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29 février 2012 3 29 /02 /février /2012 08:05
Alenia Warns U.S. Over C-27J Sales

Alenia Aermacchi, the Italian maker of the C-27J, is warning the U.S. government that it will refuse to support the aircraft it sold to the United States if the U.S. resells them to other nations. (Senior Master Sgt. David Lipp / Air Force)


Feb. 27, 2012 By VAGO MURADIAN – Defense news


SINGAPORE — In what analysts see as an unprecedented move, Alenia Aermacchi, the Italian maker of the C-27J, is warning the U.S. government that it will refuse to support the aircraft it sold to the United States if the U.S. resells them to other nations.



The move caught some U.S. officials by surprise and threatens to undermine American efforts to resell the planes on the international market, most likely to Australia, Canada or Taiwan.


Giuseppi Giordo, CEO of Alenia Aermacchi, explained his position in an interview at the Singapore Air Show here, before continuing on for meetings in Australia.


“Obviously, we don’t like the [U.S.] decision,” he said. “However, we respect it and we will try to mitigate any negative impacts from the cancellation of the C-27J.”


Giordo explained that the company would continue to support efforts to sell new C-27Js through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, but would exercise its contractual rights not to support the aircraft originally sold to the U.S. if those planes were resold on the international market, essentially competing with Giordo’s company.


“If they want to sell additional airplanes as FMS, we will support them, but not those 21 airplanes,” Giordo said. “In fact, we will do our best — not only us, but the Italian government — not to support those planes. In that case the U.S. government will be competing against our international campaigns in a market where 21 airplanes is a big deal.”


The U.S. Air Force announced it would end the program earlier this month after spending $1.6 billion for 21 aircraft, 12 of which have been delivered, four in final assembly and testing, and five in production. Officials have not specified plans for the C-27Js, and options include parking them in the desert for future use, transferring the planes to the Air Guard, Special Operations Command or another agency, such as Homeland Security, or reselling the aircraft internationally.


Air Force spokesmen said the decision was driven by a change in U.S. strategy and budget pressures, and is not a reflection on the aircraft or its performance. Officials simply concluded they could meet mission requirements with their fleet of C-130 and C-17 transports.


“We’re working through those issues for the C-27, also the Global Hawk, which in both cases represent new airframes,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told an audience at the Air Force Association’s winter conference in Orlando, Fla. “So we will probably set rules for Type-1,000 recoverable storage and lesser numbers for availability for us. Our international affairs staff ... are communicating to potential countries interested and partners asking for them to identify their interest.


“I think there are a number of avenues available to us. We have not selected a particular course of action. We will be putting that together and it does include potentially making these airframes available for sale to [partners].”


Heidi Grant, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs, said foreign interest is high in C-27Js, C-130H transports and Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft.


In Singapore, Grant met with nearly two dozen of her international counterparts during her visit to the Asian city-state. The aircraft to be divested by the U.S. since 2001, she said, would constitute the world’s seventh largest air force.


Grant added the Air Force is working to determine the future of the planes and waiting to see whether Congress approves the service’s budget. Selling excess aircraft is of interest, she said, because her mission is to improve “the capability and capacity of our partners.”


A Rare Stand


For the U.S. Air Force, ending the purchase of C-27J transport planes was just one of thousands of decisions needed to help cut Pentagon spending by nearly a half-trillion dollars over the coming decade.


But for Alenia, a Finmeccanica company, the decision is a threat to the future of the twin-engine plane and 1,000 workers at two factories that build it.


Once a nearly $6 billion Army program for 145 aircraft, the Air Force took over the effort in 2009 and capped the purchase of C-27Js at 38 planes. But in its recent 2013 budget request, it decided to end the program at 21 aircraft, 17 fewer than expected, and retire the fleet next year.


It remains unclear how much the Air Force will save by deferring the option for 17 additional aircraft, or if the service will even be required to pay Alenia a termination fee, sources said.


Analysts called Giordo’s stance unprecedented, but understandable in light of market dynamics and the Italian company’s bitter experience with Pentagon contracting over the past decade.


Alenia’s sister company, AgustaWestland, beat longtime incumbent Sikorsky to win the U.S. presidential helicopter contract, only to have the $6 billion program for 28 aircraft canceled in the early days of the Obama administration after constant design changes by the government sent costs soaring. Nine helicopters were delivered when the program was canceled; they were later sold to Canada for $164 million.


Defense trade has emerged as the source of uncharacteristic discord between Washington and Rome, which have long been close allies. Italy hosts thousands of U.S. troops on its soil and remains a major buyer of American military gear, most notably the Joint Strike Fighter that will cost Rome about $15 billion for 100 aircraft. But the fact that America won’t buy Italian products infuriates some executives and officials.


Giordo maintains his tough line on the C-27J won’t hurt his company’s prospects in the U.S. Alenia remains a key partner on the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program and will pursue the Air Force’s trainer replacement contract when that competition gets underway formally in a few years. And Finmeccanica’s DRS Technologies continues to serve as the cornerstone of the Italian giant’s U.S. operation and a key DoD supplier, now under the leadership of former Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn.


L-3 Communications is the prime contractor for the U.S. C-27J program, performing final integration of the aircraft in Waco, Texas. The company declined to comment on Giordo’s stance, noting it’s a matter between Alenia and the Air Force.


With the U.S. order capped and the aftermath of U.S. and European budget cuts, the C-27J’s prospects have dimmed. A derivative of Alenia’s G222 with new engines and avionics, 62 C-27Js have been sold worldwide: 21 to America, 12 to Italy, eight to Greece, seven to Romania, four to Mexico, four to Morocco, three to Bulgaria and three to Lithuania.


Alenia has identified South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Taiwan, Egypt, Oman, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Qatar and “potentially UAE” as future customers.


Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group in Virginia, said the 21 planes the U.S. might want to sell constitutes the bulk of the world market for such small transports — and is equivalent to two years’ output from Alenia’s factories.


That explains why the stakes are high enough for Giordo to take such a hard stance.


“I am pragmatic,” Giordo said. “I prefer they put the airplanes in the desert.”


Message to Potential Buyers


Giordo said he will take his message that his company won’t support U.S. aircraft to all his potential C-27J customers such as Australia, which has expressed interest in the planes. He visited Australia Feb. 15-17.


The message to the Australians is that “you can buy on FMS and we will support the FMS case for 10 additional airplanes,” Giordo said. “But if they consider selling the 21 [U.S. planes], no way. They can sell, but as the original equipment manufacturer, I will not give spares, not guarantee configuration control, and so on.”


Alenia has fought an uphill battle to crack the U.S. market. Lockheed Martin first partnered with Alenia on the C-27J, only to abandon the program when it concluded it would compete with Lockheed’s four-engine C-130J. Then Boeing signed on as a partner, but it too withdrew its support. Eventually, Alenia partnered with L-3 and won a deal for up to 145 light battlefield transports valued at $6 billion, beating EADS’ C-295.


“We have two problems,” Giordo said. “First of all, the price that we have with the U.S. government is a very, very, low, low price because to win the competition we had to reduce the price. Second, the volume at the beginning was 145, then 78, then 38, now 21 with firm, fixed price. We are losing money.


“So, how can I allow the U.S. government to sell 21 airplanes they have in their inventory where I lose money and they also kill my international marketing?”


Sympathy for Alenia


But that stance does have its risks for Alenia Aermacchi, which stands to compete when the U.S. Air Force launches a new jet trainer competition in three years.


That competition was to have gotten underway later this year, with Alenia to bid a U.S. version of its M-346 trainer against the T-50 by Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin and a new version of BAE Systems’ Hawk trainer sold by Northrop Grumman. Boeing is also considering developing an all new aircraft for the competition.


Asked whether his C-27J stance could damage relations with the U.S. Air Force, Giordo said, “I do not see what consequences our decision should have. Our decision is based on a product of a specific program and not meant to jeopardize the relationship with such an important customer and partner. I am sure that we will continue our collaboration with the United States, on, for example the [Joint Strike Fighter] program.”


He added that he is confident the M-346, which was selected by Singapore and most recently Israel, is a strong product that would satisfy U.S. requirements.


Senior U.S. aerospace executives expressed sympathy for Giordo, saying Alenia has been dealt a particularly tough hand.


“They fought like hell to win that contract and priced the plane to win but didn’t leave a lot of profit margin,” said one senior executive. “That’s why he can’t afford to have the U.S. government sell the planes they have. But we’ve all been through that. We bid for programs that we think will be for hundreds of planes that over time dwindle to a handful; it’s just that Alenia’s smaller than we are, so this kind of thing hurts even more.”


“No doubt about it, it’s a tough message, but you can’t blame them because by any objective measure, this company has faced a series of setbacks not of its making,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank, who also has served as a strategic adviser to Alenia’s parent, Finmeccanica. “It invested heavily to break into the U.S. market, winning the presidential helicopter and the Joint Cargo Aircraft. Both were terminated, and two Air Force helicopter programs they were eager to compete for, search and rescue and supporting ICBM fields, were canceled.”


Teal analyst Aboulafia agreed, noting that the only recent parallel to Alenia’s position was between Boeing and Airbus two decades ago.


“Back in the ‘90s, Airbus said it wouldn’t support A340s Boeing took from Singapore in exchange for 777s,” he said. “It was ultimately resolved after Airbus realized that not supporting the planes would hurt residual values for all A340s. What Alenia wants to do is effectively embargo its own product. It’s an aggressive stance, but my question is how this plays out in reality. It’s extremely difficult to enforce on any sophisticated product with a whole lot of subcontractors and third-party suppliers.”


Aboulafia suggested the move is more a negotiating tactic than a final position, noting it’s never good for business to squeeze a customer.


“Customers have a tendency of noticing how you treat other customers,” he said. “On the other hand, it’s a great little airplane that’s living hand to mouth at a run rate of just under one per month, not a lot in the pipeline and with few prospects like Taiwan and Australia.


“You can say one thing in Finmeccanica’s favor, they’ve worked hard. Given all that’s happened, whether cancellation of the 27, the presidential helicopter, competitions going away or being delayed like the trainer, the degree of fatigue and annoyance with U.S. procurement of foreign systems is quite understandable, so what do they really have to lose? It’s very understandable, but it might not be tenable.”


Marcus Weisgerber in Washington and Tom Kington in Rome contributed to this report.

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28 février 2012 2 28 /02 /février /2012 19:30



MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti)


The crew of a Su-30 fighter that crashed earlier on Tuesday in Russia’s Far East reported an engine fire before the crash, a spokesman for the Main Military Investigative Directorate said.


The Su-30MK2 fighter jet crashed 130 km northeast of Komsomolsk-na-Amure during a post-construction test flight. Both pilots ejected safely, although one of them was hurt on landing.


“While executing acceleration to a maximum speed, the first pilot reported a fire in the right engine,” the spokesman said. “The flight controller immediately ordered the crew to eject.”


“The investigators are taking all necessary steps to establish the cause of the crash,” the official said.


The aircraft belonged to the Komsomolsk-na-Amure factory where Su-30s are manufactured.


The Russian military earlier said that the plane had been built for export.


Su-family fighters constitute the bulk of Russia's arms exports.


Variants of Su-30 Flanker fighters are in service with air forces in several foreign countries, including India, Indonesia, China, Algeria, Vietnam and Venezuela.

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28 février 2012 2 28 /02 /février /2012 13:35
Su-30 Fighter Jet Crashes, Crew Ejects Safely

Two crew members ejected safely after their Su-30 fighter jet crashed 130 km northeast of Komsomolsk-na-Amur during a test flight


MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti)


Two crew members ejected safely after their Su-30 fighter jet crashed 130 km northeast of Komsomolsk-on-Amur during a test flight on Tuesday, according to sources in the regional administration.


"Both crew members ejected safely but one was hurt on landing," a regional administration source said.


The aircraft belonged to the Komsomolsk-on-Amur factory where Su-30s are manufactured.


The crash took place at 10:20 AM Moscow time.


The Su-30, a multirole combat aircraft, is operated by India, China and Russia.

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15 février 2012 3 15 /02 /février /2012 17:20
Lockheed Martin’s Fighting Falcon Evolves With New F-16V


February 15th, 2012 By Lockheed Martin - defencetalk.com


Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] unveiled a new version of the F-16 today at the Singapore Airshow. The F-16V will feature enhancements including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an upgraded mission computer and architecture, and improvements to the cockpit – all capabilities identified by the U.S. Air Force and several international customers for future improvements.


With nearly 4,500 F-16s delivered, this is a natural step in the evolution of the world’s most successful 4th generation fighter. The Fighting Falcon program has continually evolved as it began with the F-16 A/B as the lightweight fighter then transitioned to F-16 C/D and Block 60 versions as customers’ requirements changed.


AESA radars offer significant operational capability improvements. Lockheed Martin has developed an innovative solution to affordably retrofit this key technology into existing F-16s. The F-16V configuration is an option for new production jets and elements of the upgrade are available to most earlier-model F-16s. The “V” designation is derived from Viper, the name fighter pilots have called the F-16 from its beginnings.


“We believe this F-16V will satisfy our customers’ emerging requirements and prepare them to better interoperate with the 5th generation fighters, the F-35 and F-22,” said George Standridge, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ vice president of business development.


The F-16 is the choice of 26 nations. The F-16 program has been characterized by unprecedented international cooperation among governments, air forces and aerospace industries.


Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 123,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.

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13 février 2012 1 13 /02 /février /2012 08:30
IMI’s MPR 500 Warhead Approved for use with JDAM

Photo: IMI


February 12, 2012 Tamir Eshel – Defense Update


Israel Military Industries Ltd. announced today that the Boeing Company [NYSE:BA] has approved IMI’s 500-pound Multi Purpose Rigid (MPR 500) Bomb as compatible with their Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kit.


The combination of IMI’s MPR 500 with Boeing’s JDAM guidance kit substantially enhances operational flexibility while reducing total ownership costs. With increased penetrating power and reduced collateral damage fragmentation, the MPR 500 was designed to defeat targets more commonly found in today’s fighting areana. By delivering IMI’s focused munition with Boeing’s reliable history of precision guidance, the MPR 500 JDAM system is ideal for gardened targets in dense urban areas or in close proximity to friendly troops.


Photo: IMI


IMI’s MPR 500 is a combat-proven 500-poud bomb with improved penetration capabilities and gas the same dimensions as a MK-82.


The bomb can penetrate more than one meter of reinforced concrete or punch through four 200mm thick walls or floors.
Because of its 500-pound size, MPR 500 enhances aircraft carriage efficiency, increasing the number of targets that can be engaged per sortie.


MPR 500 provides concentrated blast effects, utilizing approximately 26,000 controlled fragments. This reduces collateral damage risk within one hundred meters. By creating a straight penetration path through the target, the MPR 500 virtually eliminates the “J Effect”, in which the bomb’s warhead breaks on impact causing it to explode incorrectly.


MPR 500 is being displayed by IMI at the Singapore Airshow.

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10 février 2012 5 10 /02 /février /2012 17:40
La Malaisie, dans le radar du Rafale et des industriels de la Défense

photo Armée de l'Air


10 février 2012 par Hassan Meddah à Kuala Lumpur – L’USINE NOUVELLE


Ce petit état de l'Asie du sud-est consacre l'équivalent  de  900 millions d'euros par an à son budget de Défense. Le Rafale est en compétition pour un appel d'offres pour l'achat de 18 appareils. Au rang de ses fournisseurs, Européens et Français tirent leur épingle du jeu.


Tout d'un coup, la côte du Rafale auprès des militaires et gouvernementaux malaisiens est remontée vitesse grand V. "La victoire du Rafale en Inde a créé une onde de choc ici en Malaisie. Surtout que l'on sait les voisins Indiens très exigeants dans ce genre de négociation à la fois sur le plan technique et financier. Avant cela, il aurait été compliqué de sélectionner un appareil qui n'avait jamais été vendu à l'export", explique un observateur du marché de la défense en Malaisie.


Le pays a lancé début 2011 son processus de sélection pour l'achat de 18 avions de combats afin de remplacer sa flotte de MIG 29 vieillissante. Et tous les prétendants prennent position maintenant.


En décembre dernier, lors de du dernier salon aéronautique et maritime de Lima, le gratin des fabricants d'avions de chasse avaient fait le déplacement. Deux Rafale avaient participé au programme de démonstration pour le compte de l'Armée française. Mais la concurrence était également bien présente : les Typhoon d'Eurofigther, le Gripen suédois, les Sukhoï russes, les F18 américains.


"Pour ce genre de contrat, le prix proposé sera important. Mais ce qui sera déterminant, c'est le coût global de l'appareil, en incluant les coûts de maintenance sur toute la durée de vie de l'appareil. Cette tendance est clairement apparue lors des derniers appels d'offres pour l'achat de sous-marins, de frégates ou d'hélicoptères", explique un bon connaisseur du dossier.


En s'équipant de telle manière, Kuala Lumpur espère faire ainsi bonne mesure face à ses proches voisins que sont la Thaïlande au nord et l'Indonésie au Sud, dont les forces armées sont respectivement deux et trois fois plus nombreuses en nombre de militaires.


Au grand bonheur des industriels de la Défense, les opportunités offertes par la péninsule vont largement bien au-delà du contrat des avions de chasse. Malgré sa petite taille (29 millions d'habitants sur une superficie de 300.000 km2), la Malaisie est un pays qui a tout pour leur plaire.


D'une part, il est riche. Grâce à ses ressources en hydrocarbures et ses ressources naturelles (huile de palme…), il figure à la troisième place des économies de la région Asie du Sud-Est. En 2010 et 2011, il a encore affiché une solide croissance de son PIB de l'ordre de 5 à 7% malgré la crise économique mondiale, soit un PIB par habitant élevé de 14600 dollars.


D'autre part, les dirigeants politiques ont toujours placé la sécurité et la stabilité du pays au premier rang de leurs préoccupations. De fait, leur histoire récente avec l'indépendance acquise en 1957 et le cessez-le feu avec la guerilla communiste à la fin des années 80, marque encore largement la génération au pouvoir.


Les récentes tensions en mer de Chine du Sud accentuent l'impératif sécuritaire. Aussi, sa géographie, à la fois stratégique, avec le détroit de Malacca au carrefour de l'Inde et de la Chine, et morcelée, les parties péninsulaire et orientale (Bornéo) sont séparées par la Mer de Chine, l'incite à renforcer ses capacités militaires.


Le cinquième plus gros client des industriels de défense français


En dépensant environ 900 millions d'euros par an pour s'équiper en matériel militaire, le pays a fait le bonheur des industriels  de la Défense. Kuala Lumpur n'a pas lésiné sur les dépenses  achetant hélicoptères de combats, sous-marins, avions de combats, équipements terrestres, missiles...


Les industriels français et européens tirent leur épingle du jeu figurant au premier rang des fournisseurs de l'armée malaisienne. Outre les deux sous-marins Scorpene commandés  en 2002, la DCNS (en partenariat avec l'industriel local Boustead Naval Shipyard) a décroché en décembre dernier un contrat de plus de 2 milliards d'euros pour livrer six corvettes. Eurocopter de son côté a confirmé lors du dernier salon du Bourget la vente de 12 hélicoptères EC725 à la Force aérienne royale malaisienne. Sans oublier Airbus Military qui va livrer à partir de 2016 quatre A400M son avion de transport tactique…


Malgré sa taille modeste, la Malaisie est le cinquième plus gros client des industriels de défense français. Et l'avenir reste brillant pour les vendeurs de matériel militaire. "La Malaisie continue de représenter un grand potentiel en terme de marché", précise une source locale.


Toutefois, l'acheteur malaisien en veut plus pour son argent. La Malaisie a rénové en 2011 ses règles concernant les offsets, les fameuses  compensations industrielles suite à la signature des contrats militaires: 100%  de la valeur du contrat doit désormais être réinvesti dans le pays et surtout de manière directe.


La Malaisie ne se contentera plus qu'on lui achète ses biens ou ses marchandises (huile de palme…) mais exige que le partenaire retenu investisse dans le pays. Une nouvelle donne à laquelle les industriels devront se plier s'ils veulent que la Malaisie leur reste une terre aussi favorable.

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8 février 2012 3 08 /02 /février /2012 18:50
UK to buy eighth C-17 transport

The RAF's C-17s play a vital role in supporting UK operations in Afghanistan – photo UK MoD


Feb 08, 2012 by Craig Hoyle- Flight Global


London - The UK is to order another Boeing C-17 strategic transport, with the acquisition to boost the Royal Air Force's fleet of the type to eight aircraft.


Announced by prime minister David Cameron on 8 February, the purchase represents the potentially final addition to the UK's C-17 fleet, which plays a vital role in sustaining its "airbridge" with Afghanistan. Seven are flown by the service's 99 Sqn from its air transport super base at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.


Writing on his Twitter account, minister for defence equipment, support and technology Peter Luff described the decision as "really good news for Defence and for [the] RAF".


Further details about the acquisition will be announced by the UK Ministry of Defence later today, with Boeing declining to comment in advance of its customer's statement.


In May 2011, the RAF marked the completion of its first decade of operations with the C-17, an initial four of which were flown under a lease agreement with the USA. These were subsequently purchased outright, with orders later placed for two and one aircraft respectively.


The UK operates the second-largest fleet of C-17s, behind the US Air Force, although India recently completed the process of ordering a fleet of 10 to enter use from later this decade.

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8 février 2012 3 08 /02 /février /2012 12:30
Comment Dassault aviation a préparé son offensive en Suisse


7/02/2012 Par Michel Cabirol – la Tribune


Après avoir perdu la compétition fin novembre face au Gripen, le constructeur du Rafale a tenté en janvier de tordre le bras de Berne en faisant une nouvelle offre très attractive. Une contre-attaque menée par le patron en personne.


Quand Berne a choisi fin novembre l'avion suédois, le Gripen, Dassault Aviation, qui était encore confiant au début de l'automne dans le succès du Rafale en Suisse, a pris une sacrée douche glacée. Quinze jours avant, le coup de gueule des Emirats arabes unis (EAU), qui ont mis en compétition l'Eurofighter face au Rafale, avait déjà quelque peu ébranlé la confiance - certains parlent d'arrogance - des dirigeants de Dassault Aviation. Malmenés, critiqués, voire brocardés, ils sont alors au fond du trou. Ils viennent de perdre la Suisse, sont complètement « groggy » aux Emirats et sont très pessimistes sur l'Inde. Bref, rien ne va début décembre même si les relations font mine de se détendre avec Abu Dhabi.


Charles Edelstenne à la manoeuvre


C'est sans compter sur la pugnacité de son PDG, Charles Edelstenne. Une fois l'agitation médiatique retombée, il repart aussi sec à Abu Dhabi dès la fin du salon aéronautique pour renouer le contact et remettre tout à plat avec les autorités émiraties. Avec succès. Mais c'est en Suisse que la contre-attaque sera spectaculaire. Elle sera pilotée et orchestrée en personne par Charles Edelstenne. « C'est lui, et lui seul, qui a imposé de revenir en Suisse avec une offre imbattable et c'est lui qui a décidé de repartir au combat, explique un bon connaisseur du dossier. Il n'a pas voulu baisser les bras ». Pourquoi ? Selon certains, « il est soucieux de l'état dont il va laisser l'entreprise à son successeur. Il avait besoin d'un succès à l'export ». Est-ce que cela peut influer sur sa sortie ? La question reste entière. Selon un connaisseur de la famille, la succession serait réglée. La rumeur évoque Olivier Dassault à la tête de Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault (GIMD), la société holding, et le directeur financier de Dassault Aviation, Loïc Segalen, l'homme en qui Charles Edelstenne a le plus confiance, aux commandes de l'avionneur.


Soupçons d'irrégularité pour "l'avion-Ikéa"


De fait, Dassault Aviation a envoyé un courrier aux parlementaires suisses leur proposant l'acquisition de 18 Rafale pour 2,7 milliards de francs suisses (CHF) soit 2,24 milliards d'euros au cours actuel. Le constructeur du Rafale avait perdu en novembre un appel d'offres pour remplacer la flotte vieillissante de F-5 Tiger de l'américain Northrop dont est équipée depuis des décennies l'armée de l'air suisse. Le gouvernement fédéral lui a préféré le Gripen (Saab), l'offre la moins onéreuse, en achetant 22 exemplaires au prix de 3,1 milliards de francs (2,57 milliards d'euros au cours actuel). Le Parlement doit encore donner son aval au contrat et le dossier doit être examinée en commission le 13 février.


En outre, concernant le Gripen, des soupçons de manipulations et d'irrégularités lors de l'appel d'offres, comme dans beaucoup de dossiers concernant la vente à l'international de l'avion de combat suédois. Le marché porte sur l'acquisition de 22 appareils (3,1 milliards de francs suisses) selon la presse helvétique, qui a de façon ironique surnommé le Gripen "l'avion-Ikea". Ce n'est pas la première fois que le Gripen est rattrapé par des affaires. Au début des années 2000, des soupçons de corruption ont plané en Tchéquie après la commande avortée de 24 appareils et en Afrique du Sud (26 appareils). Enfin, le Gripen devra aussi convaincre les Suisses. Une votation (référendum) sur l'achat des 22 avions de combat pourrait se dérouler à l'automne 2013. Le ministre suisse de la Défense Ueli Maurer espère encore échapper à ce scrutin.

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5 février 2012 7 05 /02 /février /2012 09:05
Rafale photo Livefist

Rafale photo Livefist


5 Feb, 2012, Bennett Voyles - economictimes.indiatimes.com


Many global arms industry observers were surprised this week when the Indian Air Force announced that it had chosen French firm Dassault Aviation as its preferred bidder for a roughly $11-billion deal to supply India with 126 jet fighters. After all, despite 12 years of heavy sales bombardments all over the world that sometimes even included the president, only the French air force has ever actually bought the Rafale.

The deal isn't done yet - the French have just won the right to an exclusive negotiation - but it is close enough that shares in Dassault shot up by 20% the day of the announcement.

So how did Dassault finally pull it off? And not just any deal, but what some say is the biggest cross-border military aviation contract of all time? Of course, the Indian government said it went to the low bidder, but that seems unlikely - particularly since the final price hasn't been set, and no one picks up jet planes just because they're on sale.

The Deal

French firm Dassault won $11 billion contract to supply 126 Rafale jets.
Snapped it up with lower bid against Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
The size of the contract could eventually go up to 200 aircraft.

The Aircraft

Rafale is a twin-engined, delta-wing jet Can fly up to 2,130 km per hour in high altitude.
In service for the French Air Force since 2006.
Has been playing air support roles in Afghan war Part of Nato campaign in Libya in 2011.

The Company

Dassault family is the majority owner. EADS, a co-producer of competing Typhoon, owns 46% of the equity.
The company has delivered 7,500 civil & military aircraft to 75 countries.
Dassault came close to selling aircraft to Brazil and Switzerland, but failed to secure a contract as yet.
UAE was reportedly in final negotiations to buy 60 Rafale in June 2010, but drama unfolded when Eurofighter Typhoon was allowed to submit a counter-offer.
French defence minister gave an ultimatum that Rafale production would be halted if the jets could be sold abroad.

And The Snag

The file containing the offset proposals of contenders went missing in December 2010. Later found on the roadside in south Delhi. The episode threatened to derail the tendering process itself.

Others in the race

Six contenders were subjected to extensive field evaluation trials.
Four aircraft eliminated last year on technical grounds were American Lockheed Martin's F-16 and Boeing's F/A-18, Russian United Aircraft Corporation's MiG-35 and Swedish SAAB's Gripen

With billions on the table, and the national security at stake, the French plane must have edged out the multi-national Eurofighter for a number of reasons. Nine possibilities:

A Better lunch

Of course, nobody makes an important decision for the food, but the prospect of hanging out in Bordeaux, home of the Dassault assembly line, instead of Halbergmoos, Germany, couldn't have hurt. On the one hand, you're in the heart of the French wine country, in a rich and sunny part of France. On the other, you're in cold, grey Bavaria, facing a few years of sausages, sauerkraut, and beer served in mugs the size of small aquariums.



Dassault has failed to sell the Rafale abroad since 2000. Although its Mirage planes were popular in the 1970s, Dassault hasn't had a similar success with the Rafale line. Deals with the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Brazil all fell through.

To top it off, President Nicolas Sarkozy is very unpopular and faces an uphill election campaign. After all the economic troubles under his tenure, bringing home a little jambon would be seen as a positive - particularly as France has reportedly sunk more than $50 billion on the Rafale's development, a lot of money for a country that spends around $60 billion a year on defence.

Despite the fact that chairman and chief executive officer Serge Dassault is a member of Sarkozy's political party, owns the leading French conservative newspaper (Le Figaro) and even serves as a French senator (where he is vice-finance chairman), the government had recently announced plans to cease production in 2021 if outside buyers could not be found.


L'Oreal, the French cosmetics company, made a fortune selling its more-expensive home hair dye with ads that showed some sultry blonde saying she'd chosen L'Oreal, "because I'm worth it". Now that India has become a much wealthier country, it can afford the best for its pilots - and Rafale is arguably the best.

"They kind of went for the 'fun to fly' factor rather than the best value factor," says S Amer Latif, a visiting fellow in US-India policy studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC.

"If you ask me which plane is better, I'd answer Rafale is a more mature and already multi-role plane," says David Cenicotti, an Italian military aviation blogger. "The Eurofighter is a younger technology, believed to be cheaper and to have a more political clout because it is built by four European countries."

However, this can also be a flaw in times when financial crisis has seen the same four countries much distant from one another on the strategy to save eurozone.


Although the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Rafale began as more or less the same aircraft, Dassault pulled out of the design consortium in 1985, and in recent years the Rafale has made some technical gains. First, the Rafale has a more advanced radar system than the Eurofighter Typhoon. Unlike the Typhoon, it's also already possible to configure to landing on an aircraft carrier - an adjustment that can be difficult, according to James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of Jane's Defence Weekly.

The company has also had a tradition of being on the cutting edge. A 1973 profile of Dassault described the company as viewing sales differently than American aircraft companies: "Whereas most American aircraft companies commonly look on development as an unavoidable and not particularly attractive prelude to production, Dassault seems to view production as a buffer work assignment to fill capacity not absorbed by development."



American arms deals tend to come with strings attached - inspections, and possibly spare parts embargos if they don't approve of the uses to which a plane is put - as happened after India's nuclear tests in the 1990s. Buy American and you get the American agenda free.

"The US sells weapons under quite strict conditions - how to use them and where to use them," says Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher at the Stockholm International Research Institute. The US also requires buyers to submit to regular inspections, he says, which some countries find humiliating.

The French, on the other hand, tend to be more laissez-faire and more independent of the major powers - in their own way, not unlike the Indians. "The whole idea that the French are sometimes very independent vis-a-vis some of the big countries, may give them an added advantage," Wezeman adds.


An important part of the deal is the transfer of the technology to India. The Eurofighter is a joint product, which runs off four different production lines. This could have led to a lot of complexity down the line, particularly as the agreement calls for setting up a production line and transferring the technology to India. "It seems to me that the Eurofighter's technical transfer might have been a bit more complicated than the French," says Latif of CSIS.


Even as most arms makers, including American manufacturers, have tried to cut costs and boost political consensus by creating global supply chains, France still tries to maintain an independent military industrial base. That makes things more expensive for the French taxpayer, but the Indian Air Force may see this as an advantage: rather than worry about maintaining relations with a group of countries, almost all the parts for the Rafale are sourced within France, simplifying the logistics, according to Wezeman.


To most of us, war is a horrible tragedy. To arms dealers, it's a great sales tool. Muammar Ghaddafi was a big fan of the Rafale, and even expressed interest in purchasing a number of them in 2007. Although he later changed his mind - a decision he may have regretted last spring - the one time fan inadvertently helped sell them: French Rafale fighters provided key support for Libyan rebels and reportedly performed very well.



In the late 1980s, Dassault was involved with a helicopter procurement scandal in Belgium that ended in the conviction of the minister of defence, the chairman of the Socialist Party and a number of other Belgian politicians and government officials, and 18 months' probation for CEO Serge Dassault.

However, it should be noted that at the time, Dassault was not actually breaking French law - bribing French officials was illegal but bribing foreign officials was fair game: until 2000, foreign bribery expenses were even tax deductible.

More recently, Dassault seems to have continued to have problems with his cash targeting system. In 2008, he won reelection of mayor (it's possible to hold several offices simultaneously in France) in Evry, a town south of Paris, but in 2009, the State Council invalidated results on allegations that he paid some voters for their support.

So far, no official allegations have been made about the Rafale contract, outside an outlandish claim last April by Subramanian Swamy, Janata Party leader, that a kind of criminal Italian sorority had engineered the deal, comprised Carla Bruni, the half-Italian first lady of France, and Sonia Gandhi, the head of the National Advisory Council, and Mrs Gandhi's sisters.

Whether a few fat envelopes closed the deal or not, one analyst says suspicion of corruption could still unravel the contract. "I think the biggest risk is when somebody starts shouting corruption even if there isn't anything, because it has to be investigated," Wezeman says.

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31 janvier 2012 2 31 /01 /janvier /2012 18:00
Photo Arpit Agarwal

Photo Arpit Agarwal


31 janvier 2012 Romandie News (AFP)

PARIS - Les autorités françaises se sont félicitées mardi de la décision de l'Inde d'acquérir 126 Rafale, une bonne nouvelle pour cet avion de chasse français jamais vendu à l'étranger et pour l'industrie de défense du pays qui procèdera à d'importants transferts de technologie.

La France se félicite de la décision du gouvernement indien de sélectionner l'avion français pour entrer en négociations exclusives avec Dassault, le constructeur du Rafale, a indiqué la présidence française dans un communiqué.

La négociation du contrat va s'engager très prochainement avec le soutien total des autorités françaises. Il inclura d'importants transferts de technologie garantis par l'Etat français, ajoute la présidence.

L'Inde a décidé d'acquérir 126 Rafale pour un montant évalué à 12 milliards de dollars, avait annoncé plus tôt à New Delhi une source gouvernementale indienne. Dassault a été sélectionné à l'issue d'un colossal appel d'offres dans lequel il était en compétition avec le consortium européen Eurofighter, qui proposait son Typhoon.

Nous avons remporté le contrat, mais il reste à finaliser un certain nombre de choses, a expliqué le secrétaire d'Etat français au Commerce extérieur Pierre Lellouche à la radio BFM.

Dassault Aviation a vu son titre s'envoler de plus de 20% à la Bourse de Paris juste après cette annonce qui constitue son premier succès à l'exportation pour cet appareil.

Ce contrat, s'il est finalisé, constitue une excellente nouvelle pour l'ensemble du secteur industriel en France, qui a désespérément tenté des années durant de vendre le Rafale à l'étranger.

C'est une belle nouvelle et la France a besoin de bonnes nouvelles en ce moment (...). C'est une bonne nouvelle pour notre industrie aérospatiale, pour notre industrie de défense, qui est parmi les toutes meilleures du monde, s'est réjoui M. Lellouche.

J'espère que cette commande va pouvoir enfin ouvrir de vraies perspectives au Rafale dans d'autres pays, a-t-il poursuivi, mettant en exergue les pressions politiques exercées par nos concurrents.

Dassault et ses partenaires Thales (électronique) et Safran (moteurs) ont de leur côté remercié l'Inde d'avoir sélectionné le Rafale et dit leur fierté de contribuer à la défense de l'Inde depuis plus d'un demi siècle, a indiqué Dassault Aviation dans un communiqué.

La France tente actuellement de vendre cet appareil au Brésil, qui doit choisir entre le Rafale, le F/A-18 Super Hornet de la firme américaine Boeing et le Gripen suédois, dans le cadre d'un appel d'offres pour la fourniture de 36 avions de combat multi-rôles.

Dassault négocie aussi depuis des années avec les Emirats la vente de 60 Rafale.

Gérard Longuet assure que le Koweït et le Qatar se sont également montrés intéressés et Dassault a présenté son avion en Malaisie. D'après les estimations de l'industrie, le Koweït a besoin de 18 à 22 nouveaux avions de combat et le Qatar de 24.

Le constructeur français n'a pas non plus abandonné l'espoir de vendre son appareil en Suisse, bien que les autorités fédérales aient retenu son concurrent suédois Gripen en novembre dernier.

Le Rafale est un chasseur-bombardier, biréacteur polyvalent d'une durée de vie supérieure à 30 ans. Conçu pour l'interception, l'attaque air-sol et air-mer, la reconnaissance ou la frappe nucléaire, il doit remplacer à terme l'ensemble des appareils en service en France.

C'est un très bon avion, qui a fait ses preuves dans les opérations récentes en Afghanistan, en Libye et ailleurs, a déclaré M. Lellouche.

Pendant l'intervention militaire internationale en Libye en 2011, la France avait pu faire la démonstration des capacités de son appareil.

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30 janvier 2012 1 30 /01 /janvier /2012 17:50
Défense : comment Dassault a tissé sa toile



30.01.12 Dominique Gallois LE MONDE ECONOMIE


Les questions de défense entrent en campagne, avec la visite, lundi 30 janvier, de François Hollande sur la base des sous-marins nucléaires de l'Ile-Longue, à Brest. Début mars, le candidat socialiste précisera sa politique, notamment en matière industrielle. Partout dans le monde, les budgets militaires sont en baisse, notamment aux Etats-Unis, ce qui va pousser les industriels américains à chercher d'autres marchés à l'étranger. La compétition, déjà sévère, s'annonce encore plus rude avec la montée en puissance des acteurs russes, chinois, coréens, indiens. Or, les Européens se présentent en ordre dispersé. L'exemple le plus flagrant est l'aéronautique militaire. Sauf rebondissement (édition abonnés), le Gripen suédois l'a emporté en Suisse face au Rafale français et à l'Eurofighter Typhoon, un avion germano-hispano-italo-britannique. Le Rafale et l'Eurofighter se disputent aussi le "contrat du siècle", la vente de 126 avions à l'Inde.


Si l'industrie de défense est concentrée au Royaume-Uni autour de BAE Systems et en Italie autour de Finmeccanica, respectivement 2e et 8e mondiaux, il n'en est rien en France. Six groupes figurent dans les cinquante premiers mondiaux, du franco-allemand EADS (7e) à Dassault Aviation (54e), selon le palmarès annuel du magazine américain Defense News.


Le plus petit de ces acteurs n'en est pas moins celui qui bénéfice le plus des faveurs de l'Etat. Avec son soutien, Dassault est devenu l'actionnaire industriel du groupe d'électronique Thales, qui pourrait être le pivot d'un pôle de défense français regroupant les activités maritimes de DCNS et demain l'armement terrestre de Nexter.


Les questions sont nombreuses autour de ce projet. A commencer par les fonds que cela nécessitera. L'Etat est impécunieux et Dassault n'a peut-être pas l'envie d'investir assez dans ces domaines pour en prendre le contrôle. L'autre hypothèque tient au futur du groupe Dassault. Les enfants de Serge Dassault auront-ils la même stratégie que leur père lorsqu'ils en prendront les rênes ?


Quel que soit le prochain président, il devra aborder le futur de l'industrie de défense. L'Etat en tant que client, garant de la souveraineté nationale, mais aussi actionnaire des grands groupes, aura un rôle clé. Mais Dassault restera incontournable.


La montée en puissance de Dassault au sein de l'industrie de défense a lieu en trois étapes : d'abord la conquête de l'indépendance, puis celle de Thales (électronique de défense), et enfin la montée en puissance chez DCNS (sous-marins et navires) et Nexter (véhicules blindés et canons).




En ce printemps 2002, Charles Edelstenne, le patron de Dassault Aviation, est satisfait : la famille Dassault vient de franchir la barre des 50 % en acquérant en Bourse le 1 % manquant pour détenir le contrôle de la société. "Pendant vingt-cinq ans, on nous a fait chanter. Aujourd'hui, nous sommes libres de nos mouvements", lit-on dans Le Monde du 29 mai 2002.


Dégagé de la menace des droits de vote double que revendiquait l'Etat français, libéré du pacte d'actionnaires avec EADS, qui est devenu simple minoritaire avec 46 % du capital, le PDG envisage avec sérénité les prochaines échéances stratégiques, qui se feront "à son rythme et à ses conditions", affirmait-il. Il soulignait aussi que les succès de son avion d'affaires, le Falcon (75 % du chiffre d'affaires), libéraient Dassault de la dépendance vis-à-vis des commandes militaires du gouvernement, et lui donnaient plus de marge de manoeuvre.


M. Edelstenne évoquait également son intérêt pour le groupe d'électronique de défense Thales, dans lequel il avait pris près de 6 % en échange de l'apport de ses activités électroniques. Il entendait ainsi profiter du désengagement annoncé d'Alcatel.


Viendra alors la deuxième étape, celle du renforcement de la participation de Dassault chez Thales, pourtant également convoité par EADS. Le groupe bénéficiera pour cela de l'appui de Nicolas Sarkozy, que Serge Dassault a largement soutenu dans sa course à l'Elysée.


Elu en 2007, le président de la République, Nicolas Sarkozy, n'a rien à refuser au sénateur UMP et au propriétaire du Figaro. Il se fait d'ailleurs fort de vendre le Rafale à l'étranger, une façon de rappeler que son prédécesseur, Jacques Chirac, n'y était jamais arrivé. Le chef de l'Etat s'engagera au Brésil et aux Emirats arables unis... pour l'instant en vain.


Informé dès le printemps 2008 d'un projet de reprise de Thales par EADS, l'Elysée fera savoir qu'il n'y est pas favorable. Mieux, il éconduira le groupe franco-allemand, dont il est pourtant actionnaire et bien que son offre soit financièrement plus avantageuse que celle de Dassault.


L'un des arguments évoqués est de privilégier une filière franco-française plutôt que de donner la gestion de Thales à un groupe franco-allemand. Dassault obtient ainsi d'entrer chez Thales sans lancer d'offre publique d'achat (OPA), et de participer à sa gouvernance. Il devient alors l'opérateur industriel d'un groupe trois fois plus important que lui.




Fin 2011 intervient la troisième étape, avec la montée en puissance de 25 % à 35 % de Thales chez DCNS, tandis qu'est évoquée une prise de participation dans Nexter (ex-GIAT). Celle-ci serait dans un premier temps de 25 %. Avec, là encore, la bénédiction de l'Etat, ce dernier étant propriétaire des deux groupes.


Le groupe Thales, opéré par Dassault, pourrait alors faire une offre complète sur tous les marchés, en regroupant des fabricants de plateformes (chars, avions de combat, navires) et un fournisseur d'équipements électroniques tels les radars ou les équipements de télémesure.


Seul bémol, "Dassault n'a qu'une participation minoritaire dans Thales et ne peut rien faire s'il n'en prend pas le contrôle", note un banquier. Or, cela ne serait possible qu'avec le soutien de l'Etat, auquel Dassault est lié par l'intermédiaire d'un pacte d'actionnaires. Mais l'un et l'autre des actionnaires ont-ils la volonté ou la possibilité de financer une telle opération ?


aaa Pour l'Etat, la réponse est négative, la priorité étant désormais à la réduction des déficits budgétaires, qui pourrait passer au contraire par des cessions de participations.


Pour Dassault, c'est différent. "Toute la question est de savoir si Dassault veut développer cet ensemble ou faire fructifier son placement en réorganisant Thales, estime un analyste. La deuxième hypothèse semble la plus probable." Mais pour l'instant, en raison de la chute des marchés boursiers, l'investissement de l'avionneur s'est déprécié.


Le durcissement de la compétition mondiale peut toutefois changer la donne. Les grands groupes ayant déjà une présence internationale sont mieux armés pour s'affirmer sur le marché mondial et initier des rapprochements. C'est le cas d'EADS, de Safran et de Thales. Mais en fait, seuls les deux premiers ont la capacité financière pour mener de véritables regroupements.




Une première tentative s'est esquissée durant l'été 2011. Des rumeurs ont évoqué la possibilité d'une OPA lancée sur Thales par Safran. Un montage auquel se serait opposé... Dassault, même si le prix proposé aurait été celui qu'il avait payé pour son entrée dans Thales. L'Etat, pourtant actionnaire de deux groupes concernés, n'aurait pas donné suite. L'idée était de constituer un grand groupe fournisseur d'équipements et de grands systèmes d'aéronautique dans les domaines civils et militaires.


Les cartes pourraient à nouveau être rebattues, sauf si Dassault décroche entre-temps un contrat pour le Rafale aux Emirats arabes unis. Une telle commande permettrait d'alimenter ses bureaux d'études, et surtout ceux de Thales, pendant près de quatre ans. Autre avantage, cela permettrait au ministère de la défense d'étaler le programme de livraison des Rafale à l'armée française, la priorité étant donnée aux éventuels clients à l'exportation. Ainsi pourraient être financés d'autres projets.


Mais il faudra d'abord régler les questions de gouvernance, notamment la succession de Charles Edelstenne qui, l'année prochaine, quittera à 75 ans son poste de PDG. L'inconnue majeure reste la stratégie des enfants Dassault quand l'heure sera venue de remplacer leur père, Serge, âgé de 86 ans. "Il n'y aura pas de vacance de pouvoir dans la société, la continuité sera assurée. Chaque chose viendra en son temps et sans l'avis de tous ces "fameux experts"...", affirmait en décembre, dans Le Figaro, M. Edelstenne. Une manière de rappeler que toute décision appartient... à la famille.


La France au 4e rang des exportateurs d'armes


Rang Avec 6% du marché mondial (un peu plus de 5 milliards d'euros), la France se maintient en 2010 au 4e rang des exportateurs d'armes, après les Etats-Unis, la Grande-Bretagne et la Russie.


Emplois L'industrie de la défense représente 165000 emplois directs, au moins autant d'emplois indirects et un chiffre d'affaires de 15 milliards d'euros, dont le tiers environ est donc réalisé à l'exportation.


Budget En 2012, le budget du ministère de la défense augmente de 1,6%, pour atteindre 30,6 milliards d'euros. La part prévue pour les équipements est de 16,5 milliards (+ 500 millions).

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29 janvier 2012 7 29 /01 /janvier /2012 22:15
La contre-offre de Dassault: des avions à prix cassés


Battu au Conseil fédéral, le constructeur français a écrit une lettre aux parlementaires suisses pour leur proposer 18 Rafale pour 2,7 milliards de francs. Plus modernes, ils feraient mieux que 22 Gripen. La proposition française est de 400 millions de francs moins chère que les Gripen

29.01.2012 Par Titus Plattner - lematin.ch

Si la France ne vend pas ses Rafale, la chaîne de production risque d’être arrêtée, a récemment dit le ministre de la Défense, Gérard Longuet.

La méthode est cavalière, mais l’enjeu est faramineux. Dans une lettre adressée le 19 janvier aux présidents des Commissions de la politique de sécurité, le constructeur français Dassault propose 18 Rafale pour 2,7 milliards de francs. Selon lui, cette solution serait à la fois plus efficace et moins chère que les 22 Gripen. Le 30 novembre dernier, le Conseil fédéral avait décidé d’acheter ces derniers pour 3,1 milliards de francs. «Ce n’est pas le meilleur appareil du monde, mais c’est celui qui présente le meilleur rapport qualité-prix et qui correspond le mieux à nos besoins», s’était alors justifié le ministre de la Défense Ueli Maurer.

Dans le courrier d’une page, auquel «Le Matin Dimanche» a eu accès, Dassault affirme n’avoir jamais eu l’opportunité d’optimiser le rapport coût-efficacité. «J’ai bien reçu cette lettre», confie Hans Hess qui en discutera avec ses collègues de la commission du Conseil des Etats le 13 février. Le libéral-radical obwaldien ne se souvient toutefois plus très bien des chiffres qui y figuraient. «Nous avons bien écrit une lettre à la commission», se borne à confirmer de son côté le service de presse de Dassault. Le constructeur réserve ses commentaires à la commission si elle le désire.

Selon nos informations, l’offre française concerne les mêmes avions et les mêmes investissements en Suisse. Par rapport à l’offre évaluée en novembre par le Conseil fédéral, le nombre d’appareils a été réduit de 22 à 18. Ceux-ci ont été optimisés, afin de mieux correspondre aux besoins de la Suisse. La capacité air-sol a ainsi été légèrement réduite, en renonçant par exemple aux pylônes d’attache pour les grosses bombes. L’avionique (équipements électroniques, électriques et informatiques) reste en revanche la même. «Et la capacité opérationnelle des Rafale pour assurer une permanence aérienne est rigoureusement identique», assure notre informateur.

Selon les Français, ces 18 avions rempliraient largement la tâche de 22 Gripen. «C’est exact», confirme un haut gradé suisse sous couvert de l’anonymat. Le module qui avait évalué la capacité de chacun des constructeurs à maintenir sur la durée différents types de mission, explique-t-il, arrivait à un rapport de 3 Rafales ou 3 Eurofighter pour 5 Gripen.

Concessions maximales

Cette différence s’explique notamment par la plus faible autonomie de l’avion suédois. Plus un avion doit retourner souvent à la base pour faire le plein de carburant, plus il faut engager de pilotes et d’avions pour maintenir une zone d’exclusion aérienne, comme c’est par exemple le cas ces jours-ci au-dessus de Davos.

Pour convaincre les parlementaires suisses, les Français comptent aussi sur leur paquet «coopération militaire», qui était lui aussi sorti en tête lors de l’évaluation, comme nous le confirme une source chez Armasuisse.

La France a ainsi offert un accès 24 heures sur 24, été comme hiver, à toutes ses bases aériennes. Du point de vue des Forces aériennes suisses, cette possibilité se révèle surtout intéressante en été afin de limiter les nuisances sonores en Suisse. D’autant que les pilotes suisses peuvent aller pour la journée sur ces bases et rentrer chez eux le soir. Mais l’accord que propose la France leur permet aussi d’y rester plusieurs semaines durant. L’utilisation des zones de tir et des zones d’entraînement supersonique au-dessus de la mer Méditerranée est également prévue. Tout comme un accès aux simulateurs de vol et la possibilité de profiter de la logistique française lors des exercices internationaux.

Ueli Maurer prêt à recommencer

Mais ce qui distingue la proposition de la France de celles de ses concurrents allemands et suédois, c’est l’accès aux satellites militaires pour la reconnaissance Hélios 1 et 2. Ainsi que la possibilité d’obtenir les données radars des Awacs. «Ces offres ont été approuvées au plus haut niveau», par la présidence de la République, explique notre haut gradé suisse.

En novembre, les Français étaient convaincus de remporter le marché, tant ils avaient marqué des points lors de l’évaluation. Ils pensaient aussi pouvoir vendre leurs avions au prix fort. Aujourd’hui, avec un coût par appareil de plus de 15% meilleur marché, ils redeviennent compétitifs. Cette concession gigantesque s’explique par leur difficulté à conclure des ventes au Brésil, en Inde et aux Emirats arabes unis. Mais la concession vient un peu tard.

A moins qu’au mois de juin le Parlement ne rejette l’achat des Gripen proposé par le Conseil fédéral. «Dans ce cas, explique aujourd’hui le ministre de la Défense, Ueli Maurer, dans une interview à la SonntagsZeitung, il faudrait recommencer l’évaluation au début, afin de mettre tout le monde sur un pied d’égalité.»

2,7 milliards

C’est le montant en francs formulé par Dassault dans sa lettre aux Commissions de politique de la sécurité. Il inclut 18 Rafale, l’armement et les équipements qui vont avec. Ce chiffre est à comparer aux 3,1 milliards pour les 22 Gripen suédois décidés par le Conseil fédéral en novembre. Dassault, qui proposait alors 22 Rafale pour 4 milliards, a drastiquement revu son prix à la baisse.

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20 janvier 2012 5 20 /01 /janvier /2012 13:35
NATO to sign delayed AGS deal by May

Nato AGS – photo Northrop Grumman

January 20th, 2012 by Craig Hoyle - Flight Global

London - NATO's long-running process to order an Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) capability could at last achieve a contract signature within the next few months, although the scale of its programme appears to have again been revised.

"We have the contract, and it's under negotiation," said US Air Force Maj Gen Steve Schmidt, commander of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force. A 13-nation deal should be signed before the next NATO summit, in Chicago from 20-21 May, he added.

"I fully expect to see the announcement that NATO has purchased AGS by that summit," Schmidt told the AEW and Battle Management conference in London on 17 January.

Schmidt valued the pending acquisition at about €1 billion ($1.3 billion) for five Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 unmanned air vehicles, each equipped with a Northrop/Raytheon surveillance payload. An associated 20-year operational support package is expected to total a further €2.2 billion, he added.

This assessment contrasts with a previous plan, which had called for the purchase of six Global Hawks, to be operated from NAS Sigonella in Sicily from later this decade. Northrop officials last October said a deal was expected to be signed in early November 2011.

Although NATO was able to access information from a USAF Global Hawk that flew a limited number of sorties during last year's Libya campaign, Schmidt said the availability of an Alliance-owned fleet "would have been a game-changer" during the seven months of Operation Unified Protector.

Beyond its application during such coalition operations in the future, Schmidt said additional uses for the AGS fleet would include crisis management and cooperative security tasks.

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16 janvier 2012 1 16 /01 /janvier /2012 13:30
South Korea Creates A Jet Fighter

photo KAI

January 16, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE

South Korea has ordered twenty locally made FA-50 fighter-bombers, for $30 million each. The aircraft will be equipped with South Korean, American and Israeli electronics. The single engine, single seat aircraft is intended to eventually replace South Korea's aging fleet of 150 F-5 fighters. But first, the initial twenty FA-50s will have to show what they can do in active service. The first FA-50 will be delivered next year, and the last of them the year after that.

The FA-50 is the combat version of the South Korean designed and manufactured T-50 jet trainer. This aircraft was developed over the last decade, at a cost of over two billion dollars. The first test flight of the T-50 took place in 2002. The 13 ton aircraft is actually a light fighter, and can fly at supersonic speeds. With some added equipment (radars and fire control), the T-50 becomes the FA-50, a combat aircraft. This version carries a 20mm auto-cannon and up to 4.5 tons of smart bombs and missiles. The T-50 can stay in the air about four hours per sortie and has a service life of 8,000 hours in the air. At $20 million each, the T-50 is one of the more competitive jet trainers on the market. About 100-150 of these aircraft are bought each year by the world's air forces. But it is a tough market, and so far the only export customer for the T-50 has been 16 sold to Indonesia.

Nearly a hundred T-50 type aircraft have been produced or are on order. In addition to the FA-50 variant, there is a light bomber variant (the TA-50) that costd $25 million each.

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16 janvier 2012 1 16 /01 /janvier /2012 08:25
F-16s Versus Su-30s Over Indonesia

source Ria Novisti

January 15, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE

Indonesia has signed a contract to buy six more Su-30 jet fighters from Russia for $78 million each. Indonesia already has ten Su-27s and Su-30s, but wants at least 16 of these modern aircraft so they will have a full squadron. Although expensive, the Russian fighters are modern, and look great. They are also relatively cheap to maintain. This was all part of a plan to switch from American fighters (ten F-16s, and 16 F-5s) to Russian Su-27s and 30s. But used F-16s are so much cheaper than Su-27s, and the public pressure forced the Indonesian politicians to hang on to the F-16s, and upgrade existing F-16s, an expensive proposition that appeals to corrupt Indonesian officials.

Although Indonesia wants to buy 180 Su-27 and Su-30 fighters from Russia, they are now also rebuilding their older force of early model F-16s. In addition, Indonesia has ordered 24 used, but modernized, F-16Cs for $31 million each. The ten older F-16s will also be modernized to the same standard.

Indonesian Air force generals opposed the acquisition of the F-16s because they fear this will lead to a reduction in the procurement of new Russian fighters. The generals believe the Russian fighters are a better match for the 80 F-18Es that neighboring Malaysia is acquiring, and the F-35s that Australia is buying. But the F-16s have a proven combat record that the Su-27s and Su-30s lack.

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12 janvier 2012 4 12 /01 /janvier /2012 08:50
La Russie vend 6 chasseurs à l’Indonésie pour 500 millions de dollars

11 janvier 2012 par Edouard Maire / info-aviation

En décembre 2011, la Russie a conclu avec l’Indonésie un contrat portant sur la livraison de six chasseurs Su-30MK2. Un pied de nez aux américains qui sont liés par l’embargo sur les ventes d’armes imposé à Jakarta.

« Ce contrat de 500 millions de dollars est important, parce qu’il renforce la position de la Russie sur le marché indonésien des armements tant convoité par les Américains qui proposent leurs anciens chasseurs F-16 aux Indonésiens », a déclaré le 10 janvier à Moscou le directeur du Centre d’analyse des stratégies et technologies Rouslan Poukhov.

Le contrat jette en outre les bases de la coopération russo-indonésienne dans la construction d’avions civils, notamment de l’avion MS-21, a ajouté M.Poukhov. En 2012, la Russie doit commencer la livraison de nouveaux moyens-courriers Sukhoi SuperJet-100 à l’Indonésie.

La Russie avait déjà signé un contrat de vente de trois avions de combat Su-30MK2 et de Su-27SKM en 2007. En 2003, la Russie a également signé un contrat de vente de deux avions Su-27SKM et deux avions de combat SU-30MK.

Le Ministre de la Défense de l’Indonésie Purnomo Yusgiantoro avait déclaré en octobre 2010 que son pays avait besoin d’un escadron complet d’avions de combat composé de 16 avions de type Sukhoï, ainsi que de Su-30MK2 pour sa Marine.

Depuis l’embargo des États-Unis sur l’achat d’armes à l’Indonésie en sanction contre les violations des droits de l’Homme (Timor oriental), l’Indonésie se tourne vers la Russie et la Chine pour se procurer des avions de combat et d’entraînement. Au total, la Russie a déjà fourni dix chasseurs Sukhoi, dix hélicoptères Mi-35, 14 hélicoptères Mi-17, 17 blindés de transport de troupes TMP-3F, 48 blindés BTR-80A et 9.000 fusils d’assaut Kalachnikov AK-102 à l’Indonésie. Quant à la Chine, elle a proposé d’exporter ses avions de combat légers FTC-2000 à Jakarta.

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9 janvier 2012 1 09 /01 /janvier /2012 13:20




09 janvier 2012 par Barbara Leblanc – L’USINE NOUVELLE

Devant un panel de journalistes de la presse aéronautique, le ministre de la Défense, Gérard Longuet, assure que la France pourrait commander des ravitailleurs dès 2013.

La France doit renouveler sa flotte vieillissante de ravitailleurs, composée de C135FR fabriqués par Boeing et d'Airbus A340 et A310, également utilisés pour le ravitaillement en vol. Et le gouvernement entend choisir le groupe européen Airbus et ses ravitailleurs des MRTT (Multirole tanker transport). C’est ce que le ministre de la Défense assure tablant sur une livraison des appareils en 2017.

Cette déclaration met un terme à plusieurs rumeurs laissant planer le doute sur l’attribution de ce contrat. L'Airbus A330 est en effet en concurrence avec Boeing sur ce marché des MRTT. Aux Etats-Unis, l'A330 a fini par perdre un énorme marché de ravitailleurs pour le Pentagone, remporté par Boeing après plusieurs retournements de situation.

L'A330 MRTT, qui peut ravitailler en vol deux avions simultanément, est capable d'emporter à la fois plus de cent tonnes de carburant, 37 tonnes de matériel et jusqu'à 270 passagers. Pour l’heure, les pays ayant commandé cet appareil sont l'Australie, la Grande-Bretagne, l'Arabie saoudite et les Emirats Arabes Unis. Il a aussi été présenté à l’Inde.

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8 janvier 2012 7 08 /01 /janvier /2012 09:00
U-2s Ends A 22 Year Mission

photo USAF

January 7, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE

On December 18th, the last (for the moment) American U-2 mission was flown over Iraq. These missions began in 1990, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and continued until December, 2011. The last decade has been the busiest for the U-2 in decades. Because of the spy satellite quality sensors carried by U-2s, and a limited number of spy satellites up there, there was always more demand for U-2s sorties than could be provided. Three years ago, for example, two 41 year old U-2s achieved a record 25,000 hours in the air. One of these aircraft had made three belly (landing gear up) landings, requiring extensive rebuilding after each incident.

With a range of over 11,000 kilometers, the 18 ton U-2s typically fly missions 12 hours long. All U-2s have been upgraded to the Block 20 standard, so they can be kept in service until the end of this decade. Or at least until the 13 ton Global Hawk is completely debugged and available in sufficient quantity to replace it. The U-2 has been in service since 1955 and only 103 were built, of which 26 remain in service (plus five two-seat trainers). The current U-2S aircraft were built as TR-1s in the 1980s, and later refurbished and renamed U-2S. Fewer than 900 pilots have qualified to fly the U-2 in that time.

The heavy use of the U-2 has been hard on the pilots. Missions can be as long as 12 hours and pilots operate in a cockpit pressurized to conditions found at 10,000 meters (31,000 feet). This puts more strain on the pilot's body. That, and the fact that they breathe pure oxygen while up there, means they tend to be completely exhausted after returning from a long mission. U-2s fly missions daily over the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Korea.

This wasn't supposed to happen. Six years ago the U.S. Air Force wanted to retire its U-2s and replace them with UAVs like Global Hawk. But Congress refused to allow it, partly for political reasons (jobs would be lost, which is always a live political issue) and because some in Congress (and the air force) did not believe that Global Hawk was ready to completely replace the U-2. This turned out to be correct. New Global Hawks continue to appear but there is so much demand for the kinds of recon work the two aircraft can do that both pilots and robots will coexist for a while. But eventually the old reliable U-2 will be retired.

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7 janvier 2012 6 07 /01 /janvier /2012 08:10
Seoul Orders 20 FA-50 Attack Aircraft In a $600 Million Deal

TA-50 breaking formation. Photo: KAI


January 6, 2012 Richard_Dudley – DEFENSE UPDATE


With the New Year barely underway, South Korea is once again demonstrating a determination to build a formidable military force capable of dealing with potential enemies. The government has signed a $600 million deal with Korea Aerospace Industries (KIA) for 20 FA-50 fighter/attack aircraft based on the highly regarded T-50 advanced jet trainer.


KAI is reporting that the aircraft will be delivered between 2013 and 2014. The FA-50 is a lightweight fighter/attack aircraft incorporating the most advanced technology available in the T-50 Golden Eagle family of aircraft.


KAI also believes that South Korea may increase the order to as many as 60 aircraft for use as replacements for the aging 150 Northrop F-5 aircraft currently being operated.


The FA-50 aircraft ordered are expected to be equipped with the Link 16 tactical link, Elta Systems EL/M-2032 pulse Doppler radar, radar warning systems and a night vision imagery system. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon previously selected the FA-50 as a prime candidate for being outfitted with the same version of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar slated for use in a United States Air Force F-16 upgrade.


The FA-50 is built to carry a weapon’s payload of 9,920 pounds that includes Boeing’s Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Textron’s CBU-97 Sensor Fused Weapon. In addition, the FA-50 is also fitted with a 20mm cannon and is configured to carry air-to-air missiles.


KAI has also included in the Golden Eagle family, along with the T-50 and the FA-50, a T-50B aerobatic aircraft and an armed TA-50. All versions of the Golden Eagle family feature a single General Electric F404 engine.


South Korea is expected to issue a call for bids for its F-X III project in February to select a replacement for its F-4 Phantom jets. The candidates competing for this lucrative contract include the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin F-35, Sukhoi PAK FA, and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

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4 janvier 2012 3 04 /01 /janvier /2012 13:40


photo Korea Aerospace Industries


January 4, 2012 By Greg Waldron – Flight Global


Singapore - South Korea has placed a $600 million order with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for 20 examples of the FA-50 attack variant of the T-50 advanced jet trainer.


KAI said that under the deal it will deliver the aircraft from 2013 to 2014. Seoul could acquire a total of 60 to 150 FA-50s to replace its fleet of more than 150 Northrop F-5s.


The FA-50 is the most advanced variant of the T-50. It will have the Link 16 tactical data link, as well as an Elta Systems EL/M-2032 pulse doppler radar.


Northrop Grumman and Raytheon have said the FA-50 is a candidate for their respective active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars developed for the Lockheed Martin F-16. If the FA-50 does get an AESA radar, it is likely to be the same one chosen for the eventual F-16 radar upgrade for the US Air Force and Republic of Korea Air Force.


The FA-50 is the most advanced variant of KAI's T-50 Golden Eagle


The FA-50 also has a radar warning recover and a night vision imaging system. It is capable of carrying 4,500kg (9,920lb) of weapons, including the Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition and Textron CBU-97 Sensor Fused Weapon. Like the TA-50, it also has a 20mm cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles.


Aside from the original T-50 and FA-50, KAI has also produced the T-50B enhanced manoeuvrability aerobatic variant and armed TA-50. All of these are powered by a single General Electric F404 engine.


Separately, Seoul is expected to issue a request for proposals in February for its F-X III competition to replace 60 McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms. The contenders are the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-35 and Sukhoi PAK FA.


Industry observers have said Japan's recent selection of the F-35 for its 42 aircraft F-X fighter requirement will enhance the type's chances in South Korea as well.

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4 janvier 2012 3 04 /01 /janvier /2012 13:30
Su-27 Survives On Upgrades


January 4, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE


Despite being in service for 25 years, the Su-27 continues to appear in updated models. The most recent one is the Su-27SM(3). The Russian Air Force received a dozen of these in 2011. The SM(3) version has more powerful and durable AL-31M1 engines and a reinforced airframe that enables the aircraft to take off with three more tons of fuel or weapons. There were also updated electronics and a "glass" (full of touch screens) cockpit. Russia considers the Su-27SM(3) twice as capable as the original model, the Su-27S, in air-to-air combat and three times as effective in ground attack.


Things are not doing so well with existing Su-27s. Last year, Russia grounded all of its Su-27s. This necessary until it could be determined what caused one to crash on January 14th, 30 kilometers from its airbase at Dzemga (in the Far East). The pilot died in the crash, but the flight recorder was recovered. A year earlier, two Su-27s crashed. The Su-27 entered service in the 1980s and some of them are showing their age. It's still a first line fighter, but only as long as updated models can be developed and built. Russia's Sukhoi aircraft company has sold over a billion dollars' worth of these aircraft (plus components and technical services for them) a year for the last few years. Sukhoi mainly supplies Su-27/30 jet fighters to India, China, Malaysia, Venezuela and Algeria. The 33 ton Su-27 is similar to the U.S. F-15, but costs over a third less.


Developed near the end of the Cold War, the aircraft is one of the best fighters Russia has ever produced. The government helped keep Sukhoi alive during the 1990s, and even supplied money for development of an improved version of the Su-27 (the Su-30). This proved to be an outstanding aircraft, and is the main one Sukhoi produces. There are now several Su-30 variants, and major upgrades. While only about 700 Su-27s were produced (mostly between 1984, when it entered service, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991), adding Su-30 production and you have over 1,000 aircraft (including license built ones in China and India).

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29 décembre 2011 4 29 /12 /décembre /2011 08:00
Airborne Platforms Bolster Ocean Patrol

Photo: Boeing


Dec 28, 2011 By David Eshel - defense technology international


Tel Aviv - Regional threats to stability, growing tension over the exploitation of natural resources in economic exclusion zones (EEZ), the impact of piracy and terrorism, and criminal activities in the littorals are among factors driving demand for advanced airborne maritime surveillance assets.


Maritime surveillance is one of the fastest-growing defense markets, with countries seeking a range of technologies to improve their ability to monitor traffic in territorial waters and secure ports and other shore facilities from threats. For naval forces, airborne assets are needed to track and warn of submarine activities and protect disputed territories. Strong and effective surveillance is also a key component in assembling international coalitions for stability operations and in fighting piracy.


Effective and far-reaching maritime monitoring is a priority in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. In the eastern Mediterranean, deep-sea drilling has yielded major deposits of oil and natural gas off Israel and Cyprus, and shown the importance of defending offshore rigs (DTI November, p. 22). In Asia the dramatic growth of the Chinese navy has increased tension with countries such as India over energy sources and territorial claims, and led to a surge in submarine fleets, and with it demand for maritime patrol and antisubmarine-warfare (ASW) aircraft.


The Lockheed P-3 Orion has compiled a decades-long record of maritime patrol, and is in use with the U.S. Navy and other maritime forces around the world. Modernization programs have kept the iconic aircraft relevant in a rapidly changing world of evolving threats and capabilities. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was awarded two contracts worth $37 million to integrate the EL/M-2022A surveillance radar, developed by IAI and its Elta subsidiary, onto P-3s. The contracts were awarded by two undisclosed militaries that are upgrading their patrol aircraft. The radar sets were tailored to fit in the nose and tail. One forward-looking antenna will provide 240-deg. coverage and two additional antennas will provide 360-deg. coverage.


The EL/M-2022A is an advanced, multimode surveillance system incorporating synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and inverse SAR 3-D technology, as well as expertise gained by missions conducted by the Israeli military. EL/M-2022A can be deployed on maritime aircraft in support of ASW, EEZ patrols, coastal defense, drug smuggling and fisheries patrols, and search-and-rescue missions. The radar’s modular architecture permits integration onto rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). It has a high degree of commonality with Elta’s EL/M-2032 fire-control radar. Excluding the operator’s console, EL/M-2022A hardware weighs less than 100 kg (220 lb.).


A patrol aircraft developed by Boeing, the P-8 Poseidon, will replace the U.S. Navy’s remaining P-3Cs. The P-8A is a long-range multi-mission platform. It has an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in battlespace. According to Boeing, all sensors on board contribute to a single fused tactical situation display, which is shared over military standard and Internet Protocol data links, allowing for seamless delivery of information among U.S. and coalition forces.


After several years of debate, the Navy decided to replace its specialized versions of P-3 reconnaissance aircraft with UAVs by the end of the decade. Northrop Grumman is team leader and prime contractor for the MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV. The high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) platform is based on the Global Hawk, and designed to cruise at 60,000 ft. Unlike Global Hawk, which flies only at high altitude, MQ-4C is required to descend to lower altitude to get a closer view of suspected targets. To fly safely with manned and unmanned aircraft, the MQ-4C will be equipped with sense-and-avoid radar, which alerts an operator to air traffic in its vicinity. The MQ-4C will have 36-hr. endurance and operate at 60,000 ft., avoiding strong winds and severe weather. The payload is 3,200 lb. The UAV will have 2-D advanced, electronically scanned array radar for 360-deg. coverage of vast sections of ocean.


Another UAV for maritime use, Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8B Fire Scout, a vertical-takeoff-and-landing rotorcraft, accommodates a variety of sensors. It was deployed for the first time aboard the USS McInerney.


The P-8A and BAMS programs are in their advanced stages. Last January, Boeing received a $1.6 billion contract for low-rate initial production of the first six aircraft. Initial operational capability is slated for 2013. In 2008, the Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $1.16 billion System Development and Demonstration contract for BAMS.


The P-8A/MQ-4C duo already provides a role model for Asia-Pacific nations that are challenged with covering vast ocean areas from shore bases. The Royal Australian Air Force, currently operating 18 Lockheed AP-3Cs, has expressed interest in the P-8A and its HALE component. As part of Project Air 7000 Phase 1, Canberra is expected to buy eight P-8As to replace its 18 AP-3Cs. The P-8A aircraft will be augmented by seven UAVs to fulfill the remaining roles. Australia completed the last upgrade of its AP-3Cs in 2005, which included the installation of an Elta’s EL/M-2022(V)3 maritime surveillance radar and a FLIR Systems Star Safire II thermal imager.


Israel is investing in its maritime surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to protect new finds in offshore oil and gas deposits, which have become a security priority for coming years. One segment that will likely get much attention is enhancing unmanned maritime surveillance in the eastern Mediterranean, to guard the gas and oil drilling platforms being moved within Israel’s vulnerable EEZ and in other areas.


Eli Gambash, marketing manager for IAI’s Malat division, says the company’s Heron-1 and Heron-TP UAVs, equipped with the new EL/M-2022 inverse SAR and automatic identification system, are ideal for maritime surveillance, coastal protection and antipiracy missions. The Heron-TP has also been tested with SAR for maritime surveillance, with the antenna stored in a belly fairing. “The Heron-1 with Elta radar covers a 400-nm. radius and identifies objects amid the clutter of the sea with enormous precision,” says Gambash, a captain in Israel’s naval reserve. “With the Heron you can remain in a certain place, completely passive, yet be in full situational control.”


India is rapidly expanding maritime surveillance, targeting and ASW capabilities with acquisitions of advanced systems. The country is a pioneer in the use of unmanned systems for surveillance. Its navy has been operating Israeli Searcher II and Heron I UAVs for years—Searchers carry EL/M-2022U lightweight maritime surveillance radar, and Herons are equipped with a suite of sensors, including radar, electro-optic payloads, sigint, comint and electronic support measures sensors, and line-of-sight or satellite data links. Israel is believed to have offered the newer Heron-TP to India to augment current UAVs.


India is also embarking on two maritime patrol programs to upgrade the littoral surveillance capabilities of the navy and coast guard. New Delhi is evaluating a potential buy of six aircraft, as part of the navy’s Medium-Range Maritime Reconnaissance program. These aircraft would cover 500 nm., flying 6 hr. on station, and replace the navy’s Dornier Do-228 aircraft, currently used for littoral surveillance.


A similar platform is being considered to replace the coast guard’s Britten-Norman BN-2B Islanders.


A third program in the planning stage seeks nine amphibious aircraft for surveillance over territorial waters in the Andaman Sea. The platforms likely to meet the requirement are the CASA/IPTN CN235MP—produced and supported in Indonesia—and the Saab 2000 MPA. The latter will be offered with advanced AESA radar from Selex, addressing what Saab considers a new Indian requirement. The plane will be fitted to carry RBS-15 antiship missiles, manufactured by Saab Bofors Dynamics. Optional weapons include the Boeing Harpoon missiles India is buying for the P-8I, the Indian version of the P-8A aircraft.

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24 décembre 2011 6 24 /12 /décembre /2011 07:35
Brazil invests in rival to C-130 transport


SAO PAULO, Dec. 23 (UPI)


Brazil is investing heavily in developing its potential rival to Lockheed Martin's C-130J and other European, Russian and Chinese competitors in a multibillion-dollar global military transport market.


This month Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer signed a strategic partnership agreement with Portugal that gives the Brazilian aviation giant a head start with anticipated early access to parts it cannot immediately produce at home.


Embraer is banking on being able to break even and make good on its investment in the KC-390 military airlifter and aerial refueling jet program with just 120 orders, industry sources said.


Embraer said the deal with Portugal's Industria Aeronautica de Portugal will give the company access to components to be made in Portugal.


Global demand for the 20-ton versatile air transport sector, dominated for years by the C-130 and its Russian rivals, remains strong. Aviation industry forecasts said the total international demand for aircraft in the category could exceed 700.


Embraer hopes to develop the jet-powered KC-390 to a point where it can compete comfortably in price and capacity with the Lockheed Martin C-130J, the Airbus A400M, the Russian AN-12 and its Chinese prototype the Yun-8/9 as well as the Indo-Russian Irkut/HAL MRTA aircraft.


The air transport market has also seen the emergence of smaller transport aircraft, including the European EADS-CASA C-295M and Italian Alenia Aeronautica's C-27J that Embraer as well as its rivals have to contend with.


Embraer said it hopes to enter the market with a jet-powered medium transport KC-390 model that is likely to have a cargo capacity of around 23 tons, able to refuel and be refueled in the air.


Portuguese components for the KC-390 are likely to include structural parts and aerial refueling jet technologies.


Embraer Defense and Security President Luiz Carlos Aguiar said, "Portugal's participation in the KC-390 program strengthens our position in the European defense market."


A declaration of intent between the Brazilian and Portuguese ministries of defense, signed in September 2010, preceded this contract which also emphasizes Portugal's commitment to purchasing KC-390 airplanes.


Brazilian government sources said the partnership with Portugal gives Brazil new opportunities to boost its military aviation sector and develop technological competencies.


The original C-390 was meant to be a militarized ERJ-190 jet that competed in a niche market between EADS-CASA's C-295M and Lockheed Martin's C-130 Hercules. The aircraft served Brazil's postal services but over the years additional research and development allowed Embraer to add or modify features, turning it into a serious rival to the C-130 range.

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23 décembre 2011 5 23 /12 /décembre /2011 08:25
Bulgarian Air Force C-27J photo kos93

Bulgarian Air Force C-27J photo kos93

22 December 2011 - by the Shephard News Team


Alenia Aeronautica has signed a framework agreement that will see it define the procedures for the supply of logistic support services to the C-27J fleet of the Bulgarian Air Force. The work will cover a ten year period, with a first contract signed to cover the first five years.


Worth 25 million euro, the contract includes, in addition to the spare parts, ground support equipment, technical material, maintenance inspections, training activities, also a specific and continuous on-site technical assistance, thanks to a ‘Field Service Representative’ at Sofia’s Bulgarian base, to fully meet the technical-operational requirements of the customer.


The last of three C-27Js were delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force earlier this year, following a contract signed in 2006.


According to the company, the C-27J is a new-generation tactical transport aircraft compliant with NATO standards and interoperable with heavier airlifters in service with other Atlantic Alliance countries and also capable of operating in the most complex operational scenarios, thanks to its active and passive self-defence systems. The Bulgarian C-27Js are equipped with self-defence systems that significantly improve the aircraft’s capability of operating in the most difficult operational conditions.

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15 décembre 2011 4 15 /12 /décembre /2011 08:00
Cassidian : coopération sur les drones avec Alenia


14 décembre 2011 par DSI


Un protocole d’accord a été signé entre Cassidian et Alenia Aeronautica afin d’étudier conjointement la possibilité d’une coopération dans le domaine des systèmes de drones MALE (Moyenne Altitude Longue Endurance) et de combat.


Grâce à cet accord, les deux entreprises analyseront les besoins exprimés par leurs gouvernements respectifs en matière de drones. Le mouvement est important : Alenia est un acteur plus expérimenté que Cassidian en matière de drones, en ayant développé les Molynx, Sky-X, Sky-Y et en travaillant également sur le projet Neuron.


On notera que Selex Galileo, également membre de Finmeccanica comme Alenia, s’est spécialisé sur les micro-drones et les drones tactiques. C’est donc à un acteur de poids que s’associe Cassidian. Reste que ce dernier semble également accroché au Talarion.


Ainsi, selon Bernhard Gerwert, Chief Operating Officer (COO) de Cassidian, « nous nous réjouissons à la perspective d’explorer toute forme de collaboration possible avec Alenia Aeronautica autour des drones MALE de prochaine génération, tels que le Talarion (…) ». En tout état de cause, une alliance franco-italienne pourrait bien chercher à faire face à une alliance franco-britannique (Dassault-BAE).

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