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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:55
Préparation opérationnelle-  les éclaireurs de l’EEI 2eDB se forment au Milan

23/09/2013 LTN MORELLE - Sources : 12e RC - Armée de Terre

 

Du 2 au 23 septembre 2013, l’escadron d’éclairage et d’investigation de la 2e brigade blindée a réalisé une formation de spécialité élémentaire ACMP (arme antichar moyenne portée), en vue de sa future projection au Mali en 2014.

 

Plus d’une trentaine de jeunes « éclaireurs » ont suivi cette formation de trois semaines, au quartier du 12e régiment de cuirassiers (12eRC) d’Olivet, afin d’acquérir les savoir-faire inhérents à l’utilisation du système de tir Milan.

 

Destiné au combat antichar à moyenne portée et capable de tirer ses missiles de jour comme de nuit grâce à sa lunette thermique, le système de tir Milan est un armement de pointe complexe, qui doit être parfaitement maîtrisé par un binôme indispensable à son bon fonctionnement : le chef de pièce et le tireur.

 

Après de nombreuses heures d’apprentissage, les stagiaires ont appris à déployer leurs postes de tir dans des temps records, afin d’appliquer des feux au plus vite, au sol ou sur véhicule blindé léger (VBL). Puis ils ont poursuivi leur entraînement par une longue série de séances de tir sur simulateur.

 

Après une évaluation finale des acquis, les jeunes tireurs Milan se sont vus attribuer le précieux CATi (certificat d’aptitude au Tir), qui leur permettra d’envoyer des missiles réels contre les cibles du CEITO et du CEITA (centres d’entraînement de tirs opérationnels) en octobre et novembre prochain. Ils formeront ainsi les 6 futures patrouilles antichars, projetées sur le théâtre malien en 2014.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:55
MBDA : bonjour les vaches maigres…

23.09.2013 par Frédéric Lert (FOB)

 

FOB termine avec Antoine Bouvier, PDG de MBDA, son tour d’horizon des auditions menées par la commission de la Défense à l’assemblée nationale. MBDA, qui est né en 2001 du regroupement des principaux missiliers européens, a réalisé un chiffre d’affaires annuel moyen de 800 M€ avec la France pour les années 2008-2010. Un niveau d’activité élevé dû à des pics de livraisons sur les missiles Mica et Aster, et un chiffre qui fait aujourd’hui envie…

 

« Nous sommes aujourd’hui en discussion avec la DGA pour des réductions de format sur la plupart de nos programmes soulignait Antoine Bouvier devant la commission de la Défense nationale. (…) Notre estimation de ce que pourrait être le flux annuel moyen pendant la LPM est de 500 M€ ». De 800 à 500, la baisse est supérieure à 30%. Mais si l’on applique l’inflation, la réduction du budget que le client français consacre à MBDA et la filière missile serait plus proche de 40%. Sans compter qu’il s’agit de comparer des budgets « réalisés » à des budgets « estimés ». Or on sait bien qu’il y a loin de la coupe aux lèvres en matière de LPM et que la perte en ligne est parfois sévère entre ce qui est annoncé et ce qui est effectivement réalisé… Clairement, le fabricant de missiles MBDA souffre de la priorité donnée aux plateformes au détriment des munitions emportées…

 

Pour limiter la casse au niveau des activités de développement, le gouvernement a choisi de faire porter l’effort budgétaire sur les activités de fabrication et les contrats en cours. « Un choix que nous soutenons » note Antoine Bouvier. Il n’empêche : la potion s’annonce très amère pour le missilier qui va devoir réduire ses activités de développement de 20% et les productions de 40 à 50%. On peut à ce stade se demander ce qu’il restera à fabriquer dans les usines du groupe, d’autant que les réductions de commandes annoncées s’imputeront sur des grands programmes dont les livraisons ont déjà commencé pour certains. Avec, répétons-le, la possibilité (si l’on est optimiste) ou la probabilité (si l’on est pessimiste) que les promesses actuelles de la LPM ne soient pas respectées, ce qui ferait encore baisser le niveau des commandes. Globalement, MBDA estime à 500 équivalents temps plein au sein du groupe et de ses sous-traitants de la filière missile les pertes d’emploi directement liées à la LPM.

 

Face à cet horizon morose, Antoine Bouvier pouvait toutefois faire état de sa satisfaction sur deux points : le premier est le lancement du programme MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée) destiné à remplacer les Milan. « On revient de très très loin a-t-il martelé. Et « on », ce n’est pas seulement MBDA : c’est aussi l’armée de Terre et toute la communauté industrielle liée à ce programme ». Pour sauver le MMP, MBDA s’est engagé à prendre 75% des coûts de développement. « Une proposition exceptionnelle, parce qu’on ne pouvait pas se résoudre à ce que le missile terrestre devienne uniquement américain ou israélien ». MBDA attend désormais une notification du contrat pour la fin d’année, indispensable pour tenir une mise en service prévue pour 2017. Les discussions portent actuellement avec la DGA sur une tranche ferme de 1500 missiles et MBDA évoque toujours un objectif de 9000 ventes à l’export.

 

MBDA : bonjour les vaches maigres…

Autre raison d’espérer, le programme de missile ANL (Anti Navire Léger) dont MBDA attend désormais le lancement officiel à l’occasion d’un prochain sommet franco-britannique, fin 2013 ou début 2014. L’écueil pour un développement conjoint entre Paris et Londres tient moins aux caractéristiques techniques qu’aux divergences de calendrier entre les deux pays. Pour combler ce décalage, MBDA travaille d’ores et déjà avec Eurocopter sur des solutions d’intégration à minima du futur missile sur les hélicoptères Panther de la marine nationale.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Calendrier des think tanks à Bruxelles Mise à jour : Lundi 23 Septembre 2013

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

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Third Astute submarine named Artful

Artful, the latest Royal Navy Astute Class submarine, is unveiled in Barrow-in-Furness (Picture Andrew Linnett, UK MoD)

 

20 September 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

The Royal Navy's third Astute Class attack submarine has been formally named.


 

The new submarine was named Artful in a traditional ceremony at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness.

Marking this milestone in the vessel’s construction, Lady Amanda Zambellas, the wife of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, named the submarine in the classic tradition of breaking a bottle on her bow; in this instance a bottle of beer from a local Cumbrian brewery.

Artful and her crew
Artful and her crew at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

The naming ceremony comes just 2 months after MOD announced that the first 2 of the 7 Astute Class submarines, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, were nearing completion of their extensive sea trials and have been handed over to the Royal Navy to begin to prepare for operations.

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

HMS Artful is the third in our fleet of Astute Class submarines, the largest and most advanced attack submarines ordered by the Ministry of Defence; providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability for the Royal Navy.

Artful's crest shows an unspecified species of primate
Artful's crest shows an unspecified species of primate, chosen in 1945 by the Admiralty Advisor on Heraldry for the first vessel to hold the name [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Mr Dunne added that the Astute submarine building programme represents a significant investment by the government and is set to sustain more than 5,000 jobs in the UK.

Admiral Zambellas said:

Today’s naming ceremony in Barrow for Artful adds another capable nuclear submarine to the gathering momentum in the Astute Class. Ahead of her, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush are already being pressed hard towards operational use, contributing to the wider renaissance in the UK’s naval equipment programme and adding to the Royal Navy’s operational authority.

Artful, the latest Royal Navy Astute Class submarine
Artful, the latest Royal Navy Astute Class submarine [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

The Astute class submarines will replace the older Trafalgar Class boats, and possess greater firepower, the latest communications equipment and advanced stealth technology, making them quieter than their predecessors and harder to detect.

Artful is expected to be rolled out of the shipyard construction hall early next year and is due to start sea trials in early 2015. She is the second Royal Navy submarine to hold the name. The first HMS Artful was constructed by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering in Greenock in 1947.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:35
China Says Completes Development of New SSN

September 23, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: People's Daily Online; published September 22, 2013)

 

Development of China's Fourth-Generation Nuclear Submarine Completed

 

At the recent 2013 Four Northeastern Provinces Cooperation Leaders' Conference held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, Tan Zuojun, vice governor of Liaoning Province and former general manager of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, revealed that development of China's fourth-generation nuclear submarines and other high-tech weapons and items of equipment in the Northeastern Provinces of China had been completed. The news attracted considerable attention.

 

The fourth generation nuclear submarine features high performance and low noise

 

Military expert Du Wenlong pointed out that the main characteristic of the fourth generation nuclear submarine would be its high performance. Compared with earlier submarines, modern attack submarines differ significantly in offensive power, possessing both anti-submarine capabilities and also strong potential for anti-ship action and attacks on land-based targets.

 

He pointed out that the fourth generation nuclear submarines of the United States and Russia already have these capabilities; China's fourth-generation nuclear submarines too will be equipped with the appropriate torpedoes, along with missiles suitable for use against other sea-going or land-based targets.

 

In addition, the Chinese submarine will have low noise output, a key indicator for measuring a modern nuclear submarine's underwater survival capacity, as well as its ability to remain hidden during maneuvers, or undetected while launching an attack. He pointed out that the fourth-generation nuclear submarine will possess effective noise damping features, such as a quieter nuclear power plant with less vibration, and a more advanced hull muffler system, so that it will be difficult to detect even if within range of enemy sonar.

 

On the question when the fourth-generation nuclear submarine will enter service, Du Wenlong said that completion of development and completion of construction are two different phases - the cycle from completion of development to manufacturing, and then to fitting out and launch, can be very long, perhaps several years. Progress is determined by two factors: one is technical indicators, and the other is strategic need.

 

A significant enhancement of nuclear counterattack capability

 

Analysts believe that continual development of attack submarines and strategic nuclear submarines at times of peace, adding better performance and greater combat ability, can enhance strategic deterrence capability. China's strategic nuclear forces are weapons to deter third parties from becoming involved in local conflicts. China firmly adheres to the principle of non-first use of nuclear weapons, but the existence of strategic nuclear submarines will give China a stronger voice and more room for maneuver in the case of any crisis.

 

In addition, Song Xiaojun points out that the United States, Russia, Britain and France all possess modern strategic nuclear submarines as a symbol of their status as 'Great Powers'; it is natural that China should be unwilling to lag behind.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:35
Indonesia receives four Grob G120TP trainers

Sep. 23, 2013 by Greg Waldron - FG

 

Singapore - Grob has delivered the first four G120TP aircraft to the Indonesian air force, with an additional six to come before the end of 2013.

 

These aircraft are part of an 18 unit, $72 million deal for the type, says the Indonesian air force. The deal was signed in September 2011.

 

In 2014, Grob will deliver the remaining eight aircraft.

 

Indonesia will use the turboprop-powered type for elementary and basic training. It will replace the air force’s fleet of FFA AS-202 and Beechcraft T-34s.

 

Jakarta recently received its first pair of Korea Aerospace Industries T-50i Golden Eagle advanced jet trainers. It is obtaining 16 T-50is, with all of the aircraft to be delivered by February 2014.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:35
Indian Navy receives first Hawk Trainer Jet

Dr R.K. Tyagi – Chairman, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited hands over Indian Navy's first Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer to Deputy Chief of Naval Staff - Vice Admiral Pradeep Chatterjee (AVSM NM)

 

23 September 2013 baesystems.com

 

The Indian Navy has received the first of 17 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers, becoming the third naval operator of the Hawk along with the US Navy and the Royal Navy.

 

The 17 Hawk aircraft ordered by the Indian Navy form part of a contract for 57 aircraft signed in 2010 of which 40 are for the Indian Air Force.  Among its 18 customers worldwide, India is the largest operator of the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer with 123 aircraft ordered to date, of which over 70 have been delivered to the Indian Air Force. Hawk trainers already in service with the Indian Air Force are performing well.

 

Adding to the Indian Navy’s fleet of aircraft, the Hawk provides the ideal platform for pilots to transition smoothly to the Navy’s frontline aircraft.  Hawk effectively integrates air and ground based elements offering the most efficient and cost-effective method of training pilots.

 

We have worked closely with the Indian MOD and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to establish a production line in India where the Hawk aircraft are assembled.  Guy Griffiths, Our Group Managing Director—International said, “The introduction of the Hawk to a new user is a momentous occasion, and further testimony to the aircraft’s global success. This marks another significant milestone in our longstanding partnership with HAL which has established a track record operating a world-class Hawk production capability. We are committed to strengthening our relationship with HAL and exploring long-term sustainable business opportunities, globally.”

 

Looking forward, Griffiths added:  “We have also submitted our response to HAL’s Request for Proposal for a potential order to supply products and services for the manufacture of 20 additional Hawk aircraft to the IAF, and are now looking forward to partnering with HAL in providing the Indian Air Force’s display team this fantastic aircraft.”

 

Our Sea Harrier aircraft, which pioneered the short take off and vertical landing for jet aircraft, was bought by the Indian Navy in 1980 and the company continues to support them.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
GAO Faults USAF ICBM Modernization Plans

September 23, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Government Accountability Office; issued Sept. 20, 2013)

 

ICBM Modernization: Approaches to Basing Options and Interoperable Warhead Designs Need Better Planning and Synchronization



The Department of Defense (DOD) has identified capability requirements and potential basing options for the Minuteman III follow-on intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and the Department of Energy (DOE) has begun a parallel study of options to extend the life of its warhead, but neither department plans to estimate the total system costs for the new missile and its warhead.

GAO’s work on cost estimating has found that a reliable cost estimate is critical to any program by providing the basis for informed decision making. The Nuclear Weapons Council—the joint activity of DOD and DOE for nuclear weapons programs—is responsible for coordinating budget matters related to nuclear weapons programs between the departments, and is engaging in an effort to broadly synchronize nuclear weapons life-extension programs with delivery-system modernization efforts, but has not asked either department to provide estimates of the total system cost. In the absence of such a request, neither department is developing total cost estimates.

Further, DOD’s plan to study ICBM follow-on options does not include the council as a stakeholder to synchronize the missile and warhead efforts to help ensure that the study considers an enterprise-wide perspective. Without timely cost estimates and updates on the status of the ICBM follow-on study, the council may be unable to provide guidance and direction on the study, or consider its implications and potential effects on other nuclear weapons modernization efforts.

DOD and DOE have prepared a long-term plan that incorporates interoperable warheads into the stockpile, and although they have begun studying the feasibility of designing such a warhead, the Navy has had limited participation thus far. The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review recommended the Nuclear Weapons Council study the development of an interoperable warhead that could be deployed on both Air Force and Navy ballistic missiles, and the council has requested the Air Force, Navy, and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to commit resources to the study.

Although the Air Force and NNSA have been examining warhead concepts, the Navy has not fully engaged in the effort because (1) other, ongoing modernization programs are higher Navy priorities, and (2) it has concerns about changing the design of the warhead. The Navy’s further participation is uncertain because it has not identified the resources needed to continue with the program once the study is completed, if the interoperable warhead is adopted.

Consequently, the Navy will be poorly positioned to perform the more-detailed analyses needed to validate the approved design, potentially resulting in program delays. The Nuclear Weapons Council guidelines governing nuclear weapons refurbishments, and the corresponding DOD instruction, do not require the Air Force and Navy to align their programs and resources before beginning joint-service warhead studies. For example, DOD’s instruction states that the military departments are to develop procedures for certain joint DOD-DOE activities, but it is unclear about aligning their programs and resources with each other.

If the guidance and DOD instruction are not updated, the services may not be prepared to participate in future joint-service studies.

WHY GAO DID THIS STUDY

U.S. nuclear weapons—both the bombs and warheads and their delivery systems—are aging beyond their intended service lives. The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review recommended that the Nuclear Weapons Council study options for extending the life of ICBM warheads, including the potential for developing a warhead that is interoperable on both Air Force and Navy missiles. In 2013 DOD will initiate a study to identify a replacement for the Minuteman III missile.

This report addresses the extent to which (1) DOD has assessed the capability requirements, potential basing options, and costs for the follow-on to the Minuteman III ICBM; and (2) DOD and DOE have explored the feasibility of incorporating an interoperable warhead concept into the long-term nuclear weapons stockpile plan.

GAO analyzed DOD and NNSA policies, plans, guidance, and other documents; and interviewed officials responsible for planning the Minuteman III follow-on and the warhead life-extension program.


Click here for the full report (48 PDF pages) on the GAO website.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Something Old, Something New

9/22/2013 Strategy Page

 

An RQ-4 Global Hawk taxies on the flightline as a U-2 makes its final approach Sept. 17, 2013, at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The RQ-4 and U-2 are the Air ForceÂ’s primary high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings)

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
SOCOM Hustles InstaGunship Into Service

September 23, 2013: Strategy page

 

U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has equipped and deployed 14 MC-130W "Dragon Spear" gunships in the last three years. The first MC-130W arrived in Afghanistan in late 2010 and a month later it had fired one of its weapons (a Hellfire missile) for the first time (killing five Taliban). Getting 14 new gunships into action so quickly was only possible because SOCOM adopted an idea developed by the U.S. Marine Corps; the "instant gunship." Called "Harvest Hawk," the marine instant gunship system works using weapons and sensors that can be quickly rolled into a C-130 transport and hooked up. This takes a few hours, and turns the C-130 into a gunship (similar in capabilities existing AC-130 gunships). The sensor package consists of day/night vidcams with magnification capability. The weapons currently consist of ten Griffin missiles and four Hellfires. A 30mm autocannon is optional.

 

The 15.6 kg (34.5 pound) Griffin had earlier entered service in Afghanistan aboard UAVs. The older Hellfire II weighs 48.2 kg (106 pounds), carries a 9 kg (20 pound) warhead and has a range of 8,000 meters. The Griffin has a 5.9 kg (13 pound) warhead which is larger, in proportion to its size, than the one carried by the heavier Hellfire. Griffin has pop-out wings, allowing it to glide, and thus has a longer range (15 kilometers) than Hellfire. UAVs can carry more of the smaller missiles, typically two of them in place of one Hellfire.

 

This use of missiles instead of cannon has allowed for a major change in how gunships are used. As a result in 2011 SOCOM, for the first time since the Vietnam War, allowed its MC-130 gunships to operate in daytime. For the last four decades it was believed too dangerous for these low, slow flying, heavily aircraft to operate when the sun was up. The key to this change is the use of missiles by gunships. The new, small, missiles enable the slow, large, MC-130s to operate above the range of ground fire and still hit their targets.

 

Dragon Spear is based on the earlier Harvest Hawk system which enabled marine KC-130J tankers to be transformed into a gunship with the addition of the portable weapons and sensors. The marines had long noted the success of the U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunships that SOCOM (Special Operations Command) uses. But they couldn't afford them, as an AC-130 costs more than three times as much as a marine KC-130J aerial refueling aircraft. But the marines developed a solution. This is something the marines often do.

 

The KC-130J is the latest, and largest, USMC version of the C-130 transport used for aerial refueling. The KC-130J can also carry cargo, and weapons (bombs and missiles) hung from the wings. Thus the Harvest Hawk version of the KC-130J adds a targeting pod, with the data going to a special cargo container containing control equipment (computers, commo and displays) enabling operators use of the day/night sensors of the targeting pod, to fire missiles hung from the wings. The SOCOM version is the MC-130W.

 

The original plan was to have a 30mm Bushmaster cannon fired out the door, so that there would be gunfire support as well. But this was made optional, as the 14 missiles seemed to provide sufficient firepower. It also means less for Harvest Hawk to carry. The Mk44 30mm Bushmaster cannon weighs 157 kg (344 pounds) and fires at 200 or 400 rounds per minute (up to 7 per second). The cannon has 160 rounds available, before needing a reload. That means the gunner has 25-50 seconds worth of ammo, depending on rate of fire used. Each 30mm round weighs about 714 g (25 ounces, depending on type.) Explosive anti-personnel rounds are fired when used in gunships. The fire control system, and night vision sensors, enable the 30mm gunners to accurately hit targets with high explosive shells. Existing SOCOM AC-130 gunships are armed with a 105mm howitzer, a 25mm and 40mm automatic cannon. But the two smaller caliber guns are being phased out of military service. The air force is considering equipping its gunships just with smart bombs and missiles.

 

The big thing with gunships is their sensors, not their weapons. Operating at night, the gunships can see what is going on below, in great detail. Using onboard weapons, gunships can immediately engage targets. But with the appearance of smart bombs (GPS and laser guided), aerial weapons are more available to hit any target that is found. So Harvest Hawk would be able to hit targets that were "time sensitive" (had to be hit before they got away), but could also call on smart bombs or laser guided missiles for targets that weren't going anywhere right away. Most of what Harvest Hawk does in Afghanistan is look for roadside bombs, or the guys who plant them. These the marines want to track back to their base, and then take out an entire roadside bomb operation.

 

Ultimately, the air force and SOCOM see the potential for the Harvest Hawk/Dragon Spear approach replacing custom built AC-130 gunships. There would still be a need for specially trained gunship crews. But they, and the several cargo containers of Harvest Hawk gear, could be held ready to go wherever they are most needed. SOCOM used their version of Harvest Hawk (the Precision Strike Package) in their MC-130 transports (which are already equipped for all-weather operations.) Meanwhile, SOCOM is expanding its existing AC-130 gunship fleet to 33, with the acquisition of 16 new AC-130J models. But the big change for gunships is the switch from automatic cannon (20mm, 30mm and 40mm) to missiles. The cannon require the gunships to fly low, within range of heavy machine-guns and portable anti-aircraft missiles. Missiles can be fired from much higher and new sensors still enable the gunship crew to get an up-close view of what is down there.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
A Beechcraft's AT-6 aircraft launches a weapon. Photo Beechcraft Corporation.

A Beechcraft's AT-6 aircraft launches a weapon. Photo Beechcraft Corporation.

23 September 2013 airforce-technology.com

 

The US Air Force Air National Guard, with Georgia Tech Research Institute, has completed the assessment and demonstration of the single channel ground and airborne radio system situational awareness (SINCGARS SA) waveform capability on Beechcraft's AT-6 light attack aircraft.

 

As part of the demonstration, the dual ARC-210 Warrior Radios of the AT-6 were configured, allowing the aircraft to securely and directly communicate with three different joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC) at a time, who were positioned to perform several, realistic combat situations.

 

The technology is a software-controlled high-frequency radio and is expected to play a key role in military armed reconnaissance by providing digital communication and global positioning services (GPS) in both fixed and mobile configurations.

 

Encouraged by the successful demonstration of the SINCGARS SA Waveform, US military is now expected to further develop tactics in its close air support (CAS), combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) and combat search-and-rescue task force (CSARTF) missions going forward.

 

AT-6 became the first aircraft to use the new technology capability; it has reportedly transmitted and received tactical audio and dynamic position locations with fielded combat ground radios successfully during assessment.

 

Beechcraft Defense Company president Russ Bartlett said: "Beechcraft's AT-6 was selected as the first fixed-wing aircraft to perform this demonstration due to its advanced communications and data transfer capabilities, which enables it to perform complex close air support and combat search-and-rescue missions."

 

At the time of demonstration, the ground forces were carrying PRC-148, PRC-152 and PRC-117 radios, said Beechcraft.

 

Designed for light attack missions in the most demanding scenarios, AT-6 is equipped with Pratt and Whitney PT6A-68D engine, CMC Esterline's mission modified Cockpit 4000, Lockheed Martin's A-10C-based mission system and L-3 WESCAM's MX-15Di sensor suite, the company said.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Sikorsky S-97 Raider Begins Final Assembly

The Sikorsky S-97 Raider fuselage prior to departure from Aurora Flight Sciences in West Virginia last week. (Sikorsky)

 

Sep. 23, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Sikorsky will begin final assembly of its S-97 Raider helicopter prototype this week, according to company officials.

 

That puts the helicopter manufacturer — which is competing for the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout program — on track for a first flight at the end of 2014.

 

“It’s just a really exciting foundational milestone for us, and it’s great to be leaving the design phase of Raider and getting into the build phase,” Chris Van Buiten, Sikorsky Innovations vice president, said.

 

The Raider is based on the X-2 technology developed by Sikorsky in the late 2000s, but grows the size and weight significantly. Where the X-2 demonstrator was a one-person, 5,000-pound platform, the Raider will be roughly 11,000 pounds with room for six troops in its combat assault mode. In reconnaissance mode, that space could be used for extra equipment or ammunition.

 

Despite that growth, Sikorsky executives are confident the design will bring a mix of speed and maneuverability that helicopters have not yet achieved.

 

“This thing has to fly faster than 220 knots” at cruising speed, Van Buiten said when asked about key performance targets. “It has got to do more than a 3G turn at speed. It has to demonstrate hover at 10,000 feet and 95 degrees. Those are the non-negotiables.”

 

The fuselage, assembled by Aurora Flight Sciences in a West Virginia facility, arrived at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Fla., facility Sept. 20. A composite airframe, the fuselage has been tested to tolerate bird strikes at 230 knots and has shown very low drag, according to the company.

 

The Armed Aerial Scout program aims to replace the Army’s fleet of OH-58 Kiowa Warriors, in use since the late 1960s. The winner of the program is expected to last well past 2050, meaning the competition would be a long-term windfall for the winner.

 

Army officials visited with competitors AgustaWestland, Boeing, EADS and Bell Helicopter during the summer of 2012, but the top acquisition adviser to the secretary of the Army told a congressional hearing in May that “we didn’t find a single aircraft that was out there that could meet the Army’s requirements.”

 

Sikorsky is confident is can fill that role — assuming the replacement program can get funding.

 

As with all programs in the Pentagon, the Armed Aerial Scout is facing budget challenges. Speaking Sept. 19 on the Hill, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno indicated the program is at risk if sequestration continues.

 

“In the event sequestration-level discretionary caps continue into FY14, we will assume significant risk in our combat vehicle development,” Odierno said. “In our aviation program, we cannot afford to procure a new Armed Aerial Scout program and we will be forced to reduce the production and modernization of 25 helicopters.”

 

Despite such warnings, Sikorsky remains confident the Army will find the money to fund the program, according to Steve Engebretson, the company’s Advanced Military Programs director.

 

“It’s a tough financial environment, but the fact Odierno highlighted this program reflects the level of importance the Army has in that mission,” he said. “To me, it’s at least a sign that if there is a way the Army can get that program going, they will find a way to do that.”

 

“We understand the climate we’re operating in,” added Van Buiten. “We’re committed to demonstrating this technology, but we understand the customer has a lot of priorities to balance. Our job is to open up the aperture of what’s possible with them.”

 

Both men can be sanguine, in part, because the development of the Raider has been entirely funded by Sikorsky and its industry partners. While the S-97 is being designed with Armed Aerial Scout in mind, it will also serve as a test bed for further X-2 technologies, which could then go onto future Sikorsky products. Additionally, the company sees the Raider as a demonstrator for a larger machine that would fit the Army’s Joint Multi-Role helicopter replacement program for the service’s Blackhawk fleet.

 

In other words, the company sees ways to recoup its investment in the prototype even if the program never comes through. That company investment is a point of pride for Van Buiten, whose team was responsible for the design and creation of the Raider.

 

“We’ve created this innovations group, and one of our charters is to demonstrate differentiating technology that creates competitive advantages for us or all new capability for our customers,” he said. “We don’t have the luxury of using traditional timelines and budgets to do it.”

 

If the project continues on target, the Raider prototype’s first flight will take place roughly 48 months after its clean-sheet design, a much faster pace than the defense industry normally sees. While costs are not set, the company has estimated it could produce the platform in production quantities for as little as $15 million a copy, including mission system packages.

 

There is also a potential international market for the technology through the Foreign Military Sales program. The company has been in contact with “several very close allies of the US” about the technology, Engebretson said.

 

While declining to name which countries might be interested, he said the “international interest roughly equals the quantities the US government is thinking about, in the hundreds.”

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Lockheed to continue support for NORAD's space operations

The North American Aerospace Defense Command's Command Center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, US. Photo U.S. Air Force.

 

23 September 2013 airforce-technology.com

 

The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to continue supporting the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Cheyenne Mountain Complex's air, space defence and missile warning missions.

 

Awarded under the integrated space command and control (ISC2) programme, the $20m contract requires the company to maintain the critical national defence missions at multiple locations worldwide.

 

Specific work includes support for ISC2 space, air defence and missile warning missions, ensuring seamless sharing of data with other C2 systems vital to the US's national defence.

 

The new order represents the second option exercised from the ISC2 contract, which was secured by the company in November 2012.

 

Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions Space & Cyber vice-president Rob Smith said: "We'll work with our customer to ensure that ISC2 remains the critical link in enabling geographically disparate commanders to monitor and assess multi-mission threats concurrently."

 

The air defence and missile warning missions form part of the integrated tactical warning attack assessment mission, which delivers warning to the US President if North America is under attack.

 

By integrating mission critical networks between US Northern Command, Strategic Command and NORAD, ISC2 provides geographically disparate commanders with the ability to monitor and assess multi-mission threats concurrently.

 

Lockheed, serving as ISC2 programme prime contractor, has modernised the US Air Force's air defence, missile warning, and space command and control information technology infrastructure, while integrating and replacing over 30 traditional systems to provide operators with seamless comprehensive C2 capabilities and access to information.

 

The ISC2 contract features a total of three one-year options and a maximum potential value of $250m, with work carried out in Colorado Springs, US.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
New Conflict Mineral Certification Causing Industry Concern

Sep. 23, 2013 - By ZACHARY FRYER-BIGGS – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — A small provision in the Dodd-Frank Act meant to create transparency surrounding the use of conflict minerals by publicly traded companies is causing concern in the defense industry, as the magnitude of checking the totality of the supply chain comes into focus ahead of a May 2014 deadline.

 

The provision does not prevent companies from using minerals mined in countries undergoing conflict, but instead requires that they disclose the use of such minerals to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For the defense industry, where individual components can have a dozen independent contractors, verifying the source of minerals for all of those contractors is an intimidating undertaking.

 

Initially, several business groups fought the requirement, including the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. But an injunction wasn’t granted, and a successful appeal doesn’t look likely, said Christian Marrone, vice president of the Aerospace Industry Association’s (AIA) national security and acquisition policy group.

 

“If this were the stages of grief, we’re at acceptance,” he said.

 

Marrone said the association isn’t focused on fighting the provision, which was the basis for an SEC rule, but rather helping members understand how the rule will work and sorting out its mechanics. To that end, AIA plans to send questions to the SEC to try to clarify how the system will work.

 

The rule, specifically designed to address concerns about minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that have fueled years of conflict, applies only to publicly traded companies, which means many contractors in the defense industry won’t be required to file a report on the origin of the minerals they use. That creates something of a problem for prime contractors in particular, because they must get information from privately held subcontractors in order to verify the origin of all the minerals in the systems they acquire.

 

“When they ask those questions, a lot of the supply chain is private, so how do you compel those individuals to supply that information when they’re not required to?” asked Micah Edmond, assistant vice president for industrial base policy at AIA.

 

Edmond said that while the May deadline is fast approaching, companies do have a means to give themselves more time. If they file and say that they essentially don’t know the origin of all of the minerals in the supply chain, they can get an extension that will last another year or two, he said.

 

Exact numbers on how much compliance will cost and how many companies will be affected are difficult to calculate given uncertainty surrounding implementation of the rule. Some estimates put the cost in the billions for the defense industry alone, and the number of companies affected in the hundreds of thousands.

 

Despite those costs, the rule serves an important purpose, according to Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., one of the men behind the clause in the House version of the Dodd-Frank Act.

 

“None of the authors wanted to create undue burden on business, but any discussion of costs would be remiss without including the high human cost of inaction,” he said in a statement provided by his office. “More than 5 million people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s civil war. The mining and trade of these minerals has driven the war for over a decade. Manufacturers understand the supply chain and asking them to obtain a certificate is not an undue burden, especially if it will help cut off the funding for rebel groups and put an end to the millions of deaths, untold number of rapes, and slavery of mine workers.”

 

McDermott pointed to the need to give purchasers visibility on mineral sourcing.

 

“The law we passed creates the transparency that consumers and investors deserve and will hopefully move the minerals industry to cleaner sources and curb some of the devastation the conflict has left in its wake,” he said.

 

How a product is built and sourced does seem to have an impact on the consumer market, as seen in the backlash surrounding certain issues with Apple’s supply chain in the last couple of years. Whether those sourcing issues would cause market problems for companies that build products specifically designed to cause death is another question.

 

Marrone said industry agrees with the intent of the law, but that it forces companies to swallow what may be a large cost in the middle of a budget-cutting environment already causing fiscal pressures.

 

“I don’t think you’ll find anyone who disagrees with the idea, but it has unintended consequences,” he said. “If you’d done a cost-benefit analysis you probably wouldn’t have done this.”

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Scalable Agile Beam Radar Will Extend Viability of F-16s Beyond 2025

September 23rd, 2013 By Northrop Grumman - defencetalk.com

 

Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) will help extend the viability of the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 fighter aircraft beyond 2025 and help ensure the F-16 remains a vital component of the nation’s fighter force structure.

 

Skip Wagner, director of International Business Development and Strategy for Northrop Grumman’s ISR and Targeting Systems Division, provided details on the radar upgrades to reporters in a briefing today at the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2013.

 

Northrop Grumman was chosen by prime contractor Lockheed Martin as the radar provider for the F-16 Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES), which is an avionics modernization program designed to keep the F-16 viable in future threat environments and improve system reliability and maintainability.

 

CAPES program objectives are to mitigate critical future capability gaps, provide advanced electronic protection, enhance situational awareness and survivability, and provide options to meet force structure requirements with modernized F-16s. SABR contributes substantially to CAPES program objectives.

 

“We are proud that SABR is the centerpiece of the F-16 CAPES program,” said Wagner. “The radar system adds robust electronic protection, including modes ported directly from the F-35′s AN/APG-81 radar to counter current and future threats. As a matter of fact, SABR has 95 percent re-use of fifth generation AESA modes adding to commonality and affordability.”

 

SABR includes Big Synthetic Aperture Radar (Big SAR) mapping, which allows for broader all-environment precision mapping. Auto Target Cueing and Auto Target Recognition improves situational awareness and combat identification. Air-to-air and air-to-surface detection, tracking, and weapons employment ranges have all been increased. Mode interleaving also improves situational awareness and survivability.

 

“With the capabilities that SABR brings, reliability and availability will be three to five times greater than with the mechanically scanned F-16 radars fielded just two decades ago,” added Wagner. “That adds up to higher readiness rates and lower support costs. SABR brings great value.”

 

SABR’s design incorporates proven hardware and advanced operating modes from Northrop Grumman’s F-35 and F-22 AESAs. The high degree of commonality among the various AESA radars, coupled with shared manufacturing processes and infrastructure, enables efficiencies and affordability across all of Northrop Grumman’s AESA programs.

 

As part of the contractual agreement with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman will also be upgrading the radars for the Taiwan Air Force’s F-16 fleet. Radar development and production activities for the U.S. and Taiwan F-16 upgrade programs will run in parallel and demonstrate the benefits of international cooperation, interoperability and equipment commonality for U.S and allied forces.

 

Other AESA radars developed by the company are currently flying on the F-16 Block 60, F-22 and F-35 Lightning II.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
US Navy begins MZ-3A blimp airship operations in DC region

A US Navy's MZ-3A stationed at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland. Photo US Navy.

 

23 September 2013 naval-technology.com

 

The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the US Navy have began operations of the MZ-3A lighter-than-air blimp, in the regions surrounding Washington DC, US.

 

Operated by the US Navy's science and technology research squadron, Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS-1), the MZ-3A is conducting aerial mapping operations under the special approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

 

Powered by two Lycoming engines, the 178ft-long MZ-3A has been designed to use as a testbed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors requiring a stable and vibration free test eninronment.

 

The government-owned navy MZ-3A missions are being carried out within the DCA-Special Flight Restrictions Area (DCA-SFRA) and will be followed to northern region to Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK) in Maryland.

 

Prior to completing the missions which is scheduled on 5 October and departing to the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, the only manned US Navy airship will operate in the southwest near Culpepper, Virginia (CJR).

 

During special flight operations, pertinent Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) of information regarding visual and instrument (VFR/IFR) flight plans will be issued by the FAA to the region.

 

Following required or requested on designated and approved Air Traffic Control (ATC) radio frequencies, the FAA will maintain radio communication and flight, throughout the mission.

 

Integrated Systems Solutions is responsible for maintaining and operating the airship, which remains aloft and nearly stationary for more than twelve hours, in many locations.

 

In addition, the American Blimp Corporation-built system can conduct various missions in support of technology development for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) concepts.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 16:55
Tapis rouge pour l'avion prodigue!

23.09.2013 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense

 

La cérémonie officielle d'accueil du nouvel avion de transport militaire A400M Atlas au sein de l'armée de l'air française aura lieu le lundi 30 septembre. L'avion arrivera de Séville et se posera à Orléans à 14h (ou plus tard, l'A400 nous ayant habitué à des retards).

 

Jean-Yves Le Drian, qui présidera la cérémonie militaire, fera le vol Séville-Orléans à bord de l'appareil.

 

Comme le dit si bien le communiqué de la DICOD,

"l'arrivée de l'avion stratégique et tactique multi-rôles dans les forces aériennes françaises est l'aboutissement de l'un des plus grands programmes de défense en Europe. De nombreuses autorités, civiles et militaires, françaises et étrangères, assisteront à cette cérémonie, qui s'inscrira dans le prolongement de la cérémonie officielle de livraison organisée le matin même sur le site industriel d'Airbus Military à Séville, en Espagne."

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 16:50
Sweden Receives First Archer SP Guns

September 23, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Swedish Defence Matériel Agency, FMV; issued Sept. 20, 2013)

(Issued in Swedish only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)

 

FMV Takes Delivery of the First Archer SP Gun

 

BAE Systems Bofors will deliver the first example of the Archer artillery system to FMV on Monday, September 23. The acquisition of Archer is a joint Nordic project together with Norway, and a total of 24 guns have been ordered for the Swedish Armed Forces from BAE Systems Bofors.

 

“This is a project that delivers one of the best artillery systems. We have met with both successes and setbacks in the project, but now finally delivered the first four vehicles,” says Lena Erixon, Director General FMV.

 

“The fact that we can now take delivery of the first units is the result of the efforts of our Norwegian partners at FLO, of supplier BAE Systems Bofors - and for that matter also of FMV -- all have helped to get the pieces delivered to the Artillery. They will now be transported to Boden where FMV, FLO and the artillery will continue with trials and training,” says Lena Erixon.

 

Formal delivery of the first units by BAE Systems Bofors’ Lena Gillström to FMV's Director General Lena Erixon will take place in Karlskoga on Monday, 23 September at 16.00. It will be followed by a delivery inspection and transportation to the artillery base.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 16:45
Mali : le bilan de l'opération Serval en chiffres

23.09.2013 Par Olivier Berger, grand reporter à La Voix du Nord. - Défense globale

 

Avec le déplacement au Mali les 22 et 23 septembre du ministre de la Défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, un dossier [de presse du Ministère de la Défense] fait le point sur l'opération Serval depuis son lancement le 11 janvier.

 

La France compte toujours 3 200 soldats au Mali. Si l'objectif a été repoussé, d'abord en raison de l'élection présidentielle, il s'agit de descendre progressivement à 2 000, puis 1 000 personnels.

 

- Bilan de Serval

 

Au plus fort des combats, 4 500 soldats ont été engagés. La France déplore sept tués et 20 blessés au combat. On ne répète jamais assez les noms des morts en opération : chef de bataillon Damien Boiteux (4e RHFS), adjudant Harold Vormezeele (2e REP), caporal-chef Cédric Charenton (1er RCP), Maréchal des logis Wilfried Pingaud (68e RAA), caporal-chef Alexandre Van Dooren (1er RIMa), sergent Stéphane Duval (1er RPIMa), maréchal des logis Marc Martin-Vallet (515e RT).

 

220 tonnes de munitions ont été saisies, dont 30 tonnes reversées aux Forces armées maliennes (FAMA), comprenant 1 300 grenades, 1 000 roquettes, 7 700 obus, 200 mines et engins explosifs improvisés, 20 bombes. Au niveau de l'armement, Serval a intercepté 100 fusils, 150 mitrailleuses, 30 roquettes, 20 mortiers, 20 canons et 3 missiles SA-7 (missile sol-air portatif russe). Ajoutons plus de 9 000 litres de carburant ; 200 moyens de communication ; 12 tonnes de nitrate d'ammonium pour la fabrication d'engins explosifs.

 

 - Logistique

 

Le dossier de presse du ministère s'arrête sur " la prouesse logistique ". Avec 9 170 tonnes et 500 personnels transportés par bateau entre Toulon et Abidjan ; 18 500 tonnes et 480 rotations entre la France et le Mali ; 3 500 tonnes de fret, 15 600 personnes et plus de 1 600 missions à l'intérieur du théâtre, dont 30 % réalisées par les alliés ; 3 millions de km parcourus par les hommes du train par voie terrestre. Consommation française de carburant au 1er août : 17 millions de litres de carburant aéronautique et 3 millions de litres de carburant terrestre.

 

- Missions actuelles

 

Les 3 200 militaires français aident au déploiement de la MINUSMA dans tout le nord du Mali ; accompagnent les FAMA dans les villes du nord ; transforment la base de Gao en plateforme opérationnelle, où les hommes et les matériels sont préparés, entraînés, engagés et remis en condition.

 

La mission européenne de formation EUTM Mali compte 570 militaires, dont 200 formateurs et une force de protection de 170 personnels. 23 pays y participent. La France, premier contributeur (110) devant l'Espagne et la Belgique, fournit le chef de mission, le général Bruno Guibert, 30 militaires au poste de commandement, 16 conseillers auprès des états-majors maliens, 52 formateurs, une équipe renseignement humain de 15 personnes dédiés à la protection de la force.

 

Au sein de la MINUSMA, la France est également présente avec une dizaine d'officiers dont le général Pillet, chef d'état-major. Ils sont chargés de faciliter la coordination entre les forces de l'ONU, Serval et les FAMA.

 

- Evolution du dispositif

 

La force Serval se réorganise pour réamorcer le désengagement : un état-major opératif à Bamako commandé par le général Marc Foucaud qui dirigeait auparavant l'état-major de force n°1 à Besançon ; un groupement tactique et un groupement aéromobile déployés à Gao ; un bataillon logistique à Bamako et Gao ; plusieurs antennes chirurgicales avancées ; des moyens aériens opérant depuis Bamako et N'Djamena au Tchad.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
An integrated vision: Nato's Air Command and Control System

23 September 2013 Grant Turnbull - airforce-technology.com

 

Nato is on the brink of fielding an integrated air command and control system in four member countries. The system will soon be rolled out to at least another ten nations, but the programme's complexity means significant challenges have to be overcome.

 

ACCS features common core software, open architecture and system-wide human-machine interface

 

The goal of having an integrated air command and control (AirC2) capability among the Nato alliance has long been a desire for military commanders.

 

The way Air C2 has been accomplished in the last 60 years - through a variety of Nato and national systems - is now seen as inadequate in meeting future requirements. Militaries want a single, integrated air defence system, which will provide the capability to plan, task and execute tactical air operations in, and outside, the Nato area.

 

Since the end of the Cold War, Nato has conducted several campaigns predominantly using air assets from multiple member states. These have varied in intensity on the spectrum of conflict, from humanitarian missions to armed interventions, seen most recently in the 2011 Libya campaign and the on-going operations in Afghanistan.

 

To support this broad-spectrum of operations, Nato has looked to equipment that will enhance Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities.

 

Nato is meeting this challenge with the Air Command and Control System (ACCS) programme. The history of ACCS dates back to the early 1990s, when Nato began a number of programmes aimed at improving the interoperability of alliance members and in-turn improving C4ISR capabilities.

 

This 'smart defence' approach also focused on the importance of affordability and cost-effectiveness.

 

Nato's 1998 Kosovo air campaign highlighted shortfalls in the alliance's ability to coordinate combined air attack and support, which further drove development of a new ACCS capability.

 

Engineering and developing ACCS

 

The ACCS system is being built by ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS), a consortium of Thales and Raytheon. It was formed in 2001 from Air Command System International (ACSI), the legal entity of the first Thales and Raytheon consortium, which won the ACCS contract in 1999. Since then, TRS has been performing systems development and engineering and - in the later stages - a comprehensive integration, validation and verification phase.

 

"ACCS will be a highly interoperable, highly integrated air command and control system," explains vice president of Nato C4I business line within TRS, Stephen Dumont. "When Nato carries out its important air missions it can be done in a highly coordinated fashion. It's a very important thing for Nato going forward."

 

"It is probably one of the biggest and most important projects within Nato because of the relevance to Nato's mission. One only needs to turn on the news today and look at what's going on around the world, a multinational response is always considered. In order for that to be effective, you need a system like ACCS to be in place," Dumont adds.

 

ACCS features common core software, open architecture and a system-wide human-machine interface. In addition to providing these necessary capabilities to support critical missions, Dumont says the system will save money by using a common support approach and more opportunity for sharing resources, including Nato personnel as well as spares and maintenance costs. It is hoped that a ACCS operator in, for instance, Turkey would be able to operate the same system in France or any other Nato country - and vice versa.

 

Role and functions

 

The main customer for ACCS is the Nato Communication and Information Agency (NCIA), which was formed from three other agencies in July 2012.

 

"The system is not introducing something new in terms of capacity of detection, because all that information will come from already existing systems," says NCIA ACCS programme director Enzo Montalti. "What is new is the ability to manage a large number of capabilities remotely and provide the operator on a single workstation with an entire world of information and possibility."

 

"In the air domain - where time is a very important factor - the capability to elaborate in a few seconds essential information and enable the operator to make a decision is essential," Montalti adds.

 

ACCS is split into two main entities which are closely integrated: the real-time mission execution component known as ARS (air control centres, RAP production centres and sensor fusion posts) and CAOCs, (Combined Air Operations Centre) which deal with non-real-time critical planning and tasking of Nato air assets, will execute missions. Both ARS and COACs share a common database which means seemless transitions from real-time to non-real-time planning.

 

To support Nato's critical task of out-of-area missions there will also be deployable COACs and ARSs which are transportable and provide operational planning and tasking capability. Deployable ARS gives Nato operators the functionality for sensor management, surveillance data links, identification and aircraft and SAM control.

 

In April 2013, TRS reached a significant milestone when it validated ACCS during eight weeks of extensive testing at the NCIA's System Test and Verification Facility (STVF) in Glons, Belgium. As of September 2013, TRS are preparing to transition ACCS from the test programme into a series of Initial Operational Test and Evaluations (IOT&Es) so the end-users can start to work with the system and prepare for operations.

 

Validating, integrating and expanding ACCS

 

France, Germany, Belgium and Italy are validation nations where TRS is in the process of testing the ACCS system and the unique interfaces in each country.

 

The ACCS systems in Belgium and Germany have already been successfully tested and dry-run tests are being carried out in France and Italy.

 

This phase of testing is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The last phase of testing will link together all four sites with the STVF and is likely to be complete early next year.

 

The next phase will be to roll out ACCS entities across Nato and 'replicate' the system, but it remains to be seen how many countries will eventually introduce ACCS, especially as political and economic factors influence its integration.

 

It is estimated that at least another ten Nato countries will begin to integrate ACCS into their air command and control systems in the future.

 

But this still leaves another 14 members who have yet to decide whether to integrate ACCS and the UK, in particular, is one of those.

 

"All the European countries will be covered by ACCS but that doesn't mean that every single country will have a specific installation, but the Nato territory can enjoy the benefits of the system," says Montalti.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
L’OTAN plaide pour l’achat de drones en Europe

23.09.2013 Helen Chachaty -journal-aviation.com

 

Le secrétaire général de l’OTAN, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a plaidé pour que les États européens membres de l’alliance nord-atlantique acquièrent « plus de drones pour améliorer la surveillance » des territoires.

 

Ces mots, prononcés dans le cadre d’une conférence donnée au think tank Carnegie Europe, s’inscrivent dans le cadre d’une recommandation plus général de Rasmussen, qui appelle de ses vœux une amélioration des capacités ISR, par le biais de drones, mais également par la modernisation de la flotte européenne d’AWACS.

 

Dans la même idée, le secrétaire général de l’OTAN ai plaidé pour un renforcement de la flotte d’avions de transports et de ravitailleurs, afin d’augmenter l’efficacité des moyens de surveillance aéroportée.

 

Il a également salué le rapport publié par la Commission européenne en juillet dernier, intitulé « vers une défense et une sécurité européenne plus compétitive et plus efficace en Europe », qui met en avant la nécessité de renforcer la BITD, le soutien aux PME, les synergies duales et le marché intérieur.

 

Anders Fogh Rasmussen a enfin émis une forte attente concernant le Conseil européen du mois de décembre, qui sera consacré aux questions de Défense : « J’attends […] la preuve d’un fort engagement politique ».

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
Royal Navy’s third Astute-class submarine officially christened

HMS Artful during naming ceremony. Photo BAE Systems.

 

23 September 2013 naval-technology.com

 

The UK Royal Navy's third Astute-class nuclear-powered submarine has been christened as HMS Artful (S121), during a ceremony held at BAE Systems' shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, UK.

 

Built by BAE Systems, the 97m-long and 11.3m-wide submarine can accommodate a crew of 98 and will eventually replace existing Swiftsure and Trafalgar-class vessels for the Royal Navy.

 

UK Defence Equipment, Support and Technology minister Philip Dunne said that the HMS Artful is the one of most advanced attack submarine ordered by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), to offer unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability for the Royal Navy.

 

"The Astute submarine building programme represents a significant investment by the government and is set to sustain over 5,000 UK jobs within BAE systems and the 400 separate suppliers across the supply chain," Dunne said.

 

Capable of carrying a crew of 98, the 97m-long Astute-class submarines feature Thales Sensors Outfit UAP(4) electronic support measures, and are armed with Tomahawk Block IV (tactical tomahawk) cruise missiles as well as Spearfish torpedoes and mines.

 

First Sea Lord Admiral, sir George Zambellas, said: "Ahead of her, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush are already being pressed hard towards operational use, contributing to the wider renaissance in the UK's naval equipment programme and adding to the Royal Navy's operational authority."

 

Astute-class vessels feature ECB680 communications and SEEPIRB emergency beacon buoys as well as an ultra-high frequency satellite communications antenna.

 

BAE Systems maritime submarines managing director, John Hudson, said the christening ceremony has marked a step ahead for 7,400t HMS Artful to joining its sister vessels HMS Astute and HMS Ambush in the Royal Navy fleet.

 

"The design and build of a nuclear-powered submarine is as challenging as it is complex, so today represents a significant milestone in Artful's programme," Hudson said.

 

Scheduled to be launched early next year, HMS Artful is expected to start sea trials in early 2015.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:45
Kenya : Mall Massacre Sends The Wrong Message

September 23, 2013: Strategy Page

 

In Nairobi, Kenya the fighting with Somali al Shabaab gunmen in a mall continues. The government says that most hostages have been freed and that troops are closing in on the remaining terrorist gunmen. An Internet announcement said the terrorists in the mall were holding hostages, which they would kill if security forces continued attacking them. Last night the government said the mall was being cleared and would soon be safe. The hostages have been used as human shields, complicating army and police efforts to eliminate the terrorists inside the mall. Al Shabaab describes the mall attack, which has left nearly a hundred dead and 200 wounded, as retaliation for Kenyan peacekeepers coming into Somalia to fight the Islamic terror group. The Kenyan government repeated promises that attacks like this will not lead to a withdrawal of Kenyan troops from southern Somali. What’s going on between Somalia and Kenya goes back a long time. The Somalis have been raiding what is now Kenya for centuries, and for once the Kenyans have the upper hand. They are not dissuaded by terror attacks. Al Shabaab believes that an attack of this magnitude would change that. So far the Kenyan reaction appears more anger than fear and that bodes ill for Somalis (citizens and refugees) living in Kenya.

 

Al Shabaab sponsored terror attacks in Kenya over the last few years has created a backlash against the Somali population there. There is growing tension between Kenyan Christians and Somalis. About ten percent (4 million) of Kenyans, mostly along the coast, are Moslems and most of these are ethnic Somalis. There has always been some Islamic radical activity among Kenyan Moslems, but the police have been particularly attentive to it after Kenyan Moslems were found to be involved in terrorist operations in the 1990s.

 

What the police have not done, however, is make much of a dent in the criminal infrastructure that supports smuggling, money laundering, a black market for guns, IDs and drugs and much else. The cops are often bought off, and the criminal gangs (especially the many Arab and Somali ones) provide support for terrorist operations in Somalia and Kenya. For example, a lot of the pirate ransom money ended up in Kenya, either for purchases of goods shipped to Somalia, or to be laundered and invested. Wealthy Somalis often find it prudent to go into exile, and Kenya is a popular place to retire to.

 

Then there are the overseas Somalis. Most of these are in Britain (300,000) and the United States (150,000). There are also half a million Somali refugees in northern Kenya and several hundred thousand more in places like Ethiopia and Yemen. Somali Islamic radicals often send their families into exile, to protect them, and some Islamic radicals have themselves gone into exile. There, Somali men, usually young (teenager to early 20s), are recruited and sent back to Somali for more indoctrination and training. Some are killed there, and some return to the U.S. and Britain to help with recruiting and, it is feared, to carry out terrorist attacks. This Western source of recruits has been largely shut down but Somalis outside Somalia continue to be a source of radicalized recruits for al Shabaab and cash for terrorist organizations. 

 

The Somali Islamic radicals have long been recruiting from among Kenya's Moslem population. This recruiting has slowed in the last year, because of the many defeats al Shabaab has suffered recently in Somalia. But many radicalized young Somalis are still living among the refugees and Moslem populations of Kenya. Police attempts to find and arrest Islamic radicals are often clumsy and result in innocents being rounded up or killed. This just creates more anger in the Moslem neighborhoods. The mall murders are expected to increase the police pressure on Kenyan Somalis. Many al Shabaab believe that this might trigger a Moslem uprising in Kenya and lead to a combined Somali-Kenyan Islamic state. This is pure fantasy but it’s the sort of thing Islamic terrorism thrives on. The mall attack and continued terror attacks in Somalia appear to be al Shabaab’s way of remaining in the news. A group like al Shabaab survives only as long as it can attract new recruits and cash donations. Western governments are trying to cut off the flow of cash to al Shabaab, and that is having some impact. But the fanatical puritanism and righteousness of Islamic terror groups still appeals to some young Moslem men, who see little future for themselves. Most Moslem societies have major problems with providing education and curbing corruption. This combination discourages foreign investment and economic growth. The Islamic radical solution is a mirage, but to the young, unemployed, uneducated and violence prone it resonates.  

 

It is believed that al Shabaab attacked this particular mall because it is popular with foreigners and wealthy Kenyans. Many Moslems work or shop there and some are believed to have died despite al Shabaab efforts to spare Moslems. Al Shabaab also made much of the fact that some of the mall owners are Israeli and Israel has been helping Kenya with intelligence and expert advice that has been useful in the fight against Islamic terrorists.

 

In Mogadishu two years of increasing security has attracted more foreigners (diplomats, aid agencies and entrepreneurs) and that has sent real estate values increasing by a factor of ten or more. This has forced out many long-term renters and led to corrupt officials assisting in the theft of some properties. This is usually done using false ownership documents obtained by bribing a government official and then bribing police to assist in the eviction. Court officials are then bribed to make the theft stick. This is causing a long of anger in the city. In addition the government is forcing over a hundred thousand refugees from areas outside the city.

 

September 21, 2013: In Nairobi, Kenya some 15 al Shabaab gunmen stormed into an upscale mall and began killing people. Those who could prove they were Moslem were spared but all others were killed. Automatic weapons and grenades were used and by the end of the day 59 were confirmed dead and over 200 wounded. Many of the casualties were women and children. Soldiers and police responded quickly and drove the attackers into a single location where the gunmen kept shooting and said they had hostages. Israeli counter-terrorism experts who were in Kenya quickly went to the mall to assist the security forces. Israel offered additional help.

 

Al Shabaab had its twitter account shut down again for violating Twitter terms of service by announcing the Nairobi attack and taking credit for it. Al Shabaab had that account shut down on September 6th for more Terms of Service violations but the terrorist group started a new account on September 10th. Last February al Shabaab began using a new Twitter account and criticized Twitter for shutting down al Shabaab’s original (since 2011) account on January 20 because the Islamic terrorists had used Twitter to make specific threats against several people on January 16th. This is not allowed by the Twitter terms of service. The al Shabaab account had over 20,000 followers.

 

September 16, 2013: Some 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu peacekeepers and Somali troops forced al Shabaab out of Mahadeey. The town is one of dozens of small places still held by al Shabaab gunmen. Al Shabaab rarely fights to hold onto these places anymore and flees at the approach of troops. The al Shabaab men will find some other place to set up shop. If cornered, groups like this will often fight to the death.

 

Uganda has ordered 24 of its peacekeepers to return home tomorrow and face charges of corruption. Those recalled include some officers, one them was the general commanding the Ugandan peacekeepers, whose next job was to be the military attaché at the Ugandan embassy in Kenya.  The soldiers were caught stealing supplies meant for Ugandan peacekeepers and selling the food and fuel on the black market. Some junior officers reported suspicions that some of their superiors in Somalia were involved. The Ugandan troops had been complaining of shortages and the government quietly conducted an investigation.

 

September 14, 2013: Al Shabaab fired on a peacekeeper base outside Marka (70 kilometers south of Mogadishu) and apparently set off a bomb inside the town. Although AU peacekeepers and Somali troops drove al Shabaab gunmen out of the port town of Marka a year ago, there are still armed al Shabaab operating in the area. This town has long served as a base for al Shabaab terrorists carrying out attacks in Mogadishu.  

 

September 13, 2013: In Kismayo, some al Shabaab gunmen attacked a military base. No casualties were reported but there were believed to be dead and wounded on both sides.

 

September 12, 2013: In Kismayo a car bomb exploded near the convoy of Ahmed Mohamed Islam (the senior government official in the southern region now called Jubbaland). Several civilians were killed but the intended target was unharmed. It’s not known if the attack was carried out by al Shabaab or local political rivals of Ahmed Mohamed Islam.

 

In the south (Al Baate) an American (Omar Shafik Hammami) member of al Shabaab was killed in a shootout with other al Shabaab members. Hammami has been with al Shabaab since 2006 and handled Internet propaganda for the terrorist group. Last year he was condemned to death by al Shabaab leaders who objected to Hammami accusing them of corruption. Six months ago the U.S. announced a $5 million reward for help in capturing Hammami, who has been hiding out in Somalia, apparently unable to get out of the country. Islamic terrorists with a large price on their heads and condemned to death by their fellow terrorists have limited options when it comes to finding sanctuary. There were many other Islamic terrorists, including some al Shabaab members, who supported Hammami. Apparently two of these allies died with Hammami. Some terrorist groups criticized al Shabaab for killing Hammami rather than clearing up the corruption charges.

 

September 11, 2013: Near the Ethiopian border (Hiran, central Somalia) al Shabaab executed two of its own men, one for spying and the other for armed robbery.

 

September 9, 2013: In Mogadishu al Shabaab fired mortars at a residential areas and an army base. There were no casualties.

 

September 8, 2013: In Mogadishu al Shabaab used a roadside bomb to attack a military convoy, but only managed to damage one vehicle.

 

September 7, 2013: In Mogadishu al Shabaab set off two bombs in a parking lot, killing 18 people.

 

September 3, 2013: Outside Mogadishu al Shabaab used a roadside bomb to attack a convoy carrying the president. The target was unharmed.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:45
Mali: rien ne sera de trop pour permettre à l’armée d’assurer ses missions

23/09/2013 45enord.ca (AFP)

 

Le Mali consentira des sacrifices pour que son armée, sous-équipée et mise à rude épreuve en 2012 par des groupes islamistes dans le Nord, puisse assurer ses missions, a déclaré dimanche son président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, jurant que rien ne sera de trop pour cet objectif.

 

Le Mali a besoin d’une armée mieux équipée, une armée à hauteur de souhait, une armée formée pour les missions auxquelles elle va être appelée, a déclaré M. Keïta à la télévision publique malienne ORTM, s’exprimant après la célébration officielle du 53e anniversaire de l’indépendance du pays.

 

Je fais de cela une priorité absolue: que les forces armées du Mali soient dans les conditions dignes des forces armées et pour cela, des sacrifices [...] seront consentis. C’est le devoir de la Nation, c’est ma mission, et je l’assumerai, a-t-il dit.

 

M. Keïta avait auparavant assisté à la cérémonie de prise d’armes, marquée par un défilé militaire qui, a-t-il indiqué, lui a inspiré un sentiment de bonheur, de fierté mais aussi un sentiment de l’urgence de certaines bonnes décisions à prendre.

 

Il a rendu hommage à tous les membres des forces de défense et de sécurité du Mali, saluant particulièrement tous ceux-là qui servent le pays dans des conditions dont vous n’avez pas idée, ceux qui sont aujourd’hui dans le Nord.

 

Pour eux, rien ne sera de trop. J’en prends l’engagement solennel ici, aujourd’hui, et cela sera fait dans les meilleurs délais +inch’Allah+ [si Dieu le veut], a-t-il poursuivi.

 

Le Mali a connu 18 mois de crise politico-militaire, dont l’épilogue a été l’élection présidentielle de juillet-août remportée par Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

 

Les soubresauts avaient débuté avec une offensive lancée en janvier 2012 dans le Nord par des rebelles touareg ensuite supplantés par des groupes criminels et islamistes armés liés à Al-Qaïda, qui ont pris le contrôle des deux tiers du pays peu après un coup d’Etat militaire le 22 mars 2012.

 

En janvier 2013, la France s’est engagée militairement au Mali contre les groupes jihadistes, chassés du Nord avec l’aide du Tchad et de troupes d’autres pays africains.

 

Sous-équipée, l’armée malienne avait connu une débâcle face à ses adversaires, particulièrement des jihadistes dotés d’armes lourdes venant de Libye. Elle a redressé la tête avec l’appui des troupes alliées.

 

Depuis avril 2013, elle bénéficie d’une formation d’instructeurs européens, mission d’un mandat initial de 15 mois expirant en mars 2014.

 

Le 17 septembre, le commandant de la mission, le général Bruno Guibert, a souhaité sa prolongation d’un an afin de permettre au Mali d’être pleinement capable d’assurer sa sécurité face à la menace jihadiste.

 

La prise d’armes pour le 53e anniversaire de l’indépendance du Mali s’est déroulée en présence du ministre français de la Défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, qui représentait son pays.

 

M. Le Drian doit visiter lundi le camp des instructeurs européens, situé à Koulikoro (environ 60 km au nord de Bamako).

 

Dimanche après le défilé, il s’est rendu à Gao (nord-est), principal point d’ancrage des forces françaises de l’opération Serval (quelque 3.200 militaires français sont encore présents au Mali).

 

Dans la ville, il a rencontré des responsables de force de l’ONU Minusma, de l’armée malienne, assurant que la France restera au côté du Mali le temps qu’il faudra.

 

Sur le terrain, nos troupes continuent à découvrir des caches d’armes, de munitions. Ce qui prouve que les jihadistes ont un arsenal important, a-t-il dit lors d’une conférence de presse.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:40
Retrait d’Afghanistan: l’espace postsoviétique s’attend au pire

MOSCOU, 23 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

Sotchi accueille aujourd’hui le sommet de l'Organisation du traité de sécurité collective (OTSC), bloc militaro-politique de l'espace postsoviétique supervisé par Moscou, écrit lundi 23 septembre le quotidien Kommersant.

 

La Russie espère rallier les membres de l'organisation face aux menaces croissantes venant du sud, avant tout d'Afghanistan.

 

Les présidents des pays membres de l'OTSC se réunissent en général en décembre mais cette fois, ils ont jugé devoir le faire plus tôt. Selon une source de la délégation russe, tout un ensemble de questions ne peut pas attendre comme la situation en Afghanistan, d'où se retirera la majeure partie du contingent de l'Otan en 2014. Bien que l'Alliance évoque l'avenir en Afghanistan avec optimisme et affirme que les forces de sécurité nationales arriveront à assurer l'ordre, la Russie et ses alliés se préparent au pire scénario.

 

Au cours des entretiens prévus lors du sommet le président russe Vladimir Poutine, le ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Sergueï Lavrov et le ministre russe de la Défense Sergueï Choïgou discuteront avec leurs homologues biélorusses, kazakhs, arméniens, kirghizes et tadjiks du développement de la Force collective d'intervention rapide de l'OTSC et de son potentiel en termes de maintien de la paix. Une attention particulière sera accordée au renforcement de la frontière entre l’Afghanistan et le Tadjikistan.

 

La Russie a promis d'allouer 200 millions de dollars au réarmement de l'armée tadjike : actuellement, Moscou et Douchanbé se mettent d'accord sur la nomenclature du matériel dont le Tadjikistan aura besoin - il s’agira avant tout d'armes d'infanterie. Par ailleurs, les experts pensent que l'affaire pourrait ne pas se limiter aux livraisons d'armes et les garde-frontières russes pourraient revenir à la frontière tadjiko-afghane. Ils avaient protégé cette région de 1 400 km jusqu'en 2005, après quoi Douchanbé avait entièrement pris en charge cette mission.

 

Les forces tadjikes ont en réalité des difficultés à remplir leur mission, comme en témoigne la hausse significative du trafic de drogues afghanes dont la majeure partie est destinée à la Russie. Si après le retrait du contingent étranger la situation en Afghanistan s'aggravait et qu’une guerre civile éclatait, les autorités tadjikes n'arriveraient pas à gérer l'afflux de réfugiés et la pression des groupes criminels armés sans aide extérieur en selon les experts russes. L'ambassadeur russe à Kaboul, Andreï Avetissian, a récemment déclaré qu'en raison de la détérioration prévue de la situation en Afghanistan, Moscou étudiait la possibilité de projeter ses garde-frontières sur la frontière tadjiko-afghane. Il a toutefois souligné que la Russie n'entreprendrait aucune action sans en avertir préalablement les autorités tadjikes.

 

Pour l'instant, Douchanbé ne dit rien de concret à ce sujet. L'élection présidentielle se tiendra au Tadjikistan en novembre et bien que le président sortant Emomali Rakhmon n'ait pas de concurrents sérieux, il n'annoncera certainement pas une mesure qui pourrait être interprétée par ses opposants comme une atteinte à la souveraineté du pays.

 

La Syrie sera également un thème clé du sommet. Sergueï Lavrov, ministre russe des Affaires étrangères, a déclaré hier à la chaîne Perviy Kanal que la Russie était prête à mettre à disposition ses militaires pour contribuer à la sécurité des régions où travailleront les experts de l'Organisation pour l'interdiction des armes chimiques (OIAC). Les dirigeants des pays membres de l'OTSC devraient adopter aujourd'hui une déclaration commune en soutien de l'initiative de Moscou pour l'établissement du contrôle international sur les arsenaux chimiques syriens.

 

Aujourd'hui également le Kirghizstan passera le relais de la présidence à l'OTSC à la Russie. Selon une source du secrétariat de l'organisation, Moscou cherchera à renforcer la coopération politique et militaro-stratégique au sein du bloc et proclamera comme priorité la lutte contre le trafic des stupéfiants, ce qui sera certainement l'une des initiatives clés de la présidence de la Russie au G8 l'an prochain. Selon la source, Moscou espère rallier les membres de l'organisation face aux risques croissants émanant du sud car ces menaces pourraient prochainement devenir la plus importante épreuve pour le bloc.

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