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17 novembre 2011 4 17 /11 /novembre /2011 21:45
Gripen NG and Gripen D in Formation


11/17/2011 STRATEGY PAGE


Jamie Hunters award winning photo Copyright Saab AB

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17 novembre 2011 4 17 /11 /novembre /2011 13:45
Economic Recession And Helicopters In Afghanistan


November 17, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE


One side-effect of the world-wide recession is that lots of the idle helicopters have found work in Afghanistan. There, the U.S. has been prodding other NATO nations to provide helicopters for their own troops. But too many of these nations either do not have helicopters to send or don't want send what they have into such a hostile environment. This is sometimes because the helicopters available are old, or not equipped for service in such a hostile environment.


The constant pressure from the United States, which has to supply emergency helicopter service when called on, has persuaded NATO allies to lease helicopters. Over the last five years this has led to the leasing several hundred helicopters for use in Afghanistan. Initially, many of them were Russian models from Eastern Europe. These were Cold War surplus machines from firms that had gone into the leasing business in the 1990s for foreign aid and peacekeeping operations. Three years of economic recession has made a lot of helicopters available in the West, and now more of these are headed for Afghanistan.


The basic problem, however, remains. European nations either don't have helicopters suitable for service in the hot and high (and dusty, and freezing in the Winter) conditions of Afghanistan, or their helicopter units are not organized and trained for service overseas, or the politicians don't want to send their helicopters abroad. These nations are content to lease helicopters, including crews and support personnel, from civilian firms.


Russian firms paved the way here. Russian and Ukrainian companies were already supplying heavy jet transports for NATO forces since the 1990s. These same companies had helicopters available as well. The Russians know their choppers will work in Afghanistan, because of their experience during the 1980s. Many of the same helicopter types are still in service, although with updates. Safety and reliability standards for Russian helicopters have also increased. There are also many non-Russian firms that offer helicopter leasing for "challenging environments" (mainly oil field or mining operations support). But the Russians were cheaper, and are less concerned with getting shot at. In the end, however, the pleas from the NATO troops for more helicopter support could not by the politicians back home and the demand for leased helicopters remained strong.

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17 novembre 2011 4 17 /11 /novembre /2011 13:35
MDA test-fires THAAD missile system with STSS

photo US Army


17 November 2011 army-technology.com


The US Missile Defence Agency (MDA) has completed an integrated flight test of the terminal high-altitude area defence (THAAD) radar weapon system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii, US.


A THAAD interceptor missile successfully intercepted a medium-range target (MRT) launched from a C-17 cargo aircraft and a short-range target (SRT) launched from a mobile platform.


During the flight test, the space tracking and surveillance system (STSS) demonstration satellites' sensors tracked two different missile targets, displaying the system's precision, real-time missile-tracking capability.


Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems missile defence and warning vice-president Doug Young said that the STSS satellitesdemonstrated hard-body detection and post-boost-phase tracking capabilities.


The STSS sensors tracked and delivered missile target data to the US MDA's command, control, battle management and communications system.

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17 novembre 2011 4 17 /11 /novembre /2011 08:45
NATO Embow XIII: learning how to deal with the Manpads threat


27th Oct 2011 By Jean-Michel Guhl in Cazaux, France - defencereviewasia.com


ONE of the most present and most concealed threats on the battlefield remains the shoulder-launched surface to air missile or Manpads – an abbreviation of man-portable air defence system. A light affordable and plentiful weapon with a low acquisition cost, it is also a war tool that outweighs by multiples the price of its likely target - a tactical fighter plane, helicopter or even a multi-engined airlifter. Intended for air defence by the military, Manpads have also unfortunately over the years landed in the hands of uncontrolled groups or terrorist organisations, accounting for some dramatic deadly attacks on civilian transport aircraft as well.


ONE of the most present and most concealed threats on the battlefield remains the shoulder-launched surface to air missile or Manpads – an abbreviation of man-portable air defence system. A light affordable and plentiful weapon with a low acquisition cost, it is also a war tool that outweighs by multiples the price of its likely target - a tactical fighter plane, helicopter or even a multi-engined airlifter. Intended for air defence by the military, Manpads have also unfortunately over the years landed in the hands of uncontrolled groups or terrorist organisations, accounting for some dramatic deadly attacks on civilian transport aircraft as well.


During the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989), thousands of US-made FIM-92 Stinger shoulder-launched missiles were supplied, by the CIA via Pakistan, to the Mujahideen, along with British-made Blowpipes, older US FIM-43 Redeyes, and even Egyptian (Ayn-as-Sakr - Falcon Eye) and Chinese (HN-5) copies of the infamous Soviet 9K32M Strela (NATO SA-7b) Manpads!


These 10-kg missiles, capable of reaching Mach 2 in 5 seconds and with an average lethal range of just a few kilometres, were responsible for the destruction of many Soviet airlifters, as well as transport and attack helicopters. Only dedicated “shturmovik” fighter-bombers like the Su-25 “Frogfoot” and Su-22 “Fitter” fared much better, in general, thanks to their extremely sturdy airframe construction. From experience gained in that war and in peacetime exercises prior to 1994, the Soviets found that the best way for a group of gunships to survive their own attack run was to fly at extremely low altitudes towards the target and then split up, approaching it from different directions. After making their attacks, the helicopters would make a break-off turn and depart at extremely low altitudes, their wingmen providing mutual covering fire and all of them making full use of their electronic warfare equipment (decoy flares and IR jammers). Most of these techniques have also been adopted in the West. Just as a reminder: 333 airplanes and helicopters were lost by the Soviets to Manpads during their war 25 years ago.


Combating the Manpads threat has gained in importance in recent times with the use of countermeasures using various techniques. IRCM systems are designed to defeat both surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles by detecting the ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) radiation from the missile exhaust trail and then initiating responses. Counter-measures include both flares – which are designed to give the missile a decoy target – and laser jammers – which cause missile guidance systems to abruptly steer away from the target aircraft.


In order to tackle the lingering Manpads menace as a whole, and with the Soviet tactical experience in mind, NATO has been organising every other year in Europe, since 1991, a series of two live exercises designated MACE and Embow. If MACE caters in priority with more expensive electromagnetic (EM) self-defence systems, Embow focuses only on ways to counter heat-seeking (IR) missiles fired from the ground.


Embow XIII in Cazaux air base


A total of sixteen nations participated in the 13th venue of Embow in 2011. The event took place at Cazaux, in France, and saw the attendance of participants from: Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey, UK, US, with Australia and New Zealand joining as longtime faithful allies of NATO from “down-under”. Aircraft involved were varied, ranging from fighter-bombers to attack helicopters, and from transport helicopters to big airlifters like the C-130 Hercules.


Orchestrated by NATO’s SG2/Aerospace Capability Group 3 on “Electronic Warfare and Survivability”, the main aim of Embow is to allow aviators to test, under live and monitored conditions, the capacity of their aircraft to evade infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles, from basic Manpads to more advanced surface to air short-range systems (SHORADS). As a cherry on the cake, the Embow trials are always performed in highly instrumented areas so that the participants can take a close look at the actual efficiency of the systems they field. Any noticed discrepancy is then funneled, in a second move, back to the industry for updating and improvements.


Spanning four weeks, from 18 September to 12 October, Embow XIII placed a strong priority on how to enhance or optimise the self-protection systems of NATO aircraft currently participating in overseas expeditionary missions: fighters, airlifters and helicopters alike. True to say, US airplanes and rotorcraft from other NATO nations have paid, since 2002 in Iraq and Afghanistan, a heavy toll to the insurgents, while furthermore ongoing air operations over Libya have proved in combat the value of the different EW systems developed by the European industry for their current generation aircraft.

As such, European manufacturers of electronic warfare equipment took advantage of Embow XIII to test current as well as prototypes of future EW systems during some 100 “live firing” sorties from Cazaux AB performed over the DGA Biscarosse test site and its extensive network of radars and trajectography equipment.


This was particularly the case for EADS Cassidian and the Spanish company Indra who used a CASA 212 test-bed from the French DGA (the French Defence Procurement Agency) to put on trial a new DIRCM designed for the self-protection of high-value transport aircraft. Dubbed Manta, this multi-spectral multi-band high-energy laser-based system (developed in partnership with Rosoboronexport of Russia), is able to counter several Manpads launched simultaneously from short distances. It is intended to equip the A400M at a later stage.


For the Embow XIII evaluation, Indra’s Manta was linked to sensors from Cassidian’s AN/AAR-60 MILDS (Missile Launch Detection System) as used today on many NATO tactical airplanes and helicopters, like the Tiger, Mangusta and Black Hawk.


Burning fires of deception


If the use of chaff (metal foil) in combat dates back to World War 2 – clouds of small metallic dipoles being dropped by attacking bombers to deceive or jam German radars – the use of flares (burning decoys) as counter-measures against heat-seeking missiles is more recent and truly appropriate for the jet age. The ubiquitous Infra-Red Countermeasures


(IRCM) decoy flare is nearly 50 years old. Simple, robust and effective, for many years it was the only means of providing aircraft protection against the IR-guided missile. For today’s flying combat machine, as a matter of fact, chaff and flares are a very common and worthwhile method of evasion against an incoming missile or to disrupt the “lock-on” of a tracking radar.


Initially a US invention – used first in the 1960s on the B-47, B-52 and B-58 strategic bombers aiming to penetrate heavily defended Soviet defence lines – IR flares never saw wide usage during the larger part of the Cold War. Aircraft-mounted self-defence flare launcher systems were first witnessed to be widely used by Israeli aviators over Beirut – particularly noticeable on TV newsreels - during the Lebanon war of 1981 and subsequent air operations against the PLO. Flares were also widely used by the Soviets over Afghanistan a few years later. With the widespread introduction of the SA-7 in 1984 and Stingers in 1985, helicopters became exposed to those missiles, and soon all of them were equipped with flare dispensers, active IR jammers, and exhaust dampers to reduce their infrared (IR) signatures. At first, only Mi-24 “Hind” attack helicopters were so equipped, but eventually Mi-8 “Hip” transports received these counter-measures as well.


In fact, the Israeli Air Force’s brand-new General Dynamics F-16A Block 10 Fighting Falcons were unique in 1981 in being the first Western fighter jets to include the fitting of ALE-40 chaff/flare dispensers – systems for long reserved only for US strategic bombers – to provide an adequate self-protection against heat-seeking missiles. This was based on something the Israelis had learned the hard way during the Yom Kippur war of 1973. An intense conflict where, according to subsequent White House debriefings, the Israeli Air Force lost no less than 102 aircraft – 32 F-4s, 53 A-4s, 11 Mirages and 6 Super Mysteres – mostly to Egyptian and Syrians surface to air missiles. Two helicopters, a Bell 205 and a CH-53, were also shot down this way. In all these cases, the Israeli aircraft were totally devoid of any IR self-defence systems.


What exactly are these IRCM systems? They are in fact a very simple invention, based on canisters bolted to the airframe and firing one or more flaming decoys in sequence in the direction of an incoming infrared-guided missile. IR flares are cartridges usually discharged individually or in salvoes by the pilot (or automatically by a tail-warning system on cue). Usually accompanied by simultaneous vigorous evasive manoeuvering, these decoys are supposed to lure a missile and make them miss them intended target by heading to the decoy’s heat source instead.


Since they are intended to deceive infrared missiles, these flares burn at temperatures of thousands of degrees, incandescing in the visible spectrum as well. They have proved their value repeatedly in combat. Flare decoys are however only effective in the terminal phase acquisition of missiles fitted with IR signature seeker heads, i.e. a very short moment in time, which explains why fully automatic self-defence systems with cued sequencers are now preferred.


Flare decoys are simple inexpensive cigar-sized containers, in general square or round, commonly composed of a pyrotechnic composition based on magnesium or another hot-flaming metal, with burning temperature equal to or hotter than an aircraft engine exhaust. As said, the trick is to make the infrared-guided missile seek out the heat signature from the flare rather than that of the aircraft’s engine(s).


In contrast to electro-magnetically (EM) radar-guided missiles, IR-guided missiles are very difficult to spot as they close on an aircraft. They have no radar signature, and they are generally fired from the rear, directly toward the jet pipe of an aircraft or the hot exhaust of a turbine. In most cases, during combat, pilots have then to rely on their wingmen to spot the missile’s characteristic smoke trail and alert them. Since Manpads are inherently far shorter-legged in distance and altitude range than their radar-guided counterparts, good situational awareness of altitude and potential threats continues to be a very effective defence against them. Luckily, much more advanced electro-optical systems – as developed over the past two decades – can now detect missile launches automatically from the very distinct emissions of a missile’s rocket motor, both in the infrared (IR) and ultra-violet (UV) bands.


How does it work? In flight, once the presence of an IR missile is indicated, flares are released by the aircraft in quick succession in an attempt to decoy the incoming missile; most IRCM systems are automatic, while others – the earlier ones – required manual jettisoning of the flares, thus limiting their efficiency. The aircraft will then pull away at a sharp angle from the flare (and the terminal trajectory of the missile) and reduce engine power in attempt to cool its thermal signature. Optimally, the missile’s seeker head is then confused by this change in temperature and sudden flurry of new hotter signatures, and therefore follows the flare(s) rather than the aircraft… giving the pilot(s) a chance to fight again another day!


For the IR generating cartridges, two approaches are possible: either pyrotechnic or pyrophoric. “As stored”, explains Major Thomas Vermeersch, a test pilot with DGA in Cazaux, “chemical-energy-source IR-decoy flares contain pyrotechnic compositions, pyrophoric substances, and highly flammable substances. Upon ignition of the decoy flare, a strongly exothermal reaction is started, releasing infrared energy and visible smoke and flame, the potency of the emission being dependent on the chemical nature of the payload used.” There are a wide variety of calibres and shapes available for aerial decoy flares depending on their manufacturer. In short, due to volume storage restrictions on-board modern platforms, many aircraft of US origin employ square-shaped cartridges. Cylindrical cartridges (from 19 to 60mm in general) are used mainly on board French aircraft as well as those of Russian origin. They are much more resistant to warping and handing damages.


The coming of DIRCM systems


But in the present day combat theatre, flares are not enough, and new inventions are now being conceived to deceive shoulder-launched infrared missiles. This is especially so with the development of new-generation seekers, dubbed SG4 by NATO, that are now able to discriminate easily between jet pipes and flaming decoys. This aptitude was well demonstrated in a video shown to the press in Cazaux by Isabelle Lecuyer, the person in charge of aircraft self-protection systems with DGA. This revealed that a Mirage 2000D dropping traditional flares could not evade the “lock-on” of a newer generation IR tracker - thus giving the sword a clean edge over the shield…


But new counter-measures are being designed in order to protect aircraft further against the Manpads threat. Among the most promising is the Directional Infrared Counter-Measure system (DIRCM), a solution nowadays principally produced by Northrop Grumman, ITT Corporation and BAE Systems in the USA, and by Elbit Systems in Israel. Thales, Terma, Saab and Indra in Europe are also working on new DIRCMs, as is Russian industry.


More advanced than conventional flare-based IR counter-measure systems, a standard DIRCM is a lightweight, compact system designed to provide mission-vulnerable aircraft – like strategic airlifters and large helicopters – with increased protection from common battlefield IR threats. The term DIRCM is used as a generic moniker to describe any IRCM system that tracks and directs energy toward the menace. Such is the AN/AAQ-24 Nemesis, a DIRCM system which consists of a missile warning system (AN/AAR-54), an integration unit, a processor, and laser turrets (Small Laser Targeting Assembly, SLTA). Early versions used an arc lamp to generate the jamming signal. Newer versions use diode-based pump systems. DIRCMs will be installed as standard on C-17 and MC-130 airlifters, and CV-22 and CH-53E rotorcraft. Nemesis is also the basis for the Northrop Grumman Guardian system marketed for commercial aircraft. Pending the completion of ICAO tests on the viability of such options, they will likely be fitted to many commercial carriers in the near future. So will the Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measure system (LAIRCM) and LAIRCM-Lite which is a strict C-17 programme that uses a combination of laser jammers and flares due to the limited availability of some LAIRCM components.


First US try at fooling the IR threat


It took some time for scientists to develop IR countermeasures. By the mid 1960s, an understanding of missile operations and radiation emission from pyrotechnic flames was becoming more mature. As a result, the objectives of new research contracts in the USA became more specific. They undertook the task to develop a pyrotechnic source that radiated in a narrow wavelength band and emitted selectively:

1 - in the specific IR bands resulting from the radiation produced by aircraft;

2 - and capable of operating in the sensitive region of the detector used in the adversary missile guidance system.


The requirement of this effort brought the first attempt to create a pyrotechnic decoy that radiated in regions corresponding to regions where aircraft usually diffuse heat. Today one might identify such a decoy as a “spectral or colour adapted” flare, but in the mid 1960s the researchers did not appreciate how important it would be to have a decoy that would radiate with the proper spectral properties.


In 1967, the US Navy China Lake test centre reported on the development of a decoy flare intended for launching from the AN/ALE-29 dispensing set installed on a number of US military aircraft. The goal was for the flare to defeat the AA-2 “Atoll” short-range, infrared homing air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union using the Sidewinder 1A as a surrogate. This was a not too complex issue, in reality, as the “Atoll” (Vympel K-13) was similar in appearance and function to the American AIM-9 Sidewinder (after which it had been reverse-engineered using an unexploded missile recovered in China in September 1958). Early flare developments were aimed at providing protection in the infrared 2m to 3m bandpass region. As missiles improved, the threat moved to also operate in the infrared 3m to 5m bandpass region. In 1968, the US Navy set out to develop a family of infrared flares that were effective in the 3m to 5m bandpass region. They considered changing the combustion mode to a much higher rate, burning more material, lengthening the flare by two inches, altering the AN/ALE-29 dispenser to “squarish” holes, and altering the composition to improve efficiency. The Mk 46 Mod 0 flare, put in production in 1968, was the first US-made flare developed with the above objectives. The need for 120-150 decoy flares on an aircraft operating in a dangerous area was considered mandatory. It was the first time that IRCM investigators suggested that the number of flares that could be carried by aircraft of that era would be insufficient to provide complete protection.


But it took another 10 to 15 years for IRCM systems to become commonplace, and once the Manpads threat turned into a “no escape” lethal issue - something complicated by the use of antiquated weapons like the RPG against low flying aircraft - thus adding more odds in the unending battle between the sword and the shield.

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16 novembre 2011 3 16 /11 /novembre /2011 12:35



15.11.2011 DEFENSETECH


Rogue states with nascent nuclear weapon programs (cough, Iran, cough), consider yourselves on notice. The Air Force has started taking delivery of Massive Ordnance Penetrators. Yup, the 30,000-pound bunker busters, known as MOPs, designed to penetrate 30 stories of reinforced concrete.


(Oh, and the massive bomb’s name is almost as charged as the term, Pre-Dawn Vertical Insertion, if you get what I’m sayin.)


The service apparently got its first production MOP in September and has been stockpiling them ever since. That’s a decent turnaround since April when the Air Force gave Boeing a $28 million contract to deliver eight MOPs and their associated loading equipment. The service gave Boeing a follow-on $32 million contract for eight more MOPs in August. No word on why that deal cost an extra $4 million when it appears otherwise identical to the April contract.


The Air Force has modified several B-2 stealth bombers to carry two of the GPS-guided bombs, apiece. This pretty much tells you all you need to know about the type of mission the MOP will be used for; a super bunker-buster carried by our most survivable heavy bomber. It’s meant to threaten nations like Iran and North Korea with the prospect of an air strike that can take out their most hardened targets.


I’ve got to say, this is pretty timely, given the recent flood of publicity surrounding Iran’s alleged progress toward building a nuclear weapon. While the MOP is big and costly, the West may have more subtle ways of putting kinetic pressure on states like Iran.

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15 novembre 2011 2 15 /11 /novembre /2011 12:50
Le HMS Astute lance son 1er missile Tomahawk – photo Royal Navy

Le HMS Astute lance son 1er missile Tomahawk – photo Royal Navy


15 novembre 2011 Par Rédacteur en chef. PORTAIL DES SOUS-MARINS


Le HMS Astute, le plus récent sous-marin nucléaire d’attaque de la Royal Navy, a tiré pour la 1ère fois des missiles Tomahawk dans les cieux américains dans le cadre de ses essais.





Le HMS Astute se trouve dans le golfe du Mexique pour y effectuer les premiers essais du système. Il pourra embarquer une combinaison de 38 missiles Tomahawk et torpilles Spearfish.


La Grande-Bretagne est le seul pays à qui les Etats-Unis fournissent la technologie Tomahawk.


Le HMS Astute va poursuivre ses essais aux Etats-Unis jusqu’au début du printemps, avant de rentrer en Grande-Bretagne pour son entraînement avant son premier déploiement opérationnel.


Référence : Royal Navy

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15 novembre 2011 2 15 /11 /novembre /2011 08:35
Afghanistan : on dépense sans compter


14 novembre 2011 par Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (BRUXELLES2)


L’Afghanistan = 2 milliards d’euros depuis 2002


L’aide versée à l’Afghanistan par l’Union européenne n’est, en effet, pas négligeable. Le pays fait même partie des principaux bénéficiaires de l’aide civile au titre du budget européen : plus de 2 milliards d’euros ont ainsi été engagés et plus de 1,8 milliard d’euros déjà versés depuis 2002 au titre de l’aide au développement et d’aide humanitaire. Le problème est que ces fonds sont, dans une large mesure, acheminés par des organisations des Nations unies. Or, celles-ci jusqu’à peu étaient plutôt réticentes à la communication.


Peu de contrôle, peu d’audit, ou alors peu accessible


Ce n’est que récemment que quelques agences de l’ONU ont décidé d’octroyer l’accès de ces rapports d’audit interne aux institutions de l’Union européenne, mais seulement dans les locaux des agences. « ce qui complique toute tentative de les utiliser correctement », souligne le rapporteur Jens Geier (socio-démocrate allemand).


La commission parlementaire s’est montrée particulièrement préoccupée par l’absence d’indépendance du bureau afghan de contrôle et d’audit, qui est étroitement lié à l’administration afghane, ce qui entrave sérieusement l’octroi d’une aide budgétaire directe. « Le gouvernement américain a appris ses leçons à ses dépens. Aujourd’hui, après avoir mis en place des systèmes de gestion et de contrôle dans certains ministères afghans, l’aide budgétaire directe commence à porter ses fruits », a déclaré le rapporteur. Pourquoi pas l’Europe, pourrait-on dire.


Des conditions sévères requises


La commission parlementaire appelle la Commission européenne à fixer des conditions rigoureuses et clairement définies ainsi que des objectifs clairs et mesurables, pour le versement de l’appui budgétaire. « Un soutien budgétaire direct permettrait au gouvernement de la République islamique d’Afghanistan de se doter des capacités à long terme dont il a besoin d’urgence », plaide le rapporteur.


Quant à aller vérifier sur place comment l’argent est dépensé, c’est une illusion… On doit donc croire sur parole que tout a été bien dépensé. Ce qui est tout le dilemme de l’engagement international en Afghanistan : continuer de donner pour soutenir le pouvoir, quitte à avoir une déperdition (plus ou moins importante), aller vérifier sur place (au risque de la vie) ou cesser les financements.


(*) ce rapport devrait être débattu et voté à la session plénière en décembre

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14 novembre 2011 1 14 /11 /novembre /2011 13:00
Un aviso va participer en Méditerranée orientale à la lutte contre le terrorisme


14 novembre 2011 Par Rédacteur en chef. PORTAIL DES SOUS-MARINS


Des périodes imprévisibles et intenses d’opérations maritimes en Méditerranée sont un des outils utilisés par l’OTAN pour contrer toute tentative des terroristes. Baptisées “Deterrent Surges”, ces opérations mettent en œuvre des moyens de l’OTAN convergeant vers des zones définies pour une période prédéfinie. Elles permettent non seulement de lutter contre le terrorisme, mais aussi de construire et de renforcer la connaissance de la situation maritime de la zone par l’Alliance Atlantique.


A partir du 12 novembre, l’OTAN a commencé à concentrer des moyens en Méditerranée orientale pour plus d’une semaine de patrouilles intensives.


« Le socle de cette opération Deterrent Surges est le groupe “Standing NATO Maritime Group 2” et la reconnaissance aéro-maritime. Pour cela, nous avons ajouté des bâtiments libérés spécifiquement pour cette opération, » explique le capitaine de vaisseau Olivier Bodhuin, chef des opérations au Headquarters Maritime Command de Naples. « La France et la Roumanie apportent une contribution importante à cette opération, montrant que les nations donnent une grande importance à l’opération Active Endeavour, plus de 10 ans après son lancement. L’aviso Commandant Birot a récemment quitté l’opération Unified Protector, au large de la Libye, et, en tant que Français, je suis très satisfait de voir le Birot participer à l’opération Deterrent Surges en soutien direct aux opérations, » a déclaré le commandant Bodhuin.


Selon le contre-amiral Javier Gonzalez-Huix, adjoint Opérations, l’opération Active Endeavour n’a jamais cessé un instant, malgré les opérations au large de la Libye. « Il est clair que les demandes de bâtiments étaient importantes pour la Libye, mais l’attention portée à Active Endeavour n’a jamais disparu de cet état-major. Souvenez-vous que cette opération n’est pas seulement des bâtiments en mer. Il y a un réseau de renseignement qui la soutient et des technologies sophistiquées qui fonctionnent toute la journée, tous les jours. »


Référence :OTAN

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13 novembre 2011 7 13 /11 /novembre /2011 20:10



13.11.2011 By: Greg Waldron – Flight Global


UAE firm Adcom Systems is displaying a full-sized mock-up of a medium altitude long endurance UAV called the United 40 in the static park.


An illustration at the Adcom stand, however, labels what appears to be an identical aircraft the Yabhon-Smart Eye 2. The single-engine, single-tailed turboprop aircraft has a dramatic s-curve in the middle fuselage and full-sized wings both forward and aft.


Adcom has flown a similar, but smaller, UAV called the Yabhon-Smart Eye 1 that is believed to be a technology demonstrator.


According to a placard with the United 40 mock-up, the aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 1,000kg (1,257lb), with its dual wings providing a total lifting area of 24.3m. The United 40 will have an endurance of 25h, a ceiling of 23,000ft, and can carry four 100kg pods on its wings.


    All the latest news, video and images from the 2011 Dubai air show

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12 novembre 2011 6 12 /11 /novembre /2011 17:30
L'explosion a été entendue jusque dans le centre de la capitale iranienne.- photo AP

L'explosion a été entendue jusque dans le centre de la capitale iranienne.- photo AP


12/11/2011 Par lefigaro.fr


Au moins 17 personnes ont été tuées dans l'explosion apparemment accidentelle d'un dépôt de munitions situé sur une base des Gardiens de la révolution proche de Téhéran.

L'explosion apparemment accidentelle d'un dépôt de munitions situé dans une base des Gardiens de la révolution proche de Téhéran samedi a fait au moins 17 morts et 23 blessés, dont certains graves.

Dix-sept membres des Gardiens de la révolution ont été tués dans l'explosion, a annoncé le porte-parole de cette force idéologique d'élite de la République islamique, le commandant Ramezan Sharif, cité par la télévision d'Etat. Ce dernier avait dans un premier temps fait état de 27 morts, avant de revoir ce bilan à la baisse à «17 martyrs», précisant avoir été induit en erreur par un fax «illisible».

L'explosion a eu lieu peu après 13H00 (10h30 en France) sur la base militaire Amir el-Momenin de Bidgen, une localité proche des agglomérations de Malard et de Shahryar, à une vingtaine de kilomètres au sud-ouest de la capitale. «Selon les premières investigations, l'explosion est intervenue lors d'un déplacement des munitions», a indiqué le commandant Sharif. «Cet accident n'est pas lié à un acte politique ou de sabotage», a affirmé de son côté le député de la région où est située la base, Hossein Garousi, à l'issue d'une visite sur place. «Une grande quantité de munitions a sauté», a-t-il ajouté.


Des pressions contre le programme nucléaire iranien

De nombreuses ambulances, un hélicoptère médicalisé et des équipes de secours cynophiles ont été envoyés sur place immédiatement après l'explosion, qui a entraîné un énorme incendie encore visible deux heures plus tard, selon les médias iraniens citant leurs reporters sur place. L'explosion a été si violente qu'elle a été ressentie dans les quartiers ouest de Téhéran, où elle a secoué portes et fenêtres. Elle a été entendue jusque dans le centre de la capitale iranienne.

Les forces armées iraniennes disposent de nombreuses bases à la périphérie de Téhéran. En octobre 2010, l'explosion accidentelle d'un dépôt de munition dans une base de Gardiens de la révolution avait fait une vingtaine de morts à Khorramabad (ouest du pays), selon les autorités.

Cette explosion intervient alors que des pressions se font de plus en plus pressantes contre le programme nucléaire iranien. L'AIEA a indiqué cette semaine que l'Iran a bien cherché à se doter d'une arme nucléaire. Israël multiplie depuis plusieurs jours les menaces de frappes contre des installations iraniennes jugées douteuses.

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11 novembre 2011 5 11 /11 /novembre /2011 19:10
Nouvelles têtes à la défense et la diplomatie grecques

11 novembre 2011 par Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (BRUXELLES2)


Nouveau changement dans la diplomatie et la défense grec. Ces deux portefeuilles changent de titulaire avec l’arrivée d’un gouvernement d’union nationale, sous la houlette de l’ancien vice-président de la banque centrale européenne nationale, Lucas Papademos. Ils seront désormais occupés par des ministres appartenant à la droite libérale en vertu d’un accord de coalition conclu entre les principaux partis grecs.


L’un (à la défense) est un vieux routier de la politique grecque, l’autre (aux affaires étrangères) est un homme politique qui a fait une partie de sa carrière à Bruxelles. Dans ce dernier choix, la Grèce suit le chemin tracé par plusieurs pays – notamment son voisin chypriote et italien – en choisissant pour ministre des Affaires étrangères une personne imprégnée de la culture des institutions européennes, un atout non négligeable quand il s’agira de représenter la Grèce et défendre ses intérêts dans les différents conclaves européens.


A la Défense, un vieux routier de la politique grecque



Le ministère de la Défense grec va être confié à Dimitris Avramopoulos, homme politique plutôt populaire (ou du moins qui soigne bien son image). Ancien maire d’Athènes (1995-2002) et ancien ministres du Tourisme (2004-2006) puis de la Santé et de la Solidarité (2007-2009) dans le gouvernement Karamanlis, il est membre de Nea Dimokratia (droite). Né en 1953, il fait son service militaire dans les forces aériennes, une partie de son service se déroule au siège de l’OTAN à Bruxelles, indique sa biographie. En 1980, il intègre le ministère des Affaires étrangères. Consul de Grèce à Liège en Belgique (1983-1988), il devient ensuite conseiller diplomatique du Premier ministre Constantin Mitsotakis (1989-1991), le leader de la droite grecque puis porte-parole du ministère (1992) et consul général à Genève.


Il quitte définitivement la diplomatie en 1993 pour se consacrer à plein temps la politique. Elu député en 1993 sur la liste « Nea Dimokratia », il est maire d’Athènes durant huit ans ensuite. Il sera notamment réélu contre Maria Damanaki, alors supportée par le PASOK, et depuis devenue directrice générale au SEAE (chargée des questions horizontales). En 2001, il tente une voie originale en créant un nouveau parti le mouvement des citoyens libres (KEP). Voie qui échoue. Il rentre rapidement au bercail de Nea Dimokratia et, à la faveur de la constitution du gouvernement Karamanlis se voit récompensé par deux postes ministériels successifs.


Aux Affaires étrangères, un Européen averti


(crédit : Commission européenne)


Aux Affaires étrangères, Stavros Dimas a un autre parcours, marqué par un passage à Bruxelles. Juriste, diplômé de l’Université d’Athènes et de New York, il commence comme avocat à Wall Street (en 1969… ce n’est pas encore la « mondialisation ») puis travaille à la Banque mondiale. En 1975, de retour en Grèce, il devient le directeur de la banque hellenique de développement industriel, puis passe en politique, à Nea Dimokratia. Elu plusieurs fois au Parlement grec, il entre au gouvernement en 1977 comme ministre adjoint chargé de la coordination économique. Il aura notamment comme tâche de négocier l’adhésion de la Grèce à ce qui s’appelle alors la CEE, la Communauté économique européenne. Il passera ensuite par plusieurs postes Commerce (1980–1981), Agriculture (1989–1990), Industrie et Energie (1990–1991) avant d’occuper le poste de secrétaire général du parti (1995–2000) et d’être un peu mis à l’écart comme membre du comité d’analyse politique (2000-2003).


Il est envoyé à Bruxelles pour remplacer, au pied levé, sa compatriote, Anna Diamantoupoulou, comme commissaire à l’Emploi et aux Affaires sociales. Puis dans la nouvelle commission Barroso est chargé, un peu par inadvertance de l’Environnement. Un poste dont il n’était pas automatiquement la personne la plus idoine. Dimas est plutôt un économiste, et  la Grèce n’est pas connue comme un modèle dans ce domaine, il arrive à se faire un « nom » à Bruxelles. A la fin de son mandat, il laisse ainsi le souvenir d’un commissaire, plutôt pugnace, enclin à défendre ses dossiers et qui n’aura pas démérité.


Lire également : Dimas pas renouvelé à la Commission européenne ? dommage


La marine marchande (et la piraterie) confiée à l’extrême droite


A noter l’arrivée dans ce gouvernement de coalition de deux ministres du parti d’extrême droite (LAOS) qui seront en charge des questions de piraterie maritime. Puisque Adonis Georgiadis est nommé secrétariat d’Etat au développement et à la Marine marchande.

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10 novembre 2011 4 10 /11 /novembre /2011 18:10



November 9, 2011 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Lexington Institute; issued November 9, 2011)


When it is not focused on the repetitive crisis in the European Union, Washington’s attention, including that of the Pentagon, is increasingly focused on Asia, in general, and China, in particular. This is understandable for economic, political, demographic and security reasons. China’s march towards economic superpower status, if paced by steady investments in modern military capabilities, poses the danger of eroding the relative stability of the region. Strategy discussions at the Pentagon have been moving slowly towards a greater focus on the Asia-Pacific region.


U.S. arms sales and technology investments with the region will be an important factor in ensuring a balance of powers in the region and dissuading China from using force to achieve its policy objectives. With arms sales comes training, cooperative development of tactics, exchanges of military personnel and often improved industrial and technical cooperation. When several nations in a region possess the same systems it is relatively easy to network them together along with deployed U.S. forces to create a capability more effective than the sum of its parts. This is the central guiding principle behind the European Phased Adaptive Architecture missile defense concept that seeks to network European air and missile defense systems with increasingly capable U.S. sea and land-based missile defenses to be deployed to the European region over the next eight years.


Over the fifty odd years of the Cold War, the United States through the NATO alliance forged an integrated military capability that deterred and contained the Soviet Union. Many of the principles that enabled NATO to be so effective can be replicated in the Asia-Pacific region without having to create a single continent-spanning security system. Much can be done to achieve a practical and militarily effective bulwark against potential Chinese aggression through a combination of smart arms sales and the integration of allied and U.S. capabilities.


The international co-development program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is an example of how international arms sales can reduce the costs to individual countries of modernizing military forces, leverage national defense industrial investments and also weld together a multi-national military capability. The partner countries -- the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Australia and Turkey -- have formally joined the U.S. and contributed money toward the program. All but one of these countries is in NATO. When deployed by these nations, the F-35 will provide the United States and its allies with an unparalleled and highly integrated defense capability.


The U.S. effort to provide the F-35 to close allies in Asia can have a similar beneficial effect. In addition to the Australian role in the co-development programs, the F-35 is a candidate to replace Japan’s aging F-4 fighter fleet and to be South Korea’s next fighter. The Obama Administration has indicated strongly that it would be willing to sell the F-35 to India. Since the administration chose not to allow Taiwan to acquire new F-16 C/D aircraft but only to upgrade older F-16 variants sometime down the road the F-35 could find its way into that country’s arsenal too. Imagine the power of an air defense “alliance” stretching from Korea to Australia and thence to India.


The integration of European national air and missile defense capabilities under the Phased Adaptive Architecture could also see a parallel program in Asia. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all deploy the U.S. land-based Patriot air and missile defense system. Japan also has the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and is co-developing an advanced version of the Standard Missile, the SM-3 Block IIA. The Aegis ashore system could be deployed to U.S. allies in Asia.


India has become a major purchaser of other U.S. military hardware, including the C-17, C-130J, P-8 maritime patrol plane and most recently the AH-64D Apache. Future collaboration could include missile defense, ASW and airborne surveillance.


The current situation vis-à-vis China does not warrant standing up a new, formal defensive alliance. Much is being done bilaterally. But one of the best forms of strategic dissuasion should Beijing ever contemplate aggression is a network of common military capabilities that stretches across the Asia-Pacific region.

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10 novembre 2011 4 10 /11 /novembre /2011 12:55
Northrop Grumman Awarded $109M Contract to Redesign B-2 Spirit's Aft Deck


A B-2 Spirit refuels from a KC-135 during a deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

(Photo: U.S. Air Force, Val Gempis)


November 10, 2011 defpro.com


Redesign Promises to Reduce Maintenance Costs, Improve Aircraft Availability


PALMDALE, Calif. | Northrop Grumman recently won a $109 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to produce a redesigned aft deck for the B-2 stealth bomber, further enhancing the world's most survivable aircraft.


The B-2 Spirit's aft deck, a metallic panel on the bomber's upper surface that shields its composite airframe from the heat of engine exhaust, will be redesigned for long-term reliability and affordability. The retrofit will enable the aircraft to span normal long-term maintenance cycles without additional services or repairs.


The newly redesigned structure reflects Northrop Grumman's thorough thermal and structural analysis of the aft deck, its adjoining structures and the operating environment.


"Implementing a redesigned aft deck is an important part of guaranteeing the long-term viability of the B-2," said Dave Mazur, Northrop Grumman's vice president of Long Range Strike and B-2 program manager. "We are committed to assisting the Air Force in developing and implementing proactive solutions that are in the best interest of the B-2 fleet."


The aft deck enhancement is the latest spares replacement the Air Force, Northrop Grumman and its suppliers have undertaken to ensure the B-2 remains one of the most survivable weapons systems in the world.


"The B-2 industry team is working closely with the U.S. Air Force and the Defense Logistics Agency to improve aircraft availability," said Gary Roehrig, director and program manager for B-2 Product Support. "This is a complex effort, but it's key to fully equipping the warfighter."


The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber remains the only long-range, large-payload aircraft that can penetrate deeply into protected airspace. In concert with the Air Force's air superiority fleet, which provides airspace control, and the Air Force's tanker refueling fleet, which enables global mobility, the B-2 helps ensure an effective U.S. response to threats anywhere in the world. It can fly more than 6,000 nautical miles unrefueled and more than 10,000 nautical miles with just one aerial refueling, giving it the ability to reach any point on the globe within hours.


Work will be conducted at Northrop Grumman facilities in Palmdale, Calif., and St. Augustine, Fla. Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's prime contractor for the B-2, the flagship of the nation's long range strike arsenal.

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10 novembre 2011 4 10 /11 /novembre /2011 08:55


Frégates de la Marine nationale



10/11/2011 MER et MARINE


Pour répondre aux questions de certains de nos lecteurs, nous avons fait le point, avec la Marine nationale, sur l'identité des 27 bâtiments français engagés au large de la Libye durant l'opération Harmattan/Unified Protector. Il s'agit du porte-avions Charles de Gaulle, des bâtiments de projection et de commandement Mistral et Tonnerre, des frégates de défense aérienne Forbin, Chevalier Paul, Cassard et Jean Bart, des frégates anti-sous-marines Tourville, Georges Leygues, Dupleix, Montcalm et Jean de Vienne, des frégates furtives La Fayette, Surcouf, Courbet, Guépratte et Aconit, des avisos Lieutenant de Vaisseau Le Hénaff, Lieutenant de Vaisseau Lavallée et Commandant Birot, des bâtiments de commandement et de ravitaillement Var, Marne et Somme, du pétrolier-ravitailleur Meuse, ainsi que trois sous-marins nucléaires d'attaque, dont on ne révèlera pas les identités.


Un niveau d'engagement considérable

Cette liste est très intéressante dans la mesure où elle montre à quel point la Marine nationale a été sollicitée ces derniers mois. Durant Harmattan, c'est en effet la quasi-totalité de la flotte disponible, et même en fait de la flotte tout court pour ce qui concerne Toulon, qui a été engagée en Libye. Sur la période d'opérations, du 17 mars au 31 octobre, toutes les grandes unités toulonnaise de la Force d'Action Navale se sont relayées de l'autre côté de la Méditerranée, soit le porte-avions, 100% des effectifs de BPC, de FDA, de FASM, de FLF et de BCR/PR, ainsi que 25 % des avisos, les autres assurant des missions de surveillance maritime ou de police des pêches. Seuls les transports de chalands de débarquement Foudre et Siroco n'ont pas vu les côtes libyennes, puisque déployés au large de l'Afrique ou en arrêt technique durant Harmattan (leurs capacités n'étaient de toute façon par requises).


En revanche, même les unités brestoises opérationnelles, qui n'étaient pas mobilisées pour la protection de la force océanique stratégique, sont venues en renfort, comme la frégate Tourville, ainsi que les avisos LV Lavallée et LV Le Hénaff. Même chose pour les sous-marins nucléaires d'attaque, au nombre de 6 basés à Toulon et dont la moitié, c'est-à-dire l'essentiel de ce qui était disponible sur la période, a été engagé en Libye. Quant à l'aéronautique navale, elle a également consenti un effort très important, en maintenant sur le Charles de Gaulle un groupe aérien embarqué durant 270 jours sur les 300 qui ont précédé le retour à Toulon le 12 août, puisqu'Harmattan a été précédée, pour le porte-avions, par le déploiement Agapanthe en océan Indien. Il convient enfin de mentionner les hélicoptères embarqués sur les différents bâtiments et les avions de patrouille maritime Atlantique 2 qui, fonctionnant eux-aussi à flux tendu, ont assuré le service sur le théâtre libyen. En somme, on n'avait peut être pas vu, proportionnellement, un tel engagement aéronaval depuis l'affaire de Suez, en 1956.

Groupe aéronaval (© : MARINE NATIONALE)

Obligée de faire des choix

Pour remplir le contrat, la Marine nationale a, malgré tout, été contrainte de faire ce que les militaires redoutaient depuis longtemps en raison des baisses d'effectifs : Des choix, parfois difficiles. Il a, ainsi, fallu renoncer à maintenir le niveau d'engagement en océan Indien, en réduisant de moitié la présence aéromaritime dans une région où, pourtant, les intérêts stratégiques sont bien réels (protection des approvisionnements, lutte contre le terrorisme, les trafics et la piraterie...) En Méditerranée, la moitié des opérations prévues de lutte contre trafiquant de drogue ont été annulées, faute de moyen. Et, en jouant les équilibristes avec le planning des patrouilles des sous-marins nucléaires lanceurs d'engins, basés à Brest, il a également fallu renoncer à déployer un SNA en Atlantique.
En somme, la marine est parvenue à réaliser un remarquable tour de force, en jouant très finement avec la disponibilité des matériels (des pièces ont notamment été échangées entre navires au fur et à mesure), au prix de quelques sacrifices et évidemment d'un engagement total de ses unités, le personnel devant être le premier à en recevoir les lauriers. Mais cette situation démontre également la limite des réductions de format, d'autant qu'après le coup de feu, le gros de la flotte est cloué à quai pour d'indispensables périodes de maintenance, parfois retardées en raison des opérations. Sans compter la nécessité de « régénérer le potentiel humain », comme on dit chez les militaires, c'est-à-dire notamment rattraper le retard pris dans la formation de personnels, par exemple chez les pilotes.

Rafale et Super Etendard sur le Charles de Gaulle (© : MARINE NATIONALE)

L'irréductible format

En définitive, peu de forces armées, et pas seulement en France, peuvent se targuer d'avoir proportionnellement engagé autant de moyens. Mais ce « cocorico » pour la Marine nationale n'est pas sans susciter quelques questions quant au format actuel de la flotte, dans un monde ou les enjeux maritimes ne cessent de croître. Depuis la chute du mur de Berlin, les effectifs n'ont cessé de diminuer et, à chaque coup de rabot budgétaire, la marine, pourtant considérée par les financiers de l'Etat comme « la bonne élève » des armées en matière de rationalisation, est priée de faire des efforts supplémentaires, comme ses camarades de Terre et de l'Air. Régulièrement, les marins ont pourtant fait savoir qu'il n'y avait « plus de gras ». Or, s'il est sans doute toujours possible de réaliser quelques économies ici et là, pour l'essentiel, 2011 aura démontré que la marine a bel et bien rongé ses réserves « jusqu'à l'os ».

Le groupe aéronaval (© : MARINE NATIONALE)

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9 novembre 2011 3 09 /11 /novembre /2011 19:20



9 November 2011 naval-technology.com


Interocean American Shipping will be awarded a firm-fixed-price contract by the US Military Sealift Command for the operation and maintenance of the Sea-Based X-Band Radar platform (SBX-1).


The $28.18m contract includes four one-year option periods which, if exercised, will bring the cumulative value of the contract to $165.2m.


The SBX-1 radar, to be deployed to the Pacific Ocean, provides ballistic missile-tracking and countermeasures information to the ground-based midcourse defence system (GMD) for interceptor missiles.


Work will be carried out at sea, with completion to take place by September 2012.

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9 novembre 2011 3 09 /11 /novembre /2011 19:15
ThalesRaytheonSystems to upgrade Nato missile defence

9 November 2011 airforce-technology.com


ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS) has been awarded a contract by the Nato Air Command and Control System Management Agency to upgrade its Interim Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence Capability.


Under the contract, the company will upgrade the operational hardware and software of the missile defence as per Nato's air command and control system (ACCS) configuration.


The contract is in support of Nato active layered theatre ballistic missile defence (ALTBMD) programme, which will form the basis of an interim territorial ballistic missile defence capability.


ALTBMD programme manager Alessandro Pera and ACCS programme director Bernard Garot said the upgrade will provide the Nato commander with a new critical capability to perform ballistic missile defence missions.


Work will be implemented in the Nato command and control network within the next six months.

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9 novembre 2011 3 09 /11 /novembre /2011 07:30



NH90 en version TTH



09/11/2011 MER et MARINE


Le programme NH90 vient de franchir une étape majeure avec l'obtention de la déclaration de conformité de la configuration opérationnelle finale (FOC) de l'hélicoptère dans sa version de transport tactique (TTH). Point final du développement du NH90 TTH, cette déclaration de conformité permet à Eurocopter de procéder avant la fin de l'année aux premières livraisons de l'appareil dans sa configuration entièrement opérationnelle. « Cette étape marque la réalisation la plus importante de la vie du programme NH90. Cet appareil, le plus moderne de sa catégorie et le plus important programme d'hélicoptère militaire jamais lancé en Europe, offre désormais l'ensemble de ses capacités opérationnelles aux forces armées. La finalisation du processus de conformité confirme que cet hélicoptère multi-rôles répond aux spécifications et aux exigences opérationnelles de ses clients fondateurs », se félicite Lutz Bertling, président d'Eurocopter, l'une des sociétés membre du consortium NH Industries, portant le programme.

La déclaration de conformité a été délivrée par l'agence de gestion de l'hélicoptère OTAN (NAHEMA), chargée de gérer l'acquisition du NH90 pour le compte des pays participants au programme. Grâce au feu vert délivré par la NAHEMA, le premier NH90 TTH en configuration opérationnelle finale va être livré à l'armée française. Les forces italiennes, belges et allemandes prendront livraison de leurs premiers appareils à partir de 2012.


Au sein de l'Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre (ALAT), le NH90, baptisé Caïman en France, pourra remplir des missions de logistique et transport utilitaire, recherche et sauvetage au combat (RESCO), évacuation sanitaire, guerre électronique, opérations spéciales et lutte anti-terrorisme. En dehors de des opérations menées depuis des bases terrestres, il pourra également être déployé sur des unités de la Marine nationale, comme les bâtiments de projection et de commandement, spécialement conçus pour accueillir les nouvelles machines de l'armée de Terre (Tigre, Caïman). On rappellera que l'aéronautique navale va disposer d'une version dérivée, le Caïman Marine (ou NH90 NFH pour Nato Frigate Helicopter). En tout, 27 hélicoptères de ce type sont prévus pour remplacer les Super Frelon et Lynx, notamment pour les missions de transport, de lutte anti-sous-marine et de lutte antinavire. La mise en service opérationnelle du Caïman Marine doit être prononcée le mois prochain (on parle du 8 décembre) et interviendra en même temps que la réactivation à Lanvéoc-Poulmic de la flottille 31F, première à être dotée de cette nouvelle machine.

Caïman Marine sur le BPC Tonnerre (© : MARINE NATIONALE)

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8 novembre 2011 2 08 /11 /novembre /2011 08:10
Germany to Decide on UAS Purchase in 2012


Nov 7, 2011 By Sabine Siebold and Sarah Marsh/Reuters -  AviationWeek.com


BERLIN - Germany will decide next year which drones to purchase for its Bundeswehr military forces, a senior defense source told Reuters, which suggests it is refusing to bow to pressure from EADS for a quick decision to order its Talarion product.


The source said the Bundeswehr would continue leasing Israeli Heron drones until 2014. It could decide to order the EADS Talarion drones but could also opt for another model already available on the market and with a proven track record, the source added.


A separate source familiar with the matter said last week EADS was pushing for a quick decision from Germany on ordering Talarion drones and offering to waive penalties for a cut to orders for the Eurofighter jet if it did so.


EADS has spent years developing the Talarion unmanned aerial vehicle at its own expense in the hope of winning an order from the project’s instigators France, Germany and Spain. Yet the Talarion will likely only be operational from 2018.

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7 novembre 2011 1 07 /11 /novembre /2011 20:20



Le sous-marin nucléaire d'attaque (SNA), "Casabianca", au large de Toulon, en octobre 2009.AFP/MARTIN BUREAU


07.11.11 LEMONDE - Nathalie Guibert


Tous les moyens auront été mis en oeuvre par l'exécutif français pour que l'opération militaire en Libye soit une réussite. Paris a ainsi successivement déployé quatre sous-marins nucléaires d'attaque (SNA) sur ce théâtre, dont l'un a effectué deux passages. En plus de tous ses avions de combat disponibles, son porte-avions, ses deux bâtiments de commandement porte-hélicoptères et ses forces spéciales au sol.


Les SNA ont été engagés durant huit mois, soit avant le feu vert de l'ONU pour l'intervention aérienne. Le premier est parti dès la fin février collecter le renseignement préalable à la décision de lancer les premières frappes sur les colonnes kadhafistes à Benghazi, le 19 mars.


Les discussions entre chefs d'état-major de la marine britannique et français ont commencé elles aussi un mois avant le début de l'opération, pour répartir les zones d'intervention respectives : en langage de sous-mariniers, "pour que chacun puisse avoir de l'eau". Conservant un commandement national sur ses moyens stratégiques, "la France a pu faire ce qu'elle voulait" dans l'opération "Unified Protector" de l'OTAN, note un officier sous-marinier. Elle fut le seul membre de la coalition à décider de maintenir ce moyen tout du long.


Les sous-marins nucléaires américains et les britanniques ont joué un rôle essentiel les premiers jours pour lancer les missiles Tomahawk qui ont neutralisé les défenses antiaériennes libyennes. Turquie, Italie, Espagne ont ensuite ponctuellement déployé des sous-marins classiques pour des missions de surveillance.


Le SNA qui est parti le premier vient de rentrer à Toulon, après avoir également clos l'opération le 25 octobre. En "précurseur", il a balayé toute la côte libyenne. "Il s'agissait simplement de savoir ce qui se passait : quelle était l'intensité des combats et la valeur opérationnelle des camps en présence, explique le commandant L., que Le Monde a rencontré le 4 novembre. Quand nous sommes arrivés, nous avons vu que les mouvements de pétroliers avaient cessé autour des terminaux côtiers, qu'il n'y avait plus aucune activité de pêche, notamment dans le golfe de Syrte, fermé par une "death line" par le colonel Mouammar Kadhafi."


Les yeux du conflit


Le jour suivant le vote de la résolution de l'ONU, le sous-marin a assisté au changement immédiat d'attitude des forces kadhafistes : "Elles ont arrêté de faire voler leurs avions et de faire sortir leurs bateaux, et ont mis en place leur défense antiaérienne." Le Guide libyen avait pris la mesure de ce qui s'annonçait.


En revenant sur le théâtre mi-juillet, le même SNA a cette fois préparé l'intervention des hélicoptères français. Habituellement, le sous-marin chasse seul. "Une telle intégration en soutien des frappes des hélicoptères de l'aviation légère de l'armée de terre, c'est sans précédent", souligne le commandant H. Tirs d'artillerie, feux d'artifices, activités portuaires, déplacements humains : "Nous avons pu détecter le soulèvement de Tripoli", ajoute le commandant H. Avec une frégate britannique, le SNA est alors le seul bateau en mer devant la capitale libyenne.


Maîtres du littoral, les sous-marins ont été les yeux du conflit. "Cela a pallié l'absence de troupes au sol", commente le commandant H. Ils ont aussi contrôlé les ports, neutralisant la marine du colonel Kadhafi. La seule menace qui a persisté était celle des bateaux-suicides et des mines ; elle a finalement été très limitée, sans que l'on sache vraiment pourquoi. "Ils auraient pu faire très mal", ajoute l'officier français, sachant qu'en surface, une quarantaine de bateaux de la coalition encombraient les côtes sans vraie coordination.


Les équipages n'avaient pas connu une telle mission de guerre depuis le Kosovo. Elle s'est déroulée en immersion périscopique, position de faible profondeur la plus délicate pour le sous-marin. Pour ses hommes, ce fut une guerre en direct et à distance. "Vous êtes face à un territoire sur lequel les gens s'entre-tuent. Vous les voyez." En l'absence de troupes au sol, une étrange impression de "spectateur".


Le général Paloméros souligne le manque de drones


L'étendue du territoire libyen a poussé l'armée de l'air française, dès le début de l'intervention, à mener des opérations "dans la profondeur", au-dessus des bastions kadhafistes du sud du pays et des routes d'approvisionnement du régime. Les chasseurs ont conduit de nombreuses missions de renseignement dans ces régions, a confirmé, le 3 novembre, le général Jean-Paul Paloméros, chef d'état-major. Celui-ci est satisfait d'avoir vu ses avions "voler sans discontinuer du 19 mars au 25 octobre". Mais il regrette de ne pas avoir pu déployer de drones de moyenne altitude et longue endurance (MALE), la France n'en ayant que trois exemplaires : "Si on avait eu plus de drones, on aurait pu mieux savoir, ce qui est mieux pouvoir." Tandis que les Américains déploient des bases de drones en Afrique, les 16 drones prévus dans la loi de programmation 2003-2008, jamais acquis, manquent : "Cette capacité est indispensable", affirme le général, qui demande "20 drones pour 2020".

Article paru dans l'édition du 08.11.11

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7 novembre 2011 1 07 /11 /novembre /2011 20:00
Trends in Military Buildup in the Middle East

Russian-built T-90s will be plowing the sands of Algeria, Saudi Arabia.


November 7, 2011 By Yiftah S. Shapir / Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) – defpro.com


INSS: The Middle East continues to be a major market for weapons


The shockwaves that have swept through the Middle East since December 2010 were primarily oriented toward internal issues, and for the most part did not deal with inter-state conflicts. Consequently, to date there has been no essential change in inter-state relations, even if in some cases there was increased intervention by one state in the affairs of another. Nonetheless, some armed forces began to disintegrate in the course of the clashes with the protestors; the armed forces of Libya and Yemen, for example, were divided between loyalists and rebels. The Syrian military did not disintegrate, but there were many reports of desertions of officers and soldiers who refused to take part in suppressing the uprising. Other than in these instances, the militaries of the region retained their primary frameworks.


At the same time, the socio-political shockwaves may well spark political changes in states that have hitherto appeared stable. Both new and veteran regimes will be called on to revamp economic agendas in order to quell mass popular protests. As a result, it is possible that in many states economic reforms will reduce the resources available for military acquisition. Nonetheless, in light of the ongoing regional tensions and conflicts, the region’s armed forces will likely try to continue the trends in buildup that have been evident in recent years.





The Egyptian military played an important role during the civil unrest that erupted in January 2011 and removed President Husni Mubark from power. Many prominent politicians in Egypt have been members of the armed forces. Indeed, the close ties between the military and the political establishment help explain the military’s interest in preserving the foundations of the existing order, even while it supported Mubarak’s removal from the presidency. During the demonstrations in January- February 2011, the Egyptian military labored to dispel the tension and avoided violence as much as possible. It ultimately helped the popular movement oust President Mubarak, even though Mubarak was of military background himself. The army was not damaged by the upheaval in Egypt, and through the Supreme Military Council and the transitional government that was appointed, it is administering the affairs of state until a new leadership is elected. The Council does not aspire to establish a military dictatorship in Egypt.



Inspired by the events in Tunisia and Egypt, civil unrest erupted in Libya in mid February 2011. The Libyan security forces reacted harshly and the events escalated rapidly. Forces loyal to Qaddafi’s regime used live ammunition against protesters, and the unrest turned into a full scale rebellion. Rebels in the eastern region stormed military installations and seized weapons, and other points of unrest erupted in tribal areas in the mountains off the western coast of Libya, near the border with Tunisia. The rebels in the eastern provinces set up the interim Transitional National Council (TNC), which was recognized by some foreign governments as a legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Some military commanders and their units joined the rebels, which enabled the popular forces to advance westwards through the country. However, the regular army largely remained loyal to Qaddafi and managed to recapture some of the towns from the rebels’ and advance towards Benghazi, using artillery and air strikes against the rebels, even in populated areas.


On March 17 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, which imposed a no-fly zone over Libya – in part to protect the local population from attacks by the army – and authorized use of force to enforce the zone, as well as to defend the civilian population. Air strikes by coalition forces began on March 19 within the framework of Operation Unified Protector and targeted Libyan air defense and air bases, as well as command and control and logistics installations. On March 31 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) took control over the military operations in Libya, and on June 1 NATO announced that it was extending the operation for an additional 90 days. The foreign intervention did not include any land forces, although assistance to the rebels included the positioning of French and Italian military advisors, who dealt mostly with training and assisting the rebels’ logistics and command and control. Forces loyal to the TNC are equipped with light weapons, as well as single and multiple rocket launchers, some of them improvised. Although the arms embargo on Libya is still in effect, some NATO and Arab states began to supply arms to the rebels. Overall, however, the rebels lack organization, discipline, and adequate training.


The NATO air strikes comprised thousands of sorties, including combat sorties, and have caused much damage to the Libyan military. Most of the Libyan air force has almost certainly been destroyed, as well as a substantial part of the air defense and the regular army’s infrastructure. The air strikes enabled the rebels to withstand the advance by Qaddafi’s forces and achieve a victory in the military campaign. Nevertheless, Libya’s political future remains unclear, and consequently, the ramifications for the military are uncertain.



Civil unrest in Syria began in early February with small scale demonstrations in a number of cities. On March 18 a large scale demonstration in Dar’a, in southern Syria, was met by live fire from the security services, and a number of demonstrators were killed. The following day their funerals turned into a large demonstration against the regime of Bashar al-Asad. Since then demonstrations have been held in many cities throughout Syria, and the regime has responded with heavy handed repression. Beginning in June 2011, several cities in Syria were placed under military siege.


In its effort to counter the demonstrators, the regime has employed mostly its internal security forces, and in some cases, military units – usually the Republican Guard and the 4th division, commanded by Maher al-Asad, Bashar’s younger brother. The soldiers in these units are primarily Alawite, the ethnic community of the Asad family. There have been some Reports of desertion, as well as report of offricers who were killed following be determined from the limited available information, the armed forces have not been seriously affected by the domestic unrest. The strength of the army, which relies on the Alawite minority, explains the ability of the regime to retain its power over many months of violent demonstrations. The question remains how long the regime will be able to keep the army, which comprises mostly Sunnis, distanced from the domestic grievances, and as such, guarantee its loyalty to the regime.



At the same time that protests began in Libya and Syria, Yemen too experienced civil unrest. Although the early demonstrations were relatively quiet, in the months that followed the violence between military forces and demonstrators escalated as opposition parties demanded the removal of President Ali Saleh. Mediation attempts by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were unsuccessful. Meanwhile Saleh began to gradually lose his power base, and some of his long time allies and supporters, including a number of generals, defected. Tribes loyal to Saleh’s regime likewise withdrew their support.


Yemen’s military forces are divided between those remaining loyal to Saleh and those supporting the opposition. The country’s civil unrest should be seen in the context of the fragmented Yemenite society divided between the north and the south (which were two separate states until 1990), and between Sunni and Zaidi Muslims, with each group subdivided into competing tribes and competing clans within each tribe. It is possible that the continued weakness of the central government will lead to the repartition of the country into North and South Yemen, or perhaps to total anarchy. Meantime, al-Qaeda and separatist militias are exploiting this civil conflict to take control over different areas in the state.




The Gulf states were mostly spared the internal strife of other Arab states, although some regimes were propelled to try to quiet the unrest, out of fear that it would spill over to their territory. The popular uprising in Bahrain, for example, threatened the regime and pitted the Sunni royal family against the Shiite majority. The uprising in Bahrain was seen as a severe threat to other Gulf monarchies, especially since it was perceived as an Iranian sponsored revolt. At the Bahraini government’s request, the Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, sent military forces to help the Bahraini royal family suppress the revolt.


Another interesting development was the decision by both Qatar and the UAE to take an active role in the international effort in Libya. Both countries sent combat aircraft to Italy, where they joined NATO’s Operation Unified Protector over Libya’s air space. This reflected the two countries’ desire to assume a higher profile in the world affairs than would be expected from their size and location.




Since arms deals are processes that proceed slowly, trends in arms acquisitions presented in previous recent INSS annual publications are still valid. These include: acquisitions of the most advanced and sophisticated weapon systems, primarily by oil-rich countries; efforts to develop indigenous military industries; and reduction of expenses by upgrading older weapon systems rather than purchasing new ones. The countries in the region with limited monetary resources that do not receive defense assistance from the US cannot compete in the advanced weaponry market. Instead, they tend to adopt asymmetrical approaches that enable them to counter the technological advantages of their rivals. They rely on guerilla warfare and terrorism on the one hand, and on the other hand, on strategic capability offered by ballistic missiles, artillery rockets, and weapons of mass destruction. Non-state actors such as Hizbollah and Hamas continue to develop semi-regular military forces with large inventories of artillery rockets, as well as anti-tank and anti-aircraft capabilities.


The US remains the biggest weapons supplier to the region. Russia has also made attempts to extend its market share in the region, but so far with limited success. Other important players are key European Union countries, particularly France and the UK. In addition, indigenous military industries play an important role in some states in the region. Israel and Turkey operate the most advanced industries, while the UAE is investing extensive resources to build its own military industry. Iran too aims to be as autonomous as possible in its weapons production, although its industry’s actual capability is far smaller than what is officially declared.


What follows is a concise review of the leading recent developments in some of the region’s countries.



Algeria is in the midst of a massive military expansion. At the heart of this expansion is a large weapons deal with Russia (approximately $8 billion). Within the framework of this arms deal Algeria received 180 T-90 tank and 28 Su-30MKA combat aircraft. The first batches of these aircraft arrived in 2007 and are already operational. Recently Algeria signed a further contract for additional Su-30. Algeria received two Il-78 refueling aircraft and its air defense forces received some Tunguska and Pantsyr point defense systems, although no heavy systems, such as the S-300 PMU-2, arrived. Aside from the Russian deal, Algeria signed a large deal for some 30 utility helicopters of several types from Italy. This deal follows a previous deal for ten helicopters that were already supplied.


The Algerian navy received two Type 636 submarines, but there is no news regarding its intention to acquire four frigates. This deal is still under negotiations with potential suppliers in France, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain. Meanwhile Algeria began taking deliveries of its FPB-98 small patrol boats from France.


Another significant development was the launch of Algeria’s first satellite with some military capabilities: the ALSAT-2A. This satellite carries a multi-spectral camera with resolution of 2.5m, manufactured by EADS Astrium. A second satellite is being assembled in Algeria.



Egypt, like Israel, benefits from ongoing American defense aid and receives $1.3 billion a year. An agreement signed in 2007 ensures Egypt continued aid at least until 2018, which enables Egypt to purchase American-made weapons without having to worry about economic difficulties. The future regime in Egypt will likely make efforts to maintain this aid, and therefore Egypt’s armament programs will not change course abruptly.


Egypt, which already boasts a substantial fleet of 217 F-16s, has ordered 20 more of these multi-role combat aircraft for $3.2 billion. Apart from this deal, Egypt’s primary deals in recent years have included AH-64D Apache attack helicopters (though the acquisition of the Longbow radar system for these helicopters has not yet been approved) and additional M1A1 Abrams tanks. These tanks are bought as kits for assembly in Egypt. Since starting to purchase these tanks, the Egyptian defense industry has assembled 880 tanks, and the new transaction, now underway, includes an additional 125 tanks.


Egypt also buys weapons from other sources, finances permitting. It is negotiating with Germany to buy Type 214 submarines (a model quite similar to the Israeli Dolphin class submarines). It maintains military contacts with Russia and other former Soviet Union countries – both for the upgrade of its aging Soviet era weapons (such as the recent upgrade of APCs in the Ukraine), and for acquisition of new weapon systems – such as the recent acquisition from Russia of Strelets point defense SAMs. In addition, the Egyptian navy has a standing order for four fast missile patrol beats from the US, the first of which is scheduled to be delivered in mid 2012.



Iran is in the midst of a long process of rearming its military, although reliable weapons suppliers are scarce because of the Security Council sanctions in force. Hopes for large arms deal with Russia were shelved as Russia, in light of the sanctions, officially declined to supply Iran with S-300 air defense systems ordered (and paid for) by Iran.


Iran continues to arm itself with locally produced arms, mainly missiles and rockets. In the field of long range ballistic missiles, Iran has made progress on two tracks: in the first track, Iran based its efforts on liquid fueled missiles, such as the Shehab-3. On the basis of this technology Iran developed the Safir-e-Omid satellite launcher, a two stage missile that launched the Kavoshgar research capsule and the Omid satellite in February 2009. A further development in the same direction was the heavy satellite launcher Simorgh, which was displayed in public but not yet tested. Another development in this direction was the Qiam-1 missile, test-launched in August 2010, probably to test new guidance and control systems. In the second track, Iran is also developing a two stage solid fuel powered surface-to-surface missile intended to reach a range of up to 2000 km. This missile, alternatively known as Ghadr, Sejjil, or Ashura was tested for the first time in November 2007 (and again in May and December 2009 – and possibly in early 2011 as well). These missiles will likely become operational within a few years.


It is harder to estimate Iran’s true R&D and production capabilities in other fields. The Iran media report regularly about the development of innovative weapon systems – tanks, armored personnel carriers, fighter planes, helicopters, various missiles (sea-to-sea, air-to-air, air-to-ground, surface-to-air), and more – but it is difficult to distinguish between propaganda and actual progress. For example, only recently the Iranian media reported on new precision guided munitions for combat aircraft and helicopters, new air defense systems, and new versions of coastal defense missiles, as well as the construction of a new destroyer and mini submarines. It does not seem that Iran is in fact capable of producing all the types and models it professes to produce in significant quantities. Iran is certainly capable of producing several models of artillery rockets and perhaps some anti-tank and sea-to-sea missiles (based on Russian and Chinese designs). However there is no evidence, for example, that Iran is producing fighter planes with real capabilities of engaging in a modern battle, although it claims to have this capability.



The process of rebuilding the Iraqi military is taking longer than expected, and has been accompanied by a host of problems, including the lack of suitable personnel and graft and corruption connected to questionable arms deals. In purchasing, the Iraqi army is mostly engaged in basic outfitting of a military force. However, investment in rebuilding the army will also be complicated by the withdrawal of the remaining US forces, which have thus far guaranteed the day to day security of the country.


Sources for arms acquisitions are varied. The US supplied Iraq with its first M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, APCs, T-6A training aircraft, helicopters, and fast patrol boats. France supplied helicopters; Ukraine supplied APCs; Russia supplied Mi-17 helicopters, and Serbia supplied more training aircraft. The Iraqi government also announced its intention to procure F-16 combat aircraft, but no contracts have yet been signed.



Israel’s military buildup occurs according to a multiyear plan, based in part on a fixed sum of annual American aid. Accordingly, Israel’s rearmament is a fairly continuous process that does not portend any unexpected reversals, and is also less affected by changes in the global or local economic situation than are acquisitions programs in other countries.


The US military aid to Israel for 2011 is in the amount of $3 billion. This sum is intended almost entirely for military buildup. On top of this, Israel receives $440 million for its various ballistic missile defense programs such as the Arrow-3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome. On the basis of an agreement reached with the US in August 2007, this aid is slated to increase gradually and in the decade ending in 2018 will total $30 billion.


After the Second Lebanon War (2006), the IDF invested heavily in restocking weapons and munitions, with an emphasis on procurement of large quantities of modern types of munitions for the air force, such as the GBU-39 small diameter bombs and GPS-guided JDAM bombs. As for new large arms deals, Israel announced its intention to equip its air force with F-35 planes in the coming decade. There are still numerous obstacles to the deal at the moment, mostly because the F-35 program itself suffers from delays and runoffs. The price of a single unit is rising as delays accumulate, and is now estimated at over $130 million. Recent reports spoke of further delays that pushed the possible date of delivery to 2018. Other possible hurdles are Israel’s demands to access the aircraft’s software codes, as well as the ability to install Israeli-made systems – requests that have not been granted.


The Israeli air force ordered three advanced C-130J transport aircraft – with the intention to eventually buy up to nine of these aircraft, estimated at $1.9 billion. The air force has also retired its Tzukit training planes after more than 50 years of service and replaced them with the US-made Beechcraft T-6A Texan II, which received the name Efroni (“lark”) in the IAF. In addition, the Israeli navy ordered two more Dolphin class submarines, which are being constructed in Germany, and is negotiating purchase of a third submarine (which will be Israel’s sixth such submarine).


In many areas Israel is rearming with locally produced arms. Recent emphasis has been on development and production of active anti-ballistic missile defense systems and anti-rocket defense systems. Israel ordered more Arrow batteries on top of the two operational batteries it already deploys. At the same time the entire Arrow project is undergoing a process of upgrading to help it achieve greater success in handling the long range missile threat from Iran. Similarly, Israel is investing in two additional active defense systems. The first is David’s Sling, meant to provide defense against rockets and short range ballistic missiles with a range of 40-200 km (particularly heavy rockets of the kind fired from Lebanon in 2006). The second is Iron Dome, meant to defend against shorter range rockets and missiles such as the Qassams and Grads fired both from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. David’s Sling is scheduled to finish the development stage in 2012, while Iron Dome is already operational and has scored its first successful intercept.


Israel is still leading the region in space assets, with the Ofeq-9 and TECHSAR reconnaissance satellites in orbit, as well as the Amos-3 communication satellite. Preparations for the launch of an advanced reconnaissance satellite and another communication satellite (the Amos-4) are underway. In the area of UAVs, Israel likewise has little competition. Recently the air force deployed the new Heron and Heron TP (called by the IAF Shoval and Eitan, respectively) long endurance UAVs, capable of loitering in the air for extended missions – over 40 hours long – for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering missions. Side by side with the larger UAVs, IDF units are being equipped with the Skylark – mini UAVs, made by Elbit. These are small, quiet, and easily operated systems, carried by soldiers in combat units for the purpose of intelligence gathering from “the other side of the hill” at short distances (up to 10 km). Recently the Skylark I LE, with somewhat extended endurance, was chosen as the model for additional military units.


Finally, Israel has expanded its acquisition of indigenously produced weapon systems for the ground forces. One of the lessons of the Second Lebanon War led to the military starting to equip itself with the Namer IFV, based on the hull of the Merkava MBT. In addition, both the Merkava Mk IV and the Namer are being equipped with active defense systems. The Trophy system installed on the Merkava Mk IV MBTs has already scored Its first intercept.



Morocco is yet another country in the region that has undergone a substantial military buildup in recent years. After long and heated competition between suppliers, the Moroccan air force decided to procure 24 F-16 multi-role combat aircraft. These aircraft have apparently already been supplied. In addition, the Moroccan air force procured 24 T-6A Texan II trainers (12 of which have already been supplied), as well as four C-27J transport planes.


The Moroccan navy became the first export customer for the new French made FREMM frigates when it signed a deal for one such frigate, which is now being constructed in France.



When the deal was signed in 2007, Saudi Arabia’s acquisition of 72 Typhoons from the UK, at an estimated cost of $7.9 billion, was the most impressive deal in the Middle East. At the same time, Saudi Arabia also ordered upgrades for its Tornado and for its F-15S combat aircraft. Other major deals that exceeded the Typhoon deal have since followed. Another major deal, signed in mid 2009, involves an upgrade to the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG). The contract, worth some $2.2 billion, is for the acquisition of different types of combat armored vehicles. The upgrade program is typically divided between the US and France, from which SANG ordered new artillery pieces.


Additional arms orders include more M1A2 tanks from the US, as well as upgrades for existing tanks – a transaction of some $3 billion. This project also includes setting up a large facility that will assemble the tanks in the kingdom. In late 2010 the US administration approved further sales valued at $60 billion. These include the sale of 84 new F-15S combat aircraft, as well as upgrade of the existing F-15S in Saudi inventory, and hundreds of helicopters – AH-64D Apache attack helicopters and UH- 60 M Black Hawk utility helicopters, as well as light reconnaissance helicopters – for the Saudi land forces and for the Saudi National Guard. These authorizations have yet to be turned into actual contracts but they are indicative of Saudi intentions, as well as US willingness to support the country.



The UAE armed forces are among the military forces that have grown most intensively. The UAE, like other Gulf States, prefers to deal with a variety of vendors and buys primarily from the US and France. The UAE beefed up its air force with 63 Mirage 2000-9 planes from France and 80 F-16E/F planes, a model developed specifically for the Emirates, and the country has continued to procure equipment for the air force, navy, and air defense forces. It signed a deal to upgrade the 30 Apache helicopters to the AH-64D model, and ordered three Airbus A330 refueling aircraft. More recently it ordered twelve C-130J tactical transport aircraft as well as six C-17 Globemaster strategic transport aircraft.


The Baynunah ships project has been underway for several years. These corvettes were designed in France, and the first of them is being built by the CMN shipyard in Cherbourg, France. The rest are constructed in Abu Dhabi by ADSB. Despite the French design and local manufacture, some of the armaments will actually be American-made. Thus, for example, the UAE has ordered RAM missiles from Raytheon Corporation to defend the ships against cruise missiles.


The UAE is investing heavily in air defense systems and ballistic missile defense systems that will be supplied in the coming years in different deals estimated at some $9 billion. In the realm of air defense, the UAE was scheduled to receive the Russian-made Pantsyr S-1 systems, short range mobile air defense systems developed in Russia at the UAE’s request and with its funding. It will also include in the short term upgrades for the Patriot missile batteries it already has and purchases of the PAC-3 interceptors (for ballistic missile interception) for these batteries. In the longer run it will include the purchase from the US of THAAD dedicated anti-ballistic missile defense systems. The value of this transaction is estimated at about $7 billion.




Middle East arms acquisitions are dominated by Persian Gulf markets, as these states perceive a growing threat from Iran’s drive toward regional hegemony. The fact that all the countries along the coast of the Gulf procured and deployed Patriot SAM batteries with added capabilities against ballistic missiles testifies to the severity of the threat they perceive. Iraq is investing large amounts of money to rebuild its military from scratch, while Iran, unable to acquire weapons in the open markets is relying mostly on its indigenous industry. The Arab Maghreb is also arming itself. Algeria is absorbing its acquisitions from Russia and from Europe, while Morocco is making an effort and stretches its limited resources to renew its military with acquisitions in the US and Europe.


Israel continues to implement the lessons of the Second Lebanon War (2006) and Operation Cast Lead (2008-9). It continues to buy advanced fighter jets and surveillance and early warning planes and expand its satellite capabilities. At the same time, it has accelerated the rate of outfitting the military with anti-rocket systems and with better protected armored personnel carriers and tanks.


As a result of the recent developments in the region, most of the Arab states that are not monarchies are undergoing changes. In some cases these changes have already affected the command structure and the military forces (e.g., in Libya, Syria, and Yemen), and are expected to affect existing and future programs (e.g., in Egypt). Yet the uprising in many Arab states notwithstanding, the Middle East continues to be a major market for weapons, and of late there have been no substantial changes in the main trends of arms procurements. [...] States with financing capabilities will continue to arm themselves with precision guided weapon systems, aerial warning systems, and intelligence. At the same time, the threats of guerilla warfare and terrorism originating in the region and in neighboring countries will increase the importance of arms dedicated to fighting terrorism, defending against rockets and missiles, and protecting population centers.





(First published in INSS’ 2011 Edition of its “Strategic Survey for Israel”, which can be viewed in full at http://goo.gl/xg1W2)

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7 novembre 2011 1 07 /11 /novembre /2011 18:15



Le Charles de Gaulle et la Meuse



07/11/2011 MER et MARINE


L'Etat-major des Armées a dressé un bilan final de l'intervention militaire française en Libye, qui s'est déroulée du 17 mars au 31 octobre dans le cadre de l'opération Harmattan. Au plus fort de la crise, 4200 militaires français ont été engagés pour mettre en oeuvre, simultanément, plus de 40 avions, une vingtaine hélicoptères, ainsi qu'une dizaine de bâtiments de combat et de soutien, dont le porte-avions Charles de Gaulle et un bâtiment de projection et de commandement (BPC). Sur mer, pas moins de 27 navires de la Marine nationale se sont succédés au large de la Libye pour assurer la permanence des opérations maritimes. Ainsi, ont notamment été engagés le Charles de Gaulle, les BPC Mistral et Tonnerre, les frégates de défense aérienne Forbin, Chevalier Paul, Cassard et Jean-Bart, les frégates anti-sous-marines Georges Leygues, Dupleix, Montcalm et Jean-de-Vienne, les frégates furtives Courbet, Guépratte et Aconit, les avisos Lieutenant de Vaisseau Le Hénaff, Lieutenant de Vaisseau Lavallée et Commandant Birot, les pétroliers-ravitailleurs Meuse et Marne, ainsi que plusieurs sous-marins nucléaires d'attaque. Cela représente l'essentiel des moyens toulonnais de la Force d'Action Navale. Durant plus de 1500 jours de mer, les marins français ont assuré les frappes contre terre (3000 obus pour 85 engagements) et la protection de la voie d'accès maritime de Misratah pour sécuriser l'acheminement de l'aide humanitaire. A ce titre, ils ont notamment repoussé des raids nautiques et empêché des opérations de minage conduites par les forces fidèles au colonel Kadhafi.

Les frégates Forbin et Jean de Vienne (© : MARINE NATIONALE)

Ravitaillement en vol d'un Rafale (© : EMA)

Dans les airs, les avions de combat de l'armée de l'Air et de la Marine nationale déployés depuis le porte-avions Charles de Gaulle, les bases françaises et les bases de La Sude en Crête et de Sigonella en Sicile, totalisent plus de 27.000 heures de vol et environ 5600 sorties : 3100 sorties offensives, 1200 sorties de reconnaissance, 400 sorties de défense aérienne, 340 sorties de contrôle aérien et 580 sorties de ravitaillement. Au cours de ces sorties, un millier d'objectifs a été détruit. Cela représente 25% des sorties de la coalition, 35 % des missions offensives et 20% des attaques au sol.
Le groupe aéromobile (GAM) embarqué sur BPC, avec notamment les hélicoptères Tigre et Gazelle de l'aviation légère de l'armée de Terre (ALAT), a réalisé quant à lui une quarantaine de raids au cours desquels 450 objectifs ont été détruits. Le GAM a, ainsi, effectué 90% des frappes par hélicoptères de la coalition, le reste revenant aux Apache britanniques embarqués sur le porte-hélicoptères HMS Ocean.
On notera qu'en marge du G20, les présidents Sarkozy et Obama ont passé en revue vendredi, à Cannes, des troupes françaises et américaines, rendant hommage aux militaires ayant participé aux opérations en Libye.

Nicolas Sarkozy et Barack Obama lors de la cérémonie du 4 novembre à Cannes (© : US NAVY)

Le Mistral et le HMS Ocean (© : EMA)

Le GAM sur un BPC (© : EMA)

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6 novembre 2011 7 06 /11 /novembre /2011 17:45



06.11.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


Le drapeau du 2e Rima va-t-il accueillir une nouvelle décoration? Son drapeau est déjà décoré de la Légion d'honneur, de la croix de la Libération, de la croix de guerre 14-18 avec 4 palmes, de la croix de guerre 39-45 avec 2 palmes, de la fourragère aux couleurs du ruban de la médaille militaire avec olives aux couleurs des croix de guerre 14-18 et 39-45 et depuis le 18 juin 1996 à celle aux couleurs de la croix de l'ordre de la Libération.


Le régiment sarthois va être décoré d'une croix de la Valeur militaire (au titre de l'Afghanistan) qui serait remise dans les semaines qui viennent (novembre ou décembre). A Champagné, on reste très discret sur cette éventuelle mesure. Le régiment prépare, pour le 9 novembre, une cérémonie du souvenir qui va associer les militaires d'active et l'amicale du 2e Rima.


Une croix de la Valeur militaire? A la différence des croix de guerre, aucune unité n'a reçu de VM. Les conditions d'attribution devaient donc être modifiées puisque le décret 56-1048 qui instaure cette décoration précise que la "croix dite de la Valeur militaire (est) destinée à distinguer individuellement les personnels de la défense, civils et militaires, ayant accompli une action d'éclat, hors du territoire national, au cours ou à l'occasion de missions ou d'opérations extérieures." Cette modification a été réalisée, le chef de l'Etat ayant indiqué qu'il entendait récompenser les unités qui se sont distinguées en opex.


Le 2e Rima sera-t-elle la première unité de l'armée de terre à recevoir une telle décoration? Une des premières en tout cas, puisque onze autres unités vont recevoir cette croix le 11 novembre à Paris. Des unités de la Marine vont ainsi bénéficier de cette mesure comme en témoigne le message du CEM de la Royale (lire ci-dessous) qui devrait remettre des croix de la Valeur militaire à trois unités: la 12F de Landivisiau, le PA Charles de Gaulle et le BPC Tonnerre.


TO AIG 2132
NMR/0010 NP 2710 CEMM/CAB - GNM 0268/11

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6 novembre 2011 7 06 /11 /novembre /2011 17:30



2 novembre 2011 par Gaëtan - blog.avionslegendaires.net


Le constructeur Dassault Aviation ainsi que le gouvernement français attendent, dans les prochaines semaines, avec impatience les décisions respectives de trois pays où le Rafale est dans la course finale : les Emirats arabes unis, l’Inde et la Suisse.



Les prochains mois s’annonce cruciaux pour l’avenir du Rafale à l’exportation… Bien évidemment si aucun nouveau coup de théâtre ou report des votes des éventuels acheteurs ne se reproduisent. Actuellement trois pays ont formulé un vif intérêt pour l’avion de combat Rafale de Dassault Aviation. Un appareil qui capitalise aujourd’hui sur ses performances opérationnelles de haut niveau en Libye et en Afghanistan. Même si ces concurrents directs, que sont l’Eurofighter Typhoon et le Saab Gripen ont aussi été engagés, le Rafale a démontré de façon exemplaire qu’il pouvait remplir les besoins opérationnels de nombreux pays. Cela pourrait faire pencher la balance en faveur d’un appareil qui a pataugé jusqu’ici à l’export. La France, après la déconvenue brésilienne, dispose de réelles chances de succès aux Emirats arabes unis, en Inde et en Suisse. Reste à transformer ces signaux favorables en contrats fermes et définitifs. Il y a plus de 200 appareils en jeu dans ces différents appels d’offre


Les Emirats arabes unis (EAU) ont toujours été de fidèles consommateurs des produits Dassault. L’enjeu de cette vente porte sur 63 Rafales. Malheureusement, ils sont aussi très susceptibles et un article dans un journal détenu par le groupe Dassault a failli anéantir les efforts commerciaux. Cela les à au moins retardés. Ainsi une visite expresse du prince héritier d’Abu Dabi, Cheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, à l’Élysée, s’est plutôt mal passée.


L’autre point d’achoppement c’est la rétrocession des excellents Mirage 2000-9, dernière version de l’appareil spécialement conçue pour Abu Dhabi, et qui a également participé aux côtés des Français à l’opération Harmattan. Ce modèle a même été capable de descendre un F-22 en combat simulé. Mais ces clients capricieux exigeraient la reprise de leurs Mirage 2000-9, certes anciens mais toujours opérationnels. Dassault devrait les racheter donc pour … les revendre ensuite. Reste à qui ?


Enfin, il faut aussi insister sur le fait que ces derniers mois, les discussions ont aussi porté sur la volonté d’obtenir une version améliorée de l’appareil. Un Rafale doté d’un moteur plus puissant d’une poussée de 9 tonnes et équipé d’un radar de dernière génération. Mais les performances de l’avion de chasse lors des combats en Libye auraient rassuré les acheteurs.  Ils sembleraient aujourd’hui se ranger aux équipements standards.

Seul point positif, les Emirats arabes unis se sentent quelque peu redevables à l’égard de la France après sa décision d’implanter une base interarmées française dans ce pays du Golfe. D’après les dernières annonces officielles, cette vente serait sur le point d’être conclue.


Pour l’Inde, la date importante pour le Rafale, c’est demain le 4 novembre. Le jour où New Delhi va ouvrir les enveloppes commerciales de Dassault Aviation et d’EADS concernant l’appel d’offre pour l’acquisition de 126 avions de combat. Le programme MMRCA (remplacement des Mig-21) qui a été lancé en août 2007 après six années de longues  réflexions devrait toucher à sa fin prochainement. Pour ce dernier moment, il reste seulement deux finalistes : le Rafale et l’Eurofighter, défendu par le consortium BAE Systems, EADS et l’italien Finmeccanica. L’Inde avait déjà écarté les américains de Lockheed Martin et de Boeing, avec leurs F-16 IN Super Viper et F/A-18E/F Super Hornet  ainsi que l’avion russe MiG-35 et le  Saab Gripen suédois.


On en saura plus sur les chances de victoire de l’avion de combat français pour ce contrat évalué entre 10 et 12 milliards de dollars. Les experts indiens devront examiner les offres pour savoir si les deux industriels évoquent bien le même périmètre industriel, technique, opérationnel au regard des prix avancés. L’Inde n’achète pas seulement un avion de combat mais aussi toute la gestion opérationnelle et le support au regard du coût de possession des deux appareils. Selon des règles indiennes, le soumissionnaire le moins-disant (c’est à dire le moins cher) est considéré comme le gagnant. Si l’on se réfère au cas de la Suisse, l’Eurofighter a été jugé trop cher par rapport au Rafale, nous verrons si cela se vérifie en Inde.


Par contre l’Eurofighter est régulièrement présenté comme le favori de la compétition indienne car EADS possède une grosse capacité de lobbying développée à travers les instances diplomatiques des 4 pays partenaires et en particulier par les liens entre Britanniques et Indiens. Ensuite selon les termes de l’appel d’offres, 18 appareils seront directement fournis au pays tandis que 108 autres avions seront fabriqués directement en Inde par Hindustan Aeronautics à la suite d’un transfert de technologies. Le premier lot de ces avions devrait être livré dès 2014.


La Suisse, dont la flotte est composée en partie de (très) vieux Northrop F-5 Tiger II, pourrait acquérir entre 22 appareils en une ou plusieurs tranches. Le Conseil Fédéral qui avait pourtant repoussé sine die l’acquisition d’avions de combat, est aujourd’hui très pressé. À tel point que le Département fédéral de la défense, de la protection de la population et des sports (DDPS) veut  décider avant le 14 décembre, date des élections au Conseil fédéral.


Les concurrents se trouvent face à une demande claire de la Suisse : 22 avions pour un budget maximum de 5 milliards de francs suisses. Une somme assez juste pour combler le départ à la retraite des vénérables F-5 et assurer à la Suisse sa protection. A l’issu de l’évaluation technique, c’est le Rafale qui a été classé en tête de liste, car répondant quasiment parfaitement au cahier des charges. Le Rafale dispose donc de sérieuses chances, en dépit de son prix plus élevé que celui du Gripen NG (version qui n’existe que sur le papier, rappelons-le). De nombreuses compensations seront accordées à l’industrie suisse, qui concerne plus de 300 entreprises de tous les cantons. De plus l’Armée de l’Air propose à la force aérienne helvète de s’entraîner dans l’espace aérien français (tout proche) et de disposer d’une base de soutien commune avec les Rafale français (certaines bases aériennes sont à quelques minutes de la Suisse). C’est là l’un des points forts de l’offre de Dassault.

Patience donc…

Et le Brésil dans tout ça… Comme on l’avait souligné dans un article précédent, les brésiliens sont « à sec » et ne pourront acheter de Rafale qui sembleêtre leur préféré (pour le gouvernement), ni d’autres avions de chasse récents d’ailleurs. A la rigueur à nos « amis » brésiliens pourraient récupérer en attendant les Mirage 2000-9 émiratis d’occasion, afin de compenser le départ à la retraite de leurs très vieux Mirage, qui eux n’attendront pas la relève.


Donc, si Dassault fait le « Hat Trick » (comme on dit en football), c’est tout de même la production de 211 Rafales en perspective et sa présence sur de nombreux fronts à l’avenir.

Suite au prochain épisode…

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6 novembre 2011 7 06 /11 /novembre /2011 08:55
Espionnage. Qui a volé les plans de l'Airbus «militaire»?

Selon Airbus, «il est très rare que l'ensemble d'un plan soit stocké dans un ordinateur portable»


06/11/2011 Gérald Camier - ladepeche.fr/


Manifestement, l'Airbus A-400 M, le nouvel avion militaire franco-allemand intéresse du monde. On ne sait pour l'heure si les «données militaires sensibles», qui se trouvaient dans un ordinateur volé mardi 1er novembre dans une chambre de l'hôtel Pullman de Versailles, sont tombées entre de mauvaises mains, mais l'affaire, révélée hier, embarrasse la direction d'Airbus. Affichant la sérénité, le groupe aéronautique a tenté de minimiser ce vol : «Il est très rare que l'ensemble d'un plan soit stocké dans un ordinateur portable, a déclaré un chargé de communication. Il s'agit plus souvent d'échantillons qui servent comme documents de travail».


La victime, un Anglais de 64 ans


Mardi 1er novembre à l'hôtel Pullman, deux inconnus se sont introduits dans la chambre 136, probablement entre 17h30 et 21h30, alors occupée par un Anglais âgé de 64 ans, précise une source proche de l'enquête. l'ordinateur dérobé contenait ls plans du système d'approvisionnement en fioul, sur terre et dans les airs de l'A 400M. C'est un client de l'hôtel qui aurait vu deux hommes âgés de 30 à 35 ans qui sont d'abord entrés dans sa chambre, avant d'en ressortir en s'excusant de s'être trompés. Pour entrer dans la chambre où se trouvait l'ordinateur, les deux individus ont utilisé un passe, car aucune trace d'effraction n'a été relevé par les policiers. Ils ont d'abord fouillé une valise puis ont volé l'ordinateur, un téléphone Nokia et une souris sans fil. Pour le commissariat de Versaillles, chargé de l'enquête avec la sous-direction de l'information générale (SDIG), «compte tenu des circonstances, on imagine bien une affaire d'espionnage industriel».


Le mode opératoire rappelle d'ailleurs étrangement l'affaire de ce PDG d'une compagnie aérienne chinoise, dont la chambre d'hôtel avait été visitée par des représentants des «services secrets français».


Selon Bernard Carayon, député-maire de Lavaur et qui a remis plusieurs rapports sur la question de l'espionnage industriel, la Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (contre-espionnage) n'a pas encore été saisie de l'affaire de l'hôtel Pullman. «Ce genre de choses est, hélas, très fréquent, indique l'élu. Notamment concernant les secteurs stratégiques de la défense, la santé, l'aéronautique, le spatial, les technologies de l'information, la pharmacie. Il y a beaucoup de pillages. Très peu de chiffres sont disponibles. Souvent, quand le piège réussi, l'entreprise n'en parle pas car elle a honte vis-à-vis de sa clientèle. L'affaire est réglée en interne».


Des Chinois espionnés à Toulouse


C'était en novembre 2010, dans un grand hôtel de la place du Capitole, à Toulouse. Trois personnes sont surprises la main dans le sac par des membres d'une compagnie aérienne chinoise en visite à Airbus, en train de fouiller dans les valises du responsable, Shaoyong Liu (photo). C'est le PDG de China Eastern Airlines. Il s'agissait ni plus ni moins que des membres des services secrets français.


En plus d'un ordinateur portable, d'un lecteur DVD et des clés, un sac censé contenir du matériel d'enregistrement et de récupération de données avaient été abandonnés sur place. Les représentants chinois avaient ensuite plié bagage se contentant d'exiger « une enquête » auprès des services de police. On avait frôlé de peu l'incident diplomatique. D'autant que la visite éclair de ces présumés espions français n'avait pas échappé aux caméras de surveillance.

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28 octobre 2011 5 28 /10 /octobre /2011 17:55



October 28, 2011


CBC News is reporting that the Harper Government is at least pondering the idea of cutting their losses with the Victoria class submarines and replacing them with nuclear submarines. The Victoria class submarines have been plagued with problems since being acquired from the UK, and despite being described as the "military bargain of the century" when purchased for $750 million in 1998, they have become anything but.

The submarines are currently all out of service, with HMCS Victoria the soonest to potentially return to service by late next year. The article describes the issues.

One of the subs, HMCS Chicoutimi, has been in active service of the Royal Canadian Navy exactly two days in the 13 years since it was purchased from the Brits.

The Chicoutimi caught fire on its maiden voyage from the U.K. to Canada, killing one sailor and injuring a number of others.

It has been in the repair shop ever since, and isn’t expected back in service for at least another two years and $400 million more in repairs and retrofits.

The article goes on:

The other three would remain out of service until at least 2013. One may not be out of the repair shop until 2016.

By that time, the submarines will have cost taxpayers an estimated $3 billion, almost enough to have bought all new subs in the first place.

But the real problem is that by the time the whole fleet is in active service for the first time in 2016, the submarines will already be almost 30 years old with only perhaps 10 years of life left in them.

High-ranking sources tell CBC News the government is actively considering cutting its losses on the dud subs, and mothballing some if not all of them.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay is hinting they might be replaced with nuclear submarines that could patrol under the Arctic ice, something the existing diesel-electric subs cannot do.

I'm not sure how the costs break out over a single budget year, but based on the article it sounds like Canada has already spent $1 billion and will spend $2 billion more by 2016, which suggests costs that average around $500 million over the next 4 years. That's a lot of money just to get 10 years out of four SSKs.

If we do the math, basically the Harper government is faced with the very real problem. The repair costs will earn Canada 4 Victoria class SSKs that are already old for an investment cost of at least $75 million annually per submarine, and at the same time India is leasing the significantly more capable and new Russian SSN K-152 Nurpa for $900 million over 10 years - $90 million annually.

Something tells me Rep. Joe Courtney (Conn) could come up with a few ideas here - just saying. What would it cost to refuel and refit a Los Angeles class submarine for a second time to add 15 or so more years to the submarine? In 2005 the cost was slightly over $200 million, so even if we estimate the total refit per submarine to be around $350 million (serious modernization), Canada would only be spending $1.4 billion for four SSNs with a service life of 15 years vs $2 billion for four SSKs with a service life of 10 years. Another big advantage for Canada would be they could use the rest of the money to put their sailors through existing US Navy submarine training schools and use existing US contractor services for upkeep, both of which would allow Canada to save a bunch of money.

The cost difference for the hardware would be $25 million per sub per year for SSNs vs $75 million per sub per year for SSKs. While it is true the operational, maintenance, and personnel costs will be higher for SSNs than it would be for SSKs, there are likely enough cost savings to be gained through existing US infrastructure that it's hard to believe the SSNs would be so much more expensive as to make it a bad deal.

I'm just floating this idea, but really trying to highlight that leasing Los Angeles class SSNs would likely be cost neutral (or perhaps even cost saving) for the Harper government given the big problems Canada is facing with the Victoria class.

I don't know if the US Navy even has four 688s that they would be willing to sell to Canada (although in a time of short term budget cuts impacting the Navy, now is the time to talk about this type of thing). I also don't know if the US and Canada can work out a realistic agreement that would give Canada the ability to utilize US Navy infrastructure for training and other services related to 688s. I do know that going down the road of supporting foreign SSNs would be good for either/both Electric Boat and Newport News, because when one looks at the trends they are having in Australia with their submarine industry - a deal with SSNs with Canada now would go a long way towards getting process and framework for this type of high end military deals in place so when our next very close ally comes along - we have a system and experience in place to support such agreements. 

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