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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:55
La présence militaire française en Asie-Pacifique à l’épreuve des coupes budgétaires

02 juin 2013 Par RFI


L'Asie-Pacifique « demeure un enjeu stratégique » pour la France qui compte « intensifier » sa coopération politico-militaire dans la région malgré les difficultés budgétaires. C’est ce qu’a déclaré, ce dimanche 2 juin, en déplacement à Singapour, le ministre français de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian, à l'occasion d'un forum sur la sécurité.


Le message de Jean-Yves Le Drian à Singapour est clair : nous vivons dans un monde multipolaire, la France est prête à nouer des partenariats de Défense, la sécurité de l'Europe passe par la sécurité de la région Asie-Pacifique... Fin décembre 2012, un accord de partenariat stratégique a été conclu avec Singapour, mais pour le moment, c'est un énorme navire battant pavillon américain qui mouille dans le port de la cité-Etat.


Si la France possède des territoires dans la zone Asie-Pacifique, en Nouvelle-Calédonie, ou à Tahiti, elle n'a pas de bases avancées en mer de Chine où pourrait se focaliser les tensions.


Le Livre blanc sur la Défense 2013 s'inquiète des répercussions que pourrait avoir une crise majeure dans cette partie du monde, mais les capacités militaires de la France limitent ses ambitions stratégiques. La France n'a prévu de conserver qu'un total de 15 frégates de premier rang alors que les Américains alignent en ce moment une cinquantaine de navires de tous types, rien qu'en Asie-Pacifique.


Cela dit, la France a su trouver sa place comme fournisseur d'armement dans la région, particulièrement à Singapour et en Malaisie dans le secteur naval. En 2012, 40% des exportations françaises d'armement ont été réalisés dans la zone Asie-Pacifique.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:50


June 3rd, 2013 By Alenia Aeronautica - defencetalk.com


Alenia Aermacchi and the Italian Air Force celebrate today the AMX 200,000 flying hours, a total of which includes both operational and test flight hours (2,200) since 1984, the date of the first flight of the prototype of the tactical support aircraft jointly developed by the then Aeritalia (46,5%), Aermacchi (23,8%) and the Brazilian Embraer (29,7%).


The AMX, nicknamed Ghibli in the Italian Air Force, is a light-attack and reconnaissance single-engine aircraft produced in Italy and Brazil according to specifications issued in 1981 by the Italian and Brazilian Air Forces to replace the G.91Y in Italy and provide the Brazilian FAB with a new tactical aircraft (which they call the A-1) to join the F-5s and the Mirage IIIEs operating at the time as interceptors in Brazil.


Six prototypes where manufactured (one was lost in an accident), 136 examples (110 single and 26 twin-seat, these last called the AMX-T) were ordered by the Italian Air Force and 56 were ordered by Brazil. All aircraft were delivered starting from 1988.


The AMX operated in Kosovo, Libya and they are still successfully operating in Afghanistan where, since November 2009, they have been flying over 7,000 hours thus proving their efficacy, low operational cost and perfect adaptability to very diverse scenarios from those they were intended for.


In 2012, Alenia Aermacchi completed the AMX ACOL update programme (Upgrade of Operational and Logistic Capabilities – Adeguamento delle Capacità Operative e Logistiche) re-delivering 52 upgraded aircraft (42 single and 10 twin-seat) to the Italian Air Force.


The ACOL programme envisaged the introduction of an inertial/GPS navigation system (EGI- Embedded GPS/Inertial) and the integration of a GPS-guided precision armament. Furthermore, on 42 single-seat aircraft, improvements in the communication and friend and foe identification systems (New Generation Identification Friend or Foe) were also introduced together with the Night Vision Google (NVG) capability.


In order to properly support these new operating capabilities, a modern multi-function colour display and a more powerful computer symbol generator (CSG) were integrated in the cabin.


Alenia Aermacchi and ItAF’s Reparto Sperimentale di Volo (Experimental Flight Department) collaborate daily with the equipment suppliers, with Selex ES participating as the main supplier of the avionics which distinguishes this AMX new version ACOL.


In Brazil, the A1-M upgrade programme is currently on-going, with the aim of updating the FAB’s AMX fleet to keep them operational at least up to 2032.

Italian AMXs Pass 200,000-Hour Mark
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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:45
The NRP Alvares Cabral (front), sailing with the FS Georges Leygues (centre) and the FS Tonnerre (rear)

The NRP Alvares Cabral (front), sailing with the FS Georges Leygues (centre) and the FS Tonnerre (rear)

03.06..2013 EUNAVFOR


EU Naval Force Flagship NRP Álvares Cabral, EUCAP Nestor And The Seychelles Coast Guard Work Together To Reinforce Maritime Safety And Security

Whilst alongside Port Victoria in the Seychelles, naval staff from EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Flagship NRP Álvares Cabral and the Seychellois Coast Guard came together on board the Portuguese ship to exchange maritime knowledge and experiences.

Spanish Warship ESPS Rayo Completes Successful Counter Piracy Deployment With EU Naval Force

Spanish Navy Oceanic Patrol Vessel ESPS Rayo has completed a successful deployment with Operation Atalanta, having spent 85 days as part of the EU Naval Force off the coast of Somalia.

EU Naval Force Warship ESPS Numancia Conducts Training With Djiboutian Coastguard

During a recent port visit to Djibouti ships company from the EU NAVFOR warship ESPS Numancia conducted training in support of EUCAP NESTOR with the Djiboutian Coastguard. EUCAP NESTOR is the EU’s Maritime Capacity Building mission within the Horn of Africa region.

EU NAVFOR Force Commander Bids Farewell To French Navy Ships Tonnerre and Georges Leygues As They Complete Their Counter Piracy Patrols

During their final patrol with the EU’s counter piracy mission – Operation Atalanta, the French Landing Helicopter Dock, FS Tonnerre and Destroyer FS Georges Leygues, rendezvoused at sea with the EU NAVFOR flagship, Portuguese Frigate Alvares Cabral.

Counter Piracy Commander Warns Of Continuing Threat As EU Naval Force Warship Once Again Denies Suspect Pirates Freedom Of The Seas

The Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, has issued a renewed warning that Somali pirates are still determined to get out to sea and, if presented with an easy target, will attack.  “I am very concerned that seafarers and nations will lower their guard and support for counter piracy operations in the belief that the piracy threat is over.  It is not; it is merely contained.  We should remember that at its height in January 2011, 32 ships were pirated by Somali pirates and 736 hostages were held.  It is crucial that we remain vigilant or the number of attacks will once again rise.”

EU Naval Force Warship FS Nivôse Escorts World Food Programme Ship To Safety

On 10 May, French EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) ship FS Nivôse completed a nine day escort of a World Food Programme (WFP) chartered vessel.  The WFP ship was escorted from Djibouti to the port of Mombasa in Kenya.

EU Naval Force Spanish Maritime Patrol Aircraft Delivers Equipment To Dutch Frigate At Sea Off The Coast Of Somalia

On May 4 2013 the EU Naval Force Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft from the Spanish Air Force and based in Djibouti, flew far out to sea to the Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter, to deliver spare parts for her NH90 helicopter.

Swedish Defence Minister Welcomed On Board HSwMS Carlskrona In Djibouti

During HSwMS Carlskrona’s recent visit to Djibouti, the Commanding Officer, Commander Mathias Jansson, was delighted to welcome on board Swedish Defence Minister, Karin Enström.

European Union Welcomes Somali Defence Minister and Delegation to EU Naval Force Operational HQ in London

Earlier today the Somali Defence Minister and members of the Somali Cabinet visited the EU Naval Force Operation Headquarters in London. In view of the EU’s comprehensive approach to Somalia and its reinforced partnership with the country, the meeting was attended by the EU Naval Force Operation Commander, the Head of Mission of EUCAP Nestor , the Chief of Staff of the EU Training Mission Somalia , as well as representatives of the European External Action Service, the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa and EU Special Envoy to Somalia.

EU Naval Force Warship HSwMS Carlskrona Conducts Medical Evacuation

Earlier this week HSwMS Carlskrona was contacted by the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Force Commander on board the flagship of the operation the Portuguese warship NRP Álvares Cabral. A member of the ships company of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) replenishment ship Fort Victoria, had suffered urgent and severe abdominal pains, necessitating an immediate medical evacuation.

Members Of The European Parliament Sub Commitee on Security and Defence visited EU Naval Force Operational Headquarters

Earlier today members of the European Parliament Sub Committee on Security and Defence visited the Operational Headquarters of the European Union’s counter piracy mission – Operation Atalanta.

EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia - Operation Atalanta is part of the EU's comprehensive approach to tackle symptoms and root causes of piracy off the coast of Somalia and the EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa adopted in November 2011.

EU NAVFOR conducts anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the Indian Ocean and is responsible for the protection of World Food Programme (WFP) shipping carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Somalia and Horn of Africa as well as the logistic shippings supporting the African Union troops conducting Peace Support Operations in Somalia (AMISOM). Additionally, Operation Atalanta contributes to the monitoring of fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

For more information, please visit our website www.eunavfor.eu.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:45
Des drones US au Sahel source LdDef

Des drones US au Sahel source LdDef

June 3rd, 2013 By Jody Ray Bennett  / International Relations and Security Network - defencetalk.com


In January 2013, US military officials finalized a Status of Forces (SOFA) agreement with the government of Niger to increase military involvement throughout the country. While the move clearly reflected developments in neighboring Mali, it had long been an operational goal of the Pentagon to establish a drone base in the region. Before the Northern Mali conflict escalated last year, the Pentagon had been flying drones in the Horn of Africa to survey Somali piracy and other armed non-state actors like Al-Shabaab. But despite complaints by West African governments and regional business interests, few resources were being devoted to the perceived threat from the nomadic Tuareg minority that was allegedly transporting weapons and other illicit goods across the Sahel.


While the connection between what some have dubbed Mali’s “Tuareg Problem” and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb remains unproven, the possibility that these groups might be working together (or perhaps the simple fact that they existed) was enough for the Pentagon to establish its first drone base in West Africa. After the Benghazi attack, in which it is believed that a lack of air support to Libya resulted in the deaths of four American diplomatic officials and multiple other injuries, some form of established US military presence in a neighboring country was perhaps inevitable. Indeed, the former commander of AFRICOM, which oversees military operations on the African continent, said about Benghazi in a New York Times interview, “Instead of responding in a day, [the new base in Niger] could respond within some number of hours.”


A logical choice


According to initial reports, the drone base sits behind a barbed-wire wall in Niamey, Niger’s capital. The US Air Force has begun flying Predator drones from the base through scorching heat and daily sandstorms. Though unarmed, these Predator drones can cover the country to conduct surveillance and other reconnaissance missions. These missions primarily look for security threats such as Al-Qaeda fighters, “guerillas from other groups hiding in the country’s mountains and hills”, and other Islamist non-state actors that threaten border security or neighboring African states.


While contractors and military officials from Chad, France, and the United States conduct unarmed drone missions from Niger to gather intelligence on the insurgency in Mali, US officials have told media outlets that they have not yet ruled out arming drones from this base for targeted killings. Indeed, US forces had long been in Mali before a permanent presence was considered, primarily to oversee the base and undertake intelligence assessments.


According to a report in The Guardian, “The White House announced in February [2013] that Obama had deployed about 100 military personnel to Niger on an ‘intelligence collection’ mission, but it did not make any explicit reference to drones.” Since the establishment of the hangars and airstrip, the presence of drone flights is hardly a secret. The Guardian further reported that the President of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadou, told the publication that “his government invited Washington to send surveillance drones because he was worried that the country might not be able to defend its borders from Islamist fighters based in Mali, Libya or Nigeria.” While US drone operations are a part of a constellation of bases across North Africa and the Middle East, the new Nigerien base now joins continental missions that occur from Djibouti, Ethiopia, and until most recently, the Seychelles.


“Niger is, of course, a natural choice, not only because of its central geographic position, but because its democratically-elected government has weathered the regional upheaval quite well and has proven a reliable ally in efforts to contain and defeat violent extremism,” said Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council and specialist on African security issues.


But uncertainties remain


“Of course,” Pham continued, “while the deployment of surveillance drones to Niger makes sense, regional security (and the strategic interests of the United States and its allies) would be better served over the long term if the deployment were accompanied by a more comprehensive engagement of the country, including greater support for its continued political, economic, and social development.”


Relations between the United States and Niger have been positive since the West African country became independent in 1962. Nevertheless, in a recent interview, Niger’s president is quoted as saying “The U.S. should do more in the area of training, equipment, land and air, and intelligence capability”, while fearlessly launching complaints about the “feeble” attempts of West African governments and militaries alike to quell insurgencies and other security threats.


While Niger may have been seen as a natural choice to establish a US military presence, officials were not sure how well a drone base would be received in a majority Muslim country. According to the Guardian article:


“US and Nigerien officials had worried that the drones might spur a popular backlash in Niger, where about 90 % of the population is Muslim. Extra security barriers were raised outside the US and French embassies as a precaution. So far, however, reaction has been muted, and many people seem to favour anything that the US and French militaries can do to prevent a spillover of violence from Mali.”


And this is precisely why the US established an operational role in the country. With an established base, the United States gains a foothold in the country at minimal cost; a new, physical military presence in the region that it can cite upon criticism of the Benghazi attack; an intelligence stake in the ongoing conflict in Mali; additional information from operations occurring in remote areas of the region; and, in addition to all of this, the ability to wield soft power abroad during a time when American taxpayers are growing increasingly frustrated with military strain in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The entire operation, however, is being carried out by AFRICOM, a military command for an entire continent with a budget of $300 million and roughly 2,000 employees. Those figures should be compared to the US Central Command that manages Afghanistan and the Middle East with a budget of approximately $800 million and 5,000 employees. A year ago, AFRICOM operations in Niger involved spending money on t-shirts, campaign signs, and other efforts to persuade citizens to vote. Now AFRICOM maintains it can “carry out both combat operations and its original ‘soft power’ missions, taking cues from envoys in the region like Bisa Williams, the United States ambassador in Niamey.”


Nevertheless, much of the Nigerien population is skeptical of outsiders, especially foreign powers that can be reminiscent of Niger’s colonial past. If drones here are weaponized, there could easily be much more blowback compared to a country like Yemen or Pakistan where armed drones regularly conduct aerial strikes.


“It is important to emphasize that the current deployment is only for unarmed intelligence-gathering aerial vehicles. It is unlikely that there will be attacks by armed drones in this area for the simple reason that there is a very limited number of such aircraft and the paucity of high-value terrorists in the Sahel – to say nothing about a lack of intelligence about such potential targets in the region – to justify yanking the aircraft from other fronts. And, even if a strike or two were carried out, such attacks are not a sustainable strategy. They simply would buy time for a political process that alone can hope to resolve the deep-seated issues in this region,” Dr. J. Peter Pham explained.


While one can question the role that these developments play in the larger US grand strategy, they have opened up West Africa to the first ongoing American military presence under the management of AFRICOM. At least for now, however, the establishment of a drone base by the United States is primarily for the use of unarmed aerial reconnaissance vehicles, and is not especially surprising in light of the growing influence of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and its allies in northern Mali, within an area larger than metropolitan France.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
photo EMA

photo EMA

02 June 2013 by Mursal Mansoory - tolonews.com


The Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Sunday said that the Afghan security forces will take over the responsibility of all military operations in the country within 20 days.


Officials of the Ministry said that the Afghan security forces have been preparing themselves for the last phase of security transition from foreign troops.


The Afghan security forces have been leading 90 percent of the military operations in the country, according to MoD officials.


"All security responsibilities will be handed over to the Afghan security forces in June and it is expected that the fifth transition process will take place soon," the Defence Ministry Spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi said.


Meanwhile, some Afghan MPs have expressed their concerns over the lack of security in the province.


Off late, there has been a steep rise in the terror activities. The insurgents have been carrying out operations in the Kunar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Khost, Farah, Kandahar, Faryab, Badakhshan provinces targeting the Afghan security forces.


The MPs said that the Afghan security forces cannot take security responsibilities under the current situation and the Government should deploy more security forces.


"There are fears that the Afghan forces cannot take charge of security of all the parts and if efficient forces are stationed in the insecure parts of the country, then this fear will be removed," MP Ahmad Ali Akhlaqi said.


The foreign troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, after which the Afghan security forces will take charge.


There are around 66,000 US troops in Afghanistan helping over 300,000 Afghan security forces fight insurgency.


On Friday, the US President Barack Obama has said on Friday that he and the Nato Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen have agreed to focus the Organisation's 2014 summit on Afghanistan.


While Obama and Anders Fogh Rasmussen have agreed on the topic for the summit, but the venue is not known. Obama said Rasmussen is looking for a country to host it.


Obama said, "Not only will we be able to underscore this final chapter in our Afghan operations but the summit can also be used to paint a picture of a future whereby we're partnering with the Afghan Government on behalf of the Afghan people and on behalf of world security."


The Nato's Secretary General said his organisation will continue to train, advise and assist Afghanistan in its transition. While the goal is an Afghanistan that can stand on its own feet, he added that the Afghans will not stand alone.


Chicago was the host city for the Nato's 2012 summit.


The exact dates and venue for the summit is yet to be decided.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
Afghan airmen gain new airpower capability

Jun 3, 2013 ASDNews Source : US Air Force


As the 2013 fighting season continues in Afghanistan, the Afghan National Security Forces can add yet another airpower capability to their ever increasing list: air attack from an Afghan air force Mi-35 HIND attack helicopter.


Members of the 377th Rotary Wing Squadron from the Kabul Air Wing fired 23 mm rounds from newly mounted twin-barreled Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 guns on an Mi-35 for the first time May 15. This achievement represents a significant milestone in the Afghan air force and NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan Combined Strategic FlightPlan.


"This weapons system provides a vital air-to-ground capability to destroy a target on the ground from the air," said Lt. Col. Brandon Deacon, the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron commander and adviser to the 377 RWS.


After more than two months of coordinating weapons and ammunition availability, shooting range openings, live-fire training permissions, maintenance challenges and balancing of mission priorities a two-ship Mi-35 formation launched to practice this new and essential capability. The crew consisted of both Afghan pilots as well as Czech instructors from NATC-A.


"Having these capabilities on the Mi-35 is very critical to the Afghan air force," said Col. Khair Mohammad Hashmi, a 377 RWS pilot. "It allows us to protect our borders and support our soldiers during ground operations."


This live-fire exercise marked the first time in history that the Afghan air force has had all three weapons systems installed on the Mi-35. The systems include the GSh-23, the Yak-B 12.7 mm machine gun and the S-5 57 mm rocket pod. During the training mission the Afghan air force pilots fired a total of 725 rounds between the two aircraft.


With close-air support as a top priority for Afghan National Security Forces, the continued growth of these capabilities and doctrine development will prove vital. Doctrine development for the command and control of aerial fire missions and the employment of Mi-17s and Mi-35 in air-to-ground support missions such as aerial escort, air interdiction and close combat attack will help to mitigate any potential gaps as coalition forces begin to draw down.


Once Afghan air force pilots complete final certifications on all three weapons systems, they will be able to employ the fixed-forward GSh-23s to destroy high-value targets from the air in support of ground combat operations.


"What the Afghan air force is eventually working toward is the ability to be able to have call-to-fire capability," Deacon said. "This means there will be someone on the ground talking to the aircraft identifying the area to be targeted. Then the Mi-35s can simply go destroy that target from the air."


In addition to this newly developed capability, the Afghan air force is already conducting numerous air missions without assistance from NATO advisors, including ground corps support, resupply, casualty evacuation, human remains, VIP battlefield movement and, with the use of Mi-35s specifically, show of force missions.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
China to train Lankan army, to provide military technology

Jun 01, 2013 brahmand.com


BEIJING (PTI): Firming up its ties with Sri Lanka, China has granted fresh development loan worth USD 2.2 billion for infrastructure projects and agreed to provide defence technology as well as training to the island nation's army.


Both sides agreed to further deepen defence cooperation and maintain exchanges between the two defence ministries and would continue to carry out cooperating in defence technology, personal training and other fields, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told media briefing here on Friday.


He was replying to questions on the just concluded visit by Sri Lankan President Mahenda Rajapaksa during which both the nations signed a defence agreement besides a host of deals to beef up infrastructure projects in the country, deepening China's foothold there.


Hong did not disclose the details of the agreements including the one related to development of Colombo port and read out some of the highlights from joint statement issued by both the countries.


According to Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G L Peiris, China has offered USD 2.2 billion worth of new loans.


The countries agreed on USD 1.5 billion investment of private sector in the northern express highway linking Kandy in the central part of Sri Lanka to Jaffna in the north, he earlier told the media here.


The two sides agreed on the extension of a railway, the southern highway and the development of the port of Colombo, Peiris said.


This is in addition to the construction of Hambantota Port with the multibillion dollar assistance of China.


According to reports in Sri Lankan media, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told Rjapaksa during their meeting that China will explore the possibility of establishing an industrial zone in Hambantota.


China will support Sri Lanka to develop capabilities in satellite communication, space technology and maritime industries, he said.


Hong said China has become major development partner of Sri Lanka and has played very important role in recent years.


Both sides agreed that terrorism, separatism and extremism have posed severe threat to regional security and would carry out practical cooperation to jointly tackle the three forces, he said.


"In a nutshell President Rajapaksa's visit has elevated our bilateral strategic partnership. This kind of partnership will promote bilateral political mutual trust and common development and will maintain regional peace and stability," Hong said.


"This kind of cooperation is not targeting against a third country," he said when asked about concerns in India that the deepening cooperation between the two countries was aimed at containing India.


Hong also recalled Li's recent "successful" visits to India and Pakistan which showed that China is actively involved in friendly cooperation with the South Asian countries.


"This cooperation will give rigorous boost to regional peace stability and development and will bring benefit to people of China and South Asian countries," he said.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
China maintains no-first-use nuclear pledge: general

Singapore (AFP) June 02, 2013 –  Spacewar.com


China is maintaining its pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, a top Chinese general said Sunday.


Omission of the "no-first-use" pledge in a recently released defence white paper had created ripples in military circles and sparked speculation that China may have dropped the policy.


"I want to make a solemn statement that the Chinese government will never discard our pledge of no first-use of nuclear arms," Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo told the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore.


"We have been sticking to this policy for half a century, and its facts have proven that it is not only in the interest of the Chinese people but also of the people of all the world."


Qi, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, was queried about the omission after giving a speech at the two-day conference that ended Sunday.


He said the white paper released in April did not go into details which was why the pledge was not explicitly mentioned.


Qi however said that a portion in the paper referring to the tasks of the Second Artillery Corps, China's strategic missile force, referred to the no-first-use pledge.


"I want to clarify that," he said.


After testing its first nuclear weapon in 1964, China promised to never be the first one to use atomic weapons.


China does not disclose the size of its nuclear arsenal, but the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said the rising world power had an arsenal of about 200 operational nuclear weapons for delivery mainly by ballistic missiles.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
D’OMBRE ET DE POUSSIÈRE – Les Soldats Français En Afghanistan

03.06.2013 thomasgoisque-photo.com


« Ils n’étaient ni des Anglais, ni des Russes mais des soldats de France.

Ils ne connaissaient pas ce royaume insolent et somptueux où se jouait une guerre insaisissable.

Un tourbillon d’ombre et de poussière… »


Textes de Sylvain Tesson

Photographies de Thomas Goisque

Editions Albin Michel - 192 pages - 30 €


A découvrir cette semaine en librairie


Accéder directement au reportage

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
PLA Navy Liaoning Aircraft Carrier

PLA Navy Liaoning Aircraft Carrier

2013-05-30 By Zachary Keck – china-defense-mashup.com


On Saturday India’s Defense Minister AK Antony commissioned the country’s first squadron of Russia-built MiG-29K at the INS Hansa Naval near Goa near the Southern tip of India. The squadron, which will be named INAS 303 Black Panthers, consists of 16 MiG-29K fighters some of which were inducted into the India military three years ago allowing Indian pilots to become comfortable flying the aircraft.


India’s Economic Times reported that, “The MiG-29Ks, with a range of 1,300km and a service ceiling of 58,000-feet, are capable of STOBAR (short takeoff but arrested recovery) operations. They are armed with R-73 and RVV-AE guided air-to-air missiles, Kh-35E anti-ship missiles, KAB 500KR/OD TV guided bombs and S-8KOM rockets.”


The 303 Blank Panthers squadron fighters are the first of what will be a total of 45 fighters India has agreed to purchase from Russia for over US$2 billion, including 29 more MiG-29Ks.


The newly commissioned fighters will continue carrying out training exercises until November or December when the Russian built INS Vikramaditya (formerly Gorshkov) aircraft carrier that is currently being refitted is scheduled to be inducted by India’s Navy. Delhi’s other aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat, is currently undergoing maintenance but will continue operating for at least the next few years and possible through 2018.


India also currently has plans to build two indigenous aircraft carriers (IACs). The first is a 40,000 ton vessel currently being constructed at Cochin Shipyard and is scheduled to be inducted into India’s Navy in the next four or five years. It will be placed in the water on August 12 of this year and will undergo its first sea trials 24 months after that, according to Antony.


While commissioning the new maritime aviation squadron on Saturday, Antony also marked the 60th anniversary of India’s naval aviation.


The day before the ceremony that Antony attended, on Friday, China announced it had formed its first carrier-borne aviation force. Citing PLA sources, China’s state media reported that the forming of the force— which will consist of “carrier-borne fighter jets, jet trainers and ship-borne helicopters that operate anti-submarine, rescue and vigilance tasks”— demonstrates that “the development of China’s aircraft carriers has entered a new phase.”


The reports also said that Admiral Wu Shengli, a Princeling member of the Central Military Commission—China’s highest military decision-making body— and the commander of the PLA Navy, attended the ceremony.


The media stories also focused heavily on the quality of the pilots that were included in the group. One report stated:


“The personnel of the force are more elite than the aviation forces within the PLA. To be able to fly fighter jets, the pilots should have flown at least five types of aircraft and their flight time must exceed 1,000 hours.


Rich experience in joint drills and major drills is also a prerequisite. The pilots also received training in courses like warship theory, nautical basics, and maritime meteorology.”


It also revealed that the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, is capable of holding around 30 fixed-wing aircraft, expected to initially be the J-15s.


China has plans to build a second, larger aircraft carrier that is capable of carrying more fighters. In its annual report on China’s military modernization last week, the Pentagon suggested that it believed China would complete this indigenous aircraft carrier within a decade.

INS Vikramaditya source Livefist

INS Vikramaditya source Livefist

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
China, India, Pakistan, boost nuclear arsenals: study

Stockholm (AFP) June 02, 2013 Spacewar.com


Three of the world's nuclear powers -- China, India and Pakistan -- have increased their arsenals over the past year, while the other five have cut their strength or kept it stable, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said Monday.


China now has 250 nuclear warheads against 240 in 2012, while Pakistan has increased its warheads by about 10 to between 100 and 120 and India has also added roughly 10 for a total of 90 to 110, SIPRI said in its annual report.


According to SIPRI, the arms race is all the more disturbing because of what the institute called a "fragile" peace in Asia, characterised by growing tensions since 2008 between India and Pakistan, China and Japan, and the two Koreas, among others.


"While states have avoided direct conflict with each other and have stopped supporting insurgent movements on each other's territory, decades-old suspicions linger and economic integration has not been followed up with political integration," SIPRI said.


Only the two old superpowers have cut their warheads, Russia reducing its number from 10,000 to 8,500, and the United States scaling back from 8,000 to 7,700.


The warheads controlled by France stayed at 300, while Britain's remained at 225, and Israel's at 80.


SIPRI acknowledged that the figures were to a large extent estimates, as the nuclear powers aren't equally transparent, China being totally opaque, and Russia gradually becoming less open.


SIPRI does not count North Korea and Iran as nuclear powers yet, as their respective programmes are still considered in their early stages.


While the global total of warheads was down, SIPRI said it did not translate into a significantly diminished nuclear threat.


"Once again there was little to inspire hope that the nuclear weapon-possessing states are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals. The long-term modernisation programmes under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a marker of international status and power," said SIPRI Senior Researcher Shannon Kile.


Efforts to reduce arsenals of chemical and biological weapons have also been slow, according to SIPRI, a long-time advocate of abolishing weapons of mass destruction.


The United States and Russia have not destroyed all their chemical weapons in 2012 as promised, and Syria has said it is prepared to use them in the case of foreign attack.


SIPRI figures also show that the number of peacekeepers deployed around the world fell by more than 10 percent in 2012, reflecting partly the beginning withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.


SIPRI noted an increase in recent years in the number of intrastate conflicts that are internationalised, as outside states have supported one side or another.


"Such involvement often has the effect of increasing casualty rates and prolonging conflicts," SIPRI said in its report.


SIPRI's annual report also contains data already published, including figures showing a decline in global arms spending in 2012 of 0.5 percent, the first drop since 1998.


The report also said China has overtaken Britain as the world's fifth largest arms exporter after the United States, Russia, Germany and France.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:30
Elbit  Hermes 900 UAV – photo Elbit Systems

Elbit Hermes 900 UAV – photo Elbit Systems

TEL AVIV, Israel, April 26 (UPI)


Israel, which has the most advanced defense industry in the Middle East, is in the forefront of the rapidly expanding drone business that's changing the way wars will be fought for decades to come.


With state-owned Israel Aircraft Industries, Elbit Systems and Aeronautics Defense Systems developing new and more agile unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as ground and seaborne drones, the Jewish state seems well-placed to corner a big slice of a market valued at around $50 billion a year.


Indeed, Israel's widely considered to be the leading UAV exporter in the world, selling units and associated technology as far afield as India, Russia, Nigeria and Mexico.


The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said Israeli companies were behind 41 percent of all UAVs exported in 2001-11. Those Israeli exports went to 24 countries, including the United States.


That volume's expected to expand as production costs are relatively low. Israeli industry officials boast that it's significantly cheaper to buy an advanced UAV than it is to train an air force pilot.


"In recent years, there have been more pilotless sorties than piloted ones in the Israeli air force," observed Ophir Shoham, an army reserve brigadier general who heads the Defense Ministry's Research and Development division known by the Hebrew acronym Mafat.


Shoham, who's had the job for three years, is responsible for the ministry's program to develop advanced technology for rockets, missile interception, satellites and unmanned systems.


"Within a few years there will be a number of operational missions of a known character that we will be able to carry out with a small number of unmanned devices," Shoham, the little-known "backroom boffin," told the Israeli daily Haaretz in a rare interview.


"That's the direction we're taking," he said. "Robots are not about to replace combat soldiers -- that's a bit far off -- but yes, we'll operate unmanned vehicles on the ground against highly dangerous targets.


"I refer to targets in enemy territory against which we can send such vehicles remotely, as a kind of forward guard -- vehicles that both observe and shoot. We will witness this in the foreseeable future."


Israel's military has long used UAVs for intelligence-gathering operations in the fight against Palestinian militants and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.


The Israelis also pioneered the use of missile-armed drones to assassinate key militant leaders.


But it was the Americans who developed UAVs like General Atomic's MQ-1 Predator as killer drones in their war against al-Qaida since the attacks on the United States Sept. 11, 2001.


The first such assassination mission was in Yemen in November 2002.


Israel's pioneering work with UAVs dates back to 1970. The first major combat role for the UAVs, namely an early variant called the Scout, was in the June 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.


The Israelis used Scouts from Israel's first UAV unit, Squadron 200, as decoys to lure Syrian surface-to-air missiles sites in Lebanon, thinking the UAVs were combat aircraft, to lock on their radar systems, exposing their positions.


Israeli warplanes knocked out all 19 batteries over a two-day period, during which Israeli fighters shot down 85 Syrian aircraft for no loss.


The Scout was built by Israel Aircraft Industries, IAI's original incarnation.


In addition to exports, Israeli defense firms set up subsidiaries in consumer countries "to target markets, rather than expand local manufacturing," Israel's Haaretz daily observed in 2009.



One example is the Aerostar and Orbiter 2M aerial drones being manufactured in Azerbaijan by Azad Systems Co., a joint venture between Israel's Aeronautics and the Azeri Defense Ministry.


Oil-rich Azerbaijan, which borders Iran, has become a key Israeli ally.


"There are three explanations for Israel's success in becoming a world leader in development and production of UAVs," a senior Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post.


"We have unbelievable people and innovation, combat experience that helps us understand what we need and immediate operational use since we're always in a conflict which allows us to perfect our systems."


Shoham gets the last word. Developing the UAV, he says, "was one of Israel's best investments.


"It led to the development of a tremendous technological infrastructure in the country. It's important to us to maintain our place in the forefront of world technology.


"This is the key to development in the coming generations as well."

Heron TP photo Israel Aerospace Industries

Heron TP photo Israel Aerospace Industries

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:30
Syrie: des rebelles interceptés à la frontière turque avec 400 kg d'explosifs

ANKARA, 3 juin - RIA Novosti


Un véhicule d'opposants syriens transportant 400 kilos de matières explosives à destination de la Turquie a été intercepté au poste-frontière de Bab al-Hawa en Syrie, rapportent lundi les médias turcs.


"L'automobile appartenant aux opposants franchissait le point de contrôle syrien de Bab al-Hawa et se dirigeait vers le poste frontalier turc de Cilvegözü (province de Hatay; sud). Lors du contrôle du véhicule, 400 kilos de matières explosives ont été saisis", écrit le journal Haber Turk.


Selon l'agence Ihlas, les explosifs ont été saisis par les membres de l'Armée syrienne libre (ASL; opposition) qui contrôle la région. L'agence indique également que ces matières pourraient être utilisées en vue d'organiser des attentats terroristes en Turquie.


Le poste frontalier de Cilvegözü est situé à moins de dix kilomètres de la ville de Reyhanli, théâtre des explosions du 11 mai dernier, qui ont fait plus de 50 morts. Ankara a alors imputé l'attaque à un groupuscule clandestin d'extrême gauche turc lié aux services de renseignement du régime du président syrien, Bachar el-Assad.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:30
La marine israélienne va construire une base de sous-marins à Haïfa

3 juin 2013. Par Rédacteur en chef. PORTAIL DES SOUS-MARINS


Les préparatifs pour la réception par la marine israélienne de ses nouveaux sous-marins Dolphin, s’accélèrent : Elbit Systems a remporté l’appel d’offres lancé pour la construction de ’Polygon’ — le nom donné à la nouvelle base de sous-marins dans le port de Haïfa.


La construction de ‘Polygon’ est un énorme projet, rendu nécessaire par l’avancée de la construction des sous-marins dans les chantiers navals allemands. Israël a acheté 3 nouveaux sous-marins Dolphin, qui vont s’ajouter aux 3 qu’elle possède déjà. Selon la presse étrangère, les sous-marins peuvent embarquer des missiles à têtes nucléaires.


Les 2 premiers sous-marins devraient arriver en Israël dans les 2 prochaines années. Des équipes de la marine israélienne ont commencé le processus de réception en Allemagne.


La construction de ‘Polygon’ devrait se dérouler en plusieurs étapes.


Référence : IsraelDefense

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:30
FCS  Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) prototype

FCS Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) prototype

June 3rd, 2013 By Lexington institute - defencetalk.com


Remember the Future Combat System (FCS)? This was a complex “system-of-systems” which involved manned and unmanned ground and aerial vehicles, advanced weapons systems and sensors, some of them remotely operated and an all-encompassing command, control and communications network to hold it all together. After nearly a decade of development and the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars with virtually nothing to show for it, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates cancelled the program.


So how is it that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), operating on a tight budget and timeline, seems to have been able to do what the U.S. Army with all the technological and financial resources available to it couldn’t? Take the network, what was to be the heart of the FCS. The network was supposed to connect vehicles, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), robots, autonomous sensors, remote weapons and dismounted soldiers, transmitting voice, data and video effortlessly, thereby enabling commanders and headquarters to maintain a common operating picture. The Army could never get the network to work properly.


The IDF is now deploying, albeit in pieces, the essential elements of such a network. Part of this system is the Digital Ground Army (DGA), a real-time system that provides a common operating picture for all echelons. DGA generates a map, updated in real time, of all forces – friendly and hostile – in a battle arena. Various units, including aircraft and ships, can share the coordinates of the enemy – and their own location – in the course of a battle. DGA is linked to the computers of tanks and cannons, and combat vehicles. The system will work at all echelons, from the individual soldier or vehicle, up to battalion, brigade and even division commanders. Another piece of the network is called See-Shoot, which operates along Israel’s borders. See-Shoot rapidly processes and transmits data from multiple sensors to remote firing stations as well as mobile platforms such as tanks, artillery and the Tammuz precision weapon. A third element is a frequency switching radio capable of transmitting voice, data and video with encryption. Sounds pretty much like the FCS network to me.

Has Israel Created A System the US Army Couldn’t Build?

The Tammuz is another example of a capability that FCS was supposed to produce. One focus of the FCS was an autonomous missile system, called the Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Launch System, essentially a clutch of tactical missiles in a box that could be deployed anywhere on the battlefield and launched remotely. Tammuz is just such a capability: an NLOS version of the Spike anti-tank missile with a 25 km range, deployed in a canister, able to be launched remotely based on data from distributed sensors. Tammuz is now deployed along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon. The IDF also has the mini-Spike electro-optic guided missile, the world’s smallest personal missile, 70 cm long, 75 mm in diameter, weighing just 4 kg and with a range of 1.5 km.


FCS planned on employing an array of advanced unmanned ground and aerial sensors and vehicles. The unattended ground sensor was one of the last bits of FCS to be cancelled. The IDF has a host of such systems, including the EyeBall, an advanced audio-visual surveillance device a little bigger than a tennis ball, the Skylark, man-portable mini UAV, the Guardium Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle and the SnakeCam for investigating tunnels and caves.


Filling out the array of FCS-like systems in the IDF’s inventory is the Trophy Active Protection System for military vehicles, an extensive family of medium and large UAVs, the Iron Dome tactical missile defense system, long-range guided mortars and advanced armored fighting vehicles such as the Namer – which had been considered a possible competitor for the role of the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle. If you go down the list of the dozen or more elements of the FCS system-of-systems, the IDF has deployed virtually all of them

Merkava 4 main battle tank fitted with the Trophy anti-missile protection

Merkava 4 main battle tank fitted with the Trophy anti-missile protection


Together with traditional systems such as the Merkava main battle tank, Apache attack helicopter and self-propelled artillery and rocket systems, the IDF has in the field a capability for advanced mobile, combined arms warfare that the U.S. Army can only dream about.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:25
Venezuela launches drones built with Iran's technical assistance

Jun 2, 2013 presstv.ir


Venezuela has launched drones produced with Iran’s technical assistance in an effort to step up the fight against drug trafficking in the Latin American country.


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made the announcement during a ceremony, stating that the drones will be used to monitor Venezuela's borders.


Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in January 2012 that his country had manufactured its first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), dubbed Arpia-001 (Harpy-001), in cooperation with Iranian experts.


The UAV has a 100-kilometer (60-mile) sweep and can fly solo for some 90 minutes and reach an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,000 feet).


Iran has made important breakthroughs in its defense sector in recent years and attained self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and systems.


Iran unveiled its latest indigenous UAV, a reconnaissance and combat drone dubbed Hamaseh (Epic) in May 2013.


On December 17, 2012, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said Iran had launched the production line of ScanEagle drones.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:20
Major Firms Concerned Over Health of Small Suppliers

Jun. 2, 2013 By PAUL McLEARY – Defense News


WASHINGTON — Everyone from the US defense secretary to the service chiefs to industry executives at major companies are concerned about the health of the smaller, specialized parts suppliers that keep planes flying, ships steaming and trucks on the road.


But what to do about them as the defense sector constricts and commercial markets rebound is a problem that no one has managed to solve.


Over the past few years of belt tightening at the Pentagon — with fewer new start programs coming on line — “certainly you’ve seen some consolidation in the supply base and I think that is a significant concern to everyone in the business,” said Rick Edwards, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business.


During a May 15 interview at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Fla., Edwards offered a candid assessment of how surging markets like domestic oil and natural gas production may be luring some second- and third-tier suppliers from the defense industry, and the difficulties the industry is facing recruiting and retaining qualified engineers in a tightening, and highly competitive, market.


“Being in the defense business requires a level of rigor and discipline that doesn’t come free,” he said, particularly when you see the current upswing in some commercial markets that could encourage smaller companies to abandon the defense sector where the volume of work is going down.


Precision machining, in particular, is an industry that is taking advantage of the booming domestic energy and drilling market, where companies can make more money machining parts for the oil business than they can making parts for programs such as the Hellfire missile.


Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno echoed the concern over retaining smaller suppliers in a May 29 speech when he fretted over “the smaller [companies] who do so much for us in terms of developing some niche technologies. How do we keep them going as we reduce budgets?”


One of Lockheed’s answers involves stepping in and helping them, regardless of whether they want the assistance.


“Supporting and helping our suppliers is not something that’s optional,” Edwards said. “You are dependent on them for success and we view them as an integral part of our team because if the product fails or doesn’t deliver, that’s a reflection on Lockheed Martin. So we are not reluctant to go help them, even if they don’t want the help, quite honestly.”


He said that this level of interdiction with suppliers “has probably doubled in the last couple years” as the volume of work has gone down. And there doesn’t look to be a lot of help on the horizon. In a rather downcast assessment of what’s to come, the Pentagon’s chief for industrial base and manufacturing policy, Brett Lambert, told a Washington industry crowd on April 25 that while he is working to identify the most critical aspects of the industrial base that must be sustained, “there’s going to be a lot of bad news that’s given out to companies” over the next several years.


“We should make no illusions,” Lambert said. “We will identify critical key suppliers that will go under because we will have made the assumption, based on our strategy moving forward, that that is no longer a critical capability to our future force.”


As the Pentagon looks to spend less on new start programs and attempts to incorporate more mature technologies on the few new programs in development, a large burden is being shifted to industry to bring new solutions to the table, and sooner.


With this in mind, Edwards said that in his business segment, the biggest employer of his engineers is in internal research and development (IRAD).


Spending on IRAD generates products quickly and keeps engineers sharp. It also keeps them working.


“I want to be able to keep my technical base — my design engineers — engaged so they don’t look at this thing and say, ‘We’re in a defense downturn, there aren’t a lot of development programs, I think I’ll go take that job designing Madden 2020’ or something. That’s an issue,” he said.


Adding to the problem is the fact that the demographics of engineering schools don’t always work in favor of the defense industry. In most years, about 30 to 35 percent of engineering graduates are US citizens who can get clearances, which means that the pool for qualified talent is small, and there are many opportunities for graduates across a variety of industries.


But Edwards said the people who do work for him are going to remain busy, anticipating the next requirement from a customer who, while reducing its buys, will continue to invest what it can in new solutions.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 07:20
Special Forces fast-rope from the rear ramps of CV-22 Ospreys during a demonstration. photo by Senior Airman Sheila DeVera, U.S. Air Force

Special Forces fast-rope from the rear ramps of CV-22 Ospreys during a demonstration. photo by Senior Airman Sheila DeVera, U.S. Air Force

June 3rd, 2013 By Air Force News Agency - defencetalk.com


Senior commanders recently called on the defense industry to provide technologies that give special operations forces more situational awareness, better networking and communications and more precise location and targeting capabilities.


Officials from across U.S. Special Operations Command, including commanders of its service components and the theater special operations commands, laid out their wish lists earlier this month at the annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference here.


All noted the unprecedented capabilities the defense industry has delivered to help special operations forces succeed during the past 12 years of conflict. But looking to the future — the drawdown in Afghanistan, budget constraints and a refocus on the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the globe beyond the Middle East and Southwest Asia — they said they will need more.


So despite budget constraints and uncertainties, efforts must continue to ensure that special operations forces have the tools they will need to succeed in missions ranging from building partner capacity to irregular warfare and counterterrorism, the commanders emphasized.


At the top of their list are improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and better processes for sifting through the mountains of data streams to paint a more complete operational picture.


SOCOM’s current acquisition efforts are focused on equipping both manned and unmanned fixed-wing assets with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities suitable for diverse global requirements, Navy Adm. Michael McRaven, the SOCOM commander, reported to Congress earlier this year.


“We will need to have an ability to continue to search large data bases to identify enemies and information that helps us understand and gives us clues into what (violent extremist) networks are doing out there,” Army Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the commander of Joint Special Operations Command, told the Tampa assembly.


And in support of Navy Adm. William H. McRaven’s vision of a global special operations forces network, Votel underscored the need for knowledge management and information storage and sharing technologies to support it.


“We want every advantage before we lock horns with an adversary, and that is knowing what they have available to them and then countering it with decisive action,” Navy Rear Adm. Sean A. Pybus, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, told the assembly.


What’s needed, the commanders agreed, are more universal systems to replace those that work only on specific platforms.


“We have to have plug-and-play ISR packages that allow us to select the right tool for the right environment, and be able to work in a standardized fashion in the aircraft that we are operating across the enterprise,” Votel said.


Marine Col. Michael Sweeney, deputy commander of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, echoed the need for a single, multitiered network to consolidate what five and sometimes six sets of equipment now do. “We are increasing the burden on the force from a load perspective,” he said.


“We are system agnostic,” said Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Repass, the commander of Special Operations Command Europe. “We don’t care what it is, as long … as the communications are compatible with whatever the distribution network is.”


Army Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said the systems that have proven themselves in Afghanistan will remain critical throughout the rest of that mission and into the future.


But looking ahead, he also recognized the fine line between becoming overly dependent on technology and ensuring enough redundancy “to make sure we are not crippled if we lose something as a capability.”


Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, the commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, said he sees little decrease in future demand not only for ISR, but also for mobility and strike capability. As wartime requirements decrease, the command is evaluating its portfolio to ensure it is postured to provide what future missions will demand, he said.


The first of up to 10 CV-22 Osprey slated to be based in Mildenhall, England, are expected to arrive next month to extend the reach of U.S. special operations forces supporting both U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command, Fiel said.


The MC-130J Commando II also is slated for the European theater, with 12 to be fielded to provide “a very much-needed capability to both Special Operations Command Africa and Special Operations Command Europe,” he added.


Naval Special Warfare Command is undergoing a similar assessment of its inventory, as its SEALs and special boat teams transition back to their traditional maritime environment, Pybus said.


A new Maritime Mobility Roadmap, approved by McRaven, calls for a family of vessels – ranging from high-end, stealth, long-range penetrating craft to a multimission craft that can launch from a variety of ships for operations in littoral waters.


But Pybus also noted the need for other hardware suited to the maritime domain: refreshed rebreathers, propulsion devices, sleds and weapons that can work both underwater and across the beach.


“There is equipment that our partners have, quite frankly, that is better than ours, because we spent the past decade fighting ashore,” he said “It is time to move forward so that our troops have the best that there is out there so they can be successful.”


While laying out their immediate and future requirements, the commanders made clear they understand the economic realities facing the entire military.


“We are going to have to do things smartly and efficiently, because we just won’t have all the things that have been available to us in the past,” Pybus said. That, he acknowledged, will mean using legacy systems to the very end of their life cycles.


“But you can accessorize them and make improvements to them to make them better,” he told the industry representatives. “And that is what we are going to be looking for from a lot of you.”

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 06:55
L'Almak en cours de construction au chantier Piriou de Concarneau crédits  DCI

L'Almak en cours de construction au chantier Piriou de Concarneau crédits DCI

03/06/2013 Mer et Marine


Le premier bâtiment de formation maritime de navOcéan, filiale de DCI et Piriou, doit être mis à flot à Concarneau au mois de juillet. Après une période d’achèvement à quai et d’essais en mer, l’Almak sera livré en septembre.


Suite de l’article

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 06:50
Réseau informatique militaire suisse : neuf milliards prévus d'ici 2021

03.06.2013 Romandie.com (AWP)


Berne (awp/ats) - Le projet Network Enabled Operations (NEO) de l'armée, qui vise la mise en réseau de systèmes informatiques afin d'améliorer les engagements militaires, pourrait coûter cher. Selon le Contrôle fédéral des finances (CDF), des investissements de neuf milliards de francs ont été prévus pour la période 2011-2021.


Sur ce montant, quatre milliards devraient couvrir les frais d'exploitation. En outre, une quinzaine de milliards au total pourraient être alloués au projet NEO jusqu'à son terme programmé en 2025. Le rapport du CDF, qui date de juillet 2012, a été publié dimanche par la "Sonntagszeitung" sur son site.


Contacté par l'ats, le Département fédéral de la défense (DDPS) n'a pas confirmé ces différents montants. Il a indiqué qu'aucune communication ne sera faite avant la fin de l'année.


NEO a pour but "de réaliser une plus-value sur toute la palette des engagements possibles de l'armée afin d'obtenir une efficacité décisive", peut-on lire sur le site Internet du DDPS. Les priorités du projet comprennent la défense de l'espace aérien, la guerre électronique et les opérations spéciales. Sur les neuf milliards prévus, environ 5,5 devraient leur être alloués, précise le rapport.


Pour la seule défense de l'espace aérien, les investissements sont estimés à hauteur de 4,6 milliards de francs, contre quelque 2,7 milliards pour l'ensemble des activités au sol. Sur ce dernier montant, quelque 800 millions concernent le "réseau d'engagement Défense", qui vise à connecter tous les systèmes importants d'une infrastructure de télécommunications uniforme.




Le Conseil fédéral a demandé fin mai au Parlement de libérer 209 millions pour le "réseau d'engagement Défense". La requête est inclue dans le programme d'armement 2013, devisé au total à 740 millions de francs.


Il en va de la sécurité informatique de la Confédération et de la protection contre les pirates, avait dit le ministre de la défense Ueli Maurer, précisant qu'une deuxième étape était prévue dans un prochain programme. Le nouveau système, qui sera acquis entre 2014 et 2020, devrait aussi pouvoir augmenter le débit de données et réduire la dépendance par rapport aux exploitants civils.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 06:35
Canada’s F-35 Debate Very Heated Compared To The One In Australia

June 2, 2013. By John Newman - Defence Watch Guest Writer


Firstly I like to say that I enjoy reading your Defence Watch page very much, as an Australian it is interesting to see the Canadian perspective on defence matters, including the regular reporting of defence matters here in Australia too.


But I especially enjoy reading, what appears to be the very very heated public debate that is going on in Canada regarding the F35.


In Australia the F35 debate has really been far more isolated to mostly newspaper reports on cost, delays and performance issues, but with what has been very little reaction from the general public overall.


Yes of course when you visit the various defence forums there is certainly more heated debate with the pro and anti F35 advocates, but in general it is certainly not the ‘big’ issue here in Australia with the general public as it appears to be in Canada.


And especially so when both major political parties are not fighting each other over the F35 program as a whole.


I thought you might be interesting in reading this:


Parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade - 16/05/2013 - Department of Defence annual report 2011-12


It is a transcript of a very recent  report to a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Defence by two senior ADF members, Vice Admiral Peter Jones and Air Vice Marshall Kym Osley, it makes interesting reading.


Before going into the transcript, I just wanted to recap the path to date of the F35 in Australian terms (I’m sure you are probably aware of some of these things, but I thought I’d recap anyway):


·         Going back to the early 2000’s, the original plan was to obtain 100 F35A’s to replace the remaining 71 Classic Hornets and 21 remaining F111C’s.


·         In 2007 the Government decided to retire the F111C’s early (2010) and replace them with a ‘bridging’ capability of 24 FA18F Super Hornets for a period of approximately 10 years, till around 2020.


·         Shortly after this the new Government decided to have 12 of the FA18F’s ‘prewired’, prior to delivery, for possible conversion to EA18G Growler Electronic Attack aircraft at a later date.


·         By the 2009 Defence White Paper and the 2009 Defence Capability Plan (DCP), the Government confirmed that the plan was for 100 F35A’s, with an initial 72 (three operational and one training Sqns to replace the Classic Hornets) approved and at a later date, around 2020, when the FA18F’s were to retire, consider purchasing the remaining 28 F35A’s.


·         The 72 approved F35A’s were to be ordered starting with 14 in 2012 and to be followed later by another 58.


·         In early 2012 the Government, due to ‘concerns’ about further delays and cost issues with the F35 program ‘delayed’ the majority of the initial order, by that time it was committed to 2 F35A’s  (currently under construction) and delayed the next 12 till 2014.


·         At this time the Government announced that it would also investigate ‘options’ so as not to allow a ‘capability’ gap to occur between the planned retirement of the Classic Hornet fleet and the introduction of the F35A’s.


·         During 2012 an Auditor General report on the Classic Hornet fleet confirmed that they should make it through to their planned airframe life which would be around the year 2020 mark.


·         Also During 2012 the Government confirmed that all the 12 ‘prewired’ Super Hornets would be converted to ‘full’ EA18G Growler configuration (which would have meant that half of the fleet would have to be removed from service to then be sent off for conversion).


·         In late 2012 the Government sent a Letter of Request to the US on price and availability of an additional 24 Super Hornets, pricing was obtained for 12 FA18F’s and 12 EA18G’s. (The concern in defence forum circles was that this may have meant that moving forward the RAAF would have a ‘split’ fleet of 48 Super Hornet/Growlers and an approximately same amount of F35A’s, the goal to have an ‘all’ F35A fleet would disappear for many decades to come.


·         In early May this year, 2013, a new Defence White Paper was released confirming that the Government was satisfied with the progress of the F35 program and reaffirmed that the commitment’s commitment to the approved 72 F35A’s would proceed.


·         Interestingly, it also announced that the plan to upgrade the ‘prewired’ FA18F’s would not proceed, instead an additional 12 ‘new’ build EA18G’s, at a cost of $2.94Billion, would be acquired instead (this meant that half of the Super Hornet fleet didn’t have to be pulled from service for conversion, and avoided the subsequent reduction in capability).


·         It also announced that the 24 FA18F’s would now remain in service till around 2030 (instead of the original 2020 date) and prior to that time it would be for a future Government to decide on replacing them with the remaining 28 F35A’s originally proposed to bring the fleet up to 100 F35A’s.


What this means is that by about the mid 2020’s the RAAF fast jet fleet will consist of 72 F35A’s (three operational and one training Sqn), 24 FA18F’s (one operational and one training Sqn) and 12 EA18G’s (one operational Sqn).


Hope this doesn’t seem too long winded?  I just wanted to paint a clear as possible picture of the ups and downs, and up again, of the Australian F35 programme to date.


Getting back to the transcript of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Defence report, and I won’t repeat it all here as you can read it at your leisure, but there were three interesting paragraphs on the cost of the F35:


“From a cost perspective, the approved AIR 6000 phase 2A/B stage 1—that is, the ‘first 14 aircraft’—remains within budget. The unapproved AIR 6000 2A and 2B stage 2—that is, the ‘next 58 aircraft’—remains within its Defence Capability Plan provision.


“There is now strong alignment between the aircraft acquisition cost estimates from the independent US Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Office, the US F-35A Joint Program Office, and the Australian New Air Combat Capability Project Office. However, the aircraft costs are sensitive to US and partner nation purchase profiles. The actual costs for each successive low-rate initial production lot continue to be below the US congressional estimates. Our first two aircraft are expected to be around, or less than, the $130 million estimate that Defence has had since before 2011. Overall, in 2012 dollars and exchange rate at A$1.03 to US dollars, 72 F35As are expected to cost an average of A$83.0 million—unit recurring flyaway cost—if ordered in the 2018-19 to 2023-24 time frame.


“The latest official US congressional F-35A cost estimates, sourced from the publicly available Selected Acquisition Report of 2011, are consistent with the Australian estimates and indicate the cost of the F-35A—unit recurring flyaway cost—reducing from a price of about $130 million in US then dollars for aircraft delivered in 2014 reducing over time down to about $82 million in US then dollars for aircraft delivered in the 2020 time frame.”


It’s interesting to see that the RAAF’s first two F35A’s are going to cost around $130m each, but it is expected that the 72 F35A’s will average out at $83m each.


Yes it is certainly an increase from the original estimates, but interestingly, over the years the Australian Government has always stated that it has made ‘provision’ for extra costs in the budget allowances anyway.


I suppose this is something that the Australian Government learnt a long time ago, just look at the significant cost increases in F111C project, that major Defence project costs are always going to exceed initial expectations, so it’s better to ensure that more money is allocated than not.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 06:35
Time to Admit China Is a Military Competitor

2013-05-27 — china-defense-mashup.com


The early-May release by the Defense Department of its annual report to Congress on China’s military developments is a prime opportunity to reevaluate how the United States frames the future of its security relationship with Beijing. For too long, politicians and pundits of both parties have refused to clearly state the obvious: The U.S. and China are engaged in a long-term peacetime competition with economic, diplomatic and, yes, military components. The sooner Washington begins speaking honestly about our relationship with China, the sooner we’ll have policies that adequately address the challenges facing our two countries.


As China’s economic development continues and its regional aspirations expand, its military modernization has continued apace. This reality, and the necessity of the United States’ remaining a force in Asia-Pacific for the sake of regional stability, makes many in Washington uncomfortable. Indeed, the pressure to refrain from speaking openly about the issue has led some U.S. officials to begin referring to China as a national “Voldermort.”


It’s immensely counterproductive to avoid speaking openly and truthfully about the Sino-American rivalry and its future trajectory. By failing to acknowledge China’s military ambitions and their potential consequences for U.S. interests in the region, American policymakers are choosing timidity when resolute leadership is required.


The reality is this: Over the past decade, China has been developing military capabilities designed to deny the United States access to the waters and airspace of the western Pacific. Through the acquisition of anti-ship ballistic missiles designed to target American aircraft carriers, advanced aircraft capable of hitting U.S. and allied bases around the region, and large numbers of modern submarines, Beijing has clearly signaled its intention to subvert the balance of power that has anchored peace in Asia for six decades, and to do so in ways inimical to American interests.


This is not simply the case of a rising power seeking a military befitting its economic might; rather, China has specifically geared its military development to areas of perceived American weakness with the objective of restricting U.S. action in East Asia.


Speaking clearly about Beijing’s actions and intentions is not a fatalistic acceptance that Sino-American conflict is inevitable, or even likely. Instead, by realistically appraising Chinese intentions, the United States will be better prepared to assess our interests in Asia and act accordingly.


With 80 percent of global trade traveling by sea, a substantial amount of that through the waters of East Asia, allowing the United States to be pushed out of the region is simply unacceptable. American military power, particularly our navy, has ensured the peaceful, liberal order that currently predominates in East Asia. As our fleet has slowly atrophied from the nearly 600 ships of the Reagan era to 283 today, the ability of the United States to uphold its obligations and interests around the world has become sorely tested. Even as the Chinese are developing sophisticated systems to target our perceived vulnerabilities, the U.S. is expected to experience major shortfalls in areas from attack submarines and surface combatants to Air Force long-range bombers. Understanding, and speaking clearly about, our interests in Asia and the challenges we face is critical to fixing the military gaps we have incurred over the last decade.


The Pentagon’s latest report on Chinese military modernization is an excellent opportunity for leaders in both parties to begin the process of speaking honestly about the China challenge. Our future relations with China are not preordained. Sound policy based on American strength and rooted in longstanding American interests is achievable only through recognition that China is a long-term competitor of the United States across a range of areas, including the military. The sooner we are comfortable admitting this fact, the better our chances of marshalling the resources to maintain a free and prosperous Asia.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 06:20
Le premier vol du futur avion ravitailleur de l'US Air Force est programmé pour début 2015, les livraisons l\'année suivante. - Photo Boeing

Le premier vol du futur avion ravitailleur de l'US Air Force est programmé pour début 2015, les livraisons l\'année suivante. - Photo Boeing

03/06 Par Alain Ruello - LesEchos.fr


L'assemblage du premier dérivé militaire du 767 démarrera le 26 juin.


Février 2011. Après une bataille politico-commerciale épique, Boeing arrache - de manière définitive - le mégacontrat des avions ravitailleurs du Pentagone à EADS. Le montant estimé donne le vertige : plus de 30 milliards de dollars. Vingt-sept mois plus tard, le groupe s'apprête à enclencher une phase clef du programme, baptisé KC46. Le 26 juin, dans la foulée du salon du Bourget, l'avionneur américain va démarrer l'assemblage du premier des 179 exemplaires, le premier vol restant programmé pour début 2015 et le début des livraisons, l'année suivante.


Un calendrier très serré


« A ce stade nous sommes en phase avec le planning », assurait il y a quelques jours Jake Howitt, le responsable adjoint du programme, à Seattle, d'où sortiront ces dérivés militaires du Boeing 767. L'enjeu est de taille car Boeing a pris le risque de signer un contrat à prix fixe pour la conception, les tests et la livraison de 4 premiers ravitailleurs d'ici à 2017. Si le constructeur respecte ses échéances, le Pentagone transformera en commande ferme les options à prix fixe prévues pour les 175 autres appareils. La dernière livraison est prévue en 2027 au plus tard.


L'attention des ingénieurs est tout entière accaparée par la fin de la phase de développement, prévue au troisième trimestre. Le calendrier étant très serré, les responsables de Boeing veulent prendre le moins de risques possible. D'autant que le contrat passé avec l'Italie a laissé des traces, du fait des problèmes rencontrés avec la perche de ravitaillement. Le KC46 ne sera pas un bijou d'innovation, la plupart des équipements existent déjà. « Pour la grande majorité de l'appareil, nous n'inventons rien », résume Jake Howitt.


Si Boeing assure être en phase avec son planning, qu'en est-il du budget ? Tout en reconnaissant sa défaite, EADS avait affirmé à l'époque que jamais Boeing ne pourrait dégager de profit sur ce contrat. Interrogé à ce sujet, Jake Howitt confesse sobrement : « Nous n'anticipons pas un grand retour sur investissement » sur la tranche ferme du contrat signée, dit-il. Avant de se montrer plus explicite : Boeing perdra de l'argent sur cette phase (déjà 700 millions selon des estimations qui couraient mi-2011, chiffre non confirmé officiellement), mais prévoit toujours d'en gagner sur l'ensemble du programme. En clair, une fois les 179 exemplaires prévus livrés à l'armée de l'air américaine.


D'ici là, le KC46 pourra améliorer ses marges grâce aux ventes à l'international, où il se mesure à l'A330 MRTT d'Airbus. Au total, Boeing évalue le marché potentiel entre 25 à 50 appareils. Ce chiffre, qui porte sur les dix prochaines années, peut paraître faible, mais il est vrai que de nombreux pays sont déjà équipés en avions ravitailleurs.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 05:35
Chine, Inde et Pakistan seuls à accroître leur arsenal nucléaire

03 juin 2013 Romandie.com (AFP)


STOCKHOLM - Trois pays disposant de l'arme atomique, la Chine, l'Inde et le Pakistan, accroissent leur arsenal nucléaire, alors que les cinq autres le réduisent ou le maintiennent, a indiqué l'Institut international de recherche sur la paix de Stockholm (Sipri) dans un rapport lundi.


La Chine a aujourd'hui 250 têtes nucléaires contre 240 en 2012, le Pakistan 100 à 120 contre 90 à 110, et l'Inde entre 90 et 110 contre 80 à 100, écrit-il.


Cette course aux armements est d'autant plus inquiétante que le Sipri juge fragile la paix en Asie, vu les tensions croissantes depuis 2008, comme entre Inde et Pakistan, entre les deux Corées, ou encore entre Chine et Japon.


Les pays qui réduisent leur arsenal sont les signataires du traité de désarmement nucléaire START, la Russie (8.500 têtes aujourd'hui) et les Etats-Unis (7.700).


La France (300 têtes), le Royaume-Uni (225) et Israël (80) le gardent au même niveau.


Ces chiffres sont des estimations dont le Sipri reconnaît qu'elles sont plus ou moins fiables selon les pays, la Chine maintenant par exemple une opacité totale, tandis que la Russie est de moins en moins transparente. Le Sipri suppose que la Corée du Nord et l'Iran n'ont pas encore réussi à se doter de l'arme nucléaire.


Pour le centre de recherche, la baisse quantitative de l'armement n'est pas synonyme de réduction de la menace nucléaire.


Il y avait peu de choses pour nous insuffler l'espoir que les pays possédant l'arme nucléaire aient sincèrement la volonté d'abandonner leur arsenal. Les programmes de modernisation à long terme en cours dans ces Etats montrent que les armes nucléaires sont toujours une marque du statut international et de la puissance, a affirmé le coordinateur de la recherche sur le nucléaire au Sipri, Shannon Kile, cité dans un communiqué.


Dans le domaine des armes chimiques et biologiques, la réduction des stocks pour laquelle milite le Sipri n'a progressé que lentement. Les Etats-Unis et la Russie n'ont pas détruit toutes leurs armes chimiques en 2012 contrairement à ce qu'ils avaient promis, et la Syrie s'est dite prête à les employer en cas d'attaque étrangère.


Les chiffres du Sipri montrent par ailleurs que le nombre des soldats de la paix déployés dans le monde a baissé de plus de 10% en 2012, le retrait des forces internationales ayant commencé en Afghanistan.


Toutefois, le nombre des combattants déployés en dehors de l'Afghanistan a en fait des chances de croître, notamment au Mali, plus largement au Sahel, et potentiellement en Syrie.


Ces dernières années, il y a eu une hausse du nombre des conflits intra-étatiques qui se sont internationalisés, à savoir qu'un autre Etat soutient un camp ou l'autre. Une telle implication a souvent eu pour effet d'accroître la mortalité et de prolonger les conflits, a constaté le Sipri.


Son rapport annuel reprend des données déjà publiées.


Les dépenses mondiales en armement ont reculé en 2012 pour la première fois depuis 1998, de 0,5% en tenant compte de l'inflation. Et la Chine a détrôné la Grande-Bretagne en tant que cinquième exportateur mondial d'armes, derrière les Etats-Unis, la Russie, l'Allemagne et la France.

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2 juin 2013 7 02 /06 /juin /2013 20:03
photo European Defense Agency

photo European Defense Agency

02 juin 2013 Alexandre Duyck, envoyé spécial à Norfolk (Virginie, États-Unis) - Le Journal du Dimanche


PORTRAIT-Il aurait pu devenir chef d’état-major des armées françaises, il est le cerveau qui pense l’avenir de l’Otan. Cet enfant de gardien de la paix a deux passions : la République et l’aviation.


Ses mains parlent pour lui. Elles se tendent puis se mettent à vriller pour décrire le vol d’un avion de combat, partent à la chasse d’un objet imaginaire, d’un ennemi invisible. Ses doigts comptent, tapent, désignent… Le général cinq étoiles n’est pas à l’aise installé dans un canapé trop mou pour lui, on se dit que cet homme préfère la position debout et que, s’il faut vraiment s’asseoir, autant prendre place dans l’exigu cockpit du Fouga Magister de ses débuts ou du Rafale qu’il pilota encore l’an passé.


Pas de photo de famille, pas d’arme ancienne dont aiment à s’entourer les chefs militaires, pas même un drapeau ou un ballon ovale qui rappelleraient son soutien indéfectible à l’Usap, le club de rugby de Perpignan. Nommé en septembre 2012 à la tête de l’ACT (Commandement allié Transformation), l’un des deux états-majors suprêmes de l’Otan, Jean-Paul Paloméros a dépersonnalisé son bureau au possible. Le chef est ici pour bosser, pas pour décorer une pièce située au cœur de la base navale de Norfolk, la plus grande du monde, où mouillent en permanence quatre, voire cinq porte avions de l’US Navy.


Une mère bretonne, un père catalan


Toute sa vie, il a rêvé d’être un fils de l’air. Ses parents avaient pourtant les pieds bien sur terre. Une mère bretonne employée mutualiste; un père catalan gardien de la paix, "fier de son métier, fier de servir, qui nous a inculqué une discipline morale et intellectuelle". Enfance parisienne modeste et heureuse, très vite bercée par les bandes dessinées anglaises et françaises, Les Aventures de Tanguy et Laverdure. Ses lectures, bientôt complétées par les récits d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, décideront du sens de sa vie : Jean-Paul Paloméros sera pilote de chasse.


Enfant de troupe à 16 ans, à Autun, il rejoint le lycée militaire de La Flèche. Maths sup, maths spé, École de l’air de Salon-de-Provence qu’il intègre en 1973. Le jeune officier y évolue comme un poisson dans l’eau, découvrant peu à peu l’art du commandement, décidant d’une philosophie de vie qui ne le quittera plus : "Agir du mieux possible sans arrière-pensées, sans calcul. Prendre les risques nécessaires et suffisants. Assumer ses responsabilités." Suivre les règles que l’on demande aux autres de respecter. "Le commandant doit être tout sauf brutal et autoritaire. Je peux être dur mais un chef n’a pas le droit aux jugements péremptoires." De son visage se dégage un air de douceur étonnant chez un chef militaire de ce rang.


Pressenti pour l’Élysée


Il garde une reconnaissance sans faille à l’école de la République française, "ce pays où l’école donne sa chance au plus grand nombre." Ne dit-on pas plutôt des États-Unis, le pays où il travaille et vit désormais, qu’il est celui de tous les possibles? "Certes mais la compétition y est plus rude. Les plus faibles n’y résistent pas." Pilote, lieutenant à 22 ans, commandant d’une patrouille à 27 ans, il apprend à repérer les bâtiments soviétiques qui croisent en Méditerranée et apprécie, plus encore que les autres, les vols de nuit à basse altitude. Il monte en grade jusqu’à être nommé général de brigade aérienne il y a douze ans. Chef d’état-major de l’armée de l’air en 2009, il est pressenti pour devenir chef d’état-major des armées après la victoire de François Hollande. Il n’en sera rien. "Son nom a été cité à plusieurs reprises, confirme un haut gradé. Mais il aurait fallu que le président se sépare tout de suite de l’amiral Guillaud, nommé sous Sarkozy, ce qu’il n’a pas souhaité faire. Une fois la guerre au Mali déclenchée, ça n’était plus possible d’autant que Guillaud n’a pas démérité."


«Le commandant doit être tout sauf brutal et autoritaire. Je peux être dur mais un chef n’a pas le droit aux jugements péremptoires»


Plutôt que les somptueux bureaux du centre historique de Paris, Paloméros s’installe dans un bâtiment sans âme du centre de la base de Norfolk où il succède à un autre Français, le général Abrial, au poste de commandant suprême allié Transformation, laboratoire pour l’avenir de l’Otan. Avant cela, il était à la tête de l’aviation française qui a attaqué Kadhafi.


"Le général est quelqu’un que j’ai toujours apprécié pour la clarté de son langage, confie Patricia Adam, députée (PS, Finistère) et vice-présidente de la commission de la Défense de l’Assemblée nationale. Il a su mettre en place les mesures d’économie nécessaires avec intelligence et respect des troupes. Le succès de l’opération Serval au Mali lui est également en grande partie dû. Certes, il était déjà en poste aux États-Unis mais l’opération n’aurait pas été une telle réussite si l’armée de l’air n’avait pas été aussi bien préparée sous son commandement."


"L’histoire est en train de s’écrire en Afghanistan"


Fort de deux victoires militaires et d’un passé qui l’a notamment conduit au Tchad et en Bosnie, Paloméros a débarqué en Virginie pour prendre la tête d’une équipe de 600 militaires issus des 28 pays membres de l’Otan. Sa mission : concevoir l’Alliance Atlantique des vingt ou trente prochaines années. Quels risques et menaces imaginer? Cyberattaques, nouveaux missiles, formes d’actions terroristes inconnues à ce jour, nouveaux champs de bataille… Comment les affronter? Avec quelles armes, quelles technologies, quelles techniques d’entraînement et de renseignement… Avec quels moyens quand tous les gouvernements réduisent leurs dépenses militaires? Il y a moins de deux ans, Paloméros avait réclamé vingt drones en 2020 pour l’armée de l’air française. Qui vient d’en acheter deux aux Américains…


Carol Pottenger, vice-amiral en retraite, observe : "C’est une mission très compliquée, réfléchir à l’avenir de l’Otan en faisant travailler ensemble 28 nations… Mais le général est à l’écoute et réticent à toute prise de décision hâtive. Rapide sur le champ de bataille, il est posé et réfléchi ici." L’ambassadeur américain Ravic Huso, qui fut le conseiller du commandant suprême : "Paloméros a toutes les capacités requises pour cette mission : l’expérience du terrain, le sens de l’anticipation, la compréhension des enjeux politiques… Le monde est tellement imprévisible que la tâche qui lui incombe est d’une importance capitale."


Dans la salle voisine, cinq horloges donnent l’heure à Norfolk, Zulu (GMT), Bruxelles, Kaboul et Bagdad. Dans les deux dernières villes, malgré l’intervention massive de l’Otan, les civils meurent chaque semaine par dizaines dans des attentats. En Afghanistan, les talibans attendent le départ des dernières troupes combattantes pour mieux asseoir leur pouvoir. "L’histoire est en train de s’écrire en Afghanistan, veut croire le général. Repensons à l’état de ce pays il y a seulement cinq ou six ans…"


Et la Syrie? Le massacre impuni d’un peuple par son dictateur? "L’Otan ne peut pas s’autosaisir. Nous dépendons d’une résolution de l’ONU. Or je ne vois pas venir de texte jusqu’à présent." Pris sous le feu des dirigeants politiques, des opinions publiques et des chefs militaires du monde entier, Paloméros s’en extirpe rarement, parvenant tout de même à consacrer du temps à sa famille. Souvent, il s’en va courir. Parfois, il écrit des poèmes dont la lecture relève du secret-défense. Seule son épouse est habilitée à les lire.

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