Limitations Keep F-22 from Use In Libya Ops : Expert

One aircraft conspicuous by its absence over the skies of Libya is the Air Force’s vaunted F-22 Raptor air dominance fighter. The Lockheed Martin-built jet was likely benched due to its inability to communicate with other coalition aircraft and its limited ability to hit ground targets, analysts said.

“The designers of the F-22 had a dilemma, which is whether to have the connectivity that would allow versatility or to have the radio silence that would facilitate stealthiness. What they opted for was a limited set of tactical data links,” said Loren Thompson, an analyst and chief operating office at the Lexington Institute, Arlington Va.

The F-22 can only connect with other F-22s via an intraflight data link, and can only receive, but not transmit, over the standard Link-16 data link found on most allied aircraft.

First Boxer APCs Arrive At German Army Unit

The first Boxer vehicles have arrived at 292 Jägerbattalion in Dounaeschingen in preparation for the vehicles deployment to Afghanistan with this unit by August this year. The first impressions of the vehicle are positive with it being considered as robust, impressive and offering a high level of protection and mobility.

The driver training school in Dornstadt received 7 Driver Training Vehicles (DTV) already last year. The version that 292 Jägerbattalion received in February this year, is the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) version that carries seven infantry soldiers in addition to the driver, gunner and Commander. Eight of these APCs have been delivered to the Infantry school to start the infantry training of 292 Jägerbattalion.

The first operational experiences of the vehicle are positive according to several first time users. Driver Florian B.: “I have a good feeling with the Boxer, despite the weight of over 30 tons and the large size, the Boxer drives as a normal car”. The results at the shooting range with the remote controlled weapon station that is operated from inside, are also very good. “It is nearly impossible to miss the target” said a gunner.

Spain’s Indra to Exhibit at LAAD (Latin American Aerospace Industry and Defence) in Brazil

Indra, an IT multinational in Spain and one of the largest in Europe and Latin America will attend this year's biennial exhibition Latin American Aerospace and Defense LAAD, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from 12 to 15 April.

The company will showcase its solutions it border surveillance , command and control , military communications systems , air defense, surveillance radar , unmanned platforms , electronic defense systems and simulation solutions , among others.

In the field of border control, the company will release its External Surveillance System. Indra's solution is implemented in much of the Spanish coast, and in Portugal, Romania, Lithuania and Hong Kong. Indra system monitors and more than 3,000 km of borders in the world.

MEADS System Integration Begins at Italian Test Site

A Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) launcher and BMC4I Tactical Operations Center (TOC) have entered system test and integration at Pratica di Mare (PdM) Air Force Base in Italy. This milestone marks the first integration tests involving two completed MEADS system elements.

During the initial test series, MEADS will demonstrate launcher and TOC functions, including system attachment/detachment in the first demonstration of MEADS plug-and-fight operation. Later addition of the Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR) and a MEADS System Stimulator will enable demonstration of full MEADS system operation during simulated engagements of live target aircraft.

After pre-integration at Pratica di Mare, the MEADS system will complete integration at White Sands Missile Range, NM, and begin flight testing in 2012.

Canada Details Participation in Libya Ops

Operation Mobile is the Canadian Forces’ participation in the multinational response to the continuing crisis in Libya.


-- Task Force Charlottetown
On 1 March 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339) would deploy from Halifax on 2 March to take part in Canadian and international operations already under way in Libya. Charlottetown departed Halifax on schedule, cleared Gibraltar and joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) on 14 March, and arrived on station on 17 March.

HMCS Charlottetown is a Halifax-class frigate under the command of Commander Craig Skjerpen with a crew of about 240 officers and sailors, and a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment. With the other ships of SNMG1, Charlottetown is engaged in regional maritime security operations in the central Mediterranean Sea.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

RAF Typhoons Patrol Libyan No-Fly Zone

RAF Typhoons flew their first ever combat mission yesterday while patrolling the no-fly zone over Libya in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973.

UK aircraft are helping to patrol the no-fly zone alongside our international allies.

The Chief of the Defence Staff's Strategic Communications Officer, Major General John Lorimer, said last night:

US Says Libyan Air Force Destroyed

A senior U.S. military officer said on Wednesday that coalition strikes on Libya appear to have destroyed the country's air force, while not causing any known civilian casualties.

Rear Admiral Gerard Hueber, chief of staff of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, spoke to reporters at the Pentagon from aboard the USS Mount Whitney in the Mediterranean Sea.

He said coalition forces had flown 175 sorties over a 24 hour period ending Wednesday morning. The proportion flown by U.S. aircraft has dropped to a little more than half - or 63 sorties, he said. As a result, he added, Libya no longer has an operable air force.

F-15 Crash in Libya Ascribed to Malfunction

When the debate over imposing a no-fly zone in Libya was going on, Pentagon sources warned that what was in store would prove radically different from a sterile videogame.

Their point has just been proven, as an American F-15 Eagle fighter bomber went down several hours ago near Benghaz,i Libya. The Americans have already recovered one pilot and the other is said to be safe in the hands of the Libyan insurgents. There was some doubletalk on the latter issue, because ostensibly the no-fly zone is intended to protect civilians and the coalition forces are not supposed to be coordinating with the insurgents.

Military sources claimed that a malfunction rather than ground fire from the government forces had resulted in a plane crash. Still, American military history is studded with examples where. American pilots were exploited for propaganda purposes in Vietnam, Somalia and Saddam Hussein's Iraq by the opposing side. The American planners must feel that they just managed to dodge a bullet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Indian Navy, Singapore Navy to Engage in Five-Day Naval Exercise in South China Sea

The five-day joint naval exercise between the Indian Navy and the Singapore Navy will start tomorrow in the South China Sea. Five Indian navy ships, under the command of Rear Admiral Harish Chandra Singh Bisht, arrived in Singapore today for the drill that aims to strengthen bilateral maritime security relations.

The joint exercises, held on alternate year in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, has built up understanding and knowledge between Indian and Singapore navies, Rear Admiral Joseph Leong, Fleet Commander of the Republic of Singapore Navy told PTI at a reception hosted on board INS Jyoti.

He cited benefits of the joint exercise and cooperation developed by the Indian and Singapore navies in tackling major challenges and especially the piracy in the Gulf of Aden. "We understand each other and have a high level contact in managing maritime security," said Rear Admiral Leong.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

China Regrets Multinational Air Strikes in Libya

China expressed regret on March 20 over the multinational air strikes in Libya, saying in a foreign ministry statement that it opposed the use of force in international relations.

"China has noted the latest developments in Libya and expresses regret over the military attacks on Libya," the statement said.

Russia also issued a similarly worded statement in which it called for a ceasefire as soon as possible.

US Launches 112 Tomahawk Missiles into Libya

U.S. military attacked Moammar Gadhafi’s air defenses Saturday with strikes along the Libyan coast that were launched by Navy vessels in the Mediterranean.

A senior military official said the assault would unfold in stages and target air defense installations around Tripoli, the capital, and a coastal area south of Benghazi. That’s the rebel stronghold under attack by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

Complete details were not immediately available, though the Pentagon said 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from U.S. and British warships off the Libyan coast.

France Sends Aircraft Carrier to Join Libya Campaign

France sent its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to Libya on March 20 to bolster the West's air campaign against Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

The French Navy's flagship set off from the southern naval port of Toulon at 1210 GMT, with 20 warplanes, most them Rafale and older Super Etendard combat jets, as well as helicopters and two E-2 Hawkeye surveillance aircraft.

Tugs pulled it from the wharf as dozens of onlookers watched it depart.

French Planes Stopping Air Strikes on Benghazi: Sarkozy

French war planes are overflying Benghazi, preventing Moamer Kadhafi's air strikes on the Libyan rebel bastion, and are ready to attack his tanks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on March 19.

"In agreement with our partners, our air force will oppose any attack by Colonel Kadhafi's planes on the people of Benghazi. Our planes are already preventing air strikes on the city," Sarkozy said.

"Already other planes, French, are ready to intervene against tanks that might threaten unarmed civilians," he said after a summit drawing together international leaders to discuss what action to take on Libya.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

China Aims New Missile At Taiwan: Intel Chief

Taiwan's top intelligence chief said March 16 that China is targeting the island with a new type of ballistic missile.

"The Chinese communists have deployed the Dongfeng 16, which is a new powerful missile aimed at Taiwan," said Tsai Teh-sheng, the director-general of the National Security Bureau.

"Its range is longer, and it increases the threat to Taiwan," Tsai said while replying to queries raised by Lin Yu-fang, a legislator from the ruling Kuomintang party.

U.S. Rep. says China's a direct threat to the United States

Laying out a "21st century battlefield" at home and abroad, U.S. Rep. Allen West warned Friday that America's economic and national security are under siege.

Speaking to a full house of 600-plus at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, the retired Army lieutenant colonel said China's military and economic expansion pose a direct threat to the United States.

Forecasting "an economic conflagration with China," the Boca Raton Republican noted that nearly 20 percent of America's $14.3 trillion debt is owned by Beijing.

US opposes China-Pak nuclear deal

The United States has said that it opposes China's plans to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan, but also emphasized that the Obama administration has been very clear on the need to support Pakistan's energy development.

"We expect China to abide by the commitments that it made when it joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2004, and in particular we think the construction of new nuclear reactors such as the Chasma 3 and 4 would be inconsistent with those commitments. That remains our longstanding position," US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert O. Blake, said.

"We've been very clear in the Nuclear Suppliers Group context about that position, but we've also been very clear on the need to support Pakistan's energy development. Pakistan is facing quite severe energy shortages in many parts of the country so the United States has I think been in the lead in many cases in trying to help Pakistan to deal with those challenges and to not only refurbish some of its existing capacity to make it more efficient to help meet those demands, but to look at new ways to help, again, meet those energy challenges."

Russia rules out taking part as West mobilises for Libya attacks

A coalition of Western nations geared up Friday to launch air strikes on Libya after the UN approved military action to stop Moamer Kadhafi from crushing an insurgency.

Despite a ceasefire announcement by Tripoli, Britain and France readied to launch operations after securing the UN Security Council's blessing and NATO agreed to speed up plans for a possible role for the 28-nation alliance.

In Washington President Barack Obama threatened Kadhafi with military action unless he met specific, "non-negotiable" demands for a ceasefire, a halt to attacks on civilians and a retreat from rebel strongholds.

Russia stands up RS-24 ICBM

Russia's new RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was put on combat duty for the first time with the Teikovo missile regiment in the Ivanovskaya Oblast in central Russia on 4 March.

The RS-24 is a modification of the RS-12M2 Topol-M (SS-27 'Stalin'). It is a mobile system that is capable of "penetrating highly protected targets", as well as any current ballistic missile defence (BMD) system, according to Youri Solomonov, head of the Moscow Institute for Thermal Technology, the lead manufacturer of the missile.

Russian Navy to receive 10 Graney class attack subs by 2020

The Russian Navy is planning to commission up to 10 Graney class nuclear-powered attack submarines by 2020, a high-ranking Navy official said.

"We are expecting to receive about 10 new Yasen [Graney] class attack submarines in the next ten years," the source told RIA Novosti on Friday.

The first Graney class sub, the Severodvinsk, will enter service with the Navy by the end of 2011. The second vessel, the Kazan, is being built at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk.

The construction of the third Graney class submarine will begin in 2011.

Russian 5G subs to be equipped with ballistic, cruise missiles

Russia's proposed fifth-generation nuclear submarines will be armed with both ballistic and cruise missiles, a senior Navy source told RIA Novosti on Saturday.
He did not specify the names of the missiles.

Russia is planning to develop its newest fifth-generation submarine by 2020 under a 2011-2020 arms procurement program, First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said last month.

Russia also plans to build eight fourth-generation strategic nuclear submarines by 2020 and equip them with Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which are expected to be put into service this year.

Russia may lose $6 bln on Algeria, Syria arms contracts - expert

Russia risks losing over $6 billion on arms contracts with Algeria and Syria if the situation in these countries destabilizes, a Russian expert on arms industry said on Thursday.

"Arms sales to Algeria and Syria constitute about one-eight of Russia's portfolio of arms orders worldwide, which totals $48 billion," said Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank on international arms trade.

Russia, the second largest arms exporter in the world after the United States, has already experienced difficulties with some of its lucrative arms contracts following the wave of unrest currently sweeping North Africa and the Middle East.

Russia set to start construction of 3rd Graney class nuclear sub

The construction of the third Graney class nuclear-powered attack submarine will begin in 2011, a spokesman for the Russian Navy said on Thursday.

The first Graney class sub, the Severodvinsk, will enter service with the Navy by the end of 2011. The second vessel, the Kazan, is being built at the Sevmash Shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk.

Graney class nuclear submarines are designed to launch a variety of long-range cruise missiles (up to 3,100 miles or 5,000 km), with conventional or nuclear warheads, and effectively engage submarines, surface warships and land-based targets.

The submarine's armament includes 24 cruise missiles and eight torpedo launchers, as well as mines and anti-ship missiles.

Russia plans to build at least six Graney class submarines.

New Russian Army weaponry 'inferior' to NATO's, overpriced

The most advanced weapon systems manufactured for Russia's ground forces are below NATO and even Chinese standards and are expensive, GF chief Col. Gen. Alexander Postnikov said on Tuesday.

"The weapon models that are manufactured by our industry, including armor, artillery and small arms and light weapons, fail to meet the standards that exist in NATO and even China," he said at a session of the Defense and Security Committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament.

He said that Russia's most advanced tank, the T-90, is in fact a modification of the Soviet-era T-72 tank [entered production in 1971] but costs 118 million rubles (over $4 million) per unit.
"It would be easier for us to buy three Leopards [Germany's main battle tanks] with this money," Postnikov said.

Lakshya-2 performs low-altitude tests

India has conducted low-altitude trials with its developmental Lakshya-2 target drone, with the aircraft performing high-g manoeuvres at altitudes as low as 82ft (25m).

On a test conducted on 20 December 2010, the drone flew 5.4nm (10km) at an altitude of 82ft, with an average altitude deviation of less than 3ft, says India's Defence Research and Development Organisation.

On 23 December it flew the system for 10.8nm at an altitude of 490ft towing a target that was flown at a height of 164ft.

Indian Army to procure Medium-Range Loitering Missile

Diversifying its artillery, the Indian Army has planned to acquire medium-range loitering missile that can strike at a target after hovering over it for 30 minutes and sending in critical data on the enemy installation.

Defence Ministry’s Annual Report tabled in the Parliament yesterday said the Artillery Fired Medium-Range Loitering Missile can strike a target with a missile’s precision and has loitering capability like a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The system has the capability for acquisition of targets and precision engagements. Each system can carry out one combat mission. “The proposal is under progress,” as per the report.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Army Leaders Stress Need for Ground Combat Vehicle

leaders told members of Congress March 9 that the service needs a new, next-generation Ground Combat Vehicle able to accommodate new technologies as they emerge, defend against a wide range of current and future threats and deliver a full nine-man squad under armor into the full spectrum of military operations.

Speaking before the Tactical Air and Land subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, said the Ground Combat Vehicle, or GCV, will be designed with lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The Ground Combat Vehicle takes into account all of the lessons we have learned over the last ten years of warfare and ensures that we have a combat vehicle that will allow us to fight in a full-spectrum environment," Chiarelli said.

Benghazi celebrates as UN clears way for air raids

The UN Security Council cleared the way for air strikes to halt Moamer Kadhafi's assault on embattled rebels in Libya, sparking wild celebratory gunfire in rebel bastion Benghazi.

The 15-member Security Council in a resolution approved "all necessary measures" to impose a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and pressure the Libyan leader into accepting a ceasefire.
The UN vote passed 10-0 with five abstentions -- permanent members China and Russia which did not wield their veto power -- plus Germany, Brazil and India.

No German troops will take part in any military intervention in Libya as there are "considerable risks and dangers", Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said afterwards.

Israel Finds Anti-Ship Missiles, Radars on Gaza Ship

According to shipment documents and crew questioning, the vessel initially departed from the Lattakia Port in Syria, and then proceeded to Mersin Port in Turkey. The IDF emphasizes that Turkey has no connection to this incident regarding the weaponry uncovered on-board.

A short while ago, IDF Navy fighters intercepted the cargo vessel “Victoria” loaded with various weaponry. According to assessments, the weaponry on-board the vessel was intended for the use of terror organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. The vessel, flying under a Liberian flag, was intercepted some 200 miles west of Israel’s coast. This incident was part of the Navy’s routine activity to maintain security and prevent arms smuggling, in light of IDF security assessments.

The force was met with no resistance from the crew on-board and the vessel is now being led by the Israeli Navy to the Israeli port in Ashdod for further searches and detailed inspection of the cargo.

Czech Exercise in No-Fly Zone Enforcement

Imposing no-fly zone and protection of own territory: Just the exercise of an air defence unit at the Military Training Area at Hradiste, Czech Republic.

The exercise goal is to master the skills of personnel of the 251st Air Defence Missile Battalion in deterring enemy aircraft which were represented by L-159 ALCA from the 21st Tactical Air Force Base.

A one-week exercise aims at refreshing knowledge and skills of soldiers from one battery of the missile battalion. Under the command of Deputy Battalion Commander Major Alan Dubovy, a hundred of the battery soldiers improve their search, identification and “downing enemy aircraft“ using radars, control center and upgraded missile launcher 2K 12 KUB.

British Mount Large Air Assault in Helmand

The 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R IRISH) Battle Group has mounted the largest air assault operation in the history of the regiment since 1945, when soldiers from the regiment landed on the east bank of the Rhine during World War Two.

Op TORA ZHEMAY VI (Courageous Winter) took place at the end of February 2011 and involved the insertion of three companies by helicopter in one wave, followed by an 'advance to contact' to link up with a further three companies in containment positions to the west, north and east of the target area of Zaborabad in Helmand province.

The purpose of the operation was to demonstrate the power and might of ISAF and the Afghan Government through putting a joint Royal Irish and Afghan force into the heart of enemy territory.

J-STARS Demos New ISR Sensor

With the goal of reducing the sensor-to-shooter timeline to just minutes and expanding airborne ground surveillance command and control, Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed the installation and testing of a multispectral intelligence sensor housed in a new keel beam accessory bay (KAB) on a modified E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft.

"Once it is delivered, our combat commanders and joint forces will have a powerful new capability to track identified targets throughout the battle space and free up other sensors to support operational needs," said Mike Mos, director of Joint STARS' architectures and concept demonstrations for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

The installation and test examined the use of the MS-177 camera, a 500-pound multispectral intelligence sensor on the all-weather Joint STARS weapons system. The goal was to see how the sensor enhances combat identification in support of Joint STARS' continued role as a valued battle manager providing eyes in the sky for boots on the ground.

JPALS Landing System Back on Track

The land-based Joint Precision Approach and Landing System is getting back on track after the deputy secretary of defense issued the Resource Management Directive-700 in January that restored full funding to the program.

JPALS is a family of systems that will provide precision approach and landing capability for all of the Department of Defense. It will operate in land-based fixed and tactical environments, sea-based environments and, eventually, a back-packable system will support special operation environments, officials said.

While the Navy is the lead executive service for the JPALS family of systems and working on the sea-based version, the Air Force is responsible for the LB JPALS that will provide this GPS-based approach and landing capabilities.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Russia to lease nuclear submarine to India

Russia will lease a nuclear powered submarine to India before October, a Russian Navy Staff admiral said on Wednesday.

Previous media reports said that the K-152 Nerpa attack submarine had already been transferred to India on a 10-year lease.

"The submarine is completely ready for transfer. An Indian crew is currently training aboard with Russian instructors," the admiral - who requested anonymity - said.

The Iranian defense industries unveiled home-made self-propelled howitzer

The new artillery was put on display in a ceremony in the Defense Industries Organization attended by the Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi.

Speaking to reporters during the ceremony, Vahidi said that the production of the new artillery was aimed at increasing the mobility of the Iranian armed forces' artillery units.

He added that the ordnance has been developed by Iranian experts at the defense industries based on the strategy and needs of the Iranian Armed Forces.

Russia set to buy 500 combat vehicles from France

Russia is in talks with French military manufacturer Panhard on the purchase of 500 light armored vehicles for its border guards, a Russian military think-tank said on Friday.

"Negotiations are being held on [the purchase of] 3.1-ton light armored vehicles Vehicule Blinde Leger on a 4x4 wheel platform," the Center for the Analysis of the World Arms Trade said on its website, citing Panhard Chairman Christian Mons.

The contract could amount to $260 million, the statement said.

Saudi troops enter Bahrain as protests escalate

Armored troops rolled into Bahrain from neighboring Saudi Arabia on Monday to help restore order in the strategic Gulf kingdom, where pro-democracy demonstrators have shut down the financial center.

Thousands of mainly Shiite protesters occupied Manama's business district, turning the regional banking hub into a ghost town as they pressed their calls for democratic change from the Sunni Muslim monarchy.

The Saudi government said it had responded to a call for help from its neighbor as Saudi-led forces from the Gulf countries' joint Peninsula Shield Force crossed the causeway separating the two countries.

China preventing UN action on Libya: France

Veto-wielding member China is blocking UN Security Council action on Libya while the United States has yet to define its position, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday.

"If today we are stuck, it's not only because Europe is impotent, it's because at the Security Council, for now, China doesn't want any mention of a resolution leading to the international community's interference in a country's affairs," he said.

"Never mind that there's European impotence, but what about American power? What about Russian power? What's China's power over Libya?" Juppe told the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.
Juppe spoke after hosting Group of Eight counterparts in Paris who issued a statement dropping proposals for military intervention in Libya and turned to the UN Security Council to increase the pressure on leader Moamer Gadhafi.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

US urges India to sign CISMOA to access to defence technology

US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer says that it is in India’s strategic interest to sign the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) as it will get access to advanced technology. He was replying to questions on removal of certain critical technologies on the C-130J by the US in absence of CISMOA with India.

“We think that it is in India’s strategic interest (if it decides to sign the agreement). I think it not only brings us closer on defence issues… it will also provide it access to some of the best technologies in the world,” he said.

India has in the recent past made it clear to the US that it is in no hurry to sign CISMOA. CISMOA enables installation of American communication systems on US-made military aircraft that increases the inter-operability of the two forces. India prefers to integrate alternatives to CISMOA specific equipment. CISMOA clause is backfiring on US, as it is not able to realize full potential of the multi billion dollar deals with India.

Sukhoi alteration talks won’t delay BrahMos

The scheduled induction of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos into the Indian Air Force will not be hit due to ongoing negotiations between India and Russia over sharing of modification costs of the Sukhoi-30-MKI fighter. The aircraft is to be modified to make it capable of carrying the BrahMos missile in its undercarriage.

“Trials of launching BrahMos cruise missile from air will begin in 2012 and there will be no delay in the programme due to this (cost-sharing,” BrahMos Aerospace chief A Sivathanu Pillai told reporters here yesterday evening, denying that there was a “dispute” between India and Russia on the issue of Sukhoi modification.

Besides this, India will test-fire the submarine-launched version of the 290-km range BrahMos by the end of this year. An underwater weapon-delivery system mounted on a submarine is considered to be the most potent second strike capability of a country. These missiles could be used as weapons on the upcoming line of Scorpene submarines. India has successfully test-fired the nuclear capable 700-km range K-15 Shaurya missile from an underwater canister to mimic a submarine.

Lockheed in talks with BDL to produce missiles

US-aerospace major Lockheed Martin, which has already formed a joint venture with the Tata group for making aerospace components in India, is exploring further tie-ups with both private and government-owned defence organisations.

Lockheed Martin India Private Limited managing director Jagmohan Singh said the company was looking forward to potential partnerships, including with Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

Initially, it would go for production of anti-tank guided missiles, provided it gets clearances from the governments of the US and India. Singh was speaking on the sidelines of a defence and aerospace exhibition being organised here by the National Small Industries Corporation Limited and the Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises.

Akash Mark-II version will be ready by 2012 : DRDO

DRDO with its recent success in getting orders worth Rs 23,300-crore from Indian air force and Indian army for its Akash SAM ,is currently working on a improved Mark-II version of the surface to air missile and will have its first flight test by end of 2012 .

Akash Mark-II version will carry Minor critical improvement over Mark-1 variant and will not be a completely new missile , DRDO for this reason has not asked for any additional funding from the center for this improvement . New MK-2 will have better accuracy and will also be little faster then the current variant.

Mark-2 variant will also will have faster reaction time to cover the threat and will have an minor extended range to the missile which will be 10 to 12 km improvement over the Mark-1 variant . Mark-2 variant will be replacing old soviet union acquired SA-3 GOA (Pechora) SAM systems.

Monday, March 14, 2011

India’s ‘St. Antony’ Sidesteps US Lobbying Ploy on MMRCA Program

Indo-US friendship is facing its biggest test since Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared as Prime Minister 11 years ago that the two countries are “natural allies,” a declaration that was belatedly endorsed by US President Barack Obama.

At the bottom of this critical test is the determination by one senior minister in the UPA government to prevent another corruption scandal of the Commonwealth Games, 2G spectrum and the Adarsh variety, which he fears, is embedded in the current state of this friendship.

That minister is “Saint Antony”, as defence minister A.K. Antony is often known, because of his obsession with honesty and transparency not only in defence procurement, but also in any public position he has handled, from chief minister of Kerala to portfolios in current and previous central governments as a cabinet minister.

An Evaluation of Libya’s Air Defenses

Sean O’Connor, an amateur blogger, has provided a fascinating look at Libya’s air-defense network, based on analysis of satellite imagery provided by Google Earth and other sources.

This, in the words of the Politico website which highlighted the blog on March 11, is “one of the most detailed rundowns about Qadhafi's SAMs and other defenses you'll find on the open-source web.”

The blog also provides other analyses of military installations (Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia etc.), again based on satellite imagery, that are of wide interest and merit larger circulation.

India Is World’s Top Arms Importer: SIPRI

India is the world's largest arms importer according to new data on international arms transfers published today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

India received 9 per cent of the volume of international arms transfers during 2006–10, with Russian deliveries accounting for 82 per cent of Indian arms imports.

‘Indian imports of major conventional weapons are driven by a range of factors. The most often cited relate to rivalries with Pakistan and China as well as internal security challenges’,states Siemon Wezeman of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. ‘As an importer, India is demanding offsets and transfers of technology to boost its own arms industry, and, in order to secure orders, major suppliers are agreeing to such demands’.

S. Korea Defense Ministry Pushes Stealth Bomber Purchase

The Defense Ministry officially announced plans to purchase stealth bombers capable of avoiding radar detection to counter the threat of North Korea's so-called asymmetrical warfare capabilities.

Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told reporters on Tuesday the ministry will push for a stealth fighter acquisition project as part of the ongoing F-X fighter program.

The third phase of the F-X program envisages buying 60 high-performance fighters such as the F-15K from the U.S. from around 2015. The Air Force wanted the third phase to start this year, but budget pressure and Cheong Wa Dae's resistance to hasty implementation of an acquisition program worth trillions of won have led to delays.

Pak Navy Seeks Approval to Purchase Chinese Submarines

Pakistan's Defence Ministry has asked the federal cabinet to approve the purchase of conventional Chinese submarines to counter "emerging threats" that the country faces, according to a media report on Wednesday.

The acquisition of the Chinese vessels will pave the way for joint development of conventional submarines, The Express Tribune newspaper quoted unnamed officials as saying.

The Defence Ministry informed members of the cabinet that the Pakistan Navy is facing a "critical force imbalance" in terms of the number of submarines and ships in its fleet.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Russia bans Libya arms exports

Russia a key arms exporter to the Middle East, announced Thursday it was banning the sale of all weapons to Libya, in line with its support of UN sanctions against Moamer Kadhafi's regime.

President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning the "export, sale and delivery to Libya... of all kinds of weapons and associated materials," the Kremlin said in a statement.

The decree also stipulates that all cargo bound for or from Libya will be carefully inspected if there is "information that gives reason to believe that the cargo carries material subject to the ban."

Britain in Eurofighter Talks with Indonesia

Britain is in talks with Indonesia on the possible sale of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft despite concerns over Jakarta's human rights record, The Times newspaper reported March 10.

The sale would be worth around 5 billion pounds ($8.1 billion dollars, 5.8 billion euros) in total, the paper said, but would be hugely controversial in light of current concern over the source of weapons being used against Arab rebels.

British military company BAE Systems has separately offered to upgrade Indonesia's fleet of Hawk jets, it said.

India Tests 2 Short-Range Nuke-Capable Missiles

India tested two short-range nuclear-capable missiles along its eastern coast March 11, an official said, as part of the nation's efforts to build up its nuclear deterrent.

Dhanush, which means "archer's bow" in Sanskrit, was fired early March 11 from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal off eastern Orissa state.

The Prithvi II, or Earth, blasted off soon afterwards from a testing range at Chandipur-on-Sea, 160 miles northeast of Bhubaneswar, Orissa's state capital.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Indian Aircraft Carrier “INS Vikramaditya” begins mooring trials

The Russian built Indian Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya has begun mooring trials on March 1 in Russia. The order to start testing was signed by Sevmash Director General Nikolai Sevmash Kalistratov. Sevmash, the agency which is involved in transformation of the carrier says that this is a serious step in the modernization of the ship, particularly marked in the master schedule building.

Outfitting work entered its final stage. The ship has been gradually populated with the equipment, machinery, pipes, cables, and now all this must be checked in different modes. Tests will be conducted on special programs and techniques.

As per sevmash, the most difficult and important test will be the main power plant. The second major task will be to check electronic armament complexes, including complexes of Indian origin and aviation facilities ships. Mooring tests will be important for testing training systems and equipment. The factory sea trials has been planned to begin in late 2011.

Successful Interceptor test takes India a step closer to Anti-Satellite System

The fresh success of the interceptor missile mission on Sunday has demonstrated the country's capability to neutralise adversarial satellites in space, according to V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister.

India has “all the technologies and building blocks which can be used for anti-satellite missions” in the low-earth and polar orbits. However, “India's policy is that it will not weaponise space, and we are committed to the peaceful uses of outer space,” he said.

Out of the six interceptor missions conducted so far by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), five have been successful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dhruv performs excellent In Siachen

It was a brutal test of helicopter and pilot. As the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) shuddered towards the icy helipad on a 21,000-foot ledge overlooking the Siachen Glacier, the pilots could see wreckage from earlier helicopter crashes dotting the base of the vertical ice walls on either side. Ahead lay the Indian Army’s infamous Sonam Post, the highest inhabited spot on earth, and an extreme example of why the military so urgently wants the Dhruv, which has been customised by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for high altitude operations.

Very quickly, the Dhruv demonstrated its superiority over the military’s tiny, single-engine Cheetah helicopters, which can barely lift 20 kilos of payload to Sonam. Touching down on a tiny H-shape formed on the snow with perforated iron sheets, the Dhruv’s pilots signalled to one of the soldiers on Sonam to climb aboard. Effortlessly, the Dhruv took off, circled the post and landed again. Another soldier clambered onto the helicopter and the process was repeated, then with a third, and then a fourth soldier. Even with all Sonam’s defenders on board, the twin-engine Dhruv — painted incongruously in the peacock regalia of the IAF’s aerobatics team, Sarang — lifted off and landed back safely.

“This helicopter is simply unmatched at high altitudes,” says Group Captain Unni Nair, HAL’s chief helicopter test pilot, who flew the Dhruv that August morning during “hot-and-high” trials at Sonam. That term means flying at extreme altitudes in summer, when the heat-swollen oxygen is even thinner than usual. “The army wanted the Dhruv to lift 200 kilos to Sonam; we managed to carry 600 kilos.”
Powering that world-beating performance is a new helicopter engine, called the Shakti, which HAL commissioned French engine-maker, Turbomeca, to design for operations along India’s high-altitude borders. It is this engine that makes the new Dhruv Mark III — the first five of which were delivered to the army this month — far superior to the Mark I and Mark II Dhruvs, which were built with a less versatile engine. The Shakti, which will start being built under licence at HAL soon, will now power an entire family of HAL-built helicopters: an armed version of the Dhruv; the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH); and the single-engine Light Utility Helicopter that is still on the drawing board.

Russia spat delays BrahMos air version

A war of words between India and Russia is threatening to delay the development of the air version of the BrahMos cruise missile, a joint effort of the two countries.

Friction between the two countries mainly stems from the redesigning of the Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft to make it capable of launching a 300-kg BrahMos supersonic missile from the air.

While the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) wants its Russian partner, NPO Mashinostroeyenia, to foot the bill, the latter feels that India should be financing the Sukhoi redesigning.

India's MMRCA Shortlist to Be Announced In April

The shortlist for the six contenders for India’s Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program is to be announced in the first week of April.

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik had declared at Aero India on Feb. 10 that he was optimistic that price negotiations would start within a few weeks and a deal could be signed by September, “provided dissatisfied vendors do not put a spoke in the wheel and delay proceedings.”

Aviation Week has learned that two or three vendors will be asked to submit their offset proposals within six months. The defense ministry will negotiate offsets with the down-selected companies only. Recently, the ministry asked all MMRCA vendors to hold back on presenting their offset proposals.

F-35C Breaks Sound Barrier for the First Time

The first F-35C test aircraft (CF-1) flew faster than the speed of sound for the first time over a test range near the Navy and Marine Corps F-35 integrated test facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River March 4.

During a test flight to expand the flutter envelope, CF-1 reached Mach 1.02 at 30,000 feet with U.S. Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. Matt Taylor at the controls.

“It’s great to be part of bringing stealth capability to the big-deck carriers,” said Taylor. “We accomplished a large number of test points, and CF-1 handled great going past Mach 1. It was a privilege for me to take the F-35C over that milestone for the first time.”

BAE to Fit APKWS to US Fixed-Wing Aircraft

BAE Systems will expand the successful Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) to fixed-wing aircraft platforms for the U.S. Air Force and Navy.

APKWS, developed by BAE Systems in partnership with the U.S. government, provides aviators with a highly precise weapon that is effective against soft and lightly armored targets while minimizing collateral damage - important in urban areas and other situations in which non-combatants or friendly forces are near hostile targets.

The company signed a $19.7 million contract with the Navy for the new, 27-month program, which expands the APKWS application from rotary-wing aircraft to the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and the U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier fixed-wing aircraft.

Saab’s Trackfire Successful In Recent Trials

Saab’s Trackfire Remote Weapon Station (RWS), recently successfully completed two consecutive sets of gruelling evaluation trials for a number of international users.

Late 2010, a Trackfire RWS was integrated on to a Dockstavarvet Combat Boat 90 with sea trials conducted in the Swedish archipelago under winter storm conditions, where up to Sea State 4 was recorded. In addition to precision engagement serials against a variety of shore targets at ranges of up to 2,000 metres, target tracking of simulated air and sea-borne threats was also successfully verified.

Upon completion of sea trials, the same system was then immediately transferred onto a Patria AMV (Armoured Modular Vehicle) for trials at a proving ground in Sweden. During these trials, atmospheric conditions dropped to -17°C with extreme low visibility due to fog, thereby creating particularly challenging conditions.

India Successfully Test-Fires Interceptor Missile

India successfully test-fired indigenously developed interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile on Sunday from Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island off Orissa coast.

The 'interceptor' missile was fired from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast near Dhamra in Bhadrak district, about 170km from here at 9.37am which successfully intercepted an incoming hostile missile fired five minutes earlier.

The 'hostile' missile was a specially modified Prithvi missile, fired from the Launch Complex III of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea in Balasore district, about 70km away from Wheeler Island across the sea.

Russian Helicopters Active at Heli-Expo 2011

Russian Helicopters, a part of UIC Oboronprom, showcased its lineup at HELI-EXPO 2011 (stand 628) in Orlando, FL. The models on are potentially the most suitable and attractive for the North American market – the medium multi-role Mi-8/17, the coaxial Ka-32A11BC, the highly maneuverable light Mi-34C1, and the multi-role special ops (including operations in thin mountain atmosphere) Ka-226T.

“Russian Helicopters is strengthening existing partnerships in North and South America and looking for new contacts. This is the second time we’re exhibiting at HELI-EXPO and we’ve been seeing more interest towards Russian rotorcraft both from traditional operators from Latin American countries and North American commercial companies and individuals.” said Dmitry Petrov, CEO, Russian Helicopters.

Russian Mi-8/17 helicopters are among the most popular rotorcraft of this class in the world. Russian Helicopters is signing new contracts for the delivery of Mi-17 helicopters to Central and South America, CIS countries, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. This type is used worldwide for a wide variety of missions, thanks to its reliability in high humidity, dust, temperature, altitude, and its outstanding load capacity. For instance, Mi-17 helicopters were employed in rescue operations in New Orleans in 2005.

Taurus XL Rocket Launch Fails

Orbital Sciences Corporation today announced that the launch of its Taurus XL rocket, which lifted off earlier today at 2:09 a.m. (PST), from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying the company-built Glory satellite for NASA, was unsuccessful.

Preliminary indications are that the rocket’s payload fairing, a clamshell mechanism that encases the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere, failed to separate from the rocket. The previous time a Taurus XL rocket was launched was in 2009 for NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) mission. That launch also resulted in a failure due to a fairing separation problem. Since that time Orbital redesigned and tested the fairing separation system.

Orbital will immediately convene a failure investigation board that will include representative from the company and NASA to determine the cause of today’s launch failure. Orbital believes that it is likely that sufficient data was gathered to be able to determine the cause of the fairing separation failure.

First Development Run for New RR500 Turboshaft

Rolls-Royce has completed the first development test runs of the new RR500 engine. The initial runs included engine start and accelerations to part power. The test team is proud that the engine successfully met all the relevant and applicable milestones.

In upcoming weeks, the RR500 engine will continue test runs at increased power levels. As part of the thorough testing program, performance data will be obtained and the engine inspected.

Chris Fultz, Rolls-Royce Program Director - RR500, recognized the project team’s dedicated work. "First engine to test is a significant milestone for engine development programs and requires coordinated effort from individuals across the company. The entire team worked to ensure this milestone was achieved on time and that the engine would meet design and performance requirements. This test completion is a major success for the program."

USS Nevada Successfully Tests Trident II D5 Missile

Fleet ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada (SSBN 733) successfully launched a test missile off the coast of southern California March 1 as part of the post-refueling overhaul certification process.

The missile, an unarmed Trident II D5, was launched as a single mission test and was the key element of the demonstration and shakedown operation (DASO) process certifying the readiness of an SSBN crew and the operational performance of the submarine's strategic weapons system prior to returning to operational availability.

Navy's Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) oversees the DASO certification process, while various other organizations provide support for the certification.

Slovenia Sues to Freeze Patria AMV Contract

The Slovenian government has requested a court to temporarily suspend deals made with defence contractor Patria, reports Slovenian news service STA on Friday.

The government has considered several options in handling the bribery allegations surrounding the deal. An alternative would have been to attempt a renegotiation of the contract, but the government has chosen to try to suspend the deal.

Patria sold 135 armoured vehicles to Slovenia in 2006. The deal was worth 278 million euros.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First French FREMM Frigate Readies for Sea Trials

In accordance with the Programme schedule, DCNS is completing equipment integration and harbour acceptance tests on board the first-of-class FREMM multi-mission frigate Aquitaine. All major ship systems must be tested before the major milestone of the first sea going, scheduled next spring.

So far 95% of the electrical and hydraulic equipments of the ship have been installed, so teams are ramping up for the harbour acceptance tests of the principal systems: the information and communication system, the navigation systems (navigation radar, early warning radar), the electric power and distribution system (including four diesel generators), the combat system and the propulsion system.

The first tests of the electric propulsion motors and of the gas turbine started over the last few days and have been successfully completed. For the first time the entire transmission system of the frigate was running, from the motors to the test propellers. This event is an important step, and moving moment, as it represents the first heartbeat of the frigate.

Germany, Finland and Peru All Order Rheinmetall's MASS Naval Countermeasure System

To protect their fleets from missile attacks, the navies of Peru, Finland and Germany have all ordered MASS, Rheinmetall’s "Multi Ammunition Softkill System", a state-of-the-art decoy system for protecting frigates, corvettes, minesweepers and patrol craft. In winning these three orders, MASS has once again outclassed its international rivals as well as gaining a foothold in the South American market. The three orders are worth a total of approximately EUR 15.5 million.

As part of a comprehensive modernization of its LUPO-class frigates, the Peruvian Navy has placed an order with Rheinmetall Defence initially to equip two ships with the MASS naval countermeasure system. The contract also includes an option for equipping two more frigates of this class within the next two years.

The German Navy has awarded Rheinmetall with another follow-on order for equipping its minesweepers with MASS, reflecting the great emphasis Germany places on force protection. Following immediate retrofitting in 2008 of two countermine vessels in response to an urgent operational requirement (UNIFIL), two more vessels of the same class were equipped with MASS in 2009. Under the current order, two more countermine vessels will be equipped with a MASS two-launcher configuration with integrated detection unit.

EADS to Open New Research Facility in Russia

Jean Botti, Chief Technical Officer of EADS, and Viktor Vekselberg, Executive President of the Skolkovo Foundation, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on research collaboration.

The agreement underlines the intention of EADS to participate in the Russia-based Skolkovo Innovation Centre, a high technology business hub to be built in the Moscow region. The MoU was signed on Wednesday in Paris.

According to the MoU, EADS will establish a centre that will conduct research in the areas of: aerospace technology, including telecommunications and navigation; efficient energy technologies; information technology. The Centre will also collaborate with the Skolkovo Institute of Technology and other Russian scientific institutions in order to identify technologies and competences of mutual interest.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Patriot PAC-3 MSE Intercepts TBM Target

Lockheed Martin's enhanced version of the combat-proven PAC-3 Missile, the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE), successfully intercepted a threat representative tactical ballistic missile target in the MSE battlespace today at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The PAC-3 MSE Missile provides increased performance, greater altitude and range than the PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) Missile. The PAC-3 MSE Missile variant incorporates threat-driven and technology-enabled hardware and software upgrades to defend against the advancing threat set. The PAC-3 Missile is the only Patriot missile that utilizes hit-to-kill technology to engage incoming targets.

"We continue to test the PAC-3 MSE Missile at higher altitudes and against more challenging targets, and it continues to meet expectations," said Richard McDaniel, director of PAC-3 Missile Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "We look forward to delivering this important enhanced capability to the warfighter in the near future."

Lockheed Presents New “Dragon” ISR Packages

Lockheed Martin today introduced several innovative aircraft and ground station configurations that can be tailored to specific customer intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements. Branded the "Dragon" series, these platforms can be customized to support individual military, homeland defense, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance mission needs.

"We developed the Dragon configurations after extensive customer feedback, technical trade studies and real world experimentation using our Airborne Multi-INT Laboratory," said Jim Quinn, Vice President with Lockheed Martin's Information Systems & Global Solutions-Defense. "The AML also allows us to offer customers the ability to 'try before you buy' for each configuration."

In today's complex environment, rarely can a single aircraft meet all customer needs. To help address this, the Dragon configurations extend the corporation's comprehensive ISR expertise into a broad catalogue of single and multi-purpose integrated air and ground intelligence platforms. Lockheed Martin offers a flexible, customer-focused approach with solutions designed to integrate into existing customer ground and air architectures. Modern software and hardware designs provide cost-effective life cycle management.

Australia May Buy Fifth C-17A Transport

Australia is investigating the purchase of an additional C-17A Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft Minister for Defence Stephen Smith said today.

Australia has sent a Letter of Request to the United States regarding the potential purchase of an additional C-17A aircraft through the United States Foreign Military Sales program, formally seeking cost and availability information.

Mr Smith said the Royal Australian Air Force currently had four C-17A Aircraft. They were delivered over the period 2006 to 2008. The first of these became operational in 2007, providing the Australian Defence Force with a global airlift capability.

Oshkosh Wins HET Order for UAE

Al Jaber Group, a privately owned, multi-faceted group of companies based in Abu Dhabi, has selected Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, to provide the Global Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) vehicle to support United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. Oshkosh will fulfill Al Jaber’s initial purchase of Global HETs by early 2012.

“Our goal is to provide the UAE with the world’s most powerful military vehicles as part of an overall logistics and fleet management solution,” said Obaid Khaleefa Jaber Al Murri, Chairman, Al Jaber Group. “Our focus is on quality and long-term performance, and Oshkosh was the clear choice. They have a successful history of designing, manufacturing and sustaining heavy-duty vehicles for the U.S. Army and militaries around the world.”

The new Global HET from Oshkosh Defense is a high-performance 6x6 transport vehicle with a 70 metric ton payload capability. With a powerful 700-horsepower engine, the Global HET is able to transport a main battle tank, armored vehicles, construction equipment and more. By transporting large-scale equipment on the Global HET, the military can reduce the wear on equipment and crew fatigue that typically occurs over long distances. Working closely with the Al Jaber Group, the new Global HET was designed to meet the requirements of the UAE Armed Forces and was rigorously tested and evaluated in extreme desert conditions. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Brazil Orders Falcon III Radios

Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company, has received $14 million in orders from the Federative Republic of Brazil to provide Falcon III and Falcon II tactical radios to the country's armed forces.

Brazil will deploy the radios in a range of humanitarian, security and disaster relief missions, such as support for the nation of Haiti in its recovery from the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Harris will provide Brazil with the Falcon III RF-7800V Very-High Frequency (VHF) handheld combat net radio, which provides forward-deployed forces with wireless voice and high-bandwidth data communications. The RF-7800V transmits data at rates up to 192 Kbps over the 30 to 108 MHz frequency band at 50 watts of power, making it the fastest VHF combat net radio available.

South Korea to get first high-altitude spy plane

South Korea will start receiving advanced surveillance planes from US aircraft giant Boeing this year, officials said Wednesday.

The first of the modified Boeing 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) planes will be delivered to South Korea's air force in July, a defence ministry spokesman said.

It has successfully completed test flights and is now in the final stage of evaluation, he said.
The remaining three being built under a 1.6 billion dollar deal in 2006 will be delivered by the end of 2012, he said.

First MC-130J training program takes flight

As the first MC-130J Combat Shadow II rolled off the Lockheed Martin factory line, a training flight class recently conducted sorties in preparation for transition to the new airframe.

The Air Force Special Operations Training Center's first MC-130J training program flight class practiced air drops, aerial refueling and formation on an EC-130J Commando Solo at Harrisburg International Airport, PA recently.

AFSOTC officials worked in conjunction with members from the 193rd Special Operations Wing, Marines and National Guard Bureau officials to kick-start a training program two years in the making.

Future Soldier System Equipment Delivered To Bundeswehr

Cassidian has been commissioned by Germany's Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB) to deliver a further 400 units of the Future Soldier System (Infanterist der Zukunft) in its basic version (IdZ BS).

This is part of an immediate procurement measure to meet the needs of the Bundeswehr forces deployed in Afghanistan in the context of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission.

It means that another 400 Bundeswehr soldiers will be supported by the tried and tested soldier system for mission preparation and execution. This new delivery will raise the Bundeswehr's total number of IdZ BS equipment sets to 2,900.