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24 septembre 2011 6 24 /09 /septembre /2011 08:10

http://www.asdnews.com/data_news/ID38371_600.jpg

 

Sep 23, 2011 ASDNews Source : Saab AB

 

Defence and security company Saab has signed a frame agreement and received a first order from the EADS company Cassidian to supply safety-critical avionics equipment for the new advanced UAV system Talarion.

 

The order includes design and development of the Aircraft Vehicle Management Computer (AVMC), Communications Computer (CC) and Mission & Payload Management Computer (MPMC) for Talarion. The work will be carried out by the Avionics Division of Saab's business area Electronic Defence Systems, in Jonkoping and Jarfalla, Sweden, and deliveries of the first order will take place 2012-2014.

 

"The selection of Saab to provide mission and flight critical avionics equipment for this new advanced platform verify our position as a competitive supplier in the avionics market," says Micael Johansson, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab's business area Electronic Defence Systems.

 

"It also acknowledge our product strategy of developing common avionics building blocks that could be adapted for many different functions for various customer needs."

 

Talarion is a European development program to fulfill functional and operational capability for in-theatre ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance). Due to its specific design, Talarion is able to operate over its broad flight envelope spectrum thereby establishing persistent surveillance, precise adversary identification, localization and real-time intelligence.

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23 septembre 2011 5 23 /09 /septembre /2011 07:40
Saab to build Talarion computers

Photo EADS

 

22/09/11 By Zach Rosenberg SOURCE:Flight International

 

EADS Cassidian has awarded Saab the job of building crucial avionics for the Talarion unmanned air vehicle (UAV).

 

Saab will build and supply vehicle, payload and communications management computers for the medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) UAV. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2012, and the first order completed by 2014.

 

"The selection of Saab to provide mission and flight critical avionics equipment for this new advanced platform verify our position as a competitive supplier in the avionics market," says Micael Johansson, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab's business area Electronic Defence Systems.

 

The computers are based off a Saab common module, easily adaptable to a number of platforms. The details of the order, including the number of systems to be produced, have not been finalised, but Saab plans to deliver prototypes in 2013 and 2014.

 

Design and construction work will take place at Saab facilities in Jönköping and Järfälla, Sweden.

 

Despite the €500m ($684m) and climbing development costs of Talarion, another €300m is required to build a flying prototype, according to Cassidian chief executive Stefan Zoeller. Sales efforts targeted at ten prospective European customers, particularly Germany, France, Spain and Turkey, have thus far been unsuccessful, and the aircraft has no orders on the books. Falling military budgets have cast doubts upon the programme's ultimate success.

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17 septembre 2011 6 17 /09 /septembre /2011 11:50
Armements: l'Inde lance un remake du Kalachnikov (journal)

NEW DELHI, 16 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

L'Inde envisage de lancer la production d'un fusil d'assaut imitant le célèbre Kalachnikov AK-47 dont il reprend les caractéristiques principales, a annoncé vendredi le quotidien Times of India, se référant à des sources au sein de l'industrie d'armements.

 

Selon le journal, l'entreprise Tiruchirapalli Ordnance Factory (basée dans l'Etat indien du Tamil Nadu) a mis au point un fusil d'assaut que les médias ont immédiatement baptisé "le cousin de l'AK-47".

 

Appelée Tiruchirapalli Assault Rifle (TAR), la nouvelle arme subit actuellement des tests en vue de sa prodiction en série. D'après le journal, elle équipera d'abord la police avant d'être mise à la disposition de l'armée.

 

Des sources proches du fabricant du fusil indien ont fait savoir que le TAR est en mesure de neutraliser les cibles à une distance de 400 mètres.

 

Le quotidien rappelle que les armuriers indiens avaient déjà tenté de mettre sur pied leur propre production de fusils d'assaut similaires à l'AK-47. Or, cette démarche avait alors provoqué les protestations de leurs collègues russes mécontents de cette violation des droits d'auteur.

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16 septembre 2011 5 16 /09 /septembre /2011 06:30
South Korea To Issue AH-X RFP In January

 

Sep 15, 2011 By Bradley Perrett - aviation week and space technology

 

Sacheon, South Korea - Forget death and taxes. Probably the surest thing in aerospace these days is that South Korea will want serious technology transfer in any major military equipment order.

 

The country’s manufacturers are increasingly confident in their ability to win manufacturing contracts without the compulsion of offsets. More and more, they and the government want the know-how behind the systems that the country buys, with the aim of making the next generation themselves.

 

In an classic example of that process, the planned Korea Attack Helicopter (KAH) might end up as an amalgam of European, South Korean and U.S. technology if Boeing, as looks likely, wins Seoul’s separate AH-X rotorcraft for 36 heavy attack rotorcraft.

 

With a request for proposals likely within months, the other competitors for the AH-X competition are expected to be Eurocopter, offering the Tiger; Bell with the AH-1Z Viper; and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and AgustaWestland with the T-129, a derivative of the A129 Mangusta.

 

The South Korean army wants the Apache, say local and U.S. officials in government and industry. It has been trying to buy the aircraft for more than a decade, and its keenness has only risen with the transfer of U.S. Army Apaches ­(AH-64) from the peninsula to Iraq two years ago. While the preference of the South Korean forces is not always decisive in a country that often puts industrial development first, two factors are reinforcing Boeing’s already high chances.

 

One of those is the transfer of Apache airframe manufacturing to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), which is shaping up as the national helicopter champion. KAI will build airframes for U.S. Army Apaches whether the country buys the aircraft or not, but South Korean orders will add to the orderbook.

 

A second factor is the definition of the indigenous Korean Attack Helicopter as an aircraft of about 5 metric ton—uncomfortably close to the gross weight of all of the AH-X competitors except for the 8-ton Apache.

 

Boeing’s approach to the offset requirement is to suggest the integration of Apache avionics on the KAH. As the U.S. government urges South Korea to put priority on interoperability with U.S. forces on the peninsula—and therefore choose the Apache—Boeing is stressing the value of the KAH being able to operate with its helicopter. Integration of U.S. weapons, such as the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile, would also be simplified by moving systems from the Apache to the KAH.

 

Each of the other likely bidders brings important advantages. South Korea and Turkey have a developing military-industrial relationship that would be further promoted by the choice of TAI and AgustaWestland. The army already operates earlier versions of the AH-1, so that type should offer attractively low costs at entry into service. And Eurocopter, already a partner with KAI in developing the Surion transport under the Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH) program, is well positioned to link its AH-X offer to codevelopment of the KAH. Moreover, all of those manufacturers can offer aircraft designed for NATO standards, somewhat diminishing Boeing’s claimed advantage in high levels of interoperability.

 

The Defense Acquisition Program Agency is expected to issue a request for proposals in January 2012, with responses due by April, selection in July and a contract in October.

 

A key part of the mission is the destruction of North Korean special forces attempting to infiltrate coastal or land borders, says an industry executive. The KAH, replacing OH-6s and AH-1s, will perform a broader close support and reconnaissance role. Under the influence of the industry ministry, called the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, it will be designed with a cabin of up to eight seats so it can be easily transformed into a civil transport. Marketed internationally with the Surion, it would help establish a South Korean helicopter export industry.

 

A Boeing executive says the company is not interested in taking a risk-sharing role on the KAH. So even if the company wins AH-X, KAI, the selected South Korean manufacturer, will have to work with another partner, such as Eurocopter, for the airframe and dynamics of KAH.

 

The transfer of Apache structural work to KAI’s plant here is emblematic of the country’s mastery of manufacturing and helps explain its determination to move on to developing aircraft. A Boeing official says the Korean company hit quality targets almost from the beginning of its Apache program. Judged against such metrics as tolerances, finish and precision of fasteners, the helicopter bodies were delivered to an unusually high standard, he says.

 

Airframe production is due to rise to five from three a month as the remanufacturing of U.S. Army Apaches ramps up. A KAI official says the company has the workers and space for the expansion but will need new tools. It plans to design some that it expects will cut production costs.

 

So far in the program it has introduced tools for making subassemblies that are positioned vertically instead of horizontally, as before. They are easier to work with and save space, says a KAI production engineer.

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15 septembre 2011 4 15 /09 /septembre /2011 07:00
EADS Awaits Fighter Radar, UAV Decisions

photo Eurofighter - source flightglobal.com

 

Sep 14, 2011 By Robert Wall aerospace daily and defense report

 

LONDON – With two flagship programs in the balance, EADS is awaiting formal government endorsement of both its Eurofighter Typhoon active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and Talarion unmanned aircraft endeavors.

 

The outlook for the two is slightly split, though. For the Typhoon AESA – deemed critical for the Indian Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft program, which is considering the Typhoon and Dassault’s Rafale – the prospects are internally seen as positive. “We are almost there,” says Cassidian chief executive Stefan Zoller. Since Typhoon buyers endorsed the effort, Zoller says it is “no concern anymore.” The money is being finalized and is expected to materialize.

 

For the Talarion program, EADS is trying to sustain a similarly positive outlook. But reality is more complex.

 

Spain and Turkey have signaled their willingness to participate, but the support of Germany and France is crucial to see the program gain traction. Neither country has signed on yet.

 

Furthermore, EADS is reaching the end of the time it will self-fund Talarion development efforts.

 

The focus now is securing €300 million to €400 million ($409 million - $545 million) for prototyping work. Zoller notes that spread over several countries, that is a small sum. But he refuses to discuss how long EADS will sustain self-funded activities, noting merely that “there is no deadline,” while conceding “we can’t be going on forever.”

 

Zoller believes Talarion still has a chance at survival, though, even if France and the U.K. are discussing the Telemos bilateral medium-altitude long-endurance drone effort. Two countries cannot sustain such an initiative, he argues, which is why a broader effort is needed.

 

When a German funding decision may materialize is uncertain. And any commitment from Paris – even if the government were favorably disposed to Talarion – could be caught up in electoral politics, slowing decision cycles.

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14 septembre 2011 3 14 /09 /septembre /2011 18:15

http://info-aviation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Tornado-GR4.jpg

 

14 septembre 2011 par Edouard Maire – INFO AVIATION

 

Durant trois jours, les avions britanniques ont à nouveau mené des tirs d’armes à longue portée contre les bases militaires restantes du colonel Kadhafi.

 

Le 8 septembre, les Tornado GR4 de la Royal Air Force (RAF) ont participé avec d’autres appareils de l’OTAN à une attaque majeure contre une base importante située près de Birak, à 650 km au sud de Tripoli, dans le Sahara.

 

« Les renseignements de l’OTAN ont révélé que ce site, très utilisé par le régime de Kadhafi dans le passé, a été une fois de plus utilisé comme un quartier général. De nombreuses cibles militaires dans l’enceinte de la base ont été détruites », a déclaré le Major général, Nick Pope, directeur de la communication de l’état-major.

 

Le lendemain, les avions de la RAF ont également aidé l’OTAN à maintenir ses patrouilles de reconnaissance au-dessus d’autres parties du pays. Des Tornado et des Typhoon ont notamment détruit une installation de contrôle près de Hun dans le centre de la Libye.

 

Le 10 septembre, des missiles à longue portée Storm Shadow ont été tirés par les Tornado GR4, de la base RAF Marham (comté de Norfolk), pour frapper un poste militaire important utilisé par les troupes de Kadhafi dans la ville de Sebha, à 50 kilomètres de Birak.

 

Une autre mission a permis de repérer un blindé embusqué du régime Kadhafi à Bani Walid. Une bombe guidée Paveway a été largué depuis un Typhoon pour le détruire. La même patrouille a ensuite repéré un lance-roquettes, caché dans une rangée d’arbres, qui a également été détruit par une Paveway.

 

Cette communication de l’armée britannique n’est pas anodine puisque la guerre en Libye sert aussi de vitrine aux industriels militaires européens (en l’occurrence MDBA).

 

Le missile air-sol Storm Shadow est en effet la version britannique du missile SCALP (Système de croisière conventionnel autonome à longue portée) fabriqué par MBDA. Il est compatible avec le Rafale français qui est en lice pour les appels d’offres au Qatar, au Brésil et aux Émirats Arabes Unis.

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14 septembre 2011 3 14 /09 /septembre /2011 16:30

http://www.jpost.com/HttpHandlers/ShowImage.ashx?ID=143623

photo by IMI - source jpost.com

 

14 septembre 2011 Guysen International News

 

Les Industries militaires israéliennes ont testé avec succès, mercredi, dans le sud du pays, le nouveau missile "Javelot magique", rapporte le site IsraelDefense. Le missile "Javelot magique" a une portée de 40 kilomètres, une précision au mètre près et peut porter des têtes de toute nature. Il est prévu pour la destruction de cibles ennemies sensibles comme un poste de commandement ou des batteries de missiles.

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13 septembre 2011 2 13 /09 /septembre /2011 05:55
Rasmussen Calls For Open Defense Markets

Sep 12, 2011 By Keith Weir/Reuters AviationWeek.com

 

LONDON - The United States and European countries should do more to open up their defense markets to competition at a time of tight budgets, the head of NATO said on Monday.

 

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said he planned to appoint a special envoy to help ensure that countries were getting value for money for defense spending.

 

“We need equal opportunities for European Union and American defense companies to compete across the Atlantic,” Rasmussen told an industry conference in London.

 

He noted that 90 percent of the Pentagon’s procurement budget went to U.S. companies, while Europe often favored its own contractors.

 

Rasmussen welcomed moves by U.S. President Barack Obama to reform export licensing programs which should allow U.S. companies to play a greater role in Europe.

 

NATO’s 28 allies need to prioritize spending, improve coordination and adopt a multinational approach, he said.

 

Rasmussen said he wanted a specific package of mulitlateral measures to be on the table in time for the next NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012.

 

NATO is worried that financial hardship among member countries could hurt the alliance’s military capability unless steps are taken to make procurement more efficient.

 

“I think for most of us, it is the worst economic crisis we have ever faced and it has an impact on everything we do,” Rasmussen told reporters. “Of course, NATO defense budgets are falling, the cost of defense capabilities is rising and security threats are more complex and less predictable.”

 

“We can’t ask the allies to spend more, we have to ask them to spend better.”

 

The Pentagon is shaving at least $350 billion from its previously projected spending over the next decade. European allies are also making deep defense cuts.

 

Rasmussen repeated his criticism of the shortcomings of the NATO operation in Libya, citing lack of intelligence and transport capabilities of an operation led by its European members and Canada.

 

U.S. officials have said the Libyan operation showed the need for European allies to spend more on defense.

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12 septembre 2011 1 12 /09 /septembre /2011 12:55
DSEi 2011: Thales shows optronics products

 

September 12, 2011 Beth Stevenson,SHEPARD GROUP

 

London - Thales has demonstrated advancements in its ISR capabilities through a series of new products and platform upgrades.

 

At a pre-DSEi briefing on 13 July, Thales introduced the new Orion stabilised panoramic sight, and Video Eyesafe Laser Transceiver (VELT), as well as upgrades to its Catherine and Sophie systems.

 

The Orion is a new armoured vehicle sighting system, fitted with Thales’ Catherine MP IR camera, David Low, head of the vehicles optronics group at Thales said at the briefing.

 

In response to soldier demand for multiple functions to be delivered from one fighting vehicle, it has a gigabit ethernet data and video interface that is ‘easily upgradable and easily integrated’, and the company believes this is a market first in terms of being an all-digital sighting system.

 

‘It is an enhanced capability in terms of its panoramic capability. It is a fully stabilised sighting system, so you have got stabilised line of sight. It provides a full 360o continuous azimuth rotation capability, and is qualified for both tracked and wheeled vehicles,’ Low explained.

 

‘We have developed a number of fairly sophisticated algorithms and processing units that allow us to do automatic target tracking, automatic target detection, and wide area surveillance.’ The system was selected on 8 July as the primary sight for the Scout SV programme.

 

‘It provides what we believe to be one of the longest range surveillance and target acquisition capabilities within the vehicle market,’ Low added.

 

Fitted on the Orion is the new VELT eyesafe laser rangefinder (LRF), which comes in two variants, direct (VELT-D) and indirect (VELT-I).

 

‘We’ve introduced two variants, one for the other sights, the direct view, which has a direct view optical channel, and also a second colour TV,’ Richard French, head of the sensors product group at Thales, explained.

 

‘We have two cameras, both wide and narrow, for wide area surveillance and high performance identification.’

 

Features that distinguish it include: the expansion port for adding other capabilities; the reticle and symbology that is now software generated; the ‘industry leading’ athermal boresight stability; and the high-resolution digital colour video.

 

French said the system has received ‘significant interest from the US marketplace’.

 

The Catherine mega pixel (MP) medium wave (MW) IR camera is a ‘fully configurable’ medium wave and lighter addition to the Catherine MP family.

 

The original Catherine MP long wave camera was launched at DSEi in 2005, and ‘since then we’ve taken the fields of view of that camera from 5o down to 3.5 o in the long wave, and have two long wave cameras on the marketplace’, French commented.

 

‘We’ve introduced three fields of view to give 10o for wide area surveillance, dropping down to 2.3 degrees, to give us class-leading identification.

 

‘This medium wave megapixel camera adds to the already established 5o and 15o and 3.5o and 10o degree variants that we have on the marketplace.’

 

The camera has an extended range, is carried under armour, and has periscopic sight applications.

 

The Sophie UF2 is a long wave, dismounted soldier, handheld, thermal imaging target locator based on the Sophie UF released some three years ago, with Thales having sold some 10,000 of this type of system worldwide.

 

The ‘highly successful’ Sophie UF uncooled target locator has been bought by the British Army and is ‘highly successful’, French said, although soldiers still come back to the issue of how to make it lighter and smaller.

 

‘The message that comes back from the user every time we launch a target locator is “when can I have a smaller and lighter one?”’ French explained.

 

The new platform has the same functionality as the original system, but has dropped from 3.4kg to 2.4kg through better integration.

 

It is used for accurate infantry indirect fire control, ISR, enhanced force protection, and day/night operation.

 

All the Thales systems are at production standard and are available to order.

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12 septembre 2011 1 12 /09 /septembre /2011 07:00

http://images.defensetech.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/reapernose.jpg

 

09.09.2011 DEFENSETECH

 

Being part of Military​.com, it wouldn’t be right if we here at DT didn’t do something to recognize the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. We figured we’d list off some of the most significant advances in weaponry that have occurred over the last decade — some driven by the wars spawned by that day, some independent of them. We gradually saw a shift away from extremely high-end weaponry designed to defeat major armies in favor of tech that could be fielded quickly and rapidly adapt to the needs of “low intensity” warfare. Case in point; the F-22 Raptor buys being cut while buys of relatively low-tech drones and propeller-driven ISR planes were dramatically increased . However, now that those wars are winding down, we may see a return to high-end tech at the cost of low-end tech.

 

You’ll find our list below, set up in no particular order. We’ve kept it to major weapons systems that have become operational in the last decade. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

 

 

 

The rise of unmanned vehicles: Yes, UAVs existed before 9/11 but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan saw them pressed into mass production as full-on spy planes and attack aircraft that are in the process of replacing manned aircraft. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in November, 2001, the Pentagon had less than 100 of the early model MQ-1 Predators and it had yet to master the art of using them in combat. By early February 2002, Predators armed with Hellfire missiles were killing al Qaeda operatives, the beginning of the controversial drone bombing campaign that garners so much attention today. Soon after, the Pentagon would unleash the Predator’s bigger brother, the MQ-9 Reaper and field the RQ-4 Global Hawk — though, the Global Hawk still hasn’t replaced the U-2 Dragon Lady as Air Force planners had hoped would have happened by now. Don’t forget the dozens of micro-UAVs operated by small units of troops on the ground giving them unprecedented situational awareness. Hundreds of UAVs of all sizes have now joined the fights in the Middle East and are seen as one of the most important weapons in the U.S. arsenal. A few years ago, the demand for UAVs in Iraq and Afghanistan became so high that the Air Force began pulling pilots from fighter planes to fly UAVs. As the second decade of the 21st Century begins, we’re seeing the development and fielding of stealthy, jet-powered drones like the Navy’s X-47B  and UCLASS planes that are designed to perform high-end strike and reconnaissance missions that were always the domain of the manned-aircraft. Keep in mind that the robot planes have been joined by thousands of ground robots that are doing everything from explosive ordnance disposal to scouting for bad guys. Just recently, the Army announced that it is sending robotic jeeps to Afghanistan to haul soldiers gear on patrols.

 

 

 

Advances in electronic warfare: As U.S. troops began to fall victim to Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq, the Pentagon scrambled to find ways to defeat the insurgents weapon of choice. While up-armored Humvees and eventually MRAPS were fielded in the fight against IEDs military officials began applying electronic warfare in ways they had never planned. Hundreds of millions were spent developing a range of vehicle-mounted and handheld IED jammers (some worked others were notoriously bad) that were carried on the deadly Middle Eastern roads. Navy EW personnel were put in land billets to share their expertise with troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even the Air Force’s big spy planes were brought into the effort. The RC-135 Rivet Joints helped intercept insurgent communications. The E-8 Joint STARS used their powerful ground-scanning radars, originally designed to spot Soviet tank columns, to find disturbances in the earth where insurgents had buried bombs. Even the EC-130 Compass Call was pressed into service using its electronic attack gear to prematurely detonate IEDs. All sorts of new EW technology has been developed with the aim of identifying enemy signals,  hacking insurgent communications and disrupting electronic IED detonation tech. This surge of EW gear and a steep learning curve led to the Pentagon eventually dominating the electronic landscape of Iraq — eventually, special operators, the CIA and the NSA were able to listen to all communications in the country as they systematically dismantled bomb making networks and insurgent groups. Not surprisingly, the success of EW in targeting insurgents and defeating IEDs in Iraq has led to Afghan insurgents moving toward more low tech bombmaking techniques.  Still, you can bet the advances made in EW over the last decade (many of which are classified) will no doubt continue to influence the ways wars are fought. Don’t forget that work on high-end jammers, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s Next Generation Jammer built for the 21st century also continues.

 

 

The MRAP: As we mentioned earlier, the fight against IEDs led to the fielding of an entirely new class of ground vehicle for the U.S. military when the thin-skinned yet highly-mobile Humvees proved far too vulnerable to explolsives to use on patrol. A vehicle was desperately needed that could carry infantry troops yet provide them levels of protection normally afforded by heavy armored vehicles like tanks. Enter the MRAP. As you know, they’re big trucksvcentered around blast deflecting hulls and lots of armor. Now, we’re  seeing the design scaled down to accommodate the terrain in Afghanistan that limits the use of big trucks.  We’ll see how many of them the military hangs on to after the Iraq and Afghan conflicts end — though, many of the lessons learned from fielding MRAPs are being incorporated into the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, one of the trucks that will replace the Humvee.

 

 

Cyber warfare: We write about it all the time here at DT. It’s gone from something no one talked about to becoming a universally fretted about topic. We see new reports of cyber espionage, hacking and full on attacks every week. The Stuxnet virus unleashed against the Iranian nuclear program is a great example of a full on cyber attack that had physical results. With technology so widely available, many worry that almost any rouge group or a nation state will be able to cripple a nation’s critical infrastructure. Before 9/11, heck before 2006–7 it was hard to get senior leaders at the Pentagon to take the cyber threat seriously. However, in the last few years, we’ve seen all four services establish cyber fighting arms and watched as the Pentagon stood up U.S. Cyber Command.

 

 

Fifth generation fighters: On 9/11 the USAF’s most potent fighter was arguably the F-15 Eagle. In 2005, the F-22 Raptor became operational ushering in a new era in manned aerial combat. Many believe it’s hands-down the best fighter ever built. However, with the last decade’s focus on irregular warfare, the Raptor came under fire as a jet that was built to meet threats that never materialized and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates cut the Raptor buy to 187 jets. Adding insult to injury, the plane has yet to see combat and has been grounded for months now due to problems with toxins seeping into its oxygen system. Still, opened the door for the development of not only the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter but fifth gen planes around the world like Sukhoi’s T-50 PAK FA and China’s J-20. It remains to be seen how all of these planes with their stealth designs, high-speeds and maneuverability and most importantly their advanced sensors and EW gear will change air warfare around the globe.

 

 

Tiltrotor tech: Like the Raptor, the V-22 Osprey wasn’t out of testing on 9/11.  However, by the end of the decade, the Osprey has become an integral part of the U.S.’ vertical lift fleet after decades of development troubles that garnered it a ton of critics. The revolutionary birds can fly at near-C-130-speeds to targets far beyond the range of most helicopters and then swoop in for a vertical landing. This has opened up a range of options to mission planners that were never before available. Since their first combat deployments in 2008, Marine Corps MV-22s and Air Force CV-22s have been used to do everything from CSAR missions in Libya to special operations raids in Afghanistan, carrying bin Laden’s body to the U.S.S. Carl Vinson and even ferrying the Secretary of Defense around the ‘States. And yes, they’ve seen real combat. Still, the Ospreys have experienced teething problems, particularly with dust and sand seeping into their massive engines, leading to higher than normal maintenance rates.

 

 

The Littoral Combat Ship: Yup, these little ships have finally come on line and the Navy is going to buy both classes of LCS for a minimum of 22 ships. We’ll see how the prove themselves since they have yet to  recieve their full weapons suites or work out all the problems with their plug-in mission modules. Oh, and they’ve had some issues with corrosion. Still, Navy officials have high hopes for the controversial vessels which they see as extremely flexible platforms for fighting close to shore.

 

 

Soldier tech: From more advanced body armor and flame resistant uniforms and sweet mountain boots (for troops in Afghanistan) to better radios and the XM-25 counter-defilade grenade launcher, ground troops have received numerous and often life-saving advances in their individual gear over the last decade. For more on how the grunt’s gear has evolved since 9/11 check out this piece at sister site, Kit Up!

 

We could go on about everything from the Small Diameter Bomb and the M982 Excalibur guided artillery round to new blue force tracking tools and data sharing devices (we should also mention the Army’s Stryker armored vehicle that came online very soon after 9/11), and we’re sure you can too, so please do in the comments.

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9 septembre 2011 5 09 /09 /septembre /2011 12:05

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Stormshadowcrop.JPG

photo David Monniaux

 

September 9, 2011 W. Alibrandi, Forecast International - defpro.com

 

NEWTOWN, Conn. | Microturbo's TRI 40 and TRI 60 engines power several missiles and one target drone.

 

MBDA's SCALP EG and SCALP Navale are in production, and exports are playing a large role in the company's future. Saudi Arabia has purchased the Storm Shadow for its Tornado fighters, and the sales of Rafale fighters and FREMM frigates should boost demand for this missile.

 

MBDA is planning to upgrade the SCALP EG with an enhanced version to meet France's and the U.K.'s requirements for long-range and strike missiles. The new missile's range could exceed 1,000 kilometers.

 

France's Exocet anti-ship missile is one of MBDA's most popular products. The Block 3 Exocet has greater range than the solid-fuel-propelled Block 2 and can also engage land-based targets. Sales to Middle East countries have been a large source of business for MBDA.

 

Saab Bofors' RBS15 is an anti-ship missile that has been purchased by Sweden, Germany, Poland and Thailand. Several other navies are considering the missile, which may provide a near-constant stream of contracts from 2011-2020.

 

Composite Engineering's BQM-167 Skeeter drone is powered by the TRI 60, and has been purchased by the U.S. Air Force and Navy. The USAF is replacing its legacy BQM-34 and MQM-107 drones with the Skeeter.

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9 septembre 2011 5 09 /09 /septembre /2011 11:55
Watchkeeper flies to new endurance record

Photo Thales UK

 

09/09/11 By Craig Hoyle SOURCE:Flight International

 

Operational trials with the British Army's Watchkeeper unmanned air system (UAS) remain on track to start next month, after the WK450 air vehicle has set a new endurance record in testing.

 

Maj Matt Moore, SO2 UAS for headquarters, Royal Artillery, said a WK450 completed an almost 14h flight in early September from West Wales airport.

 

With current approvals restricting test flights to daylight hours only, the aircraft landed with around 4h of fuel remaining, he said.

 

During the record-breaking UK flight, the aircraft's dual mission payload of an Elop Compass IV electro-optical/infrared camera and Thales I-Master/Viper synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indication sensor were employed, along with its data link.

 

 The WK450's dual mission payloads, data link and software were tested during the record-breaking sortie

 

The UAS was also taken to its 16,000ft (4,880m) service ceiling and 115km (62nm) away from the airport, Moore told the UK Air Warfare Centre's remotely piloted air systems symposium in Shrivenham, Wiltshire, on 8 September. The aircraft also flew using its operational-standard software, prime contractor Thales UK said.

 

Operational trials with the Watchkeeper will be conducted in October and November, with the first training flights over Salisbury Plain to be made from the Ministry of Defence/Qinetiq Boscombe Down site in Wiltshire in December.

 

Watchkeeper vehicles and equipment will be deployed to Afghanistan from late this year, to deliver one daily "task line" from the first quarter of 2012. A full service using six task lines should be in place within 12 months, Moore said.

 

In addition to continuing flight testing, other Watchkeeper activities currently include preparing modifications - such as the addition of covert lighting - for deployment in Afghanistan, Moore said.

 

Development testing with the WK450 has now passed 230 flights and 320h in the UK and Israel.

 

Thales UK/Elbit Systems joint venture Utacs is responsible for delivering the Watchkeeper system, which will replace an interim service in Afghanistan currently using leased Elbit Hermes 450s.

 

The service has delivered 50,000h of intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance services for the British Army since April 2007.

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9 septembre 2011 5 09 /09 /septembre /2011 06:40

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c9/PVP_%28Petit_v%C3%A9hicule_prot%C3%A9g%C3%A9%29_%281%29.JPG/800px-PVP_%28Petit_v%C3%A9hicule_prot%C3%A9g%C3%A9%29_%281%29.JPG

 

8 Sep 2011 By PIERRE TRAN DefenseNews

 

PARIS - The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) has ordered a further 200 small armored vehicles from Panhard, boosting a previous contract for 933 units, the procurement office said in Sept. 8 statement.

 

"The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) ordered from Panhard General Defense Sept. 6, 2011, 200 PVP for the Army," the procurement office said.

 

The PVP is the Petit Véhicule Protegé, an armored four-wheel-drive vehicle that can be fitted with a 7.62mm machine gun on a remote-operated turret.

 

The new batch of vehicles will be delivered in 2012. The last of the 933 units ordered in 2004 will be produced in December of this year, the DGA said.

 

No financial details were available.

 

The PVP has been deployed in Lebanon and Afghanistan.

 

Production of the PVP at two Panhard sites has so far generated 1 million hours of work, the DGA said.

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8 septembre 2011 4 08 /09 /septembre /2011 16:30

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/storage/images/base-de-medias/images/dga/1_programmes/le-petit-vehicule-protege-pvp-credit-stat/266082-1-fre-FR/le-petit-vehicule-protege-pvp-credit-stat.jpg

source defense.gouv.fr

 

08/09/2011 Direction générale de l'armement

 

La Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) a commandé à Panhard General Defense, le 6 septembre 2011, 200 PVP destinés à l’armée de terre. Cette commande s’ajoute au marché initial de 933 PVP passé en 2004 et dont le dernier exemplaire sera produit en décembre 2011. Ces 200 PVP supplémentaires seront livrés en 2012.

 

Le PVP est un véhicule 4x4 moderne, équipant les cellules de commandement des unités d’artillerie et de génie, ainsi que certaines unités spécifiques de l’infanterie parachutiste et alpine, de la circulation et du renseignement. Aérotransportable, blindé et très mobile, il peut transporter jusqu’à 4 passagers. Il dispose d’une mitrailleuse de 7,62 mm qui, pour certains emplois, est installée sur un tourelleau téléopéré de l’intérieur du véhicule. Le PVP est déployé au Liban depuis fin 2009 et en Afghanistan depuis début 2010.

 

Les PVP sont produits sur les 2 sites industriels de Marolles-en-Hurepoix (Essonne) et Saint-Germain-Laval (Loire). Le programme PVP a représenté jusqu’à présent un total d’environ un million d’heures de travail pour Panhard et ses sous-traitants.

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7 septembre 2011 3 07 /09 /septembre /2011 16:50

http://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getAsset.aspx?ItemID=41755 

The Nimrod MRA4 project was axed photo BAE Systems

 

07/09/11 By Craig Hoyle SOURCE:Flight International

 

Late last year, the UK armed forces were rocked by the effects of a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) process overseen by a new coalition government determined to tackle a massive budget deficit head-on.

 

Almost 12 months later, the defence industry will gather for its largest post-SDSR coming-together at the Defence & Security Equipment International show, or DSEi, which will be held in London's Docklands on 13-16 September.

Since the event was last held two years ago, the UK has lost its fixed-wing carrier strike capability with the early retirement of its BAE Systems Harrier GR7/9s, and seen its replacement maritime patrol aircraft, BAE's Nimrod MRA4, axed after a programme investment of over £3 billion ($4.8 billion).

 

Also gone are two of the Royal Navy's three Invincible-class aircraft carriers and the Royal Air Force's last Panavia Tornado F3 fighters and Nimrod R1 electronic intelligence aircraft. Two squadrons equipped with the Tornado GR4 strike aircraft have also recently been disbanded, with the move having also trimmed a fleet that is expected to remain in use until around 2020.

 

Dramatic in nature, these cuts were adopted against a backdrop of the UK's recent withdrawal of forces from Iraq, and with plans in place for the country to end its combat commitment in Afghanistan around 2015, following the progressive transfer of control to local authorities. But the rise of the "Arab Spring" movement in nations across the Middle East and North Africa throughout this year has provided an unexpected test for a military hard-hit by the spending cuts introduced by UK defence secretary Dr Liam Fox.

 

In announcing the recommendations of the SDSR last October, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said his country's coalition government was seeking to tackle an investment "black hole" inherited from the previous Labour administration, which it valued at £38 billion. Failure to tackle this shortfall now could result in a more "severe recalibration in the future", Fox told the Royal United Services Institute's Air Power conference in London in mid-July.

The SDSR has received much criticism for the swift nature of its completion and the severity of its cuts. Speaking at the same event, one analyst described the process as having been "four years in anticipation, but only four months in gestation".

 

Sir Brian Burridge, Finmeccanica UK's vice-president, strategic marketing, and formerly one of the RAF's most senior ranking officers, drew a different analogy when referring to the loss of key capabilities. "The concern is that this government might come out of the supermarket without a balanced meal, and that the next time it goes the shelves will be empty," he said.

 

RAF Panavia Tornado GR4, SAC Simon Armstrong/Crown Copyright
 © SAC Simon Armstrong/Crown Copyright
Tornado GR4s will serve until around 2020

 

DSEi will provide a focus for the UK's defence contractors to pursue already planned deals and fresh business, both at home and on the international stage. It will also highlight the security opportunities available, with London preparing to host the Olympic Games in mid-2012.

 

Speaking at a pre-show media briefing on 6 September, minister for international security strategy Gerald Howarth identified the role that global defence and security sales could play in helping to repair the UK's economic prospects. "Exports are critical to a sustainable recovery," he said. "The UK defence industry is proving itself to be well-placed to weather the storm."

 

With UK defence exports having totalled around £6 billion in 2010 - when it was second only to the USA in terms of total exports - and security systems around £2 billion more, selling on the global stage is a vital requirement at a time of domestic squeeze. Current targets include closing a proposed government-to-government deal to supply Eurofighter Typhoons to Oman, and a campaign to offer the same type for India's medium multi-role combat aircraft deal.

 

The Typhoon made its combat debut for the UK as a multi-role platform earlier this year, with the RAF employing the type's air-to-surface weapons against regime targets in Libya. Perhaps crucially for the European type, the fighter also looks set to receive an active electronically scanned array radar enhancement, while MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile also should be available for operational use from around 2015.

 

But more attention at DSEi will be given to Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which will be on display as a full-scale mock-up. However, reflecting the UK's last-minute decision to swap to the C-model carrier variant, the design on show will be in the short take-off and vertical landing guise.

 

To meet the Joint Combat Aircraft requirement from late this decade, the F-35C will be flown from the Royal Navy's (RN's) two future aircraft carriers, with the combination to reintroduce a big-deck operating model last employed by the UK in the late 1970s.

 

UK Carrier with F-35s, BAE Systems
 © BAE Systems

F-35Cs will fly from the UK's future carriers

 

One source previously involved with the JSF programme describes the SDSR's surprise variant switch as potentially "one of the most catastrophic procurement decisions ever made". Abandoning years of experience in flying vertical/short take-off and landing Harriers could end up costing UK taxpayers billions of pounds extra, the source claims, as a result of the additional training needed to ensure pilots maintain proficiency. Regaining this skill is already a focus of attention, with the RN looking to train a new cadre of Fleet Air Arm officers on US Navy Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

 

The UK's exact requirements for the F-35 have yet to be set, but the Ministry of Defence has previously identified a need for up to 138 of the aircraft. An initial three F-35Bs were ordered to participate alongside the US military during initial operational test and evaluation of the new aircraft, but the allies are working out the details of a deal to exchange the last example for an F-35C.

 

The new type could achieve initial operating capability as a land-based asset from roughly 2018, before launching embarked operations around 2020. Its introduction must be balanced with the planned draw-down of the Tornado GR4 force: an activity that Fox says will be "particularly challenging".

 

Some level of funding commitment will be required next year, to cover the order of long-lead items for an initial batch of around 16 aircraft to be built during the programme's low-rate initial production phase.

 

"We are still in the midst of the post-defence review figuring our conversion from -35B to -35C, and there's an awful lot of work still in that rescheduling process," says Air Marshal Kevin Leeson, the UK's chief of materiel (air).

 

For now, while the UK's carrier strike capability lapses, the strong performance of the Army Air Corps' Westland/Boeing Apache AH1 attack helicopters over Libya in May 2011 from HMS Ocean has highlighted one likely means by which the nation could respond to other such contingencies until its future aircraft carriers and F-35Cs enter use.

 

Plans to buy the JSF were safeguarded in July, when the government announced a planned £3 billion increase in defence spending for the five-year period starting 2015-16. This sum will help to cover initial spending on the F-35C, as well as the costs of converting both Queen Elizabeth-class carriers with catapults and arrestor gear.

 

The commitment also enabled the MoD last month to sign a £1 billion order for 14 Boeing CH-47 Chinook HC6 transport helicopters and to complete the acquisition of three Air Seeker (RC-135 Rivet Joint) surveillance aircraft. A memorandum of understanding covering logistics support activities and capability updates for the latter fleet until 2025 was also recently signed, with this valued at more than $850 million. The aircraft will replace the retired Nimrod R1s from 2014.

 

One glaring capability shortfall created by the SDSR has yet to be addressed, however. The cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 has left the MoD having to improvise on the provision of long-range maritime patrol aircraft cover by using RAF Lockheed C-130J transports and RN AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin HM1 shipborne helicopters.

 

Proposals have been made by industry to adapt some C-130Js to assume the role on a more formal basis, but other contractors are looking at any potential demand to field a smaller aircraft, possibly using an airframe such as the Alenia Aeronautica C-27J or Hawker Beechcraft King Air. With money to remain tight for some years to come, the idea of acquiring a more dedicated type - such as Boeing's 737-based P-8, now in development for the US Navy - seems fanciful.

 

Apache/Ocean, Crown Copyright
 © Crown Copyright

The Apache/Ocean pairing could sail again

 

Importantly, the costs associated with supporting NATO's Libyan operation since March have been covered from the Treasury reserve, and not the over-stretched defence budget.

 

The Libyan campaign has underlined the importance of the pending introduction of 14 Airbus A330-200-based Voyager tanker/transports from late this year, and of past investments in weapons systems such as MBDA's Storm Shadow cruise missile and dual-mode Brimstone air-to-surface missile, and Raytheon Systems' Paveway IV precision-guided bomb. It has also highlighted the value of the Bombardier Global Express-based Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft's synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indication sensor, months after it was identified in the SDSR for disposal after the needs of Afghanistan.

 

The jury is still out as to whether the government's cuts to date and commitment for a future spending increase will cover the armed forces' procurement plans. Answers could be quick in coming, however, with an independent body having been tasked with conducting an "affordability audit" late this year on the MoD's top projects.

 

Looking at the likely equipment spending bill out to 2018-19 in his Defence Analysis publication, military analyst Francis Tusa says: "The spend curve looks far from balanced, and [SDSR] could well cause as many troubles as it resolved." He adds: "The extra 1% annual defence budget rise is only kicking in after 2015, so one has to ask how the books have been balanced prior to that time, when some £3 billion in funding will be needed."

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7 septembre 2011 3 07 /09 /septembre /2011 11:50

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/30/Gripen_39-7_Bthebest.jpg/800px-Gripen_39-7_Bthebest.jpg

photo by Bthebest

 

To Provide Rugged Digital Signal Processor Modules for New Gripen NG Aircraft's Fire Control System

 

September 7, 2011 Curtiss-Wright Corporation  - defpro.com

 

PARSIPPANY, N.J. | Curtiss-Wright Corporation announced Sept. 6 that it has been selected by SELEX Galileo to supply rugged embedded digital signal processor modules for use on Saab's new Gripen Next Generation (NG) fighter aircraft. The contract, which runs from 2010 to 2014, is valued at $15 million, and has an estimated potential additional value of $10 million over the lifetime of the program.

 

"Curtiss-Wright is proud to have been selected to provide our digital signal processor technology for use on the next generation Gripen aircraft," said Martin R. Benante, Chairman and CEO of Curtiss-Wright Corporation. "This award further demonstrates the value of our advanced technologies on a global basis."

 

Curtiss-Wright's digital signal processor modules will provide the radar processing for the Gripen's fire control radar system. The company's Motion Control segment will develop the digital signal processor modules at its Ashburn, VA facility.

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7 septembre 2011 3 07 /09 /septembre /2011 05:40
Quand les industriels européens de la défense font semblant de coopérer

 

 

06-09-11 à 19:40 par Vincent Lamigeon – challenges.fr

 

Challenges était à l'université de la Défense organisée à Rennes. On y a beaucoup parlé de coopération européenne. Mais en la matière, tout est dans les non-dits. Reportage.

 

Rennes n’est pas Marseille ou la Rochelle. On en a eu confirmation avec l’université de la Défense, organisée en Bretagne quelques jours après la grand-messe du PS en Charente-Maritime et celle de l’UMP sur les bords de la Méditerrannée. Ici, pas de pulls autour du cou, encore moins de polos multicolores, mais une flopée d’uniformes et une impressionnante armada de gradés et de patrons de groupes de défense, de Louis Gallois (EADS) à Charles Edelstenne (Dassault Aviation), en passant par Luc Vigneron (Thales), Antoine Bouvier (MBDA), Lutz Bertling (Eurocopter) ou Jean-Paul Herteman (Safran).

 

Le tout dans le cadre impressionnant de l’installation "Solange", cathédrale de béton de 58 mètres de diamètre sur le site de la DGA (délégation générale de l’armement) de Bruz (près de Rennes), où chasseurs et missiles sont suspendus à trente mètres du sol pour analyser leur signature radar.

 

Débats sur la coopération européenne...

 

De quoi aura-t-on causé durant ces deux jours d’échanges feutrés? Des relations Etat-industrie bien sûr, de défense anti-missiles également, du retour d’expérience en Libye ou en Afghanistan, des 200 millions d’euros à trouver pour compenser les petits désagréments financiers liés à l’affaire des frégates de Taiwan. La visite du site de Bruz a aussi été l’occasion de cerner le rôle de la DGA dans la cyberdéfense, la guerre électronique (brouillage, leurres etc) ou le développement des missiles qui ont fait leurs preuves en Libye, comme le Scalp ou le AASM.

 

Mais l’essentiel des débats a porté sur le serpent de mer de l’industrie de défense: la coopération européenne. "L’Europe est en train de passer sous le seuil critique des budgets de défense, il faut absolument relancer les collaborations européennes", assurait ainsi Louis Gallois.

 

... que personne ne voit en réalité

 

Le problème, c’est que la coopération européenne est un peu à la défense ce que le monstre du Loch Ness est aux passionnés de créatures fantasmagoriques: tout le monde en parle, personne ne le voit. Bien sûr, les traités franco-britanniques de novembre 2010, qui prévoient quelques collaborations sur les essais nucléaires, les porte-avions ou le partage de matériels, ont été largement évoqués. Mais c’était aussi pour souligner la difficulté de l’étendre à l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne ou la Pologne, aux stratégies de défense pas forcément convergentes, voire carrément opposées.

 

Du coup, le plus frappant résidait peut-être avant tout dans les non-dits de ces deux jours de débats. Rien de concret ou presque sur les grands programmes européens du futur, notamment un programme de drones MALE (moyenne altitude longue endurance) de BAE et Dassault pas encore lancé par les gouvernements, et qui semble pour l’instant exclure EADS, au risque de recréer une guerre intestine type Rafale-Eurofighter.

 

Rien non plus sur les discussions, évoquées par la presse, entre le groupe naval de défense DCNS et son concurrent allemand TKMS. Rien encore sur la nécessaire consolidation des sociétés françaises et européennes d’armement terrestre (Nexter, Panhard, Renault Trucks Défense, Rheinmetall...). Le délégué général pour l’armement Laurent Collet-Billon a subtilement fait comprendre que ces sujets attendraient tranquillement l’après-2012.

 

Ca chauffe entre les cadors de la défense européenne

 

En attendant, ca continue de cogner dur entre cadors de la défense européenne. Phrases assassines en off dans les couloirs entre Safran et Thales, échanges d’amabilités aéronautiques entre EADS et Dassault, mais aussi une lutte sans merci au quotidien: "Mes équipes sont ravies quand l’agressivité de nos offres oblige nos concurrents européens à vendre avec des marges négatives", déplore presque Patrick Boissier, P-DG de DCNS.

 

"La concurrence intra-européenne dans les drones, les sous-marins, les satellites ou les blindés est totalement destructrice", renchérit Josselin de Rohan, président de la commission défense du Sénat. De quoi motiver le cri du coeur –ironique- de Gérard Longuet dans son discours de clôture: "Vous, les industriels, rendez-nous un service: aimez-vous les uns les autres!" Dans les rangs de Dassault et EADS, le sourire ressemble étrangement à un rictus.

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6 septembre 2011 2 06 /09 /septembre /2011 11:30
India postpones latest Agni missile launch

 

September 6th, 2011 DEFENCE TALK / AFP

 

India postponed until next week a test-firing of its indigenously built Agni II ballistic nuclear capable missile due to a technical glitch.

 

The two-stage surface-to-surface missile was to be tested by its Strategic Forces Command from Wheeler Island off the Bay of Bengal on Monday, a report in the Indian Express newspaper said.

 

"But we had to postpone the test due to technical problems," Avinash Chander, director of the Agni missile program, said.

 

The day next week for the launch is not decided, said Chander, who gave no reason for the failure.

 

But previous missile failures have been blamed on guidance problems.

 

There also were doubts about continuous rainfall in Balasore near the test-firing range over the past three days.

 

India has a checkered history of launching indigenously built missiles, including the Agni I, II and III weapons.

 

The basic Agni series includes the single-stage 450-mile range Agni I, already inducted into service, and the two-stage Agni II and III models.

 

The 1,200-mile range Agni II was inducted into the army in 2004 and still is undergoing test-firings. The 65-foot missile weighs around 17 tons and can carry a 1-tonne payload.

 

The 2,000-mile range Agni III is in the last stages of development.

 

The solid-propellant Agni series of ballistic missiles are manufactured by Bharat Dynamics, one of India's major manufacturers of munitions and missile systems founded in 1970 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

 

Bharat Dynamics also manufactures India's Konkurs anti-tank missile.

 

Agni-II has been developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other laboratories under the government-backed Defense Research and Development Organization.

 

India's main missile test launch center is Wheeler Island -- just over 1 mile long and 6 miles off the country's east coast in the Bay of Bengal and about 90 miles from Bhubaneshwar, the capital city of Orissa state.

 

It was from Wheeler Island that Agni III, with a range of just over 2,000 miles, was successfully test-launched from a mobile launcher in February last year.

 

During a test launch the following month, a Prithvi missile veered off its path, failing to reach its required altitude of around 70 miles. It climbed to around 45 miles before tumbling back into the Bay of Bengal.

 

Then in September, the DRDO acknowledged guidance problems that caused a failure in another Prithvi missile test launch. The surface-to-surface missile remained on the launch pad during a trial in Chandipur, Orissa.

 

The short-range, 4.6-tonne nuclear-capable missile became enveloped in orange smoke and the launch was aborted, officials from the DRDO said at the time.

 

"The failure to lift Prithvi II was due to a snag either in the main missile or the sub-system, including the launcher," a DRDO spokesman said.

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3 septembre 2011 6 03 /09 /septembre /2011 08:15

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source rusnavyintelligence.com

 

2 septembre 2011 Par Rédacteur en chef. PORTAIL DES SOUS-MARINS

 

La Marine russe a procédé aux premiers essais d’appontage du Ka-52 dans sa version navalisé. Ces hélicoptères doivent être embarqués sur les futurs Mistrals russes.

 

Référence : RusNavy Intelligence

 

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1 septembre 2011 4 01 /09 /septembre /2011 17:55

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b9/Flag_of_Australia.svg/800px-Flag_of_Australia.svg.png

 

CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 1 (UPI)

 

Australia's Defense Department hit back at criticism over its MU90 lightweight torpedo purchase from the weapon's French and Italian manufacturers.

 

A written statement by the Defense Ministry said all essential documentation from the manufacturers is in English and not, as reported by Australian media, in French or Italian only.

 

An article in some Fairfax Media newspapers and "more widely reported in the electronic media" contains "information that is wrong and misleading," the ministry said.

 

The Age newspaper in Melbourne, under the headline "Navy at sea over French manual," savaged the government for going out to tender for a translation of the manufacturers' documents despite having spent several hundred million dollars on the much-delayed project.

 

The Age said the deal has dragged on 13 years, will cost $655 million and has been condemned by the government auditor.

 

The article said the Defense Department will pay $110,100 for the translation service and cover the cost of flights and accommodation the tender winner.

 

"Buy flat-pack furniture from a well-known Scandinavian chain store and you can be sure the instructions will be in English," the article said. "But spend hundreds of millions on European-built torpedoes for your navy and apparently that is not the case."

 

 

However, the Defense Department said "as a condition of contract, all key project documentation including technical instructions from the supplier has been delivered in English."

 

What is in need of translation is "additional test data from these countries as a way to reduce costs and minimize the number of formal ship trials for the Australian MU90 program" before the weapon is commissioned, the department said.

 

The statement noted that Australia is getting test-firing data ordinarily not included in such contracts but will save Australian taxpayers a lot of money.

 

"To date the French and Italian navy testing programs have involved the firing of over 200 MU90 torpedoes. It is the reports and data from these tests that is in French and Italian and needs to be translated into English," the Defense Department said in its statement.

 

Apart from Australia, the MU90 anti-submarine torpedo is used by the navies of Germany, France, Italy, Denmark and Poland. It is designed to outperform the U.S.-built Mark 46, torpedo designed by Alliant Techsytems.

 

The MU90 manufacturer, EuroTorp, is a consortium formed in 1993 by French and Italian defense companies specifically to design and build a new generation lightweight torpedoes.

 

EuroTorp companies are Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei, which has a 50 percent stake, DCN International with a 26 percent stake and Thales Underwater Systems, owning 24 percent.

 

The Defense Department statement also noted that the MU90 contract is an Acquisition Project of Concern. Being on the Project of Concern list -- set up in 2008 -- means the government is aware of escalating costs and lengthening delivery dates and is working with contractors to get the contract back on track.

 

In May, a report by the Auditor General blasted Defense for badly managing the torpedo purchase which, even though signed in 1998, has no firm delivery date.

 

'Planning and management was inadequate,'' the Auditor General said.

 

There had been ''an underestimation of … risk'' even though almost $400 million has been spent.

 

The project ''will not deliver the capability originally sought by the Australian Defense Force (military), with uncertainty surrounding what will be delivered."

 

The audit report said the government knew so little about the torpedo when they bought it, they ''believed the MU90 to be an off-the-shelf acquisition … already in service with the other navies. This was not the case.''

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25 août 2011 4 25 /08 /août /2011 06:15
photo V.Kuzmin

photo V.Kuzmin

 

Aug 24, 2011 By Robert Wall aviation week and space technology

 

Moscow - Money alone cannot reinvigorate an air force after years of neglect—that is the painful lesson the Russian military is learning as it and the domestic industry work to modernize the country’s air force.

 

The influx of funding in the past two years has undoubtedly benefited industry, triggering a reversal of fortunes. But it also has brought to the forefront a raft of new problems, including how to meet the timetable for replenishing the air force fleet.

 

The size of the appetite for fighters was underscored by Russian air force chief Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, who says the service is looking to field five squadrons of Su-34s, or around 120 aircraft. The fighter program languished in development for years; the first operational unit was only established recently, more than a decade late. Four of the aircraft were handed over last year and six are due to be delivered this year, with 12 to follow each year thereafter.

 

But Zelin is concerned about fielding plans for the Su-35, Russia’s latest fighter, which is seen as an important element in the fleet renewal plan and also as a capability gap-filler until the fifth-generation T-50 arrives. The Su-35 program has suffered development delays, in part because of a ground accident with the third prototype three years ago that destroyed the aircraft, but also due to concern in the service that the Su-35 will not meet the Russian air force’s specifications. The fighter was initially designed for the export market when Russia’s industry was unable to secure funding at home.

 

Pressure is mounting on the Su-35 program also because of the aggressive time line that has been set for the T-50, which Zelin describes as the service’s top fighter priority. Two aircraft are in flight trials and United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) President Mikhail Pogosyan promises two more will be delivered this year. Plans call for the first preproduction T-50 to be handed over in 2013, with the production standard aircraft to become available in 2014-15.

 

But behind the scenes, military officials worry that the T-50 development and production milestones cannot be met, and they feel the Su-35 needs to be fielded quickly to address immediate equipment concerns.

 

In many respects, the Su-35 also serves as a technology pathfinder for the T-50. Both use the same Article 117S engines and their radar technology shares a heritage. The Su-35’s Irbis-E has a 350-400-km (220-250-mi.) detection range for targets with a 3-sq.-meter (33-sq.-ft.) radar signature and is both electronically and mechanically scanned. It has the ability to track up to 30 targets simultaneously and engage eight at the same time.

 

The Su-35’s laser targeting pod in particular could act as a trailblazer for the T-50. Plans call for the stealth fighter to use the large Article 110KS pod developed by UOMZ, although it would compromise the aircraft’s low observability. The Su-35, on the other hand, will likely use an internally mounted system, with a low radar cross section, that could migrate to the T-50.

 

Also helping to bolster the arsenal in the near term is a pending order for additional Su-30s. The Russian air force is expected to buy 28 Su-30SMs, the Russian version of the Su-30MKI Irkut has sold to the Indian air force. The Su-30SM would retain Western equipment from companies such as Thales and Safran in a rare departure from Russia’s emphasis on using domestic suppliers, says an industry official. The yet-to-be-announced contract for Su-30SMs also is expected to include an option for 12 aircraft, potentially to meet a not fully defined requirement from Russia’s navy aviation arm.

 

The concerns about fielding time lines go beyond the combat aircraft realm. Zelin notes that the Il-476 transport is due to be in service in 2013 but says,“we would like to have it earlier.” The current development activity will not allow that.

 

The fleet replacement worries are further illustrated by the troubles with the Tu-22M bombers belonging to the Russian navy’s air arm, which now fall under control of the air force. Obsolescence of engine parts has created a maintenance nightmare for the fleet and prompted the military to restart parts production of critical powerplant components. Zelin sees progress on this front and says that once the situation is improved the aircraft may be reassigned to the navy.

 

But there are limits to Russia’s appetite for new equipment. Despite the hopes of industry players such as MiG that the Russian air force will buy into a light fifth-generation fighter program, that does not look promising. Zelin suggests that more likely would be the acquisition of MiG-35s, which were initially developed for India. However, he tempers the prospect by noting that the issue is secondary to the T-50.

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24 août 2011 3 24 /08 /août /2011 07:35

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uRnVgsA3gD0/TlRIpUzM1dI/AAAAAAAAKRY/pzflWh3KkDU/s400/PF-15_ofwheroes.jpg

 

Navy eyeing to acquire two more Hamilton-class ships from the US. (photo : ofwheroes)
 

23.08.2011 DEFENSE STUDIES
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino yesterday enumerated a list of military equipment to be acquired in fulfillment of his promise of modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during his term.

Aquino said among the equipment to be purchased are jet trainers that would enhance the skills of pilots and radars to monitor the country’s territorial waters.

“With regard to the equipment I want…I want everything. But what we will acquire, we have lead-in jet trainer… to keep the skills of the jet pilots, especially the fighter pilots still active. We won’t have the fighter jet but we will have these lead-in jet trainers to keep their skill levels,” Aquino told reporters at arrival ceremonies for the BRP Gregorio del Pilar at Pier 13 in Manila.

 

Aquino said the government plans to acquire surface attack aircraft, air defense radars, long-range patrol aircraft and closed air support aircraft for the Air Force.

 

“For the Navy, strategic sea-lift vessels, off-shore patrol vessels, naval helicopters – there are at least three of them, coast watch stations, similar weather-heavy endurance cutters,” he said.

 

Aquino said the Army would be provided with new assault rifles, armor assets, tanks, armored personnel carriers, force protection equipment like helmets and bulletproof vests, night-fighting equipment and radios.

 

Aquino said the Navy is still studying whether it needs to purchase a submarine to secure the country’s territory.

 

“The (acquisition of a) submarine is being studied by our Navy, whether or not practical, whether or not it meets our needs,” he said.

 

Aquino said a country in Southeast Asia bought a refurbished submarine for a bargain price of $12 million but ended up spending more to refit the vessel for tropical conditions.

 

“They ended up spending the same as if they bought it brand-new,” Aquino said.
Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said they are cautious on the plans to purchase submarines to beef up their capabilities.

 

“This is a complicated matter,” Pama said. “We don’t want to commit a mistake by jumping into something. As I said, we don’t want to buy something which eventually we cannot chew and swallow,” he said.

 

When asked if the purchase of submarines is possible under Aquino’s term, Pama said: “I cannot second guess the President…there are several factors (to be considered)…it starts from our capacity, in terms of resources and second, our readiness.”

 

Pama said they are also eyeing to acquire two more Hamilton-class ships from the US.

 

The government has allotted P11 billion this year to bankroll the military’s capability upgrade program.

 

Of this, P8 billion will come from proceeds from the Malampaya natural gas project in Palawan while P3 billion will be sourced from the military’s modernization funds.

 

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad earlier said the government would implement a P40-billion military modernization project over the next five years, starting in 2012.

 

Abad said the government would allot P8 billion annually over the next five years for the Armed Forces’ modernization program.

 

Aquino vowed to exercise good governance to enable the government to upgrade the military’s capabilities.

 

“Through our responsible governance, through the straight path, we can do more…we won’t stop with ships. We won’t be contented with helicopters,” he said.

 

“We can offer modern weapons, faster patrol craft and more effective equipment to our soldiers and police without wasting money from our state coffers…We will buy these new equipment at the right price.”

 

Navy is still studying whether it needs to purchase a submarine (photo : US Navy)

Only the beginning

 


Aquino said the arrival of BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a decommissioned US Coast Guard cutter, is just the beginning of efforts to modernize the AFP.

 

“This ship symbolizes our newly acquired ability to guard, protect, and if necessary, fight for the interests of our country,” Aquino said as the refurbished Hamilton-class cutter dropped anchor.

 

 

“This is just the beginning. Expect more good news because we will not stop at one ship,” he said.

 

 

Aquino led officials in touring the 3,390-ton warship, which is about 46 years old.
 

 

Aquino said the former US Coast Guard cutter, now the Philippine Navy’s flagship vessel, would protect the country’s exclusive economic zone and its oil and gas exploration activities in the South China Sea.

 

“This will upgrade our capability to guard our exclusive economic zone as well as the (oil and gas) service contract areas,” he said in a welcoming speech.

 

 

The cutter will join the current flagship BRP Rajah Humabon, a former American destroyer, which is among the oldest active warships in the world.

 

 

Del Pilar will be deployed to protect the country’s interests in the disputed Spratly islands, and will be tasked to patrol the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, including “service contract areas” where oil and gas explorations are held.

 

 

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said the new warship “represents a significant step forward in our efforts to improve our Navy’s capacity to patrol and secure our waters.”

 

 

Ochoa, who heads the Cabinet cluster on security, said they are currently spearheading reforms in the AFP that seek to address this concern.

 

 

The Armed Forces Modernization Act, which took effect in 1995, has given the military the opportunity to modernize in 15 years with a total fund of P331 billion.

 

 

More than16 years have passed since the law was enacted but critics said the military is not even close to a modern battle force. The delay in the implementation of the law has been attributed to lack of state funds.
 

 

 

‘Impressive’

 

 

The Philippine government has acquired the 115-meter (378 feet) long Weather Endurance Cutter (WHEC) from the US Coast Guard almost free through the Excess Defense Article (EDA) in line with the Philippine Navy Capability Upgrade Program with the refurbishing and transport cost amounting to P450 million.

 

 

The ship, formerly known as USCGC Hamilton, 42 feet in beam and 15 feet and seven inches in draft, has a maximum speed of 26 knots powered by two turbine and two diesel engines.

 

 

It has a helipad and a hangar and could accommodate two helicopters with foldable rotor blades at any given time.

 

 

A total of 95 Filipino sailors maneuvered the ship from California on a three-week voyage home, accompanied by US Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald and two similar US Coast Guard Hamilton cutters.

 


The sailors led by Navy Capt. Alberto Cruz were taught by their US counterparts on how to operate the ship during their three-week voyage. They underwent trainings in the US as early as February and completed their training last July.
 
They made a stopover in Hawaii before dropping anchor in Guam last Aug. 16. From there, the ship sailed to Manila, arriving on Aug. 21.

 

Navy sailor John Rances, one of the Filipino seamen who were trained to operate the ship, said there was no dull moment during their voyage.

 

 

Rances said they were constantly trained on operations and maintenance of the ship, including take off and landing of helicopters on deck.

 

 

Pama said American sailors who trained Filipino Navy men to maneuver the ship were impressed.

 

 

“Based on their (US troops) observations, I think they are not pulling my leg, the Pacific Fleet Commander, 7th Fleet, (said) they were quite impressed with our troops,” Pama told reporters.

 

 

The ship arrived in Manila Bay last Sunday and underwent customs and immigration inspection.

 

 

Officials said the cutter would serve as the lagship of the military’s Western Command (Wescom) based Ulugan Bay in Palawan.

 

 

It was learned that the ship would be fitted with additional modern radar systems to cover most of the country’s maritime domain within its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

 

 

The vessel, being a weather high endurance cutter, will also be used to conduct search and rescue operations. The US Coast Guard used the ship for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and defense readiness.

 

 

Parañaque City Rep. Roilo Golez suggested the ship should be equipped with missiles to make it more lethal.

 

 

Golez, a former national security adviser and a graduate of the US Naval Academy, was among the administration officials who toured the ship when it docked at the South Harbor in Manila yesterday.

 

 

He said installation of a missile system in the newly acquired vessel is not expensive and worth the investment, considering “the multitrillion-peso resources, minerals, fish, oil” within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

 

 

“And of course, there’s no price to our country’s sovereignty,” Golez said.

 

 

“The next step is to give the ship missile capability. This is technically feasible for a song. Its 76mm gun, though rapid firing, is no match to the capability of the naval powers in the region, which can fire a missile salvo from way beyond the horizon,” he said.

 

 

Golez said there are many missile systems that the AFP can acquire from France, Germany, Italy or the US.

 

 

He said the missile range should be anywhere from 60 nautical miles to 150 nautical miles to cover the 200-mile EEZ.

 

 

“This is very doable and would be quite a force multiplier,” Golez said.

 

 

The Philippines clinched the deal to acquire the Gregorio del Pilar early this year, before tensions with China flared.

 

 

The US has since promised to help upgrade the Philippine military further, but no details have been released.

 

 

China’s state-run media this month warned the Philippines it could pay a “high price” for building up its military presence in the South China Sea, renamed the West Philippine Sea.

 

 

However, bilateral ties remain strong in other areas, and Aquino will pay a state visit to China next week.

 

 

 

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19 août 2011 5 19 /08 /août /2011 06:20
MDA Eyes UAS Missile-Tracking Potential

photo USAF

 

Aug 18, 2011 By Amy Butler aviation week and space technology

 

Washington- The General Atomics Reaper unmanned aerial system (UAS) may eventually go from hunting terrorists to hunting hostile ballistic missiles.

 

The U.S. Air Force’s Predator and Reaper UAS have been well-publicized workhorses providing intelligence and firepower on the front lines in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arabian peninsula.

 

Now the Reaper may get a new mission as a frontline cueing system for the burgeoning U.S. missile defense architecture. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) officials say the Reaper and its Raytheon MTS-B sensor are showing promise. The system could plug a longtime gap by providing firing quality data to facilitate early intercept of ballistic missiles. MDA is exploring the technology and operational concepts for using electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) -equipped UAS to eventually achieve “launch-on-remote” capabilities with Aegis ship- and land-based SM-3 interceptors. This means the fidelity of UAS data would need to be high enough for commanders to launch an interceptor before Aegis radars capture the target.

 

Ballistic missile patrol is one of many potential missions for the large and growing Predator/Reaper fleet. As the Pentagon plans to draw down combat forces in Afghanistan—combat operations ended a year ago in Iraq—officials insist that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets (ISR) will continue to support ongoing activities in these areas. But Pentagon planners are considering how these ISR resources can be reallocated or, if need be, modified to fill capability gaps for other missions.

 

UAS orbits could be placed to provide a “picket fence” of sensors if an area is expected to have hostile ballistic missile activity, says Tim Carey, vice president of intelligence for Raytheon.

 

MDA officials say data from early experiments show that “just a few orbits can provide substantial sensor coverage” for various regions.

 

Gen. Robert Kehler, who oversees U.S. Strategic Command, provides advice to the Pentagon on how to allocate ISR resources across the globe. Regional commanders in the Pacific, Africa, Europe and Central and Southern America feel the focus on U.S. Central Command and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have curbed their ability to monitor activities in their areas of operation. “Their view is that many of their ISR needs are not being met because of all the things we have placed in Centcom,” Kehler says.

 

A potential near-term application of UAS for missile defense is to support monitoring of North Korea. MDA plans to field the Persistent Tracking Satellite System (PTSS) as soon as fiscal 2016 to provide early launch detection and high-fidelity targeting data from space to ship- and land-based interceptors.

 

That plan, however, has two problems. First, even if fielded as planned, the sensor gap would not be closed until later this decade. Perhaps a larger issue is that funding for PTSS is in question.

 

Industry sources say MDA is struggling with a $4 billion budget gap in fiscal 2013-17, and a project as expensive as building satellites could slip or be axed altogether as Leon Panetta, the new defense secretary, searches for projects to cut in light of diminished funding and deficit reduction pressure.

 

The interim solution for MDA is to test and possibly field the Airborne Infrared system (ABIR), a UAS carrying the proper EO/IR sensors to support early intercept operations (a kill before a hostile missile reaches apogee), improved target discrimination and enhanced handling of the threat of missile raids (tens or more missiles fired nearly simultaneously).

 

Last year, MDA selected the Reaper as the platform of choice for the ABIR experimentation phase, which is ongoing. “If fielded, we envision a podded ABIR capability that could ride on a variety of unmanned or even manned platforms,” says Rick Lehner, MDA’s spokesman. Ultimately, platform decisions would be made in consultation with the Air Force and Navy if the system is fielded, as these services will be the operators.

 

Since 2009, MDA has conducted 10 flight tests in which ABIR was used for data collection. Six of these trials were observed using MTS-B-equipped Reapers and the remainder featured risk-reduction tests using ground-based sensors (see chart, p. 43). For these trials, at least two Reapers are needed to provide “stereo tracking.” Each EO/IR sensor provides a “flat” view, but triangulating the target provides higher-fidelity data.

 

A main objective in the trials has been to expose the MTS-B—which includes visible, shortwave IR and mid-wave IR sensors—to various scenarios and targets, from short-range to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

 

“We have been able to improve the pointing accuracy of the sensor [and] we have demonstrated automatic acquisition and tracking of the sensor required to meet system needs,” Lehner says. “Modeling indicates the agility of the sensor will substantially improve the raid-handling capability we currently have.”

 

Today, X-band radars—the AN/TPY‑2 and Sea-Based X-Band—are used for early tracking. Carey notes that the ABIR experiments are the first time EO/IR data have contributed to generating firing-quality data early in flight. (IR sensors typically provide only a cue to ground- and sea-based X-band radars.)

 

“They just never thought to look up” with the sensors, Carey says. “Everybody was surprised [by] the range at which we were able to detect the targets after burning and the accuracy with which we were able track them.”

 

The MDA has purchased four MTS‑Bs for ABIR experimentation, two last year and two this year, Carey adds. MDA is contributing to a larger Pentagon effort to develop the two-color MTS‑C; this will add a long-wave IR detection capability. While the short- and mid-wave bands are optimal during launch and rocket burn, a long-wave detector is better for tracking cold bodies, such as missiles after burnout, or plumes and exhaust.

 

Packaging short-, mid- and long-wave IR detectors on the same sensor ball, however, presents complex challenges, including design of proper cooling and meeting power requirements. One defense official suggests the MTS-C could be a year or more from being ready for work in this area. Lehner says the MTS‑C will be delivered in the summer of 2012 and begin testing shortly thereafter.

 

This time frame will be a key deciding point for the future of the program. Also next summer, MDA plans to conduct a launch-on-remote exercise. “To demonstrate launch on remote, we will provide real-time tracking data to [ballistic missile defense (BMD) command-and-control] nodes,” Lehner says. “The BMD command-and-control nodes then send [the data] to Aegis in a simulated engagement in the summer of 2012.”

 

Carey notes that in trials thus far, ABIR has generated virtual targeting data that can be compared against data from other sensors used in the tests. But he says more command-and-control and system architecture work is needed to make the system operational.

 

Early tests were highly manpower intensive; targets were acquired by hand and tracked by people. Software has been developed to automate that process. But officials need to develop an operational concept of how many UAS must be orbiting in what locations for an optimum chance of achieving early launch data if there is an unpredicted hostile launch. “If you put the aircraft in the right place and we know the test is coming, we turn it on and it will perform,” he says.

 

Through fiscal 2012, MDA has requested $178.5 million for ABIR. Depending on results of the flight trials, the agency plans to make a development and fielding decision around 2014.

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19 août 2011 5 19 /08 /août /2011 05:30

http://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getAsset.aspx?ItemID=41505 

NATO AGS - photo Northrop Grumman

 

18/08/11 By Stephen Trimble SOURCE:Flight Daily News

 

Canada has become the second country to withdraw from the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 alliance ground surveillance (AGS) program, but the remaining NATO partners are "very close" to signing a contract, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

 

The decision means AGS will lose another source of funding that must be compensated for by the 13 NATO members still committed.

 

In June, Canadian TV broadcaster CBC reported that Canada also is withdrawing from the NATO partnership operating the E-3 airborne warning and control system (AWACS).

 

The AGS program had lost another key partner last June. Denmark also decided to withdraw from the partnership acquiring a six-aircraft RQ-4 fleet in June 2010.

 

Meanwhile, Northrop and NATO officials are likely to sign a contract to launch the development phase of the AGS programme within several days. The contract award may still have to be approved by each of the national partners before it becomes official.

 

Previously, Northrop officials had predicted that the long-awaited contract award milestone might not be reached around October.

 

Northrop is offering to deliver six RQ-4 air vehicles configured with the US Air Force's Block 40 equipment, which includes a wide area surveillance sensor called the Northrop/Raytheon multi-platform radar technology insertion program. It will perform the same role as the USAF E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar system.

 

European partners, including EADS, will supply mobile ground control stations for the NATO RQ-4 fleet, which will be based at Sigonella AB, Sicily.

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13 août 2011 6 13 /08 /août /2011 05:35

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/images/stories/AIR/Air_new/denel-seeker400-2010ep21.jpg

 

10 August 2011 by defenceWeb

 

Denel Dynamics’ latest unmanned air vehicle (UAV), the Seeker 400, is due to make its maiden flight in the first quarter of next year. This will be followed by flight tests leading to production for an unspecified client that “operated the Seeker I tactical UAV in the early 1990s.”

 

Two other countries which currently operate the Seeker II are also interested in the Seeker 400 because the new aircraft can be controlled by simply using their existing Seeker II control stations, the state arsenal says in a statement. “The decision by Denel to invest in this new product was mainly based on the global requirements for this capability. Based on the business case, Denel decided to fund the development from its balance sheet,” says Tsepo Monaheng, executive for Denel UAVS.

 

Although the USA and Israel dominate the global market, there is scope for South Africa to use local skills to create market-leading UAVs to a broad spectrum of countries - from developing to developed. This market is estimated at US $14 billion per annum, the company says in a statement. The South African UAV industry aims to capture in excess of 20% of this end of the market, the media release adds.

 

Simphiwe Hamilton, chairman of the South African UAV forum and executive director of the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association in September 2009 said the South African unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry was worth an estimated R400 million and is chasing annual business worth the same amount. The forum brings together SA UAV producers Denel Dynamics and ATE as well as research-and-development centres based at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and experts from the departments of Science and Technology as well as Trade and Industry. "It was estimated in 2005 that 200 full-time people employed in the wider South African industry would create a sustainable business turnover of around R200 million per year," Hamilton said.

 

 

The aircraft was displayed in mock-up form at the Africa Aerospace and Defence Show (AAD) 2010, in Cape Town in September last year. Though it utilises the Seeker II architectural design, Denel insists the Seeker 400 is a totally new aircraft. The Seeker 400 long-endurance tactical UAV (TUAV) is much larger and much more capable than the Seeker II and provides a variety of operational options, the company explains. It is deployable in most conditions, including taking off from an unprepared piece of land.

 

Monaheng describes the Seeker 400 as a “typical entry-level” long-endurance TUAV. It can stay in the air for 16 hours and can simultaneously operate two payloads. It currently has a maximum expected range of 250 km, the same as the Seeker II, because it will use only line-of-sight communications. This can be upgraded to satellite communications, which would allow it to operate at much greater ranges. With the use of the existing tactical ground station (TGS), the range may be extended to 750km.

 

The Seeker 400 flight test programme will run for most of 2012, and production should start by the end of the year.

 

Denel Dynamics plans, in due course, to add weapons to the Seeker 400, turning the aircraft into an armed reconnaissance platform. The prototype was recently displayed at the company’s 2011 ‘Show and Tell’ briefing in Centurion with a Mokopa precision-guided missile (PGM, also a Denel Dynamics product) under each wing. Last year, at AAD2010, Denel Dynamics exhibited a mock-up of the Impi, a 25kg hybrid of the business' existing Mokopa and Ingwe PGM. Denel Dynamics' Garsen Naidu said at the show the new missile concept “brings all our experience together”. The missile combines the Mokopa's seeker and laser guidance units with the Ingwe's multipurpose warhead and the Umkhonto short-range surface-to-air air defence missile's datalink. Like the Mokopa, the weapon has a 10km range. Impi is currently in its design phase and is a small, low-cost system designed specifically for operation on lightweight armed reconnaissance platforms, Naidu added. A number of countries have already expressed interest in an armed version of the UAV, Denel adds.

 

The Seeker 400 was originally conceived as an upgrade of the Seeker II but, as the project developed, the company realized that a totally new and larger aircraft would do better in the market. The retention of the name ‘Seeker’ also takes advantage of the Seeker II’s established brand.

The Seeker 400 programme schedule is on track. The medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV project, the Bateleur, has not been abandoned but is currently on hold to allow for a focused development of the Seeker 400.

 

Globally, UAVS are becoming ever more important and more widely used. Although costs are coming down, UAVs are not necessarily cheaper or easier to operate than crewed aircraft – some top-of- the-range UAVs are very expensive, Denel says. But the fact that they have no human on board means they can be sent into high-risk environments and they can be kept aloft much longer than a conventional aircraft.

 

The availability of capable and affordable South African UAVs has obvious benefits for national security as well as crime fighting, disaster management, election monitoring and search-and-rescue, Denel says. UAVs are also utilised in the agricultural, mining, health and environmental sectors. Within the next five years UAVs will be used by a diversity of industries-- from policing poachers on land and coastlines or carrying test specimens from remote clinics to laboratories for analysis, to keeping an eye on livestock on farms. “This wide range of applications will open up lucrative parallel markets for international UAV players,” Denel adds.

 

Foreign experience in combat zones shows that the key service that UAVs provide to ground force commanders is live video coverage. This provides them with real time surveillance, intelligence and target acquisition as well as much better situational awareness. The French Army has reported that, in Afghanistan, UAVs have saved the lives of its soldiers and some 80% of its UAV missions are to protect its troops. Indeed, it is now known that one of the operators of the Seeker II has deployed these UAVs under UN command in a foreign country.

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