Overblog
Suivre ce blog Administration + Créer mon blog
23 septembre 2012 7 23 /09 /septembre /2012 21:13

bae systems

 

23/09/2012 latribune.fr (avec AFP)

 

Les députés conservateurs s'inquiètent de voir passer une entreprise stratégique sous pavillon franco-allemand. Le ministère de la Défense britannique aurait ainsi posé comme condition à son feu vert au rapprochement l'adoption de garanties pour pérenniser les relations préexistantes dans le domaine de la dissuasion nucléaire, sur laquelle le Royaume-Uni collabore étroitement avec les Etats-Unis.

 

Le projet de fusion des groupes EADS et BAE Systems, inquiète outre-Manche. "Voilà ma vision de cette fusion: en l'état, il s'agit plutôt d'une OPA", a déclaré à l'AFP Ben Wallace, un député conservateur du nord-ouest de l'Angleterre, où est bien implanté BAE. Comme d'autres, il s'inquiète de voir passer une entreprise stratégique sous pavillon franco-allemand, avec des risques pour l'emploi mais également la perspective d'une gestion à l'opposé des habitudes britanniques. Le Royaume-Uni n'est en effet pas actionnaire de BAE Systems et n'intervient pas dans la vie quotidienne de l'entreprise. Le gouvernement se contente d'exercer en cas de besoin une action spécifique destinée à protéger les intérêts nationaux ou à encourager la conclusion de grands contrats d'armement à l'étranger.

"Des interférences de la part des Etats ont causé des problèmes chez EADS et Airbus dans le passé et c'est ce genre d'ingérence qui a empêché EADS de devenir le leader mondial qu'il pourrait être", estime Ben Wallace.

 

La France et l'Allemagne appleés à sortir d'EADS

 

"Le Royaume-Uni ne devrait donner son feu vert à l'opération que si la France et l'Allemagne se défont de leur participation, et laissent l'entreprise agir librement. Sinon, on court le risque d'interférences politiques et également de problèmes avec les concurrents américains", explique Ben Wallace. La relation avec les Etats-Unis est au coeur des inquiétudes des conservateurs, le parti du Premier ministre David Cameron, dont une partie se montre volontiers eurosceptique. "Je m'inquiète concernant nos échanges d'informations avec les Américains. Nous sommes unis étroitement avec eux sur les sous-marins nucléaires et je les imagine mal se réjouir" d'une menace de dilution des règles de confidentialité anglo-américaine, a ainsi déclaré Lord West, ancien chef d'Etat major de la Marine, dans le quotidien The Times.

 

Dissuasion nucléaire

 

Le ministère de la Défense britannique aurait ainsi posé comme condition à son feu vert au rapprochement l'adoption de garanties pour pérenniser les relations préexistantes dans le domaine de la dissuasion nucléaire, sur laquelle le Royaume-Uni collabore étroitement avec les Etats-Unis. Les sous-marins nucléaires lanceurs d'engins (SNLE) britanniques sont équipés de missiles balistiques Trident, fabriqués par l'américain Lockheed Martin. De même, BAE est fortement impliquée dans le très important programme américain d'avion de combat F-35.

 

Le groupe britannique est aussi le premier fournisseur étranger du Pentagone et, même si les budgets de la défense déclinent outre-Atlantique, les Britanniques aimeraient conserver cette relation industrielle privilégiée, déclinaison de la "relation spéciale" entre les deux pays sur le plan politique.

 

L'exemple du missile nucléaire français M51

 

Or, la fusion envisagée pourrait compliquer les choses, selon des experts.

"Je ne suis pas certain qu'une entreprise franco-allemande serait autorisée à détenir une filiale comme par exemple celle que possède BAE dans l'électronique de défense" aux Etats-Unis, estime ainsi Richard Aboulafia, analyste du cabinet américain Teal Group. Quant au nucléaire, le Royaume-Uni pourrait bien "sanctuariser" cette activité, avec des garde-fous garantissant que Français et Allemands n'y aient aucun accès. C'est déjà ce qui se passe pour le missile nucléaire français M51, construit par une filiale d'EADS mais sous supervision exclusivement française.

 

Mais cela risque de compliquer un peu plus la vie du futur groupe. "Plus chaque pays cherche à définir ses intérêts stratégiques, moins l'entreprise aura de flexibilité. Or une société doit avoir la liberté de rationaliser ses opérations et de faire circuler la technologie entre ses différentes filiales", observe M. Aboulafia.

 

"Les détails ne peuvent pas être débattus en public"

 

Sur le continent, la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel a déclaré samedi à l'issue de ses entretiens avec le président français François Hollande qu'"il n'y avait pas eu de décision" sur le projet de fusion EADS-BAE, mais qu'ils avaient eu de "bonnes" et "amicales" discussions. "Nous n'avons pas pris de décision, nous savons que nous devons donner dans un avenir proche une réponse aux entreprises. Les discussions étaient bonnes et amicales. Mais les détails ne doivent pas être débattus en public, notamment compte tenu des emplois", a dit la chancelière, soulignant qu'EADS était un bon exemple de coopération franco-allemande. "Sur le rapprochement EADS-BAE (...), nous, la France et l'Allemagne, sommes décidés à agir en concertation étroite parce que nous considérons que c'est un enjeu qui concerne l'Europe mais aussi nos deux pays, compte tenu de la composition du capital de cette entreprise", a déclaré François Hollande.

 

Evoquant les conditions d'un éventuel rapprochement entre les deux groupes, M. Hollande a déclaré: "les conditions, vous les imaginez, c'est l'emploi, la stratégie industrielle, les activités de défense, les intérêts de nos Etats respectifs. C'est là-dessus que nous sommes en discussion avec l'entreprise".

 

Ils ont promis tous deux de se prononcer dans les délais impartis.

 

Selon la réglementation boursière britannique, les industriels ont jusqu'au 10 octobre pour conclure leur rapprochement ou l'abandonner. Ils peuvent également demander un prolongement du délai des négociations, une option pour l'heure écartée par les parties qui veulent aller vite.

Partager cet article
Repost0
19 septembre 2012 3 19 /09 /septembre /2012 12:35

US Air Force KC-46 Tanker Programme

 

September 19, 2012 by Zach Rosenberg – FG

 

Washington DC - Eighteen months into the Boeing KC-46 tanker programme, all is progressing as planned, says Maj Gen John Thompson, the US Air Force (USAF) programme manager.

 

The programme, meant to produce an aerial tanker to replace the Boeing KC-135, is 21% finished with its development schedule and remains on time and on budget.

 

The first parts - skin for the tail boom - have been produced, "so if someone tells you this is a paper plane, you can point at them and say, 'liar!'" says Thompson.

 

"I will have plenty of number two and number three priorities, but my number one priority is to successfully get through the critical design review (CDR) next year."

 

CDR is scheduled for July, 2013, with a plethora of subsystem PDRs to be completed beforehand. After CDR, the aircraft is built. The first flight of the new 767 variant upon which the KC-46 is based is scheduled for 2014, with a 2015 flight of the actual tanker aircraft.

 

Budget sequestration, scheduled to take effect in January, 2013 without Congressional intervention, would be "near catastrophic" for the programme, says Thompson.

Partager cet article
Repost0
19 septembre 2012 3 19 /09 /septembre /2012 07:20

Su-30SM.jpg

 

September 18, 2012 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

London - Irkut is to accelerate its delivery schedule under a Russian air force order for 30 Sukhoi Su-30SM strike aircraft, with its first examples now to be handed over before the end of this year.

 

Moscow signed a production deal for the two-seat Su-30SM in March, when Irkut announced that the type would be handed over between 2013 and 2015. The new plan to deliver the first examples this year was announced by company president Oleg Demchenko, as Irkut also released an image of an aircraft on its final assembly line in Irkutsk.

 

In addition to its utility as a multi-role combat aircraft, the Su-30SM will also provide the Russian air force with an advanced training capability, as it looks to bridge the gap to the future introduction of Sukhoi's fifth-generation PAK-FA/T-50 fighter.

 

Irkut also expects to deliver a total of 15 Yakovlev Yak-130s to the same service this year, under a 55-aircraft order signed late in 2011. "The Russian air force has started a formal acceptance procedure of Yak-130 combat trainers," it says.

Partager cet article
Repost0
15 septembre 2012 6 15 /09 /septembre /2012 18:29
Are More Mergers Ahead? BAE-EADS Talks Could Spark More Tie-ups

 

Sep. 15, 2012 - — Defense News

 

Pierre Tran in Paris, Andrew Chuter in London, Tom Kington in Rome and Zachary Fryer-Biggs in Washington contributed to this report.

 

For several years, defense contractors on both sides of the Atlantic have been biding their time, building up cash and reviewing possible combinations, awaiting the start of a consolidation wave that will reshape the global military industrial landscape in the face of sharp spending cuts in Europe and the U.S.

 

On one side, U.S. companies are waiting for the conclusion of presidential elections and the resolution of the budget battle in Congress that will determine the future of defense spending before making their move.

 

But on the other side, Europe’s not waiting.

 

The cannon blast that started the consolidation race went off Sept. 12 when BAE Systems and EADS confirmed talks to unite into a $96 billion giant that would be the world’s leading defense and aerospace titan.

 

The new company, already nicknamed “BEADS,” would be listed on the Frankfurt, London, Madrid and Paris stock exchanges, with EADS holding a 60 percent stake and BAE 40 percent. The combined firm would boast a formidable array of commercial and defense products, including fighter, transport and trainer aircraft; rockets and satellites; missiles and precision weapons; armored vehicles; unmanned systems; radars; command, control and communications gear; networks and cyber capabilities; ship repair and naval products; as well as intelligence and space services units.

 

The transaction is the brainchild of EADS CEO Tom Enders, who took office in June, to expand his company’s defense product line and balance its military-commercial business base, improve access to the U.S. and other key global markets such as India, and use the deal to change the company’s governance structure that now allows the French, German and Spanish governments to exert influence on EADS, allowing it to move toward a wholly commercial structure.

 

For BAE, the deal is a chance to boost its civil activity and balance its civil-defense mix.

 

The announcement prompted Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney to quip that EADS was trying to look more like Boeing by better balancing its defense-commercial product mix.

 

The two companies have until Oct. 10 to announce a deal, and while it’s unclear whether it will secure antitrust, financial, security and tax approval from regulators in five governments as well as the EU, companies will have no choice but to review their options.

 

“All mergers can succeed or fail, and BAE and EADS still need eight months to wrap it up and 18 months to see if it works,” one senior retired European executive said. “But other CEOs cannot afford to wait that long to see if it succeeds, and they will all be looking around right now to see how they should react.”

 

Indeed, hours after the two giants confirmed their interest in merging, speculation swirled about who might be next.

 

And just as an EADS link with BAE would tap the all-important U.S. defense market that remains the world’s largest despite spending cuts, U.S. companies are exploring linking with European firms.

 

“There is a huge amount of change going on in our sector with budget pressure and other issues. There will be a lot of activity over the next five years, but what direction it will take is unclear,” one senior British executive said. “Whenever you get a shift like this, it forces people to think. It has the potential to be a game changer in terms of scale and geographic footprint.”

 

Not a Done Deal

 

But before that happens, the would-be European partners have some high hurdles to surmount.

 

The British executive added that the deal won’t get out of the starting blocks as long as governments can exert influence in the new company, as they do in EADS.

 

“The important thing to consider is not their shareholding itself, it’s about the block voting rights. Before this deal can go ahead, at an absolute minimum those will have to be dissolved, dismantled and cease to exist,” he said. “If any shareholder has a share in the new company, all they will have are normal rights and nothing else. Unless the block rights are dismantled, this transaction cannot proceed.”

 

At issue is how that government shareholding could affect BAE’s lucrative North American business, with sales of some $15 billion annually, including across highly sensitive intelligence and other operations.

 

Since starting its acquisition of U.S. properties in the 1990s, BAE has operated them independently and under strict security guidelines to protect American technology. While that’s customary for all foreign companies that own or operate units in the U.S. that do business with the Pentagon, the British giant benefited from greater access to technology, thanks to the special defense relationship between London and Washington.

 

“If France and Germany maintain political control over EADS, this will be viewed poorly in the U.S., but I see it as unlikely that France would abandon EADS,” the retired European executive said.

 

Then there are the regulatory approvals that could prove challenging for the companies. The British, French, German, Spanish and U.S. governments would have to approve the deals, as well as EU regulators.

 

Steven Grundman, the defense industrial analyst at the Atlantic Council in Washington who oversaw defense mergers and acquisitions at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration, added that while governments should rightly view the new company as a trans-Atlantic industrial bridge, the combination still will face scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic, including from competition authorities.

 

“Recall that the European Commission rejected the proposed merger of General Electric and Honeywell on a theory of ‘portfolio effects’ that took issue not with horizontal overlaps or vertical integration, but the supposed unfair challenge to competitors of the resulting conglomerate’s scale and scope,” Grundman said.

 

Antitrust regulators will solicit the views expressed by customer governments — the two companies do compete against one another for business worldwide — as well as take account of competitors who may attempt to argue the combination could materially disadvantage them.

 

Still, Grundman said he anticipates relatively few traditional antitrust problems on either side of the Atlantic, adding that security issues loom larger for the Pentagon. On the one hand, he said, DoD already supervises industrial security programs at both companies' U.S. businesses. At the same time, the Pentagon is sure to scrutinze closely the changing ownership of BAE’s U.S. assets.

 

Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Robert Stevens, however, told a Morgan Stanley investor conference in New York the merger could be a test for the Pentagon’s policy of not supporting any more consolidation at prime level.

 

DoD leaders have said that while they are open to consolidation on a case-by-case basis, they don’t want leading firms to unite.

 

“It might be an early test of whether the unfavorability of consolidation at that tier would in fact be changing or evolving,” he said.

 

Fight or Join

 

With or without the BAE-EADS merger, the deal pipeline is bulging, but anxiety over sequestration in the U.S. has acted as a brake on mergers and acquisitions.

 

With U.S. and European defense markets headed into a downturn, large prime contractors are expected to spin off units, offering targets for tier one and two equipment makers and service specialists.

 

“People are getting ready,” a U.S. industry executive said. “They’re standing [by], but they’re not yet ready to pull the trigger.”

 

In Europe, managers in aeronautics, space and electronics must decide whether to fight or join the planned mega-group.

 

“Other companies will need to think whether it is better to be integrated into the new behemoth, or to look to other alliances or mergers to get a countervailing strength,” said Nick Witney, senior research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank.

 

The proposed EADS-BAE merger is a highly specific, large-scale project, but if a deal is done, it could clear the way for further moves in a fragmented European defense industry hobbled by budget cuts.

 

“If the BAE-EADS merger goes ahead, it will lead to medium and long-term rationalization in other segments of defense industry in Europe,” said Loic Tribot La Spiere, deputy director of think tank Centre d’Etude et Prospective Stratégique.

 

Thales and Finmeccanica executives are likely watching the deal closely.

 

“If this initiative goes through, it will lead other big actors Thales and Finmeccanica to question their future,” said Jean-Pierre Maulny, deputy director of think tank Institut des Relations Internationales et Stratégiques.

 

“Thales and Safran will almost certainly merge,” the retired European executive predicted.

 

In France, the deal potentially puts Dassault, maker of the Rafale fighter and Falcon business jet, on the defense sidelines.

 

“And naturally, this will concern Dassault, the industrial shareholder of Thales, which will see a regrouping of two of its competitors in Eurofighter, and its partner in UAVs, BAE Systems, linking up with the German actor in this sector, EADS Cassidian,” Maulny said.

 

While on the presidential campaign trail, then candidate François Hollande criticized the previous administration for “bowing” before “private and financial interests,” a remark widely understood to refer to the 2008 choice of Dassault as industrial shareholder of Thales.

 

For Witney, the French government appears to be backing EADS in its merger plan, leaving Dassault to deal with the consequences.

 

“If Dassault takes a hit, it takes a hit,” Witney said.

 

EADS owns 46 percent of Dassault, a stake formerly held by the French state.

 

In Italy, Finmeccanica reacted positively to the merger plan, rebutting concerns it is threatened by the new company.

 

Finmeccanica “has established consolidated partnerships with both companies in the industrial, technological and commercial field, which will continue with the combined entity,” the company said in a Sept. 13 statement.

 

“There would be no short-term consequence for Italy, although it would require Finmeccanica to accelerate its focus on its core business,” said Michele Nones, head of the security and defense department at the Istituto Affari Internazionali, a Rome think tank partly funded by the Italian Foreign Ministry.

 

The retired European executive was not convinced.

 

“Italy could now find it has a minor role, or is excluded completely, from the next big European program, like a UAV,” he said. “When it was just the U.K. and France talking about UAVs, Italy could talk to Germany, but that is no longer the case.

 

“The Italian government can either now ask if Finmeccanica could enter the merger, but it would be the smallest and arrive uninvited, or it could look to France for an alliance or to the U.S. And all are difficult.”

 

One investment banker in London said much of the mergers and acquisitions activity could center on the growth of tier-one and aspiring tier-one companies such as Thales, Cobham and Rheinmetall as they pick up operations being shaken out by the prime contractors, as well as consolidating the supply chain by acquiring niche operators.

 

Investment bank Espirito Santo said in a market report issued following the BAE announcement of merger talks that “accelerating consolidation bodes positively for defense-centric plays in the U.K. like Chemring, QinetiQ and Ultra Electronics.”

 

Financial crisis is driving the expected mergers and acquisitions flow, as industry battens down the corporate balance sheet.

 

“We have expected consolidation in defense globally, because of a flattening and reduction in defense spending,” said Scott Thompson, U.S. leader of PriceWaterhouseCooper’s aerospace and defense practice.

 

“I don’t expect that there will be other consolidation amongst the other global primes,” he said. “In that sense, this may be an anomaly. But in terms of consolidation of defense, we absolutely expect that.”

 

The consolidation, however, is not expected this year until there is clarity on sequestration and the level of defense spending.

 

Mergers and acquisitions in aerospace and defense dried up this year, with about $5 billion in deals in the first half of the year, after a record 2011, which saw $43.7 billion in deals, Thompson said.

 

If suppliers — industry — are able to reorganize, that puts pressure on the customer — government — to be more rational, namely converge requirements and adopt more joint programs, Witney said. But that is another chapter in the defense book.

Partager cet article
Repost0
15 septembre 2012 6 15 /09 /septembre /2012 17:56
BAE - EADS : questions pour une fusion géante

 

14/09/2012 Par Véronique Guillermard – Lefigaro.fr

 

Cette opération entraînerait un examen du portefeuille d’activités avec, sans doute, un impact sur l’emploi et l’outil industriel.
• Une fusion BAE-EADS pour quoi faire?

Depuis sa naissance en 1999, EADS, issu du regroupement des activités du français Aerospatial, de l’allemand Dasa et de l’espagnol Casa, souffre d’un déséquilibre entre ses activités civiles - Airbus - et militaires - Cassidian. Airbus a représenté, certaines années, plus de 100% des profits et, régulièrement entre 60 et 70% du chiffre d’affaires. Une situation dangereuse en cas de retournement du cycle aéronautique. Ces dernières années, la demande en avions neufs ne s’est pas démentie mais un revirement ne peut pas être exclu. La montée en puissance dans la défense a toujours été une priorité. En 2007, EADS formalise cet objectif dans le cadre du «plan 2020». «La fusion avec BAE, c’est le plan 2020 dès 2013», résume Marwan Lahoud, directeur général délégué à la stratégie et au marketing d’EADS.

 

De son côté, BAE effectue, avec beaucoup de pragmatisme, un virage à 180 degrés en revenant dans l’aéronautique civile dont il était sorti en 2006 en cédant à EADS sa participation de 20% dans Airbus. BAE estime que sa stratégie de «pure player» dans la défense a atteint ses limites. L’objectif des deux groupes est donc le rééquilibrage de leurs activités. Et cela de façon parfaitement complémentaire, puisque BAE est ancré dans la défense, là où EADS est relativement faible, et qu’EADS est leader mondial de l’aéronautique civil avec Airbus.

• L’environnement est-il favorable?

Oui. Pour plusieurs raisons. L’impératif d’assainissement des comptes publics a un impact direct sur les dépenses militaires en Occident. États-Unis et Europe réduisent leur budget de défense. Les industriels - américains et britanniques principalement - ne peuvent plus compter sur «le marché» des troupes engagées en Irak ou en Afghanistan puisque leur retrait a débuté. Conséquence: le Pentagone prévoit de réduire ses dépenses d’au moins 500 milliards de dollars dans les dix ans à venir.

 

En Europe, la Grande-Bretagne et la France, les deux grandes puissances militaires du continent, coupent aussi dans leurs dépenses. Les groupes d’armement vont devoir vivre avec moins de commandes nationales. D’où une féroce bataille commerciale qui s’annonce sur les marchés exports (acheteurs en Asie, Amérique du Sud ou encore dans le Golfe).

 

L’environnement est propice à une nouvelle vague de concentrations et de coopérations. À l’instar de celle déclenchée après la chute du mur de Berlin qui avait vu, quelques années plus tard, la création de géants. Aux États-Unis, Mc Donnell Douglas a été avalé par Boeing, Martin Marietta est tombé dans l’escarcelle de Lockheed, tandis que Grumman ou TRW basculaient dans le camp de Northtrop. De son côté, l’Europe donnait naissance à EADS.

• À quoi ressemblera le nouvel ensemble?

Si les négociations aboutissent, BAE et EADS donneront naissance au leader mondial de l’aéronautique et de la défense avec, selon les calculs d’Exane BNP Paribas, un chiffre d’affaires de près de 80 milliards d’euros en 2013 et un bénéfice net de 3,33 milliards d’euros. La super-entreprise compterait 226.615 salariés dans le monde et serait capable de déployer une gamme de produits très complète, des avions de lignes, aux lanceurs spatiaux en passant par les satellites, les sous-marins, les porte-avions ou encore les blindés, la guerre électronique et la cybersécurité.

Dans le seul secteur de la défense, BAE-EADS bousculerait la hiérarchie mondiale en dépassant Lockheed Martin (42,8 milliards de dollars de ventes en 2011) avec 49,4 milliards de dollars de chiffre d’affaires. Le nouvel ensemble deviendrait un fournisseur complet de matériels militaires destinés aux trois corps d’armée: terre, air et mer. L’activité du géant européen serait répartie quasi à parité entre le civil et le militaire ainsi qu’entre les États-Unis et l’Europe.

• Quelles synergies attendre?

Toute fusion entraîne un examen du portefeuille d’activité avec, souvent, pour conséquence un impact sur l’emploi et l’outil industriel. Dans le cas de BAE-EADS, il n’y a quasiment pas de doublons tant la complémentarité entre les deux groupes est réelle. En outre, les deux entreprises se connaissent bien et coopèrent déjà au sein de programmes dans les missiles, au sein de MBDA, et dans les avions de combat, au sein du consortium Eurofighter.

Les économies de coûts concerneront surtout Cassidian, l’actuelle filiale défense d’EADS, ainsi que les activités de BAE hors États-Unis, Grande-Bretagne et Arabie saoudite, ses trois marchés clefs. Les analystes d’Exane BNP Paribas estiment les économies entre 300 et 450 millions d’euros.

 

La force de frappe commerciale du nouveau groupe devrait lui permettre de mener une politique de prix agressive. «Ce colosse mondial aura une puissance de tir sans égal en termes d’approche commerciale. Pour Finmeccanica ou Thales, il sera beaucoup plus difficile de (le) concurrencer», estiment plusieurs analystes.

• Qui dirigera le nouvel ensemble? Avec quelle organisation?

Cette question est délicate. Les équipes des deux groupes se sont mis d’accord sur une valorisation qui constitue une base de travail: les actionnaires d’EADS détiendront 60% du nouvel ensemble et ceux de BAE, 40%. Le mariage BAE-EADS «serait mis en œuvre par la création d’une nouvelle structure juridique à double cotation, au sein de laquelle les deux entreprises fonctionneraient comme un seul groupe», a déjà expliqué BAE dans un communiqué. Il est également prévu de conserver une séparation stricte de certaines activités de défense aux États-Unis pour garantir que leur sécurité nationale ne sera pas compromise. De même, les activités sensibles (dissuasion) britanniques et françaises seront isolées du reste du groupe.

 

Quant à la future gouvernance du groupe, que ce soit au niveau de l’actionnariat ou de la répartition des postes, rien n’est à ce jour totalement arrêté. Les négociateurs de BAE et d’EADS devront éviter de cadenasser leur futur champion mondial dans un pacte d’actionnaires trinational qui graverait dans le marbre une égalité à tous les étages, du conseil d’administration jusque dans la plus petite filiale, entre anglais, français et allemand avec un zeste d’américain et d’espagnol.

 

Le retour d’expérience d’EADS, créé sur la base d’un pacte d’actionnaires franco-allemand qui permettait aux États allemand et français de peser sur la stratégie via les actionnaires privés de référence (Daimler et le Groupe Lagardère), devrait inciter à la mise en place d’une «gouvernance normale». En évitant de doublonner les postes avec deux présidents du conseil et deux présidents exécutif notamment. On se rappelle que la guerre des chefs déclenchée en 2005 a failli faire imploser EADS.

 

Pour Thomas Enders, le président exécutif d’EADS qui apparaît en position de favori pour prendre les rennes du futur géant, le mariage avec BAE offre une opportunité historique de libérer EADS de son pacte, de faire sortir les actionnaires historiques dont l’État français tout en faisant entrer des représentants de BAE. Cela, en permettant aux États de protéger leurs intérêts (dissuasion nucléaire notamment) et le groupe de toute attaque hostile grâce à la création d’action spécifique (golden share).

• Quel rôle pour les États et les actionnaires historiques?

Les États sont en position de faire réussir ou échouer le projet. Celui-ci n’aurait jamais pu avancer aussi loin - les premières négociations ont débuté en mai - sans «le feu vert» d’Angela Merkel, la chancelière allemande, et de François Hollande, le président français qui ont été mis dans la confidence mi-juillet. Certes, les commentaires publiques de Paris et de Berlin «manquent d’enthousiasme», selon l’expression d’un proche du dossier. Mais les deux gouvernements sont soucieux d’apparaître comme les garants de l’emploi et des intérêts nationaux auprès de la population et des salariés. Car la fusion concerne deux entreprises stratégiques dont l’activité relève de la souveraineté nationale et qui portent sur la dissuasion. Les États associés au capital veulent tout à la fois obtenir la meilleure valorisation possible et faire respecter leurs droits tout en protégeant leurs intérêts. À cet effet, il est prévu la création d’action spécifique (golden share) qui n’implique pas nécessairement la sortie de l’État français, qui détient directement 15% d’EADS du futur groupe.

 

La fusion va cependant entraîner une dilution mécanique de chaque actionnaire. La part de l’État français tombera à 10% environ, tandis que celle du groupe Lagardère devrait passer de 7,5 à 5% environ. De son côté, le bloc allemand (Daimler et le consortium bancaire Dedalus) devrait passer de 22,35% à 12,5%. Il n’est pas certain que les actionnaires historiques d’EADS sortent immédiatement. «L’État français restera au capital», estime un bon connaisseur du dossier. Quant aux actionnaires de BAE - majoritairement des fonds et des assureurs dont le français Axa - ils sont soucieux d’obtenir le meilleur prix pour leur titre.

• La parité retenue est-elle la bonne?

La valorisation retenue - 60% du capital seraient détenus par les actionnaires d’EADS et 40% par ceux de BAE - ne fait pas l’unanimité. À Londres, on juge la valorisation retenue pour BAE «historiquement faible» et on s’étonne de devoir verser une soulte de 200 millions de livres aux actionnaires d’EADS.

 

Mais la plupart des analystes estiment que la parité retenue est «très favorable à BAE». Avant l’annonce du projet, les analystes interrogés par Reuters estimaient plutôt cette parité à 75-25 compte tenu des perspectives beaucoup plus positives sur le titre EADS. D’autres analystes fixe la parité à 70-30% en faveur d’EADS.

 

Pour Yan Derocles, analyste chez Oddo Securities, «la parité 60-40 se justifie si l’on regarde les résultats des deux sociétés attendus pour 2013. En revanche, sur un horizon à 4-5 ans, en prenant en compte l’accélération de la génération de cash d’EADS, la parité ressort plutôt à 75-25».

 

Les chiffres parlent d’eux-mêmes. EADS pèse près de 50 milliards d’euros de chiffre d’affaires; BAE près de 24 milliards. Tirées par le dynamisme d’Airbus, les perspectives d’EADS sont prometteuses, notamment en termes de progression des bénéfices tandis que, freinées par la baisse des dépenses militaires, celles de BAE sont plus sombres. En Bourse, EADS vaut 24,5 milliards et BAE 13,3 milliards. Cette «prime» accordée à BAE est souvent à la charge de l’acheteur. Elle pourrait aussi être consentie en contrepartie de l’accès au marché américain de la défense, selon un analyste.

 

Tom Enders et Ian King, président exécutif de BAE, auront donc fort à faire pour convaincre leurs actionnaires. Un «road show» pourrait être organisé en octobre à cet effet.

• Quel calendrier?

Depuis que l’affaire a fuité sur la place publique, BAE et EADS ont 28 jours ,soit jusqu’au 10 octobre, pour finaliser leur fusion. Ils y sont contraints par la réglementation boursière à Londres. Mais ils peuvent obtenir un délai. Ce qui semble probable compte tenu de la complexité de l’opération.

Partager cet article
Repost0
15 septembre 2012 6 15 /09 /septembre /2012 13:14

Europe Flag

 

sept 15, 2012 Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (BRUXELLES2)

 

Alarme de décrochage ! L’appel qu’a lancé Claude-France Arnould, la directrice de l’Agence européenne de Défense, au Berlin Air Show, jeudi (13 septembre), pour une action urgente en Europe dans le domaine des futurs systèmes aéronautiques (future air systems FAS), équivaut cette « alarme d’incidence » – comme disent les pilotes – qui retentit dans les avions en phase de décrochage. « L’industrie aéronautique européenne est menacée ». Son sous-financement a atteint un niveau critique. « D’importantes capacités industrielles sont en train de s’éroder. Sans une action concertée supplémentaire, la situation va bientôt devenir critique par exemple pour le développement de l’avion de combat futur (avion classique ou UAV) et les hélicoptères d’attaque. »

 

Pour cela elle s’appuie sur une étude réalisée par 30 industriels européens parmi les plus importants (BAE, Eurocopter, Cassadian, Dassault, Westland,…). L’industrie représente aujourd’hui environ 200.000 personnes, souvent avec des capacités technologiques de pointe, et a un chiffre d’affaires de 45 millions d’euros. Or le moindre investissement de défense va obliger l’industrie à se restructurer avec pertes de compétences à la clé. L’étude montre que le risque de perte de compétences est particulièrement « significatif » et rapide, « entre aujourd’hui d’ici 2020 ». Selon l’étude, les industriels « perdent des compétences, mois après mois ». Cela a plusieurs conséquences. Tout d’abord, dans un avenir proche, l’Europe n’aura plus la capacité de produire certains équipements, comme par exemple « les avions de combat ». Quand une capacité et des connaissances se perdent, il est extrêmement difficile de les récupérer. Reformer de nouvelles équipes est extrêmement dur. Et souvent la perte est définitive.

 

UAS : un marché à saisir… ou pas

 

La conséquence est aussi très économique. Dans une économie concurrentielle, « l’Europe risque de perdre des parts significatives (de marché) dans la compétition mondiale sur les capacités UAS », drones et autres systèmes aériens inhabités. D’ores et déjà, elle dépend largement des Etats-Unis et des Israéliens – sont les deux plus gros producteurs du marché – notamment pour les systèmes et sous systèmes. Un monopole qui n’est pas inné. « Ils ont su investir dans le passé », précise John Mattiussi expert analyste de l’agence européenne de Défense, dans un entretien à B2.  Le marché est important non seulement au niveau militaire mais aussi général, par exemple pour la surveillance maritime, les frontières… » Ainsi si l’impact des opérations en Afghanistan et en Irak a joué un facteur décisif pour ce développement aux Etats-Unis, avec un intérêt majeur – ne pas risquer la vie des militaires (*) ; c’est aussi l’identification comme un marché d’avenir qui a joué. « Et on peut se demander Où est l’Europe ? » Une Europe qui a quasiment tout misé et mise encore sur les avions de chasse. Un domaine où « il y a trop de capacités » et un potentiel de restructurations. « Nous avons 5 entreprises compétentes, qui se tuent entre elles. Mais personne sur le marché de l’UAS… ».

 

Des lacunes graves

 

L’étude a identifié plus de 100 facteurs de dépendance, dont 12 présentent de « grands risques »  : les matériaux composites (une production dominée par Japon et les Etats-Unis) ; le titanium (provenant de Russie en majorité) ; les circuits composés ; les semi-conducteurs ; les technologies de positionnement et de navigation ; les technologies de cryptage ; les minerais rares ; les senseurs d’UAS ; les mesures d’auto protection ; les modules transmission / réception à large bande… ; les capacités furtives…

 

Achat sur étagère… non sans risques

 

Dans ces temps de difficultés financières, la tentation peut être grande de faire un « achat sur étagères », donc en général auprès des alliés américains. Mais cette solution repose sur différentes inconnues qui peuvent être politiques, administratives ou industrielles. Le dispositif de contrôle des exportations américains peut avoir des conséquences, y compris lors d’opérations, par exemple pour avoir les pièces de rechange nécessaires. Autre « exemple concret de ce que la dépendance produit » explique-t-il. Faute de fournisseur européen, il faut 72 mois pour avoir un nouvel hélicoptère lourd Chinook. Une situation qui ne risque pas de s’améliorer dans le futur avec le gel du projet franco-allemand d’hélicoptère lourd.

 

Moment critique

 

« Nous sommes effectivement à un moment critique » confirme John Mattiussi expert analyste de l’agence européenne de Défense. « L’effet se fera sentir dans 3, 4, 5 ans. Et on aura des difficultés importantes pour remonter la pente. C’est le dernier moment pour réagir. » L’Europe ne pourra peut-être même plus espérer devenir un sous-traitant des USA. « Les États-Unis peuvent se tourner vers les Européens comme un partenaire ; mais si ce partenaire n’existe plus, ou n’a plus les compétences, ils chercheront ailleurs. D’autres acteurs — Russes, Coréens, Chinois, Indiens, Brésiliens… — cherchent à avoir une présence technologique là où les Européens baissent la garde. » 

 

Tout n’est pas perdu

 

Pour autant, tout n’est pas perdu. « Dans l’aéronautique ou l’espace, en étant plus intelligent, on peut facilement prendre la tête. Regardez ce qui s’est passé pour l’aviation civile. Avant l’arrivée d’Airbus, on disait que la bataille était perdue face à Boeing. Le marché était dominé par les entreprises américaines (trois entreprises essentiellement). Aujourd’hui 2 des 3 principales entreprises Us de l’époque ont disparu. Airbus s’est affirmé comme un des principaux constructeurs et principal concurrent de Boeing. L’Europe a changé la face de l’aviation commerciale » en travaillant ensemble et en raisonnant en logique de marché.

 

« Si on construit des synergies civiles et militaires, on peut déclencher un gros marché. Aujourd’hui le marché actuel est fragmenté, et trop limité. Et il manque de l’argent pour la recherche. » Mais l’Europe a un potentiel d’ouvrir le marché, important. Et il existe des budgets de recherche qui pourraient être débloquées (du coté de la Commission européenne). On aurait ainsi le contraire de ce qui se passait dans le passé – où un investissement militaire débouchait sur des applications civiles -. Aujourd’hui, on aurait un investissement civil débouchant sur des applications militaires. Encore faut-il que ce renversement de sens de la recherche soit accepté par les financeurs européens.

 

(*) Critère décisif pour Israël, avec l’objectif de permettre une surveillance discrète, en économisant au maximum la vie des pilotes de chasse (ressource rare au plan humain) et obligeant à une récupération délicate en cas de perte.
Partager cet article
Repost0
14 septembre 2012 5 14 /09 /septembre /2012 11:50
EADS merger could harm BAE, investors warn

 

14 Sep 2012 By Helia Ebrahimi, and Graham Ruddick- TheTelegraph

 

Leading investors in BAE Systems have warned that a potential £30bn merger with Franco-German rival EADS risks harming the long-term interests of the British defence giant and its shareholders.

 

Shares in BAE fell more than 10pc as investors balked at news of the merger, which must win the backing of the British, US and European governments before shareholders can vote on the deal.

 

Investors are concerned about the level of political interference in the new company, given that 50.14pc of EADS is effectively controlled by the French, German and Spanish governments.

 

“It is not clear that this is in the best interests of shareholders,” said one top 15 investor. “Under the combined structure you are replacing institutional shareholders with large stakes held by the French and German governments. This is not a good outcome because often big stakes are used to influence companies to behave in a way other than for commercial reasons.”

 

Another major institutional shareholder said the deal remained “half-baked”, with doubts about how the management team would be structured and how investors in the two companies would be merged.

 

Analysts said the proposals put BAE in play as a bid target for US defence groups such as Boeing or Northrop Grumman. “BAE management have shown an openness to ideas,” said Edmund Salvesen at Brewin Dolphin.

Talks over the merger of BAE and EADS are understood to have begun as early as April after the failure of the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium, which the companies control, to win a multi-billion pound contract to sell the fighter jet to India.

 

At a meeting in Munich, BAE chief executive Ian King and Tom Enders, the boss of EADS, discussed greater co-operation between the companies as a way of boosting the Typhoon project. A feasibility study was then launched by internal strategy teams at BAE and EADS, and talks about a full-blown merger began in the summer.

 

The deal would offer BAE the revenue growth of plane maker.

 

Airbus, and EADS would secure a route into the US defence market. BAE management is understood to be seeking guarantees there would be no political interference in the new company.

 

“What we don’t understand is that overnight BAE’s board seems to be suggesting that being a defence company is a doomed strategy,” said a third investor, of the planned drive into civil aerospace. “If it was a problem, what has the board been doing for the last five years?”

 

Sources close to the deal believe David Cameron and the Coalition are supportive of the proposal, despite concerns from trade unions over jobs.

 

Philip Dunne, the new minister for defence equipment, support and technology, said: “At this stage we are in the very early days of discussions with both companies about conditions the government would place [on a deal].”

 

However, there are greater fears about whether France and Germany will back the deal.

 

The deputy leader in Angela Merkel’s CDU party said that Mr Enders must lead the enlarged group, while there are fears in France over job losses.

Partager cet article
Repost0
17 juillet 2012 2 17 /07 /juillet /2012 17:30

GAU-23-30mm-Mk44-Bushmaster-automatic-cannon-ac-130.jpg

 

July 17, 2012: Strategy Page

 

The U.S. Air Force has officially accepted the modified 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster automatic cannon as the GAU-23. For the last three years, modified (and continually tweaked) Mk44s have been operating on a dozen U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunships and, more recently as part of the U.S. Marine Corps Harvest Hawk ("instant gunship" via several pallets of sensors and weapons) version of the KC-130J tanker.

 

The 30mm Bushmaster cannon weighs 157 kg (344 pounds) and fires at 200 or 400 rounds per minute (up to 7 per second). The Bushmaster has 160 rounds available, before needing a reload. That means the gunner has 25-50 seconds worth of ammo, depending on rate of fire used. Each 30mm high explosive/incendiary round weighs about 714 g (25 ounces, depending on type.) The fire control system and night vision sensors, enables the 30mm gunners to accurately hit targets with high explosive shells. Earlier SOCOM AC-130 gunships are armed with a 105mm howitzer, a 25mm and 40mm automatic cannon. But the two smaller caliber guns are being phased out of military service. The air force is now equipping its gunships just with smart bombs and missiles as well as one or two GAU-23s.

 

The big thing with gunships is their sensors, not their weapons. Operating at night, the gunships can see what is going on below, in great detail. Using onboard weapons, gunships can immediately engage targets. But with the appearance of smart bombs (GPS and laser guided), aerial weapons are now capable of taking out just about any target. So gunships can hit targets that were "time sensitive" (had to be hit before they got away), but could also call on smart bombs or laser guided missiles for targets that weren't going anywhere right away. Most of what gunships do in Afghanistan is look for roadside bombs, or the guys who plant them. These gunships want to track back to their base, and then take out an entire roadside bomb operation.

Partager cet article
Repost0
10 juillet 2012 2 10 /07 /juillet /2012 07:55
The F-35 decision: Disastrous implications for UK airpower

 

 

07/09/2012 James Bosbotinis - defenceiq.com

 

The May 2012 announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence that the variant of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (or Joint Combat Aircraft in UK parlance) to be acquired for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force was again being changed marks the third iteration in a decade-long process.

 

The decision to revert to the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant instead of the F-35C carrier variant, justified on the basis of the supposed cost of configuring the Queen Elizabeth-class (QEC) for catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery operations (CATOBAR), has significant long-term implications for UK airpower.

 

The F-35B constitutes a substantially less capable asset than the F-35C, in particular with regard to range, persistence and internal payload, has a higher unit acquisition cost and greater through life costs and does not meet the UK’s deep persistent offensive capability (DPOC) requirement. This will require either the acceptance of a significant capability gap or the acquisition of another aircraft, that is, most likely the F-35A, to address the DPOC requirement. Moreover, the F-35B is projected to have an out of service date of 2042, whereas the QEC are expected to remain in service until 2070; follow-on systems (such as sixth generation optionally manned/unmanned maritime combat air systems) are projected to be configured for CATOBAR operations. The selection of the F-35B is thus neither cost effective nor the optimum long-term solution to UK airpower requirements.

 

This paper examines the implications of the F-35 variant decision for UK airpower, with a particular focus on the difference in capability between the F-35B and C, the DPOC requirement and the potential acquisition of the F-35A to fulfil it, and the loss of the strategic flexibility provided by CATOBAR. The paper will argue that the decision to acquire the F-35B is not cost effective and will leave the UK with a sub-optimal airpower capability.

 

Less capability at greater cost

 

The difference in capability between the F-35B and F-35C is significant. Due to the STOVL requirement, the F-35B has a shaft-driven lift fan integrated with its engine thus restricting the aircraft’s internal fuel capacity to 13,500 lbs; in contrast, the internal fuel load of the F-35C is 19,145 lbs. The difference in internal fuel is highlighted by the range and combat persistence of the respective aircraft; the F-35B has a mission radius of approximately 463 nautical miles and a time over target of fifteen minutes; for the F-35C, the figures are 613 nautical miles and thirty-six minutes respectively. These figures are based on a standard low observable configuration and internal payload of two 500 lb. bombs and two advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) for the F-35B and two 2000 lb. bombs and two AMRAAM for the F-35C. The preceding figures highlight a second key difference in capability; the reduced internal payload of the F-35B, which again is due to the aircraft’s STOVL configuration. The F-35A and C are both capable of accommodating 2000 lb. class munitions in their internal bays, whereas the F-35B has smaller weapons bays which are limited to 1000 lb. class munitions. In UK service, the F-35B will carry the Paveway IV 500 lb. precision guided bomb, thus creating a capability gap with regard to the prosecution of targets requiring 2000 lb. class penetrating weapons (for example, bridges and aircraft bunkers). This capability gap could be overcome via the carriage of weapons externally, for example, the Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missile, albeit at the cost of the F-35’s low observability.

 

The difference in capability between the F-35B and C is compounded by the former’s greater cost – both in terms of unit acquisition and through life. The F-35B will have a unit cost of approximately $138 million compared to $117 million for the F-35C; according to figures in the latest US Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Report, the F-35B engine alone is projected to cost $27.7 million compared to $10.9 million for that of the F-35C. Projected through life costs for the F-35B in UK Service are estimated to be £1 billion higher than for the F-35C. If, as will be discussed below, it is necessary to also acquire the F-35A, the through life costs of operating a mixed F-35A/B fleet will be £2 billion above that of operating a single F-35C fleet. In addition, due to the superior capability of the F-35C vis-à-vis the F-35B, fewer of the former would need to be acquired thus generating additional savings. In this regard, the Telegraph in April 2012 cited a classified Ministry of Defence document which suggested that 97 F-35Cs could provide the same capability that would otherwise require 136 F-35Bs. The implications in cost terms are stark; 97 F-35Cs would cost approximately £6.8 billion, whereas 136 F-35Bs would cost approximately £11.26 billion: a difference of £4.46 billion.

 

The cost of converting the QEC for CATOBAR operations – the justification for reverting to the F-35B - although stated to be in the region of £2 billion for HMS Prince of Wales and substantially more for HMS Queen Elizabeth (whilst noting that each ship is projected to cost approximately £2.5 billion) is also subject to much debate. In March 2012, the Telegraph reported that the Assistant Secretary of the US Navy, Sean J. Stackley had written to Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, informing him that the CATOBAR conversion would only cost half what the Ministry of Defence were projecting. The possibility that tensions within the Ministry of Defence regarding Carrier Strike, impinged on the CATOBAR conversion cost analysis, resulting in flawed risk assumptions (for example, pertaining to the installation of the electromagnetic aircraft launch system) and thus inflated cost projections, cannot be ruled out. Taken together with the above F-35 cost data, the debate regarding the CATOBAR conversion cost and the reduced capability of the F-35B, the argument that the decision to revert to the STOVL solution for Carrier Strike constitutes the most cost effective option for the UK appears to be fundamentally flawed.

 

The DPOC Requirement

 

Since the demise of the Royal Air Force’s Future Offensive Air System (FOAS) programme (the intended replacement for the Tornado GR 4) in 2005, the JCA has been expected to fulfil the post-FOAS requirement. This requirement, the deep and persistent offensive capability (DPOC), cannot be met by the F-35B. The decision to acquire the F-35B will either require the acceptance of a capability gap or the acquisition of a second F-35 variant, most likely the F-35A. The acquisition of a mixed JCA fleet has been considered previously and has also been considered as part of the 2012 variant debate. This would involve significant extra cost because of the need to integrate UK weapons into the F-35A, the additional cost of maintaining a mixed fleet and ensuring the compatibility of the aircraft with Royal Air Force air-to-air refuelling (AAR) assets. The latter would involve either the configuring of UK AAR aircraft – the new Voyager A330-200 – for boom AAR operations (Airbus Military has developed an Aerial Boom Refuelling System for the A-330-200) or adapting the F-35A for hose and drogue refuelling. Lockheed Martin reports that provision has been made for the fitting of the necessary equipment for hose and drogue refuelling within the airframe, albeit at additional cost.

 

The DPOC requirement is of central importance to the future of UK airpower. The Tornado is due out of service by the end of this decade whilst the Typhoon does not meet the DPOC requirement and needs investment to attain a full multi-role capability. The limited range, persistence and internal payload of the F-35B, especially with regard to the lack of an internal 2000 lb. penetrating munition capability, will not provide the level of strike capability that is required, in particular for initial operations against an adversary’s strategic targets defended by a still-intact integrated air defence system. The reach of the F-35B can be extended via external carriage of the Storm Shadow cruise missile. This would enable the F-35B to engage targets at ranges of up to approximately 713 nautical miles (based on an F-35B radius of 463 nautical miles and a potential Storm Shadow range of up to 250 nautical miles) with the stand-off range of Storm Shadow keeping the launching aircraft outside of the range of air defence systems (excepting perhaps the Russian-made 40N6-equipped S-400 or Chinese-made HQ-19). However, the F-35B/Storm Shadow combination would only be effective in the context of not having to penetrate deep into an adversary’s airspace due to the F-35B’s low observability being compromised via the external carriage of ordnance. In contrast, the F-35C may potentially be capable of engaging targets at ranges similar to or exceeding that of the F-35B/Storm Shadow combination whilst only carrying internal ordnance. The National Audit Office in its 2011 report on Carrier Strike gave the combat radius of the F-35C as 650 nautical miles whilst other sources have stated this figure to be in excess of 700 nautical miles. Most notably, a 2002 conference paper prepared by a member of the JSF Program Office gave the F-35C’s radius as 799 nautical miles (the same source attributes the F-35A with a 703 nautical mile radius and the F-35B a radius of 496 nautical miles).

 

The strategic implications of the F-35B’s limited range and internal payload are significant. The limited range of the aircraft will increase the requirement for AAR support for both sea and land-based operations; this is especially significant for early operations in a crisis or conflict where the provision of land-based support assets may be restricted or not yet available or vulnerable to attack. With regard to Carrier Strike, the core rationale for carrier airpower is the provision of independent airpower – a dependence on land-based support assets impinges on this critical aspect. The relative value of a British contribution to a coalition’s combat airpower will also diminish due to the selection of the F-35B. This is because other likely coalition partners, for example, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway and The Netherlands will be operating the F-35A which can engage a broader range of targets at greater range than the F-35B. In addition, the loss of interoperability with the US Navy will compound the relative decline in the importance and utility of British combat airpower in a coalition setting. In this regard, it is important to note that in order to enhance integration with the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps will acquire the F-35C in addition to the F-35B. This marks a significant departure from previous plans to transition to an all-STOVL force with the F-35B replacing STOVL AV-8Bs and conventional F/A-18C/Ds and EA-6Bs.

 

As the US reorients its force structure and doctrine toward the Asia-Pacific and Air Sea Battle, the UK, in order to maintain its desired position vis-à-vis the US, should seek to ensure that its force developments are relevant. The shift from the F-35C to B and away from a CATOBAR configuration for the QEC runs counter to this.

 

Moreover, unless the UK opts for a mixed JCA fleet, that is, acquires the F-35A with the additional cost of running such a fleet, the UK’s land-based airpower capability will also be sub-optimal. This again highlights the flawed nature of the decision to shift from acquiring the F-35C to the F-35B. The F-35C is the most capable version of the F-35, could fulfil the UK’s DPOC requirement from both land and sea, and would ensure that the UK possesses a robust and credible offensive air capability.

 

The Implications of a STOVL QEC

 

The most significant implication of the shift from a CATOBAR to STOVL configuration for the QEC is the loss of strategic flexibility and long-term growth potential afforded by CATOBAR. This goes beyond the F-35 variant debate and encompasses issues such as embarked intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, the resilience of Carrier Strike in the event of the F-35 programme being delayed or failing and the long-term viability of Carrier Strike.

 

The latter is far more uncertain following the shift to STOVL. This is because the F-35B has a projected out of service date of circa 2042, whereas the QEC are intended to remain in service until around 2070; unless the ships are then refitted for CATOBAR operations, Carrier Strike capability would be lost by default.

 

The UK has also foreclosed potential future cooperation with the US in the development of next generation systems such as the F/A-XX (the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler replacement), unmanned air systems such as the X-47B and unmanned carrier launched airborne surveillance and strike system and follow-on sixth generation systems.

 

In operational terms, the ship-air interface in a STOVL environment is no less complex than for CATOBAR operations. STOVL operations require more deck space than CATOBAR to enable the short take-off run and due to deficiencies in the F-35B’s performance, in particular the aircraft’s vertical landing bring back capability (the weight of payload permitted for a vertical recovery), ship-borne rolling vertical landings (SRVL) will be required (alternatively, any munitions being carried could be dumped prior to landing – an expensive approach considering the cost of precision guided munitions). A SRVL recovery will require as much deck space as a traditional CATOBAR recovery and can be expected to become routine due to F-35B performance shortfalls, through life technical risk and increasingly expensive weapons. The requirement for sustained investment in embarked training at sea for both aircrew and support personnel and the regular, sustained embarkation of the air group to ensure basic operational proficiency remains for STOVL as it would for CATOBAR operations. 

 

The F-35B’s performance limitations will also impinge on the effectiveness and credibility of UK Carrier Strike. The British government has not revised its policy regarding the size of the QEC air group, which will remain centred on just twelve F-35s. Based on the figures given in the aforementioned Telegraph article, 40% more F-35Bs are required to deliver the same effect as a force of F-35Cs. In essence, to deliver the same effect as twelve F-35Cs, the QEC should embark sixteen or seventeen F-35Bs. Therefore, the currently envisaged number of F-35s will need to be increased in order to provide the required capability. In addition, as discussed above, the F-35B has a reduced reach and punch compared to the F-35C, in particular with regard to the prosecution of hardened targets. The shift therefore from the F-35C to the F-35B will substantially reduce the capability of UK Carrier Strike and have a concomitant impact on its credibility in terms of constituting a force for influence and deterrence.

 

Conclusion

 

The decision to switch from the F-35C to the F-35B, and with it from a CATOBAR to STOVL configuration for the QEC, holds significant implications for the future of UK airpower. The limited range, persistence and internal payload of the F-35B reduce its military utility, in particular with regard to the prosecution of hardened high value targets and its increased dependence on AAR support, thus impinging on the capability and credibility of British airpower and its relative value to coalition operations.

 

Moreover, the variant switch does not constitute a more affordable option for the UK. The F-35B has a higher unit acquisition cost, greater through life costs and does not fulfil the UK’s DPOC requirement which will either necessitate acceptance of a serious capability gap or investment in other systems (such as the F-35A at considerably greater through life cost of a mixed fleet) to address the requirement.

 

In addition, the configuring of the QEC for STOVL operations generates uncertainty with regard to the long-term viability of UK Carrier Strike beyond the service life of the F-35B, and is however likely to necessitate fitting CATOBAR equipment in the long-term. The shift to a STOVL configuration for the QEC also imposes a substantial limitation on the long-term growth potential for UK Carrier Strike. This is especially with regard to possible UK involvement in US programmes developing future maritime aviation capabilities, in particular those relating to unmanned air systems which would offer substantial improvements in persistence, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike capabilities (especially satisfying DPOC requirements) compared to current systems and that offered by the F-35. This also applies at the level of UK airpower. Any future combat air system (manned or unmanned) the UK seeks to acquire will either have to be STOVL (to ensure compatibility with the QEC) or restricted to land basing, thus removing the potential for the UK to minimise the number of fast jet types it operates. The acquisition of the F-35C would enable the UK to acquire future air systems, designed for CATOBAR, which do not suffer the performance limitations imposed by STOVL, and are equally capable of operations from land or sea. This would at least ensure commonality (the development of and requirements for an interoperable force are beyond the scope of this paper) between Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force types and contribute to maximising the flexibility of UK airpower.

 

Simply, the contention that the F-35B constitutes the most cost effective option for the UK and the ‘right decision for the long-term’ does not stand up to scrutiny. The decision to acquire the F-35B requires greater expenditure at a time when the defence budget and wider economy is under significant pressure. The decision will deliver a sub-optimal capability and will reduce the flexibility, long-term growth potential and, ultimately, the strategic credibility of UK airpower. 

Partager cet article
Repost0
31 mai 2012 4 31 /05 /mai /2012 18:00

C-27J – photo1 Alenia Aermacchi

 

May 31, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Alenia Aermacchi; issued May 30, 2012)

 

Alenia Aermacchi, General Dynamics Canada, Provincial Aerospace, and DRS Canada Announce Letter of Intent to Team on Canadian Fixed-Wing SAR Proposal

 

OTTAWA, Canada --- Alenia Aermacchi, Alenia Aermacchi North America and Canada, General Dynamics Canada, Provincial Aerospace, and DRS Canada today announced the signing of a Letter of Intent to partner on a proposal for a Canadian Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) solution. The companies are finalizing the terms and conditions of the partnership and will work towards a more definitive agreement in the coming months.

 

The partnership is being formed in response to the Department of National Defence (DND) plan to acquire a new FWSAR capability to replace the aging fleet of FWSAR aircraft. Selection of the new capability will be conducted through a competitive process, with a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) expected in the fall of 2012, and contractor selection projected for 2014.

 

Alenia Aermacchi’s C-27J Spartan is the most capable, cost effective, and uncompromising search and rescue aircraft available today. Canada’s requirements make the C-27J the perfect fit for their FWSAR needs. The aircraft can operate in harsh environments and across vast terrains and can provide the speed necessary to reach those in need quickly.

 

“The search and rescue teams need an aircraft they can count on no matter the conditions or distance. The C-27J is well suited to some of Canada’s harshest terrain where it will often be called into duty. The characteristics that made the C-27J the right solution for ten other national air forces will prove critical in Canada’s selection process as well,” said Alan Calegari, Chief Executive Officer of Alenia Aermacchi North America. “We are looking forward to working with our outstanding Canadian partners on this procurement.”

 

With Alenia Aermacchi’s C-27J, General Dynamics Canada’s experience in performance-based in-service support on aircraft, and Provincial Aerospace's search and rescue experience and international reputation as a special mission aircraft modification, integration, operations and MRO organization, this team offers Canada the very best aircraft for FWSAR with a strong Canadian presence. The long-term engineering and maintenance support of the fleet, and the resulting long-term, well-paying jobs across the country will make this partnership an outstanding economic stimulus for Canada’s aerospace sector.

 

“This team represents the best capabilities in Canadian industry, combined with the most capable aircraft in the competition,” says David Ibbetson, General Manager, General Dynamics Canada. “We are excited to be part of such a strong team, supporting Alenia’s C-27J for the FWSAR program. We are committed to providing RCAF air crews and SAR techs with the very best search and rescue capability in the world for decades to come.”

 

According to Brian Chafe, Provincial Aerospace’s Chief Operating Officer, “Our company has been supporting the Department of National Defence airborne surveillance mandate in Canada's challenging maritime environment for some 25 years. We know the demands of Canada's oceans, Arctic areas and rugged terrain first hand. The C-27J is the right aircraft for the job and the FWSAR procurement will result in an economic enabler with no parallel by creating domestic and international opportunities for companies to become part of Alenia's globalsupply chain.”

 

Steve Zuber, vice president and general manager of DRS Canada said, “DRS Canada is very excited to be a partner on the Alenia C27J team, and we look forward to expanding our significant presence in Canada into a strong relationship with the Royal Canadian Air Force.” Seasprite technicians, were often operating in challenging conditions. Nevertheless the trials were completed in a thoroughly professional, safe and timely manner.

 

"There will still be a considerable period of learning as we gain experience operating the aircraft on actual deployments."

Partager cet article
Repost0
25 mai 2012 5 25 /05 /mai /2012 07:00
French leader's Brazil visit could hasten decision on jets

May 23, 2012 Spacewar.com (AFP)

 

Brasilia - French President Francois Hollande's visit to Brazil next month for the Rio+20 summit could help hasten Brasilia's decision on a contract to buy 36 next-generation fighter jets, a government official said Wednesday.

 

The Rafale fighter, made by French firm Dassault Aviation, is competing against the US F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab's Gripen for the contract valued at between $4 billion and $7 billion.

 

The government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Hollande's attendance at the June 20-22 UN summit on sustainable development "could untie the knot", with Brasilia hoping for clarifications on the French offer.

 

"We are not happy with any of the proposals" right now, the official said, explaining that the French price was deemed too high while Brasilia does not trust US assurances on technology transfer.

 

Brazil, Latin America's dominant power and the world's sixth-largest economy, is insisting on technology transfer in all its defense agreements.

 

Last month, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Brazil and pledged US advanced technology transfers if Brasilia chooses the Boeing's F/A-18.

 

France has offered full technology transfers in its bid to win the contract.

 

Another factor is India's recent tentative decision to buy 126 Rafales in a contract valued at $12 billion, a more attractive price than that proposed to Brazil.

 

Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim traveled to India in February to discuss prospects for a "technical military accord."

Partager cet article
Repost0
23 mai 2012 3 23 /05 /mai /2012 16:50
Airbus Military focusing on African market

 

 

23 May 2012by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

Airbus Military expects to sell 70 light and medium military aircraft to Africa over the next decade, as it shifts it focus to the African continent and other emerging markets. Ghana, Cameroon and Gabon are some of the nations that are in the midst of buying new aircraft or are about to sign, whilst South Africa is a leading potential customer for the C295.

Airbus Military said that countries in sub-Saharan Africa will buy 50 light and medium aircraft over the next ten years, and that countries on the whole continent (excluding those in the Middle East) will purchase a total of 70.

 

Antonio Rodriguez Barberan, Senior Vice President: Commercial at Airbus, told defenceWeb that Airbus was in very preliminary discussions with Ghana for the acquisition of two more C295 transports. Ghana took delivery of its second C295 on April 25 and has a requirement for another two. Barberan said the Ghana Air Force was making good use of its new aircraft, flying them around Africa. Ultimately, it wants to base two transports in the capital Accra and another two in Tamale. Airbus said that Ghana may order another two C295s next year.

 

In August last year the contract for Ghana’s two C295s was announced, and the first was delivered in November. The C295s are being used for troop transport, medical evacuation, paratrooping, training and humanitarian operations, including United Nations peace missions.

 

Barberan said that an impending order for CN235s is coming from Cameroon, which recently signed a contract but had problems financing the new aircraft. A few weeks ago Cameroon obtained financing for the order, which will soon be announced by Airbus Military once it is firmed up.

 

Meanwhile, Gabon is one of several nations interested in acquiring C295s to be operated on behalf of the United Nations. The United Nations has also expressed interest in acquiring the C-295 to replace its old, inefficient Russian aircraft. Last year the UN invited Airbus to demonstrate the C-295 in the DRC, which Airbus duly did in July. Another demonstration took place this year. The United Nations does not own its own aircraft, but operates aircraft leased by contributor nations. Airbus Military, the United Nations and its partner nations are discussing possible procurement of the C-295, with Gabon emerging as a likely customer.

 

In October 2010 Egypt signed a contract for three C295s, and received its first in September last year. Airbus Military told journalists at its annual Trade Media Briefing in Spain that Egypt this year placed an order for an additional three C295s.

 

Airbus recently flew a C295 out to Africa for a demonstration tour, showing the aircraft to Kenya and Tanzania, amongst others. At the moment there is “no real interest” in the C295 from African countries following the tour, but Barberan is confident that orders will materialise. During its demonstration tour, Airbus Military demonstrated the C295 to the South African Air Force in April, in the hopes of receiving orders to fulfil its transport and maritime patrol requirements.

 

“Airbus Military has a long established partnership with South Africa and the SA Air Force. By bringing the C-295 to South Africa, we are able to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities in typical SANDF [South African National Defence Force] mission configurations for tactical transport, medevac, anti-piracy, countersmuggling and Economic Exclusion Zone protection operations,” Barberan said at the time.

 

On Monday Airbus Military announced that Oman had ordered eight C295s, including five configured as tactical transports and three as maritime patrol aircraft, for delivery in 2013. This setup could be emulated by South Africa, which could acquire the Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) mission suite for maritime patrol duties. This comprises a search radar, electro-optical/infrared sensor, magnetic anomaly detector and hardpoints for torpedoes and depth charges.

 

Head of Airbus Military, Domingo Urena-Raso, yesterday told defenceWeb that there are several key countries his company is targeting in Africa, including Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and South Africa. He said that although most African countries order only a few aircraft, when put together Africa offers a very reasonable volume of business.

 

Urena-Raso said that South Africa is a market for both the C295 as well as the A400M and that even though the South African government cancelled its previous order, the A400M “will come later” to South Africa. Airbus Military recently started marketing the airlifter to foreign countries, and sent it on a sales tour to Asia and Latin America.

 

After South Africa ordered the A400M, Denel Saab Aerostructures (Denel Aerostructures today) and other local companies began manufacturing components for the aircraft. Urena-Raso said that Airbus Military was satisfied with Denel’s performance and will continue to work with the company as far as they keep performing. In fact, Airbus Military and Denel Aerostructures have negotiated a new contract that will be signed in the coming weeks and will see Denel increase A400M component production.

 

Total Airbus Military sales in sub-Saharan Africa to the first quarter of this year include two C295s, six CN235s and 42 C212s with 14 customers in 11 countries.

 

 

Guy Martin is in France as a guest of Airbus Military and is attending the Trade Media Briefing 2012.

Partager cet article
Repost0
22 mai 2012 2 22 /05 /mai /2012 21:18
Philippines Looking to Buy Non-USA Combat Aircraft

The PAF operates these SF260TP trainers since the mid 1990s.

One such plane crashed Friday off Lamonja island, with two crew members on board.

 

May 20, 2012 Richard Dudley - defense-update.com

 

For the first time in its history, the Philippines is looking to non-USA sources for combat aircraft to strengthen the nation’s warfighting capabilities. The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) is reported to be in the market to purchase as many as two squadrons of combat aircraft and, according to DND representatives, has already entered into negotiations with non-USA manufacturers. Usually, a squadron would consist of 15 to 18 aircraft, but each squadron is configured to meet specific defense needs. On 7 May Dr. Peter Paul Galvez, speaking for the DND, announced that the Philippines had approached several nations with an eye towards procuring war materials needed to upgrade the nation’s armed forces. He stated that France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and South Korea were all prime candidates being considered.

 

Dr. Galvez indicated that his nation was in the market for second-hand combat aircraft and missile-firing gunboats in an effort to modernize the military and build an effective defense force. In consideration of the nation’s budget limitations, the DND seeks to achieve an acceptable balance of cost, capability, maintenance needs, and longevity in purchasing the desired warfighting assets.

 

The Philippines is now locked in a tense maritime dispute with China over ownership and control of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Chinese and Filipino ships have been in a face-to-face standoff for more than a month now with no end in sight. Both nations have dispatched ships to the area to secure their claims to the Shoal and the surrounding waters. Dr. Galvez also stated that the DND is also reviewing the possibility of procuring jet trainers for the Philippine Air Force (PAF). The PAF currently flies Italian Marchetti S211 jet trainers, aircraft that are frequently used in a ground-attack role in the nation’s continuing war against insurgents.

 

The Philippines wants to negotiate “government-to-government” purchases in an effort to save money. When asked if the Philippines was planning to buy modern multi-role aircraft, Dr. Galvez said that such an acquisition was a dream of the DND, but one that would not likely fit into the defense budget. He also mentioned the substantial costs involved in maintaining new aircraft, costs the Philippines is presently not able to afford. He said that if they can buy “cheaper planes of the same quality and firepower, that’s another plus factor” for the Philippines.

 

PAF is currently using the OV10 Bronco for ground attack / counter insurgency operations. A cost effective replacement for both bronco and the F-5s, retired in 2005 could be the Korean FA-50, planned to replace the Korean F-5s by 2013. Aero Image photo via PAF

 

During a radio interview on 16 May, Philippine President Benigno Aquino stated that he had requested second-hand F-16 Falcons from the United States, but this request may not be practical considering the maintenance costs associated with keeping the aging aircraft operational. He said, “It’s not necessarily the F-16s. We are also looking at jet fighters with the same capability as that of the F-16 but are cost-efficient and low in maintenance.”

 

President Aquino went on to say that his government was looking to spend between $400 and $800 million for each of two combat squadrons. He also pointed out that the PAF’s last fighter jet, a Vietnam War-era Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter, was retired in 2005. For all practical purposes, the Philippines no longer has a credible air defense capability.

 

Last month, Manila requested additional military assistance from the United States including aircraft, radar systems, and gunboats. This request was submitted as a means of enabling the Philippines to create a “minimum credible defense.” Aquino went on to say that his government had various options to consider and that the nation has the “capacity to buy brand new, but not from America.” He declined to mention any specific aircraft model being considered and he said he was not at liberty to mention the country of manufacture at that time.

 

The president also stated that the DND’s acquisition endeavors also included upgrading the Navy. The flagship of the Philippine Navy, and largest warship the Navy has, is a former US Hamilton-class Coast Guard cutter, now renamed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar. A second and more capable Hamilton-class cutter, the USS Dallas, is expected to be delivered in November of this year.

 

President Aquino said that the DND was in the process of completing 132 projects with the expectation that these efforts would be finalized by the end of July of this year. The projects now in the works are unlikely to approach the level some analysts believe is needed for the Philippines to deploy an effective defense capability.

 

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS), an American think tank, has published what their analysts believe are the Philippines’ minimum defense needs. According to CNAS, the Philippines needs at least four F-16 squadrons (48 aircraft), modern frigates, fast corvettes, minesweepers, and four to six mini-submarines to meet the challenges posed by China’s military modernization. CNAS claims that upgrading the Philippines’ defense posture as a counter to Chinese ambitions is in the best interest of the United States and her Asia-Pacific allies.

 

A Philippine modernization on the scale CNAS advocates is almost certainly beyond Manila’s financial ability at the present time. Such an extensive modernization would undoubtedly require financial assistance from the US and other Asia-Pacific nations, a prospect that is unlikely given the global economic challenges now hobbling the United States and other nations.

Partager cet article
Repost0
21 mai 2012 1 21 /05 /mai /2012 06:56
Boeing Delivers RAF's 8th C-17 Globemaster III

 

May 20, 2012 ASDNews Source : The Boeing Company

 

Boeing delivered the United Kingdom's eighth C-17 Globemaster III to the Royal Air Force (RAF) today during a ceremony at the company's final assembly facility in Long Beach.

 

"I'm honored and delighted to deliver the Royal Air Force's newest C-17 to join the fleet at Number 99 Squadron, where our seven C-17s are in constant demand flying missions in support of Defence and other government agencies' requirements," said RAF Wing Cmdr. David Manning, Officer Commanding 99 Squadron. "It's a great feeling to know that we have the capability to deliver crucial supplies to the front lines with little notice, or to transport injured troops home with a better chance of survival because of the capability and flexibility of the C-17. This newest C-17 will be a welcome addition to the Air Force fleet."

 

The RAF C-17s are operated by 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton. The first RAF C-17s entered service in 2001 and have surpassed 74,000 flight hours -- 15 percent above the projected rate. The UK Ministry of Defence, citing ongoing demand, ordered additional airlifters for delivery in 2008 and 2010 and contracted for its eighth C-17 in March.

 

"RAF C-17s are ever-present when there's a need for humanitarian relief or peacekeeping around the world," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing Airlift vice president and C-17 program manager. "We're proud to support the Royal Air Force in providing for the mobility needs of their great nation, and we are grateful for the partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence and U.S. Air Force that made this delivery possible in such a short time."

 

"The RAF fleet's airlift capacity, increased by this latest delivery, is backed by a comprehensive sustainment services program," said Boeing Defence UK Managing Director Mike Kurth. "As part of the worldwide C-17 'virtual fleet,' RAF C-17s are supported through the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP), a Performance-Based Logistics agreement. The support provided to the RAF under the GISP arrangement results in an excellent mission-capable rate at one of the lowest costs per flying hour."

 

Boeing has delivered 242 C-17s worldwide, including 216 to the U.S. Air Force active duty, Guard and Reserve units. A total of 26 C-17s have been delivered to Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. India has 10 C-17s on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

Partager cet article
Repost0
16 mai 2012 3 16 /05 /mai /2012 16:45

Su-30SM Fighter source Ria Novisti

Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft

 

MINSK, May 16 (RIA Novosti)

 

Russia is to put up for sale a batch of 18 Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft, rejected by India on concerns about their engines and returned to Russia in 2003, a defense official said on Wednesday.

 

"The 18 Su-30s previously used by India and then returned, are in an aviation repair plant in Belarus and are on sale to potential buyers," said Alexander Fomin, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. He added that the aircraft could be modernized before being sold on.

 

The Su-30MKI is India's lead fighter aircraft, and around 140 have been produced under license by HAL Aeronautics in India. The Indian Air Force is expected to buy a total of around 280 during the next decade.

 

Development of the Su-30 began in the 1980s for the Soviet Armed Forces, based on the Su-27UB conversion trainer.

The first batch of 18 Su-30s delivered to India were Su-30MK and Su-30K standard, and were built to a lower specification than the later Su-30MKI. This meant that they did not have thrust-vectoring engine nozzles or canard foreplanes, enabling extra maneuverability.

 

Their avionics systems were also built to a lower specification than the later Su-30MKIs built by HAL, which included a high level of Israeli and French-built systems.

Partager cet article
Repost0
14 mai 2012 1 14 /05 /mai /2012 12:05

C-27J – photo3 Alenia Aermacchi

 

14 May 2012 airforce-technology.com

 

The Australian Government has selected L-3 Communications as the prime contractor for the delivery of C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft, in support of the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) battlefield airlifter programme.

 

The foreign military sales (FMS) programme, established in the US, has an approximate contract value of $600m and involves the supply of ten new C-27J aircraft worth about $300m, along with contractor logistics support, spares and training.

 

L-3 Integrated Systems Group corporate senior vice president and president, John McNellis, said: "The C-27J will serve the Commonwealth of Australia with superb performance, interoperability with international forces, as well as significant total life-cycle savings over the life of the programme."

 

The aircraft is expected to enhance the Australian Defence Forces' (ADF) ability to transport troops, equipment and supplies in the absence of the DHC-4 Caribou aircraft, which was retired in 2009 following the completion of 40 years' operational service.

 

Besides battlefield airlift, the aircraft is capable of conducting airlift from shorter airstrips across Australia, and will also be able to support humanitarian missions in remote locations.

 

Using common infrastructure and aircraft systems as the existing RAAF C-130 Hercules and C-17 aircraft, the C-27J can carry out a range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of causalities.

 

The first C-27J is expected to be delivered in 2015 with the initial operating capability (IOC) scheduled for the end of 2016. All aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Richmond.

 

The selection of the C-27J follows an assessment by the Australian Department of Defence, during which the aircraft demonstrated its ability to fly further, faster and higher while carrying additional cargo than its rival contender, the Airbus Military C-295 transport aircraft.

 

The C-27J Spartan is a tactical transport aircraft designed to conduct cargo transportation, logistic support of military units, electronic surveillance, firefighting, and search and rescue operations.

Partager cet article
Repost0
13 mai 2012 7 13 /05 /mai /2012 11:44
F 35 britanniques : what a mess[*] !

 

13 Mai 2012 Jean-Dominique Merchet

 

Le revirement de Londres sur le choix du futur avion de combat F 35, annoncé jeudi dernier, illustre le désarroi dans lequel se trouve la défense britannique. Des finances publiques à sec, des forces armées littérallement lessivée par dix ans de guerres (Irak, Afghanistan), une industrie qui a perdu des pans entiers de ses compétences et, cerise sur le gateau, des politiques, très divisés, qui ne savent pas où ils veulent vraiment aller.

 

En comparaison, la situation française apparait exceptionnellement favorable... mais il n'y a pas lieu de s'en réjouir. Car, volens nolens, le destin de nos pays est lié. Le Royaume-Uni est, pour l'heure, le principal partenaire militaire de la France. Son affaiblissement est au final notre affaiblissement.

 

Revenons au F 35... en sachant bien que ce n'est qu'une étape de plus dans une longue descente aux enfers. Il y en aura d'autres, et elles se décideront d'abord aux Etats-Unis, puisque Londres a fait le choix de s'en remettre à Washington pour équiper son aviation. Et que le programme de F 35 (l'ancien Joint Strike Fighter) de Lockheed n'est pas à proprement parler une réussite. Trop complexe (trois versions très différentes) et trop cher : le dernier rapport du Congrès américain parle de 400 milliards. Ce n'est pas fini, car les avions ne sont toujours pas en service et on ne sait ni quand, ni qui sous quelle forme et en quels nombres ils le seront un jour.

 

En décembre 2006, le gouvernement britannique annonçait sa décision d'acheter 135 F 35 dans sa version B. Cette version est à décollage court et atterrisage vertical (STOVL, en anglais). C'est la version développée spécialement pour l'aviation de l'US Marine Corps et qui doit succèder aux Harriers britanniques.

En octobre 2010, le gouvernement britannique (qui entre temps est devenu conservateur) change de cap. Il est décidé d'acquérir des F 35 mais dans sa version C, celle de l'US Navy. C'est un appareil naval traditionnel conçu pour décoller d'un porte-avions avec une catapulte et y apponter avec un brin d'arrêt (Catobar, en anglais). Moins complexe techniqument, l'appareil est à la fois moins couteux et plus performant en terme de capacités d'emport (carburant ou armement). Il oblige cependant à disposer de porte-avions pouvant le mettre en oeuvre. Le nombre d'appareils que Londres souhaitent acheter est réduit, mais le chiffre exact n'a pas été rendu public. En tout cas, pas 135...

Nouveau contre-ordre, jeudi 10 mai 2012 : le secrétaire à la Défense Philipp Hammond annonce aux Communes que Londres a décidé de revenir à l'achat de la version B (STOVL) ! La justification est la suivante : même si l'avion est moins cher, l'adaptation du futur porte-avions Queen Elizabeth se révèle hors de prix : la facture de l'adaptation a doublée, pour atteindre 2 milliards de livres (2,5 milliards d'euros...) ! Une somme proprement folle. Et l'avion ne sera pas disponible, au mieux, avant 2023, dans douze ans... Passons sur le fait que les Britanniques construisent deux porte-avions, sans savoir que faire de l'un des deux (Prince of Wales) puisqu'il a été jugé trop cher d'arrêter le chantier. Quant au reste de l'aviation britannique, elle repose sur l'Eurofighter Typhoon, qui n'est pas non plus la réussite du siècle, en matière de coûts et de performances...

 

De ce côté-ci de la Manche, on fait grise mine. Le choix de 2010 apparaissait comme la volonté de Londres de se rapprocher du modèle français pour, à terme, envisager un groupe aéronaval commun. Cette perspective s'éloigne, même si l'on avait beaucoup exagéré les possibilités de rapprochement en la matière. En effet, poser un avion sur un porte-avions est une chose, le mettre en oeuvre en est une autre. On a vu des Rafale se poser sur des porte-avions américains et participer à quelques exercices, mais imaginer que les avions français ou britanniques puissent être mis en oeuvre, de manière opérationnelle, à partir de porte-avions de l'un ou l'autre pays est une pure vue de l'esprit. Ne serait-ce que parce qu'il faut tout le soutien mécanique et l'armement des avions : il faut beaucoup de place et beaucoup de monde pour s'en occuper. Où les mettrait-on ? On oublie aussi un peu vite que le F 35 C (Catobar) est plus lourd (plus de 31 tonnes, à pleine charge) et qu'il ne pourrait pas être mis en oeuvre par le Charles de Gaulle. Les Américains développent d'ailleurs, à très grand prix, des catapultes électriques. Bref, on a un peu rêvé, comme on le fait depuis plus dix ans, sur un porte-avions franco-brtiannique. L'annonce de jeudi n'est qu'un douloureux retour au réel.

 

Très réelle aussi, l'inconséquence du choix des pays qui se sont embarqués dans le projet F 35... et qui s'en mordent les doigts. L'avion n'est pas là, il siphonne leurs crédits de recherche-développement et même les Britanniques découvrent qu'ils n'auront pas accès aux codes-sources, les secrets les plus précieux pour un programme de cette complexité. En clair, ils se sont mis entre les mains des Américains et financent la destruction d'une capacité européenne (ou autres, pensons au Canada, au Japon...) de concevoir les futurs avions de combat. Belle réussite !

 

* "Quel b*** ! "... pour les non-anglophones

Partager cet article
Repost0
12 mai 2012 6 12 /05 /mai /2012 11:35

C-27J---photo3-Alenia-Aermacchi.JPG

 

May 11, 2012. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

From L-3:

 

NEW YORK– L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL) announced today that it has been selected by the Commonwealth of Australia to provide the C-27J Spartan for the country’s Battlefield Airlifter program. The U.S. Foreign Military Sales program has an approximate contract value of $600 million and includes the supply of 10 new C-27J aircraft worth about $300 million, plus contractor logistics support, spares and training.

 

The announcement was made by the Australian Minister for Defence and the Minister for Defence Materiel on May 10.

 

“L-3 is proud to have been selected for the Australian Battlefield Airlifter program,” said John McNellis, L-3 corporate senior vice president and president of L-3 Integrated Systems Group. “We look forward to working with the U.S. and Australian governments to deliver this vital capability. The C-27J will serve the Commonwealth of Australia with superb performance, interoperability with international forces, as well as significant total life-cycle savings over the life of the program.”

 

To support the future force, the Battlefield Airlifter must be a multifunctional aircraft, able to perform logistical re-supply, medevac, troop movement, airdrop operations and humanitarian assistance. The C-27J is equipped to address each of these mission requirements and outperforms every other aircraft in its class, as demonstrated through exceptional performance during the U.S. Air Force’s current deployment in Afghanistan. The U.S. selected the C-27J over the C-295 through a competitive tender process in 2007.

 

Headquartered in New York City, L-3 employs approximately 61,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in C3ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems, aircraft modernization and maintenance, and government services. L-3 is also a leading provider of a broad range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms. The company reported 2011 sales of $15.2 billion.

Partager cet article
Repost0
10 mai 2012 4 10 /05 /mai /2012 22:25
Londres choisit le F-35B aux dépens de l'entente franco-britannique

 

 

10.05.2012 Le Monde.fr avec AFP

 

Au plan diplomatique, l'une des conséquences du revirement britannique est que les avions français Rafale ne pourront pas se poser sur le pont du "Queen Elizabeth", dépourvu de catapultes.

 

Le choix du F-35B américain pour équiper les porte-avions britanniques, annoncé jeudi 10 mai à Londres, constitue un coup dur pour le concept d'interopérabilité au coeur de l'entente franco-britannique en matière de défense.

 

Le gouvernement britannique hésitait entre deux versions de l'avion de combat fabriqué par la même société américaine Lockheed Martin pour équiper la Royal Navy et la Royal Air Force (RAF): le F-35B à atterrissage et décollage vertical et le F-35C lancé par catapultes. Il a finalement renoncé à se doter du F-35C du fait de "l'augmentation inacceptable [du coût] et des délais" qu'impliquait un tel choix. L'installation d'un système de catapulte et de récupération "cats and traps" sur le pont du Queen Elizabeth, futur porte-avions britannique qui reste à construire d'ici 2020, aurait entraîné un retard de trois ans et un surcoût de 2 milliards de livres (2,5 milliards d'euros) par rapport au devis initial, a plaidé Philip Hammond, l'actuel ministre de la défense du Royaume-Uni au sein du gouvernement de coalition de David Cameron.

 

La coalition des conservateurs et libéraux démocrates avait pourtant, en 2010, préconisé d'adopter le F-35C, plutôt que le F-35B initialement retenu par le précédent gouvernement travailliste. Le premier ministre David Cameron avait à l'époque vanté aux députés l'interopérabilité du F-35C avec les porte-avions français et américains. Jeudi, le porte-parole de l'opposition travailliste pour les affaires de défense, Jim Murphy, a immédiatement dénoncé "l'incompétence" gouvernementale.

 

PAS DE RAFALE SUR LE PONT DU "QUEEN ELIZABETH"

 

Au plan diplomatique, l'une des conséquences du revirement est que les avions français Rafale ne pourront pas se poser sur le pont du Queen Elizabeth, dépourvu de catapultes. Or l'utilisation croisée des porte-avions était au cœur du projet de coopération bilatérale franco-britannique esquissé à Saint-Malo en 1998 et relancé à grand renfort de publicité par David Cameron et le président Nicolas Sarkozy lors de la signature du traité de défense de Lancaster, en novembre 2010.

 

La nécessité du maintien de capacités aéronavales fortes, trente ans après la guerre anglo-argentine aux Malouines, en Atlantique Sud, constitue un argument fort dans le débat en Grande-Bretagne sur les risques réels ou supposés des coupes budgétaires dans le domaine de la défense. Jeudi, Philip Hammond a expliqué : "La décision concernant les porte-avions, prise en 2010, était légitime à l'époque, mais les faits ont changé et nous devons changer notre approche en conséquence. Ce gouvernement ne va pas aveuglément poursuivre des projets sans considération pour l'augmentation des coûts et des délais."

 

"C'est un autre rendez-vous manqué pour des raisons secondaires", a déploré Etienne de Durand, expert auprès de l'Institut français des relations internationales, dans une interview au Financial Times. Le partenariat inédit scellé en 2010 par les deux principales forces militaires européennes prévoit notamment la création d'un corps expéditionnaire commun s'inspirant de la brigade franco-allemande, le partage de laboratoires pour tester leurs arsenaux atomiques et des partenariats industriels sur les drones et les missiles. Le rapprochement exprime un souci commun de mutualisation et de réduction des coûts en période d'austérité.

Partager cet article
Repost0
25 avril 2012 3 25 /04 /avril /2012 07:30
Vietnam's Su-30MK2 Has a New Color Scheme

Sukhoi Su-30MK2 #8573 delivered in December 2011

(photo : ttvnol, image : mars.slupsk)

 

24.04.2012 DEFENSE STUDIES

 
One of the Su-30MK2 aircraft  that had been delivered by Russia to the Vietnam Air Force has a new color scheme.  The color not blue-dark blue as before, but the Su-30MK2 with number 8573 has green-brown color.
 

 

Vietnam has received the Russian-made Su-27 and Su-30 aircrafts. Based on 1995 contracts Vietnam has ordered seven Su-27SK (6001, 6002, 6003, 6004, 6005, 6006, 6007), and based on 1997 contracts Vietnam has ordered five Su-27UBK (8521, 8523, 8525, 8526, 8527), the contract was fulfilled.
 
Russia also has fulfilled the contract for orders in 2003 of four Su-30MK2 (8531, 8532, 8533, 8534), also for the order of eight Su-30MK2 in 2009 (8535, 8536, 8537, 8538, 8539, 8540, 8541, 8542).
In 2010, Vietnam has ordered 12 Su-30MK2, four Su-30MK2 (8544, 8548, 8551, 8555) were delivered in June 2011 and four Su-30MK2 (8573, 8577, 858X, 858X) were delivered in december 2011.
 
Vietnam will receive another four Su-30MK2 in 2012, but one aircraft crash while testing in february 2012.
 
(Defense Studies)
Partager cet article
Repost0
29 mars 2012 4 29 /03 /mars /2012 20:46
Russia Touts Yak-130 Combat Trainer in S.America

Yak-130

 

SANTIAGO, March 29 (RIA Novosti)

 

South American air force chiefs have shown interest in Russia’s Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten trainer/light attack aircraft, the plane’s maker said on Thursday.

 

“We have conducted negotiations with the Air Force chiefs of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay,” Urkut Vice President for Marketing Vladimir Sautov said at the FIDAE-2012 International Air Show.

 

They showed interest not only in a two-seater but also one-seat version, he said, adding the latter could only be manufactured if there was a firm order from a large customer.

 

Irkut started exporting the planes in 2011. Foreign market capacity is estimated at 250 machines.

 

In December, Irkut and the Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract for the supply of 55 Yak-130 by 2015.

Partager cet article
Repost0
29 mars 2012 4 29 /03 /mars /2012 07:20

RAF C17

 

LONG BEACH, Calif., March 28 (UPI)

 

An eighth C-17 Globemaster III will be delivered to the British air force this year under a new contract to Boeing from the country's Ministry of Defense.

 

The British C-17s are used primarily to support Operation Herrick, the transport of equipment and troops to Afghanistan but also participate in humanitarian missions around the world, such as the delivery of relief supplies following natural disasters.

 

"The tremendous teamwork of Boeing and U.S. government officials has made it possible to announce this acquisition so quickly after we determined the need for this additional C-17," said Ministry of Defense Head of Commercial for Air Support Robin Philip. "This C-17 will be a welcome addition to the (air force) fleet."

 

The British air force was Boeing's first international customer for the heavy lift aircraft, and its fleet has logged more than 74,000 flight hours – about 15 percent more than had been anticipated.

 

The last C-17 purchased was delivered in November 2010.

 

"We understand the need to move quickly to bring this contract to completion," said Liz Pace, Boeing C-17 UK program manager. "This additional order is a testament to our strong relationship with the U.K. as well as to the aircraft's advanced capability, flexibility and reliability."

Partager cet article
Repost0
27 mars 2012 2 27 /03 /mars /2012 16:45
Latin America re-arms air combat fleets

Colombia has set about upgrading its Kfir fighters

 

20 Mar 2012 by Stephen Trimble - FG

 

Washington DC - For many years, military spending in South America was a footnote in forecasts of the global arms trade. While that was once a healthy sign of a continent largely at peace among member states, the stakes have changed. South America still does not compare with the giants of the global arms trade, but military spending is growing rapidly.

 

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the world's independent arms trade watchdog, felt compelled to issue a report earlier this year on Latin American spending. As budgets have "risen considerably", SIPRI's analysts sought to focus attention on the continent's woeful record of disclosure on military budget accounts.

 

The institute may have some grounds for raising the alarm. South American countries are poised for a new round of major arms purchases. From Brazil to Chile to Venezuela, air forces are priming to re-arm their front-line fighter fleets. Everywhere, countries are prioritising the growth of local aerospace companies, leveraging the biggest weapons deals to transfer key skills and technologies to local industry. The continent's traditional Western suppliers are not the only ones to notice. Russian and Chinese manufacturers have poured into the region, striking deals for fighters, helicopters, trainers, transports and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

 

CHILE

 

A seemingly never-ending fighter modernisation process in Chile is gearing up for a fourth competition in less than 20 years. The Chilean Air Force (FACh) has 16 Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs that are due to be retired after 2015. Contractors are already preparing for the biggest procurement prize in South America, after Brazil's F-X2 acquisition programme for at least 36 fighters.

 

Lockheed Martin was Chile's preferred supplier in the previous three rounds. The FACh selected the F-16 Block 50 in 2000 for a 10-aircraft order. That was followed in 2004 by a first batch of 18 second-hand F-16A/B mid-life update Block 20s from the Netherlands, and in 2008 by a second batch of another 18 F-16A/Bs. In addition, the FACh ordered 12 Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucanos.

 

Lockheed has been eager to campaign for the F-5 replacement order for at least five years. In 2007, a Lockheed executive even touted the F-35 as a possible option for the FACh. Three years later, a US Air Force F-22 made a debut appearance at the FIDAE air show. The F-35 programme delays and cost increases may lead Chile to look elsewhere, but Lockheed may still offer new or used F-16s. On the other hand, Chile's political and military leadership may prefer to diversify its sources of combat aircraft. Prior to the F-16 selection, the FACh inventory included a mix of US-made F-5s and French-made Mirage 50s.

 

FACh officials have reportedly visited Eurofighter manufacturing sites in Spain. A batch of new or used EF-2000s ordered by Chile would introduce the type in Latin America. Chile has been among the most active military spenders in recent years as a 10% tax on surging copper revenues has kept procurement active. In addition to the new fighters, Chile will introduce the most advanced UAV in South America. In June, Chile was disclosed as the buyer of an Elbit Systems Hermes 900.

 

ARGENTINA

 

Sustained economic growth has yielded some benefits to Argentina's air force, but perhaps not in the way service leaders had envisioned. Despite sustained growth as Latin America's third-largest economy, Argentina still operates one of the most ancient fleets of combat aircraft.

 

Its "youngest" fighters, measured in terms of Argentine service, are ex-US Navy A-4s, delivered in the late 1990s with upgraded radars and avionics by the former Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina (LMAASA). The air force fleet also includes 13 Dassault Mirage IIIs, seven Mirage 5s and 13 Israel Aerospace Industries Daggers. The navy, meanwhile, operates 11 Dassault-Breguet Super Etendards.

 

Although Argentina's defence budget has doubled since 2007, there are still no active replacement programmes. The inaction may be partly explained by market analysis from Forecast International, which estimates personnel salaries consumed 70% of the $4 billion defence budget in 2011. The $4 billion budget, while a 100% improvement on 2007, still represents only about 0.6% of Argentina's GDP.

 

However, there are encouraging signs for the resurgence of Argentina's air force. The rise in military spending has allowed a once highly skilled aerospace industry to rebound from decades of neglect. In 2009, the nation's Kirchner administration reclaimed LMAASA from Lockheed's management.

 

The Argentine-owned FAdeA reopened its factory in Cordoba on 17 December, and the company has hummed with activity ever since. Although it has yet to work on Argentina's front-line fighters, it has reset its skills set by modernising the country's proudest aviation achievements - the IA-58 Pucara light attack aircraft and the IA-63 advanced jet trainer.

 

On 8 July 2011, FAdeA delivered the first upgraded IA-58 to the air force. The upgrades start with maintenance improvements, with the eventual replacement of the avionics and navigation systems. Finally, FAdeA will replace the ageing Turbomeca Astazou engines with Pratt & Whitney PT6A-62s, allowing the seminal counter-insurgency aircraft to remain in service until 2045.

 

Meanwhile, the air force has also funded FAdeA to manufacture 40 IA-63s designed to the Series II standard, which includes the 4,250lb (1,900kg) Honeywell TF731-40-N2 turbofan. The first flight of a re-engined IA-63 on 8 June 2011 spurred FAdeA's marketing division to poetically describe the "sublime moment that justifies the hours and hours of dedication, effort, ingenuity and creativity".

 

FAdeA is already pursuing larger ambitions, while the country's aeronautic pride has been rekindled. The air force's aeronautical university has developed an all-new cruise missile - the FAS-850 Dardo 2C. Another local company has joined forces with Israel's Innocon to develop the indigenously built Yarara, a 30kg-class unmanned air vehicle.

 

FAdeA wants to design a new military trainer to replace the air force's retired Beechcraft T-34 Mentors. A prototype of the IA-73 is notionally scheduled to achieve first flight in 2013. If it succeeds, the IA-73 will be the first Argentine-built aircraft to enter service since the IA-63 in 1988.

 

Other opportunities are being pursued. In November, FAdeA hosted a delegation from the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) to discuss the possibility of license-building the Changhe Z-11 helicopter. The Argentine army evaluated the Harbin Z-9 in 2008, and selected the aircraft.

 

BRAZIL

 

In January 2011, Embraer had the misfortune to launch a defence and security business around the same time Brazil made a 26% cut in military procurement. Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer's defence business, shrugs when recalling the episode. "As a matter of fact, by the end of the year we had a very good recovery," he says. "They didn't cut one single programme from their plan."

 

The momentary pause in Brazilian defence spending has passed. With Brazil hosting the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later, few countries in Latin America have more incentive to invest in Latin America during the next two years.

 

Aguiar notes that the 2012 defence budget largely recovers any reductions in the procurement accounts from last year. In fact, the procurement budget has increased in 2012 by 18% to R8 billion ($4.5 billion).

 

The largest allocation - $500 million - is for Brazil's joint helicopter programme, which is acquiring 50 Eurocopter EC-725s. The budget also invests a further $302 million in the Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport, which is scheduled to fly in 2014 with deliveries two years later. However, the FX-2 fighter contract - Brazil's 16-year-old competition to replace a fleet of Dassault Mirage IIIs - is not in the 2012 budget. The competition has dragged on so long the Mirage IIIs have been replaced by Mirage 2000s, which also need to be retired.

 

But the lack of a 2012 line item for FX-2 is no cause for concern. Brazil's air force is expected to continue negotiating with the winning bidder for up to a year after contract selection before making the award.

 

Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff is reportedly set to make a decision in the first half of this year. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen remain in the bidding, almost four years after the air force selected them as finalists. For its part, Boeing confirms the pricing it originally submitted in 2009 remains valid.

 

For Embraer, the decision is of no great consequence. In contrast with the aborted F-XBR competition, Embraer has forged no formal links with a particular bidder as it once did with Dassault. Meanwhile, the company can continue reaping the benefits of the continued delays.

 

In addition to the arrival of the Mirage 2000s in 2005, the delays have forced Brazil's air force to fund a new round of avionics and structural upgrades for the existing fleet. Embraer has received deals to upgrade 41 A-1 Alenia/Embraer AMX fighters, 53 Northrop F-5s, and 12 McDonnell Douglas A-4s. The upgrades are part of an overall $397 million line item in the 2012 budget to pay for the modernisation of the legacy fleet. "We have received all of our money related to all of our programmes," Aguiar says.

 

VENEZUELA

 

The Venezuelan military's acquisition arm has never been busier - or more creative. Banned by the USA from receiving most Western sources of supply since 2006, Venezuela has looked to Russia, China and Iran for arms during the past five years. US sanctions have failed to slow Venezuela's modernisation strategy, and in some ways have forced Caracas to aim even higher. Take the example of Venezuela's campaign to replace its ageing ­F-16As. The USA first blocked Brazil and Italy from exporting the AMX fighter, then stopped Israel from bidding to upgrade the F-16As with new avionics and weapons.

 

In response, Venezuela turned to Russia in 2006 to supply 24 Sukhoi Su-30s, a far more potent threat than upgraded F-16As. China also received orders for two batches totalling 24 to 36 Hongdu K-8Ws - more challenging to slip past the US export ban as the K-8 is powered by the Honeywell TFE731-2A turbofan engine. Hongdu has reportedly re-engined the K-8s with the Ukrainian Ivchenko Al-25TLK, and deliveries are already under way.

 

These procurements only seem to be the beginning for Venezuela. According to the Civil Association of Citizen Control (CACC), a Venezuela-based security watchdog, during the past two years Venezuela has announced a long list of future acquisitions.

 

Since April 2010, President Hugo Chavez has announced the acquisitions of two Beriev Be-200s for firefighting missions, 24 Su-35 fighters, up to 20 Antonov An-74 maritime patrol aircraft and 10 to 12 Shaanxi Y-8 transports, the association says. Venezuela has also been linked to the acquisition of the Chengdu J-10 or the less-capable JF-17, the CACC adds.

 

It is not always clear how real Venezuela's acquisition announcements are, but its rapid re-arming after 2006 lends some credibility. If all come to fruition, Venezuela could boast the most powerful air force in South America.

 

While it is importing weapons from Russia and China, Venezuela appears to be asking Iran for technology transfer, particularly in the crucial area of UAVs. Iran is widely reported to have exported 12 Ghods Mohajer UAVs to Venezuela, a tier-two aircraft by Western standards. Apparently some transfer of engineering skills accompany the sale. In November, Venezuela's state-owned armoury CAVIM unveiled a UAV called the ANT-1X.

 

COLOMBIA

 

Despite being one of the most prolific military spenders in South America, the Colombian air force boasts a modest combat fleet. Rather than replace ageing Kfir fighters, Colombia upgraded them to carry Israeli Python and Derby missiles, as well as Griffin III laser guided bombs. So it would come as no surprise if the Colombian air force decides used aircraft will suit its needs for the next big requirement: replacing eight Cessna A-37 Dragonflys.

 

Colombia's latest strategic plan seeks to acquire a jet-powered light attack fighter. There is no shortage of options available, including the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50, Italy's Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and the UK's BAE Systems Hawk. However, expect Colombia to seek used aircraft from sources that include the Czech Republic's Aero Vodochody L159 and Italy and Brazil's AMX.

 

Meanwhile, Colombia's military is investing heavily to improve its aerospace industry. The military has ordered 25 Lancair Legacies, requiring local assembly. As of 8 March, state-owned CAMAN has assembled eight of the re-designated T-90 basic trainers.

 

In the meantime, Embraer has started to work with the Corporation de la Industria Aeronautica Colombiana (CIAC) to help the air force extend the life of 14 EMB-312 Tucanos by about 15 years. Embraer is also still seeking to convert a letter of intent with Colombia into an order for two KC-390 tanker transports, says Aguiar.

 

Colombia's goal is to allow CIAC to gain experience on the Tucano contract, then take on a bigger role in the KC-390 work.

 

"Depending on their performance they are going to be able to transfer some very simple aerospace components for the KC-390," Aguiar says. "They are trying to develop their industry step by step.

 

PERU

 

Peru has always been content to acquire its military aircraft from abroad, but there are recent signs that it, too, wants to develop more industrial capability.

 

The most significant step in this process came in late 2011, when Minister of Defence Daniel Mora confirmed the acquisition of a surprise new trainer and light attack fighter to replace its fleet of Cessna A-37 Dragonflys - the Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1 Woong-Bee.

 

The Super Tucano has lost out to the KT-1 in Peru

The Super Tucano has lost out to the KT-1 in Peru

 

It had once seemed inevitable that Peru would eventually buy the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano - to the point that Brazil's ministry of defence announced in February 2011 that Peru was in talks to buy 10 EMB-314s in a deal valued at $150 million.

 

However, something changed in Peru's decision-making process, and now the country's air force expects to take delivery of 24 KT-1s from South Korea.

 

Peru's decision clearly had nothing to do with comparative combat performance. The KT-1 is widely considered a robust trainer, but it is powered by an engine slightly more than half the size of the Super Tucano's powerplant.

 

The key to the deal may well have been cost, as the KT-1 is valued at less than half the price of the Super Tucano.

 

South Korea also agreed to allow Peru's local industry to participate in the acquisition. Peru's SEMAN repair station is reportedly assembling all 24 KT-1s for the air force, and is also producing between 500 and 600 parts of the aircraft.

 

Peru's air force has quietly, but steadily, re-equipped or modernised its combat aircraft fleet in recent years. Government policy has focused on eradicating coca farms, which has stirred the opposition of local farmers and created a minor security threat. In addition to the KT-1s, Peru also has a contract with Canada's Viking Air to deliver 12 DHC-6 Twin Otters for remote transport operations.

 

Helicopter modernisation has also been a recent priority. Russian Helicopters has begun deliveries of Mi-35P gunships and Mi-171Sh transports to Peru.

 

Meanwhile, Peru has also moved to prevent its ageing fighter fleet from drifting into decay. Last year, RSK completed deliveries of Peru's 12 MiG-29SMPs upgraded with new avionics. The MiG upgrades followed a $140 million project, which was launched at the 2009 Paris air show, to "recover" the air force's 12 Mirage 2000s, with Dassault, Thales and Snecma contracted to restore the airframes, avionics and engines.

 

ECUADOR

 

Among Latin American air forces, Ecuador's has probably progressed the most since 2008. In March of that year, the sorry state of the Ecuadorian air force (FAE) was exposed when Colombia's air force attacked a suspected rebel hideout about 3km south of its border. Ecuador's air force was unable to even dispatch helicopters to the scene of the bombardment, much less defend the sovereignty of its airspace against what the government considered an illegal attack.

 

Three years later, the FAE has new fleets of HAL Dhruv helicopters from India; IAI Heron and Searcher UAVs from Israel; EMB-314s from Brazil; and, most recently, second-hand HAL Cheetah fighters from South Africa. It has also installed air surveillance radars along its border. The acquisitions follow a $680 million, three-year investment in the armed forces.

 

"We understood there is no security without development, but also no development without security," said President Rafael Correa, speaking on 14 February at the delivery ceremony of the Cheetah fleet.

 

There have been minor incidents along the way. One Dhruv helicopter crashed in October 2009 during a public ceremony. The pilot, who was killed, was blamed. Last August, an ejection seat malfunctioned in the Cheetah, which Correa attributed to an assembly error.

 

Ecuador's military modernisation is still ongoing. The country is reportedly in discussions with China to buy the Xian MA-600 transport. The US military has notified Congress that Ecuador's navy has requested a possible sale of second-hand Kaman SH-2 Seasprite helicopters.

Partager cet article
Repost0
22 mars 2012 4 22 /03 /mars /2012 13:41

Su-30SM-Fighter-source-Ria-Novisti.jpg

 

MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti)

 

Russia's Defense Ministry has signed an order with aircraft-maker Irkut for 30 Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft, a military spokesman said on Thursday.

 

"According to the contract, the company will deliver 30 of these aircraft to the Russian Defense Ministry by 2015," he said.

 

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

 

The Su-30SM is a two-seat derivative of the earlier Su-27UB and the MKI variant supplied to India, and is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with a wide variety of precision-guided munitions. The aircraft features thrust-vectoring engines to enhance manueverability.

 

In August 2011, Irkut said it would deliver 40 Su-30SM aircraft to the Defense Ministry including 28 for the Air Force and 12 for the Russian Navy, replacing Su-24s in the strike-attack role, according to lenta.ru

Partager cet article
Repost0
1 mars 2012 4 01 /03 /mars /2012 08:45
Marine russe: les premiers MiG-29 embarqués livrés dès 2013

 

MOSCOU, 29 février - RIA Novosti

 

Les quatre premiers chasseurs embarqués MiG-29/KUB seront livrés aux forces navales russes en 2013, a annoncé mercredi aux journalistes un porte-parole du ministère russe de la Défense.

 

"La Marine russe recevra les quatre premiers avions MiG-29KUB dès 2013. Tous les chasseurs embarqués de ce type, dont le nombre est spécifié dans le contrat signé entre le ministère de la Défense et le consortium MiG, seront mis à la disposition de la  Flotte du Nord d'ici 2015", a indiqué le porte-parole.

 

Selon lui, six mois avant la livraison des chasseurs, les pilotes de l'Aviation navale russe suivront un entraînement approprié.

 

Le ministère de la Défense et le groupe de construction aéronautique MiG ont signé un contrat prévoyant la livraison de 20 chasseurs embarqués MiG-29K et quatre MiG-29KUB. Ces appareils équiperont le croiseur porte-avions Admiral Kouznetsov, rattaché à la Flotte du Nord.

 

Il s'agit d'appareils multi-rôles, destinés à assurer la maîtrise aérienne et à remplir différentes missions de combat de jour comme de nuit, dans toutes les conditions météorologiques.

 

Un lot de chasseurs MiG-29K et MiG-29KUB a été livré à l'Inde à la fin de 2011.

Partager cet article
Repost0

Présentation

  • : RP Defense
  • : Web review defence industry - Revue du web industrie de défense - company information - news in France, Europe and elsewhere ...
  • Contact

Recherche

Articles Récents

Categories