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3 novembre 2015 2 03 /11 /novembre /2015 07:20
Boeing au pied du mur dans le militaire après une défaite cinglante

 

02.11.2015 Romandie.com (AWP)

 

New York (awp/afp) - Après avoir perdu l'énorme contrat du bombardier du futur aux Etats-Unis, Boeing est au pied du mur pour relancer ses activités de défense alors qu'un rebond des dépenses militaires n'est pas attendu avant 2020-2023.

Le constructeur aéronautique se retrouve aujourd'hui exclu des deux plus importants programmes militaires américains de la décennie après la défaite concédée face à Lockheed Martin pour l'avion de combat de nouvelle génération F-35.

Une situation inédite pour un groupe ayant produit les célèbres bombardiers B-17 et B-29 de la Seconde guerre mondiale et le B-52 qui s'est illustré pendant la guerre du Vietnam. Le bombardier B-1 qu'il fabrique aujourd'hui avait été conçu par Rockwell, acquis en 2001 par Boeing.

"Les activités militaires de BDS (Boeing Defense and Space, branche militaire NDLR) ne se portent pas bien", observe Loren Thompson du Lexington Institute.

 l'exception des hélicoptères d'attaque Apache et de transport lourd Chinook, BDS est face à une montagne de difficultés: les retards s'accumulent pour l'avion ravitailleur KC-46 et il est en train de fermer son usine californienne de production de l'avion de transport militaire C-17.

Faute de commandes suffisantes pour son chasseur F/A-18 Super Hornet, l'industriel risque de ne plus jouer les premiers rôles dans le segment des avions de combat, redoute M. Thompson.

 

- Suppressions d'emplois -

Conscient des enjeux, Boeing n'exclut pas de faire appel de la décision du Pentagone d'attribuer à Northrop le contrat estimé à environ 80 milliards de dollars sur le futur bombardier LRS-B (Long range strike bomber).

En attendant, l'avionneur doit trouver une solution d'avenir pour l'activité de production des avions militaires, héritage de l'acquisition de McDonnell Douglas, estime Rob Stallard de RBC Capital.

Si les revenus de BDS sont restés stables à environ 30 milliards de dollars - soit un tiers du chiffre d'affaires total de Boeing - en dix ans, les recettes de la part militaire ont en revanche dégringolé. Le nombre de salariés a fondu de 75.000 à 50.000.

Lors des quatre dernières années, Boeing a vu la valeur de ses contrats auprès du Pentagone passer de 21,5 milliards de dollars à 18,2 milliards, en raison des coupes dans le budget.

"L'ensemble de l'industrie de défense est en train de s'ajuster aux défis budgétaires de nos clients à travers le monde", explique à l'AFP Todd Blecher, un porte-parole de Boeing.

Les observateurs, qui ne s'attendent à une reprise des dépenses militaires qu'à partir de 2020 et 2023, parient sur une réduction de la voilure, une éventualité que le groupe de Chicago n'écarte pas.

Les sites de production de St Louis (Missouri, centre), qui emploient près de 15.000 personnes, vont en faire les frais. Le F/A-18 et le F-15, dont les cadences de production ont été abaissées récemment, y sont assemblés.

Après un geste du Congrès américain, la production du F/A-18 n'est assurée que jusqu'à 2017 et celle du F-15 jusqu'en 2020 grâce à des commandes de l'Arabie saoudite.

Le nombre de suppressions d'emplois pourrait être limité par la décision de Boeing, séduit par d'importantes subventions locales, de construire une usine de production de pièces de son gros porteur 777X dans la région.

 

- Grosse acquisition ? -

Boeing fonde ses espoirs sur les programmes T-X (remplacement des avions d'entrainement de l'Armée de l'Air américaine), Uclass (drone de combat embarqué pour la Marine) et sur les perspectives à l'export du KC-46.

"Le Japon voudrait passer commande", assure Todd Blecher et il est plus que probable que le groupe va participer à l'appel d'offres sur les avions radar de surveillance du sol JStars aux Etats-Unis et celui sur le remplacement du F/A-18C en Finlande.

L'avionneur compte en outre sur les versions militaires de ses avions civils (737 pour l'avion de patrouille maritime P-8A par exemple) et veut être, affirme-t-il, le principal interlocuteur du Pentagone pour les très lucratifs services de maintenance.

Le développement des satellites militaires et civils est également un relais de croissance qu'examine Boeing mais l'industriel doit, estiment les analystes, acquérir un acteur majeur de l'industrie comme Northrop Grumman pour véritablement relancer ses activités militaires. Cela lui permettrait de récupérer le programme de bombardier lourd.

Boeing se refuse à commenter, une réticence sans doute due au fait que le secrétaire américain à la défense Ash Carter a prévenu en septembre qu'il s'opposerait à la consolidation de grands acteurs par souci de concurrence.

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2 novembre 2015 1 02 /11 /novembre /2015 17:50
Airbus à la recherche d’alternatives pour le « cas Atlas »

L’A400M devait contractuellement être en capacité d’assurer le ravitaillement en vol des Caracal français, acheté à l’origine avec les kits de ravitaillement idoines (Photomontage)

 

2 novembre, 2015 Nathan Gain (FOB)

 

Airbus semble avoir pris le « problème A400M » à bras le corps. La capacité de ravitaillement en vol des hélicoptères est maintenant l’objet d’un projet de recherche spécifique, a annoncé le directeur de la division « Military Aircraft » d’Airbus Defense and Space, Fernando Alonso.

 

S’exprimant devant la presse le 26 octobre, Fernando Alonso a confirmé que l’A400M ne pourrait tout simplement pas assurer de mission de ravitaillement d’hélicoptères dans sa configuration actuelle. « C’est physiquement impossible compte tenu de la longueur des tuyaux, étant donné le sillage de l’avion et la puissance des hélicoptères devant être ravitaillés, » a rappelé Alonso. Les moteurs TP400 de l’Atlas occasionnent en effet de trop importantes turbulences à l’arrière de l’appareil. « Les hélicoptères sont en mesure de se placer en pré-position derrière l’avion, mais maintenir cette position pour le ravitaillement est extrêmement difficile pour les équipages d’hélicoptères, » ajoute Eric Isorce, directeur des opérations et des essais en vol chez Airbus Defence and Space.

 

Alonso a en outre rappelé que, une fois en position de ravitaillement à l’arrière de l’appareil, les pilotes d’hélicoptères pourraient ne plus être en mesure de voir l’empennage horizontal de l’A400M, une situation décrite comme « potentiellement dangereuse ».

 

Néanmoins, face à l’intérêt récurrent des pays utilisateurs pour cette capacité, Airbus a affirmé avoir démarré un travail de recherche en collaboration avec des institutions et laboratoires spécialisés. Et l’avionneur de proposer des solutions alternatives basées sur d’autres plateformes de son catalogue. Le ravitaillement en vol est en effet une fonction vitale pour les hélicoptères alloués principalement à des missions spéciales appelées à se dérouler, entre autres, dans le vaste et hostile environnement sub-Saharien. Et ce n’est qu’une des capacités réclamées contractuellement par les utilisateurs dont le développement a pris du retard.

 

Première solution évoquée par Airbus : allonger les tuyaux. Bien qu’ « extrêmement difficile à accomplir » dans l’immédiat, Airbus ne compte pas abandonner cette capacité. L’une des options évoquées serait donc d’utiliser des tuyaux d’une longueur de 36 ou 45 mètres au lieu des 27 mètres actuels, ce qui permettrait aux équipages d’hélicoptères de ravitailler à une distance de sécurité appréciable.

 

Seconde option : piocher dans le panel d’avions existant. Airbus DS pourrait en effet envisager l’installation de systèmes de ravitaillement en vol sur son avion de transport tactique CASA C-295. Ce kit, utilisant un tuyau souple déroulant et permettant le transfert de 6000 litres de carburant, devrait en 2016 être l’objet d’une campagne d’essais en vol afin de confirmer la faisabilité du kit. Une première série d’essais menée sur C-295 en 2015 aurait déjà permis d’éliminer le problème des turbulences liées aux turbopropulseurs. Le système serait également adaptable aux CN-235, malgré une capacité d’emport moindre, précise Airbus Military Aircraft.

 

Ce besoin urgent d’assurer le ravitaillement en vol d’hélicoptères durement éprouvés en OPEX se reflète enfin dans une troisième solution, proposée cette fois par le ministère de la Défense : l’achat de quatre avions de transport Hercules C-130, dont deux devraient être équipés pour ce type de mission. Les autorités françaises responsables auraient déjà contacté l’US Air Force à ce sujet, a récemment rappelé Laurent Collet-Billion, délégué général pour l’armement (DGA), devant la commission parlementaire en charge de la Défense.

 

La DGA envisage également l’achat quatre C-130H de seconde main auprès de pays européens, dont deux seraient destinés au transport et deux, logiquement, au ravitaillement en vol des voilures tournantes françaises et modifiés par une compagnie spécialisée. Le budget de 330 millions d’euros alloué dans ce but au sein de la LPM 2014-2019 révisée serait trop faible pour permettre l’acquisition de modèles KC-130J proposés par Lockheed Martin, mais la DGA pourrait choisir un mix de modèles H et J pour compenser la contrainte budgétaire, précise Laurent Collet-Billion.

 

La balle est donc dans le camp de l’avionneur, qui, malgré les turbulences techniques rencontrées, espère toujours certifier la capacité de ravitaillement en vol de son A400M dans le courant de l’année 2016.

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2 novembre 2015 1 02 /11 /novembre /2015 08:55
Colloque annuel du CDSE 2015 - SECURITE 2020 : NOUVELLES MENACES, NOUVELLES REPONSES - 10 déc. 2015

 

 

source CDSE

 

Ouverture des inscriptions : Septembre 2015

Animation de la journée : Laurance NKAOUA (Les Echos)

 

9H00 OUVERTURE DES TRAVAUX
Patrice CAINE (Président Directeur Général de THALES), Alain JUILLET (Président du CDSE)

 

9h30 Conférence
Comment les entreprises peuvent-elle se préparer à la guerre de demain ?

 

10H00 / Menaces d’aujourd’hui et de demain. Comment les entreprises peuvent-elles s’y préparer ?
Cyber menaces, déstabilisation, virtualisation des fraudes, trafics illicites transnationaux, kidnapping, radicalisme… L’éventail des menaces visant les entreprises est vaste. Est-il possible de définir une cartographie des principales menaces visant les entreprises ? Est-il possible d’avoir une meilleure détection précoce ? A quoi les entreprises doivent-elles se préparer ? Existent-ils des menaces émergentes qui risquent à terme de devenir des menaces majeures pour les entreprises ? Quels sont les partenariats publics / privés qu’il convient d’engager pour y faire face ?

 

11h15/ Pause

 

11H45/ Nouveaux regards sur les métiers de la sécurité
Dans un monde globalisé où les menaces sont de plus en plus polymorphes, quel est et quel devra être le profil des praticiens de la sécurité en 2020 (consultant, analyste, responsable sécurité, etc.) ? Quel profil recruter en 2015 pour avoir un bon directeur sécurité en 2020 ? Va-t-on avoir une recomposition des métiers de la sécurité ? Le métier de détective privé par exemple va-t-il être supplanté par celui de consultants ou d’analyste en cyber sécurité ? Face à la multiplication des crises médiatiques, faudra-t-il également revoir le profil des experts de la gestion de crise ? Face à l’évolution technologique, faudra-t-il de nouvelles expertises ? Quelles seront les formations nécessaires ?

 

13H00 : Déjeuner

 

14h30/ Témoignage  : Denis FAVIER (Directeur général de la gendarmerie nationale) : nouvelles formes de crise gérées par les forces de l’ordre (prise d’otage multiples, black bloc, nouvelles violences).

 

15h30/ La sécurité en 2020  : comment conjuguer nouvelles technologies et sécurité (drones, imprimantes 3D…)
De nouvelles technologies de sécurité (drones, robots, imprimantes 3D, etc.) connaissent un essor important. Quelles vont être leur place dans les années à venir ? A-t-on une idée des besoins des entreprises en la matière ? Sait-on déjà ce qui pourra être efficace ou au contraire déficient ? Quelle en sera l’acceptation sociale ? Quel en sera l’impact sur l’emploi (Plusieurs startups de la Silicon Valley commencent à développer et à commercialiser des robots de gardiennage à un prix compétitif) et les compétences des personnels de sécurité ? Quels risques représentent-elles ? Par exemple si un robot de surveillance se fait hacker par un compétiteur, quid de la responsabilité en cas d’accident impliquant une atteinte à l’intégrité physique d’un humain ? Voici quelques questions à laquelle cette table ronde devra répondre.

 

16H30 / CLOTURE

 

Lieu : OCDE, 2 rue André Pascal – 75016 Paris.

Pour plus d’information : julien.marcel@cdse.fr

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2 novembre 2015 1 02 /11 /novembre /2015 08:20
Jeff Babione Named F-35 Program Leader

 

Oct 29, 2015 ASDNews Source : Lockheed Martin Corporation

 

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) announced today that Jeff Babione has been named the executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program, effective January 1, 2016. Babione succeeds Lorraine Martin who has been appointed to the newly created position of deputy executive vice president, Mission Systems and Training (MST).

As head of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 team, Babione will lead development, production, and sustainment efforts across the three F-35 variants for 13 military services in nine partner countries and a growing list of foreign military sales customers. Under his leadership, the F-35 team will focus on completing the System Development and Demonstration Program, ramping up production and supporting the Initial Operational Capability of the U.S. Air Force in 2016 and the U.S. Navy in 2018.

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1 novembre 2015 7 01 /11 /novembre /2015 12:30
Israel’s all-inclusive F-35I deal doesn’t grant full tech access

 

29 October, 2015 By James Drew – FG

 

Washington DC - Despite the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme’s “unique relationship with Israel,” the country has not been granted unfettered access to every component on the 33 aircraft it intends to purchase.

Tel Aviv is demanding much from the joint programme office (JPO), including a local maintenance, repair and overhaul facility and pilot and maintainer training with full-motion simulators, even though those types of capabilities are being centralised at planned regional F-35 centres in America, Asia and Europe. The Israeli Air Force has relative freedom to upgrade, modernise and weaponise its Boeing F-15s and Lockheed Martin F16s, and will have extended access to F-35 hardware, but there are still some aspects of the aircraft that will remain off limit, according to the US programme director. “It is a true statement that some portions of the F-35 are not releasable to any partners or customers on the F-35, not uniquely Israel,” says F-35 JPO head Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan. “Only the US services and US industry can do certain things on the airplane. That’s not unique." "[With Israel], is if there’s anything unique to put on the airplane, if we can let you do it we will, and if not we’ll work it, in your country or in the US. Israel should be able to do anything it wants to the airplane, sometimes with our help and sometimes not.”

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31 octobre 2015 6 31 /10 /octobre /2015 17:40
Tor-M2U air defense systems

Tor-M2U air defense systems

 

October 31, 2015: Strategy Page

 

In late 2015 Russia announced another upgrade for their 30 year old  Tor-M (SA-15) air defense missile system. This one enables the launcher vehicle to fire its guided missiles while on the move. The latest version of Tor is the Tor-M2U. The Tor-M missiles can hit aircraft up to 12 kilometers away and cruise missiles at a distance of five kilometers. The missile launcher vehicle has a crew of thee (commander, driver and missile systems operator). 176 kg (378 pound) missiles are three meters (ten feet) long, 235mm (9.25 inches) in diameter and carry a 15 kg (33 pound). Each battery has search radar and command center vehicles, and controls four launcher vehicles (each carrying eight missiles, and another radar.)

 

The original tracking radar on the missile vehicle could track one target at a time but the latest (Tor-M2) can track four at a time. Missiles can be launched from the vehicle at three second intervals.

 

The original missile carrier/launcher vehicle was armored (against small arms and shell fragments), tracked and weighed 34 tons. Since then a cheaper towed (on a wheeled trailer) version has appeared followed by a version on a 6x6 truck that proved more maneuverable, comfortable and cheaper than the armored version.

 

Russia is the original user but Tor-M has also been exported to Greece, Venezuela, China, Iran and Egypt

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31 octobre 2015 6 31 /10 /octobre /2015 12:30
Turkey hopes to fly SOM-J in late 2016, targeting F-35 Block 4.2

 

26 October, 2015 By James Drew – FG

 

Washington DC  - Turkish missile maker Roketsan is hoping to fly its SOM-J cruise missile for the first time “possibly late next year” ahead of planned integration with the F-16 Block 40 by 2018 and the Lockheed Martin F-35 sometime later.

 

SOM-J is essentially a scaled-down version of Roketsan’s SOM (stand off missile), and sized for internal carriage on the F-35. SOM is already integrated with Turkey’s F-16 Block 40 and F-4E fighter jets, whereas the semi-armour-piercing SOM-J will become the nation’s cruise missile of choice once Ankara introduces the low-observable F-35 into its combat force. One company official, who spoke to Flightglobal at a recent US Army conference in Washington but declined to be named, says most of the SOM subsystems including the multi-mode seeker have already been tested and qualified and the new development effort its mostly about adapting the missile for internal carriage on the F-35, such as changing the outer mould line. He says the first flight could happen as soon as late 2016, and Turkey has requested integration with the F-35 as part of the planned Block 4.2 modernisation package. “We rely on our experience and our qualification results we already have with the existing system,” he says. “This is based on the existing design.”

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31 octobre 2015 6 31 /10 /octobre /2015 12:25
KC-390 resumes flight tests as defence unit rebaselines

 

27 October, 2015 By Stephen Trimble – FG

 

Washington DC - Embraer has flown the KC-390 again for the first time in eight months as the company’s Defence and Security business adapts to a devalued Brazilian currency and a slower development schedule for the new tanker-transport.

 

The flight on 26 October at Embraer’s test centre in Gaviao Pexioto, Brazil, ends an eight-month hiatus caused by a fiscal crisis in Brasilia. As the Real currency has devalued by 50% since the beginning of the year, the government had slowed payments to Embraer on a host of projects, but none bigger than the KC-390. Last July, Embraer announced signing an agreement with the Brazilian air force that extended the KC-390 development schedule by a year, with entry into service beginning in 2018. The agreement also included provisions to reimburse Embraer more than $370 million owed by the air force on the KC-390 so far. Meanwhile, company officials have also restructured the division to remain profitable despite sharply lower revenues as shown on the balance sheet, which is converted to suddenly much more valuable US dollars.

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31 octobre 2015 6 31 /10 /octobre /2015 08:35
Z-11WB light utility helicopter -  Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)

Z-11WB light utility helicopter - Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)

 

October 23, 2015: Strategy Page

 

China, noting the success of the American MH-6 "Little Bird" light transport helicopter has developed a similar model (Z-11WB) for its own commandos. China noted that in a place like Afghanistan the small AH-6 is, armed with half a ton of weapons (usually a 7.62mm/12.7mm/30mm machine-gun and guided missiles), was particularly effective. Both AH-6 and MH-6 are military versions of the civilian MD-500. The MH-6 weighs up to two tons and can carry six commandos, who sit outside on the skids. The MH-6 is small, and has a range of about 500 kilometers. The MH-6 has an extensive array of electronics on board, making it capable of operating at night and in any weather. The AH-6 replaced the six commandos with weapons and fire control systems.

 

The Chinese Z-11WB is based on the commercial AC311. This model is based on the Eurocopter AS350. Both the AC311 and AS350 are 2.2 ton single engine helicopters that can carry a pilot and six passengers. The AC311 is actually a civilian version of the Z-11, which first appeared in 1994 and is basically the same as the AC311 and AS350. The Z-11WB has a targeting pod under the front with an auto cannon and the ability to carry two or more guided missiles. Even with this the Z-11WB still has space for passengers, which would be commandos carried on missions where the missiles could be left behind. The Z-11 and Z-11 WB both carry a max load of 577 kg and can stay in the air about three hours per sortie. Max speed is 278 kilometers an hour and max altitude is 5,200 meters (17,000 feet).

 

China already has a light attack helicopter; the Z-19. This is a heavily armed scout helicopter, a 4.5 ton, two seater armed with a 23mm autocannon and up to half a ton of munitions (missiles, usually). But the Z-19 cannot carry passengers, while the Z-11WB can.

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 17:55
Reaper: l'armée de l'air toujours américano-dépendante


29.10.2015 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense
 

On peut toujours s'extasier sur le vol d'un Reaper tricolore qui a tenu l'air pendant 25 heures mais ça ne change rien à la dure réalité des choses. Sans nos amis/alliés/concurrents US et leur bon vouloir, nos drones ne voleraient pas.

Et ce ne sont pas les participants à l'atelier Reaper qui s'est tenu du 14 au 16 octobre à Cognac (là où est basé l'escadron Belfort, désormais commandé par le lt-cl Tanguy Benzaquen à la place du tonitruant Christophe Fontaine qui a atterri à la DRM) qui diront le contraire.

A l'agenda de cet atelier, au moins trois points notables:
- la certification des Reaper pour les faire voler au-dessus du territoire métropolitain français,
- la charge ROEM à installer sous les drones fabriqués par GA,
- la livraison d'un cockpit à Cognac

Respectivement ajouter les adjectifs suivants à chacun de ces trois points:
- éventuelle
- souhaitée
- probable

Par ailleurs, le constat conclusif a été clair: la dépendance française sur les US est lourde. Comme je le rappelais il y a deux jours (lire ici), des contractors de GA et L3C se chargent de la maintenance et de l'envol des drones. Ces contractors sont même présents dans le cockpit déporté de Niamey lors des opérations françaises.

La formation des pilotes et des spécialistes de la maintenance traîne; quant au pilotage déporté depuis Cognac, ce n'est pas pour tout de suite.

Alors, va pour la 25e heure en attendant des jours meilleurs!

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 17:20
Raytheon introduces new launcher for the TOW weapon system. Photo courtesy of Raytheon

Raytheon introduces new launcher for the TOW weapon system. Photo courtesy of Raytheon

 

Oct. 29, 2015 By Ryan Maass (UPI)

 

TUCSON -- Raytheon has introduced a next-generation TOW EagleFire launcher, the latest development in the TOW weapon family. The launcher is designed to fire both wire-guided and wireless radio frequency missiles. Raytheon officials say the EagleFire is a followup to the TOW 2 launcher, and features improved capabilities at a lower cost. These improvements include integrated day-and-night sight, range-finding capabilities, ergonomic handgrips, and an extensive built-in test capability. "We improved target acquisition and engagement found in the older TOW 2 launcher system," said Duane Gooden, vice president of Raytheon's Land Warfare Systems in a statement. "TOW EagleFire is simpler to maintain and more reliable, thanks to built-in test equipment and a significant reduction in system subassemblies."

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 17:20
How much has Canada spent on the F-35 so far?

 

October 30, 2015 David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

 

All eyes will be on the new Liberal government to see how they withdraw from the F-35 program.

 

How much has Canada spent on the F-35?

 

Canada has been a participant in the Joint Strike Fighter Program since 1997 and has spent US $309.3 million to date to participate in the program, Jessica Kingsbury, a spokeswoman for Public Works and Government Services tells Defence Watch.

 

The figure is broken down as follows:

- Concept demonstration phase (1997 to 2001)—Canada has contributed approximately US$10.6 million;

- System development and demonstration phase (SDD) (2001 to 2018)—Canada has contributed approximately US$94.4 million to date;

- Production, sustainment, and follow-on development phase (2006 to 2051)—Canada has contributed approximately US$204.3 million to date.

- Public Works could not provide current information on Canadian firms involved in the F-35. But a 2014 government update noted a little more than 30 Canadian firms have active contracts. They have secured contracts worth $637 million US.

 

The F-35 became a major political headache several years ago for the Conservatives. Although the Liberal government originally signed on to a research and development program for the plane, the Conservatives significantly expanded commitment and later agreed to the purchase 65 of the planes.

 

The purchase was later put on temporarily on hold by the Conservatives after concerns were raised about the cost of the F-35 and how the procurement process was handled.

 

During the election campaign Justin Trudeau promised to withdraw Canada from the F-35 program if the Liberals formed the government.

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 16:50
Patroller carries out Portugal homeland security tests

 

26 October, 2015 By Beth Stevenson - FG

 

London  - In an effort to further test the integration of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) in European airspace, European Commission testing saw the SAGEM Patroller carry out flight trials in homeland security scenarios in Portugal.

 

Through the Commission’s airborne information for emergency situation awareness and monitoring – or Airbeam – project, the Patroller operated in civil airspace from the Beja air base in Portugal from 5-8 October, using homeland security scenarios as defined by the Portuguese national guard and air force. The aim of the project is to develop a management system for large-scale crises using UAVs, balloons and satellites, and these operational demonstrations serve to validate that system. “The Patroller played a full role in all of these events, which provided full-scale simulations of homeland security missions,” SAGEM says. This included the surveillance of high-value sites as well as missions entailing population risk management. “In fact, the drone’s capabilities turned out to have a very practical, and unexpected purpose, since during one of its flights the Patroller detected a fire in the country at a range of more than 20km,” SAGEM added. “The information on this situation that it transmitted in real time helped coordinate the response teams.”

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 12:30
Turkey - Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM)

 

Oct 29, 2015 ASDNews Source : Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA)

 

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Turkey for Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $70 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on October 28, 2015.

 

The Government of Turkey has requested a possible sale of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits comprised of 400 GBU-31(V)1 for use with Mk84 bombs, 200 GBU-31(V)3 for use with BLU-109 bombs, 300 GBU-38 for use with Mk82 bombs, 100 GBU-54 Laser JDAM kits for use with Mk82 bombs, 200 BLU-109 Hard Target Penetrator Warheads, and1000 FMU-152A/B fuzes. Non-MDE includes containers, support equipment, spare and repair parts, integration, test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and technical support, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $70 million.

 

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 12:20
U.S. Air Force prepares to launch next GPS IIF satellite

GPS IIF will provide improved navigational accuracy through advanced atomic clocks, a longer design life than previous GPS satellites. United Launch Alliance courtesy photo

 

Oct. 29, 2015 By Ryan Maass (UPI)

 

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Air Force Space Command is preparing to launch the 11th Boeing-built Global Positioning System IIF satellite on Friday. The satellite will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 vehicle from Cap Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Global Positioning System IIF-series satellite (GPS IIF) aims to provide improved navigational accuracy. Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the Space and Missile Systems Center commander and Air Force program executive officer for space, says the satellite plays a key role in modernizing space-based capabilities for GPS users around the world.

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 12:20
Naval Air: Reapers Go To Sea

 

October 25, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The American firm that makes the 1.1 ton Predator and 4.7 ton Reaper UAVs is developing a maritime patrol kit for the Reaper. It takes about 12 hours to install the maritime patrol kit which includes maritime search radar, sonobuoys and the ability to transmit data collected by the sonobuoy sonar back to land or airborne analysts for further processing. Also carried are Hellfire missiles that can be used against surfaced submarines or small warships. The maritime reaper would be able to fly to a spot more than 3,000 kilometers off shore, patrol the area for up to ten hours and then return. This new maritime patrol kit was developed in an effort to get a contract with the British Royal Navy to provide maritime patrol UAVs the British are seeking. This would provide a maritime patrol at less than half the cost of the larger U.S. Navy RQ-4B Triton UAV.

 

The Reaper already has some experience with maritime reconnaissance. In 2009 several MQ-9s were sent to the Seychelles (a group of 115 islands 1,500 kilometers from the east African coast) to aid in the anti-piracy patrol. This apparently was successful enough to encourage further work in this area. At the same time Israel was using a Predator size UAVs (the Heron) equipped with a synthetic aperture radar and onboard software to provide automatic detection, classification and tracking of what is down there on the waters off the Israeli coast. Human operators ashore, or on a ship or in an aircraft, are alerted if they want to double check something the software was programmed to consider suspicious. Operators used video cameras on the Heron to determine exactly what was down there. Also carried are sensors that track the sea state (how choppy it is). Israel still uses this version and has sold some to India.

 

Meanwhile the U.S. Navy has five of the 13 ton RQ-4B Triton UAVs in service since 2012. These are modified RQ-4B (Global Hawk) UAVs that began operational testing in 2010. The Triton was assigned to operating with a carrier task force at sea. Circling above the task force at 22,500 meters (70,000 feet), Triton monitored sea traffic off the Iranian coast and the Straits of Hormuz. Anything suspicious was checked out by carrier or land based aircraft, or nearby warships. The Triton aircraft can fly a 24 hour sortie every three days. The first production Triton was delivered in late 2012. In 2009, the first year of Triton testing consisted of 60 flights and over 1,000 hours in the air. The flights were over land and sea areas, even though the UAV sensors are designed mainly to perform maritime reconnaissance.

 

The Navy is buying the Tritons for over $60 million each. This version is larger (wingspan is 5 meters/15 feet larger, at 42.2 meters/131 feet, and it's nine percent longer at 15.5 meters/48 feet) than the A model and can carry more equipment. To support that, there's a new generator that produces 150 percent more electrical power. The RQ-4 has a range of over 22,000 kilometers and a cruising speed of 650 kilometers an hour.

 

The first three RQ-4Bs entered service in 2006. At 13 tons the Global Hawk is the size of a commuter airliner (like the Embraer ERJ 145) but costs nearly twice as much. Global Hawk can be equipped with much more powerful and expensive sensors, which more than double the cost of the aircraft. These "spy satellite quality" sensors (especially AESA radar) are usually worth the expense because they enable the UAV, flying at over 20,000 meters (62,000 feet), to get a sharp picture of all the territory it can see from that altitude. The B version is a lot more reliable. Early A models tended to fail and crash at the rate of once every thousand flight hours.

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 08:50
photo WB Electronics S.A.

photo WB Electronics S.A.

 

October 28, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The British Army WH450 Watchkeeper UAV acquired weapons (Hellfire and smaller missiles) in 2015. Britain finally got Watchkeeper, its own locally made large UAV operational in late 2013 and since 2014 some have been seen in Afghanistan. This has been a long time coming because it was back in 2006 that the British began developing the Watchkeeper UAV and by 2010 got one airborne for the first time. The Watchkeeper 180 and the Watchkeeper 450 are both based on Israeli designs (the Hermes 180 and 450). The two Watchkeepers were supposed to be ready for service in 2010, but various problems delayed that until the end of 2013. The smaller 180 model was dropped and work continued on the Predator sized 450.

 

The Watchkeeper 450 is a 450 kg (992 pound) aircraft with a payload of 150 kg. It was always capable of carrying Hellfire missiles, as the Israeli Hermes 450 it is based upon is able to carry two Hellfire type missiles. Until 2015 Watchkeeper did not have a weapons capability but that changed as it became clear that armed UAVs were very useful battlefield weapons. The Watchkeeper is also designed to carry two extra fuel tanks under its wings as well as a radar in addition to the usual day/night vidcams. Each of these radar pods or fuel tanks weighs more than the 50 kg (110 pound) Hellfire missile.

 

The Watchkeeper 450 is 6.5 meters (20 feet) long and has an 11.3 meter (35 foot) wingspan. It can stay in the air for up to 20 hours per sortie and fly as high as 6,500 meters (20,000 feet). The Hermes 450 is the primary UAV for the Israeli armed forces, and twenty or more were in action each day during the 2006 war in Lebanon and even more during the 2008 and 2014 operations in Gaza. Thirty Watchkeeper 450s have already been delivered to the British Army, with a 24 more on order.

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 08:30
photo Rafael

photo Rafael

 

October 26, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Israel has recently made available a lightweight (200 kg/440 pound) version of its Trophy APS (Active Protection System) called Trophy LV. This is intended for MRAPs (heavily armored trucks), IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) and other heavy vehicles that are lighter than tanks. The regular Trophy weighs about a ton and is one of several APS models on the market but it is also the one with the most impressive combat record.

 

By 2012 Israel was convinced sufficiently to equip all the Merkava tanks in an armor brigade with the Trophy APS. In 2010 the first battalion of Merkavas was so equipped. Then in 2011 Trophy defeated incoming missiles and rockets in combat for the first time. This included ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missile), possibly a modern Russian system like the Kornet E. This is a laser guided missile with a range of 5,000 meters. The launcher has a thermal sight for use at night or in fog. The missile's warhead can penetrate enough modern tank armor to render the side armor of the Israeli Merkava tank vulnerable. The Kornet E missile weighs 8.2 kg (18 pounds) and the launcher 19 kg (42 pounds). The system was introduced in 1994, and has been sold to Syria (who apparently passed them on to Hezbollah and Hamas). A few weeks before the ATGM intercept Trophy defeated an RPG warhead (an unguided rocket propelled grenade fired from a metal tube balanced on the shoulder). All this came a year after first equipping Merkava tanks with APS. As it was designed to do, Trophy operated automatically and the crew didn't realize the incoming RPG warhead or missile had been stopped until after it was over. That is how APS is supposed to work and Trophy has proved to be the most reliable and effective APS out there.

 

This first combat use is a big deal because APS has been around for nearly three decades but demand and sales have been slow. The main purpose of APS is to stop ATGMs but on less heavily armored vehicles, stopping RPG type warheads is important as well. This is the main reason for developing Trophy LV.

 

The Israeli Trophy APS uses better, more reliable, and more expensive technology than the original Russian Drozd (or its successors, like Arena) APS. This includes an electronic jammer that will defeat some types of ATGMs. For about $300,000 per system, Trophy will protect a vehicle from ATGMs as well as RPGs (which are much more common in combat zones). Israel is the first Western nation to have a lot of their tanks shot up by modern ATGMs and apparently fears the situation will only get worse. Trophy protected several Israeli tanks from ATGM and RPG attacks during the 50 Day War with Hamas in mid-2014. The Israeli manufacturer of Trophy also partners with American firms to manufacture Trophy and Trophy LV for the U.S. market.

 

Israel first encountered ATGMs, on a large scale, in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. But these were the clumsy, first generation missiles that turned out to be more smoke than fire. More recent ATGM designs have proved more reliable and effective but no nation, except Israel, has yet made a major commitment to APS. That may now change, simply because effective APS like Trophy are available and RPG and ATGM losses are growing.

 

Most APS consist of a radar to detect incoming missiles and small rockets to rush out and disable the incoming threat. A complete system weighs about a ton. There is also a Trophy Light (weighing half a ton) for lighter, often unarmored, vehicles and now the even lighter Trophy LV for vehicles as small as a hummer.

 

Russia pioneered the development of these anti-missile systems. The first one, the Drozd, entered active service in 1983, mainly for defense against American ATGMs. These the Russians feared a great deal, as American troops had a lot of them, and the Russians knew these missiles (like TOW) worked. Russia went on to improve their anti-missile systems but was never able to export many of them. This was largely because these systems were expensive (over $100,000 per vehicle), no one trusted Russian hi-tech that much and new tanks, like the American M-1, were seen as a bigger threat than ATGMs.

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 08:30
Procurement: Iraq Prefers The More Expensive American Stuff

 

October 29, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Iraq is buying a lot more armored vehicles. While Russia offers cheaper prices and faster delivery the Iraqis prefer to buy American. Since mid-2014 Iraq has ordered 1,000 armored M1151A1 HMMWVs (hummers) from the United States. Even before ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) captured Mosul in June 2014 Iraq had ordered 200 M1151A1s at a cost of $505,000 each. This included a ring mounted 12.7mm (.50 caliber) machine-gun, maintenance equipment, training and warranties. The M1151 is a hummer built to handle the additional weight of armor protection. Thus one of the key changes in the M1151 is a stronger suspension and a larger engine (a 6.5 liter turbo-diesel). This allows the vehicle to easily handle an additional 680 kg (1,500 pounds) of armor. More importantly, the armor is easily installed, or taken off. This allows the hummers to operate more efficiently without the armor when the threat of attack is much reduced. The M1151 also has some armor underneath. This is not a lot of protection against mines and roadside bombs, but it is better than none. The M1151 is basically an armored car, with a crew of four and a payload of one ton (plus two tons that can be towed.) Top speed is 80 kilometers an hour and a max range (on one tank, on roads) of 480 kilometers. All the armored protection is good against 7.62mm machine-guns and rifles, bombs, landmines and nearby bursting shells of up to 155mm. The M1151 hummer also comes with Vehicle Emergency Escape (VEE) Windows. These are bulletproof windows with a latch system. It takes about five seconds to turn the latches and push the window forward. This enables troops to get out of vehicles that have rolled over, or gone into the water, and jammed the doors. If the vehicle catches fire, either from an accident or roadside bomb, the VEE has already proved to be a lifesaver since it was introduced in 2007. The M1151 was developed in 2005 based on experience in Iraq. The M1151A1 has become the preferred HMMWV model in areas where there is a lot of violence.

 

Iraq has also ordered 175 M1A1 tanks, 15 M88A2 tank recovery vehicles (that can tow disabled M1 tanks off the battlefield) and numerous accessories and support equipment and spare parts. When ISIL made its unexpected advance in 2014 the Iraqi Army had already equipped one of its armored divisions with M-1 tanks. In 2008 Iraq ordered 140 M1A1-SA tanks, along with over a hundred support vehicles (for maintenance and transportation, like 35 tank transporters). The request includes training and technical support, for a total contract cost of over $2 billion. The tanks were delivered by 2011. Since mid-2014 Iraq has lost about a third of their 140 M1s. Some were captured but most were abandoned when damaged or because they broke down and the Iraqis could not get them going again.

 

The M1A1-SA (Situational Awareness") is equipped with features that the U.S. Army developed in 2006. The M1A1-SA includes the latest thermal (FLIR, or heat sensing) sights, a special engine air filter system developed to deal the abundant sand and dust in Iraq, the telephone on the rear fender, which allows accompanying infantry to communicate with the crew, and numerous small improvements.

 

There are several items the Iraqi SA tanks will not get, that those used by American troops do have. These include no depleted uranium armor, no ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) on the absence of some other features meant to protect against anti-tank missiles. Also missing is Blue Force Tracker (a U.S. satellite tracking system that shows the location of all American vehicles and aircraft in the vicinity.)

 

Iraq is not the first Arab country to operate the M1 tank. Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia already operate over 1,600 of them, and Egypt has built hundreds of them (mainly using components imported from the U.S., but with some locally made parts). All the other Arab users have at least some of the latest model (M1A2 SEP).  The Arab users of the M1 have been very happy with their American tanks. This satisfaction increased when they saw how the M-1 performed in Iraq. While most Arabs deplored U.S. operations there, Arab tank officers and M-1 crewmen were quietly pleased that their tanks appeared invulnerable, and able to assist the infantry in any kind of fight. Iraqi army officers have spoken to fellow Arab officers who have used the M-1, and were told this was the way to go.

 

Despite the removal of some features, the Iraqis are glad to have their M-1s. Since 2003 Iraqis have been very impressed by the U.S. military. Although the U.S. initially advised the Iraqis to expand upon their use of Russian equipment (which they had been using for over three decades) the Iraqis insisted on adopting U.S. gear and tactics. Thus Iraqi troops wear similar uniforms, and use many identical weapons and items of equipment. Iraqi soldiers, especially the younger ones, imitate American moves to the point that, in the field, U.S. troops sometimes have to look closely to determine if the G.I. down the street is American or Iraqi.

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29 octobre 2015 4 29 /10 /octobre /2015 08:45
Protea is demo platform for Camcopter

Protea is demo platform for Camcopter

 

28 October 2015 by defenceWeb

 

Last week saw Austrian company Schiebel successfully undertake trials with its Camcopter S-100 unmanned air system (UAS) using the SA Navy hydrographic vessel, SAS Protea, in False Bay.

 

In a statement the Austrian manufacturer, which also produces a range of defence and humanitarian products, said: “The maritime environment hold unique demands for both situational awareness and timely communications. The Camcopter S-100 is an asset that meets these requirements, specifically with its ability to persistently extend the electronic ears and eyes of maritime commanders to operational ranges well beyond those on sensors on board.

 

“The SA Navy as well as representatives of other South African government authorities had the opportunity to see these capabilities for themselves at sea offshore Naval Base Simon’s town.

 

The S-100 conducted all flights from the aft deck of the SAS Protea, a Hecla class deep-ocean hydrographic survey vessel. Turbulent head and crosswinds beyond 25 knots, limited deck size as well as lack of NATO landing grid represented exceptional challenges during the trials.

 

The unmanned helicopter effortlessly conducted automatic take-offs and landings and all other required manoeuvres, thanks to its integrated GPS-independent positioning system, enabling pinpoint precision at a high dynamic range.

 

During the trials the payload chosen and demonstrated was the Selex ES SAGE Electronic Support Measure (ESM) system, allowing the Camcopter S-100 to detect, identify and geo-locate radio frequency sources while routinely operating out to 200 km or remaining on-station for periods of more than six hours.

 

“This system provides the right support for maritime surveillance missions or anti-piracy operations in which the SA Navy is interested,” the Vienna headquartered company said.

 

Camcopter is a rotary-winged vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS that needs no specially prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It can operate 24/7 with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 300km, on land and at sea.

 

The S-100 navigates via pre-programmed GPS waypoints or is operated with a pilot control unit. Missions are planned and controlled via a point-and-click graphic user interface. High-definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time. Using "fly-by-wire" technology controlled by a triple-redundant flight computer, the UAS can complete its mission automatically. Its carbon fibre and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 foot. In its standard configuration, the Camcopter S-100 carries a 34 kg payload up to 10 hours and is powered by either Avgas or heavy fuel.

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29 octobre 2015 4 29 /10 /octobre /2015 08:45
Four more Badger ICVs for the Army

Four more Badger ICVs for the Army

 

28 October 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The SA Army will ultimately have a fleet of 242 Badger infantry combat vehicles in nine variants as opposed to the original five combat variants according to the 2014/15 Armscor annual report.

 

The slight increase in the number of vehicles is “a quid pro quo for increasing the advance payment made to industry on the production contract”.

 

Earlier this year the National Conventional Arms Control committee (NCACC) reported the import of a single armoured personnel carrier (APC) from Finland as part of the Denel Land Systems/Patria Land and Armament partnership to produce the new generation of combat vehicles for the landward arm of the SA National Defence Force. Two APC hulls were also imported.

 

According to the Armscor public document 21 vehicle platforms will be sourced from the Finnish company with the remaining 221 to be “completely manufactured in South Africa”.

 

The report continues: “Significant progress was made during the past year with the final phases of the vehicle development programme and a number of major technical challenges were successfully mitigated. It is expected that development will be completed by the end of the 2016/17 financial year and that industrialisation and production can commence without significant delay.”

 

The 2014/15 financial year saw completion of most of the design, test and evaluation trials of the Badger with the preliminary operational test and evaluation completed in February.

 

“The locally developed 30mm Camgun performed well during trials and all performance life goals were achieved.

 

“Development of the mortar and missile variants of the vehicle are planned to lag behind the section variant, and design and test and evaluation trials for these variants are planned to be completed during the 2015/16 financial year. Development of both these variants will be completed by the end of 2016. The concept designs of the signal and ambulance variants were completed in March 2015, while that of the artillery variant will be completed during the 2015/16 financial year,” according to the report.

 

The year under review also saw three vehicle platform pre-production models manufactured by Patria in Finland with two delivered to South Africa.

 

Denel Land systems will deliver the new infantry combat vehicles to the SA Army over a 10 year period from the signing of the production contract in November 2013 with final delivery expected at the end of 2022.

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28 octobre 2015 3 28 /10 /octobre /2015 17:50
Sweden Submits Gripen Bid to Croatia

 

October 28, 2015 By Swedish Defence - defencetalk.com

 

FXM, the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency, responded today, Friday 23 October, to a request for information from Croatia concerning the procurement of Gripen aircraft.

 

The request concerns 8 to 12 newly built aircraft of the C/D model. The request for information that FXM responded to was sent from the Croatian Ministry of Defence in June this year. Sweden has had a positive dialogue with Croatia regarding the Gripen since the year 2007. With today’s answer FXM wishes to emphasize that Croatia is seen as a possible valuable future Gripen partner in an important region where other countries already are flying the Gripen. JAS Gripen is operational in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, South Africa and Thailand. Brazil has procured the next generation Gripen, Gripen NG.

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28 octobre 2015 3 28 /10 /octobre /2015 17:45
First A-Darter missiles to be delivered in February 2016

 

27 October 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The development of the A-Darter fifth generation short range air-to-air missile has reached the stage of industrialisation and subsequent production with first deliveries expected by February next year.

 

The 2014/15 Armscor annual report notes that “despite a total delay of approximately six months during the development phase, this ambitious development programme, co-funded by the Brazilian Air Force and the SA Air Force, is delivering good results.

 

“It will deliver an air-to-air missile that is functionally comparable with the most advanced missiles of this nature available in the world. Despite delays incurred during the development phase, the programme time scale has still been shorter than that of comparable missiles developed internationally.

 

“The programme encountered several difficulties on various aspects during this reporting period, but these difficulties were all successfully resolved without any significant further delays to the programme. During the past year, a number of test flight campaigns were conducted which culminated in the successful completion of the final development flight test campaign.

 

“These successful tests essentially signify the completion of the development phase of the project. The following reporting period will see the finalisation of the Critical Design Reviews of the complete missile and all its subsystems as a precursor to final qualification and attainment of the Product Baseline (PBL).

 

“Following the successful flight test campaigns conducted during the past year, and sufficient mitigation of most technical risks on the programme, a contract for the industrialisation and subsequent production of the operational missiles for the SAAF was placed with industry towards the latter part of the reporting period. First delivery of missiles is expected to be towards February 2017.”

 

During the year under review work was also done on integrating the A-Darter and a helmet mounted display capability (HMC) onto the SAAF’s Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers.

 

“A feasibility study was conducted to identify and reduce major integration risks, and it was concluded it is viable to integrate the missile and an HMC onto the Hawk aircraft with no major developmental risks associated with the programme.”

 

Armscor foresees a contract for the integration of the A-Darter missile onto the Hawk aircraft based at 85 Combat Flying School in Limpopo being concluded during the 2015/16 financial year.

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28 octobre 2015 3 28 /10 /octobre /2015 17:35
HMNZS TE MANA - F111 (ANZAC class frigate) - photo RNZN

HMNZS TE MANA - F111 (ANZAC class frigate) - photo RNZN

 

October 26, 2015 By Lockheed Martin - defencetalk.com

 

Lockheed Martin Canada marked an important milestone toward modernizing the Royal New Zealand Navy’s two ANZAC Class ships. The company announced that the ANZAC frigate systems upgrade project has successfully completed the combat system critical design review on schedule and to New Zealand’s satisfaction. The government-mandated review proves a contractor’s progress and planning for all elements of a program. It covered in detail all of Lockheed Martin Canada’s plans for shipboard systems and designs. With the successful review, Lockheed Martin Canada can begin implementing detailed designs and plans for the system’s key components, which will in turn lead to ship installation. The milestone is the latest achievement for Lockheed Martin Canada’s ANZAC team in the 16 months since contract award.

 

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28 octobre 2015 3 28 /10 /octobre /2015 13:20
CH-53K is a monster machine - photo Sikorsky

CH-53K is a monster machine - photo Sikorsky

 

October 27, 2015 by David Axe - warisboring.com

 

The first prototype of the CH-53K transport helicopter that Sikorsky is building for the U.S. Marine Corps took off on its debut flight at the company’s facility in Florida on Oct. 27. Sikorsky is building 200 CH-53Ks at a total cost of up to $23 billion to replace the Marines’ depleted force of around 150 CH-53E transports, which do the heavy aerial lifting for the Marines’ combat battalions. The triple-engine, seven-blade CH-53K will be, by far, the West’s most powerful helicopter, able to haul 18 tons of external cargo 110 miles — twice as much as the CH-53E can carry.

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