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19 juillet 2011 2 19 /07 /juillet /2011 19:10



18 July 2011 by defenceWeb


The South African Air Force (SAAF) has upped its bill to keep the venerable Lockheed Martin C130BZ flying by another R23.769 million. The SAAF last week awarded Denel Aviation an extension of an existing contract to provide product support services for the aging aircraft.


The SAAF C-130 fleet consists of seven platforms (401 - 407) purchased in 1963 before a US arms embargo was imposed on South Africa's apartheid government and five received in 1997/8 from the US (two ex-United States Air Force C-130B's – 408 and 409 – and three ex-US Navy C-130F's – 410 to 412 as part of their Excess Defence Articles programme. The two ex-US C-130B 's and a C-130F (411) were subsequently put in service, but the C-130F was retired soon thereafter.


Various modifications have been accomplished on the original SAAF aircraft, the most significant being a centre wing replacement and outer wing refurbishment from 1969 to 1972 done under the auspices of Lockheed, an engine upgrade (from Allison T56-A-7 to T56-A-15) during the early 1970s and a basic avionic upgrade during the early 1980s.


The two ex-USAF C-130B's had already been modified with the fitment of H-model outer wings and a centre wing similar to that of the other SAAF aircraft. The fleet underwent a major refit from December 1996, when Marshall Aerospace of Cambridge in the UK and Denel was contracted to upgrade the aircraft as part of Project Ebb, fitting inter alia digital avionics in the place of the electromechanical. The upgrade was not without delay and infighting between Marshalls and Denel and ran seven years past its expected date of completion, set for June 2002: the project wrapped up as late as July 2009.


Aircraft 402's brakes caught fire during a landing after a test flight in early 2005 at the then-Johannesburg International Airport. Damage estimated in the millions of rand was inflicted on the aircraft and an equally damaging dispute then erupted between Denel and Marshalls as to whom had to carry the cost of the repairs. It is unclear why the taxpayer paid the R6 579 134 for the repair as well as a further R3 686 241.08 for hangarage at Denel Aviation before and during the repair.

Another aircraft was also damaged while undergoing testing after upgrading - its fuel tanks were over-pressurised.


Seven of the nine were grounded in 2005 on the recommendation of the manufacturer after metal fatigue was discovered on the main spars and outer wing structures of several US C130Bs. As part of this the outer wings of aircraft 407 were removed. Lockheed Martin subsequently allowed three aircraft to resume flying, but in May 2006 the remaining four underwent a further battery of tests.


According to the Armscor Bulletin System, the cost of keeping the Hercules flying – fuel and crew excluded - now stands at at least R213 812 679 since early 2007 in addition to some a minimum of R3 686 241.08 charged in hangarage for the damaged aircraft #402 from 2005 until last year.


Product support services for the Hercules C130 aircraft - extension of ELGS/2003/553

LGS/S2011/4782 14 Jul 2011 R23 769 819,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

LGS/S2010/4663 17 Mar 2011 R9 500 000,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

LGS/S2010/4528 18 Nov 2010 R10 404 045,14 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Aerospace Group

LGS/S2010/4505 22 Sep 2010 R9 812 323,86 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Aerospace Group

LGS/S2009/4242 10 Mar 2010 R39 377 194,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

LGS/S2009/4139 8 Oct 2009 R9 500 000,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

LGS/S2008/3933 26 Mar 2009 R485 607,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation


Provision of materiel supply support services for the South African Air Force C130B aircraft

ELGS/2010/199 9 Dec 2010 R90 000 000,00 Tau Aerospace (Pty) Ltd


Service, rectification and engineering support during recovery of the SAAF C-130BZ aircraft 402 - extension of EVLI/2007/378

VLI/S2010/1811 21 Jul 2010 R22 028,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

VLI/S2010/1797 13 Jul 2010 R200 000,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

VLI/S2008/1746 28 May 2009 R1 075 583,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation


Hangarage of Project EBB C130Bz Aircraft 402 - Extension of ELGS/2005/413

LGS/S2009/1781 12 Jan 2010 R393 595,92 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

VLI/S2009/1774 29 Oct 2009 R655 993,20 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

LGS/S2009/1763 21 May 2009 R511 852,86 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

VLI/S2008/1726 26 Jun 2008 R523 008,61 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

LGS/S2007/1679 2 Aug 2007 R1 601 790,49 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation


Interim support for the SA Air Force C-130 BZ avionic system - extension of EVLI/2006/228

VLI/S2008/1743 11 Dec 2008 R2 000 000,00 Thales Division Aeronautique

VLI/S2007/1711 4 Sep 2008 R2 877 253,20 Thales Division Aeronautique

VLI/S2007/1673 28 Jun 2007 R990 236,00 Thales Division Aeronautique


Pyrotechnic fire extinguisher cartridges for the SAAF transport aircraft

EDWU/2008/190 9 Oct 2008 R97 414,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a PMP


Service, rectification and engineering support during the recovery of SAAF C-130BZ Aircraft 402

EVLI/2007/378 29 May 2008 R5 281 523,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation


Repair of 59 line replacement units - extension of EVLI/2003/680

VLI/S2008/1731 10 Jul 2008 R502 276,90 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

VLI/S2007/1709 15 May 2008 R18 415,35 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Denel Aviation

VLI/S2007/1663 11 May 2007 R1 500 000,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a Aerospace Group


Power cartridges for SA Air Force transport aircraft 2007/2008

EDWU/2007/126 23 Aug 2007 R172 316,00 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a PMP


Interim support of the South African Air Force''s C-130 BZ avionic system (Thales Avionics Top Deck)

EVLI/2006/228 12 Apr 2007 R6 075 607,56 Thales Division Aeronautique


Fire extinguisher cartridges for SAAF transport aircraft

EDWU/2006/505 9 Feb 2007 R151 037,10 Denel (Pty) Ltd t/a PMP

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15 juillet 2011 5 15 /07 /juillet /2011 21:50



15 July 2011 by Leon Engelbrecht – defenseWeb


There is something of a “Catch 22i” in arms acquisition. During times of peace it is argued that there are higher priorities than military preparedness, while on the outbreak of hostilities equipment may be unavailable because industry is not ready to manufacture, because of embargo or because the supplier state has need of the equipment itself.

South Africa has experience of each of these situations. In a Military Academy research paper titled The Union Defence Force between the two World Wars, 1919-1939, Lt Col Dr Ian van der Waag quotes the then-defence minister, Oswald Pirow, as saying in September 1938: “In spite of all its potential wealth, South Africa has much poverty and there is a definite upper limit to what the country is prepared to spend on defence.” He was tabulating factors that made South African participation in an international war unique. Other factors included that no section of the population was prepared to support a defence policy which aimed “exclusively at making soldiers out of the youth of the country”; the certainty that the Union or its nearest neighbours could never become the main theatre of a major war; and that due to its geographical position, South Africa's maximum effort will not have to be made until six months after the outbreak of hostilities. “This allowed a period for intensive preparation”. Pirow also noted the country's manpower resources when compared with those of even second-class powers were very limited, that its geographical position was such that large-scale gas or air attack on the civil population need not be seriously considered and the certainty that, “with hardly any conceivable exception, our troops would be called upon to fight a mobile war.”

The development and production of modern arms take ever longer. Author Clive Wilsworth in his excellent “First in, First Out, The South African Artillery in Action 1975-1988
ii notes the GV5 and self-propelled (SP) GV6 was developed from a need identified in 1968 and formalised in 1973 “when the gunners set the requirements to modernise their equipment in line with the Army's upgrading programme”. Work began in 1974 under the rubric Project Boas. When Apartheid South Africa suddenly saw a need in late 1975 to intervene in Angola, neither system was ready and the South African Artillery had to rely on the 88mm towed quick-firing gun and the breech-loading towed 140mm howitzer. Both were outranged by the Soviet artillery available to the Cuban and Angolan MPLA forces, notably the BM21 multiple rocket launcher. Ironically, South Africa's own MLRS programme, Project Furrow, had also started in 1974. As with the tube artillery, this system was also nowhere near ready when hostilities commenced. Wilsworth wrote that the G5 was conceived in July 1976. The first three were delivered to the Artillery on May 21, 1982. The first battery was commissioned in October 1985 and deployed the next July-August during Operation Alpha Centauri. The G6 followed under Projects Buzzard and Zenula. Three pre-production models saw action as “Juliet Troop” during Operation Modular, in November 1987. Regarding the FV1 Visarend MLRS and the Valkiri rocket, Wilsworth added it is still a common misperception that the quest for rocket artillery only started after Operation Savannah, the 1975 intervention. “The massive firepower of the [MLRS] was already appreciated before the first contact in Angola.” The system entered service in 1979 with the first instructors' course held at Kentron South (later Denel Somchem and now part of RDM) in May 1979. The first use of the Valkiri in combat was in August 1981 during Operation Protea. All of these were “operationally urgent” requirements during a war situation when funding was less of an issue than otherwise.

Around the same time the South African Navy (SAN) would suffer major disappointment when on November 4, 1977 a United Nations Security Council armaments embargo came into effect against South Africa. The country had two years before ordered two D'Estienne d'Orves/Aviso A69-class corvettes and two Agosta-class submarines from France. Originally ordered for the French Navy, the corvettes were re-named the SAS Good Hope and SAS Transvaal while building
iii. The South African ensign was hoisted on the Good Hope on September 17, 1977. The Agosta submarines were named SAS Astrant (Afrikaans, “cheeky”, “bold” or “impudent”) and SAS Adventurous. Both projects were progressing well when the embargo came into force and as a member of the UNSC France had no choice but to cancel both projects at the end of that month. The SAS Good Hope had its further sea trials suspended and was prohibited from leaving harbour. On November 7 the ship was moved upriver of the Scorff draw bridge in Lorient harbour – likely to prevent the crew from sailing the ship without authorisation – as the Israelis had done with their missile craft in the 1960s. The next day she and the Transvaal were embargoed when it was formally announced they would not be delivered. South African equipment and stores were removed from both – and the Agostas – and the project team and naval personnel in France were returned home by Christmas.iv The submarines and ships were later respectively sold to Pakistan and Argentina – although Nigeria also showed interest in the ships. The SAS Astrant became S135 Hashmat, SAS Adventurous became S136 Hurmat, the SAS Good Hope became the ARA Drummond (P31) and the Transvaal the ARA Guerrico (P32).

The saga of the monitor HMS Erebus illustrates the last conundrum: when the supplier state has need of the equipment itself. In 1934, the Ministry of Defence took the decision to install 13-inch (325mm) coast defence guns on Robben Island to protect the approaches to Cape Town harbour. Under the same scheme, Durban would be fitted with nine-inch (225mm) ordnance. South Africa then approached the British Admiralty to provide the guns. Protracted negotiations followed, leading to a compromise in December 1938 in terms of which the British would loan South Africa the monitor, HMS Erebus, until the guns could be delivered and installed. With the South African Naval Service moribund, the Union Government (then headed by Prime Minister General JBM Hertzog) decided to designate the monitor a self contained artillery battery to be manned by the SA Army. She would be known as the Erebus Heavy Battery, Coastal Artillery Brigade. (A “monitor” is essentially a small hull fitted with battleship armament. The Erebus had been was built in 1916 under an emergency WW1 building programme, along with a sister, the Terror. Both served during that conflict and were used as training ships afterwards as a result of their limited utility. The Erebus was fitted with a single turret bearing two 15-inch 42-calibre weapons, the same as fitted to battleships such as the HMS Warspite. Her ship's company was 13 officers and 191 men on a hull displacing 8450mt.) A detachment was sent to Britain to master the ships’ guns and were to have sailed home with her in mid-August 1939. However, some repair work could not be completed in time and with war imminent – and South Africa’s position uncertain – the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, indefinitely postponed the departure. When Britain declared war, some of the South Africans did indeed refuse duty and demanded repatriation. South Africa declared war on September 6 after a Cabinet revolt during which Deputy Prime Minister Jan Smuts ousted Hertzog. Churchill now wished to retain the Erebus and South Africa received some 9-inch guns for Robben Island in her stead

Thus one often has to make do with what is in the stores, or go without...

Of course, technology is not a panacea. Writing about the South African War (1899-1902), Douglas Porch noted that “technology and organisation were only adjuncts to, not substitutes for, inventive operational solutions”. Their firepower, which normally gave them 'an important, but by no means decisive, advantage' in colonial warfare was somewhat counter-weighted by the artillery of the two republics

Paddy Griffith writes that beyond “the doctrines of offensive and the defensive, success in battle depends on the technical balance between the two sides in that battle
vii. Wars tend to bog down when conditions are such that an initially favourable attack is unable to finish off the enemy with a single blow. Often this is a matter of general strategy: for example, when too weak a force is deployed to attack too large an enemy. In other cases, however, the failure to win a decisive result will have more to do with the technical tactical balance than with the numerical or strategic one. In both WWI and the more recent Iran-Iraq War [1980-1988] the fighting bogged down because the tactical attacker was unable to sustain his momentum and mobility through the whole depth of the enemy's defences. His forces were too vulnerable when they moved, so they had to dig in and stay put. The tactical balance between two sides is decided by the relationship of four characteristics: fire-power, mobility, protection and the quality of the troops troops each side has deployed.”

Griffith continues that choosing the right new technology (NT) and tactics is never easy “and this is borne out by the 30 years before 1914. The problem was not that the general were stupid or lacked insight, but simply that they were faced with too many new weapons and potential technical innovations for sensible judgments to be made. In fact, the allegedly 'unimaginative' cavalry general Douglas Haig [by 1918 the commander of the British Expeditionary Force] was actually a pioneer in military aviation and motor transport before the war, and would later be sympathetic to the claims of the tank corps.”

NT often suffers from “gold plating”, where the designer or the project officer “wants to incorporate several new and desirable features into the new weapon. The result is that the complexity, difficulty and expense of designing the final version become so overwhelming that the basic original requirement is almost lost from view. And then during the work-up phase there will be teething troubles not just with one new technology but with several, and all at once. In many cases, such as the American attempt to produce an armoured divisional air defence system (DIVADS)
viii [between 1977 and 1985] … finding solutions to the technical problems involved become so expensive that the whole project has to be cancelled.”

Some technological solutions have an impact on organisational structure. Automation has reduced the size of vehicle and gun crews, saving labour in the primary function perhaps, but leaving the same crews short-handed when it comes to mounting guard, maintaining their equipment and changing tyres or fixing tracks. The infantry section still roughly musters ten, although up to three of these are now vehicle crew in the mechanised forces, reducing the dismount section to just seven. Furthermore, the strictures of the assigned vehicle means ten is generally a definitive upper number: it is generally the maximum number that can be carried by most infantry combat vehicles (ICV) or armoured personnel carrier (APC). These vehicles are cramped at the best of times, and when loaded for combat – with full stores of equipment, victuals and ammunition, can be completely jammed in.

The small starting size of the dismounted component of such a section should raise serious concern about the efficacy of this critical battlefield element, especially its ability to absorb casualties and stay in the fight. It bears recall it is these infantrymen who do the fighting in any army in every war. Every higher structure merely adds a leadership, administrative and support layers. Thus at company level one has nine sections and two layers, at the battalion 27 sections and three layers.

Seven section dismounts multiplies to 21 platoon dismounts, 63 company dismounts and just 189 battalion riflemen. For the 1944 infantry section it was 30 platoon dismounts, 90 company dismounts and 270 battalion riflemen. The represents a massive drop in “bayonets”, which is not offset by the notional firepower of the assigned APC or ICV. The APC, in theory, should carry the infantry to the edge of the battle area, where they debus and fight forward on foot. The APCs then retire to a laager and perhaps provide covering fire. How long they will survive to do this is debatable, considering the light armour of standard APC (proof against ball rounds from assault rifles and machine guns). ICV, doctrinally, carry infantry onto the objective (meaning into the enemy position). But the standard ICV is a thin-skinned APC fitted with a cannon, rather than a machine gun, and perhaps precision-guided missiles. Writing about the first-of-breed, the BMP-1 (Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty, meaning "fighting vehicle of infantry"), Griffith noted it “seemed to represent a formidable mixture of firepower, armour and mobility for the infantry, to give it plenty of punch even against armour; in practice, as the 1973 Yom Kippur (October) War showed, the BMP was alarmingly vulnerable...”

A mounted attack into the “Smokeshell” complex during Operation Sceptic in June 1983 illustrated this to a South African audience when a Ratel ICV platoon fell foul of Soviet 14.5 and 23mm anti-aircraft guns used in the ground role. Three of its four vehicles, still carrying dismounts, were hit and two were “knocked out”; the driver and a soldier being killed in the “21A” vehicle and the commander and six troops in the “21C” vehicle
ix. The incident was one of the heaviest single cases of loss during the 1966-1989 Border War and graphically illustrated how vulnerable dismounts are when mounted in light APCs or ICVs – truly hostages to fortune.

The solution has been to up-armour the APC and ICV or even to convert tanks to this role. This happened as long ago as WWI, in the shape of the
Mark IX tank. The next conversion was during the Normandy campaign of WWII, where surplus M7 Priest self-propelled guns (based on the M3 Lee/Grant) were stripped of their guns and sent into service carrying twelve troops. This and subsequent conversions became known as Kangaroos and were used as APCs throughout the remainder of the northwest Europe campaign. In the modern era, Israeli concern and experience with light APC has led to the revival of tank conversions. Several, such as the Israeli Achzarit, the Serbian VIU-55 Munja and the Russian BTR-T (Bronetransporter-Tyazhelyy, “Armoured Transporter–Heavy”), are based on the venerable T55. The BMPT, a slightly different concept (Boyevaya Mashina Podderzhki Tankov, "Tank Support Fighting Vehicle"), is based on the T72.

Griffith, writing in 1991, supposed these heavy APC and ICV would come to resemble the Israeli Merkava (chariot) main battle tank (MBT). He was right. The latest conversion is the Namer (both a contraction of Nagmash [APC] Merkava" and Hebrew for “leopard”), based on Merkava Mark IV. The Namer is armed with either
M2 Browning machine gun or Mk 19 grenade launcher mounted on a Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station, another 7.62x51mm FN MAG machine gun, 60mm mortar and smoke grenades. Like Merkava Mark IV it is optimized for high level of crew survival on the battlefield. Namer may carry up to 12 crewmen and infantrymen and a stretcher, or two stretchers and medical equipmentx. Arguably the most survivable MBT in the world, the Merkava is not invulnerable, as was demonstrated in the 2006 Lebanon War. Israel may have over-relied on the tank in order to reduce casualties and suffered accordingly. The wikipedia records Hezbollah missiles penetrated the armour of five Merkava Mark IV tanks, killing 10 crew. Weapons used included the Russian RPG-29 'Vampir', AT-5 'Konkurs', AT-13 'Metis-M', and laser-guided AT-14 'Kornet' missiles. Another Merkava IV tank crewman was killed when a tank ran over an improvised explosive device (IED). “This tank had additional V-shaped underside armour, limiting casualties to just one of the seven personnel (four crewmen and three infantrymen) onboard. In total, 50 Merkava tanks (predominantly Merkava IIs and IIIs) were damaged, eight of which remained serviceable on the battlefield. Two Merkava Mark IVs were damaged beyond repair, one by powerful IEDs, and another, it is believed, by Russian AT-14 'Kornet' missilesxi. All but two Merkava Mark IV tanks damaged during the war were [eventually] repaired and returned to the IDF. The Israeli military said that it was satisfied with the Merkava Mark IV's performance, and attributed problems to insufficient training before the war”.xii

The BBC reported in August 2006 “all of these enhancements have not proved sufficiently effective against the most modern anti-tank systems operated by determined fighters on the ground. Part of the answer may be to adopt new kinds of armour. But, as ever, part of the answer will be tactical - changes to the way tanks are employed and the way they operate in concert with other elements of ground-power, like infantry and artillery.
xiii” Maybe, but the critic may wonder if this is not a repeat of the quest for a role for horsed cavalry on the 20th Century battlefield.

This, of course, does not address issues surrounding the small size of the dismount section, that will likely divide into two teams of perhaps three and four infantrymen each. When either of these comes under fire and takes casualties, the number of dismounts available for combat falls rapidly, especially when buddies fall out of the line to aid wounded comrades. Just one casualty in either team could reduce it to nothingness and evaporate the combat power of the section. Technology has changed the infantry, as much as any other branch, and a “task which would once have required a platoon of 30-40 men may now be carried out by a … section of eight to 12 men, each divided into two or three 'fireteams' that will similarly be capable of doing the job that previously needed the whole squad.
xiv” This may be true, but there is a definitive bottom limit, and in the case of the diminutive mounted section, the line may have already been crossed.

Another irony of military organisation is that as the section atrophies the support elements have blossomed. The greater the technological prowess of the armed forces, the larger its support units and the lower its tooth-to-tail (or combat-to-support) ratio. The reverse is equally true. US author and wargame pioneer James F Dunnigan notes that a typical Western-style division is just “one third combat troops, the rest [is] combat support. Depending on the type of division and nationality, infantry comprises 8-30% of division strength, tank crews 1-10%, and artillery (including anti-aircraft and antitank weapons) 6-12%. … Since combat divisions account for 20-50% of army manpower, combat troops comprise only 10-25% of all personnel. In all armies, combat support troops are very much the majority.”

Since the working conditions of a military clerk or storeman resemble that of their civilian peers, it has been suggested that for the majority of military personnel, their employment is “just another job”. In their The Military : More Than Just a Job?, Charles Moskos and FR Wood noted that there has been a “creeping occupationalism” in the military, with more and more people seeing it as just another way of earning a living rather than as a “profession of arms”.
xvi This is a major debate in itself that falls outside the scope of this paper. The question is what remedy there is for this phenomenon – at least within the context of this writing. One that suggests itself is the US Marine Corps approach of “every marine a rifleman”, an approach that has given that branch of the America armed forces great cohesion, moral strength and morale. On Wake Island, during the early days of the early days of the Pacific War (December 7-23, 1941), pilots continued the fight as ground officers, leading supply clerks and cooks in a final defensive effort after all the Marine aircraft were shot downxvii. In Vietnam, it led to a close cameraderie between the Marines on the ground and aircrew, with the latter taking great risk to provide close air support to the latter.

“There is both a practical and moral dimension to the credo 'every Marine a rifleman',” the writers of USMC Manual MCWP 6-11 Leading Marines aver.
xviii “The force structure of the Corps reflects its central purpose: an expeditionary force in readiness. And because it is expeditionary, it is also austere. Austerity places a premium on the role of every Marine. There are no 'rear area' Marines, and no one is very far from the fighting during expeditionary operations. The success of each of these operations depends on the speed and flexibility with which Marines build combat power. Marines fighting with manoeuvre elements are backed up by fellow Marines who labour unceasingly to support the mission by building logistic bases, running truck convoys, distributing supplies, and fighting when needed to.

“There is almost nothing more precious to a Marine than a fellow Marine. This traditional bond flows from the combat training which all Marines receive, officer and enlisted, and the shared danger and adversity inherent in expeditionary operations. … This cohesion between Marines is not a function of a particular unit within the Corps. It is a function of the Corps itself. When a Marine reports to a unit, he or she may be unknown personally, but is a known quantity professionally.”


i Wikipedia, Catch 22, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_%28logic%29 , accessed February 6, 2011.


ii Clive Wilsworth, First in, First Out, The South African Artillery in Action 1975-1988, 30 Degrees South Publishers, Johannesburg, 2010.


iii Commander Thean Potgieter, The Secret South African Project Team: Building Strike Craft In Israel, 1975-79, Scientia Militaria, http://academic.sun.ac.za/mil/scientia_militaria/Internet%20Vol%2032(2)/05%20Potgieter.pdf, accessed January 22, 2006.


iv AVA Systems, Profile of the SA Navy, Surface ships, A69-class.


v AVA Systems, Profile of the SA Navy, Surface ships, Erebus.


vi Douglas Porch, Imperial Wars: From the Seven Years War to the First World War, in Townshend (ed), The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern War, Oxford Univrsity Press, Oxford, 1997, pp84-85, 90; available online at http://books.google.co.za/books?id=x5ABVyHeIrYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Oxford+Illustrated+History+of+Modern+War&source=bl&ots=3sSP4AYugT&sig=tf_JIhD_TaeYRtwwnJb4XoDpwO0&hl=en&ei=PmpPTZecJ8KCOtmDuA0&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false; quoted in Ian van der Waag, South Africa and the Boer Military System, in Peter Dennis and Jeffrey Grey, eds. The Boer War; Army, Nation and Empire, Canberra, 2000; online at http://www1.army.gov.au/AHU/docs/The_Boer_War_vanderWaag.pdf, accessed February 10, 2011.


viiPaddy Griffith, The Ultimate Weaponry, Blitz Editions, London, 1991.


viii The M247 Sergeant York. For more, see the wikipedia, M247 Sergeant York, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M247_Sergeant_York, accessed February 12, 2011.


ix Willem Steenkamp, Borderstrike! South Africa into Angola, Butterworths Publishers, Durban, 1983, pp192-202.


x Wikipedia, Merkava, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkava#Merkava_IFV_Namer, accessed February 12, 2011.


xi Author Colonel David Eshel (Ret) ascribes this to an IED as well. Colonel David Eshel (Ret), Assessing the performance of Merkava tanks, Defence Update, undated, 2007, http://www.defense-update.com/analysis/lebanon_war_3.htm, accessed February 12, 2011.


xii Wikipedia, Merkava, , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkava#Merkava_IFV_Namer, accessed February 12, 2011.


xiii BBC, Tough lessons for Israeli armour, August 15, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4794829.stm, accessed February 12, 2011.


xiv Paddy Griffith, The Ultimate Weaponry, Blitz Editions, London, 1991, p151.


xv James F Dunnigan, How to Make War, 4th Edition - A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Warfare for the 21st Century, William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 2003, p124.


xvi CC Moskos & FR Wood, The Military : More Than Just a Job?, Pergamon-Brassey's International Defense Publishers, Washington DC, 1988. See also Charles Moskos, From institution to occupation: trends in military organization, Armed Forces and Society, 4(1), 1977, p41-50.


xvii Lieutenant Colonel R.D. Heinl, Jr., USMC (1947). Marines in WWII Historical Monograph: The Defense of Wake. Historical Section, Division of Public Information, Headquarters, USMC. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-Wake.html.


xviiiUSMC, Leading Marines, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C, January 1995, http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmc/mcwp611.pdf, accessed March 6, 2011.

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18 juin 2011 6 18 /06 /juin /2011 20:30



Rafale opérant en Libye au décollage du Charles de Gaulle (AFP)


18.06.2011 Sarah Halifa-Legrand – Le Nouvel Observateur


Combien la guerre en Libye a-t-elle coûté à la France jusqu'à présent ? Mystère. A l’état-major des armées, on renvoie prudemment vers le ministère de la Défense. Mais au cabinet du ministre, on n’est pas vraiment plus loquace sur le sujet : on nous (re)communique le seul chiffre que l’on ait à ce jour obtenu. 53 millions d'euros de surcoût, dont 31,7 millions en munitions. Et encore, "communiquer" est un grand mot, quand on se souvient que ce chiffre a en fait "fuité" dans la presse après une audition à huis clos du ministre de la Défense Gérard Longuet par la Commission de la Défense nationale. C’était le 3 mai, il y a déjà un mois et demi.


130 millions d’euros a minima


Depuis, on en est réduit à échafauder d’hypothétiques calculs à partir de données invérifiables. Sachant que la France a la méchante particularité d’avoir opté pour un mode de calcul complexe : on part du principe que les soldats touchent leur solde, s’entraînent, font un certain nombre d’heures de vol, etc., toute l’année. Par conséquent, seul le surcoût des opérations extérieures est calculé. C'est ce qui expliquerait, selon l'état-major des armées, que l'on ne puisse pas évaluer le coût d'une opération militaire avant qu'elle soit finie.


Début mai, quand le chiffre de 53 millions a été rendu public, le journaliste Jean-Dominique Merchet s’est néanmoins prêté à un petit jeu de calcul sur son blog Secret défense. "L’opération a débuté le 19 mars, soit 44 jours auparavant. Le surcoût de la guerre peut donc être évalué à 1,2 million d'euros par jour", fait-il alors remarquer. Soit un peu moins que ce que le ministère de la Défense prévoyait pour l’Afghanistan lors de l'élaboration du budget 2011 : 470 millions d'euros en 2011, soit 1,3 million par jour. L'état-major reconnaît que ce type de calcul peut donner "un ordre de grandeur". Ce que conteste Louis Gautier, ancien conseiller à la Défense de Lionel Jospin : ces 53 millions, affirme-t-il, ne peuvent même pas servir de base fiable à un calcul car "c’est un surcoût très certainement sous-estimé".


Aujourd’hui, François Heisbourg, conseiller spécial à la Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, estime que le surcoût est très probablement d’au moins 1,4 million d’euros par jour. "Le rythme des sorties aériennes est plus ou moins le même depuis le début. Mais, souligne-t-il, il y a une inconnue : les hélicoptères de combat, entrés en lice début juin. Quelle part prennent-ils dans le surcoût ?" "Ils coûtent moins cher que les avions", répond-on seulement à l'état-major des armées. Si on part de l’hypothèse 1,4 million par jour, cela donne, au 17 juin, soit sur trois mois, un total de près de 130 millions d’euros.


La France peut-elle supporter un tel coût ?


Un surcoût en pleine austérité 


C’est après la décision de l’Otan – qui a pris la tête des opérations depuis le 31 mars –, le 1er juin, de prolonger son intervention en Libye jusqu'à fin septembre, que le mur de silence a commencé à se lézarder. Le chef d'état-major de la marine française, l'amiral Pierre-François Forissier, a rendu publiques ses inquiétudes en parlant d’"un problème de ressources humaines (...). Quand on est en opération, on ne fait plus d'école, plus de formation". Si le porte-avions Charles de Gaulle "était engagé en Libye jusqu'à la fin 2011, il ne travaillerait plus du tout en opération en 2012", essentiellement pour des raisons de maintenance, a-t-il ajouté.


Dans le budget 2011, une enveloppe de 900 millions d’euros a été prévue pour financer les opérations extérieures. Début mai, Les Echos rapportaient que cette somme n’était budgétée qu’à hauteur de 630 millions – auxquels il faut ajouter quelque 50 millions de l’Onu – et qu’il était envisagé que les autres ministères soient mis à contribution pour combler le manque. Tout ça sans compter l’opération Harmattan en Libye.


Mais mardi dernier, lors de l’examen du projet de loi de finances rectificative, le ministre du Budget François Baroin a reconnu qu’un effort budgétaire allait être demandé pour couvrir le surcoût des opérations en Libye et en Côte d’Ivoire. Un effort à ce stade non chiffré qui sera pris sur les crédits de la Défense selon des arbitrages rendus à l'automne, a-t-il promis. 


Compte tenu que le ministère de la Défense n’échappe pas à la réduction des déficits publics (il doit se voir retrancher 3,5 milliards d'euros sur trois ans, de 2011 à 2013), l’opération risque d’être délicate…


Une guerre qui s'enlise


"Les Français et les Britanniques pensaient que ce serait une guerre courte. Dans cette optique, le coût de cette opération militaire n’était pas en soi insupportable", juge François Heisbourg. Un avis que partage Louis Gautier. "Tout dépend de ce qu’ils veulent. S’il s’agissait juste de sécuriser la zone de Benghazi pour protéger les civils, ils avaient les moyens de leur politique. S’il s’agissait de soutenir l’avancée du front rebelle – ce qui n’est pas dans la résolution 1973 de l’Onu – c’est une autre histoire", convient-il. "Mais il ne faut pas en faire une question de capacité militaire. Si l’armée française commence à souffrir, c’est parce qu’elle est déployée sur plusieurs terrains extérieurs."


L’ancien conseiller de Lionel Jospin estime que si cette campagne aérienne fait de plus en plus débat, c’est aussi et surtout parce qu’ "elle a échoué à produire l’usure psychologique qui avait mené en peu de temps à la capitulation de Milosevic." Bref, on a mal jaugé, dès le départ, le cas libyen. Résultat, cela fait déjà trois mois, et Kadhafi ne plie toujours pas.  


Un débat houleux en perspective

(en photo, Alain Juppé s'exprimant sur la Libye lors des questions au gouvernement le 24 mai)


L’absence de résultats, la controverse sur le non-respect du mandat onusien et la perspective de dépenses supplémentaires en pleine cure d’austérité ont d’ailleurs plombé l’ambiance au sein même de l’Otan, faisant apparaître au grand jour un contentieux plus profond. Le secrétaire à la Défense américain Robert Gates s’en est pris violemment, la semaine dernière, au manque d'investissements militaires et de volonté politique de ses alliés Européens, qui se reposent trop sur les Américains. Un déséquilibre qui, a-t-il menacé, pourrait "compromettre" l'efficacité de la mission en Libye, voire l’avenir de l’Alliance atlantique. La polémique, qui enfle depuis une semaine, ne semble pas près de faiblir : jeudi, le secrétaire général de l'Otan Anders Fogh Rasmussen lui a emboîté le pas en exprimant peu ou prou les mêmes critiques.


Si les Américains ont les nerfs à vif, c'est parce que Barack Obama est mis en difficulté par les élus qui lui demandent des comptes sur son intervention en Libye. Les Etats-Unis ont déjà dépensé 715 millions de dollars entre le 19 mars et le 3 juin, selon un rapport envoyé mercredi au Congrès par l'administration Obama. Ils prévoient un coût d'1,1 milliard de dollars d'ici à la fin septembre. (Ces chiffres ne peuvent être comparés avec ceux de la France, car il ne s'agit pas du même mode de calcul).


"Si Kadhafi est toujours là en juillet, ce débat, qui commence à peine à poindre en France, va aussi sérieusement se poser", estime François Heisbourg. "Car, rappelle-t-il, il est inscrit dans la constitution qu’en cas d’opération militaire extérieure se prolongeant au-delà de quatre mois, l’autorisation du parlement est nécessaire. Ce sera le temps des questions douloureuses : est-ce qu'on s'enlise ? Comment va-t-on payer ? Si cette guerre dure plus longtemps, je vois mal comment on va pouvoir supporter ce coût sans accroître soit notre déficit budgétaire, soit nos impôts."


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16 juin 2011 4 16 /06 /juin /2011 20:21



15 Juin 2011 Belga


La baisse des dépenses consacrées à la défense dans les pays de l'Otan constitue un "grave problème" qui risque à terme de détourner les Etats-Unis de l'Alliance, a affirmé mercredi le secrétaire américain à la Défense Robert Gates.

Réitérant devant les sénateurs d'une sous-commission de la Défense ses critiques après son discours véhément de Bruxelles vendredi, le ministre a affirmé que la part des Etats-Unis était passé de la moitié aux trois-quarts du budget militaire des 28 pays de l'Otan. "C'est un grave problème. C'est un souci depuis quelques années mais je pense que nos propres difficultés financières et ce à quoi le budget militaire américain va devoir faire face pose le problème comme jamais auparavant", a-t-il jugé. "Un nombre croissant" de membres du Congrès "pour qui la guerre froide et nos liens avec l'Europe et l'Otan ne sont pas dans les gênes" va finir par ne plus vouloir prendre en charge le fardeau, selon lui. Mais le secrétaire à la Défense a toutefois estimé préférable une Otan aux capacités réduites que "pas d'Otan du tout". Robert Gates avait mis en garde à Bruxelles les alliés occidentaux contre leur manque d'investissements militaires et de volonté politique, soulignant que ces "lacunes" pourraient "compromettre" l'efficacité de la mission en Libye et contre la perspective "inacceptable" d'une "alliance à deux vitesses". (MPK)

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25 mars 2011 5 25 /03 /mars /2011 19:45
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1 février 2011 2 01 /02 /février /2011 21:06
Defence Requirements Trends for 2011 - 'Writing on the Wall' or 'Fresh Slate'?


Posted: 01/31/2011

Contributor: Defence Dateline Group, provides monthly and on-demand analysis of current security and defence issues.


As we place one hesitant foot in front of the other this new year, it seems the timing is right to offer the defence industry some predictions and likely trends in purchasing requirements for the coming twelve months. Without being foolhardy, it might do the industry some good to attack the issue head on - from the perspective of ‘big policy’, no less. Not all of these trends are commercially reassuring, but the world is not running out of conflicts or threats and 2011 will bring opportunities in a range of non-traditional markets.


The continent plans more cuts

Clearly, 2011 will be a year of some belt-tightening. Both Germany and the UK have already announced major cuts to their defence budgets, with the UK cutting 8% each year for four years, and Germany targeting air assets and troop numbers as it cuts by €8.3bn. Though France has been loath to implement austerity measures, in 2011 it will be forced to follow suit. Rumblings from the bond markets will combine with public protest at potential cuts to social benefits, making defence spending look like an easy target.


The US seems unlikely to follow this trend. In November 2010, the Republican Party won the midterm elections on a platform of deficit-cutting zeal. Yet they have remained vague as to where their cuts should fall. In a time of war, and with one eye on China, few congressmen will want to risk criticism from the political right. At a time of high unemployment, none will countenance the cancellation of procurement programmes in their own districts. Finally, with government divided between Democrats and Republicans, President Obama will be carefully choosing his conflicts, and major reductions in defence spending are unlikely to be one of them.


Pressure, though, will come from Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who has intimated that he will retire during 2011. He has made fiscal restraint a centrepiece of his attempts to reform the Pentagon, cutting jobs, and ending the Future Combat Systems and F-22 Raptor programmes. At the beginning of the year he announced a $78bn reduction in proposed spending, including cutting the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the Marine Corps’ troubled amphibious tank. He will be determined to gain a valedictory success in this field.


American investment strategy for defence

However, he is likely to face a bitter battle with the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Howard McKeon, who has already stated his firm opposition to defence cuts. Perhaps the most likely outcome is that major capital programmes such as the EFV will be permitted to continue, in return for the implementation of administrative and manpower cuts. In particular, the defence industry will have to adapt to proposed new rules on contracting which shift the onus for cost overruns onto contractors.


Meanwhile, service and personnel contractors will face some political pressure, but probably little action. There is a consensus in the policy community that oversight of private contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq should be increased and the December 2010 US defence bill went some way towards this aim. However, the White House will come under increasing public pressure to demonstrate that troops are returning from Afghanistan, meaning that contractors will continue to be too vital to the war effort to significantly restrict them at this point.


There will be more to 2011 than cuts and avoiding being on the wrong end of them. North Korea and a more assertive China are likely to make life in East and South-East Asia feel rather dangerous. South Korea and the Republic of China are obvious potential customers, but Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand may all look to add submarines to their naval forces.


Asian power struggles

Meanwhile, China’s close relations with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and the likelihood that it will shortly have carrier strike capabilities, will continue to worry India. India is already expanding its own submarine and carrier capabilities, but may also seek to refine and improve its anti-ballistic missile shield. As a potential partner to balance against China, the US will continue to promote cooperation with India, and it may offer some further military hardware in addition to the eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft it sold to the Indian Navy in March 2009.


A similar logic of fear applies in the Middle East. Tensions will continue over Iran, and with oil prices remaining high, the GCC countries will look to add to their arsenals. Mine clearing vessels, missile defence systems and prestigious fighter jets will remain the top priorities.

Moving northeast from Iran, the war in Afghanistan will continue to rumble on. A dispute between General Petraeus and President Obama over the precise number of troops to return home in 2011 is likely, but suffice to say that the majority of NATO forces there now will still be there in 12 months time.


However, new capital spending on the war is likely to taper off; there will be continued purchases of the latest counter-IED equipment, but little else will be required.


UAVs and cyber

No set of defence predictions would be complete without mention of the obvious headline areas for 2011: UAVs and cyberspace. With most of the major purchasers having already selected their next generation of drones, developments here will be in the fields of R&D, and in their sale to new users. Many of these new users will be countries with remote borders, interested in the homeland security and border patrol applications of UAVs. One counterintuitive effect of the continuing Iranian nuclear crisis is that defence cooperation between Israel and Russia is likely to deepen, with UAVs at the centre of this.


In cyberspace, almost all the major defence spenders will slowly emulate the US by creating a unified cyber-command. Meanwhile, in March 2011, a report on CYBERCOM’s strategy will be submitted to Congress. Given the sheer complexity of setting up CYBERCOM, and the vagueness of its remit, it may be predicted that it will at some point offer consultancy contracts to help with the organisation and implementation of its mission, as well as to supplement its own know-how and force levels. Its imitators will likely have to do the same.


Covering purchasing requirements as a first step might be viewed as a narrow approach. Certainly, it does not begin to touch on mergers and acquisitions, legal disputes and all the other issues that consume middle level and upper management in what has now become a turbulent industry. Yet, there are enough predictions here to keep your average defence executive up at night, whether through excitement or trepidation. What may be said with certainty is that as some familiar conflict areas resolve themselves, levees continue to break in others. Perhaps one modest prediction would be to add that disruptions of rising powers and rogue states will ensure that there will be a role for the defence industry - indefinitely.

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