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28 mai 2013 2 28 /05 /mai /2013 12:20
A-10C arrives in Davis-Monthan

A-10C arrives in Davis-Monthan

May 28, 2013: Strategy Page

 

The last American A-10 attack aircraft has left Europe. A-10s were designed during the Cold War for combat against Russian ground forces in Europe. That war never happened, but the A-10 proved to be a formidable combat aircraft in post- Cold War conflicts; first in the 1991 liberation of Kuwait and later in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the last decade the most requested ground support aircraft In Afghanistan has been the A-10.  There was similar A-10 affection in Iraq. Troops from all nations quickly came to appreciate the unique abilities of this 1970s era aircraft that the U.S. Air Force has several times tried to retire. Two years ago the air force did announce that it was retiring 102 A-10s, leaving 243 in service. At the same time the air force accelerated the upgrading of the remaining A-10s to the A-10C standard.

 

Also called the PE (for precision engagement) model, the refurbished A-10s are supposed to remain in service until 2028, meaning most A-10Cs will have served over 40 years and as many as 16,000 flight hours. The upgrade effort has been underway for over five years. The upgrades include new electronics as well as structural and engine refurbishment. The A-10C provides the pilot with the same targeting and fire control gadgets the latest fighters have. The new A-10C cockpit has all the spiffy color displays and easy to use controls. Because it is a single-seat aircraft, that flies close to the ground (something that requires a lot more concentration), all the automation in the cockpit allows the pilot to do a lot more, with less stress, exertion, and danger.

 

The basic A-10 is a 1960s design, so the new additions are quite spectacular in comparison. New commo gear has also been added, allowing A-10 pilots to share pix and vids with troops on the ground. The A-10 pilot also has access to the Blue Force Tracker system, so that the nearest friendly ground forces show up on the HUD (Head Up Display) when coming in low to use the 30mm cannon. The A-10 can now use smart bombs, making it a do-it-all aircraft for ground support.

A-10s are worked hard in Afghanistan. For example, an A-10 squadron has a dozen aircraft and 18 pilots. Pilots often average about a hundred hours a month in the air. That's about twenty sorties, as each sortie averages about five hours. The aircraft range all over southern Afghanistan, waiting for troops below to call for some air support. The A-10, nicknamed "Warthog" or just "hog", could always fly low and slow and was designed, and armored, to survive a lot of ground fire. The troops trust the A-10 more than the F-16 or any other aircraft used for ground support.

A-10s Move On

The A-10 is a 23 ton, twin engine, single seat aircraft whose primary weapon is a multi-barrel 30mm cannon originally designed to fire armored piercing shells at Russian tanks. These days, the 1,174 30mm rounds are mostly high explosive. The 30mm cannon fires 363 gram (12.7 ounce) rounds at the rate of about 65 a second. The cannon usually fires in one or two second bursts. In addition, the A-10 can carry seven tons of bombs and missiles. These days the A-10 goes out with smart bombs (GPS and laser guided) and Maverick missiles. It can also carry a targeting pod, enabling the pilot to use high magnification day/night cameras to scour the area for enemy activity. Cruising speed is 560 kilometers an hour and the A-10 can slow down to about 230 kilometers an hour. In Afghanistan two drop tanks are usually carried, to give the aircraft more fuel and maximum time over the battlefield.

 

 

A-10s Move On

If there is another major war in some place like Korea or with Iran, the A-10s will once more be one of the most popular warplane with the ground troops.

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28 mai 2013 2 28 /05 /mai /2013 11:35
Stemming night flight  (photo : Institute of Space Technology Vietnam)

Stemming night flight (photo : Institute of Space Technology Vietnam)


28 May 2013 Defense Studies

 

Night 25/5, two unmanned aircraft by the Institute of Space Technology (Academy of Science and Technology of Vietnam) manufacturing continued successful implementation of the program with a four-night flight flight towards the South China Sea 50km.

According to Dr. Pham Ngoc Lang - Chairman of topics made unmanned aircraft for scientific research, the aircraft was flying in fully automatic mode, in accordance with the original itinerary flight commander for approval.

During night flights, the aircraft is equipped with infrared cameras, camera mounted infrared lens for night service dedicated research programs.

 

AV.UAV.S2 night flying toward the East Sea (photo : Institute of Space Technology Vietnam)

This morning (26/5), six unmanned aircraft continue to perform 10 successful flight research collaboration between the Institute functions under Academy of Science and Technology of Vietnam.

Dr. Lang said the results of the test flight program serves "Highlands 3" in Da Lat and flight test results for marine scientific research (both day and night-flying) helped the group in Nha Trang Research Institute of Space Technology continues to improve the aircraft, preparing to take on mass production, marine air service operations in particular and economic development - society in general.
 

Aircraft not signify a person's driving Vietnam Fatherland flying in the sky  (photo : Institute of Space Technology Vietnam)

Earlier, on 25/5, six unmanned aircraft took off at the beach Van Ninh district, Khanh Hoa, 100km from the city of Nha Trang north start flying program for scientific research on the marine waters Central.

This is a scientific research program coordinated between Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography, Institute of Research and Technology Applications Nha Trang Institute of Space Technology.

Dr. Pham Ngoc Lang - Chairman of topics made unmanned aircraft for scientific research - said the plane had been "assigned task" very specific.
 

Aerial view of the scene at the easternmost point coordinates 12038'52'' N,'' E 109027'44

Accordingly, AV.UAV.S1 aircraft take flight itinerary recording, imaging spectrometry ecosystems, coastal fisheries, vegetation, coral areas, distributed component substrate Van Phong Bay , sea surface temperature, measured sediment deposition in estuarine / marine, mangrove forests, coastal erosion areas, standardized photographs from satellites ... for research programs.

AV.UAV.S2 aircraft take flight at sea cruise on 100km with recording task, imaging spectrometry aquatic species on the continental shelf, the seabed coral, temperature, salinity seawater , ocean currents and detect potential areas for fish farmers and fishermen to provide data for the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute and the Institute of Research and Technology Applications Nha Trang.

AV.UAV.S2 aircraft conducting aerial photography of the easternmost point (land) of the country located at 12038'52'' N,'' E 109027'44, administrative boundaries Dam, Van Thanh Van Ninh, Khanh Hoa on itinerary at sea shelf. The aircraft also carried flight AV.UAV.S2 recording, photography, spectrometry Trau island status, Black Buffalo and some other islands in the itinerary.

(Phunu Today)

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 20:50
EADS continuera de coopérer avec l'Allemagne sur un drone

27/05 LesEchos.fr (reuters)

 

EADS et son partenaire américain Northrop Grumman ont annoncé lundi qu'ils poursuivraient leur coopération avec le gouvernement allemand sur un projet de drone dont Berlin avait pourtant annoncé l'abandon il y a quelques jours.

 

Les autorités allemandes avaient annoncé il y a deux semaines renoncer à l'idée d'acheter et de modifier des drones de reconnaissance Euro Hawk en raison du coût jugé trop élevé de leur adaptation aux normes européennes à respecter pour obtenir l'autorisation de vol.

 

L'affaire a suscité de vives critiques sur le gaspillage de l'argent du contribuable allemand, un débat malvenu à quatre mois des élections pour la chancelière Angela Merkel et son ministre de la Défense, Thomas de Maiziere.

 

Dans un communiqué commun, EADS et Northrop Grumman assurent qu'ils poursuivent les travaux avec l'Allemagne dans le but de résoudre tous les problèmes.

 

"L'équipe présentera un projet bon marché et réalisable pour mener à bien les tests de vol de l'appareil initial et la production éventuelle du système complet de quatre appareils supplémentaires", explique le communiqué.

 

Ils ont qualifié d'"inexactes" les informations selon lesquelles le système de contrôle en vol du drone serait défectueux et son coût de certification excessif.

 

Des estimations réalisées par le gouvernement estiment entre 500 et 600 millions d'euros les dépenses à engager pour obtenir la certification du drone en Europe, sans garantie que ce feu vert soit obtenu.

 

Le ministère allemand de la Défense s'est refusé à tout commentaire sur le communiqué d'EADS et Northrop.

 

Berlin avait prévu un budget de 1,2 milliard d'euros pour l'achat et le développement de ces drones.

 

L'Allemagne n'est pas le seul pays d'Europe dans lequel les drones posent problème: en France, le ministre de la Défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a annoncé la semaine dernière avoir engagé des discussions avec les Etats-Unis et Israël pour l'achat de drones de surveillance, jugeant que "la France a raté le rendez-vous des drones".

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 18:50
EuroHawk GmbH, Northrop Grumman and EADS Statement on the Euro Hawk Program

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – May 27, 2013 GLOBE NEWSWIRE

 

EuroHawk GmbH, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and EADS have released the following statement on the Euro Hawk program:

 

    "EuroHawk GmbH, Northrop Grumman and EADS remain fully committed to the Euro Hawk program of record, and the critical capabilities the system will provide the German armed forces and its allies.

 

    "The full Euro Hawk system, including the mission control system and the sensor, has performed flawlessly and safely throughout the entire flight test program.

 

    "Media reports that indicate there are challenges with the aircraft's flight control system, as well as excessive costs associated with completing airworthiness certification, are inaccurate.

 

    "EuroHawk GmbH will continue to work with the customer to address any concerns they may have with the system; and the team will provide an affordable and achievable plan to complete flight testing of the initial asset and the eventual production and fielding of the full system of four additional aircraft."

 

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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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 18:20
NATO’s Global Hawks Unaffected by EuroHawk

May 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio; published May 24, 2013)

 

NATO Drone Project Set to Continue

 

Pulling the plug on Germany's Euro Hawk project won't have consequences for NATO's surveillance program using "Global Hawk" models. But critics argue a joint European drone project would have been better.

 

The canceled German Euro Hawk drone project will most likely not have consequences on a similar project by NATO. The alliance plans to use five drones of the Global Hawk Block 40 type for its "Alliance Ground Surveillance" (AGS) system.

 

According to NATO, plans will not be affected by the German decision. The Global Hawk drone built by US company Northrop Grumman is basically the version the system's based on - the Euro Hawk drone Germany ordered is a modified version of the Global Hawk 20 model, an earlier version of the Global Hawk 40 which NATO now plans to use.

 

Exact images from far away

 

At the May 2012 summit in Chicago, the allies had agreed on aquiring unarmed surveillance drones. They are scheduled to be used by 2017 and to be stationed in Sicily. Estimates put the cost for the five drones at around 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

 

Fourteen NATO states are involved: Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the US. The Global Hawk drone could fly as high as 20 kilometers (12 miles) and is able to take clear pictures of the ground even from such heights - precise enough to still spot individuals.

 

No European project?

 

The NATO project is going to continue despite the German decision to halt its program. But the situation in Germany has been met with criticism in Brussels. Michael Gahler, security spokesman of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) in the EU parliament, told DW that Germany should rather have pushed for a European solution than trying to go it alone.

 

After all, European countries were facing the same security threats, and every state had too little money to develop a system on its own.

 

"Such projects are very good examples of how such things can be done in a joint effort - especially when something new is being developed. I hope that everybody will learn from that mistake," he said.

 

Gahler believes a European project would have made more sense from an economic perspective as well.

 

"You can't see this simply as a military issue. Those drones are first and foremost not a means of fighting." In about 90 percent of the cases, they would "be used in a civilian manner for surveillance," for instance in agriculture or forestry in order to spot pollution or fires. With that many areas of use, "it really makes sense to bundle civilian and military resources."

 

Northrop Grumman dismisses criticism

 

The US company producing the drones has come forward to defend itself against German complaints. Berlin had criticized an allegedly missing feature to avoid collisions and lacking documentation needed for getting the drones approved for European airspace.

 

 

A Northrop Grumman spokesperson told German weekly "Die Zeit" that Germany had in fact never specified what kind of papers were needed for approval and that it was only a prototype that operated without collision protection. That feature would have been implemented in the four other drones Germany had ordered, the company said.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 17:50
Euro Hawk décollage de la BA De de Manching 11.01.2013 photo EADS - CAssidian

Euro Hawk décollage de la BA De de Manching 11.01.2013 photo EADS - CAssidian

May 27, 2013 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio; published May 25, 2013)

 

De Maiziere's Euro Hawk Problems Drone On

 

Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere says there were clear grounds for Germany to cancel orders for the Euro Hawk drones. But as questions mount, some say the minister's arguments don't hold up.

 

 

What did German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere know about the Euro Hawk problems? And why did he choose to stop the project? As the debate on Germany's decision to cancel its drone program drags on, more and more questions are coming to the fore.

 

The minister initially stated he would not make a public statement before June 5 when the Defense Ministry's report was due to be published. But now, in an interview with German public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, he said he - as the minister in charge - was responsible for what went wrong despite the fact that he hadn't been informed of all the details concerning the project.

 

"With dimensions like this, it's impossible," he said. "You have to keep in mind that we spend more than 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) on planned purchases each year."

 

He also dismissed criticism as to why he didn't put on the brakes on the Euro Hawk project sooner saying, "If we were to pull the plug on every complicated purchase every time there is a problem we wouldn't have any defense projects at all."

 

Will the defense minister's arguments hold?

 

According to Michael Brzoska, professor at the University of Hamburg's Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, de Maiziere's claims are hardly convincing. It was nothing new that a drone of Euro Hawk size would require approval to be used in German airspace.

 

"It would have been reasonable to check this more thoroughly," Brzoska told DW. "Apparently authorities had simply hoped for the best - and then failed."

 

The defense minister's own defense was also problematic when it comes to addressing the issue that ultimately led to axing the project. The argumentation seemed to make sense at first: The drone lacked a collision protection system it would require for approval to operate in German airspace. Costs would have skyrocketed if this feature would have been added on so the entire project was stopped.

 

However, Global Hawk manufacturer Northrop Grumman has dismissed such claims - the US company went on to say that it had not yet officially been told that the German government had cancelled its order. The only source of information was media reports, company spokesman Tim Painter said.

 

"The reports we've read in the media are in fact baseless claims," he said. In principle, all Hawk models had been equipped with the necessary technology, but the models that had been delivered to Germany so far did not include that bit of hardware - as explicitly requested by German officials.

 

However, all necessary slots are there which makes it quite easy to expand the drones. "It would be as easy as plugging a CD changer into the trunk of your car if your car was prewired for a CD changer," Painter explained.

 

The German Defense Ministry has claimed additional costs of 500 million euros ($647 million) would have been necessary to upgrade the drones. That figure is by far too high, according to Northrop Grumman, but the company refused to give an estimate based on its own calculations.

 

Missing features and data

 

As the German Defense Ministry's reasons for canceling the Euro Hawk project don't make sense for the US manufacturer - are they simply excuses? Brzoska said that might be the case since there are Euro Hawk models that do possess this collision protection system. And it would not be difficult to add this feature to models that have been operating without it so far.

 

"But you'll need data that the US manufacturer doesn't like to share since it affects the drone's control system - that's very likely the problematic issue here," Brzoska said. "From a US standpoint, it's considered a secret. That's why it wasn't so easy to combine this collision protection system with transforming [the Global Hawk] into the Euro Hawk."

 

But the missing anti-collision system is only one of many problems in regards to the drone. Even if one were to find a solution, Brzoska said he doubts the Euro Hawk will get approved to operate in shared airspace frequented by normal air carriers in Germany.

 

"Other issues concern secure data transmission: Can you control the drone over a long period of time, or isn't there the danger of losing them," Brzoska added. "That could be a risk not only for civilian aviation, but also for [people on the ground] if they were to crash."

 

No easy feat for German defense ministers

 

It's no surprise to Brzoska that the defense minister's bright career has been tarnished. Some of his predecessor had to deal with troubled defense projects as well.

 

"Such projects are always very complex and come with several problems," Brzoska said. "And then it's the minister of course who has to take responsibility, even if he might not have been informed in depth."

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 16:55
2nd Airbus Military A400M for French AF runs engines

May 27, 2013 ASDNews Source : Airbus

 

The second production Airbus Military A400M has successfully completed its first engine runs as it begins final preparation for its maiden flight later this month.

 

The aircraft, known as MSN8, is now undergoing taxying trials outside the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain.

 

Airbus Military expects to complete four A400M aircraft in 2013 and will deliver MSN8 to the French Air Force in the third quarter of the year.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 16:40
Putin Parading His Pecs Pays Off

May 26, 2013: Strategy Page

 

The navy has ordered more of its 18 elderly IL-38s maritime recon aircraft to be upgraded to the IL-38N standard. The Russian Navy only has about 18 IL-38s operational, which are roughly equivalent to the American P-3s, but have not had their sensors and communications equipment updated since the Cold War. Only 59 were built between 1967 and 1972. This upgrade has already been installed on five Indian IL-38s a decade ago, and one Russian aircraft, to assist development. Getting the upgrade for more Russian aircraft was mainly a matter of getting the money.

 

Russia continues to make progress in reversing its population decline. Last year the birth rate increased 5.6 percent and population increased 292,000. This is in sharp contrast to the massive decline that began after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Over the next 17 year the population declined from 148 million to 142 million in 2008. At its worst the Russian population was declining 750,000 a year. A growing economy, more health consciousness and more pro-family laws have all contributed to this turnaround, with the population now at 143 million. A decade ago it was feared that it would take another decade or two before the decline was halted. If the decline was not reversed the Russian population would have been under 100 million by 2050. The biggest problems were premature death, largely from alcoholism, drug addiction and poor habits in general. During the period of decline there were more deaths than births. But the number of immigrants (mainly looking for work) continued to grow. Many of these were ethnic Russians returning from neighboring countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union. Especially in Central Asia, these nations are growing more chaotic, less prosperous and increasingly hostile to the Slavic settlers who have been living among them for a century or more. An increasing number of non-Russian migrants came in in from these neighboring areas, but were less welcome. The government reversed the population decline by keeping the economic growth going and encouraging healthier lifestyle and having more children. This was why the West saw all those photo ops of Vladimir Putin showing off his healthy physique and athletic abilities. Putin encouraged subordinates to get in shape, to set an example.  Birth and death rates are now about equal, but the death rate continues to decline as the birth rate increases.

 

Under pressure from Israel and the United States Russia agreed to cancel the sale of S-300 (similar to the U.S.  Patriot) missile systems to Syria. It was feared that these systems might fall into the hands of terrorists (either pro-government Hezbollah or the numerous anti-government groups) and be used to attack civil aircraft flying over Israel or elsewhere. Russia was forced (by international pressure) to halt S-300 sales to Iran three years ago. Until a week ago Russia was still insisting that the Syrian sale would go through.

 

Russia continues to try and rescue its ally, the Syrian Assad government, by organizing peace talks with the Syrian rebels. Neither side is interested, although the Assads go along to keep Russia happy and the arms shipments coming. Russia has recently flown in some Yakhont anti-ship missiles, much to the displeasure of Israel and the United States. Before the civil war, Syria accounted for seven percent of Russian annual arms exports. But that is slipping away and Russia is defying international arms sanctions by insisting that it is legal to deliver weapons ordered before the sanctions were imposed by the UN. The lawyers disagree, but no one wants to go to war with Russia over the matter.

 

In the south (Dagestan) a female suicide bomber attacked some policemen, wounding two of them and 16 civilian bystanders. The attacker was the 25 year old widow of two Islamic terrorists. Her first husband was killed in 2009 and the second one in 2012. Widows are often recruited by Islamic terrorist groups as such women feel abandoned and usually have dim prospects in Islamic societies. Over 25 women have been used as suicide bombers in Russia (mainly the Caucasus) since 2000.

 

May 23, 2013: In the south (Dagestan) police clashed with two Islamic terrorists, who were killed. Four policemen were wounded in the gun battle.

 

May 21, 2013: In the south (Dagestan) Islamic terrorists opened fire on a patrol, killing a policeman and wounding a soldier.

 

May 20, 2013: In the south (Dagestan) two car bombs went off, killing four people.  Hours earlier police announced that they had thwarted a terrorist attack in Moscow. Two terrorists were killed and one arrested. These three men were believed to have received terrorist training in camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

 

In the Mediterranean Sea, two Russian amphibious ships arrived to join the Russian flotilla (of about ten ships) recently organized and stationed there. The force also includes two destroyers, a frigate and several support ships.  F rom 1967 until 1992 Russia maintained a force of 30-50 warships and auxiliary vessels in the Mediterranean. Russia was building a base in the Syrian port of Tartus, but that has been suspended because of the civil war.

 

May 15, 2013: The Baltic Fleet has received one of the new Stereguschy class corvettes. Russia is building these to replace decrepit Cold War era coastal patrol ships and for export. Four have been built and two more are under construction. These are small ships (2,200 tons displacement), costing about $125 million each. These "Project 20380" ships have impressive armament (two 30mm anti-missile cannon, one 100mm cannon, eight anti-ship missiles, six anti-submarine missiles, two eight cell anti-missile missile launchers, two 14.5mm machine-guns). There is a helicopter platform, but the ship is not designed to carry one regularly. Crew size, of one hundred officers and sailors, is achieved by a large degree of automation. The ship also carries air search and navigation radars. It can cruise 6,500 kilometers on one load of fuel. Normally, the ship would stay out 7-10 days at a time, unless it received replenishment at sea. These are being succeeded by Gremyashchy class corvettes (basically improved Stereguschys) .

 

May 14, 2013: Russia ordered a U.S. diplomat expelled from the country. The man (actually a CIA agent operating out of the embassy) had been arrested earlier while trying to recruit a senior Russian security official. That offer failed and the CIA man did not detect a trap. Russia later revealed that this also happened back in January but was kept quiet so as to maintain good relations with the U.S. But now the Russians are angry at the sloppy CIA operations and showed that displeasure by revealing the name of the senior CIA official (the “resident” in spy-speak) in Russia. This fellow will also have to leave now, which is what the Russians apparently want. They hold the CIA resident responsible for this sloppy and embarrassing spy craft. By mutual consent, Russia and the U.S. keep the names of their own and the other nation’s residents secret. That rule is only breached when there are embarrassing incidents like this.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 16:35
ShinMaywa US-2 aircraft of the Japanese Self Defence Force at Hansin Base in Japan.

ShinMaywa US-2 aircraft of the Japanese Self Defence Force at Hansin Base in Japan.

May 27, 2013 timesofindia.indiatimes.com (AFP)

 

TOKYO: Japan is close to signing an agreement to supply amphibious planes to India, a report said on Monday, in what would be the first sale of hardware used by the military since a weapons export ban was imposed.

 

During a four-day visit to Tokyo by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, starting later Monday, the two sides are set firm up plans for Delhi to purchase the US-2, a domestically-developed aircraft used by Japan's armed forces.

 

The sale, reported by the Nikkei business daily, would be the first of a finished product made by Japan's homegrown defence industry since rules were imposed restricting the export of weapons systems and other equipment.

 

It would also mark a strengthening of the alliance between Japan and India, which both see rising China as a threat to regional stability.

 

Experts say the aircraft must be classed as for civilian use if it is to comply with Japan's 1967 self-imposed ban on arms exports, part of the post-World War II anti-militarist drive.

 

The US-2, which was developed by ShinMaywa Industries and has been sold to the Japanese navy at a price of roughly 10 billion yen ($99 million), has a range of 4,700 kilometres (2,900 miles) and can land in seas with waves of up to three metres (nine feet).

 

"If the US-2 is exported to India for civilian use, that would be the first case of exports of Japanese-developed weaponry used by the defence ministry for civilian use," a trade ministry official in charge of arms sales told AFP.

 

ShinMaywa opened a sales office in New Delhi last year and has been promoting the plane there, a spokesman for the company said.

 

"We hear there is some demand from the Indian government but decline to comment further as we have yet to reach a contract," he added. The Nikkei said India is looking to acquire at least 15 of the aircraft.

 

Japan has sought to expand the market for its defence industry. It has previously exported technology or parts of military hardware but not finished products.

 

The plane could be deemed to have a non-military — for example, search and rescue — purpose if "friend-or-foe" identification systems were disabled, officials said, making it eligible for export.

 

In 2011 Tokyo eased the ban on arms exports, paving the way for Japanese firms to take part in multinational weapons projects.

 

The reported talks on sales "are based on policy decisions made a few years ago that Japan has to support its defence industry by diverting military technology to civilian use for export", said Takehiko Yamamoto, professor of international relations at Waseda University.

 

Otherwise, major Japanese firms such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries "will not able to maintain their pool of engineers to develop military technology that is essential for the defence of Japan", he said.

 

Boosting exports from Japan's manufacturing behemoths is a key part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to revive the economy.

 

In a separate report, the Nikkei said in its evening edition that Abe and Singh would agree on drafting a master plan for new infrastructure in southern India.

 

The paper said Japan would supply expertise on the plan to build a power grid, roads, railways and ports, mainly in the area that includes Bangalore and Chennai. Both cities are business hubs for Japanese firms such as Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor and Toshiba.

 

Japan last year said it would provide up to 132.6 billion yen of cheap loans to India, including a 60.7 billion yen loan for a power grid system for Chennai and the surrounding area.

 

On Wednesday Japan will pledge a fresh 71 billion yen loan for building a subway in Mumbai, the Nikkei said.

 

Abe and Singh are scheduled to meet on Wednesday for a summit expected to concentrate on trade and investment.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 12:20
Un F-35 se trouve ici en montage final (Photo Lockheed Martin)

Un F-35 se trouve ici en montage final (Photo Lockheed Martin)

25/05/2013 par Nicolas Laffont – 45eNord.ca

 

Pour la première fois depuis le début du programme, le Département américain de la Défense note que le programme de l’avion de chasse de 5e génération F-35 de Lockheed Martin connaît une baisse dans ses coûts.

Dans un rapport annuel déposé au Congrès, le Pentagone indique que 78 de ses programmes vont connaître cette année une hausse des coûts d’environ 2,4%, soit 40 milliards $. Cette hausse serait dû en grande partie à cause de modifications comptables et de commandes plus importantes que prévues.

En revanche, le Pentagone précise que le programme de développement et de construction du F-35 de Lockheed Martin va connaître pour la première fois de son histoire, une baisse de 1% de ses coûts. Le programme est désormais estimé à 391,2 milliards $ contre 395,7 milliards $ comme l’indiquait le précédent rapport de l’an dernier.

Dans le détail, le rapport précise que la baisse n’a lieu que dans le sous-programme de l’avion en lui-même et non le sous-programme des moteurs.

Ainsi, les coûts du sous-programme de l’avion sont passés de 331,9 milliards $ en 2011 à 326,9 milliards l’an dernier (-1,5%), et les coûts du sous-programme des moteurs sont passés de 63,9 à 64,3 milliards $.

«C’est la première année qu’une réduction des coûts a été notée. Nous allons travailler avec le Bureau du programme du F-35 [au Pentagone] afin de mettre en œuvre des mesures qui se traduiront par de nouvelles baisses importantes du coût total du programme», a déclaré le porte-parole de Lockheed Martin Michael Rein.

La raison principale de la réduction est une baisse des taux de main-d’œuvre pour Lockheed, Pratt et leurs sous-traitants, ainsi que le fuselage qui a été revu et les estimations de sous-traitance.

Le rapport dit également que le coût moyen du modèle F-35A, hors coûts de R&D, a chuté à 76,8 millions $ par avion, comparativement à 78,7 millions $ un an plus tôt. C’est ce modèle là que le gouvernement du Canada souhaite acquérir.

Lockheed Martin développe trois modèles de son avion de chasse monoplace F-35, pour l’US Air Force, l’US Navy et le Marine Corps, ainsi que pour huit pays qui participent financièrement à son développement: la Grande-Bretagne, l’Australie, le Canada, la Norvège, le Danemark, l’Italie, les Pays-Bas et la Turquie. Israël et le Japon ont également placé des commandes.

Les plans actuels prévoient que la Défense américaine et ses alliés achèteront un total de 2 443 avions F-35 dans les prochaines années, avec une possibilité de 721 appareils supplémentaires, bien que de nombreux analystes estiment que la montée en puissance des pressions budgétaires pourraient finalement réduire le nombre total.

L’entreprise de défense américaine, Lockheed Martin, était de passage à Montréal ce mercredi 22 mai. Accompagnée du pilote d’essai et ancien membres des Forces armées canadiennes Billie Flynn et de représentants de l’industrie canadienne, Lockheed Martin a présenté son simulateur mobile de cockpit de F-35 et donné les dernières nouvelles de son avion phare afin de convaincre médias et opinion publique que son avion est le meilleur choix possible pour le Canada.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 12:20
U.S. Navy Moves Ahead With Small Tactical UAVs

May 25, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

From Naval Air Systems Command in the U.S.:

 

The Department of the Navy announced May 15 that the RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS) received Milestone C approval authorizing the start of low rate initial production.

 

With MS C approval, the RQ-21A program, managed by the Navy and Marine Corps STUAS program office (PMA-263) here at NAS Patuxent River, enters the production and deployment phase of the acquisition timeline, according to the PMA-263 Program Manager Col. Jim Rector.

 

“This milestone allows us to provide our warfighter with a unique capability – an organic UAS capable of operations from both land and sea,” said Rector.  “The RQ-21A will provide persistent maritime and land-based tactical Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition data collection and dissemination capabilities.”

 

The Navy awarded Insitu, Inc., an Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract for STUAS in July 2010.  Since then, the government/industry team has executed land-based developmental tests (DT), operational tests at China Lake, Calif. in December 2012 and conducted the first sea-based DT from USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) in February.

 

Concurrently, Marines are flying an Early Operational Capability (EOC) system at Twenty Nine Palms, Calif. for pre-deployment preparation. Lessons learned from EOC will be applied to operational missions in theater.

 

The aircraft is based on Insitu’s Scan Eagle UAS, which has flown more than 245,000 hours in support of Navy and Marine Corps forward deployed forces via a services contract. The RQ-21A system has a 25 pound payload capacity, ground control system, catapult launcher and unique recovery system, known as Skyhook, allowing the aircraft to recover without a runway.

 

The RQ-21A includes Day/Night Full Motion Video (FMV) cameras, infrared marker and laser range finder, and Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers.  The ability to rapidly integrate payloads allows warfighters to quickly insert the most advanced and relevant payload for their land/maritime missions and counter-warfare actions.

 

“The expeditionary nature of the RQ-21A makes it possible to deploy a multi-intelligence capable UAS with minimal footprint, ideal for amphibious operations such as a Marine Expeditionary Unit conducts,” Rector said. “The RQ-21A can be operated aboard ship, and then rapidly transported ashore as either a complete system or just a “spoke”, or control center, making this system ideally suited for humanitarian or combat operations, where getting real-time intelligence to the on-scene commander is crucial.”

 

The DoN plans to purchase a total of 36 STUAS systems, each with five aircraft.  Initial Operational Capability is scheduled for second quarter fiscal year 2014.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 11:35
L-3 Mission Integration, Korean Air to upgrade navy P-3C Orions

27 May 2013 By Greg Waldron – FG

 

Singapore - L-3 Mission Integration has entered a contract with Korean Air to upgrade eight Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion aircraft operated by the South Korean navy.

 

The contract will see the US company and flag carrier Korean Air, which operates a major MRO operation, upgrade the eight Lot 1 aircraft to match the navy's eight Lot 2 P-3Cs.

 

"The mission system that we're putting on these aircraft will be completely compatible and interoperable with South Korea's existing P-3 fleet and will add significant capability," says Brent Billingslea, senior director of surveillance systems at L-3 Mission Integration.

 

Under the deal, L-3 Mission Integration will design and develop the upgrades, which will be furnished to Korean Air for installation in South Korea.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 11:35
FA-50 lightweight fighter (KAI photo)

FA-50 lightweight fighter (KAI photo)

May 25, 2013: Strategy Page

 

South Korea has ordered another 40 of the locally made FA-50 fighter-bombers for $25.5 million each. Two years ago the South Korean Air Force ordered the first twenty (for $30 million each), and the first of these is to arrive in three months with the last of that first order arriving within three years.

 

The FA-50 will be equipped with South Korean, American, and Israeli electronics. The single engine, single seat aircraft is intended to eventually replace South Korea's aging fleet of 150 F-5 fighters. But first, the initial FA-50s will have to show what they can do in active service. That process will begin later this year.

 

The FA-50 is the combat version of the South Korean designed and manufactured T-50 jet trainer. This aircraft was developed over the last decade, at a cost of over two billion dollars. The first test flight of the T-50 took place in 2002. The 18 ton aircraft is actually a light fighter and can fly at supersonic speeds. The T-50 is an “advanced trainer” meant to prepare trainee pilots with the skills needed to handle jet fighters. With some added equipment (radars and fire control), the T-50 becomes the FA-50, a combat aircraft. This version carries a 20mm auto-cannon and up to 4.5 tons of smart bombs and missiles. The T-50 can stay in the air about four hours per sortie and has a service life of 8,000 hours in the air.

 

At $20 million each, the T-50 is one of the more competitive jet trainers on the market. About 100-150 trainers are bought each year by the world's air forces. But it is a tough market, and so far the only export customer for the T-50 has been 16 sold to Indonesia. Nearly a hundred T-50 type aircraft have been produced or are on order. In addition to the FA-50 variant, there is a light bomber variant (the TA-50) that costs $25 million each.

TA-50 breaking formation photo KAI

TA-50 breaking formation photo KAI

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 11:20
Boeing ready to build first KC-46 tanker

24 May 2013 By Dave Majumdar– FG

 

Washington DC - Boeing will start building the first KC-46 tanker for the US Air Force during June 2013, a company official says.

 

"Starting in one month, we will begin final assembly of the wing structure," says Jake Howitt, Boeing's deputy KC-46 programme manager. "On 26 June we load the first tanker parts into the wing final assembly jig up at Everett [Washington]."

 

The start of final assembly is proceeding ahead of the 767-based aircraft's critical design review, which will finalise its engineering blueprints.

 

The debut flight of the full KC-46 should occur in the first quarter of 2015, Howitt says. But the 767-2C airframe, which the tanker is based on, is likely to be flown in the middle of 2014, before being modified for the air force. Boeing is hoping for a so-called milestone C production decision by the third quarter of 2015, he adds.

 

The first operational KC-46 is expected to be delivered in 2016, with Boeing's contract with the USAF requiring that 18 aircraft are operational by 2017. Full-rate production, which should be around 15 per year, will start around the same time, with an eventual total of 179 to be produced for the USAF.

 

Boeing is already talking to international customers about the KC-46, Howitt says. There is a lot of interest in the development and, over 10 years, international sales of between 25 and 50 airframes could be generated, he says.

 

Boeing should have the capacity to start building airframes for international customers in 2018.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 10:55
The Rafale (photo S. Fort)

The Rafale (photo S. Fort)

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 07:20
Amid Big F-35 Deal, P&W Sees Challengesc

May. 26, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Pratt & Whitney has signed a $1 billion contract for the fifth batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engines and expects to sign a sixth contract shortly, according to the company’s head of military engines.

 

The low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract with the US military includes 35 jet engines — 32 for installation and three spares — as well as sustainment, support and spare parts. The engines will power 22 of the F-35As for the US Air Force, three of the jump-jet F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and seven F-35C carrier variants for the Navy. Through the first four LRIPs, Pratt has delivered 98 engines to the F-35 program.

 

“We were able to close the LRIP-5 contract for about a 6 percent price reduction relative to LRIP-4, so we continue to get good cost reductions,” Bennett Croswell, president of Pratt’s military engines division, told Defense News last week.

 

As part of the contract, Pratt has taken on 100 percent risk on cost overruns, a move Croswell described as proof “we have confidence in our ability to hit the cost targets.” He also said that taking on risk may facilitate the signing of LRIP-6, which he hoped would be done “soon.”

 

During the interview, Croswell highlighted Pratt’s “War on Costs,” a 2009 plan to bring the price of the high-tech F-135 engine down to that of the older F-119 design, despite significant upgrades to thrust and weight.

 

Since the delivery of the first production representative engine, costs on the F-135 have dropped by 40 percent, Croswell said. Those cost savings are also seen in the contract for LRIP-5, which saw a 6 percent drop in cost from LRIP-4.

 

Despite two well-publicized engine problems this year, Croswell said he believes the relationship between Pratt and the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) is strong.

 

“I think we have a great relationship with [Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the head of the JPO], and as long as we continue to deliver, I suspect we will continue to have that relationship.”

 

In January, the Marine Corps’ F-35B variant was grounded following an engine problem during a test flight. The source of that problem was later identified as an improperly crimped line in the fueldraulic system. Nine days after the jump-jet variants were cleared to resume flights, the entire JSF fleet was grounded when a crack was discovered in one of the blades in the Pratt-designed engine. The following week, Bogdan heavily criticized both Pratt and Lockheed for “trying to squeeze every nickel” out of the program.

 

“I think the JPO customer is satisfied with how we handled the situation. Gen. Bogdan makes great points. He thinks that contractors should accept more risk on the program. I agree with him,” Croswell said, pointing to Pratt’s internal investment of $60 million of its own money as an example of how the company has taken on some of that risk.

 

Engine Sales

 

Despite the movement on F-135 sales, Croswell said the company knows there are challenges on the horizon.

 

A series of decisions to push F-35 purchases to the right has halved expected F-135 sales since 2009. Combined with the end of production on the F-119 and slowed sales on the F-117 and F-100 engines, the company is facing a production gap Croswell referred to as a “bathtub.”

 

He expects a total of 75 engine sales in 2015. While that number should increase in later years as F-35 sales grow, it leaves the company in a tricky situation of planning for the future while in a low period.

 

To help bridge that gap, Croswell said Pratt is looking for ways to use existing engine designs for new platforms.

 

“A lot of the newer platforms that are being considered for the future, they’re not going to buy a thousand of them,” he said. “So across the board, we need to find ways to deliver good propulsion capability without large development costs. So we are looking at any off-the-shelf engine we have. We’ll look at our whole suite of engine capability and see what meets the future requirements.”

 

As an example, he pointed to the Navy’s X-47B unmanned aircraft, which runs on an F-100 jet engine, an older model designed for the Air Force’s F-15 and F-16 fighters.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 07:20
Congress orders F-35 Software Plan

May 24th, 2013 by Kris Osborn - defensetech.org

 

Congress ordered the Pentagon to establish an independent team consisting of subject matter experts to review the development of software for the Joint Strike Fighter program.

 

The House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee asked the Pentagon to submit a report by March 3, 2014 as part of the committee’s markup of the 2014 defense budget. The F-35 software program has served as one of the largest challenges for program engineers to keep on schedule.

 

“The committee continues to support the F-35 development and procurement program, and believes a software development review by the Department will ensure that the F-35 program remains on schedule to provide a fifth generation capability in support of our national security strategy,” the Congressional language states.

 

The JSF program developmental strategy is, in part, grounded upon a series of incremental software “drops” — each one adding new capability to the platform. In total, there are more than 10 billion individual lines of code for the system, broken down into increments and “blocks,” F-35 program office officials explained.

 

“Software development remains a focus area of the joint program office. We have a solid baseline and we need to be able to execute on that,” said Joe DellaVedova, F-35 program office spokesman.

 

Software drop 2B is undergoing flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md; software Block 2B builds upon the enhanced simulated weapons, data link capabilities and early fused sensor integration of the Block 2A software drop, DellaVedova added.

 

“With Block 2B you can provide basic close air support and fire an AMRAAM {Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile}, JDAM [Joint Direct Attack Munition] or GBU 12 [laser-guided aerial bomb]. This allows the plane to become a very capable weapons system,” he said.

 

Overall, DellaVedova said the F-35 program office has been making substantial progress. Software drop 3I, which is a technical refresh of Block 2B, is slated to by ready by 2016.

 

“This is complicated and labor intensive work but this has leadership focus from industry and government to deliver on the promise of the F-35. With its stealth and its enhanced situational awareness, the F-35 will provide a backbone for our forces for generations to come. Our progress continues at a slow and steady pace and we are focused on completing things within the schedule and budget we’ve been given.”

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 05:35
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will base a squadron of agile Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft in Thajavur, making it the first fighter squadron in southern India. - photo by g4sp

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will base a squadron of agile Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft in Thajavur, making it the first fighter squadron in southern India. - photo by g4sp

May 27, 2013 ibnlive.in.com (Press Trust of India)

 

Thanjavur: Defence Minister AK Antony on Monday will inaugurate an airbase here to house squadron of IAFs lethal Su-30 MKI combat aircraft, making it the first fighter squadron in south India that will help maintain vigil over the Indian Ocean region.

 

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will base a squadron of agile Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft in Thajavur, making it the first fighter squadron in southern India, with a view to keep strategic vigil over the Indian Ocean and cover up country's southern flank up to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, IAF officials said here.

 

The IAF will keep deploying its regular fighter and transport aircraft detachments here since the runway and other facilities are in place here now. This would also be the first of fighter squadrons under the Southern Air Command of the IAF at any place in southern India.

 

The IAF has upgraded the two runways at the airbase, which has been existing for several decades and used extensively for relief operations during the tsunami and flood situations in Tamil Nadu in the recent past.

 

The inauguration of the base will see the landing and take off of the SU-30s but the full squadron of these aircraft including 16 to 18 jets will be completed by 2017-18 only.

 

The Sukhois were inducted into the IAF at Lohegaon airbase in 2002. Thereafter, they were deployed at Bareilly, followed by Tezpur, Chhabua, Jodhpur, Bhatinda and Halwara. Pune and Bareilly already have housed two Sukhoi squadrons each, while Tezpur, Chabua, Halwara and Jodhpur have a squadron each. So far India has inducted over 170 of the 272 Sukhoi-30 MKIs contracted from Russia.

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26 mai 2013 7 26 /05 /mai /2013 11:20
X-47B Touch And Go

5/17/2013 Strategy Page

 

ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 17, 2013) An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). This is the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter

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25 mai 2013 6 25 /05 /mai /2013 16:35
Interview with Chief Architect of the JF-17 Thunder

 

25 May 2013 terminalx.org

 

People's Daily, Beijing, May 23 (Reporter Yang Mu) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang came to his official visit to Pakistan on May 22nd. He arrived at Islamabad, at the Nur Khan air field. Earlier, when Li Keqiang's plane entered Pakistani airspace, the Pakistan Air Force sent six JF-17 fighters to escort the Premier. On stepping out of the door of the airplane, an additional overpass was made over the airport. When the news of this came out, it immediately aroused worldwide attention.


JF-17 is made by the China Aviation Industry Group CATIC, Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation and Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute, among other organizations, in joint development with the Pakistan Air Force. The JF-17 is a new generation of single engined, single-seat, multi-role light fighters and is an important cooperation between the two countries. It is known as a successful example of cooperation between China and Pakistan. Pakistan Air Force named it the JF-17 Thunder.


On the afternoon of May 23rd, a People's Daily reporter Yang interviewed the "Fierce Dragon" fighter's Chief Architect.


Reporter: As the designer of the JF-17, how did you feel when Premier Li Keqiang's plane was escorted by the JF-17 when visiting Pakistan?


Yang: Prime Minister's visit being escorted by Pakistani JF-17 fighter jets reflects on the political importance of the visit and also the close relationship between China and Pakistan. As the developer we are very proud. A full escort is pretty spectacular and we read the news and saw the pictures. Pakistan sent 6 JF-17s, reflecting the importance of the JF-17 in the Pakistan Air Force.

Reporter: What improvements are to be made on the JF-17 in the future?

Yang: As a fighter, sensor suite and strike capability is the force multiplier. We will focus on improving the JF-17 in terms of information perception, system integration capabilities and weaponry, making it a better third generation aircraft. [Chinese 3rd Generation = Western 4th Generation]

Reporter: Are there plans to develop a two-seater JF-17?

Yang: We have plans to develop two-seater, and there are plans to develop series models.

Reporter: Will the stealth performance further improve?

Yang: The JF-17 itself is not a full stealth aircraft, but the design is considered low observable because of such factors as a front edge of the wing sweep angle, S bend inlet, etc., which are better for stealth. In addition, the JF-17 among third generation aircraft, in the head is relatively small, whose stealth is good. The future will take low-cost stealth measures to further improve the stealth ability.

Reporter: What is the status of the JF-17's engine development?

Yang: The engine of the JF-17 fighter and other major national engine developments is going according to plan and has made considerable achievements.

Reporter: Are there any plans for improving air refueling capability in the "Fierce Dragon" jets?

Yang: Within a year or two, we will see the air refueling capability of the "Fierce Dragon" aircraft in Pakistan.


[Refined English translation from http://world.people.com.cn/n/2013/0524/c349424-21595064.html]

 

 

 

 

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25 mai 2013 6 25 /05 /mai /2013 12:55
EADS celebrates 60 years of Patrouille de France (c) EADS

EADS celebrates 60 years of Patrouille de France (c) EADS

 Provence, France,  25 May 2013 EADS

 

Patrouille de France, the legendary French flight demonstration team celebrated its 60th anniversary today at its base in Salon-de-Provence. The Patrouille de France boasts a rich heritage of spectacular flight demonstrations and has enthused millions of spectators and aviation enthusiasts worldwide at air shows and other events over the last sixty years.

EADS is proud to have played a part in the squadron’s legacy and to take part in the celebrations, by participating in the APPAF display with the Fouga CM 170 “Magister” F-AZZP, the team’s main display aircraft for 16 years. The twin-jet aircraft was also used by the French Air Force for regular pilot training.

The Fouga Magister was replaced by the Alpha Jet as the main flight display aircraft in 1980. It made its final appearance in a Patrouille de France display on 16 September 1980 at Salon-de-Provence, France.

Note for photo editors: A high resolution version of the photograph can be downloaded from the Media Centre of the EADS website, www.eads.com/media

Video: http://youtu.be/hxoqXIkdCew

About EADS

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 19:50
Crédits Northrop Grumman

Crédits Northrop Grumman

24/05/2013 Fabrice Gliszczynski – LaTribune.fr

 

Les deux Airbus ACJ319 (version jet d'affaires des A319) utilisés par la chancelière Angela Merkel sur les vols court-courriers seront équipés d'un système de protection contre les attaques de missiles. Les appareils disposeront d'un système de « contre-mesures » conçu par Northrop Grumman.

 

Les deux Airbus ACJ319 (version jet d'affaires des A319) utilisés par la chancelière Angela Merkel pour des vols court et moyen-courriers (elle dispose d'autres appareils notamment un A340 pour les long-couriers) seront équipés d'un système de protection contre les attaques de missiles. Les appareils disposeront d'un système de « contre-mesures » conçu par Northrop Grumman, a indiqué le département de la Défense américain, cité par Bloomberg. « Lorsqu'un missile est tiré, il est autoguidé par le rayonnement infrarouge de l'avion. Si ce dernier tourne, le missile le suit. Un système de contre-mesures est un système électronique qui perturbe le rayonnement infrarouge de l'avion que le missile ne comprend pas », explique un expert interrogé par La Tribune.

 

Un contrat à 26 millions de dollars

 

L'installation sur les avions allemands sera finalisée d'ici au 31 mars 2016. Le contrat s'élève à 26 millions de dollars. L'A330 du chef de l'Etat français dispose lui aussi de systèmes de contre-mesures. Interrogé, Airbus n'a pas fait de commentaires. Northrop Grumman a déjà signé des contrats similaires pour équiper les appareils des chefs d'Etat omanais et qatarien. L'Arabie saoudite ou le Maroc ont également un tel équipement. Ce système peut déjouer tout type de missiles, selon le groupe industriel.

 

En 2002, deux missiles tirés depuis le sol avaient visé un Boeing B757 de la compagnie charter israélienne Arkia Israeli Airlines lors de son décollage de Mombasa, au Kénya. Le tir avait manqué sa cible et l'avion avait poursuivi sa route. En 2003, un Airbus A300 de DHL avait été touché par un missile sol-air alors qu'il se trouvait à moins de 3000 mètres d'altitude, et avait dû se poser en urgence à Bagdad

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 17:50
Crédits Airbus Military

Crédits Airbus Military

 

16.05.2013 EADS

 

The second production Airbus Military A400M has successfully completed its first engine runs as it begins final preparation for its maiden flight later this month.

The aircraft, known as MSN8, is now undergoing taxying trials outside the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain.

Airbus Military expects to complete four A400M aircraft in 2013 and will deliver MSN8 to the French Air Force in the third quarter of the year

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:45
SU-25 Ukrainien avec une partie de l'armement qu'il peut emporter (crédit : Wikimedia)

SU-25 Ukrainien avec une partie de l'armement qu'il peut emporter (crédit : Wikimedia)

 

24 Mai 2013 par La Rédaction - enderi.fr

 

L’Ukraine a récemment vendu au Niger deux SU-25 Frogfoot, tirés de ses stocks de guerre froide. La France, qui aurait participé au financement de cet achat conséquent pour un pays comme le Niger, voit d’un très bon œil le renfort de moyens aériens locaux dans sa lutte sahélienne contre les mouvances terroristes, particulièrement dans le contexte des attaques sur les sites d’Areva.

 

Les deux avions font la fierté de la petite mais vaillante armée de l’air nigérienne, qui jusque là ne comptait que quelques avions de transports et quelques hélicoptères de manœuvre. Les deux SU-25 (portant les numéros d’immatriculation 5U-MCC et 5U-MCF, 5U étant le préfixe OACI du Niger naturellement) seront les premiers véritables avions de chasse de cette armée de l’air. Ils sont vraisemblablement arrivés au Niger en février, car les premières informations à leur sujet remontent à cette date. Ils ont très certainement été livrés début février en toute discrétion, sous la forme de kits apportés par avions gros porteurs, en même temps que l’outillage et les pièces nécessaires à la maintenance. Ces avions proviennent sans doute de la 4070ème Base de Réserve ukrainienne qui, jusqu’à une date récente, stockait sous cocon une trentaine de SU-25 en version de base.

Quelques exemplaires de cette version originelle du SU-25, aussi appelée Frogfoot-A en codification OTAN, ont déjà été vendus par l’Ukraine à la Macédoine (4 appareils en 2001, dont 1 SU-25UB biplace), à la Guinée équatoriale (4 exemplaires entre 2007 et 2009 dont 2 SU-25UB) et au Tchad (6 ou 7 exemplaires entre 2008 et 2010 dont au moins 2 SU-25UB). Les appareils destinés au Niger ont d’abord suscité l’intérêt de la République Démocratique du Congo en 2012, qui a finalement renoncé à l’achat et créé une opportunité pour le Niger. Bien que cet investissement ait été qualifié « d’urgent » par le Niger, il n’a pas de lien avec l’offensive terrestre française au Mali, état donné que la commande a été passée à l’été 2012. Par contre, il découle directement de l’aggravation de la situation sécuritaire au Mali dont la France continue de faire les frais à travers les otages enlevés sur le site d’Arlit il y aura bientôt trois ans. A l’instar de ce qui se passe chez les autres clients du SU-25 en Afrique, le Niger va très probablement confier le pilotage et l’entretien de ces avions à des contractors ukrainiens, connus pour officier de la même façon au Tchad ou en Guinée équatoriale. Mais à la différence du Tchad, où des pilotes tchadiens sont formés à prendre la relève des pilotes ukrainiens, le Niger ne dispose pas de version biplace permettant une formation dans de bonnes conditions. Les avions nigériens vont donc rester vraisemblablement longtemps entre les mains de mercenaires coûteux, peu prompts à prendre des risques et dont le comportement au combat peut être sujet à caution.

Mais malgré les réticences que peut susciter l’emploi de mercenaires, le Su-25 est probablement le meilleur choix possible pour une armée africaine. C’est un avion rustique spécialisé dans l’attaque au sol et l’appui des forces terrestres. Il est le pendant russe de l’A-10 américain, bien que son design et sa masse le rapproche plus de l’YA-9 de Northrop, concurrent malheureux de l’A-10 lors de l’appel d’offre. La ressemblance est d’ailleurs suffisamment prononcée pour se demander s’il n’y a pas eu migration discrète des schémas de l’YA-9 de l’autre côté du rideau de fer. Quoiqu’il en soit le SU-25 est un biréacteur subsonique, avec environ 800 km de rayon d’action (à pleine charge avec deux réservoirs supplémentaires), ce qui est relativement faible notamment dans les immensités sahéliennes. Ce rayon d’action limité est compensé par la facilité avec laquelle l’avion peut être déployé sur des pistes sommaires avancées, avec un minimum de logistique : sur de courtes périodes, le SU-25 ne nécessite pas d’infrastructures particulières, à part une piste d’une longueur suffisante. Une équipe d’une demi-douzaine de mécaniciens, équipée d’un outillage rudimentaire et de quelques pièces détachées permet une utilisation opérationnelle de plusieurs semaines sur des bases sommaires. En termes d’armement, le SU-25 est équipé du redoutable canon GSh-30-2, canon de 30 mm automatique à deux tubes fixes, mais avec la particularité d’avoir une seule culasse. Ce canon tire toutes les munitions en calibre 30x165mm, dont certaines contiennent de l’uranium appauvri. Il se retrouve également sur les MI-24P, facilement reconnaissable du fait des deux tubes visibles sur le côté droit du fuselage. Il est également réputé pour être particulièrement rustique. Bien que pouvant tirer quasiment aux mêmes cadences que le canon GAU-8A de l’A-10 des munitions aux effets équivalents, on notera qu’il pèse 20 fois moins lourd : à peine 115 kilos hors munitions. Avec 4 tonnes de charge utile réparties sur 11 points d’emport, le SU-25 peut embarquer une bonne partie de l’inventaire soviétique des munitions air-sol, mais il est utilisé de manière privilégiée en Afrique avec des bombes lisses de 250 ou 500 kg de type RBK ou OFAB (voir article sur les bombes syriennes pour plus de détails sur les bombes russes). Ce sont des munitions non guidées, à effet de zone ou effet de souffle. Aucun détail n’a pour l’instant filtré sur les munitions que pourraient emporter les SU-25, sachant que les Nigériens ne dispose pas de stocks de telles armes, en théorie, n’ayant eu jusque là aucun aéronef pour en utiliser.

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:40
L’ANSAT-U commandé par la force aérienne russe pour l’entraînement de ses pilotes (photo : Kazan)

L’ANSAT-U commandé par la force aérienne russe pour l’entraînement de ses pilotes (photo : Kazan)

MOSCOU, 22 mai - RIA Novosti

 

L'armée de l'air russe n’achètera pas la nouvelle version des hélicoptères Ansat, équipés d'un nouveau système de contrôle numérique permettant de diriger l'appareil grâce à un levier électronique. Les systèmes mécaniques actuels fonctionnent avec des câbles et des systèmes hydrauliques qui relient le "manche à balai" aux dispositifs de contrôle, écrit mercredi le quotidien Izvestia.

 

Pour l'instant seuls les avions comme les derniers Airbus, Boeing, Tupolev et Sukhoi Superjet sont équipés de tels systèmes - mais ce n'est pas le cas des hélicoptères civils. L'usine d'hélicoptères de Kazan a été la première à installer un système numérique sur ses appareils.

 

Cependant les échecs sont nombreux. Le Comité intergouvernemental de l'aviation (MAK) a d’abord suspendu le certificat autorisant l'exploitation commerciale de l'appareil et aujourd'hui l'armée a renoncé aux hélicoptères "numériques".

 

Les essais des Ansat équipés de systèmes numériques se sont déroulés en 2012 dans le Centre de formation et de reconversion du personnel de l'armée de l'air de Torjok.

 

D'après l'un des pilotes de ce centre, le système numérique s'est avéré sensible à l'humidité et tombait régulièrement en panne – plus de 30 avaries ont été constatées.

 

"Vu la mauvaise fiabilité du système nous avons seulement effectué quelques vols au-dessus de l'aérodrome, c'est tout", explique une source proche du dossier.

 

Actuellement, tous les Ansat numériques ont été envoyés à l'Ecole d'hélicoptères de Syzran.

 

On devrait y poursuivre leur exploitation pour la formation pratique des élèves-officiers.

 

"L'un des avantages des commandes numériques est qu’on peut les régler pour imiter n'importe quel appareil, autrement dit il est possible d'imiter le contrôle de plusieurs engins à la fois sur un seul hélicoptère. A l'époque c'est cette particularité qui avait intéressé l'armée de l'air pour le choix d'un nouvel hélicoptère d'entraînement", explique un représentant de l'état-major de l'armée de l'air.

 

Toutefois, il souligne que l'armée de l'air achètera les hélicoptères de transport Ansat avec un système hydraulique classique. La porte-parole de l'usine de Kazan Vlada Krotova a expliqué que les essais de l'hélicoptère Ansat-U ont été autorisés par le chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air Alexandre Zeline le 18 octobre 2009.

 

"Après les essais, l'hélicoptère a été recommandé pour être mis en service. Les essais de contrôle se sont terminés en 2012 et l'acte a été signé le 12 août 2012", explique Krotova.

 

Elle ajoute que la majeure partie des remarques faites par les militaires au cours des essais avaient été prises en compte. Toutefois, le certificat d'aptitude de vol pour la version numérique civile de l’Ansat a été suspendu par le MAK car "nulle part dans le monde les hélicoptères civils à commandes numériques n'ont été certifiés et les normes fondamentales des systèmes de contrôle numériques sur les hélicoptères dans la pratique mondiale n'ont pas encore été approuvées.

 

L'expert militaire indépendant Anton Lavrov a déclaré que les systèmes numériques de contrôle des hélicoptères étaient à la pointe de l'industrie. Les plus grands acteurs du marché travaillent activement dessus.

 

"Ce système est plus léger, prend moins de place et permet d'améliorer la maniabilité de l'hélicoptère. Mais il est plus difficile d'entretien et plus cher, il demande une qualité irréprochable de tous les éléments", a expliqué Lavrov.

 

Selon lui, il n'existe dans le monde encore aucun hélicoptère civil à commandes numériques qui soit autorisé à transporter des passagers.

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