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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
hélicoptère Mi-8

hélicoptère Mi-8

 

MOSCOU, 24 avril - RIA Novosti

 

Des chefs de tribus locaux négocient la libération des otages - un Russe, un Kirghiz, sept Turcs et un Afghan - pris par les talibans dimanche en Afghanistan, rapporte mercredi l'agence Pajwak.
 
"Les chefs de tribus ont été autorisés à s'entretenir avec les otages", a déclaré Abdul Wali Wakil, chef du Conseil provincial du Logar, province dans laquelle un hélicoptère civil Mi-8 a effectué dimanche soir un atterrissage d'urgence.
 
Ayant confirmé la tenue de négociations entre les chefs de tribus locaux et les insurgés, il a précisé qu'un des otages, un Turc, avait reçu des médicaments via les négociateurs car il semblait souffrir de problèmes cardiaques. 
 
Selon le porte-parole du gouvernement de la province du Logar, Din Mohammad Darvish, la partie afghane est somme toute optimiste quant à un dénouement heureux de l'incident, mais il est trop tôt pour dire quand les prisonniers pourraient être relâchés.
 
Un hélicoptère civil Mi-8 reliant Khost à Kaboul a effectué dimanche soir un atterrissage d'urgence dans la province afghane du Logar (est) en raison d'une météo défavorable. Les forces de sécurité afghanes ont retrouvé l'hélicoptère vide. Les talibans ont déclaré avoir kidnappé les passagers et les membres d'équipage de l'appareil. Il s'agit du plus important enlèvement d'étrangers au cours des six dernières années en Afghanistan.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
Top US General Reminds China of US Commitment to Japan

Apr. 24, 2013 – Defense News (AFP)

 

As tensions rise over island dispute

 

BEIJING — The top US military officer told China’s leaders on Wednesday that Washington is committed to defending Japan, as Beijing and Tokyo engage in intensified rhetoric over a territorial row.

 

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is visiting China just as the dispute between Beijing and Tokyo over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea is again heating up.

 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed Tuesday to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on the islands, which are administered by Japan as the Senkakus but also claimed by China as the Diaoyus.

 

His statement came after a flotilla of eight Chinese government vessels sailed into the disputed waters, the biggest number to do so in one day since Tokyo’s nationalization of some of the islands in September.

 

“In the case of Japan, I was careful to remind them (China’s senior leaders) that the US has certain treaty obligations with Japan, that we would honor,” Dempsey told reporters in Beijing.

 

US officials have said that while Washington takes no side in the dispute itself, the islands are under Japan’s control and thus protected under the US security treaty with Tokyo.

 

Dempsey also expressed concern that rhetoric between China and Japan over the rival claims is increasing the risk that the situation could spin out of control and lead to clashes.

 

“I think the heightened risk is a function of heightened rhetoric that could produce emotional outcomes at the tactical level, that could frankly get away from the control of the central level,” he said.

 

A group of Japanese nationalists said Tuesday it had sent nine ships to the area around the islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan.

 

Dempsey said at a joint press conference Monday with Fang Fenghui, the chief of the People’s Liberation Army general staff, that Washington’s aim was “to be a stabilizing influence in the region.”

 

China appeared to single out the US in a military white paper last week, saying “certain efforts” to enhance military deployment in Asia “are not conducive to the upholding of peace and stability in the region.”

 

The US is engaged in a “pivot” to Asia after years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

“A fair share of the questions that were discussed in my meetings with senior leaders had to do with our rebalance to the Pacific, and seeking greater clarity on what we mean by it,” Dempsey said.

 

“It is a strategic imperative for us over time to rebalance to the Pacific, because that’s where future trends are taking us,” he said.

 

Dempsey met new Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, with the state Xinhua news agency reporting that Xi called for the two countries as well as their militaries to foster deeper trust.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
IAI to produce F-35 wings

 

TEL AVIV, Israel, April 24 (UPI)

 

Wings for Lockheed Martin's F-35 joint strike fighter are to be supplied by Israel Aerospace Industries under a contract with a potential value of $2.5 billion.

 

IAI said the length of the contract is 10-15 years. Initial deliveries of wings will begin in 2015.

 

"This agreement represents an important milestone for IAI and ensures its involvement in the world's most advanced fighter aircraft," said Joseph Weiss, president and chief executive officer of IAI. "I welcome the strengthening relationship with Lockheed Martin, a leading manufacturer of aircraft."

 

Lockheed Martin and IAI recently started construction of a production line for F-35 JSF Lightning II wings following IAI's investment in required technologies and systems. The company produces wings for Lockheed's F-16s and T-38s used by the U.S. Air Force.

 

IAI is Israel's largest aerospace and defense company. It has headquarters at Tel Aviv's David Ben Gurion International Airport.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
Gilat to Equip IDF with SatTrooper-1000 Military Manpack

Apr 25, 2013 (SPX)

 

Petah Tikva, Israel - The SatTrooper-1000 will provide Israeli soldiers with dependable data, video and telephony at broadband speeds.

 

Gilat Satellite Networks reports that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has selected its SatTrooper-1000 military Manpack terminal for advanced tactical field communications.

 

The Manpack was tailor made to address the unique field requirements of the IDF ground forces.

 

The SatTrooper-1000 will provide Israeli soldiers with dependable data, video and telephony at broadband speeds. Weighing only 13 kilos, the compact and easy-to-carry terminal is highly efficient and can be set up in minutes by a single warfighter.

 

The rugged design of the auto pointing antenna enables rapid connectivity even in the harshest environmental conditions.

 

"Net centric warfare has increased the importance of quick-deploy satellite based communication solutions in today's battle field," said Res. Gen. Moshe (Chico) Tamir, Gilat's Vice President of Defense and Homeland Security.

 

"Intelligence superiority is a critical necessity on the battle field wherever and whenever required. Our SatTrooper Manpack was built taking into account the harshest and most demanding battle conditions, adhering to the stringent communication requirements of the IDF."

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
Hagel: Defense Partnership Anchors US-Saudi Relationship

 

April 25th, 2013 By US Department of Defense - defencetalk.com

 

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: On his inaugural trip to the Middle East since taking office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met here today with Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.

 

During their talks, Hagel and his Saudi counterpart reiterated the longstanding, steadfast relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and emphasized the strong defense partnership that anchors the two nations, Little added.

 

They also discussed the release of standoff weapons to Saudi Arabia that will provide strategic precision defensive capabilities to the Saudi F-15 fleet, Little said. Such smart weapons can navigate to their targets and are more precise and can be fired at further distances.

 

“Both agreed the release reflected the close bilateral partnership and would enable long-term cooperation in the pursuit of common security policy aims of a peaceful and stable region,” Little said. The two defense leaders also consulted on regional issues, including the need for Iran to abide to international commitments on its nuclear program, the situation in Syria, and the political transition in Yemen, he added.

 

Hagel’s trip to the Middle East, which began April 20 and will end April 26, began in Israel and Jordan and tomorrow will take the secretary to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to discuss common threats and interests in the region.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
Fincantieri Launches Patrol Vessel for UAE

April 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Italian navy; issued April 23, 2013)

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

 

Shipbuilding: Launch of the Third Ship for the United Arab Emirates

 

On 22 April, at the Fincantieri shipyards in Muggiano (La Spezia), was held the launching ceremony of the patrol vessel Salahah ordered by the Navy of the United Arab Emirates from the domestic shipbuilding industry.

 

Salahah is the second "Falaj2"-class patrol vessel delivered to the Navy of the United Arab Emirates, and the third ship overall.

 

The ceremony was attended by Ing. Ferdinand Tognini, Director of the Cantieri del Muggiano and Riva Trigoso, and by General Mohamed Ibrahim Salem, Chief of the Naval Forces of the United Arab Emirates. The launch was also attended by various representatives of the manufacturer, the Commander in Chief of the Naval Region of the Upper Tyrrhenian Sea, Admiral Andrea Toscano, the Head of the Preparation and Testing New Ships (MARINALLES La Spezia), Captain Paolo Pezzutti.

 

The vessel was assigned the recognition number P 252.

 

Salahah is 55 meters long and 8.60 meters wide; it has a maximum speed in excess of 20 knots and it can accommodate a crew of 28 people. Its main feature is the special geometry of its design, which makes it difficult to detect by radar.

 

Fincantieri, after completing the first phase of the contracted program in 2010, which called for the delivery of the 1,650-tonne anti-submarine corvette "Abu Dhabi" and two 550-tonne "Saettia-Stealth" patrol boats, will provide a support and familiarization program for United Arab Emirates crews, together by Marinalles, before being transferred to their homeland.

 

As evidence of the strategic importance assumed by the Middle Eastern market and the strong partnership started with the UAE, Fincantieri has formed the company Etihad Ship Building - a joint venture with Al Fattan Ship Industries and Melara Middle East - specializing in the design, production and sale of different types of civil and naval ships, as well as conducting maintenance and refitting of those under construction in Italy.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
Israel Braces for Defense Spending Slash

 

Apr. 24, 2013 - By BARBARA OPALL-ROME  - Defense News

 

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s Defense Ministry is maneuvering to blunt the force-damaging effects of proposed, government-wide spending cuts that threaten to slash the nation’s shekel-based defense budget by nearly 10 percent through 2014.

 

Faced with a 2012 year-end budget deficit of US $10.8 billion — some 4.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — the new government of re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is targeting social subsidies, ministerial spending and current tax rates in efforts to drive deficit levels down to 3 percent of GDP in accordance with Bank of Israel directives.

 

As part of the draconian deficit reduction program, Finance Minister Yair Lapid is proposing a 3 billion shekel ($830 million) base cut to Israel’s defense budget for 2014. An additional cut of 1.5 billion shekels has also been discussed, although it is unclear whether, if approved, it would apply to the 2014 budget or the remainder of the current year.

 

Political newcomer Lapid and his “There is a Future” party swept into the second-largest voting bloc of Netanyahu’s coalition government last month with promises of social justice, burden-sharing and strengthening Israel’s middle class. He has repeatedly assailed the relatively disproportionate levels of Israeli defense spending, which Treasury statistics peg at 7.4 percent of GDP and 25 percent of the national budget.

 

According to Israeli Treasury data, Israel’s net 2012 defense budget after adjustments stood at 53.6 billion shekels, which included $3 billion in US military grant aid.

 

Proposed cuts, defense and industry sources say, would have a bludgeoning effect on Israel at a time of new and multiplying threats along all of its borders and beyond.

 

Furthermore, according to a former MoD director and two former officers on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) General Staff, the planned cuts violate a 2007 understanding with Washington that incremental hikes in annual military aid — from $2.4 billion to the current level of $3.1 billion — would not be used to cover proportionate cuts in Israel’s defense budget.

 

“The Americans wanted to be sure Israel didn’t intend to cut its own budget in proportion to US increases,” a retired general said in reference to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package negotiated under the administration of former US President George W. Bush.

 

“The defense establishment is not detached from economic and social needs and must provide support for the budget deficit created last year,” Israel’s new Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in an April 16 Independence Day address.

 

“But,” said the former strategic affairs minister and former Israeli military chief of staff, “it is our duty also to remember that its qualitative edge must not wear down, because we’ve not yet achieved peace and quiet, and we may yet find ourselves in military conflicts on the borders, away from them and within them.”

 

In interviews here, political and security sources expected Lapid and Ya’alon to work much more congenially than Yuval Steinitz and Ehud Barak, their respective predecessors in Netanyahu’s former government, toward an agreement where short-term defense cuts would be gradually restored once the economy improves.

 

In his prior government, Netanyahu was forced to intervene in unusually public and acrimonious battles between his finance and defense chiefs. This time around, the new ministers at MoD and the Treasury are more likely to direct their respective staffs to seek common ground, coordinate priorities and focus on long-term benefits to accrue through cooperation, sources here said.

 

“At the outset of the new government, with new personalities in charge and with so much at stake, it’s an opportunity for MoD and the Treasury to agree on a cooperatively prioritized, multiyear plan of short-term sacrifices in exchange for long-term gain,” said retired Brig. Gen. Maharan Frozenfar, former head of MoD’s budget directorate.

 

Nevertheless, proposed defense cuts — even in the short-term — are expected to force closure of multiple reserve combat divisions and significant reductions in manpower beyond the 4,000 career, mostly noncombat service members now slated for layoffs or early retirement, sources here said.

 

Similarly, the proposed base cut of $830 million in 2014 and beyond would terminate or delay myriad indigenous development and procurement programs, including surface ships, unmanned aircraft, future block upgrades to Israel’s digital command and control network, actively protected armored vehicles and more.

 

FMF Protected, Despite Sequester

 

Israel’s $3.1 billion in annual Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant aid, part of the US State Department budget, however, will not be reduced due to planned supplements aimed to shield the account from the automatic cuts mandated by sequestration, US Secretary of State John Kerry told US lawmakers April 17.

 

“There will be a plus-up, and then a reduction from that plus-up. But still there is a sequester that will apply to everything,” Kerry said of further supplements planned to preserve the $3.1 billion FMF earmarked for Israel in 2013.

 

US regulations governing Israel’s use of FMF allow the MoD to convert 26.3 percent of annual security assistance — $815.3 million in 2013 — into shekels for indigenous research, development and procurement programs. The remaining 73.7 percent is used to fund Israeli purchases of US-produced weaponry, subsystems and defense services.

 

Therefore, procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighters, US-built Namer heavy armored carriers and other big-ticket US systems could face delays, but will not suffer as big a hit as indigenously developed modernization programs, sources here said.

 

But given adamant refusals by IDF General Staff to cut back on training and readiness, projected cuts will disproportionately target near-term research, development and procurement plans.

 

In an address to the Herzliya Conference here last month, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, IDF chief of general staff, acknowledged the need to support the government-wide deficit reduction drive. He warned, however, “not to make mistakes” in determining Israel’s future-year defense funding levels.

 

“Some say the IDF is too big for our country, but I say the IDF is not too big for the threats this country faces,” Gantz said. “We’ll need to continue to strive toward efficiency. ... But it is forbidden to allow our Army to hollow.”

 

Referring to the IDF’s five-year plan through 2017, Gantz said the military has taken risks in prioritizing funding necessary for preserving near-term readiness while building future capabilities.

 

“We want a quicker, more lethal and more adaptable Army to bring results as rapidly and decisively as possible. That’s our direction. But I won’t mortgage present capabilities for fruits of the future ... because tomorrow we can find ourselves in war,” Gantz said.

 

In solidarity with the defense and other sectors to be affected by the looming budget cuts, Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and co-partner with Netanyahu’s Likud-Israel Our Home Party-led coalition government, is challenging ministers, deputy ministers and lawmakers to shave their salaries by 10 percent. Similar to pay cuts undertaken by senior US administration officials in support of civil service personnel harmed by sequestration, the Lieberman initiative is symbolic, yet highly appreciated here.

 

“It’s clear to everyone that this salary cut won’t add billions to the economy and won’t solve the budgetary problems we’re dealing with. … But we need to set an example,” Lieberman wrote April 11 on his Facebook page.

 

In addition to the planned US State Department plus-up that will ensure Israel’s $3.1 billion military assistance in 2013, officials here are hoping the Pentagon likewise will reprogram additional funds to shield $480 million in current-year funds for Israeli rocket and missile defense programs.

 

Under the continuing resolution for 2013 defense appropriations, Israel is slated to receive $211 million for Iron Dome, $149.7 million for David’s Sling, $74.7 million for the Arrow-3 upper-tier interceptor and $44.3 million for Arrow-2.

 

According to the US Congressional Research Service (CRS), Pentagon funding for Israeli rocket and missile defense programs may be sequestered by some $37 million. Those appropriations, said CRS Middle East specialist Jeremy Sharp, “are considered non-exempt defense discretionary funded and are therefore subject to a 7.8 percent reduction.”

 

In his April 11 report on US Foreign Aid to Israel, Sharp said the Defense Department “could reprogram additional amounts of aid to Israel in order to compensate for lost funding as a result of sequestration.” However, he cautioned that such compensation would trigger cuts elsewhere

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD

 

24/04/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

United States defence officials have made clear their intention to offer the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey to Israel. Should the deal go ahead, Israel would therefore be this unique tiltrotor design's first export customer.

 

Confirmation of the proposed Israeli V-22 Osprey sale was supplied by Chuck Hagel - US Defence Secretary - at a media event staged on 22 April in Tel Aviv. Alongside the Ospreys, Israel is also in line to be supplied with other advanced US-origin military technologies including radars and weapons.

 

"The new radar and anti-radiation missiles, along with Israel's participation in the Joint Strike Fighter programme, ensures that Israel will maintain air superiority for the next generation", explained Hagel. "The introduction of the V-22 into the Israeli Air Force will give the Israeli Air Force long-range, high-speed, maritime search-and-rescue capabilities to deal with a number of threats and contingencies."

 

Israeli Osprey Sale

 

Since it's not yet been formally agreed, no value's so far been place on the potential Israeli Osprey sale. However, Israeli Air Force pilots have already experienced the V-22 Osprey's flight characteristics. In December 2011, two of them got the chance to fly it and, subsequently, the Israeli Air Force's official website published their thoughts.

 

"We realised that the plane will absolutely change the name of the game", one reportedly said. "It will be able to carry out operations that we never imagined that one of our planes could execute. If we purchase the plane, our ranges of activity will dramatically change and we'll be able to reach points we've never even dreamed of."

 

V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor

 

The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor is unique in modern military service as a design combining the vertical takeoff and landing qualities of a helicopter with the forward flight characteristics of a conventional transport aircraft.

 

It can accommodate a maximum of 32 troops or up to 20,000 pounds of cargo and cruises at 277 miles per hour, with a maximum speed of 316 miles per hour. Maximum range is 1,011 miles, while the Osprey climbs at up to 4,000 feet a minute and its armament includes an M240 machine gun.

 

The V-22 Osprey's operational debut occurred in 2007, when ten USMC MV-22B versions were sent to Iraq.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
US Army Releases 2013 Posture Statement

April 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Army; issued April 22, 2013)

 

2013 Army Posture Statement

 

The 2013 Army Posture Statement is the written expression of the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army to Congress for the annual posture hearings. The Army Posture Statement informs Congress on the state of the Army and outlines the Army's accomplishments, initiatives and priorities for Congress to consider when reviewing the President's budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

What has the Army done?

The 2013 Army Posture Statement describes the Army's vision to continue to provide the nation with strategic landpower in a challenging fiscal environment. The Fiscal Year 2014 Budget is designed to meet the Army's mission requirements and enable the Army to balance force structure, readiness and modernization as it builds the Army for the future.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The print version of the 2013 Army Posture Statement will be provided to each member of Congress prior to senior Army leader testimony related to the Fiscal Year 2014 budget. These posture hearings begin today, with Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.

The on-line version of the 2013 Army Posture Statement will be available tomorrow and will remain available throughout the year on the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army webpages as well as on the U.S. Army website.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army Posture Statement provides Congress, as well as internal and external audiences, an overview of the Army's plan to build a force for the future while contending with fiscal uncertainty. The Army Posture Statement is an authoritative document that highlights the Army's enduring and vital contribution to the defense of the nation as a member of the Joint Force, its global commitments and vision for the future.


Click here for the posture statement (21 PDF pages) on the US Army website.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
A US Air National Guard's F-16C aircraft carrying MALD under its wings

A US Air National Guard's F-16C aircraft carrying MALD under its wings

 

24 April 2013 airforce-technology.com

 

Raytheon has been awarded a contract to produce and deliver additional Miniature Air Launched Decoy-J (MALD-J) jammers to the US Air Force (USAF).

 

Valued at $81.7m, the firm-fixed-price option covers Lot 6 on the Lot 5 contract for supply of an additional 200 MALD-J jammers and containers, along with a ten-year warranty to the air force.

 

Raytheon Missile Systems Air Warfare Systems vice president Harry Schulte said: "MALD-J adds a jamming capability to the current decoy function of the MALD that disrupts enemy integrated air defence systems using jamming and radar signature technology.

 

He added: "This weapon will provide unprecedented capability and flexibility to the US Air Force and improve the survivability of our Airmen and their aircraft."

 

Weighing less than 300lb, the MALD-J is an expendable, close-in jammer designed to degrade and prevent an early warning or acquisition radar from establishing a track on a strike aircraft, while also maintaining the ability to fulfil the basic decoy mission.

 

Employed from the F-16 C/D Fighting Falcon and B-52 bomber, the unmanned MALD-J is capable of navigating and operating closer to hostile radars compared to the conventional electronic warfare (EW) systems, thus keeping aviators and aircraft away from enemy's path.

 

Designed to work with and use other EW platforms, the device can function either as a stand-alone system or in pairs, and is also able to loiter in the target area for an extended period of time, ensuring mission completion.

 

The ADM-160 MALD is an advanced, air-launched and programmable flight vehicle designed to confuse enemy integrated air defence systems, by accurately duplicating all combat flight profiles and radar signatures of the US and allied aircraft in the battlefield.

 

Manufacturing work will be primarily carried out at the company's facility in Tucson, Arizona, US, however the delivery schedule has remained undisclosed.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers of the 3rd Special Forces Group patrol through the Afghanistan countryside in a ground mobility vehicle (GMV-S). Note the M136 AT4 84mm anti-tank rocket strapped to the GMV above its right door - U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Horace Murray

U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers of the 3rd Special Forces Group patrol through the Afghanistan countryside in a ground mobility vehicle (GMV-S). Note the M136 AT4 84mm anti-tank rocket strapped to the GMV above its right door - U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Horace Murray

 

Apr. 24, 2013 - By PAUL McLEARY – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Next month, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is scheduled to award a contract to one company for at least 1,300 ground mobility vehicles (GMVs) to replace its current fleet of aging GMVs.

 

SOCOM commander Adm. William McRaven confirmed the planned award while warning about his command’s spending on research and development during a hearing of the House Armed Services’ intelligence, emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee on April 17.

 

The GMV program is the planned replacement for the heavier Humvee variant being used by SOCOM, and according to budget documents released in April, they would start being fielded next year.

 

SOCOM’s fiscal 2014 budget request submitted April 10 calls for $24.7 million to purchase 101 vehicles in the coming year at $245,000 per vehicle. The three companies competing for the work, which is expected to produce about 200 vehicles a year for seven years, are General Dynamics, current GMV-maker AM General and Navistar International.

 

Requirements documents released last year call for a vehicle that weighs less than 7,000 pounds, has the ability to carry up to seven passengers and can be transportable in an M/CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

 

On April 5, SOCOM also released a request for proposal for what it is calling an internally transportable vehicle (ITV), which will be designed to fit in the back of a V-22 Osprey. While the specifications are classified, a draft solicitation released in June revealed that any submission must include two “critical flight mission payloads,” one at 1,000 pounds and another at 2,000 pounds, with a field-installable weapon station mount capable of fitting the M2 .50-caliber machine gun, the M240, the M249 squad automatic weapon, the MK-19 and the MK-47 Grenade Launcher.

 

SOCOM also requires the ITV to fit two passengers in addition to a driver, feature a removable gunner’s seat, be able to carry three to six casualty litters and have a crush-resistant roll cage.

 

SOCOM wants designs capable of traveling 350 to 450 miles “at 45 mph on level paved roads using organic fuel tank(s), without refuel, and exclusive of onboard fuel storage cans,” while reaching top speeds of 65 to 75 mph.

 

Given the advanced electronic jamming and communication technologies that modern spec ops forces employ in austere environments, SOCOM requires that any submission be able to produce continuous electrical power — even with the engine off — to operate a manpack radio for four to 12 hours.

 

Even with these initiatives and several other big-ticket developmental items outlined in the 2014 budget, such as the $20 million requested to kick off a Precision Strike Package Large Caliber Gun program, which would build an upgraded version of the Precision Strike Package on AC-130J gunships, McRaven told lawmakers that his command’s research-and-development budget “is a little out of balance.” After 12 years of focus on readiness as a combat force, “our research ... has waned a little bit.”

 

McRaven said even though SOCOM takes up only 1.7 percent of the total Defense Department budget, “my expectation is that we will take some cuts” in coming years.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
GA-ASI, OMX Team for Canadian RPA Program

 

April 23, 2013 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: General Atomics Aeronautical; issued April 23, 2013)

 

GA-ASI and OMX Partner to Identify Suppliers for Canada's JUSTAS Program

 

SAN DIEGO and TORONTO, CANADA --- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. and OMX today announced that the companies have signed a two-year agreement to support GA-ASI’s Industrial Regional Benefit (IRB) efforts to identify and work with Canadian suppliers.

 

The partnership will strengthen GA-ASI’s and its teammate CAE’s commitment to offer the Predator B and/or Predator C Avenger RPA to meet the Canadian Government’s Joint Unmanned Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) requirements. GA-ASI and CAE, the Montreal-based leader in simulation/modeling technologies and in-service support solutions, formalized their teaming arrangement in May 2011 to meet Canada’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) needs.

 

“GA-ASI is committed to integrating Canadian suppliers of all sizes into its long-term global supply chain, ensuring real, long-term, high-value, economic benefit to Canada,” said Frank Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI.

 

Over the past year, OMX has developed the largest, amalgamated structured database in the Canadian defence, aerospace, and security industry. OMX’s database system uses information that is actively gathered, collected, and managed from existing information available on the Internet by a series of proprietary algorithms. The searchable database has been live since December 2012, with nearly 50,000 companies indexed.

 

The effort to identify, review, validate, and track potential suppliers across Canada, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), is substantial to GA-ASI as entering large acquisition programs can be confusing and expensive for many Canadian suppliers.

 

“We want every Canadian supplier to have the opportunity to determine its own fate,” added Pace. “Suppliers should be able to manage their own data and its availability to our company and other primes without the need to rely on others.”

 

Not only does the database allow suppliers to manage their own data, but it also actively searches the Web to bring forward new opportunities for GA-ASI to partner with Canadian suppliers that otherwise might be missed through traditional channels.

 

“There is a constant “push/pull” relationship between suppliers and GA-ASI,” said Nicole Verkindt, founder of OMX. “The best way for Canadian companies to be noticed, particularly SMEs, is to claim their company profile, update their information, including CCVs, and message GA-ASI directly on the site.”

 

The database will provide GA-ASI with a centralized location for managing data regarding potential suppliers from anyplace in the world. As a result, data regarding potential Canadian suppliers will no longer be lost within stovepiped organizations. GA-ASI will be able to sort and manage data for potential suppliers by type, size (e.g. can view “SMEs only”), location, services provided, certifications/standards, experience, capacity, CCV percentage, and many other factors.

 

GA-ASI and OMX are working together to develop a back-end to the supplier-managed database that will enable GA-ASI to have a single location to submit and annotate its own data fields, including contact histories, validation comments, and internal reviews, for companies that are coupled with it. In addition, the future OMX IRB tracking platform will be used to monitor GA-ASI’s successful efforts to create jobs and opportunities in Canada.

 

 

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing remotely piloted aircraft, radar, and electro-optic solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft systems, including Predator A, Predator B, Gray Eagle, and the new Predator C Avenger and Predator XP.

 

OMX is a secure software application for government contractors to manage their offset obligations in the defence, aerospace and security industries. The OMX marketplace provides access to tens of thousands of potential Canadian recipients—including suppliers, investment opportunities and R&D projects—by region, classification and capability.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
DARPA Pleads Agency's Case in Lean Times

Apr. 24, 2013 By ZACHARY FRYER-BIGGS – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Seeing a defense budget that is facing increasing pressure, the head of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) spoke to reporters Wednesday about the need to protect research spending.

 

The briefing, which coincided with DARPA’s release of a new “framework” outlining the agency’s mission and recent successes, focused on DARPA’s role in national security.

 

Neither the briefing nor the framework provided significant new details about DARPA programs. The framework’s first page was a photocopy of a citation the agency received in 2012 from then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

 

“We believe we may be at the beginning of a fundamental shift in how our society allocates resources to the business of national security, I’m not talking today about the immediate issues around sequestration,” said DARPA director Arati Prabhakar.

 

With a combination of increasing reliance on technology and fiscal pressures facing the US national security apparatus, Prabhakar spoke of DARPA’s importance.

 

“I actually think in the complex world that we’re living in today we need what DARPA does more than ever,” she said.

 

In a letter accompanying the framework, Prabhakar addressed those who control the agency’s funding.

 

“We wrote this document to share our current framework with all these partners, Congress, and our senior leadership in the Pentagon and in the Administration,” she wrote. “Your support of DARPA’s mission is vital to our success.”

 

The agency is already seeing the effects of sequestration, the automatic budget cuts to defense spending that became official last month, Prabhakar said. The cuts amount to roughly an 8 percent drop in DARPA’s budget, delaying some programs, including the offensive cyber weapons initiative known as Plan X, and likely furloughs for employees.

 

“It’s not a death blow when you take a one-time cut like that, but it is quite corrosive,” Prabhakar said. “It’s certainly something that over time could corrode our ability to do our mission.”

 

DARPA’s efforts to stay on the leading technological edge can create projects that sound more like science fiction than reality, leading to cyclical criticism about the advisability of specific projects from lawmakers. But it’s that approach which differentiates the agency, the framework said.

 

“Reaching for outsized impact means taking on risk, and high risk in pursuit of high payoff is a hallmark of DARPA’s programs,” it read.

 

Asked if she was concerned that DARPA could face disproportionate cuts in the future because some of the agency’s projects are difficult to explain to lawmakers, Prabhakar said that the agency continues to receive strong support.

 

“I think if you look historically, you will find that part of the reason for our success has been extended periods, many many decades during which there has been strong support for DARPA, in Republican administrations, in Democratic administrations, in times when budgets were tight and in times when budgets weren’t so tight,” she said. “My job as agency leader is always to try to demonstrate our value.”

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
MH-60L helicopter

MH-60L helicopter

 

24 April 2013 army-technology.com

 

Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has been awarded a contract for the supply of a low-cost, lightweight, precision-guided missile for evaluations by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), as part of the Defense Acquisition Challenge (DAC) programme.

 

Under the terms of the $3.2m contract, ATK will deliver its guided advanced tactical rocket (GATR) and precision-guided rocket launcher (PGRL) for both environmental and operational evaluation on the USSOCOM's MH-60L/M rotary-wing platforms.

 

ATK Armament Systems vice-president and general manager Dan Olson said: "Our ongoing investment and expertise in precision strike weapons, including the GATR system, provide a mature capability that fulfils the requirements of our military customers using innovative approaches that minimise integration costs."

 

Manufactured in collaboration with Elbit Systems, the GATR is a 70mm precision system designed for air-to-ground and ground-to-ground missions against soft, lightly armoured, stationary, moving and manoeuvring targets, and for military operations in urban terrain.

 

Incorporating a semi-active laser seeker similar to the one used in combat-proven joint direct attack munition (JDAM), the system enables pilots to lock-on targets before launch to ensure engagement of only the target of interest, with minimum collateral damage and at reduced operational costs.

 

Compatible with the existing 2.75in rocket-launcher hardware, the system features a digitally fused M282 multi-purpose warhead that is programmed from cockpits to provide super quick, point detonating fusing to defeat soft targets or delayed fusing for hardened targets penetration.

 

Available in three, seven and 19-tube versions, GATR is launched from PGRL digital launcher, and supports seamless integration into all fixed and rotary-wing platforms using existing digital and analogue fire control systems to offer digital stores management for all loaded weapons.

 

The DAC programme seeks validation of GATR and PGRL's desired operational and ballistic performance, while deployed from USSOCOM's airborne platforms.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
US Army Pays $340M to Extend GCV Tech Dev Phase

April 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued April 23, 2013)

 

Pentagon Contract Announcement

 

General Dynamic Land Systems Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded a modification (No. P00019) to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive contract (W56HZV-11-C-C002) with a maximum value of $180,399,976 to extend the ground combat vehicle technology development phase by six months.

Fiscal 2013 Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation, Army contract funds are being obligated on this award.

The Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity.

 

BAE Systems Land and Armaments LP., Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded a modification (No. P00019) to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive contract (W56HZV-11-C-C001), with a maximum value of $159,481,403 to extend the ground combat vehicle technology development phase by six months.

Fiscal 2013 Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation, Army contract funds are being obligated on this award.

The Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
General Atomics Demonstrates Advanced Cockpit Ground Control Station’s Capability to Fly Predator C

April 24, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

News release from General Atomics:

 

SAN DIEGO – 24 April 2013 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced that it has successfully demonstrated its Advanced Cockpit Ground Control Station’s (GCS’) capability to fly Predator C Avenger®. The flight occurred November 15, 2012 at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.

 

“This flight paired our most advanced GCS with our most advanced aircraft”, said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. “Since 1994, our GCS have amassed over twomillion flight hours. The Advanced Cockpit is the next logical step in GCS progression. Our objective with this GCS is to fully satisfy customer interoperability requirements, enabling any GA-ASI RPA to be flown from the system.”

 

The goal of this Congressionally-directed, U.S. Air Force (USAF)-supported demonstration was to show that the Advanced Cockpit’s open systems software architecture adapts rapidly for other RPA operations. More than two years ago, the system successfully flew the MQ-1 Predator over a three-month period. In April 2012, the Advanced Cockpit flew the SARC-1 UAS under a jointly funded company effort with Strategic Simulation Solutions. This effort demonstrated the system’s ability to control third party RPA. This summer, the Advanced Cockpit is scheduled to fly Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper.

 

“Advanced Cockpit’s wrap-around visual display and multi-dimensional moving map dramatically increases situational awareness, while the integrated digital checklist decreases pilot workload,” said Jason McDermott, the test pilot who successfully handed off control of Avenger from GA-ASI’s legacy GCS to the Advanced Cockpit and controlled the flight during a 3-hour mission. “The combination of these unique features greatly increases the ease and simplicity of mission planning, reduces pilot workload, thereby increasing flight safety.”

 

GA-ASI’s Advanced Cockpit GCS is being designed in accordance with the U.S. Air Force’s Unmanned Aircraft System Command and Control Initiative to enable interoperability with all USAF RPA and the U.S. Department of Defense’s vision for GCS interoperability and commonality as outlined by the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Unmanned Control Segment Working Group.

 

The Advanced Cockpit GCS features intuitive interfaces designed to make hazardous situations easier to identify, enhancing safety and improving the pilot’s reaction time and decision-making processes. Its ergonomic human-machine interface significantly improves situational awareness and reduces workload so the pilot can more effectively and efficiently accomplish his or her mission.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
USAF's first of two F-35A JSF fighters arrives for operational testing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, US. Photo: US Air Force photo by Laura Mowry.

USAF's first of two F-35A JSF fighters arrives for operational testing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, US. Photo: US Air Force photo by Laura Mowry.

24 April 2013 airforce-technology.com

 

Northrop Grumman-built multifunction advanced data link (MADL) waveform has successfully demonstrated its ability to advance communication among the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft during flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California, US.

 

During testing, the MADL joined the communications, navigation and identification (CNI) Link-16 and variable message format network present on an F-35 aircraft, and the data passed was correlated with information from other F-35 sensors by a fusion system to form a simplified situational awareness picture on the cockpit displays.

 

The testing forms an important element of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Block 2 software release that is designed to offer an advanced mission systems capability at Edwards AFB.

 

Northrop Grumman Information Systems Defense Systems division vice president and general manager Mike Twyman said the MADL performed reliably and displayed an excellent range at multiples of required specifications, while demonstrating ability to connect fifth-generation fighters during flight tests.

 

"This success is a significant achievement for the F-35 program and enabling joint aerial concept of operations," Twyman added.

 

A critical capability of the F-35 CNI avionics, the MADL is a high-data-rate, directional communications link designed to enable coordinated tactics and engagement to help bring significant operational advantages to fifth-generation aircraft operating in high-threat environments.

 

The CNI system provides F-35 pilots with an equivalent capability of over 27 avionics subsystems, including identification friend or foe (IFF), automatic acquisition of fly-to points, and various voice and data communications, while lowering size, weight and power demands on the aircraft.

 

Northrop also manufactures F-35's centre fuselage, radar and electro-optical subsystem, mission systems and mission planning software, pilot and maintenance training system courseware, apart from managing the F-35 industry team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies.

 

Currently under production by Lockheed, the F-35 JSF is designed to conduct ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defence missions with stealth capability.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
F-16s Step Up For Tardy F-35

 

April 24, 2013: Strategy Page

 

The U.S. Air Force has increased the number of F-16s it wants to refurbish to 1,018. Last year the plan was to refurbish a few hundred of its 22 ton F-16 fighters because their replacement, the 31 ton F-35 was not arriving in time. So far 11 F-35s have been built and another 19 are to be built this year. That’s too slow to deal with number of F-16s that are growing too old to fly. The air force is doing a similar refurb on 175 F-15C interceptors. It may take a decade or more for F-35 production to get to the point where most F-16s can be replaced. Until then the F-16s must be ready to get the jobs done.

 

This is one of several reasons why many nations upgrade their F-16s. Some of these nations are holding off on ordering F-35s (or cancelling existing orders), either because of the high price or doubts about how good it will be. Aircraft manufacturing and maintenance companies see a huge market for such upgrades. Half or more of the 3,000 F-16s currently in service could be refurbished and upgraded to one degree or another. That’s over $25 billion in business over the next decade or so.

 

The F-35 began development in the 1990s, and was supposed to enter service in 2011. That has since slipped to 2017, or the end of the decade, depending on who you believe. Whichever date proves accurate, many F-16 users have a problem. Their F-16s are old and year by year more of them become too old to operate.

 

No matter how late the F-35 is, the U.S. Air Force now plans to refurbish at least a thousand Block 40 and 50 F-16s. The work will concentrate on extending the life of the airframe, plus some electronics upgrades. The air force does this sort of thing frequently to all aircraft models. It's called SLEP (Service Life Extension Program), and this one is special only because it concentrates on very old aircraft and is intended to keep these birds viable for another 8-10 years.

 

Many air forces are finding that it’s more cost-effective to upgrade via new electronics and missiles and, as needed, refurbishing engines and airframes on elderly existing fighters, rather than buying new aircraft. This is especially the case if the new electronics enable the use of smart bombs or more capable air-to-air missiles. One of the more frequently upgraded older fighters is the American F-16. Even the U.S. Air Force, the first and still largest user of F-16s had always planned to do this with some of its F-16s.

 

The F-16C was originally designed for a service life of 4,000 hours in the air. But advances in engineering, materials, and maintenance techniques have extended that to over 8,000 hours. Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, F-16s sent to those areas have flown over a thousand hours a year more than what they would in peacetime. The current planned SLEP will extend F-16C flight hours to 10,000 or more.

 

The F-16 has proved to be remarkably adaptable and is one of the most modified jet fighters in service. The most numerous F-16 is the C model. The first version of this, the F-16C Block 25, entered service in 1984. The original F-16, as the F-16A Block 1, entered service in 1978. While most F-16s still in service are the F-16C, there are actually six major mods, identified by block number (32, 40, 42, 50, 52, 60) plus the Israeli F-16I, which is a major modification of the Block 52. Another special version (the Block 60) for the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is called the F-16E. The F-16D is a two seat trainer version of F-16Cs. The various block mods included a large variety of new components (five engines, four sets of avionics, five generations of electronic warfare gear, five radars, and many other mechanical, software, cockpit, and electrical mods).

 

The F-16 is the most numerous post-Cold War jet fighter, with over 4,200 built and still in production. During The Cold War Russia built over 10,000 MiG-21s and the U.S over 5,000 F-4s, but since 1991 warplane production has plummeted about 90 percent. Since the end of the Cold War the F-16 has been popular enough to keep the production lines going.

 

The F-16 can also function as a bomber and ground attack aircraft (although not as effectively as the air force experts would have you believe, especially compared to the A-10). It can carry four tons of bombs and has been very effective using smart bombs. In air-to-air combat F-16s have shot down 69 aircraft so far, without losing anything to enemy warplanes. Not bad for an aircraft that was originally designed as a cheaper alternative to the heavier and more expensive F-15.

 

Although the F-35 is designed to replace the F-16, many current users will probably keep their F-16s in service for a decade or more. The F-16 gets the job done, reliably and inexpensively. Why pay more for new F-35s if your potential enemies can be deterred with F-16s. This becomes even more likely as the F-35 is delayed again and again. Finally, the upgrade is a lot cheaper, costing less than $20 million per aircraft, compared to over $100 million for a new F-35. If your potential enemies aren’t upgrading to something like that, a refurbed F-16 will do.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
Hydroid's REMUS-100 unmanned vehicle can be carried by two people. Photo: courtesy of Kongsberg Maritime AS.

Hydroid's REMUS-100 unmanned vehicle can be carried by two people. Photo: courtesy of Kongsberg Maritime AS.

24 April 2013 naval-technology.com

 

Kongsberg Maritime's subsidiary Hydroid has been selected to deliver an additional Remote Environmental Measuring Unit S (REMUS) 100 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) for the US Navy Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC).

 

A formal request for quote (RFQ) will be issued by NUWC officials to Hydroid on 1 May.

 

NUWC researchers will deploy the REMUS 100 platform to support ongoing development and testing, while complementing the existing REMUS systems, which were procured to support a variety of programme efforts, NUWC officials said.

 

Powered by a direct-drive DC brushless motor and an open three-bladed propeller, the REMUS 100 UUV uses Doppler-assisted dead reckoning, inertial navigation system and GPS to cruise at a top speed of 4.5k.

 

Weighing 85lb, the 5ft-long vehicle can operate and conduct missions at depths of 328ft for eight to ten hours.

 

The man-portable REMUS 100 can support missions such as mine countermeasures, harbour security, debris field mapping, search and salvage operations, hydrographic surveys, environmental monitoring, and fishery operations, as well as scientific sampling and mapping.

 

Capable of operating with laptop computer-based software for programming, training, post-mission analysis, documentation, maintenance, and troubleshooting, the UUV features software to enable users to simultaneously control about four REMUS 100 UUVs.

 

In addition to performing intricate sonar and oceanographic surveys over large areas, the unmanned platform can be used for marine research, defence, hydrographic and offshore energy applications.

 

The REMUS 100 UUVs may also be deployed in exercises, which require a vehicle that cruises at a speed of 4k for up to ten hours.

 

NUWC is the US Navy's primary research and engineering centre for underwater and submarine warfare.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
Procurement : The Big Ten Go On A Diet

April 24, 2013: Strategy Page

 

The U.S. Department of Defense has 86 major procurement projects, worth $1.6 trillion if all are completed. This figure makes some allowance for cost growth, but those allowances, historically, are usually too low. The $1.6 trillion figure is nine percent less than it was last year and is expected to continue to decline as the defense budget shrinks over the next decade. That shrinkage will come from some projects being dropped, others reduced and fewer new ones arriving.

 

The ten costliest projects in the last year (in terms total project cost as of last year) are;

F-35 stealth fighter $336 billion

F-35 stealth fighter $336 billion

DDG 51 Destroyer $103 billion

DDG 51 Destroyer $103 billion

Virginia class Submarine $84 billion

Virginia class Submarine $84 billion

F/A-18E/F Fighter $59 billion

F/A-18E/F Fighter $59 billion

V-22 Transport $58 billion

V-22 Transport $58 billion

Trident II Ballistic Missile $54 billion

Trident II Ballistic Missile $54 billion

KC-46 Tanker $44 billion

KC-46 Tanker $44 billion

CVN 78 Class carrier $35 billion - U.S. Navy graphic

CVN 78 Class carrier $35 billion - U.S. Navy graphic

P-8A Patrol Aircraft $33 billion

P-8A Patrol Aircraft $33 billion

Littoral Combat Ship $32 billion

Littoral Combat Ship $32 billion

These ten projects represent 62 percent of the remaining cost of all the large procurement projects. These ten projects have already consumed $805 billion.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
Officials during USNS Millinocket christening ceremony. Photo: courtesy of Austal.

Officials during USNS Millinocket christening ceremony. Photo: courtesy of Austal.

24 April 2013 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy's third of ten Spearhead-class joint high-speed vessels (JHSV), USNS Millinocket (JHSV 2), has been formally christened at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.

 

US Navy secretary Ray Mabus said: "I chose to name the joint high-speed vessel after East Millinocket and Millinocket to honour those values and the men and women of the community that represents them no less today than it did in the early 1900s."

 

The company is under a ten-ship contract worth more than $1.6bn with the US Navy, while 338ft-long USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), the first ship of the class, has already been delivered.

 

Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle said that the ship was expected to provide an high-level of flexibility, mobility, efficiency and support to combatant commanders and the country.

 

Operated by the Military Sealift Command, the JHSVs can support a range of missions such as overseas contingency operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces and emerging joint sea-basing concepts.

 

Capable of performing day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations in shallow-draft ports, the vessels have a displacement capacity of 2,362t, beam of 28.5m, a draft of 3.8m and can cruise at a maximum speed of 43k.

 

Powered by four MTU 20V8000 M71L diesel engines driving four Wartsila WLD 1400 SR waterjets, the ship features a Navair level 1 class 2 certified flight deck to support helicopter missions.

 

Designed to be fast, flexible and manoeuvrable in shallow waters, the Spearhead-class vessels are equipped with helicopter operations surveillance system (HOSS) to enable the aircraft to operate in very low-light conditions.

 

USNS Choctaw County, the second ship of the class, is expected to be delivered to the navy later in the summer of 2013.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:00
Budget : la Défense ne veut pas désarmer

25/04/2013 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

De quel budget l'armée va-t-elle disposer, dans un contexte budgétaire contraint, au cours des six années couvertes par la future loi de programmation militaire (2014-2019). C'est ce que va décider François Hollande très prochainement. Entre les arguments d'économies de Bercy et la nécessité de soutenir un outil opérationnel et industriel performant défendue par le ministère de la Défense, le président doit maintenant trancher.

 

La France doit-elle continuer à consentir de lourds investissements budgétaires en matière de défense? Au-delà du débat moral, légitime - faut-il avoir une armée et vendre des armes ? -, elle dispose pour l'heure d'un outil militaire efficace et reconnu à travers le monde, qui lui permet de mener encore aujourd'hui une politique étrangère influente en dépit de son déclin entamé depuis plus d'un siècle. À côté d'une armée resserrée mais performante, comme en témoignent ses interventions sur les théâtres afghan, libyen et malien, la France a lourdement investi depuis des décennies en vue de développer, puis de maintenir une filière industrielle autonome en matière d'armements. Une filière technologique qui emploie des ingénieurs de très haut niveau et qui exporte, bon an mal an, plus de 5 milliards d'euros d'équipements militaires (prises de commandes), souvent vers des pays liés par des partenariats stratégiques.

 

Alors que Bercy accentue sa pression, les militaires et les industriels du secteur craignent que l'on « casse », par des coupes budgétaires aveugles, un outil performant, qui interagit sur plusieurs échiquiers vitaux : diplomatie, technologie, industrie, emploi et enfin sur sa souveraineté. Les ministres de la Défense et du Redressement productif, Jean-Yves Le Drian et Arnaud Montebourg, ont donc défendu le secteur... face à Bercy et à Matignon, qui privilégient les économies budgétaires de court terme. François Hollande devra trancher, mais il a d'ores et déjà promis de maintenir un budget annuel équivalent à celui de 2013, soit 31,4 milliards d'euros, dans la prochaine loi de programmation, calmant un peu les inquiétudes.Une chose est sûre : si les armées, pourtant déjà éprouvées par des années et des années de restructurations, en acceptent de nouvelles, il est indispensable que l'État fasse « une synthèse des éléments essentiels » à conserver afin que les armées et les industriels « échappent à des considérations tactiques de court terme », explique un industriel. D'autant que, dans une vision de long terme, investir dans la défense est rentable pour la France, pour au moins cinq raisons.

 

La France, une puissance militaire et nucléaire

 

Contrairement à son voisin allemand reconnu pour les performances de son industrie « Made in Germany », la France a développé depuis les années 1960 le concept de puissance militaire et nucléaire et, à un degré moindre, de puissance spatiale. Avec succès. Elle a fondé toute une partie de sa diplomatie sur cette stratégie, qui lui permet d'exister sur la scène internationale. Le Mali n'a-t-il pas appelé au secours la France, qui garde aujourd'hui encore une influence en Afrique, en dépit de la montée en puissance des émergents, dont la Chine, sur ce continent? Paris n'a-t-il pas réussi à conserver son siège de membre permanent à l'ONU, alors que le Brésil ou l'Inde lorgnent avec envie cette position d'influence? Bien sûr, la France reste - et peut-être restera - une puissance moyenne. Mais à condition qu'elle continue à investir de façon raisonnable dans son armée.

photo Airbus Military

photo Airbus Military

En 2012, le Parlement a voté un budget 2013 de 31,4 milliards d'euros. Un budget de crise, qui ne permet pas de s'offrir tout ce qui était prévu mais qui permet de limiter la casse tout en tenant compte de la contrainte budgétaire très tendue du moment. Avec infiniment moins de moyens que certains pays comme les États-Unis, la France dispose d'un outil militaire structurant qui lui permet d'intervenir aux quatre coins de la planète de façon plus ou moins autonome. Cela sera encore plus vrai quand l'armée de l'air sera équipée, très prochainement, de l'avion de transport militaire A400M et, à moyen terme, des avions-ravitailleurs polyvalents A330 MRTT, qui remplaceront les Boeing KC-135 à bout de soue et qui approchent les 50 ans d'âge.

 

Une filière performante à la merci de Bercy

 

Alors que tout le monde espère le renouveau d'une politique industrielle, celle de la Défense, qui se classe au troisième rang des filières industrielles du pays, est l'une des rares réussites de la France. C'est le résultat d'investissements massifs qui ont intégré « l'impératif d'indépendance nationale en matière d'équipement des forces de défense », rappelle la Cour des comptes.

 

En 2012, la France a dépensé plus de 13 milliards d'euros pour l'équipement des armées : 6,2 milliards pour les armements conventionnels, 3,4 milliards pour le maintien en condition opérationnel (MCO) des matériels en service, 2,6 milliards pour la dissuasion, 885 millions pour les programmes d'études amont (PEA). Toutefois, c'est un investissement qui rapporte avec un effet de levier intéressant : 1 euro investi dans la défense rapporte de 1,5 à 1,70 euro à l'État. Sous quelle forme? TVA, impôts, contributions au financement des organismes sociaux, emplois induits créés localement...Parallèlement, 1 euro de valeur ajoutée chez les maîtres d'œuvre dans le secteur de l'aéronautique et du spatial génère 4,80 euros de valeur ajoutée dans l'économie, selon l'Insee. À titre de comparaison, cet effet multiplicateur n'est que de 4,1 dans l'automobile, de 2 dans la construction et de 1,5 dans les services et le commerce. Cette filière bien dispersée sur le territoire national, à l'exception du Nord et de l'Est, fait vivre environ 4000 ETI et PME. Selon le Conseil des industries de défense françaises (Cidef), le chiffre d'affaires s'est élevé à 17,5 milliards d'euros en 2011. Et la France possédait sept entreprises dans les trente premiers groupes mondiaux en termes de chiffre d'affaires dans le domaine de l'armement (voir infographie). Pour la plupart des sociétés duales (civiles et militaires), la bonne santé des entreprises de défense devrait leur permettre de surmonter des coupes claires, se justifie-t-on à Bercy. Mais comme le rappelle un bon observateur du secteur, « si vous n'offrez pas une vision sur le long terme à ces industriels, comme tout bon industriel, ils arrêteront leur activité défense et la France perdra des compétences de haut niveau et des emplois, qui seront recyclés dans les activités civiles. En revanche, ces mêmes industriels peuvent poursuivre leur investissement si l'État leur précise que c'est simplement une période de transition ». Enfin, réduire les dépenses dans l'outil industriel d'armement, c'est également dévaloriser les actifs de l'État actionnaire de plusieurs groupes, dont certains sont cotés en Bourse. Ainsi, l'État, qui souhaite céder 1,56% d'EADS, pourrait récupérer 478 millions d'euros sur la base d'un prix de 37,35 euros par action. Au total, la Cour des comptes a estimé la valeur du portefeuille de l'État dans la Défense à 12,25 milliards d'euros.

 

Des emplois stables « Made in France »

 

S'il existe des emplois non délocalisables, ce sont bien les emplois dans la défense. Du pur « Made in France ». L'industrie revendique 165000 emplois en France, dont un tiers chez les grands maîtres d'œuvre (EADS, Thales, Safran, Dassault Aviation, MBDA, Nexter et DCNS), le reste étant disséminé dans les ETI et les PME travaillant dans le domaine de l'armement. S'y ajoutent environ 8000 emplois non marchands (CEA, CNES, Onera principalement). Le nombre d'emplois induits dans les commerces locaux, les services (santé, éducation, loisirs, etc.) serait d'environ 130000. Soit un coefficient multiplicateur compris entre 0,7 et 0,9 par rapport au nombre d'emplois du secteur de la défense. Ces emplois sont souvent qualifiés : environ 30% d'ingénieurs et 50% d'ouvriers qualifiés. Le rapport des effectifs qualifiés/non qualifiés est de 4 pour 1, contre 2 pour 1 dans l'ensemble du secteur de l'industrie. Enfin, c'est une industrie qui favorise les approvisionnements nationaux. Ainsi, MBDA réalise plus de 80% de ses achats en France.

 

L'impact local est aussi très important. Le tiers des effectifs de la défense est localisé en Île-de-France, avec Thales, Safran, EADS et MBDA. Les façades maritimes françaises (Bretagne, Normandie et Méditerranée) concentrent les emplois dans le naval (DCNS notamment), tandis que les régions Sud-Ouest (Dassault Aviation, EADS, Astrium, Thales) et Médi-terranée (Eurocopter) ont l'aéronautique. Enfin, les régions Centre et Rhône-Alpes regroupent les emplois dans l'industrie terrestre (Thales, MBDA, Nexter, Panhard). C'est en Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur que le poids de la défense est le plus lourd, avec 20% de l'activité industrielle. Ce ratio tombe à 12% en Île-de-France, 11% en Bretagne, et 10% dans la région Centre.

 

Des exportations excédentaires

 

L'industrie de l'armement profite aussi à la balance commerciale : « Elle a exporté pour 4 milliards d'euros de matériels militaires et génère 2,7 milliards d'euros d'excédent net », avait annoncé en juillet 2012 le président du Cidef, Christian Mons. Soit un taux de couverture de 290% en 2011 (si le taux est inférieur à 100%, la balance commerciale est déficitaire) et une moyenne de 267% sur la période 1990-2010, selon l'Insee. En moyenne, l'export représente entre 30 et 40% du CA des industriels du secteur, qui ont toutefois besoin d'une commande nationale pour pouvoir exporter un matériel certifié par l'armée française.

Caesar firing in Afghanistan - photo US Army

Caesar firing in Afghanistan - photo US Army

Rafale, A400M, Tigre, NH90, frégates multimissions, canons Caesar... : les industriels français ont aujourd'hui à leur disposition des produits matures sur le plan opérationnel, dont la plupart ont fait leur preuve au combat en Afghanistan, puis en Libye et au Mali. Ce qui est un plus dans les négociations. En termes de prises de commandes, les groupes de défense ont engrangé 6,5 milliards d'euros en 2011 et près de 5 milliards en 2012. La plupart sont engagés sur de grandes compétitions commerciales. C'est le cas de Dassault Aviation en négociations exclusives avec l'Inde pour la fourniture de 126 Rafale. L'avionneur est en bonne place pour équiper les armées de l'air émiratie (60 appareils), brésilienne (36), malaisienne (18) et qatarie (24). Au Qatar et au Brésil, l'ensemble des groupes français lorgnent plus de 20 milliards d'appels d'ores lancés par Doha et plus de 15 milliards par Brasilia. En Arabie saoudite, Thales attend un contrat de défense aérienne de plus de 2,5 milliards tandis que MBDA, qui devrait équiper le Rafale de ses missiles une fois exporté, est en attente d'une commande de 1,8 milliard de Delhi.

Budget : la Défense ne veut pas désarmer

Des technologies qui migrent vers le civil

 

L'effort de recherche dans l'industrie de défense finit toujours dans l'escarcelle de l'industrie civile. C'est vrai des commandes électriques du Falcon 7X, développées pour le Rafale, tout comme la technologie des missiles balistiques a servi au développement de la famille de lanceurs civils Ariane. Les composants hyperfréquence à Arséniure de Gallium (AsGa) développés pour les radars, la guerre électronique et les communications militaires, sont utilisés intensivement depuis plus de quinze ans pour des applications civiles professionnelles et grand public (téléphone portable, télécommunication sans fil haut débit, réseaux) et les radars anti-collision des automobiles.

Budget : la Défense ne veut pas désarmer

Il y a trois ans, la DGA a présenté son robot collaboratif Hercule, développé en partenariat avec la société RB3D. Ce robot est un exosquelette composé de deux jambes et d'une structure dorsale, destiné à augmenter les capacités de la personne qui le porte, grâce à la détection et à l'amplification de ses mouvements. Pourquoi pas une application civile médicale. D'une façon générale, le ministère de la Défense, qui a consacré 885 millions d'euros pour les études amont en 2012, finance en moyenne, depuis 2001, 15% de la R&D publique, comprenant aussi l'enseignement supérieur. Il externalise la majorité de sa R&D auprès des entreprises. Ainsi, en 2009, les financements étatiques reçus par les entreprises à des fins de R&D civiles et militaires proviennent pour les deux tiers de la défense.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 06:20
Readiness, Modernization In Flux, Air Force Secretary Says

 

April 25th, 2013 By US Department of Defense - defencetalk.com

 

The Air Force will see few force structure changes this year, but readiness and modernization accounts will be in flux this year and next, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said here today.

 

The secretary also told the Defense Writers’ Group that now is the time for another base realignment and closure process.

 

Readiness and modernization will be problems for the service, Donley said. Air Force readiness has declined since 2003 as the service concentrated on providing support for counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, he explained, and providing combat power for the full spectrum of operations has decayed.

 

“Air-to-air combat, suppression of enemy defenses [and] operations in a contested air environment have not gotten the attention they deserve, and readiness has declined in that respect,” Donley said.

 

The service had been working to rebuild readiness, he said, but sequestration spending cuts have thrown that effort out the window. Troops and aircraft deploying in support of operations are top notch and receive the training, equipment and supplies they need, the Air Force secretary said, but stateside training has been slashed.

 

A flying hour reduction of 18 percent is concentrated in the last six months of the fiscal year, and only to stateside-based units, Donley said.

 

“We are standing down nine fighter squadrons, three bomber squadrons, … and there will be an additional bomber squadron this summer when it returns from deployment,” he added. “It will make the challenge of readiness in [fiscal year 2014] that much harder.”

 

Some of the recovery from this drawdown will take months, but for depot-level maintenance, which the service is deferring, recovery may take a year or more, he said.

 

Modernization remains an overarching problem for the Air Force, the secretary said. The average age of the air fleet is increasing, with some aircraft — B-52 bombers and KC-135 tankers — being far older than their crews, he noted.

 

The Air Force must modernize across the board, Donley said. In addition to its fighters, bombers, tankers and trainers, he said, the service also must modernize satellite capabilities and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

 

“Every mission area that you can think of needs to be modernized,” he added.

 

The fiscal situation could be the Air Force’s best chance to eliminate excess infrastructure, Donley said.

 

“It’s a significant forcing function,” he added, noting that Air Force officials estimate the service has roughly 20 percent excess infrastructure by square footage. Eight closures conducted during the 2005 base realignment and closure round, he said, were relatively small.

 

Since then, the Air Force has retired more than 500 aircraft, and the number of personnel has shrunk. The best way to do this is to retire aircraft and eliminate the infrastructure that supports those aircraft, Donley said, but aircraft retirement decisions and base closure decisions are made in separate worlds. The Air Force did do this in a drawdown during the 1990s, he added, but has not since then.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 21:55
Mali: le MNLA refuse de désarmer

24 avril, 2013 BBC Afrique

 

Le MNLA, la rébellion armée touareg au Mali, exclut tout désarmement et "ne veut pas entendre parler" des élections.

 

"Le désarmement du MNLA, il n'en est pas question. Est-ce qu'on a déjà vu un groupe armé désarmer tant qu'il n'y a pas eu négociations ?", a lancé Mahamadou Djeri Maïga, vice-président du mouvement, lors d'une conférence de presse à Paris.

 

Au sujet des élections prévues au Mali en juillet, et exigée par la France, "il n'en est pas question dans les conditions actuelles", a ajouté le vice-président du MNLA.

 

La France, qui a amorcé le retrait de ses troupes engagées en janvier pour lutter contre les groupes islamistes armés du nord du Mali, insiste sur la nécessité d'avoir au minimum une élection présidentielle en juillet, afin de doter le pays d'autorités légitimes.

 

Lors d'une visite début avril à Bamako, le ministre français des Affaires étrangères Laurent Fabius avait avait estimé que le MNLA devrait désarmer dans la perspective du scrutin.

 

Le MNLA, qui réclame une large autonomie du nord du Mali, contrôle la ville de Kidal, et refuse toute présence de l'armée malienne.

 

Les troupes françaises et tchadiennes, qui assurent la sécurité de la ville, sont appelées à se retirer progressivement.

 

Dans un communiqué, le MNLA réagit avec virulence aux informations selon lesquelles l’armée malienne projetterait d’avancer vers Kidal:

 

“Le MNLA (...)n'hésitera aucunement à réagir militairement à toute provocation des putschistes de Bamako.”

 

“Le MNLA”, ajoute le communiqué, “ informe les azawadiens que tous ses combattants sont prêts à mourir, jusqu’au dernier d’entres-eux, pour protéger les populations de l'Azawad contre les inévitables exactions de l'armée malienne.”

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 21:50
photo Thales

photo Thales

 

HENGELO, Netherlands, April 24 (UPI)

 

Thales Nederland reports its APAR multifunction radar has successfully completed its first sea acceptance test on a Danish navy frigate.

 

The Active Phased Array Radar is the first of three systems delivered to Denmark under a 2006 contract. The systems are for Denmark's Iver Huitfeldt class frigates.

 

From January 2011-January 2012 factory acceptance tests for all three radars were performed and they were installed on the frigates.

 

"This SAT demonstrates our capability to maintain the highest possible level of product quality over a long period of time," said Thales Nederland Chief Executive Officer Gerben Edelijn. "We are proud of the excellent relationship with the Royal Danish Navy."

 

"Following this SAT, there will be a harbor acceptance test later this year to test the ship's Anti-Air Warfare and Fire Control capabilities," the company said. "The program is scheduled to end early 2014."

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