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12 octobre 2012 5 12 /10 /octobre /2012 16:50
photo molot.biz

photo molot.biz

 

 

MOSCOU, 12 octobre - RIA Novosti

 

Dix-sept pays de l'OTAN se doteront du fusil russe Vepr-12 conçu par l'usine Molot sur une base de Kalachnikov, a annoncé vendredi à Moscou le holding russe de hautes technologies Rostekhnologii.

 

"Les fusils semi-automatiques à canon lisse Vepr-12 seront livrés aux forces armées et autres services coercitifs de dix-pays membres de l'Alliance", lit-on dans un communiqué du holding.

 

La société allemande Schmeisser GmbH, partenaire de l'usine Molot et chargée de promouvoir le Vepr-12 en Europe, mène des discussions avec les pays membres de l'OTAN depuis le début de 2012. Lors d'une présentation du fusil tenue en septembre dernier en Allemagne, des officiers de la Bundeswehr munis de fusils Vepr-12 se sont entraînés à prendre d'assaut un édifice fortifié. L'OTAN a décidé de se doter de Vepr-12 suite à cette présentation.

 

L'usine Molot de Viatskie Poliany (région russe de Kirov) a créé plusieurs versions du fusil Vepr-12 qui seront mis en dotation pour l'OTAN après les formalités nécessaires.

 

Conçu en 2003 sur une base du fusil d'assaut Kalachnikov, Vepr-12 ("vepr" signifiant "sanglier" en russe) est un fusil de calibre 12/76 très fiable. La Russie l'exporte déjà "vers de nombreux pays dont l'Allemagne, l'Italie et la France", selon le communiqué de Rostekhnologii.

 

L'usine Molot poursuit en outre les travaux de conception du fusil Vepr-15 en coopération avec la société allemande Waffen Schumacher.

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12 octobre 2012 5 12 /10 /octobre /2012 09:55
Les enjeux de la coopération militaire franco-britannique pour l’industrie de défense européenne

photo MinDef FR - Exercice Calfex « Boars head ».

 

11.10.2012 Par Guillaume Goessens (GRIP) - marine-oceans.com

 

Les accords de Lancaster House, signés en novembre 2010, ont donné un nouveau tour à la coopération militaire franco-britannique qui ne sera pas sans effet sur l’industrie de défense européenne. Point de situation.

 

 Depuis la signature du traité franco-britannique de Dunkerque en 1947, et surtout depuis la mise en place d'un système de sécurité et de défense élargi durant les années qui ont suivi (Pacte de Bruxelles en 1948, Traité de l'Atlantique Nord en 1949, Traité sur l'Union de l'Europe Occidentale en 1954), la France et la Grande-Bretagne ont été au cœur des développements dans le domaine de la défense de l'Europe. Ces deux Etats tirent cette position d'un passé prestigieux partagé, d'abord empreint de rivalité, puis finalement marqué par un certain niveau de collaboration, essentiellement depuis l'Entente cordiale de 1904. Cet héritage historique a pour conséquence une certaine similarité entre les deux pays au niveau des budgets de défense, qui, si on les cumule, représentent près de la moitié des dépenses militaires de l'Union européenne (UE). Il est donc logique que chaque rencontre ou sommet bilatéral entre les dirigeants des deux pays touchant de près ou de loin la défense et la sécurité européenne suscite de nombreuses attentes, craintes, ou encore espérances. Le sommet du 2 novembre 2010 durant lequel MM. Nicolas Sarkozy et David Cameron ont engagé leur pays dans une coopération militaire et nucléaire n'a pas échappé à cette habitude. Les partenaires européens de la France et de la Grande-Bretagne se sont en effet montrés tantôt frustrés, tantôt heureux de la relance de la coopération franco-britannique.

 

Les enjeux de la coopération militaire franco-britannique pour l’industrie de défense européenne

Le 2 novembre 2010, le Président français Nicolas Sarkozy et le Premier ministre britannique David Cameron ont en fait signé deux traités. L'un porte sur une coopération en matière de sécurité et de défense, l'autre sur une collaboration limitée dans le domaine du nucléaire. Le premier traité vise à établir un « partenariat » à long terme entre les deux pays, au niveau de la défense et de la sécurité, dans de nombreux domaines, de la conception de matériel à l’envoi d’une force commune dans des conflits de haute intensité. Schématiquement, trois pôles de coopération peuvent être distingués dans ce premier document. Il s’agit des pôles « opérations et formations », « équipements et industries » et « cyber-sécurité et lutte contre le terrorisme ».

 

Les enjeux de la coopération militaire franco-britannique pour l’industrie de défense européenne

Le premier de ceux-ci a pour objectif la mise sur pied d’une force expéditionnaire commune interarmées (CJEF), composée de deux contingents de 5000 hommes issus des trois composantes de l’armée, et d’une force aéronavale intégrée. La CJEF devrait être disponible pour des opérations strictement bilatérales, mais également dans le cadre d’opérations menées par l’ONU, l’OTAN ou encore l’UE. Plusieurs exercices conjoints ont eu lieu en 2011 et en 2012, le principal obstacle restant cependant de s’accorder sur la définition du concept d’emploi de cette force. Bien que Nicolas Sarkozy et David Cameron aient souligné la communauté d’intérêts et de valeurs de la France et de la Grande-Bretagne, il n’existe aucune garantie que, le cas échéant, les deux pays tomberont d’accord sur l’emploi de la CJEF.  Malgré l’entente affichée face à la crise libyenne, le risque de voir ressurgir des divergences diplomatiques à l’image de celle de 2003 au sujet de l’invasion de l’Irak pourrait rendre compliquée l’utilisation d’une telle force.

 

Les enjeux de la coopération militaire franco-britannique pour l’industrie de défense européenne

Le problème est le même pour la force aéronavale intégrée qui aurait dû être opérationnelle pour 2020. La réalisation de cet objectif semble de surcroît de plus en plus compromise en raison de la configuration du futur porte-avions britanniques Prince of Wales. Les choix effectués par le gouvernement britannique, notamment au niveau des dispositifs de catapultage des aéronefs, ne devraient pas permettre aux appareils français de décoller du pont de ce bâtiment.  Ce simple fait porte un grand coup à l’interopérabilité franco-britannique dans le domaine aéronaval. Néanmoins, le 17 février 2012, à l’occasion d’une rencontre bilatérale, Français et Britanniques ont introduit l’idée subsidiaire de créer un groupe aéronaval conjoint comprenant des bâtiments des deux Etats.

 

Le second pôle, « équipement et industrie », concerne le développement de plusieurs projets tels qu’un plan de soutien franco-britannique pour l’entretien des avions de transport militaire A400M ou encore l’élaboration d’un démonstrateur de combat aérien. Le développement de la coopération au sujet des drones devrait également s’accélérer. L’utilité de tels équipements, tout comme le retard des européens en la matière, ont une nouvelle fois été démontrés lors des opérations en Libye. Il s’agit donc d’un point crucial du partenariat franco-britannique dans lequel les deux Etats semblent déterminés à accomplir des progrès. L’étude des risques techniques du drone MALE (moyenne altitude, longue endurance) « Telemos » a été confiée au début de l’année 2012 aux groupes Dassault Aviation et Bae Systems. Lors du sommet de février 2012, Nicolas Sarkozy et David Cameron ont également mis sur les rails le projet d’un drone de combat « UCAV », dont un premier prototype devrait aboutir pour 2020. Les deux Etats poursuivent déjà chacun de leur côté l’élaboration d’un nouveau démonstrateur technologique. L’idée serait donc de rapprocher ces deux programmes afin de faire aboutir un démonstrateur franco-britannique.

 

Enfin, les forces françaises se sont montrées très intéressées par l’acquisition de plusieurs drones de reconnaissance Watchkeeper, développé par la branche britannique de Thales et le groupe israélien Elbit System. Cet engin pourrait servir, si les tests sont concluants, à la surveillance maritime. L’éventuelle utilisation du même engin par les forces armées françaises et britanniques est porteuse d’espoir en matière d’interopérabilité.

 

Les enjeux de la coopération militaire franco-britannique pour l’industrie de défense européenne

Au niveau maritime, la coopération franco-britannique est également importante. Les deux partenaires ont réaffirmé leur volonté, en février 2012, de soutenir le développement d’un missile antinavires léger (ANL) par le missilier MBDA. Le coût de ce programme, qui s’élève à près de 200 millions d’euros, serait équitablement partagé par les deux Etats.  La France et la Grande-Bretagne se sont par ailleurs engagées dans une vaste opération de lutte contre les mines maritimes qui devrait débuter en 2013. En revanche, en ce qui concerne les sous-marins, le bilan est plus contrasté. La réalisation commune d’un nouveau sonar semble possible, mais la coopération dans ce domaine devrait se limiter à cet élément. Les deux partenaires se sont néanmoins mis d’accord sur le lancement d’un prototype de drone sous-marin qui pourrait jouer un rôle important dans la lutte contre les mines.

 

En ce qui concerne le pôle « cyber-sécurité et lutte contre le terrorisme », la collaboration franco-britannique semble avoir progressé depuis la signature des accords de Lancaster House au niveau de la cyberdéfense, c’est-à-dire la protection des systèmes d’information français et britanniques. Cette collaboration pourrait s’élargir à la lutte contre le terrorisme au travers d’un groupe bilatéral dédié à cette problématique.

 

Les enjeux de la coopération militaire franco-britannique pour l’industrie de défense européenne

Quant au traité sur la coopération nucléaire, il vise essentiellement à développer des installations communes aux deux Etats. L’une d’elles, l’EPURE, se situera en France, et sera adjacente au site existant de Valduc. Elle serait utilisée pour la modélisation des performances des têtes nucléaires et des équipements associés. La construction de cette première installation ne devrait cependant aboutir qu’en 2016. Un centre de développement technologique « TEUTATES » sera localisé quant à lui en Grande-Bretagne, à Aldermaston. Ce site devrait accueillir dans le futur une machine radiographique franco-britannique. Pour les deux sites, toutes les mesures propres à préserver la confidentialité, la souveraineté et l’indépendance nationale sont prévues par le traité du 2 novembre 2010.

 

Sur un plan purement industriel, la coopération franco-britannique pourrait s’avérer fructueuse. Comme la guerre de Libye l’a démontré à maints égards, les européens souffrent d’un certain retard dans plusieurs domaines cruciaux par rapport aux Etats-Unis : le renseignement, le ravitaillement en vol, les drones, les munitions de précision, les porte-avions,… Selon toute vraisemblance, les accords de Lancaster House ont pour but de ramener à niveau la France et la Grande-Bretagne dans le domaine de ces « multiplicateurs de puissance », pour in fine atténuer la dépendance matérielle vis-à-vis de Washington. Objectif louable, certes, mais qui risque d’irriter fortement les partenaires industriels européens des deux Etats. L’Allemagne, l’Espagne et l’Italie pourraient se sentir totalement exclus, par exemple, du nouveau programme sur un drone de combat, alors que ces pays sont des pions importants sur l’échiquier de l’industrie de l’armement européenne. La probabilité que se développent alors plusieurs programmes rivaux serait d’autant plus élevée. Or, comme le démontre la lutte fratricide entre le Rafale français, le Gripen suédois et l’Eurofighter développé par la Grande-Bretagne, l’Allemagne, l’Espagne et l’Italie, aucun constructeur ne ressort gagnant dans ce genre de situation.

 

En dépit de nombreux obstacles techniques et politiques, une culture industrielle européenne tend à se développer dans le domaine de la défense et de l’armement. Cependant, il manque  de réelles avancées politiques vers plus d’intégration en matière de politique étrangère et de sécurité européenne. Or, sur ce sujet, la France et la Grande-Bretagne ne semblent pas s’accorder. Londres reste fidèle à son attachement à l’Otan, alors que Paris, malgré certaines ambiguïtés, persiste à se présenter comme le moteur de l’Europe de la défense (une constante depuis la présidence de Charles de Gaulle). Au lendemain des Accords de Lancaster House – que les Britanniques souhaitent strictement bilatéraux – la France a donc relancé ses partenaires allemands et polonais du Triangle de Weimar (1) qui pourrait s’élargir à l’Italie et à l’Espagne. Suite aux élections présidentielles, la nouvelle équipe gouvernementale semble insister dans cette voie. Au début du mois de septembre, Jean-Yves le Drian, le ministre de la Défense français, était en tournée à Bruxelles afin de relancer l’Europe de la Défense. La coopération franco-britannique devrait cependant continuer sur sa lancée, la volonté de la France étant désormais que cette collaboration soit compatible avec l’engagement européen. La parution d’un nouveau Livre blanc sur la défense, auquel sont associés des Britanniques, pour la fin 2012, devrait permettre de mieux comprendre la position française à cet égard.

 

En ces temps de crise, l’attention des Etats européens se détourne quelque peu de la défense européenne. Celle-ci est cependant à un tournant de son évolution. Soumise à la concurrence des nouvelles puissances mondiales, l’Union européenne doit pouvoir se doter d’instruments militaires propres afin d’appuyer sa politique étrangère qui repose essentiellement sur le soft power. C’est une tâche qui incombe à tous les Etats-membres de l’UE. Cependant, dans le contexte de crise actuel, force est de constater que les budgets de défense des Vingt-Sept connaissent un certain recul. Maintenir une coopération franco-britannique strictement bilatérale en dehors du champ communautaire pourrait donc nuire à l’Europe de la défense, et par conséquent à la place de l’UE dans le monde. La Grande-Bretagne et la France restent plus que jamais les maîtres du jeu. Espérons qu’ils ne fassent pas perdre l’ensemble de leurs partenaires.

 


(1) Coopération trilatérale entre la France, l’Allemagne et la Pologne instauré en août 1991.  

 

Guillaume Goessens est chercheur-associé au GRIP

 

 Le Groupe de recherche et d’information sur la paix et la sécurité (GRIP), créé en 1979, est un centre de recherche indépendant reconnu comme organisation d’éducation permanente par le Ministère de la Communauté française de Belgique. Le GRIP a pour objectif d’éclairer citoyens et décideurs sur les problèmes souvent complexes de défense et de sécurité, et souhaite ainsi contribuer à la diminution des tensions internationales et tendre vers un monde moins armé et plus sûr en soutenant les initiatives en faveur de la prévention des conflits, du désarmement et de l’amélioration de la maîtrise des armements. Le GRIP est composé d’une équipe de 22 collaborateurs permanents, dont 14 chercheurs universitaires, ainsi que de nombreux chercheurs-associés en Belgique et à l’étranger.

 

www.grip.org

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12 octobre 2012 5 12 /10 /octobre /2012 09:55

bae systems

 

11 Oct 2012 By Richard Blackden, New York  - telegraph.co.uk

 

Shareholders and board directors at BAE should set their alarms for 2am on Wednesday morning. Where the future of their defence company is concerned, the second US presidential debate in Kentucky could ultimately be rather telling.

 

Last week’s first televised showdown drew 67m viewers and saw Mitt Romney, the gaffe-prone Republican challenger, deliver a performance that was as close to presidential as he has so far come. President Barack Obama, in turn, was bereft of ideas and offered the strong impression he would rather be somewhere else .

 

Romney’s polished showing dodged questions, but, more than a week later, the former governor of Massachusetts is leading in three national opinion polls. The performance has left the election poised on a knife edge, but it has also left Britain’s leading defence company in its own form of limbo.

 

For however much BAE chief executive Ian King insists it is business as usual after the collapse of his company’s planned £30bn merger with EADS, that is a hard sell. BAE has spent the past month spelling out the commercial logic of being part of a bigger group, and who does big better than the Americans?

 

The US is the only country from which a bid for all or part of BAE would now be politically acceptable. And such an American bid is, on balance, more likely if the Republicans reclaim The White House on November 6.

 

This is a function of the candidates’ respective plans, say analysts. In February, Obama laid out a plan to shrink the US military budget by $487bn (£303bn) over the next decade. The cuts may be modest – after all military spending has grown to about $520bn – but they’re in contrast to Romney’s plans as he proposes increasing spending.

 

The 65-year old has pledged to allocate a minimum of 4pc of US gross domestic product a year on defence. Although that is a lower ratio than under Ronald Reagan, it is more than Obama intends. As with much of the Republican’s policy pledges, there are few specifics. But, for now, it is the bigger picture that matters.

 

Under a Romney presidency, the largest buyer of weapons in the world is going to roll-up with a wallet full of freshly minted dollar bills. That would make most defence businesses, including a major US contractor like BAE, much more enticing for would-be suitors. “Right now the main objection to doing mergers is that valuations are too high versus future prospects,” says Lauren Thompson, a defence consultant at the Lexington Institute in Virginia.

 

America’s largest defence companies have said little over the last month as BAE and EADS frantically sought to make the European politics of their tie-up work.

 

In a rare public comment, Jim McNerney, the boss of Boeing, said the combination of the companies would not pose a “fundamental threat”. But there is little doubt that BAE has businesses US rivals would be happy to prize from its grasp. Joe Lissenden, a director at IHS Jane’s, a defence research firm, says five or six companies would be interested in BAE’s electronics warfare business that employs 12,000 people in America and makes gear including surveillance equipment.

 

BAE’s intelligence and cyber warfare division, based in Virginia, could also tempt buyers as the US shifts more of its dollars towards combating the threat from terrorists.

 

It’s enough to get BAE shareholders dreaming of a juicy bid arrowing across the Atlantic, but as with most things political, of course it’s not that simple. What Romney and Obama plan to do might turn out to be altogether different from what the economic situation allows. For starters, there’s the small matter of a $500bn cut to the Pentagon’s budget, scheduled in for January.

 

The reduction is part of the 'fiscal cliff’, shorthand for a series of tax rises and spending cuts due to take effect in 2013 because politicians in Washington spent the last three years failing to agree on a grown-up plan to cut the country’s debt.

 

Congress will almost certainly avoid sending the economy over the cliff, but how the defence budget will shake out in any agreement is anyone’s guess. BAE warned pm Thursday that the situation “clouds” its outlook in the US. Any potential American bidder won’t leave the starting blocks until the clouds clear.

 

And even if Romney wins The White House, there is no guarantee he will be able to bolster the Pentagon’s budget. With the US out of Iraq and withdrawing from Afghanistan, Chris Preble, a defence expert at Cato, expects military spending to fall whoever is victorious. “If I were a betting person, I would anticipate that US military spending goes down,” he says.

 

It may be that King persuades BAE investors that the best course is for the company to remain independent, and it may be that a US bid never emerges. But it is clear that following the collapse of the EADS deal, shareholders’ focus will shift across the Atlantic.

 

That means tuning into US politics at a time of bitter division. Next week’s debate is a good place to start. A word of warning though, shareholders should not expect any clarity from the US soon.

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9 octobre 2012 2 09 /10 /octobre /2012 12:45

INS Vikramaditya sea trials source Livefist

 

NEW DELHI, October 9 (RIA Novosti)

 

India may seek more than $100 million in penalty payments from Russia for delays in handing over the refitted aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, India's Economic Times reported on Tuesday.

 

The carrier - already years past its original 2008 delivery date - was supposed to have been handed over on December 4, 2012, but sea trials in September revealed the ship's boilers were not fully functional. Repairs to the ship's boilers could mean the handover is delayed until fall 2013, a United Shipbuilding Corporation commission investigation said last month.

“We may impose penalties for the delay,” an unidentified Indian defense ministry source told the paper. India may demand up to 6 billion rupees (about $115 million) which is around 5 percent of the total coast of the refitted ship.

 

Another source close to the Indian military industrial complex said New Delhi would be unlikely impose sanctions, as “it will negatively impact relations between the two countries in military-technical cooperation.” France has delayed delivery of six Scorpio submarines for more than three years, but India has not raised the issue of penalties over that contract, he said.

 

India and Russia signed the original $947 million dollar deal in 2005 for the purchase of the carrier, but delivery has already been delayed twice, pushing up the cost of refurbishing the ship to $2.3 billion.

 

Sevmash shipyard director Vladimir Pastukhov was fired in 2007 over his poor management of the project.

 

The Vikramaditya was originally built as the Soviet Project 1143.4 class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. The Project 1143.4 carriers and a class of destroyers with the same engines suffered a history of boiler failures during their lives.

The ship was laid down in 1978 at the Nikolayev South shipyard in Ukraine, launched in 1982, and commissioned with the Soviet Navy in 1987. It was renamed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. In 1994, the Gorshkov sat in dock for a year for repairs after a boiler room explosion. In 1995, it briefly returned to service but was finally withdrawn and put up for sale in 1996.

 

The ship has a displacement of 45,000 tons, and an endurance of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) at a cruising speed of 18 knots. It will have an air wing consisting of Russian-made MiG-29K jet fighter planes and Kamov Ka-31 early warning radar helicopters.

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9 octobre 2012 2 09 /10 /octobre /2012 07:25

Yak-130 Combat Trainer

 

October 8, 2012 defpro.com

 

JSC IRKUT Corporation, (a part of JSC United Aircraft Corporation) handed over the first batch of six Yak-130 combat trainers to the Russian Air Force.

 

On October 5, pilots of Borisoglebsk training center of the Russian Air Force completed the transportation of three aircraft by air from Irkutsk aviation plant (branch of JSC IRKUT Corporation) to the base aerodrome in Borisoglebsk city.

 

55 Yak-130 combat trainers delivery by 2015 to the Russian Air Force is provided by the contract signed in December 7, 2011 between the Russian Ministry of Defence and IRKUT Corporation. Commenting the subject Anatoly Serdyukov, Minister of Defence, said: “Equipping the Air Force with Yak-130 aircraft allow achieving a desired level of pilot’s trainings to handle new generation combat fighters, which are to be mass procured by the Military Department.”

 

Oleg Demchenko, President of JSC IRKUT Corporation, noted: “Our Company will continue increasing the production rate of combat aircraft within the State defence order. Now, together with the Sukhoi Design Bureau we are testing new Su-30SM multirole fighters with pilot’s training functions. In 2012 IRKUT plans to transfer the first batch of aircraft this type to the Russian Ministry of Defence.”

 

Oleg Demchenko also stressed that the Yak-130 production is organized with modern digital technologies being implemented at the Irkutsk aviation plant, which allow to increase production quality and reduce manufacturing cycles.

 

Yak-130 Combat Trainer, developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau – an IRKUT Corporation company, was chosen as the main aircraft for basic and advanced training of Russian Air Force pilots. Yak-130 can provide top-class pilots training to handle Russian and foreign-made combat aircraft of the generations “4+” and “5”.

 

Yak-130 aircraft is the basic component of the training complex including integrated system of the objective control, educational computer classes, flight and specialized training apparatus.

 

State trials of Yak-130 with weaponry included have been successfully completed in December 2009. Since February, 2010 Yak-130 aircraft have been inducted into the Russian Air Force.

 

In 2011 IRKUT Corporation finalized the first export delivery of the Yak-130 aircraft.

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4 octobre 2012 4 04 /10 /octobre /2012 17:10
Russian Air Force Accepts First Yak-130

 

MOSCOW, October 4 (RIA Novosti)

 

Russia’s Irkut aircraft-manufacturing plant delivered the first six Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten combat trainers to the Russian Air Force on Thursday, a spokesman for the Western Military District said.

 

“On October 4, the first batch of Yak-130 combat trainers fly from the Irkut plant to the Borisoglebsk airfield [Voronezh region] after an extensive flight testing program,” Col. Andrei Bobrun said.

 

The Irkut aircraft maker and the Russian Defense Ministry signed in December 2011 a contract for the delivery of 55 Yak-130 jets by 2015.

 

The Yak-130 is a highly maneuverable subsonic jet with an extended range of about 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) and a maximum speed of 600 mp/h (1,060 km/h) in level flight. It can carry a combat payload of up to 6,600 pounds (3,000 kg), consisting of a variety of Russian and Western-developed weapons.

 

As an advanced jet trainer, Yak-130 is suitable for training or re-training pilots to fly fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

 

It can also carry out a variety of light-attack and reconnaissance missions.

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4 octobre 2012 4 04 /10 /octobre /2012 07:45

Milipol Qatar

 

3 October 2012 PRESS RELEASE

 

UAE companies participating include Elements Business Media FZ, Tawazun Holding, Glock Middle East FZE, Adasi, Burkan, Remaya, Caracal International, Tawazun Advance Defence Systems, Caracal Light Ammunition, Nimr Automotive, Motorola Solutions, Morse Middle East, Stratign FZco, Al Hamra Trading, Advanced Middle East Systems, Safa Telecom, Al Majdal Trading and Idex 2013.

 

Milipol Qatar 2012 is co-organised by Qatar's Ministry of Interior and the France-based Milipol organization. This will be the ninth edition of this leading international event, which is a technological showcase for innovative products and services in the public and industrial security sectors, and helps to shape internal security policy in the Gulf and beyond.

 

This year's event is set to be the biggest and best yet, with increased floor space and record numbers of international and domestic exhibitors present and record numbers of visitors also expected. Doors will be open from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 7.30pm over the three days.

 

International representation at Milipol Qatar 2012 includes exhibitors from Europe and the US and a solid regional presence with the Saudi Chemical Company from KSA and Impact Canine Solutions and Janada from Bahrain. Jordanian representation comes from the Kaddb Investment Group, King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau, and Sofex; from Kuwait, the Al Hadaf Company, and from Oman, the Oman Textile Mills Company.

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2 octobre 2012 2 02 /10 /octobre /2012 17:10

M777A2 howitzer

 

02/10/2012 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

Back in May 2012, Indian defence officials agreed that the Indian Army could have 145 M777 Howitzer light artillery systems. The deal still then needed clearances from India's Cabinet Committee on Security and its Ministry of Finance.

 

Five months on, India's about to issue the US Government with a formal LoR (Letter of Request) for these M777 Howitzers, paving the way for them to soon enter Indian Army service.

 

According to local sources, the Indian Army's getting these artillery systems so they can be deployed in remote, high-level parts of the country such as Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. Once they've been acquired through the Foreign Military Sales programme and been pressed in service, they'll be the first Indian Army artillery guns to have been deployed since the mid-1980s.

 

M777 Howitzer

 

Manufactured by BAE Systems, the M777 155mm lightweight field Howitzer is a rapidly-deployable artillery system that combines strategic mobility with minimal radar and thermal signatures.

 

The M777 Howitzer's been used in Afghanistan since 2006 and, to date, fired more than 40,000 rounds. It's got an unassisted range of over 24 kilometres and an assisted range of over 30 kilometres, while at peak performance levels it's got a five-round-per-minute rate of fire.

 

The M777 can be taken on the road at speeds of up of 88 kilometres per hour, or on rough ground at maximum speeds of 25 kilometres per hour. It can be towed by a variety of vehicle types, or can be airlifted in battle by C-130 Hercules strategic transport aircraft or CH-47D Chinook and MV-22 Osprey transport helicopters.

 

Indian Army Howitzers

 

On Indian ground, the M777 Howitzer's high-deployability will come into its own in the country's mountainous regions, say Indian news sources.

 

Besides the M777 Howitzers, in future months, the Indian Army is also looking to acquire 100 tracked guns, 180 self-propelled wheeled gun systems and 814 mounted gun systems.

 

More on these - and the Indian Army Howitzers purchase - in future Armed Forces International news.

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1 octobre 2012 1 01 /10 /octobre /2012 16:55
Retour vers le futur (Russie)

1 octobre, 2012 Sergueï Ptitchkine, Rossiyskaya Gazeta

 

Dans son entretien avec Rossiyskaya Gazeta, le vice-Premier ministre russe en charge du complexe militaro-industriel Dmitri Rogozine évoque l’introduction des capitaux privés dans l’industrie de l’armement et prend comme exemple les transferts de technologies réalisés dans les années 30.

 

La modernisation de l’armement coûte cher. De plus, beaucoup affirment que les dépenses militaires sont une pure perte d’argent et qu’il serait plus judicieux de financer les secteurs réels de l’économie.

 

Dmitri Rogozine : L’argent aime le calme. Pour que le pays puisse se développer en toute quiétude, il lui faut un contexte de sécurité. C’est notre tout premier objectif. Deuxième objectif : accroître le potentiel du secteur industriel, créer des emplois. Si ce n’est pas de l’économie ça ! Quelle sera la part du secteur de la Défense ? Assez importante, je pense, peut-être deux tiers.

 

Et troisièmement, il faut relever l’image du pays. D’après mon expérience de travail à Bruxelles, je peux vous dire que le « smart » ou « soft power » sont de belles paroles, mais la vraie « force », que tout le monde prend en compte, c’est la force physique, quand on sent le danger d’une main de fer et le risque de se la prendre en pleine figure. C’est cette force là qui prime dans notre « monde civilisé », croyez-moi.

 

Que voulez-vous dire lorsque vous parlez d’industrialisation du pays sur le modèle des années 30 ?

 

Il s’agit de renouveler entièrement le secteur industriel. Pourquoi les années 30 ? À l’époque, nous prenions ce qu’il y avait de meilleur en Occident et l’adaptions à nos conditions. Aujourd’hui, je pense que cette méthode serait optimale.

 

Dans la plupart des cas, il est question non pas de la rénovation des usines déjà existantes mais de la construction de nouvelles unités de production sur de nouveaux sites. Prenons l’exemple des usines d’armement. Ijmach est une usine assez grande pour construire des porte-avions, or ils ne produisent que des mitrailleuses Kalachnikov. Pour réussir une industrialisation nouvelle qui permettrait de moderniser notre arsenal, il faut s’efforcer de réduire les volumes, il faut arriver à concentrer scrupuleusement ce que nous avons de meilleur, de manière rationnelle.

 

Faut-il introduire les capitaux privés dans l’industrie de l’armement ? Est-ce rentable ? Certains disent qu’il ne faut en aucun cas ouvrir le secret-défense au secteur privé.

 

En effet, nous nous trouvons devant un dilemme dialectique, une lutte des contraires. D’un côté, nous comprenons bien que sans l’énergie propre aux entreprises privées, nous aurons du mal à atteindre l’objectif fixé. D’un autre côté, il est clair qu’il y a des secteur et des technologies qui nécessitent un contrôle très strict de l’Etat. Ce qui peut être intéressant pour un particulier, c’est de participer aux projets technologiques à double emploi. Nous sommes donc intéressés dans le transfert des technologies du civil au militaire et vice versa.

 

Prenons la technologie supersonique. Ce sont avant tout des missiles de guerre ultra rapides impossibles à intercepter. Mais c’est aussi la possibilité, dans l’avenir, de fabriquer des avions civils de nouvelle génération. Il y a bien eu le Concorde et les Tu-144 soviétiques. Et pourquoi pas des avions supersoniques pour relier Moscou à l’Extrême-Orient en une heure et demi ?

 

Y a-t-il déjà des exemples d’entreprises privées dans le secteur militaro-industriel ?

 

Oui. Il existe quelques exemples. La société RTI Systems (Systèmes techniques audiovisuel et information), dont une partie des capitaux est privée. De plus, la société fait partie d’un véritable conglomérat industriel chargé de la fabrication de systèmes de défense anti-missiles. Et cette société est à l’origine d’une telle percée en matière de production de composante de pointe du système de défense aérien que leur directeur a déjà été récompensé au niveau national.

 

Un exemple plus prosaïque bien qu’unique en son genre. À Moscou, des entrepreneurs ont créé en partant de zéro une usine d’armes de précision de niveau international. Ils ont racheté des locaux et ont importé de l’étranger un équipement de pointe. Ils ont engagé les meilleurs spécialistes et ingénieurs, et produisent maintenant non seulement de très bons fusils de chasse mai aussi des fusils d’assaut de précision qui, sur certains critères, surpassent les modèles européens. C’est ça le XXIème siècle.

 

 

L'entretien a été publié dans Rossiyskaya Gazeta le 26 septembre 2012.

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30 septembre 2012 7 30 /09 /septembre /2012 17:05

China Carrier (Liaoning)

 

28.09.2012

 

As I’m sure you all know by now, the formerly known Varyag Aircraft Carrier was commissioned into PLAN as Liaoning and given the Type 001 class AC with pennant number of 16. I haven’t spent as much time looking into this development, but it’s quite clear that there is a lot of excitement on Chinese military forum over Liaoning class. This news has already eclipsed the exciting unveiling of Shenyang AC’s 4th generation fighter jet (I’m using generation by Chinese standard) and the unveiling of the 052D class destroyers. The only news that has caused more stir in the recent years is the unveiling of J-20. On the English forum that I moderate, some of the fellow members have been waiting for 7 to 8 years for this moment. A few years ago, I had all but given up on Liaoning ever becoming a big part of PLAN’s blue water plans. This was even after Liaoning had been painted with PLAN colours in 2006. Now, it appears that Liaoning has a bigger role in PLAN than many people have expected.

For me, I haven’t been as excited about this development. I was quite excited when 054A and 056 came out. I was also excited when we saw that new mysterious large diesel submarine from WuChang shipyard in 2010. I was really excited when 052D came out. I couldn’t stop looking for more photos on it. I suppose I have already spent too much time looking at Liaoning from when it was first dragged to Dalian to when it was first painted to when it got the non-skid layers to when it was taken to dry docks to when work started on Island to when it made its first sea trials. The more exciting moments will still come in the future when we see J-15s take off and land on it. And after that, it will be interesting to see how PLAN intends to use this training carrier. I read a really great article by Andrew Erickson today, where he talked about how Liaoning will not be that useful in the immediate time facing US or Japan, but could be quite useful in South China Sea. When Liu Huaqing first envisioned a carrier in PLAN, he wanted a medium sized carrier that PLAN can use to dominate South China Sea rather than a super carrier to compete against USN. Of course, this was also back in the late 80s when PLAN had those skirmishes with Vietnam where it had no air cover against Vietnam’s Su-22s. Even as PLAN is still learning carrier op in these early years, Liaoning could make quite a difference in any South China Sea scenarios.

When I was going through articles on the commissioning of Liaoning, I think one of the more interesting parts is where someone from PLAN stated that this shows China can build a carrier. While he conceded the hull was built in Russia, he stated strongly that everything inside the ship and on the ship was designed and built in China. I would imagine that whatever the Russians are doing for the INS Vikramaditya is what China had to do for the former Varyag. It certainly explains why they took this many years to finally launch the ship. Thinking about that, it’s interested that China has managed to restore and modernize a larger ship faster than the Russians despite having to learn the entire structure of the ship from scratch. Reading an interviewed piece from the ship, it certainly sounded like the interior of the ship has been completely changed to the modern PLAN standards. It was stated to have a 24 hours cafeteria with two bars (one loud and one quiet). It was has a supermarket, a post office, a gym (probably also basketball court), a laundromart and a garbage treatment station. Sailors can communicate with family at home through computers and can even use their cell phones. I would imagine the condition to be similar to those pictures we’ve seen of the interiors of the No. 88 life style ship and the Type 071 LPD. PLAN has made a serious effort in the recent years to improve the living conditions of these newer ships as they strive to become blue water navy. So far, we’ve already seen the latest of Chinese sensors and close in weapon systems installed on Liaoning. We’ve also seen the living quarters of the sailors revamped and modernized to be similar to other new PLAN ships. I can only imagine that the navigation control, command area and carrier operations control rooms will also be upgraded to the latest and best PLAN could offer. Liaoning should have much more modern weapon systems on board than any previously Russia/Soviet built carriers. It should also be much more powerful than the refitted and modernized Vikramaditya. Once J-15 joins service, it should also theoretically be much more advanced and capable than any previous naval aircraft that operated off a Russia/Soviet built carrier. Now that they have the hardware that the Soviet navy never had, the much longer process of developing the software (training people and pilots for carrier ops) is about to start.

A while ago, I was asked about when I think a Chinese carrier will enter Persian Gulf. And I think this is a good place to put what I thought at that time. Eventually, a China carrier will leave the safety of the South China Sea and then the second chain of islands. It will move past Malacca straits to protect its energy routes from Africa and the Persian Gulf. I have the following thoughts for when that will happen:

First, we have to think about economics and political situation in China. If we have a serious political or economic problem in China, that would slow down all military procurement. So, let's for the sake of argument, assume that this will not be an issue; and the navy will continue to see 10% increase in its budget every year.

Secondly, China doesn't currently have any real oversea base. And I think they would need oversea base close to the Persian Gulf first before they can really enter into Persian Gulf. They already have some supply points or network of places to support their current operations in the Gulf of Aden. Good article to read is here. In order for China to enter the Persian Gulf, I'd imagine it would need an oversea base close to the Persian Gulf. The location talked about so far are Pakistan, Seychelles, Burma, Sri Lanka and any number of African countries friendly to China. This won't happen right away, but I think it will eventually happen by the end of this decade. I think that Gwadar, Pakistan and somewhere in Burma probably make the most sense. In the former case, that base could be protected by Pakistan army and air force. In the latter case, Burma would also be within range of Chinese air force (with refueling).

Third, what would be the carrier entering into the Persian Gulf? I can't imagine it will be Liaoning, which should serve in the role I mentioned up top. Aside from that, Liaoning is still using steam turbines. If we look at all of the recent PLAN deployments, there have been very few long range ones using steam turbines. Even now, none of the Sov destroyers have been to Gulf of Aden. So, that means it would have to be a domestically built carrier. If the first carrier is under construction in JN shipyard right now as I've been led to believe, the earliest it would enter service is toward the end of this decade.

After that, we have to look at the rest of the carrier group. The current generation of AAW and ASW ships (052C/D and 054A) is sufficient to escort something like Liaoning. The first domestic carriers will be expected to make longer deployments, which would require the next generation of escorts. They would also need something like 095, because the current nuclear subs are way too noisy. Even 095 is still expected to be at least one generation behind Virginia class, so they would probably need something that’s a generation better (like a 097 class). They would need larger AAW and ASW ships that have the propulsion to keep up with the carrier. Aside from the 097 class, everything else (including a new generation of AORs) should already be commissioned by the time the first domestic carrier is ready, so escorts will not be a limiting factor.

The part that will slow things down is the development of the air wing and learning of carrier operations. The first generation of air wing will probably achieve IOC by 2015. By then, the J-15 fighter jet, JJ-9 trainer and Z-8 helicopters should have had some experience on takeoff and landing on Liaoning. For PLAN to feel comfortable sending its carrier into the Persian Gulf and keep it there, it will probably want the second generation of naval air wing. It will probably comprise of a naval version of the new SAC fighter jet, Z-8/Z-15 helicopters for ASW/SAR and other missions, different variants of naval flanker playing the role of E/FA-18E/F/G/H, Y-7 AEW and next generation of naval trainer. Now, most of this is already in development, so optimistically speaking they will probably achieve IOC by 2025. And then, PLAN would probably like to operate it a couple of years before giving it an extensive deployment to Persian Gulf. So, I think it would take until the end of the next decade before PLAN can make a meaningful entrance. By then, they would have almost 2 decades of carrier operations and multiple aircraft carriers.

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30 septembre 2012 7 30 /09 /septembre /2012 16:55
Milipol Qatar : la sécurité intérieure, un secteur porteur dans les pays du Golfe

 

30.09.2012 france-moyenorient.com

 

Près de 40 entreprises françaises présents au Milipol Qatar

 

Depuis 1996 le salon Milipol Qatar, organisé par le Ministère de l’Intérieur de l’État du Qatar, accueille, tous les deux ans, les professionnels du marché de la sécurité intérieure des États du Moyen et Proche-Orient ainsi que de l’Asie. Point d’entrée de la sécurité au Moyen-Orient, le Milipol Qatar a accueillit lors de son édition 2010 près de 5000 visiteurs professionnels et plus de 200 exposants internationaux. L’édition 2012 qui aura lieu du 8 au 10 octobre devrait battre des records d’affluences.

 

Le marché de la sécurité regroupe à la fois des applications pour l’antiterrorisme, la biométrie, la vidéo-surveillance et bien évidemment la surveillance humaine. Organisé une année sur deux à Paris et à Doha, plus d’une quarantaine d’entreprise françaises seront présentes pour ce salon où le marché de la sécurité est devenu un business très juteux dans ces régions très surveillées. Durant l’été 2012

les cyber-attaques se multiplient contre les grandes compagnies du Golfe

 

 

Le Qatar a un programme d’infrastructure énorme en plein développement en ce moment et l’économie est en plein essor. Jusqu’à 75 milliards de dollars seront consacrés aux infrastructures nouvelles, des équipements publics, des installations sportives - la Coupe du Monde 2022, bien sûr - les communications et les transports, les sites stratégiques industriels, les sites pétroliers et gaziers. Tous ces éléments ont des exigences liées à la sécurité. Selon une étude d’Aprodex, la demande mondiale en matière de sécurité devrait augmenter de 7,4% par an jusqu’en 2014. Ce marché, " boosté " par l’anti-terrorisme et la lutte contre la criminalité est une aubaine pour les PME créatives ainsi que pour les industriels de la défense qui cherchent à trouver de nouveaux relais de croissance pour compenser la réduction des dépenses militaires en France.

 

Près de 40 entreprises françaises présents au Milipol Qatar

 

Pour conquérir des marchés internationaux notamment ceux du Moyen-Orient et du Maghreb, la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Lyon a créé sous l’impulsion des entreprises comme Metravib, Centralp Automatismes, Environne’tech, Ouvry SAS, Sorhea et Sunaero le premier Cluster Défense, Sûreté et Sécurité, le réseau EDEN( (European Defense Economic Network).

 

Parmi les entreprises françaises participant à Milipol Qatar 2012 : Alsetex, Arthus Bertrand, Bertin Technologies, Bull-Amesys, Canberra, CEA, Cegelec, Cilas, DCI, Technologies Egidium, Evolis, Gicat, et le Groupe Marck.

 

Alsetex, filiale du groupe familial français Lacroix Etienne, est spécialisée dans la conception et la fabrication de systèmes à létalité réduite pour les forces de sécurité.

 

De la broderie militaire et des drapeaux de cérémonie, Arthus Bertrand a progressivement étendu ses activités dans la conception et la fabrication de badges militaires et civiles, décorations, médailles officielles, les commandes et les mérites de nombreux et articles promotionnels.

 

Bertin Technologies est l’un des plus grands spécialistes français dans le domaine de l’innovation pour la défense et la sécurité intérieure, la sécurité industrielle et de l’environnement.

 

Bull-Amesys est la seule société européenne basée sur la technologie de l’information. La ligne de sécurité des solutions d’affaires offre une gamme complète de solutions pour la cyber-sécurité, TIC et de l’électronique pour les systèmes critiques et la guerre électronique et l’intelligence.

 

Canberra, une société du groupe Areva est le leader mondial en mesures nucléaires. CEA, un acteur de premier plan dans la recherche industrielle, a développé des technologies innovantes pour la sécurité mondiale.

 

En tant que fournisseur de premier plan de solutions et services technologiques, Cegelec conçoit, installe et maintient des systèmes ou sous-systèmes pour les infrastructures, l’industrie et le secteur du bâtiment.  

 

Cilas est engagé dans le développement de l’expertise en technologies laser et optiques et de l’industrialisation et la commercialisation d’une large gamme de produits et systèmes.

 

Les autres participants français sont Coges-Eurosatory 2014, Logic Instrument, Losberger RDS, MATIASAT Systeme, MATISEC, Metravib, Mirion Technologies, Morpho, Nautiraid / Squale, défense NBC de GIE, NBC-Sys, Nexter Systems, Panhard, Paul Boye Technologies, Proengin , Saphymo, Selp sécurisé, SERBE, SGO, Sita Remeditation, Sorhea, Sysnav, Teleflow SAS, Utilis SAS, Concepts V8, et Wolf sécurité internationale.

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29 septembre 2012 6 29 /09 /septembre /2012 21:50

China Carrier (Liaoning)

 

Sep. 29, 2012 - By WENDELL MINNICK  Defense News

 

TAIPEI — As China celebrated the launch of its first aircraft carrier last week, images and video posted on the Internet raise new questions as to how far along the country has come in the development of its carrier capability.

 

Soon after the carrier, named Liaoning, was commissioned Sept. 25 at Dalian Naval Base, Western analysts began dissecting photos and videos posted by the country’s state-controlled media. Some believe the images raise the possibility that Liaoning might be closer to fielding a carrier-based fighter jet capability than previously thought, while others are unconvinced.

 

In the past, photos of what appeared to be the Shenyang J-15 Sea Shark fighter, a variant of the Russian Sukhoi Su-33, on the deck of the carrier were dismissed by analysts as mock-ups. No photos or videos have been seen of a fighter landing on or taking off from the carrier, but images and video from the induction ceremony show skid marks on the flight deck. A video also shows what appear to be the tail wings of two J-15s in the hangar deck.

 

Chinese media have consistently reported that the new carrier would be used primarily as a training platform and “to practice how to integrate with a combined task force,” said Gary Li, an analyst at U.K.-based Executive Analysis. Whether real aircraft or mock-ups, the presence of the planes on the ship indicates the Chinese are likely already — at the very minimum — practicing plane-handling techniques on the first-of-its-kind carrier.

 

According to Chinese state-controlled media, Liaoning is outfitted with state-of-the-art weapons, including a 150-kilometer-range active phased array radar capable of tracking 200 air targets; a 250-kilometer-range Sea Eagle surface-search radar; a 10-kilometer-range Red Flag 10 (FL-3000N) anti-missile system; and a two-kilometer-range 30mm 1030 automatic cannon for anti-ship missiles.

 

Besides the J-15, other aircraft could include the Zhi-8 transport helicopter and Kamov Ka-28 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.

 

Some analysts said the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) might use the carrier initially as a helicopter carrier, akin to Japan’s Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers or the U.S. Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ships.

 

“It is clear from certain pictures taken by the Chinese press in and around the carrier during the induction ceremony that there has been testing of the J-15 on the Liaoning,” Li said. “Tire marks on the runway suggest taking off and landing during sea trials, and one cameraman even managed to capture a J-15 test plane in the below deck hangar.”

 

But not everyone is convinced.

 

“I’m having trouble believing they’ve actually landed J-15s on this thing,” said Roger Cliff, a China military specialist at the Project 2049 Institute. Skid marks on the deck could be “touch-and-go” landings.

 

“The skid marks are well forward of where the arresting gear is,” he said. There is the possibility that they are also practicing takeoffs at sea.

 

“They could put J-15 prototypes, or even J-11s [Su-27], on the ship with a crane, take the ship out to sea, and practice taking off, landing back on dry land,” he said.

 

China would need a fighter that can handle a 3-degree angle of drop and a pilot would need to make several land-based arrested landings before trials can begin at sea, where the deck is pitching, Cliff said.

 

“When practicing on land, the consequence of touching down a foot behind where the deck starts is a poor landing score. If you do that on a carrier, you’re looking at a new aircraft, a new pilot, and repairs to the stern of the carrier,” he said.

 

Li said the J-15 is just one piece of the puzzle China needs to figure out.

 

“The lack of an early warning aircraft like the E-2 Hawkeye, even though a prototype has been spotted recently, and not enough dedicated ASW assets to go around in the form of Ka-28s [ASW helicopters], will mean that the Liaoning is not going to be conducting carrier operations in the true sense of the word for some time,” Li said.

 

Regional Jitters

 

The carrier could have a future combat role. Though analysts disagree about its capabilities, especially against the U.S. or Japanese navies, neighbors with territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, are taking the threat seriously.

 

“China operating a large carrier is no doubt raising concern among the other Asian nations,” said Bernard “Bud” Cole, author of “The Great Wall at Sea.” The addition of a carrier provides the PLAN “for the first time with a classic means of effectively projecting naval power at significant distances.”

 

“My sense is that the Chinese carrier has already served China well as a powerful information warfare tool, despite having not operated as a carrier yet,” said Bob Nugent, vice president of naval advisory services at AMI International, based in Seattle. From a strategic point of view, he said, the ship “sends the same message that much of the rest of its naval development over the past 20 years has — China will be a global naval power.”

 

What specific mission Liaoning and its successors will carry out remains to be seen, Nugent said, but the “inherent flexibility of the carrier flight deck, perhaps the ultimate ‘reconfigurable mission module,’ means that whatever the mission — from defensive sea denial to offensive power projection — the ship and its follow-ons can be quickly adjusted and moved to be ready.

 

“While she is clearly a test platform first, it is worth keeping in mind that other navies have pressed their test carriers into wartime service when needed,” Nugent said.

 

In a broader sense, the Chinese carrier program could spark an arms race in the region.

 

“The carrier will provide additional motivation for the other Asian nations to continue and perhaps accelerate their ongoing naval modernization programs,” Cole said.

 

Cole points to Japan’s acquisition of small carriers and new submarines; Australia’s plan to acquire a new class of submarines and its efforts to modernize its Navy in general; acquisition of submarines by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; and a stated desire to acquire submarines by Thailand and the Philippines.

 

“Further, the Indian Navy has very ambitious modernization plans, to include nuclear-powered submarines and three aircraft carriers: Those plans will likely receive a significant boost the first time a Chinese carrier steams west of [the Strait of] Malacca,” Cole said.

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29 septembre 2012 6 29 /09 /septembre /2012 08:00

photo-officielle-jean-yves-le-drian

 

28/09 Par Alain Ruello – LesEchos.fr

 

C'est ce que prévoit le projet de budget 2013 du ministère de la Défense. Egalement inscrites, les commandes d'avions ravitailleurs et la hausse des crédits de recherche amont.

 

On ne sait pas encore quoi, mais on sait à peu près combien, et surtout quand. Le projet de loi de finances 2013 du ministère de la Défense nous apprend que parmi les principales commandes budgétées l'année prochaine figure celle d' «un premier » système intermédiaire de drones de surveillance et de reconnaissance Male (moyenne altitude longue endurance). Voila pour la quantité, sachant qu'un système comprend en général une poignée d'aéronefs et les stations au sol nécessaires pour les faire fonctionner. Reste à savoir qui sera l'heureux élu.


A ce stade, la DGA n'en finit pas d'étudier les mérites comparés de la solution poussée par Dassault, basée sur le Heron TP de l'israélien IAI, ou de celle portant sur l'adaptation par Cassidian, la branche défense d'EADS, de Predator de l'américain General Atomics (relire  : Drones  : Jean-Yves Le Drian réserve toujours sa décision).

De nouveaux avions ravitailleurs et de transport

 


Autre bonne surprise, pour Airbus cette fois-ci, le budget 2013, prévoit l'achat de nouveaux avions ravitailleurs et de transport. Il est temps car la flotte actuelle, composée de 11 C135FF et de 3 KC135R, affiche plus de 50 ans au compteur. Les futurs avions, des dérivés de l'A330 civil, prendront aussi le relais des 3 A310 et de 2 A340 qui servent à transporter fret et personnel. Le principe d'une acquisition patrimoniale (plutôt que d'un contrat de location) a été retenu, pour une première livraison prévue fin 2017.


Le ministère de la Défense a aussi prévu de moderniser les avions de patrouille Atlantique 2, de quoi garnir la nouvelle co-entreprise d'optronique de Safran et de Thales avec un premier contrat. De même qu'il s'est montré généreux pour les crédits d'études amont (recherche), qui vont augmenter de 10 % l'année prochaine, pour atteindre 752 millions. Il serait toutefois intéressant de vérifier si cette progression n'est pas due au seul renouvellement de la dissuasion nucléaire.


Enfin, les ressources pour l'entretien des matériels s'inscrivent également en hausse, aussi bien en crédits de paiements (2,91 milliards d'euros, +8 %), qu'en autorisation d'engagements (3,66 milliards, +22 %). Les militaires n'ont pas vraiment le choix, car cet effort est le corollaire de la mise en service de très nombreux matériels modernes, hélicoptères et blindés notamment, donc bien plus chers à l'usage.

Tout cela s'inscrit dans un contexte financier qui reste contraint. Si le ministère de la Défense a réussi à stabiliser ses crédits, à hauteur de 31,4 milliards hors pensions, c'est surtout grâce à 1,3 milliard d'euros de recettes exceptionnelles tirées de la vente de fréquences hertziennes et d'immeubles. Surtout, 5,5 milliards de commandes prévues cette année et la prochaine, dont 4,5 milliards d'armements, ont été décalées, en attente des conclusions du livre blanc de la défense et de sa traduction en espèce sonnante et trébuchante dans la future loi de programmation militaire (relire La Défense répartit le gel des commandes d'armement en évitant les décisions irréversibles)

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23 septembre 2012 7 23 /09 /septembre /2012 21:13

bae systems

 

23/09/2012 latribune.fr (avec AFP)

 

Les députés conservateurs s'inquiètent de voir passer une entreprise stratégique sous pavillon franco-allemand. Le ministère de la Défense britannique aurait ainsi posé comme condition à son feu vert au rapprochement l'adoption de garanties pour pérenniser les relations préexistantes dans le domaine de la dissuasion nucléaire, sur laquelle le Royaume-Uni collabore étroitement avec les Etats-Unis.

 

Le projet de fusion des groupes EADS et BAE Systems, inquiète outre-Manche. "Voilà ma vision de cette fusion: en l'état, il s'agit plutôt d'une OPA", a déclaré à l'AFP Ben Wallace, un député conservateur du nord-ouest de l'Angleterre, où est bien implanté BAE. Comme d'autres, il s'inquiète de voir passer une entreprise stratégique sous pavillon franco-allemand, avec des risques pour l'emploi mais également la perspective d'une gestion à l'opposé des habitudes britanniques. Le Royaume-Uni n'est en effet pas actionnaire de BAE Systems et n'intervient pas dans la vie quotidienne de l'entreprise. Le gouvernement se contente d'exercer en cas de besoin une action spécifique destinée à protéger les intérêts nationaux ou à encourager la conclusion de grands contrats d'armement à l'étranger.

"Des interférences de la part des Etats ont causé des problèmes chez EADS et Airbus dans le passé et c'est ce genre d'ingérence qui a empêché EADS de devenir le leader mondial qu'il pourrait être", estime Ben Wallace.

 

La France et l'Allemagne appleés à sortir d'EADS

 

"Le Royaume-Uni ne devrait donner son feu vert à l'opération que si la France et l'Allemagne se défont de leur participation, et laissent l'entreprise agir librement. Sinon, on court le risque d'interférences politiques et également de problèmes avec les concurrents américains", explique Ben Wallace. La relation avec les Etats-Unis est au coeur des inquiétudes des conservateurs, le parti du Premier ministre David Cameron, dont une partie se montre volontiers eurosceptique. "Je m'inquiète concernant nos échanges d'informations avec les Américains. Nous sommes unis étroitement avec eux sur les sous-marins nucléaires et je les imagine mal se réjouir" d'une menace de dilution des règles de confidentialité anglo-américaine, a ainsi déclaré Lord West, ancien chef d'Etat major de la Marine, dans le quotidien The Times.

 

Dissuasion nucléaire

 

Le ministère de la Défense britannique aurait ainsi posé comme condition à son feu vert au rapprochement l'adoption de garanties pour pérenniser les relations préexistantes dans le domaine de la dissuasion nucléaire, sur laquelle le Royaume-Uni collabore étroitement avec les Etats-Unis. Les sous-marins nucléaires lanceurs d'engins (SNLE) britanniques sont équipés de missiles balistiques Trident, fabriqués par l'américain Lockheed Martin. De même, BAE est fortement impliquée dans le très important programme américain d'avion de combat F-35.

 

Le groupe britannique est aussi le premier fournisseur étranger du Pentagone et, même si les budgets de la défense déclinent outre-Atlantique, les Britanniques aimeraient conserver cette relation industrielle privilégiée, déclinaison de la "relation spéciale" entre les deux pays sur le plan politique.

 

L'exemple du missile nucléaire français M51

 

Or, la fusion envisagée pourrait compliquer les choses, selon des experts.

"Je ne suis pas certain qu'une entreprise franco-allemande serait autorisée à détenir une filiale comme par exemple celle que possède BAE dans l'électronique de défense" aux Etats-Unis, estime ainsi Richard Aboulafia, analyste du cabinet américain Teal Group. Quant au nucléaire, le Royaume-Uni pourrait bien "sanctuariser" cette activité, avec des garde-fous garantissant que Français et Allemands n'y aient aucun accès. C'est déjà ce qui se passe pour le missile nucléaire français M51, construit par une filiale d'EADS mais sous supervision exclusivement française.

 

Mais cela risque de compliquer un peu plus la vie du futur groupe. "Plus chaque pays cherche à définir ses intérêts stratégiques, moins l'entreprise aura de flexibilité. Or une société doit avoir la liberté de rationaliser ses opérations et de faire circuler la technologie entre ses différentes filiales", observe M. Aboulafia.

 

"Les détails ne peuvent pas être débattus en public"

 

Sur le continent, la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel a déclaré samedi à l'issue de ses entretiens avec le président français François Hollande qu'"il n'y avait pas eu de décision" sur le projet de fusion EADS-BAE, mais qu'ils avaient eu de "bonnes" et "amicales" discussions. "Nous n'avons pas pris de décision, nous savons que nous devons donner dans un avenir proche une réponse aux entreprises. Les discussions étaient bonnes et amicales. Mais les détails ne doivent pas être débattus en public, notamment compte tenu des emplois", a dit la chancelière, soulignant qu'EADS était un bon exemple de coopération franco-allemande. "Sur le rapprochement EADS-BAE (...), nous, la France et l'Allemagne, sommes décidés à agir en concertation étroite parce que nous considérons que c'est un enjeu qui concerne l'Europe mais aussi nos deux pays, compte tenu de la composition du capital de cette entreprise", a déclaré François Hollande.

 

Evoquant les conditions d'un éventuel rapprochement entre les deux groupes, M. Hollande a déclaré: "les conditions, vous les imaginez, c'est l'emploi, la stratégie industrielle, les activités de défense, les intérêts de nos Etats respectifs. C'est là-dessus que nous sommes en discussion avec l'entreprise".

 

Ils ont promis tous deux de se prononcer dans les délais impartis.

 

Selon la réglementation boursière britannique, les industriels ont jusqu'au 10 octobre pour conclure leur rapprochement ou l'abandonner. Ils peuvent également demander un prolongement du délai des négociations, une option pour l'heure écartée par les parties qui veulent aller vite.

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19 septembre 2012 3 19 /09 /septembre /2012 12:35

US Air Force KC-46 Tanker Programme

 

September 19, 2012 by Zach Rosenberg – FG

 

Washington DC - Eighteen months into the Boeing KC-46 tanker programme, all is progressing as planned, says Maj Gen John Thompson, the US Air Force (USAF) programme manager.

 

The programme, meant to produce an aerial tanker to replace the Boeing KC-135, is 21% finished with its development schedule and remains on time and on budget.

 

The first parts - skin for the tail boom - have been produced, "so if someone tells you this is a paper plane, you can point at them and say, 'liar!'" says Thompson.

 

"I will have plenty of number two and number three priorities, but my number one priority is to successfully get through the critical design review (CDR) next year."

 

CDR is scheduled for July, 2013, with a plethora of subsystem PDRs to be completed beforehand. After CDR, the aircraft is built. The first flight of the new 767 variant upon which the KC-46 is based is scheduled for 2014, with a 2015 flight of the actual tanker aircraft.

 

Budget sequestration, scheduled to take effect in January, 2013 without Congressional intervention, would be "near catastrophic" for the programme, says Thompson.

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19 septembre 2012 3 19 /09 /septembre /2012 07:20

Su-30SM.jpg

 

September 18, 2012 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

London - Irkut is to accelerate its delivery schedule under a Russian air force order for 30 Sukhoi Su-30SM strike aircraft, with its first examples now to be handed over before the end of this year.

 

Moscow signed a production deal for the two-seat Su-30SM in March, when Irkut announced that the type would be handed over between 2013 and 2015. The new plan to deliver the first examples this year was announced by company president Oleg Demchenko, as Irkut also released an image of an aircraft on its final assembly line in Irkutsk.

 

In addition to its utility as a multi-role combat aircraft, the Su-30SM will also provide the Russian air force with an advanced training capability, as it looks to bridge the gap to the future introduction of Sukhoi's fifth-generation PAK-FA/T-50 fighter.

 

Irkut also expects to deliver a total of 15 Yakovlev Yak-130s to the same service this year, under a 55-aircraft order signed late in 2011. "The Russian air force has started a formal acceptance procedure of Yak-130 combat trainers," it says.

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15 septembre 2012 6 15 /09 /septembre /2012 18:29
Are More Mergers Ahead? BAE-EADS Talks Could Spark More Tie-ups

 

Sep. 15, 2012 - — Defense News

 

Pierre Tran in Paris, Andrew Chuter in London, Tom Kington in Rome and Zachary Fryer-Biggs in Washington contributed to this report.

 

For several years, defense contractors on both sides of the Atlantic have been biding their time, building up cash and reviewing possible combinations, awaiting the start of a consolidation wave that will reshape the global military industrial landscape in the face of sharp spending cuts in Europe and the U.S.

 

On one side, U.S. companies are waiting for the conclusion of presidential elections and the resolution of the budget battle in Congress that will determine the future of defense spending before making their move.

 

But on the other side, Europe’s not waiting.

 

The cannon blast that started the consolidation race went off Sept. 12 when BAE Systems and EADS confirmed talks to unite into a $96 billion giant that would be the world’s leading defense and aerospace titan.

 

The new company, already nicknamed “BEADS,” would be listed on the Frankfurt, London, Madrid and Paris stock exchanges, with EADS holding a 60 percent stake and BAE 40 percent. The combined firm would boast a formidable array of commercial and defense products, including fighter, transport and trainer aircraft; rockets and satellites; missiles and precision weapons; armored vehicles; unmanned systems; radars; command, control and communications gear; networks and cyber capabilities; ship repair and naval products; as well as intelligence and space services units.

 

The transaction is the brainchild of EADS CEO Tom Enders, who took office in June, to expand his company’s defense product line and balance its military-commercial business base, improve access to the U.S. and other key global markets such as India, and use the deal to change the company’s governance structure that now allows the French, German and Spanish governments to exert influence on EADS, allowing it to move toward a wholly commercial structure.

 

For BAE, the deal is a chance to boost its civil activity and balance its civil-defense mix.

 

The announcement prompted Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney to quip that EADS was trying to look more like Boeing by better balancing its defense-commercial product mix.

 

The two companies have until Oct. 10 to announce a deal, and while it’s unclear whether it will secure antitrust, financial, security and tax approval from regulators in five governments as well as the EU, companies will have no choice but to review their options.

 

“All mergers can succeed or fail, and BAE and EADS still need eight months to wrap it up and 18 months to see if it works,” one senior retired European executive said. “But other CEOs cannot afford to wait that long to see if it succeeds, and they will all be looking around right now to see how they should react.”

 

Indeed, hours after the two giants confirmed their interest in merging, speculation swirled about who might be next.

 

And just as an EADS link with BAE would tap the all-important U.S. defense market that remains the world’s largest despite spending cuts, U.S. companies are exploring linking with European firms.

 

“There is a huge amount of change going on in our sector with budget pressure and other issues. There will be a lot of activity over the next five years, but what direction it will take is unclear,” one senior British executive said. “Whenever you get a shift like this, it forces people to think. It has the potential to be a game changer in terms of scale and geographic footprint.”

 

Not a Done Deal

 

But before that happens, the would-be European partners have some high hurdles to surmount.

 

The British executive added that the deal won’t get out of the starting blocks as long as governments can exert influence in the new company, as they do in EADS.

 

“The important thing to consider is not their shareholding itself, it’s about the block voting rights. Before this deal can go ahead, at an absolute minimum those will have to be dissolved, dismantled and cease to exist,” he said. “If any shareholder has a share in the new company, all they will have are normal rights and nothing else. Unless the block rights are dismantled, this transaction cannot proceed.”

 

At issue is how that government shareholding could affect BAE’s lucrative North American business, with sales of some $15 billion annually, including across highly sensitive intelligence and other operations.

 

Since starting its acquisition of U.S. properties in the 1990s, BAE has operated them independently and under strict security guidelines to protect American technology. While that’s customary for all foreign companies that own or operate units in the U.S. that do business with the Pentagon, the British giant benefited from greater access to technology, thanks to the special defense relationship between London and Washington.

 

“If France and Germany maintain political control over EADS, this will be viewed poorly in the U.S., but I see it as unlikely that France would abandon EADS,” the retired European executive said.

 

Then there are the regulatory approvals that could prove challenging for the companies. The British, French, German, Spanish and U.S. governments would have to approve the deals, as well as EU regulators.

 

Steven Grundman, the defense industrial analyst at the Atlantic Council in Washington who oversaw defense mergers and acquisitions at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration, added that while governments should rightly view the new company as a trans-Atlantic industrial bridge, the combination still will face scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic, including from competition authorities.

 

“Recall that the European Commission rejected the proposed merger of General Electric and Honeywell on a theory of ‘portfolio effects’ that took issue not with horizontal overlaps or vertical integration, but the supposed unfair challenge to competitors of the resulting conglomerate’s scale and scope,” Grundman said.

 

Antitrust regulators will solicit the views expressed by customer governments — the two companies do compete against one another for business worldwide — as well as take account of competitors who may attempt to argue the combination could materially disadvantage them.

 

Still, Grundman said he anticipates relatively few traditional antitrust problems on either side of the Atlantic, adding that security issues loom larger for the Pentagon. On the one hand, he said, DoD already supervises industrial security programs at both companies' U.S. businesses. At the same time, the Pentagon is sure to scrutinze closely the changing ownership of BAE’s U.S. assets.

 

Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Robert Stevens, however, told a Morgan Stanley investor conference in New York the merger could be a test for the Pentagon’s policy of not supporting any more consolidation at prime level.

 

DoD leaders have said that while they are open to consolidation on a case-by-case basis, they don’t want leading firms to unite.

 

“It might be an early test of whether the unfavorability of consolidation at that tier would in fact be changing or evolving,” he said.

 

Fight or Join

 

With or without the BAE-EADS merger, the deal pipeline is bulging, but anxiety over sequestration in the U.S. has acted as a brake on mergers and acquisitions.

 

With U.S. and European defense markets headed into a downturn, large prime contractors are expected to spin off units, offering targets for tier one and two equipment makers and service specialists.

 

“People are getting ready,” a U.S. industry executive said. “They’re standing [by], but they’re not yet ready to pull the trigger.”

 

In Europe, managers in aeronautics, space and electronics must decide whether to fight or join the planned mega-group.

 

“Other companies will need to think whether it is better to be integrated into the new behemoth, or to look to other alliances or mergers to get a countervailing strength,” said Nick Witney, senior research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank.

 

The proposed EADS-BAE merger is a highly specific, large-scale project, but if a deal is done, it could clear the way for further moves in a fragmented European defense industry hobbled by budget cuts.

 

“If the BAE-EADS merger goes ahead, it will lead to medium and long-term rationalization in other segments of defense industry in Europe,” said Loic Tribot La Spiere, deputy director of think tank Centre d’Etude et Prospective Stratégique.

 

Thales and Finmeccanica executives are likely watching the deal closely.

 

“If this initiative goes through, it will lead other big actors Thales and Finmeccanica to question their future,” said Jean-Pierre Maulny, deputy director of think tank Institut des Relations Internationales et Stratégiques.

 

“Thales and Safran will almost certainly merge,” the retired European executive predicted.

 

In France, the deal potentially puts Dassault, maker of the Rafale fighter and Falcon business jet, on the defense sidelines.

 

“And naturally, this will concern Dassault, the industrial shareholder of Thales, which will see a regrouping of two of its competitors in Eurofighter, and its partner in UAVs, BAE Systems, linking up with the German actor in this sector, EADS Cassidian,” Maulny said.

 

While on the presidential campaign trail, then candidate François Hollande criticized the previous administration for “bowing” before “private and financial interests,” a remark widely understood to refer to the 2008 choice of Dassault as industrial shareholder of Thales.

 

For Witney, the French government appears to be backing EADS in its merger plan, leaving Dassault to deal with the consequences.

 

“If Dassault takes a hit, it takes a hit,” Witney said.

 

EADS owns 46 percent of Dassault, a stake formerly held by the French state.

 

In Italy, Finmeccanica reacted positively to the merger plan, rebutting concerns it is threatened by the new company.

 

Finmeccanica “has established consolidated partnerships with both companies in the industrial, technological and commercial field, which will continue with the combined entity,” the company said in a Sept. 13 statement.

 

“There would be no short-term consequence for Italy, although it would require Finmeccanica to accelerate its focus on its core business,” said Michele Nones, head of the security and defense department at the Istituto Affari Internazionali, a Rome think tank partly funded by the Italian Foreign Ministry.

 

The retired European executive was not convinced.

 

“Italy could now find it has a minor role, or is excluded completely, from the next big European program, like a UAV,” he said. “When it was just the U.K. and France talking about UAVs, Italy could talk to Germany, but that is no longer the case.

 

“The Italian government can either now ask if Finmeccanica could enter the merger, but it would be the smallest and arrive uninvited, or it could look to France for an alliance or to the U.S. And all are difficult.”

 

One investment banker in London said much of the mergers and acquisitions activity could center on the growth of tier-one and aspiring tier-one companies such as Thales, Cobham and Rheinmetall as they pick up operations being shaken out by the prime contractors, as well as consolidating the supply chain by acquiring niche operators.

 

Investment bank Espirito Santo said in a market report issued following the BAE announcement of merger talks that “accelerating consolidation bodes positively for defense-centric plays in the U.K. like Chemring, QinetiQ and Ultra Electronics.”

 

Financial crisis is driving the expected mergers and acquisitions flow, as industry battens down the corporate balance sheet.

 

“We have expected consolidation in defense globally, because of a flattening and reduction in defense spending,” said Scott Thompson, U.S. leader of PriceWaterhouseCooper’s aerospace and defense practice.

 

“I don’t expect that there will be other consolidation amongst the other global primes,” he said. “In that sense, this may be an anomaly. But in terms of consolidation of defense, we absolutely expect that.”

 

The consolidation, however, is not expected this year until there is clarity on sequestration and the level of defense spending.

 

Mergers and acquisitions in aerospace and defense dried up this year, with about $5 billion in deals in the first half of the year, after a record 2011, which saw $43.7 billion in deals, Thompson said.

 

If suppliers — industry — are able to reorganize, that puts pressure on the customer — government — to be more rational, namely converge requirements and adopt more joint programs, Witney said. But that is another chapter in the defense book.

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15 septembre 2012 6 15 /09 /septembre /2012 17:56
BAE - EADS : questions pour une fusion géante

 

14/09/2012 Par Véronique Guillermard – Lefigaro.fr

 

Cette opération entraînerait un examen du portefeuille d’activités avec, sans doute, un impact sur l’emploi et l’outil industriel.
• Une fusion BAE-EADS pour quoi faire?

Depuis sa naissance en 1999, EADS, issu du regroupement des activités du français Aerospatial, de l’allemand Dasa et de l’espagnol Casa, souffre d’un déséquilibre entre ses activités civiles - Airbus - et militaires - Cassidian. Airbus a représenté, certaines années, plus de 100% des profits et, régulièrement entre 60 et 70% du chiffre d’affaires. Une situation dangereuse en cas de retournement du cycle aéronautique. Ces dernières années, la demande en avions neufs ne s’est pas démentie mais un revirement ne peut pas être exclu. La montée en puissance dans la défense a toujours été une priorité. En 2007, EADS formalise cet objectif dans le cadre du «plan 2020». «La fusion avec BAE, c’est le plan 2020 dès 2013», résume Marwan Lahoud, directeur général délégué à la stratégie et au marketing d’EADS.

 

De son côté, BAE effectue, avec beaucoup de pragmatisme, un virage à 180 degrés en revenant dans l’aéronautique civile dont il était sorti en 2006 en cédant à EADS sa participation de 20% dans Airbus. BAE estime que sa stratégie de «pure player» dans la défense a atteint ses limites. L’objectif des deux groupes est donc le rééquilibrage de leurs activités. Et cela de façon parfaitement complémentaire, puisque BAE est ancré dans la défense, là où EADS est relativement faible, et qu’EADS est leader mondial de l’aéronautique civil avec Airbus.

• L’environnement est-il favorable?

Oui. Pour plusieurs raisons. L’impératif d’assainissement des comptes publics a un impact direct sur les dépenses militaires en Occident. États-Unis et Europe réduisent leur budget de défense. Les industriels - américains et britanniques principalement - ne peuvent plus compter sur «le marché» des troupes engagées en Irak ou en Afghanistan puisque leur retrait a débuté. Conséquence: le Pentagone prévoit de réduire ses dépenses d’au moins 500 milliards de dollars dans les dix ans à venir.

 

En Europe, la Grande-Bretagne et la France, les deux grandes puissances militaires du continent, coupent aussi dans leurs dépenses. Les groupes d’armement vont devoir vivre avec moins de commandes nationales. D’où une féroce bataille commerciale qui s’annonce sur les marchés exports (acheteurs en Asie, Amérique du Sud ou encore dans le Golfe).

 

L’environnement est propice à une nouvelle vague de concentrations et de coopérations. À l’instar de celle déclenchée après la chute du mur de Berlin qui avait vu, quelques années plus tard, la création de géants. Aux États-Unis, Mc Donnell Douglas a été avalé par Boeing, Martin Marietta est tombé dans l’escarcelle de Lockheed, tandis que Grumman ou TRW basculaient dans le camp de Northtrop. De son côté, l’Europe donnait naissance à EADS.

• À quoi ressemblera le nouvel ensemble?

Si les négociations aboutissent, BAE et EADS donneront naissance au leader mondial de l’aéronautique et de la défense avec, selon les calculs d’Exane BNP Paribas, un chiffre d’affaires de près de 80 milliards d’euros en 2013 et un bénéfice net de 3,33 milliards d’euros. La super-entreprise compterait 226.615 salariés dans le monde et serait capable de déployer une gamme de produits très complète, des avions de lignes, aux lanceurs spatiaux en passant par les satellites, les sous-marins, les porte-avions ou encore les blindés, la guerre électronique et la cybersécurité.

Dans le seul secteur de la défense, BAE-EADS bousculerait la hiérarchie mondiale en dépassant Lockheed Martin (42,8 milliards de dollars de ventes en 2011) avec 49,4 milliards de dollars de chiffre d’affaires. Le nouvel ensemble deviendrait un fournisseur complet de matériels militaires destinés aux trois corps d’armée: terre, air et mer. L’activité du géant européen serait répartie quasi à parité entre le civil et le militaire ainsi qu’entre les États-Unis et l’Europe.

• Quelles synergies attendre?

Toute fusion entraîne un examen du portefeuille d’activité avec, souvent, pour conséquence un impact sur l’emploi et l’outil industriel. Dans le cas de BAE-EADS, il n’y a quasiment pas de doublons tant la complémentarité entre les deux groupes est réelle. En outre, les deux entreprises se connaissent bien et coopèrent déjà au sein de programmes dans les missiles, au sein de MBDA, et dans les avions de combat, au sein du consortium Eurofighter.

Les économies de coûts concerneront surtout Cassidian, l’actuelle filiale défense d’EADS, ainsi que les activités de BAE hors États-Unis, Grande-Bretagne et Arabie saoudite, ses trois marchés clefs. Les analystes d’Exane BNP Paribas estiment les économies entre 300 et 450 millions d’euros.

 

La force de frappe commerciale du nouveau groupe devrait lui permettre de mener une politique de prix agressive. «Ce colosse mondial aura une puissance de tir sans égal en termes d’approche commerciale. Pour Finmeccanica ou Thales, il sera beaucoup plus difficile de (le) concurrencer», estiment plusieurs analystes.

• Qui dirigera le nouvel ensemble? Avec quelle organisation?

Cette question est délicate. Les équipes des deux groupes se sont mis d’accord sur une valorisation qui constitue une base de travail: les actionnaires d’EADS détiendront 60% du nouvel ensemble et ceux de BAE, 40%. Le mariage BAE-EADS «serait mis en œuvre par la création d’une nouvelle structure juridique à double cotation, au sein de laquelle les deux entreprises fonctionneraient comme un seul groupe», a déjà expliqué BAE dans un communiqué. Il est également prévu de conserver une séparation stricte de certaines activités de défense aux États-Unis pour garantir que leur sécurité nationale ne sera pas compromise. De même, les activités sensibles (dissuasion) britanniques et françaises seront isolées du reste du groupe.

 

Quant à la future gouvernance du groupe, que ce soit au niveau de l’actionnariat ou de la répartition des postes, rien n’est à ce jour totalement arrêté. Les négociateurs de BAE et d’EADS devront éviter de cadenasser leur futur champion mondial dans un pacte d’actionnaires trinational qui graverait dans le marbre une égalité à tous les étages, du conseil d’administration jusque dans la plus petite filiale, entre anglais, français et allemand avec un zeste d’américain et d’espagnol.

 

Le retour d’expérience d’EADS, créé sur la base d’un pacte d’actionnaires franco-allemand qui permettait aux États allemand et français de peser sur la stratégie via les actionnaires privés de référence (Daimler et le Groupe Lagardère), devrait inciter à la mise en place d’une «gouvernance normale». En évitant de doublonner les postes avec deux présidents du conseil et deux présidents exécutif notamment. On se rappelle que la guerre des chefs déclenchée en 2005 a failli faire imploser EADS.

 

Pour Thomas Enders, le président exécutif d’EADS qui apparaît en position de favori pour prendre les rennes du futur géant, le mariage avec BAE offre une opportunité historique de libérer EADS de son pacte, de faire sortir les actionnaires historiques dont l’État français tout en faisant entrer des représentants de BAE. Cela, en permettant aux États de protéger leurs intérêts (dissuasion nucléaire notamment) et le groupe de toute attaque hostile grâce à la création d’action spécifique (golden share).

• Quel rôle pour les États et les actionnaires historiques?

Les États sont en position de faire réussir ou échouer le projet. Celui-ci n’aurait jamais pu avancer aussi loin - les premières négociations ont débuté en mai - sans «le feu vert» d’Angela Merkel, la chancelière allemande, et de François Hollande, le président français qui ont été mis dans la confidence mi-juillet. Certes, les commentaires publiques de Paris et de Berlin «manquent d’enthousiasme», selon l’expression d’un proche du dossier. Mais les deux gouvernements sont soucieux d’apparaître comme les garants de l’emploi et des intérêts nationaux auprès de la population et des salariés. Car la fusion concerne deux entreprises stratégiques dont l’activité relève de la souveraineté nationale et qui portent sur la dissuasion. Les États associés au capital veulent tout à la fois obtenir la meilleure valorisation possible et faire respecter leurs droits tout en protégeant leurs intérêts. À cet effet, il est prévu la création d’action spécifique (golden share) qui n’implique pas nécessairement la sortie de l’État français, qui détient directement 15% d’EADS du futur groupe.

 

La fusion va cependant entraîner une dilution mécanique de chaque actionnaire. La part de l’État français tombera à 10% environ, tandis que celle du groupe Lagardère devrait passer de 7,5 à 5% environ. De son côté, le bloc allemand (Daimler et le consortium bancaire Dedalus) devrait passer de 22,35% à 12,5%. Il n’est pas certain que les actionnaires historiques d’EADS sortent immédiatement. «L’État français restera au capital», estime un bon connaisseur du dossier. Quant aux actionnaires de BAE - majoritairement des fonds et des assureurs dont le français Axa - ils sont soucieux d’obtenir le meilleur prix pour leur titre.

• La parité retenue est-elle la bonne?

La valorisation retenue - 60% du capital seraient détenus par les actionnaires d’EADS et 40% par ceux de BAE - ne fait pas l’unanimité. À Londres, on juge la valorisation retenue pour BAE «historiquement faible» et on s’étonne de devoir verser une soulte de 200 millions de livres aux actionnaires d’EADS.

 

Mais la plupart des analystes estiment que la parité retenue est «très favorable à BAE». Avant l’annonce du projet, les analystes interrogés par Reuters estimaient plutôt cette parité à 75-25 compte tenu des perspectives beaucoup plus positives sur le titre EADS. D’autres analystes fixe la parité à 70-30% en faveur d’EADS.

 

Pour Yan Derocles, analyste chez Oddo Securities, «la parité 60-40 se justifie si l’on regarde les résultats des deux sociétés attendus pour 2013. En revanche, sur un horizon à 4-5 ans, en prenant en compte l’accélération de la génération de cash d’EADS, la parité ressort plutôt à 75-25».

 

Les chiffres parlent d’eux-mêmes. EADS pèse près de 50 milliards d’euros de chiffre d’affaires; BAE près de 24 milliards. Tirées par le dynamisme d’Airbus, les perspectives d’EADS sont prometteuses, notamment en termes de progression des bénéfices tandis que, freinées par la baisse des dépenses militaires, celles de BAE sont plus sombres. En Bourse, EADS vaut 24,5 milliards et BAE 13,3 milliards. Cette «prime» accordée à BAE est souvent à la charge de l’acheteur. Elle pourrait aussi être consentie en contrepartie de l’accès au marché américain de la défense, selon un analyste.

 

Tom Enders et Ian King, président exécutif de BAE, auront donc fort à faire pour convaincre leurs actionnaires. Un «road show» pourrait être organisé en octobre à cet effet.

• Quel calendrier?

Depuis que l’affaire a fuité sur la place publique, BAE et EADS ont 28 jours ,soit jusqu’au 10 octobre, pour finaliser leur fusion. Ils y sont contraints par la réglementation boursière à Londres. Mais ils peuvent obtenir un délai. Ce qui semble probable compte tenu de la complexité de l’opération.

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15 septembre 2012 6 15 /09 /septembre /2012 13:14

Europe Flag

 

sept 15, 2012 Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (BRUXELLES2)

 

Alarme de décrochage ! L’appel qu’a lancé Claude-France Arnould, la directrice de l’Agence européenne de Défense, au Berlin Air Show, jeudi (13 septembre), pour une action urgente en Europe dans le domaine des futurs systèmes aéronautiques (future air systems FAS), équivaut cette « alarme d’incidence » – comme disent les pilotes – qui retentit dans les avions en phase de décrochage. « L’industrie aéronautique européenne est menacée ». Son sous-financement a atteint un niveau critique. « D’importantes capacités industrielles sont en train de s’éroder. Sans une action concertée supplémentaire, la situation va bientôt devenir critique par exemple pour le développement de l’avion de combat futur (avion classique ou UAV) et les hélicoptères d’attaque. »

 

Pour cela elle s’appuie sur une étude réalisée par 30 industriels européens parmi les plus importants (BAE, Eurocopter, Cassadian, Dassault, Westland,…). L’industrie représente aujourd’hui environ 200.000 personnes, souvent avec des capacités technologiques de pointe, et a un chiffre d’affaires de 45 millions d’euros. Or le moindre investissement de défense va obliger l’industrie à se restructurer avec pertes de compétences à la clé. L’étude montre que le risque de perte de compétences est particulièrement « significatif » et rapide, « entre aujourd’hui d’ici 2020 ». Selon l’étude, les industriels « perdent des compétences, mois après mois ». Cela a plusieurs conséquences. Tout d’abord, dans un avenir proche, l’Europe n’aura plus la capacité de produire certains équipements, comme par exemple « les avions de combat ». Quand une capacité et des connaissances se perdent, il est extrêmement difficile de les récupérer. Reformer de nouvelles équipes est extrêmement dur. Et souvent la perte est définitive.

 

UAS : un marché à saisir… ou pas

 

La conséquence est aussi très économique. Dans une économie concurrentielle, « l’Europe risque de perdre des parts significatives (de marché) dans la compétition mondiale sur les capacités UAS », drones et autres systèmes aériens inhabités. D’ores et déjà, elle dépend largement des Etats-Unis et des Israéliens – sont les deux plus gros producteurs du marché – notamment pour les systèmes et sous systèmes. Un monopole qui n’est pas inné. « Ils ont su investir dans le passé », précise John Mattiussi expert analyste de l’agence européenne de Défense, dans un entretien à B2.  Le marché est important non seulement au niveau militaire mais aussi général, par exemple pour la surveillance maritime, les frontières… » Ainsi si l’impact des opérations en Afghanistan et en Irak a joué un facteur décisif pour ce développement aux Etats-Unis, avec un intérêt majeur – ne pas risquer la vie des militaires (*) ; c’est aussi l’identification comme un marché d’avenir qui a joué. « Et on peut se demander Où est l’Europe ? » Une Europe qui a quasiment tout misé et mise encore sur les avions de chasse. Un domaine où « il y a trop de capacités » et un potentiel de restructurations. « Nous avons 5 entreprises compétentes, qui se tuent entre elles. Mais personne sur le marché de l’UAS… ».

 

Des lacunes graves

 

L’étude a identifié plus de 100 facteurs de dépendance, dont 12 présentent de « grands risques »  : les matériaux composites (une production dominée par Japon et les Etats-Unis) ; le titanium (provenant de Russie en majorité) ; les circuits composés ; les semi-conducteurs ; les technologies de positionnement et de navigation ; les technologies de cryptage ; les minerais rares ; les senseurs d’UAS ; les mesures d’auto protection ; les modules transmission / réception à large bande… ; les capacités furtives…

 

Achat sur étagère… non sans risques

 

Dans ces temps de difficultés financières, la tentation peut être grande de faire un « achat sur étagères », donc en général auprès des alliés américains. Mais cette solution repose sur différentes inconnues qui peuvent être politiques, administratives ou industrielles. Le dispositif de contrôle des exportations américains peut avoir des conséquences, y compris lors d’opérations, par exemple pour avoir les pièces de rechange nécessaires. Autre « exemple concret de ce que la dépendance produit » explique-t-il. Faute de fournisseur européen, il faut 72 mois pour avoir un nouvel hélicoptère lourd Chinook. Une situation qui ne risque pas de s’améliorer dans le futur avec le gel du projet franco-allemand d’hélicoptère lourd.

 

Moment critique

 

« Nous sommes effectivement à un moment critique » confirme John Mattiussi expert analyste de l’agence européenne de Défense. « L’effet se fera sentir dans 3, 4, 5 ans. Et on aura des difficultés importantes pour remonter la pente. C’est le dernier moment pour réagir. » L’Europe ne pourra peut-être même plus espérer devenir un sous-traitant des USA. « Les États-Unis peuvent se tourner vers les Européens comme un partenaire ; mais si ce partenaire n’existe plus, ou n’a plus les compétences, ils chercheront ailleurs. D’autres acteurs — Russes, Coréens, Chinois, Indiens, Brésiliens… — cherchent à avoir une présence technologique là où les Européens baissent la garde. » 

 

Tout n’est pas perdu

 

Pour autant, tout n’est pas perdu. « Dans l’aéronautique ou l’espace, en étant plus intelligent, on peut facilement prendre la tête. Regardez ce qui s’est passé pour l’aviation civile. Avant l’arrivée d’Airbus, on disait que la bataille était perdue face à Boeing. Le marché était dominé par les entreprises américaines (trois entreprises essentiellement). Aujourd’hui 2 des 3 principales entreprises Us de l’époque ont disparu. Airbus s’est affirmé comme un des principaux constructeurs et principal concurrent de Boeing. L’Europe a changé la face de l’aviation commerciale » en travaillant ensemble et en raisonnant en logique de marché.

 

« Si on construit des synergies civiles et militaires, on peut déclencher un gros marché. Aujourd’hui le marché actuel est fragmenté, et trop limité. Et il manque de l’argent pour la recherche. » Mais l’Europe a un potentiel d’ouvrir le marché, important. Et il existe des budgets de recherche qui pourraient être débloquées (du coté de la Commission européenne). On aurait ainsi le contraire de ce qui se passait dans le passé – où un investissement militaire débouchait sur des applications civiles -. Aujourd’hui, on aurait un investissement civil débouchant sur des applications militaires. Encore faut-il que ce renversement de sens de la recherche soit accepté par les financeurs européens.

 

(*) Critère décisif pour Israël, avec l’objectif de permettre une surveillance discrète, en économisant au maximum la vie des pilotes de chasse (ressource rare au plan humain) et obligeant à une récupération délicate en cas de perte.
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14 septembre 2012 5 14 /09 /septembre /2012 16:40

Gripen EF Photo Stefan Kalm - saabgroup.com SKA0070 355x236

 

Sept. 14, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Saab Gripen International blog; posted Sept. 12, 2012)

 

According to a news report in the Swedish daily Business World, Saab’s Head of Gripen Exports Eddy de la Motte says that Saab’s goal is to export at least 300 Gripens within the next ten years.

 

“If this objective is achieved, Saab will have 10 percent of the available market,” he added.

 

Eddy de la Motte also said that Saab’s visions include the establishing of Gripen NG as the world’s leading single engine multirole combat fighter, and to launch a Sea Gripen version for selected markets, within a joint development programme.

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14 septembre 2012 5 14 /09 /septembre /2012 11:50
EADS merger could harm BAE, investors warn

 

14 Sep 2012 By Helia Ebrahimi, and Graham Ruddick- TheTelegraph

 

Leading investors in BAE Systems have warned that a potential £30bn merger with Franco-German rival EADS risks harming the long-term interests of the British defence giant and its shareholders.

 

Shares in BAE fell more than 10pc as investors balked at news of the merger, which must win the backing of the British, US and European governments before shareholders can vote on the deal.

 

Investors are concerned about the level of political interference in the new company, given that 50.14pc of EADS is effectively controlled by the French, German and Spanish governments.

 

“It is not clear that this is in the best interests of shareholders,” said one top 15 investor. “Under the combined structure you are replacing institutional shareholders with large stakes held by the French and German governments. This is not a good outcome because often big stakes are used to influence companies to behave in a way other than for commercial reasons.”

 

Another major institutional shareholder said the deal remained “half-baked”, with doubts about how the management team would be structured and how investors in the two companies would be merged.

 

Analysts said the proposals put BAE in play as a bid target for US defence groups such as Boeing or Northrop Grumman. “BAE management have shown an openness to ideas,” said Edmund Salvesen at Brewin Dolphin.

Talks over the merger of BAE and EADS are understood to have begun as early as April after the failure of the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium, which the companies control, to win a multi-billion pound contract to sell the fighter jet to India.

 

At a meeting in Munich, BAE chief executive Ian King and Tom Enders, the boss of EADS, discussed greater co-operation between the companies as a way of boosting the Typhoon project. A feasibility study was then launched by internal strategy teams at BAE and EADS, and talks about a full-blown merger began in the summer.

 

The deal would offer BAE the revenue growth of plane maker.

 

Airbus, and EADS would secure a route into the US defence market. BAE management is understood to be seeking guarantees there would be no political interference in the new company.

 

“What we don’t understand is that overnight BAE’s board seems to be suggesting that being a defence company is a doomed strategy,” said a third investor, of the planned drive into civil aerospace. “If it was a problem, what has the board been doing for the last five years?”

 

Sources close to the deal believe David Cameron and the Coalition are supportive of the proposal, despite concerns from trade unions over jobs.

 

Philip Dunne, the new minister for defence equipment, support and technology, said: “At this stage we are in the very early days of discussions with both companies about conditions the government would place [on a deal].”

 

However, there are greater fears about whether France and Germany will back the deal.

 

The deputy leader in Angela Merkel’s CDU party said that Mr Enders must lead the enlarged group, while there are fears in France over job losses.

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12 septembre 2012 3 12 /09 /septembre /2012 07:10

Paramount_Group_AHRLAC_400x300.jpg

 

AHRLAC is designed for a wide range of civilian and military tasks.

 

September 11, 2012 defpro.com

 

Interview with John Craig, CEO of the Paramount Group

 

While the Paramount Group is preparing for Africa’s leading defence trade show, the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) taking place September 19th – 23th in South Africa, the company is making progress on one of its most prestigious aircraft development projects. Claimed to be Africa’s first indigenously developed and constructed aircraft, the Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC) can be expected to attract a considerable number of interested looks at the company’s aerospace exhibit.

Nicolas von Kospoth of defpro.com talked to John Craig, CEO of the Paramount Group, about AHRLAC, as well as the company’s role as one of Africa’s largest defence contractors in regional and international defence and security markets.


defpro.com: First, could you please provide our readers with a brief overview of the Paramount Group?

John Craig: The Paramount Group is at this point Africa’s largest private defence contractor and one of the fastest growing defence companies in the world. It was founded in 1994 and focuses on providing a broad spectrum of fully integrated turnkey solutions to global defence, peacekeeping and internal security forces.

Paramount has established itself as a global innovator with the development of one of the world’s most modern and advanced families of armoured combat vehicles, and a revolutionary aircraft, the first aerial platform of its kind. Integrated with the latest technologies in electronic systems, these world-class platforms enable Paramount to deliver a total defence system to its customers. The Group is a leading innovator in the design and development of state-of-the-art products that it manufactures in locations throughout the world. It is partnered with some of the world’s largest and most reputable organisations in the global defence community.

Paramount Group has the unique ability to understand its client requirements and to use its extensive knowledge and experience to design cost-effective, future-proof solutions. As a result, Paramount has enjoyed strong growth and achieved an excellent track record of delivering successful projects.


defpro.com: How do you assess the achievements of the Paramount Group during the first half of the year and what are your overall aims and prospects for 2012?

Craig: 2012 is proving to be a very good year for us. We obviously don’t measure our results in half years. But, certainly, this year we are growing by almost 30 per cent over the previous year. Thus, it has been a good first half for us; our facilities and our personnel are all very busy on various orders and I think that the second half of the year is equally important for us. We are at the point of hopefully closing some major deals, which you will naturally hear about in due course. But we will have a lot of very important activities in the second half of the year.


defpro.com: In September 2011, the Paramount Group unveiled the Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC). Could you first please portray this aircraft to our readers?

Craig: AHRLAC is a unique type of aircraft. It is a manned aircraft operated by two persons, a pilot and a systems operator, sitting in a tandem configuration as they would in an attack helicopter. To our knowledge there currently is no other aircraft in this solution space.

AHRLAC offers a number of unique aspects. This includes its unrestricted canopy, purpose-designed to give you all-round visibility for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles. Further it has a turboprop pusher-propeller configuration, offering the crew an unrestricted forward-visibility. So it not a conventional “engine front/propeller front” aircraft that has been pushed into a reconnaissance role for which it was not originally conceived.


defpro.com: When the aircraft was unveiled, Aerosud’s Managing Director Paul Potgieter called AHRLAC a “revolutionary aircraft”. Which are the main characteristics and capabilities of AHRLAC that make it revolutionary?

Craig: The aircraft was designed with a flexible ISR and light attack configuration in mind. So this is not a commercial light aircraft that in an afterthought has been configured for these roles. That is what gives rise to a unique construction and concept.

A second aspect is that multi-mission capability was part of the initial consideration. It carries a payload pod underneath the fuselage that can be fitted with different mission payloads. This allows the aircraft to be reconfigurable and rapidly adapt to various types of missions. As you can imagine, this has great benefits for the customer’s investment, as one base platform can be adapted to various missions, according to the need and the time.


defpro.com: Let’s run through the development history of AHRLAC: When was this project conceived and which development stages have since been completed?

Craig: AHRLAC is an opportunity or a gap in the market that we recognised about four or five years ago and leading us to embark on the development of an aircraft. The only aircraft comparable and operating in the sort of sphere might have been the Bronco, an American aircraft that has not been in production for many years.

It required the spark of somebody making the decision that South Africa should develop its own aircraft. Our chairman, Ivor Ichikowitz, loves all things related to aviation and came to realisation that South Africa actually had competence with the development and construction of aircraft. Although South Africa already had a big chunk of this competence, which is shown in the development of the Rooivalk attack helicopter, in service with our Air Force, it is really a first in Africa that an aircraft is conceived and designed from scratch.

Ivor had the idea that it is time for South Africa to step up and not just be a maintenance facility for other companies and for products designed a long time ago. The more exciting part of life is to develop an own intellectual property. This is the only way to grow real competence and great careers.

In terms of milestones achieved, the concept works and the wind tunnel testing is completed. Further, we have accomplished hundreds of missions with a quarter-scale model, which demonstrated the aircraft’s fundamental stability and flight performance.

We are now in the phase of building our first full-scale flying aircraft, which is well advanced. We will be showing key subsystems of the aircraft to selected visitors to the AAD trade show in September and we are hoping to have the first platform assembled towards the end of this year, with the first flight scheduled for the first quarter of 2013.


defpro.com: Which key industrial partners are involved in this project and to what extent have governmental agencies contributed to the development effort?

Craig: AHRLAC is a private-funded initiative. The Paramount Group is funding the development and commercialisation. Our technical partner is our associate aerospace division, Aerosud. We benefitted from their experience with previous aircraft, such as the AH-2 Rooivalk attack helicopter, and their general aerospace competence. Although our technical partner helped us in the development effort, this remains a programme funded as a private venture by the Paramount Group.

Of course, we have a lot of interest and support from the government, in the broader sense, as this is seen as a strategic type of project around which aerospace competence would be developed here in South Africa. But it is important to know that this is not a government-funded project.


defpro.com: Do you consider AHRLAC as a platform that complements the capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or, rather, as a manned competitor?

Craig: I think AHRLAC is both. There are a number of roles in which it is complementary to UAVs. However, our philosophy is that a man in an aircraft for surveillance roles has got huge advantages over UAVs, which are able only to see and feed back the information of what the camera is looking at in the particular point in time. To our mind, the human being still offers the best all-round surveillance. An aircraft crew can recognise objects of interest at a distance and then zoom in their cameras or sensors for a closer look. Therefore, we believe that a manned aircraft makes a lot of sense in this role.

There are a number of missions which you can naturally only carry out with UAVs and we are not suggesting that UAVs are dead because AHRLAC was conceived. There will always be missions in which it would be extremely dangerous to send a manned aircraft. But a general all-round aircraft, which can be deployed from training through to general surveillance to protecting borders and key installations, as well as having the ability to intervene and deliver an end-effect with weapons? This is a spectrum of capabilities, which we don’t believe can be found with UAVs at this point.


defpro.com: An often-cited argument in favour of UAVs is lower costs. Considering that AHRLAC is a manned platform, does is still offer the affordability advantages over platforms with comparable capability profiles?

Craig: Of course, otherwise we would not have invested in such a programme. It is important to recognise that UAVs range from very light hand-launched close-range aircraft to massive and incredibly expensive aircraft with high-altitude/long-endurance capability and high payload competence. The latter cost up to a hundred million of dollars per unit and only the richest countries on earth can afford to acquire and operate them. The initial acquisition cost for a UAV is only one part of the equation. You then need operators trained and a vast footprint of support, personnel and equipment to be able to launch, support and recover a UAV.

This is an area where AHRLC is completely differentiated, being designed to be self-sufficient, with a two-man crew operating from unprepared airfields and performing their mission with a minimum of personnel to support them. When you look at mission costs or the entire systems costs, the type of UAVs that you would compare to AHRLAC in terms of mission competence, are vastly more expensive.


defpro.com: Which particular markets do you target with this product and what market potential do you assess for AHRLAC?

Craig: AHRLAC is not only a product for the developing world. We received a huge amount of interest in this concept from developed-world air forces and security forces. And there are a number of potential customers who are very actively monitoring and tracking the system’s development. I think that global demand will run to thousands, if not tens of thousands, units of the system. But time will tell.

We have plans to set up production facilities in South Africa. But it is important to note that our global aspirations will also see us, in time, set up manufacturing activities in other regions of the world. This will certainly include Asia, where we had a lot of interest in major programmes and from industrial partners wanting to be part of our global manufacturing set-up.

Our projections for the market size say that it could support more than one manufacturing centre abroad. Our plan is not only to create a global manufacturing centre in South Africa, but also to go and seek out partnerships abroad and to establish regional manufacturing and distribution arrangements.*


defpro.com: I understand that the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) tradeshow in September 2012 will be an important event for the Paramount Group. Which particular trends in the African defence and security market do you perceive and how is the Paramount Group positioning itself at this year’s AAD show to address these trends?

Craig: AAD is for us an important market trade show that reaches most directly the African market, which is our natural expanded home market. This coming edition will see an expanded exhibition from Paramount, representing our largest presence at an exhibition so far. This will include a considerable number of new products from the fields of land systems, aerospace and electronic systems, which we plan to make visible at the show.

Another trend is that the show itself is growing, becoming well-entrenched as the leading show to reach the African market, much as IDEX is for the Middle East. The regional importance of the show is being confirmed and that is also evidenced by an unprecedented amount of international exhibitors – not only from the South African industry but everyone who has an interest in the country’s market in general.

The AAD trade show is an important event where South African companies can show that they are still innovating and coming up with new and relevant technologies for global demand.


defpro.com: Would you say that the international awareness of the potential of South African defence industry is growing in terms of cooperation and foreign investment?

Craig: Yes, I think so. Wheeled armoured vehicles have long been a figurehead of South African defence industry, going back to even before the Second World War. That is evidenced by the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles of many allied forces, which have seen high-profile use in modern-day conflicts. All of those really have their origin in South African technology.

Nevertheless, there was a period some years back when the industry in South Africa was shrinking, re-examining itself and uncertain as to where it was going. But this year’s AAD exhibition will show that there is a resurgence and growing relevance of South African technology, not just to African but also to global markets.


defpro.com: The Paramount Group has made the headlines with interesting development and production cooperation projects with countries such as Azerbaijan, Jordan and naturally many African customers. Would you say that the Paramount Group has a special feeling for the needs of emerging markets, as well as countries that are not gifted with voluminous defence budgets?

Craig: The simple answer is “yes”. These are the markets that we have been working in for almost 20 years, since our inception in 1994. We listen to the market demand and are responsive, in terms of the products that we are creating for these markets, but also with respect to our business model, of creating supplier credit finance and funding structures, which allow our developing-world customers to take on large projects and spread the financial burden over several years. We have projects that we fund for developing-world governments up to 15 year terms. That is something we have done in response to market demand, which has helped grow the business and customer demand.

It is not only the appropriateness of the products for the developing world, meaning that they must be robust, flexible and good value for money. It is also a flexible business approach, which helps customers fund the project, as well as actively supporting the transfer of skills, competence and technology, and creating regional partnerships in key markets to manufacture and support products. These are all fundamental elements of our business philosophy, which possibly gives us a better fit to the market requirements than some of the more traditional NATO-based manufacturers.


defpro.com: African air forces mostly still operate fleets of ageing US, European, Russian and Chinese aircraft. Many of these aircraft are not in an operable condition and budgets will not allow for considerable modernisation or procurement programmes. Will the African military aviation market still be dominated by donations or low-cost sales of surplus aircraft?

Craig: This is an interesting question. You are quite right that there are a lot of legacy fleets dated back to the cold war and largely Soviet-origin aircraft dotted around the continent. More and more of these aircraft are reaching their end of life and it will be very difficult and probably not economically worthwhile to look at doing life-extension programmes. The question is: what after that?

Part of the solution we have found is in supplying and supporting surplus aircraft, such as the South African Air Force Mirage fighter aircraft, which Paramount actively supports. Further, we have a number of customers to whom we have transferred aircraft, providing a fundamental air force capability. But of course, that is only a small part of the market.

From what I can see, the African market is still a key market for lead-in fighter trainers and multi-purpose jets. In a few instances there is demand for super-sonic fighter aircraft –the Chinese are quite active in that respect. However, the new-built super-sonic aircraft market in Africa is not really one that the Paramount Group is going to enter in the short term. There are only very few countries in the region that can justify the acquisition of a top-end type of combat capability.

But this is a market in which an aircraft such as AHRLAC can actually play an important role, considering the real-world requirements, which involve national and border security, as well as securing economic zones.


defpro.com: How do you assess the potential of closer industrial cooperation with companies from emerging markets to field new solutions for customers in these regions? Or are projects such as AHRLAC emblematic for Paramount’s own efforts to field suitable products for these markets?

Craig: The field is wide open. Both, from the point of view that there is regional demand, as we observed in the case of AHRLAC, as well as due to existing regional competence. India and Brazil have well-established industrial competence in aircraft manufacturing. Further, our business model is such that we would encourage partnerships with competent industrial partners in those regions. There are a number of discussions on the way. So don’t be surprised if in a year or three we have industrial manufacturing centres in various regions.


defpro.com: To sustain the level of quality and diversity of the Paramount Group’s products and services, the company requires competent specialists from many fields of activity. How is the Paramount Group involved in creating and fostering a workforce that also builds on the potential of South Africa’s and other African countries’ labour market?

Craig: Sustainability for the long run requires the renewal of your product line-up and renewal of your human resources – human capital is the most important one. In our land systems and aerospace fields we established an innovation and training centre, which is separately funded and set-up from our ongoing production activities. That is where we grow and nurture young talents – the next generation of innovators – and create an environment in which they can learn from the more experienced colleagues, but also have the freedom of mind to think outside the box and develop new skills. This is not just about product development, it is also about technologies including production techniques. We are actively supporting and investing a lot of money to make sure that we are sustainable in the long run. We need to attract and grow the right talents to take the company forward.


defpro.com: What is your assessment of the South African government’s efforts to creating a favourable economic environment for defence companies and encouraging indigenously developed defence solutions?

Craig: I took a while for our new government during what I would call the dawn of the new democratic era to understand the position and the value of the indigenous defence industrial complex and to recognise that defence industry can actually have an important national economic function. However, our government is being very supportive in terms of developing and creating high-value jobs and creating a platform in which intellectual property can be generated in South Africa. This helps South Africa to become an economic centre around which the commercial benefits of value-add of intellectual property may steadily increase.

There are a number of initiatives that our government is pursuing, including through our Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Among them is the creation of aerospace and defence villages, attempting to create a cluster of like-minded business that support each other and yield a critical mass of industrial partners.

So, in general, our government has a realisation of the role that they can play and they are creating and facilitating an enabling environment.


defpro.com: Finally, what are your personal visions and aims for the course of the Paramount Group in the next years?

Craig: One of the objects that we have set to ourselves is to become a billion-dollar company in the next three or four years, in terms of our sales revenue. I know that size is not everything, but it is certainly a globalised target that we have set ourselves. Even though we are not there yet, we are well on target.

Apart from that, our objective is to remain a company which is fun. Of course we are a serious player, dealing in serious matters of defence and security. But Paramount is a company which is committed to allowing its employees to work in a fun environment and to be free to innovate and think of new ways of doing things. There is a strong desire in the Paramount Group, while continuing to grow, to retain its core cultural values and to be a company that is different and a good place to work.


defpro.com: Thank you very much, Mr Craig.


____
* Additional information, specifications and resources for Paramount’s AHRLAC can be found on the company’s website at http://goo.gl/VNrKu.

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8 septembre 2012 6 08 /09 /septembre /2012 09:50

2011mbst202 006 059 marine nationale

 

07 September 2012 by Dean Wingrin/defenceWeb

 

The French offshore patrol vessel FNS L’Adroit has arrived in Cape Town, where it will be showcased to the South African Navy, which is seeking new offshore patrol vessels under Project Biro.

 

The DCNS built and funded Gowind class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) was made available to the French Navy as part of DCNS's ambition to win a larger share of the markets for small- and medium-displacement surface ships. L’Adroit arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday.

 

L’Adroit was handed over to the French Navy in October 2011 for a three-year trial period. Commissioned on March 19 this year, she is carrying out a wide variety of naval missions such as anti-piracy patrols, fisheries inspection and protection, anti-drugs operations, environmental protection, humanitarian assistance and search and rescue at sea.

 

By demonstrating L’Adroit’s qualities, DCNS said the French Navy would help it win the coveted ‘sea proven’ seal of approval that international customers seek when reviewing a new design’s innovations and efficiency.

 

The importance to DCNS of the visit to Cape Town is highlighted by the South African Navy’s ambition to acquire several offshore and inshore patrol vessels under Project Biro. These are to be built locally to replace the remaining strike craft and mine hunters.

 

DCNS said its presence in South Africa is part of an ongoing partnership with local shipbuilder Nautic Africa (formerly KND) covering promotion, construction and sales of the Gowind class. “This type of arrangement is key to DCNS’s ability to compete in export markets, and an operational presence in South Africa helps the Group understand the needs of the South African Navy and meet its local shipbuilding requirements,” DCNS said. The company earlier signed a memorandum of understanding cementing the cooperation with Nautic Africa. The two companies are promoting the vessel in South Africa and seven other African countries.

 

“The Gowind is the most technologically advanced of all the vessels proposed for the South African OPV programme,” said James Fisher, CEO of Nautic Africa. “We’re convinced that DCNS is the Navy’s ideal partner in this highly competitive marketplace and that the DCNS OPV is the best platform for naval missions in Africa.”

 

Having completed a general and anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Guinea, L’Adroit arrived in Cape Town after completing a 19 day, 4 500 nautical mile patrol from Dakar, Senegal, down the west coast of Africa to the Cape.

 

The oceans around the southern tip of Africa are renowned for their rough conditions and high seas. Any vessel purchased under Project Biro will have to take routinely operate in such conditions and the French saw the opportunity to test the ship during the Cape winter.

 

“We have been at sea for three weeks,” Captain Loïc Guyot, commander of FNS L’Adroit, told defenceWeb, “We had calm seas at first, then very rough ones for two days.”

 

These rough seas included a Sea State of 7 that included waves over six meters in height.

 

“The ship handled very well,” was how Guyot described the conditions. Other members of the crew agreed that the ship fared much better in the conditions to what they expected.

 

Innovations of the new patrol ship include a panoramic bridge offering 360° visibility, a single enclosed mast offering 360° sensor visibility, covert deployment of fast commando boats in less than five minutes, a hangar capable of accommodating a helicopter up to the size of a South African Oryx and full provision for unmanned aerial and surface vehicles (UAVs and USVs).

 

The modular construction of the vessel allows for the adaptation of the ship to various missions, from patrol and anti-piracy to mine warfare and the transportation of freight. The ship can carry two 20 ft containers and still accommodate a helicopter such as the Super Lynx. Should no helicopter capability be required for a particular mission, a maximum of 20 containers can be carried on the aft deck.

 

Apart from showcasing the ship to the South African Navy and strengthening the partnership between DCNS and Nautic Africa, the visit will also maintain the South African Navy’s international contact with the French Navy and provide the opportunity for France and South Africa to share lessons learnt about piracy operations and related Offshore Patrol Vessel missions on a Navy to Navy basis.

 

“During previous stopovers, navies around the world have been impressed by L’Adroit and recognised the operational benefits of the Gowind range,” said Marc Maynard, head of Gowind program department. “We’re looking forward to working with South Africa to meet its requirements for offshore patrol vessels.”

 

With a crew of only 32 officers and ratings, the ship is highly automated. The L’Adroit has been at sea for 80% of the time since October last year and this has required two French Navy crews to be rotated every four months. Thus, the crew are looking forward to some rest and relaxation whilst enhance contact between the French Navy and the local South African community.

 

L’Adroit will be in Cape Town’s Table Bay Harbour from September 5 to 9 before docking at Simon’s Town from September 9 to 11.

 

When she departs Simon’s Town for her return to the Gulf of Guinea, the L’Adroit will undertake exercises with members of the SA Navy onboard.

 

The ship will be open to the public on Saturday morning, 8 September 2012 (09:30 to 11:30) in Cape Town harbour where the public will be afforded the opportunity to go onboard and interact with the crew of FNS L’Adroit.

 

DCNS will also exhibit at Africa Aerospace & Defence from 19 to 23 September at Air Force Base Waterkloof outside Pretoria. The DCNS exhibit will feature the L’Adroit, Gowind Combat, Mistral 140, Polaris mission system and F21 torpedo.

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6 septembre 2012 4 06 /09 /septembre /2012 17:00

Australian Collins-class submarines, HMAS Dechaineux and HM

 

Sept. 6, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Australian Department of Defense; issued Sept. 6, 2012)

 

Update on the Future Submarine Capability

 

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, Minister for Finance and Deregulation Senator Penny Wong and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced Australia’s Future Submarine Systems Centre will be based in Adelaide continuing the strong relationship that has been formed between South Australia and the Commonwealth in support of Australia’s maritime sector.

 

The Systems Centre will be the home of the Future Submarine program. It will be formally established this year and over the next few years will expand to include hundreds of Defence personnel from Navy, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the Australian and international Defence Industry.

 

The Systems Centre is a similar facility to the one that was established for the Air Warfare Destroyer project. It will undertake a variety of tasks including evaluation of options, design work, program management, engineering, logistics and production planning.

 

The Government is committed to acquiring 12 new submarines to be assembled in South Australia. This commitment will be reinforced as part of the 2013 Defence White Paper.

 

The first Systems Centre staff are already working in Adelaide, and are temporarily based at ASC.

 

The Future Submarine project will be the largest and most complex Defence project ever undertaken by Australia.

 

It will involve hundreds of companies and thousands of workers.

 

It will involve Federal and State Governments, Defence, Industry and Universities working together for years to come.

 

Four options are being considered for the Future Submarine fleet, ranging from military off-the-shelf to a wholly new design.

 

Defence is undertaking a wide range of studies into these four options before returning to Government for First Pass approval around late 2013/early 2014.

 

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today also welcomed Mr David Gould to his new role in the Department of Defence as General Manager Submarines.

 

As General Manager Submarines, Mr Gould has been given responsibility for the oversight of the maintenance of the current Collins Class fleet and the Future Submarine Project.

 

Mr Gould’s appointment was announced in May. He began work in July. Mr Gould works in the DMO and reports to Mr Warren King, Chief Executive Officer of the DMO.

 

Mr Gould works across Government, Navy and Industry to pull together the remediation and support of our existing submarine fleet and the project to replace our existing Collins Class submarines.

 

Mr Gould will oversee the implementation of recommendations the Coles Review of submarine sustainment, to improve the availability and reliability of the Collins Class fleet.

 

Mr Gould brings a wealth of knowledge to his new position. Mr Gould has extensive international experience in large-scale defence projects, including the UK aircraft carrier program, the Type 45 Destroyer and the restructuring of the Astute Class nuclear powered submarine project.

 

Mr Gould also served as the Chief Operating Officer of Defence Equipment and Support Organisation in the UK Ministry of Defence.

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6 septembre 2012 4 06 /09 /septembre /2012 07:40
MQ9 Reaper Enhances Capabilities with new ‘Block I Plus’ Configuration

new communications capabilities also will be available in the Block 5, including dual ARC-210 VHF/UHF radios with wingtip antennas, allowing for simultaneous communications between multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground parties. Photo: GA-ASI

 

September 5, 2012 Defense Update

 

A new version of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper has been flying since May 2012. The new version known as the Block 1-plus, made its first flight on May 24 at the manufacturer’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., with no discrepancies. GA-ASI has upgraded the Predator B and Block 1 versions of the drone that have been in production since 2003. The MQ-9 Block 1-plus test flight occurred on May 24. With the completion of development, testing, and expected Milestone C decision this fall, follow-on aircraft to the MQ-9 Block 1-plus configuration will be designated “MQ-9 Block 5.”

 

The MQ-9 Block 1-plus is a capability enhancement over the Block 1 configuration, which has amassed more than 420,000 flight hours across all customers. Block 1-plus was designed for increased electrical power, secure communications, auto land, increased Gross Takeoff Weight (GTOW), weapons growth, and streamlined payload integration capabilities.

 

Featuring a new high-capacity starter generator, the aircraft offers an increase in electrical power capacity over the current Block 1 design. This increased power provides the aircraft with significant capacity for growth. In addition, the upgraded electrical system includes a backup generator which is sufficient to support all flight critical functions. This vastly improves the reliability of the electrical power system by providing three independent power sources.

 

New communications capabilities will also be available in the Block 5, including dual ARC-210 VHF/UHF radios with wingtip antennas, allowing for simultaneous communications between multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground parties; secure data links; and an increased data transmission capacity.

 

Additionally, the new trailing arm main landing gear will be included in Block 5, enabling the aircraft to carry heavier payloads or additional fuel. This “heavy-weight” landing gear increases the aircraft’s landing weight capacity by 30 percent and its gross takeoff weight by approximately 12 percent, from 10,500 lb to 11,700 lb. (from 4,762 to 5,307 kg). The new landing gear will also be available as a field retrofit to operational Predator B systems.

 

“We continue to enhance the capabilities of our aircraft, improving their performance to meet emerging customer requirements,” said Frank Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. “The first flight of the MQ-9 Block 1-plus follows in the footsteps of the aircraft’s combat-proven Block 1 configuration and is an important technological achievement that will provide increased effectiveness, increased multi-mission flexibility, and even greater reliability.”

“We’ve designed field retrofitable capabilities–lengthened wings, wing-borne fuel pods, and new heavy-weight landing gear–that greatly extend Reaper’s already impressive endurance and range while further increasing its operational flexibility.”

 

The strengthened landing gear was one of two capability enhancements proposed by GA-ASI in April 2012, following a study the company conducted, exploring potential improvements to the aircraft. Taking advantage of the increased GTOW increase, the aircraft will be able to carry additional payloads, including two external fuel tanks, extending typical Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) mission endurance from 27 hours to 37 hours. To further increase multi-mission flexibility and capacity, GA-ASI proposed to replace the current 66 ft (20.11 mw) wings with 88 ft wings (26.82 m’), and adding two fuel pods, along with the heavy-weight landing gear, thus increasing mission endurance from 27 hours to 42 hours on ISR-only missions.

Predator B is currently operational with the U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force as MQ-9 Reaper and the Italian Air Force as MQ-9, with NASA as Ikhana, and with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as Predator B/Guardian. The aircraft is designed to perform multi-mission ISR and “Hunter-Killer” missions over land or sea, with more than 130 vehicles delivered to date.

 

Fully armed MQ-9 takes off on a mission in Afghanistan. Photo: US Air Force

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