Saturday, April 30, 2011

Raytheon Delivers First Standard Missile-6 to U.S. Navy

Raytheon Company delivered the first Standard Missile-6 production round to the U.S. Navy.

"Five years ago, Raytheon promised the U.S. Navy that SM-6 would be delivered in March 2011, and we delivered on that promise," said Frank Wyatt, vice president of Raytheon's Air and Missile Defense Systems product line. "Raytheon delivered the SM-6 to our customer and met cost expectations for system development and demonstration. Now the U.S. Navy has a missile that provides an umbrella of protection against the full spectrum of air threats."

SM-6 leverages the legacy Standard Missile airframe and propulsion elements while incorporating the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities of Raytheon's Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile.

"SM-6 is a remarkable missile because it combines the reliability of time-tested systems with all the latest advancements in missile technology," said Wyatt. "This missile can use both active and semiactive modes, giving the warfighter an enhanced ability to reach remote targets."

Gripen Not on the Shortlist for the Indian MMRCA Programme

Today defence and security company Saab AB has received information from the Indian Ministry of Defence that Gripen has not been shortlisted for the Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme.

”We are offering India a world-class, next-generation fighter aircraft to a very competitive price and an extensive technology transfer programme. We have received this decision and will closely monitor the future process and provide additional information if requested by the Indian Ministry of Defence. We are confident that the Gripen system is the perfect match for the Indian Air Force as well as meeting the highest requirements for the international markets,” says Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO at Saab.

India is one of Saab’s most important markets. For example, Saab recently announced an investment in a research and development centre in India.

Israel Acquires Additional Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules

Lockheed Martin has received an Undefinitized Contract Action from the U.S. Government for the Foreign Military Sale of an additional C130J to Israel, with funding for advanced procurement items for a third aircraft.

Israel ordered its first C-130J in April 2010 and will receive that aircraft in spring 2013. The next two aircraft will be delivered in late 2013 and late 2014 respectively. The contract also covers a number of items to meet Israel's unique operational requirements. The Israeli Air Force's new Super Hercules are the longer fuselage or "stretched" variant of the C-130J.

"We are providing Israel with the most flexible and capable airlifter in the world as that country continues to expand its advanced airlift fleet. The proven multi-role and multi-mission capability and performance of the C-130J are ideally suited to the unique requirements of the Israeli Air Force," said Jim Grant, Lockheed Martin vice president of Business Development for Air Mobility.

Is ITAR to Blame for US Loss in India:?

Defense contractors and industry experts are trying to come to grips with India’s decision to exclude The Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. from its $11 billion competition for a new fighter jet.

No specific rationale has yet been given by the Indian government for its determination to jettison Boeing's F/A-18, Lockheed F-16 and Saab’s Gripen fighters, and proceed with a head-to-head contest only between two European offers — the Eurofighter and the Dassault Rafale.

“Companies are very concerned about the logic for the decision,” said a U.S. industry source. “There’s a bit of puzzlement.”

US ‘Disappointed’ by India Shut-out; No Official Word from India Yet

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi was informed yesterday that two aircraft offered by the U.S. Government through the Foreign Military Sales process were not selected for procurement by the Indian Ministry of Defense.

Ambassador Roemer noted, "We are reviewing the documents received from the Government of India and are respectful of the procurement process. We are, however, deeply disappointed by this news. We look forward to continuing to grow and develop our defense partnership with India and remain convinced that the United States offers our defense partners around the globe the world's most advanced and reliable technology.

“I have been personally assured at the highest levels of the Indian government that the procurement process for this aircraft has been and will be transparent and fair. I am extremely confident that the Boeing F/A 18IN and Lockheed-Martin F-16IN would provide the Indian Air Force an unbeatable platform with proven technologies at a competitive price."

Italian Jets Fly First Libyan Strike Mission

Italian aircraft launched their first strikes on Libyan targets April 28, two days after the Italian government said it would participate in NATO air raids on forces led by Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Defence Ministry sources said "at least a couple" of Tornado aircraft took off from Trapani air base in Sicily to take part in raids.

The Italian government has hitherto refrained from launching strikes on Libya, citing sensitivities over its colonial role in the country. Italian Air Force jets have instead participated in no-fly zone patrols. Italian Tornado ECR aircraft have also monitored the status of Libyan air defense radars.

Australia to Boost Military Ties With China

Australia will host more Chinese warships and increase live-firing and other defense exercises with the Asian powerhouse in a bid to boost ties, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said April 28.

Speaking to Australian media as she wrapped up a North Asia tour, including her first visit to Beijing as leader, Gillard said she discussed greater military cooperation during "friendly" talks with President Hu Jintao.

"(We) indicated a preparedness to keep discussing defense cooperation," she said. "We have indicated we are open to ships visiting Australian ports (and) there's some prospect that there will be some visiting before the end of the year. It's a few small steps on a journey to better understanding each other's military perspectives."

Taiwan To Build New 'Stealth' Warship

The warship, which the navy says is harder to detect on radar, is expected to emerge after China puts into service its first battle carrier group, the legislator said.

The twin-hulled boat will be armed with up to eight home-grown Hsiung-feng II ship-to-ship missiles and eight other more lethal Hsiung-feng III anti-ship supersonic missiles.

The remarks came as China has been restoring Varyag, a former Soviet aircraft carrier bought in 1998.

South Korea Plans Exercises On Border Islands

South Korea will stage live-fire artillery exercises in the coming week on two frontline islands including one hit by a deadly North Korean shelling last November, according to an April 30 news report.

A defense ministry spokesman said that regular military exercises will be carried out on the islands, but he declined to give further details on the timing or whether live-fire drills will be carried out.

Dong-A Ilbo daily said South Korean Marines will fire K9 self-propelled howitzers, Vulcan cannons and 81mm mortars deployed on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands, both located near the tense Yellow Sea border.

India Rejects Russia's Fighter Jet Bid: Official

Russia confirmed April 29 that India had rejected its bid to supply its traditional ally with 126 multi-role combat aircraft in a deal worth about $12 billion.

A spokesman for the Rosoboronexport agency responsible for foreign military contracts said India had informed Russia of the decision earlier in the week.

The official added that no formal explanation was given for the decision and that the choice "was the exclusive right of India".

Friday, April 29, 2011

IAF to deploy 2 Su-30 squadrons in South West Air Command

The Indian Air Force is strengthening itself towards dealing with any sort of threats specially from Pakistan and China, air marshal A K Gogoi, AOC-in-C of South West Air Command (SWAC) said here on Wednesday.

Gogoi, who was on a three-day visit to the Jodhpur air base, his first after taking over the command of SWAC, said the base here, the headquarters of SWAC, will have a permanent squadron of SU-30 fighter in the next two years.

On deployment of the Akash missile, the medium range surface-to-air missile developed by DRDO, Gogoi said two squadrons armed with these missiles are set to be deployed, of which one will be at the SWAC region in Pune.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

IAF scouting for long-range missiles

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is scouting the global arms market for stand-off missiles for its modern fighter jets to shore up their capability to shoot down enemy aircraft beyond visual range, an officer said Monday.

The IAF has issued a request for information (RFI) to global manufacturers of stand-off missiles fitted with light warheads that are capable of hitting enemy planes without engaging them in close dogfights, the officer said here.

"Such missiles become very potent when linked with airborne early warning and control systems (AWACS) that provide inputs on enemy missiles and aircraft beyond visual range. We do possess AWACS and we can make best use of these missiles," the officer added.

SWAC gets a boost with Su-30MKI squadrons, Akash SAM and radars news

The Indian Air Force's south west air command (SWAC) will have a Su-30MKI squadron permanently based at Jodhpur sometime in the next two years, according to air marshal AK Gogoi, AOC-in-C of SWAC. Speaking here on Wednesday, air marshal Gogoi said the air force was strengthening itself and would be able to deal with any sort of threat especially from Pakistan and China.

Air marshal Gogoi was on a three-day visit to the Jodhpur air base, the headquarters of SWAC, his first after assuming command.

Talking about the deployment of the DRDO-developed medium range, surface-to-air, Akash missile, air marshal Gogoi, two squadrons of these missiles were soon be deployed, of which one will be at Pune, which falls under SWAC's command. The other deployment would be at Gwalior.

UAE F-16 Crashes While Landing In Italy: Report

A fighter jet taking part in military operations over Libya crashed April 27 on landing at an air base in Italy, a NATO official told AFP.

"An F-16 crashed on landing at Sigonella Air Base. The pilot ejected and his further condition is being assessed," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The plane was not on a combat operation and was being transferred from Decimomannu Air Base in Sardinia to Sigonella, the official said.

The official declined to give further details on the condition of the pilot.

Italy's ANSA news agency reported that the fighter jet belonged to the United Arab Emirates and said the base had been temporarily shut down.

The UAE, which is not a member of NATO, last month deployed 12 fighter jets at Decimomannu, including six F-16s and six Mirages, for the enforcement of a no-fly zone on Libya mandated by the U.N. Security Council.

Taiwan Missile Can Reach Beijing

Taiwan has developed a missile capable of reaching Beijing and tested it successfully three years ago, a report said April 27, citing a former defense minister.

Taiwan's military successfully fired the medium-range missile in early 2008 in a secret test attended by then President Chen Shui-bian, said former Defense Minister Michael Tsai in memoirs released this week.

Tsai did not specify the range of the missile but the United Daily News said April 27 it was capable of reaching major Chinese cities including Beijing, Chengdu and Shenyang with a 2,000-kilometer (1,250-mile) range.

India Shortlists Rafale, Eurofighter for Jet Deal

India has shortlisted Dassault's Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon for a $12 billion dollar fighter jet deal, cutting out U.S. bidders from one of the largest military contracts of recent years.

The U.S. embassy in New Delhi confirmed April 28 that Lockheed Martin's F-16 and Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet had both been ruled out of the running for India's planned purchase of 126 multirole combat aircraft.

Ambassador Timothy Roemer, who announced separately April 28 that he was resigning his post for personal reasons, said the U.S. government was "deeply disappointed" by the decision.

Monday, April 25, 2011

India To Develop Anti-Satellite Technologies

In January 2007 China successfully tested an anti-satellite missile system. That test, although primarily meant as a warning shot across America’s bow, also helped concentrate New Delhi’s mind to begin fashioning policy responses to the militarization of space. The former head of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Dr. Kasturirangan, typified India’s response when he noted: “obviously we start worrying…India has spent a huge sum to develop its capabilities and place assets in space…there is a need to look at means to securing these.”1 The scientific advisor to the Indian defense minister also warned that China’s test could possibly lead ISRO and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to collaborate in developing satellite kill technologies.2 The debate was subsequently joined in by the chief of India’s air force Air Chief Marshal Naik who made a forceful case for building anti-satellite weapons on the grounds that, “Our satellites are vulnerable to anti-satellite weapon systems because our neighborhood possesses one.”3 These and other statements do not imply that India has an instituted anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) program. But they strongly suggest that Indian government agencies have begun exploratory efforts aimed at possibly instituting one.

After Pakistan missile test, India flexes muscle

Diplomatic re-engagement may have begun afresh but both sides are keeping their powder dry. The 1.13-million strong Indian Army is honing its war-fighting machinery with a major combat exercise, codenamed "Vijayee Bhava'' (Be Victorious), in the Thar desert to practice "high tempo'' operations to cut across the border.

Squeamish for long with India's "pro-active conventional war strategy'', or what is colloquially dubbed the "cold start'' doctrine, Pakistan in turn test-fired a new nuclear-capable ballistic missile Hatf-IX on Tuesday.

Given that Hatf-IX has a strike range of only 60 km, it is clearly intended for brandishing as a "battlefield nuclear weapon'' to deter Indian armoured forces from launching rapid thrusts into its territory.

Two New US Navy Destroyers Fitted with Aegis

The U.S. Navy, supported by Lockheed Martin has installed the Aegis Combat System aboard two new Navy destroyers, USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109). The Aegis Combat Systems aboard the ships have also been certified as fully operational through the tests known as Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials.

During the trials, the ships' Aegis Combat Systems were evaluated for combat-readiness through comprehensive surface, subsurface and anti-air warfare exercises. These included manned raids and electronic attack scenarios, as well as thorough testing of the systems' tactical data link and air defense capabilities.

"The Aegis systems installed on these two ships represent continued improvements to what is a very agile and capable Aegis system," said Carmen Valentino, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Future Surface Combat systems.

Chinese Aircraft Carrier Due to Sail Soon

After nearly nine years of refurbishing work, the ex-Russian aircraft carrier Shilang will soon be carrying out her sea trials for the Chinese Navy. Originally built in a Ukrainian shipyard as a member of the Project 1143.5 class named Varyag, the carrier was purchased as a derelict hulk in 1998 for about $20 million. The carrier is now named in honor of the Qing Dynasty admiral who conquered what is now known as Taiwan in 1681. There probably is a message in that.

The entry to service of the Shilang will mark a major change in the operational profile of the Chinese People's Liberation Forces Navy. This profile will take some time to mature, because Chinese pilots have no experience taking off from and landing aircraft on carriers and will require several years of at-sea experience before they become fully capable of routine operations. However, one carrier does not make for a convincing capability, so it is unlikely the Shilang will be the last of her kind.

This is where a mystery creeps in. The designation for the reconstruction work on the Shilang is Project 089. In 2008, the Chinese purchased four sets of arrester equipment as used on the Project 1143.5 carriers Varyag and Kuznetsov. One set was installed on the Shilang, the second on the Wuhan "carrier in the cornfield" test facility. The third and fourth sets appear to have been assigned to two additional Project 089 ships, on which first metal has already been cut.

The problem is that a second designation for a Chinese carrier program, Project 085, has appeared and is associated with the reconstruction of the Varyag. The most likely rationale for the designation is that the Chinese see the ski-jump-equipped Project 089 class ships as being an interim solution aimed as much at gaining experience in the construction of aircraft carriers and developing expertise in their operations as providing a full organic aircraft capability. A catapult-equipped version of the design may well be seen as the preferred operational solution.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

India’s PSLV-6 Rocket Launches EO Satellites

The seventeenth consecutive successful flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV C-16 has placed India’s latest remote sensing satellite Resourcesat-2, in a Polar Sun Synchronous orbit.

The mission control centre at Sriharikota burst into a loud applause and jubilation as the rocket blasted off in a southerly direction in a perfect predetermined flight trajectory. All flight parameters were normal.

About 1037 seconds after lift-off, the Resourcesat-2 got separated from the launch vehicle and was injected into the orbit.

New Warhead Shrinks Raytheon Small Tactical Munition

Raytheon Company tested a new warhead for its Small Tactical Munition, a new weapon specifically designed to be employed from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). STM is a 13-pound guided munition that is approximately 2 feet long, making it the smallest air-launched weapon in the Raytheon portfolio.

The new 5-pound warhead, manufactured by NammoTalley, is lighter than the current warhead but has significantly improved blast-fragment capability compared with the old design enabling Raytheon to reduce the size and weight of STM significantly.

"The low weight and small size of STM enables UAS to fly farther, faster and carry more weapons then they could if they were limited to carrying a single 100-pound class weapon," said Bob Francois, Raytheon vice president of Advanced Missiles and Unmanned Systems. "STM's small size also enables weaponization of smaller UAS, such as the Shadow 200, that currently cannot be weaponized because of payload limitations."

Israel May Buy Used F-15s As Hedge Against JSF Delays

Due to worries over F-35 delivery delays, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) is considering the purchase of some used F-15s from U.S. Air Force stocks.

The Israelis are purchasing a squadron of 20 F-35s which they agreed to buy last fall under a $2.75 billion deal. The Israeli F-35 acquisition is being financed through U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance, which comes to $3 billion annually.

But with the delivery of the F-35s now pushed back to late 2018 or beyond, the Israelis are seeking solutions to prevent the emergence of a capabilities gap.

The first part of the IAF plan calls for upgrading the service's current fleet of F-15s (68 aircraft) and F-16s (299 aircraft); the second part calls for procuring the used F-15s as a short-term solution until the F-35 enters service.

First Sniper Pods Delivered to South Korea

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) recently received Lockheed Martin Sniper pods for their F-15K aircraft. Delivered to Daegu Air Base, South Korea, these pods will be immediately deployed into full flight operations with the ROKAF F-15K fleet.

"Sniper pods provide the ROKAF with updated targeting and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (NTISR) capabilities for the F-15K fleet," said Marc Nazon, program manager for Fixed Wing Fire Control at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "We look forward to continued support and training to ensure that ROKAF pilots and maintainers have a full command of the Sniper pod's capabilities."

In 2009, Lockheed Martin demonstrated the benefits of Sniper pod's capability for ROKAF by successfully flying Sniper on the F-15K and the KF-16 aircraft with a common Sniper pod software load. This capability allows operators to readily deploy the pod on various aircraft types, significantly reducing targeting pod life cycle costs.

Pakistan tests nuclear capable, short-range missile

Pakistan on Tuesday successfully test-fired a newly developed short-range, surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile, the army said.

Nasr, a ballistic missile of Hatf series, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead can hit targets up to 60 km, reported Geo News.

"This quick response system addresses the need to deter evolving threats," Xinhua quoted the Pakistani army as saying.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Indian warships arrive in Vladivostok

A group of Indian warships today arrived in Vladivostok, the main Russian Pacific Fleet base, to begin drills with the Russian Navy after exercises with the US Navy.

Three Indian warships INS Ranvir and Ranvijay, both missile destroyers and indigenous Frigate INS Delhi, a Kirch Corvette and the tanker Jyoti docked at the famous Russian far eastern port, Itar-Tass reported.

The warships from the Eastern Fleet are commanded by Rear Admiral Bisht will hold sea-manoeuvres with the Russian Navy's massive anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributz.

India to order eight minesweepers from South Korea

India is all set to place an order with a South Korean shipyard for building eight minesweepers for its navy in its quest to overhaul its existing fleet of such specialised warships, defence ministry sources say.

The ministry has zeroed in on Pusan-based Kangnam Corporation as the lowest bidder that is technically qualified to execute the order for which Italian firm Intermarine was among the shortlisted companies.

"The defence ministry has initiated cost negotiations with Kangnam Corporation that is expected to be completed in a month or two, when the order will be finally placed," a senior defence ministry official told IANS.

India to integrate indigenous airborne radar in July

Aiming to enhance the Indian Air Force's surveillance and strike capacity, India will begin integrating the indigenously-built Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system atop the Brazilian Embraer aircraft in July, a top defence official said Saturday.

'The first Embraer plane (EMB-1451) will land in India by June-end after its power units have been connected to our airborne early warning radar fitted atop. Integration of its sub-systems will begin in July for user trials,' the defence minister's Scientific Advisor V.K. Saraswat told reporters here Saturday.

India placed the order, valued at $400 million, with Brazilian aerospace major Embraer to supply three aircraft, customised with advanced radars for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2013.

India and South Africa to conduct joint Naval exercise

India and South Africa on 14 April Thursday decided to hold joint Naval exercises. This was decided when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Jacob Zuma met in China and discussed ways to boost overall ties.

In addition, the two leaders discussed bilateral defence issues. This was told by Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry Manbir Singh. “Talking about the defence ties, the two leaders felt that these could be further strengthened,” Manbir Singh said.

In this context, the leaders decided that the two countries would hold Naval exercises. Indian and South African navies have already held joint manoeuvres during IBSAMAR 2010. IBSAMAR II had 11 ships taking part from the navies of India, Brazil and South Africa. During IBSAMAR II, South Africa was the host country, India was the lead country and Brazil was the support country.

Indian Navy crew training in Russia for Gorshkov

India is gearing up to take delivery of the 45,000-tonne Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier with the Navy training a batch of sailors in Russia as the warship's first crew ahead of its induction in January 2013.

The 152 sailors and officers commenced their training in St Petersburg in Russia three weeks ago to prepare for the takeover of the Kiev-class aircraft carrier in December 2012.

The warship, bought by India in 2004, is undergoing a repair and refit programme at the Sevmash shipyard in northwest Russia.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

China To Launch Carrier This Year: Taiwan

Taiwan's spy chief on April 25 said China could bring its first aircraft carrier into service before the end of the year, kindling fears in Taipei over Beijing's continued naval buildup.

Tsai Teh-sheng, head of the island's National Security Bureau, said Varyag - a half-completed Soviet-era aircraft carrier Beijing obtained from Ukraine in 1998 - is expected to make its maiden voyage before the end of 2011.
een docked in China's Dalian harbor, where it has undergone extensive refurbishing work since 2002.

"Varyag has restored its sailing capability, and is expected to start providing training missions before the end of 2011," Tsai said in response to a parliamentary question by Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang party.

Monday, April 18, 2011

VL Mica Intercepts Stand-Off, Maneuvering Target

In a scenario representing the protection of a sensitive zone against weapons launched from a secure distance, VL MICA has once again demonstrated the high level of its operational capabilities.
15 April 2011

On the 13th April 2011, at the French DGA-Essais Missiles test centre in Biscarosse, South West France, a VL MICA missile launched from a ground based vertical launcher and controlled by a Tactical Operations Centre (TOC) developed by MBDA, intercepted a manoeuvring target flying at medium altitude and at a range greater than 15 km.

The objective of the test firing was to demonstrate the capabilities of the VL MICA system against precision weapons launched from a stand-off range. Organised by MBDA with the support of various DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement) teams, the test was a natural follow on from the evaluations which have just been concluded by the French Air Force as part of their SALVE (Sol-Air à Lancement VErtical) technical demonstration programme.

Embraer to Upgrade 11 More Brazilian F-5 Fighters

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and Embraer signed a contract for the upgrading of 11 more F-5 fighters. The announcement was made on Thursday April 14 in Rio de Janeiro, during the LAAD 2011 defense and aerospace exhibition. The package also includes the provision of an additional flight simulator.

The agreement is an extension of the contract signed in 2000 for the modernization of a first batch of 46 F-5E. Of this total, 39 aircraft have been delivered and two are in process of collection. The rest will be delivered this year.

The modernization program is focused on providing the aircraft with an electronic warfare system of the latest generation, new avionics, in-flight refueling capability and increased operational capacity, as well as extending the useful life of the aircraft by at least another 15 years. The investment is of 276 million reals.

SM-3 Shoots Down Separating IRBM Target

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Navy sailors aboard the Aegis destroyer USS O’KANE (DDG 77), and soldiers from the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command operating from the 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, successfully conducted a flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System, resulting in the intercept of a separating ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean.

This successful test demonstrated the capability of the first phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) announced by the President in September, 2009.

At 2:52 a.m. EDT (6:52 p.m. April 15 Marshall Island Time), an Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile target was launched from the Reagan Test Site, located on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, approximately 2,300 miles southwest of Hawaii. The target flew in a northeasterly direction towards a broad ocean area in the Pacific Ocean.

German Army Orders Additional DINGO 2 Vehicles

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has received an order for the assembly and delivery of 39 DINGO 2 in its most modern version, the DINGO 2 GE from the Federal Office for Defence and Procurement (BWB) in Koblenz.

The vice president of the BWB, Reinhard Schütte, and KMW COO Jürgen Weber, signed a corresponding contract in Koblenz today. KMW will deliver the vehicles to the army by November 2011. Shortly after they will be at the disposal of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan.

“With a repeat order such as this one, the German Army emphasizes its trust in Krauss-Maffei Wegmann as a trustworthy partner which reacts quickly, flexibly and reliably to the demands of its customers,” said Jürgen Weber after the signing of the contract.

Norway Launches Phase II Development of JSM Missile

The Norwegian Government has decided to present the continued development phase II of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) for the F-35 Lightning II – Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) - for the Parliament (“The Storting”).

For Kongsberg this represents a continuation of the JSM development until 2013, should the Storting approve it. There is consensus between Kongsberg and the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization (NDLO) for a JSM phase II development contract worth MNOK 535. The contract will engage more than 100 employees at Kongsberg. The JSM development started in 2008. A development contract worth MNOK 166 between Kongsberg and NDLO was signed in 2009.

“The JSM-development contract will contribute to secure Kongsberg and several Norwegian Defence suppliers export related to the fighter program. This confirms that the missile technology developed by the Norwegian Defence, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, Kongsberg and its suppliers is competitive internationally and covers the operational requirements for Norway and other F-35 partner nations. JSM will be a technological joint effort that will lift a broader scope of Norwegian industry to a new level,” says President in Kongsberg Defence Systems, Harald Aannestad.

Lockheed, Atmos Team for Brazil Radar Upgrade

Lockheed Martin and Atmos Sistemas, Ltda., have signed a teaming agreement to pursue the Brazilian Air Force's future Three-Dimensional Long-Range Radar procurement program.

The Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira, FAB) has said it plans to modernize a network of more than 60 sensors, including ground-based long-range radars, that maintain security and air safety over the country.

"This agreement with Lockheed Martin is of high importance to Brazil, as it will allow us to gain important technical knowledge in the area of 3-D medium- and long-range solid-state surveillance radars," said Claudio Carvas, CEO of Atmos Sistemas. According to Lockheed Martin, this agreement will allow technology transfer, enhance the Brazilian defense industry, and provide local, long-term support of the new radars.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

France Says NATO Not Fulfilling Its Role In Libya

France says NATO is not fulfilling its role properly to protect civilians in Libya by destroying the regime's heavy weapons. This comes after the rebels rejected a cease-fire proposal brokered by the African Union.

France has criticized its NATO allies for not doing enough to protect civilians and said the alliance was lacking an effective strategy for destroying the regime's heavy weapons.

"NATO must play its full role, and it is not doing so sufficiently," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday. He added that he would raise the issue at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday and with his NATO counterparts later this week in Berlin.

Sweden Close to Signing Order for 25 Black Hawks

Sweden has committed to buying 15 new American-made Black Hawk helicopters to help increase its fleet in Afghanistan.

Final negotiations are ongoing and if all goes well the first of the new machines may be delivered within a year, according to Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors.

The plan is for Swedish pilots begin training on the new helicopter system in the US this summer in readiness for the arrival of the helicopters early next year. This, according to Tolgfors will allow Sweden to increase its military presence in Afghanistan from 2013.

Former Yugoslav Nations Seek to Partner on Kuwaiti M-84 Upgrade Contract

Three European nations that were part of the former Yugoslavia - Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia - are seeking to partner on a joint venture to overhaul Kuwait's M-84 tank fleet.

Kuwait ordered 155 M-84 tanks from the former Yugoslavia in 1989, deliveries of which began in 1990. Production of the M-84 tank - a Yugoslav version of the Soviet T-72 - began in 1984. The tank parts were manufactured in 240 factories across Yugoslavia, with another 1,000 factories indirectly involved in equipping the tanks. Despite the outbreak of the Balkan wars in the early 1990s, tank production continued in Serbia and Croatia even though the two had suspended relations with each other.

The Serbian Defense Ministry has announced that overhaul and modernization work on the Kuwaiti tanks could be worth up to $400 million. Serbia's arms trading company Yugoimport has touted two modernized versions of the tank in recent years, with the ability to fire laser-guided anti-tank missiles considered one of the chief improvements to the original model.

B-1B Lancer Upgrade Will Triple Payload

Airmen from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron began their first phase of demonstrations of a multiple ejector rack on a B-1B Lancer here March 22.

If fielded, 16-carry modified rotary launchers will increase the number of 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions and laser-guided JDAMs carried by the B-1B from 15 to 48, a 320 percent increase in capability.

"Currently a B-1 can deliver twice the payload of a B-52 (Stratofortress), meaning, theoretically, with the MER upgrade, one B-1 will be able to deliver the same amount of payload as four B-52s," said Col. Gerald Goodfellow, the 7th Operations Group commander.

Swedish Gripens Fly Patrol Mission Over Libya

“It's a historic day,” says Anders Silwer, the Air Force Inspector, after participating in one of the first missions in support of UN Resolution 1973.

During the mission, which began at 15:55 on Friday from Sigonella air base in Sicily, included air refueling by a TP-84T [C-130 Hercules tanker—Ed.] at 10,000 feet. The two JAS 39s then flew on to enforce the No-Fly Zone around Tripoli.

“The air refueling went very well. It was completely undramatic,” says Anders Silwer, who was traveling in the mid-air refueling plane.

First Phalanx CIWS Delivered to South Korea

Raytheon Company delivered the first Phalanx Close-In Weapon System to the Republic of Korea Navy for batch one of the new Ulsan-1 class FFX ship program.

The direct commercial sale calls for the Phalanx Block 1B system to be installed on the lead ship of the 2,300-ton frigate class this year; it represents Phalanx's introduction into the ROK fleet. Raytheon expects to sign a contract with South Korea for an additional five Phalanx systems in the near future.

"The Phalanx system is fully capable of defending against all types of air and surface threats in the naval environment," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon's Naval Weapons Systems product line. "Coupled with the reliability and availability of this world-class system, the South Korean fleet will have the best possible ship self-defense available."

Singapore Deploys Fokker 50 MPA to Gulf of Aden

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has deployed a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (F-50 MPA) to support the international counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden. Chief of Air Force Major-General Ng Chee Meng officiated at the send-off ceremony for the 38-man F-50 MPA detachment at Changi Air Base this morning.

This is the first time that the SAF has deployed an F-50 MPA to support the international counter-piracy efforts. During its three-month deployment, the F-50 MPA detachment will be based in Djibouti and operate under the ambit of multinational Combined Task Force (CTF) 151.

The F-50 MPA will conduct maritime air surveillance to provide CTF 151 with an enhanced sea situation picture of the Gulf of Aden, as well as perform coordinated search operations to locate and investigate suspicious vessels. The detachment comprises air, ground and communications support crew, as well as logistics personnel.

RAAF C-17 Helps RAF Transport Wolfhounds

British soldiers battling the Taliban in Afghanistan will get better protection from attacks by insurgents thanks in part to the teamwork shown by the RAF and the Australian Defence Force.

Troops in Helmand province have now taken early delivery of the new 20-foot-long (6m) Wolfhound variant of the Cougar armoured fighting vehicle thanks to close co-operation between coalition allies.

The RAF's strategic air transport hub in the Middle East is currently a hive of activity due to the Royal Marines from 3 Commando Brigade taking over from the soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade in Afghanistan who have completed their six-month tour of duty.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

BAE Systems Exhibits at Navy League

BAE Systems will showcase products and capabilities that offer affordable, adaptive solutions at the Navy League Sea Air Space Exposition, April 11-13 at the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

The BAE Systems exhibit (booth #1419) [will exhibit] technologies, equipment and services that reduce costs and enhance the performance, safety, and mission success of U.S. maritime and naval operations at sea and ashore, including:

-- Readiness & sustainment, and modernization
From preparation and training programs to maintenance, repair, overhaul, and enhancement services, BAE Systems supports the operational readiness of the U.S. Navy’s fleet as a leading provider of non-nuclear ship repair, maintenance, and modernization services. Products and services to be highlighted include automated weapon assembly, cruiser modernizations, and dry dock services.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Russia Smashes Weapon Export Records

Military officials reported on Thursday that Russian armament industries exported more than US$10 billion dollars of weapons last year, surpassing original estimates.

"We set a new record," Mikhail Dmitriyev, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Co-operation (FSVTS) told Kommersant in an interview. "The target level was set at $9.5 billion. We exceeded $10 billion, so our target level has been surpassed. We have another good report for the Russian president."

The head of FSVTS added that 2010 was the first year when "the planned task was fulfilled without excessive effort."

Russia floats out new missile frigate for Caspian Sea

Shipbuilders in Russia's republic of Tatarstan floated out a second Gepard class frigate for the Russian Navy, the Zelenodolsk Shipyard said on Monday.

The Dagestan frigate is expected to join the Caspian Flotilla in 2011 after a series of sea trials.

The first Gepard class frigate in the Russian Navy, the Tatarstan, has been serving as the flagship of the Caspian Flotilla since 2002.

Russian Army to get new multiple rocket launchers

Russia's Ground Forces will start taking delivery of new Tornado-G multiple rocket launching systems (MRLS), replacing the current Grad systems, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Sergei Vlasov said on Monday.

This will further increase the Army's firepower and standoff capability for effective engagement, Vlasov said.

Tornados are superior to Grads in their effectiveness, automated control, aiming and satellite navigation systems, Vlasov said, without disclosing any technical details.

Russia, Norway to hold joint naval drills in May

The Russian Northern Fleet and the Norwegian Navy will conduct the Pomor-2011 joint drills in the Arctic in May, a spokesman for the Northern Fleet said.

"The exercise will take place in the Barents and Norwegian Seas, and will include firing of live artillery rounds at simulated surface and aerial targets, anti-submarine warfare drills, anti-piracy operations, and search-and-rescue missions," Vadim Serga said on Thursday.

Russia and Norway held similar naval drills last June to practice interoperability during missions in the Arctic.

The Norwegian Navy was represented by guided missile frigate Otto Sverdrup, Coast Guard ship Nordkapp, the Orion patrol aircraft, F-16 fighters and Lynx helicopters, while Russia's Northern Fleet contributed the Severomorsk destroyer, Il-38 ASW aircraft, Su-33 fighters and a Ka-27 naval helicopter.

Israel's Iron Dome Intercepts First Gaza Rocket

Israel's Iron Dome short-range missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza for the first time April 7 over the city of Ashkelon, an AFP correspondent said.

A military source confirmed the rocket had been brought down by the unique multimillion-dollar system, which came into operation on March 27, the first time a short-range interceptor has been deployed anywhere.

As the rocket came in from Gaza, the interceptor missile streaked up into the sky to hit it with the two trails converging in an explosion, the AFP correspondent said.

South Africa Exporting Arms to Repressive Regimes

South Africa has exported millions of dollars' worth of arms to some of the world's most repressive regimes, a weekly newspaper said Sunday, citing a classified government weapons report.

Africa's largest arms exporter has sold weapons to five of the 10 least democratic states on the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index and 10 of the 25 worst performers on the Global Peace Index, which ranks nations by their peacefulness, according to The Sunday Independent.

The paper cites Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burundi, China, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen as countries with questionable democracy and human rights records that have received South African weapons.

NATO Strikes 25 Libyan Tanks Near Ajdabiya, Misrata: General

NATO warplanes destroyed 11 regime tanks on the road to the eastern Libyan town of Ajdabiya and another 14 tanks near Misrata in the west on April 10, the operation's commander said.

"The situation in Ajdabiya, and Misratah in particular, is desperate for those Libyans who are being brutally shelled by the (Moammar Gadhafi) regime," said Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, the NATO operation's commander.

"To help protect these civilians we continue to strike these forces hard, with 11 tanks destroyed today as they approached Ajdabiya, and 14 tanks destroyed earlier this morning in the outskirts of Misrata," he said.

Dutch Army to Sell All Leopards and Cougars

The cabinet is virtually certain to announce enormous cutbacks at defence today. According to a leaked draft version of the measures, 12,000 jobs and complete army units will disappear.

Defence Minister Hans Hillen already announced permanent budget cuts of 1 billion euros per year earlier. The cabinet already considered the far-reaching cutbacks last week. The decision was however postponed and will likely be made today.

Public broadcaster NOS has already obtained the plans. It says that all 60 Leopard tanks will be divested. The 17 Cougar helicopters are also to go, as well as four of the 10 mine-sweepers. At least one-third of the 86 F-16s will also be sold.

India in talks with Germany to upgrade HDW vessel capabilities

With the Scorpene submarine project getting delayed, India is holding talks with Germany to upgrade the capabilities of its HDW underwater vessels.

Discussions in this regard are being held between the two countries at the ongoing fifth Indo-German Defence Committee meeting here, Navy sources told agency.

"Our submarine fleet is depleting and numbers are expected to go down with the delay in the Scorpene project.

BAE Selected to Demo Tactical Laser for US Navy

BAE Systems has received a contract valued at $2.8 million from the U.S. Navy to demonstrate a Tactical Laser System (TLS) that can be integrated with existing U.S. Navy gun mounts.

The TLS couples a solid-state high-energy laser with the weapons module to provide extremely precise targeting and counter-material disabling effects. The system also provides the ability to deliver scalable effects by varying the level of laser energy required, depending on the target and mission objectives.

“The Tactical Laser System provides a 21st century-directed energy weapon system with speed-of-light precision effects against surface threats,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems for BAE Systems.

Israel To Supply Soltam SP Artillery To African Country

Elbit Systems Ltd. announced today that it was awarded a contract to supply self-propelled artillery and accompanying systems to an African country. The contract, valued at approximately $24 million, will be performed over the next two years. This is the first contract announcement regarding Soltam Systems Ltd. ("Soltam") since its recent acquisition by Elbit Systems.

The contract calls for the supply of a complete solution, including Soltam's ATMOS self-propelled artillery, command stations, observation and target acquisition systems, as well as fire control and command and control systems. In addition, Elbit Systems will manage the training and maintenance during the project's duration.

Bezalel Machlis, Elbit Systems' Executive Vice President and General Manager - Land and C4I Division, commented: "This new contract highlights the high synergetic value within our various land activities, allowing us to provide our customers with complete unique solutions, from artillery platforms, to target acquisition systems, through to advanced command and control solutions that connect all of the systems." Machlis added: "Our integrative solution, combining Soltam's artillery systems and our range of advanced electronic capabilities, provides a cutting-edge operational solution suitable for the growing trend of a transition to wheeled mobile platforms for artillery."

Boeing Exhibits at Navy League Expo

At this year's Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition, The Boeing Company will display a broad range of proven and emerging maritime and air capabilities to support U.S. Navy readiness. Sea-Air-Space -- the world's largest maritime exposition -- will take place April 11-13 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

"Boeing products, and the capabilities they deliver, are directly supporting the men and women of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine, around the globe, each day," said Matt Moffit, Boeing vice president, Navy/Marine Corps Programs. "Boeing remains focused on delivering advanced capabilities for our customers, while also continuing to invest in and develop the right customer solutions for tomorrow."

Boeing's presence at the event will include an exhibit space -- Booth #834 -- featuring a Ship to Shore Connector demonstrator; an F/A-18F flight simulator; a V-22 interactive video model; a ScanEagle and models of other advanced unmanned aerial vehicles and precision weapons. The exhibit also will feature a preview video for the Boeing-sponsored public television documentary "Angle of Attack: How Naval Aviation Has Changed the Face of War," which will air later this year in support of the Centennial of Naval Aviation.

Australia Buys Royal Navy Ship in £100M Bargain

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that Australia has been successful in its bid to acquire the United Kingdom’s Bay Class amphibious ship Largs Bay.

The Government has previously announced that it had asked Defence to develop new and comprehensive options to ensure transition to Australia’s Canberra Class amphibious Landing Helicopter Dock ships, which become operational from 2014, including the lease or purchase of a Bay Class Ship from the UK Government.

Today, the Government is confirming that Australia has been successful in its bid to acquire a Bay Class ship, Largs Bay.

SpaceX Announces Launch Date for the World's Most Powerful Rocket

Elon Musk, CEO and chief rocket designer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), unveiled the dramatic final specifications and launch date for the Falcon Heavy, the world’s largest rocket.

“Falcon Heavy will carry more payload to orbit or escape velocity than any vehicle in history, apart from the Saturn V moon rocket, which was decommissioned after the Apollo program. This opens a new world of capability for both government and commercial space missions,” Musk told a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

“Falcon Heavy will arrive at our Vandenberg, California, launch complex by the end of next year, with liftoff to follow soon thereafter. First launch from our Cape Canaveral launch complex is planned for late 2013 or 2014.”

Raytheon’s Small Diameter Bomb II Passes CDR

Raytheon Company's Small Diameter Bomb II program completed a U.S. Air Force critical design review (CDR), clearing the way for the weapon to begin captive flight testing later this year.

"Raytheon's SDB II features a mature tri-mode seeker and a cutting-edge warhead, and completing the CDR proves our design is producible and mature," said Harry Schulte, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Air Warfare Systems. "Raytheon has an affordable and executable plan to deliver a robust engineering and manufacturing development program."

SDB II is an air-launched, precision-strike standoff weapon that will enable the warfighter to defeat moving and fixed targets in adverse weather conditions. The weapon incorporates an improved seeker that features three modes of operation: millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared and semiactive laser.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

India, Saudi Arabia Plan Joint Naval

India and Saudi Arabia are enhancing their strategic partnership to improve defense ties.

The two countries also are sketching out plans to conduct joint naval and military exercises to increase maritime cooperation and sharpen their defensive and offensive capabilities, a top diplomatic source tells Aviation Week.

“The defense ties between Saudi Arabia and India will peak in the coming days with the visit of Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony this month,” the diplomat says. “Several ideas that have been [proposed] at various levels since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Riyadh in 2010 are likely to [be firmed up] during the minister’s visit.”

Overpricing Delays Purchase of 10 Boeing C-17s by Indian Air Force

The biggest-ever Indo-US defence deal expected to be worth USD 4.1 billion for procuring 10 C-17 heavylift transport aircraft has been delayed over price issue.

The deal was earlier scheduled to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in its meeting in March-end but now will be put up for clearance only after the US answers queries on whether India was being charged more price for the aircraft than other countries, Defence Ministry sources said here.

The per unit cost being charged from India by the US for the C-17 is USD 410 million whereas it is sold to Australia at a price of USD 300 million per aircraft.

India Approves Purchase of Four Additional Boeing P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft

The Indian government has approved the purchase of four more Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, Dow Jones reported Friday.

The four P-8Is come on top of the eight India ordered in 2009, for delivery between 2013 and 2015, and would be delivered after 2015, Boeing Military Aircraft President Chris Chadwick told Dow Jones.

Boeing builds the 737-based P-8 in Renton and Seattle. The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon Boeing is building for the U.S. Navy.

India Upset At Russian Military Parts Supply

When it comes to Russian aerospace products, conventional wisdom is: The equipment is good, the after-market is awful.

Ask the Indian air force (IAF) and its officials would emphatically agree. Sourcing of spares and consumables for its Russian-built aircraft and weapon systems has sunk to a new low for the IAF, with the government permitting it to issue multiple global tenders for spares across a range of systems. The move marks a striking break from the Indian defense ministry’s traditional practice of contracting spares from original equipment manufacturers via Rosoboronexport.

Now the IAF is turning to vendors in Europe, Israel and the U.S. to respond to an urgent spares call for Russian-built equipment it has in inventory.

SAAF Gets Upgraded Combat Chopper

The South African Air Force is the proud new owner of the upgraded Rooivalk combat support helicopter. Rooivalk Mark 1 is now ready for operational duties.

The helicopter, designed and manufactured in South Africa, was received by the Chief of the SA Air Force, Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano.

Denel CEO Talib Sadik says the handover is the culmination of 25 years of research, development and high-technology manufacturing.

STSS Demonstration Satellites Track Short-Range Missile

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) Demonstration satellites kept an unblinking watch on a boosting missile during an Airborne Laser Test Bed (ALTB) exercise off the Central California coast Sept. 1, 2010. The STSS satellites were built by Northrop Grumman Corporation and Raytheon Company.

The STSS Demonstration satellites faced a different set of challenges than previously seen because of quick timelines associated with the target, according to Gabe Watson, vice president of missile defense and missile warning programs for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.

"STSS generated a track with the acquisition sensor and autonomously passed the track to the multi-band track sensor for the first time against a missile target," Watson said. "The system performed very well, without operator control, and provided high-quality track data to the ground station."

He noted that the STSS track sensor was cued significantly faster than in previous tests, which was required with this scenario. "These demonstration satellites employ high-performance infrared sensors with on-board processing that are able to exploit all the advantages of space for precision missile tracking," Watson said.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is pursuing the STSS Demonstration program as a space-based sensor component of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Data from the STSS satellites supports development of a future operational satellite constellation for the BMDS.