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18 avril 2012 3 18 /04 /avril /2012 12:55
Canada’s Pullout from AWACS and NATO’s AGS. A Smart Move?

 

 

April 17, 2012. By David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

The Canadian Forces hope to save at least $90-million a year by pulling out of NATO programs operating unmanned aerial vehicles as well as airborne early warning planes.

 

Defence Minister Peter MacKay gave U.S. officials a heads-up last year about the withdrawal, pointing out that it will free up 142 Canadians assigned to NATO for new jobs.

 

The shutdown of Canada’s contribution to NATO’s airborne warning aircraft, known as AWACS, will save about $50-million a year, according to DND records. Another $40-million a year will be saved as a result of Canada’s withdrawal from NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Program, which would see the purchase of advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (latest generation Global Hawks) to conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering. Other DND documents Defence Watch has obtained indicate the savings could be higher than the $90 million. The move was conducted as part of the department’s contribution to the government’s Strategic Review.

 

Canada has been involved in NATO’s AWACS program for more than 25 years and the aircraft were seen as key to the alliance’s success during the recent war in Libya.

 

NATO also wants to ease the strain on the U.S. UAVs by having a pool of Global Hawks  at the alliance’s disposal.

 

Canada’s pull out from the UAV program will be done by the end of this month, the Defence Department told Defence Watch.

 

Do you think the pullout from AWACS and withdraw from AGS makes sense? There has been so much emphasis put on the importance of ISR collection in recent military operations, particularly during the Libyan war, that some officers have suggested to Defence Watch that this is a step in the wrong direction.

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11 avril 2012 3 11 /04 /avril /2012 11:57

Su-30SM Fighter source Ria Novisti

 

April 11, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE

 

The Russian Air Force has ordered thirty Su-30SM fighters, to be delivered by 2015. This is the first Su-30 model for the Russian Air Force that uses thrust vectoring (the ability of the engine to direct its exhaust a bit and enhance maneuverability). The Su-30SM is a variant of the 38 ton Su-30MKI, which is exported to India.

 

Both aircraft are most similar to the two seat American F-15E fighter-bomber. The Su-30MKI, even though equipped with Western electronics, costs less than $40 million each, about half what an equivalent F-15 costs. The Su-30MKI can carry more than eight tons of bombs and hit targets over 1,500 kilometers away. The Su-30SM is believed to be very similar in capabilities and price. Apparently the Russians were so impressed with the Indian experience with the Su-30MKI that they decided to get something similar for themselves.

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30 mars 2012 5 30 /03 /mars /2012 07:00

C-130XJ.png

 

March 29, 2012 by Dave Majumdar – FG

 

Washington DC - Lockheed Martin promoted its reduced-cost C-130XJ variant of the venerable Hercules tactical transport at FIDAE.

 

The US company's move might be seen as a direct challenge to Embraer. The Brazilian manufacturer has said previously that it is negotiating with Chile to sell the nation's air force six KC-390 jet-powered airlifters that it is developing.

 

In August 2010, the two South American states signed a declaration of intent that would see Chile's Enaer participate in the development of the KC-390.

 

Lockheed however, while not overtly stating it is targeting Chile's business, says that it has had numerous inquires from South American nations for the C-130XJ. The aircraft is anywhere from 10% to 15% cheaper than the standard C-130J produced for the US Air Force.

 

"We've tried to tailor the XJ so that it can have a lower price point and still give them the capabilities that they need," says Lockheed's Jim Grant, who oversees the C-130XJ effort.

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29 mars 2012 4 29 /03 /mars /2012 20:46
Russia Touts Yak-130 Combat Trainer in S.America

Yak-130

 

SANTIAGO, March 29 (RIA Novosti)

 

South American air force chiefs have shown interest in Russia’s Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten trainer/light attack aircraft, the plane’s maker said on Thursday.

 

“We have conducted negotiations with the Air Force chiefs of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay,” Urkut Vice President for Marketing Vladimir Sautov said at the FIDAE-2012 International Air Show.

 

They showed interest not only in a two-seater but also one-seat version, he said, adding the latter could only be manufactured if there was a firm order from a large customer.

 

Irkut started exporting the planes in 2011. Foreign market capacity is estimated at 250 machines.

 

In December, Irkut and the Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract for the supply of 55 Yak-130 by 2015.

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29 mars 2012 4 29 /03 /mars /2012 07:20

RAF C17

 

LONG BEACH, Calif., March 28 (UPI)

 

An eighth C-17 Globemaster III will be delivered to the British air force this year under a new contract to Boeing from the country's Ministry of Defense.

 

The British C-17s are used primarily to support Operation Herrick, the transport of equipment and troops to Afghanistan but also participate in humanitarian missions around the world, such as the delivery of relief supplies following natural disasters.

 

"The tremendous teamwork of Boeing and U.S. government officials has made it possible to announce this acquisition so quickly after we determined the need for this additional C-17," said Ministry of Defense Head of Commercial for Air Support Robin Philip. "This C-17 will be a welcome addition to the (air force) fleet."

 

The British air force was Boeing's first international customer for the heavy lift aircraft, and its fleet has logged more than 74,000 flight hours – about 15 percent more than had been anticipated.

 

The last C-17 purchased was delivered in November 2010.

 

"We understand the need to move quickly to bring this contract to completion," said Liz Pace, Boeing C-17 UK program manager. "This additional order is a testament to our strong relationship with the U.K. as well as to the aircraft's advanced capability, flexibility and reliability."

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27 mars 2012 2 27 /03 /mars /2012 16:45
Latin America re-arms air combat fleets

Colombia has set about upgrading its Kfir fighters

 

20 Mar 2012 by Stephen Trimble - FG

 

Washington DC - For many years, military spending in South America was a footnote in forecasts of the global arms trade. While that was once a healthy sign of a continent largely at peace among member states, the stakes have changed. South America still does not compare with the giants of the global arms trade, but military spending is growing rapidly.

 

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the world's independent arms trade watchdog, felt compelled to issue a report earlier this year on Latin American spending. As budgets have "risen considerably", SIPRI's analysts sought to focus attention on the continent's woeful record of disclosure on military budget accounts.

 

The institute may have some grounds for raising the alarm. South American countries are poised for a new round of major arms purchases. From Brazil to Chile to Venezuela, air forces are priming to re-arm their front-line fighter fleets. Everywhere, countries are prioritising the growth of local aerospace companies, leveraging the biggest weapons deals to transfer key skills and technologies to local industry. The continent's traditional Western suppliers are not the only ones to notice. Russian and Chinese manufacturers have poured into the region, striking deals for fighters, helicopters, trainers, transports and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

 

CHILE

 

A seemingly never-ending fighter modernisation process in Chile is gearing up for a fourth competition in less than 20 years. The Chilean Air Force (FACh) has 16 Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs that are due to be retired after 2015. Contractors are already preparing for the biggest procurement prize in South America, after Brazil's F-X2 acquisition programme for at least 36 fighters.

 

Lockheed Martin was Chile's preferred supplier in the previous three rounds. The FACh selected the F-16 Block 50 in 2000 for a 10-aircraft order. That was followed in 2004 by a first batch of 18 second-hand F-16A/B mid-life update Block 20s from the Netherlands, and in 2008 by a second batch of another 18 F-16A/Bs. In addition, the FACh ordered 12 Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucanos.

 

Lockheed has been eager to campaign for the F-5 replacement order for at least five years. In 2007, a Lockheed executive even touted the F-35 as a possible option for the FACh. Three years later, a US Air Force F-22 made a debut appearance at the FIDAE air show. The F-35 programme delays and cost increases may lead Chile to look elsewhere, but Lockheed may still offer new or used F-16s. On the other hand, Chile's political and military leadership may prefer to diversify its sources of combat aircraft. Prior to the F-16 selection, the FACh inventory included a mix of US-made F-5s and French-made Mirage 50s.

 

FACh officials have reportedly visited Eurofighter manufacturing sites in Spain. A batch of new or used EF-2000s ordered by Chile would introduce the type in Latin America. Chile has been among the most active military spenders in recent years as a 10% tax on surging copper revenues has kept procurement active. In addition to the new fighters, Chile will introduce the most advanced UAV in South America. In June, Chile was disclosed as the buyer of an Elbit Systems Hermes 900.

 

ARGENTINA

 

Sustained economic growth has yielded some benefits to Argentina's air force, but perhaps not in the way service leaders had envisioned. Despite sustained growth as Latin America's third-largest economy, Argentina still operates one of the most ancient fleets of combat aircraft.

 

Its "youngest" fighters, measured in terms of Argentine service, are ex-US Navy A-4s, delivered in the late 1990s with upgraded radars and avionics by the former Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina (LMAASA). The air force fleet also includes 13 Dassault Mirage IIIs, seven Mirage 5s and 13 Israel Aerospace Industries Daggers. The navy, meanwhile, operates 11 Dassault-Breguet Super Etendards.

 

Although Argentina's defence budget has doubled since 2007, there are still no active replacement programmes. The inaction may be partly explained by market analysis from Forecast International, which estimates personnel salaries consumed 70% of the $4 billion defence budget in 2011. The $4 billion budget, while a 100% improvement on 2007, still represents only about 0.6% of Argentina's GDP.

 

However, there are encouraging signs for the resurgence of Argentina's air force. The rise in military spending has allowed a once highly skilled aerospace industry to rebound from decades of neglect. In 2009, the nation's Kirchner administration reclaimed LMAASA from Lockheed's management.

 

The Argentine-owned FAdeA reopened its factory in Cordoba on 17 December, and the company has hummed with activity ever since. Although it has yet to work on Argentina's front-line fighters, it has reset its skills set by modernising the country's proudest aviation achievements - the IA-58 Pucara light attack aircraft and the IA-63 advanced jet trainer.

 

On 8 July 2011, FAdeA delivered the first upgraded IA-58 to the air force. The upgrades start with maintenance improvements, with the eventual replacement of the avionics and navigation systems. Finally, FAdeA will replace the ageing Turbomeca Astazou engines with Pratt & Whitney PT6A-62s, allowing the seminal counter-insurgency aircraft to remain in service until 2045.

 

Meanwhile, the air force has also funded FAdeA to manufacture 40 IA-63s designed to the Series II standard, which includes the 4,250lb (1,900kg) Honeywell TF731-40-N2 turbofan. The first flight of a re-engined IA-63 on 8 June 2011 spurred FAdeA's marketing division to poetically describe the "sublime moment that justifies the hours and hours of dedication, effort, ingenuity and creativity".

 

FAdeA is already pursuing larger ambitions, while the country's aeronautic pride has been rekindled. The air force's aeronautical university has developed an all-new cruise missile - the FAS-850 Dardo 2C. Another local company has joined forces with Israel's Innocon to develop the indigenously built Yarara, a 30kg-class unmanned air vehicle.

 

FAdeA wants to design a new military trainer to replace the air force's retired Beechcraft T-34 Mentors. A prototype of the IA-73 is notionally scheduled to achieve first flight in 2013. If it succeeds, the IA-73 will be the first Argentine-built aircraft to enter service since the IA-63 in 1988.

 

Other opportunities are being pursued. In November, FAdeA hosted a delegation from the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) to discuss the possibility of license-building the Changhe Z-11 helicopter. The Argentine army evaluated the Harbin Z-9 in 2008, and selected the aircraft.

 

BRAZIL

 

In January 2011, Embraer had the misfortune to launch a defence and security business around the same time Brazil made a 26% cut in military procurement. Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer's defence business, shrugs when recalling the episode. "As a matter of fact, by the end of the year we had a very good recovery," he says. "They didn't cut one single programme from their plan."

 

The momentary pause in Brazilian defence spending has passed. With Brazil hosting the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later, few countries in Latin America have more incentive to invest in Latin America during the next two years.

 

Aguiar notes that the 2012 defence budget largely recovers any reductions in the procurement accounts from last year. In fact, the procurement budget has increased in 2012 by 18% to R8 billion ($4.5 billion).

 

The largest allocation - $500 million - is for Brazil's joint helicopter programme, which is acquiring 50 Eurocopter EC-725s. The budget also invests a further $302 million in the Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport, which is scheduled to fly in 2014 with deliveries two years later. However, the FX-2 fighter contract - Brazil's 16-year-old competition to replace a fleet of Dassault Mirage IIIs - is not in the 2012 budget. The competition has dragged on so long the Mirage IIIs have been replaced by Mirage 2000s, which also need to be retired.

 

But the lack of a 2012 line item for FX-2 is no cause for concern. Brazil's air force is expected to continue negotiating with the winning bidder for up to a year after contract selection before making the award.

 

Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff is reportedly set to make a decision in the first half of this year. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen remain in the bidding, almost four years after the air force selected them as finalists. For its part, Boeing confirms the pricing it originally submitted in 2009 remains valid.

 

For Embraer, the decision is of no great consequence. In contrast with the aborted F-XBR competition, Embraer has forged no formal links with a particular bidder as it once did with Dassault. Meanwhile, the company can continue reaping the benefits of the continued delays.

 

In addition to the arrival of the Mirage 2000s in 2005, the delays have forced Brazil's air force to fund a new round of avionics and structural upgrades for the existing fleet. Embraer has received deals to upgrade 41 A-1 Alenia/Embraer AMX fighters, 53 Northrop F-5s, and 12 McDonnell Douglas A-4s. The upgrades are part of an overall $397 million line item in the 2012 budget to pay for the modernisation of the legacy fleet. "We have received all of our money related to all of our programmes," Aguiar says.

 

VENEZUELA

 

The Venezuelan military's acquisition arm has never been busier - or more creative. Banned by the USA from receiving most Western sources of supply since 2006, Venezuela has looked to Russia, China and Iran for arms during the past five years. US sanctions have failed to slow Venezuela's modernisation strategy, and in some ways have forced Caracas to aim even higher. Take the example of Venezuela's campaign to replace its ageing ­F-16As. The USA first blocked Brazil and Italy from exporting the AMX fighter, then stopped Israel from bidding to upgrade the F-16As with new avionics and weapons.

 

In response, Venezuela turned to Russia in 2006 to supply 24 Sukhoi Su-30s, a far more potent threat than upgraded F-16As. China also received orders for two batches totalling 24 to 36 Hongdu K-8Ws - more challenging to slip past the US export ban as the K-8 is powered by the Honeywell TFE731-2A turbofan engine. Hongdu has reportedly re-engined the K-8s with the Ukrainian Ivchenko Al-25TLK, and deliveries are already under way.

 

These procurements only seem to be the beginning for Venezuela. According to the Civil Association of Citizen Control (CACC), a Venezuela-based security watchdog, during the past two years Venezuela has announced a long list of future acquisitions.

 

Since April 2010, President Hugo Chavez has announced the acquisitions of two Beriev Be-200s for firefighting missions, 24 Su-35 fighters, up to 20 Antonov An-74 maritime patrol aircraft and 10 to 12 Shaanxi Y-8 transports, the association says. Venezuela has also been linked to the acquisition of the Chengdu J-10 or the less-capable JF-17, the CACC adds.

 

It is not always clear how real Venezuela's acquisition announcements are, but its rapid re-arming after 2006 lends some credibility. If all come to fruition, Venezuela could boast the most powerful air force in South America.

 

While it is importing weapons from Russia and China, Venezuela appears to be asking Iran for technology transfer, particularly in the crucial area of UAVs. Iran is widely reported to have exported 12 Ghods Mohajer UAVs to Venezuela, a tier-two aircraft by Western standards. Apparently some transfer of engineering skills accompany the sale. In November, Venezuela's state-owned armoury CAVIM unveiled a UAV called the ANT-1X.

 

COLOMBIA

 

Despite being one of the most prolific military spenders in South America, the Colombian air force boasts a modest combat fleet. Rather than replace ageing Kfir fighters, Colombia upgraded them to carry Israeli Python and Derby missiles, as well as Griffin III laser guided bombs. So it would come as no surprise if the Colombian air force decides used aircraft will suit its needs for the next big requirement: replacing eight Cessna A-37 Dragonflys.

 

Colombia's latest strategic plan seeks to acquire a jet-powered light attack fighter. There is no shortage of options available, including the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50, Italy's Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and the UK's BAE Systems Hawk. However, expect Colombia to seek used aircraft from sources that include the Czech Republic's Aero Vodochody L159 and Italy and Brazil's AMX.

 

Meanwhile, Colombia's military is investing heavily to improve its aerospace industry. The military has ordered 25 Lancair Legacies, requiring local assembly. As of 8 March, state-owned CAMAN has assembled eight of the re-designated T-90 basic trainers.

 

In the meantime, Embraer has started to work with the Corporation de la Industria Aeronautica Colombiana (CIAC) to help the air force extend the life of 14 EMB-312 Tucanos by about 15 years. Embraer is also still seeking to convert a letter of intent with Colombia into an order for two KC-390 tanker transports, says Aguiar.

 

Colombia's goal is to allow CIAC to gain experience on the Tucano contract, then take on a bigger role in the KC-390 work.

 

"Depending on their performance they are going to be able to transfer some very simple aerospace components for the KC-390," Aguiar says. "They are trying to develop their industry step by step.

 

PERU

 

Peru has always been content to acquire its military aircraft from abroad, but there are recent signs that it, too, wants to develop more industrial capability.

 

The most significant step in this process came in late 2011, when Minister of Defence Daniel Mora confirmed the acquisition of a surprise new trainer and light attack fighter to replace its fleet of Cessna A-37 Dragonflys - the Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1 Woong-Bee.

 

The Super Tucano has lost out to the KT-1 in Peru

The Super Tucano has lost out to the KT-1 in Peru

 

It had once seemed inevitable that Peru would eventually buy the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano - to the point that Brazil's ministry of defence announced in February 2011 that Peru was in talks to buy 10 EMB-314s in a deal valued at $150 million.

 

However, something changed in Peru's decision-making process, and now the country's air force expects to take delivery of 24 KT-1s from South Korea.

 

Peru's decision clearly had nothing to do with comparative combat performance. The KT-1 is widely considered a robust trainer, but it is powered by an engine slightly more than half the size of the Super Tucano's powerplant.

 

The key to the deal may well have been cost, as the KT-1 is valued at less than half the price of the Super Tucano.

 

South Korea also agreed to allow Peru's local industry to participate in the acquisition. Peru's SEMAN repair station is reportedly assembling all 24 KT-1s for the air force, and is also producing between 500 and 600 parts of the aircraft.

 

Peru's air force has quietly, but steadily, re-equipped or modernised its combat aircraft fleet in recent years. Government policy has focused on eradicating coca farms, which has stirred the opposition of local farmers and created a minor security threat. In addition to the KT-1s, Peru also has a contract with Canada's Viking Air to deliver 12 DHC-6 Twin Otters for remote transport operations.

 

Helicopter modernisation has also been a recent priority. Russian Helicopters has begun deliveries of Mi-35P gunships and Mi-171Sh transports to Peru.

 

Meanwhile, Peru has also moved to prevent its ageing fighter fleet from drifting into decay. Last year, RSK completed deliveries of Peru's 12 MiG-29SMPs upgraded with new avionics. The MiG upgrades followed a $140 million project, which was launched at the 2009 Paris air show, to "recover" the air force's 12 Mirage 2000s, with Dassault, Thales and Snecma contracted to restore the airframes, avionics and engines.

 

ECUADOR

 

Among Latin American air forces, Ecuador's has probably progressed the most since 2008. In March of that year, the sorry state of the Ecuadorian air force (FAE) was exposed when Colombia's air force attacked a suspected rebel hideout about 3km south of its border. Ecuador's air force was unable to even dispatch helicopters to the scene of the bombardment, much less defend the sovereignty of its airspace against what the government considered an illegal attack.

 

Three years later, the FAE has new fleets of HAL Dhruv helicopters from India; IAI Heron and Searcher UAVs from Israel; EMB-314s from Brazil; and, most recently, second-hand HAL Cheetah fighters from South Africa. It has also installed air surveillance radars along its border. The acquisitions follow a $680 million, three-year investment in the armed forces.

 

"We understood there is no security without development, but also no development without security," said President Rafael Correa, speaking on 14 February at the delivery ceremony of the Cheetah fleet.

 

There have been minor incidents along the way. One Dhruv helicopter crashed in October 2009 during a public ceremony. The pilot, who was killed, was blamed. Last August, an ejection seat malfunctioned in the Cheetah, which Correa attributed to an assembly error.

 

Ecuador's military modernisation is still ongoing. The country is reportedly in discussions with China to buy the Xian MA-600 transport. The US military has notified Congress that Ecuador's navy has requested a possible sale of second-hand Kaman SH-2 Seasprite helicopters.

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22 mars 2012 4 22 /03 /mars /2012 13:41

Su-30SM-Fighter-source-Ria-Novisti.jpg

 

MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti)

 

Russia's Defense Ministry has signed an order with aircraft-maker Irkut for 30 Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft, a military spokesman said on Thursday.

 

"According to the contract, the company will deliver 30 of these aircraft to the Russian Defense Ministry by 2015," he said.

 

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

 

The Su-30SM is a two-seat derivative of the earlier Su-27UB and the MKI variant supplied to India, and is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with a wide variety of precision-guided munitions. The aircraft features thrust-vectoring engines to enhance manueverability.

 

In August 2011, Irkut said it would deliver 40 Su-30SM aircraft to the Defense Ministry including 28 for the Air Force and 12 for the Russian Navy, replacing Su-24s in the strike-attack role, according to lenta.ru

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21 mars 2012 3 21 /03 /mars /2012 08:45
Londres espère que les Emirats préféreront l'Eurofighter au Rafale

 

photo Armée de l'Air

 

20 mars 2012 par Peter Griffiths (Reuters)

 

LONDRES, 20 mars - Le consortium de défense européen Eurofighter espère toujours décrocher un contrat de plusieurs milliards d'euros avec les Emirats arabes unis, malgré des informations de presse selon lesquelles la France serait sur le point de le remporter.

 

Latribune.fr rapportait début février que la vente par Dassault Aviation de 60 Rafale aux Emirats arabes unis pourrait être annoncée d'ici début avril. (voir )

 

S'il se confirmait, ce contrat estimé à 10 milliards de dollars (7,55 milliards d'euros) marquerait un revirement après la douche froide subie par l'avionneur français l'an dernier, lorsque les Emirats avaient jugé l'offre de Dassault non compétitive et irréalisable.

 

Il constituerait aussi une nouvelle victoire pour le Rafale, Dassault ayant obtenu fin janvier l'ouverture de négociations exclusives avec l'Inde pour l'achat de son avion de combat.

 

Cependant, deux ministres britanniques disent encore espérer pouvoir persuader Abou Dhabi de choisir le Typhoon, construit par Eurofighter, un consortium réunissant la Grande-Bretagne, l'Allemagne, l'Italie et l'Espagne.

 

Interrogé sur les chances de voir un tel accord survenir, le secrétaire d'Etat britannique au Commerce, Stephen Green, a dit à Reuters: "Je pense certainement qu'il y a une réelle possibilité, (même) s'il y a un concurrent sérieux, comme nous le savons tous."

 

"Il y a eu un engagement ministériel considérable", a-t-il ajouté en marge d'une conférence de dirigeants d'entreprise visant à renforcer les liens commerciaux entre la Grande-Bretagne et les Emirats dans des secteurs aussi variés que la défense, l'infrastructure, la santé et la technologie.

 

Gerald Howarth, sous-secrétaire d'Etat britannique à la Défense, a précisé de son côté que le gouvernement britannique continuait de soutenir la campagne d'Eurofighter auprès d'Abou Dhabi.

 

"Il y aurait vraiment de quoi espérer un partenariat fort si les Emirats venaient à sélectionner le Typhoon", a-t-il dit. "C'est à présent une réelle possibilité, vu l'intervention du Premier ministre et bien sûr la réponse des Emirats."

 

Le Premier ministre britannique David Cameron s'était rendu aux Emirats peu après sa prise de fonction en 2010.

 

L'Eurofighter est construit par le groupe britannique BAE Systems, l'italien Finmeccanica et EADS .

 

Outre Dassault, Eurofighter est en concurrence avec Lockheed Martin et Boeing. (Natalie Huet pour le service français, édité par Nicolas Delame)

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19 mars 2012 1 19 /03 /mars /2012 08:55
INTERVIEW : Eric Trappier (Dassault) : « L'Inde vise une signature du contrat Rafale dans six mois environ »

source Livefist

 

18/03/2012 par Alain Ruello – LesEchos.fr

 

Malgré les coups de boutoir de BAE qui essaie de remettre l'Eurofighter dans la course, Dassault pense pouvoir conclure la première vente du Rafale à l'international cette année. La décision de New Delhi a eu un effet d'entraînement sur les autres campagnes en cours, affirme le directeur de l'international de l'avionneur.

 

En Inde, le Rafale a remporté l'appel d'offres portant sur l'achat de 126 avions de combat. Qu'est-ce qui pourrait enrayer les négociations désormais exclusives  ?

 

Je ne vois pas de raison qui nous empêcherait d'aller au bout ou amènerait les Indiens à s'arrêter alors qu'ils ont fait le plus dur. La procédure a débuté en 2007. Après plusieurs semaines d'évaluations dans des conditions extrêmes, des pentes de l'Himalaya aux sables du désert, l'armée de l'air a retenu deux appareils : le Rafale et l'Eurofighter. In fine, c'est l'offre la moins chère qui l'a emporté, tant du point de vue du coût unitaire de l'appareil que de son entretien dans la durée. Tout a été mené sur la base de critères fixés à l'avance et qui ont été scrupuleusement respectés, sans implication politique. Cet appel d'offres est exemplaire.

 

Quand pensez-vous pouvoir conclure  ?

 

Les Indiens souhaitent aller vite, et envisagent une conclusion sous six mois environ. Nous devons finaliser les clauses techniques et industrielles, et bâtir un contrat dont les clauses sont équivalentes à celles de celui des Mirage 2000 (signé en 2000, NDLR).

 

BAE a laissé entendre que l'Eurofighter pourrait revenir dans la course...

 

Je ne crois pas, et je suis surpris que certains se disent eux mêmes surpris que le Rafale l'ait emporté. Dans toutes les compétitions où les deux avions ont été opposés, l'Eurofighter a été éliminé au premier tour, comme en Corée, au Pays Bas, ou au Brésil, ou il a été classé derrière le Rafale, comme en Inde. Ou encore en Suisse, comme le prouve le rapport d'évaluation des forces armées publié dans la presse. J'ajoute que les calculs de la cour des comptes britannique montrent que l'Eurofighter est bien plus cher. Sur le plan opérationnel enfin, le Rafale a démontré toute sa polyvalence durant l'opération Harmattan, contrairement à l'Eurofighter qui a été conçu comme un pur chasseur. L'appel d'offres indien a désigné de manière claire le meilleur avion.

 

A quel prix ? L'avez-vous proposé moins cher que celui vendu à la France  ?

 

Le prix du Rafale proposé en Inde correspond au prix français, corrigé des dépenses liées au contrat puisqu'il ne s'agit pas tout à fait de la même configuration technique, et que la fabrication se fera en partie localement. La compétition a été tellement dure que chaque camp a été obligé de proposer le meilleur prix qui soit. Cela dit, nous n'avons pas fait de dumping pour l'emporter. A iso-conditions, nous avons proposé le prix du Rafale français.

 

Sur les 126 appareils envisagés, seuls 18 seront fabriqués en France. Doit-on s'attendre à des retombées industrielles limitées ?

 

Les retombées industrielles ne correspondront pas à la production de 126 Rafale en France, mais pas non plus à la construction de quelques exemplaires. Le transfert de technologie va se faire de manière progressive et il n'y aura pas un contrat de licence global, mais des contrats de licence pour chaque équipement. Autrement dit, chaque équipement vivra sa propre vie et sa fabrication en Inde obéira à une montée en puissance propre. Le but est bien que l'Inde soit capable de fabriquer des Rafale, mais il y aura toujours une certaine activité en France. D'une manière globale, le contrat donnera du travail à des dizaines de milliers de personnes.

 

Un accord aux Emirats Arabes est-il encore possible avant la présidentielle ?

 

En ce qui nous concerne, la négociation touche à sa fin, mais si tout était terminé, cela se saurait.

 

En novembre, Abou Dhabi a qualifié votre offre de non compétitive et d'irréaliste. La fâcherie est-elle derrière vous ?

 

Y a-t-il eu fâcherie ? Une fâcherie c'est quand on ne se parle plus. Or, nous n'avons jamais arrêté de nous parler. Les mots utilisés -non compétitif et irréaliste -signifiaient que Dassault devait faire mieux. Dans une négociation, il y a toujours des hauts et des bas, mais un seul résultat à la fin. Aujourd'hui, nous n'en sommes pas encore là. C'est pourquoi nous travaillons et nous restons prudents.

 

En cas d'alternance politique en mai, il y a-t-il un risque de repousser de plusieurs mois l'issue des négociations ?

 

Une alternance politique n'est pas de nature à accélérer ce genre de décision. Maintenant, les échéances politiques de la France sont bien connues. Le volet politique est important avec ce type de contrat.

 

Le Rafale est à nouveau donné gagnant au Brésil. Ou en est l'appel d'offres ?

 

Le choix de New Delhi a eu un effet d'entraînement sur nos autres campagnes. Nous ne le surestimons pas, mais nous ne le sous-estimons pas non plus car cela nous permet de faire passer un certain nombre de messages. A l'issue d'une procédure très professionnelle, l'Inde a écarté nos concurrents américain, russe, suédois et européen. Ce n'est pas indifférent pour les pays qui ont lancé un appel d'offres. Comme au Brésil, où le Rafale est opposé au F-18 de Boeing et au Gripen de Saab qui, tous deux, ont été éliminés au premier tour en Inde. Cela dit, aujourd'hui, l'appel d'offres au Brésil reste gelé. La balle est dans le camp du gouvernement brésilien.

 

Est-ce que l'annulation par le Pentagone du contrat d'avions légers Tucano d'Embraer joue beaucoup en votre faveur ? Voyez-vous une décision cette année ?

 

Nous observons cette affaire avec un oeil attentif. Elle montre que les Etats-Unis savent protéger leurs intérêts. Je ne vois pas en quoi cela nous desservirait. Il y a un an, il se disait que la décision serait prise début 2012. Maintenant on évoque le milieu de l'année. Nous observons. En attendant un signe du gouvernement, nous continuons à tisser nos partenariats locaux.

 

Déposerez-vous un recours en Suisse qui a préféré le Gripen ?

 

Le Parlement a lancé une enquête. Nous souhaitons être certain que la procédure, qui exigeait que les avions testés soient en production, a été respectée. Le Rafale et l'Eurofighter ont été évalués en vol. Mais quelle version du Gripen l'a été ? Est-ce un avions de papier ? Un prototype ? Si c'est le cas, alors ce serait contraire à ce que nous avions compris de la procédure. Nous nous soumettrons au résultat de l'enquête parlementaire. Si elle confirme que la procédure a été respectée, nous ne déposerons pas un recours juridique face à un Etat souverain.

 

Qu'il soit ou non piloté, le futur avion de combat européen sera-t-il avant tout franco-britannique ?

 

C'est ce que l'on peut déduire du traité de Lancaster House de novembre 2010 et de la déclaration bilatérale du 17 février dernier. Les deux pays ont affiché leur volonté de confier ce projet à leurs deux champions nationaux, BAE Systems et Dassault Aviation.

 

Il y aura-t-il de la place pour d'autres pays et notamment pour ceux qui sont impliqués dans le prototype Neuron de drone de combat ?

 

Nous n'en sommes qu'au début, mais nous sommes prêts à ouvrir le projet à d'autres pays. Encore faut-il que leurs gouvernements le veuillent et qu'ils soient prêts à cotiser. La question se pose car le projet Neuron (qui associe la France, la Suisse, l'Espagne, l'Italie, la Suède et la Grèce) se terminera mi-2013. Cela dit, le leadership restera à BAE et Dassault.

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19 mars 2012 1 19 /03 /mars /2012 08:45

H-6M-Bomber.jpg

Chinese Air Force H-6M Bomber

 

2012-03-17 (China Military News cited from aviationweek.com and by Richard D. Fisher, Jr.)

 

As China starts to put together a modern, integrated air force, which could reach 1,000 fighters by 2020, it is developing the components of a future force of stealthier combat aircraft, new bombers and unmanned, hypersonic and possibly space-based combat platforms. These could emerge as soon as the early 2020s.

 

This dual track was illustrated in late 2010 by two events. One was the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (Plaaf) first foreign demonstration of its modern capabilities: a combined-force mission of Xian Aircraft Co. H-6 bombers supported by Chengdu Aircraft Co. J-10 multi-role fighters, KJ-2000 airborne early warning and control aircraft. and H-6U tankers for an exercise in Kazakhstan. The other was the unveiling four months later of the Chengdu stealth fighter prototype, widely known as the J-20, followed in early 2011 by its first official flight.

 

The modernization drive relies on a comprehensive aerospace technology development program that started in the early 1990s. The first underlying doctrine was guided by “access denial” strategies that gelled in the late 1990s and focused on conflict over Taiwan. They were followed after 2005 by “New Historic Mission” strategies, propelling the PLA to dominate at greater distances and to build new, farther-reaching expeditionary capabilities.

 

To speed development of new weapons, the PLA has encouraged defense- sector competition since major logistics reforms in 1998, at the price of subsidizing greater redundancy. Though less prevalent in aerospace than in other defense fields, there is significant redundancy in combat aircraft, unmanned aircraft, electronics and weapons development and production.

 

Chengdu and the Shenyang Aircraft Co., China’s main fighter concerns, manage both stealthy and conventional fighter programs. China purchased 176 Sukhoi Su-27SK/UBK/Su-30MKK/MK2 twin-engine fighters, and co-produced over 100 more as the J-11 under license from Russia. In 2008, Shenyang started delivering the unlicensed J-11B with indigenous engines, radar and weapons, and today it is China’s most capable domestic production fighter. More than 120 J-11B and twin-seat J-11BSs serve in the air force, and are expected to be upgraded with better engines and an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar as they become available. A dedicated attack version of the J-11BS dubbed the “J-16” may also include these upgrades. Though it lost to Chengdu for the heavy stealth-fighter program, there is a persistent buzz that Shenyang is self-funding a medium-weight stealth warplane, perhaps called “J-60.”

 

Shenyang’s J-15, a near-facsimile of the Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-based fighter, is leading a new era of growth for the PLA navy’s air force. Having undergone land-based testing over the last year with the short-takeoff but arrested-recovery (Stobar) system to be used by China’s first aircraft carrier, the refurbished Russian Varyag, the J-15 could begin carrier-based testing later this year and when fully developed could prove as potent as the Boeing F/A-18E/F. An initial carrier air wing will include Changhe Z-8 airborne early warning and control helicopters with airborne early warning radar, and perhaps Russian Kamov Ka-32 anti-submarine and Ka-31 AEW helicopters.

 

J-11B-Fighter.jpg

J-11B Fighter

 

A twin-turboprop E-2 class airborne early warning/antisubmarine warfare (AEW/ASW) aircraft is under development, perhaps for conventional-takeoff-and-landing (CTOL) on two nuclear carriers that may follow two more non-nuclear Stobar carriers. In November 2011, images emerged of a long-awaited ASW version of the Shaanxi Y-8 “New High” medium transport, which will finally give the navy an oceanic ASW and maritime surveillance platform.

 

Since 2003, more than 200 of Chengdu’s “low end” canard-configuration single-engine J-10A and twin-seat J-10S fighters have entered service—forming the low end of a high-low mix with the larger J-11B. Production may soon switch to the upgraded J-10B equipped with an AESA radar, infrared search and track sensor, radar cross-section reduction measures and improved electronic warfare system. One J-10B prototype has been tested with a version of the Shenyang-Liming WS-10A turbofan. This fighter may be the basis for the “FC-20” version expected to be purchased by Pakistan

 

Just before the service’s 60th anniversary in October 2009, a Chinese air force general stated that their next-generation fighter would enter service between 2017 and 2019, though a late- 2010 report of PLA interest in purchasing the Russian AL-41 turbofan for this fighter might accelerate that timeline. Since its emergence on the Internet in late 2010, Chengdu’s stealthy twin-engine canard J-20 has been photographed and videoed extensively undergoing testing at Chengdu. Expected to be fitted with 15-ton-class thrust-vectored turbofans in its production form, this aircraft is expected to be capable of supercruise and extreme post-stall maneuvering, and will be equipped with an AESA radar and distributed infrared warning sensors.

 

In 2005 a Chinese official said that an “F-35”-class program was being considered by Chengdu. China also has long been interested in short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) fighters, and long-standing Russian and Chinese reports point to a possible Chengdu program based on technology from the Yakovlev Yak-141, a supersonic Stovl prototype tested in the late 1980s.

 

A potential development of medium-weight stealth fighters by 2020 would cap an expected decade of more intensive export offerings. While the export effort is led by Chengdu’s FC-1/JF-17 cooperative program with Pakistan (which could acquire up to 300 fighters) and the fighter could yet be purchased by the air force, greater international appeal may follow its being equipped with a Chinese engine—a likely near-term prospect.

 

But China is already laying the foundation for sales of the FC-1, and perhaps the J-10B and J-11B, by aggressively marketing low-cost trainers like the Hongdu K-8 and the supersonic L-15, with generous financing credits and production technology transfers. This “food chain” strategy has worked in Pakistan, and could be repeated in Egypt and as far away as Latin America. Venezuela and Bolivia are customers for light attack versions of the K-8 and Venezuelan officials reportedly visited the Chengdu factory in late 2011.

 

The Chinese air force and navy have taken delivery of about 170 of the twin-engine Xian JH-7/JH-7A strike fighters, with indications that Xian may be developing a reduced-signature variant. Approaching the longevity and mission evolution of the Boeing B-52, Xian’s latest version H-6K bomber entered low-rate production in 2010, equipped with more powerful and efficient Progress D-30KP turbofans and a redesigned nose with modern radar and optics. The bomber is armed with more than six land-attack cruise missiles. Little is known about Xian’s follow-on bomber program, except that it could emerge this decade. In late 2009 an “official” model of a large, stealthy delta-wing bomber was revealed, though its provenance is unknown. In early 2010 Chinese academics from the prestigious Institute of Mechanics, a leading hypersonics research center, produced a paper on an apparent large aircraft with a Mach 3 cruise speed, with illustrations and wind tunnel models indicating it could be an optionally manned platform.

 

This year or next, Xian is expected to unveil a new 50-60-ton payload Y-20 four-engine strategic transport. While the Comac C919 twin-turbofan regional airliner is an established, well-known program, Chinese officials are far more reticent about a Boeing 767-sized widebody four-turbofan airliner program at Xian. Though its business case may be unclear, this platform could serve multiple military missions.

 

To power its aerospace transformation, China has purchased about 1,000 Russian Saturn AL-31 turbofans for its Su-27/J-11 and J-10A fleets, which are receiving Chinese-developed service-life extensions. But after 25 years of intensive investments, new Chinese fighter and large high-bypass turbofan engines are emerging. In 2008 the Shenyang-Liming WS-10A was good enough to enter service with the J-11B, perhaps slightly below thrust goals at 12.7 tons, but it now powers the J-11BS and prototypes of the J-15 and J-10B. Shenyang-Liming may also be working toward a 15-ton variant of this engine. The Gas Turbine Research Institute has put a new 8-9.5-ton-thrust turbofan on one FC-1 and has advanced the development of a 15-ton engine for J-20. Shenyang-Liming, Xian and the Avic Commercial Aircraft Engine Co. have 13+-ton-thrust high-bypass turbofan engine programs to power military and commercial transports, and perhaps a new bomber.

 

Prototypes of the J-10B use China’s first fighter-sized AESA radar by the Nanjing Research Institute of Engineering Technology (NRIET) and future versions of the J-11 and J-15 fighters are expected to have AESA. NRIET’s mechanically scanned array radar on the J-10A and FC-1 can manage two simultaneous air-to-air missile (AAM) engagements at over 100 km (62 mi.). The Luoyang PL-12 actively guided AAM may have a range of 100 km, while the helmet-sighted PL-8 and PL-9 short-range AAMs may be replaced with a helmet-display sighted PL-10. Two companies produce families of satellite and laser-guided munitions, down to 50-kg (110-lb.) weapons for unmanned combat air vehicles.

 

China has developed a plethora of AEW platforms. The Plaaf itself uses the “high end” KJ-2000, based on the Beriev A-50, and the smaller KJ-2000 based on the Xian Y-8 turboprop transport, with a “balance beam” AESA antenna like that of the Saab Erieye. China has also exported the Y-8-based ZDK-03 with a “saucer” radar array to Pakistan. These will be joined soon by the Chengdu/Guizhou Soar Dragon box-wing strategic UAV.

 

Leadership for space warfare is being sought by the air force, and its leaders clearly enunciated new strategies calling for space warfare capabilities in late 2009. But today China’s manned and unmanned space program is controlled by the General Armaments Department of the Central Military Commission. The air force’s case, however, could be advanced by Chengdu’s small Shenlong spaceplane—which may have undertaken initial sub-orbital tests by late 2010—and could be developed into an X-37B-like craft. In 2006, engineers from the China Academy of Space Launch Technology outlined plans to build a 100-ton+ space shuttle-like spaceplane, perhaps by 2020, or a more efficient sub-orbital hypersonic vehicle that would launch attached payloads. “Flying” platforms could fall under air force control, while “dual use” missions of PLA-controlled satellites and manned space platforms could remain under GAD control.

 

But a clash could also occur over the future ballistic missile defense mission, which Asian military sources suggest could be realized by the mid-2020s. The successful warhead interception of January 2010 was likely a GAD program, but the air force’s expected development of very-long-range anti-aircraft missiles with anti-ballistic missile capabilities might also justify its potential claim on mission leadership.

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9 mars 2012 5 09 /03 /mars /2012 08:50

UK MOD

 

March 8, 2012 Official Blog of the UK Ministry of Defence - defpro.com

 

The Daily Telegraph has published a comment piece by James Blunt criticising the Royal Air Force (RAF) air bridge following his and Katherine Jenkins' aborted trip to Afghanistan. He says 'our [the United Kingdom's] deployment of manpower is inefficient and costly'.

 

Due to some technical problems with our aircraft, the visit suffered a number of delays resulting in its cancellation. However, it should be noted that our air bridge aircraft work exceptionally hard and operate in tough environments which, unfortunately, can sometimes lead to unavoidable delays.

 

The air bridge as a whole is highly reliable, serving our operational theatres on a daily basis. We are due to take delivery of a new C-17 later this year which will boost our ability to move troops and equipment between Afghanistan and the UK. In addition, our new Voyager transport aircraft is due to come into service in 2014.

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5 mars 2012 1 05 /03 /mars /2012 13:50
IL-76MD-90A under construction at Aviastar-SP's production facility

IL-76MD-90A under construction at Aviastar-SP's production facility

 

 

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, March 2 (RIA Novosti)

 

Russia’s modernized Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A aircraft, also known as the Il-476, will conduct its maiden flight by the end of June, Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar aircraft maker said on Friday.

 

The Il-476 is an extensively modified variant of the Il-76 freighter, with new engines, reinforced wing, modernized cockpit, and heavier payload. The aircraft will be primarily built for the Russian Armed Forces and Emergencies Ministry.

 

“Project 476 is our future,” Aviastar General Director Sergei Dementyev said.

 

Aviastar, which also manufactures super-heavy Antonov An-124 transport planes, expects to build up to ten of the Il-476 aircraft per year and is in talks with export customers including India and China as well as commercial customers.

 

China canceled a contract agreed earlier with Russia for delivery of around 38 Il-76 transport and Il-78 tanker aircraft, after TAPO, the Uzbekistan-based Il-76 airframe producer said it could no longer deliver the airframes as production had slowed.

 

Russia then had to move production to Aviastar in order to complete the Il-476 modification programs for the Russian Air Force.

 

The Russian Defense Ministry wants to buy up to 100 of the aircraft over ten years to replace existing Il-76s.

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1 mars 2012 4 01 /03 /mars /2012 17:45
La marine russe recevra ses MiG-29KUB en 2013

 

 

1 mars 2012 par Daniel Favre – INFO-AVIATION

 

Les quatre premiers chasseurs embarqués MiG-29/KUB seront livrés aux forces navales russes en 2013, a annoncé le 29 février un porte-parole du ministère russe de la Défense.

 

« La Marine russe recevra les quatre premiers avions MiG-29KUB dès 2013. Tous les chasseurs embarqués de ce type, dont le nombre est spécifié dans le contrat signé entre le ministère de la Défense et le consortium MiG, seront mis à la disposition de la  Flotte du Nord d’ici 2015″, a indiqué le porte-parole.

 

Le porte-avions russe Admiral Kouznetsov.

 

Selon lui, six mois avant la livraison des chasseurs, les pilotes de l’Aviation navale russe suivront un entraînement approprié.

 

Le ministère de la Défense et le groupe de construction aéronautique MiG ont signé un contrat prévoyant la livraison de 20 chasseurs embarqués MiG-29K et quatre MiG-29KUB. Ces appareils équiperont le croiseur porte-avions Admiral Kouznetsov, rattaché à la Flotte du Nord.

 

Il s’agit d’appareils multi-rôles, destinés à assurer la maîtrise aérienne et à remplir différentes missions de combat de jour comme de nuit, dans toutes les conditions météorologiques.

 

Un lot de chasseurs MiG-29K et MiG-29KUB a été livré à l’Inde à la fin de 2011 pour le porte-avions indien Vikramaditya.

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1 mars 2012 4 01 /03 /mars /2012 08:45
Marine russe: les premiers MiG-29 embarqués livrés dès 2013

 

MOSCOU, 29 février - RIA Novosti

 

Les quatre premiers chasseurs embarqués MiG-29/KUB seront livrés aux forces navales russes en 2013, a annoncé mercredi aux journalistes un porte-parole du ministère russe de la Défense.

 

"La Marine russe recevra les quatre premiers avions MiG-29KUB dès 2013. Tous les chasseurs embarqués de ce type, dont le nombre est spécifié dans le contrat signé entre le ministère de la Défense et le consortium MiG, seront mis à la disposition de la  Flotte du Nord d'ici 2015", a indiqué le porte-parole.

 

Selon lui, six mois avant la livraison des chasseurs, les pilotes de l'Aviation navale russe suivront un entraînement approprié.

 

Le ministère de la Défense et le groupe de construction aéronautique MiG ont signé un contrat prévoyant la livraison de 20 chasseurs embarqués MiG-29K et quatre MiG-29KUB. Ces appareils équiperont le croiseur porte-avions Admiral Kouznetsov, rattaché à la Flotte du Nord.

 

Il s'agit d'appareils multi-rôles, destinés à assurer la maîtrise aérienne et à remplir différentes missions de combat de jour comme de nuit, dans toutes les conditions météorologiques.

 

Un lot de chasseurs MiG-29K et MiG-29KUB a été livré à l'Inde à la fin de 2011.

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29 février 2012 3 29 /02 /février /2012 13:10
Russia Signs Contract for Navy MiG-29K Fighter

 

The Russian Defense Ministry has signed a contract with aircraft maker MiG for the delivery of 20 MiG-29K and four MiG-29KUB carrier-based fighter aircraft

 

MOSCOW, February 29 (RIA Novosti)

 

The Russian Defense Ministry has signed a contract with aircraft maker MiG for the delivery of 20 MiG-29K and four MiG-29KUB carrier-based fighter aircraft, MiG said on Wednesday.

 

"Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and MiG General Director Sergei Korotkov have signed the contract for the delivery of MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB carrier-based fighters," MiG said in a statement.

 

MiG wil deliver the aircraft from 2013-2015. The aircraft will operate from Russia's single serving carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, with the Northern Fleet based in Murmansk. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

 

"The signature of this contract for delivery of these fighters is a real step in fulfilling our program for rearming the forces. The Naval Air Forces will get a modern combat aircraft as good as any in the world," Serdyukov was quoted as saying by his press service.

 

The contract will guarantee MiG a steady level of work in the medium term, Korotkov said.

 

The MiG-29K is a navalized variant of the MiG-29 land-based fighter, and has folding wings, an arrester tail-hook, strengthened airframe and multirole capability. It can be armed with a wide variety of air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry. So far, the aircraft has only been exported to India for use on a refitted Russian-built carrier which is to be delivered at the end of this year.

 

The Admiral Kuznetsov currently operates Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighter aircraft.

 

Russia Signs Contract for Navy MiG-29K Fighter
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29 février 2012 3 29 /02 /février /2012 08:05
Alenia Warns U.S. Over C-27J Sales

Alenia Aermacchi, the Italian maker of the C-27J, is warning the U.S. government that it will refuse to support the aircraft it sold to the United States if the U.S. resells them to other nations. (Senior Master Sgt. David Lipp / Air Force)

 

Feb. 27, 2012 By VAGO MURADIAN – Defense news

 

SINGAPORE — In what analysts see as an unprecedented move, Alenia Aermacchi, the Italian maker of the C-27J, is warning the U.S. government that it will refuse to support the aircraft it sold to the United States if the U.S. resells them to other nations.

 

 

The move caught some U.S. officials by surprise and threatens to undermine American efforts to resell the planes on the international market, most likely to Australia, Canada or Taiwan.

 

Giuseppi Giordo, CEO of Alenia Aermacchi, explained his position in an interview at the Singapore Air Show here, before continuing on for meetings in Australia.

 

“Obviously, we don’t like the [U.S.] decision,” he said. “However, we respect it and we will try to mitigate any negative impacts from the cancellation of the C-27J.”

 

Giordo explained that the company would continue to support efforts to sell new C-27Js through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, but would exercise its contractual rights not to support the aircraft originally sold to the U.S. if those planes were resold on the international market, essentially competing with Giordo’s company.

 

“If they want to sell additional airplanes as FMS, we will support them, but not those 21 airplanes,” Giordo said. “In fact, we will do our best — not only us, but the Italian government — not to support those planes. In that case the U.S. government will be competing against our international campaigns in a market where 21 airplanes is a big deal.”

 

The U.S. Air Force announced it would end the program earlier this month after spending $1.6 billion for 21 aircraft, 12 of which have been delivered, four in final assembly and testing, and five in production. Officials have not specified plans for the C-27Js, and options include parking them in the desert for future use, transferring the planes to the Air Guard, Special Operations Command or another agency, such as Homeland Security, or reselling the aircraft internationally.

 

Air Force spokesmen said the decision was driven by a change in U.S. strategy and budget pressures, and is not a reflection on the aircraft or its performance. Officials simply concluded they could meet mission requirements with their fleet of C-130 and C-17 transports.

 

“We’re working through those issues for the C-27, also the Global Hawk, which in both cases represent new airframes,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told an audience at the Air Force Association’s winter conference in Orlando, Fla. “So we will probably set rules for Type-1,000 recoverable storage and lesser numbers for availability for us. Our international affairs staff ... are communicating to potential countries interested and partners asking for them to identify their interest.

 

“I think there are a number of avenues available to us. We have not selected a particular course of action. We will be putting that together and it does include potentially making these airframes available for sale to [partners].”

 

Heidi Grant, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs, said foreign interest is high in C-27Js, C-130H transports and Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft.

 

In Singapore, Grant met with nearly two dozen of her international counterparts during her visit to the Asian city-state. The aircraft to be divested by the U.S. since 2001, she said, would constitute the world’s seventh largest air force.

 

Grant added the Air Force is working to determine the future of the planes and waiting to see whether Congress approves the service’s budget. Selling excess aircraft is of interest, she said, because her mission is to improve “the capability and capacity of our partners.”

 

A Rare Stand

 

For the U.S. Air Force, ending the purchase of C-27J transport planes was just one of thousands of decisions needed to help cut Pentagon spending by nearly a half-trillion dollars over the coming decade.

 

But for Alenia, a Finmeccanica company, the decision is a threat to the future of the twin-engine plane and 1,000 workers at two factories that build it.

 

Once a nearly $6 billion Army program for 145 aircraft, the Air Force took over the effort in 2009 and capped the purchase of C-27Js at 38 planes. But in its recent 2013 budget request, it decided to end the program at 21 aircraft, 17 fewer than expected, and retire the fleet next year.

 

It remains unclear how much the Air Force will save by deferring the option for 17 additional aircraft, or if the service will even be required to pay Alenia a termination fee, sources said.

 

Analysts called Giordo’s stance unprecedented, but understandable in light of market dynamics and the Italian company’s bitter experience with Pentagon contracting over the past decade.

 

Alenia’s sister company, AgustaWestland, beat longtime incumbent Sikorsky to win the U.S. presidential helicopter contract, only to have the $6 billion program for 28 aircraft canceled in the early days of the Obama administration after constant design changes by the government sent costs soaring. Nine helicopters were delivered when the program was canceled; they were later sold to Canada for $164 million.

 

Defense trade has emerged as the source of uncharacteristic discord between Washington and Rome, which have long been close allies. Italy hosts thousands of U.S. troops on its soil and remains a major buyer of American military gear, most notably the Joint Strike Fighter that will cost Rome about $15 billion for 100 aircraft. But the fact that America won’t buy Italian products infuriates some executives and officials.

 

Giordo maintains his tough line on the C-27J won’t hurt his company’s prospects in the U.S. Alenia remains a key partner on the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program and will pursue the Air Force’s trainer replacement contract when that competition gets underway formally in a few years. And Finmeccanica’s DRS Technologies continues to serve as the cornerstone of the Italian giant’s U.S. operation and a key DoD supplier, now under the leadership of former Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn.

 

L-3 Communications is the prime contractor for the U.S. C-27J program, performing final integration of the aircraft in Waco, Texas. The company declined to comment on Giordo’s stance, noting it’s a matter between Alenia and the Air Force.

 

With the U.S. order capped and the aftermath of U.S. and European budget cuts, the C-27J’s prospects have dimmed. A derivative of Alenia’s G222 with new engines and avionics, 62 C-27Js have been sold worldwide: 21 to America, 12 to Italy, eight to Greece, seven to Romania, four to Mexico, four to Morocco, three to Bulgaria and three to Lithuania.

 

Alenia has identified South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Taiwan, Egypt, Oman, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Qatar and “potentially UAE” as future customers.

 

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group in Virginia, said the 21 planes the U.S. might want to sell constitutes the bulk of the world market for such small transports — and is equivalent to two years’ output from Alenia’s factories.

 

That explains why the stakes are high enough for Giordo to take such a hard stance.

 

“I am pragmatic,” Giordo said. “I prefer they put the airplanes in the desert.”

 

Message to Potential Buyers

 

Giordo said he will take his message that his company won’t support U.S. aircraft to all his potential C-27J customers such as Australia, which has expressed interest in the planes. He visited Australia Feb. 15-17.

 

The message to the Australians is that “you can buy on FMS and we will support the FMS case for 10 additional airplanes,” Giordo said. “But if they consider selling the 21 [U.S. planes], no way. They can sell, but as the original equipment manufacturer, I will not give spares, not guarantee configuration control, and so on.”

 

Alenia has fought an uphill battle to crack the U.S. market. Lockheed Martin first partnered with Alenia on the C-27J, only to abandon the program when it concluded it would compete with Lockheed’s four-engine C-130J. Then Boeing signed on as a partner, but it too withdrew its support. Eventually, Alenia partnered with L-3 and won a deal for up to 145 light battlefield transports valued at $6 billion, beating EADS’ C-295.

 

“We have two problems,” Giordo said. “First of all, the price that we have with the U.S. government is a very, very, low, low price because to win the competition we had to reduce the price. Second, the volume at the beginning was 145, then 78, then 38, now 21 with firm, fixed price. We are losing money.

 

“So, how can I allow the U.S. government to sell 21 airplanes they have in their inventory where I lose money and they also kill my international marketing?”

 

Sympathy for Alenia

 

But that stance does have its risks for Alenia Aermacchi, which stands to compete when the U.S. Air Force launches a new jet trainer competition in three years.

 

That competition was to have gotten underway later this year, with Alenia to bid a U.S. version of its M-346 trainer against the T-50 by Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin and a new version of BAE Systems’ Hawk trainer sold by Northrop Grumman. Boeing is also considering developing an all new aircraft for the competition.

 

Asked whether his C-27J stance could damage relations with the U.S. Air Force, Giordo said, “I do not see what consequences our decision should have. Our decision is based on a product of a specific program and not meant to jeopardize the relationship with such an important customer and partner. I am sure that we will continue our collaboration with the United States, on, for example the [Joint Strike Fighter] program.”

 

He added that he is confident the M-346, which was selected by Singapore and most recently Israel, is a strong product that would satisfy U.S. requirements.

 

Senior U.S. aerospace executives expressed sympathy for Giordo, saying Alenia has been dealt a particularly tough hand.

 

“They fought like hell to win that contract and priced the plane to win but didn’t leave a lot of profit margin,” said one senior executive. “That’s why he can’t afford to have the U.S. government sell the planes they have. But we’ve all been through that. We bid for programs that we think will be for hundreds of planes that over time dwindle to a handful; it’s just that Alenia’s smaller than we are, so this kind of thing hurts even more.”

 

“No doubt about it, it’s a tough message, but you can’t blame them because by any objective measure, this company has faced a series of setbacks not of its making,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank, who also has served as a strategic adviser to Alenia’s parent, Finmeccanica. “It invested heavily to break into the U.S. market, winning the presidential helicopter and the Joint Cargo Aircraft. Both were terminated, and two Air Force helicopter programs they were eager to compete for, search and rescue and supporting ICBM fields, were canceled.”

 

Teal analyst Aboulafia agreed, noting that the only recent parallel to Alenia’s position was between Boeing and Airbus two decades ago.

 

“Back in the ‘90s, Airbus said it wouldn’t support A340s Boeing took from Singapore in exchange for 777s,” he said. “It was ultimately resolved after Airbus realized that not supporting the planes would hurt residual values for all A340s. What Alenia wants to do is effectively embargo its own product. It’s an aggressive stance, but my question is how this plays out in reality. It’s extremely difficult to enforce on any sophisticated product with a whole lot of subcontractors and third-party suppliers.”

 

Aboulafia suggested the move is more a negotiating tactic than a final position, noting it’s never good for business to squeeze a customer.

 

“Customers have a tendency of noticing how you treat other customers,” he said. “On the other hand, it’s a great little airplane that’s living hand to mouth at a run rate of just under one per month, not a lot in the pipeline and with few prospects like Taiwan and Australia.

 

“You can say one thing in Finmeccanica’s favor, they’ve worked hard. Given all that’s happened, whether cancellation of the 27, the presidential helicopter, competitions going away or being delayed like the trainer, the degree of fatigue and annoyance with U.S. procurement of foreign systems is quite understandable, so what do they really have to lose? It’s very understandable, but it might not be tenable.”

 

Marcus Weisgerber in Washington and Tom Kington in Rome contributed to this report.

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28 février 2012 2 28 /02 /février /2012 19:30

Su-30MKI--Flanker-H--multirole-fighter-infographie-Ria-Novi.jpg

 

MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti)

 

The crew of a Su-30 fighter that crashed earlier on Tuesday in Russia’s Far East reported an engine fire before the crash, a spokesman for the Main Military Investigative Directorate said.

 

The Su-30MK2 fighter jet crashed 130 km northeast of Komsomolsk-na-Amure during a post-construction test flight. Both pilots ejected safely, although one of them was hurt on landing.

 

“While executing acceleration to a maximum speed, the first pilot reported a fire in the right engine,” the spokesman said. “The flight controller immediately ordered the crew to eject.”

 

“The investigators are taking all necessary steps to establish the cause of the crash,” the official said.

 

The aircraft belonged to the Komsomolsk-na-Amure factory where Su-30s are manufactured.

 

The Russian military earlier said that the plane had been built for export.

 

Su-family fighters constitute the bulk of Russia's arms exports.

 

Variants of Su-30 Flanker fighters are in service with air forces in several foreign countries, including India, Indonesia, China, Algeria, Vietnam and Venezuela.

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28 février 2012 2 28 /02 /février /2012 13:35
Su-30 Fighter Jet Crashes, Crew Ejects Safely

Two crew members ejected safely after their Su-30 fighter jet crashed 130 km northeast of Komsomolsk-na-Amur during a test flight

 

MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti)

 

Two crew members ejected safely after their Su-30 fighter jet crashed 130 km northeast of Komsomolsk-on-Amur during a test flight on Tuesday, according to sources in the regional administration.

 

"Both crew members ejected safely but one was hurt on landing," a regional administration source said.

 

The aircraft belonged to the Komsomolsk-on-Amur factory where Su-30s are manufactured.

 

The crash took place at 10:20 AM Moscow time.

 

The Su-30, a multirole combat aircraft, is operated by India, China and Russia.

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23 février 2012 4 23 /02 /février /2012 17:30

P-3C-Orion-maritime-surveillance-aircraft-source-naval-tech.jpg

P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft

 

22 February 2012 naval-technology.com

 

The Pakistani Navy has received its second batch of two upgraded US-built P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft at the navy's Naval Aviation Base in Karachi, Pakistan.

 

 

The delivery comes at a time when military aid for Pakistan has been almost completely halted by the US in the wake of a series of crises affecting the bilateral relationship between the two nations.

 

The navy had placed orders with the US Government under its Foreign Military Sales programme for the procurement of six modernised P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, to be delivered in three batches of two.

 

The upgrades to the aircraft include new communications, electro-optic and infrared systems, data management, controls and displays, mission computers and acoustic processing.

 

The navy said that the aircraft's extended surveillance capability and modified avionics/sensors will assist in conducting continuous patrols of its vital areas of interest in the North Arabian Sea.

 

In May 2011, Pakistan Navy's first batch of two P3C Orion aircraft, received in 2010, was destroyed during a terrorist attack on PNS Mehran, a key naval airbase in Karachi.

 

The Pakistani Naval aviation fleet includes Atlantique reconnaissance aircraft, Fokker F-27 transport and surveillance aircraft, Alouette, Sea King, and Chinese Z9EC helicopters.

 

The four-engine turboprop aircraft features advanced submarine detection sensors including directional frequency and ranging sonobuoys, and magnetic anomaly detection equipment.

 

The aircraft also incorporates an avionics system that can automatically launch ordnance while accepting sensor data inputs and providing flight information to the pilots.

 

The P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft is capable of supporting missions that include anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, drug interdiction, economic zone patrol and airborne early warning and electronic warfare.

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15 février 2012 3 15 /02 /février /2012 17:20
Lockheed Martin’s Fighting Falcon Evolves With New F-16V

 

February 15th, 2012 By Lockheed Martin - defencetalk.com

 

Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] unveiled a new version of the F-16 today at the Singapore Airshow. The F-16V will feature enhancements including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an upgraded mission computer and architecture, and improvements to the cockpit – all capabilities identified by the U.S. Air Force and several international customers for future improvements.

 

With nearly 4,500 F-16s delivered, this is a natural step in the evolution of the world’s most successful 4th generation fighter. The Fighting Falcon program has continually evolved as it began with the F-16 A/B as the lightweight fighter then transitioned to F-16 C/D and Block 60 versions as customers’ requirements changed.

 

AESA radars offer significant operational capability improvements. Lockheed Martin has developed an innovative solution to affordably retrofit this key technology into existing F-16s. The F-16V configuration is an option for new production jets and elements of the upgrade are available to most earlier-model F-16s. The “V” designation is derived from Viper, the name fighter pilots have called the F-16 from its beginnings.

 

“We believe this F-16V will satisfy our customers’ emerging requirements and prepare them to better interoperate with the 5th generation fighters, the F-35 and F-22,” said George Standridge, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ vice president of business development.

 

The F-16 is the choice of 26 nations. The F-16 program has been characterized by unprecedented international cooperation among governments, air forces and aerospace industries.

 

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 123,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.

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15 février 2012 3 15 /02 /février /2012 08:30
Canada Pulls Out of NATO’s AGS Project

 

Feb. 14, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Windsor Star; published Feb. 10, 2012)

 

Canada Backs Out of NATO Project

 

The Canadian government has withdrawn from a NATO surveillance project that would incorporate similar technology used in NATO's successful military operation in Libya.

 

"Canada is withdrawing from the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance program, with our full withdrawal to become effective in spring of 2012," said Kim Tulipan, spokeswoman for the Department of National Defence.

 

"NATO has been informed of these decisions. The details of our withdrawal are still under discussion with NATO," she said in an email to Postmedia News.

 

The Alliance Ground Surveillance System, which began in 1992, "will give commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground,"according to NATO's website. "NATO's operation to protect civilians in Libya showed how important such a capability is."

 

Under the program, 13 countries, including the U.S., Italy and Germany, will acquire five reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles, in addition to associated command and control base stations. The surveillance system will be available by 2015-2017.

 

NATO will operate the system on behalf of its 28 allies.

 

On Feb. 2, the North Atlantic Council decided to collectively cover the costs of operating the surveillance program as a "NATO-owned and operated capability," according to NATO's website.

 

The surveillance system's main operating base will be in Italy.

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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 20:05
photo S. Fort

photo S. Fort

 

14.02.12 LEMONDE.FR avec Reuters

 

La Suisse s'est dite prête, mardi 14 février, à examiner une nouvelle offre de la part de Dassault Aviation dans le cadre de l'appel d'offres portant sur le renouvellement de ses avions de chasse, tout en défendant le choix de l'appareil Gripen du constructeur suédois Saab. "Nous avons demandé au groupe français de nous soumettre une offre vraiment concrète", a déclaré Ueli Maurer, le ministre de la défense suisse, lors d'une conférence mardi.

Le département fédéral de la défense réagissait à un rapport confidentiel, divulgué dimanche par les médias suisses, qui a met en exergue les faiblesses de l'appareil du constructeur suédois Saab, retenu par le gouvernement. Berne avait annoncé fin novembre avoir choisi de renouveler sa flotte d'avions de combat avec les appareils Gripen du constructeur suédois, préféré au Rafale de Dassault Aviation et à l'Eurofighter Typhoon du consortium européen dont fait partie le groupe européen EADS.

 

A la suite de la décision du gouvernement suisse, la presse helvétique avait rapporté les termes d'une nouvelle offre faite par Dassault à la Suisse. L'avionneur français aurait ainsi offert à la République helvétique d'acheter 18 avions de combat Rafale pour 2,2 milliards d'euros, soit 330 millions d'euros de moins que le prix prévu pour 22 avions Gripen suédois. Toutefois, une porte-parole du ministère de la défense avait déclaré fin janvier que la Suisse n'avait pas reçu de nouvelle offre de Dassault.

 

"LE RAFALE RÉPOND À TOUTES LES EXIGENCES"

 

Résumant les résultats de la campagne d'essais réalisée en 2008, le rapport confidentiel divulgué dimanche précise que "le Rafale est le candidat qui répond à toutes les exigences de l'armée de l'air suisse et qui a terminé avec le meilleur score". L'Eurofighter est quant à lui la "meilleure alternative au Rafale", tandis que le Gripen a reçu la mention "insatisfaisant" pour les missions air-air et d'attaque, selon le rapport disponible sur le site internet du journal Sonntagszeitung.

 

En tenant compte des mises à jour techniques jusqu'à la livraison prévue en 2015, "le Rafale a le potentiel d'être opérationnellement effectif et adapté pour les prochaines 40 années", a encore indiqué le rapport, qui a été co-signé par le responsable de l'armée de l'Air, le général Markus Gygax.

Le général Gygax a toutefois expliqué que Saab a proposé une version modernisée, améliorant les performances, et que l'appareil avait prouvé son efficacité en Libye, mais aussi lors de missions de police de l'air dans les pays baltes. Le Gripen "va assurer pendant des décennies de bonnes prestations", a-t-il ajouté.  

 

BERNE JUSTIFIE LE CHOIX DU GRIPEN

 

JAS-39 Gripen source Defence Talk

source Defence Talk

Un avion de chasse de l'armée de l'air suédoise, de type Gripen JAS 39 du constructeur Saab 

 

La Suisse a justifié le choix de l'avion de combat Gripen pour remplacer ses appareils vieillissants. Les responsables ont souligné que Saab avait finalement proposé une version modernisée, ce qui explique pourquoi l'appareil a été finalement retenu.

 

"Le résultat global du Gripen est satisfaisant" et l'avion suédois "convient" à l'armée suisse, a indiqué le ministre de la défense, Ueli Maurer. "L'avion répond aux exigences techniques, même s'il n'est pas l'appareil le plus cher du marché", a-t-il insisté pour justifier l'achat pour 3,1 milliards de francs suisses (2,6 milliards d'euros) de 22 appareils du constructeur suédois.

 

Selon le ministre, qui s'exprimait lors d'une conférence de presse à Berne, "le Gripen représente le meilleur rapport coûts/performance". Si les trois avions en lice répondent aux besoins de l'armée, ce sont donc les aspects financiers qui ont motivé le choix du gouvernement. Berne a insisté qu'il devait "tout mettre en œuvre pour que l'acquisition d'un nouvel avion de combat soit financièrement supportable pour l'armée, à moyen et à long terme".

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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 17:50
U-2 Defeats The Robots Again

photo USAF

 

February 14, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE

 

The U.S. Air Force, faced with substantial budget cuts, has cancelled orders for 18 RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs. At the same time, the retirement of its U-2S reconnaissance aircraft has been delayed once again. Last year it was decided to keep the U-2 in service until 2016. Now the U-2 will keep flying until 2020, or later. The reason is the continued failure of the RQ-4 to prove it can replace the manned U-2. Moreover, the air force has been battling the RQ-4 manufacturer for years over reliability, capability and price issues. The basic problem was that the Global Hawk was never able to come close to the capabilities and reliability of the U-2. Although the U-2, which entered service 56 years ago, carries a pilot, it also carries more weight and has more than twice as much electrical power (for more capable sensors) than the RQ-4. The air force will keep over 50 RQ-4s in service, but the cancelled RQ-4s is a wakeup call to the manufacturer to do better, or lose even more sales.

 

It wasn't just the U.S. Air Force that was havening problems with the RQ-4. South Korea wanted to buy several of them, but eventually backed off as the price kept going up and delivery dates became increasingly vague. Instead of having their own long range recon aircraft, South Korea is looking for smaller substitutes. This might be Israeli Herons or American Reapers. Meanwhile, U-2s will continue to watch North Korea. The three American U-2s stationed in South Korea generally carry out one sortie a day. The cameras and electronic eavesdropping gear can record or photograph North Korean military activity up to a hundred kilometers north of the DMZ (the DeMilitarized Zone) that separates the two Koreas. In an emergency two or even all three U-2s can be put in the air.

 

Its popularity is running the U-2s ragged. Several U-2s have been in service over 40 years and spent nearly 30,000 hours in the air. One of these aircraft had made three belly (landing gear up) landings, requiring extensive rebuilding after each incident.

 

 

With a range of over 11,000 kilometers, the 18 ton U-2s typically fly missions 12 hours long. All U-2s have been upgraded to the Block 20 standard, so they can be kept in service until the end of this decade. Or at least until the 13 ton Global Hawk, or some other UAV is completely debugged and available in sufficient quantity to replace it.

 

The U-2 has been in service since 1955 and only 86 were built, of which 26 remain in service. Less than 900 pilots have qualified to fly the U-2 in that time. The heavy use of the U-2 has been hard on the pilots. Missions can be as long as 12 hours and pilots operate in a cockpit pressurized to conditions found at 9,600 meters (30,000 feet). This puts more strain on the pilot's body. That, and the fact that they breathe pure oxygen while up there, means they tend to be completely exhausted after returning from a long mission. U-2s also fly missions daily over the Middle East and Afghanistan.

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13 février 2012 1 13 /02 /février /2012 08:55

http://www.marianne2.fr/blogsecretdefense/photo/art/default/947941-1123067.jpg?v=1329051650

 

12 Février 2012 Jean-Dominique Merchet – Secret Défense

 

Selon un document révélé par la presse suisse, le Rafale était le meilleur avion en compétition. Dassault espère revenir dans le jeu.

 

On s'en doutait, mais maintenant on peut le lire (en anglais) noir sur blanc, grâce au journal suisse Le Matin qui publie un document de novembre 2009 des Forces aériennes suisses. Comme nous l'évoquions déjà sur ce blog, le Rafale était le favori des aviateurs suisses, mais ce que nous ne savions c'est que ceux-ci estimaient que le Gripen était jugé si mauvais... C'est pourtant cet appareil qui a été choisi par le Conseil fédéral (gouvernement) suisse. Etonnanement, c'est même pour la mission de police du ciel (Defence Counter Air) que l'avion suédois obtient les moins bons résultats.

Voici ce qu'écrit le journal suisse sur la base du document militaire confidentiel : "Contre toute attente, c’est justement pour cette mission de police du ciel que le score du Gripen  est le plus mauvais. Il n’a atteint que 5,33 points sur 10, soit bien au-dessous de la limite minimale de 6,0 décidée au début du processus d’évaluation. L’Eurofighter atteint 6,48 et le Rafale 6,98. La note du Gripen s’explique notamment par un temps de réaction pour le décollage d’urgence trop lent («Quick Reaction Alert»: score 4,7), des performances de vol insuffisantes (5,5) et une endurance largement insuffisante (3,8). Pour tous ces domaines, la note minimale de 6,0 avait été fixée en fonction des capacités des F/A-18 helvétiques opérés actuellement. En clair: le nouvel avion dont la Suisse compte s’équiper à partir de 2016 pour 3,1 milliards de francs, et qui doit rester en service jusqu’en 2035 au moins, sera moins performant que le F/A-18, entré en service en 1997 et régulièrement mis à jour. (...) Pour les missions de défense contre avion (DCA) ainsi que celles d’attaque au sol, les capacités du Gripen choisi par le Conseil fédéral ont là encore été jugées insuffisantes, avec des scores de 5,68 et 5,62. «La probabilité que le Gripen  se révèle incapable de mener à bien des missions de DCA est significative, indiquent les évaluateurs des Forces aériennes suisses. Et l’efficacité globale du Gripen MS21 reste insuffisante pour remporter la supériorité aérienne lors des menaces futures, au-delà de 2015."

Dassault-Aviation souhaite revenir dans le jeu, en proposant 18 Rafale pour une somme inférieure au 22 Gripen. (2,24 milliards d'euros contre 2,57), puisque c'est, selon les autorités suisses, la question du prix qui a été déterminante dans ce choix contesté. (Lire l'article bien informé de mon confrère Michel Cabirol sur la tribune.fr) Cette question fait l'objet de vifs débats politiques chez nos voisins.

L'Inde partagera ses évaluations avec le Brésil

Sur un autre marché, on apprend, grâce au Times of India,  que l'Inde a décidé de partager les évaluations de son futur avion de combat MMRCA (c'est-à-dire le Rafale qui a été récemment sélectionné) avec le Brésil.  Cette coopération pourrait relancer le Rafale sur le marché brésilien, surtout si les aviateurs de ce pays lisent la presse suisse !

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13 février 2012 1 13 /02 /février /2012 08:30
IMI’s MPR 500 Warhead Approved for use with JDAM

Photo: IMI

 

February 12, 2012 Tamir Eshel – Defense Update

 

Israel Military Industries Ltd. announced today that the Boeing Company [NYSE:BA] has approved IMI’s 500-pound Multi Purpose Rigid (MPR 500) Bomb as compatible with their Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kit.

 

The combination of IMI’s MPR 500 with Boeing’s JDAM guidance kit substantially enhances operational flexibility while reducing total ownership costs. With increased penetrating power and reduced collateral damage fragmentation, the MPR 500 was designed to defeat targets more commonly found in today’s fighting areana. By delivering IMI’s focused munition with Boeing’s reliable history of precision guidance, the MPR 500 JDAM system is ideal for gardened targets in dense urban areas or in close proximity to friendly troops.

 

Photo: IMI

 

IMI’s MPR 500 is a combat-proven 500-poud bomb with improved penetration capabilities and gas the same dimensions as a MK-82.

 

The bomb can penetrate more than one meter of reinforced concrete or punch through four 200mm thick walls or floors.
Because of its 500-pound size, MPR 500 enhances aircraft carriage efficiency, increasing the number of targets that can be engaged per sortie.

 

MPR 500 provides concentrated blast effects, utilizing approximately 26,000 controlled fragments. This reduces collateral damage risk within one hundred meters. By creating a straight penetration path through the target, the MPR 500 virtually eliminates the “J Effect”, in which the bomb’s warhead breaks on impact causing it to explode incorrectly.

 

MPR 500 is being displayed by IMI at the Singapore Airshow.

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