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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:50
A Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter carries out deck landings on RFA Mounts Bay

A Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter carries out deck landings on RFA Mounts Bay

10 July 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support


The Royal Navy has begun training the first aircrew to fly its next-generation helicopter, the Wildcat.


Five Fleet Air Arm pilots and observers are currently undergoing conversion training at the new Wildcat Training Centre at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton, with the helicopter – successor to the Lynx – just 18 months away from front line service.

From the beginning of 2015, Wildcats will begin to relieve the Lynx as the mainstay of helicopter operations for all of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers and some of its Type 23 frigates, as well as any other air missions the fleet requires of it.

700W – ‘W’ for Wildcat – Naval Air Squadron (700W NAS), based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, got its first naval version of the new helicopter on 1 May 2013.

The squadron has been formed especially to bring Wildcat into front line service – squeezing every last ounce of information out of the helicopter so they can share it with the rest of the Wildcat world.

First Navy aircrew begin training on Wildcat

Last month 700W NAS took the naval Wildcat to sea for the first time, carrying out deck landings on Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Mounts Bay off the south coast off England.

Its personnel – 5 pilots, 6 observers (who act as navigators/weapons systems specialists) and 44 ground crew and technicians – are also developing the tactics which will allow Wildcat to track drug-runners, intercept pirates, take out small surface targets, sink submarines and save lives in mid-ocean rescues; basically everything its predecessor Lynx does, only better.

Wildcat pilot Lieutenant James Woods said:

We often hear ‘it looks like a Lynx, how different can it be?’ Well yes, from the outside it bears a striking resemblance to the Lynx, but that really is where the similarity ends.

In Wildcat the Fleet Air Arm is getting a world-leading naval helicopter that builds upon the successes of the present-day Lynx. It’s bristling with the latest advanced mission systems and weapons – it’s the perfect solution to allow the Royal Navy to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

A Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on RFA Mounts Bay's flight deck - Picture UK MoD

A Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on RFA Mounts Bay's flight deck - Picture UK MoD

The 700W NAS Wildcat pioneers were taught to fly the new helicopter by its builders, AgustaWestland.

Now they’re passing on that experience to existing trained aircrew. And, from early 2015, the Fleet Air Arm will take rookie fliers straight from ‘helicopter school’ at RAF Shawbury and turn them into Wildcat pilots and crew.

Wildcat was on public display at RAF Waddington last weekend, and will be present at 4 more air shows across the UK this summer:

Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter (library image) [Picture: Copyright AgustaWestland]

Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter (library image) [Picture: Copyright AgustaWestland]

In the autumn the rest of the Navy will get to see what Wildcat can do when the helicopter takes part in the Joint Warrior war games off Scotland for the first time.

The Fleet Air Arm is buying 28 Wildcats and the Army Air Corps is receiving 34. The maritime variant will be fitted with the SELEX Galileo Seaspray 7000E active electronically scanned array radar system for maritime surveillance missions. All will be based at Yeovilton.

The last Lynx will be withdrawn from service in the spring of 2017.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:50
The Kosovo Security Force Now Self-Sustainable

July 9, 2013 Source: NATO


Progress in Kosovo continues at a steady pace – and the Kosovo Security Force’s (KSF) full operational capability is another illustration of this.


While the general security situation has been improving on the ground, this lightly armed force responsible for civil protection operations and assisting civil authorities in responding to natural disasters and other emergencies has now trained to NATO standards. The declaration of full operational capability on 9 July 2013 by the North Atlantic Council means that the KSF is fully capable of performing the tasks assigned to it within its mandate. The KSF will conduct non-military security functions that are not appropriate for the police. In more concrete terms, this force of approximately 2200 personnel will deal with search and rescue operations, explosive ordnance disposal, control and clearance of hazardous materials, fire-fighting and other humanitarian assistance tasks.


Recruitment for the Kosovo Security Force started early 2009, once NATO had agreed (June 2008) to implement new tasks in addition to those agreed under UNSCR 1244. These new tasks included the standing down of the Kosovo Protection Corps, and the creation of the KSF and of a civilian structure to oversee it.


NATO’s role in the creation of KSF has therefore been two-fold: helping with its formation – standing up, recruitment and training; and the establishment of a civilian-led organisation to supervise and control the KSF. One of the principal aims was to encourage all minorities to enroll, so special attention was given to carrying out the recruitment process in two languages – Albanian and Serbian. The result has been a professional, multi-ethnic, all-volunteer force, which should continue to remain a source of regional stability.


Following the declaration of full operational capability, NATO will continue to support the development of the KSF through the NATO Liaison and Advisory Team (NLAT), consisting of a mix of approximately 30 military and civilian personnel that will help with the professional development of the KSF, providing advice and support in a variety of areas such as capacity-building and training and leadership.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:50
 NATO and partners to conduct air-defence flying training over Iceland

03 July 2013 NATO


NATO will conduct an air-defence flying training event for pilots and ground support personnel, including fighter controllers, in Iceland from 3-21 February 2014.

The Iceland Fighter Meet 2014 (IFM14) will bring together fighter aircraft from NATO member Norway (F-16 Fighting Falcon), and from partner countries Finland (F-18 Hornet) and Sweden (JAS Gripen), to conduct a wide range of air defence-related flying activities. These will include air combat training between dissimilar aircraft types, defensive and offensive counter-air operations and high-value airborne asset attack and protection.

IFM14  will be supported by air-to-air refuelling tanker aircraft, NATO AWACS radar aircraft and Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters. It will be held in the context of the training component of Norway’s deployment to Iceland to conduct the periodic NATO ‘Peacetime Preparedness Mission’. 

NATO will act as the overall coordinator for the event from its Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany. Control of the fighter aircraft will be shared by Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) Loki in Iceland and a NATO AWACS radar aircraft operating from Norway.

Sweden will deploy an air-to-air refuelling aircraft to Iceland to support IFM14. Finland and Norway will deploy SAR helicopters alongside Iceland’s SAR force.

Norway will act as the sponsor nation for Finland and Sweden, and will provide a training director for IFM14. The Finnish and Swedish assets will be placed under his operational control. They will not be placed under NATO’s direct authority at any time during the meet.

Under standard NATO practice, all training missions during IFM14 will be flown unarmed.

As part of the ‘Peacetime Preparedness Mission’, the Norwegian contingent will deploy several days before the Swedish and Finnish detachments to demonstrate the required NATO air-policing capability. This will be completed before the partners arrive.

Once IFM14 begins, any real-world NATO air-policing activities will only be conducted by Norway, and will be separate and distinct from the activities of the training event, which will run in parallel.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:45
Britain had to rely on German military for first time since Waterloo

10 Jul 2013 By Tom Whitehead, Security Editor - telegraph.co.uk


Britain has had to rely on German military support in a war for the first time since the Battle of Waterloo.


During the Libyan conflict in 2011 British forces had to use maps supplied by German intelligence because of cut backs in the Ministry of Defence, it has emerged.


It was the first time the UK had to rely on Germany in such circumstances since 1815 when Gebhard von Blucher’s Prussian forces helped the Duke of Wellington defeat Napoleon.


The development was disclosed on the annual report of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee which raised concerns over decreasing funding for defence intelligence.


The committee, which takes evidence from the security and intelligence agencies in private, warned that cutbacks meant resources had to be constantly shifted around and it risked “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.


The committee said the spy agencies and defence intelligence would have to increasingly rely on “burden sharing” and make use of allies in some parts of the world who may be better placed to provide intelligence.


It said: “We accept the need for this specialisation. It is not novel: for example we have been told that (by defence intelligence) ‘in Libya we went to war on German maps’”.


Sir Max Hastings, the military historian, said it would likely be the first time Britain relied on Germany like that since Waterloo.


”It is a fact of enormous frustration that it is now almost impossible to conduct any military operation without help,” he said.


The ISC report warned cuts to the defence budget will lead to the loss of 450 defence intelligence posts – the equivalent of 10 per cent.


It concluded: “The Committee has repeatedly warned of the risks of cutting resources – in particular to Defence Intelligence – to the UK’s ability to provide the necessary level of global coverage.


“Whilst we recognise that burden-sharing arrangements with allies may offset some of the impact, there must continue to be a critical mass that can respond to unexpected events without this being at the expense of coverage of other key areas.


“We are concerned that shifting resources in response to emerging events is ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’: we must maintain the ability to respond to more than one crisis at a time.”


An MoD spokesman said: "It is important that we use Defence resources effectively and efficiently.


"It is increasingly common for us to burden-share activities with allies. In this particular case our operational planning for Libya was undertaken using current German mapping under long-established programmes of work sharing.


"Operations in Libya were a coalition effort and therefore it is only right that we make best use of the assets of our international partners.”

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:40
A Batch of Su-34 Front-Line Bombers Was Transferred to the Russian Air Force

At its Novosibirsk factory on July 9, Sukhoi handed over three additional Su-34 bombers to the Russian Air force; three others were delivered in May under the 2013 delivery contract. (Sukhoi photo)


July 9, 2013 Source: Sukhoi Company


The ceremony of transfer of the serial Su-34 front-line bombers to the Russian Air Force was held today at the Novosibirsk branch of the Sukhoi Company – V.P. Chkalov Novosibirsk aircraft plant (NAZ).


Three aircraft took off and headed to the place of their deployment.


The first aircraft of the 2013 State Defense Order was transferred to the military at the beginning of May this year and is already in service.


Implementation of the 2013 State Defense Order at the Novosibirsk aircraft plant is in full swing. The company's management noted a high degree of readiness of aircraft, which is the guarantee of a full and timely implementation of the 2013 State Defense Order.


The large government contracts signed with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation in 2008 and 2010 for the supply of Su-34 have created the conditions for a stable work load of the plant in the long run, and determined its long-term development prospects.


The Su-34 aircraft produced by the NAZ have been successfully operated in the armed forces demonstrating high performance, according to the military.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:35
a 64,000-square-foot HQ facility in Afghanistan, (photo Office of SIGAR )

a 64,000-square-foot HQ facility in Afghanistan, (photo Office of SIGAR )

Jul. 10, 2013 - By JIM McELHATTON  - Defense News


The Office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction called a 64,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Afghanistan, which cost the U.S. military $34 million to build, a 'troubling example of waste' in a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The building will likely never be used and torn down.


The military spent $34 million to build a 64,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Afghanistan, but officials concede they’ll probably just tear it down or turn it over to the Afghan government in what some officials call a case study of what can go wrong in military construction.


Located in the country’s Helmand province, it’s a project the Office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) called a “troubling example of waste” in a letter this week to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.


Whether the building is turned over to Afghan officials or torn down, both outcomes raise troubling questions about why the military would push forward on the project despite early concerns that there was no need for it, according to the July 8 letter from IG John F. Sopko.


Sopko praised the building as impressive, perhaps the best built facility he’s seen in his travels around Afghanistan.


“Unfortunately, it is unused, unoccupied and presumably will never be used for its intended purpose,” he wrote.


He also cited unnamed military officials who cited the project as an example of the pitfalls of military construction, saying “once a project is started, it is very difficult to stop.”


SIGAR investigators said the Army sought funding for the project in February 2010, but the I Marine Expeditionary Force (FORWARD) requested the project be canceled months later.


Nonetheless, the Air Force’s 772nd Enterprise Sourcing Squadron issued a task order to AMEC Earth and Environmental Inc. to build the facility in February 2011, and the U.S. government took control of it in November 2012, according to the letter.


Sopko said one senior military official noted that as U.S. military presence decreases at Camp Leatherneck, the Marine Corps base in the province, the building could fall outside of the security perimeter, making it unsafe for the military to occupy.


“This leaves the military with two primary options — demolish the building or give it to the Afhan government,” Sopko told Hagel.


But the problem with turning the building over to the Afghans is that doing so would require a “major overhaul” in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.


Yet another problem: The building was constructed based on U.S. construction standards, not Afghan standards. As a result, the power runs at a different voltage, complicating the transfer.


“These were some of the reasons why the U.S. military officials we spoke with believe the building will probably be demolished,” Sopko wrote.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:35
Major Military Forces in the Asia - Pacific Region (Approximate Strength)  Source JDF 2013

Major Military Forces in the Asia - Pacific Region (Approximate Strength) Source JDF 2013

10 July 2013 Steve Herman - VOA


TOKYO — China and South Korea are criticizing the latest defense report released by Japan.


As the annual security white paper was released Tuesday, Japan's defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, took note of what the government considers increasingly serious security threats from China.


The Japanese defense minister says the Chinese “have attempted to change the status quo by force in ways incompatible with the existing order of international law and in ways that could be seen as provocative.”


Japan and China have a long-standing dispute over small islands in the East China Sea controlled by Tokyo. Tension has escalated since the central Japanese government, last September, purchased the unoccupied islands (known as Senkaku in Japanese and Daoiyu in Chinese) from their private Japanese owner.


Within hours of the issuance of the Japanese white paper, the foreign ministry spokesperson in Beijing responded by accusing Tokyo of making unfounded accusations against China.


Hua Chunying says China's maritime activities are carried out according to international law, the country is on the path of peaceful development and always stands for resolving territorial disputes through dialogue. But, she says, Japan has recently “played up the China threat, causing tensions and confrontation. And the international community cannot help but worry over where Japan is heading.”


The white paper also suggests Japanese forces should have the capability to attack enemy bases as an effective deterrent against ballistic missile threats.


That is in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs, as indicated by defense minister Onodera.


However, South Korea - also a potential target of the rival North's forces - is joining China in criticizing the Japanese document. That is because the annual paper - as it has since 2005 - asserts a territorial claim over a rocky outcrop, covering less than one-fifth of a square kilometer, held by South Korea (known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese).


South Korean army Colonel Wi Yong-seop, speaking for the country's defense ministry, denies Japan has any geographical, historical or legal right to the rocks.


Colonel Wi says if Japan refuses to withdraw its territorial claim there can be no expectations of defense exchanges or military cooperation between the two neighbors.


This is the first such report published since Shinzo Abe returned as Japan's prime minister. He has expressed a desire to alter his country's pacifist Constitution, drafted by U.S. military occupation forces shortly after Japan's defeat in 1945.


That makes some of Japan's neighbors uneasy, believing it could lead to a revival of Japanese militarism. There is a widespread perception in the region that Japan has never sufficiently expressed remorse for its brutal colonization of the Far East and much of the Asian continent before and during the Pacific War.


Japan, for the first time in eleven years, this year increased its defense budget and is drafting a new overall defense plan. It is also increasing the scope of defense drills with its primary ally, the United States, which maintains more than a dozen military bases and tens of thousands of uniformed personnel in Japan.

New Japan Defense Paper Angers Neighbors

DEFENSE OF JAPAN 2013      (Provisional Translation)


Part Ⅰ: Security Environment Surrounding Japan
Overview Chapter 1 Defense Policies of Countries
Chapter 2 Issues in the International Community
Part Ⅱ: Japan's Defense Policy and the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements
Chapter 1 The Basic Concepts of Japan's Security and Defense Policy
Chapter 2 The National Defense Program Guidelines and the Build-Up of Defense Capability
Chapter 3 Strengthening of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements
Part Ⅲ: Measures for Defense of Japan
Chapter 1 Systems to Protect Citizens' Lives and Property and Defend Japanese Territorial Land, Waters and Airspace
Chapter 2 Initiatives to Further Stabilize the International Security Environment
Chapter 3 The Maintenance and Strengthening of Defense Production and Technological Bases, and the Effective, Efficient Acquisition of Defense Equipment
Chapter 4 The Relationship between the Japanese People and the Ministry of Defense and the SDF
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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:35
Camp Leatherneck sign - photo Leonard J. DeFrancisci

Camp Leatherneck sign - photo Leonard J. DeFrancisci

July 10 By Rajiv Chandrasekaran - washingtonpost.com


The U.S. military has erected a 64,000-square-foot headquarters building on the dusty moonscape of southwestern Afghanistan that comes with all the tools to wage a modern war. A vast operations center with tiered seating. A briefing theater. Spacious offices. Fancy chairs. Powerful air conditioning.


Everything, that is, except troops.


Read more

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:35
Boeing Receives Contract to Support Australia's Vigilare System

WILLIAMTOWN, New South Wales, July 11, 2013 – Boeing


Through a five-year, 66.7 million Australian dollar ($60.45 million) contract with the Australian Department of Defence, Boeing [NYSE: BA] will provide enhanced support services for Vigilare, the air defense command and control system that is giving the Australian Defence Force unparalleled ground and airborne situational awareness.


Through remediation of the multiyear performance-based contract, signed on July 1, Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) will provide engineering, maintenance, supply and training services, and system updates.


“This contract provides Defence with more effective and flexible Vigilare support arrangements, enhancing No. 41 Wing operational outcomes while delivering promised savings to the Australian government as part of Defence's Strategic Reform Program,” said Group Captain Dean Overend, Officer Commanding Ground Telecommunication Equipment Systems Program Office.


Since becoming operational in mid-2010, the Boeing-built Vigilare has become the core of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) air defense surveillance network, providing battlespace management that supports operations and training. In near real-time, Vigilare integrates information from many platforms and sensors to support operations at tactical and strategic levels. The system facilitates interaction with assets including the RAAF’s Boeing Airborne Early Warning & Control Wedgetail, Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft, and Royal Australian Navy vessels.


“The contract ensures that this essential air surveillance and battle management system continues to be cost-effectively maintained and relevant to the Australian Defence Force’s requirements, including the need to be interoperable with a wide range of defense and civil systems,” said Bill Madley, BDA general manager for Information & Operational Services.


Vigilare operates from the Northern Regional Operations Centre and Eastern Regional Operations Centre, located at RAAF Bases Tindal, Northern Territory, and Williamtown, New South Wales, respectively.


Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing, is a leading Australian aerospace enterprise. With a world-class team of more than 1,300 employees at 15 locations throughout Australia and two international sites, Boeing Defence Australia supports some of the largest and most complex defense projects in Australia.


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. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:35
 Matador is a 90 mm (3.5 in) man-portable, disposable anti-armor weapon system (all photos : Phunu Today)

Matador is a 90 mm (3.5 in) man-portable, disposable anti-armor weapon system (all photos : Phunu Today)

09 Juli 2013 Defense Studies

(PhunuToday) - Matador is a light anti-tank missiles in accordance with the task of protecting and occupying the island for the Vietnam Navy rating.

MATADOR was developed from the 2000s, to replace the outdated system ARMBRUST the Army payroll in the Republic of Singapore. After a series of memorandum and Development Cooperation light anti-tank weapons, the Republic of Singapore Army (SAF), Department of Science and Technology with 2 Singapore military defense industry corporations large Israeli Rafael and Dynamit have a project to develop a model rocket attacks shoulder to equip Guard Forces SAF and Israel.

MATADOR line of shoulder missiles kill light tank with bore sizes up to 90mm, using two types of warheads is HEAT standard attack and Hesh. This is a collaboration product from Singapore and Israel maintained military. The prototype of the missile system MATADOR shoulder of the Federal Republic of Germany ARMBRUST but is much improved and has made a remarkable mark in the anti-tank missile systems in the world shoulder.

MATADOR was developed from the 2000s, to replace the outdated system ARMBRUST the Army payroll in the Republic of Singapore. After a series of memorandum and Development Cooperation light anti-tank weapons, the Republic of Singapore Army (SAF), Department of Science and Technology with 2 Singapore military defense industry corporations large Israeli Rafael and Dynamit have a project to develop a model rocket attacks shoulder to equip Guard Forces SAF and Israel.

'Tank Buster' Over the Shoulder of Vietnam Navy

In some types of anti-tank missiles and shoulder armor now, MATADOR small size, light weight yet loaded with ammunition is loaded is 8.9kg and 14.2kg while. However, not so soft that it was underestimated. MATADOR is considered nearly as strong shoulder missiles smart FMG-148 "Javelin" of the United States.

With 2 main types of warheads, MATADOR can break bunker, destroy the kind of medium tanks and tank main battle (MBT) today. In addition, it can also destroy armor and troop transport vehicles for amphibious operations against the enemy, and capable of urban warfare - one of the common characteristics of weapons to Israel increased range and power on every battlefield.

Defense capability against armored vehicles, MBT, as well as the ability to completely destroy armored vehicles carrying regular troops as the M113 or the other shielded MATADOR is rated as the best among anti-tank weapons shoulder today.

Despite intense firepower but MATADOR was safe to humans because it does not generate the fallout from the jet engines of the rocket as shoulder-fired missiles and other not affect the use of the name Fire was launched.

'Tank Buster' Over the Shoulder of Vietnam Navy

With the ability to use high-pressure explosive warhead, dual shot mode passive target, MATADOR can use bullets to kill Hesh urban decay shoot any wall, whether it is permanent nowhere. After penetrating the wall, bullets explode inside creating a very strong destructive power. To break the bunker type, normally, people would use explosive anti-tank warhead HEAT. When the first bullet was lodged into the wall, the sensor system on the rocket will explode and destroy targets.

One other plus points of MATADOR is that it does not need a large space for the fuel to the rocket exhaust as many different types of shoulder-fired missiles that just a narrow space, may be shielded from the walls at a distance ly 5m was able to fire attacks.

Some improved version now allows to fire missiles from any location and any public space. This is one of the brightest features of urban warfare MATADOR, making it versatile attack but still achieve very high power.

To achieve this, the MATADOR tubes using special resin called SHP, is resistant to the excess fuel ejected from the rocket launchers behind. It will keep the dust and smoke from the engine and reduces low energy from the rear, to help ensure the safety of the troops and weapons, ammunition behind. In addition, SHP classes also ensure the safety of regional anti-tank rocket launchers and not discharged materials or toxic substances in the process of firing missiles.

'Tank Buster' Over the Shoulder of Vietnam Navy

MATADOR is kind of viewfinder is very precise reflex viewfinder multidimensional combination with electronic devices to increase magnification. The version used in Vietnam using the viewfinder of NVD, equipped with Picatinny slot, typically used on heavy weapons. Viewfinder has the ability to change between the 3 modes and flexible in terms of daylight, at night with infrared aiming system and ultimately aiming system with thermal imaging. Heat aiming system proved very useful in night conditions and do not have a clear vision and can hit targets very accurately.

Used in the fighting in Gaza with Hamas forces, MATADOR has made repeated Hamas military Shedding for the HEAT rocket and Hesh when it destroyed a series of armored vehicles and fortifications in Gaza.

MATADOR family, variations MATADOR-WB is designed for specialized tasks destroyed walls, fortifications in the metropolitan area. MATADOR-AS variant is equipped with advanced warheads double-dose, high-explosive effect to destroy the fortifications and inner vitality, slow explosion effects to destroy armored vehicles.

The technical characteristics of light anti-tank missiles are very suitable for Vietnam troops that particular type of naval deployment to protect the island or coastal areas against attack landings enemy.


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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
U.S. to deliver fighter jets to Egypt

Jul. 10, 2013 – Defense News (AP)


WASHINGTON — The U.S. is moving ahead with plans to deliver four F-16s to Egypt despite the ongoing debate about the military’s overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi and whether it legally constitutes a coup that could shut off aid to the country.


Defense officials say senior administration leaders discussed the delivery and decided to let it continue. The fighters are part of a $1.3 billion package approved in 2010 that included 20 F-16s and some M1A1 Abrams tank kits. About half of the aid package has been dispersed, officials said.


Eight of the F-16s were delivered in January, the next four are expected to be delivered in the coming weeks and the final eight will be sent later this year.


News of the impending weapons delivery to the Egyptian military came as the administration continued to make the case that it is staying neutral in the crisis.


The White House and State Department reiterated the view Wednesday that it would not be in the United States’ national security interests to interrupt U.S. aid to Egypt, including to the armed forces, as would be required by law if Morsi’s ouster is determined to have been a coup.


“We do not believe it is in the best interests of the United States to make immediate changes to our assistance programs,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, adding that the administration is going to take its time to make any determinations about the removal of Morsi from power.


At the State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that aid to Egypt “has been around for quite some time and has a range of reasons as to why we do it.”


The comments come after a week of violence and widespread demonstrations and as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other U.S. leaders make repeated calls to their counterparts in Egypt urging an end to the violence and a quick transition to a civilian government. Hagel has spoken to Egypt’s defense minister, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, eight times in the last nine days, with one phone call lasting as long as 45 minutes.


U.S. officials have expressed satisfaction with the military-backed interim government’s plans to restore democratically elected civilian leaders.


Members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement have denounced the ouster and have demanded Morsi’s release from detention and reinstatement.


Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Josh Lederman contributed to this report.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
Iron Dome Fantasy And Reality

July 10, 2013: Strategy Page


Israel is making preparations to deploy a sixth Iron Dome anti-rocket battery this month, with two more coming within the next eight months. Iron Dome is the principal defense against short range rockets fired from Gaza or Lebanon. Iron Dome has a range of 70 kilometers against rockets, as well as artillery and mortar shells up to 155mm. Work is underway to increase Iron Dome range to over 200 kilometers. Meanwhile, Iron Dome remains a controversial mix of battlefield success and controversy.


For example, the Israeli military has had to keep repeating public reminders that the Iron Dome anti-rocket system was not meant for defending towns and villages but military bases and critical infrastructure (power and water). This reminder comes after Iron Dome successfully defeated a Hamas attack (using 1,500 rockets) last November. Many Israelis assumed this meant they could expect similar protection if there were a larger attack from Hamas or Hezbollah. But the military points out that Hamas has over 5,000 rockets and Hezbollah over 40,000. If one or both of these groups fired several thousand rockets, including longer range (over 20 kilometers) ones  the Iron Dome batteries would have to be used to defend military bases and power plants first (otherwise defense of the nation would be imperiled) before trying to cover civilian targets. With a smaller attack the existing number of Iron Dome batteries is sufficient to defend everything, which is what happened last year. But until it is possible to buy more Iron Dome batteries, a major attack will leave many civilian targets vulnerable. With eight batteries available next year, there will still be a need to concentrate on protecting key targets if there is a major attack. The military believes it would need twenty batteries to cover everything but it is unclear if the government can come up with the money for that. The U.S. is supplying some of the cash for this, but not enough for another dozen batteries.


The military has been pointing this out for over three years. The first mention was in response to announced plans to keep the new Iron Dome batteries in storage. At that time politicians were making much of using Iron Dome as a means of defending civilians living close to the border and vulnerable to rockets fired from Gaza in the south and Lebanon in the north. But it turned out that it takes about 15 seconds for Iron Dome to detect, identify, and fire its missiles. Most of the civilian targets frequently under fire from Gaza are so close to the border (within 13 kilometers) that the rockets are fired and land in less than 15 seconds. When longer range rockets are fired there are many more targets (civilian and military) to aim at and Iron Dome is much more effective. This is what happened last November, when Hamas fired many of its longer range rockets at larger towns and cities deeper in Israel.


This explains why, after Iron Dome was declared ready for action three years ago, it was surprisingly (to most Israelis) placed in storage. The air force said they would prefer to save money and put the Iron Dome batteries in storage, to be deployed only for regular tests and training or, of course, for an actual emergency (an expected large scale attack on southern or northern Israel). Politicians demanded that at least one battery be deployed along the Gaza border. Eventually all the batteries were deployed to defend a constantly shifting array of targets. Moving the Iron Dome batteries a lot is good training and confuses the enemy. Meanwhile the military sees Hamas and Hezbollah stockpiling larger numbers of longer range rockets that would enable massive use of long-range rockets against military bases (most of them more than 20 kilometers from the Gaza or Lebanese borders). The generals believe it's more important to protect the military forces, who ultimately defend Israel, and that's what Iron Dome will now be used for, at least when there is threat of a major rocket attack.


Iron Dome Fantasy And Reality

Since 2010 Israel has bought eight batteries of Iron Dome anti-rocket missiles. Five are in action and were responsible for defeating the Hamas attack last November, which used a lot of long range rockets. Each battery has radar and control equipment and three missile launchers. Each battery costs about $50 million, which includes 50-100 Tamir missiles (costing $50,000 each). Iron Dome uses two radars to quickly calculate the trajectory of the incoming rocket and do nothing if the rocket trajectory indicates it is going to land in an uninhabited area. But if the computers predict a rocket coming down in an inhabited area, Tamir guided missiles are fired to intercept the rocket. So far Iron Dome has been able to intercept 85 percent of missiles it identified as heading for an inhabited area. The latest version of Iron Dome has a longer range as well as more effective fire control.


This approach makes the system cost-effective. That's because Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets in 2006, and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired over six thousand rockets in the past eight years, and the Israelis know where each of them landed. Over 90 percent of these rockets landed in uninhabited areas, and few of those that did hit inhabited areas caused casualties. Israel already has a radar system in place that gives some warning of approaching rockets. Iron Dome uses that system, in addition to another, more specialized, radar.


The Palestinians are believed to have tried to defeat Iron Dome by firing a lot of long range missiles simultaneously at a few cities. In theory this could overwhelm one or two Iron Dome batteries. But Israel is able to keep 24/7 UAV watch on Gaza and spot attempts at large scale simultaneous launchers. This enables Israel to bomb many of the launch sites. This results in many rockets destroyed on the ground or launching erratically and landing within Gaza or nowhere near where they were aimed. Because Iron Dome can track hundreds of incoming missiles, quickly plot their trajectory and likely landing spot, and ignore the majority that will not land near people, the Palestinians tried putting hundreds of larger (long range) missiles into the air at the same time to be sure of causing lots of Israeli casualties. So far the Palestinians have not been unable to get enough rockets into the air at the same time to make this work. They may never get this to work, because they have to hide preparations for the simultaneous launch of many rockets and this is very difficult to do undetected.


The Palestinian rocket attacks have been around since 2001, but got much worse once Israel pulled out of Gaza in August of 2005. This was a peace gesture that backfired. From 2001 to 2005, about 700 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. Since the 2005 withdrawal, over 5,000 more rockets were fired into Israel. The rate of firings increased after Hamas took control of Gaza in June, 2007. In 2011 700 rockets and mortar shells were fired, this jumped to 2,300 in 2012 when Hamas briefly went to war with Israel. The retaliation was so effective that Hamas agreed to a ceasefire. Thus during the first half of 2013 only about 40 rockets and mortar shells landed in Israel.


Hamas has been bringing in more factory made Iranian and Chinese made BM-21 and BM-12 rockets. Hamas revealed, last November that they had brought into Gaza factory-made BM-21 rockets, each with a range of 20-40 kilometers. They also have lots more shorter range (six kilometers) Russian designed B-12 107mm rockets. The 122mm BM-21s weigh 68.2 kg (150 pounds) and are 2.9 meters (nine feet) long. These have 20.5 kg (45 pound) warheads but not much better accuracy than the 107mm model. However, these larger rockets have a maximum range of 20 kilometers and a flight time of under 15 seconds. Again, because they are unguided, they are only effective if fired in salvos or at large targets (like cities, large military bases, or industrial complexes).


There are Egyptian and Chinese BM-21 variants that have smaller warheads and larger rocket motors, giving them a range of about 40 kilometers and flight time over 15 seconds. Israel found that there are now dozens of even larger Iranian Fajr rockets, with a range of 70 kilometers, plus several hundred extended-range (40 kilometers) 122mm rockets, and even more standard range (20 kilometers) 122mm rockets in Gaza. Before last November there were thought to be over 10,000 rockets stored in Gaza. But between Iron Dome and attacks on storage sites by artillery and smart bombs, over half of those rockets were destroyed.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
Aerial Defense Combat Soldiers to Identify UAVs

10.07.2013 Shir Aharon Baram - iaf.org.il


In the Aerial Defense Division, soldiers have learned lessons from the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that penetrated Israeli territory last October and April of this year: In addition to the courses on airplane identification the soldiers pass, there is also a course on UAV identification. From now on, the soldiers of the division will be able to deal with the new, developing threat


The Aerial Defense Division is currently putting forth a plan to train combat soldiers to deal with the threat of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The combat fighters and interceptors will learn how to detect UAVs of different kinds and to distinguish between them. "The threat of UAVs is a very relevant threat, along with our classic mission against manned aerial vehicles", says Commander of the Aerial Defense Division, Brigadier General Shahar Shohat, in an interview with the IAF journal.


Identification rates of airplanes are of great importance to the Aerial Defense Division, as its soldiers are required to identify an aircraft at a high altitude and determine quickly whether it is friendly or hostile. Through distinguishing the types of inlet cones, canopies, undercarriages, and non-stop memorization of blueprints and different points, the soldiers responsible for the task of defended the airspace succeed in distinguishing between a every type of plane and helicopter in the area.


In recent years, the State of Israel has realized the threat is not limited to just manned aerial vehicles, but includes also unmanned aerial vehicles, a developing threat among terror organizations that will no slip past the watchful eyes of the soldiers of the division: In their lessons, they will learn how to distinguish between offensive UAVs, UAVs for intelligence purposes, and other types of UAVs available in the field.


In the last year, the IAF has dealt with the threat of UAVs: Last April, a UAV was intercepted off the coast of Haifa by a fighter jet, and half a year before this incident, in October, a UAV from the terrorist organization, Hezbollah, was intercepted in midair over the northern Negev.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Lawmakers Want Answers from Pentagon Over Missile Test Failure

Jul. 10, 2013 - By JOHN T. BENNETT – Defense News


WASHINGTON — Congress wants answers from the Pentagon about a failed missile interceptor test, and several prominent senators say it should slow efforts to build an East Coast shield.


The Defense Department announced on Friday that a missile interceptor failed to hit a target over the Pacific Ocean, the latest setback for a pricey program that has not had a successful test since George W. Bush occupied the White House.


The missile interceptor was supposed to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and shoot down a ballistic missile launched from a site in the Marshall Islands. It did not, however, and was the latest in a string of failures going back to 2008.


Lawmakers with oversight of the US missile defense program say Pentagon officials owe them some answers.


“I read the story, and I’m looking forward to getting a briefing. I haven’t drawn any conclusions yet,” Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., chairman of the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said during a brief interview on Wednesday.


“I don’t think I should until I hear what the Pentagon has to say,” said Udall, whose subcommittee has legislative jurisdiction over the missile defense program’s plans, schedule and budget.


One senior lawmaker with even more power than Udall to impose restrictions on the missile defense program said the failure gives him new worries about America’s ability to shoot down an adversary’s missile.


“I’ve got plenty of concerns about the whole program,” said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the full Armed Services Committee.


Levin has yet to be briefed by Pentagon officials on the failed test launch.


“But I’ve asked for one,” he told Defense News.


New concerns were not limited to Democratic members, however.


“It has to be reviewed,” said Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “Obviously, that’s a very expensive failure.”


Some key defense-focused lawmakers, however, told Defense News the underlying missile interceptor technology is sound, adding existing interceptors like the Capability Enhancement-II (CE-II) should do the job.


“I don’t think we need to put the brakes on anything,” said House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. “We need a missile defense system. Rogue actors, from North Korea to Iran, are developing missiles. We need to improve our missile technology.


“We need to figure out what went wrong and fix it,” Smith said.


Asked if he has confidence the Missile Defense Agency and its private-sector contractors have the expertise to “fix it” given the spate of failed tests since 2008, Smith was confident.


“Absolutely I think they can fix it,” he said. “Just look at the success they’ve had with Iron Dome in Israel. Missile defense technology has improved dramatically.”


SASC Ranking Member Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said the US missile defense technology is sound — despite the run of failed test intercepts.


“I believe we should be entering into more tests,” Inhofe said. “The CE-II [interceptor] is going to be what we have to to rely on.”


Lawmakers said they intend to press the Pentagon for details of what went wrong last week.


“We have to get certain benchmarks,” McCain said, “and we have to review what remedial steps have to be taken.”


While Smith was bullish about the missile-defense program, he told Defense News that Congress and the Pentagon “need to re-look at our options and figure out what the best ones are.”


The Pentagon has around 30 interceptors on the West Coast, and intends to build 14 more in Alaska and California. Collectively, the price tag for erecting and operating those is in the tens of billions of dollars.


And GOP lawmakers in both chambers are fighting hard to secure legislative language that would require the Pentagon to build a missile shield on the East Coast.


“We’re going to study the East Coast,” Udall said. “But we need to finish the West Coast, I think.”


McCain did not rule out slowing efforts to erect the East Coast site.


“It’s too early to tell because we haven’t determined the reason for the failure,” he said on Wednesday.


“I think the East Coast proposal should not proceed until a number of other things have happened,” Levin said. “Number one, until there’s a requirement for it; and number two, until there’s an environmental assessment, which has not yet been made but is required by law.


“So there’s a lot of other reasons to have that proposal meet certain standards before we go ahead with it,” Levin said. “This [failure] is just … on top of all that.”

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Phoenix AUV Now Capable of Diving to 4,500 Meters

Jul 10, 2013 ASDNews Source : Phoenix International Holdings, Inc.


Phoenix International Holdings, Inc. announced that the company has taken delivery of their Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) after designer and manufacturer Bluefin Robotics completed a depth upgrade from a 1,500-meter to a 4,500-meter capability.


The Phoenix AUV is equipped with field-swappable acoustic  and optical payloads.  The acoustic payload section can concurrently operate a Reson 7125 multibeam (400kHz), Edgetech 2200-M side scan sonar (120/410 kHz), and Edgetech DW2-16 sub-bottom profiler (2-16 kHz) on 20 hour dives at speeds up to 3.5 knots.  The optical payload section can collect high resolution black and white imagery up to 3 frames per second using a Prosilica GE1900 camera system with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.  This highly capable and portable deep-water vehicle ships air freight to deploy on vessels of opportunity.  The average loadout specifications which include the AUV, mission support equipment, and lithium ion batteries consist of 20 pieces totalling 10,000 lbs. and occupies 1,000 cubic feet.


“We are quite pleased with this upgraded vehicle,” said Phoenix CEO, Mike Kutzleb. “And we’re ready to go to work.”

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Airmen set world's record during exercise

Jul 10, 2013 ASDNews Source : US Air Force


Airmen from the Dyess's 317th Airlift Group set a world's record for the largest C-130J formation during a Joint Operational Access exercise on June 19.


JOAX is a 12-day combined military training exercise designed to prepare Airmen and Soldiers to respond to worldwide crises and contingencies.


"This was the largest JOAX since September 2011," said Maj. Josh Leibel, 317th AG. "Servicemembers from all across the Air Force and Army came together to make the exercise possible."


Dyess supported JOAX with 20 C-130Js and 87 aircrew members, which delivered Soldiers and equipment to multiple drop zones.


"During the exercise the 317th AG set a world record for the largest C-130J formation," Leibel said. "Just as impressive as the 20-ship formation, our aircrew delivered 2,426 paratroopers and more than 140 tons of equipment to support the Army's training."


Not only did Dyess support the exercise with aircrew and aircraft, servicemembers on the ground worked nonstop to ensure operations went smoothly.


"I'm very proud of everything these guys did," said Senior Master Sgt. Rodney Jones, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "They worked hard every day and every night to get the aircraft ready to go. I look forward to deploying with them."


"Once the engines started cranking up I got goose bumps," said Airman 1st Class Matthew Martin, 317th AMXS. "It was such a good feeling seeing the largest C-130J formation fly out knowing we all did this. It made all the hard work we put in worth it."


Exercises such as JOAX give Dyess servicemembers the unique opportunity to train as a team with other military branches.


"This training is very important," said Senior Airman Jamie Richardson-Granger, 317th AG loadmaster. "I've learned a lot since I've been out here. We actually get to see more of the real-world equipment we would drop operationally, things that aren't normally available to us at home station."


It's good to come out here and see how the Army and Air Force coordinate," he added. "Both branches worked together to ensure training requirements were met."


While JOAX plays a vital role in keeping U.S. military members trained and proficient, it's increasingly difficult to financially support these exercises under sequestration. However, Dyess were able to work through these constraints.


"About this time last year Dyess 317th was tasked as the lead unit for JOAX 13-03," Leibel said. "A few months ago it became apparent that under current government financial limitations that reaching the objective for both the Air Force and Army would require some creative options and divergence from the normal way of executing operations and exercises especially of this size.


"Through collaberation with the Army, our fiscal saving measures resulted in the exercise bed down cost of about $65,000 which is a 76.6 percent reduction and savings of around $215,000," he added.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Air Force Intelligence Report Provides Snapshot of Nuclear Missiles

July 10, 2013 Hans M. Kristensen - FAS Strategic Security Blog


The U.S. Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) has published its long-awaited update to the Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat report, one of the few remaining public (yet sanitized) U.S. intelligence assessment of the world nuclear (and other) forces.


Previous years’ reports have been reviewed and made available by FAS (here, here, and here), and the new update contains several important developments – and some surprises.


Read more


Click to download full report

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Throwbot XT

Throwbot XT

July 9, 2013 Source: ReconRobotics, Inc


EDINA, Minn. --- ReconRobotics, Inc., the world leader in tactical micro-robots and remotely deployed sensor systems, announced today that it has passed the 4,000 robots sold plateau, making it the second largest producer of military and police robots in the world. Recent sales of Throwbot XT and Recon Scout XL micro-robots to police agencies in Michigan, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, New York, California, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands pushed the company over this significant milestone.


The only company that has sold more military and police robots is iRobot, which reports 5,000 robots sold and began selling its Packbot in 2001, six years before ReconRobotics entered the market.


“When we came on the scene in 2007, all military and police robots were large and complex and were operated only by trained experts,” said Alan Bignall, President and CEO of ReconRobotics. “Our vision was radically different: give warfighters and SWAT operators an incredibly simple, personal system that weighed one pound and enabled them to remotely deploy video, infrared and audio sensors to reveal hidden threats. What we are most proud of is the countless lives these 4,000 deployed systems have saved over the last six years.”

Reconrobotics Surpasses 4,000 Robots Sold

Among the users of the company’s systems are the U.S. military and allied friendly forces, and more than 800 police and counterterrorism teams, worldwide. The company’s Recon Scout XL and Throwbot XT robots protect operators by providing immediate situational awareness and greater standoff distance during high-risk operations. These capabilities protect personnel from hidden threats, enhance mission planning and execution, and minimize collateral damage.



ReconRobotics is the world leader in tactical, micro-robot systems and remotely deployed sensor systems. The company is based in Edina, Minnesota, USA, and markets its products through a distribution network in 45 countries. Its international operations are based in Lugano, Switzerland.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
X-47B Completes First-Ever Carrier-Based Arrested Landing USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)– photo US Navy

X-47B Completes First-Ever Carrier-Based Arrested Landing USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)– photo US Navy

A BORD DE L'USS HW BUSH (Etats-Unis), 10 juil 2013 marine-oceans.com  (AFP)


Le X-47B, un prototype de drone furtif, a apponté sur le porte-avions américain USS George HW Bush mercredi, une première ouvrant un nouveau chapitre dans l'histoire de l'aéronavale, a annoncé l'US Navy.


L'appareil, contrôlé à distance mais plus autonome que les drones actuels comme le Reaper ou le Predator, avait décollé quelques dizaines de minutes auparavant de la base aéronavale de Patuxent River, dans le Maryland (est), pour rejoindre le porte-avions croisant au large des côtes de Virginie (est).


Le X-47B "opère de façon autonome lors de son vol et lors de l'approche du navire mais l'officier d'appontage a un contrôle numérique direct grâce à un bouton" d'interruption en cas de problème, a expliqué le capitaine de vaisseau Jaime Engdahl, responsable du programme.


Le démonstrateur, destiné à développer les technologies pour les futurs drones de l'US Navy, avait déjà été catapulté du pont du George Bush le 14 mai.


Le X-47B, qui n'a pas d'empennage arrière, est doté d'un moteur à réaction, et a une forme dite en "aile de chauve-souris" pour accroître ses capacités furtives. Il a été conçu depuis 2007 par la firme américaine Northrop Grumman, qui construit également le drone d'observation Global Hawk.


L'appareil a une envergure de 19 mètres pour une longueur de 12 mètres. Ce n'est à ce stade qu'un démonstrateur et il faudra de nombreuses années de mise au point avant l'entrée en service opérationnelle de drones dans l'US Navy.


Sa portée de 2.100 miles nautiques (3.900 kilomètres) en fait un potentiel bombardier à long rayon d'action.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Old Reliable Beats Out New And Expensive

July 10, 2013: Strategy Page


The U.S. Army recently signed a $4 billion deal for another 177 CH-47F transport helicopters. These will cost $22.6 million each and there is an option to add 28 more CH-47Fs to the deal. The first of these new helicopters will arrive in two years. This is a rare multi-year contract, which cuts the price about 16 percent. Congress prefers to allow only deals where the politicians can diddle with contracts on an annual basis. But because this drives up costs, there is pressure to go with the cheaper multi-year contracts and the army managed to get one for its huge CH-47F order.


The huge projected cost of developing a new transport helicopter caused the army to decide a decade ago to spend $11.4 billion dollars to refurbish its fleet of existing CH-47 transport helicopters instead. The CH-47 has proved to be a very successful design and none of the proposed replacements was dramatically better than an upgraded CH-47. This upgrade effort will result in a fleet of 513 CH-47F helicopters (including 397 rebuilt CH-47D choppers, 55 new build 47Fs ones plus some special versions.) The CH-47F has been so successful that the army was able to persuade Congress to allow the fleet to be expanded with more new choppers as well.


The rebuilt CH-47Ds became CH-47Fs that are good for another twenty years of service. The F model CH-47 has up-to-date digital communications, is easier to maintain, and cheaper to operate. The CH-47F can carry up to 55 troops, and has a maximum range of 426 kilometers. Its max speed is 315 kilometers an hour. Typical missions last no more than 2.5 hours.


Three years ago the CH-47F helicopter got its first sustained experience in a combat zone, and performed well. This was a major factor in getting the money to buy more of them. A company of 20 CH-47Fs arrived in Afghanistan during 2009 and soon found themselves often flying eight missions a day, day after day. The CH-47Fs had a 90 percent availability rate. Although the CH-47F has been flying since 2001, and were first delivered to the army in 2009, it takes sustained use in a combat environment to smoke out the last bugs and maintenance problems. In Afghanistan there were some problems with the flat panel displays, but these were quickly worked out. There were several other minor problems, mostly having to do with all the dust in the environment, and the temperature extremes (often below freezing in Winter, and over 45 degrees/113 Fahrenheit in Summer). This was tough on the maintainers and manufacturers' reps initially, but after a year, maintenance problems were no longer an issue. This is important, because in Afghanistan, the CH-47 is a critical form of air transportation, including combat assault.


photo EMA

photo EMA

Since the 1990s the U.S. Army had used UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopters for combat assault missions, while the larger CH-47 "Chinook" was used just for moving cargo. But the army found that, in the high altitudes of Afghanistan, the more powerful CH-47 was often the only way to go in the thin mountain air. While doing that, the army found that the CH-47 made an excellent assault helicopter. In many ways, it was superior to the UH-60, mainly because the CH-47 carries more troops and moves faster and farther. The CH-47F has even more powerful engines, and is even more valuable for high altitude assaults. It is the best helicopter for use in Afghanistan, having proved able to deal with the dust and high altitude operations better than other transport choppers.


The first CH-47s entered service in 1962, able to carry only five tons. Some 750 saw service in Vietnam and 200 were lost in action. During 1982-94, 500 CH-47s were rebuilt to the CH-47D standard. SOCOM operates 31 MH-47Ds and Es, which have additional navigation gear. These are being upgraded to MH-47F standards and the fleet expanded to 61 helicopters. As a result of all this, the CH-47 will end up serving at least 75 years. The original CH-47F upgrade program and new builds will not be completed until 2018. The new contract will extend production into the 2020s.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Raytheon-built joint stand-off weapon (JSOW) C-1 photo USAF

Raytheon-built joint stand-off weapon (JSOW) C-1 photo USAF

TUCSON, Ariz., July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire


Variant provides enhanced capability to warfighter


Raytheon Company received an $80.5 million production contract award from the U.S. Navy to procure Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1's. The contract was awarded in Raytheon's second quarter of 2013.


"JSOW C-1 enables the warfighter to precisely engage targets well beyond most enemy air defenses, thus limiting the threat of adversarial forces," said Celeste Mohr, JSOW program director for Raytheon Missile Systems. "JSOW is exceptionally dependable and provides immeasurable value to the warfighter."


The JSOW C-1 adds a weapon datalink radio and modified seeker software to the existing JSOW C, which increases the anti-surface warfare mission capability. The weapon is designed to provide fleet forces with the capability and flexibility to engage moving maritime targets, while retaining its robust capability against stationary land targets.


"With more than 400 JSOW A's employed in combat, this weapon has stood the tests of time," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. "Furthermore, the JSOW program has sustained on-time deliveries for 11 years while concurrently maintaining costs. The JSOW has a remarkable record of reliability, resourcefulness and accuracy."


Work on the contract will be performed in Tucson, Ariz.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; McAlester, Okla.; and Dallas, Texas. Delivery of the missiles is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2014.


About the Joint Standoff Weapon

JSOW is a family of low-cost, air-to-ground weapons that employs an integrated GPS-inertial navigation system and terminal imaging infrared seeker. JSOW C-1 adds the two-way Strike Common Weapon Datalink to the combat-proven weapon, enabling a moving maritime target capability. JSOW C-1 will provide an advanced anti-surface warfare solution on the F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft.


About Raytheon

Raytheon Company, with 2012 sales of $24 billion and 68,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 91 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @raytheon.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
US Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft fly in formation over Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on May 14. photo Master Sgt. John R. Nimmo Sr.US Air Force

US Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft fly in formation over Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on May 14. photo Master Sgt. John R. Nimmo Sr.US Air Force

July 10, 2013: Strategy Page


American fighter pilots (air force, navy and marine) are largely in agreement that, while the F-22 is a superior air-to-air fighter, the new F-35 is a better, if still flawed, all-round combat aircraft. A lot of this has to do with technology. The F-35 is a more recent aircraft, entering service a dozen years later than the F-22. Fighter pilots, who tend to be keen connoisseurs of aviation technology (many being university trained in aviation tech) note that the F-35 is actually using a new generation of tech as much of the F-22 stuff dates back to the 1980s and 1990s. This accounts for some of the tech updates the F-22 has received since it entered service in 2005. But the basic design and composition of the F-35 is a generation ahead of the F-22. As a result the F-35 is cheaper, more effective (in terms of tech), easier to maintain and designed as a fighter-bomber.


This last item is important for combat pilots, because they note there has been little air-to-air combat in the last few decades, but smart bombs (especially the GPS variety) have become cheaper, more effective and reliable and that has meant more calls for air support from ground troops. The F-22 is strictly air-to-air and despite heavily publicized efforts to give F-22s ground attack capability, the F-22 has not yet experienced combat. The smart bomb revolution also means that far fewer aircraft are needed and the air force can’t justify sending in the F-22 when there are so many available aircraft that can do the job a lot cheaper. So fighter pilots looking forward to a hot new ride tend to favor the F-35 rather than the F-22.


American fighter pilots do see downsides with the F-35. They believe the manufacturer and proponents promised too much and that the F-35 will never be able to deliver. There is a lot of doubt that stealth will work as promised and the shape restrictions on the F-35 (to make stealth possible) limit what the F-35 can do.


There are some attractive aspects of the F-35, especially because it comes in three distinct flavors. The vertical take-off F-35B is a 27 ton aircraft that can carry six tons of weapons and will enter service in two or three years. In vertical takeoff mode the F-35B has a range of 800 kilometers. The U.S. Air Force will get its 31 ton F-35A in 2016 or 2017. This is the cheapest version, costing about $154 million each. The U.S. Navy version (the F-35C) will arrive in late 2019 and cost about $200 million each (same as the F-35B). This version has a stronger landing gear to handle carrier landings and components that are more resistant to corrosion from constant exposure to salt water.


The F-35 has been delayed many times in the last decade and there is growing talk of cancellation. Orders have already been cut and the manufacturer is under a lot of pressure to get this new stealth aircraft into service. It’s still being debated how many F-35s will actually be produced. The U.S. Air Force assumes 3,162, but the Department of Defense is not so sure that many will eventually be built. Worst case, there will be more than ten times as many F-35s as F-22s. Most (about 60 percent) of the F-35s built will be used by foreign nations.


F22 raptor photo USAF

F22 raptor photo USAF

Last year the 187th, and last, F-22 fighter was completed. This last aircraft was sent to a squadron in Alaska which lost one in an accident two years ago. The manufacturer is not going to scrap or sell off the tools and equipment used to produce the F-22, but will store the stuff for a while in the hope that production may resume eventually.


That is unlikely as Congress passed a law forbidding the export of the F-22 fighter. Three nations (Australia, Japan, and Israel) sought to buy some. Efforts to change the law have failed. At one time there was a similar prohibition to the export of the F-16 and that law was changed. One reason for the law was the fear that F-22 technical and operational secrets would fall into the hands of a hostile power that would then build more than 200 of them.


The F-22 has performance that is far superior to that of any other aircraft in service, which is why several foreign air forces would like some. The combination of speed, advanced electronics, and stealth technology has created such a decisive advantage that F-22s are often matched up against as many as six F-15s to ensure their pilots face a challenge during training. So why is the F-35, with somewhat lower performance, getting all the export orders?


The first reason is price. The F-22 costs up to $200 million each (without even counting the huge R&D costs). The F-35 costs up to half as much (although that edge is eroding). This is one reason the U.S. is pushing exports of the F-35. This is why many more F-16s were exported, compared to the F-15. In any event, the F-35 will outclass a Rafale, F-15E, or Eurofighter, but not the F-22. The U.S. Air Force intended the F-22 to be part of a high-end/low-end mix with the F-35, much like the F-15 and F-16 were the combination in the 1990s, only the F-22/F-35 combination will be much harder to detect and defend against.


The U.S. Air Force saw export sales as a way to keep the F-22 production line active, giving it more time to persuade Congress to allow more to be built for the U.S. That did not work. Despite the high cost of the F-22, Russia is developing the similar T-50, and China the similar J-20. But neither of these aircraft is as capable, or as expensive, as the F-22. Neither of these aircraft is in service. The F-22 began development in the late 1980s, first flew in 1997, and entered service in 2005. The F-22 is expected to remain in service for at least 30 years. And for much of that time the F-22 will be the best, if also the least numerous, jet fighter on the planet. During that time many American fighter pilots believe the stealth advantage will be lost due to new technology. China, Russia and the Europeans will continue developing new combat aircraft designs and the appearance of unmanned fighters would change the situation most dramatically of all.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
What Next for Army Force Structure? (excerpt)

July 9, 2013 Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Two weeks ago, Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno announced significant Army force structure reductions. The impending reorganization helps meet an Army obligation and an Army desire. First, the obligation—it allows the Army to satisfy the fiscal demands required by 2011’s Budget Control Act (BCA). Second, the desire—as the Army eliminates brigade headquarters from its structure to meet budget requirements, it can at the same time increase the fighting potential of its brigade combat teams (BCTs). Specifically, the elimination of BCT headquarters frees up an additional maneuver battalion for each of the Army’s infantry and armored BCTs.

The reduction and reorganization of Army forces is not insignificant. As in the case of rebalancing all U.S. forces toward the Asia-Pacific region, Army force reductions are a visible acknowledgment that the Department of Defense (DoD) is entering a new postwar era. It roughly returns active Army force structure to its pre-9/11 configuration, leaving 33 deployable BCTs in the inventory, after having achieved a wartime high of 45 BCTs. There are clearly important, unanswered questions on the table with respect to the Army.

Q1: How should we look at the postwar Army and its contributions to joint operations?

A1: The U.S. Army remains the nation’s principal ground force. It makes two important contingency contributions to joint operations. First, Army forces—active and reserve—provide U.S. decision-makers with the capability for sustained ground operations abroad and potentially in U.S. homeland security contingencies. In reality, Army forces—often reinforced by the U.S. Marine Corps—are tangible demonstrations of American resolve. To paraphrase a senior Marine Corps officer interviewed during the course of a recent CSIS study, when the U.S. Army arrives on scene, it is an unmistakable indication that America means business.

Indeed, the United States’ continued ability to project large numbers of ground forces overseas for sustained operations is a key metric of its remaining the world’s dominant military power. Second and often less appreciated, Army enabling capabilities—logistics, communications, intelligence, engineers, air and missile defense, etc.—“set” foreign theaters and support deployed forces from the other services and foreign partners. This latter function provides a solid backbone for sustained military campaigns of all types under a variety of circumstances. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full item (HTML format) on the CSIS website.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
X-47B lands aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) July 10 (U.S. Navy photo)

X-47B lands aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) July 10 (U.S. Navy photo)

10.07.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com


C'est une nouvelle étape capitale qui a été franchie : Le démonstrateur de drone de combat X-47B de Northrop Grumman a effectué avec succès son premier appontage ce 10 juillet. Le drone a décollé de la BAN de Patuxent River, effectuant sa manœuvre d’appontage à bord du plus récent porte-avions de la classe Nimitz, l'USS George H.W. Bush de l’US Navy (CVN-77).


C’est un nouveau succès pour le programme UCAS-D de l’US Navy, qui cherche ainsi à étudier et à tester les capacités d’un drone à partir d’une plateforme maritime. Les deux démonstrateurs technologiques X-47B qui sont actuellement utilisés pour les essais n’ont pas vocation à être produits en série et déployés en opérations, mais ils sont néanmoins cruciaux pour les études de R&D et de R&T dans le domaine des appareils non pilotés.


Le programme « opérationnel » de l’US Navy est quant à lui nommé UCLASS (Unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike system). Une RFI (request for information) a été dévoilée il y a trois ans, l’appel d’offre devrait lui être annoncé prochainement. Il s’agit pour l’US Navy de se doter de capacités ISR ainsi que de capacités de frappe pour équiper ses porte-avions à l’horizon 2018. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Atomics et bien sûr Northrop Grumman sont les quatre industriels attendus sur ce créneau.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Stryker vehicle photo US Army

Stryker vehicle photo US Army

July 9, 2013 Source: Kongsberg Group


Kongsberg Awarded Contract from GDLS Supporting US Army Stryker ECP Program


BELLPORT, NY --- Kongsberg Integrated Tactical Systems (KITS) has been awarded a contract from General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) for the supply of the Commander’s and Driver’s smart displays for the US Army Stryker Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) Program.


GDLS, headquartered in Sterling Heights, Michigan, selected KITS as the supplier of the Driver’s Situational Awareness Display (DSAD) and the Commander’s Situational Awareness Display (CSAD) on May 28, 2013. The contract includes design, development, fabrication, test and performance of the DSAD and CSAD for the Stryker ECP Program. Serial production of the displays will be conducted at the Kongsberg facility in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.


Stryker is a family of eight-wheel-drive combat vehicles, built for the US Army by GDLS. The Stryker ECP Program is managed by the Army’s Project Manager, Stryker Brigade Combat Team which is under the leadership of the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS.) PEO GCS is based at the US Army Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) LCMC, in Warren, Michigan.


"This highly competitive bid for the CSAD and DSAD was a perfect fit for KITS, whose CORTEX Displays meet or exceed the most demanding maritime and combat vehicle requirements. Extremely rugged and waterproof, the high resolution CORTEX displays also feature a high contrast ratio, which not only reduces viewer fatigue but makes them the most sunlight readable displays on the market today," says Mr. Åsmund Groven, President of KITS.


The CORTEX smart displays that will be used for the CSAD and DSAD feature an on-board processor and additional I/O ports for both data and video.

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