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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 16:35
KAI Comments FA-50 Sale to Philippines

Korea Aerospace Industries has detailed the $420 million sale of 12 FA-50 light attack fighters to the Philippines, which brings to 52 the number of T-50 variants ordered to date by foreign customers. (KAI photo)

 

April 2, 2014 defense-aerospace.com/

(Source: Korea Aerospace Industries; dated March 28, 2014)

 

KAI Won A Contract to Export 12 FA-50s to the Philippines, Worth $420 Million

 

Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. (KAI) won a contract to export 12 FA-50s to the Philippines for Philippine Air Force's multi-purpose fighter purchase project in a government-to-government way on March 28th.

 

This contract including training is valued at $420 million and the company will completely deliver 12 aircraft within 38 months after the deal goes into effect.

 

The variant of T-50 family has received 52 orders from the Air Forces of Iraq (24) in 2013, Indonesia (16) in 2011 and the Philippines (12) in 2014.

 

T-50 variant aircraft developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin and in operation in the Republic of Korea Air Force.

 

The FA-50 measures 13.13m in length, 9.45m in width and 4.85m in height and is able to fly with a max speed of Mach 1.5 with up to 4,500kg armed weapons loaded in it.

 

FA-50 light attack aircraft, in particular earned KAI recognition for its high-performance and low-cost fighter.

 

KAI is eyeing to further exporting the T-50 variant aircraft to the U.S.A., Botswana, the U.A.E., Thailand and Peru.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
La Russie livrera à l'Inde 66.000 munitions pour chars

 

 

MOSCOU, 2 avril - RIA Novosti

 

La Russie livrera 66.000 munitions 3-UBK-20 "Mango" pour les chars T-90C de l'Inde conformément à un contrat signé par l'Agence russe d'exportation d'armements (Rosoboronexport) et le ministère indien de la Défense, a annoncé mardi le groupe Techmach, producteur des munitions.

"Le contrat russo-indien comprend deux parties consacrées à la livraison de munitions pour chars Mango et au lancement de leur production sous licence en Inde. Au total, la Russie livrera 66.000 projectiles pour chars à l'Inde dans le cadre de ce projet", a indiqué Techmach dans un communiqué.

Le projet d'organisation de la production de munitions pour chars en Inde prévoit la traduction de documents techniques nécessaires, la livraison d'équipements, la formation de personnel et la mise en service de la chaîne de production.

Le projectile 3-UBK-20 Mango est destiné à détruire les chars, les canons automoteurs et d'autres cibles blindées.

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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 07:57
VBCI in Mali - photo EMA

VBCI in Mali - photo EMA

 

Apr. 1, 2014 - By PIERRE TRAN – Defense News

 

PARIS — French forces described how their new infantry fighting vehicle performed in the sub-Saharan desert when the British senior commander visited them in Mali on the Serval campaign, which could encourage London in ordering the kit, French Army Chief of Staff Bertrand Ract-Madoux said.

“Our two armies say they have very identical equipment requirements,” Ract-Madoux said in an article posted on the website of the Franco-British Council.

The operational needs may be there, but political backing may be absent.

Asked about a possible sharing of equipment, Ract-Madoux said, “Sharing capabilities is a big challenge which calls above all for a very ambitious choice by our heads of state and government,” he said.

“I am not sure our two countries have reached such a high level of cooperation,” he said.

Ract-Madoux was replying to questions about London and Paris possibly sharing the Watchkeeper tactical drone and VBCI.

“On the Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie, our mission in Mali with Gen. Sir Peter Wall gave me the opportunity to answer his questions and for him to appreciate the mobility and firepower of the French VBCI in the Mali desert, in the light of a possible acquisition by the United Kingdom,” Ract-Madoux said.

 

photo EUTM Mali

photo EUTM Mali

Ract-Madoux had invited Wall, the British Army chief of General Staff, to go with him to Mali in January, the report said.

France at the Jan. 31 Anglo-French summit handed over a VBCI fighting vehicle for trials by the British forces.

Nexter builds the VBCI, with the last unit to be built next year.

Regarding Watchkeeper, Ract-Madoux said, “Our operational expectations are the same, our tactical organization is similar and the evaluation phase conducted by our teams is fairly conclusive.

 

Similar Requirements Could Spur French-UK Sharing of Systems

“The level of operational cooperation that we share with the British on the Watchkeeper should help bring together the two nations on this subject,” Ract-Madoux said.

French non-commissioned officers have been assigned since November to a British Royal Artillery unit flying the UAV and could be sent to a British Army Watchkeeper team in operation this summer, the report said.

Thales is the prime contractor on the Watchkeeper, based on Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450.

The British and French forces are telling their authorities that they are on the same time cycle for a number of equipment programs, including the 40mm gun and cased telescoped munition, Ract-Madoux said.

 

Caesar in Mali - photo EMA ECPAD

Caesar in Mali - photo EMA ECPAD

On the Caesar, the strategic mobility and good performance of the French truck-mounted artillery “could interest the British Army,” Ract-Madoux said.

Nexter builds the Caesar and is a joint venture partner with BAE Systems on the 40mm gun and shell.

Wall, asked about the French campaign in Mali, said, “The political and strategic outcome has to be questioned in any military intervention and the French operation Serval is a model for preventive containment with a strategic efficiency at low political cost.

“I have been impressed by this style of operation that we might have to execute when we leave Afghanistan, so politically and militarily the French expertise is very interesting for us.”

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
DFWES - photo  Richard Taylor

DFWES - photo Richard Taylor

 

March 31 By Richard Tomkins (UPI)

 

A direct fire weapons effect simulator used by British forces is to continue to receive support from Saab under a $33.8 million contract.

 

Swedish defense company Saab says it has received a new contract to continue support and service of a simulator system used by the British Army.

 

The simulator is the Direct Fire Weapon Effects Simulator System.

 

The DFWES is a laser-based tactical engagement system for vehicles and anti-tank weapons to simulate the effect of weapon engagements that enables realistic and challenging training. It is used in force-on-force exercises in Britain and Canada, as well as in Germany.

 

Saab has supplied and operationally supported the system since 1994, the company said.

 

“This new contract, extending the use of the capability, is proof of the strong relationship between Saab and the British Army, and a renewal of our commitment as a highly trusted overall training provider to a leading military customer,” said Henrik Hojer, vice president and managing director of Saab’s training and simulation business.

 

The contract from Britain’s Ministry of Defense is worth about $33.8 million. The performance period of the contract was not disclosed.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:40
Bombardier Tu-160: Moscou relance la production d'équipements

 

MOSCOU, 31 mars - RIA Novosti

 

La Russie a relancé la production d'équipements pour les moteurs des bombardiers stratégiques porte-missiles modernisés Tu-160M, a annoncé lundi à Moscou le holding russe Equipements aéronautiques.

"L'usine des constructions mécaniques Znamia de Moscou relance la production en série des dispositifs de contrôle de combustible pour les moteurs du bombardier stratégique Tu-160. Il s'agit des équipements les plus complexes produits par l'usine", a indiqué le service de presse du holding.

La Russie a cessé de fabriquer ces dispositifs au début des années 1990 suite à l'arrêt de la production en série des bombardiers stratégiques supersoniques Tu-160 et de leurs moteurs. A présent, elle relance la production pour maintenir son aviation stratégique en état de combat.

Conçu par le Bureau d'études soviétique Tupolev pendant les années 1970-1980, le bombardier porte-missiles stratégique Tu-160 (Blackjack, selon le code de l'OTAN) est le plus grand et le plus puissant avion supersonique militaire aux ailes à géométrie variable. Le Tu-160 est aussi le plus lourd avion de combat au monde et le bombardier ayant la plus grande masse au décollage.

En service opérationnel depuis 1987, le Tu-160 est destiné à détruire des cibles importantes au moyen d'armes nucléaires et conventionnelles. Son rayon d'action atteint 14.000 km. Son équipage comprend quatre pilotes. 

Les Tu-160M (M pour "modernisés") sont deux fois plus efficaces que les Tu-160. Le porte-parole de l'Armée de l'air russe Vladimir Drik a annoncé en 2012 que ces appareils sont dotés d'un nouveau système d'armement permettant d'utiliser des missiles de croisière et des bombes. L'avionique des appareils a fait l'objet d'une modernisation complète.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Sweden Sells UAVs to China

 

4/3/2014 IsraelDefense

 

The Swedish CybAero will sell unmanned helicopters to China, in an order estimated at $7.5 million. The helicopters is destined to be operated from ships by the Chinese costumer

 

CybAero, a vertical lift UAV developer, said the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls approved export permits for a $7.5 million order a Chinese customer placed for its APID 60 unmanned helicopter, the company’s largest order, as published on ainonline website.

The approval of the transaction seems puzzling given the fact that similar transactions by Israeli manufacturers were vetoed by the US.

In a press release, CybAero said the end user will operate the APID60 from ships. The company will begin deliveries later this year.

“We are extremely excited about the confidence we received from the customer. This is our biggest-ever order and proof that we are an interesting provider in a geographic market that is rapidly growing in use and needs of our system,” said Mikael Hult, CybAero CEO

CybAero, based in Linköping, Sweden, was formed in 2003 from a research collaboration between Linköping University and the Swedish Defense Research Agency dating to 1992. The company became profitable in 2010.

The APID 60 is the successor to CyAero’s earlier APID 55, which the company developed with funding and technical assistance from Saab Aerosystems. In 2004, CybAero signed its first major contract to supply seven APID 55 systems to the UAE armed forces.

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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
Two C-130Js Delivered to Korea

 

 

MARIETTA, Ga., April 1, 2014 –  Lockheed Martin

 

Two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft operated by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) ferried from the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] facility here today to South Korea.

ROKAF accepted delivery of these two aircraft last week at a ceremony in Marietta, home to the C-130J Super Hercules production line. These Super Hercs will be flown by ROKAF aircrews, which currently operate a fleet of C-130H legacy aircraft.

The ROKAF’s new Super Hercules is the longer fuselage or “stretched” combat delivery variant. Lockheed Martin is also contracted to provide a two-year support program to the ROKAF, including C-130J aircrew and maintenance training.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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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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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
Israel's first C-130J set for delivery on 9 April

 

 

31 Mar 2014 By: Arie Egozi - FG

 

Tel Aviv - The Israeli air force's first Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transport will arrive on 9 April, with preparations at Nevatim air base now complete.

 

The delivery of the first C-130J "Samson" is a major milestone in the reorganisation of the air force's Hercules squadrons. This will culminate with the operational consolidation of its two existing units, with the "Elephants" squadron to be absorbed into the "Knights of the yellow bird". The former will operate the new C-130Js, while the latter mainly uses upgraded H-model examples.

 

In June 2013 Lockheed delivered the first of four on-order C-130Js to Israel at its Marietta site in Georgia, ahead of the airframer supporting training activities in the USA. The remaining three transports will be delivered towards the end of this year and in early 2015.

 

The Israeli air force has also made a formal proposal for an additional two aircraft, and sources say a contract is in the final stages of processing.

 

Israel's new-generation Hercules have a cockpit configured for three crew members, similar to that used by US special forces. They will also be modified post-delivery to carry some Israeli-produced systems.

 

Flightglobal's Ascend Online advisory service shows the Israeli air force as having a current active fleet of 16 Hercules, comprising 12 C-130Hs and four C-130Es. The latter are being phased out, while the H-model fleet is receiving structural treatment to extend their use.

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Rafale photo S. Fort - Dassault Aviation

Rafale photo S. Fort - Dassault Aviation

 

31 March 2014 By Salman Siddiqui - gulf-times.com

 

The “omnirole” fighter jet Rafale can “easily” meet all the requirements of Qatar’s defence needs for the present and the future, a top Dassault Aviation (DA) official said recently.

 

Benoît Dussaugey, DA’s senior executive vice-president (international), told Gulf Times that the French company was in the race to win the multi-billion dollar contract for new fighter jets for Qatar’s Emiri Air Force and was “very confident” of its chances given the “excellent capability” of its aircraft.

 

“The final decision, of course, is with the Qatari authorities and we are sure that they will choose the best aircraft,” he said.

 

Dussaugey spoke to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the recently held mega defence exhibition, Dimdex 2014.

 

The Rafale is in competition with other major fighter aircraft, including the Euro fighter Typhoon backed strongly by the British via BAE Systems and American conglomerate Boeing that was reportedly offering the Super Hornet F-18 and F-15 Strike Eagle.

 

When asked about the reason for his confidence given that the French company’s jet hasn’t had a major sale in the region yet, Dussaugey said the whole world acknowledges the high performance of Rafale. He also pointed out that while it was true Saudi Arabia went ahead with its Typhoon jet deal, the UAE had backed out of it.

 

A top BAE System official had told Gulf Times earlier that the Typhoon deal had not gone through in the UAE because of the country’s “budgetary” constraints and had nothing to do with their aircraft’s capability. Dussaugey admitted with a laugh that “we were very happy” when the Typhoon deal did not materialise in the UAE.

 

The French official said his company was still a big contender in the Middle East market and was looking to bag contracts not only in Qatar, but also other countries such as Bahrain .

 

Also, France is the only country apart from the US that is able to deploy a large aircraft carrier in the region.

 

According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, recent years have seen a growing French naval presence in the region, led principally by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. At Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, France has opened a new naval base, where Charles de Gaulle in 2010 was one of the first French navy ships to visit.

 

The aircraft carrier comprises 10 Rafale M and 10 Super Etendard fighter aircraft, as well as two airborne early-warning and control E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, the weekly added.

 

When asked to comment on the performance of Rafale in the UAE,  the official said: “The Rafale has performed perfectly well in the UAE and we didn’t even need to modify our aircraft in anyway to suit the extremely hot weather conditions of the region.”

 

He also highlighted the jet’s past military engagements, including in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2011, Libya in 2011 and Mali in 2013.

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Et un nouveau succès à l’exportation pour DCNS en Uruguay

Selon nos informations. Montevideo a pris la décision il y a une dizaine de jours environ d'acheter trois patrouilleurs hauturiers de type Adroit

 

02/04/2014 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

La famille Gowind se vend bien à l’exportation. C’est au tour de l’Uruguay de sélectionner les patrouilleurs hauturiers du groupe naval.

 

Décidément DCNS semble actuellement très en veine avec la famille Gowind. Après avoir remporté un premier succès en Malaisie (six corvettes de 2.400 tonnes) puis avoir été très récemment sélectionné par l'Egypte (4 corvettes de 2.500 tonnes) à la surprise de beaucoup d'observateurs, le groupe vient d'être également choisi par l'Uruguay, selon nos informations. Montevideo a pris la décision il y a une dizaine de jours environ d'acheter trois patrouilleurs hauturiers de type Adroit. Ce qui constitue une très belle surprise, surtout dans un pays qui n'achète pas spécialement français. A peine 300.000 euros de matériels livrés et rien en termes de commandes sur la période 2007-2011...

Une acquisition qui pourrait prendre la forme d'un leasing. Mais Montevideo n'est pas encore certain de la procédure à suivre. DCNS a d'ailleurs envoyé une équipe pour définir un cadre de négociations avec l'Uruguay. L'Adroit qui vogue depuis deux ans sous les couleurs de la Marine nationale, pourrait faire partie de la transaction. Destiné à des missions de sauvegarde maritime, ce navire a été mis à la disposition gracieusement de la Marine pendant trois ans depuis octobre 2011. L'Adroit a fait ses preuves en opération notamment le long des côtes africaines dans une mission de lutte contre la piraterie puis sur l'océan Indien.

 

Des drones à bord

Mesurant 87 mètres, le patrouilleur hauturier L'Adroit a une autonomie de 8.000 milles nautiques. Il peut rester plus de trois semaines en haute mer, atteindre une vitesse de 21 nœuds et accueillir un hélicoptère et des drones. Il ne requiert qu'un équipage réduit de 30 personnes et peut transporter en plus une trentaine de passagers. Il dispose d'un large champ de missions grâce à un ensemble de moyens de prévention et d'action nécessaires aux tâches de surveillance et de police en mer : embarcations rapides pour commandos, hélicoptère d'assaut ou de transport, drones de surveillance, intercepteurs de guerre électronique, moyens de communication haut débit et sécurisés, aides au commandement...

Le programme Gowind est une famille de corvettes à vocation littorale et de patrouilleur hauturier (Offshore Patrol Vessel ou OPV) développée par DCNS et destinée à des missions telles que surveillance et souveraineté, contre-piraterie, lutte ASM. La famille Gowind inclut des navires de 85 à 100 mètres et d'un déplacement de 1.100 à 2.400 tonnes.

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IMI and Chile Jointly Present: Rocket Launcher Vehicle

 

27/3/2014 Amir Rapaport, Chile - israeldefense.com

 

Israeli-Chilean cooperation at FIDAE 2014: IMI and its counterpart in Chile present a rocket launcher vehicle for the Accular and EXTRA rockets. Special Report from Chile

 

Famae Company, the Chilean equivalent of the Israeli Military Industries is cooperating with the IMI: the companies are presenting together, at FIDAE 2014 in Chile, a rocket launcher vehicle that allows carrying and shooting of precise rockets. The launcher is for the Accular and EXTRA rockets – the Accular has a range of 40 km and the EXTRA of 150 km.

 

The rocket launcher vehicle is made ​​by Chile and is versatile, while the precise rockets are manufactured by Israel Military Industries. The exhibition allows a rare glimpse of the EXTRA rocket.

 

According to Shai Haimovitz from IMI, Chile has adopted the Israeli method of multiple rocket launcher that is versatile. Using the vehicle and launchers, it is possible to carry four EXTRA rockets, and ten Accular rockets.

 

Rami Sokolower, Director of Marketing of IMI's Land Systems Division, says that there is an ongoing cooperation with the Chilean company, also regarding marketing an active defense system for armored vehicles - the "Iron Fist". Both companies are jointly presenting this system as well.

 

The FIDAE exhibition is one of the major defense exhibitions in South America. This year 13 Israeli companies are presenting at the exhibition, with the assistance of SIBAT. Hundreds of senior officials from around the world have already shown interest in Israeli products presented at the exhibition.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
Pentagon to organize drones in teams for sharing data, fighting together

 

Moscow Apr 01, 2014 Spacewar.com  (Voice of Russia)

 

The Pentagon's research unit is ready to launch a program that unites drones into teams allowing them to share data and act together on a battlefield while being operated by one human. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced that the Proposers' Day for its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environments (CODE) program will be held on April 11. CODE's goal is to unite "autonomy and inter-platform collaboration" of unmanned aerial vehicles.

DARPA intends to develop four "critical technology areas" for its future drones: single-drone flight autonomy; a human-systems interface that allows a "mission commander" to operate a drone fleet; drone-team collaboration; and an "open architecture" that allows drones to pass information between each other and humans.

According to DARPA, the CODE project will prepare today's relatively primitive drones for future conflicts, which will be characterized by "a higher level of threats, contested electromagnetic spectrum, and re-locatable targets." DARPA believes that in future, drone technology will be more widespread, and enemies will be more ready to counteract.

It was recently reported that DARPA is also doubling funding for its Hydra program, which develops underwater drones. Some of DARPA's other projects include inaudible military vehicles, the ATLAS robot, brain-reading technology and lasers to shoot down multiple enemy drones.

 

Smartphone-controlled drones to support US troops in combat zones
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes to work with contractors to develop smartphone-controlled drones for US Army ground troops to use to stay better protected while out in the field.

"Many missions require dedicated vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) assets, but most ground units don't have their own helicopters," said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, in a press statement. "ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units. Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success."

The ARES is in its third and final phase, with Lockheed Martin currently taking the lead on DARPA's research.

There is increased interest in using smaller, field-deployable drones, so soldiers on the ground are able to do short-range reconnaissance - or to launch small-scale aerial assaults. Unlike civilian smartphone-controlled drones, DARPA is seeking technology able to carry up to 3,000 pounds, allowing for weapons and supply reinforcements as well.

Private sector companies and government contractors have already developed technologies for use by special forces, but ARES could be widely deployed.

 

DARPA's new search engine to crawl Deep Web, root out human trafficking and illicit business
A new kind of web search engine capable of ferreting out human trafficking operations and other illegal activities, hidden in the "deep Web" of the Internet, is expected to become reality in a few years as the US agency responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military is looking for a partner to create a project which may come in handy for law enforcement and military operations.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is the agency which works on the development of new military technologies such as robots, satellites and body armor. It is currently seeking ways to technologically index the "deep Web" of the Internet - forums, chat rooms and other semi-hidden parts of the Web - which are not scanned by the majority of search engines such as Google and Bing and where a substantial part of illicit business takes place.

The brand-new project was dubbed "Memex " which is a combination of the words "memory" and "index." The main objective of Memex is rooting out human trafficking operations, including labor and sex trafficking. The system is supposed to replace sites that have enabled software that currently prevents them from being "crawled" by today's search engines. According to DARPA, "an index curated for the counter trafficking domain, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis will enable a new opportunity for military, law enforcement, legal, and intelligence actions to be taken against trafficking enterprises."

Last year, Time magazine wrote about the "deep Web", emphasizing that it is an "electronic haven for thieves, child pornographers, human traffickers, forgers, assassins and peddlers of state secrets and loose nukes." The problem is that many of these sites hide in the less-monitored corners of the Internet and cannot be accessed with normal search engines as they require specific software programs.

Interestingly, the "deep Web" was crafted by the US government as a tool for espionage agents and law enforcement. However, over the past decade, it became widely used by people searching for privacy or ways to conduct illicit activities on the Internet secretly.

The Memex project was opened for proposals last week and companies can submit their final proposals until April 8.

 

Meet ARES: DARPA's newest transformer-style drones under development
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DAPRA, presented concept images of its scheme to pair up the US military with modular drones named Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES for short), capable of transforming to comply with the needs of different missions.

The ARES drone will be utilized as an unmanned vehicle that would be able to set military units down in dangerous environments. The UAV could also be used as a resupplying entity for troop deployments. If injured combatants need to be evacuated from an area, ARES can help facilitate such ventures.

The final variant of ARES has been shown off as a sort of drone that can buzz around air space but can also be connected to a variety of modules such as vehicles or special container units. It was created from a project called Transformer (TX) with the primary goal being to make "a ground vehicle that is capable of configuring into a VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] air vehicle that provides sufficient flight performance and range, while carrying a payload that is representative of four troops with gear."

"ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units," Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, said in a statement, "Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success." Design assistance and system integration techniques are being taken care of by Lockheed Martin Skunkworks, with ARES in its last stage.

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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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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:50
Oto Melara's Vulcano Munitions Ready for Sale

 

Apr. 1, 2014 - By TOM KINGTON Defense News

 

LA SPEZIA, ITALY — After years of putting its faith in the development of guided munitions — for both naval and land use — Italy’s Oto Melara now claims it has working technology and a range of products ready for sale.

“We have had the breakthrough and we are on the downhill slope now,” said CEO Roberto Cortesi, adding, “We know now we have a system that works.”

Oto Melara, a unit of Italy’s Finmeccanica, has spent €200 million (US $278 million) on developing a range of munitions with small moveable fins that steer a projectile toward its target using a variety of guidance systems.

A key characteristic of the munitions is that when fired from the cannon, they are clad in a sabot, or jacket, which protects the fins in the barrel before falling away in flight. Since the shells are therefore smaller than the caliber of the gun, they have less destructive potential but fly farther while costing far less than a missile.

Under a development and industrialization contract, Italy’s Defense Ministry is testing munitions developed for Oto Melara’s 127mm naval cannon and 155mm howitzer that are guided by GPS and an inertial measurement unit, as well as variants adding infrared targeting for naval use and semi-active laser targeting.

The so-called Vulcano range also contains an unguided shell — now being qualified — that does not have fins but comes in a sabot and reaches 60 kilometers in the 127mm configuration thanks to its sub-caliber size.

“We aim to have all variants in initial production by 2016 with delivery the following year,” one company official said.

All the 127mm Vulcano munition types are under contract from Italy for use on its multimission frigates. Holland, which has four naval 127mm compact cannons fit for Vulcano munitions, and Germany, which has ordered five 127mm cannons from Oto Melara for its F125 frigates, are potential users and are yet to decide which types of guided munition they want.

Oto Melara officials said Japan and South Korea, which operate 127mm naval cannons, were also watching development, while Algeria, which has ordered the cannon from Oto Melara for its German Meko frigates, is also interested.

Cortesi said Oto Melara had tried without success to place its cannons on US littoral combat ships, and has since reduced the head count at its US operation Oto Inc.

Meanwhile, Oto Melara’s Strales program for its 76mm cannon has seen sales so far to Italy, for use on its multimission and Horizon frigates and Cavour carrier, and to Colombia. The cannon fires a munition that is guided to its target — an aircraft or incoming missiles — by a beam directed at the target by the ship’s radar.

The program is undergoing a qualifying program this year on the Italian naval vessel Foscari, and Italy has purchased about 500 shells for testing and stocks. The Colombian Navy has taken about 100 shells to equip its four 76mm cannons, two of which require conversion kits to upgrade them to fire the munition.

The Strales system is in competition to equip the Singapore Navy, and one Oto Melara official said Singapore has said that instead of using the offered beam emitter that sits on the cannon, it could be used with the Thales Pharos radar, which can both track targets and emit beams to steer munitions.

“It is a cost-effective solution, and we could offer that type of setup to future customers,” the Oto Melara official said.

Officials said they are still developing — with limited Italian funding — the Vulcano 76 program, launched in 2011, which envisions the use of a GPS-guided 76mm munition.

Armor-piercing variants for the 127mm and 155mm guns are also being developed in collaboration with the Italian MoD.

Also in the works is the Scout, an unarmed munition that uses GPS to relay its position during flight in real time, indicating the strength of wind and other atmospheric conditions, allowing operators to adjust their aim when they choose to fire the unguided 127mm munition.

Finmeccanica managers have dropped hints over the years that Oto Melara is ripe for merging with one of Europe’s other land systems firms, given that the sector is overcrowded in Europe, even as defense budgets shrink.

Cortesi said the firm has gotten “very close” to forging ties with another firm, which he did not name, but had broken off talks because of the lack of guarantees of sovereignty. “We believe we are strategic for Italy and Italy would have lost know-how,” he said. The door remains open on program level partnerships, he added.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:45
Hawk Mk 120

Hawk Mk 120

 

01 April 2014 by Dean Wingrin - defenceWeb

 

The South African Air Force (SAAF) has grounded the Hawk trainer fleet following the crash of a jet whilst landing last Thursday.

 

The BAE Systems Hawk Mk 120 jet trainer, operated by 85 Combat Flying School, was performing a ‘touch and go’ at AFB Makhado when it experienced a control problem.

 

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the control stick ‘locked’ shortly before touch-down, resulting in the aircraft slamming the front wheel onto the runway, bouncing and then hitting the runway again with the front wheel. This resulted in the front wheel breaking off and the Hawk sliding down the runway before coming to a halt.

 

Neither of the two crew aboard, who deploying the drag chute after the nose-wheel broke off in order to slow the aircraft, were injured.

 

As the damaged aircraft blocked the runway, other aircraft that were still in the air were forced to land on the taxiway. This was safely accomplished as when the airbase was built in the 1980s, the taxiway was designed to operate as a secondary runway in the event of the main runway being blocked or damaged.

 

AFB Makhado is situated near the town of Louis Trichardt in Limpopo Province. 85 Combat Flying School is equipped with the remaining 23 Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) Hawk jets of the 24 delivered as part of the 1999 Strategic Defence Package (SDP).

 

The other flying squadron operating from the base is 2 Squadron, equipped with the SAAB Gripen fighter.

 

Although no comment has yet been received from the Air Force or South African National Defence Force (SANDF), it is believed the official Board of Investigation commenced their enquiries on Monday.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
Armor: T-90s Recover From Heat Stroke

 

March 17, 2014 Strategy Page
 

India is upgrading 600 of its Russian T-90 tanks with new electronics (navigation systems, thermal sights and fire control computers) and air conditioning at a cost of about $42,000 per tank. The main reason for air conditioning in the tanks is not the crew, but the electronics. Russia was asked to develop and install air conditioning but were unable to create a system that could handle the Indian climate. That failure caused a lot of damage to the Russian and foreign made electronics in the Indian T-90s, thus the need for these changes.

One of the most obvious reasons for this upgrade was the heat related problems. Despite years of effort India was unable to get the thermal imaging systems to operate reliably on its T-90 tanks. Most of the thermal imagers on the T-90s were down at any one time. The problem was eventually found to be heat, and the 40 degree (Celsius/104 Fahrenheit) heat is unavoidable because it's a desert area where Indian T-90s have to be stationed. The Indians paid $2.6 million for each tank (half the price of the U.S. M-1). Some 20 percent of the cost was for the thermal sight, similar to the one that makes the U.S. M-1 tank so effective on the battlefield. Unfortunately, tests of the T-90 revealed that the thermal sight system could not handle the heat of Indian summers once the air conditioning failed. Much of the border between India and Pakistan is desert, and most of India's armored units are stationed there. The problem is that while the T-90 had Russian developed air conditioning (something new in Russian tanks), it cannot handle the 100+ degree heat in tropical India. The Russians were unable to develop a suitable upgrade because there was no room inside the tank to install a more powerful, but larger, cooling system. The American M-1 air conditioning has been able to handle extreme heat, so the Indians knew it could be done and eventually found a supplier who could build a system that worked and fit into the space available.

The T-90 went into low level production in 1993, but was too expensive for the Russian army to buy more than a few of them. India eventually became the biggest user. The T-90 is based on the T-72, but has composite armor (plus reactive armor) and better electronics. The 50 ton tank uses a 125mm smooth bore gun, and can also fire the 9M119M Refleks-M missile (to 4,000 meters) at ground or air (helicopter) targets. The tank carries 43 tank shells or missiles, 22 of them in the autoloader carousel. India agreed to buy 310 T-90s initially and is to have over 1,600 of them by the end of the decade, most of them assembled in India using Russian made parts.

 One big reason India bought the T-90 is the 9M119 (AT-11) anti-tank missile, which weighs 23.6 kg (52 pounds), has a range of 100-4,000 meters and uses semi-automatic laser beam guidance system (the gunner keeps his sight on the target and the missile homes in on that.) Maximum time of flight is about 12 seconds. While the missile has a tandem warhead, making it useful against tanks with reactive armor, it can also be used against helicopters. The missile warhead can penetrate about 700mm of armor. The guidance system is quite accurate, hitting the target 80 percent of the time at maximum range in tests. The guidance system is also easy to use, making less well trained crews more effective. However, India insisted on building the missiles under license. This has created problems, as the Indian manufacturer has not been able to achieve sufficient quality control levels.

India deployed its first T-90 regiment (45 tanks) in May, 2002. The first T-90s were delivered to India in late November 2001. When they work, the T-90s are more than a match for anything the Pakistanis or Chinese have.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
Japan Lifts Own Blanket Arms Export Ban

 

Apr. 1, 2014 Defense News (AFP)

 

TOKYO — 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 defense 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 defense 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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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
UH-72 Lakota photo US Army

UH-72 Lakota photo US Army

 

01 April 2014 Defense Studies


EADS-N.A., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $34,018,858 modification (P00772) to sole-source, Foreign Military Sales contract W58RGZ-06-C-0194 for six Lakota helicopters with the environmental control unit, mission equipment package and airborne radio communication (ARC-231) radios for the Royal Thai Army. 

Fiscal 2010 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $34,018,857 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is April 3, 2015. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss. 

Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity.

(US DoD)

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