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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 17:50
UK researchers create 3D-printed disposable UAV

The Sheffield UAV has already completed a test flight as a glider. Photo the University of Sheffield.

 

3 April 2014 aerospace-technology.com

 

Researchers at the University of Sheffield, UK, have created a low-cost disposable drone as part of a research project on 3D printing of complex designs.

 

Engineers at the university's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) said the 1.5m-wide prototype unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can be the basis of cheap and potentially disposable UAVs that could be built and deployed within 24 hours.

 

The new 3D printing techniques could cut down the amounts of support material around component parts required by the earlier versions of the craft in order to prevent the airframe structures from deforming during the build process.

 

The fused deposition modelling (FDM), one of the latest techniques used to make the UAV at Sheffield, is expected to be soon used in the creation of products without the need for complex and expensive tooling, in comparatively less time than traditional manufacturing.

 

The Sheffield UAV, which comprises nine parts that can be snapped together, is made from thermoplastic and weighs less than 2kg.

 

Engineers are evaluating the potential of nylon as a printing material in order to make the UAV 60% stronger without any increase in its weight.

 

The prototype UAV has completed a test flight as a glider, with engineers currently developing an electric ducted fan propulsion system, which will be fitted into the airframe's central spine.

 

In addition, Sheffield researchers are considering full on-board data logging of flight parameters, autonomous operation by GPS, and control by surface morphing technology.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 16:50
EDA Annual Conference Video

 

09 April 2014 by European Defence Agency

 

Conference Video Available

Last week's annual conference of the European Defence Agency was a landmark event for the European defence community.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 12:55
L'innovation à coeur

 

03/04/2014 DGA

 

La DGA vous propose de découvrir les avancées issues des travaux innovants qu’elle finance. Ainsi, chaque semaine et jusqu’à la mi-avril, nous mettrons en lumière deux innovations significatives.

 

Première de la série : Des bactéries qui dopent la dépollution par les plantes

 

A venir lundi prochain : Kameleon, une caméra qui filme en couleur la nuit 

Investisseur avisé de la défense, la DGA prépare l’avenir. Elle porte une attention particulière au développement de la base industrielle et technologique de défense (BITD) en France. Ainsi, elle finance à hauteur de 90 M€ des projets d’innovation. En 2013 elle a donc soutenu avec ses partenaires de recherche quelque 270 projets. Parmi eux : 64 projets Rapid*, 39 projet Astrid**, 140 thèses et 14 projets du fonds unique interministériel (FUI). La DGA s’est également impliquée dans la stratégie nationale de recherche et a poursuivi son partenariat privilégié avec l’agence nationale de recherche (ANR), contribuant aux 9 « défis sociétaux » duaux pilotés par l’ANR et au défi Descartes sur l’autonomie énergétique.

 

*Rapid : régime d’appui aux PME pour l’innovation duale
**Astrid : accompagnement spécifique des travaux de recherche et d’innovation défense

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 12:25
Russia Focusing on South America

 

1/4/2014 Ami Rojkes Dombe - israeldefense.com

 

On Russia's target: Mainly sales of attack and transportation helicopters and of the MiG and Sukhoi aircraft
 

Russia intends to expand its arms sales to South and Central America in the near future, so was published by the news agency itar-tass. This was said by the Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Alexander Fomin after the International Conference FIDAE 2014 in Chile ended.

 

Ten companies, including the arms exporter Rosoboronexport, presented Russia’s military equipment at the event. Fomin headed the Russian delegation.

 

“There were very many contacts (at the FIDAE 2014) and meetings with our partners, such as Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela. We believe that our products can be in demand also in other countries of the region, especially all the types and kinds of helicopter equipment: the Mil (Mi) and Kamov (Ka) brands, both military-transport and combat and multipurpose types,” Fomin said.

 

He also noted the interest of the partners in the Russian aircraft. “The fighters of the MiG and Sukhoi brands, Yakovlev Yak-130 planes are also very popula

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 12:20
L’US Navy commande cinq Fire Scout supplémentaires

 

03.04.2014 Helen Chachaty journal-aviation.com

 

L’US Navy va acquérir cinq drones VTOL MQ-8C Fire Scout supplémentaires, en vertu d’un contrat signé avec l’industriel Northrop Grumman le 2 avril. Le contrat de 43,8 millions de dollars comprend également la livraison d’une station de contrôle au sol. Les drones devraient être livrés d’ici décembre 2015.

 

Le drone hélicoptère de Northrop Grumman est développé à partir de la cellule d’un Bell 407. Version améliorée du MQ-8B, il a effectué son vol inaugural le 31 octobre 2013 et devrait être opérationnel au sein de l’US Navy dans le courant de l’année. Il sera surtout utilisé pour les missions ISR.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 11:55
Photo N. Eshel

Photo N. Eshel

Le groupe français Renault Trucks Defense souhaite équiper le véhicule blindé russe Atom d'un moteur diesel de plus de 600 chevaux

 

02/04/2014 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr (AFP)

 

Détenu par le groupe suédois Volvo AB, Renault Trucks Défense, qui a noué un partenariat avec le russe Uralvagonzavod en vue de développer un véhicule blindé de 32 tonnes, pourrait se voir interdire de poursuivre cette coopération par Stockholm.

 

La crise ukrainienne pourrait avoir finalement raison d'un projet de partenariat franco-russe dans le domaine des blindés à cause... de la Suède. Détenu par le groupe suédois Volvo AB, le groupe spécialisé dans l'armement terrestre Renault Trucks Défense (RTD), qui a noué un partenariat avec l'entreprise publique russe Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) en vue de développer un véhicule blindé 8x8 de 32 tonnes, pourrait se voir interdire de poursuivre cette coopération industrielle par le gouvernement suédois.

Pourquoi ? Selon le quotidien économique suédois "Dagens Industri", "la politique (en Suède, ndlr) est claire : les entreprises suédoises ne doivent pas fournir l'armée russe ou l'industrie russe de la défense avec du matériel militaire qui risquerait d'être utilisé contre les soldats suédois". "Le projet marque le pas puisque la situation politique est celle que vous connaissez, mais ça ne veut pas dire que ça s'arrête", a confirmé ce mercredi le directeur du marketing et des coopérations industrielles de RTD, Marc Chassillan. Le groupe français souhaite équiper le véhicule blindé russe Atom d'un moteur diesel de plus de 600 chevaux couplé à une transmission automatique (750 km d'autonomie). Soit une vitesse de plus de 100 km à l'heure.

 

Un projet compromis ?

"Dagens Industri" affirmait mercredi que l'avenir du véhicule blindé était compromis. "Comme les autres, nous sommes totalement soumis aux autorisations que les gouvernements voudront bien nous donner", a rappelé Marc Chassillan. "Si le gouvernement suédois dit : on ne fournit pas le moteur, nous nous plierons aux décisions du gouvernement", a-t-il précisé, sans confirmer les informations du journal suédois sur le choix du moteur.

RTD a signé avec UVZ au salon de l'armement IDEX d'Abu Dhabi (Émirats Arabes Unis) en février 2013. L'entreprise publique russe, qui produit notamment le fameux char T-90, avait annoncé un "accord de coopération" avec RTD sans donner de détails. Le groupe français n'avait alors pas communiqué. En septembre, diverses publications et sites spécialisés dans l'armement avaient montré une maquette d'un véhicule blindé (destiné à remplacer les BTR-80) conçu par les deux entreprises. Elle a été présentée en septembre dernier au salon de l'armement Russia Arms Expo de Nijni Taguil.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 11:35
Bell 412EP Griffin HT1 helicopter of the Royal Air Force Defence Helicopter Flying School hover taxis to the runway at the 2010 Air Tattoo at Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. photo drian Pingstone

Bell 412EP Griffin HT1 helicopter of the Royal Air Force Defence Helicopter Flying School hover taxis to the runway at the 2010 Air Tattoo at Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. photo drian Pingstone

 

Apr.3, 2014 by Greg Waldron – FG

 

Singapore - Bell helicopter has entered a purchase agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation for eight Bell 412EP helicopters, which will be delivered to the Philippine Department of National Defence.

 

Five of the helicopters will be equipped for combat utility operations and three for VIP transportation, says Bell in a statement.

 

An original memorandum of understanding for the helicopters was signed in November 2012 between Manila and the CCC.

 

The helicopters will be produced at Bell’s factory in Montreal.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:55
La DGA peaufine son avion banc d’essai nouvelle génération

 

 

02.04.2014 Helen Chachaty à Mérignac journal-aviation.com

 

C’est un avion très discret qui se trouve actuellement chez Sabena Technics, sur le site de Bordeaux-Mérignac : l’avion banc d’essai nouvelle génération (ABE-NG) de la Direction générale de l’armement (DGA), actuellement en phase d’essais en vol. Le Fokker 100 (F-GPXL), racheté à Regional, filiale d’Air France, devrait être mis en service pour le compte de la DGA Essais en Vol (DGA EV) en janvier 2015. Le contrat de modification de cet avion de ligne avait été notifié à Sabena Technics en 2009, pour une enveloppe de 35 millions d’euros. Cinq ans plus tard, l’avion est quasiment bon pour le service.

 

Selon la DGFA EV, l’ABE-NG devrait remplacer « trois à quatre Mystère 20 », des avions qui volent depuis près de 45 ans et qui seront touchés par l’obsolescence d’ici trois à cinq ans. Des performances insuffisantes engendrant des coûts importants, la baisse des budgets, le côté « mono-mission », autant de raisons qui justifient l’achat et la modification du Fokker 100. S'il y avait par le passé quasiment un Mystère 20 (XX) par programme, la baisse des budgets et les temps d’immobilisations « monstrueux » a changé les paramètres et obligé la DGA à trouver une solution moins coûteuse mais néanmoins efficace. Là où un Mystère 20 effectue 80 heures de vol par an - un nombre considéré comme un « beau score -, le but est aujourd’hui de quasiment doubler le nombre d’heures de vol de l’ABE NG, pour atteindre les 150 heures.

 

Suite de l’article

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:55
Photo N. Eshel

Photo N. Eshel

Au salon « Russia Arms Expo 2013 » Renault Trucks Défense et le russe Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) avait dévoilé une maquette à l’échelle 1 d’un tout nouveau concept de véhicule blindé baptisé Atom 8x8 - RTD / UVZ
 

02/04 Par Arielle Goncalves – LesEchos.fr

 

Renaut Trucks défense est confronté à une absence de livraisons en France pendant cinq ans. Son projet de blindé russe pourrait être compromis par la crise ukrainienne.

 

« Le groupe va devoir faire face à un trou de cinq ans dans ses livraisons». En charge du marketing et des coopérations industrielles de l’activité défense du groupe Volvo, Marc Chassillan, ne s’en cache pas : la loi de programmation militaire ne fait pas les affaires de Renault Truck Defense (RTD). Si le groupe est bien en lice pour plusieurs gros programmes de renouvellement de matériels terrestres, les contrats qui devraient en découler ne devrait pas se concrétiser avant 2019. Comment d’ici là atteindre l’objectif de 700 millions de chiffre d’affaires pour 2015 annoncé en 2012 ? Et qui, assure Marc Chassillan, reste maintenu. Pour le fabricant d’arment terrestre, récemment réorganisé en groupe multimarques (Renaut trucks, Acmat et Panhard) deux pistes s’imposent : développer plus avant son activité « maintien en conditions opérationnelles » (MCO) et ses ventes à l’export.

L’activité de maintenance des véhicules militaires déjà en service (MCO) représente aujourd’hui « environ un tiers » du chiffre d’affaires France de RTD, lequel pèse pour « une grosse moitié de son activité », confie Marc Chassillan, sans plus de précision sur les chiffres. « Un socle  vital » que le groupe « souhaite faire prospérer en se tenant à l’affût de toute nouvelle décision d’externalisation » émanant de l’armée. Et ce d’autant plus « que les 1.600 VBL (blindés légers) actuellement utilisés par l’armée française sont en mauvais état », constate le groupe qui, pour l’armée française, prend déjà soin de 4.000 véhicules VAB (véhicules de l’avant blindé) ainsi que des pièces de rechange de 8.500 camions sur son site de Fourchambault (Nièvre).

 

Dans ambitions en pologne, un projet russe qui « marque le pas »

Pour l’heure cependant, dans ce domaine comme sur la plupart des dossiers chauds qui le préoccupe, le groupe reste suspendu aux décisions de l’Etat. Ainsi, le groupe, sollicité dans le cadre de l’appel d’offre restreint lancé dans le cadre du programme Scorpion de modernisation de l’armée de terre, prétend être dans le flou en ce qui concerne le calendrier et l’évolution de « cette sollicitation sans délai ». Même « manque de visibilité » concernant le contenu et l’évolution du contrat d’armement en cours de négociation entre Paris et Beyrouth, alors que selon nos informations, des VBL de Renault Trucks Défense figureraient dans la liste des matériels retenus par le Liban et l’Arabie Saoudite, son soutien financier.

Renault Trucks Defense se veut, en revanche, un peu plus précis sur ses ambitions en Pologne, un pays qui contrairement à la plupart des Etats européens a décidé d’augmenter son budget militaire. Nous sommes intéressés par deux à trois programmes lancés par Varsovie, et portant sur des véhicules de reconnaissance et des blindés, reconnaît-il.

En Russie cependant, son projet de développement d’un blindé avec l’entreprise publique Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) pourrait faire les frais de la crise ukrainienne. « Le projet marque le pas puisque la situation politique est celle que vous connaissez, mais ça ne veut pas dire que ça s’arrête », a indiqué Marc Chassillan, après la publication ce mercredi par le quotidien économique suédois Dagens Industri d’informations selon lesquelles le gouvernement suédois pourrait opposer un veto à ce projet.« Si le gouvernement suédois dit: on ne fournit pas le moteur, nous nous plierons aux décisions du gouvernement », a rajouté Marc Chassillan. Pour mémoire, RTD avait signé avec UVZ au salon Idex de l’armement à Abou Dhabi (Emirats Arabes Unis) en février 2013 ce qu’UVZ avait alors présenté comme un « accord de coopération », sans plus de détails. En septembre, diverses publications et sites spécialisés dans l’armement avaient montré une maquette d’un blindé 8x8 conçu par les deux entreprises et qui devait être motorisé par le groupe de défense suédois, l’Atom, présentée au salon de l’armement Russia Arms Expo de Nijni Taguil.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Commerce des armes : 18 pays ratifient le traité en même temps

Sur les 118 pays ayant signé le traité à l'ONU, 31 l'ont pour l'instant ratifié.

 

2 avril 2014 Liberation.fr (AFP)

 

Ce traité, qui vise à moraliser le commerce des armes conventionnelles, est le premier en son genre. Il doit être ratifié par 50 Etats au minimum pour être appliqué.

 

Dix-huit pays ont déposé simultanément mercredi leurs instruments de ratification du traité sur le commerce des armes (ATT), au cours d’une cérémonie au siège de l’ONU à New York. Ces pays sont l’Allemagne, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, le Danemark, l’Espagne, l’Estonie, la Finlande, La France, la Hongrie, l’Irlande, l’Italie, la Lettonie, Malte, la Roumanie, le Salvador, la Slovaquie, la Slovénie et le Royaume-Uni. Un an jour pour jour après l’adoption du traité par l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU, le nombre de ratifications passe ainsi à 31 sur les 118 pays ayant signé le texte jusqu’à présent.

 

Ce traité, le premier du genre, doit être ratifié par un minimum de 50 Etats pour entrer en vigueur. «Au rythme actuel des signatures et des ratifications, le traité ATT pourrait entrer en vigueur au deuxième semestre de cette année», a estimé Virginia Gamba, haute représentante adjointe de l’ONU pour le désarmement. Le traité vise à moraliser le commerce international des armes conventionnelles, un marché de plus de 80 milliards de dollars par an. Chaque pays signataire devra évaluer avant toute transaction si les armes vendues risquent d’être utilisées pour contourner un embargo international, violer les droits de l’homme ou être détournées au profit de criminels.

 

Le conflit en Syrie alimenté par un trafic d'armes

 

Les armements couverts vont du pistolet aux avions et navires de guerre, en passant par les missiles. Le texte porte sur tous les transferts internationaux (importation, exportation, transit, courtage), sans toucher aux législations nationales sur l’acquisition et le port d’armes. Les Etats-Unis, principal acteur de ce marché, ont signé le texte après avoir obtenu que les munitions soient traitées à part, avec des contrôles moins complets. La Russie a en revanche fait part de ses réserves sur les critères choisis pour autoriser ou non les transactions. Le Parlement français avait ratifié le traité à l’unanimité en décembre.

 

Dans un message publié mercredi, le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Ban Ki-moon, a «invité tous les pays qui ne l’ont pas encore fait à signer et ratifier sans délai le traité», fruit de sept ans de négociations. «L’objectif de ce traité est de protéger et de sauver des vies», a souligné Anna Macdonald, représentante de la coalition d’ONG Control Arms qui a lutté pendant des années ans en faveur d’un tel traité. Elle a rappelé que le conflit qui ravage la Syrie depuis trois ans «est alimenté par des transferts d’armes et de munitions de la part d’acteurs extérieurs».

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:25
DCNS May Join OPV Lease Bid for Uruguay

A bid by DCNS on a leasing tender from Uruguay would include an offshore patrol vessel such as the Adroit.. (DCNS)

 

Apr. 2, 2014 - By PIERRE TRAN – Defense News

 

PARIS — French naval company DCNS is exploring a leasing deal for offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) as a tender held by Uruguay calls for procurement under a lease, a French bank executive said April 2.

“The [Uruguay] Finance Ministry has asked for a leasing,” the executive said. Talks with ministry officials are due to be held in Uruguay next week.

“The campaign is well underway,” the executive said.

DCNS declined to comment.

The French state-owned company faces competition from Fassmer, a family-owned German shipbuilder; an Israeli firm, Ocea; a French company; and there may be a British bidder, the executive said.

Uruguay has yet to draw up a short list of the bids.

Britain is interested in the Uruguay offshore patrol vessel program, but more information on the requirement is needed before lodging a bid, said a spokesman for the Defence and Security Organisation, the government’s military export arm.

“We are keen to get clarification of the requirement to allow British industry to fully explore its options,” the spokesman said.

BAE Systems, Britain’s only major naval shipbuilder, recently sold three OPVs to Brazil, Uruguay’s neighbor, and is engaged in talks over the possible sale of further vessels under license.

Website latribune.fr reported Uruguay has selected DCNS for the supply of three vessels.

DCNS funded development and building of the Adroit, which is on loan to the French Navy. The Navy’s sailing of the ship under the French tricolor flag on the open seas is seen by the company as a big boost in promoting the vessel in the export market.

Andrew Chuter contributed to this report from London.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
DARPA Launches Biological Technologies Office

 

 

Apr 03, 2014 Spacewar.com (SPX)

 

Washington DC - Technology, like biology, constantly evolves. It is DARPA's mission to stay ahead of the shifting technology curve by making critical, early investments in areas that cut across fields of research and enable revolutionary new capabilities for U.S. national security.

 

Now DARPA is poised to give unprecedented prominence to a field of research that can no longer be considered peripheral to technology's evolving nature. Starting today, biology takes its place among the core sciences that represent the future of defense technology.

 

DARPA has created a new division, the Biological Technologies Office (BTO), to explore the increasingly dynamic intersection of biology and the physical sciences. Its goals are to harness the power of biological systems by applying the rigorous tools of engineering and related disciplines, and to design next-generation technologies that are inspired by insights gained from the life sciences.

 

BTO's programs will operate across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales-from individual cells to humans and other organisms and the communities in which they operate, and from the time it takes for a nerve to fire to the time it may take a new virus to spread around the world one sneeze at a time. All told, BTO will explore the intricate and highly adapted mechanisms of natural processes and demonstrate how they can be applied to the mission of national defense.

 

BTO expands on the instrumental work undertaken by DARPA's Defense Sciences (DSO) and Microsystems Technology (MTO) Offices. Recent progress in such diverse disciplines as neuroscience, sensor design, microsystems, computer science, and other longstanding areas of DARPA investment has begun to converge, revealing newly emergent potential ready to be realized.

 

"The Biological Technologies Office will advance and expand on a number of earlier DARPA programs that made preliminary inroads into the bio-technological frontier," said Geoff Ling, named by DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar to be the first director of BTO.

 

"We've been developing the technological building blocks, we've been analyzing our results, and now we're saying publicly to the research and development community, 'We are ready to start turning the resulting knowledge into practical tools and capabilities.'"

 

The initial BTO portfolio includes programs transferred from DSO and MTO, but will also include new opportunities, beginning with the recently announced Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX) program that expands on the work of DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics and Reliable Neural-Interface Technology programs.

 

In keeping with DARPA tradition, future programs will be created from ideas brought to the agency by program managers and through conversations with the research community.

 

"Before BTO, DARPA had a handful of biologists, neuroscientists, engineers, and the like, interested in synthesizing their work but distributed across different offices," Ling said. "Now we're under one roof, so to speak, and looking to attract a new community of scholars, who will bring a host of new ideas at the intersection of traditional and emerging disciplines."

 

Three research focus areas reflect the scale and scope of BTO's mission.

 

+ Restore and Maintain Warfighter Abilities: Because military readiness depends on the health and wellbeing of service members, a critical focus is on cultivating new discoveries that help maintain peak warfighter abilities and restoring those abilities as quickly and fully as possible when they are degraded-including through the development of advanced prosthetics and neural interfaces. BTO will seek to develop new techniques and therapeutic strategies for addressing current and emerging threats, but its work will extend beyond medical applications to include exploration of complex biological issues that can affect a warfighter's ability to operate and interact in the biological and physical world.

 

+ DARPA's Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) program is an example of work to restore lost function. It pursues advanced therapies to reduce the burden and severity of neuropsychological illness in afflicted troops and veterans.

 

+ The Autonomous Diagnostics to Enable Prevention and Therapeutics (ADEPT) program, which seeks novel ways to identify and protect against infectious disease, is an example of work to mitigate or neutralize biological threats.

 

+ Harness Biological Systems: The highly evolved functional and synthetic capabilities of biological systems can be harnessed to develop new products and systems in support of national security with advantages over what even the most advanced conventional chemistry and manufacturing technologies can achieve. BTO seeks to establish a fundamental understanding of natural processes and the underlying design rules that govern the behavior of biological systems, and apply that knowledge to forward-engineer new systems and products with novel functionality.

 

+ DARPA's Living Foundries program, for example, is focused in part on creating a biologically based manufacturing platform to provide rapid, scalable access to new materials with novel properties that can enable a new generation of mechanical, electrical, and optical products.

 

+ The Chronicle of Lineage Indicative of Origins (CLIO) program, meanwhile, aims to make biological engineering safer by establishing enduring control elements that protect against intentionally harmful genetic engineering, prevent illegal acquisition or misuse of proprietary strains, provide novel forensic tools to assist in the investigation of biological incidents, and allow responsible investigators to document compliance with safe biological manipulation practices.

 

+ Apply Biological Complexity at Scale: Biological systems operate over an enormous range of spatial, physical, and temporal scales. Some organisms thrive as individual cells but most depend on dynamic interactions with other species; humans, for example, are colonized by communities of foreign cells that greatly outnumber their own and have potentially significant but still largely mysterious impacts on metabolism, psychological state, performance, and health.

 

A better understanding of the interactions between mammalian and non-mammalian species and micro- and macro-organisms could foster new approaches to enhancing mental and physical health in routine and threatening situations. Similarly, disease vectors migrate around the globe slowly and stealthily at times, and at other times in devastating waves of breathtaking speed-reflecting poorly understood dynamics that can undermine national security.

 

And because they are so difficult to parse from larger biological and ecological phenomena, population-level effects of relevance to agriculture and food security remain largely unplumbed. BTO is looking into pursuing new insights derived from biological complexity and living-system dynamics with the goal of developing applications to enhance global-scale stability and human wellbeing.

 

+ The Biochronicity program studies the role of time in biological functions. By looking for temporal instructions, or "clock signatures," in biological organisms, the program aims to make it possible to manage the effects of time on human physiology.

 

Because BTO programs push the leading edge of science, they will sometimes be society's first encounter with the ethical, legal, or social dilemmas that can be raised by new biological technologies. For that reason, DARPA periodically convenes scholars with expertise in these issues to discuss relevant ethical, legal, and social issues.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
Cracks In HMCS Iroquois Will Limit Warship’s Operations

 

 

April 2, 2014. David Pugliese - Defence Watch

 

Patrick Smith of the Ottawa Citizen has this article:

 

A Canadian military ship will be limited in future operations after cracks were discovered on the upper part of the vessel in late February.

 

HMCS Iroquois, an air defence destroyer ship that has been in use by the Royal Canadian Navy since 1972, suffered stress fractures to the superstructure – the part of the ship above the main deck – as a result of stress from the sea’s movement.

 

The damage, on a portion of the ship that is above water, were discovered while HMCS Iroquois was completing a fleet exercise off the East Coast of the United States.

 

Further examination of the ship while it was docked in Boston, Mass. showed that the cracks’ impact were not serious enough to affect the current exercise. HMCS Iroquois was able to complete its mission and return to Canada.

 

However, the Citizen has discovered that the ship, which is currently docked in Halifax, N.S. while engineers further assess the damage, will only be able to operate at limited capacity when the weather is bad.

 

Specifically, the Iroquois will be unable to navigate waters when the waves are particularly heavy.

 

The 42-year-old vessel typically operates in the North Atlantic Ocean, known for its rough water. The ship was declared safe enough to continue sailing in winter conditions during the examination in Boston.

 

As the Citizen reported in November 2013, Iroquois-class destroyers received a major upgrade in the 1990s and are scheduled for replacement in the mid-2020s if the government schedule remains on target.

 

Previous reports, though, have shown that officials do not expect the lifespan of these ships to last longer than 2017. As it stands, the ships will not be replaced before they are retired, leaving a sizeable gap in Canada’s navy. Although the navy’s Halifax-class frigates will pick up some of the slack, the retirement of the Iroquois class will limit the range of operations the navy can undertake.

 

The Iroquois class has only three remaining ships: HMCS Iroquois, HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Algonquin.

 

It’s unclear whether the Iroquois will be left in its current, restricted state, repaired for use until 2017, or retired from the fleet ahead of time.

 

The commanding officer of the ship was not available for comment.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
photo ONU Devra Berkowit

photo ONU Devra Berkowit

 

Apr. 2, 2014 – Defense News (AFP)

 

UNITED NATIONS — A total of 18 countries filed documents Wednesday ratifying a UN treaty to regulate the $80 billion-per-year conventional arms trade.

 

One year after the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted by the General Assembly, 31 countries have ratified it.

 

The treaty will take effect once 50 UN member states ratify it. So far, 118 countries have signed it.

 

“It is fair to say that at the current pace of signature and ratification, the ATT could well enter into force in the second half of this year,” said Virginia Gamba, deputy to the UN high representative for disarmament affairs.

 

The 18 countries to file their ratifications during a ceremony at UN headquarters in New York were members of the European Union except for El Salvador. Among the EU members submitting documents were Germany, France and Britain.

 

The treaty aims to force countries to set up national controls on arms exports. The countries must assess whether a weapon could be used to circumvent an international embargo, be used for genocide and war crimes, or be used by terrorists and organized crime.

 

The first major arms accord since the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the ATT covers international transfers of everything from tanks to combat aircraft to missiles, as well as small arms.

 

The United States — which is the world’s biggest arms producer — signed the treaty only after a regulation on ammunition was dealt with separately, providing for less comprehensive controls. Meanwhile Russia expressed reservations over the criteria used to authorize transactions.

 

A UN statement Wednesday said secretary-general Ban Ki-moon “calls on all states that have not yet done so to sign and/or ratify the ATT without delay.”

 

Anna Macdonald, a representative from the NGO Control Arms, said that “nowhere is the need for an effective treaty more apparent than in the devastating humanitarian crisis in Syria.”

 

The conflict there, she said, “has been fueled by transfers of arms and ammunition from outside parties.”

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 19:40
Ukraine Halts Arms Exports To Russia

 

 

Apr. 2, 2014 - By JAROSLAW ADAMOWSKI – Defense News

 

WARSAW — Ukraine’s state-owned defense giant Ukroboronprom has decided to halt all exports of armament and military equipment to Russia, said Yuriy Tereshenko, the group’s chief executive. Ukroboronprom will not carry out any supplies to the Russian armed forces “until the conflict de-escalates,” according to Tereshenko.

 

“Today, for obvious reasons, we are not supplying weapons and military equipment to Russia,” Tereshenko told local news weekly Zerkalo Nedeli. “Yes, we will incur economic losses, but is it reasonable to equip the enemy’s Army?”

 

Russia is one of the leading importers of Ukrainian arms, according to data from a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). From 2009 to 2013, about 7 percent of Ukrainian armament and military equipment was purchased by Russia, which ranked as the third largest market for Ukraine’s arms exports.

 

Tereshenko was appointed to head the defense group March 24 following the sacking of Sergei Averchenko. Tereshenko’s predecessor was fired amid unanswered calls by Ukrainian members of parliament to halt Ukroboronprom’s exports to Russia.

 

Providing “the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military units with modern armament and military equipment is the main task of Ukroboronprom,” Tereshenko said in a statement released following his appointment. The group is “ready to enhance qualitatively the combat capability of the Ukrainian Army by supplying up-to-date armament and military equipment,” he said.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 17:20
GD Wins $75M for Cougar Survivability Upgrade

April 1, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: General Dynamics Land Systems; issued April 1, 2014)

 

General Dynamics Awarded $75 Million for Cougar Survivability Upgrade Program

 

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. --- The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va., has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems – Force Protection a contract valued at $74.7 million for egress upgrade kits in support of the Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) program.

 

The company will develop, design and produce 916 egress kits for the Cougar vehicles. The kits will include upgrades to the Cougar's front doors, rear doors, rear steps and exhaust system. General Dynamics will complete delivery of the kits by September 2015.

 

General Dynamics Land Systems – Force Protection is part of General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics .

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 16:20
Support: AVCATT Flies The Silicon Skies

 

April 2, 2014: Strategy Page

 

As the U.S. Army retrains its forces to handle conventional war, what the military calls “near-peer” (against someone who has similar weapons and abilities) combat it is finding that computer simulators make it possible to retrain quickly and inexpensively. This is especially true with helicopters, which operate quite differently in near-peer combat than when fighting irregulars and Islamic terrorists. Pilots operate flight controls, sensors and weapons differently and relearning near-peer procedures is very expensive if you do it in the air. It’s also quite dangerous, since one of the things you have to practice is operating in near-peer mode at night, in bad weather or under attack (or all three at once). That’s nearly as scary and is over 90 percent cheaper when done on a simulator.

 

The primary American helicopter simulator is AVCATT (Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer). This is a mobile (two trailers) system that can emulate AH-64A/D 6.1/10, OH-58D, UH-60A/L and CH-47D. AVCATT comes with terrain databases for the U.S. Army NTC (Fort Irwin), Grafenwoehr-Hohenfels training area in Germany, Iraq, Fort Hood (Texas), Afghanistan and Korea. Multiple AVCATT’s can communicate with each other to allow multiple crews to train together. Since all the trainee data is captured electronically it’s possible to give very valuable and detailed after-action critiques.

 

 AVCATT has been around since 2003 and that first version proved invaluable in converting crews from decades of near-peer combat training to handling less well armed and organized opponents. The original AVCATT cut the cost of pilot training some 80 percent by using the same electronic and display components found in PCs and video games. In addition to saving a lot of money, using off-the-shelf components makes is possible to create portable flight simulators. This is important for several reasons. For one thing, not every helicopter units follows the same training schedule, so it's a major advantage if the simulators could be easily moved from air base to air base. It's also important to get simulators to a war zone so pilots can practice battle tactics. There was also a special AH-64 flight simulator which used full fidelity (almost like the real thing) graphics.

 

The AVCATT, however, takes the off the shelf components, and mobility, trends a lot farther. Housed in two standard, 40 foot trailers, the system contains;

 

- Six Reconfigurable Manned Modules (simulated cockpits for pilot and copilot). These do not have the fidelity of older simulators, but are sufficient for experienced pilots to work out tactics in cooperation with other pilots, and against a realistic enemy. What makes these work in 2003 was the photo-realistic graphics then widely available from off-the-shelf PC video cards. Running at about $300 each, these cards provided the graphics power of graphics “systems" from the 1990s ago that cost about a million dollars each.

 

- A Battle Master Control (BMC) Station. This is the officer who runs the training exercise. He, or she, must be cruel, but fair.

 

- A Semi-Automated Forces (SAF) Operator. The bad guys are played by software generated aircraft and ground units. But as the name SAF implies, a human operator can intercede to avoid the silliness that software generated NPCs (Non-Player Characters) are often guilty of if left to their own devices.

 

- Four Role Player Stations are four people who will provide realistic spoken communications over the radio. Eventually these will be replaced by software, but at the moment it's more reliable to use people.

 

- Eight Tactical Operations Center (TOC) Stations. Similar to the Role Player Stations, but the TOC people usually assume the same role (unit commander, air controller, Etc.) for the entire exercise.

 

- An After Action Review (AAR) Station. This is a miniature theater that takes up nearly half of one trailer. It seats 20 and has large displays and a sound system on one end. The beauty of this set up is that, right after the exercise, the trainees and some of the staff can go to the "AAR Station" and see instant replay, with appropriate commentary, of what they did right, or wrong.

 

The first AVCATT cost about three million dollars for each two trailer set and since then have gotten more expensive but a lot more powerful. For example the current model uses helmet mounted displays so wherever the trainee looks they see what they would see in an actual helicopter. AVCATT was also built to plug and play with other army combat simulators, taking networked gaming to places civilian gamers can only dream about.

 

The U.S. Army had, during the 1990s largely abandoned milspec (military specifications) in purchasing electronics for use in their simulators. Since the 1990s, the army has taken full advantage of the growing power of PCs and, especially, PC graphics. Milspec components can take years to get approved. But in the last few decades, noting how civilian products are developed faster, and often are more reliable than milspec equivalents, and a lot cheaper, the Department of Defense has been more readily giving permission to develop equipment that does not contain milspec parts. The markedly lowered the cost of things like simulators, produced faster delivery times and greater portability and has made the non-milspec pretty much a standard in some areas of military equipment. And in other cases, troops are taking their laptops, PDAs and other off-the-shelf electronics to take care of business in the combat zone. This has been going on for decades, a sort of unauthorized field testing of new gear. Strictly forbidden of course, as using this unauthorized stuff could get someone killed. But so far, the non-milspec gadgets appear to have saved a lot more lives than they have endangered.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
US Marines Test LAV-AT Anti-tank Modernization Upgrade

 

March 31st, 2014 By USMarines - defencetalk.com

 

Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicle Anti-Tank prototypes are in the midst of developmental tests of upgrades that could extend their lives for decades to come. The modernization program is taking shape at various sites throughout the country.

 

Development of the LAV-ATs has already successfully met threshold testing as four of the prototypes have fired 14 missiles at government facilities. In mid-March, the vehicles were put through a swim test and landing craft air cushion tests at the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

 

“The LAV-AT modernization program is designed to improve mission effectiveness and supportability for Marines,” said Col. Mark Brinkman, LAV program manager.

 

Embedded in their original design, LAVs combine speed, maneuverability and firepower to perform a variety of functions, including security, command and control, reconnaissance and assault.

 

“They can operate on land and in water, carry communications equipment and provide a weapons platform,” Brinkman said. “The LAV isn’t just part of a combined arms force—it is one.”

 

In upcoming tests, the LAV-ATs will engage in electromagnetic environmental effects developmental tests at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and reliability, availability and maintainability, and performance tests at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.

 

“The LAV has proved its worth since initial fielding in 1983,” Brinkman said. “The Marine Corps is committed to ensuring this platform remains viable until at least 2035.”

 

With the LAV’s future role for the Marine Corps in mind, government developmental tests started in December 2013. As of March 2014, no significant issues have surfaced. An operational assessment will follow developmental testing in late 2014. The initial production contract is expected to be awarded in September 2015.

 

In April 2012, the Marine Corps through Program Manager LAV awarded a contract to develop and integrate an anti-tank weapon system on four LAV-ATs.

 

The new anti-tank weapon system, or ATWS, will fire the Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided/radio frequency family of missiles. The system uses the Modified Improved Target Acquisition System for sighting and fire-control functions.

 

The new ATWS turret system will provide an enhanced capability over the existing sighting system, according to Brinkman. It will provide a second-generation forward looking infra-red, far target location and ability to acquire targets on the move. The ATWS system will have commonality with the already fielded Saber system to increase supportability and readiness in the field.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 10:55
Rafale - photo S. Fort

Rafale - photo S. Fort

 

1er avril 2014 par Pierre Sparaco – Aerobuzz.fr

 

L’Académie de l’air et de l’espace tire le signal d’alarme. Face aux USA, à la Russie et à la Chine, l’Europe est menacée de déclassement stratégique si son industrie aéronautique n’est pas capable de se réunir autour d’un projet commun d’avion de combat de cinquième voire de sixième génération

Quel avion de combat européen succèdera-t-il aux Rafale, Eurofighter et Gripen ? Aucun ? Le Joint Strike Fighter américain ? Des pays émergents occuperont-ils le terrain ? Les questions se bousculent, inquiétantes mais, au-delà de débats, forums et autres symposiums, un dangereux immobilisme est de règle. Aussi l’Académie de l’air et de l’espace lance-t-elle opportunément un véritable cri d’alarme, sous forme d’un « Avis » rendu public cette semaine [1].

L’avertissement, bien qu’il ne soit plus tout à fait nouveau, se fait solennel : «  l’Europe court le risque de perdre l’avance et l’indépendance de sa puissance aérienne alors que l’industrie d’aviation de combat est le moteur de la haute technologie et des emplois de haut niveau  ». Evoquant ce thème primordial, précisément dans le cadre d’un symposium international organisé l’année dernière à l’Ecole militaire par l’Académie, le général Denis Mercier, chef d’état-major de l’armée de l’Air, avait souligné que « l’aviation de combat constitue l’instrument indispensable de l’affirmation de notre souveraineté  ». Et de remarquer que, seulement en Europe, cette puissance est en recul.

JPEG - 44.2 ko

Eurofigter Typhoon développé par le Royaume-Uni, l’Allemagne, l’Italie et l’Espagne.

photo Airbus Defence and Space

Le général Jean-Georges Brévot, ancien commandant de la Défense aérienne et des opérations aériennes et ancien directeur du groupe aérien européen, va droit au but : « si on ne fait rien, dans 20 ans, cette industrie sera morte  ». Cherchant à casser l’immobilisme, l’Académie a formulé des recommandations très concrètes qu’elle a soumises à l’ensemble des décideurs européens concernés. Et, à présent, les rend publiques.

 

Suite de l'article

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:45
Les forces navales algériennes se dotent d’un porte-avion Fincantieri

 

31 mars 2014 Lyas Hallas - maghrebemergent.com

 

Le porte-avion commandé en 2011 aux chantiers navals de la société italienne Orizzonte Sistemi Navali, filiale de Fincantieri, battra pavillon algérien dès le 4 septembre prochain, dans les délais contractuels,  selon Angelos Fusco, un représentant du constructeur, présent  ce lundi sur le Cavour, porte-avion du même type qui sera livré aux forces navales algériennes, en rade depuis dimanche  au port d’Alger. 

 

Le Bâtiment de débarquement et de soutien logistique (BDSL) baptisé Kalaat Beni Abbes ressemble au porte avion Cavour mais, un peu plus sophistiqué. En plus d'embarquer  des hélicoptères et autres chasseurs bombardiers à décollage vertical, il permet des opérations d’amphibies et le débarquement de troupes terrestres dans zones dépourvues de ports. Kalaat Beni Abbes est soumis actuellement aux essais d’usage et devrait rallier la base navale de Mers El Kebir début septembre.   Le montant du contrat de ce bâtiment de guerre reste la grande inconnue. « C’est une information qui est classifiée », a déclaré Angelos Fusco, un représentant du constructeur italien. Cependant,  il a révélé qu’un bâtiment pareil coûte entre 300 et 500 millions d’euros. « Cela dépend des équipements qu’on met à bord, systèmes de missiles, de radars, etc. », a-t-il précisé. Le contrat inclut par ailleurs des clauses sur la formation des marins algériens et le montage d’une unité de montage de chalands à Mers El Kebir.

 

Missions humanitaires

 

 

 

Les forces navales algériennes se dotent d’un porte-avion Fincantieri

De nombreux représentants des fleurons de l’industrie italienne d’armement (Electronica, Beretta, Finmeccanica et Fincantieri) étaient présents à l’exposition du « made in Italy » organisée sur le porte-avion Cavour qui compose avec la frégate Bergamini, le navire ravitailleur Etna et le patrouilleur de haute mer Borsini , le 30e groupe naval  de la Marine militaire  italienne. Alger, 20e et dernière escale de la mission du groupe naval, était l’occasion pour les industriels italiens de faire la promotion du « made in Italy ». L’accès à l’exposition est ouvert au grand public moyennant une inscription sur le site Internet de l’ambassade d’Italie à Alger. L’escale algérienne va durer jusqu’au 03 avril et verra, en plus de l’exposition, des chirurgiens en pédiatrie, algériens et italiens, réaliser des opérations chirurgicales au profit de 14 enfants algériens souffrant de malformations faciales dans les blocs opératoires de l’hôpital de ce porte-avion. Dans une conférence de presse organisée en marge de cette mission, le vice-amiral Paolo Treu, commandant du 30e groupe naval, a indiqué que l’hôpital a accueilli des interventions chirurgicales similaires à Mombassa, Antseranana, Maputo, le Cap et Tema. Partie le 13 novembre 2013 de Civitavecchia en Italie, elle est passée par le canal Suez pour traverser la mer rouge, le golfe d’Aden, l’océan indien, le golfe persique et faire le tour de l’Afrique  avant de regagner l’Italie en passant par Alger.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
The seventh batch of An-32 aircrafts upgraded was supplied to the Air Forces of India


01 April 2014 Pacific Sentinel

 

On March 29, 2014 the representatives of Ukroboronprom, PLANT 410 CA and Spectechnoexport have supplied to the Air Forces of India the seventh batch of An-32 Transportation Aircrafts, which were upgraded in Kyiv in the framework of the contract concluded in 2009.

 

That very day the vehicles were departed from Kyiv to Kanpur (India). Taking into consideration the events in Crimea, the European partners, as an exceptional case, have opened the sky for the military transportation aircrafts, so that the vehicles will be able to arrive at destination place in time.  

 

 As Yuriy Tereshenko, Temporary Director General of Ukroboronprom, reported, Ukrainian and Indian parties are satisfied with the progress of contract implementation and count on development of cooperation within the Program.

 

“We are sure that our Indian partners are satisfied with a high quality of our works, conducted by Ukrainian enterprises. India was and remains to be a strategic Ukrainian partner in the area of military technical cooperation. We admit a mutual interest in further development of aviation program. We expect in the nearest future the bilateral cooperation will be continued by new contracts,” Yuriy Tereshenko stressed on.  

 

 

The contract, worth some USD 400 million, for the repair and upgrading of 105 units of An-32 vehicles of the Air Forces of India was signed in July 2009 between Air Forces of Ministry of Defense of India and subsidiary company of Ukrspecexport State Company – Spectechnoexport.

 

In accordance with the contract, that have become the largest in the history of Ukrainian Indian bilateral military technical cooperation, 40 aircrafts are to be modernized in Ukraine and the rest of the aircraft at the BRD-1 aviation plant of the Indian Air Force in Kanpur (North India). Ukraine’s Antonov Plant and Civil Aviation Plant 410 are executing the contract.

 

As part of the deep upgrade, the Indian aircraft is to be fitted with modern equipment made in Ukraine and other countries. In particular, these are aircraft collision warning equipment, collision with ground early warning equipment, satellite navigation system, aircraft rangefinders, modernized height finders, new radar set with two multifunctional indicators, new oxygen equipment, and modernized crew seats.    

 

The upgraded An-32 will be able to land on an ICAO category II approach. Whereas, fuel consumption and the mass of the empty upgraded aircraft will be lower than for the basic model.

 

In addition, in line with a three-year contract worth $110 million signed in December 2009 by Motor Sich OJSC (Zaporizhia) and the Indian Air Force, the AI-20 engines of the Indian An-32s are being upgraded.

 

As of today, 35 aircrafts, out of those that are to be upgraded in Kyiv, have been already upgraded and transferred to the Costumer.

 

The first 10 modernized aircrafts have been already transferred to the Costumer in 2011, and each year other 10 vehicles in 2012 and 2013 accordingly.  The next 5 transportations were sent to India in August of the last year. The supply of the final batch of aircrafts, the modernization of which is carried out in Kyiv, is planned for the summer. 

 

UkrOboronProm

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
A Kawasaki XC-2 military transport aircraft escorted by a Kawasaki T-4.

A Kawasaki XC-2 military transport aircraft escorted by a Kawasaki T-4.

 

 

02/04 Yann Rousseau, Correspondant à Tokyo - Les Echos.fr

 

Depuis les années 1960, les ventes des géants japonais du secteur devaient se limiter au marché national.

 

Début 1980, trois agents du KGB, se faisant passer pour des hommes d'affaires, approchèrent le bureau moscovite d'une maison de négoce japonaise. Ils cherchaient une machine capable d'usiner des turbines plus performantes pour une centrale électrique de Leningrad. Ils furent mis en relation avec la société Toshiba Machine. Et, un an plus tard, une commande d'un montant de plus de 4 millions de dollars était célébrée. Mais, en avril 1987, les Etats-Unis découvrirent que l'URSS utilisait l'engin pour fabriquer des hélices à propulsion « silencieuse » pour ses sous-marins nucléaires que Washington s'efforçait depuis des années de traquer.

 

Vertement réprimandé par son allié, Tokyo promit plus de vigilance pour faire respecter le strict embargo sur les exportations d'armes et de technologies sensibles que le pays, se proclamant pacifiste depuis 1945, s'était de lui-même imposé dans les années 1960. Et très peu de ventes d'équipements militaires furent ensuite tentées. Hier, le gouvernement de Shinzo Abe a annoncé qu'il allait, pour la première fois, assouplir ces principes d'interdiction et autoriser, sous contrôle, des ventes de matériel de défense à des nations ne représentant pas de menace pour la paix et la sécurité mondiale. « C'est l'un des plus grands changements de ces dernières décennies », résume Atsushi Tago, un professeur de relations internationales à l'université de Kobe.

 

Casser les coûts

 

Cet assouplissement, qui était réclamé par les grands industriels du secteur, va permettre de casser les coûts de développement des nouveaux équipements. Les groupes tels que Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries ou IHI ne pouvaient jusqu'ici viser que le marché domestique de défense, estimé à seulement 1.500 milliards de yens (10,5 milliards d'euros) par an. « Désormais, ils pourront espérer produire de plus grandes séries avec des contrats ou des partenariats à l'étranger », explique Atsushi Tago, qui rappelle que les grands projets de défense se font désormais en association entre plusieurs nations. En accédant à ces projets internationaux et en s'autorisant à vendre des équipements aux pays amis de la région, notamment en Asie du Sud-Est, le Japon veut aussi doper son aura régionale et se présenter en puissance de résistance crédible face à la très rugueuse poussée d'influence de la Chine dans la zone. Dès hier soir, les autorités de Pékin n'ont pas manqué de se déclarer préoccupées par ce revirement japonais.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Japan lifts own blanket arms export ban

 

 

April 2nd, 2014 defencetalk.com (AFP)

 

Japan on Tuesday lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports, introducing new rules covering the arms trade in a move supporters say will boost Tokyo’s global role, but which unnerved China.

 

The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a new plan that replaces the 1967 blanket ban, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

 

Under the policy, arms sales are banned to conflict-plagued countries or nations that could undermine international peace and security, the sales must contribute to international peace and boost officially pacifist Japan’s security.

 

“Under the new principles, we have made the procedure for transfer of defence equipment more transparent. That will contribute to peace and international cooperation from the standpoint of proactive pacifism,” Suga said.

 

“And we will participate in joint development and production of defence equipment,” he said.

 

Japan’s post-World War II constitution, imposed by the US-led occupiers, banned the country from waging war.

 

That pacifism was embraced by the population at large and two decades later a weapons export ban was introduced.

 

Supporters hope the relaxation in the policy will boost home-grown arms manufacturers at a time of simmering regional tensions including a territorial row with China and fears over an unpredictable North Korea.

 

The new rules could allow Tokyo to supply weaponry to nations that sit along important sea lanes to help them fight piracy — an important strategic consideration for resource-poor Japan.

 

Japanese arms could potentially be shipped to Indonesia as well as nations around the South China Sea — through which fossil fuels pass — such as the Philippines, which has a territorial dispute with Beijing.

 

Japan already supplies equipment to the Philippines’ coastguard, an organization that is increasingly on the front line in the row with Beijing.

 

Any move to bolster that support with more outright weapon supplies could irk China, which regularly accuses Abe of trying to re-militarize his country.

 

On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing was paying close attention to the relaxation of Tokyo’s arms ban.

 

“The policy changes of Japan in military and security areas concern the security environment and strategic stability of the whole region,” he said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

 

“Due to historical reasons, Japan’s security policies are always closely followed by regional countries and the international community.”

 

China and Japan are at loggerheads over the ownership of a string of islands in the East China Sea, while Beijing is also in dispute with several nations over territory in the South China Sea, which it claims almost in its entirety.

 

The Tokyo-Beijing diplomatic relationship has long been marred by Japan’s expansionist romp across Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
The Iranian UAV Industry is Booming

 

15/3/2014 Tal Inbar - IsraelDefense

 

The tendency to regard reports of modern Iranian-made weapon systems as "merely a whim and PR spectacle" notwithstanding, the Iranian UAV industry succeeds in developing vehicles that are worthy of more serious consideration.

 

Observers of formal Iranian reports dealing with the development of various weapon systems have been familiar, for years now, with the ritual where various weapons are presented to senior officials, normally in the presence of the Iranian Defense Minister, who has the honor of unveiling “the world’s best and most advanced” weapon systems, as they are normally introduced. Knowledgeable authorities in the field of ordnance, platforms and weapon systems, upon carefully examining the images distributed by the various Iranian news agencies, often find themselves chuckling in the face of non-operational systems.

Do the armed forces of Iran rely on weapon systems made of fiberglass and sheet-metal? Apparently, various journalistic sources (worldwide as well as in Israel) tend to dismiss the Iranian presentations as a capricious whim of the Iranian regime or as a spectacle put on for the benefit of the masses of the Iranian people, who are not fully familiar with the intricacies and secrets of the trade.

Over the years, we have become accustomed to seeing tanks mobilized on trailers, old missiles repainted over and over again, and various other outdated items or mock-ups. It would seem, however, that with regard to very few categories, the Iranian presentations are not misrepresentations. This applies, for example, to Iran’s heavy missiles and satellite launchers. Recently, another category of Iranian products has joined the realm of “real stuff” rather than just a spectacle – Unmanned Airborne Vehicles.

In July 2006, during the second Lebanon war, UAVs operated by Hezbollah in Lebanon entered Israel’s airspace. These UAVs, shot down over Israeli territory, were identified by the media as Ababil (“swallow”) UAVs and their technical quality was rather poor. Over the years, Iran presented an extensive range of UAVs at exhibitions, military exercises and through various official publications.

Some of the Iranian developments make one wonder. One example that comes to mind is the Unmanned Combat Airborne Vehicle designated Karrar (“striker”): this turbojet UAV carries unguided GP bombs but does not have even a rudimentary surveillance system. Another example was the public introduction of a UAV fitted with an oversized canopy designed to accommodate a satellite communication system (like similar western vehicles) – while Iran has no communication satellites of its own, and relying on commercial communication satellites for communicating with an operational vehicle of this type appears questionable at best. Many of the experts who evaluated the Iranian capabilities in the field of UAVs tended to remain unimpressed. Apparently, however, the Iranian manufacturing capabilities in the field of UAVs have undergone a substantial change recently, and some of the vehicles unveiled by the Islamic Republic seem fairly advanced, although they tend to resemble western vehicles generally and Israel-made UAVs in particular.

Iran’s latest developments in the field of UAVs are based in part on direct copying of foreign UAVs that had crashed in Iranian territory and were subsequently salvaged, as in the case of the small, tactical ScanEagle UAV built by Boeing (through its subsidiary Insitu), which evolved in Iran into the Yassir UAV. An analysis of various images and video clips distributed by the Iranians has shown that an Iranian facility manufactures copies of the original UAV, and many dozens of UAVs were seen at the facility in various assembly stages. A close examination of the materials released by Iran revealed that the actual building of the Iranian UAV conforms to much higher quality standards than the cruder and more familiar UAVs, including those employed in the skies over Syria – a fact that signifies an improvement in the work and assembly procedures of aerial platforms made from composite materials. One bit of information that has not been clarified until now involves the source supplying the engines for these UAVs – that and the quality characteristics of the payload. It may be assumed, with a high degree of probability, that external resemblance, regardless of how high the quality of the copying has been, cannot necessarily indicate equally high quality standards of the avionics and surveillance systems. This UAV has two configurations that differ in their tail sections.

In October 2013, a Yassir UAV was presented to a Russian military delegation visiting Tehran as a gesture of goodwill, and possibly as an act of defiance toward the USA. In November 2013, clips filmed in Syria began to crop up on the web, showing an airborne Yassir UAV in the service of the Assad regime. Photographs of such vehicles that had crashed or were shot down and subsequently presented to the media by rebel organizations indicate with certainty that the vehicle in question is the Iranian-made UAV. Another interesting UAV presented by Iran is the Shahed-129 (“eye witness”) UAV, defined as a Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) UAV. This UAV was introduced to the world in 2012, and resembles the Elbit System Hermes-450 UAV made in Israel. The vehicle was unveiled initially through a series of rather blurred clips, with no breakdown of its capabilities. In September 2013, during the visit of senior Iranian officials at the plant that manufactures this UAV, additional information was made available. Of particular interest was the fact that this UAV is armed. The ordnance it carries looks like TOW antitank missiles, probably with a laser guidance head. The configuration in which the missiles were presented – carried under the wings of the UAV – was a departure from standard operational installation (which requires canisters), but it was obvious that the two armament suspension points under the wings of the UAV carried four missiles. Photographs enable a close examination of the payload carried by this UAV, which appears to be an industry standard product containing a stabilized camera with day and night channels, and possibly also a system for guiding precision guided munitions. A relatively advanced airborne vehicle, possessing a reasonable carrying capacity and an endurance of twenty hours or more constitutes a major breakthrough as far as Iran’s UAV capabilities are concerned. The operational implication for Israel is fairly obvious and presents a challenge to the Israeli air defense systems. Penetration by a single UAV from Lebanon during peacetime, against which IAF fighters may be scrambled to engage and shoot down the enemy UAV is not the same as the ‘trickling’ of numerous vehicles during an all-out confrontation, during which massive amounts of rockets are also launched into Israel. The status picture of the sky that Israel should assemble, as well as the advance identification required, present complex challenges. It should be stressed, however, that the damage sustained by the State of Israel thus far as a result of penetrating enemy UAVs was mainly a damage to morale, and the Israeli public perceives such incidents as serious and even as “failures”.

The latest innovation presented by Iran, for now (November 2013), is the Fotros UAV, defined by Iranian spokesmen as a “strategic” vehicle. It is a large UAV with a central fuselage and twin-boom configuration and a wingspan of about 15 meters. Its endurance is up to 30 hours, its official service ceiling is up to 25,000 feet and its range is 2,000 kilometers. If these performance characteristics, officially presented by Iran, are reliable, then for the first time, Iran possesses an indigenous UAV capable of flying from Iran to Israel. The UAV was presented in an armed configuration, carrying missiles that resemble the US-made AGM-114 Hellfire antitank missiles. It is unknown whether Iran actually possesses real missiles of the type described above. The resemblance between the Iranian Fotros UAV and the IAI Heron UAV made in Israel was clearly visible, and there is no doubt that the Iranian engineers were “inspired” by the Israeli UAV. One should not rule out the possibility that in their configuration selection considerations the Iranians did not just want to rely on successful and proven designs, but also attempted to reach a high degree of visual resemblance that would make it difficult to identify their UAVs as hostile, thereby improving their survivability should they be employed over Israel. In conclusion, it appears that the Iranian UAV industry has undergone a substantial transformation in recent years, as it currently presents products that are more advanced than those presented in the past. The UAVs we currently see in Iran are employed, in part, in various areas of conflict (Syria, Sudan) and are also being delivered to Hezbollah.

The Israeli defense establishment should pay heed and prepare to deal with these threats well in advance. 

***

The writer is the head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 17:30
The Politics of Israel's UAV Industry

 

 

26/3/2014 Ami Rojkes Dombe - .israeldefense.com

 

Israel is one of the world's largest arms exporters, so why do the Israeli defense industries find it so hard to maintain their status at the top of the global UAV market?


 

The State of Israel has been known as a world leader in defense exports in the last few decades, and that includes the success of the Israeli UAV industry. According to a report by the consulting agency Frost & Sullivan, the sales turnover generated by this particular field was US$ 4.6 billion over the last eight years. Much of this success may be attributed to sales of such Unmanned Airborne Vehicles as IAI's Heron, Elbit Systems' Hermes and Aeronautics' Orbiter.

Behind the various news reports that bolster Israeli national pride, lurks a truth that has the potential of overshadowing the accomplishments of this industry in the future. Like other sectors of the Israeli defense industry, the UAV industry also relies primarily on sales to overseas clients, with a ratio of about 20% sales to the local market and about 80% to foreign countries. However, unlike other industries that also focus on exports, like agriculture, fashion or diamonds, the operations of the Israeli UAV manufacturers is subject to the supervision of the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD).

This situation has created a complex reality. On the one hand, you have the manufacturers, who need the money from the sales of UAVs to foreign countries in order to exist. On the other hand you have IMOD, which is responsible for promoting their exports while at the same time supervising those exports as well as promoting the development of new technologies. On the face of it, these are two conflicting functions being run under the same umbrella. Support for weapon system sales is provided by SIBAT – IMOD's Defense Export & Cooperation Agency; development of future technologies is the responsibility of MAFAT – IMOD's Administration for the Development of Weapon Systems and Technological Infrastructure, and the regulation of defense exports is the responsibility of API, IMOD's Defense Export Controls Agency (DECA). This reality has created tensions between the Israeli UAV manufacturers and IMOD as the business interests of the industries are not always consistent with government and political interests.

Sources in the industry claim that the State of Israel, through the three IMOD agencies outlined above, fails to manage the UAV market in a manner that would maintain Israel's advantage. "We should bear in mind that this is a small country. The budgets of the IDF and MAFAT are small compared to the USA, Europe or China, so the budgets must be managed intelligently, so as to enable all of the companies to compete in Israel as well as abroad. Instead, every company attempts to eliminate the others in the war over tenders."

The processes that take place under the surface are the result of the UAV export procedures. The first stage involves developing a product or a capability, establishing a company and registering a patent. After the entrepreneur has completed these initial moves, which cost him a lot of money, he should apply to DECA for two permit types. One for marketing (defense marketing permit) and the other for export (defense export permit). The marketing permit allows him to engage in marketing activities, such as meeting with prospective clients, submitting quotes and so forth. The export permit allows him to fulfill deals that had been closed, namely – to actually export the product or knowledge to the foreign client. From that moment on, every activity he initiates in order to carry out a sale overseas must be reported to and sanctioned by the Ministry of Defense.

Sources in the industry claim that this procedure is nothing but over-complicated and burdensome red tape, while IMOD officials claim that these mechanisms were intended to prevent classified technologies from reaching countries that are hostile to Israel – which could undermine the qualitative advantage of the IDF or cause diplomatic problems for Israel vis-à-vis friendly countries: two different viewing angles of the same reality.

As this field is evolving worldwide, it attracts new entrepreneurs: more than 30 UAV companies operate in Israel today. Some of these companies are capable of manufacturing a complete UAV system, which includes the unmanned vehicle and its support systems. This category includes IAI, Elbit Systems and Aeronautics. Other companies manufacture auxiliary and complementary systems such as payloads, control systems or specialized capabilities such as imagery analysis, et al.

What is the actual scope of the global UAV market? According to the National Defense Magazine website, about 4,000 UAVs have been operating worldwide in May 2013. The sales turnover of this market in 2013 was US$ 11 billion according to an AVUSI survey. According to Frost & Sullivan, the global (cumulative) sales turnover in 2011-2020 is expected to exceed US$ 61 billion and according to a report by the Aerospace America organization, some 270 manufacturers from 57 countries, producing a total of 960 different models, are competing for that money.

Like other major technological markets in the world, including cyber, software and biomed, the UAV market provides a field of activity for many entrepreneurs – possibly too many for a small country like Israel. Many of those entrepreneurs had grown up in the major industries or in the military, and made the spin-off into smaller industries. Not all of these smaller industries present new or innovative technologies. This is possibly one of the causes of the fierce competition in the Israeli UAV market. Is the State of Israel simply too small to accommodate so many manufacturers in the same line of business? The answer depends on the party being asked. In effect, IMOD officials say that there is not enough money to promote everyone. On the other hand, the manufacturers expect government support: once again – two different viewing angles of the same reality.

In comparison, the USA has four major UAV manufacturers: General Atomics (which, financially, accounts for one half of the USA UAV market), Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin and the partnership between Boeing and AAI Textron. Most of the sales of these industries are aimed at the US military, and only 20% of their revenue stems from exports – just the opposite of the situation in Israel.

"The fierce competition notwithstanding, it is the task of the State of Israel to continue to lead the market. Export transactions are the economic engine that enables the continued development of the industry and provides IMOD with the ability to implement the development of cutting-edge operational capabilities for its own needs," says a source in the industry. "Without the exports, we will lose the UAV capabilities that we know today. It is a business cycle that necessitates the promotion of export transactions by the defense establishment."

The importance of the UAV industry to Israel stems from a number of reasons. Firstly, this industry provides the IDF with a qualitative advantage. Today, Israel is second only to the USA in the development of UAV technology. Another reason pertains to business. The sales of the UAV industry generate proceeds from taxes to the national treasure, contribute to the increase in national exports and provide employment to some 3,000 households directly, plus several thousands of households indirectly.

 

Defense Venture Capital Fund

One of the most important arms of IMOD in the context of assisting UAV manufacturers is MAFAT. Although the budget of this unit is never published openly, it is, in fact, Israel's largest government-owned venture capital fund – larger even than the Chief Scientist, an agency that operates under the Ministry of Economy. Why venture capital? Because the money comes from the taxes paid by the Israeli citizens (a part of the national defense budget) and is invested in the development of future technologies. Some of these investments will succeed while others will fail. IMOD invests the money in academic institutions and business companies, and most of it goes to defense industries. There, IMOD says, they know how to develop the weapon systems needed by IDF.

In cases where the research activity succeeds, the resulting technologies can be converted into products ('spin-off') which may be sold to clients overseas. In such cases, the State of Israel is paid a percentage for the initial investment made by MAFAT only for government-to-government (G2G) sales. Hence, IMOD as the fund owner has an interest in investing in the major UAV companies, which stand a better chance of selling their products to other countries. Such transactions will yield, for the State of Israel, a return on its investment.

According to sources in the industry, in the USA, for example, the state compels the winning industry – which is normally one of the major players – to assign parts of the project to smaller companies. In this way, the state looks after everyone. Over there, they also have tenders that are intended exclusively for small industries. "Every small UAV company in Israel would love to work for IAI or Elbit, as that would exempt them from investing in marketing channels on the one hand, while allowing them to continue developing their proprietary technologies on the other hand," say sources in the industry. IMOD officials say, on the other hand, that in the USA there is a process of merging and unification of companies owing to the competition. "Out of ten manufacturers of fighter aircraft they had in the past, only three remained. The same process is underway in the UAV industry as well."

The manufacturers' claims notwithstanding, one should bear in mind that IMOD, as a government agency, takes into account considerations other than just business considerations. For example, upholding the MTCR Treaty – a treaty intended to prevent the proliferation of platforms capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This definition includes long-range missiles and supporting technologies, as well as large UAVs – those capable of flying to a range of more than 300 kilometers while carrying a payload of more than 500 kilograms (Category 1), or those capable of flying to a range of more than 300 kilometers while carrying a payload of less than 500 kilograms (Category 2). Although Israel did not sign this treaty, it upholds it.

The implication of upholding this treaty is that in effect, Category 1 UAVs cannot be exported except by the state, while the exportation of Category 2 UAVs requires the authorization of a special committee, including the attachment of a user's declaration on behalf of the purchasing party. In response to the claims made by some manufacturers, according to which this treaty damages Israel's competitiveness, sources at IMOD explained that the treaty actually contributes to the business interests of the State of Israel. "In the long run, deviating from the treaty will damage the exports of the entire defense industry," says an IMOD official. Beyond that, the State of Israel has a national defense interest in promoting international mechanisms that would restrict the proliferation of technologies designed to carry nuclear weapons.

Along with the MTCR Treaty, Israel also upholds the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods & Technologies – another agreement it did not sign. This international agreement is intended to prevent the proliferation of dual-use goods and technologies, namely – goods and technologies that may be used for civilian as well as for military purposes. This agreement applies to the smaller UAVs that cannot reach ranges of 300 kilometers and are not covered by the MTCR Treaty. In this case, too, it is the interest of the State of Israel to make it difficult for the terrorist organizations to obtain advanced technological resources in the guise of civilian technologies.

On the other hand, sources in the industry claim that this is just another hindrance imposed on Israel's competitiveness in the global market, especially with regard to such sectors as agriculture, energy or homeland security (HLS), where the need for small UAVs is currently evolving. "Today, all UAV elements may be obtained through the civilian market worldwide, which makes it possible for any private party to build a system and operate it under no supervision whatsoever, while we still have to cope with the same supervision as for military systems. If we fail to see to it that the rules are changed, we will not be able to compete in the future world and our technological superiority will vanish," say sources in the industry.



Elbit Systems' Heron 900 (Photo: Elbit Systems)

In arms transactions vis-à-vis international parties, one of the first questions raised by the client is "Is this technology used by the IDF?" Both IMOD and the industry understand that the IDF's seal of approval is an effective opener of doors and pockets abroad.

In this context, sources in the industry say that the larger manufacturers have an advantage, and in effect the smaller manufacturers find it hard to work opposite the IDF and are therefore unable to compete for international tenders. "In the case of the larger industries, a development tender is linked to purchasing and then everything is registered under purchasing and that is reflected in the tender. The small and medium manufacturers cannot even participate in these tenders," say sources in the industry.

In response, sources at IMOD say that in many of the tenders issued for the benefit of the IDF, the smaller manufacturers did not want to participate at all. On the contrary, they say at IMOD, the government sometimes promotes products that are not used by IDF. As an example, the IMOD sources point to the support provided to Urban Aeronautics, a small company from the town of Yavne. Despite the fact that the product in question is not used by IDF, IMOD thought that the technology was unique and invested several millions in R&D and marketing for the company, as well as introducing the company to potential clients in the USA and Europe.

 

"Defense - Not Business"

In addition to the restrictions on exportation, controlled by the government of Israel, another, external variable should be addressed here – the competition in the global market. Although Israel has done well over the last eight years, the evolving UAV market has produced new manufacturers in places where they had never existed before. In addition to the USA, which is regarded as the global leader of this industry, China has begun manufacturing UAVs as well. As with other product categories, China aspires to become the global leader in this field, too – and the prices match its ambitions.

Additionally, UAV manufacturers can now be found in Europe, in Iran, in the United Arab Emirates, in South Africa and in South America. Admittedly, some of these manufacturers have not demonstrated any commercial capabilities yet, but they are definitely on the way. Also, in 2013 France, Italy and Holland, along with Britain, preferred to purchase US-made Predator UAV systems over Israeli systems of the same category. This trend is expected to intensify with the expected pullout of the US forces from Afghanistan and the subsequent 'flooding' of the global market with unmanned systems they had been using over there. Only last year, the US government granted permits for export to 66 countries.

Sources in the industry claim that the gap between the reality of the global market and the export control mechanism of IMOD hinders the growth of exports and could damage Israel's competitiveness in the future. "This cannot work. Defense people cannot supervise business people," they explain. "A former IAF officer does not understand the interests of a UAV manufacturer who sells to clients on four continents. He does not understand the dynamics of doing business in those places. He understands the needs of the IAF and IDF, but he does not know that today you can buy UAV technologies from many sources around the world. If we do not sell, the client will buy it elsewhere."

Apparently, there is a certain degree of consensus around this particular claim, and sources at IMOD say that one of the objectives for the coming year is to improve the UAV export authorization procedure. "This involves streamlining and improving the efficiency of processes, which would shorten the response interval of the manufacturer vis-à-vis the client," IMOD sources explain. If everything goes well, these improvements are expected to become effective in a few months.

Conversely, IMOD sources claim that the fact that the Israeli industry tops the global UAV export charts, even above the US industry, proves the Ministry's liberalism compared to similar agencies in the USA or Europe. These sources further claim that Israeli policy maintains that politicians do not promote specific transactions, but endeavor to promote Israeli industry generally.

So, what can be done after all to overcome the difficulties? Firstly, the supervision and involvement of IMOD in export processes should be adapted to the changes that are taking place in the global UAV market. The technological changes in this market call for procedures and directives that would enable the manufacturer to respond promptly to the client's demands.

IMOD can also compel the larger industries to enable the smaller industries to participate in the tenders it issues as well as in the export permit terms. In most cases, it is public money that finances the technological development and the global marketing of the products by MAFAT and SIBAT, respectively. These funds can be channeled to maintaining the qualitative advantage of the IDF as well as for maintaining the industry. At the same time, it should be emphasized that the budget in question is limited and should be used to support many companies. Consequently, say sources at IMOD, the manufacturers' expectations should match this fact.

Another option is to incorporate the Ministry of Economy in the export control process. At the present time, the decision as to where to export to, how much to export and what to export is an outcome of meetings between SIBAT, API (DECA), MAFAT, MALMAB (the agency in charge of security within IMOD) – all IMOD agencies, other intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All of these elements share the same defense or political concept, and adding a body with an economic concept can balance the picture. Admittedly, at IMOD they claim that the contrast between SIBAT and API (DECA) serves this purpose, but in effect, almost all of the officials in these agencies had grown up within the defense establishment and consequently that claim is only partially true.

Yet another move – possibly the most important one – that may be initiated is to encourage an open dialog between the industry and IMOD. This should enable the manufacturers, on the one hand, to present their difficulties and raise them for discussion, while on the other hand providing IMOD with the opportunity to explain its business, political and defense/security considerations. The understanding that there is a direct connection between the successful sales of Israeli UAV systems around the world and the need to maintain and promote the operational advantage of the IDF should constitute the foundation for the claims of both sides. Eventually, the cooperation between the commercial sector and the government sector will determine Israel's share in a highly competitive market.

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