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23 avril 2012 1 23 /04 /avril /2012 07:45
U.K. Firm’s War-Zone Selling Point


Apr. 22, 2012 By ANDREW CHUTER Defense News


In Search of Buyer, DSG Promos Afghanistan Performance


LONDON — Faced with an 11,000-kilometer round trip to get service, repairs or upgrades for armored vehicles battered by the Taliban and the environment in Afghanistan, Britain’s Ministry of Defence instead opted to build a facility at its sprawling Camp Bastion in Helmand province to carry out the work.


The task of operating the factory in the desert went to the Defence Support Group (DSG), the up-for-sale, state-owned company that is already responsible for depth servicing and other work at its facilities in the U.K.


Now in its second full year of operation, the facility, known as the Equipment Sustainability System (ESS) Regeneration Capability, is proving its worth — saving the MoD money, relieving pressure on the air bridge between Afghanistan and the U.K. and getting vehicles back into the fray much faster.


Dave Burgess, the DSG general manager at the Camp Bastion facility, said the MoD has saved 22.9 million pounds ($36.5 million) in the first full year of operation — nearly 8 million more than predicted.


This year’s savings are shaping up to be even better, Burgess hinted.


Importantly for DSG, the facility is not just saving the MoD money and improving vehicle turnaround times. ESS is also boosting the company’s bottom line as it faces the challenge of replacing the profits from its recently closed military aircraft maintenance business at St. Athan, Wales.


The Bastion facility is reckoned to be the first British base workshop deployed in an operational theater since the Korean War.


“Conceptually, ESS was a good idea, and we can now see it working in practice,” Burgess said.


ESS mainly handles longer-term preplanned work on land platforms, he said, while the British Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers do the rapid-turnaround maintenance needed on the front line.


“In soldier terms, [the vehicles] get trashed,” Burgess said. “We give them an in-depth inspection, carry out the repairs, do a full service and any modifications and urgent operational upgrades required at the same time.”


Aside from armored vehicles like the Jackal, Husky and Warrior, ESS also services a range of land gear, including generators and electronic and optical equipment.


In the first year, 567 big pieces of equipment, from generators to armored vehicles and heavy equipment transporters, were serviced, repaired and updated by the 120 DSG and support employees at ESS.


British plans for the facility once combat troops are withdrawn at the end of 2014 are unclear. DSG has a minimum three-year contract for ESS, and while the drawdown will likely mean its eventual demise, the withdrawal of troops and equipment could bring opportunities of its own.


The MoD has been considering its options on what theater exit standard it wants for vehicles it brings home and whether that work is done back in the U.K. or at ESS, Burgess said.


The outcome of those deliberations will have a short-term impact on DSG’s efforts to remain viable amid the fallout from the government’s economic austerity measures, which has included serious cuts to spending and capabilities in sectors where the company operates.


While DSG has brought significant benefits to maintenance and repair activities in the U.K. since it was founded in 2008, reduced MoD spending could leave it exposed, said Howard Wheeldon of Wheeldon Strategic Advisory.


“The coalition government policy on deficit reduction and eventual privatization of DSG is an inevitable consequence of changes demanded by SDSR [Britain’s Strategic Defence and Security Review],” he said. “However, while the necessity to further reduce costs is an obvious consequence, we caution that with equipment capability reduction across all three U.K. armed forces, a privatized DSG with 12 bases and 3,000 employees could find itself deemed too large for future anticipated levels of maintenance and repair activity.”


The government’s 2010 SDSR resulted in large cuts in the numbers of some operational vehicles, like the Challenger II main battle tank.


DSG has other problems on the vehicles front. With withdrawal looming, the government’s heavy spending on urgent operational requirements in Afghanistan is starting to end. DSG has been a big beneficiary, with its facilities kept humming by extensive Army-required upgrades to platforms such as the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle and CVR(T) scout machine to increase protection against roadside bombs and fix other problems.


None of that’s good news for a company that the Conservative-led coalition decided would be sold off as part of its 2010 strategic defense review. Industry executives here said the delay between the decision to sell and the sale itself is to allow DSG to complete its transformation and secure the large long-term contracts that would lure would-be buyers.


Two major deals are in the works, but neither has been signed. Lockheed Martin UK has said it is committed to using DSG as the integrator on a $1 billion update of the Warrior, which includes fitting a new turret and cannon.


General Dynamics UK has a memorandum of understanding with DSG to build scout vehicles and other variants in the British Army’s specialist vehicles program. GD is working on the demonstration phase, and an MoD decision on a production deal is likely some way off.


An MoD spokeswoman said the ministry is “still looking to sell the Defence Support Group in line with the SDSR announcement. You can expect further developments later this year.”


Defense ministers have previously talked about completing the sale in 2013-14.


It’s unclear if all of DSG is up for sale. Aside from land systems repair and upgrade, DSG has an electronics and components unit that tests, repairs and calibrates avionics and other equipment.


Last year, it also took over the part of the MoD that undertakes vehicle storage — a small but important element in DSG’s strategic plan to offer customers a cradle-to-grave vehicle capability.


The company will soon report its annual figures for the year that ended in March, and defense analysts here said they are hopeful of an improvement over the previous year’s performance despite what is likely to have been a declining workload in the land and air sectors.


Unfortunately, 2011 is the last year in which DSG can rely on its Large Aircraft unit to underpin performance. The unit closed last month with completion of the last depth-maintenance program on the Royal Air Force’s VC-10 fleet ahead of the tanker/transporter’s retirement.


In 2010, the air and electronics businesses together (DSG doesn’t split them) reported 7.2 million pounds operating profit against total returns of 7.5 million pounds.


About Defence Support Group


Owner: U.K. government. Formed in 2008 from the Defence Aviation Repair Agency and the Army Base Repair Organisation.

Headquarters: Andover, England.

2010 sales: 209 million pounds.

Operating profit: 7.5 million pounds.

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19 avril 2012 4 19 /04 /avril /2012 12:40
IAI to offer Germany Heron TP systems


April 18, 2012 by Arie Egozi - FG


Tel Aviv - Germany is expected to re-evaluate the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron TP unmanned air system following Cassidian's decision to halt development work on its Talarion programme.


The German military already uses a version of IAI's Heron 1 UAS in Afghanistan and its army has previously been briefed on the capabilities of the turboprop-engined Heron TP.


Sources say Berlin's expected competition for a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS will be fierce, with the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator B another candidate.


EADS company Cassidian stopped work on the Talarion after failing to secure the required state funding from target nations France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Turkey to advance the programme towards building a flying prototype.

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19 avril 2012 4 19 /04 /avril /2012 12:00
Azerbaijan Buys Anti-Tank Missiles and Mine Throwers from Israel


April 18, 2012 defpro.com


Baku | Azerbaijan bough anti-tank missiles and mine throwers from Israel. APA reports that Azerbaijan reached agreements with the Israeli “Rafael” company last year on the purchase of “Spike SR” and “Spike LR” anti-tank missiles, as well as Cardom 120mm mine throwers with Elbit Systems.


No additional details were provided on Azerbaijan’s order and the terms of delivery.


Spike SR is the short range version of the anti-tank weapon system, with a minimum range of 200 m (660 ft) and a maximum range of 800 m. It is intended for infantry use. The reusable command and launch unit (CLU), battery, tripod and the thermal sight are also used by other versions of the Spike missile family (with the exception of Spike NLOS), each weighing 5 kg, 1 kg, 2.8 kg, and 4 kg, respectively.


Spike LR is a long range version. The weight of the missile is 14 kg, offering a maximum range of 4,000 m and used by dismounted soldiers and light combat vehicles. It adds fibre-optic communications to and from the launching soldier during flight.


The 120 mm Cardom mine throwers, produced by Soltam Systems, can discharge 15 projectiles per minute. Their maximum range is 7,240 metres.


Models of the Spike anti-tank missiles and Cardom mine throwers were on display at the military parade held in Baku last year. (APA/Rashad Suleymanov)

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18 avril 2012 3 18 /04 /avril /2012 12:55
Canada’s Pullout from AWACS and NATO’s AGS. A Smart Move?



April 17, 2012. By David Pugliese - Defence Watch


The Canadian Forces hope to save at least $90-million a year by pulling out of NATO programs operating unmanned aerial vehicles as well as airborne early warning planes.


Defence Minister Peter MacKay gave U.S. officials a heads-up last year about the withdrawal, pointing out that it will free up 142 Canadians assigned to NATO for new jobs.


The shutdown of Canada’s contribution to NATO’s airborne warning aircraft, known as AWACS, will save about $50-million a year, according to DND records. Another $40-million a year will be saved as a result of Canada’s withdrawal from NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Program, which would see the purchase of advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (latest generation Global Hawks) to conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering. Other DND documents Defence Watch has obtained indicate the savings could be higher than the $90 million. The move was conducted as part of the department’s contribution to the government’s Strategic Review.


Canada has been involved in NATO’s AWACS program for more than 25 years and the aircraft were seen as key to the alliance’s success during the recent war in Libya.


NATO also wants to ease the strain on the U.S. UAVs by having a pool of Global Hawks  at the alliance’s disposal.


Canada’s pull out from the UAV program will be done by the end of this month, the Defence Department told Defence Watch.


Do you think the pullout from AWACS and withdraw from AGS makes sense? There has been so much emphasis put on the importance of ISR collection in recent military operations, particularly during the Libyan war, that some officers have suggested to Defence Watch that this is a step in the wrong direction.

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15 avril 2012 7 15 /04 /avril /2012 07:10



Apr 15, 2012 Spacewar.com


Hunt Valley MD - AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has announced a strategic alliance that combines AAI's expertise as a UAS systems integrator with KOR's signals intelligence (SIGINT) equipment.


The organizations intend to integrate KOR's SIGINT products, focused on expeditionary tactical unmanned aircraft such as AAI's renowned Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System, as a new addition to AAI's family of Multi-Mission Payloads (MMP). Each modular MMP "pod" can be attached quickly to the Shadow aircraft to equip it for the mission at hand.


"This technology provides warfighters actionable, time-sensitive data on the capabilities and activities of their adversaries," said Senior Vice President and General Manager Steven Reid of AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems.


"Equipping our Shadow aircraft - a trusted and omnipresent asset for so many U.S. and allied customers - for this collection mission can help deliver intelligence fast, and to a broader array of deployed forces and formations."


"During the process of evaluating initial alliance partners, KOR recognized that AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems was a market leader in UAS design, development, production and support, and that the Shadow Tactical UAS is ideally suited for KOR's market-leading SIGINT precision location capability," said KOR Electronics President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Carnino.


"KOR's precision location capability, coupled with the Shadow aircraft's existing electro-optic/infrared sensor, will significantly improve the find, fix and finish timeline and enhance the utility of the Shadow system's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance role."


KOR Electronics, a subsidiary of Mercury Computer Systems, is a leading supplier of subsystem-level solutions for defense prime contractors supporting the worldwide Defense and Intelligence communities. KOR is headquartered in Cypress, California with principal locations in Aurora, Colorado, and Rome, New York.


Mercury Computer Systems is a best-of-breed provider of open, commercially developed, application-ready, multi-INT subsystems for defense prime contractors. With over 30 years of experience in embedded computing, superior domain expertise in radar, EW, EO/IR, C4I and sonar applications, and more than 300 successful program deployments including Aegis, Global Hawk and Predator, Mercury's Services and Systems Integration (SSI) team leads the industry in partnering with customers to design and integrate system-level solutions that minimize program risk, maximize application portability and accelerate customers' time to market.


AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems has designed, manufactured and fielded combat-proven unmanned aircraft systems for more than 25 years. AAI's multi-mission capable unmanned aircraft and interoperable command and control technologies provide critical situational awareness and actionable intelligence for users worldwide. Its Australia-based strategic business, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, is a manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft systems. AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems is an operating unit of Textron Systems.


Textron Systems has been providing innovative solutions to the defense, homeland security and aerospace communities for more than 50 years. Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., the company is known for its unmanned aircraft systems, advanced marine craft, armored vehicles, intelligent battlefield and surveillance systems, intelligence software solutions, precision smart weapons, piston engines, test and training systems, and total life cycle sustainment and operational services. Textron Systems includes AAI Logistics and Technical Services, AAI Test and Training, AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Advanced Systems, Aerosonde, ESL Defence, Lycoming Engines, Medical Numerics, MillenWorks, Overwatch, Textron Defense Systems and Textron Marine and Land Systems.

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13 avril 2012 5 13 /04 /avril /2012 07:30
New Australian submarines could be colossal


04/12/2012  Richard de Silva - defenceiq.com


This month, the full independent report on the sustainment of Australia’s Collins-class submarines, otherwise known as project SEA 1000, will be released. The plan for Australia’s Royal Navy is to replace its six Collins-class boats with 12 new vessels to begin entering the waves by 2025.


Rumours abound that the nation’s Federal Cabinet will settle on what is in essence an advanced Collins-class, a locally built sub with more firepower, stealth and overall speed. The capability outline includes recovery of covert ops forces while submerged and land-attack cruise missiles.


The multi-billion contract to replace the existing 30 year lifespan boats are staying in the drawer until 2015, but assurances have reportedly been made to keep production within Australia. Ministers will undoubtedly be keen to avoid the controversy and accusations of bias that stained the acquisition of the last submarine fleet.


Necessary arsenal


The widely held belief is that Australia requires advanced systems that match the type of platforms being deployed and cooked up by more powerful allied nations. Considering the immediate threats to Australia’s interests, as well as potential socio-political problems facing the decades ahead, and of course the nation’s tremendous coastal border, there seems enough of a case for solid investment into a muscular and highly capable fleet.


The most necessary of capabilities includes longevity and speed, as response to situations within Asian waters could call for Australia to be first-responders to the scene, and then to patrol for lengthy periods to enforce its presence as a deterrent.


Current Collins-class vessels boast a sustained submerged speed of 21 knots at 32.6 nautical miles and a surface speed of 10.5 knots at 11,000 nautical miles. In other words, a surfaced journey between HMAS Stirling and the centre of the Indian Ocean would take just under twelve days. The jury is still out on whether Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) will be needed to reduce snouting, or indeed even possible within the allocated timeframe.


The Collins-class can also endure for 70 days and has the capacity of 22 torpedoes, along with an upgrade to the modified Raytheon CCS Mk2 (AN/BYG-1) combat system as also favoured by the US Virginia-class submarines. Obviously however, the full specs of the current Australian fleet will no longer be enough for the emerging battlespace.


So what’s the threat?


In the immediate ocean landscape, China is arguably the biggest concern to Australia, considering its geographical position. There remains the ongoing risk of potential unrest being stirred in Taiwan if the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, the current opposition, manages to take office and naturally begins pushing harder for a removal of Chinese governance. Australia would be expected to respond to the defence of the island if China ever took action on its threat of sending troops to quell any movement against its interests.


Australia also stands at the doorstep of the South China Sea, the waters of which are disputed by a great many nations, including the 30,000-plus Spratly Islands occupied by various militaries today.


North Korea is also a concern with the recent shuffle at the top of the leadership deck, and potential for spats and naval demonstrations between the Koreas is again in the red. On a positive note, Burma is showing signs that it is re-joining the discussion table, human rights record considered, so may no longer prove to be as tight a noose as it has been in recent years.


What will Australia have learnt?


Australia will be paying acute attention to the decisions being made elsewhere in the world and, more importantly, the ramifications and problems with those agreed projects. The well-documented suffering of Canada’s submarine fleet since its purchase of retired UK diesel-electric Cold War era boats, will have no doubt sent a cold shiver down the spine of defence minister Stephen Smith.


It can also learn just as much from the UK’s spending on Vanguard and Astute class vessels, proving that higher investment does not by any means equate to a smooth road ahead, as demonstrated through a series of mechanical failures.


Most importantly, attention will be paid to the recent developments in the surrounding area. As reported, India is also campaigning to complete its home-based submarine programme, but has wisely opted to work on the frame of French Scorpene vessels while also augmenting its capabilities through its leasing of a nuclear-powered sub from Russia. Australia ruled out acquisition of the Scorpene in 2009 based on its list of broader operational requirements.


Further out, other Asian-Pacific nations are leaning towards small diesel-electric solutions, offering little in the way of immediate protection for larger-scale engagements – a gap Australia is looking to fill.


What move should it make?


While hardly a decision to be made lightly, the biggest factor will always be the dollar, but at the risk of playing Armchair Admiral, buying cheap may not be the wise move.


If Australia is seduced by its low-cost options, it could end up plugging a leak with one hand while drilling a hole with the other, effectively wasting the entire expense on a capability that is outdated within 10 years.


Based on the threat already outlined, most experts are confident that this will not be the route taken. However, the fact that the country’s current Collins-class vessels are the most expensive subs on Earth to keep in shape – over £70 million each per annum – any decision to spend more rather than less will not be seen as popular among the taxpaying public, particularly as cost overruns and project delays are almost inevitable on such a complex undertaking (it is worth noting that all of Australia’s active submarines were delayed by at least a year and half). Defence ministers will need the fortitude of a steel hull to announce any ruling.


As with its armoured vehicle decisions, Australia has recently faced internal debate over defence programmes hinging themselves on indigenous industry, with the public keen to keep its own economy alive on the drip of manufacturing. Despite this, if considering the long-term benefit, now is not the time for any nation to be thinking of having its own, unsupported platform, if such a thing can be helped.


Interoperable technology, external suppliers, and the knowledge well of allied forces could lengthen the life-span of new assets at a time when joint force training and joint systems management are seen as a progressive approach. British aircraft carriers providing a platform for US and French jets is just one example of how international navies are finding ways to press and sweeten their lemons.


The American Way?


Sticking with the subject of international partnerships, one option mooted is to buy the aforementioned Virginia-class boats from the US Navy, ensuring that Australia’s underwater capabilities match or exceed anything that other global powers have to offer.


Outright purchase of the American vessels – with bells and whistles – would equate to £1.6bn per unit, but the security of MRO, as well as reaffirmed bonds between the two allies could be worth the high figure.


Whatever the decision, Australia will not only have to do its best in predicting the technology required to fight tomorrow’s battles, but also in maintaining the balance within its own ranks to ensure any new platforms, homegrown or otherwise, are fully equipped with a dedicated crew and an ability to repair and replenish its systems throughout the coming years.


On its side is the fact that, unlike some of her partners, Australia has not allowed its submarine shipbuilding knowledge to decay, and instead possesses a strong team of project managers, analysts and engineers ready to take this challenge into deep waters.


It is this pedigree that increases the likelihood of Sea 1000 becoming a future success story.

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12 avril 2012 4 12 /04 /avril /2012 07:20
Russian AA, ABM systems - alternative for India


Apr 11, 2012 by Ilya Kramnik - Voice of Russia


Moscow - India's army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh said in March that the Indian army had been rendered inefficient, slamming the defense ministry for corruption, which can help Russia get its foot in the door of the secluded Indian anti-missile market.


The recent letter by Gen. VK Singh to the Indian Prime Minister, leaked by Daily News and Analysis, didn't focus on the Indian anti-missile defenses alone. The army chief criticized most of India's armed forces for their lack of fighting capacity and stigmatized the country's military procurement system as highly corrupt.


According to General Singh, most of the Indian armed forces are underequipped with cutting-edge weapons and ammo. The air defense, with 97% of its hardware being obsolete, has revealed the biggest holes.


Russia dominates Indian military imports, supplying armored vehicles, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, multi-purpose fighters and helicopters. For more than four decades, India has been leading the pack of Soviet and Russian weapon buyers.


Still, Russian anti-aircraft manufacturers haven't been able to tap into any major Indian air defense deals for several years now, being figuratively 'locked out' of the Indian medium and long range air defense market.


"Russia has offered India a number of modern anti-aircraft systems," Said Aminov, editor-in-chief with the VestnikPVO military news site, told The Voice of Russia. "It was actively offering India its S-300 and the "Buk" missile system, also known as Gang.


But India showed no interest in them. As a result, its air defense is currently outfitted with the "not so cutting-edge" 2K22 "Tunguska" system, as well as with "Shtil" and "Shtil-1" naval anti-missile systems, supplied by Russia since the Soviet collapse," the military maven said.


The reason the Indians are shunning Russian modern air defense hardware, says Said Aminov, lies in Israel's influence and in India's reliance on its own powers. "Israel has already supplied them with its "Spyder" and "Barak" systems.


The Israelis have also talked the Indian military into developing a joint "Barak-8" missile system, which covers a range of up to 85 km. Moreover, India is now developing its own medium-range "Akash" anti-missile complex, based on the 1960s "Kvadrat" of the Soviet origin. But the system has been under development way too long and already became morally obsolete."


Experts believe that modern India possesses no air defense capable of protecting it from Pakistani (or Chinese) medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM). It's striving to build an interceptor missile based on its own research, which will take them a while.


The Israeli "Arrow" system isn't likely to secure the Indian skies either, since it was built with a considerable help from the US, which doesn't tolerate such military secrets being passed on to non-satellite states. In 2002, America has already blocked a similar deal, which left India with nothing but a "Green Pine" radar complex instead of the whole "Arrow."


The Pakistani missile threat is meanwhile too high for India to ignore. That's why India has no other alternative today than the Russian Antei-2500 or S-300VMD, the export variant of the S-300V system.


Taking into account India's course towards localization of foreign military research, it may be interested in diversifying its air defense with imported Russian systems (the S-300VMD, for one) and a joint anti-missile system deal, which it could then export to third countries.


The Indian Defense Ministry scandal is only gaining pace but it has not yet affected the Russian military industry. With the right approach, Russian weapon-makers could get a firm foothold in the Indian market. The only question is whether they are ready for a long and hard talk.

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11 avril 2012 3 11 /04 /avril /2012 16:50


Super Puma - Eurocopter

Super Puma - Eurocopter


11/04/2012 Michel Cabirol – La Tribune.fr


En plein renouvellement de sa gamme, la filiale hélicoptériste d'EADS travaille sur deux nouveaux projets, le X6, un programme appelé à succéder à la famille Super Puma, et le X9, un projet qui sera développé à partir de l'Allemagne.


C’est dans le plus grand secret que Eurocopter, en plein renouvellement de sa gamme, a commencé à travailler sur le remplacement de la famille des Super Puma, selon des sources concordantes. Nom de code, X6. Après le X2 (successeur du l’Ecureuil), le X3 (démonstrateur d’un hélicoptère hybride) et le X4 (successeur du Dauphin), des programmes ou des projets qui ont été dévoilés ces derniers mois par la filiale hélicoptériste d’EADS, voici donc le X6, appelé à succéder à l’horizon 2020 aux Super Puma, dont le premier exemplaire des AS332 a été livré en 1981.


"Il n’y a pas de financement et le projet reste encore à évaluer, explique-t-on à "latribune.fr". Nous devrons décider dans les deux ans qui viennent le lancement de ce projet". Pour autant, le PDG d’Eurocopter, Lutz Bertling, a déjà assuré en début d’année aux salariés français que le développement de ce programme se ferait sur le site de Marignane, près de Marseille, selon la CFE-CGE d’Eurocopter. Il l’a confirmé à nouveau lors d'un comité central d'entreprise (CCE) en mars aux organisations syndicales.


Pour la filiale d’EADS, ce programme est très important. Car la famille des Super Puma (des hélicoptères de la classe de 11 tonnes) est un véritable best-seller. Notamment les EC225 (civil) et les EC725 (militaire).


Le X9, un programme civil développé en Allemagne


Parallèlement Lutz Bertling a révélé début mars l’existence du projet X9, un programme civil dont le développement sera piloté à partir du site allemand de Donauwörth, dont l’avenir en terme de charge serait compliqué. En quoi consistera ce programme ? « Il est apparemment destiné à combler des « trous dans la raquette » de notre gamme », selon la CFE-CGC, qui s’appuie sur les propos de Lutz Bertling. Pour autant, les syndicats s’inquiètent de savoir si le X9 ne va pas empiéter sur le périmètre du programme X6.


Ce dernier a rappelé qu’il « est primordial pour Eurocopter que le savoir-faire en termes de R&D soit pérennisé des deux côtés du Rhin ». Des discussions sont aujourd’hui en cours pour le développement de cet hélicoptère civil avec Berlin et la Bavière. Notamment pour obtenir des financements publics allemands, à l’image du Grand emprunt français. La décision de mettre en œuvre ce projet doit être prise courant 2012 pour un lancement en 2013. Ainsi, ce nouveau programme viendrait assurer le savoir-faire et la charge de Donauwörht, en complément de l’EC135 et l’EC145 ainsi que la fin des livraisons Tigre et NH90 prévues en 2020.

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11 avril 2012 3 11 /04 /avril /2012 16:40



11.04.2012 par Frédéric Lert (FOB)


Le 24 avril prochain, l’US Army organise une journée d’information sur l’Armored Multi Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) au profit des industriels. L’occasion pour ceux-ci d’en apprendre un peu plus sur les besoins affichés par les militaires américains, avec en ligne de mire rien de moins que le remplacement des derniers M113 encore en service. Depuis 2007, l’US Army n’a plus investit sur ce véhicule dont elle pense aujourd’hui avoir épuisé toutes les possibilités de développement et de modernisation. Clairement, le M113 ne répond plus aux exigences actuelles en matière de mobilité et de protection. Son remplaçant devra équiper dans un premier temps 24 brigades à raison de 114 véhicules par unité. Si l’on ajoute quelques unités annexes, le besoin total serait un peu supérieur à 3000 véhicules. Le chiffre de 5000 engins in fine est parfois même évoqué. Ces blindés ne seraient d’ailleurs pas forcément dimensionnés pour le combat offensif, comme peuvent l’être les  Bradley. L’US Army envisage plutôt un rôle de véhicule utilitaire blindé du champ de bataille. Le choix entre la roue et la chenille n’est pas encore fait et la compétition à venir placera sans doute face aux intégrateurs traditionnels de véhicules blindés les fabricants de MRAP, ces derniers ayant eu le temps de se faire les dents tout au long des dix ans de conflit afghan.

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11 avril 2012 3 11 /04 /avril /2012 11:57

Su-30SM Fighter source Ria Novisti


April 11, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE


The Russian Air Force has ordered thirty Su-30SM fighters, to be delivered by 2015. This is the first Su-30 model for the Russian Air Force that uses thrust vectoring (the ability of the engine to direct its exhaust a bit and enhance maneuverability). The Su-30SM is a variant of the 38 ton Su-30MKI, which is exported to India.


Both aircraft are most similar to the two seat American F-15E fighter-bomber. The Su-30MKI, even though equipped with Western electronics, costs less than $40 million each, about half what an equivalent F-15 costs. The Su-30MKI can carry more than eight tons of bombs and hit targets over 1,500 kilometers away. The Su-30SM is believed to be very similar in capabilities and price. Apparently the Russians were so impressed with the Indian experience with the Su-30MKI that they decided to get something similar for themselves.

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9 avril 2012 1 09 /04 /avril /2012 21:04



Apr. 9, 2012 By ANDREW CHUTER and PAUL KALLENDER-UMEZU – Defence News


LONDON and TOKYO — Just four months after Japan announced a ground-breaking relaxation of restrictions on the development of defense equipment with foreign partners, Tokyo is taking its first steps toward a deal with the British government.


Japan is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding covering future partnering in the defense and research sector with the British as part of a planned April 10 summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his counterpart, David Cameron.


The Japanese have teamed with the U.S. for years on joint defense programs covering areas such as missile defense. But for half a century, it has banned cooperation with anybody else.


That changed last December, when the Japanese government said it would lift its ban on the joint development or production of defense equipment with international partners.


Sources in London said it may take another nine months or so before there is a firm agreement in place.


A U.S. defense industry executive, however, warned against expecting rapid progress on joint development with the Japanese if the U.S. experience is anything to go by.


“The Japanese have been discussing development for years with the U.S.,” he said. “The concrete progress has been glacial by U.S. standards, but the rules have changed, and the financial environment is such that Japanese industry knows they need to cooperate to advance, or in some cases, probably to survive.”


Ahead of the April 10 meeting, Japanese Defense Ministry spokesman Takaaki Ohno confirmed that senior ministry officials will meet British counterparts as part of the high-level diplomatic exchange between the two countries. But while defense cooperation and joint development programs are on the agenda, he said, no specific details had been decided yet.


A British Ministry of Defence spokesperson said, “The U.K. will continue to work with the Japanese MoD to identify the best opportunities for our defense industries to cooperate on equipment projects following the announcement of changes to the Japanese policy on overseas transfer of defense equipment.”


Previous media speculation in Japan said that three or four joint development programs were being discussed, including possible work in the artillery sector.


Shinichi Kiyotani, a Japan-based defense analyst, said he didn’t expect any major announcements to come from the April 10 meeting, and that any Anglo-Japanese defense cooperation would start slowly, perhaps with deals to cooperate on subsystems development.


Two areas might be mine detection and clearing, where the U.K. and Japan have complementary technology, as well as nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) suits, he said.


Recent U.K. government export licensing applications show the British already provide components for the NBC market in Japan. There may also be cooperation in field artillery, with Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces interested in BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems M777 howitzer, he said.


BAE is the world leader in lightweight 155mm howitzer systems, with customers in the U.S. and elsewhere.


Tony Ennis, president of North East Asia for BAE Systems, said, “Should such [an intergovernmental] framework be agreed to in the future, we would view it as an excellent initiative which would help us continue building on our established presence in Japan and explore new opportunities.”


The biggest British defense export to Japan in recent times was the sale of 14 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.


Local AW101 builder Kawasaki has delivered half of the order so far.


Ohno said the April 10 meeting with the British could be seen in the context of last year’s partial relaxation of Japan’s three principles on exporting arms, under which the export of weapons and related technologies had been essentially banned.


“The U.K. is a potential partner because our policy is that partner countries are ones that are able to cooperate with us as allies, and the U.K. is a member of NATO,” Ohno said.

Looking for Alternatives?


Several Japan-based sources characterized the talks as part of a growing and genuine interest in forging defense cooperation with the U.K., partly because Japan could now do it, and partly because of a feeling that Tokyo needs to compensate the British for Japan’s controversial decision to purchase Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters over the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace Japan’s aging Mitsubishi F-4EJ Kai Phantoms.


Tim Huxley, the International Institute for Strategic Studies-Asia executive director, said the Japanese may have other motives for broadening their defense partnership base beyond the U.S.


“The Japanese may want alternatives to reliance on the U.S. for defense-industrial collaboration,” he said. “Partnership with the U.K., and probably also other friendly states with advanced defense-industrial capabilities, such as France and maybe Australia, offers a way of ‘keeping the Americans honest,’” he said.


The partnership approach also has benefits for the British. With government defense research and technology spending on the floor in Britain, the Ministry of Defence has been looking for foreign partnerships to offset the decline.


Late last year, Britain signed a defense research agreement with India covering advanced explosives, UAVs and other sectors.


“From the British government perspective, collaboration with Asian partners provides an opportunity to broaden defense-industrial collaboration beyond Europe, where cooperation other than at the bilateral Anglo-French level has virtually become anathema for the Conservatives,” Huxley said.


The Tokyo summit is part of Cameron’s three-country swing through Asia, which also will take him to Malaysia and Indonesia.


He is expected to emphasize Britain’s continuing commitment to support of the Eurofighter Typhoon program ahead of a decision by the Malaysians on the procurement of a new combat jet.


A number of defense deals with the Malaysians also could be announced. And the visit to Indonesia could see a defense pact signed by the two countries.


Staff writer Wendell Minnick in Taipei contributed to this report.

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3 avril 2012 2 03 /04 /avril /2012 12:24



02.04.2012 MER et MARINE


On en sait désormais plus sur la version « RWS30 » de l'intercepteur DV15 des Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie, dont nous avions diffusé les premières images l'été dernier. Fort du succès des essais réalisés ces derniers mois, les CMN ont décidé de dévoiler ce bateau très innovant. Par rapport à ses aînés du type DV15, déjà livrés à plusieurs pays (Yémen, Qatar, Emirats Arabes Unis), le RWS30 présente une innovation majeure : l'intégration d'un canon télé-opéré de 30mm. « Plusieurs facteurs nous ont amené à développer cette version RWS30 de l'intercepteur DV15. Tout d'abord, il s'agissait d'une évolution naturelle de notre intercepteur en service dans plusieurs pays et jusqu'à présent armé uniquement d'affûts manuels de 12.7mm. Notre plateforme avait été conçue dès son origine pour un usage militaire et intégrait depuis longtemps des standards de conception et de design militaires. Elle offrait donc d'une base cohérente pour développer un tel produit », explique-t-on aux CMN. Pour mener à bien l'évolution du DV15, le constructeur français a noué différents partenariats. « Tout d'abord, les Suédois de BAE Systems Bofors, au savoir faire reconnu depuis plus de 120 ans en matière de canons, et avec qui nous entretenons des relations constructives sur d'autres projets. Bofors nous proposait une tourelle de calibre 30mm stabilisée parfaitement cohérente en taille et dimensions avec notre plateforme. Ensuite, Thales Communications, avec qui nous travaillons également souvent et dont les solutions avancées de communications et de commandement correspondaient parfaitement à nos objectifs ».

Le DV15 RWS30 (© : CMN)

Le challenge de l'intégration

Pour les CMN et leurs partenaires, la mise en oeuvre d'un canon de 30mm sur l'intercepteur fut un challenge, intégrer une telle arme sur une plateforme d'à peine 16 mètres de long relevant en effet de la prouesse technique. L'arme en question est un canon de type ATK M230LF. Cette version modifiée de l'affût équipant les hélicoptères d'attaque américains Apache dispose d'une alimentation par bande, d'une cadence de tir de 200 coups par minute et d'un recul atténué. Il est intégré par Bofors sur sa tourelle gyro-stabilisée Lemur, un système navalisé muni d'un bloc senseurs avec des caméras jour/nuit et une télémétrie laser, d'un module balistique et poursuite. La tourelle est intégrée à bord au système de navigation et/ou à un mini système de combat fourni par Thales afin de désigner les objectifs et recevoir les données de navigation nécessaires à la balistique. « L'intégration à bord de la tourelle Lemur a constitué pour nos équipes, en collaboration avec celles de Bofors, un réel tour de force technologique dans de nombreux domaines. En matière de structure, bien évidemment, car placer un canon de 30mm d'environ 340 kilos sur le toit d'un roof d'un navire d'environ 16 mètres filant à plus de 50 noeuds (avec des chocs au niveau du roof pouvant aller jusqu'à 7 g) ne constitue pas une mince affaire ! »

Le DV15 RWS30 (© : CMN)

« En matière d'aménagement et de propulsion ensuite, de façon à conserver la stabilité et les performances du navire tout en compensant l'adjonction de poids dans les hauts. En matière de compatibilité électromagnétique également, notamment vis-à-vis de la sécurité des munitions à amorce électrique et des interférences mutuelles inter-équipements. Enfin, dans un certain nombre de domaine connexes comme l'ergonomie, l'optimisation du champ de tir, le stockage et le cheminement des munitions, la signature radar... », explique-t-on aux CMN. Pour parvenir à relever le défi, l'industriel normand, basé à Cherbourg, s'est appuyé sur les compétences de ses équipes en matière de design, d'intégration et de recours à des matériaux adaptés : « Vu la taille limitée de la plateforme (et donc la proximité des équipements) et les contraintes fortes d'architecture navale liées aux performances visées, nous avons été amenés à aborder l'ensemble des travaux d'intégration de façon globale. L'expérience et le savoir-faire du chantier en matière d'intégration de systèmes de combat mais également celui de notre filiale JMV Industries, dans le domaine des matériaux composites haute performance, ont été les garants de notre succès ».

Le DV15 RWS30 (© : CMN)

Le DV15 RWS30 (© : CMN)

Campagnes d'essais et de tirs concluantes

Selon les CMN, les performances de base du DV15, comme la vitesse, la maniabilité, l'habitabilité (équipage de 3 à 4 personnes) ou encore l'autonomie (350 nautiques à 40 noeuds) sont préservées sur la version RWS30. Et, avec ce programme, l'intercepteur gagne grandement en capacité, grâce à son canon de 30mm, le bateau pouvant emporter plus de 300 munitions (3 x 110 coups), ainsi que des systèmes de communication et de commandement fournis par Thales. Et c'est avec succès, fin 2011, que le DV15 RWS30 a démontré ses performances lors de campagnes d'essais et de tirs menées au large de Cherbourg. « Nous avons franchi allégrement la barre des 50 noeuds et travaillons encore aujourd'hui à améliorer sensiblement cette performance. Nous avons validé les portées de communications, notamment dans la gamme VHF, lors d'essais en septembre denier en collaboration avec Thales. En octobre, une campagne de tir nous a permis de valider l'ensemble de l'intégration à bord : intégration physique, interfaçage avec le système de navigation et performances de tir. Concernant ces dernières, le comportement de la tourelle est excellent, et les résultats de tir à des vitesses jusqu'à 50 noeuds se rapprochent des performances intrinsèques de la tourelle ! »

Le DV15 RWS30 (© : CMN)

Un large spectre de missions

L'une des raisons qui a conduit les CMN à développer ce nouveau produit est une évolution des besoins des marines. « La demande sur le marché des intercepteurs a évolué ces dernières années vers de nouvelles missions, de nouveaux concepts d'emplois, qui requièrent des systèmes de combat évolués et efficaces ainsi que des capacités d'intégration au sein de dispositif de surveillance et de protection globaux ». Concernant les missions envisageables avec ce nouveau modèle d'intercepteur, le spectre s'est largement étoffé avec la version RWS30. « Elles incluent bien évidemment l'interception, la protection d'infrastructures maritimes critiques, la protection de zone, la lutte contre les trafics, la piraterie, le terrorisme, les missions de police et de souveraineté, d'escorte ... Le champs est large et certainement non exhaustif. Nul doute que les opérationnels sauront imaginer d'autres emplois pour une telle capacité, au vu de leurs missions et organisations propres. Le cas échéant, nous saurons tout naturellement adapter le DV15 à des demandes spécifiques ».

Essais d'un Gunshot Detection System - GDS (© : CMN)

Système modulaire et équipements complémentaires

On notera d'ailleurs que la tourelle Lemur est modulaire et permet d'emporter des armes de calibres différents, comme des mitrailleuses de 12.7mm. La coopération des CMN avec Thales garantit aussi un large choix de solutions dans le domaine des communications. En ce qui concerne la détection, l'intercepteur peut, également, être doté de systèmes électro-optiques. Sur ce point, le constructeur français a collaboré avec Alfaphotonics et validé en mer l'emport d'une boule optronique de type SeaFlir 230 de FLIR Systems. Enfin, CMN a validé l'intégration d'un système de détection de tirs (Gunshot Detection System) d'Acoem (ex-01dB-Metravib) qui pourrait être utile pour des missions en zones côtières, dans des deltas ou des chapelets d'îles par exemple. « Comme vous le voyez, à travers les développements du DV15RWS30, c'est tout une gamme de charges utiles que nous pouvons donc maintenant proposer à nos clients. Enfin, nous pouvons proposer une version classifié BV ou encore une version intégrant une mature démontable permettant un transport par voie routière ou par avion cargo, comme un A400M, pour un déploiement rapide, des missions de protection d'évacuation de ressortissants par la mer par exemple ».

Le DV15 RWS30 (© : CMN)

Le DV15 RWS30 (© : CMN)

Nouveaux essais et premiers clients attendus

Les CMN espèrent bientôt conclure un premier contrat pour cette nouvelle génération d'intercepteurs, sur laquelle le groupe français fonde de grands espoirs. Mais au chantier cherbourgeois, on se veut encore discret : « Nous garderons nécessairement secret le détail de nos prospections. Tout ce qu'on peut dire est qu'elles avancent dans le bon sens. Concernant le futur à court terme, une nouvelle campagne d'essais et de tirs est programmée au printemps. Nous testerons notamment une nouvelle version de la tourelle Lemur incluant un dispositif de visée indépendant (independent line of sight) ».
On notera que les CMN présenteront le DV15 RWS30 à Euronaval, qui se déroulera en octobre prochain au Bourget, près de Paris. Ce salon professionnel, le plus grand dans le monde consacré au naval de défense, sera également l'occasion, pour l'industriel, de dévoiler de nouveaux designs sur sa gamme de bâtiments de moyen tonnage. On parle notamment de nouveautés dans les gammes de patrouilleurs et corvettes des types Vigilante et Combattante...

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2 avril 2012 1 02 /04 /avril /2012 12:55

nimr II


April 2, 2012: STRATEGY PAGE


The UAE (United Arab Emirates) has ordered another 200 NIMR vehicles for its armed forces. The NIMR is produced by a UAE company with an assembly plant in Jordan. The NIMR is a hummer like vehicle designed to cope with the high heat, and abundant sand and dust found in the Middle East. The basic 4x4 NIMR weighs 4.4 tons, can carry 1.5 tons (or up to eight people), and be equipped with a remote control 12.7mm machine-gun turret. Top speed is 140 kilometers an hour on roads. This version costs about $82,000 each. There is a larger 6x6 version for carrying cargo. There is also an anti-aircraft version armed with four Mistral missiles ready-to-fire, and four more as reloads. An anti-tank version comes equipped with four Milan ATGM (anti-tank guided missiles) ready to fire, and four more as reloads. All NIMRs are equipped to take a variety of armor kits (providing different degrees of protection against bullets and explosions.)


NIMR development began in the late 1990s, and production began in 2005. NIMR was designed with the help of Russian automotive company GAZ, which also helped set up the manufacturing operation and supplies some of the components.


The UAE armed forces bought a thousand NIMR vehicles a year ago and have about 500 in service. The new Libyan armed forces have ordered 107 while Lebanon, Tunisia and Algeria are testing the vehicle.


NIMR is part of an effort by oil-rich Arab countries to develop their economies, and not just be dependent on exporting oil and gas.

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30 mars 2012 5 30 /03 /mars /2012 07:00



March 29, 2012 by Dave Majumdar – FG


Washington DC - Lockheed Martin promoted its reduced-cost C-130XJ variant of the venerable Hercules tactical transport at FIDAE.


The US company's move might be seen as a direct challenge to Embraer. The Brazilian manufacturer has said previously that it is negotiating with Chile to sell the nation's air force six KC-390 jet-powered airlifters that it is developing.


In August 2010, the two South American states signed a declaration of intent that would see Chile's Enaer participate in the development of the KC-390.


Lockheed however, while not overtly stating it is targeting Chile's business, says that it has had numerous inquires from South American nations for the C-130XJ. The aircraft is anywhere from 10% to 15% cheaper than the standard C-130J produced for the US Air Force.


"We've tried to tailor the XJ so that it can have a lower price point and still give them the capabilities that they need," says Lockheed's Jim Grant, who oversees the C-130XJ effort.

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29 mars 2012 4 29 /03 /mars /2012 20:46
Russia Touts Yak-130 Combat Trainer in S.America



SANTIAGO, March 29 (RIA Novosti)


South American air force chiefs have shown interest in Russia’s Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten trainer/light attack aircraft, the plane’s maker said on Thursday.


“We have conducted negotiations with the Air Force chiefs of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay,” Urkut Vice President for Marketing Vladimir Sautov said at the FIDAE-2012 International Air Show.


They showed interest not only in a two-seater but also one-seat version, he said, adding the latter could only be manufactured if there was a firm order from a large customer.


Irkut started exporting the planes in 2011. Foreign market capacity is estimated at 250 machines.


In December, Irkut and the Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract for the supply of 55 Yak-130 by 2015.

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29 mars 2012 4 29 /03 /mars /2012 07:20



LONG BEACH, Calif., March 28 (UPI)


An eighth C-17 Globemaster III will be delivered to the British air force this year under a new contract to Boeing from the country's Ministry of Defense.


The British C-17s are used primarily to support Operation Herrick, the transport of equipment and troops to Afghanistan but also participate in humanitarian missions around the world, such as the delivery of relief supplies following natural disasters.


"The tremendous teamwork of Boeing and U.S. government officials has made it possible to announce this acquisition so quickly after we determined the need for this additional C-17," said Ministry of Defense Head of Commercial for Air Support Robin Philip. "This C-17 will be a welcome addition to the (air force) fleet."


The British air force was Boeing's first international customer for the heavy lift aircraft, and its fleet has logged more than 74,000 flight hours – about 15 percent more than had been anticipated.


The last C-17 purchased was delivered in November 2010.


"We understand the need to move quickly to bring this contract to completion," said Liz Pace, Boeing C-17 UK program manager. "This additional order is a testament to our strong relationship with the U.K. as well as to the aircraft's advanced capability, flexibility and reliability."

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27 mars 2012 2 27 /03 /mars /2012 17:25
New Russian Tank to Have Remotely Controlled Gun

MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti)


Russia’s future main battle tank (MBT) will be equipped with a remotely controlled gun, the Izvestia newspaper said on Monday citing a defense industry source.


The gun will be digitally controlled by a crewmember located in a separate compartment, which would be made from composite materials and protected by multi-layered armor. The crew compartment will be also isolated from the motor compartment to increase survivability on the battlefield.


The secret project, dubbed Armata, has been approved by the Russian Defense Ministry. It is being implemented by the tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod in Russia’s Urals region.


Work from other projects, including Object 195 and Black Eagle, will be incorporated in Armata's design.


The prototype of Armata MBT is expected to be ready by 2013. The first deliveries to the Russian Armed Forces are scheduled for 2015.


Russian experts believe that the appearance of the remotely controlled gun would eventually lead to the development of a fully robotic tank which could be deployed as part of a spearhead in the offensive.

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27 mars 2012 2 27 /03 /mars /2012 16:45
Latin America re-arms air combat fleets

Colombia has set about upgrading its Kfir fighters


20 Mar 2012 by Stephen Trimble - FG


Washington DC - For many years, military spending in South America was a footnote in forecasts of the global arms trade. While that was once a healthy sign of a continent largely at peace among member states, the stakes have changed. South America still does not compare with the giants of the global arms trade, but military spending is growing rapidly.


The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the world's independent arms trade watchdog, felt compelled to issue a report earlier this year on Latin American spending. As budgets have "risen considerably", SIPRI's analysts sought to focus attention on the continent's woeful record of disclosure on military budget accounts.


The institute may have some grounds for raising the alarm. South American countries are poised for a new round of major arms purchases. From Brazil to Chile to Venezuela, air forces are priming to re-arm their front-line fighter fleets. Everywhere, countries are prioritising the growth of local aerospace companies, leveraging the biggest weapons deals to transfer key skills and technologies to local industry. The continent's traditional Western suppliers are not the only ones to notice. Russian and Chinese manufacturers have poured into the region, striking deals for fighters, helicopters, trainers, transports and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).




A seemingly never-ending fighter modernisation process in Chile is gearing up for a fourth competition in less than 20 years. The Chilean Air Force (FACh) has 16 Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs that are due to be retired after 2015. Contractors are already preparing for the biggest procurement prize in South America, after Brazil's F-X2 acquisition programme for at least 36 fighters.


Lockheed Martin was Chile's preferred supplier in the previous three rounds. The FACh selected the F-16 Block 50 in 2000 for a 10-aircraft order. That was followed in 2004 by a first batch of 18 second-hand F-16A/B mid-life update Block 20s from the Netherlands, and in 2008 by a second batch of another 18 F-16A/Bs. In addition, the FACh ordered 12 Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucanos.


Lockheed has been eager to campaign for the F-5 replacement order for at least five years. In 2007, a Lockheed executive even touted the F-35 as a possible option for the FACh. Three years later, a US Air Force F-22 made a debut appearance at the FIDAE air show. The F-35 programme delays and cost increases may lead Chile to look elsewhere, but Lockheed may still offer new or used F-16s. On the other hand, Chile's political and military leadership may prefer to diversify its sources of combat aircraft. Prior to the F-16 selection, the FACh inventory included a mix of US-made F-5s and French-made Mirage 50s.


FACh officials have reportedly visited Eurofighter manufacturing sites in Spain. A batch of new or used EF-2000s ordered by Chile would introduce the type in Latin America. Chile has been among the most active military spenders in recent years as a 10% tax on surging copper revenues has kept procurement active. In addition to the new fighters, Chile will introduce the most advanced UAV in South America. In June, Chile was disclosed as the buyer of an Elbit Systems Hermes 900.




Sustained economic growth has yielded some benefits to Argentina's air force, but perhaps not in the way service leaders had envisioned. Despite sustained growth as Latin America's third-largest economy, Argentina still operates one of the most ancient fleets of combat aircraft.


Its "youngest" fighters, measured in terms of Argentine service, are ex-US Navy A-4s, delivered in the late 1990s with upgraded radars and avionics by the former Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina (LMAASA). The air force fleet also includes 13 Dassault Mirage IIIs, seven Mirage 5s and 13 Israel Aerospace Industries Daggers. The navy, meanwhile, operates 11 Dassault-Breguet Super Etendards.


Although Argentina's defence budget has doubled since 2007, there are still no active replacement programmes. The inaction may be partly explained by market analysis from Forecast International, which estimates personnel salaries consumed 70% of the $4 billion defence budget in 2011. The $4 billion budget, while a 100% improvement on 2007, still represents only about 0.6% of Argentina's GDP.


However, there are encouraging signs for the resurgence of Argentina's air force. The rise in military spending has allowed a once highly skilled aerospace industry to rebound from decades of neglect. In 2009, the nation's Kirchner administration reclaimed LMAASA from Lockheed's management.


The Argentine-owned FAdeA reopened its factory in Cordoba on 17 December, and the company has hummed with activity ever since. Although it has yet to work on Argentina's front-line fighters, it has reset its skills set by modernising the country's proudest aviation achievements - the IA-58 Pucara light attack aircraft and the IA-63 advanced jet trainer.


On 8 July 2011, FAdeA delivered the first upgraded IA-58 to the air force. The upgrades start with maintenance improvements, with the eventual replacement of the avionics and navigation systems. Finally, FAdeA will replace the ageing Turbomeca Astazou engines with Pratt & Whitney PT6A-62s, allowing the seminal counter-insurgency aircraft to remain in service until 2045.


Meanwhile, the air force has also funded FAdeA to manufacture 40 IA-63s designed to the Series II standard, which includes the 4,250lb (1,900kg) Honeywell TF731-40-N2 turbofan. The first flight of a re-engined IA-63 on 8 June 2011 spurred FAdeA's marketing division to poetically describe the "sublime moment that justifies the hours and hours of dedication, effort, ingenuity and creativity".


FAdeA is already pursuing larger ambitions, while the country's aeronautic pride has been rekindled. The air force's aeronautical university has developed an all-new cruise missile - the FAS-850 Dardo 2C. Another local company has joined forces with Israel's Innocon to develop the indigenously built Yarara, a 30kg-class unmanned air vehicle.


FAdeA wants to design a new military trainer to replace the air force's retired Beechcraft T-34 Mentors. A prototype of the IA-73 is notionally scheduled to achieve first flight in 2013. If it succeeds, the IA-73 will be the first Argentine-built aircraft to enter service since the IA-63 in 1988.


Other opportunities are being pursued. In November, FAdeA hosted a delegation from the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) to discuss the possibility of license-building the Changhe Z-11 helicopter. The Argentine army evaluated the Harbin Z-9 in 2008, and selected the aircraft.




In January 2011, Embraer had the misfortune to launch a defence and security business around the same time Brazil made a 26% cut in military procurement. Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer's defence business, shrugs when recalling the episode. "As a matter of fact, by the end of the year we had a very good recovery," he says. "They didn't cut one single programme from their plan."


The momentary pause in Brazilian defence spending has passed. With Brazil hosting the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later, few countries in Latin America have more incentive to invest in Latin America during the next two years.


Aguiar notes that the 2012 defence budget largely recovers any reductions in the procurement accounts from last year. In fact, the procurement budget has increased in 2012 by 18% to R8 billion ($4.5 billion).


The largest allocation - $500 million - is for Brazil's joint helicopter programme, which is acquiring 50 Eurocopter EC-725s. The budget also invests a further $302 million in the Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport, which is scheduled to fly in 2014 with deliveries two years later. However, the FX-2 fighter contract - Brazil's 16-year-old competition to replace a fleet of Dassault Mirage IIIs - is not in the 2012 budget. The competition has dragged on so long the Mirage IIIs have been replaced by Mirage 2000s, which also need to be retired.


But the lack of a 2012 line item for FX-2 is no cause for concern. Brazil's air force is expected to continue negotiating with the winning bidder for up to a year after contract selection before making the award.


Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff is reportedly set to make a decision in the first half of this year. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen remain in the bidding, almost four years after the air force selected them as finalists. For its part, Boeing confirms the pricing it originally submitted in 2009 remains valid.


For Embraer, the decision is of no great consequence. In contrast with the aborted F-XBR competition, Embraer has forged no formal links with a particular bidder as it once did with Dassault. Meanwhile, the company can continue reaping the benefits of the continued delays.


In addition to the arrival of the Mirage 2000s in 2005, the delays have forced Brazil's air force to fund a new round of avionics and structural upgrades for the existing fleet. Embraer has received deals to upgrade 41 A-1 Alenia/Embraer AMX fighters, 53 Northrop F-5s, and 12 McDonnell Douglas A-4s. The upgrades are part of an overall $397 million line item in the 2012 budget to pay for the modernisation of the legacy fleet. "We have received all of our money related to all of our programmes," Aguiar says.




The Venezuelan military's acquisition arm has never been busier - or more creative. Banned by the USA from receiving most Western sources of supply since 2006, Venezuela has looked to Russia, China and Iran for arms during the past five years. US sanctions have failed to slow Venezuela's modernisation strategy, and in some ways have forced Caracas to aim even higher. Take the example of Venezuela's campaign to replace its ageing ­F-16As. The USA first blocked Brazil and Italy from exporting the AMX fighter, then stopped Israel from bidding to upgrade the F-16As with new avionics and weapons.


In response, Venezuela turned to Russia in 2006 to supply 24 Sukhoi Su-30s, a far more potent threat than upgraded F-16As. China also received orders for two batches totalling 24 to 36 Hongdu K-8Ws - more challenging to slip past the US export ban as the K-8 is powered by the Honeywell TFE731-2A turbofan engine. Hongdu has reportedly re-engined the K-8s with the Ukrainian Ivchenko Al-25TLK, and deliveries are already under way.


These procurements only seem to be the beginning for Venezuela. According to the Civil Association of Citizen Control (CACC), a Venezuela-based security watchdog, during the past two years Venezuela has announced a long list of future acquisitions.


Since April 2010, President Hugo Chavez has announced the acquisitions of two Beriev Be-200s for firefighting missions, 24 Su-35 fighters, up to 20 Antonov An-74 maritime patrol aircraft and 10 to 12 Shaanxi Y-8 transports, the association says. Venezuela has also been linked to the acquisition of the Chengdu J-10 or the less-capable JF-17, the CACC adds.


It is not always clear how real Venezuela's acquisition announcements are, but its rapid re-arming after 2006 lends some credibility. If all come to fruition, Venezuela could boast the most powerful air force in South America.


While it is importing weapons from Russia and China, Venezuela appears to be asking Iran for technology transfer, particularly in the crucial area of UAVs. Iran is widely reported to have exported 12 Ghods Mohajer UAVs to Venezuela, a tier-two aircraft by Western standards. Apparently some transfer of engineering skills accompany the sale. In November, Venezuela's state-owned armoury CAVIM unveiled a UAV called the ANT-1X.




Despite being one of the most prolific military spenders in South America, the Colombian air force boasts a modest combat fleet. Rather than replace ageing Kfir fighters, Colombia upgraded them to carry Israeli Python and Derby missiles, as well as Griffin III laser guided bombs. So it would come as no surprise if the Colombian air force decides used aircraft will suit its needs for the next big requirement: replacing eight Cessna A-37 Dragonflys.


Colombia's latest strategic plan seeks to acquire a jet-powered light attack fighter. There is no shortage of options available, including the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50, Italy's Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and the UK's BAE Systems Hawk. However, expect Colombia to seek used aircraft from sources that include the Czech Republic's Aero Vodochody L159 and Italy and Brazil's AMX.


Meanwhile, Colombia's military is investing heavily to improve its aerospace industry. The military has ordered 25 Lancair Legacies, requiring local assembly. As of 8 March, state-owned CAMAN has assembled eight of the re-designated T-90 basic trainers.


In the meantime, Embraer has started to work with the Corporation de la Industria Aeronautica Colombiana (CIAC) to help the air force extend the life of 14 EMB-312 Tucanos by about 15 years. Embraer is also still seeking to convert a letter of intent with Colombia into an order for two KC-390 tanker transports, says Aguiar.


Colombia's goal is to allow CIAC to gain experience on the Tucano contract, then take on a bigger role in the KC-390 work.


"Depending on their performance they are going to be able to transfer some very simple aerospace components for the KC-390," Aguiar says. "They are trying to develop their industry step by step.




Peru has always been content to acquire its military aircraft from abroad, but there are recent signs that it, too, wants to develop more industrial capability.


The most significant step in this process came in late 2011, when Minister of Defence Daniel Mora confirmed the acquisition of a surprise new trainer and light attack fighter to replace its fleet of Cessna A-37 Dragonflys - the Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1 Woong-Bee.


The Super Tucano has lost out to the KT-1 in Peru

The Super Tucano has lost out to the KT-1 in Peru


It had once seemed inevitable that Peru would eventually buy the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano - to the point that Brazil's ministry of defence announced in February 2011 that Peru was in talks to buy 10 EMB-314s in a deal valued at $150 million.


However, something changed in Peru's decision-making process, and now the country's air force expects to take delivery of 24 KT-1s from South Korea.


Peru's decision clearly had nothing to do with comparative combat performance. The KT-1 is widely considered a robust trainer, but it is powered by an engine slightly more than half the size of the Super Tucano's powerplant.


The key to the deal may well have been cost, as the KT-1 is valued at less than half the price of the Super Tucano.


South Korea also agreed to allow Peru's local industry to participate in the acquisition. Peru's SEMAN repair station is reportedly assembling all 24 KT-1s for the air force, and is also producing between 500 and 600 parts of the aircraft.


Peru's air force has quietly, but steadily, re-equipped or modernised its combat aircraft fleet in recent years. Government policy has focused on eradicating coca farms, which has stirred the opposition of local farmers and created a minor security threat. In addition to the KT-1s, Peru also has a contract with Canada's Viking Air to deliver 12 DHC-6 Twin Otters for remote transport operations.


Helicopter modernisation has also been a recent priority. Russian Helicopters has begun deliveries of Mi-35P gunships and Mi-171Sh transports to Peru.


Meanwhile, Peru has also moved to prevent its ageing fighter fleet from drifting into decay. Last year, RSK completed deliveries of Peru's 12 MiG-29SMPs upgraded with new avionics. The MiG upgrades followed a $140 million project, which was launched at the 2009 Paris air show, to "recover" the air force's 12 Mirage 2000s, with Dassault, Thales and Snecma contracted to restore the airframes, avionics and engines.




Among Latin American air forces, Ecuador's has probably progressed the most since 2008. In March of that year, the sorry state of the Ecuadorian air force (FAE) was exposed when Colombia's air force attacked a suspected rebel hideout about 3km south of its border. Ecuador's air force was unable to even dispatch helicopters to the scene of the bombardment, much less defend the sovereignty of its airspace against what the government considered an illegal attack.


Three years later, the FAE has new fleets of HAL Dhruv helicopters from India; IAI Heron and Searcher UAVs from Israel; EMB-314s from Brazil; and, most recently, second-hand HAL Cheetah fighters from South Africa. It has also installed air surveillance radars along its border. The acquisitions follow a $680 million, three-year investment in the armed forces.


"We understood there is no security without development, but also no development without security," said President Rafael Correa, speaking on 14 February at the delivery ceremony of the Cheetah fleet.


There have been minor incidents along the way. One Dhruv helicopter crashed in October 2009 during a public ceremony. The pilot, who was killed, was blamed. Last August, an ejection seat malfunctioned in the Cheetah, which Correa attributed to an assembly error.


Ecuador's military modernisation is still ongoing. The country is reportedly in discussions with China to buy the Xian MA-600 transport. The US military has notified Congress that Ecuador's navy has requested a possible sale of second-hand Kaman SH-2 Seasprite helicopters.

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25 mars 2012 7 25 /03 /mars /2012 18:16
Israeli defense sector told to 'clean up'


TEL AVIV, Israel, March 20 (UPI)


Israeli defense contractors have been ordered to observe a "compliance program" intended to eradicate corruption on defense deals.


Two weeks after India banned one of Israel's top defense companies amid bribery allegations, Israeli defense contractors have been ordered to observe a "compliance program" to eradicate corruption in defense deals.


The March 8 announcement by India's Defense Ministry blacklisting state-owned Israel Military Industries, along with five Indian and foreign companies, over a 2009 bribery scandal was a major blow to Israel's defense sector, which relies heavily on military exports. The ban from India is for 10 years.


IMI has rejected the Indian allegation it was involved a scandal that centered on Sudipta Ghosh, who in 2009 was director general of India's state-run Ordnance Factory Board.


He was sacked and indicted for alleged involvement in a wide-ranging conspiracy that included receiving bribes from defense contractors in exchange for favoring them in major Indian defense contracts.


The ban on IMI against competing in Indian government tenders could have a significant impact on Israeli defense sales to India, one of the Jewish state's biggest military customers.


Indian news reports stated that IMI has been forced to pull out of a multimillion-dollar plan to establish a factory producing artillery shell fuses. That's believed to be part of a scrapped $24 million deal to set up five plants in India to produce 155mm B-Modular Charge systems and other propellant charges for large-caliber artillery operated by the Indian army.


Israel's Defense Ministry, which oversees all military-related export contracts, has decreed that all Israeli companies sign on to the compliance program in line with stricter business regulations Israel's trying to adopt as a new member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Israel joined the OECD in 2011.


The ministry's director general, Udi Shani, has ordered its Export Licensing Division not to issue export permits to companies that refuse to adopt the new program on ethics and transparency.


The ministry said that several dozen Israeli companies have already agreed to adhere to the policies of the new program, while others were in the process of doing so.


Israel's defense industry, the most advanced in the Middle East and with close ties with the U.S. defense establishment, is a major revenue earner. It's chalked up billions of dollars in arms sales to put Israel in the front rank of the world's defense exporters.


But there have long been concerns the ministry has kept Israel's scores of arms exporters and arms traders on a very loose leash.


Prominent military and intelligence commentator Yossi Melman observed in exposing questionable Israeli arms deals in 2004 that these were "a genuine reflection of an unbridled arms export policy by the Defense Ministry."


Melman noted in the liberal Haaretz daily that the Defense Ministry, which has immense power in a state that's in a perpetual state of conflict, "has always had an extremely independent policy, which ignores the existence of the Foreign Ministry."


The defense establishment, which includes licensed arms dealers who work through the ministry, has frequently sold weapons to unsavory regimes to further U.S. or Israeli strategic policies or turned a blind eye to illegal arms sales that further Israeli interests abroad.


"As early as the 1950s," Melman observed, "Foreign Minister Golda Meir complained that Shimon Peres, then director general of the Defense Ministry (and now Israel's president) had kept secret the initiatives carried out in France for acquiring military equipment for the collusion resulting in the Sinai War."


He was referring to the secret pact between Israel, Britain and France to invade Egypt in 1956 to seize control of the Suez Canal after it was nationalized by President Gamal Abdel Nasser.


Melman noted in 2004 that "in practice, there is nearly no oversight" of Defense Ministry arms deals, "neither by the government or the Knesset."


Six years later, he observed in a January 2010 report that seven Israeli arms dealers "are currently in jail in the United States, Russia, France and Britain" on charges of illegal arms dealing. All were former members of Israel's armed forces, and most were officers with ranks up to lieutenant colonel.


"All seven are familiar faces in the corridors of the defense establishment and at one time received arms dealing permits from the Defense Ministry," Melman noted.

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25 mars 2012 7 25 /03 /mars /2012 11:55
L’OCCAR dix ans après : Point de situation sur l’OCCAR et perspectives


25 mars 2012 Par le Commandant (Air) Philippe LABOURDETTE, 19ème promotion de l’Ecole de guerre – Groupe D3- sldinfo


Le CDT LABOURDETTE, officier systèmes aéronautiques dans l’armée de l’Air, diplômé de SUPAERO et d’un master en administration des entreprises, a travaillé 8 ans sur le programme A400M dont plus de 5 ans au sein de l’OCCAR.


L’OCCAR a aujourd’hui acquis un savoir-faire reconnu au niveau européen en matière de gestion de programmes d’armement grâce à une structure novatrice et des partenariats solides. Pour autant, elle ne bénéficiera du contexte actuel qui lui est propice qu’à condition de savoir évoluer pour répondre aux enjeux que sont la gestion du cycle complet de vie d’un matériel et une capacité décisionnelle renforcée, enjeux vis-à-vis desquels l’organisation a montré des limites sur le programme A400M.



L’OCCAR dix ans après : Point de situation sur l’OCCAR et perspectives

Bien que l’acronyme soit français, l’OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement) est une agence intergouvernementale dont le but est la gestion de programmes d’équipement de défense[1] en coopération. Mise involontairement sur le devant de la scène du fait de déboires du programme A400M, elle reste relativement méconnue. A l’heure des contractions des budgets européens de la défense et des coopérations nécessaires qui devraient en découler, il convient de se pencher sur cette structure, qui a fêté en 2011 ses dix années d’existence, et de réfléchir à son futur.


L’OCCAR a aujourd’hui acquis un savoir-faire reconnu, au niveau européen, en matière de gestion de programmes d’armement grâce à une structure novatrice et des partenariats solides. Pour autant, elle ne bénéficiera du contexte actuel qui lui est propice qu’à condition de savoir évoluer pour répondre aux enjeux que sont la gestion du cycle complet de vie d’un matériel et une capacité décisionnelle renforcée, enjeux vis-à-vis desquels l’organisation a montré des limites sur le programme A400M.


Après avoir rappelé son origine et ses caractéristiques, il sera étudié son positionnement par rapport aux autres acteurs, ses résultats pour finalement dessiner quelles sont ses perspectives et les défis qui y sont associés.


La montée en puissance d’une structure originale


L’OCCAR s’est imposée progressivement en Europe comme un acteur de référence pour la conduite des programmes d’armement en coopération tout en proposant un cadre souple, novateur et évolutif.


Issus d’une initiative franco-allemande, les principes fondateurs de l’OCCAR sont résumés dans la déclaration commune du sommet de Baden-Baden de 1995. Fondée sur la globalisation du juste retour sur plusieurs programmes et plusieurs années, sur la volonté de soutenir la BITD (Base Industrielle Technologique et de Défense) européenne plutôt que nationale, ainsi que sur une gestion au meilleur coût, l’agence est prévue pour conduire en coopération des programmes d’armement et mettre fin aux insuffisances des coopérations traditionnelles. L’OCCAR prend forme, tout d’abord, au travers d’un arrangement administratif entre les quatre ministres de la Défense allemand, britannique, français et italien en 1996. La ratification et l’entrée en vigueur de la convention définissant l’OCCAR par les quatre parlements lui donne son existence juridique et marque sa véritable création en 2001. L’OCCAR compte aujourd’hui six membres à part entière, avec l’adhésion de la Belgique et de l’Espagne, respectivement en 2003 et 2005.


L’agence est composée d’un conseil de surveillance et d’une administration d’exécution. Le conseil de surveillance, de niveau politico-stratégique, est composé des ministres de la Défense qui délèguent leur représentation aux DNAs[2]. Ce conseil est décideur sur les sujets relatifs à la mise en œuvre et à l’évolution de la convention. De plus, il supervise l’administration d’exécution, elle-même responsable de faire appliquer les décisions du conseil. Cette administration est composée d’une section centrale située à Bonn en charge des fonctions transverses et de divisions de programme, véritables unités opérationnelles en charge du management de chacun des programmes de responsabilité OCCAR. Dans une approche décentralisatrice, les divisions de programme se repartissent entre Bonn, Paris, Rome et Toulouse (au plus près du maître d’œuvre AIRBUS MILITARY dans le cas de l’A400M).



L’OCCAR dix ans après : Point de situation sur l’OCCAR et perspectives

photo Thomas Goisque


A ce jour, l’OCCAR gère huit programmes dont l’A400M, le TIGRE, les frégates FREMM et, dernier en date, une partie du programme satellitaire MUSIS[3]. L’ensemble[4] représente un portefeuille de près de 45 milliards d’euros pour un budget opérationnel annuel en 2011 d’un peu moins de 4 milliards d’euros et un effectif d’environ 220 personnes.

Certains pays, qui ne sont pas membres de l’OCCAR, y sont impliqués. L’OCCAR est ainsi ouvert à des participations par programme que ce soit des pays de l’UE (Pays-Bas pour le véhicule blindé BOXER, Pologne et Suède pour ESSOR[5]) ou non (Turquie pour l’A400M). La représentation de ses pays est ouverte au sein des divisions programmes concernées et elle est assurée jusqu’au niveau du conseil de programme, niveau décisionnel le plus élevé et équivalent du conseil de surveillance pour un programme donné.


Enfin, certains pays ont le statut d’observateur au titre de clients export. Ce fut le cas de l’Afrique du Sud avant d’annuler sa commande d’A400M, cela devrait être bientôt le cas de la Malaisie là encore pour l’A400M et l’Australie est observateur sur le TIGRE depuis mi-2009. Bien que ne donnant pas le droit de vote, le statut d’observateur donne à un pays la possibilité de participer à l’ensemble des groupes de travail Nations-OCCAR-Industriel pour le programme considéré. Ce statut fait l’objet d’un accord au cas par cas, il peut prévoir la mise en place de personnel d’un pays participant dédié à ces relations. A ce jour c’est un total de treize pays dont trois non-membres de l’UE qui ont été ou sont impliqués dans les activités de l’OCCAR.


Un positionnement institutionnel bien établi à partir de partenariats


A l’échelle européenne, l’OCCAR s’est aujourd’hui positionnée de manière formelle avec la volonté d’éviter les doublons autant que se peut et de travailler en complémentarité avec les autres acteurs majeurs internationaux de la défense que sont l’AED (Agence Européenne de la Défense) et l’OTAN.


Il convient tout d’abord de bien comprendre que, pour les programmes dont elle a la charge, l’OCCAR reprend certaines prérogatives normalement dévolues aux organismes nationaux comme la DGA en France, le BWB[6] en Allemagne ou le DE&S[7] au Royaume-Uni en se substituant partiellement à eux. Si les experts nationaux, des EDPIs[8] pour prendre le cas de la France, participent aux groupes de travail mis en place et coordonnés par l’OCCAR, ils ont un rôle limité en théorie au soutien de la division de programme.


Au niveau européen, il convient de bien distinguer l’OCCAR de l’AED, les deux structures étant partenaires et travaillant de manière complémentaire. L’AED est une création postérieure (2004) à l’OCCAR. Située à Bruxelles elle regroupe l’ensemble des 27 membres de l’UE excepté le Danemark. Elle est armée par une centaine de personnes, et son budget pour 2011 est de l’ordre de 30 millions d’euros[9]. L’AED travaille à identifier les besoins capacitaires européens de défense, à faire progresser les possibilités de coopérations en cherchant à harmoniser les demandes et les politiques nationales d’armement, à mettre en valeur des complémentarités étatiques et industrielles et enfin à améliorer la standardisation des forces européennes.


Sous l’impulsion de la présidence française de l’UE durant le second semestre 2008, les ministres européens de la Défense ont rédigé une déclaration qui confirme l’OCCAR dans son rôle de bras exécutif de l’AED pour la conduite des projets de la conception à la production. Cette déclaration est le préalable à un arrangement administratif complet, toujours en cours de validation, entre les deux structures.


Le travail de l’AED peut également couvrir des phases de R&T et des études de réduction de risques mais elle n’a pas vocation à conduire des programmes. Elle passe pour cela la main à l’OCCAR comme ce fut le cas sur les programmes ESSOR et MUSIS. Ces deux programmes illustrent la complémentarité des deux structures: l’AED se positionne en amont de l’OCCAR.


En aval, on trouve l’agence otanienne NAMSA (NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency) basé au Luxembourg. En effet, pour la phase de soutien en service des matériels après les phases de développement et de production, cette dernière propose une large gamme de services logistiques comme par exemple la gestion des rechanges et des données associées. Des contrats spécifiques ont ainsi été passés par l’OCCAR à la NAMSA pour les programmes COBRA et TIGRE sur la base générale du MoU (Memorendum of Understanding) existant entre les deux organismes.


Cependant, l’OCCAR, par sa vocation à être capable d’assurer la responsabilité d’un programme sur l’ensemble de son cycle de vie, développe en interne certaines compétences pour répondre aux besoins du soutien commun en service.


Toujours au niveau de l’OTAN, un accord de sécurité signé en 2009 entre les deux organisations définit le cadre pour le partage des documents et des données classifiés mettant fin à un problème pratique pénalisant jusqu’à alors.

Le rôle de l’OCCAR est enfin comparable à celui d’autres agences de l’OTAN comme la NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency) responsable du programme NH90 ou la NETMA (NATO EUROFIGHTER and TORNADO Management Agency).


Se pose maintenant la question de l’évaluation de l’OCCAR par rapport aux autres agences de programme.


« Les programmes OCCAR comme FSAF (Famille de missiles Sol-Air Futurs) et FREMM progressent sans souci majeur » (crédit photo : DCNS, 2011)


Des résultats encourageants certains mais ternis par l’A400M


Avec des matériels acquis sous sa responsabilité donnant satisfaction en opération, l’OCCAR a prouvé son aptitude à jouer son rôle. Cependant, les dérives du programme A400M ont mis à jour certaines limites dans le domaine de son management en termes de capacité et de réactivité décisionnelle.


La finalité de produire un système d’armes étant de l’utiliser dans les forces, le fait que le TIGRE (pour la France), le radar COBRA (pour le Royaume-Uni) et le BOXER (pour l’Allemagne) soient aujourd’hui déployés en opérations[10] représente autant de réussites opérationnelles pour l’OCCAR.


Les autres programmes OCCAR comme FSAF (Famille de missiles Sol-Air Futurs) et FREMM progressent sans souci majeur et, quant à l’A400M, 2011 a vu la conclusion d’un accord[11] entre l’ensemble des parties après deux ans de renégociation du contrat commercial initial de 2003.


Concernant ce programme, il est vrai qu’il doit faire face à des dérives significatives financières (de l’ordre de 40% dont 20% à la charge des états) et calendaires (4 ans), néanmoins il faut rappeler que c’est un programme particulièrement ambitieux et structurant, le plus important jamais lancé dans le cadre de l’Europe de la défense avec sept pays et un budget initial supérieur à 20 milliards d’euros (HT). Comme souvent, les fautes sont partagées à commencer par une sous-estimation des défis inhérents au projet par le maître d’œuvre Airbus, le consortium motoriste EPI[12] et par Thalès (en charge entre autre du FMS[13]). Cela a aussi mis à jour certaines limites plutôt que des déficiences dans le management du programme par l’OCCAR. Aujourd’hui, les essais en vol se déroulent de manière très satisfaisante et, bien que la question du périmètre et du coût du contrat de soutien initial devienne très délicate, on peut penser qu’au final ce programme sera considéré comme une grande réussite opérationnelle et industrielle pour l’Europe.


Chaque division programme de l’OCCAR possède des ingénieurs, des opérationnels mais aussi en général des financiers et des commerciaux donnant ainsi au manager de programme qui est à sa tête, grâce au soutien de la section centrale à Bonn, l’ensemble des expertises nécessaires à la conduite de celui-ci. De plus, à l’inverse de certaines agences de l’OTAN, un poste n’est pas réservé à un pays mais il est honoré à l’issue d’un processus de sélection où sont mis en concurrence les candidats des pays participants. Ceci assure un recrutement adéquat et répondant immédiatement au besoin. La France est bien représentée par le nombre et l’importance de postes occupés par ses ingénieurs DGA mais aussi ses officiers des forces qui apportent une vraie plus value grâce à leur expérience opérationnelle.


L’OCCAR au travers de ses divisions programmes agit en tant maître d’ouvrage délégué pour les Etats. Les pays participants gardent un contrôle particulièrement strict des décisions modifiant contractuellement les paramètres financiers, calendaires ou techniques. Autant ce principe se comprend à la création d’une nouvelle organisation, compte-tenu des réticences naturelles face à un certain abandon de souveraineté, autant il peut devenir une faiblesse pour la conduite des programmes. Et c’est ce qui s’est passé sur l’A400M comme l’a relevé le rapport du sénat[14] français sur le sujet. Cela ralentit, voire bloque, les processus décisionnels et engendre de manière exagérée des discussions entre les nations au détriment de celles qui doivent être menées avec les industriels.


Les règles de l’OCCAR prévoient pourtant la possibilité d’agir avec une marge relative d’autonomie vis à vis des nations. Certaines décisions peuvent être prises directement par le manager de programme ou le directeur de l’agence et, pour les sujets majeurs, hormis les questions de coûts, le recours à l’unanimité n’est pas obligatoire car une majorité qualifiée peut suffire. Cependant, cette marge de manœuvre n’est pas suffisante et elle est rarement utilisée pour éviter de crisper les relations.


En se tournant vers l’avenir, l’amélioration de ces aspects de management constitue un des vrais enjeux pour l’OCCAR.


Une mue à effectuer pour profiter d’un contexte favorable


Les programmes menés en coopération devraient continuer à croître et bénéficier à l’OCCAR. De son côté, l’organisation devra absolument savoir s’adapter pour arriver à maturité en améliorant son efficacité décisionnelle et en élargissant son périmètre.


Il est indéniable que les divisions programmes de l’OCCAR doivent être plus efficaces dans leur management. Pour cela elles doivent utiliser pleinement leur capacité à faire avancer les projets et les « points ouverts »[15] en prenant des décisions en interne grâce à un mandat plus large et en utilisant au besoin la majorité qualifiée. Ceci au bénéfice de tous même si de cela peut entraîner des réactions nationales négatives de prime abord. Il faut aussi accroître le pouvoir décisionnel du groupe de travail dit programme (du niveau manager de programme OCCAR – directeur/officier programme national) pour éviter un engorgement à un niveau supérieur dû au traitement de micros-sujets. Le tempo décisionnel de la maîtrise d’ouvrage doit pouvoir suivre sinon devancer celui de la maîtrise d’œuvre.


Avec l’entrée en service des matériels gérés par l’OCCAR comme le TIGRE, la gestion des programmes sur l’ensemble du cycle de vie, y compris la phase soutien en service, est stratégique. L’agence va devoir développer des capacités de gestion et de services dans cette phase qui, faut-il le rappeler ?, est la plus coûteuse sur la durée de vie des matériels d’armement. Elle devra convaincre les Etats de s’entendre sur la création de services de soutien communs (gestion des informations techniques, gestion de configuration, gestion de rechanges…) afin d’obtenir des synergies et des gains de coûts potentiels, au-delà de ceux attendus sur les coûts de développement et de production.

L’OCCAR va aussi continuer à modifier ses interfaces, que ce soit avec la NAMSA mais aussi avec l’AED. Cette dernière a des intérêts communs avec l’OCCAR dans des groupes de travail et de réflexion comme pour l’établissement d’une autorité et de règles européennes militaires en matière de certification et navigabilité des aéronefs. Il en est de même en matière de sécurité au sens système d’information. Pour faciliter un travail plus intégré et une participation croisée plus active, il semble souhaitable, à cet égard, que le service central de l’OCCAR se déplace de Bonn à Bruxelles.


La géométrie de l’OCCAR est amenée à changer avec l’entrée de nouveaux pays membres comme les Pays-Bas, mais il faut l’espérer aussi la Suède[16], et avec la prise en charge de nouveaux programmes. Parmi les prochains programmes identifiés ont peut citer l’AEJPT (Advanced European Jet Pilot Training system) pour la formation future des pilotes de chasse ou encore un démonstrateur technologique de lutte contre les mines maritimes. Ce dernier, dont le projet est porté par le Royaume-Uni et la France, illustre que le récent traité de coopération franco-britannique de Lancaster House[17] ne remet pas en cause l’organisation par sa capacité, telle une boîte à outils, à gérer des projets uniquement bilatéraux. L’implication de l’agence dans les projets puis les programmes européens de drones d’observation et/ou de combat semble enfin un objectif prioritaire si l’on considère les aspects industriels et opérationnels structurants associés.


Dans le cadre de la restructuration de ses agences de programmes, l’OTAN devrait étudier le transfert à l’OCCAR de certains programmes en cours comme le NH90.


le-caiman-et-le-tigre-en-vol-a-valence – photo GAMSTAT P.

photo Gamstat


Représentant 9 milliards d’euros sur 50 d’investissements annuels dans le domaine de la défense en Europe[18], les programmes menés en coopération ne sont pas la panacée. Cependant, la tendance à voir leur part s’accroître semble inexorable compte-tenu des problèmes budgétaires que rencontrent les pays européens. En effet, individuellement, les Etats n’ont plus les moyens de lancer les programmes de renouvellement de leurs équipements. Des programmes en commun permettent de partager les coûts, de faire des économies d’échelles. C’est, par ailleurs, un levier d’harmonisation des matériels au niveau de l’Europe, de rationalisation des moyens d’essais et de la BITD européenne en général.


Dans cette optique et dans un souci d’égalité, l’OCCAR devra prévoir un mécanisme de sanctions contre un pays participant à un programme qui réduit sa commande après que le partage industriel ait eu lieu[19]. Une telle conduite d’un pays est doublement « désagréable » pour les autres participants car elle complique aussi l’atteinte de la cible de production globale (clients de lancement et ventes export) déclenchant les mesures éventuelles de prélèvement export, c’est-à-dire de récupération partielle de mise.




L’OCCAR a une place centrale au côté de l’AED dans le difficile processus de développement de capacités de défense européenne. Il lui faut cependant continuer à s’adapter pour pouvoir démontrer pleinement la pertinence et la pérennité de son modèle. Pour cela, cette organisation doit conserver un cadre ouvert et innovant mais dans une approche plus intégrée et globale, couvrant le mandant du soutien en service. De leur côté, les nations participantes devront accepter et assumer un transfert décisionnel à son profit plus poussé.


Cette évolution requiert une réelle volonté politique commune qui tarde à émerger. Il faut espérer que de manière pragmatique, à l’instar du domaine monétaire, les pays européens acceptent d’aller plus loin dans l’engagement mutuel pour éviter de se retrouver équipés, dans le futur, de manière quasi-exclusive par matériels étrangers (américains voire chinois par la suite).



Notes de bas de page :


[1] Y compris les démonstrateurs technologiques

[2] Directeur National de l’Armement, DGA en France

[3] MUSIS : MUltinational Space-based Imaging System for surveillance, reconnaissance and observation

[4] Réf. :OCCAR Business Plan 2011

[5] ESSOR: European Secure SOftware defined Radio, programme de démonstrateur technologique de radio logicielle

[6] BWB : Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung

[7] DE&S : Defence Equipment and Support, regroupe les responsabilités d’acquisition et de soutien des matériels

[8] EDPI : Equipe De Programme Intégrée, au sens de l’Instruction Ministérielle 1516

[9] Réf. : http://www.eda.europa.eu

[10] Afghanistan pour les 3, Lybie en plus pour le TIGRE

[11] Signature de l’amendement au contrat le 7 Avril 2011

[12] EPI : EuroProp International, regroupe SNECMA, Rolls-Royce,MTU et ITP

[13] FMS : Flight Management System, véritable « cerveau » de l’appareil

[14] Rapport d’information n°205 de MM. J. Gautier et J-P. Masseret daté du 10 Février 2009 : L’A400M sur le « chemin critique » de l’Europe de la défense

[15] Point ouvert : terme technico-contractuel pour qualifier un élément d’un contrat restant à être finalisé après sa signature pour des raisons de maturité de développement par exemple ou sujet à un processus d’accord spécifique.

[16] La Suède est actuellement le seul pays européen majeur en matière d’armement, signataire de la LoI (Letter of Intend) pour la coopération, non encore membre de l’OCCAR

[17] Traité de coopération en matière de défense et de sécurité, dit de Lancaster House, signé lors du sommet franco-britannique de Londres le 2 Novembre 2010

[18] Réf. : Interview de Patrick Bellouard, directeur de l’OCCAR, pour la tribune.fr datée du 6 Juin 2011

[19] L’Allemagne a ainsi réduit de 60 à 40 sa commande d’A400M (en comptabilisant 13 appareils qui restent achetés mais qui doivent être revendus à la charge de l’industriel)

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25 mars 2012 7 25 /03 /mars /2012 10:53


photo RP Defense


24.03.12 estrepublicain.fr


Le ministre français de la Défense, Gérard Longuet, a évoqué samedi à Ryad avec son homologue saoudien, le prince Salmane Ben Abdel Aziz, le partenariat entre les ministères de la Défense des deux pays, a rapporté l’agence officielle SPA.


«La rencontre a été consacrée à l’examen du renforcement des relations bilatérales en général et du partenariat entre les ministères de la Défense des deux pays en particulier», a déclaré le prince Salmane à propos de ses entretiens avec son homologue français, selon l’agence saoudienne.


Il a rappelé que de «solides relations lient les deux pays depuis 1926» et s’est félicité de la concordance des vues entre Paris et Ryad sur diverses questions, toujours selon Spa.


M. Longuet, cité par l’agence saoudienne, s’est félicité de la stabilité dont jouit l’Arabie saoudite et qui lui permet de jouer un «rôle vital» dans un monde en évolution.


Il a affirmé la volonté de son pays de «développer son partenariat avec l’Arabie saoudite dans différents domaines».


La France est un fournisseur d’armements à l’Arabie saoudite, notamment à la marine de guerre.


Fin février, le groupe d’armement terrestre Nexter a annoncé avoir décroché une commande ferme de 73 blindés Aravis en Arabie saoudite, premier succès de ce véhicule de reconnaissance à l’étranger.

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23 mars 2012 5 23 /03 /mars /2012 08:50
Airspace Integration Slows Watchkeeper

Mar 22, 2012 By Robert Wall - aerospace daily and defense report


LONDON — Continued delays in fielding the Watchkeeper unmanned aircraft are linked to clearing the system for use in military and civil airspace, the U.K. Defense Ministry says.


After several delays, the military was hoping to field Watchkeeper in Afghanistan last year, but that milestone was only the latest of several missed for one of the U.K.’s flagship unmanned aircraft efforts. Now, Peter Luff, defense minister for equipment, tells Parliament that obtaining the airworthiness certification to fly in both civil and military environments “is taking longer than anticipated.”


Luff will not provide a new fielding timeline for the Thales-led program, which is essentially a major upgrade of the Elbit Hermes 450. “Work continues and, until this is complete, it would be speculative to provide a forecast as to when Watchkeeper will achieve release to service or its in-service date,” he says in response to a parliamentary question. Earlier this year, the Defense Ministry was still saying the system would deploy to Afghanistan in 2012.


Once Watchkeeper is fielded, it is supposed to allow the Defense Ministry to start reducing the number of Hermes 450 unmanned aircraft being used on a fee-for-service basis in Afghanistan.

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22 mars 2012 4 22 /03 /mars /2012 13:41



MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti)


Russia's Defense Ministry has signed an order with aircraft-maker Irkut for 30 Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft, a military spokesman said on Thursday.


"According to the contract, the company will deliver 30 of these aircraft to the Russian Defense Ministry by 2015," he said.


The value of the deal was not disclosed.


The Su-30SM is a two-seat derivative of the earlier Su-27UB and the MKI variant supplied to India, and is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with a wide variety of precision-guided munitions. The aircraft features thrust-vectoring engines to enhance manueverability.


In August 2011, Irkut said it would deliver 40 Su-30SM aircraft to the Defense Ministry including 28 for the Air Force and 12 for the Russian Navy, replacing Su-24s in the strike-attack role, according to lenta.ru

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22 mars 2012 4 22 /03 /mars /2012 12:55

Europe Flag


Mar 22, 2012 Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (BRUXELLES2)


Cette page va être réactualisée au fur à mesure des informations du Conseil des ministres de la Défense qui se tient aujourd’hui (22 mars) et du Conseil des ministres des Affaires étrangères qui se tient vendredi (23 mars).


A l’ordre du jour du premier : la revue des opérations existantes (piraterie, Althea en Bosnie…), des capacités (les projets pooling and sharing), les partenariats et le positionnement par rapport à la nouvelle stratégie américaine (qui sera le plat de choix du déjeuner). A l’ordre du jour du second : le Sahel (avec l’approbation du premier document politique au lancement d’une opération PSDC au Sahel, et sûrement un point d’actualité sur le coup d’Etat au Mali) ; la Syrie (avec une bonne nouvelle venant de New-York et l’approbation de la première résolution du Conseil de sécurité des Nations-Unies) ; le Belarus (avec de nouvelles sanctions). Des sanctions devrait également être décidées également contre plusieurs pays : Afghanistan, Iran (droits de l’homme), Somalie (charbon de bois), Transnistrie (renouvellement). La coopération avec la Turquie sur différentes questions géopolitiques (Moyen-Orient, Syrie, Afrique) devrait être le plat de choix du déjeuner des ministres des Affaires étrangères.


Dernières news


• Extension d’Eunavfor Atalanta : tous les Etats membres de l’UE ont levé leurs réserves parlementaires – le Royaume-Uni la semaine dernière, l’Espagne et l’Allemagne tous récemment – à l’extension de l’opération anti-piraterie de l’UE (Eunavfor Atalanta) tant pour sa durée (prolongée jusqu’à 2014) que géographique (permettant d’atteindre les eaux territoriales somaliennes et les plages). Ce point devrait être approuvé sans débat, avec les points A vendredi.  Les détails du plan « offensif » seront fixés dans un plan d’opération dont les détails devraient approuvés la semaine prochaine par le Cops (Comité politique et de sécurité)


Au Conseil des ministres de la Défense, quelques pays n’étaient pas représentés par leur ministre en chef.

L’Allemand T. De Maizière notamment et le Britannique P. Hammond ne sont pas là ; remplacés par leur secrétaire d’Etat. Le Français Gérard Longuet également n’est pas venu (au dernier moment). Coup d’Etat au Mali et situation intérieure obligent.


Papiers déjà parus


Sur les projets pooling and sharing

Sur l’extension d’Eunavfor Atalanta :

Sur l’OpsCenter :

Sur l’opération au Sahel :

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22 mars 2012 4 22 /03 /mars /2012 08:45
MBDA en vol de croisière


21.03.2012 par Guillaume Belan (FOB)


Le marché du missile va bien! “2011 aura été une excellente année pour MBDA” a annoncé hier Antoine Bouvier, le PDG du missilier européen, durant sa présentation des résultats à la presse. Avec un chiffre d’affaires de 3 milliards d’euros et des prises de commandes qui flirtent avec les 3 milliards, soit une progression de 5% par rapport à 2010 et 15% par rapport à 2009, le groupe accélère sa mutation. Il faut dire qu’avec les différents théâtres d’opérations (Afghanistan, Libye, Côte d’Ivoire…), la consommation en munitions aura cette année fait un bon. Et 2012 se présente sous de bons auspices : “l’objectif de 3,5 milliards d’euros de prise de commande est réaliste” confirme Antoine Bouvier. Ce qui permet à ce dernier de se montrer aussi confiant: les grands contrats export. Au premier rang desquels, l’Inde. Le pays a confirmé tout début 2012 le programme de modernisation de sa flotte de Mirage 2000, dont la partie missile (Mica), qui est estimée aux alentours du milliard d’euros. Et bien sûr le contrat Rafale à venir, entré en phase de négociation, dont le volet missiles est encore plus important. Et n’oublions pas les pays du Golfe, où MBDA est fortement présent. L’Inde reste le marché “le plus emblématique” des ambitions export du missilier: de sa volonté de développer l’export (avec l’objectif d’atteindre plus de 50% de son CA, contre 30% aujourd’hui) alors que les budgets européens sont en berne; et de sa politique de développement de partenariats locaux, via des programmes d’offset et de constitution de Joint Ventures locales pour assurer la maîtrise d’œuvre des futurs programmes missiles.


Un marché domestique en mutation


MBDA a malgré tout conscience que le développement de ses produits repose sur le marché domestique, entré dans une période de disette budgétaire. “Nous évoluons vers un nouveau modèle économique” assurait le PDG du groupe, “fondé sur une relation de partenariat avec les ministères de la défense avec une vision sur le long terme”. MBDA bénéficie aussi au premier plan de la coopération franco-britannique. L’idée du ” One MBDA” a été confirmée lors de la rencontre de février entre les deux chefs d’états, programmes à la clef (anti-navire léger…). Rappelons que l’objectif est d’avoir une seule filière missile en Europe et d’éviter la concurrence intra-européenne; MBDA devenant le seul grand maître d’œuvre sur le sujet. En ce sens les discussions devraient reprendre avec Sagem et Thales, qui ont des compétences missiles ainsi qu’une forte activité dans les auto-directeurs.


Phase critique pour la politique produits


“MBDA est un acteur global. Aujourd’hui il n’y a pas d’application sur lesquelles MBDA n’a pas de produit” annonce le PDG. Oui, mais l’enjeu est aujourd’hui de préparer la suite. Antoine Bouvier a cité trois domaines de développement produits prioritaires. La défense antimissile tout d’abord. Alors que le sommet de Chicago approche et se tiendra au lendemain de la présidentielle française, le PDG tire la sonnette d’alarme “Il est urgent que l’Europe reprenne l’initiative”. En clair, l’Europe a des atouts, dont le missile Aster, seul intercepteur européen capable de détruire des missiles balistiques ennemis. L’enjeu: que l’Europe ne se fournisse pas chez les américains, mais développe ses propres compétences, sinon il sera trop tard.


Autre domaine: la frappe dans la profondeur. Il faut aujourd’hui préparer la prochaine génération de missile de croisière Scalp, largement utilisé durant le conflit libyen.


Enfin, troisième axe produit : le missile de combat terrestre. On le sait, la France a acheté américain (missile Javelin), pour faire face à une urgence opérationnelle du théâtre afghan. MBDA avait de son coté développé une nouvelle version du missile antichar Milan filoguidé (ER), alors que les forces souhaitaient un missile à auto-directeur infra-rouge “tir et oubli”. Un couac aujourd’hui rattrapé, avec le développement lancé d’un nouveau missile bi-modes (vidéo et IR) adapté aux souhaits de l’armée française, le MMP. “On revient de loin” analysait Antoine Bouvier hier. Le contrat de développement et de production de ce nouveau missile de combat terrestre est attendu cette année. Reste à savoir si MBDA va réussir à amortir les sommes engagées dans le développement du Milan ER, avec un contrat qui ne pourra être que export…

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