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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:40
Moscou souhaite élargir sa coopération militaire avec Minsk

MINSK, 1er avril - RIA Novosti

La Russie souhaite élargir sa coopération militaire et technique avec la Biélorussie compte tenu de la situation en Ukraine, a déclaré mardi à Minsk le vice-premier ministre russe Dmitri Rogozine lors d'une rencontre avec le président biélorusse Alexandre Loukachenko.

"Nous bénéficions d'un large soutien de nos collègues biélorusses. Je suis arrivé en Biélorussie pour voir ce qu'on peut faire pour élargir notre coopération compte tenu de la situation actuelle", a indiqué M.Rogozine.

M.Loukachenko a pour sa part déclaré que la Biélorussie resterait toujours aux côtés du peuple russe. "Dans ce contexte, nous tenons compte de la situation et défendons les intérêts de notre peuple et ceux de notre allié stratégique", a-t-il noté.

Selon le président biélorusse, Minsk souhaite intensifier la coopération militaire et technique avec Moscou, notamment dans la modernisation de l'industrie de défense. "Si nous avons des liens avec l'industrie de défense russe, la modernisation de nos usines sera plus efficace et nos produits trouveront preneur, avant tout en Russie", a ajouté le président. 

Fin mars 2014, le consortium public ukrainien Ukroboronprom a gelé les livraisons d'armes et de matériels de guerre en Russie. Or, l'industrie de défense ukrainienne avait reçu des propositions sur les livraisons de matériels en Russie pour 200 millions de dollars lors du salon aérospatial international MAKS en août-septembre 2013 à Joukovski.

Un changement de pouvoir ayant toutes les caractéristiques d'un coup d'Etat s'est produit en Ukraine le 22 février dernier. La Rada suprême (parlement) a destitué le président Viktor Ianoukovitch, réformé la constitution et fixé l'élection présidentielle au 25 mai. Moscou conteste la légitimité des nouvelles autorités du pays.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:40
NATO sees no Russian troop pullout from Ukraine border


April 01, 2014 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Brussels - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday said he could not confirm the withdrawal of Russian troops from near the Ukrainian border as announced by the Kremlin.


"Unfortunately I cannot confirm that Russia is withdrawing its troops; this is not what we have seen," Rasmussen told journalists ahead of a NATO foreign ministers meeting on the crisis in Ukraine.


Ukraine and the United States have accused Russia of massing thousands of troops near the border and have expressed concern that Moscow intends to seize southeastern parts of Ukraine that are home to large populations of ethnic Russians, following the Crimea takeover.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said Putin had personally informed her of the troop pullback in a telephone conversation on Monday, and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the move "a small sign that the situation is becoming less tense".


Ukraine also reported Monday that Russian troops were leaving the flashpoint area.


NATO foreign ministers are meeting at the alliance headquarters in Brussels to forge a response to Russia's annexation of Crimea last month.


But as the talks began, NATO seemed to be stepping back from reinforcing military presence in countries bordering Russia, preferring for now to give more time to diplomacy.


"I think everybody realises that the best way forward is a political and diplomatic dialogue," Rasmussen said, though he added NATO was "very determined to provide effective defence and protection of our allies".


One counter-measure apparently off the table for now is the idea to set up permanent military bases in NATO countries bordering with Russia.


The move would be highly controversial for Moscow, reversing an informal agreement made when NATO expanded east to include former Warsaw Pact countries that were eager to break away from years of Soviet domination.


But Dutch foreign minister Frank Timmermans said that for now "we don't need NATO troops at the border with Russia," adding there was "no need for sudden moves".


The cautious line could come as a disappointment to eastern NATO members, who were expected to argue for a tougher stance against Russia at the meeting.


"There is a rather wide consensus among the allies, even if eastern countries -- such as the Baltics and Poland -- wish NATO would adopt a more pronounced stand against Russia," a diplomat said.


Before entering NATO headquarters for the talks, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said his country "would welcome any forces" on its territory.


"All members should enjoy the same level of security," he said.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
BAE Systems helps keep RAAF ‘eyes in the sky’


31 March 2014 BAE Systems


Adelaide, SA: BAE Systems today signed an AU $77 million, five-year contract extension with Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) to continue support for the electronic warfare sub-systems aboard the RAAF’s Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft.


This extends the existing support contract until at least mid-2019 and retains 35 high skilled positions in South Australia. It also keeps BAE Systems at the forefront of Australia’s electronic warfare capability. The extension follows the recently announced signing of a five-year extension to the Wedgetail support prime contract between BDA and the Commonwealth.

BAE Systems has provided engineering, maintenance and spares support for the Wedgetail electronic warfare suite under subcontract to Boeing for the past two and a half years. The state-of-the-art equipment is operated by on-board sensor specialists to locate and identify radar emitters and to protect the aircraft and its crew from potential missile threats.

“We are very pleased to retain this work and specialist skills in South Australia,” said Kim Scott, Director Land & Integrated Systems. “We trust that continued success on this program will help demonstrate that this type of advanced technology and capability can be provided locally to world standards.”

“BAE Systems is a key partner in the Wedgetail support program”, said BDA’s Mark Horton, Acting Wedgetail In-Service Support Program Manager.  “The extension to BAE Systems’ contract recognises the results achieved during the initial support period and continues the excellent partnership we have established.”

“We are very proud to be associated with the Wedgetail project and look forward to continuing that association,” said Mr Scott.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
The seventh batch of An-32 aircrafts upgraded was supplied to the Air Forces of India

01 April 2014 Pacific Sentinel


On March 29, 2014 the representatives of Ukroboronprom, PLANT 410 CA and Spectechnoexport have supplied to the Air Forces of India the seventh batch of An-32 Transportation Aircrafts, which were upgraded in Kyiv in the framework of the contract concluded in 2009.


That very day the vehicles were departed from Kyiv to Kanpur (India). Taking into consideration the events in Crimea, the European partners, as an exceptional case, have opened the sky for the military transportation aircrafts, so that the vehicles will be able to arrive at destination place in time.  


 As Yuriy Tereshenko, Temporary Director General of Ukroboronprom, reported, Ukrainian and Indian parties are satisfied with the progress of contract implementation and count on development of cooperation within the Program.


“We are sure that our Indian partners are satisfied with a high quality of our works, conducted by Ukrainian enterprises. India was and remains to be a strategic Ukrainian partner in the area of military technical cooperation. We admit a mutual interest in further development of aviation program. We expect in the nearest future the bilateral cooperation will be continued by new contracts,” Yuriy Tereshenko stressed on.  



The contract, worth some USD 400 million, for the repair and upgrading of 105 units of An-32 vehicles of the Air Forces of India was signed in July 2009 between Air Forces of Ministry of Defense of India and subsidiary company of Ukrspecexport State Company – Spectechnoexport.


In accordance with the contract, that have become the largest in the history of Ukrainian Indian bilateral military technical cooperation, 40 aircrafts are to be modernized in Ukraine and the rest of the aircraft at the BRD-1 aviation plant of the Indian Air Force in Kanpur (North India). Ukraine’s Antonov Plant and Civil Aviation Plant 410 are executing the contract.


As part of the deep upgrade, the Indian aircraft is to be fitted with modern equipment made in Ukraine and other countries. In particular, these are aircraft collision warning equipment, collision with ground early warning equipment, satellite navigation system, aircraft rangefinders, modernized height finders, new radar set with two multifunctional indicators, new oxygen equipment, and modernized crew seats.    


The upgraded An-32 will be able to land on an ICAO category II approach. Whereas, fuel consumption and the mass of the empty upgraded aircraft will be lower than for the basic model.


In addition, in line with a three-year contract worth $110 million signed in December 2009 by Motor Sich OJSC (Zaporizhia) and the Indian Air Force, the AI-20 engines of the Indian An-32s are being upgraded.


As of today, 35 aircrafts, out of those that are to be upgraded in Kyiv, have been already upgraded and transferred to the Costumer.


The first 10 modernized aircrafts have been already transferred to the Costumer in 2011, and each year other 10 vehicles in 2012 and 2013 accordingly.  The next 5 transportations were sent to India in August of the last year. The supply of the final batch of aircrafts, the modernization of which is carried out in Kyiv, is planned for the summer. 



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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
A Kawasaki XC-2 military transport aircraft escorted by a Kawasaki T-4.

A Kawasaki XC-2 military transport aircraft escorted by a Kawasaki T-4.



02/04 Yann Rousseau, Correspondant à Tokyo - Les Echos.fr


Depuis les années 1960, les ventes des géants japonais du secteur devaient se limiter au marché national.


Début 1980, trois agents du KGB, se faisant passer pour des hommes d'affaires, approchèrent le bureau moscovite d'une maison de négoce japonaise. Ils cherchaient une machine capable d'usiner des turbines plus performantes pour une centrale électrique de Leningrad. Ils furent mis en relation avec la société Toshiba Machine. Et, un an plus tard, une commande d'un montant de plus de 4 millions de dollars était célébrée. Mais, en avril 1987, les Etats-Unis découvrirent que l'URSS utilisait l'engin pour fabriquer des hélices à propulsion « silencieuse » pour ses sous-marins nucléaires que Washington s'efforçait depuis des années de traquer.


Vertement réprimandé par son allié, Tokyo promit plus de vigilance pour faire respecter le strict embargo sur les exportations d'armes et de technologies sensibles que le pays, se proclamant pacifiste depuis 1945, s'était de lui-même imposé dans les années 1960. Et très peu de ventes d'équipements militaires furent ensuite tentées. Hier, le gouvernement de Shinzo Abe a annoncé qu'il allait, pour la première fois, assouplir ces principes d'interdiction et autoriser, sous contrôle, des ventes de matériel de défense à des nations ne représentant pas de menace pour la paix et la sécurité mondiale. « C'est l'un des plus grands changements de ces dernières décennies », résume Atsushi Tago, un professeur de relations internationales à l'université de Kobe.


Casser les coûts


Cet assouplissement, qui était réclamé par les grands industriels du secteur, va permettre de casser les coûts de développement des nouveaux équipements. Les groupes tels que Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries ou IHI ne pouvaient jusqu'ici viser que le marché domestique de défense, estimé à seulement 1.500 milliards de yens (10,5 milliards d'euros) par an. « Désormais, ils pourront espérer produire de plus grandes séries avec des contrats ou des partenariats à l'étranger », explique Atsushi Tago, qui rappelle que les grands projets de défense se font désormais en association entre plusieurs nations. En accédant à ces projets internationaux et en s'autorisant à vendre des équipements aux pays amis de la région, notamment en Asie du Sud-Est, le Japon veut aussi doper son aura régionale et se présenter en puissance de résistance crédible face à la très rugueuse poussée d'influence de la Chine dans la zone. Dès hier soir, les autorités de Pékin n'ont pas manqué de se déclarer préoccupées par ce revirement japonais.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Editorial: The US Navy and the Pivot - Less Means Less

01 April 2014 By William Kyle - PacificSentinel


Given resource constraints, the U.S. Navy may need to execute a pivot of its own.


Five years of Obama administration foreign policy are in the history books as the world continues to move beyond the era of the Global War on Terror. While the jury is still out regarding the ultimate impact of his post-GWOT redirection of American foreign policy, U.S. President Barack Obama’s initiatives since 2011 have clearly been designed to steer American policy in a profoundly Pacific direction. This shift has direct consequences for the U. S. Navy in the so-called “Pacific Century.”

In fact, this new direction leaves the U.S. Navy in the unenviable position of being at the vanguard of a “Pacific Pivot” while facing potentially dramatic reductions in force structure and modernization budgets. However, it is not clear that the Pacific “pivot” strategy actually requires a dramatic, Cold War-like increase in American naval presence for success—rather, it may be enough for the U.S. Navy to implement its own structural pivot to better match American foreign policy goals with resources.

In the wake of the GWOT and 2008 financial crisis, many assessments predicted the end of America’s “unipolar moment,” spurring the Obama administration to announce a new foreign policy direction in 2011. Fighting popular perceptions of previous regional neglect, Obama stressed that the United States was permanently turning its principal attention towards Asia. In November 2011, this new Asia policy directive got its own catchphrase when then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton published an article in Foreign Policy magazine titled “America’s Pacific Century,” emphasizing both the current and future importance of Asia and America’s desired role in the region. Thus was born the American “pivot” to the Pacific. 


Read the full story at The Diplomat

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
DND Looking at Improved and Enhanced Versions of HAWK SAM

Hawk medium range SAM (photo : pdff)


31.03.2014 Defense Studies

MANILA (PNA) -- The Department of National Defense (DND) is looking at the possibility of acquiring improved and enhanced versions of the Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer) surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

The HAWK is a US medium range SAM.

The DND stated that acquisition of this weapon aims to protect the country from air threats its shore-to-ship missile (SSM) launchers which it is planning to acquire for the Philippine Army at P6.5 billion.

The SSM project consists of 12 launchers, trailers and tracking systems and missiles that could be fired to hit naval or sea targets.

It will be carried out through “limited source bidding", a process where certain companies are invited to submit bids for the program.

The HAWK is capable of intercepting and destroying any hostile aircraft, drone, or rocket that may be sent to incapacitate or disabled the Army's SSM system.

It was initially designed to destroy aircraft and was later adapted to destroy other missiles in flight.

The missile entered service in 1960, and a program of extensive upgrades has kept it from becoming obsolete.

Israel, one of the operators of the HAWK missile, have upgraded the Phase 2 standard with the addition of a Super Eye electro-optical TV system for detection of aircraft at 30 to 40 kilometers and identification at 17 to 25 kilometers.

They have also modified their system for engagements at altitudes up to 24,000 meters. 


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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Pakistani Air Force Wary of Terrorist Threat to Airbases


Apr. 1, 2014 - By USMAN ANSARI – Defense News


ISLAMABAD — Media reports that Pakistani Taliban splinter group Ahrarul Hind is planning attacks on Pakistani airbases in retaliation for punishing airstrikes carried out in February have raised questions about the adequacy of security at Air Force facilities.


There has not been a discernible reaction from the Ahrarul Hind thus far, and analysts say the ferocity of the airstrikes that killed a number of important members has left it somewhat stunned. Commentators and public opinion had demanded action against terrorists for some time, however, and the military, long the focus of terrorist attacks, has been itching to deliver it.


But the threat of attacks on Air Force facilities is real.


There have been a number of devastating attacks on airbases in recent years; one the highest profile attacks was on PNS Mehran in Karachi in 2011, resulting in a number of deaths and the loss of two P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. A 2012 attack on PAF Base Minhas at Kamra destroyed one Erieye airborne early warning and control aircraft and damaged another.


Civil and military-related infrastructure continues to remain a target. A weekend attack by terrorists on the civil Pasni radar post in Balochistan left one dead and equipment damaged. The attackers escaped.


However, since the last major attack in 2012, perimeter security has been tightened at military airbases. Commercial satellite imagery has shown other improvements inside the bases, and an undetermined (though probably small, according to analysts) number of Eland 60 armored cars have been procured from South Africa for airfield defense.


The service is prepared to defend its assets, said Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Tariq Mahmood.


“All security measures at our installations, our airbases and other facilities are in place, and it’s a layered defense. We are guarding them according to our [standard operating procedures]. The threat is always there, we can’t be oblivious to the situation in the country, but we’re protecting our installations and taking all measures,” he said.


Mahmood was not able to comment on the purchase of Eland 60s, however.


Analysts are also reasonably confident the Air Force’s security should be able to handle any threat.


“Current security is good,” said Brian Cloughley, former Australian defense attache to Islamabad. “All that is needed is coordination and no relaxation of present measures.”


Protection is difficult at some airbases because many have been surrounded by urban sprawl, but Cloughley said the most obvious solution, relocation, is probably out of the question.


There is, however, still room for improvement in airbase security.


Analyst and former Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail says the Air Force could learn from examples of civil airbase security.


“A short answer is to defend them the way [the Airport Security Force] has done,” he said.


“None of the 20-odd [Civil Aviation Authority] airports have been intruded in for the last three decades. The ASF and CAA have quite simply treated perimeter security with the utmost importance, and the PAF could learn a thing or two from them,” he added.



Additional equipment is needed, Tufail says, and there is a long list of items to be improved or acquired to bring security at Air Force airbases up to the level of the civil airports.


“Armored cars for patrols, manned watch towers, motion sensors, spotlights, fencing topped with razor wire, and of course, trained guards — these are some of the essential measures that ought to be in place at PAF bases,” he said.


“The civil airports have had these measures in place for decades. Unfortunately, these were lacking at PAF bases in the past, and have been implemented only recently. It was simply a case of oversight of a very important issue, and a heavy price was paid for the neglect,” he added.


Cloughley highlights a more military-specific issue.


“They could ask for surveillance balloons,” he said. There are “plenty of them left over by US and British forces in Afghanistan. But I imagine they’re too high-tech to be given to Pakistan. They are undoubtedly the best means of detecting approaches by enemy.”


However, such systems are complicated.


“Balloons are not a total solution, of course. They work in conjunction with ground radars and other electronic detection devices, and, of course, physical patrolling. It can be done most effectively, given good organization, but there’s a great deal of expense in hardware and manpower,” he said.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Two C-130Js Delivered to Korea



MARIETTA, Ga., April 1, 2014 –  Lockheed Martin


Two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft operated by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) ferried from the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] facility here today to South Korea.

ROKAF accepted delivery of these two aircraft last week at a ceremony in Marietta, home to the C-130J Super Hercules production line. These Super Hercs will be flown by ROKAF aircrews, which currently operate a fleet of C-130H legacy aircraft.

The ROKAF’s new Super Hercules is the longer fuselage or “stretched” combat delivery variant. Lockheed Martin is also contracted to provide a two-year support program to the ROKAF, including C-130J aircrew and maintenance training.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Japan lifts own blanket arms export ban



April 2nd, 2014 defencetalk.com (AFP)


Japan on Tuesday lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports, introducing new rules covering the arms trade in a move supporters say will boost Tokyo’s global role, but which unnerved China.


The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a new plan that replaces the 1967 blanket ban, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.


Under the policy, arms sales are banned to conflict-plagued countries or nations that could undermine international peace and security, the sales must contribute to international peace and boost officially pacifist Japan’s security.


“Under the new principles, we have made the procedure for transfer of defence equipment more transparent. That will contribute to peace and international cooperation from the standpoint of proactive pacifism,” Suga said.


“And we will participate in joint development and production of defence equipment,” he said.


Japan’s post-World War II constitution, imposed by the US-led occupiers, banned the country from waging war.


That pacifism was embraced by the population at large and two decades later a weapons export ban was introduced.


Supporters hope the relaxation in the policy will boost home-grown arms manufacturers at a time of simmering regional tensions including a territorial row with China and fears over an unpredictable North Korea.


The new rules could allow Tokyo to supply weaponry to nations that sit along important sea lanes to help them fight piracy — an important strategic consideration for resource-poor Japan.


Japanese arms could potentially be shipped to Indonesia as well as nations around the South China Sea — through which fossil fuels pass — such as the Philippines, which has a territorial dispute with Beijing.


Japan already supplies equipment to the Philippines’ coastguard, an organization that is increasingly on the front line in the row with Beijing.


Any move to bolster that support with more outright weapon supplies could irk China, which regularly accuses Abe of trying to re-militarize his country.


On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing was paying close attention to the relaxation of Tokyo’s arms ban.


“The policy changes of Japan in military and security areas concern the security environment and strategic stability of the whole region,” he said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.


“Due to historical reasons, Japan’s security policies are always closely followed by regional countries and the international community.”


China and Japan are at loggerheads over the ownership of a string of islands in the East China Sea, while Beijing is also in dispute with several nations over territory in the South China Sea, which it claims almost in its entirety.


The Tokyo-Beijing diplomatic relationship has long been marred by Japan’s expansionist romp across Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Crimea and South China Sea Diplomacy


April 01, 2014 By Sophie Boisseau du Rocher & Bruno Hellendorff – The Diplomat


Russia’s big move shows both the limits and importance of diplomacy in territorial disputes.


On March 18, China and ASEAN gathered in Singapore to pursue consultations on a Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea, alongside talks on the implementation of the Declaration of Conduct (DOC). The gathering came at a time of rising preoccupation over a perceived creeping assertiveness by China in pursuing its maritime claims. Just one week before, Manila and Beijing experienced another diplomatic row, after Chinese Coast Guard vessels barred the resupply of Philippine marines based in the Spratly Islands.

In broader terms, several high-profile developments have hinted that China is becoming more inclined to consider the threat and use of force as its preferred vehicle for influence in the South China Sea. China’s considerable maritime build-up has been accompanied by the merging of its maritime agencies into a unified Coast Guard unit, the publication of maps with a 10-dash line covering Chinese claims in the South China Sea, and even the announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, covering the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. All have contributed to turning the South China Sea into “Asia’s cauldron,” as one renowned expert titled his last book. A widely circulated photograph picturing Chinese sailors forming the slogan “The Chinese dream, the dream of a strong military” on the deck of the Liaoning did nothing to help mitigate nervousness over Chinese aims and strategy in the region.

The timing of these China-ASEAN discussions coincided with rising tensions in Eastern Europe around the fate of Crimea. In recent days, neither international law nor European pressure have proved of much value in the face of Russian resolve. Illegal in many respects, the Crimean referendum was still deemed valid in Moscow, which subsequently annexed the region. The Ukrainian military bases in Crimea were rapidly overwhelmed by pro-Russian forces as the last vestiges of political control from Kiev were swept aside, making a return to status quo ante increasingly remote. Russia clearly has the upper hand in Crimea. It successfully promoted its interests through a combination of intimidation and crawling assertiveness while answering European and American criticisms by pointing to Western interventions in Kosovo and Libya. The larger consequences of this strategy for Euro-Russian relations and stability in Eastern Europe remain unclear. However, this demonstration of how, in certain situations, force prevails over diplomacy, a notion long fought by the European Union, has opened a new Pandora’s box.

Certainly, Russia’s bid to bend international norms in its favor through the use of force, and Western reactions to it are being watched with great interest, and probably some trepidation, in Beijing and Southeast Asia. Whether the Crimea issue will have influence in Southeast Asia, in the context of competing territorial claims, is far from clear. However, the Crimean and South China Sea issues have several elements in common. One of the most prominent is the complexity of managing—let alone solving—territorial disputes, especially when dealing with an evolving power. Another is that both cases stress the necessity but limited efficacy of diplomacy.

Confronted with a complex and contradictory China, Southeast Asian countries may derive a sense of urgency from developments in the Crimea. For ASEAN and its members, the crucial question may well be whether they can succeed in convincing China of the long-term benefits of diplomacy over force and fait accompli. It may well be ASEAN’s last chance: Negotiations began 22 years ago, in 1992, and have yet to produce convincing results for either party. If the 2002 Declaration reaffirmed a commitment to international law and freedom of navigation, there has been obvious evidence of unilateralism by certain parties, be they the Filipino government, the Chinese military or even the Hainan authorities. The case may be pressed further in light of the Crimea events: should a Code of Conduct be effectively agreed, with—as China made clear—no deadline for its actual implementation, will it suffice to curtail national frustration from any party, limit tensions and therefore avoid escalation?

Diplomacy is important. It is the channel through which the different stakeholders can showcase and explain their diverging perceptions and interests, communicate, negotiate, and ultimately create a path to de-escalation and stabilization for future common benefit. But it could also prove limited in that it is largely dependent on power configurations and functions under a series of conventions and norms that can either facilitate or constrain discussions. In the Crimean and South China Sea cases, diplomacy is largely, yet not exclusively, undertaken under the particular framework of one international institution (the EU or ASEAN) engaging one great power (Russia or China). Facilitating discussions is the fact that in both situations, stakeholders are connected through a series of strong economic, political and institutional interests. The bad news is that these networks of interests look rather fragile when history becomes a self-asserted, and emotional, argument. Moreover, internal divisions within both the EU and ASEAN have the consequence of blurring the common vision that their members may seek to promote, weakening their negotiating position and constraining the options available to their diplomats. In both cases, the basic worry for the EU and ASEAN alike is to come up with a compelling response to political and military resolve, with international law and negotiations offering little assistance.

The Singapore round of consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea produced no notable progress. That is not much of a surprise to experts already of the opinion that the very process is merely cosmetic and deserving of little attention, arguing that China will not give way on what it considers its national and sovereign territory. Other authors have explained that Chinese diplomats are content with the DoC, and will not push for quick progress on a CoC as the latter would inevitably hurt the national interest. Such speculation and doubt over the scope and effectiveness of the negotiations did not alter ASEAN’s official line: sanctions do not help; consultations are always better. Will the future prove that correct? It appears that ASEAN’s bet is to prove that China sees an interest in these talks and would gain in following certain rules not just in terms of image and status but also in promoting its views and “dream” through an ASEAN platform.

Before the recent events in Crimea, ASEAN’s diplomacy was considered adequate by most stakeholders—with the possible exception of the Philippines, which nonetheless ceaselessly appealed to the bloc for help. All claimant countries and their neighbors found an interest in pursuing dual-track negotiations with China, bilateral and multilateral, the latter stage mainly serving, via ASEAN, communication purposes. But now may be the time to consider adding more substance to the discussions, and more glue to the Southeast Asian claimants.

The Crimea is far from the South China Sea, and the two contexts certainly differ in many respects. But Russia’s bold move has shown that resorting to international law to contain a great power’s resolve is not always effective. Even in Moscow, few would disagree, pointing to the invasion of Libya or that of Iraq as counterexamples. Whether the events of the Crimea provide lessons to Chinese and ASEAN diplomats is unknown, but they have made a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea an urgent diplomatic imperative. Success would showcase China’s “peaceful rise” as it would ASEAN’s diplomatic capacity. The efforts of both partners to create stability and security would also be welcome news to a heavily challenged international community.


* Bruno Hellendorff is a Research Fellow and Dr. Sophie Boisseau du Rocher is an Associate Researcher at the Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security, Brussels.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
The Iranian UAV Industry is Booming


15/3/2014 Tal Inbar - IsraelDefense


The tendency to regard reports of modern Iranian-made weapon systems as "merely a whim and PR spectacle" notwithstanding, the Iranian UAV industry succeeds in developing vehicles that are worthy of more serious consideration.


Observers of formal Iranian reports dealing with the development of various weapon systems have been familiar, for years now, with the ritual where various weapons are presented to senior officials, normally in the presence of the Iranian Defense Minister, who has the honor of unveiling “the world’s best and most advanced” weapon systems, as they are normally introduced. Knowledgeable authorities in the field of ordnance, platforms and weapon systems, upon carefully examining the images distributed by the various Iranian news agencies, often find themselves chuckling in the face of non-operational systems.

Do the armed forces of Iran rely on weapon systems made of fiberglass and sheet-metal? Apparently, various journalistic sources (worldwide as well as in Israel) tend to dismiss the Iranian presentations as a capricious whim of the Iranian regime or as a spectacle put on for the benefit of the masses of the Iranian people, who are not fully familiar with the intricacies and secrets of the trade.

Over the years, we have become accustomed to seeing tanks mobilized on trailers, old missiles repainted over and over again, and various other outdated items or mock-ups. It would seem, however, that with regard to very few categories, the Iranian presentations are not misrepresentations. This applies, for example, to Iran’s heavy missiles and satellite launchers. Recently, another category of Iranian products has joined the realm of “real stuff” rather than just a spectacle – Unmanned Airborne Vehicles.

In July 2006, during the second Lebanon war, UAVs operated by Hezbollah in Lebanon entered Israel’s airspace. These UAVs, shot down over Israeli territory, were identified by the media as Ababil (“swallow”) UAVs and their technical quality was rather poor. Over the years, Iran presented an extensive range of UAVs at exhibitions, military exercises and through various official publications.

Some of the Iranian developments make one wonder. One example that comes to mind is the Unmanned Combat Airborne Vehicle designated Karrar (“striker”): this turbojet UAV carries unguided GP bombs but does not have even a rudimentary surveillance system. Another example was the public introduction of a UAV fitted with an oversized canopy designed to accommodate a satellite communication system (like similar western vehicles) – while Iran has no communication satellites of its own, and relying on commercial communication satellites for communicating with an operational vehicle of this type appears questionable at best. Many of the experts who evaluated the Iranian capabilities in the field of UAVs tended to remain unimpressed. Apparently, however, the Iranian manufacturing capabilities in the field of UAVs have undergone a substantial change recently, and some of the vehicles unveiled by the Islamic Republic seem fairly advanced, although they tend to resemble western vehicles generally and Israel-made UAVs in particular.

Iran’s latest developments in the field of UAVs are based in part on direct copying of foreign UAVs that had crashed in Iranian territory and were subsequently salvaged, as in the case of the small, tactical ScanEagle UAV built by Boeing (through its subsidiary Insitu), which evolved in Iran into the Yassir UAV. An analysis of various images and video clips distributed by the Iranians has shown that an Iranian facility manufactures copies of the original UAV, and many dozens of UAVs were seen at the facility in various assembly stages. A close examination of the materials released by Iran revealed that the actual building of the Iranian UAV conforms to much higher quality standards than the cruder and more familiar UAVs, including those employed in the skies over Syria – a fact that signifies an improvement in the work and assembly procedures of aerial platforms made from composite materials. One bit of information that has not been clarified until now involves the source supplying the engines for these UAVs – that and the quality characteristics of the payload. It may be assumed, with a high degree of probability, that external resemblance, regardless of how high the quality of the copying has been, cannot necessarily indicate equally high quality standards of the avionics and surveillance systems. This UAV has two configurations that differ in their tail sections.

In October 2013, a Yassir UAV was presented to a Russian military delegation visiting Tehran as a gesture of goodwill, and possibly as an act of defiance toward the USA. In November 2013, clips filmed in Syria began to crop up on the web, showing an airborne Yassir UAV in the service of the Assad regime. Photographs of such vehicles that had crashed or were shot down and subsequently presented to the media by rebel organizations indicate with certainty that the vehicle in question is the Iranian-made UAV. Another interesting UAV presented by Iran is the Shahed-129 (“eye witness”) UAV, defined as a Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) UAV. This UAV was introduced to the world in 2012, and resembles the Elbit System Hermes-450 UAV made in Israel. The vehicle was unveiled initially through a series of rather blurred clips, with no breakdown of its capabilities. In September 2013, during the visit of senior Iranian officials at the plant that manufactures this UAV, additional information was made available. Of particular interest was the fact that this UAV is armed. The ordnance it carries looks like TOW antitank missiles, probably with a laser guidance head. The configuration in which the missiles were presented – carried under the wings of the UAV – was a departure from standard operational installation (which requires canisters), but it was obvious that the two armament suspension points under the wings of the UAV carried four missiles. Photographs enable a close examination of the payload carried by this UAV, which appears to be an industry standard product containing a stabilized camera with day and night channels, and possibly also a system for guiding precision guided munitions. A relatively advanced airborne vehicle, possessing a reasonable carrying capacity and an endurance of twenty hours or more constitutes a major breakthrough as far as Iran’s UAV capabilities are concerned. The operational implication for Israel is fairly obvious and presents a challenge to the Israeli air defense systems. Penetration by a single UAV from Lebanon during peacetime, against which IAF fighters may be scrambled to engage and shoot down the enemy UAV is not the same as the ‘trickling’ of numerous vehicles during an all-out confrontation, during which massive amounts of rockets are also launched into Israel. The status picture of the sky that Israel should assemble, as well as the advance identification required, present complex challenges. It should be stressed, however, that the damage sustained by the State of Israel thus far as a result of penetrating enemy UAVs was mainly a damage to morale, and the Israeli public perceives such incidents as serious and even as “failures”.

The latest innovation presented by Iran, for now (November 2013), is the Fotros UAV, defined by Iranian spokesmen as a “strategic” vehicle. It is a large UAV with a central fuselage and twin-boom configuration and a wingspan of about 15 meters. Its endurance is up to 30 hours, its official service ceiling is up to 25,000 feet and its range is 2,000 kilometers. If these performance characteristics, officially presented by Iran, are reliable, then for the first time, Iran possesses an indigenous UAV capable of flying from Iran to Israel. The UAV was presented in an armed configuration, carrying missiles that resemble the US-made AGM-114 Hellfire antitank missiles. It is unknown whether Iran actually possesses real missiles of the type described above. The resemblance between the Iranian Fotros UAV and the IAI Heron UAV made in Israel was clearly visible, and there is no doubt that the Iranian engineers were “inspired” by the Israeli UAV. One should not rule out the possibility that in their configuration selection considerations the Iranians did not just want to rely on successful and proven designs, but also attempted to reach a high degree of visual resemblance that would make it difficult to identify their UAVs as hostile, thereby improving their survivability should they be employed over Israel. In conclusion, it appears that the Iranian UAV industry has undergone a substantial transformation in recent years, as it currently presents products that are more advanced than those presented in the past. The UAVs we currently see in Iran are employed, in part, in various areas of conflict (Syria, Sudan) and are also being delivered to Hezbollah.

The Israeli defense establishment should pay heed and prepare to deal with these threats well in advance. 


The writer is the head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
Israel's first C-130J set for delivery on 9 April



31 Mar 2014 By: Arie Egozi - FG


Tel Aviv - The Israeli air force's first Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transport will arrive on 9 April, with preparations at Nevatim air base now complete.


The delivery of the first C-130J "Samson" is a major milestone in the reorganisation of the air force's Hercules squadrons. This will culminate with the operational consolidation of its two existing units, with the "Elephants" squadron to be absorbed into the "Knights of the yellow bird". The former will operate the new C-130Js, while the latter mainly uses upgraded H-model examples.


In June 2013 Lockheed delivered the first of four on-order C-130Js to Israel at its Marietta site in Georgia, ahead of the airframer supporting training activities in the USA. The remaining three transports will be delivered towards the end of this year and in early 2015.


The Israeli air force has also made a formal proposal for an additional two aircraft, and sources say a contract is in the final stages of processing.


Israel's new-generation Hercules have a cockpit configured for three crew members, similar to that used by US special forces. They will also be modified post-delivery to carry some Israeli-produced systems.


Flightglobal's Ascend Online advisory service shows the Israeli air force as having a current active fleet of 16 Hercules, comprising 12 C-130Hs and four C-130Es. The latter are being phased out, while the H-model fleet is receiving structural treatment to extend their use.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
Turkey Risks Delays in Turning To Local Air Defense Option



Mar. 31, 2014 - By BURAK EGE BEKDIL  - Defense News


ANKARA — Turkish officials, increasingly wary of a controversial decision in September to select a Chinese company to construct the country’s first long-range air defense system, might consider a more time-consuming but entirely local option for the program.


A senior procurement official said he could not rule out the possibility.


“I think Aselsan has the essential capabilities for [the long-range air and anti-missile system]. This may be a challenge, but not something unattainable,” the official said.


Government-controlled military specialist Aselsan is Turkey’s biggest defense company.


But a second procurement official was more skeptical.


“A preliminary study ... says that it may take no less than 14 years for Aselsan to deliver the system,” he said. “And that’s an optimistic guess.”


An Aselsan official, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted that his firm would be keen to set out for the job. “An altogether local solution would earn Turkey extremely strategic capabilities it may need for future programs in air defense.”


As for the risk of belated deliveries, he said: “Our development and production efforts may not come sooner than existing foreign options, but there are no guarantees any foreign option will not produce unexpected delays, either.”


Both the government and Aselsan have come under pressure from NATO allies to rethink a September decision to award the US $3.44 billion air defense contract to China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. (CPMIEC).


Turkey’s Western allies have said if Turkey finalizes the deal with the Chinese manufacturer, its entire defense cooperation with Western counterparts, including defense and non-defense companies, could be jeopardized.


The Chinese contender defeated a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defense system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the Aster 30.


Turkish officials said if contract negotiations with CPMIEC fail, talks would be opened with the second-place finisher, Eurosam. Next in line would be the US bidder. The Russian option was eliminated.


This year, the Turkish government asked the European and US contenders to make new bids by April 30.


The Turkish program consists of a radar system, launcher and interceptor missiles. It has been designed to counter enemy aircraft and missiles. Turkey has no long-range air defense systems.


About half of Turkey’s network-based air defense picture has been paid for by NATO. The country is part of NATO’s Air Defense Ground Environment. Without NATO’s consent, it will be impossible for Turkey to make the planned Chinese system operable with these assets, some analysts say.


But NATO and US officials have said any China-built system could not be integrated with Turkey’s joint air defense assets with NATO and the United States. They also have warned that any Turkish company that acts as a local subcontractor in the program would face serious US sanctions because CPMIEC is on a US list of companies to be sanctioned under the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.


In December, Aselsan, potentially CPMIEC’s main Turkish partner in the contract, became the first casualty of US sanctions when Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a US investment firm, pulled out of a joint bid to advise Aselsan on the company’s second listing on Istanbul’s stock exchange, citing Turkey’s contract talks with CPMIEC.


Further talks with two other international banks, Barclays and Goldman Sachs, also have failed. Another Aselsan official said the second listing was not “on hold.”


Both procurement officials said the government is interested in further assessing whether a solution based on Aselsan’s local work would be a good idea. But such a decision would come from the top government levels, and it would await political calm after elections.


Turkey’s embattled government, fighting a series of scandals over fraud and undemocratic practices in the country’s judiciary system, is facing a strong challenge from opposition parties in local elections. Observers agree the polls would be a confidence vote on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, and that the results may force early parliamentary elections this year.


A Feb. 25 meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Committee, which is chaired by Erdogan and oversees top procurement decisions, was indefinitely put off due to political turmoil.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
Liban : Relève DAMAN achevée


01/04/2014 Sources : EMA


Le 27 mars 2014, tous les éléments du mandat XXI de la Force Commander Reserve (FCR) de l’opération DAMAN, nom de la participation française à la Force Intérimaire des Nations Unies au Liban (FINUL), ont rejoint le camp de Dayr Kifa, situé à environ 100 km de Beyrouth.


Les militaires de la FCR du mandat XXI ont passé quelques jours avec leurs prédécesseurs sur le théâtre libanais afin de prendre en compte l’environnement de la mission, le matériel et les différentes consignes (sécurité, maintenance…). Cette relève effectuée dans d’excellentes conditions entre le régiment d’infanterie chars de Marine (RICM) et le 501e régiment de chars de combat (501e RCC) permet au mandat XXI d’être pleinement opérationnel pour les six prochains mois.


Le contingent français au Liban est d’environ 900 militaires. Les unités de combat composant la FCR DAMAN XXI, sont principalement issues des régiments de la 2e brigade blindée (501e RCC, 16e bataillon de chasseurs et 13e  régiment du génie), renforcées par les artilleurs du 1er régiment d’artillerie et du 93e régiment d’artillerie de montagne, ainsi que par le 121e régiment du train. Le soutien de l’ensemble des forces françaises au Liban est assuré principalement par le régiment de soutien du combattant, le 8e régiment de matériel et par une quarantaine de personnel d’unités diverses composant le soutien national France (SNF).


La France est l’un des principaux pays contributeurs à la FINUL. Les militaires français présents au Liban sont déployés dans le cadre de l’opération DAMAN, contribution de la France à cette mission de l’ONU. Ils agissent particulièrement au sein de la « Force Commander Reserve » (FCR). Ce détachement confère au Force Commander des capacités de surveillance terrestre et aérienne, de dissuasion et de réaction. Robuste, souple, réactive, elle constitue une véritable force décisive au service de la paix au Sud Liban. Parallèlement, la FCR entretient une coopération étroite avec les forces armées libanaises, tant lors de patrouilles communes que lors d’entraînements conjoints.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
Lebanese Report: IDF Operates UGCV on the Border


31/3/2014 Or Heller - israeldefense.com


Lebanese news agency reports that the IDF operates an Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle (UGCV) patrolling along the northern border with Lebanon. Its purpose is to locate demolition charges and holes along the fence


Lebanese news agency reported a military robot moving along the barbed wire fence of Kfar Kila, along with combat aircraft. This is the first time that the IDF operates an UGCV along the fence on the northern border.


According to the report, this is an Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle which operates as well on the Gaza border. It can carry cameras, sensors, speakers and it can be equipped with weapon emplacements. Its purpose is to locate demolition charges and holes along the fence.


The vehicle is built on a platform of four-wheel vehicles, and is operated by the IDF's operations room near the border fence.


As stated, the project began around the Gaza Strip, and now, apparently, is extended to the northern border of Israel, apparently due to the deterioration of the security situation following the continued civil war in Syria

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
Naval Exercise for Israel - USA – Greece



31/3/2014 Ami Rojkes Dombe & Or Heller - israeldefense.com


In the drill, named "Noble Dina 2014", various types of missions will be exercised, including search and rescue missions, sea maneuvering, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), coordinated command-and-control missions


Israeli, Greek and US military personnel met in Crete last week to kick off "Noble Dina 2014", a two-week, trilateral exercise in the Mediterranean Sea.This is the fourth annual exercise conducted by the three countries, and will involve hundreds of military personnel deployed on advanced surface ships, air assets and submarines, according to a report on DefenseNews website.


In addition to search and rescue, sea maneuvering, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and coordinated command-and- control missions, which have been practiced in previous years, Noble Dina 2014 will feature undersea divers and other specialists deployed for joint port protection. The Israel Navy’s Snapir Unit, a relatively new and highly specialized force trained for persistent surface and underwater port security, will support the newest element of the drill scheduled for later this week at a Cretan port.


“This is something new that reflects common, critically important operational requirements,” said Rear Adm. Yaron Levi, chief of staff of the Israel Navy. “It’s a long, complex and extremely substantive exercise aimed at enhancing the already significant coordination and interoperability among the three navies,” Levi said. Levy insisted that despite widespread perceptions, Noble Dina is not a replacement for Reliant Mermaid, a trilateral exercise that Israel had conducted for 10 years with the US and Turkey. The Israeli ORBAT includes a Dolphin-class submarine, a Sa’ar-5 Corvette-class ship, two Sa’ar 4.5 missile boats and ASW capabilities in addition to the Snapir Unit.


Or Heller reports that until the year 2009 the navies of Israel and the United States have conducted exercises with the Turkish Navy, but the cooperation between Israel and Turkey was suspended in the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident. "Since the incident, Israel has intensified its security relations with Greece and Cyprus, which are considered rivals of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean," Heller reported. "The Navy emphasized that while the exercise with Turkey was in the form of a search and rescue exercise, the exercise with Greece and the United States simulates marine combat within a coalition."

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
Rafale photo S. Fort - Dassault Aviation

Rafale photo S. Fort - Dassault Aviation


31 March 2014 By Salman Siddiqui - gulf-times.com


The “omnirole” fighter jet Rafale can “easily” meet all the requirements of Qatar’s defence needs for the present and the future, a top Dassault Aviation (DA) official said recently.


Benoît Dussaugey, DA’s senior executive vice-president (international), told Gulf Times that the French company was in the race to win the multi-billion dollar contract for new fighter jets for Qatar’s Emiri Air Force and was “very confident” of its chances given the “excellent capability” of its aircraft.


“The final decision, of course, is with the Qatari authorities and we are sure that they will choose the best aircraft,” he said.


Dussaugey spoke to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the recently held mega defence exhibition, Dimdex 2014.


The Rafale is in competition with other major fighter aircraft, including the Euro fighter Typhoon backed strongly by the British via BAE Systems and American conglomerate Boeing that was reportedly offering the Super Hornet F-18 and F-15 Strike Eagle.


When asked about the reason for his confidence given that the French company’s jet hasn’t had a major sale in the region yet, Dussaugey said the whole world acknowledges the high performance of Rafale. He also pointed out that while it was true Saudi Arabia went ahead with its Typhoon jet deal, the UAE had backed out of it.


A top BAE System official had told Gulf Times earlier that the Typhoon deal had not gone through in the UAE because of the country’s “budgetary” constraints and had nothing to do with their aircraft’s capability. Dussaugey admitted with a laugh that “we were very happy” when the Typhoon deal did not materialise in the UAE.


The French official said his company was still a big contender in the Middle East market and was looking to bag contracts not only in Qatar, but also other countries such as Bahrain .


Also, France is the only country apart from the US that is able to deploy a large aircraft carrier in the region.


According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, recent years have seen a growing French naval presence in the region, led principally by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. At Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, France has opened a new naval base, where Charles de Gaulle in 2010 was one of the first French navy ships to visit.


The aircraft carrier comprises 10 Rafale M and 10 Super Etendard fighter aircraft, as well as two airborne early-warning and control E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, the weekly added.


When asked to comment on the performance of Rafale in the UAE,  the official said: “The Rafale has performed perfectly well in the UAE and we didn’t even need to modify our aircraft in anyway to suit the extremely hot weather conditions of the region.”


He also highlighted the jet’s past military engagements, including in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2011, Libya in 2011 and Mali in 2013.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:25
IMI and Chile Jointly Present: Rocket Launcher Vehicle


27/3/2014 Amir Rapaport, Chile - israeldefense.com


Israeli-Chilean cooperation at FIDAE 2014: IMI and its counterpart in Chile present a rocket launcher vehicle for the Accular and EXTRA rockets. Special Report from Chile


Famae Company, the Chilean equivalent of the Israeli Military Industries is cooperating with the IMI: the companies are presenting together, at FIDAE 2014 in Chile, a rocket launcher vehicle that allows carrying and shooting of precise rockets. The launcher is for the Accular and EXTRA rockets – the Accular has a range of 40 km and the EXTRA of 150 km.


The rocket launcher vehicle is made ​​by Chile and is versatile, while the precise rockets are manufactured by Israel Military Industries. The exhibition allows a rare glimpse of the EXTRA rocket.


According to Shai Haimovitz from IMI, Chile has adopted the Israeli method of multiple rocket launcher that is versatile. Using the vehicle and launchers, it is possible to carry four EXTRA rockets, and ten Accular rockets.


Rami Sokolower, Director of Marketing of IMI's Land Systems Division, says that there is an ongoing cooperation with the Chilean company, also regarding marketing an active defense system for armored vehicles - the "Iron Fist". Both companies are jointly presenting this system as well.


The FIDAE exhibition is one of the major defense exhibitions in South America. This year 13 Israeli companies are presenting at the exhibition, with the assistance of SIBAT. Hundreds of senior officials from around the world have already shown interest in Israeli products presented at the exhibition.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
Pentagon to organize drones in teams for sharing data, fighting together


Moscow Apr 01, 2014 Spacewar.com  (Voice of Russia)


The Pentagon's research unit is ready to launch a program that unites drones into teams allowing them to share data and act together on a battlefield while being operated by one human. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced that the Proposers' Day for its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environments (CODE) program will be held on April 11. CODE's goal is to unite "autonomy and inter-platform collaboration" of unmanned aerial vehicles.

DARPA intends to develop four "critical technology areas" for its future drones: single-drone flight autonomy; a human-systems interface that allows a "mission commander" to operate a drone fleet; drone-team collaboration; and an "open architecture" that allows drones to pass information between each other and humans.

According to DARPA, the CODE project will prepare today's relatively primitive drones for future conflicts, which will be characterized by "a higher level of threats, contested electromagnetic spectrum, and re-locatable targets." DARPA believes that in future, drone technology will be more widespread, and enemies will be more ready to counteract.

It was recently reported that DARPA is also doubling funding for its Hydra program, which develops underwater drones. Some of DARPA's other projects include inaudible military vehicles, the ATLAS robot, brain-reading technology and lasers to shoot down multiple enemy drones.


Smartphone-controlled drones to support US troops in combat zones
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes to work with contractors to develop smartphone-controlled drones for US Army ground troops to use to stay better protected while out in the field.

"Many missions require dedicated vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) assets, but most ground units don't have their own helicopters," said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, in a press statement. "ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units. Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success."

The ARES is in its third and final phase, with Lockheed Martin currently taking the lead on DARPA's research.

There is increased interest in using smaller, field-deployable drones, so soldiers on the ground are able to do short-range reconnaissance - or to launch small-scale aerial assaults. Unlike civilian smartphone-controlled drones, DARPA is seeking technology able to carry up to 3,000 pounds, allowing for weapons and supply reinforcements as well.

Private sector companies and government contractors have already developed technologies for use by special forces, but ARES could be widely deployed.


DARPA's new search engine to crawl Deep Web, root out human trafficking and illicit business
A new kind of web search engine capable of ferreting out human trafficking operations and other illegal activities, hidden in the "deep Web" of the Internet, is expected to become reality in a few years as the US agency responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military is looking for a partner to create a project which may come in handy for law enforcement and military operations.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is the agency which works on the development of new military technologies such as robots, satellites and body armor. It is currently seeking ways to technologically index the "deep Web" of the Internet - forums, chat rooms and other semi-hidden parts of the Web - which are not scanned by the majority of search engines such as Google and Bing and where a substantial part of illicit business takes place.

The brand-new project was dubbed "Memex " which is a combination of the words "memory" and "index." The main objective of Memex is rooting out human trafficking operations, including labor and sex trafficking. The system is supposed to replace sites that have enabled software that currently prevents them from being "crawled" by today's search engines. According to DARPA, "an index curated for the counter trafficking domain, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis will enable a new opportunity for military, law enforcement, legal, and intelligence actions to be taken against trafficking enterprises."

Last year, Time magazine wrote about the "deep Web", emphasizing that it is an "electronic haven for thieves, child pornographers, human traffickers, forgers, assassins and peddlers of state secrets and loose nukes." The problem is that many of these sites hide in the less-monitored corners of the Internet and cannot be accessed with normal search engines as they require specific software programs.

Interestingly, the "deep Web" was crafted by the US government as a tool for espionage agents and law enforcement. However, over the past decade, it became widely used by people searching for privacy or ways to conduct illicit activities on the Internet secretly.

The Memex project was opened for proposals last week and companies can submit their final proposals until April 8.


Meet ARES: DARPA's newest transformer-style drones under development
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DAPRA, presented concept images of its scheme to pair up the US military with modular drones named Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES for short), capable of transforming to comply with the needs of different missions.

The ARES drone will be utilized as an unmanned vehicle that would be able to set military units down in dangerous environments. The UAV could also be used as a resupplying entity for troop deployments. If injured combatants need to be evacuated from an area, ARES can help facilitate such ventures.

The final variant of ARES has been shown off as a sort of drone that can buzz around air space but can also be connected to a variety of modules such as vehicles or special container units. It was created from a project called Transformer (TX) with the primary goal being to make "a ground vehicle that is capable of configuring into a VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] air vehicle that provides sufficient flight performance and range, while carrying a payload that is representative of four troops with gear."

"ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units," Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, said in a statement, "Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success." Design assistance and system integration techniques are being taken care of by Lockheed Martin Skunkworks, with ARES in its last stage.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
MV-22B Ospreys Photo by Capt. Lauren Schulz

MV-22B Ospreys Photo by Capt. Lauren Schulz


April 01, 2014 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Bucharest - Romania has approved an increase in American troops at its military airbase on the Black Sea as Washington continues to shift its main transit base for Afghanistan away from Kyrgyzstan, a report said Tuesday.


Romanian President Traian Basescu sent a letter to parliament approving the US request for 600 more troops at the Mihail Kogalniceanu airport in the southeast of the country, the Agerpres news agency said.


"The request... refers to the deployment of a unit of Marines called the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, with up to 600 soldiers and a number of military aircraft needed to fulfil specific missions," the letter said.


The US is due to abandon by July the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan that has been the main transit point for its military personnel and cargo in and out of Afghanistan, after the Kyrgyz government refused to extend the lease last year.


The Mihail Kogalniceanu base, where around 1,000 troops are currently stationed, is due to become the main transit point as the US prepares for a major withdrawal of forces and equipment from Afghanistan later this year.


The US inaugurated the new transit centre in February.


Between 20,000 and 30,000 troops are expected to transfer through the base on their way back from Afghanistan this year.

US increases troops at Afghan transit base in Romania
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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 22:45
Centrafrique: l’Union européenne lance enfin son opération militaire


1 avril 2014 par Nicolas Laffont

Après des mois de tergiversations, l’Union européenne s’est décidée a enfin lancée son opération militaire en Centrafrique, alors que le pays connaît un regain de violence.


Dans un communiqué, le Conseil européen indique avoir lancé «une opération militaire en République centrafricaine afin de contribuer à la création d’un environnement sécurisé dans ce pays» plongé dans les tueries interreligieuses.

«La force comprendra jusqu’à 1.000 soldats, dirigés par le général de division (français) Philippe Pontiès», a précisé le Conseil, qui représente les Etats membres.

Le feu vert à la mission a été rendu possible grâce aux contributions de dernière minute de l’Italie, qui a offert des véhicules et une quarantaine d’hommes, ainsi que de l’Allemagne et du Royaume-Uni, qui ont mis à disposition des avions de transport de troupes.

L’Espagne, avec 90 hommes, et la Suède avec également des transporteurs, ont aussi renforcé les sept pays de départ (France, Estonie, Lettonie, Espagne, Pologne, Portugal et Géorgie).

Le Conseil européen estime que les coûts communs de l’opération sont estimés à près de 26 millions d’euros (45 millions $) pour la phase préparatoire et que le mandat peut aller jusqu’à six mois à compter de la date à laquelle la force aura atteint sa pleine capacité opérationnelle.

Le déploiement complet de la mission EUFOR-RCA, destinée à sécuriser l’aéroport et certains quartiers de Bangui, prendra cependant plusieurs semaines.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 22:40
L'OTAN suspend sa coopération civile et militaire avec la Russie

01.04.2014  Romandie.com (ats)


L'OTAN a décidé mardi la suspension de "toute forme concrète de coopération civile et militaire" avec la Russie. Cette décision fait suite à l'annexion par Moscou de la république autonome ukrainienne de Crimée. L'Alliance atlantique a réaffirmé son soutien à Kiev, soumis à de nouvelles pressions économiques de Moscou.

La décision de suspendre la coopération a été annoncée par les 28 ministres des Affaires étrangères de l'Alliance atlantique réunis à Bruxelles. Dans un communiqué, ils appellent la Russie "à prendre immédiatement des mesures (...) pour se mettre à nouveau en conformité avec le droit international".

"En même temps, nous laissons nos canaux diplomatiques ouverts", a précisé le secrétaire général de l'OTAN, Anders Fogh Rasmussen au cours d'une conférence de presse.

L'OTAN doute également du retrait partiel de troupes russes à la frontière ukrainienne, annoncé la veille par le Kremlin. Mais la chancelière allemande, Angela Merkel, a affirmé ne pas avoir de raison de douter des assurances que lui a données le président russe Vladimir Poutine sur le début d'un retrait.


Ne pas mettre de l'huile sur le feu

Réunis autour de l'Américain John Kerry, les chefs de la diplomatie cherchaient tout à la fois à rassurer les pays alliés voisins de la Russie, à renforcer la coopération avec l'Ukraine et à sanctionner Moscou, sans pour autant "mettre de l'huile sur le feu".

Certains pays de l'Est membres de l'OTAN, Pologne en tête, souhaiteraient une plus grande présence de l'Alliance, sous la forme de bases permanentes.

Mais les grands pays d'Europe de l'Ouest préfèrent s'en tenir pour l'instant aux mesures prises début mars, à savoir le déploiement temporaire d'avions-radars Awacs de l'OTAN et d'appareils F-15 et F-16 des Etats-Unis en Lituanie et en Pologne.


Moscou augmente le prix du gaz

La Russie continue par ailleurs à utiliser l'arme économique pour faire plier l'Ukraine. Le patron du géant russe Gazprom, Alexeï Miller, a annoncé mardi mettre fin au rabais accordé en décembre à Kiev en échange de son renoncement à un accord avec l'Union européenne. Cette mesure va augmenter le prix du gaz de plus d'un tiers, à 385,5 dollars les 1000 mètres cubes.


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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 21:45
Piraterie : Rencontre entre les autorités du Somaliland et les missions européennes EUCAP Nestor et Atalante


01/04/2014 Sources : EMA


Le 26 mars 2014, au large de Bosaso, port principal du Puntland situé au nord-est de la Somalie, le transport de chalands de débarquement (TCD) Siroco, déployé dans le cadre de l’opération européenne de lutte contre la piraterie Atalante, a accueilli à son bord la première rencontre entre le Président du Puntland, M. Abdiweli A. Gaas et plusieurs autorités européennes.


Cette rencontre, organisée conjointement par les missions européennes Atalante et EUCAP Nestor, s’inscrit dans le cadre de l’approche globale menée par l’Union Européenne afin de soutenir les pays de la Corne de l’Afrique dans le renforcement de leurs capacités maritimes.


Les discussions ont porté plus particulièrement sur les moyens et les outils que l’Union Européenne est en mesure d’apporter en soutien du rôle joué par le Puntland pour développer une stratégie de sécurité maritime. La question de la gestion des ressources pour l’ensemble de la Somalie a également été abordée.

Le président du Puntland a souhaité souligner l’importance de cette journée, qui vise à mettre en place un plan de coopération propre à restaurer une sécurité maritime porteuse de développement économique général pour l’ensemble de la Somalie.


L’envoyé spécial de l’Union Européenne pour la Somalie, SE Michele Cervone D’Urso a  salué l’importance de cette rencontre historique à plus d’un titre : « Le rôle majeur joué par le Puntland dans le cheminement de la Somalie vers la stabilité et la paix est crucial pour le développement du pays, mais également pour sa sécurité incluant la sécurité maritime. C’est ensemble avec la Force Atalante, la mission civile de l’Union Européenne EUCAP Nestor, l’Union Européenne et tous nos partenaires internationaux que nous poursuivons notre engagement commun aux côtés des Somaliens pour développer leur capacité à renforcer  la sécurité maritime. Cette oeuvre commune leur permettra de retrouver des eaux plus sûres, et retirer ainsi les légitimes bénéfices de leurs nombreuses ressources maritimes. »


Ces entretiens menés au large de la côte puntlandaise, ont exigé une organisation minutieuse  et souple à la fois, Ils ont été rendus possible grâce à l’appui des moyens de la force Atalante.


Allié aux capacités amphibies des deux chalands de transport embarqués et aux équipes de la brigade protection du Siroco, cet ensemble de moyens, sous la coordination de l’état-major Atalante a fait de cette mission de sécurisation une réussite diplomatique pour l’Union Européenne.


Lancée par l’Union européenne en 2012, la mission civile EUCAP Nestor a pour but d’assister et de conseiller l’ensemble des pays de la région sur des problématiques juridiques, stratégiques et opérationnelles en matière de piraterie.


Depuis le 6 décembre 2013, la France a le commandement de la Task Force (TF) 465, force maritime européenne engagée dans l'opération de lutte contre la piraterie Atalante. La France participe à l’opération Atalante avec le déploiement quasi-permanent d’au moins une frégate de la marine nationale. Le dispositif peut être renforcé ponctuellement par un avion de patrouille maritime Atlantique 2 (ATL 2), de surveillance maritime Falcon 50, ou par un avion de commandement et de détection E3F.

Piraterie : Rencontre entre les autorités du Somaliland et les missions européennes EUCAP Nestor et Atalante
Piraterie : Rencontre entre les autorités du Somaliland et les missions européennes EUCAP Nestor et AtalantePiraterie : Rencontre entre les autorités du Somaliland et les missions européennes EUCAP Nestor et Atalante
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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 21:40
Note de recherche stratégique n°6 - La crise ukrainienne vue par les chercheurs

01/04/2014   IRSEM


Numéro 6 - mars 2014
La crise ukrainienne vue par les chercheurs, dossier rassemblé par Frédéric Charillon


Auteurs : Dominique David, Anne de Tinguy, Jean-Christophe Romer, Alexandra Goujon, Florent Parmentier, Sophie Lambroschini, Cyrille Bret


Pour éclairer la situation ukrainienne (au 25 mars 2014), l'IRSEM rassemble une première série de contributions synthétiques proposées par des universitaires spécialistes de la zone. Par souci de réactivité, les auteurs ont pris de leur temps pour accepter les délais particulièrement courts de cet exercice.


Lire la suite (pdf - 553 ko)

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