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8 octobre 2015 4 08 /10 /octobre /2015 06:20
U.S. Air Force Major Kevin Hall goes through his pre-flight checks before flying an F-35A at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Hall is an F-35 test pilot. Photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua D. King/USAF

U.S. Air Force Major Kevin Hall goes through his pre-flight checks before flying an F-35A at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Hall is an F-35 test pilot. Photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua D. King/USAF

 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI)

 

U.S. lawmakers and defense officials are concerned as more tests on the F-35 joint-strike fighter reveal more complications than they thought.

Defense News reports the concerns stem from the testing of the new Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat system, which testers discovered may put pilots at risk of fatal injury. During the tests, ejections performed during low-speed flights showed test dummies snapping their necks.

Test results revealed that when lighter pilots are operating the F-35, the Martin-Baker seats rotate too much. The U.S. military now prohibits pilots weighting under 136 pounds from operating the F-35.

In response to the potentially grim test results, some lawmakers are calling for increased oversight of the joint-strike fighter program. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Pentagon is erroneously rushing the program.

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6 octobre 2015 2 06 /10 /octobre /2015 16:55
Global aerospace and defence outlook trends

 

05 October 2015 by ADIT - The Bulletin



According to the latest KPMG Global Aerospace and Defence Outlook, firms in the Aerospace & Defence (A&D) sector are focusing on two axes: driving growth and managing cost savings.

The report is based on 68 top executives’ interviews. 53% of them prioritize sales growth; 47% cite reducing their cost structure; while maintaining their business model competitive is a top challenge for 38% of the senior executives and efforts to develop R&D is the second challenge for 32% of them.

“With growth remaining slow and prices under continued pressure, A&D organizations are looking ahead for untapped growth opportunities and then working to prepare the groundwork for future campaigns and opportunities”, said KPMG’s Global Head of A&D.

In order to do so, many respondents are looking to foreign markets to seize growth opportunities. Indeed, more than 25% of the participants said they would penetrate new geographic markets through acquisitions, JVs or alliances, and 13% declared they would rebalance their worldwide footprint. Other firms will also adapt their existing products and services to fulfil the requirements of these new markets, through assessments in culture, business behaviuors and governance structures. Furthermore, “it will be important for A&D organizations to apply more rigorous integrated business planning techniques so that revenue, investment, cost and profit are tightly coupled from both a financial and operational perspective as opportunities will emerge and vary both in timing and scale from expectation,” added a U.S. KPMG partner.

Another key-diver for growth is investments in R&D in order to seek new technologies and services. 50% of the respondents mentioned they expected new manufacturing technologies to drive future growth and innovation. The proportion of A&D organizations that claimed they would spend more than 6 % of their revenues on R&D over the next 2 years would increase from 28% to 41%. They cite for instance the commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) market, the cyber security market and the various private Low Earth Orbit programmes as recent technological breaks on which they have to intensify R&D spending (46% of the participants said they would increase them to drive innovation).

In order to meet the two challenges of sales growth and cost management, A&D companies are reorganizing their supply chains. 55% of the respondents said they are focused on lowering costs and working capital levels across the supply chain. A third said that restructuring the supply chain to support growth is a top priority this year. 33% also claimed they would segment supply chain assets and process based on specific product demand profiles. Globally, the top executives of the sector intend to improve their supply chain flexibility and responsiveness. “We are seeing an increased focus on consolidating the buy capability and rationalizing spend in order to manage inventory at a more centralized level”, declared a U.S. KPMG Advisory Managing Director.

Although supplier capacity and risk are high on the A&D agenda as second and third greatest supply chain challenges, the visibility remains low. Indeed, only 10 % of A&D competitors reported that they had complete visibility and 40 % admitted they only had limited visibility. “Indeed, we see this lack of visibility as one of the greatest risks facing A&D organizations today from a delivery standpoint and a clear limitation on their ability to drive true and sustainable cost savings from the supply chain.”

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6 octobre 2015 2 06 /10 /octobre /2015 16:35
Accord entre la Corée du Sud et l’Indonésie pour partager les coûts du projet KF-X

 

SEOUL, 06 oct. (Yonhap)

 

La Corée du Sud va signer ce mois-ci un accord avec l’Indonésie pour partager les coûts de fabrication des chasseurs de nouvelle génération sud-coréens, a indiqué ce mardi l’Administration du programme d’acquisition de défense (DAPA).

 

«Notre soumissionnaire privilégié et les autorités indonésiennes négocient de façon vigoureuse et un accord de principe devrait être signé durant le mois d’octobre», a indiqué la DAPA dans un communiqué.

 

Cet accord confirmera la participation de l’Indonésie au projet de construction d’avions de chasse sud-coréens, Korea Fighter eXperimental ou KF-X, qui remplaceront les vieillissants F-4 et F-5 à partir de 2025. Ces nouveaux avions possèderont des capacités furtives.

 

L’Indonésie devrait assumer 20% des coûts de développement et acquérir une cinquantaine d’avions.

 

L’accord à venir sera signé par les entreprises et le gouvernement indonésiens et Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), le soumissionnaire privilégié du projet.

 

«La DAPA et le ministère de la Défense indonésien coopèrent étroitement pour que le projet KF-X débute à temps et qu’il soit couronné de succès», selon la DAPA.

 

Le projet a récemment subi un revers lorsque les Etats-Unis ont refusé que Lockheed Martin exporte quatre technologies centrales au projet sud-coréen.

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5 octobre 2015 1 05 /10 /octobre /2015 07:35
Bangladesh Air Force received Yak-130 Aircraft from Russia

 

Oct 4, 2015 By Dylan Vosman - defence-blog.com

 

Russia has started the delivery process of the first batch of Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft (NATO reporting name Mitten) to Bangladesh, reports UNB. Though the delivery process, according to Russian News Agency—TASS, scheduled to start on September 17, sources at Shah Amanat International Airport on Sunday night said they have seen the landing of three Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft among the first batch of six.

 

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:20
Boeing might stop Manufacturing Fighter Planes

 

September 30, 2014 by: Udaynti Patel

 

With future-focused solutions, Boeing is the name reckoned for fixed wing aircraft, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, unmanned systems and weapons. Having built world-class military planes for almost a century, now the sad news is that the company is getting ready for a fighter-less future.

 

So far this year, the company is said to have delivered nine of its F-15 Eagle fighters, 31 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, along with EA-18G Growlers. By moving at a pace of manufacturing of four every month, the Super Hornet/Growler will provide a total of 47 airplanes in 2014. However, the F-15 has no monthly delivery program the company delivered two planes in January, April & June respectively and one in February, March & July and not any in the month of May or August.

Henceforth, the firm commitment of the U.S. along with many allies to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program formed by Lockheed Martin Corp. At this rate, Boeing is running out of funding for the fighters. At the present scenario, the head of the company’s defense unit is formulating a roadmap which would grant the market to Lockheed and shift the future of the business on other aircrafts, together with military versions of their commercial jetliners.

 

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:20
F-35C Lightning II Testing Aboard USS Eisenhower (CVN 69)

 

3 oct. 2015 by US Navy

 

An F-35C Lighting II makes an arrested landing aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) October 2, 2015, operating off the east coast of the US. The F-35 Lightning II Program is conducting its second developmental test (DT-II) at sea. While aboard Eisenhower from October 2-15, the Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) will test F-35C carrier suitability and integration in the at-sea environment. The test team will achieve this objective through a series of test events designed to gradually expand the aircraft operating envelope at sea. Shipboard testing delivers the opportunity to conduct routine F-35C operations while embarked on an aircraft carrier. The F-35C will perform a variety of operational maneuvers during DT-II — including catapult takeoffs and arrested landings — while simulating maintenance operations and conducting general maintenance and fit tests for the aircraft and support equipment.

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:20
F-35C Conducts First External Weapons Release with Not One, but Four 500-pound Bombs

CF-2 releases one of four 500-pound GBU-12 laser guided inert bombs from its wings’ pylons on Sept. 23, 2015, over the Atlantic Test Range. The test marked the first time an F-35 Lightning II conducted an external weapons separation release.

 

October 02, 2015 f35.com

 

For the fist time an F-35 released an external weapon from its wings, not once, but four times during an external weapons separation test on 23 September 2015.

 

The aircraft, CF-2, released four 500-pound GBU-12 laser guided inert bombs from its wings’ pylons during consecutive test runs over the Atlantic Test Range. The F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force conducted the flight and noted all four weapon separations were successful and confirmed the accuracy of the predicted release trajectory. The ability to do quadruple separation tests during a single flight demonstrates the program’s ability to efficiently test, and advances the F-35’s future capability to release multiple weapons on a single pass.

 

 

 

During the sortie, flight test engineers monitored and reviewed telemetry data from each GBU-12 separation event to confirm it was safe to proceed to the next release point. The team also saved costs by clearing the range once rather than four times to accomplish each separation.

 

Traditional flight test programs often rely upon a series of individual separation flights to accommodate engineering analysis to determine if it is safe to proceed to the next test point. The F-35 weapons certification process combined extensive wind tunnel testing and computer analysis to predict the trajectory of the weapons released from the aircraft. Additionally, the F-35 features an on-board instrumentation capability that delivers real-time data analysis to engineers in the control room. Each weapon separation matched simulation models with a high degree of fidelity, which expedites the clearances of future weapons and employment envelopes.

 

This year, the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force, has flown 500 flights and achieved 3,400 test points. The team’s five F-35B and four F-35C aircraft have supported a wide array of mission systems and flight tests.

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 13:55
Pourquoi le Mirage 2000 garde toute sa place dans l'armée de l'air

Le Mirage 2000 restera jusqu'en 2030 un avion de combat essentiel à l'armée de l'air française - photo Armée de l'Air

 

01/10/2015 Par Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

Le ministère de la Défense lance dès 2015 le programme de rénovation à mi-vie des Mirage 2000D. L'armée de l'air souhaite la modernisation de 55 Mirage 2000D pour remplir son contrat opérationnel.

 

C'est un sujet qui aurait pu fâcher. Le ministère de la Défense a d'ailleurs réduit la pression en annonçant le lancement du programme de rénovation des Mirage 2000D. Pour autant, le dossier n'est pas encore tout à fait tranché, notamment sur le périmètre de la rénovation. C'est l'un des sujets prioritaires de l'état-major des armées (EMA) et plus précisément de l'armée de l'air. C'était d'ailleurs un des projets qui tenait "à cœur" l'ancien chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air, le général Denis Mercier, comme il l'avait expliqué aux députés en mai dernier.

Le ministre de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian a pris en compte cette demande de l'armée de l'air. Il lance la réalisation de la rénovation à mi-vie du Mirage 2000D dès la fin 2015 pour de premières livraisons en 2019 (6 appareils?). En outre, le projet de loi du budget de la mission défense prévoit l'industrialisation du programme de rénovation du Mirage 2000D. Il "permettra de mettre en cohérence le potentiel de ces avions avec leur date de retrait de service prévue à l'horizon 2030, et selon le principe de différenciation, de préserver le potentiel opérationnel des Rafale", explique le ministère. A coût d'exploitation sensiblement inférieur, le Mirage 2000D rénové pourra remplir des missions pour lesquelles l'ensemble des capacités du Rafale ne sont pas requises.

 

Quelles rénovations?

Quel périmètre de rénovation? Ce dossier fait partie des sujets qui pourraient fâcher. L'armée de l'air ne veut pas d'une rénovation a minima tandis que la direction générale de l'armement et Dassault Aviation y seraient plutôt favorables. Ce que l'on sait aujourd'hui c'est que le rénovation à mi-vie des Mirage 2000D traitera, selon le ministère de la Défense, des obsolescences techniques et confèrera au Mirage 2000D la capacité de tir canon air-sol et la possibilité d'emporter des missiles air-air d'autoprotection Mica infrarouge. La simulation sera également mise à niveau.

A l'horizon 2025, les forces aériennes disposeront, pour tenir leur contrat opérationnel, d'un parc de 225 avions de chasse fixé par le format du livre blanc de de la défense comprenant des Rafale (air et marine), des Mirage 2000D rénovés et des M2000-5 prolongés. Fin 2019, la France devrait disposer d'un parc de 247 avions de combat, contre 320 appareils, dont 110 Rafale (35 marine), 160 Mirage 2000 de tout type, 25 Mirage F1 et 25 Super-Etendard Marine (SEM) fin 2013.

 

Pourquoi cette rénovation est importante?

"La rénovation des Mirage 2000D est cruciale pour continuer à garantir le respect des contrats opérationnels, alors que les spécialistes Rafale seront très sollicités par ailleurs", avait expliqué le 15 avril dernier à l'Assemblée nationale le général Denis Mercier. Et de marteler "ma cible, pour tenir dans la durée, est bien de 55 Mirage 2000D modernisés". D'une façon générale, la prolongation de Mirage 2000 supplémentaires (2000-5) permettra de faire face aux nouvelles sollicitations opérationnelles et aux perspectives d'export du Rafale. C'est pourquoi l'armée de l'air étudie l'utilisation optimale des flottes en cours de retrait pour respecter les objectifs des contrats opérationnels.

D'ailleurs l'armée de l'air "bricole" un peu dans un contexte opérationnel chargé. "Nous mettons en place des solutions palliatives, a expliqué le Général Mercier. Nous nous efforçons notamment de répartir la charge sur la totalité de l'armée de l'air pour tenir dans la durée. Par exemple, nous étudions l'utilisation de Mirage 2000C et 2000N en OPEX (opération extérieure, ndlr) afin d'alléger la charge des escadrons de Mirage 2000D. Nous ferons ainsi voler des patrouilles composées de Mirage 2000D - qui disposent d'un pod permettant de guider les bombes - et de Mirage 2000C ou 2000N - qui ne peuvent pas emporter de pod, mais peuvent larguer des bombes".

En outre,  le 26 mai à nouveau auditionné par la commission de la défense de l'Assemblée nationale, le général Mercier soulignait que pour le Mirage 2000D, "il n'y a plus vraiment de polyvalence : la modernisation est un traitement d'obsolescences, en plus de l'ajout d'un canon et de missiles Mica. De même, la mise au même standard de tous les avions est absolument essentielle. Moins de 30% de mes Mirage 2000D sont aujourd'hui capables de faire toutes les missions opérationnelles, car les autres n'ont pas tous les câblages nécessaires pour emporter tous les équipements nécessaires aux missions opérationnelles. Quand ces avions, engagés en Afrique et en Irak, rentrent en France, nous les utilisons pour redonner du potentiel aux autres. C'est une sur-maintenance difficile à imaginer".

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 07:50
EDA hosts SES/SESAR Military Implementation Forum

 

Brussels - 25 September, 2015 European Defence Agency

 

On 22 September, the European Defence Agency (EDA) hosted the 7th edition of the SES/SESAR Military Implementation Forum, bringing together the top management of the European Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Eurocontrol, the SESAR Joint Undertaking, the SESAR Deployment Manager, NATO and of the defence community. They addressed the following challenges: What is the foreseeable evolution of military aviation and airspace usage over the next two decades? How to accommodate the military vision in the aviation regulatory and operational environment? How are military interests taken into account in SESAR? 

 

Jorge Domecq, the Chief Executive of the EDA, underlined that SES/SESAR is one of his top priorities: “EDA’s role is twofold: first, bridging the military with the Commission and EASA; second, developing incentives and solutions to engage the military. Let me also insist on the close cooperation with NATO on this issue.” 

The following issues have been in particular highlighted during the discussion: on the regulatory part, EASA would actively interact with the military. Given there is a clear trend towards digitalisation and connectivity, cyber-security should be at the heart of the community's attention.  Through a total aviation approach, aviation related issues should be embraced in a systematic and consistent manner.

 

More information:

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 12:35
Warplanes: The J-31 Mystery Deepens

 

September 30, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Recently someone in China anonymously posted performance data for the new Chinese J-31 fighter. This was in the form of a sales brochure (for trade shows) that had not been distributed to the public. So far the manufacturer has been vague about J-31 performance data. This despite the fact that the J-31 has been showing up at Chinese weapons shows. But so far this promotion has been all about looking at the impressive appearance of the J-31, not crunching any numbers.

 

It gets more interesting when you realize that the recently posted data ascribes better engine performance than actual engines the Chinese have in service or access to. There were also descriptions of J-31 electronics that sounded more like a Chinese wish list than anything the Chinese have or are known to be developing. Many in the industry see this as some kind of desperate publicity stunt.  Efforts to sell the J-31 have not been very successful so far.

 

In late 2014 China quietly approached some potential customers about interest in buying its 18 ton J-31 stealth fighter. For export customers the J-31 would be called the FC-31 and it was understood that this version would not have all the best stuff the J-31 has. Pakistan expressed some interest, but then Pakistan is the largest export customer for Chinese weapons. Pakistan apparently thought it best to wait a bit because it was unclear how ready the J-31 was for active service. Since 2012 China has been testing the J-31 “Falcon Eagle” (from an inscription on the tail). While it looks like the American F-22, it’s also smaller than China’s other stealth fighter (the 35 ton J-20, which has been around longer). The J-31 was built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (which makes the J-11, the illegal Chinese copy of the Russian Su-27). The J-31 has some characteristics of the F-35 as well and appears to be something of an “F-35” to the earlier J-20s effort to match the American F-22. The J-31 flew for the first time in October 2012 and at that point there were at least two prototypes. The designer has talked of the J-31 being able to operate off an aircraft carrier (like the U.S. F-35 and the Chinese J-15, a J-11 variant).

 

One advantage the J-31 is that it has two engines, compared to one for the 31 ton F-35. In theory this means the J-31 could carry more weapons, but this is less crucial with all the guided weapons available. Moreover the J-31 is seen using Chinese engines, which are less powerful and reliable, even when two are used, compared to the single engine in the F-35C.

 

The J-31 is further evidence that China is determined to develop its own high tech military gear. While China is eager to develop advanced military technology locally, it recognizes that this takes time and more effort than nations new to this expect. Thus, China is trying to avoid the mistakes Russia made in this area. That means having competing designs and developing necessary supporting industries as part of that. All this takes a lot of time and involves lots of little (and some major) failures. The Chinese are doing it right and are willing to wait until they get military tech that is truly world class.

 

At this point the J-31 is scheduled to be ready for service in 2019 and have ground attack as well as air-to-air capabilities.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 07:50
Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft - photo USAF

Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft - photo USAF

 

September 26, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Bulgaria has hired a Polish firm to upgrade six of their MiG-29 fighters. Poland was selected because in 2014 Poland completed upgrades required to make their own MiG-29s compatible with NATO standards. This was necessary because Poland is now a member of NATO and could not afford to replace its MiG-29s with Western fighters. Poland has the largest fleet of MiG-29s in NATO (32 operational) and other East European nations that recently joined NATO are in a similar situation.

 

The Poles didn’t do it all themselves but figured out who the most effective partners would be. Thus a Polish firm worked with an Israeli company to make the MiG-29 electronics compatible with NATO equipment. Mechanical controls were replaced with electronic (“fly by wire”) ones. This involved a much more efficient cockpit and some amenities which make life much easier for pilots. All this gave the MiG-29 electronics similar to those in the 48 F-16s Poland has purchased.

 

The Bulgarian upgrades are less about new electronics and more about keeping the Bulgarian MiG-29s flyable. This being done despite protests from Russia who insist it is illegal for anyone but the Russian manufacturer to perform such upgrades and refurbishment. But the Russians want a lot more money for the work than Polish, or even Western European firms can do it for. Moreover the current Russian hostility towards NATO does not make Russia a reliable source of such services.

 

Bulgaria has to be careful with what it spends on military equipment because the country was never rich to begin with. After Bulgaria broke free from communist (and Russian dominated) government in 1989 it turned to the West for help. Reforms (and reducing the chronic corruption) took time. Thus it wasn’t until 2009 that Bulgaria was able to resume training new MiG-29 pilots. Such training had stopped, for budgetary reasons, in the late 1990s. Throughout the 1990s, and until 2004, Bulgaria was busy disbanding its Cold War era air force of 226 aircraft. By 2009 all they had left was 18 MiG-29s (which needed upgrades to meet NATO standards), some Su-25s (for ground attack), a few MiG-21s (on their way out), some Su-22s (used for reconnaissance) and a few dozen transports and helicopters. One by one, most air bases were shut down, and the Russian made aircraft (most of them obsolete) sold for scrap.

 

Western aircraft are being bought, but the MiG-29s are being kept because they are competitive with Western fighters. That is important because East European nations found that Western warplanes were too expensive. Meanwhile by 2009 the existing MiG-29 pilots were getting old and many of them had already left for more lucrative commercial flying job. Thus the need for another dozen MiG-29 pilots. That training was completed by 2010.

 

In late 2011 Bulgaria announced that it would postpone a decision on the purchase of a new multi-role jet fighter until at least 2012. Bulgaria originally committed itself to buying a NATO-type fighter as part of its alliance integration process. However, the economic recession cut into procurement funds and that situation never got better. Soon plans for buying Western warplanes was dropped as well. Then the Poles showed it was possible to upgrade MiG-29s on an East European budget.

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20 septembre 2015 7 20 /09 /septembre /2015 16:20
MQ-9 Reaper-ER photo General Atomics

MQ-9 Reaper-ER photo General Atomics

 

20.09.2015 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense
 

Le 15 septembre, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a annoncé le premier déploiement opérationnel de son Reaper Extended Range (Reaper ER). Un appareil qui peut rester en vol pendant 33 heures au lieu des 27 heures actuelles.

L'USAF avait exprimé en 2013 le besoin de drones armés ou de surveillance aux capacités accrues. 38 appareils doivent être modifiés

Selon General Atomics (lire ici), le kit comprend deux bidons sous les ailes et une nouvelle hélice à quatre pales. Les capacités d'emport (armement et équipement ISR) restent inchangées. 

Selon Defense Updates, GA-ASI cherche aussi à améliorer les performances des appareils dédiés à l'ISR dont l'autonomie pourrait être portée à 42 heures, en remplaçant les ailes actuelles de 20m par des ailes de 24m.

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17 septembre 2015 4 17 /09 /septembre /2015 16:50
EOTS Electro-Optical Targeting System - photo Lockheed Martin

EOTS Electro-Optical Targeting System - photo Lockheed Martin

 

Sept 16, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Selex ES; issued Sept 15, 2015)

 

Finmeccanica – Selex ES has been awarded a contract by prime contractor Lockheed Martin to supply 165 advanced targeting lasers for the F-35 Lightning II’s Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). The contract forms part of the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) programme phase.

 

The laser, integrated into the EOTS, allows fighter aircraft crews to perform precision ranging and targeting functions. The award follows on from existing orders for lasers for the F-35 programme.

 

Selex ES has developed a strong relationship with Lockheed Martin, successfully delivering tactical lasers on the F-35 EOTS, the Apache helicopter’s targeting and pilotage system, M-TADS/PNVS, and the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod.

 

This latest order for the F-35 EOTS programme is critical to sustaining and strengthening this relationship going forward and further expands Selex ES’s highly successful lasers business in Edinburgh.

 

Selex ES is also working closely with Lockheed Martin to meet the aggressive cost reduction challenges of the F-35 programme, whilst at the same time enhancing the laser product. F-35 production is expected to ramp to full rate in 2018 with deliveries forecasted for the next 30 years of more than 3,000 aircraft.

 

The Selex ES laser business has been hugely successful in exporting the products generated by the company’s world-class laser development and manufacturing capabilities. In addition to a number of contracts with US prime contractors, advanced ground-based laser systems were also sold to customers in Europe and the Middle East in 2014.

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17 septembre 2015 4 17 /09 /septembre /2015 16:50
The RAF's seventh A400M. Photo UK MoD

The RAF's seventh A400M. Photo UK MoD

 

16 September 2015 airforce-technology.com

 

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has received the seventh A400M aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space, strengthening its transport fleet capability to carry out extended world-wide tasks.

 

Currently, the RAF is operating four A400M aircraft from Brize Norton, while three others are being fitted with UK-specific systems required to operate in hostile environments.

 

UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: "This significant milestone marks an important achievement for all those who have been involved in the UK's A400M Atlas programme, from the MoD and the RAF through to our industry partners.

 

"Those flying the aircraft are hugely impressed with its capability, and with a protected Defence budget and our investment of £160bn in equipment, we look forward to growing the UK A400M Force over the coming months."

 

The A400M is a multi-national military transport aircraft designed to serve as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities. It is powered by four EuroProp TP400-D6 turboprop engines.

 

Powered by four EuroProp TP400-D6 turboprop engines, the A400M will have a lifting capacity of up to 30t, and can also be configured to conduct long-range cargo and troop transport, medical evacuation, aerial refuelling and electronic surveillance missions.

 

Moreover, the aircraft will be able to operate both at low and high-level altitudes and to deploy troops and equipment between and within theatres of operation using either parachute or landing on short, unprepared or semi-prepared strips.

 

UK MoD Chief of Materiel (Air), Air Marshal Simon Bollom said: "The fleet now has the core capabilities required to train the instructors and crews, and to undertake logistics missions.

 

"As the fleet continues to build, more advanced military capabilities will be introduced as planned over the coming months including aerial delivery of stores, parachuting and advanced self-protection capabilities."

 

The new aircraft are scheduled to replace RAF's decommissioned fleet of C1/C3 (C-130K) Hercules transport aircraft in 2020.

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17 septembre 2015 4 17 /09 /septembre /2015 16:20
A Boeing KC-46A tanker aircraft depicted in aerial refueling. Photo Boeing

A Boeing KC-46A tanker aircraft depicted in aerial refueling. Photo Boeing


 

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., Sept. 16 (UPI)

 

As the budget deadline for fiscal year 2016 quickly approaches for U.S. lawmakers, the Pentagon reports operations under a continuing resolution may force the Air Force to end its contract with Boeing for the KC-46 tanker.

Under the current contract, Boeing supplements the cost for engineering and manufacturing for the tanker program, capped by the Air Force at $4.9 billion. Thus far, technical issues over the past 18 months have had Boeing paying $1.2 billion in tax overages. Should a continuing resolution continue, further services will require a waiver from Congress.

Top U.S. military officials have expressed concern over the potential end of the KC-46 contract.

 

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 16:35
S-3 Viking anti-submarine warfare aircraft

S-3 Viking anti-submarine warfare aircraft

 

16.09.2015 by By Franz-Stefan Gady Pacific Sentinel

 

Seoul is moving ahead with plans to purchase refurbished Viking S-3 planes.

 

South Korea’s Navy will procure 12 Lockheed Martin S-3 Viking anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft with the option of eight more from the United States to counter threats from North Korea Yonhap news agency reports.

 

The article notes that a military program review group approved the purchase in August, which will now have to be evaluated by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration. Final approval will be up to South Korea’s national defense system committee. According to an unnamed South Korean defense official, “using the planes can give the country the ability to deal more effectively with underwater threats.”

 

The United States retired its fleet of S-3 Vikings in 2009 and purportedly offered its surplus S-3 aircraft to South Korea and other allies thereafter. Between 1971 and 178, a total of 187 S-3As were built. In the 1980s a much-improved S-3B version of the aircraft entered service specifically designed to counter quieter Soviet submarines. There are currently 91 S-3B models in storage out of which 87 could be refitted for active duty, according to the Defense Industry Daily.

 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 11:35
 PLA upgrades ELINT capability with Y-9JB reconnaissance plane

 

14.09.2015 Pacific Sentinel
 

The People's Liberation Army's new electronic intelligence (ELINT) gathering aircraft, the Y-9JB, is a major upgrade on its predecessors and reflects the emphasis China is placing on electronic reconnaissance capabilities, says the Beijing-based Sina Military Network.

 

The Y-9JB, also known as the GX-8 — which literally means the "High New 8" — is the ELINT variant of the Shaanxi Y-9 mid-sized transport aircraft. It is said to possess significant advancements over China's first-generation electronic reconnaissance planes, the Y-8DZ or GX-2 and the Y-8G or GX-3.

 

According to the report, China has been developing electronic warfare aircraft for decades with the aim of improving the PLA's ability to gather and analyze operational and tactical electronic intelligence, and therefore its strategic decision-making.

 

Read the full story at Want China Times

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 11:20
KC-46 Refueling Tanker to Make First Flight This Month

 

September 15, 2015 by Bryant Jordan - defensetech.org

 

The U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46A aerial refueling tanker made by Boeing Co. is scheduled to make its first flight on Sept. 25, a general said.

 

The date was announced Tuesday by Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson during the Air & Space Conference near Washington, D.C. The milestone for the eventual successor to the KC-135 and KC-10 was initially planned for the spring.

 

“Once that first flight occurs we’ll go into initial air worthiness,” he said. That means the second flight will begin testing the boom, hose and drogue systems, he said.

 

Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers with the Air Force Material Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, said the subsequent flights will involve a variety of aircraft flying with the KC-46 and culminate with actual refueling flights in January.

 

Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the recent cost overrun on the aircraft, known as the Pegasus and based on the 767 twin-engine commercial airliner, is “deeply unfortunate” and that he’s concerned about delays to the program.

 

McCain said he detailed the concerns in a recent letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. He and Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, sent a similar letter over issues with the Air Force’s new bomber program.

 

“While the recently announced cost overrun on the Air Force’s KC-46A tanker is deeply unfortunate, it is encouraging that the contractor, and not the taxpayer, will bear this expense,” McCain said.

 

“That said, the resulting delays to the program’s internal deadlines for completing key qualification and planned ground and flight testing activities are indicative of a program at risk of not meeting its planned delivery milestones,” he said.

 

Boeing plans to deliver the first 18 KC-46As to the Air Force by August 2017. The service estimates it will spend $49 billion to develop and build 149 of the planes to replace its aging fleet of KC-135s, according to Pentagon budget documents. Boeing forecasts an $80 billion global market for the new tankers, according to Trading Alpha.

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 07:50
photo BAE Systems

photo BAE Systems

 

15 Sep 2015 By Vin Shahrestani, and agencies

 

A new state-of-the-art fighter pilot helmet by BAE Systems is able to to see in the dark, as well as to 'see through' the aircraft

 

BAE Systems has unveiled the Striker II, its most advanced fighter pilot helmet which removes the need for external night-vision goggles. The helmet has a fully integrated digital night vision and can also track the pilot's head movement, a feature that allows the aircraft computer system to work in sync with its human operator.

 

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 07:40
India Plans Joint Su-30 Aircraft Modernization with Russia

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- An Indian Air Force SU-30K jet touches down at Mountain Home Air Force Base, along with seven others, to train with Airmen here July 17. This is the first time in history the Indian Air Force has been on American soil to train with US fighters. They will be taking advantage of Mountain Home's vast air space and multiple ranges to better prepare their aircrews for future flying missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Ryan Crane) (Released by Staff Sgt. Brian Stives, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office)

 

September 14, 2015 By Sputnik

 

MOSCOW: India has expressed interest in carrying out a joint project to extensively modernize its SU-30MKI aircraft in collaboration with Russian companies, the Russian state technology corporation Rostec said in a statement Friday.

 

“In the long term, as recommended by the Russian Ministry of Defense, we plan a major upgrade of the SU-30SM [model] to increase its combat effectiveness. The Indian government has expressed interest in collaborating to modernize the SU-30MKI, which is an evolution of the SU-30SM,” the statement reads.

 

According to the statement, both aircraft models will be given upgraded avionics and radars, as well as an improved engine. The SU-30SM and the SU-30MKI will also be equipped with additional weapons.

 

The SU-30 MKI, NATO reporting name Flanker-H, is the Indian Air Force’s elite fighter-bomber. It was developed by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation and built under license by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics.

 

Russia and India have been close partners in military and technical cooperation for decades. In 2014, the total value of weapons and military hardware delivered by Russia to India reached $4.7 billion, according to Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation estimates.

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 07:35
source Alert5 blog

source Alert5 blog

 

Sept 14, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Alert5 blog; posted Sept 13, 2015)

 

The Shenyang J-11BS fighter made its first public flying demonstration during the Air Force public day in Changchun, Jiling province on Sept. 11. The J-11BS is the two-seat indigenous copy of the Su-27. The aircraft is powered by the WS-10 engine.

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15 septembre 2015 2 15 /09 /septembre /2015 16:50
First Test Flight of the L-39NG Trainer photo Aero Vodochody

First Test Flight of the L-39NG Trainer photo Aero Vodochody

 

2015/09/15 AIRheads/EH

 

In the Czech Republic, the Aero Vodochody L-39NG performed its first flight on Monday 14 September. The flight was successful, the company said. The aircraft will serve to validate the installation of the new Williams International FJ44-4M engine and avionics in the L-39NG project.

 

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First Test Flight of the L-39NG Trainer photo Aero Vodochody

First Test Flight of the L-39NG Trainer photo Aero Vodochody

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15 septembre 2015 2 15 /09 /septembre /2015 12:50
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD

 

15 September 2015 Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment and Support and Philip Dunne MP

 

The Royal Air Force’s transport fleet has reached a key milestone with the delivery of the latest Atlas aircraft to RAF Brize Norton.

 

The handover of the seventh A400M aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space means the £2.75 billion programme for 22 aircraft has achieved its In-Service Date (ISD), a declaration of the fleet’s capability to undertake extended world-wide tasks.

 

Four of the aircraft are now operating from Brize Norton while three others are being fitted with UK-specific systems required to operate in hostile environments, ahead of the next operational capability milestone which is due next year.

 

Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:

    This significant milestone marks an important achievement for all those who have been involved in the UK’s A400M Atlas programme, from the MOD and the RAF through to our industry partners.

    Those flying the aircraft are hugely impressed with its capability, and with a protected Defence budget and our investment of £160 billion in equipment, we look forward to growing the UK A400M Force over the coming months.

 

Since taking delivery of its first A400M Atlas in November, named ‘City of Bristol’, the aircraft has undertaken a range of training and operational sorties around the world to test its capability and to build up the first cadre of A400M aircrew.

 

RAF transport aircraft ready for worldwide operations

The aircraft, which will gradually replace the C130 Hercules, is capable of operating either at low or high-level altitudes and to deploy troops and/or equipment between and within theatres of operation, either by parachute or by landing on short, unprepared or semi-prepared strips.

 

The MOD’s Chief of Materiel (Air), Air Marshal Simon Bollom said:

    The achievement of the A400M In Service Date is a key milestone for the Royal Air Force and is testament to the outstanding work of the DE&S Project Team working closely with the RAF and industry. The fleet now has the core capabilities required to train the instructors and crews, and to undertake logistics missions.

    As the fleet continues to build, more advanced military capabilities will be introduced as planned over the coming months including aerial delivery of stores, parachuting and advanced self-protection capabilities.

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15 septembre 2015 2 15 /09 /septembre /2015 12:20
B-2 Spirit of Ohio lifts off from U.S. Air Force Plant 42 for one of its final pre-delivery flight tests.- photo LM

B-2 Spirit of Ohio lifts off from U.S. Air Force Plant 42 for one of its final pre-delivery flight tests.- photo LM

 

PALMDALE, Calif., Sept. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

 

The U.S. Air Force expects to increase the number of B-2 stealth bombers available for combat by one full jet and reduce fleet sustainment costs significantly under a new maintenance agreement worked out with B-2 prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC).

 

Under the contract modification signed in April, Northrop Grumman will give each B-2 a major, end-to-end overhaul – a process called programmed depot maintenance (PDM) – once every nine years. Each jet currently undergoes PDM once every seven years. The PDM process, which includes a complete restoration of the jet's exterior surfaces, is performed at the company's Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Palmdale.

 

"This new approach to B-2 maintenance is a win-win for the Air Force and the nation," said Brig. Gen Eric Fick, Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Bombers within the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio. "It will enhance the jet's readiness to conduct global security missions, and is expected to save taxpayers about $900 million in maintenance costs over the life of the fleet."

 

"The nine-year PDM cycle is part of an aggressive on-going effort by Northrop Grumman and the Air Force to increase bomber availability," said Pat McMahon, sector vice president and general manager for military aircraft systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Our experienced work force has critically reviewed every PDM material and process for potential improvements. As a result, we've been able to reduce the length of the PDM process, and increase the time between PDM periods."

 

Bolstered by the adoption of USAF best practices used by other Northrop Grumman programs, the new nine-year overhaul cycle will reduce the average length of B-2 PDM to 365 days, down from more than 400 days in previous years. Under the new rhythm, Northrop Grumman will induct a B-2 into PDM approximately once every six months.

 

"Our delivery of the B-2 Spirit of Ohio back to the Air Force in August marked the last time we expect to have more than two jets in PDM at any one time," said McMahon. "Fewer jets undergoing PDM in Palmdale will keep more B-2s ready to serve the nation's security needs."

 

The B-2 is the only long-range, large-payload U.S. military aircraft that can penetrate deeply into denied access enemy air space. It can fly 6,000 nautical miles unrefueled and more than 10,000 nautical miles with just one aerial refueling, giving it the ability to reach any point on the globe within hours and hold at risk an enemy's most heavily defended targets.

 

The latest B-2 product news and information from Northrop Grumman is available at http://www.northropgrumman.com/B-2.

 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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15 septembre 2015 2 15 /09 /septembre /2015 12:20
photo USMC

photo USMC

 

September 14, 2015 by Mandy Smithberger & Dan Grazier - warisboring.com

 

Recent 'operational test' aboard USS 'Wasp' was no such thing

 

The Marine Corps triumphantly declared its variant of the F-35 combat ready in late July. In the public relations build-up, the recent demonstration of its performance on the USS Wasp was heralded as a rebuttal to the program’s critics.

But a complete copy of a recent memo from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) — obtained by the Project On Government Oversight through the Freedom of Information Act — reveals that a number of maintenance and reliability problems “are likely to present significant near-term challenges for the Marine Corps.”

The Marine Corps named this demonstration “Operational Test One,” but it turns out it wasn’t actually an operational test, “in either a formal or an informal sense of the term.” To count as an operational test, conditions should closely match realistic combat conditions.

But DOT&E found the demonstration “did not — and could not — demonstrate that Block 2B F-35B is operationally effective or suitable for use in any type of limited combat operation, or that it was ready for real-world operational deployments, given the way the event was structured.”

 

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