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15 juillet 2012 7 15 /07 /juillet /2012 11:30



July 13, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: SES; issued July 13, 2012)


SES Cooperates with Northrop Grumman on New NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance System


LUXEMBOURG --- SES announced today an agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) to supply satellite capacity and services for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system. Operating under NATO command, AGS will be a major data source for NATO's system for Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR).


AGS supports NATO's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements and a broad range of missions, including protecting ground forces, border and maritime security, counter- and anti-terrorism, crisis management, peacekeeping and enforcement, humanitarian assistance and natural disaster relief. SES will deliver Ku-band capacity over the U.S. and Europe, as well as engineering support in the design and development of the system.


As prime contractor for the NATO AGS programme, Northrop Grumman will provide the necessary five Global Hawk air vehicles, supporting systems and payloads. The payloads include the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) radar system capable of detecting and tracking moving objects as well as providing radar imagery of target locations and stationary objects.


Northrop Grumman signed a $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion) contract with NATO and 13 participating nations in May 2012. Besides the air segment, the contract also includes the purchase, initial operation and maintenance of the ground stations, comprised of mobile and transportable units and providing real-time data, intelligence and target identification to commanders within and beyond line of sight.


“The participation of SES in this multi-national, long-term NATO programme is extremely important for us, as it allows us to contribute our fleet and service capabilities and prove the advantages and know-how that we have in the construction and operation of large, international governmental and institutional systems,” said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “We are honoured to meet the alliance’s highest standards and needs, demonstrating our expertise in the highly demanding field of service provision for unmanned aircraft systems with our specialised and highly committed governmental and institutions team at SES.”


SES is a world-leading satellite operator with a fleet of 51 geostationary satellites. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators and business and governmental organisations worldwide.

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11 juillet 2012 3 11 /07 /juillet /2012 16:50
Alenia unveils new MC-27J Spartan at Farnborough 2012

MC-27J aircraft


11 July 2012 airforce-technology.com


Alenia Aermacchi has unveiled a new, armed version of its combat-proven C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter, at the ongoing 2012 Farnborough International Air Show, in the UK.


The newly launched MC-27J airlifter, a roll on/roll off (RO/RO) variant of the C-27J, is designed to assist air and special forces in conducting anti-terrorism operations and evacuation of military personnel and civil populations.


Capable of taking off from and landing on short and/or unprepared strips, the aircraft primarily supports all standard special forces' operations by serving as a platform with quick transfer speed, long operational range and enhanced cargo capacity for the operators, troops and vehicles.


The gunship variant is equipped with the ATK-developed GAU-23 30mm precision weapon kit, which can be employed to fire all types of Nato 30mm x 173 rounds, as well as Super 40 ammunition.


Additional features include a self-contained, modular and scalable palletised weapons system comprising of enhanced electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) targeting sensors, precision guided munitions, advanced communications, a networked mission management and a fire control system, to support a wide range of customer-driven missions.


Designed for easy embarkation and disembarkation through the aircraft's rear ramp, the palletised system permits flexibility in the use of the unaltered aircraft, significantly lowering acquisition costs and development times.


The aircraft is also integrated with a ground command network, to provide the personnel with an intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, apart from the ability to deploy paratroopers in the battlefield.


To be jointly developed and marketed by Alenia and ATK, the MC-27J features a high level of commonality with the C-130J, together with an operational flexibility to enable deployment even in hot and challenging environmental conditions.

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10 juillet 2012 2 10 /07 /juillet /2012 07:55
The F-35 decision: Disastrous implications for UK airpower



07/09/2012 James Bosbotinis - defenceiq.com


The May 2012 announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence that the variant of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (or Joint Combat Aircraft in UK parlance) to be acquired for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force was again being changed marks the third iteration in a decade-long process.


The decision to revert to the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant instead of the F-35C carrier variant, justified on the basis of the supposed cost of configuring the Queen Elizabeth-class (QEC) for catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery operations (CATOBAR), has significant long-term implications for UK airpower.


The F-35B constitutes a substantially less capable asset than the F-35C, in particular with regard to range, persistence and internal payload, has a higher unit acquisition cost and greater through life costs and does not meet the UK’s deep persistent offensive capability (DPOC) requirement. This will require either the acceptance of a significant capability gap or the acquisition of another aircraft, that is, most likely the F-35A, to address the DPOC requirement. Moreover, the F-35B is projected to have an out of service date of 2042, whereas the QEC are expected to remain in service until 2070; follow-on systems (such as sixth generation optionally manned/unmanned maritime combat air systems) are projected to be configured for CATOBAR operations. The selection of the F-35B is thus neither cost effective nor the optimum long-term solution to UK airpower requirements.


This paper examines the implications of the F-35 variant decision for UK airpower, with a particular focus on the difference in capability between the F-35B and C, the DPOC requirement and the potential acquisition of the F-35A to fulfil it, and the loss of the strategic flexibility provided by CATOBAR. The paper will argue that the decision to acquire the F-35B is not cost effective and will leave the UK with a sub-optimal airpower capability.


Less capability at greater cost


The difference in capability between the F-35B and F-35C is significant. Due to the STOVL requirement, the F-35B has a shaft-driven lift fan integrated with its engine thus restricting the aircraft’s internal fuel capacity to 13,500 lbs; in contrast, the internal fuel load of the F-35C is 19,145 lbs. The difference in internal fuel is highlighted by the range and combat persistence of the respective aircraft; the F-35B has a mission radius of approximately 463 nautical miles and a time over target of fifteen minutes; for the F-35C, the figures are 613 nautical miles and thirty-six minutes respectively. These figures are based on a standard low observable configuration and internal payload of two 500 lb. bombs and two advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) for the F-35B and two 2000 lb. bombs and two AMRAAM for the F-35C. The preceding figures highlight a second key difference in capability; the reduced internal payload of the F-35B, which again is due to the aircraft’s STOVL configuration. The F-35A and C are both capable of accommodating 2000 lb. class munitions in their internal bays, whereas the F-35B has smaller weapons bays which are limited to 1000 lb. class munitions. In UK service, the F-35B will carry the Paveway IV 500 lb. precision guided bomb, thus creating a capability gap with regard to the prosecution of targets requiring 2000 lb. class penetrating weapons (for example, bridges and aircraft bunkers). This capability gap could be overcome via the carriage of weapons externally, for example, the Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missile, albeit at the cost of the F-35’s low observability.


The difference in capability between the F-35B and C is compounded by the former’s greater cost – both in terms of unit acquisition and through life. The F-35B will have a unit cost of approximately $138 million compared to $117 million for the F-35C; according to figures in the latest US Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Report, the F-35B engine alone is projected to cost $27.7 million compared to $10.9 million for that of the F-35C. Projected through life costs for the F-35B in UK Service are estimated to be £1 billion higher than for the F-35C. If, as will be discussed below, it is necessary to also acquire the F-35A, the through life costs of operating a mixed F-35A/B fleet will be £2 billion above that of operating a single F-35C fleet. In addition, due to the superior capability of the F-35C vis-à-vis the F-35B, fewer of the former would need to be acquired thus generating additional savings. In this regard, the Telegraph in April 2012 cited a classified Ministry of Defence document which suggested that 97 F-35Cs could provide the same capability that would otherwise require 136 F-35Bs. The implications in cost terms are stark; 97 F-35Cs would cost approximately £6.8 billion, whereas 136 F-35Bs would cost approximately £11.26 billion: a difference of £4.46 billion.


The cost of converting the QEC for CATOBAR operations – the justification for reverting to the F-35B - although stated to be in the region of £2 billion for HMS Prince of Wales and substantially more for HMS Queen Elizabeth (whilst noting that each ship is projected to cost approximately £2.5 billion) is also subject to much debate. In March 2012, the Telegraph reported that the Assistant Secretary of the US Navy, Sean J. Stackley had written to Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, informing him that the CATOBAR conversion would only cost half what the Ministry of Defence were projecting. The possibility that tensions within the Ministry of Defence regarding Carrier Strike, impinged on the CATOBAR conversion cost analysis, resulting in flawed risk assumptions (for example, pertaining to the installation of the electromagnetic aircraft launch system) and thus inflated cost projections, cannot be ruled out. Taken together with the above F-35 cost data, the debate regarding the CATOBAR conversion cost and the reduced capability of the F-35B, the argument that the decision to revert to the STOVL solution for Carrier Strike constitutes the most cost effective option for the UK appears to be fundamentally flawed.


The DPOC Requirement


Since the demise of the Royal Air Force’s Future Offensive Air System (FOAS) programme (the intended replacement for the Tornado GR 4) in 2005, the JCA has been expected to fulfil the post-FOAS requirement. This requirement, the deep and persistent offensive capability (DPOC), cannot be met by the F-35B. The decision to acquire the F-35B will either require the acceptance of a capability gap or the acquisition of a second F-35 variant, most likely the F-35A. The acquisition of a mixed JCA fleet has been considered previously and has also been considered as part of the 2012 variant debate. This would involve significant extra cost because of the need to integrate UK weapons into the F-35A, the additional cost of maintaining a mixed fleet and ensuring the compatibility of the aircraft with Royal Air Force air-to-air refuelling (AAR) assets. The latter would involve either the configuring of UK AAR aircraft – the new Voyager A330-200 – for boom AAR operations (Airbus Military has developed an Aerial Boom Refuelling System for the A-330-200) or adapting the F-35A for hose and drogue refuelling. Lockheed Martin reports that provision has been made for the fitting of the necessary equipment for hose and drogue refuelling within the airframe, albeit at additional cost.


The DPOC requirement is of central importance to the future of UK airpower. The Tornado is due out of service by the end of this decade whilst the Typhoon does not meet the DPOC requirement and needs investment to attain a full multi-role capability. The limited range, persistence and internal payload of the F-35B, especially with regard to the lack of an internal 2000 lb. penetrating munition capability, will not provide the level of strike capability that is required, in particular for initial operations against an adversary’s strategic targets defended by a still-intact integrated air defence system. The reach of the F-35B can be extended via external carriage of the Storm Shadow cruise missile. This would enable the F-35B to engage targets at ranges of up to approximately 713 nautical miles (based on an F-35B radius of 463 nautical miles and a potential Storm Shadow range of up to 250 nautical miles) with the stand-off range of Storm Shadow keeping the launching aircraft outside of the range of air defence systems (excepting perhaps the Russian-made 40N6-equipped S-400 or Chinese-made HQ-19). However, the F-35B/Storm Shadow combination would only be effective in the context of not having to penetrate deep into an adversary’s airspace due to the F-35B’s low observability being compromised via the external carriage of ordnance. In contrast, the F-35C may potentially be capable of engaging targets at ranges similar to or exceeding that of the F-35B/Storm Shadow combination whilst only carrying internal ordnance. The National Audit Office in its 2011 report on Carrier Strike gave the combat radius of the F-35C as 650 nautical miles whilst other sources have stated this figure to be in excess of 700 nautical miles. Most notably, a 2002 conference paper prepared by a member of the JSF Program Office gave the F-35C’s radius as 799 nautical miles (the same source attributes the F-35A with a 703 nautical mile radius and the F-35B a radius of 496 nautical miles).


The strategic implications of the F-35B’s limited range and internal payload are significant. The limited range of the aircraft will increase the requirement for AAR support for both sea and land-based operations; this is especially significant for early operations in a crisis or conflict where the provision of land-based support assets may be restricted or not yet available or vulnerable to attack. With regard to Carrier Strike, the core rationale for carrier airpower is the provision of independent airpower – a dependence on land-based support assets impinges on this critical aspect. The relative value of a British contribution to a coalition’s combat airpower will also diminish due to the selection of the F-35B. This is because other likely coalition partners, for example, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway and The Netherlands will be operating the F-35A which can engage a broader range of targets at greater range than the F-35B. In addition, the loss of interoperability with the US Navy will compound the relative decline in the importance and utility of British combat airpower in a coalition setting. In this regard, it is important to note that in order to enhance integration with the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps will acquire the F-35C in addition to the F-35B. This marks a significant departure from previous plans to transition to an all-STOVL force with the F-35B replacing STOVL AV-8Bs and conventional F/A-18C/Ds and EA-6Bs.


As the US reorients its force structure and doctrine toward the Asia-Pacific and Air Sea Battle, the UK, in order to maintain its desired position vis-à-vis the US, should seek to ensure that its force developments are relevant. The shift from the F-35C to B and away from a CATOBAR configuration for the QEC runs counter to this.


Moreover, unless the UK opts for a mixed JCA fleet, that is, acquires the F-35A with the additional cost of running such a fleet, the UK’s land-based airpower capability will also be sub-optimal. This again highlights the flawed nature of the decision to shift from acquiring the F-35C to the F-35B. The F-35C is the most capable version of the F-35, could fulfil the UK’s DPOC requirement from both land and sea, and would ensure that the UK possesses a robust and credible offensive air capability.


The Implications of a STOVL QEC


The most significant implication of the shift from a CATOBAR to STOVL configuration for the QEC is the loss of strategic flexibility and long-term growth potential afforded by CATOBAR. This goes beyond the F-35 variant debate and encompasses issues such as embarked intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, the resilience of Carrier Strike in the event of the F-35 programme being delayed or failing and the long-term viability of Carrier Strike.


The latter is far more uncertain following the shift to STOVL. This is because the F-35B has a projected out of service date of circa 2042, whereas the QEC are intended to remain in service until around 2070; unless the ships are then refitted for CATOBAR operations, Carrier Strike capability would be lost by default.


The UK has also foreclosed potential future cooperation with the US in the development of next generation systems such as the F/A-XX (the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler replacement), unmanned air systems such as the X-47B and unmanned carrier launched airborne surveillance and strike system and follow-on sixth generation systems.


In operational terms, the ship-air interface in a STOVL environment is no less complex than for CATOBAR operations. STOVL operations require more deck space than CATOBAR to enable the short take-off run and due to deficiencies in the F-35B’s performance, in particular the aircraft’s vertical landing bring back capability (the weight of payload permitted for a vertical recovery), ship-borne rolling vertical landings (SRVL) will be required (alternatively, any munitions being carried could be dumped prior to landing – an expensive approach considering the cost of precision guided munitions). A SRVL recovery will require as much deck space as a traditional CATOBAR recovery and can be expected to become routine due to F-35B performance shortfalls, through life technical risk and increasingly expensive weapons. The requirement for sustained investment in embarked training at sea for both aircrew and support personnel and the regular, sustained embarkation of the air group to ensure basic operational proficiency remains for STOVL as it would for CATOBAR operations. 


The F-35B’s performance limitations will also impinge on the effectiveness and credibility of UK Carrier Strike. The British government has not revised its policy regarding the size of the QEC air group, which will remain centred on just twelve F-35s. Based on the figures given in the aforementioned Telegraph article, 40% more F-35Bs are required to deliver the same effect as a force of F-35Cs. In essence, to deliver the same effect as twelve F-35Cs, the QEC should embark sixteen or seventeen F-35Bs. Therefore, the currently envisaged number of F-35s will need to be increased in order to provide the required capability. In addition, as discussed above, the F-35B has a reduced reach and punch compared to the F-35C, in particular with regard to the prosecution of hardened targets. The shift therefore from the F-35C to the F-35B will substantially reduce the capability of UK Carrier Strike and have a concomitant impact on its credibility in terms of constituting a force for influence and deterrence.




The decision to switch from the F-35C to the F-35B, and with it from a CATOBAR to STOVL configuration for the QEC, holds significant implications for the future of UK airpower. The limited range, persistence and internal payload of the F-35B reduce its military utility, in particular with regard to the prosecution of hardened high value targets and its increased dependence on AAR support, thus impinging on the capability and credibility of British airpower and its relative value to coalition operations.


Moreover, the variant switch does not constitute a more affordable option for the UK. The F-35B has a higher unit acquisition cost, greater through life costs and does not fulfil the UK’s DPOC requirement which will either necessitate acceptance of a serious capability gap or investment in other systems (such as the F-35A at considerably greater through life cost of a mixed fleet) to address the requirement.


In addition, the configuring of the QEC for STOVL operations generates uncertainty with regard to the long-term viability of UK Carrier Strike beyond the service life of the F-35B, and is however likely to necessitate fitting CATOBAR equipment in the long-term. The shift to a STOVL configuration for the QEC also imposes a substantial limitation on the long-term growth potential for UK Carrier Strike. This is especially with regard to possible UK involvement in US programmes developing future maritime aviation capabilities, in particular those relating to unmanned air systems which would offer substantial improvements in persistence, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike capabilities (especially satisfying DPOC requirements) compared to current systems and that offered by the F-35. This also applies at the level of UK airpower. Any future combat air system (manned or unmanned) the UK seeks to acquire will either have to be STOVL (to ensure compatibility with the QEC) or restricted to land basing, thus removing the potential for the UK to minimise the number of fast jet types it operates. The acquisition of the F-35C would enable the UK to acquire future air systems, designed for CATOBAR, which do not suffer the performance limitations imposed by STOVL, and are equally capable of operations from land or sea. This would at least ensure commonality (the development of and requirements for an interoperable force are beyond the scope of this paper) between Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force types and contribute to maximising the flexibility of UK airpower.


Simply, the contention that the F-35B constitutes the most cost effective option for the UK and the ‘right decision for the long-term’ does not stand up to scrutiny. The decision to acquire the F-35B requires greater expenditure at a time when the defence budget and wider economy is under significant pressure. The decision will deliver a sub-optimal capability and will reduce the flexibility, long-term growth potential and, ultimately, the strategic credibility of UK airpower. 

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9 juillet 2012 1 09 /07 /juillet /2012 17:15
Alenia Transforms C-27J Into Gunship


July 9, 2012. David Pugliese Defence Watch


Press release from Alenia:


Alenia Aermacchi is pleased to introduce a new version of the C-27J battlefield airlifter, the MC-27J. The MC-27J is a multi-mission, armed, Roll On/Roll Off (RO/RO) derivative of the C-27J Spartan. Alenia Aermacchi and ATK will jointly produce and market this new offering.


The new MC-27J is an adaptable, agile, and affordable solution for various airborne multi-mission requirements that today are performed by a wide variety of aircraft, including special operations versions of the C-130. The MC-27J is not just a gunship, but a battlefield tested platform equipped with proven sensors, communications, and weapons suite able to execute a wide range of customer-driven missions.


The MC-27J is designed to support air forces and Special Forces in performing several key operations, including: anti-terrorism missions, the evacuation of military personnel and civil populations from crisis areas, fighting asymmetrical threats and for all standard operations of the Special Forces. The MC-27J provides Special Forces a platform with quick transfer speed; long operational range and ample cargo capacity (console for the systems’ operators, troops and vehicles).


The MC-27J is capable of taking off from and landing on short and/or unprepared strips while acting as an autonomous command and control centre integrated with the ground command network. The MC-27J will also provide Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) capability as well as the ability to deploy paratroopers. Furthermore, the MC-27J’s target designation and on-board weapons systems provide outstanding support for ground operations.


ATK’s gunship capability is provided from a newly developed palletized weapons system, which is self-contained, modular, scalable and provides RO/RO flexibility. This palletized system integrates sensors, communications and weapons into a responsive and reconfigurable mission package. Specific features for the MC-27J system include enhanced electro-optical/infrared targeting sensors, a trainable 30mm cannon, precision guided munitions, advanced communications and a networked mission management and fire control system.


The MC-27J provides outstanding offensive capability utilizing a palletized weapon system specifically designed for the ATK 30mm GAU-23 cannon and other precision guided weapon systems, resulting in a highly effective system that minimizes collateral damages. The palletized system is designed for easy embarkation and disembarkation via the aircraft’s rear ramp; permitting flexibility in the use of the unaltered aircraft. The primary configuration requires minimal integration on the aircraft’s frame to significantly reduce acquisition costs and development times, while retaining the C-27J’s robust airlift capabilities.


At the core of the MC-27J is the C-27J Spartan, the best-selling battlefield airlifter, offering payload, persistence and out-of-area capabilities coupled with high performance; high maneuverability and the capability to operate on short, unpaved strips. The Spartan is currently the world’s best seller in the tactical airlifter’s category with 89 airplanes ordered by 9 countries all over the world including Italy, United States and recently, Australia.


The MC-27J offer commonality of equipments and systems with larger multi-mission platforms but at much lower operational costs and with the operational flexibility of being able to operate form shorter runways also in hot and high conditions, and as modern and reliable solution for those air forces interested in integrating their forces with a skilled airplane in a very delicate role but at the same time very flexible in its use.

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9 juillet 2012 1 09 /07 /juillet /2012 11:30



7 Jul 2012 by Stephen Trimble – FG


Farnborough - The Saab Gripen on display at the Farnborough air show features a new radar installed in Sweden less than a month ago.


The Selex Galileo Raven ES-05 active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire control radar was installed on 16 June in Linkoping, the radar supplier says.


AESA radar is one of the key features being introduced with the Gripen NG fighter, which also includes higher-thrust engines.


The ES-05 began integration testing immediately after being installed.


"These developments are not without risk and this result demonstrates Selex Galileo's commitment to deliver, on time and on promise, the best radar and sensors," says Alastair Morrison, senior vice president of Selex Galileo radar and advanced targeting.

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6 juillet 2012 5 06 /07 /juillet /2012 16:40
C-27J Spartan Refuels from KC-767A Tanker


July 6, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Alenia Aermacchi; issued July 5, 2012)


C-27J: Positive Tests for the Fight-Refueling with the KC-767A Tanker


TURIN, Italy --- The C-27J is carrying out flight-refueling tests with the KC-767A tanker at the Italian Air Force Base in Pratica di Mare with the collaboration of the 14th Stormo of the Italian Air Force, Alenia Aermacchi, Rolls Royce and Dowty, the latter two responsible respectively for the engines and propellers of the aircraft.


After a series of ground test that did not present any complications, the flight test conducted had the C-27J perform a series of contacts with the KC-767 at various altitudes between 10.000 and 20.000 ft. and speeds up to and near 220 kts, including night flight-refueling with the aid of Night Vision Goggles; in turning pattern, in turbulence and during an emergency decent.


The preliminary results highlighted the exceptional flying quality of the C-27J, in both the day and night contacts. The test confirmed the high capability of fuel transfer (up to 2800 liters\min) predicted in the planning phase, allowing for a complete replenishment of the tanks in only 5 minutes.


Also confirmed during these test was the superior quality of the C-27J as an aircraft receiver also in conditions of slipstream turbulence generated by the tanker.


An aircraft piloted by Alenia Aermacchi test pilots was used for these tests, modified with the integration of a complex instrumentation dedicated to controlling the engine parameters, propellers, transfer of fuel and flight controls, in order to meet the requirements requested by the military certification.


The objective of these tests was to achieve the certification of the flight-refueling system, that so far has been adopted on the 12 C-27Js in service in Italy and on one of the three units in service with the Lithuanian Air Force.

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25 juin 2012 1 25 /06 /juin /2012 16:45
South Korean Air Force could delay F-X Fighter programme


25 June 2012 airforce-technology.com


The selection of winner in the Republic of Korea Air Force's (ROKAF) multi-billion dollar F-X Fighter programme could be postponed at any time if in the national interest, the country's arms procurement agency's head has revealed.


Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) commissioner, Noh Dae-Rae, said: ''Our plan to make a decision by the end of October is not a deadline, but a target."


DAPA has already received proposals from three aircraft manufacturers, which included US companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and European EADS Consortium, for the KRW8 tn ($6.9bn) fighter jet contract on 18 June.


Boeing had proposed F-15 Silent Eagle, while Lockheed and Eurofighter offered F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and the Typhoon, respectively, for the competition.


In accordance with the original plans, the test flights were scheduled for September, followed by announcement of the winner in October 2012; however, the bidding was cancelled by DAPA, citing errors in the relevant documents.


DAPA had set a new deadline of 5 July 2012 for the submission of bids.


The process ran into controversy after Lockheed refused real test flights by ROKAF's pilots, to assess the performance of aircraft and rather stressed for evaluation by using simulators, saying the fighter is still being developed.


The ROKAF is planning to acquire a total of 60 advanced fighter jets as part of the contract, with aim for deployment from 2016.

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25 juin 2012 1 25 /06 /juin /2012 12:20
DRDO's Strike Scenario For 3 Indian Fighter Efforts


June 25, 2012 by Shiv Aroor LIVEFIST


Wanted to write about this, but I just got back to Delhi from a weekend in Bangalore, and I'm rushing off to work, so I'm putting it up anyway. It's from a recent DRDO presentation and perhaps the first that depicts the LCA, AMCA and FGFA in an operational scenario. Comment and tell what you think this slide tells us.

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7 juin 2012 4 07 /06 /juin /2012 12:30
Russia delivers last Su-30s to Uganda


Jun. 7, 2012 by Vladimir Karnozov - FG


Moscow - Uganda has received its last of six Sukhoi Su-30MK2 two-seat multirole fighters, according to Russian media reports.


Russian arms export agency Rosoboronexport signed a preliminary agreement with Uganda in April 2010, but protracted negotiations meant that a deal worth a reported $740 million was only signed in May 2011.


A first batch of two Su-30s was delivered last July, with a second pair having followed in October.


The Su-30s join Uganda's active fleet of seven Mikoyan MiG-21s, as recorded in Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

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6 juin 2012 3 06 /06 /juin /2012 17:00

C-27J – photo1 Alenia Aermacchi


Jun. 6, 2012 by Greg Waldron – FG


Singapore - Australia has entered a A$63 million ($61 million) contract with Italy's Alenia Aermacchi related to the sustainment of its future fleet of 10 L-3/Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft.


"A contract has been signed with Alenia Aermacchi that will allow for the long term operation, maintenance, modification and upgrade of the C-27J aircraft and support systems," Australia's Department of Defence (DoD) said in a statement.


"The contract will also provide Defence with the ability to compete and sub-license third parties, including Australian industry, to provide the maintenance services, training services and the ability to modify the C-27J capability."


A DoD spokesperson told Flightglobal that the contract covers "technical data and intellectual property support not available from any other source."


"[The contract] will assure Defence's ability to independently establish and maintain airworthiness certification, life of type sustainment, future modifications that may be required, and cost-effective through life management of the aircraft and its support systems," the spokesperson said.


In early May Canberra, confirmed it will obtain 10 C-27Js for A$1.4 billion through the US foreign military sales (FMS) mechanism, with US firm L-3 Communications designated as the prime contractor

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5 juin 2012 2 05 /06 /juin /2012 11:30
photo Alenia Aermacchi

photo Alenia Aermacchi

A contract has been signed with Alenia Aermacchi that will allow for the long tern operation, maintenance, modification and upgrade of the C-27J aircraft and support systems.
On 12 May, the Government announced the decision to purchase 10 Alenia C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift aircraft at a cost of $1.4 billion. The announcement also foreshadowed that Defence would seek a separate agreement with the C-27J manufacturer, Alenia, in order to ensure that the RAAF could operate, maintain and modify the aircraft throughout its planned life.
The contract, which is worth around $63 million, will also provide Defence with the ability to compete and sublicense third parties, including Australian industry, to provide the maintenance services, training services and the ability to modify the C-27J capability.
The C-27J will replace the Caribou aircraft which was retired from service in 2009 after a career spanning more than four decades. The C-27J complements the capabilities of the C-130 and C-17 aircraft and uses more common infrastructure and aircraft systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo handling systems.
The acquisition of the C-27J will significantly improve the ADF’s ability to move troops, equipment and supplies. The C-27J has the capacity to carry a significant load and still access small, sort, narrow runways that are too short for the C-130J or runways which are unable to sustain the repeated use of larger aircraft.
These aircraft will provide battlefield airlift but are also capable of conducting airlift in our region. They will be able to operate from rudimentary airstrips in Australia and overseas and will be able to support humanitarian missions in remote locations.
The flexibility of the C-27J allows it to undertake a wide range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of casualties.
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31 mai 2012 4 31 /05 /mai /2012 18:00

C-27J – photo1 Alenia Aermacchi


May 31, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Alenia Aermacchi; issued May 30, 2012)


Alenia Aermacchi, General Dynamics Canada, Provincial Aerospace, and DRS Canada Announce Letter of Intent to Team on Canadian Fixed-Wing SAR Proposal


OTTAWA, Canada --- Alenia Aermacchi, Alenia Aermacchi North America and Canada, General Dynamics Canada, Provincial Aerospace, and DRS Canada today announced the signing of a Letter of Intent to partner on a proposal for a Canadian Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) solution. The companies are finalizing the terms and conditions of the partnership and will work towards a more definitive agreement in the coming months.


The partnership is being formed in response to the Department of National Defence (DND) plan to acquire a new FWSAR capability to replace the aging fleet of FWSAR aircraft. Selection of the new capability will be conducted through a competitive process, with a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) expected in the fall of 2012, and contractor selection projected for 2014.


Alenia Aermacchi’s C-27J Spartan is the most capable, cost effective, and uncompromising search and rescue aircraft available today. Canada’s requirements make the C-27J the perfect fit for their FWSAR needs. The aircraft can operate in harsh environments and across vast terrains and can provide the speed necessary to reach those in need quickly.


“The search and rescue teams need an aircraft they can count on no matter the conditions or distance. The C-27J is well suited to some of Canada’s harshest terrain where it will often be called into duty. The characteristics that made the C-27J the right solution for ten other national air forces will prove critical in Canada’s selection process as well,” said Alan Calegari, Chief Executive Officer of Alenia Aermacchi North America. “We are looking forward to working with our outstanding Canadian partners on this procurement.”


With Alenia Aermacchi’s C-27J, General Dynamics Canada’s experience in performance-based in-service support on aircraft, and Provincial Aerospace's search and rescue experience and international reputation as a special mission aircraft modification, integration, operations and MRO organization, this team offers Canada the very best aircraft for FWSAR with a strong Canadian presence. The long-term engineering and maintenance support of the fleet, and the resulting long-term, well-paying jobs across the country will make this partnership an outstanding economic stimulus for Canada’s aerospace sector.


“This team represents the best capabilities in Canadian industry, combined with the most capable aircraft in the competition,” says David Ibbetson, General Manager, General Dynamics Canada. “We are excited to be part of such a strong team, supporting Alenia’s C-27J for the FWSAR program. We are committed to providing RCAF air crews and SAR techs with the very best search and rescue capability in the world for decades to come.”


According to Brian Chafe, Provincial Aerospace’s Chief Operating Officer, “Our company has been supporting the Department of National Defence airborne surveillance mandate in Canada's challenging maritime environment for some 25 years. We know the demands of Canada's oceans, Arctic areas and rugged terrain first hand. The C-27J is the right aircraft for the job and the FWSAR procurement will result in an economic enabler with no parallel by creating domestic and international opportunities for companies to become part of Alenia's globalsupply chain.”


Steve Zuber, vice president and general manager of DRS Canada said, “DRS Canada is very excited to be a partner on the Alenia C27J team, and we look forward to expanding our significant presence in Canada into a strong relationship with the Royal Canadian Air Force.” Seasprite technicians, were often operating in challenging conditions. Nevertheless the trials were completed in a thoroughly professional, safe and timely manner.


"There will still be a considerable period of learning as we gain experience operating the aircraft on actual deployments."

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30 mai 2012 3 30 /05 /mai /2012 16:52
Lockheed offers high local content Super Hercules to SAAF


30 May 2012 by Guy Martin defenceWeb


Lockheed Martin is offering its C-130XJ ‘Expandable’ Super Hercules with maximum local content to the South African Air Force (SAAF) to meet its transport and maritime patrol requirements and will bring out an aircraft to Africa Aerospace and Defence in September.


Lockheed Martin is making the Air Force aware of its C-130XJ, a base model J variant with J model performance but lower acquisition cost due to less equipment. Plessas said customers did not need all the equipment US Air Force J model Hercules have, hence the creation of the C-130XJ, which can be modified with equipment as and when necessary. As the C-130XJ is slightly lighter than the standard model, it can carry slightly more payload. The XJ is aimed at the export market and, if bought by South Africa, would probably have a significant amount of locally developed and installed equipment.


Dennys S Plessas, Vice President Business Development Initiatives at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said he thought South Africa would be most interested a C-130XJ with a maximum amount of local content. He said this would create an “African configuration” which could be promoted to other African countries. Plessas said that countries are free to put their own equipment on the C-130, such as India, which added an electro-optical turret and its own communications avionics.


Plessas, briefing journalists in Pretoria today, said that Lockheed has been talking to Armscor and the Air Force and making it aware of the C-130J’s capabilities. “The J or the XJ is the answer,” to South Africa’s requirements, Plessas said, as it can carry 95% of South Africa’s mission equipment.


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


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


Until the cancellation of the A400M, the SAAF envisaged a transport trinity with the A400M as the heavy/strategic transport, a C130-type aircraft as a medium airlifter and a third type as a light utility aircraft. The Air Force is currently seeking maritime patrol and transport aircraft as part of Project Saucepan, with Airbus Military showcasing its C295 for this requirement – the company last month flew the aircraft to South Africa as part of an Africa demonstration tour.


Lockheed Martin emphasised the importance of maintenance and through life support and said that if South Africa was to acquire the C-130J, more than 50% of maintenance and support infrastructure is already in place as the SAAF flies the C-130BZ while Denel has the only certified C-130 maintenance centre in Africa.


Lockheed noted that the C-130J was suited to the South African National Defence Force’s long, hot and high missions. These encompass maritime patrol, peacekeeping, humanitarian relief and border patrol, amongst others. There is an increasingly large focus on peacekeeping operations (South Africa has 2 400 personnel deployed) and maritime patrol (Operation Copper is combating pirates off the east coast). Another possibility could be aerial refuelling, as the C-130J can refuel a Gripen in flight.


With regard to the rest of Africa, Plessas said that there was a lot of appetite but little funding for the C-130J on the continent, although North African countries had an appetite and some funding. Tunisia in 2010 bought two C-130Js and will receive its first aircraft next year, and its second in 2014. Egypt has issued a letter of request for the C-130J while there is also interest from Libya. Meanwhile, Algeria is refurbishing five C-130s and Nigeria is refurbishing some of its C-130s as well.


Plessas said the C-130J was a proven aircraft that caters well to growing demand for air mobility. He said that air forces around the world are struggling to acquire new air mobility capabilities in the face of budget cuts. “Air Forces today have to do more with less and need the flexibility and adaptability of a multipurpose aircraft.” Lockheed claims that due to its roll on/off mission payloads and flexibility the C-130J is right for air forces that cannot afford dedicated aircraft for each role, such as maritime patrol, transport, firefighting etc.


To date, 2 403 C-130s of all model shave been delivered to 73 countries around the world, including 248 C-130Js, of 320 J models on order. The C-130J fleet has exceeded 845 000 flying hours, with more than half of that made up by non-US operators.


Plessas admitted that the C-130J was more expensive than twin engined aircraft like the C-295 and C-27J but said that based on the aircraft’s tasks, it is the more cost effective solution. He also praised the C-130J’s maintenance and operating requirements, saying the aircraft only requires 1.07 maintenance man hours per flight hour and that aircraft deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq had recorded a 95.8% mission reliability rate, 89.3% operational readiness rate and had a 1.8 hour meantime to repair rate.

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29 mai 2012 2 29 /05 /mai /2012 07:34

C-130 Hercules source defenceWeb


28 May 2012 Thales


28 May 2012 – Thales has been successfully selected by the South African Department of Defence, South African Air Force and ARMSCOR (Armaments Corporation of South Africa Ltd) for a five years Through Life Support [TLS] of all Thales avionics equipment on-board several fleets of aircrafts.


Under the terms of the multi-year contract signed with Armscor, Thales will support a large variety of avionics equipment on board the aircrafts: TopDeck suite for the C-130BZ Tactical Transport aircrafts, avionics equipment (visualization, navigation and air data computers, …) for the Rooivalk Combat helicopters, TopFlight avionics systems for the Hawk Lead-In-Fighters and avionics suites for the Super Lynx helicopters.


Merry Michaux, Vice-President, Military Aerospace Customer Support and Services Managing Director at Thales said: “This program represents another major step for Thales involvement in South Africa. We are very proud to have been awarded this new contract, which demonstrates our understanding of the customer’s requirements and the development of a successful long term logistics support plan for all South African Air Force fleets. Under this extended perimeter contract, Thales will deliver a Global Logistics Support Services Solution to Armscor, encompassing, among other items, management of obsolescence, of strategic stocks of components, technical support and assistance. Such a long term and transverse approach will enable the customer to fully benefit from Thales expertise in the support domain, under a shared mastering of costs and risks.”

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25 mai 2012 5 25 /05 /mai /2012 07:00
French leader's Brazil visit could hasten decision on jets

May 23, 2012 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Brasilia - French President Francois Hollande's visit to Brazil next month for the Rio+20 summit could help hasten Brasilia's decision on a contract to buy 36 next-generation fighter jets, a government official said Wednesday.


The Rafale fighter, made by French firm Dassault Aviation, is competing against the US F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab's Gripen for the contract valued at between $4 billion and $7 billion.


The government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Hollande's attendance at the June 20-22 UN summit on sustainable development "could untie the knot", with Brasilia hoping for clarifications on the French offer.


"We are not happy with any of the proposals" right now, the official said, explaining that the French price was deemed too high while Brasilia does not trust US assurances on technology transfer.


Brazil, Latin America's dominant power and the world's sixth-largest economy, is insisting on technology transfer in all its defense agreements.


Last month, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Brazil and pledged US advanced technology transfers if Brasilia chooses the Boeing's F/A-18.


France has offered full technology transfers in its bid to win the contract.


Another factor is India's recent tentative decision to buy 126 Rafales in a contract valued at $12 billion, a more attractive price than that proposed to Brazil.


Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim traveled to India in February to discuss prospects for a "technical military accord."

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23 mai 2012 3 23 /05 /mai /2012 16:50
Airbus Military focusing on African market



23 May 2012by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Airbus Military expects to sell 70 light and medium military aircraft to Africa over the next decade, as it shifts it focus to the African continent and other emerging markets. Ghana, Cameroon and Gabon are some of the nations that are in the midst of buying new aircraft or are about to sign, whilst South Africa is a leading potential customer for the C295.

Airbus Military said that countries in sub-Saharan Africa will buy 50 light and medium aircraft over the next ten years, and that countries on the whole continent (excluding those in the Middle East) will purchase a total of 70.


Antonio Rodriguez Barberan, Senior Vice President: Commercial at Airbus, told defenceWeb that Airbus was in very preliminary discussions with Ghana for the acquisition of two more C295 transports. Ghana took delivery of its second C295 on April 25 and has a requirement for another two. Barberan said the Ghana Air Force was making good use of its new aircraft, flying them around Africa. Ultimately, it wants to base two transports in the capital Accra and another two in Tamale. Airbus said that Ghana may order another two C295s next year.


In August last year the contract for Ghana’s two C295s was announced, and the first was delivered in November. The C295s are being used for troop transport, medical evacuation, paratrooping, training and humanitarian operations, including United Nations peace missions.


Barberan said that an impending order for CN235s is coming from Cameroon, which recently signed a contract but had problems financing the new aircraft. A few weeks ago Cameroon obtained financing for the order, which will soon be announced by Airbus Military once it is firmed up.


Meanwhile, Gabon is one of several nations interested in acquiring C295s to be operated on behalf of the United Nations. The United Nations has also expressed interest in acquiring the C-295 to replace its old, inefficient Russian aircraft. Last year the UN invited Airbus to demonstrate the C-295 in the DRC, which Airbus duly did in July. Another demonstration took place this year. The United Nations does not own its own aircraft, but operates aircraft leased by contributor nations. Airbus Military, the United Nations and its partner nations are discussing possible procurement of the C-295, with Gabon emerging as a likely customer.


In October 2010 Egypt signed a contract for three C295s, and received its first in September last year. Airbus Military told journalists at its annual Trade Media Briefing in Spain that Egypt this year placed an order for an additional three C295s.


Airbus recently flew a C295 out to Africa for a demonstration tour, showing the aircraft to Kenya and Tanzania, amongst others. At the moment there is “no real interest” in the C295 from African countries following the tour, but Barberan is confident that orders will materialise. During its demonstration tour, Airbus Military demonstrated the C295 to the South African Air Force in April, in the hopes of receiving orders to fulfil its transport and maritime patrol requirements.


“Airbus Military has a long established partnership with South Africa and the SA Air Force. By bringing the C-295 to South Africa, we are able to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities in typical SANDF [South African National Defence Force] mission configurations for tactical transport, medevac, anti-piracy, countersmuggling and Economic Exclusion Zone protection operations,” Barberan said at the time.


On Monday Airbus Military announced that Oman had ordered eight C295s, including five configured as tactical transports and three as maritime patrol aircraft, for delivery in 2013. This setup could be emulated by South Africa, which could acquire the Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) mission suite for maritime patrol duties. This comprises a search radar, electro-optical/infrared sensor, magnetic anomaly detector and hardpoints for torpedoes and depth charges.


Head of Airbus Military, Domingo Urena-Raso, yesterday told defenceWeb that there are several key countries his company is targeting in Africa, including Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and South Africa. He said that although most African countries order only a few aircraft, when put together Africa offers a very reasonable volume of business.


Urena-Raso said that South Africa is a market for both the C295 as well as the A400M and that even though the South African government cancelled its previous order, the A400M “will come later” to South Africa. Airbus Military recently started marketing the airlifter to foreign countries, and sent it on a sales tour to Asia and Latin America.


After South Africa ordered the A400M, Denel Saab Aerostructures (Denel Aerostructures today) and other local companies began manufacturing components for the aircraft. Urena-Raso said that Airbus Military was satisfied with Denel’s performance and will continue to work with the company as far as they keep performing. In fact, Airbus Military and Denel Aerostructures have negotiated a new contract that will be signed in the coming weeks and will see Denel increase A400M component production.


Total Airbus Military sales in sub-Saharan Africa to the first quarter of this year include two C295s, six CN235s and 42 C212s with 14 customers in 11 countries.



Guy Martin is in France as a guest of Airbus Military and is attending the Trade Media Briefing 2012.

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22 mai 2012 2 22 /05 /mai /2012 21:18
Philippines Looking to Buy Non-USA Combat Aircraft

The PAF operates these SF260TP trainers since the mid 1990s.

One such plane crashed Friday off Lamonja island, with two crew members on board.


May 20, 2012 Richard Dudley - defense-update.com


For the first time in its history, the Philippines is looking to non-USA sources for combat aircraft to strengthen the nation’s warfighting capabilities. The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) is reported to be in the market to purchase as many as two squadrons of combat aircraft and, according to DND representatives, has already entered into negotiations with non-USA manufacturers. Usually, a squadron would consist of 15 to 18 aircraft, but each squadron is configured to meet specific defense needs. On 7 May Dr. Peter Paul Galvez, speaking for the DND, announced that the Philippines had approached several nations with an eye towards procuring war materials needed to upgrade the nation’s armed forces. He stated that France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and South Korea were all prime candidates being considered.


Dr. Galvez indicated that his nation was in the market for second-hand combat aircraft and missile-firing gunboats in an effort to modernize the military and build an effective defense force. In consideration of the nation’s budget limitations, the DND seeks to achieve an acceptable balance of cost, capability, maintenance needs, and longevity in purchasing the desired warfighting assets.


The Philippines is now locked in a tense maritime dispute with China over ownership and control of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Chinese and Filipino ships have been in a face-to-face standoff for more than a month now with no end in sight. Both nations have dispatched ships to the area to secure their claims to the Shoal and the surrounding waters. Dr. Galvez also stated that the DND is also reviewing the possibility of procuring jet trainers for the Philippine Air Force (PAF). The PAF currently flies Italian Marchetti S211 jet trainers, aircraft that are frequently used in a ground-attack role in the nation’s continuing war against insurgents.


The Philippines wants to negotiate “government-to-government” purchases in an effort to save money. When asked if the Philippines was planning to buy modern multi-role aircraft, Dr. Galvez said that such an acquisition was a dream of the DND, but one that would not likely fit into the defense budget. He also mentioned the substantial costs involved in maintaining new aircraft, costs the Philippines is presently not able to afford. He said that if they can buy “cheaper planes of the same quality and firepower, that’s another plus factor” for the Philippines.


PAF is currently using the OV10 Bronco for ground attack / counter insurgency operations. A cost effective replacement for both bronco and the F-5s, retired in 2005 could be the Korean FA-50, planned to replace the Korean F-5s by 2013. Aero Image photo via PAF


During a radio interview on 16 May, Philippine President Benigno Aquino stated that he had requested second-hand F-16 Falcons from the United States, but this request may not be practical considering the maintenance costs associated with keeping the aging aircraft operational. He said, “It’s not necessarily the F-16s. We are also looking at jet fighters with the same capability as that of the F-16 but are cost-efficient and low in maintenance.”


President Aquino went on to say that his government was looking to spend between $400 and $800 million for each of two combat squadrons. He also pointed out that the PAF’s last fighter jet, a Vietnam War-era Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter, was retired in 2005. For all practical purposes, the Philippines no longer has a credible air defense capability.


Last month, Manila requested additional military assistance from the United States including aircraft, radar systems, and gunboats. This request was submitted as a means of enabling the Philippines to create a “minimum credible defense.” Aquino went on to say that his government had various options to consider and that the nation has the “capacity to buy brand new, but not from America.” He declined to mention any specific aircraft model being considered and he said he was not at liberty to mention the country of manufacture at that time.


The president also stated that the DND’s acquisition endeavors also included upgrading the Navy. The flagship of the Philippine Navy, and largest warship the Navy has, is a former US Hamilton-class Coast Guard cutter, now renamed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar. A second and more capable Hamilton-class cutter, the USS Dallas, is expected to be delivered in November of this year.


President Aquino said that the DND was in the process of completing 132 projects with the expectation that these efforts would be finalized by the end of July of this year. The projects now in the works are unlikely to approach the level some analysts believe is needed for the Philippines to deploy an effective defense capability.


The Center for a New American Security (CNAS), an American think tank, has published what their analysts believe are the Philippines’ minimum defense needs. According to CNAS, the Philippines needs at least four F-16 squadrons (48 aircraft), modern frigates, fast corvettes, minesweepers, and four to six mini-submarines to meet the challenges posed by China’s military modernization. CNAS claims that upgrading the Philippines’ defense posture as a counter to Chinese ambitions is in the best interest of the United States and her Asia-Pacific allies.


A Philippine modernization on the scale CNAS advocates is almost certainly beyond Manila’s financial ability at the present time. Such an extensive modernization would undoubtedly require financial assistance from the US and other Asia-Pacific nations, a prospect that is unlikely given the global economic challenges now hobbling the United States and other nations.

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21 mai 2012 1 21 /05 /mai /2012 06:56
Boeing Delivers RAF's 8th C-17 Globemaster III


May 20, 2012 ASDNews Source : The Boeing Company


Boeing delivered the United Kingdom's eighth C-17 Globemaster III to the Royal Air Force (RAF) today during a ceremony at the company's final assembly facility in Long Beach.


"I'm honored and delighted to deliver the Royal Air Force's newest C-17 to join the fleet at Number 99 Squadron, where our seven C-17s are in constant demand flying missions in support of Defence and other government agencies' requirements," said RAF Wing Cmdr. David Manning, Officer Commanding 99 Squadron. "It's a great feeling to know that we have the capability to deliver crucial supplies to the front lines with little notice, or to transport injured troops home with a better chance of survival because of the capability and flexibility of the C-17. This newest C-17 will be a welcome addition to the Air Force fleet."


The RAF C-17s are operated by 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton. The first RAF C-17s entered service in 2001 and have surpassed 74,000 flight hours -- 15 percent above the projected rate. The UK Ministry of Defence, citing ongoing demand, ordered additional airlifters for delivery in 2008 and 2010 and contracted for its eighth C-17 in March.


"RAF C-17s are ever-present when there's a need for humanitarian relief or peacekeeping around the world," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing Airlift vice president and C-17 program manager. "We're proud to support the Royal Air Force in providing for the mobility needs of their great nation, and we are grateful for the partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence and U.S. Air Force that made this delivery possible in such a short time."


"The RAF fleet's airlift capacity, increased by this latest delivery, is backed by a comprehensive sustainment services program," said Boeing Defence UK Managing Director Mike Kurth. "As part of the worldwide C-17 'virtual fleet,' RAF C-17s are supported through the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP), a Performance-Based Logistics agreement. The support provided to the RAF under the GISP arrangement results in an excellent mission-capable rate at one of the lowest costs per flying hour."


Boeing has delivered 242 C-17s worldwide, including 216 to the U.S. Air Force active duty, Guard and Reserve units. A total of 26 C-17s have been delivered to Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. India has 10 C-17s on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

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16 mai 2012 3 16 /05 /mai /2012 16:45

Su-30SM Fighter source Ria Novisti

Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft


MINSK, May 16 (RIA Novosti)


Russia is to put up for sale a batch of 18 Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft, rejected by India on concerns about their engines and returned to Russia in 2003, a defense official said on Wednesday.


"The 18 Su-30s previously used by India and then returned, are in an aviation repair plant in Belarus and are on sale to potential buyers," said Alexander Fomin, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. He added that the aircraft could be modernized before being sold on.


The Su-30MKI is India's lead fighter aircraft, and around 140 have been produced under license by HAL Aeronautics in India. The Indian Air Force is expected to buy a total of around 280 during the next decade.


Development of the Su-30 began in the 1980s for the Soviet Armed Forces, based on the Su-27UB conversion trainer.

The first batch of 18 Su-30s delivered to India were Su-30MK and Su-30K standard, and were built to a lower specification than the later Su-30MKI. This meant that they did not have thrust-vectoring engine nozzles or canard foreplanes, enabling extra maneuverability.


Their avionics systems were also built to a lower specification than the later Su-30MKIs built by HAL, which included a high level of Israeli and French-built systems.

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14 mai 2012 1 14 /05 /mai /2012 12:05

C-27J – photo3 Alenia Aermacchi


14 May 2012 airforce-technology.com


The Australian Government has selected L-3 Communications as the prime contractor for the delivery of C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft, in support of the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) battlefield airlifter programme.


The foreign military sales (FMS) programme, established in the US, has an approximate contract value of $600m and involves the supply of ten new C-27J aircraft worth about $300m, along with contractor logistics support, spares and training.


L-3 Integrated Systems Group corporate senior vice president and president, John McNellis, said: "The C-27J will serve the Commonwealth of Australia with superb performance, interoperability with international forces, as well as significant total life-cycle savings over the life of the programme."


The aircraft is expected to enhance the Australian Defence Forces' (ADF) ability to transport troops, equipment and supplies in the absence of the DHC-4 Caribou aircraft, which was retired in 2009 following the completion of 40 years' operational service.


Besides battlefield airlift, the aircraft is capable of conducting airlift from shorter airstrips across Australia, and will also be able to support humanitarian missions in remote locations.


Using common infrastructure and aircraft systems as the existing RAAF C-130 Hercules and C-17 aircraft, the C-27J can carry out a range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of causalities.


The first C-27J is expected to be delivered in 2015 with the initial operating capability (IOC) scheduled for the end of 2016. All aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Richmond.


The selection of the C-27J follows an assessment by the Australian Department of Defence, during which the aircraft demonstrated its ability to fly further, faster and higher while carrying additional cargo than its rival contender, the Airbus Military C-295 transport aircraft.


The C-27J Spartan is a tactical transport aircraft designed to conduct cargo transportation, logistic support of military units, electronic surveillance, firefighting, and search and rescue operations.

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14 mai 2012 1 14 /05 /mai /2012 07:55
Le Gripen, un avion où tout reste à faire

En août 2008, sur les vingt-six vols d’essai effectués par l’armée suisse, le Gripen a atterri quatre fois avec la réserve de fuel en dessous du minimum de sécurité.


12.05.2012 Par Titus Plattner (Le Matin)


Sur les 98 améliorations exigées par la Suisse, seules 7 ont pu être installées sur le prototype du futur Gripen testé la semaine passée. L’avion pourrait ne pas être livré avant 2023 et ses faiblesses resteront telles qu’elles remettent en question les procédures pour protéger l’espace aérien.


La mission du mercredi 13 août 2008 promettait pourtant d’être simple. Un avion au nord des Alpes vole en direction du Tessin et il s’agit de l’intercepter. Pour ce faire, l’équipe d’évaluation a placé le Gripen D immatriculé 39-822 en alerte sur la base militaire de Sion. Le tarmac est sec, il fait grand beau. Aux commandes de l’avion de chasse, le pilote d’essai suisse Peter Merz, alias «Pablo»; derrière lui, celui de Saab, le fabricant du Gripen, pour veiller à ce que tout se déroule bien. Après avoir décollé comme prévu à 15 h 32, l’avion suédois passe en vitesse supersonique pour se stabiliser à Mach 1,42. Mais tout à coup, en pleine phase d’approche: «Bingo Fuel»! Le voyant de l’alarme carburant placé sur la gauche du cockpit montre qu’il faut interrompre la mission et rentrer à la base.


Le Gripen est arrivé de justesse au contact du F/A-18 à intercepter, mais n’a pas pu intervenir et a dû se poser à Emmen (LU). Au sol, le chef des Forces aériennes suisses Markus Gygax est stupéfait: exclu d’acheter une telle casserole volante. En comparaison, le Rafale français, testé dans les mêmes conditions deux mois plus tard, a réalisé l’interception, est rentré à Sion, et a encore pu réaliser avec succès un autre exercice. Sur les vingt-six vols d’essai effectués à l’époque par le Gripen, l’avion a atterri quatre fois avec la réserve de fuel en dessous du minimum de sécurité.


Heureusement, le ministre de la Défense Ueli Maurer jure qu’il n’achètera pas ce Gripen-là, mais une version améliorée: le Gripen E/F. Son moteur est 33% plus puissant, il dispose d’une électronique de bord entièrement revue, peut emporter davantage d’armes et surtout… 46% de fuel en plus. Pour le conseiller fédéral, il n’y a aucun problème: c’est un peu «comme si on faisait du tuning sur une voiture», aime-t-il à répéter.


Des tests pour la galerie Malheureusement, tout n’est pas si simple. «Le Matin Dimanche» a obtenu la liste des 98 améliorations à apporter. Elle nous a été fournie par un whistleblower, employé de la Confédération, et nous l’avons fait valider par trois sources dignes de foi. Contacté, le Département de la défense n’a pour sa part pas souhaité prendre position sur cette liste confidentielle.


A ce stade, comme le montre notre infographie, seuls six de ces upgrades ont été testés en vol (vert). Le reste est soit à l’état de prototype (orange), soit encore sur plans (rouge). Le Gripen NG Demonstrator – l’avion censé prouver la faisabilité des améliorations du futur appareil – est certes équipé du nouveau réacteur F414G de General Electric, mais il ne dispose pas des nouvelles ailes. Redessinées à l’ordinateur, plus épaisses de quelques centimètres, elles permettront d’accueillir quelques pour-cent de kérosène supplémentaires, en plus des trois gros réservoirs largables de 450 gallons (1700 litres). Lors des essais en vol réalisés du 2 au 4 mai à Linköping en Suède, la délégation suisse aurait justement voulu tester au moins ces fameux réservoirs. Car ils sont essentiels pour atteindre l’autonomie suffisante à la surveillance d’une zone, tâche que l’armée assume par exemple lors du Forum de Davos. Mais, au final, «les gens de Saab ont refusé», rapporte une de nos sources. Avec les trois réservoirs externes, l’avion aurait été trop freiné. «Il n’était pas nécessaire d’avoir des réservoirs de 450 Gallons pour les missions effectuées», rétorque le porte-parole d’Armasuisse Kaj-Gunnar Sievert.


Malgré ce poids en moins, le pilote d’essai d’Armasuisse Bernhard Berset n’a pas réussi à dépasser Mach 1.34, selon notre informateur. Il faut dire que le réacteur, qui doit permettre à l’avion d’atteindre Mach 2.0, n’a pu être poussé qu’aux trois quarts de ses possibilités, les arrivées d’air du Gripen NG n’ayant pas encore pu être agrandies. Les contraintes auxquelles les pilotes suisses ont pu soumettre l’avion étaient limitées sur de nombreux autres points. Et les nouveaux missiles AMRAAM et IRST montés sur l’avion n’étaient en réalité que des attrapes. Les vrais missiles, eux, sont loin d’être opérationnels.


«C’est comme si on essayait une nouvelle voiture, mais que le garagiste vous disait que vous n’avez pas le droit de dépasser 80 km/h, ni de prendre des virages trop serrés… et que pour la nouvelle radio avec GPS, il vous faudra repasser dans six ans», se désole l’une de nos sources. Seulement, l’essentiel à Linköping n’était pas de tester l’avion. Il s’agissait plutôt de faire bonne figure face aux médias: une partie des tests qui devaient être menés lors du quatrième vol a même été sacrifiée pour un nouveau shooting photo. Les images prises lors du vol précédent, souffle notre informateur, n’étaient pas assez belles.


Des témoignages accablants Le Gripen NG ne dispose pas non plus du nouveau radar, qui alourdirait de 200 kilos l’avant de l’appareil et le ferait piquer du nez. «Pour l’accueillir, il faudra allonger le futur Gripen E/F de 37 centimètres», explique Björn Danielsson, ancien pilote militaire suédois, aujourd’hui consultant chez Saab. En clair, il faut construire un nouvel avion. Du coup, l’exercice n’a plus rien à voir avec le tuning annoncé par Ueli Maurer. «Plutôt que de modifier de vieux Gripen C/D, il est beaucoup plus rationnel de construire de tout nouveaux appareils», a ainsi admis Jürg Weber, chef du projet de remplacement des Tigers (TTE) chez Armasuisse. C’était le 21 février, devant la sous-commission de la politique de la sécurité chargée d’enquêter sur le sujet. Une quinzaine de cadres du Département de la défense (DDPS) s’y sont déjà exprimés. Des procès-verbaux de ces auditions ont circulé au sein de l’administration et «Le Matin Dimanche» a pu les consulter.


Ils mettent en évidence les imprécisions du ministre de la Défense, depuis la publication par notre journal des deux rapports confidentiels des Forces aériennes le 12 février dernier, qui dévoilaient les performances insuffisantes du Gripen, même avec ses 98 upgrades. En conférence de presse du 14 février, Ueli Maurer, avait par exemple prétendu que ces documents étaient «complètement datés». Depuis, plusieurs responsables ont contredit cette affirmation pour assurer devant la sous-commission parlementaire que «ces rapports restent les seuls valables». Et que les qualités du futur Gripen sont toujours à démontrer. «On ne trouvera rien dans ces rapports qui pourra soutenir la décision», a par exemple déclaré lors de son audition du 3 avril Gérald Levrat, ingénieur en chef de l’équipe d’évaluation opérationnelle des Forces aériennes. Des Forces aériennes qui, on le sait, ont recommandé le Rafale, avec comme alternative l’Eurofighter. Les auditions devant la sous-commission ont permis d’établir que l’état-major de planification de l’armée, tout comme la direction du projet TTE chez Armasuisse, ont également proposé le Rafale, puis l’Eurofighter. En fait, ce n’est visiblement qu’après d’intenses discussions avec ses subordonnés que Jürg Weber a finalement «décidé d’accepter le Gripen», selon ses propres mots. Prétendre, comme l’a fait Ueli Maurer, que l’ensemble de l’armée fait bloc derrière ce troisième choix ne correspond tout simplement pas à la réalité.


Moins bon que le F/A-18 Les performances du Gripen, «y compris dans sa future version E/F», resteront en effet très «moyennes», selon les déclarations de Gérald Levrat devant les parlementaires: «Un peu comme un couteau qui ne coupe pas bien. On peut couper une ficelle, mais si c’est plus dur, on y arrivera plus difficilement.» Lors de son quatrième passage devant la sous-commission, le 24 avril 2012, le chef de projet TTE Jürg Weber, de son côté, a fini par concéder que les faiblesses du Gripen nécessiteraient «peut-être un changement de doctrine d’engagement».


Quand, aujourd’hui, un F/A-18 décolle de Payerne et vole à pleine puissance jusqu’à Davos, il lui reste encore assez de fuel pour intervenir sur place. «Avec le Gripen, ça peut devenir serré, a admis Jürg Weber […] Et il faudra peut-être patrouiller en permanence au-dessus de Davos pour pouvoir y intervenir.» Mais, selon lui, on trouvera certainement des solutions pour pouvoir remplir raisonnablement cette mission de police aérienne, «même si ce ne sera pas aussi efficacement qu’avec les autres avions ou le F/A-18».


Risques importants Outre des performances en dessous du F/A-18 – vieux de quinze ans –, le Gripen E/F présente un risque industriel très important. L’ingénieur en chef Gérald Levrat, trente ans d’expérience dans le test de matériel aéronautique, l’a expliqué de façon limpide: «En général, le vendeur assure qu’il livrera le meilleur matériel possible. Mais il y a toujours un écart entre ce qu’on voulait et ce qu’on reçoit.»


Sur le Gripen E/F, a-t-il confirmé, 70% des composants sont nouveaux. Pendant le développement, des problèmes peuvent survenir. Les exigences peuvent avoir été mal comprises, un bug peut être accidentellement introduit par un programmeur, le fabricant peut refuser certaines modifications pour éviter des dépassements de coûts.


«Saab a offert un prix fixe», rétorquent en chœur les responsables du DDPS, affirmant ainsi que le risque financier n’existe pas. Malheureusement, cette garantie n’est pas une assurance tous risques. Pour mémoire, l’avion de transport militaire européen A400M avait, lui aussi, été vendu à un tarif fixe. Mais rapidement, des problèmes de développement sont apparus. Après la renégociation des contrats, le surcoût atteint aujourd’hui 38% et le retard sur le calendrier initial est de quatre ans.


Les retards, justement, sont pratiquement assurés avec le Gripen. Selon la planification actuelle, qui vient d’être reportée de deux ans, les vingt-deux jets devraient être livrés dès 2018. Mais au rythme où vont les choses, Saab risque de repousser la livraison du premier Gripen E/F «conforme à ce qui a été demandé, à 2020 ou 2023», a déclaré Gérald Levrat devant la sous-commission parlementaire.


Recommencer de zéro Selon Frieder Fallscheer, en charge des systèmes des Forces aériennes à l’état-major de planification, si les engagements devaient ne pas être tenus, «tout le processus de sélection d’un avion de combat pourrait redémarrer de zéro», a-t-il lâché devant la sous-commission.


Mais on n’en arrivera certainement pas là. Sur les huit membres de la sous-commission, il n’y a plus que Hans Fehr – un ami d’Ueli Maurer – qui soit toujours convaincu par le choix du Gripen. Lors de la reddition de leur rapport, fin juin, les autres devraient proposer qu’une nouvelle offre soit demandée aux trois avionneurs, pour un montant fixe. Quitte à descendre en dessous du nombre de vingt-deux avions. L’évaluation devrait ensuite tenir compte de l’efficacité opérationnelle de chacun des trois types d’avions. La différence est en effet telle entre les appareils qu’il faut nettement moins de Rafale ou d’Eurofighter pour assurer le même travail qu’avec des Gripen E/F. Environ quinze pour vingt-deux selon des calculs faits en 2009 par l’armée. En mission de police aérienne, par exemple, les deux premiers appareils sont capables de rester 180 minutes en vol, contre 120 minutes pour le futur Gripen. Pour autant que les Suédois parviennent à tenir leurs promesses.

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13 mai 2012 7 13 /05 /mai /2012 11:44
F 35 britanniques : what a mess[*] !


13 Mai 2012 Jean-Dominique Merchet


Le revirement de Londres sur le choix du futur avion de combat F 35, annoncé jeudi dernier, illustre le désarroi dans lequel se trouve la défense britannique. Des finances publiques à sec, des forces armées littérallement lessivée par dix ans de guerres (Irak, Afghanistan), une industrie qui a perdu des pans entiers de ses compétences et, cerise sur le gateau, des politiques, très divisés, qui ne savent pas où ils veulent vraiment aller.


En comparaison, la situation française apparait exceptionnellement favorable... mais il n'y a pas lieu de s'en réjouir. Car, volens nolens, le destin de nos pays est lié. Le Royaume-Uni est, pour l'heure, le principal partenaire militaire de la France. Son affaiblissement est au final notre affaiblissement.


Revenons au F 35... en sachant bien que ce n'est qu'une étape de plus dans une longue descente aux enfers. Il y en aura d'autres, et elles se décideront d'abord aux Etats-Unis, puisque Londres a fait le choix de s'en remettre à Washington pour équiper son aviation. Et que le programme de F 35 (l'ancien Joint Strike Fighter) de Lockheed n'est pas à proprement parler une réussite. Trop complexe (trois versions très différentes) et trop cher : le dernier rapport du Congrès américain parle de 400 milliards. Ce n'est pas fini, car les avions ne sont toujours pas en service et on ne sait ni quand, ni qui sous quelle forme et en quels nombres ils le seront un jour.


En décembre 2006, le gouvernement britannique annonçait sa décision d'acheter 135 F 35 dans sa version B. Cette version est à décollage court et atterrisage vertical (STOVL, en anglais). C'est la version développée spécialement pour l'aviation de l'US Marine Corps et qui doit succèder aux Harriers britanniques.

En octobre 2010, le gouvernement britannique (qui entre temps est devenu conservateur) change de cap. Il est décidé d'acquérir des F 35 mais dans sa version C, celle de l'US Navy. C'est un appareil naval traditionnel conçu pour décoller d'un porte-avions avec une catapulte et y apponter avec un brin d'arrêt (Catobar, en anglais). Moins complexe techniqument, l'appareil est à la fois moins couteux et plus performant en terme de capacités d'emport (carburant ou armement). Il oblige cependant à disposer de porte-avions pouvant le mettre en oeuvre. Le nombre d'appareils que Londres souhaitent acheter est réduit, mais le chiffre exact n'a pas été rendu public. En tout cas, pas 135...

Nouveau contre-ordre, jeudi 10 mai 2012 : le secrétaire à la Défense Philipp Hammond annonce aux Communes que Londres a décidé de revenir à l'achat de la version B (STOVL) ! La justification est la suivante : même si l'avion est moins cher, l'adaptation du futur porte-avions Queen Elizabeth se révèle hors de prix : la facture de l'adaptation a doublée, pour atteindre 2 milliards de livres (2,5 milliards d'euros...) ! Une somme proprement folle. Et l'avion ne sera pas disponible, au mieux, avant 2023, dans douze ans... Passons sur le fait que les Britanniques construisent deux porte-avions, sans savoir que faire de l'un des deux (Prince of Wales) puisqu'il a été jugé trop cher d'arrêter le chantier. Quant au reste de l'aviation britannique, elle repose sur l'Eurofighter Typhoon, qui n'est pas non plus la réussite du siècle, en matière de coûts et de performances...


De ce côté-ci de la Manche, on fait grise mine. Le choix de 2010 apparaissait comme la volonté de Londres de se rapprocher du modèle français pour, à terme, envisager un groupe aéronaval commun. Cette perspective s'éloigne, même si l'on avait beaucoup exagéré les possibilités de rapprochement en la matière. En effet, poser un avion sur un porte-avions est une chose, le mettre en oeuvre en est une autre. On a vu des Rafale se poser sur des porte-avions américains et participer à quelques exercices, mais imaginer que les avions français ou britanniques puissent être mis en oeuvre, de manière opérationnelle, à partir de porte-avions de l'un ou l'autre pays est une pure vue de l'esprit. Ne serait-ce que parce qu'il faut tout le soutien mécanique et l'armement des avions : il faut beaucoup de place et beaucoup de monde pour s'en occuper. Où les mettrait-on ? On oublie aussi un peu vite que le F 35 C (Catobar) est plus lourd (plus de 31 tonnes, à pleine charge) et qu'il ne pourrait pas être mis en oeuvre par le Charles de Gaulle. Les Américains développent d'ailleurs, à très grand prix, des catapultes électriques. Bref, on a un peu rêvé, comme on le fait depuis plus dix ans, sur un porte-avions franco-brtiannique. L'annonce de jeudi n'est qu'un douloureux retour au réel.


Très réelle aussi, l'inconséquence du choix des pays qui se sont embarqués dans le projet F 35... et qui s'en mordent les doigts. L'avion n'est pas là, il siphonne leurs crédits de recherche-développement et même les Britanniques découvrent qu'ils n'auront pas accès aux codes-sources, les secrets les plus précieux pour un programme de cette complexité. En clair, ils se sont mis entre les mains des Américains et financent la destruction d'une capacité européenne (ou autres, pensons au Canada, au Japon...) de concevoir les futurs avions de combat. Belle réussite !


* "Quel b*** ! "... pour les non-anglophones

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12 mai 2012 6 12 /05 /mai /2012 11:35



May 11, 2012. David Pugliese - Defence Watch


From L-3:


NEW YORK– L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL) announced today that it has been selected by the Commonwealth of Australia to provide the C-27J Spartan for the country’s Battlefield Airlifter program. The U.S. Foreign Military Sales program has an approximate contract value of $600 million and includes the supply of 10 new C-27J aircraft worth about $300 million, plus contractor logistics support, spares and training.


The announcement was made by the Australian Minister for Defence and the Minister for Defence Materiel on May 10.


“L-3 is proud to have been selected for the Australian Battlefield Airlifter program,” said John McNellis, L-3 corporate senior vice president and president of L-3 Integrated Systems Group. “We look forward to working with the U.S. and Australian governments to deliver this vital capability. The C-27J will serve the Commonwealth of Australia with superb performance, interoperability with international forces, as well as significant total life-cycle savings over the life of the program.”


To support the future force, the Battlefield Airlifter must be a multifunctional aircraft, able to perform logistical re-supply, medevac, troop movement, airdrop operations and humanitarian assistance. The C-27J is equipped to address each of these mission requirements and outperforms every other aircraft in its class, as demonstrated through exceptional performance during the U.S. Air Force’s current deployment in Afghanistan. The U.S. selected the C-27J over the C-295 through a competitive tender process in 2007.


Headquartered in New York City, L-3 employs approximately 61,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in C3ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems, aircraft modernization and maintenance, and government services. L-3 is also a leading provider of a broad range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms. The company reported 2011 sales of $15.2 billion.

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10 mai 2012 4 10 /05 /mai /2012 22:25
Londres choisit le F-35B aux dépens de l'entente franco-britannique



10.05.2012 Le Monde.fr avec AFP


Au plan diplomatique, l'une des conséquences du revirement britannique est que les avions français Rafale ne pourront pas se poser sur le pont du "Queen Elizabeth", dépourvu de catapultes.


Le choix du F-35B américain pour équiper les porte-avions britanniques, annoncé jeudi 10 mai à Londres, constitue un coup dur pour le concept d'interopérabilité au coeur de l'entente franco-britannique en matière de défense.


Le gouvernement britannique hésitait entre deux versions de l'avion de combat fabriqué par la même société américaine Lockheed Martin pour équiper la Royal Navy et la Royal Air Force (RAF): le F-35B à atterrissage et décollage vertical et le F-35C lancé par catapultes. Il a finalement renoncé à se doter du F-35C du fait de "l'augmentation inacceptable [du coût] et des délais" qu'impliquait un tel choix. L'installation d'un système de catapulte et de récupération "cats and traps" sur le pont du Queen Elizabeth, futur porte-avions britannique qui reste à construire d'ici 2020, aurait entraîné un retard de trois ans et un surcoût de 2 milliards de livres (2,5 milliards d'euros) par rapport au devis initial, a plaidé Philip Hammond, l'actuel ministre de la défense du Royaume-Uni au sein du gouvernement de coalition de David Cameron.


La coalition des conservateurs et libéraux démocrates avait pourtant, en 2010, préconisé d'adopter le F-35C, plutôt que le F-35B initialement retenu par le précédent gouvernement travailliste. Le premier ministre David Cameron avait à l'époque vanté aux députés l'interopérabilité du F-35C avec les porte-avions français et américains. Jeudi, le porte-parole de l'opposition travailliste pour les affaires de défense, Jim Murphy, a immédiatement dénoncé "l'incompétence" gouvernementale.




Au plan diplomatique, l'une des conséquences du revirement est que les avions français Rafale ne pourront pas se poser sur le pont du Queen Elizabeth, dépourvu de catapultes. Or l'utilisation croisée des porte-avions était au cœur du projet de coopération bilatérale franco-britannique esquissé à Saint-Malo en 1998 et relancé à grand renfort de publicité par David Cameron et le président Nicolas Sarkozy lors de la signature du traité de défense de Lancaster, en novembre 2010.


La nécessité du maintien de capacités aéronavales fortes, trente ans après la guerre anglo-argentine aux Malouines, en Atlantique Sud, constitue un argument fort dans le débat en Grande-Bretagne sur les risques réels ou supposés des coupes budgétaires dans le domaine de la défense. Jeudi, Philip Hammond a expliqué : "La décision concernant les porte-avions, prise en 2010, était légitime à l'époque, mais les faits ont changé et nous devons changer notre approche en conséquence. Ce gouvernement ne va pas aveuglément poursuivre des projets sans considération pour l'augmentation des coûts et des délais."


"C'est un autre rendez-vous manqué pour des raisons secondaires", a déploré Etienne de Durand, expert auprès de l'Institut français des relations internationales, dans une interview au Financial Times. Le partenariat inédit scellé en 2010 par les deux principales forces militaires européennes prévoit notamment la création d'un corps expéditionnaire commun s'inspirant de la brigade franco-allemande, le partage de laboratoires pour tester leurs arsenaux atomiques et des partenariats industriels sur les drones et les missiles. Le rapprochement exprime un souci commun de mutualisation et de réduction des coûts en période d'austérité.

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25 avril 2012 3 25 /04 /avril /2012 07:30
Vietnam's Su-30MK2 Has a New Color Scheme

Sukhoi Su-30MK2 #8573 delivered in December 2011

(photo : ttvnol, image : mars.slupsk)



One of the Su-30MK2 aircraft  that had been delivered by Russia to the Vietnam Air Force has a new color scheme.  The color not blue-dark blue as before, but the Su-30MK2 with number 8573 has green-brown color.


Vietnam has received the Russian-made Su-27 and Su-30 aircrafts. Based on 1995 contracts Vietnam has ordered seven Su-27SK (6001, 6002, 6003, 6004, 6005, 6006, 6007), and based on 1997 contracts Vietnam has ordered five Su-27UBK (8521, 8523, 8525, 8526, 8527), the contract was fulfilled.
Russia also has fulfilled the contract for orders in 2003 of four Su-30MK2 (8531, 8532, 8533, 8534), also for the order of eight Su-30MK2 in 2009 (8535, 8536, 8537, 8538, 8539, 8540, 8541, 8542).
In 2010, Vietnam has ordered 12 Su-30MK2, four Su-30MK2 (8544, 8548, 8551, 8555) were delivered in June 2011 and four Su-30MK2 (8573, 8577, 858X, 858X) were delivered in december 2011.
Vietnam will receive another four Su-30MK2 in 2012, but one aircraft crash while testing in february 2012.
(Defense Studies)
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