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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 21:35
North Korea Sending Message To US With Missile Barrage


Apr. 1, 2014 - By DONNA LEINWAND LEGER – Defense News


A barrage of artillery fire between North and South Korea across disputed maritime borders on Monday marked an annual show of force by North Korea intent on sending a message to the US as it conducts military exercises nearby.


North Korea's missile launches into the Yellow (West) Sea followed by a threat of live-fire drills along the border "was really aimed at our policymakers, Republic of Korea policymakers and Japan," said Bruce Bechtol, a Korea specialist and professor of political science at Angelo State University in Texas.


"North Korea is saying, 'You can do all the exercises you want and we have the ability to hit you at a moment's notice,'" Bechtol said.


The US and South Korea routinely conduct joint military exercises in the border areas, usually each year in February and March. The most recent exercise began March 27.


The North Koreans said they believe the exercises are meant to intimidate them and often react with some show of force, Bechtol said.


North Korea fired more than 500 rounds of artillery shells over three hours, forcing some residents of South Korean islands to seek shelter in bunkers, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.


Last week, North Korea launched Rodong ballistic missiles, which have the range to hit Tokyo or US bases in Okinawa, Japan. Those launches drew condemnation from the United Nations Security Council on Friday.


South Korea responded to the rocket launches on Monday by scrambling F-15K fighter jets and lobbing 300 shells into North Korean waters.


"This is always a dangerous time of year on the peninsula," said Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the US Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. "There's a danger here that it may get worse."


Firing rounds into South Korea's territorial water goes beyond North Korea's usual responses. North Korea fired into the water to avoid casualties but still mark its territory and show its willingness to respond with force, Bechtol said.


"This is just short of a violent provocation," Bechtol said. "The intention this time is to stir the pot. "


North Korea, in a statement published by the state news agency, called the drills necessary self-defense "to cope with the grave situation created by the US hostile policy."


The country said it would respond with its own drills, including missiles aimed at "medium and long-rang targets with a variety of striking power," and would consider a fourth nuclear test.


North Korea "is fully ready for next-stage steps which the enemy can hardly imagine in case the US considers them as a 'provocation' again," the statement said. "It would not rule out a new form of nuclear test for bolstering up its nuclear deterrence. The US had better ponder over this and stop acting rashly."


North and South Korea have skirmished over the disputed sea boundary before. In 2010, a torpedo attack sank a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors. Later that year, North Korean artillery killed four people living on an island.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 19:50
UK Armed Forces participate in Exercise Joint Warrior 2014

UK Army personnel patrolling with Scimitar vehicles during a previous Exercise Joint Warrior. Photo: Mark Owens, Crown copyright.


1 April 2014 army-technology.com


The UK Armed Forces is participating in Europe's biggest tri-service military exercise, code-named Joint Warrior 2014, off the coast of Scotland.


The exercise, which started on 25 March, involves more than 35 warships, 25 different types of aircraft, and approximately 13,000 personnel from the various nations taking part, including Turkey, Germany, Belgium, France, Holland, Denmark, and the US.


All participating ships, submarines, aircraft and ground troops from the UK, US and other allies are battling each other at sea, in the air and on land in an area that stretches from the Irish Sea, north to Cape Wrath and east to the Moray Firth.


UK International Security Strategy Minister Dr Andrew Murrison said Joint Warrior continues to provide realistic training platforms for the UK Armed Forces, testing the vast capabilities of all three services.


"This exercise sees us working with our international allies, including the US, Netherlands, France, Turkey, Norway and Nato, and will be the largest live, tactically-focused exercise held in Europe this year," Murrison said.


The Royal Navy has deployed 12 ships, including amphibious vessels, destroyers, frigates and mine countermeasures vessels, which will be used by the crews to prepare for their imminent deployments to the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Middle East.


The UK Army is represented by 16 Air Assault Brigade personnel, who will be joined by the Royal Air Force (RAF), army and Commando Helicopter Forces, as well as Apache, Chinook, Sea King, Lynx, Merlin and Puma helicopters for the provision of critical attack support and reconnaissance capabilities.


As well as supplying fast jet aircraft such as Hawks, Tornados and Typhoons, the RAF will also simulate enemy aircraft and missiles, and provide conventional air warfare capability.


In addition to this, RAF surveillance aircraft will provide a detailed picture of enemy movements and positions to the Royal Navy, while the Tactical Supply Wing will supply logistic support to air assets.


Joint Warrior provides a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the range of capabilities available for contingency operations, while providing excellent training that tests the high-readiness capabilities of the armed forces.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 17:30
The Politics of Israel's UAV Industry



26/3/2014 Ami Rojkes Dombe - .israeldefense.com


Israel is one of the world's largest arms exporters, so why do the Israeli defense industries find it so hard to maintain their status at the top of the global UAV market?


The State of Israel has been known as a world leader in defense exports in the last few decades, and that includes the success of the Israeli UAV industry. According to a report by the consulting agency Frost & Sullivan, the sales turnover generated by this particular field was US$ 4.6 billion over the last eight years. Much of this success may be attributed to sales of such Unmanned Airborne Vehicles as IAI's Heron, Elbit Systems' Hermes and Aeronautics' Orbiter.

Behind the various news reports that bolster Israeli national pride, lurks a truth that has the potential of overshadowing the accomplishments of this industry in the future. Like other sectors of the Israeli defense industry, the UAV industry also relies primarily on sales to overseas clients, with a ratio of about 20% sales to the local market and about 80% to foreign countries. However, unlike other industries that also focus on exports, like agriculture, fashion or diamonds, the operations of the Israeli UAV manufacturers is subject to the supervision of the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD).

This situation has created a complex reality. On the one hand, you have the manufacturers, who need the money from the sales of UAVs to foreign countries in order to exist. On the other hand you have IMOD, which is responsible for promoting their exports while at the same time supervising those exports as well as promoting the development of new technologies. On the face of it, these are two conflicting functions being run under the same umbrella. Support for weapon system sales is provided by SIBAT – IMOD's Defense Export & Cooperation Agency; development of future technologies is the responsibility of MAFAT – IMOD's Administration for the Development of Weapon Systems and Technological Infrastructure, and the regulation of defense exports is the responsibility of API, IMOD's Defense Export Controls Agency (DECA). This reality has created tensions between the Israeli UAV manufacturers and IMOD as the business interests of the industries are not always consistent with government and political interests.

Sources in the industry claim that the State of Israel, through the three IMOD agencies outlined above, fails to manage the UAV market in a manner that would maintain Israel's advantage. "We should bear in mind that this is a small country. The budgets of the IDF and MAFAT are small compared to the USA, Europe or China, so the budgets must be managed intelligently, so as to enable all of the companies to compete in Israel as well as abroad. Instead, every company attempts to eliminate the others in the war over tenders."

The processes that take place under the surface are the result of the UAV export procedures. The first stage involves developing a product or a capability, establishing a company and registering a patent. After the entrepreneur has completed these initial moves, which cost him a lot of money, he should apply to DECA for two permit types. One for marketing (defense marketing permit) and the other for export (defense export permit). The marketing permit allows him to engage in marketing activities, such as meeting with prospective clients, submitting quotes and so forth. The export permit allows him to fulfill deals that had been closed, namely – to actually export the product or knowledge to the foreign client. From that moment on, every activity he initiates in order to carry out a sale overseas must be reported to and sanctioned by the Ministry of Defense.

Sources in the industry claim that this procedure is nothing but over-complicated and burdensome red tape, while IMOD officials claim that these mechanisms were intended to prevent classified technologies from reaching countries that are hostile to Israel – which could undermine the qualitative advantage of the IDF or cause diplomatic problems for Israel vis-à-vis friendly countries: two different viewing angles of the same reality.

As this field is evolving worldwide, it attracts new entrepreneurs: more than 30 UAV companies operate in Israel today. Some of these companies are capable of manufacturing a complete UAV system, which includes the unmanned vehicle and its support systems. This category includes IAI, Elbit Systems and Aeronautics. Other companies manufacture auxiliary and complementary systems such as payloads, control systems or specialized capabilities such as imagery analysis, et al.

What is the actual scope of the global UAV market? According to the National Defense Magazine website, about 4,000 UAVs have been operating worldwide in May 2013. The sales turnover of this market in 2013 was US$ 11 billion according to an AVUSI survey. According to Frost & Sullivan, the global (cumulative) sales turnover in 2011-2020 is expected to exceed US$ 61 billion and according to a report by the Aerospace America organization, some 270 manufacturers from 57 countries, producing a total of 960 different models, are competing for that money.

Like other major technological markets in the world, including cyber, software and biomed, the UAV market provides a field of activity for many entrepreneurs – possibly too many for a small country like Israel. Many of those entrepreneurs had grown up in the major industries or in the military, and made the spin-off into smaller industries. Not all of these smaller industries present new or innovative technologies. This is possibly one of the causes of the fierce competition in the Israeli UAV market. Is the State of Israel simply too small to accommodate so many manufacturers in the same line of business? The answer depends on the party being asked. In effect, IMOD officials say that there is not enough money to promote everyone. On the other hand, the manufacturers expect government support: once again – two different viewing angles of the same reality.

In comparison, the USA has four major UAV manufacturers: General Atomics (which, financially, accounts for one half of the USA UAV market), Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin and the partnership between Boeing and AAI Textron. Most of the sales of these industries are aimed at the US military, and only 20% of their revenue stems from exports – just the opposite of the situation in Israel.

"The fierce competition notwithstanding, it is the task of the State of Israel to continue to lead the market. Export transactions are the economic engine that enables the continued development of the industry and provides IMOD with the ability to implement the development of cutting-edge operational capabilities for its own needs," says a source in the industry. "Without the exports, we will lose the UAV capabilities that we know today. It is a business cycle that necessitates the promotion of export transactions by the defense establishment."

The importance of the UAV industry to Israel stems from a number of reasons. Firstly, this industry provides the IDF with a qualitative advantage. Today, Israel is second only to the USA in the development of UAV technology. Another reason pertains to business. The sales of the UAV industry generate proceeds from taxes to the national treasure, contribute to the increase in national exports and provide employment to some 3,000 households directly, plus several thousands of households indirectly.


Defense Venture Capital Fund

One of the most important arms of IMOD in the context of assisting UAV manufacturers is MAFAT. Although the budget of this unit is never published openly, it is, in fact, Israel's largest government-owned venture capital fund – larger even than the Chief Scientist, an agency that operates under the Ministry of Economy. Why venture capital? Because the money comes from the taxes paid by the Israeli citizens (a part of the national defense budget) and is invested in the development of future technologies. Some of these investments will succeed while others will fail. IMOD invests the money in academic institutions and business companies, and most of it goes to defense industries. There, IMOD says, they know how to develop the weapon systems needed by IDF.

In cases where the research activity succeeds, the resulting technologies can be converted into products ('spin-off') which may be sold to clients overseas. In such cases, the State of Israel is paid a percentage for the initial investment made by MAFAT only for government-to-government (G2G) sales. Hence, IMOD as the fund owner has an interest in investing in the major UAV companies, which stand a better chance of selling their products to other countries. Such transactions will yield, for the State of Israel, a return on its investment.

According to sources in the industry, in the USA, for example, the state compels the winning industry – which is normally one of the major players – to assign parts of the project to smaller companies. In this way, the state looks after everyone. Over there, they also have tenders that are intended exclusively for small industries. "Every small UAV company in Israel would love to work for IAI or Elbit, as that would exempt them from investing in marketing channels on the one hand, while allowing them to continue developing their proprietary technologies on the other hand," say sources in the industry. IMOD officials say, on the other hand, that in the USA there is a process of merging and unification of companies owing to the competition. "Out of ten manufacturers of fighter aircraft they had in the past, only three remained. The same process is underway in the UAV industry as well."

The manufacturers' claims notwithstanding, one should bear in mind that IMOD, as a government agency, takes into account considerations other than just business considerations. For example, upholding the MTCR Treaty – a treaty intended to prevent the proliferation of platforms capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This definition includes long-range missiles and supporting technologies, as well as large UAVs – those capable of flying to a range of more than 300 kilometers while carrying a payload of more than 500 kilograms (Category 1), or those capable of flying to a range of more than 300 kilometers while carrying a payload of less than 500 kilograms (Category 2). Although Israel did not sign this treaty, it upholds it.

The implication of upholding this treaty is that in effect, Category 1 UAVs cannot be exported except by the state, while the exportation of Category 2 UAVs requires the authorization of a special committee, including the attachment of a user's declaration on behalf of the purchasing party. In response to the claims made by some manufacturers, according to which this treaty damages Israel's competitiveness, sources at IMOD explained that the treaty actually contributes to the business interests of the State of Israel. "In the long run, deviating from the treaty will damage the exports of the entire defense industry," says an IMOD official. Beyond that, the State of Israel has a national defense interest in promoting international mechanisms that would restrict the proliferation of technologies designed to carry nuclear weapons.

Along with the MTCR Treaty, Israel also upholds the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods & Technologies – another agreement it did not sign. This international agreement is intended to prevent the proliferation of dual-use goods and technologies, namely – goods and technologies that may be used for civilian as well as for military purposes. This agreement applies to the smaller UAVs that cannot reach ranges of 300 kilometers and are not covered by the MTCR Treaty. In this case, too, it is the interest of the State of Israel to make it difficult for the terrorist organizations to obtain advanced technological resources in the guise of civilian technologies.

On the other hand, sources in the industry claim that this is just another hindrance imposed on Israel's competitiveness in the global market, especially with regard to such sectors as agriculture, energy or homeland security (HLS), where the need for small UAVs is currently evolving. "Today, all UAV elements may be obtained through the civilian market worldwide, which makes it possible for any private party to build a system and operate it under no supervision whatsoever, while we still have to cope with the same supervision as for military systems. If we fail to see to it that the rules are changed, we will not be able to compete in the future world and our technological superiority will vanish," say sources in the industry.

Elbit Systems' Heron 900 (Photo: Elbit Systems)

In arms transactions vis-à-vis international parties, one of the first questions raised by the client is "Is this technology used by the IDF?" Both IMOD and the industry understand that the IDF's seal of approval is an effective opener of doors and pockets abroad.

In this context, sources in the industry say that the larger manufacturers have an advantage, and in effect the smaller manufacturers find it hard to work opposite the IDF and are therefore unable to compete for international tenders. "In the case of the larger industries, a development tender is linked to purchasing and then everything is registered under purchasing and that is reflected in the tender. The small and medium manufacturers cannot even participate in these tenders," say sources in the industry.

In response, sources at IMOD say that in many of the tenders issued for the benefit of the IDF, the smaller manufacturers did not want to participate at all. On the contrary, they say at IMOD, the government sometimes promotes products that are not used by IDF. As an example, the IMOD sources point to the support provided to Urban Aeronautics, a small company from the town of Yavne. Despite the fact that the product in question is not used by IDF, IMOD thought that the technology was unique and invested several millions in R&D and marketing for the company, as well as introducing the company to potential clients in the USA and Europe.


"Defense - Not Business"

In addition to the restrictions on exportation, controlled by the government of Israel, another, external variable should be addressed here – the competition in the global market. Although Israel has done well over the last eight years, the evolving UAV market has produced new manufacturers in places where they had never existed before. In addition to the USA, which is regarded as the global leader of this industry, China has begun manufacturing UAVs as well. As with other product categories, China aspires to become the global leader in this field, too – and the prices match its ambitions.

Additionally, UAV manufacturers can now be found in Europe, in Iran, in the United Arab Emirates, in South Africa and in South America. Admittedly, some of these manufacturers have not demonstrated any commercial capabilities yet, but they are definitely on the way. Also, in 2013 France, Italy and Holland, along with Britain, preferred to purchase US-made Predator UAV systems over Israeli systems of the same category. This trend is expected to intensify with the expected pullout of the US forces from Afghanistan and the subsequent 'flooding' of the global market with unmanned systems they had been using over there. Only last year, the US government granted permits for export to 66 countries.

Sources in the industry claim that the gap between the reality of the global market and the export control mechanism of IMOD hinders the growth of exports and could damage Israel's competitiveness in the future. "This cannot work. Defense people cannot supervise business people," they explain. "A former IAF officer does not understand the interests of a UAV manufacturer who sells to clients on four continents. He does not understand the dynamics of doing business in those places. He understands the needs of the IAF and IDF, but he does not know that today you can buy UAV technologies from many sources around the world. If we do not sell, the client will buy it elsewhere."

Apparently, there is a certain degree of consensus around this particular claim, and sources at IMOD say that one of the objectives for the coming year is to improve the UAV export authorization procedure. "This involves streamlining and improving the efficiency of processes, which would shorten the response interval of the manufacturer vis-à-vis the client," IMOD sources explain. If everything goes well, these improvements are expected to become effective in a few months.

Conversely, IMOD sources claim that the fact that the Israeli industry tops the global UAV export charts, even above the US industry, proves the Ministry's liberalism compared to similar agencies in the USA or Europe. These sources further claim that Israeli policy maintains that politicians do not promote specific transactions, but endeavor to promote Israeli industry generally.

So, what can be done after all to overcome the difficulties? Firstly, the supervision and involvement of IMOD in export processes should be adapted to the changes that are taking place in the global UAV market. The technological changes in this market call for procedures and directives that would enable the manufacturer to respond promptly to the client's demands.

IMOD can also compel the larger industries to enable the smaller industries to participate in the tenders it issues as well as in the export permit terms. In most cases, it is public money that finances the technological development and the global marketing of the products by MAFAT and SIBAT, respectively. These funds can be channeled to maintaining the qualitative advantage of the IDF as well as for maintaining the industry. At the same time, it should be emphasized that the budget in question is limited and should be used to support many companies. Consequently, say sources at IMOD, the manufacturers' expectations should match this fact.

Another option is to incorporate the Ministry of Economy in the export control process. At the present time, the decision as to where to export to, how much to export and what to export is an outcome of meetings between SIBAT, API (DECA), MAFAT, MALMAB (the agency in charge of security within IMOD) – all IMOD agencies, other intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All of these elements share the same defense or political concept, and adding a body with an economic concept can balance the picture. Admittedly, at IMOD they claim that the contrast between SIBAT and API (DECA) serves this purpose, but in effect, almost all of the officials in these agencies had grown up within the defense establishment and consequently that claim is only partially true.

Yet another move – possibly the most important one – that may be initiated is to encourage an open dialog between the industry and IMOD. This should enable the manufacturers, on the one hand, to present their difficulties and raise them for discussion, while on the other hand providing IMOD with the opportunity to explain its business, political and defense/security considerations. The understanding that there is a direct connection between the successful sales of Israeli UAV systems around the world and the need to maintain and promote the operational advantage of the IDF should constitute the foundation for the claims of both sides. Eventually, the cooperation between the commercial sector and the government sector will determine Israel's share in a highly competitive market.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:55
Entraînement - Les dragons en alerte


01/04/2014 CNE A. Philibert – Armée de Terre


Du 17 au 20 mars 2014, le 4e escadron du 2e régiment de dragons (2eRD) a participé à un entraînement aux risques nucléaire, radiologique, biologique et chimique (NRBC). Investigation, décontamination…ce contrôle opérationnel des acquis est une étape incontournable avant leur prochaine prise d’alerte Guépard. Un scénario réaliste qui a été monté pour l’occasion, afin de tester de nouveaux modes d’action et gagner en efficacité.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:50
Oto Melara's Vulcano Munitions Ready for Sale


Apr. 1, 2014 - By TOM KINGTON Defense News


LA SPEZIA, ITALY — After years of putting its faith in the development of guided munitions — for both naval and land use — Italy’s Oto Melara now claims it has working technology and a range of products ready for sale.

“We have had the breakthrough and we are on the downhill slope now,” said CEO Roberto Cortesi, adding, “We know now we have a system that works.”

Oto Melara, a unit of Italy’s Finmeccanica, has spent €200 million (US $278 million) on developing a range of munitions with small moveable fins that steer a projectile toward its target using a variety of guidance systems.

A key characteristic of the munitions is that when fired from the cannon, they are clad in a sabot, or jacket, which protects the fins in the barrel before falling away in flight. Since the shells are therefore smaller than the caliber of the gun, they have less destructive potential but fly farther while costing far less than a missile.

Under a development and industrialization contract, Italy’s Defense Ministry is testing munitions developed for Oto Melara’s 127mm naval cannon and 155mm howitzer that are guided by GPS and an inertial measurement unit, as well as variants adding infrared targeting for naval use and semi-active laser targeting.

The so-called Vulcano range also contains an unguided shell — now being qualified — that does not have fins but comes in a sabot and reaches 60 kilometers in the 127mm configuration thanks to its sub-caliber size.

“We aim to have all variants in initial production by 2016 with delivery the following year,” one company official said.

All the 127mm Vulcano munition types are under contract from Italy for use on its multimission frigates. Holland, which has four naval 127mm compact cannons fit for Vulcano munitions, and Germany, which has ordered five 127mm cannons from Oto Melara for its F125 frigates, are potential users and are yet to decide which types of guided munition they want.

Oto Melara officials said Japan and South Korea, which operate 127mm naval cannons, were also watching development, while Algeria, which has ordered the cannon from Oto Melara for its German Meko frigates, is also interested.

Cortesi said Oto Melara had tried without success to place its cannons on US littoral combat ships, and has since reduced the head count at its US operation Oto Inc.

Meanwhile, Oto Melara’s Strales program for its 76mm cannon has seen sales so far to Italy, for use on its multimission and Horizon frigates and Cavour carrier, and to Colombia. The cannon fires a munition that is guided to its target — an aircraft or incoming missiles — by a beam directed at the target by the ship’s radar.

The program is undergoing a qualifying program this year on the Italian naval vessel Foscari, and Italy has purchased about 500 shells for testing and stocks. The Colombian Navy has taken about 100 shells to equip its four 76mm cannons, two of which require conversion kits to upgrade them to fire the munition.

The Strales system is in competition to equip the Singapore Navy, and one Oto Melara official said Singapore has said that instead of using the offered beam emitter that sits on the cannon, it could be used with the Thales Pharos radar, which can both track targets and emit beams to steer munitions.

“It is a cost-effective solution, and we could offer that type of setup to future customers,” the Oto Melara official said.

Officials said they are still developing — with limited Italian funding — the Vulcano 76 program, launched in 2011, which envisions the use of a GPS-guided 76mm munition.

Armor-piercing variants for the 127mm and 155mm guns are also being developed in collaboration with the Italian MoD.

Also in the works is the Scout, an unarmed munition that uses GPS to relay its position during flight in real time, indicating the strength of wind and other atmospheric conditions, allowing operators to adjust their aim when they choose to fire the unguided 127mm munition.

Finmeccanica managers have dropped hints over the years that Oto Melara is ripe for merging with one of Europe’s other land systems firms, given that the sector is overcrowded in Europe, even as defense budgets shrink.

Cortesi said the firm has gotten “very close” to forging ties with another firm, which he did not name, but had broken off talks because of the lack of guarantees of sovereignty. “We believe we are strategic for Italy and Italy would have lost know-how,” he said. The door remains open on program level partnerships, he added.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:50
Calendrier des think tanks à Bruxelles Mise à jour : Lundi 31 Mars2014

Mise à jour par la Représentation permanente de la France auprès de l’UE

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:45
Hawk Mk 120

Hawk Mk 120


01 April 2014 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb


The South African Air Force (SAAF) has grounded the Hawk trainer fleet following the crash of a jet whilst landing last Thursday.


The BAE Systems Hawk Mk 120 jet trainer, operated by 85 Combat Flying School, was performing a ‘touch and go’ at AFB Makhado when it experienced a control problem.


Unconfirmed reports indicate that the control stick ‘locked’ shortly before touch-down, resulting in the aircraft slamming the front wheel onto the runway, bouncing and then hitting the runway again with the front wheel. This resulted in the front wheel breaking off and the Hawk sliding down the runway before coming to a halt.


Neither of the two crew aboard, who deploying the drag chute after the nose-wheel broke off in order to slow the aircraft, were injured.


As the damaged aircraft blocked the runway, other aircraft that were still in the air were forced to land on the taxiway. This was safely accomplished as when the airbase was built in the 1980s, the taxiway was designed to operate as a secondary runway in the event of the main runway being blocked or damaged.


AFB Makhado is situated near the town of Louis Trichardt in Limpopo Province. 85 Combat Flying School is equipped with the remaining 23 Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) Hawk jets of the 24 delivered as part of the 1999 Strategic Defence Package (SDP).


The other flying squadron operating from the base is 2 Squadron, equipped with the SAAB Gripen fighter.


Although no comment has yet been received from the Air Force or South African National Defence Force (SANDF), it is believed the official Board of Investigation commenced their enquiries on Monday.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:45
New help puts EU Central African Republic mission back on track

A French soldier in the Central African Republic


31 March 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)


The commander of a planned European Union peacekeeping force for Central African Republic has decided he now has enough soldiers and equipment to launch the delayed mission after governments came forward with new offers of help, the EU said on Saturday.


The EU has drawn up plans to send 800 to 1,000 soldiers to join 6,000 African and 2,000 French troops struggling to stop a conflict that erupted after the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago in the majority Christian state.


When the EU initially approved the mission in January, it hoped troops would start arriving by the end of February.


But the mission has been held up by the failure of European governments to provide soldiers and equipment.


At a meeting in Brussels late on Friday, EU governments and some countries from outside the bloc offered new support for the mission in the areas of strategic airlift and help with deploying the force, the EU said.


"On the basis of this significant progress ... the commander of the operation (French Major-General Philippe Ponties) has recommended the launch of the operation," a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.


The EU gave no details of which countries made the new offers of help.


The EU is expected to formally launch the Central African Republic mission on Tuesday, a day before African leaders gather in Brussels for an EU-Africa summit, which will be preceded by a meeting to discuss the situation in Central African Republic.


The goal of the EU force will be to provide security in the capital Bangui and at Bangui airport, where around 70,000 people who have fled the violence are living in dire conditions.


The EU force will stay for up to six months, before handing over to African Union peacekeepers.


France has urged its EU partners to do more to help in its former colony, saying the EU must not shirk its responsibilities for international security.


The French and African Union peacekeepers have so far failed to stop violence raging in the landlocked, impoverished country that has killed thousands.


Eleven people died in Bangui after a grenade exploded among mourners gathered for a funeral, the Red Cross said on Friday, in what residents said was an attack on Christians.


French General Patrick de Rousiers, the EU's top military adviser, told Reuters on Thursday that the EU needed to launch its operation.


"This is a profound humanitarian crisis. People are getting slaughtered there. So it is worthwhile that we come and help ... The risks are there, but the 28 European nations have said 'yes we will deploy', so it will happen," he said.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:45
The South African Navy (SAN) has a new Chief

New Navy Chief Samuel Hlongwane with previous Navy chief Johannes Mudimu


01 April 2014 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb


The South African Navy (SAN) has a new Chief. In a day full of traditional pomp and ceremony, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu handed over command to Rear Admiral Mosuwa Samuel Hlongwane on Monday March 31.


Hlongwane will be promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral with effect from April 1.


Mudimu was appointed as Chief of the SAN on March 1, 2005, a post he has held for the past nine years. During this time he played a major role putting the South African Navy in the forefront of several international treaties and programmes. He was instrumental in establishing the Sea Power for Africa initiative and is the outgoing chairman of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). Furthermore he was a driving force in the SADC Maritime Strategy as well as the tripartite alliance between Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa to curb piracy in the Indian Ocean.


The arrival and integration of all three Type 209 submarines ordered under the 1999 Strategic Defence Package (SDP) occurred under his watch, with other highlights including the 2008 Presidential Fleet Review, the deployment of vessels during the 2010 Soccer World Cup and the anti-piracy patrols currently underway in the Mozambique Channel under Operation Copper. Many other new capabilities and training aids were also introduced into the SAN.


Following a 15 round gun salute and flypast from an Air Force Super Lynx maritime helicopter, the Change of Command Parade was held under sunny skies before invited guests, including Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Minister of Defence and Military Veterans), General Solly Shoke (Chief of the SANDF), the heads of the other services and the Navy Chiefs of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria and Tanzania.


On completion of the parade and in accordance with naval tradition, the outgoing Chief of the SAN was pulled from the parade ground on a gun carriage by senior members of staff. The Gun Carriage was pulled to Admiralty House through the main road of Simon’s Town, followed by the Navy Band.


Earlier that morning, Mudimu participated in a sail past of Navy ships in harbour, with the ships' company saluting him for the last time as Chief of the South African Navy.


Speaking to defenceWeb after the parade, Mudimu noted that he had remained as Chief of the SAN longer than international convention. “I think the time has come, I am a believer that change is good,” he said.


Reflecting on the past few years, Mudimu noted that he was of the view that the Navy had done well and were sensitive to all the requirements of the people and that the Navy now reflects the demographics of the country.


“I’m happy with the balance that our Navy has today across the board in terms of the white officers at various levels,” he said. However, he was still battling in attracting more Indians into the lower levels of the Navy.


Mudimu is comfortable that he is leaving the Navy in capable hands. Looking to the future, he says that the issue of sea blindness in Africa is still a factor.


Hlongwane had worked with Mudimu on these challenges and the new Chief of the SAN will be taking the process forward.


“I think V Adm Hlongwane will continue with this theme. African countries, they need a lot of support. They are entirely dependent on the Navy in terms of ensuring that their maritime zones are patrolled and patrolled effectively. So we have achieved a lot in that regard. So I wish they would continue in that.”


Another challenge facing African navies is to increase their capabilities, particularly when exercising with large foreign navies. Mudimu wants to see African navies putting their own ships and submarines to sea, not just embedding crewmembers on the foreign vessels.


“We must have our own assets and in so doing, we’ll ensure the stability and safety of the African continent being in our hands on not in the hands of the other person,” he explained.


Vice Admiral Hlongwane is a man of few words. He did, however, tell defenceWeb that the outgoing Chief “had already laid the grease” and that he will pick up where Mudimu had left and go forward.


He is aware of the enormous responsibilities that come with the new appointment as the Chief of the South African Navy. Although there were many challenges for him and his team, so there were opportunities.


He remarked on the ever increasing dependency on the South African Navy capabilities in support of the SANDF and national interest considerations. “This, he said, “means that we will have to enhance and strengthen our capabilities.”


Hlongwane joined the African National Congress (ANC) and its Military wing Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) in 1982, working as an underground operative, and left South Africa in September 1984. He completed basic military training in Angola, where he was initially deployed.


He was selected to attend the Naval Course in Azerbaijan (Baku) at the Caspian Naval Red Banner College in August 1986. In November 1991, he successfully completed the Naval Ship Command Course in Navigation.


Having participated in the Joint Military Co-ordinating Committee (JMCC) as a member of the Navy work group in 1993/1994, he integrated into the SANDF and attended the Bridging and orientation courses at South African Naval College and Maritime Warfare School (Combat Orientation Course).


After a number if postings within the SAN, he was appointed as the South African Defence Attache to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo from 1 March 2005 until 30 March 2008.


On 1 April 2008 he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral (JG) and appointed Chief of Fleet Staff.


Cabinet has approved Mudimu’s appointment as Chairperson of Armscor, with the final paperwork to be signed soon.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:45
East Libyan rebels close to deal to reopen ports


01 April 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)


Rebels in eastern Libya are close to reopening three oil ports they have occupied since the summer to press Tripoli for autonomy and a greater share of oil revenue, a leader from the rebels' tribe told state media on Monday.


The comments, the most optimistic for months, came after the government met a rebel demand to release three of their fighters who boarded a tanker loading oil at a rebel-held port in an attempt to get it to markets. They were captured when U.S. forces boarded the rogue ship and returned it to Tripoli.


The announcement will still be met with skepticism because the same tribal leader predicted in December that the heavily-armed rebel militia would end their blockade of the three ports which previously accounted for 600,000 barrels of oil a day.


"There are indications of an imminent breakthrough," Saleh Atawich, the top Magharba leader, said of talks with the government mediated by tribal elders, according to LANA state news agency. He gave no specific time frame.


Atawich is from the same tribe as port rebel leader Ibrahim Jathran but also close to government thinking. He had predicted that ports would reopen on December 15, but a similar deal fell through at the last minute.


A local news channel operated by the federalist rebel leader also flashed an urgent news bulletin about a "breakthrough".


Three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, the oil standoff is one of the major challenges to Libya's weak central government as the blockade drains state coffers, adding to Western worries the country is sliding deeper into instability.


With no real army, Libyan authorities are struggling to control militias and armed tribesmen who help oust Gaddafi in the 2011 civil war, but have become political players demanding power and oil wealth and controlling territory.


"There are careful efforts these days between the committees concerned with opening the ports and the parties that closed them," Atawich said. "The issue is moving in the direction according to plan."


Attawich could not be immediately reached on his cell phone for further details.




Hours earlier, Libya's attorney general ordered the release of three rebel fighters following comments by some lawmakers that this would help solve the port crisis, Sadiq al-Sour, head of the attorney's investigations department, told Reuters.


Sour said he regretted the release which had been made on political grounds. "These are people who committed crimes," he said. "Now justice is entering political conflicts."


Staff at state prosecutor's office later called on the attorney to resign over what they called an unjustified release, according to a statement posted on the office's official Facebook website.


Three weeks ago, the rebel militia embarrassed Tripoli by loading crude onto the "Morning Glory" tanker at the Es Sider port, which is under their control. U.S. special forces later stormed the ship in international waters and returned it to Libya.


Government and the parliament had told the militia to negotiate an end to their port blockade or face a military offensive. The rebels had demanded the release of their men, the tanker returned and the threat of an army offensive dropped before any talks.


Former anti-Gaddafi rebels and militias refuse to surrender their weapons and often use force or control of oil facilities to make demands on a state whose army is still in training with Western governments.


Those governments, which backed NATO air strikes to help the 2011 anti-Gaddafi revolt, are pressing the factions to reach a political settlement. But Libya has lurched from crisis to crisis over the last year.


Libya's oil production has fallen to a trickle due to the port seizures and protests at major oil fields.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:40
Russia starts partial troop withdrawal from Ukrainian border


1 April 2014 army-technology.com


Russia has started a partial withdrawal of its soldiers along Ukraine's eastern border, in an apparent attempt to ease a diplomatic standoff with the West over its annexation of Crimea.


Ukraine Main Command Center deputy chief major-general Oleksandr Rozmaznin was quoted by Reuters as saying that the number of soldiers has dropped, but the number cannot be confirmed as the 'exact figure is pretty approximate'.


Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesman Evhen Perebiynis said Russia is carrying out unfathomable manoeuvres on the borders with Ukraine, including troop withdrawal in some places, while in others they are coming closer.


"Such action cannot fail to cause concern especially since we today do not have a clear explanation from the Russian Federation about the aims of these movements," Perebiynis added.


Meanwhile, the Russian Defence Ministry said a motorised infantry battalion is being pulled back from a region near Ukraine's eastern border, following the completion of the month-long military exercises.


"The battalion ... has completed its field exercises at the Kadamovsky training grounds in the Rostov region and is beginning its march to its permanent base in the Samara region," the ministry stated.


The German Government claims that the partial withdrawal was informed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone conversation.


US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the pull-out would be a welcome preliminary step, and urged Moscow to accelerate the process.


"We also continue to urge Russia to engage in a dialogue with the government in Kiev to de-escalate the situation, while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Psaki said.


After talks with Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov in Paris, US Secretary of State John Kerry had told that the progress on resolving the crisis in Ukraine depended on a Russian soldier pull-back from Ukraine's borders.


Russia had accumulated approximately 40,000 soldiers near its border with eastern Ukraine, while an additional 25,000 remain inland on alert and prepared to move in, CNN earlier reported citing two unnamed US officials.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
Armor: T-90s Recover From Heat Stroke


March 17, 2014 Strategy Page

India is upgrading 600 of its Russian T-90 tanks with new electronics (navigation systems, thermal sights and fire control computers) and air conditioning at a cost of about $42,000 per tank. The main reason for air conditioning in the tanks is not the crew, but the electronics. Russia was asked to develop and install air conditioning but were unable to create a system that could handle the Indian climate. That failure caused a lot of damage to the Russian and foreign made electronics in the Indian T-90s, thus the need for these changes.

One of the most obvious reasons for this upgrade was the heat related problems. Despite years of effort India was unable to get the thermal imaging systems to operate reliably on its T-90 tanks. Most of the thermal imagers on the T-90s were down at any one time. The problem was eventually found to be heat, and the 40 degree (Celsius/104 Fahrenheit) heat is unavoidable because it's a desert area where Indian T-90s have to be stationed. The Indians paid $2.6 million for each tank (half the price of the U.S. M-1). Some 20 percent of the cost was for the thermal sight, similar to the one that makes the U.S. M-1 tank so effective on the battlefield. Unfortunately, tests of the T-90 revealed that the thermal sight system could not handle the heat of Indian summers once the air conditioning failed. Much of the border between India and Pakistan is desert, and most of India's armored units are stationed there. The problem is that while the T-90 had Russian developed air conditioning (something new in Russian tanks), it cannot handle the 100+ degree heat in tropical India. The Russians were unable to develop a suitable upgrade because there was no room inside the tank to install a more powerful, but larger, cooling system. The American M-1 air conditioning has been able to handle extreme heat, so the Indians knew it could be done and eventually found a supplier who could build a system that worked and fit into the space available.

The T-90 went into low level production in 1993, but was too expensive for the Russian army to buy more than a few of them. India eventually became the biggest user. The T-90 is based on the T-72, but has composite armor (plus reactive armor) and better electronics. The 50 ton tank uses a 125mm smooth bore gun, and can also fire the 9M119M Refleks-M missile (to 4,000 meters) at ground or air (helicopter) targets. The tank carries 43 tank shells or missiles, 22 of them in the autoloader carousel. India agreed to buy 310 T-90s initially and is to have over 1,600 of them by the end of the decade, most of them assembled in India using Russian made parts.

 One big reason India bought the T-90 is the 9M119 (AT-11) anti-tank missile, which weighs 23.6 kg (52 pounds), has a range of 100-4,000 meters and uses semi-automatic laser beam guidance system (the gunner keeps his sight on the target and the missile homes in on that.) Maximum time of flight is about 12 seconds. While the missile has a tandem warhead, making it useful against tanks with reactive armor, it can also be used against helicopters. The missile warhead can penetrate about 700mm of armor. The guidance system is quite accurate, hitting the target 80 percent of the time at maximum range in tests. The guidance system is also easy to use, making less well trained crews more effective. However, India insisted on building the missiles under license. This has created problems, as the Indian manufacturer has not been able to achieve sufficient quality control levels.

India deployed its first T-90 regiment (45 tanks) in May, 2002. The first T-90s were delivered to India in late November 2001. When they work, the T-90s are more than a match for anything the Pakistanis or Chinese have.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
Japan Lifts Own Blanket Arms Export Ban


Apr. 1, 2014 Defense News (AFP)


TOKYO — 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 defense 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 defense 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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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
U.S. Closes 290 Bases In Afghanistan, Less Than 33,000 Troops Left


April 1, 2014. David Pugliese - Defence Watch


Michelle Tan of Army Times has this:


The U.S. has closed nearly 290 bases across Afghanistan as of March 1 and fewer than 80 bases remain.

When it comes to personnel, there are still about 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but there’s also “a steady path to reduce throughout the year,” said Marine Brig. Gen. Daniel O’Donohue, the chief operations officer for the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command.

O’Donohue provided an overview of U.S. troops still serving downrange during a March 18 phone interview with Army Times.

“We’ve reduced our forces from about 100,000, by about 67 percent,” said he said. “We are truly in a support role.”


Read more


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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
UH-72 Lakota photo US Army

UH-72 Lakota photo US Army


01 April 2014 Defense Studies

EADS-N.A., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $34,018,858 modification (P00772) to sole-source, Foreign Military Sales contract W58RGZ-06-C-0194 for six Lakota helicopters with the environmental control unit, mission equipment package and airborne radio communication (ARC-231) radios for the Royal Thai Army. 

Fiscal 2010 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $34,018,857 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is April 3, 2015. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss. 

Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity.

(US DoD)

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
Marand delivers first Australian made Vertical Tails for F35



BAE Systems


A ceremony was held at Australian company Marand, commemorating the delivery of the first ship of Australian made F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter vertical tails.


The Honourable Dr. Denis Napthine, Premier of Victoria and The Honourable Michael Ronaldson, Senator for Victoria representing the Defence Minister were among the distinguished guests in attendance.

This delivery of the first major air frame components marks an important production milestone for Marand, ourselves and Australia, demonstrating the significant industrial benefits the F-35 program brings to the growing Australian aerospace industry.  The work on the F-35 vertical tails is subcontracted to Marand by ourselves and is one of the largest planned manufacturing projects for the F-35 in Australia, with 722 ship sets anticipated.

 “We take our commitment to international participation very seriously, and today is a very proud day for us, for Marand, and for Australia’s F-35 programme.  In just two years, we have worked side by side with Marand to develop a world class aerostructure facility with a first-rate, repeatable capability for the next 20 to 30 years,” said Cliff Robson, senior vice president F-35 for BAE Systems. 

David Ellul, managing director of Marand, commented, “This is a major step for Marand to move into the field of aerostructures manufacturing.  I am very proud of our team for achieving so much in such a short time with tremendous support from BAE Systems. The unique capability we have established will serve the Australian Defence industry and create high technology Australian jobs for many years to come.”

The F-35 Lightning II aircraft will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with a transformational 5th generation fighter capability and provides significant benefits to the Australian aerospace industry, with more than $350 million (USD) already contracted and $6 billion (USD) in expected manufacturing orders over the life of the programme.

“The F-35 is not only transforming the battlefield but also the global aerospace industry. This programme is built on a foundation of unprecedented partnerships that not only tie our countries together, but also link our companies with one another. There’s really no better example of the true global nature of this programme than right here at Marand,” said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president Aeronautics, Lockheed Martin Corporation.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:30
Counter-Terrorism: European Islamic Terrorists Inspired By Syria


March 31, 2014 Strategy Page

Europe is facing a growing problem with young Moslem men being recruited by Islamic clergy to go fight alongside (and often against) the Syrian rebels. European intelligence officials believe about 2,000 European Moslems have gone to Syria so far and about ten percent have been killed. More than ten percent have returned and these jihad veterans often seek out new recruits. These jihadis are very effective at attracting new volunteers, although so far only about 10 per 100,000 Moslems have been persuaded to go. As small as that portion is, a far larger percentage (over ten percent) of European Moslems will admit to admiring the goals and methods of Islamic terrorists. Most of those who did go to Syria are now more radicalized than when they left and police fear they may contribute to more Islamic terrorism in Europe. You can’t do much to these men unless they actually commit a crime in Europe, although in some countries it is possible to prosecute them for fighting for an Islamic terrorist organization anywhere. But you have to prove it in court and that is difficult. Nevertheless such prosecutions are underway and most countries monitor returning jihadis, ready to make arrests if any local laws are broken.

Efforts are being made to prevent more men from volunteering, but that is difficult because Moslems have not adapted well in Europe and have a lot more problems doing so than other immigrants. In part this is because European nations have a much harder time accepting and integrating migrants than the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In part that’s because these four nations are largely composed of migrants or descendants of migrants. There are still problems but as the saying goes in the U.S., “we’re all minorities here.” European nations are more touchy about outsiders and citizenship is not automatically conferred on anyone born there. Ancestry counts for much more and it is much more difficult for immigrants, even those who speak the language like natives and have absorbed the local culture. Despite that, most migrants still want to be accepted. Moslem migrants have an additional problem because their religion does not really accept being a religious minority in a nation. Moslem clerics tend to agree that non-Moslems must convert eventually and radical clergy sanction the use of force to make that happen sooner rather than later. To help this along radical clergy depict the non-Moslem majority as inherently hostile to Islam and constantly trying to get Moslems to abandon their religion. In Islamic theology this is not allowed and in some Moslem countries such conversions are forbidden, often under pain of death. This rebellious and militant attitude is particularly popular with many young Moslem men. This sense of victimhood makes it easier for young Moslem men to become criminals. Thus in France, where ten percent of the population is Moslem, over 60 percent of the prison population is Moslem. Thus efforts by parents to keep their children from joining Islamic radial or terrorist organizations tend to fail. The wayward child can justify his criminal ways by referring to Islamic scripture and Islamic clerics who preach acceptance of radical Islam. This has been a problem with Islam, even in Moslem majority nations, for centuries.

What does change the attitudes of some radicalized Moslem men is the reality of Islamic terrorism. Thus the popularity of Islamic radicalism everywhere took a big drop in 2007 when the majority of Sunni Moslems in Iraq turned against it because Islamic terrorism there was killing far more Moslems than non-Moslems. Even al Qaeda leadership noted this development and had tried to get the Islamic terrorists in Iraq to sharply reduce the number of innocent civilians they were killing. Unwilling to do so, al Qaeda was defeated in Iraq and has been rebuilding mainly because Iraqi nationalists insisted that all American troops, including the intelligence and special operations units that so effectively identified and destroyed al Qaeda leaders and specialists, leave the country in 2011. Iraq now wants some of those specialists back, but the U.S. is not eager to return.

In Syria the “Iraq problem” reappeared in 2011 after a civil war began against the secular dictatorship. The Syrian al Qaeda problems reached a crises in June 2013 when the head of al Qaeda (bin Laden successor Ayman al Zawahiri) declared the recent merger of the new (since January) Syrian Jabhat al Nusra (JN) with the decade old Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) unacceptable and ordered the two groups to remain separate. The reason for this was that the merger was announced by ISI without the prior agreement of the JN leadership. The merger formed a third group; Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). That was the problem, as many JN members then left their JN faction to join nearby ones being formed by ISIL. JN leaders saw this as a power grab by ISIL and most of the JN men who left to join ISIL were non-Syrians. Many of these men had worked with ISI before and thought they were joining a more powerful group. But ISIL was apparently just an attempt by ISI (which is having a hard time in Iraq) to grab some glory, recruits, cash and power by poaching JN members. JN appealed to Zawahiri for help and got it.

This dispute escalated in January 2014 when outright war between ISIL and other Islamic terror groups in Syria began. A month later al Qaeda declared ISIL outcasts and sanctioned the war against them. That’s not the first time al Qaeda has had to slap down misbehaving Iraqi Islamic terror groups and won’t be the last. But it’s not a problem unique to Iraq.

One of the major weaknesses of Islamic terror groups is that they often get into vicious and destructive feuds with each other. It should not be surprising as Islamic terrorists are motivated by religion and in particular a personal call from God to serve. Since no two people are going interpret the details of this divine summons the same way, there will be many different interpretations. These are often formed by ethnic differences. This could be seen in Mali, where three different Islamic radical groups (Ansar Dine, MUJAO and AQIM) took control of the northern portion of the country in 2012 until they were run out in early 2013 by a French-led force. Along the way the three groups were often battling each other. The same thing happened in Somalia and elsewhere. Even before the French showed up many members of these groups were disillusioned by all the infighting and simply quit. But the concept of violent jihad (“struggle”) is still popular with many Islamic clerics and young Moslem men.

For centuries the non-Moslem world ignored this problem, at least as long as it remained a dispute just among Moslems. But in the 1970s a new idea arose among radical clergy who began blaming the West for all the backwardness, bad government and general misery in Moslem nations. That’s when al Qaeda decided to take the war to the infidels (non-Moslems). This produced growing violence against Western targets in the 1990s and culminated in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The carnage of those attacks was immensely popular among Moslems, although most Moslem governments condemned it. That was in part because these attacks against infidels were an indirect effort to overthrow Moslem governments that radicals did not believe were Moslem enough. That struggle continues and while many Saudi citizens still send cash and sons to al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia is very much opposed to al Qaeda. 

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:25
Cougar AS532 ALe Chilean Army photo Jose Higuera DN

Cougar AS532 ALe Chilean Army photo Jose Higuera DN

Airbus Helicopters a engrangé six nouvelles commandes ou intentions de commande pour un montant de 54 millions de dollars au salon aéronautique et défense de FIDAE au Chili


01/04/2014 Michel Cabirol, de Santiago (Chili) – LaTribune.fr


Airbus Helicopters détient 50 % de parts de marché sur les livraisons lors des cinq dernières années et 35 % sur la flotte totale en service en Amérique Latine.


Tous les fabricants d'hélicoptères se donnent actuellement rendez-vous en Amérique Latine pour profiter de la très belle croissance de son marché aéronautique. Avec le marché des satellites d'observation très dynamique, celui des hélicoptères est également en plein essor en Amérique Latine où 36 % des opérateurs prévoient dans les cinq ans à venir d'augmenter leur flotte (contre 4 % l'inverse), selon la dernière étude d'Honeywell Aerospace. Du coup, l'Amérique Latine concurrence l'Europe pour devenir le deuxième marché mondial derrière l'Amérique du Nord, la terre d'accueil des hélicoptères. 


Airbus Helicopters cartonne 

Dans ce contexte extrêmement dynamique, Airbus Helicopters estime détenir "50 % de parts de marché sur les livraisons des cinq dernières années et 35 % sur la flotte totale", souligne le vice-président exécutif en charge des ventes et des services au niveau mondial, Dominique Maudet, très à l'aise au salon de l'aéronautique et de la défense FIDAE au Chili avec ses clients sud-américains. Il faut dire qu'il parle couramment l'espagnol et connaît bien l'Amérique Latine où il a vécu deux ans au Venezuela au début des années 80 où il travaillait pour le compte du ministère des Affaires étrangères. 

Au total, le constructeur dispose d'une flotte de plus de 1.200 hélicoptères en opération dans cette zone géographique, dont 290 dans la zone la plus australe de la région (Chili, Argentine, Bolivie, Pérou et Uruguay). Ce qui en fait européen le leader en Amérique Latine où il vend bon an, mal an entre 50 et 80 appareils, selon le patron des ventes et des services au niveau mondial. Soit environ 15 % de ses ventes totales (422 en 2013). 

A FIDAE, qui se tenait la semaine dernière, le constructeur a engrangé six nouvelles commandes ou intentions de commande pour un montant de 54 millions de dollars : deux EC145 pour l'armée de l'air bolivienne, un A350 B3 pour le ministère de la Sécurité de la province de Buenos Aires, deux EC145 et un EC155 B1 pour un opérateur péruvien resté anonyme). 


Une filiale opérationnelle au Chili 

Pourquoi une telle part de marché en Amérique Latine ? Selon Dominique Maudet, il y a une prime à la performance pour des missions en très haute montagne (Cordillère des Andes) et par temps chaud. D'où la réussite du Fennec, du Super Puma AS332 C1e et de l'A350 B3 (Ecureuil). Enfin, l'EC145 perce bien en Argentine, au Pérou, en Bolivie, au Brésil et au Mexique, constate Dominique Maudet. 

C'est d'ailleurs le cas au Chili où Airbus Helicopters a choisi d'implanter en 2001 une filiale (Airbus Helicopters Chile), qui emploie une centaine de personnes pour des opérations de support commercial, de maintenance et réparation, et enfin de formation pour les cinq pays de la zone la plus australe de l'Amérique Latine. Elle génère autour de 100 millions de dollars de ventes par an. Airbus Helicopters a livré à l'armée de terre chilienne neuf Cougar. Le dernier modernisé (avionique) a été remis au client pendant FIDAE. L'armée de terre dispose également de AS350 B3. Quant à la marine, elle a en service huit Dauphin et des Cougar navals, équipés de lance-torpille et d'Exocet AM 39. 


Une déception au Pérou 

Dans les autres pays de la région, le constructeur est également bien présent. Il a vendu en décembre six Super Puma AS332 C1e à la Bolivie. Un très joli coup pour Airbus Helicopters, qui a également vendu quatre EC145, dont deux en version VIP. Au Pérou, le constructeur a poussé dans ses derniers retranchements le russe Mil, qui a toutefois réussi fin décembre à arracher au bout de deux ans de négociations un contrat de 24 Mi-171CH face au Cougar. Petite compensation toutefois, le ministère de l'Intérieur a acheté un cinquième EC145 destinés à renouveler la flotte de la Police nationale. Le quatre premiers appareils EC145 a été livré en novembre et décembre.

L'Equateur dispose d'une flotte de 10 Fennec et de plusieurs Cougar. En Colombie, Airbus Helicopters propose l'EC145 et l'Ecureuil pour la lutte anti-drogue face à des appareils américains. Enfin, en Argentine, des exemplaires EC 135 et EC145 sont en cours de livraison respectivement pour la gendarmerie et la police. Enfin, le EC225 est proposé pour les missions off-shore. 


Vers de nouvelles commandes au Mexique ? 

Avec la visite de François Hollande au Mexique le 10 et 11 avril, Airbus Helicopters espère la commande de la deuxième tranche d'EC725, soit entre six et douze appareils. Mexico en a déjà acheté 15 exemplaires. Le Mexique, qui a également une flotte de cinq Panther pour sa marine, pourrait la compléter avec 10 nouveaux appareils de ce type. Il a enfin un projet d'hélicoptères multi-usages et interarmées pour lequel le constructeur de Marignane propose le Fennec/Ecureuil qui devraient équiper essentiellement l'armée de l'air.

Au Brésil, Airbus Helicopters et sa filiale Helibras continuent à produire les 50 EC725 dont le contrat a été signé fin 2008. La force aérienne recevra 18 exemplaires, la marine 16 et l'armée de terre 16 également. La Marine et l'armée de Terre disposent de deux exemplaires en service tandis que l'armée de l'air en a déjà quatre. Le premier exemplaire intégralement fabriqué au Brésil par Helibras a effectué son premier vol le 21 novembre dernier à Itajuba, le site de fabrication d'Helibras. 


Et la concurrence ? 

Bell, qui présentait à FIDAE son nouvel appareil très rustique Bell 505 Jet Ranger X, un hélicoptère léger motorisé par Turbomeca (Arrius 2R), destiné à concurrencer le Robinson R66, revendique une flotte de 1.670 appareils en Amérique Latine. Ces deux dernières années, la filiale du groupe Textron a réussi à vendre plus d'hélicoptères dans cette région que dans aucun autre région dans le monde à l'exception bien sûr des Etats-Unis.

Pour sa part, AgustaWestland, qui a dans son carnet de commandes 180 appareils destinés à des clients latino-américains, présentait l'AW139M, la version militarisée de l'AW139, un hélicoptère bimoteur moyen polyvalent, qui débutait à FIDAE un tour de l'Amérique Latine en quatre semaines.

Enfin, l'Amérique Latine reste toujours une terre d'accueil pour les hélicoptères russes, notamment pour la famille MI-8/17 avec plus de 300 appareils livrés en Argentine, Colombie, Equateur, Mexique, Chili… Et du coup, Russian Helicopters, une filiale d'Oboronprom, voit ses ventes s'accélérer. "La flotte d'hélicoptères russes est en croissance en Amérique latine de 6 % sur les trois dernières années, passant de 385 appareils en 2011 à 409 au début de 2014", a expliqué le patron de Russian Helicopters, Alexander Mikheev.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:25
Armor: MRAP Lite For Colombia


March 24, 2014 Strategy Page

The Colombian Army recently began receiving the 28 Commando wheeled armored vehicles ordered from the United States (for $1.13 million each) in 2013. The Commando is a larger version of the older American M1117 ASVs (Armored Security Vehicles). All of the armored vehicles in the Colombian Army are on wheels, to better control the roads in areas where FARC or drug gangs are active. The army has about 300 armored vehicles, a growing number of them armored hummers. Colombian troops have found the Commando handles most of the bombs and weapons used by the local drug gangs and leftist rebels.

Back in 2009 Colombia bought its first 39 American Commando vehicles, which is officially known as the ICV (Infantry Carrier Variant) of the M1117. The ICV is 61 cm (24 inches) longer than the original ASV, weighs 18 tons, and carries a crew of 3 and 8 passengers. Instead of the turret it has a cupola mounting a 12.7mm machine-gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

The original ASV was, in effect, one of the first MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) to get to Iraq. Originally developed in the 1990s for use by MPs (Military Police) in combat zones, only a few were bought initially. It was found that for 1990s era Balkan peacekeeping, existing armored vehicles were adequate and that in the narrow streets of Balkan towns the ASV was too wide to be very maneuverable. Then came Iraq, and suddenly the ASV was very popular. The army got a lot more because military police like these vehicles a lot. The MPs originally wanted 2,000 ASVs but before Iraq were told they would be lucky to get a hundred. After 2003, the MPs got all they wanted. Colombia noted the ASV success in Iraq and got some of their own.

The basic ASV is a 15 ton 4x4 armored car that is built to handle the kind of combat damage encountered in Iraq. The ASVs are, unlike armored hummers, built from the ground up as armored trucks. Basic ASVs are 6.1 meters (20 feet) long and 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) wide, making them a bit larger than hummers. The ASV is heavy enough to survive most roadside bombs and keep going. The ASV is bullet and RPG proof. The turret is the same one used on the U.S. Marine Corps LAV. When the marines went shopping for armored trucks, however, they passed on the ASV. This is believed to be mainly because most armored trucks have more room inside. The ASV carries a crew of 3, with plenty of room for additional gear but not a lot of people. That's why the stretched ICV version was developed. Iraq has also bought the ICV version.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:25
Brazil AF Details Hermes 900 Purchase


April 1, 2014 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: Brazilian air force; dated March 27, 2014)

 (Issued in Portuguese; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


Hermes 900 Enhances FAB’s Electronic Reconnaissance Capability


The rationale for buying a single large UAV to patrol several cities during the World Cup is unclear, but at least the Hermes 900 (above) is at least twice as capable as the Hermes 450s that Brazil now operates. (Elbit photo)


Purchased for use during the World Cup, this equipment is among the most modern in the world and will strengthen border monitoring


The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has acquired a unit of the Israeli Elbit Systems Hermes 900 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). The contract signed last week (March 19) includes logistical support and a one-year warranty of the equipment.


The purchase was closed by the Air Force Logistics Center (CELOG) which has been negotiating the deal since last year. According to CELOG commander, Air Brigadier Ricardo César Mangrich, the new UAV will arrive in Brazil in early May, and will be ready for use during football the World Cup. The competition starts in June.


The new aircraft will be operated by the “Horus” Squadron (1º / 12º GAV), which has been operating the FAB’s RQ-450 Hermes unmanned aircraft since 2011. Headquartered in Santa Maria (RS), the squadron has begun theoretical training courses for Hermes 900 crews. Acquiring a UAV which belongs to the same “family” as the ones already in service facilitates the service introduction process. So much so, in fact, that the crew will operate the new aircraft during takeoffs and landings from the same ground station (shelter) currently used. The acquisition is also part of the FAB’s plan for UAV acquisition.


New Features


In addition to the well-known RQ-450 Hermes, among the main advantages of operating Hermes 900 is its “SkEye.” This is a set of 10 high-resolution cameras which allow surveillance of an entire region. The software which processes the set of images, allows them to be viewed independently, and so different targets can be monitored simultaneously within a given area. About 10 people will be needed to operate the new equipment. This sensor fitted to the Hermes 900 bought by Brazil was, until now, only available to the Armed Forces of Israel.


Classified as a category-4 equipment, the Hermes 900 is operated using satellite communications. The link will allow the machine to fly well beyond the 250 km range of the Hermes 450. In addition, the 900 can fly at 30,000 feet (over 9000 meters high) and has an endurance of over 30 hours of flight time -- about double that of the RQ-450. These advantages are important allies in the toolset used by FAB for the electronic monitoring of borders.


In the Americas, the Hermes 900 is operated by Mexico, Colombia and Chile.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:20
Lighting Up The Night



3/21/2014 Strategy Page


Marines with tank platoon, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fire the M256 smoothbore gun of an M1A1 Abrams tank on static targets during Realistic Urban Training Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise 14-1 (RUTMEUEX) at Camp Roberts, Calif., March 20, 2014. RUTMEUEX will prepare the 11th MEU Marines for their upcoming deployment, enhancing Marines' combat skills in environments similar to those they may find in future missions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Rome M. Lazarus)

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:20
U.S. Air Force Awards Lockheed Martin Full Production Contracts For Next Two GPS III Satellites


DENVER, April 1, 2014 Lockheed Martin


The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] more than $245 million in contract options to complete production of its seventh and eighth next-generation Global Positioning System satellites, known as GPS III.

GPS III space vehicles seven and eight (SV 07-08) received initial funding under a February 2013 long lead material contract for the Air Force’s second set of four satellites, GPS III SV 05-08. Similar to this current award, the Air Force exercised an option to complete production of SV 05-06 in December 2013.

The first two contracted GPS III satellites are already progressing through sequential integration and test work stations specifically designed for efficient and affordable satellite production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility in Littleton, Colo.

In December 2013, Lockheed Martin powered on the SV-02 satellite bus and network communications equipment payload for the first time. The successful power-on test demonstrated the satellite’s mechanical integration, validated interfaces, and leads the way for electrical and integrated hardware-software testing. SV-01, which powered on in February 2013, now is in integration and test flow leading up to final delivery to the Air Force.  

“With eight GPS III satellites now fully under contract, the GPS III program is moving from development into recurring production,” said Mark Stewart, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area. “We continue to build on the lessons learned from development and this contract demonstrates the Air Force’s confidence in and continued need for the GPS III satellite.”

GPS III is an important program for the Air Force, affordably replacing aging GPS satellites in orbit, while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users. GPS III satellites will deliver three times better accuracy; provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities; and include enhancements which extend spacecraft life 25 percent further than the prior GPS block. It will be the first GPS satellite with a new L1C civil signal designed to make it interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems.  

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the GPS III prime contractor with teammates Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell, ATK and other subcontractors.  Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

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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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 15:20
U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank, Company C, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank, Company C, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division


April 1, 2014 Strategy Page


Although the United States Army still owns 7,000 M1 tanks, less than 20 percent of them are actually in service. That’s the 1,288 M1 tanks in 92 M1 companies with 14 tanks per company. There are no more tank battalions. Instead there are Combined Arms battalions in Heavy Brigades. Each of these battalions have two tank companies (and two infantry companies). Meanwhile the army is continuing its downsizing, going from 16 armored brigades (64 M1 companies) to ten (40 companies). The Army National Guard still has seven armored brigades (28 M1 companies). The reduction will remove 24 M1 companies leaving 952 M1 tanks in service.


Each crew has four men, giving the U.S. 3,808 M1 tank crewmen. The army is hustling to retrain all these tank crews for conventional combat. During the last decade many tank companies were used as infantry or to operate MRAP vehicles. The army is using lots of simulators to retrain the tank crews and this cuts costs a lot. These simulators have become more common since the 1990s and have proved to be very effective in quickly and cheaply teaching useful skills to tank crews. After lots of simulator time, the crews perform very effectively when they take the tanks out and do all the moving and firing under realistic (or even combat) conditions.


All those additional M1 tanks are there if there is a major war. With all the simulators it is easier and quicker to train more crews than it is to build more M1 tanks.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 12:45
Tchad : Focus sur le ravitaillement en vol depuis un C-135


01/04/2014 Sources EMA


Le 21 mars 2014, le détachement C-135 présent à N’Djaména a effectué une mission de ravitaillement en vol au profit de deux Rafale engagés en opération au-dessus du territoire tchadien.


5h00 : salle des opérations du détachement d’aviation de chasse de la plateforme Épervier. Les quatre membres d’équipage du C-135 terminent le briefing préalable à la mission en rappelant les objectifs, l’itinéraire, la météo, les fréquences radio ou encore les éléments de rejointe avec les chasseurs.

6h45 : après la prise en compte de l’appareil et les vérifications techniques d’usage (système électrique, hydraulique, carburant, réacteur), le pilote, le co-pilote, le navigateur et l’opérateur de ravitaillement en vol (ORV) sont à bord, prêts à décoller. La tour de contrôle autorise le décollage, les moteurs sont mis en route et l’avion commence à rouler pour se positionner en bout de piste.

7h00 : le C-135 décolle. En quelques minutes, il atteint une vitesse de croisière d’environ 280 nœuds, soit plus de 500 km/h. Le contact radio avec les avions à ravitailler est établi. 

7h50 : « Les chasseurs sont à l’approche », annonce l’ORV, plus communément appelé le « Boomer », aux autres membres d’équipage. Deux méthodes de ravitaillement en vol sont alors possibles : la première se fait à partir de la perche centrale qui se situe à l’arrière de l’avion. Cette perche rigide rétractable se termine par un tuyau souple et un « panier entonnoir » dans lequel l’avion ravitaillé vient placer sa propre perche de ravitaillement. L’ORV, depuis sa cabine située sous l’appareil, juste en arrière de la base de la perche, commande l’opération.

La seconde méthode de ravitaillement est effectuée depuis les nacelles situées aux extrémités des ailes de l’avion. Depuis ces deux nacelles, des tuyaux souples, terminés par un « panier » stabilisé aéro-dynamiquement, sont déroulées afin que les avions puissent venir se ravitailler.

Pour cette action, le « Boomer » est en cabine avec le reste de l’équipage. Il effectue le ravitaillement à l’aide de petites caméras implantées dans l’avion qui lui permettent de surveiller la livraison de carburant et de s’assurer de la sécurité des chasseurs. Cette technique est plus aisée pour les avions de chasse et permet surtout de ravitailler deux appareils simultanément. Ce qui était le cas pour ce vol.

7h55 : Le décompte commence : « Cinq mètres, quatre, trois, deux, un contact ! » Les perches de ravitaillement des deux Rafale sont connectées aux paniers de ravitaillement. En quelques minutes, près de dix tonnes de kérosène sont délivrées.

12h30 : Après trois séquences de ravitaillement en vol, l’équipage prend contact avec la tour de contrôle de N’Djamena. L’approche débute et l’avion se pose sur la piste de la base aérienne 172. La mission est terminée.

Un avion de chasse dispose d’une autonomie d’environ deux heures de vol. Cette autonomie peut être étendue grâce au ravitaillement en vol. Les C-135, souvent comparés à des « stations-service volantes », sont indispensables et permettent aux autres aéronefs de pouvoir effectuer des missions avec une élongation plus importante.

Les avions déployés à N’Djamena œuvrent au profit des opérations Serval au Mali, Epervier au Tchad, et Sangaris en RCA. Leurs missions sont coordonnées par le JFACC AFCO.

Le JFACC AFCO (Joint Force Air Component Command – Commandement de la composante air de la force interarmées de l’Afrique centrale et de l’ouest) contrôle tous les moyens aériens dans la sous-région (Tchad, Sénégal, Mali, Niger, Gabon, RCA) hormis les moyens des détachements de l’aviation légère de l’armée de terre (ALAT) ainsi que les aéronefs des forces spéciales. Réorganisé dès le début de l’opération Serval pour faire face à l’accroissement du volume des moyens aériens engagés, le JFACC AFCO est déployé sur deux sites : d’une part, la base aérienne 942 à Lyon-Mont-Verdun, pour le commandement et la planification, d’autre part, la base aérienne 172 de N’Djamena pour la conduite.

Les militaires de la force Épervier assurent deux missions permanentes : ils apportent un soutien aux forces armées et de sécurité (FADS) tchadiennes, conformément à l’accord de coopération technique signé entre la France et le Tchad et sont en mesure de garantir, si nécessaire, la sécurité des ressortissants français résidant au Tchad.

Sources : EMA

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 12:40
photo Nato

photo Nato


01 avril 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


KIEV - Le Parlement ukrainien a approuvé mardi la tenue de manoeuvres militaires conjointes avec les pays de l'Otan et de l'Union européenne entre mai et octobre sur son territoire, y compris dans les eaux de la mer Noire.


Le texte a été approuvé par 235 députés, aucun élu n'a voté contre. C'est une bonne occasion pour développer nos forces armées, a déclaré le ministre de la Défense Mikhaïlo Koval.


Le projet de loi avait été déposé le 26 mars par le président par intérim Olexandre Tourtchinov après le rattachement de la Crimée à la Russie. Kiev s'inquiète aussi de la présence importante russe de soldats à sa frontière orientale, qui lui fait craindre une invasion, même si Moscou a affirmé engager un retrait partiel.


En adoptant ce texte, le Parlement autorise l'entrée sur le territoire national de forces étrangères pour sept exercices: Public Order 2014 avec la participation de la police militaire polonaise, Rapid Trident 2014 avec les forces américaines, Safe Sky 2014 avec l'aviation polonaise, Sea Breeze 2014 avec les forces américaines, deux exercices multinationaux Light Avalanche - 2014 et Carpates - 2014, et enfin Sud - 2014 avec les unités d'infanterie de montagne roumaines et moldaves.


Ces manoeuvres, auxquelles doivent participer 7.000 hommes de 17 pays, doivent avoir lieu notamment dans l'Ouest de l'Ukraine mais aussi en mer Noire, à proximité immédiate de la Crimée où est basée la flotte russe.


L'Ukraine, ex-république soviétique, ne fait pas partie de l'Otan mais certaines voix au sein des nouvelles autorités pro-occidentales se sont prononcées pour un rapprochement avec l'organisation atlantique, ce qui est considéré comme une ligne rouge par la Russie.

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