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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
UN Treaty Could Hurt Indian Arms Deals

Apr. 23, 2013 - By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI – Defense News

 

Exporters Place Restrictions on Military Goods

 

NEW DELHI — The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty adopted April 3 has sent shockwaves through India’s Defence Ministry as several ongoing projects could be affected. While no MoD official would comment on whether the treaty could impact weapon imports, an MoD source said planners are extremely concerned over the fate of some ongoing contracts and future purchases.

 

The treaty, aimed at laying down common international standards and limiting the illicit sale of conventional arms, was passed by the UN General Assembly with an overwhelming majority of 154 votes.

 

Defense analysts, meanwhile, were forthright and unanimous that the treaty could affect the big-ticket Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program and the contracted deal to buy Boeing Apache attack helicopters for the Indian Air Force.

 

“The treaty would pose problems for many deals for India, including the MMRCA, Apache attack helicopters — which have been selected — and anti-tank guided missiles in the offing in case the suppliers choose to apply the terms of the [treaty], since some of the deliveries and final contracts have not been signed,” defense analyst Rahul Bhonsle said.

 

No executive from French company Dassault Aviation, which is negotiating to sell its Rafale aircraft to India for the US $11 billion MMRCA program, would comment on whether the treaty could affect the purchase.

 

“As per Article 2.1 of the [treaty], India will face strict regulation or supervision from the exporter on weapons like combat aircraft, attack helicopters or stealth aircraft, warships and artillery,” said J. Jegannathan, research fellow at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies here.

 

One MoD official said the treaty favors arms exporters. India is the biggest importer of military hardware and an insignificant exporter.

 

According to a draft that was discussed by the principals, including the US, importers had protection with a sentence saying ongoing contracts will have to continue. The official said it is unclear what will happen to ongoing contracts.

 

The MoD source, however, said the defense vendor will be affected if the vendor has not taken note of the treaty’s safeguards in the contract.

 

An internal MoD assessment would be needed to review the situation on each of the ongoing weapons purchase programs, the source added.

 

“India is perhaps one of the most affected countries because two provisions of the [treaty] directly impact India’s security, these being weak provisions of illicit trafficking of weapons to terrorist groups and nonstate actors, and the second is a virtual carte blanche for arms exporters to dictate terms to arms importers, India being one of the largest importers today,” Bhonsle said.

 

India abstained from voting on the treaty.

 

“India objects to the [treaty] on several counts,” defense analyst Gurmeet Kanwal said. “First and foremost, India finds it difficult to accept that the treaty will enable arms exporting countries to impose unilateral conditions on the countries that import arms.

 

“The treaty has failed to address Indian concerns about the illegal transfer of arms to terrorist organizations, insurgent groups and other nonstate actors who oppose democratically elected governments.

 

“The treaty also does not ensure a ‘balance of obligations’ between arms exporting states and the importers of arms.”

 

Iran, North Korea and Syria voted against the treaty while China, India and Russia abstained.

 

The treaty covers tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber weapons, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and launchers, small arms and light weapons.

 

India, which imports nearly 70 percent of its weapons and equipment, will have to be careful in selecting the source of the supplies, some analysts said.

 

“India should be more concerned about some of the Western suppliers, which could potentially revoke these contracts because they are some of the major subscribers to the treaty,” said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, a senior fellow in security studies at the Observer Research Foundation here.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
Singapore Armor Trains in Germany

April 24th, 2013 By SingaporeMoD - defencetalk.com

 

BERGEN, Germany: One-up, two-up, echelon left, echelon right and bounding-over-watch. These are fighting formations that the 48th Battalion, Singapore Armored Regiment (48 SAR) has executed with Leopard 2SG Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) at Exercise Panzer Strike in Germany.

 

Held on the undulating plains of Bergen-NATO training area – whose live-firing ranges provide three times the maximum firing distance of ranges in Singapore – the armour troopers’ progressive training will conclude with a company live-firing exercise involving 13 Leopard 2SG MBTs operating together and providing fire support for one another.

 

The fifth in the series since it started in 2009, Exercise Panzer Strike is being held from 8 Apr to 21 May this year. “Panzer” is German for armour.

 

From this year, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will be able to train in Germany twice a year as part of a recent agreement between Singapore and Germany.

 

During his introductory visit to Germany from 22 to 24 Apr, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen met with his counterpart Dr Thomas de Maizière in Berlin. Both parties reaffirmed the warm and growing bilateral relations between Singapore and Germany, and expressed commitment to further strengthen and expand bilateral defence cooperation. Dr Ng also conveyed Singapore’s appreciation of the German government’s support for the SAF’s armour training in Germany.

 

Singapore and Germany signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement in September 2005 to formalise their defence interactions. Both countries interact regularly in a range of defence interactions, such as visits, military exchanges, professional courses, policy dialogues and technology collaboration. Dr de Maizière will also be participating in this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, which will be held in June in Singapore.

 

As part of his visit to Germany, Dr Ng will visit the SAF troops at Exercise Panzer Strike later today.

 

For 48 SAR’s 2nd Company, this annual exercise is an important milestone in ensuring that they are ready to perform operational duties, said the battalion’s commanding officer Major (MAJ) Lim Han Yong. “In Singapore, 800m is the maximum range at which we can engage the targets. Over here, we can engage targets that are as far as 2,500m away.”

 

Another benefit of the large training area in Germany is being able to have moving tanks fire at moving targets, a configuration that is not possible in Singapore because of space limitations. “This enhances the realism (of the exercise) and the training competencies of our crewmen,” added MAJ Lim.

 

Another highlight of training there is the opportunity to fire the 120mm live round from the Leopard 2SG MBT. Lance Corporal (LCP) Chad Augustin, who is in charge of loading these rounds, described his experience as “fantastic”.

 

Speaking with a newfound confidence after having successfully completed several platoon-level live-firing exercises on the Leopard 2SG MBT as part of a four-man crew, the 19-year-old noted: “Training in Singapore is about honing your drills whereas here, it’s about experiencing the live-firing. If you’d asked me just two weeks ago, I’d probably tell you I’ll never make it (as a loader). But now, I feel like I can do anything.”

 

Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Lim Siang Yam, Wing Commander of the School of Armour’s Specialist Training Wing, was also at Exercise Panzer Strike with 158 Armour Infantry (AI) instructors and trainees, a large majority of whom had just graduated from the 05/12 Specialist Cadet Course.

 

This is the first time AI troopers are at Exercise Panzer Strike, and the three-week live-firing exercise in Germany will cap off their training as specialists in the armour formation.

 

Back home, AI troopers practise their skills on the Armour Gunnery Training Simulator. While the simulator helps the troopers sharpen their gunnery skills, MWO Lim pointed out that it required a lot more to accurately take down both stationary and moving targets during a live-firing exercise.

 

“The fatigue level and mental stress is very different as they have a lot more preparation prior to the live-firing,” said the 48-year-old.

 

AI trainee 3SG Jeevan S/O Mahendran said that after his live-firing exercise, he was more confident of the voice procedures when operating the BIONIX Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) as well as of the different roles that being a vehicle commander, a gunner and a trooper entailed. “I feel more confident to take care of and lead my men in the future.”

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
Japon: une flottille chinoise a quitté les eaux territoriales des Senkaku

TOKYO, 24 avr 2013 marine-oceans.com (AFP)

 

Huit navires chinois qui étaient entrés mardi matin dans les eaux territoriales des îles Senkaku disputées au Japon en sont repartis en fin de journée, a-t-on appris auprès des garde-côtes nippons.

 

Ces bateaux de surveillance maritime chinois ont croisé mardi dans la zone de 12 milles (22 km) entourant ces îlots de mer de Chine orientale, administrés par Tokyo mais revendiqués par Pékin sous le nom de Diaoyu. Ils sont repartis en début de soirée, ont précisé les garde-côtes.

 

Il s'agissait de l'intrusion la plus massive de navires gouvernementaux chinois dans les eaux territoriales de cet archipel inhabité, depuis que ce différend territorial s'est aggravé en septembre après l'achat par le Japon de trois de ses cinq îles à leur propriétaire privé nippon.

 

La Chine y envoie régulièrement des navires depuis, qui croisent quelques heures dans la zone avant de repartir.

 

Les autorités japonaises ont protesté et l'ambassadeur de Chine à Tokyo a été convoqué au ministère nippon des Affaires étrangères.

 

Au parlement japonais, le Premier ministre Shinzo Abe a été interrogé mardi sur sa réponse à un éventuel débarquement chinois. "Il serait normal que nous les repoussions par la force si d'aventure ils débarquaient", a-t-il prévenu, évoquant les garde-côtes nippons qui assurent la protection de cette zone.

 

L'archipel est situé à 200 km au nord-est de Taïwan, qui le revendique également, et 400 km à l'ouest de l'île d'Okinawa (sud du Japon). Outre sa position stratégique, il recèlerait des ressources énergétiques dans ses fonds marins.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
Kraz 5 ton 6x6 truck (photo : Militaryphotos)

Kraz 5 ton 6x6 truck (photo : Militaryphotos)

24.04.2013 Defense Studies

“AutoKrAZ” Wins the Tender for Delivery of KrAZ Trucks after Severe Struggle

PJSC “AutoKrAZ” has won the tender for delivery of large lot of KrAZ trucks for the needs of Royal Thai Army. Trucks to be delivered will be provided with the YaMZ-238ДЕ2-33 engine rated at 330 hp (Еuro 3), the 9JS150TA-B transmission and the MFZ-430 clutch. All the trucks are right-hand drive.

At the customer’s request the trucks will be provided with hydraulic winch by leading global producer Sepson (Sweden). The contract award was preceded by tough comparative tests over a protracted period, where KrAZ participated along with other manufacturers of similar vehicles.

According to test program, the vehicles competed in the harshest climatic and environmental conditions of this country. Ukrainian truck achieved flawless victory in hard competitive struggle continuously keeping ahead of its rivals and demonstrating the best results in trial. This was a crucial factor in opting for KrAZ truck.

PJSC “AutoKrAZ” has proceeded with contract performance, with shipment set for August of this year.

(AutoKraz)

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
Afghan Air Force Waits on Light Attack Aircraft

April 23rd, 2013 by Richard Sisk - defensetech.org

 

Despite years of effort by U.S. trainers, the fledgling Afghan Air Force still lacks the planes and the pilots to bomb and strafe in support of its own ground forces and won’t have that ability anytime soon, the top U.S. air commander in Afghanistan said Tuesday.

 

“They don’t,” Air Force Maj. Gen. H.D. “Jake” Polumbo said when asked if the AAF had the ability to back up the Afghan army in combat. “They have no close air support capability as we would define it. It will take time,” said Polumbo, director of the air component of the International Security Assistance Force.

 

In a video briefing to the Pentagon from Kabul, Polumbo said that the AAF should begin getting attack aircraft sometime in 2014 with the hoped for arrival of the first of 20 Embraer A29B Super Tucano light air support prop planes which the U.S. bought for the AAF for $427 million.

 

But that timetable assumes that the Super Tucanos will survive another challenge for the contract from Beechcraft (formerly Hawker Beechcraft), maker of the competing AT-6B Texan II prop plane. The General Accountability Office is currently reviewing the viability of the Beechcraft challenge, and another round of lawsuits was a possibility.

 

Kansas lawmakers are backing the challenge from Kansas-based Beechcraft while Florida and Ohio politicians are rallying round the Super Tucano, which would be assembled in Jacksonville, Fla., with avionics made by the Sierra Nevada Corp. at a plant in Centennial, Ohio.

 

And even assuming that the Super Tucanos arrive on time, there is still the problem of finding Afghans who can be trained to fly them.

Afghans who have been showing up for training in the Afghan Air Force couldn’t read and write, Polumbo said, and an entire class had to be sent home recently because they were illiterate. Flying the Super Tucano “requires English and full literacy capabilities,” Polumbo said.

 

“Building the AAF from the ground up is no easy task,” said Polumbo, echoing the sentiments of his predecessor as air commander, Maj. Gen. Todd Wolters.

 

The AAF currently has about 6,000 personnel in the projected overall force of 352,000 soldiers and police in the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), but Polumbo said the “early signs are encouraging” for the new Afghan airmen.

 

The AAF currently is flying aging Russian-made Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters but adding the fixed-wing ability to support ground troops was vital as NATO forces withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014, Polumbo said. “We know that (tactical) air is a critical enabler,” said Polumbo, who doubles as commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan. “The Taliban have no match for it.”

 

The Afghans and the remaining NATO forces will have to rely for close air support on U.S. and allied fixed-wing aircraft. As the troops withdraw, the air support will increasingly come from “over the horizon” from U.S. carriers in the Persian Gulf and Gulf airbases, Polumbo said.

 

When the troops are withdrawn, the focus of the air war in Afghanistan will shift to drones for tactical air and reconnaissance, Polumbo said.

 

“I come back to the remotely piloted aircraft,” Polumbo said. “They can collect intelligence, but they also are armed. And they’re armed to be able to provide force protection to our coalition forces and then when our coalition ground force commanders, when they deem it appropriate, they can control that air-delivered munition capability from the RPAs to be put in support of the Afghans.”

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
The Land Motion Platform simulates the movement of military vehicles (photo : DSTO)

The Land Motion Platform simulates the movement of military vehicles (photo : DSTO)

24.04.2013 Defense Studies

Research driving a new fleet of Army vehicles

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, today joined the Member for Wakefield, Nick Champion to launch a new high-tech military vehicle simulator designed to replicate field conditions across different terrain.

The Land Motion Platform has been developed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) to study the simulated movement of military vehicles.

Mr Snowdon said the primary function of the simulator would be to provide advice on how to best integrate technology with Army vehicles.

'This research represents a shift away from Army vehicles being viewed as just a means for transport and logistics – advances in technology will see our next fleet of Army vehicles operate as fully networked state-of-the-art technology hubs,' Mr Snowdon said.

The simulator will allow researchers to better understand human performance in a range of battle-like conditions, including a feature that can track the operator’s eye state.

'The DSTO research will provide answers on how our soldiers can operate effectively and safely in these unstable conditions while using sensitive electronic equipment,' Mr Snowdon added.

Mr Champion said the technology being developed by DSTO was world-class.

'We have an outstanding range of extremely talented men and women working hard here in South Australia to make sure our deployed Defence personnel are armed with the latest in technology,' Mr Champion said.

'This is about giving our troops the best technology possible to keep them safe and support them in doing their tough jobs.'

(DSTO)

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
U.S. seeks $220 million for Israel missile defense

Apr 23, 2013 Spacewar.com  (UPI)

 

Tel Aviv, Israel - The Pentagon has stepped up efforts to fund Israel's anti-missile shield with the Missile Defense Agency requesting $220 million in fiscal 2014 for Israel's air force to buy more Iron Dome batteries.

 

It's the first time the MDA has specifically sought funds for Iron Dome, developed and built by Haifa's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, in its annual budget process.

 

That underlines the U.S. Defense Department's effort to maintain military aid for Israel despite major cutbacks in defense spending.

 

The agency is also expected to seek another $520 million to fund other Israeli anti-missile systems, including the David's Sling and the high-altitude Arrow 3, which is under development.

 

"The money, if approved, would be on top of the $486 million the White House and Congress have requested or added for Iron Dome in recent years after formal budgets were submitted," The Jerusalem Post reported.

 

The House of Representatives and the Senate indicated in 2012 "they wanted to approve spending as much as $680 million for Iron Dome through 2015."

 

Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range missiles and rockets and recently upgraded to counter longer-range weapons as well, became operational in early 2012. But the Israeli air force, which has responsibility for air defense, has only acquired five batteries, several of those with direct U.S. funding on top of the annual $3.1 billion in U.S. military aid Israel receives.

 

That allowed Israel to deploy all five batteries during an eight-day November clash with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

 

By official count, Iron Dome successfully intercepted 84.6 percent of the rockets it engaged, including several that for the first time targeted Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Iron Dome's Tamir interceptors engage only those projectiles its computer calculates will hit populated areas and ignores the rest.

 

Several missile scientists and others have questioned the system's kill rate, with one saying it was closer to 5-10 percent of rockets engaged than the government's assessment of 84.6 percent.

 

The government rejected the criticisms and is moving ahead with creating a multilayered defense shield against a sustained bombardment it fears by Iran, Lebanon's Hezbollah on Israel's northern border and Palestinian militants in the south.

 

David's Sling, being developed by Rafael and the Raytheon Co. of the United States, is designed to counter medium-range missiles.

 

Arrow 3, being developed by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and the Boeing Co., is intended to intercept Iranian and Syrian ballistic missiles outside Earth's atmosphere. In its first flight test a few weeks ago Arrow 3 achieved an altitude of 70 miles and intercepted a simulated missile threat.

 

The Arrow 2 variant currently in service will backstop at lower altitudes against ballistic attacks.

 

The fiscal 2014 request by the MDA includes funding for further Arrow 3 testing and a second interception flight before preparations begin for initial production.

 

There is separate funding for an Arrow "Weapons Systems Improvement" program that integrates data links between Israeli missile forces and U.S. weapons systems in the Middle East, reinforcing protection for the Jewish state.

 

MDA's funding efforts underline that the U.S. administration is seeking to ensure that U.S. military aid to Israel won't be affected by the so-called sequestration of U.S. defense spending.

 

The Congressional Research Service figures show that U.S. aid to Israel has increased since 1949 by an average of 28 percent a year, leaping 11.4 percent from 2010-13.

 

The Israel lobby in Washington is pressing for exempting Israel from automatic spending cuts being introduced in virtually all other U.S. government programs.

 

The commitment of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration to maintaining aid flow to Israel was also underlined by the Pentagon announcement last week that Israel, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will be receiving advanced weapons systems worth $10 billion over the next few years.

 

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed during his visit to Israel this week that military aid won't be cut.

 

Antiwar.com, a U.S. website that's highly critical of the levels of U.S. military aid to Israel, recently cited a report on Israeli government expenditures that showed the Jewish state spends "a hugely disproportionate amount on its military, with roughly one-fifth of the overall national budget going straight into military spending."

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
Hagel in Riyadh as Saudi, US Plan Arms Deal

Apr. 23, 2013 Defense News

 

RIYADH — US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday to seal a major arms deal that will provide the Saudi kingdom with sophisticated missiles for its American-made fighter jets.

 

Hagel flew in from Jordan after a three-day visit to Israel in his first tour of the region since he took office two months ago.

 

He was scheduled to hold a working dinner Tuesday evening with Crown Prince and Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. The talks will touch on the weapons agreement as well as the Syrian war and the disputed nuclear program of Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran, officials said.

 

Hagel had originally planned to meet former deputy defense minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, but the official was sacked by a royal decree Saturday. He was replaced by Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, who has been commander of Saudi naval forces since 2002.

 

Prince Khaled commanded Arab and Muslim armies in a US-led coalition that evicted Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. He had played a major role in sealing several arms deals with the United States, including a groundbreaking agreement in 2010 to sell Saudi Arabia 84 F-15 fighter jets, 70 Apache attack helicopters, 72 tactical Black Hawk helicopters and 36 light helicopters, as well as upgrades for 70 used F-15s.

 

The delivery of the weapons to the oil-rich kingdom, thought to be the largest ever single US arms sale, would be spread across 15 to 20 years. The long-term nature of that arms deal carried special symbolism for the US-Saudi relationship, as it ensures cooperation over years that will likely see a change in the kingdom’s aging leadership.

 

The two countries share a common concern over Iran’s role in the region and the threat posed by al-Qaida militants, officials say.

 

Hagel’s visit comes as the United States unveiled plans last week to sell $10 billion worth of advanced missiles and aircraft to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in a bid to counter Iran.

 

Under the package, which is still being finalized, the US government will sell 26 F-16 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates as well as sophisticated missiles for the warplanes, which officials would not specify.

 

The UAE part of the arms deal comes to nearly $5 billion, officials said.

 

Saudi Arabia would purchase the same advanced missiles provided to the UAE, allowing Saudi fighters to strike ground targets at a safe distance.

 

Hagel will next travel to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
photo Nato

photo Nato

BRUXELLES, 23 avril - RIA Novosti

 

L'Otan a élaboré des plans pour assurer une protection efficace de la Turquie en cas d'attaques de la part de la Syrie, a déclaré mardi le secrétaire général de l'Alliance Anders Fogh Rasmussen lors d'une réunion du Conseil de l'Otan au niveau des ministres des Affaires étrangères à Bruxelles.

 

"Nous ne commentons jamais notre planning spécial, mais je peux vous assurer que nous sommes prêts à défendre, à protéger nos alliés, en l'occurrence la Turquie. Tous nos plans sont en place pour assurer une protection efficace de la Turquie", a indiqué M.Rasmussen devant les journalistes.

 

Le secrétaire général a toutefois tenu à souligner qu'un règlement politique était la seule bonne voie pour désamorcer la crise en Syrie.

 

Le conflit en Syrie a fait plus de 70.000 morts et des centaines de milliers de réfugiés depuis mars 2011, selon l'Onu. Les rebelles syriens bénéficient d'un soutien étranger. Damas affirme que des milliers de mercenaires étrangers, y compris des commandos de groupes terroristes, combattent dans les rangs de l'opposition armée. L'Occident ne cesse d'insister sur le départ du président Bachar el-Assad.

 

En février dernier, les forces de l'Otan ont achevé le déploiement de missiles Patriot acheminés des Etats-Unis, des Pays-Bas et d'Allemagne sur le territoire turc. L'Alliance a installé les missiles sur demande d'Ankara qui avait exprimé son inquiétude face à une éventuelle frappe balistique en provenance de Syrie, pays voisin.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:30
Umtas Long Range Antitank Missile

Umtas Long Range Antitank Missile

Apr. 22, 2013 - By BURAK EGE BEKDIL – Defense news

 

Development of 'National Systems' Moves at Full Speed

 

ANKARA — Hardly a day passes without a Turkish defense company proudly announcing that it has designed, developed and produced a weapon system the country would normally buy off-the-shelf from a foreign supplier. The most recent indigenously developed Turkish weapon is an anti-tank missile, the UMTAS.

 

Turkish military officials are anxiously awaiting the first serial production and delivery of the UMTAS.

 

“After years of going from one foreign supplier to another, we are happy to have our companies providing us with national solutions,” a senior Army official said.

 

Procurement officials said the UMTAS has recently undergone several successful field tests.

 

“This system can quickly find foreign buyers and mark an impressive transformation [of Turkey] from an import-dependent country into an exporting one,” one procurement official said. “It is relatively low-cost and reliable.”

 

State-owned missile maker Roketsan initiated the long-range anti-tank UMTAS missile project in efforts, first, to meet local demand from the Turkish Armed Forces, and later to export it, especially to countries in the region.

 

The UMTAS, with its infrared imaging and laser-seeker options, is an anti-tank missile with a range of 8 kilometers to be used in air-to-ground and ground-to-ground operations.

 

Roketsan officials said the system is going through further tests for technical properties and compatibility with environmental conditions. Thus far, the system has completed ballistic-missile tests and controlled-missile tests, and its sub-system design has been finished, they said.

 

The UMTAS is considered the official anti-tank system for the T-129, the helicopter gunship Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is co-producing with Italian-British AgustaWestland in a US $3.2 billion project. It also can be integrated into the Anka, Turkey’s first locally developed unmanned aircraft. Other potential platforms to be outfitted with the UMTAS are armored land vehicles and naval vessels.

 

Roketsan officials said they plan to develop the L-UMTAS, the same anti-tank missile with laser seeker warheads and missiles using high-explosive particles.

 

In February, Roketsan said it won a contract from the United Arab Emirates to sell its laser-guided rocket system, known as the Cirit, under a contract worth $196.2 million. The deal comes as Turkey seeks to boost arms exports to Arabian Gulf countries. The Emirati Army is the first foreign customer for the Cirit system.

 

The Cirit is one of several programs launched by Turkey to equip the Army’s T-129, AH-1P Cobra and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters with low-cost precision strike capabilities. The 70 mm rocket has a range of 8 kilometers.

 

French-German company Eurocopter selected the Cirit for a test and integration program to equip the Eurocopter EC635. Roketsan is also producing canisters for Lockheed Martin’s Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile.

 

Analysts say the commercial development of the Anka boosted Turkish defense manufacturing.

 

“The Anka is the first aerial platform totally designed, developed and manufactured by Turkish engineering. It has a symbolic importance,” said Ceyhun Ozguven, an Ankara-based analyst.

 

The Anka has a 56-foot wingspan, a top speed of 75 knots and a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet. It completed military testing in late January and is set for serial production. Turkey aims to export the drone around the region, with the Egyptian government reportedly considering an order.

 

With the Anka headed for serial production, TAI has already begun developing an armed version of the drone called the Anka +A that will be outfitted with Cirit missiles .

 

On March 6, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul showed the Anka to Jordan’s King Abdullah, along with other military products, such as the T-129 and the Hurkus, a basic trainer aircraft TAI is developing. In 2012, Turkey exported about $1.2 billion worth of defense equipment, a 35.7 percent rise over 2011. The main export destinations were the US, UAE and Saudi Arabia. The industry is aiming for $2 billion in exports by 2016.

 

Turkey’s procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), has a regional office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for overseeing and coordinating export activities in the region.

 

Other Turkish weapons include the Altay tank, a $400 million project developed and produced by privately owned armored vehicles maker Otokar. South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem and Turkey’s Roketsan and Aselsan, a state-owned military communications and electronics company, are among the project’s sub-contractors. Also, last month Aselsan said it successfully developed the country’s first indigenous identification friend or foe (IFF) system and delivered the first prototypes to the Turkish military

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:25
Brazil's KC-390 eyes markets as global alternative to C-130

Apr 23, 2013 Spacewar.com  (UPI)

 

Rio De Janeiro - Brazilian tactical transport jet KC-390 is about to enter the market as the main challenger to Lockheed Martin's C-130J Super Hercules but global domination is far from certain, analysts said.

 

One of the chief reasons may be that the KC-390 cannot always reach areas that the hardier C-130 Hercules and its current upgrade C-130J Super Hercules can with its four-engine turboprop configuration.

 

Brazilian aviation manufacturer Embraer opted for jets instead of turboprop engines for its KC-390, contender for an estimated 700 potential replacements for ageing C-130s worldwide but that strategy means the KC-390 may be limited in landing and taking off in rough terrain, analysts said.

 

Embraer sought buyers for the aircraft at Rio de Janeiro's LAAD defense and security exhibition this month but didn't say if it secured any contracts.

 

Teal Group defense analysts see the KC-390 as more of a straight cargo plane than the C-130, with higher load capacity, modern features like fly-by-wire and a faster cruising speed, Defense Industry News said, citing Flight International.

 

However, the C-130's use of turboprops is better for avoiding foreign object damage from unimproved landing strips and for low altitude operation, which makes them better suited to roles like Special Forces support, Flight International said.

 

The KC-390's first flight is scheduled for next year, which will determine its production and delivery timeline. The KC-390 is likely to be about $12 million cheaper than the C-130J, which comes with a price tag of about $62 million.

 

Despite being more expensive the C-130J has secured more than 300 orders worldwide. More than 60 countries would still use the old workhorse and some have opted for avionics and hardware upgrades on the old planes rather than turning to alternatives. The Hercules aircraft family claims the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft.

 

Embraer says it can compete against most rivals including the C-130J. The Brazilian planemaker has been recruiting international partners as part of a strategy to boost the competitive edge for its contender KC-390.

 

The old C-130 beat competition from Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Soviet/Russian Tupolev Tu-95 and Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. Lockheed Martin's updated C-130J Super Hercules can perform in-flight refueling, air-to-refueling and tanking. Embraer says it hopes to give its KC-390 all those features plus more.

 

Embraer says its aircraft will command a lift of 23 tons against 20 tons for most competitors, which include the larger Airbus A400M and Russian and Chinese aircraft.

 

Embraer is extending its efforts and markets by crafting a jet-powered medium transport with a cargo capacity of around 23 tons, that can be refueled in the air, and can provide refueling services to other aircraft by adding dedicated pods, the Defense Industry Daily said on its website.

 

"The KC-390 has now become a multinational effort, and may be shaping up as the C-130?s most formidable future competitor," Defense Industry Daily said.

 

The Boeing Co. and Embraer announced an agreement to collaborate on the KC-390 aircraft program.

 

Boeing says it can bring to Embraer its experience in military transport and air refueling aircraft, as well as knowledge of potential markets for the KC-390.

 

Some of the transport plane's structural parts will come from Portuguese companies after an agreement signed by Embraer and OGMA, or Industria Aeronautica de Portugal, and Empresa de Engenharia Aeronautica.

 

The Brazilian company AEL Sistemas, based in Porto Alegre, is another partner supplying components for the KC-390.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
TIF-25K Aerostat

4/23/2013 Strategy Page

 

KEY WEST, Florida (April 23, 2013) A tethered TIF-25K aerostat is positioned on the Military Sealift Command high-speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) to be tested and evaluated at sea for use in future Operation Martillo counter transnational organized crime operations while assigned to U.S. 4th Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker)

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
An armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down a runway in Afghanistan. Legal and defense analysts told a Senate Judiciary Committee subpanel that the use of drone strikes by the US military and CIA pushes the 2001 congressional authorization for military force to its legal breaking point. (Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson / US Air Force)

An armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down a runway in Afghanistan. Legal and defense analysts told a Senate Judiciary Committee subpanel that the use of drone strikes by the US military and CIA pushes the 2001 congressional authorization for military force to its legal breaking point. (Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson / US Air Force)

Apr. 23, 2013 - By JOHN T. BENNETT – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s use of unmanned aircraft to kill members of some Islamic extremist groups appears to violate the measure that authorized the US war on al-Qaida, experts said Tuesday.

 

Several legal and defense analysts told a Senate Judiciary Committee subpanel that the use of drone strikes by the US military and CIA against groups loosely affiliated with al-Qaida in places like Yemen and Somalia pushes the 2001 congressional authorization for military force to its legal breaking point.

 

What’s more, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, now retired, endorsed the use of the remotely piloted aircraft. But in a blunt moment he added this: “I’m concerned we might have ceded some of our moral high ground.”

 

At issue is the covert and clandestine drone war program, which has become the Obama administration’s preferred tool in the fight against al-Qaida. Lawmakers in both parties in recent months have been ramping up their scrutiny of the controversial program.

 

Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown University Law Center professor, told the Senate Judiciary Constitution, civil rights and human rights subcommittee that “current practices might undermine the rule of law.”

 

Brooks and other legal experts called for changes to both the 2001 use of force authorization and the administration’s process for picking targets. That’s because, Brooks said, she has concluded the administration believes “they can kill anyone at any time anywhere” through a process that is completely “secret.”

 

Retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally told the panel that during her time with US Africa Command, American officials emphasized ensuring that all drone strikes in North Africa adhered to the 2001 resolution.

 

Brooks said it would be “absolutely possible” to build a legal case for “every” U.S. drone strike.

 

But, as lawmakers and administration officials mull potential changes to existing laws and drone-strike procedures, the Georgetown professor urged them to mull this question: “Do we want to live in a world where” the administration’s legal basis for the strikes “is so infinitely malleable”?

 

Ilya Somin, a George Mason University School of Law professor, told the panel he has concluded the “targeted killings of U.S. citizens are legal” if those individuals have become “enemy combatants.”

 

Several of the other legal scholars that testified before the panel Tuesday answered similarly under questioning from Republican lawmakers such as subcommittee ranking member Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

 

Such concerns spawned the headline-grabbing Senate floor filibuster conducted by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., of President Barack Obama’s then-CIA director nominee, John Brennan. Cruz joined in that lengthy filibuster, which succeeded in forcing Attorney General Eric Holder to answer that the administration does not believe the Constitution would allow it to use a drone to strike a US citizen on US soil.

 

Senators expressed an interest in making changes to the drone-strike targeting process, and called for the administration to explain how it has determined its drone policy is legal.

 

Somin called for a revised system that allows missions to go forward, but provides “a check on executive power.” Any revised force authorization also needs to better define which groups and in which nations the US could legally carry out drone strikes and targeted killings, he and the other experts said.

 

Members of both parties asked about the notion of setting up a special court to approve strikes before they are carried out or their legality reviewed afterward.

 

Cartwright endorsed the notion, and Brooks later added that such a court could be set up without hindering the president’s constitutional powers as commander in chief.

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., however, said he is concerned such steps would turn “a war” into “a crime,” and hinder crucial operations against al-Qaida and other US foes.

 

Due in part to lawmakers’ mounting concerns, reports surfaced in recent weeks that the White House is considering shifting most or all of the CIA’s drone program to the control of the Pentagon. A turf battle already is playing out among the military and intelligence oversight panels, and sources expect a years-long fight before the matter is settled.

 

Cartwright said if the drone strike is a “covert operation,” the intelligence community should run it. If a specific strike mission is a “clandestine” one, then the military should carry it out, the retired Marine four-star general added.

 

He noted that two American administrations have used a range of military tools, from bomber aircraft to cruise missiles to commando raids, to capture and take out al-Qaida operatives and leaders. But, he said candidly, armed drones are “the best available” option.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
While few changes in the new shipbuilding plan are evident, the U. S. Navy is still seeking to retire seven cruisers – like the USS Vicksburg – and two amphibious ships in 2015 as budget-cutting measures. (photo US Navy)

While few changes in the new shipbuilding plan are evident, the U. S. Navy is still seeking to retire seven cruisers – like the USS Vicksburg – and two amphibious ships in 2015 as budget-cutting measures. (photo US Navy)

Apr. 23, 2013 - By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Rebuffed by Congress in an attempt to inactivate nine warships as a cost-cutting measure, the US Navy is set to try again – in 2015.

 

The effort is reflected in data tables sent by the service to Capitol Hill in advance of a Wednesday-morning hearing on acquisition plans for the Navy and Air Force. The tables, prepared to accompany the forthcoming annual 30-year shipbuilding plan, were sent to Congress this week without explanation as, according to Navy sources, the final report has yet to be approved.

 

The tables show few changes over last year’s shipbuilding plans, but nine additional ships appear in the retirement column planned for fiscal 2015.

 

Other ships also are scheduled to leave service in 2015, reflecting earlier plans, but unexpectedly, two T-AOE fast combat support ships are now on the early retirement list, one each in 2014 and 2015. Previously, the earliest T-AOE retirements weren’t scheduled until 2033.

 

At about 49,000 tons, the Navy’s four T-AOEs, operated by the Military Sealift Command, are some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated support ships, carrying fuel, ammunition and supplies. The high-speed ships usually accompany aircraft carrier strike groups on overseas deployments.

 

The renewed effort to reduce the numbers of cruisers and amphibious ships follows an initial announcement in February 2012 that, as a cost-cutting measure, the cruisers Cowpens, Anzio, Vicksburg and Port Royal would be decommissioned in 2013, with the cruisers Gettysburg, Chosin, Hue City and amphibious dock ships Whidbey Island and Tortuga following in 2014.

 

All were being inactivated prior to the normally-expected end of their service lives. The service looked for savings by cutting operations, canceling further modernization of the ships and reducing the need for about 3,000 sailors.

 

But Congress objected to the force reductions and, in the 2013 defense authorization bill passed Jan. 1, required the Navy to keep the ships in service. But the Navy didn’t request operating funds for the ships it wanted to inactivate in 2013, and they were placed in an “operational but not funded” status.

 

It is not clear from the data tables if the seven cruisers and two amphibs to be decommissioned in 2015 are the same ships the Navy early planned to inactivate. But the decommissionings are sure to be a point of contention on Capitol Hill.

 

“If decline is a choice, this new 30-year shipbuilding plan willingly chooses to continue the slow, painful decline of American seapower,” Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., said Tuesday in a statement. Forbes chairs the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, set to hold the Wednesday morning hearing.

 

“After committing to a 313-ship fleet,” Forbes continued, “this plan has the Navy headed to just 270 [in 2015] after retiring 31 vessels and only procuring 16 new ones during this time. More alarming, while this fleet is shrinking by retiring and building less major surface combatants and amphibious ships, we are artificially filling these gaps with smaller surface combatants and support vessels.

 

“In the decade ahead we will lean more heavily on our seapower forces to underpin our national security strategy; prioritizing a shipbuilding budget to resource this strategy should be one of our first priorities,” Forbes said in the statement.

 

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the service’s top spokesman, defended the service’s efforts.

 

“Today we provided Congress information tables from our draft 30-year shipbuilding plan,” Kirby said in a statement. “We believe the information found in these tables clearly articulates our intention to modernize and grow the fleet to our required minimum of 306 ships.

 

“We have been upfront and transparent about the need to decommission older ships,” Kirby continued, “while at the same introducing new and more capable platforms. Both Secretary [Ray] Mabus and Admiral [Jonathan] Greenert,” chief of naval operations, “have been clear about the need to further our success in shipbuilding. Indeed, under Secretary Mabus' leadership the Navy has put 43 new ships under contract. We look forward to working with the Congress to discuss the way forward.”

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
US Army Leaders Warned On War Funding

Apr. 23, 2013 - By PAUL McLEARY – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Top US Army leadership told lawmakers Tuesday that they’ll need three more years of supplemental war funding after the final US troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan to pay for massive postwar equipment reset activities.

 

Of course, we don’t know how much the Pentagon will receive in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding next year, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said it should be close to the $88 billion it received in 2013.

 

With the majority of the remaining 60,000 US troops set to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, however, it remains to be seen how much stomach Congress and the White House will have to spend billions more once the shooting stops.

 

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee that it will take three more years of supplemental funding requests due to “the load we have in our organic industrial base,” which can only handle so much work at any given time.

 

“If it does not get funded,” he continued, “that means it comes out of our base budget, which it has not been budgeted for, and it’ll take money away from the daily readiness that we need in order to be prepared to meet any operational missions that we have.”

 

As Odierno and Army Secretary John McHugh made their plea, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., issued the service a friendly warning about the political mood on the increasingly cash-strapped Hill.

 

“Everyone around this place seems to have their eyes on OCO funding for some other purpose,” she said. But Ayotte, a member of the pro-defense Three Amigos along with fellow Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, added “I think it’s very important for people to understand that if we don’t [continue to fund the Army] we’ll have a hollow Army and we won’t be able to reset.”

 

Odierno said that while the Army has already done the math on how much money it will need to ship $21 billion worth of equipment out of Afghanistan, he wasn’t prepared to share it with the Senate panel. While sure to be steep, he assured Congress that bringing the gear home and repairing would cost “far less than the cost of new equipment.”

 

The number should be available later this week, an Army spokesperson told Defense News.

 

Even with the $88 billion earmarked for the war effort this year, sequestration cuts along with the higher-than-expected costs of bringing troops and their equipment home will cause the service to run as much as $7.8 billion short of what it needs to operate in Afghanistan this year, Odierno said.

 

As part of its envisioned postwar realignment, McHugh said that the Army will release a blueprint for how it will manage the loss of 80,000 soldiers while shifting units between domestic installations this June, around the same time that a long-awaited Army ground vehicle industrial base report is briefed to service leadership.

 

The Army contracted with AT Kearney to do the study in 2012, and leadership hopes that it will help shed more light on which defense companies are most at risk from the coming reductions in available work.

 

“What we owe to the country, to our industry and to the Army is to really analyze inside our systems where we think we have vulnerabilities,” Scott Davis, program executive officer for the Army’s Ground Combat Systems, told Defense News last fall. The Army is undertaking the study “to understand where [industry’s] challenges are and what it would take for them to make a decision to leave the military vehicle sector,” he said.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
U.S. Presentation Will Discuss Recently Declassified CIA “Ice Station Zebra” Mission

April 23, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

News release from the U.S. Navy:

 

The National Museum of the United States Navy will host a special presentation by the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Historical Collections Division (HCD) April 25 at 3:00 p.m. in its Museum Education Center. CIA historian Mr. David Waltrop will talk about the recently declassified 1972 secret operation to recover a spy satellite film capsule that fell 16,400 feet into the Pacific Ocean. The talk will also include accounts of the mission by key participants in the 1972 operation, including retired Navy Cmdr. Richard Taylor, and retired Navy Lt. Cmdr Beauford Myers,, as well as Mr. Lee Mathers, a former U.S. naval intelligence officer.   Retired Navy Capt. Don Walsh, PhD , the officer in charge of USS Trieste I’s mission called “Project Nekton” to Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench in 1960, will also be in attendance to give a historical perspective of previous underwater operations.  A reception will be held in the Museum’s USS Trieste I exhibit following the event.

 

The photo capsule — publicly identified as a nondescript “data package” — contained valuable photos taken by the first KH-9 HEXAGON photoreconnaissance satellite. After the capsule was lost during reentry in July 1971, the CIA partnered with the Navy to plan and execute its recovery. The Navy possessed the only vessel capable of operating at the necessary recovery depth: deep submergence vehicle USS Trieste II (DSV-1). Over a period of eight months, USS Trieste II painstakingly searched for the missing capsule with assistance from its support ship USS White Sands (ARD-20) and support ship tug USS Apache (ATF-67).   Cmdr. Taylor was one of three Trieste II pilots during this operation and Lt. Cmdr Myers served as the White Sands executive officer. Trieste II successfully recovered the capsule April 26, 1972, earning a Meritorious Unit Citation for performing the deepest ocean recovery then attempted. Today, Trieste II is on permanent display outside the Naval Undersea Museum in Washington state, while Trieste I is on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Navy.

 

The CIA recently declassified documents and photographs relating to this top secret mission. These materials, entitled “An Underwater Ice Station Zebra: Recovering a Secret Spy Satellite Capsule from 16,400 Feet below the Pacific Ocean,” are available on the Historical Collections Publications page of the CIA website:

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
Northrop Grumman Launches CUTLASS, Next Generation Unmanned Ground Vehicle

19.04.2013 Northrop Grumman - army-guide.com

 

LONDON, -- Northrop Grumman Corporation has launched CUTLASS, its latest generation unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), expanding its range of industry-leading capabilities in unmanned systems for the remote handling and surveillance of hazardous threats.

 

CUTLASS has been designed, developed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman in the U.K., and includes significant advances in technology and performance and a range of features that provides state-of-the-art capabilities for national security and resilience applications.

 

"Our CUTLASS vehicle is setting new standards in the UGV market and significantly enhancing the ability of users to handle hazardous threats safely. It is more dexterous, cost effective and, as a package, four times faster than any other UGV," said Greg Roberts, managing director, defence and security, Northrop Grumman Information Systems Europe. "The vehicle is already in service across the U.K. and has proven itself to be robust and capable in the most demanding environments. We look forward to exploiting the potential opportunities for exporting this capability into international markets."

 

CUTLASS will be on display in Northrop Grumman's exhibit at the Counter Terror Expo, where it will also show its range of capabilities in daily live scenario-based demonstrations. The international exhibition and conference Counter Terror Expo takes place at the National Hall, Olympia, London, April 24-25.

 

CUTLASS offers the latest technology in a modular design, enabling the user to deal safely with the full range of hazardous threats from a distance, including the detection and disposal of explosive ordnance. Its highly versatile design means that it is capable of accommodating a wide range of payloads, sensors and tools. It carries all of the tools and sensors it needs to perform the full range of operations required for explosive ordnance disposal and other applications, avoiding the need to deploy two standard UGVs. CUTLASS saves up to 50 percent on the through-life costs when compared to owning and operating two standard UGVs.

 

The manipulator arm is equipped with a three-fingered, state-of-the-art gripper and has nine degrees of freedom for greater movement and agility inside limited spaces. With a specialised sensing system it provides a high level of control and dexterity to minimize damage to property and preserve forensic evidence.

 

Using CUTLASS, a hazardous situation can be restored to normal up to four times more quickly than with any other UGV. The combination of the speed of the wheeled platform, which can reach speeds of up to 12 kph, and the ability of CUTLASS to carry multiple tools and sensors negates the need to return to the incident control point, thus saving considerable time. The robot is able to creep along at deliberately slow speeds for delicate operations and may accelerate to high speeds to enable rapid travel. The six-wheeled design offers mobility on all types of hard and soft terrain and in all weather conditions.

 

Northrop Grumman's unmanned ground vehicle business has been established in Coventry, U.K., for more than 20 years. Today, the company designs, develops and manufactures in the U.K. some of the most capable and reliable unmanned ground vehicles available, from the Wheelbarrow bomb disposal robot to the latest vehicle, CUTLASS.

 

Northrop Grumman has more than 2,000 unmanned ground vehicle systems in operation around the world.

 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cybersecurity, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 06:50
Finmeccanica déçoit avec de nouvelles pertes en 2012

24.047.2013 Bruno Trévidic, Les Echos

 

Le grand nettoyage des comptes opéré en 2012 par Giuseppe Orsi n'aura finalement pas suffi. Après une perte record de 2,3 milliards d'euros en 2011, Finmeccanica a encore fini dans le rouge en 2012, avec une perte nette de 786 millions d'euros, pour un chiffre d'affaires de 17,2 milliards, là où les analystes attendaient un bénéfice de 235 millions.

 

Une fois encore, le groupe italien d'aéronautique et de défense a dépassé les pires prévisions en passant pour près de 1 milliard d'euros de charges exceptionnelles et de dépréciations d'actifs au dernier trimestre. Elles s'ajoutent aux 3,2 milliards d'euros de charges « non récurrentes » annoncées l'an dernier. A l'époque, Giuseppe Orsi avait affirmé que l'entreprise n'aurait désormais « plus aucune excuse » en cas de nouvelles pertes. Mais Giuseppe Orsi n'est plus là. Il a dû démissionner en février dernier, après avoir été inculpé de corruption active dans l'affaire de ventes d'hélicoptères en Inde. Le groupe, qui est détenu à hauteur de 30,2 % par l'Etat italien, est toujours privé de président et une nomination n'est pas prévue avant le mois de juin. Le plan de restructuration, en forme de cure drastique d'amaigrissement, s'est néanmoins poursuivi. Après avoir taillé dans ses filiales de transport et d'énergie, Finmeccanica s'attaque maintenant à ses activités d'électronique de défense. Pour réduire les coûts, trois filiales d'électronique de défense ont fusionné en janvier pour former Selex. Et, le mois dernier, la direction de la nouvelle entité a dévoilé un plan prévoyant la fermeture de 25 usines en Italie et en Grande-Bretagne, avec 2.500 suppressions de postes à la clef.

 

Pour 2013, la direction par intérim de Finmeccanica s'est bien gardée de promettre un retour au bénéfice, au cas où d'autres charges exceptionnelles seraient jugées nécessaires. Le groupe indique seulement tabler sur un résultat d'exploitation avant amortissement de 1,1 milliard d'euros, pour un chiffre d'affaires compris entre 16,7 et 17 milliards d'euros. Des perspectives à des années-lumière des niveaux de rentabilité de ses concurrents, Boeing et EADS, avec lesquels Finmeccanica aimait à se comparer.

 

Mais, plus que ces pertes successives, c'est l'absence de stratégie à long terme qui peut sembler plus préoccupante. Après avoir tout misé sur le marché américain de la défense, avec l'acquisition à prix d'or de l'américain DRS, le groupe se retrouve aujourd'hui en première ligne face à la réduction généralisée des budgets de défense. Et sans contrepoids suffisant dans l'aéronautique civile, où sa filiale Alenia tarde à récolter les fruits de son partenariat avec Boeing sur le programme 787.

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 19:48
Libre-échange: Paris veut exclure la défense des discussions avec Washington

23/04 Les.Echos.fr (AFP)

 

Paris veut exclure le secteur de la défense des négociations de libre-échange entre l'Union européenne et les Etats-Unis, a déclaré lundi à Chicago Nicole Bricq, ministre française du Commerce extérieur, dans un entretien avec l'AFP.

 

"Nous savons que les marchés publics américains sont très fermés donc nous n'accepterons pas d'ouvrir le nôtre alors que le marché américain de la défense est fermé", a déclaré Mme Bricq.

 

Le groupe européen d'aéronautique et de défense EADS a perdu en février 2011 un appel d'offres pour le renouvellement de la flotte d'avions ravitailleurs de l'armée de l'Air américaine a l'issue d'une procédure émaillée de scandales et d'irrégularités, et maintes fois retardée.

 

"Nous avons la volonté avec d'autres Etats membres d'exclure de la négociation tout ce qui traite de la défense", a ajouté Mme Bricq, qui s'exprimait en marge d'une conférence sur la biotechnique à la veille de rencontres prévues à Washington avec des représentants du gouvernement américain.

 

"Le terme de partenariat, pour nous Français, a une signification très précise. Il veut dire que nous négocions d'égal à égal avec des projets et des objectifs communs", a encore dit Mme Bricq. "Je viens vérifier la volonté américaine de s'engager dans cette discussion" avec cet esprit-là.

 

L'Union européenne a donné son feu vert en mars au lancement de négociations de libre-échange avec les Etats-Unis. Le commissaire européen au Commerce extérieur, Karel De Gucht, avait alors exhorté les pays membres de l'UE à donner rapidement leur aval à ce projet de sorte que "les négociations puissent commencer avant l'été".

 

Répondant aux objections de la France, qui menace de bloquer le projet de partenariat transatlantique, la Commission européenne a assuré lundi que l'exception culturelle ne ferait pas partie de ces négociations.

 

Evoquée depuis plusieurs années, la perspective d'un accord de libre-échange américano-européen a trouvé un nouvel élan depuis l'échec, fin 2011, des négociations internationales menées sous l'égide de l'Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC).

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 19:30
Hagel: U.S. Arms to Augment Israeli Military Edge

Apr. 22, 2013 - By BARBARA OPALL-ROME – Defense news

 

TEL AVIV — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in his first visit here as Pentagon chief, said V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, aerial tankers and other technologies that Washington is willing “to make available” to Israel will augment Israel’s so-called qualitative military edge (QME) over regional adversaries.

 

At a joint press conference at Defense Ministry headquarters here on Monday, Hagel said the prospective arms package — to include anti-radiation missiles, advanced fighter aircraft radars, KC-135 refuelers and V-22 Ospreys — “ensures that Israel will maintain air superiority for the next generation.”

 

Speaking alongside his host, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon, Hagel said the prospective package marks “another significant step” in Washington’s commitment “not only to preserve, but to enhance and improve” Israel’s QME.

 

Hagel said that “despite fiscal pressures” Washington will provide the full US $3.1 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance to Israel for 2013. Moreover, in keeping with pledges announced last month during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit here, Hagel said the two countries have begun working on an agreement to extend annual U.S. security funding beyond 2017.

 

He also noted that to date, Washington has provided more than $460 million in funding for cooperative rocket and missile defense programs, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling and the Arrow. Another $200 million in Iron Dome funding has been requested in 2014, he added.

 

Under 2008 legislation, Congress defined Israel’s QME as “the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors.”

 

By law, the U.S. administration is required to submit quadrennial reports on ways it has acted — whether through arms sales, security assistance, joint exercises and other means of strategic cooperation — to preserve Israel’s military superiority in the region.

 

The first such QME report was submitted in 2009 and a follow-on study is scheduled for release this year.

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 19:30
Jordan refutes report of opening airspace to Israeli armed drones to spy on Syria

April 22, 2013 RT.com

 

A Jordanian military official has refuted the reports that Jordan has opened two air corridors for Israeli drones to monitor the Syrian conflict. The official told RT Arabic that an earlier report by Le Figaro was “inaccurate and groundless.”

 

Citing a Western military source, the French daily said the decision to open Jordanian airspace to the Israelis had been reached in March following a visit by President Barack Obama to the country.

 

"The Syrians have Russian air defense assets, but Israeli aircraft are difficult to detect and therefore virtually immune to anti-aircraft measures," said the unnamed source to Le Figaro. The military craft will fly at night to minimize the risk of detection and are capable of striking a target “anywhere in Syria.”

 

The report follows an alleged Israeli strike at targets inside the Syrian border in acts branded as a violation of the UN charter. The new aerial corridors through Jordan will allow Israeli aircraft to avoid flying over southern Lebanon and inciting a possible aggressive response from Hezbollah.

 

Israel has repeatedly voiced its concern over stockpiles of chemical weapons in Syria and the possibility they may fall into the wrong hands. In late January the Israeli government issued a number of warnings to Syria before reports of an air strike on what Damascus claimed was a “scientific research center" emerged. Israel did not take direct responsibility for the strike, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak implied Israeli involvement.

 

“I keep telling you frankly that ... when we say something we mean it. We say that we don’t think [Hezbollah should be allowed] to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon,” he told journalists in Germany a week after the attacks.

 

The US got behind Israel, stating that Washington had been informed prior to the strike on what was also said to be a weapons convoy heading to Lebanon.

 

The attack on a Syrian target drew widespread condemnation internationally, with Lebanon decrying the strike as “barbaric aggression,” while Russia said it was deeply concerned by the move that was in breach of the UN charter.

 

Israel has taken steps to beef up its military defenses along its borders with Syria and Lebanon. Iron Dome missile defense components were deployed along Israel’s northern borders along with a US-made Patriot missile unit in February, security sources told Reuters. The anonymous military spokesperson maintained that the deployment was purely routine.

 

Jordan has been dramatically affected by the escalating violence in neighboring Syria. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have flooded into Jordan since the conflict began over two years ago, leading to the creation of vast camps to house them. On Sunday the Jordanian authorities detained eight Syrians in a camp along the border for inciting riots, fueling fears the conflict could spark violence in Jordan.

 

Jordanian King Abdullah reportedly met with embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in secret in March with a view to curb the influx of Syrian into Jordan. Assad, for his part, issued a warning to the Jordanian government last week, stating that thousands of fighters had crossed into Jordan to fight government forces.

 

"The fire will not stop at our border and everybody knows that Jordan is exposed as Syria is," Assad said in an interview broadcast on Al-Ikhbariya television.

 

The Syrian conflict has been raging for over two years and has shown no signs of abating. Opposition support group, the so-called Friends of Syria, met over the weekend to discuss monetary aid to rebel forces attempting to oust President Assad. The group granted $123 million in ‘non-lethal’ aid to the Syrian opposition.

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 18:54
photo EMA / ECPAD

photo EMA / ECPAD

23/04/2013 Sources : EMA

 

Le 22 avril 2013, les premiers éléments du GTIA 3 ont été désengagés du théâtre malien.

 

Après le départ du GTIA TAP, les premiers éléments du GTIA 3 ont quitté le Mali le 22 avril. Ils rejoindront la France dans quelques jours après un passage au sas de décompression OPEX de Paphos à Chypre.

 

Le GTIA 3, armé par le module en alerte Guépard et engagé dès le début de l’opération Serval,  a été initialement projeté dans le Nord du Mali et engagé dans les opérations aux côtés du GTIA TAP dans le massif de l’Adrar des Ifoghas.

photo EMA / ECPAD

photo EMA / ECPAD

Le GTIA 3 était composé de marsouins du 1er régiment d’infanterie de marine (1er RIMa d’Angoulême), du 2e régiment d’infanterie de marine (2e RIMa du Mans), des bigors du 11e régiment d’artillerie de marine (11e RAMa de La Lande d’Ouée) et des sapeurs de Marine du 6e régiment du génie (6e RG d’Angers).

photo EMA / ECPAD

photo EMA / ECPAD

Depuis la fin du mois de mars, le dispositif qui s’étendait de Bamako à Tessalit se réarticule et se concentre dans le centre du pays où les opérations visent à sécuriser la zone et à poursuivre la destruction des groupes terroristes.

Parallèlement au désengagement des premiers éléments du GTIA 3, une soixantaine de véhicules blindés a été désengagé par la route en direction de Bamako ; une rame essentiellement composée de chars AMX10 RC et de véhicules légers (PVP).

Plus de 500 soldats français ont déjà quitté le Mali depuis le début du désengagement des forces françaises entamé mi-avril. Le nombre de soldats français encore déployés au Mali s'élève à un peu moins de 4 000.

photo EMA / ECPAD

photo EMA / ECPAD

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 18:45
SAAF affirmative action report slated

23 April 2013 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

A report stating the South African Air Force’s (SAAF) affirmative action policy will result in nothing more than higher aircraft crash statistics has been trashed by sections of the wider community of aviation enthusiasts, writers and observers.

 

“While it is right to acknowledge problems in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), sensationalist and unsourced reports are not at all useful in furthering the debate,” Johannesburg-based aviation observer and writer Darren Olivier said in response to a Strategypage report.

 

The website said that a decade of corruption, shrinking budgets and political pressure to recruit more black flight and technical personnel were the main reasons the SAAF faced severe problems.

 

“Most experienced pilots, especially fighter pilots, have left the SAAF simply because they weren’t flying enough,” the website reportedly said, adding that “many pilots who remained are there because they were given their wings under the affirmative action quota system.”

 

Digging into Strategypage, Olivier found it wasn’t a think-tank, as some local reports quoted, but an informal military news site.

 

“While some of its articles and posts are well-sourced, many, especially those on foreign militaries, are not. The one referring to the SAAF is based only on some dubious news stories, lacks any direct sourcing, has no data newer than 2009 and has dubious figures,” he said.

 

As examples he pointed out that the site claimed 50 transport aircraft in SAAF service in 2009.

 

“The actual figure is around 34, including the Cessna C-208s.

 

“Similarly the claimed number of Cheetahs doesn’t match any known figure as the SAAF had 38 Cheetah Cs, 16 Cheetah B/D/D2s and 16 Cheetah Es, with the latter type retired in 1992.

 

“It also repeats the oft erroneous pilot figure, which excludes pilots seconded to other squadrons, other duties, on course or in the Reserves and asserts without any evidence the majority of pilots are black.

 

“At the same time it also claims the best pilots are being excluded from the fighter line for being white, yet that was based on a single rumoured event and there's no evidence this is ongoing SAAF policy. Nor is a move to other lines permanent in any case, as Major Catherine “Siren” Labuschagne proved by transferring from transports to the fighter line.”

 

He also takes exception to Strategypage’s reference to the “decrepit state of aging buildings, runways and aircraft”.

 

“Last I checked both AFB Waterkloof and Makhado had new runways. Waterkloof has new hangars and the aircraft look fine,” Olivier notes.

 

In terms of questions that should be asked around the current situation in all four arms of service of the SANDF, he maintains the “completely and dangerously inadequate defence budget, the misguided culture of secrecy the SANDF has cultivated, political interference at Central Flying School in Langebaanweg, the complete inadequacy of the Department of Public Works and the need for a Department of Defence/SANDF replacement, the flawed disciplinary processes within the SANDF, the related mishandling of labour disputes and unions and the usually awful SANDF public relations” are top of the list.

 

Another regular poster on aviation and military aviation sites in South Africa pointed out in response to the Strategypage report that “things are not all well in the SAAF and it isn’t the organisation we served years ago”.

 

In terms of accidents he notes the transport and helicopter lines have borne the brunt of tragic accidents since the Strategic Defence Package acquisitions were delivered.

 

This has seen no less than four Agusta A-109 light utility helicopters declared category five with two C-47TPs suffering the same fate.

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 18:45
Malian army "managing misery", not received funds: French colonel

23 April 2013 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

The Malian army remains poor, corrupt and barely functional months after the launch of a European training mission to rebuild its strength, a French colonel said, urging a rapid payout of pledged donor funds.

 

The European Union approved in January a 15-month training mission to rebuild a badly paid and poorly equipped Malian army, with the aim of making it strong enough to fend off potential attacks by Islamist militants.

 

But nearly three months later, corruption remains the rule in its ranks, soldiers are unable to train and some 8 million euros ($10 million) pledged by international donors at a conference in Addis Ababa have not reached the army, Reuters reports.

 

"They're managing misery." Bruno Heluin, who runs training for Malian troops in the EU mission, told Le Monde daily.

 

"The international community says, 'We absolutely need to rebuild the Malian army'. But not a euro cent has been given to the Malian army ... even though 8 million euros were promised on January 29 at the Addis Ababa donor conference," he added.

 

France has begun to withdraw its 4,000-strong force from Mali after it intervened to help Malian forces drive back an offensive by Islamist militants who had seized two-thirds of the country in the desert north.

 

The U.N. Security Council is considering a draft resolution to approve the creation of a 12,600-strong U.N. peacekeeping force named MINUSMA, which would take over from a U.N.-backed African force currently in place.

 

However, peacekeepers would not remain indefinitely and donors have insisted that Mali's army be brought up to strength in order to defend against future attacks.

 

Instead Heluin said the army was getting on "day by day" as equipment donated by major powers proved unreliable, corrupt officers robbed their own army of transport vehicles and training remained impossible.

 

The army was nearly entirely dependent on outdated equipment donated by major powers including France, China, Russia and the United States - donations that had exacerbated its troubles rather than fix them, Heluin said.

 

"Since 2006, the Malians have ordered 800 pickup trucks. Today, almost none remain," he said. Some of the trucks had been stolen outright, while others were picked over for parts.

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23 avril 2013 2 23 /04 /avril /2013 18:35
source Ria novisti

source Ria novisti

TOKYO, 23 avr 2013 marine-oceans.com (AFP)

 

Une flottille gouvernementale chinoise est entrée mardi dans les eaux territoriales des îles Senkaku administrées par le Japon dont le Premier ministre a prévenu qu'il repousserait toute tentative de débarquement.

 

Cette brusque remontée de tension est intervenue au moment même où près de 170 parlementaires japonais se rendaient au sanctuaire Yasukuni de Tokyo, symbole du militarisme nippon pour Pékin qui a immédiatement dénoncé cette visite.

 

Selon les garde-côtes japonais, huit navires de surveillance maritime chinois ont pénétré vers 08H00 (lundi à 23H00 GMT) dans la zone de 12 milles (22 km) entourant ces îlots de mer de Chine orientale, revendiqués par Pékin sous le nom de Diaoyu. Ils étaient toujours sur zone vers 08H30 GMT.

 

C'est la première fois qu'autant de bateaux officiels chinois pénètrent ensemble dans les eaux territoriales de cet archipel inhabité, depuis que ce différend territorial s'est aggravé en septembre après l'achat par le Japon de trois de ses cinq îles à leur propriétaire privé nippon.

 

La Chine y envoie régulièrement des navires depuis, qui croisent dans la zone quelques heures avant de repartir.

 

"Nous protestons vigoureusement auprès de la Chine", a réagi le porte-parole du gouvernement nippon, Yoshihide Suga. L'ambassadeur de Chine à Tokyo a d'ailleurs été convoqué.

 

Au parlement japonais, le Premier ministre Shinzo Abe a été interrogé sur sa réponse à un éventuel débarquement chinois. "Il serait normal que nous les repoussions par la force si d'aventure ils débarquaient", a-t-il prévenu, évoquant les garde-côtes nippons qui assurent la protection de cette zone.

 

L'archipel est situé à 200 km au nord-est de Taïwan, qui le revendique également, et 400 km à l'ouest de l'île d'Okinawa (sud du Japon). Outre sa position stratégique, il recèlerait des ressources énergétiques dans ses fonds marins.

 

L'incursion des navires gouvernementaux chinois a coïncidé avec une visite massive de parlementaires japonais au sanctuaire shintoïste de Yasukuni, au coeur de Tokyo.

 

Pas moins de 168 parlementaires se sont rendus dans ce lieu de culte où sont honorés 2,5 millions de soldats japonais morts pour la patrie, dont 14 Japonais reconnus coupables de crimes de guerre par les Alliés après la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

 

Ces députés et sénateurs, issus majoritairement du Parti Libéral-Démocrate (conservateur) au pouvoir, sont allés au sanctuaire dans le cadre de son festival de printemps. Cette visite, la plus importante de ce type depuis 1989, a été immédiatement dénoncée à Pékin comme à Séoul.

 

"Quelle que soit la forme qu'elles prennent, et quelles que soient les qualités de leurs auteurs, les visites de responsables japonais à Yasukuni sont par définition des tentatives de nier le passé d'agression du Japon", a déclaré Hua Chunying, porte-parole de la diplomatie chinoise.

 

Séoul a souligné pour sa part que Tokyo devrait "sérieusement réfléchir" à l'impact de ces hommages sur ses relations avec ses voisins. "Le sanctuaire Yasukuni est un endroit qui glorifie la guerre et honore des criminels de guerre", a déploré le porte-parole du ministère sud-coréen des Affaires étrangères, Cho Tai-Young.

 

En fin de semaine dernière, trois ministres japonais, dont le vice-Premier ministre et ministre des Finances Taro Aso, s'étaient déjà rendus au sanctuaire, ce qui avait poussé la Corée du Sud à annuler un déplacement au Japon de son chef de la diplomatie.

 

M. Abe s'est abstenu de se rendre au Yasukuni, mais y a dédié dimanche un objet en bois utilisé pour des rituels, appelé masakaki.

 

Les relations du Japon avec ses voisins restent marquées par les souvenirs douloureux de la colonisation de la Corée (1910-1945) et de l'occupation d'une partie de la Chine des années 1930 à 1945.

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