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19 juillet 2011 2 19 /07 /juillet /2011 05:45


image © Craig Hoyle/Flightglobal


18/07/11 By Craig Hoyle SOURCE:Flightglobal.com


The UK Royal Air Force marked the 10th anniversary of its introduction of Boeing’s C-17 strategic transport by sending one of its aircraft to the Royal International Air Tattoo for the first time in several years.


ZZ177, the seventh and currently last planned C-17 to enter service with the RAF’s 99 Sqn, arrived at the show early on 17 July, before being opened to the public while on static display.


But highlighting the C-17 fleet’s continued heavy commitment to the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan, it was held at short readiness to leave the show if required to perform medical evacuation duties in support of the UK’s deployed armed forces.



image © Craig Hoyle/Flightglobal


The UK took delivery of its first C-17 under an initially four-aircraft lease deal with Boeing in May 2001, one year after signing a deal with the company. Now purchased outright and joined by a further three of the airlifters, these deliver a key part of the UK’s “airbridge” with the Afghan theatre of operations.


ZZ177 entered operational use with 99 Sqn at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire during February, by which point the unit's other aircraft had flown more than a combined 65,000 flight hours.


RIAT’s organisers estimate that around 138,000 visitors attended this year’s show at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

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18 juillet 2011 1 18 /07 /juillet /2011 05:50



Nicolas Sarkozy a réuni un conseil de sécurité à l’Elysée, à l’issue du défilé sur les Champs-Elysées, jeudi 14 juillet 2011, au cours duquel le chef d'état-major de l'armée de terre a été mandaté pour définir de nouvelles mesures de sécurité, suite au décès de plusieurs soldats français en Afghanistan.


En pleines célébrations de la Fête nationale, le président de la République, Nicolas Sarkozy, a réuni un conseil de sécurité à l'Élysée suite aux décès de cinq soldats français, tués dans un attentat à la bombe survenu dans la province de Kapisa, mercredi 13 juillet, puis d’un commando marine, qui a perdu la vie au cours d’un accrochage dans la vallée d’Alasay, jeudi 14 juillet, en Afghanistan


A l’occasion d’une conférence de presse, qui s’est tenue à l’hôtel de Brienne à Paris, Gérard Longuet, ministre de la Défense, accompagné de l’amiral Edouard Guillaud, chef d’état-major des armées, a annoncé la décision prise au cours de cette réunion exceptionnelle de confier au général Elrick Irastorza, chef d’état-major de l’armée de terre, la responsabilité de définir de nouvelles mesures de sécurité.


Le général Elrick Irastorza doit se rendre « sur place immédiatement » pour pouvoir y déterminer les moyens de renforcer la sécurité des troupes françaises déployées sur ce théâtre d’opérations, a déclaré le ministre, alors que le chef de l’Etat vient de confirmer le retrait progressif des forces armées françaises d’Afghanistan.


Gérard Longuet a insisté sur la nécessité de soutenir les forces de sécurité afghanes, pour « ne pas affaiblir les zones où nous avons crée un climat de sécurité  » et « utiliser tous les moyens et méthodes  » pour poursuivre cette sécurisation du territoire afghan.


 « L’objectif c’est la sécurité et la sécurité, c’est la consolidation des forces de sécurité de l’Etat de droit. Nous devons concevoir, dans cette perspective de transition, l’optimisation de nos moyens  », a-t-il en effet rappelé.


Les propositions du général Elrick Irastorza sont attendues « d’ici la fin de la semaine prochaine  ».

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17 juillet 2011 7 17 /07 /juillet /2011 19:00



Jul 15, 2011 London (UPI) spacewar.com


Britain is sending four more Tornado warplanes over Libya to support NATO military operations as an international contact group explores ways of ending the stalemate pitting the U.N.-backed armed rebels against loyalist forces of Moammar Gadhafi.


The military measures were announced amid intensive mediation at different levels on securing an end to five months of an inconclusive campaign in support of the rebels' Transitional National Council.


The council received formal support from the contact group of NATO and Arab diplomats meeting in Istanbul but China and Russia stayed away.


The rebels are receiving weapons and ammunition from France, logistical and medical support from Britain and substantial quantities of unspecified weapons and backup operations from Qatar and other Arab countries.


British military experts are helping rebels in and around Benghazi and other British teams of mostly undercover special agents are reportedly on the ground but not acknowledged in official reports.


The dispatch of the additional four British air force Tornado warplanes takes to 16 the total number of the attack and surveillance aircraft active over Libya. British officials have said the Tornado's 3,000-mile missions to carry out attacks on Libyan military sites were the longest range bombing missions conducted by the air force since the Falkland Islands conflict with Argentina in 1982.


British air support for the Libyan rebels has also included laser-guided bombs, deployed with the LITENING targeting pod, and Brimstone missiles.


British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said the aircraft were well-equipped for surveillance and reconnaissance.


"It is important to have this capability available," he said.


The British announcement followed a plea from NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen for more aircraft to support operations protecting Libyan civilians against government forces' assaults on rebel-held communities.


NATO warplanes have conducted more than 5,000 air missions since the action began in March, officials said.


European concerns over the escalating costs of the military operations in Libya resurfaced at the Istanbul meeting. However, diplomatic analysts suggest some of the costs could be defrayed by NATO accessing Libyan state funds frozen at the start of the crisis.


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at least $3 billion could be released to cover the cost of humanitarian assistance to tens of thousands of Libyans displaced by the conflict or trapped in battle zones.


The actual NATO costs in Libya are mired in mystery amid conflicting statements, some designed to deflect public criticism of the campaign.


British Prime Minister David Cameron, frequently queried over the British spending, has yet to give any updated total after early reports that about $40 million-$50 million was spent. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said British operational costs in Libya were "tens rather than hundreds of millions" of dollars.


NATO Supreme Allied Commander U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis told the U.S. Senate "hundreds of millions" could already have been spent in the NATO operation.


U.S. officials said the military intervention cost the Pentagon alone at least $608 million in bombs, missiles and logistics. Pentagon estimates set the monthly cost of the air campaign to the United States alone at $40 million.


French military costs in Libya were estimated by Parisian defense analysts at more than $600 million.

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16 juillet 2011 6 16 /07 /juillet /2011 16:50
China Details Anti-ship Missile Plans


Jul 15, 2011 By Bradley Perrett aviation week and space technology


Beijing - For more than a century, surface warships have been struggling to survive against mines, submarines, aircraft and, more recently, cruise missiles. Now China’s rapid development of a sophisticated anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) raises the threat to a new level.


The U.S. Navy, mindful of the threat and no less focused on advancing its technologies to protect its fleet, remains confident in its ability to project naval power globally on the surface as well as under water. But for less technologically advanced navies of the Asia-Pacific region, it is becoming difficult to see how in the decades ahead they can stand up to an opponent that can target surface ships with hypersonic homing warheads that can range more than 1,500 km (900 mi.)—and perhaps much farther.


China Daily is citing a range of 2,700 km for the revolutionary missile, the DF-21D, presenting the crucial data point in a report based on comments by the chief of the Chinese general staff, Gen. Chen Bingde. The Pentagon said last year the DF-21D’s range is “in excess of 1,500 km.”


If not a journalistic error, the statement means that U.S. aircraft carriers launching strike missions while keeping clear of DF-21Ds would need aircraft with even longer ranges than thought. It means that the DF-21Ds can be safely kept further inland. And, for Asian navies, it means the whole South China Sea can be covered from Guangdong, a Chinese province where DF-21Ds are based.


China’s second key revelation about the DF-21D is that it is still in development, though the U.S. has said it is in service.


“The missile is still undergoing experimental testing and will be used as a defensive weapon when it is successfully developed, not an offensive one,” says Chen. “It is a high-tech weapon and we face many difficulties in getting funding, advanced technologies and high-quality personnel, which are all underlying reasons why it is hard to develop this.”


Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said in December that the DF-21D had reached the equivalent of initial operational capability. Taiwan has also said China has begun to deploy the missile. Yet Chen’s comments, made after a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Adm. Michael Mullen, imply that any DF-21Ds that have been deployed are not regarded as fully developed.


“It’s possible that an initial ASBM variant could be more basic,” says Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, an Asia-focused think tank in Arlington, Va. “Then maybe a follow-on variant could integrate some of the more sophisticated technologies, such as a high-altitude radar system.”


U.S. Naval War College Prof. Andrew Erickson says the tone of Chen’s remarks “could be interpreted to reflect a high level of uncertainly and ambivalence about the missile’s immediate prospects, directed at a Chinese audience through Chinese media.


“Viewed in this light, the three factors Gen. Chen outlines—funding, technology, talent—may be viewed as serious constraints, even bottlenecks, in the challenging task of successfully maturing and integrating an ASBM system of systems.”


China’s idea of “operational” may be closer to the U.S. concept of full operational capability, adds Erickson.


The appearance of Chen’s statement in China Daily, an English-language newspaper acting as a government mouthpiece directed at the outside world, is itself meaningful. The paper’s reports on sensitive subjects often appear to be carefully written to deliver Beijing’s message.


The DF-21D is one such sensitive subject, as the U.S. considers how it would counter Chinese attempts to dominate nearby seas and forcibly regain control of Taiwan. In the view of some analysts, surface warships—above all, aircraft carriers—are fundamentally too vulnerable to such a weapon, because their signatures are so large and the missile is very difficult to intercept.


In the May 2011 issue of the U.S. Naval Institute journal Proceedings, two Pentagon strategists, Navy Capt. Henry Hendrix and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Noel Williams, urge immediate cessation of U.S. aircraft carrier construction. Noting such threats as the DF-21D, they write, “the march of technology is bringing the supercarrier era to an end, just as the new long-range strike capabilities of carrier aviation brought on the demise of the battleship era in the 1940s.”


Skeptics respond that the DF-21D’s kill chain can be broken in several places—for example, in target detection and tracking before launch, communication of targeting data or final homing descent. Still, considering the crews and costs of surface ships, especially carriers, the stakes are high.


“Yes, the [U.S.] Navy would want to have a high degree of confidence that they could break a link in the kill chain, but there are no certainties here,” says Eric Hagt of the World Security Institute. “It’s a game of measures, countermeasures, counter-counter-measures, et cetera. Having said that, the U.S. remains a superior, technologically capable fighting force, so it stands to reason they are able to conceive of and develop sophisticated countermeasures to the ASBM.”


However, there are no guarantees, he stresses, adding that the real mission of the DF-21D is deterrence. “It could and probably will give the U.S. Navy much more pause for concern when getting involved in any potential scenario in the western Pacific closer to China’s shores.”


The views from China’s neighboring countries and Australia are even more sobering. From there, attacking the DF-21D kill chain must look like a challenge ranging from enormous to unthinkable. Over the past few years, the Asia-Pacific-region navies have increasingly shifted their resources to submarines. Japan intends to enlarge its submarine fleet to 24 from 18 and Australia, to 12 from six.


Recounting Chen’s remarks, China Daily says: “He did acknowledge . . . that Beijing is developing the Dongfeng-21D [DF-21D], a ballistic missile with a maximum range of 2,700 km and the ability to strike moving targets—including aircraft carriers—at sea.”



The range of 2,700 km has previously been attributed to earlier DF-21s built to attack fixed targets, raising the possibility that the figure has appeared in the paper only as a result of sloppy journalism. That would be quite an error, however, considering that the report was supposed to convey a message abroad.


China’s military, with a seemingly atavistic aversion to public statement, tends to reveal its capabilities by just letting the world see them. Examples include its demonstration of anti-satellite technology in 2007, when it blasted away an old weather spacecraft, and the seemingly casual rolling out of the so-called J-20 fighter prototype in view of an airfield fence at Chengdu in December 2010.


“My impression is that an ASBM range requirement is driven by the maximum range of U.S. weapon-delivery platforms associated with a carrier battle group,” says Stokes. “The 2,700-km requirement seems a bit more than what’s needed.”


Nonetheless, it is clear that extra range, whether immediately available or in a future version of the DF-21, would give China greater flexibility in basing and targeting. Hagt notes that fixing targets becomes more difficult and increasingly reliant on vulnerable satellites as the range rises.


China itself evidently sees a continuing role for aircraft carriers. In the same report, China Daily says the incomplete carrier China bought from Ukraine in 1998, Varyag, “is expected to serve primarily as a training vessel for pilots and deck crews.” Such training has always been assumed as the initial role of the ship, since China has little or no experience in the difficult business of operating fixed-wing aircraft at sea.


“China is a big country and we have quite a large number of ships, but they are only small ships,” Chen says. “This is not commensurate with the status of a country like China.” The U.S. is “a real world power” because it has 11 aircraft carriers, he adds. The general also says much Chinese military technology is at the level of U.S. equipment used 20-30 years ago.

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16 juillet 2011 6 16 /07 /juillet /2011 16:35


source defensetech.org


2011-07-16(China Military News cited from the-diplomat.com and written by David Axe)


The People's Liberation Army Navy has finally broken the silence about its new carrier-based jet fighter, the J-15. While outside observers have strongly suspected for several years that China intended to deploy the J-15 – an adaptation of the Russian Su-33 – aboard the PLAN's first aircraft carrier Shi Lang, Chinese officials didn’t confirm it until last week.


Confirmation of the J-15 came with some revealing details about the plane's missions and limitations. It’s clearer than ever that the J-15 will inherit most of the Su-33’s limitations, particularly with regard to payload and range. As a result, Shi Lang could be highly vulnerable to foreign naval forces in combat.


Unnamed ‘Chinese aviation officials’ said that three J-15 prototypes would begin testing this year, and that the last of them would have all the features of the planned operational version, including folding wings to allow more compact storage aboard Shi Lang, a refurbished Soviet vessel that displaces just two-thirds as much as a US flattop.


Shi Langdoesn’t have the steam catapults that US and French carriers use to launch aircraft. Instead, the Chinese ship, like its Russian sister ship Kuznetsov, uses an elevated ramp to help boost planes into the air. Ramp-launch, while less complex than a catapult, doesn’t impart the same amount of energy. That means ramp-launched fighters must be relatively light. The British Harrier, which used a ramp, weighed just 7 tonnes empty. The Su-33 weighs 20 tons empty.


In Russian service, the Su-33 has been restricted to short-range patrols carrying just a few air-to-air missiles. That's the big reason why the Kuznetsov has never had a major impact on the European naval balance.


Shi Langwill be similarly handicapped, more so because the Chinese intend the J-15 to carry the C-602 anti-ship cruise missile. Carrying a single one-tonne C-602, the J-15 will have an operational range of just 250 miles, according to the anonymous industry officials. It’s not clear if the J-15 will be able to carry air-to-air missiles for self-protection, in addition to the C-602.


If the Chinese military operated a large number of effective aerial tankers, the J-15's payload limitation would be more manageable. Even catapult-launched fighters, such as the US F/A-18E/F, can range just 400 miles from their carrier with useful combat load. But aerial refueling can extend that range to more than 1,000 miles. F/A-18s routinely fly missions over Afghanistan from carriers operating in the Indian Ocean.


If Shi Lang is meant to operate in a sea control role, clearing the ocean of enemy vessels, then it could find itself at a disadvantage compared to rival naval forces. The C-602 has a range of around 250 miles. So a Chinese carrier battle group could strike surface targets at a distance of 500 miles.


A US carrier group launching F-18s armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles could strike from a distance of at least 600 miles. Factor in aerial refueling – and the fact that the Harpoon is light enough for a single F-18 to carry two – and the US advantage increases dramatically. The Su-33 is simply not an ideal fighter for ramp-equipped carriers.


It’s telling that within a few years, the Chinese will be the only country operating Su-33s or its derivatives from carriers. The Russians decided to replace the Su-33 with a version of the much smaller MiG-29 after realizing that the MiG had similar performance, but Kuznetsov could carry many more of them. The Indians, too, are buying a MiG-29 variant to replace their Harriers.


Future Chinese carriers could include a catapult. Indeed, the likelihood that carriers after Shi Lang will be catapult-equipped is sure to increase, once the PLAN sees firsthand how limited its J-15s really are.

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16 juillet 2011 6 16 /07 /juillet /2011 05:50


photo defencetalk.com


Jul 13 2011 trdefence.com


Roketsan is completing development of a trio of guided anti-armour weapons


Turkish Land Forces Command is the main customer, but the missiles will be marketed for exports


Since the mid-1990s Turkey’s Roketsan has firmly established itself in the design, development and production of unguided surface-to-surface rockets. During the past decade, however, the company has ventured into the more complex and demanding guided-weapons business with the development of three anti-armour systems.


All three are being manufactured under contract to the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) with Roketsan as the prime contractor, and will also be offered on the export market. Several other Turkish companies are involved in the programmes, including Aselsan.




In 2004 Roketsan began development of a 2.75-inch semi-active laser-guided missile (SALGM) called Cirit, which was originally the name of a Turkish cavalry-rooted sport played for many centuries. It was also sometimes called Jereed, meaning ‘Javelin’ – also the name of the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank guided weapon [ATGW] system. Cirit was intended to provide the TLFC’s AH-1P Cobra and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters with a precision attack capability.


Rather than upgrading its existing 2.75-inch unguided rocket, Roketsan elected to develop a new missile that could be launched from MIL-STD-810 F- and MIL-STD-464 A-compatible M- and LAU-series launchers, which are widely deployed.


Cirit has an overall length of 1.9 m and a launch weight of 15 kg. Minimum range is 1,500 m and maximum range is 8,000 m.


The SALGM has a conventional layout, with a passive SAL seeker installed in the nose, surmounting the control unit with four swing-out control surfaces, which is in turn followed by the guidance section and power source.


Further back is the multipurpose warhead, which provides a combined anti-armour, anti-personnel and incendiary effect. According to Roketsan, this is optimised to neutralise high-value soft or semi-hardened targets.


The rear of the SALGM contains the rocket motor, which is insensitive munition (IM)-compliant and has a reduced smoke signature. It is connected to the rear section by a roll bearing that enables it to rotate in flight.


There are four small stabilising surfaces at the very rear of the missile immediately in front of the exhaust nozzle.


During deployment, the gunner designates the target prior to launch, after which the rocket relies on a MEMS (micro electromechanical system)-type inertial measurement unit in combination with terminal laser homing.


According to Roketsan, Cirit has a high probability of hit on a 3×3 m target at maximum range.


First tests of Cirit were carried out in 2006, with development and flight qualification completed in 2008. Low-rate initial production has already commenced and will ramp up to full-rate production in 2012.


The company says that nearly 100 Cirit missiles of different configurations were launched during the extensive development and qualification tests. These included ballistic, control and guidance test missiles, plus qualification missiles.


As the SALGM is longer than the M- and LAU-series pods, Roketsan has developed a new launch pod and a new canister in which Cirit is delivered as an all-up round. The latter is loaded into either a two- or a four-round launch pod, which is more robust against environmental conditions than a standard launcher and easier to load and unload.


Cirit can additionally be fired from a ‘smart’ launcher, which has a MIL-STD-1760 interface. This can hold two or four SALGMs and contains all of the control electronics, enabling it to be rapidly integrated onto a number of helicopters that are required only to have a MIL-STD-1760 interface.


Roketsan signed an agreement with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in May 2011 for the integration of its Cirit Smart Launcher System on the T-129 attack helicopter, to enable data transfer between the missile and the helicopter launch platform.


Also in May, Roketsan signed a memorandum of understanding with Eurocopter for integration of Cirit on the EC635 helicopter, tests of which are planned for an unknown date.




Development of the UMTAS (Uzun Menzilli Tanksavar Fuze Sistemi) long-range air-launched ATGW began in 2005 with the Turkish Undersecretary of National Defence’s award to Roketsan of an initial TRY50 million (USD30.53 million), 26-month Phase I study contract. Phase I covered concept work, including subsystems such as missile propulsion, guidance and warhead.


The ATGW will be the main armament of TAI’s T-129 attack helicopter, which is a further development of the AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta. It is expected that 51 T-129s will be built to supplement the currently deployed AH-1P and AH-1W attack helicopters used by the TLFC.


The UMTAS missile is 1.8 m long and 16 cm in diameter. Launch weight is 37.5 kg and range is 500-8,000 m.


Roketsan received the Phase II contract in mid-2008. First helicopter trial launches have taken place from an AH-1P, which is being used as a testbed for the programme. Safe separation and jettison tests have also been carried out.


The launcher has a military-standard interface and weighs 60 kg. The T-129 attack helicopter would typically carry two launchers, each with four UMTAS missiles, and two launch pods with two or four Cirit 2.75-inch missiles each.


Aselsan has developed a pedestal-type launcher with four UMTAS missiles in the ready-to-launch position. This could be installed on fast attack craft or patrol boats.


In addition to lock-on-before-launch and lock-on-after-launch operational modes, UMTAS can be used against masked targets. The firing envelope enables an off-boresight target engagement.


UMTAS has completed ballistic and control test firings and is undergoing guided firing tests.


Although the first application of UMTAS will be airborne, it is also suitable for some land- and sea-based platforms.




A new weapon known as OMTAS (Orta Menzilli Tanksavar Sistemi) portable medium-range ATGW has grown out of UMTAS and shares several of its subsystems. These include: a nose-mounted uncooled imaging infrared (IIR) seeker developed by Aselsan; a tandem HEAT warhead optimised against targets fitted with explosive reactive armour (ERA) – the first warhead neutralises the ERA, thereby clearing a path for the larger main charge; a duplex RF datalink for uplink-downlink between the user and missile command; and other electronic subsystems.


Roketsan received an initial Phase I design contract for the OMTAS ATGW in April 2007, which it fulfilled by the end of 2009.


The system consists of a missile in its launch tube and a tripod with associated control unit and sighting unit (SU), the latter two systems together weighing about 55 kg.


The OMTAS missile has an overall length of 1.68 m and the same 16 cm diameter as UMTAS, but is slightly lighter at 35 kg, including launch tube. It has four flip-out control surfaces at the very rear and six flip-out wings about two thirds of the way down from the nose.


It has a minimum range of 200 m and maximum range of more than 4,000 m. Its solid-propellant HTPB (hydroxy terminate polybutadiene) rocket motor – also developed by Roketsan – is IM-compliant.


The SU features a thermal camera, TV camera, digital magnetic compass and laser rangefinder. It can be removed and used as a standalone observation device, providing an all-weather target battlefield surveillance capability.


OMTAS can be launched from within a confined space. It has fire-and-forget and fire-and-update modes of operation, as well as direct-attack and top-attack options for masked targets.


Although the first version of OMTAS will be tripod mounted, the ATGW can also be integrated onto tracked and wheeled platforms. During transportation and field deployment each end of the launch tube is fitted with a protective cover.


According to Roketsan, first missiles have already been successfully test fired without the IIR seeker and all-up firings are due in 2012, with design freeze scheduled for late 2012.


Ballistic performance trials have also been completed, as well as control and guidance characteristics using control test vehicles.


Full-scale development (Phase II) is still in progress in line with the original schedule, with qualification expected to take place in 2013 and production (Phase III) to commence in 2014.

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16 juillet 2011 6 16 /07 /juillet /2011 05:10
Shahab-2 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)

Shahab-2 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)

July 13, 2011 Arms Control Association (ACA) - defpro.com


In light of justifiable concerns about Iran’s potential as a nuclear weapons state, the country’s latest military exercise, ending last week, provided some grounds for qualified relief. Although the official commentary was predictably defiant in tone, the overall choreography and the weapons actually fired bespoke neither the intent nor a current operational capability for Iran to strike at Israel or Europe. The absence in the exercise of systems likely to serve as nuclear weapons delivery vehicles belies contentions that Tehran is moving rapidly to achieve such a capability.




In a ten-day extravaganza of martial events, dubbed “Great Prophet 6,” Iran conducted a prodigious number of missile launches, showcasing a variety of ballistic and cruise missiles, including some new missile types and a newly displayed silo basing mode. The live-fire exercises provided useful training for the troops and stimulated national pride among the population. Such displays of missile prowess also help Iran’s clerical government rally domestic support behind efforts to defy UN sanctions and send a warning message to potential aggressors.




Missiles are the premier weapon of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran’s ballistic missiles, in particular, occupy an iconic place in the power pantheon – they are fast to employ, hard for an enemy to locate and attack prior to launch, difficult to intercept in flight, and can potentially serve as a vehicle for delivering nuclear weapons to targets far from the country’s border. Iran already has medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) in its arsenal, which can reach targets not only in neighboring states, but also in Israel. Moreover, given the heavy concentrations of U.S. troops in the region, even Iran’s shorter-range missiles can easily and quickly put the lives of U.S. soldiers at risk.


Anti-shipping cruise missiles – along with mines – provide one of Iran’s most credible deterrent threats, because they enable Tehran to effectively exploit its geographical position by threatening to interrupt maritime traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, which carries a third of all the world's seaborne traded oil. Such a disruption, even short-term, would have incalculable effects on the international economy.


Iranian missile forces loom large in relative significance because of inadequacies in Iran’s air and ground forces. These forces “are sufficient to deter or defend against conventional threats from Iran’s weaker neighbors…but lack the air power and logistical ability to project power much beyond Iran’s borders or to confront regional powers such as Turkey or Israel,” according to a recent official U.S. assessment. [1] U.S. domination of the seas and skies in any military confrontation drives Iran into a disproportionate reliance on threatening to use missiles to level the odds. Even so, the practical utility of Iranian missiles is primarily limited at present to being an instrument of intimidation or terror when targeted against cities, given that Iran’s ballistic missiles lack accuracy against point targets and Iran’s cruise missiles are not suited to land-attack.


By acquiring nuclear warheads for its medium-range ballistic missiles, Iran could gain the ability to destroy specific targets. The deployments of missile defenses in Israel and the Persian Gulf are unlikely to give the defenders confidence that nuclear devastation would be averted in the event of an actual Iranian nuclear missile attack. Moreover, missile defenses are likely to spur rather than retard Iranian efforts to improve their missiles. Fortunately, Tehran would also be aware that its use of nuclear weapons would provoke retaliation that could result in its annihilation as a nation – a risk disproportionate to any conceivable gain.




The majority of missiles launched over the course of the exercise were either short-range, battlefield weapons, such as the solid fuel Fateh 110 or cruise missiles, such as the Tondar and Khalije Fars that were claimed to be effective against ships and fixed targets in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Of some two dozen missiles fired, only one was a medium-range missile with sufficient power and available space to carry a future nuclear warhead, the liquid fuel Shahab 3, a derivative of North Korea’s No Dong MRBM. Yet the Shahab 3’s range of approximately 1,000 km (with a 750 kg warhead) is not sufficient for it to reach Israel from a secure position in Iran. Iran has developed an advanced version of the Shahab 3, the Ghadr 1, to extend the system's range. This was accomplished by lengthening the airframe, using high-strength aluminum, and changing the shape of the missile’s warhead section. Yet the Ghadr 1 did not appear in the recent exercises.


The Iranian media also displayed, for the first time, underground missile silos, allegedly loaded with liquid fuel Shahabs. However, outside experts doubt the accuracy of the descriptions provided in the video coverage of the exercise and question whether Iran has any MRBMs operationally deployed in silos. In any case, such missiles would be far more likely to survive attack in a mobile basing mode than in fixed silos, which can be located in advance and effectively destroyed with little warning by the precision weapons available to the United States.


Iranian television reported further that Iranian forces had been equipped with a new, long-range radar system, the Ghadir, which was featured in the exercises.




Based on the statements of Iranian military leaders and reports in Iran’s media, the main messages of “Great Prophet 6” for friends and foe were: that Iran’s strength is increasing in spite of the UN sanctions; that Iran is not dependent on other nations for its defense; that Iranian missiles could not be effectively preempted or intercepted; and that any attack on Iran would be met with devastating retaliation.


The new radar and missile silos were offered as evidence than Iran cannot be disarmed and that retaliation was inevitable. The salvo launches of missiles were a reminder that missile defenses can be overwhelmed by numbers. The longer-range Shahab 3 symbolized Iran’s reach across the Middle East region, far beyond its own borders. Each of the systems displayed were described as the product of Iranian scientists and engineers, independent of reliance on foreign purchases or technical assistance.




There are, however, other conclusions to be drawn from Iran’s flexing of missile muscles. For those seeking to prevent or dissuade Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, the most important question is how much progress the exercises demonstrate toward Iran developing and deploying the missiles, which would carry nuclear warheads.


Realistically, medium-term delivery boils down to two existing systems: the liquid fuel, single stage Ghadr 1 MRBM, an advanced derivative of the Shahab 3, and the solid fuel Sejjil 2 MRBM, a two-stage system with sufficient range to target Israel from launch sites throughout Iran, but not yet operational. Neither missile was flown during “Great Prophet 6.”


The only MRBM launched was announced to be a Shahab 3, an unlikely candidate for fulfilling Iran’s likely nuclear delivery capability aspirations. It is possible that the Iranians foresee using the Ghadr 1 as a nuclear weapons platform, in spite of the disadvantages inherent to liquid fuel mobile missiles – in terms of their limited mobility and greater vulnerability to attack.


It is more likely that the Iranians see the Sejjil 2 as the preferred carrier for a possible future nuclear warhead. Iran is apparently feeling no need to exercise its only operational missile suited for the nuclear mission and the missile best suited for the nuclear mission has not yet reached an operational status appropriate for exercising. Thus, if the U.S. Government is correct in assessing that Tehran has not yet made a decision to build nuclear weapons, there would appear to be time for dissuading it from doing so.




In a 1999 National Intelligence Estimate, the U.S. intelligence community projected that Iran could test an ICBM within “a few years.” Most analysts predicted back then either “even odds” or a “likely chance” that Iran would test an ICBM by 2010. However, in 2009, senior military and defense officials testified to Congress that shifting from deployment of strategic interceptors to Europe in a third site to a program for deploying theater interceptors in a “Phased Adaptive Approach” was appropriate since the Iranian ICBM threat was evolving more slowly than previously thought.


The Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis reported to Congress in 2011 that Iran was fielding increased numbers of SRBMs and MRBMs, “continuing to work on producing more capable MRBMs, and developing space launch vehicles, which incorporate technology directly applicable to longer-range missile systems.” [2] The still unofficial Report on Sanctions of the UN Panel of Experts completed in May 2011 revealed that the Iranians had conducted two unannounced tests of the Sejjil 2 MRBM (in October 2010 and February 2011) [3] in addition to the five flight tests it had conducted since 2007. (A senior Iranian Republican Guard Corps Commander recently confirmed two previously unannounced “1,900 km-range” missile flights tests in February.)


The Iranians launched their second satellite in May 2011, using the Safir Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) and predicted that it would be followed by another satellite launch in the summer. Unlike the larger Samorgh SLV that had been displayed as a mockup in February, conversion of the Safir SLV to a ballistic missile would still only deliver a nuclear-sized payload about 2,100 km, according to the IISS Strategic Dossier, [4] roughly the same as the Sejjil 2 MRBM.


This summer’s “Great Prophet 6” exercise provides more evidence that, while Tehran makes steady progress on augmenting its stocks of enriched uranium and while R&D work continues on its most likely MRBM candidate for being able to deliver a future nuclear weapon within the region, Tehran’s present military focus is on demonstrating and enhancing its conventional capability to deter and defeat a preventive attack on the Islamic Republic itself. It has not flight-tested, or indeed even asserted a need for, an IRBM or ICBM – the missile categories most relevant to threatening the territories of NATO Europe and the United States.




1. Unclassified Report on Military Power of Iran (Congressionally Directed Action), April 2010, p.7

2. Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, Covering 1 January to 31 December 2010, p.3

3. Panel of Experts Established Pursuant to Resolution 1929 (2010), Final Report, p.26, http://www.innercitypress.com/1929r051711.pdf

4. The International Institute for Strategic Studies: “Iran’s Ballistic Missile Capabilities: A Net Assessment,” May 2010, p.31

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15 juillet 2011 5 15 /07 /juillet /2011 21:50



15 July 2011 by Leon Engelbrecht – defenseWeb


There is something of a “Catch 22i” in arms acquisition. During times of peace it is argued that there are higher priorities than military preparedness, while on the outbreak of hostilities equipment may be unavailable because industry is not ready to manufacture, because of embargo or because the supplier state has need of the equipment itself.

South Africa has experience of each of these situations. In a Military Academy research paper titled The Union Defence Force between the two World Wars, 1919-1939, Lt Col Dr Ian van der Waag quotes the then-defence minister, Oswald Pirow, as saying in September 1938: “In spite of all its potential wealth, South Africa has much poverty and there is a definite upper limit to what the country is prepared to spend on defence.” He was tabulating factors that made South African participation in an international war unique. Other factors included that no section of the population was prepared to support a defence policy which aimed “exclusively at making soldiers out of the youth of the country”; the certainty that the Union or its nearest neighbours could never become the main theatre of a major war; and that due to its geographical position, South Africa's maximum effort will not have to be made until six months after the outbreak of hostilities. “This allowed a period for intensive preparation”. Pirow also noted the country's manpower resources when compared with those of even second-class powers were very limited, that its geographical position was such that large-scale gas or air attack on the civil population need not be seriously considered and the certainty that, “with hardly any conceivable exception, our troops would be called upon to fight a mobile war.”

The development and production of modern arms take ever longer. Author Clive Wilsworth in his excellent “First in, First Out, The South African Artillery in Action 1975-1988
ii notes the GV5 and self-propelled (SP) GV6 was developed from a need identified in 1968 and formalised in 1973 “when the gunners set the requirements to modernise their equipment in line with the Army's upgrading programme”. Work began in 1974 under the rubric Project Boas. When Apartheid South Africa suddenly saw a need in late 1975 to intervene in Angola, neither system was ready and the South African Artillery had to rely on the 88mm towed quick-firing gun and the breech-loading towed 140mm howitzer. Both were outranged by the Soviet artillery available to the Cuban and Angolan MPLA forces, notably the BM21 multiple rocket launcher. Ironically, South Africa's own MLRS programme, Project Furrow, had also started in 1974. As with the tube artillery, this system was also nowhere near ready when hostilities commenced. Wilsworth wrote that the G5 was conceived in July 1976. The first three were delivered to the Artillery on May 21, 1982. The first battery was commissioned in October 1985 and deployed the next July-August during Operation Alpha Centauri. The G6 followed under Projects Buzzard and Zenula. Three pre-production models saw action as “Juliet Troop” during Operation Modular, in November 1987. Regarding the FV1 Visarend MLRS and the Valkiri rocket, Wilsworth added it is still a common misperception that the quest for rocket artillery only started after Operation Savannah, the 1975 intervention. “The massive firepower of the [MLRS] was already appreciated before the first contact in Angola.” The system entered service in 1979 with the first instructors' course held at Kentron South (later Denel Somchem and now part of RDM) in May 1979. The first use of the Valkiri in combat was in August 1981 during Operation Protea. All of these were “operationally urgent” requirements during a war situation when funding was less of an issue than otherwise.

Around the same time the South African Navy (SAN) would suffer major disappointment when on November 4, 1977 a United Nations Security Council armaments embargo came into effect against South Africa. The country had two years before ordered two D'Estienne d'Orves/Aviso A69-class corvettes and two Agosta-class submarines from France. Originally ordered for the French Navy, the corvettes were re-named the SAS Good Hope and SAS Transvaal while building
iii. The South African ensign was hoisted on the Good Hope on September 17, 1977. The Agosta submarines were named SAS Astrant (Afrikaans, “cheeky”, “bold” or “impudent”) and SAS Adventurous. Both projects were progressing well when the embargo came into force and as a member of the UNSC France had no choice but to cancel both projects at the end of that month. The SAS Good Hope had its further sea trials suspended and was prohibited from leaving harbour. On November 7 the ship was moved upriver of the Scorff draw bridge in Lorient harbour – likely to prevent the crew from sailing the ship without authorisation – as the Israelis had done with their missile craft in the 1960s. The next day she and the Transvaal were embargoed when it was formally announced they would not be delivered. South African equipment and stores were removed from both – and the Agostas – and the project team and naval personnel in France were returned home by Christmas.iv The submarines and ships were later respectively sold to Pakistan and Argentina – although Nigeria also showed interest in the ships. The SAS Astrant became S135 Hashmat, SAS Adventurous became S136 Hurmat, the SAS Good Hope became the ARA Drummond (P31) and the Transvaal the ARA Guerrico (P32).

The saga of the monitor HMS Erebus illustrates the last conundrum: when the supplier state has need of the equipment itself. In 1934, the Ministry of Defence took the decision to install 13-inch (325mm) coast defence guns on Robben Island to protect the approaches to Cape Town harbour. Under the same scheme, Durban would be fitted with nine-inch (225mm) ordnance. South Africa then approached the British Admiralty to provide the guns. Protracted negotiations followed, leading to a compromise in December 1938 in terms of which the British would loan South Africa the monitor, HMS Erebus, until the guns could be delivered and installed. With the South African Naval Service moribund, the Union Government (then headed by Prime Minister General JBM Hertzog) decided to designate the monitor a self contained artillery battery to be manned by the SA Army. She would be known as the Erebus Heavy Battery, Coastal Artillery Brigade. (A “monitor” is essentially a small hull fitted with battleship armament. The Erebus had been was built in 1916 under an emergency WW1 building programme, along with a sister, the Terror. Both served during that conflict and were used as training ships afterwards as a result of their limited utility. The Erebus was fitted with a single turret bearing two 15-inch 42-calibre weapons, the same as fitted to battleships such as the HMS Warspite. Her ship's company was 13 officers and 191 men on a hull displacing 8450mt.) A detachment was sent to Britain to master the ships’ guns and were to have sailed home with her in mid-August 1939. However, some repair work could not be completed in time and with war imminent – and South Africa’s position uncertain – the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, indefinitely postponed the departure. When Britain declared war, some of the South Africans did indeed refuse duty and demanded repatriation. South Africa declared war on September 6 after a Cabinet revolt during which Deputy Prime Minister Jan Smuts ousted Hertzog. Churchill now wished to retain the Erebus and South Africa received some 9-inch guns for Robben Island in her stead

Thus one often has to make do with what is in the stores, or go without...

Of course, technology is not a panacea. Writing about the South African War (1899-1902), Douglas Porch noted that “technology and organisation were only adjuncts to, not substitutes for, inventive operational solutions”. Their firepower, which normally gave them 'an important, but by no means decisive, advantage' in colonial warfare was somewhat counter-weighted by the artillery of the two republics

Paddy Griffith writes that beyond “the doctrines of offensive and the defensive, success in battle depends on the technical balance between the two sides in that battle
vii. Wars tend to bog down when conditions are such that an initially favourable attack is unable to finish off the enemy with a single blow. Often this is a matter of general strategy: for example, when too weak a force is deployed to attack too large an enemy. In other cases, however, the failure to win a decisive result will have more to do with the technical tactical balance than with the numerical or strategic one. In both WWI and the more recent Iran-Iraq War [1980-1988] the fighting bogged down because the tactical attacker was unable to sustain his momentum and mobility through the whole depth of the enemy's defences. His forces were too vulnerable when they moved, so they had to dig in and stay put. The tactical balance between two sides is decided by the relationship of four characteristics: fire-power, mobility, protection and the quality of the troops troops each side has deployed.”

Griffith continues that choosing the right new technology (NT) and tactics is never easy “and this is borne out by the 30 years before 1914. The problem was not that the general were stupid or lacked insight, but simply that they were faced with too many new weapons and potential technical innovations for sensible judgments to be made. In fact, the allegedly 'unimaginative' cavalry general Douglas Haig [by 1918 the commander of the British Expeditionary Force] was actually a pioneer in military aviation and motor transport before the war, and would later be sympathetic to the claims of the tank corps.”

NT often suffers from “gold plating”, where the designer or the project officer “wants to incorporate several new and desirable features into the new weapon. The result is that the complexity, difficulty and expense of designing the final version become so overwhelming that the basic original requirement is almost lost from view. And then during the work-up phase there will be teething troubles not just with one new technology but with several, and all at once. In many cases, such as the American attempt to produce an armoured divisional air defence system (DIVADS)
viii [between 1977 and 1985] … finding solutions to the technical problems involved become so expensive that the whole project has to be cancelled.”

Some technological solutions have an impact on organisational structure. Automation has reduced the size of vehicle and gun crews, saving labour in the primary function perhaps, but leaving the same crews short-handed when it comes to mounting guard, maintaining their equipment and changing tyres or fixing tracks. The infantry section still roughly musters ten, although up to three of these are now vehicle crew in the mechanised forces, reducing the dismount section to just seven. Furthermore, the strictures of the assigned vehicle means ten is generally a definitive upper number: it is generally the maximum number that can be carried by most infantry combat vehicles (ICV) or armoured personnel carrier (APC). These vehicles are cramped at the best of times, and when loaded for combat – with full stores of equipment, victuals and ammunition, can be completely jammed in.

The small starting size of the dismounted component of such a section should raise serious concern about the efficacy of this critical battlefield element, especially its ability to absorb casualties and stay in the fight. It bears recall it is these infantrymen who do the fighting in any army in every war. Every higher structure merely adds a leadership, administrative and support layers. Thus at company level one has nine sections and two layers, at the battalion 27 sections and three layers.

Seven section dismounts multiplies to 21 platoon dismounts, 63 company dismounts and just 189 battalion riflemen. For the 1944 infantry section it was 30 platoon dismounts, 90 company dismounts and 270 battalion riflemen. The represents a massive drop in “bayonets”, which is not offset by the notional firepower of the assigned APC or ICV. The APC, in theory, should carry the infantry to the edge of the battle area, where they debus and fight forward on foot. The APCs then retire to a laager and perhaps provide covering fire. How long they will survive to do this is debatable, considering the light armour of standard APC (proof against ball rounds from assault rifles and machine guns). ICV, doctrinally, carry infantry onto the objective (meaning into the enemy position). But the standard ICV is a thin-skinned APC fitted with a cannon, rather than a machine gun, and perhaps precision-guided missiles. Writing about the first-of-breed, the BMP-1 (Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty, meaning "fighting vehicle of infantry"), Griffith noted it “seemed to represent a formidable mixture of firepower, armour and mobility for the infantry, to give it plenty of punch even against armour; in practice, as the 1973 Yom Kippur (October) War showed, the BMP was alarmingly vulnerable...”

A mounted attack into the “Smokeshell” complex during Operation Sceptic in June 1983 illustrated this to a South African audience when a Ratel ICV platoon fell foul of Soviet 14.5 and 23mm anti-aircraft guns used in the ground role. Three of its four vehicles, still carrying dismounts, were hit and two were “knocked out”; the driver and a soldier being killed in the “21A” vehicle and the commander and six troops in the “21C” vehicle
ix. The incident was one of the heaviest single cases of loss during the 1966-1989 Border War and graphically illustrated how vulnerable dismounts are when mounted in light APCs or ICVs – truly hostages to fortune.

The solution has been to up-armour the APC and ICV or even to convert tanks to this role. This happened as long ago as WWI, in the shape of the
Mark IX tank. The next conversion was during the Normandy campaign of WWII, where surplus M7 Priest self-propelled guns (based on the M3 Lee/Grant) were stripped of their guns and sent into service carrying twelve troops. This and subsequent conversions became known as Kangaroos and were used as APCs throughout the remainder of the northwest Europe campaign. In the modern era, Israeli concern and experience with light APC has led to the revival of tank conversions. Several, such as the Israeli Achzarit, the Serbian VIU-55 Munja and the Russian BTR-T (Bronetransporter-Tyazhelyy, “Armoured Transporter–Heavy”), are based on the venerable T55. The BMPT, a slightly different concept (Boyevaya Mashina Podderzhki Tankov, "Tank Support Fighting Vehicle"), is based on the T72.

Griffith, writing in 1991, supposed these heavy APC and ICV would come to resemble the Israeli Merkava (chariot) main battle tank (MBT). He was right. The latest conversion is the Namer (both a contraction of Nagmash [APC] Merkava" and Hebrew for “leopard”), based on Merkava Mark IV. The Namer is armed with either
M2 Browning machine gun or Mk 19 grenade launcher mounted on a Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station, another 7.62x51mm FN MAG machine gun, 60mm mortar and smoke grenades. Like Merkava Mark IV it is optimized for high level of crew survival on the battlefield. Namer may carry up to 12 crewmen and infantrymen and a stretcher, or two stretchers and medical equipmentx. Arguably the most survivable MBT in the world, the Merkava is not invulnerable, as was demonstrated in the 2006 Lebanon War. Israel may have over-relied on the tank in order to reduce casualties and suffered accordingly. The wikipedia records Hezbollah missiles penetrated the armour of five Merkava Mark IV tanks, killing 10 crew. Weapons used included the Russian RPG-29 'Vampir', AT-5 'Konkurs', AT-13 'Metis-M', and laser-guided AT-14 'Kornet' missiles. Another Merkava IV tank crewman was killed when a tank ran over an improvised explosive device (IED). “This tank had additional V-shaped underside armour, limiting casualties to just one of the seven personnel (four crewmen and three infantrymen) onboard. In total, 50 Merkava tanks (predominantly Merkava IIs and IIIs) were damaged, eight of which remained serviceable on the battlefield. Two Merkava Mark IVs were damaged beyond repair, one by powerful IEDs, and another, it is believed, by Russian AT-14 'Kornet' missilesxi. All but two Merkava Mark IV tanks damaged during the war were [eventually] repaired and returned to the IDF. The Israeli military said that it was satisfied with the Merkava Mark IV's performance, and attributed problems to insufficient training before the war”.xii

The BBC reported in August 2006 “all of these enhancements have not proved sufficiently effective against the most modern anti-tank systems operated by determined fighters on the ground. Part of the answer may be to adopt new kinds of armour. But, as ever, part of the answer will be tactical - changes to the way tanks are employed and the way they operate in concert with other elements of ground-power, like infantry and artillery.
xiii” Maybe, but the critic may wonder if this is not a repeat of the quest for a role for horsed cavalry on the 20th Century battlefield.

This, of course, does not address issues surrounding the small size of the dismount section, that will likely divide into two teams of perhaps three and four infantrymen each. When either of these comes under fire and takes casualties, the number of dismounts available for combat falls rapidly, especially when buddies fall out of the line to aid wounded comrades. Just one casualty in either team could reduce it to nothingness and evaporate the combat power of the section. Technology has changed the infantry, as much as any other branch, and a “task which would once have required a platoon of 30-40 men may now be carried out by a … section of eight to 12 men, each divided into two or three 'fireteams' that will similarly be capable of doing the job that previously needed the whole squad.
xiv” This may be true, but there is a definitive bottom limit, and in the case of the diminutive mounted section, the line may have already been crossed.

Another irony of military organisation is that as the section atrophies the support elements have blossomed. The greater the technological prowess of the armed forces, the larger its support units and the lower its tooth-to-tail (or combat-to-support) ratio. The reverse is equally true. US author and wargame pioneer James F Dunnigan notes that a typical Western-style division is just “one third combat troops, the rest [is] combat support. Depending on the type of division and nationality, infantry comprises 8-30% of division strength, tank crews 1-10%, and artillery (including anti-aircraft and antitank weapons) 6-12%. … Since combat divisions account for 20-50% of army manpower, combat troops comprise only 10-25% of all personnel. In all armies, combat support troops are very much the majority.”

Since the working conditions of a military clerk or storeman resemble that of their civilian peers, it has been suggested that for the majority of military personnel, their employment is “just another job”. In their The Military : More Than Just a Job?, Charles Moskos and FR Wood noted that there has been a “creeping occupationalism” in the military, with more and more people seeing it as just another way of earning a living rather than as a “profession of arms”.
xvi This is a major debate in itself that falls outside the scope of this paper. The question is what remedy there is for this phenomenon – at least within the context of this writing. One that suggests itself is the US Marine Corps approach of “every marine a rifleman”, an approach that has given that branch of the America armed forces great cohesion, moral strength and morale. On Wake Island, during the early days of the early days of the Pacific War (December 7-23, 1941), pilots continued the fight as ground officers, leading supply clerks and cooks in a final defensive effort after all the Marine aircraft were shot downxvii. In Vietnam, it led to a close cameraderie between the Marines on the ground and aircrew, with the latter taking great risk to provide close air support to the latter.

“There is both a practical and moral dimension to the credo 'every Marine a rifleman',” the writers of USMC Manual MCWP 6-11 Leading Marines aver.
xviii “The force structure of the Corps reflects its central purpose: an expeditionary force in readiness. And because it is expeditionary, it is also austere. Austerity places a premium on the role of every Marine. There are no 'rear area' Marines, and no one is very far from the fighting during expeditionary operations. The success of each of these operations depends on the speed and flexibility with which Marines build combat power. Marines fighting with manoeuvre elements are backed up by fellow Marines who labour unceasingly to support the mission by building logistic bases, running truck convoys, distributing supplies, and fighting when needed to.

“There is almost nothing more precious to a Marine than a fellow Marine. This traditional bond flows from the combat training which all Marines receive, officer and enlisted, and the shared danger and adversity inherent in expeditionary operations. … This cohesion between Marines is not a function of a particular unit within the Corps. It is a function of the Corps itself. When a Marine reports to a unit, he or she may be unknown personally, but is a known quantity professionally.”


i Wikipedia, Catch 22, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_%28logic%29 , accessed February 6, 2011.


ii Clive Wilsworth, First in, First Out, The South African Artillery in Action 1975-1988, 30 Degrees South Publishers, Johannesburg, 2010.


iii Commander Thean Potgieter, The Secret South African Project Team: Building Strike Craft In Israel, 1975-79, Scientia Militaria, http://academic.sun.ac.za/mil/scientia_militaria/Internet%20Vol%2032(2)/05%20Potgieter.pdf, accessed January 22, 2006.


iv AVA Systems, Profile of the SA Navy, Surface ships, A69-class.


v AVA Systems, Profile of the SA Navy, Surface ships, Erebus.


vi Douglas Porch, Imperial Wars: From the Seven Years War to the First World War, in Townshend (ed), The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern War, Oxford Univrsity Press, Oxford, 1997, pp84-85, 90; available online at http://books.google.co.za/books?id=x5ABVyHeIrYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Oxford+Illustrated+History+of+Modern+War&source=bl&ots=3sSP4AYugT&sig=tf_JIhD_TaeYRtwwnJb4XoDpwO0&hl=en&ei=PmpPTZecJ8KCOtmDuA0&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false; quoted in Ian van der Waag, South Africa and the Boer Military System, in Peter Dennis and Jeffrey Grey, eds. The Boer War; Army, Nation and Empire, Canberra, 2000; online at http://www1.army.gov.au/AHU/docs/The_Boer_War_vanderWaag.pdf, accessed February 10, 2011.


viiPaddy Griffith, The Ultimate Weaponry, Blitz Editions, London, 1991.


viii The M247 Sergeant York. For more, see the wikipedia, M247 Sergeant York, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M247_Sergeant_York, accessed February 12, 2011.


ix Willem Steenkamp, Borderstrike! South Africa into Angola, Butterworths Publishers, Durban, 1983, pp192-202.


x Wikipedia, Merkava, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkava#Merkava_IFV_Namer, accessed February 12, 2011.


xi Author Colonel David Eshel (Ret) ascribes this to an IED as well. Colonel David Eshel (Ret), Assessing the performance of Merkava tanks, Defence Update, undated, 2007, http://www.defense-update.com/analysis/lebanon_war_3.htm, accessed February 12, 2011.


xii Wikipedia, Merkava, , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkava#Merkava_IFV_Namer, accessed February 12, 2011.


xiii BBC, Tough lessons for Israeli armour, August 15, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4794829.stm, accessed February 12, 2011.


xiv Paddy Griffith, The Ultimate Weaponry, Blitz Editions, London, 1991, p151.


xv James F Dunnigan, How to Make War, 4th Edition - A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Warfare for the 21st Century, William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 2003, p124.


xvi CC Moskos & FR Wood, The Military : More Than Just a Job?, Pergamon-Brassey's International Defense Publishers, Washington DC, 1988. See also Charles Moskos, From institution to occupation: trends in military organization, Armed Forces and Society, 4(1), 1977, p41-50.


xvii Lieutenant Colonel R.D. Heinl, Jr., USMC (1947). Marines in WWII Historical Monograph: The Defense of Wake. Historical Section, Division of Public Information, Headquarters, USMC. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-Wake.html.


xviiiUSMC, Leading Marines, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C, January 1995, http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmc/mcwp611.pdf, accessed March 6, 2011.

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15 juillet 2011 5 15 /07 /juillet /2011 06:15



Crédit photo : SLD, salon du Bourget, juin 2011


14.07.2011 sldinfo.com


Par Robbin Laird
Adapté de l’anglais par Virginie Lecat [1]


 Lors du Salon du Bourget, MBDA a invité deux pilotes de chasse de la Royal Air Force à présenter le retour d’expérience de leurs opérations en théâtre libyen, notamment quant à l’utilisation du Tornado et des armes de précision : Mark Lawson, pilote, et James Cooke, officier de système d’armes, appartenant à l’escadrille 9 RAF Marham.



Un équipage de deux hommes opère le Tornado, déployé pour la première fois en opération en 1982. Opération la plus longue depuis la Seconde guerre mondiale, les premières missions en direction de la Lybie ont été effectuées depuis le sol britannique, impliquant trois ravitaillements en vol. Des patrouilles mixtes Tornado-Eurofighter ont également permis aux pilotes de la RAF de bénéficier d’une meilleure appréhension de la menace.

Opération la plus longue depuis la Seconde guerre mondiale, les premières missions en direction de la Lybie ont été effectuées depuis le sol britannique, impliquant trois ravitaillements en vol. Des patrouilles mixtes Tornado-Eurofighter ont également permis aux pilotes de la RAF de bénéficier d’une meilleure appréhension de la menace.

Le missile de croisière Storm Shadow a été employé en premières frappes avec un taux de réussite particulièrement élevé. Le Brimstone, arme de choix pour les cibles en théâtre urbain, fut par ailleurs utilisé en un deuxième temps pour venir à bout des blindés lybiens. La RAF a aussi déployé pour la première fois en opération le missile AIM-132 fabriqué par MBDA. Il s’agit d’un missile air-air de courte portée ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile), lequel remplace les Sidewinder AIM-9 au sein des armées de l’air britannique et australienne. Il peut notamment détruire des cibles aéroportées, blindées, voire des missiles sol-air. Son rôle essentiel est celui d’interdiction aérienne. Autre équipement essentiel : Le RAPTOR (Reconnaissance Airborne Pod TORnado), fabriqué par la Goodrich Corporation. [2]

L’utilisation des équipements a bien-sûr varié selon la nature des missions et des cibles préétablies, ce qui a notamment conduit à passer rapidement du Storm Shadow au Brimstone, une des contraintes majeures en matière de frappes de haute précision étant la limitation des dommages collatéraux



Notes et Références

[1] Voir aussi côté anglais : Operation Ellamy Update

[2] D’après Wikipedia, « ce pod de reconnaissance dont la RAF est équipée pour sa flotte de Tornado GR.4A conti enta un capteur de reconnaissance DB-110, un système d’enregistrement en imagerie et un système de liaison de données sol-air. Le capteur est infrarouge et électro-optique, permettant les missions de jour comme de nuit. La retransmission de données permet à l’imagerie d’être exploitée quasi instantanément ».

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13 juillet 2011 3 13 /07 /juillet /2011 05:55
Britain Supports Eurofighter Bid For Indian MMRCA

 Typhoons photo: Geoffrey Lee


Jul 11, 2011 By Jay Menon AviationWeek.com


NEW DELHI — Britain has outlined its strong support for the Eurofighter Typhoon’s bid for the Indian air force’s $11 billion Medium-Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, as the U.K. seeks to advance its defense industrial cooperation with the country.


“The Eurofighter Typhoon not only provides India with cutting-edge operational capability, but also unmatched potential for an enduring strategic partnership in developing future defense technology,” said U.K. Defense Secretary Liam Fox after a meeting with Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony in New Delhi July 8.


According to a British High Commission statement, Fox’s visit to India underlines the commitment at the highest levels of the British and Indian defense establishments to ensure that defense cooperation is a fundamental pillar of the enhanced partnership between the U.K. and India as set out by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last July.


“In today’s world of multi-layered security and economic interdependence, the U.K. and India are looking for relationships that are built on partnership and respect, not one-off transactions,” Fox says.


The Tyhpoon is pitted against French company Dassault Aviation’s Rafale for the MMRCA program. Indian authorities are set to open final bids for the 126-aircraft order.


The Eurofighter consortium comprises Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems of the U.K., EADS CASA and EADS Germany. Recently, France and Germany also made last-ditch efforts to boost their companies’ chances to win the fighter program.


French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet had pitched the Rafale during his visit to New Delhi in May, and the Eurofighter Typhoon topped the agenda during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s discussions with Prime Minister Singh on May 31. German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizere also met Antony on May 31.


EADS has even invited India to become a partner for the Typhoon program if the aircraft wins the contract. Eurofighter’s offer to establish a production line in India could give it an edge.


The Rafale has the advantage of being logistically and operationally similar to the Mirage 2000. The Indian air force has similar fighters, and the Rafale’s inclusion would require fewer changes in existing infrastructure.

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12 juillet 2011 2 12 /07 /juillet /2011 12:55
Un officier de marine américain rédige une thèse sur l’achat de BPC Mistral par la Russie

12 juillet 2011 Par Rédacteur en chef. PORTAIL DES SOUS-MARINS


L’achat par la Russie de bâtiments sophistiqués auprès de la France a suscité de nombreux commentaires, spéculant sur les menaces supposées que cela pourrait représenter pour les états membres de l’OTAN ou certains de leurs alliés, en particulier la Georgie. Ainsi, selon Vlad Socor dans l’Eurasia Daily Monitor, cette vente était motivée par « le mercantilisme... court-circuitant l’OTAN et oubliant les notions de base que sont la solidarité et les alliances stratégiques. »

Un officier de l’US Navy vient de publier sa thèse de master (pdf) sur cet achat. Selon Dmitry Gorenburg, il s’agirait du « travail le plus complet sur le sujet ». Cet officier, le Lieutenant Commander Patrick Thomas Baker, explique que la Russie veut avoir ce type de bâtiments, non pas pour une capacité spécifique de combat, mais dans le cadre d’une stratégie plus large de modernisation de sa marine :

L’achat de BPC Mistral par la Russie s’explique par son besoin d’acquérir des technologies modernes de commandement et de contrôle, et de construction navale, plus que pour augmenter ses capacités amphibies en soi.

Le chef de la marine russe, l’amiral Vladimir Vysotskiy — qui est célèbre pour avoir expliqué que, avec un BPC Mistral, la Russie aurait été capable de battre la Georgie « en 40 minutes, pas en 26 heures » — s’intéressait déjà au bâtiment avant même la guerre de Georgie. Selon Baker, cela « suggère que le souhait d’acquérir un nouveau système précède l’identification d’une capacité nécessaire et le développement d’un système pour accomplir cette capacité. » :

L’amiral Vysotskiy a probablement considéré le Mistral comme un moyen d’élever le profil de la marine au sein du pays et de l’establishment militaire russe avec un grand bâtiment précieux, tout en proclamant l’insatisfaction de la marine avec les produits qu’elle reçoit des chantiers navals russes. En juillet 2010, l’amiral Vysotskiy a donné une interview sur l’Ekho Moskvy Military Council. Il y déclarait que, comme les forces russes abandonnaient le système basé sur la conscription et la mobilisation, pour un système d’unités et de forces permanentes, ces nouvelles forces avaient besoin de pouvoir se redéployer rapidement. Un Mistral pourrait certainement aider à cela. Vysotskiy a aussi indiqué que les Français avaient raison d’appeler les Mistral des BPC : bâtiment de projection (de force) et de commandement, et expliqué que la Russie les utiliserait de la même manière.

Baker analyse aussi en détail ce que la Russie aurait pu faire dans la guerre de Georgie, si elle avait eu un Mistral. Elle n’aurait probablement pas pu transporter des troupes vers la Georgie plus rapidement qu’elle n’a pu le faire avec ses bâtiments de transport actuels. Elle aurait pu envoyer des hélicoptères d’attaque plus rapidement, puisque les hélicoptères russes n’avaient pas pu traverser le Caucase à cause de l’altitude trop élevée. Le Mistral est un porte-hélicoptères, ce qui aurait pu aider à résoudre ce problème. L’étude après les faits des opérations a aussi montré que les système de commandement et de contrôle russes, s’étaient mal comportés pendant la guerre, et c’est aussi un point sur lequel les Mistral excellent. Cependant, Baker explique qu’aucun de ces points n’aurait véritablement changé la donne en mer Noire, et ne serait la raison en soi d’acheter le Mistral.

Certains analystes estime que des Mistral seront déployés en mer Noire, d’abord pour menacer à nouveau la Georgie. Il est exact que la Georgie est le seul pays que la Russie pourrait menacer en mer Noire. La Turquie est de loin une puissance navale plus importante que la Russie dans cette région. La Turquie contrôle les détroits du Bosphore et des Dardanelles, unique voie d’accès à la mer Noire. Les Mistral ne sont pas concernés par la convention de Montreux, mais la Turquie pourrait rendre les transits d’un bâtiment porte-hélicoptères très difficile. La Russie pourrait donc choisir de laisser les Mistral à l’écart de la mer Noire. Les autres pays riverains de la mer Noire sont aussi tous membres de l’OTAN. Comme le premier ministre russe, Vladimir Poutine, l’a déclaré de façon brutale, la Russie n’aurait pas besoin de Mistral pour envahir à nouveau la Georgie : l’armée russe est parfaitement capable d’exécuter cette mission.

Comme il y a déjà des bases russe en Ossétie du Sud et en Abkhasie, le soutien aérien d’un BPC Mistral ne serait probablement pas nécessaire. On peut imaginer que son utilité pour renforcer les troupes en Georgie, serait plus grande en hiver, quand la neige et le verglas limitent les mouvements dans le Caucase et le tunnel de Roki. Mais encore une fois, les autres bâtiments de transport de la Flotte de la mer Noire peuvent aussi le faire. La Russie pourrait aussi utiliser ses capacités de transport aérien. Un point qu’Aleksandr Goltz a souligné est que les Russes ont laissé des chars et des pièces d’artillerie dans les territoires occupés pour diminuer l’impact des déplacements de matériels par le tunnel de Roki, que la Georgie pourrait surement essayer de fermer dans un futur conflit.

Donc, il semble que l’importance des mouvements de matériels puisse être minimisée par la planification. Cependant, le renforcement de troupes pourrait être réalisé rapidement par avion. Le seul avantage significatif qu’un BPC Mistral apporterait à la flotte de la mer Noire serait sa capacité de contrôle et de commandement dans une opération terrestre à grande échelle. Néanmoins, comme la Russie a atteint ses objectifs en Georgie en 2008, il semble improbable qu’elle se lance à nouveau dans une invasion de grande ampleur, une qui nécessiterait des capacités sophistiquées de commandement.

Cette thèse est bien étayée, écrite dans un langage clair et fait autorité. Elle est véritablement utile pour ceux qui s’intéressent à cette vente et à la planification navale de la Russie en général.

Référence :

Eurasia Net

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12 juillet 2011 2 12 /07 /juillet /2011 11:20



12.07.2011 par Guillaume Lagane* - atlantico.fr


Préambule : Guillaume Lagane a publié ce lundi dans Atlantico une autre tribune sur le même thème, qu'il est bon de consulter avant de lire cet article.


Alors que le parlement français vote ce mardi au sujet de la prolongation de l'intervention militaire en Libye, bilan et perspectives de la coopération menée par l'Europe dans la région.


Il est assez piquant, de lire à la page 18 du programme du parti socialiste publiée quelques semaines après le début des opérations militaires, que « la France et l’Allemagne devront donner l’impulsion pour un nouvel élan à l’Europe de la défense ».


Depuis 1990, toutes les tentatives de rapprochement avec les Allemands sur le plan militaire ont échoué pour des raisons structurelles. L'exemple le plus probant est la brigade franco-allemande, qui existe depuis 1989 et qui n'a jamais été déployée sur un théâtre d'opération. La Cour des comptes a de nouveau demandé, en 2011, sa suppression, comme celle des autres corps "européens" permanents, qui ont fait la preuve de leur inutilité opérationnelle.


Les Allemands se distinguent pas la faiblesse de leur budget militaire (29 milliards d’euros, 1,3 % du PIB) contre 32 Mds € pour la France et 37 Mds € pour le Royaume Uni (2 % du PIB), alors qu'ils possèdent la première puissance économique européenne. L'armée allemande est encore une armée de guerre froide, peu projetable à l'extérieur des frontières européennes. La réforme du service militaire, prévue cette année, est menacée par la démission du flamboyant ministre de la défense qui la portait, Theodor zu Guttenberg, accusé d’avoir copié sur d’autres une partie de sa thèse.


L'armée allemande, peu projetable, est peu projetée : elle a participé, pour la première fois de son histoire, à un déploiement extérieur au Kosovo en 1999, sous l’impulsion du ministre des Affaires étrangères, Joschka Fisher. Elle a également 5 000 hommes en Afghanistan mais, basés dans le nord du pays, ils se voient interdit par le Bundestag toute action de guerre. L’opinion allemande se caractérise en effet par son pacifisme et sa répugnance à l’égard des interventions lointaines. La démission en 2010 du président de la République fédérale, Horst Köhler, critiqué pour son soutien à l’intervention en Afghanistan, l'illustre bien.

Mais la guerre de Libye est aussi l’occasion de faire naître une véritable Europe de la défense

Enfin, contrairement aux Britanniques, les Allemands sont opposés au nucléaire militaire. Ils ont demandé, en 2010, le départ de leur sol des forces nucléaires américaines stationnées dans le cadre de l'OTAN. Quant à l'industrie de défense, EADS est aujourd'hui dominé par l'Allemagne, qui y voit un moyen de préserver ses forces industrielles. Tout rapprochement avec les Français est bloqué par la peur, d’ailleurs légitime, que l'État français, présent au capital des groupes hexagonaux, inspire aux industriels allemands du terrestre et de la marine.


C’est dire que le projet d’une défense européenne était bien mal en point avant même le début des « révoltes arabes ». Mais le refus des Allemands, pourtant gouvernés au centre droit, de participer à la protection des populations civiles en Libye aux côtés des Français et des Britanniques, de même couleur politique, début 2011 marque sans doute un coup d’arrêt définitif au projet. Pacifisme forcené ? Indifférence aux destinées d’Etats éloignés de l’Europe germanique (bien que la Tunisie soit une destination majeure de la clientèle touristique allemande) ? Souvenir malheureux de l’Afrikakorps ? Toujours est-il que cette divergence stratégique majeure, en faisant de la doctrine Fisher une parenthèse enchantée de la diplomatie allemande, ruine le projet d’une défense européenne.


Mais la guerre de Libye est aussi l’occasion de faire naître une véritable Europe de la défense. Car les opérations militaires actuelles soulignent une fois de plus la dépendance de l’Europe envers les États-Unis. Les Américains, au début de l’opération Odyssey Dawn, ont déployé des moyens considérables, dont la faiblesse et l’inefficacité de leurs dépenses militaires privent les Européens. Depuis le transfert des opérations à l’OTAN, Washington conserve en Libye des forces réduites, notamment des drones armés et des moyens d’observation, mais indispensables.

La condition de cette relance est une plus grande coopération entre Européens

Mais l’Amérique de l’administration Obama a changé. En grande difficulté budgétaire avec une dette de 14 000 milliards de dollars, soit 95 % du PIB, elle sait qu’elle doit rogner sur ses dépenses militaires, les premières du monde. Surtout, après les multiples interventions de l’ère Bush, l’administration Obama semble lasse de prêcher le changement. Par son histoire personnelle et ses convictions, Barack Obama lui-même doute des vertus du « wilsonisme armé ». En 2010, la nouvelle stratégie de sécurité nationale, qui a remplacé celle de 2002, insistait sur l’importance du multilatéralisme et de la concertation en refusant tout évangile de la liberté. Inspiré des thèses de Charles Kupchan (How Enemies Become Friends, 2010), cette doctrine Obama s’est traduite par le discours timoré du Caire en 2009, où le refus du « choc des civilisations », les égards envers les régimes en place et la « rue arabe », l’ont emporté sur la promotion de la démocratie.


Dans ce contexte nouveau, le risque du découplage Europe États-Unis est élevé. Une Amérique « post-impériale », selon le mot de l’éditorialiste Fareed Zakaria, cesserait d’être le garant de la sécurité de l’Europe et de la transformation de ses marges. Tout à ses économies budgétaires et à son regard sur l’Asie, où a vécu l’actuel président, très occupé à contenir la montée en puissance de la Chine et l’émergence de la « Chimerica » selon le terme de Niall Ferguson, Washington ne serait plus l’élément moteur de la défense européenne. C’est à une répétition générale de ce scénario que l’on a assisté avec l’affaire libyenne, dans laquelle l’administration Obama n’est entrée qu’à contre-cœur et pour une durée limitée.


Il est dès lors indispensable de relancer le projet d’Europe de la défense. Non, comme le voulait l’antienne habituelle, pour éviter d’être entraîné dans un conflit dont les Européens ne voudraient pas par de bellicistes Américains, mais pour pouvoir au contraire mener les guerres qui sont nécessaires, au nom de valeurs et d’intérêts qui, pour être universels, n’en sont pas moins européens. Le cadre naturel de cette relance ne peut être la Politique européenne de défense et de sécurité, sauf à souffrir d’un défaut très français de déni de réalité, mais bien plutôt l’OTAN dont la réforme, pour nécessaire qu’elle soit, ne peut masquer l’utilité. La condition de cette relance, et de toute européanisation de l’Alliance atlantique, est une plus grande coopération entre Européens, au premier chef Français et Britanniques, et un effort budgétaire accru en faveur de la défense.



Guillaume Lagane est un haut fonctionnaire spécialiste des questions de défense.

Il occupe le poste d'administrateur civil au Ministère de la défense.  Il est également maître de conférences à Science-Po Paris.  Il est l'auteur de Les Grandes question internationales en fiches (Ellipses, 2010).

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11 juillet 2011 1 11 /07 /juillet /2011 16:55
Rafale au Brésil : la France fixée début 2012


11 juillet 2011 par Ana Lutzky – L’USINE NOUVELLE


La décision brésilienne sur l'achat éventuel d'avions de combat français Rafale, attendue pour le printemps, est reportée à "début 2012". C'est ce qu'a annoncé samedi le ministre de la Défense brésilien Nelson Azevedo Jobim.


Interrogé sur le calendrier de la décision, Nelson Jobim a indiqué qu'elle n'interviendrait qu'en début d'année prochaine. Une déclaration faite en marge des "Rencontres économiques" d'Aix-en-Provence.


Il a expliqué ce contre-temps par le changement politique occasionné par l'élection à la présidence de Dilma Rousseff en novembre, qui a succédé au président Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. "Pour le moment, nous nous concentrons sur des questions de politique intérieure, avec le nouveau gouvernement", a-t-il justifié.


Le Rafale de Dassault est en compétition avec le F/A-18 Super Hornet de l'américain Boeing et le Gripen NG du suédois Saab, pour un marché évalué entre quatre et sept milliards de dollars.

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8 juillet 2011 5 08 /07 /juillet /2011 16:35


Sur le pont du porte-avions Charles de Gaulle

crédits : EMA

08/07/2011 MER et MARINE



Après le pic d'activité enregistré entre le 23 et le 30 juin (près de 290 sorties et une centaine d'objectifs traités), les forces aériennes et aéronavales françaises sont revenues à un rythme d'activité plus conforme avec celui des semaines précédentes. En tout, du 30 juin 6h au 7 juillet 6h, les aéronefs tricolores ont mené à bien 249 sorties, soit environ 35 quotidiennement (pour moitié des missions d'attaques au sol). Le dispositif militaire français assure toujours près de 25% des sorties de l'OTAN et un tiers des sorties d'attaque au sol.

Depuis le porte-avions Charles de Gaulle et les bases terrestres, les avions ont réalisé 114 sorties d'attaques au sol (Rafale Air, Mirage 2000-D, Mirage 2000N et Mirage F1 CR / Rafale Marine et Super-Etendard Modernisés), 52 sorties de reconnaissance (Rafale Air, Mirage F1 CR et Rafale Marine / Reco NG), 22 sorties de défense aérienne (Mirage 2000-5 depuis La Sude en coopération avec le Qatar), 15 sorties de contrôle aérien (E-3F et E-2C Hawkeye), ainsi que 25 sorties de ravitaillement (C135 et Rafale Marine). Pour leur part, la vingtaine d'hélicoptères Tigre, Gazelle et Puma du groupe aéromobile embarqué sur le bâtiment de projection et de commandement Tonnerre a mené à bien 21 sorties.

Gazelle sur le Tonnerre (© : EMA)

Selon l'Etat-major des Armées, l'ensemble de ces opérations a permis de neutraliser environ 80 objectifs, dont une cinquantaine de véhicules militaires (véhicules blindés, chars, camions de transport) dans les régions de Zlitan, Syrte, Misrata et Brega ; une vingtaine d'infrastructures (poste de commandement, systèmes de communication militaires et check point) dans les régions de Zlitan et Brega; ainsi qu'une dizaine d'éléments de la chaîne artillerie (positions d'artillerie et d'observation, pièces d'artillerie, lance roquettes multiples) dans les régions de Tripoli, Zlitan et Brega.

Concernant le groupe aéronaval, toujours articulé autour du porte-avions Charles de Gaulle, on notera que les frégates Guépratte et Jean de Vienne ont été remplacée par le Georges Leygues, rentré à Toulon fin juin après avoir mené à bien la mission Jeanne d'Arc 2011 avec le BPC Mistral. Ce dernier devrait d'ailleurs appareiller dans les prochains jours afin d'intégrer l'opération Harmattan/Unified Protector et remplacer le Tonnerre.


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6 juillet 2011 3 06 /07 /juillet /2011 18:00
Le Mexique achète quatre C-27J Spartan



06/07/2011 par Adrien Prévost AEROCONTACT               


Le Mexique a décidé d’acheter quatre avions de transport tactique C-27J Spartan. Le contrat d’un montant de 200 millions de dollars américain comprend aussi le soutien logistique (pièces détachées et outils de soutien logistique au sol).


L’avion est produit en partenariat par la société italienne Finmeccanica, au travers de sa filiale Alenia Aeronautica, et l’avionneur américain Lockheed Martin.


Le premier appareil sera livré fin 2011 et le dernier avant décembre 2012. Cela porte à 83 le nombre de C-27J commandés.


L’avion de transport a été sélectionné par l’Italie, la Grèce, la Bulgarie, la Lituanie, la Roumanie, le Maroc et l’US Air Force.

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6 juillet 2011 3 06 /07 /juillet /2011 17:35
The C-27J Spartan tactical military cargo aircraft. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica)

The C-27J Spartan tactical military cargo aircraft. (Photo: Alenia Aeronautica)


July 6, 2011 defpro.com


Rome | Finmeccanica, through its operating company Alenia Aeronautica, signed a contract worth approximately USD 200 million with Mexico to supply four tactical transport aircraft C-27J.


The contract was signed at the headquarters of SEDENA (Secreteria della Defensa Nacional) in Mexico City, in the presence of General Augusto Moisés Garcìa Ochoa, Director General de Administración de SEDENA, General Leonardo Gonzàlez Garcìa, Comandante de la Fuerza Aérea Mexicana, and Mr. Giuseppe Giordo, CEO of Alenia Aeronautica.


The first aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2011 and the whole supply will be completed by the end of 2012. The contract envisages also the logistics support for the entire fleet through the supply of spare parts and GSE (Ground Support Equipment).



Thanks to this contract, the number of airplanes ordered to date rises to 83, confirming the C-27J as best seller among the aircraft of its category. The C-27J has been ordered by the air forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Morocco and by the US. Air Force.

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6 juillet 2011 3 06 /07 /juillet /2011 12:15



July 6, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE


Algeria has ordered two Russian Stereguschyy class corvettes. Russia already has completed two of these and four more are under construction. These are small ships (2,200 tons displacement), costing about $125 million each. These "Project 20380" ships have impressive armament (two 30mm anti-missile cannon, one 100mm cannon, eight anti-ship missiles, six anti-submarine missiles, two eight cell anti-missile missile launchers, two 14.5mm machine-guns ). There is a helicopter platform, but the ship is not designed to carry one regularly. Crew size, of one hundred officers and sailors, is achieved by a large degree of automation. The ship also carries air search and navigation radars. It can cruise 6,500 kilometers on one load of fuel. Normally, the ship would stay out 7-10 days at a time, unless it received replenishment at sea. Like the American LCS, the Russian ship is meant for coastal operations. The Russian Navy wants at least fifty of them, but has to settle, for now, for 30.


Russia has become the go-to provider of short range, low cost, warships. Currently, Russian shipyards are building nearly $6 billion worth of warships for foreign customers (India, China, Algeria, Vietnam and Indonesia) and many of these orders were obtained because Russia had a reputation for inexpensive, rugged, coastal warships.

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6 juillet 2011 3 06 /07 /juillet /2011 07:20


source defense.gouv.fr


2011-07-05 (China Military News cited from washingtonpost.com and written by William Wan and Peter Finn)


At the most recent Zhuhai air show, the premier event for China’s aviation industry, crowds swarmed around a model of an armed, jet-propelled drone and marveled at the accompanying display of its purported martial prowess.


In a video and map, the thin, sleek drone locates what appears to be a U.S. aircraft carrier group near an island with a striking resemblance to Taiwan and sends targeting information back to shore, triggering a devastating barrage of cruise missiles toward the formation of ships.


Little is known about the actual abilities of the WJ-600 drone or the more than two dozen other Chinese models that were on display at Zhuhai in November. But the speed at which they have been developed highlights how U.S. military successes with drones have changed strategic thinking worldwide and spurred a global rush for unmanned aircraft.


More than 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones, and many have started in-country development programs for armed versions because no nation is exporting weaponized drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and its closest allies.


“This is the direction all aviation is going,” said Kenneth Anderson, a professor of law at American University who studies the legal questions surrounding the use of drones in warfare. “Everybody will wind up using this technology because it’s going to become the standard for many, many applications of what are now manned aircraft.”


Military planners worldwide see drones as relatively cheap weapons and highly effective reconnaissance tools. Hand-launched ones used by ground troops can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Near the top of the line, the Predator B, or MQ9-Reaper, manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, costs about $10.5 million. By comparison, a single F-22 fighter jet costs about $150 million.


Defense spending on drones has become the most dynamic sector of the world’s aerospace industry, according to a report by the Teal Group in Fairfax. The group’s 2011 market study estimated that in the coming decade global spending on drones will double, reaching $94 billion.


But the world’s expanding drone fleets — and the push to weaponize them — have alarmed some academics and peace activists, who argue that robotic warfare raises profound questions about the rules of engagement and the protection of civilians, and could encourage conflicts.


“They could reduce the threshold for going to war,” said Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield in England. “One of the great inhibitors of war is the body bag count, but that is undermined by the idea of riskless war.”


China on fast track


No country has ramped up its research in recent years faster than China. It displayed a drone model for the first time at the Zhuhai air show five years ago, but now every major manufacturer for the Chinese military has a research center devoted to drones, according to Chinese analysts.


Much of this work remains secret, but the large number of drones at recent exhibitions underlines not only China’s determination to catch up in that sector — by building equivalents to the leading U.S. combat and surveillance models, the Predator and the Global Hawk — but also its desire to sell this technology abroad.


Original Full Article

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5 juillet 2011 2 05 /07 /juillet /2011 18:01


credit Astrium


July 5, 2011 defpro.com


Bonn | In the frame of the space programme MUSIS, OCCAR-EA awarded a 9-month contract to the three co-contractors Thales Alenia Space Italia, EADS Astrium France, and Thales Alenia Space France.


MUSIS (MUltinational Space-based Imaging System) is a collaborative programme for surveillance, reconnaissance and observation comprising several European military or dual-use satellite constellations of the next generation and complementing one another. Among these constellations, the space system CSG (Cosmo SkyMed Seconda Generazione) is under development in Italy and will generate radar images; CSO (Composante Spatiale Optique), the MUSIS space component realised under the leadership of France, will acquire optical pictures.


Sponsored by France and Italy, the MUSIS Federating Activities (FA) aim to interconnect the space systems mentioned above and guarantee mutual access by national users. The MUSIS FA Phase B–1 study is concerned with the preliminary definition of a “Common Interoperability Layer” bridging the gap between the national ground segments.


The possible participation of other MUSIS Nations in subsequent phases of these federating activities may be coordinated through the European Defence Agency, in the frame of the “EDA MUSIS Cat B Programme.”

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5 juillet 2011 2 05 /07 /juillet /2011 06:50
Présidence polonaise de l’Union européenne : vers une relance de l’Europe de la défense ?


lundi 4 juillet 2011, par Institut Thomas More - Comité belgique



Par Antonin TISSERON, chercheur associé à l’Institut Thomas More. Alors que les récentes opérations ont rappelé les limites des outils militaires des États européens, la Pologne prend la présidence tournante de l’Union européenne le 1er juillet. Or étant donné les ambitions polonaises dans le domaine de la défense, les mois qui vont suivre peuvent constituer une opportunité pour donner une nouvelle impulsion à la Politique de sécurité et de défense commune (PSDC). Encore faut-il cependant que les projets polonais soient correctement décryptés.


Le 1er juillet 2011, la Pologne prend la présidence tournante de l’Union européenne. Après une présidence hongroise peu marquante, une présidence belge qui a sombré avec la crise institutionnelle touchant le royaume, et une présidence espagnole emportée par la crise économique et financière, la présidence polonaise donne l’espoir de voir une nouvelle impulsion à Bruxelles dans le domaine de la défense.


Varsovie s’est en effet affirmée ces dernières années comme un pilier diplomatique et militaire, désireux de s’engager dans le renforcement de la sécurité du continent européen. Derrière les initiatives et les prises de position du gouvernement polonais, ce dynamisme doit cependant être replacé dans une géopolitique plus large de l’Est de l’Europe et des relations avec les États-Unis et la Russie.


Les ministres des Affaires étrangères et de la défense des trois pays du triangle de Weimar (Allemagne, France et Pologne) adressaient une lettre à la Haute représentante Catherine Ashton dans laquelle ils plaidaient pour une nouvelle impulsion de la Politique de sécurité et de défense commune (PSDC). « Dans un contexte de fortes contraintes financières, nous devons être prêts à prendre des décisions audacieuses », écrivaient-ils, avant de demander une « PSDC plus performante et plus efficiente ».


Bien que signée des trois pays du triangle de Weimar, cette lettre est le fruit d’un activisme diplomatique polonais initié en 2009 et destiné à faire avancer la PSDC, considérée alors comme l’une des cinq priorités de la Pologne pour sa présidence européenne (1). Le 19 juillet 2009, le ministre des Affaires étrangères polonais, Radoslaw Sikorski transmettait en effet un document officiel, dit « non paper », au ministre des affaires étrangères français, Bernard Kouchner. Ce texte polonais, surnommé « initiative de Chobielin » du nom du manoir du nord-ouest de la Pologne dans lequel se rencontraient les deux ministres, avançait plusieurs propositions pour faire de la politique européenne de sécurité et de défense (PESD, devenue depuis la PSDC) « un outil dynamique de prévention et de résolution des conflits » : création d'un adjoint au haut représentant pour la politique étrangère de l'UE, responsable de la PESD ; mise en place d'un état-major européen intégré, civil et militaire ; création de « forces de stabilisation » (armée, police, gardes-frontières) ; échanges temporaires d'unités dans le cadre d'opérations sous l'égide de l'UE ; multiplication des exercices communs ; projets industriels européens. Diversement appréciée par la diplomatie française, qui jugeait notamment les propositions trop institutionnelles et pas assez capacitaires, l’initiative de Chobielin a cependant donné suite à plusieurs échanges diplomatiques avec la France et l’Allemagne dont la lettre de décembre 2010 est un aboutissement.  


Le maître mot de la future présidence est depuis devenu « l’intégration européenne » avec trois grandes priorités : la croissance, l’ouverture et la sûreté. Dans cette nouvelle segmentation, l’Europe de la défense est reléguée au rang de contribution à une « Europe plus sûre », aux côtés de la gouvernance économique, de la politique agricole commune et de la sécurité énergétique. Si cette discrétion contraste avec les précédentes annonces et initiatives, elle doit cependant être remise en perspective. Il y a, pour la Pologne et les Européens, des sujets plus importants à court terme. D’autre part, l’entrée en vigueur du Traité de Lisbonne enlève à la présidence tournante tout poids sur la politique étrangère et de défense (2). Toutefois, les ambitions de Varsovie demeurent, comme en témoigne le lancement avec la France et l’Allemagne de séminaires thématiques sur les capacités de commandement (en Allemagne), les groupements tactiques et leur utilisation (en Pologne) et les capacités de défense (en France) (3).


Un pays à la recherche de sécurité


Les préoccupations de la Pologne pour la sécurité reposent sur la conscience de menaces extérieures. Le sentiment selon lequel les Polonais ne sont pas à l’abri d’une agression d’ampleur sur leur sol est en effet répandu dans l’opinion et au sein de la classe politique.  


Cette vision géopolitique est avant tout le fruit de l’histoire d’un pays « balloté, jusqu’à récemment encore, entre indépendance plus ou moins contrôlée et disparition pure et simple » (entre 1795 et 1918) (4). Alors que les Carpates limitent les déplacements selon un axe Nord-Sud, la grande plaine polonaise facilite les intrusions venant de l’Est et de l’Ouest. Après la reconnaissance par l’Allemagne de la ligne « Oder-Neisse » en 1990, Berlin n’est plus considéré comme une menace. Le souvenir de la campagne éclair de septembre 1939 reste vif et le passé revient régulièrement dans les débats et discussions entre les deux pays (5), mais plus que l’Allemagne, le facteur d’incertitude et d’instabilité pour Varsovie se trouve aujourd’hui à l’Est. Sur fond de résurgence de traditions autoritaires depuis l’accession au pouvoir de Vladimir Poutine (6), la politique étrangère de Moscou a rappelé les ambitions russes de mener une politique de puissance et d’influence dans son environnement proche. L’arme énergétique a ainsi été utilisée contre les voisins d’Europe de l’Est, tandis que l’Otan était désignée comme une « menace » dans la doctrine de défense.  


L’offensive russe en Géorgie durant le mois d’août 2008 a considérablement renforcé cette vision d’une Russie menaçante. Pour Varsovie, l’intervention de Moscou a rappelé que la Russie n’hésitait pas à employer la force armée contre un voisin, voire à fomenter des troubles pour intervenir. Pour le chef d’état-major polonais, l’éclatement du conflit était ainsi dû à une manipulation du Président géorgien Saakashvili par les services secrets russes. Dans ce contexte, le refus d’intervenir militairement des États-Unis – tout comme le refus français – a marqué les Polonais, d’autant que l’administration américaine évoquait avant la guerre une éventuelle intégration de la Géorgie dans l’Otan et prévoyait d’y implanter deux bases. Signe des tensions à l’intérieur de l’Alliance atlantique à cette période, le ministre des Affaires étrangères polonais se serait plaint aux Américains, quelques mois après le conflit, que l’Otan soit devenue un « club politique sans dents », et affirmant également que son pays n’accepterait pas un « scénario identique en Ukraine » (7). Quant à l’accident le 10 avril 2010 de l’avion transportant le président polonais et 95 autres personnes (dont les plus hautes autorités militaires du pays), il a vite donné lieu à des accusations selon lesquelles la Russie aurait été responsable.


L’importance accordée à l’Europe de la défense par la Pologne se replace en cela dans la recherche de sécurité pour un pays dont l’histoire aiguise le sentiment de fragilité face à ses puissants voisins. Certes, pour la Pologne, développer de bonnes relations avec Moscou est une priorité afin de garantir l’indépendance et la sécurité polonaise. Mais face à la Russie, le dialogue et la coopération ne sauraient suffire. La Pologne doit pouvoir se défendre, et être défendue, que cela soit d’ailleurs par les autres pays européens ou les États-Unis. Et, dans le domaine de la sécurité, plusieurs jeux d’alliances et de relations s’entrecroisent.  


Une approche pro-européenne dans un cadre pro-atlantiste  


Malgré la position américaine lors de la guerre russo-géorgienne et la manière dont a été annoncée, le 17 septembre 2009, la décision américaine de réorganiser le bouclier antimissile en Europe, en renonçant au projet initial d’installer des missiles intercepteurs en Pologne et un radar en République tchèque pour déployer les systèmes plutôt dans le Sud de l’Europe (en Roumanie ou en Bulgarie) (8), les États-Unis demeurent un pilier de la sécurité polonaise. C’est d’ailleurs en revendiquant la position de « meilleur allié » que la Pologne s’est engagée en Irak et en Afghanistan (environ 2 500 hommes dans chaque opération sur un effectif de 100 000 hommes, tous professionnels) et les deux pays ont signé en août 2008 une déclaration de coopération technique (9).  


Plus récemment, en juin 2010, le gouvernement polonais a également obtenu l’établissement de 32 missiles Patriot dans son pays et, suite au voyage de Barack Obama en Pologne en mai 2011, la Pologne devrait recevoir prochainement des avions américains F-16 et C-130 pour des vols d’entraînement conjoints, ainsi qu’une antenne permanente de l’U.S. Air Force. Le président américain a également annoncé lors de son séjour que Varsovie ferait partie intégrante du nouveau bouclier antimissile. En fait, comme l’affirmait en octobre 2010 le ministre polonais de la défense, « nous sommes vivement intéressés par une présence supplémentaire des soldats américains en Pologne ainsi que des soldats d’autres pays alliés ». (10). Il faut dire qu’il s’agit de la meilleure garantie d’une intervention de ces alliés en cas d’agression à l’encontre du territoire polonais, et d’un vecteur de renforcement des relations bilatérales.  


Dans cette perspective, la défense du territoire polonais repose avant tout sur l’article 5 du Traité atlantique (11), aspect fondamental d’une alliance dont la finalité première est la défense des États-membres. À ce titre, la Pologne, tout comme les autres pays d’Europe centrale, souhaite renforcer les relations entre l’Otan et l’Union européenne et, en cela, il convient de ne pas opposer l’Alliance à l’Europe de la défense, mais bien au contraire de les associer de manière « harmonieuse et complémentaire ». (12).


Le renforcement de la PSDC s’inscrit dans ce double cadre. D’une part, même si l’investissement de la diplomatie polonaise dans l’Europe est parfois considéré comme le fruit d’une prise de distance avec les États-Unis – dont les annonces faites par Barack Obama en mai dernier montrent les limites –, il est davantage question d’équilibrage que de bascule. D’autre part, la Pologne reste un pays profondément pro-atlantique et envisage l’Europe de la défense comme complémentaire des dispositifs existants. Certes, le déplacement des intérêts américains du continent européen au continent asiatique (et à l’échelle du contient européenne de l’Ouest vers l’Est) interroge les autorités polonaises sur les garanties américaines en termes de sécurité. Les États-Unis demeurent toutefois encore aujourd’hui un contrepoids fondamental face à la Russie, et l’Europe de la défense relève d’un investissement aux retombées hypothétiques.  


Une opportunité pour les Européens  


Alors que les opérations armées récentes ont montré les limites des outils militaires des Européens, l’engagement du triangle de Weimar constitue un cadre possible pour impulser un nouveau souffle à la coopération dans le domaine de la défense. L’intervention en Libye a en effet mis à jour les carences capacitaires européennes, dans les domaines de la suppression des défenses antiaériennes et de la guerre électronique par exemple, et les limites de programmes amenant à des productions trop faibles pour produire un effet militaire et politique. Ainsi, en quelques jours, l’armée de l’Air et la Marine américaine ont tiré autant de missiles de croisière que l’ensemble du programme français. En Afghanistan, la situation n’est pas meilleure. Les États européens engagés dépendent des États-Unis pour le transport (hélicoptères lourds notamment) et le renseignement, et peinent à produire avec des contingents limités un effet significatif sur le terrain (13).  


Si les initiatives polonaises s’ajoutent au rapprochement franco-britannique en institutionnalisant une coopération entre les trois pays du triangle de Weimar, plusieurs tendances peuvent en fragiliser les avancées. Les agendas et les visions géopolitiques des trois pays diffèrent en effet comme l’a rappelé l’intervention en Libye. Alors que Paris regarde du côté de Londres et de la Méditerranée, Berlin et Varsovie sont davantage préoccupés par la défense mutuelle dans le cadre de l’article 5. Ensuite, les politiques russes de Paris et Berlin risquent de peser sur les avancées dans le domaine de la défense européenne, les intérêts nationaux prenant le pas sur l’intérêt commun.  


L’engagement annoncé par la Pologne en faveur de l’Europe de la défense doit en cela être apprécié à l’aune de la politique étrangère polonaise, de ses attentes et de ses objectifs, ainsi que du primat de l’Otan. Certes, il constitue une opportunité pour l’Europe de la défense, mais il rappelle également que la PSDC ne doit pas être pensée comme l’indispensable dimension militaire d’un ensemble fédéralisé, mais comme un outil permettant aux États européens de rationaliser leurs efforts militaires et d’agir de manière autonome s’ils le souhaitent sans prétendre supplanter l’Otan (14). De même, dans une Europe aux regroupements à géométrie variable, les initiatives polonaises ne doivent pas être perçues comme concurrentes de la logique communautaire ou des logiques bilatérales, mais complémentaires. Les choix faits par la Pologne témoignent d’ailleurs de ce pragmatisme. À l’investissement dans le cadre du triangle de Weimar avec les Français et Allemands, qui promeut notamment l’idée d’un état-major autonome pour les opérations européennes de maintien de la paix, s’ajoute la signature avec les Belges et Hongrois, d’un « non paper » sur la coopération structurée permanente et les avancées du traité de Lisbonne.  


En donnant corps aux ambitions annoncées, la Pologne offrira en tout cas l’occasion de porter dans l’espace public les questions de défense et de sécurité et d’y associer étroitement l’Allemagne. Mais dans ce débat, l’avenir des capacités des Européens sera crucial, étant donné les carences constatées sur les théâtres d’opérations récents et les menaces d’érosion des capacités militaires des États-membres. Sans capacités, avoir des états-majors reste de peu d’utilité et les États-Unis n’attendent pas des Européens qu’ils se reposent sur eux pour leur défense.  




(1) Exposé du ministre des Affaires étrangères polonais Radoslaw Sikorski à la Diète, 8 avril 2010Les quatre autres priorités sont la sécurité énergétique de l’Union européenne, les négociations au sujet du cadre financier pluriannuel, la relance économique sur le marché intérieur et les relations avec les pays de l’Europe orientale.


(2) Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, « La défense, priorité très discrète de la présidence polonaise », blog Bruxelles2, 3 juin 2011. http://www.bruxelles2.eu/defense-ue/defense-ue-droit-doctrine-politique/la-defense-priorite-tres-discrete-de-la-presidence-polonaise.html.  


(3) Ce séminaire est prévu pour le 13 juillet à Paris, sous l’intitulé « Mutualisation, partage et coopération : un défi sans alternative ». Il s’agit du séminaire de clôture de la série.


(4) Roland Delawarde, « "Qui veut être mon ami ?" : la politique de défense de la Pologne à travers ses alliances », Revue Défense Nationale, n°738, Mars 2011, pp. 62-69, p. 64.


(5) Sur les usages du passé dans les relations germano-polonaises, consulter Dorota Dakowska, « Les relations germano-polonaises. Les relectures du passé dans le contexte de l’adhésion à l’UE », Pouvoirs, n°118, septembre 2006, pp. 125-136. Se référer de manière plus générale à Valérie-Barbara Rosoux, Les usages de la mémoire dans les relations internationales. Le recours au passé dans la politique étrangère de la France à l’égard de l’Allemagne et de l’Algérie, de 1962 à nos jours, Bruxelles, Éditions Émile Bruylant, 2001.


(6) François Bafoil (dir.), La Pologne, Paris, Fayard-CERI, 2007, p. 470.


(7) Propos du ministre des Affaires étrangères polonais Radoslaw Sikorski, extrait d’un télégramme diplomatique de l’ambassade américaine de Pologne daté du 12 décembre 2008.


(8) Le lieu de déploiement du système antimissile en Roumanie doit être la base de Deveselu, dans le sud du pays. Sous contrôle roumain, elle devrait accueillir entre 200 et 500 militaires américains et, dès 2015, 24 missiles SM-3 de nouvelle génération y seront déployés. Afin de faciliter le transit des troupes américaines de retour l’Afghanistan et d’Irak, Bucarest a également mis à la disposition des Etats-Unis le port de Constanta et l’aéroport de Kogalniceanu.


(9) Cette déclaration institutionnalise la collaboration politico-militaire par la mise en place d’un groupe consultatif.


(10) Bogdan Klich, cité par Stanislaw Parzymies, « Entre atlantisme et européisme : l’approche stratégique polonaise », Revue Défense Nationale, n°737, février 2011, pp. 65-78, p. 71.


(11) Tomasz Orlowski, ambassadeur de Pologne à Paris, « Le point de vue polonais sur les perspectives de la défense européenne », Défense, n°143, janvier-février 2010, p. 58.  


(12) Stanislaw Parzymies, art. cit., p. 68.  


(13) Intervention d’Étienne de Durand (IFRI), colloque organisé par la FRS le 11 mai 2011.  


(14) Sur ce thème, consulter notamment Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier, « De l’Alliance à l’Europe : une géopolitique de l’ensemble euro-atlantique », note de l’Institut Thomas More, 16 novembre 2010. http://www.institut-thomas-more.org/upload/media/artjsmongrenier-nov2010-fr.pdf.


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4 juillet 2011 1 04 /07 /juillet /2011 16:50


L'équipage du CDG forme le mot « Harmattan » le 30 juin (© : MARINE NATIONALE)

crédits : EMA


04/07/2011 MER et MARINE


Le dispositif militaire français a engagé en Libye dans le cadre de l'opération Harmattan/Unified Protector a connu du 23 au 30 juin sa plus forte activité hebdomadaire depuis le début des frappes, le 19 mars dernier. Le groupe aéronaval, le groupe aéromobile et les avions de l'armée de l'Air déployés depuis les bases métropolitaines et en Crète ont réalisé 289 sorties (soit environ 40 par jour) et neutralisé une centaine d'objectifs (contre 250 sorties et une soixantaine de cibles neutralisées la semaine précédente). La hausse d'activité est significative pour le groupe aéromobile. Ainsi, la vingtaine d'hélicoptères Gazelle, Tigre et Puma de l'Aviation légère de l'armée de Terre (ALAT) embarquée sur le bâtiment de projection et de commandement Tonnerre a mené à bien, en une semaine, 43 sorties, contre 31 la semaine précédente et 32 la semaine d'avant (les hélicoptères ont réalisé leur première mission dans la nuit du 3 au 4 juin).

Du côté de l'aviation, le rythme demeure très soutenu, avec 246 sorties. Ces missions se décomposent ainsi : 132 sorties d'attaques au sol (Rafale Air, Mirage 2000-D, Mirage 2000N et Mirage F1 CR / Rafale Marine et Super Etendard Modernisés), 50 sorties de reconnaissance (Rafale Air, Mirage F1 CR et Rafale Marine / Reco NG), 19 sorties de défense aérienne (Mirage 2000-5 depuis La Sude en coopération avec le Qatar), 16 sorties de contrôle aérien (E3F et E2C Hawkeye ) et 29 sorties de ravitaillement (C135 et Rafale Marine).

Gazelle sur le Tonnerre (© : EMA)

Mirage 2000 (© : EMA)

Mirage F1 CR (© : EMA)

L'ensemble des moyens engagés a permis, entre le 23 juin 6h00 et le 30 juin 6h00, de neutraliser une centaine d'objectifs : Une soixantaine de véhicules militaires, véhicules blindés et chars dans les régions de Zlitan et Brega, une trentaine d'infrastructures militaires dans les régions de Zlitan et Brega, notamment des postes de commandement, et systèmes de communication ; ainsi qu'une dizaine de positions d'artillerie et d'observation dans les régions de Zlitan et Brega.
En mer, les moyens déployés par la Marine nationale demeurent très importants avec, notamment, le porte-avions Charles de Gaulle et le BPC Tonnerre, ce dernier devant être prochainement relevé par le Mistral. On notera que le 20 juin, le bâtiment de commandement et de ravitaillement (BCR) Marne et le pétrolier ravitailleur (PR) Meuse sont venus ravitailler en noria le Tonnerre, ainsi que les frégates de défense aérienne Jean Bart et Chevalier Paul. Cette information de l'Etat-major des Armées contredit d'ailleurs celle de la marine voulant que la Marne ait pris la relève, le 18 juin, de la frégate La Fayette au sein de la mission Corymbe en Afrique de l'ouest. Sans doute une petite erreur dans les dates, la Marne ayant en toute logique fait un crochet par la Libye avant de partir vers le Sénégal.

Ravitaillement du Tonnerre par la Meuse (© : EMA)

Ravitaillement du Jean Bart par la Marne (© : EMA)

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2 juillet 2011 6 02 /07 /juillet /2011 06:55
U.K., France Fine-tune Libyan Air Ops

Jul 1, 2011 By Bill Sweetman, Angus Batey, Christina Mackenzie-  defense technology international


Washington, London, Paris


Initial lessons learned from air operations over Libya have been both encouraging and embarrassing for European air forces. The Royal Air Force has found itself dependent on capabilities that the U.K. government plans to cancel, and France found itself with the wrong weapons.


While the RAF believes it is too soon to talk about lessons learned from the ongoing Libya operation, it is clear from April speeches by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, the chief of air staff, and his deputy, Air Vice Marshal Barry North, that platforms scheduled for termination have been of vital importance. Dalton told the Royal Aeronautical Society that Britain’s support of the NATO no-fly zone, known as Operation Ellamy by the U.K. Defense Ministry, “has proved further validation of the Combat Istar (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) concept, with a layering of—and cross-cueing between—dedicated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and Combat Istar assets and capabilities achieving a synergy that is greater than the sum of their parts.”


That synergy is provided by three Istar platforms—E-3D Sentry, Sentinel R1 and Nimrod R1—of which only E-3D remains part of the RAF’s long-term future. The electronic intelligence-gathering Nimrod R1 was due to leave service at the end of March. The capability is to be replaced by the acquisition of three RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft, which the RAF will call Air Seekers. The first of these is still undergoing conversion work in the U.S., and the platform is not due to be operational until 2014. The Nimrod’s out-of-service date was postponed because it was needed over Libya. DTI understands that the two aircraft will go out of service on June 28, but any capability gap will be short. Joint RAF and U.S. Air Force crews will co-crew USAF-owned Rivet Joint aircraft ahead of delivery of the U.K.-owned airframes. British aircrew have been training with their American counterparts at Offutt AFB, Neb., since early this year. Co-crewed operations will begin in the summer.


Less clear is the future of the capability provided by the RAF’s Astor (airborne stand-off radar) platform, Sentinel R1. Sentinel’s ability to switch between synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and ground-moving target indicator (GMTI) modes makes it the fulcrum of the “scan, cue, focus” methodology the RAF practices. In their speeches, Dalton and North outlined how, on a hypothetical “typical” Ellamy mission, Sentinel performs initial assessment of both wide and specific areas of interest to inform further investigation by other platforms, as well as pointing out possible targets when in GMTI mode.


The coalition government’s Strategic Defense and Security Review of 2010 opted to retire the Sentinel force (comprising five Raytheon-modified Bombardier Global Express business jets and associated systems) once operations in Afghanistan end. While this date is not yet known, neither is the route by which the capability will be replaced. The Defense Ministry has a requirement for a future unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), called Scavenger, which is expected to include key elements of the Sentinel capability, but no preferred solution is due to be identified until 2012, so an operational system is some years away.


Reaper and the soon-to-be-fielded British Army Watchkeeper UAV offer SAR, and both Reaper and Sea King 7 have a GMTI capability; but neither Reaper nor Sea King is likely to be risked in contested airspace, and neither has been deployed to Libya.


The unexpected Libyan conflict has pointed to crew management challenges in the RAF’s fast-jet fleet. The need for ground-attack-capable Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft and crew forced a reordering of operational priorities for the force, which had been concentrating on transitioning Britain’s air defenses from Panavia Tornado F3s to Typhoons (the last F3s were retired from service on March 31). Result: When the Libya operation was stood up, the RAF had—as planned for that timeframe—only eight pilots trained and current in the ground-attack role.


DTI understands that several of these were instructors on the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), and this meant that OCU activities were wound down for some days as qualified crew deployed to Italy, the staging area. OCU activity has since restarted, with training priorities realigned in light of the changed operational need. The RAF now has 20 Typhoon pilots combat-ready for ground-attack missions.


Tactics initially adopted partly to take account of the crewing situation have become established best practice. The most challenging part of single-seat, fast-jet operations is laser-target designation, and in Typhoon’s first combat missions, the aircraft flew with a GR4 to “buddy lase.” Deployed Typhoon crews are now able to self-designate, but most missions are still flown in Typhoon/Tornado pairs.


This enables commanders to use the most appropriate munitions, conserving higher-cost precision weapons for missions where low-collateral strikes are needed. And crew tours are being kept relatively short—aircrews typically spend 6-8 weeks in Italy—to ensure that skill fade is reduced. This is a lesson learned with Harrier crews in Afghanistan. The RAF found that due to mission demands, skill sets such as night-flying or aerial refueling were not being used in-theater and had to be regenerated once crews returned home from six-month deployments.


For the French air force, the principal lesson learned from operations in Libya is that it needs smaller and more precise air-to-ground missiles. The Sagem AASM (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire), in the 250-kg (550-lb.) version in service, is too big. It’s like using a brick instead of a fly swatter to kill that pesky fly on the window.


“Everyone has precise, expensive, complex armaments which carry a heavy military charge,” French observers, who spoke on condition they not be named, told DTI. “We need to be able to use our air forces to very precisely destroy targets with low value and we are missing small effectors to do it with,” they say. “What we need, and nobody, not even the Americans have it, is something much smaller, such as a multiple missile-launcher. Everyone wants weapons that can do everything but the result is that we end up with things that are over-dimensioned for the job.”


In the absence of the Brimstone missile used by the RAF, which is smaller and more accurate than the AASM and can take out targets embedded in towns, the French air force decided to use inert AASMs in some situations. These weigh the same as live AASMs, but rubber or concrete replace the explosive. RAF Tornados destroyed Iraqi tanks with similar concrete bombs in 2003.


The inert bombs are equipped with the same GPS navigation systems as the real ones and are also accurate to within 1 meter (3.3 ft.). Dropped from a Rafale, they hit their target at a speed of 300 meters/sec. and do a good job of destroying a tank without causing collateral damage in a 200-meter-dia. circle around the point of impact.


The live AASM has two modes—programmed ahead of the mission if the target is a building or ammunition depot, for example; or programmed by the aircraft crew during the mission in Time Sensitive Targeting (TST) mode. Laser and infrared (IR)-guided versions of modes are in development and are not being used in Libya, a spokesman for manufacturer Sagem tells DTI.


The French air force was first to strike, on March 19, when it used AASMs to destroy a column of armored vehicles near Benghazi in eastern Libya. AASMs were also used to destroy a Russian-made S-125 (SA-3 Goa) surface-to-air missile system base from beyond its effective range, and, on March 24, to destroy a Yugoslav-built Soko Galeb jet trainer that had broken the no-fly embargo and was detected by an AWACS. The decision was made to destroy it once it had landed.


There is also an agenda that lies just below that of actual operations over Libya, one that has been brought into sharp focus over the past month: export sales. India’s decision to eliminate the Lockheed Martin F-16IN, Boeing F/A-18E/F and JAS 39 Gripen means that the aircraft downselected—the Typhoon and Dassault Rafale—are in their first head-to-head sales battle to date (see related story on p. 38). One of the ways each side will try to differentiate itself is by showing that its aircraft is truly “proven in combat.”


Dassault, backed by Thales and Snecma, will automatically say its product has been tested in battle already—Rafale first flew sorties over Afghanistan in 2002, although initial flights were limited to refueling Super Etendards involved with air-to-ground activities, and combat air patrols.


Once fully integrated into the NATO air-to-ground strike infrastructure, the Rafale has been included in close-air-support activities over Afghanistan. The first reported missions were in 2007, with Rafales flying from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. However, little was made of these missions at the time, and the news tended to seep out through conference papers and the Internet, rather than being exploited for marketing purposes.


The trend of information arriving in the public domain about Rafale on operations, almost as if by osmosis, has continued with Libyan operations. French Rafales were seen from Day One armed with the Safran/MBDA AASM multi-seeker guided-bomb system, including the INS/GPS/imaging-IR version, apparently being carried for the first time. But one would be hard-pressed to know this from the downbeat French defense ministry press releases.


The U.K., on the other hand, has been far more upfront in trumpeting the multirole claims of the Typhoons deployed to Gioia del Colle, Italy. An April 13 press release announced the first operational drop of an Enhanced Paveway II (1,000‑lb.) laser/GPS-guided bomb by an RAF Typhoon, although its impact was reduced by the dispute about whether the RAF had enough qualified air-to-ground pilots.


—With Francis Tusa in London.

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30 juin 2011 4 30 /06 /juin /2011 11:40
NATO has resources for Libya operation: Rasmussen

June 29, 2011 Budva, Montenegro (AFP)


NATO has the necessary resources and assets for its operations in Libya, but European members of the alliance should step up their cooperation so they can be used more efficiently, NATO's chief said Wednesday.


"Firstly, I can assure you that we have all resources and assets necessary to continue the operation (in Libya) and bring it to a successful end," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters here.


Rasmussen spoke after talks with Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic alongside a ministerial meeting of the Adriatic Charter, which groups several Balkan states, members of NATO or those aiming to join the Atlantic alliance.


"European defence investments are too small. One way forward would be to cooperate more to share and pull resources to get more efficient use of resources," said Rasmussen who is NATO secretary general.


He estimated that the operation in Libya "demonstrates that the European allies plus Canada and partners in the region can actually take a leading responsibility for an operation".


"In the past, we were used to having American leadership for all operations. This time, the majority of aircraft have been provided by the European allies and Canada and countries in the region," he said.


France, Britain and the United States launched the first strikes against the Libyan regime on March 19 before handing control of the operation to NATO despite French reservations.


Only eight of 28 alliance members are taking part in the air strikes, and one of them, Norway, has announced that it will end its mission in August because its air force is too small to continue.

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28 juin 2011 2 28 /06 /juin /2011 07:50



Le BPC Mistral hier, à son arrivée à Toulon



28/06/2011 MER et MARINE


La mission Jeanne d'Arc 2011 a finalement été écourtée de deux grosses semaines. Hier, le bâtiment de projection et de commandement Tonnerre, ainsi que la frégate Georges Leygues, sont arrivés à Toulon, où ils n'étaient pas attendus avant la mi-juillet. Ce retour anticipé s'inscrit dans un contexte opérationnel très chargé pour la Marine nationale, notamment en Libye. Il a donc été décidé de rapatrier les deux bâtiments, qui ont notamment fait l'impasse sur l'escale de Safaga (Egypte) et le programme final initialement prévu en Méditerranée. « Le groupe est rentré plus tôt pour être mis à disposition des opérations et répondre à d'éventuels besoins », explique-t-on au ministère de la Défense. En somme, le BPC Mistral devrait assurer, après une rapide reconfiguration, la relève de son sistership, actuellement déployé avec un groupe aéromobile au large de la Libye. Ayant quitté Toulon le 17 mai, le Tonnerre embarque une vingtaine d'hélicoptères Gazelle, Tigre et Puma, intervenant contre les forces du colonel Kadhafi depuis le 3 juin. La relève entre les deux BPC pourrait être menée en mer ou via une escale, par exemple en Crète, l'objectif étant si possible de ne pas provoquer de rupture dans le dispositif à l'occasion du passage de témoin. L'armée de Terre en profitera sans doute pour, elle aussi, assurer des relèves de personnel et de machines dans le groupe aéromobile. On rappellera qu'en mars, au début de la mission Jeanne d'Arc, le Mistral avait acheminé en Tunisie du fret humanitaire destiné aux populations libyennes.

Le Mistral rentrant à Toulon (© : MER ET MARINE - JEAN-LOUIS VENNE)

Le Mistral rentrant à Toulon (© : MER ET MARINE - JEAN-LOUIS VENNE)

Le Mistral rentrant à Toulon (© : MER ET MARINE - JEAN-LOUIS VENNE)

Le Georges Leygues, hier à Toulon (© : MER ET MARINE - JEAN-LOUIS VENNE)

Quatre mois entre Brest et Singapour

Parti le 28 février dernier de Brest, le groupe Jeanne d'Arc a remplacé, pour la seconde année consécutive, les anciennes campagnes du porte-hélicoptères Jeanne d'Arc, désarmé en 2010. Désormais, c'est l'un des BPC de la marine qui assure la fonction de bâtiment école, en compagnie de la frégate Georges Leygues. Cette année, les deux navires ont embarqué, en plus de leurs équipages, 135 élèves français et étrangers, ainsi que 30 instructeurs. « Premier déploiement de longue durée et premier contact avec les opérations, la Mission Jeanne d'Arc complète la formation reçue à l' École navale et prépare les officiers-élèves et commissaires-élèves à leurs futurs responsabilités d'officiers de Marine: être un chef, un homme de la mer et un professionnel reconnu dans son domaine. Pour devenir des chefs, les officiers-élèves ont pratiqué «sur le terrain» les responsabilités de chefs de service ou de secteurs. Au coeur de la vie embarquée, ils ont été immergés dans les services pour apprendre aux côtés de leurs pères et se forger une stature d'officier », explique la Marine nationale. Mis progressivement en situation de responsabilité, les « OE » ont pratiqué le quart en passerelle de navigation, en passerelle aviation, au central opérations ou encore en machine appris, sur une longue mission, tout en apprenant à encadrer des équipes. Après quatre mois de déploiement, 244 présentations au ravitaillement à la mer, 67 exercices d'évolution tactiques et 40 exercices de secours d'homme à la mer ont, notamment, été réalisés. La mission est aussi une découverte du monde et des enjeux géostratégiques. Le Mistral et le Georges Leygues ont, ainsi, réalisé des escales à Limassol, Djeddah, Djibouti, Mascate, Khor Fakkan, Abu Dhabi, Cochin, Singapour, Port Kelang, Malé et de nouveau Djibouti, avant de rentrer en métropole. « Pour devenir des représentants de l'engagement de la France dans le monde, 29 conférences ont été organisées aux profits des officiers-élèves, conduites en mer ou en escale, par des diplomates, des ambassadeurs de France à l'étranger, des officiers généraux ou encore des dirigeants d'entreprise, en français ou en anglais. Grâce à cela, ils sont aujourd'hui capables de comprendre et d'expliquer la présence et l'action de la France dans les zones traversées et d'en percevoir la dimension maritime. La rencontre avec les populations et les forces armées des pays visités leur ont permis de mesurer concrètement la complexité et la richesse du monde dans lequel ils évolueront, demain ».

Enfin, on rappellera que cette mission s'inscrit dans un cadre interarmées avec la présence à bord d'un groupe tactique embarqué (GTE) et d'hélicoptères de l'Aviation légère de l'armée de Terre (ALAT), complétés par un détachement Alouette III de la flottille 22S.

Si le retour à Toulon a été un peu précipité, l'arrivée du groupe Jeanne d'Arc s'est néanmoins faite dans la tradition : flamme de guerre à la mâture et officiers-élèves au poste de bande, sans oublier les familles attendant sur le quai.

Le Mistral rentrant à Toulon (© : MER ET MARINE - JEAN-LOUIS VENNE)

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28 juin 2011 2 28 /06 /juin /2011 06:50



June 27, 2011 by DEFESA Global


Since June 20, the Portuguese Army is conducting in the north of the country a training exercise with the aim of training the EUROFOR based EUBG 2/2011 high readiness military contingent.


The live exercise designed DRAGÃO/PADRELA 11 include the participation until June 29 of 1374 troops from Portugal, France, Spain and Italy in an geographic area comprising Vila Real and Vila Pouca de Aguiar cities.


From July 01, EUBG 2/2011 will be in standby for a period of six month. If necessary, the force of 1792 soldiers (740 Portuguese, 432 elements from Spain, 177 French troops and 443 Italians) could be projected anywhere in the world. EUBG 2/2011 HQ is located near Paris, France.


The French Army contingent is participating with several wheeled vehicles including the TRM 10000 tractor truck, GBC 180 heavy trucks, Scania trucks based fuel tankers, P4 light utility vehicles and as well as two PVP light armoured vehicles and VLRA TPK 4.25 light truck equipped with MISTRAL air defence system.


The Portuguese Air Force has participated in the exercise with the AW101 Merlin medium tactical transport helicopter and support equipment and maintenance personnel as well as a TACP team.


A newly received shelter based secured/encrypted communications system is being used by the Portuguese troops during the exercise. Due to sensitive issues, no additional information has been provided regarding this specific equipment.








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