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5 septembre 2012 3 05 /09 /septembre /2012 11:45

RQ-4 Block 10 Global Hawk KQ-X programme


September 5, 2012 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: ABC News; issued September 4, 2012)


The Australian Defence Force is quietly resurrecting plans to buy seven huge intelligence and surveillance drones that could cost up to $3 billion. The unmanned aerial vehicles will be used for maritime surveillance and intercepting asylum seeker boats.

The decision comes despite claims that the Royal Australian Air Force's top commanders have long opposed the acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles because they will put pilots out of a job and threaten RAAF culture.

The $200 million Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone is the largest, most expensive unmanned aerial vehicle in the world today.

Its vast wingspan of 39.8 metres can lift the craft to 65,000 feet and stay airborne for 35 hours with a non-stop range of 16,000 kilometres – eclipsing the endurance of similar manned aircraft.

In 2004, the Howard government was so impressed with Global Hawk that plans were announced to buy a fleet of 12 of the spy drones for $1 billion.

But in 2009 the acquisition was cancelled by Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon, who was defence minister at the time.

In May 2010, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced a Coalition government would buy three Global Hawks.

Despite this erratic political flight path, the idea of Australian Global Hawks remained in bureaucratic mothballs until July this year, when the latest Defence Capability Plan was quietly released.

Buried in the document were plans to bring forward by three years the acquisition of "high altitude, long endurance" unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The RAAF now wants seven large UAVs flying by 2019. The favoured option is a new, maritime surveillance version of the Global Hawk - the MQ-4C Triton. The estimated cost of the project is between $2 billion and $3 billion.

Triton had a shaky take-off in June 2012, when a demonstration version of the maritime drone crashed just three days before the official unveiling ceremony at Northrop Grumman's Californian factory.

A company spokesman insists the demonstrator that went down was an old, worn-out Global Hawk, bearing little resemblance to the new, improved Triton.

When it takes to the skies for the first time later this year, Triton will appear to be a slightly larger version of its cousin, Global Hawk.

However, leading American intelligence analyst and author Matthew Aid says they are two very different drones.

"Global Hawk was designed for pin-point imagery or eavesdropping on land targets, by over flight, or by flying obliquely up to 450 kilometres off an enemy’s coastline," he said.

"Triton was designed for broad area maritime surveillance – following ships from high altitude."

The US Navy expects to start flying the first of 68 Tritons on order by 2015.

Some will be based on the US territory of Guam to cover the Asia-Pacific region, while another detachment will fly out of Diego Garcia to monitor the Indian Ocean.

In March, the Washington Post reported
that the US is also considering basing Global Hawk/Triton on Australia's Cocos Islands.

The US Navy claims a single Triton 24-hour surveillance mission can cover nearly 7 million square kilometres of ocean – identifying every vessel in one vast sweep of the ocean.

But Mr Aid remains unimpressed. "Triton does not have anywhere near the range or payload capability of the Global Hawk, and from what I can gather its imaging sensors are nowhere near as good," he said.

The Royal Australian Air Force now wants Triton to support a new generation of manned maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8A, which looks like a converted 737 airliner.

Together, these two systems will replace the RAAF's aging fleet of P-3 Orions that have spent decades patrolling the vast expanse of ocean surrounding Australia - about 20 per cent of the world's sea surface.

Capable of being armed with both missiles and torpedos, the 8 P8 Poseidons already on order will also be capable of anti-submarine warfare.

But is Global Hawk/Triton worth the hefty price tag of at least $200 million each?

Andrew Davies of the Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute is not so sure.

"That's still a question to be answered. It can fly high and fast, but is really expensive. Each UAV plus ground support systems costs about $200 million each - you can buy a P8 for that," he said.

"So they’re not cheap. The question is can you do the job with a cheaper UAV?

"The Mariner is the maritime version of the Reaper (flown in Afghanistan and Pakistan). It flies slower and lower which can be a good thing as it can drop down and take a closer look at asylum boats for instance, with decks covered by tarps.

"The Mariner is much cheaper, priced in the tens of millions."

In 2006 the Mariner was put through its paces in a trial off Australia's North West Shelf. Mariner supporters say it offers 80 per cent of the capability of a Triton for one-tenth of the cost.

That is a powerful argument in Canberra these days, where the Defence budget has just been slashed by $5.5 billion.

Unlike the high flying unarmed Triton, the Mariner is also designed to carry missiles.

Mr Davies says low cost and an armed capability will be a big plus when flying into regional uncertainty. "It's about the Indian Ocean and securing our sea lanes," he said.

"In the Indian Ocean we see growing competition between the navies of China, India and the US. US attention is now pivoting towards this part of the world."

Other experts argue there is a far more urgent, humanitarian task to perform – border protection.

Kym Bergmann, the editor of Asia Pacific Defence Reporter and a former defence industry executive who worked on UAV projects, says Global Hawk should have been in Australian service years ago.

He claims this did not happen because RAAF pilots feared UAVs would threaten their jobs and traditions.

"Early in 2008 the new Labor [Defence] Minister [Joel Fitzgibbon] had some sort of brain snap and made a very dramatic announcement to the effect that the acquisition of Global Hawk was going to be deferred for a decade," he said.

"At the time as a relatively inexperienced minister, he was stampeded by some of the advice that was coming from the Air Force in particular.

"It was because [the RAAF] really preferred the idea of having a manned aircraft. It's because a manned aircraft is flown by guys with moustaches and flying allowances, rather than being operated by hyper intelligent nerds sitting in front of computer terminals, which is essentially how you operate a Global Hawk."

Mr Bergmann claims the RAAF senior commanders dropped their opposition to Global Hawk/Triton only after they were promised the P8 planes that still need pilots to fly them.

"It's been quite a dramatic conversion. They’ve now become enthusiasts for the technology, when in fact for the previous decade they'd done everything that they could to resist it," he said.

He says Australia urgently needs a maritime UAV capability and that Global Hawk/Triton is the drone for the job.

"It's highly likely that we're going to see more asylum seekers coming to Australia, there's going to be the possibility of increased transnational crime, there's going to be the possibility of increased illegal activities," he said.

"The high-resolution cameras and synthetic aperture radars mean that from an altitude of 60,000 feet at a distance of several hundred kilometres, you can use both your radar and your camera to give you crystal clear imagery right down to very, very small boats.
"You can really get down to rowing boat sizes. The quality of the imagery is quite phenomenal."

A growing number of younger RAAF officers now enthusiastically endorse a rapid expansion of the drone fleet. Since 2009 the Air Force has been flying leased, Israeli-owned Heron surveillance drones in support of Australian troops in Afghanistan.

Displaying the zeal of a convert, Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan, an RAAF pilot-turned-drone commander, recently returned from Afghanistan, declared: "The capability? It's like crack cocaine, a drug for our guys involved."

Rise of civilian drones

Tonight on ABC1, “Foreign Correspondent” sounds the alarm on the swarms of private and government drones gathering in American skies and surely bound for the rest of the world.

Some of the drones have live streaming cameras and the ability to carry other payloads, and tens of thousands of them are expected to take to the sky.

But who's at the controls? Potentially, anybody.

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4 septembre 2012 2 04 /09 /septembre /2012 07:30
Les Mistral russes n’auront pas d’engins de débarquement


4 septembre 2012 Par Rédacteur en chef. PORTAIL DES SOUS-MARINS


La marine russe et le constructeur français DCNS ne sont pas parvenus à un accord sur une question importante concernant les BPC de la classe Mistral, a indiqué une source informée de l’industrie russe au journal Izvestiya.


Le ministère russe de la défense a rejeté la proposition de DCNS d’équiper les Mistral destinés à la marine russe avec des engins de débarquement.


« Les Français proposaient de fournir des engins de débarquement type L-CAT (construits par la CNIM). Cependant, la marine russe a rejeté cette idée sans en expliquer la raison, » indique la source. Selon le service de presse de l’état-major de la marine russe, aucune décision définitive n’a été prise pour l’instant sur la configuration des BPC Mistral.


« Les choses changent tous les jours. Actuellement, on en est à la définition du calendrier. Mais son contenu est secret, » a expliqué le porte-parole de la marine.


Selon la source, néanmoins, la Russie n’a pas d’autres possibilités que la proposition française. Selon lui, peu avant la signature du contrat des 2 premiers Mistral, le ministère de la défense russe a demandé au constructeur français d’adapter le radier pour pouvoir accueillir les engins de débarquement sur coussin d’air du Projet 12061 Murena, développé par Almaz Central Design Bureau. Cependant, les Murena sont plus larges et plus hauts que les L-CAT et que les LCAC américains et ne peuvent entrer dans le radier des BPC Mistral.


« Même si le radier est modifié pour pouvoir accueillir le Murena, sa capacité d’emport serait réduite. Actuellement, il peut accueillir le char de combat T-72, » a expliqué Vladimir Scherbakov, un expert naval.


L’ingénieur en chef du bureau d’études Almaz, Konstantin Golubev, a précisé que la conception des Murena ne pouvait pas être modifiée en raison du travail nécessaire. Il a rappelé que la construction des Murena était stoppée. Les 3 derniers exemplaires ont été vendus à la Corée du Sud en 2005-2006, rappellent les Izvestiya.


Selon Scherbakov, des engins du Projet 11770 Serna (développés par le bureau d’études Alekseyev) pourraient être utilisés. Le Mistral pourrait en accueillir au moins 2.


« Mais il faudrait effectuer des essais sérieux pour éviter les problèmes rencontrés avec les hélicoptères russes à bord du Mistral. Le Ka-27 n’entre pas dans le hangar, et le Ka-52 ne tient pas sur l’ascenseur, » rappelle l’expert.


Scherbakov a souligné qu’il reste de nombreuses questions en suspend pour la configuration des Mistral russes. Toutes doivent être évoquées lors de la visite à Paris du vice-ministre russe de la défense, Alexander Sukhorukov, à la fin septembre.


Référence : RusNavy (Russie)

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3 septembre 2012 1 03 /09 /septembre /2012 17:50
Will Gripen-NG Project Bring More Defense Cuts for Sweden?


Sep. 1, 2012 By GERARD O’DWYER   Defense news


HELSINKI — Fears are growing in Sweden that the government’s plan to develop a next-generation (NG) “super” Gripen will further drain a largely static defense budget and force the Swedish armed forces into more cuts to core operations.


The government has put the total cost of acquisition for the planned 60 to 80 aircraft, including development costs, at $13.5 billion. The Swedish Air Force is expected to take delivery of the first JAS Gripen E/F aircraft in 2023.


The decision to develop a Gripen-NG E/F has split Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldts’ center-right coalition of Moderate, Liberal, Christian Democrat and Center parties.


The Moderates and Christian Democrats support the plan, but the issue has divided Center Party members. The Liberals oppose the project, which they fear will divert funding from core defense areas.


The government remains defiant. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, a Moderate, on Aug. 29 described the ”super Gripen” project, which is tied to the sale of 22 aircraft to Switzerland, as an important step toward generating large-scale exports beyond the Swiss deal.


Under the agreement between the governments, signed Aug. 24, Switzerland will pay $3.25 billion for 22 JAS Gripen E/Fs. Sweden hopes to finalize contracts in 2013 and start first deliveries in 2018.


“This decision will make the JAS Gripen easier to sell globally,” Bildt said. “We will achieve the development and production of an advanced E/F version and hopefully find new buyers. This is a step in the right direction.”


The scale of the project, and the absence of a final cost, raises serious questions about how the program will affect core military spending and Sweden’s ability to protect and build on its present defense capability, said Allan Widman, the Liberal Party’s defense spokesman.


“The deal to sell 22 Gripens to Switzerland was agreed at a fixed price. This is a good deal for Switzerland, but leaves Sweden to carry the can for any budget overruns in development or production,” Widman said.


The Gripen upgrade report delivered by defense chief Gen. Sverker Göranson to the Ministry of Defense in March contained a project cost estimate, Widman said.


“This segment of that report remains classified. Not even the Parliamentary Defense Committee has seen it,” Widman said. “We still do not know what this program will cost, or if funding to finance it will come from the core defense budget.”


Reinfeldt defended the decision, saying the fighter sale and cost-sharing partnership with Switzerland forms part of a broader vision to grow Sweden’s reputation as a producer of high-end combat aircraft.


“The decision is necessary for our defense capability, but it is also positive for Swedish industry, job creation, exports, and research and development,” he said. “The defense industry employs over 100,000 people in Sweden. The fighter’s development leads to continuous technology creation and innovation.”


The Swiss alliance will enable Sweden to procure a high-capability fighter at a lower cost than if it funded the project alone, he said.


However, the government’s planned defense budget increase will be modest. Under the proposal, $45 million will be added to the defense budgets for 2013 and 2014 to cover JAS Gripen-NG related development costs. An additional $30 million will be included in defense budgets after 2014, Reinfeldt said.


The MoD has estimated development costs for the JAS Gripen-NG program at $5 billion.


The real cost may be higher, said Siemon Wezeman, a defense analyst with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.


“We don’t know what the final cost will be,” he said. “The big problem with programs like this is that it is very difficult to know at the outset what the final cost will be.”


Technical hurdles, exchange rate fluctuations, problems with sourcing parts from foreign suppliers, and problems in the development and testing stages could all add to costs, Wezeman said.


“The Gripen E/F will be an almost completely rebuilt and unproven version,” he said. “This is not just an upgrade of the existing Gripen; it is a complete redesign, and essentially a new aircraft. Because of the small number to be built, the R&D costs per unit are likely to be very high.”


The upgraded Gripen would grow in length from 14.1 to 14.9 meters, it would have a slightly wider wingspan, and its maximum takeoff weight would increase from 14 to 16.5 tons. The number of onboard weapon stations would rise from eight to 10, engine power would increase by 22 percent, and range would expand from 3,500 to 4,075 kilometers.


Sweden’s agreement with Switzerland comprises three parts: the acquisition of the upgraded Gripen; cooperation in maintaining and upgrading the Gripen during its lifecycle, up to 2042; and a linked agreement that will see the Swiss Air Force lease Gripen C/D version fighters between 2016-2021.


The military has found itself in a difficult position, said Peter Rådberg, a Green Party member of the Parliamentary Defense Committee.


“The military wants this Gripen-NG upgrade program,” Rådberg said. “They see it as improving Sweden’s overall defense capability while raising the country’s ability to better protect the skies in the High North and the Baltic Sea area. The jury is still out on what this will mean for funding in the core branches of defense which are already underfunded.”


The military’s March report noted that personnel will cost an additional $180 million annually by 2019, and an extra $300 million a year will be needed beginning in 2015 to cover projected equipment procurement needs.


Speaking to the Almedalsveckan Politics and Society conference in Gotland on July 1, Göranson said the military may be forced to mothball parts of the Navy, Air Force and Land Forces if forced to absorb funding for the Gripen-NG program.


All existing concerns over the adequacy of defense spending will be discussed with opposition parties in coming months, Defense Minister Karin Enström said.


“There will be enough money in future budgets for defense,” she said. “The details can be worked out later.”

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11 août 2012 6 11 /08 /août /2012 12:05



NEW DELHI, Aug. 10 (UPI)


India's government in March banned several foreign defense contractors from bidding on contracts.


The restrictions are to last a decade


India is a key export market for Israeli defense firms, including Israel Military Industries, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems.


Defense imports are critical for India's defense establishment, which, lacking a domestic military industrial base, remains dependent on foreign imports for roughly 70 percent of its military purchases.


The ban, which includes IMI, has attracted critics, as shortsighted.


"We can expect the indigenous manufacture of ammunition to be slow, and we will have to import more artillery ammunition in the future as a result of the ban," retired Brigadier Gen. Rahul Bhonsle with New Delhi's Sasia Security-risks.com Pvt Ltd. told The Times of India.


"Many of the banned firms are the owners of proprietary technologies. These technologies may not be available with other contractors, so the country's defense establishment is set to lose access to such technology."


New Delhi's Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict Vice President Deba Ranjan Mohanty added, "This is a lose-lose situation for both the companies banned from bidding contracts and the country, which is heavily dependent on foreign countries for purchasing arms and defense technologies."


The situation "is not a very happy one," she said.


"The blacklisting act was thus necessary to make the system more transparent," Moanty said. "The defense firms will be more careful and not indulge in unfair practices as a result."


Israeli arms sale to India are longstanding -- in the 2001-06 period India purchased arms worth nearly $15 billion from Israel.


In March, India announced it had blacklisted the six weapons firms, including IMI, in connection with an alleged bribery scandal in 2009.


"We are surprised by the Indian Defense ministry's decision because the process of hearings over the intended sanctions against the company has not been completed," IMI spokesman Josh Hantman said when the ban was imposed.


Hantman added that the decision was premature and unexpected, "especially in light of the fact that IMI had good reasons to oppose this measure. The Israeli Defense ministry will consult with Israel Military Industries about how to respond to the Indian Defense Ministry decision."


The fiscal stakes are immense, as India intends to spend upward of $100 billion in acquiring weapon systems and platforms over the next decade.


Among those nations seeking to increase their market share is the United States.


U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter recently said, "As a country committed to enduring peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, India deserves the best military equipment available ... India is a top priority in our export considerations.


"Practically, we want to be India's highest-quality and most trusted long-term supplier of technology ... We trust India and know India is not a re-exporter or exploiter of our technologies."

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10 août 2012 5 10 /08 /août /2012 12:10

Armata MBT image Army Recognition


August 10, 2012 Tamir Eshel - defense-update.com


The Russian Army is planning to begin modernize its armored and mechanized forces beginning in 2015, fielding a new family of vehicles comprising a new main battle tank, armored infantry fighting vehicles, and various support platforms. The MBT will be based on the new Armata, the prototype is scheduled to enter field trials in 2013, about 10 months ahead of schedule. First Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Sukhorukov said. The new tank is under development at Uralvagonzavod in Omsk. The first deliveries of the tank to the Russian Armed Forces are scheduled for 2015. A total of 2,300 MBTs are expected to be supplied by 2020.


It should be remembered that the Russians are building their fighting forces not only against NATO, but more importantly, to protect their long southern borders with radical Islamic countries that may be gathering military power, and the growing dominance of China in the east. Armored and mechanized forces are key to maintaining military superiority or parity against such threats. The level of sophistication in meeting such threats is not as demanding as meeting the advanced technology fielded by US and NATO forces. According to preliminary reports, the new tank designated T-99 will be less radical and ambitious than the failed ‘Object 195’ or T-95, it will weigh less, therefore, become more agile and will be more affordable, compared to its more ambitious predecessors.


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The Russian industry is also developing the Boomerang family of 8×8 wheeled armored vehicles which will gradually replace the current BTR-90. Additionally, the Kurganets-25 tracked armored vehicle provides high degree of commonality with the new Armata tank. The Kurganets-25 will evolve into various models, gradually replacing BMP and BMD and MT-LB and other types of tracked armored platforms.


An artist concept view of the T99. Despite Russian occupation with ever higher caliber guns for their new tanks, the T-99 will be equipped with an improved version of the current 125mm cannon.

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10 août 2012 5 10 /08 /août /2012 11:30
EADS : «Notre avion sans pilote est mort» (27.07.2012)


27/07/2012 Par Véronique Guillermard – LeFigaro.fr


Le géant européen a engagé près de 250 millions d'euros pour le drone Talarion. Ces appareils sont en charge de missions de reconnaissance et de collecte de renseignements


«Talarion est mort. Le programme est fini». Comme à son habitude, Tom Enders, le président exécutif d'EADS, n'a pas mâché ses mots. «Nous avons investi sur fonds propres pour ce projet. Pour aller plus loin, nous avions besoin d'un engagement sérieux des États, nous ne l'avons pas eu. Donc le programme est mort», a-t-il expliqué vendredi 27 juillet en marge de la présentations des résultats semestriels d'EADS. Le géant européen a engagé près de 250 millions d'euros pour le Talarion, un drone, c'est-à-dire un avion sans pilote MALE (moyenne altitude, longue endurance). Ces appareils sont en charge de missions de reconnaissance et de collecte de renseignements. Ils peuvent aussi être armé pour «des tirs d'opportunité».


Talarion était en compétition avec Telemos, un projet de drone MALE porté par Dassault Aviation et BAe Systems dans le cadre de la coopération franco-britannique découlant du traité de Lancaster House signé fin 2010. L'objectif est de mettre en service Telemos aux alentours de 2020-2022 dans les armées des deux côtés de la Manche. Et de donner le coup d'envoi de la création d'une filière industrielle nouvelle en Europe. Les drones sont en effet devenus incontournables dans les conflits modernes. Or, l'Europe a raté ce virage laissant les États-Unis et Israël dominer ce marché.


La balle est dans le camp des Etats


Si le Talarion est mort, EADS ne renonce pour autant pas à «jouer un rôle dans le futur marché des avions sans pilote». «Les technologies que nous avons développées sont vivantes et nous avons acquis de l'expérience», a souligné Tom Enders. EADS souhaite entrer dans le programme du futur drone MALE européen pour l'heure confié à BAE Systems et à Dassault Aviation. Les deux industriels n'attendent plus que le feu vert de Paris et de Londres pour entrer dans le vif du sujet.


Mais le feu vert tarde à venir. «C'est aux gouvernements européens de dire ce quel produit ils veulent, avec quel budget et avec qui», résume-t-on chez Dassault Aviation. EADS ne dit pas autre chose. La balle est dans le camp des États.

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31 juillet 2012 2 31 /07 /juillet /2012 21:20

nimr II


30 Juillet 2012 par Saïd Mekki – maghrebemergent.info


Tawazun Holding, société émiratie chargée de développer le secteur industriel des Emirats voit dans la création en Algérie de la société mixte Nimr avec le Groupement de la Promotion de l'Industrie Mécanique (GPIM), entreprise relevant de la Direction des Fabrications Militaires (DFM) du ministère algérien de la Défense Nationale, une passerelle  pour la conquête du marché africain.


Les émiratis semblent donner une grande importante au lancement de joint-venture Nimr Algérie SPA, dont la production annuelle initiale est modeste, de l’ordre de 200 véhicules blindés tous terrains sous licence Nimr Automotive, filiale spécialisée dans les véhicules militaires du groupe Tawazun. Nimr Automotive basée à Abu Dhabi, produit une gamme de véhicules blindés à vocation militaire ou destinées aux forces de police. L’accord avec le GPIM prévoit le transfert de technologie et la formation d’environ trois cent employés pour assurer la production de composants essentiels en Algérie. Une partie des éléments d’assemblages seront néanmoins importés des EAU. L’entreprise Algéro-émiratie produira deux variantes de véhicules 4x4 NIMR pour répondre aux besoins du marché algérien au cours des 15 prochaines années. La prévision de la demande est de 2.500 véhicules et intègre la possibilité de fournir d’autres d'autres clients en Afrique. Selon Hamad Al Neyadi, président de Nimr Automotive, l’usine algérienne devrait être opérationnelle à la fin 2014. Les émiratis voient néanmoins dans cet accord un signe qu’ils sont à présent en capacité d’exporter leur technologie et leur savoir-faire vers les marchés internationaux.


DFM, un partenaire choisi pour ses hauts standards


Tawazun, en pleine phase de développement, considère que la joint-venture avec l’Algérie pourrait lui permettre d’ouvrir de nouveaux marchés en Afrique et lui offrir de nouvelles opportunités commerciales sur le continent.  C’est ce que confirme Saif Al Hajeri, directeur général de Tawazun Holding : « Les industries de défense deviennent de plus en plus compétitives au niveau mondial, il est vital pour les constructeurs de rechercher de nouvelles façons de développer leurs entreprises, nous avons choisi DFM en tant que partenaire en raison de ses hauts standards qui correspondent aux nôtres mais aussi parce que l'Algérie est une passerelle pour atteindre d'autres marchés africains qui pourraient promouvoir les possibilités de nouveaux partenariats dans un proche avenir. ». De marché acheteur pour l’ensemble de ses matériels de défense, les EAU souhaitent se transformer en acteur de la compétition globale et s’appuient sur le développement de la gamme de véhicules 4X4 et 6X6 NIMR. Les différentes variantes de ce véhicule blindé léger, spécifiquement conçu pour les environnements désertiques,  équipent déjà plusieurs armées arabes et ont été produits à plus de 600 exemplaires, le carnet de commande de Nimr Automotive est de l’ordre de 1800 véhicules livrables dans les mois à venir.

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25 juillet 2012 3 25 /07 /juillet /2012 12:54
Défense : la France prête à s'offrir le drone anglo-israélien Watchkeeper

25/07/2012 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr


Français et Britanniques ont franchi un nouveau pas dans la coopération en matière de drones. L'armée de Terre devrait s'équiper du drone tactique britannique Watchkeeper. Ils vont préparer en outre la succession des Rafale et Eurofighter en lançant la première phase du programme de démonstration du système de combat aérien futur.


Cela reste timide... mais la France a quand même fait un pas dans sa stratégie d'acquisition et industrielle en matière de drones. Le ministre de la Défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, et son homologue britannique, Philip Hammond, ont franchi "un nouveau pas dans la coopération franco-britannique en matière de drones", selon le communiqué du ministère de la Défense français. Ainsi, les deux pays ont signé deux accords-cadres (MoU). Le premier lance "la première phase du programme de démonstration du système de combat aérien futur (SCAF)", qui prendra le relais des Rafale et Eurofighter à l'horizon 2030. Soit un contrat d'études de 13 millions d'euros attribué à BAE Systems et à Dassault Aviation


Watchkeeper bientôt dans l'armée de terre


Le second concerne la coopération sur le drone tactique anglo-israélien Watchkeeper (à partir d'une plateforme israélienne Hermes 450), en coopération entre Elbit et Thales UK, pour remplacer les Sperwer à bout de souffle. L'évaluation de ce système sur une période d'un an (2013) a été confiée aux soins de l'armée de terre française. "En parallèle, les ministres ont évoqué la possibilité d'une coopération militaire entre les unités spécialisées des deux armées qui emploient les mêmes systèmes", a par ailleurs précisé le communiqué.


Paris prend son temps pour le MALE


En revanche, Paris souhaite prendre son temps pour l'acquisition d'un drone MALE (Moyenne altitude et de longue endurance). "Le temps ne presse pas tant la France a pris du retard dans ce domaine", explique-t-on dans l'entourage du ministre. D'autant qu'il n'y a pas encore de rupture capacitaire, estime-t-on. La rénovation des drones Harfang permettrait de faire la soudure avec une solution intérimaire. C'est là où la décision n'est pas facile à expliquer. Car Paris s'achemine bien vers l'acquisition du drone américain Predator de General Atomics, dont la plate-forme serait ensuite francisée par un industriel tricolore. Ce qui devrait rajouter un coût à un achat simple et sur étagère.

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19 juillet 2012 4 19 /07 /juillet /2012 16:17

nimr II


19 Juillet 2012 maghrebemergent.info


Les actes de création de la société à capitaux mixtes dénommée "Nimr-Algérie. SPA", implantée à Khenchela, entre le Groupement pour la promotion de l’Industrie mécanique (Epic-Gpim) du ministère de la Défense nationale et le groupe Tawazun des Emirats arabes unis été signés jeudi au siège du ministère.


La signature de ces actes s’inscrit dans le cadre de la mise en £uvre du protocole d’accord algéro-émirati pour la coproduction de véhicules spéciaux.


Les investissements concernant le centre de production de cette entreprise démarreront dès octobre 2012.


La cérémonie de signature s’est déroulée sous la présidence du ministre délégué auprès du ministre de la Défense nationale, M. Abdelmalek Guenaizia, en présence d’officiers supérieurs de l’Armée nationale populaire, du président du Groupe Tawazun et de l’ambassadeur des Emirats arabes unis à Alger.

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18 juillet 2012 3 18 /07 /juillet /2012 12:43


Source defenseindustrydaily.com


July 18, 2012: Strategy Page


The U.S. Army is upgrading 580 older ROVER (Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver) 3 and 4 units to the ROVER 6 standard. This will cost $41,000 per ROVER unit (which resembles a ruggedized laptop with several small antennae attached). The upgrade enables the older ROVERs to communicate to a lot more different UAVs, targeting pods and other airborne sensors. Upgrading older ROVERs is very popular with the users, who find ROVER extremely helpful in combat, For one thing, the latest model ROVER allows guys on the ground to relay target coordinates to aircraft digitally, along with marks (circles and so on made with a stylus on a touch screen) on an electronic map or photo showing exactly where the friendlies and hostiles are.


While ROVER 6 is basically an undated ROVER 4, there is another ROVER that has become very popular with commanders who find themselves and their troops under fire. Since it arrived three years ago ROVER 5, otherwise known as the fifth generation ROVER, was one of the most popular electronic gadgets for these officers. ROVER 5 is a small (14cm/5.5 inch wide) handheld video device that provides the user with UAV video feeds. Each ROVER 5 costs about $35,000 and is the size of a seven inch tablet computer. ROVER is more than three times heavier than a tablet (at 1.6 kg/3.5 pounds). But ROVER can still be hand held, and enables the user to direct the camera on the UAV supplying the video. A stylus is used for this. The additional weight in the ROVER is for all the electronics needed to receive a wide variety of signals and display several different video types, plus a larger battery. ROVER 5s are more often mounted in vehicles, giving convoys a top-down view of the terrain ahead. This has made it more difficult to ambush American troops. Commanders use ROVER 5 to check UAV feeds and their own troops.


The basic benefit of ROVER is that it allows troops to view real-time video from a UAV or aircraft overhead. Aircraft with targeting pods (like Litening and Sniper) or surveillance gear (like AC-130 gunships) are much more effective when the guys on the ground have a ROVER unit that can receive that video feed and share it with the airmen above.


 This kind of real-time, "common picture", capability makes air power much more effective, and reduces friendly fire incidents. U.S. Special Forces troops and infantry unit commanders use ROVER to obtain a larger view (than their low flying Raven UAVs can provide) of the surrounding area. This ROVER devices use a built in antenna to get the video from overhead UAVs or aircraft. The original ROVER system, as well as the current one, was developed and sent to the troops in record time. So don't let anyone tell you this sort of thing can't happen. However, except in wartime, such rapid technology development usually does not happen.


ROVER came to be a decade ago, when a Special Forces soldier, just back from Afghanistan, walked into the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and asked the technical people why his guys could not have a device that would allow them to watch the video being generated by a Predator, AC-130 or other aircraft overhead. In particular, the soldiers wanted the capability of the AC-130 getting video from a Predator that had spotted something the AC-130 was being sent to destroy. Since it was the Special Forces troops on the ground who were running, and fighting, the ground battle, it would help them a lot if they could see the real time video from Predators and combat aircraft. At that time, the video was being viewed by people in the aircraft, or the UAV operators (who were back in the United States, running things via a satellite link.) The ground troops had to ask the air force what could be seen on the video, and there was usually a delay in getting that information. It would be much better for all concerned if the ground troops could see that video in real time.


 The air force geeks went to work, and in two weeks had a ROVER prototype that Special Forces personnel could take back to Afghanistan. ROVER 1 was not terribly portable, but the Special Forces could haul it around in a hummer, and see what any Predators overhead were seeing. This proved very useful. A few months later, ROVER 2 appeared which allowed troops to view UAV vids on a laptop computer. By late 2004, ROVER 3, a 5.5 kg (12 pound) unit built to be carried in a backpack, was put into service.


 Although ROVER 3s cost $60,000 each, they addressed dozens of suggestions and complaints from the troops who used earlier ROVERs. Some 700 ROVER 3s entered service within a year. They were used in Afghanistan and Iraq, and could grab video feeds from army, marine and air force UAVs and bomber targeting pods (which have great resolution, even when the aircraft are 6,200 meters/20,000 feet up.)


 The ROVER 4 appeared in 2005. It allowed users to point and click on targets to be hit. With ROVER 3, the guys on the ground could see what they want bombed, or hit with a missile, but had to talk the bombers to it. This happens often, especially when the target is behind a hill or buildings, preventing the ground troops from using their laser range finders to get a GPS location. With ROVER 4, the bomber pilot, or UAV operator, is looking at the same video as the ground troops, and can confirm that the indicated target is what is to be hit. This is particularly important in urban warfare, where the building next door might be full of innocent civilians.


Shortly after ROVER 5 appeared three years ago, Tactical ROVER appeared. This is a 440 gram (one pound) hand held device that uses a variety of display devices (like helmet monocle, laptop, PC or tablet). Tactical ROVER was popular with the Special Forces, who often sneaked into hostile territory on foot, and need to minimize their weight load.


 The original ROVER gear was initially operated, mostly, by air force ground controllers. Now there are some 4,000 ROVER units out there, this allows platoon leaders and company commanders access, as well as Special Forces teams and some army or marine ground patrols.


 Without the wartime pressure, it would have taken a decade or more to get ROVER to where it got in only a few years. Special Forces frequently get special equipment made, as they have a "mad money" fund just for that sort of thing. But these new ideas do not always travel so quickly to the rest of the army. A decade ago, army planners did not see anything like ROVER being available until the 2020s.

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15 juillet 2012 7 15 /07 /juillet /2012 11:30



July 13, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: SES; issued July 13, 2012)


SES Cooperates with Northrop Grumman on New NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance System


LUXEMBOURG --- SES announced today an agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) to supply satellite capacity and services for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system. Operating under NATO command, AGS will be a major data source for NATO's system for Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR).


AGS supports NATO's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements and a broad range of missions, including protecting ground forces, border and maritime security, counter- and anti-terrorism, crisis management, peacekeeping and enforcement, humanitarian assistance and natural disaster relief. SES will deliver Ku-band capacity over the U.S. and Europe, as well as engineering support in the design and development of the system.


As prime contractor for the NATO AGS programme, Northrop Grumman will provide the necessary five Global Hawk air vehicles, supporting systems and payloads. The payloads include the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) radar system capable of detecting and tracking moving objects as well as providing radar imagery of target locations and stationary objects.


Northrop Grumman signed a $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion) contract with NATO and 13 participating nations in May 2012. Besides the air segment, the contract also includes the purchase, initial operation and maintenance of the ground stations, comprised of mobile and transportable units and providing real-time data, intelligence and target identification to commanders within and beyond line of sight.


“The participation of SES in this multi-national, long-term NATO programme is extremely important for us, as it allows us to contribute our fleet and service capabilities and prove the advantages and know-how that we have in the construction and operation of large, international governmental and institutional systems,” said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “We are honoured to meet the alliance’s highest standards and needs, demonstrating our expertise in the highly demanding field of service provision for unmanned aircraft systems with our specialised and highly committed governmental and institutions team at SES.”


SES is a world-leading satellite operator with a fleet of 51 geostationary satellites. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators and business and governmental organisations worldwide.

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13 juillet 2012 5 13 /07 /juillet /2012 12:20

Predator over Afghanistan photo USAF


13 July 2012 defenceweb.co.za (Reuters)


Having revolutionized warfare for the United States in the last 15 years, unmanned aerial drones are going global as the number of countries building and operating them soars.


Until now, such systems have largely been the exclusive purview of the U.S. and a handful of allies. Washington allowed Britain, Italy and Turkey to buy U.S.-built drones and operate them usually alongside U.S. forces, but largely rejected requests from other nations keen to acquire the same capability.


But that is quickly changing. U.S. firm General Atomics expects to make its first sales of an unarmed version of its Predator drones this year, with Latin America and the Middle East seen to be particularly fertile markets, Reuters reports.


"There has been very considerable international interest," retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Christopher Ames, now director of international strategic development for the company, told Reuters at this week's Farnborough International Airshow.


Flanked by video screens showing the firm's products in action in Iraq, Afghanistan and tracking pirates over the Indian Ocean, Ames said their combat record spoke for itself.


Not only were human air crew not put at risk, he said, but use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also offered huge savings in fuel and personnel costs over conventional manned aircraft.


"The nations that have been operating with us in coalition... have seen what it can do in practice," he said.. "Their conviction goes beyond what marketing hype can provide."


Privately owned San Diego-based General Atomics was one of the pioneers of early drone technology, operating them first in the Balkans in the 1990s. While the Israeli military has long embraced unmanned aircraft, recruiting specialists directly from model aircraft clubs, other air forces including that of the United States were initially distinctly skeptical.


But the wars that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001 changed all that. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere, U.S. forces have become increasingly reliant on drones ranging from tiny aircraft operated by infantrymen to those that can fly hundreds or even thousands of miles and stay aloft over 24 hours.


Under the presidency of Barack Obama in particular, they have often been the weapon of choice for targeted killings of leading al Qaeda militants, as well as a favorite tool for long-range spy flights over potentially unfriendly countries.


The winding down of combat operations in Afghanistan may reduce the current level of U.S. drone demand, industry executives say. But the global market, they suspect, is only beginning to hot up.


Until now, Washington has remained able to exercise considerable control over even those drones it has sold abroad. Britain's Royal Air Force, for example, bases the pilots flying its drones over Afghanistan at a U.S. air force base in Nevada alongside their U.S. counterparts.


That, experts say, cannot last.




"In the future, if you're a moderately serious air force... you're going to want to have at least a medium-level endurance drone with the capability to mount reconnaissance and probably deploy weapons," says Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow for aerospace at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies. "It also may or may not be stealthy... We are only at the very beginning of that now."


With aircraft such as Predator, the much longer-range Global Hawk built by Northrop Grumman Corp and the top-secret and stealthy Lockheed Martin Sentinel -- one of which crashed and was captured on an apparent mission over Iran last year -- the United States remains by far the leader of the pack.


But perhaps inevitably, the gap is closing.


At this year's Farnborough Air Show, almost every major international aircraft maker brought with them their own latest drone. Outside its large chalet, Britain's BAE Systems displayed its long-range Taranis stealth UAV prototype in prime position alongside its Hawk trainer -- the aircraft used by the RAF's Red Arrows display team -- as well as a World War Two-era Spitfire.


"What we're looking at is effectively jumping straight to the next generation," said Martin Rowe-Wilcocks, BAE head of international business development for future combat air systems. "We're able to look at those systems that are already in service and learn from them."


Israel has long sold small unarmed drones to a range of countries, but other producers are also muscling in. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported in April that Russia hoped to fly its first prototype domestically produced armed drone as soon as 2014.


China has made it clear it is interested in building similar systems, and both countries are expected to have done what they can to persuade Tehran to share its captured Sentinel.


As demand but also international competition rises, some U.S. firms worry Washington's attempts to slow the spread of drone technology may leave it falling behind.


Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show several countries including United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia asking U.S. officials to buy armed drones but being rebuffed.


Washington says its commitments to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a non-binding international agreement designed to limit the spread of long-range precision weaponry, restrict drone export.




Industry leaders warn that could see the U.S. drone sector going the way of its commercial satellite production, effectively strangled by export controls seen as effectively killing its dominance of the sector just as new rivals emerge.


"The unmanned area is growing by leaps and bounds," says Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association. "The Missile Technology Control Regime is something that really needs to be addressed because it's disadvantaging U.S. industry."


The export-variant Predator, General Atomics says, should deal with some of those concerns. It will have no "hard points" to attach missiles and would be deliberately engineered to make adding new weaponry impossible, it says.


Retailing at $3-4 million an item, the unarmed export drone is way cheaper than most equivalent aircraft, Ames said.


"There are countries that for a long time have been asking for Predator," he said. "It (the export variant) opens that up to us."


Other U.S. defense firms are also investing growing quantities of their own money in new and innovative UAVs. Boeing recently test-flew its prototype "Phantom Eye", a high-altitude drone capable of staying airborne for days at a time.


Even if foreign markets remain sometimes off-limits, the Pentagon is seen as still keen to expand the use of drones into new areas. Lockheed Martin says it is investing in unmanned technologies and plans to compete for a future U.S. Navy contract to build a next-generation drone that will operate from aircraft carriers.


That contest is also likely to include Northrop Grumman Corp, maker of the X-47B, a U.S. Navy program that is demonstrating some of the initial capabilities that would be packed on the future carrier drones.


Officials say Britain is also increasingly interested in naval drones to operate from carriers as well as a range of smaller warships. But BAE's Rowe-Wilcocks says the real growth area will ultimately be the civilian sector.


Within a decade or so, he believes unmanned aircraft will routinely operate in European air space, providing surveillance for law enforcement agencies, maritime patrol and a host of other functions.


"The test will be whether the public will accept unmanned aircraft overhead in the way they accept those with someone in the cockpit," he says. "At this stage, I think we're more or less there technologically. It is really going to be a regulatory and particularly cultural challenge."

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12 juillet 2012 4 12 /07 /juillet /2012 12:24


Premier tir complet du missile de croisière naval MdCN

à Biscarrosse


12/07/2012 DGA


La Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) a réalisé sur le site de DGA Essais de missiles à Biscarrosse avec succès le premier tir complet d’un missile de croisière naval (MdCN) le 9 juillet 2012.


Ce 3e tir de développement, effectué sur le site de Biscarrosse (Landes) du centre « DGA Essais de missiles », est représentatif d’un tir à partir d’une frégate. Tous les objectifs ont été atteints, notamment la validation de la phase terminale avec guidage autonome par reconnaissance de scène infrarouge, qui assure une très grande précision d’impact. Le MdCN équipera à partir de 2014 les frégates multi-missions (FREMM) et les sous-marins Barracuda à l’horizon 2017.


Doté d’une portée de plusieurs centaines de kilomètres, le MdCN est destiné à frapper des objectifs situés dans la profondeur du territoire adverse. Il est complémentaire du missile de croisière aéroporté Scalp dont il est dérivé. Embarqué sur des bâtiments de combat positionnés de façon prolongée à distance de sécurité dans les eaux internationales, ostensiblement (frégates) ou discrètement (sous-marins), le MdCN est adapté à des missions de destruction d’infrastructures de haute valeur stratégique.

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11 juillet 2012 3 11 /07 /juillet /2012 17:30



July 11, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Finmeccanica; issued July 10, 2012)


Finmeccanica Wins New Order Worth EUR 140 Million As Part of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Programme


SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica company, has been awarded a contract worth €140 million by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation as part of NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme.


The AGS programme is the flagship of NATO’s new defence strategy for security allies. Thirteen NATO countries are participating in the programme via their domestic industries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States. The capability developed and acquired by this group of nations will be made available to the whole alliance as a NATO-owned capability, with NATO responsible for the system’s operations and maintenance.


SELEX Galileo has been awarded approximately 12 percent of Northrop Grumman’s overall NATO AGS contract. This will see the company leading the Italian element of the programme and also taking responsibility for Romanian and Bulgarian participation.


Interoperability, connectivity and continuous surveillance are the three key concepts of the AGS system capability, which will supply real-time information for airborne ground surveillance and situational awareness. This valuable intelligence will support the entire spectrum of NATO’s operational missions and those of its member nations.


The solution chosen by NATO includes an airborne component based on the Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAS platform produced by Northrop Grumman Corporation and ground-based elements comprised of fixed mission operational support as well as both transportable and mobile general ground stations. The ground-based parts of the system will deliver mission planning and control activities and data analysis and distribution. The system architecture also comprises training and logistical support elements.


SELEX Galileo will be responsible for the fixed mission operational support and transportable general ground station components of the AGS system’s ground-based element. It will also contribute to the telecommunications suite, supplying the wide band data link produced by SELEX Elsag, another Finmeccanica company. This solution will provide a line-of-sight link between the AGS airborne platform and the ground-based components.

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11 juillet 2012 3 11 /07 /juillet /2012 16:50
Alenia unveils new MC-27J Spartan at Farnborough 2012

MC-27J aircraft


11 July 2012 airforce-technology.com


Alenia Aermacchi has unveiled a new, armed version of its combat-proven C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter, at the ongoing 2012 Farnborough International Air Show, in the UK.


The newly launched MC-27J airlifter, a roll on/roll off (RO/RO) variant of the C-27J, is designed to assist air and special forces in conducting anti-terrorism operations and evacuation of military personnel and civil populations.


Capable of taking off from and landing on short and/or unprepared strips, the aircraft primarily supports all standard special forces' operations by serving as a platform with quick transfer speed, long operational range and enhanced cargo capacity for the operators, troops and vehicles.


The gunship variant is equipped with the ATK-developed GAU-23 30mm precision weapon kit, which can be employed to fire all types of Nato 30mm x 173 rounds, as well as Super 40 ammunition.


Additional features include a self-contained, modular and scalable palletised weapons system comprising of enhanced electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) targeting sensors, precision guided munitions, advanced communications, a networked mission management and a fire control system, to support a wide range of customer-driven missions.


Designed for easy embarkation and disembarkation through the aircraft's rear ramp, the palletised system permits flexibility in the use of the unaltered aircraft, significantly lowering acquisition costs and development times.


The aircraft is also integrated with a ground command network, to provide the personnel with an intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, apart from the ability to deploy paratroopers in the battlefield.


To be jointly developed and marketed by Alenia and ATK, the MC-27J features a high level of commonality with the C-130J, together with an operational flexibility to enable deployment even in hot and challenging environmental conditions.

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11 juillet 2012 3 11 /07 /juillet /2012 12:40
Mantis Concept Demonstrator Targeted to Fly In the UK


July 11th, 2012 By BAE Systems - defencetalk.com


BAE Systems has announced its intention to re-fly the Mantis UAS Concept Demonstrator – this time in UK airspace. This will be the first flight of a UAS (Unmanned Air System) of this class in UK airspace


Flying Mantis will enable the Company to continue to mature a number of UAS capabilities and technologies, underpinning BAE Systems’ strategy to become a world-class provider of unmanned air systems. The flight activity will support the development of future MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) and UCAS (Unmanned Combat Air Systems) operational capabilities, including the programmes announced at the Anglo-French Summit in February this year. By looking to fly Mantis in the UK, BAE Systems is directly aiming to address the associated challenges of airspace integration and safe operation of an airborne system in accordance with UK rules and regulations.


Over the coming months the Company will be working with the appropriate regulators to fully understand the safety, airworthiness and regulatory frameworks which will enable such a flight to take place in 2013.


The Company is currently looking at a number of potential locations in the UK which meet the trials objectives and will work with a number of agencies on the feasibility, timing and location of the flights. These locations will be selected in full consultation with the relevant authorities.


Tom Fillingham, Future Combat Air Systems Director, BAE Systems said: “We will undertake a further phase of flight trials for the Mantis but this time rather than going overseas we have given ourselves the challenge to conduct the trials in the UK. To secure our position as a provider of key capabilities in the unmanned market it is necessary that we continue to develop key skills and capabilities. Learning from the re-flight of Mantis will be used in future UAS programmes, including our partnership with Dassault Aviation.”

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11 juillet 2012 3 11 /07 /juillet /2012 09:45



11 July 2012 Thales


Thales Australia has signed a contract with prime contractor Rockwell Collins Australia to deliver its market-leading optronics systems as part of a Department of Defence indirect fire support upgrade program.


A significant number of Sophie MF long range multi-function binoculars / thermal imagers and TYR laser target designators will be provided as part of the LAND 17 1B program for a Digital Terminal Control System to improve coordination and terminal control of air, naval and land fire support.


The Thales optronics sensors will be seamlessly integrated into Rockwell Collins’ Firestorm joint fires targeting system to provide a complete turnkey solution.


Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said: "We have worked very closely with Rockwell Collins Australia to provide an advanced solution that will help the Australian Defence Force enhance its offensive support systems to provide greater tactical flexibility and precision targeting capability. The Sophie family of thermal imagers is used around the world, and we have recently upgraded our optronics facilities in Australia to offer an extensive and responsive local support capability for both thermal and laser equipment.”


A world leader in the design and manufacture of thermal imagers, Thales’s Sophie family of both cooled and uncooled products meets the full spectrum of observation, surveillance, orientation and fire-control requirements of today’s defence and security forces. Nondetectable due to their passive infrared operation, Sophie systems can be used day and night and under all weather conditions. Since their introduction, over 10,000 Sophie units have been sold to more than 45 countries. There are currently around 300 Sophie units

already in service with the Australian Defence Force, as well as a quantity of TYRs.


The Sophie MF is a complete acquisition, identification and location system that weighs less than 3kg. It can be used day or night, with a high resolution stabilised image, plus an eyesafe laser rangefinder, GPS and direction finder.


The TYR is a state of the art compact laser target designator that can operate in standalone applications, with forward observation sensor equipment, dismounted soldiers or vehicle mounted platforms. The TYR designates targets and provides both accurate range data and images of the laser spot on the target to allow laser-guided munitions to be accurately deployed.

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10 juillet 2012 2 10 /07 /juillet /2012 12:23



The HEADS sensor inside a combat helmet.

Photo BAE Systems


10 July 2012 army-technology.com


BAE Systems has been awarded a contract modification for the delivery of additional Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Systems (HEADS) sensors to the US Army, to help determine the effects on the head from impacts during combat-related blast or explosions.


The new $16.9m contract extension forms a part of the original five-year contract secured by the company in June 2010 and brings the total value of the deal to approximately $34m.


Under the terms of new contract, the company will supply an unspecified number of HEADS Generation II helmet sensors to the army, which already uses more than 20,000 sensors in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Don Dutton, BAE Systems protection vice president and general manager, said that the army had an urgent demand for technologies for identification of those in need of medical assistance for potential head and brain injuries sustained during combat operations.


''Traumatic brain injuries are known as a signature injury for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said. "The data collected by HEADS during a traumatic event can be used to develop better protective equipment and for supporting further medical treatment."


The HEADS is a small sensor placed inside a combat helmet to help the army and medical practitioners identify and diagnose combat-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

"Traumatic brain injuries are known as a signature injury for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The data collected by HEADS during a traumatic event can be used to develop better protective equipment and for supporting further medical treatment."


The sensors enable constant and automatic collection of potentially lifesaving data, such as impact duration, blast pressures, ambient temperature, angular and linear accelerations, as well as the exact times of single or multiple blast events.


HEADS Generation II is an upgraded version of the company's HEADS Generation I sensor, featuring a wireless technology for downloading summary data of recorded events, a longer battery life, expanded pressure measurement and angular rate data.


Deliveries under the contract are scheduled to take place by the end of January 2013.


So far, the company has delivered more than 7,600 HEADS Generation I sensors to the US Army and Marine Corps from late 2007 to 2008.

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10 juillet 2012 2 10 /07 /juillet /2012 11:40

us army logo


July 10, 2012 defpro.com


PHOENIX | The U.S. Army has ordered thousands of additional helmet sensors that can be used to record the severity of head movements and impacts during a combat-related blast or explosion. The sensors, called Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Systems (HEADS), are provided by BAE Systems and are revolutionizing the way data is captured, stored and retrieved to determine the effects that improvised explosive devices and other blunt impacts have on a Soldier’s head.


Under a new $16.9 million contract, BAE Systems will deliver the HEADS Generation II sensors by January of next year. This order will be in addition to approximately 20,000 sensors that are already in use.


“Traumatic Brain Injuries are known as a signature injury for Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Don Dutton, vice president and general manager of Protection Systems at BAE Systems. “The Army has an urgent demand for technologies that help identify individuals who may be in need of medical assistance for potential head and brain injuries. The data collected by HEADS during a traumatic event can be used to develop better protective equipment and for supporting further medical treatment.”


Positioned beneath the crown suspension pad of most combat helmets, HEADS allows the Army and medical practitioners to continuously measure and collect critical and potentially lifesaving data. These include impact duration, blast pressures, ambient temperature, angular and linear accelerations, as well as the exact times of single or multiple blast events. The placement of the sensor inside the helmet ensures that accurate measurements are achieved.


From late 2007 and into 2008, BAE Systems delivered more than 7,600 HEADS Generation I sensors to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Then HEADS Generation II was developed, introducing a wireless technology to download summary data of recorded events. Other enhancements to the sensor included a longer battery life, expanded pressure measurement and angular rate data.


The latest $16.9 million award is part of a five-year contract awarded in June 2010. This award brings the cumulative value of the contract to approximately $34 million.


BAE Systems is a leading provider of Soldier protective and load carrying equipment in the United States, producing a significant portion of the nation’s body armor, tactical vests, combat helmets and load carrying systems. Not only is the company focused on the design, development and production of leading edge survivability products, but its integration of advanced materials into manufacturing, rigorous product testing and field trials support the company’s focus on the men and women who serve in the armed forces.

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9 juillet 2012 1 09 /07 /juillet /2012 17:30
Mantis Concept Demonstrator Targeted to Fly in the UK


July 9, 2012 defpro.com


BAE Systems has announced its intention to re-fly the Mantis UAS Concept Demonstrator – this time in UK airspace. This will be the first flight of a UAS (Unmanned Air System) of this class in UK airspace.


Flying Mantis will enable the Company to continue to mature a number of UAS capabilities and technologies, underpinning BAE Systems’ strategy to become a world-class provider of unmanned air systems. The flight activity will support the development of future MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) and UCAS (Unmanned Combat Air Systems) operational capabilities, including the programmes announced at the Anglo-French Summit in February this year. By looking to fly Mantis in the UK, BAE Systems is directly aiming to address the associated challenges of airspace integration and safe operation of an airborne system in accordance with UK rules and regulations.


Over the coming months the Company will be working with the appropriate regulators to fully understand the safety, airworthiness and regulatory frameworks which will enable such a flight to take place in 2013.


The Company is currently looking at a number of potential locations in the UK which meet the trials objectives and will work with a number of agencies on the feasibility, timing and location of the flights. These locations will be selected in full consultation with the relevant authorities.


Tom Fillingham, Future Combat Air Systems Director, BAE Systems said: “We will undertake a further phase of flight trials for the Mantis but this time rather than going overseas we have given ourselves the challenge to conduct the trials in the UK. To secure our position as a provider of key capabilities in the unmanned market it is necessary that we continue to develop key skills and capabilities. Learning from the re-flight of Mantis will be used in future UAS programmes, including our partnership with Dassault Aviation.”

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9 juillet 2012 1 09 /07 /juillet /2012 11:30



7 Jul 2012 by Stephen Trimble – FG


Farnborough - The Saab Gripen on display at the Farnborough air show features a new radar installed in Sweden less than a month ago.


The Selex Galileo Raven ES-05 active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire control radar was installed on 16 June in Linkoping, the radar supplier says.


AESA radar is one of the key features being introduced with the Gripen NG fighter, which also includes higher-thrust engines.


The ES-05 began integration testing immediately after being installed.


"These developments are not without risk and this result demonstrates Selex Galileo's commitment to deliver, on time and on promise, the best radar and sensors," says Alastair Morrison, senior vice president of Selex Galileo radar and advanced targeting.

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9 juillet 2012 1 09 /07 /juillet /2012 07:55

pentagon source defenseWeb


Jul. 7, 2012 by ZACHARY FRYER-BIGGS Defense news


U.S.-based prime contractors may be looking for ways to cut costs in a difficult defense market, but they’re not skimping on lobbying.


The top five U.S. defense contractors increased spending on lobbying by a combined 11.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same quarter in 2011, a review of lobbying disclosure forms by Defense News found.


The increase, following a down year in 2011, brought lobbying investment for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman to a combined total of $15.9 million for the quarter ending March 31. The number represented a new combined high in the four years that all five companies have been filing disclosures.


Lobbying disclosure filings are required under the Open Government Act of 2007, with quarterly data available going back only to 2009. The forms represent lobbying on Capitol Hill, as well as the Defense Department and the White House.


As spending on lobbying tends to be seasonal, coinciding with the legislative calendar, the review compared only first-quarter numbers from 2009 to 2012. The first quarter of the year includes the annual release of the Pentagon’s budget request to Congress, along with posture hearings on Capitol Hill involving senior military leaders.


Northrop Grumman led the charge, increasing its spending by 51 percent compared to 2011, followed by Lockheed Martin, which increased spending by 25 percent.


“Northrop got a whole new shop, they cleaned house,” said a lobbyist who has worked with large defense companies. “They moved their headquarters out here so their CEO is much more focused on Washington than he was before.”


The company — which moved its headquarters from Los Angeles to Falls Church, Va., in 2011 — would not detail its legislative goals but wrote in an email that it values interaction with government.


“As a leader in global security, Northrop Grumman believes it is important that the company participate in the democratic process at the federal, state and local level, to help ensure that support for a strong national defense is well-represented,” the statement said.


The lobbying spike is partially attributable to the election year, said Loren Thompson, an industry consultant and chief operating officer at the Lexington Institute, Arlington, Va.


“Election years often see a surge in lobbying activity as companies try to posture themselves to be supportive of key legislators,” Thompson said.


The last election year for the House of Representatives, 2010, also saw a large increase in spending compared to 2009. Combined first-quarter 2010 spending was $15.5 million, up 18.3 percent from 2009. In 2011, a non-election year, spending fell by 7.9 percent.


The ongoing discussion about the future of defense spending and the specter of automatic budget cuts is also leading to interest in lobbying, the companies said.


“We’ve never seen a more problematic economic and global security environment in the U.S. and in so many economies around the world,” Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Jennifer Allen wrote in an email. “That means the political leaders around the globe, and especially here at home, are going to have to make some very tough decisions. In this environment, there are many voices being raised, particularly in an election year, and we believe it is critical to have our voice heard on issues that are important to our future.”


Lockheed’s first-quarter spending had declined the past two years, before the sizable 2012 increase.


While companies may be pointing to larger economic trends, lobbying has been much more focused on individual programs, the defense lobbyist said. Lockheed in particular is likely gearing up for fights about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, he said. “They’re not pushing for general budget lobbying, nobody is; they should be, but they aren’t.”


Northrop’s lobbying pattern follows the arc of recent spending decisions. The company increased its spending by 61 percent for the first quarter of 2010, when it was heavily involved in the U.S. Air Force’s competition for a new aerial refueling tanker plane, before announcing in March of that year that the company would bow out.


The company’s 2011 spending fell by 35 percent with no major programming decisions on the horizon, and 2012 corresponds with discussion of canceling the Air Force’s Block 30 Global Hawk UAV order, which the Pentagon announced it would do in February.


“What happened in 2011, with the passage of the Budget Control Act, the discussion of where defense spending was headed shifted from a program focus to an overall budget focus, which doesn’t lend itself as well to lobbying,” Thompson said.


Both Boeing and Raytheon saw small increases in 2012 spending, growing by 1 percent and 2 percent, respectively.


“Boeing continually advocates on behalf of its businesses in both the commercial aviation market and the defense market,” Boeing spokesman Marcellus Rolle wrote in an email. “The objective of our lobbying efforts is to strategically and tactically interact with the legislative and executive branches of federal, state and local governments to urge support on issues of interest to Boeing.”


General Dynamics was the lone company to decrease spending, likely attributable to the end of an aggressive lobbying campaign for the updated Stryker troop-carrying vehicle for the Army.


Raytheon declined to comment for this article, and General Dynamics did not immediately return calls for comment. All three companies that commented emphasized that the companies comply with all lobbying disclosure requirements.


The magnitude of the numbers, on average about $3 million per company, pales in comparison to the totals they actually spend advocating for legislative action, Thompson said.


“What these numbers show is that government records only capture a portion of the money spent to influence politicians,” he said. “The definition of lobbying is quite precise, and therefore, things that might legitimately be regarded as influencing government policy sometimes do not fall under the category of lobbying for purposes of the law.”


Lockheed, like all major defense contractors, has a variety of interactions with government officials, Allen said.


“With 82 percent of our company’s sales derived from U.S. government customers, we naturally have interactions with virtually every standing committee in the United States Congress who has oversight authority over the budgets and policies of all federal agencies, and by extension, the products and services that Lockheed Martin provides to them,” she said.


As budget pressures increase, lobbying may soon take a hit, the defense lobbyist said. “A lot of the contractors have been reducing the number of consultants that they have, avoiding fee increases, but we haven’t had the fights that we had in previous years.”

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4 juillet 2012 3 04 /07 /juillet /2012 17:35

Australian Collins-class submarines, HMAS Dechaineux and HM


4 July 2012naval-technology.com


The Australian Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has awarded a new in service support contract (ISSC) to ASC to provide maintenance for the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) Collins-class submarine fleet.


ASC managing director and chief executive officer Steve Ludlam said that the ISSC aimed to support greater collaboration, cooperation and accountability to ensure that the requirements of RAN were met, while delivering value for money.


"Ensuring the required level of submarine availability and reliability for the RAN will be a key outcome, while ensuring safety and technical integrity requirements continue to be met," Ludlam added.


The ISSC contract, which will replace the previous through life support agreement (TLSA), came into operational effect from 1 July.

"Ensuring the required level of submarine availability and reliability for the RAN will be a key outcome, while ensuring safety and technical integrity requirements continue to be met."


The Collins-class Type 471 diesel-electric submarines have been designed to carry up to 22 missiles and torpedoes, as well as six 533mm forward torpedo tubes with air turbine pump discharge.


Designed by Kockums, the submarines can be armed with Gould mk48 mod 4 torpedo with 267kg warhead, as well as BAE Systems' Stonefish mkIII mines.


In addition to Boeing Sub Harpoon anti-ship missile, the submarines are equipped with active radar homing and features an EDO ES-5600 system, to provide automatic detection, direction finding and identification of radar signals.


Powered by three Hedemora/Garden Island Type V18B/14 four-stroke turbo charged diesel engines, the submarines also feature two Strachan and Henshaw submerged signal and decoy ejectors (SSDE).

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4 juillet 2012 3 04 /07 /juillet /2012 08:51



03 July 2012 by defenceWeb


Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council has allocated more than 3 billion Naira (US$18 million/R150 million) for the purchase of six security vessels in an ongoing effort to improve security along the nation’s waterways.


On June 27 the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, approved N3.238 billion (US$19.7 million/R161 million) for the purchase of the six vessels, which, according to information minister Labaran Maku, include three Manta ASD littoral interceptors. The origin of the other three boats was not specified.


Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, told reporters that a contract was approved for the acquisition of three boats for the security of vessels and ships, while the other three boats for the patrol of inland waterways would be procured for N233.6 million (US$1.4 million/R11 million).


Maku said three of the vessels would be used to secure ships within ports jurisdiction and would be operated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in conjunction with the Nigerian Navy.


The other three boats would be used for the security of inland waterways and would be operated by the Marine Police in conjunction with the National Inland Waterways Authority.


“The purchase of these boats will empower the Navy and the Nigerian Ports Authority to guarantee safety of vessels that come into our waterways, particularly in the Lagos area,” Maku said.


“The ministry also brought proposal to buy additional boats for inner waterways security. Looking at the memorandum that were submitted and the importance of these boats to secure both inner water ways and coastal areas, the Federal Executive Council gave the go ahead to the Ministry of Transport to purchase the boats to reinforce our maritime security.


“We find it very important because piracy has been in the increase and the issue of oil theft and several other criminalities in our waterways has been there for a while. Government is desirous of addressing this by equipping our security forces, particularly to guard our waterways to bring down the level of criminalities and all those who ply our coasts should feel secured,” Maku concluded.


Illegal bunkering and refining and oil theft are other major challenges facing Nigeria, particularly in the delta region. According to the Nigerian Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), crude oil theft stands at around three million barrels per month – an improvement over the theft of nine million barrels per month as at January last year. This drop was due to the establishment of a special task force to combat the issue.


Piracy and maritime insecurity are also big issues in the delta region and off the Nigerian coast. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in its global piracy report for the first quarter of this year, warned that West Africa remained a worsening piracy hotspot, with Nigeria being a noteworthy flashpoint.


Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have increased in recent months as the area, spanning a dozen countries, is a growing source of oil, cocoa and metals being shipped to the world's markets. The IMB said there were ten attacks off Nigeria in the first quarter of this year.


"Nigerian piracy is increasing in incidence and extending in range," said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan. "While the number of reported incidents in Nigeria is still less than Somalia, and hijacked vessels are under control of the pirates for days rather than months, the level of violence against crew is dangerously high."


Meanwhile, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) recorded a total of 83 piracy and sea robbery attacks, including other unlawful acts at sea, in 2011.


Late last month the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim said that the vast area of Nigeria’s territorial waters and an inadequate number of ships was challenging the ability of the navy to patrol and secure the country’s maritime domain. “The ships we have are tired old warhorses that are dilapidated beyond economic repairs. This is due to serial negligence of national security institutions over the years. The House Committee on Navy is aware of the state of the Navy. In other climes, the Navy is supposed to take delivery of new ships almost every year.


“For the Nigerian Navy to be efficient, we must talk about recapitalisation. In simple terms, we need to change the face of the Navy by buying new and more vessels for our operations,” he said.


The Nigerian Navy and security forces are, however, re-equipping. On May 3 the Nigerian Marine Police took delivery of two Armacraft Croq 1270 patrol vessels from China while a month ago Kobus Naval Design (KND) received a contract to supply two 24 metre P249 patrol craft to the Nigerian Customs Service, which will use them to combat smuggling and piracy.


Nigeria’s 2012 Defence Budget Proposal makes provision for three Shaldag Mk III fast patrol craft, three 24 metre coastal patrol craft and six 17 metre Manta Mk II ASD littoral interceptors. The FY2011 defence budget approved the acquisition of two offshore patrol vessels, the refurbishment of six coastal patrol craft by TP Marine and the delivery of nine Manta Mk II ASD craft. The Suncraft Group is expected to construct the six Manta Mk II ASD vessels, bringing the total ordered over the last several years to 21. The Manta Mk II first entered service with the Nigerian Navy in 2008.


French shipbuilder OCEA is building the three 24 metre coastal patrol craft and commenced sea trials of the first vessel on March 13.


Nigeria’s Navy is seeking government approval to acquire up to 49 ships and 42 helicopters over the next ten years to police the nation’s territorial waterways and Gulf of Guinea.


Some of these vessels will be built locally. Jonathan on June 1 commissioned the NNS Andoni, Nigeria’s first locally built warship, and laid the keel for a second Seaward Defence Boat, which will be commissioned next year.


Jonathan recently approved the purchase of two new 1 800 t Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for the Nigerian Navy, which will use them mainly for maritime surveillance, patrol and response tasks. The contract for the two OPVs was signed on April 18 this year, with China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited, the trade arm of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). They will be delivered in around three years time and will be partly built in Nigeria.

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29 juin 2012 5 29 /06 /juin /2012 12:44
Azerbaïdjan prévoit jusqu’à la fin de cette année de commencer à produire des « Kalachnikov »

29 juin 2012 Victoria Dementyeva – APA


Jusqu’à la fin de 2012, le Ministère de l’industrie de la défense remettra plus de 60 avions drone de reconnaissance au Ministère de la Défense


Bakou.-. « L’Azerbaïdjan n’a pas l’intention d’abandonner l’utilisation de AK-74 (machine, « Kalachnikov ») et les plans d’ici la fin de cette année d’organiser ses propres machines de production marquent le AK - 74 M, a déclaré aux journalistes le ministre de l’Industrie de la Défense de l’Azerbaïdjan Yavar Jamalov, en commentant le refus de plusieurs médias de l’Azerbaïdjan de fusils d’assaut Kalachnikov en faveur de « Tavor ».


Comme rapporte l’APA, le ministre a indiqué pour l’APA, qu’à l’heure actuelle le ministère fabrique 665 diffétrents types de produits. Vers la fin de l’année, ce chiffre atteindra à 700.


« Nous avons de nouveaux projets, principalement liés à la production de gros calibre des munitions, la production de munitions pour les chars 85 à 155 mm, de l’artillerie, des hélicoptères » dit M. Jamalov.


Selon Jamalov Jusqu’à la fin de 2012, le Ministère de l’industrie de la défense remettra plus de 60 avions drone de reconnaissance au Ministère de la Défense.

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