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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:50
Army cleared to fly next-generation eye-in-the-sky

Army personnel operating the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system [Picture: Crown copyright]


5 March 2014 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support


Watchkeeper, the Army's next-generation unmanned aerial system, has been cleared to begin military flight training with the Royal Artillery.


Approval has been given for the Army’s own pilots to begin live-flying the unarmed Watchkeeper from Boscombe Down in Wiltshire; up until now it has been only been trialled by industry.

Gathering crucial information from the battlefield, Watchkeeper will provide UK troops with life-saving surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence. It will also give personnel on the ground much greater situational awareness, helping to reduce threats.

Over the coming weeks, highly skilled 1st Artillery Brigade pilots will be trained to fly Watchkeeper in a restricted airspace over the Salisbury Plain Training Area. The flights, which will take place between 8,000 and 16,000 feet, will be overseen by military air traffic controllers.

Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system
The British Army's Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system in flight over the UK during testing (library image) [Picture: Richard Seymour, Thales UK]

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said:

Watchkeeper will provide real-time information for troops conducting operations on the ground, allowing them to understand better and thereby overcome threats they may face. The ‘release to service’ is a major milestone in this important programme.

Watchkeeper is the first unmanned aerial system developed and built in the UK to become operational. Watchkeeper will be a significant surveillance and reconnaissance capability for the Army for years to come and there is no doubt that it will prove to be a battle-winning technology.

Since its first UK flight in 2010 by Thales UK, Watchkeeper, which has a wingspan of 35 feet, has already completed over 600 flying hours from West Wales Airport.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
French frigate Nivose to visit Durban next week


05 March 2014 by defenceWeb


The French frigate Nivose will visit Durban for four days next week, highlighting the bilateral maritime cooperation between South Africa and France. Nivose is a regular visitor to South Africa and recently took part in Exercise Oxide off Mozambique last year.


The French Navy makes use of repair facilities in Durban, Cape Town and Mauritius, with the Nivose often calling on South African ports to restock her supplies and conduct maintenance. Nivose will be docked in Durban between March 12 and 15.


Nivose is stationed at Reunion. She carries out patrols in the Indian Ocean and in the Southern and Antarctic Lands, patrolling overseas maritime areas under French sovereignty and in the deep sea to protect France’s interests.


She is equipped with a Eurocopter Panther helicopter and is armed with MM38 Exocet missiles, a 100 mm and two 20 mm guns. The 93.5 metre long, 2 900 ton vessel is powered by four 2 200 hp diesel engines and three diesel generators and has a crew of 15 officers, 61 petty officers and 21 seamen. The vessel can stay continuously at sea for 50 days. Nivose is one of six ships of the Floreal class built by DCN and Chantiers de l'Atlantique between 1990 and 1993.


In accordance with a treaty between Australia and France, Nivose takes part in a cooperative fishing police and surveillance operation of French and Australian economic areas and every year Australian Customs Officers and Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Fisheries Officers embark on board Nivose. In addition, Nivose supports the scientific missions based on Kerguelen, Crozet and Saint Paul and the French Austral islands.


France is hopeful of concluding a similar type of agreement with South Africa, whereby joint patrols will be conducted with customs and fisheries officials from each country aboard each other’s vessels. This will ensure that patrols are conducted efficiently and cost-effectively, with no duplication of patrol areas.


As fighting piracy has become a major issue, the French frigate was the first warship to participate to the European Union Naval Force’s Operation Atalanta in the Indian Ocean. Since 2008, Nivose has caught more than 80 suspected pirates aboard more than 25 skiffs during her five deployments.


Nivose also bolsters bilateral relations with regional powers through port visits and joint maritime exercises, such as Oxide with the South African Navy in 2011 and 2013.


Exercise Oxide was held between August 30 and September 6 off the coast of Maputo, Mozambique. Participants included Nivose and her Panther helicopter, the South African Navy frigate Isandlwana with its Super Lynx helicopter, the offshore patrol vessel Isaac Dyobha, the submarine Queen Modjaji, a C-130 Hercules, a C-47TP and an airborne rescue team.


Activities at sea included a submarine rescue exercise involving the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Pretoria and the Centre Regional Operationnel de Surveillance et de Sauvetage (CROSS) of La Reunion.


This third edition of Oxide (the first was held in 2008) also included Mozambican armed forces, with Mozambican personnel embarking aboard Isandlwana.


Nivose is also involved in search and rescue operations. In May 2001 France and South Africa signed a bilateral agreement on maritime search and rescue in the Indian Ocean as France needed a partner to offset the weakness of some nations in the area (notably Madagascar and countries bordering the Mozambique Channel) and to deal with the large areas to be covered.


France and South Africa have recently conducted several joint search and rescue exercises, including the Marion Dufresne providing assistance to the South African fishing vessel El Shaddai near the Crozet Islands in September. On January 7 this year the two crew of the sinking French vessel Idefix was rescued off the Cape Town Coast. French and South African maritime rescue personnel hold regular meetings and exercises.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:40
EU and NATO committees meet jointly to discuss Ukraine


Brussels, 05 March 2014 ref 140305/02


The European Union's Political and Security Committee (PSC) and NATO's North Atlantic Council (NAC) held a joint informal meeting today to discuss the situation in Ukraine, ahead of the meeting of EU heads of State or government tomorrow.


The discussions underlined the seriousness of the crisis and showed the convergence of views in both organisations in upholding Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, the need for a dialogue between Ukraine and Russia as well as de-escalating steps in view of a peaceful solution to the crisis in full respect of international law as laid down in bi-and multilateral commitments. Ambassadors had an exchange of views on the various dimensions of the crisis in Ukraine and the options for the response of the International Community.



The PSC and the NAC are the bodies respectively of the EU and NATO at ambassador level responsible for monitoring the international situation.

PSC-NAC meetings are an integral part of the continuous political dialogue between the EU and NATO, including the so-called “Berlin Plus” arrangements and informal meetings. They formally meet on EUFOR Althea, the operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina making use of NATO common assets and capabilities.

Audiovisual material is available on the Council Newsroom

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:35
DND Rebidding 155mm Howitzers

DND will acquire 12 units 155mm howitzer (photo : Rowielip)


Mar. 5, 2014 Defense Studies

Philippine gov't to purchase 12 howitzers

MANILA (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government said Wednesday that it would acquire 12 units of 155-millimeter howitzers in its bid to upgrade the army's capability to fight leftist rebel group New People's Army (NPA) and the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

The Department of National Defense (DND) said the government is spending 438.6 million pesos (9.78 million U.S. dollars) to purchase the weapons.

The DND said it will conduct a bidding, which will be open to local and foreign contractors on March 11.

The government said the additional howitzers will be used by the Philippine Army which is at the forefront in the fight against the NPA and the Abu Sayyaf.


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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:35
Chinese CAIC Z-10 Attack Helicopter Crash


05/03/2014 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


A Chinese army attack helicopter crashed on 4 March 2013, hospitalising both its crew members but without causing fatalities.


Operated by the People's Liberation Army Air Force, the CAIC Z-10 helicopter gunship came down in a farmer's field in Shaanxi province, central China. Little information on the crash's circumstances have been released but Chinese media reports indicate that it left controlled flight and descended almost vertically prior to impact.


Images subsequently published intimate that the accident wrote off the helicopter, while eyewitnesses have described how the pilots involved were extracted from the Z-10's two-place cockpit and rapidly relocated to a nearby medical facility.


CAIC Z-10 Attack Helicopter


The CAIC Z-10 attack helicopter equips only the PLAAF. First flown in 2003, it entered service seven years later, with an estimated 60 examples built to date. The Z-10 attack helicopter primarily engages in anti-tank missions but is also capable of air-to-air engagements. Armament includes ADK10 and HJ-8 anti-tank missiles, TY-90 air-to-air missiles and a 30mm nose-mounted cannon.


Roughly the Chinese equivalent of the US-built AH-64 Apache, the Z-10 has a top speed of more than 300 kilometres per hour and an 800+ kilometre range. Like the Apache and other modern-day battlefield helicopter designs, the type has a slim fuselage, minimising its cross-section when viewed on enemy radar screens.


Chinese Helicopter Crash


According to data published by IHS Jane's, it is used by five or more PLAAF aviation regiments: the 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th. The Chinese helicopter crash site's location would suggest that this example served with the 1st Army Aviation Regiment, based in Xinxiang.


The People's Liberation Army Air Force is one element of China's PLA - the largest military forces in the world. Active since the late 1940s, the air force is equipped with a multitude of military aircraft old and new, totalling some 2,500 airframes. On the rotary front, besides the WZ-10, it also flies the Harbin Z-19 and Changhe Z-11 helicopters in the attack role.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:35
Vietnam Upgraded P-18 Radar

P-18 long-range air surveillance radar (photo : kienthuc)


Mar. 5, 2014 Defense Studies

(Kienthuc.net.vn) - Army radar (Air Defense - Air Force) is leading projects to improve and upgrade the radar station P-18 planes of foreign technology.

This information was revealed in an article titled "Quietly waves wing fly away" published recently in the newspaper People's Army.

"... In recent years, along with factory Z119 and the relevant agencies, industry is leading the project radar" investments improved radar station P-18 "with a 100% transfer of technology design and manufacturing creation, "the article said.

P-18 is the realm of mobile radar 2 parameters (NATO designation is Spoon Rest) developed by SKB Design Bureau precursor of Technical Research Institute of Radio NNIIRT Nizhniy Novgorod (Russia) today.

Radar is designed to replace the P-12, in use since 1970 and is widely exported to many countries around the world including Vietnam.

P-18 stations operating in the VHF band, 150-170MHz frequency. It has a range of up to 250km reconnaissance, maximum altitude of 35km, azimuth 360 degrees.

An interesting detail is that, P-18 is able to capture stealth aircraft relatively good. The radar wave absorbing coatings proved ineffective for VHF radar using longer wavelengths.

The radar system includes a car antenna is placed on the Ural-4320 chassis with a control center is also located on the Ural-4320 chassis.

Although quite old but radar station P-18 is still an important component in protecting the entire network radar airspace and territorial waters of Vietnam. In particular, our troops have taken the P-18 radio to strengthen Spratlys defense forces here.

P-18 radar stations are deployed in the Spratlys (photo : kienthuc)

But not disclose details upgrade project P-18, however not exclude the possibility that Vietnam can choose P-18 upgrade package of technical research institute Nizhniy Novgorod NNIIRT Radio (Russia).

Accordingly, radar stations will be equipped with the innovative digital processor capable of distinguishing targets in cluttered environments and better resistance to interference. A built-in self-test detects abnormal error of the system, the control room is equipped with multi-screen display function provides the ability to better target Surveys.

Or it could also be upgraded P-18mA pack of Ukraine to Vietnam many interesting properties. Equipped with microprocessor digital signal MTI, operating frequency range extended from 140-180MHz, generators are modular design is very convenient for maintenance and upgrades.

The range of P-18mA reconnaissance increased to 360km, accuracy decreased from 1,400 m to 180m upgrade no later upgrade. Time to deploy combat-ready reduced from 8 minutes to 3 minutes, the power consumption from 6kW to 10kW. With P-18mA stealth fighter F-117A was "unmask" from a distance of 61km.

"Project completion, Z119 factory can produce all the details of 1 meter wave radar stations; Force helps solve significant problems to ensure proper equipment for a radar system in direct and intensive task directives and guidance. Thereby, has trained a staff, technical staff qualified to meet the technical requirements to ensure that the majority of new conditions. Currently, in order to meet mission requirements increasing training SSCD, the industry has been actively monitoring programs and improved radar and weaponry production, "the article adds.

(Kien Thuc)

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:35
Y-20 Flight Tests Going Well, China Says

Flight-testing of China’s Y-20 four-engined strategic transport aircraft is progressing well, according to the PLA, and has already set new national records for flight testing. (PLA photo)


March 5, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: China Military Online; published March 4, 2014)


Test Flight Frequency of Y-20 Heavy-Duty Transport Aircraft Sets New Record


BEIJING --- The Y-20 heavy-duty transport aircraft is now still at the test flight stage, and its test flight frequency and time already set new records in the test flight history of China, according to Tang Changhong, chief designer of the Y-20 heavy-duty transport aircraft, on March 3, 2014 in Beijing.


Although the commissioning time for Y-20 cannot be disclosed, Tang Changhong said it is hoped that it can be commissioned as early as possible. However, it is important to ensure that there is no risk of failure at all in the aircraft test, and the aircraft can only be put into use under the very precise conditions. The test to date is going on very smoothly. He disclosed that the training of the test flight pilots for large transport aircraft is now underway.


Tang Changhong introduced that according to the current test flight status, all the expected goals have been achieved, and the original design goals for some limit requirements including flight height and flight speed, especially the requirements that the aircraft should possess good anti-bumping performance and be more comfortable have also been achieved.


The Y-20 heavy-duty transport aircraft is the new-generation military transport aircraft independently developed by the Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). Its maximum take-off weight is estimated to be 220 tons, and its maximum payload is 66 tons, which is among the top ten world’s most powerful aircraft in transport capacity.


China declared to launch its large aircraft development project in March 2007. And the Y-20 took off for the first time from China’s Yanliang base at 14:00 on January 26, 2013 for a flight period of one hour. The successful first flight of the Y-20 marked that China has its own large aircraft.


According to the estimation from foreign media, China needs at least 300 Y-20 aircraft, and at the same time, China may also export the Y-20. In this regard, Tang Changhong said that Russia has made more than 800 IL-76 aircraft, and the number of large aircraft in the U.S. is also very large. But different countries have different national conditions, China’s civil and military aviation transport is just at its beginning stage; its perfect transport system is not yet built up, which is now far behind that of developed countries. “Therefore, I believe that through the hard-working, China will have a very big room for development in the future. We also hope to establish cooperation relations with other countries,” Tang said.


As for the guess that China will develop super large transport aircraft after developing the Y-20, Tang Changhong expressed that China currently has no such plan. He pointed out that from the design perspective, the emerge of large transport aircraft not only represents an aircraft model, but more importantly represents the accumulation of a batch of basic technologies, design capabilities and production capabilities. It is actually an upgrading of the industrial level, which will make more contributions to China.


When will the brother series of Y-20 be launched? Tang Changhong replied that: “The present main work is still to carry out the test flight on Y-20’s basic stability, the brother series is not yet considered. Some plans on China’s large transport aircraft are still under discussion, which cannot be disclosed.”


Tang Changhong expressed that Y-20 with a maximum payload of 66 tons and a maximum take-off weight of 220 tons is a very large heavy-duty transport aircraft. He took the example of the U.S. large aircraft’s application and said that the U.S. large transport aircraft have played very important roles in the national construction in the U.S. Therefore, China’s Y-20 not only aims at military application, but also more focuses on civil applications including construction material and equipment transportation, earthquake relief and emergency rescue.


“The performance of Y-20 is very high. It can adapt to relatively hard conditions and can land at small airports in mountain areas. In its design, the adverse weather conditions of frigid zone, high heat area and plateau as well as the runway situation are fully considered,” he said.


Tang Changhong, a Xi’an native, graduated from the major of aerodynamics at the Northwestern Polytechnical University in 1982. He successively participated in the development of the aircraft models including “Flying Leopard” fighter, Y7-200A, MPC-75 and AE-100, as well as the research on major pre-research subjects. He is now the chief designer of the First Aircraft Design Institute under the First Group Company of the AVIC and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE).

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:30
Crise sans précédent au sein du club des monarchies du Golfe



05 mars 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


RYAD - Une crise sans précédent a éclaté au sein du club des monarchies arabes du Golfe, dont trois membres, conduits par l'Arabie saoudite, ont décidé mercredi d'isoler le Qatar, accusé de soutenir activement la mouvance islamiste.


L'Arabie, les Emirats arabes unis et Bahreïn ont rappelé leurs ambassadeurs au Qatar, reprochant à Doha ses ingérences dans les affaires de ses voisins, une première dans l'histoire du Conseil de coopération du Golfe (CCG), qui rassemble depuis 1981 six monarchies du Golfe.


Doha a aussitôt regretté cette décision et affirmé qu'il n'allait pas retirer ses ambassadeurs des trois pays.


Dans un communiqué, le Qatar a évoqué des divergences sur des questions régionales et affirmé sa détermination à respecter ses engagements au sein du CCG, y compris concernant sa stabilité et la sécurité de ses membres.


Le retrait des ambassadeurs a été annoncé au lendemain d'une réunion, houleuse selon la presse, des ministres des Affaires étrangères du CCG à Ryad.


Les pays du CCG ont tout fait auprès du Qatar pour s'entendre sur une politique unifiée (...) garantissant la non-ingérence de façon directe ou indirecte dans les affaires internes de chacun des pays membres, affirment dans un communiqué commun les trois pays.


Ils ont demandé au Qatar de ne soutenir aucune action de nature à menacer la sécurité et la stabilité des Etats membres, citant notamment les campagnes dans les médias, une allusion à Al-Jazeera.


Cette chaîne, outil de la diplomatie du Qatar, a toujours exaspéré les pays de la région, et selon les experts, elle s'emploie à soutenir les islamistes, notamment en Egypte.


L'Egypte a exacerbé les différends


Le communiqué souligne qu'en dépit de l'engagement à respecter ces principes pris par l'émir du Qatar, cheikh Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani, lors d'un mini-sommet avec l'émir du Koweït et le roi d'Arabie à Ryad en novembre, son pays ne les a pas respectés.


Ce mini-sommet, à l'initiative de l'émir du Koweït, cheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, était destiné à surmonter le profond désaccord entre Doha d'une part et Ryad, Abou Dhabi et Manama de l'autre sur la conduite à suivre face au nouveau pouvoir installé par l'armée en Egypte en juillet 2013 après l'éviction du président islamiste Mohamed Morsi.


Les trois pays ont perdu tout espoir d'un changement de la politique du Qatar. Ils ont été profondément déçus, a estimé à l'AFP l'analyste émirati Abdelkhaleq Abdallah.


L'émir du Qatar n'a pas pu honorer son engagement (...) et il semble que la vieille garde est toujours active et influente au Qatar, a-t-il estimé, évoquant l'entourage de cheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al-Thani, qui avait abdiqué en juin en faveur de son fils, Tamim.


Pour Ryad, Abou Dhabi et Manama, il est temps d'exercer des pressions sur le Qatar dans l'espoir que l'isolement de ce pays l'amène à changer sa politique, désormais inacceptable aux plans arabe et régional, a indiqué M. Abdallah.


Ce richissime pays gazier, dont la diplomatie a pris une dimension démesurée dans la foulée du Printemps arabe, s'est ainsi rangé ouvertement du côté des Frères musulmans écartés du pouvoir en Egypte, tandis que les trois autres pays ont apporté un soutien massif tant politique que financier au nouveau pouvoir égyptien.


Outre ce dossier, le Qatar est soupçonné par ses trois voisins de soutenir les islamistes proches des Frères musulmans dans leurs pays, dont des dizaines ont été condamnés à la prison aux Emirats arabes unis.


La justice des Emirats vient de condamner un Qatari à sept ans de prison. Il était poursuivi pour collecte de fonds au profit d'islamistes dans ce pays, accusés de vouloir renverser le régime.


La crise, qui couvait depuis plusieurs mois, s'était déjà manifestée en février par le rappel par les Emirats de leur ambassadeur à Doha, pour protester contre des propos de l'influent prédicateur islamiste Youssef al-Qaradaoui, accusant Abou Dhabi d'hostilité envers les Frères musulmans.


Au Koweït, président en exercice du CCG, le président du Parlement Marzouk al-Ghanem s'est dit très inquiété par le rappel des ambassadeurs, émettant l'espoir que cette mesure n'affectera pas le sommet arabe prévu fin mars à Koweït.


Le CCG comprend, outre l'Arabie saoudite, Bahreïn, les Emirats arabes unis, le Koweït et le Qatar, le sultanat d'Oman, connu pour sa politique réservée.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:30
Raids d'hélicoptères de l'armée syrienne au Liban près de la frontière


05 mars 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


BEYROUTH - Des hélicoptères de l'armée gouvernementale syrienne ont effectué mercredi plusieurs raids au Liban près d'Arsal, une ville frontalière sunnite qui affiche ses sympathies avec les rebelles en Syrie, ont indiqué des témoins et l'agence de presse officielle libanaise.


Les raids ont visé une région montagneuse assez désertique dans les environs d'Arsal, près de la frontière, ont affirmé des témoins.


Selon l'Agence nationale d'information (ANI) les raids ont visé les régions de Kherbet Younine et Wadi Ajram.


Il n'a pas été possible de savoir s'ils ont fait des victimes.


Dans l'après-midi, l'ANI a fait état de raids supplémentaires autour d'Arsal, qui auraient fait des blessés, sans donner plus de détails.


L'aviation et les hélicoptères de l'armée syrienne mènent régulièrement des raids sur la partie libanaise de ce secteur frontalier.


En décembre, pour la première fois, l'armée libanaise avait riposté à l'aide de ses défenses antiaériennes lors d'une attaque similaire près d'Arsal.


Par ailleurs, deux obus ont été tirés à partir de la Syrie sur un secteur inhabité près de Nabi Chit, un village libanais à la frontière syrienne et fief du mouvement chiite libanais Hezbollah qui combat avec l'armée contre les rebelles en Syrie.


Les habitants d'Arsal soutiennent les insurgés contre le régime du président Bachar al-Assad. La ville accueille des dizaines de milliers de réfugiés syriens venus en grande majorité de la région de Qalamoun, proche de la frontière libanaise, où l'armée syrienne et le Hezbollah mènent une offensive d'envergure contre les rebelles.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:30
Tsahal arrête un cargo d’armes en provenance d’Iran


mars 5, 2014 Tsahal


Durant la journée (05/03/14), Tsahal a arrêté une tentative de contrebande d’un cargo rempli d’armes de pointe en provenance d’Iran et destiné aux organisations terroristes opérant dans la bande de Gaza.


L’opération a été rendue possible grâce à une combinaison de renseignements avancés et une capacité opérationnelle importante. Ce cargo devait arriver aux mains des organisations terroristes de Gaza qui se livrent à un conflit constant contre Israël. Ces organisations terroristes utilisent systématiquement de telles armes contre la population civile d’Israël.


La nuit dernière, suite à de longues préparations et après l’autorisation du gouvernement israélien, le chef d’état-major, le lieutenant-général Benny Gantz, a ordonné à la Marine israélienne d’arrêter le cargo Klos-C, au bord duquel était chargées les armes illégales.


Des forces spéciales de la Marine israélienne ont arrêté le cargo en pleine mer, conformément au droit international, et y ont mené une première inspection. Durant les recherches, de nombreuses armes de pointe ont été trouvées. La Marine israélienne est actuellement en train de rapatrier le cargo vers les côtes israéliennes.


Le porte-parole de Tsahal pour la presse internationale, le lieutenant-colonel Peter Lerner, a déclaré : “Tsahal continuera d’agir contre les tentatives iraniennes d’armer les organisations terroristes de la région qui tentent continuellement d’enflammer nos frontières. Nous continuerons à employer tous les moyens nécessaires dans le but d’empêcher l’armement des organisations terroristes et nous combattrons les tentatives de contrebande iraniennes qui menacent la sécurité et la souverainté de l’État d’Israël.”

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
CRS Reports on Littoral Combat Ship Program

March 5, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Congressional Research Service; dated February 25, 2014)


Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress

On February 24, 2014, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Department of Defense (DOD) intends to truncate the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program to 32 ships—a reduction of 20 ships from the previously planned total of 52 LCSs.

Through FY2014, a total of 20 LCSs have been funded. Under the Navy’s FY2014 budget submission, LCSs 21 through 24 were scheduled to be requested for procurement in FY2015.

As a successor to the LCS program, Secretary Hagel announced on February 24 that the Navy is to submit “alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate. I’ve directed the Navy to consider a completely new design, existing ship designs, and a modified LCS.”

DOD’s desire to truncate the LCS program to 32 ships and begin work on a new ship generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate raises several potential oversight questions for Congress, including the analytical basis for DOD’s plan to truncate the LCS program, and the analytical basis and acquisition–process foundation for DOD’s plan to succeed the LCS program with a program for a ship generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate.

The LCS is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular “plug-and-fight” mission packages for countering mines, small boats, and diesel-electric submarines, particularly in littoral (i.e., near-shore) waters. Two very different LCS designs are being built.

One was developed by an industry team led by Lockheed; the other was developed by an industry team that was led by General Dynamics. The Lockheed design is built at the Marinette Marine shipyard at Marinette, WI; the General Dynamics design is built at the Austal USA shipyard at Mobile, AL.

The 20 LCSs procured or scheduled for procurement in FY2010-FY2015 (LCSs 5 through 24) are being procured under a pair of 10-ship, fixed-price incentive (FPI) block buy contracts that the Navy awarded to Lockheed and Austal USA on December 29, 2010.

The LCS program has become controversial due to past cost growth, design and construction issues with the lead ships built to each design, concerns over the ships’ survivability (i.e., ability to withstand battle damage), and concerns over whether the ships are sufficiently armed and would be able to perform their stated missions effectively. Some observers, citing one or more of these issues, have proposed truncating the LCS program. In response to criticisms of the LCS program, the Navy has acknowledged certain problems and stated that it was taking action to correct them, disputed other arguments made against the program, and (until February 24, 2014) maintained its support for completing the planned program of 52 ships.

Click here for the full report (90 PDF pages) hosted by the Federation of American Scientists.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
US Navy Releases FY15 Budget Proposal

March 5, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Navy; issued March 4, 2014)


Department of the Navy Releases Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON --- The Department of the Navy released its proposed $148 billion budget for fiscal year 2015 (FY15), March 4.

The budget is part of the $495.6 billion defense budget President Barack Obama submitted to Congress the same day.

Rear Adm. William Lescher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget, briefed media at the Department of Defense budget press conference about the Navy and Marine Corps portion of the budget.

"Our budget comes during a period of increased fiscal austerity and uncertainty, and at a time when the Combatant Commanders' demand for naval forces continues at very high levels," said Lescher, "There were tough choices made in developing this budget, but it provides the resources that allow us to preserve our warfighting advantage in a thoughtful, responsible way."

This year's budget submission prioritizes funding for forward presence and continues to make critical investments in people and future capabilities.

The proposed budget sustains presence by providing money for ship steaming, flight hours, maintenance and base operations. It funds amphibious ready group and carrier strike group deployments, supports the three ballistic missile defense (BMD)-capable destroyers joining the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) in Rota in FY15, and provides continued support for the rebalance to the Pacific, with $46.8 billion overall in operations and maintenance.

Additional investments are proposed for retaining Sailors through the Quality of Service initiative. The Navy seeks to reduce manning gaps at sea and improve the sea-to-shore flow of personnel.

The Navy has also requested $38.4 billion for ship, aircraft, weapons and other procurement for programs including Littoral Combat Ship, P-8A Poseidon aircraft, Virginia class submarines and the Mk-48 heavy weight torpedo.

Research and development priorities include the Ohio-class replacement submarine, next generation jammer and Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), as well as developing electromagnetic spectrum and cyber capabilities.

The Navy FY15 budget is a $15 billion decrease from the level forecast in last year's budget submission and is a $38 billion reduction over the Future Year Defense Plan from the FY14 Presidential Budget.

"We're confident this budget makes the right choices where needed," said Lescher. "Within our fiscal limitations, this is the budget to continue to ensure near- and long-term wholeness, and to remain the world's most capable Navy," Lescher said.

For more information on the budget:

or visit the Navy Live Blog Navy FY15 Budget: Preserving Presence and Warfighting Capability at http://navylive.dodlive.mil/?p=25297

Click here for the transcript of the March 4 Briefing by Rear Adm. Lescher on the Navy's FY 2015 Budget

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
US Air Force Releases FY15 Budget Request

March 5, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Air Force; issued March 04, 2014)


Air Force Presents FY 15 Budget Request

WASHINGTON --- The Air Force presented its fiscal year 2015 President’s Budget request today, following similar briefings by the Department of Defense and its sister services.

The FY 15 budget request repositions the force to focus on future challenges and opportunities, while continuing to recover readiness lost during sequestration in FY 13, said Maj. Gen. Jim Martin, the Air Force director of budget, who presented the service’s budget request.

“Throughout every step of the process we worked hard to make every dollar count so we could protect the minimum capabilities for today’s warfighting efforts, while also investing in capabilities needed to defeat potential threats in the future,” Martin said.

The Air Force is requesting a topline budget of $109.3 billion in funding the Air Force controls, known as “Blue” funds. The budget request supports a total force end strength of 483,000 personnel and protects the Air Force’s top recapitalization priorities: the KC-46A Pegasus, F-35A Lightning II and the Long Range Strike Bomber.

It divests the U-2 in favor of the Global Hawk in support of the service’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in FY 16, and divests the single-mission A-10 Thunderbolt II in favor of multirole fighters that can better survive in contested environments, Martin said.

The Air Force’s FY 15 budget request also included an additional $7 billion request in the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, to fund additional aircraft modifications, facility repairs, training range improvements and modernization items. Martin said if the Air Force receives the funding, it will also accelerate recapitalization efforts by buying two additional F-35As, 12 MQ-9 Reapers and 10 AC/MC/HC-130s.

The FY 15 budget request meets funding levels laid out in the Bipartisan Budget Act, but for FY 16 through FY 19 the president’s plan calls for an Air Force budget $34 billion above the sequestration levels.

“The Bipartisan Budget Act has provided some relief and allowed us to begin the road to readiness recovery,” Martin said. “But under sequestration, we would again have to take drastic actions resulting in an Air Force that is less ready, less capable, less viable and unable to fully execute defense strategy. That’s why we are seeking this additional funding above the sequestration level.”

If the service is forced to return to sequestration-level funding in FY16, the Air Force would retire the entire KC-10 Extender tanker and Global Hawk Block 40 fleets and buy fewer F-35As, Martin said.

“We believe strongly that sequestration-level spending will compromise our security,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “By making these tough choices today we will set ourselves on a path that we will be the most ready and modernized Air Force in the world, albeit a smaller one. But we need to remain very lethal against any of the potential adversaries that we might face.”

Click here for the US Air Force’s budget mini-website, on the AF website

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
Missile Defense Agency FY15 Budget Overview

March 5, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Missile Defense Agency; issued March 4, 2014)


Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is requesting $7.459 billion in FY 2015 to develop and deploy interceptors, sensors, and command and control, battle management and communications (C2BMC) systems that constitute the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) to provide U.S. homeland defense and regional missile defense for deployed forces, allies, and friends.

The Agency is requesting a total of $37.575 billion from FY 2015 to FY 2019, the period of the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).

The budget protects previously established homeland and regional defense priorities. For Homeland Defense, in response to recent threat developments, the Department increased the planned number of fielded Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) by 14. MDA will maintain our commitment to build out homeland defenses to 44 GBIs by 2017. In addition we will execute a return to intercept flight test in the third quarter 2014. The focus of the test will be on Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system reliability and GBI performance.

Last year MDA began refurbishment of Missile Field 1 at Fort Greely, Alaska (FGA) to develop silo capacity to support emplacement of additional GBIs. We continue to emplace GBIs in Missile Field 2 (MF2), conduct GBI component testing, and refurbish currently deployed GBIs to test and improve their reliability.

MDA will continue to acquire GBIs to support GMD operations, testing, and spares and emplace GBIs in MF2 as we progress towards 44 by the end of 2017. MDA continues to fund operations and sustainment of the GMD weapon system with Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide funds.

MDA will take additional steps to keep pace with the threats to the U.S. homeland. We have requested $99.5 million to initiate the redesign of the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) for GMD. The redesigned EKV will be built with a modular, open architecture and designed with common interfaces and standards, making upgrades easier and broadening our vendor and supplier base.

The redesigned EKV will increase performance to address the evolving threat; improve reliability, availability, maintainability, testability and producibility; and increase in-flight communications to improve usage of off-board sensors information and situational awareness to combatant commanders for enabling new tactics such as shoot-assess-shoot.

The budget also requests $79.5 million to begin development of a Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR). The new LRDR is a mid-course tracking radar that will provide persistent sensor coverage and improve discrimination capabilities against threats to the homeland from the Pacific theater. This new radar also will give the Sea-Based X-band (SBX) radar more geographic deployment flexibility for contingency and test use.

We are also requesting $122 million for Discrimination Improvements for Homeland Defense (DIHD). This investment will develop and field an integrated set of Element capabilities to improve BMDS engagement reliability, lethality, and discrimination. The combined effects of these investments will be a deployed BMDS architecture more capable of discriminating and killing a reentry vehicle with a high degree of confidence that will dramatically improve BMD System capability and Warfighter shot doctrine while preserving inventory.

For Regional Missile Defense, MDA will continue to focus on threats from Asia-Pacific and the Middle East as we continue to support the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to protect our European NATO allies and deployed forces from ballistic missile attacks. The Department met its objectives for EPAA Phase 1 by deploying Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships in the Mediterranean Sea, a land-based radar in Turkey, and Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications system node at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany in 2011.

The next two EPAA phases (Phases 2 and 3) include additional Aegis BMD ships (2014-2015) and Aegis Ashore in Romania in 2015 and in Poland in 2018. Aegis Ashore will be capable of launching Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA, IB, and IIA (delivery in 2018) variants.

Our goal in EPAA Phase 2 is to provide robust capability against Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs) and Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBMs) by ensuring the system provides multiple opportunities to engage each threat missile in flight. The architecture includes the deployment of the Aegis BMD 4.0 and 5.0 weapon systems with SM-3 Block IBs at sea and at an Aegis Ashore site in Romania. The Romania site is on schedule to be available in 2015.

In support of EPAA Phase 3, the SM-3 Block IIA, which we are co-developing with the Japanese government, and an upgraded version of the Aegis Weapons System are on schedule for deployment in 2018 at the Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania and at sea. The upgraded Aegis Weapons System combined with the faster, longer reaching SM-3 IIA will provide capability to counter more sophisticated threats when compared to the SM-3 IA and IB and will extend coverage to NATO allies in Europe threatened by longer range ballistic missiles.

The MDA is requesting $435 million to procure 30 Aegis SM-3 Block IB missiles in FY 2015, for a total of 332 SM-3 Block IB missiles. MDA requests $68.9 million for advance procurement for four long lead items associated with the FY 2016 SM-3 Block IB missile buy to ensure timely delivery to the Combatant Commander. These items include: 1) MK 104 Dual Thrust Rocket Motor, 2) MK 72 Boosters, 3) Integrated Dewar Assemblies and 4) Circuit Card assemblies.

For FY 2015, the MDA is requesting $464 million for THAAD procurement, which includes the purchase of 31 THAAD interceptors. This puts us on a path for an additional THAAD battery, based on warfighter demand and operational need. We will continue to enhance THAAD’s ability to operate through post-intercept debris, enable launch of THAAD’s interceptors using sensor data provided by other BMDS sensors, and maintain capability against current and evolving threats.

We will also deploy a second forward-based X-band AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan, improving homeland and regional defense capabilities and increasing our global operational AN/TPY-2 radar posture, and we will build and improve the C2BMC infrastructure at fielded sites.

In addition to continuing the enhancement of global BMD survivable communications and support for operations and sustainment of C2BMC at fielded sites, in FY 2015 we will integrate Overhead Persistent Infrared data into C2BMC to support cueing of BMD sensors worldwide. We will also improve sensor data integration and battle management in C2BMC to support Aegis BMD cueing and launch-on and engage-on remote capability.

We are developing fiscally sustainable advanced BMD technologies that can be integrated into the BMDS to adapt to threat changes. Our investments are focused on technology that brings upgradeable capability to the warfighter. Our advanced technology investments are determined by systems engineering, which permits us to evaluate and determine which emerging technical solutions will best address gaps in the BMDS and enhance overall BMDS capability and performance. The goals of our investments are to deploy a future BMDS architecture more capable of discriminating and intercepting the reentry vehicle with a high degree of confidence, and to allow warfighters to dramatically improve their shot doctrine.

This budget continues MDA’s longstanding commitment in support of Israeli defensive efforts to include the development of the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS), Upper Tier Interceptor (UTI), Arrow Weapon System Improvements, and procurement of the Iron Dome Weapon System (IDWS). MDA is working with the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) on these programs to include the delivery of Iron Dome batteries and interceptors and long lead item procurements for (DSWS) and (UTI).

Working collaboratively with independent testers and the Services, MDA follows an Integrated Master Test Plan and continues a flight test program using operationally realistic conditions to demonstrate BMD capabilities against current and emerging threats. Robust testing demonstrates BMDS capability while further enhancing war fighter confidence in the performance of the BMDS.

The FY 2015 budget balances capabilities and risks to: deter aggression, protect the interests of the United States and its allies, respond to warfighter requirements, and pursue cost- and operationally-effective capabilities against future threats. To advance the Administration’s missile defense priorities, the FY 2015 MDA’s request for BMD programs is $7.459 billion.

Click here for the FY2015 Appropriations Summary (1 PDF page)

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
US Army Releases FY15 Budget Request

March 5, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Army; issued March 4, 2014)


FY15 Army Budget Request Includes Small Pay Raise, 490K End Strength

WASHINGTON --- Under the Army's fiscal year 2015 budget request, Soldiers will receive a 1 percent pay increase as well as a basic allowance for housing increase of 1.5 percent and a 3.4 percent increase in basic allowance for subsistence.

The rollout of the Army's budget submission, along with those of the other services and the Defense Department was announced today in the Pentagon. Congress will weigh in on the request in the coming months.

The FY15 budget request for the Army is $120.5 billion, down from $125 billion last year and a peak of $144 billion in FY 2010. These figures exclude the overseas contingency operations money for operations in Afghanistan and the reset of returning equipment.

The OCO request for FY15 has not yet been determined, pending the status of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, according to Under Secretary of Defense Robert F. Hale, who addressed the Defense Department's total budget.

The FY15 Army budget reflects a drawdown from FY14's 510,000 to 490,000 for the active component, 354,200 to 350,200 for the National Guard and 205,000 to 202,000 for the Army Reserve. Hale noted that if sequestration continues, active Army end strength could go to 420,000 by FY19.

As for Army civilians, Maj. Gen. Karen E. Dyson, director, Army Budget, said 16,000 civilians were drawn down from the work force in FY13 and the Army "is continuing to analyze future adjustments in light of the drawdown beyond FY15. Her remarks followed Hale's.

Speaking on behalf of the entire DOD, Hale said the "goal is to reduce the civilian workforce by 5 percent between FY14 to FY19."

Dyson said that the Army's budget reflects difficult decisions to accelerate the drawdown in end strength and prioritize near-term readiness for select units, while risking sufficient levels in modernization.

"While the Army's guiding principle is keeping balance in readiness, end strength and modernization, the Army is not in balance in FY15," she added.

Dyson noted that personnel costs for all Army components total 46 percent of the FY15 budget. The next biggest slice is 35 percent for operation and maintenance and 17 percent for procurement, research, development, test and evaluation.

To cut personnel costs, she said the Army's active force "will continue to use force-shaping boards and temporary early retirement authorities to meet the accelerated end strength declines in FY15."

She added that "recruiting and retention for FY15 dropped by an aggregate 8 percent across the total force due partially to the expiration of anniversary payments and declining bonuses."

The Army anticipates 19 combat training center rotations in FY15 to validate brigade combat team readiness for full-spectrum combat capabilities, she said. That training will focus on units preparing to go to South Korea, Afghanistan and the Global Response Force.

For other units not in those categories, training is expected to only reach company or battalion level, while the Guard and Reserve are funded to individual crew and squad level in FY15, she added.

Other priorities reflected in the budget include an emphasis on the regional alignment concept, which she said is critical to the Army's "prevent, shape, win" strategy.

Also, funding for ready and resilient programs will be increased by 46 percent in FY15. These are programs like Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, suicide prevention, transition assistance and sexual assault prevention.

That increased funding level "demonstrates the Army's continued priority to take care of Soldiers, families and civilians," she said.


Davis S. Welch, deputy director, Army Budget, addressed the smallest part of the budget, modernization.

The modernization portion of the budget is $20.1 billion, he said, which translates to "a 6.1 percent reduction from the FY14 enacted level and a 17.3 percent reduction from the FY13 sequestered level."

A major shift in the FY15 budget, he said, included "science and technology funding at (sufficient) levels to mitigate risk to the Army of 2020 and beyond."

Specific investments include $84.8 million for Nett Warrior communications gear and $32.8 million for the M4A1 carbine.

Regarding the carbine, Welch said the money would be used to continue converting M4s to M4A1s. The latest model carbines include heavier barrels for extended life and ambidextrous controls, meaning Soldiers who are left-handed will be able to use the carbines more effectively.

The National Guard will retain UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, CH-47 Chinook helicopters and UH-72A Lakota helicopters, while garnering an additional 111 UH-60s to enhance medevac and lift capabilities. He added that all AH-64 Apache helicopters will transfer to the active component.

The Kiowa Warrior A, C and D helicopter models as well as the TH-67 Creek training helicopters will go out of the inventory and training will commence using the UH-72A, he said.

The AH-64E, along with unmanned aerial systems, will temporarily fulfill the Kiowa's armed aerial scout mission, he said.

The air and missile defense system defends the homeland and the BCTs, he said, adding that nine of the 15 Patriot missile batteries are currently deployed protecting U.S. forces and critical assets.

As such, the budget provides $420 million for procurement of 70 Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement systems, $400 million for Patriot software, $143 million for the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense System, $54 million for Joint Aerostat Project demonstration and $60 million for developing technology for gun, missile and high-energy lasers to defeat rockets, artillery, mortars, UAS and cruise missiles.

Funding for the Ground Combat Vehicle will be discontinued "because it is no longer affordable under the budget constraints," he said. In the interim, funding will go toward improving the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle until resources become available.

The Bradley, along with the Abrams tank, will together receive $549 million for modernization.

The Armor Multi-Purpose Vehicle will get $92 million as it replaces the M113 armored personnel carrier, he said.

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will receive $210 million, which will allow low-rate initial production for 176 vehicles. JLTV replaces the HUMVEE and affords protection similar to the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.

Indirect fire systems to be funded include the AN/TPQ-53 Radar at $247 million, the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System at $173 million, the M119A2 howitzer at $73 million, the Army Tactical Missile System at $49 million and indirect fire science and technology at $56 million.

Unmanned aerial systems funded include the Grey Eagle at $237 million and the Shadow at $142 million.

The Army's intelligence network, known as the Distributed Common Ground System, will get $148 million for continued development and testing.

For a full FY15 budget, download the pdf: http://asafm.army.mil/Documents/OfficeDocuments/Budget/budgetmaterials/fy15//overview.pdf

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 16:55
MMP - photo MBDA

MMP - photo MBDA


05 March 2014 by defenceWeb


The global market for shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.03% to reach $3.2 billion by the end of 2020, according to a new report.


Due to economic downturn, major countries like the U.S. and U.K. are witnessing economic difficulties, according to the report entitled, "Shoulder Fired Anti-Tank, Anti-Aircraft Short Range Missiles and RPG Market - Global Forecasts and Analysis to 2014 - 2020". The US has witnessed budget cuts in the recent past and it is likely to continue in the near future - it has announced a budget cut of $178 billion for 2011-2015. Brazil, India, South Korea, China, and Japan are the new leaders in their region, due to their defence spending and their current national security situation.


Key players like Raytheon, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, Raytheon Company Alliant Techsystems (ATK), MBDA, and Lockheed Martin play a major role in the industry.


Late last year Forecast International predicted that manufacturers will produce 200 000 anti-armour missiles worth $9.7 billion through 2022. The company said that combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere have spurred anti-armour purchases by the U.S. and other militaries. Ironically, these missiles are not engaging tanks, but rather a host of other target types – from terrorist hideouts to unarmoured pickup trucks. Established market players have benefitted from this evolving trend, according to Forecast International.


"U.S. and Israeli firms still have the largest share of the anti-armour missile market," said Larry Dickerson, Forecast International's senior missile analyst. During this period, "Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Rafael will earn $2.8 billion selling anti-armour missiles to customers worldwide," Dickerson said.


The market positions of these manufacturers have become increasingly intertwined. For example, Lockheed Martin has cooperated with Raytheon in the development and production – and marketing – of the FGM-148 Javelin man-portable anti armour missile system. The Javelin is the U.S. Department of Defence's standard man-portable anti-tank guided weapon, and nearly a dozen nations employ it.


Meanwhile, new systems are emerging overseas. "Europe is working on next-generation systems to win back the market share it once had," Dickerson said. These include the Missile Moyenne Portee (MMP) and the Missile Longue Portee (MLP), which will replace MILAN and HOT, respectively.


For its part, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems is Israel's leading anti-armour missile manufacturer. Against most expectations, Israel has slowly secured export production contracts for its anti-armour missiles and from an area once thought to present few opportunities – Europe. Rafael can count seven European countries as customers of its family of SPIKE anti-armour missiles, providing a stable production base for the company, according to Forecast International.


Companies are also working on new lightweight missiles that can perform various missions and demonstrate the blurring between different markets. "Missiles are slowly evolving, becoming more than just a weapon for use against tanks or aircraft or bunkers," Dickerson said. "Eventually, the anti-tank missile market will cease to be an independent entity, becoming submerged in a larger strike weapons market."

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 16:50
photo Fincantieri

photo Fincantieri


4 mars 2014. Portail des Sous-Marins


Deux mois après l’acceptation définitive de la frégate Virginio Fasan, la marine italienne a reçu la 3è frégate FREMM, baptisée Carlo MARGOTTINI. La cérémonie s’est déroulée au chantier naval Fincantieri de La Spezia (Italy). La frégate Margottini est en configuration anti-sous-marine.


La livraison de 3 bâtiments entièrement opérationnels en seulement 9 mois est le résultat des synergies obtenues entre l’OCCAR [1], la marine italienne et les industriels.


Pour l’Italie, le programme prévoit la construction de 10 frégates, dont 8 sont déjà financées. Le calendrier contractuel du programme est respecté. La prochaine échéance est le lancement, le 29 mars, de la frégate CARABINIERE, la 3è en version ASM.


Notes : [1] Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation.


Référence : Navy Recognition

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 16:40
Trente-cinq observateurs de l'OSCE à Odessa en Ukraine


05.03.2014 Romandie.com (ats)


Trente-cinq observateurs militaires de l'OSCE, issus de 18 pays, sont partis mercredi vers l'Ukraine. Ils commenceront leur mission dans la ville d'Odessa, au sud, et doivent rester une semaine dans le pays. Il n'est pas encore sûr qu'ils puissent se rendre en Crimée.


Les observateurs, non armés et qui ne comptent aucun Suisse, devront clarifier "les doutes portant sur les activités militaires de la Russie sur le territoire ukrainien". Leur démarche s'inscrit dans les "mesures pour la sécurité et devant renforcer la confiance" de l'OSCE, souligne l'Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe (OSCE).


Plan d'aide de l'UE


En outre, la Commission européenne a présenté un plan d'aide "d'au moins 11 milliards d'euros" en faveur de l'Ukraine, à la veille du sommet européen extraordinaire. L'aide s'étalerait sur les deux prochaines années, a déclaré le président de l'exécutif européen, José Manuel Barroso.


"Aujourd'hui, la Commission européenne a identifié un programme d'aide à l'Ukraine. Ceci est notre contribution au sommet des chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement de demain (jeudi)", a annoncé M. Barroso.


Gel d'avoirs


L'UE va d'ailleurs geler à partir de jeudi les avoirs dans l'Union de 18 responsables ukrainiens impliqués dans les violences survenues à Kiev en février, a-t-on appris mercredi de source diplomatique. La liste européenne pourrait inclure le président déchu Viktor Ianoukovitch.


La liste de ces 18 personnalités sera publiée jeudi au Journal officiel de l'UE, juste avant la tenue à Bruxelles du sommet européen extraordinaire consacré à la crise ukrainienne.


Réunion à l'Elysée


Enfin, François Hollande a réuni à l'Elysée plusieurs chefs de diplomatie pour évoquer la situation en Ukraine, a constaté un journaliste de Reuters.


Etaient présents le secrétaire d'Etat américain, John Kerry, le chef de la diplomatie russe, Sergueï Lavrov, et leurs homologues français, britannique et allemand, Laurent Fabius, William Hague et Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 16:40
Plus qu'une guerre froide, un défi stratégique pour l'Europe


05 mars 2014 par Laurent Marchand – Tout un monde


Est-ce une facilité de langage ? Un parallèle fondé ? Une image trompeuse ? Toujours est-il que depuis quelques mois une expression est revenue dans le débat international. Vingt-cinq ans après la chute de l’URSS, une nouvelle guerre froide pointerait son nez. Sur les droits de l’homme en Russie, la crise syrienne,  l’Ukraine. On croyait le cauchemar fini, le voici réapparaître. Qui plus est, sous un visage parfait pour le rôle. Celui de Vladimir Poutine, dont le pédigrée soviétique ne fait aucun doute.


Est-on vraiment entré dans une nouvelle guerre froide ? Plusieurs éléments, et de taille, manquent à l’appel. De 1947 à 1989, l’opposition entre Washington et Moscou reposait sur deux modèles idéologiques et économiques totalement antagonistes. Les deux superpuissances nourrissaient une vocation universaliste, mais étaient militairement presque à égalité. Occupant toutes deux une Europe qui, en deux guerres, s’était suicidée. Enfin, leur terrain de jeu était planétaire, à tel point d’ailleurs que la guerre qu’elles se livraient sur les autres continents  n’avaient, elle, rien de froid.

Tout ceci n’existe plus aujourd’hui. La mondialisation financière a, en outre, brouillé les pistes. Parler de guerre froide a donc davantage pour effet de réactiver une peur que d’élucider une situation. Or, ce qu’il se passe en Ukraine est complexe et dangereux, mais n’a rien d’impromptu. Et on ne saurait tout réduire à la seule volonté néo-impérialiste (pourtant réelle) de Poutine.

Le fil de cette crise peut être ramené loin en arrière dans l’Histoire. Un tournant, pourtant, a eu lieu en novembre. Au sommet de Vilnius, l’Union européenne entendait couronner son partenariat oriental par la signature d’un accord d’association avec plusieurs pays, dont l’Ukraine. Vu d’Occident, où les bonnes intentions démocratiques ne manquent jamais, cela signifiait placer ces pays sur une pente vertueuse. La contamination par le libre-échange et l’Etat de droit était censé opérer sur les rives du Dniepr comme cela avait été le cas, il y a dix ans, sur celles du Danube ou de la Vistule.

Vu de Moscou, en revanche, l’accord était en soit vécu comme une ingérence. Une intrusion dans la « sphère d’intérêts privilégiés », comme l’appelle la doctrine militaire russe. D’où le projet alternatif d’Union eurasiatique concoctée par Moscou pour placer Kiev (et d’autres) non plus entre deux mondes (l’Europe et la Russie) mais face à un choix (l’Europe ou la Russie). Comme deux régionalismes qui s’affrontent. Exclusifs l’un de l’autre.

A Bruxelles, on aime rappeler que les cartes de l’UE et celles de l’Otan ne coïncident pas. A Moscou, depuis 1991, on n’imagine jamais l’une sans l’autre. En promettant en décembre quinze milliards de dollars à une Ukraine en banqueroute, Poutine lançait un « alt ! » à l’UE. En prenant de facto le contrôle de la Crimée ce week-end, c’est à l’Otan que le message est adressé.

Repliée sur elle-même, l’Amérique ne se battra pas pour Kiev. Elle a du gaz, du pétrole et, commercialement, échange relativement peu avec la Russie. 40 milliards de dollars par an, contre les 460 milliards d’import/export entre les pays européens et la Russie (lire article du NYT). Ce qui facilite pour Washington la voie des sanctions économiques. L’Europe, elle, commerce dix fois plus avec Moscou. Certes, le levier énergétique se neutralise (l’Europe dépend du gaz russe tout comme Gazprom dépend d’elle), mais un défi stratégique est lancé à l’Europe. Où entend-elle placer ses propres lignes rouges? Si celles de Washington ont tendance à pâlir, celles de Moscou sont, elles,  toujours aussi nettes.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 16:40
Premier entretien Kerry-Lavrov à Paris sur l'Ukraine


05 mars 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


PARIS - Les chefs de la diplomatie américaine et russe, John Kerry et Sergueï Lavrov, ont eu mercredi à Paris un entretien sur l'Ukraine à l'issue d'une réunion sur le Liban, en présence du président français François Hollande, a-t-on appris de sources diplomatiques.


A la fin d'un déjeuner de travail à l'Elysée du Groupe de soutien international (GIS) au Liban, MM. Kerry et Lavrov se sont retrouvés pour un café sur la terrasse ensoleillée du palais présidentiel, avec leurs homologues français et allemand, Laurent Fabius et Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a constaté un journaliste de l'AFP. Ils ont alors parlé de l'Ukraine, selon plusieurs sources diplomatiques.


C'est la première fois depuis la prise de contrôle d'une grande partie de la Crimée ce week-end par la Russie, que le chef de la diplomatie russe Sergueï Lavrov se retrouvait face-à-face avec la plupart de ses homologues occidentaux.


Au cours des derniers jours, les invectives ont fusé entre l'Occident et la Russie, les Occidentaux accusant la Russie d'avoir violé le droit international, tandis que Moscou rejetait leurs menaces de sanctions à son égard.


Lundi soir, le ministre russe avait longuement rencontré en Suisse l'Allemand Frank-Walter Steinmeier mais ce dernier avait indiqué mardi qu'aucune solution n'était en vue pour l'Ukraine. Jeudi, un sommet européen extraordinaire a été convoqué à Bruxelles pour prendre d'éventuelles mesures coercitives contre la Russie.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 16:40
Ukraine: les experts relativisent la menace d'une invasion russe


05 mars 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


LONDRES - Sans minorer la gravité de la crise en Ukraine, les experts militaires relativisent la menace d'une offensive généralisée russe. Principales raisons avancées: l'armée ukrainienne héritière de l'ère soviétique reste un adversaire non négligeable... et Moscou a peut-être déjà atteint son principal objectif en occupant la Crimée.


Le Kremlin ne va pas s'aventurer dans une guerre de grande ampleur contre l'Ukraine. Si la Russie décidait de passer à l'attaque, ce serait un désastre. Ils ne veulent pas le faire, ils n'ont pas besoin de le faire, assure à l'AFP Igor Sutyagin, spécialiste auprès du Royal United Services (RUSI), prestigieux institut londonien.


L'Ukraine ne saurait être comparée à la Géorgie, où l'armée russe s'était imposée à la faveur d'une guerre-éclair en 2008, relève pour sa part Matthew Clements, du groupe de défense Jane's intelligence review. Son armée constituerait un véritable défi militaire pour la Russie. D'autant qu'une offensive généralisée pourrait révéler les faiblesses dans la capacité (de l'armée russe) à organiser des opérations combinées terre-air-mer.


Ben Barry, général britannique à la retraite désormais expert auprès de l'Institut International d'Etudes Stratégiques (IISS), doute aussi des intentions russes. Même si sur le papier, la Russie dispose d'une supériorité considérable.


- Une armée post-soviétique -


La Russie aligne six fois plus de soldats, deux fois plus de réservistes et de chars d'assaut, six fois plus d'avions de combat, et 19 fois plus de navires de guerre, selon l'IISS.


Face à elle, l'armée ukrainienne forte de 130.000 hommes n'en est pas moins crédible, juge Igor Sutyagin. En dépit de ses tares.


C'est une armée obsolète dotée d'un équipement qui date de l'ère soviétique.


Elle compte un trop grand nombre de conscrits, en raison des retards dans les projets de professionnalisation. N'a pas de défense aérienne, si l'on excepte 36 batteries hors d'âge.


L'IISS relève aussi le manque de pièces détachées qui cloue au sol nombre d'avions et rend inapte au service en mer quantité de navires, à commencer par son unique sous-marin.


D'autre part, s'il n'existe aucun doute sur l'obéissance aux ordres dans l'armée russe, on peut se poser la question des allégeances dans les rangs ukrainiens, où des défections sont à craindre, selon Ben Barry.


Cependant, si les Ukrainiens ont l'impression d'être victimes d'une agression russe, cela pourrait grandement renforcer le moral des troupes et le soutien de la population aux forces armées ukrainiennes, tempère aussitôt le général.


Les forces régulières pourraient compter sur le soutien de milices d'auto-défense et de partisans, confirme Igor Sutyagin.


- Mission accomplie en Crimée? -


Interrogé sur les scénarios possibles, il n'exclut pas que Moscou alimente une certaine instabilité dans l'est de l'Ukraine où résident d'importantes populations russes.


En termes purement militaires, une invasion est plausible, mais la vraie question est de savoir si le Kremlin n'a pas d'ores et déjà atteint ses objectifs, s'interroge Ben Barry.


Le président Vladimir Poutine a assuré mardi que l'envoi de troupes en Ukraine n'était pas nécessaire pour le moment. Dans les faits, l'armée russe est sur place en Crimée, avec probablement le soutien des forces spéciales, les redoutés Spetsnaz, dit le général.


L'occupation de la Crimée constitue un levier puissant dans les négociations avec l'Ukraine secrètement en cours ou à venir.


Si la Crimée voulait vraiment devenir un protectorat russe, et déclarer son autonomie, faire sécession avec Kiev, alors la Crimée est en très bonne position pour parvenir à ses fins dit-il. Il est possible que la Russie s'en contente, et que sa stratégie soit d'éviter le conflit armé.


Igor Sutyagin est plus radical dans l'analyse. Les Russes vont s'employer à maintenir la situation sous contrôle en Crimée, jusqu'à la tenue d'un référendum. Ils veulent établir un pays semi-indépendant qui serait une marionnette contrôlée depuis Moscou, afin d'influencer la politique de Kiev. Ni plus ni moins, ils ne vont pas combattre.


Quoi qu'il en soit, la première leçon de la crise en cours est inquiétante, si elle signifie qu'après toutes ces années passées à crier au loup au sujet des visées expansionnistes de la Russie, le loup a fini par sortir du bois, remarquent deux chercheurs, Samuel Charap et Keith Darden, dans une analyse diffusée par l'IISS.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 16:40
Ukraine: l'OSCE envoie une mission militaire à l'invitation de Kiev



VIENNE, 5 mars - RIA Novosti


Dix-huit pays membres de l'Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe (OSCE) envoient en Ukraine, sur son invitation, 35 militaires non armés en réponse aux préoccupations de Kiev concernant des "activités militaires inhabituelles" dans le pays, rapporte mercredi l'OSCE.

"J'espère que cette mission militaire va aider à une désescalade des tensions en Ukraine. Procédant à une évaluation objective des faits sur le terrain, l'OSCE pourra mieux contribuer au règlement politique de la crise actuelle à travers le dialogue", a déclaré le secrétaire général de l'OSCE Lamberto Zannier, cité dans le communiqué.

Selon M.Zannier, les "mesures de renforcement de la confiance et de la transparence sont des éléments clés de l'approche de l'OSCE en matière de sécurité".

Les militaires sont déjà en chemin vers l'Ukraine et la ville d'Odessa, dans le sud du pays. Kiev a demandé à l'OSCE l'envoi d'une telle mission du 5 au 12 mars. Il s'agit d'un total de 35 observateurs militaires non armés, provenant de 18 pays membres de l'Organisation qui se sont portés volontaires pour participer à la mission, dont les Etats-Unis, la France, l'Allemagne, le Canada ou le Royaume-Uni.

L'envoi de la mission s'inscrit dans le cadre du Document de Vienne, ratifié par les 57 Etats membres de l'OSCE et prévoyant des consultations et des coopérations en cas d'activités militaires inhabituelles ou de tensions accrues sur leurs territoires.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 16:30
Israel Sizes a Gaza-Bound Shipload of M-302 Heavy Rockets

Israeli naval commandos inspecting wooden carts containing Syrian made M-302 rockets loaded on the KLOS-C at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. the rockets were later covered with another cargo of cement, loaded at the Iraqi port of Um Qasr. The destination of the cargo was Port Sudan in the Red Sea. Photo: IDF


March 5, 2014 by Tamir Eshel - defense-update.com


Earlier today the IDF naval forces have seized a large shipment of weapons sent from Iran and destined to the Gaza strip. The shipment was discovered on a cargo vessel intercepted in the Red Sea on its way from Iran to Sudan. The vessel is currently heading under Israeli control to the Israeli port of Eilat, where it is expected to anchor in 2-3 days. The operation, code named “Full Disclosure” was based on precise intelligence collected throughout the Middle east, that enabled the IDF to locate, track and eventually seize the shipment en-route to the Gaza Strip.

Last night, following extensive preparations, and on the government’s authorization, the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, ordered the Israel Navy to intercept the Klos-C, a Panama registered cargo vessel that departed from the port of Um Qasr in Iraq 22 February carrying civilian cargo. IDF naval commandos that boarded the vessel have found a load of Syrian made M-302 (302mm) heavy rockets. The Israeli raid took place a day before the ship was set to dock in Sudan, some 1,500 kilometers off the coast of Israel.

The KLOS-C loaded the rockets at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. From there she sailed to the port of Umm Qasr in Iraq, taking another load of cement destined to Port Sudan in the Red Sea.

The KLOS-C loaded the rockets at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. From there she sailed to the port of Umm Qasr in Iraq, taking another load of cement destined to Port Sudan in the Red Sea.

Several months ago, IDF intelligence identified a weapons transfer of M-302 rockets, known to be manufactured in Syria, from Damascus to Tehran. These rockets were being flown from the International Airport in Damascus to Iran in a move carefully orchestrated by the Quds Force. This unusual event caught the attention of Israeli intelligence, as most arms transfers are taking place from Iran to Syria, not vice versa.

After landing in Tehran the shipment was moved to the port of Bandar Abbas, south of the Straits of Hormoz, where it was subsequently loaded onto a Panama registered commercial cargo vessel identified as the KLOS-C. This is the same port used to load up the Francop, another ship involved in an Iranian weapon smuggling attempt in 2009.

From Bandar Abbas the KLOS-C sailed to Umm Qasr Port in Iraq. It was loaded with more containers, all
holding bags of cement – in an attempt to obscure its true cargo and Iranian connection. From Iraq the ship headed towards Port Sudan. As the ship entered the Red Sea, it was intercepted by Israeli naval forces, including missile ships and the Naval Commando (Shayetet 13) who boarded the vessel and uncovered its illegal cargo. The Israeli authorities believe that the rocket cargo would have been unloaded in Port Sudan and the rockets would have been transferred via land, through the Sinai Peninsula reaching Gaza few weeks later.

The KLOS-C seen at one of its recent port visits. Photo: Super Jeeg, Marinetraffic.com

The KLOS-C seen at one of its recent port visits. Photo: Super Jeeg, Marinetraffic.com

According to Israeli assessments, KLOS-C may not be the first arms smuggling ship that is intercepted by the IDF, but it is distinguished by the lethality and quality of its cargo – previous shipments contained standard weaponry such as mortars, rifle ammunition, and 122/220mm rockets rockets. This shipment, while certainly containing some of these, comprised weapons with a dramatically larger strike range and substantially heavier rocket warheads than previously seen in the region.

M-302 rockets were used against Israel during the 2006 war, fired by Hezbollah against targets in Central Israel. The basic model first appeared during the early 1990s carrying a 170kg warhead over a range of 90-100 km (55-60 miles). It have since evolved into different variants offering strike ranges between 100 to 215 km and warhead weight of 175 – 125 kg.

Seizing the weapons cargo of the KLOS-C is one in a series of successful operations conducted by the Israel Navy, against Iranian weapons shipments destined to Gaza in recent years. On January 22nd, 2002, Isreali Navy commandos boarded the merchant vessel Karine-A which had been purchased by Palestinian owners in order to smuggle weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip. The ship had loaded 50 tons of weapons in Iran, sailed through the Persian Gulf and was stopped on its way to Israel. In 2009 the Israel Navy intercepted the Antiguan registered Francop, that carried 500 tons of Iranian-made weapons. Iranian weapons were also found on the Cypriot merchant vessel Monchegors when boarded by Capriot inspectors. On March 2011, Israeli Navy commandos boarded the civilian vessel Victoria as she was heading from Syria to the Egyptian port city Alexandria. The ship was carrying approximately 50 tons of concealed weaponry, including Iranian-made C-704 surface-to-sea missiles, mortars and ammunition. The shipment was intended for terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 15:50
NATO Secretary General - Statement following North Atlantic Council meeting, 04 March 2014

4 mars 2014 NATO


Statement to the media by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Ramussen following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council - 04 Mar 2014

We have just met at Poland's request to hold consultations within the framework of Article 4 of the Washington Treaty.

This article states that we will consult whenever any Ally thinks that the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any NATO member is threatened.
Despite repeated calls by the international community, Russia continues to violate Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continues to violate its international commitments.
These developments present serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro‑Atlantic area.
NATO Allies stand together in the spirit of strong solidarity in this grave crisis.
So we undertake to intensify our rigorous and on-going assessment of the implications of this crisis for Alliance security. We will do this in close coordination and consultation.
We continue to support all constructive efforts for a peaceful solution to the current crisis in accordance with international law.
We will continue to consult with Ukraine within the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
And we will engage with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council. And we will hold a meeting tomorrow.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 15:35
Un missile nord-coréen a failli toucher un avion de ligne chinois



05/03/2014 Fabrice Gliszczynski – LaTribune.fr


Selon le ministère de la défense sud-coréen, un avion de China Southern transportant 220 passagers, qui venait de décoller de Tokyo est passé, ce mardi, sur la trajectoire d’un missile lancé sept minutes plus tôt par la Corée du Nord. Il aurait pu le toucher selon Seoul en redescendant.



Cela aurait pu être une terrible catastrophe avec de lourdes conséquences diplomatiques. Selon le ministère de la défense sud-coréen, un avion de China Southern (transportant 220 passagers est passé, ce mardi, sur la trajectoire d'une roquette lancée sept minutes plus tôt par la Corée du Nord. Il s'agit d'un d'un Airbus A321 selon l'agence Yonhap.


Le missile aurait pu toucher l'avion

 Après avoir décollé de l'aéroport de Tokyo Narita, l'avion CZ 628 de la compagnie chinoise volait en direction de Shenyang en Chine, quand la Corée du Nord a lancé une roquette à 16h17 (heure locale), a déclaré à Bloomberg, Kim Min Seok, porte-parole du ministre de la défense de la Corée du sud. L'avion qui volait à une altitude de 10 kilomètres (32,800 pieds) à 16h24 traversa la trajectoire du missile qui a atteint une altitude de 20 kilomètres, selon Kim Min Seok. "En redescendant, la  roquette aurait pu toucher l'avion", a-t-elle dit. "La Corée du Nord n'a donné aucun avertissement. C'était un acte inattendu et immoral à l'encontre des règles internationales", a-t-elle ajouté.


Sept missiles tirés mardi

La Corée du Nord a tiré mardi sept roquettes de faible portée dans la mer, dont quatre ont volé plus de 150 kilomètres, suffisant pour atteindre Seoul. "Les tirs ont atteint leurs cibles au-delà de la côte orientale", a indiqué l'agence officielle nord Korean News Agency, citant un porte-parole de la défense nord-coréenne.

Toutes les troupes nord-coréennes sont en "alerte spéciale" en réponse aux manœuvres militaires que mènent chaque année les Etats-Unis et la Corée du Sud et qui ont débuté le 25 février, a déclaré ce mercredi Kim Kwang Woo, le ministre de la défense sud-coréenne. La Corée du Nord demande chaque année l'annulation de ces manoeuvres.


Discussions à haut niveau

Le lancement de missiles a commencé le 21 février, alors que les relations entre Séoul et Pyongyang sont entrées dans un calme relatif. En témoigne les discussions entamées mi-février entre deux délégations des deux Corée, les premières depuis 2007. Ils ont notamment abordé la reprise du programme des réunions des familles séparées par la guerre de Corée (1950-1953). Le 23 février des dizaines de Sud-Coréens, la plupart très âgés ont traversé la frontière pour retrouver en Corée du Nord des proches dont ils sont séparés depuis la fin de la guerre (1950-1953). Ces réunions de famille étaient les premières depuis 2010 La Corée du Nord a donné son accord alors qu'elle exigeait au préalable l'annulation des exercices militaires.

Les premières réunions datent de 1985. Elles avaient ensuite été suspendues pendant quinze ans. Un sommet intercoréen historique en 2000 a permis leur reprise. Le programme a de nouveau été interrompu en 2010 après le bombardement par la Corée du Nord d'une île sud-coréenne située sur leur frontière maritime, contestée par Pyongyang.

 Pyongyang possède des centaines de missiles de courte portée et a développé et testé - avec un succès mitigé - des missiles de moyenne portée. Le Nord affirme posséder un missile intercontinental, mais les experts en doutent. Le Nord continue de construire un pas de tir pour des missiles à long rayon d'action a précisé ce mercredi Kim Kwang Woo, le ministre de la défense sud-coréenne.

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