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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:30
How Russia Defies Syria Sanctions

September 5, 2013: Strategy Page

 

Russia has shipped a billion dollars’ worth of weapons to Syria since the civil war there began in 2011. Russia insists that this is not in violation of arms embargoes against Syria and are simply deliveries of weapons ordered before 2011. In the last year Syria has delivered over $200 million in cash to Russian banks to keep these weapons coming (mainly S-300 anti-aircraft systems and anti-ship missiles) and their warranties operational. These purchases are being paid for by Iran, which flies in the cash to a Syrian financial operation in Moscow. The cash is then delivered to Russian government accounts via a Moscow bank. The Syrian Moscow operation is run by an uncle of Syrian dictator Basher Assad.

 

These Russian shipments are not challenged by the international community because they are, technically, defensive weapons and cannot be used to attack the rebels. Another problem that is less clear is whether the weapons are being sent to Iran. That is illegal but without any clear evidence of such transfers there’s nothing anyone can do. The cash transfers are also illegal, since Iran is banned from the international banking system for anything involving weapons, oil sales and military equipment in general. But no one is going to shut down air traffic between Iran and Russia.

 

Meanwhile, at least 14 Russian cargo ships arrived in Syria since 2011, plus numerous air freight flights. Recently Russia has quietly approved new shipments of small arms, which is forbidden but can be flown in and join similar weapons Syria had before 2011. Russia appears to believe that no one will challenge this either.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:30
Syrie: les pays arabes prêts à financer l'intervention américaine (Kerry)

WASHINGTON, 5 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

Les pays arabes ont proposé de prendre en charge les frais d'une éventuelle intervention américaine en Syrie, a déclaré mercredi à Washington le secrétaire d'Etat US John Kerry.

"Les pays arabes nous ont effectivement proposé de couvrir les frais de l'opération militaire (...). Nous examinons cette proposition", a indiqué le chef de la diplomatie américaine s'exprimant devant le comité des Affaires étrangères de la Chambre des représentants.

La Ligue arabe a exclu la Syrie de ses rangs, tandis que certains pays arabes à majorité sunnite fournissent des armes à l'opposition syrienne combattant les forces fidèles au président Bachar el-Assad. L'Arabie saoudite et le Qatar sont considérés comme les principaux sponsors des anti-Assad.

Washington accuse le régime de Bachar el-Assad d'avoir employé le 21 août dernier des armes chimiques contre l'opposition armée et la population civile dans une banlieue de Damas. Le président américain Barack Obama a pris la décision de lancer une opération militaire contre les autorités syriennes sans mandat du Conseil de sécurité de l'Onu, mais a demandé l'aval du Congrès.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:30
Saeqeh Thunderbolt Fighter - Iranian Ministry of Defense

Saeqeh Thunderbolt Fighter - Iranian Ministry of Defense

September 5, 2013: Strategy page

 

On August 21st the Iranian Air Force announced that it had begun “mass production” of a new jet fighter, one that was designed and manufactured in Iran. This, according to the air force commander, means that Iran does not have to rely on foreign suppliers (all of whom are intimidated by international arms sanctions imposed on Iran.) This is all a bit of dark humor because the aircraft in question is apparently the Saeqeh jet fighter. A year ago it was announced that three more of these had been produced and that fifteen had been delivered to the Iranian Air Force. In 2011 Iran announced that they had put into service their first squadron of twelve Saeqeh. It was in 2006 that Iran first displayed a modified American F-5 fighter and proclaimed the new "Saeqeh" as similar to the American F-18 jet fighter. Iran is apparently producing a clone of the half century old F-5 design, not a rival for the F-18. Their local manufacturing and international smuggling capabilities are certainly up to the task of obtaining the components needed for this. But all this is mainly a publicity stunt to reassure Iranians that, despite decades of international arms embargoes, Iran still has weapons that can defend the country.

 

This is not the first time Iran has run a stunt like this. But even with a redesigned tail and better electronics, the 1960s era F-5 is still a low cost, and low performance, aircraft. The Saeqeh is not the first Iranian attempt to rebuild F-5s. In the 1990s, they built a clone of the F-5E, calling it the Azarakhsh. There are apparently four of these in service, and further modifications of F-5 airframes produced the Saeqeh.

 

The Iranians had dozens of damaged F-5s from their war with Iraq, along with many more elderly F-5s that are un-flyable or barely so. Three decades ago Iran had nearly 300 F-5 aircraft but many were destroyed in combat with Iraq during the 1980s, or due to accidents, and most of the remainder just wore out.

 

The F-5E, the most recent F-5 model the Iranians had when the Islamic revolution took over in 1979, is an 11 ton aircraft, with a max speed of 1,700 kilometers an hour, and a range of some 1,400 kilometers. It was armed with two 20mm cannon and could carry about three tons of missiles and bombs. The Iranians have taken the basic F-5 frame and rebuilt it to hold two Russian engines. The Chinese did the same thing and produced the J-8 (a twin engine MiG-21) that turned out to be not worth the effort.

 

Although the Iranians are using Russian components (if only because these are better than Chinese ones), they probably had technical assistance (for a price) from China. The Chinese have a lot of experience reverse engineering Russian warplanes and developing variations. The Chinese are getting away from that because they finally realized that all they ended up with was a lot of crap fighters. Now they are building a new air force with expensive, and high tech, fighters imported from Russia, or built under license (or just copied illegally).

 

The Iranians have become obsessed with these "propaganda weapons," where they hack something together from an existing Russian or American system and proclaim it to be a breakthrough weapon "designed and manufactured in Iran." It's all rather pathetic, and it all began during the 1980s, when Iran and Iraq were fighting a nasty war. Some of the hacks worked, after a fashion. Iran created a longer range SCUD missile by the simple expedient of lengthening the missile with a larger fuel tank. This changed the flight characteristics of the missile but since these things were being fired at city size (as in Baghdad) targets, it didn't matter. Actually, the Iranians didn't really need the longer range missiles because Baghdad was pretty close to the Iranian border. Iran actually got the technology for these SCUD mods from North Korea but Iranian press releases always touted the achievement as being the work of Iranian scientists and engineers.

 

Iranian weapons fantasies reached their peak earlier this year with an announcement that they had developed a stealth fighter; the Qaher 313. It showed photos of a single engine fighter with some curious (to aeronautical engineers) features. The air intakes were too small, the airframe was similar to older (unsuccessful) American experimental designs, and the cockpit controls were the same used in one and two engine propeller driven aircraft. There was a video of the Qaher 313 in flight but nothing showing it landing or taking off. Engineers have concluded that the Qaher 313 is a crude fake and that the aircraft seen in flight was a small remote controlled model of the larger aircraft shown in a hangar. A deception like this is nothing new for Iran. In fact, this sort of thing has become a staple of Iranian media over the last decade.

 

Every year the Iranian media features several new weapons described as locally designed and produced. This is to improve morale among a population that knows the country has been under an international arms embargo since the 1980s. Some of the new wonder weapons announced in the last few years include a cruise missile with a 200 kilometer range and a submarine torpedo designed for shallow coastal waters. There was also a new 73mm missile that appeared to be a small, unguided rocket, albeit with a good press agent. All of this was stuff was fluff, with a bit of recycled reality to back it up. If you go back and look at the many Iranian announcements of newly developed, high tech weapons, all you find is a photo op for a prototype. Production versions of these weapons rarely show up. It’s all feel-good propaganda for the religious dictatorship that runs Iran and its supporters.

 

Iran likes to recycle 1950 military tech. For example, several years ago it announced that it had developed an armed "Karar" UAV, with a range of 1,000 kilometers. Pictures of this new weapon showed what appeared to be a copy of 1950s era American cruise missiles and target drones. These, in turn, were based on a similar weapon, the German V-1 "buzz bomb" that was used extensively in World War II to bomb London. The Iranian "Karar" UAV had the benefit of more efficient jet engines, more effective flight control hardware and software, and GPS navigation. Karar is not a wonder weapon but the Iranians are depending on a clueless international mass media, and their own citizens, to believe it is.

 

In the last few years Iran has announced many similar weapons, many of them originally conceived in the 1950s. There was, for example, a domestically designed and manufactured helicopter gunship and another UAV with a range of 2,000 kilometers. Recently, there have also been revelations of heavily armed speed boats, miniature submarines, new artillery rockets, and much more. Three years ago they showed off a new Iranian made jet fighter, which appeared to be a make-work project for unemployed engineers. It was a bunch of rearranged parts on an old U.S. made F-5 (which was roughly equivalent to a 1950s era MiG-21). The new fighter, like so many other Iranian weapons projects, was more for PR than for improving military power.

 

The Qaher 313 is the most ambitious fake so far. Stealth tech is not something you can recycle from 1950s gear, nor is it something you can easily deceive the experts with.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:30
Re-examining Syria from a naval perspective

4 September 2013 naval-technology.com

 

Syria's Navy is the smallest component of the nation's armed forces. While it is relatively neglected, with a budget estimated at only £90m annually, it is still the first line of defence on its Eastern Mediterranean flank and warrants consideration. As the situation in Syria and deliberation on possible intervention in the Mediterranean country escalates, Simon Williams examines the country's naval posture.

 

Maritime situational awareness in Syria

 

Syria's Mediterranean coastline measures 183km along Latakia and Tartus provinces. Although not a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Syria does indeed abide by the Convention's zonal regulations, claiming a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone with security jurisdiction of 24 nautical miles (which includes the territorial sea) and a 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone. The territorial sea has a total area of 3,866 km².

 

According the US Navy Judge Advocate General Corps, Syria still requires that foreign warships and atomic submarines obtain permission from Damascus before entering and transiting its territorial sea. The US, also a non-party to the Law of the Sea Convention, does not recognise the jurisdiction of Syria to this affect and protests these claims through regular operational assertions.

 

Last year, the Syrian Air Defense Force shot down a Turkish RF-4E, which, according to the Syrian military, "penetrated air space over [Syrian] territorial waters."

 

"Last year, the Syrian Air Defense Force shot down a Turkish RF-4E, which, according to the Syrian military, "penetrated air space"."
 

Not only does this incident demonstrate that the country maintains sufficient surface-to-air capabilities to carry out such rapid reaction operations, but also serves as an example that Syria may not be so passive to naval or aviation encroachment on its territorial sea (12 nautical miles). It again elucidates that the nation deviates from international norms of scrambling fighters to intercept airspace probes, and instead skips directly to unleashing the metal.

 

It is important to clarify, however, that this may not be a purely political stance, but a genuinely operational one. President Assad even commented on the situation to Turkish media outlet Cumhuriyet, saying: "In this environment, the coming of a plane like that is perceived as an enemy plane. Those who understand military understand these things. A country anywhere in the world would behave like this. This definitely isn't a political decision."

 

Should this be the case, it illuminates the Syrian military's responsive instinct of engaging with potential enemy targets entering its territorial sea or airspace without warning. Understanding this reaction, perhaps, is of vital magnitude in evaluating the initial response Syria may take to a 'hypothetical' engagement coming from the Mediterranean.

 

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Re-examining Syria from a naval perspective
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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:30
Russian missile boats Ivanovets (954) and R-44 (966).-2005 Karantinnaya-bukhta

Russian missile boats Ivanovets (954) and R-44 (966).-2005 Karantinnaya-bukhta

MOSCOU, 4 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

Deux navires de la flotte russe de la mer Noire - la vedette lance-missiles Ivanovets et le navire lance-missiles Chtil - arriveront au large de la Syrie le 29 septembre, a annoncé mercredi à Moscou un représentant haut placé de l'Etat-major général des Forces armées russes.

 

"Selon le commandement de la Marine et de l'Etat-major général, deux navires lance-missiles - Ivanovets et Chtil - partiront prochainement à destination de la Syrie. Ils arriveront au large de la Syrie le 29 septembre", a indiqué l'interlocuteur de l'agence RIA Novosti.

 

Les deux bâtiments auront pour mission de protéger les grands navires de débarquement qui se trouveront dans la région, selon lui.

 

Les navires Ivanovets et Chtil sont dotés de missiles antinavires Moskit et Malakhit.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
DoD Developing Mobile Units to Neutralize Chemical Weapons Materials

Tim Blades, director of operations for the Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction Business Unit, talks at a June 27 demonstration of the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. (Army)

 

Sep. 4, 2013 - by MARCUS WEISGERBER   - Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Should the Pentagon need to destroy stockpiles of chemical weapons, it can do so with new mobile systems that can neutralize and destroy the materials, according to defense officials.

 

The Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS) is designed to destroy chemical warfare agents in bulk and can be up and running within 10 days of arriving on site.

 

“We are acquiring some ability to deal with chemical materials should we be in a position where we have to do that,” Frank Kendall, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said Wednesday during a presentation at the IDEEA-sponsored COMDEF conference in Washington.

 

Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians has dominated the debate of whether the US should conduct a punitive strike. While there has been talk of conducting targeted strikes, the Obama administration has said it does not intend to use ground forces.

 

The Pentagon has been overseeing the destruction of US chemical weapons since the late 1990s. DoD destroys stockpiles of chemical materials such as mustard gas at several facilities in the US. But the new system can eradicate chemical weapon materials on site.

 

“The Department of Defense recently developed a transportable chemical weapons destruction system designed to fill a gap in the national capability to destroy U.S. bulk chemical agents, wherever they are found,” Jennifer Elzea, a DoD spokeswoman, wrote in an email Wednesday.

 

The new system was built at the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland. The center oversees the handling and processing of recovered munitions in the US and overseas.

 

The system is “designed to convert chemical agents into compounds not usable as weapons,” Elzea wrote. “Neutralization is achieved by mixing the agent with water and other chemicals and heating it.”

 

A crew of 15 people is needed to operate the system at any given time, according to the Army. The system can neutralize between five and 25 metric tons of chemicals per day, depending on the material.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
M153 Protector is based on the combat proven M151 Protector remote weapon station

M153 Protector is based on the combat proven M151 Protector remote weapon station

4 September 2013 army-technology.com

 

Kongsberg has been awarded a contract to maintain the US Army's M153 Protector common remotely-operated weapon stations (CROWS).

 

Valued at NOK229m ($37.5m), the contract requires the company to repair and retrofit the systems that have already been delivered to the army.

 

The order forms part of a framework agreement signed with the service for production, and supply of system support and technical engineering support for M153 CROWS system in August 2012.

 

Awarded following a full and open competition, the agreement extends over a five year period and has a maximum potential value of up to $970m.

 

Valued at $1.4bn, CROWS is a joint acquisition programme for remote weapon stations (RWS) and is intended to offer improved protection capabilities, training and development support for the US army's vehicle programmes.

 

Based on the combat proven M151 Protector, M153 CROWS are designed to enhance military troop protection and combat capabilities by enabling target acquisition and engagement from safer distances.

 

Capable of mounting on a range of vehicles, the system also supports firing from the MK19 grenade machine gun, 0.50-calibre M2 machine gun, M240B machine gun and M249 squad automatic weapon from inside of a heavy armoured vehicle.

 

Besides army's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the system has also been used by the army national guard (ANG) and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) during conflicts.

 

Kongsberg has to date delivered more than 10,000 M153 CROWS units to the US Army since August 2007.

 

The weapon is in use with more than 16 nations worldwide, including Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
Predator over Afghanistan photo USAF

Predator over Afghanistan photo USAF

MOSCOU, 5 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

Les ingénieurs d'Al-Qaïda ont reçu pour mission d'élaborer une stratégie anti-drone, comme en témoigne un rapport confidentiel du renseignement américain dévoilé au Washington Post par Edward Snowden, écrit jeudi le quotidien Nezavissimaïa gazeta.

 

Selon les informations de la Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), les terroristes financent des projets de recherche pour créer des stations de brouillage, qui permettraient de perturber les signaux GPS et les balises infrarouges qui servent à orienter les opérateurs de drones.

 

De plus, Al-Qaïda travaille sur des aérostats de surveillance et des appareils télécommandés de taille réduite qui devraient permettre aux terroristes de suivre la trajectoire des drones américains. Les terroristes se penchent sur la possibilité d'abattre les drones grâce aux lance-roquettes sol-air et travaillent sur des systèmes d'alerte d'approche de drones.  Le commandement d'Al-Qaïda supervise tous les projets et sert de base de liaison pour échanger les succès entre diverses équipes d'ingénieurs.

 

Les terroristes recrutent des spécialistes, notamment des experts en drones et technologies balistiques. Selon le WP, en 2010, les autorités turques ont arrêté un étudiant mathématicien de 23 ans, membre d'Al-Qaïda, qui cherchait le moyen d'abattre les drones de surveillance de l'Otan en Afghanistan et effectuait des calculs balistiques. Les jihadistes qui travaillent sur les nouvelles technologies appellent, par le biais de revues anglophones en ligne, à les aider dans la guerre contre les "drones diaboliques". Il est suggéré à cet effet de partager les avis, les idées et les compétences pratiques. Sans oublier la guerre psychologique. Les terroristes cherchent à jouer sur la colère de la population en raison des nombreuses victimes civiles et à montrer la guerre de drones comme une entreprise lâche et immorale.

 

Les drones Predator et Reaper sont l'arme principale de la CIA et du Pentagone contre Al-Qaïda depuis la présidence de George W. Bush. En dix ans leurs attaques ont tué près de 3 000 personnes et ont poussé les terroristes à prendre des mesures d'urgence pour limiter leurs déplacements au Pakistan, en Afghanistan, au Yémen et en Somalie. D’où les tentatives d'Al-Qaïda pour trouver un moyen de lutter contre les drones. Leurs talons d'Achille sont la liaison satellite, le contrôle à distance et l'absence du cryptage pour certaines communications.

 

Par ailleurs, les drones perdent souvent le signal sans aide extérieure. En général, les perturbations sont réparées en quelques secondes mais dans certains cas elles ont entraîné le crash du drone, comme en décembre 2011 dans le ciel iranien (Téhéran a annoncé qu'il avait lui-même abattu l’appareil). Les méthodes bon marché pour lutter contre les drones – à l’aide de lasers et d'autres dispositifs capables d'aveugler les caméras et les capteurs des drones - ne sont plus secrètes depuis longtemps. Les chercheurs de l'université du Texas à Austin ont notamment réussi, au cours d'une expérience, à "carjacker" un drone en trompant son signal GPS avec un transmetteur terrestre et en programmant un faux itinéraire.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II

U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II

Sep 4, 2013 ASDNews Source : The Boeing Company

 

    Will keep aircraft operating through 2035

 

Boeing [NYSE: BA] will continue improving U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II mission readiness, and decreasing maintenance costs, through a follow-on order for 56 replacement wings for that aircraft. 

 

Boeing is on contract to build up to 242 wings, including these, at its plant in Macon, Ga. Refitting the fleet with new wings will improve the mission availability of A-10s by an estimated 4 percent and will help save the Air Force an estimated $1.3 billion in maintenance costs during the next 30 years.  

 

This latest order is valued at $212 million. Including this agreement, the Air Force has ordered 173 wings. The efforts of Boeing, its suppliers, and the Air Force will allow the A-10 fleet to operate into 2035.

 

The A-10 is a twin-engine jet designed for close air support of ground forces. It can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 07:55
Le top départ du débat parlementaire sur la LPM

04.09.2013 Par Guillaume Belan (FOB)

 

Jean-Yves Le Drian s’est fait auditionné hier par la commission des affaires étrangères et des forces armées du Sénat, marquant le premier acte du débat parlementaire qui aboutira à un vote sur la LPM (présentée début août) prévu cet automne. Une séance qui s’est ouverte très en retard suite à une audition à huit clos sur la situation en Syrie.

 

Déclinaison du Livre Blanc, dans un cadre précis et annualisé, le ministre de la Défense a rappelé l’ambition du Président Hollande de soutenir l’effort de défense afin que la France puisse maintenir son rang stratégique et garantir la capacité d’intervention française, qu’il s’agisse simultanément des missions intérieures, de la dissuasion nucléaire ou des opérations extérieures (comme le Mali). Le Ministre a rappelé que le budget sera maintenu à son niveau actuel, c’est à dire à 30,4 milliards d’euros, pour ensuite augmenter à partir de 2016. Tout en rappelant que la Défense participe à l’effort de redressement des comptes publics, avec une diminution significative des effectifs. Outre les 10174 emplois qui restent à supprimer de la précédente réforme lancée sous l’ère Sarkozy, s’ajoute 3500 emplois. Un tiers de ces emplois sera supporté par les forces combattantes, tandis que côté encadrement, ce sont les officiers qui vont trinquer avec une perte de près de 6000 postes, soit 18% des effectifs. Chez les militaires, la pilule a du mal à passer, alors que les cadres civils (catégorie A) ne perdent que 2% de leurs effectifs. Une décision que Le Drian explique par « un souhait de rééquilibrage au profit du personnel civil dans les secteurs non opérationnels ». Une politique d’accompagnement (reconversion, mobilité, incitations…) est prévue avec un budget à hauteur de 933 millions d’euros.

 

Quant aux fermetures d’unités, le ministre souhaite « prendre son temps » pour le « dialogue et la concertation » et dévoilera les restructurations fin septembre/début octobre. D’ors et déjà, 150 millions sont prévus pour l’accompagnement des fermetures de sites à venir.

 

Le format des forces terrestres sera organisé en brigades, soit : deux brigades lourdes (équipées du char Leclerc…) ; deux brigades multirôles (VAB et VBMR) ; et deux brigades d’urgences

 

Pour le reste, Le Drian a détaillé les priorités de la LPM : Les opex (opérations extérieures) sont budgétées à hauteur de 450 millions par an (soit une baisse significatives de près de 200 millions), tandis qu’au-delà, un budget ad hoc interministériel assurera un éventuel surcoût. Un effort sera fait pour la préparation opérationnelle des forces, alors que celle-ci pèse de plus en plus lourdement sur les comptes (de nombreux vieux matériels coûtent chers à entretenir). Pour les deux années à venir, le budget dédié à cette « prépa-ops » est maintenu à son niveau actuel, pour augmenter à partir de 2016, gagnant 4,3% en valeur.

 

Autre priorité, l’équipement et la recherche, (« l’industrie de défense est au cœur de la LPM ») avec un effort sur la R&D (plus de 730 millions d’euros par an) ; le renseignement (satellites Ceres, drones, dont les deux premiers Reaper qui rentreront en service cette année depuis Niamey…) ; la cyberdéfense et la judiciarisation des opérations : « Le droit pénal ne prend pas suffisamment en compte la réalité des conflits ; il est en décalage, voire franchement inadapté »

 

Nouveauté, un dispositif de suivi et d’actualisation sera mis en place, afin que le conseil de défense, présidé par le Président de la République, puisse suivre l’exécution de la LPM : un rapport annuel d’exécution sera établi. Et la grande nouveauté réside dans cette clause de sauvegarde qui sera  incluse dans la LPM afin de pouvoir mobiliser d’autres ressources (interministérielles) si nécessaire afin de financer les surcouts d’opex.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Syrie: 7 pays de l'UE favorables à une intervention sans l'aval de l'ONU

BRUXELLES, 4 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

La France et six autres pays membres de l'UE soutiennent l'idée d'effectuer une frappe militaire contre la Syrie sans l'aval du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU, a annoncé mercredi à RIA Novosti une source diplomatique européenne à Bruxelles.

Outre la France, "Le Danemark, la Croatie, la Roumanie, la Grèce, la Lettonie et Chypre se prononcent en faveur de l'opération militaire contre la Syrie sans le feu vert de l'ONU", a indiqué l'interlocuteur de l'agence.

Les chefs de la diplomatie des 28 pays de l'UE devront adopter une position commune à cet égard lors d'une rencontre informelle prévue les 6 et 7 septembre à Vilnius.

Le président américain Barack Obama a demandé le 31 août au Congrès de donner son feu vert à une opération militaire contre la Syrie. Washington accuse les autorités syriennes d'avoir utilisé des armes chimiques dans une banlieue de Damas le 21 août dernier lors d'une attaque aurait fait 1.400 morts.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
EU Defense Ministers to Discuss Key Policy Proposals

Sep. 4, 2013 - By JULIAN HALE – Defense News

 

BRUSSELS — European Union defense ministers will meet informally in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sept. 5 and 6 to discuss two key defense policy reports ahead of a summit of EU leaders on defense in Brussels in December.

 

One report, by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, focuses on the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and the other is a European Commission report aimed at creating a more competitive and efficient European security and defense sector.

 

Discussions on Ashton report will home in on two proposals. The first urges increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of the CSDP, and enhancing the development of defense capabilities.

 

Ashton’s report calls for making cyber infrastructure more secure and resilient withing the EU and elsewhere. She is also pushing for the issue of more common EU funding to be addressed by member states and wants ministers to approve a new approach to the EU’s rapid response assets, including battlegroups, in November. The latter ties in with one of Lithuania’s priorities for its six-month presidency of the European Union (June to December), namely to increase the effectiveness of EU battlegroups as a crisis management tool.

 

The second proposal calls on EU governments to share their plans on major projects in areas such as aerial refueling, umanned aircraft, cyber operations and satellite communications. However, no update on pooling and sharing projects is planned during the defense ministers’ meeting.

 

During the meeting, Lithuania stress issues that are on its EU presidency agenda, such as the development of the EU’s response to emerging challenges in the energy security, cyber, maritime and space domains. Military energy efficiency also is a particular focus for Lithuania.

 

During a working dinner on Thursday, ministers will be briefed by the chairman of the Military Committee and the Operation Commanders on the ongoing military CSDP operations (Althea, Atalanta, EUTM Somalia, EUTM Mali) and will discuss partnerships in the context of operations. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will attend on Thursday and has said he will discuss EU-NATO defense cooperation.

 

The Syria crisis is not on the agenda but is expected to be discussed. However, Syria will also be discussed by EU foreign ministers at their informal meeting Sept. 6 and 7.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 07:45
Rheinmetall Wins Order for Mortar Ammo

September 5, 2013 defense-aerospace.com    

(Source: Rheinmetall AG; issued Sept. 4, 2013)

 

Rheinmetall Wins Multi-Million Euro Contract for Mortar Ammunition

 

Rheinmetall AG of Düsseldorf has booked a major order for mortar ammunition. A customer in the Middle East/ North Africa (MENA) region has contracted with Rheinmetall Denel Munition of South Africa to supply ammunition for a mobile 120mm mortar system. The contract, which runs for several years and will be completed in partnership with a local company in the customer land, is worth around €50 million.

 

Delivery of the ammunition starts in September 2014. The order encompasses tens of thousands of service, illumination and smoke/obscurant rounds. They are developed for a modern 120mm mobile mortar system, with ballistic characteristics specifically adapted to its advanced fire control unit. The ammunition’s range of over 8,000 metres and proven performance in battle underpin its leading role in the market and with it, Rheinmetall’s technological leadership.

 

Just awarded, the contract issued by the MENA-customer is the culmination of cooperation between the project participants from the world of vehicles, weapons and ammunition, and fire control technology. Moreover, the order is an important endorsement for the use of Rheinmetall ammunition in the mobile 120mm mortar system, and a significant sign of possible orders to come from other customers in the MENA region.

 

Rheinmetall also sees the order as a validation of its strategy of internationalization. A presence in the MENA region and entering into strategic partnerships could assist the Düsseldorf-based Group to further strengthen its reputation as a reliable partner of the military as well as local industry.

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MQ-1 Predator armed with Hellfire missiles flies over southern Afghanistan. Photo USAF

MQ-1 Predator armed with Hellfire missiles flies over southern Afghanistan. Photo USAF

05/09 LesEchos.fr (Reuters)

 

Les drones, arme de prédilection des Etats-Unis dans leur combat contre al Qaïda, ne devraient pas figurer au premier rang des armes qui seront utilisées en Syrie si Washington devait mettre à exécution son projet de sanctionner Damas pour avoir utilisé des armes chimiques contre son peuple.

 

Les drones, utilisés en frappes ciblées au Pakistan ou au Yémen contre des membres présumés d'Al Qaïda, ne sont pas conçus pour des combats aériens et seraient vulnérables à la défense antiaérienne et aux radars syriens, d'autant plus qu'ils sont beaucoup plus lents que les avions de guerre traditionnels.

 

Les drones sont également utilisés pour protéger les militaires américains en Irak et Afghanistan, c'est-à-dire dans des pays dont l'espace aérien n'est pas protégé.

 

En outre, les missiles Hellfire qui équipent en général ces avions sans pilote, n'ont pas la puissance de feu des missiles de croisière qui seront vraisemblablement utilisés dans le cadre des frappes limitées souhaitées par Barack Obama contre les forces du président syrien Bachar al Assad.

 

Les frappes de drones au Pakistan et au Yémen ont considérablement augmenté sous la présidence de Barack Obama, à tel point que ces engins sans pilote sont devenus une partie clé de la lutte contre al Qaïda. Les Etats-Unis les utilisent aussi en Somalie, en Libye et en Irak et ont été autorisés cette année à en stationner au Niger.

 

Mais la configuration des opérations en Syrie ne se prête pas à l'utilisation de drones, du moins pas dans un premier temps.

 

"Quand on ne contrôle pas l'espace aérien, ils sont lents, bruyants et très faciles à abattre. Ils ne sont vraiment pas si utiles quand il s'agit d'Etats comme la Syrie", commente Audrey Kurth Cronin, professeur à l'Université George Mason.

 

Les missiles de croisière Tomahawk ont des bombes deux fois plus puissantes que celles des missiles Hellfire des drones. En outre, leur vitesse est proche de celle du son, ce qui les rend beaucoup moins vulnérables à la défense antiaérienne.

 

Les Etats-Unis disposent de quatre frégates en Méditerranée orientale qui peuvent être équipées de Tomahawk dont la portée est d'environ 1.610 km.

 

DRONES ESPIONS

 

Dans le cas où la défense aérienne syrienne serait touchée par des frappes américaines, les drones pourraient être utilisés pour des missions de surveillance et éventuellement pour des frappes ciblées.

 

L'avantage des drones est qu'ils peuvent être actionnés à distance et notamment à partir de bases aux Etats-Unis, ce qui limite, voire supprime, le risque pour les personnels qui les guident.

 

Toutefois, les faire entrer en action à un stade ultérieur pourrait être le signal d'un engagement plus long que celui de quelques semaines que Barack Obama vise en Syrie, soulignent les analystes.

 

L'armée de l'air américaine actionne aussi des appareils pilotés à distance à partir de la base aérienne d'Incirlik en Turquie mais les autorités américaines ne se sont pas exprimées sur leur mission.

 

Ils ont été utilisés par le passé pour des missions de surveillance le long de la frontière syro-turque, mais ils ne sont pas forcément utilisés en ce moment en survol de l'espace aérien syrien.

 

Les Etats-Unis ont aussi des drones espions RQ-170 Sentinel, dont la forme leur permet d'éviter les radars, mais leurs défauts sont apparus au grand jour en 2011 quand un de ces appareils s'est écrasé en Iran. Téhéran affirme qu'elle a pris le contrôle de l'avion et qu'elle l'a forcé à s'écraser, ce que les autorités américaines démentent.

 

"Nous pensons aux drones comme substitut de bombardier furtif ou quelque chose de ce genre. Or, ils ne le sont pas du tout", explique Daniel Byman, spécialiste de la sécurité à la Brookings Institution.

 

Toutefois, l'efficacité de la défense antiaérienne syrienne pourrait avoir été exagérée.

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iraq-abrams photo USMC

iraq-abrams photo USMC

September 5, 2013 defense-aerospace.com    

(Source: General Dynamics Land Systems; issued September 3, 2013)

 

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. --- The U.S. Army has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $56 million contract modification to continue providing logistics and base lifecycle support services in support of Iraqi M1A1 Abrams tanks.

 

Work will be performed by existing General Dynamics employees in Iraq for 30 days.

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Syrie: l'obus chimique d'Alep est de fabrication artisanale (experts russes)

MOSCOU, 4 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

L'obus chimique utilisé dans la ville syrienne d'Alep le 19 mars n'est pas une munition régulière de l'armée syrienne, mais un engin de fabrication artisanale, a annoncé mercredi le ministère russe des Affaires étrangères se référant aux experts russes.

"L'obus utilisé à Alep n'est pas une munition régulière de l'armée syrienne, mais un engin de fabrication artisanale dont le type et les paramètres ressemblent à deux des roquettes non guidées fabriquées par la brigade Bashayer Al Nasr dans le nord de la Syrie", a indiqué le ministère.

Début juillet, le représentant permanent de la Russie auprès de l'ONU Vitali Tchourkine a annoncé que l'obus utilisé par les rebelles syriens le 19 mars près d'Alep contenait du gaz sarin. Les résultats d'analyse effectuée par les experts de laboratoires russes certifiés par l'Organisation pour l'interdiction des armes chimiques (OIAC) ont été transmis au secrétaire général de l'organisation, Ban Ki-moon.  

Le 26 août dernier, le ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Sergueï Lavrov a déclaré que l'obus qui a explosé le 21 août dans une banlieue de Damas et renfermant probablement des substances chimiques de combat ressemblait à celui qui avait explosé en mars dernier près d'Alep.

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Les forces occidentales disponibles pour une intervention en Syrie - le Monde 28.08.2013

Les forces occidentales disponibles pour une intervention en Syrie - le Monde 28.08.2013

Sep 4, 2013 ASDNews (AFP)

 

An international coalition for action against Syria is growing, Secretary of State John Kerry told US lawmakers Wednesday, adding Arab nations had even offered to help pay for any strikes.

 

"We are building support with ... other countries, among them the Arab League," Kerry said, as the US administration tries to sell its plan for military action to punish Damascus for its alleged use of chemical weapons.

 

"Specific countries that have talked in terms of acting" were "Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qataris, the Turks and the French."

 

The move comes after a suspected chemical weapons attack on a suburb of the Syrian capital last month, which Washington says killed 1,400 people.

 

The United States had reached out to more than 100 countries as it works to shape a coalition in favor of military intervention, the top diplomat told a House of Representatives committee.

 

President Barack Obama has insisted the Syrian regime of his counterpart Bashar al-Assad has crossed a red line against the use of chemical weapons and should be punished with his military capability degraded.

 

"Thirty-one countries or organizations have stated publicly or privately that the Assad regime is responsible for this attack, and that was before our evidence package was put together," Kerry said.

 

"And 34 countries or organizations have indicated that if the allegations prove to be true, they would support some form of action against Syria."

 

He even suggested the United States had too many offers of help as he sought for a second day to persuade US lawmakers to back Obama's plan for limited missile strikes against the Syrian regime.

 

"A number of them have asked to be part of a military operation," he told the four-hour hearing. "The Turks, a NATO country, have condemned (the attack), pinned it on Assad, asked to be part of an operation."

 

"The French have volunteered to be part of an operation. There are others who have volunteered. But frankly ... we got more volunteers that we can use for this kind of an operation," Kerry said.

 

And a number of Arab League countries had offered to help bear the cost, he said, adding the amount on the table was "quite significant."

 

"Some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing the way we've done it previously in other places, they'll carry that cost. That's how dedicated they are to this."

 

He was appearing before the House Foreign Affairs committee on the second day of the administration's blitz on Capitol Hill to convince lawmakers to approve limited military strikes.

 

In a sign of public opposition to the plan, anti-war demonstrators held up red-stained hands behind Kerry's head in a silent protest as he spoke.

 

But he told the panel Assad now only had "three principle supporters" -- Iran, Hezbollah and Russia -- while "the rest of the world is in horror of what is happening."

 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel even alleged that some of Assad's stockpile of chemical weapons had come from Moscow.

 

Asked which countries were handing over such arms, Hagel replied: "Well, the Russians supply them. Others are supplying them with those chemical weapons. They make some themselves."

 

Obama's plan for military strikes passed its first congressional hurdle Wednesday, with a draft resolution authorizing limited military intervention for 90 days passing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

 

It will now be debated by the full Senate, with the House due to take up consideration of the proposed measure next week.

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Syrie: une frappe militaire présente un risque nucléaire (Moscou)

MOSCOU, 3 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

Une intervention militaire occidentale en Syrie constitue une menace pour la sécurité nucléaire de la région, a déclaré mercredi à Moscou le porte-parole du ministère russe des Affaires étrangères Alexandre Loukachevitch.

"Une opération militaire contre ce pays peut toucher des sites sensibles du point de vue de la sûreté nucléaire et de la non-prolifération nucléaire", a indiqué M.Loukachevitch.

"Si un engin frappe, exprès ou par hasard, le Réacteur miniature source de neutrons (MNSR) qui se trouve à Damas, cela peut avoir des conséquences catastrophiques, à savoir provoquer une pollution des territoires voisins à l'uranium hautement enrichi et aux produits de fission et rendre impossible le contrôle et la préservation des matières fissiles stockées dans ce site", a conclu le diplomate.

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President Obama meets in the Situation Room with his national security advisors to discuss strategy in Syria on Aug. 31. (photo Pete Souza White House)

President Obama meets in the Situation Room with his national security advisors to discuss strategy in Syria on Aug. 31. (photo Pete Souza White House)

MOSCOU, 4 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

Les Etats-Unis ne veulent pas répéter les erreurs commises par les services de renseignement américains en Irak, a indiqué mercredi le président Barack Obama lors d'une conférence de presse conjointe avec le premier ministre suédois Fredrik Reinfeldt.

"Après l'Irak, les gens prennent très au sérieux les accusations concernant les armes de destruction massive et la véracité de telles informations. Je ne veux pas répéter les erreurs commises par nos services de renseignement", a déclaré le dirigeant américain, ajoutant qu'il disposait de preuves convaincantes de l'utilisation d'armes chimiques en Syrie.

Selon M. Obama, ce fait a été confirmé par les experts de l'ONU. Cependant, on ne sait pas encore laquelle des parties en conflit a lancé l'attaque chimique.

Les Etats-Unis et leurs alliés sont intervenus en Irak en mars 2003 sans l'aval du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU. Cette opération a été lancée suite à une fausse information des services de renseignement américains selon laquelle le dirigeant irakien Saddam Hussein possédait des armes de destruction massive. Après l'invasion de l'Irak par une coalition internationale avec à sa tête les Etats-Unis, les militaires américains et britanniques ont entrepris la recherche de ces armes. Or, ces dernières n'ont jamais été retrouvées.

Barack Obama a à plusieurs reprises déclaré qu'il considérait l'emploi d'armes chimiques en Syrie comme une "ligne rouge" dont le franchissement autoriserait une intervention armée.

Lors de la conférence de presse à Stockholm, le président américain a déclaré que la "ligne rouge" n'avait pas été tracée par lui, mais par toute la communauté internationale

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 07:25
L’armée de l’air brésilienne reçoit son premier A-1 modernisé

04.09.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com

 

La Força Aérea Brasileira a réceptionné son premier chasseur A-1M modernisé hier, lors d’une cérémonie qui s’est tenue sur le site industriel d’Embraer à Gavião Peixoto, près de São Paulo. C’est le premier exemplaire du programme qui prévoit la rénovation et la modernisation des 43 chasseurs subsoniques AMX. Seize avions se trouvent actuellement à l’usine d’Embraer pour être modernisés.

 

Plusieurs nouveaux équipements sont intégrés aux A-1M : systèmes de navigation, armement, génération d’oxygène, radar multimodes, contremesures électroniques, similaires à ceux présents sur les F-5M et les A-29 Super Tucano. Le programme de modernisation devrait permettre aux avions d’être opérationnels jusqu’en 2025.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
US Senate panel approves use of force against Syria

Sep 4, 2013 ASDNews (AFP)

 

President Barack Obama's plan to conduct military strikes on Syria passed its first congressional hurdle Wednesday, paving the way for a full Senate debate on the use of force.

 

A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved an amended resolution 10-7, that would authorize US military intervention with a 90-day deadline and bars American boots on the ground for combat purposes.

 

The Senate's newest member, Democrat Edward Markey, voted present.

 

Senate leaders have said the full chamber will debate and vote next week on authorization of the use of force in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's apparent use of chemical weapons against his own people.

 

The House of Representatives, where a tougher vote is expected, will begin consideration next week but its leaders have not announced timing of a vote.

 

"What we've done today is a step in the right direction," said Senator Dick Durbin.

 

The chamber's number two Democrat voted against the Iraq war, but he insisted that "this is different."

 

"I really believe there is a moral component here that's critically important," he said, citing how all members of the committee are horrified by the attacks by Assad.

 

Senator Robert Menendez, the committee's chairman, said the resolution marks "a good foundation" for passing the Senate.

 

"This resolution strikes the type of balance that we are hearing from members on both sides of the aisle in both houses as to what their concerns are."

 

The White House commended the panel for "moving swiftly" to approve the measure.

 

"We will continue to work with Congress to build on this bipartisan support for a military response that is narrowly tailored to enforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and sufficient to protect (US) national security interests," the White House said.

 

Obama's administration had offered a draft text, but the committee's leaders re-worked it to set a time limit of 60 days plus a 30-day extension, and banned the use of any US ground troops in Syria to accomplish the mission.

 

But deep divisions emerged over the scope of the military action, and Republicans and Democrats voted in favor of the measure as well as against it.

 

Earlier in the day the committee held a three-hour classified session, with Secretary of State John Kerry selling the case to members before testifying at a panel of the House of Representatives, where lawmakers and analysts foresee a tough fight over giving Obama authority to strike.

 

"We need to send to Syria -- and to the world, to dictators and terrorists, to allies and civilians alike -- the unmistakable message that when we say 'never again,' we actually don't mean sometimes, we don't mean somewhere, we mean never again," Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

 

The Senate text was modified to include language sought by Republican Senator John McCain, who had threatened a no vote unless the measure was toughened up.

 

The committee debated and ultimately approved his amendment, which declared it is "the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria," and urges a comprehensive US strategy boost the fighting capabilities of "elements of the Syrian opposition."

 

McCain voted yes but five fellow Republicans, including potential 2016 presidential candidates Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, voted against.

 

Paul, who unsuccessfully sought to limit the power of the president to "unilaterally authorize a military attack" where there is no imminent threat, said he was unconvinced that Obama's plan would achieve its goals.

 

"I frankly think that bombing Syria increases the likelihood of additional gas attacks, may increase attacks on Israel and Turkey, may increase civilian deaths, may increase instability in the Middle East and may draw Russia and Iran further into this civil war," he said.

 

Senate Democrat Tom Udall, an opponent of military intervention, introduced an amendment that would have narrowed Obama's military options as the lawmaker sought to prevent greater US involvement.

 

The Udall amendment, which McCain dismissed as "micromanagement," was defeated.

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Boeing KC-46 source Boeing

Boeing KC-46 source Boeing

September 4, 2013 defense-aerospace.com    

(Source: Boeing Co.; issued September 3, 2013)

 

Boeing Tanker Remains On Schedule with Start of 2nd Refueling Boom Assembly

 

SEATTLE --– Boeing workers in Seattle took another step toward delivering next-generation aerial refueling capability to the U.S. Air Force today when they began assembling the second refueling boom for the KC-46A Tanker program.

 

Based on the Boeing 767 commercial airplane, the KC-46A will feature a modernized fly-by-wire boom and hose and drogue systems, making it capable of refueling any U.S. or allied fixed wing aircraft any time on any mission. What’s more, the KC-46 itself can be refueled in flight, adding to its substantially greater capability and mission flexibility.

 

"Our team is achieving significant milestones as we prepare for flight tests to begin, and we remain focused on delivering this capability on schedule,” said Maureen Dougherty, KC-46 vice president and program manager. “The KC-46 boom is modeled after the proven KC-10 boom, which has performed extremely well in its 30 years of operation. We’re enhancing its reliability, making it even better.”

 

Five test booms are being built. The first will be used for risk-reducing laboratory tests that are scheduled to begin early next year. The second will be installed on a test aircraft to further evaluate the design.

 

Boeing invented the air refueling boom and has been building, upgrading and modifying them for more than 60 years. The company remains on plan to deliver the initial 18 combat-ready KC-46As by 2017. It will deliver 179 to the Air Force by 2027.

 

 

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $33 billion business with 59,000 employees worldwide.

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4 septembre 2013 3 04 /09 /septembre /2013 18:50
AgustaWestland touts AW609 enhancements

ROME, Sept. 4 (UPI)

 

Aerodynamic improvements to AgustaWestland's prototype AW609 tilt-rotor VTOL aircraft are underway in Italy and the United States.

 

Among improvements to the vertical takeoff and landing fixed-wing plane – the company's answer to Bell Boeings V-22 Osprey – are a modified vertical fin, better designed engine exhaust nozzles and changes to the prop-rotor spinner cones, the Italian-British company said.

 

The improvements are designed to help reduce drag by about 10 percent, cut aircraft weight and improve efficiency.

 

"These aerodynamic improvements, new avionics, new cockpit display system and a large number of other improvements will together give the aircraft greater performance and mission capabilities, making it even more attractive for carrying out a wide range of missions which can benefit from its much higher cruise speed, high altitude cruise capability and longer range, when compared to existing helicopters or other proposed high-speed rotorcraft," said Clive Scott, AW609 Program manager.

 

Flight testing of the aircraft's modified vertical tail fin is being conducted on prototype 2 at the company's facility at Cascina Costa, Italy. Other enhancements are being tested in Texas on prototype 1 by AgustaWestland's U.S. subsidiary, AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Company.

 

AgusaWestland said an upgraded version of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine is being used on the aircraft. Its integrated cockpit is being supplied by Rockwell Collins, while BAE Systems is providing an upgraded flight control computer.

 

Two additional AW609 two prototypes are under final assembly in Italy.

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L’A400M valide ses essais sur pistes non préparées

04.09.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com

 

L’A400M a effectué avec succès de nouveaux essais sur pistes non préparées, selon Airbus Military. La campagne s’est tenue pendant plus d’une semaine à Ablitas, au nord de l’Espagne et c’est MSN2 qui a été utilisé pour tester et valider les performances de l’avion sur des pistes gravillonnées.

 

Vingt-cinq atterrissages ont ainsi été effectué sur six vols.

 

Il s’agissait notamment de tester des manœuvres au sol, des décollages interrompus et l’inversion de la puissance des TP400-D6 jusqu'à une vitesse de 70 noeuds (130km/h), afin de vérifier les dommages causés sur les turbopropulseurs et sur la cellule.

 

D’après Airbus Military, les essais ont permis de valider la robustesse de l’avion, qui n’a subi que des dégâts minimaux et en cohérence avec les attentes du constructeur. L’ensemble des résultats obtenus va à présent être analysé par Airbus Military et l’OCCAR.

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4 septembre 2013 3 04 /09 /septembre /2013 18:40
Russia’s Mediterranean Task Force to Rotate 4 Ships

MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti)

 

A new group of ships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet will join the country’s Mediterranean task force within days, a high-ranking Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

The task force currently includes vessels from the Pacific, Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets: the destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, the large amphibious landing ships Admiral Nevelsky and Alexander Shabalin, the frigate Neustrashimy, and a number of support and auxiliary vessels.

The new group includes the large amphibious landing ships Novocherkassk and Minsk and the electronic intelligence ship Priazovye. It will relieve the current task force as soon as it passes through the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits, which is expected Thursday or Friday, the source said.

A high-ranking representative of the General Staff told RIA Novosti the Slava class guided missile cruiser Moskva, which is currently in the Atlantic, will arrive in the Mediterranean on September 17, adding that operational command will then be transferred from the Admiral Panteleyev to the Moskva.

Two guided missile corvettes, Shtil and Ivanovets (Nanuchka 3 and Tarantul class respectively) will arrive in the area on September 29, the General Staff said.

The Defense Ministry source earlier said there are also plans to send another two Black Sea Fleet warships - the Kashin class frigate Smetlivy and the Alligator class large amphibious landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov.

A military-diplomatic source in Moscow told RIA Novosti on Tuesday Russia’s naval force in the Mediterranean Sea will not be expanded despite the worsening situation in the region. He also said Russia’s existing flotillas in the Mediterranean are undergoing routine rotations, and stressed “this is a regular rotation process, planned at the start of the year.”

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