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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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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:35
photo Gordon_Zammit

photo Gordon_Zammit

LEIDEN, Netherlands, May 24 (UPI)

 

With South Korea edging closer to deciding on a contractor for its $7.3 billion KF-X fighter program, a European competitor is dangling a new carrot to its bid.

 

EADS, based in the Netherlands and part of the consortium that builds the Eurofighter Typhoon, says if the aircraft is chosen to replace South Korea's antiquated F-4 and F-5 fleets, it will invest $2 billion "and its technology in the KF-X to help Korea to become a fighter jet producer."

 

The announcement follows that of Eurofighter, which promised to assemble 53 of 60 aircraft to be produced in South Korea. It's estimated the local assembly would lead to creation of 50,000 jobs.

 

EADS has also said it would build a maintenance repair and overhaul facility for the aircraft in South Korea and an aerospace software center.

 

"If Korea chooses Eurofighter as its next generation fighter jet and EADS invests more than 2 trillion KRW [$2 billion] in the KF-X program, it will bring bigger economic effect than the SURION and Korea will be the fifth country [that] produces Eurofighter, high-level fighter jets," EADS said.

 

"It will also create strong political and military ties with Europe."

 

SURION is a Korean utility helicopter developed by Korea Aerospace Industries with technology obtained from Eurocopter, an EADS subsidiary headquartered in France.

 

"The SURION raised Korea to the 11th helicopter manufacturer in the world," EADS said, and created 25,000 jobs.

 

In its news release, EADS emphasized its business ties to the country. KAI, it noted, has supplied parts for Airbus aircraft since 1998.

 

Airbus, located in France, is another EADS subsidiary.

 

Other competitors for the KF-X contract are U.S. companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Lockheed is offering its F-35 Lightning II fighter while Boeing is offering its F-15 Silent Eagle.

 

A news report from Seoul says the country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration expects to make a final decision on a contractor next June.

 

"The price negotiations have been completed and we don't plan to have another round of negotiations," DAPA spokesman Baek Yoon-hyeong told a news briefing. "We plan to conduct the auction within June."

 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency reports the South Korean government has requested possible procurement of weapons in support of a "potential Direct Commercial Sale" of F-15 SE aircraft.

 

The package, if approved by Congress and if it goes through, would include associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.

 

The deal would be worth $823 million.

 

Among items requested: Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, Joint Directed Attack Munition Tail Kits, small diameter bombs, general purpose bombs, AIM-9X-2 (Blk II) tactical missiles, containers, missile support and test equipment, provisioning, spare and repair parts.

 

"The proposed sale will provide the ROK with aircraft weapons for the F-15SE," the agency said. "These aircraft and weapons will provide the ROK with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces."

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:30
Elbit Hermes 450 UAV – photo Elbit Systems

Elbit Hermes 450 UAV – photo Elbit Systems

20/05/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

According to newly-published data, Israel has been the world's number one UAVs exporter since the mid-2000s.

 

Released by business consultants Frost & Sullivan, the study notes that, among Israel's arms exports over the past eight years, UAVs constitute almost ten per cent. In 2008 alone, the country supplied $150m worth of drones to foreign customers while, in the following year, no less than $650m worth were delivered overseas. Then, in 2010, Israeli UAV exports reached an all-time high of $979 million.

 

Since then, they've decreased to reach last year's $260 million total but that doesn't account for upgrade contracts, like that signed with India in 2012. Incorporating upgrades into the mix would boost Israel's annual UAV export figures by approximately $100m, the Frost & Sullivan study suggests.

 

Israel's UAV Exports

 

Between 2005 and 2012, Israel's UAV exports were strongly regional in nature. Approximately 50 per cent of them went to customers in Europe, while a further third went to customers in the Asia-Pacific region. Of the remainder, South American customers accounted for circa 11 per cent, while the United States' Israeli UAV imports made up less than four per cent of the exports total.

 

Thanks to continued foreign interest and some major deals-in-waiting, Israel's UAV exports are forecast to grow in years ahead, Frost & Sullivan's researchers conclude.

 

Some of the best-known Israeli UAV designs are the Hermes 450 and the huge Eitan. Manufactured by Elbit Systems, the Hermes 450 was introduced in 1998 and can carry out reconnaissance and surveillance missions lasting some 20 hours. It's in service with many armed forces including the Brazilian Air Force, the Mexican Air Force and the British Army. Meantime, the Israeli Air Force has taken the Hermes 450's role further, adding a pair of missiles to convert it into an armed unmanned weapon.

 

Israel Aerospace Industries' Eitan MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) UAV is as big as a commercial airliner, weighs around a tonne and also has about a 20 hour endurance. Developed from the IAI Heron, the Eitan first flew in 2004 and was formally commissioned into Israeli Air Force service in 2010.

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:25
La Russie va moderniser les MiG-29 du Pérou

24 mai 2013 Info-Aviation

 

Le 20 mai, Konstantin Biryulin, le chef adjoint du Service de la coopération militaro-technique fédérale de la Russie, a annoncé que son pays allait signer un contrat de modernisation des MiG-29 péruviens d’ici la fin du mois de mai 2013.

 

En 1997, la Biélorussie a vendu 20 MiG-29S au Pérou. Onze ans plus tard, le Pérou a signé un contrat avec la Russie pour moderniser huit avions à la norme MiG-29SMT. Ce travail a été achevé en 2012. Il reste donc une dizaine de MiG à moderniser.

 

Le Pérou est traditionnellement tourné vers la Russie pour se fournir en armes et pas seulement pour des avions de combat. Lima négocie également pour l’achat de camions Kamaz, de chars T-90, d’hélicoptères Mi-17 et des systèmes de défense aérienne à basse altitude Pantsir.

 

En février 2013, l’Espagne aurait offert de vendre au Pérou 18 chasseurs Eurofighter d’occasion pour environ 45 millions d’euros l’unité.

 

Le problème du Pérou, c’est que leur flotte de chasseurs est vieillissante. Lima a déjà dépensé 106 millions de dollars pour moderniser 8 MiG-29, mais la facture sera plus élevée pour moderniser les 9-11 autres restants. Une autre dépense de 140 millions de dollars a servi à remettre en état leurs Mirage 2000, et 9 des 12 unités ont terminé le programme, mais ils sont encore bien en deçà des capacités du Mirage 2000-5. Quoiqu’il en soit, ni les MiG ni les Mirage ne sont prévus pour durer après 2025.

 

Le gouvernement du Pérou envisage donc d’autres options comme l’Eurofighter Typhoon, le Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, le Dassault Rafale, le Gripen de Saab, le MiG-35 ou le Sukhoi Su-30/35. Mais les chasseurs russes sont les seuls avions compatibles avec les stocks actuels de missiles du Pérou.

 

Les Eurofighter de l’Espagne affichent une moyenne de 600 heures de vol, ce qui signifie qu’ils pourraient voler encore 20 ans, voire plus avec au taux d’utilisation modérée. Mais les premières versions avaient des capacités d’attaque au sol très limitées.

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:20
MQ-4C Triton UAV photo Northrop Grumman

MQ-4C Triton UAV photo Northrop Grumman

 

 

23/05/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

First unveiled in mid-2012, Northrop Grumman's MQ-4C Triton UAV has now made its first flight. Carried out on 22 May 2013, the first Triton UAV flight lasted approximately 90 minutes and serve to validate the drone's autonomous flight control systems.

 

Triton is a specialised surveillance UAV with a 24 hour endurance and a 2,000 nautical mile field of coverage. Equipped with an array of state-of-the-art sensors, it can spot and identify ships whilst loitering ten miles above the surface of the Earth.

 

Triton has a 130 foot wingspan, making it wider than some commercial airliners. Thanks to its high-performance engine technology, supplemented by other aerodynamic elements, Triton can undertake 11,500 mile sorties without the need to refuel.

 

Triton First Flight

 

"Triton is the most advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aircraft system ever designed for use across vast ocean areas and coastal regions", deputy Triton programme director at Northrop Grumman, Mike Mackey, explained in a company press release on the UAV's first flight. "Through a cooperative effort with the Navy and our industry partners, we successfully demonstrated the flight control systems that allow Triton to operate autonomously. We couldn't be prouder of the entire team for this achievement."

 

"First flight represents a critical step in maturing Triton's systems before operationally supporting the Navy's maritime surveillance mission around the world", added Naval Air Systems Command's Triton programme manager, Captain James Hoke. "Replacing our aging surveillance aircraft with a system like Triton will allow us to monitor ocean areas significantly larger with greater persistence."

 

MQ-4C Triton Naval UAV

 

Further MQ-4C Triton naval UAV test flights will now be undertaken in coming weeks before the prototype is delivered to NAS Patuxent River in late 2013 to begin a new series of trials.

 

Just last week, Australia emerged as a potential Triton purchaser, with the country's Defence Minister Stephen Smith announcing a desire to acquire "unmanned aircraft capable of undertaking broad-area maritime surveillance and fleet overwatch."

 

In Royal Australian Air Force service, the Triton would partner up with the Boeing P-8A Poseidon to create a double-edged maritime patrol capability.

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 16:20
Triton's First Flight

5/22/2013 Strategy Page

 

PALMDALE, Calif. (May 22, 2013) The Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft system completed its first flight from the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. The one an a half hour flight successfully demonstrated control systems that allow Triton to operate autonomously. Triton is specially designed to fly surveillance missions up to 24 hours at altitudes of more than 10 miles, allowing coverage out to 2,000 nautical miles. The system's advanced suite of sensors can detect and automatically classify different types of ships. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Bob Brown

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 12:50
Demand Consolidation Is the First Priority

 

Brussels | May 16, 2013 European Defence Agency
 

Gert Runde is the Secretary General of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). In this interview he shares his views on how Europe’s defence industry can retain capabilities and profitability during challenging economic times.

 

What do you believe should be done to strengthen and enhance the European defence industrial base? How can institutions such as the EDA contribute effectively to this process?

 

The core role of the EDA is to help governments attain their defence objectives by outlining the efficiency gains that could be a result of doing things together. But Member States all come from different horizons and do not in all cases have homogenous security and defence policy goals. So convergence has to be created in a pragmatic way. Mostly, and particularly in this field, Europe is forging common approaches through dealing with crisis situations.  And the European Union does not see itself as a prime military power and understandably prefers to seek foreign and security policy benefits by using “soft-power” approaches. However we seem to be entering a period where we are witnessing a rising tension between not being a prime military power yet still being able to support doing the things we need and want to do to maintain a credible European foreign and security policy posture.

Surely the current one-by-one policy where we shop around between ourselves for assets during times of crisis – such as military transport aircraft – is not an optimised process.  These crises can give us some guidelines to the future but we need to consider the equipment implications of these events becoming more prolonged and difficult, with increased demand for equipment. We need to consider what exactly we should be doing jointly and whether we have the technology investment in place for the longer term. Or whether we just go down commercial routes, that is, look for what is available, accepting the inevitable dependencies that this would create.

The degree to which Member States achieve demand consolidation though harmonization, coordination and synchronization of their individual procurement initiatives is key to the preservation of a healthy defence industrial base in Europe.

Member States have to define those defence areas which they need to retain under their direct influence to serve an immediate national interest and then agree collaborative approaches for the rest. There should be room within the EDA for this collaborative process to start and for governments, whether it is two or 27, to identify similar needs and discuss how to achieve the capabilities together. A key issue is agreeing a common timescale, to coordinate and synchronise national budgets. You can then develop an optimised investment plan from research and technology to actual procurement. Does this mean a single procurement agency for Europe? Maybe in the very long term but we can go a long way in the short term to synchronise approaches. We know this has provided benefits in the past. For example, with the Meteor air-to-air missile programme governments drew up common specifications, including those for the interfaces, and agreed to place orders in the same timeframe, but individually. This allowed the contractor the opportunity to benefit from a larger production run, with an appropriate reduced level of cost to the customer.

We see no reasonable prospect in the foreseeable future of the EU itself becoming a significant source of demand for defence goods and services - the fundamental challenges and responsibilities continue to reside in Member States. But we think the full potential of the EDA is not yet recognised by Member States and the Agency will have to market itself more proactively.

Industry was very much in support of the creation of the EDA and, although we do not in all questions share identical views, now more than ever we need to work more closely together. The EDA’s role for industry is essential but the Agency has to focus on speeding up the schedule under which cooperative initiatives are being delivered, to drill down into the wide process of pooling and sharing and identify more initiatives that are directly relevant to underpin defence industrial capabilities in Europe. Time is of the essence, now more than ever.

Surely we also need a well regulated European defence market but it cannot be created by regulation alone. Even if we have the same transparent rules for procurement and competition, without demand consolidation fragmentation endures. And who does that help? 

 

Is Europe investing enough in research and technology (R&T) and if not, what can be done to reverse the decline?

 

Our mastery of technologies is an essential part of our industrial capability portfolio. Much of this capability has been generated by government investment from research to procurement, and governments should have an overwhelming interest in maintaining the competitiveness of “their” industries. But the paradigm is changing. We are –we hope – moving towards a European, rather than a national defence market, and additionally there is a real benefit for our Member States if companies can maintain or enhance their global competitive edge.  If industry is competitive in Europe, it will be competitive globally and vice-versa.

In former times, governments had their national industries’ interests at heart, but if you widen the procurement circle to include other participating governments, those same companies need to be sure the new government customers will also respect their justifiable interests, in particular in the domain of Intellectual Property rights (IPR). Each company’s IPR portfolio after all is a key ingredient in its global competitiveness.

In 2006 EU defence ministers in the EDA Steering Board agreed they should increase the percentage of research and technology in defence budgets from 1.6% to 2.0%. But EDA's figures for 2010 showed it has fallen to 1.2%, and today the figure is certainly lower. This does indeed represent structural under-investment. There is no doubt that the accelerating and enduring erosion of defence industrial capabilities will have serious consequences for the security and defence policies that they help to sustain.  What may be even worse is that there is no common view of which are the essential capabilities that will be needed over the next two decades;  without this view it’s impossible to say whether, if you lose capabilities, this will result in a dangerous situation or not.

Defence  research and technology investment is undertaken by Member States in view of a capability need and is usually full-funded because they have an upcoming capability need and there’s nothing in the portfolio to meet that need. So they work with industry to create that capability. This process will continue but we now face important questions of affordability. Member States will increasingly have to coordinate this with other Member States – though there will still be instances of some governments undertaking work on an exclusively national basis – and coordination will typically be done through the EDA. This is an EDA capability, which is currently under-exploited in our view, especially for Category B programmes. This is a valuable resource and Member States should have more recognition of them and be more open to coordinate their approaches.

It is clear that not all Member States have gone down the process of understanding what they want to share and what they don’t want to share –from both research and procurement points of view.

Across the institutional divide the EDA and the European Commission now have a tool to coordinate their investments in research and technology to prevent waste and duplication. But the Commission undertakes R&T work at a lower- tier technical readiness levels from that of the EDA – the higher you go towards technical readiness the closer you move towards putting that new technology into the defence market and that’s not an area in which the Commission operates. The Commission can help through its framework research agenda with the first steps of technology research that is relevant to future defence capabilities, but not exclusively so, and then it’s up to Member States and the EDA to develop the more defence specific technology. This is a process which needs to be better coordinated; the Commission also funds this work differently and makes the results freely available within the EU and sometimes beyond, which is mostly not appropriate for the defence sector. The related IPR issues are another factor – rules for intellectual property use are different for work which is funded through the grant mechanism (on the Commission’s side) as opposed to defence research investments by the Member States.

 

So how does Europe remain competitive in a market that is increasingly global and in which buyers are becoming far more intelligent in terms of procurement practices?

 

The fall in product demand and increasing under-investment in R&T among European Member States are causing companies to seek market opportunities in more dynamic economies in an effort both to sustain profitable activities and maintain their defence industrial capabilities. But the European defence industrial community can only be sustainably successful in foreign markets if it can demonstrate that there is a national and/or EU home market for their products. Home customer demand has always been a pre-requisite for successful defence exporting.

There are constraints to marketing globally – we cannot do it everywhere and we do not want to do it everywhere. In addition, many potential foreign customers expect genuine cooperation and industrial investment. So, by seeking to exploit foreign markets, we contribute to creating our competitors of the future.

Then there is the problem of technology drain. These new competitors will not want an investment in yesterday’s technologies; they want to create their own capabilities. So suddenly you can create a “reverse dependency” situation where politically acceptable countries acquire technological capabilities on which Europe may soon start to depend. These implications have to be properly thought through.

 

What effect do you forecast from the activities of Commissioner Barnier and the Task Force on defence? How much input has ASD had in these activities?

 

The task force, as we interpret it, is there to help. It wants to help governments achieve the objectives they have set for themselves. While we welcome the Commission’s interest in supporting the defence sector, the actions available to or suggested by the Commission are not central to the underlying problems faced by the industry in the short and medium term, and need to be seen and understood in this context.

 

What do you see as the priorities for European defence in light of the EU Council’s workings? How important will the EU ministerial meeting on defence be at the end of this year?

 

In terms of raising to the level of heads of government the issue that there is more to European security and defence policy than the external aspect, the council meeting is extremely important. We have started our dialogue with the EDA and the Commission to ensure all arguments can be brought forward. We have tried the “bottom-up” approach but to achieve real progress, what Europe really needs now is the “top-down” focus and support by Heads of State and Governments.

 

Consolidation in the European defence industry is a hot topic, with the failed merger of EADS and BAE Systems and rumours regarding mergers within French industry bringing a fresh focus to it. What is your view on the imperative for consolidation and the barriers that stand in the way of making it effective?

 

Our association is not working on consolidation scenarios. These are issues where each company has its own strategy and its own portfolio of interests and those are extremely competition-sensitive. I can only offer you a few general considerations. “Consolidation” has become a buzz-word for journalists and analysts – it covers many underlying issues, which many people who use the word do not probably fully understand.  It is important to understand that consolidation, in particular in our industry sector, is a result of market conditions and political concerns that are fully under control of the EU Member States.

 

More information

  • This interview was first published in the third issue of the European Defence Agency's magazine "European Defence Matters". You can download the magazine here
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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 12:20
Pentagon: F-35 Program Costs Fell $4.5 Billion Last Year

May. 23, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA and MARCUS WEISGERBER – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — The total price tag for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program fell $4.5 billion in 2012, according to a new government report.

 

This marks the first time in the F-35’s checkered history that estimators have lowered the projected cost of the program, the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort.

 

The pricing, unveiled in the Pentagon’s annual selected acquisitions report (SAR), released Thursday, now projects development and procurement of the fifth-generation stealth fighter at just over $391 billion, still tens-of-billions of dollars more than originally projected.

 

The F-35 is just one of 78 DoD acquisition programs reviewed in the SAR. Collectively, the cost of those programs grew $39.6 billion — or 2.44 percent — in 2012.

 

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said it was the “first time in my memory” no program in the SAR breached any of the federal spending caps. If a program breaches a so-called Nunn-McCurdy threshold, it could be canceled unless recertified by DoD.

 

The Pentagon’s Better Buying Power initiative, an acquisition reform effort designed to improve the weapons buying process and get DoD more bang for its buck, has helped improve program performance, according to Kendall.

 

“There is some evidence that things are getting better,” he said during a May 23 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “We’re going in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of room to do better.”

 

Earlier this year, Kendall rolled out an updated version of Better Buying Power, which continues to refine the acquisition process and make programs more affordable.

 

The SAR report breaks the F-35 program into two subprograms — the aircraft, built by Lockheed Martin, and the engines, made by Pratt & Whitney. Costs for the aircraft dropped $4.9 billion, or 1.5 percent, during 2012. At the same time, engine costs rose by $442.1 million, which the report primarily blames on “revised escalation indices.”

 

Overall, the average procurement cost per plane dropped from $109.2 million in 2011 to $104.8 million in 2012. The main driver of the reduction is a drop in the labor rates for Lockheed, Pratt and their subcontractors, as well as revised airframe and subcontractor estimates.

 

Unit Recurring Flyaway costs — the total cost for the platform, engine, mission and vehicles systems and engineering change orders — remained fairly steady, with the average of the F-35A variant dropping from $78.7 million to $76.8 million, and the Navy’s carrier variant rising from $87 million to $88.7 million.

 

The largest drop came from the Marine Corps F-35B jump-jet model, which dropped the average almost $3 million, from $106.4 to $103.6 million.

 

The operations and support (O&S) and cost-per-flying-hour estimates were not updated in the SAR. Instead, those figures will be released in concert with the annual F-35 Defense Acquisition Board (DAB), which is due out in the fall, according to an F-35 Joint Program Office official.

 

The SAR noted that the program triggered an administrative research, development, test and evaluation cost breach this year, but dismissed it as a result of relocating funds rather than a cost overrun.

 

“This is the first year a cost reduction was noted,” Laura Siebert, Lockheed spokeswoman, wrote in a statement. “We will work with the F-35 Joint Program Office to implement further cost saving measures, which will result in additional significant decreases to the total program cost. The top priority of the government/contractor team is to continue to cost-effectively deliver the F-35’s unprecedented 5th generation capabilities to the warfighter.”

 

The F-35 was not the only program to receive good news.

 

The Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite program, a key part of the Pentagon’s secure communications network, saw costs for the fifth and sixth satellites drop $510.4 million, or 14.6 percent, since 2011, a result of “reduced estimate to reflect program efficiencies for production and launch operations.”

 

The Army’s procurement program for the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter also significantly drove costs down, by 11 percent. Those savings came from a combination of multiyear contracting, an acceleration of the procurement schedule and a reduction in engineering change orders

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