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3 juin 2011 5 03 /06 /juin /2011 23:00



Jun 3, 2011 By Bill Sweetman Aviationweek.com


Washington - The European fighter development community’s views on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) have become more negative since 2005-06, and this is not, primarily, the result of marketing. The commentary expressed in offline meetings at conferences and shows is much more negative than on-the-record statements suggest.


People at Saab, Eurofighter and Dassault are of one voice on JSF and do not believe it will deliver its promised affordability, whether in acquisition, upgrades or operational cost, or that it will deliver capability on its present schedule. They expect that when JSF emerges from development, its stealth technology will be less valuable than expected, and that it will be inferior in other respects to European products.


The non-competitive selections of the JSF by the Netherlands, Norway and Canada are attributed to three main factors: political pressure by the U.S. (suspected for years but confirmed in 2010 by WikiLeaks), U.S.-oriented air forces, and political vacillation enabled by the fact that full-rate production JSFs are not available for order.


This worldview underpins the Europeans’ determination to keep their programs alive until the JSF program runs its course, or unravels, as they expect it to.


India’s decision to eliminate all but two contenders for its Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement was a blow to Boeing and Saab, the companies in the losing group who had reason to hold out most hope in the competition (see p. 21). For the survivors, Eurofighter (Typhoon) and Dassault (Rafale), it means a bruising duel to win the contract and—for the winner—a major challenge to fulfill it.


Indian officials say the winners scored highest on technical grounds, which is not surprising. Typhoon and Rafale are larger and more powerful than Saab’s Gripen. The former is better at high altitude and the latter excels in payload and range. The European fighters also have a more contemporary aerodynamic design than Boeing’s Super Hornet.


But a word of caution—what is being offered in both cases is not what is coming off the production line today. Boeing’s Super Hornet proposal seems to have been close to the in-production F/A-18E/F Block 2, with the exception of General Electric’s Enhanced Performance Engine (EPE) version of the F414. Gripen NG rests on a development program that is well underway.


Whether Rafale or Typhoon is selected, the program will aim to achieve several things simultaneously, including co-developing improvements such as an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and Meteor air-to-air missile (AAM) integration; dealing with obsolescence issues that are inevitable in long development cycles; transfering technology and launching joint indigenous production; and transplanting a complex all-digital aircraft into the Indian air force, all on a tight timescale.


If Rafale wins, and is also successful in Brazil, Dassault and its partners—Safran and Thales—will be doing much the same thing, 9,000 mi. from India.


Good luck with that. The Indian customer, however, may take the view that the burden of risk will fall on the contractor—and ultimately its domestic government stakeholder, which is unlikely to want to see problems erupt into public finger-pointing.


Boeing and Saab, meanwhile, can take comfort in depicting the Indian decision as something less than an outright repudiation of their approach to fighter design and the market. Boeing can present it as a choice to not rely on the U.S. for a principal weapon system, and Saab can point out that either finalist represents a move to closer ties with the major powers of Europe.


The current competitive situation of the three “Euro-canard” fighters, however, is shaped by economic, operational, technical and historic factors, and whether one or all survive into the 2020s as viable programs depends on all of them.


The historic factor dates to the mid-1980s, when France and the Eurofighter partners went their separate ways. Germany and the U.K. argued that one-nation programs no longer had the critical mass to compete with those from the U.S. France believed multinational programs without a clear leadership structure were impossibly cumbersome.


Both arguments were right.


Rafale works, but is being built at such slow rates that costs are high. To increase rates would be to starve other national programs of resources. Typhoon’s production and upgrade program has been successively delayed and restructured as the sponsoring nations have wrangled over how much should be spent on each step, and when.


Sweden escaped these outcomes because it had always structured its fighter programs differently. Design, integration and most manufacturing remained in Sweden, but subsystems such as the engine, radar and weapons were co-developed with foreign partners or imported. Combined with a uniquely authoritative and highly skilled government arms-development agency, Gripen’s development has been affordable on a national basis.


Technically and operationally, Rafale and Typhoon are more different than the distant view suggests. At its conception, Typhoon was expected to enter service at a point where Tornado, developed by three of its four partners, would be at its mid-life point. Combined with the emerging threat of the MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27, this drove the design toward air-combat performance, with a configuration that accommodated large radar and a standard, low-drag, six-missile load-out, and aerodynamics and propulsion optimized for agility (including supersonic maneuver) and acceleration.


The RAF considers the Typhoon second only to the Lockheed Martin F-22 in the air-to-air regime. Armed with Meteor ramjet-powered AAMs and equipped with a high-end infrared search-and-track (IRST) system, it will be more formidable yet. The problem is that few customers face adversaries with large or modern fighter forces.


Also, there is a difference of approach among the four Typhoon nations. The U.K. has recognized since the early 2000s that the Typhoon will have to take over some or all Tornado missions and developed an interim air-to-ground precision-strike capability. But the other partners have not seen this as an urgent need (and are less involved with air operations in Iraq and Afghanistan), so funding for definitive solutions has been slow to materialize.


Nonetheless, the Typhoon team continues to promote future variants, including evolved designs with thrust vector control (TVC)—which, among other things, improves handling with heavy external loads—and even a carrier-based version, which is of interest to India (and to the U.K. if JSF has problems). TVC is linked to carrier landing capability, as it permits a trimmed approach at a lower angle of attack and overcomes a problem with earlier “Seaphoon” studies—the big radome that interposed itself between the pilot’s eyes and the ship.


afale, by contrast, was designed to permit a one-type air force for France, including the navy, with missions ranging from close air support to nuclear strike. The result was a small aircraft with the ability to carry a large external load and lower top-end performance than Typhoon. Another tradeoff was to accept less radar range in return for flexibility and light weight, with the relatively small passive phased array of the RBE2.


The Rafale has impressive capabilities, including discretion, which the French prefer to the term “stealth.” Rafale visibly shows more marks of low-observables technology than its contemporaries, and there is evidence that its Thales Spectra electronic warfare system has an active cancellation mode.


The Rafale team has, since the mid-2000s, done reasonably well at keeping its plans to mature and upgrade the aircraft on schedule. It can self-designate with the GBU-12 laser-guided bomb and carries the Sagem AASM extended-range, precision-guided weapon family. For the destruction of enemy air defenses mission, presentations show one Rafale targeting with radar from outside lethal range, while another approaches in terrain cover and delivers a pop-up AASM. The latest version to be tested is the imaging-IR model. Rafale is also operational with the Thales Areos multiband, long-range oblique reconnaissance pod.


Stealth, meanwhile, appears to be the hallmark of Gripen development, in that it is moving forward under a shroud of non-publicity. Sweden has taken the strategic decision to retain a small but capable air force, which will be based on Gripen until at least 2040. The only currently planned route to that goal is through the JAS 39E/F Gripen NG.


The next milestone is the return to flight of the Gripen Demo prototype, equipped with the E/F’s new avionics system, designed to reduce the cost of upgrades by partitioning mission systems from flight-critical functions. Selex Galileo is pushing forward with the Skywards-G IRST—the first system of its type to operate in dual IR bands—and the Raven ES-05, the first wide-angle AESA.


The first new-build Gripen NG is due to fly in 2012. Reports describe stealth enhancements including diverterless inlets. The enhanced performance (EPE) engine would be a useful addition—at its highest reported rating, its non-afterburning output would be over 90% of the maximum thrust of the C/D’s RM12 engine, although Saab may elect to take a smaller thrust boost combined with longer engine life to reduce ownership cost. GE claims that the EPE is relatively low-risk.


There’s a lot of work to be done if European programs are to remain viable, but so far, industry considers it worthwhile.

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23 mai 2011 1 23 /05 /mai /2011 19:00



23 May 2011 by Leon Engelbrecht defenseWeb


Airbus Military is keen to propose its aircraft range for the South African Air Force's Project Saucepan requirement for new maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft. Air Force chief Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano earlier this month said the programme had been “pulled to the left” by the increased threat of piracy in southern Africa's eastern littoral waters.


"I think we have the best product in the world and I believe we could win the programme if we are given the chance to compete," said Airbus Military CE Domingo Ureña. Speaking at a company trade media briefing (TMB) in Madrid on Wednesday he added "We will be ready to compete."


Project Saucepan should finally see the SAAF replace its 68-year-old Douglas C47 Dakota aircraft in the maritime surveillance role, a requirement Gagiano says is now both “urgent and important”.


The SAAF received its first C47s in 1943 and they were employed as transport in the Italian campaign of World War Two as well as for ferry duties in the Mediterranean theatre. The aircraft remain in service with 35 Squadron, based in Cape Town, with medium transport as well as maritime patrol duties. In the latter role it replaced the Avro Shackleton MR3, the last purpose-designed antisubmarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, in SAAF inventory from November 1984.


But it is not yet clear what the requirement is. Brigadier General Tsoku Khumalo, the SAAF's director transport and maritime told the defenceWeb maritime security conference in Cape Town in October 2009 that the SAAF was contemplating five specialised Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and eight cheaper general-purpose Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA). At the time he said the new aircraft would have to be cost effective, sustainable, appropriate and offer a growth path. It would further need to be capable of inshore, coastal and deep-sea exclusive economic zone patrol as well as search-and-rescue (SAR) work. To support naval operations they would also require an ability to engage in antisubmarine and surface warfare.


The new MPA would in addition require the ability detect, track, classify and identify surface targets and in wartime to engage the same with onboard weapons, he added. Khumalo noted the SAAF realistically required 12 to 14 MPAs but these were very costly and the budget needed likely prohibitive. Other than having a maritime role the aircraft also needed to have a transport function and would also replace the C47, Airbus Military C212 and C235 aircraft; Khumalo being keen to reduce the number of platform types in use in the SAAF transport environment.


Gagiano would not be drawn on budget, numbers or platforms, but did indicate a change in thinking. Asked about the size of the preferred platform, he said he had his own views. Pressed whether it would be something the size of a C235, Gagiano chuckled and said he was looking at “something smaller, actually.” One suggestion was the Beechcraft King Air 350, used by several air forces, coast guards and other authorities for maritime patrol. Speaking about Operation Hopper, the South African National Defence Force's maritime security operation off the northern Mozambique coast, Gagiano said the burning need was for airborne sensors. “We have a gap there we have fill very quickly,” the general said. This is why Saucepan is “so important” and “will make such a big difference”. Asked about numbers, Gagiano again declined to comment, not confirming or denying the figure four.


“There is no doubt about it. These aircraft will give us a massive boost and will make a major difference to our operational capabilities. Not only will they be used in anti-piracy roles, but also to combat poaching and the detection of war threats. Because of outdated maritime surveillance equipment, this project is an urgent priority,” he said.


Airbus Military senior VP: commercial Antonio Rodriguez Barberán told a question and answer session at the the TMB the company would offer the CN235 or C295 aircraft for Saucepan. Barberán said although the King Air was a good platform, it was, in his view, limited, especially in a secondary transport role. "Typically, what we would present to the SAAF are aircraft with a dual role. A CN235 could be a preferred solution for South Africa. Even a C295." Noteworthy was the absence of the C212, the smallest aircraft in the current Airbus Military stable and closest in size to the King Air – albeit still bigger. In answer to another question Barberán noted Airbus Military was in talks with Indonesian Aerospace (Iae), formerly IPTN, about the future of that platform. Indications are the manufacturing of the C212 might be transferred there.


Some 6600 King Air aircraft of all types have been built an delivered since 1972, including three to the SAAF, one of 48 military operators, who generally use them for light transport and liaison duties. The C212 is a turboprop short take-off and landing (STOL) medium transport aircraft. Some 580 have been built since 1974 and are flown by numerous civil and some 22 military operators. The


The CN-235 is a medium-range twin-engined medium transport plane jointly developed by the-then CASA and IPTN of Indonesia as a regional airliner and military transport. Its primary military roles include maritime patrol, surveillance, and air transport. Some 230 have been delivered since 1988. Some 27 air forces and three paracivil authorities have used the type, along with some 11 civil operators, the wikipedia notes. Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico and the Turkish as well as US coast guards operates the type in maritime patrol role, the Spanish Civil Guard (a paramilitary police) employ it on surveillance duties while the Turkish Navy operates an antisubmarine/surface warfare version. The Spanish SASEMAR sea search and rescue organisation also uses the C235 in the maritime SAR role.


The C-295 is a further development of the CN-235 with a stretched fuselage, 50% more payload capability and new PW127G turboprop engines. The C-295 made its maiden flight in 1998. Some 111 examples are on order or have been delivered to 24 operators in 16 nations, according t Airbus Military figures. Algeria and Portugal use the transport as a MPA while Chile recently received the first ASW version.

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19 mai 2011 4 19 /05 /mai /2011 18:30



19 May 2011 by Leon Engelbrecht defenseWeb


France is set to receive its first of 50 Airbus Military A400M heavy transport aircraft in the first quarter of 2013. That’s the word from programme head Cedric Gautier. He was speaking at an Airbus Military trade media briefing (TMB) – attended by defenceWeb – in Sevilla, Spain, on Tuesday where the large airlifter is built.


But Airbus Military CE Domingo Ureña would like to see the French Air Force accept the aircraft this year. Addressing the TMB yesterday, he said the company was keen to deliver to the aircraft ahead of the new contracted schedule.


The final assembly of that aircraft is set to start in the last quarter of this year. By then all five test prototypes will be flying, type certification will have been received and customers would have signed off on the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the transporter. The aircraft, MSN7, will first fly in the third quarter of next year, Gautier told journalists from some 30 countries.


Gautier added that the fuselage join up has already been completed at the Airbus plant in Bremen, Germany, with system equipping now underway. That is also the case with the wing structure, built at Filton in the United Kingdom. Work on other structures, including the central wing box at Nantes, in France; the nose fuselage at St Nazaire, also in France, are “progressing as per plan”. Work on the wing of the second production aircraft has also started at Filton, Gautier noted in his presentation.


Some 174 aircraft remain on order with seven NATO nations and one export customer – Malaysia, which ordered four. Turkey, with 10 aircraft on order, will be the second user to receive an aircraft, delivery being expected in the second half of 2013 by when the aircraft should meet Standard Operational Capability 1 (SOC1) . A minimum of four aircraft are planned for delivery that year.


Britain and Germany will receive aircraft in 2014 (they have 22 and 53 A400M on order respectively), while Malaysia will receive its first heavy-lifter at the end of 2014 or in early 2015. That year-end is further the target date for SOC1.5. Spain’s first delivery of 27 aircraft bought falls over the year-end 2015/16, when SOC2 should be available, with SOC2.5 following in late 2017 and SOC3 at the end of 2018. This will also be when deliveries to Belgium and Luxembourg should start – the former has seven and the latter one aircraft on order.


SOC3 will include the software required to allow the A400M to conduct low level terrain avoidance flight, which is “a big requirement for this aircraft.”


The A400M programme last month emerged from a turbulent restructuring that saw the NATO partners give formal backing to a €3.5 billion euro (US$5 billion) rescue deal for the project. “Challenges are here to overcome and today we can say this challenge has been concluded," Ureña said on April 7. The contract amendment to what was once a €20 billion project was signed in Sevilla by Patrick Bellouard, director of the European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and Ureña, in the presence of Spanish Minister of Defence Carme Chacón. National armament directors and other representatives from customer nations also attended the ceremony, Airbus Military and EADS said in a statement.


The contract amendment implemented changes that were agreed in principle by the buyer nations with EADS and Airbus Military in a frame agreement signed on March 5 last year, Reuters reported. “This is a major milestone, and EADS is particularly proud to have the support of all governments involved in this cooperation programme that represents a strategic capacity for Europe and its defence, and for the new generation of military transport worldwide. The A400M is a fantastic new aircraft already flying with outstanding and unrivalled capabilities", said EADS CE Louis Gallois.


The A400M was designed to give Europe autonomy in military transport, which is dominated by the Lockheed Martin C130 Hercules turboprop and the Boeing C17Globemaster III jet transport, Reuters added. But technical problems and mismanagement kicked the project four years behind schedule and €7.6 billion over budget. For a while, the A400M crisis cast a shadow over the future of EADS as the cost of abandoning the project would have been staggering in penalties alone. More recently, EADS has been embarrassed by an improvement in its finances, which left it with a sharply higher cash surplus than it had when it approached buyer nations for help, Reuters said.


EADS has blamed A400M delays on development problems with the aircraft's massive turboprop engines, the largest built in the West, and conflicting military requirements from the buyers. But it has also admitted mistakes in managing the project as its attention was diverted towards the delayed A380 jetliner and power struggles within its previous management.


Under the rescue plan, the seven key buyers agreed to a €2 billion increase in the total price of the transport planes. Part of this will be financed by taking fewer aircraft for the same price, reducing the total order to 170 from 180. Germany has cut its order by 7 planes to 53 and Britain will take 22 planes instead of the 25 initially ordered. A high-level political dispute over the terms of the bailout focussed on the remaining €1.5 billion, which would be a loan against repayments from future exports.


Britain was seen as most reluctant about this part of the plan, which involves nations advancing money to EADS, but also reluctant to divorce from Airbus, which makes wings in the UK. Sources said the two sides compromised on payment schedules. The delays and cost overruns that became known during the 2009 recession caused the South African government to cancel its order in November 2009 to popular acclaim.


Previously known as the Future Large Aircraft, the A400M has been long in the coming. A European Staff Requirement (ESR) was drawn up as long ago as 1993 but only signed in 2003. Production was scheduled to start in 2001 with deliveries starting in 2006, but this slipped to 2007, then 2009 and then “late 2012.” First flight had been scheduled for January 2008 but was delayed and took place on December 11, 2009.

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6 mai 2011 5 06 /05 /mai /2011 22:30
AERO Vodochody supplied the 30th centre wing box for C-27J Spartan

The C-27J Spartan tactical military cargo aircraft. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica)


May 6, 2011defpro.com


AERO Vodochody delivered at a small ceremony the 30th complete center wing box for the C-27J Spartan tactical military cargo aircraft at the presence of the top representatives from the Italian company Alenia Aeronautica.


AERO Vodochody participates in the production of the C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft since 2006 and manufactures the complete center wing box ready for installation on the aircraft. AERO Vodochody is the only manufacturer and supplier of this key construction unit for the aircraft C-27J Spartan.


The C-27J Spartan is tactical military cargo aircraft, featuring great operation flexibility and low operation costs. The aircraft is used for a wide range of missions from cargo transportation to logistic support of military units and airborne unit transportation as well as for special services, e.g. naval and electronic surveillance, search and rescue operations, firefighting, etc. Its military unit transportation version offers transportation capacity of 62 soldiers or 42 paratroopers, while the cargo version can carry a load of up to 11,500 kg, two APCs, three howitzers, a middle-sized helicopter or various cargo on standard pallets.


The C-27J serves the militaries in Italy, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Morocco and the USA. In 2007, the C-27J Spartan won a US government tender for the Joint Cargo Aircraft for the US Armed Forces. Under the contract, a total of 38 C-27J Spartans will be delivered to the US Army and US Air Force by the year 2013.

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26 avril 2011 2 26 /04 /avril /2011 11:30


source american.edu


April 26, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE


For the first time in twenty years, the U.S. Air Force has placed an order for PGU-13 30mm cannon rounds used in the A-10 aircraft. The A-10 is a 23 ton, twin engine, single seat aircraft whose primary weapon is a multi-barrel 30mm cannon originally designed to fire armored piercing shells at Russian tanks. These days, the 30mm rounds are mostly high explosive, and it has been heavily used in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Libya. The 30mm cannon fires 363 gram (12.7 ounce) rounds at the rate of about 65 a second. The cannon is usually fired in one or two second bursts.


The new $32.5 million contract will not only include new rounds, but refurbishment of older 30mm high explosive rounds still in inventory. Over 200,000 new and refurbished rounds will be delivered within two years. Since 1991, the A-10s have been using up large Cold War era inventories, which is why refurbishing of some older munitions is included. Some of the older 30mm ammo was quite old indeed, since large war stocks had been maintained since the A-10 was introduced in the late 1970s. While only 716 A-10s were built, each carried the 30mm cannon, and 1,174 rounds of 30mm ammo. Wartime use of the 30mm rounds was expected to be high, and the ammo was bought and stockpiled accordingly.

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18 avril 2011 1 18 /04 /avril /2011 17:30



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/


General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has been awarded a $32.5 million contract for 30mm ammunition by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Rock Island, Ill.  The award consists of a mixture of new production of PGU-13 D/B cartridges and the remanufacture of existing U.S. Air Force inventory of PGU-13 HEI cartridges.


The PGU-13 is a high-explosive incendiary (HEI) round, predominately used in air-to-ground and close-air support by the Air Force's A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft. Fired from the A-10's 30mm GAU-8 Avenger cannon, the PGU-13 provides incendiary effects against an array of targets. The ammunition has been extensively used in operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. "The PGU-13 has been widely used in combat operations since Desert Storm, demonstrating excellent performance and reliability with A-10's cannon," said Tim McAuliffe, vice president and general manager of medium-caliber ammunition. "This is the first production of the PGU-13 in over 20 years to replenish critical levels in the Air Force's inventory." Work will be performed in Marion, Ill., with an estimated completion date of July 2012. General Dynamics is the only U.S. manufacturer that can produce all three rounds in the 30mm x 173 ammunition family. Along with the PGU-13, the family consists of the PGU-14/B API and PGU-15/B TP that provide armor penetration and training capability, respectively, to the Air Force.

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13 avril 2011 3 13 /04 /avril /2011 21:00
Longuet : espoir à l'export pour l'A400M, intérêt français pour le MRTT


13.04.2011 LeParisien.fr


Le ministre de la Défense, Gérard Longuet, a fait part mercredi à Toulouse de ses espoirs à l'exportation pour l'avion de transport militaire européen A400M, et a souligné l'intérêt du gouvernement français pour l'achat de l'avion ravitailleur d'Airbus Military A330 MRTT.

Une semaine après la signature jeudi à Séville (Espagne) du contrat définitif pour le financement de l'A400M, le ministre a visité un des avions actuellement en cours d'essais chez Airbus à Toulouse, ainsi qu'un MRTT et les chaînes des avions A330 et A340. Il a confirmé que la France attendait bien pour 2013 la livraison du premier des 50 A400M commandés. Le programme européen a pris plus de trois ans de retard, enregistrant un surcoût de plus de 5 milliards d'euros. Les sept Etats de l'OTAN membres (Allemagne, France, Espagne, Royaume-Uni, Belgique, Luxembourg et Turquie) ont financé une rallonge de 3,5 milliards d'euros tandis que le groupe EADS a provisionné 1,8 milliard d'euros.

"C'est un appareil qui est bien né, qui servira la stratégie de défense française de mobilité, de capacité de se projeter, de polyvalence, il va compter dans les 40 années à venir" a déclaré Gérard Longuet en soulignant que "toute sa conception en fait un appareil fondamentalement nouveau". Le ministre a estimé que l'A400M "devra trouver sa déclinaison dans un usage civil" et a ajouté: "J'espère que cette réalisation européenne pourra déboucher sur d'autre nations". Le nombre d'appareils commandés par les sept pays du programme a été ramené de 180 à 170 unités. L'avion a aussi été vendu à la Malaisie à quatre exemplaires, mais l'Afrique du Sud a renoncé à une commande de huit appareils en raison des retards du programme. "Le dossier a été évoqué lors du déplacement du président sud-africain Jacob Zuma dans notre pays, nous avons de bonne raison de penser que la qualité de l'appareil et de nos relations devrait permettre d'aller vers un nouveau partenariat consolidé, mais il est prématuré de l'affirmer", a indiqué Gérard Longuet. Sur les avions ravitailleurs MRTT, Gérard Longuet a déclaré : "Nous devons en acheter de nouveaux et je n'en vois pas de meilleur", mais il a refusé de donner un délai ou une quantité. "Laissez-moi négocier les meilleurs prix : l'acheteur pressé a toutes les chances de se voir fixer les conditions du vendeur", a-t-il lancé. EADS a échoué face à Boeing sur le marché de l'armée américaine, un contrat de plus de 30 milliards de dollars pour 179 appareils, mais a déjà vendu 28 appareils (Australie, Grande-Bretagne, Emirats arabes unis, Arabie saoudite).

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31 mars 2011 4 31 /03 /mars /2011 19:00
Bulgaria receives its last C-27J transport

Photo Alenia Aeronautica


31/03/11 By Craig Hoyle Flightglobal.com


Alenia Aeronautica delivered the Bulgarian air force’s third and last C-27J Spartan tactical transport during a 31 March ceremony at Sofia Vrazhdebna airport. The Italian company also opened a new logistics support centre for the type at the site. Introducing the C-27J forms part of a modernisation effort by the Bulgarian air force. The service’s other current transport assets include three Antonov An-26s and three Let L-410s, says Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database. Examples of both legacy types are visible in the image below, along with the air force’s lone An-30 reconnaissance aircraft.  Bulgaria had originally intended to acquire five C-27Js via a contract signed in 2006, and received its first example in November 2007. However, the NATO nation last April announced its intention to cancel the final two aircraft in an effort to save funds. Delivery of the third example was delayed while negotiations took place. Alenia Aeronautica has also previously delivered C-27Js to Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Morocco, Romania, Slovakia, the US Air Force and the US Army. It also recently named Indonesia as a potential future customer for the type.

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28 mars 2011 1 28 /03 /mars /2011 12:30
Northrop Grumman Submits Final Proposal for NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance

ELBOURNE, Fla., March 28, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)


Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) submitted its final proposal last week for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) core capability – a trans-Atlantic cooperation that will meet the security challenges of the 21st century. "The updated proposal offers an affordable, executable program that will provide an operationally relevant system to the Alliance," said Pat McMahon, sector vice president of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems' Battle Management & Engagement Systems Division. "NATO AGS will be a critical component of the Alliance's response to threats to peace now and in the future."


Based on the Block 40 configuration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft, the NATO AGS system will provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to ground, maritime and air commanders, anytime and anywhere in the world. A contract award is anticipated in July 2011. The NATO AGS includes an air segment consisting of six Block 40 Global Hawks that will be missionized to meet NATO requirements. They will be equipped with Northrop Grumman's Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) ground surveillance radar sensor, which will be capable of detecting and tracking moving objects throughout the observed areas as well as providing radar imagery of target locations and stationary objects. "The ground element, which provides real-time data, intelligence and target identification to commanders within and beyond line of sight, will be wholly produced by our European industry partners, offering the potential for national re-use in other programs as well as direct work in the program for the participating nations," said Matt Copija, director of Northrop Grumman's NATO AGS program. "As NATO's highest acquisition priority and Europe's highest visibility program, NATO AGS also represents the first international sale of the Block 40 Global Hawk."


Approved by heads of state and government as a priority capability initiative at the 2010 Lisbon Summit in support of the new strategic concept, the NATO AGS system will empower a network-enabled approach to support interoperability with national systems and to perform the entire range of NATO missions, including force protection, border and maritime security, counter- and anti-terrorism, crisis management, peacekeeping and enforcement, and natural disaster relief. It also includes mobile and transportable ground stations and a world-class mission operation support center at its main operating base in Sigonella, Italy. Flying up to 60,000 feet for more than 32 hours, the combat-proven Global Hawk has flown more than 53,000 hours thus far. The U.S. Air Force Block 30 Global Hawks continue to fly relief support missions over Japan in response to the tragic 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami, and are also supporting the NATO-led coalition effort in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn over Libya.  The Global Hawk was also used for disaster relief and recovery efforts following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, Hurricane Ike on the Gulf Coast in 2009, and the California wildfires in 2007 and 2008.


As prime contractor, Northrop Grumman worked closely with the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency (NAGSMA) and its industry team, which includes companies from each of the 14 nations participating in the acquisition, to refine the proposal to meet NATO requirements. NAGSMA, which was chartered to acquire the NATO-owned and operated core capability, is responsible for the procurement of the NATO AGS capability until it has reached full operational capability. NAGSMA was established in September 2009 after all participating nations signed the AGS Program Memorandum of Understanding.

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25 mars 2011 5 25 /03 /mars /2011 22:00
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25 mars 2011 5 25 /03 /mars /2011 19:45
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6 mars 2011 7 06 /03 /mars /2011 19:30
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2 mars 2011 3 02 /03 /mars /2011 23:05
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16 février 2011 3 16 /02 /février /2011 12:30
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8 février 2011 2 08 /02 /février /2011 13:59
Airbus Military A400M begins cold weather trials in Sweden

Airbus Military A400M begins cold weather trials in Sweden (c) Airbus Military


Madrid,  08 February 2011 Cassidian press release


Airbus Military’s second A400M development aircraft - Grizzly 2 - visited Kiruna in northern Sweden for four days of cold weather trials at the beginning of February. The team experienced temperatures down to -21ºC and successfully achieved all the planned test points during a programme that focused on the powerplants. The A400M was accompanied by an Airbus A340-300 carrying support equipment and the personnel team. These tests followed preliminary cold weather work in Hamburg last December and will be followed by further tests in more extreme temperatures at Kiruna and other locations this winter and next.

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1 février 2011 2 01 /02 /février /2011 00:29
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