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19 septembre 2013 4 19 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Nouvelle étape validée pour le Gripen suisse

18.09.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com


Le Conseil des États - organe de représentation des cantons, chambre haute du Parlement - a approuvé ce matin le déblocage des 3,126 milliards de francs suisses (2,5 milliards d’euros) nécessaires à l’acquisition des 22 Gripen E commandés à Saab. Le vote final des sénateurs donnait 27 voix pour et 17 contre.


Mercredi dernier, le 11 septembre, c’est le Conseil national qui avait approuvé le projet d’achat.


La prochaine étape aura lieu le 27 septembre prochain, lors du vote final, qui lancera le processus d’acquisition des chasseurs du constructeur suédois.


Seule ombre au tableau, la probable tenue d’un référendum populaire en mai 2014, qui ne portera pas sur l’acquisition des avions, mais plutôt sur le mécanisme de financement.


Les 22 Gripen de Saab remplaceront à terme la flotte de F-5 Tiger. Les premières livraisons devraient avoir lieu à partir de 2018.

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19 septembre 2013 4 19 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Boeing To End C-17 Production In 2015

A C-17 Globemaster III ascends over Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., in July as Mount Rainier towers in the distance. Boeing announced it would end production of its C-17 in 2015. (Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin / US Air Force)


Sep. 18, 2013 – Defense news


NEW YORK — Boeing announced Wednesday it would end production of its C-17 military transport aircraft in 2015, citing a difficult environment amid government spending cuts.


Boeing said it would close the C-17 final assembly plant in Long Beach, Calif., in 2015, after completing the 22 aircraft remaining to be built.


Nearly 3,000 employees will lose their jobs, including those at the Long Beach plant and in three other states: Arizona, Georgia and Missouri.


The workforce reductions will begin in early 2014 and continue through the shutdown, the Chicago-based company said in a statement.


“Ending C-17 production was a very difficult but necessary decision,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.


“Our customers around the world face very tough budget environments. While the desire for the C-17’s capabilities is high, budgets cannot support additional purchases in the timing required to keep the production line open,” he said.


Muilenburg noted that severe US government spending cuts, known as sequestration, had created significant planning difficulties for Boeing’s customers and the entire aerospace industry.


“Such uncertainty forces difficult decisions like this C-17 line closure,” he added.


The end of the Boeing airlifter program was expected to have a ripple effect on jobs throughout most of the country, a further blow to the lackluster economy where the unemployment rate is 7.3 percent and job growth is weak.


Boeing said the C-17 industrial team includes more than 650 suppliers in 44 states and, including Boeing, supports 20,000 jobs.


The C-17’s main rival is the A400M, made by European aircraft maker Airbus.


Boeing said it planned to take a charge of less than $100 million in the current quarter for the closure, but noted the decision would not affect its financial forecast for the year.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 17:45
C-17 Globemaster III at Singapore Airshow - photo Boeing

C-17 Globemaster III at Singapore Airshow - photo Boeing

18 September 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Boeing officials have confirmed that the Algerian air force is interested in acquiring transport and tanker aircraft, with a request for proposals (RFP) possible in the coming months. Earlier this year Algeria evaluated the C-17 and A330 MRTT but the country is also interested in surveillance and rotary wing aircraft.


Algeria in April this year undertook trials of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter and the following month evaluated the Airbus Military A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Transport Tanker). Paul Oliver, Vice President - Middle East and Africa, International Business Development at Boeing Defence, Space and Security told defenceWeb that Algeria is also interested in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets and has asked Boeing about its ScanEagle small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform.


While Algeria has not specified how many C-17s it would like to acquire, Oliver estimated the number at four to six aircraft. He said that for the Algerian demonstration earlier this year, Boeing leased a US military aircraft and flew it at several different locations over a few days, covering most of the aircraft’s flight envelope.


Unofficial sources say a C-17 from the US Air Force’s 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Air Force Base in Washington was seen at the Tamanrasset test centre on April 22.


Boeing confirms Algerian interest in tankers, transports

Algeria evaluated a Royal Air Force Airbus Military A330 MRTT in May and is reportedly interested in acquiring around three to replace its Ilyushin Il-78 Midas tankers. The timeline for their replacement is not clear – when Oliver told the Algerians that the Boeing KC-46 tanker would only be available for demonstrations in 2018, he said they were happy with that date.


No RFPs have yet been forthcoming from Algeria, but Oliver said he was confident that they would be issued either later this year or early next year. He added that Algeria is seen as a key market for the company.


Dennis Muilenberg, President and CEO of Boeing Defence, Space and Security agreed that Algeria is a key future market place for Boeing. He said the Algerians expressed interest in mobility as they are looking for aircraft to move cargo and provide humanitarian assistance. Consequently, Boeing sees opportunities in products like the C-17 and rotorcraft, such as the CH-47 Chinook. At the moment Boeing is trying to understand Algeria’s needs and infrastructure and is at the initial discussions stage.


Guy Martin is in the United States as a guest of Boeing.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:35
Indian DAC approves acquisition of additional six C-130J aircraft

Indian Air Force's C-130J Super Hercules aircraft stationed at Hindon Airbase, near Delhi, India. Photo Hemant.rawat1234.


18 September 2013 airforce-technology.com


The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the national Air Force's procurement of six additional C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at a cost of INR40bn ($635m) from the US, an unnamed defence source have revealed.


Quoted by Press Trust of India, the source said that the aircraft will be acquired through the foreign military sales (FMS) route between the Indian and US governments.


Meanwhile, the deal will now be transferred to the Cabinet Committee on Security for the final approval, the sources added, noting that the new aircraft will be based at Panagarh in West Bengal.


Panagarh serves as headquarters of the Indian Army's newly created Mountain Strike Corps for operations along the India-China border, according to the news agency.


An undisclosed senior defence ministry official was quoted by NDTV as saying: "With its ability to land almost anywhere, the additional C-130J will give the Mountain Strike Corps ability to move around troops and rush reinforcements along the front at a very short notice."


The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently operates six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were acquired under a $1.2bn FMS deal from US in early 2008, from Hindon Airbase, near Delhi, for special operations.


Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the C-130J Super Hercules is designed for airborne assault, search-and-rescue (SAR), scientific research support, weather reconnaissance and aerial refuelling, as well as maritime patrol and aerial fire fighting missions.


Fitted with a glass cockpit, digital avionics and a new propulsion system with a six-bladed propeller, the aircraft is a longer fuselage or stretched combat delivery variant of legacy C-130 Hercules, and can accommodate a payload of up to 20t and over 90 passengers.


The aircraft is operational with air forces in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, the UK and the US.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:35
Australian A330 MRTT simulator gets Level D certification

Sept. 18, 2013 by Greg Waldron – FG


Singapore - The Royal Australian Air Force’s full flight simulator for the Airbus Military Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has been granted Level D certification.


This is the first MRTT simulator in the world to receive the certification, says CAE, which produced the equipment. The certification was awarded by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.


Based on the A330-200 airliner, the MRTT is designated the KC-30A in Australian service. The simulator is located at RAAF Amberley.


"Aerial refuelling is a complex, challenging and sometimes dangerous operation so we need the highest fidelity training systems to prepare our aircrews for mission success," says Ewan Ward, project director, Project Air 5402 - air to air refuelling, Defence Materiel Organisation.


"Our new KC-30A full mission simulator combined with the full suite of KC-30A training devices will play a key role in cost-effectively training our tanker aircrews to accomplish a range of refuelling missions."


Australia operates five KC-30A aircraft.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
The F-35 programme starts to turn the corner

Sept. 18, 2013 by Dave Majumdar – FG


Washington DC - Things are starting to look up for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, says the top Pentagon official overseeing the programme.


If the trend holds up, by 2019, the F-35 programme will deliver a “fifth-generation aircraft at fourth-generation prices,” says US Air Force Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan, the F-35 programme executive officer.


While acquisition costs have to be held in check, the aircraft’s sustainment costs will also have to be affordable. The JSF programme is doing everything it can to drive cost down for the F-35, Bogdan says. Sustainment costs over the lifetime of the programme have dropped from a 2010 projection of $1.1 trillion to a current projection of $857 billion. The new cost figures are based on more real world data from F-35 operations and more operationally representative assumptions about the use of the aircraft.


As foreign customers start buying the F-35, the programme office is working to develop unique sustainment cost models for each individual nation for their particular set of circumstances, Bogdan says.


However, one area that still needs work is repair and maintenance costs, “which is not where it needs to be,” Bodgan says. The reliability of some components has sometimes not lived up to expectations — one example cited by Bodgan: the tyres for the F-35B.


Other aspects which have been problematic on the F-35 programme, are well on their way to being fixed or have already been fixed, Bogdan says. A redesigned tail hook for the naval F-35C will be tested in late October or early November. Sea trials for that variant will be held next year.


Meanwhile, the aircraft’s fuel dump system has been more or less fixed, Bogdan says. It is “not perfect”, he says, but the system works.


Similarly, the aircraft’s troublesome helmet is making progress. However, Bogdan says that both the original Vision Systems International helmet and the BAE developed alternative will continue to be developed until it culminates in a competitive fly-off.


Software is still the single biggest concern for the F-35 programme, Bodgan says. However, Lockheed officials express their firm belief that they will deliver the remaining software on time.


On the financial side, the F-35 has survived the Congressional sequestration law intact. The programme was expected to lose a number of tails in fiscal year 2013, but Bodgan says the programme was able to “buy back” those aircraft because of reduced prices.


The reduced cost can be partly attributed to a much-improved relationship between the contractor and the government.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
USAF: Boeing KC-46 Tanker on Track

The Boeing KC-46 tanker is expected to meet its cost and schedule obligations, a U.S. Air Force general said. (Boeing illustration)


Sep. 17, 2013 - By MARCUS WEISGERBER – Defense News


WASHINGTON — Boeing should be able to meet the cost and schedule terms of the US Air Force’s KC-46 aerial tanker program, the general in charge of the much-watched effort said.


“Right now, based on this year’s government schedule risk assessment, it looks like with greater than a 90 percent probability the Boeing team will deliver the 18 tankers by 2017 as laid out in the contract,” Maj. Gen. John Thompson, Air Force program executive officer for tankers, said during a Tuesday briefing at the Air Force Association’s annual convention.


Boeing has met most of its contractual requirements early and is about 40 percent finished with the tanker’s development program, Thompson said.


The Air Force selected the Boeing 767-based tanker over an EADS A330 rival in February 2011. The contract for 179 of the aircraft is valued at $35 billion.


Low-rate initial production is scheduled to begin in 2015. Production is scheduled to ramp up to 15 tankers per year in 2017 and is expected to run though 2017, Thompson said.


“[The] bottom line from the operational assessment that was published in May is that from an effectivity, suitability and mission-accomplishment standpoint, the KC-46 is on track,” Thompson said.


Unlike many Pentagon procurement programs, the KC-46 program has remained on track despite sequestration cuts.


“From a funding perspective as the No. 1 modernization program in the United States Air Force, the people in the Department of Defense, the people in the Department of the Air Force [and] the people over on the Hill that gave us the flexibilities that we needed, took care of us,” Thompson said.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 11:30
L-3 Wins Iraqi F-16 Training Hardware

September 17, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: L-3 Link; issued Sept. 16, 2013)


L-3 Link Simulation & Training Awarded Contract Modification on F-16 Iraq Training Program


ARLINGTON, Texas --- L-3 Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) announced today that it has been awarded a contract modification from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to build the Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) two F-16 Block 52 Weapon Tactics Trainers (WTTs), two brief/debrief systems and one mission observation center.


This contract modification follows L-3 Link’s November 2012 award to build two F-16 Block 52 Full Mission Trainers (FMTs) for the IqAF.


Plans currently call for the first F-16 Block 52 FMT to become ready-for-training during the first quarter of 2015. The remaining training devices, brief/debrief systems and mission observation center are scheduled to achieve ready-for-training milestones during the fourth quarter of 2015. All of the training devices and support systems will be installed at Balad Air Base in northern Iraq.


“L-3 Link looks forward to providing a comprehensive training system that will enable Iraqi F-16 pilots to enhance their tactical skills over a full range of mission areas,” said Lenny Genna, president of L-3 Link. “The high-fidelity F-16 Block 52 Full Mission Trainers, for instance, will allow pilots to gain training credit equivalent to live training while conducting either new or advanced skills training.”


Each F-16 Block 52 WTT combines a tactically relevant physical cockpit with a single out-the-window visual display monitor. The WTTs use the same high-fidelity computational system, software and models that are integrated on the FMTs. As a result, the WTTs can be networked to the FMTs to support four-ship tactical team training.


The F-16 Block 52 FMTs currently being built will enable pilots to conduct simulated air-to-air and air-to-ground combat exercises. During training exercises, Iraqi F-16 pilots will wear L-3 Link’s simulated joint helmet-mounted cueing system to control sensors and weapons through visual cueing. The FMTs’ visual system solution will enable pilots to acquire and identify targets, as well as accurately deliver a wide range of ordnance over a 360-degree field-of-regard. Pilots will be able to practice takeoffs and landings, aerial in-flight refueling, low-level flight and emergency procedures. All training exercises, which will occur within a virtual, geo-specific database, can be conducted in a variety of simulated weather conditions.



L-3 Link Simulation & Training is a world leader in providing total training solutions for operators and maintainers across a wide range of military and civil aircraft platforms. L-3 Link’s innovative solutions provide a full spectrum of state-of-the-art training technologies, including high-fidelity immersive simulations, as well as distributed academic and interactive courseware. The company has delivered military and civil training systems to customer locations throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim. L-3 Link is headquartered in Arlington, Texas, with key bases of operation in Binghamton, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Broken Arrow, Okla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Crawley, U.K.


Headquartered in New York City, L-3 employs approximately 51,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in C3ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems, platform and logistics solutions, and national security solutions. L-3 is also a leading provider of a broad range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms. The company reported 2012 sales of $13.1 billion.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 07:35
Bangladesh Air Force on procurement drive

Sept.14, 2013  Bangladesh Defence Procurement


The Bangladesh Air Force received 8 more F-7BG1 from China last Sunday to make a full squadron of 16 fighter aircraft in the unit.


The F-7BG1 is the newest version of the F-7 series of fighter aircraft and boasts improved multi-role capabilities including launching of precision guided munitions and new generation Chinese air-to-air missiles. Each F-7BG1 cost $9.8 million according to bdmilitary.com sources in the Bangladesh Air Force.


The present government has procured 16 F-7BG1/FT-7BG1  multi-role fighter aircraft, one YLC-6C 3D radar and one JH-16 s-band AESA air defence radar from China. In addition 3 Mi-171Sh combat support and transport helicopters were also procured in the same period to strengthen the Bangladesh Air Force.


The Bangladesh Air Force is also set to receive 4 additional refurbished C-130Es from the United States of America under a $180 million purchase deal.


During the filing of this report the Bangladesh Air Force is in negotiation with Russian Rosoboronexport for the acquisition of 12 multi-role combat aircraft, 12 advanced jet trainers, two armed maritime patrol aircraft and nine other jet training aircraft under a $1.5 billion dollar state export credit facility provided by the Russian government to boost the Bangladesh Air Force’s capabilities.


The Bangladesh Air Force is rejuvenating its aircraft inventory after years of neglect. Ground based air defence will also be improved with the introduction of Russian and Chinese anti-aircraft missile systems, radar and air defence command and control centres.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 18:50
JSF Jet Fighter Purchase Gets Green Light After 18 Years: Telegraaf

Sept. 17, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Dutch News; published Sept. 17, 2013)


The Netherlands will go ahead with the purchase of the controversial JSF jet fighter, despite objections, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday. The decision brings to an end 18 years of political dithering about the wisdom of spending so much money on an aircraft when the defence ministry is struggling to find €1.33bn in cuts, the paper says.


The Netherlands will buy 37 JSF jets which will keep the cost within the €4.5bn special budget set aside for the purpose. They will cost an additional €270m a year to keep in the air, the Telegraaf reports, quoting sources in The Hague.




Defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert will confirm the buy when she unveils her vision for the future of the armed forces later on Tuesday, the paper says. Because of the careful budgeting, it is possible the Netherlands will buy more JSFs at a later stage, the Telegraaf said.


The JSF will gradually replace the aging F-16 fleet between 2019 and 2023. Earlier this month, sources said the Labour party, which had opposed the purchase of the JSF, was now in favour of the plan, clearing the way for cabinet approval. One Dutch jet is currently undergoing test flights and a second test aircraft is due to be delivered this year.


The issue has divided parliament for years, because of the high cost of the new American-built aircraft. There has also been criticism in the US over the mounting costs and delays.




A report by the Clingendael foreign policy institute earlier this year said an armed forces which includes the controversial JSF jet fighter is the least attractive scenario for the future of the Dutch military.


Clingendael says the JSF will only be needed if the Netherlands wants to take part in the opening phase of military interventions. The Netherlands rarely takes an active role.


But the high cost of the JSF will lead to ‘serious limitations’ to the country’s maritime operations – such as the role the Netherlands currently plays in protecting commercial shipping against pirates.



(EDITOR’S NOTE: If the Dutch budget of €4.5 billion will buy 37 aircraft, the average unit price works out to €121.6 million (approx. $158 million) per aircraft.

On the basis of annual operating costs of €270 million, the total operating cost of the fleet over 30 years works out to €8.1 billion, plus 30 years’ worth of inflation.

Of course, the Telegraaf story did not mention how any flight hours are included in the operating costs, so a more detailed analysis of the Netherlands’ cost estimates will have to wait for the defense minister’s official announcement.

It should be noted that the Netherlands originally planned to buy 85 F-35s.)

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 18:50
Upgrade to Self-Protection System Keeps AWACS Safe

Sept. 17, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Sept. 16, 2013)


MANCHING, Germany --- On a cool and cloudy morning, personnel from NAPMA, Force Command and the E-3A Component landed in Manching, Germany, for a ceremony in commemoration of the completion of the NATO E-3A Large Aircraft Infra-Red Counter Measures (LAIRCM) Retrofit Program.


The LAIRCM project to install a Northrop Grumman countermeasure system on the NATO E-3A AWACS started more than six years ago to upgrade the aircraft’s self-protection system. With the last E-3A retrofitted with LAIRCM, the component’s entire fleet is now standardized to defend itself against man-portable air defense weapons such as stingers.


The June 5 ceremony started with speeches, followed by the official transfer of the aircraft to Maj. Gen. Stephen Schmidt, who declared this LAIRCM fully operational. Gen. Schmidt then handed NL-17 back to Col. Paul Bell, E-3A Component Logistics Wing commander. Now while it was a typical ceremony, the impact LAIRCM has is tremendous.


“This critical capability is what enables our NATO AWACS fleet to operate in combat operations today and LAIRCM will keep us safe for a long time to come,” the general said.


LAIRCM, an autonomous defensive system, gives crews immediate situational awareness using an integrated display in the flight deck.


“It gives us the real protection we need to operate in a tough combat environment,” Gen. Schmidt said. “It allows us to get the job done safely every day.”


With the protection that LAIRCM provides, the component has been able to conduct more than 480 missions in support of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. LAIRCM is the key enabler which gives the E-3A the ability to conduct out-of-area operations anywhere at any time.


“It is the reason we are the only AWACS based in Afghanistan today,” the general said. “We would not have been based there for the last year without the ability to protect our NATO aircraft and our aircrew from the enemy.”

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Bombardier Global Express Aircraft Configured as a BACN Aircraft, August 2007

Bombardier Global Express Aircraft Configured as a BACN Aircraft, August 2007

Sept. 17, 2013 by Dave Majumdar - FG


Northrop Grumman and Bombardier are set to deliver the last of four Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) aircraft to the US Air Force.


“There is going to be an official delivery ceremony in the coming weeks,” says Ben Boehm, Bombardier’s vice-president for sales and marketing. “It’s kinda up to the air force when they want to have the ceremony. The airplane is actually ready to go.”


The BACN, which will be used to facilitate communications between disparate US airborne assets, has been in development by Northrop since 2005. The idea was to use the communications node to translate data transmitted from stealthy fifth-generation fighters such as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter into a format usable by fourth-generation aircraft such as the Boeing F-15 Eagle and vice versa.


Originally, BACN was tested on board a NASA-operated Martin WB-57 Canberra bomber. However, a later prototype was installed on a Bombardier BD-700 business jet in 2011, which was ultimately designated as the E-11A.


After the success of the original E-11A prototype, which is being retained by the USAF, the service ordered three additional production aircraft based on the Bombardier Global Express 6000. It is the last of those three aircraft that is set to be delivered, Boehm says.


Boehm says that the USAF might order five more BACN II aircraft that would be somewhat modified from the current jets. Sensors, he says, are constantly evolving.


Bombardier says that further opportunities in the US market might arise from a programme to replace the USAF’s aging fleet of Northrop E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft. Service leaders, however, have said previously that while a business jet-derived JSTARS replacement is desirable, the USAF does not have the money to purchase such an aircraft.


Bombardier also hopes to leverage its new CSeries airframe for the military market, Boehm says. Two potential customers have already expressed interest in an airborne early warning platform based on the new aircraft.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
US Navy conducts AAR trials to enhance UCAS-D performance

16 September 2013 naval-technology.com


The US Navy and Northrop Grumman have completed another phase of autonomous aerial refuelling (AAR) test, intended to significantly increase the endurance and range of the X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator (UCAS-D).


During the test, being conducted in Niagara Falls, New York, US, a Calspan-built Learjet equipped with navigation and vision processor software from the X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft assisted the AAR test flight.


As a surrogate aircraft, the Learjet conducted a series of autonomous flights, behind an Omega K-707 aerial refuelling tanker, fitted with a refuelling interface system and tanker operator station.


The navy's unmanned combat air system programme manager, Captain Jaime Engdahl, said the AAR trials aim to demonstrate technologies, representative systems and procedures that allow the unmanned systems to safely approach and manoeuvre around tanker aircraft.


"Demonstrating AAR technologies and standard refueling procedures is the next logical step for our demonstration programme," Engdahl said.


The team is applying both navy and air force style refuelling techniques as well as demonstrating that the same systems architecture extends the autonomous systems distributed control concept from the aircraft carrier to the airborne refuelling environment, according to Engdahl.


The trials have been designed to assess the final X-47B AAR systems functionality and navigation performance as well as validate the government tanker refuelling interface systems.


"By demonstrating that we can add an automated aerial refueling capability to unmanned or optionally manned aircraft, we can significantly increase their range, persistence and flexibility," Engdahl continued.


The US Navy is planning to resume aerial refuelling testing using a completely autonomous setup, later this year.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 16:20
F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighters from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.,

F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighters from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.,

17/09/2013 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr


En dépit des énormes surcoûts et des graves problèmes techniques du F-35, les Pays-Bas vont pourtant acheter 37 avions de combat de Lockheed Martin pour équiper leur armée de l'air.


En dépit des énormes surcoûts financiers et des graves problèmes techniques du F-35, les Pays-Bas vont finalement acheter 37 avions de combat de Lockheed Martin pour équiper leur armée de l'air, ont indiqué ce mardi à l'agence Reuters deux sources proches du dossier. La ministre néerlandaise de la Défense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, doit annoncer cette décision dans la journée de mardi dans un document définissant sa vision à long terme pour l'armée néerlandaise, qui tourne le dos à l'Europe. Initialement, La Haye devait acheter 85 F-35 pour remplacer une flotte vieillissante de F-16AM. Une décision qui sonne comme un nouvel échec politique pour les partisans d'une Europe de la défense et alors que même le Canada, fidèle allié des Etats-Unis, s'interroge sur l'achat de cet appareil.

Le gouvernement néerlandais a prévu 4,5 milliards d'euros dans son budget pour le renouvellement de sa flotte de chasse, auxquels il faut ajouter 270 millions d'euros de coûts d'entretiens d'annuels. Le F-35 Joint Strike Fighter a été conçu pour devenir le chasseur de nouvelle génération de l'US Air Force et des alliés des Etats-Unis, mais son développement a pris plusieurs années de retard en raison de problèmes techniques et d'une hausse des coûts, 70 % plus élevés que prévu. Si la commande de F-35 est confirmée, les Pays-Bas seraient le septième pays à faire confiance à Lockheed Martin après la Grande-Bretagne, l'Australie, l'Italie, la Norvège, Israël et le Japon. Washington essaie de convaincre le Canada de rejoindre cette liste. 


Le F-35, un appareil pour tuer l'industrie aéronautique européenne

Cet appareil devait remiser tous ses rivaux dans les musées, Rafale compris. Ce qui est loin aujourd'hui d'être le cas compte tenu de ses graves problèmes techniques. Et le F-35 avait également une mission officieuse : torpiller l'industrie aéronautique militaire européenne, notamment en France, seul pays à maîtriser l'ensemble des technologies pour développer et industrialiser un avion de combat, à l'exception de la Russie. "Pour mieux la vassaliser", rappelle un expert du ministère de la Défense.

"Il faut bien savoir que les Américains souhaitent casser notre industrie de défense pour accroître leur domination mondiale, car nous sommes leur seul concurrent ", expliquait dans l'indifférence générale en mai 2002 Serge Dassault dans une interview accordée à "La Tribune".

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:35
South Korea poised for final decision in F-X III

Sept. 17, 2013 by Greg Waldron – FG


Singapore - South Korea could make a final decision in the F-X III competition for 60 fighters as soon as the following week, with Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle in a strong position.


Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) says it has completed the evaluation of the competing bids of the three jets involved in the competition, according to a report by state news agency Yonhap.


The report indicates that DAPA officials have briefed South Korean president Park Geun-hye about the competition, with the winner to be decided following a meeting presided over by defence minister Kim Kwan-jin on 24 September.


DAPA has indicated that the F-15SE has the edge as its bid came in below the won (W) 8.3 trillion ($7.7 billion) budget. Its rivals in the competition, the Lockheed Martin F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon, appear to have come in over budget, which should technically eliminate them from the competition.


This could give Seoul just two options in the following week: select the F-15SE or re-tender the competition.


A major consideration among Seoul’s defence establishment is the prestige inherent in the F-35, which is seen as a more advanced option owing to its dedicated stealth features. They are keenly aware of Tokyo’s decision to buy 42 F-35s in 2011, defeating rival bids from the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and Typhoon.


In addition, they are aware of aircraft developments in China, where apparently stealthy types such as the Chengdu J-20 and Shenyang J-31 are undergoing flight testing.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
10,5 millards $ à risque sans le contrat des F-35

13/09/2013 Par Ross Marowits La Presse Canadienne


MONTRÉAL – Un directeur senior du géant de la défense Lockheed Martin soutient que l’industrie aéronautique canadienne pourrait perdre environ 10,5 milliards $ en contrats étalés sur plusieurs décennies si le gouvernement fédéral choisit de ne pas aller de l’avant avec sa commande controversée de 65 avions de chasse F-35.


Le vice-président exécutif de Lockheed Martin, Orlando Carvalho, affirme que la compagnie respectera des contrats d’une valeur totale de 500 millions $ déjà accordés à des partenaires canadiens, mais que d’autres contrats seront à risque sans la commande du gouvernement canadien.


«Si le gouvernement canadien décidait de ne pas choisir les F-35, nous respecterions certainement les engagements que nous avons pris avec l’industrie canadienne, mais notre approche, à l’avenir, serait d’essayer de faire des affaires avec les industries des pays qui nous achètent des avions», a-t-il affirmé lors d’un entretien suivant l’ouverture officielle des nouvelles installations d’inspection des moteurs à Montréal.


La compagnie Lockheed Martin estime que l’industrie canadienne pourrait potentiellement recevoir 11 milliards $ de contrats sur 25 à 40 ans, période pendant laquelle elle pourrait construire 3000 avions pour les armées de partout dans le monde.


Près de 72 entreprises canadiennes ont obtenu du travail à travers le projet des F-35. Industrie Canada a calculé que la valeur potentielle pourrait être de 9,8 milliards $ US, incluant les montants des contrats déjà accordés.


Ottawa évalue les solutions de rechange potentielles à son plan initial, qui était d’acheter 65 appareils F-35. L’an dernier, un rapport de la firme de services-conseil KPMG avertissait que la facture totale, incluant service et entretien, pourrait s’élever à 45,8 milliards $ sur 42 ans.


M. Carvalho affirme que Lockheed continue de réduire le coût de ses F-35. Les avions coûteraient au Canada autour de 75 millions $, au coût d’aujourd’hui, ou environ 85 millions $ avec inflation lors de leur éventuelle livraison en 2018.


«À mesure que les lignes de production et les connaissances gagnent en efficacité, que nous construisons de plus en plus d’avion et que la production augmente, le coût des avions ne peut que baisser», a affirmé M. Carvalho.


Il a ajouté que les particularités de l’avion, dont la technologie furtive et les capacités de surveillance, en font le choix idéal pour le Canada.


De son côté, le directeur de Boeing, le concurrent de Lockheed Martin, s’est dit la semaine dernière confiant que ses appareils F-18 Super Hornet puissent combler les besoins militaires canadiens à moindre coût.


Selon James McNerney, ce n’est qu’une question de temps avant que le gouvernement canadien retourne en appel d’offres.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Textron unveils light attack Scorpion

Company officials unveiled the design for the Scorpion, in works since January 2012, during the annual Air Force Association Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. (Textron AirLand)


Sep. 16, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News


NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. — Textron and AirLand today unveiled the Scorpion, a clean-sheet light attack platform that the companies are confident can make inroads in both the international and domestic markets.


The plane is in the “final stages” of integration tests, with a flight expected before the end of the year, Scott Donnelly, chairman and CEO of Textron, told reporters today. He said the aircraft has already run successful tests of the ejector seat and engines.


Company officials unveiled the design, in works since January 2012 at a Wichita, Kan., facility, during the annual Air Force Association Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md.


The Scorpion comes with twin turbofan engines and a tandem cockpit, although the jet is designed to be flown by a single pilot. There are six hard points on the plane that could hold a variety of equipment, from extra fuel to Hellfire missiles.


Potential competitors to the Scorpion, such as the Embraer Super Tucano and Beechcraft AT-6, are turboprop designs notable for their low-cost design. Donnelly, however, expressed confidence that his design would be priced similarly to a turboprop, while providing greater capabilities.


Donnelly expects a per-hour operating cost of around $3,000, significantly less than highly capable aircraft such as the F-16 or F-35.


The backing officials see the ISR capabilities as what really sets the plane apart. The Scorpion can carry 3,000 pounds of ISR equipment, with a modular design to allow customers to select what equipment should be on the plane. It boasts five hours of long-loiter time as well.


While the company has had conversations with potential customers, it was not willing to identify any specific areas of growth. However, both the Middle East and the Pacific have proven fertile grounds for light attack craft in the past.


Given budget cuts around the world, it seems potentially dangerous for a company to create a new plane without a requirement. But Donnelly insists that gives his group an entrance into the worldwide market.


“Our view has always been that we know the US and partner nations are all going to have budgetary challenges, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a mission requirement,” he said. “We’re offering a solution to people who have budgetary challenge and still have mission requirements. This is not a competitor to an F-35. The vast majority of missions don’t need that.”


Domestically, the Scorpion team is also keeping an eye on the Air Force’s T-X trainer replacement program. Donnelly indicated that by swapping the two engines with a single engine and changing the wings on the plane, the fighter would match up ideally with the expected requirements for the T-X program, potentially worth billions of dollars.


That kind of design flexibility will be key for making market headway, said former Air Force Secretary Whit Peters, who consulted for AirLand on the design of the plane.


“For the international market, its’ critical,” Peters said of the flexibility of the plane. Because its can be hard to know what technologies will and will not be exportable, it is important to be able to make a baseline airplane that can be exportable and then modified for customers, Peters said.


He indicated that worldwide fleets of A-37s, as well as the US Air Force’s fleets of A-10s and F-15Cs, could be platforms replaced by the Scorpion. Both those Air Force platforms are potentially on the cutting block due to sequestration.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Rolls-Royce Boosts Power for V-22 Engines

Rolls-Royce says it has increased the power of the engine it supplies for US V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft by 17 percent. (photo USMC)


Sep. 16, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News


WASHINGTON — Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has increased the power output of its V-22 Osprey engine by 17 percent, a significant jump that should boost the reliability of the tilt-rotor aircraft in high-altitude, high-heat conditions, according to a company official.


“We’ve been upgrading the [AE family] of engines to provide more thrust as more challenging requirements came up in the commercial market, so we knew there was more power available” said Tom Hartmann, the company’s senior vice president of defense. “Now that we’re through the hurdles of wrestling and working the time-on-wing improvements, we recognize there is additional capability we haven’t taken advantage of that could provide high power to the Pentagon for their particular missions.”


The engine improvements came from three relatively small changes. First, the company added a new turbine to the engine, known as the Block 3 turbine. That design is based on a commercial product Rolls-Royce has used.


Some of those turbines are already in the field; the company has been installing them into all new-production models since July 2012, and began upgrading older turbines during regular maintenance two months later.


The other modifications included an increase in the flow capacity of the fuel valve and a software update, which allow the engines to deliver the higher power when needed.


Each V-22 Osprey is powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines. The US Air Force’s fleet of CV-22s are used for special operations missions. The US Marine Corps’ MV-22 has two variants, the B and C models, which are used in the transportation of troops and equipment.


Most of the time, the V-22 won’t need the extra power. It’s really designed for use at higher altitudes — the 6,000-8,000-foot range — where the V-22 has struggled.


“Without flight tests, it’s hard to say the real-world impact” of the improvements, Hartmann said. But Rolls aims to give US military operators full engine capability at 6,000 feet with an air temperature of 95 degrees, a challenge that he said Air Force officials asked the company to look at.


“Right now, they are limited on what load they can carry at 6,000 feet and 95 degrees.” Hartmann said. “The plan is to provide that full capability in the near term, and then, in a future upgrade, give enhanced capability at 8,000 feet and 95 degrees.”


The company will begin tests of its upgraded engine in the fall, beginning the Federal Aviation Administration review process. Hartmann expects kits for the improved engines to arrive late 2014.


Rolls also is keeping an eye on a more comprehensive Block 4 upgrade, which should increase power by 26 percent over the current baseline, allowing the engines to hit close to 10,000 horsepower. It also could improve fuel consumption, which the company expects to be key as the Pentagon focuses more on the Asia-Pacific region.


“You have the ‘tyranny of distance’ in the Pacific, so better fuel consumption is obviously a benefit in that region,” Hartmann said.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Northrop Unveils F-35 Missile Protection System

ThNDR and Lightning: Northrop's ThNDR system is designed to protect the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from enemy missiles. (Northrop)


Sep. 16, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News


WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman on Thursday unveiled a new anti-missile laser protection system designed for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Washington.


The Threat Nullification Defensive Resource — ThNDR for short, to compliment the F-35’s “Lightning” designation — is a progression from Northrop’s directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) family of systems.


DIRCM works by sensing by intercepting an incoming missile with a laser that confuses the seeker head on the weapon, causing it to lose track of the aircraft. The system has been highly successful, with installation on over 50 different platforms, but had yet to be mounted on a fighter jet in large part due to the challenge of getting a system to work with the tight turns and high speeds that pilots would be required to make in a combat situation.


Although not yet part of the F-35 program, Northrop is confident the Pentagon wants to incorporate some form of missile-protection into its fifth-generation fighter.


“We know that requirement does exist and it is on its way,” said Jeffrey Palombo, Northrop’s sector vice president and general manager for the Land and Self-Protection Systems Division. In an attempt to get ahead of potential competition, the company self-funded the research and design of ThNDR.


ThNDR was designed to meet specific size limitations for the F-35. It will be nestled next to the distributed aperture system (DAS), also designed by Northrop, and tap into the cooling system already in the fighter. Each jet will get a pair of systems, one on the top of the plane and one on the bottom, to create 360-degree coverage against threats.


A major feature of the F-35 is its low-observable design, vital to its stealth capabilities. Anything sticking off the plane could threaten those stealth characteristics, so ThNDR will be installed inside the jet, with a window cut out to allow the lasers to operate.


The company expects the requirement for a missile defense system to be included in the Block 5 upgrade, in the 2017 time frame, and be available for all domestic and international customers. “There’s no reason at all that it can’t be retrofitted” into an already-produced F-35, Palombo said, although he declined to go into details on what that might look like.


The system still has a way to go before completion, with testing planned in Northrop’s laboratories before the end of the year. While no requirement has been issued, Carl Smith, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures, said the company is keeping in touch with the F-35 Joint Program Office.


“We go talk with them periodically,” Smith said. “We share what our progress is. There’s obviously dialogue with Lockheed Martin. We keep everybody abreast of where we are and what’s happening. “


While designed for the F-35, Palombo said the company expects other fighters, such as the F-15, to eventually include a requirement for a DIRCM system.


“It’s really a fast jet capability,” Palombo said. “Look at the fact there aren’t going to be many new starts for airplanes. We’re going to be flying F-22s, F-16s, F-15s for a very long time, and they’re going to have to be protected, as well.”


The system could be mounted into the bottom of the airplane, or reconfigured to fit into a self-contained pod that can be attached to the bottom of a jet. It would also have the option to be liquid or air-cooled.


“We believe [the F-35 is] probably the first actual requirement proposal that will be coming down the pike,” Palombo reiterated. “It is very likely there will be others, either in parallel with that or immediately following that.”


Northrop executives describe ThNDR as a “sixth-generation” system, and the company is keeping an eye on what a seventh-gen system might look like. Smith, at least, believes that would likely involve higher-powered lasers in the “tens of kilowatts of energy.”

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Speed Agile : un concept futuriste pour le successeur du C-130

13/09/2013 Par François Julian – Air & Cosmos


Lockheed Martin a récemment publié, sur le site internet de son magazine Code One  une vue d'artiste du Speed Agile.


Ce démonstrateur technologique, qui pour le moment fait l'objet d'essais en soufflerie, doit permettre de défricher un concept de futur avion de transport militaire, qui pourrait succéder au C-130 Hercules.


Le Speed Agile est le fruit de recherches réunissant Boeing, Lockheed Martin, la NASA et l'US Air Force. Il s'agit d'étudier un futur avion cargo, pouvant évoluer depuis des pistes sommaires, ce qui impose une bonne tenue aux basses vitesse, tout en étant capable de voler en croisière à Mach 0,8.


L'accent serait d'ailleurs mis sur l'utilisation de dispositifs hypersustentateurs performants et de conception simple, qui permettraient à l'appareil de décoller et d'atterrir sur une distance de moins de 700 m.


Pour le moment, Speed Agile n'est encore qu'un avion de papier. Mais qui sait, il pourrait peut être intéresser un jour les décideurs du Pentagone, soucieux d'offrir au C-130 Hercules une retraite bien méritée.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
drone-europeen source enjeux_info

drone-europeen source enjeux_info

16.09.2013  affaires-strategiques.info


Depuis deux décennies, l’émergence et le développement des drones ont considérablement modifié la manière de mener la guerre. Néanmoins, l’Union européenne semble accuser un retard en matière de développement et d’acquisition de drone. Dans un document publié le 11 septembre par l’European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), Andrea Gili, chercheure associée, analyse ainsi les perspectives qui s’ouvrent à l’Union sur cet enjeu primordial de la défense.


En effet, les drones offrent de nouvelles possibilités, notamment en matière de surveillance et améliorent les capacités de planification, contribuant parfois à simplifier les processus décisionnels des autorités responsables, notamment dans la lutte contre le terrorisme (assassinats ciblés par exemple). Les drones de combat ont donc, semble-t-il, entrainé une révolution dans la sphère militaire et plus particulièrement dans le domaine de la guerre aérienne. Permettant une réduction des forces armées présentes au sol et une efficacité à moindre coût, il paraît toutefois surprenant que les Etats membres de l’Union n’aient pas encore développé leur propres drones.

A ce titre, et si dans la dernière décennie, nombre de pays européens ont lancé des programmes R&D en matière de drone, seuls ou en coopération, il n’en demeure pas moins que le manque de fonds a bien souvent conduit à un échec de ces projets, les Etats se tournant alors vers l’acquisition de drones américains ou israéliens. Il semble d’ailleurs opportun de souligner que dans le passé, la coopération européenne en matière d’armement a été source de nombreux problèmes, les pays de l’UE cherchant souvent à protéger leur industrie nationale au détriment d’une mutualisation des compétences qui rendrait plus performante l’industrie de défense européenne. Mais désormais, la crise financière ainsi que les coupes drastiques qui sont intervenues dans les budgets de défense, ne laissent plus d’alternative possible si ce n’est celle de la coopération des industries de défense en Europe, selon le chercheur.

La problématique de la production de drone dans l’Union européenne soulève donc en réalité des questions sur les capacités de l’industrie européenne de l’armement à se structurer de telle sorte à rendre possible la production de drone et la compétitivité des industries européennes en la matière. Il s’agit là d’ailleurs d’une priorité car, comme le souligne Andrea Gili, l’élaboration de programmes R&D relatifs aux drones contribuerait à préserver la sécurité de l’Union ainsi que son autonomie stratégique à long terme. La valeur stratégique de disposer de telles capacités militaires apparaît donc non négligeable.

L’Union européenne se trouve donc à un tournant en matière de technologie militaire et nombreux sont ceux qui appellent à une décision claire des autorités européennes, notamment lors du prochain Conseil des Ministres européens de la défense qui aura lieu en décembre prochain.


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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Les Pays-Bas vont acheter 37 chasseurs américains F-35

17/09/2013 Capital.fr


Les Pays-Bas vont acheter 37 chasseurs F-35 de Lockheed Martin pour équiper leur armée de l'air, ont indiqué mardi à Reuters deux sources proches du dossier.


La ministre néerlandaise de la Défense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, doit annoncer cette décision dans la journée de mardi dans un document définissant sa vision à long terme pour l'armée néerlandaise, ont-elles ajouté.


Le F-35 Joint Strike Fighter a été conçu pour devenir le chasseur de nouvelle génération de l'US Air Force et des alliés des Etats-Unis, mais son développement a pris plusieurs années de retard en raison de problèmes techniques et d'une hausse des coûts, 70% plus élevés que prévu.


Anthony Deutsch; Tangi Salaün pour le service français

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Market Opportunities for Gripen E

Sep 16, 2013 ASDNews Source : Saab AB


During recent months the security and defence company Saab has met an increased interest in Gripen E, the next generation of its multirole fighter.


This is concurrent to the fact that Saab in February 2013 received an order from the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) for the development of Gripen E and has started the assembly of the system.


Approximately 6000 fighter jets will need to be replaced on the world market during the coming 15-20 years (Source: IHS Jane´s 360). Due to Swedish export restrictions and other prerequisites, Saab has access to approximately half of this market. Previously Saab estimated that Gripen potentially could capture about 10 per cent of this market over the coming 15-20 years.


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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:25
Embraer on Schedule with Jacksonville A-29 Super Tucano Assembly Facility

Sep 17, 2013 ASDNews Source : Embraer - Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A


Embraer Defense & Security Inc. announced, today, at the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition that the company is on schedule with its Jacksonville, Florida, assembly facility to begin deliveries in mid-2014 of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the U.S. Air Force for the Light Air Support (LAS) program.


There have been several developments since the contract award was announced on February 27, 2013.


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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
F-35 : Lockheed Martin met de la pression sur le Canada

13 septembre 2013 radio-canada.ca


Le géant de la défense Lockheed Martin soutient que l'industrie aéronautique canadienne pourrait perdre environ 10,5 milliards de dollars en contrats, étalés sur plusieurs décennies, si le gouvernement fédéral choisit de ne pas aller de l'avant avec sa commande controversée de 65 avions de chasse F-35.


Le vice-président directeur de Lockheed Martin, Orlando Carvalho, affirme que la compagnie respectera des contrats d'une valeur totale de 500 millions déjà accordés à des partenaires canadiens, mais que d'autres contrats seront à risque sans la commande du gouvernement canadien.


Ottawa évalue les solutions de rechange potentielles à son plan initial, qui était d'acheter 65 appareils F-35. L'an dernier, un rapport de la firme de service-conseil KPMG avertissait que la facture totale, y compris service et entretien, pourrait s'élever à 45,8 milliards de dollars sur 42 ans.


De son côté, la compagnie Lockheed Martin affirme qu'elle pourrait potentiellement accorder 11 milliards de dollars de contrats sur 25 à 40 ans à l'industrie canadienne, période pendant laquelle elle pourrait construire 3000 avions pour les armées de partout dans le monde.


M. Carvalho affirme que Lockheed continue de réduire le coût de ses F-35 et indique que les avions coûteraient au Canada autour de 75 millions, au coût d'aujourd'hui, ou environ 85 millions avec inflation lors de leur éventuelle livraison en 2018.


Il ajoute que les particularités de l'avion, dont la technologie furtive et les capacités de surveillance, en font le choix idéal pour le Canada.

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