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27 janvier 2015 2 27 /01 /janvier /2015 17:30
Iran Reinvents Cruise Missiles


January 27, 2015: Strategy Page


In December 2014 Iran held military exercises in which it claimed it had converted one of its UAVs into a “suicide drone” and successfully tested it. The story behind this story is far more interesting. This suicide drone is actually a cruise missile and is based on what Iran claims is a copy of the American ScanEagle UAV. This is a low-tech, commercially available UAV that contains no classified components. In early 2013 Iran released photos of their new production facility producing copies of ScanEagle. But Iran did not present any of the completed “Yasir” (as they called their version of ScanEagle) UAVs. Iran could have built a ScanEagle clone without copying from one they had obtained (either from a crash or the black market). The ScanEagle assembly line picture could have simply been Photoshopped, a technique Iran has been caught using numerous times. The Iranian version was said to have a range of 200 kilometers max altitude of 2,900 meters and max endurance of eight hours. By replacing the surveillance equipment and much of the fuel with explosives Iran would have a short range (a hundred kilometers or so) cruise missile with over a 10 kg (over 22 pounds) of explosives that could, in theory, hit anything within range. That is if it can get past the air defenses. Most Western air defense systems have been upgraded to detect UAVs and low flying cruise missiles.


Actually, defenses against cruise missiles go back over 70 years. Cruise Missiles have been around for that long. The first one appeared during World War II as the German V-1 "Buzz Bomb". The British developed a number of countermeasures. It was the Israelis that began using TV-equipped UAVs in combat during the 1980s. At the same time it was the United States that reinvented the buzz bomb as the modern cruise missile in the 1980s. A decade later the Americans borrowed from the Israelis to create their own UAVs for surveillance.


Yasir first appeared in December 2012 when Iran insisted it had captured a U.S. Navy ScanEagle UAV and copied it. The U.S. said none of its ScanEagles were missing. Iran then released a photo of the captured ScanEagle. But the photo showed a ScanEagle without military markings that appeared to have been reassembled after a crash. The U.S. did reveal that several ScanEagles had been lost over the last few years (due to communications or mechanical failures) in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf and the wreckage was not recovered. This is where Iran might have obtained their ScanEagle (perhaps via fishermen who haulded it in and took it to the black market). In any event, stunts like this are mainly for raising morale among Iranian civilians depressed over economic problems. It doesn’t really matter what the U.S. says or does.


A ScanEagle weighs 19 kg (40 pounds), has a 3.2 meter (ten foot) wingspan, and uses day and night video cameras. This makes it easier for the UAV, flying over land or water, to spot small speed boats or individual vehicles. The commercial version of ScanEagle has been in service since the 1990s to help high seas fishing ships find schools of fish to go after. Cruising speed is 110 kilometers an hour. The ScanEagle can stay in the air for up to 15 hours per flight and fly as high as 5 kilometers (16,000 feet). The aircraft carries an optical system that is stabilized to keep the cameras focused on an object while the UAV moves. The UAV can operate at least a hundred kilometers from the ground controller. The ScanEagle is launched from a catapult and landed via a wing hook that catches a rope hanging from a 16 meter (fifty foot) pole. This makes it possible to operate the UAV from the helicopter pad on the stern (rear) of a warship or any open space on a seagoing fishing ship. Each ScanEagle costs about $100,000 and is still widely used by commercial fishing, ocean survey, and research ships, as well as military organizations in several countries. ScanEagle has been in military service since 2005.

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
USS Preble conduct an operational tomahawk missile launch - photo US Navy

USS Preble conduct an operational tomahawk missile launch - photo US Navy


April 3, 2014. David Pugliese - Defence Watch


National Defence magazine is reporting this:


The Raytheon Co. is challenging the Navy’s decision to halt manufacturing of the Tomahawk cruise missile in 2016, and is counting on its congressional allies to help keep the weapon in production for the foreseeable future.


Executives will seek to make the case that the Tomahawk supplier base of more than 300 companies in 24 states would be weakened without new orders. If the production line — based in Tucson, Ariz. — is shut down, Raytheon officials contend, the Navy might not be able to restart it at a later time.


Before the Pentagon was hit with automatic budget cuts in 2013, the Navy had planned on buying about 200 Tomahawks per year for the next five years. In fiscal year 2015, the Navy proposed a reduced buy of 100 missiles and no new orders after 2016. The Navy still plans to design a new land-attack missile and upgrade the current inventory of Tomahawks with new electronics.


Navy Secretary Ray Mabus defended the decision, as the United States already has an arsenal of 4,000 Tomahawks. “When you add the Tomahawks that we plan to buy in 2015, it will carry us through any eventuality that we could foresee,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Studies will begin next year to design a follow-on weapon, he added. “We certainly don’t want, don’t need a gap between the Tomahawk and the next weapon.”


Full story here:



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2 février 2014 7 02 /02 /février /2014 17:40
US warns Moscow of concern over cruise missile test



Jan 30, 2014 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Washington - The United States has raised concerns with Moscow over a reported Russian test of a cruise missile and is evaluating whether it breaks a 1987 treaty, a US official said Thursday.


Washington has raised "the possibility of... a violation," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, amid reports that Russia had tested a new ground-launched cruise missile.


The New York Times said Thursday that Moscow had begun testing the new missile as early as 2008, and that the State Department's senior arms control official Rose Gottemoeller had repeatedly raised the issue with Moscow since May.


Psaki said she could not refute the details of the Times report, and there was an ongoing interagency review to determine whether the Russians had violated the terms of a US-Russian arms control pact.


The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed by then US president Ronald Reagan and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev, eliminated nuclear and conventional intermediate range ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.


"The important note here is that there's still an ongoing review, an interagency review determining if there was a violation," Psaki stressed, adding the consultations had been continuing for some months.


"We do of course take questions about compliance with arms control treaties, including the INF Treaty, very seriously."


A NATO official said "this is a serious matter" adding that the treaty was "a key component of Euro-Atlantic security."


"Compliance with arms control treaties is a fundamental requirement if we are to have more transparency in our dialogue with Russia. NATO allies consult at all times on all matters relevant to their security," the official added.

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8 mai 2013 3 08 /05 /mai /2013 12:35
Problem in Nirbhay cruise missile identified: Antony

May 08, 2013, zeenews.india.com


New Delhi: Scientists have identified the problem in Nirbhay cruise missile, which led to its malfunction during the first test flight last month, and corrective design is being implemented, Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday said.


In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, he said, "Scientists have identified that Inertial Navigation System has malfunctioned and corrective design/modification are being implemented."


On whether the missile achieved only partial success, Antony said, "Yes. Except for covering the full range by flying in all way points, all the objectives set for the cruise missile functionality have been met fully."


Maintaining that the missile had a perfect launch with the navigation systems correctly touching the "first way point", he said, "Deviation was observed while going to second way point. When the deviation extended the safety limit, mission abort command was issued from the ground and the destruction mechanism inside the missile was activated."


In reply to a separate question, the Minister said DRDO has proposed to set up a missile testing centre and a launch pad at Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 1200 crore.


"The proposal is at a very initial stage. So far, only proposal for requirement for land has been initiated with the Government of Andhra Pradesh."

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29 octobre 2012 1 29 /10 /octobre /2012 18:00


photo DGA


29/10/2012 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


A new long-range cruise missile for the French Navy's been test-launched by DGA - the French Government defence procurement agency tasked with managing, developing and acquiring new military technologies for the country's armed forces.


For the first time, the MBDA SCALP Naval cruise missile was launched from a platform positioned underwater, representing the submarines that, in future years, will be equipped with the new weapon.


Quoting DGA officials, MBDA subsequently confirmed in a press release that the SCALP firing served to achieve ‘all test objectives...notably the validation of the GPS guidance mode in the terminal phase.'


SCALP Naval Cruise Missile


Known also as the MdCN (Missile de Croisière Naval), the SCALP Naval cruise missile is a variant of the air-launched Storm Shadow, which has been in service for a decade. With a top speed of Mach 0.8 and a 250 mile range, Storm Shadow's so far been ordered by six nations including Saudi Arabia and Italy and it equips a range of combat jets, including the Dassault Rafale, Tornado GR4 and IDS, Mirage 2000 and Saab JAS-39 Gripen.


Compared to its predecessor, the SCALP Naval cruise missile is specifically designed for the maritime arena, is booster-launched to help it surge through the waves and has a much longer range of up to 1,000 kilometres.


In French Navy service, it'll be carried by both Barracuda class submarines and FREMM multipurpose frigates, going into operation in 2014. Six-point-five metres long, the SCALP Naval cruise missile weighs 1,400 kilograms and, while designed first and foremost for the French Navy, the Greek Navy has emerged as a potential first export customer.


SCALP Missile Test Launch


‘With its range of some several hundred kilometers, MdCN is able to strike targets deep within enemy territory', MBDA stated in its SCALP missile test launch press release.


‘Embarked on warships positioned safely on-station for extended periods in international waters, either overtly (surface frigates) or discretely (submerged submarines), MdCN is ideal for missions calling for the destruction of strategically high value infrastructure targets.'

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