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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 17:50
Joint Strike Missile (JSM) on to a FA-18F Super Hornet Photo Boeing

Joint Strike Missile (JSM) on to a FA-18F Super Hornet Photo Boeing

 

 

Nov. 29, 2013 by Dominic Perry – FG

 

London - Kongsberg and Boeing have completed a successful fit check of the Norwegian manufacturer's developmental Joint Strike Missile (JSM) on to a F/A-18F Super Hornet.

 

Performed at the US airframer's St Louis facility, the JSM was successfully installed on the fighter's external hardpoints, says Kongsberg. The two companies will early next year conduct a wind-tunnel test of the long-range munition fitted to a Block II Super Hornet.

 

"The completion of the fit-check on the F/A-18 F further validates the JSM's compatibility with the existing fleet of aircraft and provides a near-term strong capability against advanced threats," says Harald Ånnestad, president of Kongsberg Defence Systems.

 

Integration work is also under way to allow the stealthy munition to be utilised on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

 

Designed to take on both land and sea targets, the JSM features a low-observable radar signature and autonomous target recognition.

 

Additionally Kongsberg has signed a deal with New Zealand for an undisclosed number of its Penguin Mk 2 Mod 7 anti-ship missiles and associated equipment. These will be deployed on the eight new Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters to be acquired by the Royal New Zealand Navy.

 

Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database records the service as fielding five examples of the Kaman rotorcraft, but has indicated it will acquire eight new aircraft from 2014-16, with the older models to be retired.

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 12:20
A-10 Close Support

 

 

11/28/2013 Strategy Page

 

An A-10C Thunderbolt II conducts close-air support training near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The A-10C is with the 188th Fighter Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Haseltine)

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
BAE Wins Top Award from UK MoD

 

 

Nov 28, 2013 ASDNews Source : BAE Systems PLC

 

BAE Systems has today been awarded one of the highest accolades from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for its part in the conversion of two BAe 146-200QC (Quick Change) aircraft that were converted from commercial to military aircraft configuration for use by the Royal Air Force.

 

Known as the Minister (DEST) Acquisition Award 2013, it is the highest accolade within the MoD that an individual or team can receive for acquisition excellence. This award was given to both the industrial team, led by BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, and its principal sub- contractor Marshall Aviation Services, and the teams within the MoD that masterminded the procurement, military certification, operational aspects and entry into service of the aircraft.

 

Mark Taylor, Business Director Engineering of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft at Prestwick, and Jason Davies, General Manager of Marshall Aviation Services received their awards from Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology (Min DEST) at a ceremony in the MoD Main Building Memorial Courtyard.

 

Mark Taylor said:” The success of this extensive conversion programme, which was carried out on time and on budget, is due to the excellent teamwork from all parties which meant the aircraft entered service on the due date. It is now on active duty in Afghanistan and is proving to be reliable, efficient, flexible and popular.”

 

Known in RAF service as the BAe 146 C Mk.3, the two aircraft were converted under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) contract awarded to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft for use in the extraction phase of the current Afghanistan campaign – Operation Herrick.

 

BAE Systems was responsible for the design and integration of the equipment to be fitted to the aircraft, the sourcing of the equipment and management of the supply chain and overall management of the conversion programme. The actual conversion was carried out at the Marshall Aviation Services (formerly Hawker Beechcraft Ltd) facility at Broughton in North Wales under sub-contract to BAE Systems.

 

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
The EAP at its new home at the RAF Museum in Cosford, Shropshire

The EAP at its new home at the RAF Museum in Cosford, Shropshire

 

28 November 2013 baesystems.com

 

The aircraft which pioneered the technology behind Typhoon has gone on show to the public for the first time

 

The Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) technology demonstrator airframe, built by us in the 1980s, has been donated by the company to the RAF Museum in Cosford, Shropshire.

 

It remains the most advanced fighter design ever built solely by a UK manufacturer.

 

Military Air and Information managing director Chris Boardman said: "The EAP was fundamental in developing many of the ground breaking design characteristics and capabilities that we now see in today's Eurofighter Typhoon.

 

“It is only fitting that it should now reside alongside other historic aircraft including Tornado P.02, the Jaguar ACT Demonstrator and TSR2 that have all helped keep Britain at the forefront of military aviation."

 

Curator Nick Sturgess said the museum was “thrilled” to add the EAP among its collection of research and development aircraft.

 

He added: “Only one EAP was ever built and its importance in aviation cannot be understated.

 

“During its flying career as a proof of concept demonstrator it contributed much to computer controls, advanced aerodynamics and new methods of construction.”

 

The EAP was rolled out at British Aerospace at Warton in April 1986 and did its first flight in August  when test pilot Dave Eagles, the company’s then executive director of flight operations, took it to Mach 1.1, faster than the speed of sound.

 

Following its final flight at Warton in May 1991, the airframe was stored at the site having made 259 test sorties, totalling 195.21 flying hours, during which it had reached speeds in excess of Mach 2.0 and angles of attack of over 35 degrees in controlled flight.

 

In June 1996, it was taken to Loughborough University, Leicestershire, where it was used by undergraduate students to carry out design appreciation exercises, before making the move to Cosford in March 2012.

 

It went on display at there this month, for further details visit www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 08:20
Deux petits nouveaux dans le monde des "adversary services" aux USA


28.11.2013 par P. Chapleau Lignes de Défense
 

On connaissait ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Company), ATSI, Phoenix Air, L3C Flight International ou encore les Canadiens de DADS (Discovery Air Defence Services); voilà que le petit monde des Tactical Aircraft Services s'agrandit aux Etats-Unis (petite parenthèse pour rappeler qu'en France Apache Aviation et AvDef jouent dans cette catégorie). Les deux nouveaux venus ont encore peu de contrats dans leurs carnets de commande mais ils ont de l'ambition et des moyens.

air usa.jpg

Air USA (photo ci-dessus).

Cette société de l'Illinois (cliquer ici pour accéder à son site web) dispose de trois types d'appareils: des Alpha Jet, des L-59 Super Albatros et quelques Mig-29. Elle offre les prestations habituelles: simulation, plastronnage, opfor, tractage de cibles etc. Mais c'est la première et la seule société (à ma connaissance) à offrir du "JTAC training". L'USMC et l'USAF ont déjà eu recours à leurs services pour entraîner leurs JTAC. En allant sur leur page d'accueil, il est possible de voir une vidéo d'un entraînement au guidage d'Alpha Jet en mission de bombardement.

draken.jpg

Draken International (photo ci-dessus).

Draken a été fondé en Floride en 2012 et dispose d'un impressionnant parc: 11 Skyhawk (ex-néo-zélandais), 9 MB-339CB, 25 Mig-21 (ex-polonais), 5 L-39, et un couple de bimoteurs... Soit une cinquantaine d'appareils disponibles alors que l'entreprise n'a pas encore engrangé de contrats significatifs et en est réduit à courir les meetings aériens.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 17:30
photo Armée de l'Air

photo Armée de l'Air

Paris réfléchit à lancer le Rafale dans la compétition contre le Typhoon à Bahreïn

 

28/11/2013 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

Cinquième volet de notre série sur la diplomatie de la France au Moyen-Orient, Bahreïn, Koweït et Oman. Trois pays complexes pour les industriels de l'armement français. Toutefois Paris mène une réflexion pour savoir si le Rafale va défier l'Eurofighter Typhoon à Bahreïn.


 

Et si le Rafale allait défier le Typhoon du consortium Eurofighter (BAE Systems, EADS et Finmeccanica) à Bahreïn. C'est une réflexion menée actuellement par Paris. "Pourquoi ne pas mettre sur la table le Rafale à Bahreïn", s'interroge une source proche du dossier. D'autant que les Britanniques, qui portent les campagnes commerciales de Typhoon au Moyen-Orient, ne se sont pas gênés pour rivaliser avec Dassault Aviation aux Emirats Arabes Unis et au Qatar, des marchés où les avions tricolores sont en service.

"Le Typhoon vaut plus par le dynamisme des Britanniques, qui le présentent, que par la valeur intrinsèque de l'appareil, estime-t-on. Ce serait très bien que l'on enraye le dispositif médiatique britannique autour du Typhoon". Selon nos informations, Bahreïn voudrait 12 nouveaux avions de combat.

 

Bahreïn, une préférence pour le Typhoon ?

Au mois d'août dernier à l'issue d'une rencontre à Londres entre le roi du Bahreïn, Hamad ben Issa Al-Khalifa, et le Premier ministre, David Cameron, le groupe britannique de défense BAE Systems avait annoncé que le royaume avait "exprimé un intérêt pour le Typhoon et le gouvernement britannique mène des discussions très préliminaires".

Une affaire à suivre mais le roi avait estimé en novembre 2009, selon un câble diplomatique diffusé sur le site internet de WikiLeaks, que le Rafale était une "technologie du passé". Peut-être s'était-il trop vite avancé car un mois plus tard le Rafale avait fait jeu égal en 2009 avec le Raptor F-22 lors de l'exercice ATLC (Advanced Tactical Leadership Course) de décembre aux Emirats Arabes Unis.

 

Le Koweït pourra-t-il s'offrir le Rafale ?

Au Koweït, il y a toujours un appel d'offre en cours pour l'achat de 28 avions de combat. Mais ce pays pourra-t-il résister à la pression américaine et s'offrir la technologie française ? Pas sûr. "Les Américains sont très présents au Koweït, explique-t-on à "La Tribune". Possible qu'il nous barre la route". C'est en juin 2009 que l'on commence à parler du Rafale au Koweït à l'occasion d'un passage rapide dans ce pays de Nicolas Sarkozy. L'achat éventuel de ces appareils fait l'objet de "discussions très approfondies" et "assez avancées", avait souligné l'ancien président. "On s'est mis comme échéance la fin de l'année". A ce jour, le Koweït ne s'est toujours pas décidé entre le Rafale, le Typhoon et le F/A-18E/F de Boeing.

Puis, en octobre 2009, le ministre koweïtien de la Défense et vice-Premier ministre avait indiqué lors d'une visite à Paris que son pays serait "fier" d'avoir du Rafale dans ses armées. "Nous espérons voir une offre (française) bientôt à ce sujet", avait-il expliqué, précisant qu'elle "sera étudiée très sérieusement et de façon très claire par l'armée de l'air koweïtienne". Dans l'entourage du ministre de la Défense d'alors Hervé Morin, on évoquait alors 36 appareils.

Pragmatique, la France vise au Koweït des contrats plus modestes. Avec un objectif prioritaire de terminer au plus vite un contrat qualifié de "pénible" à Paris, la rénovation de huit patrouilleurs P37 par le groupe étatique DCI. Enfin, Nexter qui s'est positionné sur un programme d'achat d'une centaine de véhicules blindés, propose le VBCI et DCNS des corvettes Gowind dans deux ou trois ans.

 

La France tente de maintenir quelques positions à Oman

A Oman, forteresse britannique, les Français ont connu quelques succès, notamment le missilier MBDA, qui a placé ses missiles surface-air VL Mica. Malheureusement, le sultanat va acquérir le système de défense aérienne américain de Raytheon SLAMRAAM pour un montant de 2,1 milliard de dollars (1,6 milliard d'euros). Oman était pourtant sur le point de choisir le missilier européen mais a dû changer son fusil d'épaule sous la pression de l'administration américaine. "Le contrat avec Oman, que nous avons perdu, s'élevait à un milliard d'euros, soit deux années de notre chiffre d'affaire en France", avait regretté mi-septembre à l'Assemblée nationale, le PDG de MBDA, Antoine Bouvier.

DCNS est également sur les rangs pour prendre des positions commerciales à Oman mais ce marché est extrêmement compétitif. "Beaucoup de concurrence", rappelle-t-on à Paris. Pour autant, le groupe naval a répondu en mars un appel d'offre portant sur l'acquisition d'un navire océanographique et attend fin 2014 pour proposer dans le cadre d'un RFI (Request for information) ses corvettes Gowind. Enfin, Thales est en train de créer à Oman une société de droit omanais.

Lire ou relire l'ensemble de la série La France au Moyen-Orient :

La France au Moyen-Orient (1/5) : quand la diplomatie va, tout va... mieux

La France au Moyen-Orient (2/5) : Paris chasse en Arabie Saoudite le mégacontrat Sawari 3

La France au Moyen-Orient (3/5) : le Qatar premier client du Rafale ?

La France au Moyen-Orient (4/5) : Jean-Yves Le Drian, l'homme clé du retour de la France aux Emirats Arabes Unis

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 12:35
Projet F-X : les députés du Parti Saenuri demandent la renégociation du contrat

 

SEOUL, 27 nov. (Yonhap)

 

Les députés et officiels du Parti Saenuri ont appelé ce mercredi le gouvernement à renégocier l’achat de 40 F-35A du constructeur Lockheed Martin, affirmant que l’accord actuel est injuste.

 

Le Comité des chefs d’état-major interarmées (JCS) avait annoncé la semaine dernière l’achat de 40 F-35 Block 3 sur une période de quatre ans à compter de 2018, avec la possibilité d’acheter à une date ultérieure 20 avions additionnels, selon la situation budgétaire et sécuritaire.

 

«Le gouvernement a pris la bonne décision en choisissant le F-35A pour ses capacités de furtivité, mais comparé au Japon, les conditions (de l’achat) sont remarquablement injustes», a déclaré le député Rhee In-je du Parti Saenuri lors d’une réunion de parlementaires et de membres du Conseil suprême.

 

Le député a souligné que contrairement à la Corée du Sud, qui compte acheter les 40 avions préassemblés, le Japon ne va en acheter que quatre préassemblés et assembler lui-même les 38 avions restants. «Cela n’est pas un détail qui peut être ignoré. Nous devons tenter (d’acheter les chasseurs) sous condition de transfert de technologies, avec les mêmes conditions que le Japon, même si cela signifie faire de nouvelles négociations», a dit Rhee.

 

L’achat devrait se faire de gouvernement à gouvernement, sans appel d’offres. Des experts du secteur pensent que ce type d’achat offre moins de liberté pour négocier un transfert de technologies ou une coopération industrielle.

 

Yoo Ki-june, membre du Conseil suprême, a affirmé que le Japon a bénéficié de divers avantages car il a tenu un appel d’offres. «Je ne comprends pas pourquoi (le gouvernement) a décidé d’acheter le F-35A, qui est encore en cours de développement, par le biais d’un contrat négocié», a-t-il dit. «Nous devrions organiser un appel d’offres pour bénéficier d’un transfert de technologies.»

 

Le principal parti de l’opposition, le Parti démocrate, a lui aussi critiqué le gouvernement pour la façon dont il a conclu l’accord, affirmant que le manque de compétition avec d’autres fabricants le forcera à accepter le prix qu’on lui demandera, quel qu’il soit, malgré les incertitudes sur les performances du chasseur.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 12:35
A330 MRTT photo Airbus Military

A330 MRTT photo Airbus Military

 

27.11.2013 Helen Chachaty journal-aviation.com

 

Selon l’agence de presse coréenne Yonhap, le gouvernement coréen devrait lancer un appel d’offres pour l’acquisition de quatre avions ravitailleurs en janvier 2014. Cette décision ferait suite à un rapport de la DAPA (Defense Acquisition Program Administration) mettant en avant la nécessité pour la Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) de s’équiper de ravitailleurs. Les avions devraient être livrés entre 2017 et 2019 et le contrat se monterait à environ 1 000 milliards de wons, soit environ 940 millions de dollars.

 

Ce futur contrat d’acquisition permettrait à la Corée du Sud d’augmenter de manière considérable ses capacités aériennes, la ROKAF ne possédant en effet pas de capacités de ravitaillement en vol pour ses chasseurs (F-15K, F-16C, F-5E, F-4E/RF-4C). Des entraînements au ravitaillement de KF-16 avaient eu lieu au large de la base aérienne de Kusan en septembre 2011, avec le concours de l’US Air Force et de KC-135 (photo).

 

Cet appel d’offres va à nouveau opposer Boeing et Airbus Military, l’avionneur américain étant en position de proposer le futur KC-46A ou son KC-767, tandis que la division d’EADS tentera de positionner son A330 MRTT sur le marché.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 12:25
Armes saisies sur un cargo: 32 marins nord-coréens bientôt libérés

 

28.11.2013 Romandie.com (ats )

 

Les autorités panaméennes se préparaient mercredi à libérer 32 des 35 membres de l'équipage du bateau nord-coréen arraisonné en juillet avec des armes non déclarées en provenance de Cuba. Elles ont également décidé de laisser repartir le navire.

 

"Ils ont déjà été autorisés à quitter le pays, 32 des 35 détenus pourront s'en aller", a annoncé Tomas Cabral, du ministère panaméen des Affaires étrangères. "La délégation coréenne qui s'est récemment rendue dans notre pays nous a remis les documents nécessaires et nous avons décidé de relâcher le navire", a de son côté déclaré à la presse le procureur chargé du crime organisé Nahaniel Murgas.

 

Toutefois, a-t-il précisé, le navire "ne peut sortir de notre pays tant qu'il n'aura pas réglé la situation avec" les autorités du canal, qui ont infligé aux responsables du bateau une amende d'un million de dollars pour avoir mis en danger la sécurité de la voie maritime. M. Murgas n'a pas indiqué si les autorités laisseraient repartir le bateau avec son chargement controversé.

 

Armements pour avions

 

Le 10 juillet, le Chong Chon Gang, en provenance de Cuba, a été arraisonné à l'entrée du canal de Panama après la découverte de 25 conteneurs renfermant du matériel militaire dissimulé sous plusieurs tonnes de sacs de sucre roux.

 

Cuba a révélé qu'il s'agissait de "240 tonnes d'armes défensives obsolètes, toutes fabriquées au milieu du siècle passé et qui devaient être réparées" en Corée du Nord pour être réexpédiées dans l'île communiste. Mais selon les autorités panaméennes, qui ont inspecté la cargaison, il s'agissait d'armements pour des avions de type MIG-21, des lanceurs antimissiles et des véhicules militaires.

 

Pas au courant

 

Les 35 marins nord-coréens du bateau ont été incarcérés et risquaient selon les autorités jusqu'à 12 ans de prison pour trafic d'armes. Mais fin octobre, le ministre panaméen des Affaires étrangères Fernando Nuñez avait révélé que la plupart d'entre eux pourraient être libérés si le procureur retenait l'argument selon lequel ils n'étaient pas au courant de la présence d'armes à bord.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
Grizzly end: First A400M flies into retirement

MSN1 - or Grizzly 1 photo Craig Hoyle FG

 

Nov. 28, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

London - Airbus Military has reduced the size of its "Grizzly" development fleet of A400M tactical transports to three, after retiring its first-flight example and placing another aircraft into storage.

 

First flown on 11 December 2009 (above), MSN1 - or Grizzly 1 - was the first of five test aircraft to be flown in support of the eight-nation A400M programme. Registered as F-WWMT, the aircraft performed its final flight from Toulouse, France on 4 November,with the company saying the 1h sortie was intended "to validate procedures for landing with the ramp door failed in the open position". This brought the lead aircraft's total usage to 475 flights and almost 1,450h, Airbus Military says.

 

To mark the milestone event, the same crew which performed Grizzly 1's debut flight from Seville, Spain were brought together. This comprised test pilots Nacho Lombo and Ed Strongman, head of A400M flight test Eric Isorce and a test flight engineer team of Jean-Philippe Cottet, Gerard Leskerpit and Didier Ronceray.

 

MSN1 - or Grizzly 1 photo Airbus Military

MSN1 - or Grizzly 1 photo Airbus Military

“MSN1 has had a relatively short but very arduous life, and it has taken us to the extreme parts of the flight envelope where, I hope, most other A400Ms will not go," says Strongman. The aircraft will be preserved and put on public view, with Airbus's heritage department to decide on its final display location next year.

 

In addition to Grizzly 1's removal from use, aircraft MSN3 has also now been placed into long-term storage. "It is not intended to fly again, but could be returned to flight-test duties if required," the company says.

 

Airbus Military's remaining three development aircraft will be used to support the ongoing introduction of additional capabilities for the A400M. Two of the type have been delivered to the French air force, with Turkey due to receive its first example before year-end. Further customers for the type are Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain and the UK, with a total order book for 174 aircraft.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 08:40
Russian Navy Gets New Carrier-Based Fighters

 

November 26, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: RIA Novosti; published November 25, 2013)

 

MOSCOW --- The Russian navy has taken delivery of its first four series-produced MiG-29K/KUB carrier based fighter jets, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

 

“The MiG aircraft-manufacturing corporation has handed over two MiG-29K single-seat and two MiG-29KUB twin-seat carrier-based fighter aircraft,” a spokesman said.

 

The Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract with MiG in February 2012 for delivery of 20 MiG-29K and four MiG-29KUB fighters by 2015.

 

The aircraft will be deployed on Russia's sole serving carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, based in Murmansk with the Northern Fleet. The Admiral Kuznetsov currently operates Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighter aircraft.

 

The MiG-29K is a naval variant of the MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet, and has folding wings, an arrester tail-hook, strengthened airframe and multirole capability thanks to its Zhuk-ME slotted array radar, MiG says.

 

Unlike the Su-33, which is capable of air defense missions only, the MiG-29K can be armed with a wide variety of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air weaponry and laser-designation systems.

 

The aircraft is also capable of “buddy” refueling other MiG-29Ks using the PAZ-1MK refueling pod.

 

So far, the aircraft has only entered service with India, for use on the refitted Russian-built carrier INS Vikramaditya, which was handed over to the Indian Navy on November 15.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 08:35
US-2i amphibious aircraft acquisition process underway

 

November 26, 2013 Saurabh Joshi - stratpost.com

 

The India-Japan Joint Working Group (JWG) have held preliminary meetings to initiate the process for acquisition of the ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious aircraft for the Indian Navy.

 

The Indian Navy plan to acquire the Japanese ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious aircraft faces unique challenges in terms of the process being evolved to effect the purchase.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Japan last May, had issued a joint statement along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe which mandated the setting up of a Joint Working Group (JWG) between the two countries to explore the potential for cooperation between the defense and aviation industries between the two countries, as well as to figure out the mechanism and modalities for the acquisition of the aircraft by the Indian Navy.

The statement said, among other things:

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the expanding defense relations between the two countries based on the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between India and Japan. The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction that the first bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy (IN)and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)was held in June 2012 off the coast of Japan and decided to conduct such exercises on a regular basis with increased frequency. They decided to establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) to explore modality for the cooperation on the US-2 amphibian aircraft.

The two sides have held preliminary meetings of the JWG recently, since the meeting between the two prime ministers – said to be the result of the priority accorded to the process by Abe.

The navy is understood to be keen on acquiring at least 15 of the aircraft. The last amphibious aircraft operated by the navy were the light transport Short SA.6 Sealand aircraft, which were inducted in the 1950s and phased out a decade later. Since then, the Indian Navy has never operated any amphibious aircraft.

A Beriev Be-200 at the Singapore Airshow in 2012 | Photo: StratPost

A Beriev Be-200 at the Singapore Airshow in 2012 | Photo: StratPost

The Indian Coast Guard, briefly, considered the acquisition of the Russian Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft as part of a process to acquire Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft (MRMR), which was subsequently cancelled in 2011.

There are two reasons why this process is significant. First of all, it represents a change in Japanese policies, traditionally informed by its pacifist constitution, in place since the end of the Second World War, which barred the export of military technologies.

While Japan barred the export of military equipment to communist countries, countries subject to a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) arms embargo and countries that could be involved in international conflicts since 1967, it extended the bar on export to all countries in 1976, with the United States being the only exception.

Japan continues to ban such exports and only allows the export of dual-use equipment, under which category the US-2i falls. Even then, the Japanese allowance remains a significant relaxation on its part.

Secondly, there is no close competitor to the aircraft in terms of features and performance, and the Indian Navy and defense ministry would have to evolve a process under the Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP) to make sure the single vendor bar does not apply to the acquisition process for the aircraft and/or put together a government-to-government purchase process with Japan, on the lines of the mechanism with Russia and the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route with the United States.

While this process is getting underway, defense ministry sources expressed mild concern that, while the objectives of the JWG include ‘cooperation on the US-2 amphibian aircraft’, this could end up with the long term objectives of potential industrial cooperation holding up the more immediate objective of aircraft acquisition. They pointed to the inclusion of India’s National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) as part of the JWG and said care should be taken that the objective of cooperation on civilian aircraft development should not delay the more immediate objective acquisition process.

That said, movement on this could be expected in December, with at least two meetings – a second preliminary meeting as well as defense minister-level talks on the issue.

US-2i potential

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Japan earlier this year, expressed India’s interest in acquiring the aircraft as part of what was seen as a growing proximity between the two countries, both of whom have had territorial disputes with China.

India has been bolstering its airlift capabilities in the northern and north-eastern regions in a bid to provide better logistical support to the Indian Army, at a time when serial intrusions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China by the Chine People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have created much controversy. The Indian Air Force (IAF) recently made the Daulat Beg Oldie Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), just southeast of the Karakoram Pass, operational for its C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

Interestingly, the US-2i could also operate from Pangong Tso lake (and possibly other water bodies in the region), divided by the LAC between the two countries in the Chushul sector, should the need arise, if the Indian Navy were to acquire it.

Speaking at the first Naval and Maritime Expo (NAMEXPO) held in Kochi in September, Commodore Sujeet Samadar, retired from the Indian Navy, who heads the company in India, told StratPost that although the aircraft has never operated at such heights before, it is qualified for such operations. Specifically asked if the aircraft could operate from Pangong Tso lake, Commodore Samadar said he could see no reason why it could not

“The boundary layer control system has unique features and it’s been designed for a particular performance, mostly at sea level. But the extension of the systems onboard allows it to carry out high altitude operations. At the moment, I think, that is what I can say. It can carry out high altitude operations, certainly.”

The aircraft can operate in rough waters up to sea state 5 with three meter high waves. It can take off in 280 meters and land in 330 meters with a maximum take off weight of 43 tons. It has a range of 4,500 kilometers and a top speed of 560 kilometers per hour. The aircraft’s boundary layer control system generates additional lift to allow the aircraft to take off and land in short distances. Its spray strip and spray suppressor prevent splashed water from reaching its engines.

Sources in the defense ministry have also indicated a level of interest in the IAF in the capabilities of this aircraft and the possibilities it could offer for air support in the region.

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 19:30
La France au Moyen-Orient (4/5) : Jean-Yves Le Drian, l'homme clé du retour de la France aux Emirats Arabes Unis

La relation de confiance entre le prince héritier d'Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, et le ministre de la Défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a relancé les projets entre Abu Dhabi et Paris

 

27/11/2013 Michel Cabirol, à Dubaï – LaTribune.fr

 

Quatrième volet de la France au Moyen-Orient, les Emirats Arabes Unis. C'est dans ce pays que Paris a commencé à toucher les premiers dividendes de sa nouvelle politique diplomatique. En dépit du forcing britannique pour le Typhoon, Dassault Aviation est toujours en compétition dans le ciel émirati.
 

La France est vraiment de retour aux Emirats Arabes Unis… Il aura fallu plus d'un an pour que Paris revienne dans les petits papiers du prince héritier d'Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Un homme a été la clé dans cette réconciliation entre Paris et Abu Dhabi. Cet homme, c'est Jean-Yves Le Drian, qui a su tisser une relation personnelle avec le prince héritier, lui-même séduit par le caractère obstiné de ce pur breton de Lorient.

Jean-Yves Le Drian a notamment surpris les Emiratis par sa ténacité. Surtout quand début juillet il avait repoussé de 24 heures son retour à Paris pour tenter de signer coûte que coûte le contrat Falcon Eye, deux satellites espions construits par Astrium et Thales Alenia Space. Et même s'il n'avait pas cette fois-là emporté la décision, il avait marqué les esprits.

 

Une disgrâce d'un an et demi

Cette commande de plus de 700 millions d'euros sera finalement signée quelques jours plus tard fin juillet par le ministre lors d'une cérémonie très protocolaire. Ce contrat, qui était perdu en janvier par les Français et promis aux Américains, n'est pas encore notifié, selon nos informations. "En 2014", estime-t-on de source proche du dossier. Tout comme la vente par Thales de 17 radars Ground Master 200 pour un montant d'environ 250 millions d'euros. Avec ces deux commandes pour un total de 1 milliard, Paris retrouvait enfin les faveurs d'Abu Dhabi. Aujourd'hui le ministre "est dans l'approfondissement personnel de sa relation avec le prince héritier", explique-t-on dans son entourage.

Jean-Yves Le Drian est déjà allé six fois aux Emirats pour entretenir cette "vraie relation de confiance". Lors du salon aéronautique de Dubaï 2013, cela s'est encore vu. Les deux hommes ont passé du temps ensemble, visitant le stand de Dassault Aviation et de MBDA. Ils ont également participé à un déjeuner officiel. En revanche, les relations sont beaucoup moins étroites avec le ministre de la Défense des Emirats Arabes Unis et patron de l'émirat de Dubaï, l'émir Mohammed ben Rachid Al Maktoum.

Il était temps. Car les dernières commandes militaires significatives des Emirats Arabes Unis, un client fidèle de la France, remontaient déjà à 2007 avec le contrat Yahsat (deux satellites de communications civiles et militaires) et l'achat de trois avions ravitailleurs MRTT à Airbus. Soit une disgrâce d'un an et demi après la gifle retentissante de Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan en personne au salon aéronautique de Dubaï en novembre 2011. Ce dernier avait alors tancé Dassault Aviation pour ses conditions commerciales inacceptables dans le cadre de la négociation d'un contrat Rafale. Il avait lancé le Typhoon du consortium Eurofighter dans la compétition.

 

Lire ou relire : La saga du Rafale aux Emirats Arabes Unis (1/3) : Le temps de la réconciliation

La saga du Rafale aux Emirats Arabes Unis (2/3) : le temps des espoirs... et des concessions

La saga du Rafale aux Emirats Arabes Unis (3/3) : le temps des fâcheries

 

Un an encore de travail pour le Rafale
La France au Moyen-Orient (4/5) : Jean-Yves Le Drian, l'homme clé du retour de la France aux Emirats Arabes Unis

 

En dépit des bonnes relations entretenues entre les Emirats Arabes Unis et la France, les grands patrons de l'industrie de l'armement française, qui atterrissent à Dubaï les jours précédents l'inauguration de la douzième édition du salon aéronautique prévue le dimanche 17 novembre, sont un peu fébriles. Et pour cause. La presse britannique croit dur comme fer qu'un contrat de 7 milliards d'euros pour la vente de 60 Typhoon, voire un protocole d'accord, va être signé lors du passage à Dubaï par David Cameron. Le Premier ministre britannique a prévu de faire un stop dans cet émirat le samedi la veille de l'ouverture du salon sur le chemin du retour à l'issue du sommet du Commonwealth au Sri Lanka. Mais pour les britanniques, cela fait pschitt.

"Ils sont dans la même situation que nous il y a deux ans, se réjouit-on dans le camp français. Ils ont même peur de jouer les lièvres face au Rafale". Pour autant, pour le Rafale aux Emirats, rien n'est encore gagné. "Cela prendra encore du temps, il y a un an de travail", explique-t-on à "La Tribune". La France garde donc le cap depuis la reprise des négociations en janvier 2013 à l'issue de la visite de François Hollande à Dubaï. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan a confié à Dassault Aviation et son PDG, Eric Trappier, ont une nouvelle feuille de route en février dernier lors du salon de défense IDEX.

 

VBCI, Crotale et corvettes Gowind dans les starting-blocks

 

La France au Moyen-Orient (4/5) : Jean-Yves Le Drian, l'homme clé du retour de la France aux Emirats Arabes Unis

D'autres projets sont actuellement en négociations. Le plus avancé est l'achat de 700 véhicules blindés par Abu Dhabi. Nexter, le groupe public spécialisé dans les armements terrestres, qui comptait entrer en février dernier en négociations exclusives avec les Emirats pour placer le VBCI dans les forces émiraties - sans succès -, rencontrerait, selon nos informations, des difficultés pour finaliser le montage industriel avec le groupe local, Tawazun. "C'est un peu compliqué", indique-t-on à La Tribune. Sur ce dossier aussi, il resterait environ un an de travail. Le VBCI, qui offre un haut niveau de protection face aux différentes menaces des théâtres d'opérations, a déjà été projeté en Afghanistan et au Liban en 2010 puis au Mali en début d'année 2013.

 

La France au Moyen-Orient (4/5) : Jean-Yves Le Drian, l'homme clé du retour de la France aux Emirats Arabes Unis

Quant à DCNS, le groupe naval lorgne, selon nos informations, sur la vente de six corvettes polyvalentes. Le groupe propose des Gowind de 3.000 tonnes, qui seront construites localement. Enfin, Thales s'est mis sur les rangs pour moderniser le système Crotale, un système de défense aérienne de courte portée, en service dans la marine émiratie.

 

Lire ou relire les trois premiers volets :

La France au Moyen Orient (1/5) : quand la diplomatie va, tout va... mieux

La France au Moyen-Orient (2/5) : Paris chasse en Arabie Saoudite le mégacontrat Sawari 3

La France au Moyen-Orient (3/5) : le Qatar premier client du Rafale ?

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 18:30
Elbit Systems Mission Training Center Goes Operational, Serving the Israeli F-16 AF Fighter Pilots

 

Nov 26, 2013 ASDNews Source : Elbit Systems Ltd

 

    The center incorporates a ''Mission Training'' system that allows fighter pilots to fly operational and tactical missions

 

Elbit Systems announced today that the Mission Training Center (MTC) for the Israeli Air Force's (IAF) pilots of F-16C/D and F-16I fighter aircraft is now operational and currently being used by the IAF.

 

The MTC, operating through a PFI (Private Financing Initiative) concept, successfully completed the development phase and is now operational, with Elbit Systems performing the instruction, operation and maintenance services.

 

The new operational MTC marks a significant breakthrough in the operational training sector. The system enables training in various mission scenarios in different theaters with the relevant threat environment for each theater. The MTC brings an advanced training capability that was not available to the IAF in the past.

 

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 13:35
Royal Australian Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III at Canberra Airport

Royal Australian Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III at Canberra Airport

 

BRISBANE, Australia, Nov. 26 (UPI)

 

Boeing Co. has delivered a full-scale C-17 Globemaster III cargo compartment trainer to the Royal Australian Air Force, the company said.

 

The trainer is a fully functional replica of a C-17 fuselage that can simulate day/night operating conditions for loadmasters, as well as aeromedical evacuation training for aeromedical specialists.

 

"The C-17 program has delivered a substantial capability to Australia; this CCT represents the final component of that program," said RAAF Group Capt. Warren Bishop. "It will add significant value to the RAAF, providing the capability to train pilots and loadmasters in Australia."

 

The cargo compartment trainer will be used at an RAAF facility in Amberley, where loading vehicles, simulated cargo and other training assets are located.

 

The Royal Australian Air Force operates six C-17s for military transport missions and disaster relief operations.

 

Boeing said the operational cargo compartment trainer delivered to Australia is the third it has produced. Two others are being used at a U.S Air Force base in Oklahoma.

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
Saab Receives Order from FMV for Technical System Support

 

Nov 26, 2013 ASDNews Source : Saab AB

 

Defence and security company Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to provide technical system support to the Swedish Armed Forces during 2014. The order amounts to SEK 107 million.

 

The order is a further option under an earlier agreement signed in June 2012 with FMV for performance-based support and maintenance of the Gripen fighter (i.e. Performance-Based Logistics, PBL).

 

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
photo EADS

photo EADS

 

Nov 26, 2013 ASDNews Source : TenCate

 

The new Airbus A400M features ice protection plates produced from TenCate Cetex® glass PPS semipreg. TenCate Advanced Composites in Nijverdal (NL) supplies this thermoplastic composite material for a wide range of structural and semi-structural aircraft components. Fokker Aerostructures (Hoogeveen, NL) processes the material into finished panels. The panels protect sides of the fuselage alongside the propeller tips from damage caused by chunks of ice which, under certain weather conditions, are flung from the propellers of  the military transport aircraft.

 

TenCate Cetex® semipreg material was selected because it provides excellent impact resistance and also a very good chemical resistance (de-icing and hydraulic / decontamination fluids). It is also used on the fixed wing leading edges of the Airbus A380.

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 08:45
C-130J photo Frans Dely - Lockheed Martin

C-130J photo Frans Dely - Lockheed Martin

 

26 November 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

Lockheed Martin’s point man for Africa has hit South Africa with the declared mission of trying to establish exactly what the SA Air Force’s (SAAF) airlift requirements are.

 

Dennys Plessas, Vice President Business development Initiatives at the American aerospace company, told defenceWeb his three day visit would also allow him to put forward suggestions on the boosting of airlift capacity for the hard-pressed SAAF.

 

“I’m here to find out exactly what the SAAF’s needs and requirements are as far as airlift, whether it be tactical or strategic, is concerned. Both myself and Lockheed Martin are concerned a hastily taken decision in this regard can lead to problems down the line with aircraft maintenance and utilisation,” he said, regarding reports of feasibility and or project studies apparently currently underway for possible acquisition of Ilyushin Il-76s.

 

An indicator of the importance Lockheed Martin attaches to South Africa can be gathered from Plessas’ statement that the company is ready to engage with its single largest customer – the US Air Force – to accommodate any South African requirement for the C-130J Super Hercules.

 

“If needs be speedy procurement can be negotiated with the USAF.”

 

Earlier this year the SAAF marked the 50th year of service of the C-130BZ with AFB Waterkloof-based 28 Squadron. It was also the squadron’s 70th anniversary.

 

An indication of the respect the C-130J has earned among the world’s air forces was that the Indian Air Force had disposed of its Il-76s in favour of the new generation Hercules, he said. The sub-continent’s air force currently has 12 C-130Js in its fleet inventory.

 

“It is a true multi-role aircraft handling missions such as airlift, maritime patrol and reconnaissance, border protection as well as air-to-air refuelling and others,” Plessas said adding discussions with the current and immediate past SAAF chiefs had led him to believe aerial refuelling was high on the priority list.

 

“This appears to have changed and that is why I’m here – to find out what the priorities are and how the C-130J can fit those needs.”

 

He would not elaborate on exactly who he would be seeing during his short stay in South Africa but said the local United States Embassy was also ready to offer “every assistance” if there was a decision to go the C-130J route by the SAAF.

 

The SAAF’s C-130 fleet will be retired in 2020, leaving only a few years to decide on a replacement. The Air Force also needs to urgently replace its Turbo Dakota maritime surveillance aircraft, under Project Saucepan. Lockheed Martin has previously suggested its Sea Hercules and C-130XJ Expandable Super Hercules could meet this requirement, and fulfil the SAAF’s airlift needs. The C-130XJ would have a substantial amount of local content fitted to meet South African requirements.

 

The US Air Force brought a Super Hercules to the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition in Pretoria in September last year.

 

During a briefing last year Plessas noted that the C-130J could provide 90% of the SAAF’s airlift capability (including cargo transport, peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, medevac, search and rescue etc). It could also meet 100% of the SAAF’s maritime/border patrol requirements and 100% of its tanking needs, as the KC-130J has successfully refuelled Gripen fighters.

 

The SAAF’s eight C-130BZs are projected to keep flying until 2020, up from the earlier date of 2015, but the Air Force has yet to issue a request for information (RFI) or request for proposals (RFP) for replacements. Lockheed Martin pointed out that the SAAF’s Boeing 707 tankers had been retired in 2007 and that its C-47TP aircraft are 1940s vintage.

 

Lockheed Martin ready to assist with SAAF airlift acquisition

Until the cancellation of the Airbus Military A400M in 2009, the SAAF envisaged a transport trinity with the A400M as the heavy/strategic transport, a C130-type aircraft as a medium airlifter and a third type as a light utility aircraft.

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 08:35
F-16C Fighting Falcons conducting flight over Kunsan air base in Korea. Photo US Air Force

F-16C Fighting Falcons conducting flight over Kunsan air base in Korea. Photo US Air Force

 

November 27th, 2013 By US Defense Security Cooperation Agency - defencetalk.com

 

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea for Phase 1 upgrades of 134 KF-16C/D Block 52 aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $200 million.

 

The Republic of Korea has requested a possible sale for Phase 1 of an upgrade of 134 KF-16C/D Block 52 aircraft to be completed in a potential two-phased approach. Phase 1 entails the sale of U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services to support the initial design and development for the overall upgrade program.

 

This phase will furnish detailed design requirements to include computers, displays, sensors and weapons, system design and pilot-vehicle interface efforts; initiate software design and development; engineering installation design (Group A); construction of an avionics systems integration facility and test stations; define support and training requirements; develop long-lead items; and prepare reports, analyses, and presentations to support system requirements and preliminary design reviews.

 

Phase 2, if implemented, relates to the KF-16C/D aircraft upgrade with advanced radar and updated avionics. In the event of such a sale, a subsequent notification will be prepared.

 

This notice relates only to Phase 1. The estimated cost is $200 million.

 

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of an ally and partner nation. The ROK continues to be an important force for peace, political stability, and economic progress in North East Asia.

 

This proposed sale will provide the ROK with a design and development plan to improve the capabilities of its KF-16 fleet in order to continue to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense. If Phase 2 of the upgrade program is implemented, the upgraded KF-16 will contribute to the ROK’s goal to develop a more capable defense force and enhance interoperability with U.S. forces.

 

The proposed sale of this support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

 

The principal contractor will be BAE Systems Technology Solution & Services, Inc. in Arlington, Virginia. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

 

Implementation of this proposed sale will require one additional contractor representative to ROK to facilitate communications with the FMS customer to clarify requirements in support of development activities.

 

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

 

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 08:35
India Pushes Russia For Greater Inclusion In Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft Development

 

November 27, 2013 By Ankit Panda - thediplomat.com

 

India wants a greater stake in the development of a Sukhoi T-50-variant Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft.

 

India and Russia have been long-term collaborators on defense technology. The two countries together produced the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile — the fastest cruise missile in production. The relationship hasn’t always been balanced in India’s favor, however, and this has come to light recently with India’s stake in the development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, based on the Russian Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA).

According to Defense NewsIndia has conveyed its displeasure to Russia over its “low level of participation in the joint development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), despite being an equal financial partner in the project and placing an order of more than US $30 billion for the new planes.” The joint effort is a major component of India’s continued air force modernization. According to RIA Novosti, India currently bears 50 percent of the costs of development.

In a visit to Moscow earlier this month, Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony pushed Russia to increase India’s share of the development work to 50 percent, in line with its financial equity in the project. Antony, speaking at the 13th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation, stressed the necessity for the two longterm partners to cooperative equally in “all the phases — design, development and production — in the execution” of the FGFA project.

New Delhi’s push for equitable inclusion in military technical cooperation with Russia is related to its long-unachieved strategic goal of developing self-sufficiency in indigenous military production. India is the world’s largest importer of weapons technology. Indeed, Defense News cited a Russian diplomat in New Delhi as saying that part of the reason that the Russians limited India’s share in the FGFA project is due to “India’s capabilities in military aircraft research and industrial infrastructure.”

The agreement to jointly develop the FGFA was signed between the Indian and Russia Air Forces in 2007, with the final design, research, and joint development contract expected to exceed more than $10 billion. Although that contract is yet to be signed, Defense News reports that “In December 2010, Rosoboronexport, India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics and Russian aircraft-maker Sukhoi signed a preliminary design development contract worth $295 million.”

The Indian Air Force is likely to order around 200 units of the single-seat, twin-engine fighters. The Sukhoi T-50 possesses a supersonic cruising ability which, combined with its ultra-manuverability, makes it a potent addition to the Indian Air Force. The jet is expected to increase the versatility of the Indian Air Force. As part of India’s stake in the development of the aircraft, it is expected to be able to specifically tune the units it purchases to the specific needs of its air force.

Antony’s visit to Moscow came just a couple days after India inducted the INS Vikramaditya — formerly the Russian Admiral Gorshkov. India’s naval modernization, which has reached new heights in recent years, has largely been dependent on its cooperation with Russia as well. In his recent visit, Antony also addressed a prospective nuclear submarine lease from Russia to India.

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 08:35
How China Plans to Use the Su-35

 

November 27, 2013 By Peter Wood- thediplomat.com

 

Acquisition of the advanced Su-35 fighter would give China some significant new capabilities.

 

A senior executive at Russia’s state arms export company, Rosoboronexport, has said that Russia will sign a contract to sell the advanced Su-35 jet to China in 2014, while confirming that the deal is not on track to be finished in 2013. This is unlikely to be the last word on the matter – the negotiations have dragged on since 2010, and have been the subject of premature and contradictory announcements before – but it is a strong indication that Russia remains interested in the sale. For the time being, China’s interest in the new-generation fighter is worth examining for what it reveals about the progress of homegrown military technology and China’s strategy for managing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. If successful, the acquisition could have an immediate impact on these disputes. In addition to strengthening China’s hand in a hypothetical conflict, the Su-35’s range and fuel capacity would allow the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) to undertake extended patrols of the disputed areas, following the model it has used to pressure Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.

The Su-35 is not the first Sukoi to pique the interest of the Chinese military. As previously reported in The Diplomat, the Sukoi-30MKK, and the Chinese version, the J-16, have been touted by the Chinese military as allowing it to project power into the South China Sea.

Previous reports in Chinese and Russian media in June of this year pointed toward a deal having been reached over a sale of Su-35 multi-role jets, but were not viewed as official, given more than a year’s worth of contradictory reports in Chinese and Russian media. At one point, Russian sources claimed that the sale had gone through, only to be categorically refuted by the Chinese Ministry of Defense. Nevertheless, in January both governments paved the way for an eventual sale by signing an agreement in principle that Russia would provide the Su-35 to China.

A big question remaining is the number of aircraft that China will purchase. China’s Global Times reported this summer that a group of Chinese representatives were in Moscow evaluating the Su-35, and would begin acquiring a “considerable number” of the advanced jets. Whether that means that China will purchase more than 48, as mentioned in press statements a year ago, is unclear. Evidence of continued negotiation for the jets indicates a strong desire within the Chinese military to acquire the Sukhoi fighters.

Chinese aviation is still reliant in many ways on Russia. Media attention has focused on China’s domestic development programs, including stealth fighter-bombers and helicopters. The advance of Chinese aviation capabilities is by now a common theme, with every month seeming to bring new revelations about its programs. While the ability to manufacture and perform design work on these projects represents significant progress, “under the hood” these aircraft often feature Russian engines. China continues to try to copy or steal Russian engine technology because of a strong preference for building systems itself. In fact, purchasing the Su-35 does not reflect a shift in the preferences of the Chinese military leadership. Buying the Su-35 reflects the delicate position China now finds itself in, as both a large purchaser and producer of primarily Russian-style weapons. Though self-reliance has always been important to China, it has been superseded by the strategic need to acquire cutting-edge weapons systems quickly. According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), beginning in 1991, China began purchasing the Su-27 long-range fighter jet (an older relative of the Su-35). The data is searchable here.

Russia understandably became upset when its star export appeared as an indigenously produced J-11 in China – without a licensing agreement. Russian media was previously reporting that Russia had chosen not to sell the jet over fears that it would be copied in turn and become yet another export item for China, further undercutting Russia’s own economically vital arms business. It appears that now Russia is trying to balance its fear of being undercut by Chinese copying with its desire (or need) to sell weapons.

Viewing the purchase of the Su-35 through the lens of China’s strategic needs and events, like the recent territorial spats with its neighbors, provides a useful perspective on just why China is so eager to acquire the Sukhoi jet.

Simply put, the Su-35 is the best non-stealth fighter in the world today. Though stealth has come to dominate Western aircraft design, in terms of China’s needs, other factors take precedence. Even more surprisingly, superiority in air-to-air combat is not the Su-35’s key selling point. while the Su-35 gives the Chinese military a leg up versus the F-15s and other aircraft fielded by neighbors like Japan, the advanced Russian jet does not add significant new capabilities to conflict areas like the Taiwan Strait. Large numbers of interceptors and multi-role jets like the J-10 could easily be deployed over the Strait, or to areas near Japan like the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. The advantage of the Su-35 rather lies in its speed and ample fuel tanks. Like the Su-27, the Su-35 was created to patrol Russia’s enormous airspace and to be able to meet incoming threats far away from Russia’s main urban areas. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) faces similar problems.

The South China Sea is just such a problem. A vast area of 1.4 million square miles (2.25 million square kilometers), China’s claims, as demarcated by the famous “nine-dashed line,” pose challenges for the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) current fighters. Currently, land-based PLANAF fighters, can conduct limited patrols of the sea’s southern areas, but their fuel capacity severely restricts the time they can spend on patrol. Enforcing claims far from the mainland in times of crisis requires the type of range and speed that the Su-35 possesses. The Su-35 is likely meant to help enforce China’s territorial claims, further deter regional claimants, and provide additional layers of protection in the case of escalation. The key to this is fuel.

One important improvement of the Su-35 over the Su-27/J-11B is the ability to carry external fuel tanks, be a major factor limiting the Su-27, which does not have aerial refueling capability. This is in addition to a 20 percent increase in fuel capacity over the Su-27 and air refueling capability. This later capability is another important part of China’s strategy of increasing loiter times and distances. “Loiter time” is the time an aircraft can spend in the vicinity of a target, as opposed to reaching the area and returning to base. Generally there are three ways to increase loiter time. Smaller, slower aircraft like the U.S. Predator or global hawk drones can stay aloft for many hours at a time because of their long wings and lack of a pilot. The other two options are larger fuel tanks or refueling capability. China’s nascent aerial refueling program is not yet fully proven and does not currently involve any naval planes, and is estimated at becoming operationally effective between 2015-2020 in Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles.

The Su-35, even on internal fuel only, offers significant advantages over the Su-27, which is limited to only quick fly-overs of trouble spots such as the Reed Bank (lile tan) or Scarborough Shoal (huangyan dao). The extra time the Su-35 can spend on station is essential to China’s desire to deter action by the Philippines or other regional actors. Such long-range aircraft would be able to “show the flag” for longer, or quickly intercept Philippine aircraft in the region. In the case of the Su-35, it would likely be able to outfly and outshoot any Philippine or Vietnamese aircraft (or surface vessel for that matter) largely rendering competing territorial claims irrelevant.

This is the sort of fait accompli situation that China has sought to create, for example with the “eviction” of the Philippine presence from the Scarborough Shoal and repeated fly-bys of the disputed area in the East China Sea: an overwhelming Chinese presence around territorial claims, leaving the contender with the options of significantly ratcheting up tensions and likely losing any skirmish or accepting a regular Chinese military presence. With the ability to make extended flights over a larger portion of the South China Sea, the PLANAF is likely to increase air patrols. This could lead to more frequent encounters in more places, creating more opportunities for minor crises and allowing China to create new “facts on the ground,” which may serve as the starting point for negotiations in a peaceful settlement. This capability, combined with China’s already significant ballistic missile forces and other anti-access weapons, provides China with a significant trump card and thus acts as a deterrent to military challenges. This gives China the ability to project military power over a larger portion of Southeast Asia and indeed, most of the ASEAN nations.

Beyond deterrence, a jet with a longer-range purchases more than just loiter time. Areas like Hainan are more vulnerable to attack by cruise missile or carrier-borne elements than those behind the prickly hedge of China’s air defense systems. Overlapping radars, shorter ranged interceptors and powerful surface-to-air missile systems make deploying aircraft to the mainland an attractive option. With its extended range however, the Su-35 should have little trouble flying from behind coastal areas to a large portion of the South China Sea.

Land-based, long-range patrolling Su-35s are one of the best ways to ensure that China retains the ability to restrict other contestant nations’ access to these areas. This has become even more urgent now that the U.S. has announced plans to deploy the F-35 into the region, likely to important bases in Korea and Japan.

In the meantime, while the U.S. and its allies face a potential gap in capabilities between aging airframes and delivery of the F-35, China is rapidly phasing out older platforms, upgrading legacy systems and trying to acquire newer aircraft. The Su-35 is a major step in this direction.

While not on par with the U.S. F-22, the small numbers of that platform and risks of deployment make the Su-35 likely superior to anything readily deployed in the region for some time. Moreover, though the Su-35 is much more agile than the Su-27, similarity between the Su-35 and earlier Sukhoi platforms should mean less effort expended building a new logistics tail and retraining, leading to faster operational status and deployment. There are no clear indications whether the PLAAF or PLANAF would use the Su-35s, but deployment to the PLAAF Air Base in Suixi, Guangdong (Yuexi Airport) part of the 2nd Division in Zhanjiang, Guangdong (Unit 95357) would complement the other Su-27s already stationed there. The PLA Naval Aviation base at Lingshui, Hainan province (famous for being the airport where a U.S. EP-3 surveillance plane performed an emergency landing in 2001) is another useful option for basing. The Su-35s could replace the rapidly aging J-8Bs and Ds currently based there.

While the Su-35’s technologies will benefit Chinese aviation, its larger contribution lies in enforcement and deterrence in the South China Sea. China’s currently deployed forces in the South China Sea and contested areas could already do significant damage to possible adversaries like the Philippines. Without a combat-capable air force and naval forces largely comprising aging 1960s-era former U.S. Coast Guard cutters, the Philippines cannot effectively challenge China’s territorial claims. The Sukhoi jets’ larger fuel capacity and in-flight refueling capability mean that Chinese jets could remain on station for longer, enforcing their claims by conducting patrols and interceptions in a more consistent way. Going forward, the combination of the Su-35, China’s extant shorter-range fighters, advanced surface-to-air missiles, and long-range ballistic and cruise missiles could provide strength-in-depth, multi-layered capabilities to protect China’s claims and make others less eager to intervene if China chose to pursue conflict with its neighbors.

Peter Wood is an independent researcher focusing on the Chinese military. A longer version of this article appeared in the October 10, 2013 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief.

Aircraft Ranges
Aircraft Estimated Range (mi, km)
Su-27/J-11B Internal fuel: 1,700/2,800
Su-35 Internal fuel: 2,237/3,600With two drop tanks: 2,800/4,500
Example Distances between key Chinese airbases and areas of interest
Chinese Base Target Area Approximate Distance (mi/km)All distance estimates from Google Earth
Lingshui PLA Naval Aviation base, Hainan province Reed Bank, South China Sea 660/1,070
  Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea 560/900
  Basa Philippine Air Force Air Defense Wing Base, Luzon, Philippines 730/1,180
Suixi PLAAF base, Guangdong province Reed Bank, South China Sea 815/1,312
  Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea 650/1,050
  Basa Philippine Air Force Air Defense Wing Base [Note 1] 800/1,300

 

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26 novembre 2013 2 26 /11 /novembre /2013 20:55
A French Air Force Mirage 2000N during Exercise Capable Eagle.

 

The exercise was the latest in a series designed to further improve the interoperability and effectiveness of Anglo-French military co-operation.

 

As well as Typhoons of 1(F) Sqn the exercise included Mirage 2000N aircraft of the Escadron de Chasse 2/4 "La Fayette".


Photographer: Sgt Ralph Merry ABIPP RAF
Image 45156245.jpg from www.defenceimages.mod.uk

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26 novembre 2013 2 26 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
EADS chief warns jobs cuts coming in defence unit

 

November 26th, 2013 defencetalk.com (AFP)

 

A reduction in defence orders will have an impact on jobs in EADS’s defence unit, the head of the European aerospace giant said in an interview published Monday.

 

Tom Enders told vbw-Unternehmenmagazin, the magazine of the Bavarian economic federation, that “if defence orders are cancelled or reduced as has happened in Germany in recent years, an impact on production and employment cannot be avoided.”

 

Enders’s comments follow a report by the German news agency DPA last week that EADS is considering cutting the workforce by 20 percent, or 8,000 employees. The group will be renamed Airbus Defence and Space next year as it reorganises.

 

EADS said no numbers have been decided, but Enders has previously said drastic measures were needed to secure the future of the division.

 

The restructuring is seen as unavoidable after the failed plan to merge with Britain’s defence firm BAE Systems last year.

 

That was shelved after objections from government stakeholders, notably Germany, which worried it would cause considerable layoffs.

 

Enders said the outlook is not rosy for defence manufacturers due to the high value of the euro and the eurozone debt crisis pushing countries to cut back on acquisitions of new equipment.

 

Enders told the Bavarian magazine that EADS had lost over the past few years orders worth several billion euros just in Germany that the company had thought were certain.

 

He said EADS cannot absorb that without making changes at the affected sites. He did not go into details.

 

The German newspaper Suedeutsche Zeitung reported Monday that a defence factory of EADS’s Cassidian unit located north of Munich would be closed with activities shifted to another facility in Bavaria, where EADS employs some 16,000 people.

 

An EADS spokesman declined to comment on the report, telling AFP that it would not make detailed announcements on its plans before informing its European works council, which meets in Munich on December 9.

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26 novembre 2013 2 26 /11 /novembre /2013 12:35
Chinese made Z-9 helicopter. (photo K.L. Yim)

Chinese made Z-9 helicopter. (photo K.L. Yim)

 

Nov. 25, 2013 by Greg Waldron – FG

 

Singapore - The Cambodian air force has taken delivery of 12 Harbin Z-9 utility helicopters.

 

Aside from serving in a general utility role, the aircraft will also be used to provide relief during natural disasters, according to a report the China Daily, Beijing’s official newspaper.

 

The 12 helicopters were financed with a $195 million intergovernmental loan Beijing made to Phnom Penh in 2011, says the report. The deal was brokered by the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC).

 

The Z-9 is based on Eurocopter’s AS365 Dauphin.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 18:25
Le Pérou commande deux C-27J

 

25.11.2013 Helen Chachaty journal-aviation.com

 

C-27J, Spartan ,Alenia Aermacchi, Pérou,

 

Le ministère péruvien de la Défense a commandé deux avions de transport tactique C-27J Spartan à Alenia Aermacchi.

 

Le contrat d’une valeur d’environ 100 millions d’euros devrait être signé prochainement, selon l’industriel italien.

 

La filiale de Finmeccanica indique que le processus de sélection a duré quasiment trois ans.

 

Les exigences demandées faisaient état de capacités de transport de troupes, de personnels civils, de matériel, de MEDEVAC, d’opérations de largage, de missions de SAR ou encore d’assistance humanitaire, le tout dans des conditions de climat et de terrain comparables à celles de la Cordillère des Andes.

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